Conroe Saturday AM market

  (Conroe, Texas)
Exciting ways to use Produce
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It is time for Pasta salad

I made more than enough Spaghetti and Meat sauce for Family group at my house on Sunday night. So tonight it was time to make a pasta salad with half of the left over spaghetti noodles. Into this mystery salad I started with SamM salsa being sure to add lots of the vinegar and juice from the container. I then seperated the cooked sauasage from the meat sauce and added it in. As I searched the fridge I found shredded Carrots, and Green grapes. I located Cranberries that were soaking in Apple soda. And after tasting my creation I decided I needed a sweet dressing. My homemade 1000 Island dressing did the trick. Sea salt and Olive oil were already a part of the spaghetti noodles.

I am happy with tonights outcome because I like sweet fruit flavored salads. I would have done the same type of salad if I had rice as a base or beans. My experience in matching flavors when I worked for Central Market in Houston Texas taught how to create imaginative salads like this one.



Dinner at my house tonight ! Yeh All come

This morning when the wife and I arrived at church we learned that Pastor Dan woke up at 4 am fo tell his wife he was too ill to preach. So his very capable wife gave a spirit filled message on the Holy Spirit. At the end of the worship service I suggested to my wife that we have family group at our house so our Pastor could have the privacy he needed to rest. Every one in family group agreed. Now be it known  all the men from our family group bailed on me and went to Huntsville TX to hear a Randy Stone preach. I entertained 8 ladies tonight. But here is how I was successful at that. Tonights menu was to center on Italian;

I prepared Spaghetti noodles seasoned with Sea salt and Olive oil.        The meat sauce started with sauteed Fresh sausage, Onions, Market green bell peppers, Garlic, Corn juice from the fridge, Canned tomato sauce, and Fresh market Tomato.

Shredded Mozzarella was mixed with Romano Parmesan on the side 

I thinly sliced half a loaf of Italian Bread with Margerine on the side.

And I made Herbed Sun Tea,

They other ladies provided Italian sandwiches, Salads , Lasagna, & Desserts

Sun Tea


Sun Tea

As the mercury breaks 100°F on these hot summer days (or 38°C for those of you on a metric system) a great way to make some tea without heating up your kitchen is to use the power of the sun to make sun tea.

Sun Tea Recipe


  • 4-6 tea bags


Put 4 to 6 tea bags into a clean 2 quart glass container. Fill with water and cap. Place outside where the sunlight can strike the container for about 3 to 5 hours. Move the container if necessary to keep it in the sun. When the tea has reached its desired strength, remove from sun and put it in the refrigerator. You may or may not want to remove the tea bags at this point. I usually don't.

The tea will probably taste more mellow than what you are used to from using boiling water. The slow seeping has a way of bringing out a slightly different flavor from the tea. Also, because you didn't use boiling water, you should refrigerate the tea and drink it up pretty quickly - a day or two. It will not keep as well as iced tea made from boiling water.

I usually make sun tea with various forms of herbal tea. Sometimes you can put in a few sprigs of fresh mint as well. 

Men I trust your restaurant meal was as enjoyable as ours.


Conroe Farmers Market unique find


Today at Market I found Early Bell peppers. In an effort to understand what early Bell peppers are I received an education. Early peppers obviously are small and picked early before they take on a spicy flavor. All of mine were reddish brown. I also picked up a few ears of corn in anticipation of a Pork spare rib meal later in the week. It was a quick visit to market today because of the 110 F weather. When I arrived home the cobbed corn was hot enough to eat so I quickly refrigerated the ears. I picked at the peppers and tasted for a flavor profile. Once I was sure I liked the flavor, I finely diced 2 peppers into my SamM salsa, also adding a few finely diced green grapes.

When it was time for dinner I made the wife a killer dinner. It started with sauteed bacon pieces to render the fat, I then added 1 inch sliced Fresh green beans. Added corn liquid from the fridge. And finished with shredded carrots. On to the protein. I started with a boring hotdog boiled in corn juice. Placed it in a Whole wheat bun and topped it off with my newly re-defined SamM salsa { Tomato, Onion, Balsamic vinegar Bell peppers( Green, yellow and Early) Green grapes} The wife also asked for a store bought Baby dill pickle to finish out her meal. At my house we serve gourmet Hotdogs. MMMmmmm.



