Monday, November 24, 2014

The website I have used for all my ideas and what a month is known for is not available any more.  I really loved that site and had lots of fun on it.  December is a very important month.  It is the holidays!  But what else is the month known for?
December is also known as National Write a Business Plan Month, and Gluten Free Baking Week of Dec 12-20 and National Cookie Day which is December 4th.  But it is also Root Vegetable and Exotic Fruit Month.  What the heck is a root vegetable?  I did this late December.

A ‘Root Vegetable’ is any underground part of a plant—the root.  This part is the starchy tuber or taproot of the plant.  If we let them be they would provide the plant with needed nourishment to thrive.  Instead, we pull them up and eat them.  What are a few examples of root vegetables?  Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, yams, and carrots to name just a few.  I know I discussed the rutabaga several months ago, so let’s take a closer look at the carrot and what we can do with that. 

This is one of my aunt Jane’s favorite recipes.  She gave it to me and said to enjoy it and I really have.  So I named the recipe after her.  Let’s see what we can do with a carrot.

Aunt Jane’s Carrot Salad

1 lb fresh carrots, cooked (It is about 3-3 ½ cups or you
        can substitute 2 cans of carrots)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion , chopped
½ cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil ( or olive oil)
½ cup vinegar (use your favorite)
1 can tomato soup

Slice fresh carrots and cook until crisp.
Mix the other ingredients, then add carrots last.
Tastes better if it is made the day before.
Serves 4-6

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.  Very easy and very tasty.  It gets better the longer it is made.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Wow, it’s October and the frost is on the pumpkin…..well, we’re in Florida and I guess we don’t get frost, at least not this early.  But October is known for many things.  Some are fun: some are funny: some are important.  October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Please have your mammogram.  I had mine on my birthday month.  It’s important.  On a happier note, October is Spinach Lovers Month and National Book Month.  Since my novel comes out this month, it’s a great month for me.  Yes, I’ve written a novel, The Bonnie Neuk Tea .  It’s also National Country Music Month.  And best of all is National Chili Month.  Do you know how good a pot of chili can taste? Let’s give it a try.  You can temper it to your taste.  Hot and spicy or mild.
Chili with a Little Heat

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey or ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
2 celery stakes, chopped
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (either the light or
       the dark beans)
1 small can chick peas rinsed and drained (optional)
1 can  (29 oz) tomato puree *
1 jalapeno pepper, de-veined, seeds removed, chopped if
        you like
2 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon thyme, oregano and rosemary, crusted
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 beef cube dissolved in ½ cup water
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded cheddar cheese for topping (optional)
1 Tablespoon onion, chopped for each bowl garnish (optional)

In a soup pot, cook ground turkey or ground beef, onions, green peppers  celery, and garlic, medium heat with a little olive oil.
Drain any excess fat.
Add beans, diced tomatoes, tomato puree, chili powder,
    cumin, beef cubes, Worcestershire sauce and all species.
Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.
Cook for 30-45 minutes or until you reach the desired thickness.
Serve in bowls with shredded cheddar cheese on top
Serves 4-6   Next day it’s even better.

* If you prefer very chunky chili, use another can of diced tomatoes in place of the tomato puree.
Variations: Use any one or more.

  • Add 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon instant coffee, and 1 Tablespoon baking cocoa
  • Add 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Add 1 can (15oz) garbanzo beans drained
  • Add 1 can pork and beans
  • Add 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • Add 1 can (15 oz) corn, drained
  • Add 1 cup chunky salsa either red or verde (green)
  • Add 1 can sliced olives, drained
  • Add 1 can Great Northern beans
  • Add ½ pound sausage, fried, cut in 1 inch piece and drained

Chili is something that you need to fit to your taste. Anything goes.  I have added a few green beans, some turkey sausage or any vegetable.  Experimenting is the name of the game.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

September is upon us.  The summer has gone quickly and we are looking forward to the cooler weather. 

September is known as Eat Chicken Month, and National Honey Mouth.  Here’s one that really relates to me,  Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month.  My first novel, The Bonnie Neuk Tea Room:  Friends and Uninvited Guests (Ghosts) is available  this month, so please be kind to me.  It is also National Mushroom Month which would be fun to do, but I figured we’d go with National Rice Month.  Rice is easy to cook and you can make things fast using it. And most people like it.  Try this for a quick meal.  It can be served with hamburgers or hot dogs or most meats.  Enjoy!

Italian Rice Salad

3 cups cooked rice, cooled
1    6 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, un-drained and quartered
1/3 cup drained pitted ripe olives, quartered (you can use black or green or mix them)
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
½ cup sliced celery, chopped
½ cup sliced green onions
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ frozen green peas (or you can use canned)
¼ cup prepared Italian dressing or make your own
¼ tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. 
Toss to combine.
Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Stir before serving.
Serve in a fancy

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I do have a great laugh at what some of the months are known for.  Here’s one that will make you smile.  August is known for ‘Sneak some Zucchini onto Your National Goat Cheese Month, and National Mustard Day which is August 2.  National Chocolate Chip Day is August 4 and International Beer Day is August 1.  August is also known as Orange and Papaya Month.  Let’s do something with an orange. Salsa can be used with most meats—chicken, pork, and fish.

