Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Grammy's Peach-Custard Pie

I'm not the Grammy in the name of this recipe, but I wouldn't mind being her. She has created quite a delicious recipe here, and one that takes advantage of the lovely peaches in the market right now.

But this is also quite fabulous if you used canned peaches like I did, and much faster. Either way, this is a pie that everyone will love.

My grandson Jayden had a piece and declared it was delicious, so maybe I should start calling it 'Nana's Peach-Custard Pie'.

Recipe for Grammy's Peach-Custard Pie

I used an easy Martha Stewart pie crust recipe. This recipe is for a top and bottom crust, but you only need a bottom crust for this peach pie. You can freeze the extra crust if you don't want to use it for another pie right away.

Filling Ingredients:

3 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches (about 5 peaches) or
3 (15-oz.) cans sliced peaches in juice or light syrup, drained and rinsed
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs


Prepare crust. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, toss peaches with 3 tablespoons sugar; let stand 5 minutes.
In a blender, place butter, flour, eggs, and remaining 1 cup sugar. Blend until smooth.
Stir egg mixture into peach mixture;, then pour into pie crust.
Bake 45-50 minutes, or until filling has set, and top is golden.
Completely cool on wire rack. Chill about 4 hours before serving.

Serves 6-8, depending on serving size.


I originally published this on my Popcorn and Pearls blog, and it was so yummy I wanted to share here as well.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken and White Bean Soup


I love the ease and convenience of using my slow cooker, and this chicken and white bean soup was the perfect recipe to use it for.

The weather is getting warmer, but soup is still on the menu for me. Pairing it with a green salad, and warm French bread makes a delicious meal that is simple and easy to prepare.

I'm a big fan of freezing leftover soup in individual serving-size freezer bags. This way I can pull a bag out and use it for lunch whenever I want.

This soup is super good, and the jalapeno pepper doesn't make the soup terribly spicy, it really just gives it a nice kick.

Recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken and White Bean Soup


3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (15ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, divided
3 cups chicken broth, divided
1-1/2 cups frozen corn
cheddar cheese and sour cream to put on top if desired


Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken, onion, jalapeno, oregano and cumin in oil for 5-6 minutes, or until chicken is cooked, and vegetables are crisp-tender. Add the garlic, cook 1 minute longer.

Transfer to a 3-quart slow cooker. In a small bowl, mash 1 cup of beans; add 1/2 cup broth and stir until blended. Add to the slow cooker with remaining beans and broth. Add frozen corn. Cover and cook on low for 3 to 3-1/2 hours.

Stir soup well before serving. Top with cheese or sour cream if desired.
(I actually sprinkled red pepper flakes on mine for some added heat.)

Makes 6 servings.



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Easter Book Review: Lollipop Seeds That Sprout for Kind Deeds and Giveaway #sponsored

We have many traditions in my home when it comes to holidays throughout the year. We are very loyal to our traditions but do allow for new traditions to be added to make the holiday even more special. This year we learned about a book that tells a cute little story about how the Easter Bunny learns of a tradition long forgotten where the Easter Bunny brings special lollipop seeds that sprout when your child does kind deeds.

The book is colorfully illustrated and a fun way to teach children about doing good for others. My son enjoyed the story. He loved that the Easter Bunny had brothers, sisters and a Grandma in this story. I thought it was cute that they live on the East Pole where it is always Spring.

The last page of the book has room to write the year and the kind deed that was done by your family.

According to legend, the tradition of Lollipop Seeds goes back hundreds of years.  But, it was only recently re-discovered by the Easter Bunny when he asked his Grandma about the meaning behind other Easter traditions like eggs and candy.
Once the Easter Bunny learned of the Lollipop Seeds tradition, he couldn’t wait to hop on it and start delivering them to kids everywhere.
The magic of the seeds lies in the heart of the child who plants them.  They sprout into lollipops on Easter morning, not by water or sun, but by kindness instead.

After reading the book I talked to my 4 year old about what we could do as a kind deed to make our lollipop seeds grow. He had a few ideas, mainly ones about animals but he did say we could grow strawberries and share with Grammy ( his grandma that lives in CA). I thought that counted as a kind deed, to grow a plant with fruit to help feed someone he loves. We made a wish of happy thoughts and tossed our lollipop seeds into the dirt in the yard. The seeds are not for eating, they will grown into flowers, my son and I bought a strawberry plant to plant for the kind deed.

We had fun reading the book, planning a kind deed and sprinkling our lollipop seeds. I know next year we will do the same. I love to encourage my son to do kind deeds for others and this book is a great tool to start the conversation of helping others.

The book includes two Lollipop Seed packs and plant markers.


To celebrate Easter and to encourage others to do kind deeds we will be hosting a giveaway for a copy of the book Lollipop Seeds That Sprout for Kind Deeds by Cherri Prince and illustrated by Marco Bester.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts April 10, 2014 and ends on April 17, 2014 at 12:01 am EST. Winner will be emailed and has 72 hours to respond before another winner is selected. I was not paid for this giveaway or post. The opinions on this item are 100% mine and may vary from others. The sponsor is responsible for providing the prize. I was sent a product to review for this post.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Carrot Tea Cake From Martha Stewart's Cakes Book

I have to say that carrot cake is one of my all time favorite cakes. But the thing is, they can vary so much in quality. And they are rather time-consuming to make.

I came across this easy recipe for whenever I need a quick carrot cake fix. It's moist and delicious, and the cream cheese frosting is simply fabulous. It's baked in a loaf pan, and the perfect size for snacking, or having a slice with a cup of tea or coffee.

It is from the book Martha Stewart's Cakes. I just love this book, and it includes over a 150 cake recipes, including ones for bundts, loaves, layers, coffee cakes, and more.

Recipe for Carrot Tea Cake


1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup packed grated carrots (from about 2 carrots

For Frosting:

8 ounces (1 bar) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan, dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
Beat in carrots. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, beat until just combined.

Transfer batter to prepared pan, smooth top with spatula. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Turn out cake onto wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting:
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Spread frosting over top of cake.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Making Delicious Bruschetta With Philly Cream Cheese Spread

If you are anything like me, you can think of lots of different ways to use delicious Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

It's my absolute favorite spread for bagels, great for cooking and baking, and this new Philly Chive Onion Cream Cheese is perfect for making onion topped bruschetta.

A couple nights ago, my family and I managed a spur-of-the moment dinner together. This means lots of laughs, lots of good food, and the chance to make some yummy pre-dinner bruschetta, to go along with a glass of wine.

My grown-up kids and I are all devoted onion lovers, so I knew bruschetta with caramelized onions and yummy chive onion flavored Philly cream cheese would be a big hit.

When I was doing my grocery shopping at Walmart, I picked up my weekly stash of Philly Cream Cheese for our bagels and toast.

But then I saw this new tub of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, made with real chives, and crisp onions. The onion lover in me couldn't pass this up, so I bought some just baked French bread from the Walmart bakery to go with it.

On the night my family and I got together, I made a big pan of caramelized onions to go on top of the bruschetta.

It takes patience to cook caramelized onions, but I think it's well worth the time involved because of their wonderful taste.

I sliced two large onions and put them into a frying pan with several tablespoons of olive oil. I added a pinch of sugar to help caramelize them and a pinch of salt.

A great tasting French bread is the basis of making great bruschetta. I always slice mine on the diagonal, brush it with olive oil, and pop it in a 400 degree oven for 5-7 minutes.

Plenty of real chives and onion goodness make this Philly spread so yummy. I put on a nice layer of it on the toasted bread, and then topped it with the onions.

You can also find the 8 oz. tubs of Philadelphia Cream Cheese at Walmart, in Garden Vegetable, Jalapeno, Strawberry, and Blueberry flavors.

I can't wait to try the fruit varieties and #SpreadTheFlavor on my bagels and French toast at breakfast.

I enjoy Philly Cream Cheese on so many things, and love that it's made with no artificial ingredients.

Everyone loved the bruschetta, and there wasn't one piece left. I loved the taste of the cream cheese, and it was so good topped with the onions.

I can't wait for summer to come around, and all the barbeques we enjoy having. I'll definitely be making this again for my family and friends. And I'll be stocking up on all those delicious Philly Cream Cheese flavors.

What's your favorite way to enjoy Philadelphia Cream Cheese?

I'd love to know!!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Gymboree Review and $50 Giveaway - Shopping for Easter/Spring #sponsored


Spring is here and with that comes all of the great Spring/Summer clothes! Gymboree has some great Spring and Easter clothes at 30% off, along with great sales throughout the entire store. I love seeing the trending colors and styles out for the season. We visited our local Gymboree and picked out our Spring and Easter clothes!

Gymboree has lots of great sales like 30% off the Easter line and a lot of $20 little girls dresses. Not to mention the clearance rack had a ton of steals! I got my oldest some shirts, pants and sweaters at more than half off. I love a good sale!

Here are my children all dressed up in their new Gymboree clothes, but getting a picture of all of them together is almost impossible!

I love the all turquoise this season, I took one look at the bright colors along with the clean lines and I was hooked. The boys got matching shirts (one is a size 6-7 and the other is a 3-4) at 30% off and my daughters sweet dress was on sale for only $20! Notice the hair barrettes in Ashley's hair? They also came from Gymboree, a simple clip that looks like I put a lot of effort into it. Perfect. I love dressing my children up in bright happy clothing for the Spring and Gymboree was the perfect place to shop for them!

You too can shop the latest styles at Gymboree, enter to win a $50 gift card to Gymboree!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 *Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts April 4, 2014 and ends on April 17, 2014 at 12:01 am EST. Winner will be emailed and has 72 hours to respond before another winner is selected. I was not paid for this giveaway or post. The opinions on this item are 100% mine and may vary from others. The sponsor is responsible for providing the prize. I was sent a product to review for this post.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Corn Lovers Corn Chowder Recipe

For many years, I have been a fan of cookbook author Mollie Katzen. I've had copies of her books The Enchanted Broccoli Forest and The Moosewood Cookbook in my kitchen for ages.

I've always loved her philosophy of using simple but delicious ingredients to create meals to share with family and friends.

So, this is her recipe for Fresh Corn Chowder. If you are a corn lover, I highly recommend you make this and enjoy it on a still-cold Spring evening. I served it with slices of warm, buttered sour dough bread, and it was all simply delicious.

Recipe for Fresh Corn Chowder


1 medium sized potato                                                     5 cups corn (5 cobs, or a 16 oz. bag frozen/
2 1/2 cups water                                                               defrosted)
2-3 tablespoons butter                                                      fresh black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups chopped onion                                                1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon salt                                                           1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 stalk celery, minced                                                      1 cup milk at room temperature
1 small red bell pepper, minced                                       shredded cheddar cheese for topping


Scrub or peel the potato and cut it into small dice. Place it in a small saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender, but not mushy. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a soup pot or Dutch Oven. Add the onion and salt, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring. After about 5 minutes, add celery and keep cooking. About 5 minutes later, add the cooked potatoes with all their liquid, the red bell pepper, corn, black pepper, and herbs. Stir well and cover. Reduce heat and let it cook about 5 minutes more.

Use a blender or food processor to puree about half the solids in some of the soup's own liquid. Return this to the pot, and let it rest until serving time.

Stir in the milk about 10 before serving. Heat the soup gently, don't cook it any further. Serve as soon as it's hot.

Makes 6 servings.



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake

I adore chocolate cake, and this recipe is one of my absolute favorites. Normally, I think a cake tastes better on the first day it's baked, but this one's chocolate intensity is even better on the second day.

This is fancy enough for a holiday, family reunion, or any time you want people to be in awe of your fabulous baking skills. It really is that good.

Recipe for Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake


For the cake:
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon brewed coffee
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted
For the glaze:
 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan and set aside.
Put brewed coffee and cocoa powder in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Remove from the heat and let come to room temperature.
With an electric mixer,  mix together sugar, salt, baking soda, eggs and egg yolk on low speed for about 1 minute.  Add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract and mix on low again for another minute.
Add the flour and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the cooled cocoa mixture and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes.  The batter will be very loose.  Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan about 30 minutes, and then invert onto a cake plate.
To make the glaze, in a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  Add 2 tablespoons of milk and all of the vanilla extract.  Whisk to combine.  Mixture may be thick.  Add milk, a tablespoon at a time, until the glaze is thick but still pourable.
Slowly pour glaze over cake, guiding the glaze with a spatula.
Serves 8-10.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I've made several different kinds of soups this past winter, but this potato broccoli cheese soup is my favorite.

It's such a hearty, delicious, and filling soup that actually tastes even better warmed up the next day. I love getting broccoli into my recipes anyway I can, as it's one of my favorite vegetables, and so good for you.

You can use whatever potatoes you have on hand, and don't even need to peel them. I do recommend using half-and-half for extra richness, but milk will work, too.

Recipe for Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup


1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups cubed, unpeeled potatoes
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups half-and-half (or milk) divided
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


Sauté onion, carrots and celery in a large pot until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add broth, broccoli, potatoes, and seasonings, heat to boiling.
Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, 10-15 minutes. Heat soup to boiling, stir in combined 1 cup half-and-half and flour, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute.
Stir in remaining 2 cups half-and-half, reduce heat to medium, and add cheese stirring until melted.

Makes 6 entrée servings.



Monday, March 17, 2014

Green Olive Dip With Lindsay Olives #sponsored

When I was growing up, I can recall that there was always a bowl of olives on the table for everyone to enjoy. Whether it was a summer barbeque or part of our Thanksgiving appetizers, we always made sure to include Lindsay Olives.

Their great taste inspired me to make this delicious Green Olive Dip. I used Lindsay's Naturals California Green Ripe Olives. These are canned with only water and sea salt, and have a smooth, mellow flavor.

Lindsay Olives has been in business for over 100 years in California. I'm from California, and I love using great products from my home state.

While I always enjoy eating a handful of olives straight from a bowl, there are really many ways to use them in recipes. They enhance pasta, salads, pizzas, and so much more. They can also be used as the bases for fabulous dips, using both black or green olives.

We had some friends over to watch a movie last week, and this Green Olive Dip was so easy to make, and serve.

 The rich buttery green olives were perfect for making this dip, and I included whole wheat tortilla wedges, and a variety of crackers to go along with it.

To give it even more edge, I sprinkled red pepper flakes on top, but this can be optional.

My guests loved it, so did I, and it's a recipe I'll be making again soon. It will be perfect for the summer when I can bring it to picnics or the beach.

Recipe for Lindsay Olive Green Olive Dip


2 6 oz cans of Lindsay Naturals California Green Ripe Olives
1 green chili, chopped
juice of 1 lime
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste
red pepper flakes to sprinkle on top (optional)


Put all ingredients into a blender. Pulse into a rough paste, checking frequently to make sure you don't over blend it.
Put into a bowl and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Serve with warm tortilla wedges or crackers.


*I was provided with products from Lindsay Olives, and all opinions are my own.