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Christmas; Eat Drink & Be Merry! Holiday Fare & Drink of Film & Song; Homemade Marshmallows!


Gifting Idea photo source: halfbakedbyliz

“It’s a marshmallow world in the winter

When the snow comes to cover the ground

It’s the time for play, it’s a whipped cream day

I wait for it the whole year round.”


Homemade marshmallows? Yes! Are they worth the effort? Absolutely! Plus, they’re really not difficult to make—it’s not rocket science! The spongy, sweet flavor complements a chocolate dip bath, a sandwich of two graham crackers roasted over an open fire accompanied by a chocolate slab neighbor, afloat a steaming mug of cocoa and so on! Here’s the recipe for the base—the dipping and toppings are left only to your imagination!



3 packages unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

With a sieve, generously dust an 8 by 12-inch nonmetal baking dish with confectioners’ sugar. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, smooth the top, and dust with more confectioners’ sugar. Allow to stand uncovered overnight until it dries out. Turn the marshmallows onto a board and cut them in squares. Dust them with more confectioners’ sugar.


Hungry Yet? If So Try Tantalizing Tuscan Turkey Tetrazzini


Here’s one more luscious recipe for your Thanksgiving leftover turkey. We smoked a 17 pounder (there’s only 2 of us) and had abundance so I could not omit one of my favorite turkey recipes. This formula is versatile and tuna can be substituted for other times of the year. It’s creamy, slightly cheesy and true Tuscan fare, through and through.  Freezes and reheats well too.



2 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 pound mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons thyme leaves

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper, to taste

Grated lemon zest

2 cups chicken broth

4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

1 cup milk

1 cup sour cream

a pinch of nutmeg

4 cups cooked turkey breast, cut into chunks

1 pound thin spaghetti, cooked

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted



Coat a skillet with oil and put over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic, cook, stirring about 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and herbs and saute for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mushrooms to a glass bowl, grate in the zest of a lemon, then cover with plastic wrap to allow flavors to mingle. Set aside.

Melt butter in large skillet and stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes. Whisk in stock, stir vigorously to avoid lumps. Continue for 5 minutes until sauce is thickened and smooth. Add egg, milk, 1/2 cup Parmesan, sour cream, nutmeg, reserved mushrooms, and turkey. Cook and stir until heated through do not boil. Fold in cooked pasta, mix to combine.

Spoon mixture into a buttered 9 by 13-inch baking pan and smooth out with a spoon. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and Parmesan. Bake in a preheated 350* oven until sauce bubbles and a top crust has formed, 20 to 30 minutes. Garnish with toasted almonds before serving.


A Green Leftover Idea For Black Friday! Oaxacan Turkey Enchiladas Verde with Panela & Queso Blanco

turkey-enchiladas-verdeI realize the last thing you may want to do is cook today, but you must put those luscious turkey leftovers to good use! Try a little Mexican! These cheesy, slightly spicy enchiladas will not only use up the extras, but reheat well the next day as well.



3 cups cubed cooked turkey

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup cooked long grain rice

2 plum tomatoes, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup canned chopped green chiles

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup sliced black olives

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon ground cumin

12 corn tortillas

1/2 cup Panela cheese

1 can (28 ounces) green enchilada sauce, divided

1 1/2cups shredded Queso Blanco or Mexican blend cheese, divided

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup sliced scallions or cilantro


In a large saucepan, combine the first 10 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes Place 1/2 cup turkey mixture down the center of each tortilla; top each with 1 teaspoon enchilada sauce and 1 tablespoon Panela cheese. Roll up and place seam side down in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over top; sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 8-10 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes to allow cheeses to set. Plate, top with a dollop of sour cream and a few sliced green scallions or cilantro. Serve with sliced avocados and tomatoes or guacamole.



1bacon-7 copy

Crispy Cheesy Pepper Bacon Bites; An Irresistible Thanksgiving Tapas Treat!

1bacon-7 copy

These flavorful little gems are easy to put together well in advance so you have extra time primping for your get-together. They go directly from the freezer to the oven and if you’re lucky enough (they’re irresistible and guests love to snatch them up), right to your entertaining table. They combine three of the most irresistible snack foods on earth: bread, cheese, and bacon.  Please be sure to let the bites sit for 5 or 10 minutes before serving; the cream cheese gets extremely hot.


