strawberry dessert cups

Recipes from Our Oshkosh, Wisconsin B&B

New recipes from our Oshkosh, Wisconsin B&B are posted each Friday morning!

Blue Cheese Stuffed Candied Pecans

I have never been a big Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola fan, but I love the the pairings of sweet and salty together. A few weeks back we hosted a wine tasting gathering for a local business. Working with Gardinas we came up with some great wine and cheese pairings. They provided this wonderful Blue Cheese that wasn’t as sharp as I had sampled in the past. It almost had some sweet undertones to it. So, I tried using it again with this recipe and it really paid off. I will warn you though that these candied pecans with blue cheese are a tad bit addicting.  Its hard to have just one. I am planning on serving these at our next Holiday Party.

Blue Cheese stuffed pecansBlue Cheese Stuffed Candied Pecans

100 large pecan halves(perfectly shaped), 2 TB butter, 1/4 C honey, 1/4 C sugar, pinch of sea salt, 1/4 tsp. cracked pepper, 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/8 tsp. curry powder, 1/2 C sour cream, and 1 C crumbled blue cheese at room temp.

First, prepare the pecans. Make sure your pecan halves are perfect. Keep the broken ones for another time. Spread them in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Watch carefully, so they do not burn. White pecans are baking, melt butter and honey in a saucepan. When pecans are done baking, add to honey mixture, stirring until coated. Cool completely!

Combine sugar, salt, pepper, cayenne and curry powder in a large bowl. With a slotted spoon, remove pecans and place in the sugar mixture, tossing to coat.

Mix the blue cheese and sour cream until creamy. Using pastry bag(much easier), pipe the blue cheese mixture onto the flat side of one pecan. Top with another pecan and smooth out the edges. Serve right away, so you don’t eat them faster than you serve them.

Thanks ztastylife.com for the inspiration.

Mashed Potato Pancakes

I have never been one to make a good potato pancake. In fact, its been a work in progress for me. However, when I saw this recipe, I had to get my hands on it and turn it into my own.  It couldn’t be any easier and any more delicious! Now, the key here is to have left over mashed potatoes. No leftovers? That is okay. I made a few of these up ahead of time, put them in the freezer and set them out in the morning to thaw and fried them up an hour later. It worked like a charm. In fact, you couldn’t tell the difference between the fresh and frozen.  I don’t think instant potatoes will work, but  hey, you can give it a shot and let me know. You want them to be thick, yet fluffy.

First off, you need a good mashed potato recipe. I typically only share my breakfast, dessert and appetizer recipes, but since you need mashed potatoes, I don’t think my Grandma will mind if I share this family secret.

Mashed Potatoes – feeds 6 generously

5# potatoes, 1 8 oz block of cream cheese, 1 C sour cream, 2 TB butter, 1 tsp. onion powder, and salt and pepper to taste.

Peel potatoes. Boil. Mash potatoes. Whip Potatoes. Add rest of ingredients and whip well again until thick and creamy.

Put in a casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes. ( Keeps up to 2 weeks in refrigerator before baking and freezes well too)

Mashed Potato Pancakes – 12 mini pancakes mashed potato pancakes

3 C mashed potatoes, 2/3 C shredded cheddar cheese,  2 TB chopped onions, 1 egg lightly beaten, 3 TB flour, plus more for dipping,  Tsp. garlic powder, vegetable oil(for frying) and sour cream(garnish)

In a large bowl, stir together the mashed potatoes, cheese, onions, egg and 3 TB flour until combined. Roll each portion into a ball and then flatten it into a 1/2″ thick pancake. I kept mine the size of a lid of a can.

In a shallow dish, add enough flour to coat 12 pancakes. Dredge each mashed potato pancake in flour.

Heat vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. I added enough to coat the bottom of the pan plus some. Fry the pancakes, flipping only once making sure that the get nice and brown on each side. Don’t flip too soon though, otherwise they won’t heat all the way through and they may fall apart. Transfer pancakes to a paper towel lined plate.

Sprinkle with a little Sea salt, a dollop sour cream and chives.

