Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!

Motherhood and Cooking

It’s amazingly hard to find time to cook when you have a new baby. Sebastian Erik Salas was born September 22, 2015. He weighed 7 lbs 8 ozs and was in perfect health. He’s now a couple of days away from being three months old and I’m finally finding some time to cook again. This past week I did a roast duck with a honey glaze and tonight I took the carcasses and made a duck and rice soup. While both of those are nice and made from scratch, I’m finding that I’m also leaning a lot more heavily on pre-made items such as canned crescent rolls. I hope that once Sebastian is a bit older I’ll be able to go back to making everything from scratch but for now, I figure I’m doing good to get anything cooked at all lol.

Now, that being said, here’s a couple of pictures of my boy because he’s awesome😀


This is when we were still at the hospital.


This one he is six weeks old. I just love his expression. He’s such a ham.


And that’s my boy and that’s what my life revolves around right now😀

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Americanized Sopa de Fideo

This is a recipe that’s been in my family for a long time. I think my mom said it started with my grandmother. It’s always been a favorite. I have no idea where the name came from since it really has very little to do with real Sopa de Fideo which is a Mexican noodle soup. This is more like a very thick stew with ground beef and veggies, the noodles are almost incidental lol. Either way, everyone I’ve ever fed it to really liked it.🙂

I haven’t made it in a long time because when Jene and I are eating low carb, the noodles and the corn aren’t usually included in our diet. I made a batch of it Wednesday evening and we both enjoyed it so much that when I asked what Jene wanted for dinner tonight, he asked for more. I had no problem with that😀

This recipe makes enough to feed six people for one meal and uses a 12″ skillet.


1.5 lbs ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1/3 lb box of thin spaghetti, broken into 1″ pieces

1 large bell pepper, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 cans diced tomatoes (do not drain)

1 can whole kernel corn (do not drain)

1 TB chili powder (or more to taste)

salt & pepper to taste

16 oz package of sliced american cheese

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and onions over medium to medium high heat. If you use 80% lean beef, do not drain the grease. If using fattier beef, drain most of the grease but not all of it. Scoot the beef and onions to one side of the pan and add the broken spaghetti to the empty side. You want to let the noodles fry in the grease until they start to turn a nutty brown.

Add the bell pepper, celery, tomatoes and corn. Sprinkle with chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stir carefully, the pan will be full. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally until the noddles are al dente. This should take about 15-20 minutes. There should be enough liquid in the pan from the tomatoes and corn to cook the noodles. If it starts to get too dry, add a bit of water.

When the noodles are tender, layer on the slices of american cheese and allow to melt. Then it’s ready to serve.


As you can see from the picture, I ate before I decided to write this post lol.

We really like this dish because it gives you lots of veggies to go with the meat and cheese. If you want to kick it up a bit, you can either use a hot chili powder (I use mild) or add a jalapeno with the bell pepper.



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Chicken Chili

I can not believe I haven’t already posted this recipe! This is one that I make several times a year. Maybe that’s why I didn’t post it, I just took it for granted that I’d put it up lol.

This recipe comes from my bestie Susan B. who lives in Kansas. She got it from HER friend, also named Susan. Then she and I put our heads together and tweaked it a bit. We both agree that OUR version is the best. I hope y’all enjoy it as much as we do!


4 cups onion, chopped
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup garlic, minced
2 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 large yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1″ long pieces
18 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (Penzeys Chili 9000, see note below)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cans plum tomato, whole (28 oz cans)
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
4 chicken breasts, cooked (or a small rotisserie chicken, deboned)

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onions and cook over medium heat until translucent and tender, 10-15 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute, just long enough to release the aroma. Add the mushrooms and cook just long enough to start to release the liquid. Add the asparagus, bell peppers and spices. Cook for one minute. (This is one of my favorite parts.) Smoosh each plum tomato in your hand as you add it to the pot. You want some bigger pieces and some smaller pieces. Add all the liquid. Stir in the chicken and basil, let simmer for 30 minutes until veggies are just tender. I like mine still with a bit of crunch but this part is personal preference. Serve with cheese, sour cream, and chips, as desired.

For those of you who don’t like asparagus and/or mushrooms, leave them out. The original recipe didn’t call for them at all. We just added them because they’re favorites😀 Tonight’s batch didn’t have the asparagus because I didn’t buy any lol.

