Thursday, June 25, 2015

Stella Rosa Peach Sangria

Stella Rosa Peach Sangria 

   I got to The Reserve Wine & Spirits Store in Clark's Grove without my 
Honey White Sangria Recipe and had to wing it.  The knowledegable staff 
and business owner never steer me wrong.  I think this recipe is the
best, most Summery yet!  


1  bottle Stella Rosa Peach wine blend
1/4 cup Christian Brothers Peach Brandy
1/8th cup honey
1/2 liter sparkling water
8 oz. Sprite
1/2 cup orange mango juice
8 Rainier Cherries
8 Dark Sweet Cherries 
1 peach sliced with peel on
1 orange sliced or sectioned

Stir well in pitcher til blended

Add fruit and Chill for at least 2 hours

The finished product!  Yummy!  

Sauteed Collards

Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning is good on most everything.
Just don't ask me to pronounce it or spell it.

Sauteed Collard Greens 

June 2015

Dana Koogler

   It took me a couple years of really trying to learn to eat greens.  I knew they were good for me.  I knew they were incredibly healthy food. I knew lots of people loved them.  I kept
hearing folks say "You just need to eat them cooked right. Then you'll love 'em!"   I believed
it and would not give up.    I tried turnip greens and found that while I could eat them I did not care for them.  Eating turnip greens was like eating handfuls of boiled up grass to me. 
I did not care for either the texture or the taste.   I decided to move on to collard greens.
My friend Cathy Howell knew I was trying to learn to eat them.  She brought me a mess of 
cooked collards prepared by a lady in Goldsboro, North Carolina where she hails from.
They were delicious!  Best stuff I ever ate.  I was thrilled that I had finally proven I could eat them and like them.   Now I wanted to learn to cook them.

       A man in the Food Lion grocery store in our town told me how to fix them.
I went through a great big process to prepare my first mess o' greens boiled up Southern style.
Take all day to cook them and have pot likker.  They were good and I was pleased that now I knew how to fix them and could eat them and enjoy them.  I tried sauteed collards at 
Sweet Pea's Barbecue and Soul House in South Knoxville.   They were heavenly!
I knew my sister and brother in law fixed them sauteed at home.  I figured I could learn to do it myself.    I tried it and found them to be much easier and better.  One of my favorite foods now and I much prefer sauteed collards to all day boiling the other way.   Sauteed collards have a bitter sweet, rich flavor all their own.

        Sauteed collards are more flavorful. It also preserves the nutrition.  It is far simpler and faster as well.   You will find them tender and satisfying without any of that boiled grass 
taste that kept me from liking greens.



1 bundle of fresh collard greens- well washed, drained and chopped*
2 medium carrots peeled and diced
1/2 sweet onion peeled and finely chopped
2 stalks of celery washed and chopped
 1 tsp garlic chopped

salt, pepper, Creole spice

2 Tbsp olive oil 

Large skillet


Make sure your collard greens are thoroughly washed, drained and chopped.
Remove any tough center stalks prior to chopping. Collard greens should be dark green, healthy looking and firm without lots of insect holes, dry spots on the leaves.
I remove any tough stems and roll the greens up and chop them. It is faster.


In large skillet over high heat place all ingredients with carrots, onion, garlic, and celery going in first. Add collards on top of that.

Sauteed greens adding in salt , pepper, and Cajun spice to taste.

Reduce heat after first three minutes to medium and slow simmer with lid on.

Stir periodically to avoid scorching or overcooking.

Should be done after about 15-20 minutes 

Greens should be tender and flavorful for a healthy, satisfying side dish.

Serves 4

Sauteeing collard greens.  The diced veggies help make it an even more satisfying, flavorful dish with more visual appeal.   Yummy! 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Making Freezer Jam--Strawberry or Otherwise

Tessa Grace-- my granddaughter eating  strawberries
at Rutherford's Farm.

Making Strawberry Freezer Jam --Or ANY Kind of Jam or Jelly.

Saturday May 16, 2015

Dana Koogler  and daughter Crystal Lindsey


2 gallons fresh strawberries
Four packets of fruit pectin
Lemon juice
Canning jars with lids or Certo plastic freezer containers 
with lids
5 lbs sugar
Ziplock freezer bags

Prep:  Pick fresh berries at a local farm or purchase fresh, ripe strawberries
at a local market or farm.

Take them home and wash and cap them .
Do NOT allow the berries to sit in water.

Wash and dry jars, lids and jar rings or containers and dry them well.

       We picked fresh strawberries at Rutherford's Farm out on Mint Road in Blount County, Tennessee.  It is just outside the city limits of our home in Murvul.   We had a great time picking.
It took about 45 minutes and is a great value.  Two gallons of berries cost me $16. 
Ginger's Flowers out on Highway 321 had some good looking South Carolina berries but they wanted $16 for 2 QUARTS.   The difference?  I prefer to keep my money in the local economy when I can and they are the freshest berries possible.  
Tessa Cheesing for the camera. She is so cute and she knows it.

       We made 10 pints of freezer jelly. We had about a pint to freeze fresh. We had a large bowl
to cut up to make strawberry shortcake for dessert.  Nanny Cookie made BBQ chicken dinner
for the whole family and the kitchen stayed torn up all day long.  

I am not going to provide a recipe for this but a general overview of what to AVOID!!

Crystal wanted to learn to make strawberry freezer jam.  She and Adam both did. They liked 
Grandmother Lindsey's strawberry freezer jam.  They got her to help them learn.  Some of it turned
out ok, but some did not. Certainly Grandmother Lindsey had many more years experience than
I did so I was not offended.  The last freezer jam I made was not as well liked.  I thought it was good,
but the rest of the family wasn't crazy about it.  What went wrong?  I cut the sugar in it to suit my own tastes.  I also let it get too frothy by putting the berries in a food processor or blender. It was gummy and had a consistency they didn't care for.  

            Today at my house was a do-over for Crystal and a chance for me to help my daughter
with her homemaking skills.  I was happy to help.  

            The secret to making good freezer jam or jelly of any kind is this:





Crystal, Adam and Grandmother used powdered Sure Jell the first go round.
I used two different kinds. Certo liquid pectin packets and Mrs. Wages powdered fruit pectin packets.

Certo liquid pectin packs requires no cooking, but you have to add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice per
packet and mix them together for the acidity to preserve things.

Mrs. Wages doesn't require any lemon juice added to make strawberry freezer jam.

You can reduce the sugar in the recipe by up to 25%, but be prepared for it not to taste good
to some people.  

It is best to mash the strawberries with a potato masher and avoid putting them in a blender.
Ripe strawberries contain lots of liquid anyway and over processing brings out more liquid and 
tends to whip them into a froth that has a gummy consistency that is not pleasing.

If you end up with froth on cooked jelly or jam.... add one tablespoon of melted butter to
get rid of the froth OR try skimming the froth away with large spoon.

Our freezer jam turned out perfect this time.  I am not as experienced as Grandmother, but consequently I read and follow directions to a tee.  If you do that you won't go wrong.

It is not necessary for freezer jam to sit out for 24 hours at room temperature. 
I placed mine in the refrigerator for a day then put it in the freezer.

It is also not necessary to boil jar lids and such for freezer jam.

That is what you do to make cooked jelly.

Tessa and Michael in the kitchen helping wash dishes.

 English muffin for breakfast with butter and strawberry freezer jam. Yum!

Above the fruits of our labors!