Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Harvest Apple Mini Lattice Pies

When I think of Labor Day I think Fall.   I guess with Labor Day being the unofficial end of summer, kids returning back to school and no more summer vacations for the work weary, it is time for cool crisp days to come accompanied by colorful falling leaves.   Growing up on the east coast our traditions of fall were taking the kids pumpkin and apple picking on a warm October day and bringing home loads of hand picked apples and pumpkins from the orchard.   Placing pumpkins and flower mums on my front porch were a Fall tradition I still love!  Fall is my favorite time of the year in anticipation of home baked pies and slow cooked meals in my crock pot, making my home warm and cozy. 

This past weekend I got a jump start on that feeling of Fall by baking my apple lattice pies.   I love using granny smith and golden delicious apples because it is a combination of tart and sweet.   I mix brown sugar, cinnamon, touch of nutmeg and simmer apples slowly until softened (the house smells good when apples are simmering on the stove).   Very simple recipe with a homemade pie crust consisting of cold shortening, flour, cold water, a pinch of salt. 

Filling the dough is a delicate balancing act because over filling them will result in leakage, so I try to just add 2 teaspoons of fruit.  I love putting a lattice top for a little fun!   I brush an egg wash of egg and water and sprinkle with coarse sugar for a little crunch and sweetness.   Confectioners sugar is also delicious sprinkled over the pies.

These pies are fun to make and can be eaten with your hands.   I am glad I took pictures because no sooner than an hour later my son and husband devoured all of them leaving me with one (I guess I am lucky they saved me one, right?)

Just a blogging note to Monet, at Anecdotes and Apple Cores http://www.anecdotesandapples.weebly.com/ she made the cutest pie bites!
Check out her blog and recipe!  

Fall makes me think of snuggling in for the winter with good food, friends and family!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Nana Mary's Sausage & Peppers

Being of Italian descent, I remember as a child going to my great grandmother's house in Staten Island, NY and just remember the smells of her tiny kitchen.   Nana Mary was a short 4'11" Italian cook, remembering she had to stand on a stool in front of the stove, stirring tall pots of homemade tomato sauce or as Nana said "gravy".  Sunday's were a day for family to get together and my mom would drive me and my brother from Long Island to Staten Island every Sunday for dinner with our relatives.    We have a large Italian family and Nana would cook large amounts of gravy loaded with homemade meatballs, sausage and pork chops with homemade pasta.  Starting her cooking early in the morning for a 2:00 afternoon meal. 

It gave her great joy when everyone was at the table eating her meal.  Which started with a homemade plate of Antipasto, fruit, different cheeses, deli meats, and that was before the meal.   My uncle made homemade red wine in his basement and I can remember the grown ups drinking wine from small jelly glasses. 

Food traditions are a very important part of our family and I have carried those traditions down to my children.  Although, it might be hard to have a sit down 2:00 Sunday dinner, I often make recipes I remember from Nana Mary. 

Sausage and peppers from Nana Mary is a simple uncomplicated dish that originally Nana would serve over fresh pasta, but I love the recipe as a sandwich and so does my family.   Made from homemade marinara sauce, onions, peppers, garlic and special seasonings I serve the sausage and peppers on hero rolls, and watch as my husband and son devour several sandwiches each.   As I watch them eat, I feel like Nana Mary did and it makes me smile!

Hamburgers "Breakfast of Champions!"

Saturday's for the wife and I are what we call "running around day"  a day devoted to catching up on all of our errands, preparing for the week ahead. 

This Saturday morning the wife and I had a full morning of dropping dogs off to the groomers, here is a picture of our newly groomed babies, Abby a.k.a Miss Mary and Bailey a.k.a Bad Boy Bailey.  Don't they look so cute?
Bailey & Abby

Grooming day for the dogs is sometimes an all day event because we take them to a wonderful lady named Liz, in Justin,TX  which is a 1/2 hour from where we live, so we try to do things close by.  Wife also had an appointment at a nearby salon, so being the good husband I decided to wait in the car until she was done, but all that time I was getting really hungry and a big sign in front of me read "The Snooty Pig Cafe"    The Snooty Pig Cafe is a diner like eatery located in Argyle,TX .   We mainly go there for breakfast and sometimes lunch and are known for their colossal homemade muffins and biscuits. 

So by the time wife was done with her salon appointment I said "let's have breakfast"  we situated ourselves and wife ordered a traditional breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and a biscuit with a side of fresh hot coffee.  I looked on the menu front to back and wasn't sure what to eat.  So being as hungry as I was decided to go with the hearty Chili Bacon Cheeseburger with jalapenos and fresh cut french fries.  Wife looked at me as if I was crazy having ordered this huge burger for breakfast but I just said it is a "breakfast of champions".  

When our order arrived I can see my wife laughing wondering how I was going to eat this for breakfast but I knew I wouldn't have a problem.  The insides of the bun were lightly grilled, soft and fresh, not to waste food I piled on the lettuce, tomato and raw onions.  Topped with mild homemade chili and jalapenos, I proceeded to add mustard, lil mayo and ketchup.   Yes, I know a little much, but I proceeded to dig in enjoying every messy, spicy bite, oh and it had bacon also!  "Small Feat for Mankind" but somebody had to do it!

If you are ever in Argyle, Texas stop by the:
Snooty Pig Cafe
100 Country Club Road
Argyle, Texas  (940) 464-0748

Good breakfast and lunch plates at reasonable prices.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer's Simple Pleasures and Old Fashioned Ice Cream

When husband (Rowland) has the day off we try to make plans ahead of time, but if you live in Texas, this summer has been a hot one!  Since the beginning of August we have seen above 100 temps. 

We decided to go to the square in Denton, TX .  Really cute with the town hall building in the center and quaint shops surrounding it.   Denton Town Square is right near the University of North Texas Campus and is a popular place for students and where families come to walk the square and can eat at several of the great restaurants and shop the vintage boutiques.   During the summer the courthouse lawn is a gathering place for musicians to play and where you can just bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy the show! 

So with no particular plans in mind we decided to go to our favorite vintage book store where I like to buy vintage cook books for inspiration.  We then visited our favorite antique store and several other shops, but as the heat of day soon approached (which is usually before 12:00) we decided to try a mom and pop old fashioned ice cream shop. 

Beth Marie's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shop is just that, old fashioned!   When you walk in you feel like you stepped back in time with its black and white tiled floors, vintage lighting, counters with seating and pressed tin ceilings, housed in an authentic old building. 

Opening in 1998, they mix carbonated drinks from syrup and soda water the old fashioned way.  They make real ice cream soda's and all their ice cream is fresh and made on the premises.   Making ice cream the way ice cream was made 80 years ago.   When you walk in there is a large framed blackboard with all the flavors they offer, I lost count but I believe it was 100 flavors.  They make there waffle cones and their own hot fudge fresh every day.  From old fashioned sundaes to waffle cones and more toppings then I could have imagined.  They also offer a lunch menu of sandwiches and soup. 

My husband and I decided to go simple, Rowland ordered watermelon ice cream and I ordered fresh strawberry and banana and coconut cream scoop.  Our ice cream was served in a cold frosted oval glass dish.   Since it was to hot outside we decided to sit inside at one of the round tables with antique metal chairs. 

Before I could take a picture of Rowland's ice cream he was done!  I should have taken a picture before we sat down, oh well!  Rowland's watermelon ice cream was the color of watermelon, fresh and creamy with fresh watermelon in the ice cream, there was also small chocolate chips to mimic the seeds of a watermelon.   I had two scoops of creamy dreamy heaven, my strawberry & banana scoop was mixed with fresh strawberries and fresh banana in a creamy smooth base.  My coconut cream was pure heaven, not overly sweet but just creamy coconut taste with coconut flakes mixed in.

                                              Yummy, Yummy!  

Sometimes it is good to step back from our daily fast paced lives and just slow down and re-connect with the person you love and enjoy the simple pleasures life has to offer and that is what we did on Husband's day off.

If you love old fashioned ice cream and are in Denton, TX be sure to visit:

Beth Marie's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shop
117 West Hickory Street
Denton,  TX  76201

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shout Out to Our New Blogger Friends

We just wanted to say a few words about our Foodbuzz friends.  It was great meeting fellow bloggers at the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Event, at Carrabba's Italian Grill this past Saturday. 

