Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Snack Cake Cupcakes

Snack-cake inspired cupcakes.

I won't say I exactly invented these, for a quick search of the internet would prove otherwise. Nonetheless, they are INSANE. I used a new recipe from Marthastewart.com, and they tasted more like brownies than cupcakes. And let's not forget...

it's what inside that counts.

Drumroll....these are my first ever "filled" cupcakes. I think I may never not fill a cupcake again. The filling is a buttery-marshmallowy-cream.

Monday, March 28, 2011

PW BBQ Jalapeno Poppers and PW Simple, Perfect Enchiladas

This weekend I tackled one of the more time-consuming recipes: the Enchiladas. Holy bazillion steps. Cook the meat, make the sauce, fry the tortillas, dip the tortillas in the sauce, assemble, bake. Much different than my own enchilada recipe, and it has beef in it (first for me, I usually use chicken). This is definitely not something I could manage during the week with the banshees running around.

Looks just like the picture, that's a good sign right?


They were pretty good, but at the end of the day, I still prefer chicken. Bygones.

I also made these to go with. I halved the recipe, since I knew I would be the only one eating these. My hubs has gotten A TON better about trying new things, but this kind of thing is a no-go for him. I'm the only one in the house that likes spicy things. I mean, I put Frank's or Tabasco on ever.y.thing. I think #2 will be my partner in crime when he gets older.

The recipe calls for basting them in BBQ sauce after wrapping in bacon, and I took licence to not put it on there because I don't really like it very much and they're just for me! The filling is cream cheese, cheddar, and chopped green onions. They are really good, I mean, I don't think I've ever had a bad stuffed jalapeno, but I'm not sure I like them more than the fried ones.

This entire meal is just begging to be consumed with some Bud Light or margaritas. But we had none. Piss poor, I tell ya. I really need to start planning beverages!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

PW Meatloaf and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Ah, Meatloaf. We meet again.

This was the meal I was in the middle of when my oven exploded on me two weeks ago. (No, really, sparks came up and over the food from the heating element.) So, I was anxious to conquer this. It was really good, albeit not exactly low in calories. I'm pretty sure the Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes at Cracker barrel are a healthier choice (no really, I looked it up.) Nevertheless, yum! The meatloaf has parsely and parmesean cheese in it. With bacon on top. And the potatoes have...butter. Lots of butter. mmmmmm. Paula Deen would be proud!

Nerd alert:

I typed up all the recipes in this book in a list into Word, so I could have it in these posts and cross them off. But I can't figure out how to a) do the "strike through" text, and b) I'm copying and pasting the text since I can't save it as a jpeg and when I paste it here the highlighting I'm using doesn't show up, and the format is all wonky. Help!

(ps. I have word 2003 if that makes a difference. This is an old computer. Don't laugh.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

PW French Breakfast Puffs

Yesterday I made these "breakfast" muffins...although, they are so sweet I'm sure it would be frowned upon if I gave them to my boys for breakfast with nothing else except milk. Hypothetically.

I took a few pics of the process, but making muffins/cupcakes is pretty straightforward, isn't it?

This just shows that the recipe indicated it would make 12 muffins, but I came out with 16. Maybe because I used my ice-cream scooper? I A-L-W-A-Y-S use it so they come out nice and even and all the same size and shape. Type A and all that.

I took a pic of this because I'm not really sure what was happening in that middle row there...never seen that before!

They are pretty basic plain muffins (there's a little nutmeg in them) and then while they are still warm you roll them in melted butter (2 sticks!) and cinnamon sugar.

Hello, Lover.

verdict: they were awesome. However, next time (these will be in heavy rotation I'm sure) I think I will make them in mini muffin pans, and maybe just dip and coat the tops. For 1) to cut down on the mess, esp with little boys, and 2) to cut the calories down on them. I entered these in to my calorie counter app and was SHOCKED at what it said...I didn't think they were worth that considering their isn't any chocolate involved.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tom King Classic Half Marathon....and other stuff

This weekend I completed my 2nd half-marathon. In 3.5 months. Who am I ??? Seriously, yall, this is someone who N-E-V-E-R planned on running more than a 5k. Like, that was me last summer. I took the plunge and signed up for a 10k, then a year later another one, and that was it. Maybe it got in my head I could do these because I'm thinking....TENk...that's almost 13 miles... when, uh, NO, 10 is 6ish miles, it's not even the same thing! But here I am! And...deep breath...I'm thinking of doing another one. In 6 weeks. The Country Music Marathon and Half is pretty much the biggest race of the year here. I did this one because I just didn't want to wait that long. After that, though, I might have to take the summer off from the LONG distances because I don't do that well in the heat.

Here is me before the race. It started and finished at the stadium where the Titans play. All smiles!

And, since it's the weekend before St. Patty's Day, I had to green it up, yall! You KNOW I have Aggie shirts for every occasion. Because, why not? I liked that the numbers were green too. They even had a bag pipe guy playing as the different races left.

(I thought bagpipes were Scottish, but who am I to judge...It was still cool. My maiden name is Scottish and I married an Australian guy with an Irish name...pretty much a lateral move for me in the name department.)

This is where we came in to finish...the back left corner of this pic, down around the other end of the stadium, then back up to finish. And they showed us up on the jumbo tron and called out our names :)

Guess who that is? My Mile-2 running buddy, Dave Ramsey. You know, financial guru who my hub's borderline...well...let's just say he's a big fan. We've been doing his plan for a little over a year now and have made great progress, but we're still in Baby Step 2. (Look it up.)

Hubs said he's been hearing Dave talk about training for a race on his radio show, and talking about it like it was coming up soon, but I figured it was the next one (C.M.) And then, low and behold, just after the first mile marker, I hear someone say his first name behind me and then he spoke-and I recognized that voice! I couldn't believe it. I was all, my H is not gonna BELIEVE this!!! So then I had to quickly decide whether to bug him or not. I did. I totally ran over to his side of the road like a big nerd and told him my H was a big fan and we are making good progress, blah blah blah. We ran together for a while and had a nice little chat. At one point we were talking about upcoming races. He was all, 'I'm doing the Country Music' and I was all 'oh me too!'. Around mile 11 I was re-thinking that comment! Funny-I don't think I even told him my name! So then, when we split off, I'm trying to gague when's enough distance to not look like a total nerd so I can text the hub and tell him. I wound up just texting Dave's number so he could look for him and what he was wearing. He thought I had just thought I'd seen him and replied, yeah, that's him, saw his name on the list. I saved my little nugget of info about the conversation until I could tell him in person. Good times. :)

So there he is finishing, about 10 min ahead of me.

Here is me trying not to collapse as I bolt toward the finish. I was seriously out of gas. I was so focused I didn't even see my fam. And? my ipod died. Again. Froze up. At mile 6.5. It's what I was afraid of...It's been on the fritz. That's a freakin long time to have to listen to the stupid crickets and bullfrogs in the park we were running through. I am a person who needs that distraction. I took my ear out and tucked it in my shirt like an angry singer who's ear things aren't working during a performance. And? Because of that? It didn't save any of my hard-earned mileage for my nike+ account. GRR!

Me after with my medal-green too!

In other news, many of you know already, but my oven has kicked the bucket. Thursday I was in the middle of making PW Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and cobbler. It was not good. I was not happy. A repair guy came out today and has to now "track down" a part for it. So there will be no Irish soda bread or potato bread or shamrock cookies or cinnamon rolls or pretty much anything from the PW or Paula Deen book until it gets fixed. There's like 3 recipes in the PW book that don't require an oven, so I'll try to work on those in the mean time. Friday night I made the PW mac and cheese, which has a bake option at the end, but I just cooked it all the way on the stove. I didn't take any pics though, because I was still pissed at the oven. I'll make it again. It was pretty good!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Double Chocolate and Irish Cream Cupcakes

These don't need much of an intro:

Dark chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache and Bailey's Irish creme Buttercream. There are lots of these type of cupcakes making the rounds right now, so when I got asked to make some this week for a birthday I thought they'd be perfect!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mardi Gras of food!

Hope everyone had a great Mardi Gras! Here is my first King cake I've ever made, it's from my Paula Deen Celebrates Book. It turned out huge, and took all day long to make-easily the most complicated bread recipe I've ever made. Next time I will make 2 cakes out of this. And, not forget to add the melted butter on the inside before adding the cinnamon sugar and rolling it up. doh! It still turned out ok, even though I don't have anything to compare it to.

Here is the Shrimp Etouffee I made, also from the Paula Deen book. (the Mardi Gras chapter! I love it...it's all holiday menus.)

I've never made anything like this before either, and I did have to alter the recipe at the beginning a little bit because the flour:butter ratio for the roux you start with left it a little runny so I had to add more flour. And I added a whole lot more Tabasco than it said...and I could have added more!

Monday, March 7, 2011

PW Buttermilk Biscuits and Paula Deen Red Beans and Rice

Tonite I made Red Beans and Rice, yall!

I started out with dry beans, and I started soaking them yesterday, just like the book says, and damned if it still didn't take twice as long as the recipe said to cook until the beans were soft. This is why I never use dry beans!!! ugh. What a beating. But in the end? Still pretty good!

Along with them I made the PW Buttermilk Biscuits. I kind of had to make do a little, because I am still lacking some necessary kitchen equipment. You start out with the flour/baking soda etc. mixture, and then are supposed to "cut in" the butter and shortening with a pastry cutter (which I don't have) or 2 knives (um, yeah, not happening..) Anyhoo...I usually use my trusty food processor for this part. Except, it has gone to meet it's maker. And by maker, I mean the dumpster. It was a cheapo-brand that I was lucky enough to get 7 years out of, and now I'm saving up for the BIG DADDY that I really want. Still waiting. So, I just used my smaller one and did it in batches.

You just pulse it until the butter is in fine bits, much like you would do for any pastry or pie crust.

Then you stir in the buttermilk.

I didn't stir it that well, per the recipe, and when I turned it out I wound up having to knead it some because it was falling apart crumbly.

I eventually got it rolled out and used my "biscuit cutter" (aka large wilton circle fondant cutter).

I baked them on the lesser side of the time frame, and I still think they were a little over done. And a little dry. Not sure if it was my fault though. Pretty good, though. Very rustic.

Here's how the Red Beans and Rice looked:

DEFINITELY needs more hot sauce! It smelled amazing cooking all day!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The PW Project & PW Sour Cream Pancakes

Last week I FINALLY got The Pioneer Woman's cookbook! I've been wanting it for a while. I am planning on cooking my way through it, but only a few a week, or else all the progress my husband and I have made watching our calories since the beginning of the year will be negated!! I'm not trying to be original, I'm sure many have done this already. I just think it will be fun!

(disclaimer: I'm typing this blog from my phone, as a text, i'll try email next, and the pics are from there too. I hope it works, because this is the easiest way for me to get blogs up quickly as I progress along in this project!)

(2nd disclaimer: I went and changed this to a draft so I could edit the format on the computer because it didn't put the pics and text where I wanted. TEXT BLOG = FAIL. But, at least I got the text and pics up on here with a lot less time, just had to edit a little, so we'll see.)

Here we go! I also am using my cast iron skillet for the first time. She mentions having one, and the majority of the meals are made in it. I can't believe I've lived my entire life in the south and never had one! The first recipe I'm making is probably the simplest: Sour Cream Pancakes. For dinner. Because that's how we roll in my house! FTR: I have never made pancakes that weren't from a box mix. Don't judge! I would have more pics but my kitchen light is out and we all know how great the iPhone takes pics in low light!

So here we go-just trying one first. NOTE: That's real butter in the pan, people.

It turned out ok. I'm still tinkering with the heat settings. 2nd batch:

Um. Yeah. Clearly flipped too soon. These don't do the whole dry-around-the-edges-and-get-bubbly-on-top thing so you know when to flip them. Next batch: A little better. Not very pretty though! And not cooked all the way through, even though they look burnt.

Last batch:

Finally the right heat setting. I only got 9 out of this batch, and I measured the scoops, even though it's supposed to make 12.

All in all, they tasted decent. They tasted a little....grilled. Not bad, Just different. I'm guessing that's from the skillet? Because its new? I did wash it first, but the instructions said not to use soap. Will this go away? My 2 little food critics didn't seem to notice they were any different. I'm open to any tips anyone has on any of these recipes and/or cooking with a cast iron skillet!

P.S. I've said it on FB, and I'll say it here. If I cook my way through this book and survive, I'd like Kim Paisley to play me in the movie. Just sayin'.