SamM salsa a winner again Say la Vie

Coming home this afternoon I could visualize 4 boxes of Macaroni and Cheese in the pantry. S0, I decided one needed to be cooked off. I started with cooking liquid from the fridge. Brought it to a boil and added the macaroni noodles. Thawed out 2 hotdogs under running water and 1/2 inch sliced them into the hot pasta. Opened the cheese packet into a jar and added 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Stirred, and added it into the hot pot. Separated 2 raw eggs and incorporated the egg yolks. Then whipped the egg whites until frothy, seasoning with Sea salt ,sage, and nutmeg. The Seasoned egg whites were added back in to the hot pot with the fire now turned off. After it cooled for 10 min. I portioned the pasta dish into bowls. And topped with the current SamM salsa { Tomato, Onion, Balsamic vinegar Yellow sweet pepper, & Spinach}

While I was creating this pasta dish the wife was eating nine of twelve mini cinnamon rolls.  When I received her bowl back from her , She ate the SamM salsa off the top and told me that is all she was Hungry for. I ate all of my pasta bowl and then some of hers. Say La Vie


Smoked Chicken, Corn and Potato or Broccoli rice

Dinner tonight was started 3 hours early in anticipation of a 4pm dinner. The wife loves her Large baked Potatoes. And I did not want that to hold up dinner. So into the oven at 1pm on a 1 hour timer at 350F went the Large baker. When that came out it was time to bake the 4 Chicken thighs in Broccoli rice that had Parmesan tomato soup added to it. That baked at 350 F as did the potato with the sea salt, black pepper and canola oil.One more comment about the Chicken thighs, When I purchased and divided the Chicken thighs into manageable packages, I marinated them in Allegro smoke marinade. I also prepared Corn on the cob by boiling water with margarine and fresh guajillo pepper seeds {from a dish in the kitchen window}. At 4pm when the wife walked in the door, Dinner was ready to be served. As I anticipated she chose the Potato, one Smoked chicken thigh and the largest piece of Cobbed corn. I had 2 of the three thighs, Tomato parmesan broccoli rice, and the smaller cobbed corn. The meal was filled with lively conversation as we shared our accomplishments for the day. And now the wife has asked me to enjoy a TV program on 'Fit and Health' channel with her. I will oblige.

SamM Salsa re-vamped for dinner tonight

Dinner tonight was Steak fajita. I had it leftover from a Sunday potluck at church. So what do I add to tortillia, Steak strips, Shredded colby cheese and shredded Lettuce that the wife packaged up and brought home. Simple, I add Mondays Rice and Broccoli minus the chicken. And then I take my SamM salsa, being sure to pour some of the Balsamic vinegar on top of the finished fajita.

 I did change the SamM salsa a little tonight by adding diced Yellow sweet peppers, Fresh chopped Baby spinach, Tbsp. of Balsamic vinegar and 4 more variety Tomato. I now have 2 cups of a fabulous salsa to season food the rest of this week.

SamM salsa is such a versatile seasoning agent. I picked up a Fresh loaf of Italian Bread today. Problably before I hit the pillow tonight I will cut off the ends of the loaf, dip them in the salsa juice. And have sweet italian dreams.


An exciting lunch using SamM salsa

Today I had stood with the fridge door open. Wondering what would be exciting to create. I saw SamM salsa , homemade 1000's Island dressing, Blue cheese dressing, dill pickles, Fresh spinach, Rice and Broccoli casserole. After scouring the landscape and not wanting to repeat last nights dinner yet,here is what I decided. I went to the pantry and found Starkist tuna, opened the can and drained off the juice. In a small mixing bowl I mixed:

6 oz drained tuna

2Tbsp. Blue cheese dressing

1Tbsp. 1000 island dressing

1/4 cup SamM salsa {tomato, spanish onion, balsamic vinegar}

I took the tuna mixture added it between 2 slices of wheat bread with Fresh baby spinach, sliced baby dill, and 3 sliced Fresh tomatoes. I wanted to make 3 of these sandwiches. I decided to stretch this wonderful creation over the next few days. I will make another one tomorrow.



Childhood favorite with fresh veggies and herbs

Back to Fresh veggies bought at Market. This week when I arrived home from Market I had Fresh Tomatoes for SamM salsa. Tomatoes , spanish Onions, and Balsamic vinegar are in the salsa so far.

Fresh green beans, broccoli, Strawberries, and Red, Yellow and Green pepper. Tonight for dinner I made a childhood classic.Chicken rice broccoli casserole. Understand when my mother made this dish, the rice is overcooked. The fifth taste Umami also plays an important role in this dish. {Taking its name from Japanese, umami is a pleasant savoury taste imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid, and ribonucleotides, including inosinate and guanylate, which occur naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products. As the taste of umami itself is subtle and blends well with other tastes to expand and round out flavors, most people don't recognize umami when they encounter it, but it plays an important role making food taste delicious }

Blanch 2 heads of Broccoli in 4 cups of savory juices from the fridge.        Take the blanched Broccoli out of the hot liquid and add chicken thighs or legs. Add 2 cups of rice.Bring to a boil                                                   Add milk or cream,

Pour the chicken, rice, milk, and add back the broccoli to a casserole dish.

Season to taste with Thyme, Sage, Sea salt, Black pepper. Fresh Herbs when possible. 

Bake the casserole in 350 F for 1 hour.Cover with tin foil if you do not want crispy broccoli.

The only thing missing from my fridge was grated Parmesean.

 When I try this dish in restaurants they do not normally overcook the rice. It only taste correct if the rice is overcooked.



Store bought Baby dills WON Hands Down

I waited to share the results because I had to show my salsa infused sliced Pickles to Chef Michael and Elvis at Market today.                   Here's what I told them:

1) When I opened the jar on Friday the pickle juice was bubbling.

2) I threw away the Fresh Spices that were on top saving the Garlic     cloves.

3) When I pulled out the 1/8 inch thick slices the cucumber flesh disintegrated and I was holding on to the skin only.

4) I was not able to detect a foul smell. It was my first attempt at trying to create pickles.

5) I lied; I tasted one and was not sure if I was tasting something unique.

Elvis had half a smile as he explained, "Because of the bubbling effect a bacteria had been somehow been introduced to my final product." It was time to say goodbye to my Salsa / Pickle experiment.                          What could the cause had been?

1) I may not have used a sterile canning jar.

2) I skimped on the vinegar because I added salsa when I was making them.

3) The acidity from the tomatoes in the salsa, suggested Chef Michael, May have had a factor in encouraging bacteria growth.

I have decide to give the thin slice pickle experiment one last shot. Elvis suggested I re-sterilize the lid and Mason jar. Before I add in my thin sliced cukes I should shock them in an ice bath.This will retain their crunchiness. Chef Michael added,"And leave out the Tomatoes until after the 5 day curing process." It will be later this week before I try again. I will share the results, good or bad, in a few weeks.

Also, This weeks find at Market were Fresh Green Beans and several different varities of Tomatoes for the SamM salsa. I am still wanting to play with making Fresh mozzarella. The thermometer that reads 88 F and 102 F has to still be purchased.  




We have a new computer. Blogging will continue.

I just received word from a brother that has been helping us try to resolve our Internet issue. He will give us a internet ready machine. Praise God! Our internet troubles started when we took our computer to our son a few weeks back. He tore into the guts of our PC and rebuilt it. Selling us on the fact that he installed a better video card, gave us more Ram, The wife and I are computer tech dummies. So we did not know that when he traded out our motherboard that he gave us back a non working internet computer. Well my brother who travels the World for his company installing systems and writing programs came over to the house diagnose. And called today to say. 'I have an extra computer. Let's replace your son's gift with a computer that has a working Ethernet'    When I pick up the wife this afternoon we will head to his house and accept his gift. From our new computer I will send the results of the Baby Dill  vs  Sliced infused salsa pickle.

And just for the record, I made an omelot that had Bacon, corn, SamM Salsa , Baby spinach , shredded carrots, and plastic swiss cheese. Served it over 2 pieces of wheat toast in a bowl. Splitting it with the wife while she was waking up this morning.

 Group Hug "We have a internet ready computer"

Two men and woman hugging, close-up (1569R-127046 / PAA127000016 © PhotoAlto)


Baby Dill or Sliced infused salsa pickle

And now for the results:

I apologize, I posted this one a day early. Tomorrow , Thursday Aug. 18 is the night when I open my mason jar to see how the Sliced infused salsa pickles came out . Pat from Peas Farm said I had to flip my pickles for 5 days.

Well as long as I made this mistake I wil tell you how the rest of this weeks meal are going. Last night I cooked 2 Large Bakers. I had some grilled chicken fajita meat that I sauteed Fresh julienne green peppers and spanish onions into. And then I took this weeks SamM salsa and finished off the Fajita creation.  Recipe for this weeks SamM Salsa:

4 Roma Tomatoes diced 1/4 inch

1/3 peeled Spanish onion diced 1/4 inch

1/2 Green pepper diced 1/4 inch

2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar

I then added my fajita creation to split open cooked baked potatoes and finished them in a 400 F oven with shredded Mozzarella. Wife ate all except the skin that I had coated with Olive Oil and Sea Salt.

Tonight I chopped up all the left overs and added it to boiling Chicken stock with  a little more SamM Salsa and called it hearty Fajita Potato Soup. YUM!!

Almost forgot; I had the soup with Saltines, and the wife prefers Cheese crackers.

I am marinating sliced roast Pork in dill juice tonight with Tarragon. And I will open the mason jar to try the sliced infused salsa pickle with that tomorrow or Friday. And then I will share the results of:

Baby Dill  or sliced infused salsa Pickles.

With my lovely assistant { the Wife } being the judge.




My favorite visit to Conroe Farmers Market thus far

Saturday's visit to Market was very educational , creative , hands-on and engaging. In that order. Thanks in part to Pat from Peas Farm and Chef Michael Fleshner and his father. I understand their are photos on Facebook from the 'Pickle Shake' we did while learning to can pickles. Chef Michael's father was in his father's words" The first Dummy to learn how to can Pickles" from Pat. Several of us stood around laughing and watching as Michael's, father, shared his humor while learning something new. Pat started by having her students pick a pickle that suited their preferences. By the way, next week , Pat will be back in public school with a classroom full of 25 - 10 year olds. She commented that if she can teach Michael's father to can his pickles she will be ready for whatever the new school  year brings. After picking his cuke he was instructed to cut it in half, so it would fit into the mason jar. Then cutting each half lengthwise into eight spears stuff them into the mason jar. Take one Garlic clove chop it up and stuff it in around the spears. Add 1/2 Tbsp. Kosher salt, 1/2 tsp of dill seed and a shot of white vinegar.Tighten the Ball lid on the jar and do the Pickle Shake. Open the lid and  top off with water. And every day for the next 5 days flip over the jar of marinating spears. Open on the sixth day and start enjoying.

And now the rest of the story: I had heard also if I waited ; Brandy, with Tupperware was going to do a Salsa using the equipment from her tent. So I stuck around for her demonstration. And then I was in a quandary. Did I want to take home a jar of pickles or a jar of salsa. I thought about it ; spoke openly with Chef Michael about my indecision. And here was his solution.  Go buy the jar from Pat. Put 1/4 cup of salsa in the bottom and make the pickles on top of that and finish it with another 1/4 cup salsa. So now I had a plan. When I cut up my pickles though , I changed how I wanted to prep them. I sliced my cuke lengthwise 1/4 inch thick. I like pickles to lie flat on sandwiches. I also did not want dill seed so I skipped that step , waited till I returned home and added Fresh Tarragon. And finally added Balsamic vinegar to top off the ingredients in my pickle jar. The wife is not happy with the recipe I created for my pickles.I bought a jar of Baby dills for her at the supermarket this afternoon while grocery shopping.

My wife will start enjoying her store bought pickle, now. I have to wait till Friday. And you know what. I will do a blind taste test on Friday. We shall see who's pickle wins.

Baby Dill    or     Sliced infused salsa pickle     



Ate alone tonight

We arrived home from the days activities and the wife saw a neighbor outside , on her covered porch. "I have something to share with her. You make dinner I will see you soon", She said. We have been married over 25 years I should have known what to expect tonight. I made a wonderfully smelling Pork dinner. Sat down to wait. And read 3 chapters of 'Into the Wild' by John Krakauer. Ninety min. later I realized I will be eating alone.

