Friday, December 19, 2014

my wish to you...

My wish to you is that you keep Christmas in you heart all year long; that you remember the value and worth of your family and friends.  My wish to you is that you show your loved ones how much they mean to you ALL year long, and not just at Christmas.  My wish to you is that this new year will be all that you hope--DREAM BIG!!!

I am taking a break for the next two weeks.  Not tired of blogging or anything, but even doing what you love the most, you sometimes need to recharge your batteries.  What better time than when I am off work too?  Perfect timing is what it is!  Follow me on Instagram for my latest adventures!

Thanks so much for reading and supporting me!  I hope that you have felt how much I value you, my dear reader, with my many giveaways!

Have a joyful holiday, and a beautiful new year!  <3

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

German butter cookies

One of my favorite holiday traditions is making Christmas cookies.  My favorite cookie?  A delicious butter cookie (although shortbread is a very close second).  During the Christmas season as a child, my family would make butter cookies.  My mom would make the dough; my dad would roll the dough out, and my brother and I would press the cookies.  Then mom would watch while they baked.

German butter cookies
{German butter cookies}

This year, I wanted to share this recipe because this is the first time that I have made the dough myself.  I rolled the dough out, and I pressed cookie with cutters that I used as a child.  It brought back so many good memories, but I also made new ones.

German butter cookies
 {My mom prefers them with jelly in between, but I prefer the single cookie}

German butter cookies
{Jelly-filled and single cookies}

German butter cookies

Makes 36-48 cookies (depends on the shapes and sizes)

2 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature (250 g)
2/3 cup sugar (140 g)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour (500 g)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Zest of a lemon
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  2. In another bowl, mix dry ingredients together and whisk until combined.
  3. Once the butter and sugar are creamed, add eggs and vanilla, beating until light and fluffy.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  5. Allow dough to sit in the fridge overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 350.
  7. Roll out dough until about 1/4 inch thick; cut cookies out of dough.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges just begin to turn golden.
  9. Cool for 1-2 minutes on a cookie sheet and then transfer to cooling racks.
  10. These can be eaten plain, with jam sandwiched in between, and/or with powdered sugar.
Does your family make Christmas cookies?  Do you have a favorite?  If you're still looking for that perfect cookie, head over to this Christmas cookie recap for some ideas!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

brown butter sweet potato alfredo

I absolutely love sweet potatoes, but I don't eat them very often because The Hubby doesn't like them at all.  I've tried every which way.  So when he has dinner with his friends, I invite my mom over to share in my food indulgences. 

I know this combination of sweet potatoes and brown butter and Alfredo sounds completely ridiculous, but people--it's ridiculously DELICIOUS!  I cooked the sweet potatoes beforehand so this recipe was done in about 30 minutes.

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Alfredo
 {Brown Butter Sweet Potato Alfredo}

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Alfredo
 {Brown Butter Sweet Potato Alfredo with Parmesan on top}

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Alfredo
from table for two

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound sweet potato, cubed into 2-inch cubes (KY Proud)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less depending on heat preference)
Cooked pasta
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the cubed sweet potatoes and cook until fork tender. Carefully place sweet potatoes into a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, add the butter and brown.  Click here for a tutorial.
  3. Once the butter is browned, whisk in flour for 30 seconds. 
  4. Turn the heat up to medium-high and carefully add the milk and continue whisking until mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. 
  5. Add the pureed sweet potatoes. 
  6. Let the mixture simmer for 5-7 minutes until thickened then add the Parmesan cheese, cayenne, salt, pepper, and turn off the heat. If the mixture seems too thick, you can add more milk to thin it out.
  7. Add the cooked pasta to the pot and toss until well-coated.
  8. Serve! 
This is a great way to indulge but not over-do it.  You can even make this for lactose-intolerant family members.

So tell me, besides sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving, do you eat sweet potatoes?  I have a weakness for sweet potato fries and curried ketchup.  Or even baked sweet potatoes with butter and cinnamon!  Okay, so you get I love sweet potatoes!  How do you love yours?

