Category Archives: Reviews

Memphis-Style BBQ Chili

THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Congrats to Shirley S and awoodruf on winning the two giveaway copies! I’m reviewing a new cookbook, The All-New Official SEC® Tailgating Cookbook from the Editors of Southern Livingand I also have 2 copies of it to give away to 2 winners! Continue reading below for details on how to enter the giveaway! 

Are you a tailgating fan? A football fan? A fan of tasty, crowd-pleasing party and comfort foods? I’m not a huge fan of watching football on TV, but I can get into the tailgating part! 🙂 And it’s always fun to cheer on your favorite team at a game. If you’re a fan of football season, you need to know about The All-New Official SEC® Tailgating Cookbook —it’s a great guide for any game day!

Not only is it a great cookbook, it’s fun to read, too! There are features on each of the 14 SEC® (Southeastern Conference) teams and their school traditions. So you’ll learn some fun facts and trivia to share at your next tailgate. 🙂 Continue reading

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Buffalo Ranch Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli

Buffalo Ranch Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli @ NancyC

If you’re looking for a veggie side dish that has a flavorful punch to it, then this Buffalo Ranch Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli recipe may be just what you’re looking for! Continue reading

Cookies and Cream Frappuccino

I’m a big fan of cookies and cream flavored things, even though I try not to have them too often. So I buy Oreos kind of sparingly and eat them kind of sparingly. Just the other week, I was down to 5 Oreo cookies, and it turned out to be just the right amount to make this Cookies and Cream Frappucino. I got the idea from a recipe on the Community Coffee blog site, but I ended up changing it quite a bit. One ingredient I added to give this frappuccino a rich chocolate flavor was some unsweetened cocoa powder. I also added some honey to enhance the sweetness. It’s a great dessert coffee to indulge in on a warm day!

You can use your favorite coffee to make this frappuccino, but I used Community Coffee’s Coffee and Chicory Blend (it comes in a regular or decaf blend). I had the chance to try out a few Community Coffee products that included chicory, which I’ve been wanting to try out. I’ve read that mixing coffee and chicory is a Southern tradition, especially in New Orleans, where it’s often served cafe au lait style with steamed milk. And I’ve also read that chicory is a great caffeine-free option to use on its own or mixed in with coffee if you need to watch your caffeine intake (I usually have to limit my caffeine to the morning hours). Since I used the decaf Coffee and Chicory Blend, I was able to enjoy this frappuccino later in the day and still get a good night’s sleep! 🙂 I really like the taste of the Coffee and Chicory Blend–the chicory blends in so well with the coffee you don’t really notice it–it just tastes like a great cup of coffee. I also tried the Ground Pure Chicory.  You’ll be able to taste a difference if you’re just drinking the pure chicory without blending it with coffee, but I actually thought it tasted good on its own. Some people I know prefer it blended with coffee, so it just depends on what you like.

Here’s the recipe if you want to try this frappuccino out for yourself!

COOKIES AND CREAM FRAPPUCCINO by NancyC, adapted from the Community Coffee blog

Makes 1 serving

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 Tablespoons light cream (Half & Half)
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cold, strong brewed coffee (any Community Coffee flavor works great, as well as their Decaf Coffee & Chicory blend or 100% Pure Chicory)
  • 4 Oreo cookies, crushed (or your favorite chocolate sandwich cookies)
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes or crushed ice
  • Whipped cream and 1 additional crushed Oreo cookie for garnish

In a blender, add milk, light cream, cocoa powder, honey, vanilla, coffee and 4 crushed Oreo cookies; blend for 45 to 60 seconds. Add in ice cubes and blend everything for another 20 to 30 seconds.

Pour mixture into a coffee mug, drinking glass, or mason jar. Garnish with whipped cream and 1 crushed Oreo cookie.

This is a real treat when you’re craving chocolate or something mocha-flavored! And it works well with coffee, chicory, or both! Have you ever tried blending chicory with your coffee?

Sharing this at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday, Full Plate Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things.

