Every time I mention the name "Slumgulean," people give me that puzzled look wondering what in the world I am talking about, and there is a story behind it and how it has been a part of my family for a long time. The answer to the question is that Slumgulean is a struggle meal; a poor man's breakfast/dinner that my grandma used to throw together in order to feed four boys and use up some ingredients that she had readily available.
Back in the day, my grandfather worked for Ekrich, delivering their product as a truck driver, and my grandparents would end up with a butt ton of sausage and balogna to eat throughout those years. One of the ways my grandma would fix smoked sausage would be to throw it into her Slumgulean and it would be stretched out with other ingredients that were inexpensive but nice and filling.
She would slice the sausage up and fry it along with the taters, add some other ingredients and round it off with some eggs, and boom! My father always spoke fondly of it and how he could never quite get it to taste just like hers... Hell, I can't ever get anything to taste just like my mom's, but that is because it differs from individual to individual, even if you think you added the exact measurement of each ingredient within the recipe.
I have had so many variations of this dish and have two or three favorite combinations of what is essentially a "garbage hash." It is not as unique as some might think, really, but it is special enough to me that I decided to write this blog post to honor my dad's original post on the old site, and to honor my grandma because she cooked with love. In fact, my dad had written his blog post right before the final crash of Foodie-zoo, and it would not sit well with me if I didn't say something about it.
It is true that my dad had a limited bank of recipes that he cooked and tasted awesome... He made the BEST home made bread, his biscuits were like fluffy little clouds, his beef stew and his chili were to die for, and his breakfasts were awesome. It was one way that him and I bonded, as I had bonded with mom over the stove too. When it came to the hash, he always brought grandma up and how hers was the best.
I don't remember the first time that he made it for me... I had always assumed he put his nasty, canned corned beef hash into it... You know, the stuff that looks like canned dog food and smells like it too? Yeah, so you can probably imagine that I wasn't even interested in trying it for the longest time. In fact, I refused to even look at it when I was a kid because of how my mind associated it with the stuff in the can.
I believe I was a teenager when I actually began to pay attention to some of the things that he cooked. The first things were his breakfasts, of course, and how he taught me that you do not need milk to make the perfect, soft scrambled egg that was still fluffy and tasty. I watched him throw various things into a pan, and I actually gave myself a chance to smell it and enjoy the aroma. When I tried it, I was in for a pleasant surprise... It was good... I mean, REALLY good.
Him and I would talk from over the counter since the kitchen at my mom's house is not that big, and he would tell me stories about grandma or grandpa, adventures in truck driving and such. There was a hilarious story about how grandpa would truck drive and smoke in his sleep, shifting gears with one hand and puffing on an invisible cigarette with the other. My dad would take a clothes pin and stick it between the forefinger and middle finger, and sure enough, Grandpa would "puff" on the clothes pin... We're talking about the round ones, not the ones with springs. I am sure if dad had done that one, there would have been hell to pay.
As it was, my grandpa would wake up with the clothes pin between his fingers and he would get mad and cuss.
My dad also told stories about my grandma and how she would knock people upside the head with a fireplace poker for cussing in her house. I guess that she was a spitfire while she was alive and she had all the respect in the world for it and for the fact that she was also the sweetest person alive when she wasn't provoked into being irate. I don't remember anything about her, I don't remember ever seeing her or cuddling her, but my dad explained to me that she loved my older sister and me to the moon and back, we were the apples of her eye because she had wanted granddaughters so badly after raising four boys. I wish I had gotten to be around her longer than three years because she had a wealth of things I could have learned from her, like quilting and knitting. I am happy to say that I at least have the legacy of her hash browns, even as insignificant as it may seem to others. It means the world to me to be able to connect with my grandma.
So if you are up in heaven listening to my thoughts as I type this blog post out, grandma, know that I am so glad to have a recipe to share with the world because you made one up.
Ingredients per two people:
2 TBSP Canola or Vegetable oil
1 TBSP Butter
6 oz of whatever meat you want (optional, I usually choose bacon if I have it, or breakfast sausage. I have seen dad use ham and smoked sausage before.)
1 potato of any size, shredded, sliced, or diced
1/8 cup of sliced or diced onion
1/8 cup bell pepper (Optional)
1 slice of whole wheat or white bread, torn into small pieces
Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic, rosemary, and paprika all to taste
1 egg. beaten
1 handful (About 1/2 cup) of cheese of choice (Optional)
I hope that this recipe makes you as happy as it has for three generations of my family. Maybe you will find yourself telling stories while cooking it in the future. It is a small bit of comfort in these days where we are uncertain as to whether we can safely feed our families and be able to put some nutrition in, even if it isn't what a fitness guru would call "healthy eats." The point is to line your belly when you are hungry, and this stuff is super filling and very delicious.
Have a good day, my friends and...
This post has a very special place in my heart. When I was a little girl, our family situation wasn’t the best; food was always provided even if it wasn’t ideal, and my dad wasn’t an easy man to live with. The good thing about memories is that, though there are plenty of bad ones to be had, there are always good ones… special ones.
