Welcome to my site!

Welcome to my site!
I'm Cindy, and I love to cook! And, I love to eat... hence the size of my rear end! I come from a long line of cooks. My great great Grandmother was a cook in the original Harvey Houses. My grandmother Julia was an awesome cook, and my mom was incredible. I owe my skills to these great women. Especially my Mom who said this to me about making gravy... "Cindy Lynn, wallpaper paste is wallpaper paste & gravy is gravy. Never the two shall meet!" Shall we say my first experience at making gravy left a little bit to be desired! Thank the high heavens my cooking skills have improved since then! Enjoy!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ramos Gin Fizz

When we go to New Orleans we always have the Jazz Brunch at Court of Two Sisters.  Heavenly!  I had never enjoyed a Ramos Fizz before having brunch here – although my Mom loved them.  This morning the New Orleans “bug” hit me and I had a strong need to enjoy something NOLA related…. One Ramos Gin Fizz coming up!
 
Ingredients:
 
1 ½ oz good gin
1 dash (3 to 4 drops) orange flower water
1 large egg white
2 oz half & half
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon simple syrup
1 cup ice cubes
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) club soda
 
Directions:
 
In large cocktail shaker, combine gin, orange blossom water, egg white, half-and-half, lemon juice, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake vigorously for 25 seconds – or use an emersion blender. Add ice and shake for 30 seconds more.
 
Place three or four ice cubes into a glass - strain mixture into it.  Slowly pour soda water down inside edge of shaker to loosen remaining froth. Gently ease soda water/froth mix onto drink and serve.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chocolate Éclair Cake


Found this recipe on Facebook from Foodie TV’s page.   Looking at their photo made my mouth water.  I couldn’t wait to try the recipe – but needed to wait until I would be feeding more than just the hubby and me.  Well, last night was the night.  This was really pretty easy to make – but the flavor and deliciousness makes one think it was difficult.  Rave reviews from our friends… rave reviews from the hubby and me.  Your sweet tooth will thank you for making this one!
 
Ingredients:
 
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
4 large eggs
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 large box (5.1 ounces) vanilla instant pudding
3 cups milk
1 - 8 oz. container cool whip - or one batch homemade whipped cream
Chocolate syrup or homemade chocolate sauce
 
Directions:
 
Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a 9″X13″ glass baking pan.
 
Éclair Crust: In a medium saucepan, melt butter in water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in flour. Mix in one egg at a time, mixing completely before adding another egg.
 
Spread mixture into pan, covering the bottom and sides evenly. Note: If the sides of your pan are too greased you won’t be able to get the mixture to stay up the sides so make sure to just lightly grease.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown (Mine only took 25 minutes.) You may want to check it occasionally-you don’t want to overcook the crust, it will ruin the cake. 
 
Remove from oven and let cool (don’t touch or push bubbles down).
 
Filling: Whip cream cheese in a medium bowl.
 
In separate bowl make vanilla pudding. Make sure pudding is thick before mixing in with cream cheese.
 
Slowly add pudding to cream cheese, mixing until there are no lumps. Let cool in fridge. 
 
When the crust is completely cooled, pour filling in. Top with layer of cool whip (or homemade whipped cream) however thick you want it and serve with chocolate syrup.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Candied Walnuts

I love to peruse the aisles at Trader Joe’s – you just never know what delicious treats you’re going to find.  I discovered their Champagne Pear Vinaigrette with Gorgonzola and I thought – YUM!  How delicious would that be on a salad with fresh pears, gorgonzola and candied walnuts?  So, I gave it a try – and it was TOTALLY delicioussuper easy too!
 
Ingredients:
 
Assortment of Salad Greens
Fresh Pear
Crumbly Gorgonzola
Candied Nuts – I’ve used Walnuts and also Pecans.  Both equally delicious
Trader Joe’s Champagne Pear Vinaigrette with Gorgonzola
 
Directions:
 
Toss the salad greens with the vinaigrette.  Place on individual salad plates.  Top with slices of fresh pear and crumbled gorgonzola.  Sprinkle candied nuts over the salad.  Serve and prepare for the accolades from your guests!
 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ruby-Tini

A friend posted a juice recipe that sounded very delicious and quite healthy.  Well, leave it to me to make it into something perhaps a little less “healthy” – but definitely more “festive”.  You’ll need a juicer for this one – but the extra delicious flavor is definitely worth the extra effort.  Cheers!
 
