Saturday, February 26, 2011

Silver Dollar Banana Cinnamon Raisin Pancakes, Bailey's size.

It's Saturday or Sunday  morning , so wake up and have these Silver Dollar Banana Cinnamon Raisin Pancakes Can you smell the cinnamon, and banana and taste the rich Maple syrup?. When we make pancakes, we like to make them on the smaller side, that way you  think that you are eating more:) These are just the right size for Bailey.  .Pancakes are the only table food, that we give her.  Obviously, she loves them. Her name isn't Bailey "Food" Higgins for nothing.
Here is Bailey with her pancakes

I adapted the recipe for Banana and Blueberry Pancakes from Comfort of Cooking.  I didn't have any blueberries, so I used raisins, and I also used almond milk.  Instead of the Cinnamon Vanilla Butter. I  I added 1tsp. cinnamon to the batter and made them silver dollar size.

Silver Dollar Banana Cinnamon Raisin Pancakes
Makes approx. 7 servings (14 pancakes) regular size
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-1/4 cups fat-free milk  I used almond milk
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 plumped raisins ***
Maple syrup, optional

  In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, Combine the egg, milk, bananas. plumped raisins, and vanilla; Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. *** To plump raisins, soak raisins in hot water, until soft, about 5 min., then drain
Coat a large flat pan with cooking spray. Turn pan to low heat. Pour pancake batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto the pan. For silver size pancakes, use a 2 tbsp. batter.  Turn when bubbles form on top; cook until second side is golden brown.
Serve with Maple syrup

 I received the wonderful weekly award from Dee Dee's Delights for my Chile Spiced Mango Chocolate Cookies.  Every week Dee Dee picks a winner from the previous week recipes. Thank you so much!  It's wonderful, and I appreciate it very much!  Go check out her wonderful blog.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ceviche and An Award

My husband has made Ceviche for many years. I had never eaten or heard of it before I met him. According to Wkipedia,  Ceviche or seviche is is a seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of the Americas, especially Central and South America. The dish is typically made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices such as lemon or lime and spiced with chili peppers.  You can also add spices and onions. The acid in the citrus juices actually "cooks" the fish, so no heat is needed.  There are many different versions of ceviche,  and the version my husband uses both shrimp and whitefish.  He used Tilapia for the white fish, but you can use sea bass, or any lean white fish.  Whatever version of ceviche you use, it is really good, and perfect for appetizers, or a light lunch or dinner. You  feel the tropical sun and light breezes blowing, as you eat the ceviche. Just what we need to chase away the winter blues.

I was reading Chef and the Steward blog about Escaveitch, and thought that it was time for Ceviche.  Lij, the Chef, commented back that he couldn't wait until I posted the Ceviche, and Jamaican.Rum.  wait no more Mon, because here it is.My husband discovered Jamaican Rum, when he was in the Navy and in the Caribbean.He fell in love with the Islands and the rum.  He visited  most of the Islands and we have been on Windjammer cruises, which were small ships  with only about 140 people, triple masted,  that sailed in the Caribbean..  That line is now out of business, much to the dismay of my husband.  So have a drink of Jamaican Rum, eat some Ceviche, and dream of the Caribbean.

Ceviche Yields: about four cups Adapted from
  • 1 pound cod, (or any lean white fish diced in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons), divided use
  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 6 limes), divided use
  • 1 tsp salt, divided use
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano.
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  •  1 med tomato, finely diced or grape tomatoes
  • ½ med sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup cooked frozen shrimp, thawed, rinsed, and drained
  • 1 fresh jalapeno or serrano chile pepper, seeded, and finely minced
  • 1 T.finely chopped  fresh cilantro
Combine fish, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/3 c. lime juice, 1/2tsp salt, and oregano. Marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Drain juice completely. Place drained fish a Mason jar, or any other large glass a jar with a lid. Combine remaining 1/3 c. lemon juice, 1/3 c. lime juice, olive oil, white pepper, cumin, tomato, onion, vinegar, shrimp, jalapeno chile, and cilantro. Stir well. Add to drained fish in a large jar.  Put on lid and shake jar to distribute liquid.  Marinate in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.

Ta Da!  And the Award goes to.... Now see I didn’t know that I was receiving these awards, so I didn’t have time to get my gown made, my hair done, or order the limo, so you won’t be  seeing me on TV Sunday night.
I was the fortunate recipient of the Stylish Blogger Award from Kim and Kim. One was from Kim at Liv Life, a beautiful blog with gorgeous pics, and delicious recipes, as well as wonderful stories about her family and her pups. She is fortunate to live in Southern California, so I can be jealous of all of the wonderful weather out there. I received another Stylish Blogger Award from of the Farmer’s Wife. Kim is really married to a farmer and they have a Farmer Tot, who is her sous chef.. A lot of her recipes are family oriented, kid friendly, and she bakes beautiful bread. Please stop by and visit their wonderful blogs. I am so honored to have received the award from such wonderful people, who have such lovely blogs.
Now the rules say that you must tell 7 things about yourself, and pass the award on to ten people, so here goes.
1. I love College Basketball and March Madness.  I will be filling out my brackets and so will my granddaughter.

2. This Sunday, Feb 27th, I am going wedding dress shopping with my future daughter-in-law, and her Mom.  I am so excited!

3. I am the oldest in the family and have 2 brothers, 10 & 12 years younger than me.

4 .My favorite movies are Back to the Future, When Harry Met Sally, and Cinderella.

5. I  have a niece, .a nephew, and a granddaughter, all born within two weeks of each other.  They turn 18 in June!

6. I love guacamole, and could eat it every day, especially with mango salsa.

7. My husband loves to cook, but he is also an artist.  More exciting news coming soon.

I'm passing on this award to these wonderful blogs who deserve this award! Please stop by and say Hi!
Veronica Quay Po Cooks
Lij and Kari  Chef and Steward
Suchi Flavors

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chile Spiced Mango Chocolate Cookies

If you don't know by now, I'm a huge fan of Trader Joe's.  When I saw this recipe for the Chile Spiced Mango Chocolate Cookies on Facebook  I had just gotten back from Trader Joe's, but I knew that I had to make them. I love mango in anything and the pairing of Mango and Chocolate is pure genius, especially with the chile spice. These cookies are so good, with the spicy chile mango and bitter sweet chocolat,  just the right amount of sweet heat. They are perfect for a party or just to eat at home.  You can't stop eating them  There is a boutique Chocolatier Vosges, in Chicago, that pairs chocolate with various savory herbs and spices, as well as Bacon.  They even have the Chocolate Bacon bars. I read that in the movie, Choclat,  that there was chili in the hot chocolat.  I saw the movie, but I don't remember. If you love chocolate, you have to see this movie, which was made in 2000.

I followed the  recipe, Chile Spiced Mango Chocolate Chunk Cookies almost to a tee, which is rare for me. I used  1 3/4 c. Trader Joe's Dark Chocloate Bars, cut in chunks, and a 1/4 c  semisweet chocolate chips.   One caveat when making these cookies, is that you have to dice the dried chile spiced mango pieces, which requires a very sharp knife. As you are dicing the mango, because it is dried, the knife gets sticky, and you have to keep washing it off.  That said,  if you are sporting any bandages from previous kitchen accidents, Be careful!!  I won't mention any names.  Also because there are chunks of chocolate and diced mango, my cookies didn't turn out perfectly round, even though the batter is pretty stiff.  I'm not a perfectionist, but these cookies are so good, it doesn't matter to me if they aren't perfectly round.

To make the cookies,  Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. you cream together the butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla.  Then beat in 2 eggs, one at a time. Dissolve baking soda in hot water and add to batter. Then stir in flour, salt, diced mango, and chocolate chunks. Mix until well combined.  Drop by spoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet.. Bake for about 10-12 min, until edges are browned

 The recipe says that you get four dozen, but I got a few more than that.  Because I didn't want all of those cookies in my house,  I kept a dozen for us, and took the rest to my friends at Trader Joe's to enjoy, but forgot my camera.  Enjoy!

*** This is a disclaimer.  I  any receive  remuneration or free products from Trader Joe's.  I just like their store a lot.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mexican Rice and My Post Office

What do Mexican and  my Post Office have to do with each other?  The answer is, nothing.  I just wanted to mention my Post Office.  First, i will give you the Mexican Rice recipe as promised. Thie recipe as printed will make enough Mexican rice for an army.  It works well if you're having a crowd, but for two people, we cut the recipe in half.  Also there is no heat in the rice, but feel free to add any peppers or seasonings you  like to bump up the heat level.  If you're serving this with Mole, enchiladas, or any other Mexican dish that has heat you might want to leave the recipe as is.

The other dish on the plate is vegetarian refried beans. These are just refried beans from a can with lowfat cheddar cheese.  We use the vegetarian refried beans, because the regular ones, have lard in them, and of course the vegetatrian refried beans don't.  That's just a tip from the Queen of Reading Food Labels.

Here is the recipe for Lupe's Mexican Rice:


2 c long grain white rice
½ c vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
2 tsp/ granulated garlic
2 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. salt
8 oz. diced tomatoes
4 c water
3/4 c tomato sauce

In a medium pan with a cover, heat oil over medium to high heat.  Add rice, fry, stirring until rice is lightly browned (3-5 min).  Stir in onion. garlic, cumin, and salt, fry for another minute.  Add tomatoes with juice plus 4 cups of water.  This should come to a boil very quickly.  Cover saucepan and reduce heat to low.  ok 15-20 minutes, or until rice is fluffy and dry.
Now about my post office, which is on the left side of the building in the picture. It is a one window post office, where you get personal service on a first name basis.  This is the  post office I used to send my Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bars to the highest bidder from Steph's Bite by Bite online auction.
This little post office has been in the same location for many years.  It was a in a small town, that is now surrounded by subdivisions.  This post office has managed to maintain it's small town feel, and I love it.!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tequila Marinated Chicken with Mexican Mole

After Valentines Day we had a Mexican Fiesta, of sorts.  We had Tequila Marinated Chicken with Mexican Mole.  He used Emeril Lagasse's recipe and it was wonderful. My husband had made the Mole paste, about 6 mos. ago. For those of you that have never made Mexican Mole before, first you make the mole paste, which makes enough for several meals, and can then be frozen for up to one year  This recipe makes almost a quart of Mole paste.  To make the sauce, you take one cup of the mole paste and add even more ingredients. To the paste add  about 3 cups of chicken stock,  more Mexican chocolate, and canned tomato puree. . Then the sauce mixture has to simmer for about two more hours.  Making mole is definitely a labor intensive process, but well worth it.  My husband made this in a 2 day process  He didn't have an "army of Mexican grandmas" helping him, but I was the sous chef.( I borrowed that phrase from Brandon of Kitchen Konfidence Slow Cooker Mole.)   We also made   Mexican Rice, which I got from a former co-worker, who used her Mexican Grandma's , Abuela's recipe. The Mexican Rice recipe will be posted later.

My husband was so excited to make this recipe, as any foodie would be.  He  even went to the Super Mercado, to buy the chilies, Mexican chocolate, and Mexican oregano, and he doesn't speak any Spanish, but managed to find everything that he needed. So follow the link to Emeril's recipe for Tequila Marinated Chicken with Mexican Mole Sauce   This is the two day process to make the Mexican Mole. If you want to try and make the complete recipe in one day, go ahead, but I recommend that you are young, and have a good back and feet!
The First Day:
Before you even start you have to have your  mise en place set for the first day. First, fresh tomatoes, onion , and garlic are roasted and charred.  Then, ancho and guajillo chilies are toasted in a medium skillet Then, they're placed in  hot water to soften.  You can use the same skillet to toast sesame seeds and chile seeds. Move seeds to a large bowl, then toast peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cloves, oregano, and thyme in skillet. Add  to sesame seeds in large bowl.

Then add cooled garlic, charred tomatoes,and  onion in large pan, if you use an immersion blender, or you can put them in the food processor, along with the seeds and spices, drained chilies,  raisins, and roasted nuts, 1 c of chicken stock, low sodium, and puree until smooth. Refrigerate until Day Two. If you make the mole, it is a good way to clean out your pantry:).  This is where we stopped the first day. Now go have a Margarita, put your feet up, and relax.. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Strawberry Orange Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel

I love strawberries, in any way, in any shape or form. . So, when I saw strawberries in the grocery store, I wanted to use them for Valentine's Day in some way.  These look like strawberries, right?  They even smelled a little like strawberries, but they didn't taste like strawberries that much..Do you like crunchy strawberries?  It was too early here in Illinois to buy strawberries from California.  I knew that I wouldn't eat them plain,  so I looked for a muffin recipe.  I also still had a lot of oranges, so I wanted orange zest in them, and I used orange juice for the liquid in the muffins. I then added a crunchy streusel topping, and got muffins fit for a  King, Queen, Prince or Princess.  We had them for our Valentine breakfast, and they were wonderful!  You can enjoy these muffins anytime of the year you have fresh or frozen strawberries.

