Avocado Toast

Happy Sunday!

I’m slightly obsessed with avocado toast! Avocados pair well with a variety of vegetables, fruits, dips and salads.

Sundays are a cooking day! Breakfast or dinner or even a new recipe. I enjoy cooking and baking plus it’s an amazing stress reliever.

Slice or mash avocados, blend with sea salt, splash of lime, olive oil, lemon, tomato or whatever your heart desires. Simple, light, healthy and delicious!

I added mangoes, fresh lime, a pinch of sea salt and cilantro.

#avocardiocooking 🥑😃

Chicken and Dumplings

Sunday dinner — Tiffani Thiessen’s Pull Up A Chair cookbook was a Christmas gift and apparently so was the ’tis the season cold I had last week. Huge ugh! Still slightly lingering around, Tiffani’s chicken and dumplings recipe sounded perfect. The chicken is succulent, quantity of flavors and a touch of dry sherry. Apparently recipes including alcohol is a recurring theme for me throughout 2018 and the New Year, Lol. 

My Mom used to cook chicken and dumplings with Campbell’s chicken & rice soup, boiled chicken water, salt and Bisquick’s dumpling recipe. Distinctly remember my Dad was not fond of the dumplings, he liked the broth though. 

This recipe does require a little kitchen time —past and present Sundays are the bigger-gather around the table meal compared to the quick weekday Rice-a-Roni or hot dogs we had as kids. Your taste buds will appreciate the outcome! 

#sundaydinner #inspiredtotrynewrecipes #foodforthesoul 

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped 
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick 
  • 1 small bulb fennel, trimmed, quartered and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick 
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 10 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry 
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken broth 
  • 4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme 
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh Italian parsley 
  • 2 bay leaves 
Dumplings:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder 
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk 
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted 
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley 
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill 

Directions:

For the stew: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add half of the chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken. Set aside.

Add the butter to the same pot and melt over medium-high heat. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, fennel and parsnip and cook until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and when it releases its fragrance, stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sherry and stir, scraping up any bits stuck to the pot. Add the broth and stir to combine.

Tie the thyme, parsley and bay leaves together with kitchen twine, drop the bundle into the broth and add the chicken, taking care to fully immerse it in the liquid. Bring the stew to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked, about 1 hour.

Remove the pot from the heat and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Remove the bundle of herbs and discard. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones and discard. Tear the meat into bite-size pieces. Using a skimmer or wide spoon, skim the fat from the surface of the sauce in the pot. Return the chicken and any drippings to the pot and bring the stew to a simmer.

For the dumplings: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and pepper. Add the buttermilk, butter, thyme, parsley and dill and stir to form a thick, very sticky dough.

Using your hands, roll the dough into balls about the size of a golf ball. Drop the dough balls into the stew spaced about 1/4 inch apart. Cover and simmer over low heat until the dumplings are firm and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

As a kid, I used to help my Mom and Grandmom make chocolate chip cookies. We always looked forward to licking the beaters or spoon …. fast forward 30 plus years it’s highly recommended not to eat raw batter….Sigh. Cookie dough is super delicious! When my son was younger, of course he would help stir and pour chocolate chip morsels into the mixture. I’m grateful for the ‘believe in the magic’ memories from my son’s childhood. He always helped prepare milk and cookies on Christmas Eve for Santa too! 

Mom and Grandmom would make Tollhouse cookie recipe. I used that recipe for years but eventually tried Crisco’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip cookie recipe. Note: I replace one crisco stick with a regular stick of butter.

Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday and New Year! #milkandcookies #believeinthemagic

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 cup Crisco® Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups Pillsbury BEST All Purpose Flour (I use 1 3/4 cup per their older recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 (6 oz.) package semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Directions:

HEAT oven to 375ºF.

BEAT shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl with mixer on medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into shortening mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

DROP by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart onto baking sheet

BAKE 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies, or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

 

Caramel Apple Pie

This is not your classic American pie —- a caramel apple pie with holiday cheer, rum! I couldn’t help but smile while simmering the apple ingredients together. Every room filled with this wonderful aroma. I was eager to try Williams-Sonoma’s salted caramel apple pie recipe.  Let me state the recipe does not call for rum but it should, Lol. The flavors are on point and scrump-a-licious! The salted caramel sauce was purchased on sale and it’s amazing! I’m not just saying that. For those non-sweet n’ salty people, do not let the salted caramel sauce fool you. It is delightfully sweet. 

I use Allrecipes buttery pie crust and replace regular butter with Irish butter. My apologies about the yellow tone photo as I forgot to photograph prior to egg wash. 

Happy Holidays! #baketheworldabetterplace #applelicious 

For the Filling: 4 lbs Granny smith (I combined granny smith & fuji apples) peeled and sliced – 1/2 cup light brown sugar – 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon – 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg – 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice – 3 Tbs. cornstarch – 1/2 tsp. sea salt Note: I added 3 tablespoons of Captain Morgan rum – 1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar 

Salted Caramel recipe: 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar – 1/4 cup  water- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice – 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) heavy cream- 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt OR purchase Williams Sonoma’s salted caramel sauce on line or in stores

 

 

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Baking season is here! I love carrot cake ….who am I kidding I LOVE cake. Period. 

Did you know Fall is peak carrot season? I never cared for this dessert until my 30’s. The first recipe I made the icing was way too sweet. After an Oprah episode airing Patti Labelle’s Over the Rainbow Macaroni n’ Cheese, I purchased her recipe book. Her Heavenly Carrot Cake is just that …heavenly. 

The little decorative carrot chocolate melts are perfect on top. I googled these adorable carrots — practice and practice some more. I modified the icing with less confectioners sugar.

A cupcake is happiness with icing on top 🥕😋#bakemyday

Cake Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour – 2 teaspoons baking soda – 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon – 1/8 tsp ground allspice – 1/2 tsp salt – 2 cups sugar – 1 cup vegetable oil – 2 large eggs – 2 tsp vanilla extract – four 4 oz jars carrot baby food – 8 oz can shredded pineapple, well drained – 3/4 cup chopped walnuts – 1/2 cup raisins

Frosting Ingredients: 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature – 4 tablespoons butter at room temperature – 1 tablespoon half n’ half or milk – 1/2 teaspoon almond extract – 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract – 4 cups confectioners’ sugar (I modified to 3 cups)

Sicilian Chicken Soup

Fall is my favorite season! Gorgeous colored leaves, apple cider, football, hockey, boots…a long list of seasonal favorites that includes soup for the soul. 

Inspired by Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Spicy Sicilian Chicken Soup.  A warm bowl of deliciousness! I printed a copy cat recipe, doubt it will be “exactly” like theirs. Similar ingredients along with some cooking confidence, it tastes amazing.

Whether you’re a chicken noodle kind of lover, creamy or vegetable soup lover…there’s just something about soup that’s good for your soul.

Ingredients: 3 chicken breasts – 6 to 8 cups of water – one 14.5 oz can chicken broth – 1 yellow onion finely chopped – 3 celery ribs diced – 3 carrots diced – 1 green bell pepper – 2 medium russet potatoes peeled & diced – one 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes – 1/2 cup fresh parsley – 3 garlic cloves pressed or diced – kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste – half box ditalini pasta cooked & set aside

Directions: 

  • In a slow cooker add chicken breast, water, chicken broth, onion, celery, carrots and diced tomatoes (whole can with juice), garlic, parsley and 2 teaspoons salt and pepper
  • Cook on low for 6 hours, remove chicken breasts and shred, place back in the soup. Add potatoes and pasta, allow to cook/simmer additional hour. Note: I peeled & boiled potatoes, cooled down and slightly mashed for pieces.
  • Modified ingredients
  • Tastes better the 2nd day : )

#comfortfood #emmmsoup  

Creamy Cole Slaw

This is my Grandmom’s recipe — I can hear her southern accent calling it “slaw”. Her laugh was contagious, stories were funny and her slaw was a tradition passed down.

I love a side of good coleslaw with seafood, ham, burgers, ribs (anything barbecue) and Thanksgiving dinner. For our family, Grandmom’s slaw became a holiday tradition!  I sat with my Mom and Grandmom shredding an enormous amount of cabbage & carrots the day before Thanksgiving….for years. 

Grandmom always added raisins. My older sister disliked having raisins combined so we made a separate bowl without too. It wasn’t until years later, I realized everyone’s idea of dressing does not include mayonnaise.

I find myself shredding a small portion throughout the year for home made happiness on the side. Serves 4-6 people, depending on portion. This recipe is definitely creamy with a slight crunch. 

#southernslaw #tradition #sidesalad 🥕

Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium cabbage head, shredded
  • 1 1/2 to 2 fresh carrots, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 ounce small box of raisins, optional

Directions: 

Remove outer layers of cabbage. Cut into 4 pieces. Shred cabbage (watch your fingers), place into medium/large mixing bowl. Rinse and peel carrots, shred and combine with cabbage. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise & vinegar stir and then add sugar. Mix well. Pour dressing over the cabbage and carrots, stir together. Allow to refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

Optional: for extra creamy coleslaw, allow to marinate overnight.

Smokey Gouda Mac n’ Cheese

Cheese…yes please! Smoked gouda might just be my new favorite. A creamy texture and hickory flavor that melts beautifully.

I’ve made the same 5 cheese macaroni n’ cheese recipe for years…thanks to Patti LaBelle. It is delicious however, it’s time to switch it up.

A tad reluctant while whisking the flour & butter. It crossed my mind, what if we don’t like it? My motto is, try it! If you don’t like it, spit it out into a napkin but at least you can say you tried it. Something I taught my son while growing up.

The View from Great Island originated the recipe however, I modified this macaroni & cheese recipe to my taste.

I will definitely make this again! The smoked gouda gave a hint of flavor different to cheddar and it was amazing. We all went back for seconds… it’s all Gouda 😀😋

#sundaydinner #itsallgouda #cheeseplease

Ingredients:

  • – 3 cups cooked macaroni, follow instructions on box
  • – 2 TBSP all purpose flour
  • – 1 TSP salt and pepper
  • – 4 TBSP unsalted butter
  • – 2 cups smoked Gouda, shredded
  • – 2 to 2 1/2 cups of milk
  • – 1 egg, slightly beaten

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 350. Melt 2 tbsp butter in saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour, whisk together; stir constantly. Add the milk and whisk to combine over heat and simmer. Over low heat or remove saucepan from stove top, begin adding the shredded Gouda. Handful or so at a time, stir until melted and repeat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook pasta, al dente. Drain. Whisk or beat egg, pour into bowl with cooked pasta, stir until combined.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine cooked pasta with melted cheese mixture. Stir. Pour into a baking dish or individual dishes. Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly.
  • * Optional – After cooking macaroni, I add extra butter. Stir until melted and then add egg. Sprinkle shredded cheese to top and broil until golden brown*

Goose Island Brewhouse – Philly

Happy Father’s Day!

One of my favorite beers is Goose Island Cooper Project. Goose Island originates from Chicago, a handful of locations including their most recent opening located in Philadelphia, Penn’s Landing neighborhood.

f242c0c5-4f4c-4ca4-81c7-1e20f0cab09aWalked inside to a friendly welcome from staff and of course barrels n’ barrels of brew. Nice size bar including an outdoor seating area. I immediately noticed the goose tap handles (made me smile) and ordered a 10 oz glass of Cooper Project #1, Scotch ale. This is a rotating series of bourbon barrel aged beers. It’s smooth with an appealing flavor…perhaps it’s the bourbon.  

I ordered the House made pretzel that is gigantic but so delicious. Buttery, slight crunch on the outside & chewy inside with a side of beer cheese and beer mustard. Goose Island’s beer cheese is fantastic! Kudos to the inventor of beer cheese because I love it.

Craft beer enthusiasts will appreciate what this Goose has to offer! Pour me, drink me, repeat 🍻😃

Photos by AimsHerWay

Mini Bunny Cakes

Instead of dying eggs….I dyed cake.

My heart was set on baking carrot cake until I stumbled upon this dessert on Pinterest. It was so much fun to make and absolutely love the Spring colors!!

I was able to make four (4) mini cakes — purchased small boxes from Michael’s and shared these adorable cakes with a couple of my friends kids. Of course, I kept a mini for myself. It was moist & sweet! Hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend : )

 

IMG_0377

Ingredients:

  • 2 boxes white cake mix
  • buttercream frosting
  • Wilton food coloring
  • Jumbo marshmallows
  • pink sparkling sugar
  • parchment paper
  • round cookie cutter
  • pink jelly jeans
  • decorating tip
  • decorating bag
  1. Prepare batter from two boxes of White Cake mix and split into four equal portions
  2. Tint each portion a different color – pink, yellow, purple and blue
  3. Line a medium sized cookie sheet with parchment paper and pour batter onto cookie sheet. Let it settle on a flat surface for 15 minutes
  4. Bakes the cakes according to instructions on the cake box
  5. Let cool
  6. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out the cake layers
  7. Make a batch of your best buttercream frosting
  8. Add a circle of frosting between each layer of cake
  9. Use a Wilton 2D or tip of choice with decorating bag and pipe a full circle onto each cake (as your layer)
  10. Make the bunny ears with marshmallows and sparkling sugar. Slice or cut two diagonal pieces of marshmallow. Lay the sticky part of marshmallow into the pink sugar.
  11. Stick the pink marshmallows into ear position and use a jellybean to make your nose.

Note: I swirled one circle along the edge of each layer and one small dollop in the middle. Decorate top layer.