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



One Alarm Chili

Last night Miss V made her famous One Alarm Chili for dinner. This was one of her YCA Kindercooks recipes. She does like to add a little more heat to it that what is stated in the recipe.

1 pound pre cooked hamburger (Kindercooks aren't allowed to use the stove that is why it says precooked)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tbs chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 can red beans or pinto beans, drained (she prefers kidney beans)
1 can tomatoes, drained and diced
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
Garnish: Tortilla chips, grated cheese or sour cream.

1. Place hamburger, onion, and garlic into a large sauce pan. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt. Stir.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir again. If it seems too thick at a little water until it reaches a desired consistency. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Serve over chips. Garnish with sour cream and grated cheese (optional).

Serves 6.


Tiered Serving Platter

A while ago I spotted this little project on Jamie Cooks It Up! and knew I wanted to try it for July 4th.

You can find the full directions on Jamie Cooks It Up!

Mine looks a bit crooked, because I didn't wait long enough to put each on. Next time I will wait a bit longer.


Blueberry Tartlets

Ok so I didn't make these today. These are actually made by Miss V last July 4th. She first made these way back in Spring of 2007 when she attended Kindercooks class at Young Chefs Academy. Since then she makes them every year for July 4th.

In my haste to organize my scrapbook room, I accidentally tossed a box that I thought was trash. What was in the bottom were literally HUNDREDS of her old recipes. I felt sick for days after realizing it.

When I started getting a mental list of dessert for July 4th I went right to her binder and the recipe was gone. I felt awful!

I recently saw the YCA in Brandon on a Tampa News channel and the staff and kids looked like they genuinely were have a great time. So I emailed the Brandon location and a day later the Chef Amy emailed me back a nice reply and included the recipe!!! I am so grateful for her help. I just wish some how I could get all the recipes back. ::sigh:: is Miss V's favorite dessert to make for July 4th.

Measuring cups and spoons
Large bowl
Citrus reamer
Wooden spoon
Standard muffin tin
4 in. biscuit cutter
Small microwave bowl

½ cup sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
Dash salt
2 ½ cups frozen blueberries*
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 pie crusts

¼ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¾ cups flour
1/3 cup butter, melted

1. Thaw blueberries for about 10 minutes in a bowl. Sprinkle with about 1 Tbsp. of flour and toss to coat.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3. Mix together sugar, cornstarch, salt, blueberries, and lemon juice.

4. Cut pie crusts into 12 4 in. circles. Fit each circle into the muffin tin.

5. Spoon blueberries into each crust.

6. Make the topping by combining the sugar, flour, and butter. Spread evenly over blueberry filling.

7. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Makes 12 servings.

*If using fresh blueberries, omit Step #1.

Eat in any diner in New England during the summer and you are likely to find blueberry pie on the menu. The annual state of Maine Wild Blueberry Festival is held during the last week of August in Union, Maine.

Chocolate Thumbprints

I am heading over to a neighbor's home tonight and I don't like showing up empty handed. I flipped through my Martha Stewart's Cookie Cookbook and found this recipe for Chocolate Thumbprints. Miss V and I already sampled one and she gave them two thumbs up.

1 cup plus 6 tbs unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
6 oz semisweet chocolate chopped
2 tsp corn syrup

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together 2 sticks butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in flour, beginning on low speed and increasing to medium high.

Roll dough by 2 teaspoonfuls into balls, and place 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, and press thumb into tops of cookies to make indentations. Return to oven, and bake until light brown on the edges, 7 to 9 minutes more. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Combine chocolate, 6 tablespoons butter, and corn syrup in a small heat-proof bowl. Set over a pot of simmering water; stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Allow to cool slightly. When cookies are cool, fill the thumbprints with the chocolate mixture.


Bobby Flay Miami Burger

The other day I blogged about picking up Bobby Flay's new cookbook. I picked out the Miami burger for dinner tonight. It is like a Cuban Sandwich, hence the name Miami Burger.

1 pound ground chuck (80 percent lean) or ground turkey (90 percent lean)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 cloves roasted garlic, mashed
4 hamburger buns, split
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
8 thin slices Swiss cheese
4 thin slices smoked ham
2 dill pickles, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices


Divide the meat into 4 equal portions. Form each portion loosely into a 3/4-inch-thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb. Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper. Cook the burgers, using the oil. Remove the burgers to a plate.  (I cooked them on the grill)

Combine the mayonnaise and roasted garlic in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread both sides of each bun with the mayonnaise and the mustard. Place a slice of cheese on each bun bottom, place a burger on top, and then top the burger with a slice of ham, another slice of cheese, and some pickle slices. Cover with the bun tops.

