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Showing posts from 2008

French Yule Log (a.k.a. A Bûche de Noël)....YULE Love It! :)

It's that time again!!! The Daring Bakers tackled a traditional, French Yule Log this month. And whew....WHAT a recipe! I was really worried at first...I mean, an 18 page recipe?!? But once you break the elements down and tackle each one separately, it isn't that bad at all. I always really, really look forward to the Daring Bakers challenge every month. After not participating last month, I was particularly excited about December. I knew that December would bring a fabulous challenge for the holidays. I was thrilled when I read the news. Chocolate...check! More chocolate...check, check! :) I was extremely happy with my results this month. The taste was AMAZING! All of the flavors blended together so well. It's extra yummy with a hot cup of coffee, too! This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux . They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand . The

Absolutely Sinful Cinnamon Rolls

***Alrighty, here are the cinnamon rolls that I mentioned in my previous post. I put these together on Christmas Eve, and then baked them on Christmas morning. Let me just tell you...there's nothing quite like the smell of yummy cinnamon rolls wafting through the house on Christmas morning...ahhhhh...so wonderful! This is going to be a new tradition for us...fresh, homemade rolls on Christmas. I thought that I might try this recipe, and then maybe try a new one next year...until I found one that I really loved. However, I hit the jackpot on the first try! This is THE recipe that I'll always use. UPDATE:   Since originally writing this post in 2008, I've  made these cinnamon rolls every year for Christmas!  They are a holiday tradition that my family looks forward to all year!  You can see my other posts here, with lots more photos of these sinful cinnamon rolls: CHRISTMAS 2009 CHIRSTMAS 2010 CHRISTMAS 2011 The great thing was that I could prepare them on Christmas

Fabulous Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

***Well, how was your Christmas??? I hope that you had a wonderful, wonderful day and got to spend it with your loved ones. I made some absolutely SINFUL cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. Don't worry...I'll be posting about those within the next few days. I'm starting a new Christmas tradition this year...I plan to make these cinnamon rolls every year now....they were THAT good! I'm sharing one of my secrets with you today...these cookies are quite possibly one of the best, and EASIEST cookies that there is. I can't tell you how many times I've made these cookies over the past couple of years. The secret is a box of cake mix...other than that, you're only 4 ingredients away from a delicious batch of homemade cookies. You might remember THIS post where I originally shared this recipe with you a little over a year ago. All I did was add some cocoa powder to the cookie batter and the result was chocolately goodness! You'll notice that I also used a

Chewy Chunky Blondies - Dorie Greenspan

***These blondies are seriously the.best.dessert that I've had in a long, long time. They were fabulous ...scrumptious ....delicious ....amazing ... yumolicious ...there just simply aren't enough adjectives to describe them! Everyone wanted seconds. In fact, I gave one to my Mom-in-law as she was walking out of the door, and she told me the next day that she almost turned around and came all the way back to our house for another one...haha. They are THAT good! Really, the ONLY thing that could have improved these blondies would have been a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. And really it's no surprise, because any Dorie Greenspan recipe is always wonderful. If you love to bake and you don't own her cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours I highly recommend putting it on your Christmas list. It's a large cookbook with 513 pages of yummy goodness and pretty photos. I can't wait to make these again tomorrow...I'm taking them to our Christmas party at work. I

All I Want for Christmas...

***That's our tree! Isn't it pretty? I love, love, love this time of year! So, as you may have guessed, cookbooks are one thing that I love to collect. When Christmas rolls around each year, there are usually several that I've had my eyes on. This year is no exception...Especially with our trip to France, Germany, and Italy coming up in just 2 months. I've found myself obsessed with French cuisine. I love it. So naturally, some of these cookbooks are by French chefs or about Paris in general...and there's even one by a Birmingham, AL chef about Italian cuisine! Honestly, I'm probably just as excited about sampling all of the gourmet food as I am about seeing the sights! Haha. Our 2 week-long adventure in Europe, will be here before we know it. We've got *almost* everything we need before we go...cameras, passports, new coat...check! There are only a few more things we'll need, like some comfy walking shoes. The good news is, I plan to blog about our en

Yummy Blueberry Muffins

***Brad and I had a craving for something yummy last Sunday morning. I had some fresh blueberries hanging out in the fridge, so these blueberry muffins sounded perfect. If you don't have any fresh blueberries on-hand, frozen blueberries work just fine. The lemon zest in these muffins were the secret ingredient...they add the perfect little zing to each bite. And just look at that blueberry goodness! ;) I used a trick that I learned from Giada De Laurentiis when making these muffins: - Place blueberries in a fine mesh strainer over your mixer bowl. Add flour to blueberries and shake until all flour makes it into the mixer bowl below. A thin layer of flour should remain on all blueberries (see photo below). This will prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the muffins during the baking process! This will also result in nice, sifted flour in the mixing bowl...you can then proceed with the recipe, adding the sugar, baking powder and salt to the flour. One more thing

