Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chocolate Rice Pudding - Chocolate With Francois

I've never made rice pudding. Chocolate Rice Pudding seemed like a great first time! As far as Payard's recipes go, this is one of the easier ones. Most of the time is spent with the rice in the oven. The recipe calls for an hour's baking time, stirring every 20 minutes. Mine was beautiful after the first and second 20 minutes. I should have checked it again after 50 minutes instead of letting it go the full hour. Mine ended up over done and a little dry. The orange and chocolate flavors of this recipe are delicious and leave your kitchen with a wonderful fragrance.

Chocolate Rice Pudding was the recipe choice of Peggy of Pantry Revisited. You'll find the recipe over at her blog! Her pudding looks beautiful, just as Payard describes.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

In My Garden

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wild Blueberry Oat Muffins - Secret Recipe Club

This is my third month participating in Secret Recipe Club. Secret Recipe Club is the brainchild of Amanda of Amanda's Cooking. You're assigned a blog, you choose a recipe and keep it a secret until reveal day. How fun is that? Secret Recipe Club has become so popular, we've been divided into three groups. This month I am posting in Group B. Our host is Tina of Mom's Crazy Cooking.

My blog for this month is The Wednesday Baker. Andi has a lovely blog with lots of delicious recipes. After browsing on her blog several times, I settled on the Wild Blueberry Oat Muffins. I happened to have a pint of blueberries in the fridge and needed to make something for food day at hubby's work. Perfect!

I had some leftover crumb topping in the fridge. Instead of topping with sugar after baking, I decided to top with the crumb topping before baking.

The batter for these muffins is the most liquid batter I've ever seen. Usually, at least for me, muffin batter is thick. After putting these in the muffin tins, I read the recipe again, thinking maybe I'd read it wrong. That does happen to me quite a bit. No I read the recipe correctly. My muffins baked just shy of 20 minutes and were perfect. This is by far the best blueberry muffin I've ever eaten. They're moist with a nice soft crumb. The crumb topping added a beautiful finishing touch. I can't wait to experiment with this recipe with other fruits. Thanks Andi for a fabulous recipe!

Wild Blueberry-Oat Muffins
Paula Deen magazine July-August 2011
Courtesy of The Wednesday Baker

1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp orange zest
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries*
*keeping out 1/2 cup of the blueberries to sprinkle on top of the batter before baking
confectioners' sugar to sprinkle on top after baking

Place the milk and the old-fashioned oatmeal in a bowl, stir to combine and allow to set for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with papers or spray muffins pan well with pam spray.

Add to the oatmeal the sugar, oil, orange zest, and egg and mix well. Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon and the nuts then add to the wet mixture. Stir just long enough to combine. Carefully stir in the one cup of blueberries and mix gently. Spoon into the baking cups, sprinkle the tops with the remaining blueberries. Bake at 425 degree for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. After they are cool sprinkle with the confectioners' sugar and serve.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday , Tuesday's at the Table,.
Foodie Friday and Full Plate Thursday.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Squash Pudding

A couple of weeks ago my CSA contained quite a bit of yellow squash. Although we enjoy yellow squash, we always eat it grilled or in a stir fry. In searching for a different way to prepare yellow squash, I found this recipe for Squash Pudding.

If you've never had squash pudding, give this recipe a try. You'll think you're eating a vanilla custard or pudding. Or if you're looking for a great recipe to get your children to eat veggies, this one is perfect. You'll never know the main ingredient is yellow squash.

Aunt Bea's Squash Pudding
Adapted from Sustainable Table

6 medium yellow squash
1 egg, beaten well
3/4 cup milk or half and half
3 heaping tablespoons flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Peel and cube squash and boil until soft. Puree in the blender. Add milk, vanilla, sugars, flour and egg. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake at 350 degrees 30-45 minutes until set.

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

Thursday, August 18, 2011

From The Good Life - Nebraska Wine and Balloon Festival

After several consecutive weeks of heat and humidity, last weekend we were treated to almost Fall like temperatures. What do people do when they've been held hostage in their house by this heat for weeks, they celebrate by attending the Nebraska Wine and Balloon Festival.

Along with thousand's of other Nebraskan's we enjoyed a beautiful evening of balloons, wine and music. Many of our favorite Nebraska wineries were in attendance. We sampled a couple of old favorites and discovered a new wine or two. My favorite was Dryline White from Superior Estates in Superior Nebraska. The Dryline White is one of the wines in their Tornado Alley Series. A perfect name for a wine from a winery on the Kansas/Nebraska line, tornado alley for sure!

Wine seems to be the weekend theme in August. Next up this weekend, the Riverfront Wine Festival. Unfortunately, due to flooding it isn't being held on the riverfront.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Celebrity Cook Along - Rachael Ray

For the past several months I've been participating in the Celebrity Cook Along hosted by Lynn at Happier Than A Pig In Mud. When I read that this month's celebrity was Rachael Ray I was thrilled, I already had a Rachael Ray recipe in my que. Or so I thought! Last night when I went to finish the post and link up, I realized the recipe was NOT Rachael's but Giada's. OOPS!

Fortunately, though I'd posted a lovely Rosemary Potato Frittata almost two years ago when I was first blogging. No one, except my husband and occasionally my son, was reading my blog, so I am posting this one again today. Rosemary is my favorite herb and this makes a delicious Sunday brunch or even weeknight meal.

Rosemary Potato Frittata
Adapted from Rachael Ray

1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove of garlic, chopped.
3 medium to large yukon gold potatoes
3 to 4 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup parmesean cheese
1 tablespoon McCormick vegetable seasoning

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium low heat. Thinly slice the potatoes. Add the potatoes to the skillet and season the layers with rosemary, salt and pepper. Raise the heat and cook for 6 to 7 minutes. Carefully turn the mixture and cook for 5 minutes longer.

In a large bowl, wisk the eggs and milk together. Wisk in the parmesean and vegetable seasoning. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and lift the potatoes to allow the egg mixture to settle under them. Bake in the oven for 10 - 12 minutes. For the last couple of minutes, turn on the broiler to brown the top of the frittata. Watch carefully, so it does not burn. Remove from the oven and cut into slices and serve.

My notes on this recipe: The original recipe called for onion along with the potatoes, I am not a big fan of raw onions, so I omitted these. Next time, I think I will use them but saute them first. I added the vegetable seasoning to the eggs to give them a little more flavor. I put the Parmesan in with the egg mixture, the original recipe had it sprinkled on top for the last couple of minutes in the oven. I would like to try this recipe with another type of cheese, just to make it a little cheesier. Not sure what cheese will compliment the rosemary and potatoes, I think some type of savory cheese would be so good.

The recipe was a hit with my husband, although he couldn't resist telling me how good it would be with some MEAT in it, possibly some spicy sausage.

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

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday Night Cake - Club: Baked

When Karen asked for my recipe choice for Club: Baked, I was drawn to Sunday Night Cake. The title of the recipe took me back to when my son was in high school, we had a pact to always have dinner together on Sunday night's. A cake that's perfect for Sunday night's sounded like the perfect recipe to me.

As I tend to do, a little too often, I made the recipe the day before the post was due. I read through it again and realized, I didn't have sour cream or cake flour. Quickly, I grab my keys and head to the closest store. Of course they had sour cream but did they have cake flour? Nope! I substituted all purpose flour and added 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. Well the second time I measured the flour I added cornstarch, the first time I added baking powder. You know those great new square plastic tubs you find cornstarch and baking powder in these days? This is the second time, I mixed them up. Can't remember what I was making the other time. You'd think I would have learned. I am reminded of my mom saying "Haste makes waste". Once I gathered the proper ingredients, the cake went together easily.

Oh I guess I also forgot to mention, I didn't have a 9 x 9 square pan or a 9" springform pan. I used an 8" springform and made a couple of cupcakes with the extra batter. My cupcakes were done after 20 minutes but the cake itself took almost 50 minutes. Probably because I made it in a smaller pan. My cake rose much higher than I would have anticipated. I sliced off the top so there would be a flat surface for frosting.

This recipe is all about the frosting. While this cake is moist with a wonderful texture, I thought it lacked flavor. The frosting reminds me of a lighter version of chocolate pudding and makes this cake. I can't wait to try this frosting again, maybe on a peanut butter cake? I am looking forward to reading the other Club: Baked members comments on this cake.

Sunday Night Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream


  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9″ round cake pan (springform works great) with parchment paper. Melt a little butter and brush it onto the paper and the sides of the pan, then shake about 1 tablespoon of flour around the pan, disposing of excess. This will keep the cake from sticking.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl. Add eggs one at a time and mix until blended. Scrape down the bowl again.

Add the flour one scoop at a time, alternating with scoops of the sour cream. The last addition should be flour. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl and mix a few more times to incorporate.

Pour batter into pan and bake 30-35 minutes. Allow cake to cool at least 25 minutes on a wire rack. Flip out of the pan and frost with the chocolate frosting.

Frosting instructions:

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and cocoa powder. Add the chopped chocolate. Pour 1 cup boiling water into the pan, wait 30 seconds, then whisk until mixture is combined and the chocolate is melted.

Turn the heat to medium-high and whisk continuously for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken. (Once pudding begins to thicken, it will come together very quickly.)

