Earlier this month, I had the chance to attend the Taste of Home Cooking School  when it held a show in our town.  The first recipe they demonstrated smelled so good that I had to try it.  It’s a quick, easy fix, which is great for those busy house guest filled mornings that happen so often this time of year.  A twist on Monkey Bread, it’s a crowd pleaser, for sure!

Almond Cream Cheese Bundt

  • 1 cup sliced almonds, divided
  • 1 package cream cheese (chill in freezer)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 24 frozen dinner rolls, thawed but cold
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar


  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract


Coat a 10-in bundt pan with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of almonds and set aside.  Cut cream cheese into 24 equal cubes. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Roll cream cheese cubes in the sugar mix to coat completely.  Wrap a roll around each cream cheese cube to enclose.  Then, coat the rolls in the sugar mixture until coated. 

Place 12 of the rolls in the bundt pan and sprinkle with an additional 1/4 cup of almonds.  Combine the butter and brown sugar and microwave until the sugar is dissolved.  Pour half of the sugar mix over the rolls in the pan.  Then, layer the remaining rolls over the sugar mix.  Sprinkle with remaining nuts and any remaining spice or sugar mixes.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the rolls reach the top of the pan.  Remove wrap and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. When rolls reach the desired color, cover with foil for the remainder of the cooking time. 

Immediately invert the bundt pan onto a serving dish. 

On the stovetop, combine the butter, sugar, water, and extract to create the glaze.  Stir until melted.  Then, drizzle the glaze over the warm bread.  Serve warm immediately or let rest to serve cool.

Yield: 12-14 sticky servings


I call it that, but I must confess: I’ve made it twice this year, and it’s only November. In my defense, I gave 3/4 of the first batch away.  But still….

All year I wait for cold weather to arrive so I have an excuse to my “soup is for cold weather” believing BeachBoy.  I suppose Floridians don’t eat much soup, then.

However, I reserve this to a once-a-year recipe since it is so very unhealthy…but oh so good.

I must warn you though.  Since this is my recipe, the measurements are quite, um, loose.  Just ask my sister. 

This week, my humble potato soup got the coveted Southern nod of approval: from a ten year old….but still.

Once a Year Potato Soup

  • Roughly three pounds of chopped potatoes (I usually use the better part of a bag.), cooked until soft in heavily salted water, along with black pepper
  • 1 package of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 green onions, chopped, in their entirety
  • 1 1/2 packs shredded colby/monterary jack cheese blend
  • 3 cans cream of potato soup
  • 1 quart of half and half  (a sad attempt to ‘lighten’ this up)
  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Up to 1 tsp. Tabasco, to taste
  • 1/2-1 tsp white pepper
  • Roughly 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley


Cook bacon and potatoes and set aside. I like to cut my bacon in half before cooking it. 

Heat the soup and creams, whisking until smooth.  Stir in spices, salt and Tabasco.  Melt butter and combine with flour.  Whisk the flour mixture into the cream base and continue to heat while the soup thickens.  Add cheese to melt.  Stir in bacon, potatoes, onions, and parsley.  Simmer until heated through.  Serve with additional cheese, sour cream, bacon, and chives, as your BeachBoy desires.  Or, eat it plain and claim to be eating light. 

This makes a great dipping soup, if you are looking to add some bread to your meal for extra carbs.  I know those are popular these days.  Lucky for you carb-cravers, this recipe makes a large batch.



I love chili.  I love spicy chili.  I love making chili from scratch.  BeachBoy?  Well, he likes soup, but only when it’s cold.  And, tomatoes and spicy foods both give him heartburn.  So, chili is a rare treat.

However, earlier this year, I was given a chili kit by our school’s parents’ club.  With a rainy forecast looming, I thought this would be just the week to try it out. 


They had packaged it in a cute little bag with a note that it was “great for gift giving.”  With the holidays drawing near, I thought I would share their tasty idea with you.

Here is the ‘gift giving’ version of the recipe, as it was printed on the bag.

Taco Chili Mix

  • 1 cup of dried kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup of dried pinto beans
  • 1 (1.5 oz) package of taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (1 oz) package of buttermilk salad dressing mix
  • 3 Tablespoons of dried minced onion
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups tortilla chips

Directions for assembling gift bags:

In a 1 qt. jar (or bag), layer kidney and pinto beans.  In a small bowl, combine spices.  Place seasoning mix in a plastic bag or wrap in plastic wrap.  Add the enclosed mix to the jar (or bag).  Put chips on top.  Cover the lid of the jar with fabric and ribbon.  Don’t forget to include the recipe.


Directions for making taco chili:


  • Bean mix
  • Spice Packet
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (14.5 ox) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained


Cover beans with water and soak for 8 hours or overnight.  Drain and add to a dutch oven or pan.  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours or until beans are tender.  Serve with tortilla chips, grated cheese, and a dallop of sour cream. 

 Chili: It’s not pretty, but it’s good!