Black Bean Dip

This easy to make black bean dip can be made from scratch or if your in a hurry you can follow these simple steps AND impress your friends.


  • 1 can refried pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Whipped butter
  • White Vermont Cheddar Cheese
  • Black Pepper and Sea Salt


First you will want to add the can of black beans to a pot. Next you will want to use an item to smash your beans into the consistency of refried beans. I tend to use the bottom of a glass cup to smash the beans up. Next you will add the can of pinto beans to the same pot and mix them with the black beans. At this point you will want to cook the beans over a low heat.

Next you will add the SECRET ingredient, the heavy whipping cream. Be sure to mix it in well,. The heavy whipping cream will give the beans a great consistency and will make them very creamy. Continue to stir occasionally and cook on low for about five minutes.

The stage II of ingredients will consist of your desired amount of Vermont white cheddar cheese, whipped butter, black pepper and sea salt. Once your beans have melded together you will add these ingredients to your pot of beans. Continue to stir occasionally.

Once the cheese and butter has melted you can add it to a bowl and serve with blue corn tortilla chips to enjoy!

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Chocolate Caramel Cake

This Chocolate Caramel Cake is to die for. I have one friend in particular who typically sticks with a strict diet, however I always make this for her birthday and she always says this is the one thing she can’t say no to.  This cake has never been a “miss,” its most defiantly a winner every time.


  • 1 box Devil Foods Cake Mix
  • 8oz Whipped Topping
  • 3 Heath Bars
  • 1 Caramel or Butterscotch Syrup
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 3 Eggs
  • ½ Cup Unsweetened Butter (1 stick)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl add the cake mix, water, butter and eggs. Mix on low for approximately 30 seconds and then speed it up for another two minutes.

Grease the bottom of the pan and then add your mix to your pan I prefer to use the rectangle ones and cook for approximately 42 minutes or till you can stick a toothpick in the middle and are able to remove it and it still be dry.

Allow the cake to cool. Once the cake has cooled poke holes throughout the entire cake, I tend to use a butter knife because I like the holes to be larger. Next you will add the caramel or butterscotch to each hole fillings it, I usually end up using about 3/4 of the container.

Next you will spread the entire container of whipped cream evenly across the top of the cake. You will have to crush the heath bars by banging them over the counter and then distribute them evenly over the whipped cream.

You can serve right away or allow it to cool in the refrigerator.

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Ancient Coffee Brew

Coffee for consumption as we know of today was discovered by a Christian goat shepherd. He camped near a coffee bean tree. His herd rested under that tree, and ate the fallen fruit. The Shepherd noticed the herd stayed up all night restless.  He reported this to his local Abbot. He experimented and brewed a hot beverage. The Abbot realized that he and his fellow monks were able to stay up for long hours during the night in prayer after drinking this beverage. And coffee history was born.

Step 1:

You can gather some raw coffee beans or you can do some research to find some of the best gourmet coffee.

Step 2 and 3:

Place two cups of water into a pot and bring it to a rapid boil. You will know it’s ready once it starts to bubble and steam starts to form.

Step 4:

You purchased raw coffee beans and roasted them yourself or you simply selected gourmet coffee.  You will want to add a teaspoon of the grounded coffee to the cup you would normally drink your morning cup of joe out of.

Step 5:

Add the boiling water to the cup that contains coffee, be sure to be careful as the water will be piping hot.

Step 6:

Stir the coffee around a couple of times.

Step 7:

Allow the coffee to self-brew for several minutes. The hotter the water is the longer you can allow it to self-brew and allow for the full flavor to be exposed.

Step 8:

I suggest adding a natural sweetener such as a teaspoon of your local raw honey.

Step 9:

Prepare yourself for the best cup of joe you’ve had. Be sure to skip out on the coffee grinds.

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Chicken Gumbo

I’m  sharing with you my Grandma’s Chicken Gumbo Recipe. I learned to make this when I was about 13 years old. This recipe has become legendary in my family and I hope you enjoy it.


  • 2 lbs chicken breast
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 package smoked sausage (hillfarm)
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • ½ white onion
  • Creole seasoning
  • Texas Pete
  • Sea Salt & Pepper


First you will want to bring the water to a boil, while your water is coming to a boil chop up your ½ white onion and add it to the pot along with the 2bs of chicken breast. Also add your desired amount of Texas Pete hot sauce as well as about 2 tablespoons of creole seasoning. If you have the time I would suggest boiling the chicken on low for about 4 hours otherwise you can cook it on medium high for about 45 minutes.

Next you will shred the chicken and return it to the pot, cover and continue to boil on low.

The Rue is the most important piece of this recipe, it will make or break it. You will place our olive oil in a small skillet on high heat. Once the oil is heated begin to slowly add the cup of flour. I would recommend using a wooden spoon. It is imperative that you continue to stir it so that it doesn’t burn. You will want to keep stirring till it reaches a darker brown color. You will typically be stirring non-stop for about 20 minutes. Once the rue reaches the dark brown color you will add it to your pot of chicken. Be careful when adding the rue because the hot contents tend to splash. Once you have added the rue be sure to stir your pot up and cover.

Next it is time to prepare the smoked sausage, I recommend the Hill Farm. Slice the sausage into thin round pieces and place them into a skillet and fry them on both sides. Once they are browned on each side add them to the pot and cover.

