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Heirloom or Clutter…+ A New Twist on an Old Favorite…Chicken Parmesan as a muffin!

Happy New Year, everyone!! I have a new dilemma to share!

I know it’s really great that there are things so special to you that you want to pass them along to your children and grandchildren….but seriously…..you have to think, “Will they want this shit?”

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Take, for example, the Lenox bird collection, that I know was an expensive bite out of the budget that my husband provided for his mom….I just spent an entire afternoon, matching each bird to the corresponding certificate of authenticity, photographing, and listing them on Ebay. I sold one, but by the time I packed it and shipped it, I lost money.

Kathy, a very close friend of mine offered me $25.00 for all of them so that her husband can use them as target practice for a gun he purchased recently. Tempting. I can’t help but thinking that someone out there appreciates these dust collecting birdies.

Moving Steve’s mom into an assisted living facility was quite the undertaking, especially as her daughter-in-law….I was given the dubious job of sorting through countless pairs of stockings, some still in the original package, hair ties and bows, denture boxes, and an assortment of long forgotten treasures packed away for safe keeping. Year after year, I would go to the dollar store for holiday bags and have Salina pack up these treasures as gifts, but she didn’t want to part with anything. You really have no idea….So for now, I’m stuck with these birds…lots of them.

My parents, at 89 and 91, have kept those special to them in a super organized way. When I visit, I love how my mom is always trying to give me her things. Although they take great pleasure in sharing, I want my mom and dad to keep and enjoy the memories they bring, rather than taking them away. I also know that the beautiful and valuable belongings of my parents are far from junk and someday will value and cherish the sentiment and memories.

On a return flight from Cancun, I vividly recall the pilot saying, “I hope you enjoyed your vacation and have carefully packed all of your souvenirs that will be at your garage sale someday.” So….note to self….Only buy and keep what gives you pleasure and let it go when it no longer has meaning.

Speaking of giving pleasure, I found this twist on an old favorite. Get ready for this delicious and EASY twist on your favorite Chicken Parmesan recipe!

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ½ lbs raw ground chicken breast or turkey.processor and run until ground)
  • 2 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons panko or breadcrumbs
  • ¾ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ a small finely chopped onion
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup pasta sauce
  • ¾ cup reduced fat shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Optional: dried parsley, oregano or basil for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Lightly mist a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, egg whites, breadcrumbs, basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese and lightly mix together. Do not over handle.
  3. Form the meat mixture evenly into the 12 cups of your prepared muffin tin. Spread the pasta sauce evenly over the tops of each muffin. Bake for 20 minutes and remove from the oven. Top each muffin with about a tablespoon of shredded cheese and then return to the oven for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted. Garnish if desired.

Dear Friends,

Thanks for swinging by! Whether you are stuck indoors watching the snow, or reading this poolside, I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe and these great finds!

Until next time…

Cheers to cherished memories, both old and new!

🥂Laura

CELEBRATION + SUNSETS SHOPPING

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Comfort….

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Today I learned of a friend’s passing.  A tearful whisper in the wind.

My friend was kind, cheerful, giving and loving, to her family and to her friends. Everyone knew the cancer had returned, but her heart wouldn’t allow her to share the burden she carried when hope turned to prayers and words turned to tears.

Visiting her Pinterest boards today, it became clear that words of inspiration and thoughts reach deeply into our hearts and minds.

With tears in my eyes, I wanted to write..

“My dear Friend,

I wish I could have shared your pain and kept your private fears and tears close to my heart. I pray that your pain is gone and you are at peace.”

These are some of her posts….

Geralyn's words

Comfort comes with time and we hope that time does heal, although the pain never really goes away. Comfort comes in many ways and opening our hearts to comfort during difficult times can help.
Geralyn

My upbringing always brings me to food. Growing up, food was always the center of happiness, sadness and just about anything in between. My Steve always says that dining with family is an experience….they are the only people he knows who can be discussing what they want for the next meal while they are eating…too true:)

So for me, comfort food is just that, and I have found this delicious twist on stroganoff with just the right amount of heat and the right amount of comfort. Enjoy!

CAJUN CHICKEN STROGANOFF

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  •  8 oz. dry wide egg noodles

  • 8 oz. kielbasa, sliced 8 oz. button mushrooms, quartered 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

  • 11/2 lb. chicken breast tenders

  • 1/2 tsp. each cayenne pepper, paprika, black pepper, kosher salt, dried basil, dried thyme, and dried oregano

  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste

  • 2 tsp. minced fresh garlic

  • 1/2 cup dry sherry

  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • Sliced scallions

DIRECTIONS

Cook noodles in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions; drain.

Sauté kielbasa and mushrooms in 2 Tbsp. oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until browned, 5 minutes; transfer to a bowl.

Combine chicken with seasonings, tossing to coat, then dust with flour. Sauté chicken in remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in same sauté pan over medium-high heat until nearly cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Push chicken to the side of the pan, stir in tomato paste and garlic, and cook 1 minute.

Deglaze pan with sherry, scraping up any brown bits; simmer until nearly evaporated. A

dd broth, Worcestershire, and reserved kielbasa and mushroom mixture, bring to a simmer, and reduce by half, about 5 minutes.

Off heat, stir in sour cream.

Serve stroganoff over noodles and garnish with scallions

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This is the Ultimate Cooking Machine + 2 Delicious Recipes for that Leftover Turkey

I don’t ordinarily get super excited about kitchen gadgets, but this one is AMAZING! This little monster is the ultimate one pot meal making which makes all other Crockpots obsolete!

It steams! It bakes! It Sears! It sautes! It slow cooks! And the best part, is that it does it  all in one pot. 

So, I know what you’re thinking and you’re probably right. You’re thinking that I sound like one of those Vita-mix sales demonstrators you normally find in a tent during county fairs. Endorsing a product, particularly with your friends, is risky business but truly, this new machine is a game changer.

