Category Archives: breakfast

Broccoli cheddar quiche and up way too early 

It is Christmas break and I was up at 4:44 a.m. this morning.  What in the world?! You ask? I do not even pretend to know my friends. Maybe it’s the barometric pressure or maybe it was the coffee at 3 p.m. yesterday afternoon. I do not claim to know. I just know that I was up at 4:44 this morning. And you know the saying the early bird catches the worm? If there was a worm to be caught, I do suppose I caught it today. I could really be annoyed that I was up so early, and I could be annoyed by the fact that I have several sets of sheets to wash (don’t ask)…but instead I decided to drink another cup of coffee, make a quiche and get the sheets to washing. Because if getting older has taught me anything, it has taught me that being ticked off is not productive (well not always) and trying to go back to sleep once I am up is almost always the wrong thing to do. Not sure where the quiche idea came from, other than I like quiche. A lot. And I had a leftover pie crust in the fridge. No silly, not a homemade pie crust. A leftover pie crust from the box of Pillsbury crusts I had bought. I don’t do homemade pie crusts. But if you do, feel free to make you one! Also, Big Daddy had a great crop of broccoli this year!  

 
So glad he got a green thumb. Because I got the black thumb of death. He gets it from his Pappaw who was growing cabbages the size of my head until he was 90 years old. So there was that. So I googled quiche recipes because I had no bacon, sausage or ham and quiche Lorraine or quiche with ham is what I usually make. And frankly I have eaten so much meat over the past few days, I figured I could do with a good meatless dish. We will call this a meatless Monday recipe. So low and behold, up pops this recipe from http://www.delish.com for broccoli cheddar quiche! Bingo! Oh and not to mention I had a block of Cracker Barrel Vermont sharp white cheddar that was begging to be shredded and put in a yummy quiche! That’s really why I did all of this. To help that amazing cheese fulfill its lifelong dream.(forgive me…I was up too early). 

  
Now for this up too early broccoli cheddar quiche recipe! This tasty dish surely does take the sting out of being up so early!

Up too early broccoli cheddar quiche 

Stuff you need~

1 pie crust 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter (I just happened to have some but you can use salted butter) 

2 cups diced onion (1 medium onion) 

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream 

6 eggs 

1 cup shredded cheddar 

1 1/2-2 cups broccoli flowerettes 

1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt 

1/4 teaspoon black pepper 

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Roll your pie crust out into a 9 inch pie plate or a quiche dish. Which I use, because I love quiche. But the 9 inch pie plate works just as well. 

Bake the crust until golden brown. About 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven. 

  
While waiting for crust to brown, melt the butter in a skillet. Sauté your diced onion until tender and opaque. 

  

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and heavy cream.

  
Stir the broccoli, cheese, salt, pepper, and sautéed onions into the cream and egg mixture. 

  
Pour this into your golden brown pie crust.

 
Bake quiche in your preheated oven  until the egg mixture is set. Mine took about 45 minutes or so. Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so, make yourself a cup of coffee and shake those up too early blues away! You made a quiche! 
 

Bon Appetit!
 
Other things I do at 5 in the morning…use an app to turn some pics into paintings…

   
 

Well at least I was semi productive!!

 I hope you have a blessed day no matter how early your day started!! 
 

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Recipe for happiness..all day breakfast at McDonald’s!!

Now ya’ll know I am all about cooking at home. Real food whenever possible and I tend to think that cooking at home is almost always better for you then fast food. I think that’s a pretty common notion. I think you all also know I am all about being practical, some might say real. I try super hard to keep it real. Because I am dealing with you like I deal with a friend. Keeping it 100 as they say. I am doing no one any favors by posing or fronting, or acting as if. I am busy woman with 4 kids, a husband who works a lot, is out of town sometimes, 2 dogs, a cat and a hamster. It gets a little bit crazy at times. Sometimes even getting supper going in the crockpot is a task. I just cannot even manage that, despite my wishes for it to be otherwise. What’s a busy mama or daddy to do, I ask you? Well…sometimes I do breakfast for supper!! Do you ever do that? We call it brupper around here. Pancakes usually and cheesy scrambled eggs with bacon or sausage if we are so lucky to have that on hand. My kids love, love, love brupper!! And truth is, there might be times that even that is too much. Long day, kid up with a nosebleed the night before, upset kiddo after school, too much homework and a piano lesson thrown in might equal…I cannot even. Cannot even manage pancakes. It happens ya’ll!! Not as often as it used to when my babies were little bitty, but it does happen. Throw in a soccer practice or piano practice (or both!!) or a PTA meeting and things can seem bleak in the supper department. 

