Friday, March 30, 2012

A Little Ahead Of The Game: Cajun Bacon BLT

I might just be a little ahead of the game here.....BLT when it's not even summertime yet? Not even tomato season yet? I hope there isn't a law written somewhere about seasonal BLT's.....If so, I'm in BIG trouble.

I had a breakfast meeting last week with a very good friend of mine (I can call her friend even though she's family, right?).
On my way to the breakfast meeting I heard an advertisement on the radio about a local meat market having a sale on Amish smoked baby Swiss cheese. OMG!! I knew right then and there that I had to get some of that cheese. Cheese is my weakness.....

Funny story: After the breakfast meeting I high-tailed it to the meat market. And of course, you cannot enter a meat market and only buy one thing. RIGHT?
While I was there I found this Cajun spiced bacon. Perfect for BLT's! But anyway, when I was checking out with my smoked baby Swiss cheese, 1 pound of Cajun bacon, 1 pound of peppered bacon, and 1 pound of fresh bulk sausage, I asked the sales clerk if I get a discount if I mention the advertisement I heard on the radio. He just stood there and looked at me. He didn't know what to say. And then I finally gave in and said, "I'm just kidding."
He gave a sigh of relief and continued ringing up my purchase. I love messing with people to see their reaction. This one took the cake......

I also found these Rosemary and Olive Oil flat breads. I am building this Cajun BLT as I shop.....
I love flat bread and I think it's a lot better for you than regular bread. It's also very versatile. You can grill it, make a panini, grilled cheese, use it as a wrap, etc.....

100 calories per serving (1)
10 calories from fat
0 cholesterol
0 saturated fat
0 trans fat
20g carbohydrates
1g sugar

This particular flat bread was connected in the middle and suggested folding it over once you get your sandwich goodies in there. I tore them apart and grilled them on my George Forman grill.

See how they turned nice and brown with grill marks in them.....I love grill marks! The marks make foods look like you put a lot of effort into preparing them. little secret.

Since I have a picture demonstrating the construction of my Cajun style BLT, I don't really need to leave a recipe. Was this sandwich good? It was AMAZING!!

Break the law, make yourself a BLT before tomato season.....just make sure you buy the organic tomatoes if you want the closest thing to fresh.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

OH The Love of a German Chocolate Cake.....German Chocolate Bars

I don't know what cake mix company invented this recipe....


I am totally in love!!

A friend of mine requested a German Chocolate Cake.....I cringed at the request because I am not good at layered cakes, frosting, and all the talent it takes to create beauty in a cake.

So you know me, I went in search of something simple, but with the same flavors, and of course I had to use my own personal touch.....

Have you ever used this product? Liquid caramel in a bottle!! Now that really makes things simple (and yummy!).

My daughter mixes this in with her chocolate milk. I haven't tried it yet myself, but I'm sure it's good.

I used that liquid caramel to drizzle over the German Chocolate Bars.

If you ever feel the urge of a sinful treat coming on, you have got to make these bars. And if you eat them just barely warm.....oh my goodness!!! And that's all I have to say.....

This recipe is linked to:


German Chocolate Bars

1 box German chocolate cake mix
1 c. butter, melted and divided
3 large eggs, divided
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, soft
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 - 16 oz. box confectioners sugar
1 c. sweetened flaked coconut (a little extra for top)
1 c. coarsely chopped pecans (a little extra for top)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13x9 glass baking pan with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix, 1/2 c. melted butter and 1 egg. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer until combined. Press into bottom of prepared pan, and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in remaining 2 eggs and vanilla. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar until smooth. Add remaining 1/2 c. melted butter, beating at low speed until combined. Stir i coconut and pecans. Pour evenly over cake mix layer. Sprinkle top lightly with chopped pecans and coconut. Bake for 45 minutes (mine was less), or until center is slightly set. Let cool completely before cutting into bars. Drizzle with Hersey's caramel ice cream topper before serving.


Monday, March 26, 2012

A Recipe Exchange: Cream Cheese and Brown Sugar Coffee Cake

Savannah from Savannah's Savory Bites contacted me a few weeks ago and asked me if I wanted to participate in a recipe exchange. Well, I think you all know me well enough to know what the answer was, "YES".
I spent some time with Savannah at her site and I acquired a deep over-taking of feelings for this lady, her hard work, and the amount of time she has to put into her wonderful blog.

