Author: Julie Lancaster-Whann

Barefoot Beach Teas

Barefoot Beach Teas


Captain’s Galley

Captain’s Galley


Summer Seafood, Sides, and Salads

Summer Seafood, Sides, and Salads





I SEA You’ve Caught Us!

Enjoying a Summer of Seafood, Sides, and Salads

We decided to start another seafood webpage. 

If you would like to check out our other one, then click here:

Gordon and Julie Seafood

We plan on bringing you many more recipes to this post. 

And hope you will check back occasionally with us to see what we’ve caught.

Hook (Catch) You Later,

Gordon and Julie


Appetizers of Blue Crab Salsa and Blue Corn Chips

Fried Clam Strips with Key Lime Tarter Sauce and Cocktail Sauce


First Up:

Herbed Hasselback Potatoes (Our Way)

Buttered, Herbed, Grilled Mini Lobsters w/ Grilled Lemons

And Fried Scallops


Making our Hasselback Potatoes

I used Russet potatoes, Blue Potatoes, and Yams to make this recipe.  Here you can see I used chopsticks on the side of a yam to ensure I didn’t cut all the way through.

First, find the flat side of the potato and place that side down on your cutting board.  Place your chopsticks snugly against your potato as shown above.  Using a sharp knife, make cuts about 1/4 to 1/8 inch apart.

Here you can see how the multiple cuts begins to separate each individual section producing a cavity to where you can insert butter and various seasonings.

Here you can see all the potatoes cut.  The yams were very firm and took more force to slice.

Beautiful Colorful Potatoes


I went out to our herb garden and picked some fresh herbs to season the potatoes.

For the yams, I used Jalapeno, Cinnamon, and Ginger spices.  I liked the contrast in heat the Jalapeno would provide and the Cinnamon and Ginger are common flavor pairings with Yams.


3 Yams

2 Blue Potatoes

4 Tbsp. Butter

4 Pineapple Sage Leaves – sliced Chiffonade

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Ground Jalapeno Powder

1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger

1/4 tsp. Salt and Ground Pepper

I then used pineapple sage to also provide another added flavor.  Simply place the leaves on top of each other and roll them up tightly as shown.  Now, slice the leaves perpendicular to the roll.  This slicing technique is called Chiffonade.

I placed 1/2 a stick of butter into a microwave safe dish.

I then added the sage chiffonade, Ground Cinnamon, Ground Jalapeno, and the Ginger.

Lastly, add your Ground Pepper and Salt.

Place the ingredients into your microwave and cook the mixture for about 25 seconds on High or until the butter is mostly melted.

Stir the ingredients together.

Use your basting brush to coat the Yams and Blue Potatoes with your butter mixture between all their slices.  Roast the potatoes at 400’F for about 45 minutes or until tender.  The outside slices will be slightly crispy.


Russet Hasselback Potatoes

The Herbs

Making the Hasselback Russet Potatoes


8 Russet Potatoes

1 Stick of butter (8 Tbsp.)

Ground Roasted Garlic

1/2 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano Leaves

6 Sage Leaves – sliced Chiffonade

1 Tbsp. Fresh Chives – sliced thinly

1/4 tsp. Salt and Pepper

Slice your Russet potatoes as shown previously using the Hasselback method.  Place your Butter and Roasted Garlic Powder in a microwave safe bowl.

Chiffonade your Sage leaves and add them to the butter.

Now, slice your chives as shown and place them into the bowl.

Then, slice your Oregano leaves thinly and place them into the bowl.

Now, add your ground Pepper and Salt to the bowl.

Microwave all the ingredients until the butter is mostly melted and then stir the ingredients together.


Using your basting brush, coat the russet potatoes with your butter mixture being sure to get the seasoning between all the slices.

Roast the potatoes in a 400’F over for about 45 minutes or until they are tender.


Perfect, and out of the Oven


While our Hasselback Potatoes are cooking in the oven, it’s a good time for us to work on our appetizer.

Fried Clams in the Oven

Just following the package instructions…..

When done, allow to cool.

2 of our favorite dipping sauces/salsa’s.

Nice Appetizer While we Wait for Dinner


Buttered, Herbed, Grilled Mini Lobster Tails w/ Grilled Lemons

Beautiful Lobster Tails

Preparing the lobster tails is easy and can provide a beautiful presentation.  Using some kitchen sheers, cut down the top center of the shell all the way down to the end of the tail meat.  Try not to cut the tail meat in the process.

This is the underside of the lobster tail.

Slightly spread open the top of the shell as you should hear some cracking.  Now, use your thumb under the tail meat to push and separate the meat away from the shell.  Pull the tail meat out of the shell so it rests between the shell halves as shown.

Clean off any shell fragments and adjust the meat for a nice appearance.


Here the lobster tails are all ready for the grill.

You can also see the beautiful scallops in the background.


6 Tbsp. Butter

6 Garlic Cloves – sliced and chopped

3 Tbsp. Chives – chopped

2 Tbsp. Dill – chopped

1 1/2 Tbsp. Oregano – chopped

1 tsp. Sweet Paprika

1 tsp. Celery Salt

1 tsp. Roasted Garlic Powder

1 tsp. Onion Powder

Slice and chop the garlic cloves.

In a microwave safe bowl, add your butter, then the chopped garlic.

Julie being creative… nice!

Slice your chives as shown and add them to the bowl. 

We are lucky enough to grown them in our herb garden.

Then slice your fresh dill… and yes, we grow this also.

Add your dill to the butter and other herbs.

Remove the oregano leaves from the stem and roughly chop them… and add them to the butter mixture.  We grow oregano as well.

Now add your Sweet Paprika and Celery Salt to the butter and herb mixture.

Then add your Roasted Garlic and Onion Powder to the mixture.