 Well guess what?! I am not sure if you know this or not but let me be the first to tell you!!! McDonald’s is now offering ALL DAY BREAKFAST!!!! You heard me right. All. Day. Breakfast!!!! Starting October 5, 2015 it will be available everywhere. I’m not bragging, but it is already available at one of  our McDonald’s. 

 

ALL DAY BREAKFAST!!! this is the menu available for all day breakfast at one of our local restaurants
 
Now, the menu might change from location to location, some might offer from scratch biscuits while other locations might not…but they are all offering all day breakfast coming soon!  Also, and my kiddos found this so exciting…once all day breakfast rolls out, you will be able to order hashbrowns instead of fries in your favorite meal.  How exciting is that? It’s like worlds colliding!  Not only that, sometime in the future, the goal is for all locations to use cage free eggs and real butter in their breakfast menu items. That is such exciting news to me!! We may not have the time to always make a proper meal for our families, but at least we can feel good about taking them out for breakfast for supper. And that is a wonderful thing my friends. 

this boy is all about breakfast for supper, ya’ll!! look at that face!

The kiddos and I had a great time the other night at a local McDonald’s. We got a taste of breakfast for supper at McDonald’s and we were not disappointed! The pancakes were light and fluffy as always, the sausage was cooked just right, the orange juice was chilled and refreshing.   So regardless of how you feel about fast food, and I know I have some friends who are staunchly against it, you have to enjoy breakfast for supper! Especially breakfast for supper that does not require dirtying dishes, pots or pans. Or cleanining said dirty dishes. Oh the luxury of it all. And in my very humble opinion, breakfast is one of the things McDonald’s does best!

 So remember, October 5, all day breakfast will be available at a McDonald’s near you! 

  
 

those are happy faces of kiddos who get McDonald’s breakfast for supper

 
oh you know…just a selfie with my babies and Erin, China, and Mrs. Jean…not sure which part my kids liked more …breakfast for supper or these lovely ladies!
 

Old fashioned creamy grits 

Here comes another story about the woes of being a Cajun gal transplanted into redneck territory. Yep. I did not grow up eating grits. I mean, my mama bought the box of Quaker grits now and then, pretty sure at my request, and I would eat them. But as far as cooking grits that would make people swoon and keel over from utter delight…negative. Big Daddy grew up on the Quaker grits as well. We went on with life, eating grits from the package and all was well. Nothing was missing. Or was it? I attempted to make real grits a few times, made grits to go with shrimp and grits (working on my favorite recipe that for those who have asked) but they were not life changing, where have you been all my life grits…until a few months ago I had never experienced such a thing. I came across a recipe from Saveur magazine on Pinterest for the best grits. I thought…challenge accepted. Let’s just see. Holy schnikes Batman…true to its word, that recipe delivered the creamiest, most wonderful, mannah from Heaven grits. I started out by taking advice and getting stone ground grits. Those are not easy to come by here in Shreveport. I am sure they are carried somewhere around here or near you…but it is just as easy to order them from Amazon. The ones I found were perfect and I have had to reorder them already. Here is the link https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009HHNUUE/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_FxTcvb1YMQAHR. A bag of these makes about 6 batches of the grits I am about to give you the recipe for. They are well worth the $12, especially if you have Amazon prime.  



 Every Sunday morning, I try really hard to make my family a big breakfast. Big daddy is a breakfast lover from way back and my kids love it too. We make fried eggs, bacon, sausage, toast and these grits. My picky child (my Benny Boo) absolutely requests these grits on a weekly basis. He had not eaten grits since was 2 (and those were the Quaker instant grits), but one day he saw the bag of grits I had ordered and he decided to try them out. Man, he fell hard. That boy has good taste I tell you. No matter which side of the grits fence you fall on, I strongly recommend you branching out and trying this recipe. They are unlike any grits you have ever had. Big Daddy’s pappaw, had a bowl of grits just about every morning for the last 20 years of his life. Deb would pick up the big variety box from Sam’s and he would be a happy camper. I only wish he could try the utter delight that are these grits. I know it would put a smile on his always pleasant face. I am quite certain whatever beef he ever had with me (mouthy, sassy, Catholic)…much of that has been forgiven since I am passing on a love of grits to his great grands. There is power in the grits my friends. You will not be disappointed!!!



my favorite grits lover that ever lived



Old fashioned creamy grits 

Serves 6 

Stuff you need~ 

2 cups water 

2 cups milk 

1 cup stone ground grits 

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

1/4 cup heavy cream 

2 tablespoons real butter

What to do with the stuff~

Heat the water and milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan until just simmering. 

While the water milk mixture is heating up, add the grits to a large mixing bowl. Cover with water. 



Stir vigorously until the chaff  floats to the top.  Strain the chaff from the grits with a spoon. 



Drain the grits with a fine strainer.



Now please don’t be deterred by such a step. I am not sure why we do this, but the result is so wonderful that I stopped questioning it. It’s easy peasy once you get used to it.  

Stir grits into the simmering liquid.  Cook in the liquid until grits are tender.  The recipe says it takes about an hour but I have not found it to take this long. I sprinkle in some kosher salt when they are close to being done.



Then when they are tender but still simmering, I slowly pour in the half and half. 

Then stir, stir, stir…but gently though. Take care with such perfection. They should be the perfect consistency at this point but if not stir in a little more cream. Add more kosher salt to taste and then the butter.  You are so close to grits perfection. 



Spoon the grits into a bowl and prepare yourself for delight. I mean it people…these are life changing grits. They separate true Southerners from people who simply live in the South. Even if you live in New York and have never stepped foot in the South, you are a southerner at heart when you eat these grits.  Welcome to Dixie my friends. 



add a little black pepper for good measure, Pappaw would approve


One of my all time favorite recipes ever…Southern Living Breakfast Enchiladas

Did you read the title? One of my all time favorite recipes. You got that? That is no lie! My family adores baked ham and it is amazing the recipes you can make from the leftover ham. Including the hambone. I will be showing you this week some delicious ways to make the most out of a ham. 4 meals in all. #1 baked ham on a Sunday night is always wonderful then #2 make you a big old crockpot full of red beans and rice on Monday…here is the link for that awesome recipe …https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2013/06/20/red-beans-make-me-happy/ . #3 make this dish for breakfast. And then I will give you #4 later in the week. A ham might be a little pricey but not when you find one on sale and freeze it for later. This is one thing my mama taught me that I have found useful over and over again.
I discovered this baby back in 2007 when I had 3 kids, 3 and under and somehow managed to still read Southern Living magazine on a semi regular basis. I was clinging to some normalcy I suppose. Determined to still be the quintessential stay at home mom and wife. Before I had baby #4 aka pappy and gave up the ghost completely. I was still trying so hard to believe I could do it all.

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so precious. She did this a lot. But oh a sweet baby girl.

I wanted to. I could not understand how in the world one extra child could possibly throw off the balance so much and change me so completely. I was in bliss having all of these chubby munchkins rule my house, but I was determined I was not going to change. Little did I know how much I had already changed.

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It caused me some hard times. Not wanting to admit that baby # 3 aka Madame Toot aka Goose aka Tootie Belle could change things so much. But sometimes we forget that some things are supposed to change us and there is no going back. And aren’t I glad about that? I really am. Lolly says every baby comes
to us to teach us something, to change us into who we are meant to be. I believe that. Madame Toot taught me to love myself as is. She taught me to judge other moms less. She taught me it’s ok to lose control and sometimes winging it is good enough. That even when things are not perfect and there is no control to be had, you can be happy.