Traditional Pot Roast

***This is one of my favorite comfort foods! Not only does it make the house smell down-right delicious, but it tastes amazing too! The best way to prepare this is with a slow cooker...it makes the meat so tender that it just falls apart and melts in your mouth. This is how my Mom always prepared this classic dish, so it's still the recipe that I use (with a few additions). This doesn't come from any cookbook...just from memory. Sometimes, those recipes are the best! ;) Feel free to play around with the ingredients. You can add garlic, or even substitute some of the beef stock with red wine! Oh, and this is also great the next day...once all the flavors have really come together. If you like pot roast, you may also like this ITALIAN POT ROAST that I posted a few months ago. It's also fantastic!*** Ingredients: One 3-4 lb. boneless chuck roast 1 cup water Beef Stock 2-3 Tbsp. Amazing Taste Beef Seasoning (or your favorite seasoning will do!) 1 Onion, diced 1 package

Savory Low-Calorie Chicken & Amazing Taste Samples!

***A company named Amazing Taste recently sent me some wonderful samples of their seasoning product offerings. I had not used their seasonings before, so I was curious about them. I replied to their e-mail, and just a few days later I received 9 different samples! Pretty cool, huh? They even sent along some recipes to try. I happened to have almost everything for this recipe on-hand, so I thought I'd give it a try. I simply adjusted the recipe to serve 2 people. It was really good! You can see their product offerings and learn more about the company at the following site - Amazing Taste . Be sure to check them out! I used their Beef seasoning in a pot roast that I made last night...it was fabulous. I'll be sure to blog about that as well. Amazing Taste - Thanks again for sending these great samples! Ingredients: 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves 1 packet Amazing Taste Malibu Seasoning 1 cup carrots, sliced 1 cup zucchini, sliced (I didn't have this on-hand, so

20 Days Until Christmas!!!

Without a doubt, this is my very favorite time of the year! As I type this, I'm sitting by the Christmas tree...all lit up and pretty! I love it. We've got most of our decorations up now...including my new favorite decoration. When I was little, my Grandmother had some beautiful Annalee dolls . When I found the Annalee Christmas Countdown Calendar above, I HAD to have it! It reminds me so much of my Grandmother...baking Christmas goodies with her, listening to the reindeer on the roof (she'd always pretend like she could hear them on Christmas Eve...pointing out any knocking noises she heard outside), and seeing Rudolph's red nose on the way to visit family. See, she'd always find one of those towers with the single red light at the top and tell me it was Rudolph. Oh, those were the days. She made this time of year so magical. So, everytime I see my new calendar, all those fun memories come rushing back. Oh, and don't you just love my new "Cook" orna

Homemade French-Style Macarons - "Cook's Illustrated"

***Finally...I'm making progress with the ever-hard-to-make French Macaron. I found this recipe in the recent "Holiday Baking" special issue of Cooks Illustrated . Their recipes have never failed me...they test, re-test, and test again every single recipe...until they are almost fool-proof. I noticed that this recipe for macarons was a little different from the ones I've been using. One big difference was the addition of Cream of Tartar to the egg whites. It acts as a stabilizer and helps to stiffen the egg whites. Also I recently purchased a silicon baking mat....what a great investment! I only have one right now, so I had to make the other batches of macarons on regular parchment paper. The macarons baked on the silicon mat looked much better, seemed to bake more evenly, and even rose higher. It looks like I'll be buying a few more of those mats soon. Hmm...maybe Santa can leave a few of those in my stocking? ;) So, here's a list of some things I did dif

Thanksgiving 2008

The Spread...all made from scratch! :) Roast Turkey with Bacon-Herb Butter Sauteed Spinach with Pecans & Feta Mashed Potatoes Cider Gravy Broccoli & Cheese Casserole Cornbread Dressing Double Cranberry-Apple Sauce Honey Yeast Rolls Sweet Potato Souffle Carrot Cake French Macarons with Chocolate Ganache Walnut Brownies Cheese Ball with Pecans Cornbread Dressing with Sausage: Double Cranberry-Apple Sauce: Walnut Brownies: French Macarons with Chocolate Ganache: Cranberry Sauce & Cheese Ball: Carrot Cake: Desserts! Whew...my first time hosting Thanksgiving dinner was a huge success! Everything from the amazingly delicious turkey to the yummy carrot cake turned out great. I posted my entire menu in the post below (along with links to the recipes!), but I wanted to share some photos from the big day here. This was only my second time roasting a turkey, so I was a little nervous about how it would turn out. I found THIS recipe at Bon Appetit , and let me just