About Me

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My husband, Mike, and I moved from NJ to Southwest Florida in September 2006. I currently work at the Punta Gorda Library and fill my free time with crafts, reading and my experiments in the kitchen.  Our fur kids, Buddy the dog and Nibbles (aka Brutus) the cat, keep us entertained all day. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Epcot Food & Wine Festival Day1

After arriving at Port Orleans Rverside around 9am, Mike and I headed to Downtown Disney to await a text message saying our room was ready. After a leisurely stroll and some fun shopping, we headed back to the resort to check in our room around 1:30pm. 

At 4pm we decided it was time to head to Epcot. First I have to say - WOW are there a lot of people here. If you don't like crowds, don't bother to come for the food and wine festival. 

Our first food stop was Hawaii for Kalua Pork Sliders with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Cutney and Spicy Mayonaise. This was a tasty little morsel that proved that Mike CAN eat mayo and not have it kill him. We shared a Kona Brewing Company's Big Wave Golden Ale, which I enjoyed a lot but Mike said was "okay". 

Next we tried Dole Pineapple Fritter, which were so good I forgot to get a picture of them. 

Our first "must try" spot was Canada for some Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup. I wanted to get a vat of this delicious soup. With the soup I tried some La Face Neige Apple Ice Wine. This was a very strong and delicious wine reminiscent of hard apple cider. 

Since the foods we tried were just little bites, I was feeling hungry and knew what I was going to have when I saw "Fish n Chips" in England. This was the second best fish n chips I ever had. (The best was Sullivan's Gaslight Inn in Franklin, NJ.) I even tried it with malt vinegar. YUM!!!

We continued through the countries and shops and, in America decided FUNNEL CAKE!  Even better...pumpkin spice funnel cake.
It was the best funnel cake I ever ate.  This is what did us in. After our funnel cakes, we were full. No mas food in ze belly por favor. 

We road the Three Caballeros boat ride and hobbled back to the resort with our eating plan ready for tomorrow. Watch out Poland...you have some Keilbasa & Potato Pierogis with MY NAME on them. 




Monday, October 7, 2013

Looking forward to visiting the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

My wonderful hubby, Mike, and I are finally heading to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival next week.  All week I have been checking out the menus and pictures of the food that they are serving this year. 

Check out the website here: Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Stay tuned for blogs from the festival.  You may want to cover your keyboard with a towel...you will be drooling.

Friday, September 6, 2013

These Poisoned Apples treats are delicious

Several months ago, I discovered an awesome "auction" website called Tophatter.  It is a fun, interactive website where you bid on items you wish to purchase.  It is actual time auctioning, unlike Ebay where you have to wait to see if you win for several hours to several days.

One day, I was on Tophatter and came across an auction for caramels from Poisoned Apples. I was lucky enough to win the auction for a pound of orange caramels. When they came, very well packaged and looking beautiful, I bit into one and have been a fan ever since.

You do not have to wait for another caramel auction. You can purchase items right from The Poisoned Apples Etsy store.  Go and check them out. You won't be sorry.

I'm currently attending a Tophatter action to try to get some more yummy caramels. Wish me luck!!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dessert doesn't have to be unhealthy

My husband, Mike, and I have been TRYING to eat healthier.  Being food lovers, this is very difficult. Tonight I decided to show him that you can have a tasty dessert without ruining a healthy eating day.

Poached pears with raspberry sauce

For the poached pears

2 pears (I used bosc), pealed, cut in half and cored
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp. honey
1 cinnamon stick
3 small pieces of candied ginger

Place the pears in a small saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, lower temperature and cover until sauce is reduced and pears are tender. Remove cinnamon stick. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the raspberry sauce

1 pint raspberries
1/4 water
1 tbsp. honey

Put ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  When berries have started to burst, stir.  Simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.  Pour into a fine strainer over a boil and remove to remove all of the seeds.  Taste. If not sweet enough, add 1/2 tbsp. honey.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve 2 halves of pear in a bowl with cooking juices. Drizzle with the raspberry sauce. DELISH!

I served them with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream and some fresh raspberries.




Sunday, August 4, 2013

I've been away from cooking and baking long enough

I haven't blogged about cooking or baking in a while.  It's been a little too hot in Southwest Florida to turn on the oven!!!  I am gearing up for holiday baking season with some great purchases from King Arthur Flour and Penzy's Spices. 

Stay tuned for some blogs on my experiments in the kitchen.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Blogging Class!

I had a blogging class today. I really don't know enough about blogging to TEACH blogging. I hope you all enjoyed it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day - a day early (Baked Shrimp and Feta)

On Thursday's I work until 7:15pm.  This isn't too horrible, unless you want to cook a nice romantic Valentine's Day dinner for your hubby and the holiday falls on a Thursday. Sigh...what's a girl to do???  Well, even though it is Ash Wednesday, I decided to make the special dinner tonight. As a Catholic, this means no meat.  Shrimp it is!!!!

One of the best things I've ever made is Baked Shrimp with Feta.  It is an easy and very flavorful recipe.

In a sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.

Dice one medium onion and cook for three minutes, or until onions are soft.


