August 29, 2012

Coconut Tres Leche Cake...Divinely Summer!

I simply had to share this SCRUMPTIOUS cake recipe with you! The family beach trip, although we experienced several rainy days, proved, once again, to be a fun-fantastic and memorable trip!
We celebrated during the wedding, Jenn's birthday and simply being together as a family! We decided to make a special birthday cake and chose this taste of the tropics, light and creamy Tres Leche Cake! WOW!!! If you want to impress family and friends with something rather special, then you will find this dessert worth the effort!! Remember to celebrate the little moments of life!
Coconut Tres Leche Cake
Butter, for coating the baking dish
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk
1 tablespoon dark rum,plus more as needed
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish with butter; set aside. Place the flour in a small bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
     Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer. Reserve the whites in a separate, very clean, medium bowl. Add the sugar to the yolks and, using the paddle attachment, beat on high speed until pale yellow, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl; set aside. Thoroughly clean and dry the stand mixer bowl. Place the egg whites in the clean bowl and, using the whisk attachment, whip on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir about a third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture to lighten it. Then gently fold in the remaining whites. Sprinkle the flour over the egg mixture and gently fold it in, just until there are no more white flour streaks. (Do not overmix.) Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake until the cake is puffed and golden and the edges pull away from the sides of the pan, about 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, place the three milks and the rum in a large bowl and whisk until combined; set aside.
Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer, poke holes all over the cake and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the cake and continue cooling, about 45 minutes more. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
     When the cake is ready to serve, spread the coconut in an even layer in a large frying pan. Toast over medium heat, stirring often, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. (If the coconut begins to burn, reduce the heat.) Immediately remove from the pan to a small bowl. Place the heavy cream and powdered sugar in large bowl and whisk until medium peaks form. (If you like, flavor it with a teaspoon of dark rum.) Slice the cake and serve topped with a mound of whipped cream and a sprinkle of toasted coconut.

August 26, 2012

Raindrops on Roses...The Bride Said "I Do!"

The dark clouds rolled in and the wind begin to howl...the waves were crashing against the shoreline and guessed it! Exactly at 6:00 PM when the wedding ceremony was scheduled to begin....the rain began to fall on the wedding guests and the bride and groom!

We took no notice however. All eyes were on the groom's face as he watched his lovely bride walk down the sandy pathway to the alter. The music was playing and Jenn could not have been more radiant as they exchanged their vows. Looking back, it could not have been more perfect. Would you believe that the only time it rained that day, was during the ceremony? The smiles on their faces said it all....they are totally committed to each other and became "one" in their complete happiness. The heavens were smiling on them and on each of us really, as we were all a part of this special wedding ceremony.

We wait anxiously to see the wedding photographs. The clouds dissipated, the rain stopped, and the sky became softly lit by the stars. The music began to play, the white paper lanterns were illuminating the beach and the night belonged to all of us. We danced the night away in our celebration of love, joy and the sheer happiness of joining two families. Yes, life was good that night...August 18th, 2012. Indeed, the memories were made.....we are blessed!

I have always heard that when it rains on the wedding, it is a sign of good luck. It rained the day Darling and I married, forty years ago, so I think it was a joyous event.....the wedding and raindrops, candlelight and moonlight, champagne and fireworks....."Laissez les bons temps rouler! "

I am visiting the Atlanta house for a few weeks and plan to beging posting when returning to Texas. Autumn is set to arrive in a few weeks, so the pictures should be ready, the season for the harvest will be begin and the recipes will be abundant! I shall see you then sweet friends!

August 14, 2012

Two Siblings....Two Weddings

While we’re young and beautiful, living free and easy.
Here without a worry, dancing in our bare feet because when the
summer’s done we might not be so young and beautiful~unknown

Wedding Bells are Ringing

the memories are just waiting to happen

Enjoy these last of August Days....

1 pint mango sorbet
1/2 cup Vanilla Silk soy milk

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1/4 cup toasted, sweetened coconut flakes

Combine the sorbet and soy milk in a blender or a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Pulse 8 to 10 times or until mostly smooth.
Add the raspberries and coconut and pulse 4 to 5 times more to combine. Pour into a chilled pint glass and serve!

Peace Out

August 13, 2012

Dorothy was Right All Along

Just one year ago........

We were island hopping off the coast of Maine.

It's how we often would spend our weekends. Sailing, exploring the various islands, trying new local restaurants, walking along the coastline trails, visiting the lighthouses, packing a lunch to head out and locate the perfect park bench, to enjoy a glass of chardonnay and watch the sailboats.

We had "date night" Friday evening and enjoyed dinner and a movie. We went to see "Hope Springs" with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. I adore both actors. The dysfunctional married couple seeks advice from a professional, played by Steve Carrell, who happens to be located in Maine. The film was actually filmed in Connecticut we later read. As we watched the scenes play out of this small little town, supposedly in Maine, we were all too familiar with the local bookstore housed in a 1700 circa old house, the local bar with the magnificent views, the historical Bed and Breakfast which served fine dining beside a roaring fireplace, and the misty cool weather which had everyone strolling around in their burberries.

It was strange to think we had actually lived here. I wanted to lean over and whisper to the couple sitting next to us that we had recently moved from Maine. We lived among all that beauty and we knew and felt what it was like to be a resident of a little New England village, hang out at the local harbor bar, we knew the bartenders by name and browsed the local bookstores. Yes, it was all magical, new and an amazing place to call home. We lived in a big colonial style home with our own woodlands, complete with deer and wildlife scampering about.

It was a dream come true to experience all of this. I remember thinking and saying, "Can you actually believe this little Mississippi couple now lives in Maine and we know about basements, furnaces, fuel oil and snow blowers?" Incredible I tell you! But, we also learned that it could not replace the most important constant in our! Yes, it was not surprising really. Everyday, there was an underlying sadness deep within that kept tugging away at us. We could not see their faces, or give them hugs and kisses. They were across the miles and the emptiness of being away from them just could not be replaced. Eventually, my prayers were answered and the road led back home.....we are so fortunate for the experience and are thankful..even more so now. A life lesson learned. Dorothy was right..."there's no place like home!"

August 12, 2012

Honey Mustard Sunday Chicken

An Easy Sunday Morning
In the quiet early hours,
just outside my window....
they were floating

"When you arise in the morning, think of what a
precious privilege it is to be alive ~
to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love."
~Marcus Aurelius


Honey Mustard Chicken
8 chicken thighs
4 chicken drumsticks
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
5 T. butter
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dried parsley or 2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 300°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Slather the chicken thighs with Dijon mustard and place in a greased baking dish. Melt the butter slowly in a small saucepan and add the honey, salt, garlic powder, and parsley flakes, then whisk until evenly mixed. Pour over chicken and turn pieces to evenly coat. Cover and bake chicken for 1 ½-2 hours.

August 11, 2012

Calgon Take Me Away!

Most women put off entertaining until the
 kids are grown.
~Erma Bombeck

I received a distress call yesterday from the Atlanta House!

I think I vaguely remember when this room was a lovely and spacious formal dining room. Yes, the large triple windows on the left...that's it, that's the one! It is a beautiful shade of chocolate, trimmed in ivory crown molding and illuminated with a magnificent chandelier, surrounded by an opulent medallion.

 I think we've all been there....when the baby comes along, things change and this soon became the "playroom!"

Well, yesterday.....Superheros were on the loose!

The Divine Miss M offered to entertain little Jimmy for the afternoon and help out his Mom and Dad. Bless you darling for taking on another four year old, even if it was for a few hours! These two little guys are schoolmates and have proven themselves to be rather competitive which is simply amazing at such a young age. They often have the most interesting  conversations trying to "one-up-each other!" As Miss M relayed the conversation to me, I laughed so hard I could barely catch my breath.....

Luke: "Jimmy, I'm four years old!"
Jimmy: "Well, I'm five years old!" (he's four also)
Luke: "Well, I'm sixty-five years old!"
Jimmy: silence

The second competition involved whose Dad had the longest arm hair.
I don't know who won out on this one....
I know.....go figure..... I am speechless!

Luke: "Look Jimmy, I am taller because I start way, way down at the bottom of my toes and go all the way up past my head!"

Jimmy: silence

Luke: "Mommy....can you play Elvis?"
Jimmy: "yeah, we want Elvis!"

Just's five o'clock somewhere

August 9, 2012

Banana Walnut Muffins....Oh, the Aroma!

Lovin' from Estelle's Oven

What's that I smell?

Did she say Banana Walnut Muffins?

Well then..never mind. If it's not Tuna Souffle,
I'm going to continue my  nap....I can't believe she woke me up for muffins!

Banana Walnut Muffins
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 overripe medium-size bananas, cut into chunks

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease muffin tins. Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed. Sift the remaining dry ingredients together into a bowl. Add the egg to the butter mixture and blend until combined. Add 1/4 cup of sour cream to the butter mixture then half of the dry ingredients. Mix well then repeat with remaining sour cream and then the remaining dry ingredients until the batter is well combined. Be sure to end with the dry ingredients. Fold in the chopped walnuts and bananas until evenly mixed. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins. Bake for about 20-25 minutes! Serve warm with butter or cream cheese!

August 8, 2012

Cheeseburgers in Paradise

We shared lunch the other day at Twisted Root Burger with Greg and Jenn! WOW! Now that's a good hamburger! What can be better than grilling out hamburgers and hot dogs in summer, weather it's an outdoor barbecue or getting together with family and friends for a summetime dinner on a Sunday evening!

The search for perfecting the perfect Cheeseburger in Paradise continues......
Great ideas from Chow

The Mac N' Cheeseburger

Grainy Mustard, Stilton Cheese and Grilled Onions

Bacon, Mushroom and Jack Cheese

Fried Egg and Cheddar Cheese

Are you hungry now?

Jay makes the best burgers when we visit the Atlanta House! He likes a 75/25 ratio as it makes it a little fattier, therefore a little juicer! Hey, that would be a great nickname for his own burger rendition....

The Juicy Jay Burger!!
8 ounces chuck, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
8 ounces sirloin, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In separate batches, pulse the chuck and the sirloin in a food processor 10 times. Combine the chuck, sirloin, and kosher salt in a large bowl. Form the meat into 5-ounce patties.

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Place the hamburger patties in the pan. For medium-rare burgers, cook the patties for 4 minutes on each side. For medium burgers, cook the patties for 5 minutes on each side. Flip the burgers only once during cooking.

August 7, 2012

Lost in Thought

Sail on Silver Girl,
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way

See how they shine
If you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind