Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Egg Nog French Toast with Butter Rum Syrup

Maybe you haven't started your diet yet...?
Maybe you still have leftover egg nog?
Or rum?
This is a very simple and yummy way to use up some of those holiday leftovers. 

People always says that the alcohol cooks out of baked goods, but I am not 100% believing that, so maybe you shouldn't feed this to kids.  It made a very nice breakfast for the two of us on Christmas Eve morning with a slice of ham.  I must say, that Butter Rum syrup is also very nice on your ham.
Probably make an awesome Hot Buttered Rum drink later on with any leftover syrup too...

Do make the effort to find that thick sliced called "Texas Toast" if you can.  It makes a wonderful thick and custardy french toast.

Serves two (Easy to double, triple, quadruple depending on your crowd)

1 cup egg nog, I used low fat
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla, or rum
4 slices thick cut bread, like "Texas Toast" egg bread

Butter Rum Syrup

2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rum, any kind, I used spiced rum (or a tsp of rum flavoring...)
2-3 Tbsp butter
1-2 Tbsp water (as needed)

 In a deep plate, or baking dish, beat up the eggs until well beaten.  Add the egg nog and the flavoring.  Add the bread in to soak, about 1-2 minutes per side.  
Cook over a medium hot non stick griddle, or frying pan for 2-3 minutes per side until it looks done. Cook it a little longer if you want it a bit firmer and not soft in the middle.  I like it kind of soft.

To make the syrup, 
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the brown sugar and the rum and heat to bubbling hot. Keep your eye on it....  If it seems too thick, add a bit of water.  Serve at once, but this can also be made ahead and reheated.  Store any other leftovers for another day.



Sunday, December 23, 2012

Old Fashioned- The New Holiday Tradition

I wish you an Old Fashioned Christmas.  
The kind where kids are good, there are no kitchen mishaps, the decorations stay in place and none of your relatives get out of hand.
Hmmmm.... can't conjure up a holiday memory like that one?
No, me neither.
Maybe, just maybe, that's the best kind.  
Make a round of these pretty little drinks, and give a toast to each other in love and acceptance.
Hold each other tight.
But not too tight... and NO strangle holds either.

I got this recipe from the December Bon Appetit 2012. The article was called Holiday Heirlooms, and I loved that this guy wrote about the Old fashioned cocktail that his dad always made at Christmas.  It's more fruity than the traditional cocktail... I think.  I say that because I had never had a "real" Old Fahioned before.  This was an easy and festive sipping cocktail, and so pretty too!

One NOTE, about the sugar cubes.... most people really don't have sugar cubes hanging around, now do they?  I just skipped them and used a little more grenadine, but a teaspoon of regular sugar, or honey or agave syrup would work too.

Makes 1

2 sugar cubes
4 dashes of Angostura bitters
1 lemon wheel
1 lime wheel
1 orange wheel
1 maraschino cherry
1/2 teaspoon grenadine
2 jiggers bourbon or rye whiskey
Club soda
Ginger ale

Drop sugar cubes in a rocks glass; sprinkle with bitters and add citrus wheels, cherry, and grenadine. Using a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon, mash just to release fruit juices and oils. Add bourbon. Fill glass with ice cubes; stir to combine. Top with equal parts club soda and ginger ale.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Candy Cane White Chocolate Fudge

Ah, sugar blues can be a good thing.
Plus, giving this makes others happy.
Go ahead, spread a little cheer, someone needs it.

Over the years I have had very bad luck with white "chocolate" chips.  
They just are tricky to melt.  
It's probably because I can be very inpatient, and if you try to rush it, it gets too hot and "seizes" up.  Seizes up is a nice way to say WRECKED.  Once something seizes into a hard mass it's pretty much impossible to fix.  
This fudge is easy beacuse the sweetened condensed milk mixes nicely to protect the chocolate while melting.

I was thrilled to find the pre-crushed candy cane mixture at the local drug store, Bartells.  It was $1.99 and saved me a bunch of heart ache from buying a box and unwrapping them and then pounding them into oblivion myself.  I hate to unwrap them (they never come off willingly) and crushing the canes in a ziploc bag always is messy when holes sprout up from your smacking it with your meat tenderizer,  I mean, how do you  crush candy canes?  Me? I'm going back to Bartells to get some more pre-crushed.

Makes am 8x8 pan

3 cups white chocolate chips (about 1 1/2 bags)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup crushed candy canes

Line a buttered 8x8 pan with parchment or wax paper.   

In a double boiler, or some sort of rig like below.  Gently melt the sweetened condensed milk and the white chocolate chips.  Keep the heat on medium and stir.  Remove from heat as soon as all the chips are mostly melted. ***You can do this in the microwave but I think it's tricky and too hard to watch that it doesn't get too hot.  

Here it is as I am starting...

I mixed in about 2/3 cup of candy canes as soon as the mixture was almost completely melted.  Stirring in the lumpy candy canes helps to make the chocolate smoother.

Add to the prepared pan and smooth the top. That's a bit tricky but the next step helps.

Sprinkle the rest of the candy canes over the top and gently press them into the fudge so they will stick.  Let the mixture cool for a couple hours.  Cut into 1" squares. The mixture freezes well too, though the candy canes can get a little melted.

Here's some other fudge recipes:
Peanut Butter Fudge
Fudge for Dummies

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lazy Girl Crockpot Black Bean Chili

I've been a little busy.
I am sure you can understand.
It could be the season, it could be the job, it could be life in general.
... I know it's just not me, right?

This recipe was so easy, so cheap and so fast to prepare, it might be just the thing to put on before you head out for a day of work, or Christmas shopping.

We headed to Ikea last night, and I was feeling very smug that I had dinner ready to go when we finally got home.  I love that place, but wow, it takes a lot out of you.  Crazy traffic and bad drivers on the way, jockeying for a parking spot, then inconsiderate aisle "campers' blocking the miles of pathways through loads of Swedish delights. I picked up my favorite staples:  candles, wood hangers and kitchen gadgets, plus picked up a load of stocking stuffers for little gal I know. 

When we got home I was ready to dish that chili into bowls and serve.
But someone else had other thoughts... 
"Hey, remember when we used to eat chili and rice? That is the ultimate comfort food for me. I'll chop some tomatoes...".
Someone has a way of getting his way.
Ahem... hold please, while dinner waits for the rice to cook.

Oh well, it was a good idea and delicious too. If you chose to just have a bowl or chili au natural, or if you try it over rice.  It will be tasty, warm and comforting.

Serves about 6

2 cans black beans, undrained
2 cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2-3 chipotle peppers (canned with some sauce)
2-3 garlic cloves, or 1 tsp granulated garlic
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
Salt & Pepper to taste (when it's done cooking)

Saute up the onions and peppers over medium high heat.  Add to the crock pot.  Brown the hamburger and add to the crock pot too. Mince up the chipotle peppers and add to the mix.  Open the cans and add all the spices and cocoa powder.  

Cook in your crockpot on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours.

NOTE:  You could do this in a dutch oven on the stove top too, it could be ready to eat in under an hour. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Coconut Cream Pie Martini

This is a yummy little dessert martini.

2 kinds of coconut rum, plus a little hint of amaretto and cream.
It's a perfect rendition of a coconut cream pie with a relaxing kick.

I thought about dipping the rim of the glass in toasted coconut, or even graham crackers, but when it came down to it, I decided it didn't really need it.


1 martini

1 jigger coconut rum
2 jiggers coconut liqueur, like Malibu or Parrot Bay
1 jigger amaretto
1 jigger half and half

Optional Garnish,
Soft whipped whipped cream
Toasted coconut

Mix everything but the garnish in the cocktail shaker with ice.
Shake, shake, shake.
Strain into a glass and top with lightly whipped cream and coconut.

*** Note:  This is perfectly yummy without the whip cream, it just doesn't look as nice.

Do not leave unattended, your drink could be consumed by pets or small children.

Pshaw... he didn't get anything except a little whip cream on his nose, which is exactly what he was after!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Lime & Toasted Coconut Bread

Maybe December 1st is a weird day to post a recipe "Lime and Coconut Bread".
I found a cute little blog with this cake recipe on it, and I needed to try it myself.
She called this cake "The perfect slice of summer". 
...But summer is long gone here, and the grey winter doldrums are arriving soon.  
I'm feeling it already, and maybe you are too.
I think that it might be the best time to have something like this.
You will certainly appreciate the remembrance of nicer days, and it gives you the hope and happiness of the coming warmer months.

You can call this bread, or cake. 
It's up to you! It would be great for dessert, but it also made a bunch of people happy at breakfast time too. If you want to check the original posting, try Baked Perfection.

One loaf
1 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
4 limes, zested (save juice for glaze, below)
1 tsp real vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted butter (1 cube)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup toasted coconut, separated
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread flaked coconut on non-greased cookie sheet. Toast in oven, stirring every five minutes, until it turns light golden, about 20 minutes. Remove coconut from cookie sheet and set aside. .
Preheat 350 degrees (for baking the cake now...). Butter and flour a loaf pan.

Zest your limes, retaining 2 teaspoons for the glaze later on.

In a medium bowl, mix together the baking powder and flour. In a separate large bowl, beat together the granulated sugar, eggs, lime zest, vanilla extract, salt, and butter. Stir in the yogurt until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined, being careful not to over mix. Fold in 2/3 cup of toasted coconut, saving the other 1/3 for the top.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Wait for 10 minutes and carefully remove to a cooling rack.

For soaking warm cake:

1/3 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

Mix the juice and sugar together and let sit until the sugar is all dissolved, about 5 minutes.
Spoon the mixture over the cake, do it slowly and let it soak into the warm cake. Allow the cake to finish cooling.


For glazing cooled cake:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed key lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
1/3 cup toasted coconut

Mix together powdered sugar and lime juice. Spoon glaze over the top and garnish with lime zest and toasted coconut; let the cake set up overnight before serving.