Blood Orange Curd

Blood Orange Curd

Blood Orange Curd

I may have mentioned once or twice that I absolutely love citrus fruits. The plethora of lemon posts on the blog shows how much I love them, but my heart really lies with oranges. Back when I was young, eating an orange if you lived in most of the U.S. meant a navel orange. While those are good and I still love them, now, with the world so much smaller in many ways thanks to good methods of transportation, they are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Now, this time of year, you can get in season citrus of so many varieties it boggles the mind. Cara Cara, navel, Sweet lemons, Myer lemons, Mandarins. Tangelos, Pummelos, Kumquats, Clementines and so many others. But my favorite, one that is only around for a couple of short months, is the Blood Orange. Such an ick name for such a tasty fruit. In case you don’t know what it is, a blood orange is a somewhat smallish variety of orange with a reddish-orange rind and a medium to dark red flesh. The flavor is similar to a “regular” orange, but with a bit of a raspberry or even a somewhat winey flavor to it. The scent is intense and a bit more floral. They are absolutely delicious oranges. You can usually find them at any decently stocked grocery store these days.

Since they are in season for such a short time, after I get my fill of eating them, I like to do things with them that keeps around the house for a while longer. This curd is one of those things. It’s made like a basic lemon curd, but obviously subbing in the blood oranges. I personally add in the zest and juice form one lemon because otherwise, the flavor can be a bit one dimensional and flat since oranges are sweeter than a lemon. I also add in a few drops of orange oil at the end of cooking, but that is entirely optional, though I DO recommend it. It adds just a but more of that orange zest flavor and brings it out in the curd itself.

As yummy as this is, hold on to a good portion of it because we’ll be using it in something else that will be utterly delicious in a few days. So resist the temptation to just stand in front of the fridge with the bowl and a spoon. Or just make two batches. 😀

You know the drill… 🙂

Blood Orange Curd

  • Zest from 3 Blood Oranges (about 3 to 4 tablespoons. If there is more, use it)
  • Zest from one lemon (about 1 tablespoon. Again, use it all)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 6 eggs
  • juice from the oranges and the lemon (you should end up with just about 2/3 a cup of juice)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon Boyajian Orange Oil (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Blend in the citrus zest and the sugar.
  2. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, just until combined.
  3. Add in the blood orange/lemon juices, the vanilla and the salt. Blend well.
  4. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepot. Over medium heat, cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches a temp between 170 and 175. Do NOT let this boil. It should take about ten minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer to get rid of all the zest and any lumps of eggs that may have cooked too fast.
  6. Pour into a container and store in the fridge. The curd will keep for about a month or so. But we’ll be using some of it up here this week. 😀

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Fresh Fruit Salad With Honey/Lime Syrup & A Creamy Mascarpone Topping

Fresh Fruit Salad With Honey/lime Syrup & A Creamy Mascarpone Topping

Fresh Fruit Salad With Honey/lime Syrup & A Creamy Mascarpone Topping

It’s funny the things that you associate with certain words. Forevermore, the words fruit salad will make me think of a toy guitar my four year old had when he was a toddler. He could press certain buttons on it and it would play snippets of songs, one of them being “Fruit Salad” by The Wiggles (I STILL have no darn idea who The Wiggles are!) Warning… watch this at your own risk. Brain cells WILL melt and leak out of your ears.


That guitar disappeared one day (my theory is that I was sleep walking one night and gleefully broke it into a bazillion pieces and hid the body… I mean, pieces. and I thank God quite often for that unsolved kidnapping, murder, run away… whatever.

But fruit salad like this will only disappear one place… into mah bellah. It is yummy to the max and if you don’t use the mascarpone cream (though why you wouldn’t is beyond me 😛 ) it’s even more or less good for you. I mean… it’s fruit… and limes (which are also a fruit 😛 ) and nice natural honey. Ok, ok, so there’s sugar in there too! Sue me! But seriously, this is a great alternative to a fattening dessert. And it can be made fairly quickly so it’s great for an impromptu bring to work or a bbq dish. If you make it ahead of time, the fruits pick up a lot of flavor from the syrup, but the oranges will also take on a purplish tinge from the berries so if you don’t want that, add the oranges about 30 minutes or so before serving.

