Happy Easter!

It’s Easter! And we all have wonderful memories of this holiday, don’t we? I remember hunting for eggs, Mom making a wonderful ham with all the sides ie macaroni cheese, potato salad, Lima beans, and I’m sure she made her wonderful yeast rolls, too. And, of course, we had deviled eggs. What’s Easter without deviled eggs?

This photo is one of my favorite childhood pictures of me and my sister in our Easter dresses. I loved that dress I was wearing (I’m on the left). And aren’t our twin haircuts cute as pie? Funny, my sister has perfectly straight hair and mine is naturally curly – but look at our hair. My Mom was determined to have us look alike, I think! I learned much later on in life to not fight the curl.

Back to Easter, although I won’t be cooking a traditional Easter dinner, I did think to make these wonderful Peanut Butter Eggs. Think Reese Cups, yes! In fact, you can most certainly use the same recipe to make your own Reese Cups. Simply make the filling, roll into small balls. Melt the chocolate. Spoon a small amount into your mini paper cup, rolling the cup around so the chocolate goes up the sides. Let set. Add one peanut butter ball per cup. Cover with additional melted chocolate and let set. Wa la, you now have homemade Reese Cups! And they are to die for.

For the eggs, I rolled the peanut butter filling into balls, then smashed that into each cavity of a silicone egg mold (you can purchase this one by clicking on the photo). Then into the freezer until firm. Then I melted the chocolate and shortening for dipping! Although mine weren’t decorated quite like Easter eggs, I used what I had on hand. That’s the beauty of these eggs, you can leave them plain or decorate as you desire. They will be delicious no matter what’s on the outside!

Bon appétit!

Peanut Butter Eggs
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Sweet Endings
Serves: 20 eggs
Ingredients
  • 3 cups Powdered sugar
  • 1½ cups Creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup Butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons Milk
  • 1-2 bags Milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
Instructions
  1. Beat together powdered sugar, peanut butter, and butter together. At this point the dough will be crumbly. Add two tablespoons of milk and continue to beat together until the dough softens. If the dough still seems crumbly that is ok.
  2. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to desired thickness. About ½ thickness. You can use egg cookie cutters or with a knife, shape the dough to look like eggs.
  3. Place eggs on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer for an hour.
  4. When you are ready to dip them, add the chocolate and 1 Tbsp shortening in a microwave and melt 30 seconds at a time. Stirring it after every 30 seconds and being careful not to cook the chocolate to burn.
  5. Dip each egg in chocolate. I used a spoon to help cover in the chocolate. Place them on wax paper to set.
  6. If more chocolate is needed, melt the second bag with the shortening. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 130 Fat: 8g Saturated fat: 4g Carbohydrates: 12g Sugar: 10g Sodium: 76mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 3g Cholesterol: 2mg

 

Tea Time!

Don’t those look just scrumptious? They are called Cranberry Tea Cookies. I’m not much for sitting around sipping tea and eating Crumpets but I can guarantee you I could very well be doing just that with these cookies.

They remind me of Pecan Sandies without the powdered sugar coating. I think Pecan Sandies are close to the very first cookie I ever made and boy did my family love them. These tea cookies have the same shortbread texture chock full of cranberries and pecans. I could see how they would pair nicely with a cup of hot tea. I plan to make another batch soon but will substitute dried blueberries instead of the cranberries. Can you imagine how awesome those will be?  And then I might try a batch with chopped dried figs, and then perhaps a batch made as thumbprints with some dark chocolate in the center. You get the idea . . . the variations are endless with the basic dough recipe. Just use your imagination.

By the way, I had to look up Crumpets just to see what they are and here is the definition – “Crumpets are the quintessential, afternoon tea treat, served warm with lots of butter. The soft, spongy crumpets we know today, reputedly, come from the Victorian era and are very different from early, flat griddle cakes. It is the extra yeast in the batter which creates the soft texture and the myriad of little holes on the top (so perfect for soaking up the butter).”

They look alot and sound alot like English Muffins to me which, by the way, are in this post.  I love making those and you just can’t beat the fresh flavor that comes from making your own.

But for now, try these Cranberry Tea Cookies.  They are not difficult and are really, really good!  Let me know how you like them!

Bon appétit!

Cranberry Tea Cookies
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Sweet Endings
Serves: 20
Ingredients
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ cups flour
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¾ cup chopped dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup extra sugar
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add milk and vanilla and mix. Add flour and salt and mix well. Stir in cranberries and pecans.
  2. Roll into two logs, each about 8 x 1½" long. Wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for two hours (or overnight) in the fridge.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  4. Unwrap one roll. Slice cookies about ¼" thick, rolling individually in sugar. You want to be sure to coat the edges just perfectly. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment. The cookies won't spread much, so you can place them fairly close together. Bake for 10-12 minutes, checking them after 10 minutes. Do not over bake them. They should look baked and have just a hint of color. You don't want them to get very brown on the edges or on top.
  5. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 cookies Calories: 190 Fat: 11g Saturated fat: 6g Unsaturated fat: 1g Trans fat: 4g Carbohydrates: 21g Sugar: 8g Sodium: 61mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 2g Cholesterol: 25mg

 

The Best Bloody Mary

The title of this post is “The Best Bloody Mary”! Although I have little experience drinking these, I did make a gazillion of them as a bartender and certainly served just as many as a waitress. I have only recently tried the Bloody Mary myself. It is truly an acquired thing, much like a good Scotch. But I digress. . . this Bloody Mary is quite good and is the best in my book. It’s quite flavorful with just the right amount of spice!

Kick off your Sunday morning brunch with a round for everyone. You’ll thank me later!

Live it up and drink it down!

The Best Bloody Mary
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Libations
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces Tito's Handmade Vodka
  • 6 ounces Tomato juice
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Horseradish
  • ½ teaspoon Olive juice
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4-6 shakes Tabasco
  • pinch celery salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • lime juice
  • coarse sea salt
  • various veggies for garnish
Instructions
  1. Dip pint glass in lime juice. Roll in coarse sea salt. Fill glass with ice.
  2. In a shaker, add a few cubes of ice. Add all ingredients (minus the toppings) and shake to combine.
  3. Strain into the pint glass. Garnish with chosen veggies!

 

Crock Pot Beer Chicken

One day I came across this recipe and decided to give it a try. With beer being one of the key ingredients, I figure it had to be good, right? And it is!  It’s also low fat and low calorie and did I mention good? And oh so easy!

I usually make it for dinner one night and then make Chicken Salad out of the rest or even Barbeque Chicken Sliders. It’s great either way. Watch for both of those recipes shortly! They’re a coming!

Bon appétit!

Crock Pot Beer Chicken
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Mains
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts (use eight 4 oz breasts)
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place chicken breasts into crock pot. Add beer. Sprinkle spices on top. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Delicious!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 8 oz Calories: 257 Fat: 5g Saturated fat: 1g Unsaturated fat: 1g Trans fat: 2g Carbohydrates: 3g Sodium: 491mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 44g Cholesterol: 116mg

 

Animal Style Burger

What is an Animal Style Burger you ask? If you’ve ever been to an In-N-Out burger joint (locations in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Utah) you’ve likely had one. If you haven’t, it’s possible you’ve heard of it, as I have.

This recipe came across my Facebook newsfeed one day and I immediately said “I must make that” and I did. I wanted to find out for myself what the fuss was all about. And I did. Honestly, the ingredients to this burger are all basic ingredients usually or sometimes added to burgers. I think it’s the sauce that makes the difference and the way the burger is cooked (can’t beat that mustard crust) and then there is the assembly.

It seems backwards to me as I’m used to having the lettuce and tomato layered on top of the beef patties. Their way, you layer those items on the bottom. In the end, it doesn’t really matter as it all winds up in the same place, right?

But there is something truly different and wonderful about this burger. Not something you want to have all the time but definitely a treat when you have dinner guests and burgers are warranted. This recipe will set your burgers apart from the one’s next door, for sure.

Bon appétit!

Animal Style Burger
 
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Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons Vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 cup Onions, finely chopped
  • kosher salt
  • ¼ cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Sweet pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon White vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Sugar
  • 4 thin Ground beef patties, about ½-in thick
  • 2 teaspoon Yellow mustard
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 2 white Hamburger buns
  • Lettuce, for serving
  • 4 Pickle chips
  • cooked frozen french fries, for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until caramelized, about 20 minutes. If the onions are browning too quickly, turn down the heat and add a splash of water. Set aside onions and wipe the skillet clean.
  2. Meanwhile, make the special sauce. Mix together mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, sugar and vinegar in a small bowl. Season to taste and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the hamburger patties with salt and pepper before adding them to the pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, until the bottoms have developed a nice seared crust. Spread about ½ tsp of yellow mustard on the top (uncooked) side of each patty before flipping. Flip the patties and cook for another minute. Add the cheese slices on top of each patty and cook until the cheese melts.
  4. Top each bottom bun with a heaping tablespoon of the sauce, a tomato slice, pickles and a piece of lettuce. Add a cooked patty to each bun and top each with caramelized onions. Top the onions with another patty each, then top with top bun. Serve with fries (garnished with extra sauce and onions).
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 1156 Fat: 92g Saturated fat: 30g Unsaturated fat: 10g Trans fat: 44g Carbohydrates: 40g Sugar: 11g Sodium: 1598mg Fiber: 3g Protein: 44g Cholesterol: 178mg

 

Blushing Whiskey Sour

You asked for it, here it is! This is the most delicious and refreshing cocktail incorporating Irish Whiskey and lemon simple syrup. Oh, and blackberries which give it a little flavor and that beautiful pink color. I tend to gravitate to pink cocktails since pink is my favorite color.