When you take the time to visit with Savannah make sure you click on her Hammock Track Tales. Talk about inspiring....I got lost there for over an hour. Seriously! Very nice work!

One thing about a recipe exchange that I love is, I get to go to the recipe blog and pick the recipe I want to create. Is that being selfish? Heavens no! A recipe exchange is an open invitation to take a look around, and that's what I did.

Savannah also offers a food blog hop on Fridays. Her blog hops consist of spotlighting specific ingredients, cooking techniques, and sometimes touches on food cultures.

Savannah's Savory Bites is an all-around great blog to visit, follow, and save.

Savannah created this wonderful looking coffee cake, and when I seen the words cream cheese, brown sugar, and coffee cake all in the same title, I knew that this cake is what I want to create in my own kitchen. And this cake is so easy to put together.
It's funny how Savannah mentioned that if she didn't have picky eaters for children, she would have added pecans to the recipe. As I was putting this together I had the exact same thought.....pecans!

I had to show you a picture of what it looks like right out of the oven. My first impression, it looks like a great big cinnamon roll. What do you think?

And as I was shooting my pictures, I noticed how the cream cheese layer and the cake layer are very distinct. It is cake with cheese cake on top. Couldn't ask for anything better.....

I didn't want to change this recipe too much because I wanted to taste it as Savannah tasted it.

Cream Cheese and Brown Sugar Coffee Cake

1/2 c. vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 c. sugar (I used 1/2 c. Domino Light)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. buttermilk
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon

Cream Cheese Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese (soft)
1 egg
1/2 c. sugar (I used 1/4 c. Domino Light)
1 TBS flour
1 TBS lemon juice

Brown Sugar Filling:
12 TBS (1 stick and a half of one stick) of butter, melted
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. dark brown sugar (I used 1/2 c. Splenda brown sugar blend)
1 tsp. cinnamon

To make the cake, combine the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk in mixer. Mix until smooth. In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Pour and mix into wet ingredients in mixer. Mix until smooth. Pour the cake mixture into a greased 13x9 inch pan.
To mix the cream cheese layer, mix the cream cheese ingredients thoroughly, in mixer until smooth. Pour this over the cake layer in pan.
Melt butter. In a medium sized bowl combine flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Pour butter over dry ingredients and mix well with a fork. Drop this mixture in dollops over the cake batter and cream cheese layer in pan.
Savannah says to use a butter knife to swirl the three layers. I didn't do that part.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35-40 minutes, or until middle has set.
I also sprinkled mine with a sugar and cinnamon mixture before baking, and sprinkled more after baking.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Time Out For A Little Fun: Tag, You're It!

Tag & I'm "IT"

I have been tagged by Joelle, and you all should be familiar with Joelle. I have been bragging her up for quite a while now. What can I say? When there is something I love, I let it be known. You can find all of her great recipes here.
Playing a blogger's game will give you something to read and LAUGH AT while I'm doing my homework this weekend. Yes, I am on homework lock-down!

Here are the rules for the game:

1. Post a photo and eleven things about yourself in a blog post.

2. Answer the questions the person who tagged you, asked.

3. Create eleven new questions for the people you tag.

4. Contact them and let them know they have been tagged.

So, let's get started.....

1. Why & what motivated you to start writing a food blog?
My motivation was strictly to organize my own recipes, but as I researched more into food blogging I realized that food blogging was fun, beneficial to readers, and makes an awesome online cookbook. Just carry your lap top to the kitchen and start cooking......Now my blogging has become more than a hobby. It has become a part of my life, and I love offering GREAT things to the public.

2. What's your favorite food?
That one is simple.....I love anything Mediterranean.

3. What's your favorite dessert?
Another simple one......Rhubarb Custard Pie

4. Do you have any children? And if so, do they share your love of cooking?
I have three adult children. My oldest is a mom of two, holds a full time job, and her cooking skills are slim....LOL!
My son is a nutrition freak, body builder, and watches very closely what he puts in his body. He is always cooking something healthy (which helps me too).
My youngest daughter is attending a trade school, and guess what her trade is? You guessed it, CULINARY! She has big plans of furthering her education and she wants to get into the pastry chef part of it.

5. What hobbies/activities do you do in your spare time?
OMG!! BLOG! (every spare second I have)

6. What city and state do you live in?
Well, I don't live a city, I live in a village called Stryker, and if you can find it on the map you just worked your way through all the corn fields.....I'm in Ohio.

7. What state were you born in?
I was born and raised in Ohio. Nope, haven't left yet and I'm 44.

8. How many children were in your family? And where (birth order do you fit in?)
I am the middle sibling of three, and I just found out recently that I carry the type A personality (yes, I cried).

9. What do you do for a living?
Right now I'm a full-time student (working on my Bachelor Degree in supervision and leadership). I won't bore you with all the hairy details, but previously I held a job at an automotive facility (packed up and moved overseas).

10. How many blogs do you write?
Currently I write on two A'lil Country Sugar & Fishing From The Shore. They both mean the world to me.

11. Where is your favorite place that you visited, and why?
Alaska is my favorite place. I spent some time in Anchorage, Alaska, did a lot of eating, salmon fishing, and site seeing looking for moose....But the reason it's my favorite is because I ate a bar and grill called Humpy's. Later I found out that Man Vs. Food attended that same bar and grill. Some of the best food I have ever laid my mouth, lips, taste buds on.....

The bloggers I am choosing are:

Here are my 11 questions for you:

1. Who or what was your motivation to start writing a food blog?
2. If you could eat anywhere in the world, where would it be?
3. What is your favorite kitchen appliance? Why?
4. Who is your favorite celebrity chef? Why?
5. Where do you see your blog taking you in the future?
6. Can you create recipes from just throwing ingredients together in your kitchen? Explain:
7. How long have you been blogging? And how long do you plan to blog?
8. Can you describe your children (how many), and or, grandchildren (how many) with one word?
9. What is your favorite style of cooking (desserts, main dishes, appetizers, salads, etc....), and why?
10. What three baking ingredients CAN'T you live without?
11. Do you have pets (how many, what kind, and their names)?


Friday, March 23, 2012

I Found It!! Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Bread

This recipe was talked about on my Facebook Fan Page. Poppy seeds or no poppy seeds? Well, poppy seeds won.....

And then I had to make the announcement that I lost my "chicken scratch recipe", because I thought I threw it away, and I thought the bread was already posted to my blog. Do you remember that?

Low and behold....I found the recipe buried deep in the mess on my desk. I really need to set some goals for myself and become a little more organized. Notice how I used the word "little"? I need a filing system or something......

Tag: Recipes to blog

Tag: Recipes already blogged

I spent one whole day digging through bags of trash for this recipe that I thought I threw away, with no luck at finding it.....digging through old potato peels, egg shells, and left-over pizza that sat so long it dried out was not fun......But I am dedicated to my fans, and if dumpster diving is involved, I will do it!

Maybe I should rename this recipe? "From The Depths Of My Desk Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Bread"

Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Bread

1/3 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. Domino Light sugar blend
3 TBS lemon juice
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. bread flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. buttermilk
Zest of 3 lemons
1 TBS poppy seeds
1 pint fresh blueberries

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp. butter, melted
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

*NOTE: I zested my three lemons into a bowl, and then squeezed the juice out of them into another. The three lemons gave enough juice for entire recipe.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and lemon juice.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture alternately with buttermilk; beating well after each addition.
Fold in lemon zest, poppy seeds, and blueberries.
Pour into a greased 8x4 loaf pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over warm bread. Cool completely.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sometimes Ya Just Gotta: Peach Melba Mimosas

Sometimes ya just gotta have that drink.....And the sweeter and slushier they are the better. This drink was so good, and it hit the spot right where I wanted it to go. Sometimes I need a break where I can just sit back and relax, enjoy conversation, and just not think of a single thought.

Do you ever have days like that? Days where you just want silence, hear yourself breathe, and not think of one single thing....just shut the brain down for at least an hour.

This drink hit the spot and did the trick.

Peach Melba Mimosas

1 1/2 c. thawed frozen raspberries
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. thawed frozen peaches
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice (I used the juice of half a lemon)
1 bottle Moscato wine

In a blender, puree frozen raspberries and 2 TBS sugar. Set a fine sieve over a small pitcher and strain puree; set aside (Make sure you do this step. I left it out and ended up with tons of seeds in the bottom of my glass.)
Then puree peaches with remaining sugar, lemon juice, and 3 TBS cold water.
Spoon 2 tsp. raspberry puree and 2 tsp. peach puree into each glass. Top off each cocktail with Moscato. We had very large wine glasses so we used more like 1/4 - 1/2 c. puree and filled up with Moscato.....what can I say? I needed a BIG drink....

Recipe Source* Country Living, February 2012


Monday, March 19, 2012

Need Some Stress Relief? Crispy Smashed Potatoes

Oh, lookie here.....another Joelle recipe. I am completely hooked on Joelle. Everything that I make from her blog is always family satisfying and bursts with flavor. You really need to give her a visit.
The original recipe for these crispy smashed potatoes can be found here.

I am going to walk you through and show you what I did......

I used the tri-colored potatoes (red, yellow, and purple).

The spice of my choice was this little guy and crushed black pepper.

I cooked the potatoes (whole) in a pan of water until fork tender, and then placed them on a lightly greased (rubbed with olive oil) foil lined cookie sheet (with sides).

I used the same pan that I cooked the potatoes in to smash them. And this is where the stress relief comes into play. This is the perfect dinner item to fix after a bad day at work.....did someone make you mad? Did your boss ask you to do too much? Did a co-worker steal your lunch?
This is perfect!! Pop their heads (potato heads) with the pan (this takes some imagination), and you can even curse a little while your doing it.
Just make sure you press their heads with the same amount of force. The layer of smashed potatoes should be the same, or similar. That way those stupid potato heads that went out of their way to make you mad will bake evenly.....

This is what they look like after they are spiced and baked. Big, huge french fries.....

I made some Red Hot Ranch sauce to pour on them too. I don't know your feelings on Red Hot and Ranch, but I really think these two should be married. They make the best sauce (for dipping bread sticks, pizza, chicken wings, and chicken nuggets....and anything else you want to dip).

Crispy Smashed Potatoes is the perfect side for any kind of meal. They will be made over and over and over in my house.

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

12 - 14 red or yellow potatoes (babies)
Water for boiling the potatoes, and big pan
1/3 c. melted butter
Seasonings of your choice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In large pan place potatoes, and completely cover with water. Boil until fork tender. Drain.
On a baking sheet (with sides) place a sheet of foil. With a paper towel spread olive oil on the foil. Place cooked potatoes on foil. With the bottom of the pan you cooked them in (be careful, may still be hot) smash potatoes into a flattened even layer, continuing until all the potatoes are done. Drizzle the potatoes with the melted butter and top with seasonings. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until crispy enough to your liking. Serve immediately.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Immediate Posting: Pistachio Dessert with Pretzel Crust

I had a request for an immediate posting for this recipe.

A pregnant lady (you know who you are) asked for this recipe right away. Of course, if you're pregnant you know how the cravings work.....

The special lady that requested this recipe is nine months pregnant, so she needs to make this right away.....

Very soon my niece (by chance) will be born.

This lady is special because she is my fiancee's sister, Jesse. She has been focusing strongly on this pregnancy and I'm sure there is a lot of emotion, stress, and fear right around the corner for her. But I am not the one to tell you about what is going on in her life......Jesse writes a blog, an excellent blog, and if you'd like to read it you can find it here.

St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow!!

My favorite holiday of the year.....just because it's GREEN.




and just because a food is green it doesn't have to be MINT.....EEWWWW!!

I am not a mint hater, but when it comes to St. Patrick's Day, I don't want to eat MINT.

Give me green eggs and ham, green beer, key lime pie.....just not mint!!

Green pistachio pudding is what I want......

And the nice thing about this recipe, you can change all the ingredients to fat free and sugar free. I used sugar free pistachio pudding and I couldn't tell it was sugar free.

This recipe is linked to:

Pistachio Dessert with Pretzel Crust

For the crust:
2 1/2 c. crushed pretzels (measure after the crushing, not before)
3 TBS packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 c. finely crushed pecans
2/3 c. butter, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 13x9 baking pan with cooking spray.
In medium bowl mix crushed pretzels, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and crushed pecans. Stir in melted butter. Press mixture onto bottom of baking dish. Bake 9 - 11 minutes or until set. Cool on wire rack completely.

For the cream cheese layer:
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, soft
1 c. (I used a little less) sugar
1 container (8 oz.) whipped topping, thawed

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Fold in whipped topping. Spread mixture evenly over cooled crust.

Pistachio pudding topping:
2 boxes pistachio pudding (1 oz.)
10 drops of green food coloring, optional

Mix pudding according to package directions (I sat mine in the frig for about 15 minutes), and pour over cream cheese layer. Sprinkle with crushed pretzels. Place in refrigerator until set. Store left-overs in the frig too.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I Am Seeing GREEN without the MINT? White Chocolate Lime Cookies

Okay folks......I have an issue here! Is there a law written somewhere that says, "If it's green it has to be mint"? Why does the color green in foods always have to be MINT?

So I set out to find something green that wasn't mint, compiled all my notes, and created these luscious lime cookies.....LIMES are GREEN!!

St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays because I love the color green. Most of my clothes are green (different shades, of course). Which means I will never be pinched on St. Patrick's Day....I am covered!
I was very happy with the way these cookies turned out. And I am convinced that these cookies should be served at summertime picnics. They are so fluffy and refreshing.....

I had a partial bag of Hershey's white chocolate Bliss, and yup, I chopped them up and they went right into these cookies.

This recipe is linked to:


White Chocolate Lime Cookies

1/2 c. butter, soft
1/2 c. strawberry Greek yogurt
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 (3 oz.) package lime jell-o
Juice and zest of 1 lime
10 drops green food coloring
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3 c. bread flour
1 c. white chocolate Hershey's Bliss candy, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In your mixer, cream together butter, yogurt, and sugars.
Mix in the eggs, jell-o, lime juice, zest, and food coloring.
In a separate bowl add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly mix into the wet ingredients.
Mix in the white chocolate.
Using a large cookie scoop, scoop onto cookie sheets and bake for 12 minutes. Don't let the tops get brown. Let cookies sit on cookie sheets for about 3 minutes before removing to cooling racks to cool completely.


Monday, March 12, 2012

New Product: Birthday Cake Oreos

Have you tried the new limited edition Birthday Cake Oreo? "Limited" means - not for very long.... You better go out and grab a bag of these before they stop production.

Can you believe the Oreo cookie is 100 years old?

And the Oreo "Join The Movement" is so correct in their introduction paragraph.....

I am not as old as the Oreo, but I would have to agree that the world is moving too fast. All of the changes that have occurred during my 43 (44) years of life (I almost share a birthday with Oreo. Mine is March 9th, and their's is March 6th) have been totally amazing. Instead of slowing down and being more carefree, we are speeding things up with technology. But the Oreo will always be the Oreo....unless something is invented in pill form (just add water, and POOF you have an Oreo). Don't could happen!!

Meanwhile, during all these fast changes of life.....pick up a bag of these Oreos and you can slow down, reminisce, and relax for a moment while dunking these in a large glass of milk. Or maybe you prefer to pull them apart and eat the cream filling? Any way you eat an Oreo it will take you right back to your childhood. GUARANTEED!!

To tell you a little bit about these limited time Oreos: As soon as I opened the bag I got a huge whiff of birthday cake. Be careful, the aroma may just knock you over....Yup, it smells that good. I immediately pulled out three cookies; one for eating whole, one for dunking in milk, and one for pulling apart and eating the cream filling.....actually, I tested them four different ways, because just yesterday I was dunking them in my coffee. The cream filling has the confetti sprinkles and you can actually taste the sprinkles. Fun Fetti cake....that is what it reminds me of.

Don't miss out on these wonderful cookies, and make sure you Join The Movement.....



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