Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Black Bean and Corn Salsa


I've been testing out a few recipes to go with my Super Bowl Chicken Taco Bar this Sunday and this one came up a winner. It's easy to put together and ads a fresh, flavorful and healthy element  to the lineup.   Black beans and corn come together with a sweet and spicy kick.  It's so good, you won't be able to stop eating it!


  • It's also extremely versatile.  Use it in place of chicken for a tasty vegan taco filling or add two cups of the salad and one cup of your chicken taco filling to a quart of chicken stock and you have instant Chicken Enchilada Soup!


  • Go ahead.  Pile it on!


  • Black Bean and Corn Salad
  • adapted from This Recipe at The Food Network
2 - 14 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups frozen corn kernels
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey
1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
1/4 cup canola oil
hot sauce to taste (I prefer Frank's Red Hot)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What Ice Fishing Looks Like


Do you remember the movie Grumpy Old Men?  What?  Eh?  You're too young to remember the 1993 classic with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau?  Some of the funniest scenes take place out on a frozen Minnesota lake.  Ice Fishing.


Ice fishing in North America may have begun as a sport of survival, but it has turned into a cultish pastime with its own sub-culture.  In freezing climates, it has become just one more reason for men to get out of the house and divert their domestic responsibility.  Or maybe it has been promoted by women who prefer their men to play cards in their own house on the weekends.  Whatever its origin, modern day ice fishing does not seem to base its success on the catching of fish. 


If you've never been ice fishing before (ahem. me.) the first point of fear is driving your car out on the ice.  I mean, are you really going to trust the weatherman who is announcing the ice safety conditions from his heated rooftop garden?  There is definitely an eerie feeling that accompanies driving a full-sized SUV over clear ice.  You can actually see the water below.


The guys carry in the big equipment.  
An ice auger is needed to drill or re-drill the necessary holes in the ice.


Buckets of bait and fishing tackle come in handy, too, if you are actually planning on fishing.



Ice houses come in many shapes and sizes, but they usually have one thing in common. They're small.  I particularly liked this red retro version near us.  Circa 1960's?


This little shanty has a nice homey feel.  A few lessons in living more with less!


Inside an ice shanty one can learn many lessons in efficiency.  The floor is drilled with holes for easy ice access.  This deluxe model came complete with a fold-down dining table and upholstered benches, fold-down sleeping accommodations, an electric stove, heater and toilet/utility room.  Hey. Move over. I'm using my wide-angle lens here!

If you look closely at this picture, you can detect the strategy for fishing.  One fisherman lowers a waterproof camera down one hole.  The monitor sits on the bench.  A second fisherman eyes the catch on the monitor and lowers a net with a telescoping handle.


What could be better than an ice cold Coca-Cola lost at sea?


A day in an ice shanty.

Photo Courtesy of The Sister-In-Law
The cure for cabin fever?
Or the lunacy of cabin fever?




Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Groundhog Pudding Cups


Now that we are back living in The North, I'm starting to remember why, prior to my life in The South, I had only had a handful of pedicures and didn't own any sandals.  Exposing one's feet presents health risks.  Like frostbite.


Groundhog's Day (February 2nd) is just around the corner. At this time, as legend has it, the groundhog will either emerge from its hole on a sunny day, see its shadow, get scared, and hide leaving us with six more weeks of winter, or it will emerge on a cloudy day, see nothing noteworthy and predict an early spring.  Sunny or not, a package of Pepperidge Farm Milano's was all the inspiration I needed to celebrate the impending season.


When I first saw these cookies in Family Fun magazine, I immediately tore out the page. How cute are these groundhogs?  The actual assembly is a bit tedious, but the eager anticipation of the recipients makes it all worth while.


Begin with some Milano cookies.  Use sliced almonds for the ears.  Dig through the bag to find a good pair and then slice them in half the short way.



My glue of choice is usually melted chocolate.  I found these great candy piping bags at Michael's.  They work even better than the Ziploc Bag method and if you have extra chocolate, just store it in the bag for next time!

It's a great discovery.


Next, grab a bag of peanut butter or butterscotch chips and cut the little tips off.  Be a hero and let your kids eat the scraps.  Or be a hero to yourself.  I'm not here to judge.



Glue the butterscotch chip "cheeks" onto your groundhog.  Next pipe a little nose and two eyes.  I used white chocolate to pipe in some teeth.


Next, mix up some pudding.  I divided four 4-serving boxes among 12 cups.  The new Devil's Food Pudding was particularly delicious.  Add some "dirt" with crushed Oreos.


Place your groundhogs in the cup and see what happens! Winter will surely last longer than these fun little desserts.  Whether or not the groundhog sees it shadow this year, I prognosticate that winter around these parts will linger!


THIS POST MAY BE LINKED TO: MONDAYS MADE BY YOU MONDAY, FLOUR ME WITH LOVEMANIC MONDAYOUR DELIGHTFUL HOME TUESDAYSTALENT SHOW TUESDAYS, TEMPT MY TUMMY TUESDAY, TRICK OR TREAT TUESDAY ,GET YOUR CRAFT ON,  MANDY'S RECIPE BOX  WEDNESDAYS: WORKS FOR ME WEDNESDAY, GINGER SNAP CRAFTS,  THURSDAYS:STRUT YOUR STUFF, FULL PLATE THURSDAYS , CHIC & CRAFTY PARTY,FRIDAYS: I’M LOVING IT, FOODIE FRIDAYFOOD ON FRIDAYS, TATERTOTS AND JELLO,   SHINE ON FRIDAYSFRIDAY FAVORITES, BACON TIME , KITCHEN FUN WITH MY THREE SONS,   SATURDAYS:SWEETS FOR A SATURDAY SIX SISTERS STUFFCRUMBS AND CHAOSSUNDAYS: NIFTY THRIFTY THINGS


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes


You don't have to be a Vegan to enjoy these delicious chocolate cupcakes.  In fact, why even put the word vegan in the name? Let's just call them super moist and deliciously rich chocolate cupcakes.  With no eggs and hardly any saturated fat.  My grandma used to make a similar cake growing up.  She called it Crazy Cake because it didn't have any eggs and she just mixed all the ingredients together right in the 9 x 13" pan!  Who knew she was so ahead of her time?


Vinegar steps in for the eggs to give the batter a lift (honestly, you won't taste a thing). I took a tip from my good friend Ina Garten who has proven that chocolate tastes chocolatier when you add a little coffee to it and substituted coffee for the water.  Really, I'm her friend.  She just doesn't know it yet.


See how beautifully these little eggless cuppies rise?


If you are really a Vegan, you can buy these Vegan Carob Chips which are completely dairy free.  I tried them and they melt up just like chocolate chips, making a delicious ganache.


Here's my simple tip for making chocolate ganache:  the microwave. Put all the ingredients in a Pyrex measuring cup and microwave for one minute.  Stir, Stir, Stir and you have a lovely, glossy chocolate ganache ready for dipping.



I dipped the cupcakes in the ganache and piped on some simple icing hearts. 
 These cupcakes are ready for my sweeties!

These cupcakes were the January baking assignment for the Martha Stewart Cupcakes Club!  
We'd love to have you join us!


Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Inspired by Martha Stewart and Chloe Cascarelli

Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup cold coffee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.  Whisk together dry ingredients.  Combine wet ingredients in a pyrex measuring cup.  Gradually pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Divide batter into baking cups.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Dip Cupcakes in ganache.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or vegan carob chips)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup heavy cream or canned coconut milk (mixed well)

Combine ingredients in a microwavable bowl.  Microwave on High for 1 minute.  Stir until glossy and smooth.  Microwave for another 30 seconds if needed.



THIS POST MAY BE LINKED TO: MONDAYS MADE BY YOU MONDAY, FLOUR ME WITH LOVEMANIC MONDAYOUR DELIGHTFUL HOME TUESDAYSTALENT SHOW TUESDAYS, TEMPT MY TUMMY TUESDAY, TRICK OR TREAT TUESDAY ,GET YOUR CRAFT ON,  MANDY'S RECIPE BOX  WEDNESDAYS: WORKS FOR ME WEDNESDAY, GINGER SNAP CRAFTS,  THURSDAYS:STRUT YOUR STUFF, FULL PLATE THURSDAYS , CHIC & CRAFTY PARTY,FRIDAYS: I’M LOVING IT, FOODIE FRIDAYFOOD ON FRIDAYS, TATERTOTS AND JELLO,   SHINE ON FRIDAYSFRIDAY FAVORITES, BACON TIME , KITCHEN FUN WITH MY THREE SONS,   SATURDAYS:SWEETS FOR A SATURDAY SIX SISTERS STUFFCRUMBS AND CHAOSSUNDAYS: NIFTY THRIFTY THINGS