Cinnamon, gotta, gotta have it.  If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how much I love cinnamon.  And of course, I love cake.  Sometimes I simply don’t want a cake with lots of frosting.  Or, I’m too lazy to make it.  On those days, I opt for my longtime popular Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake.  I’ve had this recipe for probably forty years.  It’s the only one I use. It’s that good.  It’s been a staple in my kitchen since my boys were little, and you know they’re both grown now with little ones of their own.  It was one of Cory’s favorite cakes.  On those days when you’re making a big meal, this cake takes little energy and sometimes you just want dessert to go with your fabulous dinner.

     The cake is a quick, throw together operation with a tiny little extra step of making the cinnamon swirl, but even that takes two minutes.  The really good news is that once you pour the thick luscious batter into the baking dish, you can use the same bowl to mix the cinnamon mixture. 

     Today I’m making a glaze to drizzle over the top.  I don’t care for a glaze that is just sugar and milk.  Too blah!  I’ve taken a basic glaze and added real flavor to it.   

INGREDIENTS: for an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan.  (Feel free to double.  You can make one to give away or make mini coffee cakes in a cupcake tin.)  NOTE:  If doubling, don’t forget to double the streusel.

¼ cup Crisco

¾ cup sugar

1 TBSP sour cream or 1 TBSP soft butter

1 egg

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp vanilla

¾ cup milk

1 ½ cup flour


STREUSEL PREPARATION:  (If you doubled the cake for a 9 x 13 pan, don’t forget to double the streusel!)

In the same mixer bowl, mix with a pastry cutter, two forks, or two knives:

1/3 cup brown sugar

¼ cup flour

½ tsp cinnamon

3 TBSP room temperature butter

You want to see small lumps in it.  Don’t mix until it’s smooth, or you’ll ruin it.



In mixer bowl, beat Crisco and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add butter, egg, baking powder, vanilla and mix well.  Alternately add milk and flour, mixing until combined.  Pour the batter into a prepared baking dish.  Swirl the cinnamon mixture throughout the cake.

BAKE at 375° F for 25 – 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.



This is something I’ve eyeballed for years.  The measurements are approximate, but between testing to see if it’s drippy enough and dragging your finger through it for a little taste, it won’t be a problem.

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 tsp butter

½ tsp vanilla

¼ tsp almond extract

Small dash salt

1 TBSP half and half or milk



In a small bowl, heat milk and butter. (About 10 – 15 seconds in the microwave).  Stir until butter is melted.  Add extracts, and salt.  Stir.  Add confectioner’s sugar and stir until no lumps remain.  You want a nice drippy glaze.  If too thick, add ½ tsp milk.  If too thin, add another TBSP confectioner’s sugar.  combine sugar, butter, vanilla and almond extracts along with a quick dash of salt.  Using a large spoon, drizzle this on the cake while the cake is still barely warm, just don’t put it on a hot cake.

NOW . . . How easy was that???  Yep.  Pretty easy for all this delicious, moist, cinnamon goodness.


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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2017





     I wanted to go to a Mexican Street festival.  In DuBois, PA?  Yeah, right.  I didn’t even know what I wanted to eat.  Something Mexican was all I knew.  So, I went out to the garage and poked around in the freezer.  I found a .80 lb package of thick chuck steaks.  (I would rather have used sirloin, but I couldn’t find any.  If you’d ever seen my freezer, it’s the kind where you open the door and jump back for your own safety.  It’s crammed!)  OK, so I found this small package of beef.  I brought it inside and then went digging around in the refrigerator.  I had some reconstituted lime juice (no fresh, ugh), lettuce, onions, jalapenos, tomatoes, and I was on a roll.  Chili Lime Steak Tacos were born.

     I’ve been meaning to buy a good taco press, but since I wouldn’t use it all that often, I haven’t done it.  No hay problema!  I figured out my own method to roll the taco shells, and it worked perfectly!!  You want to cook the Corn Tortillas first.  The steak can be cooked in the same pan.


1 lb Sirloin steak

2 TBSP canola oil + more for grilling

1 fresh lime (Better than reconstituted)

1 large clove garlic, minced

½ tsp Cumin

½ tsp Smoked Paprika

½ tsp Coriander

¼ tsp Chipotle chili pepper

Salt and Pepper

Optional: Bell Pepper, 2 Dashes Crushed Red Pepper and 1 tsp brown sugar



Place the steaks in a small baking dish.  Drizzle the canola oil over the steaks, and then use a Cuisinart tenderizer to poke holes.  (See it in the pictures).  Any mallet will do if you don’t have a tenderizer.  Sprinkle the seasonings, 2 TBSP lime juice, and garlic on top of meat.  Cover and let marinate for a few hours.

Preheat the skillet over medium heat, and drizzle a bit of oil in the bottom.  Cook the steaks about 4 minutes, flip, and cook the other side.  Cut an end off and taste it to make sure you have enough heat.  If not, add some extra Chipotle Chili Pepper now and continue cooking for a minute or so.

Slice and plate.  You may want to add another squirt of lime juice when serving.



2 cups Masa Corn Flour (I used Instant)

1 ½ cups water



In a medium bowl, combine corn flour and water.  Stir for 2 minutes until you form a soft dough.  If it feels dry, add another tsp water.

Divide dough into equal portions (I made about 8 tortillas).  Roll into balls.  Take two sheets of Parchment paper and give the center of each a quick spray with cooking spray.  Put dough in center, put the second piece of paper on top and flatten with palm of hand.  Use a rolling pin to roll.

Now, here’s the magic part.  Picking up such thin pieces of dough would be impossible.  Peel the top sheet of paper off.  Without pressing, lay it back on the dough.  Flip it over and peel the other sheet of paper off.  Leave that piece of parchment off.  Take the dough along with the parchment paper to the stove and just dump it in the preheated frying pan.  Worked like a charm every time!

Fry in hot pan for a minute or two on each side.  You’ll see it beginning to brown when ready.  Don’t overcook or you won’t be able to bend them in half for filling.




Sour Cream

Shredded lettuce

Chopped onions


Shredded cheese

Sliced Limes

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2017





























     Who doesn’t love a piping hot bowl of chili?  This four-bean chili was over the top delicious.  The seasonings were just to our liking, and the colorful beans were outstanding.  It comes together quickly and can be topped with grated cheese at the table.  Don’t worry about the applesauce!  Nobody will know it’s in there.  It adds as a thickener and a touch of sweetness.  Remember that I always add it to my spaghetti sauce. 

     Serve with cornbread, grilled cheese, tossed salad, and of course grated cheese for sprinkling.


1 large can diced tomatoes

2 large cans crushed tomatoes

1 can beef broth

1 ½ cups applesauce

4 cans beans, drained and rinsed (Black, White, Dark Red, Light Red)

1 ½ lbs ground beef

¾ lb ground Italian sausage, hot or mild

3 or 4 sweet mini peppers, seeded and chopped

2 ribs celery

1 TBSP garlic, minced or chopped

½ cup onion, chopped

SEASONINGS: 1 TBSP chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander, 1 tsp paprika, ½ tsp crushed red pepper


In an 8 qt sauce pan, bring tomatoes, beef broth, and applesauce to a low simmer.  Brown the beef, sausage, sweet mini peppers, celery, garlic and onion in a frying pan.  Drain the juice and add to the tomato mixture.  Let simmer for about 30 minutes.  Add drained, rinsed beans. Let simmer another 10 minutes.  Add seasonings, and let simmer another 10 minutes.

NOTE:  Put your ground meat in the refrigerator overnight.  It will be thawed enough to cook when you get home.  Plus, if it keeps your refrigerator colder and will save energy.  Win/win.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2017






      What’s not to love about a great white pizza?  Garlic, olive oil, and cheese make a melt in your mouth pizza that’s sure to please.  Pictured is another one of our favorites loaded with toppings. Leftover Chicken, broccoli, hot banana peppers, mini sweet peppers, garlic, onions, and mushrooms.

