Morel Soup with Puff Pastry


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Today is a GREAT day, due to Pat “The Ranting Chef” 
I am a guest blogger today on his blog, a few weeks back he posted that he would feature “Guest Bloggers” every once in a while and well today is my day!!!

I’m very grateful for Pat letting me be apart of his Awesome blog and I hope many of his followers become my followers too, I would be honored if any of them would come and join in reading my blog.

The story that created this recipe is from one of  great memories working on the cruise ships.
For the recipe and story that goes along with is my Morel Soup with Puff Pastry
please click here to check it out

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I hope you will enjoy my guest blog over at Ranting Chef

Thank you Pat!!!  Enjoy everyone!!!


Homemade Granola


Homemade Granola is everywhere, pic 1

or I should say store made…You see in a lot of stores their own brand of homemade granola and it really is good if have not tried it you should give it a chance.  But I’ve always just wanted to make my own so I could control what was in it, seeds, nuts, fruit, honey or sugar or maple syrup or whatever.

So as I decided to make this I was thinking what do I want in it, I like pecans, walnut, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), pistachios, coconut and then I was thinking what else……….I got it…..Chia Seeds!!  Yes I know what you are thinking the “Chia Pet” this terracotta figurine, shaped in all kinds of characters.   You soak the figurine in water and then spread the seeds and watch it grow….well you are right  chia

But you can eat the seeds too and the people of the ancient Aztec and Mayan empires revered chia seeds as vital nourishment.  They are packed with Omega-3, protein, antioxidants and fiber.

While  getting my chia seeds, I saw Toasted Hemp Seeds and I thought…huh?…why not…They are high in protein, potassium, Fiber, Omega-3
and Omega-6, who knew…LOL!!

Okay so now I have all my so called nuts and bolts I need sweetness…I could use maple syrup which most recipes call for…and I found some locally but they also had Apple Cinnamon Syrup, I knew that was what I wanted to use, so I am now ready to go.


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I used Coconut oil to add to my syrup, I like using coconut oil in my everyday cooking, cook on low , stirring until coconut oil is melted

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once melted add vanilla and salt, stir to combine then set aside

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in a large bowl add nuts and seeds, mix to combine, if adding fruit you will add that after baking

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pour the oil and syrup mixture over nuts and seeds

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 stir to make sure everything is coated

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pour mixture to baking sheet and spread out

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bake at 325 degrees for 25 – 355 minutes, stirring half way through, I like my granola on the very crunchy side, so I let it get really brown, so keep in and stirring as it gets brown, just don’t let it burn

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Serve over yogurt or with milk

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Homemade Granola

3 cups oats (not quick oats)
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup pistachios
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup toasted hemp seeds
3/4 cup apple cinnamon syrup
4 tbsp. coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large bowl add the first 8 ingredients, stir to combine set aside.

In a small sauce pan add coconut oil & syrup, cook on low stirring until just melted, then add vanilla and salt and mix till salt is dissolved.
Pour oil mixture over the nuts and seeds, and toss to fully coat, pour mixture on to  two baking sheet and spread out, bake at 325 degrees for 25- 35 minutes.  

Let cool completely, if adding dried fruit so it at this point and store in air tight containers for up to a month, if it lasts that long!!

Have some on yogurt, or even Ice Cream, or just pour milk over it, or eat just as is…I don’t like mine that sweet, so this is not that sweet as other recipes can be, I also added some dried tart cherries at the end.  

I hope you will try and enjoy!!!

Sesame Crusted Shrimp with a Spicy Peanut Sauce

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sesfinal1This recipe really is quick and easy, and most definitely great for a party.

As I was coming up with this recipe I had recently purchased this new IMG_20130224_105604peanut butter powder, this company  was at one of our stores sampling and it really made my brain start to reel with ideas.  (I had no idea they had a website and recipes, so please go there for lots of great ideas and for the nearest store near you that carries this product)  If you love peanut butter you really need to try this for sure!!!

