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Showing posts from 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

***So, I know that this post is a little late, but I wanted to share some photos from this Christmas with you all.  I still cannot believe that 2010 is coming to a close.  It seems like this year just flew by so fast.   I also want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very blessed and prosperous 2011 !!  May this year be the best one yet!*** For the past 3 years, we've made it an annual tradition to make THESE CINNAMON ROLLS from scratch.  You may remember my previous posts about these incredible treats.  They are so amazingly delicious, that they should be illegal!  My mom-in-law talks about them all year long, so I look forward to baking them up for everyone.  The Pioneer Woman's recipe makes 6 - 7 aluminum tins full of ooey, gooey, incredibly sinful cinnamon rolls, so make a batch for all of your friends and family!  We had a lot of fun making them this year on Christmas Eve!   I think that Brad had the most fun, though! Hehe Pouring the Maple-Coffee glaz

Orange Balsamic Glazed Chicken

***Wow...So, this is the second recipe that I've tried from Rachael Ray's new cookbook, Look + Cook .  This dish not only photographed beautifully, but it was packed with delicious flavor.  I served this chicken with some homemade Parmesan mashed potatoes, which made the perfect accompaniment. They were a perfect pair, because the potatoes were even more delicious when  mixed with some of the scallions and balsamic sauce from the chicken.   This is a very simple dinner that would be perfect for a busy weeknight.  The chicken sautes in a very short time, and there isn't a mountain of other ingredients needed.  The balsamic glaze can be mixed together very quickly (it's made up of only 3 ingredients!), and then it's just a matter of adding it to the chicken and waiting for it to thicken.  Instead of arugula, I simply substituted some fresh Spring Mix salad...Yum! I have to say, so far I am really loving Rachael's Look + Cook cookbook.  I bought the ingredients

Marsala Mushroom Burgers - Rachael Ray

***I am loving Rachael Ray's new cookbook, Look + Cook !  Of course, the fact that she autographed my copy just adds to my excitement.  ;-) I've officially broken in this book by trying my first recipe - Marsala Burgers. Your family will love this dish, because it's a deliciously different take on the traditional American cheeseburger. These burgers were pretty awesome...The ground beef (I used only beef instead of Rachael's combination of sirloin and veal) is mixed with garlic, fresh parsley, nutmeg, and salt/pepper.  This makes the meat very, very flavorful.  The portabella mushrooms are sauted until golden brown and then doused with a healthy splash of sweet marsala wine....YUM! I found some freshly baked onion rolls at the grocery store, which made the perfect accompaniment to these burgers.  Mozzarella cheese makes a great substitution here, instead of the more expensive Parmigiano-Reggiano.  That's what I had on-hand, and I simply melted a few slices on the

Easy & Festive Peppermint Bark Candy

*** If you are looking for an easy candy recipe for your holiday gift-giving, this just might be the one!  You may be familiar with the beautiful Peppermint Bark that Williams-Sonoma sells during the holiday season.  The only problem is, it is pretty expensive ($26.50 per lb).  The good news is, you can make your own Peppermint Bark that is equally pretty and just as tasty. Peppermint Bark is extremely easy!  In fact, there are only about 3 main ingredients - white chocolate, dark chocolate and crushed peppermint candies.  Voila!  If you can find it, peppermint oil or peppermint extract would be a delicious addition to this particular recipe. Right now, my refrigerator is filled with little gift tins of holiday candies for my co-workers.  I made an assortment of different candies...I sure hope everyone likes them!  I made dark and white chocolate covered pretzels, peanut clusters, and ritz/peanut butter crackers that are dipped in chocolate...Yum! The Peppermint Bark turned

Meeting Rachael Ray!!

A few months ago, I found out that Rachael Ray was coming to Birmingham, AL for a book-signing.  I was SO excited to hear this news, because I missed it when she was here last time.  I've been a big fan of Rachael for quite some time.  Her recipes are always easy to follow, and are packed with flavor. If you haven't heard, she has an awesome new cookbook out, called Rachael Ray's Look + Cook .  It's FILLED with photographs of each dish...600 photos, to be exact.  As a food photographer, I really love this.  There are even photos of the preparation process, which is very helpful!  Cookbooks with a lot of pictures are always my favorite.  And it's always neat when cookbooks include photos of the prep...and not only the finished dish.  This would make the perfect Christmas gift for the foodie in your life (or for yourself!). My wonderful hubby, Brad, came along with me tonight to meet Rachael.  I was lucky enough to get an early line number...I was #12!  Rachae

Caramelized Sea Scallops - Thomas Keller

***If you haven't heard about a wonderful chef named, Thomas Keller, then you are missing out.  He is quite the chef and is classically trained in French cuisine.  Chef Keller has several famous and very successful restaurants, three of which include The French Laundry, Bouchon and Ad Hoc. Now, if I am ever out in Yountville, CA, I definitely want to visit Ad Hoc.  It has such a unique concept, that I think is awesome.  The concept is best described on the official website: "The idea for Ad Hoc was simple - 5 days a week we'd offer a 4 course family style menu that changed each day, accompanied by a small, accessible wine list in a casual setting reminiscent of home." Sounds neat, doesn't it?  Last Christmas, Brad gave me a copy of Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home cookbook.  This book quickly became one of my favorites....a staple in my kitchen!  You can see my collection of other recipes from the Ad Hoc cookbook right HERE on my blog. A friend of

A Decadent Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

***About two weeks ago, we celebrated my niece's birthday, Dakota.  She is so special to me...I love that little girl so much!  :-)  She asked for a simple, classic cheesecake this year.  I was up for the challenge! With limited time to prepare and bake the cake, I began searching for the perfect recipe immediately.  After searching, and searching, and searching, I stumbled across this recipe for Vanilla Bean Cheesecake in my copy of Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking cookbook.  It looked decadent, with a creamy and wonderful texture.  I made a grocery list and got to work! Thanks to this cake, I think that I have officially convinced my hubby to like cheesecake!  This cake has an incredible texture - Everything that you want in cheesecake when you decide to indulge yourself.  The vanilla beans in this recipe make all the difference.  Once you begin baking with fresh vanilla beans, it will probably be hard for you to stop.  You can't really tell from the pictures, but the

Sweet Potato Biscuits with Maple and Pecans

***When I saw this recipe in the November 2010 issue of Bon Appetit magazine, I tore it out immediately.  It sounded like the perfect addition to our Thanksgiving table.  The recipe calls for 100% maple syrup and chopped pecans to be added directly to the biscuit dough.  Can biscuits possibly get much more scrumptious than that??  I think NOT! These biscuits have a sweet and nutty taste, and because of their small size I bet you won't be able to eat just one of them.  I did substitute regular AP flour, instead of using the gluten-free flour that the recipe mentions.  I had already been to the grocery store and wasn't really excited about going yet again before Thanksgiving.  I couldn't really tell a difference...the biscuits still tasted great.  However, I later found a note on the Bon Appetit website that recommends reducing the baking powder to 2 teaspoons if you use AP flour.  Maybe when I make these again tomorrow, I will try this suggestion and see if it makes them

Classic Cornbread Dressing - Southern Living

This classic recipe for Cornbread Dressing hits all the right marks.  It's pretty perfect in every way.  This dish is described as "deliciously moist and perfectly seasoned" on the website, which are the perfect words. Of course, Cornbread Dressing from scratch takes a little more time and effort to make, but in my experience it is well worth it...especially at Thanksgiving!  Brad looks forward to this dressing all year long! The biggest change that I made to the recipe below is the addition of mild sausage.  I simply cooked a package of mild country sausage and added it to the vegetable mixture, before mixing everything together.  I took elements from my Mom's Cornbread Dressing recipe and combined them with this recipe from Southern Living . I always put this dressing together the night before Thanksgiving and chill it in the refrigerator overnight (without baking).  That way, all you have to do is pop it in the oven and cook it for

Maple Glazed Roast Turkey with Applewood Smoked Bacon

***First of all, I want to wish you all the happiest Thanksgiving that you've ever had!  I hope that your holiday is filled with the people that you love and the food that you love to eat! What a long day!  I got home today from work at about 5:30PM and immediately started preparing a pre-Thanksgiving dinner.  Turkey and dressing is by FAR Brad's favorite meal in the whole world.  He says he looks forward to it all year long...haha.  This year, I promised to make him our own little Thanksgiving dinner celebration, just the two of us (and our 2 pups!) before all of the family festivities begin. After almost 5 hours in the kitchen, I'm relieved that round one of Thanksgiving cooking was a success!  Now, on to 2 more nights of cooking!  Tomorrow, I hope to start putting up the Christmas decorations after a yummy dinner of leftovers from tonight's meal...I'm so excited to put the tree up!  This is my favorite time of year, no contest.  I love the holidays and everyth

Everyday Granola - Bon Appetit Magazine

***Here's a simple, quick and delicious recipe for "Everyday Granola."  I found this while flipping through a recent issue of Bon Appetit of my favorites!  The ingredients sounded perfect for what I had in mind.  It was sweet and salty at the same time, and makes an awesome snack.  You can serve it with yogurt or milk, but I preferred mine plain. While it's baking, be sure to stir it around on the baking sheet every 10 minutes, as the recipe calls for.  This will keep the pieces around the edges from burning and ensure evenly cooked granola. The combination of the salty and sweet in this granola is a crowd AND palate pleaser! Bon Appetit!*** Everyday Granola Source:  Bon Appetit magazine; June 2010 Ingredients: 3 cups old-fashioned oats 1 cup coa