Sunday, October 27, 2013

I'm In A Viking ~Christmas~ State Of Mind.......

Yes,that is correct! I have exactly 5 weeks to plan a "Scandinavian Christmas Party"for our 12th Annual Christmas Around the World party.We'll be able to add another stamp to our Passport Party Book! We have had many_but not all are included on this Blog.I'm working on sharing others to post soon. Here's a look & see:

Today_"MORE"memorable moments at the"Russian Zakuska Christmas" 2010. The names have been changed(my friends) to protect the innocent ones! I blame it on the "Vodka Tasting"!

The Menu~

A Zakusha , is a Russian term for hot and cold hors d'oeuvres, snacks, appetizers served before meals.Usually presented buffet style, it often consists of cured  meats and fish,various pickled vegetables such as beets, cucumbers,hard cheeses, caviar and breads. I added several other items that research showed would be served at such an affair.

My Zakusha Buffet~

Appetizers: Fish: Sardine Pate,Tomato w/minty Sardines,Herring canapés. Meats: Deli Turkey & Kobe Beef. Pickled Veggies:Beets,Okra.Mixed, "DRUNKEN VODKA TOMATOES",Cornichons & Apricot Canapes. Hot: Potato Pancakes w/chives & sour cream and "BORSCHT SOUP".

Salads:Texas Caviar,Russian Sauerkraut,Hermitage Slaw,Deviled "Jilly P " Eggs.
Entrees: Beef Stroganoff & Cabbage Rolls_Helga taking photos!

Lemon Vodka Cake,Ameretto Cake,Balena,Mandola & Pfeffer-Nusse Cookies served on Amber Dishes.
Beverages: Vodka Tasting, Sparkling Juice and Russian Caravan Tea

~Many thanks to the ladies for bringing their favorite Russian
dishes to the Russian table~

The Vodka Tasting~

There were 12 different Vodka's _they were all "TASTED"! I chose to literally have a dropper full in my mini-Russian tea glass shown on the left. I am NOT a fan of Vodka...I Love RED Wine! Tastings like this become HILARIOUS at some point. 

I invited the Regional Mgr.from Candoni Wines to conduct a Wine Tasting for my birthday party themed "Under The Tuscan Sun"(2011). I'm gathering those photos to Blog about later! Don't miss it! My friend Jilly P. was in charge of the Vodka Tasting,because..."I Know Nothing,Nothing" as the Luftwaffe prison-camp guard Beloved Sgt.Schultz (Hogan's Heroes)_often said when asked a question. 
                             Russian Caravan Tea in Russian Tea Glass & Holder
The Décor~ My intent was to create an "ambience"of 
the "Russian Tea Room". 


Other Décor~

The Names Are Changed To Protect The Innocents~ we all had Russian female names & chose to dress in a Russian Style. Oksana,
Natasha,Helga,Ekaterina,Raina & my aka Sasha! Each name had a meaning_can you figure out Raina "The African Queen"? 

We listened to Russian Music_& being Christmas time we sang Carols! BUT...the cream De La Crème was the singing of
"From Russia With Love"...that I dare NOT place that video on this blog _which included a creative dance by Raina which we all agreed represented the Afro-Russian Bolshoi Ballet Company! Did NOT sound like this....

BTW...Before the party got started Oksana & Sasha decided to pose...I'm dressed as a Russian Sailor.

And Oksana & Natasha (Boris Badenov of Rocky and Bullwinkle ) _his sidekick!

What a Wonderful Time we had at my rendition of "A Russian Zakusha Christmas Party"(2010)!

Our Watch Cat Guard...My Hank "The Cowcat"

Next stop,Scandinavia(Denmark,Norway & with
 an emphasis on Sweden~Peace Out!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

~FOODIE REVIEW~ From The Sage Book Whisperer's Kitchen~

It's Foodie Time! Thought I'd share with you my quest to EAT GOOD WHOLESOME Food_ making it tasty and nutritious_ Pure & Simple!

One of my "Meatless Monday Meals"...

           "Southern Lady Cream Peas" & a Bottle of Tabasco!
Growing up in East Texas...My Grandparents grew their own Veggies,Fruit trees were plentiful, Herbs were grown in pots, right by the front steps & Porch Swing, if you wanted "Chicken" for Dinner...go pick one in the Chicken Coop, grab a couple dozen eggs while in there for some "Texas Tea Cakes"_ in no time "Chicken" was on the table!