You know the drill…

            Fresh Fruit Salad With Honey/Lime Syrup & A Creamy Mascarpone Topping

  • 6 cups fresh mixed berries
  • 1 cup seedless green grapes (obviously, you can use another color but you’ll already have dark berries, thus why I did green grapes for contrast)
  • 2 oranges, sectioned, white pith removed
  • 2/3 cup lime juice
  • zest from 2 limes
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 8 ounce container mascarpone cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a medium pot, combine the lime juice, lime zest, honey, 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then lower heat and simmer for one minute. Cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the fruits. When syrup is cool, pour over the fruits and toss GENTLY. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to one day.
  3. For mascarpone cream, combine the mascarpone, sour cream, vanilla and 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Keep stored in fridge until ready to use. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the fruit into a serving bowl. Discard (or drink lol) the remaining syrup.
  4. Top each serving with a dollop of the mascarpone cream.

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Tradition! Tradition! (Insert “Tevya” from “Fiddler On The Roof” voice Here)

Chocolate Orange Muffins


Back when my older kids were little, I started a tradition that still goes on today. It will probably continue when I am too old to see the stove and burn everything and there is a more than even chance that it will continue after my death. No, not because they will take over the duties but because they will dig me up, put a wooden spoon in my hand and set me in front of the stove. What is said tradition? Making so many darn Christmas cookies that we all start to gag at the thought of eating yet one more cookie. I make the same 7 or  15 8 kinds each year then add about 7 or 15 8 new ones. Add to this an assortment of home made candies, scones, muffins and such and we spend the holidays in a haze of sugar induced illness. But it’s so darn fun!! Or something. It gives me an excuse to get out my fat girl pants and loose shirts cause Lord knows nothing else will fit anyway.

So I have started looking for some new recipes for all of the above things. I have a few boards up on Pinterest with a vast assortment of things to make for the Christmas season. Were I to actually make all of the things I have pinned, every person in my family would weigh about 600 pounds. But, moving on… or back… or sideways, not sure which… one of the recipes I found was one for Chocolate Orange Muffins because something about the combo of chocolate and orange just strikes me as Christmasy. The one I found came from  but I have changed it up quite a bit. As I’ve mentioned before, I am genetically incapable of making a recipe the way it’s written. This could be why I mess up boxed mac and cheese and hamburger helper. I always want to “fix” them. But this recipe got “fixed” quite nicely if I do say so myself. They may just be on the Christmas buffet. Well, not this batch… that would be rather disgusting. 😛

These are quite good. Moist with a nice orange flavor that is complemented by soft gooey bits of chocolate. The ganache makes these almost cupcake like but yet they aren’t too sweet for breakfast or to have with a cup of coffee.

Chocolate Orange Muffins With A Chocolate Orange Ganache Drizzle

  • Zest from one large orange (about 2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • 10 ounce bag dark chocolate chips, 1/3 cup reserved
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract (or about 4 drops of orange oil)
  • 1/2 cup good quality orange marmalade
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional but it goes well with both the orange and the chocolate)
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream (for the ganache and the amount can vary, thus the range)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line 16 muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and the sugar
  4. Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract and orange extract/oil. Add the sour cream & orange juice. Mix well.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and baking soda
  6. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula,  gently mix the flour mixture into the wet ones. Do NOT overbeat. Then fold in the chocolate, holding back that third cup. You’ll use that for the ganache.
  7. Spoon the muffin batter into the lined cups, getting each one almost full. Make a little dent in the top of each and spoon a bit of the orange marmalade on each muffin.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and the top no longer looks “wet”.
  9. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  10. To make the ganache- in a small microwave safe bowl, mix together the reserved chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of the cream. Heat on 70% power for 45 seconds, then stir well. If it looks rather curdled and not shiny and smooth, ad more cream, a LITTLE bit at a time. It should get smooth and satiny looking. If it’s still too thick to drizzle though, continue adding cream a bit at a time until it’s thin enough to drizzle.
  11. Drizzle the ganache over the cooled muffins. Inhale one…or six. I won’t tell.