Those who know me, know I used to bartend which means nothing except that I love finding (and testing, of course), new drink recipes.

This one, my friends, is definitely a keeper. Get your lemon simple syrup made, get your blackberries (and they are already beautiful) and get that bottle of Bushmills Irish Whiskey. You’ll thank me later!

Live it up and drink it down!

Blushing Whiskey Sour
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Libations
Serves: 1
Ingredients
Lemon Simple Syrup
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1½ cups Fresh Lemon Juice
Whiskey Sour
  • Blackberries
  • 2 ounces Lemon Simple Syrup
  • 1 ounce Bushmills Irish Whiskey
  • Crushed Ice
Instructions
To make simple syrup:
  1. In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Add in lemon juice and stir well.
  4. Transfer to sterilized bottles. Refrigerate - keeps indefinitely.
To make cocktail:
  1. Add 2 ounces lemon simple syrup, Bushmills Irish Whiskey, and three blackberries to a shaker and shake vigorously until blackberries start to break up to give that gorgeous bush color.
  2. Strain into glass packed with fresh crushed ice.
  3. Garnish with additional blackberries.

 

More Irish Goodness

There is no better chocolate loaf than the one you are looking at right now. It’s moist, very chocolatey with a Guinness undertone that is barely noticed. The glaze is a but more powerful with the Bailey’s but it all marries quite nicely.

The title indicates it’s a “bread” but it’s really much more than that. It’s really a dessert cake. Soft and spongy in texture, and just sweet enough. Paired with a cup of coffee (or a shot of Bailey’s) and it’s the perfect ending to a delicious meal!

Definitely something you’ll want to bake more often than just around St. Patrick’s Day!

Bon appétit!

Bailey's Dark Chocolate Guinness Bread
 
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Author:
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups All purpose flour
  • ¼ cup Cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon Baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon White pepper
  • ½ cup Semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup Walnuts chopped
  • ½ cup Unsalted butter softened
  • ½ cup Brown sugar packed
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1 Cup Guinness beer
  • 1¼ cup Powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoon Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 2 teaspoon Half-and-half cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×5 pan with baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and white pepper. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the edges of the bowl, then mix in egg. Add beer and mix for 30 seconds, just enough to break apart butter mixture into the beer.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients, mixing gently in between. When all dry ingredients have been added, mix until just combined, when dry ingredients are no longer visible.
  5. Gently fold in chocolate chips and walnuts, then pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a tester comes out clean with a few moist crumbs.
  7. Let bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, Baileys, and cream.
  9. If you’d like the frosting to be thinner, add a small splash of baileys until desired consistency is reached. If you’d like the frosting to be thicker, add 1 tbsp powdered sugar at a time until frosting is thick enough.
  10. Once bread has cooled, drizzle Baileys glaze on top of bread.
  11. Bread can be stored in a sealed container and kept on the counter for up to 5 days.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice Calories: 405 Fat: 19g Saturated fat: 9g Unsaturated fat: 3g Trans fat: 6g Carbohydrates: 51g Sugar: 34g Sodium: 299mg Fiber: 2g Protein: 8g Cholesterol: 129mg

 

The Irish are Coming!

Not really but it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day and I have a few Irish inspired recipes for you starting with this one today. I’ve seen this recipe on the Internet with a variety of ingredients and even varying measurements but my dear Aunt Anne (who has since passed away) shared it with me many moons ago.

My family and I would go visit my Aunt, Grandma, Great Aunts and Uncles, and cousins during the Christmas holidays up at Allanton (Florida) where they used to live. They’d serve some of Granny’s homemade Scuppernog wine and Aunt Anne’s homemade Irish Cream. And we were only teenagers at the time! You see, it all starts at home! Ha ha! I have to say both concoctions were quite delicious.

I just looked up Allanton and it appears it has grown quite a bit since those days. I’m pleased to see a Davis Point Road in the area which leads to Davis Point. The Davis’ are relatives on my Grandmother Hayzelle’s side of the family. Lewis Cass Davis (my Great Great Grandfather) homesteaded in the area opening a general store, a small sawmill and he was the postmaster. At one time, the Davis’ were one of a handful of families living in the area. And I see a Poston Road and Poston Drive near Cook’s Bayou! The Poston’s were from my Grandpa’s side of the family. Great Grandfather James Emanuel Poston, Sr., served as the area’s only medical doctor way back in the day. Yes, I’ve been working on our family genealogy since the 90’s. It’s very interesting – I only wish I had more time to devote to that passion of mine.

Anyway, I haven’t been to the Allanton area since years before Aunt Anne passed away, I have to say. I definitely need to take a drive out that way the next time I’m in Panama City.

Ah, but those were wonderful times with great memories. I make this recipe every so often. It’s really rich and oh so good!  And I thank my Aunt Anne for sharing it with me so many years ago.

Live it up and drink it down!

Irish Cream
 
Author:
Recipe type: Libations
Ingredients
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1⅔ cups Irish whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Set on high speed for 30 seconds. Bottle in a tightly sealed container and refrigerate. The liqueur will keep for at least two months if kept cool. Be sure to shake the bottle well before serving.

 

Special Brunch

For years I’ve made a Breakfast Brunch casserole for Christmas morning and other special occasions.  That is until now . . . I think this Buttery Breakfast Casserole will have to be the “go to” breakfast casserole for all holidays and special occasions going forward.

This version you make the night before.  It’s very much like a savory bread pudding.  It is delicious, decadent,and satisfying.  As Emeril Lagasse might say, this casserole definitely kicks it up a notch. 

Add a glass of Prosecco to complete the decadence of this meal.

Bon appétit!

Special Brunch
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Beginnings
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 package Hot ground pork sausage Jimmy Dean's
  • 1¼ cup Parmesan shredded
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 6 Green onion white and light green parts, sliced
  • 1 pound Croissants about 5-7
  • 3 cups Whole milk
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • 8 Eggs
  • 2 cups Gruyere shredded
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Spread croissants on a large baking sheet and toast, cut side up, until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes (watch carefully to see that they do not burn). Let cool, then tear into large bite-size pieces.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook sausage until brown and crumbly. Drain. Toss together sausage, Parmesan, and next three ingredients.
  3. Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, and 1½ cups Gruyere cheese.
  4. Lightly oil a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Turn croissant mixture into pan, spreading it out evenly over the bottom. Pour custard into pan, pressing croissants down gently to help absorb the liquid. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  5. When you’re ready to bake the casserole, heat oven to 350 degrees. Scatter the remaining grated cheese over the top of the casserole. Transfer to oven and bake until casserole is golden brown and firm to the touch, 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Garnish with sliced scallion tops before serving.
Notes
You can substitute Swiss cheese for Gruyere cheese.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 522 Fat: 33g Saturated fat: 18g Unsaturated fat: 3g Trans fat: 10g Carbohydrates: 28g Sugar: 10g Sodium: 1177mg Fiber: 2g Protein: 27g Cholesterol: 290mg

 

Hot Chicken Wings

Yum, hot chicken wings. It’s funny, I didn’t always love them but I absolutely do these days. I think my love affair with chicken wings started when I worked at Slocum’s Tavern and Grill, way back in the mid 90’s. Yes, when I was a tiny baby. Who am I kidding?

Back to the story – Slocum’s had the best wings. They would make some wet like those in this recipe and some dry, which I actually prefer.  Some were mild and some were spicy hot. My preference . . . the hotter, the better.  In fact, you just can’t beat a wonderful plate of really crispy hot wings and a pitcher of cold beer. That is a perfect meal in my book.

This recipe will not disappoint. We all know the wing sauce is what makes the wings really tasty and this sauce is the best. It’s quite flavorful with just enough heat.

Try this recipe the next time you have a small gathering at your home or anytime you plan to sit and watch a ballgame with a few friends! Your guests will be begging for more!

Bon appétit!

Hot Chicken Wings
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 24 Chicken wings mix of drums and flats (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon Grapeseed oil
  • ⅓ cup Sriracha chile sauce
  • ¼ cup Malt vinegar
  • ¼ cup Soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon Sugar
  • 2 cloves Garlic very thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup Scallion very thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Pat the wings very dry with a paper towel. Heat a large(14-inch) cast-iron skillet or two smaller cast-iron skillets over high heat until smokin' hot. Add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Using tongs, set the wings in the pan in a single layer with the meatiest side down. This will help render the fat. Cook the wings for 2 minutes, then transfer the skillet to the oven for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and, using tongs, flip the wings over. Continue baking until the wings are cooked through and the juices run clear, another 10 minutes.
  3. Combine the sriracha, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and garlic in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cut the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the sauce into a large bowl and toss in 1 tablespoon of the scallions.
  4. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and, using tongs, transfer the wings to the bowl and toss with the sauce. Transfer to a platter and garnish with the remaining 3 tablespoons scallions.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 6 pieces Calories: 364 Fat: 13g Saturated fat: 3g Unsaturated fat: 5g Trans fat: 4g Carbohydrates: 11g Sugar: 8g Sodium: 2542mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 49g Cholesterol: 148mg

 

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