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berries n cream crepes

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I have been on a quest for the perfect Fried Green Tomato recipe for about 2 years. At first I had my tomatoes too ripe. Then I sliced my tomatoes too thick. Then I had my oil too hot. Then the batter wasn’t right. Then I tried a tempura batter – yuck. Finally, I tried an adaptation of my onion ring batter and BAM – I hit it right on the head. So, be careful to make sure that your tomato slices are the right thickness. Don’t try to pack too much breading on your tomato – just go with what it does in batter box. Don’t try to skimp on a step. Go with the bacon grease – you will be glad that you did. Garnishing with the freshly grated parmesan isn’t necessary – but does add a nice flavor.

Bacon grease
Vegetable oil
1 large egg – beaten
½ cup milk
1 tbs white vinegar
½ cup all purpose flour – divided
½ cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 Hard green tomatoes (no red and a very firm feel) sliced in ¼ inch slices – discard the ends.
Kosher salt to taste
Garnish – fresh parmesan
Dip – ranch dressing dip

Fill the bottom of a cast iron skillet with about ¼ inch of bacon grease and then mix in the vegetable oil to equal ¼ inch. Set stove top just below medium and allow the grease to become hot. If you use a thermometer – 350 degrees. If you splash a drop of water into the pan, you will know the grease is hot when it begins to sputter loudly as you drop the water in. While the oil heats complete steps 2-5.
Rinse off and then slice your tomato in ¼ inch slices and set aside
Place ¼ cup flour in a dish large enough for a tomato slice and set aside(I use a cereal bowl size bowl for each of these).
Mix egg, milk and vinegar together in a separate bowl (large enough for a tomato slice) and set aside.
Mix ¼ cup flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Set these bowls up in a row on your cabinet as follows: flour only, egg mix, flour/cornmeal mix
When oil is ready, first coat both sides of a slice of tomato in the plain flour, then dredge in the egg mix coating both sides well, then dip into the corn meal/flour mix – coating both sides well. Then place into the hot oil. Do not move the slices around – allow to fry for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and apply salt/pepper to taste. You can cook more than once slice at a time – but do not crowd and do not allow the slices to touch while cooking. Turn very gently so as not to disturb the coating.
Drain on a paper towel and allow to cool slightly before serving. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan. Dip in Ranch dressing dip.

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I like to keep either canned or frozen artichokes on hand at all times. Frozen artichoke hearts will have better flavor than canned, but they’re not always easy to find and they are more expensive. Avoid using marinated artichokes in this recipe; they’re better used in something like an antipasto platter.

Frozen chopped spinach is one of my favorite “convenience” products. Fresh spinach contains a lot of water and shrinks considerably when cooked. I love to use fresh ingredients whenever possible, however, I can’t tell you how many times I purchased fresh spinach for a dish thinking I had enough and it practically disappeared before my eyes! Because commercially frozen chopped spinach is already cooked, it’s easier to estimate the amount you’ll require for a recipe.

Squeezing the excess water from frozen spinach is not one of my favorite things to do, but a potato ricer comes in handy for this purpose. Simply drop the thawed spinach in small batches into the well and squeeze as if ricing a potato.

I prefer to use Swiss or Gruyere cheese in this recipe, however, I have been known to clean out the cheese drawer when making these by shredding and combining all the bits of white cheese I have on hand such as Mozzarella or white Cheddar.
Non-stick cooking spray or olive oil
2-3 tablespoons seasoned dry breadcrumbs
2 cans (14-ounce) artichoke hearts, drained and squeezed of excess water (may also use frozen)
1 package (10-ounce) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water
1 bunch scallions (white and light green part only), chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese
4 large eggs
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup mascarpone cheese or 4 ounces softened cream cheese
½ cup half-and-half or whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 11 x 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray or lightly coat with oil. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of the baking dish with the breadcrumbs. Set aside.
Coarsely chop the artichoke hearts.
Combine the artichoke hearts, spinach, scallions, garlic and cheese in a bowl. Spoon evenly into prepared baking dish being careful not to disturb the breadcrumbs.
Whisk together eggs, mayonnaise, mascarpone or cream cheese, half-and-half (or milk), salt and black pepper. Pour over spinach - artichoke mixture.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Cool slightly on a wire rack, Cut into small squares, arrange on platter, garnish if desired and serve.

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Triple Berry Pie

The perfect summer treat is a pie baked right at home. Fragrant and delicious, a pie is a great way to use all those berries harvested during the hot summer months. I particularly like blackberries, raspberries and blueberries, which are used to prepare this Triple Berry Pie. But you can use any variation of berries you prefer.

  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
  • 2/3 cup (125 g) shortening
  • 6 tablespoons (30 mL) ice-cold water
  • 4 1/2 cups (675 g) fresh berries
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (22.5 g) cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) water

In a bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Use a fork to cut the shortening into the flour until pea-sized crumbs form. Add the water, 2 tablespoons at a time, and mix until a dough forms. Divide the dough in half, form into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap to store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Fill a separate bowl with the berries, sugar and cornstarch, and toss until the berries are evenly coated. Set aside for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface and with a floured pin, roll out the dough to 12-inch circles. Place one crust into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate, fill with the berry mixture and top with the other pie crust, using the design of choice. Trim the dough to 1 inch past the pie plate. Tuck the ends under the bottom crust and pinch or crimp to seal. Cut vents, as needed.

Whisk the egg and water together. Use a pastry brush to apply the egg wash to the pie crust.

Bake the pie for 50-55 minutes or until the crust is golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

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Pumpkin Zucchini Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

I love this bread! I had a surplus of zucchini in my garden this year but wanted a fall twist on a traditional zucchini loaf! You won’t believe how flavorful and moist this bread is… and how perfect pumpkin & chocolate chips are together!!

Don’t squeeze your zucchini dry in this recipe as the moisture is required to keep the loaves nice and moist! Keep the bread sealed at room temperature for up to 2 days. You can easily slice and freeze this bread and just take a couple of slices out for a snack or to add to a lunchbox.

The cream cheese glaze is amazing, similar to a frosting but pourable… my family totally devoured this bread!

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini, do not drain or squeeze
  • ½ cup walnuts or mini chocolate chips (optional)
  • Cream Cheese Glaze
  • ¼ cup cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons light cream

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two loaf pans and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder with a whisk. In a separate bowl, mix eggs,oil, pumpkin and sugar.
  • Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in zucchini and nuts or chocolate chips if using. Pour into prepared pans.
  • Place in the oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees. Bake 40-50 minutes for a 9x5 pan and 45-55 minutes for an 8x4 pan or until a toothpick comes out clean. DO not over bake!
  • Cool 20 minutes and remove from pans.

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Having a plan for dinner sure does make even weekdays go much smoother. I try to come up with a weekly menu on Sundays, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. This Sunday we spent the afternoon and part of the early evening at the Country Fair (check out the pics on Instagram) trying to get in a little more summer family fun before school starts in a few weeks. Even though I didn’t have to make dinner that night, chicken is always on my meal plan at least a few times a week by itself or in a casserole. If I’m cooking a whole chicken, my children always fight over the drumsticks! 4 kiddos and 2 drumsticks always leaves someone a little disappointed at the dinner table. For this crispy and crunchy Oven Baked “Fried” Chicken I use only drumsticks so everyone is happy!

This chicken is great for your Sunday dinner, but it can easily be made any night of the week because it’s so easy to prepare. Simply lay out your chicken in a casserole dish, season it well and pour buttermilk over the top of it and let it sit all day in the refrigerator! You can do this quickly in the morning or you can even do it the night before, letting sit all night too. The longer the better- it makes for a really moist and juicy piece of chicken!

Pick each piece of chicken up out of the buttermilk and dredge it in the breadcrumb mixture. To get it on there really good, I like to use my hands to pack and push it on the chicken.

3 1/2 - 4 lbs. skin on chicken drumsticks
For the seasoning:
1-2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 qt. buttermilk
For the breading:
8 oz. seasoned Panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp, dried parsley
cooking spray

Line your chicken drumsticks in a large glass baking dish.
Season the chicken well.
Pour the buttermilk over the chicken evenly.
Cover the chicken and store in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Mix together your breadcrumb mixture in a large pie plate or breading dish.
Dredge each piece of the buttermilk soaked chicken in the breading well and place on a large, lightly greased (with cooking spray) foil lined baking sheet.
Spray the breaded chicken lightly and evenly with the cooking spray.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, depending on the size of your drumsticks.
I like to turn the broiler in for the last few minutes to give the chicken a little extra crunch.
Serve warm with potatoes and a fresh vegetable.
Serves 6.


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caramel apple cake recipe

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Strawberry Cheesecake Pancakes

The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, the days are longer and everyone is outside. It must be spring!!!

I am so excited for this beautiful weather! So in celebration, I made some unbelievably delicious Strawberry Cheesecake Pancakes!

Springtime just makes me crave some juicy plump strawberries. And I love having strawberries or any kind of fruit in pancakes.

Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed around here, I also love cream cheese! Probably 1/2 of my sweet recipes on this blog have cream cheese in it. And let me tell you, this cream cheese glaze definitely belongs on these pancakes.

