Announcing the birth of the next generation of Katie's Cucina, Ryder Thomas

(photo by Christy Buonomo Photography)

Last Saturday, March 29, 2014 my husband and I welcomed the birth of our son, Ryder Thomas. He was three days “late” from my predicted due date (that bounced around through the course of my pregnancy. Let’s rewind back to my 40 week appointment of how this little guy got here. My blood pressure was a little elevated and my midwife wanted me to undergo a few extra test just to make sure that all was well with myself and the baby. By that Friday morning we found out that I was very low on amniotic fluids and well, my blood pressure never went down. That afternoon my midwife called me and told me to head to the hospital that my wish was coming true and I would soon be meeting my baby.

The next generation of Katie's Cucina

After 22 hours of labor (11 of those with no epidural) I had not progressed and was starting to spike a fever (as well as my blood pressure was still on the high side). We made the decision around 6pm on that Saturday to have a c-section. Not by choice, but this baby was not moving down and I had not dilated past 7 cm for over 5 hours. By 6:55 pm our son, Ryder Thomas was born. I will have a full birth story (with a ton more details) on my DIY blog, Sew Woodsy, in the coming weeks. Ryder weighted in at 6 lbs, 9 oz and 19-1/4inches long! If you ask me he looks just like his daddy–long and lengthy and a total heart throb already. But then again, I’m a little biased!

The next generation of Katie's Cucina

We spent 4 (long days) in the hospital until they finally allowed us to discharge. Because I spiked a fever during labor, Ryder had to get antibiotics through an IV every 8 hours for 48 hours. Making this mama sad and already blaming herself for not opting for a c-section earlier in the laboring. But what can you do, if that’s the worse that was wrong with him, I’ll take it! I was so ready to get home and get the show on the road.

My super talented friend, Christy, came to visit us in the hospital and did what is called a “fresh 48″ photo shoot. This is a great way to document the first 48 hours in the hospital as a new family. The first photo up top was taken by Christy as well as this one she posted on Instagram. I can’t wait to see the rest of the photos!

The next generation of Katie's CucinaI will leave you with one more photo of Mr. Ryder Thomas. My father in-law took this photo of Ryder on his iPhone in the black and white setting (on accident). We absolutely loved the photo and made him send it to us ASAP. We have been at home for almost a week now and are getting adjusted to the new “normal”. We made it through the first week and everyone is still alive! I even managed to cook a freezer meal (a post on that coming soon) as well as cook a few breakfasts’. And not just cereal or a store bought pastry for breakfast in our home. Ryder is also doing great. He eats like a champ (I’ve chosen to exclusively breast feed) and  sleeps pretty darn well. He sleeps 3-5 hours at a time. Which most people tell us in unheard of. He really only cries when he is hungry or has a dirty diaper and if he starts to have a crying fit it really freaks us out because we have no clue why else he is crying. We have only experienced 2 of those crying fits in his first 9 days of life. I consider myself crazy lucky.

For the remainder of the month I’ll have my closest  blogging friends helping out while I get adjusted to this new thing called parenthood. I’m so incredibly grateful for the help of our parents, family, and friends while we adjust to being a family.


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Today, we have Kim from Cravings of a Lunatic. We had the chance to meet at Food Blog Forum a few years ago and have kept in touch ever since! I participated in Kim’s cancer awareness recipes from the heart, food blog hop last summer sharing my recipe for spicy beef sliders. Today, Kim shares with us her no-bake recipe for Raspberry Fool.

Raspberry Fool by Cravings of a Lunatic

Hello there Katie’s Cucina readers. I’m pleased as punch to be here today. When Katie asked for guest posters for her maternity leave I was honoured to be included. I adore this gal. There’s just some folks you meet trough blogging that you instantly love. Katie is one of those people. Kind, caring and so incredibly talented.

Since you’re here my guess is you know all that. You know Katie is awesome. She’s also a great planner. I think it’s a cool thing that she invited her friends to guest post while she spends some much-needed time being a mommy. Honestly there is no greater gift in the world than becoming a parent. I know Katie is going to be the most amazing Mom, and I look forward to following along as pregnancy photos make way for baby photos. So excited for Katie and Jon, this will be their best adventure yet.

Raspberry Fool by Cravings of a Lunatic

I dreamed up a ton of recipe ideas for the post. Obsessive compulsive is my middle name, I tend to get really stressed out for guest posts. I never know whether to be serious so I don’t freak out someone else’s readers, or whether I should just be myself, which involves being a bit of a spaz. Hopefully I find some middle ground today.

Raspberry Fool by Cravings of a Lunatic

When I can’t sleep I tend to spend huge amounts of time on pinterest. I love Pinterest, more than life itself most days. I enjoy using it for work and personally as well. It’s my down time at the end of the day. So one night I was cruising Pinterest, pinning everything from cute men, to DIY project ideas, to recipes. I happened upon this Raspberry Fool recipe from Martha Stewart. It was not the recipe itself that drew me in, it was the presentation. Her Tangy Raspberry Fool photo that was stunning. I knew I wanted to try the technique to swirl the raspberry mixture.

Raspberry Fool by Cravings of a Lunatic

Fool is something we make quite often. It’s easy and my daughter loves it. She hates cream cheese so when I make no bake cheesecake recipes for my site I tend to make a couple without cream cheese. That way Mini-me is happy and gets her fool, but we still get to have lots of no bake cheesecakes. It’s a total win-win.

Fool is super easy to make, the recipes are all very similar. Essentially it’s cream, confectioners’ sugar and fruit. You can mix up the fruit, you can add nuts or granola to it. For me I like it as plain as possible. Let the fruit stand out as the star.

Raspberry Fool

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4-6

Raspberry Fool

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sugar, or vanilla sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or vanilla salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions

  1. Combine the raspberries, sugar and salt in a blender, or food processor with the chopping blade. Turn on pulse or puree for about 1 to 2 minutes. You want the sugar to dissolve and the raspberries to become as smooth as possible. Now pour the raspberry mixture through a fine sieve, and discard any seeds caught in it. It helps to use the back of a spoon to press the berries into the sieve. It will make the process faster.
  2. In a stand mixer (or large bowl and hand mixer) whip the heavy cream and the confectioners' sugar. Start slow until it thickens slightly, then amp the speed up to high. Whisk on high until stiff peaks form, which will take about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Take decorative glasses and alternate adding the whipping cream mixture and the raspberry mixture. Once you fill the glasses take a knife or wooden skewer and swirl and pull so the mixture starts to show patterns. I found pushing the skewer down in a rapid movement worked really well for the fun lines down the sides.
  4. Top with extra whipping cream and raspberries for garnish if desired.
  5. You can serve these immediately or pop them in the fridge for about an hour. If you're going for the dramatic look serve them as close to making them as possible. The longer they sit in the fridge the more the color becomes muted and not as striking.
  6. Serve with a big old raspberry smile!
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I hope you like these. I’m a total fool fanatic. I make it every chance I get. Feel free to experiment and play with flavours. Use what you love and you can never go wrong.

Thanks so much to Katie for having me today. It was a total pleasure spending the day in the Cucina.

Feel free to stop by my blogs to check them out. I blog at Cravings of a Lunatic, and also Kiss My Smoke. I’m a pinterest spaz and have also recently become obsessed with instagram. I have no idea what I’m doing but with 2 kids, 3 cats, a puppy and a horse I never run out of photo material. Occasionally I even toss some food photos up just to keep things interesting.

Toodles and smoochies! xx


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Today, I have my blogging friend in real life, Christine from Cook the Story  sharing 50 Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. Christine is all about helping you spend less time in the kitchen and more time at the table with family and friends. To get her quick tips and recipe ideas, subscribe to her weekly newsletter here.

50 grilled cheese recipes

Today is the perfect day to be helping Katie out with her blogging maternity leave. Why? Because 6 years ago today, my first child was born. 6 years! The time has sure flown. He’s a full-fledged kid now who loves Angry Birds, science, karate, Sophia the First and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Ahhh…grilled cheese sandwiches. There are very few things as comforting as gooey cheese between butter-crisped bread.

Last year I made it my mission to find a way to get the ultimate crunch on the outside of a grilled cheese sandwich without destroying the inner fluffier part of the bread. I figured it out.

The key to that outer crunch is to add something to the butter. Something that gets crunchy when heated. I have two ingredients that do the trick.

The first is parmesan cheese. You mix finely shredded parm with softened butter and then smear it on the outside of the sandwich. Get all the details about this crunchy grilled cheese sandwich here.

