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Narrowing the field down to “Five Things I Love” was no easy feat! Yet I was thrilled at the chance of doing this and the fact that I had about a week’s notice to think through it. When it came down to the wire, I literally threw seven pieces of paper, each listing a local favorite, in a mixing bowl and just picked five for the Indy Star.  Then, I decided to post the other two here. So who are they, you ask?

  • Classic Cakes of Carmel – I am bound and determined to try every flavor of cake made in this bakery.  So far, I have tried: almond, chocolate chip, chocolate, mandarin orange, lemon, spice, and white.  My top pick is the almond cake with raspberry filling.
  • Kincaids Meat Market – I was thrilled to find this “old style” butcher a few years ago.  Their staff is very knowledgeable and their products top quality.  These guys carry the most flavorful beef ternderloins I have ever tried.

fivethingsilove2

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My laptop fell ill to what my techie-friend described as “one of the smartest viruses I have ever seen”. Luckily he outsmarted the virus, and I have a healthy laptop again.

Like half, or maybe more of the people out there, I have been working on lightening up some recipes. With that in mind, stay tuned for:

  • Two Pesto Shrimp over Whole Wheat Rigattoni – I am so excited about this one, as it is yet another way to use my homemade roasted red pepper pesto.
  • Panko Crusted Chicken Wrap – Since discovering Panko I have not gone back to traditional breadcrumbs. The breading for the chicken tenders in this wrap is just the right thickness and super crunchy, thanks to Panko.
  • Roated Pork Pita – I love love love Greek food. I was spoiled by having a Greek roommate in college which gave me first hand exposure to real Greek food. Her sister made the best tzatziki in the world, which is a key ingredient to this lightened up gyro.

happy-new-year

Here’s to a New Year that finds you in good health and brings happiness, joy and lots of good eats to you and your family!

Christmas morning plans around here will be very casual, as we will be glued to the scene that will be unfolding in the family room. It is our son’s first Christmas! The spread on the kitchen counter will consist of a hashbrown casserole that I still have to think up, and a full size version of the Pomegranate Orange Bundt Cake that I did last week, in miniature, during my baking extravaganza. I am sure I will also manage to bake scones, and this will all be washed out with mimosas.

Orange Pomegranate Cake

Orange Pomegranate Cake

Orange Pomegranate Bundt Cake
Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 teas baking soda
3/4 teas baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 stick of butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
2 eggs
1 teas almond extract
2 TB sour cream
pomegranate seeds

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour miniature bundt cake pan.
2. Mix together the flour, salt baking soda and baking powder.
3. Mix the butter and sugar until creamy, add the orange juice till well combined.
4. Add eggs, mixing one at a time. Then add the almond extract and sour cream.
5. Incorporate dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
6. Pour two tablespoons of batter in each mold, add about 10 pomegranate seeds on top of the batter, top with 1 1/2 to 2 additional tablespoons of batter.
6. Bake for 15 minutes.

I came across this article as I was about to log into one of my email accounts today:

http://food.yahoo.com/blog/yahoofreshpicks/2418/10-ways-to-judge-good-and-bad-coffee/

This got my attention for several reasons. First and foremost, my maternal grandparents grew coffee in mass quantities in the late 1920’s and 1930’s. I learned to appreciate good coffee at an early age, and for the longest time (while in college), I had coffee shipped up here from Puerto Rico, or simply brought up stashes of it every time I went home for a visit.

Buying coffee is almost like buying wine at our house. We find something new and intriguing and we must try it! These unique finds are saved for the weekend, where we can actually enjoy every sip of every cup; yes, multiple cups are enjoyed. So what might you find if you take a peek at the coffee shelf? Kirkland’s Costa Rican Blend for every day enjoyment. Lavazza, Espresso-Kafe (sold at Ikea), and Kona live on the weekend shelf, for now.

So where do you go for the perfect cup ? If I haven’t tried it yet, I promise I will… pinky swear!

More Cupcake

More Cupcake

Even on a cold day or night, a quick two block detour from Michigan Avenue shopping is well worth it for a taste of More. This upscale cupcake boutique is nestled on E Delaware Street, just a couple of blocks of The Mile.

My favorite? It has to be the salted caramel cupcake. Moist, filled with caramel, topped with the perfect amount of some of the best buttercream frosting I have ever tried.

These folks are getting mixed review across Chicago, but I gotta give them a thumbs up!

Hello and thank you for your comments!  Please note that I will be responding to the comments/question for a particular recipe in the comments area for that recipe.  I find this method to be beneficial to others who could have the same question about a particular recipe.

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