MANY moons ago at a funky little bistro in Silver Lake California I used to order their dessert tamales.  They were soft, silky and TOTALLY delectable full of pineapple and raisins.  At the time I was entering county fairs with my homemade jams and eating these tamales with a spoonful of jam drizzled over top was just pure HEAVEN, at least to me 😀

I CANNOT remember anything else on the menu, I can’t even remember the name of the bistro, but those tamales were worth the drive out of my way just to buy several to take home for later.

I’ve been working to recreate the recipe for years and I think I’ve come as close as I can!

PINEAPPLE RAISIN TAMALES yields 2 dozen tamales
40 corn husks
4 cups corn masa flour
2 sticks salted butter, melted
2 large cans DOLE crushed pineapple, drained (reserve juice)
1 cup of reserved pineapple juice (make yourself a cocktail with the rest) 😀
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups golden raisins
2 dozen marbles

  • SOAK corn husks for 1 hour before beginning.

  • SET UP large dutch oven.
  • Invert a pie tin into bottom of dutch oven.
  • Arrange marbles around the pie tin edge.
  • Fill with water JUST to cover.
  • Arrange a second pie tin right side up on top.
  • Layer several corn husks over top pie tin. Turn flame to low heat and cover while you prepare tamales.

  • Combine masa, butter, juice, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl until smooth.
  • Add pineapple and raisins, blending with gloved hands until well distributed.
  • Spoon about 1/2 cup of mixture in your corn husk into a 1×3 log shape.
  • Roll up tightly and tie ends with a piece of corn husk or string.
  • Place half of the tamales in the dutch oven and cover, steaming for 45 minutes.
  • Serve warm topped with blueberry sauce.

NOTE: They reheat easily in the microwave.


CHEESY SOUR CREAM CHICKEN adapted from A Dish of Daily Life
4 chicken breasts or 2 pounds chicken tenders
1 LARGE shallot, peeled, halved and sliced thin
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
4 slices Mozzarella or Provolone
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup Parmesan, freshly grated, divided
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground salt
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground pepper
chopped Italian Parsley, for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Over medium high heat, melt butter and avocado oil.
  • Add onions and 2 minced cloves of garlic.  Saute’ until golden and cooked through.
  • Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or avocado oil.
  • In a small mixing bowl whisk sour cream smooth.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, 2 minced cloves of garlic, garlic powder and cornstarch stirring to mix well.
  • Place sauteed onions in bottom of baking dish.
  • Lay chicken breasts over onions in baking dish in a single layer.
  • Top each with a slice of Provolone or Mozzarella  and smother the chicken with the sour cream mixture.
  • Top with 1/4 cup remaining Parmesan.
  • Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake 30 minutes more until chicken is cooked through and cheese is golden.
  • Serve chicken over pasta.
  • Top with chopped parsley for garnish.

NOTE: If using chicken tenders, slice Provolone or Mozzarella slices into smaller pieces to fit.  You can also use grated cheese.


3 pounds drumsticks
FRESH finely ground sea salt and black pepper
1/2 + 1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 + 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 cup coconut oil
1 stick butter
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons FRESH finely grated ginger
1/4 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons QUALITY honey
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon Sesame oil
1/3 cup AP flour
1/3+ cup Vodka
1/3 cup COLD water
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

  • Toss chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Whisk together the 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
  • Dredge chicken pieces in the cornstarch mixture, shaking off any excess.
  • Transfer chicken pieces to a rack and let sit uncovered for 30 minutes.


  • In a small sauce pan heat the avocado oil over medium high heat.
  • Add garlic and ginger, sauteeing 2-3 minutes until soft.
  • Add liquid aminos, brown sugar, molasses, honey, rice vinegar, sriracha, and sesame oil. Bring to a simmer for 6-8 minutes until it begins to thicken.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.


  • In a LARGE skillet (preferably cast iron) melt coconut oil and butter over medium high heat.
  • Whisk together the flour, 1/3 cup cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt.
  • Add the vodka and COLD water, whisking until smooth and thinned out to a milky consistency. If needed add vodka and cold water alternately 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Dip chicken pieces one at a time, allowing excess batter to drip off.
  • Add each piece to the HOT oil.
  • Fry the chicken until the coating is crisp on ALL sides, but not browned, about 10-15 minutes. Drain pieces on rack.
  • Double fry the chicken until browned and crisp. Drain a 2nd time on rack.
  • Brush with sauce, coating all sides.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds.


