Category: quick recipes

Jalapeño Cilantro Hummus – Takes only seconds to make this healthy, nutritious treat!

Was there life before hummus?

I don’t know about you, but I barely remember life before hummus.  I’m not even sure when this delicious, nutritious food came on the scene but I’m glad it did.  It is so popular it shows up on restaurant offerings as well as almost every pot luck and party.  It comes in a variety of flavors and is very versatile.  In addition to being served as a dip with pita chips or veggies it can be used as a spread on wraps and sandwiches too!

So what exactly is thing called “Hummus”?  It is made from garbanzo beans.  Yep, garbanzo beans blended with some seasonings.  That’s it.  It is that simple.  So why would anyone want to make their own hummus when you can just buy it already made in almost any grocery store?  That is a great question and my answer is…because it is so easy and you can whip it up on a moments notice using ingredients you have on hand (providing of course you have them on hand).  Another reason is that you can control what you put in it and adjust the seasonings to your preference.  And…not to mention…it is fun and impressive to say you made it yourself.  Right?  Sometimes it is just fun to say you made something yourself.

I hope you will give this recipe a try.  The recipe is more of a guideline than anything.  Feel free to add more jalapeños if you like it hotter.  You may want to add some lemon or lime juice and a sprinkle of oregano would taste great too.  Have fun with it and make it your own.  Oh, and please let me know how it works out for you.  I love to hear from you!

Jalapeño Cilantro Hummus - serve with tortilla chips!

Category: appetizers, quick recipes, Snacks

Jalapeño Cilantro Hummus - serve with tortilla chips!


  • I 15oz. can garbanzo beans (aka chick peas)
  • 2 cubes crushed garlic or 2 fresh garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon jalapeño slices from a jar
  • 1 teaspoon juice from the jar
  • 2 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro


  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and whirl until smooth! That's it!
  2. May be served immediately or refrigerated for up to a week.
  3. It is great served with tortilla chips!
  4. May also be served with fresh veggies or your favorite crispy chip or cracker.
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Stuffed Baked Artichokes – Omg…this is heaven


This is heaven…

I loooove all things artichokes!  I use artichoke hearts in salads and dips and pasta dishes. There is just mysterious and wonderful about this thing called an artichoke.  They are a bit like life…hard to read from the outside and yet once you’ve unsolved their mystery they are yours to do with as you wish.  You just have to get to know them at a deeper level than meets the eye.  Okay…perhaps I’m getting a little carried away and dramatic…all to drive the point of my passion for these wild creatures.

In truth, (more…)

Suzi’s – make it in seconds…tastes like you slaved all day…Secret Salsa Hack!

I’m not kidding when I say this is the easiest and best salsa ever!  It’s almost embarrassing to share the recipe but share I must.  I just can’t keep things like this to myself. AND I want you to get all the credit when you serve it!  It’s your recipe now…

Suzi’s – make it in seconds…tastes like you slaved all day…Secret Salsa Hack!

Category: quick recipes, Recipes, Salsas and Sauces, Snacks

You can serve this salsa immediately or make ahead a few hours or even the day before to allow flavors to blend. Store covered, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


  • 1 8 oz. can Herdez brand Salsa Casera, come in mild, medium or hot (choice is yours)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 green onions chopped or 2 tablespoons or so of diced red onion


  1. Open can
  2. Pour into a serving dish
  3. Add cilantro and green onion
  4. Stir and serve!
  5. Or...
  6. If you prefer you may put all ingredients in a blender or food processor
  7. The choice is yours!
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Cranberry Bleu Pecan Cheese Ball – faux pas and all!



Soooooo Easy…only 4 ingredients and it is awesome!

One night this flavor combination just popped in my head so I quickly wrote it down…a few weeks later I had the opportunity to try it out and serve it at a luncheon.  It was a hit!  I originally served it as a spread with crackers and also with celery sticks for a gluten-free option.  I’ve made it several times since and it is always well received.  I hope you’ll give try it out and taste for yourself.  Enjoy!

Cranberry Bleu Pecan Cheese Ball ~ AKA CBP Cheese Ball

Cranberry Bleu Pecan Cheese Ball ~ AKA CBP Cheese Ball

Quick and easy cheese ball or spread! Only 4 ingredients!


  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Additional 3/4 cup chopped pecans for rolling


  1. Place cream cheese in microwave safe bowl
  2. Heat in microwave on 50% power for 1 minute to soften
  3. Add cranberries, bleu cheese, and pecans
  4. Use electric mixer to mix together
  5. Form into a ball and roll in chopped pecans or you can serve it as a spread
  6. You may serve immediately or even better make ahead and refrigerate for flavors to blend
  7. Before serving, remove from fridge 30 minutes or so to soften
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Easy Toffee Pretzel Bark – A fabulous gourmet snack!


Toffee Pretzel Bark

Toffee Pretzel Bark

This makes a great party snack. Serve in baskets or put in small treat bags tied with ribbons. You can also use colored candy melts to coordinate with the occasion. I sometimes use colored sprinkles in place of the toffee.


  • 5 cups mini pretzel twists
  • 1 1/2 white chocolate candy melts (approximately 10 oz.)
  • 2/3 cup toffee bits


  1. Line a 1/2 sheet baking pan (13" x 18") with parchment
  2. Spread pretzels evenly over the parchment, they will overlap slightly
  3. Pretzels on parchment
  4. Heat white chocolate candy melts in microwave on high for 1 minute, stir, heat for an additional 30 seconds, stir until smooth
  5. With a large spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the pretzels
  6. Sprinkle toffee bits evenly over the chocolate
  7. Allow to cool
  8. Break apart and serve or store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag
  9. Toffee Pretzel Bark in bags
  10. Enjoy!
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How to make…Homemade Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing

Milk, mayonnaise and Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix…It’s really that easy!  You will never buy the stuff in the bottle again!

1 pint (2 cups) Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tablespoons Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
  • Will keep 1-2 weeks depending on the freshness of your milk.
  • Variations:
  • For Bleu Cheese Dressing: add 1/3 cup of crumbled bleu cheese
  • For Creamy Dill Dressing: add 1 tsp. dried dill weed or 1 Tablespoon of fresh dill weed
  • For Creamy Bacon Dressing: add 1/4 cup of crumbled bacon bits


  1. In a 1 quart (4 cup) measuring/mixing bowl:
  2. Pour in milk up to the 1 cup line
  3. Add mayonnaise to the 2 cup line
  4. Add in the 3 Tablespoons of Ranch Dressing Mix
  5. Whisk until smooth.
  6. Add fresh ground pepper, if desired.
  7. Pour into a 1 pint mason jar, or other, and refrigerate until ready to use.
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It’s Finally Here! “Nana’s Family” Cookbook available in digital format! Buy today!


Buy Now

Nana's Family Cookbook - New eBook format! Buy now


“Nana’s Family” Cookbook was originally created in 2004…

I created this special cookbook as a way of honoring my beloved grandmother, “Nana”.  “Nana” was mother to 5 children, grandmother to 17 grandchildren and great-grandmother to more than I can count.  “Nana” always had room at her table to feed whoever came to her door. “Nana’s Family” extends far beyond her natural born offspring. “Nana” taught us that there is no stranger and everyone was welcome to be a part of her family.   This cookbook is a collection of recipes collected from “Nana’s Family” they are sure to wow and delight your family!  Only 250 copies were ever printed… has never been available to the public until now!

I know you will enjoy the recipes and stories that await inside to delight you and your family!

“Nana’s Family” Cookbook contains more than 200 Beloved Family Recipes including “Nana’s” Southern Chicken and Dumplings and “Nana’s” Sunday Roast Dinner  And can be delivered to your inbox today for only $12.00  

 Buy NowNana's Family Cookbook - New eBook format! Buy now

Also, if you haven’t already joined me on my blog journey, I hope you will sign up today. Each week I will be sending out recipes as well as fun instructional videos straight to your inbox. I will be sharing my cooking and creative ideas with you and encouraging you to try them out for yourself.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be a part of your life’s journey!  I’m delighted we have crossed paths!

Yours in cooking and creativity,






Do you stress over what to take to a potluck? Learn how you can save time and energy with a “signature dish”

What's your -Signature Dish--Tis the season for potlucks and parties….

The truth is … much as I enjoy cooking and entertaining ….. thinking about what to make and take for picnics, BBQ’s, and potlucks used to stress me out.  Now I don’t have to think about it or stress about it because I take the same things over and over.  Yep….it’s true!  That doesn’t mean that I never switch it up… means if I am in the mood to switch it up I do, and if I feel stress coming on over it I rely on my tried and true dishes that I can make quickly and easily and that still have the “wow factor”.  I even have a couple of recipes saved on my computer to print and give out to guests upon request.

In the beginning I felt a bit guilty about rotating the same recipes….

Then….. one day…… I realized this HUGE TRUTH…… musicians, magicians, comedians and motivational speakers do this very same thing!!!!!! They play the same songs, do the same tricks, and tell the same jokes and stories over and over again.  That’s how they get good at it and that’s how this idea saves time and energy!   They play to different audiences so their content is fresh to each new audience.  And yes there might be a bit of overlap from time to time but even that has its place.  Just like they don’t have to learn new songs, tricks, jokes and stories for every new gig… don’t have to learn a new recipe every time!!!!!  Repetition is now my friend and I am guilt free!

So….what is a signature dish?

 Wikipedia’s  definition of a signature dish is a recipe that identifies an individual chef. Ideally it should be unique and allow an informed gastronome to name the chef in a blind tasting. It can be thought of as the culinary equivalent of an artist finding their own style, or an author finding their own voice. In practice a chef’s signature dish often changes with time or they may claim several signature dishes.

Suzi’s definition of a signature dish is…any dish that you enjoy making and taking often.  It can be one that people look forward to you bringing because it’s not one of their signature dishes.  Or, it can also be one that you take to new or different groups.    As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t have to be one that you created on your own, though of course it can be. For me it is dishes that have received rave reviews when I’ve taken them and I love rave reviews 🙂

May your Holidays be stress free days!

Here are a two of my signature dishes…..feel free to adopt them as your own.  They are yours now 🙂


Tropical Cole Slaw for a Crowd RecipeApple Oatmeal Crunch