Feb 182017
 

Last Sunday I went to the Straz Center to see the play Wicked with my daughter in law Susie and her mom Joan. It was so so so good, and very hilarious, which surprised me.

Before we went to see the play, we went to a new to me and Joan restaurant called Datz. For an appetizer Susie ordered the Berrychetta, which is toasted batard topped with goat cheese and Florida Strawberries, arugula and cherry balsamic drizzle. Oh my goodness. It was fantastic!

Everything on the menu sounded amazing, but I ended up ordering the Pepping Tom which is Oven roasted turkey, Swiss cheese, avocado spread, lettuce, tomato and mayo, served on a ciabatta roll. I asked for regular bread instead of the roll (don’t ask me why, it was just a spur of the moment thing)  and the sandwich was amazing. It was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. Yum E!

All the sandwiches are served with house-made sweet-n-salty chips with creamy blue cheese drizzle and green onions. We all thought they were yummy!

 

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Berrychetta

Peeping Tom

Pepping Tom &  Sweet-n-Salty Chips

(you can click the photos to enlarge)

Joan ordered the Roger’s Rockin’ Reuben: Sy Ginsberg’s corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing. Served on rye bread. She loved it.

Susie ordered the The Happy Cow: House-made black beans, fresh corn veggie burger. Topped with Sriracha aioli and shredded lettuce. Served on a sweet sourdough bun.  And yes, she loved it.

The restaurant had a great atmosphere and I would recommend it 100%. I hope to go back soon. Sadly, the only locations at this time are in Tampa.

We had some spare time between the restaurant and the play so we decided to walk around Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. I love the park and enjoy it every time I go. That day they were having Yoga In The Park and I was surprised at how many people were yoga-ing. I also love watching all the dogs that people bring to the park to walk. Someone even brought their pet pig.

Piggy

Piggy

Of course my favorite part is walking beside the water. I am a water lover. Pond, river, canal, ocean, puddle. I love em all.

Anyway, if you are ever in the downtown Tampa area and are hungry, I suggest you visit Datz. They have other items on the menu besides sandwiches. Everything we ate was really good.

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Hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Jan 282017
 

My daughter and I go on day trips once in a while. Two weeks ago we went to Lady Lake and stopped at Sweet Tomatoes, one of my top 3  favorite restaurants. For soup and salad, it’s #1. If you’re not familiar with Sweet Tomatoes, they’re a salad, soup, and baked goods restaurant. And their food is oh so yummy. I didn’t get a photo of the salad bar because we got there just as they were opening the door and there were a bunch of people waiting to get in. By the time I tried to take a photo, there were people on both side of the bar and I couldn’t get a good shot.  Next time. There are more soups and bakery items than in the photo, it was just hard to get a clear shot with the people standing in front of them. I know the restaurant isn’t in all states, but if you haven’t been to this restaurant, check to see if there’s one near you. Their food is so good!

 

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Sign Outside

ST soup bar

Soup Bar

ST bakery bar

Bakery Bar

 

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Weekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Souper Sundays2
Hosted @ Kahakai Kitchen
Jan 202017
 

 

Paula Deen’s Crock Pot Potato Soup

1 bag (30 oz) frozen hash-brown potatoes
2 cans (14 oz ea) chicken broth
1 can (10.75 oz) cream of chicken soup
1/2 C chopped onion
1/3 tsp ground black pepper
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

Optional Garnish: minced green onion, shredded Cheddar and bacon

 

In a crock pot, combine potatoes, broth, soup, onion, and pepper. Cover, and cook on low for 5 hours.

Stir in cream cheese, cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until combined.

Garnish with green onion, and/or Cheddar and bacon if desired.

 

Thoughts
I’ve always made homemade potato soup using my mom’s recipe. This time I thought I’d look for a recipe online and see what I could find. I found this recipe by Paula Deen and thought I’d try it.

I wondered how the ingredients would work since I’ve never used cream cheese, chicken broth, or cream of chicken soup. It was easier than easy to make, and the ingredients didn’t cost much.

The soup was good, but I think I’ll stick with my mom’s recipe most of the time, and use this for when I’m not feeling like peeling a bunch of potatoes.

As you can see, I took the photo without the optional garnishes. It was fine without them, but they do add a bit more flavor.

 

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&

Souper Sundays2

Hosted @ Kahakai Kitchen

 

Jan 142017
 

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This is #1 of 6 recipes for my Pin It & Do It Challenge

The reason I chose this recipe instead of the one of the many others on the web, was because it has a 5 star rating from 1038 reviews. How could it not taste good with that kind of rating?

