Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Apples

Apple season is in full swing, and while I don't have an apple orchard close by to go pick my very own apples I fully intend to take advantage of them while they're in season.  Most people tend to reserve apples for dishes of the sweet nature, I tend to like to combine the tastes of sweet and savory.  So when I saw this recipe in the October issue of Food Network Magazine it immediately jumped out and grabbed my attention. 
A pork tenderloin rubbed with salt, pepper and pumpkin pie spice.  This combination of spices lends a variety of fall flavors to this dish without being overpowering.  The pork is given a quick sear on the stovetop to form a light crust and seal in all of those natural juices before going into the oven along with apple halves and onions to complete the cooking process.  After the pork has finished cooking, it's removed from the pan along with the apples and the pan is then returned to the stovetop to make simple pan gravy.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Honey Roasted Peanut Brittle

It's October, we haven't even celebrated Halloween yet but when you walk into pretty much any store you would place bets that Thanksgiving had come and gone and Christmas was well on its way.  Isles start getting flooded with Christmas décor earlier and earlier each year.  The crazy thing is, people are buying the stuff, getting ready to deck the halls.  Since people are buying the décor there's no doubt they are starting to plan their candies, cookies and other food and menus for the holidays.  I've already seen the popcorn tins full of various flavored popcorns, barks and other candies. 
One of the most popular candies and edible gifts during Christmas is brittle.  I see individually wrapped pieces at cash registers and all size buckets that are delivered to corporations.  While I'm not trying to rush through Halloween and Thanksgiving I am looking forward to the goodies that are associated with the holiday season and I to enjoy a piece or two of peanut brittle during the holidays.  So when I came across this recipe on Life and Kitchen, my secret recipe club assignment for this month, I decided to get the candy making started!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Salted Caramel Apple Monkey Bread

I have been on a serious apple kick this year, especially since apple season started.  It's almost like I eat, sleep, dream apples.  Anything apple I want to try it or make it and apple recipes seem to continue popping in my head.  It's a sickness, I guess!  Thanks for supporting me through my addiction!
Monkey bread is a favorite in my house; my boys love it.  Another person in my family that's a fan is my brother.  Pretty much everytime we get together and I ask what to bring he says one of two things: monkey bread or peanut butter pie.  So it's safe to say that monkey bread is a necessity when we get together!
The last monkey bread I made was samoa monkey bread and boy is it good.  Folks, if you haven't had this monkey bread yet, then you MUST make it soon.  It was a hit, not only did we enjoy it for breakfast and dessert, when I made an appearance on a local news channel I made that monkey bread and it was pretty much devoured before I left the station. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pumpkin Soup with Sauteed Apples and Bacon

I've resisted sharing a pumpkin recipe with you long enough.  I've had pumpkin fever since about mid-June, but I knew once I started making pumpkin I would be bombarding you with everything pumpkin.  So, for you, I've resisted...until now! 
My weakness has gotten the best of me and I've finally broken out the pumpkin!  And the fact that my Food Network Magazine arrived and had a booklet of 50 recipes using pumpkin puree didn't help the fact either.  I promise to share pumpkin recipes in moderation.  Well, at least I'll try to share in moderation!
So now, I present you with pumpkin soup with sauteed apples and bacon.  This was on the cover of the October issue of Food Network Magazine.  A big bread bowl filled with pumpkin soup and topped with pieces of soft, slightly sweet apple and bits of salty, crunchy bacon.  I was instantly drawn to this recipe from the picture alone.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Brisket & Brie Quesadillas with Mango Barbecue Sauce

I have been eyeing this recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride for what seems like forever now.  For one reason or another, every. single. time. I've put this on our menu I've had something come up and haven't been able to make it.  After umpteen times of putting this on my menu, I finally was able to make it.  The most recent time I planned to make this I was bound and determined to have this meal.  And guess what, it finally worked out!  I must say, this was so worth the wait.

