recipes

Holiday grocery shopping at BJ’s Wholesale clubs

It’s that most wonderful time of the year again.  It’s the time of year when we prepare our homes to receive friends and family in the spirit of the season.    It’s the time of year when we heat up our ovens and start making those favorite dishes that will become favorites of those that taste them.  It’s also the time when we need to stock out pantries to be prepared for unexpected visitors.

BJ's logo

I was invited to BJ’s Wholesale Club a few days ago to get some a peek at some of their holiday products and get some tips on entertaining.

Bj’s does require you to purchase a membership to receive the benefits of their club, but their low prices and coupon policy more than makes up for that fee.

BJs invited a group of bloggers (myself included) to check out their holiday products.  They even baked us a cake!  We were given a lovely gift bag and gift card as a thank you for attending.  All opinions expressed are my own.
BJs invited a group of bloggers (myself included) to check out their holiday products. They even baked us a cake! We were given a lovely gift bag and gift card as a thank you for attending. All opinions expressed are my own.
It's a good idea to keep an assortment of cheeses and charcuterie on hand for when unexpected guests drop in.
It’s a good idea to keep an assortment of cheeses and charcuterie on hand for when unexpected guests drop in.
This multi pack of gift mugs filled with delicious, high quality chocolates makes gift giving easy.  Break up the set and give these filled mugs to a co worker, neighbor, teacher or cousin
This multi pack of gift mugs filled with delicious, high quality chocolates makes gift giving easy. Break up the set and give these filled mugs to a co worker, neighbor, teacher or cousin
Pick up a few gifts for the artist in your life
Pick up a few gifts for the artist in your life

One important difference between BJs and other membership clubs is that BJs sells many of it’s products in sizes more appropriate for families while other membership clubs have items packaged in large quantities for small businesses.  This is especially important when purchasing perishable items (like produce) that can spoil before you have a chance to use them.

A deviled egg plate might just be mandatory for southern entertaining
A deviled egg plate might just be mandatory for southern entertaining. You can even serve other little egg-less hors d’oeuvres in them
THIS is how I like to throw a party.  Small plates and portable food make it easy to eat and socialize
THIS is how I like to throw a party. Small plates and portable food make it easy to eat and socialize
These apothecary jars are a great way to display holiday sweets and can be taken apart to use as serving pieces
These apothecary jars are a great way to display holiday sweets and can be taken apart to use as serving pieces 

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Baking cakes for the Holidays (or any days)

pumpkin spice latte cake, pumpkin cake, spice cake, latte, buttercream, cake, dessert
Pumpkin Spice Latte cake. This moist cake is made with roasted pumpkin puree and warm spices like cumin and cardamom. The frosting is coffee buttercream…don’t worry, it’s decaf

My oven is HOT!  I’ve been baking up a storm lately developing cake and pie recipes for my clients’ holiday tables.

Apple cake, apple upside down cake,
This apple upside down cake is a wonderful addition to your holiday table. Made with honey crisp apples and baked in butter and Georgia’s own Alaga cane syrup for a sweet glaze. This moist cake has shredded apples and cinnamon in the batter.
This brown sugar pound cake is moist, rich and not too sweet.  Perfect for an after dinner treat.
This brown sugar pound cake is moist, rich and not too sweet. Perfect for an after dinner treat.

Here’s a link to the Brown Sugar Pound Cake recipe  just in case you’re in the mood for a little baking.  If you’re in the Atlanta area you can order one of these delicious cakes from me.   Here’s the rest of the menu:

 

 

2 Comments

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Mmmm, Wouldn’t this BROWN SUGAR POUND CAKE be GORGEOUS on your holiday table! The perfect Thanksgiving dessert or Christmas Dessert but really it’s great any time of year. This cake is incredibly moist, lightly sweet, has a hint of lemon and a whole lot of DELICIOUS! (more…)

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Berry Cupcake and Easy Vanilla Frosting #Recipe

breast cancer awareness month, berry cupcakes, vanilla frosting, vanilla icing
Pink ribbon cupcakes, mixed berry flavor, in honor of breast cancer awareness month

