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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Grilled Herb Pork Tenderloin … So Good … Too Easy

Image 1This is our first recipe designed to have you serve great food for a small simple celebration of 4 to 6 people.  Serve this with our grilled pineapple, black bean salad and rice pilaf recipes which will be posted soon!

  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 3 lbs. total)
  • 1 t. dried rosemary
  • 1 t. dried sage
  • 1 t. Italian seasoning
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 t. ground fresh pepper
  • 2 t. kosher salt
  • 3/4 t. crushed red pepper

Put all rub ingredients into a small bowl – herbs, garlic, salt, & peppers.  Place rub all over pork and work it in with your fingers.  Put tenderloins in refrigerator overnight or leave on counter for one hour prior to cooking.

Heat up gas or charcoal grill.  Grill for about 20 minutes or until instant meat thermometer reads 155℉. If you do not have grill access, sauté  tenderloins in olive oil until brown, then place in preheated 375℉ oven until instant thermometer reaches 155℉.  Let meat sit for 5 minutes before slicing.  Slice pork into 3/4 inch slices.

Napkins … A Final Tabletop Touch

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Napkins can serve many functions.  Besides the obvious, they can dictate a theme and add elegance and interest to your table.

The next time you stop in to your local Pier One or Crate and Barrel type store, browse through the cloth napkin section to see if anything catches your eye.   Don’t forget to  check out the clearance section for good deals and mismatched patterns.   Another idea is to purchase tea towels (small kitchen towels as pictured above) that have a picture or design that you like and use them as napkins.  Napkin rings are also an easy way to make your tabletop unique.

During our recent vacation, our friend, Andrea (see picture below), was in charge of napkin folding for each night’s simple celebration.  She did a great job and used the following web site for inspiration:


Grilled Pineapple – A Succulent Side Dish


During our recent vacation with friends and family, one night we had grilled pineapple as part of the dinner.  It was so popular, that any time a person would go to the store, they picked up another pineapple – resulting in three dinners with a side of grilled pineapple.  One of our friends even had the left overs for breakfast!   Take Vicki’s advice when she says, “the secret is to have a very big, sharp knife.” This was said after she almost lost a finger to a dull knife.

Pick up one ripe, whole pineapple.  Give it the sniff  test – you should be able to smell the pineapple’s aroma.

Cut the pineapple into 8 equal sections, keeping skin and top intact.  Oil the grill.  Grill pineapple on both sides until you see obvious grill marks (10-15 minutes).  You won’t taste anything sweeter.  Goes great with any simple celebration of chicken, shrimp or pork, and don’t forget to serve it along with our fabulous fish tacos!

Fantastic Fish Tacos


Time to put down your delicious Margarita and get started on cooking dinner (if you’ve had two Margaritas, better call for take-out).  The way to make these tacos fabulous is to use the freshest fish available.  We used Wahoo while in the Bahamas recently, but any thick, white fish will do such as Grouper or Mahi-Mahi.  The beauty of these tacos is that all three parts of the recipe use a lot of the same ingredients which cuts down on your shopping list and almost everything can be made in advance of the party.  The fish can be grilled before your guests arrive and kept warm in a warming tray or low oven.  Assemble just before eating……

For 8 servings


  • 2 1/2 to 3 lbs. fresh fish
  • 4 T. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 c.  + 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 2 T. chili powder (spicy if you prefer)
  • 1 t. chipolte chili powder
  • 2 t. ground coriander
  • 2 t. ground cumin
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 16 – 6 in. flour or corn tortillas ( or a combination)

Combine all marinade ingredients and place on fish.  Let sit in refrigerator for about and hour.  Take out about 1/2 hour before grilling.  Heat up grill and grill fish for a total of about 4 minutes, turning once.  Grill tortillas quickly until grill marks appear.  Let fish sit for a few minutes.  Cut into 16 – 24 pieces. Put 2 tortillas on each plate.  To assemble taco – place fish,  slaw, pico de gallo and cream lime sauces on tortillas.  Serve with multi-colored tortillas chips that have been warmed in the oven for about 15 minutes at 200 degrees.

Pico De Gallo

  • 1 c. diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 T. minced red onion
  • 2 T. fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 T. minced jalapeno
  • 1/2 t. red wine or sherry vinegar

Combine all ingredients


  • 2 c. shredded cabbage
  • 1 T. fresh lime juice
  • 2 t. sugar (can also use honey)
  • 3 T. minced red onion
  • 2 t. jalapenos
  • 2 t. fresh minced cilantro

Mix together at least 2 hours ahead

Cream Lime Sauce

  • 1/2 c.  sour cream
  • 1 T.  fresh lime juice
  • Zest from one lime

Mix together and let meld in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Your simple fiesta celebration is now in full swing!

Guacamole … A Fiesta Crowd Pleaser!


Once you try this guacamole recipe, we guarantee you will never want store-bought again!  Prep time is quick .. onto your fiesta table in minutes.  This recipe will fill a medium size bowl.  Serve with colorful tortilla chips and watch your guests eat it up.  One more guarantee, someone will undoubtedly pick up the bowl and scrape out the last bit!

