Saturday, December 31, 2011

Countdown to 2012 - Desserts

It's been so fun this week taking a look back at my favorite recipes of 2011. A big thank you to Sno White of Finding Joy in My Kitchen for hosting this party!!!

Our final countdown is my favorite recipe category, Desserts! Although I don't know for sure but if I had to guess I would think I've posted more desserts than any other category in 2011. I do love dessert but I also belong to two baking groups.

What were my favorite dessert recipes of 2011?

Happy New Year everyone! Cheers to 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Countdown to 2012 - Crock Pot Recipes

We're nearing the end of Sno White's Countdown to 2012. It's a fun way to look back at all of the recipes you made this year! Today's countdown features crock pot recipes.

If you follow my blog, you know I love my crock pot / slow cooker!! Working full time, it's so wonderful to come home and dinner is ready! It's interesting how crock pots have made a comeback. You can even find recipes that are considered gourmet.

My absolute favorite crock pot recipe this year is Root Beer Pulled Pork. When the grocery store has pork loin on sale, I purchase one, cut it into 4 or 5 loins and freeze them. Some recipes are better suited for the crock pot than others, this is one those recipes. After cooking the pork all day, just shred it, add your favorite bbq sauce and you have the best pulled pork for sandwiches!

Until this year, I'd never made a dessert in the crock pot. On one of our first camping trips this summer, I really wanted a dessert but didn't want to heat the oven. I found this recipe for Crock Pot Chocolate Cake! It's like a pudding cake and is delicious.

Tomorrow's our last countdown and we're ending the year with my favorite category of recipes, desserts!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Countdown to 2012 - Soup Recipes

So far this week in Sno White's Countdown to 2012, we've counted down with our favorite bread and breakfast recipes. I didn't have many to choose from in those two categories. However, today's countdown is soup recipes. I've blogged about quite a few soup recipes this year, so choosing my favorites took a little time.

I love French Onion soup. When I saw this recipe for Crock Pot French Onion Soup, I questioned whether or not you could make good French Onion soup in the Crock Pot. I was pleasantly surprised to learn, you can.

My other favorite soup recipe, Sweet Potato and Black Bean, a meatless recipe that even my meatatarian husband enjoyed.

Stop by tomorrow for my favorite Main Dish recipes!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Countdown to 2012 - Bread Recipes

Today's countdown features our favorite Bread recipes of 2011. Although bread is one of my favorite things, I didn't blog about it much in 2011.

However, hands down my favorite bread recipe of 2011 was Nutella Banana Bread. I decided to substitute Nutella for peanut butter in banana bread. If you're like me and love Nutella, you'll love this bread.

You'll find lots of other great bread recipes over on Finding Joy in My Kitchen.

Check back for tomorrow's countdown, soup and stew!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Countdown to 2012 - Breakfast Recipes

In 2010, I participated in Countdown to 2011 hosted by Sno White of Finding Joy in My Kitchen. I was thrilled when I saw she was going to host the countdown again in 2011!

Today I am featuring my favorite 2011 breakfast recipes. Like 2010, I didn't post a lot of breakfast recipes. Also, like 2010, my favorite recipe is one of Sno White's. We bought a camper this year and prior to one of our first camping trip, I was thrilled to find Snow White's recipe for Crock Pot Breakfast!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

From Our House to Your House, Merry Christmas to All!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Meyer Lemons

We were fortunate to be able to spend Thanksgiving in Los Angeles with my son Justin, his girlfriend Lily, Lily's mom and sister. Not only did we celebrate Thanksgiving, we celebrated Lily's birthday. Justin surprised her with this cake. Isn't it amazing? That's their dog Ducky who was such a good dog while we snapped the photos!

Justin and Lily have a Meyer lemon tree in their backyard. It was covered with lemons. Fortunately, I had a little extra room in my suitcase and was able to bring 12 home with me. I've never seen Meyer lemons in the store here. Maybe Whole Foods has them this time of year.

I wanted to be able to savor the flavor of these lemons, so I decided to make Preserved Lemons.
These were so beautiful sitting on the counter for five days. I haven't tried them but plan to use them in a chicken recipe real soon.

Preserved Lemons
Recipe Courtesey of Epicurious
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds Meyer lemons (10 to 12)
  • 2/3 cup coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Special equipment: 6-cup jar with tight-fitting lid


Blanch 6 lemons in boiling water 5 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut lemons into 8 wedges each and discard seeds. Toss with salt in a bowl and pack into jar.

Squeeze enough juice from remaining lemons to measure 1 cup. Add enough juice to cover lemons and cover jar with lid. Let stand at room temperature, shaking gently once a day, 5 days. Add oil and chill.

Cooks' note: • Preserved lemons keep, chilled, up to 1 year.

Orange Marmalade was always in the fridge when I was a kid. Not really remembering whether or not I liked it, I decided to try making marmalade. I halved this recipe. After reading a few of the reviews, I added 1 tsp. vanilla. Also, I let it sit a week before tasting it. It has a nice tang but it's still sweet. Delicious on an English Muffin or Crumpet.

Meyer Lemon Marmalade
Recipe Courtesy of Epicurious
6 Meyer lemons (1 1/2 pounds)
4 cups water
4 cups sugar

Special equipment:

Kitchen string
6 (1/2-pint) Mason-type jars, sterilized


Halve lemons crosswise and remove seeds. Tie seeds in a cheesecloth bag. Quarter each lemon half and thinly slice. Combine with bag of seeds and water in a 5-quart nonreactive heavy pot and let mixture stand, covered, at room temperature 24 hours.

Bring lemon mixture to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until reduced to 4 cups, about 45 minutes. Stir in sugar and boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally and skimming off any foam, until a teaspoon of mixture dropped on a cold plate gels, about 15 minutes.

Ladle hot marmalade into jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of top. Wipe rims with dampened cloth and seal jars with lids.

Put jars in a water-bath canner or on a rack set in a deep pot. Add enough hot water to cover jars by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Boil jars, covered, 5 minutes and transfer with tongs to a rack. Cool jars completely.

I am linking this to Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes - MS Cupcake Club

Last Friday, we had all new appliances installed in our kitchen. I am so excited about my stove. It's a GE Cafe, their restaurant inspired appliances. Our local furniture store had on of this model left and we were able to get a great deal on it! The oven is convection and there's also a second oven that can be used for baking!

Having read a few articles about convection baking, I decide to bake these cupcakes on the convection setting. I baked these at 325 instead of 350 the recipe called for. I also began checking them at 15 minutes. Some of them seemed to have a bit of a crunchy top but all in all I was pleased with my first attempt at convection baking.

I remember my mom making Red Velvet Cake when I was a little. I'd never made one until this one I baked with Sweet Melissa Sunday's. The MS recipe was very similar to the SMS one. I did use a gel food coloring in this recipe and not only were my cupcakes more red, so were my hands.

Thanks to Cindy at Everyday Insanity for choosing this month's recipe. These are a perfect cupcake for the holiday season! You can find the recipe on Martha's website here!

I am linking this to Foodie Friday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Sweet Tooth Friday.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Baked French Toast - Club Baked

Many times when you read the list of ingredients for a French toast recipe, you'll find it calls for Challah bread. I never seem to be able to locate it and always use a thick toast of some sort. Last weekend while shopping at Trader Joe's, I was thrilled to find Challah.

Baked French toast recipes are perfect for this busy holiday season. You can make it the night before and bake it the next morning. We almost always have some sort of overnight dish on Christmas morning.

My favorite part of this recipe is the raspberry syrup. Yummy! It reminds me of eating at one of those pancake houses where you have all of these flavors of syrup to choose from but tastes so much better!!!

We liked but didn't love this recipe. The 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon wasn't nearly enough. I added more, maybe up to a teaspoon but still thought it lacked cinnamon flavor. I am going to make this recipe again for Christmas using a local bakeries French toast bread which is loaded in cinnamon.

Our host for this month seems to be MIA, so I'll be sharing the recipe with all of you.
You'll find the links to the other bakers French toast here!

Baked French Toast

Recipe Courtesy of Baked Explorations


For the Baked French Toast
1 loaf French, Italian or Challah bread, about 11 ounces
5 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup whole skinned almonds, coarsely chopped

For the Raspberry Sauce
1 cup fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or raspberry liqueur

Generously butter the sides and bottom of an 8 inch square baking pan. Cut the loaf into 1 or 1 1/2 inch slices and arrange in the pan.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until the just break up. Add the half and half, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Whisk until combined. Pour the mixture over the bread slices. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Use your fingers to flip each bread slice over, making sure to coat the entire surface with liquid. Arrange the bread in an overlapping pattern, sprinkle it with almonds, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until French toast is golden brown and the mixture is puffy. Set the French toast aside to cool in the pan.

Make the Raspberry Sauce
In a small saucepan, toss the raspberries with the sugar. Cook the mixture over low heat until the berries start to break down, about 10 minutes. Strain the cooked raspberry sauce into a bowl to remove the seeds, then stir in the lemon juice.

