Saturday, December 7, 2013

Salted Honey Pie

This is one of those pies that I had very little initial interest in making. I saw it in the beginning on November on Flavor NC. It sounded good but way too sweet for me.

Then an acquaintance that I know started texting me about this pie. I heard about this pie for close to two weeks. I received numerous pictures of disastrous pies that he made in attempt to copy what was on Flavor NC. Finally late one night I get a text asking me to try it. Just to see if I could make it. The next morning I make the pie.

I follow the directions, viola! I make a pie.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cacio e Pepe (Spaghetti with Pecorino and Pepper)

Any Italian meal that takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish is wonderful in my book. Plus there is nothing better than a delicious and super easy dinner in the middle of the week. This recipe popped up on an email from America's Test Kitchen and since I had all the ingredients on hand, I thought it would make a delicious dinner.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Two of my favorite foods combined into one delicious breakfast? Yes please!

Combining delicious cinnamon rolls with caramel and a few pecans is a wonderful start to the month of December and what I expect to be a rather lazy Sunday.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cranberry Apple Crisp

It is November. That means that local stores are finally starting to stock fresh cranberries!

I hate buying the cranberries from the freezer section at my local grocery stores. First off, they are hard to find except in the high end stores. Secondly, they are often freezer burned and full of ice. At least around here they are. Cranberries aren't a popular seller in my area.

So when these wonderful little fruits first appear on store shelves, I grab up 5 or 6 bags to freeze myself. While practically inedible alone, cooked up with a bit of sugar and some other ingredients, these little berries become heavenly, adding just the right amount of tartness to so many wonderful dishes.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Bread

A month ago, while visiting my parents, I went to one of the largest grocery stores I have ever been to. They have just about anything you could ever want. While there, I picked up a loaf of this amazing cinnamon roll bread. The loaf I purchased lasted less than 2 days, so I had to find a recipe to make this at home.

This is the BEST cinnamon bread EVER. It is delicious toasted. However because of the way it is made, you must slice it thick and put it in the oven or toaster oven to make toast. It is IMPOSSIBLE to get out of the toaster.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Baked French Pear Pancake

After an insanely stressful week, it is nice to be able to prepare a very fast, easy, and completely satisfying breakfast for my parents before I have to head home to NC.

This is one of the quickest breakfast I know how to make. It takes less than 4 minutes to put together, then the oven does the rest of the work.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pumpkin Crepes

Growing up, I was never a fan of pumpkin. That is mostly because once a year my mom bought a can of pumpkin puree and turned it into a pumpkin pie, using store-bought pie crust. To this day I still dislike traditional pumpkin pie.

Until the pumpkin spice latte crazy began, I had no use for pumpkin anything. Even though it is a challenge to find pumpkin recipes I actually enjoy, there are several now that I make every fall. Pumpkin crepes is one of those. These are simple to make and taste delicious. However I am at a loss of what to fill them with.

Several recipes I have viewed filled pumpkin crepes with either a pumpkin cream cheese filling or use pumpkin pie filling. I tried the pumpkin cream cheese filling, I didn't like it. It tasted like pumpkin pie.

I just drizzled mine with caramel syrup and topped it with some whipped cream. If you have a delicious filling for pumpkin crepes, please let me know!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls

This morning's breakfast is the result of a quick look on Pinterest for some inspiration.  One of the first pins that popped up when I looked at the site was for Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls. Since it is a chilly and rainy day, I had no hesitation with turning on the oven and baking up these delicious little treats.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mulled Apple Cider

I grew up in Winchester, Va. The home of everything apple on the Eastern side of the country. There is the huge Apple Blossom Festival in the late spring. White House Foods is based there. I grew up going to Richard's Fruit Market to buy local apples. I still remember their huge pot over the fire in the back where they were busy cooking down their delicious apple butter. My best memory was of buying fresh cider at Virginia Farm Market, where they always had free samples of the mulled cider.

Over the years since having moved from Winchester, I have tried countless recipes for mulled cider, wanting to find the perfect combination that brought back those fond childhood memories.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ambrosia Cheese Ball (Giant Eagle Copy Cat Recipe)

When I go to visit my parents, my mom thinks that I am starving to death here in NC, so she makes it her mission to drag me to the grocery store and load me up with things that she thinks I need to have to eat. She does not seem to understand that  I would much rather make my own foods fresh at home versus buying premade/premixed items.

The latest item that I was sent home with was an Ambrosia Cheese Ball from Giant Eagle. I have to admit that the cheese ball was insanely delicious spread on graham crackers. I have searched the internet looking for the recipe but have come up empty handed for a copy cat recipe.

I told my mom about this and her solution was trying to buy me like a dozen of them. I'm not sure how she thought I could possible eat so many at one time. Yes they are delicious, but really?! I swear my mom is greatly lacking in common sense some times.

After talking her out of buying a ton of them, she said that she'd ask for the ingredients for what goes into them. She found a nice, older lady at the local store who very willingly slipped her the recipe. Yippee!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Carrot Soup with Crispy Chickpeas

Once in a while you come across one of those recipes that the pictures look amazing but the actual recipe sounds kind of questionable. I came across this recipe at Smitten Kitchen when searching for some good fall recipes to try out. I didn't think the recipe sounding too appealing but the pictures were so pretty, I had to give it a try.

Although there are multitude of subtle flavors in this soup, the fresh carrot taste is what shined. Paired with some creme fraiche and pita bread, it was a perfect end of summer meal.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Saturday was one of those days that reminds you that summer is slowly slipping away, giving way to the crisp, cool air of autumn.  I spent an amazing day with a great friend at the Apple Festival in Wilksboro, NC. Walking around I saw amazing crafts and all sorts of local vendors selling apple everything.

After seeing all the vendors selling apple butter, I came home and had to start chopping up the apples that I brought back from my parents' place last weekend. I stuffed my slow cooker beyond full with a little over 6 pounds of apples, sprinkled a ton of spices and sugars over the top and left it go for the next 12 hours.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Squash & Chickpea Moroccan Stew

When searching for squash related recipes to try out this fall, I came across variations of this recipe on multiple blogs. It sounded interesting so I figured that I would give it a shot. I was shocked to find that, minus the olives, it was a delicious vegetarian dinner.

Not only was it delicious, it was easy to put together and made for a great weeknight dinner.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Apple Crisp

Fall is upon on and my father's apple trees are dropping apples left and right. My weekend has been one filled with picking apples, falling out of apple trees, and multiple apple desserts. Somehow this "dessert" became our breakfast and oh what a yummy breakfast it was!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Chicken Mole Enchiladas

Have you ever ordered an enchilada at a Mexican restaurant and end up with a taco shell stuffed with dry, flavorless meat then topped with a ton of flavorless red sauce that turns the meal into a gooey, unappetizing mess? I have yet to find a Mexican restaurant that can make an enchilada that I will actually enjoy eating.

Now in my own kitchen, it's a different story. Enchiladas easily become one of my favorite Mexican dishes. They are so simple to prepare and delicious to eat.  Top with mole sauce instead of the traditional red sauce, these enchiladas are over-the-top delicious.

Mexican Mole Poblano Sauce

Most people have seen the jars of mole sauce in the Mexican section at your local grocery store. If you've ever tried it, you know that it is a delicious treat. But do you know what is actually in mole sauce? 

It is quite interesting and borders on the unappetizing when you start throwing everything together into the pot. Chocolate? Peanut butter? Peppers? Tomatoes? Together!?!? I often wonder who decided to throw all these things together to make a sauce, I mean how does one decide to combine all these unique ingredients together? It almost seems as if a child just started throwing their favorite foods together into a pot. 

Wikipedia says that the most common legend surrounding the creation of this sauce comes from nuns who were too poor to afford a proper meal for the archbishop, prayed and brought together the few ingredients that they did have to create this sauce. However it was developed, Mole Poblano Sauce is delicious. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Perfect Creamy Hot Chocolate

After making marshmallows last week, I have been dying for an opportunity to make some hot chocolate. Tonight is one of those perfect evenings that just screams for a over sized blanket, the porch swing, a good book, and a steaming cup of hot chocolate. 

This is the perfect way to unwind after a crazy day at work. Some days I love my job as a preschool teacher. Other days, much like today, I come home wondering how did he manage to stick that there? 

Any great hot chocolate needs to start with a delicious chocolate syrup. I prefer to make my own. I made up a small batch, just enough for two cups of hot chocolate. It's simple and takes less than 5 minutes. There is no reason not to make your own. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Latte

I walked into work on September 4th and over half my coworkers were carrying around Starbucks coffee cups, sipping on a pumpkin spice latte. I, however, refuse to indulge in a "fall treat" when it is 79 degrees outside and not a single leaf has fallen from the trees. Maybe if I still lived in Ohio where it was in the 50's a few weeks ago I'd have indulged in this wonderful treat, I wouldn't. I am just not a fan of Starbucks. I have never acquired a taste for their coffee in general. Also, I am poor, I cannot afford $5 drinks. I am much happier making my own coffee drinks. Plus I know exactly what goes into it. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fluffy, Homemade Marshmallows

It's Friday night, I have no life so what's a girl to do except make some marshmallows? 

These little cloud-like pieces of heaven are a little tricky to make the first time because of one's desire to scrape the bowl thoroughly and to smooth out the top of the marshmallows once you pour them into the pan. If you can avoid these two very messy and futile impulses, marshmallows are really quite simple to make. 

They also roast up deliciously in my toaster oven to make yummy s'mores. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Slow Cooker Italian Roast

Today has been a lazy Sunday. The weather can't make up it's mind yet rather it is still summer or if it is turning into fall. Yesterday was a gorgeous, fall-like day. Today it's summer. High temperatures and high humidity. A perfect day to be curled up on the couch with a book, inside my nice air conditioned living room.