Berry cupcakes (makes 24)

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Berry Cupcake and Easy Vanilla Frosting #Recipe
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24 cupcakes
 
2 cups white sugar 1 (3 ounce) package raspberry gelatin 1 cup butter, softened ½ cup strawberry jam 4 eggs (room temperature) 2¾ cups sifted cake flour 2½ teaspoons baking powder 1 cup whole milk, room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract -------------------------------------------------- SIMPLE VANILLA FROSTING 2½ Cups confectioners sugar, sifted 1 cup soft unsalted butter ⅛ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream, depending on the consistency you want
Ingredients
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 (3 ounce) package raspberry gelatin
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup strawberry jam
  • 4 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2¾ cups sifted cake flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • --------------------------------------------------
  • SIMPLE VANILLA FROSTING
  • 2½ Cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup soft unsalted butter
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream, depending on the consistency you want
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees .
  2. Line cupcake tins with cupcake papers.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, jam and sugar for 3 minutes.
  4. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  5. Add vanilla to milk, combine the flour, dry strawberry gelatin and baking powder in a separate bowl; stir flour mixture into the batter alternately with the milk and vanilla.
  6. Scoop into lined cupcake tins
  7. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a small knife inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  8. -------------------------------------------------
  9. Place sugar, salt and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on low speed until well blended. Increase speed to medium and beat for another 4 minutes or until smooth.
  10. Add vanilla and cream. Beat on medium speed for about 1 minute. I needed, beat in more cream 1 tablespoon at a time to achieve the consistency that you like.

 

5 Comments

Fall Soup Recipe-Kabocha Squash (pumpkin) Soup with Sausage and Collard Greens

Soup, kabocha squash, pumpkin, collard greens, sausage, bacon chicken broth
Perfect for fall, this soup is a one pot meal. Kabocha squash, collard greens sausage and bacon in a rich chicken broth

 

I was browsing one of my favorite blogs, British Blokes Cooking,  when I came across a great looking recipe for Milton’s sausage and potato soup.  I guess I shouldn’t read food blogs on an empty stomach because I got REALLY HUNGRY!   Now, here’s the thing, I can never follow a recipe…NEVER (almost never).  I get inspired by them but then I take off in a completely different direction.  In a nod to my Southern roots I used collard greens instead of the kale that was in the recipe.  I went to the market and saw some beautiful Kabocha squash that I absolutely could not resist.  I had some smoked sausage and some of my homemade bacon in the fridge and I omitted the cream altogether.   This soup was FANTASTIC!!   The broth was smokey and slightly spicy from the bacon and sausage and a little sweet from the squash.

So here it is, my kabocha squash and collard green soup recipe, I hope you try it or are inspired by it.   Either way I’d like to hear about what you cooked and how you change things up.

kabocha squash, squash, pumpkin, collard greens
Kabocha squash and collard greens. If you can’t find a kabocha squash you can substitute butternut or acorn squash or a pie pumpkin.  Kabocha squash is referred to as Japanese pumpkin, it’s orange flesh (rich in beta carotene) is sweeter than acorn or butternut squash
Saute chopped onions and collared greens in rendered bacon fat.  Add smoked sausage, kabocha squash and chicken broth
Saute chopped onions and collared greens in rendered bacon fat. Add smoked sausage, kabocha squash and chicken broth

Kabocha squash and Collard Greens Soup

4 ounces of diced bacon1 small onion diced (about ½ cup)1 bunch of collard greens washed and julienned ( about 15 ounces)1- 12 ounce package of smoked sausage sliced

1 small kabocha squash (about 1 pound) cut into 3/4 inch cubes (substitute butternut or acorn squash or pie pumpkin)

3 cups of chicken broth

Cook diced bacon over medium heat to render the fat from the bacon.  Remove the bacon and save, keep the bacon fat in the pot.Add onion into the bacon fat and sauté until translucent for about 4 minutes. Add collard greens into the pot and stir around to wilt greens a bit.Add sausage, kabocha squash and chicken broth.  Simmer on medium-low for about 20 minutes or until squash is tender.You could also bring the soup to a simmer then put it in the oven and let it cook, covered, gently at 300 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until squash is tenderTop soup with reserved bacon, serve and enjoy
33 Comments

Adult Gastro Pub Birthday Party with Craft beer + Buffalo Chicken Meatball recipe

Adult birthday party, gastro pub, sliders, crab cakes, soft pretzels, candied bacon
For her Hubby’s 50th birthday, Elle wanted to showcase the handcrafted beer he makes. We decided on a gastro pub theme party with 3 types of sliders, homemade soft pretzels and candied bacon.  She created a personalized newspaper, featuring pictures and articles about her husband, as a table runner.

