Tag Archive | recipes

Scrumptious, Sweet & Salty Christmas Bites

Please welcome Real Estate Woman-preneur, Nancy Pugliese to the blog as she shares this easy-to-prepare, wonderfully delicious, chocolaty treat. They are addictive, hence the title “Cracker Crack.”

Saltine Cracker Toffee (aka “Cracker Crack”)

 

1

 

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Total time from start to finish: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

40 (or more if needed) Saltine Crackers (salted)
1 Cup Butter (unsalted)
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Cups of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (or milk or dark chocolate chops, your choice)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F

Line a cookie sheet with as many of the Saltine Crackers that it will take to fill your cookie sheet (approx. 40).

Please note: Do not overlap and do not place the crackers on top of each other.

Add butter and brown sugar in a pot, stir mixture, and bring to a boil,. Once the mixture is boiling, continue stirring and boiling for three minutes. Mixture should be a deep, caramel color.

Remove pot from heat and immediately pour the mixture over the Saltine Crackers, ensuring that every single cracker is covered by the caramel mixture.

Bake in preheated oven for 5 to 6 minutes. The crackers should look all bubbly.

Remove tray from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, and let sit for a few minutes to allow chocolate to melt. Once chocolate has melted, spread the melted chocolate to cover all the crackers.

**Optional** You can add chopped nuts on top.

Allow the crackers to cool completely, then break into pieces, or you can use a knife to cut them into pieces.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor. You may not want to share with your family and friends once you taste one…that’s okay, I won’t judge you.

tumblr_8dbd4fe15d

 

About Nancy Pugliese:

Nancy Pugliese exemplifies integrity, energy, hard work, and creative service in every detail of your real estate transaction. Fluently bilingual, Nancy was raised in Orleans in an entrepreneurial family, and after graduating with a bachelor in Criminology and minor in Sociology from The University of Carleton, she embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and launched her career with REMAX, immersing herself in learning every aspect of the real estate industry.

Clients choose to work with Nancy as they know they are gaining a full-service agent who possesses all the resources a client may need from stagers, painters, HVAC, locksmith, lawyers, mortgage brokers and more. Highly professional, she’s worked in different aspects of the industry, from real estate administration to liaising with photographers, signage, coordinating successful open houses, and marketing.

Nancy’s clientele recognizes they have an agent who surpasses all expectations to ensure a stress-free transaction. Known for her outstanding client services, and 24/7 availability, she has proven to be the consummate committed agent. In fact, while in the hospital, preparing to give birth to her precious baby girl, Nancy received a phone call from a client who needed an offer written up. With the assistance of a co-worker, and her trusty Smart phone, she negotiated the doubled-ended deal, ensuring both buyer and seller were serviced in a professional and swift manner. This commitment to client services extends to the four-legged members of a client’s family as well, as she once volunteered to walk a client’s dog while an agent from another agency showed their house, as her client couldn’t make it home in time for the showing.

When not dedicating her time to meet all her clients’ needs, Nancy enjoys spending time with family, and playing soccer and volleyball. As an active member of the “Best Shoe Closet Association,” she understands the importance of utilizing space in homes for each member of the family when looking to purchase a home, and creative staging for clients selling their homes.

Nancy is a firm believer in giving back, and is passionate about animal and the Heart & Stroke Foundation, participating in 5K runs to help raise awareness and money for these causes.

Five words you can count on from Nancy Pugliese, loyalty, enthusiasm, honesty, passion, and fun.

 

Processed with MOLDIV

 

 

Advertisements

Eating for comfort—one spoonful of soup at a time

Become the Super-shero or hero of your kitchen with this soup that is guaranteed to bowl your family and friends over.

 

Broccoli & Cheese Soup
Topped with a Baguette Crouton

 

soup

 

Ingredients:

3 TBSP Extra-virgin Olive Oil
1 Small Sweet Onion, finely chopped
1 Garlic Clove, finely chopped
1 Rib Celery, sliced
1 Medium White Potato, diced
4 Cups Stock (vegetable or chicken)
1 Large Head Broccoli, chopped
Broccoli stalks, sliced
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
5 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese, crumbled (or you can use Stilton, a milder cheese, or blue cheese—your choice of your favorite mouth-watering, melting type of cheese)

For the Crouton:

1/2 Baguette, sliced
8 TBSP Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

Heat oil in a large pot, add onion and garlic, and cook on medium heat, stirring continuously until soft and onion is transparent.

Add celery and potato, slices of the broccoli stalk, stir, then cover pot with a lid, and lower temperature to simmer and cook for five minutes.

Pour in the stock and turn up heat to medium, and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring, until all the vegetables are soft.

