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Posts tagged Drea

Coconut Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies



  •  1/4 cups grated sweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup raspberry jam


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Place the grated coconut in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and oats in a large mixing bowl.

In another bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix just until combined.

To shape cookies, roll the batter between your hands to form balls the size of a large walnut. Roll in the grated coconut to coat, then place on the cookie sheet and flatten to 2 inch circles with the palm of your hand. With your thumb, make a depression in the center of each and fill with a generous teaspoon of jam. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to racks to cool.

Nana’s Thanksgiving Pork Stuffing


Thanks to Nana, this stuffing has been a Thanksgiving tradition in our family for decades.  It is absolutely delicious and compliments our feast perfectly.  Pretty sure most of us love it more than the turkey.  In fact, it’s the reason I am not a fan of any bread stuffing (except the smoky cornbread one) – I’ve been too spoiled with this!  It’s so hearty and flavorful that it could be a main dish.  See for yourself…


3 lbs fresh ground pork
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of Bell’s Poultry Seasoning
7 eggs
3 large potatoes (mashed with butter and milk)


Preheat oven to 350.

Peel and chop potatoes then boil until fork tender.  Mash with a little butter and milk.  Store in refrigerator and allow to completely cool.  (can be done ahead of time)

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.  Mix in the cold mashed potatoes then add a few pinches of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. 

Transfer to a large baking dish.  Cover and bake for about 90 minutes.  Uncover for the last 30 minutes

Vegetable Comfort Soup


This is the type of soup that doesn’t really have any set measurements or ingredients.  Aside from the aromatics like onions, garlic, and celery that should be included in this recipe, it’s a “throw in any kind of veggies you like” soup especially if you are cleaning out your fridge/freezer.  These just happen to be the veggies I ended up using.   You can make this completely vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead of a meat-based stock.   And it’s perfect for those cold rainy and/or snowy days when all you want to do is stay warm and cozy indoors with a blanket, roaring fire, and good book!


3 cups water
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 celery stalks, chopped (include the leafy tops for extra flavor)
6 medium sized carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup frozen sweet peas
1 cup frozen sweet corn
14.5oz can diced tomatoes
15.5oz can red kidney beans, drained
15.5oz can garbanzo beans, drained
1 ¼ cup uncooked brown rice
2 bay leaves
Fresh ground black pepper
Olive oil


In a large soup pot, cook onions in about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.  Next add the can of diced tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes.  Then add the water, stock, carrots, celery, corn, bay leaves, garlic, and beans.  Grind some black pepper in there and add a few pinches of salt (the stock may have some sodium in it so go easy with the salt, you can always add more later).  Cover and simmer over medium low for about an hour- stirring occasionally.  About 20 minutes before serving, add the rice so it cooks thoroughly (unless it’s “Minute” rice in which case, 10 min before).  Then about 5 minutes before, add the sweet peas so they remain a bright green color (if added too early they turn a muted “pea soup” color).  Remove bay leaves before serving.  Top with a little grated parmesan cheese and serve with some warm crusty garlic bread.

For the garlic bread, toast  a few slices of whole wheat Tuscan bread (Trader Joe’s has an amazing one) with a little butter.  Once toast is slightly browned and still warm, rub a clove of garlic over the surface of each piece.  You don’t need to use the entire clove; all you need is the flavor of the garlic.  It’s so delicious and beats the heck out of *gasp* garlic powder!
This soup can last for days in the fridge and be eaten all week or you can freeze the leftovers in small containers for later use.


Nicholas’ Dreamy Orange Coconut Cupcakes


Ok these were just supposed to be “Dreamy Orange Cupcakes” but my eager little helper (Nicholas) dumped the cup of coconut into this batter instead of the coconut cupcake batter after I had added the orange zest.. so there you have it. Dreamy Orange Coconut Cupcakes, courtesy of Nicholas! lol


1 cup softened butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract
1 cup shredded coconut
Zest of one orange
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup cold milk


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Yield: 24 cupcakes.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in extracts then fold in shredded coconut.

In a separate bowl, stir together all dry ingredients. Add to butter mixture; stir in milk.

Pour about two tablespoons of the batter in a lined cupcake baking pan. Bake 18-24 minutes. Allow to completely cool before frosting.

Toasted Coconut Orange Buttercream Frosting

1 box confectioners sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1 tsp. orange extract
1 tsp. coconut extract
½ cup shredded coconut to toast
2 tbsp. milk
Orange food coloring (I part red, 2 parts yellow food coloring)
Orange segments and zest for garnish (optional)

Combine butter and sugar. Then add extracts and milk. Mix until creamy. Add food coloring and combine thoroughly. Toast coconut over low heat until slightly browned- do not burn. Let cool. Frost cupcakes and top each one with toasted coconut, a pinch of zest and an orange segment (size of a jelly bean).

Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole


I told you I’d be experimenting with these tater tot recipes- especially since Jesse just purchased an 8 POUND bag of them at Sam’s Club! Ha! As I said before, I am quite aware these casseroles are not the healthiest but they are fine in moderation! So don’t freak out and get all health nut on me. The weather is cooling down and it’s the perfect time for some comfort food.


1 bag tater tots
2 lb ground lean beef
1 26.5 oz can of Manwich sauce
Fresh ground black pepper
Salt (optional)


Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat an 11×7 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, meat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Discard any excess fat if needed. Season with salt and pepper if desired. (the Manwich sauce contains sodium so use the salt sparingly). Add Manwich sauce and combine. Spoon mixture into baking dish. Arrange tater tots on top in a single layer.

Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, or until tater tots are golden brown and meat mixture is bubbly.

For a cheesy twist, top with your favorite shredded cheese about 5 minutes before the casserole is done

Sausage Ragu Fettuccine


I know this dish looks a lot like some of the others but trust me, it tastes completely different! YUM!


1 lb fettuccine
1 lb bulk sweet or hot sausage (meat that hasn’t been stuffed into a casing)
1 28 oz can ground peeled tomatoes
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
Handful of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Olive oil


Cook fettuccine according to package directions.  In a large skillet, sauté onions and peppers in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add sausage and break up into small chunks.  Cook until no longer pink.  Add the wine and let reduce, about 5 minutes.  Next, add the tomatoes, garlic, a dash of salt (the sausage should already have plenty of salt) and some freshly ground black pepper.  Cover and let simmer on medium low for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once fettuccine is cooked and drained, toss with meat mixture, top with parsley and some grated Pecorino Romano cheese and serve

Tater Tot Casserole


This is one of my favorite casseroles especially now that the weather is cooling down.   I have so many ideas on different variations of this recipe so please keep an eye out for those….


1 bag tater tots
1lb ground turkey (or lean beef)
1 medium onion, diced
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup cheddar cheese fried onions
Salt/pepper to taste


 Preheat oven to 400°F.  Coat an 11×7 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown onions and meat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Discard any excess fat if needed.  Season with salt and pepper if desired. (the soups contain sodium so use the salt sparingly).  Allow meat mixture to cool for about 5 minutes then pour into a large bowl and combine with both soups.  Spoon mixture into backing dish.  Sprinkle half of the fried onions over mixture then arrange tater tots on top in a single layer.  Top with the remaining fried onions.

Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, or until tater tots are golden brown and meat mixture is bubbly.

Slow Cooker Chili



1lb ground beef (or turkey)
1 28oz can ground peeled tomatoes (or two 15oz cans of diced tomatoes)
1 can red kidney beans
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)


Brown meat in a nonstick skillet (if using turkey add a little bit of olive oil so it doesn’t dry out) until no longer pink.  Meanwhile, add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker in the order above.  Cover and either cook for 10 hrs on low or 6 hrs on high.  Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread.  You can top with shredded cheese, sour cream, or sliced green onions…

Fettuccine Rigate con Turchia e Pomodori


Fettuccine Rigate con Turchia e Pomodori
(fettuccine rigate with turkey and tomatoes)


1 lb fettuccine rigate (fettuccine w/lines)
1lb ground turkey breast
4 large Roma (a.k.a. plum) tomatoes, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
Extra virgin olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese
4 leaves fresh basil, coarsely chopped
Handful fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
Few dashes of salt/pepper
Crushed hot red pepper flakes (optional)


Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.  Cook fettuccine as directed on package.  In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and saute until somewhat translucent, about 3 minutes.  Next add the ground turkey and salt/pepper, break up turkey as small as you can and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Then add the tomatoes and garlic and combine.  After about 2 minutes, add the chicken stock.  Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and let simmer for about 5 minutes or until tomatoes and stock are cooked down.  Once fettuccine is finished, drain and add to the mixture.  Toss with basil, parsley, grated cheese, and crushed hot red pepper.  Serve.

Quick and Easy Pasta Sauces


Easy Marinara Sauce

 1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 28 oz can of ground peeled tomatoes (Pastene brand is the best)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup red wine
Olive oil

 In a large sauce pan, sauté onions in a few tablespoons of olive oil, until translucent.  Add tomatoes, garlic, wine, salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 15-20 minutes on medium low heat. 

 Tips: you may add fresh or dried basil. Dried herbs are stronger than fresh so if you prefer to use dried, use less.  For example, if you use 3 fresh basil leaves, use about 1 teaspoon of dried.

 You can also double or even triple this batch (two or three cans of tomatoes, another couple of garlic cloves, etc) and pour into some freezer-safe containers for later use. 

 Basic White Cream Sauce

 1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of flour
2 cups of milk
Cheese (see below for details)

In a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter.  Once butter is completely melted, add in the flour.  Whisk together for about 2 minutes until combined.  Then add the milk and drop heat down to medium low.  Continue to whisk until sauce begins to thicken.  This will happen when sauce comes to a small boil.  At this point, you can add your cheese.  If making a cheese sauce for baked macaroni and cheese, you would use any kind of shredded cheese you like.  For an “Alfredo” sauce, you would use a cup of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.  You could even use pepper jack or a Mexican blend for chili mac or any food of that type.

 Tip: Butter and flour cooked together this way create a roux which acts as a thickening agent for the milk.

 Garlic and Olive Oil

Once pasta is done cooking, add a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 4 or 5 cloves of minced garlic, freshly ground black pepper, and some grated cheese.  Toss and serve.  You can also add some crushed red pepper if you like heat.  I also like to finish this off with some chopped fresh parsley.

 Tip: if you prefer more of a subtle garlic flavor, sauté the garlic in the olive oil first, on low heat for about 5 minutes, then toss with the pasta.   Please see my Misc Tips section of the Kitchen Tips post for the proper way to cook garlic!

Presto Basil Pesto

If you don’t want to spend the extra time using a food processor (or if you don’t own one) to make traditional pesto sauce then this pesto recipe is the way to go.

1 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1 cup pine nuts
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt/fresh ground black pepper

In a skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over low heat.  Add garlic and sauté for about 2 min then remove from heat.  In a small sauté pan, toast the pine nuts over medium low heat until golden, about 3 minutes.  Do not leave unattended as the oils in the nuts will cause them to burn.  Add the garlic/olive oil and pine nuts to your cooked pasta.  Then toss in the fresh basil, parm cheese, salt/black pepper.  Serve.

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