Simple BBQ Ribs
2 1/2 pounds country style pork ribs
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons salt
1 cup barbeque sauce

Place ribs in a large pot with enough water to cover.
Season with garlic powder, black pepper and salt.
Bring water to a boil, and cook ribs until tender.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Remove ribs from pot, and place them in a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Pour barbeque sauce over ribs.
Cover dish with aluminum foil

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until internal temperature of pork has reached 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Changes I Made
I didn’t follow this recipe exactly. Instead of bringing the water to a boil, I turned the burner on low and just let the ribs cook for about 4 hours. I also poured a whole 18 oz. bottle of Stubb’s Hicory Bourbon BBQ Sauce over them instead of 1 cup.

What I Thought
WOW, these ribs were so tender! I’ve never had ribs that were that tender before. They tasted really good. We loved them and I’ll definitely make them again. I’ve added this recipe to my list of favorites. The next time we have a family get together, these are definitely going on the menu. Best ribs I’ve ever had!! There were a few ribs left, so the next day I made a sandwich with colby/jack cheese and pickles. Yummy!

 

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Nov 262016
 

The other day I asked my son Anthony to stop at the store on his way home from work and get me a box of Suzy Q’s. This is what he came home with:

 

 

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wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads
is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, etc.
Nov 192016
 

Ok, so I finally made the Crack Chicken recipe I found here. I was so looking forward to tasting it since everywhere I turned I was seeing people rave about it. I’ll not be giving it any raves. For me, the taste of the cream cheese was so very overpowering. If I ever decide to give it another try, I’ll only use one cream cheese.

I fixed two sandwiches because I was starving, but I could barely finish the first one. It was one of those times that the more I ate the bigger it got. The second sandwich went into the garbage disposal.

I was so disappointed. I thought it was going to be amazing. It wasn’t. Still, without the second cream cheese it might be. I haven’t decided if I want to give it another try or not. If I do, I’ll let you know my thoughts.

 

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Nov 052016
 

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I’ve been craving the Cheese Ravioli w/ Broccoli & Alfredo Sauce that I’ve made before. This time I wanted to try it with cheese tortellini and switch the broccoli with peas and corn.

Cheese Tortellini With Peas, Corn & Alfredo Sauce
2- 16 oz. Cheese Tortellini
16 oz. frozen peas
16 oz. frozen corn
2- 16 oz. jars Alfredo Sauce

Make tortellini as directed on bag
Make peas and corn as directed on bag
Place tortellini, peas and corn in large pot
Add Alfredo sauce
Heat, stirring occasionally
Serve
Thoughts
I only made half a recipe since there is only two of us, and there was still a small bowl left over. I thought this was really good and suprisingly, so did son Anthony! It was a really low cost meal and so quick and easy to make. Not 100% sure, but I think I like the cheese ravioli and broccoli just a bit more because, well, it has broccoli. My son likes peas and carrots more than he does broccoli. This recipe is a keeper for when I want a quick and easy meal! The corn is hard to see, but believe me, it’s in there.
wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads
Oct 162016
 

I was supposed to make these Bacon, Egg, And Cheese Eggo Waffle Sandwich last week, but didn’t get a round to it. So today, I decided to make it.  The ingredients cost less than $10.

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I very very rarely eat pancakes or waffles, I’m talking beaucoup years in between. But when I saw this recipe on the internet, it was different enough to pique my interest.

My son thought they were good but needed a little extra flavor so he put strawberry jam on his. When I tasted mine I thought the same thing, so I added some to mine. Much better! I left the cheese off, and that may have made a difference, so I may make these again with a different variety of ingredients, like adding the cheese, or some syrup instead of jam.  I’ll also buy a different flavor of waffles. When I went to shop for the ingredients, I had no idea there were so many different kinds of them. The best thing about this sandwich was the bacon, of course!

Linking to:
Weekend Cooking
Souper Sundays

Oct 082016
 

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It’s time to cook with Heidi Swanson @ I ♥ Cooking Club

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California Yogurt Bowl

Spoon one cup of whole milk yogurt into bowl

Top the yogurt with:
a bit of thinly sliced, ripe avocado
1/3 cup lightly smashed boysenberries (or blackberries)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
scant 1/4 cup raw rolled oats
a tiny bit of sea salt, optional
Each bowl serves one

Thoughts
This was my first time trying a Heidi Swanson recipes, and it is very good. In fact, is now my new favorite breakfast. I’ll be making it a lot from now on. It will also be a great choice for when I feel a bit hungry and want something that’s light and healthy. Quick, easy, and healthy. Seriously yummy!

