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Monday, April 30, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

All my life, my favorite ice cream flavor has always been anything with chocolate and peanut butter. I think the servers at Baskin Robbins just know to start scooping it when I walk in. I love eating all the chocolate first and then finishing by eating all the chunks of peanut butter. I know, I eat it like a 5 year old, but hey.....there has to be some area that I can revert back to childhood. Besides 5 years old was only a few years ago...*cough, cough*.
My mom got me an amazing Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker for Christmas last year that makes ice cream in 23 minutes. Yes you heard me right..... 23 MINUTES! Sure, I did have to make the recipe and chill it first, but come on people, 23 minutes? This could be some serious trouble for me.
Today was the first time I used the new ice cream maker since Christmas. I know we've had an awfully warm So Cal winter and spring, but today was the first time that I actually thought to myself that it seemed hot enough to go for it! I'm so happy I did and honestly I could begin drooling, just looking at this picture! This recipe, doesn't have the ribbons of peanut butter chunks through it, but it has the peanut butter mixed in. Oh my goodness, this taste to me, almost exactly replicates Basin Robbins peanut butter chocolate ice cream. Thanks to Tracy over at the following link for posting this recipe. It's amazing!!

As the weather warms up, I'm sure you will tire of me posting ice cream recipes, but I probably won't be able to help myself as this was too easy and oh so yummy!
2 cups half and half
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup peanut butter

In a large pan, combine the half and half, cocoa powder, sugar and salt.  Whisk this mixture a bit and then heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it comes to a full, rolling boil. (the mixture will begin to foam up a bit when it's at a full rolling boil).  Remove the pan from the heat and add the peanut butter, whisking to blend thoroughly.
Refrigerate the mixture to chill it completely. Freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions

Friday, April 27, 2012

Oven Baked Zucchini Crisps with Basil Dipping Sauce

I had seen this recipe and have been thinking of trying it for awhile now. Tonight seemed the right time to try it. Thank goodness I did, because they were very yummy. I'm sure glad they were good, because I am going to be needing a lot of good zucchini recipes. I am growing zucchini for the first time this season, and I didn't know that the amount of zucchini seeds I planted, could feed the entire nation. So when they start blooming and producing zucchini, you will all probably get very tired of zucchini recipes! The dip that goes with this is really good too.It's light and refreshing!

Adapted from the original recipe found at:

1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, fresh grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
dash of cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup milk
2 small zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch-thick

Preheat oven to 425° F. Grease a large oven-proof wire rack and set it on a baking sheet.
Stir together bread crumbs, Parmesan, salt, onion powder, cayenne pepper and black pepper in a medium bowl. Place milk in a separate bowl. Dip zucchini slices in milk and then in breadcrumb mixture. Place slices onto the greased wire rack. Repeat until all the zucchini are coated.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with basil dipping sauce.
Basil Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup Sour Cream
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (like Hellmann’s)
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1/2 clove garlic
1/4 tsp Tarragon
Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

S'mores Dip

After a few restless nights of sleep, I finally fell asleep last night at 7:45. Wow, I haven't been to bed that early in a very long time. There are just two words I have for myself...."old much?" I used to be able to not sleep and make it easily through the next day. Not so much anymore! That's ok....this dip is what happens when you wake up a couple of hours before you need to start getting ready for work. Besides, the students are going to be so glad I am bringing this in for them today. I usually bring what I make, to share with the staff, but this time the students get the benefits. Maybe the sugar that's in this dip will keep them going all day long. Ha Ha! Also, this dip is sssssooooooo sweet and I'm pretty sure it will satisfy those pesky, junk food cravings that hit high schoolers about every 10 minutes. Who am I kidding? Those cravings hit me at the same rate! 

