Spicy Two Meat Slow Cooker Chili (And A Giveaway!)

Spicy Two Meat Slow Cooker Chili

Spicy Two Meat Slow Cooker Chili


We’re well into the school year and I don’t know about you, but it seems like half the time, I’m so busy with chauffeuring here and there, plus doctors appointments for physicals and vaccinations, etc, etc, that I end up saying “it’s snack night!” to my kids when they ask whats for dinner. Then I feel guilty because what happens is they eat cereal (they’re thrilled with that; me, not so much) for dinner and everyone ends up spread out chowing down on foods that I normally prefer not be served. One will be in his room, eating sandwiches. Two will be parked in front of the TV, watching Uncle Grandpa (Lord, I loathe that show) while my husband and I will be sitting in front of our computers. NOT exactly a family friendly eating experience and NOT how I want my kids childhoods to be. My husband working third shift exacerbates the problem because half the time, after getting the kids to school, I’ll come back and lay down with him and before I know it, half the day is gone and no dinner prep was made.

So what do I do more often now? Yep; you guessed it. The trusty slow cooker comes out. I own about 5 of them. The problem is, most of them are either too small or too limited on their usages (high or low, that’s it for settings) , so I let them sit and gather dust. So when I was contacted again as a Hamilton Beach Ambassador and asked if I wanted to try out their Set ‘n Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker With Spoon/Lid I was thrilled. Finally, I would have a slow cooker that I didn’t have to babysit.

This cooker is pretty awesome. You can either manually set it for how many hours you want the food to cook and set for high or low. Then once it has timed out, it automatically clicks over to warm. That way the food doesn’t overcook or get too cold to serve. Another option is, if you’re cooking, say, a roast or a whole chicken or maybe a turkey breast, you can use the included temperature probe. You insert it through a hole in the top of the lid right down into the meat, set the cooker for the temp you want the meat to come to and when it reaches that temp, it shuts off. Again, no overcooked dry chicken breast meat or stringy pork roasts because you forgot them.

I can honestly say I love this slow cooker. Yes, they sent me one for free, but my opinion is still honest. So much so that I’ll mention the ONE thing I didn’t like about it. The outside tends to get really hot, so you need to make sure this isn’t in reach of little ones.But other than that, I love it and have used it multiple times already.

Guess what else? Hamilton Beach has graciously offered to let me give one of these slow cookers to one of you. This is a $59.99 value and it’s just in time for colder weather (or as a great Christmas gift to someone, maybe?)  Plus, as the holidays get closer, we’re all going to be busier and you know darn well that having dinner on the table every night can be a hassle. So this is the perfect time to win this.

All you need to do is enter down below by commenting and using the optional methods in the rafflecopter box. Tell me what would be the first thing you’d make if you won this and there is one entry!

If you need an idea, I have a fantastic chili recipe for you. This is spicy, but not so spicy the kiddos can’t eat it. My six year old loved it. It uses chorizo sausage as well as the typical ground beef and some other ingredients that all add up to a warming, comforting, soothing bowl of chili. Serve this with some sides of fresh onions, cheese, sour cream and maybe crackers or tortillas and you’ve got a wonderful meal as well as some leftovers for lunch or dinner tomorrow. You know the drill… :-)

Spicy Two Meat Slow Cooker Chili

 

 

 

  • 2 lbs ground chuck
  • 1 lb chorizo (removed from casings and crumbled if link style)
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 14 to 16 ounce can of chili beans (your preference on heat)
  • 2 16 ounce cans kidney beans, well drained
  • 1 16 ounce can pinto beans, well drained
  • 1 16 ounce can diced tomatoes (regular or chili style; your choice. I prefer the chili style)
  • 2 whole jalapenos in adobo sauce, finely chopped (store the rest in a container in the fridge) (use more or less as desired)
  • 1 4 ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (I use franks because I like that is has flavor along with the heat)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 to 2 ounces chili powder (I use Bloemers)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  1. In a large pan, crumble and saute the ground chuck until brown. Drain and toss into the slow cooker. Brown the chorizo. Don’t drain this when done; just scoop it out and put it in the slow cooker.
  2.  Toss the onions, green pepper and celery into the drippings form the chorizo. Stir to mix, cover and cook over medium heat until the onions and celery are soft and limp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir once or twice during the cooking.
  3. Add the veggies to the crock pot; stir to combine.
  4. Add all the other ingredients, in order given (makes stirring easier), then stir to combine.
  5. Set your slow cooker for 4 hours on low.. Halfway through cooking, open it up (make sure you’re quick; slow cookers lose heat quickly and can take quite a while to reheat back up) and give it a good stir. Re-cover it and let it finish cooking.
  6. When done, stir it well and serve. This is excellent served with sides such as cheese, sour cream, green or red onions and cilantro. I also love mine wrapped up in a tortilla. My family, on the other hand are firmly in the cracker camp. Do what makes you happy. :-D
     Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

I was provided with a slow cooker as compensation, but all opinions in this post are 100% my own!

To enter the giveaway, just scroll down to the raffle copter giveaway form!

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker With Spoon/Lid

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker With Spoon/Lid

 

Product Features

 

 

    • Three (3) choices for easy, automatic cooking: program, probe and manual

 

  • Probe mode is perfect for cooking large cuts of meat or for recipes that require food to reach a certain temperature
  • Thermometer probe reads the actual temperature of food as it cooks; the temperature is displayed on the slow cooker control panel
  • Travel-friendly design secures contents en route to parties, potlucks, family gatherings and tailgating
  • The lid securely seals in place with sturdy wire clips on each handle
  • 6 quart removable stoneware crock fits a 6 lb. chicken or a 4 lb. roast
  • Wraparound, even heat cooks food evenly and consistently
  • Full-grip handles make carrying heavy meals easier
  • Power interrupt protection keeps slow cooker on during a brief power outage
  • Questions are supported by a toll-free call center located in the U.S.
  • Backed with a one-year warranty

 

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Brown Butter Banana Cupcakes With Banana Frosting

Brown Butter Banana Cupcakes With Banana Frosting

Brown Butter Banana Cupcakes With Banana Frosting

What is it with kids and fruit? There are times I simply can’t keep it in the house for more than 30 seconds because they are inhaling it practically before I can get it unpacked from the car and then other times it just sits there. Of course, those days when there is no fruit in the house, suddenly everyone wants it. Then the days when I have a ton of something like bananas around because they were griping that there weren’t any, that’s when no one eats them and I end up with 382 over ripe bananas on the counter. What does that lead to? A fruit fly party. They set up tents on my counters near the bananas and late at night I’m kept awake by teeny voices singing “Kum Ba Yah” and  the flicker of a little campfire. So I then set up vinegar swimming pools for them to lure them to their tangy deaths. But I still have 382 bananas to use up that now no one will touch because, “Ewww, they’re too ripe! I don’t like them like this!”

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all a ploy. They do it on purpose to get me to buy bananas that will get too ripe to eat just so that I have to cook with them. And there is only so much banana bread one can eat. Well, unless you’re my husband who would eat it 5 times a day for like 8 weeks before complaining. So one is left trying to figure out what to do with them. I don’t have a blender since mine was broken by an over zealous teen, so that leaves out banana shakes. That’s probably a good thing though because I do so love banana shakes and would over indulge if left to my own devices.

So I made cupcakes. I searched the web for a good recipe but just wasn’t liking anything I found. So this is an amalgamation of a handful of recipes… call it the Frankensteins Monster of banana cupcakes, minus the electrical wires.

These are fairly dense, which is what I was looking for. Call me strange but I like a heavier cake, reminiscent of a pound cake, at times. Not all cakes need to be all light and fluffy. This is fairly sweet with a heavy banana taste and are quite moist. They are great with or without the frosting. I actually only frosted about half and we ate the rest of them plain.

You know the drill…. :-)

Brown Butter Banana Cupcakes With Banana Frosting

  • Cake-
  • 1 cup of mashed ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, browned and cooled*
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon banana flavoring (sold by the vanilla)
  • 2 cups flour whisked together with
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda and
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Banana Frosting-
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed with 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 3 to 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar (will vary)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons banana flavoring
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 16 muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
  2. In a large bowl, on medium speed, beat together the sugars and browned butter until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Don’t skimp on the beating.
  3. Turn the mixer to low and beat in the bananas, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream and extracts
  4. Stir in the flour/baking soda/salt mixture just until combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the 16 prepared cups
  6. Bake at 350 for 19 to 21 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in the pan for about a minute then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
  8. Frost with banana frosting.
  9. Banana Frosting-
  10. In medium bowl, combine the butter, cream cheese, mashed banana and the extracts. Beat well for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  11. On low speed (preferably over the sink to contain sugar dust), beat in 3 cups of the powdered sugar. Beat for 3 minutes until thick and creamy. If it isn’t of spreading consistency, add in another cup to cup and a half of sugar and beat well for about 2 minutes.
  12. Spread or pipe onto the cupcakes.

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Easy Caramel Apple Granola

 

Easy Caramel Apple Granola

Easy Caramel Apple Granola

Back when I was a kid (yeah, yeah, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and we wrote by chiseling on stone tablets), cereal was so much more fun. No one was worrying about whether it was gluten free, because no one knew what the heck gluten was. There was no panic over HFCS being used in cereals because we had the good stuff in our cereals… real sugar! Parents didn’t make their children start their days with food that was approved by our presidents wife (wth is up with that crap, anyway?); food that would carefully begin their days with a perfect balance of nutrients so that little Joey could go kick little Bobbys ass out on the playground when no one was looking because little Joeys mom and little Bobbys mom were in a feud over whose youth soccer league was better.
Nope… when I was a kid, we had far more fun being..well, kids. We ate Pop Tarts for breakfast (for the record, no, my son does not eat pop tarts for breakfast and yes, I know that makes me hypocritical. Ask me if I care. :-D ), followed by a heaping bowl of something like Kaboom… aka round sugar shapes disguised with a bit of grain. Or maybe King Vitamin, aka, round sugary shapes disguised by a vitamin or two. Then there was the really fun stuff like Count Chocula, which one can only get now during the Halloween season (when the heck did Halloween become big business and even GET its own season, btw?) or one of my favorites, Super Sugar Crisp, well named because sugar made up 95% of its ingredients. In other words, damn, it tasted good! Now however, they have changed the name and the ingredients because the word sugar makes everybody freak out.
Did I forget to mention that was a child, we also played outside unattended, even after dark, and the police weren’t called on our parents, that if we acted up at school, our parents didn’t go in and blame the teacher, but actually disciplined us for what we did wrong and lets not forget the ever reliable, we walked five miles to school… uphill…. both ways.
All that being said, even when I was a kid, one of my favorite cereals has always been any type of granola. Granola has always had this strange rep as healthy. But guess what… it rarely is :-D It has its good points nutritionally. Since it has a high proportion of fruit, nuts and grains, it has a fair amount of fiber and protein. But that comes with a price. It is also very calorie dense and if you use it like a “normal” cereal and just pour it in a bowl and douse it in milk, you will most likely end up with a 600 calorie bowl of breakfast. It’s better to use it more sparingly; portioned out for the kiddos or yourself in a baggie or mixed into yogurt, spooned over some ice cream or served as a snack with some cheese and fresh fruit.
When I got the idea for this granola, I was sure I would find 500 other incarnations of it online. But lo and behold, while there are caramel apple desserts galore, there was not one caramel apple granola that I found in like 20 pages of Google search. (Edited to add- my brother informed me that yes, there ARE a bunch of them and I realized that what I had googled was what I had originally intended to call this- caramel apple PIE granola. There are none of those, but alas, I’m not original in the other name. *sobs* Brothers! Always have to ruin ones fun!!) Yay for a brief moment of being unique!! I also originally intended to make this completely from scratch, but changed my mind. There are a TON of tasty, plain granolas out there for a decent price that are easily doctored up so I just rolled with that idea. I used my favorite plain granola- Cascadian Farms Fruit And Nut Blend. Then I added some salted caramel sauce (Trader Joes brand, but feel free to use homemade and to use a plain caramel sauce rather than salted), some chopped dried apple slices, some dried cherries, some roasted pistachio pieces for a bit of protein and crunch, mixed it all together and baked it for long enough to “set” the caramel. Let it cool, break it up and voila, you have the perfect snack!

You know the drill… :-)

Caramel Apple Granola

  • 4 cups (one 13.5 ounce box) of your favorite plain granola
  • 2 cups chopped dried apple slices (about 1.5 bags)
  • 2/3 cup dried tart cherries
  • 2/3 cup roasted pistachios (no shell)
  • 1 1/4 cups caramel sauce (homemade, store bought, salted or not; your choice)
  • whatever else makes you happy in the way of nuts or fruit. You could also add about 1/4 cup of flax or chia seeds or some wheat germ
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top and using either a large wooden spoon or just your hands, mix it all together until the granola is evenly coated.
  3. Spread out onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 325 for ten minutes. Take out of the oven and break the granola up turning the pieces over, as the bottom will be getting crispy. Bake for ten more minutes at 325. Don’t over bake this. Remember, the granola was already ready to go. You are just baking this to set the caramel.
  4. Place the pan on a rack to cool completely. When cool, break this up into bite sized pieces (or chunks if that’s the way you roll… I tend to prefer smaller pieces so I can use it in yogurt). This is NOT a completely dry granola. It will have a slightly tacky feel even after baking because of the caramel sauce.
  5. When this is 199% cool, store in a tightly covered container.

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Cinnamon Sugar Crusted Applesauce Bread

Cinnamon Sugar Crusted Applesauce Bread

Cinnamon Sugar Crusted Applesauce Bread

 

My youngest child started Kindergarten this year. He also turned six the first of this month. If you’re a parent, you know what it’s like to see your littlest being not so little anymore. You are torn between being so proud of their accomplishments and teary eyed because the last little baby is gone. For me, that’s a definite gone. No more babies here. I’m 50 and at this age, I can’t imagine starting over, no matter how tempting it may be. As it is, when Joshie (also known as “Boo”, “Boo Berry”, Boo-Boo”, “Boo Of Boo-ness”, “Joshie Of Joshie-ness” and “Berry Of Boo-ness”…. hey, what family doesn’t have weird endearments for each other? Quit laughing at us. :-P ) graduates high school, I’ll be in my 60’s! YIKES!

When Josh started school, one of the first things he “learned” was how to sit in class (a way I don’t agree with by the way because it promotes back pain and bad posture, but that’s neither here nor there right now :-D ). It’s called “Criss Cross Applesauce”. My older kids are quite a bit older than he is (think mostly grown and married) and I don’t recall them sitting that way or certainly not having what Urban Dictionary calls “the pansy name for sitting cross legged” for it, lol. So now any time I use applesauce in any way, that phrase pops into my head. That is though, preferable to what used to pop into my head- “pork chops and apppppleeesauceeee” from an old Brady Bunch episode. Yes, yes I am old, thankyouverymuch.

On that note, as I totally show my age…. this bread is quite yummy. Very homey, the perfect breakfast bread or after school snack. It’s moist, sweet, but not overly so, with a nice touch of spice. The cinnamon sugar topping as well as the walnuts inside the bread adds a wonderful bit of texture to this to keep it from being one dimensional. This makes 2 loaves, but it’s easily cut in half, though why bother doing so? The loaves aren’t huge and it lasts a fair amount of days wrapped well :-)

You know the drill… :-)

Cinnamon Sugar Crusted Applesauce Bread

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups sweetened applesauce (one 24 ounce container)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • For the topping- 2/3 cup sugar combined with
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8 inch loaf pans with a flour/oil baking spray; that or grease and flour the pans. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt and spices.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar for about 4 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.
  3. Add in the eggs, beating well. Add in the applesauce and vanilla, beating on low speed (this will splatter otherwise) until well combined.
  4. Add in the flour mixture and either on low speed with the mixer or using a sturdy wooden spoon,  combine until mixture is just combined. A few small lumps are fine, just no apparent floury areas. Stir in the raisins and walnuts.
  5. Divide between the two prepared pans. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the loaves, gently pressing down. If you don’t use it all, just store it in a small container. It’s great on toast or even in coffee.
  6. Bake at 350 for about 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in the pan for ten minutes then carefully invert onto a rack to finish cooling. You WILL lose some of the topping. Just scoop it up and sprinkle it back on the bread.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

 

Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies




 

I was going through the blog the other day, contemplating redoing some old recipes, using photos that don’t make me cringe. I mean, really, I’m not going to set the world on fire even now with my mad photography skillz but at least now I don’t alternate between hysterical laughter and wanting to gouge my eyeballs out with a spork. Then though? Oh…my….gosh. I sucked.

When I was going through though the recipes though, something occurred to me. I do not have even ONE plain old chocolate chip cookie recipe in here.

Well, guess what? I STILL don’t have one plain old chocolate chip cookie recipe in here. I’m tellin’ you; it’s impossible for me to leave a recipe alone! And while I realize that 900 other bloggers have gone the stuffed cookie route, I’m still hanging onto that possibility that there are one or two of you out there who don’t visit many other blogs, but love me for my special type of charm. Plus, my cookies are different. Please don’t ask me why because I don’t have a valid reason. Just trust me on this. k? We’re cool?

As for a plain recipe for chocolate chip cookies, I’ll get to it. Someday. Maybe.

That title up there? It is not entirely accurate. At least not for me. I changed it up mid way through and stuffed some of mine with peanut butter filled Dove chocolates. Point being… these are easy to vary. Grab your favorite piece of filled chocolate and bury that sucker in dough.

The cookie part of this is based on Jacque Torres recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I changed it up to the point that the basic home baker who doesn’t have a large variety of flours and ingredients can do it. I also cut down on the amount of chocolate in the dough, as even were I not stuffing these, I would have found it too much. But, having tried the original, I can tell you honestly that I didn’t taste a difference. I think the main thing with his is the resting time and the usage of the 2 flours, which I still adhered to.

You know the drill… git to cookin’ :-)

Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour (if you happen to have cake flour, use 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons of cake flour instead)
  • 1 2/3 cup bread flour (no subs)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar (I used dark brown)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces chopped dark chocolate
  • a bag or container of your favorite chocolates (I used a mix of some sea salt caramels I bought at Costco a while back and two different varieties of Dove chocolate, the peanut butter and the salted caramel
  •  sea salt for sprinkling on top (optional)
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. Use a strong hand mixer on high or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and cream together the butter and sugars.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla and beat well.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and add in the flour mixture just until combined.
  5. Use a heavy rubber spatula or wooden spoon and fold in the chopped chocolate.
  6. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with either silicone mats or parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  8. Scoop out dough portions weighing about 2 to 3 ounces (that is big enough to totally enfold the chocolate so it doesn’t ooze out everywhere). Flatten the dough somewhat and press a chocolate piece into the middle, then close the dough over it. Roll it in your hands for a second to make sure it is sealed.
  9. Bake at 350 for 16 to 20 minutes (it will vary depending on the size of the dough ball and your oven) or until golden brown and mostly firm on top.
  10. Let cool on pan for a minute, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired when still a little bit warm.

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Creamy Pumpkin Maple Flan

Creamy Pumpkin Maple Flan

Creamy Pumpkin Maple Flan



Have I ever mentioned that I keep my husband around in spite of some near fatal flaws? Well, if I haven’t… I do. I’m a sweetheart that way. I mean, this is a man who claims to not like doesn’t like sweets and is married to a blogger who makes mainly sweets. he also doesn’t like wings, which I adore, won’t eat mushrooms… which I adore… hates Bleu Cheese…which I adore…prefers white wine whereas I prefer red… and so on. You seeing a pattern here?

But the worst sin of all? He does NOT like desserts that are creamy. Unless they are ice cream, in which case all bets are off. But desserts like this cheesecake flan or this coconut flan tend to fall completely off of his radar. Some weird justification of “I don’t like the texture”. WHAT!?! What’s not to like? Creamy, silky, smooth… did I mention creamy? When I’m not looking, he probably doesn’t enjoy sunsets, pictures of cute kittens and babies or shows like “Little House On The Prairie” either. It’s all been a lie! A lie, I say! *Sobs and goes to eat his share of the flan*

That said, his not liking the type of dessert I most frequently reach for does have its benefits. I get to eat what would have been his.

This is why I keep him.

This flan is so perfectly seasonal. Pumpkin and spices combine with a subtle hint of maple and all of that is based in a creamy, silky smooth flan.  Add in the sweet caramel topping and it’s Heavenly.

You know the drill…. :-)

Creamy Pumpkin Maple Flan

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (they only come in one size; I believe it is 14 ounces)
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup maple sugar (you can find this at any well stocked grocery store. I buy mine at Trader Joes)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Start a kettle of water to boiling.
  2. Combine the regular sugar and the water in a small pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. When the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat up to a medium high and cook, with NO stirring, until the caramel is a medium brown color, about 10 minutes. Do NOT walk away from this to tend to the kids, vacuum, take a nap, whatever. Stay near it and just work on the rest of the recipe and check it frequently.
  3. When it is ready, pour it onto the bottom of a deep 10 inch round pan that you have placed inside a larger pan. I use a cake pan.
  4. For the flan part,  in a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and maple sugar. Beat well at low speed with a hand mixer. Add in the pumpkin and spices and beat at low speed.  Add in the eggs and the yolks and beat until combined.
  5. Add in the cream and sweetened condensed milk and whisk (trust me… don’t continue to use the beater. Don’t ask how I know these things.) until it is thoroughly combined.
  6. Use a fine mesh strainer and strain this through it into the pan with the caramel. The straining isn’t absolutely necessary but it prevents you from having any fibrous parts in the custard and makes it much smoother.
  7. Carefully place the whole pan into the 300 degree oven. Carefully (again), pour the boiling water into the large pan surrounding the flan, being careful not to splash it into the flan itself. You want it to come about halfway up the side of the cake pan.
  8. Bake for about 60 to 70 minutes or until a butter knife inserted off center comes out clean. The center should still be jiggly, but not loose; rather like when you wiggle set jello.
  9. Cool for about 60 minutes, then put in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours or so.
  10. Place a large plate over the flan and invert it onto the plate.
  11. Serve. Sing my praises.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

 

This is going to be one of my shorter, less wordy posts. I know…ME… not long winded. What can I say? We all have our days… or in my case, our brief moments. It’s been a long difficult day, I’m totally pooped and I have a headache. But I lurves you all enough that I wanted to get this recipe up before the end of the day anyway. See how good I am to you? :-P

You know the drill… :-)

Love you all!!!!! <3

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

  • 1 20 ounce can pineapple slices in juice, drained and (you will use about 8 of the slices), slices lain on a paper towel and patted dry
  • 6 Maraschino cherries, drained (optional)
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and get out a 10 inch cast iron pan (you can sub a ten inch cake pan, but a cast iron pan is more traditional).  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  2. In another small bowl, combine the sour cream or with the vanilla. Also set aside. :-D
  3. Melt 1/2 stick of the butter in the cast iron pan. Just toss the butter in the pan and shove it in the oven for a couple of minutes. When it is melted, sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the butter. Lay the pineapple slices around the outer edge of the pan. You should be able to fit 6. Use 2 more, broken in quarters, in the spaces in between each slice.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the remaining stick of butter and the sugar. Beat at medium speed with a hand mixer for about 2 minutes; until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Transfer over to a wooden spoon or rubber spatula- alternately fold in the flour mixture and the sour cream mixture (flour, sour cream, flour, sour cream, flour), mixing well after each addition.
  7. Spoon the batter over the pineapple slices and smooth it out.
  8. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Immediately run a butter knife around the edges of the cake and then invert the pan onto a plate large enough to hold the cake. If any of the fruit sticks to the pan (if you are using a well seasoned pan, it shouldn’t, but…) just lift it out and place it on the cake.
  10. If you actually have any left over, cover well and store at room temp.

