Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Halloween 2009

We had a lot of fun this year making spooky appetizers!!

Bats and Ghosts in the green slime cauldron!!

Witch's finger pretzels and carrots!

Eyeballs, fingernails and cockroaches!!

Pizzelle Cookies!!

Dolce DeLuca
480.497.8256 or 480.226.0716

We are taking orders for homemade Italian Pizzelle cookies!

Anise (traditional flavor) $5.00 per dozen
Pizzelles are traditionally flavored with anise, giving them a bold licorice flavor. Anise pizzelles have been enjoyed for generations from Old Italy to modern times. If you like the flavor of anise, you'll love these cookies!

Vanilla $5.00 per dozen

Almond $5.00 per dozen

Chocolate Hazelnut $5.00 per dozen

Orange Rum $5.00 per dozen

Gingerbread $5.00 per dozen

Fall Flavors:

Cranberry $5.00 per dozen
Pumpkin $5.00 per dozen
Perfect for Thanksgiving!

Try our new Filled Pizzelle Cookie! See picture above. We have taken our pizzelle and filled with a chocolate hazelnut filling, dipped edges in chocolate and toppings. Delicioso!! Let us know if you would like another flavor combination. Great Hostess gift idea!!

Anise with Chocolate hazelnut filling $10.00 per dozen
Vanilla with Chocolate hazelnut filling $10.00 per dozen
Pumpkin with Chocolate hazelnut filling $10.00 per dozen

Friday, October 9, 2009

Class #4 Food Network Magazine

Alright, obviously I am quite fond of the Food Network. I recently purchased my first copy of the Food Network Magazine and I love, love, loved it! Great articles, recipes and pictures. My husband loves soup so lucky for me in the October issue of this magazine they had a special pull out section - 50 Easy Soups. We chose the 20-Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup. This soup was simple, easy and delicious with a definite kick to it. I had to make a few changes to the recipe. We substituted chipotle for the ancho chilis and I asked my sweet husband to pick up a little Manchego cheese but he came back with Muenster - surprisingly a pretty good alternative! We made our own tortilla strips, lightly coated with olive oil and a little salt, cut into strips and in the oven at 400 for 10 minutes.
The reviews: Fred, "Very tasty. Just enough cilantro to not overpower. Loved the smokiness of the chipotle and loved how the aroma filled the house while cooking." Gianna, "Colorful and I like the tortilla strips - The chicken in the soup tastes delicious!" Elena, "Very, very spicy - too spicy for me. I like the cilantro and love the tortilla strips. Next time chop up the cilantro into small bits." Maria, "I like the color of the soup!"

I loved the simplicity of this soup and did not think it was too spicy at all. Really liked how the flavors came together so quickly. For the chicken I just picked up a roasted chicken from the deli at the grocery - very easy. The avocado, cheese and a little dollop of sour cream were perfect additions. This one is going in the DeLuca cookbook and everyone agreed we will have to have this soup again real soon.
Spicy Tortilla Soup
2 seeded, soaked ancho chiles, 1 onion, 2 tomatoes and 2 garlic cloves; fry in oil.
Add 6 cups chicken broth, 4 torn corn tortillas, some shredded cooked chicken and 1/2 cup cilantro; simmer until thick. Add salt; garnish with crisp tortilla strips, Mexican cheese, avocado, cilantro and lime juice.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Class #3 with Paula Deen

It is starting to feel a little like fall here in Phoenix - only 82 degrees today. I decided to go with a little comfort food and chose Paula Deen's "Bobby's Goulash". I decided to lighten it up a little by going with 2 lbs of Turkey and 1 lb of ground beef. According to the family this was the best recipe so far! Everyone agreed that it was very flavorful, filling and worthy of putting in the family cookbook. Next time I will probably go a little lighter on the seasoning salt and Paula's house seasoning. Elena, Gianna, Maria and Fred all gave this recipe 5 stars! Thanks to Paula for a simple but delicious one pot meal!!

Bobby's Goulash

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 pound ground turkey
2 large onions, chopped
3 cups water
1 (29-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
2 cups dried elbow macaroni
In a Dutch oven, saute the ground beef and ground turkey over medium-high heat, until no pink remains. Break up meat while sauteing; spoon off any grease. Add the onions to the pot and saute until they are tender about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups water, along with the tomato sauce, tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, soy sauce, House Seasoning, and seasoned salt. Stir well. Place a lid on the pot and allow this to cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
Add the elbow macaroni, stir well, return the lid to the pot, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves and allow the mixture to sit about 30 minutes more before serving.
House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Back from Chicago

Fred and I just got back from that city! We arrived and the weather was amazing - chilly and cloudy - perfect for this Arizona girl!! We ate in some incredible restaurants like The Chicago Firehouse, visited with family, toured the American Girl Doll Store and got to see our beloved Cubs beat the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley!

Our last night in Chicago we went out to The Rosebud on Taylor Street. What a great little Italian restaurant. They are known for their Chicken Vesuvio, decadent martinis, tiramisu and their Square Noodles. I had the Square Noodles which is a homemade square noodle in this rich tomato basil sauce - delicioso! I asked for the recipe for the sauce and it was simply plum tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh basil - just perfect!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Class #2 Melissa d'Arabian

Well I started my "Food Network Classes" with the first Food Network Star, Emeril and tonight our class features the newest Food Network Star, Melissa d'Arabian. I chose Succulent Braised Pork and Perfect Black Beans. These items are from Melissa's show, "Ten Dollar Dinners".

I thought the Pork was amazing, very tender - cooked perfectly. The ingredients created a beautiful, rich sauce with great flavor! The wine enhanced the dish extremely well.

I actually used two cans of black beans instead of the dried beans. Simmered with the onion and than followed the directions. I really liked the touch of sweetness with the tang of vinegar.

I made my own biscuits which were a very good addition to the meal - you could wipe up the sauce perfectly. We also had Cabernet with dinner.

We would definitely make again but with a green veggie. I give it 4 1/2 stars. Elena thought the pork was awesome and the beans were good. She loved the biscuits. Gianna said the beans were her favorite and she loved them. She thought the pork wasn't greasy and was very tender.

Maria said she liked the beans because it's "a little sweet, not too spicy". She loved the beans so much she forgot to try the pork. Once she tried the pork she said that she liked the "tender thing" and it was really yummy and she wants to eat it all the time. She probably would have had more but she went to a birthday party this afternoon and had four pieces of pizza??!! Fred loved the beans because they were different and but were a pleasant surprise - really liked them! He agreed the pork was very tender and cooked up very well.

Give both of these recipes a try and let me know what you think!

Succulent Braised Pork
2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 6 large chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups beef stock or broth
1 bunch parsley stems, tied with string
2 bay leaves
1 cup water
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Pat the pork dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, and working in batches brown the meat on all sides until a golden crust forms. Transfer the pork to a plate. To the pan add the onion, celery, and carrot and sweat until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat another 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes to cook off the raw flavor and caramelize it. Sprinkle with the flour and cook another 2 minutes to cook off its raw flavor. Whisk in the wine and reduce it by half. Return the pork to the Dutch oven, then stir in the beef stock, parsley stems, and bay leaves. Add the water if liquid does not come up to the top of the pork. Do not cover the pork with liquid. Cover the pan and place it in the oven to braise until the meat is fork tender, about 3 hours. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.

Perfect Black Beans

Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Level Easy Yield 4 servings

1/2 pound dried black beans
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
3 fresh garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped scallions, for garnish
The night before, soak the black beans in a large pot of water. The next day, rinse the beans, cover with 3 cups of fresh water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes, skimming off any foam. Stir in the onion and simmer 30 minutes more. Add the garlic, oregano, cumin, and red pepper flakes, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sugar and vinegar, and taste before seasoning with salt and pepper. Turn out into a large serving bowl and garnish with chopped scallions.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bountiful Baskets

Just wanted to remind everyone to check out the Bountiful Baskets Co-Op in AZ. Here is what I picked up the last two times I ordered - all for $15 (for reorders) - What a deal!! Go to for more information.

My Cake Making Adventures

Earlier this month I was asked to help throw a party for my friend Ann, Fabulous and Fifty. I volunteered to do the cake. I knew two things, she deserved a fabulous cake and she loved German Chocolate. My friend Marie, from The Good Life Bakery in Mesa made the actual cake layers but I decorated with homemade Chocolate Ganache and Pecan Coconut filling - yum oo!!

