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Month: April 2016

Friday Happy Hour

Friday Happy Hour

 

Sure. . . . . when you’ve been at the office all day and then head for a cold one it’s Happy Hour.  When you’re at home all day and decide to chill with a glass of wine, it’s just the Crazy Lady hitting the bottle again!

Have a fun Happy Hour and a great weekend!

 

Corn Mini-Muffins

Corn Mini-Muffins

 

These are delicious.  Just the right amount of sweet from the honey and they actually have corn in them!  Make them to go with your dinner, your barbecue, your salad or just to snack on.  I like the mini-muffin size because I’m pretty sure they don’t have calories in them. . . . . just like broken cookies don’t have calories!  Seriously, people will try a mini-muffin with their meal when a regular muffin looks like too much.  They may even have a second.  We call them “poppers” because you can easily pop them into your mouth.

And don’t make these into those jumbo muffins.  Just. Don’t.   The mini-muffins are much more fun!

If you really want to have a treat, soften butter and mix honey with it to make a honey butter spread for the muffins.  Spread a little on one and eat it while it’s still warm.  Yum.  I think I can count the times I’ve had to actually buy honey on one hand.  My dad always had bee hives on the farm and the bee farm would always give him a case of honey for the use of his land.  It’s still my favorite honey.  My grandfather ate honey every day and always told us that’s what kept him young!  I’m counting on it.

1/2 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup milk

3/4 cup frozen corn

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cream together butter, sugar, honey, eggs and salt in a large bowl.

Add flour, cornmeal and baking powder and blend thoroughly – add milk.  Add corn to mixture (by hand if you’re using a mixer for this – I usually mix all by hand for this recipe).

Make sure to spray muffin tins with nonstick spray – bake until golden brown. About 20 minutes for regular muffins and a little less for mini-muffins.  Set your timer and keep an eye on them.  I found this recipe on www.food.com but they indicated that it was originally from http://www.TopSecretRecipes.com. and was a copycat of the corn muffins at the Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurants, which are no longer around.

Sunday Funday!

Sunday Funday!

 

What a beautiful day in the Florida Keys!  This first picture is at the Islamorada Sandbar near the Post Card Inn (Holiday Isle for those of you who’ve been around a while. . . . . !).   On a beautiful weekend there are hundreds of boats anchored here.  Today we didn’t anchor but it’s always a fun place!  The second picture is looking out into the Atlantic Ocean with a sailboat in the distance.

No cooking today!  We’ll pick up dinner tonight and enjoy a quiet evening at the house before our workweek begins.  Hope you had a fabulous weekend!

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Egg Muffins

Egg Muffins

It’s a beautiful day in Paradise.  I really enjoy having my first cup of coffee on my back porch.

What I don’t love is having to cook in the morning when I’m half awake and really just want to sit and drink my coffee.  And I have a husband who, unlike me, is hungry as soon as his feet hit the floor.   The solution:   Egg muffins!  You can make them when you have time – keep them in the refrigerator or freezer and heat quickly in the microwave in the morning.

Get out your big non-stick frying pan and spray with PAM.  Add about a tablespoon of olive oil and then add any assortment of the following:   spinach (I use an entire bag because it cooks down so much), peppers, onions, mushrooms, pre-cooked turkey sausage crumbles or bacon pieces – really any meat or diced vegetable that you like.  Cook, stirring frequently, on medium heat until vegetables are tender.  Set aside.

In your blender combine:  10 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/3 cup milk.  You can also beat this together in a large bowl but the blender is quick and easy.

Blend well and set aside.

Spray a muffin pan with PAM (don’t forget this step or you will have problems removing them!), fill the bottom of the muffin pan with your meat & vegetable mixture.  Pour egg mixture over to almost the top of the muffin cup.  Top with your favorite cheese and bake at 350 degrees about 25 minutes or until your knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

These reheat well and freeze well.  And they let you sleep a bit later in the morning.

Egg Muffins
Egg Muffins

 

Barbecue Pork for the Weekend

Barbecue Pork for the Weekend

 

We all need an easy delicious weekend or party food and everyone seems to love barbecue pork!  You won’t believe what tasty pork you will have from this extremely easy recipe. I’ve cooked barbecue pork from pork tenderloin and I’ve also used pork roast (shoulder or butt).  They are equally delicious.  The roast is a more fatty cut but the fat pretty much melts away and is poured out with the liquid.   The roast is a bit easier to pull.  You can always make chopped pork from the tenderloin instead of pulling or shredding it, too.  That’s what I did in the picture above.

Pulled Pork

4 pound pork roast (shoulder or butt) . . . OR pork tenderloin

1 can Ginger Ale

1 large sliced sweet onion (optional)

1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce.  We love Slim’s sauce from Slim’s Bar-B-Que in Arcadia (seriously you have to stop if you’re ever driving across Florida) but more often use Sweet Baby Ray’s which is also very good and easier to find.

I spray nonstick spray on the inside of my crock pot and put the pork (and onion)  in it, pouring the ginger ale over the top of it.  Cover and cook it on low overnight or about 8 hours.  Remove the meat, drain the liquid (save a little if you want to add when you return it to the crock pot), pull the pork (I usually either use my hands or two forks to pull the meat apart) and then return it to the crock pot.  Pour barbecue sauce over the meat and cook it on low another hour.  Serve with hamburger buns and more barbecue sauce.  I like a bit of sweet coleslaw on my pork sandwich.  Leftovers freeze well.  . . . or so I understand.  We never have any leftovers!

I found this recipe from www.food.com, posted by duonyte.

 

 

It’s a Tiki Hut kind-of-day. . . . . . with a great chicken salad

It’s a Tiki Hut kind-of-day. . . . . . with a great chicken salad

Okay, just telling you that I have a tiki hut is fun.  Do you ever hear the words “tiki hut” used in a sentence that isn’t fun?!?   This is one of my favorite places is in my backyard, under the tiki hut.

Today I decided to bring lunch down here for us.  I’ve got a delicious chicken salad recipe to share with you that we enjoyed today. . . . and yesterday too.  It keeps pretty well for about 2-3 days so it’s nice to have lunch already made and ready to eat.  I found this recipe years ago in a Taste of Home magazine.

Here are the basic ingredients that you will mix together in a large bowl:

4 cups diced cooked chicken – I like white breast meat but you can add dark too

3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

1  1/2 cups seedless grapes, cut in half (green or red – both are great)

1 cup chopped celery

3/4 sliced green onions

1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

Combine above and then mix the dressing ingredients in another bowl:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

1 tablespoon honey mustard

1 teaspoon season all seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

1/8 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon paprika

Pour the dressing mixture over the chicken mixture and toss gently.  Now have a tall glass of iced tea and enjoy your lunch!

 

Sunday at the Beach

Sunday at the Beach

Juno Beach

As much as I love to spend time in the kitchen, it was just too beautiful today to be inside!  My husband Lat and I went for a walk on the beach in Juno Beach and it was wonderful!  We love this beach and come here often.  Hard, packed sand to walk on, people having fun and dogs all over the beach!  At one time we saw six Golden Retrievers playing together in the surf!    I have a huge soft spot for Golden Retrievers.  We lost our dog Reagan, a golden retriever, about a year and a half ago and we all miss her terribly.  She was a part of our family for over 13 years and she considered herself a member of the family.  She did whatever we did.  We love seeing the dogs on the beach and look forward to having a dog again one day.

We had dinner at an outside restaurant near the beach tonight.  Sunday night seems one extreme or the other.  I either cook for the week or I don’t cook at all.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend,

Here’s to a fabulous week!

Crunchy Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Crunchy Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

I like being in the kitchen.  It’s calming to me.  When I was growing up, baking was almost like a reward that we were able to do once we had completed our Saturday cleaning and chores.  It was always fun and those are wonderful memories for me.

Tonight I wanted to bake cookies.  I needed a calming evening.

I have seen variations of this recipe all over the internet, and in “homemade” cookbooks that I own so I can’t really give anyone credit for the basic recipe. I have tweaked it just a little.  These cookies are pretty delicious  . . . . . you may want to add this to your cookie rotation (you DO have a cookie rotation, right?!).  I love the vanilla/coconut/oatmeal taste and the rice krispies give it a little crunch that’s fun!  (I usually buy the single serving of cereal since we don’t eat much cereal these days).  And it’s not a cookie that you see everyone make so it’s kind of nice to whip up something different.  If you really want to go crazy you can add your favorite nuts (1 cup of pecans, walnuts, etc.) and your favorite chocolate chips (1 cup milk chocolate, minis, semi-sweet, white chocolate – you get the picture).  I don’t think they need the extras but some folks like their cookies SUPREME-style and I can’t really argue with that!

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup butter (sometimes I use 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup shortening for a firmer cookie)

2 eggs

1 cup coconut

2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1  1/2 cups rice krispies

Cream butter and sugars.  Add eggs and beat well.  Add oatmeal, flour, baking powder and soda.  Add coconut, salt, vanilla and rice krispies.

Drop by teaspoons on cookie sheets covered with parchment or freezer paper.  Gently flatten cookies with bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.

Bake 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly brown.  Cool on cookies racks.  Like most cookies, these freeze well.

 

I just can’t throw away those overripe bananas. . . . . . best banana bread ever!

I just can’t throw away those overripe bananas. . . . . . best banana bread ever!

Last night I met two of my sons and my oldest son’s girlfriend for dinner at a lovely downtown St. Pete restaurant.  We had a delicious meal under the stars on a beautiful night!  The only way it could have gotten any better would be to have my youngest son and my husband join us.  It was really a wonderful night and I thoroughly enjoyed being with them!  Isn’t it wonderful to enjoy your adult children?

I can’t seem to visit my children without bringing food.  Last night I brought barbecue chopped pork tenderloin with coleslaw and rolls and two loaves of banana bread.  I have people ask for my banana bread recipe all the time, so I’m going to share it. It’s moist and flavorful – and the reason I brought two loaves is because one was with chocolate chips and one was without.  You can add toasted pecans too.  So good!!

The original recipe is from http://www.food.com but I’ve made a couple of changes.

Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1  1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1  1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 mashed bananas – make sure they are very ripe

1/2 cup sour cream OR plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup toasted pecans, optional

1/2 cup (or more!) milk chocolate chips

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Then add dry ingredients and then add remaining ingredients.  Mix well – I just mix by hand.  Bake at 350 for an hour in a greased large loaf pan.  You can also use three small loaf pans and then you can add pecans and chocolate chips to some pans and not others.  (Gotta make everyone happy, right?)  I usually test with a skinny blade knife to see if they’re done because it seems like my large loaf takes a little more than an hour and the small loaves only take 40-45 minutes.  The knife should come out nice and clean when it’s done without batter sticking to it.  Let it sit for a few minutes in the pan to cool then it should come out easily to rest on a plate.

Delicious!  And such a treat with that first cup of coffee in the morning.

 

One loaf with pecans and chocolate chips, one with chocolate chips and one plain
One loaf with pecans and chocolate chips, one with chocolate chips and one plain
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