Booberry! No, Lemon! No, Booberry! No, Lemon! MOMMA!!!!

Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Cake

This is what you hear when you ask your kids what kind of quick bread or pound cake you should make today. Our “boo” (Joshie to the uninitiated) wanted “booberry”). On a side note, my husband started calling Josh Boo when he was but a wee infant and the nick name just kind of stuck. Now he is Boo to practically everyone. We have half joked that when he gets to school age and the teacher asks his name, his response will be “Boo Aaron Brand!” and on his wedding day, the pastor will be asking his bride if she takes “Boo” to be her husband. Yes, we’re a strange strange family. I somehow doubt this comes as much of a surprise.

Moving on… Boo wanted “booberry cake”, Jordan (Zach was still asleep…at noon. Ahhh, the life of a teen on Summer vacation from school) wanted lemon. So what was a mother to do? I did NOT want to make one of each… too expensive and results in too much in the way of sweets in the house. Nor did I want to disappoint either boy.

So I remembered the recipe I had recently printed out for Ina Gartens Lemon Yogurt Cake. I’ve said before and I’m sure I’ll say again; you can never go wrong with Ina’s recipes. The woman is a cooking goddess. I have another one…or maybe two… might be three… of her recipes waiting to try after payday. With this recipe, I decided I could make both boys happy. I simply made the cake as written but adding about 2 cups of blueberries to the batter just before pouring it into the pan. On a side note, you ever make something while thinking to yourself what a cooking goddess/god YOU are only to find out after the fact that 350,000 have done the almost exact same thing before you did? Rather disheartening to ones cooking goddess dreams isn’t it? It’s like this big “well crap, I invented this darn it! I did, I did, I didddddd!!!” Sorry. I’m done now. 😛 Continue reading

Change Is Good??




Alternately titled “Eating My Words” 😛

More than once in past posts, I have mentioned various foods I don’t like. Liver, Hazelnuts, peanut butter (well, peanut butter is a sometimes thing in the occasional PB&J sandwich but not the great love that I know it is of many bloggers *suddenly hears a ghostly voice saying “Get me a beer and a sammich, bi***!”).

Most the these hates are come by honestly and not just the odd prejudice. Peanut butter is something I didn’t really even care for as a kid; even the smell bugged me. Liver…well, I was brought up when the mothers of our generation were still doing the “you will sit there at that table until you eat every bite of your food” so many was the time I found myself gagging down cold liver *shudders*. As for hazelnuts, I was blessed to be able to live in Germany for 3 years during the time my ex husband was stationed there and it seemed like every….single….piece….of….chocolate…was infused with either a hazelnut paste or just the flavor. I grew to hate hazelnuts lol.

This led to me not really able to get into the current Nutella craze. You know what I mean…. every day you can come across 25 blogs sporting nutella recipes 😛

But you know how your tastes change over time? Well, one fairly recent day, I was in the store and saw one of those nutella snack packs with the little breadsticks and bought it on a whim as my husband looked at me as though I had lost it because he knows I hate the stuff. What can I say? I was shopping while hungry. Liver probably would have looked ok. I opened it for a snack later that night and tentatively took a taste. And fell in nutella love. And then had myself voluntarily committed because I hate hazelnuts. Now, mind you, it’s not something I eat every day and it’s never going to be on my top ten list of favorites but I do enjoy the snack packs now and a periodic spoonful of nutella.

So today I had an idea. I was going to make raspberry muffins and then thought to myself “Self… you’re freaking boring” So I thought I’d add chocolate. Then myself said to…well, myself… “self, this is looking better but you’re still not quite there. Try again”. At that point, I slapped myself around a few times to shut me up because it was getting a bit freaky in my head what with myself talking to myself. After a few slaps, the idea to put nutella in the muffins came to mind. I blame the temporary insanity on the slaps…and copious amounts of caffeine…and genetics. Continue reading

I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing

You know you want this....

Anyone else remember the Coke commercial that had that song in it? How many of you can still sing it word for word? Lol. As advertising goes, that one was classic.


I have been a fan of Coca-Cola for just about my whole life. Oh yeah, I cheated every once in a while and tried “that other brand” but I always came back to Coke. It was always a very brief, based on desperation sort of flirtation. The other colas seriously don’t measure up for me. I remember one day, my brother Steve and I were downtown (from Chicago originally remember) and there was a stand set up to do blind taste tests of Coke and ahem… THAT brand. We both tried it and Coke won with no problem.

So when Kara from Coca-Cola contacted me a while back and asked me if I would like to recreate one of their delicious chef recipes that they have up on
My Coke Rewards , I was totally thrilled. I had seen many recipes over the years using Coke as an ingredient, but to be honest, the idea always seemed strange to me. Not anymore. I won’t say that I will suddenly have up 400 recipes utilizing Coke, but you’d darn well better believe that I will recommend trying it in this one. Even though I put my own twist on this recipe, Chef G. Garvin is still my new hero when it comes to pork tenderloin.

So what have I made you ask? The original recipe was Pork Loin With Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce. That sounded good…all the ingredients (besides the Coke) were things I used in cooking anyway but I wanted to spin this a bit differently. And oh my, was this delicious. The first words out of my husbands mouth were “oh sh**, this is good!”. Compliments galore indeed:-P if you are a meat eater, you’ll love this. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, still try the BBQ sauce from this recipe. It is beyond amazing. Sweet, spicy, fruity, a little teeny bit tart. You can find the original recipe from Chef Garvin at the above link. Mine is different but the integrity of the original recipe is still the same. I added some pineapple chunks, some curry paste, used a mix of pineapple and orange juice and subbed red pepper flakes for the jalapenos and I seasoned the pork itself differently. So try his if that tickles your taste buds, mine if you want the spin off 🙂 His is Happy Days, mine is Laverne and Shirley 😛

Pork Loin With Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce

  • 2 1 pound trimmed pork tenderloins (mine were closer to 1.5 lbs each)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt free Cajun seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce-
  • 2 tbsps canola oil
  • 2 tbsps minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • 3 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup orange-pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup Coca-Cola
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 cup pineapple tidbits
  • To Serve-
  • Good quality hamburger buns
  • sliced sweet onion
  • sliced tomato
  • romaine lettuce
  1. Start by mixing all the seasoning for the pork. Rub the pork well with some olive oil then rub it all over with the seasoning mix.
  2. C’mon… rub better than that. Get your hands dirty…
  3. Place on a medium hot grill and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the temp registers at about 135 degrees. At that point, start basting with the bbq sauce, rotating the meat to help caramelize the sauce and make it stick. Cook until the meat reaches an internal temp of 145 degrees, then remove from the grill and set aside to rest before slicing.
  4. The original recipe just has this being served with sauce on it and sauce on the side. I went a step further, sliced this up and served it on buns. It is oh so tender, oh so flavor filled
  5. For the BBQ Sauce-
  6. Add the canola oil to a medium saucepan. Add in the garlic, onions, shallots and curry paste. Saute until the onions are softened and tender.
  7. Add in the remaining ingredients except for the pineapple chunks. Simmer over medium low heat for about 20 minutes. Add in the pineapple pieces and simmer for another ten minutes, stirring frequently

Compensation was provided by Coca-Cola, but Coca-Cola is not a sponsor, administrator, or involved in any other way with this post. All opinions expressed are my own and not those of Coca-Cola.

We Gotseses TREES!!!

Soft Frosted Orange Cookies

Some of you may remember that late last year my husband and I bought a house and land. We’re in our late 40’s and this is the first time (for all intents and purposes) that we’ve owned a home, so we’re loving it. You can see a photo of the house here . Is it fancy? Not in the least. Is it new? Nope; about 13 years old. But it’s ours and it came with ten acres of land; 3 cleared and 7 wooded which was one of the major reasons we wanted it.

So this Spring we’re having fun doing a lot of planting. My husband tilled up a large area for us to have as a garden and we’re planting trees. So far we have two different types of apple trees, 2 fig trees, a peach tree and a nectarine tree. I want to get a couple more apple trees, one more peach tree as well as 2 or so pear trees, some cherry trees and some nut trees. It’s hard to describe how it feels to see this house becoming OUR dream… OUR future. It’s pretty darn cool.

Unfortunately, we live too far north for citrus trees though I do eventually want to get some dwarf citrus trees to pot, leave out in Summer and bring in during the cold seasons. If anyone has those and has any recommendations for a good place to buy them, please let me know 🙂

But for now, when I want a citrus dessert, I have to do what those of us not in very sunny climes have to do…. go to the store and buy some fruit.

I wanted cookies recently but not chocolate ones. I know I know… close your mouth and stop looking so amazed. There IS life beyond chocolate. Not always a good life, but life nonetheless. I say this as I am nibbling on a Scharffen Berger Milk Chocolate Bar I splurged on. Go figure. Continue reading

Chili Today Hot Tamale

Lamb Chili. It's not baaaaaaddddd (hehe. I slay me)

C’mon, you know that old joke. You MUST know that old joke. You’re five years old (well, not now but think back that far which for some of you wasn’t long ago and for others (like me) was so far back that you recall riding on the backs of dinosaurs) and you go up to someone and ask them what the weather is like. They say “I don’t know; what’s the weather like?” You then reply, with all the wit your five year old sense of humor can muster, “It’s chili today and hot tamale!!!”. You then proceed to roll on the floor laughing so hard that you wet yourself and get put in the corner for an hour. Ok, so maybe that last part was just me. But it was funny darn it!!! Funny I say!!! Totally pee worthy.

Moving on 😛 I know some of you (though very few at this point) are still enjoying cool, if not actually cold, weather. And even if you’re not, if you’re anything like me, you agree with the idea that you do NOT have to save chili for Fall and Winter. I said that same thing when I put together
This Chili Recipe Here which is actually my all time favorite non beef chili. Go ahead; check it out. I’ll be here when you get back.

You back now? Didn’t that one look yummy?! It is; trust me. But the one I’m posting now could easily vie with it for first place on favorite non beef chili. This uses lamb, which I love enough that when I saw this recipe online (for the life of me, I’m not sure where I found it and the paper I have it on doesn’t have a web site listed and there are 9 gazillion variations of this so I’m not sure which I changed used.) I knew I had to try it. I’m one of those people that when I am eating a specific meat (or sweet for that matter) THAT’S my favorite. Roast chicken? Favorite. Replace it with roast duck? Favorite. Put a steak in front of me? Favorite. Lamb? Yep… favorite. You get my point. This chili is now my favorite! 😛 Continue reading

Rumors Of My Death Yada Yada Yada

I’m fairly sure no one really missed me or even noticed that I hadn’t posted in a couple of weeks *sobs dejectedly and hides under the bed* but just in case…. I’M NOT DEAD!!!! Just thought I’d mention that in case you weren’t sure if I was dead or not when you saw a post from me.

*Scratches head, looks confuzzled, starts to speak and gives up*

Seriously though (who am I fooling with the word ‘seriously” in my blog? Please raise your hand so that we can all laugh at you), I AM back. Can I promise I won’t disappear again? No. I may get hit by a falling space satellite tomorrow. I could contract Typhoid. I could get eaten by an enraged chicken. You never know.

Or I could just need a break again and not be the type to try to get whining attention by writing a post saying “I must leave *insert heavy sigh* because life is too hard *insert more sighs* and I need to lie in my bed, watch bad reality shows and eat Cheetos *sigh more and look downtrodden* and then expect 500 people to comment telling me to go away and come back when I’m refreshed. I prefer to just go away, come back when I’m refreshed and giggle maniacally knowing that maybe one or two of you were wondering where I had gone. I DID need to go away though. For reasons that are probably obvious if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I just needed some down time… physically, emotionally, mentally. But I’m back, I’m raring to go and I MISSED ALL OF YOU!!! *Spreads hugs, kisses and Twinkies everywhere*

And I like to think I have come back with a bang. Berries are getting a bit less expensive as the year progresses (meaning I didn’t have to sell the kids to buy some berries) and if you’ve read my blog, you know I love berries. During the Summer, I tend to exist on fresh blueberries and raspberries *”Violet! You’re turning Violet, Violet!!” (who knows what that’s from? Huh huh huh?)

So what I have for you today *uses my professional voice* is pretty darn yummy. It’s also pretty darn rich so plan to have this after a light meal, not, say, a pork roast or after going to a Chinese buffet (am I the only one who eats like a pig at those?) . I made a parfait that layers a rich white chocolate/almond pudding with fresh berries. I originally started out with a cake that had a white chocolate/almond filling and berries on top and it morphed into this lol.

This is fairly easy. You’re just making a pastry cream, lightening it up into a pudding type mixture, layering it with berries and there ya go… bobs your uncle (what the heck does that phrase MEAN anyway!?)

Berry & White Chocolate/Almond Parfait

  • 1 cup half and half or light cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Scant 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup almond paste, crumbled
  • 6 ounces good quality white chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 3 cup assorted berries
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  1. Pour half and half into a saucepan. Add vanilla extract and bring cream to a gentle simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and flour.
  3. Whisk in the eggs, then the warm half and half. Pour this back into the saucepan.
  4. Add the almond paste and whisk over medium heat until almond paste dissolves and pudding boils, about ten minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and add the white chocolate. Let sit for about 3 minutes, then stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  6. Put plastic wrap over pudding and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours.
  7. When cold, fold in the heavy cream. Cover again and chill for about another 3 hours.
  8. When ready to serve, put the preserves in a small bowl and microwave until melted, about 25 seconds.
  9. Fold gently into the berries in a medium bowl.
  10. Make a layer of the pudding, a layer of berries, another layer of pudding and top with more berries. Serve. Drool. Eat too much.