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Saturday, March 31, 2012


This yummy bread was easy to make, and with only two ingredients, very quick!
I used butter pecan ice cream, but a note with the recipe said chocolate chip and vanilla were good too.
I thought it would be a fun April Fools recipe - my kids will be having "ice cream" for dessert.


1 pint of ice cream, softened
1 1/2 cups of self rising flour

Heat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, mix together the ice cream and flour until well combined. Spoon mixture into a well greased 8 by 4 inch loaf pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, October 2008

Thursday, March 29, 2012


We have parent-teacher conferences this evening until 6:30pm, and I used this as an excuse for the whole family to go out for dinner.
I decided my recipe-of-the-day would be a breakfast item, and found this old recipe for orange currant scones. I have made these before, usually on a Christmas morning, and have always really enjoyed them. I know with my kids, if I put chocolate in it, they will eat it - and because I don't want to be in the position to eat every last thing that I make or be left with a lot of stale baked goods, I put chocolate in half of the recipe and currants in the other half. The kids LOVED them, and actually the orange zest and chocolate (I used chocolate chunks and white chocolate chips) complemented each other perfectly - as did the more adult combination of currants and orange zest.


2 cups of flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup currants
1 egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
zest of 1 orange

Heat oven to 350F.
Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add butter, cut in until mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.
Add currants, stir to mix. In small bowl whisk egg, cream and zest until blended and add to flour mixture. Using a fork, stir to form large, moist clumps of dough. Turn dough onto a floured board, roll out into a 10 inch round, about 3/4 of an inch thick. Bake until scones are golden, about 25 minutes.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Tuesdays are our busiest night - the kids have after school activities, and then Rolf and Joe go to boy scouts. This was a perfect dinner for our hectic schedule - I put the beef in the slow cooker in the morning, and they were ready for dinner when we were. I loved that they were healthy and that the whole family liked them (I put the serrano chiles on the side, as they were a little spicy for the kids)


1 pound of lean ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 can (16 ounces) of vegetarian refried beans
1 jar (16 ounces) of salsa
1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar
2 serrano chiles, seeded and finely chopped
12 small tortillas
1 to 2 tomatoes, chopped
1 to 2 cups of shredded lettuce
1/3 cup of lowfat sour cream
1/3 cup of chopped fresh cilantro

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, stir beef and onion until brown and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, stirring frequently, 1 minute. Drain excess oils and transfer to a slow cooker. Stir in beans, salsa, cheddar and serranos. Cover and let simmer until mixture is cooked through and bubbling, 3 to 4 hours on high, or 5 to 6 hours on low.
Stir and serve over warmed tortillas, top with tomatoes, lettuce and a dollop of sour cream, garnish with cilantro.

Recipe adapted from Self magazine, February 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I made these as an appetizer, when we had friends over for a pot luck gathering around Superbowl. They were absolutely delicious - offering a wonderful, fresh burst of flavor. I love that they are made in advance and am excited to have them for an Asian inspired dinner, or again as an appetizer or snack.


1 heaping tablespoon of minced lemongrass paste
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound of ground pork

In a food processor, combine lemongrass, onion, cilantro, fish sauce, garlic, vegetable oil, sugar, black pepper and red pepper and process into a paste.
In a mixing bowl, combine ground pork and lemongrass mixture, mixing with your hands until thoroughly combined.
Shape mixture into 24 balls (about 1 tablespoon each). Place balls on a rimmed baking sheet, cover and chill 1 to 24 hours.
Heat oven to 375F. Roast balls 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked through.

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, December 2011

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I love the flavor of ginger, and was excited to pair it with the juice of the blood oranges I had picked up at the store. I did find this cocktail a little disappointing - but I think all it needed was a touch of sweet - some agave syrup swirled in would have made all the difference - I'm looking forward to happy hour already!


3/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce grand marnier
1 ounce freshly squeezed blood orange juice

Place ginger into a martini shaker. Fill with ice, then add vodka, grand marnier and blood orange juice.
Shake and strain into a glass.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


According to Wikipedia, "cottage pie is quite similar to its better known cousin shepherds pie, with one distinction, Shepherds pie is traditionally made with lamb while cottage pie can contain any other kind of meat." Here it is prepared with ground beef.
My children loved this dish, they asked me repeatedly to keep the recipe and my daughter went back for seconds.
The recipe did make a lot of mashed potatoes, I spread them on to the desired thickness, and had some left over. So I would make less in the future.
However, the beef mixture reminded me of mince (meat) pies from back home in New Zealand - I can't wait to wrap the mixture in puff pastry!