Assemble the French Toast

Pour the raspberry sauce directly over the warm French toast (or serve it alongside in a gravy boat) and serve immediately. Top with whole fresh raspberries, if you have any left over.
Bakers Note: If you are interested in a creamier bread pudding type recipe, increase the half and half to 1 cup and the milk to 3/4 cup. And any hearty, crusty white bread makes a great substitute for the baguette.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pumpkin Alfredo - Secret Recipe Club

It's Secret Recipe Club time again! Last month, when I said it was my fourth month participating, I was wrong. It was my sixth month. WOW, I can't believe it was June when I started. I've met some great bloggers and cooked up some delicious recipes.

My first month, I was assigned the Hagis and the Herring and made their Crunchy Roasted Potatoes and Carrots. Month two was Creative Culinary and her beautiful Lavender Martini. August was month three and The Wednesday Baker's Wild Blueberry Muffins. September was fellow Omaha blogger Biking and Baking's, Rosemary Squash Soup. Just in time for football season, October brought me Sticky Chicken Wings from Lavender and Lime. November was a delicious holiday breakfast idea, Eggs en Cocette from Searching for Spice.

For December, our hostess Tina of Mom's Crazy Cooking suggested we find a holiday recipe to share. Having not tired of eating pumpkin, I was drawn to Pumpkin Alfredo from Veggie Converter. Kristi has amazing vegetarian and vegan recipes, most of which I found would be easy to change or convert if you aren't vegetarian. Although we aren't vegetarian, we try to eat at least one meatless meal a week. To lighten the recipe up a little, I decreased the butter and increased the milk. The pasta was still rich and creamy.

When Tim saw what I was making, he questioned the peas. I used the small canned peas. They added nice flavor and color to the dish. As I was putting the finishing touches on the dish, I was wishing I had some fresh sage to add. I think sage would add a nice finishing touch. We enjoyed this hearty pasta dish.

Pumpkin Alfredo

1 pound spaghetti noodles
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (I used 1/2 stick)
4 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk (I used 1 cup of skim milk)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil spaghetti noodles according to package directions, add peas into the boiling water with 5-7 minutes remaining.

Meanwhile, brown garlic in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add butter and cream cheese, allow to melt partially. Add pumpkin and stir. Mix cornstarch with a bit of the milk to create a slurry. Add slurry and remaining milk to pan. Cook a few more minutes, stirring regularly, until thickened. Add Italian seasoning and House seasoning, to taste.

If serving immediately, mix sauce with noodles and peas. If serving later, package noodles and peas separately from sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chocolate Nutella No Bakes - Cookie Exchange

A few weeks ago, I was invited to a virtual cookie exchange over at Di's Kitchen Notebook. Reveal day was December 4th. As it seems with most of my posts these days, I am running behind. What's my excuse this time? Not moving, not Thanksgiving but putting up the Christmas decorations! Di was kind of enough to say it was okay for me to go ahead and post late! Thanks Di and thanks for hosting!!!

When I was growing up, Christmas always meant lots of holiday goodies. One I remember helping my mom make was Chocolate No Bake Cookies. Hers were gooey and oh so full of chocolate. Unfortunately, I don't have her recipe. I did some searching and found several versions. Although I don't remember the ones we made having peanut butter in them, most of the recipes I found contained peanut butter. I settled on a recipe I found on Food Network and decided to use Nutella instead of peanut butter. The cookies I remember as a kid were very gooey, I wanted to make one that was a little firmer. After reading the reviews, I decided to cook the mixture for five minutes instead of one minute. I think five minutes was too long, these weren't gooey at all. What they are though, is delicious. The Nutella flavor pairs beautifully with the chocolate.

Chocolate Nutella No Bake Cookies
Adapted from Food Network
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • Waxed paper


In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil, the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Let boil for 1 minute then add Nutella, vanilla and oatmeal. On a sheet of waxed paper, drop mixture by the teaspoonfuls, until cooled and hardened.

I am also linking this to Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday and Sweet Tooth Friday.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Spicy Chocolate Pots De Creme - Chocolate With Francois

Here I am again, at the last minute, baking Chocolate With Francois. We've been in our house 6 weeks, so I can't play the moving card. We did just return from spending Thanksgiving in Los Angeles with my son Justin, so I am going to say I am baking at the last minute because of traveling. Really I am baking at the last minute because I procrastinated before we left for LA.

I love all things chocolate which must be why I chose to start Chocolate With Francois. One of my favorite chocolate desserts is a simple Pots De Creme. When I saw this recipe for Spicy Chocolate Pots De Creme, I was intrigued and chose it for this months recipe.

I halved the recipe and ended up with four 5 ounce ramekins. A little hesitant about using too much pepper, I used a scant 1/4 teaspoon. I think I would increase the amount slightly next time. I loved these silky, chocolate desserts. This recipe is a keeper, so many possibilities for adding different flavors to the base recipe.

Spicy Chocolate Pots De Creme
3 1/3 cups heavy cream
7 ounces 72% chocolate (I used dark chocolate)
1/2 teaspoon pimete d'espelette* (I used red pepper flakes, finely ground)
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons of sugar

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 300.

Combine the cream and chocolate in a large saucepan over medium low heat and heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate has melted. Stir in the piment d'espelette.

Whisk together the egg, egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Whisk the mixture into the chocolate cream. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a pitcher or a bowl.

Pour the liquid into six 6 ounce ramekins. Place the dishes on a rimmed baking sheet and pout about 1/2 inch of hot water into the bottom. Cover the dishes with a large sheet of aluminum foil and bake for about 1 hour, until the custards are very lightly set.

Remove from the oven and let cool, without removing the foil. Once cool, transfer the dishes to the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

These can be made ahead and kept, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.

*Piment d'espelette is a type of pepper used in Basque cuisine. Payard says it has a distinct, yet delicate, heat which is perfect for dessert. You can substitute finely ground red pepper flakes.

I am linking this to Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nutella Banana Bread

I am late getting on the baking with Nutella bandwagon. There's so many recipes out on the blogsphere. I imagine I have a dozen or more in my bookmarks to try. We don't seem to have bananas left for baking very often, so when we do I quickly take advantage of them.

It's hard to decide whether or not to make my favorite banana bread recipe or a new one. I decided to substitute Nutella for Peanut Butter in this recipe. Unfortunately the flavor of the bananas overpowered the Nutella. The bread was still delicious. I think next time, I will use less bananas and more Nutella.

Nutella Banana Bread
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F . Grease and flour a large or two smaller loaf pans.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir in nutella, bananas, flour and baking soda until blended. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.

Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Buckeyes - Club Baked

I am really enjoying baking and cooking in my new kitchen. Although I didn't set them up this way intentionally, the layout of my cabinets just seems conducive to baking. As I was reading over the recipe for the Buckeyes, I was reminded of these Peanut Butter Balls.

I halved the recipe and ended up with 26 buckeyes. Because it was what I had on hand, I used milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate. My buckeyes have their eyes closed. I am anxious to read the other Club Baked members secrets for dipping these. The first three or four, I dipped were a just a mess. I decided to continue, like I do with the peanut butter balls, and cover the entire surface with chocolate.

Peanut butter and chocolate, does it get any better than this? Nope not really. While these are delicious, I can't get past the grittiness of the graham cracker crumbs.

You can find the recipe at Karen's Cookies and More and the links to the other Club Baked bakers here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Eggs en Cocotte - Secret Recipe Club

This is my fourth month participating in Secret Recipe Club. It's a fun group. Each month our hostess, Tina, assigns us all a blog. We get to pick from our bloggers recipe collection and post about it on reveal day! If you'd like to join, you can find the details here!

This month, I had the pleasure of choosing a recipe from Searching for Spice. Each month when I receive my assignment, I can't wait to check out my assigned blogger. It's hard to decide which recipe to make. I was torn between this soup and the eggs. We're still trying to get everything done around the new house. Sunday morning when I realized I hadn't made the recipe yet and needed something for breakfast, Eggs en Cocotte or Baked Eggs it is. I've never made Baked Eggs before. I decided to add mushrooms, Parmesan Cheese and Bacon to the eggs. I didn't have any cream, so I substituted skim milk. I wouldn't recommend skim milk, although the eggs were still good, they were a little runny. This recipe is a keeper and would make a great breakfast for company.

Eggs en Cocotte

Ingredients – makes 2

2 slices of bread (I omitted this and served toast on the side)

2 eggs

8 tsp cream


Black Pepper

Option 1

2 tsp grated parmesan

A few leaves of rocket (argula)

Option 2

2 tsp grated cheddar

1 mushroom

I used Bacon and Sauteed Mushrooms

How to Make Eggs en Cocotte

1. Flatten the bread with a rolling pin.

2. Grease the insides of 2 ramekins

3. Make 4 cuts through the bread starting from the middle of each side, stopping half-way to the centre.

4. Put the slices of bread into the ramekins so the sides that have been cut overlap each other.

5. Put the cheese in the bottom of each ramekin. Put some rocket on top of the parmesan one and some sliced mushroom on top of the cheddar one. Add 2 tsp of cream to each ramekin then add the egg. Top with another 2 tsp of cream, some salt and pepper.

6. Bake in the oven at about 350 for about 25 minutes. If you like a soft egg it will be ready sooner, but I prefer a harder egg.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

From The Good Life - Solar Drive In

A couple of years ago when Tim and I were picking up our convertible from his mom’s garage in Minnesota, we stumbled across the Solar Drive In in Springfield, Minnesota. We enjoyed an ice cream cone. It’s a warm and inviting spot with a fireplace and Food Network on the TV’s. I was immediately smitten. This was my kind of place. I said to Tim we need to come back here sometime to eat!

Saturday afternoon when Tim’s mom suggested we have a frozen pizza for dinner, I knew I had to come up with a better plan. Then it hit me, I said, let’s go try that great little drive in over in Springfield. Knowing we’d been there a couple of years ago, I was so hoping they were still open. I searched and found not only were they still open but they have a website, a blog and are on Face book!

First I checked out the menu and discovered this wasn’t your average drive in. They make all of their breads from scratch and their menu consists of way more than burgers and fries. Totally satisfied and excited about the menu, I explored other areas of the website. Seriously, the Solar Drive In has a blog, gives cooking classes and the owner and her daughter also have a blog! My trip to Darfur had taken on a whole new meaning; I was excited about the culinary adventure before me. Trust me when I say this doesn’t normally happen during our visits to Tim’s home town.

When we pulled up in front of the Solar Drive In, Tim said look they have one of those compost barrels you want and a raised garden! Knowing I planned to blog about this, I snapped a couple of pictures before we went in. Once inside it was decision time, the menu has so many great choices, it was hard to choose. I was torn between one of their burgers and a wrap. After reading the description of their wraps, my decision was made. Who could pass up a wrap where the wrap itself is homemade and not one of those store bought ones. They take their dough and stretch it thin and then bake it in the oven. Tim and Bernie both had Philly’s. The owners are originally from Pennsylvania, so they know a little bit about how to make a good Philly! For a side we chose the sweet potato fries. Yum, a drive in that serves sweet potato fries, it just keeps getting better! The fries were served with a dipping sauce. When I inquired what it was, I was told mayo and ketchup and their secret spices! Tim says it had to have some dry mustard in it; he has a thing about mustard! Regardless, the sauce was delicious and a perfect compliment to the fries!

While we were waiting for our food, I checked out their giant solar ice cream cone, all decorated for the holidays. They encourage you to take a photo. Like I seem to always do, I forgot to take a picture of the cone or my wrap. Once my food arrives, I am all about eating and totally forget the picture taking part. After we got home, I sent an email letting them know how much we’d enjoyed our visit. I asked if they would be so kind as to snap a photo of the cone and a wrap. Francine (the owner’s daughter) responded and provided those pictures I’d neglected to snap!

If your travels ever take you along Highway 14 in Springfield, Minnesota, stop by the Solar Drive In! It’s way more than a Drive In!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Every year during pumpkin season I always ask myself why I only make pumpkin recipes in the Fall. Pumpkin is so versatile, it can be used in savory or sweet recipes.

This cake is actually the first recipe I baked in our new house. When I saw this recipe over at One Crazy Cookie, two things caught my eye......the chocolate chips and the fact that one of the little boys at Tiffanee's preschool thought these were FANTASTIC! Besides the delicious pumpkin and spice flavors, this cake has a cream cheese icing! If you're looking for a deliciously moist pumpkin cake for the holidays, give this one a try!!!

Pumpkin Spice Cake
Recipe courtesy of One Crazy Cookie

1 16 oz. can pumpkin
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat together pumpkin, eggs, oil and vanilla until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat again. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake 30-35 minutes. Frost when still slightly warm.

8 oz. cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
Beat cream cheese. butter, vanilla and salt together. Slowly add powdered sugar slowly until fluffy and frosting consistency. Spread over warm cake.

Store covered in the refrigerator.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

From The Good Life

Sharing a few pics of our new home.......

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Apple Cupcakes - Club Baked

Two nights in a row I am going to play the moving card. Since we moved two weeks ago, time just hasn't been on my side where baking is concerned. However, this recipe looked delicious and Tim needed treats for work. I knew I didn't have time to make the layer cake and caramel sauce the recipe called for so I made a few changes. I decided to make cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

I cut the recipe in half and ended up with 21 cupcakes. I baked them for about 18 minutes. This recipe totally says fall. The aroma coming from the kitchen while this was baking was heavenly!! These cupcakes are so moist and very delicious. I would have liked a just a little more spice flavor in these!

