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Archive for May, 2011

Happy Memorial Day to everyone!  I hope the weather is being nice so we can all get out and enjoy the day.  C & I went to see the Bowling Green Hot Rods baseball team play Saturday night and enjoyed a fireworks show after the game.  If you have never been to a minor league baseball game and there is one near you, you really need to go!  Even if you are not a big baseball fan, there will be something fun to watch.  There are all kinds of fun, and most of the time funny, games going on between the innings for the fans to win prizes.  It really is a neat atmosphere and at $10 a person, a fairly cheap night out.

But that is not what you are looking for today, is it?  Nope, you want to know what we are eating this week, don’t you?  Well, here it is!!

Grilled hamburgers with oven baked fries

Sloppy Joes with oven baked fries

Taco Salads

Grilled tenderloin with butter roasted potatoes & salad

Pizza night

Basic meatloaf with butter roasted potatoes

Caramel Pecan Brownies (new)

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I have mentioned before that Alton Brown is my favorite Food Network personality.  He always makes the recipes interesting by explaining the history and science behind the ingredients and methods.  This recipe was on an episode a couple of months ago and it looked so rich and decadent.  I am not a big fan of boxed devil’s food cake mixes so I was a little hesitant, but I still had to give it a try and I was not disappointed!

The cake is rich and moist and the frosting is just light enough that it balances out the cake perfectly.  I do have one little note about this recipe.  Mr. Brown’s calls for Dutch processed cocoa which I did not have and couldn’t find in my local grocery stores so I substituted normal baking cocoa.  Since the pH is very different between the two, I added about 1/2 tsp of baking powder to even it out a little.  I have since ordered Dutch processed from Penzey’s Spices so I will be trying this again to see if it makes a difference.  Also, please remember that Mr. Brown does his measurements by weight, not volume, so break out that kitchen scale.  These are pretty long recipes, so I am going to list the complete recipes and then add the photos at the bottom.

For the Cake:

Nonstick spray
1 cup boiling water
4 ounces Dutch process cocoa
10 1/2 ounces dark brown sugar
5 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
4 ounces cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup vegetable oil
4 1/2 ounces sour cream, room temperature
2 large whole eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Spray a 13 by 9-inch metal pan with nonstick spray.

Whisk the boiling water and cocoa powder together in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the sugar, flours, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Whisk the oil, sour
cream, eggs, and egg yolks in a large pourable vessel. Add the oil mixture to the cocoa and water mixture and slowly whisk to combine.

With the mixer on low speed, add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture over 30 seconds. Continue to beat on low speed for another 30 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat on low speed until the batter is smooth, 10 to 15 seconds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake springs back when pressed and reaches an internal temperature of 205 degrees F, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for about 1 hour and then frost.DSC04629

 

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For the frosting:

5 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ounce mayonnaise
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
8 ounces powdered sugar
Pinch kosher salt

Beat the butter and mayonnaise in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on high, until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. With the mixer on low, slowly add the melted chocolate. Continue mixing on low speed until all of the chocolate is incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Turn off the mixer and add one-third of the sugar. Mix on low to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Repeat until all of the sugar has been incorporated. Add the salt and continue to beat until the frosting is smooth and lightens slightly in color, 2 to 3 minutes.

Use immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 hours or refrigerate for up to a week. Bring to room temperature before using chilled frosting.

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I am linking this recipe at Foodie Friday by Designs by Gollum and Sweet Tooth Friday by Alli-N-Son.

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For today’s Thoughtful Thursday post, I thought I would share a little tutorial on how I create the flower pots that decorate our home during the summer.  I love to garden and I come from a long line of flower lovers!  My nanny (maternal grandmother) has many flowers around her house and geraniums are one of her favorites.  It seems that she has passed that love down to me because I always use them in my pot designs. 

We have red metal chairs on our front porch so I usually do a red, white, and blue theme for the pots on that.  For the deck pots in the back of the house, I decided to go a bit bolder by using hot pink, purple and white.

This year I purchased Rocky Mountain Violet and Rocky Mountain Dark Red zonal geraniums as the base plants with the following as my fillers:  For impact in the back of the pots, I used spikes in all of the containers.  For the front porch, I also used Mealycup Sage (Salvia) in Sallyfun Blue; and for the back porch, I used Angelonia (Summer Snapdragon) Alonia White.  To fill in the sides, I used Diamond Frost in all of the pots.  I still needed something that would drape over the front so I chose Scaevola (Fan Flower) Bombay Dark Blue for the front and Calibrachoa Callie Dark Blue for the back.

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To make the pots easier to move around, I used a trick my mom taught me.  Fill the pots about halfway with pieces of Styrofoam and then add the potting soil.  It works like a charm every time!

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Now it is time to add the soil.  Fill up the pot to about 3 or 4 inches of the top and then “dry fit” the plants to your satisfaction.

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Once the flowers are placed where you want them, fill in around the root balls with potting soil and gently press everything together.  Place your pots in their location and water well.  I try to water these every day and fertilize at least once a week, if not twice.

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Good morning, folks, and welcome to this week’s edition of Menu Plan Monday!  Yay!!  My list is a little bit shorter than normal this week because of a few events this week.  Let’s see…C’s cousin is graduating from high school so we have class night and graduation and then we have tickets to a Bowling Green Hot Rods ballgame.

We will have lots of fun, but lots of running around means not as much cooking around here.  That’s okay.  Everyone needs a break now and then, and eating out is not the worst thing in the world!  Wink, wink!!

Cheesy steak sandwiches with oven baked fries

Peanut butter pancakes with bacon

Grilled pork chops & grilled butter potatoes

Pizza night

Grilled hamburgers (Sunday Memorial day cookout with my family)

Southern Plate’s Fruit Cocktail Cake (new)

Here is a little side note from last week:  I still did not make the 7-Up cake, because I had an urge for blondies instead.  The 7-Up cake will make its appearance in a few weeks.

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Citrus Slow Cooker Ham

I am embarrassed to say how many times I have made this since I started blogging and I never get all of the photos I need to publish it!  I didn’t get enough this time either, but it is high time this recipe was on here, photos or not.

The only picture I did not get was the final product, but again, this is good enough that it doesn’t need photos!  I make this just about every holiday and it is easy and delicious.  You can substitute different juices if you would like.  I have used orange or pineapple juices, and I believe apple juice would be good as well.  Hmm, in fact, apple juice does sound pretty good with ham.  I may have to try that next time.

1 pre-cooked ham 3-4 lbs (whatever will fit in your slow cooker)

1 20oz can crushed pineapple

1/2 gallon orange juice (or juice of your choice)

seasoning salt to taste

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Sprinkle the ham with the seasoning salt.  Place the ham in the slow cooker and spread the crushed pineapple (with juice) over the ham.  Pour the orange juice around the ham until it covers it completely if possible.  Bake on low for 6 to 7 hours.  That is it!  So easy and oh, so good!

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Spotlight

Please visit Eat At Home Cooks for today’s look at STRAWBERRIES!!!

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Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope the weekend was good to you and this week is even better.  C & I had a very busy, but very good weekend.  It was so busy, in fact, that my little menu plan for last week got turned on its head a little bit.  But not to worry…what didn’t get made last week will get made this week.  Can’t leave these recipes out, now can we?

We finally made it to the grocery on Friday night and I thought we were going to need two carts.  How embarrassing!  I had not been to the big grocery for four or six weeks and it really showed.  Saturday afternoon, I had a short class reunion meeting and Saturday night, we went to my nanny’s house.  Sunday morning was church services and Sunday night was a very special meal for C’s youngest first cousin.  He is graduating from high school in a couple of weeks, so the church threw a pizza party for him and C & I made a slideshow of his life to watch that night.

Here is this week’s plan.  Hopefully, I will be able to stick to a little better.

Grilled hot dogs & chips

Famous pork chops & butter roasted potatoes

Taco salads

Grilled t-bone steaks & grilled potatoes

Pizza night

Neighborhood restaurant

French dip sandwiches with oven baked fries

7-Up cake with sunshine salad

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