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Category — Recipes

rhubarb season, not

Did you know that in the last week of March you can not find fresh rhubarb in any grocery store in the Valley of Sun?

Trust me, I tried. I went to Fry’s, Safeway, Sprouts and Whole Foods. I called Albertson’s, Bashas, A.J.’s and Natural Grocers. I’ve never even set foot inside a Natural Grocers, so I don’t have a clue as to what sort of inventory they have, but I was desperate!

Not a one of them had rhubarb. All the produce managers said they had tried to order it, but it wasn’t coming in. By the time I discovered this, I’d already bought the strawberries for this salad and I had my heart set on it. I love strawberry-rhubarb pie, so I was craving this salad for my Easter brunch.

Finally, I took a closer look at the recipe and saw that the rhubarb was cooked for a couple of minutes and then sat in the hot liquid. It seemed to me as if the frozen rhubarb would work just fine. And it did!

A bonus of this recipe is the cooking syrup from the rhubarb, you’ll have about 1 cup of it but you only use 2 tablespoons of it for the dressing. The rest of it you can save and use as a grapefruit-rhubarb simple syrup for cocktails. Mix it with vodka and soda for a refreshing drink. Oh, it is good!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Salad

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups 1-inch diagonally sliced fresh rhubarb or a 12-ounce bag of cut frozen rhubarb
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 20 ounces fresh strawberries, quartered lengthwise (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup toasted silvered almonds
  • 1/4 cup small mint leaves
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, stir together the grapefruit juice and sugar over medium-high; bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves.

Add rhubarb to pan; cook 1 minute. Remove pan from heat. Cover and let stand until rhubarb is tender-crisp, about 15 minutes if fresh or 10 minutes if frozen.

Remove rhubarb with a slotted spoon, reserving rhubarb syrup.

In a large bowl, stir together the orange juice, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the rhubarb syrup.(reserve the remaining syrup for another use.) [Read more →]

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April 11, 2018   No Comments

got to have bacon!

Even when the centerpiece of your Easter brunch is a spiral-cut ham – that does not mean you can’t throw in a little bacon too!

The original Southern Living recipe called for a cast-iron skillet. Since my cast-iron skillet was in a storage cupboard in the garage that was blocked by a bunch of boxes and folding chairs, I used a large heavy skillet instead.

I’ve mentioned this tip before, but it’s worth repeating. If you have a pot or pan that needs to go in the oven that does not have an oven-safe handle, or even if you’re not quite sure if it is oven-safe or not. You can still use that pan. Just double wrap the handle in heavy-duty foil (or wrap 4 times with standard foil) and just like magic, you have an oven-safe pan.

Hash Brown-Asparagus-Bacon Quiché

  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces fresh asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups frozen shredded hash browns (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • Fresh minced chives, for garnish


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook bacon in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or another oven-safe heavy skillet over medium until browned and almost crisp, but still tender, about 6 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve drippings in skillet, and let cool slightly.

Add asparagus to skillet, and cook over medium-high, stirring often, until lightly browned and just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer asparagus to a medium bowl.

Add hash browns, bacon, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper to hot drippings in skillet over medium-high; stir to combine.

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April 10, 2018   1 Comment

Easter brunch (or any brunch) cocktail

This was our Easter cocktail. For the non-drinkers, I made up a batch of the citrus mix, sans the brandy, and added flavored La Croix sparkling water instead of Prosecco.

The lemonade ice cubes make the drink so festive. Since I have this long ice-cube tray to work with, I served the cocktail in champagne glasses. If I was using a standard tray, I’d have used wine glasses instead.

Sparkling Citrus Brunch Cocktail

Ice Cubes

  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 cups prepared lemonade


  • 1 ½ cups fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup fresh Ruby Red grapefruit juice
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle Prosecco, chilled
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) brandy
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Citrus slices for garnish

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April 9, 2018   2 Comments

favorite Easter recipe

Of all the dishes I made for our Easter brunch, this was just about everybody’s favorite. Well maybe, except for the biscuits, because, come on, they’re biscuits! So that’s a given.

I especially love the herb dressing. I’ll be making it again and again.

I used a mix of colored potatoes from Trader Joe’s but you can just use regular new potatoes. Other than that, I followed this recipe pretty much to a T.  The link to the original recipe from Southern Living is at the bottom of this post.

When you measure the 2 cups of radishes, it doesn’t matter if you measure them before cutting or after, it comes out just about the same either way.

And when asparagus goes out of season, long green beans will be just as pretty and just as tasty.

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April 6, 2018   3 Comments

two butters, a mayo and a spread

It sounds like the start of a joke. “Two butters, a mayo and a spread walk into a bar…”

But this is no joke, these are what I served with my biscuits and ham at our Easter brunch. My entire Easter menu was inspired by the Easter menu featured in this year’s Southern Living Magazine.  Although, I made several changes in recipes and menu choices to fit my taste. For instance, their menu featured a Creole Mayo, I am a fan of Sriracha Mayo, so that is what I made. More Easter brunch recipes will follow in the coming days, for today, let’s look at these four.

