Friday, April 30, 2010

Cake Balls - simple yet scrumptious!

Have you ever had cake balls???   I wasn't aware of this phenomena until my friend Susan Spense of HWA mentioned it to me.   I ran home and had to make my own version of this - which I did!   WOW do they taste good and are so easy to make.   I love the endless possibilities you have in creating different things to roll them in over the standard dip in chocolate.   Since the cake balls are fairly sweet, I tried making a coating that was yummy but less sugary.   Here is my version!

Cake Balls rolled in cocoa pecans

  • 1 box yellow cake mix, prepared as directed
  • 1 container buttercream icing
  • 1 C. pecans
  • 2 T cocoa powder

Prepare the cake per the package instructions.   Cool completely.   Once cooled cut the cake up and transfer into a large bowl.   Crumble the cake with your clean hands and then add the complete container of buttercream icing.   Mix well until the frosting is completely incorporated into the cake.   Place the bowl into the refrigerator for an hour to cool.   Roll cake mixture into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

In a food processor,  process the pecans until fine.   Gently mix in the cocoa power and put into a pie plate.   Roll each cake ball through the pecan cocoa powder to coat and place back onto the parchment lined cookie sheet.  

Keep refrigerated until you are ready to serve.   Store in an air tight container.   Use your imagination to create different coatings such as coconut, white or milk chocolate or sprinkles.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fabulous Filled Coconut Cupcakes

I love cupcakes!   A little bit of cake, a little bit of frosting, a few bites and pure heaven!   My  husband is gone on a fishing trip and I've got a house full of girls!   We are very girly and these cupcakes are completely in-line with our home manicures, white wine and ridiculous romantic movies!   Enjoy!

Fabulous Filled Coconut Cupcakes

  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 C sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 2 t. coconut extract
  • 2 1/2 C cake flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 C. buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and use cupcake liners in your cupcake pan.   Cream butter with sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla, and coconut extract.   In a separate bowl, sift together your cake flour, baking powder and salt.   At low speed, add a scoop of flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture, then mix at medium until incorporated.   Continue until batter is very thick, then add half the buttermilk, then the last bit of flour, then the rest of the buttermilk and blend well.   Spoon into cupcake cups (about 2/3 full) and bake for 22 minutes.

While the cupcakes are baking, make the coconut filling.
  • 1 pkg vanilla instant pudding
  • 1 C. milk
  • 2/3 C. half and half
  • 1 T coconut extract
Mix all ingredients and keep in the refrigerator until set and ready to fill into cool cupcakes.

  • store bought butter cream frosting
  • organic unsweetened coconut shavings
In a separate bowl, mix a little coconut extract with store bought butter cream frosting. Set aside until ready to assemble.

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely - it's time to assemble.   Fill a pastry bag with the coconut filling and a large open tip.   Stuff the tip into the top of each cupcake and fill as much as you can.  Some of the filling will ooze out, but that's perfectly fine.   Frost each cupcake with the coconut laced butter cream.   Then, I roll them in organic and unsweetened shaved coconut!   It adds a level of chewiness to the soft cupcake and the unsweetened version plays well with the sweet frosting.   Then serve and watch out - they will be gone!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Give-Away, Cooking Demo and a Fantastic Recipe!

Re-visiting my Beer and Beef Slow Cooker Stew as this Sunday is my live demo/tasting and the Give-Away!   Please join me on Sunday, April 18th at 1:30 p.m. at Faraday's Kitchen Store for this fun event.

  • 2 lbs. bottom round, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 T. flour 
  • 1 med. red onion, cut into med. wedges 
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices 
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubes
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 T rosemary, minced & crushed
  • 2, 15 oz cans diced tomatoes, drained 
  • 2 bottles brown ale beer 
  • 2 T. granulated beef bouillon 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 t. caraway seeds 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • Ciabatta bread, sliced and toasted


Making sure your beef is patted dry, dust all pieces with flour. Place beef, onion, carrots, potatoes, celery, garlic and rosemary into your slow cooker. Stir in tomatoes and beer. Add beef bouillon, bay and caraway seeds. Cover slow cooker and cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high, without removing the lid - no peeking!!!

Check for tenderness of meat at the end of the cooking time, salt and pepper to taste.

Slice and toast the Ciabatta bread, serve the stew in bowls and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Give-Away and Cooking Demo

Please join me Sunday, April 18th at 1:30 p.m. for a Cooking Demo and Give-Away.   Held at Faraday's Kitchen Store in Lakeway, I will be preparing and serving my Beer and Beef Stew.   Additionally, I will draw the name of one lucky winner who will walk away with a Cuisinart 6.5 qt Slow Cooker.