Class #1, Emeril Lagasse's Sticky Chicken

This recipe is from Emeril Lagasse, 2004

Sticky Chicken was quite a hit with the family. It was fairly easy to prepare. I loved the flavor and spices and it was incredibly tender! Everyone agreed this would have to be put in the DeLuca Family Cookbook! Fred loved the subtle flavoring which was from the dark ale and Emeril's Essence seasoning. Elena said it tasted a little spiced but loved it, especially the green pepper and celery. Gianna said she loved the way it looked and tasted. And finally Maria said she liked that it was made with beer! Hmmm - not sure about this little one, what a character! We give it 5 Stars! Hope you enjoy and please comment!!

Sticky Chicken

1 (3-pound) frying chicken, cut up into 8 pieces
3 tablespoons Essence, recipe follows
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sliced yellow onions
1 cup sliced bell peppers
1 cup sliced celery
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
12 ounces dark beer
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
Steamed rice, for serving
Season the chicken generously with 2 tablespoons of Essence. Add the other tablespoon of the Essence to the cup of flour. Place the flour in a 1-gallon plastic bag and add the chicken to the bag. Shake the bag well to thoroughly coat the chicken with the flour. Remove the chicken from the bag and place on a plate to dry. Reserve the flour.
Heat the 1/2 cup of oil in a large iron skillet or Dutch oven to 320 degrees F. Brown the chicken in 2 batches, cooking for 4 minutes on each side. Reserve the chicken on a plate lined with an absorbent cloth.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions, peppers and celery to the hot oil and cook, covered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Add 3 tablespoons of the reserved flour to the pan and stir well. If the vegetables still have an oily appearance, add more flour, up to 2 more tablespoons. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add the beer and cook for 2 minutes. Add the bay leaves and stock and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pan and cover. Simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the chicken begins to pull away from the bone.
Using a slotted spoon, place the chicken in a serving dish. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately with steamed rice.
Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William and Morrow, 1993.

It's been so long!

I cannot believe it has been over a month since my last post! So much has happened. First of all my mother has been hospitalized since August. Thanks to all who have been lifting her up in your prayers!! She is finally been transferred to a Skilled Nursing Unit for physical therapy so she can build up her strength to go back home. Please continue to keep her in your prayers!!

Over the last few weeks I have been doing a little soul searching and with help from the truly inspirational movie, "Julie and Julia" I have decided to change the direction of my blog. I have figured out that what I love to do is create. Whether it is interior design, ministries, scrapbooks, aprons or food - it is the act of actually creating something and sharing those things with others whom I love. At first I thought that I would ponder the idea of going to cooking school but soon found out that it was a little too expensive. So...I have decided to do the next very best thing - I will attend the School of Cooking Via the Food Network! Where else would I go to receive the best training from some of the top chefs in the world via video?

My plan is to choose recipes throughout the week and let you know how they turn out, and of course let you know if my sweet family approved of the dish! I also will hopefully be creating these recipes with a respect for frugality - can't forget my coupons!!

So Bon Appetit and please comment on our first recipe.
Peace, Love and God Bless,

Monday, August 17, 2009

Maria's Flip Flop Party

This last Saturday morning we celebrated my youngest daughter, Maria's 6th Birthday! It was a flip flop party. We sent out invitations to all of her friends and everyone had so much fun decorating their flip flops, pedicures and a very yummy brunch with Breakfast Pizza, French Toast Casserole, Mini Sausage bagels and fruit dip with berries! I made fondant for the first time and made a Flip Flop cake. Hopefully Maria will remember her 6th Birthday for many years to come!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Free Taco Tuesday at Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box is doing Free Taco Tuesday again on August 11th - print your coupon HERE for two free tacos no other purchase required.

$25 Restaurant gift cards for $2 again!

THIS IS IT! The BIG ONE is back! Deepest Discount offered by EVER!Enter Discount Code: PORTION at checkoutOffer Good through Aug 13th Stock up NOW on $25 Gift Certificates for only $2!!