My extreme laziness even extended into the kitchen where dinner was assembled and put into my slow cooker around noon and eaten at 6. There is nothing nicer to accompany a lazy Sunday than a good, old-fashioned Sunday Roast Beef dinner.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sweet 'n' Sour Sauce

I have no pictures to include with this. None of them turned out well. It just looked like a reddish brown liquid in a pot. I promise it's a delicious sauce though. You need to make it. Enough said.

Sweet and Sour Sauce
Makes 2 cups

¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
2/3 cup water
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tbsp. ketchup
2 tbsp. cornstarch

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Whisk together thoroughly. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. 

Sweet 'n' Sour Smoked Sausage

It's been a long week. Remind me next time my phone rings on my day off that I should not answer it. It will only be bad news or somebody begging for a favor. Like being called into work on my day off. In return for working almost a full shift on my day off, I got to only work half a day. Leaving early on a Friday? Start my weekend early? Hell yeah!

The only thing that would have made today better would have been to avoid the four-year old class, who thought flushing random things was a good idea. But I didn't have to clean up the mess so I cannot complain too much. Except that my shoes got wet walking down the hallway. 

At least today ended early and I got to spend this beautiful day relaxing on my deck with a good book. My desire to relax and do nothing carried over into my dinner. 

This is a recipe that I saw in a Kroger advertisement a few months ago. I had put off trying it, not really sure why. It is nothing fancy but a perfect "I'm feeling lazy" dinner that still tastes amazing.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sausage Gravy

Nothing goes better with some homemade biscuits than some good, old-fashioned sausage gravy. What makes this sausage gravy even better is that it also has bacon in it. Everybody knows that everything is better with bacon. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

7-Up Biscuits

Let me tell you a secret. It's about these amazingly easy biscuits. These are so easy,  I make them lots of mornings before I head out the door to work. It takes less than 10 minutes effort to get these into the oven.

Who would have thought that combining 4 ingredients could come up with these delicious biscuits. They are simpler to make than traditional biscuits because you are not putting any effort into cutting cold butter into flour. Just combine everything, stir, knead a few times and you are good to go! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Peach Marmalade with Walnuts

Day 2 of peaches. That means more jam. Two weeks ago I stumbled across an old recipe of my grandmother's for peach marmalade. I have never had peach marmalade. By the time I'd come along, my grandmother no longer canned anything. She had settled into her 7 meal rotation. The only variation came on holidays or special occasions. Then she served the traditional dishes associated with that holiday.

My grandmother passed away when I was in high school. Since then I have spent hours exploring her old recipes, looking for little gems she'd tucked away, forgotten to time. Some are little clipping from magazines. Others are hand written on recipe cards. This was one of the hand written ones.

The problem with her handwritten recipes are that she included limited instructions and rarely wrote down how much the recipe should produce. Her recipes from the 1940's were often written to accommodate a family of 5. Her recipes from the 1970's and 1980's were meant to accommodate 4 families. She felt a need to not only supply herself and my grandfather, but also her children's families.

This must have been one of those later recipes. It started with 2 dozen peaches. I chopped up 6 heaping cups and stopped. I ended up with  almost 14 half-print jars of marmalade. I would still be in the kitchen had a followed the recipe exactly.

I must say that this is DELICIOUS and nothing like the traditional marmalade that is mass produced. I was lucky to stumble across this recipe and it is something that I will be making every year.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Spiced Peach Preserves

I'd like to introduce you to my new best friend.

I purchased it last fall on clearance. You can purchase your's at the Fresh Preserving Store. This little device is amazing if you detest standing around over a hot pot stirring for 30-45 minutes straight. 

It is peach season in my kitchen. So I'm a month behind the rest of the south but there is a logical explanation for that. My peaches came from my dad's peach trees in Ohio and I'm cheap. His peaches are free to me. Plus, homegrown just tastes better.

Today's creation is Spiced Peach Jam. Spiced just enough to add to the ripe, juicy flavor of the tree ripened peaches.

I used my wonderful jam maker. However I have included directions for the old-fashioned method for those are not opposed to the hand stirring.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Three Cheese Tortellini with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Summer is slowly drawing to a close. The sun is beginning to set just a bit earlier. The days are becoming shorter. It is time to make the most of these last few glorious days of bright sunshine and beautiful weather.

It is also time to make the best of the last few garden goodies. I spent last weekend raiding my parents' garden to get all the beautiful, juicy red tomatoes I could find. The result was over 10 gallons on tomato puree waiting patiently in the freezer for me to process into ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and chili sauce.

The few less than perfectly red tomatoes have been waiting patiently on my counter, getting redder each day, slowly reaching perfection.

Today I needed some comfort food. The good Italian kind that blends all the traditional Italian herbs, garlic, and tomatoes. And of course cheese. Italian food is never complete without some aged parmesan or some mozzarella.