ground turkey taco meat

Andy made this turkey taco meat last week (above – the two pics on the right) and several times last fall.  It’s versatile and easy and oh so good.  I made it last week for me and Rob – and it was good!  I had it in iceberg lettuce and a salad the next day. 

 The taco meat also tastes great on top of rice, in a taco salad bowl, as a topping on baked potato, as well as for tacos.  Any which way you can add guacamole, salsa, chopped cucumbers, chopped pineapple, red peppers, sour cream or greek yogurt…and more!  

He and I often add veggies to the dish – we might cook them separately and double the spices and liquid – mushrooms are great in there – or a bunch of frozen peas at the end.  Andy is partial to carrots as you can see.

This recipe calls for 2 pounds of meat but Andy usually doubles it while at school so he has a ton of leftovers.  When everyone was home I made 5 pounds.  It lasted 2.5 days!  Oh, and you can sub ground chicken or beef.  

Enjoy – 

Serves: a lot

Prep time: 10 m

Cook time: when it's done! But about 20 m



  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less depending on your taste)


  • 2 pounds ground turkey meat
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • serve with chopped cucumbers, guacamole, salsa, greek yogurt (or sour cream) and chopped pineapple for some excitement.  


Mix all the spices together and set aside.

  • Cook the meat in a large skillet – use a little oil (2 teaspoons) if you are using a stainless pan. No oil necessary if you are using a non stick pan.
  • Cook turkey in a large skillet over medium heat – stirring to break up clumps. When the turkey is cooked (no more pink spots), stir in the spice mix and water. Reduce the heat and simmer stirring here and there until most of the liquid has been absorbed – maybe 10 minutes.
  • Stir in cider vinegar and brown sugar – simmer to let the flavors merge –
    If using beef then you may want to strain the beef of fat before you add the spices.
  • serve with guacamole 

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

Gluten Free pancakesMade gluten free pancakes and didn’t tell Andy.  He had one and said “This is awful, are they gluten free?”  So I researched and made them again. This time success for Andy, Sylvie, Rob and me.  Made them the next couple of days…then decided to try a different recipe for fun.  Andy complained – “Why are you trying again??  We like the other one.  Stop.  No more!”  So I’m sticking with these and everyone is happy.  Even Andy who is not on a gluten-free diet.

I found the recipe from Taste of Home.

I add diced bananas and add extra mini chips.  I also reduce the sugar by half because well, the chips and banana make up for it.


Chocolate Dipped Fresh Fruit

Chocolate Dipped Fruit

I’ve dipped a multitude of goodies in chocolate.  My favorite is fresh fruit.  Not just strawberries, but blueberries and raspberries and especially pomegranates.  I might be alone here since whenever I make them I seem to be the only one standing over that platter insisting that “you need to try these!!”   That feeling of the pomegranates popping while the chocolate snaps and then melts, well, it is a symphony in my mouth.

Eat these the day you make them and place in the refrigerator until you serve.  They are mediocre the next day as the fruit begins to break down and gets a little funky.IMG_0286

Read here to remind you about tempering chocolate.  And here about other valentine treats.

lemon bliss cake

I realize that this photo is terrible and I’m sorry about that.  The cake looks messy and dry, but it is not!!  And all those crumbs were sooooo good.

I use the words yum and yummy a lot.  Delicious and scrumptious.  I try to look up some thoughtful and eloquent synonyms but I can’t help but keep coming back to my original favorites.  So this cake – yeah it is yummy, delicious and scrumptious.  In addition it is perky and tasty.  How can a cake be perky?  I don’t know but it just is.  This was a hit a few weeks ago at a friends dinner party.  Everyone oood and aaahd at is tart goodness.  After baking, you coat the cake with a lemon syrup that gets absorbed and once soaked through and cool, you glaze.  Anything with syrup and glaze speaks moist and delightful.

Found this as I was looking through the King Arthur Flour catalog for some ingredients.   The cake was featured at the top and said “Our 2017 Recipe of the Year is a lovely golden lemon cake, extra-moist and nicely tangy due to its fresh lemon juice glaze. Baking this cake in a Bundt pan turns it from everyday to special-occasion, perfect for everything from birthday parties to an elegant dinner. Our thanks to Maida Heatter, grande dame of delicious desserts, for the inspiration behind this recipe.”

So I had to make it.

I followed the recipe which you can find here.  Oh, and there is a video too!



banana bread (gluten-free and DELICIOUS)

This banana bread is really very good.  Seriously good.  For real.  Andy was home from school today, studying in his room and started texting me…What are you making! Smells so good!  I informed him that I made the banana bread again, but in muffin form.  Down he came and quickly gobbled up two and oh, BTW, he isn’t even gluten-free (and is a harsh critic).  You will not miss the gluten in this recipe.  Full of banana flavor, a delicious rich tasting crumb – and some extra chocolate chips, well, good good good!  Found myself muttering the good, good good as I tasted and sampled over and over again.

