Category Archives: Foodie

Snooze, an a.m. Eatery — Denver

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Sunday morning, before we left Denver and headed back to Garden City, we wanted to find a breakfast spot. Our requirements any time we go out-of-town are to eat somewhere local. Crystal had this awesome app called Ness. It’s a restaurant app similar to Yelp but way cooler! (If you don’t already have the Ness app go download it now…right now!) When looking for restaurants, one of the recommendations was Snooze. Now, Crystal also made the requirement of hollandaise sauce. We are truly sisters. 🙂 Low and behold, Snooze has an entire section on the menu called The Art of Hollandaise. Needless to say, we were heading to Snooze.

We got there at around 8:30 a.m. and there was already a 20-30 minute wait. We knew it was going to be good. The ambiance was so fun! A very modern, chic place. After we were seated and drooling over the menu, we decided to start off with a hot chocolate and chia latte. Both were amazing! 20140123-114604.jpg

We decided we both were going to order from The Art of Hollandaise section of the menu. We are always careful to never order the same thing so we get to try as many things as possible. When Crystal was ordering, she asked the waitress what she recommended, and then she informed us that we get two eggs so we could choose two different things from that section of the menu. My mouth dropped…literally. I was soooo excited! Crystal ordered the Chilaquiles Benedict and the Havana Benny. Out of the two, I personally preferred the Chilaquiles Benedict.

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I went with the Upstream Benny and the Bella! Bella! Benny. Crystal really liked the Upstream Benny, but I preferred the Bella! Bella! Benny.

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Finally, we couldn’t pass up the pancake flight. You get your choice of three pancakes. We went with the Pineapple Upside Down pancake, Sweet Potato pancake, and the Caramel Apple Pie pancake. Hands down, we both agreed the Pineapple Upside Down pancake was our favorite!

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If there was a Snooze closer to me, I would make a special trip every Sunday morning. It was that good! If you ever see a Snooze, be sure to stop and experience the yumminess! Trust me, you won’t regret it! Crystal and I finished everything with no shame.

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Holiday Chex Mix

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When I was in high school, my Momma handed me a recipe she found and asked if I would make it. It was around this time of year, and I honestly don’t remember where the recipe came from. I only make it during the holiday season and it’s always a big hit! Just go ahead and call it Holiday Crack. Once you start eating this, you won’t stop! This is one recipe you won’t throw away and will make over and over to take to parties and to just have around the house. The nice thing about this recipe is you can add or take away mix-in ingredients as you like.

holidaychexmix

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Corn Chex
  • ~4 c. Popped, Popcorn (I usually just buy the kernels and pop it myself. Just follow the directions on the bag. It’s real easy.)
  • ~2 c. Peanuts (I usually just sprinkle them over the mix until it looks good. Sometimes I don’t even include them.)
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Butter
  • 2 c. Light Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 c. Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 teas. Baking Soda
  • 2 teas. Vanilla
  • ~4 c. Chocolate Covered Pretzels (I never measure. I just use what looks good.)
  • 1 bag Holiday M&M’s

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 250F.
  2. In a large, aluminum roasting pan, mix corn chex, popcorn and peanuts.
  3. In a heavy, medium sauce pan over medium heat, combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir continuously until it starts to boil. Once it boils, leave it be and let it boil about 5 minutes. (Sometimes the caramel mixture will look funky (cloudy colored, thick or weird consistency, don’t worry it’ll be fine. It turns out like this because it boiled longer than need be.)
  4. Remove caramel mixture from heat and add baking soda and vanilla. Be careful because the vanilla will have a weird reaction with the mixture and cause it to rapidly boil where the vanilla was poured. Stir to combine.
  5. Pour caramel mixture over chex mix. Stir. (If you feel like you don’t have enough caramel, have no fear you do! As it bakes, it will spread out.)
  6. Bake in oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and stir continuously to break up pieces until you think they won’t stick together anymore. If you don’t stir, it will harden into one piece in the pan. It’s OK if this happens, just break it up. Cool completely.
  8. Once the chex mix is completely cooled, add the chocolate covered pretzels and M&M’s. Stir.
  9. Store in an airtight container. This mix will be good for several weeks, but trust me it won’t last that long!