It’s been established that dad didn’t do very well with some of his cooking, and I say that in the most endearing sense. Not all of his food was bad. He was really great at making an American breakfast (Pancakes, bacon and/or sausage, and eggs), he could also make a mean campfire chili or beef stew, and he made what our family calls Slumgolean Hash (which I can do a recipe for at another time.) But this blog post is not about any of those things.
This is about a beautiful memory that takes me back to one of the happier times we shared with dad. He made monkey bread from scratch and put a lot of love into it. It was like eating a cloud that was laced with just the right amount of sugar and cinnamon, the right amount of sticky glaze that was too yummy to use a napkin on. My dad made the best monkey bread I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.
I remember how proud he was of the bread and how he laughed with his joy at how his children were delighted in this pastry. It was something we gathered around just one time that I can remember, but it did define part of my childhood with a good and beautiful memory.
I have had other monkey bread throughout the years; GOOD monkey bread, at that, but nothing that has ever taken me back to that memory. It took hearing the sound of my niece, Al’s daughter, to call out, “Monkey bread” to spark that memory full on, though Al is the one who made it.
As soon as the idea popped into my head, I opened up my cook books and began to look for the perfect base recipe to work off of. I needed an idea on what ingredients were involved and how much to put in. It happened to be in my Better Homes and Gardens cook book (if you do not have that one, you should get one as it is a legacy). It wasn’t even a monkey bread recipe, but rather, a cinnamon roll recipe.
My brain went into excitement mode for the things I could take out and replace, or add to it to make it better. I want to be taken back to that first bite, to hearing my father laugh the way he used to, because it was to him who I owe my cooking passion.
Fair warning, this is a time consuming recipe but totally worth the effort. This is also not diet food, though you can use sweeteners to lower the amount of sugar you use. Just follow the conversions as needed, usually the sweetener bags will have them. They are also widely available on the web.
Variation #1 with an adult twist
Variation #2, Blood Orange Cranberry
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon or so Blood Orange zest
1 teaspoon fresh (grated with micro plane) or ground ginger
¼ cup softened, unsalted butter
½ cup blood orange juice soaked dried cranberries
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
A dash of ground ginger
1-2 Tablespoons Blood Orange Juice
(You can use any orange if you are not fond of blood oranges)
Serving this bread warm is the best way to eat it, and you don’t need a knife and fork to do so. You can pick at the nuggets like a monkey would pick.
I chose to make the adultified version, and just so you know? The rum icing is A-Okay! I don’t think I added enough salt to the dough itself, but that is my error, not the recipe. It was still fluffy but dense like raisin bread, as opposed to your traditional cinnamon bun.
I adore monkey bread and the memories it brings. Share this bread with your children (or at least the rumless variety) and watch their faces light up with joy. Maybe you could even have your little ones help you out with making the bread so you can create memories of your own. If you don’t have kids, you can still make it and have fun in the process. The point is, you should do it because you want to and to experience the joy that it can bring.
For me, I will forever cherish the stolen moments that are branded into my memory that can come flying back into my head at the sound of its name, or the flavor of the dish. I hope that I do justice to one of my dad’s very favorite things to make! And with that I say...
Yesterday was grand, a quiet Thanksgiving spent at home with my husband. I had a chance to contemplate many things that I am thankful for. My list is quite long, so here are a few things: I am thankful for my husband, who has been a cornerstone for me in the rough times of illness. I am grateful for my family and friends who have been patient and understanding, and stuck by me even when I was grumpy. I am grateful to have a roof over my head, food to fill my belly, and clothing on my back. And finally, I am grateful for being able to write these blog posts for my friends and new readers, who drive me to keep going when sometimes it's very hard for me to do so. Thank you all.
This year, I finally got to give my husband a feast made by me for Thanksgiving. I know it's not just about the food, but food is a good chunk of it and it was important to me that I get to do this special thing for Bruce. Add to that, but I saw an opportunity to develop some recipes for this blog and test them out. I have at least four recipes, maybe five, that I am going to share with you in no certain order. I have plenty of material to work with that, depending on how I feel, I will be able to share them with you at least once a week or so. Plus I have two other blogs planned involving my readers, and one about pantries.
I decided that this year, I would prep for two or three days before the big day... I must say that it was probably the best thing I could have done for myself. I had almost everything at the ready by the time Thanksgiving rolled around, and it was the easiest Thanksgiving I have ever dealt with! I made at least twelve things, two of which were unplanned. My challenge to myself was to use as many ingredients as I could that I already had on hand, and spend as little money as possible for the rest. I spent around $25 when the whole feast was worth at least $60, if not more.
Here was my menu (Recipes planned for the blog**):
Turkey with gravy
Pumpernickel and Walnut Stuffing**
Classic Green Bean Casserole
Roasted Squash and Seeds
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Italian Cheeses
Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes with Bacon and Scallions, garnished with fried potato skins**
Cranberry Apple Relish**
Sweet Potato Cheesecake with Marshmallow Mousse**
Pecan Pie (Frozen, not going to lie.)
Home Made Bread Rolls
Today's recipe is going to be the mashed potatoes. I ended up loving this one the most out of everything! They were creamy and delicious, with a nice tangy note from the goat cheese, and they held up well to the gravy. I also plan on making a leftover reboot out of this one because I can't stand eating leftovers with the same flavors day in and day out.
Fair warning, there are lots of steps/dishes involved, and these spuds are rich and decadent (aka, not a diet food). I will include lighter options in the notes. With that in mind, proceed :)
MISE EN PLACE
Everything in place
I have a few more recipes up my sleeve for you, and I hope you enjoy this one in fellowship with your friends or family. If you have any comments or questions, do let me know! Feel free to send me pictures of your creations using my recipe as a base. I would love to post your pictures and shout you out.
Back when I was a little snot, my mom used to make cheesy potatoes, which, of course, was a hit. That is... unless she called them "au gratin," which would cause my sisters and I to recoil with horror and yell out, "ALL ROTTEN POTATOES! EEEEEWWW!!" Seriously, we thought our mom was talking about rotten potatoes, so she started calling them Cheesy Potatoes, which other people call them too. Later in life, she told me the story of how we used to react and I still find it amusing to this day. In fact, yesterday when I took my taters to potluck, I had to laugh because my brother in law teased me and called them "Potato's All Rotten," and I explained that was what I used to call them. Apparently, it has been a nickname through many generations where kids would call them "All Rotten" and such, at least in our family!
Now, I don't make these very often because peeling almost a whole, 3 lb bag of potatoes for this can be tedious... Add to that, there is a lot of love you need to put in the dish. The dish is totally worth all the work, so every now and then I will get a bug up my butt to do it. This time, it just happened to be that I had an invitation to a potluck, pretty much last minute due to certain circumstances, and I didn't have money or time to plan something out. I had planned to make these potatoes for my birthday because I have been craving them, but I can do something else to go with that particular dinner.
We've all been there, last minute invitations or unexpected company coming over and you need to whip up something awesome but don't have cash or time to think. Potatoes are a pantry staple, and cheese... Well, I always have cheese, but I don't know about the rest of you. I told my husband that whatever cheese we had left (block and shredded) would be for this, and then the potluck came up.
I spent an hour on prepping and another hour at home just to bake, a half hour to set, lastly, another bit of time to heat back up (although, they would have tasted okay cold, just sayin'.) So I spent 3 hours making them, and they were nearly gone in fifteen minutes. I guess when taters are good, they are good!
Before I get to the recipe, let me warn you that although my recipe is reduced fat, it is still not diet food and you should proceed with full disclosure. Normally, they are made with heavy cream and butter, and my recipe does not use either, yet they are still pretty fantastic and rich enough without them that I am sure you wouldn't miss those things.
It's such a comfort food to eat, and it is one of those things that you know everyone will eat unless they can't do dairy. This dish is great to serve with pretty much any protein, and could even become a main dish when you add a protein. I would suggest bacon or ham, though roast beef would work lovely as would roast chicken. Broccoli would be awesome as a veggie to go in there (or cauliflower)... I am sure that peas would be pretty good too. It is up to you, really! With the richness of the cheese, you definitely won't miss the heavy cream and the butter if you are looking to cut at least a little bit of fat out. The great thing about potatoes is that they are better for diabetics to eat than bread and rice, though you still want to eat in moderation because of all that cheese.
I had a lot of fun serving this to my family last night and was delighted at how quickly it was eaten. I hope you enjoy this recipe too!
Happy Eating, my Foodies,
Oh, Canada... I thought you guys were nuts when I first saw Poutine becoming a trendy food, but then again? We have our weird things too... I mean, we do have sausage gravy and biscuits in America... It took me a long time to decide whether I wanted to make this dish or not, and obviously, my curiosity won out because, well, you see the picture above, don't ya?
I consulted one of my friends, Jake, who lives in Canada, just to make sure I got as close to traditional as I could. I had decided to make this when I saw cheese curds at Wally World. I was all excited, I planned this out for two months, and then I got to Wally World and the curds were gone. So I had to make due. I ended up using shredded cheese.
This was a fun dish to make, and pretty easy even if it takes time to do it. Of course, I made mine mostly from scratch. I will tell you this, you will not want to make a big batch for yourself, you'll want to start small because this dish is so filling, but so worth every bite of it.
I had so much fun eating this... It's super yummy! I suggest you try it the home made way before you go out and try them elsewhere or making them the short way with frozen fries and such. It is so fun! Enjoy this one, Foodies, and give a salute to Canada!
The Eccentric Foodie
Cooking bacon in the oven is the easiest way.
These are various recipes that either I created, or I found and adjusted to what I thought would be awesome or even healthier.