Oh my gosh guys...we just can't seem to get enough vanilla beans, cheesecake, raspberries or rhubarb...and this little treat is everything we love tied up in one wonderful package! We had a Cheesecake class this week at Snowflakes & Coffeecakes Cooking School and this was probably the best time we've ever had! Using the freshest quality ingredients and taking advantage of our rhubarb crop that is growing faster than I can use it, made for some cheesecake perfection!
I made two of these and had every intention of sharing one with our new neighbors - but the crowd went wild at our house and both disappeared. Immediately! This is absolutely the BEST cheesecake ever!
One of the best things for my family, friends and neighbors is that we share. A LOT! Sometimes it's a tool, sometimes it's a friendly conversation or neighborhood watch, but in my case, it usually involves recipes and food. With a food blog, there is a LOT of cooking and baking that goes on in my crazy little corner of the world - and it would be crazy NOT to share. And while I share lots of tips and lessons at Snowflakes & Coffeecakes Cooking School, I share most of my recipes and a lot of baking tips and tricks here as well. Today I'm whipping up some of our family favorite Banana Bars with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting - so we'll be enjoying those while you read the rest of my story...
Several months ago I posted about the devastation of the vanilla bean crops and market right now, and resulting worldwide shortage and huge price increases. Shortly thereafter I was talking with the folks at Rodelle Kitchen - who are famous for their premium baking products and gourmet spices, and more specifically, a line of pure vanilla products that I have used and loved for years.
I know that many of you are VERY interested in natural and organic products - and I wanted to share with you that Rodelle does so much more behind the scenes in terms of sustaining and giving back to the vanilla growing regions. Who knew that they have quietly been involved with international support programs and environmental projects as well? Like my Mom taught me, quality ingredients make all the difference when baking and cooking - and given the chance to use both quality ingredients and support an ethical company? That is something that I can truly get behind!
The best thing about cooking up a double-batch of Raspberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce, Marinade & Glaze last night is that it also makes a great start to tonight's dinner! This Raspberry Chipotle Glazed Chicken is magic - the perfect blend of sweet and spicy!
Marinating the chicken breasts overnight really gives this chicken a moistness and flavor that is out of this world! And if the chicken is tender and moist, and glazed with a sweet raspberry sauce that warms up with a savory and smoky kick, we've got a fantastic dinner coming up!
Are you ready for some summer fun? It's hard to believe that Memorial Day weekend is racing towards us...and the official kick-off of summertime barbeques and picnics! We have our standard family favorites - burgers, ribs and steaks on the grill, and all the wonderful sides that go along. There's no messing with those!
This Raspberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce, Marinade & Glaze is magic - the perfect blend of sweet and spicy, and about as versatile as it gets. It starts out sweet, but warms up with a savory, smoky kick that we love on grilled chicken, kabobs, barbequed ribs and pork tenderloin. It also makes a great dipping sauce - you just can't believe how wonderful this is with hot Chinese Cream Cheese Puffs - SO GOOD! And if you're looking for a fabulously easy and delicious appetizer, pour this beautiful sauce over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers or fresh vegies. Always a fan favorite!
I don't know about you, but it makes me all kinds of happy when my kids take the lead and show their interest, talent and love of cooking and baking...all those cooking lessons that started when they were just little enough to sit on the counter and stir muffins has paid off!
While our son was away at camp this weekend whipping up some Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, along the same theme, it's time to share another family favorite with you - Rhubarb Upside-Down Spice Cake with Cinnamon Whipped Cream and Rhubarb Syrup.
With all of the craziness going on right now, everyone around here has just been feeling blue...so I thought I'd try to make the best of the situation! It's time for some comfort food...something retro...something that will make your both your eyes and your tummy happy!
The fresh blueberries have been UNBELIEVABLY big and sweet this season - don't know if it is the warmer winter or what, but we've had a bumper crop of fabulous berries to work with, and I'm taking advantage of every opportunity! And there's nothing better than a plateful of thick and warm Fresh Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes - just busting with fresh blueberries!
Don't you just love it when you can whip up a delicious dinner in less than half an hour? And this delicately glazed Asian Sweet Chili Sesame Chicken is absolute perfection, especially when it sits on some beautiful Coconut Rice! Seriously good! And I seriously had Skipper and the kids fighting over the extra Asian Sweet Chili Sesame Sauce to drizzle over both the Coconut Rice and steamed sugar snap peas. YIKES! So good!
And the tender Coconut Rice? SO GOOD all by itself, but I can keep the vegetarians in the family happy just be drizzling a little Sweet Chili Sesame Glaze/Sauce over the top.
Reminder to self...plant a whole lot more sugar snap peas this year in the garden!
Happy Mother's Day to all of my family and friends! And for all of the fun that we have celebrating our mothers, grandmothers, mothers-in-law, moms-to-be, and those daughters who are mothers to the best gift of them all - our grandchildren, it can be such a melancholy day remembering moms that are no longer with us, or a heartbreaking day for those that have suffered the loss of a child, miscarriage, or fertility problems. I hope that your day is filled with happy memories and peaceful celebration!
We're going to be sharing and enjoying an old-fashioned batch of Rhubarb Custard Bars - so pink and delicious! Sweet rhubarb and custard filling on top of a shortbread cookie crust, and topped with a cloud of cream cheese and sweet whipped cream...what's not to love?
If you're anything like me, the second it warms up and the sun is shining, the grill gets pulled out and we start grilling like madmen! After a long winter, there is nothing better than the wonderful smells wafting and smoking from the grill, and I get a secret thrill when the neighbors start shouting comments about how good our dinner smells!
And this Apricot Dijon Glazed Salmon doesn't disappoint! This glaze/marinade/sauce is perfection - just the right amount of sweet with a little bit of Dijon kick to it, and one of our absolute favorites!
We're still recovering from the Kentucky Derby! And this unbelievable Derby Cheesecake won the race! After sneaking my Strawberry Margarita Cheesecake out of the house last Friday without sharing, my family was deep in cheesecake despair.
For our derby party, everyone was expecting a Derby Pie, so this was my last-minute secret entry. This was the initial outing for this long-shot, but all bets were on for a creamy, rich vanilla bean cheesecake, loaded up with two layers of salted caramel and pecans. And it didn't disappoint!
Ahhhhh...it's Kentucky Derby Day! Since I was a little girl, I've loved watching the first leg of the Triple Crown the first weekend of May. The history, and the stories behind each horse, rider and owner is one of our favorite things to watch. And along with a collection of colorful hats, over the years we have created an arsenal of Kentucky food favorites to enjoy as well!
Kentucky, famous for its horse races and bourbon, is also home to the classic American Hot Brown. This open-face sandwich is steeped in rich history - developed in the roaring 1920’s by hotel chef Fred Schmidt at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. Tired and hungry after a night of dancing, flappers and guests would head into the restaurant for a bite to eat. Wanting to provide some variation from the standard egg and ham sandwiches they served, he developed this thing of beauty – an open-faced turkey sandwich with fresh tomato slices and crisp bacon on thick white toast covered in a thicky, bubbly Mornay sauce.
The Hot Brown is still the most popular item on the menu at the Brown Hotel. It becomes more popular around the time of the Derby, but it's really an attraction year-round. People love the historic aspect of the sandwich and enjoying it at the place where it was invented. It's something that people specifically come to the hotel to enjoy. If you’re visiting in Louisville, there’s even a trail you can follow, the Hot Brown Hop, to try different takes on this sandwich across the city.
This is my take on the classic, and it is a family favorite WINNER!
BACON...bacon...bacon...and now that I have your attention! Today is your lucky day! If you think bacon is good, or that caramelized bacon is even better, this sweet, salty and spicy little treat is going to knock your socks off!
I just realized that even though we've been making this for years and including it in SO MANY recipes, I've never shared the recipe all by itself before. And because I'll be using it for a recipe later in the day, and because I just know that you'll want to come back to the crazy goodness that is CARAMELQUED BACON, I thought it made sense to just create a special place just for it so that you can come back and visit often!
It's not Taco Tuesday, but it is Friday, and it is Cinco de Mayo...this is what we've been training for!
I made this last night to bring in for a company Cinco de Mayo potluck today, and Skipper was CRYING as I carried it out the door! And the kids may be crying too, because this is truly an "adult" dessert! (You can always make them some of my Firework Pancakes to make them smile...)
And if you enjoy a margarita or strawberry margarita or two, you will LOVE every delicious sip....or bite of this!
OH-LA-LA-LA! We had a special birthday to celebrate this weekend and really needed something to knock the birthday girl's socks off! She wanted brownies, she wanted black raspberry truffle ice cream - and she asked me to surprise her with something special. She was speechless with the wonder of it all!
This is a wonderful change of pace from a traditional ice cream cake - and so easy to make! And the beauty is that you can customize this to YOUR favorites. Vanilla bean? Chocolate? Mint Chocolate? Superman ice cream? You get the idea!
Happy May Day! And to kick our month off, we're going to start with something simple, fresh and perfect for a spring morning! I had fresh raspberries, strawberries and big juicy blackberries just waiting to be added to something special.
And what could be more wonderful than a stack of warm Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pancakes, loaded up with all of our favorite spring berries? Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner!