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Monday, August 27, 2012

The Ultimate Nutella Martini

Umm, literally as you are drinking it strands of Nutella float into your mouth!!

So, last week, I introduced my you to Rachel Thompson, author of A Walk in the Snark and The Mancode: Exposed, and to her "namesake" drink THE RACHEL(recipe). Now, what I didn't mention is that Rachel is a Nutella nut...she loves the stuff. When I contacted her about the tini I had developed in her honor, one of the first things she asked me was if it had Nutella in it. So, in the ways that she always seems to do, Rachel got me thinking. I researched a number of different recipes...a couple that even had milk in them...just didn't tickle my fancy, so I set out to concocting.

This thing is AWESOME! It has a rimmer and "splashes" inside of the tini glass with melted Nutella. Imagine having a Nutella flavored tini that you are sipping off a Nutella rimmer. Oh, Yummers!! So, a big thanks and shout out to Rachel for giving me wonderful directions to head in...not only in reading but of the alcohol variety as well!

On that we go!


1.5 T. Nutella, melted
1.5 oz Vanilla Vodka
1 oz Coffee Liqueur
1 oz Frangelico Liqueur
1 oz Cream de Cacao
1.5 oz Chocolate or White Chocolate Liqueur (Godiva)
Canned Whipped Cream


1) Melt 1.5 T. of Nutella on a plate. This doesn't take long, so watch it carefully!

2) Take a well chilled tini glass from the freezer and rim the glass in the melted Nutella. Then, using your spoon/fork, "splash" the inside of the tini glass with the Nutella. Return glass to freezer.

3) In a well chilled shaker, fill with ice and place liqueurs inside the shaker. Shake for no less than 60 seconds.

4) Strain into tini glass and top with canned whip cream. "Splash" more melted Nutella over the top of the drink. Serve immediately. ENJOY!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Herbed Baked Chicken Breasts


I was in desperate need of a bone in chicken breast recipe to use up a package that I had in my freezer. I can't believe I didn't find this one before. It was so flavorful I couldn't believe it! The breasts came out beautifully browned and the smell while they were cooking was AWESOME!

I partnered this with Easy Oven Baked Latkes and Roasted Cauliflower .


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/2 t. jarred garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
4 bone-in, skin on chicken breast halves
1) Place chicken breasts in a 9x13 pan. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2) In a bowl, combine the first 10 ingredients. Pour sauce over chicken. Flip to ensure it is coated thoroughly.

3) Bake the chicken for 1 hour or until temperature reaches 180 degrees. Baste throughout cooking with the sauce.

Oven "Fried" Potato Latkes

I love me some latkes, but find the frozen ones kind of tasteless. I found the recipe for this by Once Upon A Chef on Pinterest, but the original recipe called for grating potatoes. Liking to keep things simple, I decided to use hash brown potatoes instead, but all the flavor is there. These bad boys were so easy and just a nice alternative to the typical potato side dishes.

Now, I must add that I increased the recipe by one half. This yielded about 30 latkes. Believe it or not, with a family of 3, plus two lunches, they were gone the next day, which reminds me...these lil guys reheat really well!

So, let's go ahead and get started!


1 (32oz) bag Hash Brown Potatoes, thawed
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup vegetable oil


1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Liberally spray 2 cookie sheets with cooking spray and place 1/2 cup oil on EACH cookie sheet.

2) Place cookie sheets in oven to warm the oil for 10 minutes. At this time, Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

3) Using a 1/4 cup scoop mixture and place on in warmed oil 1.5 inches apart. Flatten a bit and bake for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven, using a spatula flip latkes and bake another 10 minutes.

How easy is that???

Paula Deen's Marinated Tomatoes

I don't know about you, but the tomatoes are coming in like mad in the Blackburn garden. I am trying to figure out numerous and creative ways to use up these little angels of summer. I noticed several weeks ago that Paula Deen had posted a recipe for marinated tomatoes onto Pinterest and I knew that I wanted to try them.

They were SO simple to make and really complimented the Tilapia I made for dinner that night. That recipe is coming soon, that this will be a staple recipe during the summer months in our kitchen!!

So here we go!:


3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 to 3 green onions, chopped
4 to 6 large tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges


1) Place tomatoes in a Ziploc bag.

2) In a bowl, combine first 8 ingredients. Whisk until blended and pour over tomato pieces.

3) Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Place in serving bowl. Discard any leftovers.

