Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits

Here in the Northeast where I live, grits are not a regular staple of our diet, but when I travel South I always make it a point of having some, because I have grown to like them as a breakfast item with a little syrup and butter on them.  Serving them as part of my main meal is new to me.  However, since I had visitors from North Carolina, I decided to try to cook them a “real Southern meal”, and I had come across this recipe for grits served with nicely seasoned shrimp in a gravy to spoon over them.  Let me tell you right at the start that this was a big success, so I am very happy that I was adventurous enough to try this recipe.

Shrimp in gravy in a serving bowl.

Shrimp in gravy

In the detailed recipe below, I caution you not to use quick or instant grits.  They become very bland, and the texture is suspiciously like cream of wheat cereal–in my mind this is not a good thing!!!   The grits you want to use are stone ground.  They have a lot of texture and that makes all the difference.   The other key to success is to season the shrimp liberally with Old Bay and hot sauce, so they are very spicy.  If this is a problem for anyone ( me, for instance),  go light on the hot sauce, and serve more on the side for those who want to add more.  Although this was my first time making this dish, I know for sure it won’t be the last.  My guests and Mr. D. really liked it, and so did I.

Although I haven’t done this yet, I plan to use up the left over grits for breakfast, rewarmed in a skillet with a little butter to crisp up the edges.  Then serve with a fried or poached egg on top and some nice smoky bacon. OOOOOW, can’t wait for breakfast.  😀

SHRIMP AND GRITS

Yield:   4 servings

Season the shrimp with Old Bay, lemon juice and hot sauce. (pretend you see it.)

Season the shrimp with Old Bay, lemon juice and hot sauce. (pretend you see it.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. raw medium-large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • 1 1/2  cups coarse ground corn grits (such as Bob’s Red Mill)  Note: do not use quick grits, they become too pasty.
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 slices bacon, cut into thin strips
  • 1 large, or 2 small cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup scallions, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • black pepper, to taste

    Ingredients for the grits.

    Ingredients for the grits.

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 can ( 14 oz.) creamed corn
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

1.  In a large bowl, combine shrimp, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, and a few shakes of hot sauce (to your taste).  Let sit for a few minutes while you start the grits.

2.  Bring the 6 cups salted water to a rolling boil.  Gradually stir in the grits making sure they are well incorporated.  Reduce heat to very low, and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Stir frequently to prevent sticking.  When they are thickened, turn off heat, cover and keep warm.

3.  Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add bacon and cook until crisp.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towel to drain.

Cook bacon pieces till crisp.

Cook bacon pieces till crisp.

4.  In the drippings in the skillet, cook chopped onion over medium heat.  When onions become soft, add minced garlic, and cook till softened, about 1 minute more.

5.  Add shrimp and all its seasonings and cook about 3 minutes, turning until all are pink.  Remove contents of skillet to a bowl using a slotted spoon, leaving behind any liquid.

6.  Make gravy:  Stir scallions and 2 Tbsp. flour into skillet, stirring to make a paste,

Add flour to pan drippiongs

Add flour to pan drippiongs

slowly add the chicken stock, 1/2 tsp. salt and a little black pepper.  Cook and stir until this is slightly thickened.

Add chicken broth, bacon and scallions.

Add chicken broth, bacon and scallions.

Add the shrimp and bacon pieces back into this mixture,  keep over low heat just to warm through.

7.  Finish grits:  Stir butter,  cheddar cheese and creamed corn into warm grits. Stir to incorporate.  Return to heat if they need to be rewarmed a bit.

Shrimp in gravy in a serving bowl.

Shrimp in gravy in a serving bowl.

This is how I served my grits.

This is how I served my grits.

I served my shrimp and grits with green beans and a salad.

I completed this meal with green beans and a salad.

To serve:  Pour grits onto a platter or individual bowls.  Top with shrimp mixture.  Serve with additional hot sauce on the side.

SOURCE:  Southern Living Magazine

Zucchini Frittata

Zucchini Frittata

Zucchini Frittata

Garden fresh zucchini are abundant and delicious right now—everyone’s gardens are overflowing with them.  Pair zucchini with eggs and Asiago cheese, and make a scrumptious frittata that highlights this vegetable’s subtle flavor.