2, 8 ounce packages of cream cheese; room temperature

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup roasted red peppers, diced

1/2 cup scallions, sliced, white and green

20 slices soft white bread

1 1/2 pounds pepper bacon


Mix together cheeses until smooth. Stir in peppers and scallions until evenly mixed; set aside. Trim crusts from slices of bread. Once bread is trimmed, spread slices with filling, covering completely. Roll bread up from the short side, pressing down just enough to make it stick to itself. Wrap a slice of bacon around each roll, overlapping the bacon to cover bread completely. If you need more than one bacon slice, tuck the end of the second bacon slice under the end of the first. Trim the bacon when you get to the top of the roll. Freeze wrapped rolls for 30 minutes to firm them up.

Preheat oven to 375° lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment paper.

I use a Sil-Pat baking sheet (shown in photo)

Bacon Pan copy

Slice rolls in thirds and place on baking sheet, cut side down. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (5 minutes longer if baking from frozen), until bacon is crisp and tops are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and place on a serving platter; let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Best Apple Slice

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Best Apple Slice

Tis the season for baking! As easy as pie? You bet! This is no store bought! It’s real, luscious and completely satisfying–you will find new best friends with this one; they’ll flock to you! I’ve jumped on the bandwagon and incorporated the “salted caramel” aspect and it’s a winner! The brown sugar offers the caramely, buttery flavor and the salt, well, the salty notes. No need to fear, I will take you through each step.

This apple pie is award winning; firm not runny, perfectly sweet with the perfect amount of spices. It is sure to become one of your family’s favorites–it is in ours. If the homemade crust intimidates you, a good quality, store bought crust will do, but this classic pie crust is well worth the little time and effort…it’s buttery, flaky and simply AMAZING! So, get that rolling pin out, and join me for a tasty, appley, spicy adventure!

PS…Check out this peeler, slicer gadget! If you use and enjoy apples in any form, it’s a must!


photo source: amazon


Pie Crust:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for bench and cutters

2 tablespoons sugar

½-1 teaspoon fine salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

4 tablespoons ice water mixed with 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, plus more as needed


3-4 pounds cooking apples (7-8 cups) sliced thin…I used the peeler corer slicer

1/2 lemon, juiced

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4- 1 cup brown sugar, packed firmly

2 teaspoons apple pie seasoning (or 2 tsp ground spices; 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cloves & a pinch of nutmeg)

1 teaspoon fine salt

3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon instant tapioca

1 tablespoon course sugar

1/2 tsp course ground sea salt

Chef’s Note: You can increase the amount of sugar to 2 cups, depending upon your sweet tooth :-)

For the crust: In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt and cold butter.

Pulse the processor until the mixture resembles fine sand. Remove lid and add ice water vinegar to mixture. Run processor just until mixture rolls itself into a little ball. If mixture is a bit dry, add more ice water by the tablespoonful until it comes together. Gather the dough into a ball. With a bench scraper or knife, divide the mixture evenly in half. Shape each half into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes. Dough will keep in the refrigerator for a few days or you may freeze for later use.

Preheat the oven to 425*


photo source: veronicascornucopia

Flour a rolling pin and roll out 1 pie crust over a piece of floured waxed paper roll to about a 12-inch round and drape over a 9 1/2-inch pie plate—remember curbs not driveways. Roll out the other pie crust to about a 10-inch round. Scatter tapioca on the bottom—this will prevent a soggy bottom

Filling: Peel, core and thinly slice apples (corer, peeler, slicer highly recommended) add lemon juice and stir gently. Whisk flour, sugar, spices and salt in another bowl, making sure there are no lumps. Stir flour mixture into apples and mix well. Pour into pie crust. Scatter with pieces of butter. Top with 2nd 10 inch round. Crimp edges to seal. Cut a hole in the center and make several slits in between. Sprinkle top with course sugar & salt.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, lower heat to 350 degrees and bake until crust is golden; about 55-65 minutes. If the edges brown too fast, cover them with strips of aluminum foil about halfway through baking. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.





Brie en Croute Featuring Rosemary Cherries Apricots & Toasted Pecans



Brie en Croute is a round of brie wrapped in puff pastry then baked to a beautiful golden brown. This recipe is filled with tart, yet sweet cherries, astringent apricots, fresh rosemary and slightly salty, crisp toasted pecans. It requires very little work but always proves to be a very impressive appetizer.

