Monday, December 31, 2007

OREOS - what a way to end 2007!

I think one of most perfect foods is an Oreo. I know most of you are thinking - are you crazy? But, really how can you go wrong? I like the plain old oreo - no double stuff, or funky colored cream, or vanilla cookie part. Just an oreo.

Got this from wikipedia:

Over 490 billion OREO cookies have been sold since they were first introduced, making them the best selling cookie of the 20th century. Its most recent packaging slogan is "Milk's Favorite Cookie", which is a slight change from "America's Favorite Cookie."

But, tonight - we made it better. Thanks to some friends - I had my first whack at making funnel cakes, or elephant ears, or fried dough - or whatever you wanna call them. And following through on one of Shane's ideas - we made batter dipped oreos. Oh goodness...they are so yummy! Really - an improvement on the oreo - can you believe it?

So, I'm ending another year. It was a good night of food and friends. Thank you Chris, Rebecca, Jonah, and Shane. Happy cooking in 2008!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Blueberry Sauce with Waffles

I love waffles and I love blueberries - so what better thing to do than to mix them.

I found a blueberry sauce and waffles recipe in the Gooseberry Patch cookbook you can find on the right (with the rest of my cookbooks).

The waffles didn't turn out - I ended up scrambling the eggs when I put the melted shortening in the mix (tempering - I gotta remember that). But, thankfully, Claudia had brought me a mix from Fosters in Durham - so I used that.

Here is the sauce:

Blueberry Sauce (for pancakes or waffles)

1/2 cup sugar

1 T cornstarch

1/2 cup water

1 pint (2 cups) blueberries - I used a frozen carton, thawed and drained

1 T butter

Bring the sugar and cornstarch to a boil with the water. Add the blueberries - let them go for about 10 minutes. Add the butter and stir that till melted. Pour them down over the top of some waffles and enjoy! :)

Snickerdoodle Trifles

Had some friends over for lunch and needed a light dessert. This is what Sandra Lee would definitely call semi-homemade. I got these holiday ramekins last year at W-S, so finally got to use them.

Snickerdoodle Trifles

Cinnamon Swirl poundcake (I got one at Wal-mart)

French Vanilla pudding (next time I would use regular vanilla)

Snickerdoodle cookies

Cool whip

Put all in a trifle bowl or individual ramekins - and enjoy!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Oma's Meatballs

Today was a lesson in heritage and comfort foods. In my family, we didn't have meatballs much growing up - I can't remember when I had them. We were mostly a casserole and steak/potatoes family. But, when I got to college and met the Robshaws - Phyllis cooked some things I had never had.
Oma was Phyllis' Mom. She was always so kind to me and welcomed me into the family just as Phyllis and Billy did. One day before I left for NC - I was looking through Phyllis' recipes. Found this one. It is so good. Reminds of beef stroganoff - but in meatball form. Comfort food at its best - here in KY on a blistry winter day.

Oma's Meatballs
1 lb lean ground beef
1 pkg sloppy joe mix
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used homemade sourdough bread crumbs) soaked in 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream
1 small can mushrooms
canola oil
1/2 cup water

Mix the sloppy joe pkg, crumbs, and pepper into the meat. Form small meatballs (ping ball size). Roll in flour. Place in hot oil and brown on all sides. Turn heat down and add water. Simmer for an hour, stirring so they won't stick. Add in mushrooms and sour cream. Let heat through.
Cook noodles (I used whole wheat egg noodles).
Serve over noodles.

Phyllis - thank you for sharing your mother's recipes with me. I hope I can pass these down to my kids one day. That's what Mother's are for - both blood relative and larger family mothers!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Here I Come A Waffle-ing

This song was dreamed up today while I sit at work - from talking to Lorie about making waffles for Christmas Eve breakfast for dinner. Hope you enjoy. (sung to the tune of Here We Come a Wassailing)

Here I come a waffle-ing
Among the air so cold
Here I come a waffle-ing
So wonderful to taste

Eggs and milk come to you
And to you your berries too
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year
And God send you a Happy New Year

I am not a waffler
Who makes them every day
But eat them for the holidays
Because I like them so


God bless the renter of this home
Likewise her family too
And all her many friends
Who live around the world


And all your eggs and berries
Combine to make eats good
I wish you a Merry Christmas
And happy waffles too.

The Blueberry Sauce waffles will come on Monday! Enjoy the song! Happy singing and cooking!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Gingerbread Cookies (formerly gingerbread men)

Well, I was going to make gingerbread men today with my new cookie cutter - but, I realized I didn't have enough space in my kitchen to really roll out, I just made them circles. I got the recipe I used today off of Joy of Baking. That's a great www by the way - anything you wanna bake.

Gingerbread Cookies (and I thought of Erin when I was making them too - because she loves gingerbread)

3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 tsp ginger (called for 2, but I ran out, so that is approximate)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp each nutmeg and cloves

Mix all of these dry ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup molasses (unsulphured - the normal kind you can find in the syrup aisle)

Cream butter and sugar, add egg - then molasses. Add in the dry ingredients.
Mix well

Spray cookie sheets or use parchment paper - 350 degrees, 9 minutes

I really didn't like the frosting recipe used with it - although it was good - a little too sweet. Maybe a royal icing would be great for these. Decorate as you would like.

I liked this recipe because it was a good spice level - some gingerbread cookies are way too ginger-y (go figure).

Panettone French Toast

Some of you might not even know what Panettone is: you can either go here to the W-S site (but I got mine in a little individual box from Whole Foods) or you can go here to a new food www I found yesterday. It is sort of a bread fruit cake.
Well, as I started out my baking day today - I had to have a fun breakfast. So, I made french toast for the first time and used Panettone. There were three small round circles. The egg mixture was 2 eggs, 1/3 cup milk, vanilla, cinnamon, tsp sugar. Or there about.
First one came out not done enough, second one came out a bit too done, but better than the first, the third came out pretty good. I thought it was supposed to be a little stiffer in the middle - I don't know if I did something wrong of it that is how French toast is supposed to be. I will definitely be making this again and I'll read up on it and how to make it better.
Now onto white chicken chili, bread, and gingerbread men - and it is a "white" day out there - now just raining, but we have a little snow on the ground. And I don't have to be anywhere today - how fun is that!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Taste of Louisville: J.Alexander's

If I could find a restaurant similar to my former fave place in Raleigh - Lucky 32 - this would be it. Now, the bathroom isn't as cool, and the food is slightly more expensive - but it is quality and great.
I was treated there today for Christmas. It was great - it was my first time being there - having heard it was very good.
The service was great. Funny waiter but very "whatever you need, it is my pleasure". Knew a good deal about the food and liked the food he served - so that is good. No black napkin though, oh, well.
I had the pork tenderloin - tons of it, cooked perfectly with a soy sauce red pepper glaze on it - amazing glaze with a just the right amount of heat. I substituted the mashed potatoes for spaghetti squash - and loved it!
The desserts were great - key lime pie - which was about two slices in one - very creamy, not too tart. Had a great graham cracker and pecan crust - topped with whipped cream and bits of graham cracker. The other one we all shared was a dark chocolate bundt cake with ice cream and tons of sauce - it really wasn't as good as the chocolate cake at the Standard House - so it could improve!
So, maybe I've found a Lucky 32 here! (and it is a chain - but it is good).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Taste of Louisville: Genny's Diner

Ok - so Lorie and I went to lunch the other day since it is quiet around here and they weren't serving cream of tomato soup in the cafeteria! (Please, bring back the soup!)

So, we were going to go to Panera, then to Taco Bell, then she starts telling me about this frickled pickles - so we turned around and went back to where we started from and ate at a little diner called Genny's. This big - little diner comes complete with neon signs as you can tell (I didn't take the picture, but thanks to the internet you too can see inside Genny's), piranha tanks - they stare you down, - and a poor little fish that has a bad back, so he just lays on the floor of the tank - how sad!

Service was slow even though there weren't many people in the restaurant and my fork was dirty.

Now, onto some good things!

