Chicken Enchiladas

I have made this recipe for MANY years.  The copyright on the book is 1971 and I think I bought it not long after.  It is appropriately named The Mexican Cookbook  and features photos of people and places in Mexico as well as their personal recipes.  I love it.

My favorite has always been the chicken enchiladas.  Making them first introduced me to the spice, cumin.  That spice aroma always signifies classic Mexican food to me.  I know it can be found in other culture’s cuisine but it distinctly reminds me of all things Mexican.

I have been to Mexico twice.  Once when I was in high school and our Spanish club went to Mexico City on a bus. I still remember much of that trip due to the scary-crazy driver we had. We were lucky to have made it home.  And the second time I went was with friends to Cancun. That trip was made memorable because I was relentlessly teased because I wouldn’t drink the water and even brushed my teeth with canned soft drinks or the little juice boxes I brought along.  But after we got home and most of my travelling companions got nasty intestinal bugs from their teeth brushing and water drinking, I was no longer the butt of their jokes.  I guess it was a small price to pay.

Stay true to your convictions!  Juice boxes rule!


Enchiladas Acapulco

12 small tortillas and oil for frying


1 quart chicken broth

6 tablespoons mild chile powder (I cut it back to  two tablespoons)

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons cornstarch in 4 tablespoons water

Bring first 5 ingredients to boil.  Add cornstarch, then boil 1 minute.


3 cups cooked chicken, shredded

3/4 cup black olives, sliced (I only used these as a garnish on top)

3/4 cup blanched almonds, sliced

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded plus additional cheese for top

1/2 cup sauce

Heat ingredients in 2 tablespoons butter (my chicken was already hot so I did not do this step)


Fry tortillas quickly on both sides in hot oil.  Drain and keep warm in a covered casserole.  Dip tortillas in warm sauce, put 1/3 cup of filling across each one and roll tightly.  Place side by side in a lightly greased  pan.  Sprinkle additional cheese and a few tablespoons sauce over enchiladas.  Heat in 350 degree oven 10 minutes.  Serve with remainder of sauce, sour cream,and sliced green onions.  (This is not a spicy-hot recipe however you can add red pepper or hot sauce to the sauce to make it so.)

Here’s a photo journey to help you create your own Enchiladas Acapulco. You can see the cute little cookbook in the background.  It’s a keeper.


The filling should be moist but not runny.


Next fry the tortillas in oil.  It doesn’t take much oil and it  helps to start the cooking process for the tortillas.


Add 1/3 cup filling to the tortillas after they have been dipped in the sauce. If you put the olives in the filling, you will have a heaping 1/3 cup, otherwise it is a regular 1/3 cup.


Roll up in place in a pan.  Add a bit more sauce and extra cheese. Bake for about 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.


I served mine with “Fakeritas” (non alcoholic margaritas) and garnished with olives and sour cream.



Snow Report

We didn’t get much snow.  Just enough to be pretty and entertain the animals.


Both the cat and dog love the cold and snow.  I let them run around in it before too many people were out and about.  Chupa is not even remotely under voice control but I wanted to let him run free a bit without a leash. He can strike terror in your heart if he starts chasing and barking at you.


He’s cute but vigilant in his defense of the yard.


A little dusting on these beautiful green leaves.


It has started snowing again since I’ve been putting this post together but you’re just going to have to imagine it a little frostier.  My journalistic integrity begs me to inform you of this change in condition but it isn’t strong enough to make me go out and take more photos.


I recently bought this cake mix on sale at Sam’s Club.  You know it’s cheap when it’s on sale AND at Sam’s Club. I usually bake everything from scratch but I do like peppermint and chocolate together so I thought I’d risk the 2 bucks and give it a try. We like the Krusteaz waffle mix for quick breakfasts so I didn’t figure it was too risky of a purchase.


The cake was typical of a mix.  I added water, one egg, and a stick of butter.  The peppermint glaze was included although I crushed two peppermint candies and sprinkled them around for more color.  I thought they would look artsy.  They just look messy.


Another view.  Still messy. Maybe a little bit artsy.


The best picture of all is this one because I’m about to eat the first slice. Perfect with cocoa for a chilly morning treat. Hope you are enjoying your frosty day.




Red Oak Creek Covered Bridge

I have lived within 30 miles of the Red Oak Creek covered bridge for the past 25 years and didn’t know it was there until last Sunday.  We went back to Warm Springs to eat at The Bulloch House. We got to eat upstairs this time.  As a point of clarification, this isn’t the original Bulloch House.  The original 1893 house burned down in June.  They reopened in December on the main street of Warm Springs.


On the way home we followed the signs to this covered bridge.


I was hoping to see Clint Eastwood lurking about or even better yet, his cutie actor son, Scott Eastwood.  I guess since I’m not in Madison County, all I saw was another group of tourists.


Red Oak Creek bridge is the oldest and longest covered bridge in Georgia so I learned. Looking at the picture, you might think Heaven is on the other side.


I also learned it was put together with wooden pegs.


And that was my little Discover America trip for the day. I wonder what else I’m living within 30 miles of that I don’t know about.  Makes me want to find out!

Big Mac or Big Mack?

Can you tell which one is the Big Mac and which one is the Big Mack?

Choice A  or


Choice B?


We used the Home and Family Top Secret Copycat Recipe and had a taste test.

Big Mac Copycat Sauce Recipe
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon onion powder
Ingredients for Hamburger
  • 14 ounces ground beef (20 percent fat)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 sesame seed hamburger buns, plus 4 additional heels (bottom bun)
  • 8 teaspoons finely minced white onion
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped iceberg lettuce
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 8 to 12 dill pickle hamburger slices


1. Mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, then cover and chill the sauce until it’s needed.

2. Use a kitchen scale to measure out 1  3⁄4-ounce portions of the ground beef and form it into balls (or estimate making balls that are slightly bigger than golf balls). Press into patties and cover and  place them into your freezer for one hour.

3. Pre-heat a griddle or large skillet to medium/low heat.

4. Slice a thin layer off of the bottom of each of the extra bun heels. These will be your center buns, or clubs.

5. Lightly brown the faces of all of the buns (both sides of the club) on the hot griddle or pan.

6. When the buns are browned, cook the beef patties on the hot griddle or pan for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper on each patty as they cook.

7. While the beef is cooking prepare each sandwich by spreading a couple teaspoons of sauce on the face of the bottom bun and on one side of the club bun.

8. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of onion on top of the sauce on each bun, followed by about 1⁄4 cup of chopped lettuce.

9. Lay a slice of American cheese on the lettuce on the bottom bun, and 2 to 3 pickles on the lettuce on the club bun.

10. Arrange a beef patty on the cheese, and another one on the pickles, then place the club bun onto the bottom bun and top off the sandwich with the crown. Microwave on high for 15 seconds to warm and soften the buns.

Super Secret Sauce


 The Big Mack is choice…A.

It was actually very good.  It tasted a lot like the original and I would even say a little better.  We’ve decided to keep this in the rotation.  I bought more sesame seed buns tonight and they are safely residing in the freezer for our next Big Mack Attack!

Kitchen Counters

I have been busy over the last few days decluttering my kitchen countertops.  Whenever I’m done I always wish that I had taken a “before” picture but when I start my clean up I am always too embarrassed to ever show the level of clutter to which I have shamefully sunk, so I don’t!

Here is the after of my counters.  Gone are the bags of dog and cat food, container of grits, large Sam’s club containers of seasoning, set of batteries, small Christmas tree, stack of bills, etc., etc.


I put out the two cutting boards I imprinted last November at the lake crafting weekend.


I also put out the flavored olive oil we made, too.5

I cleared off the baking center I have and made a new container of rolling pins. I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it would be great for mine, too.  I have several that I use and then I went to an antique store and found a few more.  I love this idea.   I also put out my pie weights into an old Mason jar.  I love the color of the jar but I’m not sure I will keep it out.  I think I will need more elbow room for when I roll out my pie crusts.



Finally, I purchased a cart for my LeCreuset.  I had been keeping them on my stovetop because the pots are too heavy for my drawers. I have drawers instead of cabinets for my pots and pans. This cart fit perfectly in this little corner of the kitchen.


There you have it.  Don’t even think about messing it up or leaving anything on the counters. I’m watching you!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Salisbury Steak

Shakespeare and Salisbury steak don’t have anything in common except that I went to a play today and ate Salisbury steak for supper.

Shakespeare’s Tavern in Atlanta came to our school district and put on the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  They were excellent performers. In this scene Nick Bottom is being pursued by Titania.


Then on a completely unrelated note, I made Salisbury Steak for dinner.  Poor sophisticated Davis was hoping for real steak.


But he sampled the entree with gusto.  (Again, you see what I mean about never being serious for a photo.  See yesterday’s post here.) (And no, he doesn’t eat with his napkin in his shirt except when a camera is pointing at him and he can antagonize me with his poor home training.)


I tried this recipe from a Taste of Home cookbook.  I forgot to add the water so my sauce is a little thicker than yours would be.  Always read your recipe clear through first, so they say.


Salisbury Steak

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish sauce

1 egg

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon salt (I used less)

dash pepper

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a small bowl, combine the soup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and horseradish.  Set aside.  In another bowl lightly beat the egg.  Add the breadcrumbs, onion, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup soup mixture.  Crumble beef over the mixture and mix well. Shape into 6 patties.  In a large skillet, brown the patties in oil, drain.  Combine remaining soup mixture with water.  Pour over the patties.  Cover and cook over low heat 10-15 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.  Remove patties to a serving platter.  Serve sauce with meat.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Our dinner tonight mashed potatoes, turnip greens, succotash, and good old broccoli.  We also had iced mint green tea.  A tasty dinner for a Tuesday. Hope you enjoyed yours, too.



