A Taste of the Keys

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Do you know what these are? Yes, I know they’re shrimp and that’s not that hard to figure, but these are special! Very special indeed!

Key West Pinks, that’s what they are! These are not your everyday shrimp by any means.

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See how big they are?

On our recent trip to the Keys we treated ourselves to some of the local cuisine. “When in Rome…”, ya know what I mean.


We spent the morning snorkeling and relaxing by the water.

Then A.J. came up and said there was a man there selling “fresh from the boat” shrimp. Well, Tim knew right away what that meant. He was off to talk to this man about some shrimp for me. I say “me” because I am the biggest shrimp fan around! I think I could live on shrimp alone!

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He came back with a ton of fresh shrimp for me to cook. I’d like to say that the recipe for this specialty was a little more complex, but it’s not.

Here goes…

  • Throw the shrimp in a pot
  • Add one beer
  • Add enough water to cover the shrimp
  • Add salt, pepper, and maybe a little something extra
  • Boil for about 10 minutes until they’re bright pink

Even if you can’t stand beer, you need to add it to the shrimp. Trust me on this! I don’t know why, but shrimp like beer. Is that why they live in The Keys?

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They are ready to eat! Being extra sharing and caring, I served it with a ton of fresh rolls that my children love. They don’t need to fill up on shrimp! I suggest shrimp sandwiches for the kids.

This is a simple, simple meal that anyone can make! I’m sure you can add a little of this and that, but we worked with what we had with us. And it’s really not the kind of food that needs all that much added. Can you tell that I love shrimp?

Here are a few more Key West Pink Recipes!

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After lunch we did more relaxing, fishing, and snorkeling. This crazy Pelican kept attacking the kid’s fish as they caught them.

Here’s just the fish we needed for dinner…

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A Snapper of some kind.

The kids caught a ton of fish and kept Tim cleaning fish for a long time. But, it was worth all the work!


This is just the Snapper. We had three or four times as much fish for dinner. We could hardly eat it all. And that’s really saying something with this crew!

It was a great day with fresh catches, full bellies, and fish tales!

Can you tell we take eating seriously around here?

Do you ever catch fish to eat?

Stop by Jen’s at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for Tasty Tuesday!  You don’t want to miss all the great recipes over there!

Tasty Tuesday Blog Party – Strawberry Festival

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Welcome to Tasty Tuesday!

Well, I don’t know about the “Tasty” part, but it is Tuesday.

This week I wanted to go on and on about my love of strawberries and share some recipes with you. I did run into a little problem as I started making my pound cake. I’ll tell you a little more about that later.

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Growing up in Florida and going strawberry picking almost every year of my life, I’ve learned a thing or two about these wonderful treats.  We always end up filling the whole trunk of the car with quarts of strawberries fresh from the fields.

We have a hard time knowing when to stop ourselves from the fun of finding the biggest (they get really big) and best strawberry out there. Having a little friendly competition never hurt anyone, right? Even though you really shouldn’t…you have to test a few to make sure they’re alright. Just wipe them on your shirt a little and quickly pop it in your mouth!

Visiting the Florida Strawberry Festival and making the biggest possible Strawberry Shortcake you can fit in the bowl would have to be a highlight of Strawberry Season. If you’re in Florida, theFlorida Strawberry Festival is coming up!

Making fresh Strawberry Jam and feeling like you are “Ms. Homemaker” or something is part of the fun.

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Strawberry Jam

  • 2 quarts fully ripe strawberries
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 3 ounces liquid fruit pectin

1. Wash and hull the strawberries, and place them in a medium bowl. Using a potato masher, crush the berries. You should have 4 cups of crushed berries.

2. In a heavy saucepan combine the crushed berries, lemon juice, and sugar. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly; boil, stirring, for 1 minute.

3. Add the liquid pectin; boil and stir for 1 minute longer. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, skim off and discard any foam that rises to the surface.

4. Spoon the hot jam into 8 widemouthed, warm sterilized 1/2 pint jars, leaving a 1/4 inch space between the top of the jam and the rim of the jar. Wipe the rims, cover, and process for 10 minutes in boiling water. You might want to look up canning instructions for this part. I don’t feel qualified to tell you. This is usually where I call my mom asking if I’m doing it right or not!

What NOT to do!

Now, back to the story about the “What-Not-To-Do” photo at the top of the post…

It all started when I thought I would like to make pound cake to use for my Strawberry Shortcake instead of buying those cute little round ones at the grocery store. Let me just say that I’ve never, ever, ever made a pound cake before.

I found a recipe in a great cookbook labeled “NEVER-FAIL POUND CAKE!” This seemed like the obvious choice for someone like me. But, maybe it should be a warning sign when something starts out with “NEVER-FAIL!”

I had a few setbacks on my road to a wonderful Strawberry Shortcake! I’ll quickly list them so we can move on and you can appreciate all that I went through to give you an interesting Tasty Tuesday Post!

  • I decided to “SOFTEN” the butter a little faster (I could have a patience problem.) by setting the stick of butter in the microwave for “just a few seconds” while talking on the phone. It melted all over the freshly cleaned microwave, and I had to scrape it out.
  • I pulled my favorite, antique mixing bowl out of the cabinet to find it cracked. I threw it away after trying to decide if a giant crack caused a problem for a mixing bowl or not.
  • Then Jacob, my youngest son, sweetly helped me mix everything together. It was all happy, happy in the kitchen for a few minutes.
  • I popped the cake pan in the oven and began the baking. I decided to peek through the window after 30 or 40 minutes to find the first photo. It was overflowing everywhere!
  • I pretty calmly cleaned out the oven and threw everything else in the sink to deal with later. Then I decided to start over.
  • I had all my ingredients on the table and I decided to tweet about my fun in the kitchen. (Follow me on Twitter for exciting tweets – Ha!) I turned back around to only four eggs. Where’s number five? On the floor. It rolled off the counter.
  • I was still being very calm (as usual) and started putting some stuff up in the kitchen and when I turned around with paper towel in hand, the dog was licking up the egg. She was done. It grossed me out!
  • The second attempt went fine, but my sink is still full of dishes and an oven rack!

Here’s the recipe you’ve been waiting for…

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From Uncle Bubba’s Savannah Seafood Cookbook (Paula Dean’s brother)

Never-Fail Pound Cake

Serves 10 to 12

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract

Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

In a large bowl, using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in the lemon extract. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Place in oven and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Increase the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes more. Do not open the oven door while baking. After 30 minutes, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake to see if it comes out clean. If it doesn’t, continue baking at 350 degrees until the toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

While this was baking I sliced up about two pounds of fresh strawberries and mixed them with about one cup of sugar. Covered it and put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour. It makes a wonderful topping!

Tip:  Do not accidentally grab “self-rising” flour out of your cabinet.  Only use “all purpose” flour.  Trust me!

Ta-Da, I give you Strawberry Shortcake!!!

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Enjoy, and thanks for joining us for Tasty Tuesday this week!

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Please remember to include a link in your post back here to Tasty Tuesday. Also, be sure to link directly to your post rather than your homepage. Thanks!

Christmas Candy – Easy Pretzel Turtles

Easy Pretzel Turtles

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Do you need a yummy treat that only takes a few minutes to make? Who doesn’t! These Pretzel Turtles are perfect for a party or a last minute gift. I’ll show you how quick and easy you can make these sweet treats!

Gather the stuff…

Christmas candy

I gathered more than I needed! I had an idea to make them with mint candies and maybe some with candy cane sprinkles…but time has a way of slipping away!

All you really need is a bag of Rolo candy, pretzels, white chocolate, and pecans.

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Top off a pretzel with a Rolo…over and over again! I use parchment paper, but you can place them directly on your cookie sheet.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake them for 3-5 minutes…that’s all!

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Smush a pecan half onto each one. See, baking can be fun! It’s starting to look pretty good, isn’t it? You could stop right here, or you could add a little something extra to them…like more chocolate!

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I slowly melt white chocolate chips in the microwave and spoon the melted chocolate into a plastic bag. Then I cut a tiny, tiny hole in the corner. Just squeeze to decorate.

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I could have been a little neater, but it was fun to see how fast I could make them. Hey…Tim stole one before I took my photo!

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You can use cashews, candy, or whatever else you can think of to top them off. They look like you spent awhile making them, and they taste like it too!

If you don’t get a chance to make them for Christmas, there’s always Valentine’s Day!

I found this wonderful recipe on Our Best Bites.  You should see how cute Sara wrapped her turtles up!

I’ll be making these again. I’ve already shared the recipe with everyone I’ve talked to this week. :)

Y’all have a great Christmas!