This wonderful recipe lends itself to many variations.  Originally intended for using zucchini, I like to mix yellow squash with the zucchini, to make it more colorful, and nutritious.  Also if you’re counting calories, fat grams or cholesterol,  you can still get the same great results by using an egg substitute .    In place of the Asiago cheese, substitute grated Parmesan for a slightly different flavor.  You can also place a layer of fresh garden tomatoes on top, and this too provides some added color and nutrition.  So mix it up any way you please with what you have on hand, and it will still be successful and delicious.

I love to make frittatas because you can eat them for any meal, and they are so inexpensive to make.  It you have leftovers, they can be tomorrow’s  breakfast or lunch.  Perfect also for meatless meals, gluten free, and low carb diets.

Recipe:  ZUCCHINI FRITTATA

Yield:   4 – 5  servings

Ingredients;

My version uses a mix of yellow and zucchini squash.

My version uses a mix of yellow and zucchini squash.

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1  1/2 cups grated zucchini, or combination of zucchini and yellow squash
  • 1/2 tsp. salt,  pepper to taste
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.

2.   Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.  Stir in onion an cook until slightly golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Add zucchini, increase heat to medium-high, season with salt and pepper and cook 2 to 3  minutes or until mixture dries up, stirring frequently.

Saute the vegetables and onion in a little olive oil.

Saute the vegetables and onion in a little olive oil.

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, egg whites, Asiago, salt and pepper.

4.  Pour the eggs into the skillet, making sure they cover all the vegetables.  (If using tomatoes arrange them on top and season with salt and pepper.)   When the edges begin to set (about 2 minutes) transfer skillet to the oven.  Bake for about 16 to 18 minutes, until frittata is completely cooked.

Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the skillet or a casserole.

Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the skillet or a casserole.

5.  Remove from the oven and serve hot with tomato wedges or a salad on the side.

Golden with all the melted cheese.

Golden with all the melted cheese.

I made a double recipe here, and baked it in a pyrex casserole, layering in the vegetables first and then pouring the egg mixture over the top.  It looks different because it is not in a skillet.

Cuts nicely and holds its shape.

Cuts nicely and holds its shape.

SOURCE:     Vegetarian Pleasures,  by Jeanne Lemlin

Peaches and Cream Popsicles

Peaches and cream popsicles

Peaches and cream popsicles

Aren’t sweet, juicy, ripe peaches wonderful?  They smell like summer to me.  I think fresh peaches are my favorite fruit.  So today I thought I would make popsicles featuring peaches combined with yogurt, almond milk and almond extract to make a frosty cool treat.

As we head toward the last official weekend of summer you might be wondering why I’m still making popsicles. In my opinion you can never have too many recipes for peaches, so this is one more little way of enjoying them while they are still plentiful juicy and sweet.  I have a feeling there may be a few more peach recipes popping up here before peach season is over, because I’m not done with them yet.   Just like I’m not done with summer yet, either.  There’s plenty of time before we get swept away by all the apples and squash starting to appear at the Farmer’s Market—-much too soon for me.

In the fruit bowl in my kitchen are some peaches bought recently at the market.    They are ripening quickly, so I decided to experiment with another flavor of popsicle.  That’s how I came up with this combination that features peaches mixed with almond milk, a little sugar, yogurt , and almond flavoring.  Not too sweet, I let the tanginess of the yogurt assert itself.  We found them to be very light and refreshing.

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Just a side note here:  I noticed just recently that a variety of popsicle molds are being put on clearance in some stores, now that the end of summer is near, so this is a good time to get one if you been thinking along those lines, but have hesitated, wondering how much you will really use it.  If you would like to try these, but don’t have a popsicle mold you might try pouring the mixture into paper cups.  Put them on a tray or in a small baking pan and freeze them.  When they are partially frozen, insert the sticks, and continue with freezing until firm.  To eat, just peel away the paper cup, or run the cup under hot water briefly until it slips off.

PEACHES AND CREAM POPSICLES

Yield:   depends on size of molds.  I got 8 with mine.IMG_4600

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium, ripe peaches
  • 1/2 cup 2 % Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup sugar, or your favorite sweetener
  • 1/3 cup  vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp, almond extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt.

