April 29, 2012

How I say Welcome Home Hub....baked goodies!

Last Sunday, I so lovingly tried to send Hub out of town with some baked goodies, but I failed.  He went off for the week with no baked goods from me.  So, what can I do to make it up?  Bake, bake, bake and have many things for him when he gets home.  Now, please know that Hub would have been happy with coming home to nary a piece of baked yummies, but definitely happier with some ready for him.  :-)

So I started with this super easy, super tasty treat - Easy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I changed it a little.  I am mortified to say that when I went to the pantry for chocolate chips....nada, none, nary a one.  What person that loves to bake doesn't have chocolate chips as a staple?  Jeepers.  So I added some walnuts and moved on.  It definitely is very easy and tasty.  Although next time I am going to try to make it in a 9 x 13 pan and call it a cake.  It was a little crumbly for my banana nut bread taste.  But very banana-ie???  Loved the taste.

Next up, what I know is always a huge success and a husband pleaser.  I made them at Easter and they were perfect.  Sticky Pecan Upside-Down Baby Cakes.

Love. them.  Love the smell, the texture and the flavor. 

Lastly, I made these...I needed variety so this made sense to make them.  Mom's Famous Marshmallow Brownies

Oh. My. God.  I had never heard of them, and I am giddy that I follow the blog that had them on it.  So very good.  Very rich, very gooey and milk, if it doesn't upset your tummy, is a must have. I already knew my childhood sucked, but seeing that most of the reviews talked about how their mom made them, it just reinforced what I knew....my childhood lacked many things, and clearly these Marshmallow Brownies was one of them.

So Hub is happy and his tummy is full, life is good.  

April 26, 2012

Innkeeper in Training, that's me!

As my profile says,  Hub and I dream of opening our own B & B.  It's only a dream because we have to wait a few years, but it will happen and the dream will become a reality.  And yes, YOU WILL KNOW!

I created this blog to talk about my dreams and just have fun with baking.  I go on and on about here. I mentioned in the very first posting how I fell in love with Villa Calma in Bemidji, Minnesooooota. I am still in love with it and if life is perfect, it will be ours.  In four years, when it's time for us to buy.  Sigh.  In the meantime, we have also fallen in love with Harold and Kim, the innkeepers.  They are kind enough to take good care of our their inn. ♥

Anyhoo, I am fortunate to have dear friends.  One of them, Donna, who completely inspires me to be a better person and who would love me more if I could learn how to cook healthy desserts.  (doubtful).  Donna and I have some weird, deep and soulful connection, despite not spending more than an hour or so of my life with her (we were on the Cruise to Run together, for three years in a row, but never much one on one time).  Donna emailed me and said she has a friend, Michelle, who runs a B & B and you MUST friend her on Facebook.  Done.  So I've watched Michelle having a ball baking and cooking and running not one, but two B & B's.

Gorgeous, right?  Both of them.  There was going to be a small wedding at Belle Oaks Inn, so I quietly mentioned I'd be happy to help out, if needed.  She'd be doing me a favor, so I didn't want to seem too eager.  She was joyful at the request and off I went.  

I learned so very very much during my stay.  From Thursday to Saturday I took in all that I could.   The wedding was Friday night.  Thursday night was lots of gabbing, shopping, baking and turning down rooms, getting the guest ready for nite-nite time.  I must say, they do it right.  Homemade Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies, recipe courtesy of Jesse Ruth Harrelson Isaacks, Grandmother of Clint, one of inn owners.  To me, things like that really add to a B & B.  Not that store bought cookies suck (Oreo's sustain me when I'm stressed), but warm from the oven is true bliss.  

I spent Friday, cleaning the floors, bedrooms and bathrooms, dreaming that one day, all of this cleaning will be for my very own bed and breakfast.  I helped with wedding prep, not much though...I stood aside and marveled at the flow of everything.  

Saturday morning I watched the guests devour their breakfast.  A lovely Southern Brunch Casserole and this beauty....
Pecan Orange Bread
Pretty, right?  And very tasty and very much (with the permission of the owners (granted already)) going to be used at our B & B.  And many times prior, just to "test" it, of course. 

I can't thank Michelle and Mark enough for the learning experience that they gave me.  And yes, I do still want to open a B & B, and no, I wasn't scared off! 

Here are some random shots that I took while I was there.  Just pretty flowers really.  Pictures of both inns are shown off much better on their websites, so I didn't want to take many of those.  

I am actually more impressed that the trees are actually in focus instead of the flowers, which were the main purpose of the pictures.  Just kinda cool.  I think.

I have a weakness for flowers.  I love taking pictures of them.  They just make me smile inside.  

This picture is nuts.  I think it is so very pretty.  I can't figure out if it's blurry or not.  It was the morning sun and it was making it such a different color.  Love. It. 

And finally, my favorite.  This came to me, via a text message, from my Hub.  He wasn't able to come with me for the weekend (here is how that conversation went:  Me:  Love of my life, do you want to come with me to clean and cook and scrub for three days straight?  Him:  Uh, no, I was thinking I'd go fishing, since I am home this weekend and I am hardly ever home on weekends because I'm off speaking, but......if you really want me to, I will.  Me:  Nope, just catch dinner for us, cuz I will be famished, I'm sure).  So when he was out on a walk one afternoon, he saw this gaggle of roses, took a picture and sent me the sweetest text.  I ♥ him.  I'm one lucky girl.

April 22, 2012

Have a Safe Trip and Hurry Home!

Nothing says "Have a Safe Trip and Hurry Home!" to my husband like a nice warm batch of cookies from the oven, with extras to send with him on the trip.  He is traveling this week so I thought I'd bake some of his favorite cookies for his night time snack and a reminder of what is home waiting for him.  Chocolate chip cookies.  Easy Peasy, Sneezy.  You'd think.

Attempt One looked like this: 

Note to self:  When you sift your dry ingredients together,  don't set the bowl in a place you've never set it before, as you will forget to add it to the dough.  Even if you have made this recipe a gazillion times.

What did I learn?  (aside the above note?)   When you put butter and sugars in the oven, they instantly melt.  I actually knew that, but seeing it happen before my eyes...wow, what a sight.   Husband was trying to clean it, but not before I had to take a picture!

Attempt Number Two looked like this:

So not what I was envisioning...but when you take the mess from attempt one, rinse off the chocolate chips and walnuts and remix the batter, the chocolate chips melted when mixed.  Whatevs.

Attempt Number Two looked like this on the wire rack:

Jeepers, how hard can it be to make some cookies?  Apparently very.

Did the taste good?  Sure, not the best, but edible.  Will he take any with him for week?  "I'm not  sure" he says.  (and yes, I purposely made them more to my liking and not his...sneaky, right?)

Our idea at our dream bed and breakfast is to always have homemade treats available and warm cookies at night.  Thank goodness I have 4 more years to practice.

Have a good giggle, I did.  :-)

April 18, 2012

Note Card Party - April

I do love blogging and seeing so many other fantastic bloggers.  This blog posting is unique for me.  It's not going to be all about baking or blinging up some super cute aprons, but it is allowing me to showcase some of my photos, which I do love to take.  I have Vee's Note Card Party to thank for this opportunity and I look forward to doing it next month.  I am humbled to see all of the beautiful pictures that so many others have posted.  It makes me want to do better and be more creative...so look out bloggers, I am going to step it up.  :-) (or at least make attempts)

So much fun!  Enjoy!

April 8, 2012

Happy Easter to all of my Peeps

I love Easter.  I've mentioned it before, all of the pastel colors just make my heart sing.  I've been to Bermuda two times.  I love Bermuda....all of the pastel colors, the homes, the water, just everything.  It's all so calming.  I should spend my next Easter in Bermuda.  Pastel overload.

I have many issues;  one of them is not knowing when to stop blinging up things.  I overbling.  I already posted here, my love for aprons.  If you scroll down a bit, on this page you will see a cute white apron, with an even cuter bunny on it....well, I overblinged it this weekend.  Actually, I love it, but again, I love bling.  Want one for your kitchen fun?  Email me and I'm sure we can work something out!
Super blingy apron

So last night, I teased my Facebook friends with the promise of some tasty Easter treats.  I kept it real and fulfilled my promise.  But let me tell you a little about my day.  I wanted to have a some toast prior to the big brunch so I wouldn't eat everything in sight.  This is how my toast turned out:

Sad burned toast

Made me a little insecure, but the third time was the charm (and the fourth).  Mmmmm....toast.

So then onward to the eggs, all 30 of them.  Big ol' batch of scrambled eggs.  I remember hearing at one point don't put egg shells down the garbage disposal.  I always do, one or two, maybe 3 or 4, but never 30.  Until today.  Next stop?  Walgreens for some Draino, while Hub is on the floor dismantling the pipes and garbage disposal because I had backed it up.  I get back and he has a horrified look on his face, while holding a handful, plus of egg shells.  How many eggs did you use???    Uh, 30?  Given that he is going to be the Super Duper Repair Man for our dream bed and breakfast, I felt like it was good practice, especially given that our guest were coming in less than an hour. 

Crisis diverted, thanks to Hub.  Okay, now the good stuff....Creme Brulee French Toast, Sticky Pecan Upside-Down Baby Cakes, Scrambled Eggs with Cheese and Sausage.

Creme Brulee French Toast, with Raspberry Compote and Blueberry Compote

The Creme Brulee French Toast was easy to make and I was able to make it the night before.  It was interesting to me.  Very creamy tasting but the bottom was caramelized, almost too much.  But I suspect that was my baking, not the recipe.  Everyone loved it.  And they knew they were "tasters" for this recipe and it got rave reviews.  Expect to see it at the Bed and Breakfast.  The compote was fresh raspberries and blueberries.  Apparently, taste wise, they weren't needed, but it sure does dress up the photo.

Now on to the Sticky Pecan Upside-Down Baby Cakes. 

A+, Heaven and a Must. Have. Every. Day.  

These muffins are indescribably good.  I just had another one for dessert.  The inside is cake like, not dense at all.   The topping is nice and gooey and caramelly caramel like, and just so friggin good.  I made these in jumbo muffin tins, but you could make them in normal size ones as well.  Next time I am going to make them in mini muffin tins.  I can envision a nice cake platter, with a clear top, filled with mini goodness, known as  Sticky Pecan Upside-Down Baby Cakes, when you check into our dream Bed and Breakfast, you pop one in your mouth and the rest is history.  Repeat customers and lots of referrals.

Such a lovely Easter brunch. I ended the morning, filled with good food and the love of family and friends. I finished the day out on the water with Hub.  Life is lovely in my world.

April 5, 2012

Cherry Peach Cobbler

One of the easiest things to make, for me at least, is cobbler;  I got this recipe from a guy I used to work with...it was from his mother;  he later died, way too young, and every time I make this cobbler, I think of him.  It's easy peasy and never does it go wrong.  My family loves it and I actually double the recipe, add some cooking time, and viola....warm cobbler.  Plus if you double the recipe, you get more the cakey goodness that goes along with the fruit. 

I love cherries, like some people love chocolate, so of course, I made a cherry cobbler.  Unfortunately, my family doesn't LOVE cherries, but they do love peaches....hence, the Cherry Peach combination.  I'm happy, family is happy...bellies are full, life is good.

Peach Cobbler

1/2 c butter
1 c sugar
1 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 c milk
29 oz Freestone Alberta Peaches (or 2 cans of peaches and one can of Cherry Pie Filling...or any fruit combo)
1 tsp vanilla
1tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 - Put butter in baking dish (I use a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish) and put in oven until it melts.

Mix all ingredients together;  pour on melted butter, do not stir.

Pour  in fruits of your choice, do not stir.

Bake for 40 minutes.

It's crazy tasty if you eat it warm, and equally as yummy at room temp.  Add whipped cream or ice cream.

April 2, 2012

Blonde or Brunette...what's your preference?

Personally, I'm a blonde lover.  Oddly enough, I've never made blonde brownies, aka Blondies.  But I do love to make food with pastel colors and what is more pastel than Cadbury Milk Chocolate Eggs?  And festive for the upcoming Easter weekend.  I love Easter...bunnies, chick and pastels...oh and eggs.  I do love eggs;  and of course the whole reason for Easter of course, the religious aspect, which I love.  So while I was Pinteresting?  and Repinning on my Pinterest boards, I found one of the prettiest thing I had ever seen. 

Let's hop on over....get it?  bunnies...hop?  Moving on...here is the result of the Cadbury Mini Egg Blondies.

Oh so pretty and very tasty.  Very rich.  Imagine a much smaller piece, because it is so rich, but imagine, when you walk into our dream Bed and Breakfast, after a long travel day, a nice plate of the puppies waiting for you.  And realistically, one of our many puppies will greet you, too. 

Or, not a blonde lover?  Brunette is more your style?  I also tried, from Cook's Illustrated their Classic Brownie.  I'm not sure how I received this magazine, but the article was called "The Best Classic Brownies"  Subtitled, Whatever happened to the chewy, not over the top, yet chocolatey brownie?  My thoughts exactly....what has happened to it?  Where has it gone?  I am a sucker for words like "ever"...(best ever), (a good example of a best ever challenge)....so when this person made it their goal to make the Classic Brownie, not too cakey, not too fudgy, but "just right", I'm determined to try it and see if I hit gold as well. 

Well, although, I don't personally think I struck gold, it is definitely good.  Will I make it again? Probably not.  Now my new brownie quest (I have many quests, so that's why I specified which one) is to find the Best Ever Brownie.  For all I know it could end up being Ghirardelli Ultimate Fudge Brownie Mix. After all the word "ultimate" is equal to "best ever" as far as I'm concerned. I don't have shame using a box mix. 

So what's your pleasure?  Blonde or Brunette?