Tag Archives: easy recipes

Recipe Review: Pasta al Pomodoro


She’s young, she’s spunky, she’s a Chicagoan and she makes a mean Pomodoro sauce. Who am I speaking of? Well, that would be the lovely Jenna of Jennaseverthingblog.wordpress.com. On May 11th, she posted a recipe that caught my eye and made my tummy grumble. And I had just eaten. I knew when I saw it that I would have to try it. It’s her version of Pasta al Pomodoro, and if you’re a rabid pasta fan like me, you’re going to want to make it, too.

Here’s what I loved about Jenna’s Pomodoro:
1. It’s incredibly easy to make.
2. It’s made with a handful of all-natural ingredients.
3. It packs a wallop of flavor you don’t get from jarred sauces.
4. It can be paired with every type of pasta – from bow-ties to lasagna.
5. I can make big batches of this and freeze it for quick meals.
6. It contains fresh basil. Everything is better with fresh basil.
7. It contains lots of fresh garlic. Everything is better with garlic.
8. It tastes better than any other pasta sauce I’ve ever eaten. Seriously.

Here’s what I didn’t love about Jenna’s Pomodoro:
Nothing! This is my new go-to sauce. No more Prego for me, baby.

So do me a favor. Jump over to Jenna’s blog and take a look at her step-by-step instructions, complete with full-color photos. If you’re not sold on this sauce, then I’m a monkey’s uncle. Which will be tricky, since I am neither a monkey nor an uncle. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find an Altoid.

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Quite Possibly the Easiest Summer Berry Dessert You Will Ever Make


This is one of those “accidental” recipe finds, discovered while browsing comments on The Pioneer Woman’s website. PW posted a photo blog of fabulous strawberry recipe photos (many of which made me weep with joy), but it was the first comment posted that really grabbed my attention. Sydney B posted a link to a strawberry clafouti recipe. A strawberry what?!? Clafouti. That’s klah-FOO-tee. Say it with me. “Klah-FOO-tee.” I like it! It sounds like a party in a Pyrex. Reminds me of KC & the Sunshine Band. It’s got me singing, “Shake shake shake…. shake shake shake… shake clafouti. Shake clafouti.” Let’s see if that’s not stuck in your head the rest of the day, right? But what IS a clafouti, really? I needed to know.

“Clafouti, is a baked French dessert of black cherries (or other fruit) arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter. The clafouti is dusted with powdered sugar and served lukewarm.”

There. Now we know. So back to Sydney B’s link. It took me to www.shutterbean.com, where I discovered the easiest berry dessert I’ve ever made. And since I love berries and I love custards, this has the potential to become my go-to throw-down company’s coming dessert-in-a-hurry recipe. Thank you, Tracy the Shutterbean!

Here’s how easy this recipe is. For the record, it calls for strawberries, but I threw in some raspberries, too. Basically, you butter a glass baking dish. Toss your fruit with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and arrange them in the bottom of the dish. Combine the other ingredients in a blender and whiz for 15 seconds. (I didn’t want to dig out my blender, so I used a mixing bowl and a whisk – old school style). Pour the mixture over the fruit and bake it until the center is set and the top is lightly browned. Remove it from the oven, sprinkle it with powdered sugar, and serve it warm. Done. Can you believe it? Seriously… from start to finish, it took 10 minutes to pop this into the oven. To see Tracy’s step-by-step photos and recipe, click here. You won’t be sorry.

If you love summer berries and creamy custards, you should try this. I will give you a few tips. Use really ripe, sweet strawberries. If your strawberries are really large, cut them into bite-size pieces. If you add raspberries like I did, increase the sugar to 1/2 cup or it will be really tart. Other than that, this recipe is simple, easy to make, and bursting with the fabulous flavors of summer berries and vanilla. And that’s all I need. Well, that and the Strawberry Kiss Cake posted by Brooks the Cakewalker from the Pioneer Woman’s photo post mentioned above. Have mercy! If you make that one, I am SO coming over!

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A Recipe Review: A Sweet Pea Chef’s Easy Crème Brulée

Food bloggers amaze me. Their dedication to cooking, staging and documenting recipes knocks me out. How do they do it day after day after day? My fellow blogger Lacey at A Sweet Pea Chef is one of those amazing people. Browsing her recipes and photos is like browsing through food porn. It is a glorious, guilty pleasure. But my favorite thing about Lacey’s blog is that her recipes are not just pretty. They are easy to understand, easy to prepare, and unbelievably tasty. She’s the real deal. She loves to cook and she happily shares that love with her readers. It’s just one of the many reasons I love her beautiful blog.

