Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cheddar Bacon Waffles

Hi ya'll! If you have not yet noticed, I'm a big fan of cheese. And if you give me Tillamook Cheese, that's oh so much better! Tillamook cheese is made up in Tillamook Oregon. Tillamook is a small town along the coast in northern Oregon. They have been  making some great cheese for over 100 years! Oh and their Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream is to die for! As is all the other Ice Cream flavors they have. When I first moved away from Oregon, 10 years ago, I was no longer able to have my favorite ice cream or cheese.. A few years ago when we moved to Texas I noticed one of the stores carried the tiny (8 oz) loaf of cheese 1 kind of sliced cheese and shredded cheese. It was enough to make me happy, but I wanted more! We just moved again, to another town in Texas, and the store here has the BIG loaf of cheese! A whole 2 lbs of my favorite cheese! Plus there are 3 kinds to choose from, along with the 2 kinds of sliced and shredded! I'm in Tillamook heaven! Now, if I can only get my yummy ice cream, oh and some of their awesome yogurt too, I could die happy!

I got this recipe off of the Tillamook website. They have some awesome recipes and just did a review contest. They wanted you to make a recipe and then review it on their website. I did the Cheddar Bacon Waffles. Guess who won? Yup that's right! I was pick along with 9 other winners! I'm so excited! The prize? Free cheese of course!

Now on to the yummy part of this post...

Cheddar Bacon Waffles

2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1½ cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup  Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
8 pieces cooked bacon
Serve with  butter and maple syrup

Before making the batter you wanna have you bacon cooked and crumbled, and have your cheese shredded and ready to go. If you are unable to use Tillamook Cheese, any cheddar cheese will work!

While waffle iron is heating, make the batter. Whisk together the eggs, milk, and oil in a large bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar until batter is smooth. Stir in shredded cheese. When waffle iron is hot, pour in enough batter to fill (amount varies by iron), then sprinkle crumbled bacon across batter before closing iron. Cook according to your iron’s instructions.

Serve immediately with butter and maple syrup on the side. I served mine with shredded cheese sprinkled on top along with some left over bacon crumbs.. It didn't really need the butter or syrup, but you can serve yours however you want!

Eat and Enjoy!

Tillamook Cheese did a loaf tour not too long ago where they came to Texas and a few other states. One of the towns they came to was mine! I was so excited. I had just gotten back from a trip to Oregon where my mom took me to the Tillamook factory. They let you see where the cheese is made and have free samples. They also have a store, ice cream shop and a grill. And of course a souvenir shop. I got a T-shirt while I was there and when I found out the cheese tour was going to be in my town, I threw my Tillamook shirt on and went and said hi!

Because I wore my awesome Tillamook shirt they took my picture by the mini loaf bus and put it on thier Facebook page! I also was given a mini loaf bus toy, 2 pins, and an awesome pen!

 Okay, I'm done talking about cheese.. for now..

I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it as much as we did!

What's your favorite hometown item?


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake

Hi ya'll! This is a fun easy dish that will beat those winter blues and make you feel like its summertime! This has been a busy week for me (interview and meetings abound!), so forgive me if I don't stay and chat.. Its a recipe hit and run! ha ha I'm so funny.. okay not really.. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Strawberry Shortcake:

Prep: 30 min Bake: 12 min
Oven: 400 degrees Makes: 8 shortcakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup dairy sour cream
2 tablespoons milk
5 cups strawberries
3 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet; set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a small bowl, combine egg, sour cream, and milk.
Add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork just until moistened.

Drop dough into eight mounds onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool.

Meanwhile, combine 4 cups of the strawberries and the 3 tablespoons of sugar. Using a potato masher, mash berries slightly; set aside. To serve, split shortcakes in half; fill with strawberry mixture and whipped cream. Top with remaining sliced strawberries.

Eat and Enjoy!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Books, Books, and More Books!

Hi ya'll! Today I thought I would shake things up a bit.. Today I'm going to talk books! I have had a love for reading for as long as I can remember.. I remember on my 4th birthday I got a tape player and some of those kid books on tape that came with the books you can follow along with. Anyone remember those? That was way back in 1980 something.. Anyways, back in first grade I won a reading award for most books read that year. Since then I devour any book in front of me. I have no preference. I like any and all books. I do go through phases though, where I will only read a certain kind of book for awhile before switching to some other genre. Right now I'm in a Paranormal Romance phase, with a light Young Adult phase mixed in..

Now, my point with this switch up today is not to review books, but to just talk books. I'm not much good at giving reviews, but I can share with ya'll what books I'm reading, whats in my TBR pile, and if I liked the book or not.

I just got done reading the latest installment in the YA Blue Bloods series, Bloody Valentine, by Melissa De La Cruz.

I have really enjoyed this series and cannot wait for the next book to come out in October. I also recently got in to a new Paranormal Romance author, Keri Arthur. I found one of her books at a used bookstore and could not put it down. Of course it was part of a series so I had to go out right away and find more of her books!

These are the first 2 in her Riley Jenson series. I am halfway into this series and am at a standstill due to not being able to find the next few books in the series.. I have confidence that I will find them though! I have also read her Ripple Creek Werewolf series. I absolutely love all of the books I have read by her!

Now for my TBR (to be read) pile...

This is not a recent photo.. I've read most of the Keri Arthur books in this photo.. I have a few Nora Roberts in there, Kelley Armstrong's adult books, along with my library books which include 2 of the Blue Bloods books, Kisses from Hell which a collection of short stories from, Kristen Cast, Alyson Noel, Kelly Armstrong, Richelle Mead, and Francesca Lia Block and last but not least, Shadowspell by Jenna Black.

What I'm reading now is:

What's in your TBR pile?


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bacon-wrapped Chicken legs stuffed with Pork and Pistachios

This is one of our favorite dishes to create. The chicken, sausage and bacon make such a great combination! We found this recipe watching Gordon Ramsays The F Word. This meal looks fancy and is sure to impress! We made for my mom last year when she came to visit and she just loved it. We paired it with some roasted red potatoes, but any side dish would work.

Bacon-wrapped Chicken Legs stuffed with Pork and Pistachios

6 boned-out chicken legs or thighs
Sea salt and pepper
Approximately 24 strips bacon
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp marsala
Ladleful of brown chicken stock

Stuffing:350g good-quality pork sausage meat
Handful of skinned pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
1 egg yolk
4 thyme sprigs, leaves stripped and chopped
Handful flat parsley, chopped

To make the stuffing mix the sausage meat with the pistachio nuts, egg yolk, thyme and parsley. Season well with salt and pepper.
Open out the chicken legs or thighs, season with pepper and divide the stuffing between them. Roll up to enclose. Lay about 4 bacon strips on a board, overlapping them slightly. Put one stuffed chicken portion on top and wrap the bacon around to cover completely. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.

Cut 6 very large pieces of foil. Wrap each chicken parcel tightly in foil, twisting the ends to seas. Roll back and forth to even the shape.

Poach the chicken parcels, two or three at a time, in a large pan of boiling water for 25 -30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked. Allow to cool in the foil, refrigerate for 30 minutes - this helps the bacon to 'set' around the chicken, and then remove the foil. Pat dry to remove any excess moisture.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and carefully sauté the chicken parcels until the bacon is brown and crisp on all sides. Transfer to a warm platter and rest in a warm place.

Deglaze the pan with the sherry vinegar, then add the Marsala and stock. Let bubble to reduce by half, then skim off excess fat and check the seasoning.

Cut the chicken into thick slices. Pour over the jus and serve immediately.
Eat and Enjoy!

What's your favorite thing to cook?


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Peanut Butter Bark

Hi ya'll I just love chocolate and peanut butter together.. This is an easy recipes to make. Its perfect to bag up and hand out for holidays or just because!

Peanut Butter Bark
2 4 oz packages of dark chocolate backing bars, broken into pieces
1 2/3 cups ( 10 0z package) Peanut butter chips
1 tablespoon shortening (do not use butter, margarine, spread or oil)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts or toasted almonds ( I used pecans)*.

*To toast nuts, heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts in thin layer on a cookie sheet, bake 8-10 min; Cool.

Cover tray with wax paper. I used a rectangular metal cake pan lined with wax paper.

Place chocolate in medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute; stir If necessary cook for an additional 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chocolate is melted and smooth when stirred.

Immediately place peanut butter chips and shortening in second microwave safe bowl. Heat for one minute in microwave; stir. If necessary cook an additional 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred; stir in nuts.

Alternately spoon above mixtures onto prepared tray; swirl with knife for marble effect. Cover; refrigerate until firm. Break into pieces.

Eat and Enjoy!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Hi ya'll! I got this awesome recipe from Liz at Blog is the new Black. These turned out very well and oh so yummy! I planned on wrapping some of these up for Valentines day, but between me and the hubs, we kinda ate most of them..

