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220 posts categorized "09) Breakfasts, Brunches & Buffets "

07/25/2019

~ My Glazed Blueberry, Lemon & Ricotta Bundt Cake ~

Bundt cakes are perhaps my favorite cakes to bake. Even the words "bundt cake" sound warm and inviting. Simply saying "bundt cake" evokes happy, fond memories from kinder, gentler times. I'm not saying that humble sheet cakes and grandiose layer cakes don't have a place in this food world -- they do and they're delicious too. I'm merely suggesting that bundt cakes have more gravitational pull (haha) than other cakes -- even an unembellished bundt cake will pull more people to the dessert buffet than the other cakes. That said, more often than not, the base recipe for a bundt...... View full recipe for "~ My Glazed Blueberry, Lemon & Ricotta Bundt Cake ~"

07/22/2019

~ Love is a Blueberry, Lemon & Ricotta Pound Cake ~

Blueberries are one of seven native North American food plants grown on a large scale and cultivated commercially. Before I go any further, I should mention the other six: concord grapes, cranberries, strawberries, corn, beans and squash. This means these plants were in existence before any of our immigrant ancestors arrived in this new world and the Native Americans were eating them and creating their own uses for them long before they introduced them to the original Colonists. That said, blueberries were domesticated entirely in the 20th century and it did not take long for this "very American berry" to...... View full recipe for "~ Love is a Blueberry, Lemon & Ricotta Pound Cake ~"

06/28/2019

~Asparagus and Eggs Fried in Lemon-Infused EVOO~

The only thing better than a pair of buttery-rich crispy-edged runny-centered sunny-side-up eggs for breakfast, is a pair of lemon-luscious, crispy-edged runny-centered sunny-side-up eggs for breakfast. Lightly-seasoned to perfection with a few grinds of sea salt and a nice peppercorn blend, once on my plate, I'm ready to catch my toast the instant it pops up, sit down, and luxuriate in the dipping process until every drop of liquid gold and tender bite of white is gone. All gone. Oil-frying eggs is more common than one might think. I didn't invent oil-fried eggs, and, culturally, it's more common that one...... View full recipe for "~Asparagus and Eggs Fried in Lemon-Infused EVOO~"

05/31/2019

~ An Old-Fashioned Diner-Style Baked Rice Pudding ~

Rice pudding is to us Northerners what banana pudding is to the Southerners -- a staple in every diner. Speaking from lots of experience on behalf of parts of the Northeast (New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to be specific), I'm here to tell you our diner-style rice pudding is: to die for. Sit me in any diner and I can assure two things you can always count on: the fork-tender meatloaf (served up with fluffy mashed potatoes and gravy), and, the rice pudding (garnished with a generous squirt of Redi-whipped cream and a maraschino cherry -- banana pudding gets...... View full recipe for "~ An Old-Fashioned Diner-Style Baked Rice Pudding ~"

05/28/2019

~ Put the Rum and the Coconut in the Rice Pudding ~

If, like me, you're a rice pudding lover, you'll eat it whenever offered. That said, as a rice pudding lover, until now, I never thought of it as a Summer dessert. This time of year, my mindset naturally turns to fruit or berry pie, shortcake, sorbet and ice cream as a perfect ending to a meal. Then, last night on a whim, I put the rum and the coconut in the rice pudding. Served warm on a starry night, or cold on a sun-drenched afternoon, this Island-style version of rice pudding is a fine finale to any Caribbean-themed feast, or,...... View full recipe for "~ Put the Rum and the Coconut in the Rice Pudding ~"

05/19/2019

~Mediterranean-Style Olive Tapenade & Feta Omelet~

I declare: I love briny tapenade in an omelete. Throw in a few salty crumbles of feta cheese, place it on a bed of bright green baby arugula or baby spinach leaves and garnish with a few diced tomatoes -- what's not to love. I could eat this savory, meatless delight for breakfast, lunch and dinner -- there's seriously no need for bacon or or sausage with this breakfast. Toast points go nicely, but, please skip the orange or grapefruit juice -- they're just wrong. This omelet pairs perfectly with a bloody Mary for breakfast, a glass of white wine...... View full recipe for "~Mediterranean-Style Olive Tapenade & Feta Omelet~"

05/12/2019

~ Briny, Garlicy & Herbaceous Greek-Olive Tapenade ~

My pantry and/or refrigerator are never without a can or two of inexpensive, mild-flavored ripe, black olives and a big jar of tangy green pimiento-stuffed olives too. Throughout the year, I toss either one or both, whole into garden salads, or, slice and use them to top an occasional pizza. That said, at the end of a long Summer's day, there is nothing like a well-chilled cocktail out on the deck with a salty snack to nibble on. A cracker or two with a slather of soft brie or chèvre topped with a dollop of tapenade is a favorite, but,...... View full recipe for "~ Briny, Garlicy & Herbaceous Greek-Olive Tapenade ~"

05/09/2019

~Smoked Ham and Asparagus in a Béarnaise Quiche~

Every once in a while (not often, but it does happen) you'll come across a recipe that goes from ordinary to extraordinary by using a store-bought, instead of a scratch-made, dry sauce or seasoning packet. This is one such recipe. While it is next-to-impossible to make a quiche using scratch-made hollandaise or béarnaise sauce (in place of the typical whisked cream and egg mixture used to prepare a quiche), because either will breakdown in a hearts-beat or three, it is possible to add a dry, high-quality, store-bought, hollandaise or or béarnaise sauce-mix to season and enrich the cream and egg...... View full recipe for "~Smoked Ham and Asparagus in a Béarnaise Quiche~"

05/04/2019

~ Tangy Mustard- and Chive-Laced Cheese Omelette ~

Forgive me if I type fast, as I'm anxious to eat the mouth-watering plate of food in this photograph. As a bigger fan of a fluffy American-style omelette vs a skinny French omelette, and, as an advocate for savory breakfasts over cloyingly sweet breakfasts, this egg-cellent little number is one of my ideal ways to break the fast. For those who don't know, mustard is more than just a condiment that goes on your hot dogs. Mustard is to an omelette, what mustard is to macaroni and cheese, potato salad and/or almost any creamy salad dressing one can mention: A...... View full recipe for "~ Tangy Mustard- and Chive-Laced Cheese Omelette ~ "

05/02/2019

~ Mustard & Herb-Laced Brioche French Toast BLT's ~

A BLT served on savory whole-grain mustard- and herbs de Provence-laced brioche French toast -- need I say more? If these adorable little sliders don't change the way you think about breakfast or brunch, I'm clueless as to what will. Pair them with a bloody Mary or three and you've got a party. Invite some friends and you've got a bigger party. The best part is, I made these as an experiment, using day old savory French toast that had been in the refrigerator overnight, so, whipping them up for breakfast took only a little longer than it took to...... View full recipe for "~ Mustard & Herb-Laced Brioche French Toast BLT's ~"

04/30/2019

~ Savory Brioche French Toast w/Fried Ham & Eggs ~

Once a year, the day after Eastern European Orthodox Easter to be specific, my mother made one of my favorite breakfasts: savory French toast. To make it, she soaked thick slices of the round loaf of leftover paska (a brioche-type bread enriched with milk, eggs, butter, sugar and salt) in a tangy, whole-grain mustard-laced milk and egg mixture. She served it with lightly-fried slices of baked ham (also leftover from Easter), soft-yolked, sunny-side-up eggs, and a fresh chive garnish (which grew in dad's garden). Mom made this but once a year because that was when she had the very-specific ingredients...... View full recipe for "~ Savory Brioche French Toast w/Fried Ham & Eggs ~"

03/28/2019

~Mexican Chorizo Sausage & Scrambled Egg Burrito~

If hearty, protein-packed eating is the perfect start to the day, Texicans make the best breakfasts. While I occasionally enjoy a steak-and-egg omelette, serve me a Ham-Packed Denver Omelette instead and I'm doin' a happy dance. Porcine (bacon, sausage and ham) have always been at the top of my what-meat-to-eat-with-my-AM-eggs list, and, I'm here to tell you, Mexican-chorizo is quickly becoming my new muse. If like me, you enjoy a bit of huevos rancheros or chorizo con huevos kinda heat to start your day, this type of chorizo has cha-cha-cha. It's worth mention that aside from the bright-to-tawny red color,...... View full recipe for "~Mexican Chorizo Sausage & Scrambled Egg Burrito~"