If you have not yet attended a Foodbuzz Event, it is a fun way of meeting your fellow Foodbuzz Bloggers in person.  This was our first event and we absolutely had a great time meeting people that have the same common interest as we do.  There was never a shortage of conversation when you all share a common passion which in our case is food.

We just wanted to mention some of the bloggers we met and if you have not visited their blogs, give them a visit because they are a great bunch of people!


We enjoyed meeting each and every one of you, can't wait for the next event!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Foodbuzz Tastemakers Event - Carrabba's Italian Grill, Plano, TX

On behalf of Foodbuzz we were invited to attend as correspondents to cover a Foodbuzz Tastemaker Event at Carrabba's Italian Grill, Plano, TX along with fellow Foodbuzz bloggers on Saturday, August 14, 2010.

Founded in 1986 by Johnny Carrabba and Damian Mandola in Houston, TX.  With a vast experience in the restaurant business many of the recipes derived from Damian's mother Grace and sister Rose, while traveling to Italy in search of unique dishes back in his grandparents native region.

Carrabba's caught the attention of Outback Steakhouse, Inc., owners and formed a joint venture partnership in 1993.   In 1995 Outback Steakhouse, Inc. acquired the rights to develop Carrabba's Italian Grill nationwide.

Upon arriving we were met by the Proprietor, Josh Goldschmidt.  Josh and his staff welcomed us and explained what was planned for the event.  We were soon joined by other fellow Foodbuzz bloggers and it was so great to meet everybody and formed new friendships.  Our tour included a behind the scenes kitchen class, which was lead by there chef who demonstrated and explained what goes into preparing a pasta dish.  At Carraba's all the pasta is prepared fresh and does not lay around all day, in fact it is only allowed to stay out for 2 hours and then discarded and fresh pasta is made.  In fact our demonstration was about fresh Penne Franco which was a dish made with fresh mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and black olives with a ricotta salata.  With an emphasis on fresh ingredients the finished dish looked delicious!

We were also treated to a wonderful light and refreshing Sangria with fresh blackberries!  Would come back just for Blackberry Sangria, so good!

After our behind the scenes class demostration we were seated and given a personalized menu card with our names on it, with a 3 course selection.

To start our meal we were served Bruschetta Con Pesto, grilled bread topped with fresh pesto, diced Roma tomatoes, ricotta salata cheese and basil.  The crispy bread with fresh vegetables and ripe juicy Roma tomatoes was a delight and a great way to start our meal.  There was small bowls of extra virgin olive oil with an herb mix that was perfect for dipping our bruschetta.  It reminded me of my family italian family table and how we love to incorporate olive oil.

We were than offered a choice of homemade soup or fresh green salad with a choice of their fresh vinaigrette or other dressings.  Greens were crisp and fresh and colorful with a side of dressing of choice.

For the main course my husband and I choose the Rigatoni Campagnolo, which was large tubular pasta tossed with Italian fennel sausage, roasted red bell peppers and pomodoro, topped with a medallion of Caprino goat cheese.
This tasted like homemade with a light and flavorful tomato base flavored with fennel sausage.  I never had goat cheese with a pasta dish but the warm buttery medallions of goat cheese were the perfect topper.

With our stomachs full with good food and conversation our experience at Carraba's Italian Grill in Plano, TX  was a pleasant event.   The staff was warm and pleasant.   Our waitress was a good sport when we asked her to take numerous group pictures!    All through our meal Josh the proprietor came buy to talk and made us feel at home with his warm hospitality.

At the end of our meal we all received goodie bags full of pasta, salad, dessert and a warm personalized handwritten note from Josh thanking us!

Carraba's Italian Grill is a close to italian home cooking as you can get.  They only use the freshest ingredients and everything is cooked fresh and you can certainly taste it.  If you are looking for great homemade italian food and a warm friendly environment and possibly the best fresh fruit blackberry Sangria we ever had stop at Carraba's Italian Grill.

We just want to say a BIG THANK YOU to Carraba's Italian Grill, Plano, TX

Ronnie to the left and Rowland to the right.

We enjoyed meeting each and every Foodbuzz blogger and are looking forward to meeting again!

Visit our friends at Carraba's Italian Grill at 3400 N. Central Expy, Plano, TX  75074, Phone 972-516-9900 - Josh Goldschmidt, Proprietor

We Are Back!