PIZZA CRUST:  YIELDS THREE 14” PIZZA SHELLS. (or a ½ sheet with a thicker crust).

2 cups lukewarm water

2 pkgs Active Dry yeast

2 TBSP sugar

1 TBSP salt

4 TBSP olive oil

5 ½ – 6 cups bread flour

OPTIONAL:  Parsley, basil


More olive oil ¼ cup +/-)

4 large cloves garlic, minced

Mozzarella cheese

Grated Italian cheese blend

Although most people eat White Pizza plain, I can’t leave well enough alone and feel a need to put a few toppings on it.  Here are some suggestions:

Banana peppers, mini sweet peppers, cooked chicken, kale, spinach, onions, black olives, broccoli, cooked Italian sausage, mushrooms, whole basil leaves, etc.  Basically, anything you can picture tasting good with olive oil and cheese will be fine.



Attach dough hook to your heavy-duty mixer.  In the bowl, combine water, yeast, and sugar.  Give it a quick stir and let sit for five minutes.  Add olive oil, salt, and approximately 2 cups of the bread flour.  Let it mix on low speed, and then begin adding remainder of bread flour a little at a time, mixing until dough leaves the sides of the bowl.  At that point, you want to let it mix for five minutes.  Touch dough.  It should be semi-dry, just a smidge sticky.  If you want to freeze some, now is the time.

Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and a dish towel.  Let rise for a good 90 minutes.  It’s apt to rise higher than your bowl, so you may want to remove the dish towel after about an hour.  Press down with your fist to release air bubbles.  Divide into two balls.  (Remember you’ve put some dough in the freezer.  If you haven’t and you want to make three pizzas now, divide into three equal balls).

Roll or use hands to shape the dough to fit your baking stone.  If the dough is pulling back, let it sit for five minutes giving the glutens a chance to relax.  Let rise for about 15 minutes.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle garlic evenly, (optionally sprinkle a bit of Parsley and Basil), grated cheese, mozzarella cheese, and whatever toppings you want.  Drizzle with olive oil again.  Bake in 500° F oven until bottom of crust is lightly brown and cheese is all bubbly and delicious looking.  It takes about 12-13 minutes in my oven, so use that as a guideline.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2017









     Unexpected guests?  Game day?  Anytime snack?  This is it!  15 minutes and it’s ready to eat.  Customize it by changing out the beans if you want, although we love black beans. 


2 large chicken breasts, cubed

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (or your choice of beans)

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with chilies and lime

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp chili powder

½ tsp coriander

Salt and pepper

TOPPINGS: Shredded Lettuce, Onions, Black Olives, Grated cheese, Jalapenos, Diced Tomatoes, Cooked Crumbled Bacon

PREPARATION:  Dice or cube chicken into bite sized pieces.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil in bottom of large saucepan.  Cook chicken over medium heat, sprinkling seasonings as it’s cooking.  Add beans and tomatoes, heating through.  Serve.  How easy was that?

Serve with your choice of chips, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.


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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2017




Wikipedia says: “Shumai, Cantonese romanized as siu mai, is a type of traditional Chinese dumpling, originated from Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. In Cantonese cuisine, it is usually served as dim sum. Along with Chinese diaspora, variation of Shaomai also appears in Japan and Southeast Asia. 

     Today’s recipe was contributed by my dear friend, Meven Zabat Blanchard, who found this variation of Siomai online.  Me’ven is also the illustrator for my children’s books in Thistlewood Publishing.  She is a phenomenal artist and did “If Horses Had Feathers and Pigs Could Fly”, “Sparky the Rescue Dog”, and “Sparky Saves the Day”.   

Change up classic Chinese siomai by filling the steamed morsels with ground beef instead of the usual pork and shrimp. Prep Time 30 mins Cooking Time 15 mins .



