"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." - James Beard

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wine Wednesday - Martini and Rossi Asti

So tomorrow is New Year's Eve, which means that champagne will be the drink of choice. If you haven't picked any up yet, Martini and Rossi Asti is a great choice, though actually a sparkling wine, that can be found at any grocery store. I know it's a pretty commercialized brand, but I've always really liked it (my college roommate, Jennifer, always said it was her favorite!). Many grocery stores will have it on sale this week for $10-12.

Martini and Rossi was founded in Northern Italy by two men (Martini and Rossi) in 1863. The Asti is said to be fruity and floral - and I would say it's fairly sweet. Their website has recipes for several cocktails, including a Kir Royal. I first had a Kir Royal when I was in Provence several years ago - they are often served at cafes. A Kir Royal is made from champagne and creme de cassis, which is black currant liquor. The website's recipe calls for 1 part creme de cassis topped with 4 parts Asti - Yum! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chicken and Dumplings

After Christmas, I decided it was time to try something new! So last night I made this recipe out of a cookbook my mom had given me for Christmas. I was a little nervous about it and the cookbook didn't give too many specific details - so I was on my own for some of it. But it turned out pretty well! It wasn't as hard as I thought it might be, and the best part is that there are so few ingredients!

1 large chicken, cut into pieces (you can buy them already cut)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, melted
All-purpose flour

Sprinkle the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper. Place it in a large saucepan or a stockpot. Cover with water. Cook over medium heat until tender (I cooked it for about 45 minutes). Drain the chicken but save your broth (I just used tongs to take the chicken out, then poured the liquid through a strainer). Place the chicken in a large bowl. After the chicken cools some, tear it off the bone - you will add it back in later. In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups of the broth with just enough flour to make a stiff dough (I just kept adding flour until it was stiff enough to roll out - I have no idea how much I added!). Roll out very thin on a lightly floured surface before you cut into squares (I suggest cutting into 1 inch squares using a pizza slicer). Bring the remaining broth to a boil in a stockpot. Drop your dumplings into the broth. Add the chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sweet Potato Casserole

One last Holiday recipe - just in time! Merry Christmas!

Sweet Potato Casserole
3 cups of mashed, cooked sweet potatoes
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of melted butter
2 eggs, well-beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/3 cup of milk

Combine ingredients and mix well. Spoon into a greased 2 quart casserole. Cover with topping and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Topping -
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of plain flour
2 1/2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of chopped pecans

Mix all ingredients well. Sprinkle on potatoes just before baking.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bread Pudding

Kent and his family have been making bread pudding for their Christmas dessert for years. This particular recipe is their favorite. And I have to say - it is so amazing!!

Bread Pudding
8 large day-old croissants, torn into small pieces
4 cups of milk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups of sugar
1 cups of pecans, toasted
1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Place the bread in a lightly greased 13 by 9 inch pan. Pour the milk over the bread and let it stand for 10 minutes. Using your hands, blend the mixture well. Stir the eggs and the next five ingredients into the bread mixture. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until firm. Serve with custard sauce. (Yields 15 servings)

Custard Sauce
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of butter or margarine
1/2 cup of half and half
2 tablespoons of whiskey or 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Bring the first three ingredients to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Cool, stir in whiskey. (Yields 1 1/2 cups)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wine Wednesday - Sparkling Christmas Punch

I have not tried this punch yet, but it sounds really good! I wanted to post a Wine Wednesday recipe that would be good for a Holiday party. I think this will be great! Let me know if you try it!

Sparkling Christmas Punch
2-3 cinnamon sticks, crushed
1 tsp. ground allspice
3 qt. apple cider
3 qt. cranberry juice
Juice of 3 oranges
1/3 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
3 (1 liter) bottles club soda or ginger ale
6 c. champagne or vodka, chilled

In non-aluminum 8-quart saucepan, combine cider, juices and brown sugar. Heat to simmering over medium low heat. Add spices and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight. Remove spices, if necessary, before serving.
Pour into bowl. Add soda or ginger ale and liquor immediately before serving. Garnish with apple slices. Serves 40 (1 cup) servings.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pork Roast with Jezebel Sauce

This is one of my favorite things that Kent makes. It has a great spicy sauce to put on the roast and always reminds me of Christmas time. If you need a main dish for a Holiday party, this works really well. It's very easy to double. It can also work well as an appetizer if you cut the pork into small medallions.

Pork Roast
6 tablespoons hot sauce
6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons garlic salt
2 tablespoons pepper
1 (3- to 4-pound) boneless pork loin

Garnishes: paprika, fresh parsley sprigs, cracked black pepper

Stir together hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce; set aside.
Combine garlic salt and pepper.
Place pork in a lightly greased roasting pan. Brush all sides of pork loin with sauce mixture; sprinkle with garlic salt mixture.
Bake at 325° for 2 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 160°, shielding with aluminum foil the last 30 minutes. Let stand, covered, 15 minutes. Cut into slices. Serve with Jezebel Sauce; garnish if desired.

Jezebel Sauce
1 (18-ounce) jar apple jelly
1 (18-ounce) jar apricot-pineapple preserves
1/4 cup dry mustard
2 tablespoons pepper
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish

Stir together all ingredients; serve with pork.

