Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

I’ve seen them all over, but I’ve never actually tried a bacon flavored dessert. Toya convinced me to try one today. Since I was making strawberry swirl cheesecake already, I decided to try a maple bacon cheesecake too.
This is a tweak of a recipe I found here :

This recipe makes 12 mini cheesecakes.

For the each set of crusts:
6 tablespoon butter/margarine softened
1 1/2 cup crushed gingersnaps
1/4 cup sugar in the raw

Blend together and press into mini cheesecake pan. Bake for 10 mins at 350 and let cool.

Maple bacon cheesecake filling:
Blend one 8oz package of cream cheese (make sure its at room temperature).
After blended, add one egg, and 1/4 cup of sugar. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extra, a small handful of fresh crumbled bacon, and about 4-8 tablespoons of grade B dark maple syrup. (the amount of syrup depends on your taste). Mix well. and pour into cheesecake pan.

Strawberry swirl:
Dice 8 strawberries and in small sauce pan, cook uncovered on medium heat with 3/4th cup of water and 3 tablespoons of  agave nectar. You can use sugar or honey, but I prefer agave nectar. Stirring occasionally, cook for about 10 mins until thickened. Remove from heat.
Blend one 8oz package of cream cheese (make sure its at room temperature).
After blended, add one egg, and 1/4 cup of sugar. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extra and mix well. Pour into remaining cheesecake pan.
Scoop tablespoon of Strawberry mixture into each cheesecake and use a toothpick to carefully “swirl” the strawberries into the cheesecake. Do not over-swirl as you do not want to blend in. Also make sure you do not dig into the crust as your swirl.

Bake cheesecakes for 20 mins at 350 degrees. It may take 30-40 mins to set, but I would check it at 20 mins and then monitor at 5 min increment to make sure the middle of the cheesecakes are set.

Let cool and enjoy room temperature or refrigerated.

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Its dinner time and spaghetti is the decided dish on the menu.
Daddy, since mommy’s not here yet, I can be your helper in the kitchen!
Awesome! I’ll go ahead and brown the beef, you start up the salads, you can do whatever you want with them, you’re in charge!
I get out one of those English cukes so show Nariah how to cut them up in fairly small slices (the first 3-4 were on point… but the last 7-8 were huge meatball sized chunks looking like deformed parallelograms, which of course I told her were just “perfect”, hilarious). I finish browning, seasoning, and draining the meat and proceed to add the sauce to the pot. I check on Nariah and she has cheese all over the floor and her clothes, bacon bits all over the counter, and is about to crumble up some crackers for homemade croutons. She is just smiling as a happy little camper can be. Of course the first thought that pops in my head is “what in the world?!?!? what is she doing?!?!??”. But that thought is quickly taken away by how much joy she is showing in helping out.
Daddy, I think we need some garlic bread too!”
Ooh, you’re right, I forgot about that, let me get it now!

Nariah turns back around to finish her salad and I head to the stove behind her, turn on the oven and then look in the freezer for some Texas Toast.
Ow!!!! Ow!!!! Daddy stop! you’re burning me!!!
I jump away from the freezer, “What’s wrong boo? What are you talking about? I’m not touching you.
Daddy, yes you did, you burned me on my back!
As I look on her back, she has a big blotch of spaghetti sauce. Now she is a good 5 feet from the stove, so I’m looking around confused. I look to the floor, spaghetti sauce… I look at my pants and socks, spaghetti sauce…. I look to the stove, and its like a scene from a movie. The pot is alive and angry; its spitting out sauce everywhere! I never turned down the burner to low from when I browned the beef (oops). Now its boiling in a mad rage so much that I can’t even reach over the top to turn it down. There is sauce all over the side counters, on top of the spices, inside the sugar canister that I had just opened, and even under the microwave vent.
Ow… Ow…. Ooooh….. Ow!! Man… This sauce is hot! I’m so sorry Nariah, I see what you mean!

As I’m dancing around the stove dodging the flying sauce, Nariah is just beside herself trying not to fall out the chair laughing at me. “Get it daddy! Hee hee. Watch out!!!  Oooooh, that’s a big splash!  Hahaha. Whew boy… you’re gonna get it when mommy gets home, this is a mess!

Finally, lid on the pot and removed from burner to cool down. I step back and look at the mess. Then all of a sudden I hear : “Oooooooooooooooooooooooh, you got it on the ceiling too!
I look up and sure enough, there is spaghetti all over the ceiling! And I mean all over the ceiling. I’m sorry I don’t have a picture to share as I was indeed trying to clean that up before Toya got home. All the while I’m cleaning up, Nariah is shaking her head and muttering, “I can’t believe you got it on the ceiling…. that’s crazy daddy!

But alas, we’re not done yet. I have the water boiling for the noodles and I pick up this jumbo sized bottle of olive oil to add to the water before putting in the noodles. Why does the top decide to break off. Luckily it was a plastic bottle which saved it from breaking, however… the unlucky part was that because it was a plastic bottle, the landing caused the oil to erupt like a volcano. And yes… again… we have a mess on the ceiling! And this time, the cabinet doors and the side of the fridge were victims too. Rivers of olive oil are now dripping from the ceiling and cabinets.
Snicker snicker…. hahahahahahahah…. I’ll help you daddy! I’ll get the towels!

The most awesome part about all of this, was the ability to not get mad at everything going haywire and to just enjoy the mess with my little helper as she thought everything was just hilarious! Which indeed it was. Seeing Nariah’s face as she told Toya about our ordeal over dinner made it all worthwhile.


So I had a taste for shrimp, and the wifey told me to pick up some veggies like asparagus and corn. Well since the store didn’t have corn and I don’t like asparagus, I had to find something that I/we could eat. Suddenly this English cucumber calls to me, “try me try me!!”. Hmmmm, what they hay, never heard of grilling this, could be interesting.

For the shrimp, try the “new” kc masterpiece spicy mango flavor marinade on shelled jumbo shrimp. Then use “seasoned skewers” (awesome if you’ve never tried them) I used “thai coconut lime”
So you get this outside mango flavor with inside coconut, deeeeeeeeeeee bomb.

The english cucumbers are the long ones usually in the plastic wrap. Cut it into 3s and then cut each 3rd into 4ths lengthwise to get your “spears”
Toss with olive oil to get nice and shiny.
Grab some Janes Krazy mixed up salt and some Smoky Sweet Pepper seasoning and head to the grill. Place cucumber flesh side down (just one side of the flesh, I didn’t do both sides, and grill for say 5 mins. Turn, and then season to taste with the two seasonings. Grill for about 5 more mins. You don’t want it to get too soggy, you want a lil level of crispiness.
Try the cucumbers while still warm or let cool off completely, I had them both ways and were delish. The missus is happy!

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At a baby shower last weekend, my cousin Paula mentioned this strawberry and fig salmon dish and how it was incredible. Well we’re not to much on fig (not that I wouldn’t try it), but I thought we’d try our own strawberry salmon dish on the grill. Now I know normally you’re supposed to either take off the skin or just not eat it, but this recipe does something to the skin, where it just… I don’t know, I can’t describe it, it just becomes like part of the fish, you can’t even tell you’re eating it. Awesome. Also added pics of the strawberry cobbler I made for dessert too.


Decent amount of strawberries, I started with 11 and then added about 6 more later on.
Water (2 cups)
Lemon juice (3 shakes)
Basting oil (3-4 second pour, LOL. I used Wegmans)
Agave nectar (3-4 second pour.  You can also use honey)
White vinegar (3 second pour)
Southern Comfort (3 second pour)
Cracked peppercorn
Sea salt (I used Trader Joes Himalayan Pink Salt Crystals)
Olive oil
Cedar wood plank
Sliced almonds


Chop up the strawberries and move to a small sauce pan with about 2 cups of water. Turn on high heat and add the lemon juice, vinegar, basting oil, and agave nectar. Once you get it boil, reduce heat to low/med and stir with wooden spoon and every so often, mash the strawberries. As it starts to break down, taste to see if its “strawberry” enough for you. If not, cut up and add more strawberries. If it is to your liking, add the Southern Comfort, stir, and remove from heat.

Season the salmon with the sea salt and cracked pepper. Place in ziplock bag and after the strawberry marinade has cooled some, pour into bag, seal, and refrigerate overnight. Soak your cedar plank overnight in water as well.

Prepare grill for indirect grilling and while the coals are heating, toast the almonds in a small pan with a small dab of butter, and the salt and pepper used above. Toast for no more than 3 minutes, if they start getting brown, remove from the heat as they will cook further when on the grill. Using olive oil, coat the top of the cedar plank and place salmon on top, skin side down. Pour remaining strawberry marinade into a cup to use while grilling if you’d like. Drop toasted almonds on top of salmon and place on grill for indirect grilling. If you want more strawberry marinade, gently pour some on top of the salmon before closing the lid.  Grill for about 20 minutes and check for doneness. Be careful when cutting to check, as the fish will be very tender and flaky due to the overnight marination. I served this over a bed of rice but you can use whatever suits your tastebuds. Enjoy!

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Sorry, I don’t have pics, they smelled too good and got eaten too fast.
During the blizzard of ’10, we dealt with cabin fever, what better way to survive than to cook right?
I started with the Delmarva Crabcake recipe as the base and modified it with personal flair in the spirit of being snowed in from the blizzard.

1 pound lump crab meat (or the bluefin clawmeat that was on sale this week at safeway for 4.99, still was the bomb, aint no shame in my game!)
1 cup bread crumbs
a few generous shakes of Old Bay seasoning
2 capfuls lemon juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
1 handful of chopped chives (didn’t measure this, lol) 
1 egg 
a few shakes of garlic powder
1/3 cup chopped red onion (if you like extra twang)
dash of nutmeg

1. mix all ingredients together.
2. Shape into good size crab cakes.
3. Fry in butter or margarine or oil over medium heat, flipping quite frequently

Let rest over paper towel to absorb grease, serve plain or with this bomb sauce called “Lousiana seafood sauce

About 3 or 4 months ago we went to Outback and they had this dessert, the strawberry waffle shortcake and it was soooooooooooooooooooo good! I mean I tweeted about it immediately after the first bite. It really didn’t make any sense how good it was. Well Toya and I had a taste for that dessert and so we went to outback for dinner.

Are you guys ready to order?
Ummm, not yet. I do have a question though, you guys still have that strawberry waffle shortcake thingy right?
I’m sorry sir, that was a short time special… I hear it was very good though.
What?!?!?! Why would that be limited time? It was by far the best dessert you guys have! Who do I need to call, corporate offices or something? That was the reason we came tonight
I’ll come back in a few to take your order

Nevermind the fact that she ignored my request for “who do I need to contact about getting this item back on the menu”, (I’m not above doing that as I’ve contacted Cici’s Pizza about some changed menu items that didn’t make any sense on this living planet). I turned to Toya : “Sooo, you ready to go to Longhorn steakhouse then? At least the steaks are better there

Toya declines and says we’re already there so lets eat and I sigh heavily with defeat. I want that dessert. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to make it myself tonight. To show how clueless this experience started I asked 2 different waiters/waitresses what was in the dessert. I received ice cream, strawberries, almonds, and waffles as the first answer (not enough ingredients), and then almond filling, strawberries, waffles, whipped cream, and some chocolate bar shavings as the second answer. Chocolate bar shavings? On a strawberry shortcake? Who does that? Let alone the fact that I’m allergic to chocolate and I definitely would’ve known if chocolate was in it. So… here we go, Toya and I have to do this off a 3 to 4 month one time experience memory.

Turns out after research it did have a cream cheese filling in between the belgian waffle layers and not an ounce of ice cream at all. I didn’t research it till after we made it so below is the recipe that Toya and I came up with and not a true representation of the dish. The only thing that’s missing is the fact we forgot to buy the “strawberry topping”. But in the end, our version was awesome and we liked the ice cream over the cream cheese filling, gives it a great hot/cold contrast sensation.

Since I don’t have a belgian waffle maker (can you believe it?) we used frozen waffles, any of your favorite brands will work, just don’t toast til you’re ready to serve this dish. You want the waffle hot. You can also make your own waffles, but then we start to get away from this being a quick and easy dessert

1 or 2 waffles or 2 sections of a belgian waffle
1 1/2 tablespoon almond extract
2 scoops of  vanilla bean ice cream
Tub of cool whip, extra creamy
About 3-4 strawberries per serving, sliced
Sliced almonds (don’t really know how to “measure” sliced almonds to sprinkle on top)
Strawberry topping/sauce (again, I didn’t get to use this step this time)

Stir almond extract into cool whip. Toast waffles and either break up into large pieces or lay a waffle into bowl. Place two scoops of ice cream on top. Layer the extra waffle (or pieces) on top of ice cream. Toss in strawberries and then the topping/sauce. Top with almond cool whip and almonds. Serve and enjoy.

