Bella Rum

Life on the Pasture

Category: Recipes

Marinated Vegetable Salad

I think I posted this a long time ago, but I can’t find it. So here it is again, Shore. This marinated salad has a sweet & sour dressing, and it’s one of my favorites. It makes a large amount, but it will last about a week in the fridge, and it’s a great recipe for holidays, family gatherings and large parties. It transports easily. It is my go-to salad. It’s also very pretty and it’s easy to make.

Marinated Vegetable Salad

1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup green (I use red) bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 can green peas (I use LeSeur Brand)
1 can white shoepeg corn
1 can French style green beans
1 4-ounce jar chopped pimentos

Directions for Marinade
Make this marinade first and allow it to cool while preparing the vegetables.

Bring following ingredients to a boil in small sauce pan, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves.
3/4 cup vinegar (white or cider)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon water

Directions for Vegetables

Drain liquid off all canned vegetables in a colander. Chop celery, onion, green bell pepper (I use a red bell pepper because they’re sweeter and pretty in the salad). Place all vegetables (chopped and canned) in a large bowl. Pour marinade over vegetables and stir until mixed well. Place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, better if longer, even overnight. This salad holds up well and is great for large groups.


Slow Cooker Pork Roast and Barbecue Sauce

This is the slow-cooker pork roast recipe I mentioned a couple of posts back. You can check out the blog where I found it:  “Add a Pinch.” It was delicious, but my roast was much bigger than the one Robyn used. Her recipe calls for a 3 to 5 pound roast. I used a Boston Butt that was 7.7 pounds. It weighed over two pounds more than my son at birth. I must have cooked it at least 12 hours. Then I let it rest on warm for a couple of hours. It shredded beautifully and was one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made. Also, I used Emeril’s Rib Rub instead of making my own. We like it. Next time, I will make this the night before or use a smaller roast. It’s just the two of us, but sometimes I cook like there’s a starving army waiting on the patio.

Pork Roast Recipe

Serves: 8
  • Pork Shoulder Blade Roast or Picnic (3-5 pounds)
  • 8-10 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 3-5 tablespoons your favorite dry rub, (+more if desired) (I used Emeril’s Rib Rub)

1. Place meat in the slow cooker. Add dashes of Worcestershire sauce to the top of the meat until it is well covered. Then sprinkle heavily with dry rub. Cook on low setting of slow cooker for 8-10 hours. Leave meat in the slow cooker on the “warm” setting for about 4 more hours or until the meat easily will pull with two forks.
2. Internal temperature of pork roast should be between 190º F and 205º F.
3. Remove from slow cooker and allow to rest about 5-10 minutes. Then, slice or pull for serving, basting with pan juices from slow cooker.
4. Serve warm.
5. Leftovers should be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

This is my barbecue sauce. I adapted it from several recipes. We use it with pork and chicken. I didn’t turn the ketchup right side up. 🙂
Bella’s Barbecue Sauce

1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup Grey Poupon Mustard Harvest Coarse Ground/grainy-type
1 1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar plus 2 tablespoons
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon molasses
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cider vinegar

Add all ingredients except vinegar to a sauce pan. Add vinegar as you mix all ingredients together. Bring to a simmer. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for ten to fifteen minutes or until the sugar dissolves and mixture thickens to desired consistency. Remove from heat and allow to sit for awhile.


Food: Boston Butt Pork Roast and Carbs

I bought a Boston butt pork roast today. I’m going to cook it in the slow cooker tomorrow. Have you ever made one in a slow cooker? It’s pretty simple. I haven’t made one since we were taking care of Dad. He loved barbecue sandwiches, so I shredded it, mixed it with my barbecue sauce, and served it on buns. It took years to figure out a good recipe for barbecue sauce. I can’t tell you how many mediocre recipes I used before I kind of made my own by combining ingredients from a couple of recipes. This one is a keeper. I’ll let you know if the pork butt turns out well, and I’ll give the recipe if it does, and the sauce, too, if I haven’t already. I know I shared one, but I don’t know if it’s “the” one.

watermelon rinds

Let’s talk carbs. I’ve been lax this week, and I’ve paid for it on the scales. I think my willpower just tuckered out. It isn’t as if I’ve been eating chocolate cake with chocolate icing, but the tomatoes are in and ohmygod, they are made for eating, and the watermelons (love watermelons) and Bing cherries. I’ve had an enduring lust for Bing cherries for as long as I can remember. My son (now 43) has a deep dimple on his butt (I’m sure he’ll be thrilled that I shared that). I always told him was the cherry I craved the whole time I was pregnant. I used to wait for the price to go down before I would buy them. After years of H nudging me to buy them at whatever price, I finally buy them more often. They were only 99¢ a pound last week. I got a couple of pounds. Livin’ large.

I think I’ve talked enough politics recently, but it’s worth mentioning about Bing cherries that the cultivar was created as a crossbred graft from the Black Republican cherry in 1875. I’m very bipartisan when it comes to my cherries.:)

Wish me luck on my butt roast.


Closing Day, Spinach Dip Recipe, Cell Phone Cleaning Solution Recipe

Yesterday was a good day. My niece Crystal closed on her house (3 minutes from my house, YAY!!!), which, YES, calls for three exclamation points. I’m so happy about this.

The house is in a quiet, well-maintained community. It’s as cute as can be. Everything went smoothly with this sale. No big surprises. The sellers were reasonable and so was Crystal. Win/Win

She has a rent-back agreement with the sellers. They are building a house, and will rent Crystal’s house for the next month, but her realtor made arrangements for us to go to the house after closing. We had a small, short celebration: photos of Crystal holding a SOLD sign on the front steps, more photos of her putting the key in the door, a toast to happiness in her new house, and another look-see at the house. It was fun.

Do you remember that ubiquitous Knorr vegetable soup spinach dip that was at every party during the 80s? Or was it 90s? I made that and took some fruit and cheese and some sparkling wine. They liked the spinach dip, but neither of them had ever tried it. I guess it’s gone out of style?

The recipe is still on the soup packet, but I tend to print copies of back-of-the-box or packet recipes that I like. They stop them sometimes. I follow the recipe, but I cut the sliced water chestnuts into little strips. I’m big on texture, and I love the texture when they’re cut into strips. Warning: You can’t stop eating this once you start.

Knorr Spinach Dip

Yields 4 cups


1 10-oz Box Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 16-oz Container Sour Cream
1 cup Hellman’s Mayonaise
1 Package Knorr Vegetable Recipe Mix (dry in packet)
1 8-oz Can Sliced Water Chestnuts, cut into strips
2 Green Onions, chopped


Thaw spinach in microwave. When cooled, squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the spinach. Add all remaining ingredients to spinach, and combine thoroughly. Chill at least 2 hours to allow the soup to reconstitute before serving. Serve with crackers.

Following: Info that will make you feel better about public toilets, but worse about your cell phone.

How often do you clean your cell phone? That thing is loaded with nasty bacteria, but you already know that. I’m curious. Do you have a UV phone sanitizer or do you wipe it off with a solution of water and 70% isopropyl alcohol once a week, or some other method? Or are you like me and don’t think about it much?  Inquiring minds want to know.Recipe for Cell Phone Cleaning Solution

* Bottled water
* 70% isopropyl alcohol
* 1 mini spray bottle
* 1 microfiber or lint-free cloth

Fill a spray bottle halfway with distilled water. Fill the other half of the bottle with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Screw the cap back on, and shake the bottle to mix the solution. Once a week (not every day), LIGHTLY spray the solution on a microfiber or lint-free cloth, and clean your phone. Source: BuzzFeed

So, how do you clean your phone and how often? Fess up.

Oh, I forgot to mention that H has a horrible black eye from his MOHS surgery, but he says it doesn’t hurt.

Mohs Surgery and Stuffed Pork Tenderloin & Mediterranean Baked Chicken Recipes

H’s regular dermatologist removed several basal cell carcinomas (BCC) for him a couple of weeks ago, but he has to have Mohs surgery to remove two more from his face later this week. This is an ongoing project. They will continue to pop up as long as he lives. I can’t believe I haven’t had this problem. I grew up on the beach, water skiing, swimming and on boats every summer, and I’m a redhead. Okay. I used to be a redhead.

I tried two new recipes this week, both winners. I adapted each of them only a little, but I’ve made links to the originals. One was stuffed pork tenderloin from Chaos in the Kitchen. I got the tenderloin on a special for only a few bucks. I would show you a pic, but mine turned out a bit messy. The stuffing was falling out all over the place. I made a little too much of it, but it tasted great. I altered the recipe a little, sautéing the spinach with garlic before stuffing the loin. I also altered the time, because it needed a little more cooking. I should have used my thermometer.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

• 1 pork tenderloin
• 1 oz dried mushrooms, soaked and chopped
• 3 cups fresh spinach, washed, dried and sautéed with 1 clove of minced garlic in a small amount of olive oil
• 4 oz goat cheese
• 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil
• 2 garlic cloves, minced (1 sautéed with spinach, 1 for stuffing)
• 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted about 5 minutes @ 350F
• 1 tsp rosemary, minced
• 1 tsp thyme leaves, minced
• zest of one lemon
• salt and pepper
• 1/2 cup basil pesto
• 2 tbsp oil or butter
• 1 tbsp honey
1 Preheat oven to 400 F.
2 Cut a deep slit lengthwise on the tenderloin from end to end without going all the way through.  Open the tenderloin and pound out as flat as possible.
3 Sauté 1 clove garlic in a little olive oil for 1 minute. Add prepared spinach and sauté until wilted: about 1 to 2 minutes.
4 Combine mushrooms and next 10 ingredients (including spinach) in a bowl.  Spread mixture over pounded tenderloin and roll.  Tie with kitchen string.
5 In an oven safe heavy skillet, heat oil or butter and honey over medium heat until browning but not burnt.
6 Brown tenderloin on all sides.
7 Transfer skillet to the oven and bake 30 more minutes.
TIP: You can make the stuffing ahead so preparation goes faster at dinnertime.

The second one was Mediterranean Baked Chicken from The Clever Carrot. Don’t you love that name? It was easy as pie and very tasty. I changed the time on this one because I like the veggies a little more done. I also added a red bell pepper to the vegetable combo and some whole Kalamata olives in addition to the chopped ones. I also think eggplant would be good in this. This recipe is pretty healthy. Bonus.


• 1x 14 oz. jar of marinated artichoke hearts, juice only
• 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 4 sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves stripped
• 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
• 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
• 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes, left whole
• reserved artichoke hearts
• 1x 14 oz. can white beans, drained & rinsed
• ¼ c. roughly chopped Kalamata olives and some more whole
• 1x 8 oz. tub marinated bocconcini (mini-mozzarella balls), drained
• salt
• freshly ground black pepper
• ¼ c. roughly chopped parsley
• 2 tbsp. basil leaves, cut into ribbons
Kitchen Notes:

Save extra artichoke juice to drizzle over the finished dish for flavor.

You will need a roasting pan at least 13½ x 11 inches or larger.


Swap mozzarella for crumbled feta and can add bell peppers or mushroom, etc.

Use cannellini or Great Northern beans.

Three Things

1. Making a new recipe and using an old but seldom used pan in a way that I don’t usually use it, I burned the dickens out of my hand. I made stuffed chicken breasts (stuffed with olives, sliced almonds, dill and goat cheese). It was pretty easy and pretty good, but… I altered the recipe a little. Following the directions, I browned them on top of the stove, but instead of doing all the cooking on top of the stove, I put the whole thing in the oven to finish it off. When they were ready, and after I plated the breasts and was almost ready to sit down to eat, without any thought, I grabbed the handle of the pan to move it. OUCH! Ouch, ouch, ouch! I held a glass of ice while I ate. I slept with my hand on a cold pack. It’s fine now, but holy moly! Not-even-bad burns hurt! (I added goat cheese to the recipe because… well, because it’s cheese, duh)

2. H was behind a car that had a couple of kids in the back seat the other day. One of the kids gave him the finger. H was on his way to Kroger, and it so happened that they were, too. He waited for them to park. A couple that was our age was with he boys, obviously their grandparents. The boys ran ahead. H approached the couple, and told the man what the kid had done. The grandfather said, “I know he did. I saw him doing it and told him to stop. I’m very sorry.” They talked a little. H said the grandmother was very nice, too. Then they moved on to do their shopping. In a little while, the grandfather and the boy found H. The grandfather said, “He has something to say to you” And then to the boy, “Don’t you?”  “Yes sir. I’m sorry, sir.” H accepted his apology and told him that it all worked out okay this time, but that he better think before doing that again, that doing it to the wrong person could get him in a lot of trouble one day.

3. I have an appointment with Cindy for a haircut later this morning. Wish me luck.

A Spinach Casserole Recipe and Politics – One is Easier to Swallow than the Other


I thought this was interesting. Yesterday, Bob Schieffer said that (I’m paraphrasing) a recent Gallop poll concluded that fewer people call themselves Democrats than at any time in history, and that fewer people identify as Republican than at almost any time in history. He observed that while Republicans are trying to tear their party apart, one Democratic candidate is getting a rousing challenge from someone who never sought any office as a Democrat in his life. He concluded that both parties are fragile, and suggested that they could even splinter.

In other words, Democrats and Republicans are fed up with their parties.

Change of Subject

It snowed most of the day yesterday. Only a few inches stuck, but we decided not to go out. When I watch a chick flick, H is usually doing something in the garage or yard or playing golf, but I got him to watch one with me on Netflix yesterday: I’ll See You in My Dreams (2015) with Blythe Danner and Sam Elliott. It was a simple little film with an uncomplicated plot, good for a snowy day. I liked it… mostly. If I told you the bit I didn’t like, that would be the bit that ruined it for you. But I like Blythe Danner and Sam Elliott. It’s nice that they’re both still kickin’ it. How many of us are left? … who are still kickin’ it, I mean.

Spinach Casserole

I promised a couple of you that I would post H’s spinach casserole recipe. I apologize for taking so long. It’s one of those 1970s recipes. My neighbor who lived across the street gave it to me. Now, this is not a fancy recipe, and it uses Stove Top Stuffing for the topping. Still, it’s tasty. You can make your own bread cubes or stuffing if you wish, but I’m fine with the Stove Top.

Preheat oven to 350F

1 box of Stove Top Stuffing (according to directions)

3 10-ounce packages of frozen spinach

1 16-ounce (2 cups) container of sour cream (I add a little extra to make it creamier)

1 package Lipton dry onion soup mix

1 small can of sliced water chestnuts, chopped into smaller pieces

Cook Stove Top Stuffing according to directions. Thaw spinach in microwave. Squeeze liquid out of spinach. In a mixing bowl, combine spinach, sour cream, soup and chopped water chestnuts. Place mixture in baking dish, top with stuffing and bake at 350F for 40 minutes or until center is hot.

Preparation and Looking Forward

I decided about my menu yesterday and went to the grocery store for everything that was not perishable. I ordered a cake for two birthday parties. No, that’s not right – it’s for one party but two birthdays. Two of the grands have birthdays within a few days of Christmas (I know I”ve mentioned that before). We celebrate the heck out of December around here. When January comes, we’ve wrung December dry.

I’m not doing all the traditional recipes. They don’t care for certain things, but I’ll make stuffing/dressing. H and I both love it, and what is Christmas without it? And there will be mashed potatoes. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about that.

I made my not-so-famous sock-it-to-me cakes for a few neighbors, cut them in half, wrapped them in plastic wrap with ribbons on each end, and stuck a label with our names written in red and green on them. They were so pretty sitting there on the kitchen table. I meant to take a photo, but H delivered them to the neighbors before I even had a chance to spin around three times and say, “Elves are freaky.” He said that half of the neighbors (mostly men) had a kid in one hand and a dog in the other when they answered the door. That sock-it-to-me cake is such a good cake for baking, giving, and eating. It turns out beautifully every time, holds up well for delivery and is delicious (if I do say so myself).

The kids will arrive on Thursday. I can’t believe it’s almost here. Yesterday was my grandson’s birthday. We called him to wish him a happy day, and he said that he got sick at school and came home early. He said, “I’m nauseous and have a headache.” Poor fella. I told him he better feel better before Christmas. There’s a good time waiting here for him.

So we’re waddling (literally) toward THE day. January better come soon. I’ve been looking at severely healthy recipes to try. healthy-bowl

Have you heard about these “healthy” bowls. They have another name, but I can’t remember it so I’m calling it healthy bowl. Please tell me if you know the other name. It’s another trend, like the mason jar meals. You put a bunch of healthy stuff in a bowl, make it pretty and it tastes better. I love the variety, but it takes time to make all that. See that. My laziness is showing.

Is it just me or is 2016 zooming toward us? Zooming, zooming. Or do you only start thinking of it after the holidays? Usually I can only see the holidays until it’s all over, then the New Year falls over me like a soft blanket. I know most people do not like January, but I love it. It’s so relaxed, and there are books and fun projects that take place in January… and  maybe snow instead of these weird seventy-something days. Beautiful but eerie and not right in a creepy sort of way.

I just heard the train whistle. We only moved five miles from our other house, and I can still hear it in the distance. There’s a longing to it, but I like it. It’s reliable and comforting in a strange way. I’m here, all safe and sound, and it’s out there and so wistful.

Okay. That’s it. When I start babbling, you know I’m awake in the middle of the night. So good night, or good morning to you. It’s all the same here on the horse pasture.

Sock-it-to-me Cake

Preheat oven to 325 F


1 box Duncan Hines Butter Golden cake mix

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened in microwave

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 pint (8 oz. or 1 cup) sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

4 eggs

4 teaspoons brown sugar

4 teaspoons cinnamon

For Glaze:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

small amount of milk (until it reaches the consistency you desire)


Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together with a fork or pastry blender. Set aside.

With electric mixer, mix together, 1 stick softened butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 2/3 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 pint sour cream, vanilla. Add one egg at a time and mix until incorporated. Add cake mix and mix until incorporated.

