Thursday, June 30, 2011

Danish Kringle

Danish Kringle

4 cups unbleached flour
3 tbl sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened slightly
3 large eggs, separated
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 cup milk
Filling (three choices below)
Icing (recipe below)

In a large bowl, blend flour, sugar, and salt. 
Add butter and cut in with a mixer on low speed.
Heat milk to 105* to 130*
In a small bowl, beat egg yolks lightly.
Combine yolks, yeast and milk, stirring to dissolve yeast.
Add mixture to flour and mix on low speed until a soft dough forms.  Make sure not to over beat!
Put dough in a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 48 hours.
Prepare fillings of your choice below.
Divide dough into 4 equal parts.  Return 3 parts to bowl, cover, and refrigerate while working with the first part.
On a lightly floured board, roll dough out into a 8"x20" rectangle.
Turn dough so that the 8" end is in front of you.
Spread filling down the center about 3" wide to within 1" of each 8" end.
In a clean bowl, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy.  Increase speed and beat until whites hold a stiff peak.  Don't over beat or the whites will become dry and separate.
Spread a fourth of the whites over the filling.
Fold over one 20" side of dough, and then the other so that there is about a 1 1/2 " overlap of dough covering the filling.  
Pinch dough together at the seam and both 8" ends to seal.
Gently place Kringle seam side down on an ungreased baking sheet, shaping into an oval or horseshoe shape.
Pierce in several places with a fork.
Roll and fill remaining 3 Kringles, placing each on a separate baking sheet.
Cover all with a clean towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400*
Bake each Kringle individually 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Prepare icing while Kringles bake.
Remove Kringle from oven and while still hot, gently press tops with a paper towel to expel any trapped air.
Spread 1/4 of icing on each while hot.
Serve warm.

Pecan Filling:
6 tbl unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Spread on dough (will cover 2 kringles) and spread egg whites on as directed above.
Sprinkle with nuts and continue with recipe.

Almond Filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 8oz can almond filling
1/4 cup milk

In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Beat in almond filling and milk until smooth.
Makes enough filling for 4 Kringles

Fruit Filling:
1 16oz can fruit in juice (my favorite is the red tart pitted cherries)
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbl cornstarch
1/4 tsp almond extract

Drain juice from fruit into a measuring cup to make about 2/3 cup juice.
Add juice to a small saucepan with the sugar, salt and cornstarch.  Set aside for 15 minutes.
Place saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly while bringing to a boil.
Cook and stir while mixture thickens.
Remove from heat and stir in extract and fruit.
Allow to cool and then proceed with the recipe.
Makes enough for 2 Kringles.

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbl milk
1/4 tsp pure vanilla bean paste (can substitute for extract, but the paste makes it just a bit smoother and tastier)

Beat all ingredients together to form a thin icing.
Makes enough for 4 Kringles.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cuban Ropa Vieja Recipe

Growing up in Miami, I had the pleasure of learning all there is to know about delicious Cuban food.  But when I moved away to Atlanta (and then Massachusetts), I couldn't find any quality Cuban food anywhere.  Luckily I found this recipe along the way to give me just a taste of what I was missing.  Even now that I have returned to sunny Florida, I still make this as homemade ropa vieja just can't be beat.

1 Tbl vegetable oil
2 lbs beef flank steak
1 cup beef broth
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 small vidalia onion, sliced
1 green pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl apple cider vinegar
Mojo marinade (I use Badia brand, available in the ethnic aisle in your local grocery store)
Yellow rice
Black beans (see recipe below)

Marinate the steak overnight in the Mojo marinade.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Brown the steak on both sides (about 4 minutes per side).
Transfer steak to a crock pot.
Pour in the beef broth and tomato sauce, then add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomato paste, cumin, cilantro, olive oil, and vinegar.
Stir until well blended.
Cover and slow cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 10 hours until beef shreds easily.
When ready to serve, shred meat and mix in with the sauce, and serve with rice and beans.

