Monday, December 20, 2010

Cranberry Coconut Macaroons

So much for my boycott!
After I suckered myself into sugar cookies, I decided I couldn't let the season pass without my traditional attempt at a new cookie recipe. So, here it is...not only does it taste festive and delicious, it's also Gluten free. No, I don't have issues with gluten, but enough of my friends and family do, so anytime I can share a recipe that is friendly for them, I try to do it. I came up with this idea after flipping through my newest cookie recipe book, and thought "Hey, wouldn't dried cherries or cranberries taste good in these? And then chocolate drizzled over the top?" Of course it would...
Cranberry Coconut Macaroons
3 cups flaked, sweetened coconut
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
2 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate
Mix together all ingredients except chocolate. Spoon onto parchment paper and bake at 325 for about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Melt chocolate and drizzle over cooled macaroons.

I don't think it could get much easier than this! I always thought you had to whip the egg whites for macaroons, but apparently you don't!
Enoy! (And thanks Kelli for the great picture!)

After hours...

Ever wonder what goes on in the kitchen after hours? Well, at my house, during the holidays, we make messes! That's right...
We decorate the sugar cookies that were generated during the day with the help of 5 kids...
We learn how to use Royal Icing...and sugar washes!
We break the rules...a Ziploc for piping!
We make masterpieces...
And memories!
And we simply enjoy the peace and quiet of three sleeping 3 year olds!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Thai Chicken Wraps

I found this recipe when I was looking for Gluten free meals. I didn't need it to be gluten free, but if you do, just use the appropriate peanut butter and soy sauce. This dish has become a favorite in our house!!

Peanut Sauce

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 tbls soy sauce
3 tbls water
2 tbls cooking oil
1 tsp minced garlic
Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently. Set aside...
Chicken mixture
1/2 tsp salt or garlic salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp pepper
12 ounces boneless chicken breast, sliced or diced (I used 2 breasts)
4 cups packed broccoli slaw mix (1 bag)
1 tbls cooking oil
1/2 of a red onion cut into wedges, and/or red bell pepper slices
fresh grated ginger
Corn tortillas or iceburg lettuce leaves
Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet heat the cooking oil. Add the chicken and stir fry over medium high heat until cooked through. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm. Add the broccoli mix, onion, and ginger to skillet. Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp tender. Add the chicken back in and remove from heat.
Layer chicken mixture, red bell pepper, and peanut sauce on warmed tortillas or lettuce leaves.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mexican Lasagna

I'm always looking for different ways to make the same dish! I love lasagna, and I love mexican food, so of course, combining the two made sense. I wanted to have my own recipe though, so I looked at a bunch of different ones, took the parts that I liked best, and came up with this version.
3 lbs ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
1 sm. can tomato paste
1/3 c. taco seasoning
Additional cumin, chili powder, and garlic salt to taste
1 cup sour cream
grated cheddar cheese
1/2 box of lasagna noodles (4 noodles for each pan)
Cook the noodles until just al dente. Brown the ground beef with onions, drain; mix in tomotoes, tomato paste, seasonings, and sour cream. Spray an 8 in. baking dish with non-stick spray and partially cover with meat sauce. Add lasagna noodles, then meat sauce, then cheddar cheese. Repeat layers, ending with cheese. I cut the noodles to fit, so each layer only needed 2 noodles. Bake at 375 for appx. 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly brown. From this recipe, I was able to put together two 8 x 8 pans of lasagna, which meant I could share with my sister, or put one in the freezer!
It was quite tasty, and I think we all enjoyed it. In the past I've used corn tortillas, but wanted to try something different this time.
  • Add cayenne pepper or hot sauce for more kick
  • Add a layer of beans or corn and olives
  • Use Monterey or Colby Jack cheese
  • Layer in cottage cheese for a creamier layer

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Simply Salmon

Simply Salmon
I used to be afraid to cook fish, even though I like it for the most part. But, I discovered that if you use the flavors you like best and don't overcook it, it's usually pretty good. Easy enough, right? Not always, but if you start with really good quality fish, your chances are a bit greater that you'll end up with a delicious meal on your plate.
Tim picked this amazing salmon up at Pike Place and we've have been enjoying it for a couple months now. Even out of the freezer, it's still yummy. I call this dish simply salmon because I didn't do anything great...just thought about what I like and put it all together.
1 piece of salmon (however big you want or need)
*I cut ours into smaller parts because it was much thicker on one side, and I wanted it to cook evenly.
Butter, garlic, lemon, salt, oregano, onion
Place the fish pieces skin side down (if it has skin) on foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt. Melt the butter and add minced garlic to it. Pour it over the salmon. (When I began pouring it over the salmon, it started to solidy, which was fine. It helped the butter and garlic stay in place rather than drip down to the foil.) Slice a lemon in half, squeeze the juice of one half over the fish, then slice the other half into rings and lay them n top. Add rings of onion and some dried oregano.
Cover loosely with foil and bake at 375 until the flesh just begins to flake. Tim takes over at this point so I'm not sure exactly how long it took, but I think around 30 minutes for the thicker pieces. Be sure to check it regularly and pull out the pieces as they finish cooking.

