Saturday, October 1, 2016

Ricotta Gnocchi

It's been a long time since my last post. This post is to pay homage to my mother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. My family and I have been so distraught by her diagnosis. Realistically speaking, while trying to help my mother as primary caregiver and caring for my youngest son who I have mentioned in the past has health challenges of his own, the last thing on my mind was updating my blog.

Alzheimer's is a devastating disease on both the person who is diagnosed as well the families and caregivers. The experts say that emotionally with this disease you grieve twice, but I have found that you can grieve regularly and when you least expect it. To all of you who have ever participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer's, I thank you.

This time of year brings back memories of my mom's garden tomatoes. She would have an abundant supply and needed to come up with creative ideas to use them up. Yesterday when I was harvesting tomatoes, inhaling the wonderfully fragrant tomato plant, I waxed nostalgic thinking of her. The aroma in the air also reminded me of her daddy (my grandfather Papa) who first introduced me to the smell of tomato plants and fresh basil in his garden on his farm.

As I grew up and had my own children, they would spend time with my mother, enjoying her home cooked Italian meals. One of their favorites was gnocchi. Mom taught my oldest son how to roll the little pieces of pasta dough off the back of a fork until each little piece had grooves to give them a good texture and to hold onto tomato sauce. He was very dedicated to help out his grandma because rolling out gnocchi is very time consuming.

When making up a batch of gnocchi, mom would add a little of this and a little of that and it would always turn out perfect. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a written version of her recipe, so I thought I'd share the delicious gnocchi recipe I tried out from Shelbi at

I didn't have any garlic powder, so I omitted it. I also didn't have all-purpose flour in my pantry so I had to substitute it with bread flour. It needed more like 2 1/2 to 3 cups of flour instead of the 2 cups mentioned in the recipe, perhaps because I used Trader Joe's ricotta which is more creamy and smooth than the regular grocery store brand. Helpful hint--don't forget to drain the ricotta. I feel it is key. It makes for a very light and fluffy gnocchi.

Serve them with tomato sauce or perhaps try something a little different, like a brown butter sauce. I made a simple one using Kerrygold butter and grated Locatelli Romano cheese. You could even swap out traditional fresh sage leaves with fresh basil leaves.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Adventures of Puddin'head Jones: My Sixth Cents

Check out my short fiction story, The Adventures of Puddin'head Jones: My Sixth Cents
Will Puddin'head Jones use her wit to overcome her fears when she is face to face with her enemy? Join her and see what culinary adventures she cooks up to win the battle of a lifetime.

Buy the ebook here:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Still Here

Hey everyone! I apologize for not keeping up with the blog. Hope everyone is enjoying their summer or whatever season it is where you are. 

Things have been a wee bit on the crazy side here. My son has been having a few health issues... but thank God he's doing better now. Thought I'd check in and see how you guys are and post a few pictures of what I've been up to since my last entry around Easter. Enjoy!

Baked Penne
Tomato and Olive Bruschetta
Blueberry Muffins

Pancetta, Kale, and Pan-Fried Potatoes

Sautéed Chicken with Carrots and Onions

Ree Drummond's Homemade Flour Tortillas

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Sandies

Mexican Breakfast Bites with Ree's Flour Tortillas

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Sandies Over Ice Cream

Semi-sweet Chocolate Bread Pudding

Nigella's Chocolate Mousse with Peanut Butter Sandies Crust

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Easter Ham

Hawaiian Pizza

Teenage Mutant Ninja Dough - a happy accident!

Two great tastes that taste great together (ahh... childhood flavor memory -- yes, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups as well!).

Morning Latte

Peanut Butter and Grape Jam - ha ha ha! 

St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef Casserole

Mini Pizzas

Mini Pizzas

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Milk

Ham and Cheese with Baby Spinach and Trader Joe's Corn Chips  - hee!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Ideas for a lovely Easter brunch


Home Fries

Bacon, Home Fries, and Biscuit

Waffles (I use a VillaWare waffle iron.)

Waffles and Syrup

Strawberry Shortcake

Chocolate Wafer Dessert

Thursday, March 13, 2014

New Oven!

Happy, happy, joy, joy! 

My old Hamilton Beach Countertop Oven was in pretty bad shape. I used to have to use a flashlight to see inside and at times do the forbidden... open the oven to take a peek. Actually, the oven itself still worked (after 5 plus years). It was the cord that was about to go. The plug area was corroded and I was beginning to feel like it was a hazard. So, out it went! 

Goodbye oven, you served me well! 

The other day I was very fortunate to find a newer version of the same brand of countertop oven for only $40... such a deal! It was the last one on the shelf and perhaps that was why it was so cheap. Yippee! 

So without hesitation, I immediately fired it up and experimented by baking up a batch of these light and fluffy breakfast goodies. 

Note: If you happen to purchase a Hamilton Beach Countertop Oven, too, it's a good idea to make sure to run it at the highest temperature for one hour. It's also a good idea to have the windows open and have a fan on as well. The factory sealant will burn off and your creations won't be ruined. After that initial procedure, you're ready for culinary paradise. 

Breakfast Blondies

2 cups 365 brand High Fiber Morning O's (or your favorite bran cereal)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Extra Light Olive Oil (I use Philipo Berrio) 
1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup peanut butter (or switch out with your favorite nut butter)
1 tsp salt, 
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/3 cups A.P. flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a food processor or blender, whiz cereal until it resembles coarse flour. Pour into large mixing bowl. Add buttermilk. Let soak for 15 minutes. Add olive oil, light brown sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, and peanut butter. Mix well.

Add in salt, baking soda and flour, chocolate chips. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in all ingredients just until flour is absorbed. Batter will be thick. Do not over mix. 

Pour into baking pan lined with parchment paper (it forms a sling for easier removal  after cooking).
Spread and smooth out with an offset spatula. Trim parchment if it is too high around edges. 

Bake for 40 minutes or until light golden brown. Try not to over bake. 

Cool 10 minutes and then carefully lift up parchment paper and slide onto cooling rack. Cut into squares and serve immediately. Store any leftovers in airtight container. Enjoy! 

Thursday, March 6, 2014



Yes, lambsagna. LOL. It's a word my husband made up when I served him lasagna prepared with ground lamb instead of ground beef. Honestly, it was a truly flavorful dish very similar to the lasagna roll-ups only in casserole form. What you'll need is:


1 16 oz. package of lasagna noodles (cooked, drained and cooled)
2 lbs. sauteed ground lamb
1 lb. ricotta and 1 egg (mixed together with pinch of salt and pepper)
bread crumbs
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (I adore Locatelli brand)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups baby spinach (toss into sauteed lamb -- spinach leaves will wilt)
olive oil
2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Prepare a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add 1 cup tomato sauce thinned with a few splashes of water (to keep sauce from burning). 

Arrange a layer of pre-boiled noodles. Top first layer of noodles with sauteed ground lamb/spinach mixture. Sprinkle on 1/2 of bread crumbs, and top with a sprinkling of grated Locatelli. 

Next, arrange a second layer of cooked noodles, top with ricotta, egg, salt and pepper mixture. Smooth with a spatula and then sprinkle with 1/2 the mozz cheese.

Place a third layer of prepared noodles and top with remaining sauteed lamb/spinach mixture, bread crumbs, and more of the grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

Place the forth and final layer of pasta into casserole and cover completely with remaining sauce, mozzarella and grated Peccorino Romano cheeses. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and cover with foil sprayed with non-stick spray.

Bake for 1 hour. During the last 10 minutes of cooking time, remove foil and let cheese bubble and brown. Serve piping hot with crusty bread and a tossed salad. Enjoy!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Brownies

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! 

Today for Valentine's Day, my son thought he'd bring his grandmother a special treat along with a homemade card. To say the least, she enjoyed it very much. These brownies are super easy and taste so much better then the typical boxed brownie mix. Bake up a batch today for your family or special someone. :)

Valentine's Day Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2 eggs lightly beaten 
1 cup brown sugar packed
1 1/4 cup extra light tasting olive oil (Filippo Berio is a nice brand)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vinegar

In a large bowl, mix above ingredients until well combined. 


1 1/2 cup all purpose white flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Combine just until absorbed. Be careful not to over mix. Keep in mind batter will be very thick.

Prepare a heart shaped tin generously with non-stick cooking spray. Scoop even amounts of batter into each heart. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into batter comes out almost clean. Do not over bake. Makes 6.