Black beans
2 cans black beans
1 vidalia onion diced finely
1 green pepper diced finely
2 Tbl minced garlic
2 Tbl chopped black olives
1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro

Mix all ingredients together and place into a small crock pot and cook on Low for 1 hour.
Serve on top of yellow rice.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Shell Pets

If you haven't noticed by the ridiculous heat, it is officially summer.  So what better way to spend your days than to make some fun summer crafts with the kids.  Most of these items can be found (if you are lucky enough to go to a beach this summer), otherwise you can get them at your local craft store.  Once again, this great craft idea comes from Disney's Family Fun website.
  • Clean shells
  • Tacky glue
  • White pony beads
  • Permanent black marker
  • Piece of driftwood
  1. For each critter, select 2 shells of like size and shape. Set one top-side down and glue a pair of bead eyes to the edge opposite the hinge.
  2. Then glue the other shell in place atop the first one, as shown. When the glue is dry, draw pupils on the eyes.
  3. Finally, arrange your clam critters atop the driftwood and glue them in place.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Footprints in the Sand

A great way to pass the day at the beach is with some great arts and crafts that even the hardest to please kids will love. Combined with my love of all things Disney, Family Fun actually has a great website and a section dedicated to arts and crafts for the kids. They have projects you can do outdoors, even at the beach! My favorite is this one as it not only gives them something fun to make at the beach (or you can do at home if nowhere near the water), but it's also a keepsake to remind you of your fun this summer.

Plaster of Paris
Small bucket
4-inch lengths of string, optional

Choose a site to cast your molds -- the moist, hard-packed sand near the water's edge works best.
Firmly press both feet into the sand. The prints should be about 1/2 inch to 2 inches deep. (If your child can't press down that hard, he can use his finger to dig down into the print, following its shape.)
Mix up the plaster, according to the directions on the package, so that it has a thick, creamy consistency. Pour the wet plaster gently into the footprints.
To make hangers, tie a knot about a half inch in from each end of the pieces of string. As the plaster begins to harden, push the knotted ends into the plaster and let dry.
After 20 to 25 minutes, gently dig the footprints out of the molds and brush away any excess sand. Set sole-side up in the sun for about an hour to let harden.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Beef Sirloin Tip Roast with Bacon Recipe

1 3lb sirloin tip roast tied
1 cup water
1 medium vidalia onion diced
2 tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
8 strips bacon uncooked
2 tbl minced garlic

Preheat the oven to 325*
Line a shallow roasting pan with tinfoil
Place the roast in the center of the pan and sprinkle the salt, pepper, and thyme on top.
In a separate pan, heat the oil over medium high.
Cook the onions and garlic together until onions become browned
Pour the onion/garlic mixture on top of the roast (it's okay if some falls off into the pan)
Layer the bacon top top of the onion covered roast, covering it completely (think bacon blanket...mmm).
Pour water over the bacon & into the pan.

Insert oven safe meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast, and place into the oven.Roast until the thermometer registers rare (145*) or medium rare (160*).
Transfer meat to a serving board or platter.
Remove bacon and cut strings from roast.
If you like chewy bacon, replace on top of the roast and serve with it. If not, you can remove it and quickly fry it until it is crisp (and then using it in a side dish like mashed potatoes).
Pour pan drippings into a small skillet and heat to boiling, whisking the entire time.
Continue boiling until drippings are reduced and thickened.
Spoon sauce over roast and serve immediately.

*for a change of pace, omit the thyme, onions and garlic.  Instead rub 1/4 cup apple butter on top of the roast prior to adding salt, pepper and bacon.  This gives it a sweet applewood bacony taste.  Yum!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Good Wife's Guide

Sometimes, when things get crazy and my son is reminding me why animals in the wild eat their young, I just need a good laugh.  A friend had posted this on Facebook a few months ago, and I figured it was just the thing I both gives me a laugh and a re-found perspective on how much easier things are for us today to be a woman.  Yes, I know, there are still many more things that need/can be changed, but this is not the time for a woman's movement debate.  It's just the time for a good old fashioned chuckle, giggle, or guffaw (or as we say today, LOL).  I hope you all enjoy this nostalgic article from Housekeeping Monthly as much as I do!

(Oh, and for you young moms, remember that "gay" back in the 50's meant happy.  So no, they weren't suggesting have a threesome ready for when your hubby got home from work.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Seafood Paella with Roasted Cuban Bread

When I was younger, I paid my bills thru the fast paced world of waitressing.  And my favorite restaurant to work in was Bahamas Breeze.  It had such a fun islandy atmosphere and for a chain restaurant, the food was amazing.  When my now-husband would come to visit me, he would always get the Paella.  So when they posted the recipe online, I knew I had to share it with everyone.  Of course, I altered things to make it my own.  It is an easy to make meal, and serves an army (I made it last night for Father's Day dinner & we had enough leftovers for two more meals, so I froze it to have on a night I am too rushed to cook).  It is great served with Roasted Cuban Bread (recipe below).  They also have lots more recipes posted on their site, so if you love Caribbean inspired food, you should definitely check it out.

3/4 lb chicken tenderloins, cut into quarters
1/2 lb jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined
1/2 lb fresh jumbo sea scallops
1/2 lb fresh fish cut into 1" chunks (I usually use Shark steak or Calamari rings)
4 tsp Creole seasoning (I use Tony Chacheres)
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cup chicken stock
5.5 oz package chorizo diced
1 dozen fresh mussels
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1 Vidala onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
16 oz pkg cooked yellow rice
1 tbl fresh cilantro chopped
Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish

Heat 1 tbl oil over medium high heat in a pan.
Cook onions and peppers until onions are browned and translucent.
Season the chicken, shrimp, scallops, and fish with the creole seasoning in separate bowls, tossing to coat evenly.
Heat the 2 tbl olive oil in a large deep sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat.
Add the fish, scallops, and shrimp and sauté until the chicken is partially cooked.
Add the chicken stock, chorizo, and mussels and cook until the chicken is cooked completely (about 3 minutes).
Lower the heat to medium and add the peas, rice, onions, peppers and chopped cilantro.
Stir the ingredients to evenly mix.
Continue to cook and stir the paella until all the chicken stock is absorbed by the rice.
Place on a serving platter and garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs.
Serve with Roasted Cuban Bread

Roasted Cuban Bread
2 large - Vine ripened Beefsteak tomatoes
1¼ cups - Tomato marinade (see recipe below)
1 loaf - Fresh Cuban bread, ¾ pound
6 tbsp - Garlic herb butter (see recipe below)
¼ cup - Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup - Fresh basil leaves, sliced crosswise 1/8"
1 sprig - Fresh basil for garnish

Garlic Herb Butter
4 tbsp Lightly salted butter, softened
2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Fresh garlic, minced
½ tsp Fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp Scallion, sliced 1/8"

Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mash with a fork until evenly blended. Can be made a day in advance and kept refrigerated.

Tomato Marinade
½ cup White wine vinegar
¼ cup Fresh orange juice
1 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp Fresh oregano leaves
1 tsp Fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp Brown sugar
¼ tsp Salt & black pepper, fresh ground

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until thoroughly blended. Can be made a day in advance and kept refrigerated.

Preheat oven to 450º F with rack in the middle of the oven.
Wash tomatoes and remove the core, then cut into ¼" slices. Lay the slices in a glass dish and pour the marinade over them. Set aside while preparing the bread.
Slice bread lengthwise with a serrated knife to create a top and bottom. Spread half of garlic herb butter on the cut surface of each half of the bread.
Place bread, cut side up, on a sheet pan. Place in the oven for 3-4 minutes until the bread is lightly toasted. Remove from oven.
Lift tomato slices from the marinade and drain. Lay slices, slightly overlapping, on the toasted bread. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven for 1-2 minutes to just melt the cheese. Remove from oven and transfer to cutting board.
Cut each half loaf, crosswise, into 8 pieces. Sprinkle with sliced basil leaves and arrange on a warm serving platter. Garnish with a fresh sprig of basil.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Strawberry Margarita Parfaits Recipe

Strawberry Margarita Parfaits

recipe photo

Prep Time 35 Minutes
Total Time 2:35 Hrs
Makes 6 serving

cup fresh lime juice
tablespoons orange juice
teaspoon unflavored gelatin
tablespoon tequila
tablespoon orange-flavored liqueur
teaspoons grated lime peel
(14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
cup whipping cream, whipped
quart (4 cups) fresh strawberries, sliced
  1. In medium saucepan, combine lime juice and orange juice. Sprinkle gelatin over top; let stand 1 minute to soften. Heat over low heat until clear and dissolved, stirring occasionally. Cool 5 minutes.
  2. Add tequila, liqueur, lime peel and condensed milk to gelatin mixture; mix well. Fold in whipped cream.
  3. Rub the outside rims of your glasses with a cut lime and dip each glass lightly into a plate of sugar.
  4. Divide one-third of the strawberries among individual 10-oz. parfait glasses. Top with half of the tequila mixture. Top with half of the remaining strawberries and all of the remaining tequila mixture. Top with remaining strawberries. Cover glasses with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
  5. Top with an extra dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with grated lime peel. 

Ingredient Substitution
If you prefer a nonalcoholic dessert, use 2 tablespoons orange juice in place of the tequila and orange liqueur.
This dessert provides nutrition and great taste, thanks to 2/3 cup strawberries per parfait. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C. They also contain antioxidants that can help maintain healthy cells.

Nutrition Information:
1 Serving (1/6 of Recipe)
  • Calories 375
    • (Calories from Fat 160),
  • Total Fat 18g
    • (Saturated Fat 11g,
  • Cholesterol 65mg;
  • Sodium 100mg;
  • Total Carbohydrate 46g
    • (Dietary Fiber 2g,
    • Sugars 44g),
  • Protein 7g;
Percent Daily Value*:
  • Vitamin A 14.00%;
  • Vitamin C 50.00%;
  • Calcium 22.00%;
  • Iron 2.00%;
  • 2 1/2 Starch;
  • 1/2 Fruit;
  • 3 1/2 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choices:
  • 3 ;
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mosaic Picture Frame

With Father's Day right around the corner, I thought it might be fun to post this great Mosaic Picture Frame craft to do with your kids.  It can get messy when doing with little ones, so either do this on your porch, or spread out tons of newspaper (or in my son's case, a giant tarp).  All the supplies can be either purchased at your local craft store, or you can be more eco-friendly and use found items.

Wooden picture frame
Heavy duty craft glue
Grout (to save a step, try using pre-mixed grout with the sealant already in it)
Sealant (unless your grout has sealant included)
Tiles, upcycled china, sea glass, found items, etc
Large sponge or rag
Wooden popsicle stick
Tile cutter or nips (only if you are not using precut tile pieces or plate pieces)
Your favorite photo

1) Make sure your picture frame is clean.  Remove the glass so that it won't get scratched or dirty.  If it is an upcycled frame, make sure it is cleaned off well so that the adhesive will stick.
2) Unless you want a random pattern, draw a design to follow (such as shapes, maybe the word Dad, anything you want to stand out from the rest of the frame) on the frame.
3) If you are using uncut tiles or china, use tile nippers to cut pieces off in random sizes and shapes (do this prior to including the kids and make sure you wear protective goggles).  Do this by fitting the nippers over a section of the plate/tile and squeeze the handles firmly until a piece snaps off.  Repeat until you have the plate/tiles in ans many large and small pieces as you want.
4) Lay out the pieces of cut tiles, plates, sea glass, stones, etc on your frame, forming the design and pattern you want.  If you have a pattern laid out, do that section in a different color than the rest of the frame to make it stand out (ex, blue glass for background, yellow glass for the sun pattern, green for the word Dad, etc).  Lay them close together, but not touching, so that there are small spaces between.
5) Once you have the entire frame covered in a pattern you like, begin gluing each piece down in place.  Let it dry overnight.
6) Mix grout according to package instructions.  Using the wooden popsicle stick, spread the grout evenly over the mosaic frame.  Use fingertips to press the grout deep into all crevices.  Allow to dry a couple of minutes, and then carefully wipe off excess grout with a damp sponge or cloth (be careful not to wipe out any grout from the crevices).  Switch to a dry rag to wipe off any residual grout.  Let it dry overnight.
7) If you didn't use grout with sealant mixed in, wipe the mosaic frame off well, removing any left over dried grout and apply the grout sealant  according to package instructions.  Wipe off any excess and let it dry overnight.
8) Wipe down mosaic with a damp rag, and then polish with a dry rag to make the mosaic shine.  Replace the glass, put in your favorite photo, wrap, and wait for dad's big smile!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Margarita Flan Cake Recipe

Miracle Margarita Flan Cake

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
3 eggs
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 teaspoon very finely grated orange zest
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1/2 cup cajeta (Mexican caramel sauce) or caramel ice cream topping
1 (18.25 ounce) box butter cake mix, plus ingredients called for on box
1/2 cup Sauza Gold tequila
1 teaspoon very finely grated lime zest
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, eggs, Grand Marnier and orange zest together. Set aside.

Generously spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable-oil spray. Spread the cajeta or caramel sauce in the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions, substituting the 1/2 cup tequila for 1/2 cup of the required water, and adding lime zest. Fold coconut into the cake batter. Pour the batter on top of the cajeta in the pan. Gradually pour the milk mixture over the batter (the milk mixture will sink and the batter will rise).

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Unmold onto a serving platter. Let cool completely.

Makes 12 to 14 servings.

Per serving: Cal 366 (23% fat) Fat 9 g (5 g sat) Fiber trace Chol 58 mg Sodium 359 mg Carb 58 g Calcium 226 mg

Monday, June 13, 2011

Picture Puzzle DIY Craft

I don't know about the rest of you, but my son has become crazy about puzzles...especially when it's of something he loves.  So this is a great way for you and your children to make your own puzzles cheaply and with some great images as well.

Print out on letter sized paper (8 1/2" x 11") any photo you want (can be a family photo, a coloring book page off a website, a picture from a magazine...go crazy!)
8 1/2" x 11" piece of cardboard
Safety scissors

What to do:
Glue your photo onto the cardboard piece, making sure to spread the glue out evenly to get a solid connection.
On the back of the cardboard draw puzzle lines.  Make them as big or as small as you'd like, the more wavy and creative the more it will stimulate your child's mind.
Once the glue has dried, cut out your pieces along the lines you drew.
Flip it over, and your puzzle is ready to be reassembled over and over.

Friday, June 10, 2011

French Toast Bread Pudding Recipe

I've been craving bread pudding lately, and my son has been on a breakfast all day long kick (I swear, the kid goes thru a box of waffles a day!).  So, when I recently bought a box of Farm Rich Cinnamon French Tast Sticks at Sam's Club, it had this recipe on the side.  So I tried it out (with a few modifications of course) and man is it yummy.  In fact,my husband described it tasting like "cinnamon raisin french toast and apple pie had a love child". So here you go (and warning, it is best if you prep it the night before, which actually makes breakfast easy...just pop in the oven and eat!).

1 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1 16ox box Farm Rich Cinnamon French Toast Sticks
1 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup raisins
1 apple diced

Cut the toast sticks into 1 inch pieces.
Layer the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking pan with brown sugar
Sprinkle raisins and apples over the brown sugar
Lay the toast sticks onto the sugar (cinnamon sugar side up)in a single layer.  Press any extra pieces into the sides and corners, filling any gaps.
In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, eggs, vanilla, salt, and water.
Pour mixture over the toast sticks, pressing them down to wet them thoroughly.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350*
Bake for 30-40 minutes.
Raise temperature on your oven to broil and cook an additional 2-3 minutes to carmelize the sugar.
Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.
Invert onto a serving plate and dig in!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pina Colada Fruit Dip Recipe

As I sit at my computer working all night on networking and orders and the such, I realize I am STARVING!  So, I go to my recipe box, and found this one hiding.  Yes, I know I have to let it sit for 30 minutes before I eat it, but it is so worth it.  Plus, with all that I am doing, 30 minutes will fly by.  So for those who want to join me in my late night snack....


1 20oz can crushed pineapple (don't drain)
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 4-serving size instant vanilla pudding
1 cup cool whip
fresh fruit
graham crackers

Mix pineapple, coconut, and dry pudding mix together. 
Gently fold in the cool whip. 
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Enjoy with fruit dipped in, on graham crackers, or with a huge serving spoon ( my favorite way :)  )