2 ¼ lbs ground beef

1 small jicama (singkamas), minced

1 medium carrot, minced

2 TBSP green onions, minced

1 extra large egg

5 TBSP sesame oil, plus more to brush

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp salt

50 large wonton or siomai wrappers (or 100 small wrappers) 


 Combine all ingredients except for wrappers in a bowl. Mix well. Lay wrappers on a clean surface. Place ½ to 1 tablespoon filling on the center of each wrapper. Gather the edges towards the center to seal. Gently fold the sides, leaving the top exposed. Press each fold lightly.

Bring water in a steamer to a boil. Brush steamer basket with oil. Place siomai in the steamer basket and cook for 10 – 15 minutes.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2017





  I love my meatloaf.  I love it with mashed potatoes, I love it with baked potatoes, I love it with French fries, I love it smothered in gravy, and I love it when it has bacon in it.  I especially love my glaze.  OK, I think you’ve got it now.  I love my meatloaf.  A meatloaf sandwich on toast with melted cheese?  YUM!  I could eat it every day. 

     Tonight, we’re having it with baked potatoes.  I put two potatoes in the oven at 400 ° F while I prepared the meatloaf.  Once I put the meatloaf in, I turned the oven down to 350 ° F. 


6 slices bacon, cooked crisp

1 ½ lbs ground meat (I use 1 lb beef and ½ lb pork)

¼ – 1/3 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic

1 or 2 mini sweet peppers, chopped

1/3 cup dry red wine

1 beef bouillon cube

1/3 cup quick cook oatmeal

1/3 – ½ cup milk

½ + cup bread crumbs

1 egg

1 TBSP Worcestershire

1 TBSP prepared brown mustard

1/3 cup ketchup




4 TBSP ketchup

4 TBSP brown sugar

1 rounded TBSP brown mustard



Cook bacon and set aside.  When cool, crumble.

Pour the wine in a small bowl.  Add the bouillon and heat for 30 seconds in your microwave.  Mash the bouillon with a fork.  Add oatmeal, milk, bread crumbs, Worcestershire, ketchup, mustard, egg, and pepper.  Whip with a fork until blended.  Set aside.

Mix ground meat with onion, garlic, and sweet pepper.  Add the small bowl of liquid and thoroughly mix.  Shape into a loaf and bake at 350 ° F.  Remove from oven and add glaze.  Return to oven and bake another 15 – 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 ° F



Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and pour over meatloaf about 15-20 minutes before meat is fully cooked.  Let some of it run over the sides.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2017 





Valentine's Day Cookies.JPG

These are by far the best rolled sugar cookies ever!  I won’t tell you how many disappeared before they were frosted.  They’re just that good!  Love this frosting because it spreads easily and dries to a beautiful shine.

COOKIE INGREDIENTS: Yields about 60 cookies

1 cup salted butter, at room temp

1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

1 large egg

2 ½ cups AP flour

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

½ – ¾ tsp almond extract



5 cups confectioner’s sugar

5 TBSP Karo syrup

4 TBSP milk or ½ and ½

Dash of salt

Extracts for flavoring

Food coloring to tint



In your mixer bowl, cream butter and confectioner’s sugar until fluffy (about 90 seconds at medium speed).  Add vanilla and almond extracts, and then add the egg.  Beat well.

Add baking soda and cream of tartar, mixing until blended.  Add flour, beating until just combined.

Cut four lengths of Parchment paper approximately 12” – 14” long.  Divide dough in half.  Place each ball of dough between two sheets of cut Parchment paper and roll to 1/8” (or thicker if you want a thicker cookie).  Be sure that the dough is rolled evenly in height.  If you have some thick areas and some thin areas, the cookies will not cook evenly.

Chill both sheets of dough for 20-30 minutes.  This makes dough easy to work with and helps prevent spreading during baking.  If you don’t have stoneware baking sheets, save the Parchment paper to bake the cookies on later.

