Saturday, November 16, 2013

Plum Pudding

Plum Pudding....Not an easy task but well worth the effort!  It's like nothing I've ever tasted before.  Here's where I found the cake recipe:
 Making Life Delicious

For Sauce:
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
4 Tbsp. Butter
Dash of Salt
1 1/2 Cups Hot Water
1 Tsp. Rum Flavoring
Combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, butter and salt with the hot water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until slightly thick.  Remove from heat, and cool slightly.  Add the rum flavoring.  Pour warm sauce over plum pudding cake.

For Cake
  • 3 cups packed coarse fresh breadcrumbs from white bread
  • 1 cup dark raisins
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 lb (2 sticks) melted unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • a few drops of almond extract
  • 1/2 cup bitter orange marmalade
  • 1/2 cup bourbon or dark rum
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts ( not on original recipe
** I used a small metal bundt pan and only used 1/2 of the batter.  You can do this and make two small cakes or use a bigger bundt pan and get one large cake.

 1.   In a food processor, combine raisins, and currants.    Pulse to mix and slightly grind up the raisins, don't over do it though . Remove from processor and combine this to the bread crumbs.   Set aside.  
 2.  In the same food processor add sugar, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, melted butter, salt, eggs, almond extract, marmalade, rum and nuts.  Pulse until blended throughly.
 3.   Mix wet ingredients with the bread crumb/raisin mixture.
 4.  Stir until blended.
 5.  Grease you pan.
 6.  Pour batter 3/4 full.
 7.  Cover bundt pan with parchment paper then with tin foil.
 8.  Tie a double piece of kitchen string around basin to secure. To make a handle, tie a double piece of string loosely over the top of the basin.  You need to put something on the bottom of the stockpot to act as a stand for your bundt pan.  If you place it directly on the bottom of the stockpot it won't cooked evenly.  I used a large square cookie cutter.  Some people use an empty can of tuna with the top and the bottom cut off.  Just don't sit it directly in that pot!

 9.  Place bundt pan in a large stock pot and carefully fill water so that it comes 1/3 of the depth of the bundt pan. Bring water to boil, lower to simmer and continue to simmer for 6 hours. Check periodically and replenish the water as it evaporates.  I had to do this several times throughout the 6 hours. 
10. Carefully remove bundt pan from stock pot and cool on a wire rack. Cool to room temperature.  Remove cake from bundt and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.  Should last in the refrigerator for a couple of week. I don't think it 'll last that long in my house!

Print Recipe

 photo 40942a9c-d5ac-4bbc-90ae-aeeeb3b3759f.jpg

Friday, November 8, 2013

Blueberry Almond Buttermilk Muffins

 Every time I buy buttermilk I only end up using about 1/4 cup, then I'm  left with a giant bottle that sits in the refrigerator going to waste.  This morning I did a little internet surfing and came across this great looking blueberry buttermilk muffin recipe.  I slightly adapted it by adding slivered almonds ( because I think they go great with blueberries and I love a little crunch) and sugar crystals to the top.  Other than that, I followed it exactly as written.  I found it on by Dorel.  
They came out amazing, crunchy on the top and tender in the middle.  Great with my morning coffee.  
Now what to do with the rest of the buttermilk??

2 1/2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs Beaten
1 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 Cup Oil
1 1/2 Cups Blueberries
1/2 Cups Slivered Almonds
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
Sugar Crystals 
1.  In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients.
2.  In a medium bowl whisk eggs, buttermilk and oil and vanilla. 
3.  Mix together wet and dry ingredients, stir until blended.
4.  Fold in blueberries and almonds.
5.  Fill each muffin tin 3/4 full, sprinkle with sugar crystals.
6.  Bake in greased muffin tins at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. 

Print Here 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pistachio Bundt Cake

Happy Monday!  
I made this cake on Sunday and it turned out
very moist, very dense and very very good!  The family gave it  two thumbs up.  

Print Here 


For Cake:
1 Box Yellow Cake Mix ( 15.35 Ounce)
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Water
3 Whole Eggs
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 Box Sugar Free Pistachio Instant Pudding ( 1 Ounce) 

For Topping:
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Tablespoon Butter Softened
2-3 Tablespoons Milk or 1/2 and 1/2

1/8 Cup Chopped Shelled Pistachios
1/8 Cup Chopped Milk Chocolate Morsels
1/8 Cup Chopped White Chocolate Morsels


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Beat cake mix, oil, eggs,water, sour cream and pudding mix on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.  Pour into greased bundt pan.
3.  Bake for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.  Cool completely before frosting.

For Frosting:

In small bowl, combine powdered sugar, butter, vanilla  and milk.  Stir, add more milk to get to desired consistency.   Drizzle over cake. Sprinkle chopped nuts and chopped chocolate.  Serve.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Traditional Pizza Margherita

It's always a sad day saying goodbye to my beautiful fresh basil plants.  Tonight's temperature is most likely going to drop below freezing, sadly I don't think what's left of the basil will survive. Why didn't I pick more this summer and freeze it? Why didn't I make extra pesto and stick it in the freezer???  Why, Why, Why??
Tonight the basil makes it's final curtain call....

Traditional Pizza Margherita:


  • 1 25 Ounce Italian Peeled Tomatoes ( Guiseppe Russo Brand) Undrained.
  • 8 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella ( BelGioioso Ovolini 4 ounce "egg size") Sliced Thin.
  • 1 20 Ounce Bag Portland Pie Company Basil Pizza Dough  ( Thawed and slightly risen in bag) .
  • 1 Clove Garlic Crushed.
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar.
  • Olive Oil.
  • Salt and Pepper.

Heat about 3 Tablespoons olive in in large frying pan. Add crushed garlic and cook for about 1 minute, careful not to burn.
Add the un-drained can of tomatoes.  At this point, I careful cut each piece into about 3-4 slices, add about 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 tsp sugar and simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

While sauce is simmering, spread the slightly risen dough on a oiled 16 inch round pizza pan.
Top with sliced tomatoes, sliced fresh mozzarella and basil leaves.
Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown on the bottom and sides.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

Ina Garten made this on the food network the other night and I had to try it!
Believe me when I tell you, it tastes even better than it looks. Ina rolls the puff pastry out to an 11x11 square and then cuts two round circles using a 6 inch saucer are her guide.  I thought this was somewhat of a waste because you only get two tarts and you are left with lots of extra dough.  
I rolled my puff pastry out to 11x11, scored the edges, pricked the middle like she does and baked the entire square.  After I pulled it out of the oven I was able to cut it into four even pieces.
One tomato per piece and no waste.
Also... The recipe calls for goat cheese but if you prefer a mild cheese you could use Mascaprone, which is a soft Italian cheese. 

Here is Ina's recipe from the Food Network...


  • 1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
  • Good olive oil
  • 4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • 4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (recommended: Montrachet)
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
  • 3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves


Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11-inch square. Using a 6-inch wide saucer or other round object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. Repeat with the second pastry sheet to make 4 circles in all. Place the pastry circles on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.
Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. The bottom sheet pan may need an extra few minutes in the oven. Serve hot or warm.

Print Here

Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork.

Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes.  Cut into four equal pieces.  One tomato per piece.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Zuppa Toscana ... The Light Version

Just yesterday someone posted a recipe for Zuppa Toscana on Facebook.  It was a Copy Cat recipe from the Olive Garden.  The recipe looked great and I wanted to try it but it was loaded with fat and calories ,so I decided to make a few changes.   I used chicken sausage, fat free 1/2 and 1/2, left out the bacon and I used leeks instead of onions for extra flavor. 

The soup ended up with lots less fat and calories and the taste was still amazing!


1 lb. Chicken Italian Sausage Sliced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Large Russet Potatoes Diced Into 1 Inch Pieces
1 1/2 Cups Cleaned and Chopped Leeks
2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
32 oz. Chicken Broth
2 Cups Swiss chard, chopped ( no stems, just leaves)
1  Cup Fat Free Half and Half
Salt and Pepper To Taste

1. Heat olive oil on medium heat, add the chopped leeks.  Saute for 2 minutes.

2. Add the two cloves of garlic and the cut sausage and continue to saute for five minutes or until sausage browns, watch closely so garlic doesn't burn.
3.  Add the chicken broth and the chopped potatoes.
4.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat until potatoes are soft.  About 20 minutes.
5.  Turn the heat off and add the Swiss Chard and cream.  Do not boil.  Serve right away.

Print Here 

Slice sausage into 1 inch slices.

Cook Leeks in olive oil for two minutes or until wilted.


Add two cloves of garlic.

Add sliced sausage and brown with garlic for 5 minutes.

Chop Swiss Chard Leaves and set aside.

Add Chopped Potatoes, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low boil for 20 minutes until tender.

Add the Swiss Chard to the pan.

Add the 50% Fat Free 1/2 and 1/2 and turn off heat.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Meatloaf Stuffed Peppers

I love stuffed peppers and I love meatloaf so why not combine the two?
For this recipe I'll be using my  B&T Meatloaf  recipe.  

1.  Prepare the meatloaf mixture and set aside. 
2.  Remove and discard the tops, seeds, and membranes of the bell peppers.
3.  Divide the mixture evenly between each pepper.
4.  Place the four peppers in an 8 inch square pan standing up. 
5.  Sprinkle Chef blend 6 Italian Cheese Mix (Sargento) evenly over the peppers. 
6. Cook for 30 minutes covered, then cover with tin foil and cook an additional 30 minutes.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Boneless Grilled Pork Chops

 Cooking pork chops on the grill can be somewhat of a challenge.  They either come out too dry or they are moist but will be pale and bland looking.  I was watching America's Test Kitchen the other night and they came up with a great way to cook center cut loin chops on the grill.  By soaking them for 30 minutes in a simple salt water brine and mixing a quick paste to brush on the chops before cooking, the end result produces a well charred, juicy pork chop!
Here is the recipe...and they turned out fantastic!


Boneless Grilled Pork Chops
From :

Serves 4 to 6
6 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless pork chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick
3 Tablespoons Salt
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Teaspoons Honey
1 Teaspoon Anchovy Paste ( you won't taste once the pork chops are cooked)
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

Cut 2 slits about 1 inch apart through outer layer of fat and connective tissue on each chop to prevent buckling. Dissolve salt in 1 1/2 quarts cold water in large container. Place chops in brine and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Whisk together oil, honey, anchovy paste, and pepper to form smooth paste. Remove pork from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Using spoon, spread half of oil mixture evenly over 1 side of each chop (about 1/4 teaspoon per side).

FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s).
Clean and oil cooking grate. Place chops, oiled side down, over hot part of grill and cook, uncovered, until well browned on first side, 4 to 6 minutes. While chops are grilling, spread remaining oil mixture evenly over second side of chops. Flip chops and continue to cook until chops register 140 degrees, 4 to 6 minutes longer (if chops are well browned but register less than 140 degrees, move to cooler part of grill to finish cooking). Transfer chops to plate and let rest for 5 minutes


Print Here

Monday, August 19, 2013

Tomato Pie

Today I headed over to my local farm stand to pick up some fresh tomatoes, green beans, garlic and peaches.  They had actually just picked the tomatoes a few minutes before I got there.
How great is that??
  I had a craving for this yummy tomato pie, which by the way... couldn't be any easier to whip up. 
I adapted this recipe from the "Proud Italian Cook's" Caprese Tart recipe.  If you haven't checked out her blog, you really should!  Here's her link:
Anyhow... if you have some fresh garden tomatoes and you want to make something quick and easy, give this one a try!


One Unbaked Pie Shell
Two Medium Fresh Tomatoes , Thinly Sliced
Olive Oil
Fresh Basil Sliced Thin
Shredded Mozzarella, Couple Hanfulls
Shredded Parmesan Cheese, Handful
1 Clove Garlic Minced
Salt And Pepper


Prebake the pie crust in a 425 oven for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees.
Drizzle olive oil on top of the crust , a scattering of the fresh basil and the minced garlic.  Sprinkle with a handful of shredded Parmesan Cheese  (enough to cover bottom surface of pie shell).
 Place one layer of thinly sliced tomatoes over the Parmesan Cheese.  Sprinkle a handful of grated mozzarella cheese over the tomatoes.  Place another thin layer of tomatoes over the cheese.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, more thinly sliced basil.  Now top with another handful of mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 25 minutes.  Let cool before you cut.

This recipe is adapted from the Proud Italian Cook

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Swedish Blueberry Pie

My husband and I went blueberry picking this weekend.  The blueberries were as big as grapes and just bursting with sweetness.  I couldn't wait to make something with them so I pulled out my mom's Swedish Apple Pie recipe and gave it a few tweaks.
This is a super easy blueberry pie that ends up having a cookie dough like crust.
 You seriously can't get any easier and you won't be disappointed.

  •  2 Cups Fresh Blueberries or enough to layer the bottom of your pie pan.
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1-½ stick Butter, Melted
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 whole Egg Beaten 
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla    

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Spray pie pan with cooking spray.

Fill the bottom of the pie pan with a layer of blueberries. Sprinkle with sugar.

For the topping: In a small bowl, combine melted butter, sugar, flour, beaten egg,  Mix well and spread over the blueberries.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Grilling and Chilling

Why is it that so many people think that the summer is over after the 4th of July?  Over?????
I think it's just begun!  With all of July ( well, most ) and all of August ahead of us we still have so much to look forward to!  Just this past weekend, I got to spend a lovely day at the lake with family and friends and share some amazing dishes.  Is it just me or does everyone think that food cooked by someone else always taste so much better than what you made yourself?
Looking at these pictures, I wish I had stuffed myself just a bit more!
I guess I'll have to wait until the next gathering.

Finger Licking Barbeque Chicken with homemade barbeque sauce.

Tomato and Cheese Sausage with Peppers and Onions.

Tortellini Salad.

Sicilian Pasta Salad.

Fresh tomatoes topped with fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil and cream cheese pinwheels.

Did I mention that this chicken was marinated in buttermilk to keep it extra moist.

Homemade Beans!

Ready... Set.... Go!!!!!!!

I told you it was finger licking good!

Now that's a happy group!