I took a poll at brunch and asked for everyone’s favorites. The radish-chive butter won hands down. The second favorite was the other butter, made with orange marmalade and apricot preserves. The final two were tied for third. All four make for a perfect ham and biscuit sandwich.

Radish and Chive Butter

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped radishes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish

Beat salted butter and salt with an electric mixer on high-speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

Gently stir in finely chopped radishes and chopped fresh chives. Scrape compound butter into a serving bowl, sprinkle with more chives. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

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April 3, 2018   1 Comment

Easter-themed April Fool’s pranks

You have a week to pull off these two pranks. It only took me about 15 minutes to “make” my fruit and vegetable Easter chocolates. I can’t wait to see the reactions!

I went to Target to shop for the foil-covered chocolate eggs. After carefully examining what was available, I decided on the Nestle Crunch Nest Eggs over the traditional Hershey’s Eggs because they were slightly larger. You see, you’ll be swapping out the chocolate eggs for grapes, so a similar size is a necessity. The Nestle Butterfinger Nest Eggs where the perfect size too, but the foil isn’t as pretty or “Eastery”  – yes that’s a word!

April Fool’s Fruit and Vegetable Easter Chocolates

  • Nestle Crunch Nest Eggs
  • grapes
  • Ferrero Rocher Chocolates
  • Brussels sprouts
  • a bit of patience

Very carefully and slowly loosen the foil on a Crunch Chocolate Egg. On the first one I attempted, I made the mistake of completely opening up the foil. Don’t do that! It is too hard to fold it back together nicely.

Instead open the foil just enough to remove the chocolate egg.

When choosing your grape, go a little smaller, rather than larger or the exact same size. I used the grape on the left.

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March 25, 2018   6 Comments

Shirley’s dessert

This is Shirley with her favorite Trader Joe’s cookies, they are Triple Ginger Cookie Thins and they are what Shirley uses for her Margarita Tart crust.

I bought a box, Shirley sent me her recipe and I made it last weekend. The family loved it, so now I share it with you. Thank you, Shirley! xoxo


One item I love to use when baking pies or using a springform pan is this wonderful rack that catches any drips.

Shirley’s Margarita Tart


  • 2 cups cookie crumbs made from Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Cookie Thins
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted


  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Two 14-ounce cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup lime juice (from 4 to 6 limes)
  • 1 tablespoon Tequila


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Lime slices and strawberries, garnish

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Crust: In a medium bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter.

Press into a 9-inch springform pan. Place on a baking rack or baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

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October 25, 2017   2 Comments

field trip shopping day is here!

Today is the day I finally get to take Laura, Maggie and Shirley on the 8th Blogiversary Shopping Field Trip!

I’ve got their Trader Joe’s 50th Anniversary bags locked and loaded with $100 each.

These bags are the perfect example of why I love Trader Joe’s. The bags were sold to celebrate their golden anniversary and instead of charging more for the limited edition bags, they charged less! Regular TJ’s bags cost a mere $1. These special bags cost only fifty cents! TJ’s Is The Best!

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October 16, 2017   2 Comments

margarita time

Tram & Steve invited me over for Taco Night, they are the sweetest! I asked Tram if I could contribute an exotic margarita for the night. She, of course, said yes.

I found a recipe on Epicurious.com. I made one cocktail as written and found it to be much too strong and not as special or exotic as I had hoped. It needed some lime juice and some sweetness to bring it up to the place I knew it could be.

This photo does not include the additions I made to the cocktail, lime juice and a berry simple syrup, but those ingredients are there in the final version of the cocktail that I brought to dinner.

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October 2, 2017   2 Comments

Salsa de Peggy

While Anne, Peggy and I  were vacationing in Carlsbad last month, Peggy made her famous salsa. Lucky us! I took notes and happily share it with you.

Peggy insists that one thing is an absolute must for her salsa.

You must use only chiltepin chile peppers! They can be hard to find and are more expensive than that other little pepper easily found in grocery stores, the chile pequin. The pequin is nothing like the chiltepin, so don’t bother using it as a substitute.

The chiltepins are what make this an authentic Sonoran salsa. You can find them at Food City or on Amazon. To read more about the chiltepin and the salsa, check out this article from Edible Baja Arizona.

Peggy also prefers to use a mortar and pestle to crush the peppers and the garlic. Mine is packed away, so I opted for a cocktail muddler and measuring cup.

Alternately, you could start an empty food processor or blender, and while it is running, drop the garlic cloves and chiltepins through the feed tube into the empty machine and let it do the work for you.

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September 13, 2017   5 Comments