Friday, November 27, 2020

Green Bean Casserole

I believe this is my first time making the traditional Green Bean casserole. Again, I was tasked with bringing a vegetable dish, preferably the infamous Green Bean casserole and honestly, I am not a fan of this particular vegetable dish. Based on my experience, there are many veggie dishes that are much better. But tradition is tradition, so I will participate will a smiley face and love in my heart. 

I did some online research for a variety of ideas and recipes that might be more appealing to me. Not a huge difference in ingredients, but maybe an improvement over what I have eaten, This was a good idea and I was really pleased with how the new recipe twists I learned about made a real difference,

For the most part, I decided to stick with the same main ingredients, but with a few minor changes. I am still using the store bought French Fried Onion as well as using a can of cream of celery (that is what I have in my pantry, I would use cream of mushroom if I have that but either is fine).

So, here it is.

             Green Bean Casserole dish ready, enjoy!

                     Cooked green bean, mushroom and onions and 2 tablespoonful of fried bacon bits.     

                           Dish topped with cream of celery and ready to go into the oven at 350 degree
                               for 30 mins.

               Once the dish is taken out of the oven, I sprinkle generous portions of French Fried Onions and
                serve immediately, I have added more French Fried onions later on the leftovers! Great as
                leftovers. I will make these again.


1 pound green bean (snipped both ends of green beans)

1 8oz white mushroom

1 medium size onion, finely sliced

2 Tbsp oil

2 tsp ground basil

1 10oz can of cream of mushroom/celery

3/4 cup of milk

salt, pepper, 2 Tbsp soya sauce, 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp bacon bits

1 can French Fried Onions


In a 4 quart pot, bring water to a boil. Add green bean and let boil for 6-7 mins.

Remove green beans and run tap water over green beans, set aside.

In another sauce pan, heat oil on pan. Add onions, saute for 2 minutes.

Add mushrooms, basil and soya sauce and saute for another 2 minutes.

Add green beans, bacon bits and balsamic vinegar, saute another 3 minutes.

Scoop to a casserole dish.

In a bowl, stir together cream of mushroom/celery and milk.

Pour cream of mushroom mixture over the casserole dish and spread evenly to cover dish.

Bake at 350 degree for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with French Fried Onions over dish and serve immediately.


Apple Cream Cheese Bar

We have been invited to our brother and sister-in-laws home for Thanksgiving dinner and we are tasked with bringing a second dessert, since pumpkin pie will be the star of the show, I decided to make this Apple Cream Cheese Bar. The idea is that this dessert will compliment the pumpkin pie.

This recipe requires multiple steps to prepare it as there are 4 layers in total to makeup this dish. 

                        1. The first layer is a crust at the bottom made of graham crackers and butter 
                               ... bake at 350 degree for 6-7 mins

                                2. The second layer, is a cream cheese mixture. You have to pay attention so it is layered smoothly and evenly. I used the back of a spoon or you could use a plastic knife for this purpose
                             3. The third  layer is an apple pie filling, Just drop this filling over the cream cheese                                       layer.....
               is the evenly smoothed 3rd apple filling layer
                         4. The fourth layer is an oatmeal topping, Again tamp it down lightly using the                                              back of a spoon .

                              Bake in the oven for 50 minutes at 350 degrees, 
                              Let it cool completely and then place it in the freezer for 1-2 hours. 
                              Then you can evenly and easily cut your Apple Cream Cheese Bar. 



Crust - bottom layer (1st layer )
1 1/2 cup of crushed graham crackers (from a pack of graham crackers )
3 Tbs soften melted butter or oil
2 Tsp sugar
Lined parchment paper on bottom of 8 x 8 pyrex pan dish.
Mix all ingredients and spread evenly on dish, bake for 7 mins at 350 degree.

Cream Cheese Layer
8 oz soften (room temp) cream cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
Mix all ingredients, with patience, slowly and evenly spread cream cheese mixture using plastic spatula or knife on top of crust layer.

Apple Pie Filling
3 apples peeled and diced into small cubes
2 Tbsp lemon juice (optional)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbs cornstarch
In a sauce pan, over medium heat, cook all ingredients except cornstarch until bubbly.
Add cornstarch as soon as apples are soften/bubbly, stir quickly, turn off stove.
Scoop apple pie filling onto the cream cheese layer.
Again, evenly smoothen apple pie filling topping.

Oatmeal Crumbles layer:
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbsp melted butter
Mix well all ingredients, spread over top of Apple pie filling layer.
Lightly tamp down layer.
Bake at 350 degree for 50 mins.

Cool dish completely.
Place dish in freezer for an hour or 2.
Cut Apple Cream Cheese Bar to desired bite size pieces/bars.


Monday, November 9, 2020

Random Pieces Quilt

I just finished this quilt using lots of various fabric scraps. I struggled with this particular design and  wished I would have used bigger sized square pieces instead of the little ones. But since I already committed to the fabric I decided to throw in a few BIG pieces to mix the design up a little bit, hoping that things would somehow work out for the best.

For the quilt's backing, I decided to use a thinner fabric instead of the usual thicker and heavier backing I normally use. This makes this quilt much lighter than most of my earlier ones and makes it a better fit for a picnic blanket or table cover even a big throw blanket in the family TV room !


