Monday, May 29, 2017

Strawberry Pecan Cake

Recipe: Strawberry Coconut Pecan Cake
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 40 min | Yield: About 12 servings
1 box white cake mix
1 (3 ounce) box strawberry gelatin
1 cup toasted coconut
1 cup chopped toasted pecan
1 (16 ounce) container of frozen strawberries, thawed, mashed and divided
4 large eggs
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 (1 pound) box of powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/4 cup toasted coconut
1/2 teaspoon of strawberry extract
About 1/4 cup of the remaining mashed strawberries, more or less
Extra toasted coconut, for garnish, optional
Fresh sliced strawberries, for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with Baker's Joy or non-stick spray; set aside. Lightly toast 1-1/4 cups of chopped pecans in a dry skillet over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant. Remove, set aside to cool, and add 1-1/4 cups coconut; toast until very lightly browned and set aside to cool. You'll be using some of both of those in the cake and in the frosting, and if you'd like to garnish the top of the cake with coconut, do a little extra and reserve for garnish.
Add the cake mix, gelatin, 1 cup of the toasted coconut and 1 cup of the toasted pecans to a large mixing bowl; stir to combine. Add 1 cup of the mashed strawberries and the eggs, oil, and milk; beat at medium speed with an electric hand mixer until well blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
For the icing, use a mixer to cream together the butter and sugar. Fold in the remaining 1/4 cup of the toasted pecans and coconut and the strawberry extract. Add only enough of the remaining mashed strawberries to make the icing spreadable. Spread over the cooled cake. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.
Cook's Notes: I used Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Classic White cake mix, which is my favorite packaged cake brand. You can also make into a layer cake by using two 9-inch round cake pans, or three 8-inch pans. Spray pans generously with Bakers Secret and don't forget that tip about how to make your cake layers more even. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cakes rest in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to completely cool. I make two or three 8-9 inch round layers most of the time.

This recipe has been around since the 60's, or that's how long I have had it! Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

April 2017 Newsletter


Food for Thought:

Morning Breaks

Morning breaks with a crispness of spring in the air...
A light breeze whispers gently to attend my every care.
Abundance of sunshine warms my face, my heart, my soul...
Knowing Spirit's Hand and Guidance is fully in control.
Looking out, I see Mother Earth unfolding a day of beauty fair...
A glimpse of things to come, blessings fo
r me to share.
My thoughts turn to family and friends, what their day will unfold...
I ask Spirit's Hand to Guide them, as each one He will Hold.
Whisper gently to their cares, Warm them deep within...
Fill their day with Nature's Beauty, as Morning Breaks again.



1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup stuffed pimento olives, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onions, garlic, and pepper in olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add ground beef and olives and continue stirring to break up and brown the meat. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. When beef has browned, add tomato sauce gradually while stirring. Cook 1 to 2 minutes longer to incorporate sauce.

Zatarain's Yellow Rice, prepared according to directions.

Black Beans w/Piloncillo and Cumin

1 lb uncooked black beans
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (low salt)
2 yellow onions, peeled and diced
3- 1-oz piloncillo cones (Or 4 oz of brown sugar mixed with 2 oz molasses)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 small serrano or jalapeno chile seeded and diced
Rinse beans and discard any debris. Place beans in the bottom of the pot and cover with the stock. Bring beans to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer and cover. Simmer on the lowest heat possible for about 3 hours.

Add additional water if stock simmers away too much. Add in additional ingredients and simmer for another hour, or until beans are soft and the liquid has simmered away. If there is still too much liquid, turn beans up to a slow boil until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Serve picadillo...
beans over bed of yellow rice (topped with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheddar and diced green onions) ...
a piece of crusty bread and you have a very filling and tasty meal!!!

ETA: I serve the picadillo to the side of the beans over the rice!!!

Sarge's Brown Rice

I'm sure many of you have visited Sarge's Restaurant/Steak House in Frank Ewing, TN.
My first trip was in the early 90's and I have been making this side dish since that time.

My version of Sarge's Brown rice:
2 cups beef broth
1 Tbsp. Dale's seasoning
1 tsp. Kitchen bouquet
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
Whisk together.

Saute 1 bunch green onions, chopped in 2 Tbsp. butter.
Add: sauce
4 cups cooked white rice
Heat until heated through and sauce has thickened.

The recipe is from an Amish restaurant that sadly went out of business.  DH fiddles with the ingredients but it is always good no matter how he varies it  

from an online friend


1 can of clams (he uses 3 small or the big one from SAM's when we can find them)
2 cups potatoes (he uses red ones with skin left on
1/2 cup celery
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup real butter
1 Tlbs. chicken base or bouillon cube equivalent
1 tsp. salt (he uses some celery salt and seasoned salt)
1 tsp. pepper, freshly ground
1 12 oz. can chicken broth (he makes his own usually)
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk (he uses half&half sometimes)
4 cups of milk (or enough for desired thickness)


Cook potatoes and celery in the clam juice til almost soft.  
Add clams and carrots; cook for 5 minutes.
Saute onions in butter.
Stir in flour.
Combine with clams and veggies.
Add chicken base, salt, pepper and chicken broth.
Add canned milk or cream and milk.
Heat til very hot but not boiling.

Sometimes he throws in some white or blush wine if it's too thick...  it's a good basic recipe to play around with 

Enjoy !!! 
Creamy One Pot Chicken & Pasta
Adapted from an online recipe that I had seen previously. 

2 Tbsp. Butter
1 lb. b/s Chicken breast, cubed
1 Tbsp. EVOO
2 cloves minced garlic
8 oz. sliced Baby Bella's mushrooms
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 Tbsp. Flour
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
1-1/4 cups half & half
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. Fresh ground pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes 
1 Tbsp. Flour
6 oz. linguine, broken in half
3 cups spinach
1/3 cup Pecorino Romano, divided

Over med to medium high heat...

In large sauté pan, melt butter...add chicken and sauté until golden and no longer pink. 
Add EVOO, garlic, mushrooms & sun dried tomatoes. Sauté 3-5 minutes. Add flour, cook an additional minute. 
Slowly add broth, half & half...stir to combine thoroughly. 
Add linguine, stir to separate. 
Cover & reduce heat. Cook 15 minutes or until pasta is cooked through.
Remove from heat, stir in spinach & 1/4 cup of grated cheese. 
Serve immediately & garnish with remaining cheese. 

 Apple Dumplin's
adapted by Paula George
These remind me of the ones served by Wendy's YEARS ago!
2 to 2 1/2   cup plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk
6 Granny Smith or other cooking apples, cored, peeled
sugar, approximately 1/2 cup, for sprinkling apples
butter, cut in small pieces.
Syrup:2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup margarine melted
heavy cream or ice cream, optional
PREPARATION:Combine flour, baking powder and salt; cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add milk, stirring to make a soft dough. Roll dough into a 1/8" thick rectangle on a lightly floured surface; cut into 8-inch squares. Place 1 cored, peeled apple on each square. Sprinkle each with 2 teaspoons sugar and a sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg to taste;dot with butter. Moisten edges of each dumpling with water; bring corners to center, pinching edges to seal. Place dumplings 1 inch apart in a lightly greased shallow baking dish. Combine 2 cups sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg,2 cups hot water and 1/4 cup butter or margarine; stir to dissolve sugar. Pour syrup over dumplings.Bake at 375° for 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.Serve hot with cream or ice cream. Makes about 1/2 dozen apple dumplings.
p.s. I bake mine in a cast iron skillet


May 2017 Newsletter

May 2017 Newsletter 


Food for Thought:
You are the breath of spring...
You bring a smile to my heart and face.
You are the cool, gentle breeze;
That brightens my day.
You are the breath of spring...
You bring the sunshine to light my way.
You are the cool, gentle breeze;
That brightens my day. 
You are the breath of spring...
You bring happiness to my waking moments.
You are the cool, gentle breeze;
That brightens my day.
You are the breath of spring...
You bring love to my heart and soul.
You are the cool, gentle breeze;
That brightens my day.
You are My breath of Spring...
You bring Smiles, Sunshine, Happiness, Love.
You are the cool, gentle breeze;
That will always brighten my days.

Paula April 5, 2010


French Onion Roast Chicken
Fine Cooking Feb/Mar 2017


1 4-5-lb whole chicken, giblets removed, patted dry inside and out
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium yellow onions
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, tarragon, or parsley (optional)


Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 425.

Salt the inside and outside of the chicken with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. 

Slice the onions in half through the root, then thinly slice crosswise. Transfer to a roasting pan, toss with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and spread evenly in the pan. 

Put the chicken, breast side up, on the onions. Roast, stirring the onions halfway through, until the meaty part of the thighs registers 165 on an instant-read thermometer, 45-60 minutes, depending on size. Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Remove the onions from the roasting pan (they will range in color from light to dark brown) and toss with the herbs, if you like. Carve the chicken and serve with the onions. 

Serve with crusty bread and White Burgundy. 

Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats

    • 3 small spaghetti squash (24 oz each)
    • olive oil spray
    • 1 lb 93% ground turkey
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 tsp chili powder
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 1/2 small onion, minced
    • 2 tbsp bell pepper, minced
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 4 oz can tomato sauce
    • 3/4 cup part-skim shredded Mexican cheese blend (omit for W30)

For the Pico De Gallo:
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeno, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or two if they don’t fit). Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and soft yellow strands. Spray the inside of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place the squash facedown on the baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes or until the flesh easily pierces with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, brown turkey in a large skillet breaking it into smaller pieces as it cooks. When no longer pink add dry seasoning and mix well. Add the onion, pepper, water and tomato sauce and cover. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes.
  3. Combine the ingredients for the quick pico de gallo in a medium bowl. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
  4. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the inside so the strands appear. Spoon scant 1/2 cup meat inside each squash bowl. Top each with 2 tbsp cheese and transfer them to the oven and bake another 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven, top with pico de gallo and serve immediately!


Yield: 6 servings, Serving Size: 1 boat
  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Smart Points: 4
  • Points +: 6
  • Calories: 218.5
  • Total Fat: 10g
  • Saturated Fat: g
  • Cholesterol: 63.5mg
  • Sodium: 522mg
  • Carbohydrates: 16g


Shrimp Lo Mein

1 lb. medium shrimp, thawed
1 large clove garlic, minced
1" piece of fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 cups spinach/Swiss chard (or green of your choice, like bok  choy) This is just what I had on hand. 
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup baby carrots sliced on the diagonal
1/2 red bell pepper, cut in strips
1 pkg. Hokkein stir fry noodles (use both packets in package)
1 tsp. Chicken base mixed with 1 cup water
1/2 cup TSang Classic Stir Fry Sauce
2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil, divided

Heat wok with 1 Tbsp. Vegetable oil, add onion, garlic & Ginger. Stir fry for 1 minute, add shrimp & cook 1-2 minutes longer. Remove shrimp & aromatics to plate. 
Add 1 Tbsp. Oil to wok. Add broccoli, carrots & bell pepper. Sauté 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken base & stir fry sauce & cook until vegetables are crisp tender, 3-4 minutes. Add greens. 
Stir in noodles & shrimp with aromatics, cook 2 minutes longer, tossing to coat noodles with sauce. 

***See my notes/changes below 
Dodiyos' Connie Kanakis Snapper
 4) 7-ounce snapper fillets
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup fine breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ pound clarified butter
1 lemon
Preheat heavy metal pan with clarified butter until bubbling. Place snapper fillets skin side up into hot pan and cook until golden-brown. Preheat oven on broil. Turn over snapper fillets and sprinkle with Parmesan-breadcrumb mixture. Place in oven for 3 to 5 minutes (depending on thickness of fillet) or until breadcrumb mixture is brown. If fish is not done, heat oven to 350 degrees and return to oven until snapper is flaky and finished. Finish with a squeeze of lemon.
***Made this a couple of weeks ago. Delicious! Of course, I didn't have snapper...I used Flounder fillets...I also added the zest of the lemon to the Parmesan/breadcrumb mixture. I used Panko breadcrumbs. I think it would be great with Corvina, Mahi Mahi or Halibut also. Noticed theirs is served on some kind of sauce. I served mine with crab cakes and sauteed vegetables.

Dodiyos' Snapper


Avocado brownies

1 cup chocolate, melted (I used 1/2 bittersweet & 1/2 semi-sweet)
2 Hass avocados or 1 lg. Florida avocado
1 cup organic sugar or coconut sugar
4 eggs
1 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. Vanilla extract (I always use my homemade extract using vodka)
1/4 tsp. Salt

Preheat oven to 350, or 325 convection. Line a 9" square pan with foil & spray with cooking spray.

Cream avocado & sugar in medium mixing bowl until fluffy. Add eggs, ground almonds, cocoa powder, extract, salt & cooled chocolate; mix until thoroughly combined. Spread into pan & bake until toothpick comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack, cut in squares when cool. Store covered in fridge. This will make 16 very moist & tasty brownies. Enjoy!

BTW, you will never know they have avocado in them & that they are healthier than traditional brownies. They definitely don't lack in flavor!