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Tram’s Key Lime Pie

We weathered the storm, put everything that blew down, back up and had a wonderful pot-luck 4th of July BBQ/Pool Party.

dining table

I’ll be posting photos along with not only my recipes but the delicious recipes from the guests as well.

What better place to start than with dessert? All of the desserts were brought by guests, which makes them all my favorite!

We’ll begin with Tram’s Key Lime Pie. Tram and Steve brought Zak & Zoey, and they were the hit of the party, of course. No one could resist either one of the adorable nearly 4-month-old sweetie-pies.

Unfortunately, Heidi Klum ruined the party for Zoey. How on earth could a supermodel ruin a party for a baby, you ask! Tram, thoughtfully, dressed the twins in outfits that I had given them. The outfit I gave Zoey was from the “Truly Scrumptious Clothing by Heidi Klum” baby clothing line.

Zoey looked adorable, but the outfit was either pinching or scratching or somehow irritating her.  The otherwise sweet-natured Zoey was very unhappy. She screamed bloody murder until the outfit was finally removed but by then she was so wiped out that the only photo I got of her was of her sound asleep on my bed. Poor little Zoey!

Zoey

Zak, on the other hand, was the life of the party!

Zac

Every woman in attendance had their hands on him at one time or another, as seen here with Sloane, proudly showing him off, while Papa Steve is showing off his burger and brats.

Tram and Steve

Tram and Steve hamming for the camera as they dish up their dessert plates.

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July 6, 2014   4 Comments

colorful summer salad and a tomato tip

tomato halves

I’ve seen this cool tip for cutting a bunch of cherry tomatoes at one time all over the internet and on Pinterest. I’ve used it for sometime now, but keep forgetting to share it with you. It not only comes in handy for this salad but is especially fabulous for THIS RECIPE and any other recipes calling for roasted cherry tomatoes.

Summer Squash and Salmon Salad

Summer Squash and Salmon Salad

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds zucchini, ends trimmed and then thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pepper jelly
3 pound salmon fillet, skin on
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
6 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 avocado, diced
1 cup chopped pecans

zuchinni

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Add the zucchini, toss to coat and let marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

coat salmon

Spread the pepper jelly on the flesh side of the salmon. Heat a grill or broiler to high.

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June 30, 2014   3 Comments

jolt

I don’t recall if I’ve ever shared this before but I will now confess….

hot coffee

… I don’t drink coffee. I’ve never like it. I love the smell, I adore coffee ice cream, but I knew that if I was to become a coffee drinker, I’d need to load that bitter liquid up with sugar and cream and I don’t see the point of starting each day off with that!

creamy coffee

Most mornings I start my day with water, now and then with juice and if someone offers, I’ll have hot tea. Not in the summer, but other times of the year. That’s the other thing I don’t get, how can people drink steaming hot coffee when it’s 100 degrees out? It is often 100 degrees out by 9 AM here in AZ!

Iced Coffee – that has sounded like something I might enjoy, once in a while, when I need a kick-start. Not too often, since it too, is loaded with cream and sugar.

Today is that day, I’ve been up since 4:15 and I am already dragging. I can’t be dragging today, I have too much to do. Iced Coffee! I’m gonna give it a try.

I’m going with the simplest recipe possible for this first try. One thing I do know is that it is best to start with cold brewed coffee. Since I don’t drink coffee, I don’t make the best tasting coffee, so I bought a bottle of cold brewed coffee at Trader Joe’s.

My verdict?  It was OK, maybe a person who likes coffee would like it more. I’m going back to the drawing board and I’m going to make something more exciting. I’ll keep you posted. Until then, here is my simple iced coffee “recipe.”

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June 28, 2014   No Comments

BPP Pizza

Last night’s beautiful Arizona sunset. No filters, no Photoshop, just pure natural beauty!

AZ sunset

This quick and easy pizza has some of my favorite Italian ingredients and they can all be found, along with the pizza dough, at Trader Joe’s.

burrata

Burrata, a luscious cream-filled fresh mozzarella cheese.

pancetta

Pancetta, Italian-style bacon, already diced into “cubetti” pieces. Actually, I don’t know if the word “cubetti” has anything to do with the diced pieces, but it is convenient!

prosciutto

Prosciutto, this package is actually from Costco and was in my freezer, so don’t be alarmed with the “use by” date. Prosciutto can always be found at TJ’s too.

TJ pizza dough

I prefer Trader Joe’s whole-wheat dough, but while pulling a package from the back of the case (looking for the freshest bag – a selfish little thing I always do with fresh packaged food) I accidentally grabbed the plain dough. The reasons I like the whole-wheat better are two-fold, it is easier to work with due to the texture and I think the taste is superior.

The only other ingredients you need are a little olive oil, a medium ripe tomato and a smidgen of freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes.

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June 27, 2014   5 Comments

perciatelli pasta

I have a new favorite variety of pasta.

perciatelli

Have you ever had or heard of perciatelli pasta? I hadn’t until I enjoyed it in a wonderful cold pasta salad that my cousin, Michelle, made for a family gathering. The only place I’ve been able to find it is at Fry’s, but it’s possible I haven’t looked hard enough.

perciatelli top view

Perciatelli, also know as bucatini, are hollow pasta strands that are thicker than spaghetti. Spaghetti, fettucini, or linguini may be substituted in the recipe.

lump crab

The lump crabmeat I prefer to use is the Phillips brand, which can be found at Costco.

Perciatelli Pasta with Crabmeat and Peas

Perciatelli Pasta with Crabmeat and Peas

1 pound perciatelli pasta
Salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and light green parts, reserve green tops for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley, divided

Cook the perciatelli in a large pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.

green onion

While pasta water comes to a boil, cook spring onions in 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes.

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June 25, 2014   2 Comments

for my dad

My dad loves pot roast. Winter, spring, summer and fall – no matter the temperature, he wants me to make pot roast.

slow cooker pot roast

The 1971 invention of the slow cooker (also known by its brand name Crock-Pot) made it an even easier meal to make. No heating up the entire kitchen when you use a slow cooker. Still, eating a heavy pot roast when it’s 106 degrees outside doesn’t appeal to most. Not an issue for Dad!

Dave was out-of-town this past weekend, so I indulged my dad by making his precious pot roast for our Sunday supper.  I do my best to change it up each time to try to keep it exciting since I make it so often throughout the year.

This time I reverted to a very classic pot roast recipe … well not so much the recipe … more the technique. Allow me to explain.

In 1963 House & Garden Magazine published a recipe by Elizabeth (Betty) Wason, an American author and broadcast journalist. The classic technique I took from her recipe was the way she floured the meat.

pound in flour

Instead of dredging the beef in seasoned flour, Betty beats the flour into the meat with the side of a plate, which creates a thicker crust and a smoother gravy in the end. It’s rather cathartic, beating in the flour with a dish, similar to that satisfied feeling one gets when kneading bread dough.

If you’re not up to pot roast in June, bookmark this recipe and remember to make it this fall or winter. I am hopeful that the fall or winter is the next time I’ll be called to make it … but it’ll probably be much sooner. Oh well, gotta give the people what they want.

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June 24, 2014   No Comments

pineapple mojito wine cooler

Pineapple Lily1

After not posting a new recipe for over a week – I think the best way to get back into the swing of it – is with a cocktail!

Pineapple Mojito Wine Cooler3

Yes, and not just any cocktail, but a bright refreshing summer-time cocktail. Something you can envision yourself enjoying poolside or with your toes buried in a sandy beach.

Now that’s the way to start a new week. Happy Monday!

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June 23, 2014   4 Comments

cobbler

I found a recipe on the internet that I’m going to recommend you do not make.

do not

On Sunday, Father’s Day, I arrived home from the airport at about 3:45 and immediately began to make dinner for my dad, husband and son.  Since I’d already been awake for 12 hours, I didn’t want to have to think too hard about what to make.

the perfect peach

Since I have a peach tree that was full of ripe peaches, I decided to whip up a peach cobbler for dessert.

I wanted to be able to post the recipe so it needed to be somewhat different from the three peach cobbler/crumble recipes I already have posted here. For that reason I turned to the web to find one that I could “make my own” and get it done easily and quickly.

The recipe I stumbled upon first was the Pioneer Woman’s Peach Cobbler. Her version used frozen peaches and since I was using fresh, I figured that would be a perfect recipe to switch up. I made a few other minor changes, with the addition of spices and such and popped it into the oven while I made the rest of the meal.

I’ve tried many of the Pioneer Woman’s recipes before and they’ve always been wonderful. I thought that this too, would be a “sure thing.”

jalapenopoppers

In fact, I’ve loved a couple of them so much that I reposted them, almost exactly as originally written. This Dip recipe and this Poppers recipe are two of my all-time favorites. So please do not take this as a bashing of the Pioneer Woman and her recipes – but this peach cobbler recipe is one that I can not endorse. No way, no how.

Instead, you should make one of the three peach cobbler/crisp recipes I’ve previously posted – one of the ones I should have made for Father’s Day.

Mason Jar Peach and Berry Cobbler

masonjarcobbler

Peach-Blueberry Cobbler

cobblercloseup

Blueberry-Nectarine Crumble

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June 19, 2014   1 Comment

raw and green

This light summer salad is so delicious and refreshing. An added bonus – no cooking or heating up the kitchen is involved!

Shaved Asparagus, Parmesan and Sugar Snap Pea Salad1

One more thing … it’s pretty as a picture.

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June 11, 2014   1 Comment

firecrackers

On May 29, 2011, I posted a recipe for Jalapeño Poppers.

openjalapeno

Poppers are jalapeño peppers, cleaned out, filled with cheese, wrapped in bacon and baked. And in this case, brushed with apricot preserves. The spicy morsels make for one delicious and addictive appetizer.

firecrackers

A little more than three years later, I have another delicious and addictive recipe for you … not little poppers, instead, great big firecrackers!

chicken and jalapeno firecrackers

I’m calling them firecrackers because they have an extra flavor explosion – chicken and BBQ sauce. The firecrackers can be sliced and served as appetizers or cut half, on a diagonal, and served as a main course.

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June 5, 2014   2 Comments