The Ninja 4-in-1 Cooking System best features are:

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  • 1 pot with 4 cooking functions: Stove Top, Slow Cook, Oven, and Steam.
  • Unique heating elements let you sear, sauté, and slow cook—all in one pot—for easy cleanup.
  • Bake in oven mode. Dry Bake for chicken and roasts, and Steam Bake for delicious, moist cakes.
  • Steam delicious and healthy vegetables, fish, and other delicate foods.
  • Includes: 6 qt. nonstick cooking pot, glass lid, steaming/roasting rack, multipurpose pan, roast lifters, silicon mitts, cookbook, and travel bag.

Click here to see the Ninja 4 in 1 Cooking System on YouTube.

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 What to do with that leftover turnkey? Try these delicious recipes from the Ninja 4 in 1 Cookbook that comes with your purchase.

TURKEY POT PIE

TURKEY POT PIE

Ingredients

CRUST 
Pie dough FILLING 
4 medium carrots, peeled, cut in thirds 
3 stalks celery, cut in thirds 
1 1/2 small onions, peeled, cut in quarters 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 pound leftover turkey cut in 1 inch pieces
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter 
1/2 cup flour 
4 cups chicken broth 
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves 
Salt and pepper, to taste 
2 tablespoons milk 

Instructions

  1. To prepare crust, see Pie Dough recipe.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place carrots, celery, and onion into the 64-ounce Precision Processor.
  3. Select CHOP. Transfer chopped vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped vegetables and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add chopped turkey and continue cooking until vegetables are softened, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour to saucepan, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add broth, stirring constantly with a whisk, until mixture thickens to form a sauce. Add thyme and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Combine the vegetables and chicken with the sauce, then pour mixture into a casserole dish. Remove one pie dough disc from refrigerator and roll out to 2 inches larger than the casserole dish. Place dough on top of filling and crimp edges. Cut vent holes in dough and brush with milk. Cook for 45 to 50 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.

TURKEY LASAGNA

TURKEY LASAGNA

Ingredients

1 pound leftover turkey cut in 1 inch pieces
1 jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce, divided 
8 uncooked no-boil lasagna pasta sheets, divided 
1 medium zucchini, cut in 1/4-inch thick rounds
1 pound whole-milk ricotta cheese 
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided 

Instructions

  1. Place turkey and 1/3 cup sauce into the pot. Cover with 4 sheets pasta, breaking up the fourth to cover the sides of the pan.
  2. Scatter the zucchini slices over the pasta. Spread with ricotta and sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover with half the remaining sauce.
  3. Layer the remaining pasta, then top with the remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese. Cover pot.
  4. Select Auto-iQ Quick Meals: Recipe 20 and press the START/STOP button.
  5. For best results, let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Dear Friends,

The Thanksgiving countdown as officially begun and I love all of the new gadgets designed to make our lives a little bit easier. Even if you don’t purchase this great cooker, I hope you’re able to enjoy the recipes with your leftover turkey.

Cheers to a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by people in your life who make you smile and appreciate you.

Until next time….

Laura

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This Desert puts the Pretty in the Peach!

Summer should get a speeding ticket! I honestly don’t know where it went! Looking forward to sweater weather has never been my thing, so I still hold on to summer as long as I can….and my white jeans. I was elated when the Today Show fashion consultant said that your white skinny jeans can be a fall staple this year. Not that I needed the affirmation, but it was good to hear.

The end of summer has left us a bounty of juicy peaches to enjoy! Searching for great peach dishes through collections of cookbooks and recipes, I have found that although the “plus-it-ups” are fun, many of the old basics and “Mom Recipes” are still the “Blue Ribbon Winners!”  This peach recipe can be made in an 8×8 casserole or individual ramekins. Hot out of the oven, serve it up with some cool & creamy vanilla ice cream. Life is good…..and here it is…..easy & delicious…..

MOM’S PEACH CRISP

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INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350*
  2. Arrange peaches evenly in an 8×8-inch baking dish or stack the peaches halfway up in a ramekin.
  3. Mix flour, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl using a pastry cutter until evenly crumbled.
  4. Fold oats into flour mixture; sprinkle and press topping into peaches.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until topping is lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

Dear Friends,

Cheers to summer, cheers to peaches and cheers to doing what makes you happy! Until next time…

🍑Laura

P.S. CHECK OUT THESE GREAT FINDS…

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RAMEKINS FROM SUR LE TABLE

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3 Sensational Recipes to take the Labor out of your Labor Day!

Labor Day….summer’s last hurrah? I’m not sure what happened to the ‘dog days of summer,’ but our August has been more of an Eskimo Dog…..chilly with precipitation! Fortunately, the outlook for Labor Day looks good so let the picnics begin!

Last minute company?? No worries with these eazy breezy dishes! Keep it seasonal AND simple…

First, let’s start with an appetizer that doubles as a salad…..

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SLICED BOSC PEARS WITH GOAT CHEESE AND PECANS

Simply slice pears in 1/4 inch slices, top with 1 T. goat cheese, add a toasted pecan and serve! Want to fancy it up? Drizzle a little store bought…did I say that??? …..balsamic glaze over the top.

WEDGE SALAD DIP

I found this recipe on Pinterest recently, and I thought…”Genius!’ This dip has all of the incredible flavors of a wedge salad, serves a crowd and is always a hit! Duplicating this as a Greek Salad Dip, or any of your favorite salad combos work well! *As a side note, however, not everyone loves blue cheese, so I like to use the blue cheese on 1/2 and label it!