We had just enough snow to make a mess and slow things down.  It was a wet, cold snow – the kind that sticks to everything.  There was a 2 hour school delay and the roads are icy.

It is so pretty when it starts.

And then it ends up EVERYWHERE! I’m not sure what’s in the bird bath – guess we’ll have to wait for a thaw to find out.

It’s a good day for some homemade cream of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.  We have more ice/snow predicted for several more days over the next 10 days so I think I’m going to be a homebody and make soups, stews and jams. 😀


I have no excuse for NOT making this recipe sooner and hubby is really made that I didn’t.  This is one of those recipes that you could make each and EVERY week and NEVER get tired of!!

4 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1/3 + 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup (garnish) finely chopped walnuts
1/4-1/3 cup golden raisins

  • Separate eggs. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Lightly grease 15×10 jelly roll pan. Line with wax paper and grease the wax paper. Set aside.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and pinch of salt. Set aside.


  • Prepare the cream cheese filling. (SEE BELOW)
  • Spread filling in prepared pan. Set aside.


  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • In a small mixing bowl beat the egg yolks with the vanilla, beating about 5 minutes until thick and lemon colored.
  • Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar beating on high until sugar is completely dissolved.
  • With a spatula fold in banana and 1/2 cup nuts until well blended.
  • Thoroughly wash the beaters.


  • In a separate chilled clean bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
  • Gradually add the 1/2 cup sugar until STIFF peaks form.
  • Fold banana mixture into the egg whites GENTLY and JUST until combined.
  • GENTLY spoon batter over the filling in the pan and carefully spread evenly.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes or until cake springs back.
  • Immediately run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn cake out onto a cheesecloth sprinkled with powdered sugar.
  • Carefully peel off wax paper and discard.
  • Sprinkle with 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts and raisins.
  • Starting from the short side, roll cake into a spiral.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • Prepare icing.
  • Spread with cream cheese icing.
  • Sprinkle with finely chopped nuts.

8 + 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk

  • Combine softened cream cheese in mixing bowl with the sugar, beating until smooth.
  • Add egg and milk, beating until well blended.

3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk

  • Combine cream cheese, almond extract and vanilla extract, beating until light and fluffy.
  • Gradually beat in the powdered sugar.
  • Add in milk 1 tablespoon at a time to reach a spreadable consistency.

NOTEThis icing recipe makes enough to cover the ENTIRE roll thickly.  If you just want a drizzle, cut the icing recipe in half!


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 large shallot, halved and finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon
pinch ground ginger
1 large tub cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 rustic cut tomatoes in sauce
2 tablespoons Marsala wine
2 tablespoons QUALITY honey
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
chopped Italian parsley, garnish

  • Melt butter and oil over medium high heat in saute casserole.
  • Generously season chicken pieces with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Add chicken to casserole and sear 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Transfer chicken to platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
  • Add onions, garlic, cinnamon, ginger and grape tomatoes to casserole, sauteing until tomatoes begin to bubble.
  • Add Marsala wine and rustic cut tomatoes.
  • Lower the heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until tomato mixture resemble a thickened puree.
  • Add honey and blend well, simmering a couple minutes more.
  • Season to taste.
  • Add chicken pieces in, turning to coat.
  • Serve over prepared pasta.

NOTE: This recipe was originally written for bone in chicken. If you prefer bone in adjust the directions so that the simmer time on the sauce includes the chicken in the pan for 1 hour so chicken is cooked through.


Happy Monday and Happy February!  I’ve been having trouble sleeping or should I say staying asleep.  I get to sleep just fine, but then I’m WIDE awake just a few short hours later and can’t seem to get back to sleep which is leaving me sleepy and lethargic! So I’m up early today and hoping to get a bunch of things done before I’m out of energy again.

 OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE & WHAT I’M WEARING I’m certainly glad we’re not in Chicago or even in our old community in the Upper Peninsula this past week, but we are cold for here.  A little snow is predicted for today and tomorrow – nothing that will be really bad, but cold none-the-less and they just aren’t prepared for it here.  The last time they predicted it like this we had a bunch of snow that turned to ice and made traveling a PAIN in the butt.  Fortunately I do not have to go anywhere and am able to stay warm and toasty.  I have on comfy yoga pants, warm fuzzy socks and my favorite well worn sweatshirt.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE  Honey Nut Cheerios, banana and green tea


  • LAUNDRY… ALL caught up except for the towel folding
  • LIVING AREAS… need to dust and vacuum
  • KITCHEN… need to tidy up A LOT I made a mess making snack food for the Super Bowl and was too tired since I didn’t sleep the night before and had been up since 5AM on a Sunday
  • YARD… nothing
  • BLOG… I want/need to get back into some form of daily posting
  • CRAFTS/PROJECTS… working on some ideas to start an ETSY store with… not ready to show anything yet – will wait to see if what’s in my mind comes to fruition in reality
  • APPOINTMENTS… nothing much
  • TO DO… paperwork, VA follow up, makes some appointments…

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY  In addition to the Blessings Gratitude jar this year I’m also doing the 52 week deposit challenge in the same jar.  It really is amazing how fast it adds up!  I do it on Mondays so it coincides with this post that always has the week number in it and I don’t really have to even think about it that way.

SOMETHING INTERESTING I WATCHED I’d like to say the SuperBowl, but honestly it was boring and not even the commercials were up to par as in years past.  My favorite commercials were:

  • Christinia Applegate and M&Ms
  • Budweiser Dalmation Blowin’ In The Wind
  • Toyota Supra Pinball
  • Bud Light Corn Syrup deliveries
  • CBS “eyes”
  • Harrison Ford in Amazon’s Alexa “FAILS”
  • Charlie Sheen and Mr Peanut
  • Hobbs and Shaw movie trailer
  • The football awards just before half time

I’M READING Ava Miles The Patchwork Quilt of Happiness (Dare River Book 6)

WHAT IS ON THE DVR, I LIKE OR ON THE LIST TO WATCH not a darn thing except Worst Cook

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA I didn’t get anything this week

































FEATURED PARTY LINKS FOR THIS WEEK I’ve now eliminated 14 sites from my ‘WHERE I LIKE TO PARTY” list since the first of the year. I find it refreshing to be downsizing and eliminating those blogs from the list that are too multi-layered and problematic in their effort to be a money making platform instead of the fun blogging experience.  I find a lot of inspiring projects and recipes at these blog hops and I still do this for the fun of it – I really want to keep it that way 😀


Need a great recipe to take to the SUPER BOWL party? Love buffalo wings? If you do, you’ll love these! Wings have been ANY sports favorite for as long as I can remember. I’ve made pounds and pounds of chicken wings and even made Buffalo Chicken Dip many a time, but was ecstatic when I ran across a recipe for the same flavors in a wrap cut into pinwheels by Brandie over at HOME COOKING MEMORIES. This is the perfect and delicious party food with all the flavors of buffalo wings plus the blue cheese, but without sticky fingers. Personally, I don’t care for Bleu cheese so I substitute Gorgonzola. I also use rotisserie chicken which adds a a little extra flavor and I decreased the hot size just slightly.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/3 cup Frank’s original hot sauce
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 cup Colby-Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup green onions, finely minced
1 pound FINELY CHOPPED rotisserie chicken pieces
5 large 10 inch flour tortillas

  • In a bowl, beat cream cheese on low.
  • Add in hot sauce, Gorgonzola and Colby-Jack cheeses.
  • Add green onions, mixing until blended.
  • Fold in shredded chicken into mixture by hand.
  • Spread approximately 3/4 cup of mixture on top of one of the tortillas. Roll up tortilla TIGHTLY.
  • Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  • Place rolled tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
  • Remove from refrigerator and unwrap.
  • Slice each rolled tortillas in half and then each half into 3 slices, discarding ends.
  • Place pinwheel slices on serving plate or tray.


  • IF using different sized tortillas, adjust amount of buffalo chicken mixture you add to each tortilla.
  • BEST results happen after chilling the rolled tortillas before slicing,



1 cup all purpose flour + 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon for dusting
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Stevia in the raw
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup frozen small wild blueberries DO NOT THAW

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Grease and flour dust 13×9 baking dish. Set aside.
  • Sift together 1 cup flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In a larger mixing bowl cream the butter with an electric mixer.
  • Add Stevia and brown sugar, beating until fluffy.
  • Add eggs 1 at a time beating JUST until blended in.
  • Reduce mixer speed. Add flour mixture and milk alternately until well blended.
  • GENTLY toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour.
  • Fold blueberries GENTLY into batter.
  • GENTLY spread batter into prepared baking dish.

2/3 cup frozen small wild blueberries DO NOT THAW
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Whisk together the sugar and cinnamon.
  • Toss blueberries in the sugar mixture.
  • Scatter blueberries and sugar evenly on top of batter.


  • Bake cake 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool cake in pan 10-15 minutes before cutting.

NOTE: You can use FRESH berries.  But, if using FROZEN berries DO NOT THAW!!  Thawing the berries makes them too watery and will turn your batter blue.


This recipe is for recipe experiment night.  I was looking for a tasty alternative that I could also use as leftovers for my lunches.  I am happy to report that it was a success!
6 ounces penne pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
8 ounces button mushrooms, 1/4 inch slices
1 large shallot, halved and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Better than Chicken bouillon
4 ounces heavy cream
2 tablespoons Marsala Wine
3-4 FRESH thyme sprigs
3/4 cup seasoned croutons, crushed
4 ounces shredded Mozzarella

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Prepare pasta al dente.
  • Drain pasta WELL and set aside.
  • In a large skillet melt butter and avocado oil.
  • Add mushrooms, onions and garlic. Season with FRESH ground salt and pepper, stirring and cooking 10-12 minutes until caramelized and deep brown.
  • Whisk together the Marsala wine, cream, two-thirds of the thyme, and the bouillon base.  Add to the mushroom mixture stirring and blending together until heated through.
  • Fold in the pasta and then half the cheese.
  • Spread into prepared baking dish.
  • Top with remaining cheese and crushed croutons.
  • Bake 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.
  • Top with remaining thyme.

NOTE: Penne pasta works best, but any other similar sized pasta would work well too.


6 -8 boneless pork chops
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 small red onion (I use the purple because it gives it more flavor), halved and thinly sliced
1 can Campbell’s cream of sweet corn soup
1 small can green enchilada sauce
1 small can chopped green chiles, DRAINED WELL
1 can shopper corn, DRAINED WELL
4 ounces sour cream
1 package Laura Scudder’s green onion dip mix
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 large white potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
sliced mini peppers

  • Generously season pork chops with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Melt butter and avocado oil in skillet over medium high heat.
  • Sear your pork chops in a skillet.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Whisk together the soup, sour cream and enchilada sauce.
  • Fold in the corn and green chilies.
  • Spread half the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Top with the potatoes slices.
  • Top with a thin layer of the sauce.
  • Place browned pork chops in the baking dish in a single layer on top.
  • Top with the sliced onions.
  • Pour remaining sauce over the top and spread even.
  • Top with sliced mini peppers.
  • Bake in the oven for about 60 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Serve hot.


CHICKEN MARINADES adapted from ala Gimme Some Oven

These easy chicken marinade recipes are VERY simple to make, freezer-friendly as well as dependable and delicious too!  AND they are perfect for ANY cooking method whether it’s baking, slow cooking or grilling.

Teriyaki Marinade:
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons peanut oil (or avocado oil)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until combined.

Enchilada Marinade:
3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons enchilada seasoning (see below)
2 tablespoons avocado oil (or avocado oil)

  • Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until combined.

Enchilada Seasoning
1/2 cup chili powder or chipotle (not cayenne)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until combined.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 1 year.

Honey Mustard Marinade
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup avocado oil

  • Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until combined.

NOTE: Cooking times will vary depending on the cut of chicken that you use.  Be sure and test your chicken temperature to be sure that it reaches a safe 165°.

These are basic recommendations for 8-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts.


  • Heat oven to 425°.
  • Place chicken on a baking sheet or in a baking dish.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, flip the chicken and bake another 8-10 minutes until it is cooked through (165°) and the juices run clear.
  • Remove from the oven, and loosely tent with aluminum foil.
  • Let the chicken rest for at least 5-10 minutes and serve warm.


  • Heat grill to medium-high.
  • Oil chicken breasts.
  • Grill for 10 minutes, flip the chicken and grill another 8-10 minutes, until it is cooked through (165°) and the juices run clear.
  • Transfer the chicken to a plate, and loosely cover with aluminum foil, letting the chicken rest for at least 5-10 minutes and serve warm.


  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add chicken breast and cook for 5-6 minutes, flip and cook another 5-6 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (165°) and the juices run clear.
  • Transfer the chicken to a plate, and loosely cover with aluminum foil.
  • Let the chicken rest for at least 5-10 minutes and serve warm.


  • Add chicken and marinade to the bowl of a slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low, until the chicken is cooked through (165°).
  • Serve warm.