Friday, February 27, 2015

DB: Siopao (Asian Filled Buns)

The February Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen. She challenged us to an easy, simple filled bun using no-knead dough.

I love learning about other cultures, especially the foods of those countries.  It's neat to learn about their foods and compare them to what we enjoy here in our country.  In our Daring Bakers' challenges sometimes, the hosts sometimes share recipes with us they grew up enjoying and then challenge us to try these recipes for ourselves.  The hosts almost always give us a little creative freedom to choose flavorings and such.  

I enjoy all of our challenges, but I especially love learning about other cultures.  The members of the Daring Bakers' aren't just comprised of people from the U.S., it's a group comprised of people from several countries.  I guess that's part of what makes us daring, we are challenged to try different recipes, sometimes recipes that we are familiar (and sometimes not comfortable) with.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Orange and Dark Chocolate Biscotti

The world of blogging is one that grows every single day.  Although there are thousands of amazing blogs out there, there is still a since of community among fellow bloggers.  Even though we don't personally know one another, there's still a relationship that is formed through this one common interest.  To me, that is so neat.  So when fellow bloggers share something exciting, naturally we want to celebrate with them.

Tara, of Tara's multicultural table, is a fellow food blogger that I met through the secret recipe club.  She was planning to welcome a sweet, little baby girl in March.  But, as we know little one's come on their own time, and Tara's second little bundle of joy decided to come into this crazy world early!  So I want to say a big congratulations to Tara on the newest addition to her family!
In honor of Tara's second child a group of bloggers decided to get together to help her celebrate her newest bundle by having a virtual baby shower.  The them, biscottit.  Why biscotti.  Since this was Tara's second kiddo (bun in the oven) we decided to make a treat that needed a second bake.  Did you know that biscotti actually means second bake?  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

3 Ingredient Snow Ice Cream

Growing up in south Arkansas our winters consisted of more sleet and ice than snow.  I think I can count on one hand the number of times we got out of school because of actual snow, and even then it wasn't really enough to do much of anything with.  So we made the best of it and made icemen, sledded in the sleet and so on.  Just no ice fights, cause well, we all know that would end up badly.

So when winter weather rolled around, the idea of snow ice cream was completely out of the question.  I had seen recipes, heard people talk about it but never actually experienced the stuff for myself.

But all that's changed now.  Over the past 7 years we've had several winter storms, and we've even had a decent amount of snow during those storms.  Nothing compared to the northeast, but still decent for our neck of the woods.

Monday, February 23, 2015

SRC: Mini Minemeat Pies

Let me apologize for such the long post.  This particular recipe and challenge was very near and dear to my heart.  If you don't care about reading through all of this just skip to the bottom to get a delicious recipe for a truly British holiday favorite.  These mincemeat pies have a buttery, flaky crust studded with bits of orange zest and it's filled with a boozy mincemeat (dried apples, raisins, spices) filling.

My Grandma, my mom's mom, was born and raised in England.  It wasn't until she married that she made the trek across the pond to live in the states.  So, she was able to partake in traditional English foods and desserts, and fortunately for us she brought her love for that food with her when she ventured to the states.

Many of my afternoons, weekends and summer days were spent in the care of my Grandma.  Which meant I got to experience some of the more traditional British foods.  I didn't think anything of her whipping up something like Yorkshire pudding, steak and kidney, or tea and crumpets on a regular basis.  I now know just how rare some of the foods I enjoyed as a kid are here in the states.

I loved being able to eat all these foods my Grandma grew up enjoying.  I also loved when she went to her English Girl's party.  There were about 8 ladies that had come to the states and they all ended up in the same town, so about once a month they would make English goodies and they'd get together, visit, have tea and eat some delicacies from their home.  She would take me to these parties and I would get to hear stories as well as indulge!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Homemade Coconut, Almond Granola

Have you stopped and actually taken a look around?  Granola is everywhere.  There are so many prepackage variations for sale.  There are even more recipes floating around the internet.  And have you seen Pinterest?  We won't even go there.  But, let's just say that if you were in the market for granola and didn't have a recipe then it wouldn't hard to find a few hundred options.

So why do you think there is such an abundance of options out there?  Well I have my theories.  People are trying to be healthier, would be the first thing that comes to mind.  And while I do like to have healthy snacks on hand, that is just one of the many reasons I'm obsessed with granola.

Granola is perfect for so many reasons.  It's a great on-the-go snack.  It's a perfect quick breakfast that pairs so wonderfully with berries and yogurt.  It can also be enjoyed as cereal or in addition to cereal.  Granola is one of those things my entire family loves.  Once a batch is made, it doesn't take long for it to disappear.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

One Pot Cheeseburger Casserole

Lately I've been craving a cheeseburger something fierce.  Although I'm not above firing up the grill in the midst of these arctic temperatures we're experiencing, it's not ideal.  But, sometimes you do what you gotta do in the name of food.