Place the butter mixture in the microwave and heat for ~45 seconds or until the butter is mostly melted.  Mix all the ingredients together.


Turn on your grill to a medium high heat.  I placed the lobster tails on a plate in order to catch all the drippings.  Using a basting brush, cover the lobster tails with the butter and herb mixture.


Place the lobster tails on the upper rack section of your grill to avoid flare ups from direct flames.  The butter will produce high scorching flames which will tend to burn the tails.  With your lobster tails well above the direct flame they will basically bake.


If your grill doesn’t have this upper section, you could place your lobster tails above a section of your grill that isn’t turned on.  This is indirect cooking.  Pending on the heat of your grill, it will take about 15 min. for the lobster tails to cook on the upper rack.  If you cook them directly on the flames of your grill, it will take considerably less time.  When they are done, the shells will be bright red and the meat will be bright white and be around 135’F.

Here, I am grilling the sliced lemons on the hot spots of my grill.  The grill had been on for about 10 min. now which made the grates very hot, producing great grill marks on the lemons.

Here is a great meal, Hasselback potatoes and yams, grilled lobster tails and lemons.  🙂


Seared Scallops

Sea Scallops Pan Seared in Butter and Oil

~25 Sea Scallops – rinsed and dried

3 Tbsp. Butter

3 Tbsp. Peanut Oil

We bought just over 2 pounds of Sea Scallops for over $20.00, just to give you an idea of the average cost.

These are some really beautiful Sea Scallops.  You can tell they are Sea Scallops and not Bay Scallops as they are very large.  Unwrap your scallops and rinse them off using a colander.

Lay the scallops out on a few sheets of paper towels to dry them.  The scallops need to be perfectly dry on the outside to sear properly.  If they are wet, the scallops will only steam in the pan.

I am using a large cast iron skillet to sear the scallops, because the cast iron heats evenly and retains its heat longer when loaded with food items.  Add your butter to your cast iron skillet that is heated to medium high heat.

Now, add your peanut oil to the butter as the oil will inhibit the butter from burning.

Place your dry to the touch scallops into the pan on its natural top or bottom.  They should look like biscuits.  I placed 12 scallops in to cook without the skillet loosing much heat.  If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you would probably only place 6 into the pan.

Here you can see all the scallops searing in the skillet.  As they cook, you can see the scallops start to change color up the sides going from a dull white opaque to a more solid white color.  Look at some of the first scallops you placed in the skillet to check the sear.  If your skillet is too hot, you will sear the scallop too quickly and not cook it properly.

Using tongs, turn the scallops over when they are seared and cooked about half way up the scallop.  As you can see, I didn’t turn some of the larger ones as they aren’t ready.

When they are fully cooked, place them on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil and sprinkle with a touch of finely grated sea salt.  Here you can see that nice restaurant quality sear.  This was a favorite seafood of mine to cook in culinary school.  Great picture Julie!

When ready, plate the sea scallops and dig in.  These were especially tender and sweet!



Also Check Out Our Other Seafood Related Posts:

Our July 4th. Tribute to the Movie JAWS


Check Out Our:  Summer Seafood, Sides, and Salads


Stay Out Of The Water!  JAWS Week

How to Make a Beachy Cheese Cake


You can also view our!!!  Week here……..

Click Here for Shark Week:



Click Here For:  Our Southern Shark Week Table

Just a few great recipes that you can make for Shark Week as well.

Also Check Out:

Shark Week Feeding Frenzy


Gordon and Julie






Our July 4th. Tribute to the Movie JAWS (1975)

Our July 4th. Tribute to the Movie JAWS (1975)

        Amity Island Welcomes You We are Gordon and Julie 1975 ——————————————————————- The Brody Beach House Sheriff Brody responding to a call of a missing swimmer. The Swimmer’s Personal Items It was a Shark Attack! ————————————————————– THE BEACHES ARE CLOSED! BY THE…

Asian Steamed Buns

Asian Steamed Buns

          UNDER CONSTRUCTION                

The Pot Thickens…  Musings of an Amateur Cook

The Pot Thickens… Musings of an Amateur Cook






Hi!  Welcome! 

So happy to have you here!

My name is Julie Lancaster-Whann and welcome to my:

The Pot Thickens…  Musings of an Amateur Cook

So, what makes me an ‘Amateur?’  Easy!  I don’t get paid!

And, because I don’t get paid you have every right to believe my words as being sincere because no one is paying me to sell you something.

I do not have a degree in the Culinary Arts like my husband, Gordon, but I do have a PHD in Life Experiences.  I’ve pretty much been eating for the past 59 years.  Well, there was that bout of anorexia that I had in high school where I was drop dead skinny gorgeous!  (From lack of food.)  But, that only lasted for a year or two.  And there was that eating disorder I had that lasted a few decades.

I hope to make this blog post fun and informative and I hope you will tune in occasionally to see what I have to say.

So, kick your shoes off and pull up a chair.  Wine is mandatory here btw, so fill that wine glass.  If you don’t have a wine glass and are using some regular kitchen glass?  OMG!  Then go out and buy one!  We have standards here, ya know!

Very sincerely,



Me, with my Easy Bake Oven, age 5

What more proof do you need that I am qualified to blog about food?

I was also a Candy Cane aficionado for obvious reasons.


I have been wanting to start some sort of blog post about food and kitchen related/food related interests that I have.  I never knew where to place in my website these things.  Which is why I created this post.  I am very excited to write about it here.  I hope you are too.  🙂

One of my favorite pizza’s I buy from Sprout’s. 

It’s an Italian Sausage.


Blog Post Musings Start Here



(Myself, not some recipe.)


Sushi, Always a Favorite


August 2, 2020


I love salads! 

They are healthy, delicious, beautiful, crunchy, everything that I love about good food.

I love the alien looking Romanesco.

Salads are also very filling to me. 

I’m not one of these ‘salad with dinner’ kind of person. 

I am a’ Salad FOR Dinner’ kind of person.

I also love eating a variety of lettuce leaves.

The more the merrier. 


Toasting some Pine Nuts….

Adding Hard Boiled Eggs and my favorite Manchego Cheese….

And lots of croutons.  My weakness.  These are Pumpernickel croutons.

But my biggest weakness is in the creamy salad dressings.  Oil and Vinegar just doesn’t cut it for me.  Sometimes it does when I am in an herby Italian kind of mood.  But most of the time I prefer the richer salad dressings.  I discovered this one and now it is a favorite.

My new favorite salad dressing. 

I had to get this image online because we ate ours so quickly I never got to photograph the jar.


Whether in a bowl or a plate, I am so there!




Spaghetti and Meatballs

Our Beautiful Basil from our Herb Garden

Fresh Herbs for Dinner

Gordon’s Spaghetti Dinner on the Left, Mine on the Right

Eaten with our new favorite vegetarian meatballs.

I like to share products that we come across and enjoy.  We don’t eat red meat but we decided to try these and we love them!  Looks like now we can have meatballs with our spaghetti.

My Happy Dinner Plate


July 21, 2020

Cheese Stuffed Pepperoncini

I love sharing delicious food products that I come across.

It was before July 4th. and I was looking for pickle/relish foods that we had not tried before when these cheese stuffed pepperoncini popped up on the screen when I was ordering online.  That red jar looked delicious so I ordered one.  I was so hooked!   So was Gordon!  So was Brodie!  That’s when the next time I did our grocery shopping online I ordered several more.  They are excellent to eat with our favorite roasted garlic/Feta Cheese/Italian rustic bread/sundried tomatoes/ etc.  A great addition to any time you would eat a pickle.  The oil is very hot and but so nice that I would love to fry and egg in that oil, or marinate some Feta Cheese in the oil to be eaten with some great chewy bread.

Our new favorite super-duper delicious food!

They taste great with a sandwich too:

p.s.  We love sending food items that we come across to people that we love for Christmas.  And sort of introduce them to it.  Most people that we know are only interested in food for Christmas.  This will make a nice addition.  Time to stock up!


June 26, 2020

The Baconator, A Love Affair

My Baconator, not it’s real name, was purchased by me last year from an old favorite restaurant of mine in Tennessee through the mail.  It is a lovely piece of pottery, handmade by artisan’s from the area of Pigeon Forge.  I love it and we use it quite often.

The Old Mill Restaurant

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

The Baconator, and many other pottery and food items can be purchased here.  This is one of my most favorite restaurants in the south for good southern cooking.  Whenever I go I always order the Corn Chowder with Corn Fritters.


as in Dolly Parton’s, Dollywood

(This is from the mid 90’s when Dollywood wasn’t as grand as it is now and every employee in the park was related to Dolly Parton.  I even went to high school in Sevierville with a few Parton’s.  It’s a big family.)

Me on the water ride. 

We were visiting friends in Sevierville and we went to Dollywood one day.

That is little Veronica and I’m holding little Brodie.

I thought that since I was talking about the pottery and The Old Mill that I would post a few old photos.

I love making bacon in this thing.  I just drape the bacon all around it and place it into the microwave.  The cooking time depends on your microwave and the thickness of the bacon you are cooking.  My pottery also came with no instructions.  Typical on the south, we’re just supposed to know these things.  Well, I managed and all of us love it!

Potato Skins with Butter, Cheeses, and BACON!



June 5, 2020

Bowls and Platters

These Remind me of St. Augustine, Florida

Gordon Brought ALL of These From Overseas


June 2, 2020

“Is There Something Wrong With Your Food?”

Me:  “No.  It’s Just How I Eat.”

I suppose that I should have named this post ‘The Pot Thickens….  Musing of an Amateur Cook and Eater, but I didn’t so…..  I guess I just won’t worry about it then.  However, I would like to share with you something that I have heard quite often throughout my life where my eating is concerned.  “Is there something wrong with your food?”  And my answer is always, “No.  It’s just how I eat.”

I am a picky eater.  Not so much in what I eat, but how I eat it.

  1.  I usually don’t like the middle of a sandwich so I tend to eat around it.  To me the middle is just too thick with food.  I like a nice ratio of bread and filling and not a lot of filling and a little bit of bread.
  2.  I never bite against the grain of a Trisket cracker.  (Nothing to do with superstition.  I walk under ladders.  I open umbrellas in the house, etc. etc.  but I will NEVER bite against the grain of that cracker.

3.  Although Mackenzie seemed horrified when she saw me spreading peanut butter on potato chips, it is something I do quite often.  Peanut butter is my most favorite food in the entire world and I pretty much put it on many things.  Not just potato chips.  Although my favorite chip flavor that goes with peanut butter, is barbeque.  My mother would buy the largest tub of peanut butter when we were growing up.  It had to have been a good 5 pound bucket.  We would go through that 5 pound bucket in one week.  It was the cheapest brand of peanut butter too.  JFG was it’s name.  But, it was so cheap because it was real peanut butter and not loaded with sugar like all the other brands were.

4.  I only like to eat green bananas.  I will choke down a yellow one when I have to because I do get foot and leg cramps if I don’t eat one everyday.  But I am a happy camper when I sit down to eat my green banana.  (I started this habit in Hawaii.  I think because we had a banana tree in our backyard and all the bananas would go ripe at once.  All 60 of them!  So, I would try and eat as many as I could so that none went to waste so I started feasting on the green ones.)

5.  If given the choice of having something perfectly prepared for me to eat, or having it be a little charred, I’ll choose the charred one any day of the week.  You know, just like Mom used to make.

