I am constantly amazed at how animated and talkative people get when you mention food. The mere aroma of certain foods can evoke memories that transport us back to a special place and time. Food can bridge the gap between all ages, races and ethnicities.
Let's face it, the only thing that should ever come between people is a table and some serving bowls.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Copycat With Good Taste!

I know a gal who can put away a few baskets of these prior to her meal arriving while dining at the Red Lobster. We have this standing joke that when it comes to having an appetite and being able to pack in the food, that she is the master! I absolutely love watching her eat, she so enjoys her food. I do have to say that the biscuits at the Red Lobster are amazing so I was happy to find a recipe that is pretty darn close in both taste and texture. You definitely do not want to make a batch of these if you are counting calories but every once in awhile you just have to treat yourself to something sinfully delicious.

Biscuits Ala Red Lobster

2 c. Bisquick
2/3 c. milk
1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/2 c. melted butter
1/4 tsp. garlic salt (if you are watching your sodium intake, substitute with garlic powder)
Fresh or dried minced parsley for a light sprinkle, optional

Mix Bisquick, milk and cheddar until a soft ball forms. Beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Drop by balls onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Mix butter and garlic and brush on rolls while still on the pan and hot.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Raw Truth

I am currently on my eighteenth day of a 21 day raw food program. What drew my interest to this was a documentary I saw about a woman in the destructive stages of diabetes. In her desperation to get better she searched the internet and the one thing that kept coming up was the benefits of a raw food diet. During her search she found a place called; "The Tree of Life 21 day program". This program claimed that people had been going off their medications after as little as 4 days. Being both skeptical and hopeful all at the same time she went to her doctor and told him she was going to make the trip and try this program. Needless to say as a doctor he was skeptical but could see no harm in her trying it, besides he was also curious to examine her afterward to witness the results for himself. Well to make a long story short, this woman did the program which consisted of 21 days of nothing but raw unprocessed foods, all plant based and absolutely nothing could be heated above 116 degrees. They used cheese and ice cream that was made from nuts because absolutely no dairy or soy is allowed. There was always more than enough to eat and she really did enjoy the food. By her fourth day she was able to stop her medication and by her nineteenth day she had lost 16 pounds with her only exercise being some light to moderate walking each day. When she came back home her doctor could not believe how good her stats were and told her to continue eating the raw foods and occasionally implement a bit of meat or fish if she wished. Well her whole family rallied around her and years later she is still off all her medications and her and her entire family are leaner and healthier than they have ever been.
Luckily I am not diabetic but it does run heavily in my family. I was more interested in the weight loss aspect of this way of eating and the overall health benefits. So here I am on my 18th day feeling better than ever. I've lost about 10 pounds and my energy level is through the roof, so I am very pleased with the results. I have decided to make raw foods a consistent 75% of my lifestyle and allow 25% of the many foods I love and crave to be eaten periodically throughout.
I would suggest this program to anyone who just wants to feel better, there is no starvation here you can eat an enormous amount of food. Just look into it, I promise you will not be sorry that you did.

Raw Fresh Salsa

3 or 4 lg. tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 fresh chilies, seeded and chopped
5 green onions, chopped
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. minced fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. sea salt

In lidded jar or covered non reacting container, combine all ingredients and marinate for at least 1 hour.

This salsa will keep in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks.

Makes 2 cups.


Friday, August 14, 2009


My first tasty experience with a frozen banana was many years ago when I was vacationing as a child in Disney World Florida. To give you an idea as to just how long ago that was Epcot Center didn't even exist. While there visiting all the different attractions my aunt and I kept spotting these little carts along the way with a sign that read; frozen bananas on a stick. Well needless to say that perked our curiosity along with the fact that it was 90 degrees and the thought of anything cooling was very inviting. So my aunt and I took the plunge and each got one, they just looked like fun to eat. They were so pretty enrobed in all that chocolate and generous coating of chopped peanuts. The first bite was difficult as they were frozen rock hard. But once we succeeded we were in taste bud heaven. The crackle of the chocolate coating and the crunch of the peanuts were a delightful experience but the true star was that texturally amazing frozen banana. You would swear that we were eating high butter fat banana custard, it was rich and creamy just like ice cream without the drippy mess you would normally get with ice cream on a hot day.
Just recently a local ice cream parlor where we live started carrying frozen bananas dipped in chocolate and coated with various things such as nuts, sprinkles, crushed cookies and the other day they even had some coated with different types of cereal.
Soon the obsession crept in and we were going to purchase these little gems a few times a week until we realized it was taking a ridiculous toll on the pocket book.
That is when we decided that it would probably be easier and a lot less expensive to make these ourselves. It was a delicious decision and now whenever we open our freezer we know that there is something special waiting for us to enjoy.
Just have fun with these, they are so easy to make and keep for weeks in the freezer. The perfect treat for the entire family to make and enjoy together.