So here's what I had waiting. Seasoned mash potatoes from the last of the Large baked potato. Quartered sliced Zucchini sauteed in Bacon pieces, with Green peppers. For a sauce I added Milk, Poppy seed dressing,rendered fat from corned beef drippings and brown gravy. This sauce was made from fridge cleanout containers. 2-3 oz of each item. And then to disguise its brown color I put it in a metal bowl with the Zuc and Bacon and melted Mozzarella cheese on top in a 350 F oven for 10 min. It was the highlight of the meal. Now, the Pork roast slices that have been marinating in old coffee and tarragon  for the last few days were my next challenge. So here's what I did, I put them in a hot saute pan , browned the three pieces on both sides. I then poured the coffee / tarragon marinade on top. Brought it to a simmer and added yellow Mustard, Tasted. It was bitter , so I added 1/4c Honey to balance the bitter and make it acceptable to my pallette. Covered it and waited; reading the three chapters, before realizing it was time to eat alone. When she wandered home I was writing this blog and she said, "It looks lovely , Honey"  I am not going to coax a remark from here about how it tasted. But , I was very pleased with the flavors from the meal I created.

Oh No! just a second, I just remembered the Garlic bread in the oven. Be right Back........ I am hollering down stairs to the wife...............OK , I am back. She said,"Don't worry, I do not smell anything, I'll take care of it"  Now I remember, I placed the bread in an off oven so it would warm while I was waiting for her. It may just be dried out. Wait till she finds out it was her Garlic bread from Little Ceaser's  Dinner was a bitter sweet adventure this evening 'cause I ate alone tonight


Improving the little Ceaser

On the way home tonight the wife said,"Can we please go and get a $5 dollar Little Ceaser" I agreed and off we went. Upon returning home I split the Pizza in half. Half of the Pizza stayed a Pepperoni and cheese. The other half went through a facelift. I sauteed chopped up Bacon pieces, added quartered Zucchini slices, diced green Peppers, diced Guajillos and mixed in country gravy from a chicken tender meal. I poured this over half of the pizza and melted more stringy Mozzarella on top in a 350 F oven. I offered both halves of the pizza to the wife and she chose the half that I had given the facelift to.I am ba-a-ad like that always trying to improve what sells in the mainstream fast food joints. Maybe tomorrow we will have my marinating pork tender slices. And finish the Large bake potato.


My Wife's favorite meal

Before I leave for Market every Saturday morning part of my routine is to check the fridge crisper for Large bake potatoes. If there is 2 or more in the crisper I do not have to buy anymore. So the house rule is to always have Peas Farm potatoes in the fridge. My wife's favorite. Dinner was started late last night so I needed to prepare the potato quickly. I Julienned the potato by cutting it into eights, then I tossed them in Olive Oil and Fresh Thyme. Baked them at 400 F for 30 min. along with Baby Carrots. I tossed the Carrots in Olive oil and Fresh Tarragon. And finished it with drizzled Honey. This was a perfect meal for her. 

Dinner and Breakfast with Hearty Vegetables

Being away this past weekend I did not buy any new produce. So I have decided to use hearty vegetables from my fridge crisper. For Dinner last night I sauteed sliced Zucchini, added a can of spaghetti and sauce. And finished it off with baked Chicken tenders marinated in Greek dressing.

For Breakfast after watching an episode of Diners, Drive-in and Dives I took yellow Washington Apples cored and diced, heated it in water with corn syrup. And added instant oatmeal,  finished with Cinnamon. 

Both meals were exciting for me because I was scavenging through the kitchen looking for meal ideas. The pantry was bear from my time away so I needed to create from what I could still find on the shelves or in the fridge crisper. Mission accomplished with canned goods and hearty vegetables. 


I am Ba-a-a-a-ack with an Omelet

It was a wonderful trip to see a Friend graduate from college. And now that I am home I will begin sharing again. Our internet is acting up at home so, I may be sporadic until our connection improves. This morning waking up after  a 14 hour trip I decided I would go for an omelet. Yesterday when we made it home, a take-out chicken tender dinner, was our meal of choice. This morning I sauteed Peas Farm Green peppers. Mixed 4 eggs with 1/4 c Country Gravy. Scrambled the eggs with the peppers. And added mozzarella cheese. To finish out the breakfast entree I took 2 yeast rolls from last nights dinner. Placed the rolls in the bottom of a bowl added the eggs and topped it off with more country gravy. And now my body will recover as I return to my fresh veggies diet. Time away with friends is great. We always love it though when we get back home. 