First thought was a peanut sauce, I love Thai peanut chicken so I thought well I’ll start with a sauce and then go from there.  I was having some friends over and I wanted to serve shrimp, with this peanut dipping sauce.  So this is what I did.

Now you can use regular peanut butter but if you are trying to cut out a lot of calories give this a try.



Devein shrimp and pat dry with paper towels


mix shrimp with oil, salt and pepper


mix both sesame seeds together


take shrimp and press one side into seeds and place seed side up on baking sheet



Bake and serve with sauce


Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth or water, (plus another 1/4 cup to thin sauce out, set aside it needed)
3/4 cup PB2
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. sriracha hot sauce or red pepper flakes
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated

Add all ingredients to a medium sauce pan over medium heat, whisking until smooth and well combined, cook until brown sugar has dissolved let cool, if sauce is to thin just add broth a little at a time and serve with shrimp.

If you want to use regular peanut butter, do use 3/4 cup and you will need that extra broth to thin it out.

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left on
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Black and White Sesame seeds

Toss shrimp in a bowl with the oil, salt and pepper, on a plate add about 2 tbsp. of each black and white sesame seeds, mix around with your fingers.

Then take shrimp and dip one side into the sesame seeds, place on line baking sheet, sesame seed side up.

Bake at 400 degrees until shrimp are opaque, this happens quickly so keep an eye on your shrimp.

Place on a platter and serve with the spicy peanut sauce.  Note – if you don’t like spicy just omit the sriracha hot sauce/red pepper flakes or don’t add as much.

This was a huge hit and you can serve at room temperature. 


Ciao Bella…..Limoncello


cover Limoncello is simply delicious, and I’ve always wanted to make it, but it does take some time and you must be patient.

FYI – below was taken straight from Wikipedia

Limoncello (Italian pronunciation: [limonˈtʃɛllo]) is an Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy, especially in the region around the Gulf of Naples, the Sorrentine Peninsula and the coast of Amalfi and islands of Procida, Ischia and Capri. It is also produced in Sicily, Sardinia, Menton in France, and the Maltese island of Gozo. Though there is debate about the exact origin of the drink, it is at least one hundred years old.

Traditionally, it is made from the zest of Femminello St. Teresa lemons, also known as Sorrento lemons or Sfusato Lemons. Lemon zest, or peels without the pith, are steeped in grain alcohol until the oil is released. The resulting yellow liquid is then mixed with simple syrup. Clarity and viscosity are affected by factors like the relative temperatures of the two liquids. Most lemons, including the more-common Eureka lemon, will produce satisfactory limoncello

Limoncello is traditionally served chilled as an after-dinner digestivo. Along the Amalfi Coast, it is usually served in small ceramic glasses themselves often chilled, the Amalfi coast being a center of both ceramics and limoncello production. This tradition has been carried into other parts of Italy.

Limoncello is the second most popular liqueur in Italy but has recently become popular in other parts of the world. Restaurants in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand are increasingly offering limoncello on their beverage and dessert menus. In the United States commercial producers using California lemons have introduced USA made limoncello, including Rometti Limoncello, Ventura Limoncello, and Fabrizia Limoncello. Limoncello is an increasingly popular ingredient in cocktails. Limoncello imparts a strong lemon flavor without the sourness or bitterness of lemon juice.

Okay let’s get making this good stuff!!!

 There are so many recipes out there for Limoncello, using Everclear, vodka, a lot of sugar a little sugar, steep for 7 days, steep for 21 days, steep for 45 days.  

This is the way I did it, first I choose to let steep for 42 days, so part two coming in 42 days, then part three coming in another 42 days.
I used 10 lemons, and I used “Potato Vodka” 80 proof…yes I know its better with Everclear or Vodka that’s 160 proof, but I have been wanting to drink “Potato Vodka” for awhile now so instead I decided to make my Limoncello out it.