1 1/4 c. flour
2 TBLS sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 egg
1 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
1 TBLS butter, melted
1 pint of strawberries, stemmed and chopped
butter for the pan
Strawberry Sauce
1 pint of strawberries, stemmed and chopped
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. corn starch
Cream Cheese Glaze
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 TBLS butter
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2. t. vanilla
2-3 TBLS milk

Make the cream cheese glaze by mixing all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Put aside.
Make the strawberry sauce by placing the strawberries and sugar in a medium sauce pan and heat over a medium flame and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Turn the heat down to a low simmer and stir occasionally for 15 minutes. Stir in the corn starch and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Make the pancakes by whisking together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the egg, milk, vanilla, and melted butter and whisk until well blended.
Over medium heat, melt a pat of butter and pour the batter in 1/4 cup batches on a skillet. Place several pieces of strawberries on each pancake before flipping it. Cook each pancake for a minute or so on each side.
Serve by drizzling each serving with cream cheese glaze and top with the strawberry sauce. Enjoy.

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Salmon butties with tartare sauce recipe

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Leftover salmon and chive bruschetta recipe

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Sweet and Sour Pork

The secret of an authentic sweet and sour pork dish lies in the perfect balance of the sweet vs. sour taste of the sauce. To master this dish, it’s not about the technique of stir-frying nor the use of the freshest ingredients, although both are equally important and wouldn’t hurt. To me, the sweet and sour sauce is the soul of this dish. If you fail the sweet and sour sauce, you fail the dish. With that in mind, I will teach you how to make that perfect sweet and sour sauce and share with you the secret ingredients I use.

1/2 lb. pork tenderloin (cut into bite size pieces)
1/2 green bell pepper (about 2 oz. and cut into pieces)
1/2 red bell pepper (about 2 oz. and cut into pieces)
2 stalks scallions (only the white part, cut into 2 inch length)
1 piece fresh/canned pineapple ring (cut into small pieces)
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
Oil for frying

1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon rice wine
Frying Batter:1/2 cup water
2 oz. all-purpose flour
1 oz. corn starch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 egg
1 teaspoon cooking oil
1 small pinch of salt
Sweet and Sour Sauce:1 1/2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon plum sauce
1/8 teaspoon Chinese rice vinegar (transparent in color)
1/2 teaspoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons water

Cut the pork tenderloin into pieces and marinate with the ingredients for 15-20 minutes.
Mix the sweet and sour sauce ingredients well and set aside.
Strain the dry ingredients of the frying batter and then add in the egg, water, and cooking oil to form a thick batter.
When the pork is well-marinated, transfer the pork pieces into the batter and make sure they are well coated. In a deep skillet, add in the cooking oil enough for deep-frying. Once the oil is hot, deep fry the pork pieces until they turn golden brown. Dish out and drain on paper towels.
Heat up a wok and add in some cooking oil. Add in the chopped garlic and stir fry until light brown, then follow by the bell peppers and pineapple pieces. Stir fry until you smell the peppery aroma from the peppers and then add in the sweet and sour sauce. As soon as the sauce thickenens, transfer the pork into the wok and stir well with the sauce. Add in the chopped scallions, do a few quick stirs, dish out and serve hot with steamed white rice.

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Alabama BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

If you are not sure that you love Alabama BBQ Sauce, you need to try it pronto. It is so creamy and delicious. I love that it has a bit of a tang, a bit of a kick and a touch of sweetness.

Speaking of sweetness, for the hamburger buns in this recipe, I decided to use King’s Hawaiian Hamburger Buns. This was a last minute decision as I had actually never even tried any of King’s Hawaiian bread before. Ryan, on the other hand told how he just tried them at work and that they were really good. A little sweet, but good.

I decided to give it a go for these sandwiches the second time around. The first time I made these sandwiches, I used a kaiser roll. I thought it was OK but I actually thought it was a little dry so I was looking for something a little softer. I loved the softness and the sweetness that the King’s Hawaiian added. With that said, I think a regular old hamburger bun would work just as well.

1 pound (about 2) boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 Kings Hawaiian Hamburger Buns
bread and butter pickle slices
3/4 cup, divided Alabama White BBQ Sauce

Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag, pour 1/4 cup of Alabama White BBQ Sauce over the top. Shake to coat. Seal and refrigerate for 6 - 8 hours or overnight.

Heat grill for indirect heat. Place 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce in a bowl next to the grill. Cook chicken for 7 minutes then baste with BBQ sauce. Turn chicken and baste with BBQ sauce again and cook for 5 - 7 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.

Shred chicken.

To assemble the sandwiches place chicken on bottom buns, drizzle with remaining BBQ sauce and top with 3 - 4 bread and butter pickles. Serve.

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