We are huge fans of Mexican and Tex Mex.  Give me a bowl of ice cold salsa, crispy chips, maybe even a bowl of warm cheese dip then a plate of sizzling fajitas and I'm a happy happy girl.  So when I saw the picture of these quesadillas on Shawnda's site I was instantly drawn to this recipe; the golden homemade tortillas, juicy meat and gooey cheese.  I needed this, and now. 
A beef brisket that is rubbed with a combination of salt, pepper, chili and garlic then placed in a slow cooker and doused in Dr. Pepper.  The slow cooker is then turned to low and the brisket is cooked slowly for 8 hours.  This results in probably one of the best, most tender briskets I think I've ever had.  There's a subtle sweetness from the Dr. Pepper that compliments the mix of spices.  The meat is then sliced, placed on a fresh flour tortilla and piled high with cheese.  To really seal the deal, the assembled quesadillas are folded and then toasted to golden crispy perfection.  This toasting not only provides a nice, lightly crispy tortilla but also allows that cheese to melt into gooey goodness that holds all that meat in the tortilla.  All of these flavors are pulled together by that manog barbecue sauce.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

$100 Target Gift Card Giveaway!!! (Closed)

Have I got some exciting news for you!!!  I've teamed up with a group of talented bloggers to give away a $100.00 gift card to Target!  I love shopping at Target, I could go in there and lose track of time completely; lost in the bright colors here, the pretty dishes there, the bedding, housewares and the list goes on and on.  I could very easily find plenty of things to use this gift card on.  Plus, Christmas is less than 3 months away (where has the time gone?) so you could definitely use this card to help you get some of that Christmas shopping out of the way! 

The giveaway ends in 10 days so be sure to enter now for your chance to win!!!  Good luck to you all

  Enter to win! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 18, 2013

15+ Recipes to "Go Pink" for October

October is national Breast Cancer Awareness month; local runs, races and fundraisers have been taking place all over the U.S. over the past few weeks and will continue throughout the month.  Tomorrow racers will crowd the streets of downtown Little Rock, sporting pink from head to toe, all for the same cause, to "Race for the Cure".  This week I've been posting pink recipes in order to get amped up and in the racing spirit. To wrap the week up in full PINK force, I decided to do a round-up of all recipes that include pink.  I hope you enjoy reading through these mouthwatering recipes as much as I enjoyed gathering them! 

What are you doing to help raise awareness?  I'm sporting my pink today and all of this months blog revenue are going to Susan Komen to help fund research. 

 Cherry Cupcakes- Cupcakes put a smile on everyone's face; big or small, young or old.  There's just something magical about a cupcake.  Now a cupcake with fluffy pink frosting, well that just takes the happiness meter to a whole new level.  These cherry cupcakes from Organized Island are just the ticket to put a smile on someone's face and to frost the town pink!

Cherry Ricotta Ice Cream- As if homemade ice cream isn't enough, Nicole over at Wonky Wonderful, made homemade ice cream that used some of her homemade ricotta!  Talk about impressive.  This picture alone makes me want to dive, face first into a vat of this light pink ice cream studded with chunks of juicy cherries.  It may be October but I see this ice cream in my near future. 

Cherry White Chocolate Pudding Cookies-pudding cookies are one of my new favorite cookies.  Pudding mix is a great way to add a little extra or different flavor to you cookies.  Joan over at Chocolate, Chocolate and More not only used pudding mix in these cookies but she also used a little Jell-O in them to help amp up that flavor even more.  After all the mixing, she came up with these cherry white chocolate pudding cookies!

Chocolate Cupcakes Raspberry Buttercream- Moist chocolate cupcakes topped with buttery and slightly tart raspberry buttercream.  This combination is a match made in heaven.  These cupcakes look divine and I could literally eat like a dozen of them.  The fluffy pink buttercream serves as the perfect pedastal for fresh raspberries to rest on. 

