Traveling Around the World

Not really, but close! Today and this weekend I will not have regular posts as I will be at the Wine and Food Festival in EPCOT at Disney World. This will be our (hubby and me) 9th year in a row. This year we are bringing my cousin Linda with us. (She is the one who is not so fond of Sluggo.) She is in for a treat! Yes Disney is expensive, yes they charge for EVERYTHING, and yes we will spend some money. BUT, we love going anyway and the food festival is just incredible. We drink wine, beer, champagne, sake, from all over the world and taste food that we might never ever get a chance to experience in person. Being so close to Disney is also a plus. We are only a little over 2 hours away by car. Plus Florida residents get all kinds of discounts on the park tickets. We have a seasonal pass and we can go into as many parks as we want every single day! All 4 in one day, if we wanted to! We won’t. Sticking to EPCOT this trip. So the pics I’m going to post now are from past trips. The new ones will be posted once I get home. Sluggo will also be joining us and we’ll get lots of photos of him enjoying the food and wine! (And Linda if she doesn’t notice me taking her picture as well!)

Happy Halloween to everyone also!


Chocolate Melting Cake

This recipe is compliments of Carnival Cruise Lines. My favorite!!! This is the number one ultimate dessert onboard all the ships. My husband usually has it every night! I think they said they serve over 1000 a day! Watching the video it doesn’t seem too hard to make either. I think one day soon I am going to get the ingredients and try it! This video is done by the wonderful John Heald. He is the ultimate cruise director. On the 7 Carnival cruises I’ve taken I have yet to get him. I will one day though. He is very funny. The ship he is on right now is the Carnival Splendor doing the cruises along the Pacific coast of the US. So sit back and relax and watch the video.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

As promised here is my recipe for making your own pumpkin pie spice at home. It’s so much cheaper than buying the pre-made stuff in the stores too and at least you will know what is in it! I’ve been making quite a bit of my own seasoning mixes these days. Anyway I can save a little money is a good thing! This recipe will make almost ½ a cup. There are many versions of this recipe around but I found this combination to work well. Some call for ground mace also. Which is actually part of the nutmeg seed before you get to the nutmeg. Some call for sugar. If there is a spice you want to add to it go ahead, experiment!

INGREDIENTS:

¼ cup cinnamon

cinnamon

2 tablespoons ground ginger

ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cloves

ground cloves

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients and store in a tightly closed container. Keep in a dark, cool place with the rest of your spices!

Guacamole Kicked Up a Notch

Yes I know I’ve already done guacamole. But I had three very ripe avocados in the fridge that I thought were history. I figured I’d better check them out before I tossed them. I cut them open and surprise! They were still ok! A few little blemishes here and there but otherwise fine and dandy! So I made guacamole. But as I was making it I had the idea to make it a little different. I looked around in the fridge and came across two ingredients I would never have thought to put in guacamole. Fat-free plain Greek yogurt and gorgonzola cheese! Weird? Not so much! I had about ½ cup of yogurt so I put it in my little food chopper and added a large handful of crumbled gorgonzola cheese. It was about 1/3 cup or so. I processed it till it was pretty creamy and added it to the guacamole. The color of the guacamole got a little lighter but I tasted it and it was good! I let it sit for a few more hours and it was even better! Who would have thought! We will be eating it for the next few days on everything! There is quite a lot of it. The guacamole recipe is from my recipe that I posted back in June. Just click on the link to get the recipe and just add the yogurt and gorgonzola cheese and you are set! I am sure it would probably be good with blue cheese as well!

So as you can see today’s post does not have an exact recipe. Just click on over to my other one for the rest.

Pumpkin Pie Cream Cheese

I found the original version of this recipe on the blog Budget Bytes. Beth has a great site and everyone should check it out. I made this recipe to bring to a pig roast this weekend and it was a huge hit! Everyone was raving about it. I served it with cinnamon raisin bagel chips. The only thing that went wrong is that I forgot to take a picture! I can’t believe it. When I remembered about the picture the cream cheese was all gone. I will be making it again this week once I get more cream cheese so I will remember to take a picture then!** Promise! I got several requests for the recipe also so it was a definite huge hit! Thanks Beth! I also doubled the recipe and used light cream cheese and the Splenda brown sugar blend. I also used my own pumpkin pie spice rather than a store-bought one. This way I know exactly what is in it.

Pumpkin Pie Cream Cheese Ingredients

** New photos added!!

INGREDIENTS:

8 ounces light cream cheese

½ cup canned pumpkin

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

DIRECTIONS:

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or using a hand mixer. Make sure all the cream cheese is blended well! Chill and serve!