6.  I will NOT eat a runny egg!  Because they are gross.  When Gordon cooks me eggs if there is the least bit of “creamy” to them then I won’t eat them.  I also boil my eggs when making deviled eggs until they are powder.  Perfectly delicious powder.  🙂

7.  I don’t eat red meat.

8.  I mainly eat with a fork because I prefer to slide food into my mouth.  I hate using a spoon unless it is for soup.  I just don’t like the thought of inserting that spoon into my mouth and grasping it.  When I do use a spoon it’s mainly just to pour soup in my mouth and not embrace it the way so many people do.

9.  I tend to eat Top Ramen noodle soup uncooked.  We picked up that habit in Hawaii.  When the local children need a snack their mother’s will just give them one of the noodle packets and they eat it while they play outside.  So do I.  🙂

10.  Whenever we make mashed potatoes I always make sure we have green peas with them because I love it when they touch and I get peas stuck in my potatoes.  But not too many peas.  I prefer a ratio of 3/4 potatoes and 1/4 peas.  That’s important.

11.  I use two coffee mugs every morning.  I will not drink my two cups of coffee out of the same mug in the mornings.  I prefer a fresh mug.

12.  Soda just tastes better when you drink it out of plastic as opposed to glass.  Therefore, I won’t drink a soda if I don’t have a plastic glass to drink it out of.

13.  I wash my hands about 100 times a day which is why I rarely get sick.  (However during a highly contagious pandemic I don’t have as much control over my health right now as I would like.)

14.  I only like melted chocolate or creamy chocolate.  I don’t like hard chocolate and will pass a hard chocolate bar up in a second.

15.  Gordon “alleges” that I am like a roach when eating fried chicken.  I just pick all around the outside of it and leave the inside alone.

16.  I only drink red wine and I only drink it with a straw.  Me, Brodie and Mackenzie do that.  That way our teeth stay white and not stained.  And I only drink wine from a wine glass.  Brodie and Mackenzie aren’t as picky as me.  Gordon doesn’t drink much wine.  He tends to stick to beer.

17.  I LOVE Captain Crunch’s Peanut Butter Cereal and have since I first tasted it when I was about 9.


19.  I have a love/hate relationship with mayonnaise.  I rarely put it on a sandwich because to me it’s gross.  But, I do put it in my Deviled Eggs, Potato Salads, Macaroni Salads, etc.  (It’s because when we were young my step-brother knew mayonnaise grossed me out so he would put it on a knife and lick it off as if he were some mercenary out in the jungle and had just killed an enemy, then licking their blood off the knife.)  So you see, I have no choice but to hate it!  He also used to mix Mayonnaise with Peanut Butter.  Thank God he didn’t ruin peanut butter for me!

20.  I hate cracklin’.  My step-father grew up poor in Texas and they would put cracklin’ in cornbread so he would have my mother do it occasionally.  And when they did I would not eat it.  I don’t like gnawing on food, much less a piece of fat.


22.  If I get hungry during the day but I don’t want to really eat something big then I will eat a fork full of peanut butter and that will satisfy my appetite until dinner.

23.  I also chew funny.  I found out last year from my dentist that my mouth is deformed.  That actually explains a lot.  I’ve always had dentists to get frustrated with me when they wanted me to bite down so they could try and fit a crown, or take x-rays, only to get upset with me because things didn’t line up like they should.  Therefore they blamed me for not doing it right.  Finally, I found a dentist that realized the problem and now works with me instead of against me when these things come up.

Well, I guess this is all for now.  If I think of something else I will list it here.  If you are just as weird as I am then obviously you are not alone.  🙂



June 1, 2020

Make Ahead To Freeze

When the Coronavirus Pandemic was heading our way and we were entering into a lockdown as a society I worried about what would happen to our food supply.  Will there be enough eggs?  Milk?  Butter?  Meats?

It was at that time that I started baking for breakfast!

I just felt that I needed to make ahead breakfast foods to freeze for a later date.  Little quiche’s.  Perhaps with some sausage, spinach and cheeses.  So, I did!  I’m still keeping them frozen, for now.


MAY 31, 2020

Brodie’s Foods

Our Son Brodie, The Amateur Cook

 Brodie Recreating and Even Exceeding Gordon’s Teriyaki Chicken Recipe

Brodie Making Gordon’s Hawaiian Potatoes


Brodie and his Girlfriend Mackenzie Recreated This Ultimate Tots Recipe From one of their Favorite Restaurants.

Brodie and Mackenzie’s Fried Steak


Brodie Making Carbonara

This is probably his most favorite food he likes to eat and cook.

This was so delicious!


Mackenzie and Brodie Recreating a Favorite Pasta Salad Recipe

Brodie in the Kitchen and Me in the Background on my Computer

Brodie Did an Excellent Job on This Pasta Salad


OMG!  THE Best Banana Pancakes!


And Lastly, Brodie and Mackenzie’s Italian Chicken

These are but a few of their many delicious recipes!

The reason that I am posting these delicious foods that my son and his girlfriend are making, is because they are so very talented and creative where food is concerned.  Their foods are delicious!  But, It really is up to them to write down all these recipes.  I have enough to do with all that Gordon and I have going on. 

But what I wanted to point out to you is that Brodie can watch a video on Youtube on how to cook something and then he can cook it in the exact same way as the chef in the video, Brodie can also expand on that recipe making it into something better, and Brodie can make it look good all at the same time. 

Mackenzie has also really grown creatively and the two of them make such a great team.  Just like Gordon and I complement each other in our creativity.

These two really do have a food future.  I hope they expand on it and do something with it.  Perhaps some day I will write down their recipes.  But in the meantime, I’ve got plenty to do as it is.

I do love that Brodie seems to understand the importance of carrying on our recipes.


Chopsticks Mandatory

Fried Noodles

Cascade of Noodles

Click Here For:  Whann Way Aloha

Just scroll down this post until you come to our noodle recipe.  It really is good and you can add whatever you like to it.  It is up to your own personal tastes.  That’s how all recipe’s should be.


