Blackberry Crumble Bars

I was trying to think of something I could bring to serve bite size deliciousness to a larger group.

I wanted to do fruity, but pies and cobblers can be a bit messy, and not exactly finger food, but bars are.

And who doesn’t love blackberries??  I know I do.  I currently live in Washington, they grow like wildflowers here, so I usually have a good stock in the freezer.

To start preheat the oven to 350 and mix in a bowl, and then set aside:

  • 5 cups of Blackberries
  • 1.5 tablespoons of Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons of Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup of Brown Sugar

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Then lay parchment paper on a large cookie sheet and grease.  The blackberry juice will most likely spread a bit to the edges, you’re going to want parchment paper so the bars don’t stick to the pan. TRUST ME.

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Now mix together in a blender, or cut in the butter with a pasty knife the following:

  • 4 1/2 Cups of Sugar
  • 1 1/4 Cups of Butter
  • 1 1/4 Cups of White Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt

When the mixture resembles course crumbs add:

  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil

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Mix well, then evenly place on the cookie sheet and flatten out.

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Now add the blackberries….

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To make the final topping mix up

  • 3/4 Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Flour
  • 1/2 Cup (1 Stick) of melted Butter

Spread over the top in pieces evenly.

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Bake for about 35 mins, till the top is starting to brown.

Let the pan cool, and then cut the bars and remove from the wax paper.

 

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MMMMMMMM

Now just to keep my husband out of them….

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Tres Leches Cake

Several years back I had a friend request a Tres Leches cake for his birthday.  I had never made one, but I said yes and decided to try it.   Since then I have made several different recipes, combing a few to make this one.  It has become a favorite among my friends and commonly requested.  Usually last minute when there is no possible way I could make it in time.

While I wouldn’t say it’s “hard” to make, it has several steps, and requires some refrigeration time.

First thing to do is to have six eggs at room temp.

Lightly Grease a 9×13 and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350.

This isn’t a recipe to try and make layer cake out of, it is to delicate to handle manipulation and moving in and out of pans.

In a large bowl add:

  • 1.5 cups of flour
  • 2.5 Teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt

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Set aside and separate the eggs..  *** Be sure not to get any of the yolk into the whites.**

With the 6 egg yolks add:

  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla.

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Add the Egg Yolk Mixture to the Flour  to form a batter, mix until combined.

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Now Beat your six egg whites until they form soft peaks, then add:

  • 1/4 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar.

Continue to add till they make hard peeks.

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Add 1/4 of the egg white mixture to the egg yolk batter and mix.

This helps the egg yolk batter become more playable.

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Now gently fold in the rest of the egg yolks a little at a time.

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Add to the prepared 9×13

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Now bake for 35-40 mins.

When done set aside and let cool on a rack for about 30-35 mins.

 

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While the cake is cooling combine:

  • I can of Evaporated Milk (12 ounce)
  • I can of Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 ounce)
  • 1/3 Cup of Heavy Cream

Once the cake is cool enough, poke holes in it and SLOWLY add the milk mixture. IMG_2855.JPG

 

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You will have a bit (1/3-1/2 cup) of the milk mixture left over as you can see. You want the cake moist, but where it will eventually soak up all of the milk as it sits in the fridge.

Now put in the fridge for at least 4 hours, then top with whipped cream topping before serving.  I think it taste better the longer it has been sitting, so if you can make it the day before it is worth it!

To make whipped cream beat with an electric mixer:

  • 1.5 cups of heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

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Simple Coleslaw

I don’t know what it is about the word “Coleslaw” but it never looks like it is spelled right to me.  Maybe because I have never actually pronounced it like it’s supposed to be, it’s either “Slaw” or “Coslaw”.   Blame it on Texas.

Anyways. It’s really simple to make.  I mean, really really simple.

I cheat and buy the prepacked cut up cabbage.   If you for some reason are morally against this, feel free to buy some cabbage and cut it up, add some shredded carrots to it.

This recipe is for two bags, and a lot of people.  For a smaller version, just divide by 2.

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In a bowl mix the dry ingredients:

3/4 Cup of Sugar

3/4 Tablespoon Onion Powder

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

 

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Then then add the wet ingredients and whisk together

5 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice

3 Tablespoons of Vinegar

1/3 Cup Buttermilk

3/4 Cup of Milk

1.5 Cups of Miracle Whip or Mayo

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I didn’t start out with a big enough bowl, so make sure you don’t run into that problem like I did….No need to ruin perfectly clean dishes.

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Then quickly toss with the cabbage/carrot mixture and refrigerate.

I told you it was easy.  Stupid Easy.

Also, vinegar and lemon juice can mess with regular milk…so don’t leave the wet ingredients sitting alone for to long.   I don’t know if it would do anything, but I do know you can make buttermilk by adding those two to regular milk….so I don’t risk it.

 

It needs to be cold when you serve it, it will take a few hours.  Make sure to mix it up before serving, some of the liquid will pool at the bottom.

Enjoy!

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Creamy Potato Salad

When I was a kid I use to LOVE when my mom made potato salad, it was amazing.

When I moved away as an adult it took a few times to get it close to how she made it, but it eventually happened.

This recipe will easily feed 12 people.  It’s the perfect side for burgers, pulled pork, hot dogs, anything really.

Also, be prepared because this is a large portion.

It’s not the traditional way people make it, it’s creamy and delicious.

I usually like to ramble on, and tell some nice little story….but I did that already and my computer froze.  So this is the second time around, now I am just wanting to finish this post.   So here is the short version:

Step one, peal and place five pounds of potatoes in a large pot, and then heat.

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Cook them till fork tender at a simmer.

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Drain well and put in a large bowl.

While it is still hot add and mix well:

 

1.5 cups of Mayo (or Miracle whip if you have a mayo aversion.)

1/2 Cup of Mustard

2 Teaspoons of Salt

1/2 Teaspoon of Black Pepper

1/2 Teaspoon of Onion Powder

1/3-1/2 Cup of Dill Relish (depending on your preference)

Optional

2-3 Boiled Eggs

½ Cup of diced black olives.

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When you’re done feel free to top with paprika, just to give it some color 🙂

I also like to put it in a different bowl after mixing, just so it looks clean.

TIPS:

I like to mix everything a little at a time, I do the mayo first, then the mustard followed by the seasonings….tasting as I go.

You want the Mayo to be blended in with the potatoes, not just soupy in the bowl.

Add the Mayo until the potatoes are no longer dry.

Remember, it is going to taste a bit different cold!

This does take a bit to make, but trust me when I say it is worth it!

No one remembers the person who brought the supermarket potato salad, but they will remember you for this.

Also please remember that it gets stronger the longer it sits….Don’t overdo the mustard.  You want it to be yellow, but not overpowering.

 

Please try to also make sure that your potatoes are mashed up and mixed well, try to avoid large chunks for people to bite into.

 

Hope this recipe works for you!

Enjoy!

Smoked Meatloaf

My husband LOVES to smoke stuff.  He doesn’t care what….anything.  He’s tried to convince me to bake a cake for him to smoke…….I really haven’t felt the need to mesquite smoke chocolate cake though…..

We decided to smoke a meatloaf for some friends, they results were AMAZING!

So here is the recipe….This could be used for the oven as well…..Which is how I use to do it, but that way is now the way of the past.

This recipe feeds 6-8.

First take 2 pounds of ground beef and 1 pound of sausage and put in a bowl, add 3/4 cup of bread crumbs or crushed tortilla chips.  (if you use tortilla chips cut back on the salt later on)

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Now is a separate bowl combine:

  • 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire
  • 1 Teaspoon of Soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon of Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon of Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon of Basil
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt (1/2 teaspoon if used salted chips for the breadcrumbs)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Mustard
  • 1/3 cup of finely diced Onion
  • 4 Eggs

Pour this mixture into the meat, mix well.

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Now put in loaf pan and put into fridge for about 30 minutes to help it take shape.

Take out the pan and flip into a pan that will catch the grease, and that can go in a smoker.

 

I used a 13×9 Cake pan.  Now put in the heated smoker that is set at 225 for about three hours.  It will be done when it reaches 165 on the inside.  (To bake in oven 375, 45-50 mins)

Remove from grease filled pan and put on clean cookie sheet or cutting board to cut.

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Now just cut and serve, and be prepared to be amazed….

 

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Marinara Sauce, and so much of it..

I am a big fan of spaghetti, or lasagna, or pizza…really anything with Marinara Sauce…..

I also like making a large amount of it at once, and then freezing the rest…..this recipe makes a bit over a gallon of sauce…I usually get 6-8 bags to freeze out of this recipe.

This recipe does take a few hours, but it’s worth it to have a couple of weeks of easy dinner starters in the freezer.

To start with take a medium onion, two carrots and two stalks of celery and dice them all up.  Pour a little bit of olive oil on the bottom of the pan, just enough to coat it.  Heat the pan and then add the veggies….stir frequently while they cook.

While this is cooking add in a small bowl:

  1. 1 Tablespoon of salt
  2. 1 Tablespoon of basil
  3. 1 Tablespoon of oregano
  4. 1/2 Tablespoon of thyme
  5. 2 Teaspoons of red pepper flakes
  6. 2 Teaspoons of black pepper
  7. 1 Tablespoon of sugar

 

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When the veggie mixture is cooked, soft and translucent remove from heat and add 2 Tablespoons of minced garlic, and 1/4 cup of wine.  Mix well and return to heat till the wine is soaked up by veggies.

 

Now add:

  1. 1 Gallon of tomato product, any mixture of crushed or diced tomatoes. (this is 128 ounces of canned products, it doesn’t have to be exact, but close!)
  2. A 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  3. 3 Bay leaves
  4. 1 Teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce.
  5. 1.5 cups of water
  6. Add in the bowl of seasonings

Now cover and put on a low simmer….let cook for about two hours.

When done let cool for a bit, and then add to a blender.  Beware, it it’s still steaming don’t fill it up….something bad could happen.

Once the mixture is blended, just put in freezer bags and date 🙂 Make sure it is completely cooled before you put in the freezer!  Don’t forget to leave some out for dinner :).

 

Hope you enjoy it as much as Tommy did!

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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

My husband is amazing at smoking meat.   Brisket, Pork Butt, Chicken, anything really.  Unfortunately he is gone right now and I wanted pulled pork.

I have no need or desire to even try to figure out how to smoke a Pork Butt. It takes way to much time and patience in my opinion, so I pulled out the trusty slow cooker.

This is seriously one of the easiest recipes.  EVER.  It does take awhile, but you don’t have to do anything.

It is one of those perfect leave in the morning and come home at night recipes.

First, the night before follow these few steps.

In a small bowl mix:

  1. 2 tablespoons of salt
  2. 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
  3. 1 teaspoon of black pepper

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Now, put the 6-8 LB pork shoulder (or pork butt, whatever you want to call it) in a bowl and stab it with a knife about ten times on each side.  Then rub the dry mix on both sides evenly. After this is done cover and put in the fridge for the night.

This part does need to be started at least 8 hours before you want to eat.

Take out the pork shoulder and mix up

  • 1 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tsp of Liquid Smoke
  • 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 Tsp of Soy Sauce (this can easily be omitted for allergies)

    Rub down both sides and put in the crock pot on low and walk away.

    If you are home you can turn it every 2-3 hours…but not necessary.

After 7-8 hours the meat should be able to pull.  You will know this when it starts falling from the bone, and you can twist it off with a fork.

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When it does this transfer to a pan of some sort and pull the meat with two forks, just shredding it.  You can remove the excess fat and bone at this point.

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It should look something like this.

If you are eating now then dig in!
If you want to keep it warm for awhile reserve about 1 cup of the juice in the slow cooker and add the pork back into that one cup. (dump the rest of the liquid out)

You can add BBQ sauce into the pork if you desire, I prefer to leave it plain so I can do more stuff with leftovers! Great for enchiladas!

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Old Fashioned Cornbread.

Cornbread could be considered a southern classic.  It is an easy quick bread that can be paired with many crock pot meals on a busy day.  I recommend doing this in a cast iron. You will also need bacon grease for the pan (or vegetable oil if bacon grease isn’t available, I understand not everyone has a mason jar filled with it next to thier stove).

1.5 Cups of Cornmeal

1/2 Cup of flour

1 Tablespoon of Sugar

1 Teaspoon of Salt

1 teaspoon of baking soda

2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder

1/3 cup of bacon grease or vegetable oil

 

1.5 cups of buttermilk

 

2 eggs.

 

First thing, put grease in a cast iron, about three tablespoons and put it in the oven at 425 to preheat.

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Now…Grab a large bowl :beka iphone pics 753 - Copy

 

Mix dry ingredients with the grease…

Then take the buttermilk and mix with eggs, I forgot to take a pic with the eggs mixed.  So you have to use your imagination on this one.  beka iphone pics 754 - Copy

 

Now combine the buttermilk/egg with the dry mix.  Stir till just combined.

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Now, here comes the fun part. Take that hot cast iron and pour in the mixture (make sure the oven is fully preheated) It will sizzle, this is what gives it a good crust.

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You can see it is frying. Don’t worry about the grease.  It’s good for you.  Now bake for about 25-30 minutes at 425!

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Enjoy!

Key Lime Cheesecake. Yes. Amazing.

A little back story.  When my husband and I first started dating years  ago I found out that one of his favorite desserts happened to be cheesecake.  I called my Mama and asked for her recipe, she had always made amazing cheesecakes so there was no better source.

I was asked to bring dessert to Easter Dinner, and I wanted something fruity, so I decided to try to manipulate my Mom’s regular cheesecake recipe into a Key Lime Cheesecake, it turned out pretty well!

Just a warning this isn’t a very dense recipe, not New York Style.

First you will need to make (or buy) a  Graham cracker crust.  I do this in the blender, I actually do the whole thing in the Ninja, but a mixer works just as well for the cheesecake part.

Preheat oven to 350

Mix 10 Sheets of Graham crackers with 1/3 cup of sugar, when they have mixed about add 1/3 cup of melted butter.  Mix again, pour into pan and press to the sides.

I used a deeper pie pan….

Now bake this at 350 for eight minutes.IMG_2526

 

 

Now, take:

  1. 2.5 blocks of softened cream cheese
  2. 1 cup of sugar
  3. 1/2 cup of Lime Juice (8 limes for me)
  4. 3 eggs

Blend this very very very well, rather in a Ninja or Hand Mixer or KitchenAid, it might take a few minutes.

 

 

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Pour into prepared pie shell.

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Bake at 350 45-55 minutes.  It is done when set and toothpick comes clean.  If it cracks then its most likely done, not big deal there….just cover it with Whipped Cream 🙂

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Let cool till room temp, and then refrigerate for several hours at least! I make these the day before I take them anywhere.

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Best Dang Carrot Cake

Growing up I was never a fan of Carrot Cake, just wasn’t my thing.  I liked the Cream Cheese Icing, but that was about it.  A few months ago I flew down to Texas to see my PawPaw (for you northern folk, that is a term for Grandfather) for his 75th birthday.  My Aunt had made him a Carrot Cake, as that was what he requested.

Now my Aunt convinced me to try her Carrot Cake, because after all HER CARROT CAKE was going to make me change my opinion about carrot cakes in general.  I begrudgingly took a bite,  expecting to dislike the piece of Carrot Cake as I had so many before….and well.  I had to admit.  I suddenly became a fan of Carrot Cake.

After I got back home and my husband returned from his deployment I had her send me the recipe, because Carrot Cake is his favorite cake, after eating it he told me it was the BEST cake I ever made, and I have made some pretty awesome cakes…..  So here it is, the Carrot Cake of Carrot Cake recipe, slightly tweaked but almost the same.  I made it this week for a friend’s birthday, but it would also be a great addition to any Easter Meal this weekend

First things first, turn oven to 350 and then prepare three nine inch cake round with grease and flour.

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In a medium sized bowl stir together the following, and then set aside

  • 2 Cups of flour
  • 2 TSP of baking soda
  • 1/2 Tsp of salt
  • 2.5 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

In a large bowl add and cream:

  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Cups of Sugar
  • 1/2 Vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Then add to the egg mixture:

  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla

Slowly add the dry to the wet, and it will look something like this: (Don’t over beat)

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Now FOLD in

  • 8 ounce can of DRAINED crushed pineapple (don’t skip this)
  • 1 cup of chopped Walnuts (optional, but it gives it a nice texture)
  • 2 cups of grated carrot

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Evenly spread batter into the cake pans and bake 23-28 mins

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Now, we will make the buttermilk glaze.  This makes the cake so moist…..don’t you dare skip it.

In a saucepan add and bring to a boil, let boil for 4 mins then remove from heat. Stir continually.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of butter

Remove from heat and add in 1 teaspoon of vanilla

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When the cakes come out slowly pour evenly on them. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely before adding icing.

Now mix together in a bowl the cream cheese icing:

  • 2 Packages of cream cheese
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of  vanilla

Beat till the icing is light and creamy, add more powdered sugar if it isn’t sweet enough for you, but it should be 🙂  My husband was pretty happy when he got the beaters 🙂

 

 

Now assemble IMG_2504 and then put the finishing touches on…..

Warning, I am not the greatest at decorating, so I just like making it decent looking. I with I had the artistic touch, but some people don’t have the touch….

 

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ENJOY!  And Happy Easter!

 

Beka