Its been a while...

I guess I've been MIA for a while. I feel indifferent about this blog. Does anyone even look at it? Any feedback would be nice...


Shelly's Carrot Birthday Cake

I've never made Carrot Cake before. I had to do some research. I combined a unique blend of different variations I've seen and created this scrumptious beauty.  The best part is the birthday girl loves Carrot Cake and absolutely loved it! Along with everyone else. This cake should come with a warning label. Thank God for self control because my taste buds were on a quite enjoyable sugar trip on this bad mama. Haha!

Shelly's Carrot Birthday Cake

3 Eggs
3/4 cup Buttermilk
3/4 cup Canola Oil
1 1/2 cups Sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla Exctract
2 tsp. Cinnamon ( Mmmmm..Cinnamon)

1/4 tsp. Salt
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda

2 cups Shredded Carrots
1 8oz. Can Crushed Pineapple..juice and all
1 cup Walnuts, Chopped
1 cup Raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350. Prep 9x13 pan by spraying with non stick and dusting with flour. Set aside.

2. In medium bowl, sift dry ingredients together.

3. In separate larger mixing bowl beat eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Then add dry ingredients and give that a good mix.

4. Add carrots to mixture. Make sure they mingle a bit then add pineapple. Continue mixing then add the raisins and nuts. Just the smell alone gets me excited. Mmmmmm.

Pop in oven and bake for 1 hour. Let cool completely before frosting.  I just did butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar.

2 pkgs Cream Cheese
1 stick of butter
3 cups of powdered sugar ( adjust more or less to your sweetness level)
1 tsp Vanilla extract

1. Give it a good mix and spread on cake and top with chopped nuts! Yummy!!

Since I've made this cake I've had other variations start brewing in my mind. Just give me a hungry man and a family so I can cook and feed daily. As I create and cook my mind tends to continue to explore different flavors from traditional and not so traditional to different cultures and merging together to make a great union. A union that could only tease and arouse all senses of enjoyment of food. Merging! I think that is my word! If you've seen "Eat, Pray & Love" then you'll know.


Pork Loin with Parsnips & Apples

Have I ever told you all how much I LOVE Parsnips? Well I am going to tell you now! I LOVE PARSNIPS!!! Come on now! Who can not love Parsnips! Its love at first taste. Mmmmmm..

Well to that I thought, what the heck cook up some apples jazz them up and make a little drizzle to go over the pork loin steaks. Complete comfort and really no guilt. Nothing to brag about. Just the thought of it teased me so I had to have it! Mmmm...mmmmm!

Pork Loin Steak with
bed of Parsnips
& cooked Apples

Pork Loin Steaks
Salt & Pepper
Parsnips (Peeled and sliced)
Olive Oil
Minced Garlic
Apples (Peeled, Cored, Sliced)
Ground Red Pepper
Chicken Stock
Sugar Free Maple Syrup....Oh yes!

1. Season Pork lightly with salt & pepper and thyme. Brown on both sides and remove from pan.

2. To same pan, add a little olive oil and a little butter or margarine. Melt butter and heat up. Add Parsnips season with salt and pepper, brown a bit and stir in minced garlic. Add enough water to just barely cover parsnips. Bring to a simmering boil covered. You can add herbs of preference to this. I love Sage with it.

3. After simmering for 5 minutes remove lid. Add pork loin back in and continue cooking at simmer until just about all the water is gone and parsnips are tender and pork is fully cooked.

4. Separate sauce pan, melt butter. Add apples and brown a little. Add cinnamon, ground red pepper give it a stir and pour in a little chicken stock. Just to give it some moisture. About 1/4 cup for a jumbo size apple. Bring that to a simmer and stirring. Add maple syrup and give that a good stir while simmering and remove from heat. I added an extra packet of Stevia..or sugar you can use. Cinnamon you add to your liking and ground red pepper to the degree of heat you want.

Just for fun I assembled a bed of stacked parsnips and rest pork loin on top. Assorted the apple slices and drizzled with the syrup from apples. WOW! Love them apples with that syrup! I would like that I think in some whole wheat crepes with toasted almonds in a vanilla custard whipped cream filling with almond extract flavoring. Something along the lines of that. I'm going to have to make that next!

So give the white carrot a try..Love on a Parsnip! You can't go wrong. Parsnips also a good source of Vitamin C, Folic Acid, which helps convert carbs into energy, also help prevent birth defects with women having babies. It has high soluble fiber which helps in lowering cholesterol and lowering blood sugar and it makes a great fat burning food. Its sweet without the extra calories. So trust me, if you love the Parsnip, it will love you back.


Whole Wheat Lasagna

I was craving Italian today. Lasagna sounded good. I was inspired by someone special to make this and also on a healthy note. Well as much as you can with Lasagna. Come on now..look at the cheese!!! This special person loves Lasagna very much and also is conscious of what they take in so I created a healthy twist as an inspiration for me to a path I'm on in enjoying food but being healthy conscious about it. Thank you..you know who you are. :)

Whole Wheat Lasagna

1 pkg. Whole Wheat organic Lasagna noodles (ready to bake..no boiling)
1.5 lbs. Jennio Turkey
1 Medium Onion, diced
1 tbsp Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground Oregano
1 1/2 tsp dried Basil
1/2 tsp Red Pepper flakes
Black Pepper and minimal Salt to taste
6 oz Tomato Paste
2 Large cans of Tomato Sauce

24 oz.Cottage Cheese, Non fat
3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 eggs

2 Zucchini's, thinly sliced

Mozzarella Cheese

1.Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray.

