March 2011

Every time I see a recipe for Mexican Wedding Cookies I mark it and swear to make it the next time I make cookies. I never do. Imagine how glad I was to be ‘forced’ to make these cookies. Finally!! We have been eating this tasty little puffs of flavor for years but never ones from MY oven. This time we are…

    Pecan Powder Puffs

These were soooo good. After 16 minutes in the oven they were round and brown and ready to devour enjoy slowly!! Lightly dusted with powdered sugar these were crunchy little morsals that melted in your mouth. Nutty sweetness. Just enough.

    The recipe was delightfully simple. Pulerized pecans mixed with sugar, butter, and flour. Rolled. Baked. Dusted. Done!!

    Thanks, Tia for this pick. These are defintely up the repeat real soon.If you want to try them you can find the recipe on her blog Buttercream Barbie.Or on page 156 of Dorie’s Baking From My Home to Yours.

    Check out the other members of TWD and see how they enjoyed them.


…Makes Me Happy!”

Sunshine in my muffins isn’t half bad either.

    Citrus Currant Cranberry Sunshine Muffins

The muffins had received mixed reviews. Some bakers liked them, some didn’t. So the only way to decide was to make them. So I did. I got up early so I could make them for Breakfast. 1/2 the recipe was more than enough. I actually got 9 small muffins (in the silicon cups). With one, okay, two small changes the muffins went into the oven and then out after 20 minutes. What changes – I didn’t have orange extract so I used a little orange oil instead. And since I am not a currant love I used some dried cranberries in 1/2 of the muffins. The cranberries added a delightful zing to the muffins.

I tried one just out of the oven and didn’t really care for them. They were a little flat in taste. But I waited about 5 minutes and they were really good after they had cooled and the flavors had time to meld together.

I will be making these again. I liked the sunny citris flavor – especially with the cranberries.

Thanks to Lauryn of Bella Baker for this weeks pick.

And please visit the other TWD Bakers and drool over their muffins as well.

Okay, First I want to apologize to Ellie. And then to Kayte. I looked at this recipe and went – ewww!! How can you put butternut in stew? I am NOT making this!!!

But then I decided I had to make this weeks CEinMB pick because My Buddy Kayte picked it and she has good taste.

I sure am glad I did because it was DELICIOUS!!

    Aromatic Beef Stew with Butternut Squash

If you like stew you will like this. If you like exotic flavors you will LOVE this. With the ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and garlic it reminded me of a Moroccan Tangine. And with the butternut squash it was a delightful but healthy dinner.

This stew is tomato based and served with couscous. Did I mention how delicious it was?? I will definitely make this one again.

The only (small) change I made was in the meat. The recipe calls for a pound of beef stew meat. When I make stew I used beef and venison, so half of the meat was venison. AND instead of using the oven for 30 or so minutes, I took Kayte’s lead and used the crockpot. I put the crockpot on high and 5 hours later my entire house smelled absolutely fabulous. The meat and the squash were unbelievably tender and everything melded together for a flavor that was very exotic. Ihave to admit it is supposed to be garnished with parsley and toasted almonds, but I completely forgot. Oh, well. It was still GOOD!!!

Make this stew. Make it now. The recipe will be on Kayte’s blog, but you can also find it HERE. It is also on page 176 of Ellie’s So Easy.

You can see how the other members of CEinMB like it, visit the blogroll and see.

There is one thing we Southerners love!! CORNBREAD!! In any way, shape or form. Hushpuppies with Fried Catfish. Skillet Cornbread. You have seen the BBA Cornbread on here. As well as Fried Cornbread. We (well, they) have made Dorie’s Savory Corn and Pepper Muffins, and her Great Grains Muffins. Now we can add one more Corny delight to the list:

    Corniest Corn Muffins

These muffins were very similar to the ones I already make. Dorie’s use buttermilk (mine just use milk), 6 TBL sugar (mine only has 4), and Corn. Other than that, the same. And these were just as good. The whole kernal corn added another layer of sweetness and flavor the the muffins. They were really easy to mix up. In fact, Kayte and I made them Monday afternoon after school. Not in the same kitchen mind you, but together in spirit. The cornmeal I used was medium stone ground and it may have been a little too coarse. There were some hard bits in the muffins. And the next time, I think I will some cheese to the mix and maybe use really fresh corn instead of frozen. But they were still quite TASTY!!

Thanks to Jill of My Next Life for her tasty pick this week. The recipe will be on her blog.

You will notice there was a ‘+’ in the title. That is for the other TWD pick I finally had a chance to make.

    Toasted Almond Scones

These were DELICIOUS. There were so many great review I knew I would have to go back and make them. And the review were right. They were great. I made the whole recipe but only baked 4. The other 4 are in the freezer waiting for their turn in the oven.

Thanks to Mike of Living out West. I was so excited when I saw his pick and then didn’t get to make them. But knew I would have to. So very glad I did. Love these scones! And you can find the recipe on Mike’s blog.

Okay, One more!! I also made the…

    …Chocolate Oatmeal Drops

which were chosen by Caroline and Claire of Bake with Us.

I have to admit I didn’t like these — at first. I tried one just after they cooled a little and they were TOO chocolately (which is unsual for me) but after they had cooled completely I really liked them. A lot!! But then they ARE chocolate and oatmeal. What’s not to love. So, Thanks Claire and Caroline for a tasty pick. And you can find the recipe on their blog as well.

Okay, that’s it. That’s all the catching up I have been able to do.

With all the great reviews on the Pots de Creme they will be the next Make-up I do.

Thanks for y’all’s patience over the last few weeks. I appreciate y’all stopping by and sticking with me.


March is already upon us. In like a Lion – out like a Lamb, or so they say.The Windy Month. The first days of Spring. Flowers start to bloom. POLLEN!!! At least here in the South.

March also means Emeril. At least for the chef of the month on Twitter. Each month this year several of us are changing our avatar for a particular chef. This month the chef is Emeril. My Pick!!

    Jambalaya Pasta with Penne, Chicken, Shrimp, and Andouille

When I think of Jambalya I think of rice. When Emeril thinks Jambalaya he thinks pasta. And I am so glad, ’cause we LOVE pasta. This has all the ingredients of the rice dish – chicken, sausage, shrimp as well as onions, tomatoes, garlic. Except with Pasta. Recipe calls for Penne, but I was out so used Ziti instead. Just as good.

This was so so very good. It will be in my repeat list for sure.

Except for the hange of pasta I made this as written. I do think it needs to be sauce-ier! Maybe adding more cream and broth would work.

Jambalaya Pasta

    1/4 cup plus 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
    1 pound dry penne rigate
    3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    1 pound peeled, deveined large shrimp
    2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Essence, divided, recipe follows
    3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, 1-inch diced
    3/4 pound andouille sausage, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
    1/2 cup yellow onion, small diced
    1/2 cup green bell pepper, small diced
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1/2 cup chicken stock
    1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
    1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Fill a large, 1-gallon stock pot with a pasta insert, 3/4 full with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and add 1/4 cup of the salt as it boils. Place the penne in the salted water and return to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook the pasta until nearly al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and set aside, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

While the pasta cooks, set a 14-inch saute pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, swirl the pan to evenly coat with the oil. Season the shrimp with 2 teaspoons of the Essence and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Place the shrimp in the pan and sear for 1 minute per side. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside. Add another tablespoon of the olive oil to the saute pan and season the chicken breast with 2 teaspoons of the Essence and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Place the chicken breast in the pan and sear for 3 minutes, turning to ensure even browning. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside with the seared shrimp.

Place the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the saute pan and add the sausage, onions and bell peppers. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is lightly caramelized and the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock to the pan and scrape with a spoon to remove any browned bits that have formed in the bottom of the pan, about 30 seconds. Add the diced tomatoes, fresh thyme, the remaining tablespoon of Essence and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the pan and cook an additional 2 minutes. Return the shrimp and chicken to the pan, as well as the nearly al dente pasta and the reserved 1 cup of pasta cooking water. Continue to cook the sauce and pasta, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp and chicken are cooked through, the pasta is al dente and most of the pasta cooking water has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the basil and Parmesan. Toss to combine and serve while hot.

For more avatar recipes visit Kayte for now and as more recipes show up I’ll let you know.

Over the past few years I have discovered that I love making bread. Any kind of bread. I’ve made almost all of PR’s breads in The Bread Bakers Apprentice (along with my Buddies on Twitter). I have made several types of bread from various other books and blogs. So when I saw that FFwD’s pick this week was bread, I was EXCITED. YAY!! Another Bread. Except for one small detail – THIS isn’t a yeast bread – It’s a quick bread!! I have to admit I was a little disappointed. But, trust me, that disappointment did not last!!!

Savory Cheese and Chive Bread

It is quick!! It is easy!! And it is Very TASTY!! Close your eyes and imagine a loaf full of cheese and herbs. What’s not to love about that!!

The recipe calls for gruyere or cheddar or any good strong cheese. Unfortunately all I had at the time was mild cheddar. Good, but the flavor just didn’t come through enough. The recipe also calls for chives (DUH!! Look at the name!!) but when I went to snip some it appears my little chive plant had gone to the great greenhouse in the sky. I used herbs de provence instead. Good Choice as it turns out. I used about 1.5 Tbl of the dried herb and it was just the right amount. I also used about 2 tsp. of Chacher’s Creole seasoning. Just enough ‘umph’!!

My only disappointment was the mildness of the cheese flavor. Next time, and soon, I will use a sharp cheddar or the gruyere and maybe add in a little Vermon Cheese Powder to up the flavor. I do love cheese bread. Dorie also suggests adding other herbs, so may use an Italian mix. Maybe add some fresh roasted garlic!! Oh, that sounds good, too!! So many ways you can change this little bread around.

And it’s great toasted with a little butter for Breakfast!!

If you want the full recipe you will have to find Dorie’s Around My French Table. It’s on page 34. And you’ll find so many other great recipes You won’t be sorry!!!

Has it really been almost a month since my last entry? Unfortunately, yes! And many of you know why. But now I am back and ready to start baking/cooking/blogging again.

And starting with something simple but delicious is a good beginning.

Banana Splits with Pineapple-Brown Sugar Topping

Told you I was coming back with something simple.

Remember when you were a kid (physically, not mentally) and a Banana Split was a special treat. Usually with three flavors of ice cream and lots of syrup – caramel, strawberry, chocolate – and whipped cream and nuts and a cherry on top?? Well, I don’t know about you but if I ate one of those now I would immediately gain 20 pounds and would have a sugar high for a week. What Ellie has done is given us a nice tasty grown-up banana split.

    Take a banana.
    Slice it.
    Top it with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream.
    Then top that with a simple pineapple-brown sugar topping which contains lemon juice and cinnamon.

Simple. Delicious. Elegant. The topping has just a hint of cinnamon {of course I DOUBLED the amount!} and the lemon juice cuts the sweetness of the sugar and pineapple. This is a perfect end to a perfect meal.

Thanks to Shandy of Pastry Heaven for this weeks tasty pick. You can find the recipe on her blog or on The Food Network or you could just purchase Ellie’s So Easy and find it on page 277.

You can also visit CEinMB and see how the other members modified/changed/adapted this one to make it their own.

OH!! It’s good to be back!!

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