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Oh, my White Chocolate Brownies were such a disaster! They were to be my contribution to our Memorial Day feast. I had not read the P&Q's on the TWD site. I was completely clueless to the controversy that surrounded those tasty little treats. I gushed at the site of the meringue as I took my brownies out of the oven. It looked divine. Whew, there was nothing to these brownies, except a little elbow grease and expense up front (raspberries and  almonds can make a dent in your wallet!). So, I let them rest on the counter. When I went back to check on them an hour later, what did I see? A soupy meringue on a brownie puddle. I was so embarrassed, I did not even take a picture of them or post my failure!. Had I know then that it was a troublesome treat, I would have taken snap shots left and right and to the center! Alas, I did not, could not, devote any more time to my failure on the road, in another person's kitchen. It was not until I made it home that I discovered via TWD bloggers that I was not alone. I was not alone! I was not a failure. It was not because I dared bake in a lesser kitchen (no offense, my dear sissy). I was simply, one of the many who under-baked their brownies by following the recipe instead of the knife test. Yay! I did not mess up on a simple brownie undertaking.

But this week's TWD recipe, offered up no surprises. Thank God! I needed things to work out and come together in a big way after the last faux paux. I could not let my babies down again. 

And I didn't. 

This recipe is simple. It is a delight. It is so my kind of recipe!

I made no substitutions to the meat of the recipe, the shortcake, but did to the sides, the strawberry filling and topping. I used  fat-free topping with strawberries sweetened with Splenda. Next time, I will sub in skim milk for heavy cream. I am also thinking of adding pecans or chocolate chips to the batter, too. My friend and neighbor, Dragana, posted Dorie's shortcakes a while back on her blog. Here is the link for her ingenious presentation of these tiny little cakes of goodness. 

Thanks, Cathy of The Tortefeasor, one of my favorite foodie blogs, for choosing this nice and simple recipe. I really liked it a lot. It was the perfect treat for a Sunday brunch. 

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Normally, I try to add some cute little anecdotes while I am submitting a recipe on my blog, something to draw you readers in (all one of you), share a little of my life, and give you something to smile about as you read along. However, I am happy to just have a few moments to sit without interruption from my two youngest ladies, ages 2 months and almost 2 years, so I will just have to say that this recipe is a must-try dessert! It is reduced fat and lower in calories than its non diet counterpart. It  was a success around these parts and is perfect for the summer. Continue Reading »

I love bananas. And ice cream. And coconut. So when I saw that Spike chose  Banana Coconut Ice Cream Pie, I was happy. Even happier when I saw that I did not have to make the ice cream. That is something I wish to try at a later time. Right now, it seems like too much, especially when Blue Bell is on sale at every store within 10 miles of me! Continue Reading »

As a kid, there is something magical about donuts. As an adult, donuts become a guilty pleasure that rings a nagging tone in the back of your head as you finish just one. But, as a kid, donuts are something special reserved for the weekends, and even more special if you can snag one during the weekdays, like playing hooky. As a kid, you feel something close to euphoria if you are allowed to eat more than one donut (probably from the sugar high). As an adult, well you just feel the pounds and cholesterol coming on.  

For me, donuts equal a special time in the past, when my grandfather would take us to Southern Maid Bakery (because we did not have awesome Shipley's in my hometown) on our way to school, especially if we were running late anyway, and let us get a donut and a carton of chocolate milk. It was his special treat and time with us. I remember the smell of donuts and coffee walking in and the feel of comfort and glee walking out with a white paper bag stained with grease in one hand and a opened chocolate milk in the other. Later, it would be bear claws and chocolate eclairs and a steaming cup of hot coffee. 

It is with this remembrance that I happily made my babies donuts this morning. Usually when my hubby is home from work, I will let him go buy the kids donuts at the donut shop nearby. However, he is out of town and I had this new donut recipe from the Naked Baker I just had to try. I combined her recipe with Paula Deen's and it went a little something like this;

First, I mixed up Paula Deen's Glazes. 

Then, I cut holes out from the center of the biscuits using my 2D decorating tip (that died shortly after this when it met Mr. Garbage Disposal).  

Here is how that turned out! I even kept the donut holes. 

Then, I fried them up. It took around 30 to 40 seconds on each side.

Finally, I drained them on paper towels, rolled them in cinnamon-sugar, and added glaze and sprinkles. 

My tips:

1) Make glazes while you are heating oil (I used Canola, but you can use peanut, vegetable, or corn). 
2) Add a donut hole to the oil first, to see if oil is hot enough, if you do not have a thermometer handy.
3) You can use biscuit cutter and bottle neck without lid to make holes in the center of the biscuit.
4) If you drain on paper towels, the donuts may stick to them. I ended up placing the donuts on a plate, then dabbed them with a paper towel.
5) Use light-weighted tongs. Also, place the tongs between center of the hole and donut edge. Using heavy tongs or pinching donut on the edges, causes the donuts to deflate, as mine did at first. A fork can also be used to pick the donuts up.
6) Cover up imperfections the best you can with sprinkles and glaze. 

My boys ate 6 donuts in no time flat! Ah, to be young. 

I made them go brush their teeth right after. 

I only ate one…and a half.

I love breakfast! In fact, we all love it around here so much that we have designated Wednesdays as "Brinner" night. That is breakfast for dinner. It makes dinner time for that night easy to make and very affordable. I confess that I could have breakfast for all three meals. I love breakfast! I wake up every morning looking forward to my hot cup of coffee and my breakfast goodies. I wake up hungry after all. I always have. My doctor told me once that it was a good sign to wake up hungry. It means you have worked off all your calories. Hhhmmm. I will take his word for it. 

In fact, one of my husband's earliest memories of me during our courtship days is that of me waking up enthusiastically to eat breakfast. When I traveled overseas with him (ah, the good ole days), jet-lagged or what, I would always make him get up early to go with me to eat breakfast. I mean there were way too many good spreads to pass up. 

This past Wednesday, we had eggs and bacon for dinner. Although it was a good dinner, the kids felt cheated. They had hoped for pancakes. So as a special treat, I made them some. I mean it is Friday night and I was feeling alright, plus they can be so darn adorable! Sometimes. 

So tonight, while I have time, before a little person stirs and interrupts this blogging interlude, I would love to share my FAVORITE go-to pancake recipe. It is quick, easy, and makes awesome buttery, crisp, fluffy perfect pancakes. 

Good Old Fashioned Pancakes

Adapted from Dakota Kelly 
prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 15 minutes
ready in: 20 minutes
Servings: Makes 8-10 pancakes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (can sub in 1/2 to 3/4 cup of wheat flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt (original calls for 1 tsp)
1 tbsp white sugar (I use powder sugar)
1 1/4 cups milk (can sub in skim milk)
1 egg
3 tbsp butter, melted  (real butter tastes the best!)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, and melted butter; mix until smooth.

2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot. 

To me, these pancakes are reminiscent of Bisquick pancakes. I love Bisquick. With a family this size, we can go through a lot of Bisquick. That is why mixes like this are really good for us; They save us money and are yummy.

Hope you enjoy them!

The house is unusually quiet and clean without my almost 2- year old around. She is visiting her grandparents in OK. This is normally where I would make a funny about OK, but alas, I am still a little sad about my crazy-haired girl not being around. Yes, I know she is getting spoiled and has forgotten dear old, I mean, dear young, mom, but that does not make me miss her less. While she is away, I plan on doing some therapy cooking and therapy blogging. 

Last night, I got a hankering for some comfort food. I was still too sad to pull out the big oven mitts and make anything to fantastic, so I chose good old comfort Mexican food, Sopa de Fideo.  Many Mexican households make this dish and many of them have different versions; with or without meat, with or without tomato sauce, use of different spices, thick or soupy. Any version is best served with tortillas. It is very inexpensive to make and versatile. Plus, it is super easy to throw together and is regarded as a one-pan meal! Win-win all around.

Sopa de Fideo was a staple in our house growing up. I remember getting so tired of eating it. Now, as an adult far removed from home, I miss my grandmother's fideo. How could I ever have gotten tired of eating fideo? I would love to go back in time and eat at my grandmother's table. My good friend and babysitter, Marina, has a wonderful version of this dish as well. In fact, I do not mind telling you that my family loves her version better than mine. Heck, I love hers better than mine. In fact, I plan to have her teach me how to make my sopa de fideo like hers.

However, mine will do the trick. It is not chopped liver. Although, I LOVE chopped liver, so if it were I would be fine. My family would not be. 

Here is my version:
 
Ingredients

1 lb. of meat (chicken, hamburger meat, pork, anything)
5 oz. of Fideo a.k.a vermicelli (found in pasta or Latino section of grocery store)
1 TBSP of Cooking Oil
1/2 – 1 cup of diced onion
2 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup of water
2 TBSP of tomato sauce
2 TBSP of ground cumin
1 TBSP of taco seasoning
Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook meat. Remove meat from pan. Preferably in the same pan that meat was cooked in, heat oil with meat juices and fat over medium heat. Add fideo and lightly brown, constantly stirring to avoid fideo from burning and sticking to pan. Add chopped onions while lightly browning fideo. After fideo is lightly brown, add chicken broth, water, and tomato sauce. Stir to blend in liquids. Then, place cooked meat back into the pan. Add seasonings. Cover and simmer for and additional 15 minutes. 
Serves 4. 

Voila! Dinner is served. It really is a dish that takes less than 30 minutes to cook. I make it shorter by adding leftover meat or pre-made meatballs. I also add vegetables to it from time to time. 

You can also omit the tomato sauce or add more tomato sauce to taste. You can also play with the liquid ratio and make this dish as soupy or thick as you want. Remember to adjust the seasoning with extra liquid addition. 

This dish taste great with any meat. I especially love it with pork chops and bits of potato. Good stuff. 

My kids think it is the Mexican answer to Italian spaghetti. 

Give it a try and let me know what you think. 

 

  

So on Friday, I had the ladies over. I made this.

This is the Classic Berry Tart from TWD's Tuesday Challenge. For the recipe, please visit Ms. Cristine's site. My filling is chocolate pudding, since I had to sub it in because my pastry cream did not set! I still topped it off with "fresh" berries from Wally World. It tasted great! I mean I could eat the tart shell on its own. Dorie's Sweet Tart Dough recipe is "Crack". I am so addicted to it. I could eat the whole tart by myself. I could eat the shell without any filling. To, me it is that good. I love it! Gotta have it! Need to give it away. There is still plenty left in my fridge and it is calling my name! I am happy because I am slowly but surely getting much better at making tart shells, in my humble opinion.

I also made these.

The Cinnamon Donut Muffins with raspberry filling that I can not get enough of since being introduced to the recipe! Another addiction of mine. I need help. Seriously. 

Now, I think I hear the treadmill calling me.