I do have to say, good seafood is worth the price!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Eggnog Pancakes

AKA: "Fat Pancakes"
In my constant quest to fatten up little Molly, I'm always looking for ways to add calories to the food she'll eat. So, if it calls for milk, why not use the much richer and fatter Eggnog?
She certainly looks excited to try it!
I'd say she approves!
Here's the recipe:
1 cup flour
About 1 cup eggnog (confession: I used mostly egg nog and a little 1/2 & 1/2)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tbls sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (if you don't have this, use a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and ginger to taste)
2 tbls vegetable oil
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
Combine the ingredients, make adjustments to get the right consistency, and cook as usual.
I'm not much of a pancake fan, so I usually don't eat them. However, these were pretty good, especially with some butter, syrup, whipped cream, and nutmeg on top! Here's to holiday flavors~

The "American" Piroshky

It's a turnover, it's a calzone, it's a what??? Yep, that's right, I call it an American Piroshky! Why, you ask?? Well, I'm not exactly sure. When I started out, I fully intended to make vegetable beef soup. But, as I was cooking the meat and vegetables, I had a fleeting memory of my sister Elizabeth and her love of the Piroshky. She once brought one home for me and that's how I made the connection. I looked at the mixture in the pan and thought "that looks like the filling of a piroshky." Well, it just so happened that I had refridgerator biscuits and I figured, why not? Let's give it a try!
The Finished Product
about a lb of ground beef
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
about 1/2 cup sliced or diced carrots
1 onion, diced
cheddar cheese
milk or cream
salt, pepper, garlic salt, oregano
refridgerator biscuits
Saute the vegetables for about 5-8 minutes, then add the ground beef. Cook until meat is browned. Add salt, pepper, garlic salt, and oregano to taste. Add grated cheddar cheese and milk or cream until mixture is slightly creamy and holds together. Roll out each biscuit to about 1/4 in., put about 2 tbls. of mixture in the center, fold over and seal the edges with a fork. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.
As you can see, it's not much of a recipe and the measurements are really up to you. Use as much or as little as you like, and be creative! It was actually quite tasty and not healthy or gourmet at all, but when you have little time and little people to feed, you make due!

Friday, June 25, 2010

"Unrolled" Enchiladas

Love enchilads but think they're too much work? I have the solution for you! Take some chicken breasts, throw them in a slowcooker, add a can of enchilada sauce and whatever else sounds good, and cook on low all day! Shred it up, layer it in a tortilla with some cheese, green onions, and maybe some sour cream! It's delicious AND easy. I even put the chicken breasts in frozen! Really, this is my kind of meal!!!

Blueberry Orange Pancakes

I recently discovered a Lemon Ricotta pancake recipe that was fabulous, so I decided to try a little added flavor of my own. Megan requested blueberry pancakes one morning and I thought it might be tasty to add a little orange to the mix! Indeed, it was quite good. I'm not much of a pancake fan, but when you add a little something here and a little something there, I find them tolerable! So here is my attempt at dressing up a pancake...
Take regular pancake batter, homemade or from a mix, add blueberries, the zest and juice of one orange, and have Blueberry Orange Pancakes. I know, could it be any easier? Throw on some butter, powdered sugar, or blueberry syrup and you have yourself a delicious breakfast :-)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Shrimp & Veggie Pasta

