Archive of ‘food’ category

Make This: Mini Apple Pies

I love a good apple pie and these mini apple pies are both delicious and adorable. Plus, they are fairly simple to make (always a must in my book!). Since I was making these for Emery’s school Thanksgiving luncheon, I quadrupled the recipe, but for a small serving of 4, here’s what you need:

Ingredients
4 large Granny Smith apples (organic if possible)
1 (21 ounce) can apple pie filling (if you have time to make your own, here’s a great recipe)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (14.1 ounce) package rolled pie crust (use just 1 of the 2 crusts in the box)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wash apples and cut the top off – about 1/2 an inch worth.

Mini Apple Pie

3. Use a spoon or melon baller to remove the core leaving about 1/4 an inch thickness around the empty center.Mini Apple Pie

4. Mix the cinnamon and apple pie filling in a bowl. I added pieces from the removed core to the filling to make it a little more crisp and chunky.

5. Place empty apple shells in a pan with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.

6. Spoon filling into each of the apples, up to the top but not overflowing.

Mini Apple Pie

7. Unroll dough and cut into 1/2 inch strips. Lay 3-4 strips across the top of the apples, then weave in perpendicular strips top to bottom, creating a lattice pattern as you go over and under the first set of strips. Mini Apple Pie

Mini Apple Pie

8. Add a dash of cinnamon to the tops.
9. Bake 20-25 minutes until the crust is golden brown.  Carefully remove apples from the pan to cool on a plate or platter. Taste test and enjoy!

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cookies – YUM!

I’m not usually one to spend a lot of time baking, so when I do, I like something easy, delicious and worth the clean up! I came across these tasty-looking cookies on Pinterest and had to try them. These are flourless, super fast to make and full of rich chocolate.

Flourless Chocolate Cookies - Gluten Free Baking

Here’s the recipe slightly adapted from Caroline at Chocolate and Carrots, originally found on Recipe Girl:

3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
3 large egg whites at room temperature (you may need to add one more if your batter seems too dry)
1 tbs pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)

First, cover your cookie sheet with parchment paper or silpat mats so your cookies come right off. Mix the sugar, cocoa powder and salt together. Add the vanilla and egg whites starting with just two. Add more if needed to get a thick brownie batter like consistency. Stir in chocolate chips. Use ½ tablespoon to spoon mixture onto your parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until the tops are glossy and cracked…about 12 to 14 minutes. Eat and enjoy!

Cookie Calorie Count

Delicious Dinner at G. Foley’s

It isn’t often that we venture beyond our usual 30A / South Walton / Destin stomping grounds for dinner, but a special occasion and a mouth-watering menu for two is enough to send us all the way to Panama City. I have to give Hunter full credit for this find, as he discovered the talented Chef Chris on Instagram, became a fan and surprised me with these ready-made plans for Valentine’s Day. It was a perfect evening full of romance, good food and great company.

While we waited for our table, we started with drinks at the bar. I love a fun martini, especially on special occasions.

G Foley's Happy Hour

I decided on the Grapefruit Martini which was so light and delicious.

G Foley's Happy Hour

Since we were there for Valentine’s Day, there was a set menu for the evening instead of the usual full menu. We chose a dish for a starter, soup or salad, entree and dessert.

G Foley's Dinner

We started with a delicious shrimp cocktail.G Foley's Dinner - Shrimp Cocktail

I chose a Foley’s Salad with Arcadian Greens, Candied Pecans, Grape Tomatoes, Feta and White Balsamic.G Foley's Dinner

For our entrees, I went with the Pan Seared Grouper with Red Bliss Potatoes, Brown Sugar Bacon, Green Tomato Charon and Asparagus…G Foley's Dinner

… and Hunter chose Filet Mignon with Red Bliss Potatoes, Garlic Spinach, Crispy Onions and Béarnaise. G Foley's Dinner

There’s my handsome date!

Hunter Ray

We paused just long enough to snap this pic before devouring every bite.

G Foley's Dinner

We finished off the meal with a rich chocolate cake. Needless to say, not a single scrap was left behind.

G Foley's Dessert

Thanks, Chef Chris! Every bite was delicious!

Making Party Popcorn

My little helper and I have been browsing Pinterest lately looking for fun birthday party ideas. (Someone is fast approaching her 3rd birthday and won’t let anyone forget!) When we came across a recipe for “Party Popcorn” it was love at first sight. We love popcorn in our house and the idea of adding a little sweetness and fun was a no-brainer. We popped our own for the first time – no microwave stuff here. This is Emery’s “Hey! We’re cooking. I think this is fun!” face as we waited for the popcorn to finish popping. Here’s the recipe we used to make stovetop popcorn.

Making Party Popcorn

Once it was all popped, we poured it into another dish and added butter and salt to taste.

Making Party Popcorn

Now this is where it gets fun. We chopped up a white chocolate bar, melted it in the first pan and poured it over the popcorn.

Making Party Popcorn

Making Party Popcorn

Emery sprinkled to her heart’s content, pouring as many bright sprinkles into her hand as she did the popcorn bowl. She kept saying, “Look at all the colors, mommy. It’s so pretty!”

