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Category Archives: Food

The 3rd Annual Birthday Bash

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Sunset On Madeira Beach

We recently had our “2nd Annual Birthday Bash”.  It was held at our home, on Madeira Beach, Florida.  A good time was had by everyone who came.  It will be memories, Cathy (my wife of over 20 years)  and I will carry in our hearts forever.

The Birthday Party (a “tradition” started in 2010), became a three-day affair, this year.  We started the party as  a way to celebrate a few family members’ birthday, all at one time. It was an excuse to gather the family together and have a BBQ by the pool, topped off with a birthday cake.   It has become so much more. A “Birthday Party”, is no longer an adequate description.  It has become more  a celebration of, “FAMILY”.

This year, the party coincided with our vacations, so we were able to expand it a bit more.  My family recently relocated to Madeira Beach  (we previously lived in Titusville, Florida), so some of our guests traveled to our home and stayed at motels near-by. This allowed us to make the party a longer event.  This also allowed everyone to spend more time together and gave us all the “space” to do our own thing.  It was more of a short “Vacation Getaway”.  It was a stay-cation for our household.


We started our party on Friday night, with a visit from Miranda’s  (our daughter) boyfriend’s  parents.  We sat on the porch and talked, drank and laughed into the night.  It was the first time, I had met them and I had a good time.  It was a very good start to a fantastic weekend.


We spent the next day prepping for Sunday’s Brunch and afternoon BBQ.  If you want to be a participant in your own party and not just a caterer, I’ve found that prep time is very important.   I’ve learned to prepare platters, side dishes and  even pre-cook some of the BBQ items in advance.  When you plan an event, that not only takes all day, but in our case more than one day…you have to expect that your guest will not be present at all parts of your event, or even all show up at a set time for any one part.  We anticipated this and had a few extra appetizers/side dishes that we could put out throughout the days as needed.  This worked out best in the hours in-between our Brunch and BBQ on Sunday.  In some of my earlier BBQs, as I finished grilling…my guest where getting ready to leave.   This year was more pleasurable.  This was the next best thing to having the weekend catered.  We were cook, host and guest/participants.  It was such an enjoyable experience. Read the rest of this entry


Just When You Think You’ve Seen It All…

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Float and Eat

I was born and raised in New York City, so when I tell you; “I’ve seen it all”…I probably have.  That is what I thought until recently.  I now know you have never seen it all.

Yesterday was eventful in this area.  We had nine tornadoes in the immediate area, a few were very close to our home.  One tornado hit the businesses adjacent to my wife’s store, at the Largo Mall.  She was working from home, so she was not in danger.  We have had many tornado scares in the twenty plus years I’ve lived in Florida, but never this many at one time.  We have seen this before.

It was a beautiful day here in Madeira Beach.  The sun was shinning, the breeze was blowing, it was about 80 and I was working.  I decided to take a meal break, something I rarely do, but I did not want to miss out on the entire day.  I am fortunate to have a few food options all within walking distance.  It also means I get to walk off my meal.  I decided to make the unhealthy choice and walk to the McDonald’s across the parking lot.

I ordered my meal and went out to the McDonald’s pier to eat my meal.  Yes I said the McDonald’s pier.  Our local McDonald’s has a pier.  You can float up, dock and come in and eat.  That’s not the strange part, although unusual.  I was sitting there, on the pier, when a homeless man rowed up to me and asked me for spare change.  I knew he was homeless by the contents of the rowboat.  I told the man I would not give him any money but he could have my untouched french fries.  He said he would accept them.  I proceeded to hand them down to him, when out of the sky swooped down a seagull and stole them and flew off to share them with his posse.  That is when I realized I had not seen it all.

Life is a Stew

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Today is a little rainy, a little overcast and a little melancholy.  Today is quiet, lazy, peaceful, restful and reflective.  Today is a good day.  Today is a  good ingredient for my life.

I’ve been thinking lately of how, “a good life, is like a good recipe”.  A good recipe starts with good ingredients, you add the spices, you prepare the dish then you serve it up with  a large helping of love.  A good life is much the same ; the recipe is made up of days, spiced with family, friends, co workers, strangers, chance meetings and random encounters.  It takes years to prepare, but the final product is always good if served with a lot of love.  When served in the right portions, there’s room for dessert,  and it will taste like, ” a little slice of heaven”.

I know the metaphor is a little weak and could use a little spicing up of it's own...but it gave me the opportunity to use this photograph of the ingredients of my beef stew.

Eggnog Sugar Cookies (via Patent and the Pantry)

WOW can’t wait to try and I don’t bake, you have to measure.

Eggnog Sugar Cookies Can I just admit something pretty embarrassing (for bloggers anyway) here? I made these a year ago. And then I procrastinated (It’s a curse!). And then, well, the window closed for holiday baking. And that was that. Until now. However, in the intervening year (!), I have completely forgotten why I wanted to make these and what I was going to say about them. I mean, cookies = good. Eggnog = good. Eggnog cookies = good x 2. And, really, do they nee … Read More

via Patent and the Pantry

Two Bite Pumpkin Pies (via Bake Me More)

Some family members may think this looks familiar……

Two Bite Pumpkin Pies I’m not sure whether to call these  cookies, pastry, pies, tarts or just plain dessert. Since preparing these for my daughters 4th grade class they have been given all of those titles, and with flying colors. I did give out a few copies of the recipe too. Note, I had prepared this post Thanksgiving week and just realized that it was still in my unpublished file! I must have been half asleep when I started it. Anyway, here is the original post lin … Read More

via Bake Me More

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"High-five-ing" dinner!

Some of my fondest memories, are the Easter vacations I spent in P.R. as a child.   The family spent many school breaks on the island, my father’s birth place.  My first memory is by far the funniest.  I think it was my first visit, first day that I watched a young boy, about my age,  run by me with a roasted pig’s tail in his mouth.  I’ve had a fascination with “pig roast”  from that day on.

So it was with great delight, I greeted my mothers news for her birthday celebration this year.  ” I’m going to have a pig roast”, she said…you’re nuts, I thought, but so am I….so,” great idea” I said.


Mom had just recently returned from a Cruise of the Mediterranean and the Holy Land.  One of the highlights, was a meal featuring a roast pig at a carving station.  Mom the adventurer that she is, thought this would be a great surprise  to celebrate her birthday, with a “pig roast”.   I don’t really think she fully appreciated what she was getting herself into.  It turned out to be  a true adventure.

Mom tried a couple of local supermarkets but her swine would not be in time to dine. The little piggies were just not running all the way home…..I can go on, but you get the message, no succulent suckling (I had to get one more in).  I did not know it yet, but I would soon have a role to play in this dinner surprise.  I was out for a ride, just to get out of the house when mom told me about her adventure.  I was thinking of taking a ride out to Orlando, so I said I would checkout Bravo, a supermarket in central Florida that caters to its growing hispanic community, for her.  I found a small pig that would work and we “ran all the way home” (I couldn’t resist).

The little 30 lb.  pig and I rode back to Titusville, and so the adventure began.  When I returned to Mom’s home we both stared at this animal in wounder…now what.  It was already concluded that an outside, actual “pig roast”, would be ruled out.  It was way too labor intensive, and time-consuming, but getting this “thing” in the oven was also out of the question.  Inquiries at “Bravo” had revealed that they could cook it for us, for a fee, but they would have to cut him into pieces.  We felt that would defeat the purpose and diminish the fun, and aesthetically not very pleasing.  Why not cut it in half and roast him in the oven, side by side?  It could stare at us and “moon” us at the same time!  As it turned out, “easier-said-than-done”.  Mom decided to partially thaw then bi-sect. (more…)

Queso Fundido With Chorizo, Jalapeño and Cilantro

This a fun appetizer for when you are in the kitchen preparing Thanksgiving dinner or watching the parade. I got this from the New York Times 11/17/2010.

Recipe: Queso Fundido With Chorizo, Jalapeño and Cilantro
7 ounces dried chorizo, diced small
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound Monterey Jack cheese , grated
Sliced bread, if serving as sandwiches
Extra virgin olive oil, if serving as sandwiches
Tortilla chips, if serving as dip
Lime wedges, if serving as dip.

1. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the jalapeño, cilantro, scallions and salt. Add the cheese and toss well.
3. If serving as dip, skip to Step 4. If serving as sandwiches: drizzle slices of bread with oil and brown in a toaster oven. Top with chorizo, then the cheese mixture. Return to toaster oven and toast until bubbling.
4. If serving as dip: heat the broiler. Combine the chorizo and cheese mixture and pour into a shallow baking or gratin dish. Broil until melted and bubbling, about 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with the chips and lime wedges on the side.
Yield : 4 sandwiches or 8 hors d’oeuvres servings.  ■