Start with a small wheel of brie, which you will place over a defrosted sheet of puff pastry coated with apricot jam, sprinkled with dried cherries, a scattering of chopped toasted pecans and fresh rosemary.


Use a Full Wheel of Brie, Uncut

Wrap the puff pastry over the filled brie, trim the excess and seal the seams. Feel free to utilize any small scraps of dough using small cookie cutters of various shapes and sizes—ones appropriate for the season.  Place in the frig for approximately 15 minutes—a chilled pastry will provide a flakier crust. Before baking brush with an egg wash and bake until golden.


photo source: simplyhealthy


One sheet puff pastry, all butter brand preferred, thawed according to package insert

½ cup apricot preserves

⅓ cup dried cherries

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped coarsely

1 round of Brie…approximately 1 pound

½ cup chopped toasted pecans

1 egg

1 tablespoon of water

Gourmet crackers of choice


Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface roll puff pastry into a 14 x 14 inch square; trim into a circle. Save scraps to decorate top before baking. Spread preserves across pastry, leaving a 1” bare perimeter. Sprinkle on cherries, approximately the width of the brie. Then sprinkle with rosemary. Top with Brie (rind intact).

Whisk egg and water in small bowl. Brush the plain edge of the pastry with egg wash, and then fold up over top of Brie forming pockets. Trim any excess pastry away if needed and press to seal.  Using a leaf or other cookie cutter cut out pastry scraps and arrange on top of Brie. Refrigerate while preheating oven to 400º F.

Brush pastry top with egg wash; bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and a few chopped pecans. Serve with gourmet crackers of choice.

Serves approximately 6-8


The British Afternoon Tea; Where It All Began & What is Served; Cucumber Finger Sandwiches


There is no more quintessential British ritual than the ceremony and serving of Afternoon tea. It is believed that credit for the custom goes to Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford in the early 19th century. The usual habit of serving dinner between 8 and 9 pm left the Duchess hungry and with a ‘sinking feeling’ by late afternoon. To stave off the hunger, she would order tea, bread and butter and cakes to be served in her room. Later on she would invite friends to join her at her home and the light tea was such a success the habit caught on.

The Duchess continued the custom on returning to London and soon the “At Home” tea evolved which quickly spread throughout England. Announcements about tea were sent to relatives and friends stating at what hour the tea would be served. Sometimes entertainment was provided but more often it was simply conversation and a little idle gossip over tea and cakes. If “At Home” notices were received the guest was expected to attend, unless of course, regrets were sent. There was at least one person holding an at home each day and social ties were quickly established with women seeing each other so regularly.

The taking of tea gradually spread from the home and out into society in general. Tea Parties became the norm and Tea Rooms, and Tea Gardens quickly sprang up everywhere

The Afternoon tea traditionally starts with savory finger-sized sandwiches filled with smoked salmon, cucumber, or egg and mustard cress. These are followed by scones with jam and cream (clotted cream in Devon and Cornwall), and finally, a selection of cakes served on tiered cake stands. Variations on the menu may include the serving of English Muffins, thinly sliced, hot buttered toast or crumpets.

Alongside of course, are copious cups of tea. The tea is traditionally poured from heavy, ornate, silver teapots into delicate bone-china cups and served with milk or lemon. Now this is some kind of Tea Party!


Cucumber Tea Sandwiches photo source: lifeinachelle

Traditional English Cucumber Sandwiches

Tea sandwiches – also called finger sandwiches – are the most delicate of all sandwiches. Daintily presented tasty morsels served at a traditional afternoon tea.

Traditional tea sandwich recipes contain such highly-flavored ingredients as anchovies, watercress, mustard, smoked salmon and even caviar.

Cucumber Sandwiches are the epitome of a posh sandwich. Make sure you use soft white bread and slice both bread and cucumbers very thinly.

Take one, lovely fresh green cucumber and slice very thinly. Butter thin slices of soft white bread. Arrange the cucumber slices on half the bread, overlapping them neatly. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cover with the second slice of bread and cut into small pieces. Garnish with a small sprig of dill or thyme.

Cucumber sandwiches are scrumptious enough to eat on their own, but when served alongside a pot of tea, some scones and a few cakes, they simply scale new heights; a proper English afternoon tea.