Tag Archives: Recipes

Festive, Fresh, Delightful Broccoli Con Olives Recipe

Broccoli Con Olives RecipeIf you’re looking for an easy, tasty recipe, this broccoli con olives recipe delivers. If you’ve seen my other recipes on this blog, then you know I’m all about food that’s quick, no fuss, and delicious. Broccoli con olives has been one of my favorite dishes since way back when I lived in Houston.

This recipe came from Houston Home & Garden. As of today, I’ve absolutely no idea what that means. Probably a magazine, but who knows. I copied this recipe onto a little recipe card many, many moons ago (I was around 18-19 years old), stuck the card into my recipe holder, and forgot the source except to write down the name. If any of you know who and what Houston Home & Garden is, or was, let me know.

There’s not much to this recipe. Don’t let the list of ingredients fool you, however. You’re getting plenty of good nutrition from the fresh broccoli, olive oil, garlic, and olives. The combination of spices and lemon add that special something that tops off the taste.

I dig eating this dish by itself, but you can pair broccoli con olives with a pasta entree, seafood, fish, a side salad, or even a hearty soup. The best time of year to serve broccoli con olives, in my opinion, is during the holidays. The colors are so vibrant – the fresh pimento, broccoli and black olives are quite festive.

Steamed broccoli for the broccoli con olives recipe.
Steamed broccoli.

My tweaks on this recipe include adding more garlic and steaming the broccoli. I used two cloves because one isn’t enough for my tastes. If you’re not a garlic freak, or are feeding others, I recommend going with one clove. If you don’t want to steam the broccoli, simply cook it in water over medium-high heat for about eight minutes. The main thing to remember is the broccoli should not be mushy. You probably could stir fry the broccoli and get good results, too.

Cooking the Broccoli Con Olives Recipe
Cooking the broccoli con olives. All that’s left to add is the pimento!

Once you get going with this recipe, you’ll find it cooks quickly. The key is to have everything prepared and ready to go. Enjoy, happy holidays, and let me know what you think. Cheers!


Broccoli Con Olives


1 bunch fresh broccoli

1 clove garlic, minced

4 T olive oil

1 lemon

1/2 cup chopped, pitted black olives

salt and freshly ground, black pepper


Cut the broccoli into medium-sized pieces. Julienne the stems. Steam the broccoli until it’s tender, but not mushy. Set aside.

In a skillet, saute the garlic in olive oil for two minutes. Add the juice and zest of the lemon. Add the chopped olives. Add the cooked broccoli and season to taste. Gently toss to combine.

Garnish the dish with strips of pimento. Serve hot. This recipe serves four.

A Family Favorite: Lou Percy’s Shrimp Dip Recipe


Lou Percy's Shrimp Dip Recipe with ChipsI am proud to share this family favorite with you. My family’s eaten Lou Percy’s shrimp dip recipe since I was at least a teenager, and maybe before that. It’s one of my mom’s recipes.

Who is Lou Percy? That’s the mystery! Did she (or he) give my mom this recipe? Or did my mom find this delish combination of shrimp, spice, and cream cheese in a cookbook? I’ve searched high and low, but have no answer. And you know what? I dig mysteries. Sometimes it’s better that way.

Lou Percy's Shrimp Dip Recipe Ingredients
Some of the ingredients that make Lou Percy’s Shrimp Dip recipe flavorful.

My mom began making this recipe for holiday festivities throughout the year. When she’d have parties, Lou Percy’s shrimp dip was one of the guests of honor. My first husband and I, along with one of my favorite cousins and her husband, used to clean up as soon as my mom put this dip on the table.

I didn’t make this dip for years. It was a part of my distant past and something I didn’t think about until Christmas rolled around. My mom continued to make the dip for her annual New Year’s Eve party, however. I’d know the holiday season was coming and ask my mom to be sure and make some to share with me, too. My kiddos never took to the dip, and that was fine, because it meant I could have Lou Percy’s infamous shrimp dip all to myself.

Boiled Shrimp for Lou Percy's Shrimp Dip Recipe
Boiled, fresh shrimp.

