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March 11, 2009
Lucky Little Leprechaun

Lucky Little Leprechaun


So, since I’ve already confessed to my addiction with the basic dough that I can’t seem to stop making, I’ll not mention it again on this post!  I wanted to make something cute for our darling grandson for St. Patrick’s Day.  He’s not quite two years old yet, so I thought he’d get a kick out of the little pinwheels;  you know,  for Spring (hopefully) being on its way and mostly, because pinwheels are fun!!  Of course, I had to add the green sugar for “St. Paddy’s” Day.  Of course.

**a little side note:  did you know you can make your own colored sugar?  when i saw the price for the green sugar the other day, i actually found that i drew my hand away so quickly it looked like the sugar container was boiling hot!  so, that little leprechaun is guarding the sugar i made myself.  just squirt a bit of food coloring into your plain white sugar,  stir it up with a fork until you get the color you want, put it through a sieve to remove any lumps that may have formed, and there ya go!

** * another side note:  do you ever add a little colored sugar  to your regular white sugar for the different holidays?  (ex. – red & green for Christmas,  red for Valentine’s Day, and green for St. Patrick’s Day).  you just need one or two big pinches to make the sugar you serve with your coffee or tea look so festive.


basic dough  (*see recipe under “Pizza My Heart”, or “Extraordinary Pizza” from this site)

about 1/4 cup honey (optional)

about 1/4 cup ground pecans  ( any ground nuts can be used ) ( this is also optional)

1/2 to 1 cup green sugar ( depending how heavy-handed you are!)

chocolate chips for garnish  ( or M&M’s)

about 2 or 3 TBSP. milk


Cut the dough into rectangles, approximately 6″  x  3″.  Roll out to twice the length, doing your best to keep the 3″ wide part to that measurement.   You will need to cut this rectangle into squares.  The best is a 3″  x  3″  square,  but some of mine were not so exact and still came out fine.

I made half the pinwheels  with just the green sugar and the other half with the honey and nuts.  We liked both, so you’ll need to decide for yourself  which you prefer.

For the simply sugared ones;  brush a little milk on the squares and sprinkle with the green sugar.

For the “honeyed” ones;  put a little honey on the square and carefully spread it out as best as you can with a small butter knife.  Then, sprinkle the nuts on top.

Now, using a sharp knife, make 4 slits on each rectangle from the center to each tip (corner).  Just be careful to leave about 1/2″  of the center uncut.  Take every other corner and press the tip of it into the center of the rectangle.  Place a chocolate chip or M&M in the center.  Sprinkle the top of the “honeyed” ones with green sugar.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, until golden.

Enjoy with a lovely cup of Irish tea and shout, “Erin Go Bragh!”  and may theLuck o’ the Irish be with you always!

Bunny Baskets

April 3, 2009

Bunny Bread Baskets


basic dough  (recipe on this site under any pizza recipe)

1/2 c. maple syrup or honey

1 package Easter M&M’s


After making the basic dough,  take about a walnut-sized piece and roll it into a log.  Do the same with a second piece and then twist the both of them together and form into a circle.  Brush the tops with either syrup or honey.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.  After removing from the oven, place an M&M inside the circle to resemble an Easter egg in an Easter basket.

Cute, huh?

Bunny Breadettos

April 3, 2009

Easter Poses


Basic Dough

1 c. walnut paste

1/2 c. sugar

I call these “breadettos”  because it’s a kind of Italian word that I made up that I want to mean:  “Little Bread”!


Make the basic dough which you can find on this site under any pizza recipe.  For the walnut paste,  I merely put 1 cup of walnuts in my mini-processor until it formed a paste.

I took about 2 golf ball-sized pieces  of dough and rolled them out into a log, then braided them together.  I placed about 1 tsp. of the walnut paste across the top of the mini loaves and sprinkled over the paste with sugar.

Bake in a hot oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Do NOT feed to the bunnies!  Human consumption only, please!

Macaroni Madness

April 3, 2009

Plenty o’ Pasta

This is just a photo record of some home-made pasta I made recently.  If anyone wants the recipe for this, just post a comment on this page and I will be happy to type the recipe in.

Chicken on A Cloud

April 3, 2009

Chicken Cloud


2 Chicken Breasts, skinless and boneless

1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, diced

1/2 c. wine, any type

1 c. frozen string beans

1 envelope instant mashed potatoes

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

pinch cayenne pepper

1 tsp. brown sugar

salt & pepper, to taste

oil for frying


In a small bowl, mix together all spices and sugar.  Dice the garlic.  Heat a frying pan and add oil.  Meanwhile, season the chicken on both sides with the spice mixture.  Cut the chicken into about 1″ chunks.  Add the garlic to the heated oil and let fry for about 1 or 2 minutes.  Add chicken and brown on all sides.  Remove from pan and add the wine and diced tomatoes and stir together.  Add the string beans and let cook for about 5 minutes.  Return the chicken to the pan and cover.  Simmer on a very low flame while preparing the mashed potatoes.

Put the cooked mashed potatoes on a plate and make a well in the middle of the “cloud”.  Add the chicken and vegetables and chow down!!

Yummy Yammy Soup recipe

March 12, 2009
Yummy Yammy Soup

Yummy Yammy Soup

The little spoon rest/ gondolier is a gift from my daughter. Isn’t he just the cutest?! He loved watching me make this soup ~~ in fact, he’s the one who came up with the title!

Yummy Yammy Soup


4 large yams ( sweet potatoes ), or 6 medium

2 tablespoons butter, unsalted

1 rounded teaspoon salt

4-6 ounces cream cheese ( or just use milk or cream )

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, or Italian parsley

1 cup shredded coconut

4 cups water, or 2 cups water + 2 cups chicken stock


Peel the yams and cube them. Put them in a large soup pot and cover with water and add the teaspoon of salt. Boil until soft enough to mash. When soft, drain them and add the butter, cream cheese, mint or parsley, coconut and pecans.

At this point, I use my hand-held immersion stick blender to puree everything. You can also use a blender or food processor. But, really, if you don’t own one of these gadgets ~~ get one! I use mine for a lot of things, including pureeing whole plum Italian tomatoes for my “gravy”.

But, back to the soup…

After it is pureed, you can now add the liquid ~~ stock or stock/water mixture. Stir over low flame until warm enough to eat.

Garnish with a sprinkle of coconut, a sprig of mint or parsley, and a little chopped pecans.

Yell out, “Yummy-Yammy”!

Blue Baby Blue (berry) Bites

March 11, 2009
Blue Baby Blue (berry) Bites

Blue Baby Blue (berry) Bites


Remember that song, “Blue Baby Blue”?  I think it was sung by Bobby Vinton.  Anyway, I couldn’t help thinking of it when making this  berry, berry good little dessert.   And, I think I have to make a confession here:  I’m pretty sure that I have now become totally obsessed with the basic dough recipe.  I’ve used that dough to make appetizers,  meals, and desserts.  It’s just that it’s so doggone easy to work with!   Hello, my name is Claire and I am addicted to using basic dough.  (There.  I’ve confessed.  But,  I don’t expect a cure!)


basic dough   ( find the recipe on this blog under the recipe title “Extraordinary Pizza”, or “Pizza My Heart”)

1 can  (12 oz. )  blueberry pie filling

about 1/2 cup ground walnuts  ( I do this in my mini food processor )

confectioner’s  ( powdered ) sugar,  for dusting

**note:  you may certainly substitute any fruit pie filling or any diced up fruit of your choice ~~  also, you may even use purchased frozen pizza  dough.


I cut my dough into approximately  6″  x  2″  logs,  just to make life easier!  Then, roll each log  (one at a time, please! ) into a circle with approximately a  10″  or 12″  diameter.

Using a soup spoon,  dollop about  two or three spoonfuls of the pie filling onto the dough, leaving a border on the edge of about 1/2 “.   Sprinkle a spoonful or so of the walnuts on top.

I used a ravioli cutter for this next part, but you can use a pizza cutter or just a sharp knife.  Make slices of the circle just as if it were a pizza.  Then, starting from the long end, roll up each slice and place on greased ( or “Pam-ed” ) baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 or 20 minutes, until golden.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

You’ll never feel blue eating these!!


March 6, 2009


I just can’t get enough of that basic dough recipe!  Now, I transformed it  into “pinwheel” shapes and decided that all those beautiful colors of the Colombian bus matched all the ingredients perfectly!  So, I just had to include it in the photo.  Besides, that bus is a gift from our son-in-law purchased when both  he and our daughter visited  his family in  Medellin  (Med-a-jeen).  That is an authentic replica of the buses that are used in his country.  Pretty exotic, eh?   And, as you can see, it’s doing a “wheelie” over the snacks.  Here’s  a “wheelie verdict ”  from our son-in-law:  “Mmmmm…….very, very good.  Thanks, Mom.”        Lucky, ain’t I?