Directions:

1.  Halve and pit the peaches.  Cut  into rough chunks and place in the blender container.  Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.

3,  Divide the mixture evenly into the popsicle molds, or disposable paper or plastic cups.  Insert the sticks and freeze until solid, at least 5 to 6 hours.

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SOURCE:  a  Carolyn Original

Jamocha Silk Pie

Jamocha Silk Pie

Jamocha Silk Pie

This pie is so incredibly good it’s hard to know where to begin describing it.  There are many layers of flavor that all come together to produce a uniquely rich flavor profile and texture, and one slice is totally satisfying.

It is very easy to make, and only takes about 10 minutes to assemble.   It starts with a tofu base to which cocoa, coffee, melted chocolate, coconut flakes and almond milk are added  Then it all gets poured into a crumb crust. A short time in the freezer to firm up and you are ready to cut and enjoy this creation.

If you love chocolate you will love this pie!!

If you love chocolate you will love this pie!!

The pie’s texture comes from the addition of unsweetened coconut flakes to the other ingredients in the blender, but it does not get blended completely smooth.  Then chopped pecans get stirred in at the end.  So what you get is the smooth, dark richness of chocolate, a rough texture and flavor from coconut and a bit of chew from the pecans.  An interesting mix that somehow works.  All of us at my house devoured this pie at one sitting.  No one even guessed it contained tofu, and although I haven’t tried it,  I believe you could get the same great results using an equal amount of cream cheese in its place.

JAMOCHA SILK PIE

Yield:   8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 12.3 oz. silken tofu  (one package)

    Assemble all the ingredients.

    Assemble all the ingredients.

  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp. almond milk (add a little more if your blender needs extra liquid to get going)
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brewed strong coffee
  • 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp. brewed coffee
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1 graham cracker or chocolate crumb crust
  • whipped topping, optional

To Make:

1.  In a blender container, combine tofu, cocoa powder, almond milk, vanilla, coffee, and flaked coconut.  That’s not a mistake, the coconut makes the texture awesome when it all gets blended in.  Blend until smooth.

2.  In a double boiler or microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and a tablespoon of brewed coffee.  Melt and stir until smooth.  Let cool down a bit and add to the blender mixture.  Then add agave nectar to desired sweetness and the pinch salt.  Taste and adjust to desired sweetness and consistency.  The pie is intended to be rich and bittersweet.

3.  Pour into a bowl, and manually stir in the pecans.   Pour into the crumb crust.

Pour the chocolate filling into a crumb crust.

Pour the chocolate filling into a crumb crust.

Cover and place in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up. Or place in refrigerator if serving at a later time.

Chilled pie ready to be cut and served.

Chilled pie ready to be cut and served.

4.  Once the pie has reached desired firmness, cut into 8 equal serving pieces and crown with whipped topping of choice.

Deeee--lish!

Deeee–lish!

This pie will keep well for a week when covered and stored in the fridge.

SOURCE:   VegKitchen with Nava Atlas

Lobster Rolls

Perfect Lobster Rolls

Perfect Lobster Rolls

A lobster roll is a simple thing;  basically it’s lobster meat stuffed into a warm bun.  The quintessential New England sandwich, it’s the street food of the coast, served in high and low level restaurants, lobster pounds, seafood shacks, supermarkets, gas stations, and home kitchens.  Purists would insist that the “less is more” approach is the only way to prepare it.  Meaning that lobster meat only, either cold with a little mayonnaise to hold the meat together, or warmed in melted butter, and served in a New England-style hot dog bun that has been toasted is the best way to enjoy the sweetness of the lobster meat.

For a lobster roll to be true to it’s classic roots, it should not contain a lot of extra ingredients;  you can bend the lobster-roll rules a little, but you shouldn’t break them.  This recipe, I think, meets the standards for the classic sandwich, with some minimal additions,  and is very tasty indeed.   If you purchase whole lobsters and have them steamed by the fish monger, preparation involves cracking the lobster to retrieve the meat, and adding celery, green onions, and seasoned mayonnaise.  They are easy to make at home and come together in a snap.IMG_4864

With lobster roll in hand you can vicariously meander along the coastline of New England, traveling down some long narrow road to a harbor, take in the big view, sounds of the seagulls, splash of the waves, hear the rubbing of the fishing boats on the piers, and feel the sand between your toes.   Ahhhhh, heavenly.