May 30, 2020

My Expired Casserole

Last May, 2019, I was going through our food pantry to try and clean it out and get rid of some expired foods.  BTW:  They didn’t used to put expiration dates on food.  Maybe they did for dairy and butcher products, but not for anything else.  It was more of a judgement call by the cooks preparing the foods.

So, as I was tossing all these food products into the trash and looking at all that money we spent on food being thrown away and wasted, I decided to try and cook with some of them just to see.  After all, how does anyone know the exact date that the food product is no good?  Do they consult a crystal ball?

I had some leftover rotisserie chicken and some steamed broccoli so I decided to throw together a casserole using some of my expired foods.  Not anything that had been expired for longer than a few days and even a few months.

Although you cannot see in the photo above, I cooked a box of Stove Top Stuffing and then when it was done I placed it in the bottom of the greased casserole dish above.  I then tore my leftover Rotisserie Chicken into pieces and placed on top of the stuffing mixture.  I then placed the broccoli flowerettes on top of the chicken.  In the meantime, I cooked up two expired Pasta Dinner’s in cheese sauce and when done I poured them over the top of my casserole.

It Looks Good, Huh?

I baked the casserole for about 25 minutes in a 350F oven.

Then I sprinkled some expired Durkee Onions over top and placed the casserole back into the oven for an additional 5 minutes just to brown the topping.

It was actually quite delicious!

Perhaps we should just use our own judgement when it comes to the foods in our pantry and when it’s time to throw them out and not just rely on some dated stamp.

(P.S.  In this era of Covid 19 I’m not so sure we should be throwing food out willy nilly.  No one knows when they may lose their job and thus their income.  Perhaps eating something expired is better than eating nothing at all.)


Because I believe my computer spy’s on me……

I heard my son tossing items into the trash can from the pantry and I immediately asked, “Whadyah doing?”  He replied, “It’s expired.”  I then asked, “What’s expired?”  Brodie:  “These cans of soup.”  Me:  “Put them back.”  Brodie:  “But they are expired!”  Me:  “Put them back anyway.”

The very next day this article pops up on my computer for me to read.


Don’t tell me someone’s not listening!

Just think twice before you start throwing food away.  Especially in this climate.  I don’t want anyone to be hungry.








A Star Wars CLUE For Christmas

A Star Wars CLUE For Christmas

      UNDER EMPIRE CONSTRUCTION                                               ————————————————————-   ————————————————— ——————————————————–   ————————————————— May The Force Be With You, Always.      …

Mother’s Day on the Lanai

Mother’s Day on the Lanai

              UNDER CONSTRUCTION                                 Happy Mother’s Day, Julie

Grillin’ With Gordon and Brodie at Home, Mackenzie’s Birthday

Grillin’ With Gordon and Brodie at Home, Mackenzie’s Birthday






Welcome to our Backyard Lanai

This is where we spend a lot of our time in the spring, summer, and autumn.  It is a nice big area where we can spread out and entertain, even if it is just for us.  

Our Table

Sparky Doodle Dandy 🙂


This particular feast is for our son’s girlfriend, Mackenzie.  It’s her birthday and we get the honor of her celebrating it with us this year while we are in lockdown due to the Coronavirus.

Mackenzie’s birthday is April 19th.  She kind of looks like Marsha Brady, doesn’t she?  🙂

We all set about planning a menu that she would like to eat for her birthday, and that we could cook out on the grill.  Also, her parents were very generous in sending us all a nice meaty care package.  It included various steaks and twice baked potatoes.


Here is Mackenzie’s Birthday Menu

Grilled Asparagus

Grilled Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto

Grilled Lemons

Blackened Salmon

Grilled Seasoned Salmon with Dill Butter

Roasted Curry Cauliflower

Twice Baked Potatoes

(Compliments of Mackenzie’s Parents)

Ribeye Steaks

(Compliments of Mackenzie’s Parents)


Happy Birthday, Mackenzie

Gordon and Brodie Ready to do Some Serious Grillin’

Sparky and Spooky with their boy, Brodie


Gordon Creating Mackenzie a Birthday Cocktail

2 shots Dragon Berry Rum

1 shot Blood Orange Margarita Mix

1 shot Aperol

1 Tbsp. Grenadine Syrup

2 shots Welche’s Sparkling Rose’ Grape Juice


Makes 1 drink

We decided to have an all red cocktail with some fruit flavors.  These flavors of orange, blood orange, dragon berry and grenadine all tasted very well together.


In a medium sized shaker, add at least 4-5 ice cubes. 

Now, add your Dragon Berry Bacardi and then the Blood Orange mix.

Add your Aperol and the Grenadine.


Shake!  Shake!  Shake! until its too cold to hold!

Now, add your Sparkling Rose (Not Pictured), because you don’t want the carbonation to escape from the drink.  It might also make a huge mess as it explodes out of your shaker.

Mackenzie’s Birthday Cocktail

Now, Anyone up for a game of IT CLUE?  🙂


Making Dill Butter

Start by using a good butter brand and set out to soften.

Remove the fragile thin dill sprig ends from thicker stems and add them to your butter. 

Add as much as you like!

Using a fork, mix the dill sprigs with the softened butter. 

Place the dill butter back into the refrigerator to become firm.


Grilled Seasoned Salmon with Dill Butter



2 Lbs. Salmon Fillets – skin on

3 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning

4 Tbsp. Dill Butter – (See recipe above)

We purchased about 2 Lbs. of Salmon which came to us in various thicknesses and cuts. 

During these Coronavirus times, (2020) you get what the delivery person brings you and you make due with what you have.

I cut the fillets according to their thickness.  I blackened the thinner pieces of fillet, and grill the thicker fillets.  Brodie used some of the really thin cuts for breakfast the next morning.