1- 1/2 cups chocolate chips
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp marshmallow creme

In a medium size bowl, melt the chocolate chips and condensed milk together in the microwave, for about 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.  (mine only took 1 minute) Stir together to mix thoroughly. Spread the dip evenly into a pie tin or any other microwave safe container. Using a tablespoon, place dollops of the marshmallow creme all over the top. Place in the microwave for 40 seconds and use a knife to marble the marshmallow creme through the dip. I used my knife to pick up some of the chocolate from below to stir it back into the top. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bacon Pineapple Bites

For those of you that love bacon, this one is a winner. I am not a big fan of bacon, but I did try this and I have to say it was actually really good. I guess I like bacon as long as there is something else to drown out it's flavor haha! The hubby ate these up and loved them!
 Now if I could just figure out a way to wrap everything in chocolate and I will be a happy camper also. ;)

 The original recipe can be found here:

6 pieces of bacon, cut in half
Fresh pineapple cut into chunks, or canned pineapple chunks (in juice, not in syrup)
1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375°.
Place the brown sugar in a medium bowl.
Take a bacon half and dredge it through the brown sugar.
Roll the sugar coated bacon around a chunk of pineapple.
Place the rolled bacon/pineapple onto a broiler pan, sprayed with Pam, so that the fat can drip through. Cook at 375° for 25 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil these for just a couple minutes to crisp them up. Watch them carefully as the sugar will burn fast under the broiler.

Chili Colorado Burrito

All week I had been waiting for the motivation to strike for me to get this house cleaned up. I know, I know.......those of you that know me are laughing right now and thinking "yeah right, Joni's house not clean?" Ok, Ok, so I clearly have OCD and  my idea of "not clean" clearly isn't as bad as most peoples, but regardless, in my mind, it was unclean. So after spending quite a bit of time cleaning and gardening, I was so happy to know that this meal was going to be so easy to throw together, because the meat had been cooking all day in the crock pot.
Earlier in the week, I found a recipe that I was going to follow, but I wound up changing it so much that it almost wasn't like the original at all. But if you want to know where the original recipe was...I found it at

2 lb roast of your choice ( I put mine in frozen right into the crock pot)
salt/pepper to taste
1 fresh jalapeno, diced (leave out the seeds if you don't want the extra spice)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large onion, diced (save a few pieces to put on top of the burrito when it's done)
2 tsp beef bullion powder
1 (28 oz) can red enchilada sauce
1 cup cilantro, chopped (save 1/4 cup of the cilantro to put on top of the burrito when it's done)

 Flour tortillas ( I use whole wheat)
 1/2 cup sliced black olives
 Grated cheddar cheese

sour cream for topping

 Turn your crock pot on to the high setting. Put in the roast,  salt, pepper, jalapeno garlic, onion, bullion powder, enchilada sauce and cilantro. Leave on high for 6 - 8 hours or until the meat is tender enough to shred. When it's done, take out the meat and place it on a cutting board and shred it up. Place the meat back into the crock pot. Stir to combine the juices back with the meat. Put the crock pot on the "keep warm" or "low" setting until time to serve. When it's time to serve, lay out a tortilla and fill it with as much meat as you like. Place olives on top of the meat. Roll up the burrito and place it on an ovenproof dish. (I find it's easier to put it onto the actual dish you will be serving the burrito on, since it's very hard to transfer once you are done putting it under the broiler) Spoon extra sauce from the crock pot over the burrito. Place grated cheese on the top and place the entire burrito under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is completely melted. Once the cheese is melted, take it out of the oven and top with the extra cilantro and onions. Top with sour cream.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lemon Raspberry Cookies

You just have to love a cookie that is so easy to make, looks great and tastes great. I'm pretty sure the people at church that these are for, are going to love me. Wait...they love me anyway. Maybe I'll get extra loving. :) Can't beat that!
I decided to make these cookies this afternoon, after hiking for 5 miles with my hubby, daughter and some great friends. I didn't want to be on my feet for very long as they were pretty darn tired. So this was the perfect recipe. The only thing time consuming was piping out the dough onto the cookie sheet, but once I got going and found my rhythm it wasn't too bad. If you like citrus and fruit taste in your cookies, you will enjoy these!