I adapted this a bit by not using maple syrup, I used honey instead because that’s what I had on hand. I also cut up some extra avocado and blackberries to put on top.

 

I ♥ Cooking Club

Weekend Cooking

Sep 242016
 

I signed up for Hello Fresh about a week and a half ago, have made two of the recipes so far, and really liked both. I like that you can choose from 3 different plans, Vegetarian, Classic or Family. I chose Classic, 5 meals, for 2 people. You can click on their link and check out the plans and recipes.

Some of the recipes are not what I would try on my own, but so far both my son and I are enjoying them.

The first recipe I made was Dukkah-Crusted Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes and Lemony Greens. I loved everything, but my son isn’t a fan of lemon and thought the greens were too lemony.

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The second one I made was Rockfish Piccata with Sautéed Spinach, Israeli Couscous, and Lemon Caper Sauce. We both liked it all, and since I don’t like fish much I was surprised that my favorite thing was the fish.

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I like that they include prep and total time to prepare, allergy alerts, cooking level, and nutritional values. As far as I can tell for the classic 5 day plan, they give you six different recipes a week, and you get to choose the five you want.

 

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Sep 102016
 
082696ae35b00b68debde43052da4fc10e431b64(Image Credit: Sarah Starkey)
This article showed up in my email and I thought it was worth sharing. I think anyone who cooks has burnt a pan or two over the years.
Here’s the link to the article @ Apatrtment Therapy. I don’t live in an apartment, but since I’m moving to a house that’s only about 800 sq. ft., I subscribed to this because they have all kinds of information for living in a smaller place.

 

What You Need:
1 cup of vinegar
2 tablespoons of baking soda
1 cup of water (give or take depending on the size of your pan)
A burnt stainless steel pan that was left empty and unattended on a heated hot plate. oops!.
A scourer, because I can’t find any way to avoid it entirely

1. Fill the bottom of the pan with a layer of water.

2. Add the vinegar.

3. Bring the pan to the boil. It should be looking a bit cleaner already.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the baking soda. Expect fizz!

5. Empty the pan and scour as normal; if necessary add an extra bit of dry baking soda.

6. If there are any super stubborn marks that don’t come off with scouring, make a paste of baking soda and a couple of drops of water. Leave the paste on the marks for a while and return to clean as normal.

7. Ta-da! Now you can put your feet up and enjoy the many hours you saved yourself standing over the sink.

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads
Aug 202016
 

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101 Soups, Salads & Sandwiches by Gooseberry Patch

Whether you’re looking for lunch recipes, side dishes, or hearty mains, you’ll love the variety in 101 Soups, Salads & Sandwiches Cookbook. Chicken & Dumplin’ Soup, Spicy Sausage Chowder and Pioneer Beef Stew and BBQ Sloppy Joe Soup will all hit the spot! Tarragon Steak Dinner Salad and Pasta Taco Salad make tasty mains, while Mustard-Thyme Potato Salad and Raspberry Chicken Salad are great for toting to potlucks and picnics. Bite-sized or stacked high, friends & family will love sandwiches like Cheeseburger Roll-Ups, BBQ Chicken Calzones, Tuna Paninis and Lasagna Buns. Plus, with the “Terrific Toppings” chapter, you can sprinkle soups and salads with homemade garnishes like Zesty Pita Crisps and Bacon-Onion Croutons, and pile more flavor on sandwiches with Lemony Sage Mayonnaise or easy Refrigerator Pickles.

Thoughts
I’ve been a fan of Gooseberry Patch for so many years so when I saw this book I couldn’t resist buying it. I love that it’s spiral bound, and the pages are easy to wipe clean if something splatters on them.

This book will come in handy when I’m looking for a soup, salad, or sandwich recipe to post for Souper Sundays (soup, salads, or sandwiches) or Weekend Cooking.

Here are some of the recipes I want to try:
Soups
Chicken Cacciatore
Kielbasa
Meatball Vegetable Cheese

Salads
Berry Chicken
Layered Caribbean Chicken
White Bean & Tomato

Sandwiches
Scott’s Ham & Pear
Toasted Chicken Salad Bagels
Yiayia’s Chicken Pitas

Each recipe has the name and place of the person who submited it, and a few of their thouhts on the dish. The last page has U.S. to Canadian Equivlents, Baking Pan Sizes, Recipe Abbreviations, and Kitchen Measurements.

