Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pizza Cupcakes!


This past weekend we celebrated my son's 5th birthday at Chuck E. Cheese. I admittedly had reservations about that location as it tends to make you want to have a nervous breakdown with 80,000 kids running around, loud stuffed characters singing on a stage (that purple thing that plays the keyboard still freaks me out), and the games and pizza and overall insanity...did I really want to sign up for this?

But one gaze into those 5 year old crystal blue eyes and I couldn't say no. I opted for an early time slot so parents could get on with their lives...er, day. So from 9:30 to 11:30am, we had probably one of the best, funnest birthdays yet. There was hardly anyone else there at that hour, so the kids got to play on all the games without a wait! I even got to get in a round or two of skeeball and a good time was had by all.

Chuck E. Cheese will handle the cake too, but seriously, ME allow a commercially baked cake at my son's birthday? Who are we talking about here? Of course I was baking this treat. (Ask me this on an off day, I'll have a completely different answer). Since the kids were dining on pizza, I thought it would be fun to bake cupcakes and decorate them like mini-pizzas on top.



I made a buttercream frosting, dyed part of it red to make the 'sauce' and added cocoa powder to the rest to make the ring of 'crust'. The cheese was grated white chocolate and the pepperoni and green peppers were fruit roll ups. To add an extra step of flavor, I also filled each one with strawberry preserves. It's just fun to bite into a cupcake and find a tasty surprise of goodness.

I ate 3 and spooned down most of the leftover icing without guilt. They were adorable and delicious!

Have a delicious day and we'll chat soon!
CC

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Artichoke ARRRRGGGGHHHHH!


I came across a recipe for artichoke squares that sounded ever so tasty. I love artichokes! I love them steamed with drawn butter, stuffed, marinated, over salads and in dip. I do not love them as squares though. No, Sam I Am, the squares, no matter where or how, just cannot do. I won't eat them here there, or anywhere.

Such a bitter disappointment. My mouth was set, my expectations soaring, my blogging fingers ready to perch atop the keyboard and write about something new and brilliantly delicious.

They, alas, had all the right sounding ingredients, but in conglomeration came out as a dense meatloaf textured bland side dish of dissapointment.



Oh well, you win some, you lose some. I'm off to have a glass of peach tea and bake a blueberry pie to chase away my thoughts of this dismal failure.

Until we meet again,
Cheers to better tasting dishes!
CC

Friday, August 19, 2011

Picnic Basket Winner!

Congratulations to Rose Van Stocken for being selected as the winner of the Picnic Basket Giveaway! Rose, thank you for 'liking' The Musing Foodie on Facebook!

More giveaways to be given, more recipes to be tried!

Have a wonderful weekend friends!
CC

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes


I've been enjoying the abundance of delicious tomatoes that spilled out of my father in law's garden this year and this past Saturday marked a sad day. The tomatoes were done for the season. All that remained were a handful of green tomatoes that refused to ripen.

I seized the opportunity to pick those green jewels and set out to make one of my favorite southern dishes - Fried Green Tomatoes. My first experience with this delicacy was in Charleston, South Carolina at the Sweetwater Cafe. One bite and I was in love. The tangy green tomato was perfectly encased in a fried cornmeal crust and I ate so many, a bottle of Tums quickly followed as fried foods are only my friend in careful moderation.

Since the Sweetwater Cafe is a 4 hour drive, I taught myself how to make this delicious dish and wanted to share it with you...should you find your tomato garden in a similar plight.

Ingredients
2-3 medium sized green tomatoes
2-3 eggs
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup of white or yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
canola oil
sour cream
lemon slices
hot sauce (texas pete)

How to concoct the green tomats:
Prepare an egg wash by mixing together the eggs and milk in a bowl and set aside. In a separate dish, combine the cornmeal, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

Slice your tomatoes to 1/2 inch thick rounds. Place the tomatoes in the cornmeal mixture to coat on both sides.



Then dip it into the egg wash.



Then give them another dip back into the cornmeal.



Now you can carefully place them in a skillet of canola oil. I put about 1/4 of an inch of oil in my frying pan.



Fry 2-3 minutes on each side until a nice brown crust forms. Drain on paper towels.



I serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and a dollop of sour cream. A dash or two of hot sauce adds some kick if you're in the mood as well.



These can be served as an appetizer or side (or breakfast if you're a nut like me).

Have a delicious day and signup for my picnic basket giveaway if you haven't already!
CC

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Tisket A Tasket - I'm giving away a Basket!


Good morning from foodland! My kitchen has been in overdrive this week and it's a fun, satisfied feeling to see the results. I have a roast in the crockpot that has me positively drooling right now, I'm trying to forget about the Gooey Butter Cake I made last night that is hiding in the fridge and I polished off a batch of Fried Green Tomatoes that made my tastebuds do a happy dance.

I am due for a giveaway and this particular one is rather nifty, if I may say so myself. I have a beautiful picnic basket lined in blue gingham checked material with white plastic utensils, cups and plates inside to serve four that is just waiting to be given to one of you!



Now that the weather is cooling off, it's not too hot to have a picnic at a park or perhaps in the mountains on a hike.

I'm offering this up for grabs until 5pm on Friday, August 19. To be considered, all you have to do is 'Like' the Musing Foodie Facebook page or if you already like me, send it on to 5 friends and let me know by commenting below. For non face-bookers, comment below what your favorite picnic food is and you're in the running too!

Thanks for joining in the fun and I can't wait to give this beautiful basket away!
CC

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Marriage Proposal Chicken


Years ago, before I met my amazing husband, I was paging through an old church cookbook of my mom's. A recipe for Chicken Cordon Blue caught my eye when the I read the following phrase: "I fixed this for my boyfriend and 3 weeks later he proposed."

You can bet your bottom dollar I was hanging on to THAT recipe! I tucked that one in my back pocket and dreamed that I wouldn't die an old maid - hoping this recipe was my ticket to marital bliss.

When dating my husband, I realized he was THE ONE, my perfect match - so I pulled out the recipe and gave it a whirl - hoping for a ring to follow. For those of you who know me, the recipe indeed worked! I have been happily married to the man of my dreams for almost 9 years.

So here is your ticket to success friends - I hope it works for you as well! :)

Ingredients
4-5 chicken breasts, pounded flat
4-5 pieces of deli sliced ham
4-5 slices of mozzarella or swiss cheese
Lots of toothpicks
1/2 stick of butter
1 cup of flour
1 cup of water
1 chicken bullion cube
1/4 heavy cream
4-5 T. minced onion
Salt and Pepper to taste


Pound the chicken flat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place a slice of ham and a slice of cheese on each chicken and roll it up jelly-roll style and secure it with toothpicks so it won't unroll as you cook it. I would take pictures of this, but my hands were covered in chicken and that does not bode well for picture taking santitation.

Coat each roll with flour and brown all sides in a skillet with 4 T. butter.



Remove chicken, add in minced onion and saute for a few minutes.



Add water and chicken buillion cube to onion.



Return chicken to the pan and simmer for 30 minutes - you want to ensure your meat is cooked all the way through so your prospective fiancee doesn't get food poisoning and change his mind. :)



After 30 minutes or being thoroughly convinced the chicken is completely cooked, remove the chicken once again and add the cream to the sauce in the pan. Whisk it all together, let it boil until it thickens.



Serve your chicken with rice or noodles and spoon sauce over it. It pairs nicely with a salad and side vegetable and is a WOW dish. (Don't forget to remove your toothpicks!)



Can't you just see that diamond solitare sparkling on your finger as you try this?

Have a delicious day and don't forget to send me an invite for the big day!
CC

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Scream for Ice Cream!


It's hot outside and believe it or not, the egg I just broke on the side walk literally fried. That constitutes a free pass to the nearest ice cream parlor - who's with me?

I recently explored party options at Ben & Jerry's and am beyond pleased to share my findings. Here in the Queen City, you can have a child's birthday party at a Ben & Jerry's location for $225. It includes lots of fun and frivolity and if you have a summertime birthday, you're child will be the coolest kid on the block. I had a playgroup that desperately needed a cool indoor activity. So at the prompting of a friend, I contacted Ben & Jerry's to see what they could do to help me out.



Let me just applaud the fantastic manager, Anya, and her staff at the Ben & Jerry's at the Arboretum in South Charlotte. She opened the store early - just for my clan, gave us each ice cream cones to set the mood, had color sheets and toys readily available to help get the initial wiggles out and then the fun took off like wildfire.



A news team happened to be nearby and they capitalized on the cuteness of the kiddos, granting chocolate ice cream smiles on the 6pm news! Anya took the kids on a tour behind the counter and into the 'cool' freezer.



As we meandered past the pints of frozen deliciousness, we ended up outside for some sycadellic sillyness where each child donned plastic gloves and made tie-dyed t-shirts! They were gracious enough to put extra t-shirts on the younger t-shirt makers.



As if there could possibly be room for more fun, it was back inside for one more scoop of Cherry Garcia before heading home. All that and they were willing to work with some budget minded moms who needed a cool place to enjoy a play date.



I hold my waffle cone of Chunky Monkey high and give Ben & Jerry's a two thumbs up for their wonderful ice cream experience. Consider ice cream for your next party/outing and you won't be dissappoited.

Have a delicious afternoon!
CC

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Foodie in Maine!

Greetings friends,

I've just returned from a wonderful week long vacation to Maine. In the midst of sifting through emails, digging out from under laundry and figuring out what is and is not a science project in the frig, I wanted to give you a quick shout out to say hello.

Here's the culinary version of my trip...beware, you'll be hungry by the end!

You simply can't visit Maine without having a lobster roll. I had to see what the craze was all about, so here's my lunch one day at The Colony Hotel: (it was a stone's throw from the Bush compound in Kennebunkport - amazing!). Lobster meat is chopped and combined with a little mayo and some celery and placed on a toasted bun. (Don't tell anyone, I liked the chips and pickle better - is that Maine sacriledge?)



We rented a house, which is far easier with small children. Having lots of room for them to romp and play, paddle boat and kayak...we cooked some of our own meals. We ate some of this...(not to highlight their corn, I just thought my son was cute)




But we ate a LOT of this:



We also went fishing for lake trout (utterly delicious) and I caught one! Didn't have to touch the thing thanks to my amazing husband and we ate trout for two meals. There's just something to living off the land (or water) that makes food taste extra sensational.



The best way to cap it all off was with a piece of blueberry pie. Maine blueberries are incomparable and I've emailed the master chef of The Colony Hotel to see if he'll let me in on his secret. Stay tuned on that one!



I've missed y'all - let me get back into the swing of things and we'll chat more soon.

Ciao!
CC