Tuesdays with Dorie: Nutella Buttons

TWD: nutella buttons

That’s right, it’s Tuesday, and I’m posting! It’s some kind of Spring miracle! Speaking of Spring, the sun is shining on the Kenai Peninsula. I even planted some vegetables yesterday. I’m not sure how the garden will grow this year, but I’m considering this my learning season! Hopefully the moose doesn’t eat everything!

I didn’t actually make this recipe with the Nutella. I used cherry jam and topped them with the ganache. Doug thought the cherry and chocolate was weird together (maybe he’s never heard of Black Forest Cake!), but I thought they were tasty. They were definitely a hit with the kids. My only issue was that I ended up with two dozen of them, and we can’t eat them all! This is a birthday week at our house, so we are full of desserts! Even though I love the ganache, I think it makes it too messy to take to school with lunch.  As for flavor, the cakes themselves weren’t overly sweet, so the ganache took them from an afternoon snack to a dessert. I think I’ll be making these again and mixing it up a little with the fillings and the toppings. The white chocolate might have been the better topping with the cherry filling.

TWD: Nutella Buttons

The Tuesdays with Dorie participants don’t publish the recipes, but you can get your own copy of Baking Chez Moi. Feel free to follow along with everyone else here.

 

Tuesdays With Dorie: Limoncello Cupcakes

Limoncello Cupcakes

I’m trying my best to get back on the Tuesdays with Dorie  bandwagon, and at some point I may actually start posting these on time (unless I continue to be foiled by my throttled internet! That’s right, bandwith on your home internet is not unlimited in Alaska. It’s what my kids ask for almost every day!) What do you do with a recipe when you don’t use the main ingredient? Improvise of course! Since I don’t drink, I knew I wouldn’t be dousing my cupcakes with lemon liqueur, I decided I would just go with a lemon simple syrup. It was the right consistency and the right flavor, so I don’t think I really missed too much.

Limoncello Cupcakes

I was a little worried about adding the cardamom, but the flavor was really subtle, and all the kids loved the cupcakes. Instead of using orange marmalade for the filling I used some Italian mandarin cream that I’ve had in the pantry waiting for a special occasion. It may not have been the best choice. The flavor was amazing, but the texture was a little off after it was baked.

Limoncello Cupcakes

All in all, I was very happy with these cupcakes. The texture with the glaze was perfect, and I loved the flavor. Another plus is that these are simple to make. No muss, no fuss, and everyone is happy that there’s dessert!

Alaska

 

In other news, it’s April 14th, and it’s snowing! For the most part, the weather since I’ve been in Alaska has been amazing. It’s not super cold, and the air is always fresh. Sometimes though, you look at pictures of friends swimming outside back in Texas, and you realize just how far away you are!

The Tuesdays with Dorie participants don’t publish the recipes, but you can get your own copy of Baking Chez Moi. Feel free to follow along with everyone else here.

Grilled Asparagus How To

Grilled Asparagus How To | Frankly Entertaining

‘Tis the season for asparagus, and today we’re talking how to get the most vibrant and delicious greens on your plate. I think the fear that most people have about cooking with asparagus is that it will turn out limp and mushy and like it came from a can. I’ve made one recipe with canned asparagus, and it was not a winner at my house!

I’m not going to lie, I never prepared my own asparagus until I went to a couple’s cooking class when my husband and I were first married (ah, the honeymoon stage, before date night involved a very pricey sitter and a trip to Target!). I cannot for the life of me remember the menu we prepared, ut I do remember the asparagus. I remember all the hints, and ever since, We’ve had nothing but delicious asparagus.

I don’t prepare asparagus all that often, mostly because I don’t think about it. I knew however, that asparagus would be the perfect complement to the lab dinner that I was serving for Easter. The glorious green side came together in the time it took for the lam to rest and the rolls to bake. I love it when a meal comes together!

Grilled Asparagus How To |Frankly Entertaining

Without further ado, here are the simple steps to grilled asparagus:

  1. Pick healthy looking asparagus from the market. If it’s already limp, it’s not going to firm up in the pot.
  2. Snap the stalks at the ends. You don’t need to trim the stalks with a knife. The asparagus will naturally snap at the right place when you bend it.
  3. Bring a deep skillet of salted water to a boil.
  4. Add asparagus to the boiling water, and cook for one minute.
  5. Remove asparagus and immediately place in a bowl of ice water. (Be amazed at how green they get)
  6. Drain the skillet and add butter.
  7. Melt the butter over medium high heat and add the asparagus. Cook just until hot.
  8. You can go over the top and add bacon or garlic, but the butter is all it needs.

See, I wasn’t lying. It’s simple, and it’s amazing. I dare you not to love it!

 

Cookie Swap 2014: Cranberry Lime Thumbprints

Cranberry Lime Thumbprints

The annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap has become one of my favorite traditions. This year I was inspired by some mailing tubes at the Container Store. It was completely random, but I fell in love with gold mailing tubes, and so I knew I would be making smaller cookies that would fit in the tubes!

I still had Thanksgiving on the brain when I made these, which is how I came up with the idea to use cranberry sauce instead of the traditional jelly. I also decided to add lime to the cookie. Cranberry lime sounded like a good combination, and it worked! I used lime essential oil, and it gave just the right amount of flavor.

This year I sent my cookies to Sprinkled with Jules, First Time Foods, and Celebrating Sweets. I received delicious cookies from Simply So Good (Norwegian Pepperkaker), Fleur Delicious (Vanilla Sprinkle), and My California Kitchen (Toffee Peanut Butter(scotch) Pudding).

If you’re a food blogger, you should definitely sign up for the cookie swap. You can go get on the mailing list now, and they’ll send you a reminder next year. It’s a lot of fun, you get introduced to new blogs, and you get to help fight kids cancer. It’s a win in every way!

Cranberry Lime Thumbprints

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 c. butter
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 2 egg yolks (reserve egg whites)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 drops lime essential oil
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 c. sweetened shredded coconut

Instructions:

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar.
  2. Add egg yolks and vanilla, beat well.
  3. Add salt and flour, mix well.
  4. Roll dough into 1/2 inch balls.
  5. Dip balls into slightly beaten egg whites and then dredge in coconut.
  6. Press down the center of each ball with your thumb, and add 1/2 tsp. of cranberry sauce to each cookie.
  7. Bake at 350º for 15 minutes.

TWD: Baking Chez Moi: Palets des Dames

Palets Des Dames: Frankly Entertaining

This is the first week of the Tuesdays with Dorie group baking out of Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook, Baking Chez Moi. I got this book in the mail a couple of weeks ago, and I’m excited to start baking along. I loved the FFWD group, and I’m hoping that the fact that this group only posting twice a month will help me keep on track! So far, so good! We’re one week in and I’m all caught up!

The first recipe was for Palets des Dames, which I had never tried before I made them. They remind me a lot of a cookie version of a Madeleine. My kids all loved them, and they seem like they’d be a perfect treat alongside a cup of hot chocolate for an afternoon snack. It’s a little chilly here today, so I’ve got hot chocolate on the brain!

I added some Autumn sprinkles to mine, because everything is better with sprinkles! These would make a great addition to  a potluck if you’re getting together with a group for Thanksgiving.

Dorie suggests using a small cookie scoop, which I did, and they turned out perfectly after 9 minutes in the oven. The only thing I didn’t pay attention to was turning the cookies upside down to frost them. I feel better now though, because I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong at first!

You can find this recipe on pages 272-274 of Baking Chez Moi. If you want to see what other bakers thought of this recipe, head to the Tuesdays with Dorie blog and click on LYL:  Palets de Dames.

Junior League Holiday Olé Market

Holiday Ole Market| Frankly Entertaining

I have attended the Junior League Holiday Olé Market every year that I have lived in San Antonio. I love the opportunity to get a lot of my Christmas shopping done while supporting small businesses and A charity that I love.

Proceeds from the event advance the Junior League of San Antonio’s mission to promote voluntarism, develop the potential of women and improve our community.  They help fund Junior League of San Antonio programs and projects, including their signature project working toward eradicating childhood obesity.

HOliday Ole Market | Frankly Entertaining

The infamous garlic press dishes!

In my mind I’m a Junior Leaguer, but in reality it’s not something I can commit to, so I love being able to support them through the holiday market (and their cookbooks!).

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this year’s market was the best one that I’ve been to. This is their second year at the Freeman Coliseum, and although I don’t like the drive, I do love how much extra space there is! I spent way too much  money this year (Visa actually thought there was something suspicious going on and put a hold on the card … it might have been for the best!).

Holiday Ole Market | Frankly Entertaining

Foil Print from Zella Press 

 

It’s horrible of me, but the market always has amazing children’s things, and I didn’t look at anything for my kids! I did however get my wedding ring polished and bought a necklace that I’ve been eyeing for a while at a very reasonable price ($25).

I also found a new shop that I’m a little bit in love with. Is it pathetic that I’m a grown woman with six kids and a husband, but that all day I’ve been thinking about the most amazing desk calendar from Zella Press? I’m not ashamed. I own my love of luxury paper products!

Holiday Ole Market | Frankly EntertainingGlass Glitter from Miss Mustard Seed

If you’re in San Antonio, The Junior League Holiday Olé Market runs from today until Sunday. Handmade Mood is doing a giveaway for four tickets on their facebook page. Head over, and plan an awesomely productive Saturday with your girlfriends!

FFwD: Couscous Salad

FFwD: Couscous Salad

I would just like to say that I did make this recipe on time, but I never took the pictures off the camera. I think I may have reached new levels of laziness when my only reason for not posting this on time is that I couldn’t be bothered to plug in the camera cord!

That being said, we all loved this recipe. Camilla couldn’t stop eating this, and all the other kids were fascinated by all the ingredients. Apparently I haven’t been using enough chickpeas in my cooking! I didn’t add any meat, but we ate this by itself as a main course, and no one left the table hungry. I think this will be a perfect school lunch when the kids are tired of ham and cheese.

I don’t have much more to report about this since it’s Thursday, and I have to get busy making tomorrow’s mushrooms and Napa!

See you tomorrow!

FFwD: Roasted Peppers

FFwD Roasted Peppers

So, this week came I came dangerously close to a Friday fail! I had the best of intentions. I went to the farmer’s market last Saturday, and I bought fresh peppers. I got different colors and everything! Perhaps I shouldn’t have waited until the last minute to do everything, but I was planning on serving the peppers with pasta last night for dinner.

FFwD Roasted Peppers

My problems this were totally my fault. I was in a rush (and I don’t know why, since the peppers had to roast for an hour!), and I didn’t read the recipe all the way through. Instead of roasting the peppers whole, I sliced them first. I didn’t even realize m mistake until I went to reread the recipe before taking off the skins. Instead of having 5 peppers to work with, I only had about one slice from each pepper that wasn’t completely hardened! This obviously wasn’t going to work for dinner. I put the peppers in a ramekin, added some Provence herbs and olive oil. I put it in the fridge overnight while I debated what to do.

FFwD Roasted Peppers

This week I went to see The 100Foot Journey, and this morning inspiration struck … I made a roasted pepper and goat cheese omelet! I had just enough peppers for my breakfast. As I made everything I imagined myself in France, and it was all wonderful. The omelet was delicious … as were the peppers. Lesson learned though (for the 100th time), read the recipe the whole way through before you make the dish!

FFwD Roasted Peppers

*What is French Fridays with Dorie? An online cooking group dedicated to working our way through Dorie Greenspan’s newest book, Around My French Table. We try a new recipe each week and post about it on Fridays. If you’re interested you can pick up a copy of the book and follow along with us here.

FFwD: Tuna Confit with Black Olive Tapenade and Tomato Salsa

FFwD: Tuna Confit

I haven’t participated in the French Friday with Dorie posts in forever, but I’ve been missing it, and I decided to try and make my way back in! I’ve been following a lot of the participants on Instagram, and so I still feel like I’m a part of the group even though I haven’t been contributing.  August seemed like a good month to come back, and this recipe sounded delicious.

We weren’t disappointed! I was a little intimidated about cooking the tuna, but everything turned out perfectly … except for the preserved lemon … not to be confused with lemon preserves!! Since I picked up the wrong jar at the store, I only added lemon zest and lemon juice, so I’m sure it was a little lacking in the citrus department. I used a store bought tapenade, but the tomato salsa was amazing. We used he leftovers to make bruschetta. All in all, not a bad way to come back to Fridays!

 

*What is French Fridays with Dorie? An online cooking group dedicated to working our way through Dorie Greenspan’s newest book, Around My French Table. We try a new recipe each week and post about it on Fridays. If you’re interested you can pick up a copy of the book and follow along with us here.

Oaks Crossing Restaurant Review

* I received compensation for this post, but all opinions are my own.

Oaks Crossing

What’s that, two posts in one week? That’s right, I’m on a roll!

Today I’m here to tell you a little bit about Oaks Crossing, the restaurant at the new HEB on Wilderness Oak in San Antonio. If you’re in San Antonio you know that HEB is pretty much the end all and be all for grocery shopping! There were actually 3 HEB’s within 5 miles of my house, but then HEB went and announced a new concept store that would be built close by. My level of excitement about this new store probably wasn’t normal, but what’s a grocery shopping loving girl to do?! My husband and I actually went to the new store on a date night… that’s right, we paid a babysitter and went to the new grocery store on opening day!

Oaks Crossing Kitchen

So, you can imagine how excited I was when I got an email asking if I wanted to tour and eat at the new restaurant inside the HEB. You read correctly, there’s a restaurant inside the grocery store. And this isn’t a pick up take-out on your way out type of restaurant. This is a park your shopping cart and come in and relax for a nice meal type of restaurant.

This place is modern and really well  laid out. You would never even know it was in a grocery store if you came in from the outside doors. There is a gorgeous water/fire feature on the patio, plus they have a kids play area outside (I don’t know why more restaurants don’t do this .. completely genius!). The inside has a sit down area, plus a bar area that looked like I had already become a neighborhood hangout.

Oaks Crossing | Frankly Entertaining

I went in with my family on a Monday night, and we had a great experience. One of the best selling features with someone with as many kids as I have, is the fact that kids eat free on Mondays. Unlike other restaurants that give you a free meal for every adult meal purchased, Oaks Crossing gives you a free meal for ever $8 spent. This justified getting a couple of appetizers to try!

My husband and I tried a couple of burgers for our main courses, and my kids had spaghetti and pizza. Even if the kids meals weren’t free, they still would have been a steal!

It was actually really hard to choose what to eat. The menu is extensive and covers everything from brisket to street tacos. I’ll be going back for the Truffle and Parmesan Fries and the Fish and Chips Tacos.

Oaks Crossing | Frankly Entertaining

We ended up eating outside because we got there during the dinner rush, and my only complaint was the flies, and that had more to do with the fact that it had rained the day before our visit. I can definitely see this as a great place to go for a ladies lunch before my weekly shopping trip! If you’re in San Antonio, you should definitely check out Oaks Crossing.

If you go in on the weekends they have live music, and apparently the weekend brunch is pretty amazing.

p.s. Because of a misunderstanding on my part, I ended up talking to the store manager before I went in to the restaurant. He gave me lots of great info, but the biggest hint he gave me was to download the PassWallet App. When you scan the QR code at he restaurant it gives you a barcode for a restaurant deal. When we went, we got 20% off any burger.

So, who wants to meet me for lunch at HEB next week?! Anyone?

Make sure to like Oaks Crossing on Facebook so that you can keep up to date on the latest specials.

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