Terri G. Long's Extra Rich Cake

So, y'all have heard me talk about Rachel Thompson, but one of my other buddy authors is Terri Guiliano Long, author of In Leah's Wake and the soon to be released, Nowhere to Run. On Terri's blog,, not only does she and others in the industry give wonderful advice to authors, but she also has a segment called "In Terri's Kitchen" which she posts some awesome recipes for every course of a meal! That is where I found the recipe for this cake. This cake is so unbelievably moist and the pudding topping is a wonderful alternative to the really sweet icing which I am not a fan of. As a bonus, serve this cake well chilled and the pudding topping almost comes off as a thinner ice cream topping.
Now, in Terri's original recipe, she has the pudding as a chocolate pudding, however, I was not in the mood for all that chocolate and wanted to break it up. I went with a Oreo pudding instead. So, have a blast with the "pairings" you can time I make it, I am kicking around a chocolate and pistachio pudding combination! I have even kicked around a vanilla frosting accented with an orange or lemon extract, to give a sherbet effect! My mouth is WATERING!
I did make a slight alteration from Terri's recipe. Terri instructed bakers to stir chocolate chips into the prepared cake mix prior to pouring it into the pan. This led, in my case to the chocolate chips settling at the bottom of the cake pan. Instead, next time, I will sprinkle them on top immediately prior to placing the cake in the oven.
So, here we go!
Box Chocolate Cake Mix
6 oz Semisweet Chocolate Chips
Large box (5.9 oz) INSTANT Pudding
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
2 cups WHOLE milk
1) Preheat oven as directed on the cake box.  Prepare cake mix according to box directions. Pour into a 9x13 prepared pan.
2) Sprinkle chocolate chips over cake. Place cake in oven and bake as directed.
3) When finished, remove from oven and "poke" holes in the cake using eraser sized round object. I used a skewer, but didn't think the holes were large enough. Next time, I will use a wooden spoon handle.
4) Mix the pudding mix with the powdered sugar and milk. Immediately, pour half of the mixture over the cake. Allow the remaining portion to thicken a tad and spread, like frosting, over the cake. Place in refrigerator to settle.
5) Can't stress this enough...CAKE SHOULD BE SERVED WELL CHILLED!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012


As a newbie into the world of Indie publishing and taking tried and true efforts in the business development world and twisting and contorting them to fit into an Indie business perspective, I have come across a couple of people who are so wonderful, dynamic and giving that they have introduced me to a couple of other people. IT IS CALLED NETWORKING, PEOPLE! Any who, one of those people was Terri Guiliano Long, author of “In Leah’s Wake” and the soon to be released “Nowhere to Run”. Terri has been such a wonderful support and introduced me to so many wonderful people that there are not enough ways to thank her for everything that she has done.

One of the people Terri introduced me to was Rachel Thompson, owner Badredhead Media and several social media/advertising companies, as well as the author of two Amazon bestselling novels, The Mancode: Exposed and A Walk in the Snark. When Terri put out the call to follow this Twitter newbie to help me build up my following, Rachel came to the call. When she first followed me on Twitter, I went in and read her background and was blown away by our similarities, by our healthcare sales backgrounds and our personalities. But a couple of things that really stood out to me was her fun, politically incorrect, shining personality that has some snarkiness attached! Oh, and one of the biggest things was her love of Tinis!

Now, I have a gift, not sure if it is actually a curse, in which recipes, both food and drink, will pop into my head. I can be lying in bed, driving down the road, watching tv and all of a sudden a concoction will come together. Anyway, I was working on a post that I was doing which showcased Rachel’s business acumen and I had to think about her personality traits. All of a sudden, I started thinking of alcohols which go with those traits and voila THE RACHEL was born. Rachel can consider herself among such writing greats as Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac all of whom have drinks named after them! May she become as famous as her predecessors named above!

The Rachel

Look at that ice. Now, that is cold, baby!

Make sure your bar ware is chilled!! Here we go!:
1/2 lime juiced into the shaker (Fresh lime...NO CONCENTRATE! (i.e. the real thing..not fake!)
1.5 oz Citrus Vodka (She is from a citrus state, after all!)
1.5 oz Cake Vodka (Who doesn't like cake?)
.75 oz Razzmatazz Schnapps (for her dazzling personality)
1 oz Pomegranate Liqueur (a bold, yet approachable liqueur)
Pomegranate, Lemon Drop or Cosmo Rimmer


1) Rim your tini glass if desired. Follow directions under The Pub and Grub Forum for rimming tinis. Return to freezer while finishing making tini!

2) Place all liquid ingredients in an ice filled METAL shaker and shake for no less than 60 seconds.

3) Strain into very chilled tini glass. If desired, garnish with lemon and lime slices.

A Walk in the Snark : Rachel's essays on life in OC, CA as a real, in multiple perspectives, redhead in a sea of fake blonds, fake boobs and extravagance at every turn. Told with Rachel's trademark snarky humor, she isn't afraid to tell it the way it is.

The Mancode Exposed I reviewed this hilarious, yet dead on novel about the unfairer sex for a recent promotion that Terri and Rachel were doing for the Dog Days of Summer! A Book and A Review's thoughts on The Mancode: Exposed!

So, go grab the books on Amazon, kick back with The Rachel and enjoy the snark!

Be sure to pop in next Monday for another Rachel "inspired" drink...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dark Chocolate Tini

I have been fascinated with the Chocolate Tini. I have come across some that are very good and some not so good. When I came across a recipe for a Dark Chocolate Tini Shot from the blog A Bachelor and His Grill, I knew I had to try it. There were some things that I sort of didn't like about it so I knew it had to change.

First, it was a shot. I prefer the full tini. Second, it had chocolate chips in the bottom of the glass. Now, the mother came out in me and I kept thinking about the choke risks in partnering the chips and shot all in one drink! So, I omitted the chips and went with a dark chocolate swirl in the tini glass. I also increased the alcohol to make it a full drink.

As I state in all my tini recipes, chill everything, glasses and shaker, before prepping the drink. Coldness is key to making this a wonderful drink.

So, here we go:


1.5 oz Vanilla Vodka
1.5 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
1.5 oz Chocolate Liqueur


1) Do a chocolate swirl in the tini glass. If desired, put a maraschino cherry in the bottom and return glass to freezer.

2) Add ice to shaker and pour all liqueurs over the ice. Shake for no less than 60 seconds and strain into prepared tini glass.

3) If desired, garnish with whipped cream and a chocolate swirl!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Neely's Spicy Chicken Wings

A standard for sofa tailgating in the Blackburn household are chicken wings. We love these little things and there are numerous ways to make them instead of just Buffalo wings. I stumbled across this recipe from The Neely's and jumped right on them. They were fantastic. Now, the Neely's served them with a horseradish sauce that left a lot to be desired (in fact, we ended up throwing it out), so we just ate them plain. That won't stop me from coming up with another sauce next time we make them.

The key is to let these sit in the refrigerator to get those seasonings to settle in. Also, do not cook more than 3 at a time. These are awesome with the crispy coatings which occur when they are not overcrowded in the deep fryer!

So, here we go!:



1 tablespoon seasoning salt
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 pounds chicken wings, split at the joint, discard tips


2 large eggs
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil, for frying (I used a bottle and a half in my deep fryer)


 1) Combine all seasoning ingredients in a small bowl

2) Place wings in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with the seasoning mix. Refrigerate covered for 1 hour.

3) For the batter, mix eggs and seasonings. Put the flour in a shallow dish. Preheat oil. Dip the wings in the egg batter and roll in the flour.

5) In a large deep fryer or Dutch oven, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Place the wings, THREE AT A TIME, in the hot oil and fry until golden, 8 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Make sure the oil returns to 350 degrees F before adding the next batch. My wings took about 10 minutes per batch.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chicken Thighs in Mushroom Sauce


6 Chicken Thighs
1 cup flour
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 can white wine
8 oz can mushrooms
1 onion thinly sliced
1 T. Paula Deen House Seasoning, divided
2 T. Canola oil


1) Sprinkle chicken thighs with 1/2 T. PDHS. Coat chicken in flour. Meanwhile heat Canola oil in a nonstick pan sprayed liberally with nonstick cooking spray.

2) Fry chicken thighs until well browned and remove. Keep warm in a warmed oven.

3) In same pan, fry onions until soft. Add soup, wine, mushrooms and mushrooms and still until well blended. Add remaining 1/2 T. of PDHS.

4) Return chicken thighs to pan and cook covered an additional 40 minutes or until chicken is 180 degrees. Serve with rice or noodles!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Factory Workers Chicken

I have a ton of chicken thighs that I have been trying to get used up so I went on a recipe search and stumbled upon this one on I was skeptical of this recipe at first, but figured I would give it a try. I am thrilled I did. This recipe was SO simple, I couldn't stand it. With 3 ingredients...please it was just too easy.

Looking for a side, don't throw out the marinade. Place in a sauce pan and BRING TO A ROLLING BOIL! Allow to boil for at least 5 minutes to kill any possible bacteria. Add 1 Tablespoon brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Pour over cooked rice and stir.

On a side note, if grilling isn't desired or an option, the chicken can be baked for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

So, here we go!