2. Cook ground turkey, once fully cooked add garlic and onions, saute a bit. Add basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Cook for another few minutes so all flavors mingle together.

3. Add tomato paste and tomato sauce, if too thick may add a little water. Stir everything well and bring to a light simmer for 5-10 minutes.

4. Mix cottage cheese, eggs, italian seasoning and parmesan cheese together set aside and assembly process starts.

5. 1/2 cup sauce spread on bottom of pan, layer lasagna noodles, this one I used 4 on each layer. Then spread about 1/3 cup of cottage cheese filling on top of noodle, then added sliced zucchini, then shredded mozzarella, more sauce and repeated layers with the mozzarella cheese layer being the last one on top.

6. Cover with foil and baked for 35 minutes. Removed foil and baked for an additional 15 uncovered. Let sit before cutting.

This was really good!! It doesn't need salt do to the sodium content in tomato sauce which you can opt to use without sodium. Lasagna is Lasagna. You can't go wrong as long as there is good balance between all characters and the sauce is perfect! :) Use your personal preference as to how much cheese. Mmmmmm...thanks to my Sunshine of a friend.


Feasting on Cuba

Tonight I had my Brother and my three nephews over for dinner. I created just one of favorite Cuban dishes. This is your typical staple meal in any Cuban home. It consists of...

White Rice
Stewed Cuban Black Beans
Bistec Frito with sauteed Onion
Sweet Fried Plantains
Tomato & Lettuce salad with Olive oil, Vinegar and Salt

I would love to give the recipe but, these are one of my killer dishes that I keep to myself until I can unveil.

I think having a Cuban restaurant, diner or cafe would rock and this will be one dish on there. Just like growing up, Sunday dinners at Abuela's house (Grandma). We would have a full spread. Just an overwhelming amount of food and it was incredible! I desire to retain every good memory I have with my Grandparents. In doing that I enjoy creating these dishes I grew up on and sharing them with everyone. I'm telling you, Cuban food..its the best out there! Hands down!


Maudine's Birthday Cup cakes

I am not a baker, but I have been making more cup cakes lately for friends and coworkers birthdays. Today is my coworker Maude's birthday and she loves chocolate and coconut. So here I made a devil's food cake. It was Duncan Hines and I helped! :) Frosting I made which recipe follows.... Although I am not a baker, I do enjoy decorating cup cakes. This looks so yummy and I haven't even had one!

Maude's Devil's Food with
Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting

Cupcakes: Followed directions to cake box

2 pkgs. Cream Cheese, softened
1 stick of salted butter, softened
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Coconut Extract

1. Whip cream cheese in mixer, add butter. When thoroughly blended add sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Give that a good whip and add extract. Whip it up another minute.

Frosting is not super sweet nor is there a overly coconut taste. I like balance. Nothing to over power the other characters. This frosting can frost up to a 9x13 cake pan. I tend to make extra in case you want thicker frosting or extra to yummy up on the side. This can also frost up to 20 cupcakes or more..haha or less, all depends how thick you frost them. I would let frosting sit in fridge covered or cup cakes.

Drained stemmed maraschino cherries and sprinkles finish this off. Looks like a sundae. It was truly enjoyed by everyone and I am thankful it made the birthday girls day. :) Happy Birthday Maude.....


Roasted Chicken & Cauliflower

I love Chicken! For its simplicity, comfort, lean qualities it holds and so versatile to take on any flavor. This was a simple oven roasted whole bird. Simply seasoned and roasted with the company of some Cauliflower Florette's. Chicken was moist and satisfying. The show stopper I have to say is the oven roasted Cauliflower. Dear goodness..why didn't we meet prior!

Roasted Chicken & Cauliflower

1 Whole Chicken 3-4 lbs
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Ground Black Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
Italian Seasonings
Ground Oregano
2 tsp. finely minced Garlic

First I split the chicken like this. Took back bone out. Gave the bird a wash under cold water. Then yes, I stood the chicken up and it danced for a bit. Kinda reminds me of Peter Gabriel video. Haha!

Then.....the magic begins..

1. Rub chicken skin side with olive oil. Then seasoned with the listed seasonings. No measurements except for the garlic. I seasoned underside also. You can get in between the skin and season as well. If I had more time I would have marinated or put in a brine prior but it was good just as is.

Say hello bird! You are about to roast and tan. Be thankful. I took you out of this winter ice cold. Just pretend you're on the beaches of Miami. Haha!

Bake @ 375 for about 2 hours. Typically they say 20 minutes per pound plus an extra 15 min added on. Should use a thermometer to make sure internal degree inner thigh is at 165 degrees. I like to cover with foil for the first half of cooking time then I remove. Once I take out of oven I cover back with foil where it continues to "carry over cooking". Let it set for 10 minutes covered before cutting so juices don't run out.

MMmmmm Yum!


1 head of Cauliflower (split into Florette's)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

1. I lined a cookie sheet pan with foil. Placed Cauliflower on sheet, even layer and drizzled with oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and drizzled tops with Balsamic Vinegar.

2. Baked at 400 for 30 minutes. The Vinegar will caramelize and parts of Cauliflower will get crunchy yet tender in the middle.

Dear Lord, thank you for letting me and this cauliflower cross paths. This is by far my most favorite alternative in having potatoes. I love me some good carbs..especially potatoes! This can easily take the place and I don't have the guilt. Much more healthier.

I would easily serve this also as a appetizer platter and a nice dip to go with it. I could have ate the whole head of Cauliflower. My goodness..I'm in LOOOOVE!