Saturday, June 25, 2011


When Nancy P. made this salad for a luncheon at work (can you tell I spent a large portion of my life at work?), we thought we'd died and gone to heaven. The dressing is wonderful. To me, it tastes similiar to raspberry dressing, but better. It's the balsamic vinegar. It's really a simple salad that has a big taste. BTW. . .Have you ever tried balsamic vinegar with fresh strawberries? Delicious!


1 bag Italian salad mix
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3-4 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup slivered almonds (toasted)

Mix together dressing ingredients with whip or fork until well blended. Sprinkle almonds on top of salad mix. Pour dressing over salad. Toss and serve.

Monday, June 20, 2011


It's the corkscrews vs the bowties. Just in time for summer. . .cold pasta salad. Nothing tastes better or more refreshing. We both love all kinds of salads . I will be making Melissa's Pasta Salad. Melissa and I worked together and this is her signature dish. Pete will be making his Tuna Pasta Salad. He told me that he loves the bowties. I do too! I will be anxious to see how Pete puts together his salad.

Friday, June 17, 2011


This recipe should actually be called "You can teach old dogs new tricks" chicken. Back in 1993, our office decided to put together our own little recipe booklet. This recipe was from one of our student workers, Sydney I. Sydney was about 19 years old and he was a "starving" student. We all loved this recipe which is very easy and delicious.


1 can cranberry sauce (not jellied)
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 large bottle of french dressing
4 chicken breasts (skinless, boneless)

Mix the first 3 ingredients together and pour over the chicken in a baking dish. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I am so thrilled. . .I have a wonderful little man in the kitchen with me. Actually we were in his Mom's kitchen since I had to babysit all of them. My Grandson Tyler (age 11). When he found out his Uncle Pete and I were doing a challenge on popcorn, he wanted to participate. I told him that I would have him make the popcorn for me and I would photograph him for the blog. He was so excited!! I hope you enjoy him as much as I did. I think it's very important to include children in preparing meals and snacks. It's quality time spent together plus we all get to eat the goodies! I enjoy creating memories for them as my Grandma creating memories for us.


1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 dash hot pepper sauce (I use Texas Pete)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
5 cups popped popcorn

Ingredients used:

Microwave the popcorn as directed on the package.

Pour hot popcorn in large bowl.

Melt butter and add taco seasoning mix.

Add a dash of hot dash, chili powder and seasoned salt.

Stir well and pour over popcorn. Mix well so popcorn is evenly covered. If the bowl as a plastic lid, put the lid on and shake it like crazy. Serve immediately.

Tyler enjoyed the popcorn and he agreed that it is very spicy and you need to have a nice cold beverage handy. You'll need it!!


I stole this recipe from one of my first wife's girlfriends, Tracey Taylor. I've modified it a bit (added Parmesan), but the original way is great too. Thank you Tracey, wherever you are. . .

Note to all: I don't use precise measurements for this recipe. Just use common sense. And sometimes the Velveeta looks a little curdled after butter is mixed with it. It's all good, so don't worry. Also, this recipe, for some reason, doesn't work well with microwave popcorn. Just doesn't taste right and gets chewy. As you all know, I prefer butter over margarine, which works much better here as well. Warnings: Once the popcorn is all gone, you'll never want to eat regular popcorn again PLUS it will become extremely hard to NOT lick the bowl clean. Awww, what the heck. . .go ahead and lick it!! Then go make another bowl. . .


cooking oil (optional)
butter (softened)
cheese (Velveeta)
bacon (fried crisp and crumbled)(optional)
parmesan cheese (grated)

Ingredients used:

Make popcorn your favorite way or simply follow the instructions on the package. Once popped, put in large bowl.

Slice a 1/4 inch of Velveeta cheese (I use the full size loaf) and cut into 1/4 inch cubes. Melt in microwave proof dish or cup for approximately 45-60 seconds, til hot and smooth.

Add softened butter and stir til butters completely melted. Pour as evenly as possible over popcorn. Add salt and bacon. Stir and break up the clumps of cheese as much as possible.

Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Serve hot and enjoy!!

Who won the challenge for Best Movie Night Popcorn
Her Way
His Way free polls

Saturday, June 11, 2011


This was a challenge that Pete suggested. He LOVES popcorn!! Pete will be making his super cheesy buttery popcorn. Sounds wonderful to me. Right up my alley. I will be making a spicy popcorn that has a lot of kick to it, so make sure you have something good and cold to drink. . .and lots of it!!

I wonder what movie Pete will be watching???


I was so happy when I stumbled upon this recipe online. I have eaten these corn fritters at the Kapok Tree Restaurant and they were wonderful. They seemed to melt in your mouth. They actually tasted more like a dessert instead of a regular corn fritter. It must have been the confectioner's sugar that made them seem that way. Plus, they were never fried any darker than a light golden brown. The corn fritters were given with every meal regardless of the entree. It was one of their signature dishes.

The Kapok Tree was a very popular restaurant in Clearwater, Florida. People from all over the world would eat there when they were visiting the Tampa Bay area. They had many different rooms to dine in and each one was spectacular. The nice thing about the Kapok Tree was that even though you were surrounded in elegant, extravagant settings, the price of your meal was very reasonable. You would buy your meal tickets at a booth inside the restaurant. You would then present the tickets to the waitress at your table. The Kapok Tree opened in 1957 and closed their doors in 1991.

I have included a couple of pictures of the beautiful dining rooms at the end of the recipe.

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 scant tablespoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup whole kernel corn
Cooking oil for deep frying
Confectioner's sugar for dusting


1. Resift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together
2. Add egg, milk and corn. Stir until blended.
3. Drop batter into cooking oil a teaspoonful at a time.
4. Maintain fat at 350 degrees and fry fritters until golden brown, turning once with a spoon to cook evenly.
5. Remove fritters from fat and drain on paper towel.
6. Serve piping hot on warm platter. Sprinkle fritters with confectioner's sugar before serving.

The Ballroom:

The Crystal Hall:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Every time I think of strawberry pie, I think of Grandma. It is easily one of my favorite desserts. She always made perfect pies that every one loved. Maybe it was because she loved pies so much. Grandpa grew strawberries in the front garden out in the field, so we always had a ready supply in the summer. Her recipe called for whole strawberries. I wondered how it would look with the strawberries cut up. I made a pie for my daughter and cut up the strawberries. Tastes the same, but the whole strawberries made a better looking presentation.

I did not make my crust from scratch. I bought a frozen pie shell. I baked it to a light golden brown. The package stated to bake at least 10 minutes at 400 degrees. I shaved off 2 minutes and baked it for 8 minutes.

Don't let your pie crust get any darker than a light golden brown!!!


1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 heaping TBS of corn starch
2 heaping TBS of dry strawberry Jello mix
20 drops red food coloring
1 large container of strawberries
1 baked pie shell

Ingredients used in recipe:

Heat water, sugar and corn starch in a saucepan. Remove from heat immediately when mixture starts to boil. Mixture will be thick.

Add Jello and red food coloring to mixture. Mix well. Remove any lumps if necessary. Set saucepan in fridge to cool.

Cut off tops of strawberries to remove green stem. Rinse well.

When glaze mixture is cooled, add strawberries and mix well.

Pour into a baked pie shell. Place in fridge to finishing cooling off and to firmly set the glaze. Top each piece of pie with a whipped topping when serving.


This is Pete's favorite summertime recipe of Grandma's. We can date it back to her mother, Great-Grandma Ida Hodson. This is a family favorite that isn't limited just to our immediate family. Our cousins cherish and devour this cake too. In fact, our adorably sweet cousin, Jodi, says she has many times asked for this cake for her birthday.

Pete used canned cherries when he made this recipe, but he recommends fresh cherries if possible for an ever better flavor. He also made his own buttermilk by adding 1 TBS of lemon juice (or white vinegar) for every cup of milk. Mix it well and let it set for 10 minutes.


2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 TBS melted butter or oil (canola or vegetable)
1 cup buttermilk with 1 tsp soda added
2 pints of cherries drained (reserve juice for sauce)

Judi Smith's cherry sauce:
Reserved cherry juice, 1/2 cup of water, 2.5 TBS of corn starch, 1/2 tsp of almond extract. Combine all ingredients in med saucepan, cook over med heat until thickened, stirring often to prevent sticking and burning.

Ingredients used in recipe:

Beat eggs, add sugar and margarine or oil, mix well. Add dry ingredients except the soda which was added to the buttermilk. Stir in buttermilk.

Drain the cherries and reserve the juice.

Add about 2 T flour to the cherries and stir to coat (this prevents them from turning the whole cake to a greyish color).

Add cherries to batter and fold gently.

Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 pan.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Prepare cherry sauce for cake (see above recipe) and pour on top of cake.

Who won the challenge for Best Summertime Dessert?
Her Way
His Way free polls

Friday, June 3, 2011


Not sure where I picked up this recipe. I'm just glad I did. It is really simple and very good. I love chicken made with buttermilk. It adds so much flavor.


1/4 cup butter
4 bone-in chicken breasts, skinned
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1.5 cups buttermilk, divided
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 (10 3/4 oz) can of cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

Melt butter in a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish in a 425 degree oven. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in 1/2 cup buttermilk and dredge in flour. Arrange chicken, breast side down, in baking dish. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. Turn chicken and bake 10 more minutes. Stir together remaining 1 cup of buttermilk and the cream of mushroom soup. Pour over chicken and bake 10 more minutes. Shield chicken with aluminum foil to keep it from browning too much, if necessary.