Sunday, January 25, 2015


Tim and I just returned from an eight day Caribbean cruise.  We enjoy cruising!  With cruising we can visit multiple locations and only pack and unpack once! On this year's cruise, we enjoyed 3 relaxing days at sea, two of which were perfect deck weather.  The third day, not so much, no breeze and HOT!  We visited St. Barts, St. Croix, San Juan and the cruise line's island of Labadee.  We met Rick and Nancy, a wonderful couple from Canada.  We enjoyed touring and dining with them most of the week.  We plan to keep in touch and hopefully travel to visit them in Canada sometime in the future. 

On our sea day in St. Barts we did something we never do when traveling outside the US .... we rented a car.  St. Barts is very expensive, taxis are costly.  We decided to make the most of our day and take the plunge and rent a car.  With Tim as the driver and Rick as the navigator, we set out to explore the island.  We'd read about the beaches and were trying, with a not so great map, to find Marigot beach.  We never did but we did find Petite de Cul de Sac beach.  Amazing, untouched beauty. 

We're back refreshed and ready to head back to the grind tomorrow, looking forward to when will do this again next year!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pear Cranberry Crisp

  My son Justin and his girlfriend Lily sent us a beautiful box of goodies for the holidays.  One of the boxes contained the most beautiful pears.  Desserts are one of my favorite ways to use pears.  They're flavor is so delicious and not too sweet.  Combined with cranberries this was a tasty holiday dessert.



Pear Cranberry Crisp


  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 8 ripe pears (about 2 1/4 pounds), cored and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • Slightly rounded 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • Crème fraîche or whipped cream to serve


  1. 1
    Preheat the oven to 375°. Toss the cranberries, pears, vanilla, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar together in a bowl with 1/4 cup water.
  2. 2
    In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Drizzle in the butter and stir with a fork until the mixture is crumbly and all the flour is incorporated. Do not allow the mixture to come together into a ball.
  3. 3
    Spread the fruit in a 9x13 baking dish (or in eight 8-ounce ramekins). Use your fingers to sprinkle the crumb topping over the fruit, breaking up any large crumbs (crumbs larger than 1 inch will not cook through). Bake until the filling is bubbling and the topping is browned, about 40 minutes. The juices should bubble thickly; otherwise the fruit will be soggy. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature with crème fraîche or whipped cream.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Butter Dips

I love biscuits or all things bread.  I'm always disappointed when I go out to dinner and they don't serve bread before dinner.  That said, I'm sorry I tried this recipe.  I think I pinned it about a year ago and just tried it for Christmas dinner.  These are delicious and so easy.  No rolling, no cutting, just whip up the dough and press it into a baking pan with melted butter in the bottom.  Perfect for Sunday dinner or breakfast!

Butter Dips

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2/3 - 1 cup buttermilk or milk (I used skim milk)

Heat the oven to 450°F.   Cut the butter into pieces and place them in a 8-inch square microwave safe baking dish. Put the dish in the microwave and melt the butter.  You can also put the baking dish in the oven to melt the butter as it pre-heats.  (The dish in the microwave is just faster.)

While the butter is melting, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Stir in 2/3 cup buttermilk; continue to add more buttermilk until a loose dough forms. (I used about 2-3 Tbsp more than the 2/3 cup)

Remove baking dish from the microwave/oven and press biscuit dough in the pan over the melted butter  (It helps to put a little flour on top of the dough or your fingers). Using a knife, cut the biscuits into 12 squares. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Drunken Pumpkin Bread

I make pumpkin bread every year for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  It reminds me of my mom, making it was one of her holiday traditions.  Normally I make her recipe but this year, I opted for something a little different.  With dried cranberries that needed to be used up, this was the perfect recipe to try!  I was a little tentative, spiced rum?  I'm so glad I gave this recipe a try, this bread is delicious.  There's a nice hint of spice and a deep pumpkin flavor. I used my mini loaf pan,  perfect for Christmas giving!

Drunken Pumpkin Bread

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup spiced rum
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  1. Mix together wet ingredients in mixer bowl.
  2. Add sugars, baking soda, salt, and spices and mix thoroughly.
  3. Mix in flour 1 cup at a time until thoroughly blended.
  4. Stir in raisins.
  5. Divide batter equally into 2 greased 9-inch loaf pans.
  6. Bake at 350F for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Cool before slicing.
Makes 2 loaves.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Brownie and Oreo Trifle

 There's a chain of recipes on my blog right now, using leftovers from previous blogged recipes!  I made brownies to use for these cookies and had leftovers.  What to do with the leftover brownies?  With lots of holiday cookies in the house, I needed to find something to do with them besides eat them.  I also had some Trader Joe Joe Joe cookies on hand.  If you haven't had them, they're like an Oreo, only peppermint.  Sounds like a perfect combination for a trifle.  Trifles are an easy but great dessert for a dinner party!  Instead of making them in a trifle dish, I made mine in individual glasses. 

Brownie and Oreo Hot Fudge Trifle
Yield: Serves 12-14
  • 9X13 pan of brownies, cut into small cubes (see note - you only will use about 3/4 of the pan of brownies)
  • Cream Cheese Whipped Cream:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, light or regular, softened
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Oreos and Hot Fudge:
  • 25 mint Oreos, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup fudge sauce, warmed slightly
  1. For the whipped cream, in a large bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese with about 1/2 cup of the whipping cream until the mixture is smooth. Add the powdered sugar and the remainder of the whipping cream gradually. Mix on high speed until the cream is whipped and the mixture is very thick and creamy.
  2. In a glass trifle dish (or large glass bowl), place in 1/3 of the brownies then 1/3 of the whipped cream, spreading evenly to the edges. Next sprinkle in a little more than 1/3 of the Oreos (about 10 chopped) and finally drizzle with 1/3 of the hot fudge sauce.
  3. Repeat that same layering process two more times
  4. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Thursday, January 1, 2015