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Friday, December 18, 2009

Bacon Cinnamon Rolls...share them with a friend

Found this great recipe on the Web and I wanted to share it with you.  These easy, delicious rolls are ready in no time! The puff pastry makes them extra French like.  I made them this morning and shared them with my neighbor.  Fun to talk and eat and talk and sip and talk... They would also be a great addition to any breakfast or brunch! Nice to always have some frozen puff pastry in my freezer for those times I need something elegant in a jiffy.                                                        
Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

1 sheet of thawed puff pastry      flour for rolling the puff pastry
1/2 stick butter, softened    1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar    1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
6 slices of bacon, cooked crisply and chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Thaw puff pastry.  Mix sugars and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Roll ou the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness on a floured surface.  Spread the softened butter onto the puff pastry.  Sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture on top. Cover with a layer of bacon.  Roll up the dough into a log and cut into 6 equal portions.  Spray a 6 cup muffin tin with cooking spray and place one roll into each cup.  Sprinkle with more of the sugar mixture and bake for 20 -25 minutes.

For some cheesy and fun details on how to make these tasty rolls, check out my video at YouTube!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ran Into An Old Friend At The Grocery Store...

I was shopping for some raw peanuts the other day in order to make my annual Christmas Microwave Peanut Brittle and lo and behold, I ran into Betty!  She was standing right by the raw peanuts in the produce section with this confused look on her face.  I saw Betty's bewilderment and asked if she was ok.  She was fine...just couldn't figure out what these strange things were in the Melissa's Organic Fingerling Potato Medley bag. http://melissas.com/ We laughed and joked about these tiny odd looking potatoes that were oblong and all different colors.  Betty said, "They probably came from overseas like everything else does these days!"  Ah, Betty...such wisdom...I enjoyed listening to her as we discussed everything from our kids, to our multiple husbands, to our job choices to just about everything else under the sun that girlfriends do chat about.  You see, Betty was a widow before she was twenty years old with three young kids to feed, so she went straight to the fields to do the man's work left behind by her deceased husband, and when she was able, she gathered her kids and moved to Springdale, Arkansas to get a more pleasant indoor job at the turkey plant.  She's been retired for a while...Betty's going to be 79 in January. I felt a twinge of sadness as Betty told me about her daughters and their families who lived close by and how they were all so busy.  But we were also proud that  we both had raised our kids to be able to support themselves and have good lives on their own.  I told her, "Now, Betty, you know they work every day and it's so hard to get loose."  She said, "Yes, but just one Sunday for a short while wouldn't hurt!"  Betty did have a point.  We joked and laughed right there in the produce isle for about an hour as everyone shopped around us. As we prepared to leave and go our different ways, I told Betty I would come and see her sometime soon.  She was so excited. Today, I've made Di's Christmas Microwave Peanut Brittle and I'm off to find Betty's house.  She told me where she lived...not far from me...I'm sure I'll be able to find her place...you meet the nicest people in the grocery store...

Di's Christmas Microwave Peanut Brittle
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup white syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup raw peanuts
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon soda

Put sugar in a glass bowl, add syrup, stir, add salt, stir, add peanuts, stir well, microwave for 3 minutes
Take out and stir, microwave again for 3 minutes.  Take out and add vanilla and butter, stir, microwave 1 minute.  Take out and sprinkle the soda over the mixture and stir. Quickly pour onto a greased cookie sheet. Allow to cool. Break into pieces and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Old Ozark Secret...How to have your cake and eat it, too!

Home for the holidays, Ozark style!  The beautiful Lights of the Ozarks will be turned on at the Fayetteville Square in downtown Fayetteville on Thanksgiving.  What a beautiful sight (over 450,000 lights) it is to see!  #3 and me will be headed that way to take our annual Christmas photo.  The romantic Lights of the Ozarks also prompts lovers to pop that special question...or maybe be part of a wedding vow renewal ceremony like the one that #3 and me participated in a while back. Yes, if you have romance or Santa or horse drawn carriages or just about anything else on your mind...visit the Square around the holidays. There is something exciting to be shared by all!

Another wonderful tradition at our home around the holidays includes some traditional Southern cooking and entertaining! Actually, we feast all year long, but the onset of the holiday season seems to justify our over indulgence for rich treats! In fact, let me make you privy to an old Ozark secret of how to eat your cake and have it, too. Host a Cookie Exchange! Yes, just follow these simple instructions or make up your own and you will be able to eat your cookies and everyone else's, as well:

  • Invite about 8-10 'special' people...I sometimes do the girlfriend only thing and other times I choose a theme like the mother/daugter motif...whatever you choose is fine. Be creative! Check out this different kind of cookie exchange:

  • Tell the guests to bring 1 dozen cookies for each guest that is coming...for example, if you are going to have 8 guests, then bring 8 dozen cookies AND also bring 1 dozen extra to eat at the event.
  • Tell the guests, if possible please bring printed sheets or notecards of the recipe. Have some pads and pens availble for recipe writing, too.
  • Provide cute little boxes with festive tissue paper, zip lock baggies, or paper sacks for the guests to take their treats home in. Being the over achiever that I have always been known to be (and usually well criticized for), I go all out and come up with something original for my special guests. For instance, I might go to the Dollar Store and get some simple white shirt boxes and tissue paper.  I would then decorate the top of the box in a special way and put their name on it.  Again, go wild!
  • Display each take home cookie with recipe sheet/cards beside it in its own container or provide platters if needed.  Use your kitchen countertop or a table for the guests to go single file or gather around to ooh and aah all the different cookies as they fill their goody boxes/bags. 
  • Set up another area or table for your refreshments with the extra cookies the guests have brought to eat.  Arrange the cookies randomly on beautiful serving platters.  Add some festive colorful punch (recipe below) and napkins and no more fuss is needed when you have such a beautiful display of cookies! Remember to have some fun, too!
Easy Punch
3 envelopes unsweetened Kool-Aid (all one flaovor)
1/2 cup Real lemon juice
3 cups pineapple juice
3 cups sugar

Put ingredients in order given into a gallon jar.
Stir well until sugar has dissolved.
Add water to make a gallon.
Chill before serving
Wonderful recipe for making up ahead of time! So colorful and INEXPENSIVE!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Lindy!