Add two cloves of minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
 
Stir in two cans of no salt added diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.
 
 
Add one tablespoon of dill and one tablespoon of parsley and stir.
 






 Spray your baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread your cleaned and rinsed shrimp in the baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
 
 
Pour sauce over the top of the shrimp.
 
 

 
 Top with crumbled feta cheese.
 
 
 
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 425 degrees F.
 

Serve over angel hair pasta. DELICIOUS!!!
 






 
Baked Shrimp with Feta
 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans of no-salt-added diced tomatoes, do not drain
1 tablespoon of dried parsley or 1/4 cup finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh dill
1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat the oil in skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until the tomato juices thicken.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley and dill. Spray baking dish with cooking spray and place shrimp in dish. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the feta over the top. Bake until the shrimp are cooked through and cheese melts, about 20 to 30 minutes.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, February 4, 2013

My final fudge of the day - Ziplock Bag Fudge

Sometimes you just want a no muss, no fuss treat.  As my third type of fudge for my Valentine's Day cooking program, I am making Fudge in a Ziplock Bag.  No bowls, no clean up and you can eat it right out of the bag. Here we go...


Put one pound (yes, that is ONE POUND) of powdered sugar in a large ziplock bag.  Add 3 ounces of cream cheese.


Two tablespoons of butter



Measure out 1/2 cup of cocoa powder and put it in the bag


Squish all the ingredients together in the bag.


It is not as easy as it sounds.  Mix until smooth.  This next picture is after 10 minutes of smoooshing.


Keep smooshing until smooth. This is after 15 minutes.



You can now eat your fudge out of the bag or press into a flat container.









Fudge made with pinto beans???

Each month I try to find a different "theme" for the cooking program at the library.  For February, I thought it would be nice to do a Valentine's Day theme, so we're doing three kinds of fudge and making an origami box to put it in as a gift to the participants' valentines. One of the many request from the attendees is to have healthier recipe options. I scoured the internet and found No Bake Pinto Bean Fudge on www.food.com and decided to try it.  Here are the steps to make this fudge.

Mash the contents of one 15.5 ounce can of pinto beans.  I did mine in the food processor until smooth.



Add 3/4 cup of cocoa powder



Melt 1/2 cup margarine (or butter) and pour into food processor.

Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla and 2 pounds of powdered sugar.

Add the equivalent of 1 pound of sugar substitute*.


Turn on food processor and mix until all ingredients are incorporated.


Doesn't that look yummy?  Hard to believe there are pinto beans in there!!!!

Pour the mixture into a greased 9" x 13" pan and spread evenly.


Chop up 4 ounces of walnuts (optional)


The recipe I have from www.food.com mixes the walnuts into the fudge. I thought it would be nicer sprinkled on top.  What do you think??



No Bake Pinto Bean Fudge
www.food.com

Ingredients:

1 - 15.5 ounce can of pinto beans
3/4 C cocoa powder
1/2 C margarine/butter, melted
1 tbsp vanilla
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 pound sugar substitute (or equivalent to 1 pound of sugar*)  I used splenda baking blend
4 ounces walnuts, chopped (optional)

Directions:

  1. Mash beans (I did mine in the food processor)
  2. Mix together all ingredients
  3. Grease a 9' X 13" pan, spread mixture into the pan
  4. Put in the refrigerator and chill thoroughly
  5. Cut into squares and enjoy!
*Make sure to read the sugar substitute package to get the correct measurement to equal 1 pound of regular sugar.












 












Red Velvet Cake Batter Fudge



If you like cake and you like fudge, you have to try making Cake Batter Fudge.  One of the coolest things about this recipe is that you can change the flavor of the cake mix you use to make many different kinds of fudge.  Today I decided to make it with Red Velvet Cake mix.

In a microwave safe bowl, mix 1 cup of cake mix with 1 cup of confectioners sugar.



Add 1/4 cup butter, cut up, and 1/4 cup of milk to the bowl.  DO NOT MIX...yet.

 

Microwave cake mix, confectioners sugar, butter and milk for two minutes. 


Stir immediately until completely combined.

Add 1/4 cup sprinkles and 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. Fold in gently as to keep sprinkle from bleeding into cake mix.

Spread mixture into a greased pan and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Cut into pieces and enjoy.

Cake Batter Fudge

Ingredients
1 C cake mix of your choice
1 C confectioners sugar
1/4 C butter, cut into small squares
1/4 C milk
1/4 C chocolate chips (or white chocolate, butterscotch, cinnamon. Make it go with your cake mix choice)
1/4 C sprinkles

Directions
  1. Mix cake mix and confectioner's sugar in a microwave safe bowl. Add butter and milk. Don't stir.
  2. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir immediately until completely mixed. Add sprinkles and chocolate chips. Do not over mix as sprinkle color may bleed.
  3. Spread into greased pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Cut into squares and enjoy.
This makes on 6" x 6" container, or double for an 8" x 8" pan.

Note: If the batter comes out too runny, stir in 1 tsp of sugar or cake mix at a time until stiff. If too thick, slowly add 1/2 tsp of milk at a time. The batter is supposed to be thick.