3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound of ground beef
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup stout beer such as Guinness
1 cup of beef stock, divided use
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
salt and ground black pepper
2 - 3 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup of hot milk
3 tablespoons butter, divided use
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 350F.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is light golden brown. Increase heat to medium-high and add ground beef and thyme. Cook, breaking up beef, until beef is no longer pink.
Stir in beer, 1/2 cup of the beef stock, the worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Simmer 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in enough salted water to cover, until tender. Drain, mash potatoes with the hot milk, 2 tablespoons of the butter, 1/4 cup of cheese and the chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a small saucepan melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and whisk in the flour, whisking until all of the flour is coated with melted butter. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup beef broth, whisking until smooth. Stir into beef mixture.
Spread the beef mixture in a 9 inch pie plate or 6 individual oven safe dishes. Top with mashed potato mixture, spreading it over beef. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.
Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown and top is lightly crispy.

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, March 2011

Monday, March 19, 2012


I made these for a play date I hosted the day before St Patricks day - but they would be good any time of the year - especially when zucchini are in season.
I was baking with my youngest son, and he thought chocolate chips should be included in the recipe, so we added a half cup to about a third of the batter, and they ended up being my favorite - moist and chocolatey - delicious!! and the sugar on top (I used raw sugar) gave them a wonderful sweet crunch.


3 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup of sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 cups of shredded zucchini

Heat oven to 375F, and place paper liners in muffin tins.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
In a bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer 1 minute. Beat in milk, oil and sugar. Stir in zucchini until well blended. Add flour mixture to batter a little at a time and stir to mix - it should be a little lumpy. Spoon batter into muffin tins. Sprinkle muffins with sugar. Bake 20 minutes, or until muffin tops are golden brown and spring back when you touch them. Cool muffins on a rack.

Recipe adapted from Parenting, August 2006

Sunday, March 18, 2012


We had very dear friends over for dinner on St Patricks day - and although we cooked a Portuguese inspired menu, paired with wine from that area - we finished the meal with a taste of Ireland.
This Irish themed dessert was very yummy, relatively easy to make, and the raspberries complemented the milk and white chocolates nicely. However, it did have to be eaten immediately once out of the refrigerator, as it melted quickly.


8 ounces of milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup stout beer such as Guinness
3 eggs, separated
2 cups of heavy cream, divided use
6 ounces of white chocolate, chopped

In a saucepan or the top part of a double boiler, combine the milk chocolate, butter and sugar. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in beer and egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, whip one cup of the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.
With clean beaters, in a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Divide mixture between 8 glasses and refrigerate.
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the white chocolate and 1/2 cup of the heavy cream. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool stirring occasionally, until thickened.
In a small bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into white chocolate mixture. Spoon mixture over chilled chocolate mousses and refrigerate 2 to 24 hours.

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, March 2011

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I loved the idea of a potato soup, and that it included a whole bulb of freshly roasted garlic. However, I found this recipe a little thin and bland. If I made it again, I would add a lot less broth, and a lot more spices and seasoning.


Sprinkle one large bulb of garlic lightly with water. Trim top. Wrap in foil. Bake in the oven at 350F for 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then squeeze out the roasted garlic from the bulb and set aside.
Bring 2 pounds of peeled and diced potatoes to a boil. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until they are very soft. Drain. Puree the potatoes and garlic until smooth. Add 2 to 3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, depending on the consistency of soup you like.
Heat on low until hot. Season with salt, white pepper, and 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme.
Stir in 1/2 cup of cream or milk. Garnish with chopped chives.

Recipe adapted from Arkansas Democrat Gazette, March 2003

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I thought these Bacon Potato Cakes would be a fun treat for St Patricks day, and tried them out on my family. They would be great to celebrate the holiday with, they are quick and easy to make, and absolutely delicious!! I served them with a side of cabbage, but they would be a good side themselves.