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high until the steam escapes and the mixture is room temperature. Add the butter and mix for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the frosting is light and pudding like. If you prefer a fluffier, more spreadable frosting, continue to mix for a few minutes longer.

Frost the top of the cake, allowing a little of the frosting to drip down the edges. Chill for 5 minutes to set the frosting. Serve immediately.

The cake can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring it back to room temperature before serving.

You can see what the other Club: Baked members thought of this recipe here! Next up for Club: Baked is Boston Cream Pie Cake!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rhubarb Cupcakes - Martha Stewart Cupcake Club

Do you watch Cupcake Wars? My favorite part is seeing all of the flavors of cupcakes, icing and filings the bakers make. Inspired by Cupcake Wars, I decided to make a rhubarb syrup to flavor a cream cheese frosting. I used frozen rhubarb and was concerned they would be too wet. Quite the opposite, they were moist and delicious. The rhubarb cream cheese frosting just added that extra touch of sweetness.

If you have some rhubarb in your freezer and want a delicious cupcake, give this one a try. Lorraine, the PhDcupaker is our host for this month and you can find the recipe on her blog. You'll find the other MSC baker's cupcakes here!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Butter Pecan Ice Cream

My wonderful husband Tim celebrated his birthday a couple of weeks ago. When I saw this recipe on One Perfect Bite, I immediately bookmarked it to make for his birthday. Butter Pecan is Tim's favorite ice cream! Never having made Butter Pecan Ice Cream before, I was looking forward to making this recipe. The fact that I don't really care for Butter Pecan didn't hurt either. I knew I wouldn't be spooning out taste scoops straight from the freezer like I did with the Cake Batter Ice Cream a few weeks ago.

I substituted skim milk for the whipping cream and the recipe turned out great. I've found you make ice cream base with any combination of milk, half and half or cream. Even though butter pecan isn't my favorite flavor, I did try try a bite or two. This is a rich, delicious ice cream. If you like Butter Pecan, give this recipe a try!

As a side note, the beautiful blue dish and spoon were part of a set I won over at A Musing Potpourri. Thanks La for the fun prize!

Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Recipe Courtesy of One Perfect Bite

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon butter
1-1/2 cups half-and-half cream
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1) Melt butter in a small skillet set over medium heat. Add pecans and toast until lightly brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cool.
2) Heat half-and-half in a large heavy saucepan set over medium heat until it reaches a temperature of 175 degrees F. Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved.
3) Whisk a small amount of hot cream mixture into eggs. Add egg mixture to pan, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches at least 160 degrees F and coats a metal spoon. Remove from heat. Cool quickly by placing pan in a bowl of ice water; stir for 2 minutes. Stir in whipping cream and vanilla. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of custard. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Stir in toasted pecans.
4) Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer two-thirds full. Freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. Refrigerate remaining mixture until ready to freeze. Allow to ripen in ice cream freezer or firm up in the refrigerator freezer for 2-4 hours before serving. Yield: 1 quart.

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

Thursday, August 11, 2011

From The Good Life

Last weekend we went camping at Pawnee Lake, a beautiful state recreation area about an hour west of Omaha. Despite the closed roads due to flooding, our friends Karen and Larry made the trip up to join us.

Saturday we visited three wineries in the area. Our first stop was Deer Springs Winery, just outside of Lincoln. We tasted four whites and one red. We really enjoyed the Bianca. Biana is a cold hardy Vitis Vinifera cross developed in Hungary, where it is also known as Bianka or Ergi Csillagok. From Deer Creek we traveled to Raymond, the home of James Arthur, Nebraska's largest winery. We tasted six wines, I think it was four whites and two reds. We did enjoy the Nebraska White and the Nebraska Red, how original?! My favorite part of the visit to James Arthur was their wine cupcakes, a Red Velvet infused with the Nebraska Red. Our winery of the day was Windcrest, just down the road from James Arthur. Unlike James Arthur where the tasting room was crowded and somewhat commercial, we were greeted by the wine maker. He shared his thoughts on the flavor profiles and production of his wines. Our favorite was a wine that actually didn't contain any grapes. The wine was made from cherries and there's only one word to describe it, YUMMY!!!

After a fun day, we headed back to the campground. There were clouds in the area and we were hoping to get dinner in before the rain began. No such luck, we grilled between thunderstorms. Parts of Lincoln received heavy rain and 60 mile per hour winds. The rain kept us inside the camper and set up for an encore game of Farkle!

Despite the rain, we had a wonderful weekend with good friends!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cinnamon Peach Preserves - SMS

I am a little sad as I write this post, this will be my final post for Sweet Melissa Sunday's. Sweet Melissa Sunday's was the first group I joined when I first began blogging . The SMS bloggers are a great group and it's been so fun getting to all of them. Several of the bakers from SMS have formed a new baking group, Club: Baked! Thanks to Karen of Karen's Cookies Cakes and More for hosting SMS and creating Club: Baked.

As SMS draws to a close and I reflect on all of the recipes we've made, I contemplate which one's were my favorites. These preserves are in my top five. One of the reasons it's my favorite is because preserves have always been one of those recipes I wanted to make but thought it was too difficult. This recipe has shown me making preserves easy and fun. The flavor combinations are endless.

Summer brings beautiful, juicy peaches to the Midwest, making this the perfect August recipe. One of the unique things about Melissa's recipe is she uses Granny Smith apples instead of pectin. I added a bit of vanilla bean paste to this mixture, right before spooning it into the jars. The vanilla blends nicely with the cinnamon and peach flavors.

Our host for this week is Tessa of The Cooking Chemist. Tessa was the first blogger I "met" who lived in my town. I immediately became a follower and enjoy her blog. She's since graduated from pharmacy school and moved to Phoenix but I still follow her blog. You'll find this delicious jam recipe on her blog and you can check out the other SMS bloggers here!

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Green Bean Salad with Goat Cheese

I love browsing my favorite blogs or finding new blogs I've never explored before. How many food blogs do you think there are on the internet today? Every day I find at least one recipe to bookmark, often they're recipes I haven't made before or wouldn't normally make. Rarely do I prepare a main dish salad for lunch or dinner. When I saw this recipe and realized I had all of the ingredients on hand, it became the perfect Sunday lunch.

Everyone says you eat with your eyes. Anyone would be drawn to the vibrant colors in this salad. Fresh summer green beans, bright yellow corn and juicy red tomatoes make up the pallet for your eyes and feast for your stomach.

When I make this salad again, I would cook the green beans a little longer. While I enjoy my green beans crunchy, cooking just two minutes leaves them a little too crisp for my taste.

Green Bean Salad with Goat Cheese Dressing
Recipe Courtesy of Love & Olive Oil
4 servings


1 pound green beans, trimmed
2 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil, divided
3/4 cup fresh corn (from 1 ear corn)
1 large tomato, diced


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook just until they turn bright green and are barely tender, about 2 minutes. Alternatively, you can steam the green beans in a microwave save, lidded glass container. Fill with approximately 1 cup of water, and microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes or until beans are crisp tender. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Pat dry.

To make the dressing, whisk together goat cheese, lemon zest and juice, apple juice, garlic and pepper in a small bowl. Toss green beans with half the dressing and half the basil or basil and spread on a platter. Top with corn and tomato, drizzle with remaining dressing and sprinkle with remaining basil.

I am linking this to Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum and Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

In My Garden

Despite the heat and lack of rain, there's still a few beautiful flowers in our garden!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Faux Mashed Potatoes

A number of years ago when the Atkins Diet first became popular, a couple of the restaurants where I ate lunch served these Faux Mashed Potatoes. I'd actually forgotten all about them until a few weeks ago when I was searching for recipes for the cauliflower I'd received in my CSA basket. These are so delicious and if you use your imagination, you may just think you're eating mashed potatoes!

Faux Mashed Potatoes

1/2 head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
2 tablespoons Cream Cheese
2 tablespoon Butter
Salt & Pepper

Steam the cauliflower for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and shake to dry. Using a hand mixer, blend the cream cheese and butter. Add the cauliflower and blend until smooth. Salt and Pepper to taste. Sprinkle with freshly snipped chives.

I am linking this to Tuesday's at the Table, Tasty Tuesday's, Made From Scratch Tuesday's,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Chocolate Mint Thumbprint Cookies - Club Baked

What do you think of when you hear Thumbprint Cookies? For me it's those peanut butter ones with the Hershey's kisses in the middle or the ones that are filled with jam. I am always intrigued when I see a new flavor for an old favorite. These thumbprints combine two delicious flavors, chocolate and mint, Andes Mints. I am reminded of standing at the cash register in a restaurant with my Dad, who always bought everyone present for the meal an Andes Mint.

This recipe goes together quickly and easily. The dark chocolate sticky dough, as with most thumbprints, is chilled before rolling them into balls. After chilling this dough for most of the afternoon, it was way too hard. I let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes, way too soft. I put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes and rolled quickly. Trying to create the look of Andes Mints, I rolled a few of them in green sanding sugar. I did cheat, just a little on this recipe. I used Hershey's white chocolate kisses for the centers!

You can find the recipe for these little gems over at Jamie of Random Acts of Food. Check out the other Club: Baked member's thumbprints here!

Next up in two weeks, Sunday Night Cake, hosted by ME!