Monday, December 15, 2014

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014: Tropical Magic Bars

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014

I've had the pleasure and honor of participating in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, hosted by Lindsay of Love & Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen, for three years in a row now. My family and I love receiving the unknown batches of cookies from fellow food bloggers but I enjoy even more baking up some creations of my own to share. This year I decided on making a cookie bar that my mom has always made each year for Christmas although I put a tropical twist on it...
Tropical Magic Cookie Bars
1/2 c. melted butter
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 c. chopped walnuts
1 (6 oz.) package dark chocolate chips
1 1/3 c. or (3 1/2 oz.) can flaked coconut
1/2 c. chopped dried mango
1/2 c. raisin medley
1 1/3 c. (15 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Into the bottom of a lined cookie sheet pout melted butter and evenly sprinkle on graham cracker crumbs. Then also evenly layer remaining ingredients, reserving the condensed milk for drizzling on last.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden.
Allow to cool before cutting into squares.
I would like to give a special thank you to the three lovely bakers for sending their tasty treats our way...
Pint Sized Baker and Karyn's Fudgy Macadamia Nut & Cranberry Pistachio Sugar Cookies
Abbie and Erica's Coast to Coast Adventures and Erica's Peanut Butter Cookies three ways (original, dark chocolate & Pretzel and Marshmallow)
Ink Foods and Kristen's Oatmeal Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
Want to get in on The Food Blogger Cookie Swap in years to come and help support Cookies for Kids Cancer...visit, where you can sign up to receive notifications about the cookie swap!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Kaia's Meatless Monday Lunchbox

Kaia's Meatless Monday Lunchbox
I always have fun packing up lil' lunches for my kiddos, Kaia, who is eight and in the third grade, and Marlee, who is 20 months...both huge eaters and definite foodies in the making. On Mondays we like to celebrate Meatless Monday, filling up the lunchbox with a variety of flavors and colors. Here's what's on the menu today...
~ Egg Salad Sandwich on Whole Grain with Pickle Spear
~ Veggies with Hummus Dip
~ Orange Slices
~ Graham Cracker-Banana-Cream Cheese Squares
~ Carrot Bread with Raisin Medley & Dark Chocolate Chips

Friday, November 28, 2014

2014 Butterball Cookbook Plus Blogger Contest: Ole' Ole' Ole' Mole Left-Over Turkey Quesadilla

Butterball Ole' Ole' Ole' Mole Left-Over Turkey Quesadilla
Butterball is hosting the 2014 Butterball Cookbook Plus Blogger Contest challenging food bloggers to get creative using left-over Butterball turkey meat. Wondering what to do with all that left-over turkey taking up space in your refrigerator after Thanksgiving? Try my Ole' Ole' Ole' Mole Turkey Quesadillas, perfect as an appetizer or a meal paired with rice and beans...
Serves: 8
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30-35 minutes
1 dried poblano chile
1 dried mulato chile
1 dried chipotle chile
Hot water, as needed
2 T. vegetable oil, divided
1 ¼ lbs. left-over Butterball turkey, shredded
1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. cumin
1 t. dried Mexican oregano, or regular oregano
½ t. cinnamon
8 oz. can tomato sauce
14.5 oz. can chicken broth
1 oz. Mexican chocolate
2 T. hazelnut chocolate spread
2 T. unsalted butter
8 large flour tortillas
2 c. shredded Mexican cheese blend
½ c. sour cream
8 cilantro sprigs, garnish
Boil enough water to soak dried chilies in a bowl until softened, remove stem and seeds then chop and set aside. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick skillet and add ground turkey. Cook until no longer pink, about 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, drain then transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
In the meantime heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a medium pot and add onion. Cook until almost tender about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute.
Stir in cumin, oregano, cinnamon, tomato sauce, broth, Mexican chocolate, Jif Hazelnut Chocolate Spread and chilies. Bring to a boil reduce heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes for flavors to meld.
Carefully ladle mole sauce into a blender and pulse until smooth. Pour sauce over turkey and toss to coat evenly. Assemble quesadillas by sprinkling half of each tortilla with two tablespoons of cheese, evenly spoon turkey mixture and spread out almost to the edges, sprinkle another two tablespoons of cheese on top of that then fold in half.
Working in batches, melt butter in another large non-stick skillet and cook quesadillas until slightly golden about 3 to 5 minutes per side.
Serve each quesadilla with one tablespoon of sour cream and garnish with a cilantro sprig.

Family Turkey Platter Battle 2014

Family Turkey Platter Battle 2014
My vegetable turkey platter made up of sausage-cream cheese stuffed mushrooms, cheesy soyrizo-potato mini pies, spiced sweet potato mini phyllo cups with marshmallow whip cream and toasted coconut, prosciutto wrapped asparagus and some veggies (cucumber, broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms & olives) for the body of the turkey
My parents meat-cheese-cracker and deviled egg turkey platters

My brothers fruit turkey platter
And the winner is...the whole family! You know what they say, a family who plays together stays together...Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Great Fatburger Kitchen Cook-off: The Real Fatburger of Beverly Hills

The Great Fatburger Kitchen Cook-off featuring The Real Fatburger of Beverly Hills

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Uncle Ben's Beginner's Cooking Contest: Kaia's Sweet & Sour Porcupine Meatballs in a Broccoli Forest

Uncle Ben's Beginner's Cooking Contest
In this contest us parents with children in grades kindergarten through 8th had the opportunity to submit home videos of our family preparing a rice-based dish and sharing our experience cooking together. Not only is this experience a great bonding moment but our children also learn a life-long skill of getting in the kitchen to cook and keep healthy.
PRETTY PLEASE, vote for Kaia's Sweet & Sour Porcupine Meatballs in a Broccoli Forest recipe video from October 15–October 29, 2014. You can vote once a day, so feel free to come back often. She has the chance to win $15, 000 personally and $30,000 for her school to enhance their cafeteria!
Simply go to this link,, and search for Kaia's name or porcupine meatballs. Her recipe will appear where you can vote and even share with others to vote...remember once per day...many thanks!!!
Kaia's Sweet & Sour Porcupine Meatballs in a Broccoli Forest
Serves: 4 (3 meatballs each)
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
1 T. olive oil
1/4 c. onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 tomato, diced
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 T. olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 uncooked Uncle Ben's white rice
1/4 c. onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/2 c. water
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
For the sauce heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook 3 to 5 minutes before stirring in remaining ingredients. Crank heat up until sauce is simmering, reduce to a low simmer and cook until slightly reduced and thickened about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
In the meantime combine ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Using hands mix gently and form into rounds about the size of a golf ball. Heat oil in a separate large non-stick skillet over medium and cook meatballs until golden about 3 minutes per side.
Transfer meatballs to sauce, coating the meatballs, cover and continue to simmer on low until tender and flavors have melded about another 10 minutes.
While both sauce and meatballs are about to be ready simply steam the broccoli just until tender about 5 to 7 minutes.
Broccoli Forest
(Not my photo)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wing and Wilted Salad Wednesday: Raspberry-Jalapeno Glazed Wings and Wilted Arugula-Spinach-Tomato Salad with Balsamic-Bacon Vinaigrette & Sunny Side Egg

Wing and Wilted Salad Wednesday
Raspberry-Jalapeno Glazed Wings and Wilted Arugula-Spinach-Tomato Salad with Balsamic-Bacon Vinaigrette & Sunny Side Egg

Keepin' it fun in the kitchen and theming out dinner night...and tonight I came up with WING and WILTED SALAD WEDNESDAY!!!

Serves: 4 (6 wings each)
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 15 minutes

24 wings
2 T. vegetable oil

1/2 c. red raspberry jam
1/4 c. jalapeno jelly
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. water, or more as needed

2 c. arugula
2 c. spinach
2 tomatoes, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1/4 c. basil leaves, minced

4 slices bacon
2 T. Dijon mustard
3 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. brown sugar
1 clove garlic, grated
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place wings in a large bowl and drizzle with oil. Toss to coat evenly then lay skin side up on a rack placed over a baking sheet. Bake until golden crisp turning a couple times while cooking. Should take about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.

In the meantime for the glaze combine raspberry jam, jalapeno jelly, balsamic and water. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer on low until slightly thickened about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and also set aside. Use a basting brush to evenly glaze wings until completely coated.

In a medium bowl combine arugula, spinach, tomato, celery and basil. Set aside.

For the dressing heat a large non-stick skillet over medium and add bacon. Cook until crisp about 5 to 7 minutes, reserving fat. Remove and drain on paper towel. When cool chop into small bits. Using the same skillet add eggs and cook just until the white is set. (You can cover the skillet with a lid, turn off the heat and allow to sit a minute or two) Combine remaining ingredients, excluding eggs but including the bacon bits and fat, in a small bowl and whisk until slightly emulsified. Serve each portion of salad with one sunny side egg and evenly drizzle with vinaigrette.
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