Note: The name of Penzeys chili seasoning, Chili 9000, might scare some of you. The number has NOTHING to do with the heat level. It is more in reference to the number of ingredients (there are over 20) and it is very mild. I love this chili blend. It’s got a really nice depth of flavor and is perfect with the sweetness of the veggies and blandness of the chicken.




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Midnight WTF Rub

Edited: It’s a good thing I decided to tweak this recipe. It turns out I had left out one of the major ingredients, the sugar!! I originally was going to have 1/2 cup of sugar to 1/3 cup of salt. After playing with it some more, it appears the best ration is 2:1 so it’s 1 cup of sugar to 1/2 cup of salt.

I actually made up the recipe for this rub back in January. We were getting ready to prep some ribs for smoking the next day and I wanted a different rub for them. The name comes from the fact that it was about midnight when I decided to invent a new recipe. Our friend Dave was visiting and when I asked for his input, he said he’d like some sweeter spices such as cinnamon and cloves. The WTF part comes from me shrugging and saying “WTF. Why not?” And funnily enough, this is my new favorite rub.😀


1 cup turbinado sugar, or brown sugar
1/2 cup coarse salt
1/4 cup oriental mustard
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon cloves, freshly ground
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Store in airtight container.

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When I said that I hadn’t done any cooking lately, I wasn’t completely accurate. I just forgot that I’d made Bierocks a couple of weeks ago.

One of the first questions many people ask is “What the heck is a Bierock?” Basically, it’s a filling of meat and veggies wrapped in either bread dough or pastry and baked to make an easy, hand held meal. Pasties are another name for them. In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan they call them Pasties and the workers in the Iron Mines would put them in their coat pockets, hot out of the oven, to help keep their hands warm until they could eat them for lunch. I have my ex-husband to thank for that little piece of trivia lol.

So the reason I decided to make these was that some friends of mine on Facebook started talking about them and I got jealous. They’re actually pretty easy to make so I decided to put some together.

The traditional filling is ground meat (I used beef but you can use lamb or pork or chicken), onions and cabbage or potatoes. Being me, I couldn’t leave that alone so I got a bit fancy.😉 And because I have a lovely bread machine I made a batch of beer cheddar bread for the wrapping. You can use any flavor of bread dough you like. In fact, if you don’t want to make bread, you can buy frozen bread dough and use that after thawing it out.


Ground beef

1 medium onion – chopped

2 cups spinach – chopped

1 lb asparagus – chopped

Brown the beef and onions in a skillet. Add the spinach and asparagus and cook just until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make or thaw the bread. I used 2 ounce portions and put about half a cup of filling in each and wrapped the bread around it to make little pockets. Bake in a 350F oven until golden brown, 30-40 minutes. I brushed butter over the tops after I pulled them out of the oven. This made 16 Bierocks with a bit of bread dough left over (I made a 2 lb loaf). I think I ate 3 and I don’t have a huge appetite so they’re smallish. You can make them bigger if you prefer.

I don’t have any pictures since they’re long since eaten but they were quite tasty. Jene said I can make them again😀

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Chicken Shawarma, Tzatziki and Pregnancy

For those of you who read my blog, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I haven’t posted in quite awhile. That’s because I haven’t been cooking. I haven’t been cooking because I haven’t been eating. But the reason I haven’t been eating is that I’m pregnant!! I’m at week 13 right now and slowly getting to the point where I can keep food down again.

Jene and I are both very excited about the baby. However, I’ve been very sick and if I have eaten, it’s mostly been take out because I eat whatever random food item sounds good at any given moment lol.

Tonight, in honor of feeling better, I’m actually cooking dinner. We’re having chicken shawarma with tzatziki and rice. Both are recipes from other sources rather than my own creations but they sound good and are relatively simple to make. The chicken shwarma recipe comes from the New York Times and is baked in the oven. The recipe can be found here. The tzatziki recipe is from Epicurious.com. That recipe is found here.

