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Preview: A Pinch of this, A Smidgen of that

A Pinch of this, A Smidgen of that

Updated: 2018-03-06T03:44:54.771-08:00


White Bean Chicken Chili


I remember the very first time I had White Bean Chicken Chili.  My husband and I had gone out for lunch to Brueggers Bagels.  The soup of the day was White Bean Chicken Chili.  My husband said, "that sounds good and I think I will try it."  He did and of course I had to steal a taste.  Guess what, I liked it.  So I found a recipe by McCormick Seasonings that we tried and have tweaked.  Recently, I was looking on Allrecipes and came across Chef John and I decided to give this recipe a try. Wow, the ancho chili powder and chipotle pepper powder gives it some great flavor and a bit of a kick.  I am convinced this will be my go to White Bean Chicken Chili recipe for now on... Thanks Chef John!!!White Bean Chicken ChiliIngredients1 teaspoon vegetable oil2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves1 teaspoon vegetable oil1 large onion, dicedsalt and freshly ground black pepper to taste4 cloves garlic, chopped1 tablespoon ancho chile powder1 teaspoon ground cumin1 teaspoon all-purpose flour1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder1/4 teaspoon dried oregano1 teaspoon fine cornmeal2 cups chicken broth, divided2 (15 ounce) cans white beans, drained1 cup chicken broth1/4 teaspoon white sugar, or to taste1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste1/3 cup chopped green onions1/3 cup sour cream1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro1. Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, flip breasts, cover the pan, and cook until browned on the other side, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate and allow to cool before chopping into cubes.2. Return skillet to medium heat, add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, onion, salt, and black pepper. Cook and stir until onion turns translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.3. Stir ancho chili powder, cumin, flour, chipotle pepper powder, and oregano into the onion mixture; cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth and stir, scraping up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in cornmeal and bring to a simmer.4. Stir in beans and 1 more cup chicken broth. Cut cooled chicken breasts into cubes, add to the chili and bring to a simmer. Add remaining cup of chicken broth, season with salt, black pepper, sugar, and cayenne pepper to taste; cook until heated through. Serve garnished with green onions, sour cream, and cilantro.[...]

Spinach and Strawberry Salad


Every weekend I sit down, usually Saturday morning while having my coffee and I make my menu for the week.  I generally buy only what is on my list.  So I never have extra ingredients in my refrigerator to make spur of the moment recipes.  This week I happen to have extra strawberry and spinach.  Spinach and Strawberry SaladIngredients2 bunches spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces4 cups sliced strawberries1/2 cup vegetable oil1/4 cup white wine vinegar1/2 cup white sugar1/4 teaspoon paprika2 tablespoons sesame seeds1 tablespoon poppy seedsDirections1. In a large bowl, toss together the spinach and strawberries.2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, paprika, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds. Pour over the spinach and strawberries, and toss to coat.* I think the next time I made this I will use a Balsamic Vinegar.  This recipe was good as written but I think the Balsamic will elevate the flavors.  I used Mazola Cholesterol Free Canola Oil.#allstarsmazola®[...]

Crunchy Granola


Lately I have been eating gluten-free, or at least trying to.  I have found a delicious granola recipe they I truly like.  My kids prefer the chewy mix I have made in the past.  Looks like I will be rotating the two recipes out.Homemade Granola MixIngredients3 1/2 cups rolled oatss1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened3 tablespoons flax seeds3 tablespoons sesame seeds1/4 cup sunflower seeds1/2 cup toasted mixed nuts, chopped2 teaspoons cinnamon1 teaspoon sea salt1/4 cup brown sugar1/4 cup grapeseed oil2 tablespoons honey1 tablespoon pure maple syrup2 teaspoons vanilla extract2 cups mixed dried fruit DirectionsPreheat the oven to 375 degree F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set aside.In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the dried fruit. Mix until combined.Spread the granola mixture on the baking sheet, spread it out into an even layer. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until nice and golden brown. Recommend you stir every 10 minutes.Remove granola from the oven and let cool completely (in pan) and on a wire wrack. Once the granola has finally cooled, mix in the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!** In my recipe I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats.  Instead of grapeseed oil I used Mazola Cholesterol Free Canola Oil.  I added some pumpkin seeds.  Lastly, I used a gluten-free breakfast syrup.[...]

