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New Journey

It has been a VERY long time since I last posted on this blog. I have been extremely busy – from getting through nursing school to getting married. While I have neglected in posting my delicious creations and outings, I have not stopped doing the things I love. Recently, I realized how much I miss blogging and since life as quieted down some, I have started blogging again! I am really excited to announce my NEW blog The Perfect Pear. It contains the same amount of content with a different twist! Check it out & enjoy!!




Apple Pie

So, there is this boy & I kinda like him. Since his birthday was coming up I thought I’d make something for him. I came up with a couple of good ideas, but per request, apple pie was the dessert of choice. Admittedly, I was stressing out a bit about this pie. About a year ago I made my first apple pie & it was horrible: Apple Pie #1

I spent an hour or so going through my recipes & searching Pinterest & Foodily. After browsing through several hundreds of pies, I narrowed it down to three: 1 by Martha Stewart & 2 by Paula Deen. Then I thought, which pie has the ability to win this boy over? So I quite obviously picked the Paula Deen one. 🙂

One thing I was excited about was the crust. I saw a cinnamon roll crust on Pinterest a while back that I always wanted to try & knew it would be perfect for my apple pie.  I was also excited to make pate brisee. For the sake of my mother’s kitchen, her sanity mostly & time, she suggested using a pre-made pie crust. I wasn’t too thrilled, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt trying it out. It wasn’t all that bad!


Pillsbury Pie Crust



1 tablespoon butter, melted

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, & thinly sliced

1 lemon juiced


First off, the bottom crust. This was soooo much fun to make!

1. Unroll the pie crust & brush with the melted butter.
2. Sprinkle cinnamon onto the crust & brush to coat. Approx 3 teaspoons

3. Roll the crust up tightly

4. Slice the roll into 1/2 inch pieces

5. Starting in the center, press the pieces into the pie plate. Make sure to cover all spaces without any holes.

Now on to the pie filling!

6. In a separate bowl, mix the brown sugar, 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, flour, & nutmeg to taste.
7. In another bowl, sprinkle the apples with the juice from 1 lemon & toss.
8. Stir in the sugar mixture to evenly coat.

9. Mound the apple & sugar mixture into the pie plate.
10. Dot with butter!!!!
11. Roll out the second pie crust & place over top, crimping the edges.

12. Preheat the oven at 450 F.

This is where things got hairy! While I was waiting for the oven to preheat, it caught on fire!! I had to take my pie to my grandparents house to finish cooking. And since I was so flustered,  I failed to get a picture of my beautiful pie!!

13. Bake the pie for 30-40 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

Everyone seemed to really enjoy the pie, so I felt pretty good about it. 🙂

Happy Eating!



Moroccan Chicken Salad with Apricots

When I’m in a recipe rut, I browse Pinterest & my new favorite, foodily. And this is where I found the recipe for this amazing chicken salad by The Year in Food.


This chicken salad is delicious in a wrap ( which is how I used it), by itself, in a salad, on a sandwich, etc. It’s cool & makes a delicious treat on a hot summer day (which seems to be 365 days a year here in Florida).


3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
3 cups shredded roast chicken
3-4 apricots, sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup diced celery
1/3 cup diced green onions
Sea Salt & Pepper to taste


1. In a large  bowl, combine yogurt with paprika, cumin, cinnamon, & chipotle.

2. Add chicken, apricots, almonds, celery and green onion and mix. Finish with black pepper and sea salt to taste.

Happy Eating!!



Creole Jambalaya

Last Tuesday I made some Jambalaya & it was AH-MAZ-ING!!!! It was the best meal I have ever made! This time I didn’t really have a recipe. I just went to Publix & picked out what would be delicious based on my taste memory.

Now for a little history! Jambalaya originally comes for the Caribbean Islands & is a mixture of Spanish & native culture. Jambalaya is also a cousin of the Spanish dish paella (which I was definitely craving as I was making it).  Creole jambalaya originated from the French Quarter in New Orleans as an attempt by the Spanish to make paella in the New World. Due to the inability to import saffron ( the most important spice in paella), tomatoes were used instead.The only thing different with mine, is that I did not complete the vegetable trinity because I skipped out on the celery. I’ve never had jambalaya with celery in it.