Preheat oven to 350 ° F.  Cut cookies and place on Stoneware sheets or Parchment paper.  They need only about 1” in between because they shouldn’t spread.  Save the scraps, roll, and chill again.  Bake 9 – 13 minutes or until cookies are barely turning brown on the edges.  Time depends on size of cutter you used and thickness.  Place on racks to cool.



Combine confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, and enough milk to achieve desired consistency.  I never add extracts at this stage because I want to make a variety of flavors and colors.  I add them AFTER I’ve separated the frosting into individual bowls and just stir with a fork or butter knife.  You want the consistency to be just a smidge runny or drippy.  It shouldn’t have any stiffness to it like a buttercream has.  You can pipe it or spread it with a knife.

When you’re ready to tint and add extracts, match the colors with the flavorings.  Red tint and cinnamon flavoring.  Green tint for spearmint.  White tint for peppermint or vanilla.  Yellow tint for lemon.  Blue tint for raspberry.  See?  How much fun is this?

If you’re going to use sprinkles, brushing a teesy bit of Karo syrup after frosting will make them stick.  I don’t know about you, but I hate it if I use sprinkles and they fall off when you’re eating the cookie.

Keep the bowls covered because the frosting dries out.

If you’re going to pipe, small round tips work best.

Now go make cookies and have some fun!

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2017






Sprinkled over yogurt?  Yum!

     You all know that I love granola.  I eat it every day on my yogurt.  Sometimes I just grab a handful and stuff it into my mouth cause it’s so good.  I always, always load it up with cinnamon, but I wanted to try something different.  Tropical fruit!  Lately I’ve been eating a lot of dates, banana chips, and dried pineapple.  Why not combine it in my granola!  Yes!  Just like my other granola recipe, this one is chock full of delicious and healthy ingredients.  Eat it by the handful, sprinkle on cooked oatmeal, cream of wheat, fresh fruit, yogurt, etc. 

     Keep a container in your desk for a quick snack at work!  Take it on hikes or camping.  Stick some in your car and you can sell it during traffic jams.  (J/K, but people would pay!)  Anytime you have a snack attack, this granola is perfect.  Having a party?  Set some out in small bowls.  I guarantee people will love it!  Just wait until you smell it baking.  It’s heavenly.



¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup Coconut Oil

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup honey

¾ tsp raspberry extract

¾ tsp orange extract

¾ tsp almond extract cups quick oats

1 cup nuts, chopped or halved (see suggestions below)

¼ cup ground flax seed

¼ Wheat germ

1 cup Shredded coconut

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup Coconut Oil

½ cup brown sugar

Your choice of Nuts:  Cashews, Macadamia nuts, Walnuts, Almonds, Pecans

YOUR CHOICE OF ADDITIONS AFTER BAKING:  Dried cranberries, Dried blueberries, Dates, Dried Apricots, Candied Ginger, Tropical Trail Mix, Sunflower seeds, Dehydrated pineapple, Dried Strawberries, Kiwi, etc.


    Preheat oven to 275°F

In microwavable bowl, blend together olive oil, brown sugar, oil, honey, coconut oil, and extracts.  Heat 30-40 seconds and stir to combine.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, walnuts, almonds, flax seed, wheat germ, and coconut.

Pour melted olive oil/brown sugar mixture over oatmeal mixture and stir well.  Spread on large ungreased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Stir, return to oven for another 15 minutes.

Cool, and then add your dried fruit.  (The fruit does not need to be baked).  Place in an airtight container.  May be frozen.

Makes a great gift in a pretty jar!

NOTE:  Granola is one of those perfect things to customize.  Change out the nuts, add additional dried fruit, switch out your extracts.  Since I was making a Tropical flavor, I wanted orange and almond.  I snuck the raspberry in just cause.  Have fun with it.

You can use long cooking oats, just process them quickly in your food processor so they’ll cook in the short amount of cooking time this granola takes to complete.


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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2017








If you’re getting spring fever and can’t wait to get out in your garden, maybe it isn’t too early!  Here are 7 veggies that can handle the cold.