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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Valentines Give Away Heart Shaped Wilton Cake Pan From Lucky Leaf!

Ten of my lucky readers can win their very own heart shaped Wilton cake pan from Lucky Leaf!

Lucky Leaf has the best pie fillings and wonderful recipes to along with them ;)

This is my sample set they have provided to me. In the oven right now is the Sweetheart Cherry Cake that I baked and will post as soon as it is finished! If the end result is as good as the uncooked batter :0) was I am in for a delightful surprise!

If you would like a chance to win post a comment on my blog. The winners will be chosen on:

Friday February the 5th just in time for you to receive yours in time for Valentines Day!

Share with your friends ;) have them post a comment with your name and get a second entry ;)

Readers will also have a chance to enter in the Lucky Leaf's Baking Contest!

Don't delay time is of the essence!

Wine Pick Of The Day! French Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2006

Bourgogne Pinot Noir Reserve, Recolte 2006,

“Vieilles Vignes”


I made Beouf Bourguignon for dinner. As I went to the gourmet market to grab a few ingredient’s I stopped by the Wine Sommelier to get a good young Chianti because that is what the recipe called for.

He produce a good $10 bottle and I asked is this okay for drinking should I grab another to have with dinner? He said that he would never sell me that to drink. Confused I asked why. He went on to say that Julia Child's recommended a Chianti for her French dish because when she wrote her cook book American housewives could not get French wine.

So he produced a French Pinot Noir that he said would go perfectly with the dish. It is lighter than a cab and will complement the recipe with a more raspberry tone vs. the cherry that the cab’s tend to give.

He was so right! This Pinot was wonderful. It reminded me of a cab but not so heavy and it went well with the rich French Bourguignon I had spent the day preparing. And with this yes a cab would not have worked, to oaky and heavy. I think I will try the pinot in the dish next time as well instead of the Chianti ;)

My Husband enjoyed it as well.

Price Point: Papa Joes $17.99

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Karen B's New Dutch Oven Cookware Found At Sam's Club

I received for Christmas the best gift ever for the Kitchen. A 6.5 Quart Dutch Oven. The best part is that it didn't cost an arm and a leg either!

Sam's Club stocks them and guess what happy readers, there is a Lifetime Warranty that Sam's stands behind. For a fraction of the price... My husband mentioned he paid under $50.00 for it!

It is enameled cast iron, the real deal! I did season the exposed edges per the instruction card which you do need to read cooks!

I love it. It heats evenly, browns, oven proof, my new favorite piece of cookware. I have always wanted one but would never spend all the dough for one. So I am passing on this bit of savings to you all!

Costco carried a Mediterranean pot larger with a more rounded bottom but it was I think around $198.00 or so. I think we hit the jack pot ;)

I have made Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon to soup in my new pot which of course I will share.

Happy Cooking ;)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Valentines Give Away Notice From Karen B's Cooking Made Easy and Lucky Leaf Pie Filling!

Hey lucky readers of Karen B's. Lucky Leaf Pie Filling and I are going to do another give away in February!

The best part is this time ten (10) of my reader's will be winners!

So keep checking back until then for your chance to enter to win a free heart shaped cake pan and an opportunity for one lucky reader to enter in Lucky Leaf's baking contest!

Good Luck ;)

Karen B.

Easy Homemade Ravioli In Just Minutes!

Tip of the day:

Do you love Ravioli? But just don't care to take the time to make it? Well, here is a recipe that will knock your socks off quick and easy!

Go to the market in the speciality section and grab a package of "wonton wrappers". Yes, wonton wrappers!

Using 2 wonton wrappers at a time (cover the rest of the wrappers with a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying out) spoon 1 tablespoon or so of your favorite filling in the center of the first wrapper. Wet the edges of both wrappers with water and place the second wrapper over the top of the first wrapper. Press the edges together or pinch with your fingers or the back side of a fork to get a good seal.

Cook in lightly boiling water a few at a time for about 2 minutes until tender. Remove w/slotted spoon.

Serve with your favorite olive oil and herbs or a great marinara sauce!


Friday, January 15, 2010

Miso Cod With Spinach And Rice

This Cod dish is a easy change for the week, or a great Friday night dinner with some great white wine.


  • Fresh Cod fillet for two (pick out a nice thick piece from your fish monger)
  • 1 can low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 package Miso soup mix (here I used a single serving packet)
  • 1 carrot sliced on an angle
  • 1/4 cup dried mushrooms
  • 1 Scallion sliced
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach (or about two large handfuls)
  • 2 cups cooked white rice

In a sauce pan combine water, chicken broth, soup mix, soy sauce, carrots, mushrooms and scallions. Heat over medium heat, bring to a simmer, cook until the mushrooms have been reconstituted and the carrots are tender but still firm. Season with fresh ground pepper. I don't use salt in this recipe (optional) because the soy sauce and Miso soup mix has plenty ;)

Season the cod with freshly ground pepper.

In a fry pan, on medium heat three tablespoons butter, two tablespoons olive oil and one tablespoon soy sauce. When the sauce starts to sizzle (the pan is good and hot) add the cod and sear both sides to caramelize. Remove cod from pan to a plate. Cod should be under cooked in the center at this point.

Pour the broth and vegetables into the fry pan, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom the pan. Add the cod back into the broth and cook until done and flakes with a fork.

Ladle some cooked rice into a large soup or pasta bowl. Add a piece of cod with broth and vegetables on top of the rice. Place the baby spinach around the bowl (the heat from the broth with wilt the spinach no need to cook).

Serves two.


Serve with a great Chardonnay.

Nesting Mixing Bowls Must Have For Foodies, Cooks And Kitchens

Mixing bowls..... what to get, how to choose, what fits for you? Questions that come to mind? I am here to help you out ;)

We all need bowls, bowls for mixing cake mix, cookies, making pancakes, and salads. We need them to store left overs in, put dips in, kids projects etc. There are endless needs for bowls!

A good start is to find a great set of nesting bowls. Nesting bowls? Bowls that stack inside one another like above. If you don't have nesting bowls good luck on storing them in the cabinet.

Here are a few sets of my favorite nest bowls that I have and love.

This Pyrex set was given to my parents in 1960 for a wedding present! Look at them not a single crack or chip! They are wonderful because the have the spouts on both sides making it easy to pour out batter.

These "vintage" bowls are also oven proof and I use them today. If you see these at a tag sale, snatch them up they are great!

Martha Stewart had this exact same set on her show a couple weeks ago!

These little green gems are by Mario Batali. They are actually little measuring cups. As you can see the line on the inside is the 1/2 way mark. These are great for baking recipes where you have a ton of dry and wet ingredients. They can also be used for dips and sauces.

These bowls I have had a love affair with for many many years. They are my very first set. I got these when I moved into my first apartment. I believe they came from the supermarket believe it or not and they are yes "Pyrex" does that tell you something? They have to be 27 ish years old! Not a chip or crack.

Here we have stainless. Everyone needs some stainless. Easy to clean light weight. Great for marinating, baking every thing except oven proof! I like the little rings on the side. They make it easy to hold onto while stirring. Stainless is also great to use as a double boiler when melting chocolate.

Now here we have my "Grandaddy" of all mixing bowls!

The Le Creuset

They are beautiful if I do say so myself. My Mother bought these for me a few years ago for Christmas. We actually picked them out together. At a discount store no less! They were still a pretty penny but she saved a ton!

The only down fall to these Granddaddy's are that like the Le Creuset cookware they are extremely heavy. So when they are full you get a good arm workout. They are oven proof, dishwasher safe etc... beautiful bowls! Love them ;)

Just remember when purchasing mixing bowls. Get a set that will work for you. You don't need to have a ton, one good set will do. I do recommend a good oven proof set. What was that commercial "from freezer to the oven to the table". Keep that in mind while shopping. You may spend a little more but as you can see from my choices above they are well worth it.

Happy Cooking ;)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

English Toffee Peanut Butter Cookies

Heat oven to 375.

  • 1/2 Cup butter flavored shortening
  • 3/4 Cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1-1/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Egg
  • 1-1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 - 8 oz. pkg. milk chocolate toffee bits, divided
You can find the toffee bits in the baking section by the chocolate chips at the supermarket.

In a large mixing bowl beat together:

peanut butter
brown sugar

beat until well mixed and smooth.

In a separate mixing bowl combine:

baking soda

whisk quickly to combine dry ingredients together.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Add 1/2 of the toffee bits, stir in.

On a ungreased baking sheet drop rounded teaspoon fulls of cookie dough 2 inches apart. Top with remaining toffee bits.

Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, just lightly browned like above. Let set a couple of minutes, remove to a wire rack to cool.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies depending on the amount of dough you drop per cookie.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sesame Crusted Seared Ahi Tuna Steak With Honey Soy Glaze

This seared tuna dish literally takes about six minutes to cook! You blink and it's done and ready to plate.

Serve the Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna on top some baby mixed greens drizzled with Honey Soy Glaze sauce paired along side some Soy and Pea Risotto (or rice cooked with soy sauce and frozen peas will work) and your meal is fit for a King or two!


  • One Ahi Tuna Steak
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sesame Seeds - Toasted
  • Sesame Oil
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Wasabi (optional)
Because the soy sauce has so much sodium I skip the salt all together. If you feel you need or want it use sea salt when you pepper the Tuna Steak.

Prepare your side dishes in advance along with setting the table and pouring the wine. You want to be prepared to cook, plate and serve your Tuna in under 10 minutes.

Pour 1/2 Cup Soy Sauce into dish just large enough to fit the Tuna Steak.

Prepare the Tuna patting dry and rub with lots of fresh ground pepper (salt optional).

Lay Tuna into pan with soy sauce flipping once to coat both sides. Turn every ten minutes. I do this for about 20 - 30 minutes prior to cooking bringing the Tuna to room temperature.

Tip: you can do this step in advance keeping it in the refrigerator, turning every so often.

If you didn't purchase "toasted" sesame seeds toast them while the fish is marinating. Just toss into a dry pan and heat over medium heat, stirring until they become a nice light brown toasted color. Don't walk away, they will burn in a second!

When every thing is prepared, wine is poured.... dredge your Tuna into the toasted sesame seeds on both sides. Set aside on a plate.

Pour soy marinade and three tablespoons honey into a small sauce pan, heat on med to med high heat to reduce slightly and thicken the sugar from the honey. Cook for about the same time you cook the Tuna. When it starts to bubble foam like bubbles remove from heat.

Heat a stainless steel pan (not non-stick, you are not supposed to heat those on high temperatures!) drizzle in about 3 tablespoons sesame oil, just before the oil starts to smoke place your Tuna steak into the very hot oil.

It will make a searing sound and a grand show of steam with smoke, don't be alarmed, you want it nice and browned in a short amount of time.

Cook the Tuna for about 3 minutes on each side depending on how you like it cooked. We have cooked the tuna here rare with a nice sear. You can gage the wellness by looking at the side of the fillet while cooking.

Remove the Seared Tuna and place on top mixed baby greens. With a spoon drizzle the soy honey glaze over the Tuna and greens.

Serve immediately!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pomegranate Raspberry Sauce With Brie Cheese

Need a quick and easy appetizer, try using Brie Cheese the next time you entertain. Brie is found at virtually every store and is a wonderful addition to any buffet or meal.

Pomegranate seeds are one of the most popular items available right now. Beside being a healthy choice for a topping on cheese or any salad they taste great. I actually picked up a double package at Costco (no need to do it yourself they cleaned and seeded the Pomegranate for you) LOVE COSTCO!

You can warm the Brie Cheese wheel in the oven, microwave, wrap in pastry or serve room temperature.

Here we warmed the brie slightly in a 350 oven, let sit for about 10 minutes, removed carefully from pan to serving stand.

Drizzle with raspberry sauce and pomegranate seeds.

Top with Rosemary sprigs for a great Winter look ;)


Brie With Raspberry Sauce and Brown Sugar Cinnamon Ritz Crackers

Our wonderful friends from Kraft sent us some Brown Sugar Cinnamon Ritz Crackers to try and we love them! Over the Holidays we had a few friends drop in. I put this quick and easy recipe together and added our new little Ritz Cracker's.... it was a hit!

All you need is a wheel of Brie cheese heated in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for about ten minutes.

Remove brie from pan "carefully" with a spatula and place on serving tray. Drizzle with raspberry sauce and serve with Ritz Brown Sugar Cinnamon crackers.

Hint: If you are careful and watch it, you can heat up the Brie in the microwave, just don't over heat or you will have one big runny mess.



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