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

parmesan pull aparts

Another great Christmas, or any party, idea for bread is this recipe for Parmesan garlic bread (essentially).  My family has been making these for years, and they always go quickly!  They are so easy, and they can be made ahead of time then popped in the oven.

parmesan pull aparts
 {parmesan pull aparts}

parmesan pull aparts
 {The bottom of the biscuits that have absorbed the buttery goodness and had a crunchy, cheesy bottom}

Parmesan Pull Aparts

Makes 12 servings

2 cans of jumbo buttermilk biscuits (8 each)
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Pour butter in a 9x13 casserole baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle cheese and garlic powder on top of butter.
  4. Using a knife or scissors, cut each biscuit into quarters.
  5. Drop biscuit quarters on top of butter mixture, making sure at least some of each biscuit touches the butter.
  6. Bake until golden on top, about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Serve!
Does your family have a favorite bread recipe?

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Monday, December 15, 2014


One of the most famous drinks of Christmas is eggnog.  I'm not the biggest fan; usually one glass a year will cure me of the craving.  The Hubby on the other hand, can drink it in gallons.  He loves my mom's eggnog so this year, I asked her if she could teach me.  She was happy to (especially because now she'll ask me to make it from now on--love you mom!), and I couldn't believe how easy it was!

 {eggnog with spice cookies}

 {The color of the eggnog will depend on the eggs that you use--using fresh farm KY Proud eggs will result in the color above while using store eggs will make it much lighter yellow, almost white}


Makes 2 quarts

8 egg yolks (KY Proud)
2 whole eggs (KY Proud)
3-5 cups powdered sugar (depends on how sweet you want it)
1-12 oz can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup clear vodka or rum (optional)**
  1. Place yolks and whole eggs in a mixing bowl and turn to medium for 2 minutes.
  2. Slowly add sugar 1 cup at a time, waiting until each cup is fully incorporated.  My family typically uses 3 1/2-4 cups.
  3. Slowly add the milk and vanilla to the egg mixture.
  4. Taste and adjust.
  5. Optional:  Slowly add liquor and turn to low to combine.
  6. Store in an airtight container like a Mason jar for up to 2 weeks (at the most!  It's best to drink it all as soon as possible)
This will definitely be a big hit with the parties and family gatherings you still have coming up!  Do you like eggnog?

**If you are using alcohol, then please enjoy responsibly!Pin It

Friday, December 12, 2014

food for thought

I know that I've used this quote before, but it's one of my absolute favorites!  I believe this especially rings true during Christmas time.  As you are running around stressing out about presents, just remember the Christmas was never about buying audacious presents; it's about spending quality time with those you care the most about!

I am so proud and happy that my family decided not to buy each other Christmas presents this year; instead, we made the decision to spend time together doing some fun Christmas activities like going to see the Nutcracker, baking cookies, and having lunch together.  I must say, I believe this is my favorite Christmas yet!

I am also using this quote because we are having a Hobbit Party on Sunday (complete with breakfast, lunch and tea!) in preparation of the movie coming out on Wednesday (which The Hubby and I are seeing right after I get out of work!).

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend!

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

gourmet gifts | recipe in a jar

I have been meaning to try these recipes in a jar gift ideas for a few years now so this year I did it!  I even converted one of my original recipes into a jar recipe!

First up are cookies.  These cookies were fabulous and so easy; plus the jar looks beautiful!

 {Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies in a jar}

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies
from cul de sac cool

Makes 18 cookies

1 quart Mason jar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans (nut-free option: 1/2 cup rolled oats)
  1. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together.
  2. Layer all the ingredients in a 1 quart mason jar in the order listed.
  3. Print this FREE DIY Printable PDF file on card stock and cut out.
  4. Attach recipe tags to jar.
  5. Give out to family and friends! 
You can substitute out the dried fruit and chocolate for other flavors like raisin/semi-sweet chocolate, cranberries/semi-sweet chocolate, strawberries/semi-sweet chocolate, banana/semi-sweet chocolate, etc.  They are only limited by your imagination!
Next, I made my favorite bean/legume soups into a recipe in a jar!  This is so easy, and it was delicious!  This is even vegetarian friendly!

 {Lentil Soup in a jar}

Lentil Soup

Makes 8 servings

1 quart Mason jar
2 cups lentils
1 cup dried soup mix (carrots, onions, parsley, celery, etc)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
  1. Layer all the ingredients in a 1 quart mason jar in the order listed.
  2. Print this FREE DIY Printable PDF file on card stock and cut out.
  3. Attach recipe tags to jar.
  4. Give out to family and friends! 
I've already given them out to a couple of co-workers, and they said the jars were too pretty to empty!  Plus, they even got to try them out before I gave them the jars (I'm sneaky like that).  That is my one BIG piece of advice: try out the recipe BEFORE you give it out.  Most importantly, make it exactly how your gift-receivers would make it.  I made the cookies and soup exactly how they would if I had received them in a jar.  Luckily, they both turned out great on the first try for me, but that might not be true of other recipes.

So there you have it!   An entire week of homemade, easy, gourmet gifts!  I hope that you and your gift-receivers enjoy these delicious recipes!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

gourmet gifts | infused oil

Another great and easy homemade gourmet gift is infused oils.  Flavored oils add more depth to dishes.  Plus they can be customized so you can give personalized gifts to your friends and family!

infused oil
 {infused oil}

infused oil
   {Don't forget to put expiration dates on the oil!}

Be careful when making infused oils from fresh ingredients like garlic because it can lead to botulism.  Read here for more information, but if you follow the directions for the fresh method below, you will greatly reduce the risk of botulism.

Infused Oil

Makes 1 quart

1 quart olive oil
Herbs and spices
Bottles with airtight lids
  1. Dry method: If using dried herbs and spices, mix with olive oil and allow to set for 1 week before gifting.  Attach gift tag with expiration date of 3 months from original mixing.
  2. Fresh method:  If using fresh herbs and spices, mix with olive oil in a casserole dish.  Roast in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes (oil should be bubbling).  Cool.  Store in the the fridge.  Attach gift tag with expiration date of 6 weeks from original mixing.
  3. Give out to family and friends! 
For more flavor combinations and ideas, head to Epicurious!

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

gourmet gifts | spice gift basket

You know those little spice packets you get at the store for like taco seasoning, etc?  For someone in your life who uses those, why not give them the gift of homemade spice mixes?  They do not have any of the preservatives or other chemicals found in those packets from the store; plus they can be made in about 5 minutes!

spice gift basket
 {spice gift basket}

spice gift basket
{Make sure you label those jars!}

Spice Basket

Fajita Seasoning
Taco Seasoning
Cajun Seasoning
1 basket
3 airtight jars
  1. Mix enough of each spice mix to fill your jars.
  2. Using a marker or label, mark which jar contains which seasoning mix.
  3. Place spice mixes in a basket.
  4. Give out to family and friends!  
As an added bonus, here's the gift tag already created!  You can just print it off and attach it to the basket!

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Monday, December 8, 2014

how-to | freeze cookie dough

During this Christmas season, lots and lots of cookies will be made and consumed.  If your family is like mine, we make our more difficult cookies around this time of year (the ones you have to chill, roll out, etc).  Why not freeze that cookie dough so you can have those cookies throughout the month or over the the next few months?  Exactly!  So here's a short tutorial on how to freeze cookie dough

Step 1:  Make dough according to directions.

Step 2:  Line a platter or baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

Step 3:  Scoop dough out with cookie scoop onto lined sheet.

Step 4:  Allow to freeze overnight.

Step 5:  Label a storage bag with cookie dough type and date.

Step 6:  Store up to 3 months in the freezer.

BONUS!!!  Give out cookie dough as a Christmas gift (especially to those who don't like to bake)!  Just get some nice gift bags and make tags for the temperature and time to bake them.

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

candied roasted nuts

Have you ever walked through the mall this time of year and smelled those roasted nuts?   Yeah me too!  Then I get some, and I can only eat a handful because they are so very sweet.  This year, I decided to try and replicate it at home.  Boy was it a success!  I took it to my family's Thanksgiving dinner to have them try it, and I was left with a quarter of what I came with!  It was a hit!

candied roasted nuts
 {candied roasted nuts}

candied roasted nuts
 {candied roasted nuts close up}

Candied Roasted Nuts

Makes 6 cups

6 cup pecan halves
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 egg whites
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 300.
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.
  3. Place pecans in a bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together cinnamon and sugar until well combined.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together egg whites, vanilla and salt until well combined.
  6. Pour egg white mixture over nuts and stir until completely coated.
  7. Add about 2/3 cinnamon sugar mixture to nuts and stir until completely coated. 
  8. Place nuts on baking sheet and sprinkle remaining cinnamon sugar mixture on top.
  9. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until nuts are browned and crispy.
  10. Cool completely.
  11. Enjoy!
These are perfect for a party because they can be made ahead of time (just try not to eat them all before the party!).

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

turtle candies

Christmas time means all kinds of parties, and that means food too!  I had these Turtle Candies a few years ago, and I have been obsessed ever since!  I made them and took them to work, and they were gone before lunch!  These are so easy and fast (10 minutes max), and everyone loved them.

turtle candies
 {turtle candies}

turtle candies
 {Close up view}

turtle candies

Makes 40-50 each

1 bag waffle style pretzels
1 bag Rolos, unwrapped (a small bag made about 50)
2 cups whole pecans, roasted
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. On a lined baking sheet, place a pretzel down first. 
  3. Top pretzel with one Rolo.
  4. Place baking sheet in oven for 2-3 minutes or until Rolo begins to melt.
  5. Pull out baking sheet and top each Rolo with 1 pecan half.  For a nut free option, top with another pretzel instead.
  6. Cool.
  7. Enjoy!
When I told my co-workers how I made them, they were all shocked because they thought it was going to be complicated.  In fact, someone went home that night and made them for family coming in that night.

What kinds of foods do you like to have around the holidays and at parties?

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

mulled wine

Christmas season means parties, families, and lots of food/drinks.  I'll be sharing some party recipes this week including this delicious mulled wine recipe that's been in my German family for years.  Germans drink this throughout the Christmas season, and I can't remember a Christmas without it!  (It's called Gluwein in German)

mulled wine
 {mulled wine}

mulled wine
 {If there is any left over (we've never had any but I made this recipe at home with just me, and I didn't feel like drinking an entire bottle of wine), cool and store in an airtight container.  Just reheat on the stove or in the microwave}

This recipe is very easy for a party in the crock-pot or on the stove, and then it just stews for a few hours. 

Mulled Wine

Makes 4 servings

1 bottle red wine
2 clementines, peeled and separated into segments
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1/4-1/2 cup sugar (depends on your preference)
  1. Pour wine into a crock-pot.
  2. Place clementines, cinnamon, and cloves into the wine.
  3. Heat on low for 3-4 hours.
  4. Before serving, mix in sugar and taste.  The amount of sugar used depends entirely on your preference and what wine you purchased.
  5. Serve in coffee mugs and segments of clementines (they are the best part!).
  6. Enjoy!
This is a great after-outdoor activities like caroling, playing in the snow, decorating the house, etc.  It really warms your insides up.  Plus, your house smells amazing because of the cinnamon, cloves, and clementines.  As with any alcoholic drink, please enjoy responsibly!

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Monday, December 1, 2014

monthly munchies | December

I hope that everyone had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday!  Can you believe it's already DECEMBER?  Where does the time go?!

{Clementines--so cute, delicious, and healthy (especially this time of year)!}

Around this time of year, I simply devour clementines.  They are one of my absolute favorite fruits, and this is definitely the time of year to eat them to avoid getting sick!  I'll eat at least two per day until they aren't on sale anymore.  I'm also a snob; I only eat the ones grown in Spain (they taste better to me).

December is packed for me this year, but here is what's happening:
  • The first week of December I'll be sharing some of my favorite party recipes (hint: they are easy and so delicious!).
  • The second week of December I'll be sharing some homemade gifts that you can make in a series called gourmet gifts!  They are so easy and tasty (see a trend here?)
  • The third week of December I'll be sharing some recipes featuring local ingredients that are in season.
  • During December, I have booked myself every weekend with fun holiday stuff--a Christmas tea/brunch, decorating the house, the Nutcracker, cookie baking with the family, work Christmas party, The Hobbit movie, shopping for our yearly Christmas ornament, Christmas movie party, and Christmases with both of my families.  Whew!!!
  • I'll be taking about 2 weeks off around Christmas and New Year's.  It's the first time in several years that I have had a proper break so I am taking advantage of it (have I mentioned that I love my job--mall of that time is a paid holiday!).  Plus, I'll be in California for a week with my best friend!  I am SO EXCITED!!!!!
You can keep up with me on Instagram!  (or at least you can try!)

Since beginning in December, the local produce available drops down to almost nothing, I'll be combining it with this series just until April.  The local produce available in December is as follows:

Apples (beginning of month)
Sweet potatoes

Yup--that's it!  You can get these at Good Foods Co-Op (definitely); they will also have other produce that was grown in a greenhouse in Kentucky so that's the place to go!

Happy December everyone!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Food for Thought | Thanksgiving

{Be Thankful}

I don't have the perfect life.  This year, I have been practicing gratitude for everything: the heartaches, the set backs, the good, the thrills, the disappointments, and the ugly.  
Around Thanksgiving, many people say they are grateful for their families, friends, having a job, etc.  I am always eternally grateful for my friends and family without whom I would most certainly be lost.  However, this year, I am most grateful for all the little things in my life.  Below is a very small sampling of the small things that I am always grateful for:

  • the daily kitty welcome committee/snuggle crew
  • the daily comments from The Hubby that he loves me, thinks that I am beautiful, sexy, intelligent, etc
  • the sunrise over a beautiful Kentucky landscape on my way to work
  • the sunset view that I have from my house
  • the surprise emails from my grandparents about how they love me and are proud of me
  • the banter and time I spend with my mom
  • the health of my body, mind and soul
  • my senses: being able to see, touch, hear, taste, and smell my surroundings
  • for the compassion that is shown to me by others (who I don't forget to thank, even if they are strangers--one person even cried after I thanked them!)
  • for authors that write the books I read
  • for the directors/writers that produce/write the movies and TV shows I watch
  • a warm, soft, safe place to lay my head at night (or for nap time in the middle of the day)
  • for all the people both near and far that make my life easier, better, safer, etc
I am not perfect, and sometimes I do forget to be grateful especially when I am sad, mad, frustrated, stressed, etc.  I am human, and I am grateful for that.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I'm taking a short break, but I'll be back next Monday!
PS--I am thankful for you too, my dear reader!  Did you really think that I would forget you?

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Homemade Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Since November is National Peanut Butter month, I thought I would debut this recipe that I have been working on for months.  Why so long?  I cannot get the chocolate to stick on the outside without wax (I'm not eating wax--sorry!).   I gave up, and put the chocolate on the inside.  I have no idea how they got it to stick, but I got impatient because this recipe is so DELICIOUS.

The peanut butter filling:  I saw how much sugar they asked for in the recipe, and I decided to half it and go from there.  The golden rule of cooking-you can ALWAYS add more, not take away.  I am so glad that I did because it was delicious and spectacular the FIRST time!

Inside Out Homemade Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
 {Inside Out Homemade Reese's Peanut Butter Cups}

Inside Out Homemade Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
 {These don't last long and are safe no where!}

Homemade Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
from Six Sister's Stuff

Makes 3-4 dozen (depending on the size you make)

10 graham cracker sheets, crushed into crumbs
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
8 oz powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
Milk chocolate chips
  1. Put graham crackers in a food processor or plastic Ziploc bag and beat until they are finely crushed. 
  2. Mix butter, powdered sugar, peanut butter, and graham crackers together in large bowl. 
  3. Grab some of the peanut butter mixture and a few chocolate chips and roll into 1″ balls. 
  4. Place rolled balls on large cookie sheet (I lined my cookie sheet with parchment paper) and stick in the freezer for about 20 minutes. 
  5. Try not to eat them all! 
This recipe is dead on for a Reese's cup.  The Hubby says he prefers these to the store brand.

Do you like peanut butter?  The Hubby and I go through about a jar every two weeks.  What can I say, if I was allergic to peanut butter, I would be the saddest woman in the world!  If you are looking for a savory peanut butter recipe, check out my favorite Asian dish:  Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Sauce.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Food for Thought

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

How-To | Have a Stress-Free Thanksgivng

Do you dread Thanksgiving?  Are you just completely stressed out just thinking about it?  Do you wake up at 3 AM and make the entire meal?  If you answered YES to any of these questions, read on for some tips on making Thanksgiving as stress-free as possible!

I told several of my co-workers that I was going to spend a Saturday making Thanksgiving, and they all gave me such sympathetic looks.  I asked them why, and they said "you'll be in the kitchen ALL day!".  I'm happy to say that I spent only about 3 hours in the kitchen making the Thanksgiving pictured above because I followed the tips below for a stress-free Thanksgiving:

Plan the Basics:  This doesn't have to be a five course dinner with 4 dishes for each course.  How many guests will you have?  What time will dinner be?  Where will everyone eat?  Will tables and chairs need to be rented?  Get the basics written down and confirmed.

Decide on a Menu:  What are some traditional family dishes?  Make a list.  Gather everyone who will be there and decide on a menu.

Delegate:  My family has a rule that whenever we have family meals, everyone brings something.  So take the menu and ask people what they are willing to bring.  Even if they cannot boil water, they can buy rolls.  You are a wonderful cook, and you can do anything!  Don't do everything. 

Confirm:  Confirm a few days before Thanksgiving that 1) the person is coming and 2) that they are still bringing the dish they volunteered to bring.

Make Ahead:  Make as much of Thanksgiving recipes that you can ahead of time.  Even some of the sauces that will be pour on vegetables and such will save a tremendous amount of time and sanity!

Enjoy! Enjoy a stress-free holiday because this year, you had help and were actually able to enjoy your holiday rather than waking up at 3 AM and spending all day in the kitchen.

So there you have it!  My 5 tips on how to have a stress-free Thanksgiving!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thanksgiving | Sweet Potato Casserole Ice Cream

I mentioned a few weeks ago, when I went to the KY Proud Food Show, that I had sweet potato casserole ice cream.  I was OBSESSED.  So much so that I made it at home! 

The ice cream that I tried at the food show was good; it had the nuts, marshmallows, and a sweet ribbon running through the ice cream.  However, my favorite part of sweet potato casserole is the crunchy topping.  So I made my topping separate and sprinkled it on top. 

Sweet Potato Casserole Ice Cream
 {Sweet Potato Casserole Ice Cream}

Sweet Potato Casserole Ice Cream
 {I made the base only slightly sweet so that the topping and it didn't compete}

How did I make this you ask?  I simply modified my sweet potato casserole recipe from a few years ago, and viola!  Ice cream perfection!  This is the perfect dessert for those who do not like pumpkin pie or are adventurous.  This is different, but I'm all about different and new!

Sweet Potato Casserole Ice Cream

Makes 2 quarts

2 pounds sweet potatoes (KY Proud)
2 cups brown sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup pecans, chopped
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  1. Cook sweet potatoes until tender.
  2. Cool the potatoes, and then puree them in a blender of food processor.
  3. Add 1 cup brown sugar, heavy cream and vanilla to the potatoes.
  4. Put potato mixture in a container and cool overnight in the fridge.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350.
  6. Mix remaining 1 cup brown sugar, pecans, flour, and butter together until crumbly.
  7. Place pecan mixture on a baking sheet and bake until crispy, about 10-15 minutes.
  8. Once the pecan mixture is cooled, break into pieces.  Save in an air tight container.  This will be the topping for the ice cream.
  9. Freeze potato mixture according to manufacturer's directions.
  10. Serve potato ice cream with topping.
This was such a hit at work where I convinced about 10 people to try it.  The Hubby hates sweet potatoes so he didn't even try which was okay with me because that meant more for me!

I won't judge you if you add whipped cream too!   Do you do traditional desserts for Thanksgiving? 

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thanksgiving | Brined Turkey

And now for the highlight of any Thanksgiving feast--THE TURKEY!!!  My mom requested a brined turkey this year, and being the awesome daughter that I am, I obliged.

This turkey was so incredibly yummy that there was none left over for my favorite sandwiches!  A friend even asked if the turkey was KY Proud because it had so much flavor (unfortunately, the turkeys would not have been ready in time for timely post so this was a store bought turkey).  Biring is a seriously under-used yet easy method for meats.

Brined Turkey
 {Brined Turkey--we roasted it after brining it for about 24 hours.  It was everyone's favorite!}

I am so happy to say that this is an original recipe of mine adapted from another brining I did a few years ago.  I wanted to grill/smoke the turkey, but it was freezing and rainy outside so it was baked.  Still delicious!

Brined Turkey

Makes 6 servings

3/4 cup Kosher salt
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoon black peppercorn
3 tablespoon coriander seeds
3 tablespoon dried oregano
2-3 bay leaves (depending on the size: 1 large or 2 small)
  1. Place all spices in a dish that can withstand hot water. 
  2. Heat about 1 cup of water until steaming.
  3. Pour onto spices and stir until all of the salt and sugar are dissolved.
  4. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes or until cool.
  5. Add turkey and fill the remainder of the container with cool water.  The turkey needs to be completely covered so please make sure it fits before brining!  I tried several different vessels, and I ended up cutting out the back bone and smooshing the turkey down a bit.
  6. Marinate for NO MORE than 24 hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 and roast for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until turkey reaches 160 degrees; if using a whole turkey, increase this time to about 3-4 hours.  
How does your family make their turkey?  I would love to hear!

And last but not least, the winner of the crock-pot is Jessica!  Congratulations!  An email has been sent to the winner!

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    Monday, November 17, 2014

    Thanksgiving | Cranberry Sauce

    What is Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce?  I really can't do the canned versions mainly because it can be made ahead of time and is ridiculously easy to make it at home!  Besides, it looks weird coming out of the can all ribbed and such...  Just creepy.

    Cranberry Sauce
     {Cranberry Sauce}

    Cranberry Sauce

    Makes 3 cups

    12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries (approximately 3 cups), rinsed
    1/2 cup water
    1/2 cup fresh orange juice with pulp
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    1. In a medium sauce pan dissolve sugar in water and orange juice over medium low heat.
    2. Then add cranberries and return to a gentle boil for 10 minutes.
    3. Remove from heat.
    4. Serve warm or let the sauce completely cool.
    5. Refrigerate until ready to serve if needed.
    One of my favorite parts about Thanksgiving is eating cranberry sauce and turkey sandwiches for lunch the week after!  One of my favorite sandwiches (cream cheese and onions too if you are interested!)

    Do you make cranberry sauce or do you buy it?  Now that you know how easy it is, will you try to make it at home this year?

    PS--Don't forget to enter the crock-pot giveaway!  The winner will be announced tomorrow!
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    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Brussel Sprouts and Pecans in Brown Butter

    I've been making this recipe since I was in culinary school where I learned it.  It's so easy, and the flavors work so well together.  Then again, what doesn't taste good coated in butter?  This recipe does have to be made at the last minute, but it's easy--promise!

    Brussel Sprouts and Pecans in Brown Butter
    {Brussel Sprouts and Pecans in Brown Butter}

    Brussel Sprouts and Pecans in Brown Butter

    Makes 6 servings

    24 oz brussel sprouts. trimmed and cut in half (KY Proud)
    4 tablespoons butter
    1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
    1. Steam brussel sprouts until tender.
    2. Meanwhile, brown butter in a sauce pan; click here for a tutorial.
    3. Once the brussel sprouts are done, add the butter and pecan.
    4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    5. Serve warm.
    Next week will be the crowning glory of any Thanksgiving meal: turkey, cranberry sauce and dessert!  Stay tuned for more recipes!

    PS-Don't forget to enter the crock-pot giveaway!

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    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    How-To | Roast a Pumpkin

    I have received several questions on how to roast a pumpkin this year so here it is!  It's super easy!

    Roast a Pumpkin
     {Pureed pumpkin}

    Roast a Pumpkin
     {Pumpkin courtesy of my in-laws}

    {Step 1: Preheat oven to 350}

    Roast a Pumpkin
     {Step 2: Cut pumpkin open and scoop out the seeds.  You can roast the seeds if you would like.}

    Roast a Pumpkin
     {Step 3: Place pumpkin in casserole dishes and roast until tender, about 1 hour}

    {Step 4: Allow pumpkin to cool}

    {Step 5: Peel off the waxy part of the pumpkin}

    Roast a Pumpkin
    {Step 6: Using a blender or food processor, puree the pumpkin}

    {Step 7: Use or store in the fridge for up to 1 month}

    So there you have it!  Really easy right?  So now what?  You can use it like any other pumpkin puree!  Some ideas:  pumpkin juice or pumpkin bacon sauce!

    Mine happens to be more watery than I would like especially for baking so I will be putting it in a strainer overnight before using it to bake some Pumpkin-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies for my in-law's Thanksgiving.

    PS-Don't forget to enter my crock-pot giveaway!

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    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    Thanksgiving | Sausage, Apple and Sage Stuffing plus GIVEAWAY!

    When I was surfing Pinterest for stuffing recipes, I saw several that were done in a crock-pot.  I mean, how awesome is that to shove everything in a crock-pot Thanksgiving morning and let it do the work?   A no-brainer, that's what!

    Sausage, Apple and Sage Stuffing
     {Sausage, Apple and Sage Stuffing}

    Sausage, Apple & Sage Stuffing
    from sweet treats & more

    Makes 8 servings

    1 loaf sourdough bread, cubed and toasted
    8 ounces ground pork sausage (KY Proud)
    4 tablespoons butter, melted
    1 1/2 cups Granny Smith green apples, chopped (KY Proud)
    1 1/2 cups chopped onion
    1 1/2 cups chopped celery
    1 teaspoons salt
    1/2 teaspoons pepper
    1/2 cup chicken broth plus more if desired
    2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage 
    1. Brown the sausage, drain and place in the bottom of a (6qt or larger) slow cooker. 
    2. Stir in the remaining ingredients except for sage; toss everything together using two large spoons. 
    3. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or until the bread is browned on top and vegetables are tender. 
    4. Before serving you can stir in extra broth if desired for extra moisture. 
    Since we are coming up on cold weather and the holidays, I am giving away one of favorite pieces of kitchen appliances--a crock-pot!

    {It's my favorite because it has clips to prevent it leaking when you transport the crock-pot!}

    The giveaway is only for one crock-pot, and is open to anyone over the age of 18 in the US.  The contest is open from today until Tuesday, November 18 when the winner will be announced!  Use the widget below to enter!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Good luck!

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    Monday, November 10, 2014

    Thanksgiving | Carrots with Lemon-Chive Butter

    Welcome to Thanksgiving headquarters!  Over the weekend, I made a complete Thanksgiving meal full of new recipes, and I am so happy to say that most were easy and delicious.  One recipe I'll have to tweak before sharing, but these carrots were a major hit.  What's so awesome about them?  You can make the butter ahead of time so all you have to do is steam the carrots right before dinner then add the butter.  Easy!

    Carrots with Lemon-Chive Butter
     {Carrots with Lemon-Chive Butter}

    Carrots with Lemon-Chive Butter

    Makes 8 servings

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    1 lemon, juiced and zested
    1/4 cup chopped chives (alternatively use the green parts of green onions)
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    2 pounds baby-cut carrots
    1. In a bowl, combine butter, lemon zest and juice, chives, sugar, salt and pepper, and mix well with a rubber spatula or hand mixer on low speed.  Do this ahead of time!
    2. Place carrots in a large pot and just cover with water. 
    3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until just tender, about 20 minutes. 
    4. Drain and return to pan. 
    5. Add butter mixture and toss until butter melts and carrots are evenly coated. 
    6. Serve warm.
    Stay tuned for more delicious recipes like sausage, apple, and sage stuffing and brined turkey!

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    Thursday, November 6, 2014

    Pleasing Your Palate | Thanksgiving

    Did I panic you with the mention of Thanksgiving on Monday?  If I did-sorry!  It's a good thing that I have two years of Thanksgiving recipes under my belt, and I'll be sharing more recipes later this month!

    To get the juices flowing, here are some of the recipes I have made in the past:

    Smashed Potatoes

     Roasted Chicken with Herb Butter and Gravy

    Old-Fashioned Cornbread

    Apple-Cranberry Bars

    Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

    Sweet Potato Casserole

    Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Sweet Thai Chili Sauce

    Roasted Cauliflower Gratin
    Garlic Roasted Chicken with Gravy

    Chickpea and Kale Salad

    Creamed Corn

    And because you know that you'll make entirely too much food for Thanksgiving and will be eating leftovers for a week, why not make a pot pie?
    Leftover Thanksgiving Pot Pie

    So there you have it!  Is there anything that your family makes specifically for Thanksgiving?
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