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roll-ups, pinwheels, whatever

There is something about a roll-up or pinwheel that kids just love. I’m not sure what it is. Maybe they appreciate that they can actually see everything that is “in there”. Or maybe they are attracted to the nice size, easy to eat in a couple bites. Whatever it is, these make a great appetizer for an adult party, a nice “packable” lunch for the office (just bring a plastic knife to slice when you’re ready to eat), or a great picnic or after-school snack for the kids.

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July 8, 2010   No Comments

“Honey, you done good”

me and my dad

One of my dad’s favorite salads is a 3-bean or 5-bean or… if possible, a dozen-bean salad. Personally, I find many of the multiple-bean salads out there to be bland. So I created this Three Bean and Corn Salad for my dad.

Needless to say, he loves it. Of course, it’s hard for me to make anything that my dad doesn’t like. Whenever he’s finished his meal, here is what he says, “Honey, you done good!” I have to confess, just typing that now, made me smile. I love you, Dad!

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June 28, 2010   2 Comments


On Sunday, my friend and neighbor, Ronnie had a party to introduce and welcome new neighbors to “the hood”.  She made this colorful fresh and flavorful salad that we all went crazy for. It is inspired by a recipe she found in a cookbook by Rick Rodgers.

I had two servings, and would have had a third if I could have gotten away with it! The original recipe called for 3 ears of corn to be roasted on a grill. This simple take on that uses frozen roasted corn kernels found at Trader Joe’s.  One medium cob of corn yields about 3/4 cup of kernels. So that is convenience item number one.  

And here is number two … a new way to freeze and store chipotle peppers. As you know, chipotle peppers are sold in cans and they are packed in adobo sauce. The sauce is just about as good as the peppers themselves, spicy and smokey and just so addictive. I can’t think of a time when you would use an entire  7-ounce can of the peppers. Recipes most often call for just a few peppers and then you have the rest of the can to deal with.  In the past I have  placed the remaining peppers on a small greased baking sheet, frozen them, then removed the frozen peppers and placed them in ziplock bags to freeze. But now… I have an even better way. In the majority of recipes the peppers are very finely chopped, so why not freeze them that way?

First place all the remaining peppers and all the adobo sauce left in the can in a food processor and puree it. Next, carefully spoon the puree into the little holes of an empty garlic cube package. What is a garlic cube package, you ask. In a prior post, I told you how much I love to use the minced garlic cubes sold at Trader Joe’s. My freezer is full of them… so I reuse those empty containers and now I always have chipotle cubes on hand too.  One chipotle cube equals about 1/2 chipotle pepper. Plus they pop out just as easily as the garlic does.

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March 31, 2010   3 Comments

can’t we just get along?!?


Soup and salad… the two of the most versatile parts of any meal. Or complete meals all by themselves. I’ve previously mentioned my deep admiration for soup. My husband, Dave, on the other hand, has those same feelings for salad. Given the choice, he would take salad over soup about 90% of the time. I’ll take soup over salad 99.9% of the time when it is under 100 degrees here in sunny AZ. But once the thermostat hits the century mark, I turn my back on my favorite child. I feel like a traitor, but I’m just not a huge fan of most cold soups, so salad it is. And considering that is reaches 100 degrees an average of 106 days a year here, that’s nearly a third of the year I give up on my beloved soup. So I need a backup plan!

Currently on this blog, I have 13 soups and only 10 true salads. What do I consider a “true” salad? One that has lettuce or greens as the primary player; not just a tart on a bed of greens used to “fancy it up” or a salad with fruit only, or quinoa laying on a little bit of spinach. But a Real Salad with lettuce! So soup is currently winning the war, I mean the race! Unfortunately, salad is gaining ground with this entry, and with the dog days of summer only a couple months away… I need to make more soup!

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February 11, 2010   4 Comments

meaty, chunky, hearty chili

chunky chili

“Next to music there is nothing that lifts the spirits and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili.” Harry James (1916-1983) band leader and trumpeter.

OK, I wouldn’t go quite that far; to say that nothing lifts the spirits more, but just like most people, I do enjoy a spicy and steaming bowl of chili. There are more chili recipes, and really great chili at that, than one can count. Chili is a truly American dish with so many great variations; with and without beans, mild to very hot and spicy, vegetarian or made with any type of meat imaginable. Hope you enjoy this chunky beef version… until you have time to try it out, one more quote from a famous chili-loving American.

“Wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili.” Alleged dying words of Kit Carson (1809-1868), Frontiersman and Mountain Man.
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January 11, 2010   1 Comment

happy birthday Blake plus layers of goodness

layer dip
This photo shows a cut-away so you can see the layers – I filled it in after the photo was taken, don’t want you to think I served it this way!

It is “birthday week” around here. Marissa’s was yesterday, and today is Blake’s 12 birthday!  Blake is the one of three sons of our very best friends in the world! His parents are Dr. Jeffrey and Jennifer Markett, who live in St. Charles, Illinois. Jeff is my husband best friend from college. He was our best man and is godfather to both Marissa and Connor. Jennifer is my best friend, whom I just adore… more on her tomorrow… Until then, Happy Birthday Blakey! We Love YOU!

In Blake’s honor, today we have a seven layer dip that I’ve never seen a kid to turn their nose up at. Use this recipe as a guide, you can add in or sub out so many great ingredients; such as shredded lettuce, roasted red pepper strips, chopped jalapenos, sliced black olives, chopped tomatoes, etc.  In the picture below, I assembled the dish with a cut away, so you can see the layers.  Then I just filled it all in after snapping the photo, don’t want you to think I served it this way! 🙂
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December 2, 2009   2 Comments

Amy’s Famous Taco Soup

taco soup and garnishes

My friend and neighbor, Amy Kilpatrick, makes this yummy and oh so satisfying soup every Halloween night and shares it with all who come by and are looking for a bite to eat.  The soup can be doubled, tripled, or increased by any amount you need to feed a crowd.  Delicious served with a side of cornbread. It is the epitome of the “Easy-Breezy” category and is guaranteed to be an adult and kid pleaser!  For whatever reason, I never seem to have the taco seasoning mix packages around or forget to buy them when I’m at the store, in that case, I just make my own with the spices I always have on hand. An added bonus to making your own…. tons less sodium than the pre-made stuff… you will be shocked if you look at the sodium content on one of those mixes! That recipe is at the bottom of the page.

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November 3, 2009   5 Comments