White Pizza Recipe

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A simple garlic pizza, you can turn into anything else you like for toppings, this is just garlic, plain and simple.

The crust is crispy and so is the mozzarella, brown and with a garlicky flavor.

When ever possible homemade fresh dough is always the best choice!

Using 1 lb of pizza dough  homemade or store bought

Make a round pizza pan stretched out thinly in a pizza pan greased with Crisco or lined with parchment paper so it won't stick or for very thick pizza use a greased deep cake pan

Garlic sauce:
2 tablespoons melted butter, 2 tablespoon olive oil.
2 cloves finely minced garlic
Sprinkles evenly with oregano, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper if you love garlic add some garlic powder too.
For heat, add some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to taste
Sprinkle evenly with Romano grating cheese.
Top generously with mozzarella shredded cheese or a mix of blended cheeses and bake in a preheated hot oven of 430 degrees and bake until browned and crisp on the bottom.

Optional: 1/2 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese mixed with 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, place random spoonfuls over the pizza before topping with mozzarella cheese.
Other options would be sliced tomatoes, mushrooms, pepperoni, shrimps, scallops, sliced onions, zucchini slices, ham, and pineapple. You can get as creative as you like...

Memorial Day Recipes

Monday, May 28, 2012

Cornflake Coated and Fried Chicken

Sunday, May 27, 2012
These wings are a vintage recipe mom and my friend's mom would use to fry chicken using cornflakes.

This is a 1960 style way mom's made their chicken back then and still do!

Here is that vintage recipe:

If you would like sauces

3 pounds of chicken cut up wings

1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked freshly ground pepper (pinch of cayenne if you like heat)

Place in a pie plate or ziplock bag dredge the wings in this.

1 egg beaten
2 tablespoons water
1 1/4 cups crushed cornflakes
1/2 cup flour

2 cups canola or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons butter

Combine 1/3 cup flour, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in a zip lock bag.

Put the chicken in a bag and toss to coat.

Whisk together egg and water.

Dip coated chicken in egg and water mixture.

Combine corn flakes with 1/2 cup flour; roll chicken in the cornflake mixture.

Heat 3 tablespoons butter and 2 cups oil (I use canola oil) heated on medium-high heat and test some crumbs that sizzle when you drop the crumbs into the oil. Fry chicken pieces not crowding in hot oil until cooked and juices run clear around 35 to 45 minutes, lowering heat if coating cooks too fast, turning often. Try some of our favorite dipping sauces Click Here

Freezer Honey Sesame Chicken Recipe

Thursday, May 24, 2012
marinade in the freeze with honey sesame Asian flavored chicken then grilled

4 to 8 regular or boneless chicken pieces
1/2 cup beer
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves crushed garlic

Place all ingredients into a 1-gallon freezer zip lock bag. Lay flat in freezer. To thaw and cook: Take the bag out of the freezer the night before, making sure the freezer bag is completely sealed so nothing leaks out, lay completely flat. For thawing take out the night before place in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.  Remove from freezer bag when ready to cook. Chicken should never be thawed on a countertop always make sure it's in the refrigerator as it can become contaminated with bacteria.

Sauteed: Place in a heated medium size fry pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, saute' for two to three minutes on each side for thin or longer depending on thickness. Cook until juices run clear and no pink remains. 
Baking: Place on a piece of oil sprayed foil or parchment paper lined baking pan with juices. Bake
 @ 350 degree in a preheated oven. Around 60 minutes or until juices run clear.
Grill: Spray the grates lightly with cooking oil. Heat grill. Grill the chicken on each side till juices run clear basting with marinade while cooking.
Crockpot Method: Put chicken in the bottom of the crock pot. Pour liquid herb ingredients over the chicken. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 4-6 hours or until done.  Serve with cooked fluffed white rice.

Try some of these other FREEZER recipes:

Italian style lemon lime chicken marinade
Peanut butter marinade
Hawaiian marinade
Lamb  Pistachio Pesto Marinade
Wine Steak Marinade
Mexican Marinade
Sweet and Sour Chicken Marinade

Deep Fried Ricotta Appetizers

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Great Food Experience at Franklin Hotel in Rome N.Y.

Monday, May 21, 2012

As promised, here is our great experience we had the very next day at Vescio's Franklin Hotel in Rome NY ( they are on Facebook too). When you walk in the door, your surely in heaven with the many rows of pastry in the see through glass cases.  A real family atmosphere who runs the business.

Great food with good prices in Rome New York

Great food with good prices in Rome New York
Hard to get by these without wanting to eat dessert first!
The cannoli are fantastic!

Great food with good prices in Rome New York
Everything from pusties to biscotti and more!

Just amazing. Italian pastry heaven. The pusties, cannoli, cakes, Italian cookies, lobster claws and many other Italian specialities awaits you. This is as close to homemade as it gets. The service and family atmosphere is just what I needed to recover from that last dissappointing experience at Cavallo's. I could have stopped right here at the pastry then came the menu..... oh boy and yes great food! Thanks to Aunt Linda and Uncle Joe for bringing us here for lunch!

Great food with good prices in Rome New York
Lunch Specials everyday, Wednesday when we went, they had Ham and bean soup, pasta and peas, manicotti, tripe, fried haddock, and much much more!

Great food with good prices in Rome New York
My husband and I had the Fried Haddock, cooked perfectly!
Great service and great food. All run by the family of course, Phil and Carol Vescio, are the owners( tell them Claudia sent you when you visit!) Phil Jr, does all the pastries, Mark is the chef, and Mary our gracious hostess.

Great food with good prices in Rome New York
Aunt Linda had the pasta and peas, not a pea left on her plate when she was done!
Great food with good prices in Rome New York
Uncle Joe had the Strawberry Chicken salad, doesn't this look amazing?

Great food with good prices in Rome New York
With so many scrumpticious desserts I chose the Cannoli and it did not dissappoint me... I could have eaten many more! Delicious!!
So if your ever in Rome, stop in, you will be having a great dining experience. Look for these two guys, will be waiting for you! Say hi to the two Phil's!

Great food with good prices in Rome New York
                                                                            The Vescio's

If you want to try my recipes since I don't have any to share from this great establishment try some of my versions of these great meal:

Pasta and Peas My Grandma's
Batter Fried Fish Fry
Upstate  NY Cannoli
Almond paste cafe cookies

Our Haddock favorite coating for Fish Fry is listed on our Traditional Christmas Eve Post Click HERE

My Utica New York Cavallo's Food Experience Review Part 1

Sunday, May 20, 2012

This photo is what they have on their menu a version of Greens. My niece ordered them and laughed when she tasted them, she said I should have made them instead, mine are much better! These were a little gritty and not as tender as we would like.

As many of my readers know,  Utica, New York  is my home town and near and dear to my heart! I go back as often as possible for my favorite foods. For over 20 years now, I have gone to Cavallo's in New Hartford, NY on Genesee St., always with great compliments on their food and service.  Every time we go home, my husband and I make this our last night get together there, with the family and friends to meet for our last great dinner, well unfortunately, I can't say that this year.  The service was by far the worst treatment we had ever experienced not only there anywhere, even sadder we had the largest group there that went unnoticed!  On a Tuesday night, they weren't even busy to have an excuse!  The food and the whole lack of service experience for 15 people was terribly disappointing. We got there around 5:30 and the rest trickled in around 6:00pm.  First thing, I was told I couldn't buy a round of drinks for my guests on a separate check to do a toast, we had to run a tab, it was policy... that had never happened before. So no arguments, I proceeded to run the tab. My brother had ordered a pizza and wings at 5:30 he was starving, he arrived there earlier and didn't want to wait for everyone. At 7:30 no food for him yet but the rest of us ( all 13 people left)  had ordered way after him and we all had our food. Get the picture, not very accomodating? Well to make matters worse, the food was not at all what we had expected each one of us had issues with the preparation of what we ordered.  The calamari wasn't cooked it was cold inside and rubbery, the coating was falling off and the Vodka riggies, these were tasteless, and very little sauce. The wings were dry and overcooked, eggplant bitter and even a steak sandwich was tough and the cheese wasn't melted. After 20 years and 1900 miles to fly, ( not to mention the bill was $350.00, no refills on our drinks unless we asked and waved  the waitress down more towards the end of all our meals. Then with even the numerous complaints nothing was done to make a better experience for my guests or me. Late dinners, poor service and undercooked or overcooked food.  A very disappointed family and friends dinner,  it was not surprising no one came after I repeatedly asked for a manager.  Needless to say this establishment will now be a very distant memory after 20 years of dedicated journeys to meet everyone I will never say again "I can't wait to go back there!"  I was beside myself thinking of all the good times we had there at one time, what in the world happened?

Uncle Joe, Aunt Linda, my husband Nemo, sisterinlaw, Tonya, motherinlaw Sandy, sisterinlaw Bobbi and my nephew Craig....
Even Adriana the youngest one, wasn't crazy about the macaroni and cheese, she left that too!

My beautiful great nieces Vanessa, Adriana and niece Mary who makes some mean greens!

John, Luke, Mary had the wings... dry and overcooked! Joanne didn't say a word but Luke made several complaints on why it took two hours to get a pizza and everyone else was done by the time he got it?  Really, unacceptable!

The best part of the whole evening was getting to be with my family and some great friends, this is my brother Luke Colenzo and I catching up..... nope no pizza yet, it's already been an hour!

Two of my dearest friends came to see me, Helen LaMore and Mary Macenroe, head of the Utica Boilermaker
As you can see the breading was falling off, the inside actually tasted raw, cold but who was going to come so they could get sent back? No one ever came back or asked if we were good with anything.

Vodka Riggies? With very little sauce,
tasted like plain boiled macaroni
 I stopped taking pictures, it wasn't worth the waste of space
 on my SD card, 15 disappointed people!
So tomorrow check back to see where to go for  great service and food in our opinion in the Upstate NY area, even though we all know food is a matter of opinion, good food and customer service go hand in hand and that can't be compromised, when you lose one or both there is no going back. 

We just loved our next visits on our vacation. The pastry, the food the service and people were all fantastic...so stay tuned!

If you would like some recipes of what we really enjoy eating growing up in Upstate NY see some of our homemade recipes. We always go back to enjoy foods like Chicken Riggies, wings, pizza, greens all from Upstate NY specialities.... Our favorites are Napoli's Pizza, Florentine Pastries, Palateri Joes, Hemstroughts Half Moon Cookies, Chesterfields Utica Greens, Joe's and Rosario's Pizza.  All the local feasts for pizza fritte just to name a few traditional spots we hit. Love the bagels at bagel grove and love the fish fry at Eddies in Sylvan Beach!
St Anthony's Son's of Italy Mount Carmel!  I carry these back on the plane in tupperware!

   see links below:

Chicken Riggie Fest
Fried Calamari
Upstate NY Greens
Tomato Pie Upstate NY Style
Italian Lemon Ice
Pizza Fritte Feast Fried Dough
Italian Gravy or Sauce the big debate
Feast Upstate NY Style Sausage and Peppers Sandwich
Upstate NY Apple Pie
Pizza Dough

Curt's Grilled Balsamic Italian Herb Chicken

Friday, May 18, 2012

6 fresh boneless chicken breasts sliced around 1/2 inch thick
Marinade for 1/2 hour in 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons lime juice. Drain.
Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with lemon pepper seasoning.

Grill boneless chicken breasts on each side or until juices run clear on low heat and golden brown on each side.

 Balsamic Lime Sauce:

1 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon good grade balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon each oregano, parsley, garlic powder, salt, pepper
1 clove minced garlic
2 tablespoons parmesan
4 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon canola oil

Combine all of the above spices, herbs with oil. Simmer for around 1/2 hour.

Place  cooked chicken on a plate and pour sauce on top.

Italian Garlic Greens with Buttered Bread Crumb Baked Haddock and Pasta

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
A pasta dish with delectable flavors of Italian Cuisine.
Butters bread crumbs on a wonderful light white fish, for example, haddock
 and your favorite pasta dish!

2 bunches of escarole, cleaned and boiled in salt water for 45 minutes drained
1 pound of rigatoni cooked al dente' drained, tossed with 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 3 cloves of finely minced garlic, 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley set aside
1 pound of haddock filets
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs with 1/4 cup romano cheese mixed into the crumbs
olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup white dry wine
2 cloves minced garlic
cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium fry pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil with 1 clove minced garlic. Sautee cooked greens until fragrant garlic smell. Add butter, wine, then haddock and sautee until haddock is cooked and bright white in color. Sprinkle the top of the fish with bread crumbs and drizzle with more olive oil. Season with salt,  pepper and cayenne. Cover for around 3 minutes.
Place pasta on the bottom of a plate, top with greens, then haddock. Season with parsley and spices to your taste.