Peanut Butter Cups

1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter, divided
4 1/2 teaspoons butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
 1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips 
4 Milk Chocolate Candy Bars (1.55 ounces each), coarsely chopped.

Fill mini muffin tins with mini paper liners.
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar and salt until smooth, set aside.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips, candy bars and remaining peanut butter, stir until smooth. ( If you don't have a microwave, like us, then you can just use the stove to melt it all.) 
Drop a teaspoonful of chocolate mixture into paper liners. Top each with a scant teaspoonful of peanut butter mixture.
Top each with chocolate mixture to cover. Refrigerate until set.

Eay and enjoy!

What's your favorite kind of chocolate?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tortilla Wrap with Tabbouleh and Guacamole

Hi y'all!  Part of the hubs and mine culinary road trip is to try new things. We recently bought a vegetarian cook book, and have been experimenting with recipes from it. The recipe I'm sharing with you today is called Tortilla wrap with tabbouleh and guacamole which is a Middle Eastern salad. My husband likes to half follow a recipe and half make it up on his own. I have eaten some pretty good things over the years because of him doing that... The downfall of him doing that though, is he can never remember what he did, so the next time we make that dish its completely different..

The first time we made this dish he followed the recipe only changing one or two things, but today when he made it he changed it a lot. Mostly to fit what ingredients we had.. But I think it tasted better this time!

Tortilla Wrap with Tabbouleh and Guacamole

1 cup bulgur wheat
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
1/2 cucumber, diced
 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 large lemon
salt and freshly ground pepper

1 ripe avocado, stoned, peeled and diced
juice of half a lemon
1/2 red chilli, seeded and sliced
1 garlic clove
1/2 red pepper, seeded and finely diced

Put the bulgur wheat into a large heat proof bowl and pour enough boiling water to cover the grains. Let sit for 30 minutes until the grains are tender but still have a little resistance to the bite. Drain thoroughly in a sieve, then tip back into the bowl.

Add the mint, parsley, spring onion and cucumber* to the bulgur wheat and mix thoroughly. Blend together the olive oil and lemon juice and pour over the tabbouleh, add enough salt and pepper to your liking, toss well. Let it chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.

For the guacamole, place the avocado in a bowl, add the lemon juice chili, and garlic. Season to taste and mash with a fork for a smooth puree. Stir in the red pepper.*

Serve in a warm tortilla, either flat or rolled up. We rolled ours up like a burrito, works pretty good..

Eat and enjoy!!

*Chef's note: along with the cucumber we added celery, carrots, and extra garlic. With the guacamole, we left out the red chilli and red peppers, but added green olives that were stuffed with garlic and jalapenos.

What are you cooking for dinner tonight?


Monday, February 14, 2011

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting

Hi ya'll! Happy Valentines day! For this special day I made some yummy cupcakes for the hubs. I usually make these cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting, but thought I would mix it up a bit with some coconut! They turned out really good.  

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

4 eggs, beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups finely shredded carrot* (lightly packed)
3/4 cup cooking oil

Allow eggs to stand at room temp for 30 min. Meanwhile prepare muffin pans with liners. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In large mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda; set aside.

In another bowl combine eggs, carrot, and oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir until combined. Pour batter into the prepare pans.
Bake for 15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack. Once cooled frost with the coconut cream frosting, top with toasted pecans and flakes of coconut.

I don't  have one of those fancy frosting bags, so I used a Ziploc bag and cut out one of the corners and it works just as good!

*Note: The carrots should be finely shredded or they may sink to the bottom of the cake.

Coconut Cream Frosting

1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 teaspoon coconut extract
2 cups powder sugar

Mix all ingredients well. 

Eat and enjoy!

What are your plans for Valentine's day?


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pretzels and Mini Corn Dogs

 Hi y'all! Today I'm going to share with you our recipes for pretzels and mini corn dogs. Once again I apologize about my lack of step by step pictures.. I have them for the pretzels, but not the mini corn dogs.. Sorry y'all. Your just gonna have to use that imagination of yours!

2 tablespoons yeast
2 cups warm water
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 eggs, beaten
 Kosher salt, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water. Add the flour, salt, sugar, honey, and eggs. Mix thoroughly for about 10 minutes. Let the dough rise about 10 to 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4-ounce portions and shape into pretzels. Place on a greased cookie sheet and let rise for 1 hour. Brush with Honey Butter Mix and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 20 minutes.

