Monday, July 28, 2014

SRC: Cocolocos

Just the other day my sister-in-law and I were having a discussion about cookies.  She prefers her cookies thin, almost flat, slightly crispy on the bottom and chewy.  So this got me to thinking about how many conversations I've had with people about cookies and the texture and consistency they prefer.  EVERYONE has a preference and they are adamant about they way they want their cookies.

I, however, prefer my cookies thicker with a light crispy outside and a gooey, stick-to-your-teeth center. How do you prefer your cookies; crunchy, crispy, chewy, cakey?

No matter how you prefer your cookies, I think there is one thing everyone can agree on.  Chocolate chips. I think almost everyone loves a good ol' chocolate chip cookie.  And chocolate chips make pretty much everything better.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chewin' Tuesday: Pan Fried Chicken with Browned Butter Caper Sauce

By now you know I'm totally infatuated with The Chew.  The co-hosts, special guests, and of course the food.  Another thing I'm obsessed with is, you guessed it, brown butter.  If butter makes everything better, then brown butter takes it to a whole new level.

If there was ever one dish that takes several of my favorite things and combines them all in one mouthwatering concoction it would be this chicken.  When I watched Clinton Kelly make this, I thought this dish was made personally for me.
Golden juicy pan fried chicken topped with a nutty brown butter that is combined with tangy, fresh squeezed orange juice, salty capers and sweet onion.  All of that is topped with an orange parsley salad.  The chicken pairs perfectly with the sauce; it's light, full of flavor and the fresh orange slices add another burst of flavor and texture with each bite.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Tea Glaze

When thinking of tea, there are probably several things that come to mind; iced tea, a tall glass of sweet tea, hot tea, tea and lemonade just to name a few.  The thing that all of these have in common is...they are all served in a glass or cup.  I think most of us think of tea as something to drink and nothing else.

But tea, just like coffee, is much more than just something to drink.  It can be the star in a dessert where it truly is the center of attention.  Or it can also take on a roll of flavoring simple desserts or adding a twist on a classic.

In this dessert it takes on a co-staring roll.  The flavor of tea is utilized in each element of this truly amazing cake.  Although it's in the cake, brushed on top, and in the glaze the tea flavor it truly subtle.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Southern Sweet Tea and Bourbon Cocktails

Summer in the south.  It's a different kind of heat.  A different kind of hot.  On top of being hot, it's humid which amplifies the heat oh, about 100 times making it incredibly unbearable.   On a truly hot day it may be 100, but feels like 110 and when you walk out the doors it feels like you've just walked into a sauna.

Despite the heat, we still enjoy pool parties, backyard cookouts, and outdoor get togethers.  But, in order to survive those hot summer days and nights beverages are must be in abundance and cocktails, of some sort, are definitely preferred!

So what better beverage to use as a base of a cocktail than tea.  Not just any tea though, southern style sweet tea.  But when it comes down to it, is there really anything other than southern style sweet tea?  I didn't think so!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Honey Cookies with Mint Sweet Tea Frosting

When the idea came to me to do a whole week dedicated to sweet tea I was ecstatic.  Then I started telling Spencer and a few others about it and they were skeptical and not nearly as enthused I was about an entire week dedicated to the drink of the south.  The most popular response I got was, how many different drinks can you make using tea?

While I did (and still do) have several drink ideas, my thought was not only to share beverages but to also incorporate the beverage in actual recipes too!  Once I elaborated on the subject and the ideas I had everyone was on board and so excited to see what I actually decided to share this week!