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole not Golumpki !

Now I have heard of Golumpki  because the wife is Polish. But have you ever heard of Stuffed cabbage casserole. Let me explain how this worked out. I wanted to use up what was left of my head of cabbage bought at Peas Farm this past weekend. It had been cut into in such a way that making cabbage rolls was not going to work. So I rough sliced , what was left.

In a hot frying pan I placed chopped up Bacon pieces with  2 Fresh Garlic cloves.And diced Green Peppers from Peas Farm. I then added 1/2 pound of ground beef and a shake of Sea salt. When I add ground meat to a hot frying pan I incorporate a cooking liquid from the fridge, that was from a previous meal, into the meat. Tonight I found No cooked liquid; Instead I used 6 oz of Apple soda.Now, I am cooking my concoction until the Cabbage begins to turn transparent. Into the ceramic casserole I add the hot mixture and top it off with the current SamM salsa{diced tomato, diced Honeydew melon, Balsamic vinegar} and Fresh Mozzerella Balls marinated in Olive Oil and Oregano{ an experiment in my fridge}. I baked this exciting invention at 400 F for 30 min.

The Polish reminder of my wife permeated the house when it was time to pull it out of the oven.


Tex Mex Chicken Tenders,

Slow Baking Chicken tenders at 225 F , now we're talking. I started by marinating the tenders over night in my Fresh Adobo sauce and Honey.

Here it is copied from a previous blog:

I had  Chef Michael on the phone and he suggested I turn on my gas stove top burner. And roast 3 peppers at a time over the open flame. This sped up the process and in no time I was ready with 12 Guajillo Peppers to finish 1 cup of Adobo sauce. 

Already pureed in my food processor were:

2 Garlic cloves

1 1/2 tsp. Apple Cider vinegar

1/2 tsp. sea salt

3/4 tsp. brown sugar

1/4 tsp. Cumin

I added in the 12 roasted peppers and 2 Chipolte peppers. Minced these peppers and refrigerated the resulting sauce.

And now the rest of the story

This afternoon I baked 6 tenders in a ceramic pan for 45 min.Checked in on them. And finished them at 350 F for 15 min. Currently they are cooling down in the fridge with a puree of dried Ancho peppers and Chipolte spread over them and additional Honey drizzled on top. Out of the freezer I have pulled tomato tortillas  and a 6-inch sub bun. I also finished cooking the Black Beans from last night. I have the SamM salsa standing by. When the wife and I are ready for dinner we shall what direction we go.

Waiting ,still waiting.........

Ok, Fred just made me the tex mex chicken meal, it was great.  The way he presented the meal was the chicken was on the bottom, then the black beans, salsa, and finally melted mozzarella cheese on top.  Everything was so tender didn't need any knife to cut into the chicken...It was wonderful.  For dessert we finished the peach apple cobbler with strawberry ice cream and bananas. 


Minestrone Soup and I bid you Good Night

Saturday's plethora of vegetables from Conroe's Farmers Market brought me to a conclusion that Minestrone was the best choice for dinner tonight. The wife had the soup bowl from Wednesday and I had a Pork, Corn & Baked potato dinner from last night. So into a quart of light chicken stock I added diced cooked pork chops, Tex Mex corn, and the skin from a 2 pound Baked potato. As I went through the vegetable drawer in my fridge I found Zucchini that I peeled and diced. 1/4 hd cabbage, a small Bell pepper . And SamM salsa{ Tomato Honeydew melon, Balsamic vinegar} all from Conroe Farmers market.  I did find thawed spinach from the freezer. I attempted to do a quick boil on Black Beans, was not successful. I will try again tomorrow after the beans have soaked overnite. I was so full from tasting vegetables and broth as I was perfecting my creation that I did not eat much when I shared it with the wife. She asked a few times," What's wrong hun ? This is wonderful" "I am too full from taste testing" I responded. As I write this entry I am fighting fatigue. My belly is full and I bid you good night

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