6.09.2016

Perfect Sweet Potatoes

Follow the recipe below to perfectly bake a sweet potato, without having to test and guess when it is done:
  • Don’t coat the sweet potatoes in or wrap them in foil. This is often required in baked sweet potato recipes, but it is time-consuming and not necessary. I’ve also found that this helps the skin separate from the sweet potato flesh, making it easier to peel and eat after baking.
  • Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork before baking. This improves the texture and helps the sweet potato separate from the skin.
  • Don’t place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet – put them directly on the oven rack. I’ve found the baking sheet to be unnecessary.
  • Place a sheet of foil over the bottom of the oven. This catches any syrup that may drip from the sweet potatoes. Don’t worry, sweet potato juice isn’t going to gush out and dirty your oven, there are just a few drips that turn into charcoal on the foil.
  • Leave the sweet potatoes in the oven after turning off the oven. The residual heat continues to cook the sweet potatoes without burning them, so they get exceptionally tender and moist.
Ingredients 
Sweet potatoes or yams
  
Instructions
Put baking sheet lined with foil on the lowest rack of your oven. (Don't put the foil directly on the bottom of the oven.) This will catch any of the syrup that may escape from the sweet potatoes. For easy cleanup, simply remove the foil and throw it away after baking the sweet potatoes.

Don't preheat the oven. Prick your sweet potatoes each 2-3 time with a fork, then place them directly on the oven rack in the middle of the oven, above the rack with the foil. Turn the oven on to 425.

Bake for 45 minutes for sweet potatoes/yams that are 2-3 inches in diameter. For sweet potatoes that are up to 4 inches in diameter, bake for an hour. For super large sweet potatoes, bake for an hour and 15 minutes.

After the time has elapsed, don't open the oven but turn it off. Let the sweet potatoes sit in the oven for at least 30 minutes but up to an hour. Remove from the oven and eat immediately, or remove the skin and store in a container in the fridge.

Makes as many sweet potatoes as you want.
via empowered sustenance

5.27.2016

NYC Street Cart Style Chicken and Rice

INGREDIENTS
For the white sauce:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
1 lemon, juiced
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
For the chicken:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup olive oil
For the rice:
2 tablespoons butter
1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups basmati or long grain white rice
2 cups chicken stock
½ teaspoon salt
Additional optional ingredients:
Sriracha, harissa or your favorite hot sauce (optional to serve)
Fresh parsley (optional for garnish)

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Whisk together all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use. 

2. Toss chicken with lemon juice, oregano, coriander, salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil. Marinade at least 15 minutes, an hour is ideal.

3. Heat a large pot over high heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom lightly. 

4. In a large saucepan, cook the chicken in batches until done. Remove from pan, set aside and keep warm. 

5. In the same pot you cooked the chicken, add the butter, rice, turmeric and cumin. Stir to coat, cook about 1-2 minutes. 

6. Add chicken stock and salt and bring to a boil.

7. Turn heat down to low, cover and cook 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork when finished and remove from heat.

8. When everything is done, dice the chicken. 

9. Serve chicken pieces on top of rice, drizzle with the white sauce and add hot sauce if desired. 

10. Enjoy! (Servings: 4)

via Tasty

5.25.2016

Rhubarb Pudding Cake

Ingredients
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1-3/4 cups sugar, divided
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup sifted flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2/3 cup boiling water


Instructions
Cover the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch square pan with fruit. (You can also use a square glass baking dish or a deep dish glass pie plate.)

Mix 3/4 cup sugar, butter, baking powder, salt, extracts, milk and flour together (add a little more milk if it is too thick to pour); pour over fruit. Mix remaining sugar and cornstarch; sprinkle over mixture in pan. Pour boiling water over the top.

Bake at 375°or 45 minutes

5.17.2016

Hummingbird Cake

Cake Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1½ cups vegetable oil
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups chopped bananas
2 cups chopped tasted pecans, divided
Shortening
Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)

Cake Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon; add eggs and oil and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, bananas, and 1 cup pecans.
Spoon batter int 3 well-greased (with shortening) and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).  Place one cake layer on a serving platter. spread 1 cup Cream Cheese Frosting over the cake layer (top only); repeat with the next two layers frosting the top and sides of the third layer. Sprinkle top of cake with remaining cup of pecans.

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
2 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
2 packages (16 oz.) powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting Instructions
Beat butter and cream cheese at medium low speed, with an electric mixer, until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high and beat 1 to 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Use immediately. Makes about 5½ cups.

via Southern Living

5.11.2016

Crepes

Ingredients
 8 large eggs (or 1 cup powdered whole eggs mixed with 2 cups water)
2 cups milk (or 1/4 cup dry milk with 2 cups water)
4 cups flour
3 cups water
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp olive oil
Butter or coconut oil for greasing pan

Possible toppings: sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, whipped cream, Nutella, yogurt, caramel, and powdered sugar.

Instructions
 In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Gradually stir in the milk. Slowly beat in the flour until smooth. Whisk in the water, salt, and olive oil.

Heat a lightly buttered or oiled frying pan over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto the the pan, tilting pan in a circular motion to completely coat the surface. Cook 2-3 minutes, until the bottom is golden brown. Carefully flip the crepe using a spatula and cook the other side another 2 minutes until golden brown.

To cook multiple crepes at once, a large griddle can be used. Crepes cooked on the griddle will be a little thicker, yet equally as delicious.

Place desired toppings in separate bowls. Individuals can assemble crepes as they wish. Makes 6-8 servings.

via Stephanie Ashcraft

4.30.2016

Upside-Down Bacon Apple Pie

Ingredients:
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups packed light brown sugar
1 (16 oz.) package thick-cut bacon
2 unbaked 9-inch refrigerated pie crusts
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1⅛ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp. apple pie spice
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
6 cups sliced, cored, peeled baking apples, such as Granny Smith

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with the entire stick of butter. Sprinkle and dust 1 cup of the brown sugar into the pan until the whole inside of the pan is covered, bottom and sides.

Weave the raw bacon tightly together to make a 12-inch lattice. Press the bacon into the pan on top of the brown sugar. Put one pie crust on top of the bacon and press on it until it molds to the bottom of the pan. Do not trim the edges just yet.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, granulated sugar, remaining ½ cup brown sugar, the cinnamon, nutmeg, apple pie spice, vanilla and lemon juice. Add the sliced apples and toss to coat.

Scoop the filling into the pie crust, spreading it out as evenly as you can. Cover with the second pie crust. Press the edges of the two crusts together and crimp to seal. Don’t worry about looks; this is the bottom of your pie. Poke a dozen holes at random with a fork for steam.
Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake until the sides are bubbling, 45 minutes longer.

Remove from the oven and let sit just until the bubbling stops, about 5 minutes. Important: You must flip this over onto a serving plate while it’s still hot. Put a plate over the pie, grab the pie and plate with two potholders, and invert. Remove the pie pan. Let cool on the plate before serving.

4.20.2016

Homemade Thin Mints

Ingredients for the Cookies 
1 cup (8 oz or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature* 
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder*
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
¾ tsp salt
1½ cups all purpose flour, fluffed and scooped*

Ingredients for the Coating
16 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 tsp vegetable or coconut oil
1 tsp peppermint extract or oil*

Instructions 
1. Preheat ovet to 350°F.
2. Cream butter until light and fluffy, then add the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Stir in the salt , vanilla, and cocoa powder. Mix until the cocoa powder is integrated and the batter resembles a thick frosting. Add the flour and mix just until the flour is combined, making sure not to over mix.
3. for dough into a ball. Knead a few times to bring together, then flatten into a sick between half an inch and one inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 15 minutes.
4 Remove the dough from the freezer and roll it out really thin, about 1/8-inch, on a floured surface. Cut cookies using a 1½-inch cutter (a cordial glass that is just under 2" is perfect).
5. Place the cookies on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the over and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
6. While the cookies bake, Make the peppermint coating. Chop the baking chocolate into very small, thin pieces. Place in a glass measuring cup or similar container along with the the oil and microwave in short 15-20 second bursts. Stir in the peppermint extract.*
7. Gently drop the cookies, one at a time, into the coating. Turn to coat entirely, then lift the cookie out of the cookie out of the chocolate with the fork and bang the fork on the side of the pan until the extra coating drips off.
8. Place the cookies in the refrigerator or freezer until set (can leave out, but will take a bit longer).

*Notes
Butter: Be sure that your butter is truly at room temperature before you start. if you r butter is cool, the dough will not come together well.

Cocoa: Dutch dark cocoa powder is a good choice.

Flour: Fluff cup the flour int eh canister or bag to loosen it BEFORE you scoop or spoon out your measurement. Level the top of the measuring cup  gently with the back of a knife to get the most accurate measurement in a cup made for dry measurements.

Peppermint: Make sure to use peppermint, not spearmint, and make sure to get extract or oil (must be an oil based), not flavoring. McCormick;s Pure Peppermint Extract or any candy flavoring oil is good. If you can't find it in a local store, you can order it on Amazon.

If you have trouble adding the peppermint extract of oil to the melted chocolate, you can try putting it in with the chocolate before melting. Remember everything must be clean and dry, with no moisture in the bowl.
via a view from great island

3.17.2016

3.16.2016

Apple Raisin Bread Pudding

Ingredients
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 loaf (1 pound) day-old cinnamon-raisin bread, cubed
3 cups tart apples, peeled and chopped 
7 eggs, lightly beaten
2-1/2 cups 2% milk 
1/4 cup sugar 
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ingredients for Sauce  
 1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold milk (can use water)
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions  
Pour butter into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Combine bread cubes and apples; sprinkle over butter. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla. Pour over bread; let stand for 15 minutes or until bread is softened.   

Bake, uncovered, at 325°F for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. 

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt and water until smooth. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Pour over warm bread pudding or serve on the side.

via Taste of Home

3.15.2016

Aprons

I don't think our kids know what an apron is. The principle use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids..

And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

3.12.2016

Cinnamon Roll Bites

Ingredients - Rolls
12 oz. can refrigerated biscuits
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Ingredients - Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. milk

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°F and butter an 8x8 inch pan.
Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and set aside.
Cut biscuits into 4 pieces each and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture until completely coated. Place dough, close together, in baking pan and spread melted butter over the top.
Bake for 20-22 minutes.
Mix glaze ingredients until well combined and pour over warm rolls.

via lil'luna

3.11.2016

Chili Mac 'n' Cheese

Ingredients
1 lbs. lean ground beef
1 small white onion, diced
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
7 oz. kidney beans (1/2 can)
7 oz. black beans (1/2 can)
1.5 Tbsp. chili powder
1.5 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. seasoned salt
3.5 cups chicken broth
10 oz. elbow macaroni
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
grated cheese (optional topping)
sour cream (optional topping)
cilantro (optional topping)

Instructions 
In a large pot, cook ground beef and onions over medium high heat until browned. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional two to three minutes. Carefully drain any excess fat. Add the diced tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, chili powder, cumin, seasoned salt, and chicken broth. Stir, and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook according to package instructions. Stir in the cheese, and cook for an additional five minutes, or until thickened. Serve with your favorite toppings & enjoy!!

Sweet Potato Cornbread

Ingredients
1 cup cooked sweet potato
2 large eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
1 cup + 2½ Tbsp. yellow cornbread
½ cup flour
¼ cup sugar 
1½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ cup butter, chilled and cut into ½ inch pieces

Instructions
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 9" oven-safe skillet. Mash the cooked and cooled sweet potato. Wisk in eggs and buttermilk. In a food processor, blend toether the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt , baking powder, baking soda and ginger. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a course meal. Add the potato mixture and stir until jus combined . Pour into prepared skillet. Bake for 30-30 minutes, until golden brown on top.

3.10.2016

Spiced Bread Pudding

Ingredients
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried orange peel
15 whole cloves
15 whole peppercorns
1/2 ounce crystallized ginger, chopped
5 cups half-and-half, divided
3 large whole eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 ounces spiced rum
1 (10-inch) stale French boule
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
Whipped Cream and/or Hard Sauce Optional for serving

Instructions:
Place the cinnamon, nutmeg, dried orange peel, cloves, peppercorns, and ginger into 3 cups of half-and-half in a microwavable container and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Check the temperature of the mixture and microwave in 30 second increments until it reaches 180 degrees F. Cover and steep 15 minutes.

Place the eggs and yolks in a blender with an 8-cup carafe. Blend on the lowest speed for 30 seconds. Raise the speed to quarter power and slowly add the sugars and blend until thickened slightly, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 2 cups half-and-half. With the machine still running, pour in the spiced half-and-half through a small hand strainer and add the rum. Use immediately, or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours.

Preheat the oven on the lowest (or warm) setting.

Cut a 7-inch round disk off the top of the boule using a long bread knife or serrated slicer. Tear the disk into pieces and scatter in a large roasting pan. Cut all the way around the inside of the boule just inside the outer wall. Cut downward and across the interior of the bread, first in one direction, then 90 degrees to it to create a grid, the way you would cube mango flesh to remove it from the skin. Remove the plugs of bread and tear into hunks about the size of an egg. Add to the roasting pan and bake until bread is dry, 1/2 to 2 hours.

Sprinkle the fruit over the bread, pour in the custard, and press the bread to submerge all the pieces. Cover and soak for 2 hours at room temperature or for up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Pour the melted butter into a spray bottle and spritz the inside of the bread shell. Be sure to cover the bottom with a thin layer to prevent the custard from soaking through. Place the bread shell in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and place in the oven to toast the interior for 30 minutes.

Remove the bread shell from the oven and transfer the soaked bread mixture into the shell. Bake until the bread pudding souffles and reaches an internal temperature of 165 to 170 degrees F, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove and cool 30 minutes before slicing or scooping and serving.

via Alton Brown

2.18.2016

Change Your Battle Ground

The Eagle does not fight the snake on the ground. It picks it up into the sky and changes the battle ground, and then it releases the snake into the sky.
 

The snake has no stamina, no power and no balance in the air. It is useless, weak and vulnerable unlike on the ground where it is powerful wise and deadly.
 

Take your fight into the spiritual realm by praying and when you are in the spiritual realm God takes over your battles.
 

Don't fight the enemy in his comfort zone, change the battle grounds like the Eagle and let God take charge through your earnest prayer. You'll be assured of clean victory.
 

Pray without ceasing.

2.12.2016

Fiery Triple Chocolate Cream Pie

Ingredients Pie Crust:
1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer cookies
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
 
Ingredients Chocolate Filling:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 cups milk
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
White chocolate shavings, for garnish
Crushed pretzels, for garnish

Instructions for the pie crust: 
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Add the cookies, sugar and melted butter to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the cookies are crumbled and the everything is well combined.

Press the crumbs into a 9-inch pie plate, making sure to evenly distribute them up the sides. Use a dry measuring cup to smooth out the crust if necessary. Bake until set, about 5 minutes. Cool completely before filling, about 20 minutes.

Instructions for the chocolate filling: 
Put the sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, cayenne and salt in a large saucepan, whisk to combine and place over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in the milk, bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until it coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate, butter and vanilla until the chocolate is melted and incorporated.

Spoon the filling into the cooled pie crust. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for 3 hours. Garnish with shaved white chocolate and crushed pretzels, and serve.

via Nancy Fuller/Farmhouse Rules

2.11.2016

Cream Kale with Pearl Onions

Ingredients
Kosher salt
1 cup pearl onions, peeled
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup homemade chicken stock or store-bought chicken broth
1 1/4 pounds baby kale
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, add the pearl onions and cook 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, pat dry and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, stir in the flour, nutmeg and some salt and pepper and cook until the flour is well incorporated and the raw flavor cooks out, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the cream and chicken stock, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the pearl onions, then the kale, little by little, and cook until it wilts, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the Parmesan, taste, and adjust seasonings. Serve hot.

2.10.2016

Jalapeno Cornbread

Ingredients
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 450° F. Prepare a 10-inch cast iron skillet by heating it in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, add the butter, let it melt and set aside.

Put the eggs and corn in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the corn is slightly smooth. Add the cornmeal, flour, sour cream, sugar, baking powder and salt and pulse until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold in the jalapeno and melted butter.

Pour the batter into the skillet and bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.

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