Thanks to Melissa of Lulu the Baker for choosing this month's recipe. For sure, it's a keeper! You can find the recipe on her blog and links to the other Club Baked bakers creations here!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Chocolate Ginger Angel Food Cake - CWF

I spent all day yesterday unpacking the last of the moving boxes. The moving boxes that really needed to be unpacked, that is! The good news is I did it! The bad news is that didn't leave me a lot of time to bake for Chocolate With Francois. It's a proven fact if I wait till last minute to bake for one of my baking groups, the recipe won't turn out quite right. Once again, that's the case. I baked this cake after work tonight, yes the last minute! I am not sure if I didn't let it bake long enough or what but it didn't come out of the pan quite right. The texture is unlike any angel food cake, I've ever had before. The cake is very heavy and dense, not light and airy like I think of when I hear angel food cake. I omitted the candied ginger because I didn't have any and it wasn't in the cards to make some tonight. The flavor of the cake itself is good but I can't get past the texture!

You can check out the other CWF baker's cakes here. You'll find their cakes look much better than mine did. The recipe should be up over at Leslie of Lethally Delicious' blog sometime soon. If not and despite my not so great review, you want the recipe, just send me an email! Next up for CWF is Spicy Chocolate Pots De Creme!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Herbed Spaghetti Squash

I have been a bit of a slacker with my posts lately, moving has taken a tole on my cooking!

As I was looking for a recipe to post today, the ones remaining in my drafts were either squash or something pickled. I've made spaghetti squash only once before and I don't think I let it bake long enough. Spaghetti squash is so fun to make. You bake the squash and then use a fork to scrape out he strands of "spaghetti" in the squash. This would be a fun dish to make with kids.

Herbed Spaghetti Squash
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse
  • 1 small spaghetti squash, about 2 1/4 pounds
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed soft herbs, such as basil, chives, parsley and sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise and place, cut side down, in a baking dish. Add enough water to come 1/2-inch up the sides of the baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, until the squash is easily pierced with a paring knife. Turn squash over and cover with foil again and continue to cook another 15 minutes, until the squash is very tender. Remove from the oven, uncover, and allow to cool slightly. Using a spoon, remove the seeds and discard. Using a fork, gently pull the strands of squash away from peel and place the squash strands into a mixing bowl.

Heat a skillet. Add the butter, spaghetti squash, herbs, salt and pepper and toss thoroughly but gently to heat and combine. Serve immediately or cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

From The Good Life

Tim and I both have a love of water! Not the kind you drink, although we love that too but the kind you boat or swim in. When we were first looking for our house in Omaha six years ago, we drove around Riverside Lakes, a great community just on the outskirts of Omaha. We thought it would be a wonderful place to live but it just wasn't in the cards at the time. As it happens, Riverside Lakes is right by our dog kennel and our mechanic. Both of which we visit frequently, the mechanic sometimes too frequently! We'd often drive around the lake and comment on how much we'd like to live there.

A few months ago, we noticed there were several houses for sale. Just for the heck of it, I called on a couple of them, from there I contacted our real estate agent and set up an appointment to tour the houses. Tim was reluctant at first but I convinced him to take a look. After a few weeks of driving around and looking at houses, we decided to put our house on the market. We made an offer on the house at Riverside, they accepted our offer and 9 days later our house sold. The rest is history. Four weeks and way too many boxes later, we're enjoying a beautiful fall in our new home. Today I'm sharing a view from our deck. More pictures to come, as we get a few more of those boxes unpacked and some pictures on the walls.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sticky Chicken Wings - Secret Recipe Club

When I received my Secret Recipe Club blog assignment for the month, I immediately checked out her blog. Lavender and Lime is a lovely blog and one I have browsed on several occasions before! There's a lot going on here at Little Bit of Everything, so I needed a recipe I could make quickly and have ready in plenty of time for today's posting date.

It's football season and a few Sunday's ago there was a game between my KC Chiefs and Tim's Minnesota Vikings. Neither one of these teams had won a game yet this year, so this was a big event in more than one way. What foods do you think of when you hear football? Chicken Wings, Nachos and Dip are the first that come to my mind. I found a recipe for Sticky Chicken Wings on Tandy's blog. Perfect! Normally I make these wings, much more spicy than sticky.

I cooked these in the oven for about 30 minutes and then finished them on the grill. Tim enjoyed the wings a lot more than the outcome of the game. KC Chiefs 22 - Minnesota Vikings 17.



8 chicken wings

juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon crushed ginger

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon honey

½ teaspoon wasabi sauce

1 teaspoon crushed garlic


preheat the oven to 180°Celsius

make a marinade out of the lime, soy, ginger, oil, honey, wasabi and garlic

massage the marinade into the chicken and leave to marinade for 20 minutes

place the chicken and the marinade into an oven proof dish

season and cook for 25 minutes

grill for a further 2 minutes

Note: I grilled these for about 20 minutes. I didn't find these to be done after 20 minutes in the oven.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Exciting News From Little Bit of Everything!

Thursday, Tim and I are moving! I'll be back next week with recipes and more about the new house! Now off to pack another box!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Caramelized Onion, Cabbage and Sweet Potato Chowder

Are you a follower of Eats Well With Others? If not, you should check it out, I think you'll want to follow. Not only does Joanne have some delicious recipes that are good for you too, she also tells the best stories. Besides a terrific blog, Joanne's a med student and runs marathons. Can you say amazing?

A few weeks ago Joanne posted this soup, I thought it sounded delicious and I just happened to have a head of cabbage in the fridge. My husband is always telling me how much he dislikes cooked cabbage, so to humor him, I added some Italian sausage to Joanne's recipe. A soup is always better, where Tim's concerned, if it has meat in it. We so enjoyed this soup and Tim didn't even mind the cabbage.

Caramelized Onion, Cabbage, and Sweet Potato Chowder with Rosemary

Serves 4-5, adapted from Vegetarian Times September 2011 (Courtesy of Eats Well With Others)


1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
12 oz cabbage, cut into large dice (6 to 7 cups)
3 large onions, cut into large dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb sweet potato, diced
2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves


1. Combine pomegranate juice, soy sauce, and vinegar in small bowl.

2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and season with salt, if desired. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to shallow bowl.

3. Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onions and season with salt. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes, or until onions are softened, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook 16 to 18 minutes, or until onions are golden brown. Add garlic, rosemary and pomegranate mixture, stirring to scrape up browned bits on pan bottom. Bring to a simmer and cook 1 minute. Add cabbage, sweet potato cubes, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and cook 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Note: I added 3 links of Sweet Italian Sausage to this recipe.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday,. Foodie Friday and Full Plate Thursday.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins - Club Baked

When I saw this week's Baked recipe was for Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins I was curious. Would these be delicious or not so good? I first experienced savory muffins when baking along with Sweet Melissa Sunday's. After baking these Carmelized Onion, Sage and Cheddar Muffins, I decided I loved savory muffins almost as much as sweet ones.

The batter for these Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins is quite thick and at least for me, these didn't rise very much. I filled the muffin tins almost to the top and they rose just over the top. I made these for Sunday dinner a couple of weeks ago. My step son, Mike joined us for dinner. I wondered if he'd like the muffins or think they were gross, as only a teenager could express. Guess what, he loved them and so did we! These would be delicious with any fall or winter soup.

Thanks to Billie of Chocolate and Chakra for choosing this recipe. This one is a keeper!! You can find the recipe on her site. Check out what the other Club Baked bakers thought here!

Next up for Club Baked, Sawdust Pie!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Chocolate Rice Krispie Bars - Chocolate WIth Francois

Things have been a little crazy around here lately, I will share more once we know how it all shakes out. Needless to say, I was thrilled with this month's Chocolate With Francois recipe. Rice Krispie Treats, seriously? Way too easy for Francois. Of course, he just had to add an element to differentiate his from those Rice Krispie Treats we all know and love. His recipe calls for the Rice Krispie treats to be shaped into round spheres.

I made a half recipe, took the easy way out and used a 9 x 9 glass pan. Sometimes regular Rice Krispie Treats seem too sweet. You know when it's so sweet your teeth hurt? The cocoa in these seems to cut the sweetness making these delicious.

Thanks to Linda of Diva Weigh for choosing this month's recipe. You can find the recipe on her blog!

I am linking this to Foodie Friday, Full Plate Thursday and Sweet Tooth Friday!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Cookies - Cookie Carnival

Since things have been a bit crazy around my house lately, I was thrilled when I saw one of the recipes for this month's Cookie Carnival was to make cookies using a cake mix. I am not sure why I've never made cookies using a cake mix. Do you love cake mix? I do, I am one of those people who loves to lick the bowl, raw eggs and all! I did some searching on the Duncan Hines website and found this recipe.

If you like cake mix, give these cookies a try! They're delicious and too easy to make!

Cake Mix Cookies
1 box any flavor Duncan Hines cake mix (I used Devils Food)
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
(I added 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips)

Add 1/2 cup oil and two eggs to one box of cake mix. Add chips, nuts, and flavorings if desired.
Drop by teaspoonfuls on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

This is my entry for this month's Cookie Carnival and I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

Being from Kansas City, I always have one of Kansas City's many famous barbeque sauces in my fridge. Until this summer, I'd never made barbeque sauce from scratch. How about a non traditional barbeque sauce for my first try? This rhubarb barbeque sauce is delicious. It's a little on the sweet side, so it's not made for burgers or hot dogs but is perfect with pulled pork or chicken.

Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home

1 cup chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
2/3 cup water
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup ketchup
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup (I used molasses)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt


In a small saucepan, bring rhubarb and water to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat; cool slightly.
Place rhubarb in a blender or food processor; cover and process until smooth. Set aside.
In the same saucepan, saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; saute 1 minute longer. Add the remaining ingredients.
Whisk in rhubarb puree until blended. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 2-1/3 cups.

I am linking this to Foodie Friday and Full Plate Thursday!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rosemary Butternut Squash Soup - Secret Recipe Club

I don't know about you but I can't believe it's Secret Recipe Club time again. Another month has flown by. Fall is in the air here in Nebraska and the pumpkin farms are open for business.

When I received my Secret Recipe Club assigned blogger for the month, I clicked over on her site and read she'd just attended a Minnesota Twins game. Was she from Minnesota like my husband? I clicked around and found out she's not from Minnesota, she lives right here in Omaha.

Sarah of Biking and Baking is a med student and follows a plant based diet. Browsing through Sarah's recipes was a real learning experience for me. I ran across ingredients I wasn't familiar with like hemp seeds and lucuma powder. Lucuma powder is a raw, organic low glycemic sweetner.

I wanted to try and make one of Sarah's recipes without making too many substitutions. Sarah's Rosemary Butternut Squash soup was the perfect recipe. I had a Butternut Squash in the pantry from my CSA bag and Agave Nectar on the shelf. I used vegetable broth and no milk in my version. I'd intended to top mine with roasted pecans but forgot them in the oven and I didn't think burnt pecans were a good topping.

We love butternut squash soup at our house. Sarah's recipe is more savory than the recipes I normally follow. I love the addition of the smoky paprika, it adds a nice smoky touch to the soup. Thanks Sarah for a wonderful recipe for a fall soup!

Rosemary Butternut Soup
1 butternut squash
3 sprigs rosemary
olive oil
salt and pepper
2-3 cloves garlic
1.5 cup coconut milk (Sarah used the So Delicious drinkable kind, if you didn't have this she suggests soy or almond milk). I omitted the milk.
1.5 cup veggie broth
1 bay leaf
smoked paprika
drizzle agave
1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Slice squash in half, scoop out seeds. Peel garlic, rough chop onion. Place squash, onion, and garlic on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper. Bake until squash is soft, about 1 hour. You will need to remove the onion and garlic about half way through cooking time.
Place veggie broth, milk, an bay leaf in a stock pot. Bring to a simmer. Place onion and garlic in pot. Scoop squash flesh out of shell and place in pot. Whiz up with an immersion blender. Add a drizzle of agave and about a teaspoon of paprika, cinnamon, and cumin. Add about 2 teaspoons of dried basil and 1/2 teaspoon of oregano. Simmer together for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning/sweetness.
Toast pecans. Serve soup with a sprinkle of pecans:).

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pickled Green Beans

The CSA we joined this year has enabled us so many delicious fresh vegetables. As I see the morning temps begin to drop, I am reminded fresh vegetable season is drawing to a close. In order to be able to enjoy them a little longer, I froze and picked as many of the vegies as I could. One of my favorites was the pickled beans. These are perfect on a salad or even better in a spicy Bloody Mary.

Pickled Green Beans
Adapted from several recipes on the internet

½ lb string beans, trimmed (or as much will fit in a medium-sized jar)
1 c white vinegar
1 c water
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 T pickling spice
2 t sugar
½ t kosher salt
dash red pepper flakes
(Most of the original recipes called for dill weed. I didn't have any, so I just left it out)

1) Place string beans upright in a glass jar. Trim any ends that reach the top of the jar. Pack the jar tightly.

2) Combine all other ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl (or large measuring cup). Microwave for 90 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 90 seconds.

3) Pour mixture into jar, leaving ½ inch of space at the top. After you pour in the brine, if the jar's not full, add water and vinegar until it is. Screw on the lid.

4) Let cool to room temperature. Shake to distribute seeds and spices. Refrigerate.

5) Beans are ready after four days, and will last a month in the fridge.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday!