©Life of a Foodie and Her Family 2008-2013, Lynn Tabor



Taste of Home Southwest

While wasting time this morning at Walmart, I was going through the magazine section and noticed a new Taste of Home magazine.  I had to pick it up!!!  Oh it looks like it has absolutely wonderful recipes and I can't wait start trying them.


Taste of Mardi Gras!

Here is the menu I made up in Paint Shop Pro.

Last night was our Taste of Mardi Gras dinner group.  I don't know why but I get this irrational fear that my food will come out horrible and everyone will not enjoy it.  Everyone had a great time last night and the food came out delish!!!

Miss V took my camera and took pictures of the tables for me while I was cooking.

On the tables I put some beads and made up some little bits of trivia.

Taking a little break while the "trinity" sautes

Had to get a picture of Marcel mixing up the Hurricanes.

The CP Dinner Group guests

Our menu last night included:

Traditional Beignets and a Cafe Au Lait

Pat O'Brien's Hurricanes

There are ALOT of recipes for Pat O'Brien's Hurricanes online and they are all different.  So we kind of combined a couple to make it to our tastes.

4 oz amber rum
2 oz passion fruit syrup
1 oz pineapple juice
1 tbs maraschino cherry juice
1 oz lemon juice

Orange slice and cherry for garnish.

Marcel made them by the gallon and served them over ice and added a splash of club soda to lighten it up a bit.  These were really good!!!!

King Cake

You can't have a Mardi Gras party without King Cake right?  Well some websites said that it is a taboo to make and serve King Cake after Mardi Gras and some stores sell it year round.  So....I made a King Cake!  I found a few recipes online and combined them.

For the Cake:

3/4 cup milk
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and then cooled to room temp
2 whole eggs (eggs do not warm very quickly. If you want to warm it quickly place it in a glass of warm water for about 5 minutes.)
1 egg yolk, save the white for your egg wash before baking
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup dry milk powder
1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg


16 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, room temp (eggs do not warm very quickly.  If you want to warm it quickly place it in a glass of warm water for about 5 minutes.)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 plastic baby figurine or pecan half (optional)

2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 - 4 tablespoons milk

Yellow, green, and purple dusting sugar

To make the dough, place all the ingredients into your bread machine listed by manufacturers directions and set on dough cycle.

Make the filling by beating the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and lemon zest on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Set the filling aside.

When the dough is done, shape the dough into a large rectangle, about 2 feet long, by 6 inches wide. Spread the filling down the center of the dough, place a pecan half or plastic baby in the filling, if desired, and fold in half and pinch the dough shut to form a log. Working on a greased cookie sheet.  Place a aluminum foil wrapped can that has been greased in the center of the cookie sheet.  Form the log into circle around the can. Pinch the ends together to form a large circle. Let the cake rise, covered, in a warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it is well risen.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Make an egg wash by mixing the reserved egg white with 1 tablespoon of water. Gently brush the king cake with the egg wash and bake it for 30 minutes. Lightly cover the cake with foil to prevent over browning and continue baking it for an additional 20 minutes. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.

Prepare the frosting by mixing together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk until the frosting is completely smooth and silky. Pour it evenly over the cooled cake. While the frosting is still wet, sprinkle the colored sugars in an alternating pattern directly onto the frosting so it sticks.

This king cake recipe makes 12 servings

As you can tell I didn't pinch the end seams enough.  It was closed enough that the filling did not come out.  Marcel was joking that it was actually the letter "C" for Cake or for Creole...Hey that works for me!


I found the recipe for the Jambalaya on GumboPages.  That site has some incredible recipes and you should go check it out!
I decided to chicken and andouille Jambalaya and it came out fantastic!

1 lb. boneless chicken, cubed

1 lb. (hot) smoked sausage, andouille
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 - 6 cloves garlic, minced (amount to taste; I like lots)
4 ribs celery, chopped
3 small cans tomato paste
4 large Creole tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced; OR 1 28-oz. can tomatoes
8 cups good dark homemade chicken stock (I used Kitchen Basic unsalted Chicken Stock)
Creole seasoning blend to taste
2 bay leaves
Salt to taste
4 cups long-grain white rice, uncooked
In a sauté or frying pan, brown the chicken, sprinkling with Tony Chachere's seasoning if you've got it; a bit of salt, black pepper and red pepper otherwise.

Brown the sliced andouille and pour off fat. In the pot, sauté the onions, garlic, peppers and celery in oil until onions begin to turn transparent.

In the same pot, while you're sautéing the "trinity", add the tomato paste and let it pincé, meaning to let it brown a little. What we're going for here is an additional depth of flavor by browning the tomato paste a little; the sugar in the tomato paste begins to caramelize, deepening the flavor and color. Keep it moving so that it browns but doesn't burn.