Now part two will be adding the simple syrup, then letting steep for another 42 days…so I figure on April 25th will be the post date for part two and then part three post and drinking day should be on June 7th.  Ahhhh just in time to start the summer, I can already picture me sitting on my back deck, at dusk, listening to the fountain that runs in my little pond, maybe having some friends over for the 84 day celebration to sip on my first batch of Limoncello!!

Wait 84 days!!!!!  to make one batch…maybe I will start another batch in April, then another in May…just so I have enough to last the summer and if its good!! Well I might have a batch making party monthly!!!!  We will see!!

This is what you will need to the process

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wash the lemons!!!


peel your lemons, only the yellow part, try not to get the white pith part the best you can
I found out that the fresher your lemons are the easier they are to peel, so try to look for nice bright firm lemons.

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put peels into a glass jar that can seal tightly

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filter the alcohol, now you don’t have too, but some people do, its a debate all around whether to do this or not, most say to use a brita filter, but I didn’t have one so I used a coffee filter…will I filter next time…NO

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make sure all the peels are covered by the alcohol

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seal tightly and put in a dark cool place, every few days or once a week give your jar a swish

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Now what to do with all those lemons…juice them and make Fresh Lemonade!!!

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Or you can pour the juice into ice cube trays and freeze, then once frozen put cubes in a ziploc bag and now you have fresh lemon juice when you need it for a recipe.

Okay “Part Two” Limoncello in 42 days!!


Part One

750 ml  pure grain alcohol (like everclear or 150 proof vodka)
I used 80 proof Potato Vodka, next time I will try it with a higher proof
10 firm lemons
1 large with a tight lid (i used a half gallon Ball canning jar)

Part Two in 42 days

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water

Wash lemons with vegetable wash or soap…I did
then peel the zest of the lemons, you only want the yellow part, do you best not to get the white pith part or at lest very much of it.
Put peels in the jar, and pour your alcohol over top of the peels making sure all are covered.  You can use a coffee filter and strainer to pour the alcohol through as I did, next time I will not do this process.  I will just pour it straight in the jar.

Store the jar in a dark cool spot, and every few days give a swish until Day 42.

On Day 42 in a small sauce pan add  sugar and water, cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved  once dissolved let cook for one more minute then remove from and a cool completely.  Once mixture has cooled pour into jar with the peels and alcohol and stir.  Then put it back into that cool dark spot for another 42 days.
When day comes, strain (to catch peels) jar contents into a pitcher, then using a funnel pour liquid into decorative bottles or bottle, you can give them out as gifts if you want, or like me I’ll be keeping my “Liquid Gold”.
Whatever you keep store it in the freezer, that is how you want to serve it, ice cold in small glasses just for sipping.  

Let me know when you start your own batch!!  Enjoy!!!

Simply Roasted…


pic 1Roasted vegetables are just simply divine!!  That is in my opinion, well anything roasted is divine, if its roasted right and not on the verge of charcoal!   I usually will roast my veggies in the oven, that is until spring hits or I should say mid 60’s and not raining outside, then its time to grill.  I roasted some veggies last week when it was still cold and maybe a little snow…and then that weekend it got up to upper 60’s, oh well I grilled out anyway but I can’t wait for the spring to kick in that’s for sure.

I guess really you can roast any veggies, some maybe not as long as others, but for this bunch I put them all together.  pic 7

I had some fennel bulbs, onion, carrots, along with some maroon carrots from Texas and a turnip…yup one little old lonely turnip.  All with some garlic cloves, fresh dill and rosemary.

A friend of mine gave me a “Bunch” of rosemary that he got off his huge rosemary bush.pic 2   I clean about half the stems off and placed them in water and have them sitting on my table and I have fresh rosemary whenever I need.  They are growing roots and new tops, this is a great way to keep fresh rosemary around.  I’m really hoping the roots will be enough for me to plant them myself.

So really you can use any veggies or fresh herbs or dried if you do not have fresh for roasting.

My peeled and chopped veggies

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garlic (kept whole), mince the dill and the rosemary (too much rosemary can be over powering so be careful you can always add more if needed).

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tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, spread out on a baking sheet

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roast on 400 degrees till tender or how ever you like them, check them every 10 to 15 minutes and give them a quick turn.

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serve them up

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You can serve them with your choice of meat, or maybe with a salad, you can put them in a wrap,  on a burger or just by themselves are tasty.
This could be a great appetizer too, once roasted and cooled give another chop, slice a baguette, brush with olive oil, toast slices.
Serve on a platter with veggies, maybe goat cheese or feta crumbs, some pesto even some thinly sliced fresh mozzarella, let your guest make their own crostini’s.  Add bowl of mixed olives, a dish of Marcona Almonds and some wine you now have a party!!  

Mango Avocado Salad with Balsamic Poppy Seed Dressing

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This is “Part Two” of my previous blog
“Mango Wrapped Coconut Macadamia Nut Crusted Tilapia”

I served this salad with it and I must say it just went perfectly together.

Now like I have said in a past blog I work for a local grocery chain (Remke bigg’s), and I will get products from time to time from our merchandisers.  I recently got this product, that is not out yet, but it’s

Hellmann’s  – Creamy Balsamic Mayonnaise
mayo jar

So I’ve been trying to think of something to do with it, I do like it a lot, I’ve already made tuna salad with it and it gave it great flavor.  So I was thinking about this salad that I have had before but used a creamy store bought poppy seed dressing.  And thought well why not make a “Balsamic” Poppy Seed Dressing instead…

And you know, it was really, really good I must say, along with this salad my family got to partake in the eating of the fish recipe as well, when I was putting these couple of blogs together.

Ingredients for Dressing – along with a little sugar

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add mayo, balsamic, sugar and half n half in a bowl and whisk it together

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then add the poppy seeds and mix

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Prep Mango and Avocado

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Leftover Coconut Macadamia nut crusted topping
(from fish recipe, one right before this one) I toasted it until brown

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Put a little dressing in a large bowl
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Then add your lettuce and toss with tongs to coat leaves

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I place the tossed greens on a platter,
then topped it with the mango & avocado pieces

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You can certainly serve it just like that or use the topping
if you just make the salad you can add some toasted almond slivers,
pecans or whatever  you like

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Mango Avocado Salad with Balsamic Poppy Seed Dressing


1/4 cup Hellmann’s Balsamic Mayo
2 tbsp. half n half
1 1/2 tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Poppy seeds

In a small bowl add mayo, half n half, sugar & vinegar, whisk to combine then add poppy seeds.  This can be kept for up to a week in a container in the refrigerator.

1 mango
1 Avocado
1 Mixed greens
1/3 cup of crispy topping

Peel and chop mango, open avocado, take seed out and scoop out fruit, chop. You may not use all the mango or avocado, its up to you and how much you want to use.  This is what I use with a whole bag of mixed greens.

In a large bowl pour in about half of dressing, then add greens, toss to coat, if you need more dressing, pour it down the side of the bowl, and toss again, this just allows the greens coat evenly.

Place greens on a platter or individual plates, then top with mango, avocado and topping then serve!!  Enjoy!!!

Mango Wrapped Coconut Macadamia Nut Crusted Tilapia


fish 1I love me some fresh seafood, I wish I lived on the coast just for this reason.  When I worked on a cruise ship having fresh seafood in every port was not an issue, it was amazing!!!

Myself and my friends would have our favorite spots to go to in each port, and although they all had great fresh seafood, there was one place was my favorite…Cozumel Mexico!

We would go up into town, now I mean up in town past all the tourist spots where the locals eat and shop, to the “Market”.  Now this was not like our kind of markets here in the US, although the market was in a building, there were no doors.
And everything was out in the open; fruits, vegetables, Meats, breads, oh yes I did say ‘Meats”, out in all it’s glory, hanging and flies everywhere.  Yes this was not appealing, but I really didn’t go there for the meat.  Of course the produce was out of this world fresh, oranges and melons that were so sweet it was like eating candy.  Fresh tortillas being made right in front of you, this was really was one the highlights of visiting Cozumel.
Right outside of this market was a courtyard in a “U” shape, and when it was closed it would look like just a bunch of garage doors.  But when open, the garage doors would lift to reveal all these individual kitchens.
All with there own specially dishes, but we only ate at this one kitchen every Friday like clock work.  We’d go early into the market get some fruit, veggies, really whatever appealed to us and what we wanted to cook for lunch.
Yes I said cook, this one Kitchen would let me use the kitchen to cook whatever we bought in the market, it was awesome.
The only thing we would get from them was some of the Freshest Red Snapper and Grouper I ever had, we’d be there when the doors opened and then here comes the fisherman walking up with a cooler.  He had just got off his boat with this fresh fish and we would pick the ones we want and the kitchen would cook it right up. Head, body, tail and all and serve up with white rice.  

red snapper
My boyfriend at the time loved the head, I will not go into detail on what he ate from that, I was happy to let him eat that part. LOL

So I came up with this fish dish for Fish Friday’s in my house!!  Plus it does have that Caribbean flare!

Mango Wrapped Coconut Macadamia Nut Crusted Tilapia


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Coconut, panko breadcrumbs, macadamia nut

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in a skillet add butter, oil, shallots & red pepper

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Cook for about 2 minutes

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add panko breadcrumbs, nuts & coconut flakes

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once combined (above), remove from heat and add brown sugar, set aside to cool

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peel mango

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with peeler, peel long ribbons of mango for wrapping

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I used a whole fillet and cut it in half

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starting at one end take mango ribbons and start wrapping fillets

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wrapped fillets

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add topping to each fillet, you can use as little or as much
(I used the leftovers for a salad topping – recipe to come)

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then bake

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I served it with a Mango Avocado Salad with Balsamic Poppy Seed Dressing
(recipe coming soon)

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Mango Wrapped Coconut Macadamia Nut Crusted Tilapia

1 whole tilapia fillet, cut in half 
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
2 tsp. brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp. butter (you can use all olive oil)
2 tbsp. lime infused olive oil ***see note below
1 large shallot, chopped
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 mango
salt to taste

Add butter, oil, shallots and red pepper flakes to a skillet and cook over med. to med. high heat, once butter has melted cook for 1 – 2 minutes more.
Add breadcrumbs, coconut and nuts, stirring to coat with butter mixture, once all is coated then remove from heat stir in brown sugar and taste for needed salt.  Set aside to cool

Peel mango, then take peeler and run it around the mango, trying to make long ribbons of mango.  If they break that is okay you can piece it together. (the remaining mango, use in salad recipe)
Take ribbons and start at one end of the fish and continue wrapping to other end, place on baking sheet, top with breadcrumb mixture, you can add as much or as little as you want.  Keep leftover crumb mixture for salad topping.

Bake fish at 400 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes, you want topping to be golden brown, my oven I cooked it for 15 minutes and fish was perfect.

You can serve the fish with anything you like, I served mine with a salad, I will post that recipe in the next few days 🙂

***Note – Lime infused olive oil, I got this oil at a specialty store, you do not have to use this oil, you can use plan olive oil, if you want that hint of lime then add the juice of half a lime in the crumb mixture when you add the brown sugar, if you want more lime flavor add the juice of the other half, and you can always add the zest of the lime as well!!
You also do not need to use butter, you can just use 4 tbsp. oil in the recipe.

Hope you enjoy this one and hey tell all your friends about me and my blog…Enjoy!!