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Showing posts from 2018

Happy 2019!

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Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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Croissant Bread Pudding

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Recipe Courtesy of Ina Garten
Level: Easy
Total: 1 hr 50 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive: 10 min
Cook: 1 hr 30 min
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients
3 extra-large whole eggs
8 extra-large egg yolks
5 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 croissants, preferably stale
1 cup raisins

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla. Set the custard mixture aside. Slice the croissants in half horizontally. In a 10 x 15 x 2 1/2-inch oval baking dish, distribute the bottoms of the sliced croissants, then add the raisins, then the tops of the croissants (brown side up), being sure the raisins are between the layers of croissants or they will burn while baking. Pour the custard over the croissants and allow to soak for 10 minutes, pressing down gently.

Place the pan in a larger one filled with an inch of hot water. Cover the larger pan with aluminum foil, tenting the foil so it doesn't…

Grand Champagne Cocktail

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Recipe Courtesy of Bobby Flay
Level: Easy
Total: 10 min
Prep: 10 min
Yield: 4 drinks

Ingredients
4 shots orange-flavored liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
4 teaspoons honey
4 fresh strawberries, tops trimmed
1 bottle Champagne, well chilled

Special equipment: 4 chilled Champagne flutes

Add the orange-flavored liqueur, honey and strawberries to a food processor and process until smooth. Fill the chilled glasses halfway with the strawberry mixture and then fill the rest of the glass with Champagne.

For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com


Pitcher Of Bloody Marys

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Recipe Courtesy of Tyler Florence
Level: Easy
Total: 15 min
Prep: 15 min
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients
6 limes, juiced
1 tablespoon celery seeds
3 tablespoons grated fresh or prepared horseradish
2 quarts tomato juice, chilled
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups pepper vodka, chilled in the freezer
Celery stalk, for serving
Cucumber spears, for serving
Handful fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions
Combine the lime juice, celery seed, and horseradish in a pitcher. Muddle the mixture with the end of a wooden spoon to blend and break up the celery seeds. Pour in the tomato juice, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce; season with salt and pepper. Stir everything together to combine.

Divide the vodka among 6 tall, chilled glasses filled with ice. Fill the glasses with the Bloody Mary mix, stick in the celery and cucumber and garnish with the cilantro. Give the Bloody Mary a good stir and serve.

For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com


Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Merry Christmas!

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Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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Rooted in Belonging

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I’ve been thinking a lot about a trip I took to Santa Cruz for a writer’s retreat this past September. A beautiful campus nestled in the redwoods is where I set roots for a few days while I worked on my craft. I say that I set roots because my heart and mind wonders back every so often to this beautiful oasis as if it's a part of me—the memories of swimming in the infinity pool surrounded by redwoods, and hiking around the forest in complete silence are incredible. My first memories are of a sense of surrender and inner re-adjustment—all my senses coming alive.

The four-day workshop was a vulnerable time because we all had to share our writings with each other, and for me, the payoff was greater awareness, empathy, self-love, and a sense of belonging to a group outside of my usual tribe. Months later, I find myself trying to cope with the holiday season and wanting to re-connect to the authentic and wholehearted person I was in Santa Cruz—immersed in self-care, gratitude, belonging…

Neapolitan Holiday Cookies

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Recipe courtesy of Valerie Bertinelli
Total: 11 hr
Active: 1 hr
Yield: 7 dozen cookies
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
Cooking spray
8 ounces almond paste
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
20 drops red food coloring
12 drops green food coloring
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/4 cup apricot preserves
6 ounces dark chocolate chips

Directions
Special equipment: 3 quarter-sheet pans or three 13-by-9-by-2-inch jelly roll pans.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 3 quarter-sheet pans (or three 13-by-9-by-2-inch jelly roll pans) with cooking spray. Line each pan with parchment paper and coat the paper with cooking spray as well.

Place the almond paste in the bowl of a stand mixer. Break it up into small pieces with a fork. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and add the butter and sugar to the bowl. Beat the mixture on high speed until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, add the egg yolks, and beat until i…

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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Mexican Christmas Punch -- Ponche Navideño Mexicano

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Recipe courtesy of Mexico In My Kitchen
Servings 12
Author Mely Martinez - México in my kitchen

Ingredients
4 quarts of water 1 gallon
1 large piloncillo cone (or 12 oz. of brown sugar)
3 cinnamon sticks
1 lb Tejocotes*
1½ Lb. guavas about 12 guavas
3/4 cup prunes chopped
1½ cup apples chopped
1 cup pear chopped
½ cup raisins
3 sugar cane sticks, about 5-in. long cut into four pieces each
1 cup of Tamarind pods peeled (or 1 cup of Hibiscus Flowers)***
Rum to taste

Instructions
Place water in a large stockpot.

Add the piloncillo (or brown sugar) and cinnamon to cook for about 15 minutes. If you are using fresh Tejocotes, add them with the piloncillo and cinnamon, since they take longer to soften. 

Add the chopped guavas, apples, and prunes along with the rest of the ingredients like the sugar cane sticks, tamarind pods or hibiscus flowers. If you are using the canned version of the tejocotes, then add them in this step.

Simmer for about 1 hour. Serve hot in mugs, ladling in some of the fruit and adding ru…

Choosing To Do Life Together

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After my parents divorced, holidays skipped by us. When I started college, I found community in my classmates, a few of them became family, and we did life together. We helped each other cope with adulthood, and for me, they enriched my new traditions for the holidays. It was a beautiful entry into being an individual with a tough family dynamic. I made plans with friends to meet up before the holidays and celebrated with gift exchanges and fun meals, but the mood was somewhat somber because the void of a unified family was felt deeply during the holidays. Then, enter my wonderful husband, and later our kids, the holidays were transformed to what I had wished for so long, strong unity. My dad now celebrates the holidays with us, and so does my older sister and youngest brother. My mom and two other siblings are living their lives without contact, and it’s sad but the right thing for all us.

My mom always preached that family had to stick together and be each other’s support system, but…

Loaded Cake Mix Cookies

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Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Cake mix is the secret shortcut to light, fluffy cookies. Crispy cornflakes, pretzels and big chunks of dark chocolate give these an irresistible combination of crunch and gooiness -- and we also added sprinkles, just for fun!

Level: Easy
Total: 50 min(includes cooling time)
Active: 15 min
Yield: about 1 1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients
One 15.25-ounce box yellow cake mix
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups dark chocolate chunks or discs
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
1/2 cup cornflakes
1/2 cup crushed pretzels

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Stir together the cake mix, eggs, butter and 1/4 cup water in a large bowl with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until smooth and combined. Stir in the chocolate and sprinkles until they are completely coated, then gently fold in the cornflakes and pretzels.

Scoop the dough onto the lined baking sheets using a 2-ounce ice …

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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Humor...The Aftermath!

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Recently, author Martha Beck posted a video entitled, “Laughing All the Way: How Dark Humor Helps Us Survive” – a real gift to all of us who have experienced hard times, particularly during this holiday season. The video brought back a memory about our AC/heating-unit disaster that nearly made me lose my mind. A few summers ago, our cooling/heating-unit started to die out. Our AC guy suggested that we replace an expensive part but that our unit was so old that we would only be buying ourselves a few months. He suggested we buy a new unit on our terms before it broke down. We coordinated the removal of the old AC unit from the roof with a crane company. The new one was scheduled to arrive the next day, and the crane would come back to lift it to the roof--it was a bigger production than I imagined! When everything was disconnected, the roof under the unit showed significant damage so we needed to replace that part of our roof before the new AC unit could be brought in. If you’ve ever t…

Creamy Shrimp Scampi Dip

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Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

This rich, garlicky dip caused a feeding frenzy in the Food Network test kitchen. We've taken a beloved shrimp-and-pasta dish and made it into a creamy, crowd-pleasing appetizer. You can make it ahead to take to a nearby potluck, then ask your host if you can borrow some oven space to quickly bake it.