By hand, gently fold in 1 cup of coarsely chopped pecans. Pour half of this mixture into a prepared (buttered & floured or sprayed) tube pan. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly over the batter in the pan. Top with remaining batter mixture. Bake at 325F for 70 minutes. You should check at 65 minutes; if it springs back at the touch, remove from oven. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then remove it from the pan, and allow it to cool on a rack until it is cool to the touch.


Gradually add a tablespoon or so of milk to 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar. Go slowly, making sure you don’t get it too thin (I like mine kind of thickish so it doesn’t run off the cake.) Drizzle this mixture over the cooled cake. I immediately put it in the fridge for about ten minutes. This stops the glaze from running off the cake. Then remove from fridge.


A/C Update and a Recipe

I started drinking my coffee at 6:30 this morning. It’s after 9:00 now, and I’m still on the second half of that cup (I only drink one cup). I had a few things to do this morning… like shower, brush my teeth, and other interesting things before the A/C guys arrived. They got here at 8:00, and they’re installing it today. They originally told us there would be a two or three-week wait. It’s only been about eleven days. I’m a happy camper. In spite of the unwanted expense, we shouldn’t have to worry about A/C or heat issues for another 12 years. That’s something.

We had a terrible wind/thunderstorm last evening. It blew the ferns over, and knocked big limbs out of trees. It was interesting to stand in the kitchen and watch it roll in. I love how this house feels like it’s in the middle of a nature preserve, and the windows make it feel like we’re living in a tree house.

We went to a play at a local theater on Sunday. Our son and his wife gave me a gift certificate for my birthday last year. I can’t believe we just got around to using it. It was Neil Simon’s 1969 play, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers. What fun it was? I’m always impressed at the talent found in these small theaters. They put their hearts into it.

Here’s a tasty recipe for you: roasted potatoes drizzled in olive oil and tossed in garlic, Italian seasonings and Parmesan cheese. What could be bad about that?

IMG_9921I decreased the olive oil at the beginning of the recipe to one tablespoon (trying to reduce calories and it really doesn’t need that much), then I drizzled a little more after the first 30 minutes. If you don’t like spicy, you can omit the red pepper flakes. We like spicy! I served them with barbecued chicken that H cooked on his new grill. We loved them, and have already made them again, even though I had to heat up the oven and… well, you know… our A/C woes and all.

Italian Roasted Garlic & Parmesan Potatoes

brought to you by Cinnamon & Spice and Everything Nice

It has taken me forever to finish this post. I’ve been up and down all morning. It’s after 11:00 am.

Coq Au Vin

IMG_9123Jeanie gave me Ina Garten’s recipe for coq au vin. First of all, it has a lot of ingredients, but don’t despair, they are all normal things that you can readily find at the market, except for the cognac. I can already hear some of you saying, “Too much work!” H took one look at the recipe and said, “Let’s make it.” I was like, “Look at all those ingredients. And there’s chopping and cutting up of chicken and top-of-stove cooking and in-the-oven cooking and then top-of-stove cooking again!” “Wuss.”

I still have a wick, but it burns quickly, and it’s barely ignitable at night. So we did all the prep in the morning. We washed and pared the veggies, fried the bacon and even browned the chicken.

I bought a whole chicken and cut it into pieces, which was kind of fun. I hadn’t done that for awhile. Back in the day, I used to always buy the whole chicken. It was cheaper. Do you remember how cheap it was?  46¢ a pound. I looked that up, but I swear I remember getting them for 39¢ a pound and even cheaper. You could feed a family of four for less than $2.00 and even less than that when on sale. We’ll never see that again. My mother and H’s used to fry chicken every Sunday. I guess that’s Southern. Neither of them would ever have bought one that was already cut up. At some point, I must have fancied that we were rich, and started buying them already cut up – never looked back.

All that was left to do last night was add the liquids, bring it to a simmer and put it in the oven. When it was done, we added the remaining vegetables and the beurre manié (a simple and quick thickener made of butter and flour blended together), and let it simmer for ten minutes. Easy peasy.

The Verdict

It was worth the prep work. Really delicious. Will I make it again? Definitely! But I’ll do it the same way – all the prep in the morning.  Last night was a breeze. I served it with small red potatoes. I like Jeanie’s idea better, a loaf of good bread and a salad. I give it four stars. It would be five if I could do it in ten minutes. 🙂 So good. Thanks Jeanie.

Yes, I saved the back and neck for stock. Between FoodNetwork and Martha, I’m becoming my mother. I found this tutorial this morning for anyone who has never cut up a chicken and wants to give it a try. It isn’t difficult. Really.

Edit: Oops, I forgot. I omitted the olive oil and only ate one piece of chicken.