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Showing posts from January, 2012

Food Blog South 2012 Recap

What do you get when you combine 200 foodies and bloggers, amazing cookbook authors, incredibly talented food photographers and food stylists, and wonderful chefs all in one building?  Well, Food Blog South , of course! Food Blog South held its second conference in Birmingham, AL this year, and I feel so lucky to have attended.  It has quickly become the second largest food blogging conference in the nation, and it can best be described as a whirlwind of culinary wonderfulness , if you ask me!   Not only did I get to meet and spend valuable time with Virginia Willis, Helene Dujardin, Dianne Jacobs and Lisa Ekus, but I also got to meet some pretty awesome food bloggers from around the USA.  People came from as far away as California for the event.  When I heard that both Virginia Willis and Hélène Dujardin would be there, I didn't waste any time buying my ticket.  Virginia Willis is the author of both Bon Appetit, Ya'll and Basic to Brilliant, Ya'll (

Dreamy Coconut Pecan Brownies

Have you ever stopped to think what life would be like without chocolate? Wait...who am kidding??  That thought is just too unbearable, and I don't want to even think of that sort of craziness.  Craziness!  After all, then we wouldn't be able to indulge in the wonderfulness that are these brownies! I mean, straight up perfectly fudgy, nutty, chocolate-coma-inducing , chocolatey goodness on a plate, folks.  I've tried quite a few brownie recipes in the past...What can I say, they are my weakness.  Thomas Keller's Brownies from the Ad Hoc at Home cookbook are quite incredible and are among one of my favorites that I've made.  And now, ladies and gentlemen, this recipe from Dorie Greenspan has found a special place in my recipe collection as another HUGE favorite. I adapted the recipe just a bit in order to add my own little flair.  See, I have this thing for anything that involves chocolate and coconut together.  They are a match made in culinar

A Stellar Brunswick Stew

So, my sisters came to visit again a few weeks ago, and as usual we just HAD to spend some quality time in the kitchen trying new recipes together.  That's one of our favorite things to do.  Thankfully, I'm not the only foodie in the family! They brought along this recipe for Brunswick Stew that they had found in their Southern Living magazine.  We couldn't think of anything that would be better for dinner than a comforting, hot bowl of meaty stew that night. And I mean meaty ! The original recipe calls for 2 lbs. of chicken and 1 lb. of beef brisket.  We decided to kick things up a notch and add 2 lbs. of beef brisket instead.   Yes, because we're daring like that!   After all, an extra pound of beef brisket can only make it extra delicious, right?  Yes...I think so! The recipe called for chopped barbequed beef brisket.  Instead of taking the easy way out and stopping by the nearest BBQ joint for our brisket, we headed to the store

Lime-Honey Glazed Salmon with Warm Black Bean & Corn Salad

Today, I bring you a beautiful dish that tastes just as pretty as it looks.  It makes a beautiful presentation and takes minimal time to put together.  Sounds pretty awesome, right? It's been a rainy, cloudy and generally dreary day here in Birmingham.  There's some ugly, severe weather headed our way late tonight...Let's hope it doesn't get too bad!  So, just how do you brighten up a rainy day?  This cheerful dish is the perfect place to start. Watch out...The colors of this recipe pop right off the plate and almost slap you in the face!  The lime juice really adds a great citrusy note, and the honey balances that by adding the perfect amount of sweetness to the glaze. Mmm! Salmon is such a wonderfully healthy ingredient that I love to use as often as possible.  I'm always on the lookout for new salmon dishes, and this recipe from Rachael Ray is definitely one that I'll refer back to in the future.  It's a keeper! Bon Appetit, my

Homemade Twix Bars - Yes, Please!

Two words:  Homemade + Twix! If you love Twix candy bars like I always have, then boy are you going to adore this recipe!!!  These bars are made from 3 deliciously decadent layers - A layer of shortbread on bottom, creamy caramel in the middle, and chocolate on top.    Seriously...does it get much better? Instead of cutting these into square bars like I did, you could even cut them into longer slices and dip them into chocolate to resemble actual Twix bars! When we first tried these bars, patience was not on our side (can you imagine that?), so the chocolate hadn't really hardened up all the way when we took our first bites.  I wish we had waited a little longer, because these bars are much better once they've had a chance to set up.  They are best stored in the refrigerator.  Before enjoying, just pull them out of the fridge and let them come to room temp.  That way, they'll be easier to slice. Brad and I tend to love the taste of darker chocolate

Mexican Lasagne

How do mexican ingredients piled into tall layers in between soft flour tortillas sound?  Oh, yes...that is the deliciousness that is Mexican Lasagne!   A yummy sauce packed with onion, red bell pepper and tomatoes is used, along with a filling of black beans, sweet corn, and cheddar cheese to make the lasagne-like layers.  And what to use instead of pasta...?  Well, soft flour tortillas are just perfect.  They dissolve just enough to almost taste like soft cheese in between the layers.  Who knew?? Nigella tops hers off with a fresh Avocado Salsa that sounds divine.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the needed ingredients for the salsa, so I couldn't make it.  However, I served mine with a fresh salad of chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and a dollop of sour cream...just like they do at my favorite Mexican restaurant.  It was perfection on a plate! And leftovers?  Yep...this lasagne is even better the next day, after all those flavors have had time to meld together.

Homemade Dog Treats...BONE Appetit!

With all of the yummy goodness that we all make in our kitchens on a day-to-day basis, we can't forget about our furry four-legged friends.  After all, they are a part of the family!  Making homemade dog treats is something that I've thought about doing for quite a while now.  I finally got around to it recently, and boy were my two dogs happy as can be! These wholesome treats are made with peanut butter, honey and oats.  Plus, if my dogs' reactions to these goodies are any indication, they taste irresistible, too! They are a lot of fun to make, are easy to whip up, and if you don't have a dog bone shaped cookie cutter, really any shape will do.  I promise...your dog won't care if they are round, square or heart-shaped!  Every time my springer spaniel heard the sound of the treat jar lid being opened, she'd rush to the kitchen with tail wagging.  Once I gave her a treat, she'd happily disappear into the other room until her treat was completely d

Scrumptious Dark Chocolate Cake w/ Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

Happy Birthday Brad! January 2nd was Brad's birthday, and we celebrated with a delicious Dark Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese icing.  I even added freshly sliced strawberries in between the two cake layers to make it that much more decadent.  On the side?  Chocolate covered strawberries, of course! I love making birthday cakes and it's become a little thing lately for everyone to give me some sort of birthday cake "challenge" on their birthday.  Brad wanted a cake that incorporated dark chocolate and strawberries, so this is what I came up with. The result was pretty delicious, if I do say so myself.  Brad even had seconds, and when that happens you KNOW it's good!  I combined two different elements from two of my favorite cake recipes...I whipped up Hershey's recipe for Dark Chocolate Cake (I've used this recipe time and time again!), and combined it with Paula Deen's recipe for Strawberry Cream Cheese icing from her Simply De

Burgundy Mushrooms - The Pioneer Woman

"These are excellent.  These just might be the best thing I've EVER eaten!" These were the words that came rushing out of Brad's mouth as he tasted these mushrooms for the first time.  Let me remind you, that this is also the same man that wouldn't touch mushrooms with a ten foot pole just a few years ago.   Folks, these mushrooms are a.m.a.z.i.n.g...Seriously. They are slowly simmered in red wine for a total of 9 hours, and read that correctly.  It seems like an incredibly long amount of time to simmer mushrooms, but it's worth the long wait in the end.  They come out still a little firm, but packed with intense flavor from the chicken and beef bouillon cubes, Worcestershire sauce (which I've never been able to pronounce correctly!), butter and garlic. And don't even get me started about the delicious smell that fills the entire house while these babies cook! Next time, I may even try making these in a crock pot