(This recipe comes from Southern Living.)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Peppermint Bark

This is super easy to make - but really good. It's great to give as Christmas presents to coworkers and makes a great snack for Christmas parties. If anyone has any other Christmas candy or food ideas, please let me know!

Peppermint Bark
Candy Canes (red and green or red and white)
2 pounds White Chocolate (baking squares can be found on the baking aisle)
1/2 tsp. Peppermint extract

Place the candy canes in a plastic bag and break into tiny pieces - I use a hammer for this! You should have about a cup of candy pieces. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Once chocolate is melted, mix in extract and candy canes. Then pour onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper - a cookie sheet with sides works best. Refrigerate for about an hour. Break into pieces and serve.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cranberry Brie Bake

I've been a little behind on my blogging lately! But I'm going to try to post a lot of Christmas recipes in the next few weeks. I'm sure many of us will be headed to Christmas parties and will be looking for something to bring. We made this recipe last year around Christmas. It's so yummy, but best if you have a way to keep it warm as it's being served so that it will stay creamy. I adapted it from a recipe my friend Katie sent me. I'll post her original recipe as well.

Anna's Cranberry Brie Bake
One round of Brie cheese
A frozen package of filo dough
1 cup of cranberries
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of orange juice
2 tablespoons of melted butter

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2) Put the cranberries into a pan with the orange juice and brown sugar.
3) Cook over a low heat until they begin to pop and release their juices, about 8 minutes. Continue to cook until the cranberries are soft but do not completely lose their shape.
4) As the cranberries are cooking, cut the rind off of the Brie.

*Take one sheet of filo dough and wrap it around the Brie. Then brush the sheet of filo dough with butter. Turn the Brie over, and wrap it with another sheet from the other side. Brush the sheet with butter, turn the Brie, and add another layer. Continue adding layers - probably about five or six total. Place the wrapped Brie in a round or square pyrex dish. Top with the warm cranberry mixture. Place the dish in the oven and cook until the dough is browned and crispy.

For Katie's Cranberry and Brie Stuffed Phyllo...
Use the same ingredients above. Follow steps 1-4 listed above.
Then, place the Brie in a food processor. Beat it until it becomes creamy - about 10 minutes. Cut the phyllo into 6-inch squares. Be careful not to allow them to dry out. Brush half of them with butter and lay the remaining ones over the top. Put a spoonful of the whipped brie in the middle of each square and some of the cranberry mix, being careful not to add too much of the liquid. Fold the parcels over to form a triangle and brush the edges that come into contact with oil before folding them over on themselves. Bake the phyllo parcels for about 12 minutes, or until golden and hot.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Red Velvet Cake

This dessert is a must for any Christmas party. I made it last year when we had some friends over around Christmas. I am planning to make red velvet cupcakes this year for a girls Holiday party! This is a really easy recipe, even if you've never made a layered cake before. It comes from Patsy Smith's cookbook, A Cookbook for my Southern Daughter.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 eggs
1 (1 oz) bottle of red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients. Add other ingredients in order and mix thoroughly. Bake in 2 greased and floured 8 inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup margarine
8 ounces cream cheese
1 box powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Let margarine and cream cheese soften at room temperature. Cream well; add sugar and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla and nuts. Spread on cake. (Nuts are optional.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Apple Streusel Muffins

These muffins so good - and perfect for Fall!

Apple Streusel Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups apple (chopped or grated)

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp butter

(For the muffins...) Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Pour into a greased muffin pan.

(For the topping...) Mix all ingredients together until incorporated. Spoon an even amount on top of each muffin.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

BLT Stuffed Tomatoes

I made these for a shower a few years ago, and everyone loved them! They are a little time-consuming to make but make a wonderful presentation. These will be a great appetizer for any Holiday Party! If you do not want them to be too hot, just leave out the chile and use plain mayonnaise. Also, if you want to make them in the summer, it might be a nice change to use basil instead of lettuce.

BLT Stuffed Tomatoes
2 pints cherry tomatoes (about 32)
6 slices bacon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped romaine lettuce leaves from the heart

Cut off the stem ends of the tomatoes and discard. Using a paring knife, remove the seeds and discard; place the tomatoes cut side down on paper towels to drain.

Meanwhile, in a heavy skillet, over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate, then finely chop.

Stir together the mayonnaise and chipotle and spoon into a resealable bag. Cut off the tip of one corner. Place the tomatoes cut side up on a platter and press some romaine inside each tomato; sprinkle with salt. Pipe some chipotle mayo over the romaine and top with bacon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chicken-Eggplant Parmigiana

This recipe comes from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook and is so good! Kent really likes it, but it's so rich that I feel like I can't eat it very often. This is an easy recipe to double or half. It is definitely enough to be a meal on its own, but you can add a side of pasta or bread.

Chicken-Eggplant Parmigiana
4 skinned, boned chicken breast halves
3/4 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 small eggplant
1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
1 (14 oz) jar meatless spaghetti sauce
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Place chicken between two sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; flatten to 1/4 inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Combine breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. Dip chicken in egg, and coat with breadcrumbs. Place chicken on an ungreased baking sheet; cover and chill about 10 minutes. Peel eggplant, if desired; cut lengthwise into 4 slices. Brown chicken in 1/4 cup hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat, turning once. Remove chicken from skillet, and place in a 13x9 inch baking dish. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet, and cook eggplant over medium heat until browned on both sides; drain on paper towels. Place 1 slice eggplant on each chicken breast half. Spoon spaghetti sauce over eggplant; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 365 degrees for 15 minutes. Top each eggplant slice with mozzarella cheese, and bake 5 more minutes or until cheese melts and sauce is bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley. (Yield 4 servings - 565 calories per serving)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wine Wednesday - Barefoot

My friend, Katie, suggested that I discuss Barefoot Cabernet this week for Wine Wednesday. Several friends of ours have mentioned liking different Barefoot wines. I'm not sure if I've ever had their Cabernet. But, Kent and I actually had Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvee at our wedding reception. We loved it! We had a champagne bar with different fruits and juices so that people could have mimosas and make other drinks. I've read several of the reviews, and it seems to be pretty widely acknowledged that Barefoot wines are good buys for the money - they are usually between $8-10 but can be found for even less. They have been awarded as one of the "Top 100 Best Buys in the World" as well as winning other tasting awards. These wines are made in California and can be bought in grocery stores around the US. Visit their website for more information: http://www.barefootwine.com/

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spicy Tomato Sauce

I love eating pasta! I usually use a jar sauce because there are some really good ones. But occasionally I like to try something different! This recipe comes from Giada De Laurentiis' Everyday Italian cookbook. It makes enough sauce for four people with dinner sized portions.

Spicy Tomato Sauce
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons drained capers, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
Generous pinch of dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28 ounce) can crushed Italian tomatoes

In a large skillet, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. When almost smoking, add the onion and garlic, and saute for 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the olives, capers, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and red pepper flakes; saute for one minute. Add the tomatoes and simmer until reduced slightly - about 20 minutes. Season the sauce with more salt to taste. (The sauce can be made one day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.) Serve over pastas like penne or rigatoni.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

I love making this recipe when I know we will be having weekend guests! These scones are so good - and actually a lot more moist than scones usually are. The ingredients and measurements are from a recipe by Tyler Florence, but I use a much easier way to actually make the scones. I make the scones ahead of time and then make the glaze right before I serve them. They will keep for several days in the refrigerater and can be reheated easily.

Blueberry Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
1 cup fresh blueberries

Lemon Glaze:
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough (some say that using frozen blueberries helps to prevent bruising). Using a mechanical ice cream scooper, scoop the dough into a ball and release it onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Blush the tops with heavy cream. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Let them cool slightly before applying glaze.
For the glaze... you can either make it this way in the microwave or use a double boiler. Mix the lemon juice and confectioners' sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and butter. Nuke it for 30 seconds on high. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


This is a really unique recipe by Rachel Ray. There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but none are too expensive. There are some good veggies hidden in the meal. In fact, she made this as a healthy recipe for kids, but it works for adults, too! And it's not very messy since it's all in one dish!

tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 1/2 pounds ground turkey or ground sirloin
1 zucchini
2 carrots, peeled
1 onion, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons chili powder, 3 palm fulls
2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2/3 palm full
1 tablespoon coriander, a palm full
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup beef stock
6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
3 cups shredded Chihuahua cheese or Monterey Jack
4 scallions, chopped
2 hearts romaine lettuce, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat a large high sided skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add the meat and brown, 5 minutes. While meat browns, grate the zucchini and carrots with a box grater. Add the vegetables to the meat and grate in the onion and garlic. Season the meat with chili, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper and cook 7 to 8 minutes more to soften vegetables. Stir in beef stock. Grease a 8 by 13-inch baking pan with vegetable oil. Layer in 3 overlapping flour tortillas and top with 1/3 meat, 1/3 cheese. Repeat the layers twice and bake 10 to 12 minutes to brown cheese. Top with scallions, lettuce and tomatoes, cut into squares and serve.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Monte Cristo Sandwich

Kent and I went to dinner last night with our friends, Kate and Lee. Kent and I both ordered Monte Cristo sandwiches that were so good! We were all talking about making them at home, and I remembered that I made some last Spring. This is the recipe (from about.com) that I used - but I adjusted it for two sandwiches! Also, I think I only used two slices of bread for each sandwich instead of three. Kate and Lee suggest using a thick white bread, like Pepperidge Farm.

Monte Cristo Sandwiches
18 slices bread
6 slices ham
6 slices turkey or chicken
12 slices Swiss or Gruyere cheese
a little mustard and mayonnaise, if desired
3 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon salt

For each sandwich use 3 slices of bread. Butter one side of bread first, then cover with a slice of ham and a slice of turkey or chicken. Butter both sides of the second slice of bread and spread with a little mustard or other dressing, if desired. Place on top of turkey or ham slice and top with 2 thin slices of cheese. Butter third slice for top; press sandwich lightly and trim crusts. Cut into halves diagonally and secure with toothpicks.
Beat eggs with milk and salt. Dip sandwich halves into the egg mixture and fry on a hot skillet or griddle in butter or margarine. Brown on all sides, adding more butter when necessary. Remove toothpicks before serving.Makes 6 sandwiches, 12 cut triangles, to serve 4.