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Rich And Creamy Baked Lemon Custard

Rich & Creamy Baked Lemon Custard

Rich & Creamy Baked Lemon Custard

I thought I would give all of you a break today from the now constant inundation of pumpkin this, salted caramel apple that, maple whatever and bring you something rich and decadent, yet bright and refreshing and anything but heavy. Lemon goes with any season and custard still has a bit of a cold weather feel to it, so this works in all worlds. Plus, it’s so darn good!

I remember when my brother, sister and I were kids, we used to make homemade custard. or at least we thought we were making homemade custard. I’m not quite sure what it really was. Steve was the first to try, I believe. And to his youthful credit, it was….edible. If nothing else, it was sweet and as I’ve mentioned before, that was about all that mattered to us as kids. If it had sugar, we ate it. I shudder when I recall us eating *gags a bit* peanut butter sandwiches in which one of the bread slices was heavily coated with sugar when there was no jelly in the house.

But the custard…ahh yes, the custard. Overly eggy with strands of scrambled like eggs throughout, usually somewhat weepy and curdled from overcooking and with no real flavor but eggs and sugar. But we ate it.

To this day though, I absolutely love custard of any type. Vanilla flan style, chocolate, citrus like this one; you name it, if it has cream in it, I’ll eat it :-D

This one is incredibly easy and fairly quick as baked desserts go. You can also eat it while still warm if you want. I personally prefer custard chilled because I love the texture it gets when cold, but the choice is yours. This is rich, creamy and bright with the fresh taste of lemon; a perfect dessert when you want something easy and non chocolate.

You know the drill… :-)

Have I mentioned today how much I lurves all of you for coming to my little corner of the world? <3

Rich And Creamy Baked Lemon Custard

  • 2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 egg yolks (save those whites and make some meringue cookies or something!)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Very lightly butter 5 8 ounce ramekins and place them inside a deep baking pan. Start a pot or kettle of water to boiling
  2. Warm the cream in the microwave just until warm to the touch, not hot, about 1 minute.
  3. Using a mixer on medium speed (you can also just whisk this, but it takes longer), beat together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla until it is thick and pale colored, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Whisk or beat (low speed) the cream into the egg mixture, beating constantly. Add in the lemon juice and lemon zest and beat well.
  5. Divide the mixture between the prepared ramekins. Set the pan on the middle rack of the oven and carefully pour the boiling water into the pan holding the ramekins, making sure not to let it splash into the ramekins. Carefully push the pan in and bake the custard at 300 for about 30 minutes. You want it mostly set but the center third of them should still be a tiny bit jiggly looking. It will set more as it cools.
  6. Serve warm (just above room temp) or chill.

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Spiced Pumpkin Latte

Spiced Pumpkin Latte

Spiced Pumpkin Latte



Do you see the difference in the name there in comparison to a certain company that makes a pumpkin spice latte? That, my friend, is because this one has *GASPS* actual pumpkin in it, first and foremost. So the name reflects that. You have no idea how irked I was the first time I got the big name companies pumpkin spice latte and realized that there was no pumpkin in it. What a gyp!

So I, like 14,382 other bloggers, created my own version. Yeah, yeah, I know. This is ubiquitous online and I’m just one more hack posting it :-P But ya know what? There may actually be one or two people besides my husband and kids who don’t read a ton of food blogs and just read little old me cause I’m special or something. Work with me here. I’m having a low self esteem day. Tell me I’m special. Maybe buy me some roses, take me out to dinner and a movie and tell me I have purty eyes. So this is for the people who may not have seen this on those other 14,382 blogs.

When you’re done doing all that (I like dramas or documentaries and prefer Italian or Indian food, btw), make this latte. Well, make the latte syrup and THEN make a latte. The syrup will last weeks in the fridge. Pour it into a squeeze bottle or just put it in a covered container. And if you live in my household, keep it away from the 19 year old, who seems to think he needs 1/2 cup of this in one cup of coffee that is then covered with 3 cups of whipped cream.

You know the drill… get to cookin’. Or, erhmmm, simmering…and latteing.

