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Month: November 2016

Wow. These are really good. . . . . . .!

Wow. These are really good. . . . . . .!

Imagine a blondie – or a toll house bar, because a blondie is really just a chocolate chip cookie in bar form – covered with a layer of cheesecake. The perfect mix of a blondie and a cheesecake –  baked together to make one out-of-this-world treat!

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Blondies

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups (12 oz) milk chocolate chips

Cheesecake Layer:

2 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

3/4 cup (2 % or whole)

2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper, letting ends extend up and over sides.  Spray parchment paper with non-stick spray.

For the blondie mixture:  In a bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  In another bowl, whisk flour, salt and baking soda, gradually beat into creamed mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Press half of dough on bottom on pan on top of the parchment paper.

For the cheesecake mixture:  In a bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add eggs, milk and vanilla.  Beat on low speed just until blended.  Pour over dough; drop remaining dough by tablespoonfuls over cheesecake layer.

Bake 45 – 50 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool in pan on a wire rack.  Refrigerate at least a couple of hours before cutting.  Lifting with parchment paper, remove from pan.  Cut into bars.

Cool then easily remove bars from parchment paper in pan
Cool then easily remove bars from pan by lifting parchment paper

I adapted this recipe from a Taste of Home recipe.  The biggest change?  Hopefully not a FAIL on my part, but I left out the bacon that they added to both the blondie batter and to the top of the cheesecake.  I love bacon, but I just wasn’t in the mood. . . . !  If you’re craving the sweet and savory combo, just added cooked crumbled bacon to both.  Maybe I will try it sometime.  I’ll let you know.

 

 

Leftover Ham? You should make this!

Leftover Ham? You should make this!

Yes, the Florida State coffee cup is in this picture on purpose.  It’s the weekend after Thanksgiving and that means two things:   The FSU vs UF game is “on” and we have leftover ham.  The latter is of no importance to anyone but me. . . . and the former is a big deal since I live with four ‘Noles.  I should note that Grandad was a ‘Gator. . . . so we have done our share of cheering for them too.  We just don’t cheer for the Gators when they are playing the Noles!

Sometimes our Thanksgiving weekend is cut short since my college-attending sons have wanted to get back for the game.  That is what is happening this year. Luckily Christmas break is less than a month away so he will return soon.  Our older boys will be watching from their favorite FSU hang-out!  We of course will be watching too!

Go ‘Noles!   And have some quiche!

Quiche

1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust

1 tablespoon butter, softened

1 cup leftover ham, cut into very small pieces

1/2 cup swiss cheese, shredded or cubed

1/2 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded

5 large eggs

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Spread pie crust with butter or margarine.  Top buttered crust with ham and cheeses.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In medium bowl – or blender –  beat eggs, cream, salt, ground red pepper and dry mustard.  Pour cream mixture over ham and cheese in pie crust.  Sprinkle with crumbled bacon.  Bake 15 minutes then turn oven control to 300 degrees and bake 40 minutes longer or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

This is great to have for breakfast or brunch – it reheats well from the refrigerator to the microwave and is delicious with that cup of coffee – regardless of who your team is!!

 

 

 

 

Be Yourself And Have Fun

Be Yourself And Have Fun

We should really try to be more like our dogs.  They act truly happy to see the ones they love – every time they see them.  They eat when they’re hungry, sleep when they’re tired and hide when they’re bothered.  Our Golden Retriever, Reagan, was the most resilient dog in the world.  She would go along with almost anything we wanted to do.  She just wanted to be included.

A funny comedian named Mark Lowry says that he knows his dog loves him more than his wife.  How?  He locked them both in the trunk of his car and an hour later, guess who was thrilled to see him?  Not the little lady!

Be like your dog.  Be yourself and have fun.

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World’s Best Pecan Pie?!? You decide. . .

World’s Best Pecan Pie?!? You decide. . .

No guilt.  I’m not using my mom’s pecan pie recipe for Thanksgiving.  In fact, I haven’t used it for a many years.  Why?  Oh, it’s delicious.  But it’s not an easy recipe and I want to use a recipe that is BOTH easy and delicious!  My family loves my pecan pie and of course they really don’t care whose recipe it is.
HERE is the recipe:

Beat 3 eggs thoroughly with 1/2 cup white sugar, a dash of salt, 1 cup dark corn syrup and 1/3 cup melted butter. Add 1 cup pecan pieces.

Pour into a 9-inch unbaked pie crust. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more pecan pieces or halves. . . Until you have as much on the pie as you want.

Bake in a 350 degrees oven 50 minutes or until a knife inserted halfway between the center and edge of the pie comes out clean.

Cool. I mean let the pie cool. And I mean: COOL!

Because what recipe could be easier?!?  AND it really IS delicious!

I always try to give credit where credit is due in regards to where recipes originate.  My ex-sister-in-law gave me this recipe. (What can I say? Family is complicated!)

My mom’s recipe is in the pic below. I love it because it was my mom’s.  But seriously, why mess around with a thermometer and temperatures when I don’t need to?  The ingredients are similar and sometimes I still add the teaspoon of vanilla.  If I run low on dark corn syrup, I add light corn syrup. The real secret? Use real butter and don’t skimp on the pecans.

Mom's Recipe Contribution to the Mother's Day Cookbook
Mom’s Recipe Contribution to the Mother’s Day Cookbook
Our moms sent in their favorite recipes – for their own Mother’s Day gift! I loved this construction paper!
Ready for the Oven
Ready for the Oven

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Happy Baking!

Happy Eating!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

 

 

The Must-Have Pie for your Thanksgiving Table

The Must-Have Pie for your Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving is around the corner and that makes me think of PIES!  I love to bake pies and I love to eat pies!   I made this Coconut Pecan Pie a few years ago and it’s now part of our Thanksgiving.  If a delicious coconut macaroon and a your best pecan pie had a baby, well, this could very well be the result!

Coconut Pecan Pie

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cup coconut

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 unbaked pastry shell (9″)  

Beat eggs in a mixing bowl.  Add sugar, butter, lemon juice and vanilla and mix well.  Stir in coconut and pecans.  Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell.  Bake 350 degrees for 45 – 50 minutes.  Cool completely before cutting.  Store in the refrigerator.

Ready for the Oven
Ready for the Oven
45 to 50 Minutes Later
45 to 50 Minutes Later
Delicious!!
Delicious!!

Original recipe from Taste of Home, a magazine I have been a subscriber of since its inception.

 

 

Need an easy seafood recipe? Swordfish Bites!

Need an easy seafood recipe? Swordfish Bites!

Do you know a simple way to cook fish?  This questions pops up often.  I have some elaborate seafood recipes to share but sometimes there just isn’t time and energy for that type of meal.  Our seafood is so fresh and delicious that it’s easy to go the simple route and get delicious results.  In fact, it’s so simple it’s hardly a “recipe” but more of just a preparation.

One of my favorites is swordfish.  It has a great steak-like texture and mild flavor.  I often season it and cook it on the grill for a nice dinner.  However lately we are eating more casual meals and want FUN food!  Swordfish bites have been the perfect addition as an appetizer or a meal.

Here are my two favorite seasonings for fish:

My favorite seafood seasonings - and a beautiful piece of swordfish!
My favorite seafood seasonings – and a beautiful piece of swordfish!

I go light on the Cajun seasoning – and actually use both seasonings.

Seasoned swordfish bites
Seasoned swordfish bites

Cut the swordfish into bite-size pieces (cut off the dark parts – it’s a muscle/blood pigment and tastes a little strong), season and cook in less than a tablespoon of olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat.
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You can serve over rice – or salad.  Or just eat the swordfish alone as an appetizer.

This was part of a perfect dinner on the back porch.  We had a bottle of wine, baked brie with apple slices and swordfish bites. It was easy, fast and delicious!   And fun.  Don’t forget the fun.

Boaters Heaven aka Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

Boaters Heaven aka Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

Boaters Heaven! We went to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show this past weekend. We have attended for decades and always look forward to our boat show day. The day was fabulous! Perfect weather (not too hot, refreshing breeze), manageable crowds (the advantage of going on Friday), fun friends to share it with, magnificent boats and great booth displays all played a part. If you add in a surprise stop by the jeweler booth (?!!!) and a delicious dinner afterwards at Grill 66, it just might be the best boat show yet!

We didn’t buy a boat. . . . . but look at what was available!  A yacht big enough to land your helicopter on!!  We were able to get on some beautiful boats and dream a bit!

Big enough to land your helicopter!
Big enough to land your helicopter!

And the inside was fabulous too!

Boats, Boats, Boats!!!
Boats, Boats, Boats!!!

What’s next?  The Miami International Boat Show of course!!

See you there!

 

?Banana Fana. . . ?. . . Frosted Banana Bars

?Banana Fana. . . ?. . . Frosted Banana Bars

Remember “The Name Game”. . . . . here is the quick version, using the name “Katie”. . . . .

Katie, Katie, bo-batie,
Banana-fana fo-fatie
Fee-fy-mo-matie
Katie!

Well, speaking of bananas.  The bars are delicious and you will LOVE the frosting!!!  I seem to have a real issue with throwing away over-ripe bananas and we all know there is like a two-day window where a banana is actually fit to eat.  This is a great way to use those bananas and I figure the guilt from eating the treat balances with the guilt I avoid from throwing away the bananas!  That makes sense, right?  We shouldn’t have guilt from eating a delicious treat anyway.
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Dash salt
FROSTING:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, bananas and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into creamed mixture just until blended.
Transfer to a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
For frosting, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Frost bars.

I have subscribed to Taste of Home magazine for as long as I can remember.  This recipe was in my Taste of Home magazine in 1994.

Frosted Banana Bars
Frosted Banana Bars
O’ My Gosh O’Henry Bars

O’ My Gosh O’Henry Bars

SO GOOD!!  I have a hard time not eating the mixture out of the bowl before I even get to the “bars” stage!  Okay, I might or might not leave just a little in the bowl to enjoy all to myself. . . . !

This is the easiest most delicious bar you will ever make! I grew up eating these yummy bars.  We always called them O’Henry bars, but I really have no idea if they taste like the candy bar of the same name or not!  I know I’d rather eat one of these than ANY candy bar!

Here’s how you make them:

8 cups Special K cereal (place in a large bowl sprayed with Pam)
Place in a microwave-safe bowl:
1 cup dark syrup
1 cup brown sugar.
Bring just to a boil in the microwave.
Add 1 1/4 cups crunchy peanut butter to mixture.

Mix together with the Special K and then press into in a 8 x 11 (smaller pan = thicker bars) cake pan that’s been sprayed with Pam.

Now for the frosting:
Melt in microwave – stir at 30 second intervals:
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 ounces butterscotch chips
1 Tablespoon peanut butter.
Stir frosting until melted and spread over Special K mixture. Cut into bars. Devour.

O'Henry Bars
O’Henry Bars
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