Friday, July 30, 2010

Chocolate with Francois - Beignets with Vanilla Creme Anglaise

Recipe chosen by

Are you good at pretending?  You are?  GREAT!  Then let's pretend.
First, pretend I slaved over a hot stove whipping up my creme anglaise.  Remember, I'm a virgin beignet maker so I went with pudding.

Spent all my time trying to make the beignets look good.  Next, pretend you do not see the dark edges on the beignets that may them appear burned.  I think it might have just been the chocolate oozing out a bit while these fried.  They tasted incredibly delicious.  The burst of chocolate inside was like a surprise to your tongue.  You take a bite. . .. you are expecting the chewy doughnut and then, bam, the chocolate oozes in.  I love surprises, don't you?  And the pudding / anglaise took a slight edge off the richness of the chocolate.  Makes my mouth water just thinking about these.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Kitchen, My World - USA - Sunday Lunch Perfect Pot Roast

This month's journey in My Kitchen, My World is the good ole USA. Check out the site to see what the other travelers made! When I thought of American food, the first thing that came to mind was hamburgers, then hot dogs, and then roast beef. I think I was hungry! Growing up, my mom made roast beef every Sunday for the after-church lunch. It was not a fancy roast, just meat and potatoes, carrots, and onions placed around it and oven baked for a long time. But it was really good. Today, I want to share my version of that with you all which is a little fancier than the one of my childhood.

1 (4 to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour
Olive oil
4 cups carrots
2 onions chopped in quarters
Four stalks celery cut into two inch pieces
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cups red wine, such as Cabernet or Burgundy
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Dredge the roast in flour and season it with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and sear the roast for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned on each side. Remove the roast from the pan.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until tender. Add the wine, tomatoes, chicken stock, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Put the roast back into the pot and cover. Place in the oven for one hour, then turn the heat down to 250 degrees F and cook for about 2 1/2 more hours, until the meat is tender. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

CEIMB - Mango Lassi

One for me, one for Chandler!

Recipe chosen this week by Leslie of

Check out Leslie's blog.  She always has something wonderful cooking up in her kitchen.  I was so glad she chose this colorful, delicious drink for this week for our CEiMB group because it just hit the spot here in Alabama.  I made it Saturday afternoon as a treat for my DH because it was about 99 degrees outside here.  That is hot even for Alabama in the summer! 

I love mangoes, but to me they are so messy to work with.  Anyone have any tips as to how to get that seed out without making a huge mess, please fill me in!  This was easy to make.  Tasted more like a smoothie than a drink, but we loved it.  Perfect afternoon snack.  Try it for yourself.  It really takes only seconds to mix up in your blender!

As you can see, we did not have much left over!


2 ripe, sweet mangos
1 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups ice (1 tray of ice)
Peel and dice the mango and puree in the blender. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until the ice is crushed and the drink is frothy. Serve in tall glasses with additional ice, if desired.

Monday, July 26, 2010

TWD - Chewy, Chunky Blondies - And Oh How Good They Are!

Nicole of chose these Chewy, Chunky Blondies for our TWD group this week.  A big thank you to Nicole since we heart blondies!!  Check out the recipe on Nicole's blog by clicking on the link next to her name.

The batter was oooey, goooeeey, and good!!!  Just chunked FULL of deliciousness.  I love anything that is chunky.  These are loaded with pecans, coconut, chocolate chips, and heath toffee bits. 

My photos do not do these justice.  I kept taking pictures on the wrong setting so the color is a bit off and I did not realize it because I could not load them for a few days because my computer was fried.  Then when I had a computer to work with, the brownies were all gone and my photos were what they were.  I shared half the batch with a friend thankfully or I would be seriously waddling down the halls today from overeating.  These reminded me of bar cookies my mom used to make that were like seven layer cookies and had condensed milk poured over them so it was comfort food to me.  Yes, it's good to be able to put a label on things so that you don't feel so guilty eating it all.

Really, try these!!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CEiMB - Chicken with Warm Tomato Corn Salsa

Loved this.  So light and delicious.  And healthy.  And easy to prepare.

I made one change and used regular tomatoes instead of the grape tomatoes it called for simply because I had regular ones from my garden.  And I grilled the chicken instead of pan frying.

But all in all, it's a great dish for a weeknight dinner when you are running short on time.  I highly recommend it.

Thanks to Danica of Danica's Daily for choosing this.  She has a fabulous blog.  Go check it out!


1 1/4 lbs thin cut skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp’s Cajun Seasoning
Nonstick cooking spray
2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 scallions, minced, white and green separated
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
2 c corn kernels (from 3-4 ears fresh uncooked corn or frozen)
Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste
1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, sliced
3 Tbsp’s fresh lime juice or 1 lime cut into wedges
3 Tbsp’s cilantro, roughly chopped

1. Spray chicken with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle/rub in the Cajun seasoning.. Heat outdoor or indoor grill to medium high heat. Grill chicken until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep it warm.

2. Add the 2 tsp oil to the pan, over medium high heat. Add scallion whites, cooking and stirring for 1 minute. Add the garlic. Cook and stir 30 seconds more. Add the tomatoes and corn to the pan. Cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the scallion greens and season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

3. Place 1 cup of the vegetable mixture on each plate. Top with chicken breast and slices of avocado. Sprinkle with cilantro, lime juice or wedge and serve.

Monday, July 19, 2010

TWD - Lots of Ways of Banana Cake!!

So when Thursday rolls around, do you start thinking about what all you will do for the weekend like I do?  So it was Thursday and the question of the week was, what are we doing this weekend?  No response. Then came Friday and the same question.  We ended up dancing with our friends on Friday night and headed to the lake on Saturday.  I love to go if the weather is sunny and warm.  But if there is a hint of a storm, I would rather spend my time here at home.  We played lots of Phase Ten (Chandler's favorite) and I beat him as usual,  but he never stops trying.  :)  We grilled some corn, pork chops and asparagus.  Then the storm came.  Just as I had suspected it would.  So we drank some wine and watched Shutter Island with Leonardo Dicaprio.  I did not care for it.  Then we watched Remember Me with Robert Pattinson thinking it was a cute love story and would lift us up from Shutter and boy was I wrong - talk about depressing!  I will say Pattinson was much cuter in it than in Eclipse so at least I got some eye candy.  Ooohh and Pierce Brosnan was in it too!  Double eye candy.

Kimberly of Only Creative Opportunities chose this week's recipe Lots of Ways of Banana Cake!  Thank you Kimberly - it was a great pick!  Dorie offers several different versions to choose from.  Check out Kimberly's blog to see what fun things she has been up to, get the banana cake recipe, and see what version of it she chose!  I'm anxious to see what the other bakers did with this one too.   The choice of bananas was not very good at Publix this week.  But this recipe needed them to be a little on the mushy side anyway so that worked for me.

I chose to put blueberries in mine and leave out the coconut.  I thought it would taste like a banana nut bread, but it really is more like cake.  I put whipped cream between the layers, but not on top.  We loved it!  This one will definitely be on my rewind list.
Health tip of the week:  We all know sitting still for more than two hours at a time can increase your chances of blood clots.  Woman's Day Magazine says eating one cup of salsa before traveling on a plane can decrease those odds by 30%. 
Note from Peggy:  One cup of salsa is a pretty big snack though, right?  Yum.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

CEiMB - Panzanella with Chicken Sausage

When you are in a food blogging group, one of the biggest rewards for the member is when your turn comes around to host the group.  Guess whose turn it was this week?  Not Jennifer Aniston, not Ina Garten, not Giada or Paula Deen. Okay, if you guessed me, you are correct!

Ellie Krieger has so many wonderful recipes that are all healthy choices and that makes it difficult to choose just one.  With summer here, and vegetables plentiful in most areas of the country, farmer's markets here and there, I wanted to choose a recipe where we could incorporate the fresh goodness of those vegetables.  Ellie's Panzanella does just that.  Panzanella is simply bread and tomato salad.  It is simple and relaxing to make.  Pair it with a glass of wine and it becomes elegant as well.

I hope everyone that cooked along with me this week enjoyed this light fare as much as Chandler and I did.  He had his doubts because he is strictly a meat and potatoes guy, but he ate two helpings of this for dinner.  He even asked if we could save the leftovers for dinner for the next night!  That was a huge compliment to me.

I found some really beautiful vine ripened tomatoes at Publix.  The cucumber came from my very own backyard garden.  Here is a photo of ONE of my cucumbers that got caught in the fence, but this is not the cucumber I used in my panzanella!  Isn't it funny looking?

I peel my cucumbers.  Some people do not and that is okay.  I just think the peel is a tiny bit bitter tasting.  I do not peel my tomatoes, though some do.  While I do not care for recipes with cooked basil in them, the fresh basil is so wonderful.  The red onion was sweet and just brought all the flavors together.  The chicken sausage was really delicious.  I cooked it on the grill, but had a hard time getting any grill marks to show on it!

For all of you who cooked with me this week - thank you so much!  It is a joy to cook with you and I look forward to seeing your versions of this great summer dish.

Per Serving: Calories 520; Total Fat 25 G; Sat Fats 5 G; Mono Fat 8 G; Poly Fat 3 G; Protein 36 G; Carb 39 G; Fiber 10 G; Cholesterol 110 Mg; Sodium 540 Mg
Excellent Source of Fiber, Folate, Manganese, Potassium, Protein, Selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K
Good Source of Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Phosphorus, Thiamin, Vitamin B6

Panzanella with Chicken Sausage

8 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges (about 1-1/2 pounds)
1 small English cucumber, cut into half moons
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small whole-grain baguette or other crusty bread (preferably day-old;
about 8 ounces), cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1/3 cup basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 12-ounce package Italian-style pre-cooked chicken sausage

In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the bread chunks and basil and toss well so all the bread is well moistened.
Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
Add the sausage and cook, turning once or twice, until warmed through and grill marks are formed, about 8 minutes. Serve the sausage, whole, alongside the panzanella.

Did You Know?
Chicken and turkey sausage contain 1/3 the calories and 1/3 the fat of regular pork sausage.

Monday, July 12, 2010

TWD -- Brrrrrrownies!!!

Well, when I saw this week's recipe choice was BROWNIES, you did not have to ask me twice to make them!  Brownies of any kind rank up there with my number one favorite dessert item!  Got all my ingredients ready . . .

I am not the greatest fan of mint mixed with my brownies.  And when I mentioned to Chandler what I would be making mixed with mint, he apparently shared my feelings and made an ugly face, so I substituted Reece's Peanut Butter Cups and "hoped" that they would turn out to Dorie's specifications.

Just LOOK at that chocolate oozing with the rich peanut butter chunks.  I could not wait for them to bake!
I thought they turned out really well.  The peanut butter cups did not melt entirely while the brownie baked which is just what I had hoped for.  We really enjoyed them.  Thank you Karen!

I had my high school reunion last Saturday night and it was a lot of fun!  I usually hate those types of gatherings but this time I really enjoyed myself.  It was good getting reconnected with people I had not seen in a while.  I learned one thing which I will pass along to you all if you ever plan one.  Do not waste your money on a band or a dj.  No one wants to dance.  They want to chat and catch up with their friends.  I'll share this photo of me with a few of my best friends.  The hats were Viking helmets that were centerpieces with balloons flowing from them in our school colors.  We got a little wild and crazy as the night progressed. 

Thanks to Karen for choosing these this week.  Be sure to check out her blog at Our Crazy Blessed Life for the recipe and her version.

Check back with me on Thursday for some great Panzanella from Ellie Krieger.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

TWD - Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes a week late?? Rewind?

Wendy of Pink Stripes chose last week's Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes.  I meant to make this cake all week long. I finally got around to it on Saturday, almost a week late.  Now I will be a week late on this week's pick because we have been out of town for the 4th of July and just returned today, with more housework than one woman can possibly handle in a day.  Anyway, my apologies to Wendy for being late with this post.  The cake tasted a bit Sara Lee to me.  I opted not to put rum in it and instead used a bit of almond flavoring.  While it was good, it was a tiny bit dry - wonder if I overcooked it.  If I had cooked as long as Dorie said, it definitely would have been overdone.  Maybe my oven cooks faster than hers.  I love pound cake of any kind, so thanks Wendy for a great pick!!  As you can see, I wrapped that baby in foil and took to the lake with us.  We had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!