I don't think I could possibly go a week without sharing at least one dessert with you.  Since desserts are my weakness it just wouldn't be right, I'd be doing you an injustice by not sharing something sweet.  My only issue with this was what baked good I should share first.  Then it hit me, cookies.  Of course!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tea and Lemonade (A.K.A.- Arnold Palmer)

My MaMaw was a true southern woman and a real life June Cleaver.  Every morning she would wake up, "put her face on" as she would call it, brush her teeth and then get dressed.  It didn't matter if she didn't have anywhere to go, she was ALWAYS presentable.  It was customary, especially for her generation, to always be ready and be presentable.  Oh, and leave the house (even to go to the mailbox) without lipstick, well that was a no no. 
I remember one time my mom was running incredibly late.  You know, having one of those mornings where you start running from the time your feet hit the floor just trying to catch up?  Yes, one of those.  So she got ready and then ran me up to my MaMaw's and popped her head in long enough to say hi, gotta go, bye.  But, it wasn't so quick that my MaMaw didn't notice she didn't have on her lipstick.  So she immediately stopped my mom and asked, "Dear One, are you okay?  Are you not feeling well?"  To this my mom replied, I'm fine why do you ask?  My MaMaw, without a beat said your lips are naked and I just knew that something had to be wrong if you left your house without lipstick.  So after going back to the car mom quickly put on her lips, and carries those words with her to this day. 
My MaMaw always looked like she had stepped off the cover of a magazine.  Her ensemble complete with a big strand of pearls, large "ear bobs" (earrings), hose and shoes.  My MaMaw, typically left the outside work to my Papaw and her sons but we do have an infamous picture of her mowing the yard.  But she wasn't wearing working clothes, she was wearing slacks, a blouse, ear bobs, pearls and flats.  Yes, I believe even she put June Cleaver to shame with that move!
I know it's a little blurry, but this is the infamous picture!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sweet Tea and Mint Granita

This week we're talking, eating and drinking all things tea.  Tea is the delicious drink of choice for southerners.  And it doesn't get much better than a tall glass of ice cold tea on a hot summer day.  So, being from the south myself and growing up on the stuff I decided to see what all could be done with tea.  From refreshing drinks, tasty cocktails and even delicious desserts; there's more to tea than just sipping.
When I think of hot summer days and ways to cool off, one of the things that pops into my head is a cold dessert.  Ice cream, a slush, ice box pie, snow cone; you name, it if it's cold I think it fits the bill.  A granita is another treat that pops in my head.
Have you heard of a granita before?  If not let me fill you in.  It's a semi-frozen dessert that originated from Sicily, the birth place of the feisty Sophia Petrillo.  Don't you just love her?  I love her and her quotes and snarky remarks that only she can get away with!  Anyway...sorry for the detour.  Back to the granita.  It's a combination water, sugar, and other various flavorings.  They are all combined to create a variation of Italian frozen ice.  In other words, it's like a snow cone for adults!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

BTB: Southern Style Sweet Tea

In the south, tea is in a category all it's own.  You've got sports drinks, soft drinks, lemonade, coffee and tea.  But not just the hot tea.  There is iced tea.  Tea that is served in a tall glass that is so full of ice that it's peaking over the rim of the glass.

Then there is the infamous sweet tea, the elixir of the south.  Growing up sweet tea in the fridge was a staple.  I always remember going to my best friend's house and there always being sweet tea on hand and some being made for standby.  But this wasn't tea with a touch of sugar or Sweet-N-Low, this tea was made with probably about a cup of sugar, at least.  And it wasn't just a typical, normal sized pitcher, this was a large pitcher like the size you'd see in the church pantry.  To say that we were dependent on sweet tea would be an understatement, sweet tea was a necessity to make it through the day!  I'm pretty sure I could walk in her house today and still see the same giant, pale blue pitcher in her fridge and it would be filled with the sweet goodness.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Blueberry Lemon Sweet Rolls with Lemon Glaze

Do you ever have those times where you're trying to make a recipe and you feel like the world is against you?  You know, either the flavors aren't there, things just won't come together as they should, the batter overflows out of the pan all over the floor of the oven, or in this case the dough just wouldn't rise.  I mean it was denser than dense and flatter than flat.  I attempted to make this dough 3 times, yes 3, before it finally cooperated.  I don't know if I held my mouth just right the final time, if the 3rd time really is the charm or if the world decided to leave me alone and allow things to come together.
You see, I don't do well when recipes don't work.  If a cake sinks, I typically don't serve it.  If the frosting doesn't hold on cupcakes, they usually don't leave my house.  If a meal ends up not coming together, I quickly make something else for Spencer and Tucker before I retreat to the couch to take a break.  You see where I'm going with this.  But, I don't let the failure win.  Once I get over my frustration, I return to the kitchen to defeat whatever recipe just tried to get one over on me.  This time it was the dough.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Orange Blueberry Buttermilk Pound Cake with Orange Glaze

