Texas Fruit Cooler
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Texas Fruit Cooler
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I have a vision in my head and drawn on paper of how I want things to turn out but my brain and computer and blogger cannot seem to all get along!
So pardon my dust while the site is under construction! As I try and adjust things I hope you will still come and visit. I will try and post as many "fun" food related posts as I can, while I try and figure things out.
Thanks for being patient with me and not judging me or my blog too harshly as we figure things out and learn blogging 101!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Sometimes I get frustrated because I think I have a brilliant idea for a new recipe and then I look in a cookbook or watch the Food Network and I see the same exact thing that I thought that I had just created or something very similar. I then get bummed out and discouraged because here I am thinking I am being creative and the idea has already been done.
But then I was thinking people have been cooking and baking since the begging of time. It can only be expected to have recipes repeated, or improved upon. I mean come on, I have seen tons, I mean, thousands of chocolate cake recipes. Because baking is a science and you have to have so many teaspoons of baking soda per cups of flour to make it rise; so then your "basic" chocolate cake recipe is going to be pretty common. Now there might be slight variations on the amount of vanilla, butter, or sugar. Or you might even add a fruit or chocolate chips or have vanilla frosting instead of chocolate; but the general recipe and list of ingredients is going to be pretty close to the same everywhere you look.
Recently I wanted to make mashed potatoes. Usually when we eat mashed potatoes Eric makes them and they are great. However I wanted to create a 'new' mashed potato recipe, so that I could post something different on this blog. So I had this brilliant idea to use cream cheese in this "new and improved version" of mashers. I was so excited about my idea and new recipe that I jotted it down and set it aside for the next time I was going to make mashed potatoes.
So then last week when I was tyring to use up the pork chops I had in my freezer I decided I would make my new mashed taters- but what would I do with the pork chops. That is when I turned to Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals 2. I was flipping through the book when saw IT: MY Idea for "new and improved" mashed potatoes with cream cheese. How dare she steal MY idea.....or..... did I steal hers? I totally 'created' my version WAY before I even saw her recipe, before I had the book, before I had even seen her book! I guess it goes back to the fact that everyone has to eat and that we as a human race have been eating since we existed- so I suppose there are going to be a few recipe repeats and similarities along the way.
When I started this blog I said that I would try to post a lot of my own recipes and any that were not my own I would give credit to those who they were(just common courtesy). So I am going to post Rachael Ray's mashed potato recipe with cream cheese and mine. I will let you be the judge as to which one is better! : )
Cream Cheese Potatoes
1/2 cup milk
4 ounces cream cheese
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
Place the potatoes in a large pot with cold water. Once the water comes to a boil, add a generous amount of salt. Boil until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10-12 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot to let them dry. Set aside. In a small sauce pan heat milk, cheese and onion over medium-low heat until cheese melts and mixture bubbles. Pour into potatoes and mash. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chives.
Now for my version, and the ones pictured below.
Silky Mashed Taters, with Bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, diced
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled into pieces
salt and pepper
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook potatoes until tender- about 12-14 minutes. While potatoes cook, take a small sauce pan and heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Saute until tender. Set aside. When potatoes are done drain and put into a bowl. Add onion mixture, cream cheese, buttermilk, bacon, salt and pepper to taste. Use an electric mixture and mix until smooth.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
I continued to love reading up through high school. Not only the assigned books for school but all sorts of novels.
But now, now I am hooked again. Eric and I have been obsessed with reading and collecting books we hope to read. We scout out new and more specifically, used bookstores looking for bargains. My stack of summer reads are getting taller and taller. I have promised my self that I won't buy any more books until I get some of mine read; but when you can find good books in great condition at amazing prices I can't pass it up (I want my dream house to have a library in it where the bookshelves go from the floor to the ceiling and are packed with books). Will there ever be enough time to read the thousands of books on my list? Oh I do hope so!
Not only have I picked up a bunch of great summer beach reads, I have acquired quite a few new cook books too. When I started this blog one 0f the features I wanted was to have cookbook reviews. However, my cookbook collection is growing so fast, that I don't have enough kitchen time to keep up with the growing cookbook collection.
I then stumbled upon the blog "Taste and Tell". The author Deborah takes one cookbook and names it her cookbook of the month and then posts one new recipe a week for the entire month from that cookbook. I liked this concept because it would help me not feel so overwhelmed by the said cookbook collection. If I focused on one book a month, then I could really focus on it. You see when I get a new cookbook I have to dive right in and start picking it apart and studying the recipes (and of course start making them). But when I go on cookbook over load (as I have done lately) I get overwhelmed and what to start reading and cooking from every book; and there is just not enough time in the day (or meals to be eaten) to keep up with that.
So starting next month that is my goal- to pick ONE cookbook to focus on and to challenge myself to cook up one recipe a week from the honored book and (here is the difficult part) post each weeks selected recipe that week.
Since this month is almost over (man if you think about it the year is half way over- where does all that time go!) I will finish up the month with a couple of recipes from a recent cookbook read (do people actually read cookbooks or is that just a weird thing that I do- actually sitting down and reading a cookbook from start to finish).
Anyways, this post is just dragging on and on so let me get to it. I recently read Rachael Ray's cookbook 30 Minute Meals 2. I know this is an older book but since I get the majority of my books (cookbooks or not) from used or discount bookstores I have to get what is on hand (but at $1 or $2 dollars a pop I don't mind if they are a year or two old). I don't know why I have been on such a Rachael Ray kick lately (I guess since her books are so popular and they have been the only cookbooks worth picking up lately at the used bookstores). But I guess I also like her because most of her recipes come out good and they are easy to make. I do have a few complaints about her cookbooks, but I will save them for another post (because this one is way too long any way and I just keep typing away).
The first recipe I tried from this book was Israeli Spice Chicken. Rachael says that the Israeli rub is pretty neutral and can be used on any meat: chicken, turkey, steak. So since I still had pork chops I had to use I tried it on them. It was good and had a lot of different flavor (but it was not nearly as good as MY pork chop recipe). The recipe makes a lot of the rub and Rachael writes that it can be stored for 6 months in a cool, dry place; so I think it will try it again on chicken.
Israeli Spice Pork Chops
adapted from Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals 2
4 pork chops (original recipe uses chicken breasts)
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 Tablespoons Israeli Spice Rub (recipe follows)
Place pork chops in a shallow dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Rub meat liberally with spice blend. Let marinate for 30 minutes. Place under broiler and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side until done.
Israeli Spice Rub (for meat and fish)
adapted from Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals 2
1 1/2 Tablespoons paprika
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander (I used 1 teaspoon all spice since my grocery store didn't have coriander, well it probably did I probably just didn't look hard enough)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper (the original recipe didn't call for this I just added it)
Mix all of the spices together. Can be used for any type of meat or fish. Can be stored in a sealed container and kept in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
Yes, I am finally done with this post (it only took me two freakin' days).
Friday, June 12, 2009
However when he said chimichangas I cringed even more because I knew it involved deep frying (again not a high success rate here). He talked them up and bashed my dinner ideas so I decided to quite arguing and let him try it.
He first made taquitos and they turned out awesome (at least the ones I ate). And then came time for the chimichangas. I had just so happen to step away for a few moments and came back to kitchen full of smoke. No correction, not just the kitchen, the entire house. I was living my nightmare all over again. I started 'flipping out' , as Eric so nicely put it. He hurried and fished the blacked chimi's out. I ate half of one to show support just as he has done so many times for me but we both agreed that we would just stick to the taquitos.
I don't know if we get the oil way to hot every time we try to fry something or we just don't have the right equipment or what. Maybe it is the universe trying to tell us we need to eat healthier. Well the below recipe is my way of fighting the universe to eat more healthy. It is my personal version of the peanut butter cookie.
June just so happens to be National Candy Month and June 12th just so happens to be National Peanut Butter Cookie Day. So this recipe is a perfect way to celebrate both. Eric was begging me and begging me to make Peanut Butter Cookies. So I decided to make him the ultimate outrageous peanut butter cookie (even though he made a HUGE mess in my kitchen that I had to clean up AND made my house smell of burnt oil). These cookies are absolutely amazing and completely live up to their name!
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons peanut butter
¾ cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
6 mini/fun size Butterfinger candies, crushed (or 3 large/regular sized)
12 mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, cut into quarters (or 6 large/regular sized)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.
In another large bowl, beat the butter and all of the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the brown sugar and 3/4 cup sugar and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate chips and candies. Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in bowl. Form dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes. Do not over bake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.
Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
But then I am torn what do I say, how much personal information do I share. I mean I have to write a little bit about my self and things I try, do and see. But this is still my personal life and even though there are things I am willing to share with kind strangers, I don't want to over step my boundaries with regards to posting things regarding myself, my friends and my family.
With all this being said I think about the family that is popular tabloid news lately- Jon and Kate Plus 8. I have to admit that I am kind of obsessed with them. I have watched their show several times (I am actually watching it as I type this) but I can't help it the kids are so adorable. But have they gone too far? I am sure when they originally signed up for the show they had good intentions to do the show to help them with the expenses of a family of 10. But what about the kids? Many feel they have let fame and fortune control and manipulate them. At least with the blog I am in complete control. I convey as little or as much information as I want. I am not being told what to do or what to write.
I constantly tell myself that when I am rich and famous I will remember my humble beginnings. Thank my friends, family, and fans that have stuck with me from the very beginning. That I will be grateful for book signings and that I will stay positive and not let my overworked, tired self that sometimes becomes grumpy with lack of food and sleep ruin a fans day. That years from now I will still have great ideas and be funny. That I will not let fame get to my head that I will be true to my roots.
Anyways, maybe as my blog grows I will began to feel more comfortable sharing more personal thoughts and feelings, but I don't want to end up in the tabloids! This all doesn't make sense. I feel like I am just babbling on.
So with all that random babbling being said and back to reality the below recipe is amazing (DO NOT QUESTION ME ON THIS ONE)! I haven’t cooked pork chops in quite a while but recently got them at a great deal. I looked and looked for THE recipe to cook up these bad boys but nothing seemed just right. So after going through my pantry and fridge this is what I came up with. And I must say I am giving my self two pats on the back (and rubbing my stuffed belly at the same time; I know I am soooo talented) for a job well done on this amazing dinner!
French Onion Pork Chops
4 bone in pork chops
1 pkg. French Onion seasoning (the stuff you make dip out of)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup vegetable stock
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper
White rice, cooked (enough for your family)
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. When the butter is melted, add the sliced onions, salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until caramelized, about 15 minutes, or until melted down, brown and sweet.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Yes my friends, more free food! Today is National Doughnut Day! To celebrate Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Donuts will give away one free donut per customer. At Dunkin Donuts you must by a beverage to receive your donut but at Krispy Kreme it is free, no strings attached, no minimum purchase.
Dunkin' Donuts also celebrated the National Holiday by announcing the winner of their "Create Dunkin's Next Donut Contest". Supposedly 130,000 people entered but the grand prize winner ($12000 and the winner's donut featured at Dunkin Donuts) was Jeff Hagger from Hoover, AL. His prize winning donut is called "Toffee for your Coffee". Congrats to him(it should have been me but hey I am no sore looser)!
National Doughnut Day was established in 1938 by the Chicago Salvation Army to raise much-needed funds during the Great Depression. This stemmed from WWI when the Salvation Army "lassies" (ladies) were sent to the front lines of Europe. These brave volunteers made home cooked foods, and provided morale support to the troops. Often, the doughnuts were cooked in oil inside the metal helmets of American soldiers. The infantrymen were commonly called dough boys. Salvation Army lassies were the only women outside of military personnel allowed to visit the front lines.
I feel like such a slacker since I did not get to post this until mid afternoon on National Doughnut Day. Usually I am on top of things like this and would have let you all know at least a day in advance. However I am going out of town this weekend and have been very busy getting ready and working a lot this week (so I can afford to travel many miles away and have lots of fun). So maybe you all can still get a free or semi-free donut as an afternoon pick me up (or sugar rush, however you want to look at it)!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
I worry that I won't be funny enough or people will stop caring about or finding interest in what I have to say. My boyfriend, Eric, tells me not to worry; that I am funny, and witty, and always making good food and coming up with good recipes (I think he just says that because he worries that if I stop doing the blog that means I will stop cooking and baking on an almost daily basis). I look at my Blogger Idols like The Pioneer Woman, Culinary Concoctions By Peabody, Picky Palate, The Sisters Cafe and admire their elegant and witty blogs that always have wonderful, beautiful, tasty recipes. How can I even compare?
I then try and remind my self that I am always over-thinking things and always becoming obsessed and paranoid with things that I have no control over.
I am SO grateful and honored that so many people have visited my blog and let alone are reading it. I am SO pleased that I have the opportunity to fulfill one of my biggest dreams (writing, especially about food). I never thought that I would actually be able to write and have people read what I have to say. I know I may not be famous and only have a tiny fan base; but I am able to do something that I love and share that passion and knowledge with others and grow and learn as a person along the way.
I will probably still wake up in the middle of the night with ideas for the blog (so if you see a posting that is dated at 2 am don't think I am crazy or obsessed); but I like the challenge of continuing to grow my blog and make it better, and more delish, and more sarcastic and more..... Tasty. I originally saw this recipe on The Sister's Cafe; they called it Freshly Squeezed Lemonade(I called my version Hand Numbing Super Juice- no point in hiding the pain). The idea of fresh juice was mouthwatering. I do not have a juicer though; (I must acquire one) and had to HAND squeeze every piece of fruit for this juice. I must admit that when I make food I usually make enough to feed an army (or at least share with others); however since the amount of work involved in making this without a juicer was hard enough-I had to be selfish and keep this juice all to myself (ok- I wasn't totally selfish I let Eric have a sip or two) . It is so tasty and refreshing; definitely worth the work.
Hand Numbing Super Juice