03/25/2019

~ Chorizo con Huevos -- Mexican Sausage and Eggs ~

Porcine (bacon, sausage and ham) have always been at the top of my what-meat-to-eat-with-my-AM-eggs list, and, I'm here say, Mexican-chorizo is quickly becoming my new muse. Chorizo con huevos, a Mexican sausage and scramble egg breakfast staple, is as delightful to eat as it is easy-to-prepare. Traditionally, fried chorizo crumbles get doused with a scrambled egg mixture and the two are served as one, as a protein-packed scrambled egg breakfast. It's commonly served with some Mexican adobo rice, refried beans, and, soft flour or pliable corn tortillas. That's the extent of the fanfare. It's simple, straightforward, slightly spicy, and, seriously...... View full recipe for "~ Chorizo con Huevos -- Mexican Sausage and Eggs ~"

03/07/2019

~ Spicy and Cheesy Breakfast-for-Dinner Quesadillas ~

Dinner-for-breakfast or breakfast-for-dinner, put a platter of these portable five-bite snacks on the table at any time of day and you'll have everyone eating out of your hand. They've got it all -- everything anyone could want in terms of Tex-Mex start-to or end-of the day flavor and texture. Creamy refried beans, gooey cheddar-Jack cheese, and, Sriracha- cilantro- and scallion-laced scrambled eggs sandwiched between crisp-tender flour tortillas. Topped with a bit of pico de gallo, a drizzle of Mexican crema and a dollop of guacamole, who could ask for anything more? Quesadilla (keh-sah-DEE-yah): A round, flat, cooked-until-soft corn or flour...... View full recipe for "~ Spicy and Cheesy Breakfast-for-Dinner Quesadillas ~"

12/03/2018

~Sausage and Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole~

Sausage, egg and cheese bagel sandwiches are my specialty. I make ten of them every Sunday, wrap 'em in plastic and stack 'em in the refrigerator. Monday thru Friday (the work week), these ten tasty sandwiches are breakfast for my husband and myself. When I tip-toe down the stairs in the dark (at the ungodly-dark hour of 4:20AM), I take one out and let it warm up on the counter for about 30 minutes. After 1 1/2 minutes in the microwave, I'm eating my breakfast. I repeat the process in the daylight, when my husband makes his appearance in the...... View full recipe for "~Sausage and Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole~"

11/30/2018

~ Sausage and Everything Bagel Breakfast Sandwich ~

It's been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I whole-heartedly believe it, but, I also have strong opinions about it. The first: A protein-packed breakfast is better than a sugar-shocked one. I love pancakes, waffles and French toast as much as the next person, and indulging in them occasionally is divine, but, on a daily basis, I don't believe them to be the best way to start the day. The second: In today's busy food world, folks will put down the sweet pop tart in exchange for a savory sandwich if it can be made...... View full recipe for "~ Sausage and Everything Bagel Breakfast Sandwich ~"

11/23/2018

~ Sweet Potato, Apple & Sausage Bundt-Pan Stuffing ~

Stuffing baked in a bundt pan makes for a picture-perfect presentation that brings a smile to everyone. From a practical standpoint, it feeds a crowd (or a small gathering of stuffing lovers) and it's very user-friendly: it easy to portion, slice and serve at the table or on the buffet line, and, slices are especially convenient on closed or open-faced turkey sandwiches. Stuffing slices can be wrapped, stacked and frozen too -- for those times when one has to have a slice of stuffing. Nicely-sliced stuffing is not new-to-me -- it's old-school brilliance. My grandmother always baked her stuffing in...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Potato, Apple & Sausage Bundt-Pan Stuffing ~"

11/20/2018

~ Nicely-Sliced: Stuffing in a Bundt Pan Stuffing Ring ~

Nicely-sliced stuffing is not new-to-me -- it's old-school brilliance. My grandmother always baked her stuffing in two loaf pans because it was an efficient use of oven space. As a savvy cook, she figured out that two, high, narrow loaf pans took up less oven space than a low, shallow casserole while yielding about the same amount. Her stuffing loaves baked on either side of the roasting turkey with miscellaneous other casseroles strategically placed on the remaining upper rack. Some fun facts about making stuffing in a bundt pan: Making Thanksgiving stuffing in a 12-cup bundt pan does not take...... View full recipe for "~ Nicely-Sliced: Stuffing in a Bundt Pan Stuffing Ring ~"

11/07/2018

~ Triple Chocolate & Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies ~

In a nutshell, the problem with loving the combination of chocolate and peanut butter is you can't eat Reese's peanut butter cups with your morning coffee -- well, you can, you just can't admit to it. These brownies, inspired by a version my mom used to make using a Duncan Hines brownie mix, are a pitch-perfect reason to skip waffles and pancakes and start the day with a brownie. Back in the days when no one ever heard of a peanut allergy, they made great lunch box treats too. A rich triple-chocolate layer, &, a thin salty peanut-butter layer sandwiched...... View full recipe for "~ Triple Chocolate & Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies ~"

