12/31/10

Turtle Pretzels

I love holiday baking.  Each year, I make a list of items that I plan to make - some old and some new.  I enjoy sharing these treats with family and friends.  Of course, Jim Bob and I enjoy our fair share as well.  My holiday baking repertoire always includes turtle pretzels.  I learned how to make these a few years ago from a friend in Aiken.  They're extremely easy to make and easy to eat - the perfect combination!     


Turtle Pretzels


Turtle Pretzels

Ingredients:

1 bag Rolo candy, unwrapped
small pretzels
pecan halves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Layer pretzels on baking sheet.  (I line my sheet with a baking mat to make for easier removal.)  Top each pretzel with a Rolo.  Place baking sheet in the oven for 3-5 minutes.  Keep an eye on the Rolos.  The turtles are ready when the chocolate glistens and looks like it's about to melt.  It is best to remove the turtles before the Rolos begin to melt completely.  As soon as you remove the turtles from the oven, press a pretzel half on top of each Rolo.  Leave the turtles on the baking sheet until they have cooled.

Source:  Jamie Raynor, Aiken 

12/13/10

Christmas 2010

Friends 2010
Jesse, Michelle, Kathleen, Amy, Jenny, and Callie Rae
Since I moved back to Tuscaloosa, God has blessed me with a wonderful group of girlfriends.  For Christmas, Amy and Ryan hosted a dinner for all of us and our spouses.  We each contributed to the meal, and when it all came together, it was quite an impressive spread.

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I volunteered to make the dessert (I know you're surprised).  After much debate, I settled on white chocolate bread pudding.  Jonathan used to work at The Globe where they served an amazing version of white chocolate bread pudding.  In honor of our Christmas get-together, he shared the recipe with me.

White Chocolate Bread Pudding


White Chocolate Bread Pudding


Ingredients:
22 oz., good quality white chocolate (I used Peterbrooke chocolate.  Be sure that you're chocolate contains cocoa butter in the ingredients.)
1 quart cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
15 egg yolks
White bread, enough to fill 9x13 pan (I used 1 1/2 loaves of Challah bread from the Publix deli.  I cut all of the crust off.)

Topping:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 Tbs. melted butter

Directions:
Cut off crusts of bread and line 13x9 pan.  Fill to the top.

Melt chocolate in double boiler.  Be sure to use a double boiler because white chocolate burns very easily.

Scald vanilla and cream.  Whisk egg and sugar in separate bowl until pale yellow.  Temper eggs with hot cream (slowly blend vanilla/cream mixture into egg mixture so it gradually heats eggs; whisk constantly).  Add melted white chocolate.  Mix well. Pour liquid on top of bread.

Mix graham crackers crumbs, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and butter in bowl.  Sprinkle on top of bread mixture.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.  When you're ready to serve the dessert, reheat in the oven.

Source:  adapted by Elliott Davis, originally from Jonathan James - executive chef at The Globe

12/2/10

Gameday Chili

This was my view for every Alabama home football game for the 2010 season.  Jim Bob and I spent most of our Saturdays this fall working with our friends at their game day tent.  The Tide went 9-3 during the regular season.  We're awaiting our Bowl bid, but it looks like we may end up in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando or in the Outback Bowl in Tampa.  Roll Tide Roll!


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For the last game of the season, the temperature was in the 40's with a stiff wind.  In other words, perfect chili weather.  My favorite chili recipe is pretty basic.  The addition of Ranch Style Beans, however, makes this version a little more interesting.   Ranch Style Beans are pinto beans with a blend of spices giving it a southwestern flair.  Whether you like your chili with fritos, sour cream, shredded cheese, or topped on a hot dog, this recipe is sure to please.   

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Gameday Chili

Ingredients:
2 cans tomato sauce
2 cans tomatoes, diced
2 cans beans (I use 1 can Ranch style beans and 1 can pinto beans)
1-1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp. parsley
1 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic, minced
pepper
salt
 
Directions:

In medium frying pan, brown ground beef.  When almost completely browned, add onion and sauté 5-7 minutes, or until tender.  Add garlic and sauté another minute.  Drain grease.  Add all other ingredients.  Cook and simmer.  I combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker and simmer.

Source:  Momma Moe 

12/1/10

Pumpkin Cream Pie

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I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie.  It's a texture thing (custard, blech!).  I do, however, love the flavor of pumpkin pie.  When I came across Pioneer Woman's Pumpkin Cream Pie, I knew it would be delicious.  This pie has all of the pumpkin spice that I love, and none of the thick custard.  I added a layer of homemade whipped cream to give it that final touch.

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Pumpkin Cream Pie

Ingredients:

Crust:
1-1/2 package graham crackers (about 15 cookie sheets)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 stick butter, melted

Filling:
1 box (3 oz.) vanilla pudding (cook and serve variety)
1 cup half and half
1/2 cups heavy cream
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
2 Tablespoons whiskey 
1/2 cups (plus 3 tablespoons) pumpkin puree
1/2 cups (additional) heavy cream
2 tablespoons brown sugar
extra graham cracker crumbs, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  

Grind graham crackers in a food processor.  Add powdered sugar and melted butter and process until totally combined.  Press into the bottom and sides of a pie pan until nice and firm.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until warm and "set."  Remove from oven and allow crust to cool completely.

In a medium saucepan, mix dry pudding mix with half-and-half and cream.  Add spices.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly and thick.  Remove from heat and stir in whiskey, if using.  Add pumpkin and stir to combine.  Place lid on pot and set aside to cool.  When cool enough, place pot in the fridge to cool completely. 

When mixture is cool.  remove from the fridge.  In a mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup heavy cream and brown sugar.  Beat until very light and fluffy.  Fold in pumpkin cream mixture until combined.  Pour into cooled crust.  

Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.  Serve with graham crackers crumbled on top.

Source:  Pioneer Woman

 
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