Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer!!


So are you one of those people that CANNOT wait till fall hits so you can get your
Pumpkin Spice Latte on!! 😛


As you know most of the coffee shops only have this Pumpkin Spice Syrup during the fall and maybe into the winter???

I don’t know because I am not one of those people 😛

But it doesn’t mean I don’t want to get on the “Band Wagon” and make my own…LOL!!

So many recipes have been flying around the internet, so I decided I would give it a try…

And let me tell you it turned out DELICIOUS!!!!!!!

I kind of shock myself…LOL 😛

So of course I dug into my spices to find the hidden Pumpkin Pie Spice in the back from the fall before LOL and finally can open one of the two large can of pumpkin pure, again from the fall before 😦

Okay so what else…I found some sweetened condensed milk and now I just needed cream, but I didn’t want to use cream, so I settled for half n half.

Okay I think I am ready to go and this is how it all went.



in a saucepan, pumpkin, milk and spice


stir that up, then stir in the half n half


cook on med-high
okay I will confess, I had in on med-high, but I was trying to do other things as well, and I may not have been stirring it the whole time…hence it started to burn on the bottom, when I went back to it, and started whisking like a mad women, black bits started to surface.  I may have cursed that this time, but I turned it down to low and kept on whisking until it thickened a little, then I let it cool for 5 minutes

Once I tried it was AWESOME!! It tasted like Toasted Pumpkin Marshmallow 🙂
I thought Holy Crap I just added another flavor dimension…WOOO HOOOO!!!!! LOL 🙂


It does get a little darker as it thickens


now you have strain this through a fine mesh strainer,
and take the back of a spatula and force the mixture through the
strainer by moving the spatula back and forth




this is what you will have left in the strainer


after I let the mixture cool in the fridge,
I poured it into 2 little mason jars



This will keep in your fridge up to 2 weeks
if it last that long 🙂 LOL


My Pumpkin Spice Cappuccino


I added to my mug, about 2 Tbsp. pumpkin mixture
2 Tbsp. creamer and stir it up


Then I frothed that



Then I add my espresso



and to finish it off I sprinkle a little
Pumpkin Pie Spice on top…it was just Yumm!!!


Now you can just mix it into your regular coffee,
as I did at the office this morning 🙂




As I talk to some of the ladies this morning, I started coming up
all kinds ideas to do with this mixture besides to put in your
coffee…oh a can wait to get back in the kitchen…stay tune!!!


Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup half n’ half, or cream or whole milk

Whisk everything together in a saucepan, cook over med-high, whisk until mixture thickens
and darkens a little.  Like I said above, let it burn a little and it will give it a toasted flavored, I felt
like that added such good flavor.

Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer, take a spatula and force mixture through the strainer by going back and forth.  Pour mixture into a jar or container and keep refrigerated for up to two weeks if it last that long…LOL  Mind didn’t 😛

Add as much or as little to your coffee or tea and sit back and enjoy!!



Eggplant Parmesan…my way!!



As I have mentioned in a recent post my Dad has a garden and so another vegetable that has been a plenty is Eggplants.
Most of the summer, I would grill them or just roast them in the oven, and a couple of times I made Eggplant Parmesan.  I would post my pictures on facebook and of course my friends say tell me the recipe.

So this last time I tried to remember as making it to take pictures of the process and what I do 🙂

First I used my homemade tomato sauce that I made out of the tomatoes from my Dad’s garden and I love using Fresh Mozzarella 🙂

So enjoy!!

First I peeled, sliced then sprinkled slices with salt in a colander
for 30-40 minutes, then pat each slice dry with paper towel. 
(LOL of course the first picture of that I forgot to take)
Then place them on a baking sheet 


I took panko bread crumbs and fresh grated Parmesan Cheese


Mixed in some Sandwich Sprinkle from Penzeys
(coarse salt, garlic, black pepper, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme and marjoram)
you can add Italian seasonings as well


Put about 2 Tbsp. on mixture on top of each slice


with your hand press down crumb mixture


Then I sprayed each piece with PAM – Olive oil spray
of course you could drizzle with olive oil if you wish too.



Then bake in a 385 degree oven until tops are brown


Sauce you can use any you like, so pick your favorite
I used my homemade sauce and I added
some of the Sandwich Sprinkle to the sauce


I have some Fresh Sliced Mozzarella


In a sprayed baking dish, place a eggplant down
and top with sauce


Then top with a slice of mozzarella


Place another piece of eggplant and repeat
with sauce and cheese


I topped the final piece of cheese with the rest of the sauce


I had crumb mixture leftover


and I sprinkled some over top the entire dish
And bake at 385 degrees until brown 


and cheese is melted and brown




This was so good, most of the time I don’t measure anything so when
I cook unless I write it down it really just turns out to what I have 
in my pantry and such.  So when I am experimenting and it turns out good, I have to remember what I did so I can share in a blog, and then most the time I don’t take picture either 😛 LOL
The last time I made this (pictures below), I did the same except I didn’t have
any crumb mixture left, so I sprinkle the final layer with a little parmesan chesse

They both turned out delicious 😛 so as you make yours just make to what you like and
it will be just as Delicious!!




Eggplant Parmesan

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

4 medium size eggplant, peeled, sliced a 1/2- 3/4 inch thick (6 slices from each)
3 cups of tomato sauce
3 Tbsp. Penzeys Sandwich Sprinkle or Italian seasonings, divided
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh Mozzarella sliced, 2 slices for each stack
(used 1 1/2 logs for 8 stacks, so 2 logs would work for 12 stacks)
PAM Olive Oil spray

Sprinkle each slice of eggplant both sides lightly with salt, place slice in colander in the sink,
let set for 30-40 mins.  Then pat each piece with a paper towel, doing this helps draw out the bitterness that some eggplants tend to have.

In a bowl add panko, Parmesan and 2 Tbsp. seasonings; mix together.  Place slices on a baking sheet and put about 1- 1 1/2 Tbsp. of mixture on top, press mixture down with hand then spray with olive oil spray.
Crumb mixture does fly around a little that is why I press down the mixture, you can drizzle tops with olive oil if you wish.  Bake at 385 degrees until tops are brown about 25 minutes or so. 

Meanwhile get your tomato sauce ready, mix in 1 Tbsp. seasoning, have mozzarella slices ready.
Spray a baking dish that will hold the amount you are making.

Once eggplant tops have browned, place half the slice in the baking dish, top with 1 – 1 1/2 Tbsp. sauce,
then a slice of cheese, repeat again, eggplant, sauce and cheese.
At this point you can top each stack with leftover sauce and sprinkle with any left over crumb mixture, or just sprinkle some a little Parmesan cheese over top.  Bake at 385 degrees until light brown and cheese is bubbly.  

You can really make this your own, you like more sauce use more sauce, or cheese even, if you want to stack 3 high then stack 3 high.  These a great meal served with a simple salad on the side.



You Say Tomato I Say Tomahto!!


Tomatoes, who has tomatoes…I DO!!!!!!!!

My Dad’s garden is producing a plenty, his plants are 8 feet tall and going wild!!!

I have a few pictures here from the beginning stages, they are about 5 to almost 6 foot at this point,
my Dad here is growing, leaf lettuce, kale, peppers, cucumbers, onions, green beans, eggplants and of course Tomatoes!!!
There maybe be more he grows but I can remember, I do know he has another patch that asparagus is in and the green house that things grow too…

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but I just decided to write this blog about tomatoes last night, so I don’t have recent pictures of it 🙂 these picture were about the 2nd week of June

So I have been eating a lot of tomatoes lately, but they have really only been from my Dad’s, I don’t buy them usually, but I do love when I get them from him and his garden.

As anyone knows they just taste better than you can get in the store and it’s really the only eat time I do eat them.
My Mom and Dad will freeze them, stew them, roast them, sauce them, slice them for BLT (which I think they east daily during the summer) and chop them for salads.  Plus whatever else they do with them 🙂

I on the other hand I tend to eat them a little differently 🙂

First I blanch them and remove the skins, I have issues with the skins, that’s all I will say 🙂

Here are a few pictures of ways that I have enjoyed using my Dad’s fresh tomatoes from his garden.

I hope you will enjoy too!!!

Making sauce, in my Vitamix are tomatoes, roasted garlic, some Italian herbs, red pepper flakes and salt.
The Vitamix will also cook it too you let it run about 5-7 minutes and you have hot soup or sauce 🙂


Mixing it all up



Freezing some for winter 🙂

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Cooking some down too


This is the cherry tomatoes, sauteed with garlic, onions and spinach
tossed with the pasta, then fold in some fresh mozzarella pearls
then a drizzle of some balsamic glaze…Delish!!!!


My all time favorite thing in the world is
Polenta with fresh tomatoes and a poached egg!!!
This is heaven for me!!!



another day again…YUMMY!!!


This is my FBT…Fake bacon and tomato 😛


Ran out of the cornmeal to make polenta
So I made couscous instead…Delish too!!!


This was last night’s dinner
tomatoes, roasted garlic tossed with pasta and some fresh mozzarella cubes
I was talking about making this a work…so ladies this is what I made…simple and quick 🙂

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Oh and here is the kale and I made some kale chips…very good with a
sprinkle of kosher salt and garlic powder 🙂

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Here are couple of links of 2 more of my blogs that I used tomatoes in the past
First up is my Tomato Cobbler – this turned out really really good so if you
want something a little different try this recipe.

 Second is Orzo Salad with Basil, Tomato & Feta – I made this at one
of my outdoor cooking classes last year.

Enjoy the rest of the summer everyone!!!

What’s next here hopefully sooner than later
my trip to Bourbon Country 🙂

Summer Cooking Class Series!!


Yes I know I have been a little “MIA” lately!!!

But this summer has been busy and I can’t believe its JULY!!!! 
I have my hand in so many different little things that I am just so busy and it’s been hard to find the time to blog.  Plus I have not been cooking anything really good for myself, so hence no blogs.

But I did finish a couple weeks ago a cooking class series that I did in 3 of our stores 🙂

They all turned out great, a lot of grilling and a few out of the box recipes, beer sampling with one too!!

Here are a few pictures of the dishes and the crowds, it was a great time and I had a LOT of help from some of GREAT co-workers.

I hope you enjoy!!!

Grilled Fruit Pizza – naan bread, Camembert cheese, blackberries, strawberries, basil and balsamic glaze

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Grilled Asian Corn with peanuts

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Grilled Watermelon with arugula, feta and balsamic glaze

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Crowd pic

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Veggie Pizza – Garlic naan bread, red pepper hummus, grilled veggies topped with goat cheese

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Grilled pound cake and pineapple

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Grilled German Potato Salad


Grilled veggies with garlic couscous topped with basil


crowd pics

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Zucchini & tomato salad with ricotta, Parmesan and pesto


Hawaiian Rice – cooked in coconut milk, golden raisin, macadamia nuts and green onions

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Mango & pineapple salsa

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Crowd Pics



Grilled romaine with mango vinaigrette, shredded jicama, pineapple, red pepper and black sesame seeds

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Me – having fun with the microphone….I love being on the Microphone 😛 

Chef Amy

Red Velvet Cheesecake!!! “Fiesta Friday #63”


“Red Velvet, Red Velvet, send “Cheesecake” right over” LOL

Anyone remember playing “Red Rover, Red Rover” as a kid 😉 if not just google it LOL 😛

Anyway I was trying to start my blog out in a silly kind of way, but there is no silliness when “Red Velvet” is involved 😉

Of course Red Velvet everything starts to come out around Valentine’s Day, and this is around that time I made this delicious cheesecake.

Of course I did share with several friends and I must say I had “zero” complaints 🙂 LOL

So I thought this would be perfect for this week’s “Fiesta Friday #63”, of course our host is Angie@The Novice Gardener her new blog for Fiesta Friday’s is here and her co-host this week are Julianna@Food On Board and Hilda@Along The Grapevine.

So I’d like to thank them for letting me share this recipe 🙂

So without further ado here you go!!

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Crust –

place biscuits in food processor




Pulse until it becomes fine crumbs


this is the 1 1/2 cup of the tea biscuits



Add melted butter and crumbs together




butter & crumb mixture




spray your spring-form pan


Pour crumb mixture into pan


with your fingers firmly press crumb mixture into pan
and up the sides about 1 inch


Filling – cream cheese softened



blend the cream cheese until smooth



add eggs one at a time, blending well after each one




add the sugar



add sour cream



add salt & cornstarch



add vanilla


scrap your bowl


put about 2 1/2 cup of the filling in another bowl


add red food coloring and cocoa



whisk together


Pour red mixture on top of cream mixture
and give it a swirl and bake



once its done turn oven off, crack the oven door open
and let cake sit inside for 1 hour



remove from oven and let cool for 3 hours



Chill overnight or for at least 3 hours before
cutting and serving





Its came out just delicious!!!

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Red Velvet Cheesecake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 1/2 cups cookie crumbs (graham or flavored)
(I used 1 1/2 cups Cappuccino tea biscuits and 1 cup graham cracker crumbs)
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

Mix all together in a bowl, in a 9 inch spring-form pan press mixture down on the bottom and up the sides about 1 inch, set aside.


2 8oz. bricks cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream, room temp
3 eggs, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. corn starch
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. red food coloring
1/4 cup cocoa powder

In a large bowl with a stand mixer or hand mixer, mix the cream cheese until smooth and creamy, add one egg at a time, making sure each is mixed in before adding the next.  Then add the sugar, sour cream, vanilla, salt and then cornstarch, scraping the bowl as needed.

Take 2 1/2 cups of the mixture and add it to a small bowl then mix in food coloring  and cocoa until fully combined.

Pour white mixture into the pan and spread around, then add red mixture and just swirl the 2 mixtures together.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, edges will be puffed up and slightly brown, turn off oven, leave the door cracked with cheesecake inside for 1 hour.  Then cool at room temp. for about 3 hours, place in refrigerator to chill for at least 2-3 before serving.

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Papa K’s Meatloaf!!


So last year my friend Paul and I went to Pittsburgh to visit his family, we had a great time with his Dad as I call him “Papa Kovac”.

The first night when we got there Papa K made us dinner his famous Meatloaf, Haluski and Asparagus 🙂

The meal was so Delicious!!! Loved it all but I got his Meatloaf recipe and I made it myself 🙂



Here are Papa Kovac and Paul during dinner



The Delicious meal!!!



Me and Paul being silly with some graphics




As this posts I am back in Pittsburgh with Paul and we are visiting with his Dad, this time we are going to do some cooking and of course go on some adventures around town 🙂
I will blog about my trip in the coming weeks 🙂 In the meantime enjoy Papa K’s Meatloaf!!




the chopped onion, red pepper, celery and garlic
saute this up



add to a big bowl with the meats, oats, egg & milk



Mix it up with your hands 🙂



Now I always take a piece and fry up in a Skillet
I like to taste just to make sure I have the
seasonings right…does anyone else do this?



Cooked up




taste good, seasonings are good



free form it on a lined baking sheet



Bake it up







Okay now I love the flavor on its own
BUT!!!! i just can’t eat meatloaf without
Ketchup!!! and not any ketchup…
HEINZ KETCHUP!!!! it is a MUST!!

yes I am a Ketchup snob 😛





Papa K's Meatloaf

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 red pepper, diced
1 large or 2 small onions, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 egg
3/4 cup quick oats
6 cloves garlic
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup milk

Saute in a large skillet the onions, celery, red pepper and garlic until softened.
In a large bowl add sauteed mixture, meats, oats, egg, salt, pepper and milk mix together with your hands.  If you want to check for seasonings take a little of the mixture and make a patty and fry is up, taste it for seasonings if you like the taste…done…if not add to your taste.

Free form the mixture into a loaf on a lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes to 90 minutes.

Let set for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Add Ketchup…Heinz Ketchup if you want!!! 🙂 LOL!!

Irish Beer Cheese Soup!!


Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2015!!!

So in honor of today I have my Beer Cheese Soup recipe for you today 🙂


I made this soup a couple of years ago when I did a St. Patrick’s Day Cooking Class, I also served Guinness Mac & Cheese, Guinness Black Lager Irish Stew and Guinness Stout Cake Pops 🙂

We all had a great time and everyone loved the food and of course the beer 😉

So before we get to the recipe for the soup, here is what a few of the people over here at the office look like today dressed in their St. Patty’s Day garb 🙂

First let’s start with the man that was named
after this day… Sir Patrick!!


Here is Connie with her Irish scarf


Janet and Jennifer have their green on 🙂


And Kathie and Heather have their head bobs on 🙂


Kathy in her green


There are the “Meat” guys in green too 🙂


Ann has a head bob too



Margie being silly 🙂



Here is the advertising girls pretty as ever


And I think Tina wins the prize
as she is all decked out!!!
Her tie lights up too and her head
bob thing does too just can’t tell



And this is one of ladies that Demo’s
for us in one of our stores, she Dressed
up for the day too 🙂



So what ever you do today enjoy it and have fun and make some soup!! 🙂

Irish Beer Cheese Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup onions, grated or finely minced
½ cup celery, grated or finely minced
½ cup flour
1 stick butter
1 bottle Harp Beer
3 cups chicken stock
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
16 oz. Sharp cheddar, shredded (Tillamook is what I used)
8 oz. extra sharp cheddar, shredded (Cabot Vintage Choice)
2 cups cream
Cooked bacon for garnish
Green onions (tops only), thinly sliced

In a stock pot over medium heat add butter, onions and celery sauté until softened.  Add flour, whisk and cook for about 3 minutes, whisking often.  Whisk in beer slowly and same with the chicken broth, bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 – 20 minutes.  Then add dry mustard and Worcestershire then add cream while whisking and then cheese a good handful at time until all added keep whisking until smooth and cheese has melted.  Cook for about 10 minutes more. Taste, season with salt and pepper etc., if too thick add more broth, beer or cream, too thin add more cheese.  But nothing extra was needed; garnish each bowl with bacon and green onions.

Let me say the bacon really put this soup over the top, serve with my Harp Beer Bread recipe and you are good to go…Enjoy!!! Cheers!!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

Here are my Guinness Stout Cake Pops…yummmy!!!

Irish cake pops