I am girl that loves her cake; cake of all kinds.  While I love a good layered cake that is filled decadent fillings and frosted with creamy, whipped butter cream, I have a special place in my heart for pound cakes. I adore pound cakes.  There's something so enticing about a warm slice of buttery pound cake, it literally calls my name.
Pound cakes are undeniably old school; I grew up on pound cakes and they are one of the main desserts that show up at those infamous church potlucks.  But, sometimes it's those old recipes, the one's that are written on your MaMaw's recipe cards where the ink is just about to fade away.  You know the ones.  Well, those are the best.  So, those old school recipes are sometimes...well, most of the time that are the true winners.  I mean, there's a reason they've been around for generations!
Since it's been a while, I decided it was due time to make a pound cake.  A buttermilk pound cake to be exact.  I love adding buttermilk to my cakes; it helps create a light and fluffy cake while providing an amazing richness and tang.  What else is amazing?  Blueberries.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Monte Cristo Sandwiches with Whiskey, Balsamic Blueberry Compote

Have y'all ever had a Monte Cristo?  If not, let's change that right here and now!  If you've never had one, you're probably wondering what in the world it is.  Well, my friends, it just happens to be hands down the best ham and cheese sandwich you've ever put in your mouth!

But it's not just any ham and cheese.  It's made with ham, cheese, a little mustard, some mayonnaise then it's dipped in whisked eggs and cooked like French toast.  What, what?!?!  You're either thanking that's amazing or crazy.  But, I promise, whatever you're thinking I can guarantee it's one heck of a sandwich.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Blueberry Lemon Funny Cake

Funny cake.  Gooey butter cake. Neiman Marcus cake.  I think this particular cake is known by many different names, but there's one thing about this cake that remains consistent no matter what it's called; it's addictingly delicious.  I grew up enjoying this cake; it was undeniably a favorite dessert that my entire family enjoyed.

Why did we call it funny cake?  I'm not really sure.  I guess maybe because of how it looked when it came out of the oven.  More times than not, when it came out of the oven the top was extremely glossy and all cracked and crackled.  But I can guarantee there wasn't, and still isn't, anything funny about the taste.  This cake is addicting for every single person that has a bite, and I promise that don't stop with just one bite!
The base of the cake is like an extremely chewy but slightly firm cookie.  The top has a slight crunch then it's followed by a creamy, smooth and slightly tangy filling.  With one bite of this cake you'll be in heaven.

So I took an already addicting cake and made it irresistible by adding the combination of lemons and blueberries.  I am a sucker for the combination of juicy sweet blueberries and tart lemons, they compliment each other wonderfully and they are a terrific addition to this already delicious cake.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Best Blueberry Lemonade

It's July!  So what does that mean?  Well, a couple of things actually.  First, it's national blueberry month.  Woohoo!  Who doesn't love a handful of fresh, juicy and sweet blueberries?  Of course they deserve their own month!  Secondly, it's July which mean we are smack dab in the middle of summer and the heat from the hot summer sun.
How do you beat the heat?  I can't think of anything better than sipping on a big ol' glass of tart and sweet lemonade.  There's just something about a tall glass of it that is so refreshing.  Tucker loves lemonade, but if you asked him if plain lemonade could get any better he'd say yes.  How?  Well, while he loves the basic stuff he gets ecstatic about flavored lemonade.  Pink lemonade, strawberry and yes, blueberry too. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint

I was first introduced to this salad a few weeks ago.  I went to eat supper with my brother and sister-in-law and when I walked in I saw her working away chopping watermelon, olives and onions.  I was intrigued at the combination of  ingredients and immediately asked what she was making.  Watermelon feta salad.  Instantly I knew I was going to love it and I couldn't wait for supper so I could dive in.  This salad was just as good as I thought it would be and have been thinking about it and looking for a chance to make it ever since.
I finally got my chance and I was beyond excited.  This, my friends, is my new favorite salad.  It's so simple but comes together with big flavors.  The subtle sweetness of the watermelons is the perfect base for this salad.  Salty olives, crunchy, sweet onions, salty feta and a mixture of olive oil, tart lemon juice and hot sauce are the additions that make this complete.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Recipes for your 4th of July Spread

Tomorrow is July 4th; a day to celebrate our freedom as well as a day to pay gratitude to all the men and women in our armed forces.  Without them and their sacrifices we would not have the freedom that we enjoy today.  So, while we're celebrating let's also take time to remember what this day truly means and thank the men and women who have so selflessly served our country.  Thanks to you and your families and God Bless you all.
For many of us that means a well-needed 3 day weekend, grill-outs and backyard bbq's, trips to the lake or a weekend vacation.  No matter what festivities are planned for this weekend, food is definitely a top priority on everyone's list.  So, if you are still looking for the perfect appetizer, burger, cocktail or dessert I have compiled a list of delicious recipes you and your guests will thoroughly enjoy.

Cocktails-A celebration wouldn't be complete without a delicious cocktail to sip on, so I've compiled a list of cocktails that are light and refreshing and everyone will enjoy!

Berry Basil Hard Lemonade- Sweetened by a mixed berry basil syrup, this spiked lemonade has all the refreshing elements of traditional lemonade with a grown-up twist.

Fresh Cherry Margaritas- Josie, at Pink Parsley, has a cocktail that is perfect for pretty much any occasion.  Like these fresh cherry margaritas; loaded with in-season fresh cherries, a splash of orange liqueur and a squeeze of fresh lime.  My mouth was watering with the title alone.  This cocktail is ideal to sip on while trying to beat the summer sun.  

Jalapeno-Mango Peach Freeze- Lauren, at Climbing Grier Mountain, is a genius when it comes to cocktails.  And she had my mouth watering with this jalapeno-mango peach freeze; a frozen margarita that isn't overly sweet, full of fruit flavor and followed by a little heat.  Make a pitcher, or two, of these to enjoy while your sitting outside enjoying the fireworks.

Watermelon Lemonade- This watermelon lemonade from Confections of a Foodie Bride looks so perfectly refreshing.  A large batch of this lemonade could be made then separated, part for the little ones and then spike the other half for the adults.

Appetizers-Everyone brings their appetites with them to a cookout, but we all know we need some goods to munch on while we wait for the main course.

Cajun Corn Poblano Queso-no party is complete without cheese dip, and this cajun corn poblano queso is the ultimate in cheese dips.  Cheesy deliciousness packed with corn, poblanos and jalapenos.  It doesn't get much better than this folks!

Easy Salsa Verde-Chips and dip are the iconic "go to" when it comes to a delicious and crowd pleasing snack.  This salsa verde is full of flavor, so easy to make and is definitely a winner with my family and friends.

Goat Cheese Jalapeno Poppers with Honey and Bacon- jalapeno poppers are always a winner, but instead of the basic poppers try stuffing them with goat cheese, honey and bacon.  The whole sweet, spicy, and salty combo I'm crazy about.

Teedo's Famous Salsa- This is salsa, on crack.  Fire roasted tomatoes, lime, cilantro, avocados (yes, avocados are actually blended in the salsa), onion and garlic.  One of the best (and easiest) salsa recipes, and the longer it sits the better it gets!

Main Dishes-Regardless what festivities are taking place today, when it comes to the food the grill is taking center stage.  So here are some mouthwatering dishes that are sure to make your guests and your grill smile with pleasure!
Burgers with Bourbon and Peach Chutney-It's hard to beat a deliciously juicy burger, but topping it with cheese and a bourbon and peach chutney just might do it.  This is just one of the many mouth-watering burger confections that Shawnda over at Confections of a Foodie Bride has created.