10/28/2018

~ Old-Fashioned Deep-Fried & Glazed Apple Fritters ~

Fall is when we all start gravitating to apple desserts, and, while pie is the first thing that comes to most folks minds, I have a date with my grandmother's apple fritters today. Here in Pennsylvania, I grew up eating savory deep-fried corn fritters in July and August (when local sweet corn is in season) and sweet apple fritters in September and October (when local apples are in season). I grew up eating potato pancakes as well, which are technically a type of fritter, but, we don't refer to them as such because they are pan-fried. Doughnuts were/are made on...... View full recipe for "~ Old-Fashioned Deep-Fried & Glazed Apple Fritters ~"

10/25/2018

~ Smoked Salmon & Folded Omelet Bagel Sandwich ~

Very special. That's how I describe this sandwich. That said, for me, every component must be "just so". It's got to be a lightly-toasted New York-style bagel -- preferably an everything bagel, but, an egg bagel is perfectly acceptable too. As for the requisite cream cheese, it's gotta be Philadelphia brand chive and onion spread. I prefer smoked salmon to lox and prefer lox to gravlax, so, let's leave it at "smoked salmon, lox or gravlax, in order of preference". Also, no breakfast sandwich would be complete without an egg or two, and a tender, light chive- and onion-laced creamy-dreamy...... View full recipe for "~ Smoked Salmon & Folded Omelet Bagel Sandwich ~"

10/05/2018

~ Buttery Rum and Raisin Croissant Bread Pudding ~

A humble bread pudding is the perfect use for past-its-prime bread, and, in my kitchen, next to a French baguette or batard, I believe buttery croissants to be perfect foil for flavor-laced eggy custard. In fact, croissants make such superb bread pudding, if I know I've got guests coming for the weekend (especially during the tailgate and holiday season), I purposely buy croissants two or three days ahead of time, just to be able to serve it as a sweet treat with breakfast or brunch. Croissants, split in half, w/raisins sandwiched in between... ... swimming in a butter-rum & vanilla...... View full recipe for "~ Buttery Rum and Raisin Croissant Bread Pudding ~"

09/30/2018

~ Chick Flicks and Curried Chicken Salad Croissants ~

It's no secret I'm a movie buff. I've watched movies every day since I was ten-ish. My favorites, old or new, are based on true-stories, history or best-selling books. My least favorites are star-warrian and science-fictionous, and, I have no interest in fantasy or animation. I enjoy a good whodunnit crime drama or an occasional action-packed adventure but won't watch horror-infused slashing-for-shock-value movies. Comedies and satires are great, but, romantic, tear-jerking or feel-good chick flicks are better. You know the ones -- those you can't pay the guy in your life to sit and watch with you (but it would...... View full recipe for "~ Chick Flicks and Curried Chicken Salad Croissants ~"

09/28/2018

~ Cinnamon 'n Raisin Bread Cinnamon-Swirl Muffins ~

There's nothing like waking up to the ethereal smell of freshly-baked cinnamon rolls. That said, if you're the cinnamon-roll baker, unless your family sleeps until Noon, "pulling that off" means getting up long before dawn -- yawn. My happy little twist on classic cinnamon rolls, which lets a pre-programmed bread machine mix and proof my recipe for cinnamon-raisin bread dough, will get you an extra 55-minutes of AM snooze time. Tick, tock. It's smooth and stress-free sailing after that. The super-manageable dough pats out easily, store-bought cinnamon-sugar gets sprinkled on top, roll, slice and in the muffin tins they go...... View full recipe for "~ Cinnamon 'n Raisin Bread Cinnamon-Swirl Muffins ~"

08/15/2018

~My Texican Huevos Rancheros Taco Boat Breakfast~

Classically, soft-yolked fried eggs, served atop a lightly-fried corn tortilla, accompanied by a scoop of creamy refried beans, then drizzled with a cooked tomato-and-chile-pepper sauce (not fresh salsa), is known as: huevos rancheros. Simple, straightforward and scrumptious, ranch eggs, rancher's eggs or ranch-style eggs was the typical big, bold stick-to-the-ribs start to the long, laborious dawn-to-dusk workdays of cattle ranchers and ranch hands throughout the wide-open cattle-grazing spaces of Mexico and the American Southwest. It wasn't fancy, it was filling. Huevos Rancheros = ingredients on-hand in a ranch kitchen. As long as one can cook an egg, this dish is...... View full recipe for "~My Texican Huevos Rancheros Taco Boat Breakfast~"

