Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2015: Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2015: Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
Each year I am honored to participate in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. No only does it support a wonderful charity, Cookies for Kids Cancer, but there's the opportunity to both mail and receive three batches of one dozen cookies which is also a tasty treat! Thank you to my fellow food bloggers including Moore or Less Cooking, 6 by 6 Klinger Cooking and Greens & Chocolate  and happy holidays!!! Here is the cookie recipe I chose to send...
Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
1 box Devils Food cake mix
½ c. vegetable oil
3 T. water
1 egg
3 candy canes, crushed
1 tsp. peppermint extract
 Mix and bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Here are the cookies I received...

Santa's Whisker Cookies by Moore or Less Cooking

Coconut Garden Cookies by 6 by 6 Klinger Cooking
Chocolate Dipped Coconut Shortbread Cookies by Greens & Chocolate

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

National Guacamole Day: Mexican Ground Turkey Taco-stada with Guacamole

National Guacamole Day: Mexican Ground Turkey Taco-stada with Guacamole
As a resident of sunny California there is access to some of the best avocados in the country, if not the world. Like California Avocados. This versatile fruit can be transformed in a number of ways, including the very popular GUACAMOLE! This recipe creation of mine is a fusion of a taco and tostada, hence the taco-stada was born to celebrate National Guacamole Day...
Serves: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
2 T. canola oil, divided
1 lb. ground turkey
1 packet taco seasoning
1/4 c. water
4 whole wheat tortillas
2 c. romaine lettuce, chopped
1/4 c. cilantro, minced
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. cherry tomatoes, variety of colors
1/4 c. sliced black olives
1/4 c. sour cream
1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 t. dried Mexican oregano
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. paprika
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high and add turkey. Cook until no longer pink, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and return to skillet along with taco seasoning and water. Mix well and continue to cook until water has dissolved and the turkey has soaked up the seasoning, another 8 to 10 minutes.
In the meantime heat remaining oil in another large non-stick skillet and cook tortillas until slightly golden and crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
For the guacamole combine the ingredients in a small bowl and using a fork mash together, leaving it a bit chunky.
Assemble taco-stadas by evenly topping each tortilla with the lettuce, cilantro, green onions, ground turkey, cheese, tomatoes, olives, sour cream and guacamole.

Monday, September 14, 2015

National Eat a Hoagie Day

National Eat a Hoagie Day!!!
Recently I participated in a Foster Farms recipe contest, the Don't Call Me Basic Turkey Sandwich contest. Although I did not win the sandwich I created is still a winner in my book. And being today is National Eat a Hoagie Day I felt it appropriate to share my turkey sandwich creation with you...or today we'll call it a "hoagie-wich"...
Turkey BLTA Hoagie-wich!

Serves: 1

1 hoagie roll, split lengthwise...
2 T. mayo
1 T. yellow mustard
4 slices Foster Farms All Natural Sliced Turkey, or deli turkey of your choice
2 slices bacon, cooked
2 large slices tomato
1/2 avocado, pitted and sliced
1 leaf iceberg lettuce

1. Combine mayo and mustard in a small bowl and mix well. Evenly smear mixture onto both top and
bottom roll.

2. Arrange turkey slices on bottom roll, next bacon slices, then tomato, avocado and lettuce.

3. Complete with top roll and enjoy!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Guest Blogger: Kitchen Cleaning Tips for Germ-Free Cooking by Kaitlin Krull

Kitchen Cleaning Tips for Germ-Free Cooking
Kaitlin Krull
For many of us, preparing a tasty, home-cooked meal in the comfort of our own kitchen is absolute bliss. Keeping the kitchen clean, on the other hand, is not. If, like us at Modernize, you’re concerned about keeping your house clean and beautiful, then check out these cleaning tips for a germ-free kitchen.
Food preparation
Always wash hands after touching raw meat. Use paper towels while cooking with raw meats rather than dish towels to avoid contamination and the spread of harmful bacteria.
Use glass or plastic cutting boards, or replace old wooden ones often as bacteria gets trapped inside grooves and cracks (and most can’t be washed in the dishwasher). Even better, use different boards for different kinds of food prep to avoid cross contamination.
Do not rinse raw meats before cooking! The bacteria dispersed during splashback far outweighs any bacteria you may be removing from the surface of the meat, which gets cooked off anyway, and you are not making the meat taste better.

via Modernize
Cleaning up
After preparing food, disinfect surfaces thoroughly with antibacterial wipes or sprays. Don’t forget cupboard handles, light switches, and door knobs, or anywhere else you might have touched while cooking.
Remember that bleach is your friend. Chopping boards, sponges, sinks, and anywhere salmonella and other bacteria tend to linger can be sprayed with, soaked in, or scrubbed with a mixture of bleach and water. Just make sure to protect your hands and clothes!
Make sure to wash dish towels and sponges regularly. You’d be amazed at the amount of bacteria your cleaning accessories can accumulate in a short amount of time.
Did you know that knife blocks can get moldy? Save yourself from this grossest of kitchen fates by completely drying knives after washing, or storing them on magnetic strips instead of blocks.
When washing dishes, use a dishwasher when possible (as it runs at a higher temperature than hand washing) or hand wash dishes thoroughly with dish soap and the hottest water you can tolerate, starting with the cleanest items to avoid dirtying your water too early.

via Modernize
When storing leftovers, make sure to cool them to room temperature and refrigerate or freeze them within one to two hours of cooking. If you put hot food into your fridge and freezer you run the risk of raising their internal temperature and damaging other food stored inside.
Speaking of refrigeration, keep track of your fridge and freezer temperatures. Keep fridges between 37° and 40° Fahrenheit (3°-5°Celsius) and freezers below 0°Fahrenheit (-18° Celsius). Don’t forget to clean your refrigerator coils regularly to keep the temperatures steady and your appliances working as well as they should.

via Modernize

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Orchard Choice "Feed Us Figs" Campaign

Orchard Choice "Feed Us Figs" Campaign
Thanks to both Kitchen Play and Orchard Choice I have been chosen as one of the lucky food bloggers to receive Orchard Choice fig products and to share some of my favorite recipe creations using them with you!!!
And not only was I given this tasty opportunity, but you as my readers have an exciting opportunity as well. Enter the Cook's Country contest by posting your favorite fig recipes to Instagram and hashtag them with #VFigFeed and tag them with @valleyfig. You and your readers can have the chance to win an exclusive trip for two to the live audience tasting segment during the filming of season 9 of Cook's Country from America's Test Kitchen in Vermont on September 22. (Please visit for full program details)
Here are some of the fig-licious recipes I put together...
Organic Mission Fig Phyllo Prosciutto Asparagus & Goat Cheese Wraps
Smear Orchard Choice Organic Mission Fig spread onto the center of two sheets phyllo

Wrap asparagus spears with a piece of prosciutto

Place prosciutto wrapped asparagus on top of the fig spread along with goat cheese crumbles

Roll until sealed, brush with olive oil and back until golden crisp
Orchard Choice Balsamic Pepper Fig Prosciutto Egg & Goat Cheese Bagel Sandwich
On a toasted onion bagel smear Orchard Choice Balsamic Pepper Fig spread on top slice, goat cheese on bottom slice and place slightly crisp prosciutto and sunny side egg in between
For more information about these fig-tastic products visit: 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

NEW Taste of Home Simple & Delicious Grab and Go Magazine!

NEW Taste of Home Simple & Delicious Grab and Go Magazine
As a proud volunteer Field Editor for Taste of Home magazine I am excited to share the shiny new grab-and-go Simple & Delicious August/September 2015 magazine with you. On newsstands today, July 14th, 2015. Filled with delicious and easy to prepare recipes, this cutie pie size of a magazine can conveniently be stashed in your purse, or "murse" aka man purse. Perhaps there's a recipe inside that you'd be proud to put on your dinner table tonight, and it could very well become a staple in your kitchen. Like I tell my two little girls, "You never know until you try"!!!


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Fourth of July Fun in Fair Oaks with the Family

Fourth of July Fun in Fair Oaks with the Family
Beginning with a red, white and blue breakfast Gram made...

...on to afternoon fun for the girls playing dress-up in their festive Independent Day attire...

...then feasting on a delish dinner prepared by Papa and Gram (Bacon Deviled Eggs, Bacon Avocado Cheeseburgers and Pineapple Coleslaw)...
...followed by an also festive red, white and blue dessert (vanilla ice cream, blueberries and red vine)...

...and the finale of neighborhood FIREWORKS (courtesy of Papa who lit ours)...


...and even better than the fireworks, Kaia's family portrait of us
(mom, Kaia, Marlee, Gram & Papa)...XOXO
Wishing everyone a fun and safe holiday!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

National Egg day: Tasty Travels' Bird in a Pesto Pasta Nest

Celebrate National Egg Day with Tasty Travels' Bird in a Pesto Pasta Nest

One of the favorite ways my girls and I enjoy the humble egg is softly cooked over medium sunny-side up. Just like in this Italian-inspired recipe of my 8-year-old, Kaia, and I featured on our mother-daughter cooking show, Tasty Travels where we travels through our taste buds to Italy...
Serves: 2
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
1 t. olive oil
3 c. cooked whole wheat spaghetti or other string pasta
2 eggs
1 T. store-bought pesto
2 t. parmesan cheese
pinch black pepper, to taste
Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium and add pasta. Form into a a circle and create a hole in the center. Continue to cook another few minutes until pasta is slightly golden.
As carefully as possible use a spatula to flip the pasta and recreate a hole in the center if needed.
Crack an egg into the hole, cover with a lid, reduce heat to low and cook until the egg white is no longer transparent and the yolk is still runny, about a few minutes.
Complete pasta nest by spoons pesto across the top of the pasta and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and pepper. Enjoy!
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Monday, May 18, 2015

Celebrate National Cheese Souffle Day with my Award Winning Spiced Acorn Squash & Hickory Smoked Swiss Souffle

Celebrate National Cheese Souffle Day with my Award Winning Spiced Acorn Squash & Hickory Smoked Swiss Souffle
I recall receiving the oh-so unexpected and exciting email about my cheesy acorn squash souffl├ęs being deemed as the winner of All You's Borden's Singles Sensations recipe contest. I was camping in the majestic Half Moon Bay at Pillar's Point RV Park and had just passed off my little girl, Kaia, to spend the week with her grandparents in Mt. Shasta, California. As sad as I was to see her go, my spirits were risen, as souffl├ęs do, upon reading this news. Perhaps you'll find inspiration using Borden's Singles cheese varieties and share your story...
My recipe would be the perfect pairing with all the fresh northern-central ocean has to offer, particularly from the one and only Princeton Seafood Market!

For more recipes from Borden's Single Sensations visit:

And if you're planning a trip to visit for the day or to stay in Half Moon Bay visit:



Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Let's Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Taco Tuesday Dishes!

Let's Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Taco Tuesday Dishes!
Whether it's because I possibly was of Mexican descendant in a past life or if it's just in my nature I embrace many aspects from the Hispanic culture including love for the brightly alive colors, the celebrations, the language, the music and especially the FOOD! A favorite food celebration of mine that is commonly shared by many, regardless of their ethnicity or nationality, is known as "Taco Tuesday". So how appropriate it is that this years Cinco de Mayo falls on a Tuesday? When preparing tacos the possibilities are endless and there are no rules when it comes to using corn or flour tortillas, home-made or store-bought, steamed or fried...
Ground Beef or Turkey Tacos
Ground Beef or Turkey Taco Casserole
Shrimp Scampi Tacos with Spinach & Tomatoes
Buffalo Shrimp Tacos with Creamy Dill Slaw
Carne Asada Tacos with Creamy Avocado Chipotle Lime Sauce
Spiced Margarita Carne Asada Tacos with Creamy Cilantro Slaw
Blackened Fish Tacos
Grilled Salmon Tacos
For more Mexican dishes, I was inspired by the recipes in The Best of Fine Cooking Mexican magazine!
Happy Cinco de Mayo & Taco Tuesday ! 
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