Sunday, January 19, 2014

This Blog has MOVED~~~

This blog has been changed to my own domain name of Food, Flowers and Family
and moved to:

Please stop by my Facebook blog fan page and give us a "like":

*I was having technical problems with Blogger, and this just seemed like a good idea.  I hope to bring even more consistent, quality content, so please stay tuned!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Starlight Mint Pink Hot Chocolate

Chase away winter's chill with yummy hot chocolate that tastes just like Starlight mint candies! This is a great way to use up some leftover candy you might have from Christmas.  This pretty beverage would be wonderful to serve the youngsters on Valentine's Day! 

*Check out the adult cocktail version below~

Starlight Mint Pink Hot Chocolate 

3 C milk
20 Starlight mints, unwrapped
1 C white chocolate chips
1/2 C half-and-half
1/4 C instant fat-free dry milk powder
1 tsp. cornstarch
Corn syrup, crushed Starlight mints, peppermint OR regular miniature marshmallows OR whipped cream, candy cane sticks, maraschino cherries, miniature candy bars like Twix (or your favorite) or cookies for garnish~

In pot, combine milk, mints, chocolate chips, half-and-half, milk powder and cornstarch.  Cook over medium-low heat, whisking, until mints have melted and mixture is smooth.  For extra frothy, pour into blender; cover and blend.  If desired, brush rims of 4 mugs with syrup; dip into crushed mints.  Divide hot chocolate among mugs; top with marshmallows or other desired toppings.  Serve with candy cane sticks, if you like. 

Makes 4 servings

Make it a cocktail:  Add 2 Tablespoons clear chocolate vodka to each serving.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pecan-Berry Coffee Cake

It's still "coffee cake" weather, in my humble opinion, so here's a terrific one.  What I love about this recipe is that you can use FRESH blueberries NOW and change it to raspberries (or your favorite berry) later in the year. Having said that, it is ok to use frozen berries in this recipe, just do NOT that them first! 

The apple replaces some of the butter found in most coffee cake recipes and adds a sweet taste and moist cake!

This is from the Eating Well magazine, June 2013 edition~

Tip:  Make this ahead by baking, cooling and then covering in the pan.  Hold at room temperature for up to 1 day.  Before serving, unwrap and heat at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Now that I'm sharing, I've got the sudden itch to make this; maybe next shopping trip!

Pecan-Berry Coffee Cake


1 C all-purpose flour + 1-1/2 tsp., divided
3 Tbsp. cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
3 Tbsp. canola oil
3/4 C sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 C low-fat milk
3 Tbsp. lemon zest
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 C blueberries or raspberries, fresh OR frozen (NOT thawed)


2 Tbsp. cold butter
1/4 C sugar
1 C chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, leaving an over-hang on all sides.  Lightly coat the foil with cooking spray.

To prepare cake: Whisk 1 cup flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Beat softened butter and oil in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed for 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides.  Add 3/4 cup sugar and beat on medium-high until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, milk, lemon zest and vanilla and beat on medium-high until smooth, about 1 minute.  Scrape down the sides.  Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until incorporated.

Place berries and apple in a small bowl, sprinkle with the remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons flour and toss very gently to coat.  Sprinkle the fruit over the batter and very gently fold in until just combined.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.

To prepare topping:

Combine cold butter and 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl.  With a pastry blender, cut them together until the butter is in small pieces and uniform crumbles form.  Add pecans and toss until evenly incorporated.  Sprinkle the topping over the batter.

Bake the cake until a test inserted in the center comes out clean and the nuts are a deep brown, 50-55 minutes.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 2 hours.  Lift it out of the pan, using the edges of the foil, onto a cutting board, and cut into 16 squares.  Use a spatula to lift the cake from the foil.

Makes 16 servings, 2-inch squares

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cannellini Bean & Vegetable Minestrone

For all those affected by the Winter Storm "Hercules", this one's for you~

You're in my thoughts & prayers....stay warm, stay indoors and stay safe

Cannellini Bean & Vegetable Minestrone

3 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, choppe
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 can (15 oz.) crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 C chicken broth
1/2 C your favorite pasta, such as Rigatoni
4 C cooked vegetables, such as corn kernels, green beans (cut into 2-inch pieces), carrots or butternut squash (cut into small cubes)
1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed
Salt and Pepper
Grated Parmesan Cheese, for serving

In a 4-qt. saucepan or small Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring, until crisp, 6 to 7 minutes.  Add the onion, celery, garlic and basil; cook until the vegetables are tender, 10 minutes. 

Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste; cook, stirring often, 2 minutes.  Increase the heat to medium-high, add the broth and bring to a boil.  Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the pasta, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 10 minutes.  Stir in the cooked veggies and beans and cook until heated through, 2 minutes.  Season and serve with the Parmesan.

Serves 6

Friday, January 3, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Dutch Apple Pie

     In November, there was a post on the FB page of "Single Dad Laughing" which got a LOT of interest.  He was talking about an annual "pie day" that he hosts with friends & family.  One of the pies that so many of us thought intriguing was "Cinnamon Roll Dutch Apple Pie"; after many requests, he posted the recipe for his readers.  I personally cannot WAIT to try this next holiday season! 

Cinnamon Roll Dutch Apple Pie

For the crust:

1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water)

For the pie:

7 to 8 C peeled, cored and thinly sliced small Granny Smith apples
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 C Gold Medal unbleached all-purpose flour
1 C light brown sugar
granulated sugar, for sprinkling

For the icing:

1/2 C powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. milk


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Unroll pie crust on a lightly floured surface.  Brush with butter and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon.  Roll up tightly and slice into 1/2 inch rounds, like miniature cinnamon rolls.

Press miniature cinnamon rolls, flat side down, evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch glass pie plate, making sure there are no spaces between the rolls.  Brush pie crust lightly with egg wash.

Place sliced apples in a mound on top of the crust.  In a large bowl, combine butter, flour and brown sugar and form into crumbles using fingers or a pastry blender.  Sprinkle crumble over apples.

Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over crumble.  Bake pie until the top and crust are a golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 40-45 minutes (cover top/crust with foil if necessary to prevent it from getting too dark).  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and milk to form icing (add more sugar or milk to reach desired consistency).  Using a pastry bag or Ziploc bag with one tip cut off, pipe on icing in a swirl on top of crumble on fully cooked pie.

***Here's the direct link to Single Dad Laughing's Facebook fan page:
He also writes a blog; you should be able to access a direct link through his Facebook page. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Beauty at Day's end.....

2013 couldn't have been less kind to me.  In short, the rug was pulled out from under me without any notice & suddenly I'd lost all my hopes & dreams of a beautiful future.  My trust was shattered along with every piece of my heart.

I moved cross country & have settled into a mobile home and am trying hard to find my "new normal".  To be quite honest, I have one foot in 2013 and one in 2014. 

But time marches on, doesn't it?  It's a day by day process and one must sometimes find the strength to get through the next hour. 

I have set some new goals for the New Year, as I always do.  One "goal" literally JUST came to me as I was waiting for the mailman & my mind started to wander, as it does quite often these days, to be frank.  I looked up and this was the beauty that I beheld:

Right then and there I decided I would find SOMETHING of beauty every single day and capture it on camera if possible.  In any case, I'm going to write down the things I noticed and keep them in a jar as a reminder at the END of the year, that no matter what, life is STILL beautiful.

~Happy New Year to all my readers!