Making Party Popcorn

Here’s how it turned out. One thing I can say, it was easy and delicious! Not one piece was left.

Party Popcorn with Sprinkles

Party Popcorn How-To:

Start with 8ish cups of popcorn (1 bag of microwaved popcorn or the amount this recipe yields). Melt about 6 ounces of white chocolate or candy melts of your choice. Pour melted chocolate/candy over popcorn and mix quickly until covered. Add sprinkles, let cool and enjoy!

30A Dining: CUP in Blue Mountain Beach

30A Food: CUP  |  jamiray.comAfter meeting the sweet owners at Rosemary Beach’s Cottages for Kids ribbon cutting several weeks back, I finally stopped in Blue Mountain Beach long enough to sample one of 30A’s newest eateries, CUP Food You Pick Up. I can already tell this place is going to be a favorite.

The concept is simple. Delicious, healthy meals are prepared fresh and packaged for your convenience. Just grab a cup, shake it up and eat it up. Getting food on the go really could not be any easier. Forget greasy drive-thrus (which don’t exist around here anyway), CUP is 30A’s version of fast food. With quality in mind, the ingredients and dressings are made in-house and even those on gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free or meat-free diets can find a CUP to suit. Even the cups themselves are biodegradable.

30A Food: CUP  |  jamiray.com

Check out some of these delicious looking cups.

30A Food: CUP Tune Up Cup |  jamiray.com

Tune Up Cup

30A Food: CUP Stuck Up Cup  |  jamiray.com

Stuck Up Cup

30A Food: CUP  |  jamiray.com

30A Food: CUP  |  jamiray.com

30A Food: CUP  |  jamiray.com

30A Food: CUP  |  jamiray.com

One other element to CUP that I love is the “Give it Up” component. Each month, CUP selects one local charity and displays the mission and information for that charity in the restaurant all month long. All tips collected at the register in a “Compassion Cup” are donated as well. It’s a really thoughtful way to support the community that supports the business.

30A Food: CUP  |  jamiray.com

While there is a bright, sunshiny dining area and even a Warm Up station for those who decide to stay and eat, I was running between meetings and grabbed the Tune Up Cup and a water to go.

30A Food: CUP  |  jamiray.com

30A Food: CUP  |  jamiray.com This is what my CUP ingredients looked like when poured into a bowl. Sesame Crusted Tuna, Cabbage, Pineapple, Quinoa and Edamame with a CUPlement of Ginger Wasabi Glaze. I should have taken a picture of the empty bowl as an “after” shot because the entire contents were gone in about 6 minutes flat. Easy AND delicious!

30A Food: CUP  |  jamiray.com

CUP is located at Redfish Village in Blue Mountain Beach. Check it out when you’re in the neighborhood.

New Year’s Day Soufflé

We Southerners are full of tradition (and a little superstition) with New Year’s Day being no different. As long as I can remember, we’ve had a specific menu to eat on the first day of the new year, almost a checklist to go by. Our plates were always full of ham, black eyed peas, rice, legumes and greens. It was just a given that this was the New Year’s Day menu. No one even thought about serving anything else. Why? Because each food symbolizes a certain hope for the year and because they all go together deliciously.

NewYearsDayFood

New Year’s Day food 2011

This year, I decided to branch out a bit and try a recipe I discovered from Better Homes & Gardens via Pinterest. It’s all the traditional New Year’s Day essentials thrown into one dish, which sounded easy to me. I edited the recipe just a bit to include greens of your choice, an item very high on the must-eat list. The recipe is at the bottom. This dish might not look as pretty, but it tastes delicious and wasn’t hard to make. In case you’re wondering what the New Year’s Day traditional foods are I’ve listed the ones we grew up eating every January 1st in the South.

New Year's Day Soufflé - Southern Food Traditions

Black Eyed Peas & Rice: Also known as Hoppin’ John, this dish was one that families survived on during the Civil War. (Field peas and greens were items Union soldiers left untouched after scouring Southern farms and gardens.) Black eyed peas are said to bring luck and, supposedly, the more you eat the more luck you will have.

Greens: Because they are a Southern staple and because they are associated with money, a “mess of greens” is said to bring wealth in the new year. You can eat any kind of greens like collard greens, turnip greens, kale, cabbage, etc.

Cornbread: With its gold resemblance, cornbread is said to bring wealth in the new year in the form of “pocket money” or spending money.

Pork: It is said that pigs root around in the ground/mud before moving forward to eat, which symbolizes progress. We always eat ham, but sausage and pork roast work, too.

A few other traditions cover what not to eat on New Year’s Day: Chicken and lobster are both considered bad luck. Chickens scratch backward which could mean dwelling on the past or poverty (“scratching” the ground for money) and lobsters swim backward which could mean experiencing setbacks during the year.

 

New Year’s Day Soufflé (adapted slightly from BHG here)
Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups  water
  • 2/3 cup  long grain rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 2 tablespoons  butter or margarine
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 red sweet pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped greens, uncooked
  • 1 clove  garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups  milk, half-and-half, or light cream
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon  ground red pepper or several dashes bottled hot pepper sauce
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup  finely chopped prosciutto or ham (about 2 ounces)
  • 2 cups  cooked black-eyed peas or frozen black-eyed peas, thawed, or one 14-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup  snipped fresh parsley
1. Bring water to boiling in a medium saucepan. Add rice and salt. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Set aside.

2. For sauce, melt butter or margarine in another medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, sweet pepper, greens and garlic; cook and stir for 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Add flour; cook and stir 1 minute more. Add milk, half-and-half, or light cream; cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat. Add salt, ground black pepper, and ground red pepper to taste.

3. Place 1/4 cup of the sauce into a small bowl; stir in egg yolks. Stir egg yolk mixture into sauce in saucepan. Add rice, prosciutto or ham, and black-eyed peas.

4. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form (peaks stand straight). Gently fold egg whites into black-eyed pea mixture in saucepan. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart square baking dish.

5. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. To serve, sprinkle with parsley. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10, cal. (kcal) 175, Fat, total (g) 6, chol. (mg) 52, sat. fat (g) 2, carb. (g) 22, fiber (g) 2, pro. (g) 8, vit. A (RE) 155, vit. C (mg) 9, sodium (mg) 353, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Happy New Year! What other Southern (or other) traditions do you do every New Year’s Day?

Chocolate Caramel Crack – It’s That Time Again!

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While I’m sure this would be delicious any time of year, I try to keep this strictly in the holiday season. My husband practically inhales a plateful and I can’t help but grab a piece every time I pass by a stack. It’s because of our lack of self-control around this delicious stuff that it would be completely unsafe (and unhealthy) to make this addictive treat year-round.

If you recall, I first came across this crack two years ago by way of Cory at Eat and Relish. That makes this my third year feeding a strong chocolate caramel crack addiction. It’s only fair that I share it with all of you again and hope that you’ll love it as much as I do. Enjoy!

Click here to see the full recipe.

Friday Favorites – Pretty Sweet Links

I love love LOVE the beauty of the blogosphere. Keeping up with friends old, new and even those never met helps me feel a little more connected and in touch. In the midst of a crazy week at work and piles of laundry at home that seem to reproduce spontaneously, I can check in with a few favorite blogs, scroll through inspirational words, photos of shopping inspiration, easy meal ideas and more. Though it seems like I never have enough time to fully digest ALL of my reading lists, I love discovering new tumblrs, blogs or profiles to follow and I’m sure you do, too.

Even though mine are a wee bit late this week, nevertheless, here are a few that have been especially lovely.

  • Anything cobalt. Anything mint.
  • Cassie over at Womanista celebrated her big 3-0 back in February and I finally got around to reading about a few of the things she’s learned in three decades. If you, like me, have been made acutely aware that the same milestone birthday is fast approaching this year, now’s the time to hop over and read all about it.
  • My FSU girl Cory of Eat & Relish is typically overflowing with delicious and healthy recipes and gorgeous tidbits of her adorable new San Fran life, complete with the cutest pug. Today, she pleasantly surprised us with a treat of her first Friday faves that includes food AND fashion (squeal!). I automatically want all of her “Get in my closet” links. Thanks, Cory!
  • Keeping with the food topic, I have been slightly obsessed with eating these in the morning, either made by me (yes, me!) or purchased directly from this Grayton Beach coffee house.
  • Next on my shopping list are pants like these seen on Cathy (another FSU girl) over at Poor Little It Girl. I love the spring styling head to toe!
  • Last but not least is darling Ainsley who always has the most lovely words. This week she delves into self-scrutiny and acceptance. It’s a beautiful thing!
Hope all of you enjoy a pretty sweet weekend!


Pretty Sweet Lunches

Clearly, these ridiculously adorable lunches put my daytime culinary skills to shame (sorry, Em!). I’m usually throwing together the odds and ends of a semi-well-balanced lunch on my way out the door. At least I can aspire to one day pack a mid-day meal with this kind of goodness and style. One day!
Take a look at these cute meals and prepare to be put to shame. 
Source

Gooey Grilled Green Goodness

Y’all know I don’t usually spend a whole lot of time in the kitchen, so working from home and being around the house more during lunch has forced me to come up with tasty, semi-healthy ways to feed myself. (If it takes more than about six minutes to put my mid-day meal together, I’m more likely to eat nearly half a bag of Chip’Ins and go on about my business. That’s not good for anyone involved.) Luckily, I’ve discovered a super simple, very tasty version of a grilled cheese that even I am capable of making. Allow me to introduce you to the Grilled Avocado, Spinach and Goat Cheese Sandwich. It takes no time to make and after a few short minutes I have a stack of grilled goodness overflowing with soft melty goat cheese, slightly wilted spinach and warm avocado. Honestly, it’s pretty amazing. In fact, you should probably stop what you’re doing now and whip one up. You can thank me later.


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