Sunday, December 31, 2006

Creole Black Eyed Peas

I'm almost doing the whole Southern thing this New Years Eve, but I have no greens. Just cornbread and black eyed peas. This is from the 1985 Southern Living, but over the years have morphed into my Dad's recipe. Now, I follow in the tradition. I had to call and get the recipe:

Creole Black-Eyed Peas

1 bag of dried black-eyed peas (soaked overnight before cooking)
1 pkg of thick sliced bacon or 1/2 lb salt pork (I chopped it up with scissors)
1 can tomato sauce
1 mega onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
salt, pepper, red pepper, garlic powder
hot sauce, worchestershire sauce
1 pkg kielbasa sausage
Rice or cornbread

Soak the beans and discard bad ones (they float to the top). Put in a dutch oven along with the bacon and cover with water. Cook on low for 45 minutes. Add the rest (minus sausage and rice). Cook for another 45 minutes. Add sausage and cook for another 45 minutes. You may want to taste in the last 45 minutes just to determine spices. We would always eat a lot of it in the last bit of cooking (really tasting it), but it is so good.

Along with mine I'm eating cornbread:

Corn meal mix (2 cups)
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg
corn and scallions, hot sauce (addition mine)

Heat a cast iron skillet in 400. Heat oil in it for 5 minutes. Mix rest, add in hot oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Put cornbread in the bottom of a bowl. Put peas on top - enjoy it. It is great. Happy New Year - and you always enjoy this meal with some football. Go Colts and Gators!

Cooks in the Kitchen

thought I would introduce you to people that I mention here on the blog. This is my family - and we are all cooks in our own right. From Left to right:

My Mom. She loves to bake - she is a little more adventurous in changing recipes then I am. We always had casseroles growing up and they were yummy.

My Dad - he can cook southern cooking with the best. I always ask him for southern veggie help: like collards, turnips, cabbage, etc. And he is always willing to share his expertise. His favorite recipe I have is his cajun black eyed peas - which will be made today in honor of New Years and then I'll put the recipe up.

Me. I got my love of cooking from my family - and my love of sharing it with others from my mentor in St. Augustine - Phyllis. You can find out who she is by clickin the "My Other blog" link on the right.

Tywonn - the newest and greatest addition to the Davidson family, she loves to bake. Since I am moving back to the Good State, I'm looking forward to baking and cooking with her more. She also loves to make Broccoli salad and pumpkin pie. Both - she is great at. Alan will eat all the pie!

Alan - He is the griller of the family. He loves to grill, anything and everything. Chicken, steak, fresh shrimp from the Keys. My fave thing that he has ever made for us is the broiled garlic whole onions he makes. He made them one year for Thanksgiving and they were incredible. A cross between sauted onions one would get on steak at a restaurant and the bloomin' onion you can get at Outback. Good stuff.

Anyway - enjoy! Now you know more about my culinary history

Monday, December 25, 2006

Gingerbread Waffles

THese were phenom. I'm loving my waffle maker - my cooking tool of the YEAR!! Whoohoo - thank you to MG to helping me make my first batch - and now I've made them all year.
This will probably the last batch of 2006 - my roomie wanted to try some, so I'm freezing them for her. Eggo does not make gingerbread waffles. I looked through tons of recipes and came across this one in an old (almost as old as me) cookbook. Since adapted by someone, I did adapt it too, mainly b/c I didn't have any cloves. I ate one of these tonight - even though I was stuffed - and I served it with ff cool whip and real maple syrup. make em, and enjoy them!

Gingerbread waffles:

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice (instead of cloves)
1 cup boiling water (I heated up my tea kettle)

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and molasses. Mix together dry ingredients. Add alternating water and dry ingredients. Pour into greased waffle maker according to your instructions. Cook them until steam stops rising from the maker.
Enjoy them! Makes 8-10 waffles. They freeze very well - just stick them in a baggy - into your freezer.
Hope you enjoy them Erin - in a few weeks of course.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Big Batch Santa Cookies

Mom made these for her swap, so I wanted to make them today. Since I am taking cookies two different places tonight and tomorrow - thought a big batch would be nice. These make tons!
Mom got this recipe from a kraft website, but she altered it, and I of course altered it some more! Something I like to do with cookies...

Big Batch Santa Cookies (make about 7 dozen)
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
3 pinches of baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 bag white chocolate chips
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 bag dried cranberries

Cream sugars and butter. Add eggs and vanilla till mixed. Add in dry ingredients, fold in chips, nuts, and berries.
Heat oven to 375, drop cookies onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, let cool.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sweet Potato Hash

My brother had cooked these on Friday night and we devoured the leftovers on Saturday. He got the recipe from Food & Wine and altered it a little, so this is the Alan version, then altered some more for the Kim version. It was much better than I could ever have anticipated! And since they are in season right now, this is a perfect time to make this recipe - try it for Christmas dinner or any other time you are having people over (otherwise you may eat all of it yourself).

Sweet Potato Hash

1 3/4 lbs sweet potatoes, cubed, skinned
1/2 package of bacon
1 large onion
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
s/p - generous grindings

Blanch potatoes for about 4-5 minutes in boiling water, drain. Cook bacon down, drain the bacon - keep some of the drippings to cook the onions in. Cook onions, return potatoes to pot, cook for about 15 minutes until done. Take off heat - add in parsley, bacon, and seasonings. Serve warm.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Restaurant Review - Barnacle Bills

My fave seafood place in St. Augustine. When I was returning from church and passed the one on the beach I saw they were closed for lunch on Sunday. I just about flipped out - not wrecking the car though! But, I looked it up online and saw the downtown one was open at lunch, so we went there. I so wanted Dat'l Shrimp!
Smokin' Smoked Fish Dip - it was pretty good (I ate too many crackers). And I think the smoked mullet dip that my mom makes is even better (she's making that this weekend when my papa smokes some mullet they caught recently). Especially now that she has some Dat'l sauce!
Minorcan Clam Chowder - Phyllis' is better. This one was spicy - but not real flavor, just heat. The crab was in such tiny pieces you couldn't really taste it. Go Phyllis!
Dad really liked his blackened alaskan salmon.
Mom and I split a dozen dat'l shrimp. They use a spicy dat'l rub on the shrimp then fry them and serve it with a mayo dat'l sauce. They were just as good as I was hoping they would be. Worth the wait!
Hushpuppies - they were good too. Mom thought they were a bit greasy, but they were round, fried, and ended up beind dipped in the dat'l shrimp sauce.

Our waitress wasn't the best, the prices are reasonable (8-16$ with 2 sides and hushpuppies) - for dinner prices (the only kind they have on Sundays). I like the beach atmosphere of the Beachside one better - downtown was ok, just a little more rustic.

Still holds the fave fried shrimp place! A close second is Billy and Jeremy's (a homemade take off Barnacle's since Jeremy and Jill both worked there).

Restaurant Review - Vines Grille

This restaurant is in the Dr. Phillips' area of Orlando right off I-4. This is where we as a family went to eat for Ty's and my b-day. There were good things and bad things about it:
I'll start with the good:
Quiet - but we went early and were the only ones in the restaurant until we left
Great WineTaster - he came out and took our picture before we ate
Banana Spring Rolls - Alan suggested these and so did the waiter - they were great. Good ending
Boursin cheese on the board - it was really good. I don't like buying random new cheeses to buy because they are expensive (especially if I don't like them).
The salmon - dad really liked that.
The mushroom risotto - Mom got that and it was very yummy.
The Vineyard salad - great way to start off the meal - probably the best thing I ate the whole meal.

Now, for the negative:
Price - way over priced - dinners we got ranged from 24-38$. So, that is just insane to me. Especially since it wasn't the best thing I've ever put in my mouth.
Cheese board - there weren't enough apples or crackers to go along with it.
I chose the chicken - a little dry, so I didn't eat much of it (but my asparagus was great).

But, it was nice to sit as a family. Enjoy a meal, laugh at some of our knowledge (or lack thereof) of fine dining. Black napkins for black pants - why don't they have red napkins if I have on a red dress? Just a question. Alan said it got better and hopping as the night went on b/c of the live jazz. It probably would be a great place to come for a night out - wine and banana spring rolls and jazz - you can't beat that. So, maybe that is what I'll do next time I want good jazz music!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Restaurant Review - Parizade

Went to Parizade for our holiday lunch today for the office. I was pleasantly surprised in most things as I hadn't heard raving things about it.
Not the easiest place to get to.
Atmosphere is very loud so you can talk with the people around you and can't hear really anything else. So it would be better if you went with a few people and not a large group.
The wait staff was very friendly and knowledgeable. The presentation was great and the dishes for lunch were very reasonably priced 3$-14$. Greek/Mediterranean food.
I had hummus with pita - good, little too garlicky for me, but good consistency and good olive oil. Some of the pita was burnt, too long on the grill! but the ones that weren't were delicious. Also had the spinach salad...spinach, walnuts, red onions, manouri (a new cheese for me, salty, grilled, cut in a wedge on top), oranges, and a sherry dressing. Very nice. The flavors went so well together.
The had a delicious looking dessert menu. But, since I had had the pitas and bread, I went for the sorbet and fruit. The cookie served with it was a spice cookie - a little too crispy for my liking. Fruit was good and the lemon sorbet was cold and amazing way to finish the meal.

I got to taste a co-workers shrimp frittata and it was real tasty as well.

So, maybe a place I would go back too for the hummus or the salad, place I would tell people to go, but I know my Dad wouldn't like it b/c it was too noisy - but overall - a pleasant lunch.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Candy Cane Fudge

Today was baking day. One of the things was Candy Cane Fudge - amazing. I made it a few years ago and thought fudge was really hard till I made this. It isn't as hard as everyone makes it out to be.

Thanks to Mom for the chopping of the candy canes! Priceless...

1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (definitely SIFT it)
1 cup crushed candy canes
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat cream and syrup to boiling over medium. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add in choc chips till melted. Stir in powdered sugar vanilla and candy canes. Chill in 8x8 foil lined pan for at least 2 hours - makes 64 pieces of fudge.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

1st Ever Biscotti (Homemade that is)

Wow - why have I been spending all my money on buying adequate biscotti - it is so easy and so good to make.
Today we made Pistachio/Cranberry/White chocolate biscotti... Yummy!

I got this recipe from and it was great! Thanks to the internet:

2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 pinches salt
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup shelled unsalted chopped pistachios
1/2 cup craisins

350 wax paper lined pan
Beat sugar and egg on high speed for 5 minutes until pale, light, and fluffy. Add vanilla. Mix together dry ingredients - add to wet. Fold in nuts and berries.
Mold into a 3x12 log, bake for 25 minutes. Take out, let cool for 10 minutes. Slice, then bake again for 10 minutes, flip over, and bake another 10 minutes.
Let cool, drizzle with white chocolate.

More biscotti coming later this week!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

George's - Worth the second try

Well, I went to George's Garage today in the 9th Street district of Durham. The last time I went there was for appetizers. Didn't care for those at all, so I could have cared less about going there again. But, I had heard better things about their market for lunch, so MG and I went there today for lunch. What a trip!
We split the Grilled Rosemary Chicken Sandwich - flatter bread, shaved grilled chicken, provolone, spicy mustard, lettuce, tomato - soft soft bread - it was delicious!
Hummus - now I am a fan of hummus, but after the stuff at Elmo's I was a little turned off from store bought hummus. Their's is perfect: fresh, great olive oil, just the right amt of garlic, nothing weird in it - just plain hummus. Crispy baked pita chips to go with it.
What a fantastic lunch - and of course the company nor the price was bad either! :)

Ode of great food blogs

If I ever think I'm getting good at baking or cooking, all I have to do is go look at others' food blogs. is my new fave. I have them favorited in my internet column. Can't wait to try some of these. I love the pictures. Its like an online cookbook - why own cookbooks - they take up room.
She may be an amatuer baker - but I want to be able to bake like this. Then I could say I've almost arrived. I'll try some of the recipes...the cinnabun scones, some of her cheesecakes, chocolate toffee bars...

Friday, December 01, 2006

WinterMint Brownies

I got this recipe off the site and they are fabulous. I love doing new recipes and having them be great just like they are - and then they go in that permanent recipe folder - these are them!

WinterMint Brownies

3 sticks butter, melted
3 cups sugar
1 tbsp vanilla (you could put mint extract in here if you want it more minty)
5 eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
24 regular size york peppermint patties

325 (glass pan, 350 normal pan). Grease pan 13x9. Cream butter, sugar and extract. Add eggs one at a time. Add dry ingredients. When all mixed together, reserve two cups of batter. Pour in rest of batter in pan, layer with 24 york patties, then spread the 2 cups remainder over the top. Bake for 65 minutes or until done. Let cool overnight - makes them easier to cut.

Enjoy - I saved some of the crumbs and little bits for ice cream topping - yummy!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Pumpkin Caramel Pound Cake

So yummy! Erin and I had to try a piece shortly after we got the glaze on it. It was good! Mom gave me the recipe - I don't know where she got it. But - this is so good - I gave the rest away for people to take to today so I wouldn't eat it all! :)
Pumpkin Caramel Pound Cake
Grease and flour 10 flat tube pan
2/3 cup crisco all-vegetable shortening
1 stick butter, softened
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup Smucker's Hot Caramel Ice Cream Topping
1 cup canned pumpkin
5 eggs
3 cups A/P flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. each: ginger, cloves, allspice
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice

2 cups confectioner's sugar
3 Tbsp. Smucker's Hot Caramel Ice Cream Topping
2-3 Tbsp water (eyeball)
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
350, cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time, then caramel and pumpkin. Mix all dry together and add in - then add to pan and bake for about 90 minutes, testing doneness with a knife. Let cool 10 minutes in pan, put on cooling rack, let cool completely. For glaze: Sift sugar, add in caramel and water till the desired glazing consistency. Drizzle over cake. Sprinkle with walnuts - EAT and ENJOY!

Butterscotch Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Ok, so the pictures not great and I ended up having to improvise a little when I realized I hadn't bought enough of one of the items - but it was still a yummy trifle! :) Very fall-y.

Pumpkin Trifle (with gingerbread and butterscotch too)
Homemade Gingerbread: (This was not fun. I used a recipe I had, but realized it had no eggs in it, so I had to find another one. But, the final product was yummy - for gingerbread).
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger (fresh grated would be the best)
1/2 tsp baking powder and soda
1 stick butter or shortening
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
Grease a 9 in round cake pan, mix dry, add to wet - bake for 35 minutes. Let cool.
Tear apart and save for trifle.
4 cups cold skim milk
4 1oz pkgs butterscotch pudding mix
1 can pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger, nutmeg, and allspice
1 carton free cool whip
Mix up pudding, add in the pumpkin and spices. Layer in a glass bowl starting with gingerbread, ending with cool whip (should get at least 2 good layers). I crumble a little bit of gingerbread right on top.
Enjoy it. I've made it for thanksgiving each of the last 3 years - it is good and not bad for you compared to other holiday desserts!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

White Chicken Chili

This recipe I got from Phyllis - she is a great cook (even though she says she doesn't do it anymore). It is great and one of my most requested recipes. Great for an evening like this - cold and cloudy! Serve with tortilla chips and salsa, football (if you are lucky), sour cream, cheese, chives, etc.

White Chicken Chili

Olive Oil

1 large onion, diced

2 large garlic cloved, diced

1 4lb chicken, cooked (save broth) and deboned, cubed

1 1/2 cup dried great northern beans, cooked, drained

1 can corn (or 2 ears) drained

green chilis (if desired)

cumin, red pepper, pepper, salt - to taste

1 cup monterey jack or cheddar cheese


lime chips

lime wedges

sour cream


avocado wedges

Saute onions till transluscent. Add garlic - saute 1 minute. Add everything but the chicken and cheese. Bring to boil. Add in chicken and warm that up. Add cheese right at the end.


Apple Scone Cake

Any one who likes apples and scones, will love this cake. I got the recipe from and tweaked it a little bit - yummy! :) New one of my fave recipes!

Apple Scone Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted chilled butter (cut into pieces)
1 egg
1/2 cup (minus 2 tbsp) milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 granny smith apple, thinly sliced
3 tbsp sugar
cinnamon to taste

350, buttered 9 in pie pan
mix dry ingredients, chop in butter till it looks like coarse meal. Mix together egg, milk, and vanilla. Stir into flour mixture - do not overmix. Then knead the dough 5 times. 1/2 the dough - press into the bottom of your pan and slightly up the sides. Then add in the apple mixtures (sugar and cinnamon). Take the rest of the dough and drop biscuit them on top. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 45 minutes.

YUMMY! :) Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Kitchen Gadget that isn't worth it

Since I work at a kitchen store for the holidays, I get to see a bunch of gadgets, some are good, some definitely aren't worth it. I just wanted to tell you about this one today. I'll also share some positive things later, so check back.


1. Alligator Chopper - they may save chopping time (and they do work) but the time they save chopping, they take away b/c it takes so long to clean them. It took me 20 minutes (no kidding) to get all of the little food particles out of the grooves. I used a sponge, then a fork, then a paring knife which worked the best.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Baked Apple Oatmeal

We had this this weekend in Indiatlantic Beach. It was great. A1A Diner's is a little more cake-like but the chef couldn't be talked into giving us the recipe. So, I took this one from and tweaked it a bunch. So, this is what I got. Yummy - especially on a cold morning!

Baked Apple Oatmeal

3/4 c. sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 3/4 cups quick oatmeal
1/2 large apple - diced

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs one at a time. Add in milk. Mix in dry ingredients. Fold in apples. Pour into a greased 7x11 pan, top with a mix of brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 300 for 40-45 minutes. Let set for about 5 minutes - serve warm with fruit and milk.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A1A Diner and Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Ok - this weekend in Indiatlantic Beach, FL - there was a little beach diner we went to each morning for breakfast. Cheap (about 5$) and good with healthy options. The above is an egg white veggie omelet with whole wheat toast. The next morning we all had the Baked apple oatmeal - turned out great. We kept talking to the chef - but he wouldn't give us the recipe. So, I created my own after modifying one I found - so I'll post it later in the week.

This Brown Sugar Pound Cake recipe is great. One of the best cakes I've ever eaten. The glaze can be described as a soft divinity glaze. The maker of this cake is Margie Vann, or MeMa called by her grandkids. She was a lady in the church I grew up with that taught us Sunday School, is a great cook, and everything else. She worked at Publix for a long time.

2 sticks butter
1/2 stick crisco
1 box and 1 cup dark brown sugar
5 eggs one a time
1 tsp baking powder
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla

1 stick butter
1 cup walnuts
1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 tsp milk

Cream butter and crisco. Add in brown sugar and cream. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Put in flour and baking powder 1/3 at a time. Once well mixed, put in milk and vanilla - mix well. Pour in greased and floured 10 in bundt pan. Bake at 325 for 85 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove and place on cooling rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, after caked has cooled, melt butter on stove over medium heat. Put in walnuts, too. Take off heat once melted. Stir in box of powdered sugar, vanilla (or other flavoring of your choice), and milk to consistency that you want. Pour over cake. EAT and ENJOY!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Restaurant Reviews: Cheesecake Factory & Chen's Kitchen

Went to two totally different restaurants this weekend. Different in many ways:
1. Atmosphere - Cheesecake is high, fancy, but comfortable and Chen's is a whole in the wall with a neon sign at the end of a strip mall with a Food Lion in it in a small town in Franklin County.
2. Food: CF is all-american food with the best cheesecake's outside of NYC. CK is chinese-american with the best General Tso's chicken I've ever eaten. I would honestly say I like Chen's better.

CF - Last night I went with Michelle who had actually never been, because there is a Maggiano's down the mall strip from it. She usually goes there. I had the house salad which was great, their pumpernickel bread with oats on top - too much of it, and the black bean soup, which I didn't like because it was pureed instead of whole black beans. The balsamic on the salad was worth every penny I spent. I even asked for some to go with my salad I had leftover! I passed on the cheesecake b/c it isn't my birthday yet. If anyone knows how to make the balsamic dressing from there - please share the recipe!

CK - I went with my friend Maggie who lives in Franklinton. This place I found by my friend Randy who loves it too. It has been about 3 years since I ate there, but it is still great. This time I chose something healthier - the broccoli with garlic sauce and white rice. I also got some Egg Drop Soup. That is always a winner. I didn't eat much of it though, because it is very high in sodium (the only thing bad about Chinese food). But, the garlic sauce wasn't as spicy as I like it, but the broccoli was very al dente' (so Dad wouldn't like it). It was very good.

So, now I get to eat at home today - enjoying leftovers and not wanting to go grocery shopping before I go to FL this weekend. :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Brunswick Stew

This is yummy stuff. I've said before that I love soups. I make them all the time in the winter. This has worked itself up to the top 5 of my soups. I have worked from a Cooking Light recipe and have made it my own.

Brunswick Stew

2 large red potatoes, cubed, skin on
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
Olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thin
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 cup frozen lima beans, thawed
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 box and 1 can low sodium, ff chicken broth
4 sliced of cooked bacon - diced
3 cups cooked chicken
spanish paprika, red pepper, cumin, salt and pepper to taste

In a big soup pot, swirl olive oil and saute onions. Right before they are done, add garlic. Then add everything up to the bacon. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the chicken, bacon and seasonings. Cook for about 15 more minutes, till flavors meld together and chicken is heated.

Serve with bread: we had sourdough and french this week. My girls loved it. I only had about 1/2 cup left for lunch leftovers the next day.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tarter Cobbler

This is a light, tart apple cobbler - with much more fruit than cobbler. It is good - if you like things tart. I usually mix the apples to give it more depth of flavor. Enjoy - serve it with some vanilla ice cream. Oh, I took it from a Cooking Light mag and changed some things...

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chilled butter, chopped
6 cups apples - braeburn and granny smith make a good blend
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch

Mix dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients. Slice apples, toss in cranberries. Toss to coat with dry ingredients, pour over the top with oj mixture (3 last ingredients). Top with chunked butter. Bake in square pan at 375 for 40 minutes. yummy

Pumpkin-Cranberry Bread & Pumpkin Butter Bars

I don't even remember where or when I got this recipe, but it is really yummy and great for fall. I made some for Michelle, the office, and then divided some for other tastes here and there.

3 cups flour
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 cups sugar
1 can pumpkin
4 large eggs
1 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup dried cranberries

Mix all dry, then mix into the wet. Bake in loaf pan for 55-65 minutes at 350 until knife comes out clean. Enjoy! (oh, spray only the bottom of the loaf pans and don't overmix!)

The other bar on the plate is some William-Sonoma Pumpkin Butter bars. This is made with W-S' exclusive pumpkin pecan butter that they only sell between Sept-Dec. So, stock up! I do.
After Laura and I had a time trying to read my encrypted recipe card, we did figure it out. They are so good.

1 box yellow cake mix, divided
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, divided
3 eggs, divided
1 jar pumpkin butter, found at W-S stores nationwide
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Take out 1 cup of the cake mix. Melt 1 stick butter, the remaining cake mix and 1 egg. mix together and pour in the bottom of 9x13 sprayed pan. Press down. Then take pumpkin butter, 2 eggs, milk - mix that up and pour on top of the cake batter. Then take 1 cup mix and rest of ingredients and mix up (chopped up butter) and then sprinkle that on top. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Yummy! These are also good with 1/2 jar of W-S Cranberry relish they are selling right now too!

Slimmed-Down Pumpkin Pie

This is actuall pretty good. I definitely like pumkpin pie cold as to right out of the oven. I took it too work, after I gave some away to some girls, but I had some more and baked it in a custard dish - had 2 bites of it tonight. Yummy! This is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe:

Pumkpin Pie

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1 can ff evaporated milk (12 oz)
1 large egg
2 egg whites
1 can pumpkin

Mix all that together and pour it in a regular frozen pie shell. Bake on lowest position at 425 for 10 minutes, then change temp to 350 and bake for another 50 minutes or until pie is set. This is so easy! :) Serve with cool whip. Stephanie - I hope you liked it. 200 calories, 7 fat or less b/c I used ff and not reduced, and 3 grams fiber

Restaurant Review and Ode - Lucky 32 (Raleigh)

I love this place! It was a sad day on Saturday when it was going to be the last time I would eat there. LUCKY 32 is my fave restaurant in all of Raleigh - and it is the state capital. Now, they do have other ones, but the one in Cary just isn't as great. The atmosphere is swanky, contemporary. We sat outside because it was such a gorgeous day. I introducted Claudia to it, and she loved it too.
I had the Citrus Grilled chicken salad. They had a ff honey mustard dressing and then the salad was great. Chicken was moist and marinated in an orange dressing of some sort. But the salad had blueberries on it - that was a surprise and walnut bread crumbs. I shared some of Claudi's appetizer - crab and artichoke dip with the bread and these little parmesan crisps - just the right crispness and parmesan cheese baked on top. Then for dessert we had the sorbet (raspberry, lemon, and mango) with cinnamon shortbread cookies. Sorbet was amazing - cookies were a little soggy, or stale. So be it.
Enjoy the pictures - Claudi took them. Bye bye 32 - you were a nice friend while you are were here. Randy, MG, Vic, my parents, Claudie - all will agree. Laura I think used to even work there. Oh, what a sad day...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Restaurant Review - Satisfaction

Last night - on a very cold night in Durham - coldest yet...Kristin and I went to Satisfaction
This is down in Brightleaf Square - where Rach and I went shopping this weekend. We were going to go to 2 other places, but they were both closed.
This is upscale sports/casual bar atmosphere. Wood all around, it was very nice. No one must have wanted to watch the Cowboys/Giants MNF game cause not many people were there - or no one wanted to brave the cold one?
Kristin had a salad and gyro. I had a grilled chicken salad. The large was huge - just piled high. The grilled chicken was some of the best I've had on a salad due to the seasoning. The ff honey mustard dressing was great as well. It wasn't very spicy, but it was more mustard than honey. I really liked it - ate all of it - since I had just finished a cycle class.
So, atmosphere, food, prices were all good. Definitely something you would want to check out - especially on a good sports day! :) They have pizza, sandwiches, salad, vegetarian stuff, sides, hummus...pretty good.
Definitely satisfaction for dinner last night! :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Apple Scones

This was just one of the many things I baked this weekend: fried apples, baked apples, apple cookies, apple bread, pumpkin scones, soup, oat bread, etc. This is one that turned out exceptionally well - I got the recipe from - people, you gotta check out that www. It is great!

Apple Scones

1/2 stick cold butter chopped into pieces
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat germ (I knew I had this in my fridge for a rainy day)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I used a lot of that this weekend, must get more)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 granny smith apple - chopped

Mix dry ingredients, cut butter in, make well in middle. Add egg and buttermilk. Fold in apples. Put in scone pan and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 in lightly sprayed pan for 20 minutes or until brown. Enjoy! :)
(Carol - there is your recipe!)

Escarole and White Bean Soup

Ok - I got motivation to make this since I had a fairly ok bowl at Cinelli's the other day. So, mine turned out pretty good. I think next time I'll add some pancetta or proscuitto to it.

Olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1/4 lb pancetta or proscuitto (change amount of salt and olive oil if you
2 regular bunches of escarole - they come connected for 1.99 at Target. Cut the white part off b/c it is bitter - you don't want to use it.
1 box of low-sodium, ff chicken broth
2 cans rinsed and drained cannellini beans - , white beans, great northern beans - whichever

Saute the onions in the olive oil. When transluscent, add garlic for a minute or less. Cook the ham with the onions if you add it. Pour in broth and beans. Let cook for about 15 minutes. Then add the escarole and cook for a little bit. Then serve with bread! :)

oops - wrong blog

Oops - wrong blog. But click here to get the pumpkin white chocolate chip scones -

Monday, October 16, 2006

Restaurant Review - Guglhupf's

Atmosphere defines this place - much more so than the food!
I went there on Saturday with Claude. We had good fun. The atmosphere is cool contemporary. Very classic - I love it. It is quiet. It has fountains running outside to block the noise from the traffic since it is right on a busy road. It was a little cool to me, so we sat upstairs. It was so quiet up there, hardwood floors, looking out over a row of older homes.
I had a turkey sandwich on rustic french bread, with mustard (instead of their basil mayo they put on it). But, it had thick sliced of cucumber and watercress - fantastic. One of the best turkey sandwiches I think I've had in a while. The side though was a different story....cold cooked broccoli and cauliflower in a brown soy sauce. Won't get that side again.
The tea was great - We Wei tea. It was a red tea with a citrus flavor - very light and delicious!
So, go there for the atmosphere, tea, and bakery (even though I didn't try it) - its gotta be good! :)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Restaurant Review - Cinelli's

This is an Italian place I went to today. I went with my pastor's wife and her daughter. It is one of her favorite places - especially the baked ziti.
But, I honestly wasn't impressed with it - here's why:

Escarole and White Bean Soup - needed pepper, tasted good other than that. Too much olive oil. I'm looking for a recipe for it so I can make it - and make it taste better!
House Salad - nothing to it and way too expensive. 1 tomato, 1 cucumber, romaine, red onion, (then 2 black olives and pepper - which I removed). The dressing was good - their house, a balsamic which was pretty good.
Garlic Knots - really garlic bread muffins - that's how big they were. When I sqeezed them to pull some off, they oozed olive oil - way too much.

Biggest thing: too much money. Soup and salad (no bread for free and no refills) 8.15 - that's for lunch. I could have gone to Olive Garden, gotten endless soup, salad, and breadsticks for 6$ and I would have liked it so much better!

Oh, well. This is what you get when you try out new places - which is what I'll be doing the next 4 months while I'm here in Durham. There are so many places I have yet to try.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Double Nut Banana Bread

This is Marcey's Mom's recipe for banana bread. Better flavor than my old one (Jill's from seminary) but a little dryer - maybe I had too much flour, or cooked it a little long - but you tweak. Good recipe though. I tweaked the nut addition - This is very moist the second day and YUmmy!!
It is from Matt, a guy who does college ministry with us at the Summit, but also just started in the office at Duke with us. He likes banana nut bread. This is also my new tea infuser mug that Claudia bought for me! :) I love it

2 eggs
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 cups milk
2 tbsp canola oil
4 tsp baking powder
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup pecans, 1/2 cup walnuts
3 mashed bananas

Spray bottom of 2 loaf pans, split batter, bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Good Eats in St. Auggie (Mac and Cheese recipe)

Oh, I love going to FL. Many good things there. Let me give you a run down...

Florida Cracker Cafe - I enjoyed this place in downtown St. Aug when I lived there, and Phyllis and I went and ate there on Saturday for lunch. Their house salad is perfect! Big salad with apples, raisins, dates, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, cuks, mandarin oranges, with a poppy seed citrus vinigrette (sp?) that is awesome. I used to get a bowl of minorcan clam chowder to go with it, but we just opted for the salad this time. Perfect place to ride the bikes to that day.

Half-Time Fare - Jeremy and Billy fried some shrimp and fish, and then boiled some shrimp for the halftime of the Gator game. It was delicious! Jeremy used to work at Barnicle Bills - my favorite seafood restaurant hands down. The best thing is the Dat'l shrimp. Now, Datil peppers only grow in St. Augustine and a guy I know from living there has turned it into some WHEW good stuff! They put the hot sauce in the batter than make a dip out of mayo, ketchup, datil sauce, and worcestershire sauce. Billy made the sauce, Jeremy fried. What a great team.

Gypsy Cab (greek food). They were having a greek festival in town, but Devan and I went to Gypsy Cab. Little pricey, but good food. I had the hummus platter. Tons of veggies, hummus, and a pita. The best thing on their menu is the Gypsy chicken - it comes with homemade mashed red potatoes, and carrots. very good eats.

Baked Mac and Cheese - Two of the Robshaw clan are going to serve their country, so they had a going away, celebrate every holiday, dinner. So, Phyllis made Jason's fave dish - baked mac and cheese. Here it is:

16 oz elbow mac (minus 2 cups cooked)
1 stick butter
2 cans evap milk
5 eggs
5 cups cheese

Cook pasta. Take 2 cups out. Beat eggs and pour over, then add the milk. Pour into greased 9x13 or bigger pan. Stir in grated cheese. Then put 2 cups of cheese on top (3 in, 2 top). Make sure it looks liquidy enough or it will be too dry. Bake for about 45 minutes at 350. This is so good. Will become my staple baked mac and cheese recipe! Thanks Phyllis - see you are still teaching me how to cook! :)

Pumpkin Pancakes - This place on 11th Street on the beach, is a great treat. They have cool live music, great stuff, and rooibos peach tea which is great. Phyllis had told me about their pancakes - normally not something to rave about. But these were pumpkin pancakes. Much lighter than I thought they would be, we each got one, and they weren't that big, so you didn't leave feeling stuffed. They had real whipped cream and a brown sugar syrup to top it with. The only way to improve it would be to have the syrup hot - it was cold. But, yummy! :)

Shrimp/Bacon BLT - I finally found something I like at the Cheesecake Factory (besides their cheesecake of course). It was good - Billy and I split it.
GRILLED SHRIMP & BACON CLUB Charbroiled Shrimp, Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato with Our Special Dressing. Served with French Fries. I had the asparagus which Dad wouldn't have liked b/c it wasn't cooked enough.

Then I came home - having only gained less than a pound. That was due to the healthy eating the rest of the time and bike riding all around St. Augustine! :)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Most Requested Dessert

My most requested recipe. Only problem...its not homemade. It is so easy - takes no effort. Semi-homemade as Sandra Lee would call it. But, everyone loves them - they are so good.
Enjoy! I said dessert, I'll put the most requested soup up by the end of the month.

Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Bars
Makes 20

1 regular size roll of chocolate chip cookie dough
1 8 oz pkg of cream cheese (softened)
½ cup sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an 8x8 pan, spread ½ of the cookie dough on bottom of pan. Mix cream cheese, sugar, and egg and mix together until smooth. Pour over cookie dough. Crumble the remaining cookie dough over the top of the mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until cream cheese mixture is set.

Peanut Butter Brownies

Empty plate (that I painted) - Happy Plate (with brownies I made)
These were good, dense, cake like brownies that cut great out of the pan. They weren' too sugary sweet - good taste of peanut butter. Adapted from a hershey's recipe. They are yummy. People at work said so, and now I'm going to a college meeting and bringing them.

Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

2 1/2 sticks melted butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs (that's what makes them so dense and yummy)
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup Hershey's cocoa (the powdered kind)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz pkg reeses' mini baking pieces (the cups - oh they are great)

Mix butter and sugar, add eggs 2 at a time, add vanilla. Then add dry ingredients. Fold in peanut butter pieces at end. Grease 9x13 pan and preheat oven to 350. Bake for 35 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Don't overbake.
ENJOY! And Share with others!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Cream Cheese Thingy (Danish)

No pictures - but I thought I'd give you the recipe for a great breakfast or brunch treat
As I've been calling it today
Cream Cheese Thingy (really danish would be a good word here)

2 cans crescent rolls
1 egg - separated
1 cup sugar - separated
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz cream cheese - softened (I used 1/3 less fat)

in 9x13 pan, roll out one can of crescent rolls. Press into bottom of pan. Mix together cream cheese, egg yolk, vanilla, and 3/4 of the sugar. Pour into pan. Top with other can of crescent rolls. Top with egg whites and 1/4 of sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes until middle is set and top is brown and shiny (due to the egg white and sugar).

This is very good warm out of the oven. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and it is great!
This is from a lady that works next door to me in the offices. It was delicious - I had 3 bites of it

I also made maple pecan waffles, real whipped cream flavored with maple extract (Steph made that while I was making waffles). Laura brought fruit. I made the waffles healthier - using applesauce instead of oil. Terah brought drinks. It was a lot of fun just chilling with my girls!

Love you girls - we're gonna bake soon! :)

Carolina Cafe

I really liked the one in Chapel Hill. The atmosphere and people are nicer than the one in Cameron Village in Raleigh.
I went with one of my girls last night. Had a coupon, but then she treated - how cool was that?
The best part about half of my sandwich (I'll have the other half tonight) was the bread.
The wheat sunflower bread was so moist and fluffy. The sunflower seeds you could taste were toasted just right to bring out all the flavor. I could almost feel like I was watching a baseball game eating sunflower seeds in the spring on bleachers - but then flash back to a cool Friday night in Chapel Hill.
Hats off to the Cafe for having such delicious bread.
My friend cooks bread now all the time but I'm still scared of yeast - maybe one of these days. I stick with quick breads - which I love to make! :)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I promised sugar cookies - so here is the recipe. These are some ones we decorated for Christmas when Michelle was here. This is her recipe. I was always scared of sugar cookies - and she made them so good - (I enjoyed them all the way through seminary).
So here ya go:
Old Fashioned Sugar Cookie
1 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups sugar2 eggs (room temp)
1 tsp vanilla (I add a little more)
1/4 tsp salt2 tsp cream of tartar (no more or you get a funky taste) - I just learned from Alton Brown that they put this stuff on the bottom of wine corks.
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Michelle uses an almond icing - fantastic
1/2 cup butter - softened
1 tsp almond extract
2 1/2-3 1/2 cups 10x sugar
3 tbsp milk

I find the icing makes a lot, and you can play with the sugar and milk a little bit till you get the consistency you want. Mix butter, then add sugar and beat till fluffy. Add in everything but the flour. Then add the flour. Cover and chill dough (or freeze for about 30 minutes). Roll out for shapes or use melon baller to round out dough balls. Cook at 375 on an ungreased cookie sheet for 8 minutes - do not over cook. Let cool before frosting.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Chunky Minestrone Soup

I made another new soup tonight. I love soups and chilis. It is something very comforting to eat out of a bowl with a spoon. I don't know what it is - but I like it.
This recipe I adapted quite a bit from Sara Foster's book Fresh Every Day. She is the owner of Foster's Market in Chapel Hill and Durham. Great place for lunch but - their scones are really the best thing they serve especially when they are fresh. First time I went there I had a black bean breakfast burrito - one of the best breakfast things I've ever had. you can see the steam is still coming out of the bowl - great a nice cool evening or cold night for winters in NC (or the one rare night it gets below freezing in Central FL) HAHAHAHA

Chunky Minestrone
(serves a lot)

Olive Oil
1 large yellow onion - sliced and chopped
10 baby carrots - cut in half
1 colored pepper (I used some orange and red b/c I had them) - seeded and chopped
1 large can (28 oz) of diced tomatoes
2 small zucchini, sliced, then cut in half
4 garlic cloves - chopped
8 cups chicken broth (I used low-sodium, ff kind)
3 cups shredded chicken (I cooked a whole chicken and seasoned it with oregano and garlic)
salt and pepper to taste (salt a little while cooking then save most for table)
1/2 cup small uncooked pasta
8 oz frozen green beans - thawed
1/4 small head cabbage - shredded
3 handfuls of baby spinach leaves

Saute onion in oil over medium heat until a little bit of color is on the onions. Then add carrots, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes - let cook for about 5 minutes (low boil). Add garlic (don't brown them). Add chicken, broth, salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 more minutes. Add pasta, green beans and cabbage. Cook for about 15 minutes at a low boil or until pasta and carrots are tender. Right at the end add spinach just till wilted.

Enjoy! I served mine with torn French bread and the pear crisp. It makes a lot so you'll definitely have leftovers.

Its pear-baking season!

Fall is the season for baking with pears. Last weekend I made roasted pears - which were ok. This weekend I made a healthier version of Pear Crisp - very yummy. Serving it tonight for Bible study at my house. This is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe...Enjoy it!

Harvest Pear Crisp
(I baked mine in a deep-dish 9-in pie pan)

6 Bartlett pears - peeled, cored, sliced in strips, then cut in half
Lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp chilled butter - cut into small pieces
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup walnuts

Toss cut pears with lemon juice (to prevent browning). Add sugar, starch, and cinnamon - toss with pears. Mix flour, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon together - cut in butter. Then add oats and walnuts. Sprinkle over pear mixture. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream and sprinkled with walnuts and pinch of cinnamon (for presentation of course).
I added more oats and walnuts then it called for and I used the Bartlett pears solely because they were on sale. With crisps - it is all about the warmth - I love these warm out of the oven served with light ice cream (using dulce la leche tonight) and then sprinkled...with whatever.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Food is more than...

Food is always more about the people you are entertaining or celebrating with than actually the food itself.
Tonight is a great example. I went with Laura to celebrate her birthday that was 1 month ago - and we went to Panera. Now, Panera is great, but they didn't have the soup that I wanted - so I settled for veggie soup. Good, but I've had better. The baked Lays were fantastic! You can't mess up those.
This picture was taken back in December when we were baking sugar cookies. These are great sugar cookies by the way - I'll be happy to share the recipe.

But, with my cooking - I always enjoy cooking for people. I want others to enjoy it - I think most people who like to cook are that way. I will be cooking this weekend and baking so I'll fill you in how that goes.

The new chapter

This is my first post in a new blog - all dedicated to food. I love to cook, experiment, eat healthy, try new things. So, I would like to record those culinary finds and treats. Check back here...
If you would ever like a recipe or more information that isn't posted, just ask in the comment section