Tuesday, March 31, 2015

One Pot Spaghetti

For as long as I can remember spaghetti has been a staple in our meal rotation.  It's one of those meals that I always have the makings for, it comes together very quickly and it's a family favorite.  Let's face it, it's the type of recipe that everyone likes to have in their repertoire.  Could anything really make it better?

Well, I thought not.  Until a few weeks ago.
That's when I saw a recipe for a one pot spaghetti.  I mean we're talking the meat, homemade sauce, and pasta all cooking in one pot.

Was it a meal that was too goo to be true?  It sounds like it, right?

I'm here to tell you it's not.  This one pot spaghetti is the real deal.  It only takes one pot, a few simple ingredients and about 30 minutes and you've got an amazing, homemade spaghetti.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cream Cheese Banana Bread

Banana bread.  It's a classic.  It's been around since the beginning of time.  Everyone has at least that one go to recipe for their all-time favorite banana bread.  It's safe to say banana bread has stood the test of time and it still remains a favorite.

Think about all the different variations.  There are literally thousands, and new ones are added to the list every. single. day.  Aside from bread, there are muffins, scones, and cakes.  I've never met a banana recipe I didn't like.  Perhaps, one of my favorite combinations is bananas and cream cheese.
Banana bread and cream cheese are no strangers.  It's a love story for the ages.  Think about it, banana cake slathered in cream cheese frosting.  Oh my goodness.  I could honestly eat the frosting itself, but I don't.  Well, normally I don't.  I've been known to take a spoon to the bowl of frosting, but hey, who hasn't.  Don't judge!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Curried Corn Soup with Ginger

Okay, so apparently Mother Nature hasn't gotten the memo that Spring officially started over 5 days ago.  I'm not saying we've haven't had some nice days since spring rolled around, but we've had some cool days too.  Oh, and some rain.  Boy have we had some rain.  I can't even walk in my front yard right now without having mud up to my ankles.  With weather dipping down into the 50's tomorrow, I'd say with confidence oh mother nature is a tad bit confused.

Here in Arkansas, and I'm sure in many other areas, we've experienced 3 out of 4 seasons in the past week.  So, to say my menu planning has been all over the place would be an understatement.  One day we're on the back porch enjoying sunshine, a nice breeze and firing up the grill and the next day we're bundled up inside, dodging the rain and slurping up soup.


So, in the midst of the crazy weather, I've taken advantage of the cooler temps and jumped at the opportunity to squeeze in a few more soups I've had my eye on.  This curried corn soup with ginger is one of those soups.  I spotted it in the November issue of Food Network Magazine and was instantly intrigued.

Monday, March 23, 2015

BTB: Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

If you've been reading the blog for any amount of time, you know how much my family and I love Mexican food.  I mean, would could eat it every. single. day.  But, we try to refrain and limit ourselves to only once a week.

One of our favorite meals is enchiladas.  But, not the traditional enchiladas, although we love those too.  These enchiladas are the kind I've enjoyed since I was a young thing.  A simple, clever meal my MaMaw could whip up in under 30 minutes and one that the entire family loved.

I should probably share that recipe with you soon!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Tart

Today is the first official day of spring!  Cue the sunshine, mildly warm days, colorful flowers and birds chirping.

Another thing synonymous with spring is carrot cake.  This deliciously moist cake with heavy spices and shredded carrots throughout takes over the web and bakery showcases.  From traditional carrot cake, to carrot cake cookies, carrot cake scones, and so much more, carrot cake takes over with full force this time of year.

 I love a big ol' slice of moist carrot cake.  One that is loaded with mounds of freshly shredded carrots, amazing spices and slathered in tangy cream cheese frosting.  There's nothing better.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lemon-Lime Mint Moscow Mule

It's seems like mules are the trending drink right now.  And, it's like it just happened over night.  There are several restaurants that are revamping their menus, and many of those updates include the addition of the humble mule.

Honestly though, why wouldn't it be gaining popularity?  Who wouldn't want to sip on a cocktail served in a copper mug?

The Moscow mule is a classic drink dating back to around 1946.  It's not clear whether the first mules were made with lemons or limes, so for a version that screams spring I decided to use both of the citrus' to make this lemon-lime mule.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cherry Cream Cheese Puff Pastry Bites

One of my favorite breakfast indulgences is pastries.  You know, those pastries that are filled with cream cheese and then topped with fruit.  Ohmygoodness.  That is my weakness.  I try to stay away from them for the most part, but do splurge every once in a while.

