June 28, 2013

CopyCat Eskimo Bars

Happy Birthday to me!  Yes I did make my own birthday dessert in case you are wondering.  I did try to convince my husband that he could make these for me and I would talk him through it, but I don't think he heard it over the laughing and rolling on the floor that ensued. Yea, so I made them myself.

My inspiration for this dessert came about from The Food Network's show called "The Best Thing I Ever Ate". Giada was talking about her time in Jackson Hole Wyoming at a place called Snake River Grill.  After watching that episode I could think of nothing else but getting my hands on these babies.  Sadly, this isn't the kind of thing I would just whip up for myself so I waited,  and I waited, and I waited some more and finally my birthday rolled around and decided that my big day was a perfect time to celebrate with this unique dessert.  It encompasses all the things I love.  It does take some time and planning ahead so give yourself a day to prepare it.

They might not be very pretty, but looks aren't everything.

They aren't difficult to make but they are time consuming.  Totally worth it.

These little gems would be a show stopper at a dinner party for dessert.

Kids LOVE them!

My daughter skipped the caramel dipping but the rest of us were in love with the combination. 

I hope you're noticing the wonderful nail polish in my thumb there, I let me daughter paint them. Looks nice doesn't it? 

I need a manicure. 

For this first attempt I used boxed brownie mix (Ghirardelli Double Chocolate) and store bought ice cream (Breyer's Natural Vanilla).

I promise you that these are so worth the effort.

CopyCat Eskimo Bars
From the Alissamay's kitchen

  • 1 Box Brownie Mix (just a basic one)
  • 1/2 gallon ice cream, softened
  • 1 bag chocolate chips (I used Hershey's special dark)
  • 1 tsp shortening
  • 1 recipe or jar of caramel sauce
Cooking Directions
  1. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.
  2. Bake the brownie mix according to the manufacturers instructions but use the 9x13 inch pan instead and bake for about 20 minutes. My pan was metal, cooking times might vary using glass.
  3. Let the brownies cool to room temperature and then freeze for about 30 minutes or until completely cold.
  4. Soften the ice cream until it's soft serve consistency. Empty the contents of the vanilla ice cream on to the top of the brownies. Spread out and smooth out on top so it's as flat an even as possible.
  5. Freeze again for about 30 more minutes or until the ice cream is completely frozen.
  6. While the ice cream is hardening in the freezer, use a double boiler to melt the chocolate chips. Add the shortening and stir into the melted chips until smooth.
  7. Let the chocolate cool to room temperature, keep stirring so it remains soft.
  8. Once cool, bring the brownie/ice cream out of the freezer and use a very sharp knife to cut them into the size bar you want.
  9. Freeze the bars on a cookie sheet so they are very cold.
  10. Remove about half the bars from the freezer - hold onto the brownie portion of the bar and dip the ice cream part in the chocolate. Move quickly because they melt fast.
  11. Once dipped immediately put back onto the freezer and continue with the remaining bars until all have been coated.
  12. Keep in the freezer until right before you are ready to serve. Serve with caramel for dipping.

Make this caramel sauce slightly ahead of when you plan to serve it, you want it to be at room temperature. 

June 26, 2013

Bread and Butter Pickles

With the current bounty in our garden I've been on the search for recipes, and as soon as I found this one I jumped on it and made it immediately. My husband and I both love bread and butter pickles.  We put them on sandwiches and eat them right out of the container.  They are both sweet and savory, and have remained crunchy in the refrigerator for a week.  They are almost gone, and I will make more.

If you're not sure if you like this type of pickle, it's sort of a hard flavor to describe.  You get the vinegar flavor but it's sweet also, the celery seed definitely adds another layer of flavor but isn't overpowering. The onions aren't strong at all, they mesh perfectly with the cucumbers. The turmeric turns the pickles the golden color. 

This recipe is nice because unlike dill pickle recipes, you can have these in about 24 hours. If you're impatient like me, this is heaven.

I will make sure to have a container of these pickles in my refrigerator at all times this summer.

Bread and Butter Pickles
Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

  • 5 1/2 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • 1/8 tsp ground turmeric
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine the sliced cucumbers and the salt in a small bowl. Refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours. Drain the water, rinse well and return to the bowl.
  2. Add the onion slices and mix well.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat to a simmer over medium heat, stir until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the cucumber and onions and let sit for 1 hour.
  5. Refrigerate for 24 hours in a covered bowl.
  6. Keep in an airtight container for two weeks.

June 24, 2013

Fruit Dip

 I hope you all had an excellent weekend!  Did anyone do anything super fun?

My weekend sort of starts today, why you ask? Because today is my birthday.  My husband and daughter are taking extra special care of me today so I'm going to enjoy every minute of it!  Before I run off for my pampering, I will post this delicious recipe.  It's my birthday gift to you. :)

Some of the best recipes are the most simple ones, don't you agree? I brought this over for some friends to enjoy and it was well loved.  Great way to fancy up a fruit tray!

Fruit Dip
Found at Brown Eyed Baker


  • 1 - 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 - 7 oz jar of marshmallow cream

  1. Mix all of the ingredients until smooth.  Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. 
  2. Serve with your favorite fruits.  

June 21, 2013

Guest Post: Sugarless Sweet Potato Craisin Pie

My dad, as you may know, is a awesome cook who loves to experiment and come up with his own recipes from time to time. This is one of his creations.  He's been able to lose 75 pounds by modifying his diet over the last 10 months.  Sweet potatoes as you know, are extremely healthy.  He was living in the South for several years and came to love Sweet Potato Pie, but it's not exactly health food in it's true form.  He was able to come up with this recipe so he could still enjoy the taste of Sweet Potato Pie without all the calories added by using sugar.  He kicked it up again by adding the Craisins. You could top this with some Truvia sweetened homemade whipped cream and never miss any of those extra sugar calories.

He describes the taste to be very much like the original but the added Craisins add depth and texture that he loved.

Sugarless Sweet Potato Craisin Pie
Recipe by John Frelich

  • 1 (1 pound) sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup Truvia sweetener
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
  • 1 bag Craisins
Cooking Directions
  1. Boil the sweet potatoes in their skin for about 40-50 minutes or until tender.
  2. Run under cold water to stop the cooking process and then remove the skins.
  3. Smash the potatoes in a bowl and add the butter, mix with a hand mixer or use your stand mixer.
  4. Add the Truvia, milk, eggs, Craisins, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth.
  5. Pour the filling into an unbaked 9" pie shell.
  6. Bake at 350º for 55-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Pie will puff up at first but will sink while cooling.

June 19, 2013

PD's Saturday Night Vidalia Onions

So what do you do with a bag full of Vidalia Onions? Well you could do what I did and go on a hunt for a simple easy recipe, there are ton's of them out there. I think I might have stumbled on one of my favorites so far.  Leave it to Paula Deen!

This recipe is very simple and if you're a fan of French Onion Soup you will love this.

 Start with four onions - well as many as you want really, why stop at four? You cut the very tops off and then peel the skin off but leave the root end in tact. Use a small knife to make a little cone in the top of each onion and then cut it in quarters but only going down to the root to about 1/2 inch.

You only need four ingredients total and that includes pepper. How easy is that? Spread out some of the layers and stuff in some butter, cram a beef bouillon cube in the middle, top with pepper and then wrap it tightly in some tin foil

After baking for about 45 minutes, open the foil in a bowl so you don't lose any of those juices. I cut it into bite sized pieces and discarded the root end.

This is how I ate mine.  Take a piece of baguette and toast it, top it with your favorite cheese, pour the onions and most importantly the juice onto the bread and eat it up.  I couldn't get enough of this.

If you're going on a camping trip anytime soon you have got to remember this one.  Heck, even if you're not it's one of my new favorite side dishes!

PD's Saturday Night Vidalia Onions
Recipe from Paula Deen

  • 4 large Vidalia onions
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • Fresh ground black pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. Either prepare a fire in a charcoal grill or heat your oven to 350º
  2. Slice the tops off each onion, leaving the root end in tact.
  3. Peel each onion keeping the root end in tact.
  4. Cut a small cone shape in the top of each onion.
  5. Cut each onion in quarters from the top down, stopping about 1/2 inch from the bottom root end.
  6. Place butter in between some of the sections and push a bouillon cube into the top cone part.
  7. Sprinkle with pepper
  8. Wrap tightly in heavy duty tin foil and place directly on the coals, or on the oven rack.
  9. Cook for 45 minutes, turning every so often.
  10. Serve each onion in a bowl because it will produce a lot of broth that tastes like French Onion Soup!

June 17, 2013

Sour Cream Blueberry Pie

This is the dessert I made for my husband for Fathers Day.  He liked it. He's a huge blueberry lover so I thought this would be a nice change from the blueberry pie I usually make. I think it was a refreshing change and I'm glad I tried it.  If you're not much of a sour cream fan then don't worry, it's not a overpowering sour cream flavor. The blueberries were definitely the star and the sour cream just added the creaminess.

I recommend refrigerating or even slightly freezing it so it cuts well, otherwise it did sort of spread out a bit.

I hope all you fathers out there had a great day!

Sour Cream Blueberry Pie
Recipe from Cinnamon Freud via Bon Appetite Desserts

  • 1 fresh or frozen pie crust
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
Cooking Directions
  1. Partially bake your pie crust for about 6 minutes. 
  2. Turn the oven to 400º if it's not already there. 
  3. Whisk all of the ingredients (except the blueberries) in a large bowl.
  4. Fold in the blueberries.
  5. Pour filling into the warm pie crust and bake for about 30-35 minutes.
  6. The filling should jiggle slightly in the middle but be set on the sides.
  7. Cool to room temperature.

June 14, 2013

Chicken and Wild Rice

How is your summer going? Getting nice and tan and loving all these bathing suit pictures that keep surfacing? Me either.

Well Father's Day is this Sunday, have you figured out how you're going to celebrate it? Here's a suggestion, one of my husbands favorites is chicken and rice.  The nice thing about this version is it's done in your crock pot so there's no pressure immediately before you sit down to eat.

And don't you think it's too hot to hang out over your stove? I do.

After my husband tasted this he immediately wanted it on record as one of his favorites and made me promise to make it again.

Like I have some sort of habit about making things once and then never making them the same way again....OK that part is true but jeez, that's why I HAVE a blog!  So I can remember what the heck I did.

Anyway, You can certainly omit the mushrooms if you're not a fan of them but we LOVE them and leaving them in nice big slices is the way to go here. The rice was nice and creamy and perfectly cooked and the flavors blended perfectly.  I'm going to have to look around for the chicken broth that has roasted garlic because I do think that would be lovely in this recipe.

Definitely a keeper.

Chicken and Wild Rice
Southern Living Slow-Cooker Cookbook

  • 2 pounds (about 4) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 (6 ounce) packages long grain and wild rice
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth with roasted garlic (I just used regular chicken broth)
  • 2 (10 1/4 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
Cooking Directions
  1. Brown the chicken in a large pan with some oil, then remove and cut into 1 inch pieces.
  2. in the same pan used for the chicken, add the onion, celery and garlic and cook until tender.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a 5 quart slow cooker and then stir in the chicken and veggies.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.

June 12, 2013

New York-Style Cheesecake

I don't know too many people who don't like cheesecake.  It can be flavored to fit any one's preferences, or you can just make it plain and top it with whatever you like.  

I recently made this cheesecake for a get-together at a neighbor's house and it was perfect. I'm always a little nervous about cheesecakes because mine tend to crack on top.  Not bad if you're planning to top the whole thing but if you're planning to leave it plain like I did, you really don't want the cracks. 
This cake was supposed to be a no crack sort of cheesecake, plus I trust the baker to posted the recipe so I decided to give it a try.  

Not only did it not crack, it was delicious!  It does take a little bit of time to put together, and you do need to refrigerate it for at least several hours before serving, but it can be made days ahead of time.  The end result is a perfect New York-Style Cheesecake.  

I brought two toppings, one was a blueberry sauce that I made myself and the other was a canned cherry pie filling.  It would be yummy with some whipped cream, chocolate sauce, cookies or just plain.  Really the possibilities are endless. 

Give yourself a day in advance to make this cheesecake, it's best after it's been refrigerated for awhile.  I'll post the blueberry sauce recipe soon.  Enjoy!

New York-Style Cheesecake
Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients for the crust
  • 8 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Ingredients for the filling
  • 40 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature and cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Cooking Directions

For the crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 300º and put rack in lower middle position.
  2. Either use a food processor or by hand to crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs.
  3. Add the sugar and mix to distribute it evenly.
  4. Add the melted butter and either pulse your food processor until all the pieces are wet and look like sand, or mix by hand.
  5. Press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of a 9" spring form pan.
  6. Bake until the graham crackers become fragrant and the edges are beginning to brown, about 13 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool while the filling is prepared.
For the filling
  1. Increase the oven temperature to 500º
  2. Using the bowl of your stand mixer, add the cream cheese and beat for about 1 minute.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add 3/4 cup of the sugar and the salt and beat for 1 minute.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, add the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar and beat for 1 minute.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla and beat for 1 minute.
  6. Scrape down the sides and add the egg yolks, beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
  7. Add the eggs 2 at a time, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for 20 seconds between additions.
  8. Without touching the crust, brush the sides of the spring form pan with the melted butter.
  9. Add the filling on top of the crust and bake for 10 minutes.
  10. Do not open the oven door, turn the heat down to 200º and bake for approximately 1 1/2 hours. Bake until the middle of the cheesecake has reached 150º.
  11. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.
  12. Use a butter knife to run along the edges of the pan to loosen it. Let cool until it's at room temperature, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  13. Cover with plastic wrap and move it to the refrigerator and let cool completely, a minimum of 2 hours or up to 4 days. (With no topping)
  14. If you're adding a fruit topping, it's best if eaten within 12 hours after refrigerating.

June 10, 2013

Easy Oven Baked Potato Wedges

Recently we had some family from Massachusetts come and visit us here in the South.  One night I made french fries with dinner and the shock that was on their faces when I began making them was priceless.  "What do you mean you're going to make french fries"? I love showing people how to make the same foods you might buy frozen and already made.  If you're making them yourself you can control the flavors, fat, salt, and most importantly, amaze your friends and family.

I've already posted about how to make french fries but here's another way to get the same result with a thicker potato, a wedge if you will.

In my mind, baking them makes them health food and therefore allows one to eat more.  I make a lot of things healthier in my mind.  Although, if you were using a sweet potato this would in fact be a lot healthier.

I used small gold potatoes cut into quarters but if all you have are large one's, just cut them in smaller wedges.

I used a fancy fry sauce - recipe below.

Crispy and golden brown!

You will love this as a side dish or for a snack.

Here's the very complicated fry sauce recipe.

Equal parts ketchup and mayonnaise, add a couple of dashes of hot sauce if you like.

Easy Oven Baked Potato Wedges

  • 8 small potatoes (I used gold about the size of a golf ball)
  • Olive Oil
  • seasoned salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400º
  2. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil
  3. Cut the potatoes in quarters, length wise
  4. Drop the potatoes in a zip lock bag, pour in about 2 - 3 Tbsp of olive oil
  5. Pour in a good about of seasoned salt, enough to coat each potato thoroughly.
  6. Shake the bag to coat each potato well, pour onto the tin foil.
  7. Make sure there is a single layer of potatoes and make sure all the potatoes are laying on a cut side down (not on the skin side).
  8. Bake for 15 minutes and then flip each potato wedge so it's laying on the other cut side down. Bake for another 15 minutes.
*Try using your favorite spices or using sweet potatoes instead

June 7, 2013

PW's Barbecue Sauce

Another rainy day here in the South, how about you? I'm not complaining, it saves me from having to water the garden (which is exploding right now).  All this rain has really helped and my tomato plants are huge!

It's also the time of year where there's at least one cookout every weekend.  I mention this because you might need some barbecue sauce and maybe you don't have any on hand.  Or maybe you want to try something new.  Or maybe you always make your own.  I'll stop.

I tried this sauce with some pulled pork I made a while ago and loved it.  It's the sweet kind that my husband loves and was perfect for our pork but I also used it later on some salmon I grilled and it was also delicious.

I hope you have some fun plans this weekend, and hopefully they involve this sauce somehow!

PW's Barbecue Sauce
From The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 Tbsp Canola oil
  • 1/4 whole onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp distilled vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 4 Tbsp chipotle and adobo (I didn't have any)
  • dash of salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Let simmer for about 20 minutes or so.

June 5, 2013

Twinkie Cupcakes

It's that time of year where I attempt my good eating so I can look good in a bathing suit and yet barbecue's and picnic's have me whipping up desserts like there is no tomorrow.  You'd think a fruit salad would cross my mind during one of these times.....

I am happy to say that my neighbor Melissa made these first, we both pinned it from Pinterest and they are amazing!  People who don't know they are called Twinkie Cupcakes always say "hey, these taste just like a Twinkie"!

Very vanilla-y and the creme in the middle as well as the frosting is so delicious.  As noted on the website were the recipe was found, these truly are better when cold so keep them in the refrigerator until right before you serve them if possible. 

Cut a little cone shape out of the top and then fill it up with marshmallow creaminess. 

The frosting is so good, vanilla flavor with the marshmallow there in the background.

I made these for a barbecue recently and they were very well liked.  It's a nice "safe" dessert if you're not sure what else to bring.  There are people out there that don't like chocolate (I know, hard to believe) Vanilla is always a safe bet!

Twinkie Cupcakes
Recipe from Sasaki Time

  • 1 box yellow cake mix, plus the ingredients on the back of the box
  • 1 small box fat free/sugar free instant french vanilla pudding
  • 1 - 7oz marshmallow fluff
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp very hot water
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Line two regular sized muffin tin's with cupcake liners (about 16)
  3. Prepare the cake recipe as indicated on the back of the box, add in the box of french vanilla pudding mix and blend well.
  4. Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake for about 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let cool completely.
  7. When cool, cut out a small cone from the tops of each cupcake - eat or discard the cut out cone and do NOT cut through the bottom of the cupcake.
  8. In a separate bowl, mix the hot water and salt and let cool.
  9. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the marshmallow fluff, butter and beat until creamy.
  10. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and mix well.
  11. Add the cooled salt water and mix again.
  12. Put this mixture into a zip lock bag and cut off a corner, then pipe the cream mixture into the middle of each cupcake.
Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 - 7oz container marshmallow cream
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 - 32 oz bag confectioners' sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the marshmallow cream and butter, beat until creamy.
  2. Add the vanilla and almost the entire bag of confectioners' sugar a little at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  3. I had about 1 cup leftover of the confectioners' sugar. If you get the mixture too stiff, add a little milk to thin it out.

June 3, 2013

Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I can't think of very many people who don't appreciate a good chocolate chip cookie.  There are so many recipes out there these days that it's hard to say which is the best, but it's fun to try.  I'm not sure I'd be able to say which one is best especially since it's not like I have them all sitting out in front of me to try and compare.

I can tell you, that these are mighty tasty. They would make a welcome addition to any barbecue you might be heading to this weekend or even just a little snack you take with you to the pool or  beach.

Awesome with a cold glass of milk

I stored mine in an airtight container and they remained soft for several days.

They really are big, fat and chewy.  Lots of buttery flavor, chewy inside with a crunchy outside.  I loved these cookies and so did my family!

Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from AllRecipes.com

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cooking Directions
  1. preheat the oven to 325º
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the butter, brown and white sugar, vanilla extract, egg and yolk and mix until creamy.
  3. In a separate bowl add the flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredient into the wet ingredients and mix until blended.
  5. Add the chocolate chips and mix in by hand.
  6. Use a cookie scoop or a 1/4 cup to scoop the dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. These are large cookies so they need to be about 3 inches apart.
  7. Bake 15 to 17 minutes or until the edges are just becoming golden brown.
  8. Cool on a wire rack.