Lastly you will need to cook the rice. Everyone has their secret to cooking rice and here is mine: I heat up about 2 tablespoons of olive oil prior to adding the uncooked rice. Once it is hot I will slightly brown the rice prior to adding water. I also mix about 2 tablespoons of chicken bouillon to the water. Then proceed to cook rice as directed.

Now you are ready to serve the Chicken Gumbo. Place the rice on the bottom of a bowl and then top it with your Gumbo contents from the pot. I hope you enjoy it!

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Papa Luigi Asparagus Ravioli

Photo Credit: Elise Bauer

You want to break away from eating bland blah pasta, then pay attention to this innovative excellent recipe. There are more delicious ways to eat ravioli other than the Chef Boyardee’s recipe. It may cost a little bit more, but the rewards or well worth it. This is the type of dish that you will have you attempting to eat another serving even though you are totally full and your stomach is about to burst. This recipe comes from my father, hence Papa Luigi.



  • 1 pound of yellow tomatoes
  • 1 pound of red tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
  • 7 ounces of pesto with basil
  • 1 pound organic stew beef
  • 18 ounces of three cheese asparagus ravioli
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 4 ounces sharp white Vermont cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


For this recipe you will need a large stew pot, and a small cooking pot with lids. In the small cooking pot add one cup of water. Take your organic stew beef and cut into smaller portions. Place the meat in the small cooking pot with approximately 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt and ¼ teaspoon of white pepper. Cover with lid and cook at a medium temperature.

Add 1 cup of water to the large stew pot. In a blender, puree the yellow tomatoes and add them to the pot. Puree the red tomatoes using the same method with the blender, as well as the orange, yellow, and red bell peppers and add them to the large pot. Remember, the more colors of food that you use, the more vitamins and minerals you going to be delivering to your body for your good health. You may add more of the various bell peppers according to your own tastes. Add the remainder of the Himalayan sea salt and the white pepper to the pot. Add the 18 ounces of pesto with basil to the large stew pot and stir all of the vegetables and other ingredients together. Add the 18 ounces of your three cheese asparagus ravioli, butter, and olive oil to the pot.

After the meat has been cooked and steamed well, it will become very tender. Drain the excess fat and other liquid from the cooked meat, and add to the large stew pot. Cover the pot with a lid, and cook at a medium heat. This will take approximately 45 minutes to one hour. When complete, apply the white Vermont sharp cheddar cheese evenly over the top, and replace the lid. Allow several minutes for the cheese to melt. Served in a bowl and eat with a spoon. Bread-and-butter are optional.

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Homemade Coleslaw

Photo credit: Curtis Stone

Often of times you find yourself scrambling to get something together to bring to the next summer BBQ or to the next get together. I know that I usually hate when I have to pick something up at the store because I didn’t have time to whip something up. I am just like everyone else, the day comes around and it completely slipped your mind that you were going to marinate some chicken teriyaki and to bring over to grill. When this happens, I usually resort to calling either my mom or dad (whichever one answers first) because they are always full of ideas. This past Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday rolled around and I was empty handed. Thankfully, my mom gave me this recipe to make and it took me about fifteen minutes. It might be unusual, but I always have cabbage in my refrigerator because I am a huge fan so I didn’t even have to run to the store. Most everyone loves a side of homemade coleslaw and this recipe is quick and easy.


  • 1 Head of green cabbage
  • 2 Carrots rinsed
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 white vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoon sugar
  • Black pepper to taste


First you will need to rinse all of your vegetables. Then you will have to remove core of cabbage and then cut cabbage in half. You will continue to slice all of the cabbage very thin and you will want to roughly chop it cross ways. Next you will shred the two carrots using a cheese grater. Lastly you will dice the onion into small pieces.

Next you will hand toss all of your prepared vegetables in a serving bowl and then add the mayonnaise, white vinegar, sugar and lastly pepper to taste. Be sure to mix your concoction up well, cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving. You can even make it up to the day before serving.

Mom’s Chicken Stew w/ Dumplings

dumplingsMy mom was making fun of me the other night, because I haven’t quite mastered every meal I attempted to make in the kitchen. I mentioned to that literally everything she makes is delicious and how it’s frustrating that everything I create isn’t a masterpiece. She laughed and said “Vicenza, I’ve been cooking for 30 years.” I get this chicken soup with added dumplings from my mom and of course I was able to master it since it is my mother’s recipe. You will love it, it is simple and error proof.


  • 3 Chicken breast
  • 3 Stalks celery
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 6 potatoes
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 3/4 cup of milk


First you will boil the three chicken breasts in a large pot for 20 minutes in water then drain water and let chicken cool down.

As always wash your vegetables and potatoes. Chop up your celery, carrots and onions. Next peel the potatoes and chop into uniformed sizes which will allow for even cooking time.

Add the carrots, celery, and onion in with the chicken broth and bring it to a boil. Once it begins boiling turn it down to medium heat and cook for 30 minutes. Then add the chopped potatoes and return to a boil. While that is coming to a boil chop chicken into bite size pieces add it to pot and cook it for another 30 minutes.

Next you will want to follow the instructions for the dumplings usually located on the side of the Bisquik box. After you will Drop dumpling mixture by the tablespoon into the pot of soup, cover and cook for 15 minutes and be sure to stir occasionally.

Lastly add the desired amount of pepper.

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thanks mom

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