Sweet and Spicy Salmon with Grapefruit Salsa


I have always liked a fruit salsa on fish.  I'm not sure why.  Perhaps it reminds me of summer, especially is this Northeastern arctic blast we have been dealing with.  The second recipe Mazola® as chosen for the Allstars is a Sweet and Spicy Salmon with Grapefruit Salsa.  Sweet and Spicy Salmon with Grapefruit SalsaIngredients (recipe makes 4 servings)Sweet and Spicy Rub: 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika1 teaspoon onion powder1 teaspoon garlic powder1/4 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon oregano1/4 teaspoon thyme1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar1 pound salmon fillet2 teaspoons Mazola® Corn OilGrapefruit Salsa:2 cups grapefruit sections1/3 cup chopped green onion1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro1 jalapeno pepper, dicedDirectionsPreheat oven to 375 degrees F.Combine paprika, onion and garlic powder, salt, oregano, thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper and brown sugar in a small bowl.Cut salmon into 4 portions and brush with oil. Distribute the rub over the salmon generously coating all surfaces. Place salmon on a shallow baking pan with sides.Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until fish flakes easily.Coarsely chop grapefruit into bite size pieces. Combine all salsa ingredients and serve with salmon. Grapefruit salsa can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve.** My husband and I really liked this recipe.  I had made the grapefruit salsa in the morning so it had time to meld together.  As the day went on, I tested the salsa to see if I needed to tweak it.  I had thought about using some agave but decided it was sweet enough from the pink grapefruit I used.I served the salmon with some Cilantro Lime rice and a side of green beans.I think the salmon would be great grilled on some cedar planks during the summer.#AllstarsMazola®[...]

Pork Carnitas with Cilantro Tomatillo Sauce


This is the first recipe Mazola® has selected for the Allrecipes Allstars in the month of March.Pork Carnita with Cilantro Tomatillo SauceIngredients:1 pound pork shoulder2 tablespoons Mazola® Corn Oil1/4 cup chopped onions1/2 teaspoon Spice Islands Garlic Powder1 tablespoon Spice Islands Chili Powder1/4 teaspoon Spice Islands Chipotle Chile Powder2 tomatillos, finely chopped1/2 cup finely chopped tomatoes1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro4 corn tortillasDirections:Cut pork into 1 inch cubes; season with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in large skillet or Dutch oven.  Add pork, onions, garlic powder, chili powder and chipotle chile powder; saute 3 to 5 minutes to brown the meat.Add enough water to barely cover pork.  Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.  Remove lid and continue to simmer an additional 45 minutes or until liquid has evaporated.Combine chopped tomatillos, tomatoes and cilantro in a small bowl.Place an equal amount of pork on each tortilla.  Top with tomatillo salsa.  ** I tweeked the recipe by adding salt, pepper and a little lime juice to the salsa.  I also used the Mazola® Cholesterol Free Corn Oil they sent me.  My family really liked this recipe.  My husband kept saying, "wow this is good."  So it is keeper in my book.  We will be making this again.#AllstarsMazola®[...]

