Saturday, April 22, 2017

Strawberry, Strawberries!

Strawberries are at their sweetest right now.  At local farms you can also pick your very own. It's a sweet tradition in our family to do this at least once each year. 

 Strawberry Angel Food Cake

For this last week's Sullivan's The Pulse post, I shared some of our very favorite strawberry recipes from The Ranch Kitchen's site.  These are not only my recipes, but those of friends of The Ranch Kitchen who have shared on my site.  

It's always fun to open up and see recipes friends have shared to post to my site.  These strawberry recipes also happen to be some of the most popular and visited on the site too.

 Kathy's Strawberry Pie

You can click here to access on The Pulse - The Ranch Kitchens' Dessert, Dessert, Desserts - Strawberry post here too! These strawberry recipes are easy and everyone loves them on our ranch!  

 Brandi's Strawberry Cupcakes

If you have some recipes you'd like to share on The Ranch Kitchen, it's easy.  Just click on The Ranch Kitchen's Share a Recipe link on the tab on the recipe section of my blog. You'll create a log-in there and you are set to go. Once I've checked it over, you'll be posted on the site and can share with your family and friends!

Our plans tomorrow are to pick strawberries at a local farm or two in the afternoon and come back to create a few new recipes.  My girls, their cousins and friends love picking strawberries and I know yours will too.

We hope your weekend is a great one!  

The Ranch Kitchen!

Monday, March 13, 2017

2015 Memorial Day Weekend at the Texas Coast

My daughter Bethany put it best when she described our weekend at the Texas coast to friends before she made the long journey from Lubbock.  She said, "We will be with dear friends where I can be myself and just relax!"  Memorial  Day weekend has always been a special time for us where we usually camp with our girls and friends at the lake, but for a change this year we spent it with our dear friends Tommy and Melinda Smith and their sweet family at their beautiful beach house at Rollover Pass just off Galveston Island.

This lovely beach house was built by an Amish builder with
 peg construction.  Love it!

My husband Scott and Tommy have been friends since grade school.  They've always continued their friendship and seemed to just 'get each other' like no friend I've seen him have.  His parents were and are very dear to us.  Tommy's boys and our girls grew up together as we in turn raised our little families.  Some of our favorite memories together will always be floating the Big Cypress Creek to Caddo's bayous and lake loaded with the biggest and best water guns ready to blast each other just about the time we got to the state park.  We'd do this every summer for about five years on Memorial Day and usually have our other great friends Rex and Carol Thompson and their kids in tow.  We'd pack huge lunches and sit under the Cypress trees that dripped with moss and enjoy the beauty that is Caddo, the largest natural bayou and lake in Texas. 

I remember all of us having football parties after the Friday night game where we'd each bring an appetizer and the kids would put on their pj's while we'd all visit.  It's times like these our kids still remember and my oldest daughter Ilissa mentioned that weekend that we sure did like to have a lot of get together's with our friends she remembered growing up!

In the past year with all of our lives getting busier and kids growing up and off at college we haven't spent near the time together we should have, but we fixed that this weekend. 

A little kite flying with enough wind to keep it up until the storms came.
Anything for the baby girl of the group!

Skim Surfing.

Our youngest daughter truly enjoyed her weekend and the beach!

So it was only fitting that we spend Memorial Day weekend with Tommy, Melinda and their sweet kids Brad, Ryan, Kayla, Kara and exchange student from Italy Clara.  We swam, dodged a few rain storms, the men fished and we ate everything from fresh seafood the men caught to steaks while catching up, playing board games and dominoes.  Melinda and I both enjoyed cooking, sharing recipes and catching up about our kids. 

Board game fun.

Melinda is a fantastic cook and wowed us all weekend with some of her recipes.  Her french bread was absolutely delicious and we could have made a meal out of it alone.  The steak marinade was equally as good.  So good in fact that we even ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day along with some repurposed baked potatoes that I sauteed in butter and Tony Chachere's.  The Redfish and Sea Trout were a real treat coming from the men's previous days catches and there was enough left over for us each to bring home some frozen for later meals.

Melinda making her 'Smashed Potatoes' that were delicious!

With or without cheese these potatoes are fantastic!

Click here for the recipe for Melinda's Smashed Potatoes!

Preparing the Sea Trout for the grill with Olive Oil and Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning.

Tommy preparing the Sea Trout for the grill.

