The Most Moist and Luscious Lemon Pound Cake Ever

Kel's Luscious Lemon Pound Cake with Berry Garnish

I love lemons. With their sour and fresh flavors, they add a spark to most dishes, from lemonade and cocktails to marinades and sauces for veggies and proteins. A burst of fresh lemon juice is a wonderful pick-me-up for seafood dishes, and lemon zest is a great addition to many baked goods.

I’ve been craving lemon pound cake lately and decided to make one as a special treat for Gabe and Lexi as soon as they arrived from Phoenix to spend several weeks with us. I knew I wanted to make a lemon bundt cake with pudding in the mix, which helps to make it moist, and found this great recipe from Jocelyn Delk Adams of Grandbaby-Cakes.com. Since baking is an exact science, I followed her recipe closely, with the exception of reducing the sugar by half a cup.

Kel's lemony poundcake greatness

Of course I wanted this recipe to be more of my own, so I decided to garnish the cake with fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are great choices), fresh lemon slices, and a few sprigs of fresh mint form my garden. The result? A lemony, moist and scrumptious cake that tastes as great as it looks!

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Kel’s Omelet Casserole is Eggscellent!

A bite of Kel's omelet casserole

Gabe and Lexi, now 15 years old, will be here in a few weeks and we are so excited! Since I’ll be at work most mornings, I’m trying to have some breakfast options for them to enjoy until I get home to make lunch. I’m not sure if I need to be concerned – Lexi will fend for herself (last year she was making avocado toast, eggs over easy with bacon or sausage, yogurt with fruit, etc.) and Gabe will either still be asleep or else stuffing himself with Pop Tarts and/or cereal. But I’d still like to give them other choices, like this casserole that is easy to reheat, healthy and tasty, tasty, tasty.

Kel's Baked Omelet Casserole

The twins always enjoy the breakfast casseroles I make during the holidays, most of which are laden with lots of cheese and sausage (yum, yum, yum!) However, when I saw a recipe for baked omelet squares from Allrecipes.com, I knew I needed to give it a try since it was heavy on veggies and less so on meat. Of course I changed it a bit and substituted milk with fat-free half and half, ditched the butter, replaced onions with spring onions, and added red bell pepper and tabasco sauce. Eliminate the ham and you have a great vegetarian version of this dish.

Not only is this easy to prepare, the cheddar cheese crust is to die for — need I say more? And it’s Brad-approved as well. He’s not a casserole fan, but was surprised how much he loved this, especially being skeptical about the black olives, which he said made it great! And it’s carb friendly to boot – another plus in Brad’s eyes.

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Love Flavored Popcorn? You Must Try This!

 

GH Cretor Pop Corn!

Did you know that Americans eat an estimated 17 billion quarts of popcorn each year, and nearly 70% of it at home? It’s one of my favorite snacks, especially when I sit down to watch television or a movie. So when the folks at G.H. Cretors asked me to review some of their flavored popcorn, I jumped at the chance (see full disclaimer at the end of this post.) They sent me a home movie night kit that included:

  • Two bags of G.H. Cretors popcorn
  • Two Oscar nominated DVDs (Arrival and Moonlight)
  • Tissue packs and a soft blanket to cuddle under while watching the movies.

GH Cretor's home movie night kit

G.H. Cretors’ popcorn roots date back to the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, where the very first commercial popcorn maker was unveiled by Charles Cretors. Today, the passion for obsessively delicious popcorn continues, with all popcorn varieties made with high-quality, real ingredients, like premium aged cheddar cheese, at the G.H. Cretors facility in Waukegan, Illinois.

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Joan J’s Fabulous Five Bean and Penne Pasta Salad, Fit for a Crowd

 

Add marinade to bean and pasta saladMy girlfriend (and awesome cook) Ronda has brought her mother-in-law’s (Joan J) colorful and fabulous bean salad to several potluck gatherings throughout the years. Each time she does, I always go back at least for seconds, if not thirds or fourths. This is a die-for vegan dish, perfect to make year-round since you use canned beans. Not only easy to make, this recipe is extremely versatile. For instance, if you don’t like garbanzo beans (or any of the other varieties), don’t use them and substitute a bean you like. Hate black olives? Use green ones instead or just omit them. Not fond of green peppers? No worries, use more red or yellow peppers, or again, just omit them.

Joan J's Fabulous bean salad

This salad, which serves a crowd, should be made at least a day in advance so the flavors can intensify. The good news is that it does last several days in the fridge. However, I did freeze a small amount to see if that was an option for leftovers and was pleasantly surprised — the pasta was not as firm (but definitely not soggy) as when first made, but other than that the beans and other veggies fared well. Next time I make this I will add the marinade before the pasta, portion out the amount I want to freeze, and then add my preferred ratio of penne to what I plan to eat in the next few days. I do plan to can this later this summer, without the pasta, and will report the results on my FB page.

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Seasons 52, Now Open In Raleigh!

Seasons 52 Crabtree exterior

When I was invited to review Seasons 52’s new Raleigh location in Crabtree Valley Mall, I jumped at the chance! I was already familiar with the restaurant’s concept of serving fresh and seasonal food, locally sourced when possible, having dined at the Seasons 52 Palm Gardens in Florida a few years ago while visiting my brother and sister-in-law. It is one of their favorite restaurants in the area, and while I don’t recall what I had to eat, I do remember wishing that we had a Seasons 52 in the Raleigh area. And now my wish has come true!

Seasons 52 is a fresh grill and wine bar that offers a seasonally inspired menu featuring ingredients, often locally sourced, at their peak flavors. Seasons 52 uses rustic cooking techniques, such as brick-oven roasting and open-fire grilling over oak and mesquite wood, to bring out the natural flavors of food. The menu is paired with an ever-changing collection of more than 100 wines, with 52 available by the glass, along with artisanal spirits and craft beer.

Season 52 entrees

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Meet Floury Apron’s Fabulous Fadia House at the 2017 Southern Women’s Show!

Fadia House

I recently had the great fortune of spending some time with Fadia House, the delightful owner of the Floury Apron, thanks to some of the folks at the upcoming Southern Women’s Show. The Southern Women’s Show (April 21-23) is the premier weekend-long event for women in the Triangle community and attracts tens of thousands of guests each year. The show features celebrity guests and chefs; lots of shopping; and workshops on food, fashion, beauty, health and fitness, business, education, home, travel, and more. But more about this great show later in this post — let me now introduce you to Fadia and Floury Apron.

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Hot Diggity Dog! Kel’s Homemade Chili for Franks, Burgers and More

 Cheeseburger in paradise with Kel's homemade chili sauce

Summer cookouts are on the near horizon, and oftentimes I like to keep it simple by just grilling hotdogs and burgers, and then adding one homemade touch to elevate those meats to a higher level. I’m talking homemade chili, of course. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of any of the bland canned hotdog chili sauces, especially when I can make my own with minimal effort, no preservatives and incredible results. And judging by some of the requests for this recipe I received at a recent cookout, this chili sauce is a favorite!

My homemade chili sauce freezes great, so make a big batch and then package any leftovers in containers/plastic bags according to your specific size needs. Just thaw the chili in the refrigerator the day before you plan to serve it and then heat it in your microwave or on the stovetop until it is warm throughout.

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