Search This Blog


Friday, April 22, 2016


I've been trying to get better at using up leftovers by finding a good recipe that uses that particular item.  In this case, I had some sliced ham in the freezer (for months actually) that I needed to use before it ended up with a severe case of freezer burn.  So, I started looking up breakfast recipes that used ham.  I found several actually, landing on a strata.  An added bonus for me when I do this is when the recipe is a winner....which was the case with this one!
What's cool about strata recipes is most recipes have you prepare it and refrigerate it overnight.  So, when you awaken, you can pre-heat the oven and pop it in and be enjoying a nice hot breakfast in about an hour.


*9 slices bread, torn into bite size pieces
½ cup diced fresh mushrooms (I had a few leftover cremini in the fridge)
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
16 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped onion
2 cups cubed cooked ham
8 eggs
2 cups milk

* the recipe did not indicate what type of bread, so I went with a hearty multi-grain.  It was good, but I think next time I'd like to try a sourdough

Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  Layer half of the torn bread in the bottom of the dish.  Sprinkle the mushrooms and pepper evenly over the bread layer.  Sprinkle half the cheese.  Top with the remaining bread pieces, then layer with the onion and ham.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Whisk together the eggs and milk; pour over the entire pan.  Cover with aluminum foil, and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

The next morning......pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake covered for 35 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until top is evenly brown.

I cut up individual squares (yes...with the leftovers...)  and placed them in the freezer.  Now, I'll have some easy "go to" breakfasts that can be heated in the microwave.

recipe c/o: all

Sunday, April 17, 2016


I came up with this recipe while searching for a stuffed pork tenderloin recipe.....I chose to combine a couple of different ideas that I found.   It's fairly easy to assemble, looks pretty, and tastes great!
I served it with long grain/wild rice and broccoli and squash sauteed in lemon butter sauce.  It was delish!


*2 pork tenderloins (butterflied and pounded)
10 crimini mushrooms, diced
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. dried sage
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh spinach
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
6-8 slices cooked bacon
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

kitchen string

* I used two pork tenderloins, since one didn't seem like enough for four people.  It turns out we barely cut into the second loin.   On the flip side, I have leftovers for one night this week.! 


1.  Cook the bacon, let drain and crumble into small pieces
2.  Dice the mushrooms
3.  Butterfly the tenderloin and cover with plastic wrap; pound with the flat edge of a mallet
4.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
5.  Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook mushrooms, thyme, garlic, sage, pepper and salt in the oil until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are softened; approximately 5-10 minutes.  
6.  Add spinach and cook until wilted; approximately 5 minutes.  Stir in mustard and bacon bits, and remove from heat.
7. Spread the mixture on top of the butterflied tenderloin; leaving a ½ border on all sides.  Tightly roll the tenderloin around the filling and tie together with kitchen string. 
8.  Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet and place rolled tenderloin in the hot oil.  Sear until all sides are golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a a 9x13 inch casserole dish.
9.  Bake in a pre-heated oven until internal temp is 160 degrees; approximately 25-30 minutes.  


Sunday, April 10, 2016


As part of the design for the basement studio, we carved out room for a big beautiful closet.  It's awesome!  As I started moving all of my supplies in there, I realized it would really be helpful to have a wall cabinet. It would provide so much room and allow me to organize a bit better than the plastic tubs I was using.

I knew exactly where to go, since I've shopped/bought items there before when I made my business signage, and the shutters I distressed for my daughter. You can't beat the prices!  I knew it would cost me close to $150 to buy a cabinet at one of the big box stores.  I found one at Bud's for $60; it's 39" tall x 23" wide x 12" deep, and has 4 shelves.


I wanted a fun, and bold look, so I started by painting the cabinet doors and exterior a clean white color.  Then, I painted an abstract look on the panels of the doors.  A couple of sassy handles from Hobby Lobby at 50% off, and I had a whole new look!


I spent hours today, purging, organizing and re-organizing......I'm good with it for now, but I'm sure it will get re-organized at least a half dozen times before I land on the best way to utilize my new found space!  

The white paint was spray paint I had on hand, and I chose to use a variety of craft paints I had (in one of those plastic tubs I was mentioning) as well. 

It was fun just to create with no inhibitions. I used several types of brushes and sponges brushes, put on some good music and went for it! 

I confidently thought I could easily put the handles on myself, and was humbled by the fact it wasn't quite as easy as I thought it would I had to have my husband rescue/repair the screw holes I made.  It's a long story.......including learning that you can't just pull a drill bit out of the wood if it sticks in there....cuz,'s scorching hot!!

Not one of my better attempts at handy work.   I am good however, with a hammer and a caulking gun.  Just call me the CaulkMeister!

Sunday, April 3, 2016


This cake is exactly what you're's created to look and taste similar to the wonderful Samoa cookies the Girl Scouts made famous!  So, if you're a're going to love this cake. The cake itself is super chocolaty and moist.   The frosting is a caramel creation covered in toasted coconut and melted chocolate.   Save up your calories for this one!  It's worth it.
I will warn you....this recipe takes time.  But I guarantee that you and your guests will love it.  You'll see from the jelly beans and robin's eggs, I chose to bring this to Easter dinner.

**this recipe has already been adjusted for High Altitude Baking**


Brown Sugar Batter:
1 stick softened butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. Flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt 
½ cup whole milk

Chocolate Batter:
1 cup sugar
¼ cup oil
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup milk
3/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp. flour
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup boiling water

1 can Dulce de Leche (this can be found with the condensed/evaporated milk)
½ cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 sticks butter; softened
½ tsp. salt
1 cup toasted coconut

1 ½ cups toasted coconut
½ cup melted chocolate chips

Begin by making the brown sugar batter.  In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Alternate adding the flour and milk to the butter mixture; one at a time, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Set batter aside. 

Next make the chocolate batter.  Cream sugar and oil in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg, vanilla, and milk.  In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the oil mixture until well combined.  Carefully stir in the boiling water. 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a bundt pan.  This is a marble cake.  Pour some of the brown sugar batter into the pan, then top it with some of the chocolate batter.  Alternate until both batter bowls are empty.  (the recipe did not say to swirl the batter as most marble cakes do, so my cake did not have any marbling.  I would try swirling)  Tap bundt pan on the counter a couple times to remove bubbles.  Bake approximately 1 hour or until skewer inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool entirely.  

While the cake is cooling.  Toast the coconut.  Spread coconut on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for approximately 6-10 minutes, until desired color is reached. (I did all the coconut at once, so it took quite a bit of time....I would recommend doing 1 cup at a time, it will be faster and cook more evenly)  Beat Dulce de Leche, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt for 3 minutes.  Stir in 1 cup toasted coconut.  Chill for 1 hour. 

Frost the cake with the frosting.  Press remaining toasted coconut into the sides and top of the frosted cake.  Melt chocolate chips in the microwave for approximately 1 minute, stir and continue cooking until desired consistency.  Place in baggie or pastry bag and drizzle stripes on the cake.  


recipe c/o: