Carrot Cookies

Yes, yes, I know, this isn’t dinner… but wait, it does have all of the food groups!  fruits/veggies – carrots and raisins, dairy – butter, protien – eggs, carbs – sugar/flour, fiber – oatmeal.  So, one could say that these cookies could possibly make a well rounded meal… okay – so that is my story, and I am sticking to it!  🙂

I made these cookies for my neighbor’s birthday.  She loves carrot cake, so, I thought, mmmm, how about carrot cookies?



1/2 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
2 c. flour
2 eggs
2 tsp. baking power
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 c. oatmeal – Place oatmeal in food processor and pulse several times to chop the oatmeal into smaller pieces, you should have a mixture of pieces of oatmeal and oatmeal flour.  Do not over process the oatmeal, otherwise you will have oat flour; which is okay, if you want the oatmeal that way, but I like having the pieces of oatmeal in the cookies, it gives them a nice texture. .
1 c. raisins
1 c. raw carrots, grated, you can manually grate them, but I find using my food processor for this purpose so much easier!


1 c. nuts, chopped, easy peasy – put the nuts in a baggie, squish to get as much air out as possible, and pound nuts with a meat mallet until the chopped consistency you like!


Cream together the butter and sugars well. Add eggs and beat well.  Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, blend well.


Mix together flour and oatmeal and combine with creamed mixture. Stir in the raisins, grated carrots, and nuts. Drop by large rounded tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheet


Bake in a preheated 350°F oven 25 to 30 minutes or until browned along edges.  If you are using a convection oven, lower temp by 25 degrees and watch the time closely.  I started with 20 minutes and adjusted from there.

Naked Beef Fajitas

So tonight I was looking in the freezer.  I spied some beef tips that I really needed to use up, but wanted to so something a bit different from my usual.  I also saw that I had some cilantro pesto frozen as well.

I started dinner off with a nice salad that included the following

Tree lettuce ( yes, tree lettuce: it is like bin lettuce only it grows on a stalk sort of like a tree.
Chopped tomato
Feta cheese
Chopped hazelnuts
Chopped yellow and res sweet peppers
Lemon olive oil and Balsamic vinegar


I enjoyed my salad while the need tips were marinating.

I took the beef tips and pounded them to help tenderize them.  I then marinated them in lemon juice with a crushed piquin pepper, some salt and black pepper.

I cut some onion into rings and strips of yellow and red pepper, then sauteed them in olive oil.  Once done I set them aside and kept them warm.

Then I added the beef tips to the pan and cooked them until done to medium.  Removes them from the pan sliced them against the grain and tossed them with a bit of the cilantro pesto.

Served with sour cream and chopped tomatoes.

I call them naked because I didn’t use any tortillas.


Cedar Planked Salmon

Okay, so it isn’t Friday, but I just have this craving for salmon that I couldn’t shake.  🙂

I started dinner off with a nice salad of romaine lettuce, chickpeas, feta cheese and Balsamic vinegar and lemon infused olive oil.  It was a great start for dinner while the salmon was cooking on the grill.


I found a great recipe for broiled salmon on the Bon Appetit website, but discovered I didn’t have taragon that was called for….so, I improvised.

Soak cedar planks for at least 1 hour.

Turn on grill and heat to high.

3/4 cups mayo
1/2 cup spicy brown mustard
6 TBSP chopped fresh rosemary (substituted for the taragon)
6 TBSP chopped chives
2 TBSP brown sugar
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Mix above items together.  Set 1/2 cup aside for serving with salmon.

6 6 oz. Salmon filets

Top fish with remaining sauce, place on planks and cook on grill for 15 minutes, or until opaque and flakey.


Serve with veggies of your choice.  Tonight I made broccoli from the church garden.


Dessert was a couple of the wonderful blueberry cookies I made yesterday.  Those things are absolutely addictive!

Hot Chili on a Chilly Night

Yesterday I picked up a few of the super hot peppers from the church garden.

Tiney Tiny Pepper

I was told these precious hot babies are great in chili, but only add one, because they pack a powerful hot punch.

As a result, I have been thinking about making chili since yesterday morning.  So, of course, for dinner?  Chili! 🙂

I decided to make a variation of my mom’s chili mac tonight.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1# lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 green pepper chopped
1/2 sweet red pepper chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large can crushed tomatoes and 1 can of water
1 15 oz. can of kidney beans, rinsed
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dry ground mustard
1 tiny hot pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Feel free to adjust the spices, and the veggies to your liking.

Heat olive oil in large pot, add onions and saute for a couple minutes.  Add garlic and saute another minute, add ground beef and brown.  When beef is browned, add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer until carrots are tender, about 1/2 hour.  Serve over your choice of pasta and crackers. If you want, you can also sprinkle parmesan cheese on top too. Macaroni is great, but tonight I used liguine because that is what I had in the house.


As promised yesterday, I made the soft and fluffy lemon blueberry cookies I reblogged yesterday.  Boy are the great!  Be sure to check out Baker Bettie’s blog where I got this recipe.  She has a lot of other great recipes there too!

Lemon Blueberry Cookies

Lemon Blueberry Cookies

Lemon Blueberry Cookies

I also pulled some of the frozen puff pastries I made from the freezer and baked them.  This time instead of vanilla custard cream filling, I made chocolate custard filling. YUM, YUM!!  A big THANKS! to my neighbors, for graciously being my taste testersx and accepting my baked goods.

Chocolate Custard Cream Puffs

Oh yes, I will be making these blueberry lemon cookies on Sunday.

Baker Bettie

So it begins!

Baker Bettie’s Cookies Are The New Cupcake Series! 

And I feel I need to clear a few things up here.

I don’t want to turn this into a cupcake bash fest.  That would be wrong.  And mean.

And I am really against being mean.  It’s just so…. not nice.

I want to think about this as a cookie advocacy series.  A push for cookies to get the same amount of hype as cupcakes.  Because cookies and cupcakes should be given equal recognition in the dessert world.  They both have their place.

And I think there needs to be a slogan. Does anyone have any brilliant slogan ideas?

Edit: Best slogan idea so far from Cara at Fork and Beans… “No one puts cookies in the corner”

If you have no idea what I am talking about here, read this first…

Ok. Now that we have all of…

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Another “Food Critic” Post

Friday night, first Friday of Lent, not feeling like cooking for dinner… what to do… what to do…

Growing up every Friday of Lent was “Fish Friday”.  Being Catholic, we could not eat meat on Friday, so fish it was not seafood, but fish.  This is so “embedded” in me that it doesn’t dawn on me much that there is so much more that you can have that is neither, meat, nor fish.

That said, the first Friday of Lent arrived and, having been eating a lot of fish already the past couple of weeks, my thoughts turned to what I might want to order when I went out to dinner at Joe 5 Star Pizzeria & Restaurante

Achillie center, Rhonda on the right

A little bit about Joe’s and the owners… The restaurant is owned and operated by Achillie Epifani and his wife Rhonda.  I met Achillie and Rhonda when they opened a little italian restaurant less than a mile from my house, many years ago.  I ate there often and quickly became friends with them.  Actually, they are more than just friends.  You see, in 2006, when I fell and broke my hip and arm, and lay in the hospital, they brought me dinner so I wouldn’t have to eat the hospital food.  That is the kind and wonderful people they are.

Achillie has owned several restuarants in the Houston area, all successful establishments.  They sold the restuarant near my home and took some time off, then last summer found a location in Katy Texas, and opened Joe 5 Star in September 2011.

Joe’s is a small restaurant with dine-in (they take reservations!), carry-out and catering.  They are located on 5th Avenue in Katy Texas, across the street from the Methodist church.  Because they are so close to the church, they cannot serve alcohol.  They do have their liquor license, though, so you can bring your own libations.  Even better – they do not charge any “cork fee” as some places tend to do.

It is very much a family atmosphere, and while Achillie spends a lot of time in the kitchen, he will come out to the dining area and check on the guests often to make sure that everything is fine.

Many families eat at Joe 5 Star after their kids' Saturday sporting events

Friday evening, we had a large group of Rhonda’s extended family there for dinner; a group of at least 12, I think.

This evening I started out with Bruchetta, since all I had for lunch was a cheese sandwich; I was also one of the first to get to the restaurant and wasn’t going to order my dinner entree until the others arrived.   Fresh chopped tomatoes, and basil on top of made-from-scratch garlic bread with a drizzling of olive oil and topped with parmesan cheese.

Many bottles of wine were consumed last night, it was such a great gathering of friends and family.  Many ordered pizza, of which Achillie makes the best.  Their pizza’s are made from scratch.  Achillie makes the dough and all the sauces himself.  He also uses the same dough to make the bread used for the garlic bread.  I have yet to find another place in the area that makes as good a pizza pie as Achillie.

I decided I would have Spinach Ravioli with Pink Sauce (all homemade), served with a dinner salad and plain bread with butter.  Unfortunately, I ate my dinner before I realized I had forgotten to take a picture of it for the blog … (Ops!)

Another YUMMY dinner compliments of Achillie, and I didn’t miss the fish at all.  🙂

Veal Parmesan With Steamed Broccoli and Cream Puffs for Dessert

So, I am tired of fish (already and it is just day 2 of lent).  Ha ha!  Seriously, I have been eating a lot of fish lately, not thinking about how much I would be eating during lent. 

So, tonight I decided on veal for dinner.   I had some thinly slices veal on the freezer that I took out several days ago that I needed to use.  The good thing is I had it in a foodsaver bag, so it kept well in the fridge.  I also had some marinara sauce from a couple days ago that I needed to use.  For my side, broccoli, steamed in chicken broth.  Steaming it this way gives it a really nice flavor.  I also sprinkled my favorite Balsamic vinegar on the broccoli.

To make the veal, I patted it dry, then lightly sprayed it with cooking spray, them dredged it through a mixture of flour, bread crumbs, and seasoning.  Then I sprayed it again and placed it on a foil lined pan and under the broiler for 3-5 minutes each side.  NOTE:  Do not use parchment paper, as it will start to burn due to the high heat of the broiler…I learned the hard way…) You need to watch it closely as your broiler may get hotter than mine. 

Once veal is cooked, remove from the oven, top with marinara and a slice of cheese ( I used provolone) and return to oven.  Cook under .broiler 1 – 2 minutes, until cheese melts, bubbles, and starts to brown.


For dessert, I made cream puffs earlier in the day.  They are delish!!


Yes, the puffs and the custard filling are homemade.  What prompted me to make these was the egg yolks I had left over from making scrambled eggs with just whites the other day.

Fish Tacos

Well, tonight I decided I wanted to something different, and something I have never made before… Fish Tacos!

I found a recipe on  I also decided to make my own flour tortillas… This is something I will definitely need to work on.  Mine turned out ok, but just ok.  Nothing to really get excited about.  I think my problem was that I used only whole wheat flour, and instead.of butter, I used oil, so they were very heavy and didn’t puff up like they were supposed to.  Oh well.

As for the taco fillings, well, the recipe I chose used way too much chili powder, in everything from the marinade for the fish, to the sauce for the Coleslaw, to the breading that went on the fish.  The sauce for the coleslaw was way too thick too, but that can be easily solved by adding a bit of water.

All that said, dinner was edible, just not my best work in the kitchen.  And I won’t be using the recipe from again…


Ash Wednesday

Two posts today.  Lunch and dinner.  Since it is Ash Wednesday, and I am Catholic, the theme for my meals is fish.  🙂

For lunch today I made an open-faces tuna salad sandwich on rye bread with provolone cheese. 


Put it under the broiler for 3 minutes to melt/ brown the cheese.  Mmmm, Mmmm, good.

For tonight’s dinner I will be making something with Tilapia.  Stay tuned!

Chicken Parmesan

Tonight’s dinner was another quick and easy recipe.  When I think of chicken parmesan, I think of a complicated meal, but it really isn’t.  Just three main ingredients:  chicken, marinara sauce, and cheese. 

I took my chicken breast, skinned it, deboned it, and pounded it so that it was an even thickness.  Of course you can buy skinned deboned chicken breast, but Krogers had the ones I have on sale for 99 cents a pound.  Pounding the meat also tenderized the it very nicely too.

Next I placed it on a foil lined and oiled pan, salt and peppered the chicken to taste and placed it under the broiler for 10 minutes; after 10 minutes, I flipped the chicken and broiled it for another 5 minutes.

While the chicken was cooking, I made homemade marinara sauce with crushed tomatoes and a bit of Italian seasoning, placed on pot and simmered while the chicken cooked.

Once I got the marinara put together, I started on my veggie for the evening. Sauteed beans with onions.  I made them in my wok and they turned out great. 

Once the chicken finished cooking I put it on an oven proof plate, topped it with marinara sauce and a slice of provolone cheese, and returned it to the oven under the broiler for a couple minutes just until the cheese started to melt and turn brown.

I also added a little side of fruit.  Pear-sauce I made with some of the pears I froze last fall.  Very simple and easy.  Pears and some cinnamon.  Pureed with my immersion blender.  I know, I know, it looks like baby food, but hey, so does apple sauce…  🙂