I love this book and want to add more Gooseberry cookbooks to my kitchen library.

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wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Souper Sundays2
Souper Sundays is hosted @ Kahakai Kitchen
Aug 062016
 

This is not the sandwich I had planned to make and share today, but someone left the Chipotle mayo at work (shhh, it was Anthony). I’ve been seeing a commercial for some brand of mayo, can’t remember which one, that says a grilled cheese with mayo instead of butter is so much better. Since my son Anthony and I both love grilled cheese sandwiches every once in a while, I wanted to test that out for myself. Luckily I had all the ingredients.

Not the best photos, but I was in a hurry.

mayo

 

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Thoughts
Anthony and I both thought these tasted almost the same as when made with butter except that there was a slight sweet taste to it. We both said we’d rather stick with butter, but mayo would be good for anyone who wouldn’t mind a slightly sweet grilled cheese sandwich.

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads
Souper Sundays2
Souper Sundays is hosted @ Kahakai Kitchen
Jul 292016
 

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The July movie pick @ Food N’ Flix was Popeye, chosen by Elizabeth at The Lawyer’s Cookbook. The cast includes Robin Williams, Shelley Duvall, and Ray Walston, who by the way was on one of my favorite tv shows when I was a kid, My Favorite Martian.

I loved the Popeye cartoon when I was a child and was really excited to watch this movie since it’s been many many years since I saw it. To be honest, unlike the first time I watched it, all the singing and “silly” talk got to me a bit. I almost stopped watching it a few times, but I didn’t, and am glad I didn’t. It must have been the mood I was in, because it never bothered me before, in fact I always found it “cute”. Still, when the movie was over, my thoughts were that I loved the movie and wouldn’t mind watching it again.

There were a few times food was mentioned or seen in the movie, other than spinach and hamburgers of course, but the one that grabbed me the most was a conversation between George W. Geezil and  Wimpy. Here’s what was said:

 

 

George W. Geezil: What is that glop you’re eating?

J. Wellington Wimpy: It’s a soup burger.
These are difficult times. Burgers can’t be choosers.

 

So, I decided to make this recipe, which I found HERE, and adapted it a bit.

Burger Soup
1 lb. extra-lean, ground sirloin

1 chopped onion, about 1 cup

2 clove garlic

1 15 oz. no-salt-added tomato sauce

1 14 1/2 oz. canned, chopped, no-salt-added tomatoes

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 16 oz. packaged, frozen mixed vegetables

1/3 cup brown rice, uncooked

In a large pot, cook the meat, onion, and garlic over medium heat until the meat is done.

Drain excess liquid.

Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes, broth, mixed vegetables, and rice.

Cover the pot, allow the mixture to come to a boil, reduce heat, and cook 35 minutes or until rice is done.

 

Popeye Hamburger Soup

Adaptions
I didn’t think this had very much flavor, so I added 1 tsp. each of cayenne pepper, garlic powder & onion powder. That made it a lot better.

Thoughts
This was a good soup. The ingredients didn’t cost much to buy, and it was easy and quick to make. The next time I make it I’m going to use a few each of Yukon potatoes, carrots, and a small bag of frozen peas, and maybe celery, instead of using a bag of mixed vegetables. was good good, but I like to try different ingredients to see which way tastes the best. I served it with a crusty bread which I didn’t take a photo of :(

Also linking to:
Weekend Cooking
Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sunday

 

Jul 162016
 

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The June/July book selection @ Cook The Books is Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy

I’ve never read this author before so I was excited to read this book.

The book is about Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather who are starting a catering business in Dublin. Add some relatives, friends, and some minor characters here and there and well, I thought there was just too many characters.

It’s a bit longer than what I prefer, and I do think it could have been a shorter and still had the same impact on the reader, but it did flow along well enough to keep my interest.

The book ended rather abruptly I thought, and kind of left me wondering what was next. Overall, this was a good book and I’m glad I read it.

There were so many foods mentioned in the book, and I wrote the name and page number of all the ones that I thought I might make. I finally narrowed it down to  two, Paella, which is mentioned on page 156 and Irish Stew which is mentioned on page 480.  I finally settled on Paella since I’ve never had it.

Here is what is said when the Paella is mentioned:

 

Tom said that the whole trick for the estate agents’ reception was setting up the Spanish atmosphere. Cathy said that was all very well certainly, but they must have a whole range of tapas to start. Followed by a knockout paella with all the right flavors.

 

I found a recipe here, and adapted it a bit:
Quick Chicken & Chorizo Paella
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
14 ounces chorizo, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pimenton or paprika (I used pimenton, which is just smokier)
2 cups short- or medium-grain rice
1 pinch saffron threads
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken stock
1 1/4 pounds chicken, cut into chunks (didn’t use)
1/2 cup frozen peas (I used a cup)
1 tomato, chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400°F.
Heat oil in a large casserole or paella pan over high heat.
Add chorizo and cook until browned and fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add onion, red bell pepper, and garlic.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.
Add rice (medium or short grain rice), pimenton, saffron, and bay leaves.
Stir to combine and coat the rice, about 1 minute.
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Add roast chicken, frozen peas, and tomato; stir to combine.
Transfer skillet to oven.
Cook uncovered until rice is tender and no liquid remains, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Fluff with a fork and serve immediately.

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I had both the chicken and chorizo on the counter to use, but decided to go with just the chorizo. The next time I make it I’ll use just the chicken, then both.

This was really good and very easy to make. The paella was full of flavor and was all I needed as a main dish. The recipe made enough for 6 bowls, so there’s plenty leftovers, saving you from having to cook the next night and/or trying to figure out what to take for lunch.

Cook The Books

Weekend Cooking

Jun 272016
 

Last week I was searching for sandwiches to see if I could find one I had never tried before. I kept seeing “Monte Cristo” and so I wanted to try one. I had the one I wanted to try, but because I am who I am,  I kept searching and then I found one here. It uses turkey along with ham.

Monte Cristo (I adapted it)
2 slices bread
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
2 slices cooked ham (I used thick sliced Boar’s Head ham from the deli)
2 slices cooked turkey (I used left over crock pot turkey breast)
1 slice Swiss cheese (I used Gruyer)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

Spread bread with mayonnaise and mustard.
Alternate ham, Swiss and turkey slices on bread.
Beat egg and milk in a small bowl.
Coat the sandwich with the egg and milk mixture.
Heat a greased skillet over medium heat, brown the sandwich on both sides.
Serve hot.

 

Half one

Thoughts
This was so good! The bread was nice and crispy and the flavors of the turkey, ham and melted cheese was amazing. I normally don’t use so much meat, but sometimes you just want a sandwich that’s thick and meaty. Today was one of those days. I only ate half of the sandwich because it was so filling. I’ll eat the other half tomorrow for lunch. The next time I’ll make it with thin slices from the deli and see which one I like the most.

Try it, you’ll like it!

 Linking to:
Jun 182016
 

I’ve been on a cookbook kick lately and when I saw this the other day I couldn’t resist it. I love that it has a collection of “the best of the best”.

14633739 Food & Wine: Best of the Best, Vol 15 by Mary G. Burnham (Editor), Food & Wine Magazine
Here, in one definitive volume, is Food & Wine Magazine’s collection of the most exceptional recipes from the 25 best cookbooks of the year.

115 Delicious recipes, all vigorously tested by the cooks at Food & Wine, for everything from salads and soups to pastas, chicken and desserts.

The latest dishes from superstar authors such as Jacques Pepin, Bobby Flay, Mario Batali & Nancy Silverton along with simple, fail-safe wine pairings.

More than 20 exclusive, never-before-published recipes, including Smoky Eggplant Dip, Braised Chicken Thighs with Green Olives, Crispy Fresh Salmon Cakes and Lemon Cloud Cake.

Thoughts
There are so many recipes in this book that I want to try. I went through the book pretty fast because I wanted to check out all the recipes, so I’ll have to go back through it and mark them with Post-it tabs. There’s something for everyone in this cookbook, even desserts.

A few of the cookbooks and their recipes are:
A Girl & Her Pig by April Bloomfield~ Merlot Braised Smoked Pork Belly with Apples

Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid~ Kachin Chicken Curry

Baking Out Lou by Hedy Goldsmith & Abigail Johnson Dodge~ Old School Raspberry Bars

The Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perlman~ New York Breakfast Casserole

Michael Symon’s Carnivore by Michael Symon & Douglas Trattner~ Spicy Sriracha Chicken Wings

Simply Mink In Your Kitchen by Ming Tsai & Arthur Boehm~ Chile Miso Pork Stew

I think this is a great addition to any cookbook collection.

 

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads