Mocha Frappuccino Goodness

(Starbucks homemade Frappé)

– 1½ cups crushed iced
– 2 oz. shot of espresso cooled
– ¾ cup milk
– 1 tbsp sugar
– 1½ tbsp Chocolate Syrup
*optional whipped cream and topped with MORE CHOCOLATE SYRUP 🙂

*Blend all the ingredients (except the whipped cream) 30-45 seconds.
(I prefer to drink it with a straw.)

Fall Equals Baking…Banana Bread



2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1 stick of butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
4 to 5 mashed overripe bananas
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 cup crushed walnuts or pecans (optional)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Most Banana Bread recipes call for you to bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, I only bake mine for 30 to 35, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Also, most recipes call for you to let the bread cool in pan for 10 minutes. No way, I’m not that patient! I make sure the bread is free from all sides of the pan, then flip and savor!


What’s for Dinner?

Orzo and Spinach Pasta

Orzo and Spinach Pasta

    • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked orzo
    • 1 (10 ounce) package baby spinach leaves, finely
    • 1/2 pound crumbled feta cheese (Athena)
    • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
    • 1 cup pine nuts
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1/2 teaspoon around white pepper
    • 1/2 cup olive oil (I used grape oil)
    • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (optional)
    • 1/2 cup olives (optional, recommend Kalamata olives)


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside to cool. In another bowl stir together spinach, feta, onion, pine nuts, basil and white pepper (also tomatoes and olives if you are adding them to your dish). Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Pour ingredients over cooled pasta. Refrigerate and serve cold. (*It can also be served warm or at room temperature.)

For my meat lovers out there, like my husband, I served the pasta with some garlic cubed chicken. This dish is great for the summer time heat.

What’s for Dinner?

What's for Dinner?Growing up on a farm,  I had my share of fried food. I know it’s not healthy for you, but it sure does taste yummy (it’s all about moderation). In honor of my southern roots, here’s “What’s for Supper“, fried fish, corn on the cob, coleslaw, fried okra and cheese grits…and it’s Mmmm…Good!

What’s for Dinner?

DSC_0398Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato
a.k.a. “BLT” 

I love bacon, but I limit my intake to once or maybe twice a month.

For all my health conscience friends, use turkey bacon and still enjoy a delicious quick dinner.

Don’t go through the drive-through again. Make a nice family dinner tonight, it doesn’t have to be fancy….just make it with love and bring your family around the table.

What’s for Dinner? (¿Qué es para la cena)


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, pressed
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 4 oz ham
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup white cooking wine
  • 4 tbsp Pimiento-stuffed green olives (optional)
  • ¼ cup raisins (optional)
  • ½ cup capers (optional)
  • 2 small potato (peeled cut into 1/4 cubes)

1) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion, green pepper and garlic until the onion is translucent.

2) Ground the beef and ham together (food processor).

3) In a separate pan place meat mixture and add cumin, salt, oregano and garlic powder, brown lightly (then drain).

4) Add the cooked meat to the sautéed mixture and simmer for five minutes on low.

5) Add the rest of the ingredients and continue cooking until meat is tender and completely cooked through. About 20 to 25 minutes.

6) Fry potatoes until golden brown.

7) Serve over white rice and top with potatoes.

Serving Size: 4 to 6

*The secret to Cuban food…come close…(whisper) DON’T RUSH IT! Cuban food needs time to marinate or saute or simmer….whatever you want to call it…just take your time, then enjoy!


What’s for Dinner?

Ingredients:Baked Ziti
1 lb dry ziti pasta (Penne pasta also works well)
1 onion, chopped
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb Italian sausage (I use Publix Greenwise Italian Sausage)
2 (26 oz) jars spaghetti sauce (this night I used Mezzetta Napa Valley Bistro pasta sauce)
6 slices provolone cheese (Sargento is my favorite)
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3 tbsp fresh basil (5 or 6 leaves chopped up)
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded (Sargento brand)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 6 to 7 minutes; drain.

2. In a large bowl mix together beef and sausage. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

3. In a large skillet, brown onion and meat, over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.

4. Mix the sour cream, Parmesan cheese, and basil together in a small bowl.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish (optional on the butter). Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream mixture, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, remaining sauce mixture, then sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top.

6. Cover and bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.

*Top with fresh basil before serving it to your family, friends, or guest.

What’s for Dinner?

Rasta Pasta (inspired by Rainforest Cafe’s Rasta Pasta)


    • 16 ounces bow tie pastaRasta Pasta
    • 2 teaspoon garlic, chopped
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
    • 1 1/2 cup broccoli flowerets
    • 1/2 cup sliced Roland Roasted Red Peppers (or 1/2 of a Red Pepper)
    • 10 to 12 oz chicken breast, cut into bite size
    • 1 jar prepared Alfredo sauce
    • 1 Knorr Creamy Pesto Package
    • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (optional)
    • 2 tablespoons grated or shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
    • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

1. Cut chicken into bite sizes. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
2. Heat two tablespoon of olive oil in a 10″ saute pan, cook chicken until light golden, then set aside.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well and set aside.
4. Cook the  Creamy Pesto Sauce according to the package.
5. In saute pan, saute garlic in olive oil. Add spinach, broccoli, red pepper and chicken; toss to combine. Stir in Alfredo sauce and pesto; simmer an additional 5 minutes.
6. Pour Alfredo sauce mixture over bow ties and gentle stir.

Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and Parmesan or my favorite, Red Pepper Flakes!

*Feel free to add and adjust measurements to your likely 🙂

What’s for Dinner?

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
(Panera Bread Copycat Recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon butterBroccoli and Cheddar Soup
  • ½ medium chopped onion
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cups fresh broccoli
  • ½ to 1 cup of carrots, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (optional, I don’t add it in my soup)
  • 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese (Sargento is my favorite, NOT finely grated)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Saute the onion in 1 tablespoon melted butter and set aside. In a large pot whisk together the remaining butter and flour over medium heat for about 3 minutes.
  2. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock and then the half and half. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the broccoli, carrots, and onions. Let them simmer on medium low for about 25 minutes until the broccoli and carrots are TENDER.
  4. For a smoother soup puree, I use my hand-held blender and give it a few blends to break up some of the broccoli. My husband prefers the chunks, so I make sure to leave a few whole pieces for him.
  5. Add nutmeg (optional), salt and pepper (optional) and sharp cheddar cheese. Let the cheese melt, usually takes 2 to 3 minutes and then serve.

Serves about 4 (depending on your portion size) 😉

What’s for Dinner?

One of my least favorite questions asked from my family is, “what’s for dinner?” That is, if I haven’t planned anything for dinner that evening. In the past, I have organized monthly meal calendars, but now I prefer using weekly meal planners based off my local grocery sale ads. Having a plan for dinner every night is half the battle, if you can conquer that, the rest is a breeze.

For the next week or so, I’m dedicating my Wednesday blogs to dinner ideas.

Mulit-Grain Chicken Quesadillas
1 package of Multi-Grain Tortillas
1 lb Sliced/bite size ChickenChicken Quesadillas
1 Green Peppers
1 Onions
Shredded Mexican Cheese
Your Choice of Taco Seasoning (I use what’s on sale.)

1. In a large skillet, cook your sliced chicken.
2. Once the chicken is half way cooked, add taco seasoning, water (however much the seasoning packet requires), green pepper, and onion.
3. Pre-heat another skillet, place tortilla down, add 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture, then sprinkle some shredded cheese evenly around. Cook uncovered over medium heat 4 to 6 minutes, carefully turning after 2 minutes, until golden brown. Repeat with remaining tortillas, chicken mixture and cheese.

*Serve with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.

Bless the food before us,
the family beside us,
and the love between us.