My husband and I  are very romantic.  Each year we repeat our first date, and the night that we met at Swedish Days in Geneva, IL,, almost 11 years ago.  Also, I have kept all of the cards that we have given each other over the years, and on Valentine's Day we read all of the old Valentines. We're not into the gifts , so much, maybe flowers, or some years I make a card, sorry Hallmark!  It's so much fun. Enjoy!

Here is the recipe, that I adapted from

Read more about it at,191,149167-254195,00.html
Content Copyright © 2011 - All rights reserved.
2 c. flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. fresh strawberries, chopped, about 12
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c.. orange juice
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. butter, melted
3 tsp. orange zest
1/3 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
3 tbsp. butter, cold
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine strawberries and sugar Mash with fork.. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in orange juice, egg and vanilla until well blended. Add strawberry mixture to flour, baking powder and salt mixture. Add butter and stir just until blended. Spoon into 10 to 12 greased muffin pan cups. Sprinkle with topping.

 TOPPING: Combine flour, sugar, butter, and cinnamon in a medium bowl until mixture comes together in large crumbs. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10, before removing from pan. I didn’t use cupcake liners, so you may have to loosen sides of muffin from pan..  Finish cooling on rack

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Little Flourless Chocolate Cakes with Nutella Ganache and Raspberries

If you are looking for a romantic dessert for your sweetie, then look no further. What could be better than your own individual Flourless Chocolate Cake with Nutella Ganache and Raspberries, a dense, rich  chocolate cake, with luscious Nutella Ganache.  We usually stay home and cook our own romantic Valentine's Day dinner, and this year will be no exception.  It's so much better than going out to a crowded, noisy restaurant with poor service, and high prices. You will not be rushed through your expensive dinner by another couple waiting for your table,  you can play your own music, and drink a whole bottle of wine, and not break the bank. If you have kiddos at home, of course you would wait until they are in bed, or send them to Grandma's for the night.  That's what Grandma's are for, and they would love it:)  

I had looked at several recipes for Flourless Chocolate Cake, and chose this one because it was lower in calories, and made a smaller cake.  I didn't want a whole cake, with many leftovers, left in the house, very dangerous, so I used little mini pans.  I adapted this recipe from  I used Laura from Cake Duchess  Nutella Gancahe recipe..As you can see there are only a few ingredients in this wonderful cake, and it's gluten free.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Servings: 12   


7 oz really good (45–50% cocoa) semisweet chocolate, I used a mixture of  Ghiardelli semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate.
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar, divided
4 eggs, separated, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vinega or lemon juice  I didn't have any cream of tartar.

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Stir together half the sugar and four yolks; add to melted chocolate mixture. ( I melted my chocolate and butter in my microwave, which has a setting for melting chocolate, and it worked well.)

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites; Halfway through, add the 1/2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice to stabilize the egg whites, and  slowly add remaining 1/2 cup sugar until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold mixture into chocolate in thirds. Pour into a greased 9-inch cake pan.  I used little mini pans.Spray well.

3. Bake 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few crumbs on it. Cool 30 minutes before removing from pan, if you use a large pan.  Cool about 10-15 min.with a smaller pan.

I then used the Nutella Ganache recipe and garnished with organic raspberries and a little powdered sugar.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stir Fried Chicken and Vegetables with a Spicy Sweet Sauce and a Grain of Salt

We have stir fry quite often it seems. It's healthy, very adaptable to what's in your fridge, and oh yes, it tastes so good.  After my husband had his single bypass, we thought that we could never eat Chinese Food again, because of the sodium content.  As we have discovered, that pitching the salt shaker and  cooking with herbs and spices, the food tastes so much better and flavorful, than BHS, Before Heart Surgery!  Now, I'm not going to say that it is easier to cook with less sodium, and make everything from scratch,  because you have to read every label, even mustard has sodium, but is definitely worth it in the long run for the health benefits., and the food definitely tastes better, in my opinion. You did get to skip whole aisles in the grocery store, because you're not buying any prepared foods or mixes, that way you control the amount of sodium that you want in your food.