Chicken With Creamy Bruschetta Pasta and Classic Spinach Salad

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We’ve been busy, but we still have time to cook around here, and this is one of our new favorites.

Tim found this recipe. How, you might wonder? He was in Publix {our local grocery store} trying one of the many samples. He always stops to see what they’re cooking {so often that I’m sure they recognize him by now}, and most of the time it’s alright, but this one was fantastic. So, we grabbed the recipe and bought everything we needed.

First, we started with the salad…

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Classic Spinach Salad

  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/2 cup Caesar salad dressing
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bag baby spinach leaves (4-6 oz.)
  • 2 or 3 plum tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons cooked bacon pieces
  • 1 cup garlic croutons

Chop one egg finely, place in salad bowl; stir in salad dressing and pepper. Add spinach: toss until evenly coated. Chop remaining two eggs coarsely. Slice tomatoes thinly. Top salad with eggs, tomatoes, bacon, and croutons.

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Chicken With Creamy Bruschetta Pasta


  • 2-3 sprigs of basil
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 1 {8oz} package garlic/herb flavored spreadable cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 8 oz tomato trinity mix {fresh diced tomatoes, onions, bell peppers}
  • 3 chicken fillets {about 1 1/2 lb}
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 8 oz dry linguini pasta
  1. Fill a large saucepan half full of water. Cover and bring to a boil on high for pasta.
  2. Chop basil leaves coarsely. Cut tomatoes in small pieces. Place cheese in medium bowl; whisk in milk until smooth. Stir in tomatoes, basil, and tomato trinity mix; set aside.
  3. Preheat large saute pan on medium-high 2-3 minutes. Season both sides of chicken with salt. Place oil in pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden. Meanwhile, stir pasta into boiling water. Boil 10 minutes, cook until tender.
  4. Reduce heat on chicken to medium; cover and cook 5 more minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  5. Drain pasta. Remove chicken from heat; cut into 1/2 inch thick slices. Arrange chicken over pasta and top with cheese mixture.

I don’t think you can skip the spreadable cheese. It gave it the extra zing, and I just cut up my own peppers and onion. Then we had some fresh basil from our garden for the top. It’s not as hard as the recipe makes it sound.

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Even the kids liked it, so it’s a keeper! It’s the kind of recipe that makes you feel like you went out for a nice dinner. Can’t beat that! I’m so glad I took a photo of it before it was put on the plates. Once something is served around here, Tim says the prayer, and it is gone in a flash…there’s no time for photos then. :-)

I’ve been passing the recipe around, and now it’s your turn to try it. Let me know what you think!

Hop over to Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for Tasty Tuesday. You’ll find so many great recipes there every week.

Tasty Tuesday is Moving to Balancing Beauty and Bedlam!

Hey everybody! Big announcement! Hear ye, hear ye….

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Tasty Tuesday has found a new home with Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam!

Not only does Jen homeschool her five children, she’s awesome with meal planning, freezer meals, and cooking on the grill! I’ve always enjoyed reading her food posts and I know you will too! But that’s not all there is to Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, not by a longshot! Run over there and take a look around and you’ll see what I mean!

Jen will have Tasty Tuesday up and running next week, so the party won’t miss a beat! I’m looking forward to keeping up with all of you and enjoying more of your great recipes! Thanks for participating!

Tasty Tuesday – Lunch Time!

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Welcome to lunch at our house! This wasn’t what I originally had planned for today, but you know how things can go sometimes.

We’re having Cuban Sandwiches that my family loves when I cut them up and serve them this way! It was too beautiful to eat inside, so we took to the porch for lunch.

Do any of you great cooks know how to make Cuban Bread? Yum! I think I could live off of it!

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My cuban sandwiches are loaded up with sweet ham, spanish pork, swiss cheese {Boar’s Head Lacey Swiss}, sweet pickles, mayonaise, and mustard. I know some people don’t add pork to their Cubans, but they are missing out!

This is the last week I’ll be hosting Tasty Tuesday on Forever Wherever! It has been so much fun, and having all the great recipes in one spot has been wonderful!

Tasty Tuesday – Sweet Peeps!

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Welcome to Tasty Tuesday for this Sweet Peeps Extravaganza! We went a little crazy with the Peeps around here this week. I think I’ve had my share of sugar for awhile, and even the kids aren’t asking for more right now.