This isn't much of an exciting recipe, but it is so easy and so delicious, I had to share. The beauty of this dish is that it's quick, healthy, and you can pretty much use whatever meat or vegetables you want!
Get your pasta water on the stove before you begin, that way the cooked pasta won't have to wait long for it's friends :-)
Cooked pasta of choice-I like to use linguine
Asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
Red onion, sliced into strips
Yellow pepper, sliced into strips
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Shrimp, deveined and tails off (thawed if frozen)
2-3 tbls butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Add the pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions. Heat olive oil in a saute pan, add the veggies except tomatoes, and stir fry until crisp tender. Remove from pan. Add the butter and heat over medium until melted. Add the minced garlic and shrimp, cook until shrimp are just pink. Return the veggies to the pan, with the tomatoes, and stir until everything is coated and tomatoes are warmed through. Pour cooked pasta onto a platter or pasta bowl, top with shrimp veggie mixture, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and fresh herbs if you want! So yummy and simple!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Okay, so this is not my recipe at all, but they are the best drop cookies I have ever made. I swore off any kind of drop cookie that had chocolate chips because, for whatever reason, no matter what I tried, they always turned out flat, dark brown, and ugly! Well, in keeping with my "Boost the Calorie" trend, I decided to go for a peanut butter chocolate chip recipe that looked good. I think it might be the corn syrup??? I don't know, but they immediately became a family favorite. Here's the goods:
Chewy Peanut Buuter Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 white sugar
2 eggs
2 tbls light corn syrup
2 tbls water
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips
Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, then stir in the corn syrup, water, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Add in the chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls (the recipe calls for 1/2 cup) onto ungreased cookies sheets. Bake at 375 for about 11 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack after 1 minute.
These were the chewiest, fattest cookies I've ever made and I will continue to make them until the stores stop selling peanut butter! Right, like that will ever happen! Also, I made them with semisweet chocolate chips the first time and milk chocolate the second time. Either way, they are scrum-diddly-umptious! They freeze well too :-)

Peanut Butter and Jelly WHAT???

Yep, that's right! I took an old time classic, paired it with a forever favorite, and what did I get? Peanut Butter and Jelly Scones! Sometimes, I think it must be nice to be an underweight 3 year old. Mama's always tryin' to cook up some extra calories! That was the inspiration behind this concoction. My little Molly is always struggling to put on the ounces (yes, we still weigh her in ounces), so I'm always looking for ways to boost calories. Peanut butter is a great source of fat and protein, but she's not much into PB & J sandwhiches, so I tried disguising it in a no-fail package! It sort of worked....
Peanut Butter & Jelly Scones
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
fruit jelly/jam
Mix the dry ingredients in a food processor or stir in a bowl. Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Mix the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and knead until thoroughly combined. (The step helps to incorporate the peanut butter, as it does not mix well.) On a floured surface, pat dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Using a round cookie cutter (or plastic kid cup like I did), cut out rounds and place half on an ungreased cookie sheet. Add about a tablespoon of jam to each bottom half, then top with the remaining rounds. Pinch the sides together and seal with the prongs of a fork. Bake at 375 for about 15 inutes. Cool on a wire rack.
A lovely pair with a nice cold glass of milk! Makes for a delicious breakfast!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Scones

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Scones
Back at the age of 18 when I worked at my first espresso stand, we made a delicious drink called a Mochacino. Basically, it was a mocha with cinnamon and nutmeg. Ever since then, I've loved the combination of cinnamon and chocolate. It's so warm and comforting. I decided I'd give the combo a try in the form of a scone. It works in pancakes, so why not??
2 cups flour
2 tbls sugar
1 tbls baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
Mix the dry ingredients in a food processor. This will break up the chocolate chips a little, which works well for the scone. Add the butter and process until crumbly. Combine the milk and eggs. Transfer the dry mixture to a bowl, form a well in the center, and add the milk/egg mixture. Fold in the wet mixture just until everything is moistened.
Divide the dough into 2 halves and form each half into a circle (or whatever works for you). Make sure you work on a floured surface. Cut the dough into triangles of any size, like a pie, and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbls milk
Combine all the ingredients and drizzle over cooled scones.
These were gone in no time and I will definitely be making them again :-)

Banana Coconut Bars

Banana Coconut Bars
This conconction is so simple, there isn't even a recipe. I found a box of vanilla pudding in our snack basket and wanted to do something with it. I decided on the vanilla pie recipe found on the box. So, off I went to make a graham cracker crust. Well, I guess I don't know what a graham cracker is. When the recipe calls for "20" crackers, it really means 20 squares, not 20 rectangles (which would be 2 squares). I know that now...but like I've said before, the crust is the best part, so a double batch makes it doubly declicious. However, it was way too much crust for a 9" pie dish and I ended up having to use a 9 x 11 casserole dish. Well, that was just too big for the amount of pudding I had, so I found myself looking for something to add in. Bananas of course! And how much better do bananas taste with coconut? Enough to justify some toasted yummyness on top, that's for sure. So here's what I did...
A graham cracker crust (cooked and cooled) topped with sliced bananas. Over that I poured the prepared instant vanilla pudding. After I toasted some coconut (twice since I burned it the first time), I sprinkled it on top, put it in the fridge, and enjoyed a yummy treat later! Super easy and delicious!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