Easy Marinara Sauce

Good, simple recipes are the best, especially when they don’t take long to make! I found a lot of recipes like this in my review copy of Simplify Supper, by Krista Numbers (softcover). There are lots of Italian and Tex-Mex-style dishes, as well as all-American classics like BBQ Ribs, Southern-Style Baked Beans, and Chicken Noodle Soup. And great color photos of the recipes too. Overall, it’s a great cookbook to have when you want to make a delicious dinner that’s quick and easy.

The very first recipe in the book, and the one I tried out, is Homemade Marinara Sauce and it is really good! It’s great served over pasta, but it also makes a wonderful dipping sauce (I enjoyed dipping my favorite store-bought Rosemary Sea Salt rolls in it!). This marinara sauce has a rich, tomatoey flavor and is thick and chunky. The seasonings, onion, and garlic all give it a great flavor. Here’s the recipe if you want to try it out:

HOMEMADE MARINARA SAUCE from Simplify Supper

Makes 6 servings

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and stir about 5 minutes until evenly caramelized. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and cook another five minutes until garlic is fragrant.

Add chicken broth and use to deglaze bottom of pot.

Add sugar, tomato paste, and undrained diced tomatoes. Stir to combine all ingredients. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce reaches desired thickness. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I love tomatoey-flavored dishes–and this sauce is perfect for tomato-lovers! And it’s always nice when you can make homemade sauce. Do you make your own homemade pasta sauces?

Sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Carrot Cake

When I think of Amish food, I think of good, homestyle comfort food. That’s why I was interested in reviewing the recently published Amish Community Cookbook: Simply Delicious Recipes from Amish and Mennonite Homes. I was in the mood for some comfort food and there are lots of comfort food-type recipes in this book…breakfast items, casseroles, main dishes, sides, and desserts. I thought I’d try the Carrot Cake because I really love carrot cake and this one sounded really easy to make.

It was easy, but there are some positives and negatives to this recipe. The positives are that it tastes great, and it has three–yes, three–cups of shredded carrots in it. All those cups of carrots made me feel a little better about eating this cake. The cream cheese icing, which I turned into a thicker frosting, is really good too (but not healthy at all)!

The negative thing about this recipe is that it sunk in the middle when I made it. It was higher at the edges and lower in the middle. I made a batch-and-a-half of frosting to fill in the sunken middle and make the cake appear level. And sprinkled the top with chopped pecans. So it ended up looking fine. I’m not sure if the sunken middle was due to something I did wrong or if it always turns out that way. So if you try this, you’ll have to let me know if your cake sunk or not!

At any rate, everyone I shared this cake with loved it. So I guess that’s the most important thing!

CARROT CAKE adapted from Amish Community Cookbook

Makes a 9×13″ cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups (granulated) sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups oil (this may be too much oil; just try 1 cup and the cake may not sink in the middle!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 cups (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

CREAM CHEESE ICING

(Note: I made a batch and a half of the frosting to have enough to generously cover the cake and the sunken middle: 3/4 cup butter, 4.5 ounces cream cheese, 3 tsp. vanilla, 6 cups powdered sugar; I also topped the frosting with 1/3 cup chopped pecans. Below is the original icing recipe from the book)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar or more as needed for consistency (I used 4 cups of powdered sugar because I wanted a thicker frosting)

In large bowl, beat eggs well. Add sugar, beat until creamy. Beat in oil and vanilla. Stir in carrots.

In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

Add dry ingredients to egg/sugar mixture. Stir in nuts. Pour into ungreased 9×13-inch pan and bake at 350˚F for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Spread with cream cheese icing. Keep cake refrigerated.

If you’ve looked over this recipe and have any ideas why this cake may have sunken in the middle and how to fix that, be sure to let me know! Even with the sunken middle though, I would make this again because it really does taste good. If you’re a carrot cake fan, I’m sure you will like this! Have you made carrot cake before and do you have a favorite recipe for it?

Sharing this at Fiesta Friday, Weekend Potluck, Meal Plan Monday, Inspire Me Monday.