Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thanksgiving Pies :o)

This year, everyone seemed to ask me to bring pies for whatever Thanksgiving events we were participating in, so I made a new one for each event just so you could have lots of fun new recipes. Enjoy!

Mom found this recipe and asked me to bring it to dinner. Very good. Kind of like my magic cookie bars - in a pie with bourbon! Yummy! :o)

Kentucky Derby Pie

9 inch unbaked pie crust
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract or 2 tbs. bourbon
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Hershey's Chocolate Chips
1 cup pecans
Festive whipped Cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In small mixer bowl cream butter, add eggs and vanilla or bourbon. Combine sugar and flour together, then add to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until golden. Cool about one hour. Delicious served warm & garnished with Whipped Cream. Serves 8.

This is a new recipe for me, courtesy of Amy Jackson. I brought this as an experiment, and my dad says that it is his favorite dessert ever!

Whitestone Pie


My cousin asked me to bring pumpkin pie for my mom's side of the family's Thanksgiving dinner. Always a classic. Also my best friend, Dick's favorite. :0)

Pumpkin Pie


I made these for our Arkansas Traveler potluck Thanksgiving dinner - they were a huge hit!

Pecan Pie
1 cup Karo Corn Syrup (Dark or Light or 1/2 of each kind)
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) pecans (whole or chips whichever U prefer)
1 unbaked 9" deep dish pie crust

Melt butter and add sugar, beaten eggs, karo syrup, & vanilla. Mix well with spoon and add pecans. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven on center rack for 55 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 2 hours.

Ok, so I didn't make this one - my aunt did, but it's definitely worth including. Yum! :o)

Lemon Meringue Pie

3 3/8 ounces Jell-O Lemon Pudding and Pie Filling
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups water
3 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
baked 9" pie shell
6 tablespoons sugar

Combine pie filling, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan. Blend in egg yolks, then add remaining water. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a full boil, about 5 minutes, stirring twice. Add lemon juice and butter and blend well. Pour into baked pie shell. Beat egg whites until foamy throughout. Gradually add remaining 6 Tbsp sugar, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until meringue stands in stiff peaks. Spread over pie filling. Bake at 425 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes, or until meringue is delicately browned. Cool at least 4 hours before serving. Store in the refrigerator.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Baked Spicy Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders

Don't judge my super-starchy meal, haha, but this was one of those throwing together what I had in the kitchen to make dinner last minute because my best friend and I were supposed to eat at her house, but she fell asleep and missed my texts... Haha. Anyhow, these tenders turned out really good - I took them from the website below and made a few adaptations to fit what I had in the pantry and I chose to bake them instead of frying them. The rest of the meal was just white rice (microwaved minute rice), canned corn, and homemade Texas toast. Easy, peasy!

Baked Spicy Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders

6 boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1/2 cup pecan halves
1/4 plain dry breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Tony Chacherie's Creole Seasoning (original recipe called for ground chipotle pepper)
1 large egg white
2 tbsp water

1. Thaw chicken tenders & pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine pecans, breadcrumbs, zest, and Tony Chacherie's into food processor (or blender) and pulse until pecans are finely ground.
3. Whisk egg white and water until combined.
4. Dip each tender into egg mixture, then dredge both sides in the pecan mixture.
5. Place the breaded tenders in baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until internal temperature is 170 degrees. Turn tenders halfway through baking.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

1 graham cracker crust - regular or chocolate
16 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3 oz white baking chocolate, melted
3 tbsp red raspberry preserves, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until well blended. Add eggs; mix until blend. Stir in white chocolate. Pour into cooled crust. Dot top on cheesecake with a spoon. Cut cheese cake several times, creating marble effect. Bake for 35-40 min, or until center is almost set. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Paula Deen for Halloween!