IMG_8473INGREDIENTS
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1 package Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1½ c. chopped romaine lettuce
  • ½ c. chopped tomatoes
  • ½ c. chopped cooked bacon
  • 2-4 oz. crumbled blue cheese (according to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, and Ranch Dip mix and mix until smooth.
  2. Spread into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate or other similarly sized pan.
  3. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese, and chives.
  4. Enjoy with your favorite crackers

NOW FOR THE MAIN COURSE!!

Crowd pleasing  and delicious!

GRILLED HOT ITALIAN SAUSAGE SANDWICHES WITH ROASTED ONIONS AND PEPPERS

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  • Pre-heat oven to 400*F.
  • Slice assorted peppers, red, yellow, green & orange in 1/2″ slices.
  • Slice sweet onions, preferably Vidalia in 1/2″ slices.
  • Place onions & peppers in a roasting pan. Drizzle 3 T. over top & sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are transparent. 
  • *Careful not to over-roast or they become mushy…..
  • Grill assorted Italian sausages. Cut into 2 inch slices & place on top of the onions & peppers. Serve with fresh Italian rolls & enjoy!

 

For dessert?? Vanilla Ice cream with fresh sliced peaches on top!

VANILLA ICE CREAM WITH PEACHES

Dear Friends,

Thanks so much for swinging by! As I have gotten older, even though I love to cook….and eat….dining out is soooo much easier. I’m constantly on the hunt for dishes that have amazing flavor and have the look of something complicated that took a lot of time to prepare.

Cheers to enjoying your Labor day filled with time spent just the way you like it.

Until next time…

🍹Laura

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ONE GREAT RECIPE WHEN YOUR FRIDGE BITES THE DUST!

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One of today’s nightmares….YOUR FRIDGE DIES!

As you open your refrigerator and there is a distinct dark quiet that overtakes you, you begin to cringe. No hum, no lights…… and you think, “Shit.” Sticking your nose in to hopefully smell nothing,  you immediately feel the carton of milk to gage the temperature. While quickly reaching for the freezer and opening it, you notice that the seafood, steaks, and everything else has begun to defrost….all at once! Quickly surveying the damage, you resort to throwing out the spoiled and attempting to salvage what is left.

Always stocking up on frozen shrimp, I had quite a bit in the freezer as well as a HUGE bag of scallops, a package of andouille sausage …and OKRA! With the help of a small trip to the grocery store, I came up with this delicious recipe.

SEAFOOD GUMBO (SERVES 8) 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 C. diced onion
  • 1 C. diced green pepper
  • 1 C. diced celery
  • 1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen and thawed shrimp
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen and thawed scallops
  • 2 C. each of fresh or frozen sliced okra
  • 1 C. sliced Roma tomatoes, fresh or canned, drained.
  • 1/2 C. flour
  • 2 C. fresh or frozen and thawed sliced okra
  • 1/2 C. chipped roma, fresh or canned & drained
  • Chopped scallions & parsley as garnish
  • Cooked rice

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a large dutch oven, saute in 3T olive oil:
  • 1 C. each: diced onion, diced green pepper,  & diced celery 

IN A SEPARATE SKILLET SAUTE:

  • 1 lb. andouille sausage and add to the dutch oven.

STIR IN:

  • 2 C. each of fresh or frozen sliced okra
  • 1 C. sliced Roma tomatoes, fresh or canned, drained.

ADD:

  • 1 lb. thawed shrimp & scallops and sauce until pink and tender.

SPRINKLE:

  • 1/2 C. flour over top and blend in the mixture, cooking for 1 min.

POUR:

  • 3 C. prepared Chicken broth over top.

SEASON:

  • 1 t. salt
, 1 t. black pepper
, 1/2 t. white pepper
, 1 t. cayenne pepper, 
1 bay leaf

GARNISH:

  • T. scallions, minced T. parsley

SERVE:

  • With Cooked rice

 

Dear Friends,

It would have been easy to cook up the thawing food and freeze it for another day, but it was fun to get creative. The flavors in the recipe blend beautifully and after purchasing a new fridge, I was able to freeze what we hadn’t eaten for another day.  Serve this dish with an ice cold beer or a crisp sauvignon blanc! If you don’t like seafood, chicken is a great substitute.

Stay tuned for the delicious dishes I made with the thawing steak, chicken and other goodies from my freezer.

Cheers to knowing that if this is the worst thing that happens in a day, life is good. Keeping our thoughts and prayers for victims of the hurricane and our soldiers defending our country is so important.

PLEASE remember to thank our police officers, fire fighters, soldiers and anyone else who provides a service to our country and our safety. In an uncertain world, I do try not to take anything for granted.

Every day is a gift.

Thanks for swinging by & Cheers to you!

🍻 Laura

PS: Check out these great finds for your kitchen:

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BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER

I never realized that people actually read my blog and look forward to my recipes until dinner last night with friends celebrating my 62nd birthday!! Wait….62? Shit.  Anyway, my friend, Stephanie, wanted to know why I don’t blog more. I am, unfortunately for my husband and kids, never short of words, so that isn’t the problem. I love summer and spend as much time as I can outdoors because summer is soooo short. But promising that I would blog more, my new office is now located on the back deck until it rains. 

Speaking of summer, a recent trip to Miles Market in Ohio proved to be somewhat of a decision-making challenge. The locally grown produce was fresh and abundant. Ultimately, I came home with this massive head of cauliflower that was so big, it wouldn’t fit into the produce bag.  I came home from teaching aerobices the other day finding this huge cauliflower on the sink with a note from my husband who loves to do ‘refridgerator management.’ It read, “Do something with this thing. It’s taking up the whole damn refridgerator.” That’s a little exaggerated, but it is big and needed to be cooked. 

So, bored with the usual, but creative recipes for preparing cauliflower, I came upon a great recipe from Delish.com….Buffalo Cauliflower with blue cheese dipping sauce. My shortcuts with this dish are store-bought blue cheese dressing and Franks Hot Sauce. 