Mini Apple Pie Loaf

  With this being apple season, I really wanted to bake something with apples and fine tune some of my apple recipes. So here is my latest test recipe that I hope will be a big improvement over some of my earlier ones. 

  I was very happy that the taste and texture of this new recipe was really moist and delicate. The apples I used were really sweet and firm, which is what really made this apple cake special. So far the first little cake didn't last more than half a day, so that tells me that I did something right.  So once it is cut, you better get in line fast before it is all gone. So for now, I think this is my go-to least for now!!


1 cup flour

1/2 cup oil

1 ripe banana (or 1/2 cup apple sauce which ever you have available, I used banana)

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

4 apples

Additional to sprinkle on top of each mini loaf - cinnamon and 4 tsp sugar.


* Line parchment paper on bottom of 4 mini loaf pan.

* peel each apple, quarter and chop 3 pieces of the 4 and line chopped apple into each mini loaf pan, chop the 4th quarter, set aside for topping to the loaf pan.

* In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and sugar together.

* add egg and mix well, add mashed banana, and mix in oil, stir well.

* divide mixture and scoop/drop mixture onto each mini loaf pan

* top each mini pan with the remaining apple, sprinkle each pan with the last quarter of chopped apple, cinnamon and 1 tsp sugar.

* bake at 350 degree for 40-45 mins.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Chicken & Mushroom with Wine Sauce

 I wanted to try a new chicken recipe for dinner. I am not fond of cooking as much as I like my baking. I will cook for friends and family when we entertain, but most of the time I am just not very inspired. I will take my time and plan out my menu. I try my best to make things nice and hospitable, but for our daily meals, they are usually quick and simple dishes that we both know and like. But I would like to be as creative in my cooking as I am in my baking, so this is the dish that I felt would get my creative juices flowing and bring us a tasty dish and some imaginative satisfaction as well. 

This dish is easy to make with lots of juicy flavor that surprised us both. It goes really well with rice and corn or a side salad, Since it went so well, I think I will make it again soon as main dish for guests the next time we host a get together. 

btw: I hope to cook more quick and delicious chicken recipes!


3 large chicken breast (fillet to 3/4 thick slices)

1/2 cup red wine

4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp. corn flour (in a small cup, mix enough water to corn flour to form a diluted mixture, set aside)

1/2 cup milk

2 cup chicken broth

3 tsp chopped garlic

1 sliced onion

1 sliced bell pepper, 1 stalk celery, chopped

12 oz. baby Bella mushroom

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. fresh or dried oregano (or thyme)

1 tbsp. oil


Over the stove, heat cooking pan, pour in oil and brown both sides on chicken over medium heat,  flip chicken over when brown, smear 1/2 tsp garlic on top of brown surface of chicken, do the same on the other side, then scoop chicken and set aside chicken on a plate or bowl.

On the pan, add mushrooms, let mushroom cook for awhile before flipping over, once both sides are evenly cooked, gather mushroom to one side of the pan.

Add onions and sauté until tender, add and stir peppers & celery together, sprinkle in salt, balsamic vinegar.

Add in chicken broth, milk, Dijon mustard and wine, let this come almost to a boil, add in the chicken and let this come to boil. Stir in the flour mixture. Turn down heat to medium low and let it simmer for 10 minutes and turn heat off. 

Let pan sit for 5 minutes, scoop chicken dish over or next to warm rice topped with fresh thyme/cilantro sprigs. Dinner is served, enjoy!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Table Quilt

 I have a very nice, but pretty old table in my dining room. Okay, granted the table is not in the best of condition and it looks bare when left exposed.  So I decided to make a nice colorful cover for it, thinking a quilted table cloth may just be just what it needs to perk the look up a bit. So I pieced together a variety of colors for this new design. I started the design in the middle of the quilt with a color scheme made for four basic colors. From there I used the same basic design with contrasting colors, sewing using remaining fabric remnants into my new, colorful table quilt.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Small Birthday Cake - Banana Layer Cake

 I have made many banana breads in the past,but only a few cakes. Not too long ago I made this recipe that works well for me. See the recipe at the link here. I made 2 small 6 inch banana cakes that I decorated with a few chocolate chips on top of each cake pan (in case you are wondering about the dark smears on the cake, well that is the chocolate chips. They were a great addition) and decorated within all four layers on this dense, but very moist cake. The density of the cake helped it hold well together, so I was able to make each layer very thin without crumbling or tearing.

The thin layers also made it nice to work with my icing. This icing gives the cake that extra moist, soft sweetness most people want. My cakes are usually not this sweet, but because of the type of cake I made, the sweetness works nicely.

   I was a little worried that the cake may be too dense but nope, it really was just perfect. The cake cuts beautifully and just melts in your mouth even without ice cream. But in lieu of a Birthday celebration, we did top each thin slice of cake with couple scoops of vanilla ice cream good.

Updated this page to include 2 more banana cakes I made a week later, thought I added the pictures here below!