I made this meal to welcome my visitors from North Carolina, one of whom had never been north to New England.  I tried to put together a typical summertime meal that, in addition to the lobster rolls, included corn on the cob and a mixed green salad.  For dessert I served my Cracker Jack Sundaes.  He was captivated!!  Why don’t you try one?

PERFECT LOBSTER ROLLS

YIELD:  Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup chopped celery

     lobster, celery, scallions, lemon, and mayonaise dressing

    lobster, celery, scallions, lemon, and mayonnaise dressing

  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 Tbsp. canola mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 3/4 – 1 pound lobster meat, steamed and chopped
  • 4  top-split hot dog buns, toasted

Preparation:

1.  Combine all ingredients except the buns in a large bowl, stirring well;   Cover and chill a bit.  Chilled, but not quite cold is best.

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2.  Split the buns, brush with some melted butter and slap on the griddle to cook to golden-brown.  Then divide the lobster mixture evenly among the buns and serve.

buns toasting on the griddle

buns toasting on the griddle

A toasted bun, filled to the top with luscious lobster salad.

A toasted bun, filled to the top with luscious lobster salad.

3.  Serving:  a pickle on top is OK,  so is a lettuce leaf, a sprinkle of celery salt or paprika, and maybe a squeeze of lemon or a wedge of lemon on the side.  Add a few crispy chips or onions rings and you’ve got it all.

My meal consisted of lobster roll, salad, and corn on the cob.

My meal consisted of lobster roll, salad, and corn on the cob.

SOURCE:    Cooking Light

Ranch Potato Salad

Ranch Potato Salad

Ranch Potato Salad

Fifty ways to make potato salad.  Can you believe it?  I was amazed when I found a small recipe booklet for potato salads  included in a regular sized copy of Food Network Magazine, probably about two years ago.  Up until then I knew of perhaps three ways to make it. I always made it same way with a mayonnaise dressing, chopped celery, hard-cooked egg and little onion,  but I never really loved potato salad.  It was just something we always had in the summer with cook-out meals and I would eat a little, but it wasn’t a big deal with me.

Let me tell you, the little booklet changed all that.  Out of a list of 50 recipes I’ve made at least 10;  but there is one that stands out with both me and Mr. D. and I find myself going back to it and have even made it to bring to a picnic where everyone loved it.  It is made using red skin potatoes and the dressing has the same ingredients that would be used to make Ranch Salad Dressing, so the flavor is familiar.  We like this potato salad because it is moist and creamy, and stays that way even if it’s left over.  With other potato salads I’ve made the potatoes tend to absorb the dressing and the salad gets really thick.  But not this.  Perhaps because of the red-skin potatoes which are more waxy and dense.  Anyhow, I’m including it here today in case you’re ready for a change and are looking for a replacement for the way you always make potato salad.

RANCH POTATO SALAD

Yield:   about 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds red-skin potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise (low-fat is OK)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

1.  In a large pot of salted water, cook potatoes until fork tender.  Drain, cool, and cut into cubes or chunks.

Red-skin potatoes cooked tender.

Red-skin potatoes cooked tender.

2.  In a large mixing bowl,  place the potatoes, celery, and scallions.

Mix potatoes together with other ingredients.

Mix potatoes together with other ingredients.

3.  In a separate small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and remaining ingredients.   Pour over the potato mixture and toss to coat evenly.    Chill at least an hour to allow flavors to meld, and serve cold.

Mix all together and allow to chill a while before eating.

Mix all together and allow to chill for about an hour before eating.

4.  Leftovers will remain moist and become even more flavorful.

Perfect with franks and baked beans.

Perfect with franks and baked beans.

SOURCE:  Food Network Magazine

Zucchini Pizza Bites

Zucchini Pizza Bites

Zucchini Pizza Bites

Here it is Theme Thursday, and I have another recipe for you that makes use of zucchini, this time in a slightly different way.  These little bites of zucchini with  pizza toppings  treat the zucchini like the crust of your favorite pizza so there are fewer calories because you’ve eliminated the carbs!   Small enough for just a bite or two they could be appetizers, snacks, something to go with soup or a salad, just about any way you want to use them.  They are gluten-free , low cal, and perfect for a meatless meal.