My mom’s growing older and I’m transcribing all of her recipes as quickly as I can. A few years ago, Afriel and I sat Mom down and made her share the best of her recipes. I say we made Mom sit down – if you don’t know my mom, then you aren’t aware of this 80-something ball of fire. In spite of a serious back condition and two rounds of cancer including two rounds of radiation and one surgery, my mother remains a force to be reckoned with. Getting her to sit still for more than five minutes is next to impossible. The lady is always busy!

Lou Percy’s shrimp dip is a great addition to any party. The recipe can be used throughout the year, too. I love the dip at Christmas time, because it’s my favorite time of year. Having a shrimpy-cheesy-spicy treat while you’re partying with friends under the Christmas tree is something you shouldn’t miss.

Shrimp and Green Onions for Lou Percy's Shrimp Dip Recipe
Chopped shrimp and green onions.
Preparing the Veggies and Fruit for Lou Percy's Shrimp Dip Recipe
Preparing the veggies and fruit.

Everyone – and I mean everyone – loves this dip.

I’ve had another version, and that person used more ketchup than my mom does. My mother said that dip was frightful, but I disagree. It wasn’t a knock-off that could hold a candle to my mom’s shrimp dip, but a bit more ketchup adds a rich, red tone to the dip. And a bit of tomato taste isn’t so bad. What I’m conveying here is you can definitely spice this recipe up your way.

As with all of my recipes, feel free to improvise. I always do.

What’s not negotiable: Don’t use canned shrimp. For heaven’s sake, that stuff is nasty. The shrimp should be fresh, fresh, fresh. It’s the base of this recipe. I use green onions and probably more spice than others may like. That’s how my mom always made it, but you can cut back.

It doesn’t take long to make this recipe, either. Like the majority of what I make in the kitchen, this recipe is easy, quick, and delightfully tasty. Serve with tortilla chips, Ritz crackers, or Keebler butter crackers. We’ve used each of these and the results are spectacular.

Lou Percy, whoever you are, thanks for a mighty yummy dip!


Lou Percy’s Shrimp Dip


1 lb. peeled, deveined, boiled shrimp

1 large package cream cheese, softened

6 to 8 green onions

1 dozen stuffed olives

1 cup mayonnaise

Fresh lemon juice

6 T ketchup

12 shakes hot pepper sauce

6 T Worcestershire

Garlic powder, seasoned salt, and black pepper

Chop up the shrimp, onions, and olives. Mix the cream cheese with mayo. Add the remaining liquid ingredients and blend. Slowly add the shrimp, green onions, and olives. Add garlic powder, seasoned salt, and black pepper to taste.


Classic Hot Chocolate Recipe With a Smooth and Minty Twist

Classic Hot Chocolate
Classic hot chocolate with a twist of cream and mint.

Homemade hot chocolate is always divine, but it’s truly special when shared with the people you love. This classic hot chocolate recipe is super easy to prepare and serve. On a frosty Texas day (or night), nothing else warms you up better.

My mom likes a bit of spice, so she adds a sprinkle of cinnamon and a bit of chili powder. That’s not my preference, but I’m always happy to accommodate her.

My coconut chip nut bars are a tasty way to enjoy this hot chocolate, too. Perfect for hungry Texans, and so nice for the holidays. The hot chocolate and coconut chip nut bars recipes are easy ways to teach your kids how to cook.

Another secret I’ll share with you is this: Pair your hot chocolate with a square (or two) of a fine chocolate bar. And no, that’s not chocolate overload. It’s called a tasty and fabulous indulgence!

This lovely little recipe serves six people.


Classic Hot Chocolate

  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • whipped cream
  • crushed candy cane
  • candy cane

Whisk together the cocoa, sugar, salt, and water in a medium saucepan until thoroughly mixed. Heat on medium high, while continually whisking, until the mixture starts to boil. Continue whisking for three minutes. Turn off the heat and slowly add the milk, and keep whisking. Add the vanilla. Once milk is heated, but not boiled, pour the chocolate into a mug.