08/02/2018

~ Peanut Butter-Banana-Oat & Trail Mix Quick Bread ~

I'd love to tout this scrumptious breakfast treat as healthy -- I suppose in some oaty-grain fruit-and-nut-land sort of way it is, so, if that convinces you to give this recipe a try, I can live with that -- in the meantime, I'll just proclaim it to be a somewhat healthier option to most other sweets found in bakeries and coffeeshops (especially since my favorite way to indulge in a slice of this bread is toaster-oven-toasted and slathered with a touch of softened salted butter). Just yum. A bit about quick bread: "Quick bread" is an American term that refers...... View full recipe for "~ Peanut Butter-Banana-Oat & Trail Mix Quick Bread ~"

07/31/2018

~ Peanut Butter-Banana-Oat & Tropical Trail Mix Bars ~

Hot fun in the Summertime. As a fan of peanut butter and banana sandwiches (no honey please, just smash a banana into some crunchy peanut butter and slather it between two slices of my Wonder bread or toast), when I decided to intervene in the world of recipes for peanut butter and banana bar cookies, I already knew my version was going to be loaded with one of my favorite snacks: sweet and savory tropical trail mix (my favorite brand is a mix of dried coconut, mango, papaya and pineapple, raisins, banana chips, brazil nuts, cashews and peanuts). Oh yum....... View full recipe for "~ Peanut Butter-Banana-Oat & Tropical Trail Mix Bars ~"

06/25/2018

~ Summer Strawberry and Banana Breakfast Muffins ~

I rarely drink coffee, but when I do, a muffin is involved. The humbly-crumbly and not-too-sweet muffin is the perfect accompaniment to my steaming hot cup of caffeine laced with cream. In my muffin world, muffins are to be consumed for breakfast or brunch, bigger does not equate to better, mini-muffins miss the entire touchy-feely point, and, muffins containing chunks of fresh or dried fruit and/or toasted nuts are amongst my favorites -- even the most magnificent Chocolate-Chip Muffin top can't woo me away from an Apple, Raisin & Pecan Streusel Muffin. As a gal who considers a banana a...... View full recipe for "~ Summer Strawberry and Banana Breakfast Muffins ~"

06/12/2018

~ Have a Very-Berry Blackberry-Cobbler Kind of Day ~

Here today, gone today. That's the lifespan of blackberries entering my kitchen. I've been told their dark color makes them really good for me -- even more antioxidants than blueberries. Rah-rah-sis-boom-bah, I'd eat them even if they were on on the not-so-good-for-me foods short list. When I buy a box of blackberries, I eat a box of blackberries. When I pick blackberries, they disappear on the walk to my kitchen door. I do not share blackberries -- well, maybe, probably I would, but, I've yet to be tested on this point. That said, because blackberries require no special treatment (peeling,...... View full recipe for "~ Have a Very-Berry Blackberry-Cobbler Kind of Day ~"

06/04/2018

~ Chinese-Style Tomato-Eggs: For Any Time of Day ~

The incredible, edible egg. For centuries, the Chinese recognized how good the protein-packed egg is. So much so, eggs are their symbol of the principals-of-life: "yin" being the white, "yang" being the yolk.* Eggs, colored or marbled, celebrate birth, restoration of good health, continued good-luck and/or future prosperity. Dating back to ancient times, eggs of any kind (chicken, duck quail and pigeon) were incorporated into meals all day long (fluffy scrambled tomato eggs, flan-like steamed eggs, omelette-esque egg fu young, wispy egg drop soup, vinegary pickled eggs, tea-flavored smoked eggs, etc.), with mushrooms and/or seafood being common additions. *Note: Yin...... View full recipe for "~ Chinese-Style Tomato-Eggs: For Any Time of Day ~"

04/18/2018

~ Roasted Chicken, Strawberry and Brie Sandwiches ~

Looking for a pretty-as-a picture Spring-Summer sandwich to serve at a ladies lunch or brunch -- one that, once they taste it, will appeal to the men-in-your-life as well? You found it. Tender and juicy, sliced or pulled, poached- or roasted- chicken breast, served on freshly-baked buttermilk biscuits or toasted English muffins is divine. Topped with a fresh strawberry vinaigrette, it's sublime. There's more. A woman, by the name of Helen Corbett, a food-service mananger for Neiman Marcus, is to thank for promoting several unique strawberry dishes in a big way: During the 1970's, the chicken, spinach and strawberry salad...... View full recipe for "~ Roasted Chicken, Strawberry and Brie Sandwiches ~"

03/27/2018

~Gone Bananas: Double Banana Pudding Poke Cake~

Retro recipes with a history to report or a story to share, are fun for me to write. While plenty of versions for this particular cake are available on the internet, my reason for adding "mine" is two fold: plenty of present day cooks have no idea what a poke cake is, and, this particular one is, one of three poke cake recipes my mom made when I was growing up in the 1960's and '70's. Because banana pudding is classic and traditional Southern fare (a layered dessert of vanilla cookies, sliced bananas, vanilla pudding and meringue), that would indeed...... View full recipe for "~Gone Bananas: Double Banana Pudding Poke Cake~"

02/02/2018

~ An Apple-a-Day & Granola Too, Breakfast for Two ~

If you're not too lazy to peel and slice one apple in the AM, and if you keep a bag of granola in your pantry, a steaming-hot, flavorful and filling breakfast is five-minutes from your fingertips. What I like about this "what I cook for me" recipe is: everything. As a kid, I loved stewed apples -- somewhere in between apple pie filling and chunky applesauce, they are less sweet with a less thickened, au natural, taste and texture. My mother made stewed apples to serve with her pork roast for dinner, but, she'd always set a small bowl aside...... View full recipe for "~ An Apple-a-Day & Granola Too, Breakfast for Two ~"

01/15/2018

~ Say Cheese Please: Making Perfect Welsh Rarebit ~

Welsh rarebit -- the original cheese toast. It's worth mention that I've only eaten what I believe to be the real-deal once. It was in the latter 1990's, in Wales, in the exquisite Coed-Y-Mwstwr Hotel (coy-dee-moo-ster). It came to me as a complimentary side to a lovely salad (which I ordered after returning from shopping in the city of Cardiff). The cheese toast, along with everything else in this hotel, was perfect. I kicked off my high-heels and enjoyed it in my lavish room, overlooking the How-Green-was-My-Valley countryside, with a very English G&T too. I gave cheese toast a lot...... View full recipe for "~ Say Cheese Please: Making Perfect Welsh Rarebit ~"

01/07/2018

~ Sausage, Apple & Herbed-Brie Breakfast Burgers ~

This morning I decided to go eggless -- it's a woman's perogative. I skipped the skillet and got out the grill pan. On this frigid January morning, I made what I affectionately refer to as: breakfast 'burgers. Six-ounce sausage patties topped with lightly-grilled apple slices and melty herbed Brie, served on toasted English muffins. I conjured up these ladylike, burger-esque breakfast sandwiches years ago. They're culinary proof that necessity is the mother of invention. Read on: We were enjoying an AM tailgate at Beaver Stadium. When I reached into the Igloo cooler to retrieve the eggs, I realized they hadn't...... View full recipe for "~ Sausage, Apple & Herbed-Brie Breakfast Burgers ~"

01/02/2018

~Swiss Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Puff Pastry Braid~

Imagine eating a freshly-baked, still-warm chocolate croissant at your favorite coffee shop. Just thinking about one of those divinely decadent indulgences makes me happy. Now imagine it super-sized, more than enough to feed four, with sweet cherries and crunchy almonds added to it too. Need I say more? Valentine's Day will be here before we know it, and, if you're looking to surprise the chocolate lover in your life with something truly sweet, stash the ingredients on this list in your pantry and freezer, then, start counting the days to February 14th. Tick, tock. From appetizers to entrées to desserts......... View full recipe for "~Swiss Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Puff Pastry Braid~"

12/31/2017

~ Sweet Sausage, Apple & Cheddar Puff Pastry Braid ~

We all have our favorite breakfast and brunch casserole recipes -- I'd be lost without mine. They taste great, they're easy to prepare, and, some can even be made ahead, but, let's face it: casseroles aren't elegant. They're low-key, family-style, comfort food -- the blue jeans of the food world. Newsflash: Occasionally, it's necessary to dress up -- and that extends to the food. If I told you I have a small repertoire of AM meals that make a stunning presentation, taste as good as they look, and, are relatively easy to prepare, would you want the recipes? I thought...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Sausage, Apple & Cheddar Puff Pastry Braid ~"

