Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Pretty Cupcake with a Carrot on top

This year for Easter I decided to make Carrot on Cake - not to be confused with Carrot Cake.  I made super yummy mousse filled cupcakes  (Bronwyn made the mousse) topped with Oreo dirt and then a carrot top.
These carrots were pretty crazy easy.  Basically orange candy melts, melted but somewhat setting. You don't want that candy too loosy goosy… you want some stiffness to it so they look like carrots.  Then I added a little edible green Easter grass before they set and just like that carrots!  I did put the carrots on first, then rolled the cupcakes in Oreo - otherwise the carrots would have never stuck.
Not only were they super cute, they tasted pretty awesome.   This recipe was certainly a winner in my book.

Pudding Filled Dirt Cupcakes
Ingredients
1 chocolate cake mix
1 c. chocolate cookie crumbs
1 can chocolate frosting
24 gummy worms, each one cut into 2 pieces
1 chocolate pudding mix (4 serving box)
1 1/2 c. milk
1 c. Cool Whip

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350* Prepare cake mix according to box. Fill liners 3/4 full and bake 18-20 minutes. Cool.
While cupcakes are cooling, whisk the pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes. Refrigerate until set. Fold in cool whip. Cut a small part out of the top of each cupcake. Fill the holes with a scoop of pudding mixture. Cover with the piece of the cupcake top. Frost with the canned frosting and roll in oreo crumbs. Using a sharp knife, cut two slits in the tops of the cupcakes and push the gummy worm halves into them. Keep refrigerated.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Of Pork and Butts...

 A week or so after Nicholas was born a big box came.  I was not able to get it into the house, having just had my inside all out for display, I was not bringing it inside.  Andy brought in the house wondering what it was.  It was a Valentine's Day gift - but I figured why not open it early.  A Smoker!  He'd wanted a smoker and we talked to a friend of mine who smokes.... meat - not cigarettes - anyway - that friend gave a "starter smoker suggestion".  Andy was super excited.
Cut to now... Nicholas?  16 months... and the smoker? Still in the box.  It was intimidating - heck it intimidated me too!  But Andy's brother and his wife were coming from New York and we invited the whole family for dinner - what better reason to break out the smoker and smoke some meat?
Pork Butt seemed the best plan for smoking.  I went and bought two, then our guest list increased, so Andy bought two more.  Well... they were the wrong kind.  How can there be a wrong kind of pork butt?  Butt o' Pork - um... right.
So... Off to the store again - Andy bought two more different giant butts.  (He likes big butts and he cannot lie.) <-- oh yes I did just do that.
Smoking Day came early - like 2 AM early.  It was an all day process of Andy glued to the remote thermometer worrying the temp was high or low, making sure the fool dog didn't burn his nose off sniffing at it, corralling the kids to not go near it, and all of us being really tired.
The meat?  Turned out awesome!  The recipe I have for you?  Cole Slaw.  You see... I don't like cooking meat - it's not my thing.  I undercook it or over cook it - so in these instances - I make the sides.  This cole slaw has been a favorite in our house for a long time.  So long that I would have sworn it was on the blog - maybe not.  And if it is and hiding somewhere - here it is again.  If you like creamy coleslaw - this isn't the recipe for you.  Vinegar?  Here you go.  Enjoy!
Carolina Cole Slaw

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon celery seeds

1 medium cabbage (about 1 1/4 pounds), thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large grated carrot

Combine vinegar, sugar, oil, mustard and celery seeds in nonaluminum medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and dressing comes to boil. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Cool completely.

Combine cabbage, onion and carrot in large bowl. Add dressing; toss to coat. Cover; refrigerate until cold, tossing occasionally, at least 2 hours. (Can be made1 day ahead. Cover; keep refrigerated.)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Awful Photo : Delicious Food!

Welcome to the worst pictures in blogging.
Put together the recipe in the dark of night?  Get gross lighting photos.
Make something monotone and not very colorful?  Get really boring blah photos.
BUT make this recipe?  And enjoy crispy crunchy cheesy hash brown potatoes that will knock your socks off.
Andy was going to make these for our company but after we realized how much dairy was involved… he opted for something more simple - our friends don't do very much dairy.
My family coming for brunch - bring on the dairy.   I made these ahead of time and used my trust timed oven.  I did have to crank the heat at the end to ensure some crispiness since the other items in the oven required some comprise on temperature.
These I will most certainly do again.  SO much easier than trying to make them in the fry pan in tiny batches getting spattered with oil.  Next time maybe some onion… oh… yes… onion!

Zesty Baked Hash Brown Recipe
30-ounce bag frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 stick butter, melted (1/2 cup)
2 large eggs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:
1.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a large rimmed half sheet baking pan with parchment paper.
2.Pour the thawed shredded hash brown potatoes in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl then pour over the potatoes. Add the shredded cheese, salt, cumin, thyme and garlic powder. Toss to coat. Then pour the melted butter over the top and toss to coat again.
3.Spread the potato mixture evenly over the baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes. Cut and serve warm.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

No flipping required!

I'm always interested in recipes that are easy to prep and even easier to cook when it's time to cook them.  This oven baked omelet was easier than I could have hoped.  Basically chop up your ingredients, stir them all together and refrigerate until you are ready to cook.
This was for Mother's Day brunch so I wanted something easy on me too.  (I'm a mom too!)  This was easy enough to use the timer on our oven and get this one cooked until the middle didn't jiggle anymore.  (Non-jiggle is the technical term for when the gets are set. )
I made a Denver Omelet but surely you could customize this in anyway you like your eggs or your omelets.
What else is there to say on this… not really that much.  So… yeah… enjoy.
Hi Mom!  Hi Barb!  Hi 3 Aunt Joyces! Hey hey Janey!  Hi Jean!

Baked Western Omelet
8 eggs (or use 4 eggs and 6 egg whites)
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
8 ounces diced cooked ham
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
Fresh chives, for garnish (optional)

Instructions
1.Beat eggs, milk, and seasoned salt together in a large bowl. Stir in ham, cheese, onion, and bell peppers.
2.Pour egg mixture into a greased 8-inch-square baking dish.
3.Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until eggs are cooked and omelet is set.
4.Cut into squares and garnish with chives, if desired.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Looking for tickets? Ask Andy or the police...

Some days go as planned.  Most days don't.  I can't tell you how many times during the weekend of Mother's Day I was going to go buy the cinnamon rolls I needed for this French toast.  SO many times.  And did I ever get to it?  Considering I sent Andy out at 9 PM to go hunt them down - the answer is no.  But that's life, right?  Hindsight - it wasn't a big deal - the disruptions. Makes for a good story.  Want to know what happened?  Ask Andy… I'm all out of tickets for telling that story… ugh.
Anyway!  Mother's Day brunch at our house.  I asked my folks and my Gram to come since we'd all be at church 7 1/2 minutes down the road anyway.  Yes, it's 7 1/2 - you want to make it less?  Our friendly Police Officers will see that it takes you extra longer and you get a fancy piece of paper to go with that.
I saw this recipe for Cinnamon Roll French Toast and figured since I loved both - why not?   I cut up the frozen cinnamon rolls the night before expecting great things to happen by morning.  I opened the fridge the next morning?  Looked the same as when I put it in.  Hrm.  Sure they were thawed, but not puffy or changed in any way. 
I used the magic oven timer - I LOVE the timed start on my oven.  I can cook food while I'm not even there.  When we got home - the cinnamon rolls had puffed up and smelled amazing.  No syrup needed - just use the packet of frosting.  I did only make a half a recipe, since I didn't want too many left overs.
I really liked this recipe - but each bite I took I wished it was just a cinnamon roll.  Maybe it was the frame of mind at the moment.  If you like French toast and cinnamon rolls - this one is a winner.

Cinnamon Roll French Toast Breakfast Bake
1 bag (36.5 oz) frozen cinnamon rolls, 12 pk (like Rhodes)
4 large eggs
1 cup milk, 2% or higher is best
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
cream cheese glaze packets from frozen cinnamon rolls
Instructions
1.Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
2.Cut each frozen cinnamon roll into 4 pieces. Some may break and not be in 4 perfect pieces and that's fine. Place into the baking dish in an even layer. A few may be overlapping.
3.In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together until well combined. Pour over the cinnamon rolls in the baking dish.
4.Cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge overnight.
5.Take the dish out of the fridge in the morning and leave on the counter while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
6.Bake for 35-40 minutes. Place a piece of tin foil over top of the dish (loosely) to prevent the cinnamon rolls from browning too much.
7.Let cool for 3-5 minutes. Place glaze packets in the microwave for 30 seconds and drizzle over the breakfast bake. Serve.
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