Saturday, June 30, 2012

Watermelon "Cake" for the Fourth of July

I don't know how the weather is where you are, but it has really been too hot to bake around here with several days over 100 degrees.  And, with all the fresh fruit available, this just seemed like a great idea.  Plus, it is red, white, blue, and with the Fourth of July just a few days away, it is the perfect recipe.  And, it is really low calorie.  Really, it is nothing more than the creative cutting of a watermelon frosted with a whipped topping, yogurt combination and decorated with berries.  But, the best part is that it is so good.  I had no idea that a little yogurt and whipped topping could make watermelon taste like a real dessert, but it really does.  I had seconds, and watermelon is not my favorite fruit. 

I adapted my recipe from this one I found on Pinterest.  It is made by and uses Mountain High Yoghurt, which is not available in the southeast, so I had no choice but to modify the recipe some, and I did a little more.  My husband helped me out by doing the cutting.  I frosted it and decorated it.  And, me and my husband and son ate it.  Keep in mind, you probably need to be prepared to eat the whole thing or close to it, because the yogurt is going to get wet pretty fast - or at least I think it will.  It still looked good four a couple of hours after I made it before my son finished it, but definitely refrigerate any leftovers.
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Friday, June 29, 2012

Beach Food Part 4: Non-Alcoholic Peach Daiquiris and Food Friends Friday

If you have been following my blog for the last few weeks, you know that I have been participating in Foodie Friends Friday, which is a group that features each others blog posts as one of their posts on Fridays.  Well, this week we are trying something new.  We are all going to put our own material on a link party as well as introduce the other Foodie Friends, so be sure to scroll down after the recipe and check it out.

These frozen drinks are perfect on a hot day.  It is actually supposed to be 107 degrees here Saturday, so maybe I should make some more.  They are modeled after a daiquiri without the alcohol.  The recipe has key lime juice in it in addition to peaches, which give it the perfect tang.  You could use regular lime, but hey I had leftover key limes from the key lime pie, and they were perfect.  I topped it here with a squirt of whipped cream and a peach slice.  Getting an occasional sip of creaminess was really nice too.

This is the last of the beach food series, so you can say goodbye to the glass balcony table and the same red dishes over and over again.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beach Food Part 3: Low Country Boil - This would also be great for the Fourth of July

A low country boil is more of an event than a dish.  It is native to the coastal islands of South Carolina and Georgia (often referred to as the low country), but it is a wonderful dish anywhere you can get fresh seafood.  My dad cooked this because he is our resident seafood chef having grown up around it, and he didn't use a recipe, so I am going to give you some guidelines to cooking your own rather than a recipe.  While he cooked this in the kitchen, it also great to cook outside in one of those outdoor fryers.  We always called it a fish cooker, but that might not be what it is actually called. You may think you need more per person than this suggests, and while I do encourage you to cook all you want, I think you will be quite surprised at how filling this is.  All you need to serve it with is a salad and maybe some bread.  It is absolutely delicious!  And, I should mention that it is also messy.  I mean, you really can't help but make a mess with corn on the cob and peel-your-own shrimp, but that is part of the fun.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beach Food Part 2: Key Lime Pie


So, the other pie we made on vacation was key lime, which is probably my favorite pie.  I know, two key lime recipes in one week...  I will try not to let it happen again, but I do love key lime!  I even have several other things I would like to try with it, but I will let that wait a while, and if I make them, then they will just have to wait to be posted.

I made this pie just like the original recipe from Spring Creek Restaurant featured in Southern Living from My Recipes, but I am posting it here adapted by doubling it. The taste was perfect! But, as you can see from the photo, it did not nearly fill up the crust.  Seriously, I will definitely make it again, but I will definitely double it, because it looks a bit skimpy.  I, of course, filled the excess with whipped cream, but I would rather have more key lime and then whipped cream on top. Speaking of which, like the peanut butter pie, I used canned whipped cream and a store bought crust due to being out of town and away from my kitchen, but I would definitely do homemade versions of both if were to do it from home.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Beach Food Part 1: Peanut Butter Pie

This is the first in a series of four posts about the food we made when we were at the beach.  We made two desserts, key lime pie, which will be in an upcoming post - but hey, I just posted key lime bars yesterday, so I thought we should go in a different direction, and then, because not everyone is enthusiastic about key lime, this peanut butter pie.  The only thing I brought with me was a hand mixer, so the pie crust was a store bought one and the whipped cream came from a can.  Ok, I could have easily made whipped cream with the hand mixer, but I didn't bring anything to pipe it on with.  Also, everything in this series is served on the red plates from the condo and on the frosted glass table on the balcony where I was able to get natural light.  For the record, homemade crust and whipped cream are better, and if you have your regular utensils available, you should definitely make them.  I like this graham cracker crust from Martha Stewart and would have used it if I could have had access to my food processor and a pie plate.

The recipe is one I adapted from this Gooseberry Patch recipe on  My Recipes .  I just added some chocolate ganache drizzles because for me, peanut butter pie should have some chocolate on it somewhere.  This is super easy to make and so good!  And, it doesn't ever require an oven!

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Key Lime Breakfast Bars for Breakfast Ideas Mondays


I almost didn't do Breakfast Ideas Mondays this week.  I had a really intensive training for school, and all I could think of was that all I had eaten for breakfast this week was a Larabar - well actually several, one one each day I managed to eat breakfast.  Then, I thought well, I've seen recipes for copycat Larabars, and I wonder what all that entails.  So, after some looking around, I realized these were seriously easy.  I mean they cost less than the original and take less time to make than going the store to buy them.  I barely adapted my recipe from here at the Amy Layne Paradigm Blog, and although they say they make two to three (and I made three), I think they are about twice the size of what you buy in the store.  I made my favorite flavor - key lime, because my local store doesn't carry them.  Basically, I am really excited to have found a way to get my favorite flavor quickly and cheaply, and best of all they really do taste like the real thing.

As usual, don't forget to stop by Yummy Inspirations to see all the great Breakfast Ideas Mondays posts this week!

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Back From the Beach...

Whew!  Last week I was at the beach and this week, I have had training all day long, every day, with homework at night.  If you are reading this, thank you for putting up with my sparse posting the last couple of weeks.  I did pretty well last week because I had a few posts prepared ahead, but this week has been mostly empty.  If you have sent me a message, I have probably not answered it.  And yet, I have quite a bit to post about, so this coming week should be much better.

The picture above is taken from the balcony of our condominium in Panama City Beach, Florida.  For those that don't know, Panama Cit Beach is on the Florida panhandle on the the Gulf of Mexico.  The gulf is just about my favorite place in the world.  It can be a crazy place with lots of partyers, but I go just to spend time with family, stare at and get in the gulf, and of course, eat fresh seafood. While I am going to talk about the beach itself a bit, this post is going to be primarily about the food we ate while we were there.  That is, the food we ate out at restaurants.  The food we cooked will be several blog posts all their own.  I really had a hard time deciding what order to do the restaurants in because they are all so unique that they are incomparable, so I decided to go in chronological order.  It also occurred to me that unless you are used to seafood in the southern United States, that this might be quite the cultural experience for many of you.  Also, please excuse the awful photos.  All of the restaurant photos were taken with my iPhone, primarily in poor lighting, but the food was really great!

First, let me say that it is quite difficult to find really good seafood on the beach.  Most beach restaurants are there for tourists who come from areas where seafood isn't really that fresh, and they assume that the tourists won't know the difference.  And, even if it is fresh, most restaurants overcook seafood, so finding the really good stuff is hard.  My father grew up in Panama City, so I was raised going here and knowing the difference.  So, our first night at the beach (and, actually our last night too) we went to Roughstock's Steak Pit and Seafood in Lynn Haven.  If you want super fresh seafood cooked just right, this is the place to go.  They do have other types of seafood as well as steak, but this is where we go for the county southern fried type.  The atmosphere is casual but nice and very family oriented (They do not sell alcohol and do not allow profanity).
This is a typical tossed salad that comes with your entree.
This is a fried shrimp entree.  One of the side options are these cheese grits that are absolutely wonderful.

We didn't have dessert at Roughstock's - though their dessert tray looked decadent, and we are going to have to try something there sometime, but instead we waited for the Homemade Ice Cream Shoppe on the beach.  This is the only ice cream I have every had that actually tasted homemade, but wasn't actually made at home.  This is the real thing.  And, they have lots of flavors!  If you like homemade ice cream, you have to go here!

I almost always get vanilla because it is my favorite, but I got adventurous this year and got Oreo.  Yum!

This is my dad's.  He had two flavors, and I don't remember one of them, but the other was banana.

This is a picture of the beach the next day.  As you can see, it was stormy out and the gulf was rather turbulent and had quite a few jelly fish.  It was actually closed due to the rip tide, but as you can see many people were still disregarding that at this time.  Later, the beach patrol helicopter came and literally blew people out of the water.  Well, it didn't pick them up and blow them, but it blew air and water to the point that people were uncomfortable enough to get out.

That night we ate at the Captain's Table.  I always get soft shell crabs here because they are a little hard to find, and they are good here, so I really can't speak about their other offerings, but the soft shell crabs are great!
Soft Shell Crabs at the Captain's Table

And, then there was Hunt's Oyster Bar.  We go there for the raw oysters and steamed shrimp, but they have other things too.  This is a super casual place that is a true southern cultural experience. It is loud, and you will get messy.  I don't usually mention people drinking because I'm a teacher and that is just not something teachers do around here, but the the lady drinking wine out of a solo cup with Bud Light printed on it brings a totally new meaning to the word casual.  If you are getting the peel your own shrimp, be warned that you will also be removing their heads so, don't get a manicure before you go and don't wear something you are too attached to.  You will likely have shrimp and butter up to your elbows, but it will be worth it.  If you have never been to this kind of place the experience alone is worth it, but the food is even better!

As you can see here in this sunset photo, and from the first photo, things did clear up and get beautiful - though I was so busy enjoying it, that I didn't take many pictures and actually none in full sun.  The picture below was taken on a night we ate in.  I'll let you know what we ate in a later post.

Next, we have Pickles Beachside Grill in Seaside Beach.  My daughter and I ate there on our shopping trip to Seaside (west of Panama City Beach on 30A). I had a pimento cheese sandwich, and she had a cheeseburger.  It is a bit on the pricey side for sandwiches and fries, but everything is really good, and the fries are the best I have ever eaten.

And last, but certainly not least, we have George's at Alys Beach.  George's has a little dressier atmosphere - though people are not dressed up at all, it is just atmosphere, and is the place to go if you want gourmet food instead of the southern specialties.  Actually, they have the southern specialties too, but I have never been able to resist their more creative dishes, so I have not had them. It is located at Alys Beach west of Panama City Beach on Hwy. 30A (before you get to Seaside Beach).  This is where my husband and I went on our 'date night.'  Everything we have ever had there was wonderful.  And, the entrees are divided into behave and misbehave categories.  Both of ours were off the behave portion, but I can't say that I felt like I was behaving at all.  

We both got this Fried Goat Cheese and Zinfandel Poached Pear Salad - reminded my of the goat cheese salad I had in Monte Carlo years ago.

I had these Seared Sea Scallops with Mint Pea Ravioli and Yellow Tomato Coulis - one of the best dishes I have ever eaten!

My husband had this Jerk Crusted Gulf Snapper with Green Banana Salsa and Mashed Yucca - delicious!

And, one last look at the beach...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mini German Pancakes from Robyn's View for Foodie Friends Friday

Photo from Robyn's View

I missed Foodie Friends Friday last week due to being on vacation at the beach (I am still going to post about the beach - just have to make it through this training first.), but I am making up for it this week with this feature from Robyn's View. These are Mini German Pancakes, and they look delicious.  I can't wait to try them myself. Robyn has a great blog with all kinds of DIY and crafty things as well as delicious recipes so be sure to check it out here.  And, as always check out all the features this week on Foodie Friends Friday.