Sea Trout, Melinda's Smashed Potatoes, her garlice bread, and The Ranch Kitchen's Sauteed Squash.  Just make this squash recipe without the potatoes!

This Red Fish was wonderful!

It's a weekend I hope to repeat soon and one we will always have fond memories of.  I'm so proud of their kids and when you have special friends you should always make time to make more memories. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cheers for National Margarita Day!

It's A Margarita Kind of Day! 

Yes! It's National Margarita Day! Who says you have to wait for just one day to relax on your back porch with this south of the border cocktail?  

In Texas, it's tradition to drink a salt rimmed margarita alongside your favorite Mexican foods.  At our ranch, margaritas aren't just for southwestern fare, but with our Hereford steaks, seafood and as a night time tonic after a long day. Someone once said...when life gives you lemons, get some limes and salt and make margaritas!  Now just for fun and as an added kick for a few years on our ranch, we place a few home grown jalapenos in our margarita!

The Ranch Kitchen's Rancharita - Jalapeno Margarita was inspired from one of our favorite restaurants Ranch 616 in Austin, Texas and their famous Jalapeno Margarita.  My oldest daughter resides in this fun, eclectic city that has more trendy bars and restaurants than any city in Texas. Ranch 616 is a spot we always stop at when visiting Ilissa.  This restaurant definitely has that Austin vibe to it with it's tin roofed outdoor porch and southwestern inspired menu.  Special thanks to dear family friend Terry Barber for introducing us to this fun restaurant more than 15 years ago!

The Ranch Kitchen's Rancharita - Jalapeno Margarita!

A few years back friend Gerald Jones, owner of Los Pinos Winery helped Ilissa and I reinvent their trendy margarita for us to enjoy at home and post on the blog.  My husband Scott especially loves the addition of jalapeno peppers freshly cut and placed in to these Rancharitas. The longer the jalapenos sit in this drink, the bigger the kick! We usually don't have to worry about that though as they don't last long!

Make sure to also check out Los Pinos and their winery in the heart of Northeast Texas. Their Rodeo Red is our all time favorite wine and perfect with anything in my books. If you are an Amazon member, you can order their wines there.  Their winery has amazing food, live music on the weekends and a lovely porch area to sit, sip and enjoy the pines of East Texas and the beautiful views of their vineyard. 

If you have a sweet tooth like me, rim your Rancharita with sugar instead of salt.  Just dip the top rim of your glass in lime juice and gently swirl in the sugar for a tasty addition to your cocktail. The picture above shows the addition of chili powder to the rim of salt on my Rancharita.  

So tonight or any night, try The Ranch Kitchens' recipe for this Rancharita - Jalapeno Margarita.  It's a family favorite and becoming the trendy margarita in the southwestern parts of the US.  Promise, you may never go back to a traditional margarita again!


Alise - The Ranch Kitchen 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Finding Joy With My Favorite Recipes

People say to cook a lot.  And yes, that is very, very true.  After reflecting a lot over my Christmas break, I came to this conclusion about several things both big and small.  Cooking is ultimately for me one way I show joy.  It's a little thing to me that helps me wind down after a big day or clear my mind and just spend time with just little old ME.

As I reflect on the new year ahead, I will immerse myself in what brings myself, my family and those I love and work with find joy whether it be in my cooking, my actions through my help, or just in how I treat them.

As a mother, educator, daughter and sister, it's rare that I ever have time just for me.  Although I would not want it any other way, it's those that half hour or more each evening without the Internet or television where I get to stop, reflect and just concentrate on the task at hand.  Cooking has become that outlet for me over the years and a way that I get to see the instant gratification of my efforts. It's that mom always fixes this when I come home, or my husband enjoys this meal, or my youngest loves to help me make this, that drives this part of my cooking most.

Just last year, my husband placed a television in my kitchen thinking I might enjoy it.  However to date I've probably turned it on maybe five time total, because to me the distraction of it takes time away from my me time.  I'd rather immerse myself in these moments and find time to let my creativity transform a recipe or two, make my family happy and bring a smile to my heart.

So as I reflect today and look toward the year ahead on just what brings me the most joy in life outside of what ranks at the top of that list being that of a wife, mom and daughter and sister... it's these dishes below that rank at the top of my list.

So here is hoping you find joy in the new year.  Find what makes you happy and make your day, your week, your month and year ahead your best ever.  I plan to work on just that one goal each day from this point on.

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen