Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Baked Artichoke Chicken

I saw this recipe on TV watching "The Chew" one day. I usually don't watch TV during the day, but I had the TV on, while I was eating lunch.  This particular day, they had viewers send in their favorite recipes and then they picked a few to come and cook their recipe on the show.  I immediately thought about Wendy@The Weekend Gourmet and her cooking stints on her local TV Station in San Antonio, how exciting., This day,  Donna Giblin was cooking her recipe on national TV, and I knew I would be making her recipe soon.

Donna's recipe was for Artichoke Chicken, which is chicken pieces baked with onions, garlic, mushrooms,and artichokes in a marvelous red wine mustard sauce with herbs and a Mediterranean flare.  This dish is easy to prepare, the flavors are amazing, and your kitchen will smell wonderful. It is definitely company fare with a salad and cous cous or rice Now, I know that we are having warm weather, however, today the high will be 67 in Chicago burbs, so quick make the yummy chicken dish, and you won't be disappointed. It's definitely a winner! Enjoy! PS, You could probably adapt this recipe to slow cooker, as well. let me know how you liked the recipe.

As usual, we made a few changes to the original recipe. Scott wanted to make this dish, as soon as I bought artichoke hearts. We also used boneless skinless chicken breast, and removed the skin from the thighs and legs, like we always do, due to health concerns. If you leave the skin on your chicken will be crispier and brown a little more in the oven. Also, we would recommend doubling the sauce in the recipe. Once the sauce cooks down, there just isn't enough the wonderful sauce for the leftovers. We also added more garlic, 4 garlic cloves, total. also, instead of adding all of the individual herbs, we just added Herb de Provence, which has all of those herbs blended together. Enjoy! 

Artichoke Chicken Adapted from Donna Giblin’s Artichoke Chicken

3 1/2-4 pound chicken legs and thighs  We also used chicken breasts
1 cup artichoke hearts (halved)
1 medium onion (cut into chunks - to match the artichokes)
1 pound white button mushrooms (halved or quartered)
2 tablespoons brown mustard
1 clove garlic (minced)   We used 4 cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 teaspoon dried basil   We used 1 Tbsp Herb de Provence
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper (to taste) 

Place chicken, skin side up, in a baking pan. 13x9.  Distribute onion, artichoke and mushrooms over the top.  Combine olive oil, mustard, red wine, red wine vinegar, garlic, dried spices, salt and pepper and pour over the chicken. 
Bake at 350ยบ for 1 1/2 hours, basting every 1/2 hour.

I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck#20
Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

Monday, May 28, 2012

German Chocolate Mini Cupcakes and Memorial Day

My Dad's Memorial Service was this past Saturday, so it was a weekend filled with so many emotions, memories, food, and birthday parties. Because my Dad was a WWII veteran, he got full military honors after his memorial service, which included a 21 gun salute, Color Guard, taps, and a flag presentation.  Maybe I had seen a 21 gun salute on TV or in the movies, but never 10 ft. away from me. It was so loud, but the whole ceremony was an impressive and fitting tribute  to end my Dad's Memorial service on Memorial Day Weekend, of all weekends.

On Friday, the day before the Memorial service, my brother and his son, my Granddaughter, and her boyfriend started to got through the myriad of pictures and WWII memorabilia from my parent's cedar chest to pick out items for the visitation.  My Dad lived almost a century, 92 years, so sorting through the cedar chest was a like a history lesson for the these soon to be 19 year olds. My parents had saved WWII war ration books, service pay records, grade school report cards from 1932, his army hat, and various medals and awards he had received in the Army Air Corps. Now, I know I had seen many of these memorabilia before, but it had been many years.  They certainly didn't have the impact on me then, as they did now, to know of all of the sacrifices made by the WWII vets and their families, so we could  enjoy the freedom that we have today.  Now if you knew my Dad, he never talked much about his war experiences, or his awards.  That's why my brother and I spoke at the memorial service to let the people know, how humble he was, and what a wonderful life he lived.

German Chocolate Cake was my Dad's favorite cake, so I made Mini German Chocolate Cupcakes to take to the luncheon after the memorial service.  I had never made this cake from scratch before, but I had made that rich coconut pecan frosting before, though. It wasn't until I was perusing websites that I discovered that German Chocolate Cake was not a recipe from Germany. It was named after San German, who developed a dark baking chocolate used for the cake. You can read more about the cake on Wikipedia.

I used a semi sweet chocolate, and cake flour to make the rich chocolate cake, which is topped with the decadent Coconut Pecan frosting.  Good thing that I made the mini size for portion control, because I could have eaten the whole pan of cupcakes.

On Sunday we had a Cupcake and Ice Cream party for my Niece, My Granddaughter, and her boyfriend, who are about to turn 19!

German Chocolate Cupcakes Adapted from Kyrstina Castella’s Crazy About Cupcakes

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for tins
2 cups  flour  I  used cake flour (not self-rising), sifted,
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk, I used almond milk
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Coconut-Pecan Frosting (recipe to follow)
Chocolate Ganache, optional (recipe to follow)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line cupcake tins with liners. Whisk together cake flour, baking soda, and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each. Beat in chocolate until combined.

Divide batter evenly among prepared cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes. Run a small offset spatula of knife around the edges to loosen; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can stored up to 3 days at room temperature in airtight containers.

To finish, spread frosting on top of each cupcake. Drizzle with ganache (if desired).

Coconut Pecan Frosting
(makes about 4 cups)

4 large egg yolks
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 2/3 c flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans,  coarsely chopped

Heat egg yolks, evaporated milk, sugar, and butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick, about 10 minutes (it should reach the consistency of sour cream). Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl.

Stir vanilla, salt, coconut, and pecans into frosting. Let cool completely, stirring occasionally, until desired consistency.

Chocolate Ganache

4 oz semi sweet or dark chocolate
5-6 teaspoons, cream or milk

Heat cream until warm, not boiling.  Stir in chocolate, until  melted and desired consistency.  Use immediately.

I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck#20
Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Shrimp Salad with Mint, Cilantro, and Spicy Dressing

I started out making lettuce wraps with this recipe, and ended up with Shrimp Salad on Lettuce leaves. I couldn't find Bibb or Boston lettuce, so I ended up buying leaf lettuce, which didn't work too well. If you can't make lettuce wraps, at least make salad with this recipe. I love all of the flavor combinations in the salad. Cool mint and cilantro top crisp veggies which  are placed on lettuce leaves coated in a spicy dressing and topped with grilled shrimp and drizzled with more dressing.  The dressing is just mayo or Miracle Whip, mixed with red pepper flakes.  At this point, you can roll all ingredients into lettuce wraps, or just make salad with them. The prep time is about 30 minutes from start to finish, including the chilling the veggies, the dressing, and grilling the shrimp. Finish with a squeeze of lime juice. We will be having this soon!  This salad is perfect for a warm weather lunch or dinner.  You could also use  chicken or pork, as well.  Enjoy!

Shrimp Wraps or Salad with Spicy Dressing  Adapted from Leah Eskin

1 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, as desired
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup red bell pepper matchsticks
1 cup cucumber matchsticks
1/4cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
Iceberg, Bibb, or Boston Lettuce


Whisk together mayo, garlic, lime juice, salt and red pepper flakes. Chill

 In a large bowl, toss together red pepper, cucumber, cilantro and mint. Add 1/4 cup chilled, spicy mayo: toss with a fork.

 Choose 8 sturdy lettuce leaves. Set 2 on each of 4 plates. Spoon vegetable mixture onto
  each lettuce leaf.

Thread shrimp on skewers. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 10 minutes, beforehand, Grill shrimp over hot fire until pink, curled and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.

Remove shrimp from skewers, sliding with a fork onto the vegetables. Have each person roll their own lettuce leaves, burrito style, or just leave a salad on the plate. Serve with more spicy dressing, if desired.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Oatmeal Yogurt Breakfast Parfait with Strawberries- My Power Breakfast!

This is a very busy week for me.  My Dad's Memorial Service is this Saturday, and I have company coming Thursday. I 'm still planting flowers, and I have to do the usual cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. I need a  power breakfast for sure. I took my cooked rolled oats that I usually eat every day, and dressed them up.  I layered the cooked  cinnamon oatmeal with Strawberry Greek yogurt, added more strawberries, topped with walnuts for crunch, and another strawberry. Not only does this parfait taste great, it is packed with nutrition, with the added protein from the Greek yogurt. You can use your favorite flavor of yogurt and fruits.  Change up the nuts as well.  You will have so much energy, and it's so healthy besides.  Let me know what other flavor combo's you concoct. This would be fun to let the kids make this fun breakfast treat.  They will think that they are eating dessert for breakfast  Enjoy.