Rugs from Turkey

If you look at the tab up top of the blog in my house photos, you will see a blue and white rug in my living room.  I purchased that rug about 12 years ago when I was in Turkey on vacation.  We went to a showing of rugs as part of our tour and the minute I saw that rug I was in love with it.  I had never seen a blue and white pattern.  I have since learned that my rug is a hand-knotted Nain rug.

2_Living Room_Julie Murphy

The artisans from Turkey REALLY keep up with their customers and have contacted us because they are here in the United States on a sales tour.  They will be in Atlanta and New York.   On Saturday, they are coming to my mom’s house to show some rugs.

1_Living Room_Julie Murphy

If you would like to come and see the rugs and perhaps purchase one, let me know. There is no obligation but I know you will enjoy seeing these beautiful hand-made rugs.  There are many other styles besides Nain and lots of size choices, too.

3_Living Room_Julie Murphy

Let me know if you want to come.  Twelve years ago prices started at about $500 for a 2X3 small rug and up to $7,000 – $10,000 for larger ones.  Mine is 10X10 and I actually had the room designed around the rug.  I was in the process of designing my house when I bought it so I made sure it would fit somewhere.  Mine was NOT $10,000 but I have no idea what the prices are now for this particular size and style.  Come and check them out for yourself.

Hope to see you Saturday!


Basketball Game

Olivia needed her big, strong brother to help her rearrange her room at college.  We headed up for an afternoon of manual labor followed by a Berry basketball game.

Olivia’s bed was lofted really, really high over her desk and dresser with NO GUARD RAIL.  As a mom, I considered it just too high!!!!!


Olivia wanted us to unloft the beds so she could have more sitting space for friends.  Good idea, I’m thinking….and no super high bed anymore.  Do you ever stop worrying about your children????  That’s a long drop to the floor!


Here’s the crew.  First is the roomie, Ashley.


Next is the hard working sibling team of Davis and Olivia.  And lest you think he’s breaking a real sweat, this photo was totally posed as I began to focus.  It’s another example of why I don’t EVER have a Christmas card photo.  They NEVER pose together nicely without making faces or weird gestures.


They finally got the bed down and then lofted the desk shelves. Should I send a helmet for when she does her homework to guard against the falling sloths?


Looks good and perfect for friends. Look!  One has already wandered this way to try it out.


After working in the room, we headed to the Berry basketball game.  We passed the Kitten Barn next to Olivia’s dorm.   I’m sure it has another name besides the Kitten Barn but not much goes on in there that I’ve ever seen except some kittens scampering about so it has earned its name. No kittens today, though.  Too cold.


We also passed the eagle nest. I circled it in case you couldn’t find it.  Although it is large in real life, it looks small from the ground. Kinda like Olivia’s lofted bed except eagles have stick guard rails!  They really do!  Go check out the live feed.


The game was in the Cage Center.  When I win the billion dollars this week, you can expect to see a Julie Center for baton twirling and flute playing.


We made it to the game with time to spare.

8 7

Berry wins. 81 to 65.  Those are some tall fellas. Talented, too!



Then it was time to head back to the city of peaches. Our job was done.

Pizza Night and Eagle Eggs

Tonight was pizza night because I declared it a no-cooking night.  Our favorite is Jet’s Pizza.  It reminds me of Petrillo’s Pizza that we used to get in Ohio.  It’s amazing how a smell can take you back to a place from over 45 years ago to something that you barely remember, but this pizza sure does.  The smell is identical when you walk in the door.


And now on to EAGLE EGGS!   The Berry College eagles laid their first egg today.  And yes, I realize that only the female laid the egg so my use of “their” is technically incorrect but since eagles mate for life, I’m throwing a little credit over to the male.

The first egg of this year was laid at about 5:30 p.m. today.  I watch these birds so much that I feel like they are my pets.  If you want a very close and personal view of the eagles, go to the Berry College website and scroll to the bottom to find their eagle cam.  Or simply Google  “Berry Eagles.”  Here is a picture of the first egg.

Makes you think twice about eating a scrambled egg!!!

Buffalo Chip Cookies


I first made these cookies for Davis’ Pioneer Day Celebration.  Nothing like dressing up in overalls and dragging around a stick horse for a day and getting shaved with popsicle sticks and shaving cream at the Ole Barber Pole.  Throw in a “gold poke” and some vittles and you can call it a grand celebration.

I originally had to find a recipe to take to the pioneer simulation so Davis could get extra gold for his poke, however I have made this recipe quite a few times since then. I don’t need the golden incentive to make them anymore. I just like them.  Beware, the recipe makes a bunch although making a bunch of cookies doesn’t seem like much of a problem to me.

Buffalo Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup shortening

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups oats

2 cups corn flakes

2 cups chocolate chips

1 cup coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

Cream shortenings and sugars.  Add eggs, one at a time.  In another bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.  Add to egg mixture.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place 1/2 cup scoops of cookie dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 15-18 minutes or until done.

Olivia made them tonight for Davis and his friends.


Looks like someone needs to visit the Ole Barber Pole!