The original recipe can be found at:

*The only change I made to this recipe is that I added 2 tsp of lemon juice to the dough

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter (2 cubes)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp zested lemon peel
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
dash of salt
2 1/4 cups flour
lemon curd
fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 400°. Using your electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter, sugar, lemon peel, lemon juice, salt and beat until it's creamy, 2-3 minutes.  
Add the flour and mix until a dough is formed. Place half of the dough into a pastry bag with a tip of your choice. Pipe circles and fill in the center with dough. 
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until very lightly browned.  Cool on wire racks. When the cookies are cool, pipe lemon curd or spoon lemon curd into the center of each cookie. Top with a whole raspberry or a slice of a raspberry.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chickpea Veggie Soup

I was going to try to post something clever and witty tonight, but I guess today was one of those days where I apparently used up all my wit and sass at work with students (gotta love those high school students), so I guess you will be stuck reading a boring old post that talks about how good this soup is. But boring can reading about food be? It cant be!! Reading about, cooking, or trying food is to me what walking through Lowe's is to my husband. I don't quite get it, but he can stare at tools all day long. Me? I'm looking at the tools and thinking "oh I could use that to make some kind of fun thing in my kitchen." You think I'm kidding? That is how my brain works. I see something and I instantly try to figure out how I could work it into my kitchen or a recipe etc!
Oh back to the soup...sorry I lost track. But I guess now it's not a boring old post haha! 

It shouldn't even be called soup. It should be called "a bowl of healthy." There are so many reasons that this soup is healthy and yummy, but I won't bore you with them all. It felt so good to eat such a wonderfully healthy dinner. Now if I can just keep from going to the freezer and digging into the ice cream that is calling out my name!!

The original recipe can be found here:

I really only added a couple of little things (jalapeno and oregano) to this recipe to change it. Amy Jo over at did a fantastic job with this soup already, so not a lot of changes needed to be made for my liking!

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp. sugar
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
2 cans (15 oz.) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3 large red potatoes, chopped into bite size chunks
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (take out the seeds if you do not want the spice)
4 cups hot water
4 chicken bullion cubes (or 4 tsp of bullion powder)
1 zucchini, chopped into bite size chunks
1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
lemon wedges

In a large pot, heat up the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and the sugar. Stir occasionally. When the onions are soft, add the garlic, paprika, ginger, cumin and oregano. Give it a quick stir. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garbanzo beans, potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeno, hot water, and chicken bullion. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let simmer until the potatoes are tender. This should take about  20 minutes. Add the zucchini and let simmer for another 5 or 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Taste and add salt, pepper, and more paprika as needed. Serve with lemon wedges. Squeezing the lemon into your soup makes it extra yummy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Island Tilapia with Mango, Kiwi Salsa

This dinner was inspired by a conversation at work yesterday. After telling a friend at work, how much I love mangoes, she told me about how her family eats them. She said they dip them in a mixture of Sriracha sauce and sweet soy sauce. So today as we huddled around a desk to try a sample that she had brought to work, I knew I would love it! Oh and love it I did!! Sriracha and sweet soy sauce is like a marriage made in heaven. The sweet soy sauce, which has an almost molasses type flavor, blends perfectly with the spiciness of the Sriracha sauce. So after I left work, I kept thinking about how much I loved that flavor combination. I already knew I was going to fix Tilapia for dinner and I knew I could incorporate this flavor profile into my meal. So I began the search through my kitchen for anything I could find that I thought would work well in a mango salsa. I guessed at the blend of sweet soy sauce to Sriracha and I even surprised myself that the combo seemed perfect. I guess I need to start up food conversations more often to keep myself inspired!

*This recipe is for 2 Tilapia fillets

3 Tbsp Sweet soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
1 Kiwi, peeled and chopped
1 mango, chopped
3 Tbsp red onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped, cilantro
1 1/2 tsp lime juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tilapia fillets
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine the sweet soy sauce and the Sriracha sauce. Stir to mix them together and set aside.
In another small bowl, combine the kiwi, mango, red onion, bell pepper, cilantro and lime juice. Stir together to mix. Add 1 1/2 Tbsp of the soy mixture to the fruit salsa mixture in the bowl. Stir to mix. Set aside.
Season the Tilapia fillets with salt and pepper. 
In a medium skillet,, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil on med-high heat. When oil is hot, add the fish. Brush the soy sauce mixture onto one side of the fish with a pastry brush. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn the fish over using a spatula and brush the remaining soy sauce mixture onto the fish. Cook for 2 more minutes or until fish is cooked through. Serve with the fruit salsa on the top!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Chicken Stuffed with Broccoli and Cheese

Today was a fun day getting the back yard whipped into shape and a garden project finished. I was so happy to have all that done, but I really needed a pretty fast recipe for dinner tonight. I scoured my Pinterest boards to find something that didn't require a lot of time and one I had all the ingredients for in my house already. No such luck...but I did find one that sounded good and I knew there had to be a way to improvise  for what I was missing. So I substituted broccoli for zucchini which was called for in the original recipe. If it was a little later in summer, I will have zucchini coming out my ears in my garden, but for now broccoli would have to suffice, since I was way too tired to climb in my car and make a trip to the store!
* I guess I should have cut these in half so you could see all the goodies on the inside, but we were way too hungry and I was lucky to even get a picture taken before we ate them. That's what happens after a day in the garden!
Original recipe from: 

1 tsp olive oil 
4 cloves garlic, chopped 
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets, finely chopped 
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded 
 salt and pepper to taste
3 oz grated mozzarella
8 thin pieces of chicken (You can pound out chicken breasts with a mallet to achieve this) 
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs 
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded  
Juice of 1 lemon 
1 tbsp olive oil 
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450°.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Spray a baking dish with Pam.  

In a large skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the broccoli, Parmesan, salt and pepper and saute about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the fire and let the broccoli mixture cool down a little bit.  Add the mozzarella and stir.

Lay the chicken out on a flat surface and spread the broccoli mixture evenly between all the pieces. Roll them up and keep them seam side down. 

In a medium sized bowl, combine breadcrumbs and 2 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese. In another bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.   

Carefully dip your rolled up chicken into the lemon juice mixture and then into the bread crumbs. Roll it around a bit to coat each side with crumbs. Place the roll, seam side down into your baking dish. When you are finished with all the chicken, lightly spray Pam onto the tops of the breaded chicken rolls.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. If your chicken is very thin, it may not even take this amount of time. Just check it and see if it's done.

Chocolate Bread with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread

I'm pretty sure that somewhere along the line in this blog, I have mentioned how much I love chocolate and peanut butter together. In fact, I'm pretty sure Ive mentioned it more than once. So I will just say it again. "I LOVE chocolate and peanut butter together." This bread was really great. It's more of a dark chocolate tasting bread and the peanut butter cream cheese, just makes it even more fantastic. I think when I go to bed tonight, I will already be imagining this as my breakfast. It has eggs and milk, so I will just pretend that it's a wholesome breakfast! Hey...a girl can dream can't she?
*Sorry for the dark picture. My camera is not in cooperative mode these days and may just have to be replaced!!
Original recipe from:
 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2  cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 ounces dark chocolate chips 

For the spread: 

5 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°
 Butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan; set aside.
Combine the brown sugar, cocoa, flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolk to blend, then add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Whisk until combined. Place your dry ingredients into the mixer and turn it on low just to combine the ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips, making sure all the sides have been scraped down and everything is mixed thoroughly together.  
Pour the batter into the buttered loaf pan and bake for 45 min to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the Cream Cheese Spread: Mix the cream cheese, peanut butter and sugar together in a bowl with a spoon until it is soft and fluffy. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

    Garden Project

    Wow, I guess there is a first for everything! This  is the first time I have ever posted anything that is not a recipe, or about food. I just had to post this adorable garden project that my hubby and I finished today. I had seen this on Pinterest awhile back and just knew I had to do this in my garden. I'm so glad I did. I have been to my window several times today, just to look out back and see the completed fence!! My backyard is now my happy place, since my garden is growing quickly and I have little rain boots with flowers to remind me of my grand daughter! :)
    Here is a small section of my "happy place" in my backyard!