Ingredients:
 
1 cup cranberries
2 oranges
2 carrots
 
3 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Simple Syrup
Juice of half a lime
 
Directions:
 
Make the simple syrup by bringing ½ cup water to a boil; add ½ cup sugar.  Stir until completely dissolved; allow to cool.
 
Juice the cranberries, oranges and carrots.  Strain mixture into a jar or large measuring cup.
 
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Add 3 ounces of the juice mixture, 3 ounces of vodka, juice from half a lime and 1 ounce simple syrup.  Shake vigorously.
 
Pour into two chilled martini glasses….. Relax, Sip and Enjoy!
 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Shrimp Fried Rice

Found this in the Cooking Light 2013 cookbook and have adjusted the recipe slightly.  I’ve been trying to make things on the weekend that can be frozen in individual servings and taken for lunch during the work week.  This one definitely fit the bill.  It was fairly quick to make, is full of healthy ingredients, super delicious and each serving comes in at about 350 calories.  I increased the amount of shrimp and sugar snap peas, but cut down on the amount of edamame.  I also switched to olive oil – opposed to canola and used 1 teaspoon less.  I don’t like the information that’s been coming out about canola.  So, I’m not using it any longer.
 
Ingredients:
 
1 cup broccoli florets
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 small package sugar-snap peas, trimmed and halved crosswise (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 cup cooked long-grain white rice, chilled
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 lb. peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1 cup frozen edamame, thawed
1/4 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1/4 cup thinly diagonally sliced green onions
 
Directions:
 
1. Steam broccoli 4 minutes or until crisp-tender; set aside. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan. Add bell peppers and sugar snap peas; stir-fry for 2 minutes. Place vegetable mixture in a large bowl. Add remaining tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add ginger, and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add rice, and stir-fry for 5 minutes or until rice is lightly browned. (Because I used less oil in this step the rice stuck to the pan so I used a little chicken broth to keep it from sticking.  If you’re not concerned about the amount of calories – add a little more oil so the rice will actually brown.)  Remove rice mixture from pan, and add rice to bowl with the vegetable mixture.
 
2. Wipe the pan with paper towels. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add sesame oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shrimp; stir-fry 1 minute. Add edamame; stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in soy sauce, vinegar, and Sriracha; bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes or until liquid thickens slightly. Add vegetable mixture and green onions; stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fresh Apple Spice Dump Cake

My Mom used to make “dump cake” all the time in the 70’s.  She used a can of cherry pie filling topped with a can of crushed pineapple and then followed the directions below with yellow cake mix and the melted butter.  Very easy and always delicious.  I wanted to try something a little different and came up with this combination.  It takes a little more time than just opening two cans and “dumping” them… but it was so flavorful and fresh tasting – I think it was worth the extra effort!
 
Ingredients:
 
7 assorted apples (peeled cored and sliced.  I used a combination of Granny Smith, Gala, Akane and Honey Crisp)
Fresh Lemon Juice
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons spiced rum
¼ cup water
 
1 pkg spice cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
 
Directions:
 
Peel, core and slice the apples; place into a pot.  As you are preparing the apples sprinkle lemon juice over the slices that are already prepared.  This will keep them from turning brown.
 
Once all the apples are in the pan add the sugars, cinnamon, vanilla, rum and water.  Bring to a boil stirring often.  Cook for about 30 minutes until the apples have become soft and have created a nice juice.
 
Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.  Pour the apples and juice into it.  Sprinkle the cake mix on top.  Drizzle the melted butter on top of the cake mix. 
 
Bake at 350 for 35 – 45 minutes.
 
Serve warm with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  Heaven!
 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sausage Bites

Here’s another great Pinterest find.  I made these for a party we attended and everyone loved them.  I served with a side of mustard and ketchup… but truly, they don’t need anything.  They’re addictive!  The original recipe can be found on TheKitchenIsMyPlayground.com.  These were quick, easy and a huge HIT! 
 
Ingredients:
 
1 pkg. hot Italian sausage
1 white onion, chopped small
1 clove garlic, minced
Dash of Salt & Pepper
1 - 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 pkgs. refrigerated crescent rolls
Olive Oil
 
Ingredients:
 
Drizzle a tiny bit of Olive Oil into a heated non-stick skillet.  Add onions and garlic; sauté until translucent. 
 
