Butter Pecan Ice Cream

butter pecan ice cream 1aSo here is the scoop about this delicious scoop of ice cream…

I met the lovely people from Plugra on Twitter a month or so ago…and they sent me a couple of coupons to try their butter. Of course, I thanked them, and told them that I’d definitely bake something and post it on the blog.

Now, let me be clear about this. Plugra did not pay me to post this, nor did they expect me to bake something to post on the blog. They were kind enough to send me coupons to try their butter, and that’s where it ended. I have never been obligated to bake anything or post anything on their behalf, or their butter’s behalf.

I do, however, like to share things with my readers when I truly love something…and that now includes their butter.

My intention was to take a taste of the butter, and then to come up with something to bake with it. Just a little taste. I had bought a fresh baguette that day too…and I said to Sophie (my black lab)… “Let’s give Plugra a try…”

She was more than happy to participate in the taste test… and…well…half a baguette later… and lots of butter gone… LOTS of butter gone…I was in a state of bliss…Sophie was in a state of bliss.. I’m not exactly sure which one of us decided that we had to stop. I think it was Sophie, she tends to be more level headed when it comes to eating delicious foods…and she’s a dog, so that should speak volumes when I say that I have no willpower…so yeah, I’m sure it was Sophie who decided that we’d had enough…I would have kept on eating..

I’m not sorry for not having willpower.
It’s a weakness that I’ve come to accept over the years.
I’ve embraced it. IMG_6039Ok, so you know when you think of how good different foods used to taste when you were younger…and then over the years, either your taste buds change…or the companies change up their recipes to make them healthier…or use cheaper ingredients…or whatever… well, this butter took me back to when I was a little girl…and the true butter taste that I remember from then.

This is the real thing, people.
I’ve said this over and over again…
You truly do get what you pay for.

Plugra butter is sweet, yet with just enough saltiness in it to give it that “Mmmm” factor with every bite. And creamy? Oh yeah… pure cream bliss… And when I asked them why I should try their butter… I was given the answer: “82% butterfat, less moisture. Great for baking, or just everyday use!”

Yep. Perfect for everyday use.
Agreed.

And then I had to check out the baking part of it…. I could have easily baked a cake, or cookies or something else.. but you know when you bake a cake or cookies, the butter flavor really isn’t there. I mean, it’s there…but it really isn’t, and at that point, I wanted to highlight what I believe to be the most important aspect of this butter…. The flavor. So I decided to do something different, and made butter pecan ice cream. IMG_6029If you are a lover of butter pecan ice cream, then you know it’s the butter flavor that truly makes the ice cream…. the chopped pecans are just a bonus. I honestly have to say that using this particular butter was a delight in the ice cream. Not only did that “82% butterfat and less moisture” make it so very rich and creamy…but that true butter taste came out with every bite. I served it with a pumpkin cake, which, was not necessary at all. Just a little dish of this ice cream is all you need. Perfect for dessert, perfect for that 8pm “I need something sweet” ..or just a fun time snack time.

What’s really fun is that once you’ve made ice cream a few times…you really don’t even need a recipe.  A couple of cups of heavy cream, a couple of cups of milk, about a 1/2 cup of white or brown sugar, some egg yolks, and vanilla are pretty much all you need!  Change up the flavor by adding your favorite ingredients!!  The one thing that I didn’t do is brown the butter before I added the cream. I tend to not like browned butter. I know, I’m probably that 1% of the population that doesn’t… but I can’t help it, and I never like the color of the ice cream with the darker butter either…it’s unappetizing. But that is just me. If you prefer a browned butter flavor, and don’t mind the look of the ice cream, then by all means, brown the butter!!

Honestly? I’m totally making this ice cream again.
…and…
Plugra is now my most favorite butter.
It’s perfect for everything.

Life is good. It’s a “Grab a spoon and eat this ice cream right out of the pretty little pink ice cream container that I bought for myself, and I don’t care if it’s morning or not, because I’ve already embraced my lack of willpower, which makes eating butter pecan ice cream in the morning perfectly natural and normal…” kind of good.

IMG_6040

Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Author: 
Recipe type: Ice Cream, Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1½ quarts
 
A buttery ice cream filled with pecans...perfect for dessert, or that "I need something sweet" craving!
Ingredients
  • 1 1-2 cups chopped pecans
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1½ tsp vanilla
  • Pecans for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Arrange the chopped pecans on a baking sheet, and place in preheated oven for about five minutes. You'll know when the pecans are perfectly roasted, because you will smell their heavenly nutty scent! Remove from oven, and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they're well blended. Set aside until ready to use.
  4. In a large saucepan with high sides, melt the butter over low heat. (If you like your butter browned, cook it for a couple of minutes, stirring it constantly until it just begins to brown).
  5. Add the light brown sugar, and the salt.. cook until the sugar has melted.
  6. Add the milk. A couple of things are going to happen. It's going to bubble up, which is why I suggested a pan with high sides. And the melted sugar mixture is going to harden, because of the cold milk added. Just keep stirring it until the sugar melts again. It will happen. Be patient, and just don't let it boil.
  7. Grab the bowl of egg yolks and give them one more whisk. Slowly add ⅓ of the milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. When fully incorporated, add the milk and egg mixture back to the saucepan.
  8. Stir constantly over medium to low heat until the mixture thickens... make sure that you scrape the bottom of the pan, otherwise you're going to end up with lovely black specs throughout the ice cream! This takes about five minutes or so of stirring time. You will know when the custard is ready, because you'll be able to run your finger along the back of the spoon, and the custard will stay parted.
  9. Pour the custard through a sieve into a large bowl.
  10. Add the vanilla and heavy cream to the custard. Whisk until fully combined. Chill thoroughly. I like to chill the custard in the freezer for about two to three hours, or just until it starts to ice up a little. Doing that gives the custard a nice head start for when you start to churn it.
  11. When the custard is fully chilled, add it to your ice cream maker, and begin to churn according to the manufacturer's directions.
  12. When the ice cream has fully churned, stir in the chopped pecans. If you have made ice cream before, then you know that it will be soft enough to easily stir the pecans in.
  13. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer container, and freeze until hardened, about 2 hours.
  14. Serve frozen, and garnish with pecans.
  15. Enjoy!

I’m sharing this with my friends at the following parties:

Fiesta Friday, with the Birthday Girl, Angie…from The Novice Gardener….and her lovely co-hosts, Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen, and Sue, from Birgerbird…two of my most very favorite people!  This is a lovely party, and everyone is always welcome!  I hope to see you there!!  Happy Birthday Angie…I hope your day is beautiful…

FoodieFridays with Michelle at A Dish of Daily Life, along with Shari from Pure Grace Farms, Mila from Girl and the Kitchen, Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures, Petro from The Seaman Mom, and Christine from Curried Cantaloupe! It’s a great party, and I hope to see you there!

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KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway

Welcome to the KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway event!  We’re giving away a truly awesome prize today – a KitchenAid 5 Qt. Artisan Series with Pouring Shield!  What’s not to love about that?

I’m so excited to be a part of this awesome giveaway….and so excited for all of you, too!   Thank you to all of my faithful readers..for just being here.  It means so much to me…  it truly does.  I wish that each and everyone of you could win!   Good luck to all of you!!  Much love to you…

KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway

Giveaway organized by Juggling Act Mama

ABOUT THE PRIZE: KitchenAid 5 Qt. Artisan Series with Pouring Shield

  • Winner chooses color – Empire Red, Ice (blue), Contour Silver or White on White
  • Multipurpose attachment hub, over 15 optional attachments
  • 5-quart stainless steel bowl, dishwasher safe
  • Tilt-head design
  • Includes coated flat beater, coated dough hook, wire whip and 1-piece pouring shield, 1-year warranty
  • 2-piece pouring shield with large chute for adding ingredients
  • 325-watt mixer with 10 speeds; 5-quart stainless steel bowl

Enter the KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.  Some entries, such as tweeting can be done daily so be sure to check back.

RULES: Open to US/CAN Residents only. 1 winner will be chosen. Prize must be claimed within 48 hours of announcement or a new winner will be drawn. Prize is valued at $300 USD. Winner may choose a $300 USD Amazon gift card in lieu of prize if desired. All entries will be verified. This giveaway is in no way associated with KitchenAid, Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pumpkin Pie Cocktail

pumpkin pie cocktail 1Have you ever worked with someone who kind of annoyed the heck out of you, but you politely put up with him/her? I used to work with a guy who… for the sake of this conversation…. I’m going to call “Punkin”

… and he annoyed the heck out of me…on a daily basis…

Punkin stopped by my desk pretty much every day to chat. And once he found out that I loved to cook….well…then the conversation was always about cooking. I must have mentioned that I was baking pumpkin pie one day, or for that matter, I might have brought a pumpkin pie into work for one of our parties.  Either way, it was after that, that I heard every single day: Hey Prudy..are you making “punkin” pie? ~or~ How’s that “punkin” pie?

It’s pumpkin, Punkin… not punkin.

Please forgive me. It’s a pet peeve of mine. Especially when a grown man mispronounces words to make himself look cute. It’s not cute. Well, that’s not entirely true. It depends on the conversation…if we are in “funny” mode…then go for it, but even then….be careful….because nine times out of ten, it’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. Is that mean? Probably. But I can’t help it. It drives me nuts.

pumpkin pie cocktail…And Punkin always said what was on his mind… good, bad, or indifferent….

“Prudy, are you doing the Biggest Loser contest?” he asked me one day.
“No, I don’t want to get on the scale in front of everybody…” I answered.
“Why not?” he asked.
“I don’t want people to know how much I weigh”… I answered.

…and his response???

“Prudy, you’re not fat….” He said..
And I thought to myself….Well, that’s very nice of you.

…but then he continued on with:
“I mean, you’re chubby….But you’re not fat….”

I’ll pause here for those words to sink in.
“I mean, you’re chubby…But you’re not fat…”

“Thank you, Punkin. I think.”

pumpkin pie cocktail 2Anyway…I don’t work with Punkin anymore….and I never did correct him on his pronunciation of the word pumpkin… and he never did find out that I was ready to dive over my desk and wring his neck when he let me know that I wasn’t fat…but that I was instead, chubby….

I’m sure he meant well..
I mean, I think he did.

With some things…you just have to bite your tongue… you know…for the sake of humanity, or for your own sake of sanity…. insanity… whichever works for you.

If anything…he must have left his mark on me…good, bad, or indifferent…. Because I thought of him as I was making this pumpkin pie cocktail…. And I could just hear him as he was walking down the hall…

“Hey Prudy! How’s that punkin pie cocktail?”

“It’s pretty darn delicious, Punkin…it’s pretty darn delicious…”

Pumpkin Pie Cocktail 4It’s just that pumpkin time of year, when everyone has pumpkin on the brain.   We want pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cake, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin milkshakes… pretty much pumpkin everything….

What is it about Fall that makes us want pumpkin?
I just don’t know.
And this cocktail?
Well, it falls right into that category…
It just tastes just like a frozen pumpkin pie!

You just can’t go wrong with a cocktail that is made with vanilla ice cream, pumpkin, cinnamon, a little pumpkin liquor, and Cointreau.  Yes. Cointreau…which brings a slight citrus flavor at the end..not too much, but just enough to make you say hmmm…

This is such a great dessert drink for Thanksgiving..or anytime during the upcoming holiday for that matter…a novelty if anything…fun to make, fun to serve, and fun to drink!

Life is good. It’s a “I can’t believe that I’m talking about the upcoming holidays already…” kind of good..

pumpkin pie cocktail 6

5.0 from 2 reviews
Pumpkin Pie Cocktail
Author: 
Recipe type: Frozen Cocktail, Frozen Beverage
 
A deliciously frozen slice of pumpkin pie in a glass.. Just a quick note: You're probably wondering why I'm using ice, when there's ice cream as ingredient... the ice cream tends to want to become creamy after it has been blended with the pumpkin, and the ice just helps to make it more slushy... more icy. If you think you'd prefer the drink creamy, then by all means, leave the ice out, it's not going to make a difference to the taste at all!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup ice
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 oz pumpkin cordial (such as Pumpkin King Cordial, by Roundhouse Spirits)
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • Cinnamon for garnish
  • Cinnamon Stick for garnish
  • Chopped Pecans for garnish
  • Combine the vanilla ice cream, canned pumpkin, ice, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, pumpkin cordial, and Cointreau into a blender. Blend until all of the ingredients are fully combined, and the ice is crushed. Add more ice to make it thicker if you prefer.
Instructions
  1. Combine the vanilla ice cream, canned pumpkin, ice, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, pumpkin cordial, and Cointreau into a blender.
  2. Blend until all of the ingredients are fully combined, and the ice is crushed.
  3. Add more ice to make it thicker if you prefer.
  4. Garnish with cinnamon, cinnamon stick, and chopped pecans.
  5. Enjoy!

I’m sharing this cocktail with the following link parties:

Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener with Angie as the lovely host, and Julianna from Foodie on Board, and Hilda from Along the Grapevine as the wonderful co-hosts! It should be a lovely time…I hope to see you there!

Crazy Cake

Crazy Cake 1I grew up in a cake household. My mom (Marsh) baked and decorated wedding cakes….well…truth be told, she made them for all occasions. So there was always cake in the house….usually a plate that was filled with a variety of cake scraps…always sitting on the stove. And if you hit it just right, those scraps could still be fresh out of the oven, so they’d be gloriously melt-in-your-mouth hot. Needless to say, my friends always liked to come to my house…not for me, but for the endless cake. Whenever I see my friend Roxanne, she still talks about that plate of cake!

crazy cake 6And… Marsh always had a great big tub of freshly made frosting sitting in the cupboard. She also had a full unfrosted wedding cake sitting in the freezer for emergencies, like the time a cat ran out in front of my parents car as they were delivering a fully decorated cake to a reception hall. A quick slam on the brakes brought the cake flying towards the front of their then station wagon… and then a very quick stop of the car sent it flying back.

Yep. Total destruction…
…of the cake…
The cat was fine.

I remember my parents flying into the house… grabbing the cakes out of the freezer…and her shouting orders to both me and my father as she quickly began to frost them. She did it. She got that cake decorated, and they were back on the road to deliver it in plenty of time. I can’t remember all of the details, because it was so long ago…but I’m sure she made good with the bride and groom.

And while she made all of these gorgeous cakes with fountains and pillars and ribbons for others… once in a while, Marsh would make a simple crazy cake just for us. Crazy cake, also called wacky cake… originated sometime in the 1930s or 1940s when staples like butter, milk, and eggs were difficult to come by.

crazy cake 2I love crazy cake…I think it has to be the moistest chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten. Pure comfort food.

One of the best crazy cakes my mom ever made was about four years ago at Easter. She had just been diagnosed with cancer a few months before in December… and had a rough few months of it, and I wasn’t sure that she would ever be the mom I knew before her diagnosis….. I was sad, I was angry, and I was scared.

That Easter morning, as I walked into her kitchen, there sat a crazy cake sitting on her stove. I looked at Marsh, and asked where the cake came from. “I made it” she said. And at that very moment, I knew that she was still the same mom that I knew from before… and that she would always be as I have always known her to be.

My mom.
Pure comfort.
It was the most delicious crazy cake I have ever eaten.

Now, don’t get me wrong…. She still drives me crazy. I mean, she’s a mother. That’s what we do. Right? We drive our children nuts…. And Marsh is especially good at that!

But I still love her.
She’s my mom.

crazy cake 4So…this is how this particular crazy cake came to be…. A fork. A simple little fork that I found on Etsy and fell in love with. As soon as I opened the package and held it in my hand, I knew exactly what I was going to do. This little fork had “cake” written all over it…so why not do a crazy cake?

Since I’m all about changing things up a bit…and did just the opposite of what I did to the molten lava cakes this past Saturday…. I thought it would be fitting to take something as simple as a crazy cake, and dress it up a little. I did not inherit Marsh’s decorating talents and skills, but I do my best….and of course…sprinkles are mandatory! They cover up even the worst icing job!!

This little cake is perfect to make for any occasion…or even if you don’t have an occasion! Pretend there’s an occasion! Or just make it… “just because”…and then serve it on a pretty little plate with a pretty little fork.

crazy cake 3

With very few ingredients, it’s super easy to prepare… super simple to decorate… and everyone will think you worked for hours and hours, when in reality, you can have it baked and decorated in very little time!! The perfect little cake to “wow” your friends and family… and no one will be the wiser that there are no eggs, no milk, and no butter in this cake at all!

While the original recipe calls for just a half cup of cocoa powder, but I up the ante and double that with one full cup, and two tablespoons of espresso to give it a deep chocolate flavor. And, while I did the whole “grease and flour the pan” and decorate routine… this is truly a cake that can be prepared in its own baking pan, simply by throwing all of the ingredients in the pan and stirring until they’re all combined! No frosting required… leave it plain, or a dust it with some powdered sugar! It just doesn’t get any easier.

Just a quick note: If you decide to do a small layer cake like this, you’re going to have scraps.  I used three 7″ round cake pans,  but only used two of the cakes.  The third, I double wrapped in plastic wrap, and stuck it in the freezer for one of those “I need chocolate” days. Otherwise this cake can be baked in an ungreased 9 x 13″ cake pan.

crazy cake 6

Life is good. It’s a “simple cakes and crazy moms and pretty little forks make for pure comfort” kind of good.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Crazy Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
 
A simple chocolate cake made with no eggs, butter, or milk! Dress it up...or dress it down. It's delicious either way..
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp espresso or instant coffee (optional)
  • 2 cups water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Grease and flour three 7" round cake pans.
  3. Cut three 7" round circles of waxed paper, and place in the bottom of each pan.
  4. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda into a large mixing bowl, and whisk until combined.
  5. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
  6. Pour the vanilla extract, vegetable oil, vinegar, coffee and water into the well.
  7. Whisk until all of the wet and dry ingredients are fully combined.
  8. Divide the cake batter among the three cake pans.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Let cool completely, remove from pans by inverting on a cooling rack, or leave in pan to frost or sprinkle with powdered sugar as desired.
  11. Enjoy!

 I’ll be sharing this recipe with:

Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party with Kim, Jessica, Cassie, and Amber.  This party is huge…with a variety of wonderful bloggers sharing their talents and their loves.  I hope to see you there!!

crazy cake 7

Cinnamon Apple Chips

cinnamon apple chips 1

I really find myself getting excited for tonight’s season premier of the Walking Dead.

Yep. It’s true.

My name is Prudy, and I’m a Dead Head (not the Jerry Garcia kind…but I do love his ties…)…
I watch the Walking Dead.
And love it.

cinnamon apple chips 2

I find myself in good company with all of those other girls ranging from 10 years old to 95 years old who are in love with Daryl Dixon… although I’m not so sure I could handle his dark mood…I think he’d be on my last nerve by the end of the day with all of his grumpy negativity….but let me stress the fact that I do realize that living amongst zombies who are trying to eat you could darken even the lightest of heart’s mood after a day or so of running, hiding, or shoving a sharp object into the brain of said pesky dead.

I know.
Gross.
Forgive me all of you who tend to be squeamish…
…for I used to be squeamish too.
Until I became one of those people who like to watch TWD..

cinnamon apple chips 3

Seriously though..I think the biggest reason I love that show is because it gives me a full hour of Mike (and sometimes Jessica) time….He’s the one who made me start watching it a couple of years ago…and sat with me for one full weekend as I watched episode after episode… early morning to late night….catching up to that current season, so that he and I could watch it together. I remember how stressful it was… sitting on the edge of my seat, my heart pounding…and biting my nails down to nothing…wondering what kind of nightmares I was going to have that night…

Now, I look forward to Sunday night all week long, and I love watching it with Mike (and sometimes Jess), the surprises (because there are many), disappointments (because there are many more), and then I love the discussion afterward, and trying to figure out what’s going to happen next…

…And… now I love the darn show… and I’m looking forward with excitement to the stress, pounding heart, and crazy nightmares!

cinnamon apple chips 5Once in a while, Jessica will watch it with Mike and me…and I’m hoping that she will tonight.  She tends to like anything apple and cinnamon…so I’m hoping that these apple chips will entice her to join us.

I know, you must be thinking…why would Prudy pair these pretty cinnamon apple chips with a gory zombie show?  Well, to be honest, it’s quality time with my grown kids…and the fact that Mike approached me to watch it with him…and that Jessica is still willing to come and sit and watch it with us… well, that’s reason enough for me.   We are all so busy with our lives now… that if a few zombies are what brings us together, then you have to know that I’ll jump at that chance…and I’m going to make something sweet and delicious for them….

For the kids.
Not the zombies.
Zombies don’t like apples.

Anyway…these pretty little apple chips are so easy to make.. it takes nothing to slice them thin, and bake them in the oven for a few hours until they’re crispy.  Toss them with some sugar and cinnamon, and you have a lovely snack to watch the horrifying life with zombies!

Now, please excuse me while I prepare myself mentally for tonight’s show… It’s going to be a good one!

cinnamon apple chips 4

 Life is good… “It’s a “zombies and apple chips… the perfect combination in my book…” kind of good.

Cinnamon Apple Chips
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Easy to make, these apple chips are so delicious with sugar and cinnamon.
Ingredients
  • 3 apples (your favorite variety...I used Jonamac)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F
  2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl, set aside until ready to use.
  4. Leaving the skin on, thinly slice the apples with a mandolin, or very sharp knife to about ⅛" thick.
  5. Place the apple slices in a single layer on the parchment paper. You can put them as close as you'd like, just don't overlap them.
  6. Bake the apple slices until they're crispy, about three or four hours.
  7. Remove from oven, and immediately toss with sugar and cinnamon.
  8. Enjoy!

I’m sharing this recipe with:

Treasure Box Tuesdays with Wanda Ann from Memories by the Mile, and Joy from Yesterfood.  I’m so happy to have found them…this is a lovely party filled with so many bloggers sharing their wonderful talents, and I hope to see you there!

Create Link Inspire with Gina from Kleinworth & Co., Emily from Nap-Time Creations, Katie from The Crafty Blog Stalker, and Amy from Marvelous Mommy.   I’m loving this party…and know you will too!  I hope to see you there!

 

cinnamon apple chips 1

Molten Lava Cake

Molten Lava Cake 1Have you ever looked at your living room walls, or any walls in your home for that matter, and randomly decided right at that very moment:
You hate the color.
You wonder what you were thinking when you picked out that color.
…And now…you need a change…immediately.

I do that a lot.

Or sometimes I’ll still love that color… but find another color that I love maybe just a little bit more. Maybe the newer color would be easier on the eyes…or would match the furniture a little bit better, or just create a little more calming effect than the one that is on the walls at that moment. Or maybe I just long for a simpler color.

Something simple, yet elegant.

It kind of works that way with recipes too…I’ll have a recipe that I’ve used for years and years…and then all of a sudden, decide that it’s time to make a little change. I’ll either spruce it up with lots of doodads and nonsense…or tone it down, and make it simple.

Today, it’s all about molten lava cake and its simplicity.
Molten Lava Cake 2I came upon a lava cake recipe last week, and I knew that I had to try it. It turned out to be so easy to make,and so delicious…and I really wanted to share with you…but it was virtually impossible to obtain permission to share the recipe. There were bullets upon bullets of rules and regulations on how to post the recipe..yadda yadda yadda… and quite frankly, it scared me away. I didn’t want the recipe police to come after me… you know, with my claustrophobia and all, I would not do well in handcuffs…

So, after a little research, I found one from Better Homes and Gardens that was very similar, and just as delicious.
Molten Lava Cake 3After trying both of those recipes, I took a look at my own lava cake recipe…and that’s when I decided that I needed a change. While I still love that recipe and know that I’ll still use it in the future… this one is so much faster, and much less labor intensive. One that I know I will use time and time again…

…And I want to share it with you.
You know… just a change of an old favorite…maybe just for a little while…

It is simply chocolate.
No raspberry sauce.
No coffee, or Chambord.
Just chocolate.
And sometimes, that’s all I need…

Simplicity.
Molten Lava Cake 4This one is so easy, so foolproof, and so delicious. I even used a 10oz ramekin instead of a 6oz, just to see how it would work, and while it took maybe an extra five minutes to bake, it turned out perfectly. The warm chocolate just oozed beautifully out of the center of the cake…

This is a dessert that is pretty enough to serve right in the ramekin (but then again, I love the look of ramekins..) or it easily pops right out of the ramekin and onto a plate, where it sits unscathed until you or your guest digs in with a spoon, and that glorious, rich, and fudgy chocolate pours out… you can serve it with ice cream, raspberry sauce, or fresh strawberries. I chose to serve this one sprinkled with a little powdered sugar, with a couple of fresh raspberries for garnish.

You know…
…simply elegant…
…and that’s a beautiful thing…
Molten Lava Cake 5

Life is good.  It’s a “Sometimes a little change is all we need, but it doesn’t mean it has to be forever…” kind of good…

5.0 from 5 reviews
Molten Lava Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
Ingredients
  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)
  • Raspberries, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Spray four 10oz soufflé ramekins (or six 6oz) with cooking spray, and place on a baking sheet.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the butter and chocolate, and over low heat stir until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat, and set aside until ready to use.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla until thick, and lemon color (about 8-10 minutes).
  5. Fold about ⅓ of the melted chocolate into the egg mixture until fully incorporated, and then fold the remaining melted chocolate along with the flour into the egg mixture. Spoon batter into sprayed ramekins until about three quarters full.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes for 6oz ramekins and about 16 minutes for 10oz ramekins, or until the middle of the cake doesn't jiggle when gently shaken. Remove from oven, and let cool for about five minutes.
  7. If serving in the ramekins, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and garnish with raspberries, or desired garnish...and serve immediately.
  8. If serving on a plate, carefully run a butter knife between the cake and the side of the ramekin. Place a plate over the ramekin and gently flip, until you feel the cake fall onto the plate.
  9. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with raspberries...or desired garnish , and serve immediately.
  10. Enjoy!!
Notes
Where BHG called for two tablespoons of butter to grease the ramekins, I used a vegetable spray such as Pam cooking spray. It worked like a charm, and the cakes popped right out.
I used 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate in place of bittersweet, and although bittersweet tends to have a deeper flavor, I think the semi-sweet chocolate held it's own. It was rich and delicious!
And finally... BHG called for 1 tbsp. flour, in which I upped it to 3 tbsp, and it worked out perfectly.

I’m sharing these lava cakes with the following parties:

Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener with Angie as the lovely host, and Julianna from Foodie on Board, and Hilda from Along the Grapevine as the wonderful co-hosts!  It should be a lovely time…I hope to see you there!

FoodieFridays with Michelle at A Dish of Daily Life, along with Shari from Pure Grace Farms, Mila from Girl and the Kitchen, Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures, and Petro from The Seaman Mom! It’s a great party, and I hope to see you there!

The Weekend Re-Treat Party with Shauna from The Best Blog Recipes, Shannon from AKA Design, Brittany from Mommy on Demand,  and Britni from Play.Party.Pin!  This party is huge!!  I hope to see you there!!

Saturday Soiree Blog Party with Sarah Ann from Faith Along the Way.  What an uplifting party… I hope to see you there!

Saturday Sharefest with the SITSgirls.  An awesome party filled with a variety of bloggers, basically a one stop party!  I hope to see you there!

Molten Lava Cake 2

Spicy Corn Fritters

corn fritters 2

It appears that I am a copy cat….
But not the kind of copy cat that you might be thinking…

Apparently, I tend to walk like the person in front of me.

It’s true…
I take on their way of walking…
You know…their gait.

I just noticed this a few years ago, so I really can’t tell you how long I’ve been doing it…but one day, I was walking behind one of my co-workers who had injured his knee. His limp was quite obvious, so I couldn’t help but watch him walk. Well, as I was walking, I realized that I was limping too! I mean, I wasn’t limping as strongly as he was… but there was a definite limp to my stride.

I was shocked, to say the least, at this revelation..
Can it be that I’ve been walking like others all my life?
Do I even have a walk of my own?
I just don’t know.

Can I call it empathy?
I’m not sure….
Because I do it with everyone…limp or not.

It’s unnerving.

For some unexplained reason, my legs want to mimic the person in front of me. So, if that person is leading with his or her left foot… I must unconsciously do a little two step, so that I’m leading with the left foot. If he or she is walking fast, then I’m walking fast. If the person is walking with a little rhythm, then I’m taking on that rhythm.

It’s exhausting.

Now, don’t get me wrong…if I was walking behind a monkey…I wouldn’t be doing the monkey walk or anything…

At least I don’t think I would.
I don’t know…maybe I would.

It’s very subtle…more of a hint of that person’s stride… most likely, no one would notice me doing it…well…I would notice it…and my friends…who are quite ruthless…would notice it too. They were quite pleased, and very amused (ruthless) when I leaked this tidbit of information about me.

And…then we laughed about it.
It’s all good.
Because life is good, right?

But it is quite a conundrum because I’m so tuned into it now, I make it a point to not look at the person in front of me! But the harder I try not to pay attention, the more I pay attention!

I think I’d be a really good Rockette.
Except for the fact that I’m about a foot and a half too short.
We won’t talk about how many pounds too heavy…
But man, my little legs would be going a million miles a minute to keep up with them!

corn fritters 4

So, anyway…I also like to copy a good meal when I’ve been out to a restaurant… or at least do my take on it. One of the things that I’ve been trying to copy, with zero luck, is the Cheesecake Factory’s corn fritters. Katie, Jessica, and I love them…and whenever we go there…you can be sure that’s the first thing we order.   And the three of us have tried many times over the last few years to make them, but they always seem to be lacking a certain flavor…and the texture is all wrong. I just can’t get it right.

But… in all of the attempts to make the Cheesecake Factory’s version,  we’ve come up with a really good one of our own. The texture is more like a hush puppy than a corn fritter, and it has a really great flavor…and in the end, that’s what matters, right? You want it to become a requested treat, and that’s what this has become.

Even Mike likes them.
Yes, you read that right.
He likes them!
Go figure.

Corn Fritters 1

What makes them stand out is the sweet corn paired with the jalapeño, the spicy pepper jack cheese, and crisp bacon.  Sautéing the onions and garlic give it a nice finished flavor, rather than the sharpness of raw. Paired with a spicy mayo, they’re truly delicious! The prep takes no time at all, and they only take about three minutes per batch to cook!

Serve them with a spicy mayo or honey.. and even your fussiest will love them!

Life is good. It’s a “Sometimes it’s ok to copy…but other times it’s just disturbing” kind of good…

corn fritters 3

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spicy Corn Fritters
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 dozen
 
While you can eat these delicious corn fritters the next day, they are definitely better hot and fresh that same day!
Ingredients
Corn Fritters
  • Canola oil
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ jalapeño, minced
  • 2 cups corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese (or cheddar)
  • ¼ cup Romano cheese
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp Old Bay seasoning (or your favorite cajun seasoning)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Lime wedges, to serve
Spicy Mayo
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Chives, for garnish
Instructions
Corn Fritters
  1. In a heavy saucepan, heat about 3 inches of canola oil to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium saute pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from pan, and drain on paper towel lined plate. Set aside. Reserve grease.
  3. To the bacon grease, add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until transparent. Remove from heat.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add the onion mixture, bacon, corn, flour, cornmeal, salt, black pepper, Old Bay seasoning, and paprika. Stir until combined.
  5. Stir in the egg and buttermilk.
  6. Add the pepper jack cheese, and the Romano cheese. Stir until combined.
  7. Using a cookie scoop, carefully drop a ball of batter into the hot oil.
  8. Deep fry for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the center is fully cooked. Test the first fritter, and follow the time after that has fully cooked.
  9. Serve immediately with spicy mayo and lime wedges.
Spicy Mayo
  1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sriracha, and garlic. Stir until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

And now, I’m sharing these corn fritters at the Novice Gardener, for Angie’s Fiesta Friday, where Elaine from Foodbod,  and Selma, from Selma’s Table are hosting!  As always, this is a wonderful party, with  a lot of bloggers sharing what they love.  If you are a blogger, please feel free to join us..it’s a great way to meet other bloggers and gain exposure!  It’s just plain fun.  You can join by clicking on the button below:

fiesta-friday-badge-button-click-to-join1

Shepherd’s Pie

IMG_4132
As I’m sitting here typing this…I’m feeling the chill of the morning…..and although it’s supposed to get into the upper 70’s today, I’m still thinking about what can I make tonight for dinner that’s going to be warm and comforting….

…and I know what you’re thinking…
“Ugh…she’s going to talk about comfort food again…”

Yep. I am.

I’m sorry. We’re getting into that time of the year (my favorite time of the year) when we all start to crave those warm, stick to your ribs, comfort meals that we all love.

Someone posted a question on Facebook the other day; that totally stressed me out…

The question was… “What is your favorite fall meal?”

I sat there for a few minutes, trying to come up with an answer…but I couldn’t.

IMG_4100

At first, without a doubt, I thought… mac and cheese.
But then I thought…maybe I don’t want to be tied down to just mac and cheese…
So maybe I should say “anything pasta”. There. That’s it. Pasta.
Nope…because then I started thinking about casseroles. Any kind. I love them.
And then I thought about roasted chicken dinner, turkey dinner, and pot roast. I love roasts.
Chicken pot pie. I love chicken pot pie.

I mean, seriously. How does one answer that question, when one loves it all?
It’s stressing me out man….
Don’t tie me down to one particular food….I will stray for sure….

So, to answer the question of my favorite fall meal…I’m going to say: “All of the Above”.

IMG_4245

And while we are on the topic of comfort food…one of my many favorite comfort foods is shepherd’s pie. There is something about that saucy mix of meat and vegetables, topped with a cheddary mashed potato mixture.

Shepherd’s pie is one of those meals that I cannot make often, as I tend to over-indulge. Even after the meal is finished and I’m stuffed… I still grab spoonfuls of it as I’m cleaning the kitchen. By the end of the day, I’m totally uncomfortable…completely guilt ridden….and ready for a long nap. I think that’s why it’s perfect for a chilly fall day… it makes you want to go into hibernation!

…And you know me. I need lots of big bold flavors…and this is one dish that if not done right, it can be very boring. So you really need to start layering the flavors from the start. Lots of garlic and onions…tomato paste… Worcestershire sauce.. and cheese. Lots of cheese. The beauty of this dish, is that it’s quick and easy to prepare… and hour in the oven, and you’ll have a delicious meal on the table in no time….one that your family will love.

Unless Michael lives with you.
Then he won’t even look at it, let alone taste it.
I should own stock in Bagel Bites…
Seriously.

IMG_4079

There is nothing better than sharing your favorite comfort food with family and wonderful friends…so I’m taking this lovely dish to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #35 over at The Novice Gardener…where I’ll be hanging out for the weekend… as Angie has asked me to co-host with the lovely Naina from Spice in the City!

It’s so great to be back in the swing of things, I’m thrilled to be co-hosting Naina… I just love her, and the recipes and stories that she shares are always delightful!
A special thank you to Angie for hosting Fiesta Friday; and I cannot believe that we are at week number 35 already!! Number 35…that’s just crazy! How time flies when we’re having fun, and Angie certainly knows how to put on a fabulously fun party! I hope that you’ll stop by and see all of the delicious recipes that everyone has brought to the table this week!

….AND….If you are a blogger and haven’t had the chance to link up, now is the time! If you are new to this party, or even new to blogging…we welcome you to join us! It is a wonderful way to meet other blogger friends, and gain exposure and views! Please feel free to contact me, Naina, or Angie if you have any questions! We are here to help, and look forward to meeting you!!
Please be sure to link your posts to Angie’s blog, as well as my blog so that we know that you have arrived! It’s as simple as clicking on the “Click to Join” button right here…

fiesta-friday-badge-button-click-to-join1

Life is good.  It’s a “Embrace the Fall weather all you Summer lovers… it’s here…it’s HERE!!” …kind of good…

5.0 from 6 reviews
Shepherd's Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Comfort Food, Dinner
 
Pure Comfort Food Deliciousness.
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1½ pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. steak seasoning (Such as Montreal Steak)
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1½ cups corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)
  • 1½ cups peas (fresh, frozen, or canned)
  • 1 cup lima beans (frozen or canned)
  • ½ cup Romano cheese, grated
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 lbs potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
  • 1 - 8oz pkg cream cheese
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Paprika for Garnish
Instructions
  1. Boil the potatoes in water until tender, drain, and mash the potatoes in a mixing bowl with either a hand mixer, or stand mixer. Add the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and about ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper, and blend with mixer until creamy. Add more salt and pepper if you think it needs more seasoning. Set aside until ready to pipe onto casserole.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan, and add the onions, garlic, and carrots. Saute on low heat until a knife slices through the carrots easily.
  3. Add the ground beef to the onion and carrot mixture, and cook until no longer pink.
  4. Add the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and steak seasoning to the beef mixture and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the corn, peas, and lima beans to the pan, and simmer until heated through.
  6. Pour the beef and vegetable mixture into a greased skillet, casserole dish, or baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle with ½ cup Romano cheese.
  8. Top with the two cups of cheddar cheese.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  10. Spoon the mashed potatoes into an extra large piping bag that is equipped with a large star tip (I use Wilton #1M), and begin to pipe swirls of potatoes all over the top of the casserole, until it is completely covered.
  11. Sprinkle with paprika.
  12. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, or until the potatoes are golden brown.

Enjoy!

IMG_4132

Creme Filled Donuts: Iced Angels

After I turned 50 a couple of years ago, some really bad things started to happen… 
iced angel 8
First… AARP started sending me this junk mail. Yes…it’s junk mail… I toss it before opening it. I’m not interested. Yeah, I understand that it’s filled with discounts and yadda yadda… but I’m not interested.

I’m only in my 50’s for goodness sake, Herbert. (Herbert is my friend Cindy’s husband…and he loves his AARP).
He’s old.
I’m not.

Ok, that’s not entirely true. He is younger than me…but he’s embracing it. I’m holding it at bay.

iced angel 4Then, a couple of weeks after my 50th birthday, I was shopping at a party supply store in Niagara Falls. The store has this one section that has some really pretty little knick-knacks. There were a couple of vases that caught my eye, kind of like a blue willow pattern, that I absolutely love…and I pictured daisies (my favorite flower) in the one vase… so I decided to splurge. I remember that they’d be about $25 for the two of them.

When I got through the line, the bill came to less than $25…
“Are they on sale?” I asked the boy at the counter.
“No” he replied.
So I figured that I read the price signs wrong. I got out to my car and looked at my receipt. And there, in big bold letters:

Senior Citizens Discount.
What the heck??
How could he possibly think that I was a senior citizen?
He was certainly mistaken…
I mean, I had just colored my hair, so there weren’t even any greys showing!
I can’t even look at those vases now without feeling my wrinkles multiply.

And then last summer… Mike and I would always stop at a donut shop for a breakfast sandwich for him after he had his weekly blood work done. Since we did it every week, I always knew exactly how much the bill was going to be. Except for one week, the girl gave me the total, and it was about 60cents less than what the bill normally was. I paid the bill…and had Mike look at the receipt when we pulled away:

Senior Citizens Discount.
Seriously?
She was certainly mistaken..
Surely the discount was meant for the car behind me.

How can I possibly look the senior citizen part? I mean, is that what happens after you turn 50? You automatically look senior citizen-ish?

They still card me when I buy beer, so why are they giving me discounts at the donut shop?
Something is seriously wrong here…and I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit.

So…I’ve decided to boycott all of these places who assume I deserve “the discount”.

That particular donut shop is one of them.

The only problem with that…is that they sell Iced Angels. Iced Angels are the white cream filled donuts with chocolate frosting. Most of the time they have sprinkles.

iced angels 3I love sprinkles.  They’re a necessity.

Would a senior citizen require sprinkles on her Iced Angel?
I think not.

I knew that I was definitely biting off my nose to spite my face, by boycotting this donut shop…. But decided that it was more important for me to take a stance against the harmful assumption of senior citizenshipedness.

I decided that I would make my own Iced Angels.
…And make them even better than the donut shops version.
…And I did.

So….thank you… boy at the party store counter and donut shop….

…For making me notice those little wrinkles under my eyes that I might not have noticed for another five years…
I now have eye cream to combat those wrinkles….
I still have daisies in that vase…which means that I’m not pushing them up yet….
…and I can make my own iced angels….

Iced Angels 1In. Your. Face…boy at the counter and donut shop.

I seriously should have started making Iced Angels years ago. I think they’re better than the donut shops version. It is the freshness of it that really pulls me in. They’re so soft when you bite into them…and the donut itself is really light…and it’s not overly sweet, so it holds up to the sweetness of the cream and chocolate.

The cream…oh…that cream… so fluffy and sweet with those beautiful specks of vanilla…you’ll find yourself using it for more than just donuts. It’s great to fill cupcakes and cakes, profiteroles, whoopie pies…

Keep a bowl of it in the fridge and a spoon in your pocket.
It’s that good.
The list goes on and on…

Iiced angel 6

The ganache has a touch of espresso to give it that edge to balance the sweetness of the cream.

The sprinkles are really optional…but for me a necessity. They’re festive. They’re fun. They put the “young” into a donut that has a grown up flair with the specks of vanilla and rich taste of espresso.

These donuts are hip, with a little added splash of youth.
Like me.

Life is good. It’s an “Aging is an option, and I choose not to…” kind of good…

iced angel 7

5.0 from 3 reviews
Creme Filled Donuts: Iced Angels
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Breads, Sweets
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1½ dozen donuts
 
Ingredients
The Donut
  • 1 package regular or quick-acting yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water, about 105 degrees F
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Crème Filling (Recipe to follow)
  • Chocolate Espresso Ganache (Recipe to follow)
  • Rainbow Sprinkles for Garnish
The Crème Filling
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Seeds of one vanilla bean (save the bean to throw in some dark rum to make your own extract)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (a little more or a little less)
The Ganache:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 16 ounces dark chocolate, cut up
  • 2 tablespoon instant espresso granules
Instructions
The Donut:
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water and honey in mixing bowl. Add buttermilk, sugar, salt, egg, and shortening. Using the dough hook on your mixer, add the flour, and mix until the flour is completely incorporated, and continue until the dough is smooth. (It will be a little sticky)
  2. Cover and let rise until double (about 1 hour). Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and roll out to about ¾" thick. Using a 3" round cookie cutter, cut the donuts from the dough, placing each one onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover, and let rise until double (About 1 hour).
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep fryer, or a heavy saucepan to 350 degrees F. Carefully place two to three donuts into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown on the one side (about one minute), and carefully flip each donut in the oil to cook the other side, about one minute, or until golden brown.
  4. Carefully remove the donuts with tongs, and place on a cooling rack (with a baking sheet underneath). Cool completely.
  5. When cooled, carefully slice about a two inch line into the side of the donut, and carefully slice into the donut to add the creme (recipe below). Using a large pastry bag and tip, generously fill the donut with the creme.
  6. Generously frost the donuts with chocolate ganache (recipe below), and garnish with sprinkles.
The Crème Filling:
  1. Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a small saucepan, and simmer over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and bring to room temperature.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the simple syrup with the vegetable oil, shortening, vanilla and vanilla beans and mix until fluffy.
  3. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, stopping after the mixture becomes thick enough to make peaks.
  4. Will keep for two weeks, refrigerated, in an airtight container.
The Ganache
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the heavy cream and butter to a boil. Remove from heat, and add the chocolate and espresso granules, stirring until the chocolate has melted, and is smooth. Using a hand mixer, beat the powdered sugar into the melted chocolate mixture until smooth. The ganache will thicken as it cools. Keep at room temperature until ready to use.

I should add that the next week when Mike and I went through the donut shops drive-thru…I paid full price.  He looked at the receipt, and then at me… and said:  “Well, mom… you just paid full price for the order. That sucks.”

“No boy…it doesn’t suck.  Someday you’ll understand why I was so happy to pay full price…”

Life is good.

Enjoy!!

iced angel 8

 

The Blackberry Fence Hopper

blackberry cocktail 5Here is yet another little tidbit about me….

I am highly claustrophobic.

But I’m in good company, because it runs in my family, Can I say that I inherited it? I’m not so sure, because my parents aren’t claustrophobic. But I have a couple of aunts and some cousins who are. And honestly, I’m not sure that it is something that can be inherited.

It’s not a fun thing, and I never know when something is going to set me off. I mean, my co-workers aren’t surprised to see my jewelry lying on my desk, because there are times when my brain decides that I can’t breathe because I’m wearing a necklace. Now how silly is that? I know it’s silly. But my brain doesn’t. In itself, it’s thinking it can’t get my lungs to breathe.

My whole wardrobe is styled around this claustrophobia…it has to be something that I know I can take off quickly, if panic happens to set in.

blackberry cocktail 6My poor friends have been on the receiving end of it too. Take, for instance, this little scenario a couple of years ago….

The setting is in the backseat of a car after running with my friends: Cindy, Rob, and Karen. I had my knee wrapped from a muscle strain… and had taped it so that the bandage wouldn’t move while I was running. We had just gotten in the car, and Cindy was in the back seat with me… I looked down and noticed that the tape had twisted a bit, and I couldn’t see the end of it to start to pull it off… and…. my brain decided at that moment I couldn’t breathe because I couldn’t find the end of the tape..

“Cindy, I can’t breathe… can you help me get this tape off?” I ask a touch panicked.
“Okay, let me help you get that off” She replies, calmly, but maybe with a little laughter…knowing that I am claustrophobic.
“You need to get it off now..” I tell her, a little more panicked.
“I’m trying!” She says, a little less calm, but with a little more laughter added.
“Does anybody have scissors?” I cry out in complete panic mode.

Karen starts rummaging through her bag, because she’s quite certain she has scissors in there. Cindy is fumbling with the tape… and they’re all laughing, and I mean, laughing hard. A girl couldn’t ask for more empathetic friends… Karen finds the scissors, and Cindy cuts the tape from my knee, freeing my lungs of their imaginary burden…

Crisis averted.
And we all laughed.

blackberry cocktail 2And then there was the time many years ago, when I was working as the secretary at the local newspaper in Lockport. I should begin by saying that the editor at the time was a very grumpy man. Most of us did everything we could to avoid him. Well, at least I did everything to avoid him.

So, once in a while, my mom would stop with some piece of clothing or jewelry for me that she had just picked up while shopping… and this particular day, it was the cutest little dress. She dropped it off, and said to try it on during lunch, and then I could return it after work for a different size or different dress if I didn’t like it. It was a pullover, which was good, because there were no buttons or zipper to worry about.

I went into the ladies room to try the dress on. After I put it on, I realized that it was a little snug, but decided that I really loved the dress, and would stop after work to get the next size up. I went to pull the dress off over my head…

And it got stuck.
Of course it did.

It was stuck just at the shoulders, my arms high above my head, the dress covering my face. I did everything I could to get that dress over my head, but it was stuck tight.

I stood there for what felt like 15 minutes, in my bra and panties…and a dress covering my head, my arms stuck…waiting for someone to come walking into the ladies room to help me get the dress off… but I’m certain it was more like a milli-second…because panic had set in (there is no concept of time in panic mode).

At that point, there was only one thing that made sense to me (panic mode isn’t always sensible)… and that was to LEAVE the ladies room and get the first person to help me get the dress off of me. At that point, my brain imagined that I couldn’t breathe.

Yep.
I did.
I left the ladies room with the dress up around my shoulders and face, and my arms flailing over my head.

I mean…could there be anything worse that might happen?
Of course there could.

I ran smack dab into the editor.

Of course I did.
I hit him head-on…that grumpy editor.

At that point, I didn’t care who it was…and in my panic, I asked him to help me get the dress off, that it was stuck and I couldn’t breathe.

Of course he did.
He helped me remove the dress, freeing my lungs of their imaginary burden.
And I was mortified for the rest of that day.
And he wasn’t grumpy for the rest of that day.

But… it was another crisis averted.
I avoided him all I could after that incident.
He smiled whenever he saw me after that incident.

blackberry cocktail 4Now don’t misunderstand…I’m not always in panic mode, and that was the only time it was clothing influenced. Okay, that’s not entirely true…there was the time that involved a dress, a zipper, a seatbelt, and a funeral home…but that’s a story for another day…. Usually it’s necklaces, bracelets, and rings that give me trouble, and they’re very easy to remove. It’s rare that I go into a panic attack…but needless to say, that there are times like that when I like to wind down with a little drinkie-poo. I’m not a heavy drinker…a lightweight, they call me….

I tend to like sweet cocktails…and usually something fruity…
This beautiful and delicious Blackberry Fence Hopper is exactly the kind of cocktail that I like..
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A couple of weeks ago, Katie and Ryan were at the cabin, and he was telling me about this great book that Katie brought home for him from Boston, called: “Shake (A new perspective on cocktails)” by Eric Prum and Josh Williams…and he talked me into buying it.  Well… he offered to let me borrow his copy for a little while… but I was too excited to wait so I bought it online right then and there….I’m glad he thought to tell me about it…. What a great book. Seriously.

ShakeAt first I bought the Kindle version on Amazon.  I had it sent to my phone… you know…for something to read while I was at the cabin. I didn’t put it down until I had read the whole book. It’s such a great read, that I had to order the hard copy for myself… It’s filled with some really great cocktail recipes, and they outline the essentials of a well stocked bar….and now I’m slowly stocking up on everything.

Starting with vodka…

This cocktail is right up my alley. The fresh blackberries and honey work together to create the perfect amount of that blackberry sweetness, while the lemon adds just the right amount of tart. It’s truly a delicious drink…one that I know I’ll continue to enjoy for a long time to come.

…And…. they believe that “cocktails can and should be fun, for all occasions”. Even a dress removing. Well, okay…. they didn’t come out and say a dress removing in the book…but I’m sure that they’d agree that it’s funny….and totally deserving of a cocktail!

Life is good. It’s a “You just can’t make this stuff up” kind of good…

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The Blackberry Fence Hopper
From the cocktail book “Shake” by Eric Prum and Josh Williams
Check out their website: The Mason Shaker

Makes 2 Drinks

2 shots vodka
1 shot fresh lemon juice
1 shot wildflower honey
8 fresh blackberries (plus 4 for garnish)
2 slices of lemon (for garnish)
Seltzer

i. Add the lemon juice, honey, and blackberries to the shaker.

ii. Muddle the ingredients in the bottom of the shaker until thoroughly crushed.

iii. Add the vodka and ice to above the level of the liquid and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.

iv. Strain the mixture into tumblers containing large cubes of ice, top with seltzer, and garnish with remaining blackberries and lemon slices.

Enjoy!
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