Archive for November, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Good morning to y’all!  I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday weekend.  We sure did.  C & I celebrated with family every night this weekend and we even had time to do some Christmas decorating and online shopping as well.  I spent my Black Friday shopping the easy way…in my comfy clothes in front of my computer monitor eating leftovers for breakfast.  Aahhh, no fighting crowds or getting up before the crack of dawn for me.

This week we will have a bit of traveling to do so my list is a little short, but I still found room for a couple of new recipes that I plan on trying. 

Hamburger Stew

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Peanut Butter Syrup (2 new recipes)

Grilled pork chops with oven baked fries

Sloppy Joes with oven baked fries

I need to update my oven baked fries recipe for you all.  I have tweaked it a little since I posted it with the steak sandwiches.  In fact, I updated the sandwich recipe, too. 

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I still seem to be in the throes of cooking with apples so bear with me for one more week.  This recipe is from the same issue of Southern Living magazine as the Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake from last week, so it’s not my fault.  The recipes in that issue were just too good to pass up!  Here is the link to the original recipe on the MyRecipes website.

The only thing I changed was the type of apple used.  I used Jonathan because that is what I had and the recipe called for Granny Smith.  The Jonathans worked great and retained their crunchiness just as well.

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 cup butter, melted

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3 cups peeled and diced apples


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 13×9” baking dish. Stir together the brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla.


Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt.  I just put a fine strainer right over the bowl with the butter mixture and sifted all of my dry ingredients directly in.


Stir in the apples and pecans.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer.


Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely (1 hour or more) before cutting into bars.


Please join me and other great cooks over at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage for Full Plate Thursday.  I am so honored to have been spotlighted this week for the apple cream cheese bundt cake.  Thanks, Miz Helen!

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Happy Thanksgiving!


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Almost Wordless Wednesday

Down by the river…





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Menu Plan Monday

Happy Thanksgiving week to all of my readers!  It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is actually here and Christmas is only about a month away.  I need to get in gear with my Christmas shopping so I can get done and enjoy December and all of the holiday happenings around here. C & I do most of our shopping online since, to me, it is a whole lot more fun to shop from my home in my comfy clothes instead of fighting the crowds.  That’s just me though.  If you enjoy getting out there, have a great time!

Besides Thanksgiving cooking, I am keeping this week’s menu pretty simple.  For the holiday, I am cooking the meat and a dessert for C’s family lunch.  For my side’s supper, I am experimenting a little bit.  Happy Turkey Day!!!


Deep Dish Pizza Casserole


Pizza Night

Beef Vegetable Soup

Pumpkin Cookies w/Brown Sugar Glaze (new recipe for the International Food Blogger Cookie Exchange)

Thanksgiving Cooking:

Italian Cream Cake

Sweet Potato Casserole

Butter Roasted Potatoes

Crock Pot Maple Ham (new)

Cranberry Mandarin Sauce (new)

Corn Bread Dressing (new)

Thanksgiving Leftovers Yay!

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Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

A little while ago, I paid a visit to Jackson’s Orchard and purchased a peck of Jonathan apples so I had to find new apple recipes to try.  This recipe was published in Southern Living a few months ago and I knew it would be a perfect test for fresh apples.  This cake turned out great!  The apples and cream cheese swirl kept the cake moist for days and the caramel topping was so good.

In fact, this is one of those cakes that is better a day or two after it is baked.  It just gets moister and more flavorful.  Do you have a fall potluck or party to go to?  Take this and everyone will be in apple heaven!

Note: I am not including quite as many photos as usual since this recipe is quite long already.  All of the methods used are pretty basic.

For the Cream Cheese Filling:

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Apple Cake Batter:

1 cup finely chopped pecans, lightly toasted

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground allspice

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup canola oil

3/4 cup applesauce

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 cups peeled and finely chopped apples (The original recipe called for Galas, but I used Jonathans.)

For the Praline Frosting:

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup butter

3 tbsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup powdered sugar

Prepare the Filling:

Beat the cream cheese, butter, and granulated sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended and smooth.  Add the egg, flour and vanilla.  Beat just until blended.

Prepare the Batter:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 14-cup Bundt pan with non-stick spray and cover with flour. (Or do like I do and use Baker’s Joy.)  Stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and allspice.  Then add the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla; stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Stir in the apples and pecans.

Spoon 2/3 of the apple batter into the prepared pan.  Spoon the cream cheese filling over the batter, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge of the pan.  Swirl the filling through the apple batter using a knife.  Spoon the remaining batter over the filling.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center come out clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn out on a cooling rack and let the cake cool down completely.

