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Become an Addict

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from David Rock, a rep for a product called Nandos Peri Peri Sauces. He was wondering if he could send me some of their products to try and then review. I took a look at their website and found out that Nandos is a company that manufacturers basting, cooking and marinade sauces as well as rubs and spices derived from the peri-peri chilli pepper. These products were right up my alley, so I agreed and within a few days a big package of goodies arrived on my doorstep.  My package from David included the Medium Peri Peri Sauce, Hot Peri Peri marinade, and the Peri-Peri Coconut Curry cooking sauce. Also included was a nifty looking T-Shirt that my husband seems to have adopted for his own. I was very eager to give these products a try but wasn't quite sure which one to try first. Lucky for me, the May 2007 issue of Food and Wine magazine appeared on my doorstep a few days later and included in the issue was a recipe for a  Jamaican Chicken Rub that required the use of hot sauce. At first bite, I noticed a difference in what I was tasting. You know how with most spicy foods, the spice tends to overpower the flavor of whatever you are eating? Well, with this hot sauce, you can still taste the food. The flavor of the chicken and the spices in the rub came through loud and clear and then...a short while after my first bite... the heat hit. It was truly delicious. I love hot and spicy food, but I hate it when the heat of the food makes my … [Continue reading]

The Bundt Cake Movement

Bundt cakes always get a bad rap for being boring. When I think of bundt cakes, I think of little old ladies and their church pot luck suppers. Bundt cakes seem to be all over the place at those events.  People seem to like bundt cakes, but they rarely get the ooohhh's and ahhhhh's they deserve. Is it the lack of frosting that gives them their less than stellar appeal? Is it that they tend to be a simple, dense cake without a lot of flavor variation? I really do not know what the reason is, but I am here today to change your mind and to convince you to give the simple little bundt cake another chance. I needed to make a cake this weekend for a party we were having. For some reason, I had it in my mind that I wanted to make some kind of bundt cake. As I was browsing through my recipes at home I could not find anything that stood out. I did not want boring... I wanted a cake that people would leave asking the recipe for. After an unsuccessful attempt browsing through my own recipes, I decided to turn to Recipezaar. I typed in "Bundt Cake" and a zillion recipes popped up. I sorted the recipes by rating and as soon as I did that a recipe for an "Irish Cream Bundt Cake" popped up. I opened it up and started reading the reviews. People loved this bundt cake! With 23 high star reviews and all of the ingredients right in my pantry, I knew I found the recipe I would be using for my bundt cake.This cake is amazing. AMAZING! I am not exaggerating when I say … [Continue reading]

Ooooey Gooey Monkey Bread

 I have a friend who does not like for her kids to get messy. Her kids don't know about condiments...dipping things in ranch dressing, ketchup, barbecue sauce, etc is something they have yet to experience. Jelly on their sandwiches? Forget about it... too messy. Pancakes and waffles simply get butter. There is no such thing as sticky maple syrup allowed in their house. To that friend and any of you reading who are against messy, stop reading now. This post just may put you over the edge.Don't get me wrong... cleaning up messes is not my idea of a good time. I would prefer to live in a nice clean world free of sticky chairs and tables. I would love to not have to remind my kids to wash their hands after eating...no worries of messy fingers leaving goo all over the house. It would be a thrill to live life without needing the Tide Stain Stick or Shout Wipes. Yes, a sparkly clean life would be pleasant, but how much fun is that?  No fun at all. When you are messy, it means you have really experienced something to its fullest. You have gumption, passion, and a lot of laundry to do.The ultimate get sticky experience comes from my kitchen and could help break you of your need for clean. I dare you, Mr and Mrs Clean, to break out of your comfort zone. Live a little...get sticky. Grab a napkin if you must and sit down at the table with a plate of Monkey Bread in front of your family. Resist the urge to grab forks...eat like a monkey using your own hands as your utensils. … [Continue reading]

Sick of Being Sick

  Once again, our house is full of sick people. Every single one of us has been sick for the past couple of weeks including my normally invincible husband. With this miserable "spring" weather and the wheezing, coughing, sniffling, hacking going on around here we have not been much fun. A few things happening:Ella is finally saying "Mama". Melts my heart!Kelly has started soccer. She is just doing biddy soccer at the YMCA (3 practices, 3 games) and seems to really like it. Well...she likes the part where they go in and put their hands in the middle of the circle and say "Gooooooo Pumas!". She also likes picking the dandelions and bringing them over to me and she likes at the end when they get snack. The whole running around and kicking the ball thing seems to be overrated.Jacob has become quite computer savvy and has been playing around on Webkinz world with his new stuffed animals. He has figured out that when he plays checkers against himself, he is really good and wins every time. Smart guy, isn't he?I caught Kelly giving J Lo fashion advice tonight. I had paused our TiVO while we were watching American Idol this evening and the picture frozen was of J Lo close up. I came back to the room to hear Kelly saying "Those purple earrings are very pretty but that headband has got to go." My little diva... I couldn't be more proud :) She was also critiquing each signer after they performed and was pretty right on. One time she said … [Continue reading]

A Dessert Worth Destroying

 I love Trifles. They are one of my favorite desserts to make because they are always delicious and they always make a beautiful presentation. The problem with trifles is that they are almost too pretty. When it comes time to serve them, the very thought of scooping into the big trifle bowl to tear apart the creation is enough to send shivers down my spine. Isn't it good enough to just sit and look at the pretty dessert without destroying it? Apparently not...for some odd reason people actually want to eat the trifle. Admiring the beauty just will not do. Last evening, my good friend Sara had my family and another friends family over for Easter dinner. My assignment....bread and dessert. We enjoyed a wonderful meal, with a Martha Stewart worthy table setting and friendly conversation. Once it came time for dessert, Sara pulled the trifle out of the fridge and handed it to me. "You serve it," she said. "No...this is your house, you are the host... you serve it." "I can't bring myself to cut into it...it is just too pretty," she said. Reluctantly, only because I knew the guys would not understand not getting dessert because it was too pretty to cut in to, I picked up the spoon and scooped out the first serving.  Trifles are not nearly as beautiful plopped down on a plate, are they? At this point though, appearance doesn't matter. One you have the first spoonful of this trifle in your mouth, you will not care at all what it looks like or … [Continue reading]