3 lbs chicken thighs
1 jar salsa, 10 oz
10 oz Italian dressing


1) Place chicken thighs in a 9x13 glass dish or non-reactive bowl. Pour salsa and dressing over chicken. Cover with foil and place in the refrig.

2) Marinade for no less than 4 hours.

3) Either prepare grill or bake in oven until cooked to an internal temperature of 180 degrees.

Toby Keith's Swamp Water with a Twist!

Look at that layer of frost!

I stumbled upon this drink by Toby Keith on Pinterest that had been originally pinned by GAC. It is for his drink Swamp Water. Anyone who has ever heard of this drink knows that it is a particularly dangerous due to 5 out of 8 ounces of the liquid in it being of the alcohol variety! I wanted something special to kick off Chicago Bears Preseason Football and this drink was it.

Now, the original drink calls for Mezcal which I am not a fan of, but I swapped that out for tequila which I am a fan of! It worked fine. The drink had a tiny bit of a melon margarita flare to it. The thing with this drink though is that COLDNESS IS KEY! I store ingredients in the freezer prior to making and return them to the freezer if there is a second round! Another thing...grab a couple of Mason jars..they really add to the essence of the drink.

So, here we go!:


1.25 oz Blanco Tequila
2.5 oz Pucker Apple
.75 oz Simple Syrup
1 oz Midori Melon Liquor
Sweet and Sour Mix


1) In a standard sized shaker, fill with ice and add first 4 ingredients. Shake for 60 seconds and pour into a very chilled mason jar. Mine normally have a layer of frost on them.

2) Add more ice and fill to rim with Sweet and Sour Mix. Garnish with lime slices and cherries.

3) Be really careful. These things are AWESOME, but they are one of those drinks that sneak up and nip in the rear end!

Tricia Yearwood's Barbecue Chicken

Tricia Yearwood's Chicken with her Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

This chicken is so tasty, moist and easy to make that it has become a staple for sofa tailgating in the Blackburn home! The most difficult part of making this recipe is quartering the chicken. My family tells me that it reminds them of a traveling BBQ company in Northern Illinois called Fay's BBQ. I love this chicken because it isn't the standard tomato based BBQ sauce, but has that tangy, spicy tinges to it that tickles the taste buds! I just made this a couple of weeks ago and already my mouth is drooling! Now, I do double the sauce that Tricia has in the original recipe, but I love to slather and I mean slather the chicken with the sauce. It just POPS!

The chicken does take a bit more time to grill than using pieces so allow the time necessary. It took my chicken a good hour and fifteen minutes, but it is SO worth it!

So, here we go!



Two 3 pound frying chickens, split
4 tablespoons salt


2 cups cider vinegar
1.5 cups peanut oil
2 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Franks
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1) Quarter chickens as shown in pictures.

This...will become


2) Place quarters in a large pot and cover with water. Add salt to act as a brine. Place pot with chicken for no less than 6 hours and allow to "brine".

3) In a large sauce pan, blend all sauce ingredients, bring to a boil and set aside.

4) Prepare grill and place chicken on grill. Brush frequently with the sauce until chicken hits 180 degrees internally.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tricia Yearwood's Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

I LOVE THIS MAC AND CHEESE! I am always so nervous about using my crock pot to cook pasta that I don't due it frequently, but I will do this at a drop of a hat. This recipe goes together easily and requires no supervision, so I can focus on other dishes in my sofa tailgating. It is always partnered with Tricia's Barbecued Chicken, which I will be featuring on The Pub and Grub. They are just good eatin'!


8 ounces cooked elbow macaroni
One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick ) of butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
Two 10-ounce bricks sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 5 cups)


1) In a large 4-quart crock pot very liberally sprayed with cooking spray, mix the macaroni, evaporated milk, milk, butter, salt, pepper, eggs and all but 1/2 cup of the grated cheese.
2) Sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top of the mixture.
3) Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Note: If you don't have a crock pot, grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch pan with cooking spray, add the mixture and bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes.

Chocolate Peanutty Bugle Truffles

I had come across a recipe for Chocolate and Peanut Butter Truffles by Cookies and Cups that I started to make, but found them to be incredibly annoying in their preparation after making about 120 of the little beasts. Plus, my husband's feedback was that they had too much Bugle taste and not enough peanut butter...his favorite. So, I decided to revamp the same recipe using the same ingredients (basically) and different preparation. My husband was thrilled to death with the results.

So, here we go!