First, we made these cute little chick cupcakes! We don’t eat coconut around here, but how else can you make a nest? Maybe pretzels or something. We gave some of these to the neighbors and the “hot dog lady” at the park. They look good, but ya gotta like coconut!

Check out this cake…

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Then we tried a little cupcake with eggs…

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Then we moved on to dip bunnies and chicks in melted chocolate and sprinkles.

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Ours didn’t turn out quite like these…we were a little heavy on the chocolate and the sprinkles, but they tasted great!

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This really wasn’t the look I was hoping for, but it was fun! My boys put some in the freezer and tried them frozen. It got two thumbs up from them.

Check out yesterday’s post about….Peeps! Yes, there’s more! I found cute crafts, games, AND CHINA!

Here’s a few Peeps Marshmallow facts for you to share with your families…

  • It takes six minutes to make one Peeps chick.
  • Original Peeps have a shelf life of two years. {I’m not sure that’s good!!!}
  • More than 5 million Peeps are produced each day. {Can that be right?}
  • Peeps have been the most popular nonchocolate Easter candy in the United States for more than a decade. {Not jelly beans!}

Now, for the recipes on the beautiful cake and the pretty dipped bunnies, just stop by the official website for Peeps.

We all had loads of fun getting ready for Tasty Tuesday this week. Take a little time and mess up your kitchen like I did…It was worth it!

A couple quick reminders…remember to link directly to your post, and please don’t forget to place a link back here to Tasty Tuesday! Enjoy the great food!  Let’s see what you brought to the party this week!

Tasty Tuesday – Grillin’ A Chicken Philly!

Today (Tuesday) is Tim’s Birthday! We had a little fun celebrating this weekend with awesome food from the grill. Well, he did do the grillin’, but he enjoys it! Check out the yummy Chicken Philly!

Tim started by cutting up some beautiful red, green, and yellow peppers. Oh, and don’t forget the onion.

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He fired up the grill! There’s something about a grill that makes him smile!

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Add a little marinated chicken breasts.

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Then everything is arranged just so on the hot grill.

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Slice it up…paper plate is optional!

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Mix the peppers, onions, and grilled chicken together.

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He was making 8 sandwiches with different requests. Tim made a sauce that he added to each hoagie roll and then loaded them up with “grilled goodness!”  He arranged them on a baking sheet for a quick trip into the hot oven to melt the cheese and toast the bread a little bit!

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Here’s the finished Chicken Philly topped with Mozzerella Cheese…

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It was fantastic and everyone loved it! There’s something special about food from the Tim’s grill!

  1. Tim marinated the chicken with Dales Sauce, Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper, and Lemon Pepper Mix.
  2. The peppers and onions always take awhile, so sit back and relax.  He cuts those huge to keep them from burning and/or falling into the coals, then puts them on for awhile before the chicken.
  3. A special sauce included a simple mix of Mayo with a little bit of Thousand Island Dressing mixed in.
  4. All was served with potato salad, sunshine, and lots of napkins!

Then there’s the Birthday Cake…


My mom made this fabulous cake that’s so moist and yummy!

Surprise Cake

  • Duncan Hines Butter Pecan Cake Mix {or Vanilla or Yellow cake mix with 1/2 cup finely crushed pecans}
  • 2 ripe kiwi
  • 1 ripe apple
  • 1 large ripe peach
  • eggs {see directions}
  • Butter {see directions}
  • Buttermilk {see directions}

**Using the cake mix, you will substitue melted butter for oil and Buttermilk for water.

Chop all the fruit into small pieces then saute in the butter until soft. Mix the cake mix as directed taking into consideration that the butter is used to saute the fruit. Pour fruit mixture into the cake batter. Blend. Pour into a greased Bundt pan and cook according to the directions on the box.


  • 3/4 cup {approx.} of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup {approx.} stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup Buttermilk
  • 1/2 box of confectioner’s sugar

Cook for 5 minutes while stirring. Drizzle over a cool cake immediately. This will harden as it cools.

This is an amazing cake! It stays moist, so it can be made a day ahead of time. Vanilla ice cream is a great finishing touch!

A couple quick reminders…remember to link directly to your post, and please don’t forget to place a link back here to Tasty Tuesday! Enjoy the great food! What kind of food do you like to grill?

Hooked On Islands – Any Island, Anywhere!