Honey Butter Mix
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup honey
In a small bowl combine melted butter and honey

Eat and enjoy!

Mini Corn Dogs

Vegetable oil, for frying
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 (16-ounce) package beef hot dogs, each cut crosswise into 3 pieces
1 1/2 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Special Equipment: 40 (6-inch) wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
In a large Dutch oven* ,pour the vegetable oil to a depth of 4 inches. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F.
Place the cornstarch in a small bowl. Place 1 hot dog piece on the end of each skewer. Dredge the hot dogs in cornstarch, gently tapping off the excess.

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal mix, flour, and sugar. Add the buttermilk, whisking until smooth.
Holding the ends of the skewers, dip the hot dogs into the cornmeal batter to completely cover the hot dog. Holding the ends of the skewers, carefully place the battered hot dogs into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Repeat procedure with remaining skewered hot dogs and cornmeal batter.

Eat and enjoy!

* Chef's note: If you do not have a dutch oven, no worries! Just use a small saucepan filled about half way with oil (you want enough in there to cover the corn dogs..). That's how we did it!


Friday, February 11, 2011

All About Us..

Hi y'all! Today is going to be about introducing you to my little family. My husband and I have been married for almost 3 years and have known each other for just over 4 years. We met in Arkansas (neither of us is from there..) and moved to Texas just over 2 years ago.
My husband, who is commonly referred to as "The Hubs", is currently going to school full time at the local University. He plans on getting a degree in Physics. That's right, I married me a smart one! He also has grand ideas of taking some cooking classes at the community college over the summer.. He loves cooking and almost went to school to be a chef, but the school he wanted to go to did not work with the VA scholarship.

As for me, right now I am a stay at home wife, selling Avon and looking for a part time job. My passion is baking and reading. I love me a good Romance or YA novel! I also have grand plans of taking some college courses over the summer.. We'll see how that goes! We have two  pain in the butt adorable kitties..

Rocky is on the left and that's Ford on the right. Ford is about 3 and Rocky is almost 2. Rocky worships his big brother and follows him everywhere, along with doing whatever he does.. They are too cute together! Ford is such a momma hen to Rocky. We got Rocky when he was about 5 weeks old.. He was way too young to be away from his mother, but Ford stepped in and would cuddle with him and bath him..

Well folks, that's pretty much what our lives look like.. Kitties, school and lots of cooking! Have anything you want to know about us? Don't be afraid to ask!! Have a book recommendation? I would love to hear it! I love finding new books or authors to read.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

Hi y'all! So on Super Bowl Sunday we made some yummy cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I have some step by step pictures.. I am very bad about remembering to take step by step pictures whenever I cook, but lucky for you I remembered this time!! This cinnamon rolls are so scrumptious y'all! We made a cream cheese icing that is just to die for! But I guess you will have to bake these and see for yourself..

Cinnamon Rolls

4-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine 2 cups of flour and the yeast; set aside. In a small sauce pan heat and stir the milk, sugar, 1/3 cup butter and salt until warm and butter is almost melted; add flour mixture along with eggs. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds, be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. Bea on high for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining 2 to 2 1/2 cups of flour as you can.

Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth. Shape dough into a ball. Place dough into a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease all sides of dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about an hour.

Punch dough down. turn out onto floured surface. Divide in half. cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
 Lightly grease 2 8x8x2 or 9x9x2 inch baking pans; set aside.
For filling, stir together brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and cinnamon; using a pastry blender, cut in 1/3 cup butter until mixture resembles crumbs. Add raisins and pecans.

Roll each dough half into a 12x8 inch rectangle. Sprinkle filling over dough, leaving 1 inch unfilled along one of the long sides.

Roll up each rectangle, starting from the filled long side. Pinch dough to seal seams. You can brush some melted butter along the seems to help them stay closed. Slice each roll into 12 equal pieces. Arrange in prepared pans and cover. Let rise until doubled in size, about 30 min.

Bake for about 20-25 min. Cool about 5 min then remove from pans. Spread cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Icing

Beat 1 3 ounce package of softened cream cheese wit 2 tablespoons softened butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Gradually beat in 2 cups powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in 2 1/2  teaspoons of milk, one teaspoon at a time. If you wish for your icing to be a bit thinner keep adding milk 1 teaspoon at a time till your desired consistency

Eat and enjoy!

Whats your favorite thing to make for breakfast?