We Love Lindy...and today is her special day! Have you seen the Jennifer Garner movie, 13 Going on 30? I believe Lindy could star in a whole new version...7 Going on 20!  Lindy is the new 'it' girl on my blog, because she knows everything there is to know about fashion, fun, make up, hair styles and anything else proper little girls frolic with.  Just ask Lindy!  Special cup cakes for Lindy should include some cake pops!  Found some wonderful Muppet Pops (who by the way, are celebrating their 40th anniversary this month) on one of my favorite sites http://bakerella.com/  Also found some plain ole pink ones, too just perfect for Lindy! Basic recipe is below...check out those Muppet pals, too http://muppetnewsflash.com/...never too old to enjoy the Muppets!

Basic Cake Pops
1 box cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can frosting (16 oz.)
Wax paper
Pink Candy melts (1 lb. pkg.)
Lollipop sticks
Edible ink pens (optional for face drawing)
1.  After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
2.  Mix thoroughly with 1 can frosting. (I use the back of a large spoon, but it may be easier to use fingers to mix together. But, be warned, it will get messy. Also, you may not need the entire can of frosting, so start out by using almost the entire can and add more if you need to.)

3.  Roll mixture into quarter size balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50)

4.  Melt  candy melts/chocolate in the microwave per directions on package. (30 sec intervals, stirring in between.)

5.  Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in a little of the melted candy coating and insert into the cake balls. (Insert a little less than halfway.)

6.  Place them in the freezer for a little while to firm up.

7.  Once firm, carefully insert the cake ball into the candy coating by holding the lollipop stick and rotating until covered. Once covered remove and softly tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off. Don’t tap too hard or the cake ball will fall off, too.

8.  Place in a styrofoam block to dry.

9.  Once dry, draw faces, if desired, with an edible ink pen and allow ink to dry OR head over to check out Bakerella's post to make all the different Muppet pals OR just let them be PINK!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Birthday, Aaron!

November 1, 1970 was a special day! I remember it so well, as if it were yesterday. William Aaron Backus just wasn't cooperating (imagine that) with his entrance into the world, and he was already about 2 weeks late! Dr. Smith had decided to induce labor, so I had packed my bags and gone into the hospital the day before...Halloween...how appropriate! Aaron was born the next day, and the rest is history. He weighed in at a whopping 10 pounds and had already grown out of his Newborn sizes when we came home from the hospital a few days later! Well, Happy Birthday, Aaron! And please remember, "Birthdays are just nature's way of telling us to eat more cake!" Here is a special cup cake recipe for a special guy...a lot of trouble to make, but you're worth it!
HI HAT CUP CAKES by Hayleesgrandma at
•Makes 12 cupcakes
•3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
•1 cup all-purpose flour
•1/2 teaspoon baking powder
•1/2 teaspoon baking soda
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
•1 1/4 cups sugar
•2 large eggs
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1/2 cup sour cream
•1 3/4 cups sugar
•3 large egg whites
•1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1/2 teaspoon almond extract
•2 cups chopped (about 12 ounces) semisweet chocolate
•3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center. Prepare the batter: Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl, and set it over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water; stir chocolate until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from heat, and set aside to cool slightly.
2.  Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping sides of bowl as needed, until light and fluffy. On low speed, mix in melted chocolate. Increase speed to medium, and add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla, and beat until mixture is creamy and color has lightened slightly, about 1 minute. Mix in sour cream. On low speed, add half of reserved flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Mix in 1/2 cup water. Add remaining flour mixture, and mix until just incorporated.
4.  Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Fill each liner with enough batter to come 1/8 inch from top, about 1/3 cup. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool in pan for 10 minutes.
5.  Use a small knife to loosen any tops stuck to the pan. Carefully invert cupcakes onto the wire rack. Turn cupcakes right side up, and let cool completely.
6.  Prepare the frosting: In a large heatproof bowl, combine sugar, 1/4 cup water, egg whites, and cream of tartar. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat on high speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Set bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Beat on high speed until frosting forms stiff peaks, about 12 minutes; frosting should register 160 degrees.on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and almond extracts, and beat for 2 minutes more until frosting thickens.
7.  Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain pastry tip. Leaving a 1/8-inch border on each cupcake, pipe a spiral of frosting into a 2-inch-high cone shape, using about 1/2 cup of frosting per cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet, and refrigerate while preparing the chocolate coating.
8.  Prepare the chocolate coating: Combine chocolate and oil in a medium heat-proof bowl set over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water; stir until melted and smooth. Transfer to a small bowl, and let cool about 15 minutes.
9.  Holding each cupcake by its bottom, dip cupcake in the chocolate to coat frosting, allowing excess to drip off. Transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack. Spoon more coating around edge of cupcake and any exposed frosting; none of the frosting should show. Let cupcakes stand at room temperature 15 minutes.
10. Carefully remove paper liners from cupcakes, and discard. Place cupcakes on a serving platter, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let coating set. Cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours more. Serve cold. Cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I Like To Be Different!

Were you ever one to be the odd ball? You know, the Lone Ranger...the outcast...the one that always fit in, but never fit in at all...the eccentric one?? That's me! I was never one to follow until Twitter came along. Nor, was I the one with loads of friends until I joined Facebook http://facebook.com/ or Group Recipes http://grouprecipes.com/ a while back. Anyway, when I noticed Tie Dyed Tortilla Chips at http://blisstree.com/, I thought of how I love things that are a wee bit edgy.