Oatmeal Yogurt Breakfast Parfait with Strawberries

1 c cooked rolled oats or you favorite cooked cereal or quinoa
1 5-6 oz container of yogurt- I used strawberry Greek yogurt,
1 Tbsp of chopped nuts I used walnuts
sliced fresh fruit- I used strawberries, my fave.

Layer the cooked oatmeal with a layer of fruit and Greek yogurt. Repeat layers.  Sprinkle with chopped nuts, and more fresh fruit. Enjoy!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Savory Turkey Burgers with Bread Crumbs

This picture is from only the second time dining al fresco on our patio this year. Our weather flip flopped, and March was warmer than April, and May's weather  is typical of what we usually have in May. This evening was a perfect blue sky and a little breeze, not too hot, not too cold, and no bugs, yet, the kind that you want to "bottle up", and save for a January snowstorm.

This particular evening Scott made turkey burgers, but decided to add fresh bread crumbs to hold the burgers together better, and make them moister.  Adding the bread crumbs in addition to the herbs was a perfect idea, because the turkey burgers were so moist, not the least bit dry, and so flavorful. He added minced garlic, fresh basil, and  Herbs de Provence to the fresh bread crumbs. You can make fresh bread crumbs with your food processor, just use the pre-made type, if you are in a hurry.  We never use ground beef to make the burgers anymore.  Believe me, it's has taken quite a while for Scott to reach this point, saying that now Turkey Burgers are his favorite.  Because we are always watching the carbs, we don't use hamburger buns, either.  However, if you don't have to worry about carbs, go ahead and add your favorite toppings and a bun to the burger. As you can see Scott has to have theose perfect grill marks.  He sets the timer to turn the burgers quarter turns to achieve those perfect grill marks. Enjoy!

Savory Turkey Burgers with Bread Crumbs
 1 lb ground turkey  we used 93/7
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs or you can use store bought type
1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
1Tbsp fresh Basil, chopped
1tsp Herbs de Provence

Mix all of the above ingredients well, forming four patties.
Grill over medium heat, until inside temp reaches 165 degrees F.

I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck#18
Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Chocolate Toffee Cupcakes

A few months ago I had these amazing cupcakes at a friend's house.  They are full of chocolate and frosted with  a  decadent chocolate frosting with toffee chips,  so rich and chocolaty.  They are perfect for anyone's chocolate cravings.

I wanted to take some goodies to the nursing home staff, who lovingly took wonderful care of my Mom and Dad for 6 years, a small token of my appreciation.  I made these cupcakes and they are amazing. Whether you want to make these for your family or just eat chocolate, you will love these cupcakes!

I also made a batch of Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes  and Fight Back Brownies.  I am taking these all in the mini sizes, which are much more fun. Hopefully, the staff will have a taste of sweetness and my family's appreciation.

Chocolate Toffee Cupcakes makes 24 cupcakes/350 degree oven  Adapted from Chocolaty and Taste of Home
2c. flour
2c. sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. butter (1 stick room temp)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 c mini chocolate chip morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Measure all ingredients except eggs and chocolate morsels, in mixing bowl.
2. Mix on low speed just until incorporated.
3. Beat on high for 2 minutes.
4. Add eggs, beat on high again  for 2 minutes.
5. Stir in chocolate morsels. until mixed.

Measure out into cupcake pan with liners, using a 2" ice cream scoop for filling.  Bake for about 15-20 min. until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool in pan slightly and then transfer to a rack to cool completely before frosting.
Chocolate Toffee Frosting
1 stick butter, room temperature
4 c. confectioner's sugar
1/4 c. milk, more or less
1 1/4 c English toffee bits. Divided.

