Orange Marmalade/ Brown Sugar Glazed Ham


Orange Marmalade-Brown Sugar Ham

Orange Marmalade-Brown Sugar Ham

I remember Easter when I was a kid. Our family wasn’t particularly religious when I was young. Easter consisted of an Easter basket from my mother, a bigger one from my father (they divorced when I was 5) and enough candy and chocolate to feed a small third world country. Then my mother made ham for dinner and that was that. Easter was over and all that was left was some hard boiled eggs that would rot in the fridge and be used later to bury in the back yard with threats of digging them up later and throwing them at people. We never did of course. I like to think that somewhere on the South Side of Chicago, there are pretty eggs buried that I could still go back and throw at my mean people… that being anyone who doesn’t like chocolate, hot tea, liverwurst and reruns of Roseanne or M*AS*H.

When I got a little older (ten I believe), we joined a Lutheran church after one of our many moves. The reason was that we could go to the school there free if we were members of the church. All in all, the three years I went to that school were the best school years I had.  I loved going to church on Sunday mornings. I loved the hymns (“He’s Alive”, “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today” are still my favorites.), I loved the feeling of family and I loved learning about God. I don’t talk about my faith much on my blog or here but it’s a large part of me.

I also love the food on Easter. I’m not a big ham person normally. But I love Cumberland Gap Hams . They aren’t as salty as most hams and don’t seem as fatty either. I usually make it the typical way, with a brown sugar and pineapple glaze. But years ago I found this recipe for a ham that was different enough to be intriguing and I held on to it wanting to make it someday. Well, someday happened. And this is one awesome ham. Does it dance for you, cook itself and clean your kitchen after you finish carving it? No. Unfortunately. But it’s just different enough with the glaze to make you keep going back to snitch another piece… and another…and another. And it doesn’t get any easier than this. There is no boiling up a glaze, basting every three minutes, blah blah blah. You stick it in a pan, stick cloves in it (I actually changed that up. I’ll explain down there), put it in the oven, brush with the glaze periodically and Bobs your uncle. Ok, maybe Bob won’t be your uncle. Maybe you have an Uncle Harold or an Uncle Bozo or that crazy uncle that no one mentions except in a whisper. But Bob will WANT to be your uncle if you make him this ham. So go… shoo… buy a ham. Make this on Easter. Or tomorrow. Or next week. Or Christmas. Or for Uncle Bobs birthday.

Orange Marmalade/Brown Sugar Ham

  • 1 12 to 17 pound smoked bone in ham
  • 1 18 ounce jar orange marmalade
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard (I actually used whole grain mustard. I like the texture)
  • 1 1/2 cups packs dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves (I subbed 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves right in the glaze. Nothin’ worse than accidentally biting into a whole clove.)
  1. Preheat oven to 300. Line a heavy roasting pan with a thick layer of heavy duty foil. Trust me on this. Only thing worse than biting into a whole clove is trying t wash a pan that has a glaze from ham cooked onto it.
  2. Trim any excess fat off of the ham. Or leave it you have people like my son who like it.
  3. Place ham, fat side up, in the prepared pan. Cut shallow marks across the ham in a diamond pattern and insert a clove into every diamond. Or omit that step and just do the ground cloves in the glaze.
  4. Pour 1/2 cup of water into the pan. Roast ham at 300 degrees for 2 hours if a smaller ham and 2 3/4 hours if on the upper part of that weight scale.
  5. Take ham out, brush with some of the glaze and return to oven. Increase oven temp to 350 degrees. Continue cooking for about another hour and a half to two hours or until ham reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees, brushing with the glaze about 3 to 4 more times.
  6. Transfer ham to a serving platter and let rest for about 30 minutes before slicing.

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Extra Rich Corn Muffins With Homemade Honey Butter




I think I’m completely incapable of making a recipe that is 100% good for me (you, my family, the rest of the world). I instinctively search out the worst for you version of…well… everything. Ice cream? I go for the high fat premium stuff. My homemade bread puddings? I have to cover them in a puddle of heavy cream and if the recipe called for making it with low fat milk, you’d better believe I’ll be substituting cream. I am not, surprisingly enough, a huge sugar fan. My weakness is anything creamy and/or buttery. Richness is my downfall.