Add Hot Italian Sausage; cook thoroughly breaking sausage into small pieces.  Remove from heat, drain any excess oil and allow to slightly cool. Add a dash of salt and pepper and the cream cheese; mix until cream cheese is melted into sausage mixture.
 
Unroll one package of crescent rolls and place on a baking sheet. With your fingers, gently press the seams together to seal them. Spread the sausage mixture evenly over the crescent roll dough, leaving about a 1/2-inch border along the edges.
 
Unroll the remaining package of crescent rolls and place on top of the sausage mixture. Press the edges together to seal. Gently press the seams together.
 
Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until crescent roll dough is golden brown.
 
Cut into small squares and serve.  (A pizza cutter makes really quick and easy work of the cutting.)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Garlic Rosemary Lemon Chicken

I saw this idea on Pinterest for “Dump Chicken”.  While that doesn’t sound very appetizing – the idea is to dump all the ingredients in a Ziploc bag and freeze.  You can defrost on the day that you want to make the chicken breasts – and you have a very easy and fairly quick dinner that is FULL of flavor.  You just need to decide what ingredients to “dump” into the bag and then enjoy the results!  I didn’t take a photo of the chicken breasts… because you know – you’ve seen one chicken breast – you’ve kind of seen them all.  Enjoy!
 
Ingredients:
 
3 – 4 chicken breasts, butterflied
3 garlic cloves, minced (I used a garlic press)
Two 4” sprigs fresh rosemary
1 touch of salt
¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
 
Directions:
 
Place the butterflied chicken breasts into a Ziploc bag. 
 
Crush the garlic directly into the bag.  Remove the rosemary leaves from the stems, finely mince with a bit of salt; add to the bag.
 
Add the lemon juice, olive oil and cayenne pepper to the bag.  Seal the bag and shake well to equally distribute the marinade all over the chicken.
 
Place in the freezer.  On the day you want to cook the chicken, defrost.
 
Drizzle some olive oil in a skillet; fry about 3 – 4 minutes on each side.
 
If you don’t want to freeze, marinade about 30 minutes – 2 hours.  Be careful not to marinate too long, as the lemon juice will begin to “cook” the chicken.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Trisha Yearwood's Charleston Dip

I saw Trisha Yearwood make this on her show one Saturday morning.  I sounded delicious, so I just had to try it.  It WAS delicious!  Easy and quick to make… and even easier to eat.  Mmm Mmm good!
 
Ingredients:
 
8 oz room temp cream cheese
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese
½ cup Monterey jack cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
Dash of Cayenne Pepper or a few shots of Tabasco
8 – 10 buttery crackers, crushed
Bacon Crumbles
 
Directions:
 
Mix the three cheeses, green onions, mayo and cayenne in a bowl.  Turn into a baking dish.  Sprinkle the crushed crackers over the top and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. 
 
Remove from oven and sprinkle the top with crumbled bacon.  Enjoy with crackers or crusty bread.
 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sausage Hors de Oeuvre’s

I saw Trisha Yearwood make these Sausage bites on her Food Network show.  I followed her recipe, with one exception - I added only 2 cups of Bisquick.  As I was combining the mixture I felt adding an additional cup would make them too doughy.  Trisha’s recipe called for 3 cups of Bisquick; I wanted these to be a meatier consistency, so I stopped at 2 cups.  These were a HIT at the party I took them to.  I served them warm with two different dipping sauces.  (See my recommendations at the end of the recipe.)
 
Ingredients:
 
1 lb. Hot & Spicy bulk sausage
10 oz shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups Bisquick, added 1 cup at a time
Kosher Salt & Pepper
 
Directions:
 
Place sausage and cheese in mixing bowl.  Grind some fresh black topper into the bowl.  Begin mixing to combine.  Add 1 cup of baking mix at a time.  Mix until well blended.
 
Roll into bite sized meatballs.  Place on baking sheet.  375 for 20 – 25 minutes.  Test for doneness.
 
Remove to serving platter and sprinkle with kosher salt. 
 
Serve warm with the dipping sauce of your choice.  I used my bottled barbeque sauce and doctored it with a bit of dry mustard, brown sugar, Worchester sauce, and lemon juice.  I also made a combination of mayonnaise, stone ground mustard, ketchup, tabasco and Worchester.  I also added a tablespoon or two of milk to thin it so that it was more like a dipping sauce than a mayonnaise consistency.
 
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