It looks like lasagna, it tastes like lasagna, it even strings like lasagna! But the best part??? It takes about a quarter of the time as lasagna! That's right, all the goodness without the grunt work! I have to be honest here, I got the idea from a Rachel Ray episode, but I did make it my own by putting into casserole form and baking it! So, here's how I do it:

First, boil some water and get your pasta's truly this quick!
Bechemal Sauce:
2 tbls butter
2 tbls flour
1 cup milk
minced garlic
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese (or whatever italian cheese you have on hand)
The rest:
spaghetti sauce (jarred or homemade, it's up to you)
mozzarella cheese
You won't need much more than this!
Melt the butter over medium heat, then add the flour. Cook and stir constantly for 4-5 minutes to cook out the flour taste.
Add the milk and garlic. Cook and stir until it starts to thicken.
Add in whatever cheese you like in whatever amount you want. Here I added grated parmesan and this Pecorino Ramono cheese (sheep's milk, but don't tell my kids or me that!) Also season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the cooked pasta. I've used penne, mini penne, some short curly pasta! It's really whatever kind you like.
Pour into a casserole dish. I spray with nonstick cooking spray to make clean up easier. Cover with spaghetti sauce....
Mozzarella cheese....
And bake at 400 until bubbly and golden on top.
You and your kids will LOVE this dish! Seriously, this is what was left after only me and the 3 little ones ate!
Not only will this dish taste great on your table immediately, but it's also a perfect one to prepare and freeze for a later time. Just cover it and freeze it before baking! I love having it on hand for when I want to provide a meal to a friend or family! (Erin, if you are reading this, I had planned on bringing this dish to your baby shower to have in your freezer for after baby came....I'll get it to you somehow!)
I love making a bechamel sauce because once you have the basics, you can dress it up for anything you want. Add onion for more flavor. Add cheddar cheese to make a creamy macaroni, taco seasoning for a mexican casserole, or just plain parmesan for an alfredo. Make it thinner by adding more milk, or thicker by increasing the butter and flour. And, once you get it down, you can make it from memory. This was the first time I didn't consult a recipe and it turned out great.
Good luck...I hope you find a great use for this delicious dish!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In the Zone...the Calzone that is!

When I was in college I worked at a lovely little bakery on Saturday mornings. I had the task of making the sweet rolls, cinnamon rolls, muffins, scones, breads, and sometimes soups and sandwiches. One of my favorite food items I made were the calzones. Strangely, I have never made them since working there, so I finally decided to give it a try on my own! Here's how it went:
First I sauteed some diced onion until it began to look transparent, then I threw about 3 minced garlic cloves on top and continued to cook until I smelled the garlic. I added about 2 lbs of ground beef, some garlic salt and black pepper, and cooked it through. After draining the meat, I threw it in the fridge until I could get back to it. I decided I wanted to try two different fillings, a taco filling and an Italian filling.

1 lb ground beef mixture
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 2.2 ounce can sliced olives, drained
1 tbls cumin
1 tsp each of paprika, chile powder, salt, and garlic salt (it was a bit on the salty side, so I would take out the regular salt next time)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream if you have it on hand)
Shredded cheddar cheese

1 lb ground beef mixture
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 tbls each dried oregano and basil
1 tsp dried thyme
spaghetti sauce (I used jarred, of course!)
Shredded mozzarella cheese

Mix all of the ingredients together until well blended. For the Italian, use as much spaghetti sauce as you need to get the consistency you like. I think I used about a cup, plus a bit more.

For the crust of the calzones, I used a basic pizza dough recipe, but you can use anything from refridgerator pizza crust to a boxed mix. It's really whatever works for you. I like making my own!
Calzone Assembly:
My plan was to make 16 MINI calzones, 8 for dinner and 8 for the freezer, so I made a double batch of pizza crust and divided it in half. With the first half I divided it into 8 mostly equal pieces.

Roll each piece into a circle like shape about a quarter inch thick, just as my handy assistant Megan is doing here:

Add about 1/3 cup filling on one side, but leave an edge, then top with cheese.

I found the easiest way to seal the calzone was to leave about a 1/4 lip of the bottom side after folding it over, then fold that lip up and seal the edges. At this point, you can get decorative if you want and use a fork to crimp the edge or something!

Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes. Did I mention I was going for mini calzones? They ended up being a bitter larger than I expected :-)

And Enjoy! (the left is the Italian, the right is the taco)

I always look for some seal of approval...

