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We at Love All, love chocolate.  Okay, I at Love All, love chocolate.

Who doesn’t really?  There are a few people in this world who don’t like it, but frankly, we all know those people are a pain in the butt anyway.  I think sometimes people feel the need to just go against the grain and celebrate their independence from the rest of us commoners.  Well good luck celebrating without chocolate!

Above is a picture of a celebration at our school.  The PTO put together a beautiful table to celebrate our teachers.  It is “choc” full of love in the form of beautiful strawberries, bathed in the good stuff.  The perfect blend of flavors.  If you’ve never dipped your own, you need to try it.  It’s really quite easy and a great way to impress people (especially those who don’t know how easy it is.)

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There are many ways to do it but frankly the easiest for me is to buy the microwaveable chocolate and follow the directions.  Just make sure not to get it too hot, too soon or it’ll burn and it won’t be useable.  Trust me this does happen.  You must be patient and actually follow the directions on the package.  I just got the basic stuff and keep this on the down low but…. I don’t think it’s even real chocolate.  That said, it works well, looks gorgeous and tastes yummy. 

If you want to be fancy, buy the white chocolate and drizzle some across the chocolate and vice versa.  Another trick is to dip the tip of the still wet strawberries in colored sugar.  This is sure to draw more “Ahhhs” from your guests.  I also love giving pretzel rods the chocolate treatment.  Glitz them up a bit too for fun.

Enjoy making anything chocolate for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day.  It’s so meaningful to show your love with acts of service and deliciousness and who needs another pair of boxers with hearts on them anyway!

If you’re a chocolate aficionado as I am, you may like one of my earlier blogs…”Peggy’s Prozac” or try “My Wedding Cake Came in a Box.”

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This is from a blog I read and she is a really good writer. I enjoyed reading it and thought you might too. The new year is making me think about eating better and being in the upper 40s now is really making it challenging to eat as much as I used to, so I like her advice to savor the treats and not waste time on the stuff that isn’t devine! I wrote a comment that references the chocolate cherry cake if you’re interested.

Enjoy!

Eat What You Love. Eat What You Crave.   I distinctly remember pulling through the drive through window of McDonald’s in the twilight of a wintery Tuesday with my best friend six years ago.   Everything about it was regular. We were doing the usual. A late night drive listening to the best bleeding heart singers with no fan base nor big time record deal. We were singing, we were laughing, and most essentially, we were talking about life and love and the logistics of entering … Read More

via Can You Stay for Dinner?

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I love summer but one of the things that helps me accept the impending cold is the comfort and spice of fall food.  Every fall, I make my sister Nancy’s recipe for pumpkin roll and it’s always a hit.  This dessert is quite beautiful on a buffet, gorgeous on the plate and easy to garnish with a last-minute sprinkling of powdered sugar.  Guests are impressed  with the presentation and the flavor lives up to its appearance. 

The secret is…it’s super easy, so try it and let me know how you like it.

Pumpkin Roll 

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup pumpkin

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup flour

 

Filling

1 (8 oz) cream cheese ( I use light)

4 Tbsp butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla (I used my Bourbon vanilla)

 

Mix 3 eggs and sugar, add pumpkin, cinnamon, baking soda and flour.  Grease jelly roll pan and line with wax paper.  Pour batter on wax paper or parchment paper and bake at 375 for 15 minutes.  Remove from pan to a linen tea towel that has been sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Remove wax paper and cool cake. 

 

Beat filling ingredients until fluffy.  Spread filling on cake.  Roll up and wrap twice in saran wrap.  Will freeze or refrigerate.  Right before serving, dust lightly with powdered sugar.

 

One problem with this cake is that it is devoured quickly.  Sooooo quickly that I didn’t get a picture of it; this one is courtesy of www.dazzledish.com.  Anyway, when the dishes are cleared and the guests are gone, if I’m lucky, I can stash a piece away and enjoy it with coffee the next day.  Nothing like cake for breakfast and if you’re going to have dessert for breakfast, consider that this one has vegetables, as well as protein (in the frosting.)  This pumpkin roll is practically a super food with its bright orange color and protein packed filling.  I’m sure it’s fortifying my antibodies, feeding my brain cells, while filling my tummy.  Okay, obviously I don’t have facts on this but it sure tastes good.  Enjoy!

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Oct fest bassetts

Our hostess, Fraulein Jill, former employee of Zenders in Frankenmuth, Michigan.

 

It’s October and who celebrates this month better than the Germans?

No one, although the Day of the Dead stuff is kind of cool too.  Anyway, this month my Irish roots are getting down with my friends’ German roots.  One such friend, who lives in Cincinnati, is Tina Gern Lower (daughter of Bruno and Yelka Gern.)  Another friend is Jill Black Bassett, who grew up in Frankenmuth, Michigan (a mini Bavaria filled with family style chicken and locked in a perpetual state of Christmas.)  Perhaps I exaggerate but Jill and her husband, Clark invited the Irish Hogans to an Oktoberfest party Friday. I wanted to bring German Potato Salad, so I called up Tina for help.  Here’s her version of this favorite with a few slight changes by me.  Tina, feel free to correct me!
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German Potato Salad

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 lbs of potatoes
  • 1 pound of bacon
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp white sugar 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup water
  • fresh parsley
  • Mrs. Dash, salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes; cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool and chop.
  2. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. Reserve bacon fat.
  3. Mix the vinegar, oil, water, sugar, salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash and add to the onion and parsley and let stand.  Add potatoes and toss.

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Tina doesn’t do this but I did boil the dressing with the onion and added a little bacon fat.

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I’m sorry little pigs but bacon, lots of it, is soooo delicious.  I used more than is necessary and even bacon bits will do in a pinch.

If you want to do a variation, Tina says add more oil, which Yelka says is the more German way.   Many recipes on-line sauté the onions in the bacon fat and add the dressing until it boils with a Tbsp of flour or cornstarch; these recipes do not add the olive oil.  This yields a thicker consistency and is best served warm.  Many other recipes use  up to 1/3 of a cup of sugar, so feel free to add more if you like it on the sweet side.  Monica made their family version and it was thicker and sweeter.  I really liked them it too.

 

The party was fun and we enjoyed brats, sauerkraut, pretzels, zucchini casserole and cake.

 

Octoberfest Bassetts

Sauerkraut

yum with apples, made by Monica Hartmeister

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Me, Jill and Sue with our German brochures

How do you celebrate the season? 

Have a great Oktober and to quote Heidi Klum…Auf Wiedersehen.

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Indiana has some awesome sweet corn.  Not long ago, we enjoyed some of the earlier releases of it.  Due to the craziness of our household that week, we were all dining at different times, so I had some left over.  Below is a recipe I found on www.ifoodtv and I really liked it.  I added a 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and fresh cilantro would be yummy too.  Now that we are trying to eat local and fresh produce, this is a good way to add some variety to our diet during corn season.

Food » Recipe » Chilled Corn Salad

Chilled Corn Salad Recipe

Chilled corn salad is a tangy appetizing salad made with added onions. Tossed with vinegar and oil with parsley to taste, the chilled corn salad is refrigerated to mingle the flavors and served cold.

Difblog stuff july 006ficulty Level Easy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

1 (12 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped red or green pepper

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or cilantro

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional…good if going with a southwestern theme)

Lettuce leaves (optional)

How to make Chilled Corn Salad

Combine all ingredients except lettuce leaves.
Cover and chill at least 4 hours.

On our vacation in Glen Arbor, Michigan we made another corn salad. 

My friends threw it together with tomato and lots of fresh cilantro.  I’m not sure of the exact recipe for the dressing but it was delicious.  You can use any acid (edible) 🙂 if you don’t have cider vinegar.  You can try lime or lemon juice or any type of vinegar.  Season to taste and enjoy!

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 herbs 003   As you know, I still love my farm fresh delivery and this time it came with fresh, tender yellow and green beans.  Those combined with the previous night’s potatoes made me think of my friend, Tina who used to make a yummy green bean and potato salad.  I googled and the result is a recipe I found on-line and tweaked a bit.  As everything in my opinion is made better with bacon (sorry little pigs,) I nuked a few slices and added them ton the dish.  Also, I only had white wine vinegar, so I used that instead of the red wine.  With a little fresh parsley from my patio pot, it was good to go.
As usual my BH ate it, middle guy tried not to be noticed as he got up to clear his plate and the little guy proclaimed that he surely would die if he was forced to eat this C**P.  We are working on his mouth.  Anyway, I forced everyone to eat it and I’m sure they’ll have many discussions on a couch with a shrink someday about all of the food issues they have as a direct result of me.  Take my word for it…it was good. In the words of my wise mother, I tell them, “Someday your taste buds will mature.”
So yes, step one is…Force it upon them mercilessly.   I’ll let you know in 20 years if it works.

Do you think your taste buds matured?  If so, be sure to add a comment and let me know which foods crossed over from disgusting to delicious? 

 

herbs 005Green Bean and Potato Salad

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
  • 6 small red potatoes, cubed
  • 1 small purple onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • chopped bacon
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar or garlic red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
Preparation:

In large pot of boiling water, cook prepared green beans for about 7 minutes or until crisp-tender. (I microwaved them for 2 1/2 minutes.)  Drain and immerse in ice water for 5 minutes to stop cooking process. Completely cool and drain well. In large pot of boiling water, cook potatoes until tender. Repeat cooling procedure with potatoes. Place beans in large serving bowl. Add potatoes and onion. In small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegars, garlic salt, seasoned pepper and sugar. Pour dressing over vegetables; toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, stirring or tossing a few times while chilling. Remove salad from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving; toss just before serving. Add bacon, taste and adjust seasonings.
Makes 6 servings.

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Fear not, I shan’t go there!  

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Turns out it’s for families too.  Is that child texting under the table? Tsk tsk!

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And it’s definitely for seafood lovers. The Hogan clan loves seafood.

So much so, that when my kids are overnight guests, they will be asked what they like to eat and they generally respond, “Lobster or crab.”  First grade journals will talk about buying “lopster” for dinner.  They talk as though we have it all of the time.  We don’t but when we do, our kids LOVE  it!

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Soon after our arrival to the shore, we had to get some good seafood.  My little guy and I shared a platter with lots of Old Bay Seasoning-yum, clams, shrimp and crab legs. 

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Look at that huge hunk…wow, fish and chips…flounder and more crab legs, sweet and buttery.

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Surf Rider was situated in a marina with a lovely setting and the food was delish (except for lame key lime pie…more like the limeade pie you can easily make at home.)

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A good time was had by all (except for the guys on the plates.)  :( 

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