I love birthday parties, even if they aren’t my own.  When my dear friend and interior designer extraordinaire Elle (check out her blog here) asked me to work with her on her husband’s birthday celebration,  I was happy to be the chef and a guest.  Elle styled the party in black and white using chalkboard paper as a table cover.  If you use contact chalkboard  paper don’t remove the paper on the back if you don’t want the contact paper to stick to your table.

chalkboard contact paper, chalk board paper
Repositionable chalkboard contact paper makes a great table cover or a menu board on a wall
beer, craft beer
The birthday boy’s handcrafted beer was the centerpiece of the party

For the menu we decided that sliders would be the main event.  What goes better with beer than a hearty burger.  In addition to traditional beef sliders I made crab cake sliders and little roasted veggie hoagies as well, something for all tastes.  We did delicious snacks as well like sinful candied bacon and  homemade soft pretzels with sea salt.  The candied bacon was a big hit, and of course I used some of my own homemade house cured bacon coated with brown sugar, cayenne pepper and rosemary.

Salt pretzels, soft pretzels
Homemade sea salt soft pretzels, the perfect partner with craft beer
candied bacon, bacon, sweet
Sweet, smoky, spicy, salty candied BACON! So delicious

Buffalo chicken meatballs with hotwing sauce and bleu cheese was also on the menu.  This is a tasty dish for a party, especially during football season.  The birthday boy’s hand crafted beer was the perfect foil for the spicy sauce.  The recipe is below

buffalo chicken meatballs, meatballs, chicken
Buffalo chicken meatballs with crumbled bleu/blue cheese. Bake the sauce onto the meatballs for 5 minutes and the sauce wont be drippy
party forks, bamboo
I used bamboo party forks like these for the buffalo chicken meatballs. They are sturdier than toothpicks and look good too

Buffalo chicken meatballs for a party

Makes about 32- 1.5 ounce meatballs

1 small onion cut into fine dice (about ½ cup)1 garlic clove cut into fine dice2 tablespoons canola oil

3 pounds ground chicken (dark meat if possible)

3 egg whites

3/4 cup bread crumbs

1 teaspoon paprika

1 ½  teaspoon salt

¼ cup hot sauce

¼ cup butter

4 ounces of blue/bleu cheese

Heat oven to 400°Coat 2 rimmed sheet pans with canola oil.  Saute onions and garlic in canola oil until translucent. Cool to room temperature.Mix ground chicken, egg whites, bread crumbs, salt, paprika, sautéed onion and garlic.  Form into meatballs about 1 ½ inches in diameter

Place on an oiled sheet pan  and roast for about 20 minutes or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 °

In a separate saucepan mix hot sauce and butter heat to boiling then remove from heat.

Pour sauce over meatballs and bake 5 minutes.  Place on a serving tray with bamboo party forks and top with crumbled blue cheese

28 Comments

Low Carbohydrate Pasta Substitute, Shirataki noodle recipe and review: Pasta Carbonara Recipe

Low carbohydrate, bacon, spinach, shirataki noodles
Low carb shirataki noodle carbonara with spinach.

I’ve been wanting to try these shirataki noodles for a while as a pasta substitute.  The noodles have only 3 grams of carbohydrate and 20 calories in each 4 ounce serving.  The brand I used is made from tofu and yam flour.  I’ve been eating low carb for about two months now and I was having a bit of a pasta craving.  I purchased the package a couple of weeks ago but I was a bit nervous because of something written on the label in the directions that frightened me “Drain and rinse thoroughly. Parboil for 2-3 minutes to reduce the authentic aroma”.  REDUCE THE AUTHENTIC AROMA?  ummm, that made me nervous.  I finally got up the nerve to try it and, yes there is a bit of a faint fishy smell to the noodles, but it’s not bad.  After rinsing, parboiling, draining and drying I didn’t smell anything.  I tasted one plain and it had no taste at all, which is a good thing I think.  

shirataki noodles, low carb,
These are the spaghetti shaped shirataki noodles after rinsing, parboiling and draining

A carbonara style dish is what I had been craving so I crisped up some bacon, sauteed spinach in the rendered bacon fat, tossed in the noodles, stirred in an egg and mixed in some Parmesan cheese.  With a little black pepper it was pretty tasty.  The noodles have a slightly different texture from wheat pasta but it was not unpleasant.  I’d make it again.  I found the brand pictured above at my local grocery store but you can also order it and other brands of shirataki noodles from Amazon.com.  Next time I make this I’m going to try the Miracle Noodle brand, with less than 1 gram of carbs per 3 ounce serving.  I’ll let you know how they are.  Here’s a great recipe for Miracle Noodle Shirataki Noodles with sauteed Greens

miracle noodle, shirataki noodles, low carb, weight loss
Miracle noodle, shirataki low carb noodles have less than 1 gram of carbohydrate  per 3 ounce serving

Here’s the recipe for Shirataki noodle carbonara, makes 2 servings

7-8 ounces of Shirataki noodles

4 ounces bacon

3 ounces of spinach

1 egg

2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

fresh cracked black pepper

Rinse the shirataki noodles and par-boil them for 2-3 minutes (or follow the preparation directions on the package) Drain the noodles well.

Cut the bacon into 1/2 inch slices and cook over medium heat to render the far out, remove the bacon from the pan and reserve.  Saute the spinach in the bacon fat, add the noodles and stir.  Remove the pan from the heat and add in the beaten egg and Parmesan cheese.  Season with fresh cracked black pepper and top with reserved cooked bacon.

11 Comments

18 pound weight loss and shrimp salad with creamy fish sauce recipe

shrimp, fish sauce, weight loss, low carb, recipe
Shrimp salad with creamy fish sauce

Congratulations to me! So far I’ve lost 18 pounds on my low carb weight loss journey.  Here’s a recipe for a typical lunch that I’ve been eating these days.  This recipe for shrimp salad with creamy fish sauce is delicious and quick to put together.   There are a few carbs in shrimp so keep that in mind when your cooking with them.

shrimp, salad,diet, weight loss,  low carbohydrate diet, recipe
Shrimp sauteed in garlic and ginger
recipe, cooking, shrimp salad
Remove the seeds of the cucumber with a spoon
Shrimp, salad, weight loss, low carb, recipe,
Mix chilled shrimp, cucumber, mayo and fish sauce

Here’s the recipe.  When you try it let me know how you like it

Shrimp salad with creamy fish sauce

Ingredients                                                                                 carbs             calories

 

12 ounces shrimp

1/3 clove of garlic, sliced

¼ teaspoon fresh ginger grated

8 oz (about one 8 inch) cucumber, peeled and seeded

1 Tablespoon mayonnaise

1 ½ Tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon Sriracha or hot sauce

TOTAL CARBS and CALORIES FOR RECIPE

CARBS AND CALORIES PER 12 OZ SERVING

 

3

0

0

4

0

1

0

8

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

150

0

0

34

100

9

    5

298

149

6 Comments

Espresso Rubbed Lamb Ribs

Espresso Rubbed Lamb Ribs Coffee Rubbed Lamb Ribs sweetsavant.com America's best food blog

Okay COFFEE LOVERS! This recipe for Espresso Rubbed Lamb Ribs is for YOU! Using coffee as a spice adds a delicious depth of flavor to meats and even vegetables. I love using instant espresso along with other warm spices like smoked paprika and cinnamon. Crush the espresso between your fingers or in a mortar and pestle to release the flavor.

