Friday, November 30, 2012

Sky Watch and Grilled Venison Tenderloin

I love sky watching. One of these days I will remember to take my camera everywhere to capture more of this kind. The sky this morning was amazing! But you will just have to take my word for it because I had no camera with me so I have no proof of this. :)

This is tonight's loveliness.
One of my hunters was successful last weekend and they butchered the deer last evening. We always keep the tenderloin and get an Amish guy that has a butcher shop to make Jerky and Sweet Bologna out of the rest of it.
This is always an easy supper that everyone enjoys a lot.
I trim it and remove the silver skin and cut it into 3-4 inch lengths and then cut it in half horizontally. I don't always cut it this way but I knew tonight was going to be rushed so I needed it thinner.
I covered it in water and added about a ½ cup of Red Wine Vinegar and let it soak for about 15 minutes. Drain and cover in water again and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain again and cover one more time with water for 10 minutes. Drain well. This process takes care of the gamy-ness.
When it was drained (you can dry it with paper towels) I sprinkled it with Weber Chicago Steak Seasoning on both sides and put it into the refrigerator for the rest of the day.
Allow it to come to room temperature before grilling according to your preference of done-ness.
I had made a Garlic and Herb Compound Butter to put on top of the hot steak. Yum!
Compound Butter
1 stick butter
2 Tablespoons McCormick Perfect Pinch
Garlic and Herb Seasoning
Mix well and use a size 100 cookie scoop to place the butter on top. I had mixed mine and made little balls and refrigerated them. It works best if they are not really hard when placed onto the steak.
It was delicious!
They left again tonight for a hunt tomorrow. So maybe next week we can have a repeat menu of tonight. (fingerscrossed)
Have a wonderful evening!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Shallots

Brussel Sprouts have always intrigued me and I usually just steamed them and added butter, salt and pepper. They were okay that way but I was never quite satisfied. Yesterday I tried them roasted with White Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil. Much better. Much better! I enjoy the White Balsamic more than the dark because it has a lighter flavor but it was still a bit more tart than I wanted it but I didn't want to ruin it with sugar so I gave it a sprinkle of Stevia and it was just right.

Did you know that all Stevia is not created equal? I didn't until my MIL told me so I checked it out. Wow, the real stuff is kind of pricey but it will last long. It takes very little to be effective!

1 lb. Brussel Sprouts, trimmed and quartered
(stem and outer leaves and any bruised ones removed)
2 Shallots, sliced thin and separated into rings
2 Tablespoons White Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Homemade Bacon Bits
Fresh Ground Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste

Combine prepared veggies in a small bowl. In a separate bowl mix the oil, vinegar, and stevia with a wire whisk. Pour over Brussel sprouts and shallot rings and toss to coat.

Line a small baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with non stick spray. Spread the veggies in a single layer and roast @ 400° for 10 minutes. Stir and roast for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Bacon Bits and return to oven for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Enjoy your Friday!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sweet & Savory Baby Carrots

For an easy but flavorful vegetable side dish, these carrots hit the spot. They are also a handy dish for a  potluck. They can be parboiled and cooled in ice water to stop the cooking process the day before the potluck then placed into a crockpot (with the seasonings) on low for several hours the day of. Perfect too for a Sunday morning if you plan to host guests for lunch and want to avoid that last minute rush. Hope you enjoy them!
2½ lbs. fresh baby carrots
1 stick butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 envelopes Ranch Dressing mix or
3-4 Tablespoons Sour Cream and Onion Powder,
(can be purchased at bulk food stores)
Cook carrots in a small amount of water until they are crisp-tender. Drain and set aside. Melt butter and combine with brown sugar and dressing mix. Add the carrots and cook and stir over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes or until glazed.
Have a lovely day!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Turkey Mushroom Zuppa Toscana

Amazing flavor!
Like most of the rest of you I have leftover Roast Turkey Breast from Thanksgiving Dinner in the fridge waiting to be eaten. But simply reheating it seems... well... boring. I also have some Kale, Mushrooms, and Heavy Cream in there waiting for a purpose. So I thought I would combine the flavors of  Zuppa Toscana ( Soup from Tuscany ☺) with the Roasted Mushroom Soup I posted a year ago and change the ingredients to use up some of what I have on hand here while omitting others. It turned out super delicious and I promise you no one will think about the fact that you are serving left over turkey! 
2 Tablespoons Garlic Oil
¾ cup chopped Sweet Onions
2 cups Button Mushrooms, sliced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Stems
2-4 Tablespoons White Cooking Wine, for de-glazing
1Quart Tuscany Chicken Broth, or regular broth
3 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
2 cups Roasted Turkey Breast Chunks
1½-2 cups Fresh Kale Leaves, torn into small pieces 
2 Tablespoons Homemade Bacon Bits
Fresh Parsley, chopped
Freshly Ground Sea Salt
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
Saute the chopped onions and mushrooms and fresh Thyme in the Garlic Oil over medium heat until the mushrooms are nice and brown. Remove the thyme stems but make sure to pull the leaves off and add them to the soup.
When the mushrooms are ready add the white wine and stir to scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan. The wine will evaporate pretty quickly. Add the broth and the cream and stir. Add the rest of the ingredients and heat through, and until the Kale leaves are tender.

