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Thanksgiving leftover trio – part one

If you watched the live Food Network Thanksgiving show last week, you might have seen the round-table discussion at the end of the show. I didn’t see it live, but caught a bit of it online.

Thanksgiving eggs benedict

Some of the leftover ideas the chefs tossed around sounded fabulous – Thanksgiving Eggs Benedict” w/Gravy, Sweet Potato-Cranberry Shortcake, and Turkey Gumbo. Since this was a rapid-fire sort of affair – as in “everyone was talking over everyone else” – there were no recipes given.

Those were the three dishes that caught my fancy, so I thought I’d use their suggestions and create the recipes myself.

Today, the “Benedict” breakfast.
Tomorrow, the gumbo.
The shortcake on Sunday.

Get those leftovers out and make these recipes along with me…

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November 29, 2013   No Comments

Migas for the crew

Before I get into today’s post – I want to take a moment to wish my mother-in-law, Patricia Hopkins, a very happy birthday! I love you. xoxo

I made brunch for the fabulous crew from Forevergreen Landscape Designs, Inc., the great group of guys who’ve been redoing our front yard and patio area for the past month.

brunch on the patio

The project was supposed to wrap up last Friday, but because of a mistake by the rock delivery dude, who delivered the wrong color rocks, the project is ongoing… it should be done by the end of this week with a reveal sometime next week.


Long before the nasty gray cement-like rock was delivered, I’d promised to make the guys breakfast or lunch on what was to be their last day… we settled on brunch. And since the majority of men on the job are Hispanic, I decided to make Migas.

As you can see, I was very stealth and snapped a couple photos through the screened windows of them enjoying their meal.


Mexican or Tex-Mex Migas is a traditional breakfast dish consisting of scrambled eggs mixed with strips of corn tortilla, diced onions, chile peppers, diced fresh tomatoes, and cheese.

chips and such

My version uses crushed tortilla chips, minced serrano, and Parmesan.

Chip Custer is the owner of Forevergreen Landscape Designs. He is the very talented landscape designer who did our backyard. If you go to his website HERE, you can check out photos 2, 3, 8, 10, and 12. Those are a few of the before and after pictures of the backyard project we did with Chip five years ago.

Now you see why I happily cook for these guys!

onion tomato serrano

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November 13, 2013   4 Comments

south of the border muffins

chocolate banana bread muffins on scale

I’m calling these “Mexican-Chocolate” because of the cinnamon and chocolate combination. If you’ve ever eaten or cooked with the Ibarra brand of Mexican chocolate, you understand.

On a totally unrelated subject – I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I keep waking up before the sun – but that turned out to be a blessing yesterday.

I got out of bed at about 4:30 and decided to make these muffins since I needed to take something to our neighborhood Bunco later that evening.

muffin on pedestal

The day was a whirlwind, I wasn’t home for more than 15 minutes all day. If I hadn’t made the muffins early in the morning … I would have never had time to make a thing and would have had to resort to bringing a bottle of wine.

As you might imagine, that doesn’t fly when you have a cooking blog and teach people to cook!

mexican chocolate banana bread muffin

Sometimes sleep deprivation actually pays off.

Now, I know that for some, 4:30 or 5:00 is a normal and routine time to begin their day. I’ve had that schedule before, so I get it. But back then, I fell asleep before midnight or 1 AM too.

Let’s face it – sleep deprivation totally sucks! Conversely, these muffins do not.

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September 20, 2013   4 Comments

Father’s Day breakfast

ricotta pancakes

Yesterday morning, Connor pitched in to help me make a simple Father’s Day breakfast for his dad.

I was already working on an early afternoon dinner for 8, so I didn’t want it to be some big elaborate morning meal. These pancakes are about as light and fluffy as it gets.

Plus, with the two of us working together, it was a breeze to get on the table in less than 20 minutes.

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June 17, 2013   3 Comments

mother’s day breakfast

My Mother’s Day menu was featured in yesterday’s Food & Drink section of the Arizona Republic.


Here are photos and links to the recipes.


Layered Lemon-Berry Angel Cake


Mixed Berry Parfait


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May 9, 2013   1 Comment

photo shoot

mother's day breakfast recipes

Later this morning, a photographer from the Arizona Republic is coming out to do a photo and video shoot that will be featured in an upcoming article in the Food section and on AZCentral.com.

I’m prepping four recipes that dad and the kids can make for an indulgent Mother’s Day Breakfast.

The article will run, May 8th, the Wednesday before Mother’s Day.

From the ingredients on the counter, can you guess what four things I’m making?

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April 24, 2013   5 Comments

Herb Crêpes Eggs Benedict Florentine

crepe eggs benedict florentine

I admit it, this recipe looks VERY intimidating. It is long. There are many components. It looks complicated. But I PROMISE it is not hard to do. In fact, it is a wonderful special occasion entertaining dish. For a crowd, no less!

How is that possible, you ask?

It is because none of the components are difficult and all but one can be done 1 or 2 days in advance. So in reality, it comes together quickly and seamlessly at the end.

Even the final, last minute component, the Hollandaise sauce, is foolproof. I know, you may be ready to quit reading right now… Hollandaise Sauce – Absolutely Not!

But really it is foolproof! No stove is involved! All you need is a blender. You’re still skeptical? This sauce comes from Chef Tyler Florence. It works perfectly and is easy as can be, I may never make traditional Hollandaise sauce again!

too small

As I was beginning to make the crêpes in my usual crêpe-pan, I decided that they were too small, so I switched to a larger skillet. This was a personal choice, if you don’t have a medium size skillet (about 10-inches across the top) a smaller regular crêpe-pan is fine. Above you can see the two pans I’m talking about, and below the difference in the crêpe sizes.


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April 3, 2013   1 Comment

double trouble



For Day Two of Week Three of the “Detox Cuisine” Cleanse they had you eating the same thing for lunch and for dinner, which I have to guess was a mistake. As a result, I’m improvising and switching out the lunch for the thing that I think sounds best out of all the lunch and dinner meals… TACOS!

Another heads up for today – you have to start preparing your breakfast the night before – happily, I caught that in time.

The original muesli recipe had you soak the oats and dried fruits in 2/3 cup water overnight in the refrigerator. That doesn’t sound very tasty to me, I soaked mine in 1/2 cup almond milk instead. Very tasty!

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February 19, 2013   1 Comment

pancakes … kinda

This is the recipe for breakfast of Day Three of Week Two of the “Detox Cuisine” Cleanse.

I know I said that I would be able to eat the porridge for breakfast for three more days, as the plan directs. After having it for the second day in a row yesterday – nope, can’t do it.

banana oat pancakes

Instead, I’ll be having these pancakes in place of the porridge for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. Just in case you agree with me, I’ve gone ahead and doubled the recipe. This will make eight pancakes, enough for four meals.


The recipe calls for oat flour. I swore I had some, but I could not put my hands on it this morning. I ended up grinding my own by placing old-fashion oats in the food processor and going to town on those.


I then ran the resulting mixture through a strainer to keep the fine flour and remove the coarse remains.

The only change I made to the recipe was to add the zest of 1 orange to the batter.

These “pancakes” are made like regular pancakes and look pretty similar but the texture is not like any pancake you’ve had before. Don’t get me wrong, they are good, just don’t expect a light and fluffy pancake. These are dense, heavy, and quite filling.


February 13, 2013   No Comments

week two of the cleanse begins

Today begins Week Two of the “Detox Cuisine” Cleanse.  PLUS, be sure to check out the BIG EXCITING NEWS at the end of this post!!!


The first thing you need to do is make another pot of the Cleansing Broth. It will be used in another recipe this week, and it’s a good thing to have on hand when you get a hunger pang or a craving. I fill a mug with the broth, throw it in the microwave and take time to sit down, relax, and just enjoy sipping the broth.

Now I need to share with you a fear I was having with this weeks menu. Four of the seven days this week have something called a quinoa porridge as your breakfast. As anyone in my family will tell you, I am not a fan of hot cereal for my morning meal. Actually, not for any meal. Ever!

As a child, we were served hot Quaker Oatmeal or Cream of Wheat for breakfast during the fall and winter. I hated the stuff. Hate really isn’t a strong enough word to describe my feeling for it.

I went to extreme measures to NOT eat it. I had a plethora of tricks to get rid of it before even the tip of a spoonful was ever forced to pass my lips. Oh, the stories I could tell. Who knows, maybe that experience is what made me into the resourceful person I am today.


Anyhow, a hot porridge was not something I was looking forward to making or eating. I reminded myself that I liked quinoa, that I’m a big girl now, and that I could block those negative thoughts and open my mind to something new.

I made the porridge, it smelled pretty good. It didn’t look like the clumpy oatmeal or creamy wheat goop of my tortured youth. Most importantly, neither of my parents were standing over me and forcing me to eat it! You can do this!

I loaded my first bite with a disproportionate amount of pears and almonds on top and shoved it in.

And… I like it!

I don’t love it. It’s not something I’m apt to make again after this week ends. But it will do. I can eat this three more times and not be traumatized by nightmares of my childhood breakfast drama.

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February 11, 2013   1 Comment