I have had an ongoing love affair with Mexican food and especially corn tortillas in any way, shape, or form for most all my life. So, when I spotted this quirky fried tortilla chip recipe...I decided to have a Mexican feast this weekend. That certainly includes huevos, salsas, queso, and ablondigas soup to name a few Mexican dishes that I do so love! So come along and see how wacky I can be...let's do a Mexican brunch the Ozark way. Print this page and use for your shopping list. And please shop green...locally, seasonally, and organically! Let's be eccentric together for a fun loving meal at Brunch in the Ozarks! Oh, and don't forget your Lagniappe!

Mexican Eggs with Cheese
4 corn tortillas
4 eggs
2 green onions, minced
3/4 to 1 cup canola oil
1/4 cup diced green Chiles
1 cup cheese, shredded, cheddar, Monterey jack, or any other you like
Heat the canola oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Slice the tortillas into strips (1/2 inch by 2 inches) and place in the hot oil to fry. Cook the tortillas until they become crispy and slightly browned.
Drain the oil from the pan. Scramble the eggs and pour into the frying pan on top of the tortillas. Add the rest of the ingredients by sprinkling them over the eggs.
Cook over medium heat, turning the eggs until they are cooked through.
Mexican Corn Relish
by HungryBear at http://grouprecipes.com/
1 pound corn kernels (freshly roasted tastes best)
2/3 cup small diced white onion
1/4 each, small diced red and green bell peppers
1/4 small diced chipotle peppers (smoked jalapenos)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider or rice vinegar
1/4 minced cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon salt
Combine all ingredients, cover and allow to sit under refrigeration for at least 12 hours
____________________________________________________________________ Ablondigas Soup
by ShepherdRescue at http://grouprecipes.com/
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef or ground turkey
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 large whole eggs
2 medium onions, chopped pretty small or fine
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano, about half that if dry (Try to use Mexican oregano)
6 carrots thinly sliced in rounds
10 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 large dry whole ancho or pasilla chile seeded and crumbled or 1 small, dry whole hot red chile seeded
1/4 cup rice or 1 large russet potato peeled and diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 or 3 medium zucchini sliced medium to large (Optional)
3/4 pound fresh spinach, trimmed of stems, washed, and cut into thin shreds aka chiffonade
3 limes cut into wedges
In a large ( 8 quarts or more) stockpot, combine the broth, oregano, onions and chile and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer.
Add carrots, rice or potatoes, cilantro and zucchini if using. Simmer, uncovered 10 to 15 minutes until tender.
While that is simmering, combine the beef, breadcrumbs and eggs and shape mixture into small balls no larger than 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
Drop meatballs into soup. Simmer uncovered about 5 minutes.
Spoon off any fat and/or foam from surface of soup.
Add the chiffonaded spinach to the soup and cook 5 another five minutes.
Ladle the soup into bowls and pass with the lime wedges to squeeze over soup or float on top.
Tie Dyed Tortilla Chips
by http://blisstree.com/
12 white corn tortillas
Paste food colors
Vegetable oil for fryer
Sea salt or table salt
Make the Dye:
1.Mix 1/4 tsp of paste food color with 1/8 cup of water. You can adjust the color intensity by adding more water to make it lighter or less water to make it intense. Choose at least four colors for dyes.
2. Lay the tortilla flat on a work surface that has been protected with wax paper or other protective layer. Using the food color and brush begin to paint the dye onto the tortilla, mixing colors any way you like.
Fry the Tortilla Chips:
Fill fryer with oil and preheat according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Cut tortillas into eighths with sharp knife.
When the oil reaches 375 degrees (185 C ) place the triangles into the fryer basket. Do not crowd them too much.. Fry until crispy. This will take about 1 to 3 minutes.
Pull basket out of oil and hold over the fryer so that the extra oil can run off for a minute or two. Tip basket carefully on towel, or paper towel.
Let the oil heat back up to 375F (185C) before you add any more tortillas. Repeat process until all the chips are cooked.
Sprinkle with salt, if desired, and serve hot.
Red Hot Salsa
by Theresa! at http://grouprecipes.com/
1 (16 oz.) can tomatoes diced
1/2 sm. onion, diced
2 Fresh jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt (more or less)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. cilantro
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and mix for 10-
15 seconds or until all ingredients are of desired consistency.
Queso Blanco
by Linebb956 at http://grouprecipes.com/
1 cup cheese (Monterey jack, Asadero or
Chihuahua), shredded fine
4 ounces green chiles
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons onion, chopped fine
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Serrano pepper, chopped fine (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped fine (optional)
Put all ingredients in a double boiler and heat on medium.
Cook until melted and well blended, stirring occasionally.
Serve with fresh tostadas or hot flour tortillas.
Take the time to make some home made chips out of corn tortillas...
I also like to add some fresh chopped tomato at the very end.. You want the fresh of the veggies.. that is why you don't saute first..
Give it a try, and enjoy!____________________________________________________________________
Coffee, Tea, or Beverage of Choice
Easy Mexican Hot Cocoa
by Sheldyn at http://allrecpies.com/
1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon instant hot chocolate mix
3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 pinches chili powder
3/4 cup milk
2-1/4 cups boiling water
In a large pitcher, mix the hot chocolate mix, chocolate syrup, cinnamon, and chili powder. Pour in the milk. Add the boiling water and stir. Pour into individual mugs and serve.
Whoops, almost forgot dessert, as if we need any more good food to eat on this Mexican Feast, but this treasured authentic recipe cannot be left behind! Adios, Amigos.
by Vicschick at http://grouprecipes.com/I
5 eggs
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
Beat eggs in a bowl
Addevaporated milk and keep beating
Strain the mixture through a strainer
Add can of condensed milk, vanilla and almond extracts and mix
Preheat oven 350 degrees
Heat cup of sugar over medium-high heat until melted/ caramelized ***do not burn sugar...continue to stir until it turns brown and all sugar is melted
Immediately pour caramel into heat proof mold and tilt to coat bottom evenly
Slowly pour egg and milk mixture over caramel
Cover mold with aluminum foil or with lid if it has one..just make sure it is also heat proof
Place covered mold into a large baking dish
Fill large baking dish with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the smaller mold
Bake for about 50 minutes...knife inserted in center should come out clean...otherwise bake a bit longer
Once done cool flan completely ***if using glass mold carefully place on a wire rack or towel but avoid by all means anything cold because glass mold will crack into pieces***
Once cooled place large plate over mold and carefully flip over to invert the flan ***make sure plate is also large enough to hold extra caramel that drips down the sides of the flan
Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until cooled completely

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Mini Cupcakes

Love this time of year, don't you? It is autumn in the Ozarks and I am ready for some good ole pumpkin pie mini cupcakes or Pumpkin Pie Bites as found on this great site, http://bakerella.com/ . I can't wait to make these scrumptious looking mini morsels! They would be excellent for brunch or tasting/cocktail parties or Thanksgiving when you are just too full for anything else, but always have room for one more tiny, little bite! Make sure you have a mini muffin tin before you get started and remember...life is way too short, so eat dessert first!

Pumpkin Pie Bites
2 refrigerated ready-to roll pie crusts
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Use cookie cutter to cut 12 pumpkin shapes from each pie crust.
You will need to roll the dough thinner than it comes out of the box.
Press dough shapes into a 24 cup mini muffin tray.
(Make 12 at a time, alternating cups to make sure pie crusts don’t overlap each other.)
Apply egg whites from one egg to the top edges of each pie.
Mix cream cheese, sugar, canned pumpkin, remaining 2 eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice together until thoroughly combined.
Spoon mixture into each pumpkin-shaped pie crust.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Remove pies to cool and repeat with second pie crust.
Place the muffin tray in the freezer to cool it quickly for re-use.
Optional: Decorate with black icing for Halloween faces!
Makes 24 pies. Keep refrigerated.

Alison and Larry Gilmore's Corn Tortilla Chicken Lasagna Recipe - ABC News

Alison and Larry Gilmore's Corn Tortilla Chicken Lasagna Recipe - ABC News

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Oktoberfest in the Ozarks

Hi, Everyone! Hope your brunch, lunch, munch, meal, snack, treat or whatever you ate last week end was a well planned and exciting event! How about that Savory Pumpkin Soup? So creamy and easy, 1-2-3! In fact, everything was super simple last week end. Love those kind of menus because it gives me and #3 time to do other things that we really do enjoy. For instance, have you seen the foliage in the Ozarks this year? Wow, and double wow! The trees have been turning all the traditional colors of reds, golds, yellows, bronzes, and oranges around our beloved Ozark Mountains. Forget the east coast! Come to Arkansas and experience fall color and small town charm as seen on our beautiful scenic routes all over the state! Catch Scenic Arkansas 7 for viewing Arkansas's colorful showcases as this familiar roadway winds through the Ozark Mountains, along the Arkansas River Valley and into the Ouachita Mountains and timberland. Check out http://forbestraveler.com/ as they have named this route one of their top picks for fall excursions. If you really want to see what Arkansas has to offer, just order an
Arkansas Vacation Planning Kit at 1-800-NATURAL or online at http://arkansas.com/.

Back to our menu for this coming weekend. Let's keep up the Oktoberfest Theme and stick with colorful and abundant choices as we celebrate the harvest of our traditional fall surplus! Invite some special friends over and have a grand ole time, as we will do at Brunch in the Ozarks! Copy this menu and use for your grocery list. Shop locally, seasonally, and green if you are able!

Acorn Squash with Sugar Coated Cranberries
from Spinach1948 at http://grouprecipes.com/
Ingredients for Sugar-coated Cranberries:
2 cups fresh or frozen Cranberries
Granulated sugar
1 cup water
Acorn Squash:
3 medium-sized acorn squash
Hot water
2 Tbs .Margarine or butter
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. Ground ginger
¼ cup light corn syrup
1)Prepare cranberries: Wash cranberries; remove any stems. ( If frozen, do not thaw.) Prick each berry two times with a pin. In a saucepan bring 1 cup sugar and water to boiling. Cook until syrup spins a thread when dropped from a spoon.
2)Add cranberries; simmer 20 minutes or until syrup jells when dropped from tip of spoon. Remove berries one at a time to waved paper, keeping them separate. Let stand at room temperature for several hours or until dry. Roll berries in granulated sugar and set aside.
3)Preheat oven to 375. Prepare acorn squash: Scrub squash and cut each in half lengthwise; remove and discard seeds and stringy fibers. Arrange cut side down in a shallow baking pan. Pour hot water into pan around squash to ½ -inch depth. Bake 30 minutes.
4)In a small bowl, place margarine, salt, cinnamon, ginger and corn syrup; stir to combine thoroughly. Set aside. Remove squash from squash from oven; pour off any liquid remaining around squash in pan and discard. Turn squash cut side up and leave in baking pan.
5)Spoon the margarine-spice mixture into the cavity of each squash half. Return squash to oven and bake 15 minutes, basting frequently with sauce until squash is tender when pierced with a fork.
6)Remove pan from oven and arrange squash on a large serving platter. Fill cavities of squash with the reserved cranberries. ( By this time, the cranberries should have a crunchy sugar coating.) Serve immediately.
Serving Size is one half of squash.
Eggs with Lox and Scallions
from Valinkenmor at http://grouprecipes.com/
1 teaspoon butter or olive oil
1 dozen eggs
1 teas. fresh dill, chopped
Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
4 ounces smoked salmon, sliced into thin strips
1 large yellow onion, sautéed (prepared ahead of time)
1 bunch scallions
Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease a large oven-ready dish with butter or olive oil and place in the oven to warm.
In a large bowl, whip eggs with salt and pepper until frothy, add salmon, onions and scallions. Whip again. Remove cooking dish from oven and add egg mixture. Bake until eggs are to your liking, keeping in mind that they will continue to cook for several minutes after they are removed from the oven.
Pumpkin Muffins
from Henrie at http://grouprecipes.com/
3 1/2 c. sifted flour
3 c. sugar
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 eggs (beaten)
1 c. oil
2/3 c. water
2 c. mashed pumpkin
nuts (optional)
Sift together dry ingredients. In separate bowl, combine eggs, oil, water, pumpkin and mix well. Add to dry ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes in greased muffin pan.
Something Fishy Dip
from Cuzpat at http://grouprecipes.com/
2 cups grilled, smoked fish (shredded)
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp cajan seasoning
1/4 tsp celery salt
1 8oz pk Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 red onion (chopped)
Grilled smoked fish is great with this, but any kind of fish will do. Mix cream cheese and seasonings, then add sheredded fish and onions, mix well. Serve with assorted crackers like Ritz or Club or fresh veggies, too!
Coffee, Tea, or Beverage of Choice