Now, I will take the time to point out that there is more than one pancake type thing that people call German pancakes just to avoid the confusion. These are miniature versions of what I call a dutch baby, which is a large pancake that usually serves several people.  There are also a version of German pancakes that are more like crepes and topped with butter, sugar, lemon juice, etc. and then rolled an eaten, which are what I call German pancakes.  I actually did a bit of research about this for this post because my husband's mother was German, and she made the crepe-like version.  My husband still makes the crepes, and I will have him do it for the blog someday.  Anyway, the reason for my research was simply to find out if they are both actually German pancakes, and it seems that they are.  They are not the same recipe, but both are of German descent.  The crepes are indeed German crepes.  These German pancakes are apparently a derivation of apfelpfannkuchen, which is apparently very similar to these and the larger dutch baby with apples cook in the batter.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Huevos Rancheros for Breakfast Ideas Mondays

This week for my very late post for Breakfast Ideas Mondays, I decided to do huevos rancheros.  We actually had them Sunday night for dinner instead of breakfast, because somehow after a long ride home from the beach Saturday that included not getting home until well after nine pm, breakfast Sunday didn't happen.  We just slept through it.

Speaking of trips, please be understanding, if I am a bit sparse this week.  We spent last week on a family vacation and this week I am doing some rather intensive training for school.  Don't get me wrong, I have lots of things to post about from the beach week - both recipes and some restaurant reviews, but I might not get them all up this week due to the training.  I should be back on track by Thursday or Friday at the latest.

So, back to the recipe...These huevos rancheros are a bit on the spicy side, but if you want to make them a bit less, reduce the chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, and of course you don't have to top them with jalapenos.  Also, I fried the tortillas in butter like most of the recipes I saw, but I really don't think you would be able to tell a lot of difference if you heated them without the butter, and you would save a bunch of fat and calories - but that is up to you.  Before making this, I read a bunch of recipes online, and this is kind of a synthesis of the parts I liked best in each.

As always, be sure to stop by Yummy Inspirations for all of this week's great Breakfast Ideas Mondays posts!

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Eggless Vanilla Ice Cream

I made this ice cream a while back - when my husband and daughter made the peach.  It was actually made for my daughter because she doesn't like peach.  Anyway, I chose to hold off posting it because I had just done several ice creams.

This tastes a lot more like old fashioned homemade vanilla than the last vanilla I made, and I really like this much better.  It definitely reminds me of the homemade ice cream I ate as a kid, even without the raw eggs.  This will be my go to recipe for vanilla from now on.  I found the recipe here on the Eagle Brand Milk website and just barely modified it.  I looked there because I remembered that the recipe from my childhood used sweetened condensed milk, and back then, that always meant Eagle Brand Milk.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Golden Beets with Kale

Golden beets are one of many produce items that just cannot be bought in my small town, but they are also something I have always wanted to try.  I wasn't really planning on them, but in my most recent trek to Atlanta, they were the first thing I spotted as I walked into Whole Foods, so they were instantly on the week's menu.  These have not had a lot done to them, because I wanted to taste the beet itself.  They were a bit milder and a bit sweeter than most of the red beets I have eaten, but essentially, they taste the same.  I roasted them with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and tarragon and then stirred them into some sauteed kale. They made a perfectly tasty and  healthy side dish.

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chocolate Chip Scones for Breakfast Ideas Mondays

This week for Breakfast Ideas Mondays I decided to be a little more indulgent than a was the last couple of weeks.  These fluffy scones are studded with semi-sweet chocolate.  They make a perfect decadent breakfast or afternoon tea.  They are best served fresh and a little warm, though they are still pretty good the next day if you wrap them in foil and heat
 them up a bit.

I adapted this recipe from this one for scone nibbles by King Arthur Flour.  I wanted regular sized scones.  And I didn't want to have to use mini chocolate chips because the only ones easily available to me are not nearly as good quality chocolate as the regular sized.  I also wanted MUCH less glaze. The original recipe calls for three and one-half cups confectioners' sugar in the glaze.  That is a lot of glaze.  I realize that they were dipping whole mini scones in it, but that is just too much sugar for me for breakfast - later in the day, maybe...

As always, make sure you stop by Yummy Inspirations and check out all of the other recipes for Breakfast Ideas Mondays.
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Friday, June 8, 2012

Savory Vegetable Tart from Saucy Girl's Kitchen for Foodie Friends Friday

Savory vegetable tart
Photograph from Saucy Girl's Kitchen.

This week for Foodie Friends Friday, I decided to feature this gorgeous savory vegetable tart from Helena at Saucy Girl's Kitchen.  Summer vegetables are beginning to be harvested, and I am always looking for new yummy ways to use them.  This is definitely something I will be trying soon!  Be sure to check out the Saucy Girl's Kitchen blog for lots of other great recipes as well as Foodie Friends Friday for this week's features.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sweet Cherry Pie and What to Do with Pie Crust Scraps


Growing up, I really didn't like cherry pie.  It was not something my mother or grandmother made, so I had only eaten it at restaurants.  Only later, did I discover that the reason I didn't like it was that I didn't like the canned cherry pie filling that most restaurants at the time used.  I almost added my description of it in that last sentence, but decided that it was so unappetizing that it might keep you from trying this recipe.  And, that is definitely something I don't want to do.  Fresh cherries are so much better!  In fact, they almost don't even seem like the same thing.  This recipe has a fresh, delicious taste that is sweet enough without being too sweet.  

The crust is this pate brise recipe from Martha Stewart very slightly adapted.  The filling is probably the same ingredients that you see in most cherry pies.  I just played around with it until I got the perfect sweet-tart combination.  Of course, that is subjective, so you could add more or less sugar or lemon juice depending on your own taste.
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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Matcha Bubble Tea

I love the flavor of matcha as well as its pretty green color, so I knew when I decided to make bubble tea, it would have to be using matcha.  If you have never used matcha before, it is a powdered green tea.  You have to blend it with water or in this case milk using a whisk, so it is quite different from steeping tea leaves.  You may have to go to a tea shop to get it or order it online.

This is a delicious and easy drink.  The most difficult part is finding the tapioca.  You need large tapioca pearls, which can not usually be found at a regular American supermarket. I got mine at an Asian market, but even there, the clerk seemed to think it was an odd purchase and had a hard time finding them.  These are just a plain light brown variety, but if you get them especially made for bubble tea, you can get them in black and pastels.  You can order those as well as straws big enough for the tapioca to fit through easily online.  As usual though, I decided to do it at the last minute, and ended up with plain tapioca and straws that it barely squeezes through.  Although, I will give you some sweetener amounts, it is really to your own taste in this recipe because I think it varies wildly from person to person, so adjust to your own liking.

I adapted this recipe from this one at  A Food Lovers Journey .

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Omelet Cups for Breakfast Ideas Mondays

These little omelet cups are a wonderful, portion controlled breakfast.  What makes them even better, is that you can easily reheat extras for a quick breakfast on the run.  Ideally, I see making them on the weekend with extras leftover for weekday breakfasts.  And, best of all, they are very tasty!

I adapted my recipe from this one at Skinny Taste.  Mine is not quite as skinny as the original with a little extra cheese and half whole eggs, but it still comes in at about two fat grams per muffin cup cup or about 4 fat grams for a 2 muffin cup serving, which is not too bad.

As always, make sure you stop by Yummy Inspirations and check out all of the other recipes for Breakfast Ideas Mondays.
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Friday, June 1, 2012

Beetroot Tortellini for Foodie Friends Friday

Photograph from Passione Per Cucina.

Foodie Friends Friday is a new group where each member features another member's post on Fridays. You should definitely check it out for lots of great recipes.

Today is my first Foodie Friends Friday post, and I have chosen to feature a recipe from Passione Per Cucina, which is a great Italian food blog. There are tons of seriously yummy sounding recipes on this blog.  The photo is of Beetroot Tortellini Filled with Chard, Red Onion, Walnut and Ricotta, which sounds absolutely amazing.  Additionally, I am already thinking of other wonderful uses for the beetroot pasta that I just can't wait to try!

From Calculu∫ to Cupcake∫: June 2012

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From Calculu∫ to Cupcake∫