Sunday, October 15, 2017


When Olivia showed me this recipe, her comment was, "It doesn't look like much, but the two groups of people we served it to loved it."  I laughed at that because I know the old adage about how you eat with your eyes first, but in this case beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  I personally think the golden brown look of this dip is a beautiful thing.  The combination of cheeses and spices paired with chorizo is a medley that can't be beat.  With fall gatherings coming up and football games to watch (which automatically means snacks to eat while watching) this delicious dip could become a crowd favorite.  Give it a try!



  • 1 pound bulk chorizo
  • 16 ounces sour cream with chives
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces Velveeta, cut into small cubes
  • 16 ounces mixture of cheddar and colby cheeses, grated
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried ground sage
  • garlic powder to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the chorizo, crumbling it as it cooks, until browned and cooked through. Remove the chorizo from the skillet with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the sausage and all remaining ingredients to a medium bowl and stir until well blended. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, spreading it into an even layer.
  4. Bake for 1 hour, or until bubbly and golden brown. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Sunday, October 8, 2017


This scrumptious recipe is from  Olivia made it and found it is a big hit.  Not only is this recipe good, made with very few ingredients, and super easy, but it could be used as a snack, an appetizer, or a side dish.  The zucchini are long gone from the garden here, but they are still plentiful in  the store.  Zucchini often gets a bad rap because when they grow they are super abundant and people run out of ways to fix them.  Add this great recipe to your zucchini line up and you will have people coming back for more. 


  • 2 medium-sized zucchini
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic salt & freshly ground black pepper, optional
  1. Place oven rack in center position of oven. Preheat to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil (lightly misted with cooking spray) OR parchment paper.
  2. Wash and dry zucchini, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange zucchini rounds on prepared pan, with little to no space between them. If desired, lightly sprinkle zucchini with garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper. Use a small spoon to spread a thin layer of Parmesan cheese on each slice of zucchini. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until Parmesan turns a light golden brown. (Watch these closely the first time you make them and pull them out of the oven early if the Parmesan is golden before 15 minutes!) Serve immediately.

Monday, October 2, 2017


It's that time of year again...PUMPKIN TIME!  Olivia found this delicious recipe at a site called  It is a winner and sure to delight all the pumpkin lovers you know.  The recipe bills itself as a coffee cake but this wonder is decadent enough to pass as a dessert for your fall get togethers, as a game time treat, or something really nice for a carry in.  The smell alone of this cake is enough to draw attention from a crowd.  Olivia and I hope you are enjoying this beautiful season and everything it has to offer.  We rarely met a season we didn't like to enjoy outdoors, decorate for, and of course, cook the appropriate seasonal fare. Dig in!

Before it goes into the oven...

When it comes out of the oven...

With the icing....

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Streusel


For the streusel: 
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
For the cake:
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans pumpkin puree
For the glaze: 
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. To prepare the streusel, stir together the sugars, cinnamon, salt, and melted butter in a medium mixing bowl until well combined.
  3. Stir in the flour. Set aside while you prepare the cake batter.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  5. Add the sugars and butter to a medium mixing bowl and beat with a mixer until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat in the eggs and pumpkin until just combined.
  7. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  8. Spread cake batter into prepared pan.
  9. Take the streusel topping in your hands and press together to form large crumbs. Top the cake with the streusel. It will seem like too much, but use it all for the best streusel experience.
  10. Bake for 50 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.
  11. Cool completely.
  12. Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk to make the glaze. Drizzle over the top before serving.

Sunday, September 24, 2017


This beautiful and colorful dish is great for every day but it is also a lovely way to treat your guests to a vegetable that is not only delicious but pretty as well.  This recipe came from  It called for plum tomatoes but Olivia used cherry tomatoes instead.  This time of year you may have a variety of tomatoes still ripening on your vines so use any kind of tomatoes you like or mix them up for an even more interesting look.  The recipe calls for basil but Olivia used rosemary.  Again, use the herbs you like and experiment with various tastes.  Olivia made this for friends who came to her home for dinner and they requested she make it again!  That is without a doubt the ultimate compliment.  Try this wonderful tart and you'll add it to your vegetable recipe favorites.




  • 7 sheets phyllo dough (14 inches x 9 inches)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 7 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
  • 4 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with oil and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon goat cheese. (Keep remaining phyllo covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.) Repeat layers, brushing oil all the way to edges.
Sprinkle onion over top to within 1 in. of edges; sprinkle with fontina cheese. Arrange tomato slices in a slightly overlapping pattern over fontina cheese. Sprinkle with chives, basil, salt and pepper. Bring up edges of tart over filling.
Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Yield: 12 servings.

Sunday, September 17, 2017


Hot cross buns are traditionally an Easter season treat that reminds us of the holy nature of the season by making a cross shape on top of the buns, but Olivia thought outside the Easter season and outside the box by making this delicious treat in her bread machine.  You can still add icing if you like and it would be a delicious breakfast bread or just about anytime bread.  The combination of lemon rind and raisins or candied fruit is what gives this bread its delightful flavor.  If you have a bread machine and perhaps you haven't used it for a while, give this a try.  We think you will really like it.


  • Put all ingredients except fruit into bread machine.
  • Regular bread and light crust.
  • Add fruit at signal.  
  • After you've cooled the bread and removed it from the pan, make glaze adding sugar or milk to make consistency to drizzle but not run.
  • Drizzle icing on bread.
  • Sunday, September 10, 2017


    Fall is moving in where we live and the temperatures are starting to edge downward.  This usually means more people start making fall dishes.  Dishes featuring carrots, pumpkins, and various root vegetables and squash seem to take center stage.  If you like gooey and moist desserts, this one is for you.  If you like desserts that are one the sweet side and you want a recipe that is fairly easy but still very impressive, this cake is for you.  Olivia found this delicious recipe and made this beautiful creation.  Add this to your fall recipe collection.  We hope you enjoy this season as much as we do!

    • The 9x13 Carrot Cake recipe of your choice, baked and cooled (I used a box mix)
    • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
    • 8 oz Cool Whip
    • 10.6 oz Cool Whip Vanilla Frosting (Cream Cheese flavor if your store carries it, mine doesn't)
    • 6 oz (half a tub) of whipped cream cheese (must be whipped)
    • Approx. 1/2 cup caramel sundae sauce (just pour on as much or as little as you'd like)
    • Approx. 1 cup chopped pecans (sprinkle on as much or as little as you'd like)
    1. Leave the cake in the dish it was baked in-- this is not a free standing cake.
    2. Poke approximately 20-25 holes, spread evenly, over the top of the cake with the bottom of a wooden spoon. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over top, trying to fill the holes as much as possible.
    3. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat together the cool whip, the cool whip frosting, and the whipped cream cheese until smooth. Spread over top of the cake.
    4. Pour the caramel sauce over top of the cake, and sprinkle with chopped pecans.
    5. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, really overnight is best.
    6. Cut into 12 squares to serve (you can cut more, 1/12 is a pretty large piece!).

    Sunday, September 3, 2017


    Olivia found this great recipe on a website called Hey Grill Hey.  This quirky recipe can be made in either a smoker or an oven and makes this delicious beef jerky.  The spicy sweetness of it makes a great jerky combination.

    I don't know if you have ever tried to make your own jerky but it can be great fun.  My father used to make a teriyaki jerky using a food dryer when I was a kid.  Boy was it good.  Beef jerky seems to be all the rage these days, at least it is around where we live.  It is a great protein snack, but you may have noticed it can be kind of pricey as well.

    The biggest complaint I have about store bought jerky is the consistency.  Sometimes it can be melt in your mouth tender and other times it is so tough it can rip out your dental work.  Making your own can help you control the amount of dryness, the texture, and the amount of spice or salt you use  If you have never tried making your own beef jerky, I would recommend you try it and experiment until you get something you really like.  .  Don't worry if you don't have a smoker.  Try the oven and enjoy!

    • 1 2-3 pound beef eye of round roast thin sliced against the grain
    For the marinade:
    • 2 cups Dr. Pepper
    • 2 jalapenos sliced
    • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
    • 2 teaspoons black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder

    1. In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients for the marinade. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture has reduced by half. You should have just over a cup of marinade. Chill the marinade completely.
    2. Transfer the sliced beef to a gallon sized zip top bag and pour in the marinade. Massage the marinade into the meat and refrigerate for 8-12 hours, or overnight.
    3. Preheat your smoker or oven to approximately 170 degrees. 
    4. Remove the meat from the marinade and dry each strip thoroughly by laying on paper towels. Transfer the strips to the grill grate, jerky rack, or cooling rack and smoke/cook for 2-3 hours (depending on the thickness of your slices, some thicker pieces can take 4-5 hours). Check often after the first hour to be sure your jerky is drying evenly. You are looking for jerky that is firm and still slightly pliable, but not soft. If you bend your jerky and it breaks, you've cooked it a little too long.
    5. Place the finished jerky in a gallon zip top bag while it is still warm. Don't seal closed all the way. The jerky will steam in the bag slightly and this step will make the jerky moist. The jerky will last 3-4 days on the counter or 2 weeks in the fridge.