Tuesday, March 31, 2009

North Carolina Sweet Potato "Short 'n Sassy" Recipe Contest


So I mentioned earlier that I was entering recipe contests. One contest is for North Carolina Sweet Potatoes. I created a butterscotch sweet potato sandwich cookie a butterscotch cream filling. These cookies are so rich and full of flavor that you will defiantly need a glass of milk!


Butterscotch Sweet Potato Cookie Sandwiches

Cookie:
1 package vanilla cake mix
1 package butterscotch instant pudding (4 servings size)
1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ginger
6 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
1/3 cup flour
4 eggs
¼ cup oil
1 ¼ cup sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed

Filling:
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup powered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
6 ounces butterscotch morsels
1 tablespoon milk
½ cup marshmallow cream


For cookie:
Mix all dry ingredients and three tablespoons of the brown sugar together, making sure there are no lumps. Slowly beat in eggs one at a time making sure each egg is mixed in thoroughly. Blend in oil and then sweet potatoes. Use a tablespoon and scoop batter out and place evenly apart on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle cookies, evenly with remaining brown sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies spring back when touched. Remove and allow to cool completely.

For filling:
In a bowl cream butter and powdered sugar, and then stir in vanilla. Melt butterscotch morsels and milk in a double broiler, until creamy. Blend melted butterscotch with sugar mixture until smooth. Fold in marshmallow cream. Spread filling on one cookie, top with another cookie and enjoy.
For more information on North Carolina Sweet Potatoes, please visit:

Award Wining Recipes

So lately I have been obsessed with recipe contests. I love the challenge of inventing or re-inventing recipes. I love flipping through cook books and watching cooking shows to get inspired. I have entered in quite a few and will be entering in several more as the months go on. Who knows I might even win an award or two. You all will have to check back on a regular basis to get the results!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Spice of Life


The Spice of Life
A recent study at the University of Georgia found that herbs and spices are rich in antioxidants; which have been shown to reduce the signs and effects of aging. The study also showed that herbs and spices also prevent tissue damage and inflammation caused by high blood sugar.

More common antioxidants are blueberries and pomegranates- but these tasty and powerful fruits come with hefty price tags. The spices that were included in the study, are common every day herbs and spices that can be found at your local grocery store and home spice cabinet.

Professor co-author James Hargrove had this to say about the study:

“Because herbs and spices have a very low calorie content and are relatively inexpensive, they’re a great way to get a lot of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power into your diet.”

The most powerful and herbs and spices that pack the most punch, are:
Cinnamon
Cloves
Oregano
Sage
Thyme
Rosemary
Yellow Curry
Red Pepper
Cumin
Ginger

One study at the Nutrient Data Laboratory shows that one teaspoon of cinnamon or cloves has more antioxidants than half a cup of blueberries and more antioxidants than an eight ounce glass of pomegranate juice.

So the next time you are trying to “spice up” your dinner add a little extra; because it won’t kill ya!

For more information or for spice filled recipes please visit the following websites:

http://www.uga.edu/news/artman/publish/080805_spices.shtml

http://www.mccormick.com/spicesforhealth/SevenSuperSpices.aspx

http://www.mccormick.com/spicesforhealth/~/media/Files/Sites/Mccormick/ORACChart.ashx

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Contact Information

Questions or comments about a recipe? Suggestions for the blog? Want to know about something or just rant and rave? I am not afraid- email me (Heather) at kitchen_concoctions@hotmail.com
I will try to respond as quickly as possible and answer all your questions but I may have to do some research if you ask me about rocket science or how to say something in Russian!

For the Love of Food

Ugh what do I even write in this section!?! How is one supposed to write about themselves without seeming cocky or bragging about myself. I mean obviously I have a love of cooking and trying new foods. Obviously I love to write about my trials and errors and of course my successes in the kitchen and any other interesting food facts I learn.

But ok seriously I guess I will tell you a little about me. I am a Texas Gal- not born, but raised. My earliest cooking memories are from my childhood and involve sugar cookies. For as long as I can remember we have baked sugar cookies for every holiday and spent hours decorating them. Not just for Christmas but also Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Valentine's Day, Fourth of July, St. Patrick's Day...... you get the point. We made pounds and pounds of butter cream icing (in every color- even black). Bought millions and millions of holiday themed sprinkles. We took our sugar cookie baking very seriously- never missing a holiday (sometimes even making our traditional cookies the day after the holiday).

As I grew older I started making dinner for my family. My family became my "taste testers" whether they liked it or not. There was many a times when my younger siblings would ask the infamous question "What's for dinner?". I would respond "It's a surprise!"; knowing full well how picky of eaters they were. My siblings would go running to my mom upset that dinner was not going to be "something they liked" or to try and see if my mom knew what I was making. My mom would always respond "We are just having one of Heather's Concoctions".

I am still "Concocting" things in the kitchen. But now it is not only my family who is trying it, but my boyfriend, his family, and our friends. My boyfriend at times will question my recipes or "kitchen adventures". And sometimes he absolutely LOVES the things I make and will rant and rave about it for weeks; and other times he will complain and not eat it at all. And to that I say "You win some you lose some! How do you think we got all of our favorite foods- by someone experimenting and putting different ingredients together."

The reason I started this blog is because I have always dreamt about being a food writer. Either being a food critic, or writing articles about food and it's history, or writing recipe books. Because of this dream I pursued a degree in culinary arts (because of this everyone thinks that means I am officially a 'chef', but I just blush and say that I am still learning). I have worked in the catering/restaurant industry for a number of years (rugh job but someone has to do it).

Food fascinates me! I am constantly writing and re-writing recipes. I am constantly trying new foods and I love to try new restaurants. I watch every show (and I mean EVERY) on the Food Network. I am always reading books and magazines on food and restaurants. My recent new thing is entering my recipes into recipe contests- the thrill and anticipation of waiting to see if I won excites me.

I have written many papers through out my life about food- why people become addicted to it; the history and making of cheese; different varieties of peppers; why the food industry is a billion dollar industry; different uses for food, other than just eating it; what is considered delicacies in other countries...

Blogging especially excites me because it does allow little, smartalec, ME to be a food writer. I may never be a famous or have my own TV show (I say this because I don't want to sound cocky- but I WILL be famous one day- you just wait), but maybe through this Blog I can fulfill some of my writing and cooking dreams; and have fun along the way! So hears to good eats!
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