Archive for August, 2012

August 31st, 2012

Kitchen Talk: What to Bring to a Picnic

Can you believe it’s Labor Day weekend already –  the lazy days of summer are gone!  Hopefully you have plans to make the most of this long weekend.    Going to get together with friends and family?  Here’s a few of our favorites for picnics and potlucks to make it a totally delicious weekend! 


What to Bring to a Picnic



Tortellini Skewers
Chicken Salad Cups
Roasted Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tarts
Creamy Parmesan Ranch Dip
Meatball Sliders
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Chipolte Black Bean Dip
Restaurant Style Salsa
Mango Pineapple Salsa
Pepper Blend Cheese Ball
Easiest Ever Appetizer




Salad on a Stick
Watermelon, Arugula and Feta Salad Wedges
Black Bean Confetti Salad
Favorite Spinach Salad
Layered Tortellini and Spinach Salad

Red Hot & Blue Style Potato Salad
Roasted Pepper Pasta Salad
Chicken Pasta Salad
Bacon Fried Corn
Cheddar Zucchini Pie
Baked Beans
Squash Bake




Raspberry lemonade
Brazilian lemonade




S’more Cake
Picnic Cake
Texas Sheet Cake
Blonde Texas Sheet Cake
Peanut Butter Fudge Cake
Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
Coconut Bread
Sugar Cookie Bars
Monkey Bars
Frosted Peanut Butter Bars
Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Bars
Chewy Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate Chips and Coconut
Snickerdoodle Brownies
Butterscotch Brownies with Brown Sugar Frosting
Chocolate Chip Blondies
Fresh Peach Pie
Fresh Strawberry Pie
Rhubarb Pie



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August 30th, 2012

Chewy Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate Chips and Coconut

Labor Day is upon us. What big plans do you have for the weekend?  We plan to get as much time as we can at our local pool before it closes on Monday.  Labor Day weekend seems to always be full of BBQs and picnics.  And if you are to contribute a dessert to share, this one is for you.  These bars are so easy.  They are full of delicious flavors.  What could be better than peanut butter and chocolate?  Adding coconut into the mix of course.  And to make them even better you can make them up the day before.   

Chewy Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate Chips and Coconut


1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold butter


2 eggs
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350.   In a bowl, combine flour and sugar; cut in the butter until crumbly.  Press into a greased 13×9 baking pan.  Bake 14-16 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, corn syrup, sugar, peanut butter and salt until smooth.  Fold in the coconut and chocolate chips.  Pour over crust.  Bake 15-20 minutes longer or until golden.  Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

*Recipe from Taste of Home Winning Recipes Cookbook.

August 29th, 2012

Bacon Fried Corn



Bacon Fried Corn – need we say more??

Yesterday we shared a fun and easy method of shucking corn using your microwave.  Of course you need a good reason to try it out . . . what better inspiration could you have than this Southern favorite?  Fresh sweet corn off the cob fried in a mix of bacon drippings and butter until nicely browned- then topped with crumbled bacon.  Who can resist? 


Bacon Fried Corn


12 ears fresh corn
8 bacon slices
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper


Remove and husks and silks from corn.  {see Easy Method here}  Cut off tips of corn kernels into a large bowl; scrape milk and remaining pulp from cob with a paring knife.


Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove bacon, reserving 3 tablespoons drippings in skillet. 

Cook corn, butter and next 3 ingredients in bacon drippings over medium to medium-high heat 20-25 minutes or until liquid is reduced out and corn is lightly browned, stirring often.  (The corn will begin to brown when the liquid is gone- be patient.)  Spoon corn into serving dish and crumble bacon on top.  You can mix the bacon in, but it stays crispier if you serve it on top.


Recipe adapted from Southern Living Home Cooking Favorites


August 28th, 2012

Kitchen Talk: Easiest Way to Shuck Corn . . . Use Your Microwave



Fresh corn is something we  look  forward to all summer long; but when it comes to shucking the corn there seems to be an absence of volunteers at my house . . . that messy silk gets every where and sticks to everything!  

Recently I came across this fun method to clean the corn from those brilliant cooks at America’s Test Kitchen {my dream job-  to play in a state of the art kitchen complete with every kitchen gadget imaginable . . . }  They call it the “Nuke and Shake” Method {cute}.  The secret is in creating just enough steam in the husk to let the corn just slip out- husk free, silk free {yipee}.

This method works so fast and so easy, I wished I known about it years ago!   And of course I want to share it with you- maybe we’ll even have another fresh corn recipe or two {hint} coming up in the next few days!

Give it a try- you’ll soon have all your kids volunteering to clean the corn.  Of course you’ll have to do the cutting part yourself, but they will love “shaking” those ears of corn out of the husks!


Easiest Way to Shuck Corn


Step 1:

Cut the corn at the bottom stock end about 1 inch above the kernels.



Step 2

Place the corn on a plate and microwave on high for 2 – 3 minutes. 


Step 3

Grab the corn by the uncut end and shake and squeeze.  Corn will slip out husk free, silk free.   Be careful, the corn is hot- you might need to use a towel.


How easy is that?? 

Note:  If you want to just shuck the corn usually 2 – 2 1/2 minutes works great.  If you want to cook the corn to eat off the cob, cook 3-4 minutes.  Cooking time varies depending on the freshness of the corn and how you like it cooked.  If the corn is sweet it doesn’t need much cook time- I remember as kids picking sweet corn out of the field and eating it right off the cob with no cooking needed!


Try this method with these delicious fresh corn recipes-

Cornmeal, Jalapeño, and Fresh Corn Scones
Black Bean Confetti Salad
Bacon Fried Corn
Fresh Corn Chowder with Chicken and Roasted Pepper



August 27th, 2012

Orange Cream Smoothie

This is truly a simple and refreshing drink that pairs well with any breakfast or brunch.  Because well, sometimes we just need to change it up.  Something different that juice.  If serving to a crowd you will need to double or even triple the recipe.

Orange Cream Smoothie


6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup cold water
1 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
10 ice cubes


Combine the first five ingredients in a blender; cover and process at high speed. Add ice cubes and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Note: I have kept this in the fridge overnight, it separates. If you shake it up in a container really well it is still delicious. I would not, however, serve it to guests.

*Recipe from Taste of Home Winning Recipes Cookbook.


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Caramel Potatoes

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