Chocolate Dipped Frozen Bananas

6 tbsp. butter
1-1/2 cups of semi sweet chocolate morsels
8 Ripe but not too ripe bananas
8 wooden sticks
Assorted coatings; Nuts, sprinkles, cereal, crushed cookies whatever you like it's completely optional because these taste just as good with the banana and chocolate alone.

Another tasty suggestion: split bananas lengthwise and spread a little peanut butter on flat side then put halves back together. Now you have a whole banana filled with peanut butter ready to dip in chocolate, these are really good!

Melt butter and chocolate together and simmer over low heat stirring until smooth. Pour chocolate mixture into a dish and set aside. Peel bananas; insert stick into end of banana. Immediately dip each banana into melted chocolate and coat evenly, then roll in your choice of coatings pressing gently into chocolate. Place on waxed paper lined tray and freeze until firm, about 2 hours, serve frozen. To store wrap each in aluminum foil and keep in freezer, these will keep for weeks if people can stop eating them long enough!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Childhood Favorite All Grown Up

I could not find a picture of the ham and raisin tv dinner to save my soul.....

Talk about something conjuring up a memory. I was surfing the internet and I happened to see this recipe for raisin sauce and I immediately thought; "Swanson's Ham and Raisin Glaze TV Dinner". There were only two TV dinners that I would ever eat, one being the ham and the other was the fried chicken. I could not imagine eating a TV dinner now, they are so expensive. Plus that little bit of food they give you would never satisfy my appetite, I would need at least two of those dinners to call it a meal. I am sure that this recipe I found is much fancier than Swanson's version which was perfectly suited to a child's palate. Let's just say this is my childhood ham and raisin dinner all grown up.... hurry up and pass the ham so I can ladle on the sauce!

Raisin Sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup seedless raisins
1 tablespoon ham drippings or butter
1/2 cup ginger ale

In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, orange rind, mustard and cornstarch. Stir in orange juice. Bring to a boil, lower heat and continue to simmer until mixture thickens (5-10 minutes). Add raisins and butter or drippings from ham; cook another 3-4 minutes. Stir in ginger ale.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Grandmothers'... The True Icing On The Cake!

Everyone's a critic when it comes to butter cream frosting it's too gritty, too sweet, too hard, too soft. The fact of the matter is that it's nearly impossible to ruin a butter cream frosting. For almost every possible scenario of what could go wrong there is an easy remedy. If it is too stiff, add milk a little at a time until desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too soft, add more confectioners' sugar about a quarter cup at a time until its right.
A basic butter cream frosting to the pastry world is not unlike a B├ęchamel sauce to the savory world; both can take on whatever flavor you choose to give it. It is the white canvas of your imagination and senses to freely and limitlessly create upon.
I grew up preferring my grandmother's butter cream frosting to any of the store or bakery versions that I had tried. As a child I did not appreciate the amount of work that my grandmother put into her baking, I merely reaped the results of her efforts with delight and an insatiable hunger for more. Now that I am older and have that modern day ego that has conditioned me to think that I am somehow more pressed for time than she was in her day was the perfect excuse as to why I found her recipe a bit over the top time wise and went for my slightly quicker version of butter cream frosting. I believe that my version is still as creamy, buttery and delicious as my grandmother's recipe and holds up well on any cake, cupcake or cookie. The only flaw with my recipe was not the ingredients that it had but more so the ingredient that it lacked...... my grandmother. We have so many ingredients at our disposal these days that afford us the ability to prepare any recipe. Only one ingredient remains that can never be bottled, boxed or purchased and that ingredient is the loving heart and hand of a grandmother happily at work in the kitchen preparing her families' favorites as only she can; nothing could ever be sweeter than that.

Grandmother's Version of Butter Cream Frosting

10 tbsp. flour
2 cups of milk
1 cup of Crisco
1 cup of butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups confectioners sugar

Put milk in saucepan over low heat. Add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir constantly until smooth. Let cool. Meanwhile, mix Crisco, butter, vanilla and sugar. When flour mixture is cooled, beat everything together until smooth.

Granddaughter's version of butter Cream Frosting - my recipe will make less frosting than my grandmother's, just double the amounts if you need more.

1 lb. powdered sugar
1 cup of butter
3 tbsp. milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Beat half the sugar with the shortening and butter. Gradually add milk. Continue beating, add vanilla and gradually add remaining sugar until the right consistency is reached.

FYI - A good butter cream frosting should taste sweet and buttery without being gritty.
Butter cream frosting can be refrigerated up to a week safely. Just remember to bring it to room temperature before using.