Nana’s Recipes: Fall Cocktails

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ctj71081, Flickr Creative Commons

Fall here in Texas is one of my favorite times of year y’all. The edge comes off the heat, the humidity rolls back…just a little bit, and you know the days will eventually get cooler. Another great thing about fall is the beginning of football season. Everyone knows how big High School, College, and yes even pro football is here in Texas. For those big-time fans that means tailgate season is here as well. So today I thought maybe we could talk about Fall Cocktails. They work especially well if you’re not as big a fan of the game as everyone else at the tailgater!

Apple Cider Mimosa

There’s something almost Martha Stewart-meets-Texas with this drink. You have that Northeastern apple cider flavor and I don’t know very many people down here who don’t enjoy a Mimosa. So here’s what you do: wet the rim of a champagne flute…or heck a keg cup will do…and then dip the rim into a sugar/cinnamon mixture (2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp cinnamon mixed together). Fill the glass about a quarter full of apple cider and top off the glass with champagne and enjoy the game!

Apple Pie Bourbon

Now lets mix together two great symbols of America: Apple Pie and Bourbon! This drink requires a little bit of dwell time so plan accordingly. What you do is get yourself a Mason jar and put a cup and a half of Bourbon in it. Then chop one green and one red apple and put the pieces in the jar. Add 4 cinnamon sticks, 3 sugar cubes, 1 slightly shaved nutmeg, and a one inch piece of fresh ginger and let it sit for two to four days. Yes, please taste it after 2 days to see if it is ready. Once it had achieved the level fall flavors you prefer, pour the bourbon through a strainer and into as many different glasses as folks you have whom you are willing to share it with. Then…enjoy!

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Nana’s Recipes: Ceviche!

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Gustavo Andrade/Flickr Creative Commons

As it gets hotter and hotter here in Texas, it’s only natural to think of meals that don’t require heating up the kitchen. Now the only thing better than not heating up the joint would be put put together a wonderful tasting south-of-the-border style meal so I thought today we could talk ceviche!

Ceviche is one of those classic Mexican seafood dishes that oddly enough requires no heat to cook! The secret is this: the lime juice cooks the shrimp for you. Shhhh! Don’t tell anybody. Let’s go!

You’ll need a couple pounds of decent sized shrimp, let’s say three pounds. Peel ’em, devein ’em, cut ’em into quarters and place them in the bottom of one of those glass baking dishes. Juice a half dozen or so limes and maybe 3-4 lemons then pour the juice over the shrimp. Put that dish in the fridge and let the juice work it’s magic for the next two hours. While the shrimp is “cooking” dice up four decent sized tomatoes, no need for seeds by the way. Also dice up a red onion, a couple serranos, a cucumber (peel it first), chop up a fistful of cilantro, and cube up an avocado.

Once the shrimp is “cooked”, throw all those ingredients plus the shrimp into a bowl and add a teaspoon of olive oil, salt and pepper (to your tastes) and then toss it all together. Once everything is good and mixed, put the bowl back in the fridge for an hour or so to let all the ingredients get good and friendly and it’s ready to eat! Granted it’s about 3 hours of fridge time to prepare this meal, but if you like do it the night before and leave overnight, it’ll be just as tasty. And it’ll be ready to go when you are! Speaking of which, when you’re ready to hit the road, hit us up at the website so we can help you get on your way with any parts or accessories you may require.

Nana’s Recipes: Tequila Drinks

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Summer is creeping up on us…kind of slowly this year, but never the less headed our way. The humidity is going to rise after all this blankety-blank rain we’ve been drowning in. You know it’s a wet year when you overhear farmers worrying about root rot and the cost of fungicide instead of the usual drought and pestilence talk. Anyway, the thought of a long hot and humid Texas summer got me thinking about cool refreshing tequila drinks, and there are a bunch of them. That aren’t margaritas.

Tequila Sunrise

Boy this is tasty. Pour an ounce and a half of your favorite tequila into a glass, then cut a lime in half. Squeeze out the juice from one of the halves into your glass, and add three quarters of an ounce of creme de cassis (which is a dark red, kind of sweetish liqueur made out of blackcurrants) and then top it off with club soda. Wonderful, refreshing tequila drink that isn’t a margarita.