Prepare the Frosting:

Bring the brown sugar, butter, and milk to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.  Boil for 1 minute while still whisking constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Gradually whisk in the powdered sugar until smooth; stir gently for 3-5 minutes or until the frosting begins to cool and thickens slightly.  Pour immediately over the cooled cake.






Join me over at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage for Full Plate Thursday to see some yummy treats!

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Book Beginnings

Every Friday over at A Few More Pages, several blog writers link up to their post about a book they are reading now or have read before.  The writers submit the first few lines of the book and then give their impression of them and the rest of the book if they are finished reading it.  Reading these posts will give you an unique point of view and also shed a little light on books you might not have heard of before.

My post today is about “Child Of The Mountain” by Marjorie E. Default.  I found this book while browsing my local library and was first intrigued by the title itself.  The author was new to me, but I am glad that I gave it a chance.  It lists as a mystery, and it is, but it also has also a little romance and small town life mixed in as well.  “Child Of The Mountain” is an entertaining and fairly quick read.  Here is the first line:

“If it was possible to be a cynic at the age of six, then Carl Bartnik was a six-year-old cynic.”

When I read the description on the book cover and then read the first line, they really didn’t match up at all, but I thought the first line was interesting enough to keep going.  Carl ends up being an important person in the book even though he isn’t a main character at all. 

If you are looking for a new author to read, try Ms. Default’s book.  I hope you enjoy it!

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Menu Plan Monday

Monday has rolled around again so it is time for another menu plan.  This week’s list may be a little short because I need to go to the grocery one night to purchase my Thanksgiving ingredients for next week.  Wow, did I just say that Thanksgiving is next week?  Yes. Yes, I did.  That means Christmas is right around the corner.  Yikes!  I need to get busy!

There was a little change to last week’s menu.  I had planned on making the A1 Swiss Steak, but when I stopped at my local grocery store, they had a small pork loin at a very reasonable price so that became Sunday dinner instead.  The A1 Swiss Steak is back on the list for this week.

Bubble Up Pizza

Cheesy Steak Sandwiches with Oven Fries

Pizza Night

Seafood Night

Grocery Night

A1 Swiss Steak with Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes (both new)

Fauxreos (new)

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Ina Garten’s Corn Muffins

When my co-worker, A, had a baby a little while ago, I took her family food one night.  Before she went on maternity leave, I asked her what she would like and she said some kind of soup or stew.  Hamburger stew it was!  That was easy enough. 

The night I made the stew, I decided that it needed something to go with it so I went searching for a corn muffin recipe and found this one on Foodnetwork.com.  These are really good and last for a couple of days without becoming stale, but here is a little word to the wise…the recipe says it makes 12 muffins.  It really makes 22 BIG muffins!  Next time, I will cut the recipe in half.  I should have realized that there was too many ingredients for just 12 muffins.

3 cups all purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tbsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups milk

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 eggs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, combine the milk, butter, and eggs.  With the mixer on the lowest speed, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until they are just blended.


Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one about 3/4 full.  Bake for 30 minutes until the tops are crisp and a toothpick comes out clean.



Please join me at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage for Full Plate Thursday for this and other blogger’s delicious recipes!

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Today’s thoughts are a continuation of the last post about C & my weekend trip to Nashville.  Let’s see…we covered our reason for going (to see the awesome Broadway show, Wicked) and we covered the local restaurant we tried and LOVED, 417 Union.  Today, I wanted to show you some of the local “flavor” of Nash-vegas, the nightlife!

On our way to the show, we drove down Broadway in search of dinner.  We had allowed ourselves 2 hours to eat before showtime, but it wasn’t enough.  I guess I just wasn’t thinking clearly…downtown Nashville + beautiful autumn Saturday night = HUGE CROWDS!  The restaurant we had planned on going to called The Big River Grille had lines down the street and most of the other eateries had the same kind of crowds.  We ended up grabbing a snack at TPAC’s café before the show instead.  It was a giant brownie and a bottle of water.  It was good and I am glad of it since that was our dinner.  The photos below show some of the early evening scenes on Broadway.




When Wicked was over, we made our way back to Broadway heading to our hotel.  It was around 11:00pm and it was a different scene then.  The nightlife crowd was out and about and people were cruising the streets looking for fun or, like us, cruising the streets just to see what we could see!





The next morning we made our way to the Opryland Hotel.  Now, if you have never been there and you are ever in Nashville, it is a must-see!  C & I stayed there on our honeymoon with a garden view room which has a little balcony attached.  It was beautiful.  The hotel suffered major damage last year due to flooding and re-opened last Thanksgiving weekend.  I wanted to go see if there were a lot of changes.  There really wasn’t.  The builders just restored it back to its previous opulence, but most of the gardens still looked the same.  Still beautiful, and still well worth the time to go through them.






We really enjoyed our weekend and can’t wait to go back!

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