Chicken Andouille Brats with Avocados and Jalapenos- If you want hot dogs on your menu, then look no further.  These brats will have the crowd stopping and your taste buds jumping.  A hot dog like no other.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Flatbread- One of the simplest, yet most satisfying meals.  Juicy and flavorful grilled chicked on top of a grilled flat bread and caesar salad.

The Texican Burger-In Spencer's opinion, everything is truly better with a fried egg slapped on top.  When it comes to this burger, I couldn't agree more.  A delicious burger topped with salsa, avocado, cheese and a fried egg.

Sides- Sides are typically an afterthought with any meal, but don't make them second at your cookout.  Here are some easy and delicious sides that will be just as memorable as the main course.
Black Bean, Corn and Tomato Salad-this is one of my all-time favorite salads.  It's packed full of fresh flavors and produce and it's perfect for a hot summer day.

Creamy Potato Salad- This, folks, is my new favorite potato salad.  It's chunky potatoes tossed with cider vinegar, a combination of mayonnaise and sour cream, hard boiled eggs, dill, celery and chives.  I look for any and every excuse to make this stuff, it's amazing!

Grilled Corn with Spicy Cilantro Butter-I love grilled vegetables, it just adds a whole new layer of flavor.  This grilled corn is delicious, but it's the cilantro butter that truly puts it over the top.

Oven Fried Guinness Onion Rings with Stout Gravy- beer and grilling out go hand in hand, but why not add some of the hoppy goodness to your food.  Lauren, at Climbing Grier Mountain, has done just that with this delicious spin on the classic onion ring.

Desserts-A celebration isn't quite complete without dessert.  From grilled peaches to drunken cherry galettes, you are bound to find something that you and your guests can't quite live without.
Caramel Corn Ice Cream-Caramel corn.  Ice cream.  It doesn't get much more all-American than that.  Dorothy, of Crazy for Crust, has combined those two goodies to make one truly American dessert, caramel corn ice cream.

Chocolate Chip Heath Cookie Dough Dip- I'm not gonna lie, there's nothing much better than a scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough.  But this chocolate chip heath cookie dough dip is pretty darn good and you and your guests will be going back for seconds, thirds and fourths.  Another plus, like you need one since we're talking about cookie dough dip, is it's so quick and easy to make and can be made ahead of time!

Drunken Cherry Galette- Galettes are all the deliciousness of a pie without all the work of forming the perfect pie dough.  These galettes from Foodie Bride are perfect, not only because they are individual pies for easy serving and they are packed with drunken cherries.  To put this dessert over the top, place a big ol' scoop of vanilla ice cream right int he center.

Fudgy Tar Heel Pie-You can't have a cookout without having at least one pie present.  This fudgy tar heel pie is delicious; it's like a brownie on top of a bed of walnuts all wrapped up in a flaky pie crust!

Grilled Peaches and Cream- This is exactly what it sounds like, sweet juicy peaches are grilled to release those natural sugars and then they are topped with some fresh whipped cream and drizzled with a bit of honey.  A dessert that is so simple but so satisfying.

Have a safe, happy and delicious 4th!  God Bless the USA!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Chewin' Tuesday: Angel Hair Pasta with Bacon, Brussel Sprouts and Mushrooms

You know what today is?  That's right!  Another installment of Chewin' Tuesday.  A day that I feature a recipe of from favorite daytime talk show!  I mean, can you tell me what's better than a talk show that has 5 amazing and talented hosts and that centers around food?  Nothing, I tell you. 

Since we're well into the blazing summer months (and we're truly feeling that summer heat here in Arkansas) I wanted to share a recipe that is simple, delicious and light.  When I think pasta in the summer my mind instantly goes to pasta salad, and while I love pasta salad I enjoy pasta dishes is other forms throughout the summer.  A nice al dente pasta that is tossed with a variety of additional ingredients and then tossed in a simple olive oil or light sauce.  Aside from pasta salad, those are the types of pasta dishes I crave in the summer.

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