1/2 pound of potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 slices of bacon, chopped
3 tablespoons of Irish butter
2 tablespoons of warm milk
1 tablespoon of mixed dried herbs, such as tarragon, thyme and marjoram
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground nutmeg
ground black pepper and salt to taste
2 leaves of cabbage, finely chopped
flour for dredging
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
bread crumbs
vegetable oil for frying

In a large saucepan, combine potatoes, a generous pinch of salt and enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook 12 to 15 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp.
Remove from heat and, using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Do not discard bacon drippings.
Drain and mash potatoes. Return potatoes to pot and cook over low heat, 2 to 3 minutes, or until potatoes are dry. Remove from heat, stir in butter and milk, stirring until smooth. Stir in herbs, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste, set aside.
In the same skillet used for the bacon, cook cabbage in bacon drippings until wilted, about 5 minutes. (I used Canadian bacon, so there wasn't a lot of grease, I added water to the pan to cook the cabbage)
Stir the cabbage and bacon into the potato mixture. Shape into four patties. Dredge each patty in flour, then dip in egg, and then in bread crumbs.
Heat enough oil to coat a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Cook patties 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, March 2011

Monday, March 12, 2012


These are a fun and yummy appetizer - and with the warmer weather we are having this week, they would be perfect for the grill.


8 fresh rosemary sprigs, about 6 inches long
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup flaked coconut, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 1/2 pounds of uncooked, large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Soak rosemary sprigs in water for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the marmalade, coconut, pepper flakes and minced rosemary, set aside 1/4 cup marmalade mixture for serving.
Coat grill rack with cooking spray before starting the grill, or heat pan on stovetop.
Thread shrimp onto rosemary sprigs. Grill for 4 minutes. Turn, baste with some the remaining marmalade mixture.
Grill 3 to 4 minutes longer, or until shrimp turn pink, baste again.
Serve with reserved marmalade mixture.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


We finished up a recent dinner party with this wonderful dessert.
I thought it was something a little different and thankfully we have tolerant friends, who don't mind trying new things.
The mascarpone kept it from being too sweet and the cooked grapes on top were a perfect touch.


3 1/4 cups of red seedless grapes, divided
2 tablespoons frozen grape juice concentrate (with Concorde grapes), thawed
1 cup of sugar, divided
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons raspberry vinegar
1 1/2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 8 ounce container of mascarpone cheese
3 large eggs

Heat oven to 350F.
Spray a 9 inch cake pan with nonstick spray.
Puree one cup of grapes and grape juice concentrate in a blender until as smooth as possible. Pour puree into medium saucepan. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and cornstarch, stir to dissolve cornstarch. Add remaining  2 1/4 cups of grapes. Stir over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens, 2 to 3 minutes (grapes will remain whole). Mix in vinegar. Pour into prepared cake pan. Spread grapes in a single layer, cool.
Beat cream cheese, flour and 3/4 cup sugar in large bowl, until smooth. Beat in mascarpone, then eggs, 1 at a time. Spoon batter over grape mixture.
Bake cake until just set in center, about 45 minutes. Place cake directly into refrigerator, chill uncovered until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.
Cut around cake. Place plate over pan, hold plate and pan together and invert. Lift off pan and cut cake into wedges.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2008

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


We served these fabulous and fun caesar salad spears as a salad course at a recent dinner party, although they would also make a perfect appetizer.
The dressing was absolutely delicious - I would definitely make it again.


2 cups of white bread, diced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 anchovy fillets, mashed
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1/4 cup mayonaise
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
6 belgian endives

Heat oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, toss the bread with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, stirring once, until golden and crisp.
Meanwhile, in the same bowl, using a spoon, mash the anchovies to a paste with the garlic and a pinch of salt. Whisk in the mayonnaise, lemon zest and lemon juice, then whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the 1/4 cup of grated cheese.
Trim the endives and remove the 60 largest leaves from 6 of the heads. Stack the leaves and trim them to about 4 inches. Slice the remaining endive, along with the trimmings of the 5 other heads, and toss with the dressing. Spoon the salad onto each spear and garnish with the croutons and grated cheese.

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, December 2009

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


We had a dear friend and her beautiful family over for dinner to celebrate her daughters birthday and pork was decided upon for the celebratory gathering. Although I wasn't able to get a good picture of the finished dish, I loved the cooking method of the pork - it came out extremely tender and very yummy.
The potatoes and brussels sprouts are recipes I have made several times - and it wasn't until she had tried a bite, and pronounced them delicious, that Amy told me she didn't like brussels sprouts - although she had nothing but good things to say about them prepared in this way.


1 medium pork tenderloin
mayonnaise, Hellmans preferred
Cavenders Greek seasoning

Heat oven to 500F.
Pat pork dry with paper towels. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
Liberally spread pork with mayonnaise, then sprinkle liberally with Cavenders. Cover tightly with foil.
Bake at 500 degrees for 1 hour. After 1 hour, turn off the oven, do not open the door, and leave pork in the oven to continue cooking for 2 hours more.

Recipe adapted from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, May 2010


5 potatoes
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
6 ounces of cream cheese
8 ounces of sour cream
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup green onions
salt and pepper to taste

Peel potatoes, cut in chunks. Place potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover the vegetables.
Add salt, bring water to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and garlic, then combine them with cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar cheese, butter and green onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Beat on high speed with electric mixer until mixture is smooth and light. Place in a 9 by 13 baking dish, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until heated through.


1 pound of brussels sprouts
olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix trimmed sprouts in a bowl, with the olive oil, salt and pepper.
Pour onto a sheet pan, roast 35 to 40 minutes, shake from time to time.
Sprinkle with more salt if desired, before serving.

Monday, March 5, 2012


This was a wonderful appetizer, and although there were a few steps involved in making this, it was worth every one. A lot of complimentary flavors came together to form an elegant and delicious treat - although, I do think a swish of goat cheese on the toasted bread, would have been a wonderful addition to this recipe.


3 tablespoons of butter
12 ounces of assorted wild mushrooms, sliced (such as shiitake, oyster and crimini)
1 1/2 teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
8 slices of french baguette
truffle oil

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add mushrooms and thyme. Saute until browned, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Blend first 4 ingredients in blender 10 seconds. With machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup olive oil, blend until almost smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat oven to 400F. Arrange bread on rimmed baking sheet. Brush with oil. Bake until beginning to crisp, about 8 minutes.
Mound 1/4 cup of mushrooms on each bread slice. Drizzle each with thyme vinaigrette, then sparingly with truffle oil.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, September 2008

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Sometimes I like a simple, meatless dinner - and this was a perfect recipe to follow up a weekend of indulgence - healthy and delicious with a delightful tang from the capers and lemon juice. Of course it would be a wonderful brunch dish too.


2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese shavings, plus more for serving
4 slices of bread
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 to 6 chopped anchovies
1 bunch kale, ends trimmed cut into 2-inch pieces
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs
2 tablespoons chopped capers
1 quartered lemon

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cheese over bread and heat in oven until cheese melts, about 3 minutes. Divide among 4 plates.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add anchovies, mashing with the back of a spoon to form a paste. Add kale, season with salt and pepper, and cook, tossing with tongs, until stem ends are tender and leaves are bright green and soft, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water if greens are sticking to pan. Remove greens from pan and divide among plates beside toast.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to skillet, set over medium-high heat, and crack eggs directly into pan. Cover and cook until yolk is set to desired consistency, 2 to 5 minutes.
Serve eggs over toast and greens, and top with capers and remaining cheese. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, remaining olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe adapted from Oprah Magazine, September 2010

Thursday, March 1, 2012


My husband LOVES his smoker!! He calls it the "mans crockpot", and he will smoke almost anything - duck, salmon, lamb, eggs, our Thanksgiving turkey, cheese and of course ribs and chicken. He had smoked a LOT of chicken wings for our Superbowl gathering, and I thought the left overs would make a delicious chili. While browsing on Etsy I came across this wonderful recipe, made a couple of changes, and we enjoyed a delicious dinner.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice
1 16 ounce can of black beans
2 1/2 cups of smoked chicken (removed from the bone)
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons of dried oregano
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt to taste
fresh cilantro, chopped
shredded cheese

Heat a large pot over a medium flame. When the pot is warmed, add the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and saute until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally to prevent the garlic from burning, about five minutes. Stir in the chipotle powder, and the smoked paprika.
Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, the black beans, chicken, cumin, oregano and chicken broth  and stir. Add salt to taste.
Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 25 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro and shredded cheese.

Recipe adapted from Kimberley Hasselbrink