Basically, there are 4 different fillings for these:  (1) broccoli & asiago cheese,  (2) salami & provolone,  (3) virginia ham & swiss cheese, and

(4)  tomato & mozzarella cheese.


Make the basic dough  ( recipe is on this blog under the “extraordinary pizza”, or, “pizza my heart” instructions).   Cut a piece of dough about 4″ long and about 2″ wide.  Roll it out into a long log about 16″ long and about 4″ wide,  if you can;  basically, as thin as you can make it and still have control!  You want to be able to roll it up kinda like you would make a sushi roll.

To each “log” spoon or place the fillings along one long side.  Place the cheeses down first and then just layer the other half of the filling on top of the cheese.  Roll up from the long side and try to keep the seam side up.  If need be, you may need to dampen the edge to hold the log together.

Using a dough cutter or sharp knife,  make 1/2″ to 1″ slices.  Place cut side down onto a Pam-sprayed baking sheet.  Bake in a pre-heated oven at about 400 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Enjoy the “fiesta”!!


March 5, 2009

Roly-Poly Chicken

DON’T CALL ME CHICKEN ~~  ( but you can call me Roly-Poly ! )

I had defrosted some chicken breasts in the morning, and then when it came time to cook them for supper ~~ Mr. Lazy came callin’!!   I just didn’t feel like breading and frying them as I usually do.  So, I figured I’d just stuff  ’em with the ingredients that I would have used for the breading — and whaddya know?   These were a hit at our house!  Hope you’ll try them and love them too!!  Can’t have too much love, I always say.


1 lb. chicken breasts,  boneless & skinless

1 cup bread crumbs  ( I make my own but you can use plain or flavored store-bought)

1/2 cup grated Italian cheese

1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced

3 garlic cloves, finely diced or minced

salt & pepper to taste

oil, for sauteeing

1 quart chicken stock

1/2 lb. Orzo pasta

1 can (15 oz. ) diced tomatoes


1.  Slice each breast into thirds, lengthwise  ( or, you can pound it thin )

2.  Season each breast with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper.

3.  Mix  together the bread crumbs, grated cheese, parsley, garlic, and  a little salt & pepper

4. Using a regular tablespoon put about 2 TBSP. of bread crumb mixture on each breast and press down with the back of the tablespoon so the mixture will adhere to the chicken breast well.

5.  Now just roll up and secure with 1 or 2 toothpicks.

6.  Heat the oil in a medium frying pan or saute pan and brown the chicken on both sides.  Remove from pan and keep covered on a plate.

7.  Slowly add about 1/2 quart of the chicken stock to the pan, on medium heat, to deglaze the pan.  Add the diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.   Let the liquid continue to boil slowly, return the chicken to the pan to finish cooking and add the Orzo at the same time.    Continue to simmer until Orzo is cooked through  ( about 10 minutes ) with the pan covered.  Check and add additional 1/2 quart of stock,  if needed.

8.  Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.  Serve with a green salad.

9.  Pat your roly-poly belly in delight!!!


February 15, 2009


It really looks like eyes,  doesn’t it?  And it really does seem like it’s looking at you, doesn’t it?  Aw, c’mon ~ humor me!  I’ve had a tough day with my computer!  I fell in love with Humphrey Bogart in my doctor’ s office.  Yeah, I really did.  My doctor was a huge fan of “Bogie” and had these enormous posters of him all over his office.  All in black-and-white.  Of course, my favorite was the one of Bogart and Lauren Bacall….. sigh.  They looked so in love.

Remember that song sung by Bernie Higgins…….here are some of the lyrics…..
We had it all
Just like Bogie and Bacall
Starring in our old late, late show
Sailing away to Key Largo

Well, let’s see how wild your imagination can get….. pretend those two on the plates are Bogie and Bacall.  No?  Can’t see it?  Me, neither!  So, just make it, eat it, and enjoy yourself!    And…..”here’s lookin’ at you, kid”.


5 eggs, beaten

5 Cubanelle peppers  ( the long, skinny ones ), seeds removed, sliced fairly thinly

3 slices ham, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

salt and pepper, to taste

5 heaping tablespoons ricotta, optional  ( for the eyes)

olive oil, for frying


Wash the peppers and remove the seeds.  Slice them into fairly thin sections.  Heat the olive oil  on medium flame ( about 2 – 3 tablespoons ) and add the peppers.  Let them fry  with the ham  until they just start to brown.  Season with salt, pepper, the garlic, and red pepper flakes, if using.

Season the beaten eggs with salt and pepper and add to the pepper mixture.  Reduce the flame to low and let the bottom get lightly browned.  At this point,  I put the pan under my broiler  ( make sure it is all metal ~ no plastic handles or parts ) and let the top brown and bubble.  Or, you could just flip it over.  Or, you could try putting a lid on the pan and cook until the top looks done.

Add the spoonfuls of ricotta, if desired.


February 15, 2009
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Maybe I should have named this:  Just Another Way to Use Basic Dough!  Ever since I learned to make this dough, I can’t stop using it!  It’s so easy and tastes so scrumptious!  I made three different pizzas with it.  That little guy in the background is actually my favorite.  He’s the runt of the litter!  Really, I just had too much dough for the other two pies:  we don’t really like our pizzas too thick,  so I had enough dough left over from the recipe to make that little cutie!  And, as it turned out, it was my favorite topping!!  Of course, because it was the smallest!

Such is my life.


basic dough  ( you can find it on other recipes here or simply go to the limeandlemon blog and you can see it step-by-step)

1 tablespoons fresh rosemary,  chopped and added to the dough

Pizza # 1 Topping:

6 plum tomatoes, sliced

8 slices Swiss cheese

8 slices deli-ham, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon dried basil

Pizza #2 Topping:

6 plum tomatoes, quartered

1/2 to 1 lb.  mozzarella

1 teaspoon oregano

Pizza #3  Topping:

1/2 cup mozzarella,  grated

1 cup fresh ricotta

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


After making the dough,  roll it out to fit whatever pan you are using.  Top with any of the toppings listed here, or whatever combination you like best.  Bake in a pre-heated, very hot  ( 400 degrees ) oven until edges are nice and brown.

My personal favorite  was the ricotta ~ mozzarella mixture.


February 15, 2009

cute and corny muffins

cute and corny muffins


Once again,  I am posting a recipe from my wonderful Aunt Josie.  She made the most out-of-this-world deeee-lish-ous corn muffins.  I just added my little “tweak”  with the little hearts on top  ( for Valentine’s Day).   You can bake these in little paper cupcake cups if you like,  but it’s not necessary.  My hubby is a HUGE corn muffin fan and he totally loves these;  so you know they are good!


2 cups flour

1 cup corn meal

1 1/4 sticks butter

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

pinch salt


1.  Soften butter to room temperature.  Place it in a large mixing bowl.  With electric mixer gradually add sugar to butter and beat well.  Add eggs, one at a time until well incorporated.

2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and corn meal.  Stir together milk and vanilla.

3.  Start by adding a little flour mixture to the butter mixture in the large bowl.  Mix well and then alternate the milk mixture and the flour mixture, beating well after each addition, until everything is in the large bowl.

4. Fill muffin tins with paper cups, if using.

5. Spoon corn muffin batter into the cups, about halfway full.

6.  Bake @ 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.   Yield:  about 18 muffins.

7.  Just for fun, I added a little raspberry jam on top and pulled the tip of a paring knife through to make a heart-shape.


February 15, 2009

no-knead bread

no-knead bread


Well,  folks,  looks like I am once again a day late and a dollar short.  Apparently, this recipe was circulating the web in the early part of last year.  I didn’t know that.  Well, I am not going to post the recipe here because it is too easy to get it on YouTube.  The whole video is right there:  step-by-step.  But, I just couldn’t help showing off!

The only thing is that the video doesn’t explain is that after the “really hard part”, when you go to set it aside for 12 hours, you must cover the bowl with plastic wrap first! And keep it in a warm place. Since my house is cold and drafty, I also wrapped the bottom of the bowl with a scarf;  just like the little kid in A Christmas Story! This bread is super crispy on the outside and soft and chewy and full of airy holes on the inside.  Just the way I love my bread.  It is so darn easy to make that I think even my almost-2-year old grandson could do it!  ( And yet, here I am showing off! )

I urge you to try it.  It’s easy, makes your house smell yummy, and gives you bragging rights.  Seriously.  You have my permission to boast!

Here’s another video, with a more talkative host but more detailed instructions.


February 15, 2009

Can you spot the heart shapes?

Can you spot the heart shapes?


The basic dough recipe that I got from the limeandlemon blog is so versatile!!  It’s easy to work with and fun to make!   In  honor of Valentine’s Day I figured I’d make something sweet for my sweetheartSo, I basically took that terrific dough and made it a bit sweeter with a few extra ingredients, made a filling and did my darndest to shape it into hearts.  When I saw this picture, I was going to call them, “bleeding hearts”, but that didn’t sound exactly romantic for Valentine’s Day!!   Anyway, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I think they are quite..ummm…errrr… cute!!!!    (*choke, choke!)

Oh, just make ’em,  your belly will feel beautiful after you eat one!


for the dough:

2 cups flour,  2 tablespoons sugar,  2 tablespoons brown sugar,  1 teaspoon vanilla,  1/2 teaspoon salt,  1 packet yeast,  1 cup warm water,

2 tablespoons olive oil

1.  Dissolve yeast in water with both sugars.  Let it stand for about 5 minutes or so until it bubbles.

2. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the salt.  Add the yeast mixture and oil and mix well.  Add the water, a little at a time, and mix until dough forms.

3. Put dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest until it is double in bulk  ( about 1 – 2 hours ).

for the filling:

1 cup frozen raspberries  ( I’m sure strawberries would be just as good )

1 cup fresh ricotta  ( my new discovery!  but store-bought is fine )  well, yes, I did buy the fresh ricotta in a store!  but, in an Italian deli, not the supermarket

2 tablespoons sugar

4 oz. bar of chocolate, ground   ( I used my mini-processor for this step;  you surely could just use a sharp knife to chop ) I used bittersweet chocolate,      but I’m sure any chocolate of your own preference is fine

Put the defrosted raspberries in a medium bowl.  Add the ricotta, sugar, and chocolate and mix all together until well blended.

for the egg-wash:

1 egg, beaten with about 1 teaspoon water


After the dough has doubled, cut or pull apart and form into 2″ balls.  Flatten the balls slightly and roll out into a circle about 4″ or 5″ in diameter.

2.  Moisten the edges of the circle with water and place about 1/2 teaspoon filling in the center.  Fold in half, forming a half-circle.

3. Crimp the edges together with your fingers or the tines of a fork.

4. Brush the tops with the egg wash  ( you could tint the wash with a couple drops of red food coloring;   or, do as I did and sprinkle with red sugar)

5. Cover loosely with clean towels and let rise again for about 1/2 hour.

6.  Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Give your sweetie one with a great big hug and kiss!  That always makes things taste great!


February 12, 2009

This recipe is from Martha Stewart:  here’s a link to the photo. Anyway,  I don’t usually post recipes from others because the real purpose of this site is to have original recipes or my family recipes.  However, my young cousin, Janine, requested this recipe.  And, I can never say “no” to her!!   So,  the next time I make this, I’ll post my own picture.

I have no idea why it’s called, “Monkey Bread”.  So, I figured I’d just name it for that funny, talented bunch of singers (actors?)!  And, note to Janine:  I think you believe I’m pretty good in the kitchen, but this recipe is not original to me.  ( shhh-hh, that’s between us, OK?)


  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus pinch for yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk, warmed
  • 2 tablespoons shortening, plus more for pan and bowl
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup light-brown sugar
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk


  1. Put the warm water and a pinch of sugar in small bowl; sprinkle yeast over top. Stir; let the yeast soften and dissolve, about 5 minutes.
  2. Place shortening, warm milk, sugar, salt, and egg in mixer bowl. Grease Bundt pan and a medium bowl.
  3. Once yeast is dissolved and foamy, add it to mixer bowl; mix well with dough hook. Slowly add flour. Knead on medium-low 1 minute or by hand 5 minutes. Place in the greased bowl; cover with plastic. Set dough in warm place and let rest 20 minutes.
  4. Make coating: Put melted butter in a bowl. In another bowl, mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts; sprinkle 2 tablespoons of nut mixture in Bundt pan. Cut dough into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll into balls.
  5. Dip balls in butter, then roll in nut mixture; place in prepared Bundt pan.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes in pan.
  8. Turn bread out of pan; cool 20 minutes on rack or plate.
  9. Make icing: In small bowl, stir milk into confectioners’ sugar. Drizzle over bread.