So, what really is buffalo sauce you ask? As a retired teacher, I love info that nobody really cares about. So the buffalo, fortunately,  has nothing to do with this guy…..buffalo.jpeg There actually are many stories with claims to fame of this spicy stuff, but they all originate in Buffalo, New York. Yep. There is even a National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, where John Young was inducted into the National Buffalo Wing Hall of Fame in 1964 with his Mombo Sauce.

Here it is….super easy and surprisingly not too spicy……..

BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER with BLUE CHEESE DIPPING SAUCE 

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/4 c. buffalo sauce (such as Franks)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss cauliflower with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20 minutes, until the florets are starting to turn golden and slightly crispy.
  3. Mix together melted butter and buffalo sauce. Pour over roasted cauliflower and toss with tongs to combine. Return baking sheet to oven and roast for another 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is fork tender and slightly crisp. Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing on the side.

Dear Friends, I hope you like today’s recipe and feel free to share or ask for a new recipe. I love to share my yummy and EASY finds. Until next time….

Cheers!  🍾 Laura

P.S. Check out my new store, FOLIO TRENDS for the latest styles and trends for women.

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It’s Not Trifle to Make a Delicious 🍓TRIFLE

Ahhhh Summertime! A time to enjoy days filled with warm sunshine and breezy balmy evenings that we hope will never end. Sipping delicious cocktails with friends on outdoor patios dimly lit with the dancing flames of citronella. It doesn’t get much better than that.

If you are looking for a delicious, refreshing and easy desert, I found this great one on PINTEREST. Often I find great ideas on Pinterest that grace the boards of my own pages, but this one really takes thee cake! This Summer Berry Trifle takes a little prep, but is a beautiful addition to your festive summer celebration! ENJOY!

SUMMER BERRY TRIFLE

SUMMER BERRY TRIFLE
This Summer Berry Trifle is light and a beautiful addition to your summer celebration!

Ingredients 

17 oz angel food cake, cut into 1″ cubes (I used 1 1/2 blocks)
1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 lb fresh blueberries

4 or 5 qt trifle dish or individual clear glass ice cream bowls

Lemon Syrup

1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice (from 1/2 medium lemon)

Frosting 

2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened at room temp
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Lemon Syrup

1. In a measuring cup, combine 1/4 cup water, 2 Tbsp sugar and 2 Tbsp lemon juice and stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Trifle Cream…YUM

1. Beat together 1 lb cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar (with the whisk attachment) on medium speed until creamy and smooth. With mixer on, pour in 2 cups heavy cream then turn the mixer to medium/high and continue beating until consistency of whipped cream. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla and beat until incorporated.

Assemble the Trifle:

1. Place 1/3 of your sliced angel food cake into the bottom of your trifle dish and brush with 1/3 of your syrup. Add 1/3 of your cream and loosely spread it over cake pieces. Add 1/2 of the sliced strawberries. Repeat with remaining ingredients (adding 1/2 of the blueberries for the second fruit layer). Frost the top with last 1/3 of cream and decorate with remaining fruit.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

NOTE…In place of the lemon syrup, any liquor will do such as amaretta, peach schnapps, etc.

Dear Friends,

Thanks so much for swinging by. I hope you enjoy today’s recipe and it finds its way to your next summer celebration.

A friend recently sent me a this great quote about life:Don't Waste Time

Sometimes its easy to get caught up in wasted time worrying about things that don’t matter or can’t be changed. Be your best you, love yourself and live for today.

Until next time, Cheers to you❣️

🍹 Laura

CELEBRATIONS SHOPPING!

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TRIFLE BOWL 2

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Gimme S’more Lovin’ this Summer!

Ahhhhh….summertime! Picnics and seasonal celebrations calls for putting a twist on your favorite treats! 

All the ‘fixins’ for a desert s’mores buffet seems like a great idea until the next day when the ants have invaded the delicious droppings from the well intended sweet treat. “What was I thinking,” you remind yourself.  

Well, alas, here is an inviting alternative to the work and the mess while preserving the integrity of the sweet s’more…. S’Mores Cookies which I found in a back issue of Cuisine Magazine.

No more long, hot, dangerous pokers prancing around the fire in the dark, carrying a flaming marshmallow in search of that elusive graham cracker and chocolate. This delicious cookie even looks the part!

S’Mores Cookies

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Enjoy the delicious taste of s’mores without the mess with these S’Mores Cookies!

Makes 4 dozen cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup fine graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. each baking soda and kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (8 Tbsp.)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup each granulated sugar and packed
  • brown sugar 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 24 large marshmallows, halved horizontally or the new flat ones 
  • 48 Hershey’s chocolate bar pieces (4 bars)IMG_8128

Preheat oven to 375°.

  1. Whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Cream butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 5 minutes.
  3. Beat in egg and vanilla until incorporated. Blend in flour mixture on low speed just until incorporated.
  4. Scoop dough with #60
    scoop (about 1 Tbsp.) onto ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake cookies 4 minutes. Top each with a marshmallow half and bake until golden, 4–5 minutes more.
  6. Transfer cookies to cooling racks, press chocolate pieces on top, and let stand 5 minutes. 

Dear Friends, Cheers to summertime, picnics and all of the celebrations that create great memories! I love this s’mores cookie, because the thought of rescuing the little ones from flaming marshmallows and dangerous sharp pokers is relieving at best! Feel free to shop my latest finds for trends in style for home and you!

Cheers and happy baking!

🍷 Laura

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my new shop, FOLIO TRENDS, for the latest in ladies’ fashion. These are a few of my faves + FREE SHIPPING!

COLD SHOULDER LACE BLOUSE $34.99

FOLIO TRENDS OFF THE SHOULDER BLOUSE

 

STRIPED CANVAS BEACH TOTE WITH ZIPPER $24.99

FOLIO TRENDS STRIPED CANVAS BEACH TOTE

TWO PIECE DRAWSTRING PANTS SET $36.99

FOLIO TRENDS TWO PIECE DRESSING

S’MORES MAKER $39.99

S'MORES MAKER

 

 

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Mother’s Day Calls for Mom’s Chicken

Cookbooks, recipe cards, recipe files, have all been replaced by Pinterest, online cookbooks and online recipe sites such as Cooks, Epicurious, Delish,  All Recipes, Cooking Channel, Taste of Home and more. It’s not a bad thing, but for sure, you will find a multitude of variations on anything you want to cook.

Wedding showers were the best. Often times, the gift was to include a recipe card for the bride’s recipe files. I vividly recall attending a friend’s wedding shower more years ago than I like to remember. As Connie opened her gifts with the attached recipe card, her mother proudly announced, “The next grease mark on any of my cookbooks will be the first!”  We all politely smiled and nodded in agreement. 

How things have changed. Cooking is now an ‘in thing,’ whether created by television cooking programs like “The Chew,” or perhaps drinking too much wine in a restaurant became hazardous to your ability to drive home safely. In any event, it has changed, and the new customs of sharing great memories of food with friends and family is deep-rooted in the days long ago when it was customary to many ethnicities. 

My mother, Marilyn, an artist, created a cookbook with matching bookmarks, many years ago and sold them at a local gift shop with the help of her sister, Dorothy, and Polly Paphilous, the food editor for the Akron Beacon Journal. It never made the best seller list, but I can assure you that anyone who purchased a copy was privy to some delicious recipes. One of my favorites and super easy is “Mom’s Chicken.” I typically use boneless, skinless thighs which I find more flavorful and moist. The Parmesan cheese forms a delicious crust. Remember to grease your pan.

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Dear Friends,

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to you, your mom, or any woman in your life who has provided the unconditional love and caring that it takes to be a great role model and give children the ability to reach for the stars.

My mother is 87 this year and still loves to bake cookies for my father turning 90. I’m blessed, not only with still having them in my life, but also for the wonderful memories I will cherish forever. Watch for my next blog post, “Cookie Nirvana,” where I will feature some of my mom’s most delicious cookie recipes. Until next time….

MOTHER'S DAY       🍷Cheers! Laura

P.S. Swing by my online store for great gift ideas! FOLIO TRENDS! Great women’s clothing and accessories at incredible prices! fullsizeoutput_1ddd

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Spring Break with a Side of Fries

Today was enlightening. My first day of vacation and not only did I wear my usual two piece bathing suit, skirted and high waisted, of course, but I noticed a distinctive sign that I needed to lose weight. The sign wasn’t as blatant as you might think. The scale this morning didn’t yell, “GET OFF OF ME!” ….no one tried to harpoon me on the beach……but the sign was there. You see, every chaise lounge at the pool is equipped with a numbered flag that you raise in order to let the server know that you would like to order food. Yep! You guessed it, mine had no flag.

So, my daughter, Jodi and I decided to have a late lunch of blackened mahi tacos with a mango salsa; healthy, and flavorful. It was happy hour, and we were happy,  so we enjoyed a skinny margarita. Suddenly, our server delivered these amazing french fries to the next table. Jodi and I shot each other a glance and beckoned the server to bring us an order. This little diet destructor was well worth the calories; …….thick cut french fries served with a fresh raspberry mayo on the side. We IMG_7567quickly justified consuming these fat fried bursts of flavor by reminding ourselves that we did water jog🙃.  So, essentially, the moral of this story is “calories in and calories out.” There are, however, good calories and not so good calories, but an occasional splurge isn’t a bad thing. Unfortunately, I often justify these binges by thinking, “If this were my last meal, it would totally be worth it.” It was.

This trip, I decided to create healthy and delicious meals using all of the fresh fish Florida has to offer. At the local fish market, grouper was recommended as a hearty fish that could easily be made into a piccata dish. Wikipedia explains piccata as “meat or fish sliced, sautéed, and served in a sauce containing lemon, butter and spices”.  Often prepared with veal or chicken, this recipe proved to be a keeper. Enjoy!

GROUPER PICCATA

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  • 4 grouper filets about 4 oz. each,  blotted dry and seasoned with 1/2 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. capers, drained
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • thinly sliced lemon slices

Dredge fillets in flour.
Heat 2 tsp. oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high until it shimmers. Add half the fillets and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer fillets to a platter; tent with foil. Repeat heating and cooking with remaining oil and fillets.
Add wine, lemon juice, and capers to skillet; cook 30 seconds. Off heat, swirl in butter until it melts; season with 1/2 tsp. pepper and 1/4 tsp. salt, add lemon slices until softened.  Serve fillets with sauce over rice or angel hair pasta.

Dear Friends,

On the plane ride home from vacation, we hit a bit of turbulence. The kids on the plane clearly coming home from spring break, squealed with excitement at the sudden dips and turns. The parents, on the other hand looked horrified. Looking for a diversion, I noticed the cloud formations outside of my window and admired the unusual landscape the sunlight created as the rays bounced off of the sloping hills and valleys of the thick clouds.

Snapping a photo of this unusual scenery, placing it in the archives of vacation memories, it occurred to me the way in which this is a reminder of our need to “take time and smell the flowers” as we get older.  For so many years, we simply hurried to our next destination either not knowing or not realizing that life itself is a journey filled with moments worth pausing for celebration.

As always, thanks for stopping by and cheers to enjoying the journey. 

🍹 Laura

P.S. Check out my new store FOLIO TRENDS where you find great styles and incredible prices! Sign up for email alerts to get great savings!

