Bake Your Own King Cake for Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” in French, and is the celebratory carnival that leads up to the beginning of Lent. The name “Fat Tuesday” refers to the practice of consuming all of the food forbidden while fasting during Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday. This past week, I had fun celebrating this Louisiana holiday by baking my first King Cake at home. 

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Festive Fourth of July Favorites

Happy Independence Day! Over the years, I’ve baked many a festive treat to celebrate the Fourth of July, and I thought I’d share a few of my favorites. These baked goods are fun to create and will add a celebratory spirit to any table, tailgate party or firework fiesta.

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Lime Cheesecake Pie – Mix, Pour and Freeze!

A pie doesn’t have to be complicated. With only six ingredients, this Lime Cheesecake Pie takes literally minutes to assemble and the freezer does the rest! Cold, refreshing, creamy and tart, this is the best and easiest pie you’ll ever make. It’s fantastic in the spring and summer when the temperatures outside are really hot. You can make it as light as you like too, by purchasing lower fat ingredients.  Start by juicing some fresh limes. You’ll need 1/3 of a cup. I have a juicer, but no fancy equipment is needed. Just roll your lime under the palm of your hand a few times while pressing gently or pop the lime in the microwave for about 15 seconds to get those juices flowing. The lime flavor is what makes this pie AWESOME.

Beat softened cream cheese until smooth, then add in one can of sweetened condensed milk, fresh lime juice and vanilla extract.

Pour the mixture into a 9-inch graham cracker crust. Mine is store-bought, but you can always make your own (it’s just graham cracker crumbs and melted butter). Spread the mixture evenly into the pie crust…

Then put the pie in the freezer for 2 hours. How easy is that?

When the pie has set, the mixture will be firm.

 Top with whipped topping. Use the entire 8 ounce container.

Spread the whipped topping over the pie filling evenly. Then place it in the freezer for one hour.

Garnish with lime wedges and mint! That’s my favorite part, getting to decorate it. 😉 Amazing how that little touch of green contrasts so well against the white whipped topping.

Here’s the recipe, courtesy of The Taste of Home Cookbook:

1 pkg 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 graham cracker crust (9 inches)
1 carton 8 oz frozen whipped cream topping, thawed
Lime slices, fresh mint for garnish

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add milk, lime juice and vanilla; beat until smooth. Pour into the crust. Refrigerate 2 hours. Spread with whipped topping. Refrigerate 1 hour. Garnish with mint and lime.

This dessert pairs well with seafood. Let me know what you think!

Skillet Barbecued Pork Chops Good Enough For Company

This is one of my absolute FAVORITE ways to fix pork chops. They take less than 30 minutes to make but will taste like you slaved in the kitchen for hours!! I got the recipe from none other than Taste of Home.


You’ll need some good 1/2 inch thick center cut pork chops, butter, an onion, seasoned salt, some brown sugar, honey BBQ sauce, worcestershire sauce, water and a little corn starch.


Season the pork chops with seasoned salt (I also like to add a little pepper because y’all I know I like things spicy) and brown them in a large skillet on each side. You don’t have to worry about cooking them all the way through, because you’ll let them simmer in the sauce later to finish cooking. Check out that caramelization action. Man alive!!


Once you’ve browned the chops, remove them from the skillet. Then toss in your sliced onion. I love that sizzle when they hit the pan. The kitchen starts smelling real good right about now.


It’s important that you use the correct measuring cups for wet and dry ingredients. I didn’t always know this. Liquid goes in the glass measuring cup. Dry ingredients go in the individual measuring cups.


For the sauce, combine with the sautéed onion, 1 cup of Honey BBQ sauce, 1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup of water and a 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Stir and let it come together for 2 minutes or so.


Then add your pork chops back in the pan. Cover and let simmer on low for 15 minutes.


Meanwhile, combine 1 tablespoon of water with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch.


Hold on to your boots when you take that lid off. You won’t be able to handle that smell. This is going to be Some Kinda Good y’all!


Remove the pork chops to a plate and keep warm.


Pour the cornstarch and water mixture in with the sauce. This is what helps it thicken and gives it that wonderful consistency.


Stir together and simmer for 2 minutes.


I served the Skillet Barbecued Pork Chops with a side of brown rice and almonds. Be sure to slather that pork chop good with the sauce.


The good news is, you’ll have sauce left over. So feel free to use it on chicken, pizza or anything else that floats your boat. Let me know how you like it!! 😉

Some Kinda Beautiful Special Occasion Chocolate Cake

I made this labor intensive Special-Occasion Chocolate Cake for several of my co-workers who celebrated birthdays one fall. It’s three layers of the most moist, delicious combination of toasted almonds, fudgy buttercream frosting and chocolate ganache you’ll ever taste. This recipe, courtesy of Taste of Home, is the epitome of Some Kinda Good.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get many pictures but as soon as I began cutting into the cake and describing it, the next thing I knew, my co-workers were video taping. HA! I was being silly, but they were successful in capturing my passion for all things chocolate and heavenly. They also got a great shot of the decadent layers. Thanks Mark and Ryan!

I started baking the cake at 7 p.m. and didn’t finish until after 10 p.m., but every second was worth it. By the way, the recipe is named Special Occasion for a reason…be sure to save it for an indulgent celebration.