Welcome Snow!

Oh, we are so happy to have snow!  I took Ryan sledding after school and upon our return he needed the traditional cup of hot chocolate with extra mini marshmallows!  So wonderful!

It’s nice to relax for a bit after a very busy cooking week.  I made some things that will definitely be in my regular rotation of meals. I tried this new dish out of Cooking Light Magazine.  It was a bacon and roasted butternut squash pasta bake.  Instead of a traditional white sauce they recommended chicken stock with flour for thickening.  The squash was cut into 1/2″ pieces and roasted in the oven for about 30 minutes.  I used turkey bacon in lieu of pork bacon.  Lastly, the dish was topped with about 3 ounces of gruyere swiss cheese.  I made it ahead and baked it tonight, it was delicious!  The squash added a nice creamy texture to the pasta.  I made it a couple of days ago so all I needed to do was pop it in the oven, I love that!

Gruyere swiss cheese is one of those flavor packed ingredients that a little goes a long way.  It’s my favorite cheese to use next to parmigiano reggiano.

I baked this week too.  I made Cinnamon Streusel Sour Cream Coffeecake.  I did photograph it now I need to write out the recipe for sharing.

Lastly, I love Asian anything.  With the snow coming down it was awesome to have bright and colorful vegetables on hand.  I had red cabbage, green onion, red bell pepper, chopped peanuts and fresh cilantro.  I whipped up a delicious Asian salad that took me all of 5 minutes.  I will share this recipe as well.

Have a wonderful day!


School Holiday Party….

It is at this time every year I get a little bummed out that I can’t bake for Ryan’s school holiday party.  I waver back and forth between buying something and trying to figure out how I can actually do some baking, even when it’s not allowed.  Believe me, I totally understand why it’s not allowed.  I can’t imagine how scary it would be to send your kids out into the world with the worry that they might be exposed to an allergen that could make them sick or worse.

I guess I feel like the kiddies are missing out on good old fashioned iced Christmas cookies.  Well guess what?  This is all they know so they aren’t missing a thing!  They will enjoy every bit of the holiday party, with all the “allowed” treats.  Besides,  we can always do plenty of baking at home for our families, right?

I went to Jewel to find perfectly acceptable cookies for our class.  I have no confidence in my cookie choices as they all were made in plants that process peanuts and tree nuts…geeze!  I can’t imagine choosing something that might make a classmate ill…..I have great respect for those Mom’s who have kids with allergies.   You have a big job and I totally appreciate what you go through.

I settled on oreos and chocolate mouse reindeer peeps.  It’s all good.

Have a great day-


Farewell My Tiny Feathered Friends!

Farewell to my beautiful little feathered friends!  It was mid September when I took these shots in my back yard.  They were buzzing around the feeder more than ever getting ready for their long trek south.  I stood outside about 10 yards away from the feeder very still for about 15 minutes with my camera focused on the feeder.  This is the first time I’d ever gotten really good photos of my humming birds.

About a month ago I was at my kitchen sink and noticed a humming bird hovering around my window.  I couldn’t figure out why she’d be there as there are no flowers or feeders there.  Then I noticed a spider web floating in the air and the hummingbird was tugging on it with her long beak.  I know that they use spider webs for building their nests but I’ve never seen anything like that before.  It made me curious why she’d be interested in the web this late in the summer, maybe securing her nest for winter???  Winterizing her nest???

These little creatures bring me so much joy:-)  Safe travels and I’ll have plenty of nectar for you next year!



Although fall is my favorite time of the year, I have a hard time saying goodbye to my lovely deck and all that goes with it…..hummingbirds, butterflies, the night sounds of the crickets and cicadas.   It’s so sad when I walk out onto the deck and it’s completely bare.  Once it becomes completely quiet at night, cold weather is on its way.  I do not hate the cold weather, but it’s a long wait to fill up the deck again.  It is now time for our trees, bushes, and flowers to go to sleep.  It must take a lot of energy to sprout leaves and produce gorgeous flowers.  I will bid them all goodbye soon and look forward to meeting again in the spring.

Now, what to do when the weather turns?  It’s time to cook, of course!   It’s time to try new foods and new cooking techniques.  I think it’s a great idea to pick out a couple of recipes each season and make them to where you’re so confident that you no longer need the recipe.

This past week I made homemade matzo ball soup.  If you’ve ever had matzo balls, you’ll know that the flavors are very basic and simple, almost bland.  I was thinking that I’d love to jazz them up a bit with some nice parmesan cheese and maybe some fresh chopped parsley.  When I mentioned this to my Jewish friend, she very seriously replied “don’t mess with the matzo.”   Matzo not being a family tradition in my house, I think I’d be ok tweaking the recipe, just not for my friend!

Last week I tried Yakitori, a lovely saki marinated chicken kabob with a bokchoy salad, this week matzo ball soup.  Next week?  Maybe not something brand new but something I haven’t made in awhile….maybe shawarma?

Now I just gotta get the camera out when I’m in the kitchen!  My evenings are consumed by hockey practice, swimming and of course, homework.

Have a great evening and keep on cookin’!


My True Love of Food…..

Hello Everyone-

What do you do when it’s time for a party?   How do you plan your week of meals?  Do you have an old “go to” cookbook, magazine, or recipe box?  What about the newspaper?  Does your newspaper have a food section? 

I find so many tidbits of information in so many places.  There is, of course, The Food Network, and many cooking shows all over network TV.  I love the show Chopped.  I would love to open a mystery box and the challenge of creating delicious dishes with the mystery ingredients.    Cooking is so great because options are completely endless when it comes to most any food ingredient.

I subscribe to Cooking Light, Food & Wine Magazine, and Bon Appetite.  I try to go through each magazine and cut out recipes I’m interested in and I file them in categorized hanging file folders.  It’s really great because each week I go through say the Chicken file and either come up with a recipe I like or adapt a recipe to my taste.  I make notes as to any changes I’ve made on the page. 

And cookbooks….Oh Boy!  My favorite read is a beautifully photographed cookbook.  A couple of  fav’s-anything by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa and Jamie Oliver, a most real chef that uses lovely, real ingredients.  As far as Asian food goes, I love A Spoonful of Ginger, by Nina Simonds.   My go to Cookbook for any questions on basic technique or cooking times for things like a 25 lb. turkey or a 12 lb. ham would be Fanny Farmer.  I learned how to cook out of my Grandma Inez’s version.  French toast and pancakes.  Anything basic I wanted to know I went to that book.  It was easy to read and understand for the 10 year old girl I was at the time.  Yes, there is yet another source I use….

The Good Eating Section of the Chicago Tribune.  I have found some incredible recipes as well as cooking tips like using unflavored gelatin to set whipped cream.  This section also has  sale flyers for all local grocery stores.  I plan my menu based on what I can find on sale.  Shrimp might be on sale and if I want a different way to prepare it, I go to my fish file.  It’s that simple.

Mostly, my passion for pouring over recipes and coming up with menus all comes down to one thing.   Sitting around the table with people I love and sharing a warm and delicious meal together.  Talking and sharing what happened in our day.  I feel closest to my family at dinner time.  Good stuff.

Have a great evening.


Archived Recipe Fav’s…..

One of my favorite events of  this summer was reconnecting with my cousins at the Henderson family reunion.  I’m pictured here with my cousin Diane.  LOVE HER!!  Anyway, we talked at length about the past and she brought up “The Green Bean Incident.”  I am posting this link for Diane:-)   I love our reunion picnics as everyone brings their best “go to” dish to share.  The food was amazing!  This got me thinking that since I haven’t posted recipes in awhile, I thought I might repost a few of my fav’s.  Comfort foods come to mind when the days start getting shorter and it is getting pleasantly cooler.

I serve pasta at least once a week.  My kids LOVE it!  So easy to prepare and when I make the sauce, I always make extra for the freezer.  It is awesome to have a sauce stashed away in the freezer to use when you’re pinched for time.  Try changing up the shapes of the noodles too.  It all tastes the same but to a kid, new and interesting shapes make for a more enjoyable dinner.  Pictured here,
Rigatoni with Meat Sauce.

There is still plenty of time left for grilling.  I do this so simply.  I toss whole mushrooms and quartered onions into a bowl and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Skewer them each on their own skewers. (onions take much longer to grill, cook them first then the mushrooms)  Personally, I do not think a good steak needs much more seasoning than good ole kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Flank steak doesn’t need to be marinated to oblivion.  Cooked to medium (a 1″ thick steak should be grilled about 6 minutes per side and turned only once) and thinly sliced on the diagonal is all you need for a flavorful and simple supper.  If you’re ever in doubt as to whether your steak is done the way you want, use an instant read thermometer and follow the guidelines below.

*Internal temperatures for different degrees of doneness:
Rare-120′ to 130′
Medium rare- 130′ to 140′
Medium- 140′ to 150′
Medium well- 150′ to 160′
Well- 160+

Oh…and potato.  Noting like a killer potato with a great piece of steak, right?  If you love twice baked potatoes, you must try my
Twice Baked Potato Casserole.  Perfectly sized or shaped potatoes are not needed for this recipe.  

I hope you had a restful weekend!


Our Beautiful Garden…..


I thought I’d share pictures of my beloved garden.  This picture, of course, is the front of our house.  The garden really starts at the left of the house and continues around to the back.  I spend a bit of time every day giving all of our plants and bushes plenty of TLC. 

 Here’s a pic of our deck, can you see Mr. handsome sunning in the background?

 We’ve been spending much more time outside these days as the weather has been a bit more tolerable without all that humidity!  Fortunately, our plants loved the humidity and are quite happy.  In a few short months it’ll be time to say goodbye to our beautiful deck oasis. 

Here’s the side of the garden

Here you see the very back of our yard.  I’ve continued to feed the birds thoughout the summer.  My hubby’s ok with it when I put out seeded sunflower seeds and cracked corn as the seeds from sunflowers make a huge mess.  Of course, I’m loving the beautiful hummingbirds.  I watch them from my kitchen window.  They’re so delightful, they visit me when I’m watering.  Soon I’ll have to say goodbye to them as well.  Every spring I anxiously await their return.

 Of course, what cook can go a summer without potted herbs??  Here I have flat parsley, french tarragon, oregano, and rosemary.  My basil has its own pot, it gets huge!  I have sage and chives in the side garden.  I love simply going out to the pot to snip what I need.

 So sweet….


 My heirloom roses…just looking at this picture makes me so happy!

 One of my daily visitors….

 The ultimate potted plant, the Purple Passion….the bloom only lasts for one day, absolutely beautiful!

Enjoy what we’ve got left of summer!


Chris Turns 16!


Chris is 16!  We’re working on our driving hours, he will soon have his licence.  Life is good.  Sitting in front of him is the cake I’ve made him since he was 9.  Whenever I come across the pan, I can’t help but smile.

Seven years ago he’d been watching tv in the basement and presented me with a scap of paper with an 800 number on it.  His birthday was a few weeks away and he decided that he wanted the “Betty Crocker Bake-N-Fill” for his birthday cake.  It was this cool pan that would bake a cake that you could fill with ice cream, very cool.  I’d forgotten all about it and about a week later, he presented me with another piece of paper with the number scratched on it.  He said, “hey Ang, in case you lost the number, here’s the number again for the Betty Crocker Bake-N-Fill.”   I realized that this was a very serious request, I ordered the pans.

Aside from the very cheesey infomercial, the pans really work great!   You fill the pans with the batter and top the larger of the pans with the lid.

 You can see that the pan will bake around the indentation.

Once the cake is baked, cool, and then into the freezer. 

Fill the cake with the ice cream, flip over onto the base.

Ready to frost.  Ice it and right back into the freezer.  Take out of the freezer 20 minutes before serving.   

I so enjoy making each of my boys their own special birthday cakes.  I love that Chris has had this cake every year since we bought the pan. 

Happy boy/young man.  Where has the time gone?  He was so little when I met him, I remember the size of his little hands and all the missing teeth.   I hope he’ll continue to want this cake year after year, I so love making it:-)     So cute.  Warm fuzzies. 

I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite “Chris” birthday pictures…..

I LOVE little boys and cheesy smiles!  This is a picture of Chris BA, (before Ang)

This is the first cake I made for Chris, he was 7,  it too was an ice cream cake.   Very camera shy as you can see:-)

Enjoy every moment with your kids, in a blink they’ll be all grown up!


Back From “Pure Michigan”…..

Hello Everyone!

So sorry to be MIA!  No WiFi at our family lake house in “Pure Michigan.”   Too much effort to seek it out as I was a lazy loaf for a week!

Didn’t stop cooking, however, did plenty of that!  Gotta eat, right?  Had a really nice Italian dinner last night.  I made a Simple Marinara Sauce with a fun curly fusilli pasta, grilled hot Italian sausages, homemade Caesar salad (mine of course!), and homemade Garlic Bread.   It’s a little wierd having such a comfort type of dinner at a lake house in the middle of summer, but I sometimes crave a little of that.

So glad to be home!  Much of my focus has been getting Jack ready for his first year of college.  Big stuff.  I’m so excited for him, I think more so than he is presently.  Fear of the unknown and all that .

Speaking of unknown, if you printed my recipe for Raspberry Bars, please reprint!  Thankfully Susan casually mentioned that the eggs might go in somewhere!  I immediately made the correction, geeze!  Hopefully if you were in the midst of making them you’d have put them in as you normally would, with the sugar and butter, so sorry if I caused any inconvenience!!  Must be more careful, sometimes I work on posts late in the evening when I’m fried!  You know, when no one is asking where their shoes, hat, or wallet might be!

I’ve missed posting, please bear with me, I have sooooo many ideas I’m just dying to share:-)

Have a great day!


ps-the beautiful rose bush pictured is actually a desendant of a rose bush my Mother gave to my Grandma Rose when she was about 8 years old.  This bush has been going for over 60 years!  How cool is that???

Good Morning….

Good Morning-

I’ve had a very busy week and am filled with many very different emotions this morning.  A very dear friend of mine is having health issues, Joe’s been out of town for the past week and is coming home tonight (thank God), I have an ultrasound on my neck this morning from my previous cancer issues, and I’m cooking for a wedding shower tomorrow.  Oh, and I also just packaged some beautiful baby shower cookies.

What is it about babies that seems to make any situation feel better?  Anything baby is so sweet to me.  Makes me want to hold one right at this moment!  Need someone close to have a baby soon so I can get my regular baby fixes!  Any takers?

These are actually baby feet cut out butter cookies.  I’ve done somewhat of a tie dye on them per my customer’s request.  Cute idea, don’t you think?  Totally therapeutic.  I’ll share how it’s done soon, when I feel a bit more calm.

I hope you have a great weekend!