  The RDA, Recommended Daily Amount of sodium is 2300 mg of sodium, about 1 tsp.  for the average adult.  If you are over 51 , and have hypertension, diabetes or kidney disease, RDA is now 1500mg of sodium, or 3/4 tsp salt. You might say that you're young, so you can eat anything that you want. Unhealthy habits will take their toll on you eventually. Or if there is a history of heart disease in your family.  Both of my boys inherited their father's heart disease in their late 20's!!!  One has high cholesterol, and the other has high blood pressure.  Of course, it's everything in moderation, when dealing with a low sodium, , low fat diet.  We do not eat fast food anymore, and before we would only eat Subway, so now we don't even eat that any more. There are been articles on the web recently about the excessive amounts of sodium in the restaurant entrees, OMG!!  Some of the amounts are two days RDA of sodium in one meal.

The stir fry pictured above has greatly reduced sodium.  I made the Spicy Sweet sauce with  mango salsa, which had  low sodium 190 mg/ 2 tbsp, reduced sodium Teriyaki sauce, which has 320 mg/Tbsp, white wine, low sodium chicken broth from Trader Joe's, and thickened with cornstarch, plus the spices and herbs.   I subbed the Teriyaki sauce for the low sodium soy sauce, because Teriyaki sauce has 320 mg/tbsp, where the low sodium Soy Sauce has 575 mg/1 tbsp.  Because I made this during the blizzard of 2011, the only fresh veggies I had was a zucchini. I did have a bag of frozen stir fry veggies from super Target with 25 mg of sodium/ 3/4 cup, and then I added my sliced zucchini.  If you can it's better to buy the plain vegetables, and make your own sauces, for stir fry, or anything else for that matter.  Just look at sodium content of the frozen prepared foods in the freezer, and your jaw will drop. You can reduce your sodium content by taking baby steps at first, just subbing out a few ingredients, or one meal.  As you progress it will get easy to watch the sodium.

Stir Fried Chicken with Spicy Sweet Sauce 4 servings

1 lb of chicken breasts, diced in small pieces
1-2 cloves of garlic minced
1 small onion, diced
2 Tbsp.canola or peanut oil
1 bag Frozen Stir Vegetables, or any fresh vegtables of your choice, mushrooms, broccoli, water chestnuts, Baby Bok Choy, etc.
1small zucchini, sliced
Red pepper flakes(optional)
Sunny Singapore seasoning  ( a mix  of East and West spices)

Spicy Sweet Sauce
2 Tbsp. mango salsa, or any salsa of your choice
1 Tbsp  low sodium Teriyaki sauce
1/4 c, low sodium chicken stock(I use Trader Joe's)
Splash of white wine
1 Tbsp of cornstarch
1/4 c cold water

What to Do
Heat wok or large skillet on high.  Add olive oil, garlic, and onion for 2-3 min.  Add diced chicken, stirring until lightly brown and cooked through.  Remove from pan and set aside in bowl.  Add stir veggies, fresh and frozen, and cook until crisp, 3-4 min. then, add chicken back to pan with veggies,  seasonings Add all of sauce ingredients, except cornstarch and water, to wok, and heat over medium heat Stir well.  Mix cornstarch into cold water and mix well.  Stir into wok and heat until sauce is thickened.  Serve immediately over rice.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Nutella Fudge Brownies-My First Jar of Nutella on World Nutella Day!

World Nutella day, you say?  I didn't even know that it was World Nutella Day, February 5th, until I read Kate from Diet Hood  post proclaiming February 5th was indeed World Nutella Day.  I am very late coming to the Nutella party, I realize., but I bought my first jar on February 5th.  Karma, maybe?  I had many Nutella  recipes to choose from various blogs and it was a very difficult decision, but I decided to make the Nutella Fudge Brownies from Kim at Liv Life. for my Super Bowl Party.  (Sorry Lindsey, I'll make your No Bake Nutella cookies next)  These Nutella Fudge Brownies are like fugdey, nutty, bites of heaven.  There are only 3 or 4 ingredients, 1 egg, 1/2 c Nutella , and 5 Tbsp all purpose flour. depending if you add chopped hazelnuts,  so  simple and so delicious.  I did add a little dab  of chocolate frosting and sparkling sugar to dress them up a bit. They were a big hit at the party!

While my husband and I were getting ready for the party, Bailey, the Snow Dog, saw something outside, some creature, and just had to see what it was, so we let her out.  The snow was up to her chin, but that didn't stop her, as you will see.
She was looking for a mole, that she saw, but was neve able to catch.  My husband and I were laughing so hard. When she finally came in she had huge "snowballs", stuck to her fur, and we had to dry her with the hair dryer.  Do you have a crazy dog?

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