Avocado Artichoke Mozzarella Tomato Salad Recipe

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2 avocado cubed
1 ball fresh mozzarella cubed
3 tomatoes cubes
Canned or frozen boiled artichoke hearts
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon each oregano, basil, garlic powder, basil, sea salt,
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 fresh Italianelle pepper chopped or bell pepper
1/2 cup black wrinkled olives or green pitted olives
1/4  cup extra virgin olive oil
 2 or 3 tablespoons good grade Balsamic Vinegar

In a small bowl whisk oil with mashed garlic, add all herbs and spices with balsamic vinegar, set aside.
Place all the vegetables in another bowl or salad plate. Pour the dressing over the cubed vegetables. Serve at room temperature with fresh Italian Bread.....

Refrigerator Buttermilk Biscuit Pepperoni Appetizers

Monday, May 14, 2012

2 packages of refrigerator biscuits
turkey pepperoni slices, regular pepperoni or salami
 shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
dried parsley
dried oregano
garlic powder

Unroll ten biscuits. Flatten to a thin 1/4 inch with your fingers on a cutting board. Brush each one with olive oil or butter. Place some shredded cheese on the dough then pepperoni slices. Sprinkle the pepperoni with small amounts of Parmesan, spices and herbs. Roll up. Place on a parchment lined or foil cookie sheet.  Brush with more olive oil and sprinkle with oregano and garlic powder. Bake at 400 degree oven till browned on top around 10 to 15 minutes.

Slow Cooker Easy Osso Buco

Sunday, May 13, 2012
This is a slow cooker easy way to make osso buco and my mom's recipe.


Freezer Triple Berry Jam

Saturday, May 12, 2012
I just love fresh fruit jams on bagels but not all the work to make it... here is an easy way out!
You can use any kind of fruits for these quick freezer jams!
It's so much easier!
2 cups of fruit mashed with a hand held potato masher (I use a medley of berries most of the time, this time I used all blueberries.)
1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice
4 cups sugar
1 envelope of pectin 3 oz
plastic containers for freezer  (I use ball plastic 8 oz freezer containers you can find online) I don't trust the glass not to hairline crack in the freezer.

Using the potato masher for the berries you choose, place in a deep bowl and mash and measure out exactly 2 cups of berries with that juice it made. Stir in all the sugar and let stand for 10 minutes.
In the meantime place the pectin in a bowl with the lemon juice.  After the 10 minutes waiting for the sugar and berries set, pour the pectin into that mixture. Stir constantly until all the sugar is dissolved. Pour into the containers you will use and leave 1/2 inch of room at the top. Let sit out for 24 hours before freezing them.  You can store this in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or freeze for 1 year.

Freezer Sweet Sour Jam Chicken

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

One of the last in the collections of freezer recipes this is the 7th recipe.. this one cuts with a fork, it's very tender with a little sweetness...

3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup blackberry, strawberry, peach or apricot jam
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts or thighs (4 to 6)

Place all ingredients into a 1-gallon freezer zip lock bag. Lay flat in the freezer. To thaw and cook: Take the bag out of the freezer the night before, making sure the freezer bag is completely sealed so nothing leaks out, lay completely flat. For thawing take out the night before place in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.  Remove from the freezer bag when ready to cook. Chicken should never be thawed on a countertop always make sure it's in the refrigerator as it can become contaminated with bacteria.

Sauteed: Place in a heated medium size fry pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, saute' for two to three minutes on each side for thin or longer depending on thickness. Cook until juices run clear and no pink remains. 
Baking: Place on a piece of oil sprayed foil or parchment paper-lined baking pan with juices. Bake
 350 degree in a preheated oven. Around 60 minutes or until juices run clear.
Grill: Spray the grates lightly with cooking oil. Heat grill. Grill the chicken on each side till juices run clear basting with marinade while cooking.
Crockpot Method: Put the chicken in the bottom of the crockpot. Pour liquid herb ingredients over the chicken. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 4-6 hours or until done.

