Closing The Door To 2021

A Look Back

Can you believe the year is almost over? For some it went by so fast and to others, well I’m sure it could not have gone fast enough. I wanted to take a look back at some posts that you all seemed to love the most (according to the numbers of views and pins) and some of my favorite moments and posts as well.

So get cozy, grab a glass of wine

or maybe a mimosa if it’s a tad early where you are

or like me a nice cup of coffee.

Cooking With The Air Fryer

Who knew cooking with an air fryer could be such a hit. My post on Air Fryer Hot Dogs is still the highest viewed and shared to this day.

I can see why. If you have an air fryer and you haven’t cooked any of these in there yet….whatcha waiting for? These are amazing cooked this way. This has become mine and hubby’s go to way of cooking hot dogs.

Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Patties came in a close second.

Right behind was Air Fryer Corn on the Cob with Smoky Parmesan Cilantro Butter.

Nothing says summer like fresh corn. I know I did my share of freezing corn to make that bounty last and so did you guys because you all seemed to like my post on How To Freeze Corn On The Cob.

Eating Out Once Again

More restaurants began opening their dinning areas. In 2020 I shared one of my favorite local restaurants that temporarily closed due to the pandemic in my post Brick Street Cafe. In early 2021 they were finally able to reopen and I was one very happy girl.

I knew things were finally starting to get back to semi normal with another local favorite Midtown Deli reopening. It was so nice to be able to hear and be around others once again, not to mention I had truly missed their crab cake sandwich.

A Journey Through Food

I asked you all to come with me on this journey in discovering other countries and cultures through cooking some of their beloved dishes. So far we’ve tasted Pepian from Guatemala,

Beef Bulgogi from Korea,

Tibs from Ethiopia

and Yorkshire Pudding

and Pigs in a Blanket

from England pt1 and England Pt2. I hope you are enjoying this journey as much as I am. I’ve learned so many new things for sure.

Going Forward

Lastly and most importantly, I once again thank you. Thanks to all who have stopped by with your comments, conversations and support. This marks year 2 for this little blog and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. This year has brought joy, frustration, new discoveries, laughter and yes some tough times, but hopefully we are all starting to see some lighter days. I think it’s so important to find joy in even the small things. You all bring me joy. I hope you will continue this food blogging journey with me. I hope the new year brings you happiness, good times and may the love of good food continue to bring us all together.

Here’s to a new year!

Look Ma I Baked

Does it count if it’s from a box mix?

In my world yes. I’m sure there are lots of you out there that enjoy a good box mix am I right? Hubby wanted homemade cookies so I baked….well Betty Crocker did the set up I did the work. Not that it was hard work mind you.

These cookie cups turned out tasty I must say.

I won’t show it, but right out of this camera shot, there are sprinkles everywhere….. there was an incident. That’s all I’m saying.

*Note*

I am in no way affiliated with Betty Crocker. Bad things sometimes happen when I bake so I sometimes take the easy route when it comes to baking….and…not to mention hubby snuck it in the cart while grocery shopping.

Apple Cake

My mother in law made a beautiful apple cake for our Christmas Eve dinner. It was really hard not to sneak a slice after it was done baking.

*Mini Update*

I had to update this a little after I finally got to taste this. This cake was such a delicious delight and a perfect ending for our family’s Christmas Eve dinner. This cake is so moist with the hint of apples throughout. The cinnamon sugar adds the perfect touch and a little crunch on the bottom. It’s also amazing with fresh whip cream or vanilla bean ice cream… or why not add both, after all it’s a celebration.

Here is what she used:

*1 box yellow cake mix; use ingredients listed on the box but instead of water use milk

*1 cup sour cream

*3 red apples; thinly sliced

*1 cup sugar

*1 tsp. Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°

Spray a Bundt cake pan with no stick flour baking spray; set aside.

Prepare yellow cake mix according to box directions but add milk instead of the water; mix in the sour cream.

Combine sugar and cinnamon.

Pour some of the cake batter into the bottom of the cake pan. Place some of the apple slices on top then sprinkle with some of the cinnamon sugar mix. Pour another layer of the cake batter on top of the apple mix. Place more apples around on top of the batter then sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar.

Pour on the rest of the cake batter. Top with the rest of the apples and sprinkle with the rest of the cinnamon sugar mix.

Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

Enjoy

One More Day Until Christmas Eve

Enjoying a relaxing morning on this unplanned time off of work with one of my favorite southern breakfast Cheesy Grits with Bacon and a Fried Egg.

These may still be challenging times, but there are also so many gratifying moments. I always try and find the joy in these days and little moments. I think it’s what helps us get thru those hard times that some are still going through. Whether it’s a simple breakfast, cooking good food for loved ones or just simply spending time with family and friends. May you find what brings you joy this season and all the years through.

On a side note, if you are interested in the Cheesy Grits with Bacon and a Fried Egg click away. I made this over a year ago during lockdown. As you can tell it’s still one of my favorite breakfast dishes.

My Food Journey To England Pt2

Pigs In A Blanket

I simply could not turn down the chance to make these, it has bacon after all. How can it not be good.

I have made my share of the U.S. version, which is sausages wrapped in some sort of dough like biscuit dough or croissant dough. I’ve even had them with hot dogs instead of sausages, but never just the sausage wrapped in bacon and baked to a crispy perfection. These were sinfully good. It was very hard not to eat the whole tray.

Pigs in a blanket are traditionally served as a side with a Christmas turkey dinner. These are great also with a roasted chicken or even as an appetizer for New Year’s.

Here’s how you make them…..just in time for Christmas lunch or dinner:

*8 to 12 slices of bacon

*cocktail sausages

*preheat the oven to 400°

Spray a baking sheet with no stick spray or line with parchment paper; set aside.

Cut each slice of bacon in half.

Place one of the sausages on one end of the bacon slice.

Wrap the bacon around the sausage.

Place on the baking sheet seam side down.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the bacon is as crispy as you prefer.

*Note* These can be made ahead of time. Just place on the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Remove the plastic wrap when ready to bake.

Enjoy!

The Journey Continues

The Journey Continues to

England

Part One

For this country I chose two little dishes, Yorkshire Pudding and Pigs in a Blanket.

The journey to this country is special to me. Ever since I was a little girl and discovered a little sci-fi British show called Doctor Who (ok not so little), I have been drawn to our friends across the pond. It wouldn’t be until many years later that I would actually make friends and meet with some wonderful people from there via online and in person. One in particular helped me immensely in trying to decide what delicious foods I should discover from here. Liz has been a friend for several years. We met online and later I had the pleasure of meeting her in person (wave Liz). If it were not for her and another in particular (yes, you too Ali my friend, I would never forget you.) I would not have met my hubby and had some memorable times that I will always cherish. Those were indeed some of the best times. But that is another story of a group of wonderful people, that although we may not chat everyday, I still consider them as my life long friends.

As I said before I have been drawn to this country, the history, the people, the magnificent shows, and yes, as a child I would even try the accent.

I really hope that I did these two dishes justice. I hope Liz and the UK FoodTribers at my home away from home, FoodTribe, think so at least. So let’s begin with the first one…the one that when I looked through the oven door and saw that those little golden delights had poofed up (not sure if that’s the correct term but hey, it was a proud moment) I did let out a joyous yell.

Yorkshire Pudding

I will confess, for the longest time I thought Yorkshire pudding was…well…a pudding. It wasn’t until I started watching British cooking shows that I found out it is pretty similar to popovers. Yorkshire puddings are commonly a side dish made from a batter of eggs, flour, milk or water and cooked in a bit of oil or beef fat. The first ever recipe for this was in a book titled The Whole Duty of a Woman in 1737. It was listed as a dripping pudding. Wheat flour began to come into common use for making cakes and puddings. Cooks in the north of England had begun baking batter puddings while their meat roasted to make use of the fat that in the dripping pan. It was later published in 1747 in the book The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse with the name Yorkshire Pudding. It was she who renamed the original version. Originally the Yorkshire pudding was served with gravy as a first course to help fill the appetites so diners would not eat so much of the more expensive meat.

Today Yorkshire pudding is still as popular as ever. It still mainly accompanies a Sunday roast dinner. It can be served as a whole in a cast iron type pan or baked in individual tins and is still served with gravy. There is also the ever popular Toad in the Hole which is roasted sausages enveloped in a giant, crispy Yorkshire pudding.

I opted to do individual ones baked in muffin tins. The key to making a successful pudding is letting the batter rest and, as Liz warned, getting the oil very hot before adding the batter. I will admit, I was really skeptical that mine would come out right the first time, but as I stated earlier, those babies did indeed rise. The outside was a nice crispy shell while the inside was tender and moist with an eggy texture. I can see why these are still popular to this day.

Here’s how you can make a Yorkshire Pudding:

*3/4 cups all-purpose flour

*1/2 tsp. salt

3 eggs

*3/4 cups milk

*pan drippings from a roast or canola oil; enough for 1 tsp in each muffin tin

In a bowl, sift together the flour and the salt.

In another bowl add in the eggs and the milk.

whisk until well combined.

Slowly add the flour to the egg and milk mixture.

Whisk until the batter is smooth.

Let the batter rest for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 450°

Pour in 1 tsp. of drippings from a roast or any other meat drippings you can save in each cup of the muffin tin. I used drippings from some bacon I had cooked earlier. If you do not have any meat drippings you can use oil such as canola, although the puddings will not be as flavorful, but they will still be mighty tasty.

Place the tin in the oven until the drippings are hot.

Take out of the oven and fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full with the batter.

You should see the batter start to bubble as soon as it hits the liquid.

Bake until the puddings have puffed up about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve immediately.

You can store leftovers and reheat in a toaster oven. They also can be frozen in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.

Enjoy!

Don’t worry, part two of my English food journey featuring pigs in a blanket will be posted soon. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

Mashed Potato Muffins

Yes folks we are once again on the topic of one of my favorite comfort foods….mashed potatoes. I always seem to make way too many, but it’s better to have more than enough than not enough right? These little gems are great for using up any leftover mashed potatoes that you have. It turns something that is already delicious….like my Utterly Delicious Mashed Potatoes into something swoon worthy. Seriously, I had to step away from these because I could not stop eating them. Not only does it have your awesome mashed potatoes, but it is mixed with some smoky bacon, cheddar and Colby Jack cheese and chives. These are great as a side or even as a meal all by it’s self.

Here’s what you need:

*cold mashed potatoes; I used my Utterly Delicious Mashed Potatoes but you can use your own. I don’t really recommend using instant because it does not seem to hold up as well.

*1 beaten egg; if you have more than 2 cups of potatoes use 2 eggs.

*1 cup shredded cheese per 2 cups of mashed potatoes (if you have 3 cups mashed potatoes use 2 cup etc.) + more for the top; I used cheddar and Colby Jack but you can use any kind that you prefer

* 5 slices of bacon cooked and crumbles; if you have more than 2 cups of potatoes you may want to use more

*1 1/2 Tbsp. or more dried chives or 2 Tbsp. fresh chives

*salt and pepper to taste if needed

Preheat oven to 400°

Place cold mashed potatoes in a bowl and add in rest of the ingredients. Make sure you taste the potatoes before adding in the beaten egg to see if you will need to add any salt or pepper.

Mix all of the ingredients together until well incorporated.

Spray a muffin tin with no stick spray.

Fill the muffin tins to the top with the mashed potato mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden.

Sprinkle the tops with more of the cheese.

Continue baking for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Serve with butter or sour cream.

Enjoy!