Texas Two Step

This one is a for-real mixed drink, so it’ll probably require a trip to the store unless your RV has a fully stocked bar! And you’ll need that super cool James Bond cocktail shaker. So what you need to do is pour an ounce and a half of your favorite tequila into the shaker, add three quarters of an ounce of Texas Grapefruit Shrub, a quarter ounce of Pineapple juice, quarter ounce of Yellow chartreuse, a little wildflower honey, a couple drops of bitters, and a pinch of salt. Stir so the honey gets mixed in, then add ice and shake shake shake senora! Pour into a glass and enjoy!

These two not margaritas ought to do the trick for you folks that enjoy a sip of tequila from time to time. They’re easy to make, smooth to drink, and are thoroughly refreshing after a long hot Texas day!

Remember to swing by the website and say howdy, we’ll be glad to get you sorted!

Nana’s Recipes: Red or Green?

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stu_spivack/Flickr Creative Commons

Sometimes it can be the most difficult question of the day… Red or Green? Salsa that is. And that decision can totally change a meal in wonderful ways. Chicken enchiladas with verde (green to you non-Texans out there) sauce is sooo good, but that red sauce packs a punch too. So today I thought I’d pass along two simple salsa recipes you can make them yourself:

Red Salsa

  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes (medium size can)
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper
  • 1 Serrano pepper
  • handful of chopped purple onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • handful of chopped cilantro
  • 1 bag of your favorite chips

Heat skillet on stove (medium heat) with a couple drops of olive oil in it. Combine all the ingredients in the blender and puree for 5-6 seconds. Pour ingredients into skillet and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 45 minutes and stir every 15 or so. After 45 minutes, transfer to a bowl and set in the refrigerator until chilled. Serve and enjoy.

Green Salsa

  • 5-6 tomatillos
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 1 Serrano pepper
  • handful of chopped purple onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • handful of chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

First take the husks off the tomatillos, then place them in a pan with the lid on. Bring them to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes or so. Take them off the heat and let them cool in the water. Once they’re cool, take all the ingredients and puree them in a blender for 5-6 seconds. Now this is a recipe that you can make as thick or thin as you like, so feel free to add water if you need to to allow for a texture of your choice…but remember a little goes a long way so start small.

Speaking of texture, the puree times on the blender are just averages. If you like chunkier pico de gallo style salsas, then don’t puree as long! If you like finely pureed salsa, let the blender run an extra second or two. Once you’ve got them cooked and served, leave a comment in the section below and let us know: Red or Green?

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Nana’s Recipes: Gingerbread!

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Yun Huang Yong/Flickr Creative Commons

It seems like the weather may want to cool off these next few days. Sure the highs here in the Houston area will be in the 70s, but the nights will be in the 40s – kind of like parts of Oregon in August, ha! But since we’re creeping ever closer to Christmas and another big gathering with family and friends, I thought I’d pass on a very very tasty gingerbread recipe. The grandkids and I made some gingerbread cookies with this recipe over the weekend, and my goal of losing 10 pounds this year might have suffered some damage (only 15 pounds to go!). Anyhow, I found a great old-fashioned gingerbread recipe and here’s what you’ll need:

  • half cup of margarine
  • half cup of sugar
  • half cup of molasses
  • one egg yolk
  • 2 cups of sifted flower
  • half tsp of salt
  • one tsp baking powder
  • one tsp cinnamon
  • two tsp pumpkin spice
  • one tsp cloves
  • one cup hot water

Now, you may not have all this stuff, I certainly didn’t have any molasses on hand, but the grandkids pointed out that maple syrup is practically molasses so we used that. And it worked! So substitute what you have with what you need and make this recipe your own. It’s a very simple recipe, after all.

Put the butter, sugar, molasses/syrup and egg in a bowl and mix together while the oven is pre-heating to 350. Next, and in another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, ginger, pumpkin spice, cloves, salt, and cinnamon. Pour the sifted mixture in with the butter/sugar/syrup/egg mixture and add the hot water. Stir, and then pour into a buttered pan. Let it bake for an hour and poke it with a toothpick. When the toothpick comes out clean and dry, your gingerbread is finished!

Now comes the hard part… you need to let it cool in the pan before you start cutting it up and eating it. This drives the grandkids crazy because it smells AMAZING!

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Nana’s Recipes: Hot Toddies for Sore Throats

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Dinah Sanders/Flickr Creative Commons

Well folks, it’s that time of year you know. That special season when Texas REALLY still wants it to be summer, but winter peeks it’s nosy nose in our summery business so many times that we end up tanning one week and freezing the next! Ah autumn in Texas is truly a fickle affair. The end result, of course, is it becomes sore throat season. With all the pressure and temperature changes, plus adding in oak molting season, and the occasional camp fire when you can find a spot in non-fire restricted counties…it makes this time of year  Hot Toddy Season!

My grandfather used to swear by a small sip of bourbon with honey in it when his throat got achy. My grandmother of course used to say how funny she thought it was that he had a sore throat every night of his adult life! All joking aside, there’s something absolutely wonderful about a hot toddy when you’re feeling under the weather. It’s almost undefinable, like that bowl of chicken soup when you’re sick. Needless to say there are all kinds of recipes, the recipe in the photo at the top of this blog comes from the 1940’s and you’re welcome to try it. As a matter of fact please do! The recipe we’re going to use for today’s blog is an attempt to make a wonderful drink into useful medicine, so here’s what you’ll need:

  • a bag of your favorite herbal tea
  • 1 tbsp of your favorite honey
  • a shot of your favorite bourbon
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • oh yeah, you’ll need some hot water as well!

So relief is as easy as bringing the water to a boil, letting your tea bag steep for 10-15 minutes, adding in the honey and stirring, then adding the bourbon and squeezing the lemon juice. Sip yourself to feeling awesome! needless to say, enjoy this home remedy AFTER y’all have reached the campsite! And hit us up at PPL Motorhomes.com for anything you might need!

Nana’s Recipes: Armidale Club Drink

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aussiejeff/Flickr Creative Commons

We’ve done a fair bit of recipes here on the blog. A lot of them are Tex Mex or dishes that are pretty specific to Texas and the Southwest. It dawned on me that we haven’t really done too many drink recipes; we did the Margarita one a few months back, but no real mixed drinks recipes, so I thought today we could talk about a couple very simple drink recipes for a nice sip in the evening after a long hot Texas day. A friend of mine does some fairly extensive international traveling, so I asked him what the best drinks he’s come across while out traveling that’ll work on a hot day or a cold one and here’s what he said:

“Best any day drink? How about one from Australia? Tastes awesome on a hot day and super simple to make.

“A few years ago I was in rural New South Wales and it was “hot as,” which is what the Aussies say, and I visited this old-school social club that looked like it was a time capsule from the late 50’s called The Armidale Club. The staff and locals were very welcoming and after a day or two I felt like a regular. During a slow moment on a Friday night, the bar manager asked me to make up a name and she’d invent a drink around it so I said, “Bulgarian Motorboat” and the next thing I knew I was drinking this amazingly awesome warm weather drink! She showed me how to make it so I could have them when I was back home and think of Armidale, Australia. Here’s how you do it:

  • a shot of Honey Bourbon
  • a shot of Butterscotch Schnapps
  • add a dash or two of bitters, and pour over ice
  • garnish with a lemon rind
  • use a splash of water to thin it down if it’s too thick for your taste

“It tasted so good, when I walked through the door there was a Motorboat waiting on the counter about 5 minutes later, and it ended up on the menu!”

Needless to say, drink responsibly. I’ve tried this drink while watching the sunset out at Matagorda and I can sure tell you it’s a great sundowner! Visit us at the website and allow us to help you with any parts or accessories you may need!

Nana’s Recipes: Skillet Burgers!

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Steven Depolo/Flickr Creative Commons

Ever notice there was a subtle change, probably back in the 1980’s, from “weather man” to “meteorologist”? Like putting “-ologist” at the end would make us think they actually knew how hot or cold it was going to be tomorrow. And besides, they don’t study meteors. The point of my little rant is this: WHERE THE HECK IS AUTUMN, Y’ALL? We’ve had no rain, a bunch of wildfires, and record setting heat this October, but in the spirit of “build it and they will come,” today I am going to tell you folks about one of my favorite fall meals in the RV: grilling a burger in a skillet!

To me these taste better than the finest dive bar/greasy spoon/bowling alley hamburgers you’ve ever eaten. Why? Because you put all that stuff in that you like! Here’s what you do:

Put a for-real, old-school, like-your-grandma-used-to-have IRON skillet on the stove and set over medium heat. Slap a pat of butter on that skillet. While the skillet heats up, grab yourself a hunk of ground sirloin and make a hamburger patty. I like to add black pepper and cumin to mine, and try to make the patty about the size of your hamburger buns. Once the butter has melted down and the skillet is up to temperature, toss the hamburger buns onto the skillet face down to toast (doesn’t take very long so keep an eye out). Once the buns are toasted, slap that patty on the skillet and let one side sear for 5-10 seconds before flipping the burger to sear the other side. Then let cook in the normal way to the level of done-ness you prefer. If you want fries with that, you probably should have started baking some Ore-Ida fries in the over about 15 minutes before you started on the hamburger. If you want potato chips with that, as luck would have it it only takes a second to open a bag! Once the patty is cooked how you like it,  place it on a plate with a paper towel on it and pat the excess grease off. This way the bun doesn’t soak it all up and get REAL messy! Add condiments, and chow down! You’re welcome! Now go take a nap!

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Nana’s Recipes: Mint Chocolate Hot Toddy

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Mike Kniec/Flickr Creative Commons

Well y’all, I feel like I might need to give ol’ Mother Nature a swift kick what with summer overstaying its welcome and all. So after drinking one of these by the campfire out at Matagorda over the weekend, it was just too good not to share… and maybe Mother Nature will pay heed and send us firmly into fall. Finally.

So here is an awesome drink to have out by the campsite. Just imagine a clear night and the stars are out doing their twinkly business. Maybe you still have some crickets, maybe it’s still warm enough for tree frogs, but either way there is some sort of wonderful night music of the animal kind. You’ve gathered together a few good friends maybe even some of the family member you enjoy being around, and y’all have all enjoyed your day and now it’s time to set awhile and relax. The evening is crisp, the fire is snapping away and somebody brings you a warm mug of THIS: a mint chocolate hot toddy! Holy moly y’all, this is what cool evenings were invented for!! It’s like a 21 and over Blue Bell drink! Here’s what you need:

  • a packet of regular old hot cocoa
  • water or milk, however you like it, 6oz or so
  • an ounce of your favorite Irish Cream
  • an ounce of your favorite Peppermint Schnapps
  • those little marshmallows if that’s your thing
  • a cinnamon stick if that’s your thing, or a pinch of cinnamon powder

Make the cocoa the way you usually do, then stir in the rest. If you like that fall spice flavor, add the cinnamon! This stuff is so easy to make it’s ridiculous. Now all you need to do is sit awhile, enjoy your evening, warm your hands on the mug, and warm your insides with the drink. 100% win, all ’round!

 

Nana’s Recipes: BBQ Sauce

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vxla/Flickr Creative Commons

As a mighty proud native Texan, I sing the praises of this place and what we’re about near every day. One of those things I feel all us Texans can feel justifiably proud of is the exceptional quality, and variety, of BBQ we have on offer here in the Lone Star state. Some of you newcomers may have not realized yet, but BBQ used to have a fairly regionalized flavor, from the mesquite-soaked meals down in South Texas to the sauce slathered plates over in the piney woods. But today I’m gonna give y’all one of my favorites styles of Pure Texas BBQ Sauce.

Some folks feel that true Texas BBQ sauce should be painted on with a brush and not shaken out of a bottle, so this recipe is for thick ‘n spicy sauce! You’ll need the following:

  • a can of beef broth
  • one tbsp of  Worcestershire sauce
  • one tbsp soy sauce
  • quarter cup of mustard
  • half cup of molasses
  • a couple tbs of sugar
  • a beef cube
  • a tsp thyme
  • a tsp of sage
  • a tsp each of salt and pepper
  • two tsps chili powder
  • a tsp of red pepper flakes
  • a tsp each of parsley and paprika
  • a tsp of seasoning salt
  • 2 tbsp of onion powder
  • a couple tsp of garlic powder
  • a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar
  • a can of tomato past
  • for a smoky flavor, add a tbsp of liquid smoke

It sounds like a lot, but it is very simple to make once you have gathered and measured out all the ingredients. First, add the tomato paste and all the liquid ingredients into the pot and stir it briskly to blend it all together. Then add in the rest of the ingredients as you stir. Simmer if on low heat for an hour and a half or so, and then taste. You can tweak the flavor to suit at this point. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, add some sugar. If it’s too thick for your tastes, add a little beer to thin it out. Just remember, when you’re adding changes, make them very small. Stir them in and then re-taste.

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