Combine confectioners' sugar and cocoa; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter and 1/2 cup cocoa mixture until smooth. Add milk, vanilla and remaining cocoa mixture; beat until desired spreading consistency is reached. Stir in 3/4 cup toffee bits. Frost cupcakes. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Top with remaining toffee bits before serving

I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck#18
Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pasta Primavera

I wanted to make a pasta dish for the Love bloghop. #pastalove. I wasn't able to host this month, so at least I'm contributing now. This month the theme is light pasta dishes, is that an oxymoron? I decided on a Pasta Primavera, because I already had cherry tomatoes, zucchini, onions, carrots, Parmesan cheese, and pasta of course.  All I had to pick up was a red and green bell pepper and a yellow squash.  You can roast any veggies of your choice, even add asparagus, or any other veggie you choose.

This dish is so easy to put together.  I saw Giada's recipe, where she roasted the veggies.  That was such a a good idea, because, the flavors of the veggies are intensified, as they caramelize, and give the the dish a wonderful, bright flavor. Only the cherry tomatoes aren't roasted There really isn't a sauce per se, which makes the dish even lighter. The veggies are roasted with an olive oil drizzle, and herbs. Pasta water is mixed in the pasta with the roasted veggies, tossed all together, and topped with Parmesan Cheese. Serve immediately. This is a light, delicious dish that won't weigh you down, perfect for those warm summer days!

Pasta Primavera Inspired by Giada de Laurentis
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 2 medium zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into thin strips
  • 2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs or Herbes de Provence
  • 1 pound pasta  I used Linguine
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss the onion and carrots with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat. Arrange on a large baking sheet. Bake until the onions and carrots are tender, about 10min.  Coat the remaining veggies, except for the cherry tomatoes,  with the remaining olive oil and herbs.  Bake another 10-15  minutes total .for al dente.  If you like your veggies, less firm, bake a little longer.  Watch that they don’t burn!

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the  cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

I am linking up this recipe to #pastalove bloghop. Click on bloghop, and see all of the other amazing pasta dishes.

I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck#17
Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

Dont' forget to enter my first ever giveaway for a 32 oz jar of Tropical Traditions  Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil.  The giveaway ends 5/13/12 at 12am. Click here to enter. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas with Ancho Chile Sauce

This is an updated recipe that I had previously posted, when my blog was in it's infancy. I've come to the conclusion that enchiladas are difficult to photograph.  This picture is still better than the original, but still needs a lot of help. The picture doesn't do the Enchiladas justice, because they taste so good. The Enchiladas, Lupe's Mexican Rice, and Guacamole were our Cinco de Mayo menu, complete with a Mango Margarita.  

My husband, Scott, got this amazing enchilada recipe from a cooking class that he took at Williams Sonoma. several years ago .The secret to these enchiladas is in the sauce. You use dried ancho chilies and re-constitute them. and then puree them .There are wonderful layers of cheese, sauce, and chicken. We never order the enchiladas when we go to a Mexican restaurant anymore, because they don't taste as good as the ones that we can make at home.  This is a wonderful dish for company and doesn't take that long to put together.  It also freezes well, if you have any leftovers.  This recipe has become our signature dish, that our friends request all of the time. The enchiladas go so well with Lupe's Mexican Rice  and Guacamole. We modified the recipe from Chef Freddy Hernandez.  You can lighten up this recipe, by using 2% milk cheese, which is what we used.  These enchiladas can be made ahead of time, and baked later.

Chicken Enchiladas with Ancho Chile Sauce from Chef Freddy Hernandez

2 medium dried ancho chili
4 Tbsp EVOO
2C. diced onion
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 c good quality chicken broth
4 c canned tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato sauce
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
12 6" flour tortillas
3 c shredded cheese about 1 lb Jack and cheddar cheese
2-3 c cooled shredded chicken   We used chicken breasts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a zip-lock plastic bag, add dried chilies and some warm water.  Close and set aside  until chilies are   soft,  about 20-30 min.
3. In a saucepan, add oil and place over medium flame.  Add onion and chili powder, saute 3     minutes, and then add cumin, garlic, tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, and sugar.   Bring to a boil and simmer 20-30 minutes.  In the meantime, remove seeds and stem from the  chilies and  add to sauce, puree and set aside.  You can either use a regular or stick blender.
4. Cover the bottom of a 9X13 pan with sauce, add about 1 oz of cheese and 1 oz of chicken on  each tortilla, then roll and place in the pan over the sauce, add the rest of the sauce on top,  sprinkle with extra cheese and place in a pre-heated oven and bake for 20-30 min, uncovered,  until bubbly.  Enjoy!!!

I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck#65
Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck#17
Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

Dont' forget to enter my first ever giveaway for a 32 oz jar of Tropical Traditions  Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil.  The giveaway ends 5/13/12 at 12am. Click here to enter. 


Monday, May 7, 2012

Mango Strawberry Muffins with Oatmeal and (coconut oil) +Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil + The Winner Is!!!

The give away for the 32 oz jar of Tropical Traditions Gold Virgin Coconut Oil is now closed.  The winner is Manda, Congratulations! I see lots of coconut in your future:)  Manda, please email your shipping address to me.  If I don't hear from you in 3 days, another winner will be chosen.  Thank you to all who participated!

My  2nd birthday of my blog, Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves was last month, so I am celebrating now, and I am having my first GIVEAWAY, which Tropical Traditions is sponsoring. I am so excited. I know that I am always late to the party, but "Better late than never." I received a gigantic jar of this wonderful Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil.   Coconut Oil can be used to replace the butter or oil in cooking or baking. You can also use it to soften your skin. or in your hair.  There are many more links in this post to find out more about Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil, and it's virtues.

Because I was using Coconut oil in my baking, I wanted a tropical taste to my recipe. That's when I decided to make Mango Strawberry Muffins with Oatmeal and coconut oil. I love Mango, and I had a few sad looking strawberries, just begging to be used, so I threw them, in for color, as well as oatmeal and shredded coconut These muffins were so moist, and with only 1/4 c of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. They had the tropical taste of the mango and coconut, and few strawberries.  My Hubby gave them  two thumbs up. they were so good!  See what you think, if you make these.

I was surprised when I received the jar of coconut oil, that it was in solid form. According to the label, the coconut oil solidifies below 76 degrees F. Obviously in Chicago the past few days, have been below 76F.  Not too worry, however.  You can return the coconut oil to its liquid state by letting. the jar sit in a pan of hot water. I only took out enough of the solid to measure 1/4 c, the amount called for in my recipe. The coconut oil is very easy to use. 

Mango Strawberry Muffins with Oatmeal and (coconut oil)
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

1 c. oatmeal
1 c. milk I used Almond milk
1 cup fresh or dried mango, chopped
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. coconut oil   I used Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil
1 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/3 c shredded coconut

Mix the oatmeal and milk together in a large bowl. Add the mango, strawberries,, beaten egg and coconut oil.  Stir. In another smaller bowl, mix the flour, sugar and, baking powder, Stir the combined dry ingredients into the oatmeal mixture only until moistened.  Fold in shredded Coconut.  Grease 12 muffin cups with liners and fill 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes, remove from pan. Serve warm or cooled.
What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

Your Guide to Buying Coconut Oil online:

Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil:

The Giveaway is Now Closed
Tropical Traditions is also hosting a giveaway for Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves readers!! They will be providing a free quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil as the prize and ship directly to one lucky winner. Giveaway closes May13th @ 12 AM EST. Once the contest is over, I will send the winner an email (so please make sure you provide an email address or some other way to get in touch with you), and obtain shipping information (we do not share this information with anyone). The winner will have 3 days to respond or another winner will be chosen. The winner will be chosen by a random number generator. Open to U.S. and Canada

The Rules:  
You must subscribe to Tropical Traditions Tropical Traditions Newsletter here. Please leave me a comment, letting me know that you did so.
 For an additional chance to win, please leave a separate comment telling me how you would use your coconut oil.

Additional Entries: You must leave separate comments for each additional entry for the following:

"Like " Baking and Cooking A Tale  of Two Loves on Facebook  Leave a separate comment on this post to let me know that you did so.

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“Like” Tropical Traditions on Facebook (Please no, “I was sent by…” posts or posting a link to your blog, they will be removed. Please leave another comment, letting me know that you did so.

 Follow Tropical Traditions on Pinterest , and then leave a separate comment.

Good Luck!

 Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck#17
Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Quinoa Summer Salad with Broccoli, Tomatoes, and Corn

When I went to Costco, I found another bargain, Organic Quinoa, 4 lbs for $9.99. This is a real good deal . because some places, it is almost $4 per lb. I was anxious to make something with the quinoa, and we needed a side dish for our jalapeno chicken sausages. I  remembered Kim@LivLife, and herQuinoa Salad with Avocado, Black Beans and Chipotle Lime Dressing  but I didn't have all of the ingredients.  Then I saw this very versatile recipe on the quinoa bag for Summer Quinoa Salad. The salad uses cooked quinoa with a variety of vegetables, fruits, and herbs, any that you might have on hand.

The salad turned out so well, as you can see.  Even with the dressing, the leftovers will keep a couple of days in the fridge.  I had some for lunch yesterday.  Cooked quinoa will keep in the fridge for several days, as well.  Next time, I might make a breakfast quinoa.  There are so many possibilities with the cooked quinoa; breakfast, lunch or dinner. Whatever you make, you will enjoy it, and it's so easy and quick to make this beautiful salad.

Quinoa Summer Salad with Broccoli, Tomatoes, and Corn from Earthly Choice  Makes 6 cups
2 cups vegetable, chicken stock, or water
1 cup quinoa   Earthly Choice is pre-rinsed Rinse if   needed

4 cups of vegetables or fruit such as: Fresh raw or diced or sliced
cucumber, tomatoes, stone fruit, peppers, mushrooms or grapes, 
avocado and /or steamed veggies like, broccoli or asparagus spears, 
 sliced zucchini, green beans. pea pods, corn kernels, black beans, 
 squash, or diced pumpkin.
1/2 diced red onion I used green onions.
2 tbsp lemon or lime juice   I used lime juice
1 tbsp balsamic or wine vinegar
3 1/2  tbsp. olive oil
 Salt and Pepper to taste
          1/2 c chopped cilantro or parsley   
          3 tbsp sliced or chopped nuts I didn’t use these. 
Using two cups of broth or water for one cup of quinoa, combine broth and quinoa in medium saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a rapid boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer, until quinoa is tender, but still chewy and white spiral-like threads appear around each grain, for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool.
In large bowl combine veggies and fruit of your choice with lemon or lime juice, vinegar, and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Toss in the cooled quinoa, nuts, cilantro, taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.  Serve chilled, and garnish with more herbs, if desired.
 This is not a sponsored post, and the opinions expressed here are mine

l linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck#16
Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cheery, Cherry Peanut Butter Cup Bars

After my time away from my blog due to the passing of my Dad, I needed to bake.  I needed to feel the flour, I needed to measure the sugar, and I needed to feel the heat of the oven, and I needed to get "lost" in the recipe.  Baking has always been my therapy and the immediate gratification that you get from some one taking their first bite of oozing cherries, and melted peanut buttercups.  This is why I bake. When you bake for someone, you can see the smiles on their face, when they are eating your treasures, which in turn, makes you feel better.  Baking is a win-win for everyone.

I knew that I wanted to bake some bars, because they travel well. I love my Raspberry Bar recipe, but I had a different type of bar in mind. I made a cherry bar with peanut butter cups. I found a wonderful a 40 oz. jar of Michigan Sour Cherry spread, at Costco with low sugar for $5.99.  This jar is mostly whole fruit and tastes like fresh cherries.  You can use it to make Cheery, Cherry Bars, spread it on your English muffins, or toast, or spoon it into your oatmeal. If you go to Costco, look for this find.  They also have raspberry, too, which I'm going to get on my next trip to Costco. So go ahead and "Bake someone happy", and you'll be doing yourself a favor, as well.



3 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. butter
1 lg. egg, beaten
18 oz. Cherry spread, or fruit spread or jam of your choice.
12 oz. chopped peanut butter cups I used the mini size
1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in beaten egg until just moistened. Save 2 cup dough. Pat remaining crumbs into greased 15 x 1310x1 inch pan. Bake in 350 degree oven about 10 min, till crust is lightly brown Spread cherry spread or jam, carefully over hot crust.  Sprinkle chopped peanut butter cups and chips over jam. Press lightly into jam with fork sprinkle reserved dough over the chips. Bake at 350 degrees 20 to 25 minutes or until top is golden. Let cool in pan. While slightly warm, slice into bars, then let them cool completely in pan.  These bars freeze well.

This was not a not a sponsored post, and the opinions expressed here are mine.  

  I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck#16
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