Saturday, April 30, 2011

Chocolate Tiramisu - Chocolate With Francois

The past couple of CWF recipes have been "easy" in comparison with most of our CWF recipes. While I wouldn't say this month's recipe was particularly difficult, it did have the typical CWF characteristics. The recipe was made up of lots of steps and an equally large amount of bowls and utensils. I made it over two nights, not sure how long it took but let's just say this isn't a quick dessert to put together!

Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts. It's one of the ways I judge an Italian restaurant, great Tiramisu is a sign of a good Italian restaurant. Now I am not sure I've ever had Chocolate Tiramisu, so I guess I would consider myself a Tiramisu purist. Traditional Tiramisu is made with lady fingers and doesn't have any chocolate. I was curious if chocolate could make one of my favorite desserts even better.

Knowing it was very rich and having read some of the other CWF baker's comments about how delicious it was, I made a fourth of the recipe. The cake requires both egg whites and egg yolks. My egg whites never quite reached the stiff peak stage. I even tossed in a pinch of cream of tartar but still no stiff peaks. I decided to go for it and luckily my cake turned out fine. The ganache called for chopped chocolate. I think it should have said finely chopped chocolate. My chocolate wasn't melting when I combined it with the cream. I put it in the microwave for about 20 seconds and the chocolate melted perfectly. Once you have the cake, ganache and marscapone mixtures made, it's a relatively easy dessert to assemble.

Payard says the dessert gets better after sitting overnight, which makes sense as this gives the flavors a chance to meld. I tried it the night I made it. I thought it was good, not great. Of course the ganache was amazing but isn't it always!!! Thanks to Sandy of Seattle Pastry Girl for choosing this month's recipe. You can find the recipe on her blog! You can check out the other CWF baker's Tiramisu here!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Nana's Chocolate Cake - Revisited

As we approach Mother's Day, I am going to feature a couple of recipes from some of the great Mom's who have touched my life. Today's recipe, Nana's Chocolate Cake, is from my best friend's mother and my son's grandmother.

You can find the recipe and the original post here!

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

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Slow Cooker Apple Crisp

I use my slow cooker all the time for main dishes and every once in a while for side dishes but I've never made a dessert in it. Recently I've seen several recipes for cobblers or crisps made in the slow cooker. Curious, I decided to give it a try.

I cooked this on low for about four hours. I removed the lid and placed a towel underneath to help remove the moisture and increase the "crispness". The addition of the butterscotch pudding gives this a wonderful caramel flavor. While this doesn't have quite the same crunch and as one baked in the oven, it makes a delicious dessert and you can't beat the smell of the apples cooking in the kitchen.

Slow Cooker Apple Crisp
Recipe courtesy of CD Kitchen

5 large sliced peeled tart apples
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1 package (3-1/2-ounce size) cook-and-serve butterscotch pudding mix
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cold butter or margarine
Vanilla ice cream or Whipping Cream -- optional


Place apples in a 3-qt. slow cooker.

In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, oats, pudding mix and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the apples.

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours or until apples are tender. Serve with ice cream or whipping cream, if desired.

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

Monday, April 25, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

Last week, Susan at Life, Kids and Genealogy awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks, Susan!!

As a winner of this award you're to pass this award on to 15 bloggers. I'd like to award this to all of you!! You're all such fabulous bloggers and I so appreciate your comments on my blog. In addition, the winners of this award are to share 10 things about themselves. Since there's no Meet Me on Monday today, I thought this would be a great day for this post.
  1. Until 5 years ago, I'd lived all of my life in Kansas City. On the Kansas side, primarily in Overland Park.
  2. I am afraid of heights. Not sure where this fear came from. I am one of those annoying people who take a big pause before stepping on an escalator.
  3. I love purses and shoes. Although, the older I get the more I am about comfort in stead of style in those shoes.
  4. I'd like to own a Bed and Breakfast or a small cafe/bakery that only serves breakfast and lunch.
  5. I DVR the fourth hour of The Today Show every day. I love the banter between Kathie Lee and Hoda.
  6. I am a NASCAR fan. Jimmie Johnson is my guy! (And yes, I was a Jimmie fan before he won the chase five seasons in a row.)
  7. My favorite cocktail is a glass of white wine.
  8. I am hooked on Angry Birds and Words With Friends. Although I am much better at Angry Birds than Words With Friends, less thought required for Angry Birds!!!
  9. Tops on my bucket list is a trip to Italy.
  10. My natural hair color is a medium brown or at least it I think it was. My hair hasn't been it's natural color since I was a teenager. Unfortunately, now I think the natural color would be grey?
Anything you'd like to share about yourself?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pink Saturday - Signs of Spring

I've been a little lax in posting Pink Saturday the past couple of weeks. Seems I haven't had much pink to share. I wish I could say these beautiful pink tulips were from my garden but I can't. They're from Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's always has the most beautiful flowers and the most reasonable prices.

Happy Easter and Pink Saturday everyone!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Nacho Cheese Chicken Chowder

If you read my blog, you know I use my slow cooker a lot. The slow cooker is perfect for soups! I am always looking for new soup recipes to try. I found this great soup recipe over at My Kind of Cooking. Linda has the best recipes!!

I only had one can of Rotel tomatoes on hand, so I used regular diced tomatoes for the second can. Am I glad I made this change! I can't handle really spicy recipes. If I had used two cans of Rotel, this would have been too spicy for me. The cheese thickens the soup and adds a delicious flavor dimension. This one's a keeper, we'll be having it again soon!

Nacho Cheese Chicken Chowder
Recipe Courtesy of Linda at My Kind of Cooking

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 (14.5 ounce) cans Mexican style tomatoes, undrained
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can nacho cheese soup
1 (10 ounce) package frozen whole kernel corn
Shredded Mexican style or cheddar cheese

In slow cooker, combine chicken, tomatoes, soup, and corn. Mix well. Cover. Cook on low 4 to 5 hours or high 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Sprinkle each serving with cheese. makes 6 servings.

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

Thursday, April 21, 2011

In My Garden

On Thursday's last summer, I attempted to feature something growing in my yard. As the snow started to fly and the wind started to blow, I changed my Thursday posts to From The Good Life. Although, we're not getting a lot of warmer Spring weather, signs of Spring are starting to appear.

Tim built a raised bed last year and for the first time I planted oregano and sage. After the first frost, we covered the sage and oregano with straw. Our winter this year was pretty darn cold and I was concerned, especially in a raised bed, my herbs wouldn't come back this Spring. Just a week or so ago, Tim uncovered them and said to take a look because they were starting to show signs of life. Excited they survived, I googled to see when or if I should cut them back. Yes, you should trim them but only after they start to show a lot of new growth. This past Sunday, I went out to trim them back and as it turns out there wasn't much old growth to get rid of. If you've ever wanted to grow sage or oregano and wondered if they would come back, give them a try. I bet they will come back for you!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Root Beer Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is one of those dishes that is perfect for a slow cooker. I am always looking for new and different ways to prepare a pork loin. I've read about Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper pork loins but have never made one. I love Root Beer and just happened to have a couple of bottles in the fridge when I saw this recipe. Tiffanee of One Crazy Cookie has a fun blog and shares some great recipes.

This is a delicious recipe for pulled pork. The root beer adds a nice sweetness that blends well with any tangy BBQ sauce. Being from Kansas City, I'd like to think I know my BBQ sauces. My favorites are from two of Kansas City's best barbeque restaurant's, Jack's Stack and Gates. I used the Gates in this recipe, it's a little more tangy and a little less sweet than Jack's Stack. This makes a lot, perfect for a crowd or to freeze for a quick weeknight dinner.

Crock Pot Root Beer Pulled Pork
adapted from Gooseberry Patch
Courtesy of One Crazy Cookie

2 cups onions sliced and divided
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
4 pound pork roast (loin is best)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons liquid smoke (optional)
3 cups Root Beer divided
16 oz bottle BBQ sauce ( or two cups)

Place 1 cup onions and the garlic it the bottom of the crock pot. Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper, place in crock pot. Add 1 1/2 cups root beer and liquid smoke. Cover and cook on low setting for 8-10 hours or on high setting for 5 hours. Remove roast and set aside to cool. Discard onion and liquid in crock pot. In a saucepan, bring the BBQ sauce and 1 1/2 cups root beer to a boil and then simmer for 15-25 minutes. When roast is cool enough to handle, shred with a fork. Discard fat. Return shredded meat to the crock pot. Stir in sauce mixture and remaining onion. Cover and cook on high for 1-3 hours, until the onion is soft.

* I didn't add onions to the sauce. I added the sauce and cooked another hour. We were hungry!
* Be careful with the liquid smoke. Too much can be overpowering!!!

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

Monday, April 18, 2011

Meet Me On Monday

Happy Monday!! Is it Springtime where you are? It's chilly here and the forecast is for rain off and on all week.

Meet Me on Monday is a fun blog party hosted by Java at Never Growing Old. Since first participating a few weeks ago, I've met a lot of great new bloggers.

1. Caesar Salad or Garden Salad?
Hands down, Garden Salad.

2. Will you be watching the Royal Wedding on April 29th?
I would be but we'll be camping that weekend. Tim's hinting we need a TV. He just saw this question and said, "See if we had a TV, you could watch the wedding."

3. Last thing you spent lots of money on?
This is an interesting are we defining lots of money? I think Tim would think lots of money is the last purse I bought. Assuming we're defining lots of money as a big purchase? It would be the camper we just bought. It's a used camper, so relatively speaking it's still not lots of money,as campers go!

4. Window seat or aisle seat?
Depends...if I am flying alone, it's an aisle seat. If I am flying with Tim, it's a window and hope no one takes the middle.

5. Do you know your blood type?
Yep, O+

I hope everyone has a great Monday and a wonderful week!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam - Revisited - SMS

SMS is drawing to a close and we're only posting twice a month. I miss posting SMS weekly. It's been a great way to end or start the week. The SMS bakers are such a talented bunch. It's been fun getting to know them. This month's host, Tracey of Tracey's Culinary Advertures, is one of those talented members! You can find the recipe on her blog. If you want to check out the other SMS members thoughts on this jam, you can find the links to their blogs here!

I made this week's SMS recipe last Fall. I've given several jars to friends and everyone raves about it! Funny how I always thought jam was so hard to make. If you've never made jam, give this recipe a try. It's easy and the flavor is amazing!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chai Tea Mini Cupcakes - Martha Stewart Cupcake Club

I have been such a slacker when it comes to participating in the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club. The last time I participated...September! I love cupcakes but it just seems like I never have enough time to participate in all of the baking groups or blog parties I'd like to. Do you like Chai Tea? I love it, almost more than coffee. When I saw this month's recipe was for Chai Tea Cupcakes, I couldn't wait to give them a try.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed. It will be interesting to see what everyone else thought. I cut the recipe in half and ended up with 24 mini's. I thought these were just BLAH! They only had a hint of Chai Tea flavor and the frosting wasn't very tasty. My other challenge with these, they were DRY. I feel like most of the Martha cupcakes I've made have been dry. If anyone has a secret for moist cupcakes, I hope you'll share.

I'd love to find a good Chai Tea cupcake recipe. If you have one, let me know. Thanks to Rachael of Simple Girl for hosting this month. You can find the recipe on her blog. If you're curious what the other MSC bakers thought, you can find those links here.

Next up for MSC...Tiramisu Cupcakes.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chicken Spaghetti - Pioneer Woman

There's a great blog party over at Happier Than A Pig In Mud. The 15th of every month, you can link up a recipe from that month's celebrity chef.

This month's chef, The Pioneer Woman, is well known in the blogsphere. I have to be one of the only bloggers who, until just recently, had never made one of her recipes. When I first saw this recipe, over a year ago, on my friend Susan of Baking With Susan's blog, I bookmarked it. For a year, I've passed it over when searching for ideas for the weekly menu. After making it, I am so sorry I didn't try it sooner. It's delicious and the perfect comfort food. The pimentos and green pepper give this dish some zip. Try this one soon, you won't be sorry.

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti


  • 2 cups Cooked Chicken (I used two boneless chicken breasts)
  • 3 cups Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
  • 2 cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup (I used 1 can mushroom and 1 can chicken)
  • 2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • ¼ cups Finely Diced Green Pepper
  • ¼ cups Finely Diced Onion
  • 1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained
  • 2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot (I used pasta water)
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • ⅛ teaspoons (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Cook 1 cut up fryer and pick out the meat to make two cups. Cook spaghetti in same chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar.

Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

From The Good Life - There's a Tornado Coming!

Last Fall I blogged about some of our camping adventures. Camping is great...except for one or two things. Sleeping on the ground, even if it is on an aero bed, it's still not like sleeping in a regular bed. It's really hard to get up off the ground in the mornings. Also, you can't regulate the temperature in a tent, unless the weather is just perfect, it's either hot or cold.

We've been keeping our eye out for a used camper! A few weeks ago on the way to the winery in St. Paul, Nebraska we passed a small used car and rv lot and decided to stop. We were greeted by an elderly gentleman named Joe. We told Joe we were looking for a used Class C camper. He said oh do I have a "beauty" for you. Tim and I both just looked at each other. The beauty he had for us really was a beauty. The camper is a mint condition 1982 Fleetwood Jamboree. It's almost like it's been frozen in time for the past 30 years. The interior colors are retro and I mean that in a good way. After doing some research, we decided this was a deal too good to pass up.

Joe, who reminded me of my own father, has had his dealer's license longer than anyone else in the country, 60 some years. He was a wonderful reminder of times gone by (yes, I am dating myself here). Joe is an honest, hard working gentleman, who as it turns out is 91 years old. He told us he's going to retire this year. I think it's about time!

Last weekend, we went on our first camping adventure. Our destination was Lewis and Clark State Park in Onawa, Iowa. The forecast was for a humid and warm Saturday. For those of you who aren't from the midwest, warm and humid spells the chance of tornadoes. Tim and I had just finished dinner when the wind started to pick up. The clouds were swirling. I could tell by the way Tim was watching the sky, he didn't think it looked good. Just to the west of us maybe a quarter of a mile, was the start of a tornado. So what do you do when you're camping and there's a tornado? Most of the buildings at Lewis and Clark were still closed. There was a restroom but it wasn't real close and I knew I couldn't run fast enough to get there. At this point, we were just hoping it would go the other way. Luckily for us, it did. We watched it travel down the side of the lake, over mainly open land. Once we realized we were going to be okay, we grabbed the camera and started shooting.

Check out the guy in the boat, seriously?

Certainly a camping experience, Tim and I won't soon forget. Let's hope the stories I share the rest of the summer don't include any tornadoes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Beer Braised Chicken Thighs

White meat or dark meat? For years I have been a white meat and only white meat eater. Lately, I've started eating chicken thighs, too. They're a lot more moist and you can't beat the price. I've watched a few episodes of Rachael Ray's new show, Week in A Day. This recipe caught my eye. I love the depth of flavor the beer brings to the chicken. This make a great weeknight meal. You can make the recipe ahead and just reheat for serving!!!.

Beer-Braised Chicken Thighs

TOTAL TIME:2 hr 5 min
Prep:20 min
Inactive Prep:1 hr 0 min
Cook:45 min
YIELD:4 servings


  • 8 pieces bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 link andouille sausage, casing removed and chopped, or 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 rounded tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle lager beer
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with chiles or stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • Scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • Warm baguette, for mopping


Pat the chicken thighs dry, and season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the chicken and brown on both sides in 2 batches.

Remove the chicken to a plate and spoon out 1/2 the drippings, and add the andouille sausage. Brown for 2 minutes and then add the onion, celery, pepper, garlic, and thyme, and cook to soften, for about 10 minutes over medium heat.

Add the flour, stir 1 to 2 minutes, and then pour in the beer and let the foam subside. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, and hot sauce. Let the sauce thicken a bit, and then slide the chicken into the pot and simmer to cook through. Serve with warm crusty bread, or cool and store for make-ahead meal.

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

Monday, April 11, 2011

Meet Me On Monday

Last week I posted my first Meet Me on Monday post! I found this great weekly party at Never Growing Old.

1. Who would be your dream celebrity date?
Seriously....not even a second thought on this one. George Clooney!

2. Do you have any food restrictions?
None!!! I need a self imposed restriction, not to eat so many sweets. A hazard of food blogging!

3. How much time do you take to get ready in the morning?
Depends on the day! I have great hair and don't have to wash it every day. On a no hair washing day, I can be ready in less than 30 minutes. A day I wash my hair takes more like 45 minutes.

4. Sausage or bacon?
Hands down, BACON!!!!!!!

5. Do you Google, Bing or Yahoo?
Google...all the time! How did I find the answers to questions before google!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Snicker Salad - Revisited

This week has been crazy busy and I haven't had time to write about the recipes I've made recently. I am reposting some of the recipes from my when I first began blogging. No one except my son and my husband were reading my blog, so I think it's okay to repost.

Today's recipe is Snicker Salad. If you were to attend a family gathering with my husband's family, you would find Snicker salad being served. Until I met my husband, I had never heard of this recipe. Everytime I make this, I question my husband on whether or not it really is a salad.

Snicker Salad
2 snickers candy bars
2 apples
8 ounces Cool Whip

Chop apples and snickers bars and put into serving bowl. Add cool whip. Stir.
This quantity serves 4. For family gatherings, the recipe can be doubled or tripled.

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

Thursday, April 7, 2011

From The Good Life

Last weekend on our trip to The Lake of the Ozarks, Spring was everywhere. Just five hours south of us and Spring is in full bloom.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dr. Pepper Flank Steak

If you live in a cold area of the country, I bet you're as ready as we are for grilling season. Today I am sharing Dr. Pepper Flank Steak, a recipe I blogged about in my early days of blogging. No one was reading my blog in those days, so I am reposting some of my favorites! If you're looking for a delicious and easy grilling recipe, give this one a try!!!

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

Monday, April 4, 2011

Meet Me on Monday

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend! We joined our friends Karen and Larry at the Lake of the Ozarks and enjoyed a beautiful Spring weekend! Do you have a least favorite day of the week? For me, hands down, it's Monday. The weekend's never seem long enough and then it's time to go back to work. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my job but not quite as much as those cherished weekend's.

Last week, I ran across a fun blog party that celebrates Monday! You can find Meet Me On Monday here at Never Growing Old. Every week she posts five questions where we can all get to know each other better!


1. If you had to eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Wow...this one is hard. As food blogger, it's no secret I love food!! If I had to pick just one, it would be chocolate!!

2. Do you write your blog posts in advance or the day you post them?
Most of the time, I write them in advance. I like to be organized and have several posts written and ready to go!!!

3. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?
I don't think I have and I'd like to keep it that way !!!

4. What is your favorite candle scent?
Lavender! It's such a relaxing scent!!

5. Coffee or tea?
Until recently, I would have said coffee! Lately, I've gotten into Chai Tea. It's a toss up, I love them both!!!

Have a great Monday and thanks for stopping by!!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pink Saturday

Are you looking forward to Spring as much as I am? Winter just doesn't want to go away! We've had snow twice in the past week. No real accumulation, just annoying!
Happy Pink Saturday!!!

I am linking this to Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound! Thanks to Beverly for hosting this fun party each week!!!