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Showing posts from March, 2018

Quote of the Day

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Banana Crunch Muffins

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Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
Total: 45 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 25 min
Yield: 18 large muffins
Level: Easy

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)
1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)
1 cup small-diced walnuts
1 cup granola
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Dried banana chips, granola, or shredded coconut, optional

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 18 large muffin cups with paper liners. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the melted butter and blend. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well. Don't over-mix.

Fold the diced bananas, walnuts, granola, and coconut into the batter…

Robin's Egg Easter Basket Cupcake

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 15 min
Prep: 8 min
Inactive: 7 min
Yield: 1 cupcake
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 vanilla cupcake, recipe follows
Basic Glaze Icing, tinted light blue
Green coconut grass
3 large (about 3/4 to 1-inch) pastel malted milk eggs

Vanilla Cupcake:
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup water
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt

Basic Glaze Icing:
3 (1 pound boxes) confectioners' sugar
1 cup water
5 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Food coloring, as desired (see suggested colors below)

Directions
Dip cupcake top into the icing; let excess to drip back into bowl. Place cupcake on a rack over paper towels to catch any drips. Top with a small mound coconut grass. Place malted milk eggs on top.

Vanilla Cupcake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup cupcake ti…

Passover Cobbler

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Recipe courtesy ofIna Pinkney
Ingredients 3 large eggs 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup kosher for Passover vegetable oil 3/4 cup matzo meal
1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoon potato starch 6 to 8 cups peeled and sliced fruit, like apples, pears, and strawberries 1/8 cup cinnamon sugar
Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9 by 9-inch square baking pan.

Beat eggs with sugar until well blended. Add the oil, matzo meal, potato starch, salt and blend well.

Put all the fruit in the pan and sprinkle with most of the cinnamon sugar, reserving a little for the top. Spoon the batter over the fruit, covering as much of the fruit as you can. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.

Bake until the topping is set and just turning tan, about 45 minutes. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
For more recipes visit www.foodnetwork.com

I Triple Love NYC!

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I was in New York City last week, between the 3rd and 4th Nor'Easter storms! It was cold but nevertheless beautiful, and glistening with its infectious energy. Every every trip to NYC has been for business but not this time. I finally got put on my tourist hat on and explore the city. The freedom to roam around was delightful! I shopped, dinned, and visited as many places as I could. 

The observation deck at One World Trade Center took my breath away. We were shown a short presentation when we arrived at the top floor, and then the curtains were quickly lifted to reveal the breathtaking views of Manhattan! The sight made me whimper. The city vibrates with the energy of the hustle and bustle, even from the 104th floor. I could see Lady Liberty, bridges, and the entire island. The 360-degree views were amazing.

I had to stop to take a picture with Fearless Girl, the bronze statue, which appeared overnight in front of Wall Street's iconic "Charging Bull" a year ago. I lov…

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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Snowy Pink Coconut Bundt Cake

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Feeling nostalgic for the pink Snowball snack cake? Try our giant version -- a moist chocolate cake covered in sweet marshmallow topping and covered with bright pink coconut.

Total: 2 hr 30 min
Active: 1 hr
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
Cake and Filling:
Nonstick cooking spray
One 15.25-ounce box devil's food cake mix (plus required ingredients)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup marshmallow creme
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Topping:
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Pink gel food coloring
One .25-ounce envelope unflavored gelatin (2 1/2 teaspoons)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions
Special equipment: a 12-cup Bundt pan, a skewer, a piping bag fitted with a long thin round tip, a candy thermometer and a small offset spatula.

For the cake and filling:
Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray. Prepare and bake the dev…

Real Meatballs and Spaghetti

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Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
Total: 2 hr
Prep: 40 min
Cook: 1 hr 20 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
For the meatballs:
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:
1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan

Directions
Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, sa…

Baked Bean Casserole

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Recipe courtesy of Trisha Yearwood
Total: 1 hr 20 min
Active: 25 min
Yield: 12 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
Cooking spray
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
Two 16-ounce cans pork and beans
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar
6 to 8 slices bacon, cut into pieces and cooked

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9- by 13- by 2-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a large saucepan, brown the ground beef, onions and bell peppers. Add the pork and beans, barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and brown sugar to the mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the bacon over the top of the casserole. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 10 minu…

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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St. Patrick's Day BestieGram

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Happy St. Patrick's Day! Download (right-click or control-click and save linked file) this BestieGram for all of your LuckyBesties.

When Our Stories Lack Information...

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We’re wired for story and in the absence of data we will rely on confabulations and conspiracies.” Brené Brown

The impact of a large group of people reacting based on emotion—fear, greed, and desperation can hurt the lives of many people. This past Saturday afternoon, the lives of many were impacted by a small group of people who panicked and started a stampede of sorts at the shopping mall. I was shopping on the first floor of the mall when a large group of people started running in my direction. Voices were drowned by loud cries and screams. The room quickly filled with the energy of fear, terror, and desperation to get out of the building. I watched as the herd of people approached me, I asked what was going on, and a man replied, “Someone is shooting.” I joined in and ran out nearby doors and onto an alley that led to the street. People started to run across the street without waiting for cars to stop, they dodged the cars as stunned drivers tried to avoid hitting them. Sirens wer…

Shepherd's Pie Potato Bowls

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Don't be fooled. These aren't ordinary twice-baked potatoes: beneath the golden mashed potato top is a rich beef and vegetable filling. And unlike your casserole dish, the potato bowls are also edible.
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Total: 55 min
Active: 40 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
4 large russet potatoes (about 3 pounds)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter plus 1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sour cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1 small carrot, chopped
12 ounces ground beef chuck
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed

Directions
Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and brush them with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Put on a microwave-safe plate and microwave, flipping halfway, until fork tender, about 20 minutes. (Alternately, bake in the oven at 400 degrees F on a baking sheet until cooked through and fork tender, about…

Easter Flower Cupcake

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 27 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive: 12 min
Yield: 1 cupcake
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 Vanilla Cupcake, recipe follows
2 to for 4 tablespoons White Fluff Frosting, recipe follows
Pink and yellow sanding sugar
5 pink candied Jordan almonds*
1 red jujube
1 piece green fruit-by-the-foot

Vanilla Cupcakes:
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup water
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt

Fluff Frosting:
1/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
5 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
Pinch fine salt

Directions
Frost the cupcake. Top with pink sanding sugar. Place Jordan almonds on top in a flower petal pattern. Press a jujube candy in the center of the flower. Cut the fruit-by-the- foot to make the flower stem, press onto the cake.

V…

Bunny Butt Doughnut

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Here's an easy and adorable way to dress up plain cake doughnuts for Easter that requires no special tools or techniques. It's best to start with non-sugared plain doughnuts so all of the bunny parts stick.
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Total: 5 min
Active: 5 min
Yield: 1 serving
Level: Easy

Directions
Snip the ends from 1 marshmallow to reveal the sticky insides, then snip the marshmallow in half crosswise so both sides are sticky. Pull each piece into an oval shape for the foot pads of the bunny. Press 1 small pink candy (such as Smarties) on the top of each foot pad, then stick 3 pink confetti sprinkles at the bottom of each. Use marshmallow fluff to stick the feet to the top of 1 plain cake doughnut. Dust the doughnut with confectioners' sugar, brushing off the feet so the pink is visible. Coat the top and sides of 1 marshmallow with marshmallow fluff using a butter knife, then roll in sweetened flaked coconut. Press the coconut to adhere. Stick the marshmallow in t…

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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Keeping Historical Perspective...