That of course is why, even though I lost almost 50 pounds last year, I’m still overweight lol. I am, I think, totally unwilling to live a life that isn’t filled with rich and creamy foods. This and the fact that I’m old, not that pretty,  saggy and practically toothless is the reason that the modeling world never need worry about me taking it by storm and shoving out all the young girls. However, if I were to give all the supermodels one or eight of these muffins, they too would end up with my love for rich foods and that would be the end of the modeling world as we know it. Hey… I may be onto something here. THIS is the way to get normal sized models featured more. Just FEED the poor women; make them realize how yummy food is lol.

And these are pretty yummy. They come from The Pastry Queen cookbook which is a damned awesome cookbook and one that I plan on using often. The only thing I would change about these would be the ratio of flour to corn meal. They could use a bit more of the cornmeal flavor, less of the flour. So next time I will probably increase the cornmeal one cup, decrease the flour one cup. I also cut the sugar down to about 1/3 of a cup because I am of the school that says cornbread should either be not sweet at all or just barely. ANDDDDDD, I used frozen corn because it’s too early in the year for fresh here and canned corn should be outlawed… nasty nasty stuff.

Extra Rich Corn Muffins

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large egg
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup sugar (I used 1/3 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh, frozen or canned corn (optional)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional- my addition)
  • 1/4 cup canned chopped green chiles (optional- my addition)
  • Honey Butter-
  • 1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional- I prefer it without but some people like the addition of cinnamon)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line 24 muffin cups. I used 12 muffin cups and a 8 count mini loaf pan.
  2. Pour the cream, butter and eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer (this can all also be done with a hand mixer or even by hand if you have strong arms 😛 ) fitted with the paddle attachment.
  3. Add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt on top. Mix at medium speed just until the ingredients are combined and not lumpy. Stir in the corn (and the cheese and chiles if using)
  4. Scoop the batter into the prepared pans, filling them about 2/3 full. This is a very thick batter, almost more dough like than batter like so don’t think you goofed up when it’s thick.
  5. bake at 350 degrees until they are a light golden brown and spring back when touched, about 15 minutes.
  6. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool slightly but these are best served warm, like most muffins. They reheat nicely in the microwave however.
  7. For the honey butter, put the butter and honey in a small bowl (the cinnamon too if using). Beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy. taste and add more honey if you like it sweeter. Store this in the fridge covered will as it will pick up refrigerator odors if not covered.

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Savory French Onion Soup Bread Pudding

I've said before & say again, tis hard to make bread pudding photograph well, especially when ones skills are limited :-p

I’ve said before & say again, tis hard to make bread pudding photograph well, especially when ones skills are limited :-p

I’ve never figured out why bread puddings get such a bad rap. The same people who will eat an entire pan of stuffing turn up their noses at bread pudding when the only difference is that stuffing is made with broth and bread pudding made with milk and/or cream. Mind you, if one has had a bad bread pudding, i.e., soggy, flavorless, shoved full of poor quality ingredients, or one of the really old ones that was pretty much just stale bread mixed with milk, sugar and cinnamon and so on, it’s understandable that a person could be leery. But heck, who hasn’t had most everything good badly cooked at one time or another?

But a GOOD savory bread pudding? One that is filled with gooey cheese, cream and butter? Really… how can you go wrong with that? Especially if you also add slow caramelized onions, beef broth and red wine?

It’s already been made clear that I absolutely love French Onion Soup with this recipe for French Onion Soup Macaroni & Cheese. Just that the combo of flavors mentioned in the above paragraph is one of those practically perfect combinations. Other than Cheetos and Twinkies *sobs and has yet another mournful moment of silence for Twinkies*

This is one I have been making for years and even my bread pudding hating husband loves it when I make it. If you’re turned off by the idea of bread pudding, just call it a strata. Pretty much the same thing with interchangeable names. This is, as I alluded to above, dripping with gooey Swiss and Mozzarella cheese, a healthy portion of caramelized onions, red wine and beef broth. The loaf of French bread that is its base is almost an afterthought here lol.

