Friday, March 29, 2013

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Ingredients for the Cupcakes:
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts 
  • 1 pound of carrots 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk (or add a teaspoon of lemon juice to regular milk and allow to stand for 10 minutes) 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 
  • 2 cups of sugar 
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil 
  • 1 tablespoon of orange zest 
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda 
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt 
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cardamom 
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon 

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, softened 
  • 16 oz of Philadelphia cream cheese 
  • 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar 

Directions for Cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Toast the walnuts in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
2. Rinse the carrots and peel the rough skins off, then grate the carrots.
3. Place the carrots, buttermilk, oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest together in a bowl and whisk thoroughly.
4. In another bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon.
5. Fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture, being sure not to overmix. Fold in the toasted walnuts until evenly incorporated.
6. Scoop into cupcake papers about 1/2 to 3/4 full and bake for 19-21 minutes at 350F, being sure to rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes of baking. Afterwards allow to cool for 5 minutes before taking the cupcakes out of the cupcake tin and allowing them to fully cool on a wire rack. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Directions for the Frosting:
1. Beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until well combined.
2. Sift in the powdered sugar and mix.
3. Spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Barbeque Deviled Eggs

  • 12 large eggs 
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise 
  • 2 tablespoons barbeque sauce 
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped smoked pork 
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper 
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot sauce 
  • Garnish: paprika 

  1. Place eggs in a single layer in a large saucepan; add water to a depth of 3 inches. Bring to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes. 
  2. Drain and fill pan with cold water and ice. Tap each egg firmly on the counter until cracks form all over the shell. Peel under cold running water. 
  3. Cut eggs in half lengthwise and carefully remove yolks. 
  4. Mash yolks with mayonnaise and barbeque sauce. 
  5. Stir in pork and next 4 ingredients; blend well. 
  6. Spoon yolk mixture evenly into egg white halves. 
  7. Garnish with paprika, if desired. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Resurrection Rolls

Here's a great recipe to do with the children. Perfect for Easter Morning!

Resurrection Rolls

  • 1 10-ounce can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls 
  • 8 large marshmallows 
  • ¼ cup melted butter 
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon 
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. 
  2. Separate crescent rolls into individual triangles. 
  3. In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon and sugar. 
  4. Dip a marshmallow into melted butter, then roll in sugar mixture. Place marshmallow into the center of a dough triangle. Carefully wrap the dough around the marshmallow. 
  5. Pinch the seams together tightly to seal in marshmallow as it melts. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining marshmallows. 
  6. Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bacon Cheese Pull Aparts

Continuing our recipes for Easter, I couldn't forget about Easter morning. Whether you are headed off to Sunrise Service or sleeping in a little later before going to Worship, you might consider this recipe. It will keep the stomachs from growling while waiting for Sunday lunch!

Bacon Cheese Pull Aparts

· 2 eggs
· 2 tablespoons milk
· 1 (16.3-oz.) can grand size flaky layers refrigerated biscuits
· 1 package real bacon bits or 4-5 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
· 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
· 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (4 medium)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 11x7- or 12x8-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.
2. In large bowl, beat eggs and milk with wire whisk until smooth.
3. Separate dough into 8 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Gently stir biscuit pieces into egg mixture to coat evenly.
4. Fold in bacon, cheese and onions. Spoon mixture into sprayed dish; arrange biscuit pieces in single layer.
5. Bake for 23 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into squares.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Peanut Butter Easter Eggs

· 1/2 cup butter, softened
· 2-1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
· 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
· 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
· 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 1-1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
· 2 tablespoons shortening
· Pastel sprinkles


1. In a large bowl, cream butter; gradually add the confectioners' sugar, cracker crumbs, peanut butter and vanilla. 
2. Shape into 16 eggs; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.
3. In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip eggs in chocolate; allow excess to drip off.
4. Decorate with sprinkles; return eggs to waxed paper. Chill until set. 
5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Yield: 16 eggs.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fruit Salad with Orange Juice Reduction

· 2 medium red apples, cubed and cored (can leave peel on)
· 1 medium green apple, cubed and cored (can leave peel on)
· 2 medium peaches, peeled and cubed
· 2 tablespoons lemon juice
· 1 cup orange juice
· 1/3 cup sugar
· 2 medium navel oranges, peeled, sectioned and chopped or one large can of mandarin oranges
· 2 cups fresh blueberries

1. Place the apples, peaches and lemon juice in a large bowl. Cover with water; set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, combine orange juice and sugar. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Cool in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
3. Drain apple mixture.
4. Add the oranges, blueberries and orange juice mixture; toss to coat. Chill until serving. Yield: 12 servings (3/4 cup each).

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It's All about the Ham!

Yesterday I posted a tasty ham recipe so I thought we’d talk a little more about some “what and what-nots” about ham. Most of the hams we buy in the grocery store are fully-cooked and cured. Fresh hams, however, are out there but they are not as widely available. Hams come in many shapes and sizes: shank portion; center cut; spiral cut and the butt portion. These cuts are bone-in except of course for the center cut. It’s personal preference but I prefer those with the bone in because the flavor is really just so much better.
Here are the definitions of the butt and shank cuts just so you’ll know the next time you’re standing at the meat counter and wondering:

Butt End: The upper cut of the hog's hind leg. The butt end is meatier but contains more fat than the shank end of the whole ham and is harder to carve because it contains the hip and pelvic bone. If the cut is found labeled " butt half", it has not had the center ham slice removed. If the center slice has been cut from it, the cut will be labeled " butt portion".

Shank End: Lower cut of the hog's hind leg. The shank end contains less fat, is not as meaty as the butt end, but it contains only one leg bone, making it easier to carve. It has a slightly sweeter flavor. If the cut is found labeled " shank half", it has not had the center ham slice removed. If the center slice has been cut from it, the cut will be labeled " shank portion".

Now for a few ham cooking tips:

1. Be careful to not overcook your ham. Because most hams are already fully cooked, baking releases juices that accentuate the flavor while tenderizing the meat.

2. For optimum flavor, bake your ham on a low oven temperature (around 325 degrees) for about 20 minutes per pound.

3. To prevent drying of the meat, create a “sauna” for your ham. Add a little liquid to the bottom of the roasting pan and loosely tent with foil. Using a baking bag is another great way to be sure the meat is not dried out.

4. Don’t use sharp utensils that may pierce the ham because piercing the ham will cause valuable juices to escape.

5. Always let the ham rest for 10 – 15 minutes before carving.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Green Stuff!

St. Patrick's Day is coming up on Sunday and that started a thought process about green. The color green and I have always had a love-hate relationship. There are so many colors of green that honestly just aren't that pretty. But when you get just the right one well, it can be gorgeous. When we moved into our current home several years ago, I wanted our kitchen to be green. So I looked at the bazillion paint swatches that are out there and finally decided to go with a sagey-sort called Rosemary Sprig by Benjamin Moore. I'm not sure if it was the color or the name that appealed to me most but at any rate, I loved it. I even painted our rear foyer and the laundry room the same color. Okay, so you get the picture, I like this color of green.

Stay with me, I really will get the point of this post in a minute, I promise.

Update to this story: Last year, after seven years of Rosemary Sprig, I painted my kitchen a raspberry color and changed the color of our living room and dining room to green (both had previously been red). Many of you know that I am a closet-wanna-be interior decorator so that means that nothing stays the same in my home for long. But one thing that did not change was the color of the laundry room. Because I believe that if you have to do laundry, you must enjoy your surroundings. And I enjoy the laundry to be surrounded by Rosemary Sprig.

So what is the point of all this? Spinach. You might not have seen that coming. Spinach is the Super Hero of food. But I guess you all know that. In my opinion, we all should have some spinach in our diet every day. In the South, we fry everything. Some things that are currently trending: fried Oreos, fried butter and fried Twinkies. Oh by the way, I heard this morning the good news that Hostess Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Cupcakes will live to see another day. The failed Hostess company has been purchased and these American icons of junk food will rise again. Amen and amen.

So back to spinach. The point is that do you ever see fried spinach even in the South? I really don't think so. Spinach can be incorporated in a lot of recipes and adds fiber and nutrients to the diet with really very little effort. So ... I thought y'all might enjoy some fun nutrition facts about and uses for spinach. Popeye was smarter than we thought!

* Spinach nutrition is amazing. The calcium content in spinach and other dark, leafy vegetables strengthens bones.

* The A and C vitamins in spinach plus the fiber, folic acid, magnesium and other nutrients help control cancer, especially colon, lung and breast cancers. Folate also lowers the blood levels of something called homocysteine, a protein that damages arteries. So spinach also helps protect against heart disease.

* The flavonoids in spinach help protect against age related memory loss

* Spinach's secret weapon, lutein, makes it one of the best foods in the world to prevent cataracts, as well as age related macular degeneration, the leading cause of preventable blindness in the elderly. Foods rich in lutein are also thought to help prevent cancer.

Fresh or frozen, add these greens to your food menu as often as you can. Here are some ideas to incorporate these into your diet:
1. Add chopped fresh or frozen spinach to lasagna to up the nutrient content.
2. Add chopped or frozen spinach to your favorite vegetable soup recipe.
3. Sauté spinach with a bit of garlic and olive oil for a tasty super food combination. Try it on top of a baked potato.
4. Make quick and easy spinach dips to eat with crunchy raw vegetables and whole grain breads.
5. Use fresh spinach instead of lettuce to add a twist to your favorite sandwiches.
6. Add chopped fresh or frozen spinach to omelets and frittatas. Make sure frozen spinach is thawed and well drained.
7. Always, add a little fresh spinach to your salad.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Buttermilk Biscuits

-1/2 cup cold butter
-2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
-1 1/4 cups buttermilk
-Self-rising flour
-2 tablespoons melted butter

1.  Cut butter with a sharp knife or pastry blender into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Sprinkle butter slices over flour in a large bowl. Toss butter with flour.
2.  Cut butter into flour with a pastry blender until crumbly and mixture resembles small peas. Cover and chill 10 minutes. Add buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
3.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 3 or 4 times, gradually adding additional flour as needed. With floured hands, press or pat dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches). Sprinkle top of dough with additional flour. Fold dough over onto itself in 3 sections, starting with 1 short end. (Fold dough rectangle as if folding a letter-size piece of paper.) Repeat entire process 2 more times, beginning with pressing into a 3/4-inch-thick dough rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches).
4.  Press or pat dough to 1/2-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut with a 2-inch round cutter, and place, side by side, on a parchment paper-lined or lightly greased jelly-roll pan. (Dough rounds should touch.)
5.  Bake at 450° for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; brush with 2 Tbsp. melted butter.
Cinnamon-Raisin Biscuits: Omit 2 Tbsp. melted butter. Combine 1/2 cup golden raisins, 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1/3 cup chopped pecans with flour in a large bowl. Proceed with recipe as directed. Stir together 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp. buttermilk until smooth. Drizzle over warm biscuits. Makes 2 1/2 dozen. 

Black Pepper-Bacon Biscuits: Combine 1/3 cup cooked and crumbled bacon slices (about 5 slices) and 1 tsp. black pepper with
 flour in a large bowl. Proceed with recipe as directed. Makes 2 1/2 dozen. 

Pimiento Cheese Biscuits: Combine 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese with flour in a large bowl. Reduce buttermilk to 1 cup. Stir together buttermilk and 1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimiento, undrained. Proceed with recipe as directed. Makes 2 1/2 dozen.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Birthday Meal!

When someone special in your family has a birthday, what do you all do to celebrate? When it’s a Wiley family member’s birthday, we fix their favorite meal. I guess that’s no surprise. So when my first born, my girl, turned 27 last Thursday I cooked a special meal just for her. I texted her early in the week to see what she wanted on the menu. She’s kinda been having some stomach issues so I wasn’t sure if anything was going to sound good but we decided on some of her favorites. I thought you might like to see what we came up with. This meal brought a big ole smile to her face. And you know, at the end of the day, that’s a very good thing.

Birthday Meal Menu:

(For the recipes, just click on the items in red below!)

And here are a few photos of our delicious meal....

Monday, March 11, 2013

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • 2 small onions, diced 
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can chicken broth 
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken 
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen cubed hash browns 
  • 1 16 ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables 
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
  • 1 (17.3-oz.) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed 
  • 1 large egg 

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. 
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add onions, and sauté 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour; cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. 
  3. Whisk in chicken broth; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; stir in chicken and next 5 ingredients. 
  4. Roll each pastry sheet into a 12- x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Fit 1 sheet into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate; spoon chicken mixture into pastry. Place remaining pastry sheet over filling in opposite direction of bottom sheet; fold edges under, and press with tines of a fork, sealing to bottom crust. Whisk together egg and 1 Tbsp. water, and brush over top of pie. 
  5. Bake on lower oven rack 55 to 60 minutes or until browned. Let stand 15 minutes.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Easy Berry Cobbler

· Two 12-oz bags frozen mixed berries/peaches
· 1 box white cake mix
· Approximately 1 can of diet or regular Sprite, 7-up or other clear soda (might need more than 1 can of soda to be sure that mix is covered)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Place frozen fruit in a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle dry cake mix over the top. 
  3. Pour soda slowly over cake mix. Be sure to NOT stir the cake mix and the soda - this will give you a “crust.” (If you stir the two, you will have a cake like topping.)
  4. Bake 45-50 min or longer until berries are cooked.
  5. Serve warm with ice cream if desired.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hello There!

Well, hello there! It's Crevolyn hopping on the Blog to say thank you so much for stopping by! We just started this blog the middle of January and so far we've had a bunch (that's the technical term when I'm not sure how to read the blog stats but it looks like a good many) of you find your way to our fair site. 

I feel like I need to give some sort of disclaimer about this for any of you that might have the idea that I know what I'm talking about as far as cooking. All I know is that I enjoy cooking and even more than that, I enjoy eating. I have no formal training; I don't have a commercial kitchen (although that would be quite fabulous); nor do I do cook as my job (i.e. I’m not a professional caterer). Although, if cookbook reading would qualify me for an honorary culinary degree, I might just have earned one of those somewhere along the way. I can curl up with a good cookbook just like any other good book. I love to sit and ponder a recipe, simmer on it like a good pot of soup. 

 I also think being married to a grocery man should earn me some credentials of some kind. Goodness knows, I’ve been in more grocery stores in my 28 year marriage than most people visit in a lifetime. No Wiley family vacation is complete until we have gone up and down the aisles of every grocery store within a 50-mile radius of where we’re vacationing. 

Anyway, all of that to say, I enjoy cooking. It’s fun to me. It de-stresses me. Nothing does this girl’s heart more good than to have my family’s feet under my table. So, if you’re looking for an expert who knows the science and all this and that, I’m not your girl. But if you want some recipes that taste good and are sure to warm the hearts and tummies of your friends and family, well, maybe you might want to check in now and then. I’ll be here. Oh and if you want to leave a comment, that would be great! 

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

Monday, March 4, 2013

Tortellini with Mushrooms, Spinach and Italian Sausage

· 1 pound package fresh 3 cheese tortellini
· Heaping spoonful (or two) of pesto
· 1 pound mild or spicy Italian sausages
· 2 cups sliced mushrooms
· 2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed (optional)
· 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
· 1/2-1 cup cream (half & half or heavy)
· A few handfuls torn baby spinach
· Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

  1. Prepare the tortellini, according to the package directions. Drain and toss with pesto.
  2. In a large, heavy skillet set over medium-high heat, heat a drizzle of oil and squeeze the sausage out of its casing into the pan. Sauté, breaking the meat up with a spoon, until it’s about halfway cooked; add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until the meat is no longer pink and any excess moisture has cooked off.
  3. Add the stock or water and stir to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan, and then stir in the cream. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, until the sauce thickens slightly.
  4. Add the tortellini to the pan and tear in the spinach. Cook, stirring, for another minute or two, until everything is heated through and the spinach wilts. 
  5. Serve in shallow bowls topped with Parmesan cheese. Serves 4-6.