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I just wish I had given into it long before I did. I wish I had succumbed to being the overwhelmed mom of 3 small kids. I wish I could go back and tell her, “hey sister, you’re overwhelmed and you are supposed to be. Cut yourself some slack.”

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one of my favorite pics from that time in my life. True love

But I do know now. By the time Pappy came along, I had started to embrace my chaotic life and gave up pretending, faking my way through it, or acting as if it was all the same. My sweet girl with the big eyes showed me how.

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her so precious

The fact that I distinctly remember making these enchiladas and being super proud of myself around the time Goose was about 8 months old, tells me that I was trying hard. And also what a huge accomplishment it was at the rune.. I wanted to reclaim who I was before. I wanted to be able to do all the things I did before…before there were 3, before I was tremendously overwhelmed by life. But I did make them. Somehow I managed to scrape together enough what have you to know “I have leftover ham, this recipe calls for cubed ham, good breakfast recipe…yes, yes I can make these!!! I can make a delicious breakfast. I think I can. I think I can. Babies hanging off of me, one screaming to nurse, but I think I can!!”

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Ah mama is so happy and so overwhelmed. Joyful chaos

Little did I know that the time would come for me to feel more like myself. Maybe not exactly the same because these precious people I birthed have changed me forever. Thank God for that. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am still overwhelmed and I am still tired, a lot of the time, but I made these breakfast enchiladas for the first time in a while today and you know what…it was not the feat that it used to be. Ah gotta love progress albeit small.

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Which brings me back to one of my all time favorite recipes that I want to share with you. Ya’ll know I like to take a little detour down memory lane before we get to our final destination. These breakfast enchiladas are one of my favorite breakfast dishes to make. It’s one of those things that you wake up in the morning happy to be alive so you can indulge in this true breakfast delight. The beauty in it is that you do almost all of the prep work the night before and then bake them the next morning. Big Daddy thinks I am a culinary genius every time I make them. You will wow your overnight guests if you serve these in the morning and just in general the people in your life will think you are a brilliant cook whenever they get a taste of these. At least that has been my experience. They will make an exhausted overwhelmed mother of 3 small kids feel like she has her stuff together and she can pull anything off when she pulls these out of the oven, even if only for a moment. Ask how I know? So now for what you have all been waiting for…the recipe!

Southern Living breakfast enchiladas

serves about 10

stuff you need~

2 cups cubed cooked ham
8 eggs
2 cups half and half
10 small flour tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar , divided (pepper jack is nice too if making for only adults)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

what to do with the stuff

THE NIGHT BEFORE…Prepare a 9 x 13 dish by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray.
Next get your work space ready. Tortillas, cut up ham, green onions and cheese. Prepare a place to roll the tortillas. I use a paper plate. Because I am super fancy that way.

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Now, lay out a tortilla and place some ham, sprinkle in some green onions and a little cheese down the middle. Remember to reserve about 1/2 cup of the cheese for later.

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Roll up tightly and place seam side down in your prepared dish. Do this with the remaining tortillas.

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Next, beat eggs and then whisk in half and half, salt and cayenne.

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Pour this mixture over the rolled tortillas…

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Cover with foil and place in fridge overnight.

The next morning…preheat the oven to 350. Take the enchiladas out of the fridge and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Bake covered for 15-20 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

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Return to oven and allow the enchiladas to cook for about 20 more minutes or until egg is set. What I do is turn the oven off after 15 minutes and let them finish like that. You don’t want them dried out but you do want cooked eggs. Runny eggs are a deal breaker for this girl.

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oh I love this dish!!

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that makes a happy morning

One more pic….

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baby girl turns 1 and pappy would be on his way in less than a month.

Cajun mama’s breakfast burritos

I have always loved breakfast burritos. Good ones anyhow. There is just something so pleasing about all that goodness rolled up into one yummy warm tortilla. It just so pleasing and yet simple. Straightforward. Not fussy. With all these kiddos running around, I enjoy not fussy things. It makes my life easier. And as I have told y’all before, Big Daddy loves him some breakfast. He demands it, as much as he demands anything, which is not much. His mama, Dianne, always made him breakfast every morning. She had a full time job, but according to him and his brother, she made pancakes or something yummy nearly every morning. Then after she passed, and my father in law remarried, Deb (mother in law extraordinaire) continued this tradition. She used to make breakfast (well still does) for the duck hunters when her daddy ran the duck camp that is now, Bayou LaGrue. She did this from a young age so breakfast is in her blood. So, for the Bowlin gang, breakfast is a must. And I love breakfast burritos and it is a natural progression that I would find a way to make them myself. It started way back in college and I have gotten much better since then. My two youngest, Toot and Pappy (aka Aubrey and Lucas), love them a good breakfast burrito so that makes them pretty popular. They usually take simple ingredients you probably have around the house to make them. I will give you some pointers on how to make them more involved and authentic tasting (according to moi) but you can really make them as basic as you please. So let’s get cooking some breakfast burritos mis amigos! Mis compadres! Vamanos!

Cajun Mama’s breakfast burritos

makes about 6 burritos maybe more depending on how much filling you use

Stuff you need~

A pack of burrito size tortillas (I use the kind that say soft and fluffy on the package. Pretty sure they are Mission Bell brand. And feel free to use the smaller size. I do if that is what I have)

8 eggs, scrambled

1 pound breakfast sausage

4 ounce cream cheese

1/2 cup onion diced

1 small bell pepper, diced (if you have it or are so inclined…it’s not mandatory)

1/2 package frozen Ore Ida potatoes o’brien (or you can use left over baked potatoes as well. Scoop out the filling and add to burritos)

Shredded cheese (I use what I have on hand but Monterey Jack and cheddar or cheddar jack work wonderfully…get crazy and see what you like)

taco seasoning or if you are feeling frisky get some Goya sofrito (found at Mexican Supermercados or I have heard some Walmarts carry it)

What to do with the stuff

Ok…what I do is brown the sausage in a large skillet. After that is almost down, I add in the onions and bell pepper (if I use it) and sauté that for a few minutes until they are almost tender. I also add the potatoes o’brien at this point to give them a little head start in getting defrosted and warmed up. Add a little olive oil or cooking oil to your pan if you feel it needs it. Of course you can add In the chunked up baked potatoes as well here. Season them up with some salt, pepper and a little Tony’s if you want to love on the wild side. In a separate skillet, I scramble my eggs with some milk. Ok next add the eggs to the sausage mixture. Now, cut the cream cheese up into chunks and over medium-low heat let that mix it up with the rest of the gang in the pot. It’s all good. No really. It’s so good. Yummm! But you are not done my friends. Oh no.
Now, at this point sprinkle in a little taco seasoning (not a whole packet…more like a tablespoon) or if you went full throttle and bought the Goya seasoning, add in a half packet or so. More if you like it. None of this is necessary, you can absolutely serve the burritos without it, but we really liked the flavor it added. So do what works for you. Ok now, stir in a cup of shredded cheese. Stir in around. The cream cheese should be fairly creamy now and spreading it’s creamy delight to all the rest of the concoction.
Warm your tortillas up, and add a nice size scoop of the burrito mixture to the middle. Roll up burrito style.
No words right? Yes they are muy bueno.

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all that goodness getting ready to get rolled up

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so delicious

My favorite brunch dish…recreated at home

So I guess if I were to pick a place that my friends and I meet up at the most I would have to say it is Another Broken Egg. It’s a wonderful place to have brunch and they have some really unique dishes. They serve fabulous Bloody Mary’s and have Bailey’s to spike your coffee if that is your desire. As a stay at home mom, sometimes I meet my other stay at home moms (and my friends who work from home) for brunch. It’s perfect. We drop the kiddos off and then before we run our errands or go home and do our thing. It’s the perfect meal as far as I am concerned. Best of both worlds and anything goes. So crab cakes cavallo is my favorite dish on their menu. It’s a total spurge and so decadent. I adore crab cakes. As a kid my mom and dad would take me to Harry’s Hamburger Stand in Marksville when we would visit my grandparents and I always loved their crab burger. So I guess it would stand to reason that I would love crab cakes. I buy this just at random in the seafood section at Kroger’s. They have great ones. The ones I use in this recipe are just what I had bought last time. Mini crab cakes from Target. Market pantry brand. You are welcome to make your own but I will be honest…mama ain’t making homemade crab cakes at 8 a.m. on a Saturday. Thank you very much I will just use the frozen ones. But do your thing honey. This dish was really quite simple to pull together using prepackaged ingredients once I figured out my plan of action. Of course the experience was not the same as being at ABE, as we call it, but the recipe was pretty dead on. It tasted divine. I made some grits and toasted English muffins to serve along side of this scrumptious dish. A cup of coffee and we were golden. Big Daddy loved the eggs with the sauce but did not care for the crab cakes. Whatever…he is nuts!! Who is he? This makes me question who is. Lol! I am mostly kidding. He said it was too early for crab cakes. I did not know there was such a thing. Again, obviously I married a stranger. Smh. Oh another side note…this dish is usually served with poached eggs on top. But I don’t do poached eggs and I have always ordered it with scrambled eggs and it is wonderful!!! Anyway, give this recipe a try if you love brunch and you adore crab cakes!!~AMB

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some of us convened for an impromptu ornament exchange in December. We may or may not have had mimosas or Bloody Mary’s that morning. Kidding. We totally did.

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oh the deliciousness

Copycat ABE crab cakes Cavallo

serves 2″”

Stuff you need~
1 package of crab cakes (2 big ones or 8 mini ones), cooked according to package directions
1 package Hollandaise sauce mix, cooked according to package directions
1/2 cup andouille sausage, sliced and chopped
One green onion stalk, green parts only, sliced thin
6 eggs, scrambled
Cooking oil

What to do with the stuff~

Warm some cooking oil (about 1 tablespoon) in a medium size skillet. Cook andouille (say it with me an-do-we) sausage until it is nice and brown. Stir in Hollandaise sauce let this simmer on low for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sliced green onions. My best friend Lolly, taught me to use my kitchen shears to cut them straight into whatever dish you are putting them in. Where I’m from, that is nearly every dish. Her mother in law, Mrs. Fern, taught her this little trick. It works like a charm!!! Let the sauce get infused with that andouille and green onion flavor. Ooh so good. Now, plate this dish up so you can chow down.
Layer one big crab cake on a plate. Spoon some of the scrambled eggs over the top. Now, ladle some of that heavenly sauce over the top. You can add more sliced green onions to this if you wish.
Enjoy! Now that’s a brunch dish worthy of a Cajun!!! Or anyone who just wants to brunch like a Cajun. Say it with me…yummmmmmmmm!!!

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mmmmmmmmmm!!

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getting that divine sauce ready for the job it was destined for. To top crab cakes!

Luscious Lemon Loaf

I woke up yesterday morning with cooking on my mind.  My kiddos are on spring break, 2 of them are with their grandparents in Arkansas, one is up his daddy’s behind, and the other (my mama’s girl) has been chilling with mama.  So, frankly, I felt a little adrift. Regardless of how many kids you have, it seems like when one or two are away, things just aren’t the same.  I definitely felt their absence, though it has been nice hanging with my sweet girl and having some one on one time with her.    Anyway, I decided that I was going to cook up some stuff and this lemon loaf was one of the recipes on Pinterest that had caught my eye.  But I must say, it was originally called “white chocolate lemon bread” and frankly, it looked so yummy but the name threw me off.  Yes, I will admit I am not a white chocolate fan.  Mama likes her dark chocolate, that is all I am saying.  Always have.  And white chocolate?  Gag.  No really, gag.  But I took a risk.  I love, love, love the lemon loaf at Starbucks.  I don’t love, however, paying over 2 bucks a pop for a slice.  I mean, really?  I truly love lemon and this looked so easy, I figured what did I have to lose anyway?  Nothing.  So I went for it.  I am so very glad I did.  There is nothing white chocolate to it and this loaf tastes so close to Starbucks’ lemon loaf that it is uncanny.  Taking the risk (though with this the risk was small) was well worth it.  Don’t you love when things work out that way?  I renamed it luscious lemon loaf because even though there is white chocolate pudding mix, you cannot taste it.  This is just pure lemon delight.  And the glaze that you pour over it is simply fantabulous.  This recipe truly could not be easier and makes two loaves.  So, theoretically you can keep one and give one away.  Good luck with that.  This stuff is so good, you might consider hiding both loaves under your shirt and running like the wind.  And keeping it all for yourself.  If your family does not beat you to the punch.  It is that good.  You can see the original recipe here http://liluna.com/white-chocolate-lemon-bread.  I made it just like the recipe suggested this time, but next time I will replace the oil with applesauce and the sour cream with Greek yogurt.  I do the applesauce thing in most of my muffin recipes and it works great.  We get a little fruit boost and I can enjoy a slice or um…two…with less guilt.

Luscious Lemon 

Stuff you need~

1 box of lemon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

2 small boxes instant white chocolate pudding mix

4 eggs

1/8 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 Tablespoons)

1/4 cup of oil

1 cup sour cream

zest of one lemon

For the glaze:  Mix 1  1/2 cups powdered sugar, juice and zest from one lemon.  Add more lemon juice if it was too thick. I used a big lemon and had plenty.

What to do with the stuff~

Mix cake mix, pudding mix, oil and eggs in a bowl with a beater (or your standing mixer) until well combined.  Now, add sour cream, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Use a spoon to mix at this point.  Pour batter into 2 greased loaf pans.  I used a regular size loaf pan and then a pan with 4 little mini loaves.  They were the cutest little things!!

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  If you go the mini loaf route, bake for about 15 minutes.  Let them cool completely.  I removed mine from the loaf pans at this point and set them on a baking sheet or plate.  Now, poke holes in the loaves and drizzle the glaze all over them.  Get ready to curse me and thank me all at once.  You will want to do both.  It’s ok.  I still love ya.  Image

Big ole zested lemon 

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awww…look at those little darlings…so tiny and cute.  I could just eat em up.  he he 

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Sweet tart lemony glaze…so pretty

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Beignets…the real deal

Ok a few things.  The other day I  am scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day and I see The Sweet and Savory Sisters’ recipe for real authentic beignets. Not fried biscuits…beignets  out of made from scratch batter.  The real deal.  The full enchilada.     Well, the deal was sealed and I knew right then and there that those babies would be on our table at some point this weekend.  We all love Cafe Du Monde, right?  It is the quintessential NOLA experience.  Well, these babies will take you there.  If you have never been, first of all, bless your heart because you are missing out and second of all, the taste of these beignets very closely mimics theirs’.  Now, naturally, the ambiance that makes Cafe Du Monde what it is, is missing.  But with a plateful of these and a cup of cafe au lait, you can almost close your eyes and make believe.  They are that good.  The almond extract makes all the difference, much to my surprise.  This recipe is very simple and quick to pull together.  You just need basic ingredients and cooking oil.  I had an oil thermometer and it really made the job super easy.  Your oil needs to be at 375 degrees and stay there as consistently as possible.   My beignets came out perfectly browned and ready for all that delicious powdered sugar.  I am pretty sure these will be a Sunday morning tradition in our house from here on out.  And I hate to fry.  So for me to say this, it tells you how little trouble these were.  I encourage you to bring a little bit of NOLA home, no matter where you live.  On a spring day, when the birds are chirping and the morning air is a little crisp, you will almost swear you can hear the jazz music and the church bells ringing at St. Louis Cathedral (you can tell I have usually been to Cafe Du Monde on Sunday mornings).  And best of all…you don’t have to wait for a table!  Get the powdered sugar ya’ll…it is time for some beignets!

Now, the other thing is that I love the Sweet and Savory Sisters.  These girls have roots in Avoyelles Parish, which makes them just a little more precious to my heart.  My good friend, Angie, turned me on to them.  Like with many of my good friendships, Angie and I both love to cook and she loves good recipes.  I knew we were destined to be close when she barely knew me and emailed me a recipe for the best roast for poboys I have ever had.  Makes a poboy so close to the ones in NOLA that you will swoon.  You will want to slap your mama even if she is the most precious lady you know.  So, she continued to forward me their recipes.  I finally started getting their Facebook feed…that was a game changer.  These girls are flipping hilarious, love to cook and have a good time, yeah Cher!!  My kind of chicks.  So, maybe check them out.

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the grease is gettin’ hot baby!

Beignets (from http://www.thesweetandsavorysisters.com)

Stuff You Need:

1 cup water

1 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon almond flavoring

3 cups of all purpose flour

2 Tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

oil for frying

powdered sugar

What to do with the Stuff:

Mix water, milk, egg, and almond flavoring.  Add flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar; mix until smooth.  Drop by spoonfuls into 2 inches of grease heated to 375 degrees.  Turn once to ensure even cooking.  Cook about 2 minutes on each side, depending on size it may take longer.  Drain well on paper towels and sprinkle (ok..douse) with powdered sugar.  OOOOH WEEEE!!!  Talk about good!!!

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Mixing up that sweet beignet batter…

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Just scrumptious…bringing NOLA home 

Perfect Iced Coffee

I love coffee.  Love, love, love it.  To know me is to know I love coffee.  The words ‘coffee lover’ will be written in my eulogy.  I am defined by my love of coffee.  See what i mean…I am little obsessed.  When my son was 3, we would go through the Starbucks drive thru and he would be able to say my order…”one tall bold cup with 2 splendas and half and half”.  yep, I have apparently brainwashed my kids.  Oops!  There is just something about that warm mug full of that precious brown liquid in your hands.  When I see someone with a cup of coffee in the carpool line or on TV, I admit I feel a little jealous.  I was watching Pioneer Woman on Food Network the other day and in this episode she makes iced coffee.  I was intrigued.  Not so much with the fact that she was making iced coffee, but more intrigued with HOW she was making it. She mentions in the episode that iced coffee tends to be watered down when you make it yourself and how her method changes that.  So I figured in the interest of my blog, in the interest of those who might like iced coffee and want a foolproof method…I would give it a go.  For all of you.  For research.  Just so we are clear.  Ha Ha!!  I really didn’t have high hopes, but I was amazed.  The stuff is awesome.  I am sitting here as I type with a lovely tumbler of iced cold coffee and I am not missing my warm mug much at all.  So if you love coffee, especially if you love iced coffee, you should give her recipe a whirl.

Perfect Iced Coffee (from the Pioneer Woman)

1 pound ground coffee (a good rich roast)

8 quarts of cold water

milk or half-and-half (nice enough splash to change the color to that beautiful iced coffee color)

sweetened condensed milk (if you are feeling super indulgent)

OR a few packets of your favorite sweetener, but I used good ole pure cane sugar because Pappaw always swore it dissolved better and as usual, he was right

Place the ground coffee into a large container

Pour in 8 quarts cold water

Give it a good stir to make sure you wet all the coffee grounds

Place the lid on the container and let it sit on the counter at room temperature for a half a day or a full 24 hours (I let mine sit for 24 hours and it was perfect)

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Excuse my little helper’s hand in the picture…I needed some backup.

Lay some cheesecloth in a fine mesh strainer.  Slowly pour the coffee mixture through the strainer and into a clean container.  

After you have poured most of the liquid out, gently press the grounds with a spoon to make sure you get all of that lovely coffee out and then discard the cheesecloth with the grounds inside.  I will forewarn you, this is messy.  We used the leftover grounds in our garden…just FYI.

Chill your pitcher of coffee in the fridge.

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Pour the coffee into a glass filled with ice.

Splash in your milk or half-and-half 

Add your sweetened condensed milk or sugar or sweetener and then give it a quick stir.

Prepare yourself for iced coffee nirvana.  To fall in love with iced coffee. To be a changed person.

ImageAhhh!!!  That picture just makes me happy.