One of the most difficult things about being pregnant has been that garlic and I are NOT friends. Amazingly, I was able to make both recipes with garlic today and not throw up😀 I did do a couple of minor tweaks. Instead of mincing the garlic I used my microplane to grate it. I can handle the flavor of the garlic better if I don’t bite into pieces of it. I think that grating it also does a better job of spreading the flavor through the dish. One other tweak is that the tzatziki recipe calls for draining regular yogurt but I used Greek style yogurt. This yogurt has already been drained and is nice and thick. It makes the whole process much easier.

I picked these dishes to make tonight because chicken is one of those foods that is easy to digest and I love the creamy coolness of tzatziki. Besides, yogurt is good for my tummy too. Jene is going to bring home some pita bread and we’ll cook up some rice. I’m thinking about seasoning the rice with some turmeric and onion while it’s cooking. I have some fresh turmeric in the fridge that I think would give the rice an interesting flavor and pretty color.

For now, I’m resting on the couch. I don’t know how much posting I’ll be doing but I’m going to try to do better. I’ve found that right now I can only stand for about half an hour before I get woozy. Hopefully the baby and I will reach an accommodation soon and I can get back to normal😀

After dinner notes: This set of recipes rocks. To go with the chicken I made a pot of jasmine rice. I added some very thinly sliced onion, 3 whole cloves, 2 cardamom pods and about a teaspoon of grated fresh turmeric root. It gave it a beautiful golden color and a very rich flavor. I’ve included a picture too.


This will definitely be a recipe that stays in our rotation. I’m very pleased with the afternoon’s work.


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Ground Meat Hash

There’s a market near our house called Sprouts. One day while wandering around I noticed that they had wild game ground meats in the freezer section. I picked up a pound of wild boar, a pound of Elk and a pound of Kangaroo. Yes, I bought ground Kangaroo… I haven’t eaten it yet so I can’t give any feedback😉

The other day I used the Elk as the protein in some stuffed mushrooms which came out quite good. Tonight I used to ground boar to make a hash type dish. It came out really good.


1 lb ground wild boar (or other game meat)

2 large yukon gold potatoes, 1/2 inch dice

1 small onion, diced

1-2 medium carrots, 1/4 inch dice

1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

1/2 tsp Penzeys Mural of Flavor

salt to taste

Pull the ground meat apart into small chunks and place in a large skillet. This makes it easier to break up into small pieces as it cooks. Add the vegetables and seasonings. Cook over medium heat until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.

It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s tasty.🙂


Creamy Pork and Cabbage Soup with Tortellini

It’s been chilly and we’re expecting a windy, rainy storm in the next couple of days. I had to visit the grocery store to pick up something for dinner. The only thing I knew walking in was that I wanted pork. After Thanksgiving and smoking a turkey and a beef roast, I wanted something different. I was originally thinking of pork steaks or something along those lines. However, as I wandered through the store I came up with a totally different idea. I wanted a creamy, hearty soup. As such, this is what I came up with…


4 lbs lean pork,cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 lb bacon, diced

4 TB butter

2 leeks, thinly sliced

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 head of celery, diced

3/4 small head of cabbage, diced

20 oz tortellini (I used 3 cheese stuffed)

1 qt beef stock

1 qt half and half

1/3 cup white whine

dried thyme

poultry seasoning

salt and white pepper to taste

Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add the bacon and render out the fat. Add the pork and brown. Remove the pork and bacon from the pot. Melt butter and add the leeks to the pot. Saute until tender and fragrant and the garlic and saute for one more minute.

Add the white wine to the pot and deglaze. Return the pork to the pot, add the stock, celery and seasonings. I didn’t really measure how much I put in but I’d guess at least a teaspoon of dried thyme and poultry seasoning. Taste it and adjust it as desired.

Bring the pot to a boil and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Add the half and half and the cabbage. I added a 1 inch by 2 inch piece of parmesan cheese rind. This addition added a tremendous amount of flavor but I let it boil a bit too much so it wound up looking a bit curdled. The flavor is outstanding but it’s not pretty lol.

After the cabbage is tender, add the tortellini and cook for another ten minutes or so until the pasta is tender and cooked through.

This is a very filling and hearty soup. I’m not really sure I would call it soup because it wasn’t very soupy lol. I don’t make very good “soup” because it’s always too thick. However, it only took me about an hour start to finish to make and it was REALLY tasty. Jene even went back for seconds and I’ve been nibbling from the pot after eating my first bowl full.