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The newsflash alerts on my phone, social media, and all media blast stories about how bad things are in the US and around the world—this constant barrage of bad news causes sadness, anxiety and wanting to constantly yell out, “Crap! What now?” When I don’t read or hear about it, a friend will text me asking if I’ve heard (insert the tragedy or travesty.) I hit my maximum of processing sad and bad events on the news yesterday. I took a few hours of my day to surround myself with lightness. I read funny posts that I normally scroll through without reading and drove around dropping off and picking up my kids while listening to songs that I love and make me happy.

I went through saved podcasts, inspirational posts, and videos that I always mean to finish reading or watch but never get around to them. I didn’t realize how down I’d been feeling the past few days until the fog broke hours after my self-care session! During the news sabbatical, I ran into this post about self-care during tro…

Bunny Butt Marshmallow Pops

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
These cute bunnies are so easy to put together. They make a fun party favor or Easter-basket treat when wrapped in clear cellophane bags and tied with a pastel ribbon.

Total: 30 min
Active: 10 min
Yield: 12 pops
Level: Easy

Directions
Special equipment: 12 lollipop sticks

Line a baking sheet with parchment, Put 4 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips or wafers and 2 teaspoons shortening or coconut oil in a glass bowl and melt at 50 percent power in a microwave at 30 seconds intervals, stirring after each, until melted, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Stick 12 yellow marshmallow bunnies (such as Peeps) onto 12 lollipop sticks. Dip the bunnies, one at a time, in the chocolate coating, spreading with a small spatula and tapping off the excess on the side of the bowl. Set the bunnies on the parchment-lined baking sheet and add halved mini marshmallows for tails. Refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes.

Bunny face variation: Instead of the tail, add 2 small edible candy …

Chicken Enchilasagna

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Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total: 55 min
Active: 20 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cups part-skim ricotta
3 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
One 14-ounce can green enchilada sauce
One 14-ounce can red enchilada sauce
11 cooked lasagna noodles, cooled
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. Mix together the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with half the spice mix. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook, flipping once, until done in the middle, about 9 minutes total. Set aside to cool, then shred.

In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, Monterey Jack, parsley and the rest of the spice mix.

In a lasagna pan, pour in a little of bo…

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

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Recipe courtesy of Valerie Bertinelli
Total: 1 hr
Active: 40 min
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
1 small head cauliflower, chopped (5 to 6 cups)
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
1 1/2 cups shredded low-moisture mozzarella
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Directions
Special equipment: a pizza stone and peel or two rimless baking sheets

Place a pizza stone or rimless baking sheet in the oven; preheat to 475 degrees F.

Add the cauliflower to a food processor; pulse until finely ground, about the consistency of couscous. Pour the cauliflower onto a clean kitchen towel (I like flour sack towels for this) and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

To a large bowl, add the cauliflower, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, some black pepper and the egg. Mix until the mixture holds together when pinched.

Line a pizza peel or a second rimless baking sheet w…

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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Our Shared Connection...

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On a scorching summer day about ten years ago, I stopped at a convenience store in Santa Monica to buy a bottle of water. At that time, I was in the area about once a week and would stop in to buy water every time. After my first visit, I was convinced that I am somehow connected to the sweet woman behind the counter because we embrace and smile ear-to-ear each time we see each other. The beautiful ocean breeze, waves crashing in, seeing my lovely friend behind the counter, and my cold bottle of water make my forty-five-minute pilgrimage to Santa Monica even better.

She’s always really busy at the store so we’ve never had the chance to share a lot about of lives. Then, this past week, I was in Santa Monica for a quick hour and stopped in to say hello to my friend. She saw me, smiled, and gave me a huge hug from behind the counter and said, “I’m moving to Arizona so I won’t see you again!” All I heard was, “I’m never going to see you again!” It was our final goodbye and I could have mis…

Matzo Nachos

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Lotsa Matzo: Fun Recipes for Passover. What to do when life gives you unleavened bread.
Recipe courtesy of FoodNetwork
Break matzo into chip-sized pieces. Top with a blend of shredded Mexican cheeses, scallions and pickled chiles (or any of your favorite nacho toppings), then bake at 400 degrees F for 2 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts.

For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com