About Michele

Growing up in Vicksburg, MS, Michele experienced a wonderful culinary experience, from seafood to ethnic foods, Lebanese and Greek! Married to John, we have two sons who have kept me busy in the kitchen. Hence, my need for good, quick food. After taking a few cooking courses, I love the learning process with tips and recipes from friends and family members. I have contributed and help produce several cookbooks for volunteer organizations. My second love is gardening which plays into my love of cooking. Nothing is better than fresh herbs used in recipes. My favorite hobby is baking, and sampling the yummy treats, they go hand in hand. Which contributes to me still being an avid fast walker, love of the outdoors and gardening, and I still carry Sting-Kill with me everywhere!

Apple Cranberry Coffee Cake

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  Upon moving to New York 22 years ago a friend shared her special cranberry coffee cake with my family, a delicious and welcoming gesture. She was kind enough to share her recipe and over the years a few modifications were made to suit my family. Nothing beats New York apples in the Fall, so naturally we added chopped apples to the cranberries with a bit of cinnamon.  This coffee cake is extremely moist and fragrant, filling the kitchen with amazing scents. To cool the coffee cake I placed it outside on the patio table as the temperature had dropped, but …

Basal Shrimp Pasta Salad

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Nothing equals waiting for the shrimp boat on the docks, with the smell of salt water and the Gulf of Mexico surrounding you. The fresh shrimp right off the boat make the most delicious meal. We love boiled shrimp in our home but there aren’t any shrimp boats in the Hudson River! I still prefer to boil or grill my shrimp so I purchase the unprepared shrimp. Adding Cajun seasonings to the water gives the shrimp a wonderful flavor. Most grocery stores and seafood shops will have pre-cooked shrimp or prepared frozen shrimp. Prepared frozen shrimp have been deveined, boiled …

Sting-Kill Pecan Sandies

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I remember being allergic to chocolate as a child and my Mother would purchase Pecan Sandies at the grocery store for a treat. So happy I outgrew the allergy but didn’t outgrow my love of the Pecan Sandies. The Sting-Kill Pecan Sandie is my version of the recipe I remember as a child. Full of pecans, butter, eggs and they melt in your mouth. There is nothing but sweetness in this cookie and so good with a cup of coffee, tea, or lemonade. I substitute the pecan in so many recipes, which call for other nuts. The pecan is my …

Cream Cheese Chocolate Cookies

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Sometimes you start to bake and all of sudden you are out of certain ingredients, sugar of all things. Even after I emptied the sugar bowl I was short one half a cup. I decided to have some fun with baking, as they say nothing ventured nothing gained. Now, we all know this can be really good or really bad! I am happy to report the outcome was beyond my expectation and passed the taste test of five young men. I love the ability to choose to add yummy pecans or leave them off. Hard to believe one son doesn’t …

Drop Biscuit Recipe

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Some days I just want a hot biscuit for breakfast and these are the easiest ones around. I even take them into the office with sausage; after all we need a little something to nibble on while we are working. When I was a child we made “drop biscuits”, I don’t believe anyone trusted me with the rolling pin, cutting board and flour, visions of flying flour on all kitchen surfaces! This is an updated version of an old favorite biscuit recipe. Try making them with your kids, one bowl, no fuss and all the fun. Who knows you may …

Kickin’ Cajun Deviled Eggs

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The Annual Crawfish Boil was this weekend and the weather was outstanding. Who thinks of a crawfish boil in New York but our friends have them flown in and it feels like Cajun country even if the zip code reads New York! Nothing makes a crawfish boil or cookout more fun than deviled eggs. Wonderful finger food or use a fork, the choice is yours. For every deviled egg there is a “special” recipe but these are easy, “kickin” and a bit different than your Grandmothers stuffed eggs. Yes, I guess I have a bit of “the devil” in me, …

Lemon Curd Squares

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Here comes Peter Cottontail hopping down the bunny trail…. This song takes me back to springtime in the South, the smell of fresh green grass, blooming azaleas and Easter Egg Hunts. Remember dying eggs with food coloring, I think more was on us than the eggs! These days we can enjoy plastic filled eggs and a few decorated eggs, food coloring still works, but the joys of “The Hunt” haven’t changed. Looking under bushes, in flower beds, behind trees the elusive prizes in the “special “ eggs, especially the Golden Egg. So when you are enjoying the outdoors during your …

Too good to be Salad

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Okay, who doesn’t roll their eyes at the thought of a congealed salad, be honest. Visions of green Jello mold on a plate wiggling are the basis for many comics’ jokes.  But when does congealed salad become yummy, right now! The first time I had this recipe I was surprised how delightful it tasted. Light refreshing, sweet and fruity, perfect harmony for my taste buds. I have made this recipe with sugar free gelatin and low fat cream cheese and sour cream, you really can’t tell a difference and this has become a favorite with wrestlers “cutting” weight in our …

Sweet Potato Chips

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Do you ever have those moments where just want something salty, but semi-healthy too? Well Sweet Potato Chips fit the bill for me. I am not saying anyone is losing weight eating these, but I do enjoy the “small” victory of not eating the whole bag of chips ! Cold, snowy days bring out the need for comfort food and baked goods for me. Shoveling the driveway was not my definition of comforting. The oven was calling my name, bake cookies, cake, or try something new. Well, I had a couple of sweet potatoes that needed to be used and …

Irish Soda Bread

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March 17th is Saint Patrick’s Day. While Saint Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland, he is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated with gusto in the United States, especially New York. I am not Irish but I appreciate so many gifts from Ireland. Who doesn’t enjoy the Irish traditions and music, Riverdance, Waterford, linens, Beleek, woolens, foods and beverages? I have learned everyone has his or her “special” Irish Soda Bread recipe and I haven’t eaten one that wasn’t wonderful! My recipe is a combination of several recipes with a small …

Smoked Oyster Dip Recipe

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Wine, roses and song, love is in the air. Yes, Valentines Day brings out the romantic in me, even after many years of marriage. Some of my happiest memories are watching my kids sporting events on Valentines Day with my husband. Basketball, ice hockey, wrestling, February 14th is fair game for scheduling games, and matches. I know it doesn’t sound romantic but sausage and peppers or hot dogs at the game can be romantic with the right attitude. Sometimes you just have to create your own special day. This Smoked Oyster Dip recipe, is wonderful for any occasion and can …

Cheese Bites

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  The Winter Olympics are coming and if you are like me you will be watching them on television. Downhill skiing is one of my favorite sports, watching the speed and gracefulness of the racers makes me feel the “whoosh” of the slopes. So offer something different to munch on while watching sporting events, movie night or any other occasion. One of my favorite snacks are Cheese Bites. If you have no idea what I am talking about then you are missing out on something yummy. Now, these are not quite the same but very close and very easy. I …

Sausage Blossoms

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Bronco’s  vs Seahawks a SUPER showdown in New Jersey. The Meadowlands will host the Super Bowl this year and it will be full of surprises, not just football but weather. My favorite memory of The Meadowlands is watching my son as the starting guard in High School football at Giants Stadium. Great memory, but the weather in December was blowing, swirling snow and very cold, the only warm feeling was winning the State Championship. Trust me amazing stadium, but ask any fan it can be brutally cold. Football is fun to watch no matter if you are attending the game …

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

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New Year, new classic recipe to start off this year. Nothing beats a REAL pound cake, complete with butter, sugar, eggs, flour and vanilla extract. I made this classic cream cheese pound cake for dessert tonight and the question asked was “Why is it called pound cake?” Well, I thought it might be because it weighs a good pound or two when it is baked or could it be I weigh a good pound more after eating it! However, history states the name originated in Europe because you used one pound each of butter, sugar, flour and eggs. Now that would …

Pecan Pie

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Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, I love the song and it always reminds me of Christmas in the South. While the song is wonderful, pecans are the nut of choice for me at Christmas time. I can’t remember a time when pecan pie was not a dessert offered at the holiday time. The warm soft center complimented by the toasted pecans on the top layer gives decadence new meaning. Warm pecan pie with vanilla ice cream on top makes even the “fullest” diner say “yes” to dessert. Becky’s pecan pie is the perfect finish to Christmas dinner and I …

Cranberry White Chocolate Coconut Orange Cookies

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  Common knowledge states there are four seasons, fall, winter, spring and summer, but I disagree there are five seasons and “baking season” is my favorite. Who can resist a new recipe this time of the year? My white chocolate cranberry, orange, coconut cookies are a big favorite around the holidays. The colors are festive and the taste is divine. Nothing makes the kitchen smell better than the blending of toasted coconut and orange in a cookie baking. At this point you are probably thinking “Oh no not another hard cookie recipe, I don’t have the time or energy!” These …

Orzo Salad

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It’s all Greek to me at least walking past houses with Greek letters on college campuses during football weekends. So many folks are tailgating and it seems everyone is welcome to making news friends, as long as you support their team. The Service Academies, Army, Navy and Air Force may not have “Greeks” but tailgates are as much a part of the game day as any other campus in America. Living near West Point we enjoy the Army football games, from the cadets parachuting into the stadium with the game ball, to the pre and post game festivities. Did I …

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

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I remember growing up eating canned soup and thinking how yummy it tasted. Why would anyone want to make soup, when all you need to do is open the can, add water and heat? Of course, I loved TV dinners too in the foil divided trays! I’m not knocking my childhood because it was wonderful and we had delicious home cooked meals, but “convenience food” was so cool. Remember Jiffy Pop popcorn, it “grew” on the stove when you shook the pan?  The “growing” on the stove these days is the large pot of home made roasted butternut squash soup. …

Pumpkin Muffins

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Fall baking always includes apple and pumpkin recipes. While I am a big fan of apple recipes, I must be honest, I was not a huge fan of pumpkin until I tried Margaret’s pumpkin muffins. She opened my eyes or should I say taste buds to the fragrant scents of fall. Her recipe is so moist and a bit of cream cheese makes them decadent. The blending of spices makes the kitchen smell amazing and reminds me fall is in the air and so begins the fall sports seasons. Who wants to stay indoors when the clear blue skies and …

Sausage Cheese Balls

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I love football season, which shocks most people. Girls don’t understand football…I have heard it a million times. Well, my son is an offensive guard and I have watched him execute a “pulling play” to make the hole for the touchdown in the State Championship. You have to give those linemen a little credit and lot to eat. Football and food go hand-in-hand and I enjoy both, especially the tailgates. Nothing beats pre-game more than a great tailgate with friends. Tailgating can be as simple as dip and chip in front of the TV, or linens and china under the …