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 lemon – juiced
  • 1/2 to 1 T. mayo
  • 1 Tomato diced
  • 1/2 c. diced red onion
  • 1/4 c. salsa (your favorite)
  • 1/2 t. celery salt
  • 2 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 shakes of tabasco or other hot sauce
  • Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Mash the avocados (leave somewhat chunky).  Stir in lemon juice and mayo.  Add all other ingredients and serve in a festive bowl along with tortilla chips.  Your simple fiesta celebration is off to a zesty start!

3-2-1 Hit the Floor Margaritas


This Margarita recipe has been in Vicki’s husband’s (Skip) family for two generations.  It has been kept a secret this whole time until somehow Vicki convinced Skip to allow us to share it with our bloggers.  The origin of the 3-2-1 in the recipe’s title refers to the proportions of the liquids required, however, over time, it has been modified to make a pitcher full.  We added hit the floor to the title because they are potent!

Skip’s father’s property in San Diego was filled with lime trees.  And, as everyone knows, when life hands you limes, you make Margaritas!  This recipe requires lots of fresh limes, but calls for no sugar or syrups, so it is a very clean tasting Margarita.  Just be careful how many you drink or … you will hit the floor!

For one pitcher:

  • 6 oz. tequila (we use white not gold and it doesn’t have to be expensive)
  • 4 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2-3 oz. triple sec (it will be slightly sweeter with 3 oz)

Fill a blender with ice and add ingredients.  Blend until ice is crushed, but not fine.  Use a lime wedge around the rims of the Margarita glasses to help the salt stick.  Pour Kosher salt onto a flat plate and dip the glasses into the salt.

Now let’s raise a glass to Skip and thank him for getting this simple fiesta celebration started!!

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A Simple Fiesta Celebration


Now that we have completed our wine/beer, appetizer, and dessert party, let’s spice things up with a Mexican theme.  Our next blogs will  include drink and food recipes for a party of eight.  Some entertaining items which will make your celebration festive are Margarita glasses and colorful bowls and platters.

Now, let’s get this simple fiesta celebration started with – what else? – a cocktail!  Read our next blog where a very special secret family recipe is revealed.

Cupcakes for Any Simple Celebration

This cupcake recipe is very versatile.  You can use food coloring to color the icing for any simple celebration – birthday party, baby shower, bridal shower, or holiday gathering.  The cupcakes pictured were made for a good friend’s daughter’s baby shower.



  • 2  13-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk

Boil the coconut milk in a heavy sauce pan.  Reduce the heat to low and boil until the milk is reduced to 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 c.  This will take up to 45 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 1/4 t. baking powder
  • 3/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 t. orange zest
  • seeds from one vanilla beans
  • 1 c. reduced coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place baking paper or foil cups (18-20) in muffin tins.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder.  Beat butter with a mixer until fluffy.  Add sugar and beat for 2 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time and beat until smooth.  Add vanilla beans and orange zest. Add half the dry ingredients and 1 c. of reduced coconut milk and beat until just mixed.  Add the remaining dry ingredients but do not over beat – just until mixed.  Distribute the batter in the muffin cups.

Bake 15-20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10-15 minutes on a rack then remove from tin and finish cooling.


  • 2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 c. butter, room temperature
  • 1 t. orange zest
  • 1/3 c. reduced coconut milk
  • pinch of salt
  • food coloring (optional)

Beat butter until fluffy.  Add rest of ingredients and beat on medium until icing is nice and smooth. Add food coloring a few drops at a time until you achieve the desired color.

When you ice the cupcakes you can either do it with a pastry bag for a more professional look, or just ice as normal.

Other ideas – take out the zest and add chocolate chips, small amount of pineapple, or coconut.  Enjoy!

Best Chocolate Brownies – Ever!


We found this brownie recipe while looking through Bon Appetit magazine.  This recipe was created by Alice Medrich and we have changed it only by using dark cocoa powder.


  • Non-stick spray, such as Pam
  • 10 T. unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa (I use dark cocoa)
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 2 large eggs, chilled
  • 1/3 c. plus 1 T. all purpose flour
  • 1 c. walnut pieces

Place rack in bottom 1/3 of oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.  Line a 8×8 inch metal pan with foil leaving a 2 in. overhang.  Spray with Pam.  Melt butter in medium pan until butter melts and small brown bits for in bottom of pan.  (about 5 minutes).  Remove from heat and add sugar, cocoa, 2 t. water, vanilla, and salt.  Stir to blend.  Let cool 5 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time to hot mixture and beat after each addition.  When mixture is thick and shiny add flour and stir.  Beat 60 strokes and then add walnuts.  Transfer to pan.

Bake until toothpick comes out almost clean (about 25-30 minutes) – the center will still be a bit soft.

Cool on rack.  Remove brownies by lifting up on foil.  Cut into small pieces – 36 squares.

To get Alice Medrich’s cookbook click:

We  hope these brownies make your simple celebration delectable!

Celebrating Life Simply … Even on Vacation!


Here’s to A Simple Celebration! 


We are out-of-town for a week of rest and relaxation, but our simple celebrations never end!  While away, we have made some outstanding entrees and cannot wait to share the recipes with you.  When we return, we will pick up where we left off with our promised dessert recipes.  Until next time …





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