Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Coconut Rochers - Chocolate With Francois

Many of the recipes in Francois Payard's recipes aren't for the faint of heart. The require multiple bowls, baking over multiple days and complicated processes. Fortunately, this month's recipe wasn't one of the complicated ones!

This month's recipe, Chocolate Coconut Rochers was chosen by Joanne at Apple Crumbles. These would make an interesting holiday cookie. Check out the recipe over at Joanne's site. I was curious. What's a rocher? Rocher means boulder in French. You can find the other CWF bakers rochers here.

As the egg whites were whipping, I went to the pantry to grab the mini chips. Guess what? Yes, you guessed it, no mini chips. I ended up using dark chocolate regular size chips. Payard suggests using a small ice cream scoop to shape the cookies. I used a regular size cookie scoop. The recipe says to take them out when the outsides are crisp. Mine never did get what I would call crisp. If you like coconut and chocolate and want an easy yet delicious cookie, give these a try.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday's, Tuesdays at the Table and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Pink Saturday!!

Are you decorating for the holidays this weekend? Tim put the outside decorations up last weekend. We're traveling so the indoor decorations will have to wait until next weekend. If I had room for another tree, this is the one I would buy!
I am linking this to Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Grilled Flank Steak with Coffee Sauce

As long as our grill isn't burried in snow, we grill in the winter. Flank steak is one of our favorite cuts of beef to grill. There's a couple of keys to tender, delicious flank steak. Don't overcook it and marinate it prior to grilling. I'm always in search of marinade recipes. Mary of One Perfect Bite has the most amazing recipes. This is just one of the many I've bookmarked to try.

The tangy dijon mustard and strong coffee give this steak a unique and tasty flavor. If grilling is on your menu sometime soon give this one a try, you won't be sorry!!!

Grilled Flank Steak with Coffee Sauce
Recipe Courtesy of One Perfect Bite

3 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided use
2 cups espresso or strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon Black pepper
1 (20-oz.) flank steak
Salt to taste
1 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons butter

1) Combine mustard, garlic, shallots, balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons oil, espresso, brown sugar and black pepper in a large pan. Reserve 1 cup of marinade to make sauce. Add flank steak and marinate for 2 hours, turning meat every 30 minutes.
2) Pat steak dry and season each side with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Add vegetable oil and heat until smoking hot. Add flank steak and cook for 3 minutes per side, brushing each side with marinade. Remove pan from heat, but tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
3) While beef is resting, combine reserved marinade and the beef broth. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to medium. Reduce sauce by 1/2. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk to incorporate. Correct the seasoning. Transfer steak to a cutting board and slice crosswise on the diagonal into 2-inch slices. Spoon sauce over meat and serve immediately. Yield: 3 to 4 servings.

I am linking this to Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

From The Good Life - Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all. ~William Faulkner

Monday, November 22, 2010

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed vegetables are hearty, delicious and filling. I've stuffed peppers before but never squash.

I can't find where I saved this recipe originally, if this is your recipe, thank you for such a delicious dish.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Stuffed Acorn Squash
1 acorn squash
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup mushrooms, diced
1 cup cooked grains (rice, quinoa, millet, or even just breadcrumbs)
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning or a combination of sage, marjoram, oregano, thyme and rosemary
salt and pepper

While the squash is roasting in the oven, sauté the onion, garlic, celery and mushrooms until soft. Add grains, broth and herbs and mix well. Spoon into the squash and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Serves 4-6.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pink Saturday!

Happy Pink Saturday!

A few weeks ago on our way to Tim's mom's in Minnesota, we saw this pink wheel loader. The load for the cure!
I am linking this to Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rosemary Corn Muffins

Spoiler alert - if you haven't watched the Top Chef Just Desserts finale, don't read this! Before we talk Rosemary Corn Muffins, did you watch Top Chef Just Desserts? Were you happy with the winner? I wanted Yigit to win but I was thrilled that Morgan didn't win.

Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs. I love it's wonderful scent and flavor. I brought my rosemary plant inside and hope to continue growing it inside this winter. In the meantime, just in case it doesn't like the indoors, I am trying to use as much as I can.

I love corn bread or corn muffins. This recipe takes corn muffins to a whole new level. The addition of the corn kernels adds depth and the rosemary gives them an earthy fragrance and flavor.

Rosemary Corn Muffins
Recipe Courtesy of Martha Stewart Whole Living
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus leaves for topping
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh corn kernels (from 2 to 3 ears of corn)
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, rosemary, and 1 cup corn.
2.Combine buttermilk, egg, and oil in a small bowl. Add to flour mixture, and stir until just combined.
3.Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling three-quarters full. Top with remaining 2 tablespoons corn and the rosemary. Bake until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool in tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Turn out muffins onto rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

I am linking this to Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

From The Good Life - Trader Joe's

Do you have a Trader Joe's in your city? Trader Joe's opened in Omaha last week. Tim and I stopped by on Saturday night about 7:30. The aisles were packed with shoppers and the shelves were somewhat empty. With the crowds, it was hard to see everything and shop. We decided, we'll come back when the newness wears off.

I've read lots of posts about your favorite Trader Joe's items. I wish I had written them down or saved them. We didn't have a Trader Joe's in Omaha and I didn't think we'd get one any time soon. Do you have a favorite Trader Joe product I should try?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Philly Spaghetti

Have you ever made any of the recipes on the inside of the Philadelphia Cream Cheese package? I think 99% of the recipes I've seen on there are for desserts or some sort of dip. When I saw this recipe for Philly Spaghetti, I was intriqued. I couldn't decide if it sounded good or awful. I was a little reluctant but decided to give it a try.

I am so glad I did. This spaghetti is delicious. The cream cheese adds another dimension to the flavor.

Philly Spaghetti
Recipe Courtesy of Kraft
3/4 lb. spaghetti, uncooked
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 jar (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed
2 Tbsp. KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
How to make it
Cook spaghetti as directed on package.
Meanwhile, brown meat in large skillet; drain. Return meat to skillet. Stir in sauce and cream cheese; cook on low heat 3 to 5 min. or until sauce is well blended and heated through, stirring frequently.
Drain spaghetti. Add to sauce; mix lightly. Place on platter; top with Parmesan.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Holiday Traditions

Can you believe it's less than two weeks until Thanksgiving? The older I get the quicker the fly by. I think it's payback for all those years of wishing the years would go faster when I was younger.

It seems with today's fast paced, electronic world the tradition of sending cards or writing letters is starting to fade. Do you remember writing letters as a kid? Did you have a pen pal? I loved to write letters and had a pen pal in Japan. Do you still send cards? Or do you send e-cards? I love to send cards and when I receive one, it always brings a smile to my face!

Do you send holiday cards? I love to search for the perfect holiday card. One with just the right picture and message. When Tim and I got married, we started sending photo holiday cards. It's so fun to search for the perfect card.

Shutterfly has so many choices for holiday cards. Once you choose your photos and the card design, putting it all together is quick and easy!!

You can send traditional style photo cards like this fun snowflake design.

Or this cute Christmas tree photo card.

Of if you're having a holiday cocktail party, this would be a great invitation!

Shutterfly is offering bloggers 50 free cards in exchange for writing a post about holiday cards. Interested? You can find the information here!

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this post, I will receive a promotional code for a package of 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly. Opinions about Shutterfly are my own.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

SMS - Strawberry Lemon Rosemary Muffins & A Winner

We have a winner!!! My blogging pal, Gnee of Singing With Birds is the winner of the $45.00 CSN Stores certificate! Congratulations, Gnee!!

Sweet Melissa's cookbook contains numerous sweet and savory versions for these muffins. The Peach version of these muffins was the first recipe I ever baked with SMS. Carmelized Onion, Sage and Cheddar were my first savory muffins.

The first time I made these I learned the batter was very thick and the muffins tend to be on the dry side. With each subsequent baking, I've been adding a little more milk or cream and depending on the moisture in the fruit or vegetables, about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of sour cream.

Lemon and rosemary are two of my favorite flavors. I couldn't wait to taste these muffins. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed. There was only a hint of the rosemary flavor and I could hardly taste the lemon. Rosemary can be such a strong flavor, I am always hesitant to add more but this is one recipe where more is necessary. With the price of strawberries right now, I decided to use frozen. I was a little concerned they might be too wet but I should have known better. Even with the addition of sour cream, these were still a little dry.

I am determined to figure out the perfect combination of milk, sour cream and vegetables or fruit for this recipe. I think it has the potential to make a fabulous muffin.

Thanks to the talented Shandy of Pastry Heaven for choosing this weeks recipe. You can find the recipe on her blog. If you'd like to see the combinations chosen by the other SMS bakers, go here!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Happy Pink Saturday!

A beautiful rose from our recent visit to Lauritzen Gardens.
I am linking this to Pink Saturday at How Sweeet the Sound.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Red Wine Poached Pears

There's still time to enter my giveaway.
Poaching is a cooking technique I rarely use. Poach - to cook food gently in liquid just past the boiling point. Do you have a favorite recipe using this technique?

Pears poached in red wine are so beautiful! With all of the pumpkin and apple recipes flooding the blogsphere, it's a nice change. This is an easy, yet elegant dessert. It can be served along with whipped cream, creme fraiche, mascarpone or even vanilla ice cream.

Red Wine Poached Pears

6 medium sized firm pears (Bosc pears work well for this recipe)
2 cups red wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
4 - 5 peppercorns
cinnamon stick
pinch of nutmeg

Select a sauce pan which just holds all of the pears lying on their sides.
Mix the red wine, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and nutmeg in the sauce pan. Place on medium heat and bring to a very low boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
Meanwhile peel the pears. For a pretty presentation, leave the stem on and cut a thin slice off the bottom of the fruit so it will stand upright when served.
Place the pears in the simmering wine sauce and cook for about 25 minutes, or until the pears are tender but not mushy. Turn them over 1/2 way through cooking time.
Carefully remove the pears when they are done. Reduce remaining sauce by boiling it for about 7 minutes or until until it is thick and syrupy. Place the pears as you are intending to serve them and spoon sauce on top.
Poached pears are perhaps best served at room temperature, but you can keep them in the refrigerator and serve cold.
Serves 6

I am linking this to Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

From The Good Life - Veterans Day

Take time today to remember those who have lost their lives and those serving our country! A special tribute to my Father, who served in Pearl Harbor. At 91, I imagine he's one of the few remaining survivors. Thank You, Dad!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Coca Cola Cake

Don't forget to enter my giveaway here!!

Have you ever had Cracker Barrel's Coca Cola Cake? We don't eat at Cracker Barrel a lot but when we do, it's for breakfast. Usually I don't eat cake for breakfast, notice I said usually. There's quite a few copy cat recipes for this cake. When I found this recipe, using diet coke and a low fat cream cheese frosting, I couldn't pass it up.

I was skeptical, just cake mix, coke and two egg whites? Would it rise or cook properly? Don't be skeptical. This cake is so good. It is so moist and the frosting is delicious. I am looking forward to trying some of the other versions of this cake.

Diet Coke Cake
Recipe adapted from Erin of grin and bake It

1 box of chocolate cake mix
1 can Diet Coke
2 egg whites

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Bake according to the directions on the cake box. Makes 24.

Flavor Variations

Chocolate cake mix and Diet Coke
Spice cake and diet root beer
Vanilla cake mix and diet root beer
Pineapple cake mix and 7 Up
Vanilla cake mix and 7Up
Vanilla cake mix and diet orange

Low Fat Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. light cream cheese, softened
1 c. marshmallow cream
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. powdered sugar

In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese, marshmallow creme, lemon juice and vanilla until well combined. Then gradually beat in the powdered sugar.

Makes 1 3/4 cups

NOTES: The use of marshmallow creme instead of butter in this easy frosting recipe keeps the fat, calorie and cholesterol counts low. To simplify clean-up, spray the measuring cup with non-stick spray before attempting to measure out the marshmallow cream!

I am linking this to Tuesday's at the Table and Tasty Tuesday's.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ginger Custard Pumpkin Crustless Pie

Don't forget to enter my giveaway here!!
I was going to skip this week's SMS until I read everyone's reviews about how delicious this is and realized I had some leftover pumpkin in the fridge. Since pie crust and I aren't friends, I decided to go crustless and make these in ramekins.

The recipe calls for scalding the cream. I am sure I've made recipes before where scalding is required? I was curious, though, what is scalding? "To heat a liquid, generally referring to milk or cream, to just below the boiling point. It should be heated just until tiny bubbles begin to form at the very edges. "

I whisked the eggs for this recipe by hand. Are you watching Top Chef, Just Desserts? In the relay race two weeks ago, the contestants were challenged to whip 6 six egg whites to hold upside down for 10 seconds. That's amazing!!

I baked these in a water bath for about 25 minutes. I think they could have baked a few minutes longer. While I thought these were delicious, I was hoping the cinnamon and ginger flavors would be stronger. I could barely taste them. Maybe steeping longer would have helped? This recipe is a nice change from my standard pumpkin pie recipe.

Thanks to Debbie of Everday Blessings of Five Dees for hosting this week. You can find the recipe on her blog. If you'd like to see what the other SMS bakers created this week, go here!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pink Saturday & A Giveaway!!!

Happy Pink Saturday!!

For the details on my giveaway, go here!!! The winner will be announced on November 12th . Thanks for entering!!!

I am linking this to Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Crock Pot Black Bean Enchiladas & A Giveaway!!!

Have you started your holiday shopping? Or do you wait until the last minute? Just in time for gift giving, CSN stores has offered me a $45.00 gift certificate to giveaway to one of my readers (USA or Canada). Have you checked out CSN Stores? CSN Stores has EVERYTHING, from drop leaf tables to cookware.

How to enter is simple!! Sign up to be a follower of my blog and leave me a comment! If you're already a follower, just leave me a comment and you're entered. I will be picking a winner on November 12th. Good luck and thanks for reading my blog!!!

I try to serve as many meatless meals as I can each week. I've mentioned this before but for those of you who are new readers, my husband doesn't think it's a meal without some meat. In fairness, he's gotten a lot better about it the past couple of years. In fact, there's some meals he says he likes and (almost) doesn't miss the meat! This was one of those meals. Black beans are an excellent substitution for meat.

The cooking time for this recipe is 2-4 hours on high. I cooked for 5 hours on low. It was perfect!!

Slow Cooker Enchiladas
Recipe Courtesy of The Kitchn
Serves 4-6

1/2 yellow onion
2 bell pepper, diced small(any color)
1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspooncumin1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cheese, shredded and divided - we like monterey jack
2 16-ounce jars of your favorite salsa
12 6”-8” tortillas, flour or corn
Optional: 1 cup leftover meat - chicken, pork, hamburger, or shredded beef

In a medium bowl, mix together the onion, pepper, black beans, corn, spices, meat (if using), and just 1/2 cup of the cheese. Pour about a cup of salsa (half a jar) into the bottom of the slow cooker and spread it around evenly.
Scoop about 1/3 cup into one of the tortillas, roll it up, and nestle it into the bottom of the crock pot. Repeat with the half of the remaining filling, rolling tortillas until the entire bottom of of the crock pot is filled. Spread another cup of salsa over this layer and sprinkle it with another 1/2 cup of cheese.
Continue with the remaining filling and tortillas to create a second layer. Top with another cup of salsa, but reserve the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese for later. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 2-4 hours. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, sprinkle the leftover cheese over the top and let it melt.
Serve the enchiladas with the remaining salsa. Leftovers will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.
• To cook these enchiladas in the oven, layer the rolled tortillas in a 9x13 baking pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese, and bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes.

I am linking this to Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

From The Good Life

Last Friday night, The Landscaper named Lynn, had his annual weenie roast.
As a foodie, I was happy to learn we were dining on Rick's Meats homemade Smoked Bratwurst.
(You'll have to excuse the photos, they were taken in the dark on the iPhone.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Brownies are like chocolate chip cookies, there are a zillion recipes out there. Do you have a favorite recipe you always make? Or are you like me and you keep trying new recipes? I first saw this recipe on my friend Susan's blog. I bookmarked it and bought the mints immediately. Then what do I do? I forget about them. I was looking for toffee chips and burried in the basket were the mints. These are my favorite kind of brownie, gooey, chocolately with the addition of the flavor of mint.

The gooeyness of these made it hard to cut them into nice squares. I wonder if chilling them would have helped? Regardless they were delicious. This recipe goes in the make again soon file!!

Brrr-ownies (found on page 103 of Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan).
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 5 pieces
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup (6 ozs) York Peppermint Pattie Bites (or equal weight of patties) chopped into bits
Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with foil. Butter the foil and place the pan on a baking sheet.
Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Put the butter in the bowl, top with chopped chocolates and stir occasionally until the ingredients are just melted - you don't want then to get so hot that the butter separates. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.
With a whisk, stir in the sugar. Don't be concerned when your smooth mixture turns grainy. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and whisk vigorously to bring the batter together and give it a shine before gently stirring in the salt and flour; stir only until incorporated. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the peppermint pieces. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with the rubber spatula.
Bake the brownies for 30 to 33 minutes, or until the top is dull and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out almost clean. (The tip of the knife may be a touch streaky) Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.
When they are completely cool, turn out onto a rack, peel away the foil and invert onto a cutting board. Cut into 16 2 inch squares.