This recipe is from the book Purely Elizabeth and I just LOVE it.  I really do.  Elizabeth promised that you wouldn’t miss your old banana bread, and she is correct.  You do need to get a few special items from your grocery store or from Amazon.  If you are gluten free, I assume you have most of this in the house.  And even if you are not – I urge you to try.

Also – the first time I made this I baked in a loaf pan and it was really delicious – but I felt I needed more control on how cooked the middle was and so tried in muffin tins.  I liked both.  Next time though, I think I would pour most of the batter into the loaf pan, but hold a little back and bake the remaining in a mini loaf tin or make a few muffin shapes on the side.  Cooking time will be affected with all of the different shapes.

Oh, you want to wait for your bananas to be overripe – with dark spots on the skin.

banana bread (from Purely Elizabeth by Elizabeth Stein):

cinnamon sugar (2 T of coconut sugar for every 1 tsp of cinnamon)
1 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 very ripe bananas
1/3 cup coconut oil (just melt this if in solid form)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup walnuts (I didn’t add because my family doesn’t love)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I added a cup!  I did, but do what you want)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Use and oil spray or coconut oil to grease the loaf pan.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar to coat the bottom and sides and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the coconut sugar, almond flour, millet flour, brown rice flour, cinnamon, and baking soda.  In a separate bowl (or in electric mixer) beat together the bananas, oil, eggs and vanilla until smooth.

Pour the wet into the dry (or if using your mixer you can put the dry into the wet) and stir until combined.  Add the chocolate and walnuts (if using).  Pour into pans – loaf, muffin, mini…and bake until done.  If you put all the batter into a loaf pan, Elizabeth says 45-50 minutes.  If you make the loaf pan less full as I mentioned above, baking time will be lower.  And muffin tins, much lower.  You want the top to spring back gently when touched.

Yum.  Enjoy –



pecan pie

Delicious.  Scrumptious.  Rich.  Nutty (obviously!)  Tasty.  I’m not a pecan pie expert and this is the first and only one I’ve made, but I think it is the best one!  Made this for a birthday celebration and it was loved by all.  Especially me! This is from smitten kitchen and Deb Perelman (the writer, cook and photographer) explained the greatness of this particular pecan pie in her blog.   I didn’t add the chocolate layer option because the birthday girl is more of a nut or vanilla fan.  But I imagine that would be very good.  Also, I didn’t have the booze in the house but I will next time.   I’m not re-writing the recipe because Deb wrote it out with terrific instructions.  I will just repeat to not overbake this.  I did a little.  I did.  It was still good, but you can do better.

You will need Lyle’s Golden Syrup which you can probably find at your grocery store but if not you can find it here.  And vanilla ice cream for sure.

pecan pie from smittenkitchen

triple chocolate banana bread

Wowee.  This is delicious.  Rich in flavor and color and texture – you can’t  miss this one. I mean it.  Best chocolate banana bread ever.  As mentioned in the post from Liv for Cake (below) you can certainly skip the chips and ganache for a less chocolatey experience.  And/or add walnuts to cut some of the richness and sweetness.  But we loved as is.  These days when I bake the sweet often sits on our counter and eventually looks sad and dry (after several days of being ignored).  This dessert never had a chance to sit and kids argued over who got the last piece.  Yum.  I plan to make again this week.

I used half the ganache in the recipe fyi – but saved the rest and will use tomorrow when I make this again.

Here is the recipe...chocolate banana bread.

I followed almost exactly – but used natural Valrhona cocoa powder.  Oh, I also doubled the recipe but baked one cake in a larger loaf pan than in the recipe.   I find I don’t have to bake as long and I have more control with the overall moistness of the cake.  Muffin/cupcake shape would be great as well.  You can follow my lead or follow the recipe.  Also, remember to read my baking tips (esp measuring flour!) before you bake.

Fruit Galettes

Yum – summertime fun and goodness all wrapped up in dough.  These galettes or rustic tarts are extremely easy to make and just delightful on the tongue.  I like them warm out of the oven but even more cold the next day (weird I know).  Made these for a IMG_9494dinner party and they were a hit.  Freshly whipped cream a top apricot and cherry – well, good stuff.  Berry galette too.  I didn’t change anything from Melissa Clarks recipes – and even though I know how to make these, I watched her video and it was terrific. You cannot go wrong!

banana cake and roll

I loved this.  I really loved it.  I gave it all away…and the scraps that I saved sat in my fridge because my family is really weird about “filling”.  But just trust me here.  This is a fun dessert to serve and make.  The light sour cream flavored filling is the perfect compliment to the sweetness of the tender, moist banana cake.  I loved it.  I said that.  But I do.  Then I put it in my vanilla ice cream and had a party.

I doubled the recipe btw – and made two rolls.  Might as well!  Also if you double the recipe – and you don’t want to make a roll, bake the (doubled) recipe in a 9×13 cake pan.  Or, make two 8 inch rounds and turn into a layer cake.  Again – you need to double the recipe to do that.

If for some reason your cake falls apart – then just make it into a trifle and then you can also add some freshly sliced bananas.

banana roll (from Flo Braker’s The Simple Art of Perfect Baking):

banana sheet cake
1 cup (100 g) sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, room temp
1/2 cup (1 large) mashed ripe banana
1 table spoon sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon zest
5 1/2 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar

3/4 cup (6 ounces) heavy cream
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons powdered sugar (for top)
1 tablespoon sugar (to use on the sheet cake as you roll…you will see in the recipe)

Preheat oven to 375 and position rack in lower third of the oven.  Line the sheet pan (12-x-15x-1/2inch) with a non stick tray.  Place foil down on top and leave a 2 inch overhang on both short ends of the pan.  Lightly grease the foil too – with spray.

If you are making an 8 inch round, then grease that – and if a 9×13 pan (doubled recipe) then grease that!

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Crack the egg in a small bowl and gently break it up with a fork.

Mix together the mashed banana, sour cream and lemon zest.

Place the butter in the mixer with paddle attachment and beaton medium speed for a minute or so.  Add the sugar in a steady stream and continue to beat until light and fluffy about 4-5 minutes.

Add the egg now…slowly – and continue to cream another 2 minutes – scraping down the bowl at some point.

Remove from mixer and gently fold in half of the flour mixture, follow with the banana mixture and then finish with the remaining flour.

(If you are not making the roll, but making the 9×13 or 8 inch rounds, pour into those pans.  You can bake these at 350 instead of 375 as instructed for the thin roll.)

Scoop the thick batter onto 5 different areas of the sheet pan.  Then spread the batter so that it covers the entire pan.  It won’t seem like you have enough – but you do – spread as evenly as you can.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cake is a light golden brown and the sides are beginning to contract from the metal.

Remove cake from oven, and gently run a sharp knife around the any portion of the cake that is sticking to the long sides of the pan.

Pull up on the foil overhangs to gently and carefully lift the cake (with foil) onto a cooling rack.  Cover loosely with foil to keep moisture in, but also to help prevent sticking.

Cool for 30 minutes.  Then proceed below with filling as instructed below.

Combine the filling ingredients and whip with whisk until whipped.  Sounds silly.  Do not over whip.  The cream should appear soft, shiny and smooth.  It will coat the cake layer, sticking to it and staying in place when rolled.

Ok – nowIMG_9174, sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar over the cake.  Then place two sheets of foil lengthwise on top of the sugared cake, one overlapping the other: then place a second sheet pan on top of the foil.

Invert the cake on it, and carefully peel the baking foil from the cake and try to aIMG_9175void tearing the thin layer.

 Spread the filling all over the cake – leaving a 1 inch border of cake uncovered.  Then , with the aid of the foil roll the cake lengthwise until you reach the other end.  Use your hands to wrap and form a pretty round roll.

Cut each end on the diagonal for eye appeal.  Sprinkle the top with confectioners sugar and with a wide spatula or two – place onto a serving plate.  Yum.

IMG_9177I forgot to take a photo of my finished cake.  Ugh.  Next time!

andy’s favorite vanilla cake (of the three…)

Ok, so nice response from all you vanilla fans out there.  I too happen to love vanilla – and as I get older I think I enjoy it even more than chocolate.  Strange.  You go from loving certain things as a child, and it all changes so much as we age.  I now like gorgonzola, olives, pistachios and port.  Who knew such changes were to come.  Anyway, back to vanilla.  So Andy liked this cake.  It is very moist.  Very flavorful.  Now that I think about it, it was Greg’s favorite too.  Came home for break for a minute (or so it felt) and agreed with Andy.  I made a simple glaze with IMG_8943confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla and a dash of kosher salt and it was perfect.

As suggested before, please weigh your flour.  Try it.  So many write in saying their cakes are dry – this is probably why.  Just check it out here.

I got this recipe from Joy The Baker.  She has a great blog and book now (I think) and her write up is perfect and I made no changes.  She frosted hers with chocolate buttercream – so try that too if you like.

everybody’s birthday cake:

Joy The Baker