Need I say more???

The best thing about calzones is that once you have the dough, you can really do anything you want for a filling! Just make sure it has texture, a little moisture, and lots of flavor! One of the popular ones we would make at the bakery was a chicken broccoli calzone!! Yum Yum!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Little Bit O' Love

We had to spread a little love through the house this year for Valentine's Day, so what better way than with heart shaped cookies?? Here are my lovely children hard at work, rolling out sugar cookie dough!
We managed to get a few decent cookies out of the batch...mostly the little ones just enjoyed playing with the dough! So, if you have a toddler who needs entertaining, mix up some pizza dough and put them to work! I promise, it's very entertaining and easy to clean up!
Megan and her friend Caroline decorated the few that lasted long enough. They did a great job!
And for breakfast? Heart-shaped, chocolate chip pancakes! A very lovely treat indeed!
Hope you all had a Valentine's Day filled with love :-)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sunday Marinades

So, as I begin to think about spending my days at work rather than at home, I realize that I need to get into the habit of having meals "ready to go". No, I'm not returning to work immediately, but when I do, I need to be prepared! Besides, it's nice to be able to pull meat out of the freezer and not put any thought into what to do with it! Just warm up the grill, sautee some veggies or make a salad, and you're on your way to a healthy, delicioius dinner! It makes it easy and quick and then your attention can go towards other things, like keeping the boy from playing with knives, corraling little girls back to the table with their chairs, and answering the "What if" questions being darted at you from the 6 year old. See, it's good for everyone :-)

This is what I do to ease the Kraziness from time to time:

Bring home the large package of skinless, boneless chicken breasts from Costco, get out my gallon size Ziploc freezer bags, all my ingredients, and get to work. Sometimes I use premade marinades, but lately I've been creating my own. (I'll get back to you when I know how these taste!) I put all of the ingredients for each marinade into a Ziploc, add the chicken which I've either flattened, or sliced into strips, or whatever, zip it up, and throw it in the freezer! It's truly that simple! The nice thing about this method is that the meat has a chance to really soak up all those yummy flavors that go into the marinade!

I have here a soy ginger, orange balsamic, Thai peanut chicken, and a premade Jamaican Jerk that I simply thinned with olive oil. It's so easy and fast and delicious. Good food doesn't have to complicated and a good meal doesn't have to overdone! I like to keep most of my cooking simple and this surely fits the bill :-) Besides, my sidekick does a better job with the grill than I do with the stove! When you live in the Pacific Northwest, you learn to grill in rain, snow, sleet, or hail! It's just the way it is!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

No Worries!

It's okay, don't worry, my family has been eating! I just haven't been inspired to try anything new and exciting! Too busy tending to sick family members! But all is well now and my aunt is coming to town, so we will most likely cook up something tasty to share :-) In fact, let me introduce you to a few people in my life that I like to call my "Go To" people! They are the ones I call when I need advice, encouragement, or just plain ideas for cooking!
Mama Roper: My dear mother, who has fed me from day one! I go to her when I have questions about regular, homecooked meals! We grew up eating well, even though money was tight and there were lots of us to feed. So, when I need to stretch a buck but make it tasty...she's the one! Pot roast, mac and cheese, spaghetti...she's my comfort food Go To!

Gampa (AKA my dad)-Mexican...ya, that's what he does best! So when I'm making something mexican I usually run it by him! Also, he finally shared his secret to homemade taquitos...YUM! It's our Christmas tradition with him and one of these days, I will have to take it over. But for now, I'll stick with his cause they are sooooo tasty!

Aunt Liisa-When I have some crazy idea about mixing ingredients...she's my Go To!! She's been a caterer, an event planner, and an at-home mother to 3. She's taken lots of cooking courses and isn't afraid to "throw something together". Since I'm rather timid in this area, I usually check with her first to see if it will work! She inspires me to branch out...
Robin (AKA second mom)-My mom's bestest friend and like a mom to us, she also does catering and has the ability to create some very yummy dishes. When I can't reach my mom or my aunt, or if I have a question about Italian food, I call her up and she's always happy to share. Robin has provided the food for my wedding, 2 of my sisters' weddings, and now a fourth wedding coming soon. I love eating her creations!
Auntie Biz (one of my younger sisters)-Like me, she simply enjoys cooking and playing with food. We love to work together in the kitchen and talk about Food Network stars like Giada and Bobby Flay. We have a crazy idea about owning our own restaurant someday!! It's fun to dream!!!

I feel very blessed to be sourrounded by such great cooks and if I can become half of what they are, I'll feel lucky!!