Creamy Cranberry Dijon Dipping Sauce- This stuff looks and sounds amazing.  I believe after Thanksgiving we are all looking for ways to utilize all those leftovers.  Enter this dip.  This creamy cranberry dijon dip takes that leftover cranberry sauce and combines it with dijon mustard, a little mayonnaise, a little Greek yogurt and a touch of salt.  A quick and easy dip that is great not only to dip delicious sweet potatoe fries in, but would also be great as a spread on sandwiches. 

Easy Strawberry Lemonade Cookies- Carrie over at Frugal Foodie Mama has taken one of mine and Tucker's favorite drinks, strawberry lemonade, and make it into cookies.  Um, yum.  One look at those light fluffy lemonade cookies with clouds of strawberry buttercream frosting has my mouth watering. 

Neopolitan Fudge-I have been eyeing this fudge everyday since Jocelyn posted it.  Not only is the picture beautifule and the colors really pop, but what's not to love about fudge?  Plus, just looking at the colors takes me back to my childhood; my Grandma always had a tub or two of ice cream in the freezer and Neopolitan was always one of those flavors.  Okay, so back to the fudge.  This particular fudge is different in that it has a chocolate cookie crust!  So, on top of that chocolate cookie crust is a layer of white chocolate fudge and that is topped with a layer of strawberry fudge.  Um, yum.  This is definitely a dessert that will give you that pick-me-up you need in the middle of the day, or will transport you back to scooping out the biggest spoonful of ice cream you possibly could and then trying to fit it into your mouth, or end the perfect meal with a little sweetness. 

Pink Ribbon Cake Pops- I had the pleasure of meeting Karyn last year at MixedCon and she's just as sweet and caring as she seems on her blog.  She's uber talented and a master of the cake pop.  She created these Pink Ribbon Pops for one of her friends that did the Avon walk this year and she generously allowed me to share with all of you in my "Pink Week" round-up.  These pops are super cute and a great way to raise awareness, but be sure to check out her other cute and creative pops over at The Pint Sized Baker.

Pomegranate Cupcakes- Pomegranates are one of my favorite fruits but I think they get pushed to the side most of the time because they are kind of a tedious fruit to eat.  A small seed enclosed is a skin with some perfectly tart juice.  Some people just don't want to fool with them.  But me, well, gosh I love those things!  So I was so excited to come across pomegranate cupcakes on Will Cook For Smiles.  These cupcakes are filled with delicious pomegranate juice and then topped with a subtly sweet whipped frosting. 

Rhubarb Cheesecake Squares- Rhubarb? Check. Cheesecake? Check. Bars? Check. I love all of these things and the fact that Jenny over at The Brunette Baker combined the three of these to make the ultimate dessert is sheer genius.  A sweet flaky shortbread crust topped with a layer of smooth, creamy cheesecake all topped with pink flecks of rhubarb and bits of delicious crumble.  Now this is a bar that is decadence. 

 Roasted Strawberry Lemon Ice Cream-This ice cream combines two of my favorite flavors, strawberries and lemons.  The difference with this strawberry ice cream is that the strawberries are actually roasted before they are added to the ice cream mixture.  The end result is a sweet ice cream with hints of tartness from the lemons.

Strawberries and Cream Bundt Cake- A cake from Chocolate, Chocolate and More that is delicious as it is pretty.  Vanilla cake swirled with strawberry jello batter, baked to perfection.  Then it's given a heafty drizzle of vanilla frosting that's intertwined with strawberry frosting, again flavored with strawberry jello.  This cake is a definite showstopper.

 Strawberry Banana Bread- I love classic banana bread and this strawberry banana bread from Confessions of a Baking Queen looks like a delicious twist on a traditional banana bread.  Classic, sweet banana bread studded with chunks of fresh, sweet strawberries.  Not only would this be a delicious bread to serve at breakfast, or even make muffins, but it would be a perfect afternoon snack or could even pass for a dessert!

Strawberry Lime Poppyseed Vinaigrette- I am a huge salad lover and I'm always looking for new dressings and vinaigrettes to drizzle over my piled high mountain of lettuce.  I love poppyseed dressings and this strawberry lime poppyseed vinaigrette from Cupcakes and Kale Chips looks like a fun, and colorful, twist on my beloved poppyseed dressing.  Made with fresh juicy strawberries, freshly squeezed lime juice, olive oil, a little honey for sweetness and some salt and pepper to spice it up a bit, and then poppyseeds to add a dash of color as well as some texture.  This dressing looks amazing. 

Strawberry Malted Milk-Chocolate milk is the classic All-American drink of choice for kids.  It seems as time has evolved more flavors of "chocolate" milk have been introduced; strawberry milk, banana milk and I'm sure there are several other options out there.  Nicole of Wonky Wonderful has taken that childhood favorite and made a more sophisticated version with her Strawberry Malted Milk.  This milk is a mixture of fresh strawberries, malted milk powder, vanilla paste and the milk of your choice.  A quick spin in the blender and you've got a delicious and natural flavored milk!

Strawberry Raspberry Popsicles- to me, eating a popsicle brings a sense of nostalgia.  As a kid there was nothing better than getting an ice cold popsicle out of the freezer and going outside and sitting in the hot summer sun and enjoying that popsicle.  Almost having a race with the sun's heat; who would get to the popsile first, the heat or me?  Well, in the end I would always win...even if I did have colorful sticky hands and streaks running down my arm.  That just added to the fun of having popsicles.  I'll still enjoy a popsicle or two today, but the difference is I enjoy making them.  These homemade sicles from Je Suis Ali Mentageuse look amazing and pair fresh strawberries and fresh raspberries to make a beautiful red popsicle that would please kids of all ages! 

 Strawberry Rhubarb Cake- Strawberries and rhubarb.  Two flavors that work together and compliment each other so well.  The sweet juicy strawberries compliment the slightly tart rhubarb so well.  It's no wonder that Christie at Food Done Light combined those two in this beautiful cake with a light pink strawberry glaze.  It looks too pretty to eat, but I don't think you'd have to twist my arm too hard to enjoy a slice!

Watermelon Margarita Cocktail 'Cakes- Lisa over at Cooking with Curls has just the treat to get everyone in the race spirit.  Spiked cupcakes!  These margarita cupcakes are absolutely precious and the perfect thing to snack on the night before the race.  They spiked, but not just once, twice.  The cupcake batter is given a heafty does of watermelon Pucker, tequila and orange liqueur and then baked to perfection.  But Lisa didn't stop there, she also gave the frosting another dose of the trio and then whipped until fluffy.  Top really seal the deal, she coated the "rim" of the cupcakes in sugar and added a straw.  How fun!  Need even more spiked goodies, head on over to Cooking With Curls where she has two other spiked sweet treats that look evenly amazing.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Cookies

I love the baking process, from the measuring to the mixing to the pouring or scooping of the dough.  I enjoy each and every element from start to finish.  But, I know there are others out there that would rather get to the final product sooner, rather than later.  A lot of my friends are in the later crowd.  So for all of you that would rather eat the hot cookies right out of the oven, rather than measure, beat and scoop I have the perfect cookie for you. 
These cookies are simple, require less than 5 ingredients, and no mixer.  Oh, and they are incredibly easy to make!  Cake mix cookies.  That's right, cookies that are made from cake mix and a few other ingredients.  The options are endless; flavors can be customized not only by changing the cake mix flavor but also the add-ins.   
Strawberry anything is one of my favorites.  Fresh, ripe strawberries, strawberry cookies, strawberry cake, roasted strawberry ice cream, strawberry frosting...the list goes on and on.  So when I decided to start playing around with cake mix, I decided to go with my favorite; strawberry.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Strawberry Applesauce

Jars filled with homemade, slightly chunky applesauce with flecks of warm cinnamon.  Now, my opinion, that is what fall is all about.  It's a snack that's so simple, delicious and one that takes me back to my childhood.
Applesauce is one of those recipes that's basic and so easy to make.  I have fond memories from my childhood making apple and pear sauce with both my MaMaw and Grandma.  Some of our fondest times were in the kitchen and I believe that's where part of my love and passion for cooking came from. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Strawberry-Basil Martini

This week in Arkansas people are gearing up for Race for the Cure.  People will be making their way from all over the state to the capitol city, Little Rock, to gather in the streets of downtown dawning all shades of pink from head to toe and make their way from the starting line to the finish.  All this to help raise awareness for breast cancer and to help find a cure.  This is a disease that I believe is near and dear to everyone's heart; everyone has probably been affected by this disease whether directly or indirectly.  I'm an avid supporter of breast cancer research; not only because we need to find a cure for this type of cancer and all types of cancer but in August of 2004 I lost my MaMaw to her battle with breast cancer.  I hate, hate, hate the "C" word and I believe many of you have mutual feelings about this.  So in honor of Race for the Cure coming to Arkansas I'll be having a "Week of Pink", featuring foods that are pink or have pink in them to get into spirit for the race.  Along with the "Week of Pink" I'll also be donating all of this month's blog revenue to the Komen Race for the Cure.  Thanks for your support and we will but an end to this horrible disease. 
  Me and My MaMaw, Thanksgiving 1999

To kick things off this week I thought a fun and festive pink cocktail would be a perfect start to get people in the racing spirit.  I know there are tons of pink tinted cocktails out there but I really wanted to do something with strawberries.  Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits and I love the addition of fruits in cocktails.  I started searching to find the perfect cocktail and when I came across the strawberry-basil martini from Food & Wine I knew I had found the perfect drink!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Brown Sugar Cookie Dough Skeleton Cake

Well, we're wrapping up the week of Halloween and I hope it's been as much fun for you as it has for me.  It's been a week full of no tricks, but all treats.  We started with ultimate treat for adults, Tootsie Roll Martinis, followed by chocolate dipped Halloween chip cookies, goblin goodies, then followed by a creative and decadent way to use up that leftover Halloween candy, Extreme monster crownies.  This has been a week packed with tons of sweet treats.  But we're not stopping now, to wrap up the week I've decided to make a delicious cake that is sure to get anyone in the Halloween spirit.
This cake isn't just any cake.  It's a brown sugar layer cake.  Unlike traditional cakes it's filled with a layer of (egg free) chocolate chip cookie dough.  Oh yeah!  Then it's covered in buttercream and KitKat candy bars surround the outer edges of the cake like little candy soldiers.  It's wrapped up like a pretty present with a bright orange bow.  But what really screams Halloween about this cake is the top.  White chocolate skeleton pieces scattered across the top of the cake surrounded by the sweetest dirt you'll ever put in your mouth, a mixture of KitKats and Oreos.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

EXTREME Monster Crownies

Oh. My. Goodness.  This my friends is the bar of all bars.  A hefty bars comprised of not only one delectable layer, but two.  Two different types of desserts united to make this ultimate bar.  This isn't a bar for the faint of heart, I guarantee that.
This bar stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and is packed full of M & M's, chocolate chips, oatmeal, Reeses' peanut butter cups, and Rolos.  It's two classic favorites combined.  The base is the every so popular Monster Cookie.  I took all the goodness that's packed in those hearty cookies and made them into a bar.  I then topped them with a layer of Rolo's, then poured on a massive does of my fudgy brownies.  Oh yes.  I did.
These bars are every parents dream, especially this time of year.  Kids are going to all sorts of parties and door to door saying those infamous words; "Trick-or-Treat".  With each and every door that's knocked on, one more treat enters their bag.  By the time they get home they are loaded down with more sugar than any one person should consume in a year.  Will they eat it all?  I'm sure they will try their hardest; sorting through it all on the floor, separating their favorites from their least favorites all the while planning their attack.  Some, shockingly, will succeed while others give it a great attempt but end up failing once it's all said and done.
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