1 bag Bugles, lightly crushed
1.5 bags semi chocolate chips
2 cups peanut butter, creamy (although I am sure that chunky would be rockin')
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk


1) In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except chocolate chips. Mix until well blended.
2) Form filling into 1 inch balls and set into freezer to chill for about 15 minutes.
3) Melt chocolate chips utilizing a double boiler. If chocolate thickens up, mix in some canola oil.
4) When melted, dip balls into chocolate and coat well. Remove allowing excess chocolate to drip off. Return to tray and place back in freezer.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Best Ever Banana Cake

adapted from

2 cups bananas , mashed
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
¾ cup unsalted butter , room temperature
2  cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temperature


1)  Preheat oven to 275°.  Liberally spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray.

2)  In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside.

3) In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda , cinnamon and salt; set aside.

4)  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in
eggs, one at a time, then add in 2 tsp vanilla.

5)  On low, add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in
banana mixture.

6)  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 1hour and 15
minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. leave in pan to cool. Transfer to cooling rack or leave in pan. (Can also be made as (2) 9 inch round cake pans)

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz or 1 package of cream cheese softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

1) Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the
vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat on low-speed just until combined. Don’t
over beat.
2) Frost cake as desired.
3) If desired, sprinkle chopped nuts over top of the frosting or serve with a whole pecan on top of individual slices.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Crock Pot Mexican Pot Roast

I love Mexican food so I tend to zero in on them when I come across them. I had found a recipe on Pinterest for beef carnitas and set out to make them. I decided that I liked keeping the meet whole versus shredding it to make into the carnitas. Served over either yellow or Mexican rice, this recipe *POPS*. I served with corn on the yummy!


1 Onion, quartered
2 Tomatoes, seeded and quartered
2 t. jarred garlic
3 pounds chuck roast
4 ounces can diced green chilies
1 T. chili powder
2 t. cumin
1 t. adobo seasoning, see my favorite seasonings
1 t. oregano
1 t. salt
½ t. pepper
1/2 cup beef broth


1) Brown roast in 1 T. olive oil and set aside.
2) Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and place in a 6qt crock pot.
3) Place roast on top of liquid.
4) Cook on low for 10 hours. Serve on yellow or Mexican rice (see side dishes).

Slow Cooker Cube Steak with onion/mushroom sauce

Cube steak is such a simple meat to me. I love coming up with various ways to have it. I stumbled upon a recipe for cube steaks and gravy one day on Pinterest, but as I took a deeper look at it, I thought it looked kind of boring and set out to "spruce it up". As a result, I have a whole new recipe!

This one is simple enough to throw in the crock before leaving for work and have a tasty dinner almost immediately upon walking in the door. I served this with mashed potatoes, but rice or noodles would work just as well. Furthermore, I complimented it with fresh picked tomatoes from my garden. Yummers!


4 Cube Steaks
2 T. Paula Deen House Seasoning, divided
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 pack dry onion soup mix
1 can 8 oz mushrooms
1 onion thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine


1) Sprinkle cube steaks with 1/2 T. PDHS.
2) Liberally spray a frying pan with cooking spray and lightly fry. Remove to crock.

3) Repeat procedure with onions, sprinkling with another 1/2 T. of PDHS. Remove to crock.
4) In a large bowl, combine 1 T. PDHS, canned soup, dry soup, mushrooms and wine. Pour over cube steaks and onions.
5) Turn crock to low and cook for 6-8 hours.
6) Serve over mashed potatoes, noodles or rice.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Zucchini Brownies

Boy I love these little bad boys. No one can guess that these super moist gems have zucchini as one of the main ingredients. I stumbled across this recipe on Allrecipes and whenever I bring them places have people asking me for the recipe. When I had the opportunity to bring them to a family reunion, I jumped at it! The zucchini is going crazy in my garden and I thought this would be the perfect chocolate fix on my dessert bar!
So, here we go!


1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts                    
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Liberally spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

2) In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

3) Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners' sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.

Stephanie O'Dea's Slow Cooker Cheeseburger Soup

I am a fan of Stephanie O'Dea and will frequently refer to her cookbooks for my slow cooker needs. This is a soup that served with a salad and rolls makes a light dinner that is incredibly tasty to boot.  Not to heavy on the meat and with bits of potatoes, onions and red peppers. I love that it makes just enough for dinner without a ton of leftovers.

So, here we go!:

1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 qt chicken broth
1 teaspoon jarred garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 red pepper seeded and chopped
2 potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup low fat (less than 2%) milk
12 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed (I used the Velveeta light)
Hot sauce to taste, optional
Bacon, optional


1) Brown the ground beef. Drain any fat.
2) In a 4qt slow cooker, place the ground beef and the next 5 ingredients. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or until potatoes are tender.
3) Stir in milk and cubed Velveeta and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes.

4) Garnish with hot sauce and crumbled bacon