Level: Easy
Total: 1 hr 5 min (includes resting time)
Active: 35 min
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
4 tablespoons plain dried breadcrumbs
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
1 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp, tails discarded, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Slices of crusty bread and/or crackers, for serving

Directions
Pos…

Tex-Mex Chicken Parmesan

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Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Chicken Parmesan just got a Tex-Mex twist. We swapped out all the classic Italian ingredients for tortilla chips, spicy cheese and salsa. But if you truly miss the Parmesan in your Parmesan, then add a sprinkle or two to the finished dish.

Level: Easy
Total: 1 hr 5 min
Active: 40 min

Ingredients
4 cups tortilla chips
Two 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Kosher salt
3 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup canola oil
One 15-ounce jar chunky salsa
One 8-ounce package pepper jack cheese, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (seeds removed for less heat)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the chips in a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground; set aside.

Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally so you have 4 thin chicken cutlets.

Set up a breading station with 3 shallow dishes: Stir together the flour, chili powder and 1/2 te…

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Happy Hanukkah

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Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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Breakfast Macaroni and Cheese with Sausage and Hash Browns

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Recipe Courtesy of Food Network KitchenThe best part of this breakfast-inspired mac and cheese is the hash-brown topping. It couldn't be easier: Just thaw frozen hash browns and toss them with butter so they bake up golden and crispy.

Level: Easy
Total: 1 hr 15 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive: 10 min
Cook: 55 min
Yield: 8 to 12 servings

Ingredients
Kosher salt
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound breakfast sausage, casings removed
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 small green bell peppers, chopped
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces sharp Cheddar, shredded (about 3 cups)
3 ounces Gruyere, shredded (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 cups frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions
Set an oven rack 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until it is al dente, about 6 minutes. Strain, reserving 1 3/…

Marshmallow Dreidels

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The traditional Hanukkah game just got a tasty new twist.

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Photo By: Renee Comet

Level: Easy
Total: 2 hr 15 min(includes freezing and chilling time)
Active: 30 min
Yield: 12 marshmallow dreidels

Ingredients
12 miniature chocolate or cream covered biscuit sticks, such as Pocky midi® (see Cook's Note)
Twelve 1-inch square marshmallows
3/4 cup white candy melts (about 4.5 ounces)
12 milk chocolate kiss-shaped chocolate candies, such as Hershey's KISSES®
1 1/4 cups light blue candy melts (about 7.5 ounces)
1/4 cup white or light blue sanding sugar

Directions
Cut the uncoated part of the biscuit sticks off and discard. Insert the cut-end of the biscuit sticks into the marshmallows, making sure the sticks go almost to the top of the marshmallows. Arrange the marshmallows on to a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Put the white candy melts in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 15 second intervals, stirring, until completely melted, about 1 minute. Spre…

I Love That For You!

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I was shopping at a small store when a baby started screaming loudly and then started wailing, tears flowed, her hair partly covered her face, she completely fell apart. She had the attention of every person at the quaint store! I was having a tough day with a massive list of things to do, Thanksgiving a day away, a friend in the hospital, and my demanding teenagers calling and texting asking for my attention. I looked at the baby’s mom and said I wish I could burst into tears just like the baby to bring relief to my pent-up emotions and feel heard! She was almost in tears herself, so we both smiled in agreement and continued to shop. When I got back to my car, Cyndi Lauper’s song, “Time after Time” started playing on the radio and I burst into tears. I’ve loved that song since I was in middle school and it always reminds me of the simpler days of my younger years. I needed a release and found it in my car while listening to one of my favorite songs! I felt so good after I cried for a…

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of the Day

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Quote of The Day

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Happy Thanksgiving

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Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash

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Recipe Courtesy of Ina Garten
Level: Easy
Total: 1 hr 15 min
Active: 15 min
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients
3 acorn squash, unpeeled, halved through the stem, and seeded
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus extra for serving
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon, for serving

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the squash, cut sides up, on a sheet pan. Place 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup in the cavity of each squash. Brush the cut sides with olive oil and sprinkle the squash with 3 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the squash, until tender when pierced with a small knife.

Place the squash on a serving platter. If the halves are too large for one serving, cut each piece in half through the stem. Drizzle lightly with extra maple syrup, sprinkle with sea salt, and serve hot.

For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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