Try these other freezer marinades:

Italian style lemon lime chicken marinade
Peanut butter marinade
Hawaiian marinade
Lamb  Pistachio Pesto Marinade
Wine Steak Marinade
Mexican Marinade


Baked Sausage Potatoes, Peppers and Tomatoes with Bread Crumbs Cabernet

Monday, May 7, 2012


Homemade Tortilla Recipe Cinco De Mayo

Saturday, May 5, 2012

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cake flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons of butter or crisco
2/3 cup water

Mix all ingredients together, then knead 8 to 10 minutes in a smooth ball, making sure there are no cracks in the dough. Roll small pieces of dough into a ball,  cut small individual piece size and cover with a wet cloth or wet paper towel to keep the dough moist. Roll out each piece (around 8 to 12 pieces) to fit an 8 inch oiled sprayed fry pan.  I roll rounds very thin and cut out rounds out using an 8 inch round bowl with sharp knife along the rim edge. Keep dough covered so it doesn't dry out. Put rounds in the heated pan then cook on one side for 30 seconds until you see bubbles in the pan then flip cook  the other side 20 seconds or till a little golden. I do not stack these. I place them on parchment paper until they cool.

Fill with your favorite tortilla fillings like Chimichangas
Mexican Lasagna click on title for recipe

How about some Churro's for dessert?

Click on the links  below for more recipes:
Mexican Churro's
Mexican Cup Meatloaf
Mexican Chicken Wings
Mexican Freezer Marinade
Mexican  Quick Taco Soup
Mexican Cinco De Mayo Roundup

Have a great Cinco De Mayo 2012!!!.....

Mexican Taco Cupcakes Recipe

Friday, May 4, 2012

1 lb ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and cayenne pepper
1 can refried beans
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
36 flour tortillas
1 jar salsa
garnish: chiles, chopped bell pepper, avocado, diced onion, diced cucumber, salsa, cheese, sour cream, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, black olives,
cooking spray
Preheat oven to 375.
Brown the meat in a medium size fry pan, drain. Add the taco seasoning, refried beans and 1/2 cup salsa. Mix and simmer for 2 minutes.
Oil spray 18 regular muffin pan cups. Place one flour tortilla in each muffin cup. Divide the taco mixture between muffin cups. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the cupcakes. Garnish with your favorite toppings. Bake at 375 for around 20 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Arizona Vacation and Pumpkin Bread Pudding with a Caramel Rum Sauce

Thursday, May 3, 2012
 Here is a dessert we fell in love with on our vacation. I couldn't wait to get home to duplicate it since we didn't have but a mere taste. You will have to read to the end for the recipe. We just love the flavors of this one. Of course you can save it and wait till fall when pumpkin is popular. I just found a reason for pumpkin to be popular all year long with this one!

Isn't it a shame how fast time goes by on vacation? Well I am back to share some of the highlights of our trip with you. Sit back and enjoy the views. I have also included the link backs to the resorts, if you ever get a chance to visit Scottsdale, I would highly recommend these two resorts.
We woke up to ducks, rabbits and road runners every morning.
They greeted us on our walks to our breakfast at the Fairmont in Scottsdale everyday we were there, so tame.

We had a beautiful fireplace in our Villa. The Fairmont is a 5 star Resort..

The grounds are quite lovely, very cool in the morning. Hot in the afternoon, cool dry and no humidity all day. Florida was 72% humidity this day, Arizona was 14%. Amazing difference. The only bad thing was my nose felt dry and on fire. Not use to that dry heat. As hot as it was during the day, it was tolerable. It cools down nicely at night to around 60 degrees.

I had never seen so many Cactus plants in my entire life!

Some Cactus are older than 150 years like this one!

Down by the pond were baby chicks

Lucky for me I have relatives in Arizona, Lorraine, Tom and their children live in Phoenix. Since my husband won this trip through high performance at work most of the trip was planned out for us. We had a free day  picked us up to visit their home. It was a short drive around 20 minutes. When we got there (Lorraine my mother's sister's daughter) had a huge spread of fabulous food waiting for us. Lorraine being Italian, went all out. We were stuffed with the best food, wine and great conversation. A very memorable highlight of our trip. We were so glad to see them again, it had been many years since they moved away from Florida and this was a real treat!

Her menu consisted of mushroom garlic pizza, shrimp ceviche avocado salad, baked ribs, chile cheese rice, potato salad and a delicious chocolate with chocolate chips cake. Everything was fabulous!  She made everything for me special without onions with my new Southwest food at it's finest! Thank you so much for the warm hospitality and feast you gave us! Lorraine is a fantastic cook and of course she's Italian! 

