Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy 'National Vegetarian Week', and 'Meatless Monday' everyone!  I have been slacking on the writing, but I do have a couple of  fun things I need to put on here.  Like, my first ever barbie cake that I made for my granddaughter Cassi's 5th birthday.  WOOT WOOT!  And my new favorite thing to bake...Lion House Rolls!  They are DIVINE!!!  I'll post pics, and the recipes for both soon!  I'm trying out a new fun font.  What do you think?  Yes?  Or should I revert back to the easy to read (but not as fun and funky) original.  Enquiring minds want to know! :)

For today, I made a Spinach and Portabello Mushroom Fritatta in honor of Vegi Week, and Meatless Monday.  (A little secret.  I am a vegetarian, who ADORES pork.  But that's another post!) :D  This fritatta is so simple to make!  I had everything I needed in the fridge!  The great thing about a fritatta is you can eat it hot, or at room temp.  I never sit down at the table to eat so most of the time my food gets cold by the time I actually eat it, so this recipe is FAB for people like me!  It's also a super delish way to pack veg into a dish!  It's a great way to get the healthy stuff into your spouse and kids!
It's also a one-pan-wonder which I especially love, because as you will find out, my dirty little secret is I HATE DOING DISHES.  There.  I said it.  Mom will be so proud this is forever memorialized on line.  Oh well!  Back to the recipe!  I added scallions and red onions to mine.  Mainly because that is what I had.  And I also added the scallions because I saw this nifty post on Pinterest that says you can indefinitely grow green onions from just the bottom ends.  You KNOW I have to test that tip out!  I also put the asiago, parm, ramano cheese blend in mine in addition to the cheddar.  Yes, I am still calling this a healthy dish in spite of all of the cheese. What???  There are veg in this!  Now, without further ado, I give you...

2 T.   Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 c.  Onion,  or Scallions chopped
8   Large Eggs
4 T.   Sharp Cheddar Cheese, coarsely grated, divided (or eyeball it like I do)
1 6 oz. pkg. Sliced Portabello Mushrooms, chopped into big chunks
2 c. Fresh Spinach, chopped

Preheat your broiler.  Whisk the eggs and 2 T. of the cheese (your discretion on amount) in a large bowl.  Sprinkle in salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a 10" nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and mushrooms, and saute' until they are tender.  This takes about 5-10 minutes.  I like to get a nice caramelization going on the mushrooms.  Add the spinach, and saute' until it is wilted.  Add in the egg mixture and stir to combine all of the ingredients.  Reduce your heat to medium low, cover, and cook until the eggs are almost set, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle on the remaining cheese.  Transfer the fritatta under the broiler.  Broil just until it is set in the center, and the cheese is golden brown.  This usually takes between 1-2 minutes.
GORGEOUS right???  If you want to get fancy, use a spatula and loosen the edges of the fritatta, then slide it onto a platter.  Just remember...the handle is MOLTEN!  I wrap a dish towel around the handle just so I won't forget.  It serves 4 hungry people, or me for dinner and lunch the next day.  Ok, and a midnight snack at 2 a.m.
You don't have to wait until a 'meatless monday' to make this little beauty!  It's just as amazing and delish on a FAB Friday, or a TERRIFIC  Tuesday!   And that my friends is what's for dinner tonight!  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!  Buon appetito!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful ladies!  I hope this day will bring you rest, joy and peace.  I saw a picture yesterday on Facebook and I thought it hit the nail on the head about mothers.
To my own mom I want to say "I love you, and thank you for all that you do for me!"  My mom is a tireless inspiration not just to me but to all those around her.  I ask her all the time how she does all that she does...she just smiles, and leaves me in total bewilderment.  She is an amazing woman, and I am so blessed and proud that I can not only call her mom, but my friend.

So, here's to all of you!  HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Wish For A World With More Birthdays, And Less Breast Cancer

I came across this post from, and was so overwhelmed by it that I had to share.  On May 5, 2012  the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk took place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  As part of the festivities, there were more than 8,000 cake pops on a 12 ft. birthday cake. Instead of pop sticks, the cake pops were on birthday candles representing the “Wish for a World with Less Breast Cancer and More Birthdays.”
Is that not one of the most amazing and beautiful things ever?  My family has been directly affected by breast cancer, so it is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  For the last couple of years, two of my "sole sisters" and I have participated in the Rock-n-Roll Marathon & 1/2 Marathon in San Antonio, Texas.  It is an experience I will always treasure.  It's a very overwhelming and emotional experience seeing a sea of 30,000+ people coming together for the great cause of ending breast cancer.  I am thinking now though that my 13.1 miles was NOTHING in comparison to making these 8,000 cake pops!  Can you even imagine???  C. Adam’s Bakery in Milwaukee, WI deserves a HUGE standing ovation for this creation!  
kohls2 There is a recap video Kohl’s made from the event on if you’d like to hear what they’re doing in the fight against breast cancer or if you’d like to see the cake in motion.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mushroom and Pappardelle Soup with Gremolata

