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...

July 5, 2016

Pizza Spaghetti Bake

Pizza ~ always a favorite.  Spaghetti ~ always a favorite.  So why not put them together in one delicious dish?  Why not, indeed!  With this Pizza Spaghetti Bake, you can enjoy two family favorites in one quick-and-easy dinner.

Pizza Spaghetti Bake ~ enjoy two family favorites in one quick-and-easy dinner.   www.thekitchenismyplayground.com

Pizza ~ My absolute all-time favorite.  Spaghetti ~ One of my other favorites.  Put them together??  Yes, please!  I love with this Pizza Spaghetti Bake, I don't have to choose.  I get the fabulous flavors of two of my favorites all wrapped up in one delicious dish.

You know what else I love about Pizza Spaghetti Bake?

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