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Stuffed Peppers

    The word "stuffed" seems to have been a big part of my vocabulary today. Earlier, the hubby asked me where something was and I said "It's probably stuffed into the bottom of my purse." After having lunch I said to my friend "I'm stuffed." So I guess it was very fitting to serve "stuffed" peppers tonight. I have made many different versions of these and I was pleasantly surprised with this one. I can't say this is the healthiest version, but I can say it tasted great!
    *This is not a super spicy dish, but you can adjust to your liking

    1 cup, cooked, brown rice
    3 red or green peppers
    1 onion, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 or 2 jalapenos, diced ( you can use just 1 or take the seeds out of them to make this less spicy)
    2 tsp olive oil
    3 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
    8 oz mild Italian sausage ( I buy it ground so I don't have to remove the meat from the casings)
    1/2 tsp oregano
    1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
    salt/pepper to taste
    1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
    Grated Mozzarella cheese for the topping

    Heat oven to 375°
    Cook the brown rice and set aside.

    Cut the top off your peppers and set the tops aside to chop later. Remove any seeds or membranes from the insides of your peppers. Place your peppers in a small square baking dish that you have sprayed with Pam. If they topple over, just trim a very small amount off the bottom so they stand upright.

    Chop the caps of the peppers that you removed. Be sure to not include the stems or any white membranes when you chop them. Set the chopped caps aside.

    Chop the onion, garlic and the jalapenos. 

    In a skillet, heat the olive oil. When it is hot, throw in your chopped peppers, onion, garlic and jalapenos. Cook for just a few minutes until they soften. Don't brown them. Place the pepper mixture into a bowl and set aside.

    In the same skillet, cook your bacon and set aside. Drain any grease from the pan.
    In the same skillet again, cook the Italian sausage until browned, but it does not have to be cooked completely.

    Put your bacon into the pan with your sausage and add your onion mixture. Add the oregano, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Cook for just a few minutes on med heat.

    Toss in the parmesan cheese and the brown rice. Stir together. Cook for 1-2 minutes to blend the flavors.

    Stuff each pepper with a lot of the mixture. Press it down to pack it in. Bake at  375° for about 30- 35 minutes. Take the peppers out of the oven and cover with mozzarella cheese. Bake again for about 10-15 minutes or until mozzarella is completely melted.

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Chocolate Chip Filled Raspberries

    These little bites are a piece of heaven. I love fruit. I love chocolate and I really love them together. You get more raspberry than chocolate in each bite and that's what I really like about it. That and the fact that it takes 0.2 seconds to make each one!
    Just take a chocolate chip and place it "top side down" into the top of a raspberry. Ba da da are done! Dessert in a second! This would also look so pretty with white chocolate chips, but I didn't have any and I was not about to run to the store to get some. Maybe if gas was still $2.00 a gallon, but not a chance in the world I'm starting my car to go to the store for a white chocolate chip (which I'm not a huge fan of anyway) at 4:30 a gallon!

    Monday, April 9, 2012

    Chili Rellano Casserole

    Don't ask me why I thought it would be a good idea today to turn my oven on in the middle of this hot spring day in So Cal. I guess when I planned this weeks menu, it must have been a lot cooler. I'm sure glad I did turn it on though, because these turned out great! As I was reading through the recipe this afternoon, it dawned on me that I had forgotten to purchase the black beans that the original recipe called for. These days I blame everything on menopause, so I'm sure this clearly had something to do with forgetting them. (*Insert hot flash here*) Menopause will henceforth be called "mental pause".
    So I needed to improvise. I substituted corn for the black beans and I really liked it. I think I'll just stick with the substitution or maybe next time I might try adding both. That's if menopause doesn't cause me to forget who I am and what I'm doing at the store that day!

    5 large Anaheim chiles 
    3 eggs 
    3 Tbsp flour 
    3 Tbsp sour cream 
    3.8  oz can of sliced black olives 
    Salt/Pepper. to taste
    1 bag Mexican blend cheese 
    1 can corn, drained (this is where the original recipe called for black beans) 
    1 small can enchilada sauce  
    Diced green onions

    Move oven rack to the top of oven and set the broiler to high. Wash chiles and place on a foil lined cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet with the chilies, onto the top rack of oven. Watch the chilies closely. They will blister up and char. This is what  you want them to do. Once the entire pepper is charred, use tongs to turn over the chilies to char the other side. Once both sides are charred completely, remove the chilies from oven and wrap each pepper in a wet paper towel & place in a large gallon size, Ziploc bag. Seal the bag and let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes. Remove the chilies from the paper towel and peel the charred skin off completely. Cut the stem and remove the seeds.  Cut each pepper into half.

    In a bowl, combine eggs, flour, sour cream, olives, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Spray an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with Pam. Spread 5 of the chili halves in the bottom of the pan. Next place half the egg mixture on top of the chilies. Sprinkle with cheese. Next add half the can of corn. Repeat the layers one more time. Pour the can of enchilada sauce over the top and cover with cheese. 
    Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. When there is 5 minutes baking time left, top with the green onions and continue to bake for 5 minutes.

    Spicy Green Beans

    This year I have decided to try and grow my own green beans. The plants are looking great, but it will be quite awhile until they actually get to be harvested. I'm always in such a hurry this time of year for my crops to grow. Until my green beans are ready, I guess I will have to keep buying them. Next time I make these, I will make them quite a bit spicier, as I believe my ability to taste hot food has completely left me. I'm pretty sure you could feed me any  kind of pepper and I wouldn't think it's hot. Well ok...maybe a ghost pepper or a straight habanero, but honestly not much else! My hubby is not a huge green bean fan, so he wasn't as excited about these as I was. I guess when my crop of green beans start being harvested, I am going to have to work really  hard to find new ways to cook them, or I will be giving them all away.

     Original recipe from:

    1 lb. fresh green beans
    2 Tbsp soy sauce
    1 Tbsp  Unseasoned rice vinegar
    2 tsp. sugar
    1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
    1/4 tsp. pepper
    1 Tbsp vegetable oil
    2 Tbsp minced garlic
    1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced

    Mix together soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, and pepper.

    Use a large frying pan with a lid and heat over high heat.  When the pan is hot, add the green beans and 1/4 cup water; cover and cook on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes or until the beans are bright green and starting to get tender. Remove the lid and continue to cook until the water is all evaporated.

    Add the oil, minced garlic and ginger and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, so the garlic and ginger don't burn.  Add the soy sauce mixture. Bring it to a boil and cook about 2 minutes more, until the sauce thickens and coats the beans and beans are tender-crisp. Serve hot.

    Sunday, April 8, 2012

    Lemony Hearts of Palm Salad

    Who would think that you could take an inner core of a growing bud off certain palm trees and come up with a great addition to salad? I often think to myself, "who is the guy that thought...hey I'll just hack into this tree and see if I can eat the inside." To whoever did think of it, thank you!

    I don't buy this often because it's actually quite expensive, but it sure tastes good on a salad once in awhile.

    Hearts of palm is considered a delicacy in Costa Rica. They also call it "burglars thigh or swamp cabbage". I thought if I titled this post "burglars thigh salad or swamp cabbage salad" that some of you may never come back here again to read or make any of these recipes. So I just stuck to the old "lemon hearts of palm salad." I really hope you will try this salad. It's so light and so refreshing.
    This recipe is from:

    Soak 1/4 cup sliced red onion in cold water, 10 minutes; drain. Toss with 2 cups sliced hearts of palm, 1 cup sliced celery and some chopped parsley. Add 3 tablespoons each lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over arugula drizzled with olive oil.

    Quiche Bites

    Do you ever wonder what to bring to a pot luck or to a friends house as an appetizer? These little quiche bites make an easy appetizer and they are scrumptious. I like the flaky pie crust on the outside and the eggs and peppers on the inside. Great combo!!
    I think when I make them next time, I will add some diced jalapenos, and some chopped bacon.
    Hats off to Anne Coleman over at for coming up with this one!

    1 single pie crust (a store-bought shell works fine, or you can use your own recipe)
    1 large egg
    1 Tablespoon sour cream
    2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
    2 Tablespoons each red and green pepper - chopped fine
    1 Tablespoon green onion - green tops only
    Pinch salt

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a mini muffin tin with 12 cups.
    Roll out dough to a 1/8-inch thickness and cut into an 8 x 6-inch rectangle. Cut into twelve 2-inch squares. (You can do this with a store-bought shell, but let thaw first if frozen.)
    Fit squares of dough into muffin tins. Set aside.
    Combine egg, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, peppers, onion and salt. Blend well.
    Spoon a teaspoon of mixture into each dough-lined muffin cup.
    Bake for 10-12 minutes or until egg puffs and dough is lightly browned at the edges. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from tins and serving

      Friday, April 6, 2012

      Coconut and Macadamia Crusted Mahi Mahi with a Lemon/Lime Butter Sauce

      All this dinner needed was a swaying palm tree, a pina colada and some hula dancers to make me feel like I was in Hawaii. The neighbor's lawn mower, his dog barking and the motorcycle going up and down the street definitely did not lend itself to a Hawaiian ambiance. So I closed my eyes and pictured it all in my head. Oh wait....I definitely do NOT want the picture of me in a bikini in my head. *sigh*
      Way to ruin a perfectly good dream!
      Now, back to the reason I am writing. This dinner was so scrumptious. It was light, all the flavors worked so well together and the hubby and I loved it! This will positively be made again at our house. This just might be one of my most favorite seafood recipes. So for those of you who like coconut, lemon, macadamia nuts and fish...this ones for you!!

      This recipe is for two pieces of Mahi Mahi:

      For the fish:

      10 saltine crackers, crushed finely
      1/4 cup macadamia nuts (chopped finely)
      1/6 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut (make sure it's unsweetened)
      1/4 cup flour
      1 egg, beaten
      Olive oil for cooking fish

      For the Sauce:

      2 Tbsp butter
      2 Tbsp flour
      2 tsp Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

      1/4 tsp salt
      1/4 tsp pepper
      Peel from one medium lemon, zested
      Peel from one lime, zested
      3/4 cup milk
      3/4 cup heavy cream
      Juice from one lemon
      Juice from one lime

      To prepare the fish: Place the crushed saltine crackers, the chopped nuts and the coconut together in a bowl. Mix together well. Place the flour in a separate bowl. Place the beaten egg in another bowl. Rinse your fish and pat it dry with a paper towel. First dip the fish into the flour and coat on all sides. Then dip the coated fish into the egg and then into the cracker mixture. Make sure to coat it on all sides.
      Heat oil in a  cooking pan until it is hot. Cook the breaded fish in the oil until it is cooked through. Serve with sauce. Place the sauce under the fish and on top of the fish, so every bite has sauce!

      To prepare the sauce: Place the butter in a pan and melt it completely over a low-med fire. Stir in the flour, parsley, salt, pepper, and the peels from the lemon and the lime. Stir together. Mix in the milk and the cream and cook for about a minute until it thickens up. Then stir in the juices from the lemon and the lime. Cook for about another minute or two on low heat. Keep warm until time to serve it over the fish.

      Mango and Black Bean, Quinoa Salad

      Well, I'm not sure who "Mel" is over at but I'm pretty sure she is brilliant. I love her blog, her recipes and can't wait to try more of them. This recipe is straight from her blog. I did not even alter it one bit, which is a huge surprise since I hardly ever leave recipes intact. That's how awesome this sounded when I read about it. It's super healthy, super quick to fix and oh my goodness, it's oh so yummy!

      2 cups cooked quinoa, cooked in vegetable or chicken broth, at room temperature or chilled
      1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
      1 medium mango, peeled and diced
      1 red bell pepper, diced
      4 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
      1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
      4 tablespoon red wine vinegar
      3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
      1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
      1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
      1/4 teaspoon black pepper

      Place 3/4 cup uncooked  and rinsed quinoa into a pot with 1 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth. I used chicken broth for my recipe. Bring to a slow boil and turn fire down to low and cover the pot. Cook for 30-35 minutes. Let sit until it's at room temperature.
      Place the cooked quinoa in a large bowl. Add black beans, mango, red pepper, green onion, and cilantro.
      In a small bowl combine vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice. Whisk until the dressing is smooth and pour on top of salad. Toss to combine and add salt and pepper (add more to taste if desired). Chill the salad for at least one hour before serving.

      Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Stuffed Banana Bites

      I'm  not sure why I never thought of this idea, but I'm oh so happy that I found this "recipe" over at It seems like I should have known to do this automatically...I mean come on, chocolate, bananas, peanut butter and nuts or sprinkles. What's not to love? So after dinner tonight, the hubby and I are going to tear into these bad boys! I guess you could come over and join us, but this would definitely be a BYOB party. "Bring your own bananas."
      *You can also check out more great recipes over at
      This is where Lindsay Ann, who created this recipe, blogs a bunch of wonderful recipes to try!

      Bananas (try to get the straight kind with the least amount of curve in them)
      Peanut Butter
      Melted milk chocolate (you can use dark if you prefer)
      Chopped nuts and/or sprinkles

      Cut your bananas into 3 pieces each. You may need to trim the bottoms so they stand up on their own. Dip them about halfway up into the melted milk chocolate. Use a spoon to put on the nuts or the sprinkles all around the chocolate. Place on waxed paper to harden the chocolate. Once the chocolate is hardened, take a straw or an apple corer ( I happened to have a big thick straw left from a Boba drink I had a couple of days ago) and hollow out a strip down the center of each banana. Don't go all the way through to the bottom.
      Place your peanut butter into a piping bag (or a baggie with the end cut off if you don't mind it not having a pretty top) and pipe the peanut butter into the hollowed out hole. Voila...easy dessert!

      Sunday, April 1, 2012

      Chicken Chili Verde

      After a relaxing weekend spent in San Diego, getting away from all the pressures of the world, I was sure ready to cook up a good meal. I hadn't cooked since Thursday and I was beginning to miss it. I had found this recipe on Pinterest awhile back and it called for turkey, but I didn't want to go to the store, so I substituted chicken. Oh it was ssssooo yummy! Cook it up, serve it in a warm tortilla, or in a bowl with avocado and cilantro. You can also, slice up some radishes and a little thinly sliced cabbage to go in it. Any way you decide to serve's wonderful!!
      The link to the original recipe is here:

      For the salsa:

      1 1/2 lbs tomatillos
      5 cloves garlic (peel on)
      1 jalapeno, chopped (you can remove the seeds if you do not like spice)
      2 poblano chiles
      1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
      1 tsp salt
      2 Tbsp lime juice
      Dash of sugar

       For the chicken:
      3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken
      Salt and pepper
      2 Tbsp olive oil
      2 onions, coarsely chopped
      1 tsp cumin
      3 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
      2 1/2 cups chicken broth
      1 tsp ancho chili powder or chipotle powder
      2 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
      2 bay leaves
      Dash of ground cloves
       1 tsp salt
      Roast the poblano chiles over the fire on your gas burner or under a broiler, until blackened. Put the  chiles in a paper bag, close the bag, and let the chiles steam in their own heat for a few minutes. Remove the chiles from the bag, remove the charred skin, the stem and the seeds. Set aside.

      Remove the husks from the tomatillos. Wash them. Slice them in half and place them, cut-side-down, on a cookie sheet,  lined with aluminum foil. Put the garlic cloves (peel on) in with the tomatillos. Cook under a broiler set on low for approx. 7-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool and remove the garlic cloves from their skins.

      Place tomatillos, garlic, jalapeno, poblanos, cilantro, salt, lime juice, and sugar in a food processor or blender. Purée until smooth. Set aside.

      Cut the chicken into small, bite size chunks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

      Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Put a small amount of the chicken in at a time and sear the sides for about a minute until it's browned. (It does not have to be cooked through at thgis point.) Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and place the chicken into a large bowl. Continue this, until all the chicken is cooked.

      Add the chopped onion and the cumin to the pot, and cook for about 5 min until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, and cook for one more minute. Return the chicken to the pot. Add the tomatillo sauce and the chicken broth.  Add the ancho or chipotle chili powder, oregano, bay leaves, and ground cloves. Add a teaspoon of salt, and a little bit of pepper.

       Bring to a simmer, and reduce heat to low.  Leave uncovered and cook for 3 to 4 hours.