We split an order of frickled pickles. These were sliced dill pickles that had been lightly battered and fried. They weren't that heavy - but they had lots of grease left on the plate. I love the bite of vinegar and the friedness and the ranch dressing- good combination

Then we split a medium cheeseburger that Lorie wanted cooked well - but there was still pink in and it was good and juicy! Maybe come a distant second to Red Robin. It was yummy. Tasted a lot like Wendy's hamburgers do - only these are much bigger!

So - the fish were cool, the prices were good, the food was good, it wasn't the cleanest place - but I think my family would enjoy it!

Thanks Lorie for another taste of Louisville!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

First meal in a new apt!

Last night I had two friends over for dinner (yes, the dining room table was cleared) in the new apt before we had to be a meeting.

Honey Soy Chicken legs
I got this recipe from the November edition of Everyday Food.

1/3 cup water
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp soy sauce (I use low sodium kind)

8-10 chicken legs
450 (I moved it down some from 475 like the book said), 40-50 minutes or until done
9x13 pan with aluminum foil on bottom. Turn legs every 10 minutes to make for even cooking and ladle sauce over top when you turn the legs.

Good. Served with Lipton Teriyaki noodles and broccoli. Turned out pretty good! Don't forget to salt and pepper them!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Standard

What a treat. This is a must stop for anyone in Nashville.
The history in this house sets the dinner mood. It is an amazing atmosphere made even better by excellent wait staff and delicious food.
I ordered the pork medallions with brown mustard cream sauce, pancetta cheese grits, and chef's veggies. The pork was cooked perfectly, the veggies too. I tasted some of the chilian sea bass and it was so moist and delicate with such a fantastic flavor. We ordered the sweet potato fries for appetizer and they were great, with a mustard and a spicy mayo dipping sauce. The sourdough bread was warm - by that time we were all pretty much full! For dessert we got some key lime pie (I am from Florida, so this didn't win me over) and a dark multi-chocolate cake - now that was great!
We had fantastic service. Prompt everything - even without reservations. Black napkin in the lap, table talks with the chefs - what service! :) We closed them down.
In a way I dislike going to these restaurants - you know, the really nice ones...they spoil you for going to normal restaurants.
This was such a treat! I'll never forget!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

These became a favorite of Veronica's - then became a favorite of our Bible study's - now it is a favorite of mine. I just made a couple batches last weekend and had fun giving them away (and eating some). I tried to make one batch with fresh pumpkin, but after cooking my pumpkin - it wasn't ripe enough, so I just bought a can - so much easier!

Vern's Pumpkin Choc Chip Muffins

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin
1 stick butter, melted
1 2/3 cup flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder, salt
1 cup choc chips (I have used all kinds, with semi or milk working the best).

Mix the wet (1st four) then the dry. Fold in the chips. Pour into greased muffins tins (or use cupcake wrappers). Bake at 350 for about 23-25 minutes. These are fantastic right out of the oven, but also they are really good cold. So - make em, and eat em any time!

Enjoy - thanks Veronica!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Countdown is on!

I will never be more excited to move! In three weeks, yes on Thanksgiving Day, I will be moving stuff into a new one-Br apt here on Southern's campus. It has a KITCHEN! Ok, so some people would consider it a half of a kitchen, but it is still MY Kitchen! I will have my stove (that works), my sink to wash my dishes on, my fridge - I can't wait! :)
I will have all my gadgets! Whoohoo! Thanks be to mom who is packing all of them right now!
I will have a DR with a table that I can actually invite people over and practice hospitality. Yes, I do know you can practice hospitality without a DR table, but oh, how it helps!
I'll have a couch and other living room furniture!
I'll have my own bathroom.
But, seriously most of all, I'm looking forward to a bread maker, kitchenaid mixer, food processor, real plates and silverware, glasses, a brita, seasonings, all the good things that I miss!

Monday, October 22, 2007

BBC and Pie Kitchen

Last week my parents were in town. We had plans to go other places in dtown L-ville, but those places were packed, so we had to find another place. So, I had wanted to check out BBC - Bluegrass Brewing Company. What a great choice!
No wait...LIVE Folk music - a bunch of older men and some 10 years old got together with their fiddles, banjos, guitars, harmonicas - it was great. It was a treat for my dad - good thing, he was paying! :)
Very fair prices...It was about 30 for all three of us for dinner, you can't do that too many places.
Outside dining - we sat outside (where the folk players came). The only thing I didn't like was the cigarette smoke - KY isn't a no-smoking dining state. One of the things I miss about not being in FL.
Fantastic Food - Mom and I split the wings. They were great. Hot enough to know they were hot, not too hot that you couldn't taste the wings themselves. Also, we split the hummus platter. Their hummus was great - very similar to George's Garage in Durham (that is hard to find). That was plenty of food, in two appetizers, for both of us. Dad had an Angus burger and his fries were awesome (Mom and I both had one).
The only two things I didn't like about this restaurant was the smoke outside and our waiter. He tended to forget about us at times. Maybe he was too thrilled with the music - but I doubt it.

Then, on recommendation of Lorie, we went to the Homemade Pie and Ice Cream Kitchen. This is a place where they make their own pies and ice cream (go figure). Mom and I split the caramel apple with caramel ice cream. The pie wasn't too sweet, which I thought it would be. It could have been warmed up a little more. The ice cream really didn't taste like much, but it did cut the sweetness of the pie. Dad got coconut cream pie - it was good, the filling, but the crust had an odd taste to it.

But, I have to say - I recommend the BBC - check it out if you are in L-ville. There is one right at Lexington and Shelbyville.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Cafe Emilie

Today I was taken to Cafe Emilie for lunch. It is in the St. Matthews area of Louisville, just minutes from the seminary. Jaye had been there before, but the rest of us hadn't.
We got right in, but it was only about 1130, by the time we were halfway done, it had gotten busy and full. That leads me to mention my really only downfall to this restaurant - there is no sound absorption. It was very loud in there. I even saw 3 elderly ladies come in, and leave in 2 minutes, saying to their waitress, its just so loud in here.
We had a variety of things at our table: blt on toasted wheat with tomato basil soup, caesar with the same soup and feta cheese, greek salad, roasted chicken tortellini with vodka sauce. All were good by all of us. the BLT is one of my fave sandwiches, and since it was kind of cooler outside this morning, I went with the soup - it was a good, creamy, tasty mix.
Our waiter was great. He laughed at us looking at pictures of one's kids - but then he showed us his that was tucked in his ticket book. He was a great waiter.
I enjoyed my first outing in Louisville!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Dorm kitchen cooking

Well, now that I live in Mullins Dorm on Southern's Campus (actually it is for Boyce College girls) - I cook in a kitchen for a lot of people. Not that I've seen many people in it - but that doesn't mean anything. Everything takes longer. The stove must not work real well because it took me about 30 minutes to boil a pot of water - and it was on high. I deboned a rotisserie chicken from Wal-Mart. I made a whole batch of pasta salad (whole wheat penne, chicken, seeded half moon cuks, diced green peppers, cherry tomatoes - whole because my knife was not sharp enough to cut them in half - diced carrots, and ff italian dressing). It made about 8 cups so that will be my meals for the next week along with PBJ sandwiches, granola bars, fruit, and canned veggies. Don't worry - I'm going to Walmart again today - but this time to a SW in IN.

Oh the joys!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Farewell to Broccoli Rabe

Well, now there are officially two vegetables I do not like. Only TWO!

Last night we decided to try a new recipe from Cooking Light - a broccoli rabe pasta. I loved everything about it - lemon juice, garlic, chicken broth, parm cheese, raisins, red pepper, whole wheat rigatoni, pine nuts - but NOT the broccoli rabe. It smelled like cooked mustard greens (which I do like) but was really bitter.

Oh, well.

Oh, the other veggie is eggplant.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Comfort Dessert

I found out this past weekend that my Dad likes Rice Pudding, so I thought I would make him one upon their return to Lakeland after a long weekend in Alabama.
I used Tyler Florence's off of Food TV, but of course altered it some.

Rice Pudding

3 cups cooked rice
2 cups skim milk
1 cup light whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
zest of one lemon

Put all (save raisins and lemon zest) on to boil slowly for about 30 minutes or until thickened. Then add raisins and lemon zest and stir together. Serve either warm or cold.

I personally liked it warm, once it got cold I didn't care for it. But, the lemon added some great flavor to it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Elizabeth's meatballs

Another great recipe from the kitchen of Elizabeth! She adapted these meatballs from a Giada recipe - they are great.

1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 T milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese (we used grated parmesan cheese)
1/2 lb ground turkey sausauge (mild or hot, take your pick)
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 tsp salt - or lower, our's were a little salty
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix all together to form golfball size meatballs, roll in more breadcrumbs, saute in oil till browned, then put in sauce and saute for about 30 minutes. Serve over whole wheat spaghetti!

enjoy - who needs Olive Garden...ok, they have good breadsticks!

Sweet and Spicy Cashew Chicken

I got this recipe from a good friend of mine, Lindsay Weldy, in KY. She is a precious mom of 2 and a great wife to Brad. I was able to go through her recipes while I was at their home on Saturday.

SPICY CASHEW CHICKEN A Very Spicy Mandarin-Style Dish with Green Onions and Roasted Cashews. Served over Rice. (that is the description from the Factory's www)

Sweet and Spicy Cashew Chicken (similar to Cheesecake Factory's)

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp salt
3 T sugar
4 tsp soy sauce
2 T worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste, however spicy you want it)
1/2 cup chicken broth (low sodium)

Mix all - you can do it the night before to save time when cooking.

1 pkg of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 handfuls of cashew pieces
1 small bunch chopped green onions
1/2 large red pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Saute till done, add sauce - throw in cashews at end - serve over rice!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Best Grilled Cheese

The Best Grilled Cheese sandwich that I've ever had - hands down. Ft. Wayne is extremely blessed to have this fabulous little place. It would be a weekly staple - and it was only 5.50 with a salad. That is orange spice tea (not any other liquid) by the menu.

This was grilled sourdough bread - not too greasy as most grilled cheeses are. Perfectly toasted. There was herb cheese on the inside instead of more butter. The other cheeses were cheddar, Swiss, provolone, Parmesan, and pepperjack. The pepperjack gave it bite and the herb cheese added flavor. It was so good. And there was a tomato on it to give it texture and not make it dry.

If you are ever in Ft. Wayne IN you must go downtown to see Dash-In and get the gourmet grilled cheese sandwich

Friday, August 17, 2007

Food in Ft. Wayne

Well, there have been good places to eat here around the hotel in Ft. Wayne, just don't plan on going at 12 during the week - every place (which there aren't tons) are packed and lined into the street, especially when there are 1400 other people in town than who normally are.

But, Dad and I went to Toscani's for dinner on Wed night. It got crowded by the time we left. Raspberry vinegrette house dressing was good - thicker than most. Dad had a stromboli sandwich which was good with the taste of green peppers dominating each bite. I had purse-shaped pasta filled with sausage. They were good - but I thought over priced (13$). But, for 2 at an Italian restaurant for under 20$ for dinner, still isn't bad.

I've gone to a corner coffee shop called Higher Grounds, once for a shake and once for breakfast. Their shake was definitely the best. Something about a zebra was its name - vanilla ice cream with both Ghiradelli white and dark chocolate - it was about the best shake I've had.

Today, since every place I wanted to go had a wait longer than I wanted to wait, I went to a chinese place called the Double Dragon. It was relatively cheap (6$) for drink, soup, rice, and main dish - so I thought it was reasonable. I had General Tso's chicken - it was pretty spicy. I definitely was sweating by the time I finished half of it and was done. Their egg drop soup was too thick and not near as good as Charlie's in Chapel Hill. Oh, well - not much out there is.

Tomorrow hopefully will get to go to Dash-In or Pint and Slice for a good grilled cheese or calzone.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Rach's Granola

I got this for a Christmas present from my dear friend, Rach. Then she gave me the recipe - so now it is my first time trying it after mom and I finally got over to Whole Foods in Winter Park. It is so yummy and healthy!

Rach's Granola

4 cups oats
2 cups shaved unsweetened coconut (in the baking aisle at WF)
1 cup slivered or sliced almonds (plain)
1/2 cup honey
1 stick butter
2 tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
1 tsp vanilla

Mix first three together. Melt the rest over medium heat until all combined. Pour over and stir well. On a lightly greased cookie sheet, spread granola out. I had to use two cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn once during baking. Store in an airtight container and enjoy (or give) for a long time! :)

Thanks Rachael!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Great Salad

This lovely lady gave me this salad recipe after we had it on Sunday! She is so hospitable and not stingy with her recipes! :) Thanks Elizabeth!

1 head romaine
1/2 cup slivered almonds, pan roasted (3 tbsp sugar over med heat till syrupy, then add almonds till covered in syrup, spread out on wax paper, wait, then break apart)
2 cups grapes, halved
1 large can mandarin oranges, drained.

1/2 tsp salt
pepper - to taste
hot sauce - couple of drops - to taste
2 T sugar
2 T seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/4 c canola oil

Mix all together and serve. Once dressing goes on - eat right away. Top with almonds so they stay crunchy, don't mix in with the rest.

Serving suggestions:
1. Main salad with chicken or pork on top
2. Side salad with pork or chicken as main dish (with starch and bread)
3. Main salad with more fruit in it like pineapple and kiwi

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Gilligan's in Charleston was proferred to us as a good dining place, so that is where we went tonight.
Well, there are some good and some bad things about this restaurant. First, I’ll go with the good. It is out of the way in Charleston – actually going back south on 17 – so you aren’t fighting most of the tourists, it is a more local place. The d├ęcor is rustic, but fun and clean. The price is fair for what you get – great fresh seafood and good hushpuppies. For example I had a grilled mahi mahi sandwich with three side items for 11$. Not bad. My mahi mahi – which I get every time it is on the menu (dolphin, light and flaky) – was perfectly cooked and seasoned. My fries were wonderful – especially dipped in a mix of tartar sauce and ketchup. Dad really liked the hushpuppies. The manager was very kind and wanting the best for our table, as was our waitress. Now, I must be true to my task: as to the bad. The hushpuppies, in my opinion, were heavily battered and too small. The salmon wasn’t too good – that was Dad’s meal. He asked for his steamed veggies to be really cooked – they weren’t even cooked enough for my liking. So, I ate two of the veggies and gave Dad my fried okra (breaded on site). He said they weren’t done enough either. The green beans, which I got toward the end of the meal – seemed to be those Italian cut green beans you get in a can. The manager took off our uncooked veggies and he was very kind to us. I would tell people to try it – the mahi mahi and fries are a true win!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


So, Dad and I are visiting Charleston, SC (the new home of a precious newlywed) and my sister-in-law told me of a great restaurant I had to try - just 20 minutes away in Mt. Pleasant.
Seel's Fish Camp is a great little seafood place right off 526 (so very easy to find) - friendly, walk up ordering at the counter, paper towel roll on the tables, old signs on the walls, an ice cream cooler - just down home. It felt great. Harry, the owner, and Kim, his wife, are relatives of Keith and Mandy Devine - my brother's friends (and pastor) in NC. Keith married Alan and Ty. WEll, my girls will know about the wing sauce I make - and they love it. Well, the sauce that you get "dressed in Sunday best" style at Seel's - is the same stuff. It is Keith's sauce - who I learned it from.
Anyway, Dad and I both had a Shrimp Po Boy - an 8-in hoagie with about 8-10 medium fried shrim on it. Lightly battered so you can get the fresh shrimp taste. Perfectly cooked - and tasted great. It had tartar sauce on it with tom/lettuce. So, when you mix the Devine sauce it is a perfect blend on the sandwich. The hushpuppies that came it with were perfectly small. Looked like they used a small cookie scoop to get them so perfectly. Had a great mild onion taste to them. Their fries were a little salty to me, but Harry explained they were having issues with this shipment of potatoes they just got in this morning (they cut their own fries). Wash it all down with a A&W Rootbeer - perfect lunch.
Harry was very service oriented as he even cleaned off a few tables and talked with other customers. Thank you for a great dining experience - laid back, very southern seafood and delicious!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Stuffed Mushrooms

Mom and I found mushroom caps on sale at Publix this week so we picked them up and decided to make stuffed mushroom with them. We had some for lunch today. I don't have any party to make them for.

Stuffed Mushrooms

12 mushroom caps - remove stems, wipe down, chop stems
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
splash of worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup italian style bread crumbs
1/4 cup 2% sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tbsp water

Heat butter over medium heat, saute garlic and onions. Add in mushroom stems. Remove from heat. Immediately add in bread crumbs and cheese, salt and pepper. Stuff mushrooms. Put in a 7x11 dish and put 2 tbsp water on the bottom. Bake for 20 minutes at 350. These have a stronger flavor than most - not as mellow, so I like them better.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Spinach Parmesan Risotto

I don't remember the first time I tasted risotto - but it was really good. So, I love making it and it makes a great, comforting side dish - or main dish for that matter. I got this recipe again from Sara Foster of Foster's Market in Durham. The cookbook of choice as of late.

Spinach Parmesan Risotto

4-5 cups of chicken broth - boil in a separate pot (I used homemade broth)

In big saute pan
Olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion - chopped
1 clove garlic - chopped
1 1/4 cup arborio rice (risotto)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 bag fresh spinach
1/2 cup shredded italian or parm cheese
dash milk

Bring broth to boil.
In big saute pan, heat olive oil and melt butter. Add in onions and cook for about 4 minute on medium. Then add garlic for 1 minute - do not burn. Add in rice and coat with the olive oil and butter - about 2 minutes. Add in wine and seasonings (s/p). When wine is reduced (about 2 minutes), slowly add in broth about 1/2 cup at a time. When it starts to get dry or sizzles, add more. Till it is almost done. Then add in splash of milk or heavy cream. Add in spinach then cheese.
Be creative - you can add in anything and everything to risotto: mushrooms, peas, asparagus, corn, tomatoes, etc.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Chicken Cacciatore

I've been wanting to try this recipe from Sarah Foster ever since she made it a few years ago. So good and rich! Perfect with some whole wheat angel hair and a mixed salad. ACtually, after I made and posted this recipe (that I got from her Fresh Every Day cookbook), I went on the www linked above and found her blog which had a you tube video on it. so, you can go watch her make this very same dish

Chicken Cacciatore

8 oz button mushrooms, wiped clean, shorten the stems, halved
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
s/p, 1 tbsp marjoram leaves

Mix the oil and vinegar as best you can, season the mushrooms (cap up) and toss to coat. Roast on a pan at 400 for 20 minutes turning 3 times during cooking process.

3 tbsp olive oil
6 chicken thighs

Cook the chicken in oil for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove and keep warm.

1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 can petite diced tomatoes

Saute onions till translucent. Add in garlic for one minute. Add in wine and let reduce at a boil for about 3 minutes. Add in broth and tomatoes and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Return chicken to pan and let cook until chicken is done, about 20 minutes. Add in mushrooms and 1 tbsp marjoram and let cook for one minute.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Bread and Other New Things

Well, this week has been trying new things. Thanks to Elizabeth Beeler I'm trying my hand at yeast (and in partial thanks to some cinnamon rolls at the Crums). I guess thanks needs to go to Ty too because we are using her bread machine.
Anyway...we've made just this week:
Regular White Bread
Banana Oatmeal Bread
Basil Parmesan Cheese Bread
Poppy Seed-Craisin Bread (it is in there right now)

Homemade apple chips - which Rach gave me from the Red Robin emails - they were good. Slice them real thin, make sure to dry them well - and they take a little longer than the recipe calls for (about an hour).

Tomorrow Mom is making peach brown betty for a cookout they are going to and I'm making Coconut Sour Cream pound cake for Connect in the Park on Sunday night.

So good


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Coconut Cake

Tomorrow is Dad's birthday, and one of his fave desserts is Coconut Cake. Today Mom and I made him one. For my personal taste, the cake part was a tad dry, but it was still a great cake. Thought I would share the frosting though - as it is a great staple. We took it from a southern living cookbook.

White Frosting

2 sticks butter, softened (use the real stuff, none of this oil spread junk)

8 cups sifted powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

about 3/4 cup of milk - till you get a spreadable consistency

I topped it with of course coconut, but also fresh cherries after using my favorite new tool - my cherry pitter. Actually it was a Christmas present for Dad, but he doesn't use it. I can't believe I've eaten cherries all this time without it.

Keep mixing - it is fantastic - although very sweet - seems to go right into your teeth! But, it was yummy!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

For you Pineapple Lovers

This is a great, low-fat, tart that is delicious if you like pineapple and coconut. I got it from Diabetic Living magazine that actually has some pretty good stuff in it. The hardest part about this recipe is the dough and the waiting (because it smells so good).

Pineapple-Coconut Tart

1 1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil (more fatty omega 3 acids)
1/4 cup milk
Stir with a fork, form into ball, let chill (makes it easier to roll out). Roll out into removable bottom tart pan and bake for 5 minutes at 400. Remove and let sit.

1 20 oz can crushed pineapple with juice (not syrup)
1/4 cup splenda
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp lemon peel (zest a lemon)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup shredded coconut (next time I would use more)

In small sauce pan over medium high heat, cook pineapple (with juice), splenda, and cornstarch till bubbly. Stir for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and add in lemon juice and zest. Pour into pan and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. After that, sprinkle on the coconut and cook for another 10 minutes. Let cool in pan till you wanna eat it - whether hot, warm, or cold.
Dad ate a piece with some cool whip - but would be great with some coconut ice cream or pineapple sherbet or sorbet.

173 cal, 24 carbs, 8 fat, 1 fiber, 2 protein

Friday, May 04, 2007

Healthy Banana Streusel Muffins

This I got from this months Cooking Light magazine. Full of whole grains and good stuff - it is pretty tasty and filling. Only 240 calories - it is great for breakfast with a glass of milk! :)

Banana Muffins

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Mix all that together

2 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup skim milk
3 tbsp canola oil (also offers fatty omega 3 acids which you need everyday)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
Mix all that together and then mix just until combined with the dry ingredients

1/4 c chopped walnuts
Fold in to mixture

Foil liners into a 12 count muffin tin. Preheat oven to 375. Fill muffin tins.

1/2 cup oats
5 tbsp flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Mix together till resemble course meal, then sprinkle over muffins.

Bake for 22-27 minutes or until done. enjoy!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Spinach Tomato Cheesy Pasta

I got this recipe while watching Giada one day on the Food Network. I thought it sounded great, but not the cheapest in the world - but real quick.
It is vegetarian and healthy and yummy and quick!

1 box whole wheat fusilli pasta (spirals)
1 bag spinach - baby spinach is best
1 pint (container) cherry tomatoes - halve them
1/2 cup grated asiago cheese (in deli section, specialty cheese) - Giada used 1 cup, but 1/2 is fine)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (go for the good stuff, not Kraft for spaghetti)
Olive oil

Boil water for pasta and let cook. When you put the pasta in, heat up about 1/4 cup olive oil in saute pan. Drop in spinach and let wilt down, add tomatoes, s/p. When done, take a slotted spoon to get out the pasta and put it right into spinach pan (that way some of the starchy water makes a thicker sauce with the olive oil). Add in cheeses and toss.
Serve immediately!
I just put a simple salad with it and it was yummy. Even Dad liked it and he doesn't like pasta dishes usually. Very simple and healthy with fiber, green, red, healthy fats, and calcium.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Taste of Ocoee - Soong Thai

Yippee! I found a great Thai restaurant here in FL! I was really giving up hope of even finding one, much less it being great. This restaurant is in the top 10 Thai in Orlando. About 20 minutes from where A/T live - near tons of shopping on 50 (Colonial) right off the 408.
We split three things - so we could try more. We got the Pad Thai - very similar to Chai's in Durham which I love. That was definitely my favorite. We also got the Amazing chicken - Alan really liked that one. We also got the Panang Beef - the spiciest of the three. Pad Thai had chicken and shrimp. The Panang had peppers and zucchini, the chicken had peppers - both were in a coconut curry sauce - very very good. It is in the 6-12$ price range and the atmosphere is wonderful and the people very friendly. Definitely if you are in Orlando and are up for an adventure - you gotta try it!
So - now I've found one - and it is only an hour away. Well, I guess it will have to do in between trips to NC. :)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Spice Cake with Orange/Rum Glaze

I got in a baking mood today so I typed in some ingredients I had and pulled up this cake on Food Network. Turned out good - Dad said it was a keeper. Now, I gotta get it out of the house. I had one bite. I'll give some to Papa tomorrow, take some to A/T on Saturday and that should just about do it.
Easy to make... I of course altered it a little. Tangy changes the normal spice cake when you have the orange glaze.
Enjoy! Make it for spring or fall (spice cake is normally fall-y)

325 in tube pan buttered and floured.

1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice, cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
3 1/2 cups flour, sifted (or cake flour)
1/4 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add in vanilla and spices. Add dry ingredients together and alternate adding to sugar mixture with the buttermilk.
Put the pecans on the bottom of the pan. Then pour the batter on top. Bake for 75 minutes or until done. Let cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan.

1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 cup oj
1/4 cup rum
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Over medium heat stir all together, let bubble and thicken. Pour over cooled cake.

Enjoy with some cool whip and grated orange zest or peel.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pineapple and Chicken Salad

This is what I get for watching Public Television - no, I'm not turning into a nerd or anything, was just flipping through the cable guide on commercial and found this. The only thing I changed was I picked up honey mustard instead of dijon - it would probably have been better with dijon. But, it was good, light, and a new way to eat nappa cabbage - which I hadn't cooked with before.

1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp olive oil

Mix and set aside

1 1/2 lb head of nappa cabbage (all chopped except for core)
3 cups diced chicken (or shredded is how we did it)
4 plum tomatoes - cut lengthwise
4 scallions (green onions) - diced
1 can of pineapple chunks, drained
s/p to taste

Mix all together - pineapple and dressing put on right before you eat it.
Only 175 calories - this serves 6.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Taste of Placida - Fishery Restaurant

Went down to Placida (by Boca Grande, north of Ft. Myers) for lunch today. I know - why go so far for lunch? My Dad knows the owners from when he grew up in Arcadia. This was my first trip down there.

Salad and bread were nothing to rave about. The Gator Bites were good. I ordered the cajun shrimp - small shrimp with entirely HOT cajun seasoning on it over yellow rice and black beans. It was good - but all you tasted was the hot. Then, I split that with mom for some of her grouper sandwich - the best fried fish sandwich I've ever put in my mouth. Flaky, moist, fresh catch of the day slightly battered, great with the fresh tomato slice and tarter sauce. It was amazing.

Then for dessert we split an orange key lime pie slice. That was great too. Slight hint of orange and then it was the color orange too - but you could definitely tell it was key lime pie. Dad got the key lime cheesecake - it was very creamy but not too much of a key lime flavor.

The best thing about the restaurant was the view - looking right into the gulf - right on the water, looking at the dock and the seagulls and the boats coming in.

most decidedly dinner is not on the menu and it was well worth the drive!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Cake

My Mom and I got in a baking mood yesterday - and we actually followed the recipe! :) That is amazing for her.
This cake turned out a perfect plain white cake - if you ever need one. I would just double it for a 9x13 cake or a layered cake. This one made a 7x11 cake pan. You could put a variety of fillings in it (lemon curd and raspberry jam for instance) or still with the chocolate. It was yummy hot and once it had cooled and the chocolate had set up a little bit. The cinnamon and sugar was a little crunchy in the middle. Reminded me looks wise of a coffee cake without the streusel topping. It was good though - very easy, and usually have everything on hand for a quick bake up if company is on the way! Serve it with fresh whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Chip Cake

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup ss or dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time, then vanilla. Add dry ingredients alternating with the sour cream. Spread half in a greased pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of that then the mixed 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Top with the rest of the batter.
Bake in a 350 oven for 44 minutes (that is exactly how long it took and it was perfectly done and golden - but check your oven). Cool and serve!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Great Vegetarian/Healthy meal

Well, had some lentils in the cupboard and thought I would try out a new recipe I found in a Betty Crocker cookbook, slightly changed of course (because I slightly change all recipes). This was very tasty and satisfying and healthy. To make it vegetarian completely, just use vegetable broth/stock instead of chicken.

Lentils and Brown Rice

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, diced
Olive Oil
1 small green pepper, diced
16 oz low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry lentils, soaked and rinses
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
6 oz water
1 tbsp hot sauce
Italian cheese to finish it off on top to serve (optional)

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil till translucent. Add everything else and bring to a boil then turn it to simmer for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary (I didn't need to). Sprinkle with cheese on top. I served with cranberry sauce, apples, and celery, and cooked broccoli.

It was very yummy and had enough flavor, which I was actually surprised at!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Taste of Plant City - Cuban King and Saturday night eats

We don't know the real name of the restaurant is, but it looks like a little state fair kiosk - they keep overhead low so they can keep the prices low.

Mom and Dad have eaten here before as it is right by the churches we went to when growing up and in high school.

Great cuban - more than a foot long. Hot when we got it, but by the time we got to the park, it wasn't. But, it was still yummy, smashed so we could fit it in our mouth.

Then for dinner I made shrimp and tomatos with cheese grits and bananas foster. Both were good, but still can find better recipes to use for both of those...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Fresh Pasta Blend

I have a calendar from Krafts foods and Mom and I vowed we would make each recipe on that calendar within the month that it was posted. So, being that we are getting close to the end of March - we had to cook this one.

Here ya go:

1 bag whole wheat egg noodles

1 lb chicken breasts, diced

3/4 cup italian dressing

1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half

1 bag baby spinach

8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 cup mozz cheese

Boil water and cook egg noodles. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid.

Saute chicken until done in the italian dressing.

When done, add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Add the reserved pasta water. Toss the chicken mixture in with the cooked pasta. Add the spinach until wilted.

Add the crumbled bacon and mozz cheese on top.


It is good - use quality bacon and italian dressing as it adds a lot of flavor.

Taste of Lakeland - Dragon Buffet

Mom and I are on this weekly thing to taste new places in Lakeland. Dad doesn't like asian food much so Mom and I have to try new things in that arena.
We went to Dragon Buffet as many people we knew had suggested it to us as a good place to eat. It was cheap enough - 2 of us for lunch for 12.30. That's not bad. It wasn't that crowded and they had plenty of food on the buffet.
Chicken and broccoli was good. The boiled shrimp would have been better if they were peeled. The sweet and sour pineapple was great and I enjoyed the pork and mushrooms. Those were my fave. For dessert we had some lf ice cream and these almost coconut macaroon cookies, but they were fluffier than the usual flat cookies. They were yummy!
Then the problem came...Mom commented that there was a ladybug on the wall. Ah, how cute - they are all over the place down here. But, upon closer examination, it was a small roach. You know when there are small roaches around there are bigger roaches somewhere. I was grossed out, trying to hurry what I was doing so we could get out. Then the roach started crawling - right onto the table. I lept to my feet and said alright, we are going. Mom gently put her glass of water right on top of it.
We said we'd never go back there - no matter how good the coconut cookies are.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Taste of the Latin World

Since I've been in FL, I've gone to two Latin restaurants: Columbian in Ybor City and El Coqui in Lakeland.
The Columbian is my fave Latin (Spanish) restaurant and this one was in Ybor City (old Cuban cigar shipping doc. They bring you a big chunk of Cuban bread. I had the ropa vieja - it was great! I get other things, but that was great. I love that place! There is nothing like it!
Mom and I tried out El Coqui in Lakeland today. It means the frog I think in Spanish. It is a small PuertoRican restaurant in south Lakeland in a strip mall. We had the ropa vieja as well (not as good, too vinegary, as the Columbian), the yellow rice with red beans (which was seasoned very well), the tostones (which were great, but I put ketchup on them), and then the flan because they didn't have any tres leches cake. We will go back, but we won't have the ropa vieja again - we'll try something else.
I'll definitely have to go back to both of these again.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Greene's and Grill

Went to this place at Millenia/Conroy (Orlando) last night with a good friend from college. We were both excited about it as she had heard from a friend that it was really good. There were some good points and not so good points. Here is the premise: a Moe's or Chipotle but a salad bar.
1. It was healthy (as long as you didn't get all the cream based dressings and cheeses as the toppings to your salad. I got the farmer's lettuce (romaine basically), craisins, mand oranges, green peppers, edamame, tomatoes, with citrus balsamic as my dressing. Then the grille on top that I chose was chicken. They mix it all up and serve it to you.
2. The grille had no flavor. The salad and the dressing I chose were quite good however.
3. We also got hummus and flat bread for our side (which of course cost extra). The hummus had a lime flavor to it, so I didn't really like it. The flat bread was more like a big tortilla that had been grilled, but in the mean time had been burnt in places, so it effected the whole taste.
4. The service was real good and the guy even came and cleared our place.
5. The restaurant was clean and bright/airy. It had quite a few people in by the time we left at 630.
6. The cost was the biggest downside. Mine was 12.50 for a salad (6.99), grille (2.50), and side. All I got was water. I could have gotten my salad much better and more of it at Sweet Tomatoes for 3 dollars less - and dessert and bread!

Anyway, the company was great, but maybe we'll pick a better place next time.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A newfound faith in Carrabba's

Dad and I took a break from the Ligonier Conference today and drove down Apopka Vineland and ate dinner at Carrabba's. (there may only be one of those letters in that word - my brain is almost done for the day).
I'm not a huge fan - but it was actually really good today.
The bread was very warm so that is always good.
The salad was great - even though it was just romaine and 2 olives - but the dressing made up for it.
We split the PorkChops Marsala. It was phenomenal! The mushroom and marsala sauce was perfect, not to wine-y. The mashed potatoes had the perfect touch of skin and garlic. The only bad thing I can say is that the sauteed brocoli was cold. It tastes like they had used soy sauce, which isn't too Italian - but I could have been wrong.
Our service by C was incredible and he always refilled my room temp water with lemon - no ice!
Maybe I'll try this restaurant again and see if other ones can live up to the one on Apopka Vineland.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Cinnichip scones

Go Mom and me - we make a good team!
I made some scones early in the evening from the new Southern Living cookbook - baked oatmeal scones - not too good, just not a good flavor - they were missing something, don't know what.
But, then I decided not to give them away, but abotu 930p I still wanted to bring something to St. Aug today, so we put our heads together and while I was watching House, Mom put them together. They were a maple-cinnamon chip-pecan scone (I finally used my Hershey's Cinnamon chips). They were some of the best scones ever made by me (or Mom). I tasted them while I was talking to Melanie on the phone - so I have to bring her one. We may put a maple/10x sugar glaze on them today - but they are good just the way they are. They taste like my fave Fall ones from Starbucks.

Cinnichip scones

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick cold butter, chunked
2/3 cup skim milk
1 egg
2/3 cup cinnimon chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp maple extract

375, spray mini scone pan (or just be prepared to cut them out with biscuit cutters). Mix dry, cut in butter, stir in milk and egg. Add flavoring and additives. Spoon into scone pan. Bake for 18 minutes or until light brown.

Yummy! Don't eat them all at once.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Potatoes Max and Chocolate Footballs

Well, my Mom and I do like to cook together. While they were at church this morning I made lunch. We just had some frozen coconut shrimp (not worth the fat grams really), brussel sprouts (always a winner), and Potatoes Max - something I did up real quick.

Potatoes Max

Serves 4-6

Preheat oven to 405 (or somewhere around there). Line your cooking pan with aluminum foil to make for easy cleaning).

2 large baking pototoes (skin on, thinly sliced)

1 onion (thinly sliced in rings)

5 strips of bacon already cooked


Grated monterey jack cheese

Olive oil

Lay sliced potatoes on pan in single layer (or slightly overlapped). Sprinkle with salt and pepper then drizzle with olive oil. Cook for about 25 minutes. Then lay onions on top and cook for another 10 minutes or until onions are slightly browned. Top with bacon and cheese and turn up heat to 450 for 5 minutes to broil the cheese. Serve immediately.

Then for dessert, we made some of Mark Tachmann's (411 in Chapel Hill) Crispy Chocolate Cake (which I will call chocolate footballs) - you know because you played football with those triangle folded pieces of paper when you were waiting for church or a family picnic to star - where you flicked it across the table and held up your hands in the shape of the goal posts (don't deny it).

Chocolate Footballs

Serves 6

5 sheets of phyllo dough

1/2 stick butter (and a brush)

Powdered sugar

6 pieces of chocolate cake cut in small squares (about 2x2)

1/4 cup chocolate chips

Roll out each piece of phyllo dough, one at a time, brushing with butter, sprinkle powdered sugar, do another one -stacking them on top of each other. Then cut a 3 inch slice, put a little bit of chocolate chips down on the low end (closest to you), then top with a piece of cake, then fold up (like you would a paper football or a flag). Make sure the seam is on the bottom.

Bake at 375 for about 11-13 minutes or until golden brown (our's took a little longer I think).

MG - they were so good - you definitely gotta make them (because I know you liked them that night as well).

Friday, March 02, 2007

First Days in FL

Well, this has been an interesting week being in FL. Not even a week really - 5 days.
But, the guy down the street who has known our family for about 40 years now has the BEST Strawberries - and you know it is Strawberry Season in the Winter Strawberry Cap of the World. They are so juicy and sweet. "Like you are eating candy" - Dad.
I ate at Sonny's. Their mac and cheese wasn't that great, but their bbq sauce and smoked meat beats any of that vinegar based junk they serve in NC - no offense to people up there who like it.
I introduced my family to Gwaltney's Center Cut 40% less fat bacon on our BLTs today. They loved it as well - it will soon become a Davidson household staple!
My Mom and I take turns cooking, she has done a lot of it though as I have been sick and she knows what is what. She made these great sauces the other day for a meeting at church so we have been enjoying them as well.
My parents tried Lychees - a fruit from SE Asia that I tried both in Indo and Thailand this past year. I love them - they liked them as well (even if they were canned).
I miss George's Hummus and Madhatters and Caribou and Chai's. But, July will come soon and I can partake and bring back some leftovers to FL!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Last days in NC/First day in FL

Well, the move is over.
Friday my Dad came up and we moved everything down on Sunday.
Friday night was my first time to 518 West in D-town Raleigh. Italian Cafe - really great. The balsamic was very flavorful, bread could have been better (only downside). Out of recommendation from a certain worship pastor from the Summit my Dad and I split the chicken marsala - juicy, thicker chicken that was so easy to cut, moist flavorful mushrooms, tons of mashed potatoes - even the skinny asparagus was great! I gave Dad a lot of my chicken because there was so much food. Their salad had jicama on it - that was great too. We had a friendly waiter and since we got in there right when they opened - we didn't have to wait and it wasn't loud. We sat upstairs with a good view of the turkey baklava place where MG gets those treats for her hubby.
Saturday was scones from Fosters Market. Butterscotch, Blackberry and then Country muffins. Definitely the butterscotch was the best. I will so miss that place. Why can't we have one of those down here?
Saturday for lunch Rach, Dad and I went to Red Robin. Great burgers and onion rings. Rach and I each got one and then split it. Mine was juicier b/c it was cooked less and had mayo on it - her's wasn't as juice - but still ok.
Since we weren't really hungry for dinner we just got some cold stone after Jason and Leslie's wedding.
Sunday was hummus from George's Garage and a sandwich for my Dad.
Bob Evans for breakfast with my Dad. "Where everybody knows your name". Not great service but what do you expect. Oatmeal was really good and so were the grapes, but the pineapple wasn't really in season.
I went to Lakeland Square Mall today with my mom for lunch (I used to work there in high school and on breaks from college). We split a lunch from Asian Chao. Their orange chicken was good, but didn't have much of an orange flavor. Beef and brocoli was good and juicy. Lo Mein I could have done without but their plantains were great! My Dad doesn't like asian food that much so my Mom and I will have to go without him.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mark Tachman - 411

Yeah! MG and I did our cooking class. We had fun.
We spent the evening with Mark - the pastry chef from 411 in Chapel Hill. It is her hubby's fave restaurant and who can go wrong with chocolate.
We watched him make several things.
Chocolate Espresso Creme Brulee - not as hard as I thought they would be, but I sent mine home with MG to give to Chris because I don't like coffee. She even said it was strong in the coffee taste.
Fudge Chocolate Chip cookies - just a great chocolate cooke recipe - very spongy and chocolaty and good. We made them into ice cream sandwiches - homemade ice cream out of his creme anglaise recipe (oh my goodness, rich and good)
Crispy Chocolate Cakes - chocolate cake wrapped in phyllo dough and baked -also had chocolate chips in the middle. yummy! I liked the crispiness of it.
My fave was the ever so rich almost flourless chocolate cake. It was so dense and amazing. I'm glad we only got a small slice! :)
Yummy - I'm going to definitely try these!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cozy places and far away eats

My last Sunday in Durham has been great.
Started out the day with hot chocolate, eggs, bacon, and some of a massive White Chocolate Fresh baked scone at Fosters in Durham. Shared all that and good, chilled conversation with Claudia. it was so fun. I'll miss that place - great food. But, also just a relaxed place that gets to know its customers and they don't shove you out when you finished your last sip of coffee.
Then for lunch, I had Thai food at - new experience I'd heard about in Thai eating just about 2 miles away from me. I just always go to Chai's - but there is always room for new stuff. I had their coconut soup which actually was surprisingly fantastic. Very yummy. It had mushrooms, scallioons, chili powder and tofu squares in it. I ate the scallions and left the rest - but the soup was downed - every bit of it. I had the Pad Thai Shrimp. It was better than most Pad thai I've had (which i didn't even like in Thailand). but, I only ate half and since i don't have any more meals at home before I leave (save breakfast) - I gave the leftovers to Kristin. Thanks Siha for the recommendation on hearing chai's is not open on Sundays!
To end the day - dinner was Macaroni Grill with Erin for her b-day. We had the bread - which was great of course (that's secretly why we went). We had the shrimp, spinach, artichoke dip. It was kinda soupy to eat with the thin crispy croutons they gave us - so we asked for my bread - then it was good. We also split the Honey Balsamic Chicken. It was very yummy - and if you split it you don't stuff yourself of have leftovers. And since it was in honor of her 21st b-day - they brought out a huge piece of their chocolate cake and we ate half of it. It was so dense and yummy. It would feed 4 people - that's how big it was. But, we weren't complaining - we were eating. Erin will finish off the rest. Happy B-day roomie!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Restaurant Review Again - Cheesecake Factory

Went last night with a friend to the one at Southpoint.
Here's the scoop:
Charlie was kinda slow, especially in refilling the water for the first time and with our cheesecake.
It was too dimly lit. I guess that is good if you are out on a date - but if you aren't on a date - then you want to be able to see.
I was freezing (which isn't new) but it was cold outside too.
The salad (small salad, Market Salad) was delicious and still big. Needed some salt but the veggies were a good blend. Asparagus, beets, peppers, eggs, etc.
The bread wasn't warm - but it was still ok.
I went out of my comfort zone with the cheesecake and got something different. I got the Oreo Cheesecake. The slices are getting smaller (which is not a bad thing). It wasn't as good as my normal - dulce le leche. But, it was good. Oreos go well with anything!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Shrimp Caprese Pasta

I'm glad when you are just working on cleaning out your fridge and pantry and something comes together and is really yummy!

I called this what I did because it has basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese in it. I didn't put any spinach, but may next time.

Shrimp Caprese Pasta

1 box angel hair pasta
1 bag frozen ready to eat medium shrimp (thawed)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
4-5 fresh basil leaves, finely snipped
1/3 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, small diced.
Olive oil
S/p, garlic powder
1/2 stick butter

Cook angel hair pasta. In a saute pan, heat oil and butter. Add in seasonings and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Add in shrimp and basil toward the end. you don't want to overcook either - take off the heat and cover with a lid. Let sit for about 3-5 minutes. Toss with pasta and add cubed mozzerella cheese. Serve immediately.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Superbowl food

GO COLTS!! I had a few of my girls over to watch the first half of the game and help me eat some food.
We had hummus, pita chips, veggies; oatmeal raisin cookies, fruit salad, Phyllis' baked mac and cheese, my brother's chicken wings, corn chips, chili (recipe to follow), salsa, diet coke. It was good.

I took this recipe from Rachel Ray - but then altered it and made it my own. It was yummy and spicy!

Chicken Chorizo Chili

1 pkg chorizo sausage (1 lb)
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 whole chicken, cooked and chopped in small pieces
1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 can rotel
1 bottle Amber Bock beer
1/2 rotel can of water
1 T garlic powder

Turn of pan of olive oil. Cook sausage for about 10 minutes. Put in onion and red pepper and cook about 5 more minutes. Add in everything else and let simmer for about 25 minutes. Serve with corn chips, sour cream, and cheese as toppings. Yummy!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Skinny Foods

Sorry - these are not foods that will make you thinner, just good foods you can eat that maybe are better for you.

1. NEW FIND: Weight Watchers Carrot Cake Cakes (4 bites - maybe) of a carrot cake slice with cream cheese frosting. Just enough of a sweet thing to satisfy you. 1 point (app. 60 cal)

2. Baked Cheetos - these are just as yummy as the original ones, but I could probably eat the whole bag with no problem, so I don't have them around too often.

3. Craisins - even the generic Target kind are great. These are good, but high in sugar. 1/3 of a cup is 130 calories, no fat, and 2 fiber.

4. Egg White Omelets - 3 egg whites (60 cal, no fat) with some 2% cheese in it - yummy and high in protein.

5. Granola - Whole Foods has a soy granola that is amazing!

6. Low Fat Ben & Jerry's Half Baked (chunks of brownies and chocolate chip cookie dough in a chocolate ice cream). Mom and I first had it in Boston when we went shopping. It was yummy then and a pint is always good to have in your freezer!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Banana Crunch Muffins

These I got from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) and have modified them a little. They are very yummy and sweet - best banana bread type thing I've had!

Banana Crunch Muffins - makes 24 regular size muffins

3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 ripe bananas mashed
1 banana chopped
1 cup diced walnuts
1 cup granola (I used the banana granola from Whole Foods)
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

350 - grease 2 12count muffin tins or use paper wrappers. But Alton says we are making muffins not cupcakes!
Melt butter in microwave and let cool. Combine all ingredients before the butter and then add the cooled butter. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas. Combine with dry ingredients. Fold in additives. Do not overmix. Top with leftover granola.
Fill each muffin tin about 2/3 of the way and bake for 25-30 minutes or until done in center!

Enjoy these warm - they are much better! :) Even people who didn't like coconut liked them!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Chicken a la King

I cooked this last night for Claudia's b-day dinner. I had to live up to her Aunts and the school she grew up in - that was tough competition. But, she said it was good - so that is all that matters. I kinda took a Food TV recipe and changed it up some. That is what I like about cooking - you can do that. Baking is is not...

Chicken Ala King

1/2 stick butter
1 large shallot
1 container mushrooms, sliced.
6 heaping tbsp of flour
1 1/2 cans of chicken broth, low sodium
1/3 cup dry sherry
3 cups diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 box frozen peas
salt, pepper, red pepper
whole wheat egg noodles

Melt butter and saute shallots and mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Add in the flour to make a roux. Then add the sherry, broth, and chicken. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. Add in cream, seasoning, and peas. Let cook for about 10 more minutes.
Meanwhile - boil salted water for egg noodles. Cook till done.
Mix together and enjoy! :)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Green Minestrone Soup

This was fun cooking last night and then tasting the broth on a cold night in Durham. I have changed this recipe from a Rachael Ray recipe that I found on Food Network. It is quite yummy! :)

Green Minestrone Soup

Olive oil (pretty covered on the bottom of a big soup pot)
1/4 lb of pancetta (or proscuitto if you can't find pancetta)
1 med onion, diced
1 zucchini, quartered and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 can each garbonza and white cannellini beans, well drained
2 boxes low sodium chicken broth
s/p, oregano, garlic powder
1 can of green beans OR 1 pkg frozen chopped asparagus
1 cup mini pasta
3/4 bag of fresh spinach

Heat oil on medium and add diced pancetta for about 2 minutes. Add onion and fresh veggies. Let cook down for about 5 minutes. Add beans and broth and spices. Bring to boil. Add in pasta and either beans or asparagus once boiling. Cook till pasta is done. Add in spinach right at the end. Serve and enjoy. Makes a big pot! :)

Asian Food Week

This week - actually the first half of this week - I had a ton of asian food. My only complaint really was that they only have white rice, empty carbs. Oh, well.

I went to Chai's on Monday with Kristin. We shared edamame - which their's is so good. I don't know if it is the cooking process or the salt - but they are great and healthy! Then I had the chicken rice bowl with Thai yellow curry. I love that stuff. We then got bubble teas - look below for a thought on those. I had my leftover Chai's yesterday for lunch - I actually think it is better warmed up and mixed all together. Flavor melding going on! :)

Tuesday for lunch was Shanghai's with Cortnee. It was ok - not the best Chinese food I've had. The soup was good - but I like Charley's (now out of business in Chapel Hill) corn egg drop better. This didn't have the corn in it. The fried things you put on top were good. I had the Kung Pao chicken with rice. It was good - but nothing to write home about.

Tuesday night I went with Anne to Bali Hai - a Mongolian place in the 9th street district here in Durham. It was very good. Great price, less than 7$ for dinner for a huge portion. You fill your bowl up with all the veggies and meat you could want (all raw) then you tell them what kind of sauce you want and they cook it for you. I had a bowl piled high of veggies and a little bit of meat with a combo sauce of sweet and spicy. I had it medium grade spicy on a scale of 1-10. I enjoyed it very much! It was great.

So, all that being said - I think I'm done with Asian food for a while - but it was good while it lasted.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Calvin and Food

Never thought my two blogs would merge: theology and food. Got this from another blog today

On the subject of food, the esteemed Calvin writes, “If we ponder to what end God created food we shall find that he meant not only to provide for necessity but also for delight and good cheer” (qtd. in Redeeming the Time by Leland Ryken).

Monday, January 22, 2007

New Adventures in Bubble Tea

Went to Chai's today with Kristin - mainly b/c I had to try the bubble tea. Kristin likes them and so did 2 former co-workers, but I had yet to try them. They weren't at all what I expected them to be. It was flavored ice-milk (I got strawberry, she got chai tea) with tapioca balls or "bubbles" on the bottom. It really tastes like a smoothie with gummy bears in it. It was actually quite good. They also had a jelly tea, which I've heard is like jello on the bottom of juice. Don't know about that, but what I had was good. I will plan on making one more trip there before I head out of NC. I don't know of Thai places that serve bubble teas in Lakeland or Orlando...
Thanks Kristin! :)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Grocery Shopping

Today was spent hanging out with my good friend Claudie...we had fun driving around Cary and Raleigh - neither being in a hurry and not afraid to take a wrong turn. We went to Whole Foods on Wade Ave in Raleigh. It is the best one in the area. We got fruit and granola and some turkey. We both raved over the fresh fruit - berries (black, rasp-, and straw-) and pineapple - all were fantastically seasonal and great! :) The best granola we found was a soy granola - with little soy kernels in them. It was so good!
Then we made our way into Cary to try the new Trader Joes - along with the rest of the town of Cary. It was great. My only other one was in Boston - this one was one level and not three. Good prices, much lower than the one in Boston. I found some good cereal, some Mojito sauce that Rach told me to try, and some shrimp. Can't wait to try everything.
I love grocery shopping when I just have time to go around and I'm not in a hurry. Try it some time - grocery shopping without a time limit or grocery list.

Monday, January 08, 2007

B-day week restaurants and food

Boy - it has been a week of eating and more eating (and not enough exercising). But, most of it has been worth it. This is where I went, what I ate, thoughts about it, etc. (Yes, I know I ate too much!)

Starting on New Years (so much for resolutions)...

Ruby Tuesdays - I love their salad bar and it didn't let me down. Craisins and their pumpernickel croutons. yummy! Now, the White Bean Chicken Chili wasn't near as good as mine - so I didn't eat it all. I would say the company was better than the food - the Crums as they traveled stopped to have lunch with me.

Elmos Diner - (pictures on other blog later). Went with my friends Kris, Tonya, Josiah, and Baby Girl/Boy Dixon. Had so much fun. Just a laid back (but busy that day) diner in the 9th Street District of Durham. Had the BLT, fries, and an Oreo Shake. The only thing worth it was the shake - and boy was it yummy!

Chai's Noodle Bar (Thai Food) - went here with Rachael as she couldn't be in town for my b-day (duty calls). We split the edamame - which is so good! I had the thai yellow curry with chicken and she had sesame chicken (not very Thai-y Rach). Mine was good, a little too spicy I think that night. Rach's was good and since she was going out of town I had some leftovers for the week. Melissa used to work here and that is how I know about it. I'm getting some Bubble tea there before heading out of Thai-food world!

George's Garage (across from Elmo's) was great. Vic loved the hummus and sandwich - what I always get (thanks for MG and CG for the suggestion. We also got 2 bites of chocolate cake each - dried out. So, I won't waste those calories. And I got a root beer - not diet. That was good too - very worth it! Vic even told her mother about the hummus - it was that good!

Outback Steakhouse - Man, it was great. I hadn't been to one in about 2 years - since I lived in Raleigh. I used to go there all the time. Claudia and I enjoyed a much shorter wait than expected, and great food. I got the outback special. I learned a while ago to ask for my steak medium well and butterflied (allows for more cooking since there is more surface space, but not as thick). It was so good. Had a salad and veggies. Two splurges were the apple cobbler - new and yummy and the cheese fries - amazing. Well worth the calories! There was protein in it too! Thank you Claudia!
I also went there in Richmond with Felicity this weekend. It was good too. I was a little better. Got a smaller steak (cooked the same way), salad, and veggies. No potatoes this time. While watching Colts Playoff Football - good game!

Rudinos - This is a great pizza and "grinder" place in Durham and the rest of the triangle. I found it after church one Sunday. Since it was Matt's and my b-day in the office we got that brought in for lunch. I had a New Mexico Chicken Grinder. It was good with cheese and peppers and the whatnot, bread was great - but it would have been better at the restaurant due to the hot factor of the sandwich.

The Cheesecake Factory - I wait all year for this. The Dulce Le Leche Cheesecake. It was well worth the wait and I ate every bit of it. Vern got the PB cup cheesecake - it was too rich. Kase got the Chocolate Mousse CK - it was better, but too chocolaty for me. Yummy! Pictures of this are on the other blog as well

Don Jose's Mexican Place - This was the whole trip to Richmond. We had great food (the white sauce is amazing) even though it took forever to get our food - we were scarfing down the chips. I had a chicken Quesadilla and beans - Felicity had a taco salad. yummy. Sorry - no website for this, but it is on Hull Street in Chesterfield VA (just south of Richmond). Well worth a 2 hour drive from Durham.

ColdStone Creamery - We had this as my b-day dessert on Saturday night after Outback. It was so good. I haven't had any of their ice cream in probably 2 years since before gallbladder surgery I couldn't eat milk products due to the pain. I had the french vanilla with strawberries and graham crackers in a waffle bowl - yummy. It was so good and the fact that it didn't hurt my tummy was worth it too!

Bodo's Bagels - Veronica has been telling me about this place for years, so I finally went. Gorgeous "grounds" of UVA is a perfect setting for soft, fresh warm (not chewy), high (not as big of round) bagels. I had the whole wheat with peanut butter and honey. It was worth the hour drive to Charlottesville (from Richmond) and I'm glad Vern told me about them.

So...after all I have to eat normal again and exercise. But - your b-day only comes around once a year - and 30 only comes around once in a lifetime! Live it up! To end it tomorrow (but healthier), but tonight is the game GO GATORS and tomorrow night is Red Robin sharing with Laura!