Easy Date Night Chicken Recipe

I have always loved the flavors of dates and bacon.  My grandmother used to wrap bacon around dates and bake them during the holidays as an appetizer.  Try it.  It is really delicious.

This easy recipe is perfect for a Date Night, Well, it is made with dates and bacon and chicken.  Bacon… yes bacon.  It is a favorite at my house.

Date Night Chicken

chicken 1

Ingredients

10-12 pitted dates chopped

2 shallots

2 oz. deli goat cheese, crumbled (optional)

4 slices bacon (lean)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips

garlic/herb seasoning (to taste)

pepper (to taste)

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup white wine or chicken broth

Instructions

Chop up the dates.  Slice your shallots into thin pieces. Crumble the goat cheese.  Cut your bacon slices into 1/2 inch pieces. Cut chicken breasts into thin strips.

1.  Preheat large saute pan on medium high for about 3 minutes.  Season the chicken with the herb seasoning and pepper. The amount of seasoning is up to you.  I lightly season my strips.

2. Pour oil in pan and add chicken.  Cook chicken strips until browned. Remove chicken from pan and set aside for later.

3.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the bacon.  Cook the bacon until crisp. Add the shallots to pan and add the dates.  Cook for about 3 more minutes.

4.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Add wine or chicken broth and return the chicken to the pan.  Reduce the heat to low and cover.  Simmer for about 10-12 minutes.  Add more wine or broth to make more sauce if you like.

5.  Remove the chicken from the pan.  Spoon date/bacon mixture on top of the chicken.  Top with goat cheese if you like.  Serve!

I made roasted broccoli as a side.  I skipped the goat cheese.  It is an acquired taste I have yet to acquire.  But, be sure to add it if you like it.  It balances the sweet and savory flavors of this easy dish.

Enjoy!

Why do you read? What are you reading?

a book a day

Reading begins at a young age.  We learn to read, then we read to learn.

As adults, reading for pleasure is a hobby for many.

Why do you read?

Do you read to escape from reality?  A wonderfully written book can be quite powerful.  Books have the power to paint pictures, arouse our senses and take us away from the day to day.

books reader

Books also open discussions.  What books have you read that have lead to an interesting discussion among friends or colleagues? Share your thoughts.

What genres to you prefer? Do you prefer romance, suspense, erotica, mysteries, young adult, new adult, historical fiction, or paranormal? Cookbooks or How-to-books?

I happen to love magazines, especially when they are filled with recipes.  In fact,  I am currently reading, Cooking Light.  Even as adults, we still read to learn. Learning to cook counts right?

Next on my TBR list is The Scarpetta Cookbook by Scott Conant. I’m a sucker for Italian food.  (I have a crush on this chef too)

scarpetta

There are so many talented authors out there that I don’t have a favorite genre anymore.

Share your thoughts.

What are some of the best books you have read?

What are you reading?

Happy Sunday!

~Susi

Rose Wines – My New Favorites

I recently visited a wine shop here in Miami.  While I was overwhelmed with the choices of wines, I was on a mission for one particular wine.   ~Rose

I had just finished reading and reviewing A Sip of You (Book 2 in the Epicurean Series) by Sorcha Grace.  Her 5 star story inspired me to try new rose wines.

I bought three wines to sample.

rose winesThe first wine is from France. Domaine Guy Mousset – Cotes du Rhone 2012.  ~Refreshing, fruity, hints of strawberry, and a great price!

The second wine is from Spain. Eguren Tempranillo 2012 ~Light, refreshing, raspberry and red berry flavors, great for tapas! Great price too!

The third wine is from Argentina. Aberdeen Angus Rose 2012   ~  Light bodied, crisp, cherry and strawberry flavors, fresh and fruity, great with light salads.

While all three were equally delicious, my favorite is the wine from Spain, the Eguren Tempranillo 2012.

Rose’s have quickly become my favorite anytime wines.  They are perfect when entertaining or just lounging around.

Try these wines and let me know what you think.

Do you like food, wine and romance?   Check out these books too!

A Taste of You  and  A Sip of You by Sorcha Grace

Happy Saturday!

~Susi

a taste of youA Sip of You

Susi’s Signature Red Velvet Cupcakes

Susi’s Signature Red Velvet Cupcakes

DSC_0391

Everyone has that one recipe that all of their friends love.

This is my signature recipe for the best red velvet cupcakes around. I hope you enjoy it!  Feel free to share and comment. 🙂

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients Mix

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (sifted)

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

Wet Ingredients

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 tablespoons red food coloring

1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (Pure Mexican Vanilla from Blue Cattle Truck Trading Co.)www.mexicanvanilla.com  or Vanilla of your choice

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (Pure Mexican Vanilla from Blue Cattle Truck Trading Co.)www.mexicanvanilla.com
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together all of the dry ingredients. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined. (Hand mixing preferred)

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes.
Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

I like to pipe frosting using a big star tip.

Book Signing – A Traves de Mis Ojos by Lilian Vizcaino

Congratulations to Lilian Vizcaino on her first published book, A Traves de Mis Ojos.

vizcaino

book signing

A Traves De Mis Ojos by Lilian Vizcaino is a delightful book of very well written short stories about love, suspense, black humor and hope. Her stories are written in Spanish.

Lilian had her book signing last Saturday at Books and Books in Coral Gables.  It was an honor to be part if this amazing event.

Her book of magical stories makes a perfect present for this holiday season.

What people are saying about her book:

Mrs. Vizcaino’s A Traves de Mis Ojos is a superb collection of short stories where love, suspense, friendship and the immigration experience engages the reader from the first pages to the last. The setting takes place in the magical City of Miami and the Caribbean, the perfect backdrop for the enthralling stories of the immigrant experience.

A must read!

~Cristina V.

Crème de Vie (Cuban Egg Nog)

When I was a little girl, I looked forward to the Christmas Season for obvious reasons.  I loved the presents. However, it was during this time of the year that I would watch my Mom in the kitchen as she prepared her famous Crème de Vie or Cuban Egg Nog.  

creme de vie

It was a tradition to prepare bottles of this sweet and tasty drink and give it to the neighbors, family and friends.  I especially remember toasting on Christmas Eve (Noche Buena) with this drink in hand.

Now, my mother’s recipe is not original.  In fact, as I converse with friends and colleagues of Cuban descent, this recipe is popular in their households too.

Well, it is the Christmas Season.  So here is the recipe.  It means Creme of Life.  Let me warn you, drink with care.  You may not realize the effects until you have had too much.

 Ingredients

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup white rum (you can add more if you love rum like me)

1) Make your simple syrup.  Start off by mixing the sugar and water together over very low heat.   Stir it constantly until the sugar dissolves – about 3 minutes. It has to be just low enough so that the sugar doesn’t caramelize, but makes a thick sugary water.

2) Add the egg yolks in a blender and mix with the condensed milk.

3) Add the evaporated milk slowly and mix completely.

4) Add the vanilla. ( Use pure vanilla extract)

5) Pour the mixture into the sugar-water and mix together.

6) Finally stir in the rum.

7) Let mixture cool.

8) Pour into glass bottles and refrigerate.  (It tastes better the next day)

9) Serve in shot glasses as an after dinner drink.

10) Cheers!!

If you have a variation to this recipe, feel free to share it with me.

Happy Holidays!

~Susi

Trying a New Wine- Any thoughts??

As of Fan of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, I went through and actually highlighted all of the wines that were mentioned in the books.  I wanted to try them for myself.  Luckily, I did try several of them.  I liked some of them while others were hard to find locally.  I am still not done sampling them all.  The list was long.

Well, I just ordered the new 50 Shades of Grey Wines.

I ordered a bottle of each.  As soon as I try them out, I will share my thoughts on the wine.

Have you tried them yet? Any thoughts?

You can order them here:  http://www.fiftyshadeswine.com/

I can’t wait for them to arrive!

~Susi

redbottle 50 shadeswitebottle 50 shades

Recipe- Susi’s Sinful Chocolate Cake with Nutella Frosting

Susi's sinful chocolate cake

Here is the recipe I have been using to make chocolate cake for years.

This is a recipe I found through Hershey’s and I altered it to my taste by changing the vanilla.

Ingredients

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (Pure Mexican Vanilla from http://www.mexicanvanilla.com)
1 cup boiling water
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar

Directions

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2 Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3 Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

VARIATIONS:

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

Susi’s Nutella Frosting

Ingredients

• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 2 cups powdered sugar
• 1 cup Hershey’s Cocoa unsweetened
• ⅔ cup Nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut spread
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (Mexican Vanilla)
• Pinch kosher salt (up to ¼ teaspoon, to taste)
• 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Instructions

1. In a stand mixer afixed with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and powdered sugar and cocoa powder on low until well-blended. Add the Nutella and increase the speed to medium. Beat for two minutes.
2. Add the vanilla extract and salt and whip for an additional 30 seconds.
3. Add the whipping cream and beat for about one minute, until the frosting lightens slightly in both color and texture.
4. Add a little more whipping cream to make smoother if needed or more chocolate powder to taste if need.

I frost using a spatula. You can pipe on cupcakes using a star tip.

Wines on my Holiday list

Do you buy wines for the holidays?  If you do, you probably buy at your local wine and spirits store.  Well, go online and check out the wineries in Napa.

I was fortunate to visit this amazing winery in Napa called Vittorio Sattui.  It has the best wines and fresh foods.  The actual winery and building are amazing.  The place itself  is the perfect backdrop for a wedding or special event.  After several wine tastings in the area, this winery became my all time favorite.  

Here are the wines on my holiday list.  I do recommend the Gamay Rouge.  It is the best if you love fruity wines like me.Holiday-wines-for-web

 

wine-gamay-rouge-boxCheck out their website and place your order today.  Wines do make great gifts.  Buy a bottle for your friends and keep one or two for yourself.

http://www.vsattui.com/

 

Susi Reviews – Bound by Wish and Mistletoe by Kat Bastion

My first review is a 5 star holiday novella perfect for this Christmas Season!

bound by wish and mistletoe

The holiday novella, Book 1.5, following the award-winning debut of Forged in Dreams and Magick in the Highland Legends Series:

Desperate to honor a life-long promise, Susanna MacEalan escapes her abusive clan with the fierce determination of never falling under the power of a man. Ever.

Aggravated by shallow-hearted pursuing lasses, Robert Brodie, commander of his clan’s elite guard, has foresworn scheming women. Forever.

When magick transforms Brodie Castle into a Christmas wonderland, the two despondent souls find solace in a most unexpected place . . . each other’s arms.

Amid a whirlwind of escalating events, Susanna’s traumatic past threatens Robert’s ability to protect the one woman meant for him. In a harrowing moment, as her fears and demons coalesce, will hope, faith, and love be enough to save them?

Susi’s Review

I’d like to start my review by saying that I read Bound by Wish and Mistletoe by Kat Bastion when it first released and I loved it. Real life has been quite busy for me lately so I felt that I had to reread this book in order to write my personal review. Now, rereading a book is like watching a movie for the second time. You always catch things you may have missed the first time. I can honestly say that I am really glad that I reread it because my journey into the Highlands was so much better the second time around.

First of all,  I am a Susanna and have my very own Robert. Just like the characters in the book, I too ran into my Robert during a tough time in my life. While my Robert may not be a Scottish Highlander, he is quite similar to this warrior in the book. So yes, you could say he saved me too. Susanna and I share certain traits as well. I am strong willed and like to get my way.

I most enjoyed how the love story of these two characters unfolded and carried out throughout the book. Of course I cannot forget to mention my other favorites, Isobel, Iain, Brigid and Skorpius. Their presence in this book made the story complete. Besides the love story, the new found friendship between the ladies brought a smile to my face.

Christmas is a magical time of the year and the perfect setting for this magical story set in an enchanting place. The symbolism of Christmas, of hope, completes the story of Robert and Susanna. It also brings hope to the other characters that I cannot wait to read more of in the next book.

This review would not be complete if I didn’t mention that Kat’s writing is so eloquent.  I was most impressed with the love scenes in this story. Wow, Kat, I am visual and your scenes do stimulate the senses as they are beautifully and tastefully written.

There is a beautiful message embedded in this story. I hope everyone that reads it discovers it. For me, the personal connection completed and made this story so perfect.

I enjoyed this book immensely and highly recommend it!
I gave this book 5 brilliant stars!
Thank you Kat for writing such a beautiful story.

My favorite quotes 

“You needn’t be afraid of me, Susanna,” he murmered. “I give you my word, every action I make around you will be for your protection…or pleasure.”

“Anythin’ you want me to have, you’ll offer. If I have my way, you will beg me to take it.”

“On a occasion, a person comes into your life and you doona know how or why, but you know them. You feel connected in ways you canna explain. I never question the uncommon gifts of friendship and love—I embrace them.”

“Susanna, please. If you keep shakin’ your ass against me like that, I might die right here in this chair.”

“Tonight is one of countless nights in many years to come where we will celebrate hope, faith, and love at Christmastime.”

“I dinna know people could be so happy,” she confessed, her voice soft to her own ears.

”I had no idea happiness was possible for me, before you.”

“No woman ever gained my interest, because none of them were you.”

“Everything is possible. When we least expect it and have given up all hope of findin’ what we want, suddenly it appears in the most unlikely of places.”

“Lass, I’ve gone easy on you tonight. I’ll tease and worship your body ‘til you shake with need, then I’ll give you the pleasure you crave, over and over…and over again.”

“You are the wish I made. The verra thing I’d prayed for.”

“Wherever you are… I am found. You’re the one I wished for. I prayed for you long before I met you.”

“Susanna, I wished for us under that mistletoe.”

Follow Kat Bastion on Twitter.

Read Kat’s official website:  www.katbastion.com

Read Kat’s blog page: www.talktotheshoe.com