Welcome to my site!

Welcome to my site!
I'm Cindy, and I love to cook! And, I love to eat... hence the size of my rear end! I come from a long line of cooks. My great great Grandmother was a cook in the original Harvey Houses. My grandmother Julia was an awesome cook, and my mom was incredible. I owe my skills to these great women. Especially my Mom who said this to me about making gravy... "Cindy Lynn, wallpaper paste is wallpaper paste & gravy is gravy. Never the two shall meet!" Shall we say my first experience at making gravy left a little bit to be desired! Thank the high heavens my cooking skills have improved since then! Enjoy!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Back in the 1960’s Rumaki was a popular cocktail party appetizer.  They were made with a piece of chicken liver and a half of a water chestnut wrapped in bacon.  I believe soy sauce, or perhaps teriyaki, was used too.  Now, I do enjoy chicken livers, but I know they’re not everyone’s “cup of tea”.  I found this recipe to make this tasty treat, sans the chicken liver.  It’s delicious.  The soy sauce, brown sugar and ketchup makes a salty sweet sauce that candy’s the bacon.  The crunch of the water chestnut wrapped in the syrupy smoky bacon is shear perfection.  Crunchy, salty and sweet – all in one bite on a toothpick.  Sounds like heaven to me – and tasted like it too!

Ingredients:

2 (8 oz.) cans whole water chestnuts, drained and patted dry
1 lb. lean bacon, cut in half
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1 heaping teaspoon of dry mustard
1 teaspoon of Chinese Hot mustard
Toothpicks

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Soak water chestnuts in Kikkoman soy sauce for 15 minutes, stirring a few times to make sure they are fully coated.
Remove water chestnuts from soy sauce.

Wrap 1/2 strip of bacon around each; secure with toothpicks.

Reserve soy sauce.

Place chestnuts toothpick side up in a 7” x 11” glass baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 minutes or until desired crispness.

Remove chestnuts from dish and drain grease. Replace chestnuts in the same dish.

Meanwhile, add ketchup and brown sugar to reserved soy sauce, stir well to combine.  Pour sauce evenly over the chestnuts to coat.

Bake chestnuts an additional 25 to 35 minutes.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bailey's Chocolate Mousse

What did we do before Pinterest?  This is my “go to” resource when looking for new recipes.  This dessert was heavenly!!  The perfect combination of sweet and creamy.  The chocolate and Bailey’s are a delight on the tongue.  The mousse is so silky and decadent.  What a great dessert that is satisfying – yet light enough that you don’t feel over full after dinner.  It really was like eating a sweet, creamy, chocolate cloud!
This will serve six.  There were only four of us at dinner, so I dished into four healthy servings.  Now I wish I had made six so we would have had leftovers today!

Ingredients:

2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
2 Tbsp. cold water
¼ c. boiling water
½ c. sugar
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1½ c. heavy cream, very cold
½ c. Baileys Irish Cream, very cold
1 tsp. vanilla

Whipped Cream and Chocolate Shavings for Garnish

Instructions:

Note: Before beginning, prep bowl and beaters by placing in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to chill.

Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl; stir and let stand 1 minute to soften.

Add boiling water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Let stand to cool.

Stir together sugar and cocoa in a large mixing bowl; add heavy cream.

Beat at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form; gradually pour in Baileys, vanilla, and gelatin mixture, beating continuously at high speed until well-blended and soft peaks form.

Let stand 5 minutes to thicken.  Spoon into serving dishes and place in refrigerator to chill.

Chill 1 hour or until ready to serve.

Garnish with Whipped Cream and Chocolate Shavings


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

This is the best of several worlds!  Scrumptious cake that is a little bit gooey and has the perfect crunch. Add that to the combination of pumpkin, brown sugar, and warm spices and you have a dessert that will leave everyone asking for more.  We loved it!  It was super easy to make - and just as easy to eat!  Trust me - you’re going to love this one.

Ingredients:

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped roasted pecans
1 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, sugars, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt and well combined and smooth.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.

Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture and use your hands to gently press it into the batter.

Sprinkle the top of the cake with chopped pecans and evenly drizzle the melted butter over the entire cake.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. At this point, check your cake. If the top is becoming to brown, cover the cake with a piece of foil for the remaining baking time. Continue baking an additional 10-20 minutes or until set.

Remove pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Chill for a few hours before serving.

If desired, top with whipped cream and chopped pecans before serving.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Pimento Cheese Bites

Pimento Cheese is a Southern thing.  Being that my Grandma was from Alabama – we enjoyed Pimento Cheese on many occasions.   My cousin Nona picked up the tradition of serving it when the family was together on the holidays.   I haven’t had it in many years.  So, this past Christmas I had a craving for it and decided to make it.  I found this cute idea on Pinterest to make it into individual bites with a Pretzel Stick in each.  I served them at a party and everyone loved them.  I’ve since made the recipe into other "forms" - one large cheese ball – and I’ve made it and just served in a dish without rolling it in the nuts, bacon and jalapeno.  Regardless of what “form” you decide to mold your Pimento Cheese into – I think you’ll enjoy it and be thrilled you tried it.  It’s Scrumptious!

Ingredients:

For the Pimento Cheese:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Mini Cheese Ball Bites:
18 oz bacon, cooked until crisp and finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups diced)
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 to 2 jalapeños, minced (seeds & membranes removed)
Pretzel sticks

Directions

To make Pimento Cheese:
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, garlic salt, onion powder, and cayenne. Scrape bowl and mix in grated cheddar and diced pimentos until well combined. Season with salt and/or black pepper, to taste. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until firm.

To make Mini Cheese Ball Bites:
In a medium bowl, combine diced bacon, chopped pecans, and minced jalapeños. Using a spoon or a small cookie scoop, form heaping tablespoons of pimento cheese into balls. Roll each pimento cheese ball in the mixture of bacon, pecans, and jalapeños, pressing coating into cheese so that it adheres.
Refrigerate cheese balls until firm, and keep them chilled until ready to serve. Just before serving, skewer each cheese ball with a pretzel stick.

Notes

To toast pecans, spread out on a sheet pan and baked in a preheated 350°F oven until lightly toasted and fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. Allow pecans to cool before finely chopping them.

As long as you remove the seeds and membranes from the jalapeños and very finely dice them, they shouldn't be too spicy. Use as much jalapeño as you wish, however, based on your personal preference.

If you'd like to use the Pimento Cheese recipe for purposes other than mini cheese balls, increase the mayonnaise to 1/2 cup. The reason the amount of mayo is slightly reduced for these cheese balls is to make sure the mixture isn't too soft to roll into balls.


You can make the cheese balls ahead of time, but don't insert the pretzels until just before serving or they will become soggy.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Baked Brie Bites with Bacon Apricot Jam

These were HEAVENLY!  Another great Pinterest find.  Very easy to make and the bacon jam is to die for!  I mean – everything really IS better with bacon.  The flavor of the creamy brie cheese combined with the smoky sweet bacon apricot jam is spectacular.  And, the fresh thyme garnish gives each bite just that extra little something.  You’re going to love these.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 lb bacon, chopped
10 oz. jar “simply fruit” apricot jam
2 tbsps apple cider vinegar
6 oz wedge of double or triple creme brie cheese, frozen for 1 hour
15 phyllo cups (I used Athens)
fresh thyme to garnish
Crisco to grease

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet with Crisco.

In a large skillet cook the chopped bacon over a medium flame until crispy, 15 – 20 minutes. Be sure to drain any rendered fat from the skillet once the bacon is fully cooked. Next, reduce flame to low before stirring in the apricot jam and apple cider vinegar, incorporating well. Allow this mixture to simmer for 5 – 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, on a cutting board cube the frozen wedge of brie into chunks, first by removing the rind from all edges, then cubing the cheesy insides. When ready, line up the phyllo cups on the greased baking sheet.

Fill each cup with a cube of brie, then top with a spoonful of bacon jam — Repeat until all cups are filled.

Bake for 10 minutes on oven middle rack until the cheese is just beginning to bubble, then immediately serve, garnishing with fresh thyme.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Mediterranean Mini-Scones

This recipe came from the “Tiny Food Party” recipe book.  It has inspired me to create other mini-scone recipes, which I will post in the future.  These savory scones are filled with the delicious Mediterranean flavors of sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and herbs.  They are delicious with lunch, as a snack or served at Happy Hour.  Cheers!

Ingredients:

2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbls sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into small cubes (See “Interesting Note” in directions)

2/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 Tbls fresh minced thyme*
2 tsp minced fresh oregano*
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary*
1 tsp black pepper
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup heavy cream

*If you prefer to use dried herbs reduce the amounts to 1 teaspoon thyme, ¾ teaspoon of each – oregano and rosemary.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  (I use a Silpat silicone baking mat)

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Cut butter into the flour mixture until it is completely incorporated and mixture has a fine mealy texture.  (Interesting note!  In a pie crust baking class, they had us GRATE the butter into the flour.  Just toss it in the flour mixture to keep it from melting in your hands - and start grating. I found this easier than cutting the butter into the flour mixture.)

Add sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, herbs and pepper.  Stir well to combine.  Fold in buttermilk and stir just until dough comes together.

Divide dough into 4 disks.  Cut each disk into 6 wedges.  Place wedges onto the prepared baking sheet. 


Lightly brush the top of each wedge with heavy cream and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until scones puff up and the tops start to brown.  Serve warm.

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