There's a local restaurant and bakery that has my all time favorite breakfast pastries.  They've got their pastries down to an art.  The pastry has a flaky, crispy outside and the inside is light, fluffy and pure heaven.  Then there's the filling.  They have countless options when it comes to their breakfast goods, but I'm a sucker for the once with fruit.  Cherry, blueberry compote, raspberries, strawberries, apricots, the list goes on. A lot of the fruit ones even have a touch of cream cheese filling.  They go one step further and brush the baked pastry with a glaze, most of the time a preserve of some sort.  Oh my goodness, it's perfection on a plate.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Homemade Kiwi Limeade

Spring is about 4 days away!  With the change of the season, comes a change in the weather, warmer temperatures, green grass and brightly colored flowers.  I've already started seeing little bursts of colors sprouting up along side the roads and it's so pretty!

Another part of the change in temps means frequent visits to the park with my little guy, firing up the grill and partaking in refreshing beverages.  If my little man and I are out and about between 2:00 and 4:00, it's not uncommon for us to swing by Sonic and indulge in a drink for happy hour.  He always gets a strawberry slush; he loves sipping on it but he's especially happy when he sucks up a chunk of strawberry through the straw.  I typically go for a limeade; cherry or cranberry to be specific.  The perfect balance of sweet and tart.

So, with the arrival of spring I thought it would be fun to whip up a limeade at home.  But not one of my regulars, something different.  Then it hit me, what about a kiwi limeade?  Yum, right?  Right!
I've been on a bit of a kiwi kick lately, and I thought the bright green, juicy and slightly tart fruit would make a terrific addition to a limeade.  And boy, was I right.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Strawberry Cream Biscotti with White Chocolate

Before a few weeks ago I had never tasted biscotti.  I had seen it countless times on the counter at gift shops and coffeehouses, but I had never broken down and bought one.  I know, shocking.  In my 30 plus years of life I had never sunk my teeth into a breakfast cookie.

Breakfast cookie.  That right there should have been excuse enough to try a piece.  A cookie that was okay to enjoy for breakfast.  What was wrong with me?

Well, I decided to give into my cookie obsession and try it out.  Not only did I sample a piece, I actually did two things at once; I made it and tried it for the first time.  And, it could be said that since I made that amazingly addicting orange and dark chocolate biscotti a few weeks ago, I'm now obsessed with any and everything biscotti.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Southern Brown Sugar Pie

Mathematicians and math lovers rejoice!  Why?  Today is national Pi Day (π).  No, I didn't leave an "e" off the word Pie.  Today is March 14th, 3/14. Which in math terms we know as 3.1415926535 and so on.  Or, if you're rounding to the nearest hundredth it's 3.14.

And if you're into mathematical fun facts, try this one out for size!  If you write today's date out, including the year, it is 3-14-15; corresponding with the first five digits in Pi.  This is the only time, ever this will occur.  Pretty neat, huh?
While all the mathletes and math lovers are celebrating this mathematical holiday and all it's πr2 glory, I along with many other food lovers decided to celebrate with a big ol' slice of pie.

So let's talk about this pie.  I saw this brown sugar pie on pizzazzerie the other day and knew instantly I needed to make it.  And soon.  Since Pi day was right around the corner, I decided this would be the perfect occasion to try amazingness out.
At first site it reminded me of one of Spencer's favorites, buttermilk pie.  Not only the look but the list of ingredients.  Like the buttermilk pie, this brown sugar pie is not much to look at and has a very simple list of ingredients; 7 to be exact.

The top is crispy, almost brulee-like.  The filling not only reminds me of the custard like filling of the buttermilk, but also the filling of a pecan pie; it's a good marriage of the two.  The brown sugar caramelizes during the baking process and is smooth and ooey gooey all at the same time.  And, in my opinion, makes for one incredibly amazing piece of pie.

Brown Sugar Pie
Ingredients:

1 Stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
1 Pound light brown sugar
3 Eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp cornmeal
1/4 Tsp salt
1 Pie crust, homemade or store bought

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Place pie dough in pie plate and place in the freezer while preparing the filling.

Place eggs in a large bowl and whisk.  Add the sugar, butter, vanilla, cornmeal and salt and whisk to incorporated.  Pour into the pie crust and place in the preheated oven.  Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.  If the crusts gets too brown before the pie is done baking, place aluminum foil around the crust.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Slice and serve.