Espresso Rubbed Lamb Ribs Coffee Rubbed Lamb Ribs sweetsavant.com America's best food blog

I cooked these lamb ribs in an oven bag so the ribs cook in it’s own juices. The directions for the oven bags require you toss some flour in the bag before cooking. Another way to cook this is to wrap the ribs tightly in aluminum foil instead of using the oven bag. If you do this then you don’t have to add the flour making this a gluten free recipe.

Espresso Rubbed Lamb Ribs oven bags sweetsavant.com America's best food blog

Espresso Rubbed Lamb Ribs Coffee Rubbed Lamb Ribs sweetsavant.com America's best food blog

The Espresso Rubbed Lamb Ribs become a beautiful deep brown after roasting in the oven bag. The ribs, bathed in it’s own rendered fats and juices, come out of the bag unbelievably moist and tender. The finished dish, lamb ribs with a glaze of barbecue sauce for the family (no sauce for me, thanks) and a crisp salad with fresh and pickled vegetables on the side

Espresso Rubbed Lamb Ribs Coffee Rubbed Lamb Ribs sweetsavant.com America's best food blog

 

Coffee Rubbed Lamb Ribs
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10 servings
 
I baked these ribs in an oven bag so they would be moist and juice. If you don't use oven bags you can wrap the ribs tightly in aluminum foil before cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 racks of lamb ribs
  • 1 Tablespoon flour (if you're using an oven bag)
  • SPICE MIXTURE
  • 2 tablespoons of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (crush between your fingers to make a fine powder)
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried garlic or garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Heat your oven to 300°
  2. Rub lamb ribs with the spice mixture. Put flour in oven roasting bag and shake around.
  3. Place ribs in an oven cooking bag on top of a pan with 2 inch high sides (follow the directions on the oven cooking bag package)
  4. Close the bag with the tie that comes in the package and place in the oven
  5. Bake the ribs in the bag for 2 hours or until tender. Slice and serve the ribs as is or add BBQ sauce if you like

 

 

 

8 Comments

Crustless Quiche recipe makes brunch easy

crustless quiche, quiche, brunch, delicious, vegetarian, cheese, vegetables, delicious
Crustless quiche, filled with veggies and cheese, is a delicious low carb dish that the entire family loves.
crustless quiche, quiche, brunch, eggs, cheese, vegetarian, food, delicious
Basic custard mixture for deep dish quiche, 2 1/2 cups half and half, 6 eggs
veggies, broccoli, spinach, quiche, crustless quiche, delicious, brunch
1 1/2  cups of cooked veggies. Squeeze out excess water from vegetables or your filling will be soggy.  I used chopped broccoli, spinach and scallions
crustless quiche, quiche, brunch, veggies, vegetables, eggs, delicious, food
Custard filling, cheese and vegetables.  I used 3/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup shredded aged asiago cheese.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup of grated hard cheese like Parmesan, Romano or aged asiago over the top to promote browning.  This quiche is ready to bake.
quiche, crustless quiche, brunch, food, delicious, veggies, vegetables, eggs
Finished crustless quiche. Serve with bacon and fresh fruit and brunch is done,

Quiche Recipe

pre heat oven to 325 degreesBasic Custard:

2 1/2 cups of half and half

6 eggs

3/4 teaspoon salt

Finely chopped fillings, 2 1/2 cups total:

Cooked; spinach, broccoli, leeks, peppers, caramelized onion, bacon, chicken, ham, crab. Shredded cheeses like cheddar, mozzarella. Soft cheeses like goat cheese

Raw; scallions, soft herbs like chives, thyme or basil

 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Butter a pie dish, the one I used is for “deep dish” pie.

Cook vegetables (should be cool before you pour custard in) or use leftover cooked vegetables.  Chop them to very small size and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.  Evenly distribute vegetables, meat and shredded cheese in pie dish.

Beat half and half, salt and eggs until combined.  Pour over vegetables. Top with grated hard cheese like Parmesan, Romano or aged asiago.

Place on a sheet pan in case it bubbles over. Place in center of the oven and bake for 50 minutes.  Should be a bit wobbly in the center, kind of like a Jello mold.

Let quiche rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

16 Comments

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