There are a lot of ways to make these unique: dip in syrup/sprinkle with sugar, dip in a dressing/mustard/sauce/jelly, add pickles, or even serve with a fried egg on top!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Wings

This is another great tailgating recipe! We love making these on Saturdays while we're watching football! Homemade chicken wings are usually much larger than wings served in restaurants - so you can definitely make a meal out of them!

Baked Chicken Wings - Recipe by Alton Brown

Whole chicken wings

Place a 6-quart saucepan with a steamer basket and 1-inch of water in the bottom, over high heat, cover and bring to a boil.
Remove the tips of the wings and discard or save for making stock. Using kitchen shears, or a knife, separate the wings at the joint. Place the wings into the steamer basket, cover, reduce the heat to medium and steam for 10 minutes. Remove the wings from the basket and carefully pat dry. Lay the wings out on a cooling rack set in a half sheet pan lined with paper towels and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Replace the paper towels with parchment paper. Roast on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Turn the wings over and cook another 20 minutes or until meat is cooked through and the skin is golden brown.

Kent's Buffalo Sauce
For hot wings - equal parts butter and hot sauce
For mild wings - substitute tomato sauce for some of the hot sauce

Mix the ingredients together and drizzle over the wings.
(To get different flavors, try adding garlic or honey)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

White Bean Dip with Pita Chips

This dip is a great appetizer (and works well for tailgating too!) It's super easy (seriously, anyone can make it) and has a lot of flavor. I've been making it for years. I took it to Thanksgiving one year, and it was a big hit!

White Bean Dip
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (loosely packed)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
1 garlic clove

In a food processor, combine the beans, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pulse on and off until the mixture is coarsely chopped. With the machine running, gradually mix in 1/3 cup of oil until the mixture is creamy. Season the puree with more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a small bowl and serve the pita toasts warm or at room temperature alongside. The pita wedges and bean dip can be made 1 day ahead. Make sure to keep the bean dip refrigerated if you're not serving it immediately.

Pita Wedges - Cut 4 slices of pita bread into 6 or 8 wedges. Arrange the pita wedges evenly over a large baking sheet. Brush the pita wedges with 2 tablespoons of the oil, then sprinkle with the oregano and 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Bake for 8 minutes at 400 degrees, the turn the pita wedges over and bake until they are crisp and golden, about 6 minutes longer.

Notes - This dip can easily be changed around - use different herbs, use chick peas instead of cannellini beans, or serve it with warmed pita wedges instead of crisp pita chips. There are a lot of ways to give it different textures and flavors!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wine Wednesday - O'Reilly's Pinot Noir

O'Reilly's Pinot Noir - "Oregon's most popular Pinot Noir."

Kent and I bought a bottle a while back when they were on sale at Whole Foods. We drank it with friends, Kate and Lee, when they were over for dinner one night. I think we all really liked it! It went very well with our spinach salad and pork.

O'Reilly's is a wine produced by the Owen Roe Winery. Many Owen Roe wines are much more expensive, usually in the $40-70 range. The O'Reilly Pinot Noir is advertized as the "flagship" of their value brands and appears to be made from slightly lower quality juices produced on their vineyards in the Northwest. It can be purchased on-line or in some retail locations, like whole foods. It usually cost between $15 and $20 but is said to have qualities representative of wines usually prices above $25. Tasting notes I read on-line describe it has having fruity flavors with hints of cinnamon.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sally's Pumpkin Bread

This is the perfect recipe for October! My friend, Sally, made it in college and took it to the Grove for football games - everyone always loved it. I made it this weekend, and it was wonderful! Our whole house smelled like fall!

Sally's Pumpkin Bread
3 1/2 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon clove
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup water
4 eggs
1 cup oil
1 15oz can of pumpkin

Sift dry ingredients together. Stir in oil, water, eggs, and pumpkin. Pour into 2 greased and floured bread pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 65-75 minutes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ham and Cheese Rolls

This is a great dish for football parties! It might be hard take to a tailgate since it is best served warm - but it would be wonderful when having guests to your house. I even made these for dinner one night, and then Kent and I took the left-overs for lunch the next day.

Ham and Cheese Rolls
1 lb. deli ham, sliced
1 lb. Swiss cheese, sliced
1 pkg. cooked dinner rolls
1 stick butter
1 1/2 tbsp. poppy seed
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. mustard
1 tbsp. minced onions

Split rolls in half. Place a slice of ham and a slice of cheese on each roll - replace top. Place in 13x9 inch baking dish. Melt butter and add all remaining ingredients except poppy seed. Pour over rolls and sprinkle with poppy seed. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. For crusty rolls, remove foil.

Possible alterations:
1) Instead of pouring the mixture on top of the rolls, you could mix the ingredients to create a paste and spread it on the inside of the rolls.
2) You could also use bagels instead of rolls to make it perfect for a brunch!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Elegant Layered Apple Cake

This recipe comes from The Junior League Centennial Cookbook - so you know it has to be good! I made it this weekend for my church's cake baking contest that was part of their 31st birthday picnic celebration. And my cake won the "best taste" category! I was so excited, so I thought I would share the recipe! It's wonderful for Fall and makes a great presentation.

Elegant Layered Apple Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups grated pared tart apples (I used Granny Smith)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 eggs

Frosting Ingredients:
1 (8 0z) package cream cheese, softened
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1 box (1 pound) confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely chopped walnuts

Grease well and flour three 9-inch cake pans. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the grated apples, nuts, and lemon rind. In a large bowl, combine the granulated sugar, oil, and eggs; mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the dry ingredients, mixing until smooth. Incorporate the apple mixture; stir until well combined. Spread evenly into the prepared pans. Bake the 30 to 40 minutes or until the surface springs back when pressed lightly. Cool the cake in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool thoroughly on wire racks.
Prepare the frosting: Cream the cheese and butter together and beat in the sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread between layers, on sides and top. Press nuts around sides of the cake. Refrigerate until serving time.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wine Wednesday - Tarantas Cava Brut

This is a great organic sparkling wine from Spain. It is made using the traditional "champenoise method" which means that it goes through two fermentations - like sparkling wines that come from the Champagne region of France. The most widely noted aromas/tastes from critics are apple and spice. It is said to have soft and clean finish. This Cava goes well with light dishes and is recommended for toasts or cocktail hours. I visited an organic vineyard when I was in France a few years ago. I loved the wines there and brought back a few bottles. This operation is pretty large - the largest producers of "quality" organic Cava in Spain, actually.

Kent and I bought our first bottle about six months ago at Whole Foods. I usually like sweeter sparkling wines while Kent prefers drier ones. This one is great because it isn't very sweet, but it's also not tart or too sharp. We both loved it and have kept one on hand ever since. It usually sells for around $13, and Whole Foods occasionally has them on sale.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gran's Cheese Straws

Even though I love my grandmother's oatmeal cookies (see previous post), her most famous recipe is her Cheese Straw Recipe. She made these for more weddings, showers, and parties than I could ever count! She always made them when we were coming to visit. And my mom would make them whenever my brother or I got sick - they always made us feel better! In college, I started making them for my friends and taking them to the Grove. It is such a wonderful southern recipe - great for wedding/baby showers and tailgating!

Gran's Cheese Straws
3 sticks of Parkay
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese (Craft Gold - Cracker Barrel)
Pinch of salt
4 cups of sifted flour

Finely grate the cheese (my family uses a wheel grater because it grates the cheese so finely and makes it soft enough to combine with the butter. Using a mixer (preferably a stand mixer, I burned out the motor in my hand-held mixer because the dough gets so tough) combine the grated cheese and butter completely. Add the salt and begin adding the flour very slowly - in very small amounts. Once everything is incorporated, spoon the mixture into a cookie press. Using the disc that has a ridge on top and is flat on the bottom, squeeze the mixture through the cookie press in long lines on a cookie sheet. Then bake for about 10 minutes (or until golden brown) at 400 degrees. Once they cool, use a spatula with a sharp edge to cut them into large pieces and serve!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Miss Lenoree's Oatmeal Cookies

This is my very favorite cookie recipe! My grandmother created the recipe and made them for years. The recipe has appeared in several cookbooks throughout Alabama, usually as "Miss Lenoree's Oatmeal Cookies". You may need to cut the recipe in half as it yields about 8 dozen cookies!

1½ cups white sugar
1½ cups brown sugar (packed)
4 eggs
2 cups oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp water
3 cups of plain flour
2 tsp of salt
2 tsp of baking soda
4 cups of oatmeal
1 bag Heath bits
Optional: cup raisins, chopped walnuts, or chocolate chips

Use a large bowl. Beat sugars and 4 eggs well with electric mixer. Add oil, vanilla, and water. Mix well. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. Then add by hand oatmeal and Heath bits. Then, if desired, add one or two of the optional ingredients. Mixture will be very stiff. Roll into balls and drop on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until done.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Texas Caviar

It's football season which means it's time for tailgating food! Texas Caviar is one of the easiest dips to make for a large group of people. I always made it for the Grove! And it works well for family gatherings as well.

Texas Caviar

2 cans of black-eyed peas
2 can of black beans
1 can of yellow corn
1 can of shoepeg corn
2 cans petite diced tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes)
1 green (or red or yellow) bell pepper (chopped)
1 red onion (chopped)
1 bunch of green onion (chopped)
1 jalepeno pepper (chopped and seeded)
1/2 bunch of cilantro (chopped)
1 lime
1 bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing

Drain all canned items. In a very large container, mix all canned and chopped ingredients listed above the line. Then squeeze a lime over the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then pour about half of the bottle of dressing over the mixture. Stir everything together well. It tastes best if you refrigerate it for a few hours before serving. Then serve with tortilla chips!

One of the best things about this recipe is that you can leave out any ingredients that you don't like and add in almost anything! You can also alter the amounts of any of the ingredients to get specific flavor combinations. Leftovers taste great over grilled chicken.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wine Wednesday - Whole Foods 365

I tried to do some research to find out more information about Whole Foods 365 wines. As part of their "everyday value" line, they offer different seasonal wines. It seems that they only carry a few types of wine at a time. I believe they buy wine from different vineyards and display a joint label that advertises the vineyard and Whole Foods. They sell them at low prices - usually around $6.00. This summer I was able to buy Burgundy with a certain label. Now they have Merlot and Chardonnay - but they are from a different vineyard.