Every once in a while, Lacey will post a food poll, letting her readers choose recipes or topics that will be covered at a future date. One such poll featured possible dessert recipes. Choices included crème brulée, carrot cake cheesecake, lemon bars, oatmeal raisin cookies and cranberry sorbet. I was intrigued by the carrot cake cheesecake, but I voted for crème brulée. Several times {wink}. Why? Because I love simple foods with tremendous flavor, and crème brulée is one of those foods. Four ingredients. Full of flavor. Out of this world texture. I’m in.

The recipe says “easy” and by golly, she wasn’t kidding. You combine 4 ingredients, pour them into ramekins and bake them in a water bath. The cast of characters include 5 egg yolks, 2 cups of heavy cream, 1/2 cup of sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. For this recipe, I broke out the good stuff – the pure vanilla bean paste. If you’ve never tried this stuff, you have to. This recipe is perfect for it. If I were making a chocolate cake, I would most definitely use the regular vanilla extract. But for this dish, the good stuff really shines.

Once your little pots of creme are baked and cooled, it’s decision time. You can stop here and just enjoy this as an incredible custard, or you can pour some sugar on it and brulée those puppies. I’m going whole hog. Conveniently, TCP just happens to have one of those baby blow torches. “Break out the blow torch, honey! I’m gonna’ burn some sugar, Sugar!” Fingers crossed that I don’t burn the house down. Oven mitt? Check. Fire extinguisher? Check. Let’s roll!

The verdict: this stuff is almost too good to be true. It’s so easy and inexpensive to make, it makes me a little angry at all those hoity-toity restaurants that charge $12.50 a serving for it. Shame on them. Deep, money-grubbing shame. Thanks to Lacey, I can now make fabulous crème brulée at home. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. Good because this recipe is really fantastic. Bad because I really shouldn’t have the power to make this all the time. I’m having a vision of “Good Nana” and “Bad Nana” sitting on each shoulder screaming at each other. (Secretly, I’m rooting for Bad Nana. Go, Bad Nana! You go with your bad self!)

To see this recipe with all of the glorious step-by-step photos, visit Lacey’s blog at: http://www.asweetpeachef.com/sweets/easy-creme-brulee/

PS – A very special thank you to Katie at Lucky Girl Sweets ‘n Stuff. She selected my name for her first giveaway last week, which happened to be those super cute red ramekins. They look just like miniature Le Crueset Dutch ovens. They are too stinkin’ cute, and perfect for crème brulée. Thanks, Katie! I love them. You should click on the link above and drop in on her. She’s a feisty Texan like me. And tell her I said “howdy!”

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Playing With Your Food, Recipe #2: Mom’s World Famous Piggy Buns

Mom's Famous Whole Wheat Piggy Buns

Sorry I’ve been absent from the blogging universe this week. My mother and two of my sisters came down to visit. It’s not that I wasn’t thinking of you, it’s just that we were busy hitting every antique shop in a 50 mile radius, stuffing ourselves at various local restaurants, and baking out the wazoo. Which brings me, in a round about way, to the first recipe from our fabulous week I want to share with you. Remember those photos I posted from our annual Hoegarden Weekend in March? One photo featured the fabulously cute piggy buns our mother made for pulled pork sandwiches. They were truly adorable until the barbecue sauce started pouring from their eyes. Then it got a little Zombieland on us. Then we laughed hysterically and ate them anyway. With gusto. This week, mom allowed me to photograph a tutorial so you can make these precious piggies in your own home. Thanks for sharing, Mom. Now, let’s make piggies!

Here’s what you’ll need:
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 packages of rapid rise instant yeast (or 1/2 teaspoon)
1 Tablespoon of gluten powder
1/4 cup of malted milk powder
1 cup of whole wheat flour
4 to 5 cups of bread flour, divided
1/4 cup of butter (1/2 a stick), softened
1 egg, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups warm tap water

Start by combining the sugar, salt, yeast, gluten, malted milk powder, whole wheat flour and 3 cups of bread flour in a large mixing bowl. I used my big KitchenAid mixer, since it’s got a big deep bowl and a bread hook. (I prefer to make the mixer do all the work. I’m lazy like that.) Using the mixer paddle, mix the dry ingredients on low speed just until combined. Add the butter, egg and water; beat on low speed until combined. Stop the mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl, and continue beating on medium speed for 5 minutes. It will be sticky.

After 5 minutes, stop the mixer and remove the paddle attachment. Replace it with the dough hook, turn mixer to low speed, and gradually add additional bread flour until the dough forms into a soft ball. Allow the mixer and dough hook to knead the dough at low speed for an additional 8-10 minutes.

Lightly flour your work surface. Scrape the dough out onto the floured surface, and gently knead the dough into a smooth, gorgeous dough ball.

Spray a large mixing bowl with cooking spray (or butter/oil it lightly) and place your dough ball in the center. Lightly spray or oil the surface of your dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean, dry towel and set aside to let it rise until doubled in size (approximately one hour).

Once your dough ball has doubled, remove the plastic wrap and using your fingertips, gently punch down the dough.

Dump it onto a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into 24 pieces.


Tip: we used a bench scraper to divide it in half, then each half into half, etc. (like those old Faberge shampoo commercials, if you’re old enough to remember them – you’ll tell 2 friends, and they’ll tell 2 friends…).

Once you have 24 equal pieces, form each piece into a round ball.

Using a lightly floured rolling pin, flatten each ball into about a 1/4″ thick circle.

Place the circles onto baking sheets, about 1/2″ to 1″ apart. I used large insulated cookie sheets with non-stick silicone mats. I love those silicone mats. Best thing since slice bread, I think.

Now here’s the fun part: using a biscuit cutter approximately 1 1/2″ to 2″ in diameter and a fat wooden skewer, a chopstick, or a round wooden spoon handle, start to create your piggy faces. Feel free to unleash your inner arteest.

Step One: form the nose by pressing the cutter just below the imaginary center line in a full circle halfway into the dough (don’t cut all the way through!).

Step Two: turning the cutter at a 45 degree angle, cut a half circle creating a piggy smile. Pigs are so much cuter when they’re friendly, don’t you think?

Step Three: holding the cutter at a 45 degree angle, cut in each ear.

Step Four: using a fat skewer, chop stick, or the round handle of a wooden spoon, gently press in two eyes and two holes to form the snout.

If you’re wondering if you could make these 3-D, the answer is YES! Big Sis made one just to see how it would turn out. It takes a little more work to shape the dough, and you have to wet it a little to make it stick, but you can make a 3-D snout and ears for your piggy. Pretty cute, huh? Pays to be an art major… metaphorically speaking, of course.

Allow your precious piggy buns to rise an additional 15-20 minutes while your oven pre-heats to 375 degrees. You want your piggies to be portly… plump… chubby… uh, big-boned… healthy? You get the picture.

Bake one tray at a time for approximately 15-20 minutes or until your piggy buns start to turn a light, beautiful brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Did I mention these smell heavenly when they’re baking?

Once they are completely cooled, you can store them in freezer bags or containers in your refrigerator or freezer. Of course, there’s no hard and fast rule on how long they have to cool before you eat one. I can neither confirm nor deny that one of these bad boys died violently right after coming out of the oven.

But he was delicious.

These little piggy buns are cute and versatile. They make fabulous French toast, and are yummy toasted on a griddle and slathered with butter and honey or jam for breakfast. They’d make cute ham sandwiches this Easter. They make excellent pulled pork sandwich buns, as I’ve said before. And tonight, the Complete Package and I are making Squealer Burgers with them for dinner. Ever had a squealer? It’s easy. You just grind bacon into your hamburger meat, then shape and cook them like any other burger (although I don’t recommend medium rare here). Mmmm….juicy, smoky, moist. And perfect on a piggy bun.

However you choose to consume them, these little piggies are sure to be a hit. Thanks for sharing your recipe, Mom. You’re a baking rock star. Stay tuned, kids…later this week I’ll be sharing The Complete Package’s Steak Sandwiches with soy ginger mayo (to…die…for) and Big Sis’s gorgeous Rainbow Cupcakes. Better break out the yoga pants and Diet Coke right now because you’re going to want to make all of these. Fo’ shizzle.

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Recipe Review: The Pioneer Woman’s “Aunt Trish’s Salad Dressing”

Aunt Trish's salad dressing over a green salad & grilled haloumi cheese - YUM!

It’s not often that I make my own salad dressing, as evidenced by the row of salad dressing bottles on the top shelf of my fridge. Just last week, The Complete Package found a bottle of French that expired in 2008. Oopsie. And there is ALWAYS a jar of Marzetti’s Ultimate Blue Cheese Dressing in our fridge. Always. Someone whose name I shall not mention would lose his ever-loving mind if he didn’t have his favorite creamy blue cheese dressing to put on his wedge salads or fried potatoes (hint: not Ziggy). But this past week, I was craving something new. Something light. Something lemony. And The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Aunt Trish’s Salad Dressing looked perfect. It’s light, it’s lemony, and it also has garlic and parmesan cheese. Duh, winning!

Here’s the cast of characters:
3/4 cup of olive oil or canola oil
the juice of 2 lemons
1 clove of garlic, peeled (leave it whole)
4 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. sugar
a dash of paprika
salt & pepper to taste

It couldn’t be easier. You put everything in a jar, shake it up, and let it stew in the fridge for 24 hours, then shake it again before using. I made a tossed green salad of romaine, shredded carrots, sliced radishes, cucumber, quartered Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced purple onion, kalamata olives, pepperoncini peppers and feta cheese. Then we shook up our jar of Aunt Trish’s and poured it over the top. To say that we both loved this salad dressing would be an understatement. It was so good, we were tempted to put our faces into our bowls and lick them clean. Or grab a straw and suck up all the remnants. But instead, we used some toasted garlic bread to sop it all up. No drop was wasted. We enjoyed it so whole heartedly that we could have put our salad bowls back into the cupboard without washing them first. We didn’t, of course, but we probably could have.

Besides being knocked out by how great this was on a salad, my mind was racing through all the other things I could use it on. It would be a great marinade for grilled meats. It would be fantastic drizzled over a sandwich in place of boring old mayonnaise or mustard. This would knock your socks off as a dressing for a pasta salad. You could cube up salami, mozzarella cheese, olives and Italian peppers and make a fabulous antipasto tray for parties. Don’t get me started on using it on a cold seafood salad. This is not a salad dressing, it’s an obsession.

As always, I’m going to refer you to the source so you can see the recipe the way Ree intended – with fabulous photos and an engaging back story. Click here to be transported to salad dressing heaven at The Pioneer Woman.com.

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Rocky Road Cake Mix Cookies


Cake mixes are on sale at my grocery store. That’s a bad thing. Bad, bad, bad. Did I mention they were only 50 cents a box? Yeah. It’s not just bad, it’s dangerous. I bought six. Okay, I bought eight, but that does NOT make me a cake mix hoarder. Funny thing is, I’m not really a cake eater. In an effort to rationalize the irrational, I was thinking the kids love cupcakes, and I could bake them when they come to visit or vice versa. But then I started doing the math. Each box makes at least 20 cupcakes. I have 8 boxes. There’s a good chance that 160 cupcakes might just be too much for two small children. Way too much.

So now I have eight cake mixes that I got for the low, low price of 50 cents a box and I have to think of something to do with them. That’s when a light went off and I remembered seeing recipes for cake mix cookies on the internet. “I like a cookie!” (Name that movie…if you have young children and enjoy animated films.) With a little quick research, I found that you can covert a cake mix into cookies with a few simple ingredients. And that’s exactly what I done did.

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 chocolate fudge cake mix, 18.25 ounce box
3 large eggs
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (not pictured)
1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup pecan pieces

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract. This will start out very dry and take several minutes of hand mixing to get it to come together. I recommend using a heavy-duty wooden spoon, because this dough will be very thick. Once you’ve got it mixed together, stir in the chocolate chips, marshmallows and pecans. Using a cookie scoop or your hands, place golf-ball size dough balls onto cookie sheets lined with silicone baking mats or lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake at 350F for 14-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on the cookie sheets for at least 20 minutes. Why? Because those marshmallows are going to be melted, gooey little napalm bombs and cooling them completely on the cookie sheets will allow you to remove them more easily. Would you like one? I’m happy to share. I’ve got a lot more cake mix where this one came from.


