Saucy Mama Cuban Egg Rolls With Pulled Pork & Creamy Garlic Mustard Slaw

cuban egg rolls croppedA while back, Saucy Mama asked food bloggers to use some of her AMAZING products and create new & interesting recipes.  I may be a Southern girl, but I’ve never been one to limit myself to only Southern dishes.  In fact, I prefer ethnic dishes, and I don’t limitContinue reading “Saucy Mama Cuban Egg Rolls With Pulled Pork & Creamy Garlic Mustard Slaw”

Barb’s Chocolate Cherry Bread–a Holiday Tradition

chocolate cherry bread cropped

After my husband & I met, he had one simple request our first Christmas together–to make his mother’s chocolate bread. I’m not sure if he was excited to be dating someone who could bake or if he was testing me.  Either way, the chocolate bread worked, and we were engaged less than a month after Christmas. We’ve been together for over six years now, and his mom’s chocolate bread is still on the holiday menu.


Continue reading “Barb’s Chocolate Cherry Bread–a Holiday Tradition”

Recipe Testing NEVER Ends

IMG_20151116_213442Each year, around December, I begin making test pies for Christmas and the American Pie Council‘s National Pie Championship. Sometimes they are good, and sometimes, they are complete disasters. For whatever reason, I love using cream cheese, coffee, chocolate, and caramel. This year, at my husband’s request, I’ve made him a pie using his favorite ingredient…cherries. And, if the response from my friends (and the empty pie plate) is any indication, it must be good!Continue reading “Recipe Testing NEVER Ends”

Steak & Potato Empanadas

empanadas croppedGrowing up in Central Florida, I have always LOVED Latin Food.  In fact, I would choose an Ybor City deviled crab roll and a Cuban sandwich over a cheeseburger any day of the week.  Most Latin food in our area isn’t from one specific country.  It’s more of a cultural  hodgepodge of Caribbean islands, Spain, Mexico, and even Africa, and it is AMAZING!  Continue reading “Steak & Potato Empanadas”

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Breakfast & Dinner

With a full-time teaching career, a baking business, 2 ADHD kids, 2 dogs, 20 chickens, and an active husband who loves to travel as much as I do, I’ve had to learn ways to cook efficiently and creatively.

I believe that it’s my responsibility to feed my family…and feed them well.  I believe that my kids should eat a healthy breakfast every morning that doesn’t come from a drive thru or a box of cereal & toaster pastries.  I believe that my family should sit down to dinner at a table TOGETHER every night. I believe that my kids should not have to “fend for themselves.”  No, I was raised differently and I will raise my family differently.Continue reading “The Busy Mom’s Guide to Breakfast & Dinner”

Eli’s Citrus Jelly

20141211_062755-2_resizedI was born into the citrus industry.  My grandparents owned orange groves; my mother planted her own small grove at our house; my stepmother even works for Florida’s Natural Orange Juice; I learned to clean and assemble Micro-jets before I could drive. However, not one time in my adult life did I ever consider having my own citrus trees.  When my husband and I first looked at our house, while real estate shopping, we noticed the orange and lemon tree, and we were both passe’ about it.  He grew up in Ohio, and the only thing he knew about citrus was buying pretty, shiny oranges at the supermarket.  I, on the other hand, saw the trees and literally, thought, “hmmm…cool.”  Continue reading “Eli’s Citrus Jelly”

All American Apple Pie Grilled Cheese Sandwich

apple pie grilled cheese cropped

In one of our date night cook offs, my husband and I decided to make grilled cheese sandwiches.  After we had our fill of savory sandwiches, I  had the idea to attempt a dessert grilled cheese using Sara Lee Pound Cake as the “bread.”  In the end, we didn’t make one dessert grilled cheese; we made TWO–apple pie grilled cheese and a dark chocolate raspberry grilled cheese. (We’ll post that recipe later :))Continue reading “All American Apple Pie Grilled Cheese Sandwich”

2013 National Pie Championship Sittin’ on a Sandbar Key Lime Pie

AR-307159949In the summer, we spend quite a bit of time on a stretch of sandbar between Boca Grande & Little Gasparilla Island, just off the coast of southwest Florida.  As a kid, we spent summers on the island.  As an adult, I’ve gotten married on the island, taken our kids to the island for vacation, and spent many days watching the tide come in.

The sandbar is an amazing place.  Less than a mile off shore, the sandbar is about the length of a football field and situated on the edge of the channel. On any given day, we see dolphin, manatee, sting rays, sea urchins, shark, and a variety of mollusks.  Basically, we kayak out and sit in our tiny lawn chairs until the tide comes in or the beer runs out.  Then, we kayak back in and head to the Fishery (our favorite seafood restaurant…IN THE WORLD!)Continue reading “2013 National Pie Championship Sittin’ on a Sandbar Key Lime Pie”

Pumpkin Risotto with Cinnamon-Cumin Chicken


For the season-less of us (you know…those of us living in Florida where seasons never really change), fall and winter are brief moments, and the only way to enjoy them is to create our own experiences.  

Even though it never gets really cold in Florida, we look for ways to create autumn meals.  If a cold front moves through, it may only drop the temperature to the low to mid 80s, but that’s reason enough to make a pot of chili or chicken & dumplings.  If the supermarket gets in a load of pumpkins, that’s enough to get the creative juices flowing, and you can bet pumpkin will make it into my menus.  As someone who’s never been a huge pumpkin pie fan, I see pumpkin as dinner.Continue reading “Pumpkin Risotto with Cinnamon-Cumin Chicken”

Bacon & Cheddar Scones

Bacon & Cheddar Scones

First and foremost, let me say, “I LOVE SCONES.” I’ve never been a sweets person, but I love bread, especially hot bread.  Years ago, when I first discovered the warm, flaky, creamy goodness of scones, I knew that I needed to learn to make them.

Well, several recipes later and a whole lot of “test” batches, I’ve finally figured out how to make a soft, creamy, flavorful scone.  This particular one is my husband, Jeremy’s favorite, and why wouldn’t it be?  It has every manly ingredient imaginable…beer, cheese, and bacon!  Oh and by the way, if you plan to take these somewhere, make two batches.  The first will NEVER make it out of the house…or the kitchen.Continue reading “Bacon & Cheddar Scones”

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