Adapted recipe from justataste.com

 

Asparagus Strata

This asparagus strata was inspired by these pretty singular casseroles that I found the other day. I get asked this question a lot. What is the difference between a strata and a frittata?  Well a a frittata is an open faced omelet that has fillings such as cheese, meat, veggies that is blended into the egg mixture instead of being added to the top. A strata is more of a casserole type item by pouring the egg and milk over the bread, cheese, meat and/or veggies. Stratas  are usually left in the refrigerator over night as well so the bread soaks up all the egg and milk goodness. I made this for one, but if you have a smaller appetite, this could easily work for two people.

Asparagus Strata – Serves 1-2asparagus strata

3 slices prosciutto, 3 asparagus stalks(ends cut), 2 eggs, chives, any leftover artisan bread( 3 thick slices), salt, pepper, butter, Havarti, Swiss or Fontina cheese(shredded), 1/2 tsp. horseradish and half and half.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a small casserole dish. Lay 1-2 slices of bread on the butter of the casserole dish. It is okay that it heaves over the sides.

Whisk together eggs, horseradish and half and half. Stir in half of the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg  mixture over the bread, saving about 1/4 C. Layer the prosciutto over the bread and then lay the asparagus over the prosciutto or wrap the prosciutto around the asparagus (whatever you prefer). Pour the remaining egg mixture over the asparagus and top with the rest of the cheese. Bake immediately or put in the refrigerator overnight.

Bake until just set about 30 minutes. sprinkle with chives and paprika for added color.

Fig and Blue Cheese Bites

These Fig and Blue Cheese Bites were actually an inspiration from one of our favorite restaurants here in town called Gardinas. Scott and I have changed up our diet as of about 6 weeks ago (story at another time) so we have gone out of our comfort zone and have tried some unique dishes as of recent. The other night we were out and had ordered Gardinas Fig flat bread. We were in love with the first bite and wanted to try to recreate it at home.

Of course Gardinas is a heck of a lot better, but I don’t think we did half bad. We did add some prosciutto ham but I don’t think I would again. It doesn’t really need it. If you are craving a little protein though, this would do the trick. We also used a baking stone, but if you don’t have, I think it would turn out just fine.

Ingredients: Store bough pizza dough, fig spread(found in the deli section), dried figs, Blue Cheese, and prosciutto(optional).

fig bites2

Fig and Blue Cheese Bites 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. I used a round pizza stone. Put it in your oven while the the oven is preheating. Once you get 450 degrees, leave pizza stone in the oven for 30 additional minutes. In the meantime, stretch your dough on a piece of parchment paper to the size you want it. It will raise in the oven, so stretch it out good. Spread on the fig jam. Here you will add prosciutto if you desire. If not, cut figs in half or in quarters and sprinkle them on your pizza. Sprinkle on Blue Cheese.

Slice the parchment paper and dough onto your pizza stone. Turn down oven to 400 degrees and bake for 15 minutes. Watch carefully. Once done, we added a little balsamic glaze to the top of the pizza. Cut and serve. We served ours with Hughes Chocolates and some crackers.

Broccoli and Bacon Mini Quiches

These mini broccoli and bacon quiches are so cute and tasty. I mean who doesn’t like anything that is mini, right? This recipe is for 2 servings, so you can share or make them both and have the other for lunch or dinner or even the following day.

I love making quiche but this time of year when we are a little slower, sometimes I only have 1 or 2 at the breakfast table, especially during the week. I had mini aluminium pie tins which were fine, but when I found these beauties about a month ago, they looked good enough to plate up. I have also tried some of my other quiche recipes in these single serve cuties and they have turned out great. Just remember to adjust your quantities on the ingredients.

Broccoli and Bacon Mini Quiches – Serves 2 broccoli bacon mini quiche

1/2 C fresh broccoli, chopped, 1/2 C shredded Swiss, 2 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled, 2 eggs, 1/2 C half and half, pinch of salt, pepper, garlic powder and horseradish.

Divide broccoli, cheese and bacon between two mini pie plates greased lightly. In a small bowl whisk the eggs, half and half, salt, pepper, garlic and horseradish. Pour over broccoli. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered for about 20 minutes.

Pumpkin Creme Brule

Its Thanksgiving month. what do you expect? Your going to get pumpkin recipes from me. I will try not to do it all month though, because as hard as it is for me to believe, I have found some non loving pumpkin people out there. I know, absurd! I don’t understand it either. However, for all you other pumpkin lover fans like myself, here is another for you. It tastes like pumpkin pie, but without the crust and a little more crunch with the toasted pecans on top. It literally is heaven in your mouth. I got this recipe from a Taste of Home magazine about 15 years ago, so you know its got to be good.

pumpkin creme brulePumpkin Creme Brule – Serves 4

1 can(15oz) of pumpkin, 2 eggs, , 1 C half and half, 2/3 C brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp. salt

Topping – 1/4 C brown sugar, 1/4 C chopped pecans, 1 T melted butter, whipped cream and cinnamon is optional but I think its a must.

In a large bowl, combine all your ingredients except the topping ingredients. Beat until smooth. Pour into four greased 8 oz. custard cups. Place filled custard cups into a 13×9″ pan. Pour hot water around the cups up to 1″. Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

While the creme brule is baking, mix topping ingredients together. Sprinkle over the custard when done baking. Then, bake an additional 30 minutes. Serve warm if you can, otherwise room temp is great too with some whipped cream and cinnamon.

Pumpkin Tiramisu

Tis the season for pumpkin. This pumpkin tiramisu sounds scary to make, but actually its pretty darn easy. Just give it 24 hours to chill and you have yourself a dessert that looks like it took hours to make. Don’t like that coffee flavor in tiramisu? You are in luck, since there isn’t in ounce of coffee in this recipe. I have  played around with this recipe for years trying different fillings for seasonal tiramisus like cherry for Valentines Day, or mint for St. Patricks Day, but pumpkin is my favorite.

pumpkin tiramisuPumpkin Tiramisu – Serves 8 large servings

1 can pumpkin, 1/2 C brown sugar, 1 TB, cocoa powder, 3/4 C sugar, 1 tsp, pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp. vanilla, chocolate graham crackers, 3 (8oz) cream cheese blocks, and 2 TB half an half.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin, half and half, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla until creamy.

Lay graham crackers in a oblong 4 qt. casserole pan. You may have to break pieces to get them to fit. Spread a quarter of the pumpkin mixture over crackers. Layer 3 or more graham crackers over pumpkin mixture, 2 more times, ending with pumpkin mixture. Cover and chill overnight. In the morning, cut into squares and dust with cocoa powder.

Blooming Apple with Homemade Caramel Sauce

Recipes such as this blooming apple and home made caramel sauce really makes me think of fall, so I figured this would be the perfect time to post this.  So, lucky for you, two recipes in one this week. The blooming apple recipe I found on Pinterest and thought that it was rather genius. They made it sound like it would just fall and be beautiful while baking, but it doesn’t quite work out that way. Also, I should add, I have been asked if I feel guilty posting recipes I find intriguing on Pinterest. My reply is absolutely not!  I give credit where I find it and besides, I have said this before, but I feel it is my obligation to report back to you on the recipes you may have wondered about making yourself.

As for the caramel recipe, I have been making this for years. I used it on the blooming apple, but I have also used it as an ice cream topping, caramel bars, and a drizzle for caramel apples. With that said, it does not set up like a caramel apple would, which is why I use it as a drizzle.

caramelCaramel Sauce – 4 Cups

2 C sugar, 3/4 C butter, 2 C whipping cream, 1 C light corn syrup, 1/2 salt and 1 tsp. vanilla

Heat all ingredients except salt and vanilla to boiling in a 2 qt. or larger double boiler over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once ingredients are incorporated, turn heat down slightly and boil for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is a dark amber color.

Stir in Vanilla and salt. Serve right away warm or store in the refrigerator  and heat up when needed. Will keep a couple of  months in the refrigerator.

blooming appleBlooming Apple – serves 2

2 large honey crisp apples or something sweet and tart at the same, 3 TB brown sugar, 4 caramels, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tb flour and 2 tb butter.

Slice 1/4 top horizontally off the top of the apple. Scoop out the core with a melon ball or small teaspoon. Then use a thin knife to make two deep circular cuts around the center of the apple. Next, turn the apple over and  make narrow cuts all the way around the apple. flip it back over and add unwrapped caramel to the center.

Heat butter and brown sugar in the microwave just until melted roughly 30 seconds. Stir and heat more if necessary. Remove from microwave and stir in flour and cinnamon. Divide mixture over the top of the two sliced apples. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and use a large spoon to move the apple from the pan to a plate or bowl. You may have to help spread the apple slices out. I drizzled mine caramel sauce and added whipped cream and cinnamon but ice cream would be good too for a dessert.

I am including the website  where I got the blooming apple from since they do a great job of showing how to cut the apple if you need.

Gingersnap Pears

This gingersnap pear recipe is great in the summer but the pears are so juicy right now, I just can’t resist. If you find that the pears are not to your liking in the store, canned pears work just as well too. Not a fan of gingersnaps? I am  not really either so sometimes I use graham cracker crumbs, depending what I have in the pantry. Two different flavors, but same concept. This recipe will serve 6 generously using a 6 oz. ramekin. If you don’t have, use an 8×8 pan and scoop into dessert cups when done baking.

Gingersnap Pears – serves 6

6 large pears peeled and diced or 2 large cans of diced pears, 1/4 C melted butter, 1 C graham cracker crumbs or crushed ginger snaps, 1 TB flour, whipped cream.

Put your diced pears into a bowl. Sprinkle flour over the top and stir gently. Add pears to ramekins.

Mix melted butter with graham crumbs or crushed gingersnaps. Sprinkle over pears.

Bake 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Top with Whipped Cream and sprinkle some cinnamon, or pumpkin pie spice over the top and enjoy.

 

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

This carrot cake oatmeal is the perfect recipe for this time of year when you the whether starts to chill and something hearty but something just slightly sweet is just what you are craving. I have made this with gluten free oatmeal and also with quick oats and you can’t even tell the difference. Feel free to add extra cinnamon, brown sugar, honey or maple syrup to make this the sweetness you desire. Served with a side of peppered bacon and some yogurt makes this the perfect fall breakfast.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal – serves 1 carrot cake oatmeal2

1 small carrot shredded (about 1/4 C), 1 C hot water, 1/3 C quick oats or gluten free oatmeal, 1 TB raisins, 1 TB shredded coconut, 2 TB candied walnuts, 1 tsp. cinnamon, a dash each of nutmeg, ginger, ground cloves, and sea salt, 2 Tb brown sugar, 1 TB honey, 1 tsp. maple syrup, 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 2 TB half and half or skim milk.

Add shredded carrot and water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir for a few minutes. Once the carrots have softened, add the oats, raisin, coconut, 1 TB walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and sea salt. Cook until the oats have absorbed  the liquid, about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and add honey, maple syrup and vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and add half and half or skim milk and the rest of your walnuts.

The half and half gives it a much creamier taste, but if you are trying to cut back on calories the skim milk is great as well.

The picture shows bananas on top. I got confused. I also make a banana bread oatmeal and put these on top by mistake. Oops.

Apples, Sauteed

Apple

I just love the smell of apples this time of year. Sauteed apples, apple cider, crisp, applesauce, pies, I could go on and on. I just don’t get sick them. This sauteed apple recipe that I want to share with you can be used for so many things. Sometimes I just use it as a side dish like the picture shows or sometimes I will make a batch and and layer them over my apple pie french toast, or serve them with pork chops with my family. Either way, you can’t go wrong since they are so easy to make. 

I have included some of the links to past recipes that I have posted for your convenience.

Sauteed Apples – Serves 2 apples, sauteed

1/8 C butter, 2 apples(diced big or sliced hearty) 1 tsp. cornstarch, 1/4 C cold water, 1/4 C brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add apples. Cook and stir constantly for about 5 minutes.

Dissolve cornstarch in water and add to skillet with apples. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. Boil for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep on low with a cover on skillet until thick and gooey.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

carrot cake cupcakes2These carrot cake cupcakes are not only cute, 3 bite size(it only takes 3 bites to eat the whole thing) but darn right delicious. This recipe isn’t really new since I published my carrot cake recipe a few years ago, but the concept is a little different. I love my carrot cake recipe, however it makes a lot of cake. There is nothing wrong with leftovers since my friends don’t mind when I share, but I really like making things that people can just pick up and eat. That is exactly what happened last weekend too. These little devils walked right out the door with everyone so they are so easy to eat.

So, with that being said, see my carrot cake recipe here, but instead of making layers of cake, pour batter into paper lined standard muffin tins almost full.  Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Let them cool completely!

Once cool, slice cupcakes in half and spread your favorite cream cheese frosting in the middle. Put top back on cupcake and add more frosting to the top. sprinkle with pecans or walnuts (whatever you used) and gobble up.

My cream cheese frosting recipe-

1 block of cream cheese, 4 TB butter and 1 C powdered sugar. Whip until creamy. That’s it!

Cinnamon Chip Bars

These cinnamon chip bars are my first fall recipe, though I am pretty sure they would be tolerated year round. I fell in love with cinnamon chips when I started making my famous cinnamon chip coffee cake and having been trying to use these decadent little chips more. These are Pinterest inspired and I don’t feel bad at all saying that. I’ve said before and I will say again, I feel it is my obligation to try out as many recipes as possible and report back to you on all recipe I decide to keep in my rotation at the inn. I hope you enjoy. Our guests, my family and friends did as well.

Cinnamon Chip Bars- Serves 12 cinnamon chip bars

1 egg, 1 C flour, 1 C brown sugar, 1 TB cinnamon, 1 bag (10oz) cinnamon chips, 1 TB vanilla, 2 C butter and white chocolate (melted, I used white chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 pan with  non stick spray.

In a large microwaveable bowl, melt butter. Add brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir. Whisk egg and blend in bowl. Add flour and stir until just combined. Stir in 3/4 of the bag of cinnamon chips.

Pour batter into pan and smooth the top. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow bars to cool while you are preparing the white chocolate frosting. I melted mine in a double boiler, but if you feel comfortable doing it in the microwave, go for it. Just remember to keep stirring it every 30 seconds, because it will burn.

Smooth the white chocolate  over the bars and sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon chips over the top. Wait until the bars are cooled completely before cutting.

 

Sugar Cookie Brownies

I usually only make sugar cookies around Christmas, but once in a while my daughter will get the craving and ask me for them before the season. So, I decided to switch it up a bit and try making a sugar cookie brownie. Here is the results.

Sugar Cookie browniesSugar Cookie Brownies

1/2 C butter, 1 (12oz) bag of white chocolate chip, 1 1/4 C flour, 3/4 C sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt, and 3 eggs

Frosting – 3 C powdered sugar, 6 TB butter, softened, 1 tsp.vanilla, 1/2 tsp. almond extract and milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8×10 or smaller pan (thicker brownies), and then sprinkle with flour.

Melt butter and white chocolate chips over low heat, stirring frequently. The mixture will seem lumpy but that is okay as long as all your chips are melted. When cooled slightly, stir in flour, sugar, vanilla, salt and eggs until well blended. Spread evenly in your pan of choice. Bake for 30 minutes and cool completely!

For the frosting, mix all the ingredients together until smooth. Add a little milk at a time to get to the consistency that you like. If you like more of a glaze rather than frosting, add more milk. It will be less sweet this way.

Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookie Dough Bites

I found these chocolate chip brownie cookie dough bites on Pinterest and they caught my eye. They are super easy to make but a bit putzy. You either need to have the time or work on them in stages throughout your day(s). Needless to say, they are quite tasty and look impressive. Mine turned out a bit large but no one complained.

cookie dough bites 2 (1)Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookie Dough Bites -Depending how big you make them, I got 12 and had left over cookie dough which is in my freezer for when I feel naughty or decide to bake it.

3/4 C butter, softened, 3/4 C brown sugar, 1/4 sugar, 2 TB  milk, 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 C flour, dash of salt, 2 C mini chocolate chips, 1 package of fudge brownie mix- has to be fudge! (baked and cooled) and 1 package of melting chocolate.

First,  make the cookie dough. Beat the butter and sugars together until creamy. Add milk and vanilla. Beat to combine. Beat in flour and salt. Stir in 1 C of mini chocolate chips.

On a foil lined baking sheet, drop rounded balls of cookie dough on the pan. ( This is where I made a mistake) Don’t  make too big. They will look small, but trust me, go smaller like tsp. size. Freeze the cookie dough balls for at least an one hour.

Bake brownies as directed. Once cooled cut into squares. You don’t have to be exact. One the cookie dough is frozen, pull out of freezer. Take a brownie square and wrap it around the cookie dough until surrounded. As you can see, it ball gets bigger. Once they are all covered, return to freezer for at least 30 more minutes. Longer is better though.