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Nothing unusual on our trip home from the day care this past Friday. I asked Nariah what did she want for dinner and after saying “You know what we haven’t had in a long time???? Breakfast food!“, I was sold on the idea. Then came the special request : “Can you grill breakfast food?
Can I grill breakfast food?
If you can grill breakfast food, then you can grill anything daddy!
I assure you baby, that I can grill breakfast food
You’re the best daddy ever!

Now I’ve never grilled breakfast food before, but I do remember maybe middle school or high school time frame staying at my paternal grandparents and the power went out (or “current went out” as they say in the county) and Papa grilled some eggs on aluminum foil. That’s the extent of my breakfast knowledge. Building on that, here’s how you can secure your super parent status with your child, or for yourself, the food was that good. Even Toya was skeptical when I told her what we were doing and made the “I don’t know about this one” face, but she loved it.

Scrambled eggs with fresh spinach, green peppers and orange peppers
Turkey bacon (the pork was frozen, didn’t feel like thawing out)
Maple sausage links
French Toast
Grilled home fries (strips)

Start grill and arrange hot coals for mostly direct heating. (Leave about 1/4th coal free to allow the potatoes to finish cooking with ease) 

Home fries:
2 large red new potatoes, halved lengthwise and then cut into strips (steak fry sized)
Toss strips in a bowl with olive oil and set aside

Scrambled eggs:
5 eggs mixed in a bowl
handful of diced green peppers
handful of diced orange peppers
2 large handfuls or more of fresh spinach leaves
1 tablespoon of butter
Garlic powder
Jane’s Krazy Salt (or salt and pepper)
2 slices of american cheese (or your favorite cheese) 

French toast:
6 slices of potato bread
2 eggs scrambled
About a cup of milk? (I didn’t measure, sorry, maybe it was in between that and 1/2 cup?)
4 shakes of nutmeg
3-4 tablespoons sugar
1-2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1/2 shot of Disaronno Amaretto 
Mix ingredients except bread and set aside. 


Brush hot grates with olive oil soaked in a paper towel. Set a large cast iron skillet on grill to pre-heat. Lay potatoes across the coals and shake garlic powder and salt/pepper over them. They will burn fast so keep and eye out on them. When they brown to your liking, flip, season, and brown some more to your liking and then move to the “coal free” zone of the grill. Fold bacon into a ribbon (see pics) and place over coals along with the sausage. As soon as the meat is done (flipping and turning) remove to a plate and get ready for the eggs and french toast, these cook the quickest.

Add butter to the skillet and in about 10 seconds add the peppers. Wait about 30-45 seconds and then add the spinach. Dip potato bread into french toast mixture, coating both sides, and then lay over hot coals. When the spinach cooks down a little, add garlic and salt/pepper and then stir frequently as the spinach reduces. Check french toast and flip when needed. After one round of french toast are completed, start another batch and then add the eggs to the skillet. Let it sit and sizzle for a good 10-15 seconds before stirring. After about 30 seconds add your cheese and continue stirring until your desired doneness is reached and season to taste in this last leg of stirring. Remove eggs and remaining french toast to plate.

Check doneness of the potatoes and remove or continue to cook to your liking. The thinner ones will cook faster.

Serve and enjoy.
You can also grill pineapple rings sprinkled with brown sugar (we were out, so I couldn’t show you this go around)

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Nariah saw some brownies in Cici’s pizza the other day and told mommy, “Daddy doesn’t like chocolate… I know, how bout we make daddy some vanilla brownies!!!!??!?!?!

Well, since she came up with the banana cobbler and that was good, why not make some vanilla brownies? Keep in mind these are not to be confused with blondies which are made with white chocolate chips, I actually found vanilla chips. (I’ll have to get that banana cobbler recipe up here too one day)


1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 bag (10 oz) white vanilla baking chips (1 2/3 cups)
1 1/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts (i used pecans)
1-2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla (or about a shot of NaVaN if this is for adults)
2 tablespoons warm water or milk

1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour 13×9-inch pan. In 2-quart saucepan, heat butter and baking chips over low heat, stirring frequently, just until melted. (Mixture may appear curdled.) Remove from heat; cool.

2. Stir in remaining brownie ingredients until well blended. Spread evenly in pan.

3. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

4. In medium bowl, mix all glaze ingredients until smooth and spreadable. Spread glaze over brownies. For brownies, cut into 8 rows by 4 rows.