One more note: I’m writing this after having a wee bit to drink so if something doesn’t make sense, please post a message letting me know lol.😀

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Review – HazMat Hot Sauce

Yesterday, Jene and I drove down to Hollister, CA just for the purpose of tasting HazMat hot sauce. It’s the creation of a friend of mine who lives locally. Marcie’s  got it in production and sells it both in some local restaurants and markets and online.


Anyone who knows me, knows I can’t eat hot sauce to save my life but Jene loves the stuff. Keeping this in mind, I brutally forced him to drive me the hour+ down to Hollister. It was a gorgeous day for a drive though. The rain from the night before had cleaned the air and it was in the low 70s with bright sunshine.

Jene was very perplexed by the fact that I was making him drive all the way to Hollister to try out hot sauce. Once we got there and he tasted it, he realized it was a good plan.😀

HazMat is made with an interesting combination of apricots and habanero peppers with other bits of sweet from carrots and bell peppers. Jene’s first question was “What’s the sweet?” My first reaction a tiny drop was fanning my mouth and jumping around. For the sake of this blog I’m about to try tasting it again to see if I can pick up ANY flavor other than the pain of the heat lol.

*brief pause for tasting and gulping water*

Ok, yes, there is a really lovely apricot flavor but then the heat kicks me in the back of the mouth and I want to start crying.😀 I even tasted it twice to try and give an honest report on the flavor… It’s nicely sweet and VERY hot for someone like me who can’t even handle a jalapeno. If you like HOT sauce, you’ll definitely like this!

We stopped at Arby’s on the way home yesterday and got some roast beast sandwiches (yes, I said beast on purpose) and between his sandwich and his jalapeno poppers, Jene went through almost a quarter of a bottle. I am fairly certain that Marcie didn’t think anyone would use it up that fast. I may have to have her sell it to me in gallon bottles!

As I sit here writing this review, I can think of a lot of ways to use this hot sauce in my cooking that would be excellent… a few drops in the mix for my stuffed bell peppers, a glug into a pot of chili (kind of obvious), a little bit mixed into a vinaigrette… There are lots of possibilities as long as I don’t mind not being able to eat what I made. *wicked grin*

So if you like hot sauce, I highly recommend you check out HazMat.🙂

And here’s the website one more time. http://tastethehotzone.com/


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More Fermentation!! Like more cowbell only tastier

More cowbell! This just needs more cowbell! I mean FERMENTATION, this just needs more FERMENTATION. I have to admit that I think I’m completely hooked on fermenting things. We already knew I was thrilled with cheese making and all other things cooking related. This just adds another skill to my list of things I like to do.😀  The really lovely thing is that it’s not nearly as work intensive as cheese making, which is an all day process (12+ hours sometimes) that has to be carefully monitored. Fermentation is MUCH easier, hooray!

Today’s batch of fermentation is a blend of gold beets, celery root, rainbow carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onions and garlic. I asked for ideas in a Facebook group on food preservation and they suggested curry. I wasn’t sure about it at first but as I put everything together, the smell of the vegetables spoke to me of curry. I happened to have a good amount of Maharajah curry powder from Penzeys spices. It’s a mild curry with good depth of flavor which I thought would go wonderfully with this.


You can see the beautiful color from the saffron threads in the curry powder. By the time it’s done everything should have a gorgeous golden color. These are half gallon mason jars with air locks on top. You can’t see them but there are clear glass weights on top of the veggies.

Everything will sit in the jars overnight and tomorrow evening I’ll check to make sure enough liquid has been released or if I need to add some brine. The smell is FANTASTIC! Even after washing my hands several times I still smell like curry lol.

I had originally thought about making my own curry blend with whole spices. Finally, the fact that the curry powder needed to be used up combined with the fact that I was getting super tired won the day. I think I’m going to be very glad that I did it this way.

The jar on the left didn’t have enough of the original blend to be full so I added a cabbage on top. I’ve still got a couple of cabbages left so I’ll add them to the sauerkraut pot tomorrow when I’m not so tired.😉

To the right of the jars you can see a plum and some apples.. I’ve got apples, plums and pears which are going into a jar with a nice pour of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum. Because you can never go wrong with fruit and booze. That will be tomorrow’s project though. I’m pretty much done for today.🙂


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