Life has a funny way of getting in the way and before you know it time has just gone by. 

Our son Alex, signed up to be a Marine Reservist and is currently in boot camp for 3 months in Parris Island, South Carolina.  It was hard to see him go because we talk to him almost everyday and being in boot camp we have no contact with him other than letters.  Being a mother I wanted to send him a care package from home but Alex wrote us and said he can only receive certain items like protein bars, Gatorade and vitamin C.   Oh well sending him baked goods is not an option.  We miss him very much but look forward to his boot camp graduation in October. 

Jason, our youngest is starting his Junior year in college at UNT and ready for dorm life again, but said he looks forward to coming home on the weekends for mom's home cooking!

With so many things going on and plus starting a new business, a couple of days became a month, but we are back and have plenty to talk about.  

Husband and I attended a FoodBuzz Tastemaker Event at Carrabas in Plano, TX this weekend and will be posting our story and review, stay tuned!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blogger Award Nominees

Today we found out that we had received the The Versatile Blogger Award from our friends at The Ardent Epicure at www.theardentepicure.com  It is a nice surprise to be acknowledged, since we are still a young blog, by a beautiful blog like The Ardent Epicure and we are truly honored and we thank them!

The Guidelines for accepting this award are:

- Thank the person who gave it to you.

- Tell 7 things about yourself

- Pass the award on to 15 bloggers whom you have recently discovered,
  and think are fantastic!

7 Things We Would Like to Share About Us:

1.  We love motorcycle's and husband has a Harley Sportster

2.   We are a family of two sons, Alex is 25 and is currently in the
       Marine Reserves.  Jason is 20 and currently a junior at University
       of North Texas.

3.   We have two dogs Abby a.k.a Miss. Mule (pointer beagle mix) and Bailey  a.k.a Bad Boy Bailey (shih tzu)

4.    Our names our Rowland and Ronnie a.k.a RnR

5.    Married 5/2002, honeymooned at Martha's Vineyard

6.    Ronnie works with special needs children part time

7.    Rowland works in the financial field for a large brokerage firm

Our 15 Choices for recently discovered bloggers:

1.    A Happy Girl & Loving Life www.archintrain.blogspot.com
Love this Jersey girl's approach to good eats, and sharing her light hearted stories along with great recipes and food photos.

2.    Simply Maran www.simplymaran.com
Her blog promotes eating healthy, sharing her healthy lifestyle while attending college.

3.    My Life As a Mrs. www.kristinawiley.blogspot.com
A beautiful blog documenting a newly married brides life, beautiful stories and photos.

4.     Joseph's Grainery www.josephsgrainery.com
This blog is all about creating beautiful recipes with wheat, barley and lentils.  Great stories and recipes.

5.    The Mom Chef www.themomchef.blogspot.com
I can totally relate to this blog because I to am a magazine collector.  This mom documents recipes made in her test kitchen from home that she gets from magazines she has collected.   Great stories and photos

6.     Chef Dennis - More than a Mount Full www.morethanamountfull.blogspot.com
I know why Chef Dennis receives numerous awards, he has a warmth and sense of humor that is very evident in his blog posts.  When we started our blog he was our first follower.  I look to him for inspiration and love visiting his blog and you should to!

7.     Monet - Anedotes and Apple Cores www.anedotesandapples.weebly.com
I love Monet's baked goods, she shares a warmth through each of her recipes and beautiful photo's.  We are big fans!

8.    Weekend Food Projects www.weekendfoodprojects.com
A blog dedicated to food and photography.  This blog is a mix of beautiful recipes and food.

9.    Bittersweet Blog www.bittersweetsugarandsarcasm.blogspot.com
I have to say this is one of my favorite blogs.  Rick cracks me up with his great sense of humor, and his very different twist on food keeps us coming back!

10.  Baking Serendipity www.bakingserendipity.blogspot.com
Great family recipes and good conversation with beautiful food photos.

11.   Queen Bee Eats For A Day www.queenbeeeatsforaday.wordpress.com
Beautiful recipes and photos accompanied by great stories.

12.    The College Critic www.collegecritic.wordpress.com
An insight on a college students prospective on bland college food.  Beautifully documented.

13.     The Voice of Joyce www.voiceofjoyce.net
Fun filled blog with beautiful home baked goods recipes.

14.    Foodalution www.foodalution.com
With an emphasis on a healthy lifestyle, Megan takes a fresh and healthy food and turns them into delicious recipes.

15.     JoeynGoy www.joeyngoy.com
Simple and straight forward approach to food.  The recipes and food are beautiful.   Makes me want to cook!

If you haven't already visited these blogs, stop by and visit them!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Brunch at Vinoteca Wine Bar & Bistro, Washington, DC

My older son called me today and told me he was visiting an old friend in Washington, DC  and was having brunch at a great neighborhood place.    Vinoteca Wine Bar & Bistro, Washington, DC is located in the heart of the historical district of U Street & 11th Street Corridor.  My son Alex and his friends love this restaurant for the casual, laid back atmosphere.  It nestles itself among the neighborhood and nearby shops. 

Offering wine classes and Flamenco Sunday (dancers and all).  Offering over 100 wines from all over the world along with a brunch, dinner , dessert, and happy hour menu.

Alex choose a selection off the brunch menu called Pan Catalan and eggs, 2 sunny side up eggs on Gruyere toast, tomato pulp, prosciutto, manchego cheese and a side of fresh arugula salad, accompanied by a cool champagne mimosa.

Other brunch offerings include cheddar grits to omelets to granola made from scratch.  I would say my son Alex did a great job with his food commentary and said he will offer his input from time to time.

Thanks Alex!  

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cinnamon Sugar Banana Bread Cupcakes

Did I say I love cupcakes!!!!    Besides loving to cook I also love to bake, the only thing is it takes more time and sometimes I just don't have a moment to squeeze into my already hectic day, but when I want to relax I bake.  Baking brings happiness to me from mixing the creamy batter to the homemade creamy frosting's I create.  I do this as a favorite past time and always love the end result.  I don't have to think about anything else other than the precise measurements it takes to make my cupcake batter and filling the batter into paper cups and waiting as my creation comes to life in the oven. 

I know why their is such a cupcake craze that appeals to so many people, because if you are the person that is just buying cupcakes, just stepping into a cupcake bakery brings instant happiness the moment you lay eyes on all the pretty color frosting's and details of each cupcake.  Now if you are the person that bakes cupcakes like me than happiness comes from your homemade baked creations.

This weekend I had some time on my hands to relax and decided to make my Cinnamon Sugar Banana Bread Cupcakes, which I haven't made in a while.  I have a separate folder I keep all my cake recipes and decided to look through it and choose this recipe.  My cupcakes are cream cheese frosted with a light powder of cinnamon and sugar on top.  I also sliced some fresh banana's and used them as a finishing touch on top.  I'm glad I took my pictures fast because between friends and family they were gone in a few hours.   My husband said he liked them even without frosting with just a dusting of powered sugar.   I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.  Bake and be happy!

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose four (leveled)

3/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 - 2 cups mashed bananas (about 4-5 bananas) plus 1 whole banana for garnish 
Note:  Depending on the banana taste you want I found 4 banana's was a mild taste and I prefer 5 bananas because I like to taste the banana more.

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 

Make a well in the center of flour mixture.  In well, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs and vanilla.  Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not over mix this tends to make cupcakes dry).  Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups filling 3/4 high, (Using an ice scream scooper makes it easy to evenly portion batter).

Bake for about 25-30 minutes.   Toothpick should come out clean.  Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on wire rack.  When cool spread tops with creamy cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with equal parts fresh cinnamon and sugar, top with slice of fresh banana.

Cream Cheese Frosting:


1 pound (4 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

8   ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4  teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy about 3 minutes, also make sure butter and cream cheese are at room temperature so you have no lumps when mixing. 

Reduce speed to low and add sugar, 1 cup at a time and then vanilla, mix until smooth and creamy.  Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 3 days just bring to room temperature and beat until smooth before using.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Simple Lemon Chicken

This past weekend when I went to the farmer's market I picked up quite a bit of fresh lemons and wondered ok, what am I going to do with them?   I love lemon in sweet and savory dishes and tonight as I wondered what I was going to do with a package of boneless chicken breasts it occurred to me to make lemon chicken.

 Now I have only made it one time before this and totally forgot, so I looked on line at different recipes and realized they had similar ingredients in common, butter, onions, garlic, chicken stock and of course lemons.  I already had the butter,onions,garlic and lemons but no chicken stock, but I had beef stock and I thought how would it taste with a little beef stock, so I began preparation of my chicken browning 6 boneless chicken breasts first in a combination of butter and a little olive oil.  With chicken browned. I chopped 1/2 onion to brown in pan along with a teaspoon of fresh minced garlic, cooked until translucent I added a small amount of flour to thicken and added 1 cup of beef broth and scrapped the brown bits from the bottom to thicken with the chicken juices, then cut 1 lemon and squeezed into the mixture.  and that's it.  I put the chicken in a baking pan and poured mixture over chicken and then sliced two more lemons to place on top of chicken.  I baked in a 350 oven for 30 minutes.

 It came out pretty good, the beef stock just adds a deeper flavor to the sauce and I served it with a bean salad on the side.   My husband loved it!   Sometimes I like to improvise and take a risk to see what happens and sometimes the outcome is great and sometimes not so good!

Broiled Pineapple with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

With the upcoming 4th of July weekend coming up alot of us will be entertaining and with this sweet pineapple and ice cream how could you go wrong?  The sweet juiciness from the pineapples and the cool creaminess from the vanilla bean ice cream make this a simple dessert that you can serve to guests at your next backyard party because it is quick and easy!  I sometimes add pound cake into this recipe by layering cake, ice cream and pineapple, absolutely delicious!  Also, instead of vanilla bean ice cream you can use a coconut sorbet for that tropical taste.  Fresh pineapple is best for this recipe since the method will be broiling or you can also grill for 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Serves 4

nonstick cooking spray

1 - 3 1/2 pound pineapple

vanilla bean ice cream


Preheat broiler; set rack 6 inches from heat.  Coat a broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray. 

Core pineapple for wedges.  Halve wedges lengthwise to make 8 spears.

Lay spears on a prepared pan.  Cook turning once, until golden brown and tender about 20 minutes (at this point the sugars will caramelize and release).
If grilling make sure you coat grill with nonstick cooking spray when grilling pineapple (do not put on high flame - medium to low is best) cooking time approximately 10 minutes, turn once.

Divide among bowls; serve vanilla bean ice cream or coconut sorbet.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Blackberry Crumbles

I am always trying to think of different ways to use summer fruit, since having a passion for anything sweet and my love of summer fruit.   You can also substitute blackberries for blueberries.    This dessert goes great with vanilla bean ice cream!

Serves 4

4        cups fresh blackberries (about 14 ounces)

1/4     cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon

3        tablespoons all-purpose flour

3        tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3        tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the ramekins

1/4     teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

6        store-bought sugar cookies (about 2 ounces), coarsely crushed

1/4     cup rolled oats


Preheat oven to 375.  Stir blackberries, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons flour, and lemon juice in a bowl; set aside.

Put butter, cinnamon, salt and remaining tablespoon sugar into a small bowl.  Stir vigorously with a rubber spatula until creamy.  Stir in cookies, oaks, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons flour.  Work mixture through fingers until it forms coarse crumbs ranging in size from peas to gum balls.

Butter four 5-ounce ramekins (about 3 1/2 inches in diameter).  Divide blackberry mixture among ramekins; transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.  Sprinkle with crumb topping.  Bake until juices are bubbling and topping is a golden brown about 20-25 minutes.  Let cool on a rack for about 20 minutes before serving.  

I like to serve this with vanilla bean ice cream on top!   Enjoy!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lemon Butter Angel Hair Pasta with Farm Fresh Veggies

I made this light pasta dish tonight for dinner with grilled london broil.  After visiting the Dallas Farmers Market I was anxious to fix something with the veggies I had picked up.  This light healthful dish is perfect with any grilled meats and any leftovers can be refrigerated for a couple days and either be served warm or cold. 

Serves 6-8

1 lb.      angel hair pasta (any kind) follow pkg directions.

2 tsp.     minced garlic

2 tbsp.    Olive Oil - extra virgin or reg is fine

2 med.   Zucchini

2 med    Squash

1/2 tsp. course salt

1 whole fresh lemon

4 tbsp.   butter, salted

1/2 cup grated Reggianno cheese or Parmesan

Med size skillet.


Slice zucchini and squash in 1/2" rounds.

Heat skillet on med. heat and add olive oil

Add zucchini, squash, garlic, butter, course salt, stir

Cover and saute over medium heat until fork tender - about 10 minutes, stir

Cut lemon in half and squeeze each half onto vegetables (watch for seeds), stir

Remove skillet from heat and pour vegetable mixture over cooked angel hair pasta, toss together and add chopped cilantro and grated cheese, add salt to taste.

Serve in a big colorful family style bowl!  Enjoy!

Relaxed Saturday at the Dallas Farmers Market

Today was a very relaxed day in our house.  With our our food shopping already done we decided to go the Dallas Farmers Market for some fresh produce.  A couple of our friends have been there and said they always loved it, so my husband and I said well let's take a drive.  Although we live in Fort Worth,  Dallas is the big city to Fort Worth and only about a 50 minute drive from where we live.  Temps were expected to be in the high 90's so we went prepared with our cash in hand, eco-friendly shopping bags, bottled water and comfortable footwear (for me flip flops). 

Dallas Farmers Market is a large outdoor market with as they call them "covered sheds"  thank goodness because it was already heating up and walking in the shade is a little better than the sun.  There are a few open outdoor sheds and then there are a couple of indoor "with air conditioning" sheds.  The farmers market is local farmers lined up in longs rows of the most beautiful and colorful display of vegetables and fruits.

It is sensory overload walking down aisles of fresh produce, the farmers also eager to hand out samples of their riches and my husband and I sampled fresh cool watermelon,  juicy peaches,  mango and sugary pineapple, so good!  There is nothing like farm fresh produce!

Before we purchased our treasures to take back home we decided to visit the indoor sheds, that is where we found family owned La Popular, Tamale House.  We decided to taste these homemade mexican tamales which are made fresh daily.  Fillings include, beef, pork, chicken, beans and jalapenos.  Due to high demand most of her tamales were gone and all that was left was chicken so we tried chicken, which is roasted shredded chicken, cornmeal, spices, peppers and rolled in a banana leaf, tied and boiled. Served with a homemade hot sauce salsa.  I had a mild version but it was still quite hot, so my husband gladly finished my hot sauce salsa, he loves spicy, the spicier the better.

        Here is my husband enjoying some tamales!

Chicken Tamales with Spicy Salsa!


Just a sampling of some of the fresh produce that came home with us!

Support all your local farmers markets!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What's New Cupcake on the Today Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda

I was watching the Kathie Lee and Hoda hour on the Today Show this morning where they featured the What's New Cupcake Book!   Show cased on the show was different ways to use cupcakes, they even made platform shoes out of cupcakes!  Anybody who can make platform shoes out of cupcakes is a winner in my book!  They also made jewel like mini cupcakes from candied beads.  Their book shows you how to use candy and other snacks right from the grocery store, easy to follow techniques make it a great book for anyone who has a passion for cupcakes! 

Husband's Special Event at the Four Seasons in Dallas, TX

Tonight I have the pleasure of accompanying my husband, who is one of several honorees this year, to a special event sponsored by his company.  The Fidelity Investments Texas Service Recognition Event celebrates the time and special achievements that honorees have contributed throughout their years of service.    The event will take place at the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel in Dallas, TX.  

The menu will include passed hors d'oeuvres, pasta, carving and seafood stations and delicious desserts!  Entertainment is also scheduled for the evening event. 

This will be the first time we have visited the Four Seasons in Dallas, TX, but know it is a first class luxury hotel. 

I am proud of my husband's achievements and his everyday support he gives me in anything I want to do!

I will be sharing photo's of the night on our blog tomorrow!  Sampling reviews and photo's of the food tasted will be shared also!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Sunshine Pasta Salad

I used to make this salad all the time when my two son's were little but have not made it in a long time.   Yesterday my youngest son Jason asked "whatever happened to the cold pasta salad you used to make?"  I said you know I don't know why, or maybe because I try so many different recipes I just forgot about it.  So I made my cold pasta salad for my son yesterday and I wondered after eating it, how good it was.  I also find that the longer it sits in the refrigerator the better it tastes.  This salad goes with just about anything but I particularly love it with fresh fish or chicken.  It is a cool, fresh, healthy salad you will feel good about serving.  Leftovers are easy to store in the refrigerator for about a week.  Enjoy!

Serves 6-8

12 oz.    bag of any Multi-Colored Veggie Pasta (cook according to pkg directions.

1 cup     red peppers, small chopped

1 cup     green peppers, small chopped

1 cup     yellow peppers, small chopped

12 oz. pkg frozen broccoli (cook according to pkg directions)  or you can use fresh broccoli

1/4 cup red onion, small chopped

Kraft Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing or Ranch Dressing

Salt & Pepper to taste


-  Cook pasta & broccoli following package directions. 

-  Drain pasta & broccoli in a stainer, run cool water over broccoli & pasta until cool.

-  In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta & broccoli, add chopped peppers & onion.

-  Toss until blended

-  Add dressing & toss until well coated

-  Season with salt & pepper to taste

-  Serve cold

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Brown Bag Grilled Corn with Chili Powder & Lime

So on my quest for fast easy meals this summer I think of corn-on-the-cob.  Why, because who doesn't like corn (well maybe a few people) but corn goes with anything and you can flavor corn with herbs, flavored butters and seasonings. It's bright yellow color makes it a happy food and it is also sweet and delicious.   You can impress alot of people by just seasoning your corn, imagine that!  Anyway, my son is just about happy with anything I make and anticipates by lunch time what I will be making for dinner (he has a big appetite!)  I hope you enjoy my Grilled Corn with Chili &Lime Recipe!

Makes 16 pieces

4 ears shucked corn

1/2 lime

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt


1.  Grill corn over high heat, turning until lightly blackened in places and kernels are just tender when pressed, about 12 minutes

2.  Cut each ear into 4 pieces.  Transfer to a sturdy, medium-size paper bag and squeeze lime over corn.  Sprinkle with chili powder and coarse salt.  Close bag and shake to coat.  Serve immediately fro the bag on in a bowl.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Asian Rotisserie Chicken Salad

My husband and son are always asking me what is for dinner?  They ask me at breakfast which sometimes I am half asleep and without coffee I cannot answer them, but what makes it so hard is here in North Texas where the temps are already 100 degrees I often struggle with not standing in front of the stove for long periods of time.  So I have tried to schedule a week's worth of dinner's in advance, keeping in mind cool and easy.    So today I would like to share with you my Summer Asian Rotisserie Chicken Salad it takes a short 30 minutes and is quick and satisfying, Enjoy!

Serves 4

2 cups of fresh cilantro leaves

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2 limes)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

course salt and ground pepper

1 whole rotisserie chicken (pickup already prepared at your grocery market)
    skins and bones removed, meat shredded for best texture shred with fork.

1/4 medium red cabbage (8 ounces) cored and thinly sliced crosswise

1 red bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed) thinly sliced crosswise

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 large head romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces

1/2 cup cashews


1.  Make dressing in blender:  combine cilantro, lime juice and oil; season with salt and pepper.   Blend until smooth.

2.  In a large bowl, combine chicken, cabbage, bell pepper, and scallions; season with salt and pepper.  In another large bowl, toss lettuce with 1/2 cup dressing.    Divide amoung four serving bowls and top with chicken mixture.  Drizzle all with remaining dressing and sprinkle with cashews.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Father's Day Grilling Ideas

Happy Father's Day to all you Dad's out there!   Most all dad's love a good burger and this is an easy juicy burger recipe for your Father's Day outdoor grilling party!   These burgers are easy to make and can be substituted with ground turkey also.  Tender and juicy with just the right amount of seasonings, serve with sharp chedder and dress this burger your way!   Don't forget the corn-on-the-cob!  Enjoy! Click on for recipe Sam-burgers Recipe Father's Day Grilling Ideas FamilyFun

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Berry Delicious Summer Salad

Summer is here!  Time for lighter summer dishes and cool fresh summer salads.  I am a big fan of farmers markets and always looking for new and creative ways to use the farm fresh ingrediants I get from my local market!   I found this recipe for Berry Delicious Salad.    Sweet juicy blueberries are the star of this salad along with fresh greens.  This salad pairs well with grilled beef, pork or chicken.   Enjoy!  Click on link for recipe. Cool Summer Salads 
Casa Moda Coffee Signs Set of Four Salad Plates
                                    Casa Moda Coffee Signs Set of Four Salad Plates