Well, you do that unless you come across a recipe that encompasses everything you love about a big, juicy burger that can be cooked indoors.  And well, I did just that.  Even better, it's a simple recipe, quick enough for those busy weeknights that can be cooked using just one pot!  Does it truly get any better?  I don't think so people.
I'm addicted to meals that only involve one pot, are quick, easy and ideal for those busy weeknights.  Or just those evenings that you don't really feel like being in the kitchen longer than 30-45 minutes.  And, a meal that doesn't leave a ton of dishes in the sink at completion.  Well, this is one of those meals that checks all those boxes.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dutch Baby Pancake

So, I'm a little behind jumping on the dutch baby wagon.  Over the past several years, yes years, I've seen so many amazing looking dutch baby recipes popping up all over the internet.  At every sighting I tell myself, I need to make one of these and now.  But for some reason or another, the recipe has gotten pushed to the wayside.

Well, all that changed this passed weekend.  Since Valentines fell on a Saturday this year I wanted a full day of delicious, indulgent food for myself and my guys to enjoy.  I had supper nailed down, but breakfast was still way up in the air.

Do I make waffles?  Oh, or cinnamon rolls.  What about pancakes?  Donuts even.  My brain quickly got overwhelmed and I didn't help matters when I took to Pinterest.  Oh, how I love Pinterset, it's a world full of inspiration, ideas and anything you could possibly need.  But, it's also a great way to get an already overwhelmed brain even more anxious and overwhelmed.  Which in my case is exactly what it did.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Brownie and Red Velvet Cookie Tart with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

Valentine's day is tomorrow.  Have you made your reservations?  Are you avoiding the chaos and crowds and staying in?  We're having a low-key evening at home complete with an amazing meal and a glass (or 2) of red.  No Valentine's meal, whether you're dining out or staying is, is complete without an amazingly decadent and over the top dessert.

I've shared a week's worth of desserts with you all with the focus of Valentines.  Whether you and your special someone are chocoholics, or you prefer a chocolate-less indulgence I've covered all the bases.  But, no Valentines or  week dedicated to Valentines is complete without at least one red velvet recipe.

What is it about red velvet that has people going crazy for it, especially during the month of February.  It is red, which is the color of love.  It is also chocolate, which is synonymous with Valentines.  So, maybe it's the fact that red velvet meets all the requirements for the day of love.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Raspberry Lime Mule

I was first introduced to the Moscow Mule by my sister-in-law.  She and her husband had gone out one night and were intrigued by a cocktail that was served in a copper mug.  She immediately tried one and was hooked.  The next time we visited them, she whipped some of these up for Spencer and I to try and just like her, I was hooked.

While I had the love for the cocktail, sadly I had no copper mugs.  While they are still good enjoyed in a glass, it's just not quite the same.  Well, my copper mug dilemma was solved for Christmas.  On Christmas morning I unwrapped 4 beautiful hammered copper mugs!

The only thing I had left to do was break those new mugs in and enjoy my new favorite cocktail.  I love the original Moscow Mule. Ginger beer. Lime. Vodka. And sometimes a touch of mint.  As much as I love the original version, it can be improved upon a bit.  But only minimally, by adding a handful of fresh fruit.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Personal Brownie and Fruit Trifles

When I hear the word trifle my mind instantly goes to Friends and the infamous "Thanksgiving" episode.  You know the one, right?  Monica finally agrees to let Rachel help out and bring a dessert, a trifle to be exact.  All goes well, except for one minor thing; Rachel mixes recipes for a sweet and savory trifle.

The end result was definitely an original.  I can still see Joey and Ross' face as Rachel points out all the individual layers.  "Ladyfingers, jam, custard (from scratch), raspberries, more lady fingers, beef sauteed with peas and onions, another layer of custard, bananas and then some whipped cream on top."  Joey's review of the dish is by far the best.  "Beef? Good. Custard? Good. Jam? Goooood."

Needless to say, I love friends.  But before you start questioning just exactly what type of trifle I'm sharing with you, rest assured it is not a sweet and savory Rachel-inspired creation.  Aside from trifles making think about one of my all time favorite shows, it's also one of my favorite desserts.

Trifles are many things.  They are so easy to make.  Make a show stopping addition to the dessert table.  A delicious way to utilize leftover brownies, cookies and cake.  Incredibly cute when they are made in small, single serve portions.  Oh, not to mention,they are delicious.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Strawberry Fool

Have you heard of a fool?  Well, you probably have but not in the sense that I'm talking about!  I'm sure everyone has heard of a food and maybe knows one or two.  But the type of fool I'm talking about is in reference food!

A fool is a dessert that dates back to the 16th century and originates from England.  The traditional fool starts out with a custard base.  To that pureed fruit is folded in, it's chilled and served.  But, as time has progressed and people's desire for the quick and easy surpassed tradition, the cooked custard has been replaced (at least here in the states) with a sweet, whipped cream.