We picked peas & shelled them_ especially "Lady Cream Peas" a Southern Tradition, we canned green beans, okra, Southern Cha-Cha(relish),etc..
...Pears, Blackberry, Fig, & Pear Preserves, Big Mama made what we called "bootleg" Grape Wine_ we had pigs,
horses and a couple cows for far back as I can remember in the late 40s until late 60s.

It is no wonder why I love Pure & Simple Food!

What happened next,"College Days".Pure & Simple became........ 

~A FAST FOOD EPIDEMIC~...for many of
us (BTW, it still is for some)_FAST FOODS,
Dining Out, Take -Out,etc..

Now, that I know better_I've honed my cooking skills "Back To The Future"!Over a period of
20 years,I've learned how to cook the things I love without Frying,Buttering,Sugaring,etc..! I've come full I'm sharing just a few of "My Creations" with you.

~Lentil Quinoa Tortilla Tart w/Ancho Chile

Over the weekend,this was a creation from leftover Lentil & Quinoa Soup. Opened a bottle of good Cabernet Sauvignon,
opened the back door(mild 60s weather in Texas)here at Aaron's Hilltop Farm & turned up Albert King & Stevie Ray Vaughn 's "In Session" CD..
Let the cooking commence...

                                   ...Ancho Chile Pepper,Chile Powder,Celery Seeds

...added an English Cucumber/Sweet Onion Salad in Lemon Oil Olive Dressing_ got my Tex-Mex eat on in a healthy way!

~Cherry Chocolate Tart~
Made this creation a couple week's ago. I used store bought pie crust,1 tablespoon natural brown sugar & Organic Morello Cherry Preserves, Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate bits to sweeten, & Frozen Cherries, cornstarch to thicken,cinnamon,nutmeg &
allspice(pinch of each),Organic Vanilla Extract,sprinkled
some Oats/Honey Granola on top...

Not shown on this photo_ but I added 1 tablespoon of Confectioner's Sugar to Sour Cream for the topping!
A "cuppa" Vanilla Caramel Tea, a slice of this "Cherry
Chocolate Tart"...Yummy!

~Pineapple Kiwi Ice Cream~
The trick to making an Ice Cream like treat is to make sure the fruit is frozen solid!You can be as creative as you like...whatever flavor combinations. Check out my Blog Post where I first learned to make this treat....

In another creative moment, I toasted pecans, tossed them w/maple syrup & sea salt_Processed frozen bananas, added childhood favorite_ "Butter Pecan Ice Cream"!!

                                          A sprinkle of Wheat Germ on Top

Here's another favorite Ice Cream Creations:

Lastly a couple of Creations
~Key Lime Chocolate Tart~

~Tilapia and Leek Pie~

So, as you can see_ I'm a Creative Cooking Foodie.

My Roots are in Southern Tradition where
most everything is Fried, Breaded, loaded with Butter and other ??? stuff. But, over the years...Oven Fried Chicken & "REAL"  Oven Fried Potatoes, cooking without added fat, eating more Veggies and Fruits and Grains(besides Grits & Oatmeal) _have become my Norm! I can't imagine eating a Pizza from any of the chains_ because I love my Own Pizza!

I still Love Food....But I'm...

Foodie Review From The Kitchen of..
         ~The Sage Book Whisperer~

Friday, October 11, 2013


9 DAYS get Your "Big Tex" on!

September 27-October 20,2013_so hurry up ,Y'all. This was opening day...

That was a "special" greetings from "Big Tex" because the last time we saw him on closing day of the State Fair of Texas he was as Cheech & Chong would say...."Up In Smoke"....but not really  like their "Up In Smoke" movie thingie...just sayin'! Instead, the Big Boy had an electrical problem. Read here... 

The "State Fair of Texas" holds the record in attendance for any Fair in America_3,000,000 in 2003!!! For those of you not familiar with a State Fair it is an annual competitive and recreational gathering of a U.S. State's population_usually held in late summer or early fall. It is a larger version of a "County Fair",often including only exhibits or competitors that have won in their categories at the more-local county fairs.   State fairs began in the nineteenth century for the purpose of promoting state agriculture, through competitive exhibitions of livestock and display of farm products. As the U.S. evolved from a predominantly agrarian to an industrial society in the twentieth century, modern state fairs have expanded to include carnival amusement rides and games, display of industrial products, automobile racing, and entertainment such as musical concerts.

BUT, of course TEXAS State Fair "kicks it up a notch"!

Most Creative Fried Food 2013..."FRIED THANKSGIVING DINNER"..