This amount serves 2-4 people. Kinda depends who it is and how hungry they are. ☺ If you like it with less or more broth or with less or more veggies just adjust it till it suits your preference.
 Hope you enjoy the flavors of this delicious, comforting soup.


White Chocolate Caramel Macchiato

So I thought I should fend of the chill in the air with a bit of decadence while I do puzzles and Christmas decorations. The Christmas music plays and the house is quiet. Serena is playing with her rather large horse imagining that she owns a stable full of horses. Sounds idyllic doesn't it?
Well, just for good measure I will also tell you that the living room is an obstacle course of boxes, tulle, and other decorations. I can't find the ornaments that I really want and I really should go shopping for some winter things for Serena but, you know, the crowds... well anyway I will do that eventually.
For now I will finish a cup of this and do a bit of laundry and look again... in all the same places... for the elusive ornaments. S keeps asking what time it is because she has in her mind that she needs saddle soap and the local tack store opens at 10:00, or so I would imagine. She has this vision of cleaning up the barn where her real pony lives. I wouldn't dream of inhibiting that desire! Voluntarily cleaning something is a very good thing, even if it's the barn!
2 cups whole milk
1½ cups strong brewed coffee
10 caramels
2 Tablespoons white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Real Whipped Cream
Caramel Syrup, for drizzling
Place all ingredients into a small saucepan and heat slowly till the caramels and the white chocolate chips are melted. Or melt the caramels in the microwave with a small amount of milk to speed up the process. Serve with Real whipped cream and caramel drizzle.
♥A very blessed Monday to all of you!♥
Linking to:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Snickers Topped Cheesecake with Caramel Drizzle

I told you yesterday that I woke up with this cheesecake on my mind. Well, I tasted it today and while it's nothing over the top awesome or anything like that. It IS good and the topping is lovely! I liked that it was not a solid cheesecake. It has a more fluffy texture. Snickers and Caramel being some of my favorite flavors I thought I should treat myself to some extra sugar today. 43 years ago today the journey began for me.

While I don't think I have all of life figured out, I have learned a few things along the way.
Basically those things sum up to this - I am not the Center of The Universe, and I can't change anything by worrying. Clinging to hurts from the past is a waste of energy. Forgiving someone makes me free and puts me in position to live the life God chose for me. And I pray to God. A lot! And even though I say I have learned these things, there are days that I have to learn them all over again.

The men left for hunting this morning after breakfast and Serena and I spent the day wrestling with "The Tree" and at the library and the Thrift Store. It's the only shopping I could convince myself to do besides a birthday gift for a cute little birthday girl niece. I will venture out next week perhaps when people have gone back to school and work. Shopping crowds make me "buggy".

Here are the ingredients for the cheesecake. Next time I might replace the sour cream with some peanut butter and see how that tastes. So many options. I like options.

1 cup chocolate crumbs, cookie or graham cracker
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Mix and press onto the bottom of a 6 inch Spring Form Pan (sprayed with non stick spray) . Bake @ 350° for 7 minutes. Cool.

Reduce heat to 300°.

2 (8 oz. each) cream cheese, room temp.
1 cup brown sugar
½ Tablespoon Vanilla extract
¼ cup sour cream
2 large eggs
6-8 small Snickers Bars, chopped
Beat cream cheese and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and sour cream. Mix.
In a separate bowl beat the eggs, then add to the rest of the ingredients and beat gently just until incorporated. Pour onto cooled crust. Top with chopped candy bars. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Turn heat off and prop door open with a wooden spoon handle for another 45 minutes. Run a knife around the top edge upon removal from the oven and allow to cool before placing into the refrigerator. Allow to chill overnight before removing the Spring Form sides and serving. Enjoy!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Taste Testers needed...

Have you recovered from the Turkey Hangover? I'm happy to say that I think we are back on track. The weather has been beautiful and the fresh air feels wonderful!
Serena and the boys that were here today were digging out the Christmas decorations, so this weekend when the men go hunting she and I will get those up and do some other celebrating. The boys thought I/we should go to the mountains with them, (I think they felt bad that they would miss my birthday tomorrow but I declined.) While I would enjoy some parts about being at the cabin with them, the long days with not much to do would make me crabby. And birthday girls should do as they please, right?
 I woke up this morning with cheesecake on my mind. So I thought I would make myself a birthday cake for tomorrow and give the recipe in my head a shot. Tasting happens tomorrow. Stop in and I'll share a few bites with coffee! I can't guarantee anything because I haven't tasted it yet but I haven't met too many cheesecakes I didn't like, so...
I asked Lin if it needs a chocolate drizzle yet and he just raised his eyebrows. haha - what do you think - chocolate drizzle or not? There are chopped Snicker's Bars under the Caramel drizzle.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Buttermilk Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Buttermilk Butter Cream Icing

I had some buttermilk and some pumpkin puree in my fridge that had to be used and I wanted to use them in the same recipe. I also wanted the recipe to use all of it so I wouldn't be left with some to put back in the fridge. I found what sounded about right on Yum Sugar. Buttermilk Spice Cake, but with one problem. It didn't include the pumpkin. So with a bit of adapting and substituting the oil and a few eggs with my 1 cup of pumpkin puree that I had I made these cupcakes. They are disappearing quickly!

I still had about a 1/3 cup of buttermilk left over and I was determined to use at least most of it in the icing so I experimented a little bit and managed to use most of what I had left. I didn't think it was sweet enough but I was not willing to put more sugar in there. So I began to add Tahitian Vanilla extract until it tasted right to me. Yum!! Did you know that vanilla extract from Vanilla Beans grown in different places tastes different? I didn't until recently.
For the cupcakes:
2 cups brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter,
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 large eggs, separated
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon allspice
Pinch of salt
1 cup buttermilk
Prepare cupcake pans with papers. Preheat oven to 350°.
In a mixer bowl, cream the brown sugar and butter.
Add the pumpkin puree and mix.
Add the egg yolks one at a time beating well after each addition.
Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the flour and buttermilk alternately to the pumpkin mixture beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix well.
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form then gently fold them into the the cupcake batter.
Fill cupcake papers 2/3 full (size 20 cookie scoop) and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool before icing.
Buttermilk Buttercream Icing
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
6 Tablespoons buttermilk
4½ cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons Tahitian Vanilla extract
Place all ingredients into a Kitchen Aid and with the paddle attachment beat it till it is fluffy. Scrape down the sides occasionally to ensure even mixing. Ice cupcakes and store them in the refrigerator.
Hope you all have a wonderful week!
♥Be Blessed!♥

Friday, November 16, 2012

Meatball Sandwiches

Sending food along to hunting camp is something I try to do so they have decent home cooked meals when they come in from the woods and are cold, hungry and just ready to kick back. This year the boys are on a meatball sandwich craze so I sent these along for one meal last weekend.
The meatballs are moist and tender and full of flavor.  
3 lbs. 85% ground beef
3 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
1½ cups Italian Panko Crumbs
1½ Tablespoons dry onion flakes
1½ Tablespoons Garlic and Herb Seasoning
4 garlic cloves, fresh pressed
Salt and Pepper
In a large bowl combine the eggs and milk with a wire whisk. Add the garlic, onions, Parmesan cheese, and seasonings; stir. Then add the Panko Crumbs and stir again. Let set till the crumbs are soggy then add the ground beef and mix with your hands. (with gloves)
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. With a size 50 cookie scoop form balls and drop onto baking sheet. I like to make them perfectly round so I roll them between my hands a little bit too. Bake @400° for 15 minutes. Allow to cool or place in a crock pot with Pizza Sauce. Or heat them in a large pan. ☺ I like having options. ☺
When I make them there are usually too many for what I need right away. They freeze quite well in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Then place them in a Ziploc bag and store in the freezer. 
Makes approximately 70 meatballs.
The guys are on there way to the mountains again, but with plans to come home tomorrow night. ☺
 I think Serena and I will have a laid back reading and movie kind of night.
 Hope you have a wonderful evening!
Ms. enPlace  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Texas Sheet Cake with Peanut Butter and Chocolate Icing and A Day Out and About

This cake always comes through in a pinch. It's quick, moist and chocolaty, and pairs perfectly with some ice cream for an easy, sweet tooth satisfying dessert. I had some leftover icings in the fridge from some other goodies I had made and this cake provided the perfect opportunity to use them up. Peanut Butter and Chocolate. Why not?
1 cup butter
1 cup water
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sour cream
Combine the first three ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Combine the dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Add to the cocoa mixture and stir. Then add the sour cream and stir until smooth.
Bake in a non stick sprayed 10 x 15 inch pan for 20-25 minutes or until cake is done to your preference.
These are not the traditional icings that go with this cake but they worked and it was scrumptious!
I spent the day today on the truck with my husband (and even remembered my camera this time!☺) This is something we both enjoy occasionally. They have a few developments they deliver propane to that are a bit further away so I've been going along when he goes there. It was a bit chilly but a gorgeous, sunny day. I'll share a few pictures of the day with you.

I know Turkey Buzzards are not beautiful but if you think about the great service they do for humanity, saving us from all manner of harm and disease, they become a bit more tolerable. And I liked how he looked against the sky as he went gliding by.

Doing his thing. As big and clumsy as these trucks look, he is a pro at handling that thing. I don't think I'll be trading in my spatulas any time soon to drive his trucks.

And here is a beautiful (unedited) reminder of His presence with us after some tough news this week.
God has a plan and He knows what He's doing. We don't doubt that for even a minute!
We trust Him!
♥ Blessings to all of you tonight!♥

Ms. enPlace

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Caramel Bars

I made these a while ago and decided once again that they may only be baked when there are extra people around to eat them or I am planning to take them somewhere to share. They are rich and sweet and gooey... and really, really good! And they have a way of getting inside my mouth!
How DO they do that without my permission?!
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup quick oats
1 cup flour
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter,
14 oz. caramels, unwrapped ☺
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla, optional
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 8 x 11.5 x 2 inch glass baking dish with non stick spray.
In a mixer, combine the first 4 ingredients. Mix with the whip attachment until you have pea sized crumbs. Press approximately 2 cups (reserve the rest) of these into the bottom and up the sides of the pan and bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile combine the unwrapped caramels, milk, and vanilla in a microwave safe bowl. Melt and stir until smooth. Pour onto baked crust and spread evenly, top with the reserved crumbs and bake again for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
Hope you enjoy them!
♥Praying blessings on you today!♥

Ms. enPlace 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Sometimes when life threatens to swallow me whole I look around me and realize anew that Someone much bigger than me and LOTS more capable than me has it all under control.
Huge relief, that!

 It doesn't mean that suddenly everything is what I would call perfect.
It means my perspective has returned and I can breathe again.
Trust doesn't necessarily always have a plan, that's why it's called trust.
...and really does make a difference!
This is what happens when perspective returns
I was asked to bake a cake for an event and tried this one on for size. YUM! Butter Pecan Cake. Thanks to my Mom for sharing the recipe with me. I have a few changes I want to make to it before sharing it with you all. That topping on there is wonderful!
Have a wonderful evening!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chocolate Mocha Latte with Peppermint Cream

Some time ago one of my sisters sent me a box of Starbucks Mocha Singles.
 I don't drink a lot of coffee, especially not instant, but I was pretty sure if she likes them I would too! ☺ I discovered that they are perfect for this recipe that I'm about to share with you. I hope you enjoy it too!
3 cups milk
¼ cup Hershey's Chocolate Syrup
1 Starbucks Mocha Single
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup marshmallow cream
1-2 drops peppermint extract
crushed candy cane pieces
In a small saucepan combine the first three ingredients. Heat over medium heat until it is very steamy but not boiling. Stir it occasionally.
Meanwhile whip the heavy cream until it is firm. Add the marshmallow cream and whip or stir to combine. Stir in the peppermint extract and the candy cane pieces. Place a dollop on top of each cup of latte.
Serves 2.
It is a gorgeous Autumn day outside so I think Serena and I will enjoy it going for a walk with her pony. I walk, she rides, everyone is happy! ☺ And our hunters are on their way home!! ☺
Enjoy your weekend!

The party's here!
See Ya In The Gumbo
♥Be Blessed!♥

Saturday, November 10, 2012

2 Crunchy Salad Toppers

Who needs croutons...
 when there's something even better?
Crunchy, slightly sweet, and perfect for my favorite salad.
These crunchy and sweet almonds are such a yummy addition to the Feta Craisin Salad that I've been enjoying lately. It takes a little bit of patience to get them just right but they are worth it.
2-3 cups sliced Almonds
½ cup white sugar
Place a large saute pan over low heat and stir/toss until it begins to melt. Add the almonds and continue to stir till the sugar is mostly melted or the almonds begin to brown. I don't really like them too brown so when they begin to get too dark I pour them onto a large piece of non stick sprayed parchment paper and spread them out to cool and dry. Break apart and store in a glass jar with a tight lid.
Ramen Noodles are another favorite of mine for salad toppings.
3 packages Ramen Noodles,
4-6 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup white sugar
In a saute pan melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the sugar and crushed ramen noodles and stir/toss until the noodles are mostly browned and the sugar is caramelized. Pour onto a large non stick sprayed piece of parchment paper and spread in a thin layer. Allow to cool and break apart. Store in a glass jar with a tight lid.
Enjoy the crunch they add to your favorite salad.