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Jalapenos: Nano’s Spicey-Spread & Macaroni Salad

Seems there’s been so much going on – don’t really know where to start. Had a wonderful weekend in the Austin area visiting Monica, Mark, Peyton (the adorable, perfect grandbaby), David’s brother Jack and his wife Jerry. Whenever we go back to a big city, it always amazes me how busy the traffic is; how crowded the restaurants are and how many people love to shop. I was stunned to see the shopping malls and many of the restaurant parking lots filled to capacity. Guess that’s why they say Texas isn’t feeling the economic crunch quite as much as some.

Went out to eat lunch on Sunday and drove through a couple of restaurant parking lots looking for a parking spot before we ended up at the Cracker Barrel. For those who haven’t heard of the Cracker Barrel – it’s a restaurant that serves ‘home style’ foods – chicken and dumplings, meat loaf, chicken fried steak, etc.  

BUT – the fun part is the shopping you can do while waiting for your table. WOW – I was on ‘honey look at this’ overload. They had something for everyone – candy, clothes, toys, souvenirs, and the list goes on and on. I mention this only because we were surprised to see they had sugar free maple syrup – just opposite the huge candy display I might add.

Since David was diagnosed with diabetes some 15 years ago – we’ve tried a lot of maple syrups – none of them outstanding . . . until now. We couldn’t resist buying a bottle of the SF syrup and tried it out Monday on some home made pancakes – it was delicious. For the first time – ever – David can enjoy the real maple flavor of syrup on his pancakes and waffles. We plan to stop by the next Cracker Barrel we see and get a couple more bottles of syrup to add to our ‘stash’.

Went to Nancy’s on Tuesday to pick up my Celebrating Home (CH) order. I love going to Nancy’s house – it always makes me feel like I’ve gone ‘home’ – you know that feeling you’d get when – as a kid – you’d walk in the door and everything was cozy and welcoming . . that’s Nancy’s house. Sadly, as we get older those feelings don’t come around as often.. . . . but, back to CH.  I’d not ordered anything from CH before so I was very pleased to find my decorator items to be really high quality. My candlesticks are very sturdy and well made – and the Christmas stand is just too cute. When flipped over it doubles as a chip and dip dish perfect for . . .

Nano’s ‘Sweet-n-Spicey’ Jalapeno Cheese Spread

Nancy is an excellent cook (BTW – she also fixed lunch for us Tuesday) – so a meal at her house is a real treat. She spoiled David this time with his favorite . . . fried shrimp – and in addition, had a delicious new spread for snacking – or as far as I’m concerned – dessert.

She had taken Texas Pepper Works – Candy-Krisp Jalapenos – chopped and blended them into creamed cheese. She did say she added in a little of the liquid they come packed in – and then served them up on Club crackers.    We of course couldn’t help but think about maybe even adding  in some other ingredients, i.e., chopped nuts, water chestnuts, celery, etc. – sky’s the limit on this one.

 Of course while in town, I had to dash to the store before coming home and get a jar for myself and made up half a package of the cream cheese spread for home. While whipping this up decided to add some of the chopped jalapenos in to the macaroni salad I was making for lunch. The salad already has sweet relish in it – so the candied jalapenos wouldn’t clash with the flavor but add just a hint of spicy-hot. Bet that macaroni salad will be even better tomorrow after it’s had a little time to ‘sit’.

Next-Day Macaroni Salad

We enjoyed it with some chicken finger strips, black-eyed peas, and fresh kale.  This salad recipe is based on the macaroni salad served at one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Houston – Gigolo’s – sadly they closed many years ago. 

Macaroni Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked elbow macaroni
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup finely chopped bell pepper
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup sweet relish (or substitute chopped ‘sweet pickles from dill’ for even more flavor)
  • 2 chopped boiled eggs
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • salt-pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and chill. This salad will keep in the fridge and seems to get better with each passing day.

If you can’t find   Texas Candy-Krisp Jalapenos  in your area you can order them on line from Amazon from this link – Texas Pepper Works. They are delicious!

Don’t Forget to Laugh

Want to leave you with a smile today. David’s cousin Lyndall sent us this video and it is so funny – particularly to those of us a little further down the road of life. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.  (The really funny part starts at about the 1:30 mark.)

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