navygreen: (Christmas: cookie cutter)
It's that time of year, folks! The time when families come together that can't get away during the school/work/winter months, and when I bring out a warm recipe just for "the holidays!"

Well, it sounds nice, right? I mean, it wasn't necessarily my plan, but it sure does SOUND like a great idea. I once visited some extended family in a gorgeous Adobe-style home, and I remember most that they were celebrating 'Christmas in July.' I'd never heard of such things at the tender age of 11, but they assured me it was the only time of year they could all get away to meet. Hey, any time I see a Christmas tree bedecked with presents, I'm willing to believe WHATEVER YOU SAY!

And so, I present you with a lovely piece of Christmas bread on this hot July day. I promise your tastebuds will thank you for the seasonal mistake. ;-)

Cheery Cherry Blueberry Christmas Bread.

(If nothing else, my pals in Australia appreciate this timely winter recipe, right?!)

After you drag your dripping self out of the pool, you sit back in a cabana chair. If you're like me, sitting still is a rarity, and instead of relaxing thoughts, you're hit with ideas at mind-whizzing speed. In one particular case, it was, "What should I make with the leftover pie filling?" ... followed by, "How should I use up the leftover sour cream?" Next up, "Hey, I wonder if I can use 'em both at the SAME TIME?"

Fast-forward to typing ingredients at, and finding this recipe among the yielded results. It sounded perfect, but I was ever-so-stumped. When/where was I to use the sour cream, egg, sugar, and almond extract? Was I supposed to combine it with the pie filling? Was I just too dumb to make this bread??

So I asked friends for advice. Almost unanimously, my friends suggested they would combine with the pie filling. I was all set to bake, yet something distracted me, and I'm forever thankful for it. In the time where I was away, my friend Miriam suggested that the recipe sounded like a German pastry she'd made several times before, and that I was to combine the sour cream, etc. and DRIZZLE it over the pie filling. She even researched further and found the same recipe (by the same baker!) on a different website here!

Hooray! The day was saved, and so was my Christmas Bread! I don't know why I didn't think to look further for the same recipe elsewhere, but I wasn't surprised in the least that it showed up at Taste of Home. Me & ToH are practically best friends, after all. We work together every night in the kitchen, and sometimes even more often! ;-)

Recipe and more pictures. )
navygreen: (Baking)
What do you make when you're invited to a birthday BBQ in the summer?

"Hot Off the Grill Cupcakes," of course!

Hot Off the Grill Cupcakes.

I came across this idea in my latest issue (August/September) of Taste of Home magazine, and I thought it was just the cutest idea! The original decoration is shown on a brownie, rather than a cupcake, and topped with candies. However, I had some buttermilk I wanted to use up, so I opted to go with my Chocolate Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes (minus the icing and cherry buttercream) as the building block instead. I love the springy texture of this chocolate cake, and it's quickly become my go-to recipe for using up leftover buttermilk. I never have complaints when I give away cupcakes to all our neighbors and friends, either! *wink*

To make these oh-so-hot treats, you'll need the following:

  • 2 dozen cupcakes (or brownies, as the original idea suggests)

  • 1 can store-bought chocolate frosting (omit if using brownies)

  • orange icing sugar

  • 72 pieces Hot Tamales candy

  • black royal icing (piping consistency)

Click for more. )

You could jazz these up even more, too. Try some Hershey's Chocolate Drops™ to make tiny burgers, or small bits of red and yellow royal icing for ketchup/mustard accents. I can't wait to do more the next time I make these! :-D

(As an aside, I'm ridiculously proud of the photos in this posting, as every single shot is "SOOC," or "straight-out-of-camera" with no post-processing at all. *squeee*)
navygreen: (Coca~Cola: bottles)
This is a guest-posting for Frosting For the Cause, but I wanted to keep it here as well for my own records. :-)

Remember those good ol' days? Way back when people didn't die until they lived to a ripe old age, and even then, you hardly ever heard the word "cancer" mentioned? Those days where you could sit on a porch swing and enjoy the company of your grandparents and an ice-cold Coke, and nothing was better...

... 'cept for the times when Pawpaw pulled out the ice cream, too! Nothing beats a Coke Float, right?!

Chocolate Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes.
Chocolate Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes

These deliciously moist cupcakes are so fudgy, yet so light... with just a hint of Coca-Cola. The cola glaze on top adds just a *bit* of fizz to your tongue, but the cherry buttercream is the high note to end on. In addition to the cherry on top, there's a second cherry waiting to surprise you in the cake!

Sing it with me, now! "I'd like to buy the world a ... cure!" ♪♫

Making these is simple, and I promise you will love them! Recipe & more pictures. )

Philip and I dropped these cupcakes off to the midnight crews at the oncology ward of our local hospital. What a surprise they were for the ER attendants when we came in the middle of the night! :-)


Sep. 30th, 2010 01:57 pm
navygreen: (Jurassic Park)
I had my annual girly appointment today (my yearly violation). It went well, and the new doctor was extremely attentive. We talked over several things, and she also surprised me by giving me the referral to urology straight away (I have an appointment with my regular doctor next week to discuss my bladder, as well as other issues). She told me that there was no point waiting the extra week just to get the referral going (which involves a wait process anyway), and I easily agreed. This appointment was the first among the many I scheduled two days ago. One down, eleven to go!

I spent a large part of yesterday afternoon working on some sketchings for [ profile] syven. I'm not really good at drawing, but I've got the mainframe of some ideas I'm mulling over. I took my clipboard and worked on the drawings some more while waiting in the doctor's office and referral office, too.

It's Thursday today, but it really feels more like Tuesday to me. I just can't believe that the week is over tomorrow! The weather has been so sunny and warm, and I feel like I was constantly scrambling to catch up this week. Jack has a soccer game tonight, and then I'm making a spicy pasta dish tonight for dinner. I made it once before, having found the recipe in my Taste of Home magazine, and it's really yummy. The cream cheese lends an unexpected soft flavor to the sauce, and I'm excited to make it again.

The weather should be absolutely gorgeous all weekend. Philip is off, and I'm sure the boys will all be outside for a large part of it. I've got two cookies orders to ship off on Monday morning. I hope to bake tomorrow and have the decorating done by Saturday morning so I can play, too. We have no plans otherwise, so it should be relaxing and easy. :-)
navygreen: (HP: Harry - *gulp*)
A few weekends ago, I secretly plotted a special treat for my boys and some friends of ours. These friends were picked specially for 1) being such nice people, and 2) actually knowing things about Harry Potter. Why was that a requirement?

Because you can't truly enjoy BUTTERBEER without knowing it comes from Harry's wondrous world!

Butterbeer and Banana Crunch Muffins.

This special beverage was so rich, so creamy, and so very sweet. The deeply caramel syrup makes a frothy foam, perfect for making "mustaches" on your first sip. The homemade brown sugar whipped cream adds a distinct flair to the pretty pint, and we all enjoyed it immensely. To complete the snacktime, I served up fresh Banana Crumb Muffins and Peanut Butter Banana Bites, too.

More pictures, plus the recipe. )

It was a well-received snack/dessert, and my boys keep requesting for me to make it again (though Jack wants to try it with cream soda next time). In addition, a couple neighborhood boys who *didn't* get to try it have been begging for me to make it again, too! :-)
navygreen: (Fall: pumpkin)
You're either gonna love me or hate me for this one, folks. Maybe love me because it's so good... and then hate me also because it's so good? This is A KEEPER!

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake.

I got the recipe for this from this month's issue of Taste of Home. Surprisingly, the recipe was really just on an ad inside the magazine for cream cheese! I couldn't wait to try it, and I planned it as a special dessert for our dinner guests last night.

Recipe, plus two more photos. )
navygreen: (Food Porn)
This dish is simply amazing. The flavor is bright and bold, fruity that just pops! in your mouth. The chicken was so juicy and tender... literally, I had clear juices running down my fork and onto my hand! I just can't express how wonderful this is, and how much I absolutely adore it.

Chicken with Blueberry Sauce.
Chicken with Blueberry Sauce.

The two times I've made the chicken, I've paired it with Honey-Garlic Angel Hair and boiled carrots. It works well together, and we love stirring the leftover sauce into the pasta for an extra kick once the chicken is eaten. :-)

Recipes. )
navygreen: (Easter - au naturel)
They sound so good. They smell so good. And, really? They ARE so good.

Zucchini Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.
Zucchini Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

However... truth be told, they are TOO good. Too dense, too sweet, and too MUCH.

I froze half of the cupcakes when I made them so that I could have them fresh when Heather and her kiddos arrived. Even still, the one that I ate was just so, so sweet, and I thought she might think the same. A week later, she did. (I've told you we share a brain!)

The cream cheese frosting recipe will be a keeper, but I won't be making the cupcakes as pictured again. Still, it was great to try them, and if you ever find yourself in need of a diabetic coma, these are the ticket!

Recipe, plus one more photo. )
navygreen: (Food Porn)
Per [ profile] bekkas's request, this yummy, rich recipe that is perfect for cold nights and summer potlucks. :-)

Baked Mac 'n Cheese.
Baked Mac 'n Cheese.

Recipe. )
navygreen: (Food Porn)
For St. Patrick's Day, I tried out a new recipe for homemade rolls. This dough comes together quickly, but then it raises in the refrigerator for a day or so. Because the first rise is out of sight, they seem to be much less tedious than regular double-rise rolls.

Southern Refrigerator Rolls.
Southern Refrigerator Rolls.

Two more pictures, plus recipe. )

I got 49 good-sized rolls, plus a half-dollar sized nugget, out of the dough. We ate about ten of them with the corned beef and cabbage, and then we used a dozen the next night for Burger Sliders. The remaining half of rolls I put in the freezer. I'd pull a handful out and microwave them for 45 seconds or so on a plate, and then serve up with other dinners. They were fresh-tasting, light, and buttery, and I plan to make more soon just to put in the freezer again.

On the 17th, the boys and I feasted on my first-ever corned beef and cabbage. Jack loved it all, but A.J. and I weren't crazy about the cabbage. The meat was seasoned fantastically, however. I couldn't wait to make my first Reuben sandwiches with the leftovers.

Now, I've never had a true Reuben in my life. In fact, just the smell of sauerkraut alone is enough to send me running from a room - ICK. I had also looked around enough to know that a traditional Reuben is served with a Russian dressing. I didn't bother searching to find exactly what a Russian dressing would be closest to, though. Instead, we each dressed up our sandwiches how we felt would be the tastiest. I pan-toasted slices of honey wheat bread in a skillet, and then I topped them with the leftover shredded corn beef and caramelized onions (which I'd been searing in another skillet to warm). I put melty Swiss cheese on mine and drizzled it with a Parmesan Caesar dressing.

OMG, it was to-die-for!

My take on Reubens.
My take on Reubens.

I pan-fried the rest of the potatoes and caramelized onions from the CrockPot together and served them up as chunky home fries with the sandwiches. The entire meal was wonderfully delicious, and I can't wait to make it again. I'll forgo the cabbage entirely this time, just roasting up a nice corned beef in the same seasonings. YUM!

One more picture. )

For Christmas, my dad had bought us one of those Burger Sliders patty-making grill presses - the kind you see advertised on TV. They make tiny burgers - one pound of ground meat makes 14 burgers - so we needed tiny buns, too. The leftover Refrigerator Rolls were perfect!

Sliders and Potato Bacon Salad.
Sliders and Potato Bacon Salad.

Please forgive the end, chunky slice of tomato on my burger. I won't waste the ends, even if they don't make for a pretty picture. *wink* Also, this potato salad is my go-to recipe. I love that is has bacon, carrots, and egg in it - the taste is a winner every time.

Potato Bacon Salad recipe. )

Grape Ice.

Apr. 23rd, 2010 09:50 pm
navygreen: (Coca~Cola: bottles)
So cool and refreshing, this is one to turn to as the weather heats up. It's so easy to make ahead, too!

Grape Ice.

Recipe. )
navygreen: ('Affairs:' 101 creative ways)
Come! We've made you a path to our house!

Come, we made you a path!

I bought that little house from a Figi's Gifts catalog back in the day (wow, anyone else remember Figi's Gifts?), and I love-love-love it. Quite possibly, it was the first real "personalized" thing I ever ordered, and I thought it was the bee's knees upon receiving it. That's my "all-the-time" house in the picture, but I loved it so much that I ordered a "holiday" house the next year or so (seen in the background in this post). I usually keep mint M&M's® in the holiday version, but this one is typically - surprisingly, too - completely empty. It sits above my desk and is adorable. :-)

But Jack made a special dessert, and his little Shortbread Meltaways were just the perfect size for a stepping-stones path to my little house, and I couldn't resist. Besides, you know you love me for just this exact kind of silliness. *wink*

The recipe and one more picture. )

And these tasty little cookies were the light complement to our spicier meal:

Buffalo Wontons and Sesame Limas.
Buffalo Wontons, Sesame Limas, and carrots.

The wontons were simple, yet nothing short of amazing. We ALL raved over them, and then we all fought over the leftovers for the next day or so. They were spicy during the first run, but I didn't even need a drink as I ate them cold straight-from-the-fridge the next day.

I found the recipe for the wontons while searching snacks for Super Bowl weekend, and I hung onto it for a bit before finally making them. The recipe is HERE on, if you're interested.

Two more pictures. )

I once had some Buffalo Chicken Wontons at Ruby Tuesday®, but they were large - the size of my hand, easily. They were the same soaked chicken, but with melted cheddar inside, and it was stuffed to overflowing (when you cut into them, filling burst onto the plate). We will definitely be making these again (and again and again), but I'll also try making them with some shredded cheddar in place of the cream cheese, too. Screw you, Ruby Tuesday, for discontinuing my favorite dish! :-)
navygreen: (HP: Fred - *wink*)
I couldn't wait to make this for dinner in our menu plan, and it absolutely didn't disappoint!

Chicken Broccoli Shells.
Chicken Broccoli Shells, served with yams and fruit cocktail.