This recipe makes approximately 30 cookies. One last suggestion – make sure you have milk in the fridge before you mix these puppies up. Or a cup of coffee. Or a Slim-Fast.

RECIPE UPDATE: A reader on the Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen site tried this recipe and said hers came out too dry on the outside. I’m guessing her oven may get hotter than mine, since my batch came out soft and chewy. If your oven runs hot, you may want to reduce your baking time to 11-12 minutes instead of the 14 recommended. These don’t brown, so it’s hard to tell if they’re done by looking. The other option is to touch test them. If they’re relatively firm and dry on the outside, take them out of the oven. If they’re still sticky to the touch or too soft, leave them in a little longer. I appreciate your feedback!

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Knock-Off “Chicken Bucket” Coleslaw: It’s Digit Smackin’ Good


Last night was fried chicken night, and that means we had crispy, crunchy chicken strips with all the fixin’s. And that means sour cream mashed potatoes with cream gravy, buttermilk biscuits, and coleslaw. The recipe is from one of those covert knock-off websites that like to duplicate restaurant recipes. It tastes just like the coleslaw you might find at a certain fast food chicken establishment famous for more than 10 but less than 12 herbs and spices. I have to say, this one’s a dead ringer. My 4 year-old grandson, Jonah Bear, calls the place “Chicken Bucket.” That’s not what he asks you to buy, that’s what he actually calls the restaurant. As in, “can we eat at Chicken Bucket?” My recipe for chicken strips is already posted. Now it’s time for the coleslaw.

Here’s how it’s done:
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Duke’s or Hellman’s)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bag (16 ozs.) coleslaw mix (cabbage & carrots)
1 tablespoon of pulped onion (see instructions below)

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sugar, milk, buttermilk, lemon juice, white vinegar, salt and pepper. Using a microplane or the fine side of a box grater, grate a chunk of onion until you have one tablespoon of onion pulp. Add the onion pulp to the mayonnaise mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the bag of coleslaw mix and toss to combine. Transfer to an airtight container to chill.

NOTE: You can serve this immediately, but it’s better if it sits in the refrigerator for a few hours. The flavors have more time to work their magic. I like to open the fridge and shake the container vigorously every half hour or so, just to make sure it’s “marinated” evenly. The final product will be a little soupy, so use a slotted spoon or drain off some of the milk mixture before serving (but not too much, because it’s really good stuff). Now all you need is chicken and biscuits!

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Recipe Review: Panko-Crusted Tilapia from Lacey at “A Sweet Pea Chef”

My compliments to the chef...the Sweet Pea Chef. Her fish rocks!

Fish does not appear regularly on my dinner table. It’s because I have a real distaste for anything that smells or tastes fishy. I’m not a picky eater, but I am really picky about fish. But then I found this recipe on the A Sweet Pea Chef blog, and I knew I was going to try it. This one intrigued me. Here’s the breakdown: tilapia fillets dipped in a combination of melted butter, garlic powder and fresh-squeezed lemon juice, then dredged in panko bread crumbs seasoned with dry mustard, nutmeg, ginger, pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes and paprika and browned in olive oil in a skillet with sliced lemons, and finished in a hot oven. Trust me, this fish does not smell fishy. It smells like heaven. The combination of lemon, olive oil, ginger, panko and spices creates magic in a pan. And the best part is that it tastes as amazing as it smells.

Here’s what I loved about this recipe:
1. It is really easy to make
2. I had most of the ingredients in my pantry
3. It doesn’t take long to make; from start to finish was 30 minutes
4. I loved the combination of spices in the panko mix – things like dry mustard, nutmeg, ginger, red pepper flakes and more. I was expecting this to be flavorful, but it was more than that. It was extraordinary. There is so much flavor in this dish, it jumps off the plate. And the roasted lemons knocked my socks off.

The Complete Package is not one to dance around a food critique. He does a great job of giving me his honest opinion when I try something new. When he tried this dish, he immediately said, “Wow. Everything about this is perfect.” I didn’t even have to ask my standard new recipe question – would you eat this again? The answer is a definite, enthusiastic YES! Everything about this dish is perfect. And we will be making it again and again. Thanks, Lacey. This one is a keeper. No, a treasure. You can find the recipe and Lacey’s beautiful photos at http://www.asweetpeachef.com/entrees/panko-crusted-tilapia.

