Thanks everyone, I just realized I made it to 50,000 views. I started this on a whim and never went through the proper channels to advertise or upgrade but still the hits keep coming so my little hobby has paid off in my eyes. Hope you enjoy my blog and recipes. The most popular post to date is still Creamy Reese’s Peanut Butter Dip. Have you tried it? Thanks again to all my Facebook, Pinterest and email followers for viewing and sharing my posts.
It was one of my best friends birthday recently so we decided to throw her a birthday party with an Oktoberfest theme. Whats not to like, beer, costumes, and German food.
To start I decorated with some beer and fall things I had around the house, empty bottles, beer steins, burlap runner, dried wheat and fall leaves. I also bought a blue and white harlequin tablecloth ( the official Oktoberfest pattern) from a party store and hung it over a curtain rod in my family room to make a back drop for a ” photo booth”. I had props like steins, lederhosen, German signs and Oktoberfest bibs from the party store. I set my camera on a tripod in front of it and tried to get shots of all the party goers.
I am also very lucky that I have some home brewing friends who made a keg of beer especially for our party, delicious! But this is a great time to taste some of the fall varieties of craft beers like Oktoberfests and Pumpkins.
For appetizers I set up a “Pretzel Stand” I had assorted flavors, shapes and sizes of pretzels and dips to go with them. I even made some homemade Pretzel Bites by following this recipe. http://www.snixykitchen.com/2012/10/24/pretzel-bites-with-four-distinct-dipping-sauces/. I made the dough a day ahead of time and covered it tightly with plastic wrap. then boiled and baked the pretzels the next day. I also found that I needed to add about 3/4 c more flour than the recipe called for to get the dough to be the right consistency but I live in Florida and baking here can be weird.
For dips I made a Sweet and Spicy Mustard Sauce
1 c mayonnaise
3/4 c coarse mustard
2 T jarred grated horseradish
2 T honey
a Chocolate and Toffee Dip
1 brick cream cheese softened
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 c toffee chips (Heath)
1 t vanilla
Mix all ingredients together in a mixer on low until combined.
I also made Beer Cheese Dip using an Oktoberfest Beer instead of an IPA.
To make all of the food seem more festive I labeled them with German names on the tables.
4 cucumbers peeled and sliced thin
1 cup sour cream
2 T sugar
2 T white vinegar
1 t dried dill
1 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
Slice cucumbers and place in a colander to drain for 20 minutes, then mix all ingredients together in a large bowl
Last but not least, everyone’s favorite, cupcakes. My friend made 3 different kinds for our Oktoberfest themed party. Apple Strudel, German Chocolate and Bavarian Cream. ( I will try to get the recipes to post on here)
Fun was had by all, the food, beer and company was all delightful. Go on try some of these ideas at your next Fall party and share your tips below.
I couldn’t wait for the Holiday Pretzel Crisps to come out so I made these today.
Pretzel Crisp Toffee Candy
1 7.2 oz bag Original Pretzel Crisps
1 c unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 c brown sugar
1 c chocolate chips
1 c crushed pecans
Preheat oven to 400. line a baking sheet with a silpat or spray with cooking spray
Lay Pretzel Crisps evenly on the pan.
Melt butter in a small sauce pan with the brown sugar over med high heat
Bring to a boil and boil over med heat for 3 minutes
Pour over Pretzel Crisps and bake for 5 minutes
Remove from oven and scatter chocolate chips and nuts over the top while still warm, slightly pressing them down with a rubber spatula to help them stick.
Refrigerate baking sheet for at least 2 hours or until candy is hard.Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
** Other additions, chopped peppermint candy, toasted coconut, chopped peanuts, peanut butter chips, mini M and M’s
I apologize about the photos, but we were actually camping. Our family went camping this past weekend at Myakka River State Park, just east of Sarasota, Fl. Packing food that will keep in a cooler for a couple days is always a little tricky, it can be brutally hot here in the afternoon. I made a large batch of chili that we made nachos, chili dogs and quesadillas out of, even considered putting it on our eggs one morning. It was perfect. I also pre baked a bunch of Mojo chicken legs and brought those ( I don’t like to bring any raw meat for fear of cross contamination) They were great for snacks, lunch and dinner, and easy to eat, no utensils needed. But like all good campers we needed to roast marshmallows and make s’mores. I always find that it is hard to keep the chocolate bars from melting in the heat, or if you put them in the cooler they get too hard and won’t melt in the s’mores, so that is where the Nutella comes in. I spread some Nutella on graham crackers and put them on a plate, then as we roasted the marshmallows we put them on top and added a top cracker and pulled the skewers out. Easy and so much less mess than traditional s’mores. I meant to bring bananas to slice and add too but I forgot. Doesn’t matter, they were still delicious. From now on I will be leaving the candy bars at home and bringing the jar of Nutella camping, besides it does double duty on sandwiches, apples and crackers for snacks.
St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, that figures since I am German. However, I always feel a little Irish this time of year, I think we all do. So celebrate and make these delicious Mocha Cupcakes with Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting. This recipe makes about 10 cupcakes, double it if you are having the whole family over of a party.
Irish Coffee Cupcakes
for the mocha cake
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T instant espresso coffee crystals
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
3/4 c milk
1/4 c shortening
Preheat oven to 350
Combine all dry ingredients into a bowl. Add milk, shortening and vanilla, beat on med speed for 2 minutes. Add egg and beat 2 more minutes.
Pour into muffin tins lined with baking cups. (I use an ice cream scoop, so that they are all filled evenly) Bake for about 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting
1/4 c butter softened
2 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 T Bailey’s Irish Cream
2 T milk
Cream butter on low-med speed until smooth, add 2 c powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add Bailey’s and milk, beat until smooth. Add remaining 1/4 of powdered sugar slowly until frosting is desired consistency.
Frost cup cakes and sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon if desired.
Well here is another thing I won’t need to buy at the grocery store, I just made my first granola bars and they were easy! I am already thinking of new flavor combinations, They are perfect for on the go snacks and breakfasts.
Raspberry and Nutella Granola Bars
2 c old-fashioned oats
1/2 c dried raspberries
1/2 c nutella
1/3 c brown sugar
Mix oats and raspberries in a large bowl. Melt butter over low in a saucepan, mix in nutella, sugar, and honey. Pour over oats and place in an 8×8 pan lined with tin foil, that has been sprayed with cooking spray of butter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, cool and cut into bars.
I am not a baker, desserts and breads are hard for me. That’s why I love this easy dessert you make in a blender. This is a recipe favorite from Bon Appetit’s Fast Easy Fresh cookbook by Barbra Fairchild. The lemon cream goes perfectly with the dark chocolate mousse but if you prefer use milk chocolate chips instead of dark and vanilla extract (1 t) instead of the lemon juice in the cream. This recipe is doubled from the original recipe in the cookbook and made 6 servings.
Blender Chocolate Mousse with Lemon Cream
2 c chocolate chips ( I used 1 cup good dark chocolate chips and 1 c milk chocolate)
1 1/2 c water
6 T sugar divided
1/2 t instant espresso powder (or instant coffee)
6 large egg whites
2/3 c chilled heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Place chocolate chips into a blender. Bring water, 4 T sugar and espresso powder to a simmer in a sauce pan, stir to dissolve coffee and sugar. Pour over chocolate chips in blender. Cover tightly and blend for 5-10 seconds. Add egg whites and cover and blend on high for 1 minute. Pour into glasses or bowls and chill until mousse is set. Mine took about 2 hours.
For Lemon Cream:
whisk cream, lemon juice, 2 Tablespoons of sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl until small peaks form, add dollop to top of the mousse.
It’s that time of year here in Florida, hurricane season. Tropical Storm Isaac is making his way into the Gulf of Mexico and even though we are not in the direct path (yet) we will still have some wind and rain. They even canceled school tomorrow, my kids are really disappointed (yeah right ). So I am posting a favorite cake recipe, I find I like to bake on rainy days. This one is dark and decadent, a favorite from my Southern Living Cookbook.
Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake with White Icing and Strawberries
8 oz of semi sweet chocolate chips or chocolate chopped
1 16 oz can of chocolate syrup
1 c butter softened
2 c sugar
4 eggs, large
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 c butter milk
1 t vanilla extract
2 c powdered sugar
3-4 T milk
1 t vanilla extract
1 c halved strawberries
Pre heat oven to 325. Melt chocolate chips in microwave or double boiler. stir in chocolate syrup and stir until smooth.
In a large bowl or stad up mixer, beat butter on med speed until creamy and add sugar, then eggs 1 at a time. In a med bowl mix together flour baking soda and salt. add 1/2 to butter mixture mixing on low speed. Then the buttermilk then the rest of the flour, mixing the whole time. stir in vanilla and chocolate mixture and pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake for 1hr and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 15 min then turn pan and invert cake on to the wire rack, cool for another 30 minutes.
For frosting, stir together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour over cooled cake and top with strawberries.
Cheater, Cheater Pumpkin Eater. No one has to know how easy these brownies are, they look elegant and delicious and you can pretend you slaved over them all day. Best thing is they start with a brownie mix, I used Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge but please use the brownies of you choice.
Bake the brownies according to the directions and let cool.
Salted Caramel Topping
1/4 c butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 regular whipping cream
1/2 t sea salt
Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in sugar and cream.
Bring to a simmer and continue cooking over med. and whisking occasionally until it has thickened and turned a caramel color, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in 1/4 t sea salt.
Let carmel cool slightly, pour over brownies and cool or put in refrigerator until carmel has hardened. Sprinkle with remaining sea salt, cut and serve.