12/28/2017

~ Cloudberry Jam, Brie, Almond & Puff Pastry Braid ~

Circa 1980-1985 -- better known as the cloudberry jam period of my life. One of Joe's business associates (a man from Norway temporarily working here in Happy Valley) introduced us to a Norwegian specialty: small squares of grilled bread cheese topped with cloudberry jam. It was served as an appetizer at a cocktail hosted by Rolf and his Swedish wife. I fell in love with this cheesy treat immediately -- and said so. When I reciprocated the invitation, I was gifted a jar of the jam, a small brick of bread cheese and a package of stroopwaffes as a hostess...... View full recipe for "~ Cloudberry Jam, Brie, Almond & Puff Pastry Braid ~"

11/13/2017

~ Dare to be a Square: Individual Breakfast Frittatas ~

As an egg lover, for me, a frittata is a relatively-easy quick-to-make hunger-satisfying meal any time of the day -- for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or late night snack. It tastes great served hot, warm, at room temperature or cold, and, leftovers reheat beautifully in the microwave. A bit of slicing, dicing or chopping is typically required, but it's minimal, and, since frittata can also be a tasty way to use up leftovers from a previous meal, in some instances, no knife is required. In my food world, making individual-sized frittatas, a perfectly-portioned quick-as-heck protein-packed meal or snack that I...... View full recipe for "~ Dare to be a Square: Individual Breakfast Frittatas ~"

09/20/2017

~ Start Dunking: Double-Raisin Bran Cereal Cookies ~

If you're one of the few, the proud and the many who adore Kellogg's raisin bran, this cookie recipe is for you. I'm sure the recipe is a Kellogg's original too, because I remember sitting at my mother's kitchen counter the day she made them, for me, the first time. It's odd, but, as a child, when all the other kids were reaching for the Frosted Flakes and Sugar Pops, the only two cold cereals I would eat were: Kellogg's Raisin Bran and Special K exclusively. That 1960's Winter afternoon, which was a snow day off from school, we decided...... View full recipe for "~ Start Dunking: Double-Raisin Bran Cereal Cookies ~"

08/28/2017

~ Creamy Old English and Pimento Cheese Crab Dip ~

During the college football season, I add a few staples to my pantry and refrigerator lineup. When you live in a college town, you never (and I mean never) know when you're going to need to fix a quick appetizer. I make sure I'm never without pasteurized crabmeat in my refrigerator and Kraft Old English and Pimento Cheese spreads in my pantry. If the doorbell rings or the fans on the couch run out of wings, I can have crab dip on the cocktail table in about five minutes. Give me five minutes, I'll make you some great crab dip:...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy Old English and Pimento Cheese Crab Dip ~"

08/25/2017

~ Old English Cheese Spread & Crabmeat Canapés ~

These appetizers were one of our Happy Valley tailgate traditions. I fondly remember one of our members, Joan Reilly, making them for our early AM pre-tailgate tailgates -- prior to leaving for the stadium. She and her husband Joe lived close to Beaver Stadium, and, it was not unusual for us to meet, as a group, on the cul-de-sac in front of their house, to wait for our friend with the RV to arrive from Harrisburg. While we were all chatting and sipping Stan's Bloody Mary's, Joan would pass around a baking sheet full of her cheesy English-muffin-based crabmeat canapés....... View full recipe for "~ Old English Cheese Spread & Crabmeat Canapés ~"

08/22/2017

~ Southern Comfort: Classic Pimento Cheese Spread ~

When I was a little kid, pimento cheese spread was a staple in our refrigerator -- right next to the Old English cheese spread. I had absolutely no idea it was Southern. I thought it was Kraft. To this day, if someone puts a jar on of the store-bought stuff on the table next to a box of Ritz crackers, I'm more than happy to sit down and dig right in. Slather it between two slices of white bread and make me a pimento-cheese grilled-cheese sandwich and I'll follow you anywhere. Known as "the caviar of the South, or, "Southern...... View full recipe for "~ Southern Comfort: Classic Pimento Cheese Spread ~"

08/18/2017

~ Nice & Easy No-Nonsense Quick-Mix Apple Bread ~

Nice and easy, no-nonsense, quick-to-mix. One bowl, a whisk and a spatula -- no mixer required. Yep. Those words accurately sum up this recipe, and, the end more than justifies the means, meaning: it's hard to believe something this easy can taste this divine. While apple bread isn't the most photogenic (brown food in general isn't), don't let its monochromatic appearance fool you. It's dense but not heavy, has a delicately-moist crumb, and, it's bursting with apple flavor -- perfect for any Fall breakfast or brunch buffet table. Me? I love it toasted (on the rack of my toaster oven,...... View full recipe for "~ Nice & Easy No-Nonsense Quick-Mix Apple Bread ~"

