Toast the New Year with a Champagne Margarita!

This cocktail combines
two of my favorites ~
Margaritas and Tequila!

For a non-traditional take on the bubbly, combine Cointreau, tequila, simple syrup, and lime juice, top it off with champagne and make a toast!


Soft, chewy peanut-buttery cookies, rolled in sugar and topped with a Hershey kiss ~ a cookie both sweet and salty.  In other words, Peanut Butter Blossoms!

Blossom cookies debuted at the ninth Pillsbury Bake-Off and have been a classic Christmas cookie since then. In my way of thinking, they’re a good thing to bake any time of the year!


Classic linzer cookies are a real delight, but this easier rendition has all the basic elements in a pan that you can bake, cut into bars and serve! 

A cookie winner for sure, so tasty delicious!

This is an adaptation of Claudia’s Linzer Bars over at What’s Cookin’ Italian Style Cuisine.  She used pistachios, I had a plethora of walnuts on hand and incorporated them.  

Spicy Cardamom and Molasses Ginger Cookies

Tis’ the holly jolly
cookie baking season again!

It’s the molasses here that keeps these cookies fresh and chewy for days, with the generous amount of peppery ginger giving them their tang, and the nice compliment of cardamom adding its zesty, spicy herbal flavor to the cookies.

Oyster Dressing Mom's Way, Our Thanksgiving Staple

Not all sides are created equal!

This Oyster Dressing is the star on the Thanksgiving table for most us here.  Bill loves it, but turkey is the star to him, probably because of leftover turkey:  sandwiches, ala king, and those big turkey legs.  

Not so pretty, but Oh!  So Good!

We roast one large turkey, a turkey breast and a duck or goose for dinner.  That’s a whole lot of fowl to me!

Old-Fashioned Apple Pie for Thanksgiving

You’ve heard that phrase, “As American as apple pie.”   Well, come to find out ~ that’s not actually true.  

The most iconic pie of America’s culture is not American at all.  Apples were, in fact, brought to America in the 17th century by Europeans.  

Buttery Parker House Rolls ~ And Happy Veterans Day!

Bet your taste buds will liven up 
when you make these 
dinner rolls!

With Thanksgiving nearing, it’s almost time for an entire day of the "three fabulous F’s,” food, family, and football!

Chicken w/Garlic and Mushrooms in White Wine Sauce

Chicken lovers unite, here’s a scrumptious creamy 
satisfying dish just for you!

This delicious chicken smothered in a delectable creamy garlic and mushroom sauce with white wine will make you forget it’s a chilly fall day out there, not to mention less daylight. It comes together in no time!

Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms and Ripe Olives

This is a fabulous side dish of squash that I could actually make a meal of!

It’s fall and squash season again, with spaghetti squash one of the best, due to its unique texture that has a similarity to spaghetti.  

Creamy Cucumber Tomato Salad

Light and refreshing, 
this creamy cucumber tomato salad is a hit with any meal!

It’s a classic salad that’s good on its own or served with grilled chicken, fish, pork or burgers or grilled steak. In other words, it’s a tasty side dish that goes for most any meat!

Chicken with Olives, Salsa and Lime

If you need an effortless 
dish for dinner 
that comes together in 20 minutes, 
this saucy chicken dinner is for you.

Chicken breasts braised in flavorful pico de gallo (salsa) and salty green olives for tender, delicious meat...

Fresh Peach Cobbler

Ripe juicy peaches with spicy cinnamon and a 
buttery cobbler crust,
baked until golden brown and delicious ~
who doesn’t like a sweet treat now and then...

Here, we all like fresh peaches and I was happy to see ripe white peaches at the farmers’ market the other day.  

July 4th Best Potato Salad

Bill has probably not met a potato salad he didn’t like, I used to take it or leave it, as in too mushy, too wet, and swimming in mayo. 

Then I made it this way...

Potato salad has been around for many cook outs, a classic for the 4th of July!  The dish has been served since the early 20th century and things haven’t changed much with it.  


This isn’t a fancy or complicated recipe...
Flavorful and irresistible, these garlic potatoes are good for any meal of the day.

I'm a fan of potatoes made about any way, with the exception of potato soup ~ found something else for dinner when Mom made that years ago. 

Down East Crab Cakes

Down East Crab Cakes 
taste great, 
less filler!

The Down East Crab Cake name comes from crabmeat mixed with eggs and sauce, 
no mayonnaise included!

Most of us love the sweet, briny crab meat that comes from the coasts.  Crab cakes started out as a measure of thrift.

Creamy Chicken-Broccoli Mac & Cheese with Mushrooms with Birdwatching on the Side

  With this version of mac and cheese, you can eat all you like ~ there’s a helping of greens is in it, as in broccoli.  Broccoli is full of vitamins and minerals and is a classic example of a superfood. 

Actually, there has not been much cooking here lately, as Bill and I have been busy “birding" for a while ~ watching 2 bird nests in bushes on the side of our house; one, a nest of cardinals and the other, a nest of robins.  

Black Forest Trifle and a Chuckle of the Day for You!

Brownies made their debut at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, so in my way of thinking, that officially makes brownies the state dessert for Illinois, which leads on to this decadent sweet dessert...