Prepare melting chocolate in a double boiler. I used Ghiradelli dark chocolate squares. Dip brownie bites into chocolate  and sprinkle with remaining mini chocolate chips. Store in the fridge until ready to enjoy.

Southwestern Quiche -Vegetarian

This Southwestern quiche is an oldie but goody. I am not sure if you noticed, but it has been a couple weeks since I have posted a recipe and even longer since posting what is going on in Oshkosh. We have been crazy busy, so thank you for that, but it has left me a bit behind in my blogging duties. I just have not had the time to try new recipes or come up with anything, so please forgive me. I think you will like this recipe though.  It has a little zip and great garden goodness.

 Southwestern Quiche – Severs 6-8 southwestern quiche

6 eggs, 1 tsp. salt and pepper, 1 1/2 C shredded hash browns (thawed), 1/2 C diced red pepper, 1/2 C sweet corn or canned or frozen, 2 green onions thinly sliced, 2 TB chopped cilantro, 1/4 C pepperjack cheese, shredded, 1/2 C shredded cheddar, and 1/2 C milk.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a pie pan. Whisk 1 egg with a dash of salt and pepper. Stir in thawed, shredded hashbrowns. Put potato mixture in the greased pie pan. Press down to form a crust. Bake 15 minutes.

After baking sprinkle crust with diced red pepper, corn, green onion and cilantro. Top with cheeses.

Whisk together remaining eggs, milk, remaining salt and pepper. Pour over vegetables and bake 25 minutes.

 

Bagel and Lox Benedict (vegetarian)

Bagel and Lox Benedict 

Bagel and Lox Benedict

1 Everything bagel, 2 slices of thinly sliced smoked salmon, 2 slices of thin red onion, 2 poached eggs.

Lemon-Caper Sauce

1/2 C vegetable broth, 1 Tb cornstarch, 1/3 C sour cream, 1 TB lemon juice, 1 1/2 TB drained capers, salt and pepper and dill.

Separate bagel into 2 halves and toast lightly. Put 2 bagel halves on a place and top each with onion and salmon slice. Place egg on each half.

For lemon caper sauce- whisk broth and cornstarch until smooth in a sauce pan. On med. heat stir until boiling a few minutes. Whisk in sour cream, lemon juice and capers. Stir frequently for a few minutes until steaming. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over egg and garnish with dill.

Caramel Pecan Coffee Cake

I was thinking about saving this Caramel Pecan Coffee Cake recipe and posting it this Autumn since it is one of those decadent, rich and just plain melt in your mouth types of desserts or a side of deliciousness that I serve for with a breakfast entree. However, I have had so many people ask for the recipe, that I did not want to hold off.

Caramel Pecan Coffee CakeCaramel Pecan Coffee Cake – Serves 10 generously

1 1/2 C butter softened, 2 C brown sugar, 1 C sugar, 5 eggs, 3 C flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 C half and half, 1 8oz bag of toffee chips and 1 C crushed pecans.

Caramel sauce – 14oz condensed milk, 1 C brown sugar, 2 TB butter and 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray an 11×7 or 13×9 (my preference)  casserole dish.

In a large mixing bowl (preferably a stand alone with paddle), beat butter until creamy. Add sugars and beat until fluffy. Add eggs.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Alternate flour mixture with half and half as it helps to blend better. Once combined, stir in toffee bits and pecans. Pour batter into your pan and bake 60-75 minutes or until done. You may want to cover cake towards the end so it does not burn.

Caramel Sauce directions -

Combine condensed milk and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to boil, whisking constantly so it does not burn. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Stir until combined. Immediately drizzle caramel sauce over cake.

Once cooled, run a knife around the edges and flip upside down onto wax paper. Spoon glaze over the top. The glaze will thicken as it cools.

Appetizer board

happy hour boardI could think of a lot of other creative names to call this besides our appetizer board, but I wanted to a make it easy to find for anyone looking for a variety of appetizers. I like to think of this as our happy hour platter personally. We always do a wine and cheese social on Friday and Saturday evenings from 5:00-6:00. The variety of the wine and cheese always changes depending what is in season, or what I have a taste for. This past weekend we had a large group at the inn and I wasn’t sure how many were going to join us. There were so many great festivities going on in town so either everyone would want to come back and enjoy a break or couldn’t break away, so I made enough for everyone but only a few us were able to enjoy it. That’s okay, more for us.

So on the platter I added some green and red grapes. Made some home made guacamole served with blue organic tortilla chips,  homemade red pepper hummus ( I have listed this recipe before, so just click on the link) served with pita chips and  then I made some little tartlets from a Pillsbury pie crust and added a variety of fillings. Recipes below.

Chunky Guacamole – 1 1/2 C

2 avocados, 1/4 C red onion, handful of cherry tomatoes, pinch of horseradish, tsp. minced garlic, 1/4 bunch of cilantro, splash of lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  Add all ingredients to a food processor and chop until mixed but large chunks are still appear.

Tartlets – serves 12

1 Pillsbury pie crust. Cut out circles that fit into a mini muffin pan and bake for approx 12 minutes. Pop out and add whatever ingredients you like. Different ideas that I tried are below.

Red grapes, cut in half with feta cheese sprinkled over.

Fresh raspberries with Greek yogurt flavored with cinnamon and honey.

Sliced pears with Gruyere cheese and applesauce

Prosciutto with fresh mozzarella and fresh basil leaves.

You can also add the guacamole and hummus into the tartlets as well. Have fun creating your own variations.

 

 

Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa

This is the first year in 14 years that I was not able to get out and go strawberry picking. Although disappointing, the selection at the downtown Oshkosh Saturday Farmers Market has been outstanding. Last weekend I had an abundance of strawberries, so I whipped up some strawberry jalapeno salsa for our wine and cheese extravaganza that we have each weekend. I can’t really tell you how much of anything I added, as I just threw it together, taste tested and added a little more of this and that, so its kind of guess. So, that being said,  you can make as spicy as you want to leave out any ingredients that don’t fit your tastes. As much as I enjoyed this, I think it would be fun to add a little peach, or mango or even pineapple. Mmm, that makes me think that  maybe this weekend, I will bring back my pineapple salsa.

 

Strawberry Salsa – 2 cups Strawberry Jalepeno Salsa

Strawberries (around 25 chopped), 1/4 C red onion diced, a small bunch of cilantro, chopped, 1 jalapeno, without seeds, chopped, TB lime juice, maybe a little more, black pepper, and a TB sugar.

Add all ingredients together and serve right away. The next day, it was pretty mushy, so don’t make too far in advance.

Bacon Ranch Cheddar Quiche

Bacon Ranch Cheddar Quiche, made with love especially for one guest in particular. I going to pick on one of our past guests for a moment. You know who you are if you reading this. You made me laugh though and gave me a great challenge. I look forward to seeing you again next year.

She emails me a few days before arriving and gives me a list of items that she does not like. She also says that she would like a quiche but that it should be mild. Hmmmm. Okay….We have a winner. If you don’t believe, just ask her.

Bacon Ranch Cheddar Quiche -Serves 6-8 bacon ranch cheddar quiche

One 9″ pie crust, 5 oz (approx) of bacon cooked and chopped in pieces, 1 1/2 C cheddar cheese, 5 eggs, 1/2 C milk, 1/2 C heavy cream, 1/2 C Ranch Dressing, 1 tsp. onion powder and salt and pepper to taste.  ( I usually don’t usually keep ranch dressing at the inn, so I made my own and it was  a lot better than any store bought). See recipe below.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lay pie crust in bottom of a greased pie pan. Place crumbled bacon on the bottom of the crust. Top with cheese. Whisk the eggs, milk, cream, ranch dressing, onion powder and salt and pepper together. Pour over bacon and cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes. Let cool before cutting and serving. top with cherry tomatoes if you desire.

Ranch Dressing recipe – Yields approx. 1 C

2/3 C sour cream, 1/2 C mayonnaise, 1 tsp. each of dill, parsley, chives, onion powder, garlic powder and celery salt. If it becomes to think, add a little buttermilk or skim milk. Whisk or shake until blended.

Banana Split

Banana Split for breakfast? Sure why not, when its made like this. Though it would make a great after dinner healthy dessert as well.