Orange Salsa

4 oranges, peeled, sectioned and cut in pieces
2 juice of limes
½ bunch of cilantro, chopped fine
2 red bell peppers, quartered, finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts

Mix all ingredients together. 
Put in refrigerator for several hours.
Serves 4-6

Here is something using Papaya.

Papaya-Mango Salsa

1 papaya, skinned and diced fine
1 mango, skinned and diced fine
1 jalapeno pepper, diced very fine
1 red pepper, diced fine
1 small red onion, diced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients to make this salsa. 
Let stand and refrigerate overnight.
Serves 4-6

Sunday, June 29, 2014

July 2014

Each month I have more fun looking up what the month is known for.  Some are just so funny they make you laugh.  July is known for National Share a Sunset with Your Lover Month, or National Scrabble Week is 19-24 and July 6th is World Kiss Day, now that is one for you.   Most of you may know that July is National Blueberry month which is a great one and so is National Horseradish Month.  This time I’m going with National Hot Dog Month.  I have used this recipe many times for taking to people’s homes as an appetizer.  In fact just the other night we went to the Sanibel Causeway and enjoyed a sunset with friends, drinks with hot appetizers.  I brought this Hot Dog appetizer.  Hope you like it.

Little Hot Dogs in Sauce

1 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons mustard
3 Tablespoons flour
1 can chunked pineapples (drain and save the juice)
1 cup pineapple juice
½ cup vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 pound miniature hot dogs
Mix everything together in a pot except the pineapple and
     the hot dogs.
Bring to a boil for about 3-4 minutes, stir continually.
Add the hot dogs and pineapple.
Can be refrigerated until time to serve.  Then
    reheat and place in a fancy dish or bowl.
Serves 4-6

Monday, March 3, 2014

April is know most for it's first day, April Fools Day. April is  also Couples Appreciation Month
and Fresh Florida Tomatoes Month, as well as Jazz Appreciation Month.  It is also Brussels Sprouts Month.  Now don't turn your nose up.  You have to try them.  I think Brussels sprouts are my favorite vegetable, maybe this recipe will them your favorite also.  Roasting them makes them really delicious.
Here's a recipe you have to try.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and extra leaves removed
2 Tablespoons roasted garlic in a jar (or more if you are garlic nut)
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
Another 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons lime pepper or regular pepper
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place Brussels sprouts, 3 Tablespoons oil, garlic and pepper in a re-sealable plastic bag.
Seal and shake to coat the Brussels sprouts thoroughly.
Coat baking sheet with 3 Tablespoons of olive oil and place the Brussels spouts on sheet.
Roast for 5 minutes then turn and roast another 5 minutes.
The Brussels sprouts should be a dark brown roasted color.  You may need to roast them for
    another 5 minutes
Serve 6-8

©Connie Hope

Wednesday, February 5, 2014



February is the month of lovers; it’s Valentines Day on February 14.  What else is the month known for.  Wow there are lots of things.  February is Avocado and Banana Month, it is also National Condom Month and American Heart Month and National Mend a Broken Heart Month.  It is also Fabulous Florida Strawberry Month. So what can we use strawberries in.  Why not make your love something decedent that he/she will love.


How about a great dessert to enjoy and share.


Layered Strawberry Tiramisu


1 package(8 oz) cream cheese, softened

3 ½ cups cold milk

2 packages Jell-O Vanilla flavored instant pudding

2 packages (3 oz each) ladyfingers, split

1 tub Cool Whip Strawberry whipping topping, thawed

2 ½ cups sliced strawberries

2 squares Baker’s Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate, grated


Beat cream cheese in a large bowl with electric mixer until creamy.

Gradually add milk.

Beat until well blended.

Add dry vanilla pudding mix

Beat on low speed for about 1 minute or until well blended.

Line bottom of a 13 x 9 inch pan with half of the ladyfingers

Top with layers of half of the pudding mixture, the whipped topping and strawberries.

Repeat all layers.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Sprinkle with grated chocolate and sliced strawberries.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I'm a little late with this January recipe.  Time just slipped away. 

Each month I try and find funny things that the month is known for.  Sometimes it is hard to find. Or sometimes they are more serious than funny.

 January  has a few laughs in it.  January 20-26 is “Cleanout Your ‘In Box’ Week.  I don’t know about you, but mine is over crowded and may need a lot of help. January is National Stalking Awareness Month, and ‘Be Kind to Food Server Month’, but it is also National Soup Month.  Now that is a great kind of month, because soup is my all time favorite food.  In fact my second book is on Soups and Stews.  So here is a great soup recipe that is easy but will stick to your ribs in the cold weather in the North or in the Florida weather.

This has been a family favorite for many years.  I save leftover vegetables for a few weeks in a container in the freezer, to use to make the soup. Or you can use fresh vegetables, canned, or frozen.  It tastes good and warms up the tummies. 

Kitchen Sink Soup

1 pound lean chopped meat, cooked, and fat drained
1 cup each of any 4-5 of your favorite vegetables and any
      juice (such as carrots, green beans, peas, wax beans,
      zucchini, lima beans , or anything)
1 cup pasta, cooked (left over pasta is great)
4 cups beef stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of Tabasco sauce

Combine everything in a large soup pot.
Cook at medium heat until it starts to bubble.
Turn low and simmer for 1 ½ hours.
Serve with crusty bread or rolls. Serves 4-6