The Importance of a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle


What does living a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle mean to you?Growing up I never really knew the importance of living a Heart-Healthy lifestyle.  My parents provided us, 6 Kids with the foods they could afford. It seems like there wasn't much talk about heart disease or elevated cholesterol levels back then.  Fast forward to age 30. My Dad was diagnosed with heart disease.  He ended up having a double bypass (after having two failed stints) on my 30th birthday.  Not exactly the way my husband and I wanted to celebrate.  My dad is doing great and is very active 15 years later.Since then we have been trying to live heart healthy.  Now-a-days I have gone a step beyond cutting fat from our diets.  I have been serving gluten free meals/sides dishes.  It isn't always easy, especially when you have kids who are involved in sports.  Believe me we still have our pizza nights. Recently, Mazola® Brands has sent me a package through the Allrecipes Allstars program.  The package included a large bottle of Cholesterol Free Corn Oil.  Do you know how excited I was to receive this package.  I have used the Cholesterol Free Corn Oil in every recipe I have made since receiving it.  Did you know, cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death in the United States.  To find out more information please visit Mazola for more Heart Healthy information."Check out more Mazola® recipes here: can read more about Mazola® and their Heart Healthy Corn oil at Mazola.comTo achieve cholesterol reduction, one serving of Mazola® cooking oil must be part of a healthy diet and replace a similar amount of butter or other higher saturated fat oil. Very limited and preliminary scientific evidence suggests that eating about 1 tbsp (16 grams) of corn oil daily may reduce the risk of heart disease due to the unsaturated fat content in corn oil. FDA concludes there is little scientific data supporting the claim. To achieve this possible benefit, corn oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day.I am an Allrecipes Allstar brand ambassador (a voluntary position) and I'm not compensated for my work with Products received from advertiser are only used for experience-based reviews. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of myself. To learn more about the Allrecipes Allstar program visit, Allrecipes Allstars."I am looking forward to trying the recipes Mazola has selected for the Allstars.#AllstarsMazola®[...]

I'm an Allrecipes Allstar!!!!!


I'm an Allrecipes Allstar!!!  What does that mean??? 

The Allrecipes Allstars are members who love to tell everyone about their favorite website. They're always cooking, rating, and reviewing recipes, posting photos, and telling everyone about it on The Buzz, Facebook, and Twitter. Have a blog, too? That’s another great place to show your love for great recipes, great food, and a great website. - Allrecipes website

    Throughout 2014, I will be posting recipes from some great Sponsors who will be working with  

    Stay tuned for more of my Allstar adventure.  

    Spiedini Hoagies with Caprese Relish Recipe


    Leave it  to Bobby Flay to make another delicious recipe.  My husband and I were watching Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction one morning and I was ready to make these sandwiches.  Spiedini Hoagies with Caprese Relish Ingredients12 oz hot Italian sausage12 oz sweet Italian sausagecanola oilsalt and black pepper1 pint yellow and red cherry tomatoes, quartered1 pint bocconcini, or 1 pound fresh mozzarella cut into 1/2" dice1/4 cup chopped fresh basil2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley1 tablespoon capers, drained1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced1/4 cup evoo, plus more for bread1/4 cup red wine vinegarFrench baguette or soft hoagie rolls2 cloves garlic, halved12 inch metal skewersDirections Heat the grill for high direct grilling.  Skewer a few sausages onto each skewer, brush with canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill the sausages until golden brown and slightly charred on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.  Remove the sausages to a platter and let rest 5 minutes before removing to a plate.Toss the tomatoes with the bocconcini, basil, parsley, capers, onions, olive oil and red wine vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.Slice the bread open and put on the grill, cut-side down, and grill until lightly golden brown.  Remove and rub the surface with the garlic cloves, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.Put a whole sausage on each roll and top with the caprese relish.  Alternatively, cut the sausage into 2 inch chunks before putting on the rolls.[...]

    Short Rib Wellington Pot Pie


    One of my favorite cut of meat are short ribs.  I was looking around the internet for new recipes for the short ribs.  I came across a recipe from Williams Sonoma for Short Rib Wellington Pot Pie. All I have to say is that this meal is well worth the energy and time it takes to put it together.  My mouth is watering just thinking of it.  The whole family loved them.Short Rib Wellington Pot PieIngredients:2 1/4 lb. boneless beef short ribs, cut into 1-inch diceKosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste2 Tbs. olive oil1/4 lb. prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch squares3/4 lb. cremini mushrooms, quartered8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes1/2 cup all-purpose flour1/2 cup red wine1 1/2 Tbs. beef demi-glace3 cups beef stock1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme1 bay leaf1 1/2 cups pearl onions1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley1 sheet puff pastry, 10 to 11 inches square1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. waterDirections:Preheat an oven to 325°F.Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a 3 1/2-quart wide Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Working in batches, brown the beef on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a bowl.Reduce the heat to medium. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Add to the bowl with the beef. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Add to the bowl with the beef.Pour off the excess fat in the pot. Return the pot to medium heat and melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the wine and demi-glace and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the thyme, bay leaf, pearl onions, beef, prosciutto and mushrooms. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and cook until the beef is fork-tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Discard the bay leaf and spoon the excess fat off the cooking liquid. Stir in the parsley.Increase the oven temperature to 400°F.Place the puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured work surface. Using a sharp knife, score the pastry with diagonal lines about 2 inches apart, forming a diamond pattern. Brush the edge of the pot with water, then brush the pastry with the egg mixture. Place the pastry, egg wash side up, over the pot and press the edges to seal. Trim the overhanging pastry to 1 inch.Transfer the pot to the oven and bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6 to 8.Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.[...]

    Homemade Pizza Sauce


    Homemade Pizza SauceIngredient:1 15 oz. Can Tomato Sauce1/2 Cup Finely Diced Onion1 Tablespoon Olive Oil1 Tablespoon Butter1 Tablespoon Grated Parmesan Cheese1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley1/4 Teaspoon Dried Oregano1/4 Teaspoon Basil1/4 Teaspoon Onion Powder1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder3/4 Teaspoon Granulated SugarSalt & Pepper, to tasteDirections:In a small saucepan on medium high heat add your butter with your olive oil. Once the butter has melted into the olive oil, add your onions and season with salt & pepper. Cook until the onions start to turn very light golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.Turn the heat down to medium and add your tomato sauce, all of the seasonings/herbs, and the parmesan cheese. Mix everything well, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.Use right away or let cool and store in a air-tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.[...]

    Foccacia Bread


    Herbed and Parmesan Focaccia Bread

    1 1/2 cups warm water (between 110 - 115 degrees)
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1/4 ounce (1 package) yeast
    3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
    2 teaspoons salt, plus more for seasoning
    2 tablespoons mixed chopped herbs
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    Freshly ground black pepper


    In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water.  Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and let stand for 10 minutes, to bloom (it should begin to foam).

    In  the mixer bowl with a dough hook attached, add 3 cups of  flour, salt, and yeast mixture.  Slowly turn it on and work the dough together.  Turn it up to medium and mix for 5 minutes. If the dough is sticky, continue mixing and gradually add the remaining flour.

    Place this smooth ball of dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and set aside to rise for 3 hours.

    Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Spread the dough out on baking dish/sheet and press "dimples" into it with your fingertips.  Drizzle with the oil, herbs, cheese and seasonings.  Bake until browned and cooked through.  let cool.

    Birthday Surprise


    My husband knows me so well.  he knows not to buy my jewelry, shoes or clothes.  So what did he buy me last year for my birthday, date night cooking class.

    He kept hearing an ad on the radio for this place Create a Cook and thought that is what I am getting her. So he finally made the reservations and I am so glad he did.  It is a cooking class for 8 people.  The chef shows and tells us what we are making for dinner and explains everything step by step.   That night we made grilled homemade Cannelloni (which we brought home for another meal), chicken piccata (was dinner at class), Winter caprese salad, Herbed garlic bread, and for dessert Cannoli.

    Taking this class with my husband was so much fun.  It made him realize what I do everyday is not easy.

    Homemade Baked Beans


    As I get older I look back and cherish the things I have of my grandmothers.  My grandmother and I didn't live close to one another when I was growing up, but I do remember cooking with her on our visits to her house.

    Several years ago my parents moved from CT and when they did, my mom gave me my grandmothers bean pot.  I have only used it a handful of times.

    (image) Boston Baked Beans


    2 cups navy beans
    1/2 pound bacon
    1 onion, finely diced
    3 tablespoons molasses
    2 teaspoons salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
    1/2 cup ketchup
    1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
    1/4 cup brown sugar


    Soak beans overnight in cold water.  Simmer the beans in the same water until tender, approximately 1 to 2 hours.  Drain and reserve the liquid.

    Preheat over to 325 degrees F.

    Arrange the beans in 2 quart bean pot or casserole dish by placing a portion of the beans in the bottom of dish, and layering them with bacon and onion.

    In a saucepan, combine molasses, salt, pepper, dry mustard, ketchup, worcestershire sauce and brown sugar.  Bring the mixture to a boil and pour over beans.  Pour in just enough of the reserved bean water to cover the beans.  cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil.

    Bake for 3-4 hours in preheated oven, until beans are tender.  Remove the lid about half way through cooking, and add more liquid if necessary to prevent the beans from getting too dry.

    Mushroom Filled Phyllo Cups


    Mushroom Filled Phyllo cupsIngredients:4 sheets phyllo dough pastry4 tablespoons butter, melted2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil1 garlic clove, crushed4 cups Shiitake mushrooms, sliced1 tablespoon thyme, choppedsalt to tastefreshly cracked black peppercorns2 tablespoons white wine4 thyme sprigsshaved parmesanDirections:Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush 4 muffin cups with melted butter.** Thaw the phyllo dough if frozen on the counter at room temperature. To prevent the dough from drying out, take only what you will use immediately and cover the remaining dough with a towel.Place one sheet of phyllo on a flat work surface, and using a pastry brush, lightly brush the dough with melted butter; crumple the sheet loosely into a 4-inch round shape and gently press into a muffin cup. Repeat this process with 3 more sheets of phyllo, brushing with melted butter, crumpling and fitting into muffin tin cups. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until lightly brown.Heat olive oil in a large skillet; add crushed garlic, sliced mushrooms and thyme. Stir over medium high heat for 4 minutes or until mushrooms are browned and liquid disappears. Remove from heat, stir in brandy, salt and pepper; cool slightly. Fill baked phyllo cups with mushroom mixture, garnish with shaved parmesan and sprig of thyme. Then serve.** for the class we used the pre-formed phyllo cups that you can buy of the grocery store.  Also pictured are the Southwest chicken CupsI[...]

    Appetizer Class


    Last year I had signed up for an Appetizer and Dessert Class at a near by school through their adult ed department.

    I didn't really know what to expect from the class.  I know what I wanted from the class - skills, knowledge of making mass amounts of appetizers and meeting new people.  The class didn't fail to full fill my expectations and more.

    Over the three weeks we made so many recipes.


    Roast Red Potatoes with Beef and sour cream
    Apple Fennel Tart
    Spring Rolls
    Chocolate Mousse
    Bread Pudding
    Strawberry Shortcake
    *Spicy BBQ wings
    *Proscutto with melon
    *Salad Nicoise
    Cold Strawberry Soup
    Seafood Casino in Fillo Cups
    Mushroom Fillo cups
    Caribbean Chicken Fillo cups

    Unfortunately, I missed one night of class due to being sick.  The items with an * are the one I missed.

    As I was typing the recipes to share, I realized the recipes didn't make a whole lot of sense.  Yes, I was instructed by a Chef.  He did say it was his first class to teach and he was so use to throwing things together.

    So I will be remaking these appetizers in order to have the proper measurements.

    The Best Cupcake I have ever made


    Who would have thought stout beer in a chocolate cupcake would be a good combination?  Certainly not me.I am "game" for any recipe.  I was intrigued by the beer in a dessert. Let me just say, the stout and chocolate plays off of each so well.  I found this recipe on this website.Guinness CupcakesINGREDIENTS:For the Cupcakes1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness Stout1/2 cup milk1/2 cup vegetable oil1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract3 large eggs3/4 cup sour cream3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Scharffen Berger Cocoa)2 cups sugar2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1 1/2 teaspoons baking sodaFor the Vanilla Bean Buttercream1 stick salted butter – room temperature1 stick unsalted butter – room temperature1/2 cup shortening1 tablespoon Clear Vanilla extract1 1/2 pounds confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar, 10x)4 tablespoons very cold milkDIRECTIONS:For the Cupcakes1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the Guinness, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream.3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet Guinness mixture.4. Butter 24 muffin tins and divide the batter among the muffin tins.5. Bake 25 minutes, until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out of the tins.For the Vanilla Bean Buttercream1. Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer.2. Add the clear vanilla extract and combine well. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition.3. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold milk one tablespoon at a time, combining very well after each addition (mixer on medium-high to high speed) until you reach the desired consistency.[...]

    The Crazies of Life


    This past year I have gone back to work.  A friend of mine called to see if I would be interested in working as a childcare provider for a  Home for Teen moms.  I was skeptical at first, but once there I just loved being around little ones again.

    Since my last post I have done so much cooking, not that I get a chance to post since school is back in session and the boys hog the computer.  I know still no excuse of posting.  

    I truly love cooking and have attended a couple of classes.  I vow to get back to blogging and hope to reach out to more people. 

    Homemade Valentine Chocolates & Fortune Cookies


    (image) This year I wanted to try my hand at making homemade chocolates for my three favorites guys.  How hard could it be to melt chocolate, pour into molds, fill with ganache filling and seal.  Oh boy, was I in for a rude awakening.  It took me all day to make them. 

    First, I made the boys simple chocolates out of a couple different molds.  The for my husbands I decided to add some flavor to his chocolates.  I made some basic chocolate ganache.  I made a couple with the plain ganache.  Then I stepped it up and added some Bailey's Irish Creme to the rest of the ganache.  Yummy!!!  For the third flavor I decided to make a Mounds style filled chocolate.  Mmmmm.... 

    The boys devoured them in a day or so.  My husband liked them even though he is not a big chocolate person.

    (image) Since my husband always brings me flowers, I wanted to make something special for him.  While looking at a quilting website I noticed the lady had made some fabric fortune cookies.  Ding Ding Ding the bell went off in my head.  I collected the things I needed to make them.  Good thing I love my husband very much.  These fortune cookies were very labor intensive.  When I finished assembling the two dozen of them, I printed off a bunch of fortunes.  The fortunes were comprised of  valentine sayings, quotes, lines from songs, sayings in different languages and my own personal feelings.  It took home several minutes to crack them open and read the fortunes.  Then he looked at me and said the sweetest thing, "It's hard to compete with your homdemade gifts."  Awww....

    Peanut Butter Parfaits


    All I have to say about this recipe is, Heavy Heavy but Heavenly.  I could give you a guess who's recipe this is...  Yup, Paula Deen's... I was watching this particular episode with my husband and told him I had to make it.  I love Nutter Butter cookies.  Most of all I love peanut butter and banana sandwiches. 

    Peanut Butter Parfait
    (image) by Paula Deen
    • 2 cups cold milk
    • 1 (3.9-ounce) box instant chocolate-flavored pudding mix
    • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
    • 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    • 1 cup whipped cream topping
    • 4 bananas, peeled and sliced
    • 1 cup chopped peanuts, plus additional for garnish
    • 1/2 (1-pound) package peanut butter sandwich cookies, crumbled, plus additional for garnish


    In a medium bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Set aside.

    In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter and confectioners' sugar; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the cream cheese, beating until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream topping, mixing to combine.

    In serving glasses, layer the pudding, bananas, peanuts, peanut butter mixture, and crumbled cookies, as desired. Garnish with cookies and chopped peanuts, if desired. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

    P.s. Make sure you wear your elastic waistband pants while eating this recipe.... lol  Enjoy!!!

    Limoncello Cupcakes


    I have found a use for my homemade Limoncello other than drinking it.. lol...  Now who wouldn't want a refreshing lemony cupcake.I found a recipe from Brown Eyed Baker for Lemon-Limoncello cupcakes... I made these the other night and let's just say thankfully they only made a dozen.  I loved them.  One thing I would change in the recipe is the amount of lemon zest in the lemon curd..  Lemon-Limoncello CupcakesYield: 1 dozenFor the cupcakes:1½ cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon baking powder½ teaspoon salt2 ounces (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature1 cup granulated sugar3 large eggs2 tablespoons limoncello½ cup buttermilk¼ cup lemon juiceZest of one lemonFor the lemon curd:Zest of 2 lemons½ cup lemon juice¼ cup granulated sugar1 egg + 1 egg yolkFor the cream cheese limoncello frosting:2 ounces (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature1 tablespoon limoncello2 cups powdered sugar, sifted1. Prepare the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the center. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the limoncello and beat an additional minute. On low speed, add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the lemon juice and zest and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Divide the batter between 12 muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.2. Prepare the lemon curd. In a heavy medium saucepan, stir together the lemon zest, juice and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolk. Whisk the lemon mixture into the eggs to temper them. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat, whisking constantly until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let cool completely.3. Prepare the cream cheese limoncello frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the limoncello and beat for an additional minute. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat until fully incorporated and smooth.4. Assemble the cupcakes. Cut a hole into each cupcake with the large end of a melon baller or the back end of a large pastry tip. Fill each cavity with the lemon curd. Fill a pastry bag with a star tip (I used Wilton 1M) with the cream cheese limoncello frosting and pipe onto each cupcake. Decorate with lemon and berries, if desired.[...]

    Spicy Pop Pulled Pork


    As I mentioned I follow the Pioneer Woman's blog.  Can you believe I have nevered watched an episode of her show on the Food Network?  My best friend Melissa sent me emails reminding me to watch it. 

    Last Saturday I watched her Ranching in the Mist episode.  I felt like I was watching some old friends.  This episode she was making her Spicy Pop Pulled Pork.  Now I have heard of using soda/pop in pulled pork recipes but I was reluctant to use it.  She proved me wrong.  Another thing she proved to me is that a Pork Butt (no it is not the butt of a pig, actually it is from the front shoulder) can be delicious.  I had made a pork butt once and was devastated with the results.

    This recipe was a pleasant surprise.

    Spicy Pop Pulled Pork
    Pioneer Woman - Ree Drummond


    • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
    • 1 whole pork butt (pork shoulder roast)
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • One 11-ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
    • 2 cans pop (I use Dr Pepper)
    • 4 packed tablespoons brown sugar


    Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

    Start by placing the onion quarters in the bottom of a pot. Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper, and then place on top of the onions. Pour the chipotle peppers over the top, and then crack open the cans of pop and pour them over the whole thing. Add the brown sugar to the liquid and stir.

    Cover the pot, put in the oven and cook for at least 6 hours, flipping the roast 2 or 3 times during the cooking process. When it's done, the pork will be dark and weird and wonderful. It'll also be fork-tender. That's when you know it's done.

    Remove the meat from the pot and shred completely. Then return the meat to the pot and keep in the juice until you need it.

    Pioneer Women's Spicy Whiskey BBQ Sliders


    I usually check Pioneer Women's site every day.  I happen to have checked it on the day she blogged about her Spicy Whiskey BBQ sliders.  Once I saw that recipe I knew it was part of the New Year's Eve menu.  They are simple and easy to make.  And, they were the hit of the party.  I have made them one other time since.  Spicy Whiskey BBQ SlidersPioneer Women - Ree DrummondIngredients2 pounds Ground Meat (beef, Bison, Turkey) Salt And Pepper4 Tablespoons Butter1 whole Large Onion, Diced1/2 cup Whiskey1 cup Barbecue Sauce1/4 cup Jarred Jalapeno Slices (more To Taste)12 whole Slider Buns Or Dinner Rolls, SplitPreparation InstructionsForm the meat into 12 (or so) miniature patties and salt and pepper them on both sides. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the patties until just about done in the middle, approximately 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the patties from the skillet and set aside. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of grease, then return the skillet to the stove. Throw the diced onions in the skillet and stir to cook, about 3 minutes. Pour in whiskey (be careful if you're cooking over an open flame; turn it off momentarily to be extra careful) and stir. Allow the whiskey to reduce by half, about 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in jalapenos and the barbecue sauce. Reduce the heat to low and place the patties in the barbecue sauce, turning to coat. Allow the patties to simmer in the sauce until everything's hot and bubbly.Place the patties on individual buns and be sure to spoon extra sauce (with the jalapenos!) over the top of each one before topping with the other half of the bun. [...]



