Dec 10

Banana Pancakes

Now that I’m on a roll with food blogging, every morning I wake up and say what am I going to make today.

Today is Banana Pancakes! Breakfast of Champions!

I’ve never actually made pancakes from scratch before, I’m the just add water kinda girl. Not this time!


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Optional but Highly Recommended

1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg


Combine flour, white sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, vegetable oil and bananas.

Stir flour mixture into banana mixture; batter will be slightly lumpy.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot.


I added the optional ingredients to add a little more flavor. They compliment the banana flavor very well. I would avoid serving it with syrup, I feel that takes away from the banana. Try using whip cream.

What I’m starting to learn is that you don’t always need to follow a recipe exactly. Take risks and go with it and hope it turns out well. If not, try again. It’s all about trial and error.

Banana Pancakes

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Dec 10

Meringue Cookies Round 2

After my last attempt of making Meringue Cookies, I was determined to get it right this time.  Since most recipes called for cream of tartar, I went out and purchased a jar of it.  (YAY!) I learned that cream of tartar is used as a thickening agent for making meringue.  (YAY! for learning something new)

Chocolate Meringue Cookies
(found this off of


  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla. Beat until the whites form soft peaks. Slowly add sugar; beat until stiff peaks form, and mixture becomes glossy. Fold in cocoa and chocolate chips.
  3. Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls on to a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

I’m definitely closer to nailing Meringue Cookies as you can see from the picture below.  They puffed up while cooking but when I took them out they flattened.  I probably should of used more cream of tartar once I noticed it was not thick enough.  It also could be because I blended it by hand.  I don’t actually have a mixer yet… a girl can dream.

meringue cookie

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Dec 10

Recipe Exchange #1:Chicken and Brown Rice de Provonce

I previously mentioned in an earlier post about the Recipe Exchange, I sadly only received 1 recipe. I was in shock. People are no fun these days. I’m tempted to reply to everyone and yell at them over email for not participating.  I digress.

Anyways, even though I only received 1 recipe, I  said I was going to make whatever recipes came my way and here it is:

Chicken and Brown Rice de Provonce ingredients

4 Chicken Breasts or other parts

1 Can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 Cup Brown Rice

3-4 Stalks of Celery

1 Large Onion

¾ Cup of Water or Chicken Broth

¼ Cup White Wine

1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provonce

1-2 Tablespoons Butter

Salt and Pepper to Taste

In pan on stove cook the chopped celery and onion in butter until beginning to soften.  Add wine to deglaze pan and mix in soup.  Then add vegetable mixture to the baking dish with the broth and brown rice.  Arrange the raw chicken on top of the rice bake in a 375 oven with a cover for 30 min to an hour, remove cover for last 10-15 minutes of cooking.  Cook until chicken cook and rice tender.  If rice is dry add more broth or water during cooking.

Notes: Herbs de Provonce was not easy to find, they do not sell it at the regular grocery store, I had to go to Fresh Market to pick up a jar

This was the first time making the dish for me and I did not have a picture to go by.  I realized as I was making the dish, it did not specify what to do with the Herbs de Provonce. I mixed the tablespoon of spice in the soup mixture.  As I was cooking it, I was hoping that the chicken would absorb the flavor from the rice mixture. No such luck, the chicken looked very bland.  Around 30 minutes in, I decided to add Herbs de Provonce on top of the chicken.

Judgement Time: I was not fan of this dish, at least not the chicken. The Herbs de Provonce is very potent, you can taste the lavender which I think you need an acquired taste for.  I would season the chicken with salt and pepper  prior to baking it next time.  However, I will say that the rice mixture was delicious. :)


chicken dish

chicken rice

Update: See Michelle’s comment as she is the one who provided the recipe and she explained what she did differently.

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Dec 10

Spanish Garlic Shrimp Gambas al Ajillo

So a couple of months ago, I went to Publix Apron’s Cooking School with my friend Kim.  This was actually my first experience going to a cooking class and was excited to find out that it was hands on, to only later find out that it was demonstration.  We made the most of the demonstration class, it was only $45 dollars plus we get to eat everything they make and enjoy wine while we have chefs cook for us.

They demonstrated the following:

Spanish Garlic Shrimp Gambas al Ajillo
Pinchos Mixtos with Saffron Alioli
Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin Medallions (Solomillo De Cerda)
Vanilla Flan

Now while I was at this cooking class, I did not have a blog or a camera on me.  This won’t happen again.  However, I did try to make one of the dishes at home.

The Spanish Garlic Shrimp Gambas al Ajillo


1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2-3 ounces of dry sherry
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon for juice
1 Baguette


In a saute pan or heavy frying pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for about one minute or until they begin to brown. Be careful not to burn the garlic! Raise the heat to high and add the shrimp, lemon juice, sherry or cognac and paprika. Stir well, then saute, stirring briskly until the shrimp turn pink curl – about 3 minutes

Remove from heat and transfer shrimp with oil and sauce to a warm plate or serve right from the pan. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle with Parsley. Serve with fresh crusty bread.


Now these pictures below are actually my 3rd attempt at making them.  I was so excited from the class that I actually tried to make this meal with items that I had in the house the next day.  Let’s just say that did not go over well.  The 3rd attempt I actually follow the recipe exactly, it came out a bit too spicy.  It had to be the red pepper flakes.  Either there was too much or the level of how spicy these flakes were … were over-powering. However, it was actually “edible” and and could handle the spiciness.

Please note these pictures were taken with my blackberry, I plan on starting to use my Nikon D60 moving forward, except when I’m at restaurants.


Spice in Pan

Frozen Shrimp In Pan

Shrimp in broth

Final Dish

Next Stop – Lenore Nolan Ryan’s Cooking School
I was able to buy a session through living social for half off. $22 not a bad deal! I’ll be sure to report about my class when I go.

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Dec 10

The Recipe Exchange

recipe card

I just received the greatest email from my friend. I remember when I was little, we use to do this with socks, underwear or even cash. This time it was for recipes. I had to post this immediately as it was so perfect for my blog.
Dear Friends,

Happy, happy holiday season to each of you!

You are being invited to be a part of a recipe exchange :) Please send a recipe to the person whose name is in position 1 (even if you don’t know them) and it should be something quick, easy and without rare ingredients. Actually, the best one is the one you know in your head and can type right now. Don’t agonize over it – this is the one you make when you are short on time…one that is quick and delicious! (Or complicated and amazing)
After you’ve sent your recipe to the person in position 1 below and only to that person, copy this e-mail into a new e-mail, move my name to the top and put your name in position 2. Only mine and your name should show when you send your e-mail. Send to 20 friends BCC (blind copy). If you cannot do this within 5 days, let me know so it will be fair to those participating. You should receive 36 recipes. It’s fun to see where they come from! Seldom does anyone drop out because we all need new ideas! The turnaround is fast, as there are only 2 names on the list and you only have to do this once.

1. Email #1 (the person who you will send the recipe to)
2. Email #2 (the person who sent the email to you)

(for privacy reasons I did not list the email addresses above)

I’m excited to see what recipes I receive and will be sure to post them on here

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Dec 10

Reese’s Chewy Chocolate Cookies

About 4 years ago, my sister made these yummy cookies.  I’ve never been a fan of cookies, I’ve always been a cupcake kinda gal.  Once I had her cookie, I was hooked.  Now besides making the ready to bake cookies from Pillsbury or Tollhouse(how embarrassing) … these are my go to cookies that I make from scratch. I get requests to make these cookies for work or parties. They really do melt in your mouth and you can never just have one. You can find the recipe on the back of the Reese’s peanut butter chips, and if you bake a lot you should have most of the ingredients in your pantry already.  I stocked up on the peanut butter chips for a rainy day which has come in handy many times.

The picture I took of the cookies does not do it justice

Reese’s Chewy Chocolate Cookies

chewy chocolate cookies


2 cupes all purpose flour
3/4 Hershey’s Cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4cups (2 -1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2cups of sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-2/3 (10-oz pkg.) REESES Peanut Butter Chips


1. Heat oven to 350 F

2. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until fluff. Add Eggs and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture. beating well.  Stir in peanut butter chips.

3. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 9 minutes. ( Do not overbake; cookies will be soft.  They will puff while baking and flatten while cookin.) Cool Slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool Completely. About 4- 1/2 dozen cookies.

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Nov 10

Tilapia With Lemon Butter Sauce

Occasionally, I like to try to cook something new to eat for dinner instead of cooking the same old boring meal, unless its Taco Night. Taco Night never gets old. Now when I’m lazy which happens a lot after a long day of work, the last thing I want to do is spend time trying to master a dish I’ve never made before. However, today I was walking through Publix, and they happen to making a dish. I was actually in shock because the Publix that I buy my groceries from never has anyone at the Simple Meals Station cooking anything. So I sampled the dish, Tilapia With Lemon Butter Sauce and Angel Hair Fresca. (Sidenote: Tilapia happens to be my favorite fish right now, so I will be talking about Tilapia in future posts.) My taste buds liked it and the fact that the recipe was easy won me over.  I also happen to have a few of the ingredients at home already. Publix sells prepackaged frozen Tilapia, this is always good to have around the house when you don’t feel like getting groceries. I do this with frozen shrimp as well.  Most fish are frozen and then thawed out anyways, so it doesn’t make a difference unless you fish for you dinner that day. Good luck with that one, well unless you’re a fisherman of course. Publix definitely has quite a collection of recipes to browse through although it helps that they let you sample it there and decide if you like it before you actually cook it.

Tilapia With Lemon Butter Sauce    


2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
1 lemon
1 1/2 lb tilapia fillets (thawed)
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
4 teaspoons flour, divided
Large zip-top bag
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup white wine

  • Chop parsley; cut lemon in half. Set both aside.
  • Check fish for bones (wash hands).


  1. Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place seasoned salt and 3 teaspoons flour in zip-top bag; shake to mix. Add fish to zip-top bag; seal tightly and shake to coat.

2. Place 1 tablespoon butter in pan, then add fish; cook 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon butter to center of pan. Turn fillets, using spatula, and distribute butter under each fillet. Cook 3 more minutes or until fish is golden and flakes easily. Transfer fish to serving plates.

grilled tilapia

Add wine, and remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon flour to pan; squeeze juice of lemon into pan. Heat and stir 1–2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in parsley and serve butter sauce over fish.

Angel Hair Fresca

8 oz angel hair pasta
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup sun-dried tomato pesto


  1. Fill large saucepan half full of water. Cover and bring to a boil on high for pasta.
  2. Stir pasta into boiling water; boil 1 minute. Stir in broccoli; boil and stir 4 minutes or until tender.
  3. Drain pasta mixture. Add butter to saucepan, using residual heat to melt butter. Stir in tomato pesto and pasta mixture; toss to mix and serve.

tilapia simple recipes

I dedicate this post to Publix Apron’s Simple Meals — thanks for din tonight! Muy delicioso!

Tilapia on Foodista

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Nov 10

Pumpkin… how yummy you are

I found the best recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread last year and I have gotten so many compliments on it.  Just make sure you give the loafs away otherwise you’ll get stuck eating the bread ( which may or may not be a bad thing)

This year I stocked up on Libby’s Pumpkin


  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin pureelibby Pumpkin
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 1 pound size coffee cans, or three 9×5 inch loaf pans.
    2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs. Beat until smooth. Blend in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Fill cans 1/2 to 3/4 full.
    3. Bake for 1 hour, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool on wire racks before removing from cans or pans.

    You can find this recipe on

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