Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Hurricane That Hit On Valentine's

What was expected to be an afternoon of cards then dinner didn't exactly play out that way and this is the reason why.  My day began with waking up early to get the final prep work done for our special R-O-M-A-N-T-I-C Valentine meal, then onto the treadmill.  We all know the older you get the more you have to exercise or lets just say you should.  As many miles as I put on that machine everyday, it just goes to show I'm no spring chicken, nor do I want to be.  With my mileage put in, I needed to have a small bite to eat (remember the words a small bite to eat) to get me through until my evening meal.  Now typically I don't like to eat much throughout the day with dinner being my main meal, especially when it is to be followed with dessert that is loaded with calories. With that being said lets get to the reason we never played cards.  

Our guests arrived with this incredible cocktail for us to enjoy while we played cards, you know the cards that we never touched.  The cocktail was called a Hurricane.  I had never heard of or consumed a H-u-r-r-i-c-a-n-e.  This cocktail is a sweet alcoholic drink with rum, lots of rum.  It's so fruity you don't realize how much alcohol you are sipping until its to late.  Its even worse if you've only had a small bite to eat throughout the day as I had.  The alcohol goes straight to your head or as I was pre-warned, it would put you on your ass as it most certainly did.  

Makes: 3 pitchers
One Fifth (750ml) Bacardi Light Rum
One Fifth (750 ml) Bacardi Dark Rum
9 3/4 cups Orange Juice
9 3/4 cups Pineapple Juice
1 3/4 cups Grenadine

Mix it all up and serve over ice.

 The cards that didn't get played.

A little festive touch to our evening.

Greg-Karen (The Culprit who made the H-u-r-r-i-c-a-n-e)-Stone-Me

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Quadruple Berry and Dark Sweet Cherry Pie

Recently Stone and I met friends out for dinner at The Chop House here in Knoxville. Through out the years I have dined at The Chop House but have never ordered dessert.  This particular evening I decided to bring an end to my meal by consuming this heavenly sweet concoction called Caramel Cookie Crunch that consisted of a caramel crunch cookie freshly made in-house, ice cream, chocolate, caramel and white chocolate.  Everything, and I mean everything, about that dessert was just what I love.  I devoured this all by myself even though I share entrees with Stone. Desserts are all mine. This Caramel Cookie Crunch might be the best dessert I have ever eaten!

The following night we joined some other friends out for Mexican Food.  Seeing it was in another town, I invited Stone and I over to their house following our meal.  Hey, you can do that when they are good friends, plus I showed up with a pie and cards.  My initial thought was to make a Brownie Mint Pie, but I kept thinking about the Caramel Cookie Crunch that I had had the previous evening and I knew that I could not make anything that would compare.  It couldn't be anything that had chocolate in it.   It couldn't have any of the above ingredients and it had to be completely opposite.  I decided on a fruit pie.  So after much contemplation I came up with this Quadruple Berry and Dark Sweet Cherry Pie.  This pie is not only scrumptious, it is so quick and easy to make, using the bags of frozen fruit from Private Selection.  You do not thaw prior to assembling and baking the pie.  It's really, really yummy, plus its good for breakfast.  All that fruit, that makes it healthy doesn't it?

Quadruple Berry and Dark Sweet Cherry Pie

Serves: 8-10
1 (2) layer pie crust, homemade or store bought.
1 (16 ounce) package frozen Private Selection Cherry Berry Medley
1 (16 ounce) package frozen Private Selection Triple Berry Medley
2 cups granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
milk or cream for bushing top of pie
Wilton's White Sparkling Sugar, I love adding this to the tops of my pies's.  It adds a sweet crunch .

1.  Preheat oven to 425'.
2.  Roll out 1 layer of pie crust and fit into a deep pie dish.  
3.  In a large bowl place frozen Cherry Berry medley, Triple Berry Medley, granulated sugar, tapioca flour and lemon juice. Stir to coat fruit.
4.  Empty fruit mixture into pie shell.
5.  Roll out remaining pie dough and place on top of berry mixture.  Crimp edges of pie shell.
6.  Brush top of pie with milk or cream and sprinkle with Wilton's Sparkling Sugar.  Cut slits in crust so it can breath, trust me you want to do this!
7.  Bake in 425' oven on lowest rack for 20 minutes.
8.  Reduce temp to 400' and move pie up one rack and continue baking until golden brown about 1 hour.
9.  Needs to cool and set before serving.  Or if you do not mind it being runny, eat it warm.  Either way is REALLY YUMMY.  Serve with whip cream or ice cream or eat plain.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Our Christmas Holiday On Holden Beach

The following pictures sum up our annual Christmas trip to Holden Beach bringing the year to an end.  What can I say besides enjoy the view, we sure did.

The youngest daughter Lora Beth joined us this year, eager to get out and enjoy the 75' temps.

"Tinder" moments.
Stone's a lucky man.

Lora Beth and Stone sand dancing on the island.

Meet Chunky Monkey and Cuddle Bug, L.B.'s beach friends.

Enjoying a beer from (SweetWater) brewing company with Pop's

Nothing like being in a swimsuit in December.

Sunset, day one as Lora Beth makes her way back to our home for the week.

No more Christmas trees on the island, no problem.  Inspired by a story told recently by a friend from India, Lora Beth created our version of a Christmas tree made with beach findings and a little bling we brought from home.  We named him "Buster."

I ask Lora Beth recently why she doesn't paint anymore she said, "make-up is my art."

Smalls relaxing at the beach house claiming this room as his own.

When Lora Beth was a little girl she had no idea makeup would be so important to her.  

Hey it was at the house when we arrived!!!

Merry Christmas from Holden Beach.

Christmas Dinner heading to the boiling pot.

Lora Beth's sandart.

Lucy snuggling with Lora Beth.

Lucy found her warm place.

 Not all beauty routines are pretty.

Yes Lucy joined us during dinner!!!  Our beach house had a high chair, Lucy thought it was for her.

Its always a good time for chocolate.

Lora Beth, mermaid for a day.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

November Come And Gone

I can believe it's almost 2017.  We just had Thanksgiving didn't we?  And the day before that we celebrated L.B.'s 29th birthday.  Twenty-nine, how did she grow up so fast?   Her request was for Little Joe's Pizza and my homemade Banana Pudding.  Talk about yummy.  I hadn't had pizza in a long time and their bread sticks, lets just say I ate more than my fair share.  It was a good thing we did the Hot To Trot 5k on Thanksgiving to work off some of those calories before we indulged in our Thanksgiving feast.

L.B.'s birthday celebration with the family.

And Thanksgiving, the smell of the turkey smoking on the green egg.  Usually we fry our bird, but this year we decided to try something different.  It was so good.  

Look at that beautiful bird!!!

The Family

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Seems like it's been awhile since I've been in the kitchen.  With different events Stone and I attended and some travel I went two weeks and didn't prepare anything.   Unless we have been on Holiday as our Assie friends call it, I've never gone that long without cooking.   
With friends coming to dinner after UT's win over Kentucky it was time to get back in the swing of things.  Of course I would think of dessert first seeing to me it is the most important part of the meal.   I thought I would bake Paula Deen's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.   I remember growing up my mama would make Pineapple Upside-Down Cake in a skillet and as with everything she makes it was yummy.  Paula Deen of course took it up a notch.  Her sweet treat is two layers verses the normal one, plus it has frosting around the sides with pecans.  So the question is, which one do I prefer my mama's or  Paula Deen's.  Sorry Paula my mama wins this one.  Although this was very good, my mama's simple cake baked in a skillet is the best.  One layer is sufficient, but I must say I loved the addition of the frosting with the toasted nuts.  It was some kind of good.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Servings: 8

Cake Ingredients:
3 cups cake flour, plus more for pan
1 cup butter softened
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups whole buttermilk
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup melted butter
2 (20 ounce) cans pineapple slices in juice, drained well (reserve 2 Tablespoons juice for frosting) 
1 (10 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained well.

Frosting Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 Tablespoons reserved pineapple juice
Chopped pecans toasted for garnish (optional)

Cake Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 350'.  Spray 2 (9") round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and coat with flour.  In a large bowl, beat 1 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add the sugar, beating until fluffy.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in the vanilla and set aside.  In a small bowl, add the 3 cups of flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir to combine.  Add the flour mixture into the egg mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Divide the brown sugar evenly into each pan.  Pour the 1/2 cup melted butter equally over the brown sugar.  Arrange the pineapple slices and cherries over the brown sugar.  Reserve remaining pineapple slices and cherries for another use.  Pour equal amounts of batter over the fruit and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes.  Invert the cakes onto wire racks to cool completely.  To assemble the cake, carefully arrange 1 cake layer, pineapple side up, over the first  layer.  Frost the sides of the cake with Pineapple Buttercream Frosting.  Recipe adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/pineapple-upside-down-cake-recipe.html

Frosting Preparation:
Beat 1/2 cup softened butter, reserved 2 Tablespoons pineapple juice and 3 1/2 cups confection's sugar.  Frost side of cake.  Garnish with pecans, optional.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sexy Surf and Turf: Seared Scallops and Tenderloin Steaks with Manhattan Sauce

It's the season when the leaves begin to turn and the temps cool down.  I've already had the fireplace going once to get the chill from the house.  Stone gave me that look.  You ladies know the one, when they think you are crazy.  Well, let me tell you Lucy and I were very thankful for the warmth of the fire.  

Fall is the time of year when on October 11th we also celebrate Stone's birthday, this year being the  one.  Y'all know the one I'm talking about.  The big 65!  Medicare and senior citizen discounts at the movie theater although we rarely go.  Oh wait, on Wednesdays its senior citizen day at the grocery.  Maybe Stone will start doing the shopping.   Actually that might be kind of scary.  The shopping cart would be full of peanut butter, crackers, grapes, cheese and diet coke.  Although that wouldn't be to bad, I could probably live on that if you throw in some chocolate.

Anyway, back to Stone's birthday, the only cake he ever wants for his birthday is Betty Crocker Chocolate Cake with a tub of Betty Crocker Chocolate Frosting.  It's the ONLY time I make it!  I've made it with fruit piled on top and one year I had mini chocolate chips sprinkled on the frosting.  He doesn't want anything on it.  Just plain ole box cake with a tub of frosting.  Not for sure what the appeal is other than that's what his mama would make for him.  I get that, my son is the same way.  He wants the same dessert every year on his birthday, Heart Attack Chocolate Cake, a recipe given to me by my friend Karen who along with her husband Greg joined us in celebrating Stone's birthday.

Like the Heart Attack Chocolate Cake, Karen also gave me this recipe for seared scallops and tenderloin steaks with manhattan sauce.  Apparently she has been making it for years on their Anniversary.  Must bring good luck seeing they just celebrated their 44th anniversary.  So for this years celebration Karen and I made Stone the Sexy Surf and Turf.

Sexy Surf and Turf: Seared Scallops and Tenderloin Steaks with Manhattan Sauce
Serves: 4

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, plus 1 turn of the pan
4 (1" thick) tenderloin steaks
8 large diver sea scallops, trimmed of the foot
salt and pepper
2 large shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2/3 cup sweet vermouth
4 Tablespoons butter
1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 Tablespoons chives, about 10 blades, chopped or snipped

1.  Drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil over steaks to coat lightly.  Get a nonstick skillet screaming hot and add meat.  Cook 3 minutes on each side for medium rare, 4 for medium to medium well.

2.  Remove meat from pan and pull it off fire to cool for a minute.
3.  Drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil over the scallops and season with salt and pepper.  Get a skillet screaming hot and cook scallops 2-3 minutes on each side until well caramelized.

4.  Bring 2 inches water to a boil in a medium skillet for asparagus.
5.  Return meat pan to medium heat and add 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil.  Add shallots, garlic and cook 2 minutes.  Add sweet vermouth and reduce by half, 30 seconds or so.  Add butter to the pan to finish sauce.

6.  Add asparagus to boiling water.  Cook 2-3 minutes, remove and dress with lemon juice, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
7.  Place each tenderloin steak on a plate and drizzle Manhattan sauce down over top.  Serve 2 scallops on top of steaks and garnish with chives.  Serve asparagus spears alongside.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Cinnamon Roll Casserole

With the arrival of fall comes the scent of cinnamon and the new fall fashion from cabi.  This casserole is not only EASY, it is delish.   You use can cinnamon rolls.  Yes, you read that right.  You know the kind that comes in a blue canister and you peel the paper back a little then pop the can so it will open, thats the one.  They also add a little container of icing in the can.  
Did I say this was easy?  You do not prebake the rolls, just cut them up and place them in your 9X13" dish.  Mix up the remaining ingredients, pour it over the rolls and it is ready to go.  How easy is that?  

Cinnamon Roll Casserole
Yields: 12 servings

2 Tablespoons butter, melted.
2 cans (12.4 ounces each) Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
4 eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1.  Preheat oven to 375'.  Spray a 9X13" baking dish with cooking spray.
2.  Place melted butter into 9X13" baking dish.
3.  Separate both cans of dough into 16 rolls; Set icing aside. Cut each roll into 8 pieces; place pieces into dish, on top of melted butter.

4.  In a bowl, beat eggs.  Beat in heavy whipping cream, cinnamon, vanilla extract and maple syrup  until well blended; gently pour over roll pieces.  Sprinkle with walnuts if you choose to add.

5.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool 15 minutes.
6.  Microwave icing 10-15 seconds or until thin enough to drizzle.
7.  Drizzle icing over top of casserole.  

8.  Serve warm with a small pitcher of maple syrup and a shaker of powdered sugar on the side.
I made up the liquid portion of this recipe the night before I was going to make it to save time.  Just place it in the refrigerator.