Monthly Archives: September 2011

A little taste of Fall


This morning I got to indulge in my favorite Fall treat!  A Starby’s Pumpkin Spice Latte… is Fall in a cup to me and I heart it!

We are having a nice respite from the boiling temps here and so the thought of  coffee or soup doesn’t repulse me.

Yesterday, I had a ton of different size tomatoes that I needed to use and I wanted to make something a little more fall-ish…so I decided on Roasted Tomato Soup

This was heaven in a bowl, I tell you!  It was also fairly simple to make.

Let’s check out the step-by-step below

Roasted Tomato Soup (adapted from Tyler Florence)

  • 2 1/2 lbs of various tomatoes
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3 shallots
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • basil (fresh or in a tube if you can’t manage to keep fresh basil alive)
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Quart (4 cups) of chicken stock (homemade is best but the box will work 😉 )
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • Plain Greek yogurt

You want to start by coring and cutting the tomatoes in half along with the garlic & onion & shallots

Coring a tomato is very simple…use a paring knife and cut around the top and underneath the stem area

See how I am holding the knife?  That will make it 100% easier- just please be careful and don’t cut yourself!

Look how pretty these look in the roasting pan with some olive oil, salt & pepper

I just love this view 😉

Put it in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes

I can’t believe the change that occurs and there is a TON of flavor in that pan.  I used a tad put of chicken stock to deglaze the pan as soon as it came out of the oven so that you get the yummy good bits off the bottom!

Throw it all in a stock pot with 3/4 of the chicken stock and the bay leaves & the buttah

Let that come together on high heat and bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer (about medium) and let it reduce for about 30 minutes.

Once it has reduced then you will need to use a stick or emersion blender to bring this all together.  I like a smooth tomato soup but you can leave it somewhat chunky if you like- you have choices!

Once it is all blended up the way you like it- then you need to add the basil- a chop or a squirt….whatever you are using 🙂

And here is my secret ingredient

I am using this in place of heavy cream or milk to make it a little more figure friendly.  You want to take it out of the fridge and bring it closer to room temperature so it does not seize up when you add it to the hot soup or you will get bits of yogurt in your soup and it won’t taste bad but it’s not what you want!

Then just stir that baby up and then it is ready to serve!  I chose a little avocado as a garnish but you could put several toppings out for a soup bar, which is always fun for the family!


I don’t think this is going to make it long in the freezer…..

Happy intro to Fall!

What are your favorite Fall treats?


Bloody Mary Dip


Do you remember playing the game Bloody Mary when you were growing up?

I do, and for me, it was along the same lines as the Ouija board.  It scared the living daylights outta me and I knew it was something I shouldn’t be playing around with.  To this day, I can’t watch anything scarier than Unsolved Mysteries, unless it is light outside.  I am not a wuss- I just don’t want to be up all night.

I am definitely one that believes in good ghosts/spirits- when Bella was little and just barely talking- she would point to the chandelier in her room and say that is where her people lived.

But with every ying there is a yang so I don’t like to intentionally invite anyone/anything to visit me!

All that being said- WHO LOVES BLOODY MARYS?  I DO I DO I DO!

And I love them SPPPIIICCYYYY with extra Mary (aka Vodka!) + lime

So I came across this dip recipe and knew it was for me and my whole family could enjoy it because it is sans alcohol but FULL of flavor!

If there is anything I can impart on you today it is the importance of the Bloody Mary Mix.  I have had zillions of different mixes in my day but the one that goes above and beyond is….drumroll


The tag line is so true NOT Just Another Bloody Mary Mix!

Thanks to my brother John for the introduction to this wonderful concoction…it’s my Sunday brunch staple.

Check out this awesome and easy dip to make!

I wish you could taste this awesomeness through the screen!  And it is sooooooooooooo beyond easy to make

Here we go

Bloody Mary Dip (adapted from Yummly)

  • 2 packages of softened cream cheese (I used 1 pkg of Neufachatel & 1 pkg of low fat cream cheese)
  • 1/3 cup REAL Mayo (like Hellmanns)
  • juice 1/2 a lemon
  • 3/4-1 cup Zing Zang
  • 2 tsp Celery Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Horseradish (not pictured)
  • 1 shallot, finally minced
  • 1/3 cup of tomato puree
  • 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • several healthy chugs of Cholula

Put is all in a blender and mix together and you have a wonderful dip my friends!

Blend and it turns to this beautiful dip

Please chill this for a MINIMUM of 2 hours but the more the better!

Serve with pretzels or celery or tortilla chips or even with a spoon 😉

I have discovered some new dippers called Snack Factory – Pretzel Crisps and I am eating them with the dip right now!  I usually find these in the deli section of my local grocery store

This will make a great Halloween Party Dip for kids + adults!

Have a great Wednesday!

What were your favorite childhood games?

French Onion Soup Stuffed Shrooms


I am absolutely beat from an exhilirating & fabulous weekend!  I hope you have had a wonderful long weekend!

I have a quick recipe I would like to share that you will definitely want to make….we couldn’t eat these fast enough!

I am a big French Onion Soup lover and I love mushrooms so this combo couldn’t be any more perfect for me!  They would be the perfect appetizer for a party.

Here are the party players:

  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella (or whatever cheese makes you smile 🙂 )
  • A mixture of button & cremini shrooms (about 24)
  • 2 large onions
  • a few dashes of worcestershire sauce (lea & perrins please!)
  • kosher salt
  • smoky seasoned salt
  • 1 cup of beef broth
  • italian parsley

First preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Next chop your onions.  Cut them in half and then thinly slice them

I know this seems like a ton of onion but it will all cook down and you will eat it will a spoon!

Throw the butter in a pan and watch it melt

I like watching butter melt in a pan….I think it’s pretty.  I am strange, I know.

Put the onions in the pan on medium and let them do their thang….

Now it’s time to clean your shrooms.  Take a damp cloth and wipe off the shrooms

And then you will need to take the stems out so you will have a home for the wonderful onion love

Make sure you don’t scoop out the gills because they will allow the shrooms to stand up once they are cooked- otherwise they will be flat

Your onions should be sweating it out pretty well by now and may even have a little color on them……go ahead and add the beef broth and some white wine…..I forgot the wine in the setup pict OOPPSS!

I used Barefoot Pinot Grigio because it is a lite white wine and I like to drink it 😉

Obviously I was drinking it when I took this picture

Leave the onions and the liquid simmering on medium and let it reduce

It’s going to reduce for about 20 minutes or so and while you are doing that you will need to grate your cheese and chop your parsley

Now you can check on your onions

DROOL………..those are beautiful

now put your shrooms in the pan (brush the pan with olive oil) and stuff these babies

Sprinkle them with cheese and put them in the oven for 15 minutes

Pretend there is cheese on these please 🙂

after you take them out of the oven sprinkle them with italian parsley

and they will look like this

Look I saved a bite for you…..

Enjoy!  I promise you will heart these forever

I have been swimming all day and ready for bed….

I hope you had a FABU Labor Day and I have some great recipes to share with you this week!

What did you make for Labor Day today?

A few of my favorite things


Happy Friday friends!

I am sure everyone is looking forward to a 3 day weekend 🙂

I will be cooking a lot this weekend and will be posting different things but I thought I would do a quick Friday favorite things for Labor Day so you could have some ideas for your party if you are racking your brain!

Favorite Salsa

I have made a lot of salsa in my time and I have to say that Pioneer Woman is not messing around….it is delish!


Favorite Creamy Dip

I am such a spinach dip love-ah! I make it for lots of family/office/just to keep in my refrigerator for me to eat kind of functions!

It’s super easy and it’s great with veggies & wheat thins for dipping!


Favorite Potato Salad

I have been making this roasted potato salad for years and my 2 secret ingredients are cilantro & sweet corn (you don’t even cook it!  just cut off the cob!)


Favorite Flag Cake

Isn’t that just pretty?  Well with the cream cheese frosting it is a wonderful ending to the end of the summer!  I have also made this for a couple of years and have always gotten raves about it!


Favorite Slaw

this is yummilicious!  so fresh and clean and yum yum yum!  One thing to note is that you want to be sparing with the red onions because they only get stronger as it sits and if you want to have leftovers not like you’ll have any but if you do….you’ll not want your slaw to reek of onion the next day 😉


Favorite Cocktail

I know that I wrote a post on this already but it really is that good and I made it with Labor Day in mind!

Happy Labor Day Weekend Friends!






A little key lime love


Last night I wrote an amazing blog post about the Key Lime bars I made yesterday….it was fabulous even stupendous; however, you will never know because POOF it disappeared when I went to preview.  This is the second time this has happened since I got my new laptop and I am not too pleased but I can’t seem to figure out the logistics of why it is happening 😦  Going forward I am going to back everything up in a separate program so I can keep my sanity and my computer doesn’t end up on my neighbor’s roof 😉

So yesterday my inspiration came from a very unlikely source….a song!

I woke up singing the following:

Brother bought a coconut, he bought it for a dime
His sister had another one, she paid it for the lime

She put the lime in the coconut, she drank ’em both up

All morning it kept running through my head and so I decided that I would honor the beautiful keys and make a sweet key lime treat!

Key Lime Bars!  I have no will power when it comes to these babies…I go weak at the knees!

The crust is so buttery and zippy with the zest of the lime and the filling so creamy, luscious & tart with the key lime juice.

Here are the players:

Key Lime Bars (slightly adapted from Evil Shenanigans)

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

First you want to set your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×9 baking dish and line it with parchment–all I had was wax paper and I had to fight off the smoking so go ahead and use parchment!

Put the graham cracker crumbs, sugar & lime zest in a bowl

I love the idea of having lime zest in the crust….I am going to do that with lemon sometime in a cheesecake- that will be fun!

Then you drizzle in your melted butter~

and stir it with love and then pour it in your baking dish and you can use your fingers or the back of a spoon to spread out evenly and make sure it goes up the side about 1 inch….or be like me and I like the thick crust at the bottom–because every piece it not an end piece!  Equality for ALL I say!

Throw that into the oven and bake for 10 minutes while you make the filling

For the filling- add egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk & key lime juice and mix it up

When the crust has come out of the oven and cooled then pour the mixture into the baking dish and marvel at the masterpiece you are about to create!

pop that baby in the oven at the same temp for 10 minutes or until set.  You are not looking for any color on it…just for it to be firm and not giggly.

Behold your masterpiece~ BUT WAIT you must chill it for no less that 1 hour and 2 + hours is even better but let’s be honest…..who wants to wait!

Look how pretty- I garnished with some lime slices but you could also garnish with toasted coconut and even put it in the crust mixture….it just isn’t my thing but you can make it yours 😉

Please go forth and makes these fantabulous treats!  Make them for your friends, loved ones, friends of friends….just make them!  I promise you’ll be the most popular parent at the PTA if you bring these!

Have a great Thursday!

What is your favorite island nibble?