Hope to see you there - contact me at 512-423-8122 for more information.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Incredible Fettuccine with Italian Sausage and Leeks

This is one of my new favorites and a testament as to it's yumminess - there were no leftovers.   Note to self, make more and more often.

Fettuccine with Italian Sausage and Leeks

  • 1 pkg fresh Fettuccine (I like Bertolli's)
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 lb. Italian Sausage
  • 3 T butter
  • 5 leeks, white parts only, rinsed well and thinly sliced
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 t fresh nutmeg
  • 1 C chicken stock
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1 C fresh basil, julienned into ribbons
  • 1/2 C Parmesan Cheese, shaved
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.   Meanwhile, in large frying pan, add olive oil.   Remove skins from Italian Sausage and crumble into pan.   Cooks over medium heat until cooked through, remove from pan into a bowl and hold.   Remove all but 1 T fat and add 3 T butter.   Add the leeks and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.   Add salt and pepper to taste, and fresh nutmeg.   Add stock and simmer for a few minutes.

Salt the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until tender per the package.

Remove the fry pan from heat and add the cooked Italian Sausage, the mascarpone cheese and the lemon zest, stirring well.

Drain the pasta and add it to the fry pan mixture, tossing to coat.   To plate, add pasta making sure to scoop up the Italian Sausage.   Top with the julienned basil and Parmesan and serve.   Delicious!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Steiner Ranch Bluebonnets

On a breezy and overcast day sits my youngest daughter, Emma, in the Steiner Ranch Bluebonnets. This year we have seen an abundance of the flowers due to the high rainfall. It's absolutely stunning and so fun to take pictures in!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Homemade BBQ Sauce

I wanted to re-post my BBQ sauce recipe as it not only goes well with the ribs but it goes with EVERYTHING!  Put it on chicken, pork, steak, kabobs... whatever you dream up for the grill.   I like to use it as a dipping sauce for sandwiches too.   If you double or triple the recipe, store it in little mason jars in the frig... makes for a quick but excellent hostess gift or when friends come to visit.

Homemade Sweet BBQ Sauce

  • 1 C. packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 C. ketchup
  • 1/2 C. molasses
  • 1/4 C. cider vinegar
  • 1/4 C. chopped yellow or sweet onion
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 3 T grainy mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t liquid smoke
  • 1 t cayenne
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.   Transfer to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced and at a desired thickness, usually about an hour.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Fall Off the Bone Tender Babyback Ribs

These are easy, extremely tender and we usually serve them on a Sunday due to the long cooking time.   I had to negotiate with my husband to post this recipe, because he considers them to be one of HIS signature recipes (though it's my BBQ sauce recipe).   Enjoy!

BBQ Babyback Ribs with sweet BBQ sauce.

  • 3 pack of Babyback Ribs, rinsed and patted dry (we buy them at Costco)
  • salt and pepper 
We use a charcoal grill/smoker with traditional charcoal and some added mesquite wood.   Start your grill and when the coals turn white, spread them out, add the wood.   In the mean time, rinse and pat dry the ribs and season generously with salt and pepper.   Place on the grill NOT under the coals directly, fat side down and cook for 3 1/2 hours, watching the temperature (keeping it at 250 degrees).   Turn the ribs to fat side up and baste with my delicious BBQ sauce.   Allow to cook an additional 30-45 minutes until the meat is tender and almost falls off the bone.   Remove from grill and baste again with the sauce.   To serve, cut into individual pieces and serve with a side of BBQ sauce for dipping.

Homemade Sweet BBQ Sauce

  • 1 C packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 C ketchup
  • 1/2 C molasses
  • 1/4 C cider vinegar
  • 1/4 C chopped yellow onion
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 3 T grainy mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 t liquid smoke
  • 1 t cayenne
  • salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.   Pour into a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until reduced and at the desired thickness (usually an hour).

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Commercial shoot for Mandola's Italian Market

My husband Trey and I just finished a commercial shoot for Mandola's Italian Market in Bee Caves.   It was a wonderful experience meeting Damian Mandola, the entire crew and Corder market staff.   The place was super busy, and we were table extra's, sitting behind Damian as he showcased some of the incredible menu items.   We were directed to smile and eat... toasting and chatting.   The food was of course awesome and Damian was his energetic and animated self!   We truly love to go to the Market and even head out to Trattoria Lisina and his winery  in Driftwood for special celebrations.   My recommendation is the Zinfandel... it's incredible!

Keep your eye out for us on The Food Network, major Cable Stations and News8Austin!