During the cooking process, the fillets uneven thicknesses would cook the fish too much or too little, if I left them as is.  Having the fillets all the same thickness makes for even cooking which ultimately makes them taste better!

Here are the fillet cuts I started with.

Pictured are the thicker cuts, which I cooked on the grill.


Salmon Ready for Grillin’

Pictured is our Dill Butter!

I turned the gill on High to get the heat started in order to make slight grill marks on the fillets.

Because fish gets flaky once cooked, I placed the fillets into this metal basket which carefully holds them in place, while allowing them to be seasoned and cooked.

Our Fish Basket


I seasoned both sides of the salmon fillets with some Old Bay Seasoning.  I am grilling the skin side down first, so it will become a little crispy.   As you can see, I also grilled some lemon pepper seasoned Asparagus!  Using some thick gloves or tongs, hold the basket ends together and flip it over to cook the other side.  You hold the basket on the sides, so the clip holding it together won’t come loose.

Grill some lemon halves to put onto the salmon fillets.  If you look on the side of the salmon, you can see it change color as it cooks.  Fish cooks on the grill at about 10 min. per inch thickness or which you would grill your fish 5 min. per each side.  Correct/adjust the time with the thickness of your fillet.


Grilled lemons are Especially Juicy


Here, I unhinged the top of the basket to reveal the grilled fillets.

Grilling the skin side first, makes the fish easy to remove from the basket grating as it is crispy.

Dill Butter

We placed the salmon fillets on a bed of dill sprigs then immediately topped them with some dill butter!

Beautiful Presentation

We Think So  🙂


The Twice Baked Potatoes

These, and the Steaks, were gifts from Mackenzie’s parents to all of us as a lovely thank you for taking care of Mackenzie during our lockdown.  Which has been no trouble because she is wonderful!

Although I do not eat red meat, and neither does Gordon, he did make an exception as the cow’s were grass fed.  I, however, love these potatoes!  I didn’t eat any steak but I did gobble up a potato!


Brodie and Mackenzie Manning the Grill



For our table setting, Gordon and I set up one of our portable tables, and I just got out a few table clothes and several of our platters to hold this lovely spring, birthday feast.  And we did feast!  Celebrating a birthday in lockdown is just as important as celebrating a birthday any other time.  If you can, that is.


The Food Was Delicious

It was very nice that we 4 were together on this very special day.


Roasted Curry Cauliflower


4-5 Tbsp. Olive Oil

4-5 Tbsp. Madras Curry Powder

Roasted to Perfection

First, slice away the leaves and core of the cauliflower using short diagonal cuts.

Carefully slice away some of the longer stems if wanted.

Now, slice the individual heads away from the main head.  Do NOT slice the small cauliflower heads totally in half.  Simply, slice the stem in half down to the flowerettes, then pull the stems apart revealing a natural halving of the head.  If you slice the head in two, you will have a lot of small flowerettes pieces causing a mess and waste.  Once the flowerettes are halved, place them into a large zip lock bag.


Here is the curry seasoning we used.  I love using the authentic spices.

Place just enough extra virgin olive oil in with the halved flowerettes to coat them.  Close the bag and toss lightly to evenly coat the flowerettes.

Now, add the curry powder to the bag of flowerettes, close the bag and toss again.

Here is what they looked like when seasoned properly.

Using an aluminum foil lined large baking sheet, place the cauliflower flowerettes cut side down evenly on the pan as shown.   Bake the cauliflower at 400’F for ~20-25 minutes until the cut side of the flowerettes are brown and caramelized.



Grilled Asparagus

Grilled Asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto

Grilled Lemons


1/2 Lb. Prosciutto

2 Lbs. Asparagus

Olive Oil Spray

Wash your asparagus well and remove the tough woody end of the stalk using a sharp knife.

Tear the Prosciutto into strips as shown above and wrap the individual asparagus stalks with the Prosciutto.

Place the wrapped asparagus onto a grill basket and close to hold the asparagus in place.

Spray the asparagus with olive oil, and place the basket on a medium heated grill.

Once the Prosciutto starts to brown and become crispy, turn the basket over and cook the other side… about 8 minutes.  Watch for hot spots on your grill and move the basket accordingly to not overcook the asparagus.


Unclamp the grill basket and remove the wrapped asparagus.


Here, we made some asparagus that was dressed with olive oil and dusted with some lemon pepper seasoning.


Clamp the basket together and cook the same way you did the Prosciutto wrapped ones.

Spray with olive oil and re-season with more lemon pepper if needed.  Cut three lemons in half and place the cut side down on the grill.  Leave in place for about six minutes to obtain nice grill marks.  Remove and use the lemon cuts to decorate your fish or asparagus platter.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the salmon and asparagus for a great fresh citrus taste.


Brodie manning the grill!!! 

I am so proud of how well he is using his immense skills to cook very challenging foods.

TIP: If you don’t have a grilling basket, you can use a cookie drying rack instead.  The cookie racks wire mesh won’t allow the asparagus to fall through the grill grates.

Here are the grilled lemon halves with nice grill marks!


Blackened Salmon


1 Lb. of Salmon Fillets

8 Tbsp. butter- melted

3-4 Tbsp. Blackened Seasoning – We used both Old Bay’s and Cajun’s Choice brand of blackened seasoning.

I melted the butter in a large pan on the side burner on my grill.

Here are the thin salmon fillets, which work best when blackened.

Brodie is removing some scales he found.


Remove the butter to slightly cool before placing the fillets in it.  This is because you don’t want the butter to cook the salmon.


Place the meat side of the fillet in the just warm butter first, then flip the fillet over as shown.

Heavily season the fillet with the blackened seasoning and use a brush to push it onto the fillet.

Place an ungreased cast iron skillet onto your grill and turn on the flame all the way up on all burners and close the lid.  Let the grill heat to its highest temperature… about 10 minutes.  Place your salmon fillet meat side down onto the cast iron skillet for about 2 minutes.

Close the lid and let the burners, still set on high, cook the fillet.

Sprinkle the skin side of the fillet with your blackened seasoning.

After about two minutes, using tongs, turn the salmon fillet over onto a new hot spot of your skillet and close the lid.

Just look how great that seasons adhered to the fish!

After another minute or two, remove the fillet from the pan and repeat the butter and cooking steps with your other fillets.

The fillets look burnt, but that is really the seasoning cooking giving the salmon that great blackened taste!  Let the salmon rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to return to the center of the meat.  These fillets were better than any restaurant could make.


Ribeye Steaks

(Compliments of Mackenzie’s Parents)

Bring the steaks to room temperature before grilling. 

Following the steps below, cook the steaks to Medium Well!

Top the steaks with your favorite steak grilling seasoning.  We like to use McCormick’s Montreal  Seasoning, Weber’s Chicago Steak, and Weber’s Roasted Garlic and Herb.

Heat the grill to a very high heat and close the lid.  Let the grill sit for about 5 minutes.

Once the grill grates are highly heated, turn down the temperature slightly and place the steaks onto the grates.

After two minutes, turn the steaks at a 45 degree angle and place them on a new hot section of the grill.  This makes great grill marks.  After another two minutes turn the steaks over and place them onto a new section on the grill and let them cook for another two minutes.  You place the steaks on new sections of the grill grates, as they are very hot and will make those grill marks everybody likes.  After those two minutes are up, turn the steaks at a 45 degree angle and place them on another hot section of the grill.  Grill for another two minutes then remove the steaks from the grill and let them rest for at least 10 minutes to let the juices return to the center of the meat.  This will make the steaks nice and juicy.

These steaks tuned out Medium Well and very tender as planned!

NOTE:  I told Gordon that I wish that he had grilled a bunch of grape tomatoes to place all around the meat and I believe that would have made a nice presentation and even added a nice flavor.


Mackenzie’s Birthday Cake

Happy Birthday!


Julie and Gordon and Brodie, of course.  🙂






Pork, Sausage and Mustard

Pork, Sausage and Mustard

        Welcome to Pork, Sausage and Mustard From the Kitchen of……. Gordon and Julie Today, we will be making MUSTARD, and lots of it! At this writing we are in the middle of a pandemic, the Coronavirus/Covid 19. Gordon and I decided…

From The Smith House to The Whann House, For Easter

From The Smith House to The Whann House, For Easter

        The Smith House History Cookbook (Only in the south do you find teaspoons.  Especially in silverware sets.) —————————————————– Easter, 1970 Me, my little brother Johnny and my mother, Mary Keith in our front yard in Dahlonega, Georgia. (Although my mother does…

Breakfast With Brodie and Mackenzie

Breakfast With Brodie and Mackenzie






Good Morning

Welcome to Breakfast with Brodie and Mackenzie

 We have a few menu items you might enjoy.


Bagel and Lox


One Bagel (I use the Everything or Egg style bagels.)

Smoked Salmon

(I use Fresh Market’s Nova Bits which are like trimmings that’s half the price as the regular and still delicious)

Red Onion, sliced

Dill Sprigs

The Juice of 1 Lemon

1 Tbsp Capers

Plain Cream Cheese

Salt & Pepper

Tomato optional

First toast your bagel then allow it to cool down. This will help make spreading the cream cheese over the bagel easier. Spread the cream cheese in an even layer. Then take your capers and embed them into the cream cheese layer. (I use a fork to sprinkle the capers and press them into the cream cheese.) Then add a layer of red onion slices or rings. At this point I may add a slice of tomato. Now lay down a generous layer of smoked salmon.  Add as much dill on top as you like (it’s hard to overdo the dill so I add a lot).  Add salt and pepper and lemon juice. Indulge. This dish is one of our all time favorites.


Brodie and Mackenzie


Up Next!

Steak and Eggs with Mushroom Gravy and Hash Brown Patties


Brodie and Mackenzie, Recreating One of Their Favorite Breakfast’s from IHOP

Gordon and I, Julie, are doing the write up for them.  They love cooking, they love the photography, they love the eating, just not the write-up’s.  🙂  So, that is where we come in.

Brodie and Mackenzie, Cooking

Mackenzie Does the Note Taking

While in lockdown due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, Brodie and Mackenzie were missing some of their favorite restaurant foods so they decided to create this one.


Here are the ingredients for the steak marinade. 

Marinade the steaks overnight for best results.

4 Drops Vanilla Extract

2 Tbsp. Heinz 57 Sauce

4 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

4 Tbsp. A1 Sauce

1/2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup

1 Shake of Powdered Cinnamon

1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 Tbsp. Molasses

1/4 Cup Sliced Onion

2 Garlic Cloves chopped

For the Gravy:

2 Portobello Mushroom Caps Chopped into chunks

1 Onion Chopped into chunks

3 – 4 Tbsp. Butter


Pictured are the ingredients they used.

Gordon, Brodie and Mackenzie is Taking Notes

Mix all the ingredients in a large seal-able container large enough to hold your steaks.



Here I am helping out and Brodie is taste testing the mix. 

Add any of the above marinade ingredients to suit your taste.

Add your chopped onions and garlic cloves to the marinade.

Mix all the ingredients well with a whisk.

Add your steaks to the marinade and coat them well with it. 

Place in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning, remove your steaks and shake off any excess marinade back to the container as it will be used later.  Blot the steaks dry using a paper towel.

See how the marinade penetrated the steak giving it a beautiful brown color?  Brodie did a great job in making the steak dry.  This is key as a dry steak will cook better than a wet one.  Wet steaks cooked in a pan tend to boil and steam in its own juices where as a dry steak will sear and brown in the pan.

