My first daughter has loved to cook and bake with me since she was old enough to sit on the counter and help stir muffins. (Actually all my kids loved baking when they were little, and that joy of cooking continues to today - some of my favorite memories are of baking with my gram, my mom, my wonderful children, and now my grandbabies!) And through the years that has grown to include many cooking classes that we have taken together. One of our favorites was a Candy Making Workshop that we took at Viking Cooking School. All the little tricks of the trade...how to temper chocolate, how to correctly make homemade caramel...so much fun! And homemade Turtles are one of our favorites - old-fashioned Caramel & Pecan Candies that are perfection!
For my birthday celebration this year, my girls put together a smorgasbord of appetizers and treats, and we celebrated with a day long party on the deck. So much fun to see them cook and bake all of their favorites, and so relaxing for me! And these Turtles are one of our all-time favorites!
There is a birthday at our house this weekend - MINE! This is the perfect occasion to pull out one of my vintage recipes. This is the cake of my childhood...both my Gram and Mom made more times than I can count for birthdays and special occasions. It’s a simple cake; there is no mixer required, no creaming of butter and sugar, no frosting (unless you want a little ganache glaze), just pure chocolate flavor - rich and so moist!
You can dress it up with a simple chocolate ganache glaze or sprinkle it with powdered sugar. One bite and you'll know why this one’s a keeper, destined to be a family favorite for generations to come!
Are you ready for Fall? Even though we've been in the middle of record-breaking 90 degree weather, the calendar tells us that it's officially Fall, so the best time of the year kicks off! Bonfires, football games, hayrides, everything-pumpkin...
This Roasted Apple & Maple Glazed Chicken with Escalloped Apples is magic - the perfect blend of tender roasted chicken glazed in the perfect blend of sweet and spicy! Tasty roasted apples and just a taste of maple syrup are the base of the tangiest, sweetest grilling sauce you have ever tasted! Perfect with a side of my Escalloped Apples. Autumn dinner is served!
Brown Butter Toffee Caramel & Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies - now that's a mouthful! Some of you may have had a Kitchen Sink Cookie from Panera - a HUGE cookie with semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate, caramel pieces, pretzels and flake salt on top. They're pretty wonderful, pretty impressive and pretty expensive! At $3.00 each, and because I'm usually travelling with a large tribe of kids, these can add up fast! And if I suggest that they split these and share them, well, you know the look I get!
Whenever we try something this good, I always try to figure out a way to "deconstruct" it and make it at home, and after several attempts, I've created my own copycat recipe that looks, feels, and tastes just like the Panera treat! And starting with fresh browned butter and brown sugar, you just know that this cookie base is one of a kind!
What are your favorite smells of summer? Blooming flowers, suntan lotion, damp earth after a summer thunderstorm, campfires....does sunshine have a smell? One of our favorites are the smells of backyard grilling. And whenever someone in the neighborhood is cooking something on the grill, everyone plays a guessing game as what they're making! Whether its hot dogs over a campfire, burgers on the grill, or ribs on a smoker, it's all good!
But one of our favorites this year is Korean Barbeque Steak Kabobs! The smells wafting thru our backyard and into the house were WONDERFUL! And even the neighbors were coming over to ask "What the heck is that fabulous smell coming from your grill - and what time should we be there for dinner?" Korean Barbeque....it will change your life!
We've gone salad crazy! I had recently read about sprinkling raw fresh sweet corn on top of a Wedge Salad, and it sounded so crazy that I had to try it. And we are absolutely hooked! I can't say that I've ever had raw sweet corn in anything, but you can't believe what it does for a fresh salad! The tender, milky kernels of sweet corn add so much surprising crunch and flavor that you will be AMAZED!
It's that magical time of the year when the last of the sweet corn is for sale at the corner stands, and all of the colorful varieties of sweet cherry tomatoes are perfectly sweet and ripe. We've especially been enjoying Sun Gold and Sun Sugar "orange" cherry tomatoes from our garden this year - they are like eating candy!
I've made this unbelievable salad three times in the last three days - my family just can't seem to get enough. This nice twist on both a classic Wedge Salad and classic Blue Cheese Dressing will have you craving more as well. The freshest Blue Cheese Ranch dressing, drizzled with a sweet and tangy Balsamic Glaze and topped with crumbled Caramelqued Bacon...it's SO GOOD!
Life is short, and strawberry season is even shorter. Middle-to-late August is also hibiscus time in the upper Northeast, and these fragrant, delicate flowers inspired this bright, vibrant creation. And as it turns out, strawberry hibiscus is a pretty incredible combination!
So I'm that crazy mama that makes a LOT of cheesecake...summer, fall, winter. Fluffy mousse, creamy baked...chocolate, caramel drizzled, fresh fruit filled...and I'm always on the lookout for something new. This tropical flower, combined with perfectly ripe and sweet strawberries, creates a flavor that is sooooooo fruity, ruby-red and fragrant that it will take your breath away!
Sweet Strawberry Hibiscus Sauce. Summer perfection!
So incredibly easy to make, so incredibly fruity, fragrant and delicious! If you've ever tried it, you're already in love. If you've never had a chance, this is like liquid sunshine! I always wait until the summer strawberries are at their peak of sweetness and perfectly ripe. This is SOOOO GOOD drizzled on top of Strawberry & Hibiscus Cheesecake, on a scoop of fresh strawberry or vanilla ice cream, as a base for the most perfect strawberry shortcake, or the perfect start to dazzling Strawberry Hibiscus Iced Tea or lemonade.
My.Oh.My...someone special is having a birthday and she LOVES German Chocolate Cake! My little ones always get to pick out their favorite birthday meal and birthday dessert, and this one is always a favorite! A special girl just deserves a special cake, don't you think?
This homemade treat is absolutely the World's Best German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Filling and Dark Chocolate Ganache. And when I tell you that this tastes even more wonderful than it looks, you're going to want some too!
Every now and then, life gives you lemons. And whenever that happens around here, that means it's time for some LEMON BURST SUGAR COOKIES! These soft and chewy lemon sugar cookies are only for true lemon lovers! Just like a lemon drop, these are the perfect pucker-upper! A kick of sweet and tangy lemon flavor in every delicious tender bite!
I'm not going to tell you that these are life changing, but if you love tender chewy sugar cookies, and if you LOVE tart lemon drop candies, you are going to LOVE these wonderful cookies. And I double-dog dare you to only eat one!
What is the craziest appetizer combination you've ever tried? With football season just starting to kick-off, I've got another winner for you to try this year. And who doesn't love fried queso with something wonderful to dip it in? Usually it's a fire-roasted salsa, but you're in for a surprise!
Ooey gooey queso cheese with a touch of spice and sweet...all you'll need is an icy margarita or tall cold beer!
I don't know what it is about this Wild Blueberry & Lime Jam, but it is like HEAVEN! The Michigan wild blueberries are finally in, and they are huge and just BURSTING with color and flavor. I hardly know where to start with these fresh beauties!
But this fresh, homemade Blueberry & Lime Jam seems like the perfect place to start! The flavor just jumps out at you and it's love at first bite...we just love us some JAMBERRY!
The directions were simple. He wanted a "North Woods" Birthday Cake...with lots of animals. Wolves, bears, a big Minnesota moose and a tiny red fox. And did I mention LOTS of pine trees? Yup, that's what we were working with!
This is the kind of Birthday Cake that little boys' dreams are made of! Moist, flavorful dark Chocolate Cake covered with a Fudgy Chocolate Buttercream frosting, and topped with White Chocolate Pine Trees and north woods wild animals...could anything be more outdoorsy or delicious?