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3 BOWLS to put the SUPER in your SUPER BOWL PARTY!

So, you’re not a big football fan. I get it! I live in Cleveland. But you know that SUPER BOWL SUNDAY seems to be an American holiday handed down to us.  The day the world seems to stop and either focuses on a football game, or commercials….that would be me.  Football in Cleveland isn’t exactly a nail biting experience, so the thought of cheering on a team, ANY TEAM, sounds inviting. Well, if you can’t beat em, join em and plan the perfect Super Bowl party! Set it up, Self Serve, Easy Clean up! Do it! And NEVER miss another Super Bowl game, or commercial!

It’s SUPER BOWL 51, and you can find the foods from each team to serve.
For the New England Patriots you might try your hand at New England Lobster Rolls.grid-cell-20146-1385426272-16

And for the Atlanta Falcons the perfect desert would be Georgia Peach Cobbler. 

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Friends LOVE to bring something, so why not have a Chili cook off and have everyone bring a crockpot of their favorite chili OR set up a great chili bar of your own, add a plate of cookies and a self serve bar. It’s a party!

One of my favorite chili recipes comes from a local Ohio chain of restaurants called “Skyline Chili.” The recipe is a copy but pretty damn close and pretty damn delicious. This is how you order it up or as they call it “ways.”

Ways…….
Their signature dish
3-Way
Steaming spaghetti covered with their secret recipe chili, topped with a mound of shredded cheddar cheese.

4-Way
A 3-Way with onions or beans.

5-Way
A 3-Way with onions and beans.

Chili Spaghetti
Steaming spaghetti covered with our secret recipe chili.

CINCINNATI CHILI……THE RECIPE!

ways

Serves 4

CHOP TOGETHER:

2 small yellow onions, chopped 5 cloves garlic
2 lb. ground round (or l lb. ground round & 1 lb. ground chicken or turkey)

ADD:

2 Tbsp.each unsweetened cocoa powder, Worcestershire sauce, and cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. each chili powder, tomato paste, and sugar

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. each ground cinnamon and celery salt

1/2 tsp. each ground allspice and cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 cups water
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz.)

SERVE IT UP

Cooked spaghetti Shredded Cheddar Chopped red onions

Pulse yellow onions and garlic in a food processor until minced. Add ground round and process until paste-like; transfer to a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Cook mixture until meat is no longer pink; drain and return to pan.

Add cocoa, Worcestershire, vinegar, chili powder, tomato paste, sugar, cumin, cinnamon, celery salt, allspice, cayenne, and cloves; cook 5 minutes. Stir in water and tomato sauce; bring mixture to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 25 minutes.

Serve chili on spaghetti topped with Cheddar and red onions. (Optional red kidney beans drained and warmed)

How about a……

 Bowl of Tequila Chili
Slow-cooked with beef, poblanos, jalapeños & onions. Topped with 3-cheese blend.

Try this delicious copycat recipe from Chili’s Restaurant. Make it a super easy clean up and serve it in an edible bread bowl! bread-bowl

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  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 fluid ounces tequila
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Brown the ground beef in a large pot over medium heat, breaking it up with a spoon while it cooks; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, kidney beans, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, tequila, chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper; simmer 20 minutes.

Last but not least…..Try this creamy flavorful twist on the usual bowl of chili!

WHITE CHICKEN CHILI

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Serves 4

 

MELT:

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

2 cups diced white onions

1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

STIR IN:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups half-and-half

2 cups chopped cooked chicken

1 can navy beans (15 oz.), drained and rinsed

1 can diced jalapeños (4 oz.)

Juice of 1/2 a lime Salt to taste

Diced fresh tomatoes and fresh cilantro leaves

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and cumin; sweat, partially covered, until onions soften, 10 minutes. Stir in flour; cook 2 minutes. Stir in broth, scraping up any brown bits, then bring to a simmer. Add half-and-half and chicken; simmer chili until thick, 5 minutes. Stir in beans, jalapeños, and lime juice; season with salt. Garnish chili with tomatoes and cilantro.

 

THEN THERE’S THE BAR……Set it and forget it!

BLOODY MARY & MIMOSA BAR

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OH Yeah!! That yummy GEORGIA PEACH COBBLER…..

Ingredients

1cup Original Bisquick™ mix
1cup milk
1/2teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2cup butter or margarine, melted
1cup sugar
1can (29 ounces) sliced peach, drained or 3 ripe fresh peaches sliced.
Directions

1 Heat oven to 375ºF.
2 Stir together Bisquick mix, milk and nutmeg in ungreased square baking dish, 8x8x2 inches. Stir in butter until blended. Stir together sugar and peaches; spoon over batter.
3 Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until golden.

Dear Friends,

Whether you’re a Patriots fan, a Falcon’s fan, love Super Bowl commercials, want to see Lady Gaga at half time,  or just love food, I hope you enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday! 

Cheers!

Laura

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HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOU ARE TOO OLD TO BUY GREEN BANANAS

You can’t turn it back, I keep reminding myself….But now I realize that there are definitely 5 signs that let you know you are getting older.

What led me to this realization was a recent trip to the west coast of Florida. As we strolled from the airport security to our gate, we were approached by a man on an electric cart asking us if we’d like a ride. Normally the dudes on those carts transport fat people, old people, celebrities, people with physical challenges or lazy people and they just whiz on by, but this time stopped to see if Steve and I would like a ride. A RIDE? US? You’ve got to be kidding! I didn’t think we were any of those! That was the first sign.

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While hiking in the woods several weeks ago with my son, his wife and my granddogter, Harper, they asked if I wanted to sit down and rest for a while. I teach step aerobics, I reminded them, and myself. That was sign #2.

 

 

 

I no longer get carded, even if it’s required by law and on Tuesdays at our local outlets, I never have to show my driver’s license in order to get the senior discount…sign #3.

Perfect strangers ask me to watch their stroller and packages in a shopping mall and sometimes even their sleeping baby in the stroller….sign #4.

And last, but not least, the catalogs and email inbox have gone from Victoria’s Secret to AARP and Frontgate.

Trying to maintain my sense of humor about the aging process, I have lumped women and men into categories; everything from those who literally let themselves go to those who habitually try to reverse the process. What used to be called a moo moo is now called a tunic, and lifting faces or face lifting has been replaced by pumping some kind of shit into wrinkles to puff them out making someone appear to have stayed in the boxing ring too long.

I used to wonder why anyone would want to live in a 55+ community but now I get it. Reminders of inevitable aging are everywhere, not just in the mirror, and perhaps living in a community that isn’t youth focused isn’t such a bad thing. I, for one, love being around young people and find delight in sharing their youthful optimism and humor, so I’m not sure how happy I would be in that kind of community.

At 61, there is a realization that there is an end, and I find myself counting the hopeful years that we have left living in good health. I have some rules to follow like never taking a selfie or face timing from below my chin…and always holding the camera over my head, forcing us to look up.

Over the past few weeks, I have felt with the pain of my daughter in law’s sudden death of her mother and the pain of Steve’s daughters coming to terms with the few months their mother had left after finding out she was stricken with pancreatic cancer. There are no words, but one thing I do know is that time is precious, too precious not to waste on negativity of any kind. So, as my Steve always says, “I have no yesterdays. Time took them away. I only have today and hope for tomorrows.”

Upon returning from our trip to Florida, I distinctly noticed by the smell,  that I had left some bananas in the fruit bowl that were way overripe…so I tried this amazing banana bread that I recently found on Pinterest. I’m still not sure at what age I should no longer buy green bananas, so instead I did some research about how to quickly ripen bananas. As for this delicious recipe, I did modify it and make it without the glaze which reduced the sugar and the calories. The banana bread is so flavorful, the glaze isn’t necessary.  I’ve added it in the event you may want to give it a try. 

CARAMEL BANANA UPSIDE DOWN BREAD


Ingredients
½ cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
About 2 bananas, sliced in ¼ inch rounds
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1½ cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup mashed overripe bananas
2 large eggs
⅓ cup coconut oil or oil of choice
⅓ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Caramel Glaze: (Optional)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9X5 inch loaf pan.
Spread the brown sugar on the bottom of the loaf pan. If using nuts, sprinkle them evenly over the sugar. Dot with the butter. Put it in the oven for about 8 minutes. Stir the mixture until dissolved and spread evenly on the bottom of the pan. Place a single layer of the banana slices on top of the sugar mixture along the entire bottom of the pan.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add all the remaining wet ingredients and beat just until combined. Do not over-beat.
Pour the batter over the sliced bananas in the pan.
In an oven preheated to 325 degrees F, bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean but moist.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting it on a cake platter.

To prepare the Caramel Glaze, place the butter, brown sugar and heavy cream in a small saucepan (you can also microwave the ingredients for a minute). Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let it sit for a minute. Pour the glaze evenly over the cake (on the upside down side with the bananas on top).

FIVE WAYS TO QUICKLY RIPEN BANANAS

1) Bananas in a bunch take about 24-48 hours to ripen. Bananas that grow together also ripen together, so only separate the ones you want to ripen more quickly.

2) Placing bananas in warm places takes about 24-48 hours to ripen.

3) Place the bananas in a paper bag. It takes about  12-24 hours to ripen.

4) In the oven, ripening bananas takes about 30-50 minutes. The peels turn shiny lack when they are ripe. 

5) Microwave your bananas 30 seconds-2 minutes. 

Dear Friends,

Thanks for swinging by today. I know my article was somewhat tongue in check with a bit of morbid reality thrown in, but laughter is always a great cure for worry, and it makes sense not to worry about things you can’t control. So, after all of this, I will continue to buy green bananas now that I know how to hurry the ripening of them.

Until next time…

Cheers to lots more years!   Laura

 

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FELIZ NAVIDAD!

Last night, an old friend who we’ve know for many years stopped by for a little holiday cheer. We have known Jimmy wearing many hats over the years, as a lawyer, a great chef, and in his retirement years, Santa. Last night we realized that was all we did know about him, other than the love of his life passing from cancer a few years ago. 

Sipping his cocktail,  Jimmy, who we fondly refer to as “Gumbo Jim,” was lamenting over a ‘Dear John’ letter he recently received in his mailbox, listing the reasons his long time girlfriend no longer wanted to see him. The first two were petty, but the third was surprising; surprising to know this about someone, and surprising that would be a deal breaker. 

Every year on Jimmy’s birthday, he purchases his own birthday cake inscribed with “Happy Birthday Lewis.”

“When I was 16,” he went on, “my parents forgot my birthday. They went out of town visiting friends, and I thought they were setting me up for a big surprise. After several hours passed, I realized they had forgotten! So I went through all of the pockets in the laundry and around the house scraping up as much change as I could find and ran down the street to the corner bakeshop just about to close. Anxiously entering, I asked if they had any birthday cakes. The lady at the counter looked at me and replied, “Just one, but it already has a birthday message on it. It says, “Happy Birthday Lewis.”

Reliving that moment, Jimmy stated, “I bought it, and sitting on the corner eating my birthday cake through my tears, I wondered who poor Lewis was who never got his cake. So, every year, I buy my own birthday cake always inscribed with, Happy Birthday Lewis. I never realized that this was such an annoyance.”

So, you think you know someone until they share personal stories giving a window to their heart. This time of year,  we get so caught up in shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, celebrating and trying to create the perfect holiday, that so often we forget to take time with our friends and family to know them and to listen. That is truly a gift both to give and receive.🎅f620dd10609be2423fece09632cd75c3

Here’s an idea to plus up your holiday! Make it a fiesta! Grab a bottle of tequila, mix up a delicious poinsettia smash, cocktail  and try any of these simple kid friendly, crowd pleasing recipes! 

TACO CRESCENT RING

 taco-crescent-ringThis taco-filled crescent ring is the perfect meal for Taco Night! Dress it up with fresh shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and taco sauce for a fun twist on tacos! (Serves 8)

Ingredients

1 lb ground beef
1 package (1 oz) Old El Paso™ taco seasoning mix
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
Shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced ripe olives, taco sauce or salsa, as desired

 Heat oven to 375°F. In 10-inch nonstick skillet, cook beef until no longer pink. Add taco seasoning mix and 1/2 cup water. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes or until slightly thickened. In medium bowl, mix beef mixture and cheese.

  1. Unroll both cans of dough; separate into 16 triangles. On ungreased large cookie sheet, arrange triangles in ring so short sides of triangles form a 5-inch circle in center. Dough will overlap. Dough ring should look like the sun.
  2. Spoon beef mixture on the half of each triangle closest to center of ring.
  3. Bring each dough triangle up over filling, tucking dough under bottom layer of dough to secure it. Repeat around ring until entire filling is enclosed (some filling might show a little).
  4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until dough is golden brown and thoroughly baked. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into serving slices.

QUICK and EASY TACO PIE

quick-taco-pie

Ingredients

1 to 1 1/4 lb. lean ground beef
1 (1-oz.) pkg. Old El Paso™ Taco Seasoning Mix
1/2 cup water
1/cup sliced black olives
1 (8-oz.) can Pillsbury™ Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
1 1/2 to 2 cups crushed corn chips
1 (8-oz.) container (1 cup) sour cream
6 slices American cheese or 4 oz. (1 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese
Shredded lettuce, if desired
Avocado slices, if desired

1 Heat oven to 375°F. Cook ground beef in 10-inch skillet until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain. Stir in taco seasoning mix, water and olives. Simmer 5 minutes.
2 Meanwhile, separate crescent dough into 8 triangles. Place triangles in ungreased 9 or 10-inch pie pan, pressing to form crust. Sprinkle 1 cup of the corn chips over bottom of crust.
3 Spoon beef mixture into corn chips in crust. Spread sour cream over beef mixture. Cover with cheese. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 to 1 cup corn chips.
4 Bake at 375°F. for 20 to 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cut in wedges. Serve immediately with lettuce and avocado. Store in refrigerator.

CHEESE TOPPED TACO PIE (MY FAVORITE!)

0bd73139-1873-4aed-84d5-9c54bdccab6eI just LOVE the way the egg, cheese cream cheese mixture sets on this pie! (Serves 6)

Ingredients

Crust
1 box Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
Filling
1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 package (1 oz) Old El Paso™ taco seasoning mix
1 jar (16 oz) Old El Paso™ Thick ‘n Chunky salsa

1 can (2.8 oz) french fried onions
1 (8 oz pkg) cream cheese
2 cups shredded taco-flavored cheese blend (8 oz)
2 eggs
1 small tomato, seeded, diced
Steps
1 Heat oven to 450°F. Make pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell using 9-inch glass pie pan or 10-inch deep-dish pie pan. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until light golden brown.
2 Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. In 10-inch skillet, cook ground beef over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in taco seasoning mix and salsa; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in half of the french fried onions. Spoon mixture into baked shell.
3 In small bowl, mix cream cheese, 1 cup of the taco-flavored cheese blend and the eggs. Spoon over beef mixture. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until slightly puffed and set in center.
4 Remove pie from oven. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese evenly over filling; sprinkle remaining french fried onions in center of filling.
5 Return to oven; bake 2 to 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle tomato around edge and in center of filling. Garnish with sliced jalapeños  Let pie stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving

POINSETTIA SMASH

poinsettia-smash

INGREDIENTS

2 oz Patrón Silver
.5 oz Fino Sherry
5 Fresh cranberries (or .5 oz of cranberry jelly)
.5 oz Simple syrup (omit if using jelly)
.5 Lemon
+ Cinnamon stick & lemon wheel for garnish
METHOD
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Double strain into a rocks glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and lemon wheel.

Dear Friends,

Whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope it’s wonderful and filled with memories to cherish forever. Watch for the opening of my new E store: FOLIO TRENDS where I feature beautiful and trendy designs for ladies at great prices: FOLIO TRENDS

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Aclamaciones! (that’s Spanish for Cheers!)

Señorita Laura

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Add This Delicious Little Pumpkin Cookie to your Fall List of Things to Bake

Now that the election is over, giving thanks to our Veterans, and with Thanksgiving in TWO WEEKS, it’s time to focus on feel good things. This cookie is so delicious and fills your kitchen with mouth watering fall smells of cinnamon and pumpkin. Warning….. if you decide to sample one hot out of the oven, be prepared to have another. These cookies are simple to make and if you like cakey cookies, you’re in for a treat. One tip: when you do go to roll them into the cinnamon sugar, they are a little sticky, so put a little butter on your hands.

CINNAMON PUMPKIN COOKIES

Makes 27 COOKIES

fullsizeoutput_19f8.jpegINGREDIENTS:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin (we use Libby’s canned pumpkin)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cinnamon chips

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with Silpat baking mats or parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Set aside.

3. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla and mix until combined, about 3 minutes. Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Stir in the cinnamon chips.

4. In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Shape dough into rounded tablespoons and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Lightly press down on the cookies with a spatula or the palm of your hand.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to brown around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

Dear Friends,

No matter what you hoped for in this election, we need to focus on just being nice and remain hopeful. Take time to thank our Veterans, share a cookie and share a smile.

Cheers,  Laura