Monday, November 23, 2015

Pumpkin Carrot Spice Muffins are...

...the according to the adorable, food savvy Alaska Jones Girls. They are the daughters of my dear friends Brian and Colleen. The whole family is food savvy with a need for good flavor with a dash of fun. I was glad to get their approval.

The recipe was adopted from The Lovely Little Kitchen by Julie. She in turn got the recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction. Julie modified Sally's recipe and I modified Julie's. The main modification that I made is the adding of shredded carrot. See what you think.
Remove two large tablespoons of pumpkin from the can. It will yield about 1/14 cups. My dogs, Izzy and Mouse, gladly eat the scoops of pumpkin.

One carrot grated.

Spices are nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger.

Please note that this batter is very very thick. My spoon was captured by it.

Pumpkin Carrot Spice Muffins

·      1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar 
·       1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I used 1 1/2 cups loosely packed brown sugar (not the dark). In fact the next time that I make them I think I will reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup)
·       1 teaspoon baking soda
·       1/2 teaspoon salt
·       2 teaspoons cinnamon
·       1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
·       1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
·       ¼ teaspoon ground ginger (added to the recipe)
·       2 eggs
·       1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin puree (Remove 2 heaping tablespoons from the can. This allows for the added carrot. The scooped out pumpkin goes to  my dogs Izzy and Mouse. They love pumpkin and it is so good for them, too.) 
·       1 carrot grated
·       1/2 cup coconut oil (Melting before putting in the mixture is a good idea)
·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

1.     Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place 12 paper liners into each well of your standard size muffin baking pan.
2.     Measure out the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
3.     In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, coconut oil and vanilla extract.
4.     Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together. Do not over mix, just stir until everything is incorporated into the batter.
5.     It is helpful to use a large scoop (like an ice cream scoop) to evenly distribute the batter into each well. They will be nearly full. This will help give your muffins a nice puffy dome.
6.     Bake your muffins for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
     Quote of the Day: "Have you come to sing pumpkin carols?" Linus 
Fill the cup a little past full.

Beautiful, moist, dense muffins. Also, depending on the weather or the Great Pumpkin these vary in baking time.

    Website for The Lovely Kitchen by Julie:
    and for Sally's Baking Addiction:
    Both of these sites have great recipes. I highly recommend checking them out!!!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

A pork roast and a cast iron dutch oven.....

what a wonderful pairing.  Let me share this extraordinary recipe. It is so easy even a first time pork roast maker, like me can have a stellar meal.  I did some hunting on the internet for the best way to make roast pork.  I ran across this recipe using a cast iron dutch oven (seemed a match made in heaven), because I have one. A big one. I call it the beast, because I have to get my muscles in shape before I use it. It is heavy on its own, but add makings for a meal and wowser, it gets really heavy. I adore it, though.

The Beast. An honored guest!!
This is a 6.23 pound bone-in Boston butt roast.

This recipe was retrieved from Modifications were made and you may want to make your own. I will put the recipe down on this page as I found it with my notes in italics.


Servings 4-5

4-5 lb pork roast (I used a 6.23 lb bone-in Boston butt pork roast)
5 gloves garlic (make it six)
1 small onion thinly sliced (medium onion)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet (I used 2 cups beef broth instead of the water and Kitchen Bouquet)
2 teaspoons black pepper (just a pinch of black pepper and a pinch of red pepper)
1 teaspoon salt (1/2 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon lard (used the grease from five pieces of bacon)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Serves 4-5 (the bigger roast served more, of course)
(Pat dry your roast with paper towels)
Melt lard (bacon grease)
Salt and pepper all sides of the roast (rub it in)
When lard just begins to give off the smell of being hot, place roast in pot. (when smoke just begins to rise)
Do not move it for a minute or so, then rotate it to brown all sides.
Lay garlic cloves and onion slices around the roast and stir to brown them a bit. (I sopped up some of the bacon grease with paper towels before I did the next step.)
Mix the Kitchen Bouquet into the 2 cups of water. (I used beef broth instead)
Pour the water mixture into the pot.
Bring it to a boil.
Cover tightly and place in lower portion of the oven.
Roast 1 hour for boneless roast; 1-3/4 hours for bone-in roast. (since my roast weighed more, I roasted it for 3 hours total)
Half way through the roasting time turn the roast over.
Finish roasting.
Remove roast from pan and cover it to keep it hot.
Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch into 1/2 cup water (I used 1 cup of water)
Using a whisk, stir the cornstarch moisture into the pot drippings (there is a goodly amount of drippings) breaking up the garlic cloves as you mix.
Bring to a boil, taste and season as needed with salt and pepper (I didn't use any additional seasoning)

The web site says "pork roast made this way is always tender." And lip smacking good, if I may add.
I served this roast with yukon gold mashed potatoes, bourbon pecan smashed sweet potatoes and fresh asparagus.
I used beef broth instead of the Kitchen Bouquet and 2 cups of water.

Medium onion and six cloves of garlic.

Brown on all sides.

I invited friends to take part in this experiment. I had laid aside extra chips and what nots just in case this meal was a bust. Thankfully, I didn't have to resort to fillers. Stephen Lejeune, one of the willing participants, texted me the next morning "Thank you so much for the incredible dinner last night. It made me feel like I was at home." Another guest asked for the recipe. I must say, for my first time cooking pork roast, I couldn't have been more pleased. It was moist, tender, flavorful. Worthy of seconds by all. The gravy is spectacular. It made me want to pull out a straw and slurp it right up. It makes a lot of gravy, too.

Here is the link to You can see a beautiful picture of a cooked pork roast. You will have to trust me that mine looked equally as sumptuous.

Here is the link to the bourbon pecan smashed sweet potatoes.

Quote of the Day (I couldn't agree more)

"Cooking certain dishes, like roast pork, reminds me of my mother."

Sunday, March 29, 2015

What does Jack Daniels have to do with Buckwheat Pancakes....

...not much but a little added flavor.

This Sunday morning, after a walk down by the bayou with my sweet puppygirls, I decided breakfast was in order. So, I turned on the oven to cook the last of the jalapeno bacon and heated up my cast iron skillet to make some buckwheat pancakes. I rummaged around to find the pancake ingredients only to discover I was out of milk and thought water would due, until I opened my cupboard, finding a can of Native Forest unsweetened coconut milk.

With this find I made some modifications to my recipe. The recipe calls for 1 cup milk and 2 tablespoons melted butter. If you have never opened a can of this wonderful stuff, you probably have not seen the layer of cream that sits on top of the coconut milk. I scooped two tablespoons of cream off the top and mixed the rest of it into the can. The two scooped tablespoons I used instead of the melted butter. Not melting necessary, just throw it into the batter.

Here is the recipe from Hodgson Mill 100% Stone Ground Buckwheat Flour with my

Buckwheat Pancakes
1 cup buckwheat
1 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. sugar (I used loose packed brown sugar and only 1/12 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten
1 cup milk (1 cup organic canned coconut milk)
2 Tbsp. melted butter (2 tablespoons cream off the top of the can of coconut milk, no melting.
Added 1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. Jack Daniels

Put all of your dry ingredients in a bowl, mix them up really good. Mix in egg, milk, butter, & Jack Daniels or any other flavoring you have handy and mix them in with the dry ingredients. If the mixture is too thick add a little water or more milk. You can use a whisk or a fork to stir things up. Don't over mix. Just make sure everything is blended.

Heat griddle until bubbles form when water is sprinkled on the surface. A med. slightly high heat. Pour the batter in the pan. I keep my pancakes kind of small. It makes it easier to flip the. Watch for the edges to look cooked and there are bubbles all over the top of the pancake.  Cook them for another minute or so on the flip side.

The Puppygirls!!
Quote of the day:
"Just play, have fun, enjoy the game." Michael Jordan

I think this quote definitely applies to the kitchen.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bacon's on my mind...


Yes, that meat candy wonder of the world is still a favorite. And even more so now that I have learned a new way of cooking it. It is so easy, I wonder how I missed doing it before.

It requires an oven, parchment paper, a pan with some sort of raised edge and bacon, of course.

This is a before and after shot of the pan.

My new best friend.

This is my new favorite find. HEB's Jalapeno Bacon. It adds a bit of a kick to your day.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Lay parchment paper in a pan with a raised edge. It can be a baking sheet or a pan. I guess it depends on how much bacon you want to cook. Put the bacon in the pan. The pieces can be close, but not touching. Set the pan on the middle rack and let it cook for 15 to 18 minutes. The bacon doesn't curl up. It remains flat. Take it out when it is too your liking of doneness.

The bacon remains flat. No curling.

I still lay it on a paper towel to sop up any residual greasiness. Of course, there is always going to be some. 

It looks beautiful plated.

The next great thing about this whole process is the lack of a greasy splattered mess on your stove top. And clean up is snap.

Quote of the Day: "In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present."
Francis Bacon

It seems I like all things Bacon!!!