Sluggo Celebrates Octoberfest and Halloween!

Who is Sluggo? Well, most of my friends and family know all about Sluggo. He’s a legend. Most people love him but there is a few who would rather he wasn’t around. Ok, it’s just one person that I know of who rolls her eyes when Sluggo is around. No names will be mentioned. She knows who she is! But I think we’re wearing her down! Secretly she loves Sluggo too! Sluggo goes everywhere with us. He goes skiing, he’s been on many cruises, he’s been all over the country with us and even went on a couple of trips with friends! He even got to go to Hawaii! My nieces and nephews love him too! They used to always ask if I brought “the little blue man” when I visited them. Like I said, he gets around.

For those of you who are saying, Sluggo? Sounds familiar. If you are a fan of the older episodes of Saturday Night Live you will know him. He is Mr. Bill’s nemesis. Oh no!!!!! Sometimes I do forget to bring him places. I know, it happens. I am going to try and remember to bring him this weekend to a pig roast we are going to. One of his favorite places to go to is EPCOT for the wine and food festival. We are going next weekend so I’ll have more pics.

Sluggo in Germany at EPCOT

He really likes beer too!

We even took him to a Halloween party a few years ago.

BOO!

He’s even been to Hooters!! (That’s another story for another day though!)

John and Sluggo with the Hooters girls!

Like I said, he’s been all over! Next up for him is cooking! He has the drinking part down pretty good so now maybe I can teach him to cook.

So now you have all met Sluggo. Yes we are little nuts in this house. But it’s fun!

Today’s post is usually a cocktail recipe but for today we are just going to go with one of Sluggo’s favorite seasonal beers. Or should I say two? He can’t decide today. Should he have the Sam Adams Octoberfest? Or my favorite, Shipyard Brewery’s Pumpkinhead Ale? I say the Pumpkinhead! Tastes just like a piece of pumpkin pie! So yummy!!

Decisions! Decisions!

I wish all my decisions were this tough! So enjoy your weekend everyone and I hope you all enjoyed meeting Sluggo! He will be back!

Devilish Oven Fried Chicken w/Green Beans

I swore I would do the blog in the morning, so that when 7pm rolled around I wasn’t scrambling to get dinner ready and writing my blog at the same time. But here I am at 7:15pm writing the blog. I get so swamped in the morning. Between getting up with my husband at 7am, make his lunch & breakfast for him to take to work, feed the cats, clean the litter boxes, take the garbage out for pickup, do two more loads of laundry, check my email, eBay and whatnot…Oh and I wanted to do my daily walk as well at around 10am. HA! It was noon by the time I did that. So once the morning was gone the thought of writing the blog was too. I spent the afternoon job hunting as usual. No luck. So here I am now writing about a yummy dish I made last night. The original version of this recipe is from Rachael Ray (my fave!) and I changed it to suit what I had in the house. It originally called for 4 chicken legs w/thighs. I had 5 chicken thighs. The recipe also called for removal of the skin! I know! I left it on. That is pretty much it on what I changed. Though next time I am adding more hot sauce. Recipe only called for 1 tablespoon, not enough. I would add about ¼ cup next time. I served it with a side of green beans. The beans were the frozen kind in a ‘steamer’ bag. I was steaming them for about 5 minutes in the microwave till I heard the bag pop! No, it’s not supposed to do that! So I took them out of the microwave. In the meantime I had sautéed a shallot and 3 cloves of garlic in a little olive oil. I drained and dumped the beans into a microwave container and added the shallots and garlic. Then I added about 4 ounces of crumbled light feta cheese. Then I put it all back in the microwave for another minute or so. By then the chicken was done! Whew! So without anymore babbling here is the chicken recipe!

Green beans with shallots, garlic and feta cheese!

Chicken thigh with the delish green beans!

INGREDIENTS:

¼ cup Dijon mustard

¼ cup reduced-fat plain greek yogurt

¼ cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce)

4 large whole chicken legs separated from thighs (I used 5 thighs)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

4 teaspoons italian seasoning (only if you don’t have seasoned bread crumbs)

salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, yogurt and hot sauce. Add the chicken, turning to coat and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. If you aren’t ready to cook right away cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

2. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

3. In another large bowl, toss together the panko bread crumbs and Italian seasoning. Skip this if you have seasoned panko. Add 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper to crumbs. Working with 1 chicken piece at a time, coat in the panko mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 40 minutes.

Chicken all dressed up for the oven!