    Machaca... I get a kick out of saying this word, don't know why.. lol..  Lately I have been watching Rachel vs Guy - Celebrity Cook-Off on the Food Network channel.  Are you surprised???  One person that surprised me with his cooking was Cheech Marin.  I believe it was the first or second episode he made a beef machaca for the hungry people.  I had never heard of machaca.  It looked delicious and the crowd loved it.  I thought I have to make that...  So I found a recipe, cooked it and loved it...Big Dave's Beef Machaca Marinade: ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce Juice of two limes 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp chili powder ½ tsp salt ½ tsp black pepper ½ cup vegetable oil or olive oilMachaca: 2-3 lb Chuck Roast or Skirt Steak, trimmed and cut into ¼ lb portions. 1 Large Texas Sweet Onion (yellow onion) diced ½ green bell pepper diced 4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed 1 Fresh Jalapeno Pepper, minced 1 14oz can diced tomatoes or tomatoes with green chilies ¼ cup beef broth 1 Tb dried oregano 1 Tb ground cumin 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco salt and pepper to taste Vegetable oil for searing the beef PreparationFor the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a bowl then whisk them to form an emulsion. Add the beef making sure every piece is evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate. Marinate the beef overnight in a bowl in the refrigerator. Before preparing, drain thoroughly and allow meat to come up to room temperature for about 30 minutes. In a large soup pot, heat a few tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Sear the beef a few pieces at a time to develop a rich brown color on all sides as well as on the bottom of the pan. Do this in several batches if the pot is too crowded. When all the beef is browned nicely and removed from the pan, add the onions, peppers, and garlic to the hot pan. Sauté for a few minutes then add the remaining ingredients to the pan along with the beef. Bring to a boil, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer slowly for about 2 hours. The meat should be very tender and should easily fall apart when pricked with a fork. Remove from heat, remove meat to a cutting board and shred with a pair of forks. Return to the pot and bring to a simmer, uncovered. Reduce the liquid until very thick, almost dry. At this point, adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and whatever additional heat you want to add if any. Serve with tortillas, cheese, salsa, lettuce and guacamole for a great beef taco. Portion and freeze the remaining machaca in zip lock bags for later use. [...]

    Happy New Year!!!


    One day I was sitting here thinking of the menu for our New Year's Eve Party and realized how many years it has been since we started.  Can you believe it has been 14 years since our first our first New Year's Ever party.  I can remember that night all to well.  My oldest son had a incident with the tabletop warm mist vaporizer.  He was fine but scared the heck out of me.We also incorporate my Mother-In-Law's birthday into the NYE party, since she was born on NY day.  This year I made my Mother-In-Law a checker board birthday cake.  I saw this beautiful cake in a catalog and thinking I can make that.  What I didn't want to do is pay $70 to order it.  I set out on my mission to make this cake.  I used one white cake mix and a devil's food cake mix.  I found a recipe for a white frosting from Amada's Cookin'.  I made the chocolate mousse from scratch and can not find the recipe I used.  White Frosting1 cup vegetable shortening (not butter flavored)4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar4 tablespoons milk1 1/2 teaspoons clear vanilla1/2 teaspoon lemon extractTo Make the Frosting:Beat shortening and extracts until creamy, about 1-2 minutes on medium speed. Slowly add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, then 2 tablespoons of milk, 2 more cups of powdered sugar, then the remaining milk and any additional powdered sugar that may be needed.Put 1/3 of the frosting into a separate bowl and tint it with a small amount of yellow paste food coloring. Frost in between the layers yellow and the sides and top of cake white. Decorate with green tinted coconut and jelly beans on top.Once I had the cake frosted I decorated it with shaved white chocolate and mini chocolate chips.  Let me just say, if you are using a new recipe test it out first.  The frosting was very good, but the chocolate did not stick very well to it.  I should have used a buttercream or whipped cream frosting instead.  I was not happy with the way my cake looked.Here is my sorry looking cake..The inside:I promise I will do better next year! lol[...]

    What happened???


    I wish I had an excuse as to why I haven't blogged any recipes in almost a year.  It's not like I starved my family.  Nothing exciting happened in the past year. hmm...

    Let's see my last couple of post said something about dieting.  Ha!  Ya, right.  Actually, I was behaving for a while and eating healthier meals.  I had lost 10 pounds for a while.  I think once I came back from Key West it went down hill from there.  Those 10 pounds I lost found me again... ugh...

    Anyway, I will try to do better at posting the recipes I have try.