Sometimes it's easy being vegetarian.  Take this soup for instance.  What's not to love?  Meaty mushrooms, gorgeous beans with color that make you want to scoop them up, a tart zing of lemon zest hitting the back of your tongue, generous strips of silky pasta, and mascarpone cheese.  What can I say about this cheese that would even do it justice?  Put them all together and I ask you...Who cares where the meat is???  
Mushroom and Pappardelle Soup with Gremolata
Mascarpone is stirred into this noodle soup just before serving to give it a luscious creaminess and cheesy tang.  Easy, cheesy, and veggie...3 of my FAV things combined in one luscious pot!
Serves 6 
30 minutes or less to prepare
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced ¼-inch thick (2 cups)
  • 1 large onion, diced (1 ½ cups)
  • ¾ tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 7 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 oz. pappardelle noodles
  • 1 ½ cups green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ⅓ cup mascarpone cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1. To make soup: Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onion, and sauté 5 minutes. Stir in Italian seasoning, then broth. Cover, and bring to a boil. Set aside 1/2 cup broth, then add noodles; simmer 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add green beans, and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat. My preference is for the beans to have a crunch, and be a vibrant green.  But if you like your beans more on the grey, mushy side, by all means cook it longer. ;D
2. Whisk reserved 1/2 cup broth into mascarpone in bowl. Slowly stir mascarpone mixture into soup.
3. To make the gremolata: pulse parsley, garlic, and lemon zest in food processor until finely chopped.  Or just get out your knife and chop, chop CHOP! (who needs to wash all that hardware?)
4. Ladle your soup into warm bowls and garnish each with 2 tsp. gremolata.
Sit back and enjoy!  At 216 calories a serving it's a healthy, homemade, heart warming dish that you will be proud to say you made!

For the love of Jack

As many of you know the main man in my life is about 2 feet tall, weighs about15 pounds (give or take a late night snack or two), and has the most beautiful black and white curls you've ever laid eyes on!  He is the most patient and loving friend I've had.  He could care less that my age is showing and that most days I'm not too easy on the eyes.  He doesn't care that I have slowed down to a snail pace, and can't run the blocks with him like I used too.  Wait, I don't think I ever did that.  We are growing old together, and he is doing it a lot better than I am.  He's heard my lifes troubles and woes more times than we can both count, but he is always right there for another round and for another version.  He is ALWAYS happy when I walk through the door (never mind that I just walked the trash out) and his wiggly butt and tail go furiously to make sure I know I was missed.  I'm constantly amazed that such a little guy can take up an entire king size bed, snore louder than most adults I know, bury a cookie faster than lightening in mom's tulip garden, make complete strangers stop on a street just to say hello to him, and that he can make my heart completely melt and forget his naughtiness with just a single look!  He's my buddy, my snacking partner-in-crime.  He is a rescue from the side of a freeway in Southern Colorado, but if you know me, and know him, the more accurate story is that he is the one who rescued me.  The joke about these cookie recipes that I share is that I bake and bake and bake these  "healthy" wonderful treats, and Jack either turns up his nose at them, buries them in my bed, or they end up as buried like the bones in mom's garden.  Just like me it's not the healthy things he wants.  So I will continue to happily bake for all of his furry friends pretending that one day he'll eat one of these treats. I'll keep sharing wonderful recipes I find so that you can treat your best buddy to a made with love snack too.  But for now, Jack can have another "chicken" treat, and I'll have another Pepsi...and life as we know it will go on in ignorant bliss. :D
Peanutbutter and Bacon Homemade Dog treats
Peanut Butter & Bacon Dog Treats {Gluten-Free} by
Yield: 15-20 treats
  • 1 cup oat flour (you can just whip up your own by grinding up rolled oats)
  • 1 cup brown rice flour (or you can substitute regular or whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (unsalted is best)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2-3 pieces cooked bacon
  • 1 shredded carrot
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl combine all wet ingredients until well blended. Add both flours to wet mixture to form dough.
  2. Roll out between two pieces of parchment paper or lightly floured work surface to 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Cut out with cookie cutter. (I used a dog bone shape cookie cutter)
  4. Place treats on a parchment lined baking sheet (they can be close together, just not touching) and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Cool in oven, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Store about a weeks worth on the counter in a sealed container and the rest can go in the freezer!

Gluten-Free PB Cookies

A recipe for my cousin who, with millions of other people, lives her life with the challenge of Celiacs.  Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats. Over the years she has  dazzled me with her talent for inventing and re-inventing beautiful and delish recipes that are gluten-free.  Not until I took up the challenge to make a simple pie that was GF, did I have any idea what an enormous task cooking this way would be!  The next time you are at the grocery store I challenge you to read labels.  It is astonishing what has gluten in it!  Watch as some of your favorite foods fall from the 'SAFE' list to the 'NOT SAFE' list.  You either go totally without that food, or you learn to adapt the way that food is made. Neither of those options is an easy one.  But she has mastered making the difficult look easy with years of trial and error. She has patiently and lovingly endured my ignorance about this disease.  Thank you for a lesson learned. Thank you for being an amazing woman that I look up too.  You are a dear friend, but more are family.

Emeri's 'I Can't Believe It's Gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookies' from
I Can't Believe It's Gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookies
1 C. Creamy Peanut Butter (check the label to make sure it's GF)
1/2 C. Granulated Sugar
1/2 C. Packed, Light Brown Sugar
1/2 C. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (check the label to make sure it's GF)
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1 t. Vanilla Extract

Position two oven racks in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Divide dough into 24 portions, about 1 heaping tablespoon each. Roll each portion between your hands to form a smooth ball. Place balls of dough on ungreased cookie sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. (You should get about 12 cookies per sheet.) Using a fork, press on dough in two directions to form a crosshatch pattern. Bake 10 minutes. Cool slightly, then remove with a spatula and let cool completely on wire racks.

Makes 24 cookies :D

Jack may not be food related, but this little guy has been my faithful friend and PERFECT food buddy for over six years!  Yes, I DO bake cookies for him and his friends, but Jack is sort of a food snob in reverse.  He won't eat my home baked goodies, but he LOVES the fake bacon treats from WalMart.  Go figure.  I do have on great authority from his buddy Jack (yup, there are two), and Jack's friends in the neighborhood that the homemade treats are THE BOMB!  I will be sharing treat recipes on the blog too because I know i'm not the only one who bakes for their furry loved ones! 

Buttermilk Pie

This is my favorite way to get a recipe!  A copy of the original!  This is from a friend's grandmother's recipe box.  A true southern Grandma's buttermilk pie recipe.  HEAVEN!  I wanted to keep the "authenticity" of the recipe so I'm posting "as-is".  The ingredients are on the middle picture, and the instructions are on the bottom picture.  (I know, there are some ingredients on the bottom pic as well, but blame that on my picture taking abilities and the fact I wanted to be sure I got every bit of info!)
This is such a DELISH recipe and please trust me...even if you think you don't love buttermilk you will LOVE this pie! 

Life lesson learned

This banana bread is somewhat legendary.  It is my dad's creation, and it is loved by family, friends, neighbors, and ward members alike.  It is a treat that he makes and personally delivers as a birthday gift.  I thought it would be a wonderful first recipe for my blog.  Well  just like so many times as I was growing up, I spoke before I verified.  You would think I'd have that lesson down by now.  VERIFY then SPEAK.  I should have that down to perfection.  But true to form I do not "have it down, to perfection".  Lesson AGAIN learned. The saying that says it's better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission is NOT applicable here.  So my friends I will sadly NOT be publishing dad's recipe for these little loaves beauty.  I will instead be posting from my recipe box, and hope you will understand that while I had the best of intentions, dad's recipe is held closely to the vest. I will probably now be forbidden to be in the kitchen while he is baking. *sigh*  I will probably also never again be the recipient of this little loaf of heaven.  When will I learn...

Banana Nut Bread  

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature (really important when baking)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature also, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 VERY ripe bananas, peeled, and mashed with a fork (about 1 cup) The darker the banana, the better!
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (totally optional)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift the flour, soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a liquid measuring cup and set aside. Lightly brush a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan with butter. 
With a mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the butter while mixing until incorporated. Add in the bananas. The mixture will look curdled, so don't freak out. This is exactly as it should look!
With a rubber spatula, mix in small amounts of the flour mixture just until it's incorporated. Don't over mix! Fold in the nuts and pour the batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Take the bread out of the pan to cool completely on the wire rack.  Or, if you are like me, enjoy it while warm with a big schmear of butter!

A New Beginning...

I've heard it said that you're never too old to try new things.  Well I'm putting that to the test and starting this blog.  It seems i've always had a lot to say, and i've never been shy about saying it.  One of the passions in my life besides my family, and being a grandma is FOOD.  Something happens when i'm in the kitchen.  All of my insecurities and doubts fade away.  It's just me, my music, and whatever ingredients happen to be in front of me.  It's like magic.  These seemingly random things come together to create a masterpiece of beauty.  The aromas of cooking take me right back to being a little girl at my grandma's knees.  My grandma was a thing to behold in the kitchen.  She was a "lunch lady" back in the day when things were done by hand.  No cans, or instant anything were involved.  She was the pastry chef, and her days began before the crack of dawn making pies, cakes and rolls all from "scratch" and by hand.  I remember watching in awe as she took the most humble ingredients and turned them into delicious coveted creations.  She is my inspiration.  Because of her I have my passion for food.  This blog will be my small tribute to a woman who gave the world so much through her love and her two small hands.  So, no looking we go...