Monthly Archives: September 2015

Korean Beef


  Think you don’t have time to make a pretty healthy dinner?  Do you have 15-20 minutes?  Then you have time to make this Korean beef.  This is such a fast, easy dinner.  Did I mention how tasty it is?  No?  Well it’s delicious!  It’s a little spicy but not too hot.  It’s a little sweet but the sweetness is cut by apple cider vinegar.   I thought about throwing in a tablespoon of sake but decided against it because it’s Korean beef not Japanese.  Next time I might double the sauce and add a little shredded carrot and some small broccoli florets.  And maybe some sake.  I can always call it Asian Beef.  Whatever you call it, just make sure you call it dinner.  You won’t be disappointed.
 Korean Beef

2 Tbs. sesame oil, divided

1/8 cup finely diced onion

1/2 red bell pepper cut into thin strips

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1 lb. ground chuck

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbs. water

3 cups hot cooked rice (I used jasmine rice)

In a small bowl combine 1 Tbs. sesame oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, water and vinegar. Stir and thoroughly combine the ingredients.  Set aside.  Place the remaining 1 Tbs. of the sesame oil in a medium sized skillet on medium heat to get hot.  Add the onion and red pepper.  Cook and stir for a minute until the onion is translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Crumble the ground chuck into the pan.  Turn the heat up to medium high and brown meat until it’s no longer pink, crushing and crumbling it into small pieces.  Drain the excess grease from the pan.  Pour in the sauce.  Cook for another minute or two until hot and bubbly.  Place some hot, cooked rice in a bowl and top with the beef mixture.  Enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,



P. S. L.


It’s that time again. Temperatures are cooling off and the leaves are starting to change color and fall from the trees. Fall means everything pumpkin, apple or squash.  It means shorter days and cooler nights.  North of the Fort it means Apple Festival next weekend. I can’t wait!  Next Sunday’s post will tell you all about it.  

My first pumpkin recipe is the pumpkin spice latte or PSL.  There’s an unwritten rule that you must have at least one PSL each fall. I don’t care for sweet coffee. It makes me gag. The pumpkin and the spices in this drink offset the sugar that’s added.  Put on a pot of coffee and let’s toast to Fall. 


Makes 4 servings

Fresh brewed coffee

1 cup milk

2 Tbs. canned  pumpkin purée 

2 tsp. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, plus more for sprinkling on top

2 tsp. vanilla

4-8 Tbs. half and half

Granulated sugar, if desired

Canned refrigerated whipped cream such as Redi Whip

Cinnamon stick for garnish, if desired

Measure the milk into a large (at least 1 and 1/2 cup capacity) microwave safe measuring cup. Add the pumpkin, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. Mix well to combine all ingredients. Microwave on high for 1  1/2 to 2  1/2 minutes until hot and frothy. Watch carefully so it doesn’t bubble over and make a hot mess in the microwave. Mix once again. Pour a generous 1/4 cup of the milk mixture into each of 4 mugs. Pour approximately 3/4 cup of hot coffee in each of the mugs.  Add 1-2 Tbs. half and half to each cup. Taste to see if more sweetness is needed. Add desired amount of granulated sugar to each cup. Stir to combine.  Top with swirls of whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Insert cinnamon stick if desired. Enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,


Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake for One


I was thinking about cheesecake. Such a naughty thought!  Then I thought about how dangerous it is to have a whole cheesecake in the house. The wheels were turning in my head. I needed the shrink ray from the movie Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Since that has been who knows where in storage for years, I had to shrink it with my own powers. No magic or machine was involved; only a custard cup and a paper cupcake liner. This is a no bake cheesecake, so the hardest part is waiting for it to set up in the fridge or freezer (if you’re really impatient like me).  The “crust” is an Oreo cookie. Can you get any easier than that?   And there’s no whole cheesecake in the house to taunt you. That’s a win/win situation. 

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake for One 

1 Oreo cookie

1 Tbs. cream cheese, at room temperature

1 Tbs. creamy peanut butter

1 1/2 tsp. Powdered sugar

2 Tbs. heavy whipping cream, divided

A splash of vanilla 

1 Tbs. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place one paper cupcake liner in a glass custard cup (or a muffin tin). Place the Oreo cookie in the bottom. Set aside. In a small bowl, whip the cream cheese with a whisk until smooth and creamy. Add the peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and 1 Tbs. of the heavy whipping cream. Beat with a whisk until thick and creamy.   Spoon the cheesecake mixture over the Oreo cookie in the cupcake liner. Microwave the remaining tablespoon of whipping cream in a small microwave safe bowl for 20-30 seconds or until very hot. Add the chocolate chips to the hot cream. Allow to stand for a minute. Mix with a spoon until smooth.  Spoon evenly over the cheesecake mixture. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour or in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to allow it to set. Remove the paper liner. Enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,


Vegetable Beef Soup


  Mmmmmmm….soup.  Is there anything more comforting than a bowl of warm soup?  I think not.  And there’s nothing easier than a round two recipe for soup.  Glorious leftovers yet again!  Monday morning I put a 3 pound roast in the crockpot.  Be sure to trim any excess fat. Then I peeled some potatoes allowing one per person plus 2-3 small potatoes to be leftover for soup.  I threw in about half a pound of baby carrots.  I sprinkled it all with some salt and pepper and my secret seasoning-one packet of dry beefy onion soup mix.  I usually sift it to keep the onions out and then discard the dried onions.  If your tummy doesn’t mind the dried onions, just sprinkle the whole package over the roast and vegetables.  Add water to just under the top of the meat. Cook in the crockpot on low for 8-10 hours.  We ate it for dinner that night.  I saved the broth, leftover meat and vegetables in a large bowl.  Tonight I pulled all the leftovers out of the refrigerator and added a few things for a quick soup. If you prefer, use frozen vegetables instead of canned,  Add some crackers or fresh buttered bread et voila!  Dinner is served.  Cheers!  Let’s clink spoons and have some soup.
   Vegetable Beef Soup

1 Tbs. butter

1/2 small onion, finely diced

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 stalk celery, finely diced

1 lb. cooked beef roast. cut into bite-sized cubes

2-3 cooked potatoes, cut into bite-sized cubes

1/2-3/4 cup cooked carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces

3 cups beef broth from leftover roast, fat skimmed from the top

2 bouillon cubes

15 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice

15 oz. can green beans. mostly drained

15 oz. can corn, mostly drained

15 oz. can peas, mostly drained

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. sugar

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven.  Add the onion and celery and cook for 3 minutes or until onion is soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and cook on medium heat until it comes to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30-45 minutes.  Taste to see if seasoning is correct.  Add more salt and pepper if necessary.  Ladle into bowls and serve with crackers or buttered bread.  Enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,


Double Cheese Patty Melts


There is no picture for this recipe because some big dummy forgot to take one. I remembered as I was clearing the table after dinner. **Face palm** Story of my life. A day late, a picture short. It’s a darn shame too because they were picture perfect-golden brown with melted, oozing cheese.  

***UPDATE: There is a picture now!**

Now that I have that image in your head, let’s throw in a seasoned, cheesy hamburger patty. BAM!  Now that’s what I’m talking about!  This makes a quick, week night dinner. You could also add some caramelized onions to it if you’d like. 

Double Cheese Patty Melts

1 pound ground chuck

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. seasoned salt (such as Lawry’s)

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

8 slices your favorite bread (I used white)

Butter for spreading on bread 

8 slices of your favorite cheese (I used American)

If desired, condiments for dipping -ketchup, mustard, mayo, steak sauce, ranch dressing 

In a small bowl combine the ground chuck, shredded cheddar, Worcestershire  sauce, seasoned salt, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix well in a fluffing motion. Try not to over mix or compact the meat. Divide beef mixture into four parts. Gently roll each piece into a ball and flatten onto a piece of wax paper. Place in a large skillet and cook on medium high heat until no longer pink inside about 5 minutes per side. Place on a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside. 

Butter one side of each piece of bread. Place 4 slices of bread in a large skillet on medium heat, butter side down. Top each with one slice of cheese. Place a burger patty on top of the cheese. Put the remaining cheese slices on to of the patties. Place the remaining 4 slices of bread on the top, butter side up. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 3-5 minutes. Carefully flip and cook for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted and oozing.  Enjoy! 

Wishing you love, laughter and cake, 


Banana Bread


The past 10 days have been a blur of emotion, sleepless nights and travel.  Don’t laugh but I had a vision.  I’ve never had one before.  It was very real and very disturbing.  In the vision my father-in-law was being admitted to the hospital and eventually passed away.  Later that day my green-eyed Irish guy called and told me his sister called and told him Pops was back in the hospital.  We traveled across the state each day, leaving early in the morning and returning late in the evening or in the wee hours of the morning, so that we could spend as much time as possible with Pops.  Each day he got worse. Finally hospice was called and he was moved to the facility Tuesday evening.  At 2:00 a.m. Wednesday morning he passed away peacefully in his sleep.  He was a son, a husband, a friend, a teacher, an actor, a singer.  I could go on and on but most of all he was loved by many.  He touched hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.  We mourn the loss of this kind, gentle man as heaven welcomes him as an angel.  RIP Larry Hinken.

One thing Pops loved was sweets.  His favorite was chocolate cake but any baked good could entice him.  Add a cup of black coffee and he was good to go.  I made this banana bread with him in mind.  It’s full of banana flavor having 4 bananas in it.  It’s lightly spiced with warm cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  A touch of sour cream adds to its moistness and gives it a little tang.  I made it lighter by using half butter and half oil and by sifting the dry ingredients.  The result is a light, moist, spicy, super tasty banana bread.  YUM!

Banana Bread 

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 large very ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray or butter a 9 x 5 bread pan and then lightly coat with flour, tapping out any excess.  Set aside.  Mash the bananas in a medium sized bowl.  Add the sour cream and vanilla.  Mix well and set aside.  Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices into a small bowl.  Set aside.  Place the butter, oil and sugars into a large mixing bowl.  Using an electric hand mixer, beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each on medium speed until incorporated or 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Next add the banana mixture and mix on low until combined or 20-30 seconds.  Sift half of the flour mixture directly into the mixing bowl.  Beat on low speed until just incorporated or 20-30 seconds.  Sift the other half of the flour mixture in once again mixing until just combined or 20-30 seconds.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to assure everything is mixed well.  Pour into the prepared pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes, turning half way through, or until a toothpick inserted in the center in several places comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack.  Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.  Cut into slices and enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,


Broiled Fontina Cheese


  I believe I’ve told you of my fondness for cheese once or twice.  This Baked Fontina cheese is right at the top of cheesy goodness.  Not only is it full of melted, bubbly, crispy edged cheese, but it’s also packed with garlic and herbs.  Put this on some fresh Italian or French bread and you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven.  Cheese heaven.  Don’t forget that garlicky olive oil.  Sop it all up with your bread.  That oil is a big money item in a restaurant.  I saw this on an episode of the Barefoot Contessa.  You’ll find her recipe here. Thank you for this recipe Ina!  It’s one of my family’s favorites.  This is an easy, but oh so tasty appetizer.  Let’s get cheesy!
 Broiled Fontina Cheese

1 pound fontina cheese cut into 1 inch cubes

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, minced finely

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 loaf Italian or French bread, cut into slices

Position the oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler.  Preheat the oven to broil.  Place the cheese evenly in a large, oven safe pan or cast iron skillet.  Drizzle the olive oil over the cheese.  Sprinkle the garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper evenly over the surface.  Place the pan in the oven under the broiler for 6 minutes or until the cheese is melted, bubbly and lightly browned.  Spoon the cheese right from the pan over the bread slices and dip the bread into the garlicky olive oil.  Enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,