Tag Archives: Recipe

New Years Day and Black Eyed Peas

DSC_0002Most of us who grew up in the south know that eating black-eyed peas on New Years Day is a must, but I found myself this morning asking why…here’s what I found. 

The practice of eating black-eyed peas for luck is generally believed to date back to the Civil War. At first planted as food for livestock, and later a food staple for slaves in the South, the fields of black-eyed peas were ignored as Sherman’s troops destroyed or stole other crops, thereby giving the humble, but nourishing, black-eyed pea an important role as a major food source for surviving Confederates.  Today, the tradition of eating black-eyed peas for the New Year has evolved into a number of variations and embellishments of the luck and prosperity theme including:

  • Served with greens (collards, mustard or turnip greens, which varies regionally), the peas represent coins and the greens represent paper money. In some areas cabbage is used in place of the greens.
  • Cornbread, often served with black-eyed peas and greens, represents gold.
  • For the best chance of luck every day in the year ahead, one must eat at least 365 black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.
  • Black-eyed peas eaten with stewed tomatoes represent wealth and health.
  • In some areas, actual values are assigned with the black-eyed peas representing pennies or up to a dollar each and the greens representing anywhere from one to a thousand dollars.
  • Adding a shiny penny or dime to the pot just before serving is another tradition practiced by some. When served, the person whose bowl contains the penny or dime receives the best luck for the New Year, unless of course, the recipient swallows the coin, which would be a rather unlucky way to start off the year. (In the spirit of being responsible with my little guys, we opted for the large Gasparilla coin instead).


New Years Day Soup

3/4 pound ham fully cooked and chopped or cubed

ham bone

1 medium onion

2 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons butter

1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 can stewed or petite diced tomatoes

3 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

1 cup potato, peeled and diced

3/4 cup carrots diced

3/4 cup celery diced

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

In a 3-5 quart pot, saute ham, bone, onion and garlic in butter until the onion is tender or translucent.  Add all remaining ingredients; cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until veggies are soft.  Serve and cheer for whoever finds the coin… 🙂




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Pizza Rollups

Pizza Rollups

1 package of Crescent Roll

2 mozzarella cheese sticks

16 pepperoni

pizza sauce

Preheat the oven to 375.  Grease a cookie sheet.  Unroll the Crescent dough.  On each triangle place 2 pepperoni and a 1/4 of the cheese stick.  Roll up and pinch the ends shut to prevent the cheese from leaking out.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Sauce on the side.  Yum!

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First Day of School Strawberry Brownie Cupcakes

Quite a few people have asked me what’s it like to officially be a stay at home mom, now that the kids are back at school that is…and I say that it is AWESOME!!!!

After Andy and I dropped the boys off, he left me back at home and headed off to work.  As I was standing in my kitchen, I explained to mom that if we had a grandfather clock, the ticking would have been the only sound echoing through the house.  It was stone silent.  No children, friends, TV, music, washing machine, dog barking, you name it…there was nothing.  Molly was looking at me suspiciously, so we went for a walk.  Afterwards, I went into cleaning mode!  The upstairs was my focus and my goal was to wade my way through the disaster of a mess by the end of the week.

I thought that it would be nice to make the kids a fun snack when they got home from school, so Pinterest was where I landed!  We love strawberry and we love brownies, so I knew that this was the recipe for the day.

Strawberry Brownie Cupcakes

  • 1 box of strawberry cake mix
  • 1 box of brownie mix
  • 1 can of cream cheese icing
    Preheat the oven to 325.  I used Pam and greased two cupcakes pans.  In one bowl, prepare the strawberry mix according to the package directions.  In another bowl, prepare the brownie mix according to the package directions.  Fill each cupcake with 1/3 brownie mix and then top with 1/3 strawberry cake mix.  Bake for 25 minutes or until done.  Top with cream cheese icing.

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Filed under 1st Grade, After School Snacks, Recipes

Trix Crispy Treats

Yum Yum Yum!!!!  Kelly and I found this recipe on Pinterest and since we happened to have the three ingredients lying around, we thought, “Why not??!!  The kids will love them…”

Trix Crispy Treats

  • 4 Tbl Butter
  • 1 package of small marshmallows
  • 10 cups of cereal ( 1 whole box)

Melt butter in a large pot.  Add marshmallows and melt.  Add cereal and coat with melted marshmallows.  Place mix in a large 9×11 dish and let cool.  Cut and serve!

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Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs

It’s Father’s Day weekend and while planning out the menu I decided on some oven baked ribs.  Andy loves ribs and it has been a while since we have made them, so this was perfect.  We are watching the US Open golf tournament so getting these in the oven in plenty of time turns out to be no problem at all.  In this recipe I used an already made sauce that we picked up in Georgia.  No need to get super creative today, and besides everyone knows how much we love to buy BBQ sauces from mom and pop shops on our vacation adventures. 🙂

Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs

Dry Rub

1 Tbl Kosher salt

1 Tbl cracked black pepper

1 Tbl onion powder

1 Tbl garlic powder

1 Tbl paprika

Other Ingredients

2 slabs of ribs

1-2 teaspoons Liquid smoke

BBQ sauce of choice

On a large piece of foil place ribs.  Rub liquid smoke over the meaty side.  Combine all dry rub ingredients in a bowl and rub 1 teaspoon of the mixture on each side of the ribs.  Place ribs meaty side down and wrap up in the foil.  Refrigerate for 8-24 hours.

Heat  oven to 250 degrees.  Keep ribs wrapped in foil and place them on a large cookie sheet or in a roasting pan to catch any juice that may leak out.  Bake for 3 hours.  Remove ribs, open up the foil, and brush with favorite BBQ sauce.  Leave the ribs open and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.  Sauce will glaze over.

Once ribs are down, add extra sauce if desired.

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Ham Jambalaya

This article was written for the JLT Cookbook Blog…

When I first found out that I was going to be tasting and writing about the recipe Ham Jambalaya I was so excited because what immediately came to my mind was one-pot dinner. After working all day, picking up two kids from different schools, and trying to have dinner on the table for them and my husband by six, an easy recipe for dinner is always what I am looking for.

When I think of southern or Cajun jambalaya I think: chicken, shrimp, sausage, ham, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, celery…you know hearty and full of meats, vegetables, and rice; and as I jotted down the recipe at the end of the day before I ran into Publix, I knew with a sinking feeling that the dinner that I had planned on was not going to be enough food for them.

My intention is not to give this recipe a bad review, it is more for us to sit back and say, “Yeah, sometimes the recipes we pick don’t go as planned or taste like we would want them too…but that’s ok.” We learn through trial and error and they can’t all be perfect, right?

What this dish really consists of is 2 cooking onions, 2 cups of canned tomatoes, 1 cup of rice, and 1 cup of ham. Now if you do the math that is just a little over 4 cups. I put a scoop onto each of my kid’s plate and what you see in the bowl is all that was left for my husband and me. I ended up having to make each of them a salad, threw in some buttered bread, a big glass of milk, and then dessert. My husband ate what I served him and then proceeded to dig around in the refrigerator for more food.

The overwhelming ingredient in this dish is the canned tomatoes. If you love canned tomatoes, then you’ll love this dish. If you don’t, then most likely you won’t. We prefer fresh in our house. Canned tomatoes just have this distinct taste and it doesn’t matter how long you sauté them or what you sauté them in, they have a tendency to overpower the other flavors of the dish. Aside from this, my husband and I probably would have liked it more if more bacon was called for. In addition to using the grease, crumbling and adding the bacon to the dish would also add a little extra flavor to it. I also didn’t see the need to bake the dish for 30-40 minutes. If you simmered down the tomatoes, most of the liquid should be gone, so I am not sure what the extra time was needed for. I tasted it before and after the baking and to me it was exactly the same.

My kids loved this dish. If you have children and they eat rice, it was easy to make and I am certain that they will love it too.

It says 4-6 servings, and as a side dish then yes, I would agree to that. I don’t really have any recommendations as where to serve this dish; maybe at a potluck get together where there are a lot of different dishes to sample and taste. As for a dinner, we like to focus around protein and vegetables. The little bit of ham that it calls for was not enough for us, so it needs a complimentary meat as well as another vegetable or salad.

Keep in mind after reading this that not every recipe is for everyone. If you love these ingredients, then by all means cook away…you won’t be disappointed. As for us…I’ll be waiting for my next assignment… Bon Appétit!

Ham Jambalaya (The Gasparilla Cookbook, p. 111)

  • 2 slices of bacon
  • ½ clove garlic
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 cup chopped or ground ham, ground preferred

Fry bacon until crisp. Remove from skillet and drain. Saute garlic and onion in bacon drippings. Add tomatoes and parsley. Season with salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer 15 minutes. Add rice and ham and mix well. Bake in casserole in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Serves 4-6.

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Filed under Junior League Cookbook Blog, Junior League Recipes, Recipes

JLT Blog – Annie Laurie’s Potato Salad

I recently wrote this for the Junior League Cookbook Blog …..

If you have lived in the Tampa Bay area for any amount of time, then you have most likely ventured over to Tarpon Springs for some local authentic Greek food or wandered into any of the Louis Pappas’ Market Café restaurants throughout town and ordered a Greek Salad.  Have you ever asked yourself, “What is it about this salad that is soooo good and who decided to put the potato salad at the bottom?”

Louis M. Pappamichalopoulos served in France as an army chef in General Pershing’s “Wildcat Division” during World War I. It was there that he created his own version of a Greek salad by adding potato salad to sustain the troops during hard times. Louis Pappas arrived from Greece in 1905 to find opportunity in America.  He and his wife Flora eventually settled in Tarpon Springs in 1925, and established the original Louis Pappas “Riverside Café”. With a handful of employees on sawdust floors, they opened their humble café, specializing in fine Greek-American cuisine and the Louis Pappas Famous Greek Salad. Potato salad at the bottom of a Greek salad soon became commonplace and the salad itself became internationally known. The success of the Louis Pappas Greek Salad has lasted for almost a century where it remains the most popular dish at our Louis Pappas Market Café fast casual restaurants in the Tampa Bay area.

Annie Laurie’s potato salad was recently one of the featured dishes during Gasparilla week at Datz deli.  I am sure for those of you who love the Greek salad that after one bite you were smiling from ear to ear.  I have never given much thought as to what the secret ingredient might be for this ever so delicious potato salad, and was completely surprised to realize that it is the wine vinegar.  Now, this makes complete sense considering that it is also an ingredient in the Louis Pappas Greek Salad dressing.

If you choose to make this potato salad for loved one, friends, or guests…be prepared to be asked to make it again.  It is delicious and a  great compliment to almost any dish…but most especially the Greek Salad.  Thank you grandfather Louis Pappas! Bon Appétit!

Annie Laurie’s Potato Salad for Greek Salad

  • 2 pounds medium Idaho potatoes
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise

Boil unpeeled potatoes in unsalted water.  While potatoes are cooking soak chopped onion in the vinegar.  When potatoes are done, cool slightly and peel, then cut in slices and cut the slices in half.  Add onion and vinegar mixture to still-warm potatoes.  Sprinkle in the salt and mix in the mayonnaise.

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Herb Dip

I recently wrote this for the Junior League Cookbook Blog…

With football season officially in full swing, I can’t think of a more opportune time for each of you to grab The Gasparilla Cookbook and seek out a perfect dip on which to snack.  It doesn’t matter if you are watching a game by yourself or having a large group of people over…there is something here for everyone.  The dips can be found on pages 8-13 and there are 15 different recipes from which to choose.

The Herb Dip recipe was provided by Mrs. Glen Evins and is just delicious.  This recipe is versatile in that it can be used at just about any function, party, or get together.  Just think about the endless opportunities:  a fall table, a spring table, 4th of July picnic, a baby shower, a football game, it doesn’t matter…it’s perfect.

Most of these ingredients you’ll probably find in your kitchen, but if not they are easily accessible at the grocery store.  Who knows…if you love the dip as much as we do, you may just decide to start your own herb garden!  Enjoy…and Bon Appétit!

Herb Dip

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon each minced onion, tarragon, dill, soy, and curry powder
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash Tabasco
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Enough cream to soften dip

Combine all ingredients and blend well.

JLT Cookbook Blog – Herb Dip


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Wk 50 – Thai-Style Pork Stew

Thai-Style Pork Stew

  • 2 pounds boned pork loin, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 cups (1 x 1/4-inch) julienne-cut red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 6 cups hot cooked basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts  
  • 8 lime wedges


  1. To prepare stew, trim fat from pork. Place pork and next 5 ingredients (pork through garlic) in an electric slow cooker. Cover with lid, and cook on low-heat setting for 8 hours. Remove pork from slow cooker, and coarsely chop. Add peanut butter to liquid in slow cooker; stir well. Stir in pork.

  1. Combine stew and rice in a large bowl. Top each serving with onions and peanuts; serve with lime wedges

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Filed under 52 Week Challenge, Recipes

Wk 49 – Bourbon Street Chicken

I stole this recipe off of Kelly’s Pinterest page and it has quickly become one of Andy’s favorite chicken dishes.  According to him, this dish is worthy of plate licking… 🙂

Bourbon Street Chicken

2 lb of boneless chicken cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove crushed

1/4 teaspoon ginger

3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 cup of apple juice

1/3 cup of light brown sugar

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/2 cup of water

1/3 cup of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of cornstarch

Your choice of rice, we like yellow.


Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.  Remove chicken.

Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium heat until well blended and dissolved.

Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.

Serve over hot rice.

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