That's me with their grandchildren, ( their son and daughterinlaw gorgeous children). Kate is holding her new 3 month old brother  Theo with grandma Lorraine. Tough to have so little time. We had a wonderful Saturday afternoon with them that flew by in an instant! Thanks again for making our trip so special Lorraine and Tom... we so appreciated it! We enjoyed the grandchildren.

This is the pool at the Sanctuary Camel Back Mountain Resort where were bused as a group for dinner that Saturday night.
The mountains in the background and view were just breathtaking.

We had several appetizers, one being a tomato bisque soup.

 A fresh homemade pasta with sausage and cheese sauce, grilled chicken with sweet peppers, topped with ricotta cheese. 

 Ricotta gnocchi with marscapone cheese, black pepper parmesan sauce.

Anthony Scuderi was our gracious chef this Saturday evening, look at that smile a true sign of one who loves what he does. He did a marvelous job cooking all these gourmet Italian dishes. Anthony told me most of the sauces had onions in them which I couldn't eat being so allergic, I told him he must be Sicilian using onions in everything, he said oh yes I am, look at that enthusiasm, if you're ever out this way tell him Claudia sent you, he'll take care of you!
 They went out of their way to make me a plate of anything I wanted without onions.
Amazing customer service with all the staff here. The food was superb with impressive presentation.
Just a few feet away there was a wedding ceremony taking place, it was just lovely.
A gorgeous place to have photo's taken with this breath taking view.
Merlot Prime Rib with a garlic and rosemary crust everyone raved over this one! We had a wonderful evening. As always they go by way to fast. We are now on to the last day of our stay.

These were the many associates that also won, we got to meet a lot of great folks on this trip, as the night closes, we were all very content, full and ready for the next adventure after a short sleep when we get back from this short bus ride. Got ready at 5:30 am to be bused out to the desert for some more fun!

Sunday our last day of our vacation we had an outing in the Desert. Oh boy was this ever fun. Tom cars lined up for all of us and my what a wild ride through the desert. We kicked up some dust for two hours and had a dusty desert bumpy ride plus got to enjoy the mountain view.

Almost towards the end of our Tom car ride we stopped for some water and found this area that had a small outlet of water.

The desert is kind of scary to me, I was always looking for that rattlesnake... lucky for me I didn't see any since I am scared to death of them not to mention scorpions too!
Needless to say I got home and planted Cactus in my front yard (smile) Arizona inspired me!

One of the restaurants we ate at was too dark to take photo's but if you do ever go to Arizona, try
The Mission" for great Southwest food. We had many appetizers like crispy cola pork for starters along with guacamole and chips we just loved the street corn! The entree was seared scallops, fillet, sweet potato fries, asparagus there was so much food.

A very busy place! We were so bummed out that they ran out of the parade of desserts. The best dessert on that menu, pumpkin bread pudding, it was a insanely delicious. We all got to try a tablespoon of it.  I decided to recreate that dessert today and it came out delicious. Obviously not their recipe but close enough. The hot caramel rum sauce makes it super special! You will just have to hold on to this one for later in the fall but we just had to have more of this delicious dessert now!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with a Caramel Rum Sauce

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
2 cups whipping cream or whole milk
4 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 vanilla bean seeds scraped or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups of cinnamon bread cubes, cinnamon raisin bread 
dash of pumpkin pie spice
Aluminum pan lightly oiled sprayed.

Break bread cubes up and place in the bottom of aluminum lightly oiled sprayed pan. Beat eggs, cream, sugars and vanilla with spice together.

Pour over bread cubes and let sit for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the meantime make the caramel rum sauce.
Bake the bread pudding at 350 for at least 45 minutes to an hour (depending how thick you make it) or until the custard has set.

 Caramel Rum sauce:
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup rum
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn burner to medium low and let sauce bubble for 3-4 minutes. Serve warm drizzled over the bread pudding.

Caramel Rum Sauce 2:

Easy Version:

Unwrap  15 caramels and place them in a glass measuring cup. Add 2 tablespoon of rum and 1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk. Microwave 2 minutes stir and pour over the bread.

Try some of these other Southwest Recipes:

Southwest Soup
Tequilla Lime Grilled Shrimp
Grilled Lemon Lime Pepper Chicken and Vegetables
Southwest Crockpot Corn Pudding
Southwest Salad Potatoes
Southwest Sausage Cheddar Scones
Southwest Arizona Vacation and Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Southwest Tequilla Chicken
Homemade Flour Tortilla
Grilled Filled Avocado's