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Carving Out a Pumpkin Lid: Creative Pumpkin Carving Ideas | eHow.com

Carving Out a Pumpkin Lid: Creative Pumpkin Carving Ideas | eHow.com

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Top of the morning to you! Hope you were brave and tried the Oxtail Soup recipe last weekend...yummy! Oh, oxtails have such a different flavor that I have not experienced before. Usually, I'm a bit afraid to try something new, but this savory soup was a huge hit with me and #3 as we brunched in the Ozarks last week.
Well, on to even newer and possibly scarier horizons. I am going to be really, really brave during the next few weeks because you know what's coming up! Yes, Halloween, my most favorite holiday of the year! And I'm starting early, so we don't miss out on all this goblin fun! Let's plan scary, kooky, spooky, and ghostly things into our menu. I know it's a wee bit early, but I just can't wait...because it's my most favorite month of the year and besides, it's never too early to have Halloween shenanigan fun! "Be afraid, be very afraid" and please, do come along to see what I have planned for this exciting and bountiful time of year! Shop green and copy this page to use for a convenient shopping list. Remember to get your pumpkin early at your local, neighborhood pumpkin patch. Happy Early Halloween!
Savory Pumpkin Soup taken from Jones2888 at http://grouprecipes.com/
2 cans (15 ounces each) pure pumpkin
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) canned chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup whipping cream
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk pumpkin, broth, cream, garlic and bay leaf in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat
Bring to a simmer, whisking often
Add syrup and ginger
Simmer 10 minutes
Remove garlic and bay leaf
Season to taste with salt and pepper
Halloween Pizza Treats taken from annieamie at http://grouprecipes.com/
4 English muffins
Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Green onion, peppers, mushrooms, etc. to decorate
*You can use a pre-made pizza dough like Boboli or use the canned pizza dough. You can even use hamburger buns!
Cut English muffins in half
Spread pizza sauce over the muffins and sprinkle on cheese
Cut pepperoni to create pumpkin faces or monsters
Use peppers, mushrooms, green onions, zucchini, carrots, raisins, olives, etc for other details
Frankenstein Salad taken from mountainmama at http://grouprecipes.com/
2 packages (6 ounces each) lime gelatin
2-1/2 cups boiling water
3/4 cup bean sprouts
12 orange jelly beans
6 red jelly beans
3 tablespoons sour cream
12 miniature marshmallows
Purple kale, optional
In a bowl, dissolve gelatin in water
Pour into an 8-in. square pan that has been coated with cooking spray
Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm
Cut into six rectangles; place each on a plate
Decorate with bean sprouts for hair, orange jelly beans for eyes an a red jelly bean for nose
Fill a small plastic bag with sour cream; cut a small hole in the corner of the bag. Pipe a jagged smile on face
Place marshmallows on side of head for bolts
Garnish plates with kale if desired
Orange Witches Brew Punch taken from mountainmama at http://grouprecipes.com/
1 package (6 ounces) orange gelatin
1/2 to 1 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water
1 can (46 ounces) apricot nectar
1 can (46 ounces) pineapple juice
3/4 cup lemon juice
4 liters ginger ale, chilled
In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin and sugar in water
Stir in the apricot nectar, pineapple juice and lemon juice
Freeze in two 2-qt. freezer containers
Remove from the freezer 2-3 hours before serving
Place contents of one container in a punch bowl; mash with potato masher
Stir in ginger ale just before serving. Repeat.
Yield: about 8 quarts
Easy Halloween Cookies taken from mamajune at http://grouprecipes.com/
1 (12-ounce) bag white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
Ritz crackers
Creamy or crunchy peanut butter
Orange candy sprinkles
In small, heavy saucepan melt chocolate and shortening together over
low heat, stirring until smooth
Make sandwich cookies out of the Ritz crackers using peanut butter for
the filling
Dip each cookie into the melted chocolate mixture and place on waxed
paper. Sprinkle with the orange candy sprinkles. Allow to dry at room
Store in an air tight container at room temperature
Carved Halloween Pumpkin for your door http://pumpkincarving101.com______________________________________________________________
Coffee, Tea, or stick to the Witches Brew!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Green Shopping in Your Area

Top of the morning to all of you! We had a great Brunch In The Ozarks this past week and it was truly like a bit of 'heaven on earth' with that scrumptious baked brie! This ooey, gooey delicacy was to die for along with the savory squash, chutney grilled chicken, and the classic Caesar salad. Surely one of these great specialties is a high Fork Five on your list. Check out what I mean about a High Fork 5 at http://grouprecipes.com/.

This week end we will turn in a slightly different direction...don't you just love zigzagging down the road of life? Just try to stay 'left of center' if you know what I mean! And if you don't know what I mean, I hope you never do. Anyway, how about an Ox tail Soup for brunch this week? As I have said, shop green whenever you are able, so I'm going to my neighborhood super store where I am always able to find ox tails. These little bony tails of beef may be hard to find in your region, however, we have a large Latino base in the Ozark area and are fortunate to have access to the foods this ethnic group loves to cook and eat! Ox tails have such a distinct and flavorful taste that you will surely want to take the extra time to make this special stew. Remember to print this page and use for your midweek shopping list...happy trails to you, until we meet again!
Oxtail Stew
1 cup flour
freshly-ground black pepper
5 lbs oxtails
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped parsnips
1 cup sliced squash
2 cups sliced cabbage
1 sliced and seeded bell pepper
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
2 quarts beef stock
Season flour with salt and pepper and dredge oxtails in the flour.
Heat oil in large Dutch oven, over medium heat.
Add the oxtails in batches, and brown for approx. 3 minutes on all sides
Remove oxtails from the pan and set aside.
Add onions, celery, carrots, parsnips, squash, cabbage, bell pepper.
Season with salt and pepper.
Saute vegetables about 6 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, bay leaves and stock, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to loosen the browned particles.
Return the oxtails to the pot and cook, covered, until the sauce is stew-like and the meat starts to fall of the bone (about 2 hours)
Ozark Golden Silver Dollars
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk OR soured milk (to sour milk, add about 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk and stir until it is lumpy)
Oil and skillet for frying
Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, batter will be thick
Drop by tablespoonfuls into oil at medium heat on stove top
Fry until puffy and golden brown, turning only once...Scrumptious!
Serve hot
Fried Green Tomatoes
3 medium green tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick, not too thin!
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying
Ranch dip
Slice tomatoes to 1/2 inch thick, don't peel the tomatoes
Mix egg and water
Soak sliced green tomatoes in egg and water while mixing cornmeal and flour
Pour small amount of oil into skillet
Heat oil to medium temperature
Dip tomatoes in meal and flour until fully covered
Fry in the oil until just brown
Drain on paper towels
Salt, pepper, and serve with classic ranch dip!
Fresh Fruit Salad Recipe from Noola at grouprecipes.com
3/4 cup cut watermelon
7 big strawberries
3/4 cup cut grapes
4 kiwi
1 mango
2 peach
1 Apple
1 orange
1 banana
3/4 cup cut melon
4 tbsp dry mint
½ cup maple syrup
Cut the ingredients to cubes or balls as desired, put them in a bowl then add the maple syrup and the dry mint to the ingredients and mix, finally put in the serving plate and sprinkle some dry mint in top.
Dump Cake straight from the Southern cooks of America and taken from Shai at grouprecipes.com
1 box yellow or white cake mix
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
1 can cherry pie filling
1 can (15 oz.) pineapple in heavy syrup
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1/4 cup coconut (optional)
Grease a 9x13 baking dish-do not flour
DUMP canned fruit into baking dish in layers
DUMP cake mix (powder-DO NOT PREP) evenly over fruit
Drizzle melted butter over cake mix
Top with nuts if desired
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F or until golden brown.
Don't worry if topping appears dry, fruit will bubble up and make it nice.
Serve warm or cold with or without ice cream or whipped cream.
Coffee, Tea, or Wine or Whatever your Beverage of Choice is for this week!

Rubber Ducky Cupcakes for Henry

On a recent trip to see our new grand baby, Henry, #3 and me travelled through the duck capital of the world, Stuttgart, Arkansas. #3 loves to duck hunt and is an avid member of Ducks Unlimited http://ducks.org/. It is interesting to know that this great organization was started in the 30s to help preserve habitat areas for our waterfowl and ensure duck hunting for our future generations. Ducks Unlimited has continued to be very instrumental in preventing further degradation of existing wetlands in North America, as well as, many other parts of the world.

I found this Rubber Ducky Baby Shower cupcake theme, as well as, other baby shower topics at A Baked Creation http://abakedcreation.com/. Check it out! And do teach your children, as we will teach Henry, that protecting our wetlands and other natural habitats of the world will only secure a better environment for our kids and other kiddos to come. Life would be pretty sad if Henry and our other wonderful grand kids grew up to ask, "Paw paw, now just what was that thing called a 'duck'?" And especially sad if they couldn't go duck hunting with Paw paw in our little corner of the Duck Capital of the world.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Different Kind of Cupcake

Was thumbing through my group recipes website http://grouprecipes.com/ the other day and found this great recipe by gagagrits. I do like that name! And I especially love these delightful little somewhat different cupcakes. What's your favorite cupcake recipe? Do tell! And thank you gagagrits for sharing yours!

Breakfast Cupcakes

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. cornmeal
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c. plain nonfat yogurt or buttermilk
1/4 c. milk
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 egg white
1/2 bulk breakfast sausage
1 apple sliced thin
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 Tbs. of a good bourbon or rum (optional)
1 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350
Coat cups of jumbo muffin tin with nonstick spray or can be baked in a greased 9 inch cast iron skillet for 30 min.
Combine flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
Combine yogurt, milk, oil, eggs, and egg white in another bowl. Set aside
Brown sausage in a skillet about 5 min. remove and drain on paper towel.
Whisk brown sugar, cream, syrup, bourbon, and salt for caramel together in a skillet over med high heat, stirring often, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 min.
Stir sausage into flour mixture and add yogurt mixture. Stir just until combined; mixture will be slightly lumpy. Arrange apple slices in muffin cups. Divide the caramel evenly between cups and finish off with a batter layer.
Bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 30 min.
Let them cool briefly before turning out of muffin tin.

Heaven on Earth

Either that or I've died and gone to heaven and there's a French chef catering to my cheesy, rich commands! Was trying a new recipe just recently and cannot believe I have never done this before. Wow, a first time event! Maybe it was the pricey brie cheese or lazily never wanting to take time to thaw the puff pastry (also a bit pricey)I got at the market! Whatever...I can now say I have baked some brie in a puff pastry. So easy to do and elegant to serve! It's on my menu for this weekend along with some other scrumptious morsels. Shop green and see you soon at Brunch in the Ozarks!

