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Wendy’s Birthday Dinner

Wendy is a member of a  group of us that get’s together every Wednesday to play Dominoes.  It just so happened that her birthday fell on our Domino night and I wanted to make a special dinner.  (Wendy is also the author of Henri and Friends.)


-The Menu-

Crab Cake topped on a bed of Season Greens

Black Bean Succotash

Garlic Shrimp

Fresh Tomato Focaccia Bread

Warm Rice Pudding – Requested by Birthday Girl

Black Bean Succotash

1 16oz can of Black Beans (drained & rinsed)

1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper

1/2 small chopped sweet onion

1 cup fresh or frozen corn

2 cups fresh or frozen sliced okra (optional)

2 Romana tomatoes diced

1 Tablespoon of chopped cilantro or parsley

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

Juice from one lime.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly saute onions, okra, sweet peppers and corn in olive oil and season add black beans and with salt and pepper.  Let cool add juice from one lime. Best made a day ahead.

Garlic Shrimp

An easy recipe for shrimp scampi, made with shrimp, garlic, butter, and a little white wine and lemon juice.

  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp (about 16 to 24)
  • 1/4 cup  butter
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh if possible
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Peel and devein shrimp and set aside.   Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic 1 or 2 minutes or until softened but not browned. Add shrimp, green onions, wine and lemon juice; cook until shrimp are pink and firm, about 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Do not overcook. Add chopped parsley and salt and pepper before serving.

Bananas with Rum Sauce

  • 4 bananas, peeled and sliced   DSC07673
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

In a skillet melt 3 tablespoons butter add brown sugar and rum (I used Meyers Rum) reduce slightly add bananas, nuts, cinnamon and vanilla heat until bananas start to soften but do not over cook, last add 1 tablespoon of  COLD butter.  Serve warm over vanilla ice cream or pound cake topped with whipped cream.

Quick and easy last minute dessert.

Not Mom’s Rice Pudding.

Well, darn I always have a picture of my recipes but we were so fast to getting into the warm and tasty rice pudding I forgot to take a picture. A friend of ours Wendy (author of Henri & Friends) ask me to make her rice pudding for her birthday dessert. I have not thought about rice pudding in years it was something my Mother made that I just loved. I have learned over the years that I can not reproduce my Mom’s recipes. I don’t think it’s the recipe that I can’t reproduce it’s the feeling of coming to Mom’s kitchen with all the smells and watching what she love most ….cooking for friends and family.

Since Mom never used recipes I got online and found this simple stove top rice pudding….not bad but not Mom’s.

1 – 1/2 cups of uncooked white rice

4 cups of milk

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 beaten eggs

1-1/3 cup of golden raisins (I only used about a cup)

2 Tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, add rice and stir. Reduce heat cover and simmer 20 minutes.

In a saucepan, combine 3 cups of cooked rice, 3 cups milk, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Stir in remaining 1 cup of milk with 2 beaten eggs and raisins. Cook 2 minutes more, constantly stirring.  Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Wonderful served warm with a dollop of whipped cream.

Mixed Berry Biscuit Cobbler

In a hurry for a quick dessert?

4 to 5 cups of fresh or frozen fruit

1 1/2 cups of sugar

3 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 can (12 oz) Pilsbury Golden Layers

refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

4 Tablespoons sugar

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

Heat oven to 400 degress.  In a saucepan add cut up fruit 1 1/2 cups sugar and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat until mixtures boils and thickens.

Pour into 13 x 9 glass baking dish. Separate dough into 8 biscuits, cut each biscuit into quarters. Roll each quarter in to the remaining 4 Tablespoons of sugar and place on top of thicken berry mixture.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Let cool but serve warm, topped with ice cream or whipped cream.

Creole Succotash – Tasty Tuesday


1 choppped medium onion

2 chopped stalks of celery

1 chopped bell pepper

1 lb. okra (16 oz frozen cut-up)

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

1 to 2 cups chicken stock

1 16oz bag of frozen baby lima beans

5 – 6 ears of corn cut off the cob (can use frozen)

1 1/2 lb. cleaned devined shrimp

Creole season to taste

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley

4 Tablespoons of olive oil

Saute onions, peppers and celery in oil until tender. Add tomatoes (diced & sauce), corn, baby lima beans, Creole seasoning and chicken stock  simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add okra, shrimp and chopped parsley and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes. Great served over brown rice anc topped with chopped green onions.

What I love about summer.

Usually on Tuesdays I have a recipe of something I’ve made during the week, but this week I completely forgot so I will share a simple sweet and tart vinaigrette.  The one thing we have been doing is going to our local markets for fresh vegetables,  so look forward to some fresh veggie recipes in the coming weeks.  I might have to make some blackberry cobbler with those big juicy berries.


Sweet and Tart Mustard Vinaigrette

8 Tablespoons of olive oil

2 Tablespoons of mustard

4 Tablespoons of red wine vingar

3 teaspoons of honey or maple syrup

1 Tablespoon of fresh herbs (parsley, basil or chives) optional

salt and pepper to taste

Put all the above in a jar…cover, shake and chill.

Barley Vegetable Stuffed Mushrooms

Craig and I have been trying to eat healthier.  After a visit to EarthFare (health food store) and coming home with some unprocessed barley I came up with this recipe.  If you do not have barley you can used cooked rice.

4 – Large Portabello Mushroom caps cleaned

Saute in 2 tablespoons of olive oil –  1/2 chopped onion, 1/2 chopped bell pepper and one minced toe of garlic.

Add vegetables – 3 cups total. I used corn, peas, carrots and chopped mushrooms continue to saute until vegetables are tender.


3 chopped green onions chopped

2 tablespoons of chopped  Italian Flat Leaf Parsley

Add one cup of cooked barley or cooked rice.

Season with salt and pepper.

Let filling cool then add one beaten egg and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese or grated cheese blend.

Now pile it on top of your cleaned Portabello Mushroom caps. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Top with Marinara Sauce and grated cheese and bake another 10 minutes. Great served with salad and crusty Italian bread.

If you are looking for organic healthy recipes check out EarthFares website.

Caution Naked Chicken


Beer Can Chicken

If you have not done a beer can chicken before here is a great video on YouTube.

I think it’s one of the best ways to do a chicken on a grill.. always moist, never dry.

All time Basic Barbecue Rub good for chicken or pork.

1/2 cup course salt                DSC06660

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup paprika

3 Tablespoons black pepper

1 Tablespoon garlic

1 Tablespoon onion flakes

1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

Looking to grill some ribs this summer use this basic rub recipe on your ribs.


Simple Hummus – Tasty Tuesday


I love chickpeas/ garbanzo beans on salads in wraps and especially made into hummus.

This is a very easy recipe and can be kicked up if you like.

16 oz. of drained chickpeas or black beans

2 Tbsp. of Tahini or Peanut ButterDSC06977

1 large clove of chopped garlic

Juice from one lemon

1 teaspoon of salt

Add a little heat with either pepper, jalapenos or red pepper

Optional additions can be curry, cumin, parsley or cilantro

In blender or food processer add beans, Tahini, garlic, lemon juice,  and salt blend then season with seasoning of your choice.

Hummus is great made into a veggie wrap, served on a hot pita or with your favorite chip.

Black Bean and Mango Salsa – Tasty Tuesday

This is so easy and great with just about anything you can top your grilled chicken breast, fish, pork chops or eat it with tortilla chips.  I served it over  crab cakes  and the recipe can be found here on my blog.



  • 1 cup cooked black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • juice from one lime
  • 2 cups diced fresh fruit (mango, pineapple, and/or cantaloupe
  • 1/4 finely chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped red and/or green red peppers
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro or flat leave parsley
  • Chipotle Pepper Sauce (I use about 1 teaspoon +/- for you liking)

          Mix and refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.




Easy way to dice a mango,  slice along side the seed, just off center.





          Score mango into a dice pattern.



For Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner…Quiche


This week’s Tasty Tuesday is Vegetable Quiche. This is a very quick and easy recipe you can use what ever vegetable you have or add some chopped ham or cooked chicken to your veggies.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
  • 1 (9 inch) deep dish unbaked pie crust
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella, swiss, or cheddar cheese
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Saute onion, mixed raw veggies, and garlic until veggies are slightly soft, let cool mix with shredded cheese and place in unbaked pie shell.

In a blender mix eggs, milk, salt, pepper and butter. Pour over cheese and veggie mixture. Top with sliced tomatoes, red bell peppers or black olives.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until center is firm and toothpick comes out dry.

Trivia who remembers?  the commerical with Ernest saying ” Hey, Vern, just put some ketchup on it” as he is looking at a piece of quiche. Gosh the Ernest and Vern commericals were funny. I guess I’m really telling my age now. 🙂


Key Lime Pie – Easy, Fast, No Cook


My parents owned a restaurant in Key Largo, Florida for 25 years and we made a lot of  Key Lime pies. You can buy bottled lime juice, but if you are lucky enough to get fresh it’s worth all the work of squeezing those little Key Limes.

  • 5 egg yolks beaten
  • 1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared pie shell Graham Cracker or prebaked pie shell.

Beat egg yolks until light in color add condensed milk, mix well. Slowly pour lime juice as you mix. Pour into pie shell, refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  Serve topped with whip cream.  Enjoy!