So cute, and you can enjoy them guilt-free.

So cute, and you can enjoy them guilt-free.

If you have a big zucchini to use, slice it straight across and get fairly large rounds,  if you have a smaller zucchini, cut it on the diagonal for large ovals.  Top them with some sauce, any kind of topping,  basil and melted cheese, or whatever you like on your pizza.  These are a must to try while zucchini is in season and plentiful.

ZUCCHINI PIZZA BITES

Yield:   Quantities listed are for 1 serving.  Increase as desired to make more.

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices large zucchini, 1/4-inch thick ( or 1 medium zucchini, cut on the diagonal)
  • olive oil, or olive oil spray
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup crumbled, cooked sausage, or other toppings
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:

1.  Cut zucchini about 1/4-inch thick.  Brush or spray both sides lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Cut zucchini into circles or ovals about 1/4-inch thick.

Cut zucchini into circles or ovals about 1/4-inch thick.

2.  Broil or grill the zucchini for about 2 minutes on each side.  Top with sauce, topping of choice and cheese and broil for an additional minute or two.  Be careful not to burn the cheese.

The ones that are pictured here are topped with fried peppers and onions and some have crumbles of sausage on them.  I’ve also made them with a slice of pepperoni.  All equally good.  You can’t go wrong with these.

So cute, and you can enjoy them guilt-free.

So cute, and you can enjoy them guilt-free.

SOURCE:   slightly adapted from Skinny Taste

Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup

Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup

Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup

Here on the East Coast we’ve been experiencing one of the hottest summers on record and on some days it was difficult to know what to fix for meals.  Appetites were lagging and I haven’t been motivated to expend much energy in cooking.

However cucumbers are one vegetable that I like to eat when it’s hot and so I’ve turned to this recipe for a chilled light soup  that is both refreshing and nutritious.  I wrote about this cold soup last summer, but it’s certainly worth bringing back for another look, (and some better photography) especially for those readers who may have missed it.

I like to serve a cup of it along with a fresh tomato that has been stuffed with some kind of salad, like tuna salad.  

INGREDIENTS

SERVINGS:    4

  • 2-3 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes  (about 2 cups)

    The colors of the ingredients make it look cool even before making it,

    The colors of the ingredients make it look cool even before making it,

  • 2 avocados, pitted and peeled
  • 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 small minced jalapeño pepper ( seeds and ribs removed for less heat)
  • 1/3 cup sliced scallions
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 12 medium sized shrimp, (about 6 ounces), peeled and deveined

DIRECTIONS

1.  In a blender, combine half the cucumber and 1 avocado with the yogurt, lime juice, jalapeño, scallions, 1 Tablespoon cilantro, 1 cup ice water,  1  teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Puree until completely smooth.  Transfer to a large bowl.

2.   Cut remaining avocado into 1/4 cubes.  Stir avocado and remaining cucumber into soup.  Thin with 1/2 to 1 cup ice water, as desired.  Taste and season again with salt and pepper.  Chill about 1 hour.

3.  In a large skillet,  heat oil over medium-high heat.  Cook shrimp, turning once, until opaque throughout, 2-3 minutes.  Ladle soup into bowl; garnish with shrimp and remaining cilantro.

The pureed avocado and yogurt give this soup its creamy texture.  I kept the heat level down by using only half the jalapeño pepper, and I could have used it all because the yogurt and cool smoothness subdues the pepper’s heat.  This soup was definitely a hit with both me and Mr. D. It would make a nice first course to a larger meal or a lunch combined with a salad or sandwich. It is cool and very yummy.  You have got to try this!

Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup with Stuffed Tomato

SOURCE:  Whole Living  Newsletter by Martha Stewart

Status Update and Time Out

Wow, you guys,  I can’t believe we are at the middle of August.  Where has this summer gone so suddenly?  Everywhere you look there’s talk of ” back to school”,  and I’m just now ready for some vacation and summertime fun.  You know why—I’ve been preparing myself for a Ballroom dance competition and it’s been a lot of work.    Well it’s over!!!  The competition was held this past weekend and  today I’m doing the “happy dance”.  I  did quite well over all with enough first-place awards to satisfy me and the rest of my entries were high placements that indicated an improvement in my performance over previous competitions.

This is me and my partner.

This is me and my partner.

It was a combination of lots of fun, nervous tension, and little sleep, but well worth it.  It’s always rewarding to compete and see the difference–improvement–in yourself over time.

Another shot of us.

Another shot of us.

This was the biggest competition ever held in this region;  over 3000 entries (not number of folks dancing, but number of times they went onto the dance floor to compete in a heat.)   Of that number I danced 25 times, all in one day, Saturday.  And I danced all smooth dances i.e.., waltz, foxtrot, tango, and Viennese waltz.  Even though these are slow(er) dances than rhythm dances, they are more strenuous to dance because they require muscle strength and control.  So I have been conditioning myself since this spring.

Below are some photos of dancers on the floor to give you some idea of what a competition looks like.  The theme for this competition was “Once Upon a Fairy Tale”, thus the “Magic Kingdom” backdrop behind the judges.  Each heat lasts about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes, and in that time the judges make a determination for placements from first to sixth.  As those dancers are leaving the floor the next group of dancers are walking onto the floor for the next heat; so you see, events move along quickly.  On Saturday we began dancing at 9:00am and the heats continued non-stop until 6:00pm.  Then a banquet and dancing follows that includes a wonderful performance by a professional couple.  The weekend flies by and when it’s over you are exhausted but ready to sign up to do it again.  MAYBE!

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Oh, the potted plants in the middle of the floor?  They were used to divide the floor into Ballroom”A” and Ballroom “B”, to accommodate more dancers–all dancing to the same music,  but in different categories, i.e.,  beginner, advanced, etc.  So while you were dancing you needed to careful that you didn’t fall into a planter.  Just another challenge thrown into the mix!!

Now that it’s all over I will be spending some time with my family who are visiting here from North Carolina for a week.   While I am thus occupied the blog will continue with posts that I have prepared in advance to run in my absence.  A week with house guests will require some cooking on my part so I expect to have some goodies to share with you all when I get back on track.

In the meantime, have a great week, and I’ll be back at my keyboard real soon.

Biscoff Swirl Brownies

Biscoff-swirl Brownies

Biscoff-swirl Brownies

I try not to have an open jar of Biscoff in my cupboard, because it takes all the willpower I can muster not to sneak a little spoonful every time I pass by.  And knowing me one small taste is usually not enough,  so I absolutely had to use up that open jar in some way.   That’s how this recipe for Biscoff swirled into fudge brownies happened.

These are not going to last long!

These are not going to last long!

Not familiar with this yummy treat?   This spread, besides being totally delicious, is vegan, nut-free, produced in a nut-free facility and has no cholesterol or trans-fats in it.  It’s great on toast,  or in a sandwich, in place of peanut-butter.  I use it to jazz up lots of things, but when I decided to swirl some into my favorite brownie recipe, I’m not kidding when I say it took them over the top.  They taste as amazing as they look.

Fudgy, chewy, a little decadent!

Fudgy, chewy, a little decadent!

While I prefer to serve them while they are still slightly warm, so the cookie butter will still be warm and gooey, they’re still every bit as mouth-watering when they’re completely cooled.  But don’t take my word for it, you must try them for yourself.

BISCOFF SWIRL BROWNIES

Yield:   Makes about 16 squaresIMG_4776

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff Spread, melted

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line a square 8×8, or 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper or spray with a good coating of pan spray.

2.  Melt the butter on the stove top or microwave .  Whisk in sugar, salt and cocoa powder, and then stir in the vanilla extract.

3.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs well, and then whisk in the chocolate mixture until well combined.

4.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder until well combined.  Stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until just combined.

5.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Melt the Bixcoff Spread in the microwave and  drizzle over the top of the brownie batter.  Use a clean knife to swirl the Biscoff into the batter.

Pour biscoff on top and swirl into brownie batter with a knife.

Pour Biscoff on top and swirl into brownie batter with a knife.

6.  Bake at 350*F for 30 -35 minutes.  Cool on a wire cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.

You know you want one ( or two)!!!

You know you want one ( or two)!!!

SOURCE:    Carolyn’s Originals