Here they used a strainer to separate the onion and garlic from the other liquid ingredients of the marinade.

Here are the large Portobello mushroom caps they used for the gravy.  Clean the mushroom by either using a paper towel to remove the dirt or quickly run them under running water.

Hash Brown Ingredients:

3 Potatoes shredded

3-4 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Mackenzie Shredding Potatoes

Shred your potatoes into a container.

Here are the eggs, one of the mushroom caps, which when cleaned, took off the outer layer of the mushroom… it happens!

The glorious Onion!

Strain your shredded potatoes using a cheesecloth to get out most of the moisture.  You will be surprised how much moisture is in a potato.

Sparky, Spooky and Barefoot Brodie

Slicing Onions

Add your oil to a large cast iron pan and heat to medium high heat.

When the pan is at temperature, form about 1/3 Cup of your shredded potatoes into patties.  Carefully place the patty into the heated oil.

Here they were able to place four patties into the pan.

Using a spatula, flip the patties over when browned to your liking.

Mackenzie Flipping the Hash Browned Patties

Nice color on those hash browns!  When they have finished cooking, place the hash browns onto a paper towel lined plate to catch the excess oil.  Salt and pepper them to taste.


Chop your onions and mushroom caps into chunks and saute them in 3 to 4 Tbsp. butter in a large pan.

Saute the onions until they become translucent.

Using a cast iron grill pan turned onto medium high heat, pan sear your steaks.

Cook the steaks to your liking.  Medium cooked steak will take about 7 min. cooking on both sides.  This also depends upon how thick your steaks are.

Cooking Tip:  To test your steaks, using your finger and pushing down on the steak, if it has a little give, it is likely at Medium Well.  The more give the steak has, the less it is cooked.

Using a strainer, strain out the onions and garlic used in the marinade and place the marinade liquid into a small sauce pan.

Heat the sauce to medium heat to slightly reduce the liquid.

Place the onions and garlic used in the marinade into the saute pan of mushrooms and onions and cook them until tender.

When all your onions, mushrooms, and garlic are tender, add your reduced marinade liquid to the pan and cook until all the ingredients are to a gravy consistency.

Sparky and Spooky are Hungry

Here, Brodie is turning the steaks as the gravy is cooking.  See the sear marks the steaks have because they were dry when they went into the pan!


Add some oil to a small saute pan and heat it to medium heat.  When the pan’s oil has come up to temperature, add your egg to the pan and cook until the egg white is done, leaving the yolk slightly runny.  This will take only a few minutes to cook.


Serve your hash browns, steak and gravy, and eggs on a plate and enjoy!

Have a Nice Day!

Brodie and Mackenzie

(And Gordon and Julie)  🙂






        Dessert, Anyone? I made a Fruit Salad yesterday and I was just fixing to spoon some over a nice Pound Cake I bought. Would you care to join me? ———————————————————–   There is nothing prettier to me in the Spring and…

Santa’s Elves Kitchen Favorites

Santa’s Elves Kitchen Favorites

    Merry Christmas   Hello My name is Julie and I am 59 years old.  I first met Santa when I was 2 year’s old at Riches Department Store in Atlanta, Georgia and I’ve been a big fan ever since. Gordon and I have…

Rise and Shine

Rise and Shine





Good Morning!

Rise and Shine!

Is Everybody Hungry?  Juice?  Coffee? 

Oh, I know, how about our:

Whole Wheat Heaven and Heat Breakfast Muffins?

Don’t they smell absolutely delicious?

If you’d like the recipe scroll down the post.


Our Rise and Shine Kayaker’s Breakfast

We also have this breakfast treat for any morning occasion.  We just happened to have made these one morning before a kayaking expedition to Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida.

Quick, Easy, and Delicious!

(See Recipe Down Below)


Also try our:

Sausage and Quiche Egglet’s


(Recipe Down Below)


First Up:

Whole Wheat Heaven and Heat Breakfast Muffins


(We did double this recipe because we wanted to freeze several of them for future breakfast’s.  We do have a single batch listed here in the ingredients.)

The Ingredients:

2 3/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour (You can use White All Purpose Flour.)

2 Tbsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. ground Cayenne Pepper

1 tsp. ground Sweet Paprika

1 tsp. Homemade Hungarian Paprika (optional)

1 tsp. Fine Ground Himalayan Pink Salt

1 tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper

1 Tbsp. Ground Turmeric

3/4 Cup Whole Milk

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil

3 Eggs

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Medium Red Onion – Diced

3/4 Bell Peppers – Red, Orange, Green – Diced

3/4 Cup Feta Cheese

2 Cups Spinach – Chopped

Pancetta, Italian Bacon – Medium Sliced

Preheat your oven to 375′ F. 

Again, we doubled the recipe, which is why some of the portions look larger than they should be.


In a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients.

Add your flour…


….then your baking soda, cayenne pepper, and Himalayan Pink Salt.


Then add your Turmeric


In another bowl, combine your wet ingredients starting with the milk.

Now add your vegetable oil.

And now your eggs.

(I hope we don’t confuse you but we did end up adding an additional egg to the batter later on in the recipe.  Keep reading down below and we will show you where.  But for now just use 2 eggs here for a single batch of this recipe.  OR, you could just go ahead and add all 3 eggs NOW.)

This was an experimental recipe for us which is why we decided to add more later on instead of now.

Whisk the wet ingredients together well and set aside.


Time for the Vegetables

Slice your red onion.


Also your bell peppers into small dice sized pieces.


Nice picture Julie!

(Thank you Gordon!)

Using a large saute pan, add your olive oil and turn to med. heat.


Here is a great picture of all the colorful vegetables we will use.


I vacuum sealed the pancetta shortly after I bought it.

When your olive oil is heated, add your red onions and bell peppers to the saute pan.