A little info for newbies. is a form of advertising for many restaurants looking for more customers. Restaurant owners sacrifice on their price margin but in return get new customers. On the website, you'll be asked to enter your zip code and it will pull up participating restaurants in your area. Then you will see a list of restaurants and a selection of gift card prices. A $25 gift card is regularly priced at $10 (so 80% off means you'll pay only $2). The only catch is there is a minimum purchase amount: clearly listed under the gift card prices. Usually the customer must have a total initial bill of $35. Then you pay with your $25 gift card and your total could be as low as $10 plus gratuity for a $35 meal. It's as simple as that. Don' be a skeptic! Once you pay for your gift card you may print it immediately from your computer- so you could dine for lunch or dinner today if you wish! They don't expire for a whole year

Free Mars Chocolate Coupon

Every Friday through September Mars is giving away coupons for a FREE chocolate bar!! Quantities are limited, 250,000 coupons per Friday, so make sure you fill out this form!
This offer is good starting at 9AM Eastern so go NOW!!There was some confusion last week about how many times you can enter. You may enter your email address once each week and you may receive up to 4 coupons total per address through September.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Acorn Squash Feta Casserole

Fred and I went to our Couples Prayer Group this last weekend and I made this recipe, it seemed to be a hit! Leftovers are delicious hot or cold. This recipe comes from Taste of Home. Enjoy!

Acorn Squash Feta Casserole


TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 1 hour 35 min.

2 large acorn squash (about 1-1/2 pounds each)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
2 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) plain yogurt
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Dash cayenne pepper, optional
1/4 cup sunflower kernels
Directions: Cut squash in half; discard seeds. Place squash cut side down in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan; add 1/2 in. of hot water. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-40 minutes. Drain water from pan; turn squash cut side up. Bake 10 minutes longer or until squash is tender; cool slightly. Carefully scoop out squash; place in a large bowl and mash. Set aside. In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic in butter until tender. Add peppers; saute until crisp-tender. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and yogurt until blended. Stir in the squash, onion mixture, feta cheese, salt, pepper and cayenne if desired. Transfer to a greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with sunflower kernels. Cover and bake at 375° for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 25-30 minutes longer or until a thermometer reads 160°. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Apron Fest 09

The Apronista is having a week long giveaway! Visit her sight at and be sure to take a look at all the incredible designs and ideas for aprons. I accidently added myself to the giveaway contest - I'm not having a giveaway but please, please, please look at all the other sights!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Free Yoplait Whips coupon

The Yoplait Whips offer is available again. Go here to sign up for the Betty Crocker newsletter (if you haven't already) and you'll get a coupon for a free Yoplait Whips.
Thanks, For the Mommas!

August 4th - 2 Free Tacos at Jack in the Box

Stop by Jack in the Box on Tuesday, August 4th. Click on the following link to print out your coupon to present for this great freebie! 2 Free Tacos at Jack in the Box

Cheating with Chocolate Sample

Grab this free sample of Cheating with Chocolate.. (this sounds bad, but they are actually soy crisps)

Target Toy Clearance

It is being reported that Target’s Toy Clearance is in full swing! It is time to start working on your holiday shopping!
I am seeing many bloggers who have scored some great deals.
Use this $5.00 off coupon to get Hasbro games even cheaper! (Thanks, Mindi)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

All You Magazine

All You Magazine, which you can find at Wal Mart always has lots of moneysaving tips and tons of coupons! They also have a fantastic website, which has exclusive on-line coupons. Check it out!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

You have got to check out The Krazy Coupon Lady Blogspot! She has just added an Internet Printable Coupon Database. You can now click on the product you are needing a coupon for and the database will direct you to the product's coupon. This Database will be updated daily! What a great deal! Click on the button on the right for The Krazy Coupon Lady.

Benihana: Get a $30 Birthday Certificate!

If you like Benihana, then you'll love the Benihana birthday club!

Just sign up for their email club here, and you'll receive a $30 gift certificate for use during your birthday month! Now that's a nice Freebie!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

FREE Burrito at Baja Fresh 7/22 only 11am to 9pm

Get a Free Burrito with any regular beverage purchase at Baja Fresh July 22 only for 11 am to 9 pm. with the coupon HERE
As always it's participating locations so call ahead to sure - individual franchisees may not accept coupons put out at the corporate level.
For those of you in Arizona, don't forget to visit or to order your fruit and produce basket. This is a great co op program that is inexpensive and such a good deal (first timers, $18 and repeat customers are $15! You receive two laundry baskets of seasonal fruits and vegetables. It's just like Christmas everytime you go because you never know what you are going to receive. They have many locations around the valley as well as in Utah. You choose your pickup location and they also have breads and other selections to choose from. This week they also have 25lb box of California Round Tomatoes, 25lb case of California Pickling Cucumbers and an Italian Food Ingredient Pack.

Monday, July 20, 2009