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cake

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I’m designating October as Pumpkin Month. I know it’s not October yet, but it’s close enough for me! I saw this amazing looking pumpkin cake on Pinterest and just had to try it out. Now, I’ll admit, I’m a weirdo. I don’t like pumpkin pie, but when it comes to pumpkin cake or bread, I’m all about some! I’ve adapted this recipe from Jessica at The Novice Chef. Let me tell ya – this is good stuff! I took one bite and said, “oh, my, goodness,” and I’m pretty sure my eyes rolled into the back of my head. I am almost tempted not to take it to work tomorrow. But, I will because the good Lord knows I don’t need to eat all of it! P.S. I really need to work on my food styling. Everyone seems to have way better pictures of their food than me!

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Ingredients:

Cake

  • 3 c.  Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 c. Butter, softened
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tbls. Vanilla
  • 1 (15 oz) can Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 c. Milk

Icing

  • 12 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3/4 c. Butter, softened
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar

Directions:

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Butter, flour, and put a piece of parchment paper in 3, 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large, stand mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  5. Stir in vanilla, pumpkin and vegetable oil.
  6. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk. Start with the flour.
  7. Divide batter evenly into prepared pans.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
  9. Remove pans from oven and let cool on cooling racks for 10 minutes.
  10. Take cake out of pans and cool completely on cooling racks.

Frosting

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Beat in vanilla and cinnamon.
  3. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth.

Assembling the Cake

  1. Place a small amount of frosting on the bottom of the cake stand or platter. Place the first layer on top.
  2. Put a thick layer of frosting in between each layer.
  3. Once all layers are assembled, place a layer of frosting around the outside of the cake.
  4. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

Salted Chocolate Toffee

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Last week was a bit hectic so this week I’m going to make up for it with a few posts. I was thinking of my friend, Courtney, when I made this. She loves toffee so she’ll be my biggest critic tomorrow when I take this to work. I hope she likes it! I looked through several recipes before I finally decided on this one. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily adapted from anyone in particular, I just combined several recipes, noticed what was consistent with all of them, and did what I thought was easiest. Let’s face it; we all need a little simplicity in our lives when it comes to baking!

saltedchocolatetoffee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I will warn you, this can count as your arm workout for the day because you’ll need to stir constantly!

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 6 oz. chocolate chips
  • Kosher Salt

Yep, that’s it! Five simple ingredients!

Directions:

  1. Line an 11×17 pan with foil and generously butter the foil. You won’t end up using the entire pan so be prepared to bring up the edges. Refer to #4.
  2. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, over medium-high heat, combine butter and sugar and stir constantly. Keep stirring until it reaches 300F or hard crack stage. It probably takes 10-15 minutes. It’ll turn a beautiful dark caramel color when it’s ready.

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3. Take off heat and stir in vanilla. I don’t know why, but the vanilla has some kind of reaction with the toffee mixture and will boil so be careful!

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4. Pour mixture on buttered aluminum foil. After it spreads out and settles, bring up the edges of the foil so it can’t spread out any thinner.

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5. Let cool about 10-15 minutes.

6. Melt chocolate chips and pour over toffee. Spread the chocolate out into a thin even layer.

7. Sprinkle kosher salt on top while it’s still hot.

8. After it’s completely cooled, cut or break into pieces. Store in an air tight container.

Enjoy!

Apricot Bars

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This one is a special request from Dr. Irlbeck. I made these once and she fell in love! I’ve adapted this recipe from Betty Crocker’s Almond, Apricot, White Chocolate Decadence Bars. There’s a few steps involved to create it and an ingredient I didn’t even know existed until I made this, but no worries it’s not too complicated!

Apricot Bars

Apricot Bars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. Sugar Cookie mix (I just buy the cheap stuff)
  • 1 pkg. (7 or 8 oz.) almond paste
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 pkg. (6-8 oz. apricots), chopped
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 bag (12 oz.) white chocolate chips
  • Sliced or chopped almonds, for topping

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 F.
  2. Mix sugar cookie mix according to package. Spread in one layer in a 9×13 pan. Bake 10 minutes.
  3. While the cookie base is baking, chop apricots.
  4. Cool cookie base for 10 minutes.
  5. In an electric mixer, mix almond paste and sugar until crumbly and blended.

The first time I made this, I had no idea what almond paste was or even where to find it in the store. Almond paste comes in a long, skinny box, and in my grocery store, is by the marzipan near the chocolate chips. Here’s what my mixture looked like.

6.   Add apricots and beat on low speed until combined.
7.   Add cream cheese, eggs and lemon juice and beat on medium speed until well blended.

If it looks like a chunky, soupy consistency, you did it right.

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8.   Pour over warm cookie base.
9.   Bake 20 minutes.
10.   Cool for 30 minutes.
11.   Melt white chocolate chips in microwave on 70% power for 1 minute. Mix, and, if needed, microwave for another
20 seconds on 70% power.
12.   Pour on top.
13.   Sprinkle sliced or chopped almonds on top.
14.   Refrigerate for 2 hours and then slice into bars and serve.

Enjoy!

Wasted Chocolate Cake

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I’ve made this cake twice now and every time I post a picture there’s tons of responses! It definitely turns some heads. My friend, Courtney, says it’ll rot your face off there’s so much chocolate! 🙂 This recipe I found on Pinterest. The original recipe is from Rianne at Art of Dessert. The picture of her cake is way more impressive than mine! I followed her recipe the first time, but decided I wasn’t the biggest fan of the chocolate cake. I am a big fan of Natalie Lewis’s from the Daily Crave though! So, the second time I used her chocolate cake recipe and the rest came from Art of Dessert. My recommendation is to have fun when making this. Be as creative as you want and put your own twist on it!

Wasted Chocolate Cake

wastedchocolatecake

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1 c. cocoa powder
  • 2 c. boiling hot water
  • 2 2/3 c. all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. butter, room temp
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Liqueur (optional) I used an orange muscat from Caprock Winery in Lubbock, Texas.

**Note – if you want a “tall” cake repeat making the cake steps. For me, this makes 2, 9 in. cakes. I have to double the recipe in order to get a “tall” cake, so I have four layers.

Frosting

  • 4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3-1/2 c. whole milk (start out with 1/3 cup of milk and add more milk to your desired consistency)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Toppings

  • 1 pkg. dark chocolate chips
  • 1 pkg. milk chocolate chips
  • Assorted chocolate candies for the top of the cake (I used Kit-Kat, Twix, Milky Way, Symphony bar, 3 Musketeers, and a Heath Bar.)

Directions:

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease and dust two to three 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans with flour. To prevent the cake from sticking to the pan, line the bottom with a parchment paper circle. Set aside. (I turn one pan upside down and cut the circle around it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Then I just use it to cut the others.)
  3. In a small bowl stir until smooth the boiling hot water and the cocoa powder. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Then in the bowl of your electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth.
  7. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  8. Add the flour mixture and beat only until incorporated.
  9. Add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.
  10. Before pouring into the pans, scrape down the sides and bottom to make sure the mixture is thoroughly mixed.
  11. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  12. Remove from oven and place on cooling racks.
  13. Poke holes with your toothpick or something small and drizzle liqueur while still hot so it can absorb into the cake. (optional)
  14. Wait for about 10 minutes to remove from cake pans and finish cooling on the cooling racks.  Allow to cool completely before decorating.

Frosting

  1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
  2. Add butter, milk and vanilla extract and using an electric mixer, slowly mix together at a low speed. Once all the ingredients are combined, increase the speed and beat till fluffy.

Assembling the Cake

  1. Place a small smear of frosting on the bottom of the platter or where ever you’re putting your cake then place the first cake layer on top.
  2. Spread an even layer of frosting and place the second cake layer on top of the frosting. (Repeat for each layer.)
  3. Cover the sides and top of the cake with frosting.
  4. In a bowl, mix the dark and milk chocolate chips. Cover the sides of the cake with the chocolate chips.
  5. Chop up the candy bars and cover the top.
  6. With the remaining chocolate chips from covering the sides, melt with some heavy cream, milk or oil, and then drizzle the melted chocolate all over the top of the cake and let it drip down the sides of the cake.
  7. Enjoy! It’s probably a good idea to have a big glass of milk handy when eating this cake!

Twinkie Pie

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I’ve decided to start doing a “Dessert for Work” each week. I always post what I bake on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. To be honest, I post A LOT of food on Instagram. I’d been thinking about blogging the recipes for a while, but after Hayley Jernigan suggested doing a food blog and Corey Clem said I needed to open my own restaurant that really put a fire under my rear. So, here it goes.

This week I decided on an old family recipe from my Momma’s conglomeration of recipes. It’s been years since I’ve had a Twinkie Pie and I had a slight panic attack when Hostess quit making them, and I wasn’t going to ever be able to make one again. Luckily, they’re back on the shelves and this recipe is so easy and good I decided it should be my Dessert for Work.

I will warn you that for my food posts it’s basically going to be a picture of the final product and the recipe. To be honest, it drives me insane when there’s a picture for every step, unless it’s complicated then I understand.

Twinkie Pie

Twinkie Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Twinkies
  • 2 pkgs. vanilla pudding
  • 3 c. milk
  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1 tub cool-whip

Directions

  1. Beat vanilla pudding and milk in a mixer on medium speed (start slow and gradually work your way up to medium or you’ll have milk everywhere) until stiff and pudding like. I used the whisk attachment.
  2. While the pudding is beating, slice Twinkies in half and place in a 9×13 dish.
  3. Once you get the stiff, pudding like consistency, add the sour cream and beat until it’s well mixed.
  4. Pour the mixture over the Twinkies.
  5. Pour cherry pie filling over pudding mixture.
  6. Spread cool-whip over cherry pie filling layer.
  7. Enjoy!

Banana Bread

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Last Friday Gaea Wimmer defended her dissertation and passed so now she’s Gaea Wimmer, Ph.D.!! Here at Tech when someone’s defending all the grad students pitch in and bring snacks. Well, since hers was in the morning, I volunteered to bring banana bread. I love banana bread! It’s a yummy way to use the bananas that are going bad without having to make a trip to the grocery store because you probably have all the ingredients sitting right in your kitchen. Alrighty, here is goes:

First, pre-heat the oven to 325 and butter a 9x5x3 loaf pan.

Cream together the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Here’s what mine looked like:

Creamed Butter and Sugar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. It should look something like this:

Creamed butter and sugar with eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a small bowl mash the bananas with a fork and mix in the milk and cinnamon.

Mashed bananas with milk and cinnamon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder and Salt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add the banana mixture to the cream mixture until combined. The batter will turn colors at this point.

Batter with banana mixture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add the dry ingredients a little at a time and mix until the flour disappears. This is what the end batter should look like.

Batter with all ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. While you’re waiting, your house will smell fabulous and then you’ll have a beautiful loaf of banana bread!

Banana Bread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The great thing about this recipe is you can tweak it as needed. If you have more bananas you need to use, then throw a few more in, or just make another loaf! If you do add one or two more, be sure to add more milk and cinnamon.

Banana Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

1 c. Sugar
1 stick Butter
2 lg. Eggs
3 ripe Bananas
1 tbls. Milk
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
2 c. All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 325 and butter a 9x5x3 loaf pan.

Cream sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.

In a small bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Mix in milk and cinnamon.

In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time mixing until the flour disappears.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Set aside to cool on rack for 15 minutes then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely.

Ya’ll Enjoy!

Salsa

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I acquired this recipe from my adviser, Dr. Jill, while I was at Georgia. I’ve made it several times and each time everyone’s always asking me for the recipe. I’m not gonna lie. It’s super yummy, cheap and easy to make! Also, you can add, subtract or substitute as you see fit depending on your heat preference. So here it goes:

First, you gotta do some choppin’:

You’ll need ¼ cup of a yellow onion,

Chopped onion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 garlic cloves,

Chopped garlic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 jalapeno with seeds,

Chopped jalapeno

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and 1 bunch of cilantro.

Chopped Cilantro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, a little trick to chopping the cilantro after you pull it off the stems is to gather it into a tight, small ball shape and then start chopping. Otherwise, it’s a headache trying to chop each little piece.

Cilantro bunch

Now, to combine it all:

I start by putting the whole tomatoes in the blender,

Whole tomatoes in blender

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

then add all the ingredients you just chopped as well as the sugar, salt and cumin, and the juice of a lime.

Adding lime to the ingredients in the blender

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, I top it off with the two cans of lime and cilantro rotel (I actually use the off brand rotel because it’s cheaper and tastes the same). I find it best to add the ingredients this way because it’s a bit more equally distributed and gets blended better.

Rotel on top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then pulse 20 times. After you blend everything, put the salsa in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Now you have a batch of yummy salsa that you might want to hide from everyone if you want any because trust me, it’ll go fast!

The final product.

Salsa Recipe

1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes with juice
2 cans (10 oz each) rotel (I use the cilantro and lime blend)
1/4 c. yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 whole jalapeño with seeds, chopped
1/2 teaspoon each of sugar, salt and ground cumin
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 lime (juice)

Combine everything into a food processor and pulse 20 times or to your desired consistency. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Enjoy!