#FoodieFriday – Date Me Baby!

Date Me BabyYay – it’s #FoodieFriday and I get to share another recipe with everyone.

July 4th is rapidly approaching and I’m always on the hunt for a super-duper easy and delish recipe. We usually celebrate Independence Day with a pot-luck barbeque party. This year I’m responsible for the appetizer and plan to make my famous bacon-wrapped cheese-stuffed dates. How can you go wrong with cheese and bacon,right?

Date Me Baby!


  • ½ cup Cream Cheese
  • Bunch of basil cut into thin chiffon strips – reserve a few whole leaves for serving
  • Salt – pinch
  • Fresh ground black pepper – pinch
  • Garlic powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Grated lemon rind – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Worchester sauce to taste
  • Tabasco to taste
  • Dates – I average 3 per person and this recipe serves 6
  • 9 slices of bacon cut in two (half a slice per date)
  • Toothpicks


  1. Place the oven on low broil.
  2. Mix the first seven ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Precook the bacon in the microwave to just below crisp.
  4. Place a dollop of the cream cheese on each date.
  5. Wrap the date/cream cheese mixture in a half-slice of bacon.
  6. Spray a cookie sheet with PAM.
  7. Arrange the wrapped dates on the cookie sheet.
  8. Broil for 2-5 minutes – watch carefully – until bacon crisps and cheese begins to melt.
  9. Toothpick the cooked dates, sprinkle the reserved basil leaves on the plate, and serve immediately.

To make this dish too cute and totally patriotic, use toothpicks with American flags.

ARe chose Date Me Baby for their FREE cookbook, Passionate Cooks. You can download the cookbook here:


Hope you have a fantabulous weekend!




Hump Day !

I looooove the new Geico ad with the camel about hump day! I kill myself laughing when the camel goes, “Hump Daaaay!” in the background at the end of the commercial.

And what could be more appropriate than watching that video today?

What are your favorite commercials? Which ones do you absolutely detest!




Updates & Kindle Fire Contest Reminder!

Kindle-2012_Family_Page_1._V389755294_-2I can hardly believe June’s almost over. No kidding, it feels like it was just New Year’s. Shoot. Now, I have to be on fast forward for the rest of the year. Yikes!

Lately, I’ve had tons of emails or pokes about the status of books for the year. So, here’s an update on all the works in process:

That Pearly Drop

First version completed. Yay!!

Viking in Chains, Jomsviking Blood Brothers #1

Chapter 3 completed.

The Wolf with the Broken Smile, White Wolf #4

Chapter 2 completed.

Shift’s Bacchanal, Hades Squad #5

Chapter 1 still in progress.

Wolf Without, Ricky’s Landing Book #1

Chapter 1 completed.

Many of you know I always have at least two books going, but this is a record for me – four at once. I try to write a minimum of 2000 words a day, and, when I’m stuck on one, I simply move to another. It keeps my frustration level low and, a few days away from one work helps to ‘un-stick’ me.

The day for drawing my GRAND contest winner’s fast approaching – July 4, 2013. I’ll be tweeting and announcing the number of days left to enter the contest starting from today. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment – but see the contest page here to increase your odds of winning a:

KINDLE FIRE  Kindle-2012_Family_Page_1._V389755294_-2



The more comments, tweets, FB likes, and shares, the more you increase your odds of winning! Go for it. Check out the contest page for all the details.

Hope you had a great weekend!




Foodie Friday – June 21, 2013

001I am a fanatic foodie!

This from a woman who’d never boiled water until she got married. The dh and I were still in college, and he was majoring in Hotel And Food Administration (he was a HAFA man—okay I couldn’t resist that pun). There were maybe 80 students in his year and they were constantly together and isolated. The hotel and food courses weren’t available to the general student population.

About a month after we tied the knot, I went to the first of many HAFA parties. It was an appetizer party and the price of admission was—you guessed it—an appetizer. To my horror, the HAFA faculty were not only going to attend the party, but they were the ones judging the appetizers. Worse, they’d divided the appetizers into categories!

Holy Crayola on a Banana!

I hate competitions of any kind, but the dh insisted, and I was a crazy-in-love, foolish idiot who wanted to do him proud. Notice—he had NO intention of doing any cooking and he was the one enrolled in hotel and food. I was a sociology major. To this day, I remember agonizing over which category to enter. Since I had burned every single meal to that point, it was a no-brainer.

Most Original.

I researched canapés and appetizers for hours and settled on a recipe for Mushroom Croustades from the book that became my food bible, Michael Field’s Cooking School. I must have made the recipe a dozen times before the night of the party. The poor dh refused to have mushrooms in any format for a good three months after the event.

I got a ‘best mention’, so I gritted my teeth, and started practicing for the next party themed around casseroles. I won that one. Along the way I discovered not only did I enjoy cooking, but experimenting with recipes became my preferred form of relaxation. So, since I love rumbling around in the kitchen, from now on Fridays will be deemed Foodie Fridays and I’ll feature favorite recipes. If you have a favorite recipe—send it in!

Today’s recipe is, of course, my much modified version of that first recipe.

Jianne’s Mushroom Croustades 
4 servings
Croustade Ingredients:
12 slices of bread – any kind (I prefer an Italian white loaf)
Mushroom Ingredients:
1 cup of finely chopped fresh mushrooms (any kind or mixed)
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons crumbled  bacon
1/2 cup Boursin cheese (can substitute cream cheese)
1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) Sriracha sauce *
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
12 2-inch spears of chives
12 thin strips roasted red pepper (about 1/2 size of a matchstick)
Optional for plating – a tablespoon each of red pepper and parsley pesto
*Thai hot sauce available in ethnic section of most groceries

Croustade Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (350 for a convection oven)
  2. Spray a mini-muffin pan with non-stick spray
  3. Paint the insides of the muffin molds with 2 tablespoons of the softened butter
  4. Using a 3 inch fluted cookie cutter, cut 12 rounds from the 12 slices of bread
  5. Press the rounds into the muffin mold making sure the bottom of the mold is well defined
  6. Set the muffin pan into the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the bread toasts a golden brown on the tops
  7. Remove the croustades from the muffin pan

Mushroom Filling Directions:

  1. In a heavy frying pan over moderate heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter
  2. When the butter begins to foam add the shallots and sauté for 3-5 minutes over low heat—stir constantly and don’t let the shallots brown
  3. Add the mushrooms and coat them thoroughly in the shallot butter mixture
  4. Stir often until the liquid’s evaporated (about 10-15 minutes)
  5. Remove pan from heat and allow the mixture to cool
  6. Sop any excess moisture from the mixture by lining a fine mesh strainer with a paper towel and emptying the mushrooms and shallots onto the towel

Assembling the dish:

  1. All of the above can be prepared to this point one day before serving. Store the croustades in an airtight container at room temperature. Store the mushroom mixture in the fridge
  2. Bring the mushroom mixture and the rest of the ingredients to room temperature
  3. Combine the Boursin cheese, the Sriracha sauce, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the bacon
  4. Fold in the mushroom mixture
  5. Fill the croustades with the mushroom mixture
  6. Heat the croustades in a microwave for 30-60 seconds (watch to make sure the mixture doesn’t bubble)
  7. Garnish each croustade evenly with the chopped parsley, the rest of the crumbled bacon, a strip of the roasted red pepper, and one of the chive spears
  8. I plate this on a white platter, drizzle the platter edges with alternate drops of the green and red pesto, and scatter some of the chopped parsley on the plate.

This is really an easy recipe which looks like you took hours to make and it’s delicious. Let me know if you like it.
Have a great weekend!