Far Far Away


Heron Island, Australia

We went on a trip to New Zealand and Australia a few years back and fell in love with all of it…and it’s all islands out there! Even Australia is a big island! (Size of U.S. big)


The picture above is from our room on an amazing little island called Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef! I’ll be doing a Travel Tale about Australia soon.

A Little Closer

The Caribbean is just around the corner, and the islands there are some of the best anywhere. We loved a place in Jamaica called FDR. It’s the most incredible island resort for families there is! Parents and kids…HAPPY!

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The rooms at this place were beautiful and looked out over the sea. Jamaica is just a wonderful place overall. We love it!

Closer Still

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You don’t need a passport for this one! It would be fun to see who could guess where this is. But then I couldn’t tell you, and I want to tell you that this place is an easy drive for you if you’re in the US or Canada!

This is Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys! It really looks just like this! It’s wonderful, amazing, and in the US! For those of you going on a road trip…it makes a great destination for camping in a tent or RV.

Just don’t go during a hurricane!

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Same bridge!

A Short Boat Ride


This is the image that adorns the desktop on my computer. This is AJ, looking totally too big and strong, wakeboarding behind our boat right around the corner at Cayo Costa State Park. This is an incredible island only accessible by boat. It’s usually pretty well deserted!

And just down the beach a couple of islands south is famous Captiva Island and the Mucky Duck! Here is Jacob thrilled with his success with the “ring-on-a-string-you-gotta-swing-it-onto-a-hook-game”! He’s the champ!


So We’re Hooked

Yup, we’re hooked for sure, just as hooked as that ring on a string. Worse things we could be hooked on I guess! Head over to Hooked On Houses to see what everyone else is hooked on this week!

And, I’m Hooked on Islands at Remodeling Guy too, just a different kind of island. You can eat at either kind, so that’s good.

So, we have many, many islands left to see and we need some help….where should we go?  What is your favorite island?

Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods – Irish Celebration!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


There’s something about a reuben that makes me feel like I’m eating something special, not just “a sandwich.” This is the first time I’ve made them at home, and I thought it tasted even better because I could adjust the ingredients to make it just right! What a great lunch!

You don’t have to be Irish to want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I have a couple traditional Irish recipes for you today. They’re easy and yummy! {My favorite kind}

Reuben Sandwich


  • Rye bread – I used Marble bread {Yum!}
  • Sliced corned beef – I used Boar’s Head from the deli
  • Sliced Swiss Cheese – I used Boar’s Head Baby Swiss
  • Sauerkraut, drained – I used Boar’s Head with a little sugar added
  • Thousand Island dressing
  • Butter

Prehead a large skillet on medium heat. Lightly butter one side of the bread slices. Spread non-buttered sides with Thousand Island dressing. Put one buttered side down in the skillet to grill. Add corned beef, 1 slice of Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, another slice of Swiss cheese, and then the top piece of bread with the butter side up. Grill slightly and flip. Press down a bit to make it stick together just right. When both sides are golden brown, remove and serve.

Tips: Well, I love sauces, so I add a little more Thousand Island in the middle. I also use quite a bit of corned beef. Experiment with the amount of each ingredient to make it the perfect sandwich for you!

Now, here’s what we’re having for dinner…

corned beef

I love when a recipe is so easy and it turns out to be a wonderful meal! Check out this simple recipe…

Corned Beef and Cabbage


  • 3 pounds corned beef brisket with spice { You can find it packaged with spices in most grocery stores.}
  • 10 small red potatoes
  • 5 carrots, peeled and cut to small chunks {I’m so precise, I know!}
  • 1 large head of cabbage, cut into small wedges

Place corned beef in a large Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 50 minutes per pound or until tender. Add whole potatoes and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Add cabbage and cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove the corned beef and slice it on a plate. Serve with vegetables. That’s it!

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Last week Once Upon a Dream shared a great post for the perfect little sweet treat to make with the kids on St. Patrick’s Day!

Irish Soda Bread would be a great addition, but I’ll have to try that next year!

Whether you’ll be drinking a Guinness {very traditional Irish beer} or green punch on this fun holiday, here’s a toast for you…

May you always have walls for the wind, a roof for the rain, and drinks beside the fire.

Thanks for joining us for Tasty Tuesday! Ya’ll are such great cooks!

A couple quick reminders…remember to link directly to your post, and please don’t forget to place a link back here to Tasty Tuesday!  Enjoy the great food!