Spiced Pumpkin Latte

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. In a medium pot, whisk together all the ingredients.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then immediately turn down to low. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Now you can either strain this if the sight of the spices in your cup will bother you (I can be pretty anal, but I don’t strain it. The spices settle to the bottom and don’t cause any issues.) or just store this, covered, in the fridge without straining. Either way, refrigerate it..
  4. To make a latte, use 2 to 3 tablespoons of this per cup of coffee; less if you only want lightly sweetened, more if you’re working towards a restful diabetic coma. Add cream and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Thank me… preferably with big bills or that dinner and a movie.
  5. You’ll notice mine is rather light colored. I was drinking it later in the day so cut the amount of coffee in half for this one. Expect a stronger coffee color in a typical cup.

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Spicy Tomato Chutney

Spicy Tomato Chutney

Spicy Tomato Chutney

 

We didn’t have a whole lot of luck with our tomato plants this year. It was such a wet, unseasonably cool Summer that they didn’t stand a chance. They would get decent sized and green, but few got enough sun to finish ripening. Out of about 12 plants, we got enough tomatoes for one session in the dehydrator, which we ended up eating like candy  and enough for this batch of chutney. I can sincerely say that this chutney was worth the wait for ripe tomatoes.

I’ve been canning for about 17 years or so now. I tend to stick to jams, relishes and chutneys. One of these days I’ll branch out and do pressure canning. I have the canner, just not the motivation or expendable cash. I keep saying that if I come across some fantastic sale on meat, I’ll can some, but who ever finds a fantastic sale on meat nowadays? Most of us are instead practicing meatless dinners a time or two a week because it’s so darned expensive to buy meat of any kind.

Is it horrid of me that I am enjoying this chutney so much that I keep going over to the bowl of it that is in the photo and snagging bites? Hehe This has a wonderfully unique taste in comparison to other, fruitier chutneys I have made in the past. You have the sweet acidity of the tomatoes, the bite from the peppers and garlic, the tang of the vinegar…. all melded together into a textural delight. Darn, I’m just soooo poetic today :-P

This has a decent amount of ingredients, but nothing hard to find and it all just goes into the pot together and cooks down, so it’s a fairly low maintenance recipe. I say again, as I’ve said before about canning recipes, practice safe canning, please. Do NOT listen to those who tell you it’s ok to just ladle the food into a jar, put the lid on and go on as if that’s sufficient for sealing. It’s totally NOT good enough. Even if the can seems to seal, you don’t know that it’s vacuum sealed, nor that any possible bacteria were killed. Never take that chance with your own health or that of your family. It’s too easy to do it right. :-) Here’s a link to show you how to properly can if you’re new to it. If you want to make this but don’t want to can it, you can also freeze portions of it. Just thaw when you’re ready to use some.

Water Bath Canning

This chutney is wonderful with any Indian or Thai dish, as well as with any fattier cut of meat. The acidity of the chutney helps to cut the richness of the meat. It’s also great just off a spoon, but I am also a wee bit offbeat :-D

Spicy Tomato Chutney

  • 5 lbs tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped (I like to leave them in fairly decent sized chop. They add a nice look to the finished product.)
  • 2 large onions, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or pickling salt (non iodized)
  • juice and zest of one small lime
  • juice and zest of one small orange
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or crushed dried chiles (use more or less as desired, depending on how spicy or not you prefer it)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (same chop idea here as for the garlic. Chutney should have texture, not be smooth.)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  1. Put all ingredients into a large, deep pot and stir well to combine.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Once it gets to a boil, turn your heat down to a barely medium setting (I do this at 4 on an electric stove) and let it simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  3. Cook until it has reduced to about half of it’s original amount and has become thick and rich looking, about 2 hours. If it starts to stick to the bottom of the pot at all, lower your heat a tad and make sure you’re stirring enough. Keep in mind that it will continue to thick a LITTLE bit even after you can it so don’t get it too thick during cooking. You want a product that is about the consistency of a loose preserve.
  4. Can as per the above directions (I got 4 1/2 pints out of this), leaving 1/4 inch headspace and boil in a water bath for ten minutes. When done, remove to a towel and leave undisturbed until cool. Check your seal and if any jars didn’t seal, store them in the fridge. The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for quite a long time.

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