So get rid of your food prejudices for one meal and give this a try. If you like all of the above, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed here. This is so far from good for you it’s not funny but as say, a once a year treat, it’s worth it. Just make the rest of the meal light or just make the bread pudding BE the meal.

Savory French Onion Bread Pudding

  • 8 tablespoons butter, divided in half
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 large onions, sliced in half width wise then sliced into very thin half moons
  • 1 can (about 14 ounces) beef broth
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 small loaf (about 6 to 9 ounces) good French bread
  • 3 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded REAL Parmesan cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2 quart baking dish.
  2. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter along with the vegetable oil in a large deep pan. Add in the sliced onions and stir to coat them.
  3. Cover the pan, turn the heat to low and allow the onions to cook for about 10 minutes on very low heat, stirring occasionally, until limp and mostly cooked.
  4. Take the cover off of the pan, turn the heat up to just barely medium and continue to slowly cook the onions until they are a deep brown.
  5. Add the beef broth and the wine to the pan. Stir to mix, then turn heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been nicely soaked up by the “ungins” (as my dad used to call them)
  6. Meanwhile, take your French bread and cube it into bite sized pieces. Toss it into a large bowl.
  7. Whisk together the 3 eggs, the cream and the milk.
  8. When the onions are ready, toss them with the cubed bread.
  9. Pour in the cream/egg mixture and stir well.
  10. Toss the shredded cheese (not the Parmesan) into the mixture, stir it all well then let sit for about 10 minutes so the bread can soak up the cream. Melt the last 4 tablespoons butter.
  11. Pour all of the bread mixture into the prepared pan. Drizzle the melted butter over the top. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
  12. Bake at 350 degrees until the pudding is golden brown, puffy and when a knife is inserted in the middle, it comes out clean (other than cheese) and with no custardy mixture on it.
  13. Let sit for about ten minutes before trying to slice.

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Extra Rich Cinnamon Rolls With Cream Cheese Icing

Extra Rich Cinnamon Rolls-001

Surprise, surprise… a recipe from me with the words extra rich in the title. Never expected that huh? Not with the dearth of fattening recipes here. What makes these extra rich? Mashed potatoes in the dough. Get back here! Sheesh. Ever had potato bread? Same idea, different result. I didn’t make a batch of garlic mashed and shove the extra into cinnamon rolls *gags a little*. Mashed potatoes (plain, NOTHING added; just the taters) are very common in yeast bread. They add a richness to the dough but with no potato flavor. They also make the dough more tender and help it to rise better. matter of fact, when you make mashed potatoes, it’s a good habit to save some of the cooking water if you make yeast risen doughs often. You can sub it for part or all of the liquid (part is better if the original recipe calls for milk) and you will see an amazing difference in the finished product.

These cinnamon rolls were supposed to have pecans in the filling, but if you follow my facebook page at all, you may have seen my update about the two pans of burned pecans. Sigh. talk about idiocy. I put one in to toast then had a major “ooo, shiny thing!” moment and forgot about them. Slapped myself around for a bit then put in another pan. Words With Friends on facebook may or may not have had something to do with the other pan burning. Needless to say, after about 12 dollars worth of pecans torched, I was not trying again. So the rolls have raisins in half the batch. Feel free to sub pecans (I will put the amounts for either one in the recipe). Just stay away from word games when toasting them. Also, this makes a HUGE batch of rolls. I got 2 13×9 pans with 12 each and 6 more in a 8×8 pan. In my household which currently consists of myself, hubby, two teen boys, three boys 6 and under and a pregnant woman, they will get eaten. But in “normal” homes, you may want to cut this in half. Or make your neighbors happy.

This originally came from The Pastry Queen Cookbook. Adapted some for a stand mixer and ingredients changed a LITTLE but not much.

Extra Rich Cinnamon Rolls

  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 4 packets dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 9 cups flour (I TOLD you this was big batch) (I actually used more like ten cups; it will depend on the moisture of your potatoes)
  • Filling-
  • 4 cups pecans, toasted for about 8 minutes at 350 degrees then coarsely chopped or 3 cups good quality raisins (not dried shriveled rocks)
  • 4 cups firmly packed brown sugar (I used dark brown)
  • 4 tablespoons cinnamon (no, that’s not a typo… look at the amount of ingredients and this makes sense)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • zest from one large orange (optional)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Icing-
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
  1. To make the rolls- fill a large pot with water and set on high to boil. Peel and chop the potatoes and add to the pot. Cook until the potatoes are tender. Reserve three cups of the cooking water, then drain off the rest. Mash the potatoes and set aside. Let the potato water cool until it is between 110 and 115 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl,  combine the cooled potato water, yeast and the one teaspoon of sugar. Stir until the yeast is dissolved. Let sit until foamy, about five minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the potatoes, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup melted butter, eggs, salt and yeast mixture.
  4. Pour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Turn mixer onto low and add the flour, in 3 cup increments. If the dough still seems wet (you want slightly sticky but not obviously moist) add more flour, a 1/4 cup at a time. Don’t go over 10 cups. Again, it’s ok if the dough is somewhat sticky. If you make it too dry, the rolls will also be dry. Sticky dough equals tender moist rolls in the end.
  5. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, making sure to oil the top of the dough some and then cover with a clean towel. Place in a warm place to rise and let rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour.
  6. Meanwhile, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest (if using) in a large bowl. Prepare 2 13×9 inch pans by lining with foil then greasing the foil. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  7. When risen, punch down dough then divide it  in half. On a floured board or counter, roll half into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Brush with half the butter,  sprinkle with half the brown sugar mixture and half the raisins or pecans. Carefully roll the dough up from one long end. Roll as tightly as you can.
  8. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut each roll of dough into 12 to 15 pieces. This will depend on whether or not your roll ended up bigger than 1/4 inch and looks like it is about the length of an adult python. Place 12 in each 13×9 inch pan. If you get more than 12 from each roll,  foil and grease a 8×8 inch pan and put the remainder in the 8×8 pan. Allow to rise until puffy but not quite doubled, about 45 minutes
  9. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes or until a nice light golden brown.
  10. Let cool in pan set on wire rack.
  11. For icing, combine icing ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy. Spread on slightly warm rolls. But first, eat about half of it straight off of a spoon then blame me when your husband asks why there is so little icing for the rolls.


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Pork And Black Bean Chili

Pork And Black Bean Chili

Some of you who may have seen how tickled I was a few weeks ago when I realized that Andrew Zimmern started following me on Twitter. Fine, tickled may be an understatement. I about peed myself. The only thing that prevented that was the fact that my other pair of clean jeans was the washer. Mind you, he follows about 24 thousand other people too but considering that over half a million follow HIM, that still made me about one in 20 or so whom he follows back. That means we’re bff’s right? Yes, I realize that maybe it was an underling who followed me or that Mr. Zimmern said one day “Hey, underling, go find some really really bad food blog and follow it. I need something to make me laugh.” The underling then found me, followed for him, then got promptly fired when he realized that Mr. Zimmern didn’t mean to follow one quite THIS bad.

But in the spirit of hope, I prefer to believe that somehow, my wit and pithy sense of humor (oh God, I’m killing myself here *snorts and laughs*) brought me to his attention one night when he’d had too much to drink and he decided I was a cool person to keep up with. So, in that spirit, I am writing him a short letter here.

Dear Mr. Zimmern-

Can I call you Andrew? How about Andy? Ooo, ooo, I know! I can call you Ang just like Barney Fife called Andy Griffith. It’s what bff’s do, right? Come up with nicknames? So maybe now you can call me “Cool J”. *Does the “Cool J” gangsta finger thing* Owowowowowowwwww… finger cramp.

No, no, no, it’s ok Ang, I’m cool. Cancel the plane flight. Just a minor *sobs* finger cramp. So, how’s it going? I almost asked “how;’s it hangin'” but then thought that maybe a female bff shouldn’t ask that of a male bff. Wait… does typing it out anyway mean I still asked it anyway? Crap. Sorry.

I can’t help but wonder how you came to follow me on twitter and probably come to my blog a few times a day hoping for updates.? Was it the fancy cooking? Maybe the Blueberry Cornmeal pancakes? Or the video of the Monty Python intro!? I know! It was my world class photography! I feel like I need to make some cockroach ( my play on words here??Huh huh huh?) testicles to make sure I keep you happy. But I didn’t have that on the menu until next month. It takes a while to stockpile enough of those bad boys to make a meal. Plus, if you don’t wrap them in something bright, the bag is too small to find in the freezer.

But whatever the reason, I just wanted to let you know how pleased I am that we will now be lifelong buddies. I’ve always admired you, love your show(s) and recipes and had always thought that you were the kind of guy I’d love to invite over (and Mrs. Ang of course) for a beer and some roach testicles. But in the meantime, I made one of your recipes today. It got a unanimous thumbs up even though I accidentally used too much chipotle pepper and none of us have any taste buds left.

Sincerely- your twitter bff- ~Janet~
Now if I could only get Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain to follow me, I’d be in Heaven. Yes, I know Mr. Bourdain can be an ass, but he can’t stand Sandra Lee or Rachael Ray… so how bad can he really be? We think alike 😀

(P.S.- On a serious note, I was truly totally tickled by Mr. Zimmern following me.)



Pork & Black Bean Chili

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 slices bacon, chopped (I may have “accidentally” used about 6)
  • 2 pounds pork shoulder, cubed (I used a 3 pound loin because it’s what I had plus I feed teenagers)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 chipotle chiles in adobo, minced (make sure to NOT twitch & add about twice that unless you hate your taste buds)
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup ancho chile powder
  • 3 tablespoons cumin (I used about half this; not a huge cumin fan)
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes (I chopped them up. It wasn’t in the original instructions but I couldn’t leave them whole)
  • 1 lb dried black beans, soaked overnight
  • 5 cups chicken stock (or good quality canned broth)
  • 3 cups dark beer (I used Becks)
  • 3 tablespoons corn flour
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • zest of one lime & juice of half a lime (my own addition)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar (also my addition)
  1. In a large non stick pot, heat the oil until shimmering.
  2. Add the bacon and cook until the fat has rendered out. Using a slotted spoon, put the bacon aside for now. Eat the 90 extra pieces you accidentally tossed in the pot.
  3. Season the pork to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Add it in batches (you want to sear the meat, not steam it in it’s own juices and grease) to the pot and cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Set aside as you get it browned. Add the poblanos, onions, chipotles and garlic to the pot and cook over medium heat until the onion has softened.
  5. Add the chile powder, cumin, oregano and cilantro and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add the tomatoes, beans, chicken stock, beer, brown sugar and bacon and bring to a boil.
  6. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until the beans are just tender, about 90 minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer until the beans are totally cooked, about another 45 minutes.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the corn flour (please don’t sub regular flour. You can get the corn flour in the Hispanic aisle of the grocery and it adds a flavor regular flour won’t) and the water. Slowly whisk the mixture into the chili. Add the lime juice and zest, season with salt and pepper and serve with sides of tortillas, cheese, onions, whatever you love with chili. Just  stay away from the leftover chipotles… trust me.

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Hummingbird Bundt Cake

Hummingbird Bundt Cake-001

Hummingbird Bundt cake- No hummingbirds were harmed in the making of this cake 😀

I’m one of those people whose mind never shuts down. I don’t say this in the tone of “I’m so damn smart, my mind is always working”. On the contrary. I said it never shuts down. Work on the other hand is a totally foreign concept to my brain. If my brain were a person, it would be sitting on the couch in a holey wife beater, holding a beer, chips and the TV remote, burping and watching something like “Nude Alligator Hunters” while it said to my body “make me a sammich, bit**!”. My mind needs therapy.

Point is, my mind annoys me. It will be 3am and the rest of the world is sleeping (ok, the rest in my time zone…who aren’t working 3rd shift…and aren’t insomniac…or watching “Nude Alligator Hunters”. Crap, ok, while SOME other people are sleeping) and my mind is creating story lines that I will forget by morning and never write. Or it will be wondering if the cats are warm enough…or why Bates on Downton Abbey let his estranged wife blackmail him. Or why things have the names they have.

Case in point- this cake. Really? Hummingbird Cake? There is not a Hummingbird in it… not even a stray feather. I had seen the original recipe for the layer cake and I know it’s a fairly old recipe, stemming from at least the Civil War era. Maybe they put Hummingbirds in it then? 😛 As I was saying; I’ve seen the recipe (maybe I should say “the receipt” since this is an old cake) for the layer cake and while it intrigued me, I was always hesitant to make it because it just sounded too sweet, too rich. WAIT!!! Don’t leave! Yes, that was really me that just said the words “too sweet” and “too rich”.  because…well… it did. A fairly rich cake layered with an ultra sweet and rich frosting. Just…too much. So when I saw this recipe for a bundt cake version with the frosting as just a glaze on top, I HAD to try it. The combo of banana and pineapple along with a cream cheese glaze was too much to resist. And oh boy, is it hard to resist. Moist and tender with the tropical flavors blending so well. Then the cream cheese glaze. Really… can you ever go wrong with cream cheese glaze? Plus it goes together quickly. No beating for 90 minutes and alternate adding of ingredients.

I still think I should have put a Hummingbird in it though. But the birds weren’t falling for my sign that said “Free Bird Seed Here… Enter Box Here—>” My son on the other hand… we still need to figure out how to get the box off of his head.

This came from “Southern Living Comfort Foods”

Hummingbird Bundt Cake

  • Cake-
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I used 2)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups mashed bananas (about 4 large)
  • 1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Glaze-
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temp
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 14 cup bundt pan. Sprinkle 1 cup of the pecans on the bottom of the pan, reserving the last 1/2 cup for sprinkling on the glaze.
  2. Stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in the eggs, oil, bananas, pineapple and vanilla. Stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour to an hour and ten minutes or until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes, then turn out onto rack to finish cooling for about 2 hours.
  6. For glaze- beat cream cheese until light, then add powdered sugar and beat on LOW speed (unless you like being covered in sugar dust) until well mixed. Add in the milk, a teaspoon at a time, only adding the second one of you need to make it thin enough to pour.
  7. Pour glaze over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with reserved pecans.

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Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

Today we are joining together to help raise awareness for Heart Disease. Kim of Cravings Of A Lunatic lost her Mom to heart disease when her mother was 47, and Kim was 15. Each year on the day her Mom passed she shares stories and photos of her Mom. This year she joined forces with Jen of Juanita’s Cocina, whose life was also touched by heart disease when her Stepfather had a heart attack. Jen’s Stepfather is alive and well more than a decade later, and for that, Jen is thankful every day. The ladies got in touch with other bloggers to ask them to share their own stories about how heart disease has touched their lives. So today we share stories and recipes from our hearts to yours, in memory and honor of Momzie, Kim’s Mom. We hope you will share your stories with us today as well.

I think everyone has been touched by heart disease in one way or another, be it with their own health or that of a family member. It is still, in the year 2013,  the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States with over 600,000 deaths per year. Why? genetics of course but you can add in there the increasing tendency towards obesity and the utter lack of exercise many of us get other than walking to and from the snack cabinet. Add in the high fat, high calorie foods so many of us, including myself, love and it is far too common to see people be literally one heartbeat away from death.

I had a stroke last year as many of you know. While it’s not the same as a heart attack or heart disease, it can be caused by many of the same things I just talked about. So is this important to me also? Damn straight. It’s why I lost almost 50 pounds and have tried to get my own health issues fixed.

My family history isn’t pretty when it comes to heart disease. My dad had a heart attack in his mid 40’s. My mom had tachycardia from early adulthood until her death. I have issues with a heartbeat that goes so slow at times that I get dizzy.

On my husbands side, HIS dad has had…five…yes, five…heart attacks. The man is amazing. But the chances of most people being that blessed are rare. Tragically, a lot of the time, one heart attack is all it takes to leave behind a family who will feel that loss forever. So if there is a family history of heart issues for you (and even if there isn’t), I beg of you, don’t wait until later to take steps to insure your own heart health. If you need to lose weight, do it NOW, not after you finish all the junk food you have in the house. If your exercise consists of lifting your hand to your mouth to insert a doughnut, get off your butt and move, even if it’s only a short 20 minute walk per day. But please… please… take care of yourself. Too many people need you. Yes, even YOU back there eating that bag of potato chips, no matter what you think. You…are…loved. Why? Because you have a good heart. So keep it that way.

This soup can be either semi decadent or healthy, depending on what you use in it. For this post, I obviously chose the healthy way; even if you ARE used to seeing foods that have 14,000 calories from me. It can also be played with in many ways to make it more to your family’s tastes. Like things spicier? Add some Sriracha or red pepper flakes at the end or use a hot curry paste. Want a bit less tang? Use less lime juice. Slightly sweeter? Add a touch of brown sugar along with the regular. Plus you can use full fat coconut milk if so inclined and regular chicken broth instead of fat free. Don’t like chicken or just not in the mood? Use shrimp. You could even do this full on vegetarian by using vegetable broth and firm tofu instead of meat. This is a very versatile recipe. It’s also delicious and made as stated you won’t miss the fat or calories. I PROMISE. I mean, c’mon, you all know what I normally cook. So would I lie about something low fat being tasty? This has it all. Spicy, meaty, rich and creamy (yet with no dairy), sweet, salty, tangy. Also, don’t use dried lemongrass in this. If you can’t find fresh (I couldn’t) get the squeeze tubes of lemongrass you can now find in the produce section of most major supermarkets.

This recipe originally comes from Cooks Illustrated.


Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, tough outer parts removed, then sliced lengthwise (or use 1 tablespoon of the squeezable lemongrass)
  • 3 large shallots, chopped
  • 8 sprigs cilantro (they say to chop them but I don’t bother since you will be straining them out later anyway)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (Nam Pla) (do NOT omit this. Yes, it smells ghastly as it heats but it adds that needed something to so many Thai dishes and it leaves NO fishy taste)
  • 4 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 2 14 ounce cans low fat (lite) coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoon lime juice (I also use the zest from one of the limes)
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (I tend to use more… no such thing as too much curry in my book hehe)
  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering.
  2. Add the lemongrass, cilantro, shallots and one tablespoon of the fish sauce (like I said, the fish sauce smells horrid as it heats. But it is not meant to be eaten plain. Once mixed with everything else, the smells fades and it leaves an undefinable flavor. Cook this mixture just until the shallots and lemongrass are softened, about 2 to 5 minutes. If using the squeeze lemongrass, use it now too.
  3. Pour in the chicken broth and one can of coconut milk; bring to a simmer over high heat.
  4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about ten minutes
  5. Strain soup over a mesh strainer into another pot; discard the solids.
  6. Return pan to medium high heat and stir in the remaining can of coconut milk and the sugar.
  7. Add the mushrooms and chicken. Stir and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is JUST done.
  8. Combine the lime, zest if using, remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce and the curry paste in a bowl. Stir into the soup.
  9. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with more cilantro and scallions and some slices of serrano (or jalapeno) pepper. If you really like the tang, pass around some lime wedges too.

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Now that you’ve seen my recipe and have read what I have to say, go check out what these other bloggers have to tell you. You’ll find good food and stories that will touch your heart.


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Apple Walnut Spinach Salad by Magnolia Days

Broiled Salmon Gyros with Cucumber Feta Yogurt Dip by Damn Delicious

Maple Mustard Glazed Salmon by That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Make-Ahead Chocolate Oatmeal by Crumb

Hoisin Flounder by Taking on Magazines

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus by The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

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Cheesy Quinoa and Asparagus Bake by Hungry Couple

Ahi Tuna Salad by Noshing with the Nolands

Canapes of Apricot, Goat Cheese, Almonds and Rosemary by Cook the Story

Thai Chicken Soup by From Cupcakes to Caviar

Italian Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf by Rachel Cooks

Black Bean Quesadillas by Pastry Chef Online

Sautéed Rataouille with Quinoa by Whipped

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