Chicken And Dumplings

Autumn is just around the corner, which means among other things it’s time for the Fall Progressive Dinner!  Remember the event from this past summer?  This time, instead of dividing up into different courses, everyone chose to post a favorite comfort food.  Nothing says comfort more than a hearty stew.  I recently made this for Joey when he was sick.  He was on a combination of medications due to his Crohn’s, and his body reacted badly to them.  Chicken and dumplings was one of the only foods that appealed to him at the time.

As always, the Progressive Dinner always comes with a giveaway! [Read more…]

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Desserts In Jars Cookbook Giveaway

desserts in jars

Quick, think of your favorite dessert.

Chances are, you can adapt it to fit in individual portions served in a jar.  That’s the concept behind Shaina Olmanson‘s book, Desserts In Jars.  She even has a chapter on mixes that can be given as gifts.  With the holiday season quickly approaching, those ideas could come in handy.

Today I’m giving away a copy of this beautiful book! [Read more…]

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Heirloom Tomatoes and a Whole Foods Giveaway

I’ve tried to grow my own tomatoes, with very little luck.  Even when starting them from seed, they just wilted, withered, and died in the FL heat.  I think I planted them too late, which meant they struggled to grow during the most sweltering time of the year. If anyone can tell me the correct time I should plant tomatoes in Climate 9, please leave a comment with the answer. I’d love to get better at growing my own food.

Recently, Whole Foods invited me to explore their selection of heirloom tomatoes. [Read more…]

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Taste Of The Nation Orlando 2013


I’ve been wanting to go to Taste Of The Nation for the past few years.  All the proceedings from the event (including a live auction and a silent auction) go to support Share Our Strength, which works to end childhood hunger.  As a teacher, I occasionally have students come up to me to say they’re not feeling well, due to the fact that they haven’t eaten.  A hungry student cannot concentrate. A hungry student cannot learn.  A hungry student is in pain. Looking at the displays, I saw the faces of my students, and wondered who among them struggles with this.

So, when I received a last minute (and I’m talking like, eleventh hour, fifty-ninth minute) invitation to the event, I leaped at the chance, not only to support the No Kid Hungry campaign, but also to sample the offerings from many local restaurants. Thanks, Julie!

Folks, this is one impressive event.  The chefs pull out all the stops. [Read more…]

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Pin To Win, Desserts In Jars and IACP Giveaway

desserts in jars
I’m not a trained chef.  I don’t work in the restaurant or food service industry.  I’m just a home cook with an above average interest in food.  Even so, even I want to attend the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Conference.  I’d love to learn about the upcoming food trends, speak with industry professionals, and learn some “tricks of the trade.”  So I was stoked to find out about this opportunity: [Read more…]

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Ice Cream Sundae Martini

I recently developed a few drink recipes for Epic Vodka.  Of the four flavored vodkas I received, I was most excited about the whipped cream vodka.  A friend said, “I could drink this straight all night,” and I had to agree with her. I immediately [Read more…]

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Virtual Summer Picnic and Flavors of Summer Giveaway (closed)

Virtual picnic logo

I’m participating in a Virtual Summer Picnic this week!  Starting today, a group of bloggers are posting favorite summer/picnic recipes.  The virtual picnic ends on July 3rd, culminating in a giveaway.  Picnics are all about food that is easy to put together, easy to transport (if you’re going to a real location), and sharing it with friends.  Since I consider my readers my “virtual friends,” I’ll be sharing a few recipes this week with you.  The last picnic I went on was last summer when Joey’s family had a reunion.  We spent a very memorable day at my brother-in-law’s cabin on the lake.  Read further for details about the virtual picnic, and for a few pictures of our day at the cabin…


Celebrate Sweet Vidalia Flavors of Summer with the great tastes of fresh Vidalia Onions, Avocados from Mexico, Gourmet Garden Herbs, Johnsonville Italian Sausage, mangos, watermelon and Stemilt Cherries. Great food and good friends make everyday a party to remember so start entertaining and visit for recipes, coupons and entertaining tips.

Start celebrating the Flavors of Summer and enter below for a chance to win 1 of 7 prize packages.  Each prize package includes: a $50 Visa gift card, an “I Love Avocados” t-shirt, the newly released cookbook “Summer Thyme” from blogger Jennifer Dempsey, fresh Vidalia onions, and squeezable herbs from Gourmet Garden.

The prize winners will be announced during our Virtual Picnic PinChatLive on Wednesday July 3rd, 4:30-5:30pm Eastern on The Flavors of Summer Virtual Picnic Pinterest Board. Come to the board for an hour of PinChat Fun and find out if you won. You’ll also see questions pinned to the board. Every time you answer a question found on a pin, you’re entered to win yet another amazing prize. See you on Pinterest! (Note: we will also contact winners by email).

The following bloggers are participating in the Summer Virtual Picnic. Be sure to check their sites for some wonderful recipes!  I’m posting my first recipe later today.

Mother Thyme
Cook the Story
It’s Yummilicious
White Lights on Wednesday
{i love} my disorganized life
Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Sweet Remedy
Big Bear’s Wife
Cravings of a Lunatic
Katie’s Cucina
The Tasty Fork
Scarletta Bakes

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Spicy Marinated Tomatoes

I was invited to participate in a Summer Progressive Dinner, hosted by Kristin of Yellow Bliss Road and Katie of Katie’s Cucina.  Basically, a group of bloggers get together, and each person is responsible for a dish.  When put together, all the dishes make up a complete meal.  I remember going to progressive dinners when I was a kid (the “in person” kind) with my parents.  Usually, we ended up being responsible for dessert.  Not surprising, for people who know me.

For my part, I contributed a side dish.  Summer is all about frozen treats, grilling, and eating lots of fresh vegetables.  We make this dish all the time during the summer, as it is a perfect accompaniment to a hamburger or some grilled meat (like a few of the other dishes in the progressive dinner!)  If you like spicy, these tomatoes are right up your alley.  If you’re not into a lot of heat, I recommend removing the seeds and membranes from the peppers.

adapted from Cooking Light, June 2006

Spicy Marinated Tomatoes

Spicy Marinated Tomatoes


3 c halved cherry or grape tomatoes (about 1 ½ pints)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
½ jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
¼ c white wine vinegar
1 Tbs light brown sugar
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper


  1. Place tomatoes, green onion, garlic, and jalapeno in a bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Pour dressing over the tomato mixture and toss to combine. Chill 1 hour before serving. Tomatoes will get spicier as the salad sits longer.

giveaway graphic

Now, any blogging event wouldn’t be complete without a giveaway. Fill out the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win these three fun, summery prizes:


-a five speed hand blender from KitchenAid.  This blender comes with three blades, perfect for making smoothies, frozen drinks, or pureed soups. Looking for a new drink flavor? Check out this recipe for blended grapefruit limeade, featured on The Kitchenthusiast, KitchenAid’s blog.

– Woot Froot is excited to bring you the ease and convenience of fresh cut peaches and nectarines just in time for summer. Perfect for summer snacking, dishes and drinks – like peach margaritas. Fill out the rafflecopter below for your chance to win this Margaritaville Margarita Maker and get the party started. A $200 value.

-a $200 gift card from World Market.  I love wandering through this store, dreaming of all the cool parties I could throw with the fun items in their aisles.


And here are all the other contributions to the progressive dinner.  I really want to have a get together so I have an excuse to try all these recipes!

summer progressive dinner pinnable image


from left to right:
1. Best Guacamole Ever from White House Black Shutters
2. Melty Caprese Appetizer from Cook the Story
3. Skinny Southwest Chicken Dip from Yellow Bliss Road
4. Blueberry Quinoa Salad from Clean and Scentsible
5. Quinoa and Grape Salad from A Place for Us
6. Spicy Marinated Tomatoes from Kokocooks
Main Course:
7. Grilled Greek Pork Tenderloin from Katie’s Cucina
8. Mama’s Sweet Marinated Chicken from Craft Quickies
9. Mexican Grilled Corn from Nest of Posies
10. Triple Berry Cheesecake from The Lilypad Cottage
11. Mini Berry Pies from A Pumpkin and a Princess
12. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake from Crazy Little Projects
12. Perfect Italian Cream Soda from Ella Claire
13. Mango & Mint Lemonade Chiller from Sweet C’s Designs

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received no compensation for participating in this giveaway.  All opinions are my own.

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Hollandaise Sauce for Brunch Week

Welcome to Brunch Week! This blog event is the brain child of Christine of Cook the Story and Terri of Love and Confections.  Participating bloggers will post brunch ideas all throughout the week.  Check out #BrunchWeek on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest for lots of recipes and ideas.  Each day I’ll post the links from other bloggers participating for the day.

Today’s Brunch Recipes From Participating BrunchWeekers:


Hot Maple Walnut Coffee Float by Coook the Story

Blood Orange Mimosas by Love and Confections

Strawberry Mimosa by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner

Margarita for Mama by poet in the pantry

Candied Bacon Bloody Mary by Sarcastic Cooking


Breakfast Won Ton Cups by Small Wallet Big Appetite

Meat Lover’s Quiche by Savory Sweet Eats

Chorizo and Garlic Frittata by {i love} my disorganized life

Meat, Poultry and Fish

Candied Bacon by Cravings of a Lunatic

Shrimp-Grapefruit Orchid Stirfry by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Savory Treats

Tomato Basil Macarons by Vanilla Lemonade

Breads, Grains, Cereals and Pancake-type Yums

Apple Cinnamon Crepes by Sweet Remedy

Grain-free Apple Walnut Pancakes by Seasonal and Savory


Biscoff Coffee Cake Muffins by White Lights on Wednesday

Bob’s Scottish Oat n’ Walnut Sticky Scones by The Vintage Cook


For my first day of Brunch Week, I decided to tackle the most ubiquitous of brunch accompaniments: Hollandaise sauce.  I’ve been intimidated by this sauce.  I knew that this sauce was indulgent and full of fat.  I was afraid to make it because I didn’t want to know exactly how much fat was in it.  It’s pretty high.  It’s not going to stop me from ordering eggs benedict, but I may save it just for special occasions.

original recipe

Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise Sauce


3 egg yolks
1/8 tsp dry mustard
Pinch salt
pinch white pepper
Pinch paprika
1 Tbs lemon juice, or more to taste
1 stick butter, melted


  1. Place egg yolks, mustard, salt, pepper, and paprika in a medium bowl. Beat with a hand mixer on low. Turn mixer up to medium and slowly drizzle the butter in, mixing until the sauce has thickened. Beat in lemon juice. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Normally, my posts end with the recipe.  But wait!  There’s more.  Best of all, Christine and Terri have lined up an amazing list of sponsors who will be giving away items all week.  We are so grateful for their support.  Prizes include:

Prize #1:

From California Walnuts one lucky winner will receive:

A KitchenAid Stand Mixer and California Walnuts Prize Pack all donated by California Walnuts is ONE of the fabulous prize packs in our #BrunchWeek 2013 giveaway.

A KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer model number: KSM150PSGA. Mixer comes with: 2-piece pouring shield, 5-quart stainless steel bowl, flat beater, dough hook, and wire whip.

A Walnut Prize Pack containing 1lb burlap bag of fresh California Walnuts, 1 portion control tin, 1 heart shaped cookie cutter, 1 flexible cutting mat, 1 mini spatula, 1 chip clip and 1 water pouch. .

Prize #2: (but with lots of winners)

From Lodge Cast Iron one lucky winner will receive:

Win a Lodge Iron Cast Iron Skillet and Silicone Items all donated by Lodge Iron. Just ONE of the fabulous prize sets in our #BrunchWeek 2013 giveaway.

One lucky winner from the rafflecopter below will receive a Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, three silicone pieces (a hot handle holder, a pot holder and a trivet).

In addition, one lucky participant from our TweetChat on Sunday May 5th from 2-3pm Eastern will also win a Lodge Cast Iron Skillet and the three silicone pieces. PLUS five lucky participants will get a set of the three silicone pieces. (Search for hashtag #BrunchWeek to follow along. Use the hashtag in tweets during the chat to enter to win).

AND, everyone who comments in our PinChatLive on Saturday May 11th between 2-3pm Eastern will also be entered to win one prize of a Lodge Cast Iron Skillet and a set of three silicone pieces and 4 prizes that contain three silicone pieces each. (For the PinChatLive go to The BrunchWeek Pinterest Board at 2pm on May 11th and comment on the questions pins there. Refresh your screen often so you don’t miss any new questions).

Prize #3:

From Flavors of Summer one lucky winner will receive:

Win a fabulous $100 Givft Card for Sur la Table and an entertaining prize pack all donated by Flavors of Summer. Just ONE of the fabulous prize sets in our #BrunchWeek 2013 giveaway.

A Flavors of Summer Entertaining Package including (get this!) a $100 gift card to Sur la Table! In addition to the amazing gift card, this entertaining package includes a variety of goodies including cookbooks, kitchen utensils, entertaining partyware like a chip and dip server, beverage container and more. From free products, to fun stuff for decorating – you’ll be able to make the most of your next summer party.

Prize #4:

From Black Gold Farms one lucky winner will receive:

Win a Martha Stewart Collection Kitchen Prize Package all donated by Black Gold Farms. Just ONE of the fabulous prize sets in our #BrunchWeek 2013 giveaway.

A Martha Stewart Collection Kitchen Prize Package including a 3 quart Enameled Cast Iron Casserole, Magnetic Spice Grinders, a Pot Clip, Cheese Grater and a Silicone Head Spatula.

Prize #5:

From the Food and Wine Conference and #SundaySupper:

Win a ticket to the upcoming Food and Wine Conference in Orlando donated by The Food and Wine Conference and #SundaySupper. Just ONE of the fabulous prize sets in our #BrunchWeek 2013 giveaway.

The Food and Wine Conference is being held in Orlando, Florida from July 19-21st at the unbelievably beautiful Rosen Shingle Creek. Speakers include Sara Moulton (of Food Network fame), Michael Green (a true celebrity in the wine and spirits world) and Jaden Hair (cookbook author and creator of Steamy Kitchen). This prize is for a single Full Conference Pass with a value of $250. (Accommodations can be booked at the Rosen Shingle Creek at a highly discounted rate for all conference attendees).

Prize #6:

From Bob’s Red Mill one lucky winner will receive:

Win a Bob's Red Mill Kitchen Prize Pack including a $40 Bob's Red Mill Gift Card. Just ONE of the fabulous prize sets in our #BrunchWeek 2013 giveaway.

A Bob’s Red Mill Kitchen Prize Pack: A beautifully emblazoned Bob’s Red Mill canvas tote bag containing the Bob’s Red Mill Cookbook, assorted Bob’s Red Mill products, a Salter® Baker’s Dream Aquatronic Baking Scale, Norpro® Silicone Heat Resistant Spatula, Best® Standard French Whip and a $40 Bob’s Red Mill Gift Card.

Prize #7:

From Whole Foods Orlando one lucky winner will receive:

Win a Whole Foods Orlando Breakfast in Bed Basket. Just ONE of the fabulous prize sets in our #BrunchWeek 2013 giveaway.

The Whole Foods Orlando Breakfast In Bed Basket: Mixing Bowl, Allegro Organic Breakfast Blend Coffee, Allegro Coffee Mug, Cooking Whisk, Microplane, Delamotte Champagne, 365 Organic Amber Maple Syrup, Whole Pantry Cinnamon Sticks, French Brioche and a $25 Whole Foods Market Gift Card

Prize #8:

From Whole Foods Orlando one lucky winner will receive:

Win a Whole Foods Orlando Flavorful Delights Basket. Just ONE of the fabulous prize sets in our #BrunchWeek 2013 giveaway.

Whole Foods Flavorful Delights Basket: Full of fun items and ingredients to play with in the kitchen: 5 qt Colander,, Servino Homemade Pastas, 365 Organic Balsamic Vinegar, Macadamia Oil, Marmigiano Regiano, Key Lime Savory Oil, Branfords Original Hot Sauce, Cheese Grater, Vosges Black Pearl Bar Chocolate, Vosges Fire Bar Chocolate, R.C. Buck’s Gourmet Rub – Sweet Orange Habanero, Divina Pickles – Sweet Watermelon Rind, Composta Di Fragole – Strawberry Compote with Modena Balsamic Vinegar, Sabatino Tartufi – Truffle and Honey

Prize #9:

From Stonyfield Organic one lucky winner will receive:

Win a Stonyfield Organic Kitchen Prize Pack. Just ONE of the fabulous prize sets in our #BrunchWeek 2013 giveaway.


A Stonyfield Kitchen Prize Pack: A Prize Pack full of yogurt fun From Stonyfield Organic Yogurt is just ONE of the amazing prizes in our #BrunchWeek 2013 giveaway.Preserve Colander, Preserve portable yogurt carrier, Preserve cutting board, Stonyfield cookbook, Stonyfield oven mitt, Travel sandwhich carrier made out of 100% reused plastic bottles, Stonyfield water bottle, Stonyfield tote bag, 10 free cups of Stonyfield Greek.

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