July 25, 2016

Sweet BBQ Pork Chops

Jazz up a pan of pork chops with a quick-and-easy sauce with these one-skillet Sweet BBQ Pork Chops.  They're sure to please the whole family, and are freezer-friendly, too.

Sweet BBQ Pork Chops ~ Jazz up a pan of pork chops with a quick & easy sauce.  This one-skillet dish is sure to please the whole family, and is freezer-friendly too.   www.thekitchenismyplayground.com

To say that my husband and 6-year-old daughter like meat is a major understatement.  For my husband, a meal isn't a meal if it doesn't include meat.  And for my daughter?  She'd be quite satisfied if a big hunk of meat was all that graced her plate.

As for me, I much prefer my meat in casserole form or as just a small portion of my meal.  Give me the veggies and creamy comfort-food sides instead, for sure!  And as I'm sure you can imagine, since casseroles and sides are my preference, that's the direction my cooking style has developed over the years too.

So what does a casserole-cooker-type do when she has a husband and daughter who absolutely love to eat "plain" meat so much?

July 22, 2016

Fresh Cucumber Pickles {a.k.a. Refrigerator Pickles}

Enjoy summer's bounty of fresh garden cucumbers with these easy, no cook Fresh Cucumber Pickles ... made in the refrigerator with just cucumbers, vinegar, a handful of spices, and a couple of days chilling time.

Easy no cook Fresh Cucumber Pickles, made in the refrigerator with just some vinegar, and handful of spices, and a couple days of chilling time.   www.thekitchenismyplayground.com

Fresh garden produce time is in full swing here in the Carolinas.  And I'm lovin' the bounty I'm scoring from friends' and family member's gardens!  The other day I came home from my parents' house with about 2 pounds of freshly-picked green beans, some summer squash, all kinds of fresh herbs, and ... one of my absolute favorites ... freshly picked garden cucumbers.  Sweet!

So I whipped out one of our family-favorite ways to enjoy fresh garden cucumbers ...

July 18, 2016

Carolina (or Redneck ... or Texas ...) Caviar

Carolina Caviar ... Redneck Caviar ... or Texas Caviar.  Whatever you call it, this simple and healthy dip with black-eyed peas is just plain delicious.

Carolina Caviar ~ Or Redneck Caviar or Texas Caviar ... No matter what you call, it's delicious!   www.thekitchenismyplayground.com

I've heard this dip-able concoction called various different names, including Carolina Caviar, Texas Caviar, and Redneck Caviar. While I think Redneck Caviar is the most humorous name, since I live in North Carolina I'm going to call it Carolina Caviar. Okay?

Carolina Caviar is a simple and healthy dip of finely-chopped vegetables mixed with black-eyed peas and a tangy, vinegar-based dressing. In the past, I had always bought this pre-made at the grocery store, but discovered a wonderfully flavorful recipe for making my own at home.

And then I put my home-recipe up for a head-to-head taste test with my former go-to store-bought version.

July 15, 2016

15 YEARS! ... My Personal Cancer Story {and Chocolate & Cheesecake Cupcakes to Celebrate}

Let's all enjoy some Chocolate & Cheesecake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting ... to celebrate my personal story of beating cancer!

Chocolate & Cheesecake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting ~ because everyone deserves a little chocolate decadence! ... Made even better with cheesecake & frosting.   www.thekitchenismyplayground.com

"To everyone who is battling cancer, I hope you are all successful against this disease. I hope that for all those counting down to your dates of being declared *cancer free* that you all celebrate that anniversary with your loved ones. To all those who have never had to deal with this disease personally within your families, I hope that you never do."
~ Paula at Frosting for the Cause
My sentiments exactly.

I originally shared this post on September 23, 2011, over at Frosting for the Cause, a year-long baking adventure to raise money for breast cancer research.  I'm sharing it again here on The Kitchen is My Playground today in celebration of being 15 years cancer-free!!

July 10, 2016

Blueberry Crisp ... dee-lish

Enjoy the flavors of fresh blueberry pie without the fuss of a crust ... make easy-as-can-be Blueberry Crisp instead!

Easy-as-can-be Blueberry Crisp ~ enjoy the flavors of fresh blueberry pie without the fuss of a crust!   www.thekitchenismyplayground.com

I may just have a new favorite fruit dessert!  I don't know why I didn't think of this before.  Apple crisp? ...  Make it all the time.  Pear crisp? ... Yes, with walnuts.  It's divine!  But blueberry crisp?  Didn't think of that until now.  

And now that I've tried it, I'm hooked.  

July 8, 2016

No-Bake Mint Chocolate Chip Pie

Got just 10 minutes to create a delicious dessert?  Then you can whip up this super easy No-Bake Mint Chocolate Chip Pie!

I am enamored with the simplicity of this no-bake pie method ... the simplicity of simply melting some chocolate and stirring it into Cool Whip.  Can a great tasting pie truly be that easy?  Oh, yes.  Yes, it can.  I found that out in the classic No-Bake Hershey's Chocolate Bar Pie I posted a while back.

Once I had whipped up that no-bake chocolate bar pie, I just had to try it out with some other experiments...

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