08/03/2017

~ She's Gone Bananas: Banana-Walnut Bundt Cake ~

How many bananas can a gal put into a bundt cake? Every time I bake this banana cake, I push the envelope a little farther, and, today I used the entire bunch. Six bananas. It yielded a total of 3 cups mashed bananas, and, the recipe, which started out using 1 3/4-2 cups, came out super-moist and full-flavored -- just perfect. Often times, this is how recipes are developed or improved upon (by trial, error and gutsy experimentation). That said, me thinks I'll stop improving this one. The original recipe came from my mother's recipe box and I'm pretty certain...... View full recipe for "~ She's Gone Bananas: Banana-Walnut Bundt Cake ~"

07/18/2017

~ A Very Berry Sour Cherry and/or Blueberry Cobbler ~

While I adore a traditional cherry or blueberry pie (who doesn't), sometimes, especially July thru September, the months when there is so much (too much) going on in our garden, I need to speed things in order to make use of all the fresh fruits and vegetables in a timely, manner. When it comes "short shelf life" fruits like our sour cherries and blueberries, this cobbler is my solution. All I need is four cups of one or the other or a combination of both, along with 15 minutes of hands-on time, and: dessert is in the oven. There's more....... View full recipe for "~ A Very Berry Sour Cherry and/or Blueberry Cobbler ~"

05/07/2017

~ Sweet Potato, Pecan & Butterscotch Chip Muffins ~

With a grilled steak, I enjoy a baked Russet potato. With a grilled pork chop, I require a baked sweet potato. On our deck, if we're "baking" potatoes on the grill, we always put an extra one or two on the grids. With a cup or two of leftover baked and mashed Russet potatoes, I typically get out my skillet make pan-fried potato cakes. With a cup or two of leftover sweet potatoes, I often get out my muffin tins. If you didn't know that sweet potatoes (like pumpkin and zucchini), make great muffins or quick bread, you do now,...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Potato, Pecan & Butterscotch Chip Muffins ~"

04/28/2017

~ Charmingly Southern: Hummingbird (Bundt) Cake ~

Best described by me as "an extremely moist, banana and pineapple, cinnamon 'n spice cake containing toasted pecans and topped with cream cheese frosting", this absolutely scrumptious cake concoction is impossible for me to resist. It's simply irresistible. If you're like me, when you hear "bananas and pineapple", you likely say to yourself "that sounds tropical, akin to Caribbean, more than it does Southern." That's because it is. Hummingbird cake was created on the island of Jamaica during the 1960's and is named after their national bird, where the cake is also known as Doctor Bird Cake ("doctor bird" being...... View full recipe for "~ Charmingly Southern: Hummingbird (Bundt) Cake ~"

03/11/2017

~ Irish Eyes are Smilin' on Mary's Irish Soda Bread ~

My Irish soda bread recipe was given to me 20-25 years ago by my close friend Mary. Mary Teresa Howe and her husband Joe hailed from Buffalo, NY, then moved to and raised their family here in Happy Valley, PA. For almost two decades, my husband Joe and I had the pleasure of sharing many good times with them. From football tailgates to holiday cocktail parties and all sorts of family celebrations, the Howe's enjoyed entertaining and being entertained. Mary and Joe were of proud Irish heritage and every year on St. Patrick's Day, all of us in their inner...... View full recipe for "~ Irish Eyes are Smilin' on Mary's Irish Soda Bread ~"

03/05/2017

~ For those times when you just gotta have: Frittata ~

Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or late night snack, a frittata is a relatively-easy quick-to-make, hunger-satisfying meal. It tastes great served hot, warm, at room temperature or cold, and, leftovers reheat beautifully in the microwave, which make it perfect for those who brown bag lunch. A bit of slicing, dicing or chopping is typically required, but it's minimal, and, since frittata can be a tasty way to use up yummy leftovers, there are times when no knife is necessary. As per my Italian girlfriend Eileen, her mom and grandmother made frittata to stretch leftovers -- to turn them into a family-friendly...... View full recipe for "~ For those times when you just gotta have: Frittata ~"