1.1 tablespoon olive oil

2. 12 oz of sausage (I used Chef Bruce Aidells All Natural Cajun Style Andouille)

3.  4 chicken breasts

4. 1/2 pound Shrimp, deveined (20-30 shrimp)

5. 1 tablespoon Smart Balance Butter Spread

6. 1 medium white onion, diced

7. 1 green bell pepper, cored and diced

8. 1 cup tomato seeded & diced

9. 4 garlic cloves, minced

10. 1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

11. 2 1/2 teaspoons oregano

12. 1 1/2 teaspoons  thyme

13. 4 tablespoons tomato paste

14. 6 cups chicken stock

15. 1 box multigrain, high fiber farfalle pasta (or 3 1/2 cups of rice)

16. 3 bay leaves

17. 2 teaspoons kosher salt

18. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

19. 12-16 dashes smoked Tabasco sauce

20. 1/2 cup chopped scallions ( and some reserved to sprinkle on top)

21. 3/4 cup parsley

22. 1 lemon, freshly squeezed


1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.

2. Add sausage and cook for 10 minutes, until browned. Once browned, remove & place in a holding bowl.

3. Add the chicken & cook for 10-12 minutes, until cooked through. Once cooked, remove & place with sausage.

4. Add the butter spread, green peppers, & onion in the same pot & saute for 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

5. Add the garlic cayenne pepper, tomato, tomato paste, oregano, & thyme & cook until all the herbs & vegetables are blended.

6. Add the chicken stock & bring to a boil.

7. Add the pasta/rice, sausage, chicken, bay leaves, pepper, salt & Tabasco sauce.

8. Reduce heat & simmer for 25 minutes.

9. Add scallions, parsley, squeezed lemon, & shrimp. Stir well.

10. Cover the pot, remove from the heat, & let steam for 15 minutes.

11. Garnish with remaining scallions.

It was so extremely delicious & it my number one favorite item I have cooked. For 1 serving (about 1 – 1 1/2 cup) is 285 calories!!! Sounds good to me, although, I don’t eat pork very often.

Happy Eating!!




The Cheesecake Factory’s French Toast Napoleon with Strawberries Makeover

The Cheesecake Factory is one of my top 10 favorite restaurants to go to. However, due to the high calorie menu items, I only go to celebrate things like birthday’s, special outings, or achievements. I was pretty excited when I found out that some of their recipes are listed on their website!!

The first thing on my list was to make their French Toast. I cannot even remember the last time I had French Toast & I don’t think I’ve even made it myself!

The Cheesecake Factory’s recipe is a whopping 1, 696 calories, 51g of fat, 1,270mg sodium, & 160g total carbs. That is well over a days worth of calories for me!

I easily cut down this recipe to 570 calories, 25g of fat629mg sodium, & 77 total carbs! The actual serving size is three pieces, which to me, seems like too much. So how did I cut all that out?

The original batter recipe calls for:

4 Eggs
1 cup – Half and half (or milk)
1 Tbls. – Vanilla
2 Tbls – Sugar
3/4 tsp. – Cinnamon

I used 4 grain vegetarian eggs, replaced the half & half with vanilla flavored Silk Almond Milk (the Almond Milk is so much creamier than the half & half), eliminated the sugar since there is sugar in the milk, add a little vanilla, & the cinnamon. (I will post the full recipe at the end of this post!)

The original recipe calls for:

6 slices – Egg Bread or Challah Bread, 3/4” thick slices
2 cups – French Toast Batter *
1/4 cup – Butter, melted or Canola Oil
3 cups – Sliced Strawberries, (room temperature) tossed with a little sugar
2 cups – Whipped Cream
1/2 cup – Glazed Pecans **
1 Tbls. – Powered Sugar
Maple Syrup, heated

I used Challah Bread from Publix, the French Toast Batter above, Publix Canola Oil (it has 0 calories & fat opposed to the butter), Driscolls Organic Strawberries with no sugar added (why ruin good fruit), 365 Brand Nonfat Whipped Cream, Candied Walnuts (Which I made myself), & a powdered sugar I put through a tiny sieve. The stats listed did not include maple syrup. With everything added, there was really no need for syrup. As an alternative, I was going to use Karo Syrup, which has less calories, but it was already so good without it.

Look at how beautiful the bread is!!

The finished product without the whipped cream.


The Cheesecake Factory’s French Toast Napoleon With Strawberries Makeover

Serves 2

The French Toast Batter

1. 4 Eggs (4 grain vegetarian)

2. 1 cup Silk Vanilla Almond Milk

3. A few drops of Vanilla

4. 3/4 tsp Cinnamon

French Toast

1. 6 Slices Challah Bread

2. 2 cups French Toast Batter

3. Canola Oil Spray

4. 3 cups Sliced Strawberries (I used organic. They were so much sweeter)

5. 365 Brand or other Nonfat Whipped Cream Spray

6. 1/4 cup Candied Walnuts (Add 1/2 tablespoon of Smart Balance Butter Spread & 1/2 tablespoon of sugar to a warm saute pan. Add walnuts & cook, stirring until golden brown)

7. 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

8. If needed, Karo syrup


1. Blend the batter ingredients until combined. Pour onto a plate to dip your bread in.

2.Place the bread in the batter & let soak for 10 minutes.

3. Spray a saute pan with canola oil spray & set to medium heat.

4. Place the soaked bread into the saute pan & cook until golden brown on both top & bottom (about 4 minutes on each side).

5. When done, place one slice onto a plate. Place strawberry slices over the top.

6. Place the second piece on top of the first & place more strawberries on top.

7. Place the last piece of on top of the others. Place more strawberries on top

8. Repeat steps 2-7  for the second plate.

9. On both plates, sprinkle powdered sugar (it works even better with a sieve), walnuts, & spray on some whip cream.

10. Add syrup if needed.

And it was Steven approved!


Happy Eating!





Conscious Box June 2012

My second Conscious Box has finally come in! If any of you are wondering what Conscious Box is, it is a monthly delivery of pure, eco-friendly and sustainable products that are handpicked, coming from businesses that care about the earth. Each month is a different theme and there is always many things to discover. A monthly subscription is $12 a month plus $7 for shipping. There are other options for monthly, 3 month, & 6 month subscriptions. For more information:

This is the front of the box. The box is made with 100% recycled material & the ink is from veggies.

The theme for this month’s box.

Kelp Krunch is a certified organic, soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, & vegan. It is a seaweed energy bar & has been sustainably-harvested on the coast of Maine. Each bar sold, the proceeds are donated to Allied Whale. I’m kind of nervous about trying this. I’ve never been a real fan of seaweed.

Certified vegan, KO Denmark features premium ingredients like Indian Jasmine, Tunisian, Neroli, & Bulgarian Rose. Perfect for all skin types & are paraben-free, sulfate-free, fragrance-free, glycol-free, phthalates-free, & silicone-free

Natural energy comes from powerful, whole-food sources. It contains Golden Chlorella, Bioenergy Ribose, Rhodiola, Maca, & 24 organic fruits & veggies.

Mighty Leaf is handpicked & organic loose leaf tea. The pouch the tea comes in is even biodegradable.

EBOOST are energy shots that are sugar free & do not contain caffeine, chemicals, or artificial flavors. This was the first thing I tried in my box. It honestly tasted like cough syrup.

Organic, All natural deodorant by Savvy Boheme

Soooo excited to try this Cashew Butter!

Natural Newborn is a natural & effective form of bug repellent soap without the use of harsh chemicals.

Larabar is awesome! It is a protein packed snack bar that can be found at most grocery & health food stores. It has minimal ingredients with the majority of ingredients coming from dates & nuts. They come in a variety of flavors.




Conscious Box is an excellent service. Check it out! Once you receive your box, it is also important to find ways to reuse your box and share your ideas on their Facebook page so you can receive bonus items in your next box!





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4 Rivers Smokehouse

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On Monday, my brother & I went to 4 Rivers Smokehouse in Winter Park. I had previously saw some posts about it on Facebook & after further review of their website, deemed it necessary to add to my summer adventures list. While I have been raised in the south, I’m honesty not a fan of barbecue. And not liking barbecue also probably makes me completely un-American.

The owner, John Rivers, is featured on the Food Networks South Beach Wine & Food Festival for 2012. Mr. Rivers used to be the president of a $1.4 billion pharmaceutical operation & decided to pursue his dream after spending 20 years in the corporate arena. In 2004, it became a calling to raise money to offset the cost of cancer treatment for a 6-year-old girl.  At the restaurant, all down the wall, there are quite a few letters from hospitals & organizations that they helped out. It was quit impressive. And Third Day had also been there before!

There were so many options of entrees & delicious, southern-comfort sides. It was so difficult for me to decide!

I finally decided on the Pulled Chicken Sandwich, Collard Greens, & Mac & Cheese. Oh. My. Goodness. It was soooooo delicious! I think if I go next time, I will have to try to baked cheese grits & the sweet potato casserole.The chicken was so smokey & the mac & cheese was so creamy. It was all on point. SO GOOD!



Jonathan is a huge fan of Cuban sandwiches, so it was quite obvious he was going to get the Smokehouse Cuban Sandwich.

Smokehouse Cuban, Mac & Cheese, & Green Beans


Smoked pork & ham, mustard, pickles, onion rings and provolone stacked high, pressed & grilled.


Jonathan said it wasn’t like a usual Cuban, but he really liked it a lot & wanted to get it again.

After we finished our lunch, we decided to make the most of our trip, we needed to try the Smoked Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos & Fried Oreos!




We unanimously decided that we will be back this summer. It was well worth the 100 mile round trip!

Happy Eating!




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