The second ingredient is ideally suited for breakfast-style grilled cheeses or grilled cheese sandwiches with apple and cheddar. It’s maple syrup. You mix the syrup with softened butter and slather it on. The heat of the pan caramelizes it into a sweet crunch. Get all the details about this breakfast grilled cheese here.

Once you’ve got the outer crust of your grilled cheese sandwich figured out, all that’s left to make it perfect are the fillings. And have I ever got filling ideas for you! Here are more grilled cheese filling ideas than you could ever imagine!

BLT with Mozzarella and Sundried Tomato Panini from Katie’s Cucina
Gnocchi-Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich from The Noble Pig
Bacon Pretzel Grilled Cheese from The Noble Pig
Pumpkin Grilled Cheese with Apples and Cheddar from Kitchen Tested
garden fresh grilled cheese from Spabettie
Grilled Cheese Wafflewich Sliders from Spabettie
Grilled Cheese with Apples and Farmer’s Cheese from The Lemon Bowl
BBQ Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from The Little Kitchen
Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese from The Kitchen is My Playground
PB&J Grilled Cheese from Poet in the Pantry
Spinach, Tomato and Gouda Panini with Apple Butternut Squash Spread from Big Bear’s Wife
Habanero Jack Grilled Cheese with Pear and Prosciutto from Cooking with Books
Roast Beef and Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese from Running to the Kitchen
Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese from Healthy. Delicious.
Gourmet Grilled Cheese with Jalapeno Jelly from Healthy. Delicious.
Sloppy Burger Grilled Cheese from Snappy Gourmet
Buffalo Shrimp Grilled Cheese from Snappy Gourmet
Pesto Pizza Grilled Cheese from Weary Chef
Pepperoni Pizza Grilled Cheese from Ask Chef Dennis
Sweet Honey Pomegranate Grilled Cheese from An Edible Mosaic
Spinach Mozzarella Grilled Cheese from An Edible Mosaic
Sattay-Inspired Turkey Grilled Cheese from An Edible Mosaic
Pimiento Grilled Cheese from Taste and Tell Blog
Grown Up BBQ Chicken Grilled Cheese from Will Cook for Smiles
Ultimate Grilled Cheese from Julie’s Eats and Treats
Bacon Chipotle Pimento Grilled Cheese from Growing Up Gabel
Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese from Taste and Tell Blog
World’s Best Grilled Cheese (on cinnamon raising bread!) from Shockingly Delicious
Spicy Mushroom Torta with Queso Quesadilla from Muy Bueno Cookbook
Brie, Tomato and Basil Grilled Cheese from Foodologie
Wine Poached Pear Grilled Cheese from Dieters Downfall
Basil, Balsamic Strawberries and Whipped Feta Grilled Cheese from Cupcakes and Kale Chips
Caprese Grilled Cheese from Diiethood
Strawberry Brie Grilled Cheese from Food Babbles
Reuben Panini from Katie’s Cucina
Grilled Vegetable and Pesto Panini from Overtime Cook
Grilled Muenster with Turkey, Tomato and Thyme Spread from Very Culinary
Loaded Baked Potato Grilled Cheese Sandwich from Southern Fairytale
Grilled Nutella Cheesecake Sandwich from Chocolate Moosey
Brie, Pear and Walnut Grilled Cheese from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Grown Up Grilled Cheese Sandwich from Aggie’s Kitchen
Lemon Basil Grilled Cheese Panini from The Lemon Bowl
Grilled Cheese with Apple, Rosemary and Walnut Butter from Bran Appetit
Philly Cheesesteak Grilled Cheese from Nutmeg Nanny
Grilled Triple Cheese Sandwiches from Around My Family Table
Red, White and Blue Grilled Cheese from Ari’s Menu
Strawberry Bruschetta Grilled Cheese from Foodie Crush
Italian Grilled Cheese from A Night Owl
French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese from Tenacity Solution


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Today, I’m so excited to have my friend Caroline from Chocolate & Carrots here to share 25 Ooey Gooey Dessert Recipes. Caroline and I met in real life at Food Blog Forum last year. We didn’t actually meet at the conference, but on the monorail as it was “resting” for a good 30 minutes. I got to meet her precious son and husband. Then, while at Blogher Food in Austin we got to spend more time together. Twice in one year–that’s a lot for a blogger to see another blogger. We text back and forth and chat via Facebook, and I can not thank Caroline enough for stepping up to the plate and helping out while we are enjoying our bundle of joy!

25 Ooey Gooey Desserts! | chocolateandcarrots.com

Hi Katie’s Cucina readers! I’m Caroline from Chocolate & Carrots, where I make your favorite desserts a little healthier for you, with a side of my calorie-free cutie pie, Liam!

I’m so thrilled to be able to help Katie out while she’s snuggling up on that precious baby boy. Give that baby some lovin’ from all of us! Melt me. You’re giving me baby fever again!

Speaking of melting, I melt when I hear ooey gooey desserts (pun intended!). Now that I’ve gone and said ooey gooey desserts again, it’s only fair of me to share with you some of my favorite ooey gooey desserts from the blogosphere!

Here are 25 of my favorite Ooey Gooey Dessert recipes:

  1. Caramel Toffee Brownies A La Mode by Love From The Oven
  2. Hot Cocoa Cookies by Chocolate & Carrots
  3. Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies by Bakeaholic Mama
  4. Nutella Gooey Butter Cake by Tidy Mom
  5. Marshmallow Stuffed Confetti Cookies by Chelsea’s Messy Apron
  6. Biscoff Stuffed Pumpkin Mini Muffins by Handle the Heat
  7. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream by The Messy Baker
  8. Peanut Butter Snickers Cheesecake Brownie Pie by Inside BruCrew Life
  9. Easy Whole Wheat Raspberry Molton Cakes by Chocolate & Carrots
  10. Flourless Chocolate Cake by Brown Eyed Baker
  11. Apple Pie Milkshakes by Katie’s Cucina
  12. Marshmallow Oreo Fudge Cake by Back For Seconds
  13. Gooey S’mores Brownies by Kuki’s Kookbook
  14. The Ultimate Gooey Caramel Brownie Mug Cake Sundae by Willow Bird Baking
  15. Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Brownies by SugarHero
  16. Whole Grain Cookie Dough Bars by Chocolate & Carrots
  17. Salted Mudslide Cookies by How Sweet Eats
  18. S’mores Lava Cakes by Creme de la Crumb
  19. Nutella Cheesecake Gooey Cake Bars by Lovin’ From The Oven
  20. Cookie Butter Gooey Cake Bars by Tortillas and Honey
  21. Caramel Stuffed Snickerdoodles by The Baker Upstairs
  22. Gooey Chocolate Pudding Cake by Spend with Pennies
  23. Chocolate Truffle Cookies by Chocolate & Carrots
  24. Mississippi Mud Cake by Sweet Bella Roos
  25. Ooey Gooey Carrot Spice Cake by Desserted Planet

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First off, I wanted to give everyone a little update. Seems that our little guy is being a little stubborn and still has yet to grace us with his presence. You can follow along via social media. I’ve been trying to give daily updates (especially on Instagram).

Today, we have a tasty round-up of 50 Easy, Healthy Family Meals from Angela, from Seasonal and Savory. I met Angela last year during a Google+ Hangout! I love her blog and hope that after you check out this impressive list of recipes you’ll head over and check out all the great recipes she has to offer!

50 Easy, Healthy Family Meals round-up from Seasonal and Savory for KatiesCucina.com

Hi, this is Angela, from Seasonal and Savory, stepping in for Katie while she is on maternity leave! My recipes are mostly gluten free and free of refined sugars, and with a focus on fresh, seasonal produce. Since Katie has her hands full right now I called on some of my food blogger friends to put together a round-up of fifty easy, healthy, family-friendly meals to help her out. I hope she finds some recipes here that her family will enjoy, and I hope you do, too.

Chicken and Turkey Recipes:

Pizza Chicken Roulades, from Emily Bites

Green Chicken Curry, from A Cedar Spoon

Easy Baked Chicken Cacciatore, from The Kitchen is My Playground

Breaded Whole Chicken, by Cook the Story

Stir-Fried Chicken with Pineapple and Peppers, by Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Chicken and Bell Pepper Chow Mein, by Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Chicken Parmesan Wonton “Cupcakes,” from Emily Bites

Honey Mustard Chicken, by Overtime Cook

Chicken with Italian Plums, by Seasonal and Savory

Quinoa Crusted “Fried” Chicken, from Cooking on the Weekends

Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken and Red Potatoes, from A Cedar Spoon

Turkey Gyro Burgers, by Renee’s Kitchen Adventures

Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus Quinoa, by Inside BruCrew Life


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Today, we have Dianna from The Kitchen Prep sharing her recipe for Brazilian Coconut Brigadeiros. I’ve never heard of these before Dianna introduced me to them–they look (and sound… well read) amazing! Dianna met at a local blogger conference and stayed in touch since. She lives a few hours south from me, so we don’t get to see each other too often. I know that if she lived closer we would hangout frequently–we have a lot in common!
Brazilian Coconut Brigadeiros from The Kitchen Prep on KatiesCucina.com

Hi everyone! I’m Dianna from The Kitchen Prep, filling in for Katie today while she gets some major snuggle time with her new little one!

I’m thrilled to be over here on Katie’s Cucina… it’s nice to get out of your own kitchen every now and again. ;) Aside from that, Katie & I happen to have lots in common! We both love to make crafty things {though I have no patience for documenting my DIY projects like she does!}; we both love to travel and share our foodie adventures; we’re both Floridians; and, most importantly, we both love to cook & bake up a storm!
When Katie asked me to share a recipe during her blog maternity leave, I started thinking about all of my current cravings {they change up pretty often}, and on the top of that list right now is anything coconut. There’s just something about coconut flavor that whisks you away to a tropical happy place.

Brazilian Coconut Brigadeiros from The Kitchen Prep on KatiesCucina.com

Back when I first started my blog, I posted a recipe for Brazilian Coconut Brigadeiros — super sweet and chewy little coconut truffles made with sweetened condensed milk and flaked coconut. The only thing is, I was using a camera phone at the time {and 3 years ago the quality of phone pics wasn’t what it is today}…so, the pictures? Yeah, they didn’t really do these treats justice. In fact, they were just plain bad. And the brigadeiros themselves? Quite the opposite!
So today, I’m whipping up another batch {with much-improved pictures!} to share with you!
Here’s the best news of all: These are ridiculously easy to make. If you can boil liquid and have enough patience to let it set up in the fridge, then you can make these without even breaking a sweat. Although there is a bit of whisking involved… so maybe just a tiny bit. But it’s worth it.
One of my favorite things about these rich coconut candies {besides the fact that they’re made with condensed milk which is reason enough to love them} is the fact that you can get creative and roll them in all kinds of toppings. Toasted coconut, mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, chopped nuts… Wouldn’t they be perfect on an Easter or spring dessert buffet?
Brazilian Coconut Brigadeiros from The Kitchen Prep on KatiesCucina.com
Thanks again to Katie for inviting me to come hang out in her cucina while she soaks up some sweetness of her own!
Adapted from Fine Cooking
Brazilian Coconut Brigadeiros

Brazilian Coconut Brigadeiros

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1 cup finely shredded, unsweetened coconut, divided
  • Optional: Other assorted toppings for rolling, like mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, etc.

Directions

  1. Mix together sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, butter and corn syrup in a pot over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a bubble, then toss in half of the shredded coconut {1/2 cup}.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk, whisk, whisk until the mixture begins to thicken. Try not to scrape up the residue forming on the bottom of the pan or you'll have little brown bits in your candies. If you don't care about that kind of thing, then scrape away!
  3. Keep whisking until the mixture has thickened significantly {about 8-10 minutes}. It should be reduced by about half and slide as one mass to the other side of the pot when the pot is slightly tilted.
  4. Pour the mixture into a heat-proof bowl and allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until it is set up and can be handled.
  5. Meanwhile, get your desired topping ready by putting it in a bowl. Using a tablespoon, scoop the mixture and roll it into balls. Toss them into the topping and roll them around until they're fully coated.
  6. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

- Milk, especially sweetened milk, is easy to burn, so keep an eye on it while the heat is high. - Spraying your tablespoon, and even your hands, with a little oil can help the scooping/rolling process. The stuff is sticky! - I toasted the coconut that I rolled these in, but they also look very pretty with plain, un-toasted coconut, too!

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Today, I’m excited to introduce the first of many guest bloggers that will be visiting Katie’s Cucina over the next month. This is an effort to help my husband and I try to adjust to this new concept for us called “parenting”. My first guest blogger is Jenna from Petitfoodie. We met at Mixed Conference in 2012. Jenna and I are very similar in the fact that we are both flexitarians. We love our veggies, and every now and then crave some meat. After your done reading about this recipe go check out some of the beverage and dinner recipes Jenna has created!

Tropical Parfaits with Coconut Lime Granola guest post from petitfoodie on KatiesCucina.com

Hi Katie’s Cucina readers! I’m Jenna from Petitfoodie. I’m super excited to be guest blogging for Katie while she takes some time off to welcome her little bundle of joy into the world. There’s nothing like becoming a parent for the first time and I hope she enjoys every second of it.

Today, I’m bringing you a bit of tropical goodness. Spring is not quite here yet, but I’m hoping this sunny yogurt parfait with coconut lime granola will pull you out of your winter slump. The coconut lime granola is the true star of this show. The lime flavor really intensifies when paired with yogurt and fruit. I chose to use vanilla Greek yogurt for these parfaits. It is a favorite in my house. You could really choose to plain Greek yogurt. I’m sure even a fruit flavored would be good.

Tropical Parfaits with Coconut Lime Granola guest post from petitfoodie on KatiesCucina.com

These tropical yogurt parfaits are a refreshing way to start the day, or the perfect mid-afternoon pick me up. If you need to get out of your winter rut you must try these tropical yogurt parfaits. Make some in advanced so you can enjoy them all week long. These make for the perfect grab and go breakfast. I hope you enjoy this recipe. Stop by my blog Petitfoodie for more delicious recipes. Let’s be friends on Pinterest| Instgram | G+ | Facebook | Twitter.

Tropical Parfaits with Coconut Lime Granola

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 3 cups granola 2 parfaits

Tropical Parfaits with Coconut Lime Granola

Ingredients

    Granola: (Makes 3 Cups)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 whole small lime, zested
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1 ¼ cups oats
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Parfaits: (Serves 2)
  • 2 cups vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 mango
  • 1 ½ cups granola

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a small pot heat honey, oil, brown sugar over med-low heat until combine.
  3. In a medium bowl combine lime juice, lime zest, almonds, coconut, oats, salt and cinnamon.
  4. Drizzle honey mixture over oats. Stir until all the oat mixture is well coated with the honey.
  5. Place granola on baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Watch closely this will burn easily. Toss ever 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Will keep in air-tight container for 2 weeks.
  6. Assembling the Parfaits:
  7. Place ¼ cup granola in bottom of small dish or glass. Add ½ cup yogurt. Top with a ¼ of the mango. Repeat this one time.
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Slow Cooker Berry Cobbler

Happy Sunday! I’ve got a slow cooker dessert treat for you this fine Sunday. Last year, I did a little experimenting with the help of a few recipes floating out on the internet. Thus it yielded the easiest slow cooker berry cobbler I’ve ever made. Yes–you can make dessert in the slow cooker!

Today is actually my last official post before I start my 1-month long “blog maternity leave”. Did you know that such a thing exist? Well it does. When you blog frequently you don’t want to go cold turkey and deprive your readers of delicious recipes. So I’ve asked 16 of my blog friends to share recipes and round-ups to keep your palettes tantalized. For those who are wondering, no the baby has not arrived yet. I’m t-minus 3 days from the due date. I walked for 3 hours yesterday and was hoping that would do the trick. Still no baby. I’m beginning to think he may never decided to make his appearance although I know that’s not true. This month has flown by yet I feel like each day crawls. A total catch 22 if you ask me. So enough about me and the bump and let’s talk a little about this slow cook berry cobbler.

Slow Cooker Berry Cobbler

This is the best and easiest slow cooker dessert to make if your entertaining. Or well if you just want a comforting berry dessert. I will be the first to admit that I never think of making dessert in the slow cooker. When I think of my slow cooker I think of a main dish and what’s for dinner. Not what’s for dessert? I have a feeling this is the first of many slow cooker desserts I’ll be whipping up in the future.

I shared this recipe for slow cooker cobbler with ALL the berries over at Food Fanatic.

Disclaimer: I’m a paid contributor over at Food Fanatic. I’m not required to share these recipes on Katie’s Cucina, but choose too because I want my readers to not miss a single thing I’m cooking up in the kitchen!


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Easy appetizer recipe -- BLT CrostinisThe other weekend our friends invited my husband and I over for a barbecue. We get together with them 1-2 times a month. It’s always very impromptu and spur of the moment. They had a baby last May, so our sporadicalness has started to become a little more well planned, although there are still days where its Friday at 3 and we are all messaging back and forth about dinner that night. As my due date approaches each time we hang out, we all kid and say this could be the last time before baby. They told us we didn’t need to bring anything to dinner, but of course I can’t come empty handed.

BLT Crostini

The thought of BLT crostini’s had ran across my mind a few times over the past month. In my head it was going to be a quick and easy appetizer, a little on the fancy side, and hopefully satisfying. Oh and que in the messy part. That part I didn’t really think through until we were eating the bite-size BLT appetizer. Because I was tired and had been working on nursery projects that day I decided to go a short-cut route and serve it up with ranch dressing, although later I tested it with the Dill Buttermilk Salad Dressing and found it to be much more enjoyable. It’s all about preference. The day I made this recipe in my kitchen, I picked the cherry tomatoes from my garden. The only surviving tomatoes from our harsh Florida winter. I love green tomatoes, so I chose to cut up some of the unripe tomatoes from the vine.

Easy appetizer recipe -- BLT Crostinis

So, let’s rewind back to my friends barbecue. When I showed up with my individual containers everyone was intrigued. We had one person who despises tomatoes so her’s was just lettuce, bacon, ranch, and crostini, and then we have my husband and my other friend who don’t like bacon, so theirs had everything but bacon. This is really a versatile appetizer. And as you can tell even perfect for the pickiest of eaters!

Katie Original Recipe

BLT Crostinis

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 8-10

BLT Crostinis

Ingredients

  • 1 french baguette, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 12 strips bacon, cooked
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in quarters
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/4 cup Dill Buttermilk Salad Dressing or Ranch Dressing
  • Fresh cracked pepper, optional

Directions

  1. Cook bacon according to package. Place cooked bacon on paper towels to drain excess grease. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
  2. In a bowl, combine sliced cherry tomatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Give it a good toss and set to the side.
  3. Toast sliced baguettes for 2-3 minute or until golden brown.
  4. Place a drizzle of dressing on each of the baguettes followed by a slice of bacon, shredded lettuce, and tomato mixture. Drizzle with additional dressing and cracked black pepper if desired. Serve and eat immediately.

Notes

You can prepare the crostini's yourself or have a few prepared with all the ingredients surrounding it--allowing your guest to create their own BLT crostinis.

To bump up the bacon flavor, rub a little bacon fat on both sides of the baguette before toasting. It will intensify the flavor.

I have made this recipe with traditional red cherry tomatoes and a mix of red, orange, and green cherry tomatoes from my garden. Both yield a delicious BLT crostini and are all up to preference and availability.

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slow cooker lemon chicken orzo soup

I’m back today with a slow cooker lemon orzo soup recipe. I’ve made this recipe a few times now over the past 9 months and its been a big hit. Plus, who doesn’t love to let the slow cooker do all the work? I adore my KitchenAid Slow Cooker. It is perfect for entertaining because of the easy serve lid. Each side lifts and locks which is convenient for one-handed serving. No need to find a place to put the lid! I also love that my slow cooker has 4 temperature settings! I also love that its oval and not round. Not that it matters when you’re cooking soup, but if you’re roasting meet it’s a nice feature to have.

lemon chicken orzo soup in the slow cookerThe slow cooker lemon chicken orzo soup is chocked full of veggies, chicken, and flavor and makes enough to feed an army! I also love that it doesn’t really require a lot of ingredients. For instance, you only need 2 boneless skinless chicken breast. From the looks of the soup you would think I used a few pounds of chicken. A few veggies, nothing over the top, plus one cup of orzo pasta and you’ve got yourself a heart soup! You can prep your veggies the night before and place them in a container or a baggie to dump into the slow cooker the next morning or spend a few extra minutes in the morning prepping dinner.

Each time I’ve made this soup I’ve given a nice large container to my neighbor to enjoy. One of the times, she was sick and it just worked out perfect. Who doesn’t love a big bowl of homemade soup when your sick? So whether your up north and still battling the frigid temperatures, starting to come down with a cold, or maybe just craving a simple comforting meal; give my recipe for slow cooker lemon chicken orzo soup a try!

I created this original recipe for Food Fanatic.

Disclaimer: I’m a contributor to Food Fanatic and receive compensation for developing recipes. As always all opinions are my own.


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