I didn't quite double the recipe, but I used more broccoli and chicken than called for, so I upped the amount of pasta shells, too. I didn't up the cheeses, so I'm sure ours wasn't quite as cheesy as it should have been, but it was still so scrumptious. :-)

Recipe, and two more pictures. )
navygreen: (Cheshire cat)

Tomato-Orange Beef Patties.
Tomato-Orange Beef Patties, served over a bed of egg noodles, and paired with peas and cottage cheese.

This was a new recipe for a recent menu plan (in fact, over half of the recipes in that plan were new!), and this is definitely a keeper! The taste combination is not one I would have paired myself, but it was wonderfully tangy on the tongue.

I'll change things up *just* a smidge the next time I make it, but I'll include some prep pictures and the recipe behind a cut.

Recipe and more. )


Chocolate Marble Gooey Butter Cake.
Chocolate Marble Gooey Butter Cake.

This was a tasty, VERY BUTTERY new cake shared on FaceBook by an old friend of mine, Char Scheuermann. She didn't have a picture, but her description sounded too yummy not to test it out. I'm so glad I did, and it was the perfect complement to our meal!

Recipe. )
navygreen: (Default)
In searching for a link for these just a bit ago, I learned that I never posted about them at all - despite having uploaded the photos back in October. Oops!

These are my most requested brownie:

Detail close-up.
Butterfinger Brownies.

They are so fudgy, and they have crunchy little bits of Butterfinger tucked inside the richness to surprise your tastebuds. They truly are amazing, as well as simple to make. As with most things I make, you'll want to cut your portions smaller than you'd think: these are sugar-overload!

Very basic recipe. )

Chef A.J.

Mar. 12th, 2010 04:57 pm
navygreen: (A.J.)
A.J. made dinner and dessert for us last night. He did it all on his own, and he did a wonderful job. Everything was very, very tasty, and he and Jack gobbled up the leftovers today for lunch, too!

Meatball Soup.

Recipe and more. )

In addition to making the soup, A.J. also heated the oven and threw in a few crusty sourdough rolls. He was very attentive to the timer, and he did a great job with the potholders in retrieving the stone once they were golden-brown. Yummy!

Fried Banana Sundaes.
Fried Banana Sundaes.

Recipes and progress pictures. )
navygreen: ('Affairs:' magically gifted)
Paprika Chicken with Pasta in a Tomato-Cream Sauce.

I made this for dinner last night, serving it with broccoli. This sauce was simply AMAZING, and I truly wonder how I have lived my life without such yumminess! We topped off the spicy flavor of this dish with small bowls of vanilla pudding, and the entire meal was perfectly delish!

Recipe, and a few in-progress pictures. )
navygreen: (CSI: Wolfe - bites lip)
I've got no picture for this, as we were in much too much of a hurry to dig in. Trust me, though - it was SO tasty!

A few times before, I'd made "Chicken and Dumplings," but I had used a packaged meal to do it in my CrockPot. Since we've moved, however, I can't find the Banquet® package in the freezer sections of ANY store. We were craving the comfort food, so I had to come up with my own recipe.

This was an absolute HIT on the first try! In fact, it tasted even so much better than the other that, even if I ever find it, I won't be tempted to go the easy way again.

For my records and for a few others who have asked:

Chicken & Dumplings )
navygreen: (Magic Happens)
These were SO easy and SO good. We had them a few nights ago, but I'm lazy. *wink*

Heavenly Strawberry Tart.

Recipe, plus one more picture. )
navygreen: (Me: flake)
Tonight was A.J.'s choice in the meal plan. (Well, he didn't pick it tonight, but he chose it back when I was planning, and today was his slot in the menu.) He chose a new recipe for us all to try, based on a picture in a cookbook.

Curried Honey Barbecue Chicken.
Curried Honey Barbecue Chicken.

I served it over brown rice, pairing it with sugar snap peas and mandarin oranges. I thought it was super-tasty, and I will definitely be adding the recipe to our permanent collection! I'll share it, in case anyone else is interested.

Recipe, plus one more snap. )

We had dessert tonight as well, though it wasn't planned ahead of time. I had a few apples I needed to use up, and I thought it would be nice to make fresh cookies to welcome our next-door neighbors back home. (We've been their 'Quarters Watch' for the last two weeks or so.) One of my old faves - Apple Spice Drops - fit both bills nicely. I generally use Granny Smith apples for baking, but in this case, I used up the Braeburns I had in the fruit bowl. It worked just as beautifully!

Apple Spice Drops.
Apple Spice Drops.

They are a light, fluffy apple cookie frosted in an apple buttercream. Oh, but I could eat a dozen of these at one time, I swear!

And the cookie recipe, plus one more picture. )

I need to make myself an icon for all these "Food Porn" posts. I love baking (and cooking, occasionally), and I find it so fun to take pictures of the creations!


navygreen: (Default)

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