****I have since found cinnamon, caramel and cherry baking chips at walmart and so far have made “Rubies” with the cherry chips and I must say…. OMG! The particular ones I found were of the Log House Brand (<— go ahead click it… looks so good) and we baked them the same way just used the cherry chips instead. The other chips will definitely get their trials soon! Pics have been added to the slideshow below.****

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I saw some cedar wraps from on sale and thought “Man, I gotta try these”.  For those that don’t know what they are here’s a link from amazon:
Click me for cedar wraps…

Another key ingredient, agave nectar, to be used in place of syrup or honey, all natural too.
Click me for agave nectar…


Lime juice
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Agave nectar
Old bay seasoning to taste
Baby carrots sliced lengthwise
Chopped chives.

Soak cedar wrap planks in liquid for at least 20 mins, I used apple juice.  If you’re using 6X6 wraps, you’ll get about 4 shrimps per wrap.

Shell and devein a pound or more of jumbo shrimp.

Mix in bowl the cilantro, baby carrots, chopped chives, soy sauce, olive oil, a few shakes of old bay, a few squirts of lime juice, and a few squirts of agave nectar.

Add shrimp and toss, let sit for 20 mins in fridge.

Line up shrimp in the middle of wrap (make sure to include some of the marinated chives and carrots, or add any other veggies you may like), wrap and tie lightly with green onion or butcher string.

Grill indirect for 6-10 mins until shrimp looks pink.  If you want to try with fish, like tilapia or grouper, just cook about 5 mins longer.

Serve hot right on the plate and eat food out of wraps.

Peaches and pears, (wrapped): 

Two to 3 cups of peaches and pears, cut into bite sized pieces

1/4-1/2 cup of your favorite baking  liquor, i used naVan and amoretto

2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vanilla bean sugar

Flaked coconut.

Mix all ingredients except coconut in bowl and let sit for 20 mins.  Take four peaches (depending on the size) and lightly roll in coconut until covered.  Line up fruit in the cedar wrap (pre-soaked in apple juice), wrap and then tie with butcher string or clip with metal paper clip.

Repeat with pear and remaining fruit.  Grill indirect for 10-15 mins until coconut looks nice and toasted on the edges.  Serve hot on plate in wrap along with ice cream or whipped cream.

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Due to evil mean people, I’m forced to post this recipe for fear of my family’s life. LOL
This is a tweak of the recipe I found here :

First you need a mini cheese cake pan such as the link below where the bottom pops out with a lil metallic disks :

Click me! I’m the mini cheesecake pan he’s talking about.

Preheat oven to 350.

About half a bag of ginger snap cookies (if you can find vanilla snaps, use those, they are the bomb!)
1/4 cup of turbinado sugar
1/2 stick of butter softened

Crush gingersnap into small crumbs. mix ingredients together, spray cheesecake pan with pam, press mixture into bottom of pan for about 1cm layer of crust. more if you like it “crusty”. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until its browned and firm somewhat. You don’t want to burn it or cook it till completely done here. Remove and set to the side
(You may want to put a pan underneath the cheesecake pan as some of the butter may drip through the round disks)


1 pkg soften cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 banana cut up
about 1/3 cup of cream de banana (or some other banana flavored alcohol that you like)

Blend ingredients until smooth. Add or subtract banana liquor to your tasting. The 1/3 cup I used was enough to know its banana, but not overpower it. The more you add, the longer it cooks too, keep that in mind. Pour batter over crust in pan about 2 cm deep. If you have left over, just spread it out to the rest of the cheesecakes. Bake for about 15-20 mins, and check status every 5 mins afterwards. The amount of liquor offsets the cooking time for a little longer. When the top looks solid and slightly browned, remove from oven. Let cheesecakkes cool a little and then after they’ve “shrunk”, take a knife and go around the edges to loosen them from the sides. You will want to do this while they are still warm. After cooling complete, pop out cheesecakes and lay on wax paper. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Extra credit:

If you want strawberry marbled, do this before making the crust. Take some fresh strawberries, and depending on how sweet they are, add sugar to taste, and then a lil water. sautee on hi heat in a sauce pan stirring constantly, adding a lil flour to thicken up and mushing the strawberries in process. After its thickened to a nice consistency, let cool and then do everything from above, instead of pouring all the cheesecake mixture, pure half the amount. Then pour a small layer of strawberry “stuff”, then cover with the other half of cheesecake mixture. Take a toothpick, and “marbleize” the cheesecake by swirling designs into it. Proceed with cooking. 🙂