Baked Brie in Puff Pastry
1/2 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 (8 ounce) package brie cheese, round
3 tablespoons jelly, of choice
Preheat oven to 425.
Lightly grease cookie sheet.
Roll puff pastry out slightly.
Place cheese wheel on top (leave rind on).
Place preserves on top of cheese.
Bundle Puff Pastry up and around the cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Let cool for five minutes.
Serve with your favorite crackers
Baked Acorn Squash with Apples
3 medium acorn squash
3 tart apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small chunks
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
To facilitate slicing, partially bake or microwave the squash until the skin can be broken easily by the pressure of your thumbnail. Transfer to a colander and allow to stand.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly oil 6 individual baking dishes or a large shallow pan.
In a mixing bowl, combine the apples and flour and toss to coat evenly.
When the squash is cool enough to handle, cut each one in half lengthwise.
Scoop out the seeds and fibrous tissue.
Transfer the shells to the prepared baking dish.
Spoon the apples into the squash cavities and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
In a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
Brush over the exposed flesh of the squash and then drizzle what remains over the apples.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
Uncover the dish and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes or until the squash is tender.
Grilled Chutney Chicken
Chutney Sauce:
1/2 cup of your favorite chutney
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper
6 pieces chicken, such as breast halves, legs, or thighs
Preheat barbecue grill (spray grill with vegetable oil cooking spray).
Make the Chutney Sauce:
In a small bowl, combine chutney, garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper; stir until well blended. Place chicken onto hot grill and brush generously with chutney sauce.
Cover barbecue with lid, open any vents, and cook 20 to 30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked; turning and basting several times.
Remove from grill, transfer onto a serving platter, and serve immediately. Yield: 6 servings
Caesar Salad
2 large raw egg yolks (optional)
5 large cloves garlic, peeled
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 (2-ounce) can anchovy fillets, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 head romaine lettuce, cleaned, dried, and torn
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup croutons
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the egg yolks, garlic, Dijon, mustard, lemon juice, wine vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.
Pulse the mixture together until the garlic is finely chopped.
Then, while continuing to pulse, add the olive oil in a very patient, slow, steady stream to produce a smooth, creamy mayonnaise emulsion.
Add the anchovies, pulse for 30 seconds, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
This makes enough dressing for 8 servings. The extra dressing can be stored in the refrigerator 3 to 4 days.
To serve, place the romaine in a large salad bowl. Add the Parmesan cheese and half the dressing. Crumble the roasted croutons roughly over the salad. Toss thoroughly to coat the greens evenly.
Iced Tea, Coffee, or Beverage of choice

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Too Much Food, So Little Time!

It was a wild and crazy weekend for me and #3! We had a great time doing lots of different merrymaking with friends and family. Be assured that we did manage to get some quality eating and drinking time during all of our weekend festivities. First, Wendy and Felicia came down and we all went to the annual NWArkansas Alzheimer's Walk in Springdale. Our Trucker Buddies for Alzheimer's Team raised $620 for the cause! Check out our pictures!

Next on the agenda was a day trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas http://eurekasprings.org/ which is just a short 30 minutes from the Turquoise House. There was an antique car show going on with the usual ghost tours, as well as, excellent eating and shopping. We ate lunch at the Crescent Hotel in Dr. Baker's Lounge high atop the hills of this quirky, well known tourist attraction of a city! Did you know that this town of 2,350 residents and tons of yearly visitors does not have one traffic light in the whole city? Check out those pictures, too!

My preplanned and easy to prepare flexible brunch of pork sandwiches, chips and dip, coleslaw, and exotic drinks came in mighty handy when we settled back at home on Sunday. We were all very tired as we kicked back to enjoy football, food, and family at our little Brunch in the Ozarks! Check out that yummy Ozark Redneck Caviar pictured up above...and we Lagniappe'd it by watching the Dallas Cowboys actually win one in their new billion dollar stadium! See you midweek for the next brunch menu and do take care!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Let's Do Brunch!

What's up with you? Plenty over here in the Ozarks...#3 and me are going on the Northwest Arkansas Alzheimer's Memory Walk tomorrow, Saturday the 12th of September http://nwawalk.kintera.org/diannehocut. This annual event and fundraiser has been gearing up for months and walk day is finally here! Because of this event, friends are coming to visit at the Turquoise House and I want to have the most flowing and flexible menu possible. We'll be here, there, and everywhere this week end...so hope you can join us in some way at the Memory Walk, 8:00am, Arvest Ballpark off Interstate 540 N in Springdale or as usual at Brunch in the Ozarks. Remember to shop (copy this page and use as your shopping list) with your green on and be safe whatever you do!

Crock Pot Pork
1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
3 pounds boneless pork roast
1 (18 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce
Pour can of beef broth into slow cooker, and add boneless pork roast. Cook on High heat for 4 hours, or until meat shreds easily. Remove meat, and shred with two forks. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Transfer the shredded pork to a Dutch oven or iron skillet, and stir in barbecue sauce.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until heated through.
Serve on your favorite bread or buns and enjoy!
Confetti Coleslaw
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups shredded green cabbage
2 2/3 cups shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 cup minced red bell pepper
Directions:In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, vegetable oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add green and red cabbage, green onion, carrots and red pepper. Toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate several hours before serving.
Ozark Redneck Caviar
1 can purple hull peas, drained
1 can crowder peas, drained
1 can Mexicorn, drained
1 small jar pimentos, drained
1 small can ripe olives, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green pepper, seeded, and chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 (16 oz) jar Russian or French style salad dressing
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving Goes great with corn tortilla chips!
Blueberry Cobbler from Lacrenshaw at http://grouprecipes.com/
2 1/2 cups fresh OR frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 cup white sugar or to taste
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons white sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons sugar
1 pinch cinnamon
Lightly grease an 8" square baking dish.
Place blueberries into the baking dish and mix in vanilla and lemon juice.
Sprinkle with 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon flour.
Stir in melted butter.
Set aside.
In medium bowl stir together 1 3/4 cups flour, baking powder and 6 tablespoons sugar.
Rub in 5 tablespoons butter using your fingers OR a pastry blender until you have small pieces.
Make a well in center and quickly stir in milk.
Mix until just moistened.
You should have a very thick batter or a very wet dough.
Add more milk, if necessary.
Cover and let batter rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Spoon the batter over the berries, leaving small holes to vent.
Mix together the cinnamon and 2 teaspoons sugar.
Sprinkle over the top.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes OR until top is golden brown.
Let cool to just warm before serving.
Can be stored in refrigerator for 2 days.
Brandy Slushes
9 cups water
2 cups sugar
4 tea bags
1 large can frozen lemonade
1 large can frozen orange juice
2 cups brandy
Boil together sugar and 7 cups of the water, cool
Prepare tea with 2 cups of the water, cool
Mix all ingredients together and freeze
Spoon into glasses
Pour 7 up over it and stir
Will be slushy and refreshing to drink

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Top of the morning to you!

Hope your weekend was wonderful. As for me, it did continue to rain all week long and well into the weekend. But, this did not stop #3 and me from sharing some special brunch time with our family. In fact, we switched gears and instead of Brunch in the Ozarks, we had Brunch at Loca Luna in Little Rock! Spontaneity, such a fun trait to possess. Wish #3 shared it with me!

The weather was in the mid 80s with a cool, gentle breeze blowing through the patio as the rain had cleared and allowed our family to settle in for a special meal. Today was Wendy's birthday so the birthday girl had Lobster and Crab Cakes, Eggs Benedict style, topped off with Southern Grits and White Cheddar Cheese Sauce and of course, a Mimosa. # 3 and me each had House Salads with lots of Goat Cheese, Blue Cheese, Toasted Pecans, Grilled Chicken, and Roasted Red Peppers. Sort of boring, but it did hit the spot. Noah had the Child's Plate which had enough eggs, bacon, and biscuits on it to feed all of us at the table! I really wish they would practice the art of portion control! Anyway, all was yummy and we feasted rather nicely, as well as enjoyed great service from our waitress. Check out my critique on this restaurant at http://yelp.com/. This is a great little site that allows you to dish good or bad on the businesses in your area or wherever you may go.

With all the extra running around, I've fallen a bit behind with my mid week preparation duties! I must confess I have become addicted to that other new site I mentioned in an earlier post, http://grouprecipes.com/. In fact I can't wait to go there after I hit the publish button on this blog. I have met the most wonderful friends who share their fantastic recipes. Please check it out and please do check in tomorrow to see what's cooking for this weekend at Brunch in the Ozarks!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Back To School Cupcakes

It's really a fun time of year when the days start to get a wee bit cooler, fall is just around the corner, and the kids are finally back in school! Summer has been great, but regular routines are a much needed element in our kids busy schedules.

I remember walking home, with my two sisters, from North Heights Elementary School in the Levy area of North Little Rock, Arkansas. We were always ravenous after a long day at school, even though we did have great school lunches back in the 50s. Sadly, school lunches have slightly gone awry these days, but one thing that never changes is...all kids come home from school hungry!

So, Moms, with this in mind...bake your special kid(s) some cup cakes today! Try these Cookies n' Cream Cupcakes which may be baked 2 days ahead and stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Keep some frosting in the fridge and frost the day they are eaten. Your kids will love to help you with this little chore if you promise to let them lick the bowl! My kids still beg for this honor!
Cookies n' Cream Cupcakes
12 paper liners
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
15 Oreo type cookies (half for batter and half for frosting)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a 12 cup tin with paper liners.
Whisk flour, baking powder , and salt together in a small bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer on med-hi speed, beat batter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition, allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing. Add the flour mixture in 4 additions, alternately with the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture, and beat briefly until smooth on lo-med speed after each addition.
Chop up the cookies with a rolling pin and add half of these to the batter.
Divide batter evenly among cupcake wells. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center shows a few moist crumbs. Cool pan on racks for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes to cooling rack to cool completely. Frost with Classic Confectioners' Sugar Frosting with Cookie Crumbs.
Classic Confectioners' Sugar Frosting with Cookie Crumbs
1/2 stick unsalted butter
4 cups confectioners' sugar, plus more if needed
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Remainder of the Oreo type cookies
In a large bowl with an electric mixer on med-hi speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of confectioner's sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice, Add 1 more cup of sugar and about half of the milk and beat until smooth and creamy. Add 1 more cup of sugar and remaining milk, and beat well, scraping down sides of the bowl. Add remaining 1 cup of sugar and vanilla and beat on high speed until very light and creamy, about 5 minutes. If too soft, add more sugar.
Frosting is ready to use or may be stored in fridge. Bring to room temperature and re beat after storing.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cupcakes for a Cause...Trucker Buddies for Alzheimer's

A while ago, #3 and me signed up to raise awareness and money for a great cause...Alzheimer's Annual Memory Walk on September 12, 2009. This year the Northwest Arkansas Chapter will hold the event at the Arvest Ballpark on Interstate 540 in Springdale, Arkansas. Participants are encouraged to gather at 7:30am in order to start the walk at 9:00am. Check it out at the following website. http://www.nwawalk.kintera.org/truckerbuddies

Prior to the big walk, we have been asking for donations from just about everyone we come in contact with. The response has been good and we hope to reach our goal of $500 soon! We recently had a hot dog and cup cake party at #3's place of employment, MHCKenworth/Volvo in Springdale. Generous friends and coworkers helped us raise $170.00. Many thanks to all who participated, and below is a recipe for some of the cup cakes we shared.

Carrot-Ginger Cup Cakes
1 cup pecan halves
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pound large carrots, peeled
3 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 Tb grated, peeled fresh ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two standard 12 cup muffin pans with paper liners. Spread pecans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; Toast until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate; let cool completely. Chop pecans finely, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside. Using the smallest holes of a box grater, grate carrots (you will need a total of 2 1/2 cups.) Place grated carrots, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, sugar, vegetable oil, and ginger in a large bowl; whisk until combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture until combined. Fold in the chopped pecans.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack. Invert cupcakes onto the rack; then reinvert and let them cool completely, top sides up. Spread tops with Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting. Cup cakes can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
3 packages (8ounces) cream cheese
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3/4 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 T plus 1 tsp grated, peeled fresh ginger
Pinch of salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on med-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, and beat until combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the remaining ingredients, and beat for 5 minutes. Frosting can be kept at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 hours.