Cook the burgers on a sandwich press or wrap the burgers in aluminum foil and cook in a hot skillet over high heat (put a heavy skillet on top of the burgers to press them) until golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Serve immediately.  (I cooked them on the grill and weighed them down with a cast iron skillet.)

Sharing here:
Melt In Your Mouth Monday #9

Duke's Mayonnaise

Right after we moved from Massachusetts to South West Florida, I would see ads for Duke's Mayonnaise. I kept thinking, I have never heard of that up North and it really can't be as good as Hellman's. There are just some things I prefer brand name. Well Publix had it on sale and I picked up a small jar and used it in Potato Salad and I have been hooked ever since.
There is no funky after taste or chemical smell to it.
Have you heard of Duke's? And have you tried it? What brand do you prefer?

Ina Garten's Palmiers

2 cups granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine the sugar and kosher salt. Pour 1 cup of the sugar/salt mixture on a flat surface such as wooden board or marble. Unfold each sheet of puff pastry onto the sugar and pour 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture on top, spreading it evenly on the puff pastry. This is not about sprinkling, it's about an even covering of sugar. With a rolling pin, roll the dough until it's 13 by 13-inches square and the sugar is pressed into the puff pastry on top and bottom.

Fold the sides of the square towards the center so they go halfway to the middle. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold 1 half over the other half as though closing a book.

You will have 6 layers. Slice the dough into 3/8-inch slices and place the slices, cut side up, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Place the second sheet of pastry on the sugared board, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar mixture, and continue as above. (There will be quite a bit of sugar left over on the board.) Slice and arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment.

Bake the cookies for 6 minutes until caramelized and brown on the bottom, then turn with a spatula and bake another 3 to 5 minutes, until caramelized on the other side. Transfer to a baking rack to cool.

Pretty cute looking.

This is where I listened to the comments on the Food Network site. The comments recommended baking them at 425 to so they wouldn't burn. Well they didn't burn and didn't get caramelized like I thought.

Second batch I used a bit of cinnamon in with the sugar and put the oven temp up to 450. I baked them for 6 minutes on each side and I think they could have been baked just a bit more. The second batch is much better!!!

Yep, it didn't get to caramelized, maybe another minute or two next time.


Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes

Yesterday at Books A Million, I picked up Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes. It looks wonderful and I can't wait to try some new recipes and I am so tempted to get a small fryer.


Food Network and Cooking Channel

For years I have been a devoted Food Network fan that is until recently. Some of you may have seen my vents on my Facebook status about it should be renamed Food Challenge Network. I used to also be a fan on Facebook but recently "unliked" them. They would post some some nice things and the "fans" would put all sorts of off topic and disgusting crap in the comments.

Well feeling very dissatisfied with them I haven't watched them in weeks.

Along comes the Cooking Channel and it is from the same people as Food Network and I am thinking "Oh great" in a very sarcastic tone.

I must say that I have been pleasantly surprised with the shows. Some are new and some are old Food Network shows that I loved. Just the other day I was watching an old episode of Melting Pot with Rocco DiSpirto and Cat Cora, you could tell they were so new to TV. One other time I flipped the channel and there was a very old episode of the Galloping Gourmet.

You should check the Cooking Channel out some time and let me know what you think.


New England Coffee Company cup updated

Back on May 17th, I blogged about a free give away from New England Coffee Company. Well when I got the mail, there was a mystery box in the mail I had no idea what it could be, I hadn't ordered anything...

To my surprise it was my new cup!!!

I can't wait to try it out tomorrow!!!


Tie Dye Cheesecake - Pop Century

We stayed at Pop Century back in June 2007 and of course "had" to try the infamous Tie Dye Cheesecake that everyone talks about on the Dis. I think it threw me that the "crust" was actually Red Velvet cake and not a graham cracker crumb, but other than that it was pretty good.

Fast forward to this week and Miss V and I are having Disney withdrawals and I happened to find the recipe on AllEars.

Red Velvet Cake
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoons cocoa
1 ounce red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9" spring form pan.

Cream together butter, sugar and eggs. Make a paste of cocoa and food coloring. Add the paste to the creamed mixture. Mix salt and vanilla in buttermilk and add alternately with the flour. Mix soda and vinegar separately, add last, folding in. Do not beat after adding soda mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool cake in pan.

Lower oven temperature to 325 deg F.

Cheesecake Filling

1 1/2 lb. Cream Cheese
1 1/3 C. Sugar
5 Large Eggs
16 oz. Sour Cream
1/4 C. Flour
2 tsp. Vanilla
2 tsp. Lemon Juice

* All above ingredients should be at room temperature before you begin.


Start by beating the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Keep the mixer on a low setting throughout the beating and mixing process. Add the sugar a little at a time and continue beating until creamy. Add one egg at a time and beat after each egg. When eggs have been mixed into the cream cheese add flour, vanilla and lemon juice, mix well. Add the sour cream last and beat well.

Divide the batter into 6 bowls and color each one:

purple (my purple was dried out so I subbed Royal Blue)


yellow (I used Wilton Lemon Yellow)

light blue (I used Wilton Sky Blue)

green (I used Wilton Kelly Green)


Drop large spoonfuls of the colored batters randomly atop the red velvet cake in the spring form pan. Swirl each layer slightly. Place on the top rack in the middle of a 325 degree preheated oven for one hour and 15 minutes. When time is up, prop open oven door and leave in oven for one hour. After one hour, remove from oven. Let cool enough before the cheesecake is put into the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Look at those C-O-L-O-R-S!

Pretty colorful

Miss V swirling it gently!


All finished and cooled!

Groovy baby!

Watermelon Cake

I finally got around to quickly frosting up the watermelon cakes that I made this weekend.

I made them in 9 inch rounds and if I do them again, I will used smaller pans. The edges are much to small to frost with the green. I also didn't tint it as dark as I should have. I skipped the Kool Aide and just used red food color.

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® white cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and egg whites called for on cake mix box
1 package (0.13 oz) cherry-flavored or other red-colored unsweetened soft drink mix
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 container (12 oz) Betty Crocker® Whipped fluffy white frosting
Green and red food colors
2/3 cup green jelly beans

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Grease bottoms only of two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans with shortening or cooking spray. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil, egg whites and drink mix with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds; beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. (Batter will be lumpy.) Stir in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips. Pour into pans.

Bake as directed on box for 8- or 9-inch round pans. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

In small bowl, stir 1 cup of the frosting with 10 to 12 drops green food color. Stir 10 to 12 drops red food color into remaining frosting. Frost sides of cakes with green frosting; press green jelly beans into frosting. Frost tops of cakes with red frosting; press remaining 2 tablespoons chocolate chips into frosting for seeds. If desired, cut cakes crosswise in half and arrange "slices" randomly on tray. To serve, cut into wedges. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Follow High Altitude cake mix directions on box for two 8- or 9-inch pans, adding the soft drink mix to the dry cake mix. Toss 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 2 teaspoons Gold Medal® all-purpose flour before stirring into batter.

Buttermilk Pancakes

I needed buttermilk yesterday for a red velvet cake and wasn't sure what to do with the rest. This morning I made a BIG batch of buttermilk pancakes, Yum!

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, eggs and melted butter. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook.

Heat a griddle to medium high heat, lightly spray with cooking spray.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, using a whisk to blend. Stir until it's just blended together. Do not over mix! Scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Flip when nice and brown.


Crystal Palace Breakfast Potato Casserole

This is one of my favorite things at Crystal Palace, I found the recipe on AllEars.

Yield: 6 servings


1/4 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/4 teaspoon White Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 cups Milk
1 cup Cheddar Cheese - mild, shredded
4 cups Potatoes - diced and cooked (I used the hashbrowns in a bag)
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup Onions - diced
1/4 cup Butter - melted


Dice and cook the potatoes, dice the onions and gather the remaining ingredients. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add onions and sauté about 2 minutes. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Add flour, stir to make a paste, called a roux. Cook the roux for about 5 minutes stirring constantly. Add 3 cups milk stirring until all lumps are gone. Cook mixture for 10 minutes while stirring. Add potatoes, cheese and seasonings. Mix until cheese is melted.

You may refrigerate at this point until ready to use.

Place in pre-heated oven at 350 for approximately 10 minutes.