Banana Split Fruit Dish – Serves 1 Brekafast banana split unpublished

1 banana, raspberry or strawberry jam, a handful sliced strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and/ grapes, chopped walnuts, chocolate chips and your favorite lowfat vanilla yogurt.

Take one banana and slice it down the middle length wise. Add a dollop of Vanilla Greek Yogurt or your favorite low fat vanilla yogurt in the center. Add some strawberry or raspberry jam over the yogurt. Add strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and/or grapes. Next, sprinkle some chopped walnuts over the top and a few chocolate chips. Tasty and healthy too!

Parmesan and Tomato Baked Eggs (gluten free)

Parmesan and tomato baked eggs is a great recipe since it is so versatile. I have been making this vegetarian breakfast for several years without parmesan, so it makes a great dairy free recipe as well, but I love how the cheese makes the mushrooms and tomato stick together a little more and make it very gooey when the forks hits all savory goodness. If you wanted to spice it up a bit, you could add some spicy sausage or crumbled bacon with the mushrooms or serve with Canadian bacon.

Parmesan and Tomato Baked Eggs (serves 1)parmesan and Mushroom stuffed tomato

1 1/2 TB olive oil, 1/4 diced onion, 4 oz. canned mushrooms, 1 Lg. tomato, 1 egg, 1 TB fresh Parmesan, 1 TB parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat olive oil in skillet over med. to high heat. Add onion and cook for a couple of minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until warm and soft a few more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in parmesan. Set aside.

Cut up top of tomato and carefully scoop out the insides. Fill tomato with mushroom mixture and pack down gently, leaving a small space. Crack 1 egg on top of filling so it is level with the tomato. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake in an 8×8 dish until the egg white is opaque approx. 30 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

Serve with Canadian bacon, fried potatoes, fruit and or and English Muffin.

 

 

Trail Mix Cookies (gluten free)

I wish I could call these trail mix cookies my idea, but I actually found the recipe on Pinterest and it is a keeper! No flour and no butter makes these little wonders pretty healthy and when using GF oatmeal, these are the perfect gluten free dessert. They are hearty yet moist and you can add whatever you like to them. You do have to give yourself some time to make them though, but they do have to be refrigerated before baking.

Trail Mix Cookies – 20 medium cookiesTrail mix cookies

1 C creamy peanut butter, 1 C brown sugar, 1 Large egg, 1 TB vanilla, 1 tsp. baking soda, pinch of salt, 1/3 C old fashion rolled oats (gluten free or regular if you don’t care), 1 C of trail mix or I used a 1/3 C of each of the following, semi sweet chocolate chips, semi sweet butterscotch chips, raisins, peanut butter M&M’s and cashews.

Combine peanut butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla and stir until fully sugar is fully  mixed in and creamy. Add baking soda, salt, oats and mix more. Add trail  mix or your favorite add ins. Mix again.

Scoop out your cookie into mounds on a sprayed cookie sheet and refrigerate for two hours before baking. You can refrigerate without putting them on a sheet, but it is easier to shape them when they are warmer.

Bake 10-12 minutes until the edges are set but he center still looks soft. It will finish baking on the sheet as long as you leave them on their to cool.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Sometimes you forget about the things you make all the time. These peanut butter cookies are the perfect example. I have been making them for years I add a different ingredient that you would not expect, that makes for a nice surprise. You can also use this recipe to make your own inside out peanut butter cup but spraying a muffin tin and forming the cookie dough inside the muffin tin. Bake and pipe chocolate fudge icing in the center. I have not made them that way for awhile, but now that I am thinking about it, I will have to add the picture and try next week. You do have to think ahead a little bit for this recipe, since it should be chilled for a couple hours before baking.

Peanut Butter Cookies – 2 dozen

Peanut Butter Cookies1/2 C sugar, 1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 C peanut butter, 1/2 C butter, 1 egg, 1 1/4 C flour, 3/4 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 salted peanut and a half of a bag of butterscotch chips, extra sugar for the topping. (peanut butter chips work well too, but butterscotch chips takes it to a whole different dimension.

Mix sugar(s), peanut butter, butter and egg in a large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nuts and butterscotch chips.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough into the size balls you want on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten in a criss cross pattern with a fork. Sprinkle generously with sugar.

Bake 10 minutes until light brown. Don’t over bake unless you like them crunchy.

 

»