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We Gotseses TREES!!!

Soft Frosted Orange Cookies

Some of you may remember that late last year my husband and I bought a house and land. We’re in our late 40’s and this is the first time (for all intents and purposes) that we’ve owned a home, so we’re loving it. You can see a photo of the house here . Is it fancy? Not in the least. Is it new? Nope; about 13 years old. But it’s ours and it came with ten acres of land; 3 cleared and 7 wooded which was one of the major reasons we wanted it.

So this Spring we’re having fun doing a lot of planting. My husband tilled up a large area for us to have as a garden and we’re planting trees. So far we have two different types of apple trees, 2 fig trees, a peach tree and a nectarine tree. I want to get a couple more apple trees, one more peach tree as well as 2 or so pear trees, some cherry trees and some nut trees. It’s hard to describe how it feels to see this house becoming OUR dream… OUR future. It’s pretty darn cool.

Unfortunately, we live too far north for citrus trees though I do eventually want to get some dwarf citrus trees to pot, leave out in Summer and bring in during the cold seasons. If anyone has those and has any recommendations for a good place to buy them, please let me know 🙂

But for now, when I want a citrus dessert, I have to do what those of us not in very sunny climes have to do…. go to the store and buy some fruit.

I wanted cookies recently but not chocolate ones. I know I know… close your mouth and stop looking so amazed. There IS life beyond chocolate. Not always a good life, but life nonetheless. I say this as I am nibbling on a Scharffen Berger Milk Chocolate Bar I splurged on. Go figure. Continue reading

“A Loaf Of Bread, The Walrus Said, Is What We Chiefly Need”

Lewis Carroll amazed me when I was a kid and truthfully, still does even now that I’m an adult. The reasons are a bit different though. When I was a child, I just loved reading about Alice, the little girl who had so many more adventures than I would ever have. By the same token, I was scared to death when I read it. It was one freaky world Alice visited and I was torn between wanting to go there myself and throwing the book across the room and hiding under the blankets for a week.

As an adult, I’m more fascinated by the mind that wrote Alice as well as his other works. People speculate that he was a drug addict and in the throes of addiction when he wrote Alice In Wonderland, but in reality, that’s not been proven. He took Laudanum, ostensibly for migraines, which is an opiate, but there’s no proof of addiction. Mind you, think of any time you’ve had to take a prescription pain killer and then imagine living in the 1800’s where drugs were far easier to obtain. Then imagine how you felt taking pain killers and intensify that by 50 because from all reports, Laudanum was some powerful hallucinogenic stuff. Makes the scene in Look Who’s Talking where the in utero Mikey is happily looking at his hand that is colorfully psychedelic because mom is rather wasted  look tame :-p So if Mr. Carroll wrote any of his works while taking laudanum, it would explain the imagination. That or the guy either just had one hell of a good imagination or was seriously warped hehe. Continue reading

Some Things Are Just Meant To Be Together.

It's really hard to make aslice of bread pudding look pretty. Sorry. 🙁

The best of them of course being my husband and I but that’s another story. 😛

But think peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs, Abbott and Costello, duck and orange sauce, gin and tonic, Scarlett and Rhett (though he put up with her crap, I’ll never know), Luke and Laura (even if she did go totally insane and he moved on), apples and caramel and on and on and on. I bet you could name quite a few classic pairs that are rarely seen one without the other. As a matter of fact, why not let me know ones you thought of here in the comments? I like getting recipe inspirations from where ever I can get them 😀

One of my favorite combos is cranberries and orange. I’m not sure what makes them pair up so well but they do. It’s like the fruit equivalent of Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner. They can make it alone but oh my, when they’re together, it’s magic. Then if you add cinnamon to them, they make a fantastic ménage à trois *blushes at having seen the cranberries, oranges and cinnamon in such a compromising situation*

So yesterday I made the bread pudding that converted me to bread pudding. Well, other than those dry tasteless things that call themselves bread pudding the same way Milli Vanilli called themselves singers… they are sheer imposters. A GOOD bread pudding should be moist and creamy, almost like a dense custard and overflowing with the flavors of whatever was used in it; in this, that would be cranberries and oranges… and that cinnamon I mentioned *blushes again* This is my all time favorite bread pudding and it meets all of the criteria above. It’s great still warm but it really shines when chilled. It firms up and gets oh so creamy. So go get out one of those bags of cranberries you shoved in the freezer… I have a recipe that you can use them in w/out waiting until next Thanksgiving to make cranberry sauce. You can thank me later.

Warning- this is not diet food. I repeat; this is NOT diet food. Please back away from this recipe if you don’t want to gain 17 pounds in one sitting.

Cranberry Orange Bread Pudding

  • 6 extra large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cupsheavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk  (I have also used eggnog)
  • 1/4 cup butter , melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate , non diluted
  • 1/4 teaspoonsalt
  • 1 1/2 loaves Kings Hawaiian Bread , all crusts removed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (24 ounces, I just tear it into small pieces after i take the crusts off it makes for much less work)
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cranberries
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar
  2. Add the milk and cream, melted butter, vanilla, o.j.,,orange zest, cinnamon and salt and whisk until well blended Add bread cubes and stir extremely well with a spoon
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge.
  4. After it has soaked 1 1/2 hours, remove from fridge & stir it well.
  5. Spray a 13 X 9 inch pan with cooking spray.
  6. Take pudding out of the fridge, stir well.
  7. Add cranberries and stir, mixing well.
  8. Pour half of the pudding into the prepared pan.
  9. With a spoon, put globs of the marmalade in rows up and down the pudding. (If you like marmalade, feel free to put extra; if you don’ like it at all, feel free to omit it).
  10. Carefully spoon rest of pudding into pan; it will be very full so be careful.
  11. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for approximately 50 to 70 minutes.
  12. Test for doneness by inserting a knife into the center of the pudding. If, when pulled out, there is no liquidy custard clinging to it and the pudding only has a very slight jiggle in the middle, it is done.
  13. Serve warm or chilled, but like I mentioned, chilled seems to be best with this particular bread pudding
  14. Since you’re going for broke with calories with this ANYWAY, I can attest to the fact that this is fantastic served in a puddle of cream.

Baking Therapy

Ever have one of “THOSE” days? Maybe you know the kind I mean.

You get up with a headache… keep forgetting to make yourself a cup of tea or take pain meds (coffee maybe for you strange people) because every time you think of it, something distracts you…like the washer refusing to spin for the 679th time in a week, one of the kittens you kindly let in from the cold last night has pooped all over the floor… twice, the spider your husband kindly killed for you this morning left parts of it’s guts on a book… that you just picked up.

Then you get a call from the garbage company. You are informed that they can no longer do household service for your garbage because your neighbor, from whom you have legal easement to get to your own property, has decided she is going to refuse to let the garbage truck go on the road to get to our property. This means that rain or shine, hot or cold, you will have to cart your garbage 1/4 mile to the road every Thursday night. When asked politely later in the day (honest… I was polite; it’s the only way I COULD be and not hate myself. I even brought her muffins) why she didn’t just talk to you first before calling the garbage company and complaining, you find out that she basically holds a grudge against you because you aren’t family. They were the ones you bought your home from a few months ago and she is resentful that they moved and that SHE didn’t get the house.

Then, to add a little insult to injury, you bite your tongue…drinking that tea you finally made. Which makes you spill it on your shirt and teaches your three year old a new swear word… which he uses when the mail lady is kindly bringing your mail to your front door.

THEN… what; you thought that was it?? Silly you. THEN…. when you check online to see when the package you were expecting from Foodbuzz that was supposed to get delivered today is on it’s way, only to have them tell you that they delivered it at 12:52 this afternoon. While you were here … with a perfect view of the front porch they ostensibly left it on.

So what’s left to do after a day like that?

Baking therapy.

The only thing other than valium and a few stiff drinks that is going to calm you down and give you a few moments of peace. Well, that and Vivaldi playing in the background.

So I baked. Just for you, dear reader. Ok, so it was for me, but it makes me feel better if I tell you that it was all for your pleasure. I made muffins. Two batches, because the first gotten eaten up by the kids and the neighbor you brought them to. They are quite yummy if I do say so myself. Though a little tip if somehow you were in my brain and were going to try something that I tried. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT, drizzle said muffins with honey BEFORE baking. It makes them spread in a very unattractive way and they get glued to the pan. Yeah, even the baking was part of “the day”. Thank God I made some of them without putting the topping on before baking them. They may not look exciting but they also don’t look like spread out cookies.

These are Cranberry Orange Marmalade. Not cranberry/orange but made with cranberry sauce and orange marmalade as well as juice and zest. They have a depth of flavor that regulr cranberry orange ones don’t have thanks to the sauce and the jam. These would be a perfect extra bread for Thanksgiving or to give to neighbors you don’t really care for but want to keep decent relations with because you know it’s the right thing to do (even if she DID keep my plate) if you have someone who doesn’t like the normal yeast roll. Or just because they are fitting for the season and rather festive tasting. Yes, something can taste festive. Don’t judge me. Just go make muffins. And… she says while smiling like a Wal Mart Door Greeter … have a nice day.

Cranberry Orange Marmalade Muffins

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2/3 cup orange juice concentrate
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce (home made or canned)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds for sprinkling on muffins
  • honey for drizzling (AFTER baking 😛 )
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line 16 muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and the orange zest.
  3. In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ones in all at once. Stir with a fork just until combined. Don’t over beat.
  5. Fill muffin cup 3/4 full. Sprinkle with almonds
  6. Bake at 350 until tops are firm and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes depending on how temperamental your oven is.
  7. Let cool in pan for a minute then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.
  8. When you put them on the rack, drizzle them with the honey.
  9. Eat. Enjoy. Give some to your neighbors
  10. Smile like the Wal Mart Greeter.


But…But…But…It Has CARROTS In It!

Admit it. You want this.

I have never been a fan of carrots. I actually go through salads and pick out all the little shreds of carrots. I do however like them heavily buttered but only baby carrots. So carrot cake was never a dessert on my radar. It was so far OFF of my radar that liver may actually have been in front of it by virtue of the fact that I had at least tried liver. But carrot cake? Nope. Wasn’t doing it. No way no how. No carrots for this woman.

I DO however love frosting. And Oranges. So when I was at the grocery store one day a few years back  casually perusing drooling over the baked goods in their bakery department and trying to figure out why there was a check out boy with a mop & bucket in front of me as a voice said “CLEAN UP IN FRONT OF THE FAT LADY AT THE BAKERY…AGAIN!!!”   I saw a huge cake. It was decorated in this thick creamy white frosting and on the little sign that I still remember fondly (I took a photo of that sign and framed it. It hangs in a sacred spot in my home now; the bathroom) were printed the words, “Carrot Cake With Orange Frosting- More Money Than You Can Really Afford Per Slice But Buy It Anyway!” .Ok, it didn’t really say part of that but it may as well have. So I looked… glared at the kid with the bucket because he kept cutting off my view of the cake…and told myself that yes, it was carrot cake… i.e. a cake with the dreaded carrots in it but that if nothing else, I could always pay 3 gazillion dollars for a slice of this and just eat that heavenly looking frosting. So I bought it. I took it home. I ate all the frosting off the top. I drooled some more. Then I took a deep breath and took a bite of the cake part. It was the only way to get to the frosting packed between the layers. Then… I fell in love.

Kind of.

I still don’t like most carrot cake. I do though like carrot cake the way I make it now (and from that same store when I feel like blowing the rent money on cake). I like moist and tender cake chock full of pineapple and raisins and orange zest and spices and oh yeah, those  carrot things too. And frosting that is buttery and cream cheesy (ahem; yes, this too is now a word) and also full of that lovely orange flavor I so drool over in store bakery sections.

If you like carrot cake, you should like this. It isn’t overly sweet (I actually think I will add a bit more sugar next time; maybe 1/2 cup. It’s more muffiny than I like.) and is nice and moist and the frosting I made to go with it is quite yummy if I do say so myself. The cake comes from (adapted slightly) The King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Book (other than the orange zest and using both pineapple and raisins; they had it as a choice, silly people.) and the frosting comes from my warped brain. Enjoy!! You can also make this as a layer or sheet cake (that is what it is in the book) but I wanted cupcakes. It makes 33 cupcakes so it is perfect for a pot luck or church supper or for kids at school and this is actually semi nutritious (I know; scary huh?) cause of the fruits and carrots and whole wheat flour.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes With

An Orange Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 1/2 cups grated carrots (yes… THOSE)
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 1 can (8 ounces) well drained crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • 4 cups (more or less as needed to get proper consistency) powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Either grease and flour 2 9 inch cake pans or line 33 (can be done in batches) muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
  2. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil and beat until well blended. Add the vanilla then the sugars.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, mixing until it is smooth. Add in the carrots, nuts, pineapple and raisins. Mix well.
  4. Spoon batter into the prepared cupcake cups. Bake at 350 for about 16 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pans for 2 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling while you make the oh so delectable frosting 😀
  5. For Frosting- in a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese and butter until creamy and well combined. Add in the orange zest, extracts and orange juice. Beat well. Add in the powdered sugar and beat at low speed until combined (I always do this with the bowl set in the sink so that I don’t have sugar flying everywhere) then turn speed up to high and beat for five minutes. If frosting it too thick, add a touch of OJ to it. If too thin, add more powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until you have the desired consistency.
  6.  Spoon or pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Eat. Don’t share. Tell the kids that these are poison.

Anyone For High Tea?

Dontcha just want to dip a finger...or hand...or face...into that creamy butter?

I have always had a fascination with anything originating in the U.K. I have a habit of talking in British and Scottish accents (don’t ask; I have no idea why and yes, I do it rather well actually 😛 ), I love royal weddings & yes, I watched the weddings of Charles and Diana, Andrew and Fergie and I loved watching William and Catherine get married (is it just me or are they totally adorable? I just want to hug them both and invite them over to play board games and eat junk food.).

I also have a fascination with many of the foods of the British isles. Mind you, you’re not going to find say, haggis, posted here anytime soon (ok never) but there are, contrary to popular belief, many good foods that come from that area of the world as well as many traditions surrounding the food. One of my favorites has always been the idea of Afternoon tea or High Tea as we Americans tend to think of it.

So from today through the rest of this weekend (Sunday) I am going to do dishes that would be perfect for an afternoon tea. Scones, muffins, a cupcake or twelve, tea sandwiches, sweet condiments to spread on them as well as a couple of coffee drinks and a flavored tea or two. If I gain ten pounds over the next few days, know that I have made this noble sacrifice all out of a deep love for all of you.

I’m just posting one today cause life is in the middle of intruding lol. But what a one it is. Tender orange Scones with a sweet orange butter to spread on them. Serve these with a nice hot cup of tea (ok, I supppoooseeeeee you coffee drinkers can have some coffee 😛 ) and make sure you stick your pinkie finger out and you must, you absolutely must, talk in a British accent. It’s the law. This is loosely adapted from a recipe I found years back on when it was still


  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • zest from one large orange
  • 1/3 cup butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup mandarin orange segments, well drained
  • 1 6 ounce container regular (not sugar free/fat free) vanilla yogurt
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • sugar to sprinkle on top
  • 1/2 cup butter,softened
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and orange zest. Cut in the 1/3 cup cold butter with a pastry blender until the dough forms coarse crumbs. Add the orange segments, yogurt and egg. Stir with fork just until mixture forms a soft dough. This is a very soft very sticky dough so be ready for that. Don’t try and add a ton more flour to make a firm dense dough or you will end up with tough dense scones. Dump onto a board or counter lightly sprinkled with flour and knead about a dozen times. Now go wash your hands because you will have soft goopy dough all over them :-P.  Take the dough and put it on the greased cookie sheet. Using SLIGHTLY damp hands, pat into a circle. Sprinkle with sugar. Cut into 8 wedges and bake at 400 until golden brown and firm to the touch about 22 minutes. Please keep that “ovens are different and annoying” thing in mind when baking. MY oven took 22. Yours may take 25; it may take 19. Go by color and touch more than time.
  3. To make the butter, just beat the butter ingredients together.
  4. Get a scone… slather it with so much butter it drips down your chin. Please tell me it’s not only me that does that. I’ll really feel foolish. Ehhh, no I won’t. 😀

On A Wing And A Prayer

Back in 19…well, 19 something and lets just leave it at that shall we, I worked at T.J. Applebees which was the name the restaurant now known as Applebees went by back in the day. One of the Friday night specials they had was ten cent wings. Yes, ten cents. Now of course you feel blessed if you can find somewhere that does wings for 50 cents. But that’s neither here nor there. You don’t want me to get started on a rant over the state of the economy and how difficult it is for a person to get an inexpensive wings fix now do you?

I want to know who decided wings were trendy. I mean really? Wings? They have about 2 ounces of meat and that’s if you find a nice meaty one from a chicken who had weight issues and needed lap band surgery. Couldn’t the “theys” that decide these things have made drumsticks a fad instead? I don’t like drumsticks. I could have had a whole flock of wings all to myself.

The problem with wings (other than the now exorbitant price) is that up until fairly recently they came in three flavors:  mild, medium and “omg, I no longer have lips”. While I love me a good hot wing and have been known to court tongue blisters many times, I tend to crave variety. Mind you, even my variety tends to have some heat to it but it’s not of the Franks Red Hot Sauce kind (I do love that stuff though). So when I made wings for dinner last night, I wanted to try something different. I love Orange chicken but it is usually cloyingly sweet and has no bite to it at all. I also love Chipotle peppers but they have been done to death. So I played around and made my own fusion of the two flavors. I of course also had to use the glaze on boneless skinless chicken breasts because my husband won’t eat wings. Did I mention that I love him in spite of his obvious flaws? But… it worked well on the breast too though it was difficult getting them glazed well without a skin for it to stick to. If I do that again, I will marinade the breasts for some time before cooking them.

But if you like wings (or chicken breasts or any part of the feathered creature actually, especially the lips) or you like a bit of citrusy (yes, that is now a word) heat you may like these. They are sticky, sweet, spicy and with the tang of citrus.


  1. 4 lbs chicken wings (whole, pieces; doesn’t matter. Use what you like)
  2. 1 12 ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate
  3. 1 7 ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I used 5 peppers and some sauce)
  4. 1 cup honey
  5. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  6. 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  7. 1 teaspoon onion powder
  8. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  9. zest from one orange
  10. 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • First, if you’ve decided to do this with boneless skinless breasts, I suggest putting the chicken and the marinade/glaze in a large plastic bag and letting it marinade for up to 24 hours. Otherwise, just continue as instructed.
  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Put your wings in a single layer (or as close to it as you can get) in a large baking pan and put into the oven while you make the glaze.  This is to help render some of the excess fat off for obvious reasons and so it doesn’t thin out the glaze too much.
  • Take the rest of your ingredients and dump them into the blender or the bowl of a food processor.   Like I wrote in the ingredients, I used five peppers and some sauce in mine. If you are heat averse (you poor soul) use less. If you really like your heat, use more. I would have rated this about a 4. Next time, I will use more peppers.
  • Process this up until it is a nice puree. You may still have some small bits of peppers. That’s no problem.
  • After your wings have been in the oven for 30 minutes, turn the oven up to 400 and take the wings out. Drain off all the fat and pour your glaze over them. Turn them to coat both sides. Cook for about another 30 to 45 minutes until they are nicely glazed (you may want to turn them once more during cooking) and cooked through. Before you take them out, you can turn the oven to broil and put the wings under there to crisp up the skin a little.
  • If you have any extra sauce in the pan, it’s great over rice. Now go… shoo… cook some wings.