This was pretty good, but I think it could have used another cup of potatoes.


White Peach Sangria

This comes from my Bobby Flay, Boy gets Grill cookbook.

1 bottle white wine (Spanish table wine)
3 ounces brandy
2 ounces triple sec
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
2 ounces simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water brought to a boil for 2 minutes in a small saucepan) and cooled (leftover syrup can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 1 month)
3 ounces white peach puree (peel peaches, remove pit and puree in a blender with a small amount of water)

Fresh peaches, oranges, lemons, limes and apples sliced

Place all ingredients in a pitcher and stir to mix. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to 48 hours.

Serve over ice.

Lemon Velvet Cake

Jimmy requested a chocolate trifle for his graduation party and then realized that I would need another dessert, I found this one on the Betty Crocker Website. It was very good!!

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® lemon cake mix )Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box)
1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 cups whipping cream
2/3 cup powdered sugar
Lemon twist, if desired

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Grease bottoms only of two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans with shortening (do not use cooking spray). Make cake mix as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs. Pour into pans.

Bake and cool as directed on box for 8- or 9-inch round cake pans.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese, milk and 1 tablespoon lemon peel with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Beat in whipping cream and powdered sugar. Beat on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until stiff peaks form.

Cut each cake layer horizontally to make 2 layers. (To cut, mark side of cake with toothpicks and cut with long, thin knife.) Fill each layer with 1/2 cup whipped cream mixture. Frost side and top of cake with remaining whipped cream mixture. Garnish with additional lemon twist. Store in refrigerator.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Follow High Altitude directions on box for 8- or 9-inch pans.

Time Saver
For a quick frosting, stir 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel into each of 2 containers (12 oz each) Betty Crocker® Whipped whipped cream frosting. (I just used two cans of whipped Vanilla frosting with the zest added in.)

Since I used 9 inch rounds, I didn't bother splitting them in half.

Antipasto Pasta Salad

1 pound tricolor Rotini
1/4 pound Genoa salami slices, cut into small pieces
1/4 pound pepperoni slices, cut into quarters
1/2 pound fresh Mozzarella cheese, diced
1 (6 ounce) can black olives, drained and chopped
1 or 2 Roasted Red bell peppers, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 can quartered Artichoke hearts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 to 3/4 bottle of Kraft's Tuscan House Italian Dressing
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions, do not over cook or the salad will get mushy. Drain, and cool under cold water. Drain well!!

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well.

Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Right before serving check to see if the salad needs a bit more dressing.

Mexican Rice Salad

I found this recipe called Mexican Rice Salad on another foodie blog called, Jamie Cooks It Up! I bookmarked it for Jimmy's Graduation Party. It was super easy and so good!!!

5 C cooked rice (I used white long grain rice)
2-3 tsp salt
2 cans black beans
1 can corn
1 bunch green onions chopped
2 C shredded chicken
1/2 C chopped tomatoes (I like to seed my tomatoes)

1/4 C lime juice
2 tbs vinegar
2 tbs packed brown sugar
2/3 C oil (I used vegetable oil)
4 pickled jalapenos (I used about 5 slices from a big jar)
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin

Cook the rice according to package directions and let cool. I made it on Saturday and just put it in the fridge.

Cook and shred your chicken. (This time I just poached it, when I have more time I like to roast it in the oven. I actually just chopped it up. Again I did this on Saturday and put it in the fridge.)

Make the dressing in a blender.

In a large bowl, mix all the salad ingredients and pour dressing over top. Mix gently to combine.

Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. (I made it very early on Sunday morning)

Everyone that tried it yesterday, raved about it!!

Thanks to Jamie Cooks It Up! for posting this recipe!!! Stop on by her blog for more yummy recipes!!!


Hasselback Potatoes

I got this yummy recipe from one of my iVillage Moms.

Several Idaho baking potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes
Several cloves of garlic, sliced
Coarse (Kosher) Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive Oil

Preheat over to 400F.

Wash each potato. Cut slits into potatoes about 1/8 inch thick, but do not cut all the way through the potatoes (I put a wooden spoon on each side of the potato).

Place a slice of garlic in between each slice of potato. Cut more garlic as needed.

Drizzle potatoes with olive oil, and then sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bake at 400F for about an hour. Check--bake up to another 30-45 minutes if necessary.

Before, notice the wooden spoons.

Ready for the oven.

All done! Smells great!

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