Once the vegetables are translucent and the tomato paste achieves sort of a red mahogany color, deglaze the pan with the about 2 cups of the stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to mix up any browned bits, and stir until smooth, making sure the sautéed vegetables, paste and stock are combined thoroughly. It should be fairly thick.

Add the Creole seasoning, tomatoes and salt to taste. Cook over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the meat and/or seafood and cook another 10 minutes; if you're using seafood, be careful not to overcook it.

Add the rest of the stock, check seasonings, and stir in the rice, combining thoroughly. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is cooked through. If you haven't checked your seasonings before adding the rice, it's too late! It's much better for the rice to absorb the seasonings while it's cooking. Check seasoning anyway, then turn the heat down to low-medium and let the sauce thicken up a bit, with the pot uncovered, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. Stir thoroughly to combine all ingredients. When the jambalaya has thickened up a bit and has reached the "right" consistency (you'll know), it's done.

Miss V had to take a picture while I was cooking the Jambalaya.

Creole Croutons

This is my go to recipe for croutons, it is from Emeril's 20-40-60 cook book.

1 French baguette (about 12 ounces), preferably day-old, cut into 1/2-inch dice (down here it is easier to find Cuban bread and that is what I used for our Taste of Mardi Gras party)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon Emeril's Original Essence or Creole Seasoning
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and toss quickly to coat the croutons well.

Transfer the croutons to a baking sheet and spread them out in a single layer. Bake, rotating the baking sheet front to back midway through, until crisp all the way through and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Yield: About 6 cups


I found the Muffaletta recipe on a site called Suite101.

1 1/2 cup quality pimento-stuffed olives, crushed or coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, crushed or coarsely chopped (standard black olives may be used)
1 cup giardiniera (Italian pickled salad including cauliflower , carrots, celery, and onion. This can be found in the pickle aisle at the grocery store.)
2 pepperoncinis, chopped
2 Tbsp. capers, chopped
2 large stalks celery, finely chopped
3-4 fresh cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 cup quality extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine ingredients and place in a jar with lid. Refrigerate over night (24 hours is best) to allow flavors to mingle.  I made this first thing on Saturday morning.

1 10 inch round Italian bread, not sliced
1/4 pound mozzarella cheese
1/4 pound provolone cheese
1/4 pound ham
1/4 pound hard salami
1/4 pound mortadella
To assemble the sandwich, I sliced the loaf in half.  Layered on the meat then cheeses.  On the top half of the bread I scooped out some of the bread and spread a generous amount of the olive salad.  Then put the top on the sandwich.  I sliced it into 10 wedges for our guests.  I have a lot of olive salad left over.

Green Salad with Creole Vinagarette

I found this recipe on GumboPages.

1 medium shallot, finely minced

2 ounces sherry vinegar (I jused red wine)
1 tablespoon Creole mustard
3 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
3 ounces walnut oil
3 or 4 drops of Crystal or Tabasco hot sauce, to taste (I used Franks Red Hot)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Mixed greens
Creole tomatoes, quartered (cut into eighths if they're really big)
Red onions, very thinly sliced

For the dressing, combine the shallots, vinegar, hot sauce and Creole mustard. Slowly whisk in the oils until the dressing is emulsified, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss the greens and tomato quarters with the dressing. Plate the salads, allowing 4 tomato quarters per person. Sprinkle with a few Creole croutons and place a small mound of the red onions in the center.

I did double the recipe for 10 people.


Freebie Mugs!

Yesterday the UPS man came and I had no idea what he could have dropped off.  I already received the items for our Taste Of Mardi Gras dinner....


I didn't even look at the shipping label, I just grabbed a pair of scissors and cut the packing tape and opened the box.  First thing I saw was an envelope and in the envelope very pretty card.  On the outside was a very "New Englandy" picture with an old town with a covered bridge, barns, and a church.  It was my friends at New England Coffee Company.

Woo Hoo in the box, packed really nicely was two of their mugs and two little tins of peppermints.  I love them!!!

I cannot wait to use them when the weather cools of this fall/winter.  Or maybe I will use it tomorrow night for my Cafe Au Lait!!


Internet Shopping

So our little spot in SW Florida is not a foodie's mecca.  I tried three or four grocery stores to see if any of them carried creole mustard...not one did.  So I did the next best thing, shop online!  I am really great at finding stuff online.

Last week the Passion Fruit Syrup came and that is the first time I have been unhappy with Amazon's shipping.  I purchased two 3 packs of the syrup.  When I went to pick up the box from my front entryway, it was covered in tiny little sugar ants.   I quickly ripped open the box and inside was full of the little ants.  Both 3 packs were in plastic bags and the ants were not inside the bag.  I rinsed off the bottles just in case.  I had to spray down the box, my front porch and around the front door with ant spray.  Needless to say I let amazon know that the packaging was NOT adequate.

Today came the creole mustard and Cafe Du Monde coffee!!  I found them at Cajun Supermarket.  Excellent service and shipping!

Can't wait to Laissez les bons temps rouler!

A Well Stocked Pantry

What is your idea of a well stocked pantry?

I love my Tupperware containers.

Four kinds of flour and various other baking ingredients.

Coffee, tea, a couple different kinds peanut butter & nutella....

Rices, tomato sauces, pastas and a couple boxes of stock. Not my favorite kind of stock, I haven't been to Sweetbay all summer.

Cake mixes, frostings, syrup, cereals, rolled oats, and dried fruits.

Lots of kinds tomatoes, beans, and soups.

What are some of your pantry staples???

What's Bean Happening

So What's Bean Happening?

Guess what I am currently having on this rainy, first day back at school and Marcel's birthday?

If you guessed an Ice French Vanilla in my Try Me Iced cup you would be correct!!  Stop on over at the New England Coffee Company site and see what kinds of yummy coffee they have and OH!!!  Publix had a BOGO on their coffee this past week.  Gotta stock up!


Cooking Channel & Chefography

I am really in love with the new Cooking Channel on FIOS.  I think I have said in previous entries, I am just burnt out on Food Network.  I have been enjoying their sister channel, the Cooking Channel.  They have reruns of old shows and have a great selection of new shows.

Last night I watched and older episode of Chefography about Guy Fieri.  I remember watching him on the Next Food Network Star and I picked him from the very first episode.  There was just something about him.

If you have a chance, you should check it out.


Chicken and Dumplings

I am making this for dinner tonight.  I have made this a ton of times in the past and the recipe is on Miss V's blog with pictures.

1.5 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces

1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter
3 large russet potatoes peeled and diced
3 large carrots peeled and diced
1 large sweet onion
3 ribs of celery
3 bay leaf, fresh or dried
kosher salt and black pepper
2 or 3 tsp poultry seasoning
2 tbs flour or wondra flour
1 box of Kitchen Basic chicken stock
1 box of Jiffy biscuit mix
1/2 cup of warm water
2 tbs flat leaf parsley chopped
1 1/2 cup of frozen peas

Cut chicken breasts into bite size pieces and put aside.
Heat a large pot over medium high heat and add oil, butter, veggies and bay leaf and cook -10 minutes stirring frequently. Season mixture with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Add flour to the pot and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in stock and bring to a boil. Add chicken and stir.

Mix the biscuit mix with water and parsley. Drop tablespoonful of mix into the pot spacing the dumplings evenly. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium low. Steam dumplings for about 10 minutes. I like to turn my dumplins over at 5 minutes. Stir in frozen peas and cook for a few more minutes.

Remove pot from heat and serve in shallow bowls.

New England Coffee Company

So this morning I was going through my email and I received an email from a woman at New England Coffee Company.  She wanted my permission to post a comment that I put on Facebook, on their main site in the What's Bean Happening section.

Sure I said!!!

So my comment will be on their site the week of August 23rd!

Woo Hoo for giving positive comments!!!

Crunchy Granola

I was bored the other day so I made some granola.  I tweaked a few different recipes that I had and the final product is good!  It is fantastic over ice cream or yogurt.  Miss V loved it with a splash of milk.

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 tbs light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup chopped or slivered almonds

1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs water
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300.  Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Mix oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, salt and nuts in a mixing bowl and set them aside.

Bring the maple syrup, vegetable oil, water and cinnamon to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Drizzle over the dry ingredients.  Mix well. 

Pour mixture into the prepared cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes.  Stir every 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool.  Can be stored for up the two weeks in an airtight container.  I know this won't last two weeks.

French Toast Waffles

I spotted this recipe yesterday in a Family Fun email.  I made a loaf of Sally Lunn bread late yesterday afternoon.

4 to 6 slices of bread
2 tbs butter melted
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
I also put in 1/2 of cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients, except the bread. Dip the slices into the mixture, coating well on both sides, but not drenching. Cook the French toast in a well-oiled, hot waffle iron until crisp. This recipe makes four to six waffles

Egg Recall!

Please take a minute and check to see if your eggs are on the list of recalled eggs.  You can find the link HERE.


The Next Food Network Star

I have to say that some seasons have been a real hit or miss with me.  This season was a hit for me.  I really enjoyed Aarti from the start.  Towards the end of the season, I really liked Herb.  I thought his pilot was very good!

Tom...well I just didn't enjoy him.  His concept to me was a mix between season 4 winner Aaron McCargo and season 2 winner Guy Fieri and seriously there is only ONE Guy Fieri.

What are your thoughts on this past season?

Season five runner up was Jeffrey and I saw him on one of Bobby Flay's shows and I really enjoyed watching him.  To bad he doesn't have a show on Food Network or their sister channel Food Channel, like some of the past runner ups/dismissed contestants (Adam Gertler and Kelsey Nixon will be having a show)

Supper Club? Gourmet Group? Dinner party?

I have to say that I really love my neighborhood. Well 95% of the time anyway. This is the kind of neighborhood I grew up in. Neighbors are friends, kids play ball in the street, ride bikes etc. A few of us decided to get together every so often for dinner.

In my own little mind I like things compartmentalized and labeled. So I looked up what a Supper Club is. This is taken from Wikipedia:

Supper club in United States is an American dining establishment generally found in the Upper Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. These establishments typically are located on the edge of town in rural areas [1]. They were traditionally thought of as a "destination" where patrons would go to spend the whole evening, from cocktail hour to enjoying night club style entertainment after dinner [2]. They feature a casual and relaxed atmosphere [2].

Typical menu

Supper clubs generally feature "simple" menus with somewhat limited offerings featuring "American" cuisine [2]. Menus included dishes such as prime rib, steaks, chicken, and fish. An "all you can eat" Friday fish fry was particularly common at supper clubs in Wisconsin [3].

Relish trays featuring items such as crackers, carrots, pickles, radishes, and celery are typically served at the table on Lazy Susans [2].

Well that sorta fits, but not really. So then I looked up what a Gourmet Group is:

What Is a Gourmet Group?

A gourmet group meets regularly to enjoy meals prepared by members of the group. A typical group size is four couples. Anywhere from three to six couples will work, depending on the size of your table. Groups generally meet once a month and rotate homes where the dinner is held. The host couple may select a theme and recipes or might simply ask each couple to bring a particular course.

What Are the Benefits of a Gourmet Group?

Before the group meets, couples can enjoy time together preparing their assigned recipes. If only one partner enjoys cooking, pairs can shop together for ingredients they might not otherwise buy. Couple time can become family time if you involve the kids in measuring and pouring ingredients or helping with clean-up

Again that sorta fits, but not really. The host family decides on the theme and menu and prepares everything. And our little group is adults only. I am sure some of the kids would like to come, but some of us could use the adult only time.

So my next search, what is a dinner party? Here is what wikipedia has to say:

A relatively formal meal at which invited guests eat in the home of the host.

Well....I wouldn't call our group formal. I think I have come up with my own little label. How about CP Dinner Group? I think that works for me.

So the first one was held on July 24th and was Caribbean Themed and it was wonderful! I tried things that I would not normally have tried. I don't have recipes from that one and I really wish I could find the recipe for the martini, but it is buried way deep on my Facebook wall.

Not wanting to waste anytime planning our night, I thought about doing Italian, Mexican or something else. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and decided on a Taste of Mardi Gras! I have the recipes planned. I ran into a bit of an issue with finding some ingredients, but thanks to the Internet found and ordered the ingredients that aren't easily found in my area. I did up the invitation with Paint Shop Pro and the menu. Here is a quick shot of the invitation, but I took out the layer that had the personal information.

So......Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Watermelon Splash

I have been a behind in my blogging.  A few weeks ago Marcel made this for me.  It is from Sandra Lee's Cocktail Time book.

Makes 1 drink
3 oz lemon lime soda
1 1/2 oz watermelon flavored vodka, Smirnoff
1 splash cranberry juice
Ice Cubes

In a chilled glass, combine lemon lime soda, vodka and cranberry juice.  Add ice.  Stir to combine.  The first night he made it in a regular glass.  I happen to think it looks prettier in a martini glass.

This tasted just like a watermelon Jolly Rancher.


Lemon Cream Martini

Saturday night Marcel had me pick a recipe out of my Cocktail Time book from Sandra Lee. I picked this Lemon Cream Martini.

Makes 1 drink

Lemon Flavor drink rimmer, Stirrings (I just used plain yellow sugar)
1 oz Vanilla Smirnoff
1/2 oz Lemon Liqueur
Ice cubes
1 splash lemon lime soda

Wet the rim of a chilled martini glass with water. Dip the rim in the lemon flavor drink rimmer. In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka and lemon liqueur. Add ice; cover and shake until very cold. Strain into prepared glass. Add lemon lime soda.

This was a very good drink. It is smooth and not lemony harsh.

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