Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A Taste of Houston



We took a little summer vacay trip to down to Houston to visit the Devilish Nephew and oh what an adventure we had!  We stuffed ourselves with with Buc-ee's Nuggets from Denton all the way to Woody's in Centerville where we stopped for a barbecue lunch.  The only thing I can say about Buc-ee's is "It's SOOOO Texas."  It's my favorite place to stop and stretch my legs.  And Buc-ee's Nuggets are ADDICTIVE.  If you aren't making a road trip through the Lone Star State soon, you can find them on Amazon.  I don't know how to describe them other than a it's like eating the best piece of cereal-turned-snack you've ever had.  I recommend Woody's if you're a connoisseur of jerky.  I've never seen so much jerky in my life.  We were too stuffed on barbecue including "shrimp stuffed bacon wrapped smoked jalapeno poppers" to even look at the jerky.  Woody's is the Devilish Nephew's favorite stop for jars of Homemade Chow Chow Relish that he loves to bring home to his grandparents.  Now mind you Mr. Devilish Dish and I had all of these things before we even made it to Houston where the REALLY good food is.  I'm going to go ahead and spoil the surprise and tell you the highlight of my trip was CATCHING A SHARK!  Then I'll share all of the other fun we had:

In full disclosure I have to tell you this was
actually the nephew's shark.  We caught
three, but only kept one.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Italian Marinated Cheese & Olives + FREE Father's Day Printable OLIVE YOU DAD!

Father's Day is almost here and I haven't even gotten around to posting what I made the Moms for Mother's Day.  But I'm so excited about this post so I'm sharing early.  You know I love CHEESY food puns, like my "Don't String Me Along" String Cheese Valentines  or my Homemade "I Love You Honey Bunny" Honey Buns.  I'll go ahead and spoil the surprise from Mother's Day.  The moms all received homemade salsa and Mexican relish and tortilla chips in bags that said, "MOM, You're All That & and Bag of Chips!" I knew when Father's Day rolled around I would need something equally as silly and delicious.  Nothing says Dad Snack Food more than cheese and crackers, but I decided to level up by adding a tasty marinated olive blend and making my theme: OLIVE YOU DAD.  This mixture is delicious with any kind of olive, but I chose pitted Sicilian green olives and pitted Kalamata olives for my blend.  If you're ever near the international pantry in Norman, Oklahoma stop by and check their huge selection of bulk olives and French Feta cheese. That's where I stock up on my cooking essentials!  I chose to cube some Colby Jack cheese, but any hard cheese that can withstand a little while in the marinade like a firm Mozzarella or Gouda would be tasty too.  Throw everything together and let it refrigerate 8-24 hours and everyone will OLIVE YOU. 
Tell anyone OLIVE YOU with this savory snack.
Combine ingredients in a large bowl.  Refrigerate
8-24 hours.
Enjoy with some quality crackers.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Right click and save to your computer.
Open with the software of your choice
and print onto cardstock.
These images are my exclusive artwork.
Please be courteous when using these printables 
and remember they are for personal use only.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Godiva Chocolate Gift Basket

Michaela over at An Affair from the Heart and I have been great friends for many years.  We originally met over our interest in scrapbooking when Mr. Devilish Dish and I lived in Omaha.  It's safe to say that hobby has gone to the wayside for both of us, but thankfully we share MANY other things.  We both love our family, children, adore boxer dogs, and we love cooking and blogging.  And chocolate.  What kind of friend doesn't like chocolate.  We have this traditional we call the Fun Ball.  It's a small silver ball about the size of a baseball.  It has a hinged opening for storing small trinkets.  I think it's traditionally called a "Friendship Ball" but really doesn't Fun Ball sound more fun?  We mail that thing back and forth constantly.  Sometimes it has jewelry, sometimes cooking spices.  Sometimes a tiny figurine, and more often than not, candy.  It's a challenge finding something to fit in that little ball.  We use the same box, just adding our addresses on top of the other over and over.  Usually until the box is falling apart and one of use finds a new sturdy box just the right size.  For Michaela's birthday a few years ago, I send her a big 'ol basket with all things Godiva Chocolate.  A candle, some liqueur, of course some chocolate.  And I managed to incorporate the Fun Ball in there. I added a little "chocolate" pearl bracelet.  Then I topped the whole thing off with some funny chocolate quotes and a big chocolate brown bow. She has a birthday coming up this weekend, so stop over at her blog and wish her the best!
Isn't this fun?
I found that awesome Godiva candle first,
and the rest of the gift just came together around that.
Here's the Fun Ball
full of chocolate pearls...
And me!
I do love Michaela more than chocolate.
And that's sayin' a lot!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Marinated Cherry Tomatoes

I do not have a green thumb.  Nor do I enjoy yard work.  I do however enjoy a nice yard, which isn't always easy when you're married to a golfer.  Because if the weather is nice enough to work in the yard, it's nice enough to be on the golf course. So most of the gardening is my responsibility.  Every year I plant herbs and a few veggies with minimal results.  This year I decided I would actually put forth some effort into my gardening and really research how to reap the best harvest.  It's actually been rewarding this year because I've had good results, especially with lettuce and cherry tomatoes.  An abundance of cherry tomatoes.  Piles of cherry tomatoes.  What to do with a bounty of cherry tomatoes?  Come up with a great little dish that can be a side dish or appetizer.  I served it with toasty bread, a little like a deconstructed bruschetta, but it would be refreshing as a tangy side salad as well.  Bonus, I grew the herbs that went in here too!  Maybe my thumb will be slightly green by the end of summer.
Such a bright, colorful dish.
Garden fresh tomatoes and herbs.
Stir together tomato halves,
parsley and basil...

Add dressing, and toss to coat.
Serve with bread as a hearty appetizer,
or as a tangy side salad...

Marinated Cherry Tomatoes


1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (I used half curly, half flat-leaf Italian)
3 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade cut (roll up leaves and thinly slice to avoid brusing)
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

In a jar or container with a tight fitting lid, combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic powder, seasoned salt, dried thyme and sugar.  Shake until dressing is thoroughly combined.  In a bowl, gently combine the tomatoes, parsley and basil.  Pour dressing over and toss to combine.  Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Prep Time:  Approximately 15 minutes     Cook Time:  0 needs to chill

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Oatmeal Cookies (No Raisins!)

Whenever my father-in-law has a birthday, or other special occasion, Little Devil makes him Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, which she thought was his favorite.  Finally my Mother-In-Law let her in on a little secret:  He hates raisins.  Loves Oatmeal Cookies.  Not Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  When Little Devil first started baking (which was many years ago) she asked if I had a go to Oatmeal Cookie recipe.  Now I don't like Oatmeal or Raisins so that answer is No.  But thankfully my friend Michaela from An Affair From the Heart made me the most treasured, beautifully handwritten book full of her family favorites.  It is one of my most used cookbooks, because it features tried and true recipes from both sides of her lovely family.  This recipe comes from Michaela's Mom, or Grandma Jane as they refer to her.  It's Jane's Recipe, with one little tweak:  No Raisins!
Papa Bear's Favorite Way...
Scoop onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake until light golden brown.
Don't over bake,
So they will stay chewy!
We even made a sign so he would know
we left out the raisins just for him!

Oatmeal Cookies (NO Raisins)

Adapted from: An Affair From The Heart


1/2 cup shortening
1/2 unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups oatmeal
(raisins optional)

In the bowl of an electric mixer cream shortening and butter together.  Add sugars until creamy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  In a separate bowl combine flour, salt and baking soda.  Add to the creamed mixture until blended.  Fold in oatmeal.  Scoop onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 9 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Carajillo Cocktail

A carajillo is a Spanish drink combing coffee, usually with brandy or whiskey.  I recently told you about my new found obsession:  Licor 43 in my post about Little Beers.  Since Licor 43 is a Spanish liqueur flavored with citrus, vanilla and aromatic herbs, adding it to coffee to create this sublime cocktail seems so obvious.  Paired with a cold brew coffee, it makes a fabulous after dinner drink or anytime for coffee lovers.  
Licor 43 (my new favorite) paired
with cold brew espresso.
Try this!
Check out that giant sphere of ice.
The perfect presentation.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Glaze + FREE Printable Gift Tags

In the past I've made Strawberry Brownies for Valentine's Day.  They were such a big hit and so simple, I decided to adapt the recipe for a quick and tasty Easter treat!  Carrot Cake Bars are so easy.  Just 3 ingredients!  Start with a boxed carrot cake mix and by adjusting the amount of oil and eggs, the result is a thick, rich bar full of carrot and spice flavor!  Now I LOVE cream cheese frosting, especially the one on My Mom's Carrot Cake, but I wanted these bars to have more of a glaze instead of a thick, fluffy frosting.  Mainly because I'm giving them in cute little Easter bags.  If you're planning to serve them on a platter where that delightful frosting won't get squished, feel free to frost them instead.  Since I'm giving these away to family and friends as a little gift for Easter, I created some cute little tags reminiscent of vintage carrot seed packets.  They are included below if you'd like to print them for gift giving too!  
Only 3 ingredients plus a quick glaze!
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