For the perfect peppermint hot chocolate (as shown in the photo), add a candy cane to the side of the mug, top with whipped cream, and sprinkle with the crushed candy cane.


Simple to Make and Easy to Bake Coconut Chip Nut Bars Recipe

Coconut Chip Nut Bars Recipe
Coconut Chip Nut Bars – so yum!

This coconut chip nut bars recipe was obtained by my mother in her mid-20s. The recipe is perfect for those of us who run very busy schedules. Coconut chip nut bars are also easy for people who are inexperienced in the kitchen. If you’re new to cooking or have been afraid to make a dessert from scratch, try this recipe. You’ll love the yummy results!

Because this treat is so simple to make, I recommend having your children help out. The layers don’t take long to out together and the kids will enjoy being your helpers. Sprinkling the chocolate chips and coconut is something even a young child can do.

This can be a fun recipe for the holidays, too. The bars, when served, are gorgeous. Pair the coconut chip nut bars with a hot cup of cocoa and you’ve got it all going on! What a great way to relax and enjoy a nippy Texas evening.

Making Coconut Chip Nut Bars
Pouring sweetened condensed milk into a pan of chocolate chips.


Coconut Chip Nut Bars

Makes 3 dozen bars


  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup baking cocoa
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter

Preheat the oven to 350oF.

In a medium bowl combine flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press the crumbs firmly into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool.


  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup flaked coconut
  • ½ cup crushed Heath Bars

While the crust is baking, combine the milk and one cup of the chocolate chips in a saucepan. Stir over medium low heat until the chips are melted. Stir in the vanilla. Pour the chocolate sauce over the baked crust. Sprinkle the nuts and remaining cup of chocolate chips over the sauce. Top with the coconut and candy bits. Gently press the topping down into the chocolate mixture.

Bake at for 18-20 minutes or until firm. Cool on a wire rack and cut into bars. Chill until served.

Texas Pudding Surprise Recipe

Texas Pudding Surprise Recipe
Texas Pudding Surprise

Many years ago, my mother acquired what I call a “pudding surprise” recipe. While the original recipe calls for instant pudding and Cool Whip, I reworked it and made everything from scratch. Enjoy my Texas Pudding Surprise recipe!

It took until I started high school to appreciate how easy and amazing from-scratch home cooking can be. I chuckle when I hear others say that they love homemade meals, yet never have time to make those meals. While some recipes are laborious, the majority are quite simple to prepare.

For the crust, the original recipe calls for chopped pecans. Since I have braces, I put the pecans in a food processor. You are more than welcome to stick to the coarsely chopped version. You might be surprised to see there’s no sugar in the crust. Honestly, you don’t need any. The sweetness from the layers is more than enough.

Texas Pudding Surprise
Texas Pudding Surprise – YUM!

Homemade pudding, by far, out shadows anything pre-made or in a package. You can literally make any flavor into a pudding. If you don’t have time for the forty minutes it takes (only twenty if you’re making one batch), then you can break this up into about four ten-minute intervals. Remember that you can always mix the dry ingredients ahead of time and keep them stored until you need them. You can also apply this for the wet ingredients. However, their shelf life is much shorter, so I would recommend that you use them in the next two to three days to guarantee freshness. As a side note, you never want to pour a hot liquid into a powder that can gelatinize. That is why I put the milk in the freezer.

Texas Pudding Surprise - Whipped Cream
Whipped cream, freshly made. Check out the peak!

If you plan on making the whipped cream from scratch, like I did (super yummy and without the processed taste), you can make it ahead of time. I hand whipped this and it took about 5-10 minutes (with a few short breaks to rest my arm) and would have been significantly faster using a hand or stand mixer. Making whipped cream is very similar, but easier, than making a meringue, and there are a couple of tips to remember to always get the best results. While you can use whipping cream, heavy whipping cream is best because it has a higher fat content. I used regular sugar when I made the whipped cream, but you can also use powdered sugar. The preference is yours. Remember those tips we talked about earlier? Do what I say and you’ll have perfect whipped cream. The most important part of making whipped cream is the metal bowl and whisk. Why? Because both need to be chilled in the freezer before using.

As mentioned earlier, you can always make the layers ahead of time, since doing this all at once does take a significant amount of time. I strongly suggest making the pudding the day before. Then you only have to make the whipped cream and the cream cheese mixture.

Texas Pudding Surprise
Texas Pudding Surprise

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family did!

Texas Pudding Surprise

Prep Time: 1 hr.

Bake Time: 50 min

Chill Time: 5 hrs.

Total Time: 6 hrs. 50 min


Texas Pudding Surprise Crust
Texas Pudding Surprise Crust, before and after

Prep Time: 5 min

Bake Time: 20 min

Total Time: 25 min

1 cup flour

1 stick melted butter

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350o F. Mix flour and pecans together. Melt butter and add to dry ingredients. Mix until crust can hold together into a ball. Press crust into bottom of 13x9x2 in pan. Do not press up the sides of the pan. Bake for 20 minutes and then cool completely before adding other layers.

1st Layer, Cream Cheese:

Prep Time: 25 min

8 oz cream cheese

1 cup powder sugar

1 ½ cups whipped cream (see recipe below)

Put cream cheese into a medium bowl and allow to soften. Use a fork to work the cream cheese into the consistency of thick mayonnaise. Cream in the sugar. Once fully incorporated, add the whipped cream. Pour layer on top of crust.

Texas Pudding Surprise - Cream Cheese Layer
Cream Cheese Layer

2nd Layer, Chocolate Pudding:

Prep Time: 5 min

Bake Time: 15 min

Chill Time: 2 hr

Total Time: 2 hr 20 min

2/3 cup sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

¼ tsp. salt

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 ½ cups milk

4 large egg yolks

2 tbs. butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Put milk into freezer for 5 minutes for a brief chill. In a medium bowl, use a whisk to combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cocoa powder. This will take away the need for a sifter. Slowly add milk to the dry ingredients, constantly whisking. Fully incorporate mixture before adding the egg yolks. Transfer mixture to a medium sauce pan. Turn burner onto medium high. Constantly whisk. When mixture starts to boil, continue to whisk for another 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium low and continue to whisk for another 3 minutes. Add butter and vanilla. Transfer to bowl, cover, and cool for two hours. Then pour over cream cheese mixture.

Texas Pudding Surprise Dry Ingredients
Dry Ingredients – Chocolate Pudding
Texas Pudding Surprise Wet Ingredients and Cooking - Chocolate Pudding
Adding Wet Ingredients and Cooking – Chocolate Pudding
Texas Pudding Surprise - Chocolate Pudding Layer
Smooth as Silk Chocolate Pudding Layer

3rd Layer, Vanilla Pudding:

Prep Time: 5 min

Bake Time: 15 min

Chill Time: 2 hr

Total Time: 2 hr 20 min

2/3 cup sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

¼ tsp. salt

2 ½ cups milk

4 large eggs

2 tbs. butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Repeat the steps for the 2nd layer while omitting the cocoa powder. Pour over chocolate pudding.

Texas Pudding Surprise Vanilla Pudding Ingredients and Cooking
Vanilla Pudding Ingredients and Cooking

4th layer, Whipped Cream:

Prep Time: 20 min

1 ½ cups milk

2tbs. + 1 ½ tsp. sugar

1 ½ tsp. vanilla

Put both the whisk and a medium sized bowl inside the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. Once chilled, pour the heavy whipping cream into the bowl. First gently whisk the cream back and forth for about 30 seconds. Pour in the sugar. Whisk vigorously for about 10-15 minutes.

You will notice the mixture will thicken throughout this process. You will stop when you have reached a hard peak. If you continue to whisk you will eventually get butter.  After you have a hard peak you can mix in the vanilla extract. Then top the vanilla pudding with the whipped cream.

Texas Pudding Surprise - Whipped Cream
Making the whipped cream.

Once all the layers are put together, chill the dish for 1-2 hours before serving.