Thursday, August 20, 2020

Decorated Cookies - Cupcake & Ice Cream

 It's been awhile since I did some fun baking and I have a couple of friends that are deserving of a treat, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and put together a few of my favorite cookie designs in order to create some pretty and delicious gifts for them. And baked treats are always a nice gift !

 I made 2 nice designs with 4 bright and fun color themes. I had some nice supplies to work with and with the ideas I wanted to execute, it all worked out pretty well. My pink didn't come out as good because there was a little blue left in the mixer when I mixed and created the pink, but the pink was still pink, so it still looked good.

 Now for my Cookies;

I decorated the Ice Cream Cookies late at night and was really tired so I am not as happy with my work. But after having a good night sleep and being well rested, I did a better job decorating the Cupcake Cookies this morning and really enjoyed how the colors and design turned out. Happy me :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Chicken Enchilada with homemade sauce

   I have made these chicken enchiladas a few times in the past, and it seems I have made some real improvements with this dish. My husband says this is true and I hope he is right rather than me praising myself. Could it be  both ? ( ha ha ! )
   I decided to write down this new recipe this time just in case I forget what worked really well this time, so here it goes. 
   One really important and helpful ingredient I used in this recipe is buying a nice juicy rotisserie chicken from BJs. They are really delicious and the juices work well during the bake. First, I tear apart the chicken and chop them up into small cubes. I made chicken broth out of the rotisserie chicken bones, which was a wonderful idea... no waste and super tasty ?!
   I needed the chicken broth to made the enchilada sauce... tada! The enchilada sauce recipe is key to this recipe ... hey you can buy the sauce from the store if you choose to do that but as for me I made my own..hee hee !

Here are the ingredients and instructions on both the enchilada sauce and the casserole.

Enchilada sauce:
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup warm water  
1/4 cup flour  (mix flour into the warm water, mix well )
2 tbs cumin
1 tbs chili  ( +/- depending on how spicy you want it to be )
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs garlic powder
15 oz mild salsa ( or you also use tomato sauce, I like salsa )
Pour everything together in a sauce pan and cook, stirring occasionally in medium to low heat until bubbly and thicken, turn off heat and let it come to warm or room temperature.

1 medium size onion - chopped
1 recipe enchilada sauce (or at least one can of 28 oz enchilada sauce)
2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
18 to 20 8-inch flour tortillas

I am using 2 Pyrex baking dish, greased the bottom of the dish with a few drops of vegetable/canola oil. Layer a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the dish. 
In a big bowl, combine chopped onions and chicken together.
Add some enchilada sauce to the mixture just enough so the mixture could come together.
Fill each tortilla with 2 heap tablespoon of chicken and sprinkle with some cheddar cheese and roll up tightly and place roll on the dish. 
Place each roll one after another tightly so they fit snugly together.
After all the rolls are in the dish, cover the entire top of dish with enchilada sauce. 

Bake at preheated 350 degree oven for 35 mins.
As soon as the time is up, sprinkle the top of dish with a layer of cheddar cheese and put the dish back to the oven while the oven is still super hot but turned OFF.
After about 5-15 mins, casserole is ready to be served, enjoy!!!

        We put a big dent on this dish after dinner .... it was real treat for our palettes  and our tummies                   were grateful ;)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Hungarian Goulash

I found and love this recipe on and I have used this recipe a few times. So I am putting this in my blog so I refer to the recipe. I will be adding pictures of the goulash as well. 

3 pounds beef stew meat cut into 1-2 inch chunks
3 yellow onions chopped (about 2 pounds)
2 cups broth (either beef, vegetable or chicken broth)
6 ounce can tomato paste
10 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup paprika
2 tsp cayenne 
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs oil (either olive or canola)


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. I used a 6 quart dutch oven.
Add onions, garlic, salt, and pepper to the pot. Cook until the onions soften, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Coat the beef chunks in a mixture of paprika and cayenne, and add to the pot. Cook until the beef browns, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add broth, balsamic vinegar, and tomato paste to the pot, and stir. Cover with a lid and let simmer until the meat is very tender, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Serve and garnish with parsley or cilantro or spring onion (optional) .

Saturday, February 29, 2020

frozen birthday cake

I recently made this 'Frozen' themed birthday cake for a 3 year girl. It was 3 layers of vanilla and sour cream cake with buttercream icing. I decorated it with blue and white marzipan stars and snow flakes, along with a sprinkling of buttercream dotted snow drops. It had an elegant appearance but was really a simple theme and design. It worked really well. I had a few of movie character figurines on top
 ( Elsa, Ana and Olaf )along with a cardboard number 3 that I laced with a paper napkin.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Fabric Remnants

I am really tired of looking at my old kitchen hot pads. They have taken a beating over the many years I have been preparing food in my kitchen. Each time is use them I feel that I should go buy some new ones and throw these away.
The materials are still good it is just that their appearance is really an embarrassment. They are screaming to me, "throw me away ! Please put me out of my misery ! Do anything but for crying out loud just don't leave me this way !
  So when your kitchen hot pads start making demands on the chef, it is really time to do something ! So, let's give them a make over. Time to pull out some the remnants and give these guys a new look so here you are... do you feel better now ? You definitely look better. What do you think ?