It has all the flavors of a Black Forest Cake, but without the fussiness of a layer cake:  it’s Black Forest Trifle.  

Chicken Cutlets Blue Bloods Way

I’ve said it before, I’m a huge fan of “Blue Bloods” TV show 
and haven’t missed one episode. 

The Blue Bloods Cookbook  
is just as good!

Dinner was Oven-fried Catfish!

I gave catfish a lighter spin by baking the fish last night.

There’s no problem in finding catfish here in the Midwest.  Virtually every body of water in Illinois contains at least one species of the catfish family, with the most common members being channel catfish, flatheads, blue catfish and several species of bullheads.

Coconut Cashew Cake

It goes by sanwin makin in Myanmar.  It's a traditional favorite sweet cake there that's full of flavor, and very moist ~ a one-bowl cake; meaning, wet and dry ingredients are mixed together in one bowl.

I’m a fan of the good taste and texture of semolina bread and was intrigued when I saw Thomas Keller on his Milk Street PBS show making this cake.  I just happen to have the The Complete Milk Street TV Show Cookbook but evidently cruised on by this recipe.

Savory Sour Cream Cornbread, it's Divine!

Cornbread is the perfect vehicle 
for sopping up the things 
that are 
on your plate!

Those cracks are a good thing in cornbread!

Everyone has their foibles ~ for me, it’s that corner slab of cornbread ~ the slice with two crispy edges.  Grandma liked it crumbled, submerged in a glass of cold buttermilk, and eaten with a spoon ~ whatever floats your boat...

Herb-Crusted Sirloin Tip Roast and More than you Wanted to Know

With beef being one of the 
Midwest’s favorite meats, 
definitely mine, 
here’s an intensely flavored sirloin tip roast!  

A lean cut from the bottom sirloin, this economical choice is delicious when roasted with a rub and carved into thin slices to enjoy its rich, deep beefy flavor.  

Roasted Robusto Italian Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms

This recipe is truly simple and seriously satisfying!

I’ve mentioned more than once that I’m a big fan of Wish-Bone Robusto Italian Dressing.  It’s not only great on salad; it does a great job of marinating meat also.

Chicken and Stuffing Bake and Some Winter Diamond Dust!

Not since 1873 has it been this cold, 
on this date, March 4th, 
here in Chicagoland, 
blame it on the polar vortex!

Our thermometer read -4° this morning, that's with a windchill of -20°.

Diamond dust over Lake Michigan, Chicago

Diamond dust has been in the air this bitter cold winter ~ tiny ice crystals falling from an apparently clear sky, when the temperatures are subzero.  In sunlight, moonlight, or artificial light, the ice crystals glitter and shine like diamonds. 

Golden Baked Turbot with a Twist

It’s the 
"champagne of the flatfish," 
according to the famous 
German TV-cook Johann Lafer. 

Turbot is not an easy fish to find in the markets around here.  So I was happy when Bubba told me that Fresh Market had turbot for sale.

Healthified Broccoli Cheddar Soup on a Cold Winter Day!

Sometimes, on a chilly day, you just need a bowl of hot, creamy, cheesy soup for a comforting meal, just not all the calories and fat though.

I found a plethora of recipes on the internet for broccoli soup and settled on this healthier version of it, a recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen. 

Southern Fried (Baked) Chicken ~ à la Blue Bloods

Bubba knows my weaknesses ~ 
cookbooks and “Blue Bloods!”  
 He surprised me with this 
great cookbook 
for Christmas and I could tell 
this "fried" baked chicken recipe 
would be a winner!

Southern cooks and barbecue pitmasters may want to skip right past this recipe, because it’s a bit of a Southern cooking sacrilege, per The Blue Bloods Cookbook.

Delicious ~ One-Skillet Italian Sausage Pasta!

The alluring temptation of a one-skillet meal, what cook can resist?

I’ve seen this recipe many times, many places, had the ingredients on hand, and plunged in.  The original has just 5 ingredients ~ I cooked it with 7 ~ added mushrooms and black pepper.

Heloise's Olive Pecan Spread and a Harsh Winter!

Tom Skilling is predicting lows of -22°, that’s 22° below 0°for tomorrow night, and -20° for Wednesday night-----windchill -42°!
He says the highs will be 3° Tuesday, -12° for Wednesday, and -2° Thursday.

We're having the harshest, coldest winter here in decades...

And to top it all of, we had another 6” of snow overnight! 

Just plowed!

The Best ~ Classic Chicken and Dumplings

This is an all-time favorite meal here at our house!  
And for good reason ~ 
it’s a delicious comfort dish for chilly snowy weather!

Chicken always gets top billing, but it’s the dumplings that sway people so easily.  There are a plethora of ways to make this dish, and this time I followed Paula Deen’s most of the way...

You know,

nobody can ever

cook as good as

your Mama.

~ Paula Deen

You know, nobody can ever cook as good as your mama. Paula Deen
Read more at:
You know, nobody can ever cook as good as your mama. Paula Deen
Read more at:


Jules-Alexandre Grun

ᴡᴏᴏ ʜᴏᴏ!!!

ᴡᴏᴏ ʜᴏᴏ!!!



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