That's right, this year for Halloween, I dressed up as my culinary idol, Paula Deen. "Stick of butta!" and all! I even baked her Monster Cookies and carried them around with me all night in that cute little basket. It was quite a night (just ask MegFran, haha), and I certainly took on another personality, although I'm not sure just how "Paula" I was, lol. It was a good time though, and this was definitely by far my favorite Halloween costume in recent years. :o)

Chocolate Tofu Pie

Happy Birthday Baby Sister! My little sister is a vegetarian and came across a Chocolate Tofu Pie recently that she fell in love with and asked my mom to recreate for her birthday dessert this year. I must admit, I was skeptical to begin with (as I am sure you are too... haha). However! It was actually really good! It did have a bit of a mild "organic" taste to it, but mostly it was just like a rich and thick chocolate fudge pie. I would recommend it if you are looking for something different or for such an occasion. :o)

1 pound silken tofu
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. Blend tofu in a blender until smooth.
3. Blend in cocoa, sugar, vanilla and vinegar.
4. Pour into prepared crust.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
6. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Law School Dinner Party with Vegan Menu :o)

My good friend, Cody Kees, is in law school with me, and last year, I hosted a dinner for him and my other baby 1Ls with the famous Lippert Lasagna. It was such a hit that earlier this semester he asked if I'd do it for his mentees this year, and I was happy to oblige. This was one of the largest groups I've cooked for with 14 guests, and I was also surprised when I learned that I would have vegan guests, so that threw me for a bit of a loop at first, but I did some online recipe research and found some yummy choices for our guests with special tastes. :o)

Fruit Tray with Fluff Fruit Dip
French Garlic Bread
Baby Spinach Salad
Sundried Tomato Basil Artichoke Vegan Pasta
Lemon Bundt Cake
Happy Vegan Carob Cookies

See my previous posts for recipes for my Fruit Fluff, Lasagna, French Garlic Bread, & Baby Spinach Salad.

Sundried Tomato Basil Artichoke Vegan Pasta

1/2-1 lb of pasta, depending on how much you eat (be sure to buy vegan friendly!)
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 small onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 bunch fresh spinach, chopped
1 jar sun-dried tomatoes (preferably the dry kind and not the kind packed in oil)
1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts (or fresh, if you have them)
Lots of basil (either freshly chopped or dried)
Mushrooms (optional if you like them)

In a medium-sized frying pan, heat olive oil, garlic and onions until onions start to brown (about 3-4 minutes). Add peppers, basil and spinach until spinach starts to looks wilted (another 4 minutes or so). Stir in the tomatoes, artichoke hearts and mushrooms, or any other veggies that sound good at the time. Let the mixture simmer for a while until everything starts to take on each others flavors. Oh yeah--don't forget to make the pasta!! Mix the pasta into the vegetables and eat.

Serves: 2
Preparation time: 20 minutes

Lemon Bundt Cake

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup milk
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
3/4 cup sugar


In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Stir in lemon peel. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack. Cool 10 minutes longer. Place rack on waxed paper. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over the warm cake. Cool completely before serving.

Happy Vegan Carob Cookies

2 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
cinnamon, to taste, optional
vegan chocolate or carob chips, put in as many as you like
1 cup raw sugar (turbinado #1; sucanat works too, but sucks up a lot of the moisture)
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup water

Very important-make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. It will work if they're not at room temp but it works much better if they are. Also while your oven is pre-heating put the cookie sheets you are going to use on top of the oven so they get preheated as well.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in chips. Make a well in the center and set aside.
2. In a medium size bowl, add together sugar and oil; mix well. Add the vanilla and then add the water; mix well. Add the wet to the well in the dry. Mix it well but be careful not to overwork it. Add more chips if you need to.
3. Spoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Put them in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes and then flip and rotate the sheets (top to bottom & 180 degree rotation). Bake another 4 minutes and check them. The cookies are done when they seem a little bit softer then you want them to be. They will harden up some as they cool. I usually go in two minute increments from here until they get to where I like them.
4. Take them out when they are done and move them to wire cooling racks. If they split or come apart when you try to remove them let them sit on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring them to the racks.

Serves: almost 2 dozen; Preparation Time: 10 minutes; Cooking Time: 10 to 12 minutes

Granny's Pecan Pie

My Granny always made Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving, so when the Traveler decided to host a Pot-Luck Thanksgiving Dinner, I was eager to pick up the family tradition. I'm excited about sharing this classic dessert tomorrow. :o)

1 cup Karo Corn Syrup (Dark or Light or 1/2 of each kind)
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) pecans (whole or chips whichever you prefer)
1 unbaked 9" deep dish pie crust

Melt butter and add sugar, beaten eggs, karo syrup, & vanilla. Mix well with spoon and add pecans. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven on center rack for 55 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 2 hours.

Granny used to make hers with the Dark Karo Corn Syrup. But my mom likes using 1/2 of each, but says she has done it all ways depending on what she had in the pantry. I made mine with 1/2 dark and 1/2 light.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Blogging Break

Hello Faithful Blogger Followers!

I just wanted to give y'all an update and apologize for the lack of yummy food posts lately. Unfortunately, my third year of law school has proven much busier than I had hoped, so despite having my new large kitchen, I haven't had quite the time I'd like to have to spend cooking in it! All the same, I promise to resume my blog posts as soon as I find some spare time. Again, please forgive, and thanks for sticking around!

Tammy :o)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Chocolate Butterscotch Cafe Cookies

Our friend Alana just recently moved into a town house with a full size kitchen so she's been a baking machine! And she surprised us with these amazing cookies the other day. They are inherently crunchy and really great with a glass of cold milk. Yum!

Chocolate Butterscotch Cafe Cookies

1 roll sugar cookies
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 t vanilla
3/4 c. oats
1/2 c. butterscotch chips
1/2 c. chocolate chips (3 oz. chopped chocolate bars)

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Break up cookie dough. Add brown sugar and vanilla - mix well. Add remaining ingredients. (Or, if you're feeling crazy, just mash everything together all at once). Drop 1/4 cup scoops of dough onto a cookie sheet and flatten to about 1/2 inch thick.

Bake 13-18 min, cool 1 min on baking sheet. Transfer to cooling rack.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chocolate Rice Pudding

The other day, I was craving something chocolately, but I didn't have much to work with, so I decided to get creative. I started digging through the pantry and determined that I wanted to make chocolate rice because I've been experimenting with rice a lot lately with great success - cinnamon & sugar rice, Tony Chachere's rice, etc. So I went in search of chocolate rice... Unfortunately to no avail, haha. BUT! I did locate the following recipe for a chocolate rice pudding. I do have to add the following disclaimer: I really enjoyed this delightful treat, but the rest of my audience didn't seem to think much of it. Alana liked it, but Megan didn't eat much of it. Also, Danny and Jamie both declined to really indulge based off of their predisposition to disliking rice pudding. Anyhow, I guess the lesson here is: find out if people like rice pudding before you go to the trouble to make it to share with them, haha. :o)

Chocolate Rice Pudding Recipe

1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
2 c. cooked rice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cocoa, brown sugar, and salt in large mixing bowl. Add 1/4 c. of the milk and whisk until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, and milk. Whisk to combine. Stir in rice. Transfer to a baking dish or ramekins. Bake for 30 minutes for large dish (smaller dishes will take less time). When you take the dish out of the oven, it should still jiggle a little in the middle - but it will firm up as it cools. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Old Fashioned Yellow Cupcakes with Homemade Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Tonight some of my best friends and I are house-sitting for another friend and we were so excited to have access to an actual full kitchen that we made ourselves a lovely little dinner and dessert. My contribution was the dessert and I made Old Fashioned Yellow Cupcakes with Homemade Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. I must admit, there wasn't much to them as I used a box mix, but I did the dishes too to make up for it, haha. I am calling them "Old Fashioned" because we didn't have any muffin cups, lol. Also, I also just adapted my Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe to become chocolate, so it's super easy. And I didn't bring my decorating kit, so they didn't look as pretty as my last batch, but they sure were yummy!

Homemade Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

3 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1 c. butter (softened)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream

Combine the butter, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar together in a large bowl and mix using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment on low speed until well blended. Then continue to mix on medium for another 3 minutes, give or take. Then add the vanilla and heavy cream. Beat on medium for another minute more, adding more cream as necessary to reach the desired consistency.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

British Cookies

When I have a rough day, I like to bake to take my mind off things and to give me an opportunity to succeed at something - even if it is as small as in a cookie. So today, I made British Cookies. Admittedly, there really isn't a whole lot of "British" to them other than it's on my mind since a new friend of mine is moving to England in a couple of weeks and they have English Toffee in them, haha. But anyhow, I've really gotten into the swing of using packaged mixes for baked goods and then adding something special to perk them up! Kind of a Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade type deal. So, here is my newest creation. :o)

1 pkg. Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
1 stick Butter (softened)
1 Egg
2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 c. Chopped Walnuts
1/4 c. English Toffee Bits

Follow directions on the package mix (which is basically combine the mix, butter, and egg). Then add the other ingredients. Bake on 375 for 10-12 minutes.

Enjoy! I like to eat all cookies with milk. These are good with it too, haha. :o)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fayetteville Favorites: Hammontree's and Hog Haus

Here's a tribute to two of my favorite restaurants in Fayetteville - two great local restaurants that add to the locale and culture of Dickson Street and Fayetteville: Hog Haus Brewery and Hammontree's Gourmet. :o)

Hog Haus

Spotlight On: Brat and Stein Night! Giving new meaning to Mondays. :o)

That's right 32 oz. of beer (choose any of Hog Haus's in house brews - the Woodstock Wheat and FatBoy Blue are my personal favorites!) and a huge (probably actually several) brat on a bun - that you can top with onions, beer cheese dip, and/or sauerkraut (PLUS, homemade potato chips & German potato salad) ALL for only $9. Every Monday. Pair with their fabulous balcony overlooking Dickson (IMHO, the best in Fayetteville), and you have the best ending to a Monday ever. :o)

Hammontree's Gourmet Grilled Cheese

Spotlight On: Celebrating their 1 Year Anniversary w/a new addition to the menu - hotdogs!

That's right, Hammontree's is no longer just gourmet grilled cheeses, but now also gourmet hotdogs (key word = gourmet)! :o) If you know anything about me, then it should be no surprise to you that I ordered the Aloha Dog for my first gourmet hotdog experience, and YUM! Like I said before key word = gourmet: this is no ordinary hotdog, but instead this is a smoked mozzarella and chicken sausage topped with grilled pineapple, jalapenos, teriyaki sauce, and pepperjack cheese served on a scali roll. Megan ordered the Apple Dog - a chicken and apple sausage topped with caramelized onions grilled apples, pomegranate mustard, and melted brie cheese also served on a scali roll. If your mouth isn't watering, you might want to check your pulse. Definitely worth checking out, although it's still hard to pull yourself away from their fabulous selections of grilled cheese sammiches! Good luck making this tough decision!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dick's Housewarming Party! :o)

One of my very best friends, Richard Watkins, just recently finished building his first home, so naturally, to celebrate, we all got together to celebrate with an adult evening of grilling and catching up on his brand new patio. His home is absolutely lovely, and quite impressive too! :o)

Just for this fun summer occasion, I adapted my very own Raspberry Cupcake Recipe, and they did indeed turn out beautifully, if I do say so myself. Very tasty too. :o)

Raspberry Cupcakes with a Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1 pkg. classic white cake mix
1 1/3 c. water
3 large egg whites
2 tbsp. melted butter
2 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 6 oz. tub fresh raspberries, cut into small pieces (about fourths)
(extra tub of raspberries for garnish)

3 c. powdered sugar
1 c. butter (softened)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare muffin pan with cupcake liners. Using an electric mixer, beat together the cake mix, water, egg whites, butter, and extracts until well blended. Carefully fold in the cut raspberries. Spoon batter into muffin pan (about 1/3 c. per cupcake, makes between 18-20). Bake cupcakes for 15-20 minutes, until light golden brown on top. Cool completely on wire rack.

While cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. Combine the butter and powdered sugar together in a large bowl and mix using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment on low speed until well blended. Then continue to mix on medium for another 3 minutes, give or take. Then add the vanilla and heavy cream. Beat on medium for another minute more, adding more cream as necessary to reach the desired consistency.

Once fully cooled, frost cupcakes and top with a fresh raspberry. :o)

Note: The cake decorating aisle with the wedding stuff at Wal-Mart has all kinds of cool stuff for pretty reasonable - such as my brand new cake decorating kit with tips and frosting decorator dispenser (about $10) and the pretty cupcake tree in the picture ($13). These things make decorating so easy and fun, as well as your finished product beautiful! (I'm easy to amuse... Haha.) Enjoy! :o)

Well, after I left Wal-Mart with all of the necessary ingredients for my cupcakes, I was headed to the liquor store to get something to drink and contribute for the housewarming party, when it hit me... What better summer drink than Sangria?!?! So, I stopped in the liquor store for the cheapest bottle of red wine I could find, and then went back to Wal-Mart to complete my new shopping list, haha. But it was so worth it.

Basic Sangria

1 bottle red wine (any kind works, so pick your favorite kind and buy the cheapest bottle! I used a $5 bottle of cabernet)
1 shot of brandy
2 limes
1 lemon
1 orange
1/4 c. sugar
2 cups club soda

Pour wine in a large pitcher. Cut fruit into wedges or slices and squeeze juice from fruit into pitcher, then toss in the fruit wedges or slices (after having removed the seeds). Add sugar and brandy, mix well. Let sit overnight. Just before serving, add the club soda.

For immediate consumption, stir well and serve over ice. :o)

Upon arriving at Dick's lovely new home, we, of course, got the grand tour, and then we set to work in the kitchen. Dick had this new recipe for an avocado dip that our friend Stephanie had previously made, but I must admit, we were all a little skeptical as we watched it being made, lol. But it tastes much better than it looks, I promise! Also, the poor dear's hand mixer died earlier in the week, so we tried mixing it together with a spoon to no avail, then tried a potato masher with no success, until Dick finally said "to heck with this!" and put it all in the blender, and TA DA! Haha, we were enjoying this new dip in no time then. Once we got it all finished, Dick looked at the original mixing bowl, and commented, "I should probably get a different bowl to put this in now, huh?" Imagine my excitement to be able to say, "Then you should open your gift!" See below, the lovely green dip displayed in Dick's brand new Razorback serving dish - my housewarming gift (cute, huh?). :o)

Dick's Avocado Dip

1 pkg. cream cheese
1 small container sour cream
1 avocado
1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese

Combine the first three ingredients in a large bowl, and mix with electric mixer until smooth. A blender works too if your mixer happens to be broken, haha. :o)

Top with cheese and enjoy with tortilla chips.

It was really a wonderful party with some great friends celebrating Dick's beautiful new home. We had a great time, and enjoyed lots of good food! Congratulations once again, Dick, and thanks so much for having us all over! The host with the most! :o)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

A new friend of mine, Dan, invited Megan and I to join him and some friends at the baseball game today for some grilling, beer, and good company in the outfield. Dan put together the most amazing "Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers." He made two versions - the two toothpick and three toothpick - to indicate the degree of spicy. The basic premise is to cut the jalapeno in half, clean and seed it (saving the seeds), then stuff them with cream cheese, wrap them with bacon and toothpick 'em. To make the three toothpick version, he soaked the jalapeno seeds in vinegar and cayenne pepper then baked them and finally mix it into the cream cheese. Then of course, you grill them until the bacon starts to crisp. These were a really great gameday snack and a huge hit. Dan does offer the following tip though: be careful about getting jalapeno juices in your eyes... Haha. You'll have to hit him up to get the whole story, but I'm sure he'll be happy to share. Thanks Dan for sharing your methods and finished product with us. It was a great day at the ballpark, and the food definitely helped make it so. :o)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

West End

If you frequent Dickson Street, then you are familiar with the bar formerly known as On the Rocks (OTR). It has a great patio always a good crowd. Unfortunately, OTR went under just before the start of the new year - rumor has it to poor management. Well, on the upside, I was out at 21st Amendment a couple of weeks ago on a very slow Monday night with a fellow law student, and we got to chatting with the bartender and a couple of guys at the end of the bar. As it turns out, she was training to work at the new OTR, called West End, which was set to open on the 8th of May by one of the owners of 21st Amendment. Then, we learned that West End was not only going to be a bar, but also a restaurant that served reasonably priced classics with a twist. So, being the foodies that we are, my best friend Megan and are felt compelled to test it out. Here is our experience on opening weekend.

Megan ordered one of their stuffed burgers - I think it was the Southwest style one on the menu. It was stuffed with cheese and topped with peppers. Megan ordered it with the corn salsa and tortilla chips. She really enjoyed the burger, said it had really good flavor and tasted like a good homemade burger off the grill. However, the corn salsa needed something a little more - it was mostly corn and beans, so it was missing the "salsa," some tomato and pepper base. Overall though, Megan enjoyed her meal. I think she spent about $10 on dinner, so it was a good value.

I ordered the berry salad with strawberries, walnuts, feta, and a house raspberry vinaigrette atop mixed greens. I must admit, there really isn't a whole lot you can say about a salad, but I did thoroughly enjoy it and it was very good. And for just under $10, also a good value.

Overall, we had a good experience. The service was a little slow, but I'll cut them some slack and accredit that to them just having opened and getting into the swing of things. The menu was certainly reasonably priced with a pretty good variety. Paired with the great venue and patio, I definitely recommend you check it out. :o)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Papa Lippert's Birthday Din-din

Anyone who knows me very well knows that I am very close to my dad, Jerry, so it's only appropriate that my sister and I celebrate his birthday with a meal composed of all his favorites. Happy Birthday Daddy, and we hope you enjoyed your special day and your birthday din-din.

One of Daddy's favorite cakes is lemon, so Nikki made him this delicious and decorative vanilla iced lemon cake.

The spread:

The plate:
French Bread - lightly buttered, garlic-ed, and baked in the oven on 350 for 15 minutes.

Baby Spinach Salad - with raspberry vinaigrette, bacon bits, croutons, and cheese.

Mashed 'taters and gravy - Peel one large potato per person and cut into medium sized cubes. Boil the potatoes and then once soft, mash (or use mixer), add in butter and milk to taste. For gravy, use some of the saved grease from the fried porkchops, add some milk, and some flour in a small saucepan on medium heat and stir continuously until gravy reaches the desired consistency.

Breaded Porkchops - Mash up crackers, melt butter, dip the raw porkchop in the butter and then the cracker. Fry in large frying pan.
Green beans - This time, I first blanched the green beans before baking them in the oven. Then lay out on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, bake for 15-20 minutes at 350, and then I sprinkled these with a little parmesan cheese.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese - Nikki actually made this for us, so as soon as she sends me the recipe that she used, I'll post it. It was really good.

Happy Birthday again Daddy! You deserve to have your favorites everyday, so Nikki and I were glad to be able to serve you all of these on your special day. We love you. :o)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Vicky's Famous Broccoli-Cheese-Chicken-Rice Soup

Megan and I made dinner last night for a few friends, and as we were pondering what to make, we looked for something warm on a cool and dreary day. We immediately thought of our friend Vicky's delightful Broccoli-Cheese soup. Now, this is no ordinary Broccoli-Cheese soup. This is the world's greatest broccoli-cheese soup. Find below the recipe that Vicky sent us to make this treat. I must disclose though, that Megan and I think that Vicky is holding out on us a little, as this is her specialty, haha. I think to make her version of this famous soup, you need to add a couple more cups of rice, and maybe even an extra can of chicken. (That or Megan didn't do it just right when I wasn't looking, haha.) Anyhow, it's delicious by either recipe, so enjoy! I did also make cheese biscuits from the Bisquick package mix that you can buy at Wal-Mart (as pictured below) to complement the meal. Enjoy!

3-4 stalk celery
1/2 an onion (or so - I try to do equal parts celery and onion)
1 bag chopped broccoli (I think it's 10.5 oz? I use birds eye, but any regular sized bag of cut broccoli will do)
5 cups chicken broth
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz regular velveeta
16 oz Mexican velveeta (if you want it less spicy you can do more regular or even all regular)
2 12.5 oz cans chicken (I usually get tyson white)
1 cup instant rice (I add an extra sprinkle of rice cause it's yummy!)

Sauté the celery and onion untill soft. Add broccoli and stir until the broccoli is heated through. Add broth. Bring to a good boil. Turn the heat down to whatever setting you use to simmer (2 or 3?) and add cheese. Cream cheese first, because it takes longest, followed by the velveeta. STIR STIR STIR! It helps the cheese to melt and will make sure you don't burn it. Whatever you do, don't let the cheese burn! Ruins the whole pot! Add chicken and let cook at that simmer setting for 15 minutes or so. It should bubble a little, but like I said, don't turn it up too high and burn it. Add your rice and cook at the same temp until rice is done - usually another 15-20 minutes and TA DA!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Camping is in-tents! … Meals for the campfire. :o)

One of my favorite activities of all time is to pack up and go camping with a great group of friends. It should be no surprise that planning great camping food is also a favorite hobby of mine. Below I'm including our whole menu ranging from breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack - ALL on the campfire. Get excited. :o)

Dinner: Hobo Packets & Red Russet Potatoes

Chopped Onions
Cut Carrots
Chopped Red & Green Peppers
Steak Tips &/or Chicken

Red Russet Potatoes
Cavenders Greek Seasoning

Hobo Packets - Combine whatever combination of vegetables and meat in a double-layer aluminum foil packet with butter and LOTS of Cavenders (to taste). Fold and seal ends. Then place on hot coals in the campfire, and let cook for 30-ish minutes (or until veggies tender and meat fully cooked).

Red Russet Potatoes - Poke holes in potatoes with a knife and then roll in butter and LOTS of Cavenders (or to taste). Wrap in aluminum foil and place on hot coals in the campfire. Cook for an hour or so until tender.

Snack: S'mores

(Really, everyone knows how to make S'mores, but I just wanted an excuse to post this picture, haha. And, I do think it is almost worth noting on it's own value the use of Reese's instead of Hershey's.)

Graham Crackers
Hershey's Bars &/or Reese's PB Cups

Break Graham Cracker in half. Place 1/2 Hershey's or 1 Reese's on 1/2 of the open Graham Cracker. Roast Marshmallow on stick over the fire.

Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls (on a stick!)

So, this is really cool if you ask me. But really, all you do is purchase the cinnamon rolls that come in a can and are rolled in a spiral. Then you unwrap the spiral of dough on a stick, and then patiently hold it over the campfire (patiently being the key word). After the dough starts to brown and almost crispy, pull it off the stick onto a plate and add the frosting (or you can just eat it off the stick as shown below).

Lunch: Pita Pizza

Pepperoni (or any pizza toppings desired)
Mozzarella Cheese
Pizza Sauce
Pita Pockets

Fill pita pocket with desired amount of toppings and them wrap in aluminum foil. Place on hot coals in campfire for 15-20 minutes (or until crisp and cheese melts). Be careful not to scorch the pita pocket. Then, enjoy!


My best friend, Megan Francis, and I took a cross-country roadtrip for spring break this past week traveling about 2800 miles in 40 car hours from Fayetteville, AR to New Orleans, LA to Minneapolis, MN and back to Fayetteville again. We only had a couple of rules for this trip – if one of us wanted to stop somewhere, we did. Also, we only ate at local or specialty restaurants (no “chains”). It was definitely epic, and of course, being they foodies that we are, there was LOTS of great food in the mix. Relive our adventure below with us as we take you through some of the highlights of all the great food that was #epicSB2010.

JJ's Lakeside Cafe in Chicot County, AR

Great cheeseburgers and what looked to be a delicious dinner buffet. The spicy fries were good too - not so much spicy, but seasoned. Yum.

Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, LA

The original beignets. Thus, the best. They make mix that you can buy in a yellow box. You can also watch them make them from the windows outside. They also have chickory coffee, which is quite strong, but has a really great unique (somewhat bitter) flavor. I'm a fan.

The Praline Connection in New Orleans, LA

You will find the Praline Connection in the French Quarter. It was recommended to us by Captain Ted from our swamp tour earlier that day, so we knew it'd be good. We started with fried green tomatoes in a remoulade. Megan got the jambalaya (pictured below), and I had the crawfish etouffee. Yum, yum, yum. Cajun style soul food.

Inez Cafe in Brookhaven, MS

Cute little local restaurant. We actually caught the church crowd headed to lunch as they were leaving a service and this is where a darling old man recommended we go. It was awesome. One of the best meals we had on the road if you ask me. I started with a basic green salad and then had some great seafood gumbo with cornbread (tasted like cake!). Megan had a club sammich with fries that she attested was great. We finished with dessert - Megan had the banana pudding and I the caramel cake. Oh, and the had the greatest sweet tea, served in large mason jars. Like I said, wonderful meal.

Lambert's in Sikeston, MO

So, if you've never been to a Lambert's, it's worth the trip to MO just to go. Country cooking at its very finest. Home of the "throwed rolls". That's right, they throw rolls to your table, and bring around large buckets of "pass-arounds" like fried okra, apple-butter & sweet molasses (for your rolls), black-eyed peas, tomatoes and macaroni, and fried potatoes and onions. Megan ordered the chicken fried steak and I the pork-chops. We also had cinnamon apples, baked sweet potatoes, corn, and mashed taters. They also have great tea - served in awesome huge trucker mugs. Another one of the best meals of the trip.

Fast Eddie's Bon Air in Alton, IL

So, Fast Eddie's is perhaps the greatest concept ever though up. So great even, that Megan and I drove 20 miles off the highway just to make this stop featured in Alton Brown's "Feeding on Asphalt". It's basically a bar (must be 21 to enter) with cheap food (as indicated, literally, by the menu below). In fact, we ordered the entire menu and each had a beer (required to order food) for $20. That's right, french fries, a cheeseburger, a "hot"-dog, a bratwurst, chicken wings, steak on a stick, pork on a stick, and shrimp cocktail. It was great. The owner even came over and signed our book. Definitely worth the trip.

Cosetta's Italian Market & Restaurant in St. Paul, MN

Cosetta's. The greatest Italian food I've EVER had. Hands down. I had the Tortellini Alla Panna which is basically cheese tortellini with alfredo sauce and crisp prosciutto bits and it was TO DIE FOR. Some of the other things ordered from our group included the pizza, spaghetti, meatballs, lasagne, and the penne with marinara. Each came with garlic bread. Everything was honestly amazing. Well, then we had to order dessert - we had the gelato and cannolis. OMG, wow. Really, there aren't words to describe. Just go. You'll be glad you did.

Rainforest Cafe in Minneapolis, MN

Ok, so this was kind of our break-away from the whole "no chain restaurants" rule, but it's the Mall of America (everything is a chain), I'd never been to one, and they are definitely an experience in themselves, so it was our choice for lunch. The food wasn't half bad either. And they had fun drinks. Like I said, mostly a fun theme restaurant. Worth a visit if you've never been. I had the coconut shrimp, and some other menu selections included an appetizer sampler, the quesadillas, etc. Dessert was a fun volcano brownie tower, which was really good - and huge. Mostly, fun again. In the restaurant, it thunderstorms every 20 minutes or so, AND the gorillas go crazy every other 20. So it was a good time.

Fiorella's Jack Stack in Kansas City, MO

And finally, on our way home, we felt obligated to stop at our favorite BBQ restaurant in the world on our way back through KC, MO, because, come on, how often do we make it to KC? Not often enough to pass up this stop. So, we did, and it lived up to our first experience just as we had hoped. Meg and I split the rib plate for two and did it up right with some french fries, cheesy corn, and the cheesy potatoes. Anyhow, it was pretty much the perfect food ending to our food and road-trip adventure. Ahhh. :o)

Anyhows, that was mine and Megan's #epicSB2010 in a nutshell. There are plenty of more fun stories that go beyond the great food that we had including a swamp tour, a random carnival stop, some great shopping, a fish hatchery, several historical landmarks, and even the search for an unfindable cave winery. It was a really great trip with lots of great people, and I'm glad that we can share it with y'all this way. :o)