Monday, February 28, 2011

Cracaos - Chocolate with Francois

One of the things I like about Chocolate With Francois is it challenging my baking abilities! Boy does it challenge my baking abilities! If I look back over the past months of Chocolate With Francois, I've had more failures than successes. However, those successes are fantastic. what keeps me coming back is hoping that month's recipe will be another success. Unfortunately, this month's wasn't that next success.

Payard's explains Cracaos are a traditional European cookies. There isn't a picture of these cookies in the book. Being a visual person, I searched for Cracaos. Nothing, except a reference to the recipe in this book. Interesting! I am not sure I have ever baked anything that you can't find on the internet.

The recipe goes together easily. The challenging part for me began with the shaping of the cookies. Francois instructs the baker to roll the dough to 6 x 5 1/2 x 1 1/2, chill and then cut into 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 1/4 strips. I realized you have to cut the dough in half to get to 1/4. I decided to cut mine into stars. The dough was hard to work with and tricky to cut into shapes. I halved the recipe and ended up with 12 stars. The recipe calls for a baking time of 10 - 12 minutes. I think because of the larger shape of mine, they required a little longer baking time. After about 17 minutes, I opened the door to pull them out and check on them. I touched my forearm on the oven door. Hot oven and my reflexes made me jump. All but three cookies were either in the oven or on the floor in pieces.

I picked up the pieces, salvaged the good ones and placed them on a rack to cool. Once they'd cooled, I tried a couple of the pieces. I thought they were blah! Not at all what I expected. Since these cookies have toasted pistachios and walnuts, I thought they would be packed with flavor.

I am looking forward to seeing what this month's host, Astheroshe and my fellow CWF bakers thought of these and how their Cracaos turned out.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pink Saturday

Last weekend Tim and I went to Lauritzen Gardens. Beautiful blooms on a cold winter day!!!

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

Two Year Anniversary and a Dangerous Dessert

Today is the two year blogiversary of Little Bit of Everything. A lot of people blog as a career, to make some extra cash or as the start of a cookbook. I'm not blogging for any of those reasons, I am blogging for me! I love to cook. Blogging has given me the vehicle to showcase and prepare recipes, I might not otherwise try. What's your favorite thing about blogging? Mine is my readers! It's been so much fun getting to know all of you! I appreciate all of your comments so very much!!! I remember when I first started getting comments, it was like a present in my in box!! Thanks for reading my blog!!!

Without my husband, there not be a Little Bit of Everything. Tim is my photographer. He's so patient with me. When I say, no I don't like that shot or not from that angle, he just smiles and takes another picture. Dinner is often delayed a few minutes while we get a shot for the blog. I am always saying I need a "pink" for Pink Saturday. He finds a picture in the mass of photographs on his computer. I know I don't say it as often as I should but thanks for all you do for me and Little Bit of Everything! I love you!!

Have you ever eaten one of those Betty Crocker Warm Delights Molten Chocolate cakes? They're a quick, yummy treat. Certainly not as delicious as a homemade molten chocolate cake but perfect for a quick chocolate fix! I used a small bowl to "bake" this cake and it was the perfect size. Be careful not to cook this too long. The recipes calls for three minutes. Next time, I am going to try 2 1/2 minutes and see if it comes out more gooey! It will be fun to experiment with other chips, flavorings and applesauce instead of the oil. Way too easy make!!! This dessert is dangerous.

Dangerous 5 Minute Chocolate Cake
Recipe Courtesy of Bargain Hoot


• 4 tablespoons flour
• 4 tablespoons sugar
• 2 tablespoons cocoa
• 1 egg ( I just used an egg white)
• 3 tablespoons milk
• 3 tablespoons oil
• 3 tablespoons chocolate chips
• Small splash of vanilla extract
• 1 large coffee mug

-Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well.
-Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
-Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
-Add the chocolate chips and vanilla extract, and mix again.
-Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts

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

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Corn Chowder

If you have an extra minute, please vote for me in the Crock Pot Cook Off Contest at Baci Designer. I entered my French Onion Soup. Voting runs through Friday at midnight! Thanks!!!

I am really trying to waste less food. I heard a staggering statistic last week. Every day we waste enough food to fill the Rose Bowl. What to do with the red pepper in the fridge that was almost at the end of it's shelf life? How about a soup? I love the flavor of roasted red peppers, especially in soup.

The original recipe called for 2 cups of roasted red peppers and 2 cans of creamed corn. I really don't like creamed corn, so I chose to just use the frozen corn. The texture of this soup was more of a broth and less of a cream soup. The red pepper gives this soup a wonderful rich flavor.

Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Chowder
Inspired by the New England Soup Factory Cookbook

6 Tbsp. salted butter
2 cups diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 to 5 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & cut into 1/2" cubes
6 cups chicken stock or broth
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground bay leaves
3 lbs. frozen or fresh corn kernels
2 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 4 Tbsp. cold water
2 cups light cream
1 roasted red pepper, pureed until smooth
2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
Kosher salt & black ground pepper to taste

In a stockpot melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the potatoes and sauté for 5 minutes more. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes soften but don't lose their shape, about 10 minutes. Add the coriander, bay leaves, and corn. Bring back to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.. Add the creamed corn and the cornstarch water mixture. Return to a boil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cream, red peppers, cilantro, Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a slow simmer for 2 minutes.
Makes 10 to 12 servings

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday , Tuesday's at the Table,
Souper Sunday's at Kahakai Kitchen and Let's Do Brunch at My Sweet and Savory.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rum Truffles - Sweet Melissa Sunday's

Coming back from vacation is always hard. It takes me a week or so to get back in the swing of things!!! I read through this week's SMS recipe earlier in the week and had planned to make them yesterday. Yesterday came and went and no truffles! I just couldn't get motivated to make them. Today after reading everyone's reviews on how delicious these were, I was motivated. Now to find the time. Finally at about 6:30, I made them! Truffles need to chill at least two hours before they can be formed, so I didn't quite make Sweet Melissa Sunday's. More like Sweet Melissa Monday's.

All of the truffle recipes I am familiar with contain cream. Melissa's recipe calls for egg yolks. Egg yolks, seriously? Concerned that if I left the egg yolk out, the truffles wouldn't turn out properly, I decided to go for it. I quartered the recipe and ended up with seven truffles. These have a rich chocolate flavor with just a hint of rum. The egg yolk? I couldn't tell it was in the truffles. If you like truffles, give these a try. They're easy to make and are a beautiful treat! You can find the recipe at Nina's Cupcakes. Thanks for a great pick this week, Nina! Check out the other SMS bakers truffles here!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pink Saturday

Happy Pink Saturday! I am sharing a couple of pink's from our recent trip to Cabo.

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

Friday, February 18, 2011

Beer and Onion Chicken Carbonade

A few weeks ago I made Pot Roast Carbonade. The layers of flavors in this dish are amazing! Last week I saw, Yvonne at Stone Gable's recipe for Beer and Onion Chicken Carbonade. She'd taken an Epicurious recipe and made it Slow Cooker friendly. If you read my blog, you know I've been all about these Slow Cooker recipes lately. I love coming home from a long day of work and except for a side or salad, dinner is done!

I didn't have dark beer. I used Blue Moon, a light belgian beer, which is what is called for in the Pot Roast Carbonade recipe. I realized when I was reading Yvonne's post again, AFTER I'd finished making the carbonade, I forgot the allspice! This recipe is delicious and I can only imagine the allspice will add yet another layer of flavor. I will be trying this one again!!

Beer and Onion Chicken Carbonade
Recipe courtesy of Stone Gable
1 TBS unsalted butter
1 TBS olive oil
4 large chicken thighs with skin and bones
3/8 tsp ground allspice
1 1/2 cups onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 cup baby carrots
3 tsp dark brown sugar
4 small or 2 large bay leaves
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup dark beer
1/2 cup beef broth
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Melt butter and add olive oil in a large non stick skillet over medium high heat. Salt and pepper chicken. Add chicken to the skillet and saute until the skin is brown for about 4 minutes each side. Transfer to the slow cooker.

Add onions and 2 tsp of brown sugar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and saute until deep golden brown stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add bay leaves, mustard and remaining tsp of sugar and gently stir. Add to slow cooker. Add mushrooms and carrots to slow cooker.

In a jar with a lid, make a slurry using flour and beef broth. Add slurry, beer and balsamic vinegar to the slow cooker. Gently stir the ingredients to incorporate. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, this is a guess. Make sure chicken is done through.

Serve this in a large shallow bowl on a bed of wide noodles.

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

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Slow Cooker Smoky Apple Butter Ribs

I've been using my slow cooker a lot more these days, on average at least one if not two days a week. There are certain types of foods that are perfectly suited for the slow cooker, soups, stews and meat. These ribs become tender after the long cooking time. This recipe creates perfect, tender delicious ribs. They are flavored with a slight hint of smoke and a sweetness from the apple butter. Be careful with the liquid smoke, too much can overpower the dish!

Crock Pot Smoky Apple Butter Ribs
Recipe adapted from Crock Pot Recipe Exchange

3 lbs boneless pork country-style ribs
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 medium onion sliced
½ cup of apple butter
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. In 3 ½ to 4-quart slow cooker, place ribs. Cover with onion slices. In small bowl, mix remaining ingredients, pour over ribs and onion.
2. Cover; cook on Low heat 8-10 hours.
3. Remove ribs from cooker; place on serving platter. Cover to keep warm.
4. Pour juices from cooker through strainer into 1 quart saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium. Cook about 5 minutes or until sauce has slightly thickened. Serve sauce with ribs.

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

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Taste of Cabo!

We're back! We enjoyed a beautiful, relaxing week in Cabo. One my favorite things about traveling is the food! This has never been more true than on our trip to Cabo! We dined out six nights and every night was a delicious and unique dining experience.

I've never cooked much Mexican food. I can't wait to try and create some of the dishes we enjoyed during our visit. My favorites were chilaquiles and chiles en nogada (pictured above)!

The guys enjoyed a local cocktail, The Bulldog, at Maro's Shrimp House where we dined on some of the best lobster I've ever eaten.

Felix's where the salsa bar offers 40 kinds of salsa!

The breathtaking view from dinner at Sunset da Mona Lisa.
Disclaimer....iPhone picture.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak

I don't think I've had Salisbury Steak since I was a kid. It's one of those recipes I just never think of making. When I saw this recipe was a slow cooker version, why not give it a try? I added potatoes to the slow cooker because they seemed a natural with the steak and gravy. In looking at this picture, I wish I'd added some carrots or something for some color. Picture aside, this was delicious. The packaged onion soup gives the hamburger a great flavor, the mushroom soup and au jus make for a hearty gravy. Just add a veggie or salad and you have a perfect week night meal!

Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak
Recipe adapted from Christina's Taste Test Project
2 pounds ground beef
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
¼ cup milk
¼ all purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup (I used cream of mushroom)
1 (1 ounce) packet dry au jus mix
¾ cup water

1. Mix together ground beef, onion soup mix, breadcrumbs and milk
2. Shape into 8 patties
3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat
4. Dredge the patties in flour to coat and quickly brown on both sides
5. Place browned patties in slow cooker, stacking like a pyramid
6. In a separate bowl, mix together cream of chicken soup, au jus mix and water
7. Pour over patties
8. Cook on low setting for 4 to 5 hours or until meat is well done

SUGGESTION: You can form and brown the patties ahead of time and store in the fridge until ready to use.

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

Thursday, February 10, 2011

From The Good Life - Cabo

When the weather turned cold in Omaha, I changed my Thursday feature from In My Garden to From The Good Life. If you've never been to Nebraska, which I am guessing most of you haven't, you don't know the signs as you enter the state say "The Good Life". This Thursday, my blog is really from the good life.

We're enjoying beautiful weather in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We're vacationing with our good friends, Karen and Larry. Yesterday the guys went deep sea fishing. Larry caught the first blue marlin of the season on the boat they were on! Way to go Larry. Tim caught a 10 pound tuna. Stay tuned for a future sushi post!

This fellow joined them for a ride on the back of the boat as they headed back to the harbor.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cream Cheese Enchiladas

If you purchase those rotisserie chickens at the store or roast your own chicken, this recipe is the perfect one for the leftover chicken. The flavors in this one are delicious. It's quick and easy to put together. I halved the recipe, it made the just the right amount for dinner, with leftovers for our lunches. I made the recipe as written but did bake it at 350 for 20 minutes covered and 10 minutes uncovered, to melt the cheeses.

Enchiladas De Pollo (Cream Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas)
Makes 20-24 enchiladas
Recipe from Paula Deen Courtesy of Tomatoes on the Vine

4 large chicken breasts, roasted or boiled, skin and bones removed, meat shredded
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
One 10.75-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup
Two 4-ounce cans diced green chilies, with juice
6 green onions, chopped, including green tops
20-24 four tortillas (7-inch diameter)
Two 10-ounce cans enchilada sauce
2 cups (1/2 pound) grated Monterey Jack cheese
4 cups (1 pound) grated sharp cheddar cheese
Sour cream, for garnish
Shredded lettuce, for garnish
Diced tomatoes, for garnish
Salsa, store-bought or homemade, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 250 Degrees F. Spray two 13 by 9-inch casserole dishes with vegetable oil cooking spray.

2. Combine the chicken, cream cheese, soup, chilies, and green onions. Spoon 2 tablespoons of this mixture onto each tortilla and roll up.

3. Pour a very small amount of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of each casserole dish and tilt the dish so that the sauce covers the bottom. Place the enchiladas side by side on top of the sauce. When all of the enchiladas have been rolled and placed in the dishes, take the remaining enchilada sauce and pour it over the top of the enchiladas. Combine the Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses and sprinkle evenly over the casseroles.

4. Cover the dishes with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes. To serve, cut between the enchiladas and serve from the dish. Have bowls of sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and salsa, for garnish.

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

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pink Saturday - Vacation Time!

In February of 2007, in celebration of my 50th birthday, Tim and I went on Mexican Riviera cruise. One of the stops was Cabo. Having been there before, I knew we needed to make a stop at The Office. The Office is a very well known beach bar in Cabo. You can sit with your feet in the sand, drink a cold one and purchase trinkets from the vendors. I've always loved pink and couldn't pass up the pink cowboy hat. Does it really get any better? Sand, sun, cocktails and shopping!

As you read this, we're on a plane headed to Cabo for a week of sunshine, cocktails and relaxation. Happy Pink Saturday!

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

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wild Rice Soup

There's something hearty and almost meaty (or so I tried to tell Tim) about Wild Rice Soup. When I told Tim I was making Wild Rice Soup, he said chicken and wild rice soup? I said no, besides the bacon, there's no meat in this recipe but aren't you happy it does have bacon it? Actually lots of bacon. This recipe called for 1 pound of bacon, I scaled it down to 1/2 pound. Seriously, a pound of bacon?!!

I cooked the rice for this in my rice cooker. It produced perfectly cooked wild rice in about an hour. I don't know about you but I always have trouble cooking rice on the stove top. I love the depth of flavor the red wine adds to this soup. Whenever we have a little leftover wine, I freeze it in ice cube trays. Then when I need a little wine, I just toss in a cube or two. Like many soups, this one is better on day two or even day three.

Minnesota Wild Rice Soup
Recipe Courtesy of Lana Right Here Right Now
4oz wild rice
1 lb bacon
3 T bacon grease
1/4 c chopped green pepper
3/4 c chopped celery
3/4 c chopped onion
2 cans chicken broth
3 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/4 c sherry or red wine, optional

Prepare wild rice as directed on package. While that cooks, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon to drain, then crumble. Reserve 3 T for soup. Saute pepper, celery and onion in bacon grease until soft. Add remaining ingredients and simmer on the stove for an hour or more (tastes better the longer it simmers).

I am linking this to Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum , Souper Sunday at Kahakai Kitchen
and Fat Camp Friday at Mangoes and Chutney.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blogger Secret Ingredient - Hot Sauce

I just ran across a fun blogging event, My Bizzy Kitchen's, Blogger Secret Ingredient (BSI) . This week's host is Debbie of Debbie Does Dinner Healthy. Debbie chose the perfect ingredient for Super Bowl week, Hot Sauce! If you're interested in joining in, check out the details on Debbie's blog.

My favorite recipe using hot sauce, totally Super Bowl appropriate is Hooter's Buffalo Wings. Here's a link to my post for these from Super Bowl Sunday 2010.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Kielbassa and White Beans

Do you shop at a warehouse club, you know Costco, Sam's, BJ's? At my house, we're Costco shoppers. One of the main reasons, their wine selection is fantastic! Of course, a lot of the things you buy are in larger quantities. Perfect if you have a big family. Since it's just Tim and I, sometimes I find myself trying to figure out what to do with something I have in large quantities. This summer we bought a package of kielbasa, perfect for summer grilling. I wanted to find a winter recipe for kielbasa. I found this recipe several months ago, bookmarked it but kept passing it over when planning the weekly menu. Tim's not a big fan of dishes with cooked tomatoes, so I was concerned he wouldn't like this one. With the kielbasa still in the freezer, I decided to give it a try. Tim said he really liked this recipe, the rosemary is delicious with the sausage.

I made the recipe as written below. Next time, I would not use any additional oil to brown the sausage. I would just add a little olive oil, if needed, to the pan before browning the onions or garlic. I used Great Northern Beans but any of those beans or even a mixture, would be delicious!

Recipe courtesy of
1 -2 tablespoon oil or 1 -2 tablespoon butter
1 lb smoked kielbasa, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can peeled diced tomatoes
1 (16 ounce) can great northern beans or 1 (16 ounce) can navy beans or 1 (16 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained
Change Measurements: US | Metric
Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
1 Heat oil or butter in a large skillet, add Kielbasa and cook over medium high heat until lightly browned, remove with slotted spoon.
2 Reduce heat to medium, add onions and cook until transparent.
3 Reduce heat to low, add garlic and herbs and cook 1 minute.
4 Add kielbasa, tomatoes and white beans, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday's.