All of this is to say, that the ones I have tasted so far have not been my favorites for drinking. But, they are great for cooking! Paula Dean says that you should never cook with a wine you wouldn't drink. But, I find it hard to pour a cup or two of my favorite wines into the crock pot. So far I've used the Burgundy for pot roasts - it adds great flavor and smells so good! And I've used the Chardonnay with chicken and couscous. I haven't tried the Merlot - but I'm sure it will work well with meat also. These wines don't seem to be too sweet like many other inexpensive wines. Let me know if you have any suggestions for great wines for cooking!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thumb Print Cookies

This is such a great southern cookie. I've probably made this recipe more than any other dessert. They look so professional - just like ones from a bakery - so you can serve them at any event! I've died the icing red or blue for tailgating, pink for showers, and different pastels for Easter.

Thumb Print Cookies
1/4 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. Crisco
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg, separated
1/2 t. vanilla
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. finely chopped nuts (optional, I usually leave these out)

Heat oven to 350. Mix thoroughly butter, shortening, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla. Work in flour and salt until dough holds together. Shape dough by teaspoonfuls into 1-inch balls.

Beat egg white slightly. Dip each ball into egg white; roll in nuts (I usually dash them with sprinkles instead - but this can get very messy!) Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. (They tend to stick to the pan so I've started using parchment paper on top of my pans so that I don't have to break any of the cookies or scrape the pans too long.) Press thumb deeply into center of each but do not break through the bottom. Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown. Immediately remove from baking sheet. Cool. Fill thumbprints with jelly or Confectioners Sugar Icing. (Makes about 1 dozen.)

Confectioners Sugar Icing:
1 c. confectioners sugar
1 T. milk
a few drops of peppermint extract
tint with a few drops of food coloring.
(Mix until smooth. Do not make the icing until you are ready to begin filling the cookies. It will start to harden. But, it takes several hours to harden completely. I usually make and ice the cookies the day before so they have plenty of time to set up.)

Cookbook recommendation: A Cookbook for My Southern Daughter/by: Patsy Smith
This recipe is adapted from Patsy Smith's cookbook. My mom gave it to me when I was in Junior High School, and I have been using it ever since. I've made tons of the recipes in this book, and they are always great! The books are only available in certain stores, but you can buy them on-line.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Spinach and Cheese Squares

Kent and I have made these as appetizers for church events, and they are a big hit! Finger foods are always great appetizers because then guests can pick up the food and move around instead of hovering over the table. These squares taste like quiche but are easier to make.

Spinach and Cheese Squares
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 large eggs
1/2 cup finely chopped shallot
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 pound shredded Cheddar cheese

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 12-by-9-inch baking pan.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, combine the milk, butter, eggs, shallot, flour, and baking powder - mix well. Add the spinach and cheese and stir to mix. Spread into the pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a golden brown. Cool set on a wire rack and cut into small squares for serving.

(From 1001 Snacks by Gregg R. Gillespie)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken

This is one of the first meat recipes I ever tried. Sally and I tried it sophomore year of college. It turned out so well that I've been making it ever since! It's really easy and turns out beautifully. It's good for when you're having company over - though it only feeds about four people. The whole house will smell amazing!

Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken
1 (5-6lb) whole roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch of thyme
1 bunch of rosemary
4 lemons
3 heads of garlic
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 lb sliced bacon
1 cup of white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove anything from inside the chicken and discard. Wash the chicken in the sink, making sure to get off any feathers. Pat dry. Place it in a large roasting pan. Salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the thyme and rosemary (save some to garnish the outside). Cut the lemons and heads of garlic in half. Stuff two lemon halves and two garlic halves inside the chicken. Brush the outside of the chicken with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I usually sprinkle some of the thyme and garlic on the outside as well. Top the chicken with about 5 or 6 pieces of bacon. Place the remaining lemon halves and garlic halves in the roasting pan (I usually squeeze the lemons over the chicken first). Add the cup of wine and 1/2 cup chicken stock to the pan.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour. Then remove the bacon and place it to the side. Cook the chicken for an additional 30-45 minutes depending on the chicken size and oven.

It will be beautiful when it comes out of the oven. The bacon can be served as a side (or eaten as a snack while you wait for the chicken to finish cooking!) Though this recipe may seem difficult, it is actually pretty easy. You can substitute any of the herbs for different flavors. This recipe is based off of one of Ina Garten's recipes - but she makes a gravy instead of cooking the chicken in the juices. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/lemon-and-garlic-roast-chicken-recipe/index.html

Suggested side dish:
This is really great with couscous. Instead of cooking the couscous (just buy a pack at the store in the rice aisle) in water, use chicken stock and white wine. This will go well with the same flavors in the chicken.

If Kent and I eat it by ourselves, we keep the leftovers to put in a different dish later in the week. It makes great chicken salad.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

This is one of my favorite meat dishes that Kent makes. We love to make it when we have guests over for dinner. And it is great left-over!

Balsamic Pork Tenderloin
1 pkg. of pork tenderloins (usually 2 come bundled together)
4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4-6 gloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp. rosemary, finely chopped
1 tbsp. thyme
Olive oil

Clean silver skin and fat off of the tenderloins. Cut small slits in the tenderloins so that they can absorb more of the liquid. Rub down in balsamic vinegar (it may take more or less than the 4 tbsp. - use just enough to cover the tenderloins.) Mix the garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Then add small amounts of olive oil, stirring, until the mixture forms into a paste. Rub the paste into the tenderloins. Allow it to sit for 30-45 minutes. (You can do the marinating ahead of time and refrigerate until 20 minutes before you begin cooking.) Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees. Use a meat thermometer to determine when the tenderloins are finished - we like the thermometer to read 150-155 degrees (165 is the recommended safe temperature, but it may become dry.)

Suggested side dish - Grilled eggplant and zucchini
For 2 people use 1 large eggplant and 2 zucchini. Cut both ends off of the vegetables. Then slice lengthwise into long strips. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill on a grill pan or George Foreman. When they are cooked through, drizzle with a balsamic vinaigrette. (A suggested vinaigrette can be found on the August 31st post below.) Other vegetables, like peppers or tomatoes could be used as well.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Black Bean Soup - by Katie Groves

This recipe was submitted to the blog by my college friend, Katie. I'm sure it will be great! I can't wait to try it!

Katie says...
"If you like red beans and rice ... this is a much healthier version with black beans and turkey sausage. Only about 150 calories per serving (not including rice)."

Nancy's Black Bean Soup
1 bag black beans
2-3 ham hocks
1 can chicken broth
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 tsp groun cumin
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 diced poblano peper
1 diced jalapeno
1 ring turkey sausage, sliced into rounds
Tobasco Sauce

Soak beans with ham hocks as per package (can be done by boiling or soaking overnight). About an hour before you're ready to eat the soup, remove ham hocks and discard. Turn stove heat on high and add remaining ingredients to beans and stir. Bring to a gentle boil for 2 minutes, than let simmer on low-med/low heat for approx. 45min-1hr. Serve over white rice and garnish with sour cream and scallions or cilantro. Yields: about 10 servings.

Can be frozen and is great left over!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fresh Asparagus

This is more of a tip than a recipe for cooking fresh asparagus. My friend, Sally, showed me how to easily cook this side dish for any meal. If you haven't liked asparagus in the past because canned asparagus is too mushy and fresh asparagus can be hard and stringy - you should give it one more try!

Take a bunch of asparagus and wash in cold water. Snap the thick ends off and discard. Take a long sheet of aluminum foil and place it on top of a cookie sheet. Fold the ends of the foil up so that liquid will not be able to escape. Lay the asparagus flat on the foil and salt and pepper liberally. Then either drizzle with olive oil or place thin slices of butter around the asparagus. Cook at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes depending on how thick the stalks are.

For a slight variation, you can marinate the asparagus in the olive oil and salt/pepper then cook them on a grill pan.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole and Italian Chicken Salad

I love when I can take one item and make two different meals out of it. It's always good when you can spend some time at the beginning of the week cooking so that you won't have to do as much later. To make these two recipes you will need one "family sized" package of chicken breasts (they go on sale pretty frequently so we usually buy two and freeze one.) Take a large pot of boiling water and put in all of the chicken breast. They will need to cook for 20-30 minutes. When they turn completely white take them out with tongs and cut them in half to make sure they are done all the way through! Once they cool, shred all of the chicken by hand. I usually use half of the chicken for each recipe.

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole:
Using a large casserole dish, cover the bottom with half of the chicken from above.
Then add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of sour cream and 1 or 2 cans of either cream of mushroom/chicken/celery soup stirring together - you can use whichever soup you like best. (I usually add lesser amounts of sour cream and soup because I like mine to be firm, but some people prefer it to be creamier.) Mix in half of a sleeve of Ritz crackers.

Cook for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Then pull it out of the oven to cover the top with half of a sleeve of Ritz crackers. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Put it back in the oven for 10 minutes. This usually lasts for at least 2 dinners for 2 adults.

Italian Chicken Salad:
This is great to take for lunch at work, but it's great for dinner too! It's different than southern chicken salad because it doesn't have the signature ingredient of mayonnaise!

The ingredients are harder on this one because I usually do it by sight and it's really about what you like to add in it. So these are some suggestions...
In a large bowl, combine the chicken and any of the following:
red/yellow/green bell peppers, chopped coarsely
red onion, chopped
slivered almonds
drained capers
grated Parmesan
sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (my favorite ingredient!)
salt and pepper

Then top with a vinaigrette dressing.
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
3/4 cup of good olive oil
(Stir vigorously - you may also add finely chopped herbs)
You may not need all of the dressing.

*Another great option for chicken salad is to purchase it from Costco. My friend, Caroline, brought some over this weekend - it was so good and had an amazing flavor because of the way they roast the chicken. Chicken salad makes a wonderful snack on crackers and is great for any meal!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wine Wednesday - Gascon Malbec

One night in college I went out to dinner with two of my best friends, Sally and Katie. We went to our favorite restaurant in Oxford - L&M (in part because the food was amazing but also because Sally had a crush on one of the waiters.) They had a great wine list, and Katie kept talking about the Malbec. Though I ordered a different wine that night, I kept wanting to try a Malbec. This one, the Don Miguel Gascon Malbec, has been my favorite so far. It is made in Argentina like most other Malbecs (though some come from France). Kent and I love having it with any kind of red meat. We usually buy it at Whole Foods or World Market but some grocery stores carry it also. Depending on the store, it usually ranges from $9 - $13. To learn more information about this wine, visit the vineyard's website: http://gasconwine.com/index.html. The website includes lists of awards the wine has won, tasting notes, and recipe ideas for food pairings. Please leave comments if you have any other Malbec wines to suggest!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sweet Onion Corn Bake

Kent and I love to have casseroles as side dishes with dinner. But casseroles can get old if you don't have enough in the rotation! So it's always good when you can add a new one to your cookbook. This one comes from one of Kent's mom's cookbooks and is so good with any meal!

Sweet Onion Corn Bake
2 large Vidalia or sweet onions thinly sliced
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 can (14 oz) cream-style corn
1 pkg. (8 1/2 oz) corn bread/muffin mix
4 drops hot pepper sauce

In a large skillet, saute onions in butter until tender. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, milk, dill, and salt until blended; stir in 1 cup of cheese. Stir into the onion mixture; remove from the heat and set aside.
In a bowl, combine the egg, corn, corn bread mix, and hot pepper sauce. Pour into a greased 13in x 9in x 2in baking dish. Spoon onion mixture over top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until the top is set and lightly browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. (Yield: 12-15 servings)

From: Taste of Home - their website has some other great recipes

Monday, August 24, 2009

Beef Pot Roast

Many newlyweds receive crock pots as wedding gifts but don't know exactly what to do with them. After about six months of being married I finally decided to try to use my crock pot. It is such a great way to have a full meal waiting on you when you get home for dinner! The best part is that there are so many different ways to make a pot roast - you can really use whatever you have in the kitchen.

Beef Pot Roast


1 or 2 yellow onions
2 large baking potatoes (any kind of potato will work)
4-5 large carrots (or a handful of baby carrots)
Sliced mushrooms
Beef roast (any large type of roast - they have many different names, 3-4lbs)
Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 cup beef broth (or french onion soup)
1/4 cup Worcestershire
1/2 cup red wine

Cut the onions, potatoes, and carrots into chunks. Place in the crock pot with the mushrooms. Season the roast with salt and pepper. Brown in on all sides in a skillet in oil (this should only take 10 seconds or so on each side - I use tongs to make sure I can get each side easily.) Put it in the crock pot on top of the vegetables. Stir together all of the other ingredients in a bowl; pour over the top of the pot roast. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. (Almost any of the ingredients can be left out or exchanged for other ingredients.)
Click here for a similar recipe from Sandra Lee (with frozen vegetables and a different marinade)http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sandra-lee/beef-pot-roast-recipe/index.html

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pound Cake

I thought I would use this first recipe post to publish my favorite pound cake recipe. A good pound cake is something everyone should know how to make. I have taken this recipe to church dessert gatherings, family reunions, and even used it as a breakfast food when we have guests over! It is also a wonderful base for strawberry shortcake! The cream cheese makes this one very moist and flavorful.
I first started using this recipe about four years ago. Kent kept talking about what a wonderful pound cake his mother made while we were dating. When I asked her for the recipe she gave me the cookbook, Calling All Cooks (the yellow edition). This is a great cookbook! I loved the cake and kept thinking that the only one I had ever had that compared to this one was the one my grandmother used to make. About a year ago I was looking through one of her old cookbooks and came across her pound cake recipe - it was exactly the same one! So, I highly recommend this recipe!

Cream Cheese Pound Cake:
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
6 medium eggs
3 c. granulated sugar
3 sticks margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. cake flour (box kind)

Soften and mix cream cheese and margarine; stir in sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; blend until smooth. Stir in cake flour. Blend mixture until doughy texture. Pour in bundt pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours at 300 degrees.

Glaze (if desired):
1/2 box confectioners sugar
1/2 stick butter
1 (30x) pkg. cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. milk

Cream and blend together until fluffy.

Cooking time will depend on the oven, sometimes it takes closer to two hours. Make sure that the cake has room to expand upwards in the oven. If there is a rack close above the cake it may burn the top. I have never made the glaze because I think the cake is so good on its own. But, there are a lot of ways to dress it up! A stand mixer is the best thing to use but hand mixers work well, also. Make sure to spray the bundt pan well so that the cake comes out smoothly. It makes a wonderful presentation. If the cake sticks to the pan, you can go ahead and cut it into serving-sized pieces so that no one will ever notice! Happy baking!

Friday, August 21, 2009


When Kent and I first got married last year I had a hard time knowing where to start in planning meals for the week - sometimes I still do! I kept thinking how great it would be to have a blog where newlyweds and friends who enjoyed cooking could share tips on good meals, foods to take to parties, and other helpful kitchen insights. Because I enjoy writing, I finally decided that I would start a blog! But, I know I will be relying on Kent and my friends for some help! So if you have any recipes, cookbook recommendations, wine recommendations, etc., please e-mail them to me at aghartzog@gmail.com and I will post them on the blog. Or feel free to comment on any of my posts with variations on dishes on any recommendations you may have for other readers! Thanks for taking the time to read this blog - I hope you find it helpful!
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