Mama’s homemade stuffing and diced roasted turkey are rolled in a ball. Next it’s dipped in Southern cream corn, rolled in seasoned cornmeal and fried to a golden brown. Served with old-fashioned giblet brown gravy. The zesty orange cranberry sauce fills your dipping needs and results in a complete Thanksgiving dinner — "FRIED"!....not feelin' this one! For a LIST of the other Finalist...i.e._Awesome Deep Fried Nutella, Southern Style Chicken-Fried Meatloaf ,Golden Fried Millionaire Pie,Texas Fried Fireball ,etc.. Go here:

Past Winning Fried Foods...
2013 Most CreativeFried Thanksgiving Dinner
2013 Best TasteDeep-Fried Cuban Roll
2012 Most CreativeDeep Fried Jambalaya
2012 Best TasteFried Bacon Cinnamon Roll
2011 Most Creative Fried Bubblegum
2011 Best Taste Buffalo Chicken in a Flapjack
2010 Most Creative Fried Beer™
2010 Best Taste Texas Fried FRITOS® Pie
2009 Most Creative Deep Fried Butter
2009 Best Taste Fernie's Deep Fried Peaches & Cream
2008 Most Creative Fried Banana Split
2008 Best Taste Chicken Fried Bacon
2007 Most Creative Deep Fried Latte
2007 Best Taste Texas Fried Cookie Dough
2006 Most Creative Fried Coke
2006 Best Taste Fried Praline Perfection
2005 Most CreativeViva Las Vegas Fried Ice Cream
2005 Best Taste Fried PB, Jelly and Banana Sandwich

Of course, my husband gifted me with this book_ part of my Christmas 2012 prizes:
It is an Illustrated History of The Great State Fair Of Texas from 1859- 2012..Awesome Book & Awesome Facts!!Here a little trivia:

1.Admission Fee_1859 (.50)_2013 ($17.00).
2.Racetrack & Betting was the Centerpiece Attractions_today
3.There were (2) State Fairs of Texas because of a rivalry
    between Dallas & East Dallas(had it's own Mayor, etc..)in
4.Today,there are (4)_South Texas State Fair, East Texas State
    Fair, North Texas State Fair & State Fair of Texas(Dallas).
5.Still known for "Fletcher's Corny Dogs" YUM!

6.The Midway,Comet Roller Coaster,The Age of     Steam,Dr.Pepper Circus...Visitor's: Booker T Washington,Buffalo Bill,Annie Oakley,Pres.Wm.Howard Taft,Enrico Caruso,Audie Murphy,Chief Quanah Parker...c.1800s

7.Big Tex....(1949)BEFORE Makeover_ living in Kerens,Texas!

For more on "Big Tex" Looks_ check this out_

Last But Not Less!!!!!!!!!
During preparations for "The Texas Centennial"
1935-1937....there was this "Situation"...
                     ~The Girlie Shows"~

YES, that does say.."SCANDAL" as in Olivia!

Seems the popular sin of lust was once one of the fair’s main attractions.In the late Forties, Dallas was still known as a dollar town, meaning that the strip-show barkers could entice spectators to pay a buck to see the same show here that was only bringing four bits in Oklahoma City. There were so many "girlie shows" in the 1890s that it was rare to find a female visitor on the midway. Every few years, the local preachers would get together and lead a clean-up drive, and occasionally the fair promoters would get caught up in the spirit. The 1906 fair was advertised as being "completely free of immorality and wickedness," but the dancing darlings were not to remain wallflowers for long.
So, in 1935-1937..."The Texas Centennial Years" an ad in Ft.Worth,Texas read_"45 MINUTES TO WHOOPIE" in reference to the main attraction.....
Located at the Fair inside the "Streets of Paris"& the "Streets of All Nations", were such UNCLAD(as in NAKED)luminaries as "Corinne the Apple Dancer", "Rosie the Rope Spinner" & "Lady Godiva"_ "Paris Peggy"& Mona Leslie.
Corinne, the Apple-Dancing star of the Streets of All Nations, performed as usual in nothing more than a g-string and a ball somewhat larger than an apple....all in THE BIBLE BELT! Go figure that one! I would show her picture on page 125 in the book_ but might be put in a category of Blogs that start with the letter P **N! Anyway, read more about it here as well_

So, there you have it...many of unbelievable things have happened at "The State Fair of Texas"...the book is  a great buy ...for Inquiring Minds! Purchase and learn more about the Fair here:

Here's the large "Land Mass" called State Fair of Texas...put your walking shoes on & get ready to EAT! If you can't make it in the next couple days...Plan for 2014 to be there!

Well...that's gonna do it for today's Blog!

In the words of The Beverly Hillbillies"...
 Just Sayin'.............