So, the modern day fool is a lightly sweetened fruit puree that has been folded into freshly whipped cream.  It is one of the simplest desserts that you'll ever make, but also one of the most amazing things that will ever grace your lips.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Knockoff Swig Sugar Cookies

There are several recipes out there that claim to be "the best" or "the ultimate", but that is a claim I don't make lightly.  But just like anything, if you read or here that one particular recipe is "the best ____" ever then there has to be at least some truth to that claim.  Wouldn't you agree?

Well, this particular cookie has been deemed the best ever sugar cookie by countless blogs and 
reviews.  These cookies originated from a little town in Utah from Swig; a sweet shop that specializes not only in the infamous sugar cookie but several specialty sodas (the dirty Coke is a list topper) and other treats.  I read that someone literally drove 5 hours and waited at least another 30 minutes in line just to get one of these amazing cookies.  That alone was enough to spike my interest.  So, after reading the umpteenth review about just how good these cookies were I decided it was time to give them a try.

Now, before we go any further I have to say I've never tried the original swig sugar cookie.  I honestly can't tell you how these compare the actual cookie from the shop.  I can however tell you that these are a monster of a cookie.  They are huge and picture perfect.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Thick and Chewy {Better than} Bakery Style Brownies

Brownies.  What is it about the humble brownie that infatuates so many.  My dad and I have had many discussions about this bar.  Is it the fact that it's the best of cookies, bars, cake and fudge all wrapped into one?  Possibly.  Or, is it that with one bite of the perfect brownie chocolate cravings are quenched?  It could be that too.  Honestly, I can't tell you what it is about this bar that makes me obsessed.

I can say that there are so many variations of the brownie.  Everyone has their perfect version. Although simple, they can be extremely temperamental.  But I guess the last point can be true of pretty much any baked good.  But still, who would think something so simple, like a brownie, could be so complex?

Well, once I started looking at all the different versions it didn't take me long to figure out the brownie was just like ice cream.  There are tons of flavors of ice cream to suite everyone's taste, just like there are several types of brownies to do just the same.  There are thick cake-y brownies.  Thin fudgy brownies.  Brownies filled nuts.  Some with coconut.  Others with chocolate chips.  That's just a few of the million add-ins that are included in some people's ultimate brownies.  I haven't even mentioned anything about the frosted variations.  So, as we all know there are brownies to suite everyone's taste.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Banana Cream Pie Smoothie

Banana cream pie has quickly become one of my favorite pies.  My favorite variation is this version complete with peanut butter cookie crust, fresh whipped cream and salted bourbon caramel.  Oh my gosh, it's awesome!

But, I can't justify eating a slice of that life-changing pie every morning for breakfast.  Although I would definitely enjoy it while I was eating it, my waste line would quickly expand and pie for breakfast every morning.  Well that's just pure nonsense.  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I am so excited to be sharing this recipe with you all, for so many reasons.  Number one, I've been eyeing this recipes for I don't know how long.  I mean, literally drooling over it every time Nikki shared it on her Facebook page.  Second, it looks amazing and I honestly couldn't get to the store fast enough to pick up some blueberries so I could test this recipe for myself.  Third, I have had a goal to make and share more breakfast recipes with you and this breakfast cake couldn't be a more perfect way to start accomplishing that goal.

I love breakfast foods.  We definitely enjoy our fare-share of breakfast foods, but it seems like very few of them actually end up making it to the ol' blog.  I guess part of it could be that by the time we've waited on the goods to cook or bake, it's extremely hard to any longer to enjoy them.  So, sometimes, pictures are out of the question.

So, for our impatience, I'm sorry.  But, I promise you I'm going to try to make up for lost time and try to start bringing you more delicious breakfast recipes.  Complete with a combination of quick, healthy, indulgent, decadent and downright delicious recipes.  I'm going to try to bring you a little bit of everything, that way everyone will be able to find something they can enjoy.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna is one of my favorite meals.  But, not just any lasagna, my MaMaw's lasagna.  There's something about hers that's incomparable to others.  I'm not sure what it is about hers, but it's ruined me.  I hate to say it, but I'm a lasagna snob.  One difference I can pinpoint about hers is it's extremely cheesy.  I mean, you honestly cannot go wrong with extra cheese.  Am I right?

As delicious as lasagna is, I must say, it is a very time consuming labor of love.  Making the sauce, cooking the meat, preparing the pasta and shredding all the cheese.  After all that, then there's the layering process, followed by the baking.  I'm not saying it's not worth it, but sometimes, there just isn't time for all that.

So, what to do, what to do when that craving for cheesy, meaty lasagna arises and you just don't have time for that.  Well folks, I have the answer.  Lasagna soup.  Yup, everything you love about that baked pasta goodness, all in one pot without all that layering and time consuming preparation.

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