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Coconut “Tunnel Of Fudge” Bundt Cake

Chocolate fudge cake batter wrapped in a coconut cake batter hug. Have mercy.

I did it again. I can’t seem to help myself. Like the lead character in the movie Julie & Julia, I seem determined to cook my way through The Pioneer Woman website. This time it’s cake. Easy, delicious bundt cake. And because I rarely follow directions or color within the lines, I had to put my own spin on it. Click here to see Ree’s original recipe for Pistachio Cake. If you’re a pistachio fan, I’m sure you’ll love her version. And while I do enjoy a good watergate salad every 20 years or so, my love of all things pistachio rates a solid “not so much.” Instead, I decided to swap the pistachio for coconut. Here’s how I did it:

NanaBread’s Coconut “Tunnel of Fudge” Bundt Cake
• 1 box white cake mix
• 1 package (4 ozs.) vanilla instant pudding mix
• ½ cup cream of coconut
• ¾ cup sweetened coconut flakes
• 1 tsp. almond extract
• ½ cup water
• ½ cup vegetable oil
• 4 whole eggs
• ¾ cup Smuckers Special Recipe Dark Chocolate ice cream topping

Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Mix all ingredients except the dark chocolate ice cream topping and beat with a mixer for 2 minutes on medium-high. Pour ¾ of the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Add the chocolate topping to the remaining batter in the bowl (I microwaved it for 45 seconds to loosen it up first) and mix well. Pour the chocolate batter over the coconut batter. Bake for one hour at 350F, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out onto a serving plate or cake stand. You can frost or glaze it if you like, but I’m a plain bundt cake kind of girl. I like the portability of an unfrosted slice. Another great thing about unfrosted bundt cake – it freezes well. Just wrap leftover slices in Glad Wrap (it’s the best) and put the wrapped slices into a freezer container with a tight-fitting lid. Any time you NEED a piece of cake (and we all do from time to time), unwrap a slice and microwave it for 30 seconds or so. Presto. Cake. Anytime. And it’s perfectly portable. Just don’t carry it with you to the bathroom scales.

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New Year’s Day in the South: It’s all about traditions and our ‘lucky’ foods

Black-eyed peas are a New Year's Day tradition for good fortune & prosperity.

Here in the south, we are hell-bent on consuming our traditional lucky foods on New Year’s Day. In particular, we’re partial to black-eyed peas. Tradition also dictates that we pair them with pork and greens, variations of which depend on the cook’s preference. In our home, it’s a smoked pork tenderloin (which The Complete Package has mastered) and cabbage stir-fried with bacon. According to folklore, the black-eyed peas represent coins and the greens represent paper money. In order to be blessed with good fortune and prosperity throughout the year, you should eat 365 peas (one for each day) and as much cabbage as your intestines can process (or the Beano wears off). Pork is also supposed to bring luck, although I’ve also heard that it represents progress, since pigs always move forward as they forage. Either way, we’re covered. To celebrate the new year, and to help share fortune and prosperity with all of you, I’m posting my favorite lucky black-eyed pea recipe.

NanaBread’s Texas Caviar:
• 2 cans of black-eyed peas, 15 ozs. each
• ¼ cup purple onion, finely minced
• 2-3 jalapeno peppers, seeded & minced
• 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely minced
• 1 teaspoon season salt (Penzey’s or Lawry’s)
• ¼ cup red wine vinegar
• ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
• ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
• Additional salt & pepper, to taste

Drain and rinse the black-eyed peas and dump them into a mixing bowl. Add the minced onion, peppers, garlic, season salt, vinegar and olive oil. Toss to combine and taste to determine if additional salt and pepper is needed. (Note: I like to use Penzey’s 4/S season salt, and I use a combination of the regular AND the spicy version of it.) Once you have the seasonings right, toss in the chopped cilantro. Stir to combine, pour into an air-tight container with a tight-fitting lid and place in the refrigerator to chill. This is served as a cold salad, but I like to take it out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes before serving. Of course, it can also be served up immediately, or you can let it marinate in the fridge overnight. Either way, it’s delicious. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can serve this as a dip with a big bag of tortilla chips.

As a side note, I just read that foods in the shape of a circle are considered good luck for the New Year. Thank you, Jesus! Now I can add donuts to my New Year’s Day menu without guilt. This is going to be the BEST…YEAR….EVER!!!

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