Recipe source: barely adapted from Pizzazzerie

Friday, March 13, 2015

Homemade Brown Sugar Lip Scrub

Let's face it; during the cold, winter months our skins suffers.  The cold weather does a number on our skin.  So, to repair it we moisturize, exfoliate and do all sorts of things to pamper ourselves and feel rejuvenated.

Our lips, however, get the short end of the stick when it comes to pampering.  We smear a little gloss on them, glide some chap-stick across them and call it good.

Believe it or not, there's more to pampering and taking care of our lips than just a new tube of lip gloss.  Exfoliating isn't only a good option, it's essential.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Salted Caramel Brulee Coffee

It's official.  Sunday morning at 2:00 we sprung forward.  In other words, we lost an hour of precious, glorious sleep and we were all feeling it.  Well, at least in my house we were.  And, we still are.  Up until the past year the time changes haven't affected me; loose an hour, gain an hour, whatever the case was I was fine.  Now, not so much.  I struggle, and I deal with the struggle for weeks, sometimes even months.

This struggle is real.  And it's one that can only be met and defeated with a big ol' cup of coffee.  And I'm talking the strong stuff; none of that half caf or mild brew.  Since I'm already dragging, the last thing I want to do is wake up even earlier to go by the coffeehouse on the way to where I'm going. Am I right?

What to do.  What to do.

Enjoy a coffeehouse worthy beverage without ever stepping foot out the door.  And that's exactly what you can do with this salted caramel brulee coffee.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Grasshopper Milkshake

It's that time of year when green is the theme.  We're over winter, ready for the flowers to start blooming and the greener than green grass to take over the lawns.  Needless to say there's a certain holiday right around the corner that is the epitome of spring; shamrocks, all things green and colorful rainbows.

Another thing that starts to take on that hue is food.  One thing in particular this time of year is a shake from a certain fast food restaurant.  You know the one.  The infamous shamrock shake.  Every year I see that shake advertised.  But, to be honest, I've never had one.  I know, the shock!  The horror.  I have, however, heard enough about them to know they are a mint milkshake that is tinted green.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Spinach Artichoke Dip Tortellini Soup

The past 3 weeks have been packed with cold temperature and winter weather.  I'd say mother nature has decided to make up for lost time right here at the end of the season.  We are about 2 weeks away from spring and with mounting piles of snow, sleet and ice the signs of spring are truly nowhere to be seen.

I'm not complaining though.  Since about mid November my little guy has been asking for snow, even just a little bit.  He stands at the window and just looks outside waiting for a flurry or two to fall from those big puffy clouds.  I'd say he finally got his wish!  Mother nature delivered, and in a big way.  So we've taken full advantage of the frigid temps and the snow and ice.
We've sized the days each and every day the white stuff has been on the ground.  The days have been spent sledding, building snowmen, building snow castles, attacking each other with snowballs and of course, making snow ice cream.  Aside from playing with my little guy, another fabulous part of snow days are indulging in big bowls of soups and stews.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Chicken

I am a condiment loving girl.  Always have been.  Always will be.  I've never met a sauce I didn't like, but I'd have to say honey mustard ranks pretty high up there on my list.  So, to say I was excited when I saw this chicken from Lauren's Latest would be an understatement.

A chicken that is cooked in one of my all-time favorite sauces and uses one of my favorite kitchen tools for the cooking process.  This is definitely a recipe is right up my alley.  What's not to love? Simply combine a few simple ingredients and throw it in the slow cooker.  And viola!

Monday, March 2, 2015

BTB: Homemade French Baguettes

What is it about a simple piece of warm bread, slathered in butter that makes an ordinary meal extraordinary?  A bowl of soup on a cold day is wonderful.  Now, place a plate with warm bread on the table to accompany that soup and it takes it to a whole new level.  Serve warm rolls or crusty bread with a roast, mashed potatoes and gravy and oh-my-goodness.  There's just something about being able to sop up gravy and soak up soup with a piece of bread that is just so magical.

And if, and I do mean if, I'm lucky enough to have a slice or two leftover I wake up, warm it up, schmear some butter and jelly on it and enjoy it with my morning cup of coffee.  There's truly no better way to start the day.

Before a few weeks ago, I had never made baguettes.  I always picked up a loaf or two when I was at the store and just served them along side our meal.  The craving for a crusty, chewy baguette hit but we were snowed/iced in.  So, the time had come for me to bite the bullet and attempt to make a baguette at home.

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