Add the rest of the broccoli, and cook for five minutes (until broccoli is al dente).

Add nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Taste to adjust the salt and pepper.

Transfer soup to a blender (or food processor), blend until smooth, but you can also choose to blend half the soup and leave the other half allowing for a few lumps.

Transfer soup back to the pot, cover and lower heat to simmer (just to keep it warm).

At this point, make the baguette crouton by heating oil in a pan over medium-high heat, then add the baguette slices, ensuring that the slice is evenly coated with oil.

Fry for 4 minutes, turning them over to brown on both sides. Remove from heat, place on paper towel and return to the soup.

Turn the heat off, and slowly add the grated cheese a handful at a time, stirring to avoid clumpy cheese.

Once all the cheese has been added is melted, remove from heat, and ladle into soup bowls immediately, and top with a toasted baguette crouton.

 

For more recipes (over 100 family dishes), PLUS, two stories (children’s book, and a comedy short story for adults) download a sample or purchase WISHES. STITCHES & DISHES: Bundle of Family Fun.

final-bundle-coverAvailable on AMAZON

Beat the Heat

Please join me in welcoming Sally Perkins to my blog as her timely post talks about beating the heat with summer deliciousness, and other tips.

How To Stay Cool & Beat the Heat

by Sally Perkins

The flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and the weather is slowly yet surely warming up. The signs are all here: Summer is coming. While the season may signify a lot of different things to a lot of different people – swimming, sports, hiking, etc., it’s also prime time for picnics. Yet, while picnics on TV always seem so picturesque, in real life, they can oftentimes result in a hot mess! What can you do to keep both you and your refreshments cool?

Here are a few suggestions:

 

Squeeze Some Lemon

1

 

We know there are certain fruits and vegetables that may turn brown when cut up and exposed to oxygen. Squeeze some lemon juice on sliced fruits before taking them out for some fun in the sun, and they will look much more appealing when it’s time to munch down! Fruit salads are another great way to keep your fruits fresh, as you can mix and match apples and pears with citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit – the latter of which will add some tanginess while effectively keeping your fruits looking their best.

 

Ayurvedic Principles

 

1

 

Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medicinal practice, and philosophy, states that there are both warming and cooling foods. When the temperatures rise, you want your food to keep you feeling light, energetic and cool rather than weighed down, tired and even more hot! According to Ayurvedic principles, fruits such as melons, grapes, pears, and mangoes are cooling, with spices and herbs like mint and cilantro also contributing to an overall cooling effect. Follow Ayurvedic principles and incorporate them into your summer picnics to stay refreshed!

 

Do-It-Yourself Coolers

 

1

 

With certain drinks and sweet treats, especially chocolate, you may need a little more help to keep them cool and solid. This is when homemade ice comes in handy. Just fill up a Ziploc bag with some ice and put it at the bottom of a container, placing your sweet treats on top. Voila, a Do-It-Yourself cooler! You can do the same thing for drinks; just add some ice to a bag or Tupperware large enough to fit the bottle/carton, and place your drink in there. When settling down for your treats in the sun, you will be glad for any extra cooling touches!

So if you are excited about the warmer weather, you can now get excited about picnics as well. The tips mentioned above will keep you feeling cool and refreshed, and help you in beating the heat!

 

1

 

 

Let them eat cake!

And lots of it.

This sinfully, decadent offering has to be healthy, right? It has carrots, zucchini, olive oil, eggs, cinnamon  and other healthy spices, cream cheese and healthy nuts. All good stuff, right? Right.

Get your bake on, and sweeten your spring and summer months with:

 

Carrot Zucchini Cake

CAKE

 

Ingredients

3 eggs
4 egg whites
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1-1/3 cups light (not the extra-virgin) olive oil (or you can use vegetable oil)
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups finely shredded carrots
2 cups finely shredded zucchini
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

FROSTING:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
5 cups confectioners’ (in Canada, we call this Icing sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whole or chopped pecans or walnuts for garnish, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F

In a large bowl beat eggs, egg whites and sugar until frothy.

Gradually beat in oil.

In a separate bowl combine: dry ingredients.

Add all dry ingredients (except the carrots and zucchini and nuts, keep them on the side for now) to the frothy mixture.

Beat for 5 minutes.

Stir in carrots, zucchini and nuts.

Pour into three greased 9-in. round baking pans.

Bake at 350° for about 35 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.

Cool 5 minutes before removing from pans.

Cool thoroughly on a wire rack.

Directions for Frosting:

Add cream cheese and butter in a large bowl.
Beat until smooth.
Add sugar and vanilla.
Continue beating until sugar is dissolved.
Spread between the layers and over the top and sides of the cake.
Garnish with whole or chopped nuts if desired, or candy in the shape of carrots

 

1

 

 

For more recipes (over 100 family dishes), PLUS, two stories (children’s book, and a comedy short story for adults) download a sample or purchase WISHES. STITCHES & DISHES: Bundle of Family Fun.

Available on AMAZON for only $0.99

final-bundle-cover

 

 

 

 

 

There is nothing more erotic than pouring chocolate on it.

Now’s the time (actually, any time is the time when it comes to erotic pleasures) to indulge yourself with this versatile, sinfully delicious, chocolate sauce recipe.

Drizzle it over fruit, cake, cookies, ice-cream, yogurt—use your imagination, if you like it on its own, then it’s even better with chocolate.

1a

Chocolate Sauce Recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (250 ml) water
½ cup milk (for extra richness and decadence you can use cream)
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
8 ounces of high-quality chocolate for the best flavor and texture–bittersweet or semisweet– finely chopped

Directions:

Turn stove top to medium heat.

In a saucepan, whisk together: water, milk, sugar, and cocoa powder.

Keep whisking until the mixture comes to a boil.

Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate, stirring until chocolate is all melted.

Put aside for 1 ½ to 2 hours, this will allow the sauce to thicken.

To serve warm, heat on low for a few minutes, or can be served at room temperature, just stir before drizzling.

Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days in a tightly covered container, and rewarmed before serving.

ENJOY. 🙂

1

 

For more recipes (over 100 family dishes), PLUS, two stories (children’s book, and a comedy short story for adults) download a sample or purchase WISHES. STITCHES & DISHES: Bundle of Family Fun.

Available on AMAZON for only $0.99

FINAL-BUNDLE-cover

 

 

 

The secret to a perfect roast beef.

I wasn’t always a roast beef aficionado, and I’ve come a long way from exploding a roast in the oven to serving a delicious dinner, and I’m here to share my secret for the perfect roast beef.

How did I explode a roast you wonder?

I added cold white wine to the glass baking dish the roast was roasting in, and POW, explosion. The side dishes were fine, and I made a Frittata (eggs should be labeled dinner party saver) to replace the glass encrusted roast beef.

Having been raised on a Mediterranean and Italian diet, I didn’t eat much red meat, or traditional English fare, let alone cook it. My husband was raised on meat and potatoes, and thankfully he is adventurous (served him well when he married me), and assimilated quite well with the Mediterranean/Italian lifestyle.

We also both love Asian cuisine, and I have mastered many Asian dishes. I’ve always loved to cook, and have been experimenting in the kitchen since I could stand on my own. I’m learning new techniques all the time, and have even invented a few recipes on my own.

However, when it came to perfecting a roast beef meal—my anxiety levels used to reach panic attack heights.

I’m grateful for having discovered this fail-proof, always delicious way of roasting beef, and now all my anxiety about serving roasts have now disappeared.

What’s the secret?

Turn your oven off.

Do NOT under any circumstances open the oven door during this process.

Yes, you read that right. I’ll explain further in the recipe below.

 

Perfect Roast Beef

Ingredients:

3 – 4 lbs. Inside Round Oven Roast (or a similar cut).
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
1 TBSP Onion Flakes
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

In a small bowl mix together; olive oil, rosemary, onion flakes, and black pepper.

Brush the olive oil mixture all over the roast beef.

Season roast well with salt on all sides.

Place roast it in a roasting pan — fat side up.

Wrap the meat in saran wrap or in a large freezer bag, then put it in the fridge.

One hour before you are going to cook the roast, pre-heat oven to 500 F. Leave on for 45 minutes to 1 hour so that the oven walls get real hot.

While oven is getting hot, remove the roast from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.

Remove saran wrap, and at this point, you may want to sprinkle more salt if some of it came off on the wrapping.

Put roast in oven, then turn your oven down to 475 F

Cook at this temperature for 7 minutes per pound. Example: 3 lb roast would cook at this temperature for 21 minutes.

Then turn OVEN OFF.

This is IMPORTANT — Do not under any circumstances open the oven door for 2 1/2 hours.

Leave in oven for 2 1/2 hours. I will repeat, because it’s worth mentioning again….DO NOT open the oven door.

After 2 1/2 hours, remove roast from oven, check with a meat thermometer for preferred internal temperature. After 2 1/2 hours the roast is medium well-done, which is the standard for a roast beef. However, if you want it done a bit more, turn your oven on to 325F and cook to desired temperature

Please note: I have never had to cook it additionally at 325, because the 2 1/2 hours it stays in the oven, is the perfect doneness for us.

After you remove the roast from oven, cover it well with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 20 minutes.

You can bake the popovers and make your gravy while meat is resting.

Recipes below.

Crowd Pleasing Popovers
(also known as Yorkshire pudding)

Ingredients:
(All ingredients should be at room temperature).

2 eggs
4 ounces egg whites
1 cup all-purpose white flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp. salt

Directions:

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Put muffin tins (this recipe makes 12 popovers) in the oven while it is heating up.

In a blender (or using an electric mixer) add: eggs, egg whites, milk, salt and oil and beat for about 1 minute.

Then add 1/2 the flour and beat for 1 minute.

Then add the rest of the flour and beat for about 2 minutes, ensuring all ingredients are well mixed.

The more bubbles you see, the better it is.

When oven is heated at 425F, remove muffin tins from oven and spray well with a non stick spray.

Pour equal amounts of the batter in muffin tins.

Put in oven and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes.

IMPORTANT: Do not open oven door while popovers are baking.

They will puff up and be a golden brown on top when done.

Gravy Suggestion

Ingredients:

Roast Drippings
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup beef broth
10 oz. mushrooms
Potato starch (or whatever gravy thickener of your choice)
Salt & black pepper to taste

Directions:

Saute mushrooms in a heated skillet with a bit of olive oil.
In a bowl, whisk wine, broth and drippings with the thickener of your choice.
Slowly add the liquid to the skillet, stirring constantly, and adjusting the liquid. If you need to add more liquid, your choice to add more wine or broth.
Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk while it’s cooking, until smooth and the thickener is cooked, and consistency (thick or thin, your choice) is to your liking.

Aioli Sauce for Left-Over Roast Beef Sandwiches

1

If there is leftover roast beef you can use it for sandwiches. This Aioli sauce adds a great punch and flavor to roast beef sandwiches, and it’s fast and easy to whip up.

Directions:

Mix 3 parts olive oil mayonnaise with 1 part Dijon mustard, a couple of squeezes of lemon juice and a sprinkle of sea-salt.
Mix well.
Taste to see if you need more of anything.
You can also add 1 clove of crushed garlic if you wish.

 

1

For more recipes (over 100 family dishes), PLUS, two stories (children’s book, and a comedy short story for adults) download a sample or purchase WISHES. STITCHES & DISHES: Bundle of Family Fun.

Available on AMAZON for only $0.99

 

1

 

 

 

 

Stuff it!

My kitchen runs on love, laughter and lots of experimentation—sometimes it works, sometimes not so much, but when it works, hubby will say, “I hope you wrote this recipe down.”

1

I wrote it all down and I’m going to share it with you.

Besides the scent of cookies baking in the oven, another mouthwatering essence are roasted anything, especially sweet peppers.

STUFFED PEPPERS

Ingredients:

1/2 lean ground beef

1/2 Italian sausage (sweet or spicy, your choice)

1/4 cup of dry red or white wine (the good stuff that you would drink, not the cooking wine)

4 sweet peppers (red, orange or yellow)

3/4 cup COOKED white rice (I cook the rice in chicken broth, to give it that much more flavor)

1 TBSP freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 TBSP freshly grated Romano cheese

1 tomato

10 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

handful of fresh basil, chopped

1/3 cup mozzarella, shredded or sliced thinly

1/2 cup tomato sauce

salt and red chili flakes to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350F
  2. Cook rice and set aside.
  3. Wash and dry the peppers, slice in half, and remove the seeds and set aside.
  4. Chop the tops you removed from the peppers into small pieces
  5. Chop the tomato in small pieces
  6. Heat up a skillet, add the wine, sausage and ground beef and cook for about 3 minutes
  7. Then add the chopped pieces of peppers and stir, lower heat to medium and cook until meat is brown and done.
  8. Once the meat is done, remove from heat and add: Parmesan, tomato, olives, basil and rice, and stir well until it’s all mixed.
  9. Taste the mixture, so you can season with salt and red chili flakes
  10. Line a baking dish with parchment, or spray with a non-stick spray.
  11. Fill each half of the peppers with equal amounts of the meat/rice mixture.
  12. Arrange peppers in baking dish
  13. Top each pepper with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese
  14. Cover dish and bake for 45 minutes
  15. Remove cover and bake an additional 5 – 10 minutes, until mozzarella on top is a golden color

 

1

 

For more recipes (over 100 family dishes), PLUS, two stories (children’s book, and a comedy short story for adults) download a sample or purchase WISHES. STITCHES & DISHES: Bundle of Family Fun.

Available on AMAZON for only $1.50

1