Sugar High.

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I'm heading back to Colorado tomorrow, but this time to visit Bre and attend a concert at Red Rocks! But before I go, I wanted to share a recipe with you that will leave you thinking you just downed 3 of those 5-Hour Energy drinks they sell at the grocery stores… The recipe is for Butterfinger Blondies, and you can find it over on my sorely-neglected food blog, Four Seasons Cafe.

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I'll see you soon!

Gingerbread Muffins

I had several emails about this recipe, so I'm posting it here and over at Four Seasons Cafe. The original recipe didn't call for gluten-free flour, so if you're not gluten-intolerant and can have the pleasure of using regular flour, then you'll be just fine not changing a thing in the recipe. If you do choose to use gluten-free flour, I've had great luck with Domata Living Flour (which already has xantham gum included).

If you're not a fan of gingerbread, this isn't the muffin for you! 🙂 But I happen to love the taste, and these muffins are just as rich as a home-baked gingerbread cookie. I like them served warm with a bit of real, unsalted butter cut into the middle. And if you want to sprinkle more sugar on top, then go for it! You won't be sorry!

Download Gingerbread Muffins

You can click the link above to print it out onto either paper or cardstock, and then you may wish to cut it down to size.

Gingerbread Muffins

I hope you enjoy the way your house smells! And these taste even better if there's snow outside your kitchen window. 😉

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Please Bring Christmas Back

We have finally gotten our winter weather! I love the snow, and I've missed it terribly, so when I woke up to the beautiful snowfall last weekend, I decided to make the most of it and bake my way to a holiday-smelling morning.

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These are gingerbread muffins, and they are the most melt-in-your-mouth muffins I've ever baked. And guess what. They're gluten-free, and if I you ate one and I didn't tell you that, you'd never know it. 🙂

Here's what it looked like outside my kitchen window…

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And here are the trees that line the street behind our house…

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I went into the living room and pulled the curtains back for sweet Tilly…

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She loves to sit on the back of my couch and look outside. I took this photo right after I took the one above, since I was standing directly over her…

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And to make it even more of a holiday, Miss Jill Rensel sent back my framed Bringing Home the Tree by Pineberry Lane!

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I love that etched moulding!

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I can't get Ella Fitzgerald's White Christmas out of my head.

I love this weather!

Puny’s Potato Salad

I can't believe how many emails I've gotten from people asking me to post the potato salad recipe I made for Sabrina's graduation party! So I've posted it to Four Seasons Cafe, for those who are interested… it is truly the best-tasting potato salad I've ever tasted, and it came from the book Jan Karon's Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader. (If you don't already have this cookbook in your reportoire, you're missing out! It's so much fun, particularly if you're a Mitford fan like I am.)

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Cobbler!

I finally got around to dusting off the Four Seasons Cafe blog and posting a recipe. I've been in a crazy baking mood lately, and this time I chose Rhubarb Cobbler from Pioneer Woman. If you'd like to hear how it turned out, head on over! If not, then I guess I'll be et fer a tater.

(If you like Jan Karon's Mitford books, you're probably familiar with that last phrase, which has nothing to do with cobbler, but I wasn't sure how else to end that sentence.)

I'm in the mood for taters now.

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Easter

It was such a pretty day this past Sunday, and I'm never in more of a mood to bake than on a bright Sunday morning, when the house is quiet.

I decided on monkey bread, bc one of the most heavenly aromas in the world is warm yeast bread baking, and hot coffee brewing. And bacon.

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Just before it was time to shape the dough and set it in the oven, my littlest Easter chick came downstairs. (She's always the first one up on holidays.)

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She was very excited to receive a much-longed-for fragrance in her basket. It's called Carried Away, by Bath & Body Works.

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She smelled marvelous for church.

And Papa Bear looked marvelous for church.

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(She wasn't quite ready for the picture, as she wasn't zipped up yet, but she was gracious about it.)

Bre wasn't home to get in on the picture, but Mike snapped a photo of me and my two other sweet girls…

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Bre did make it home in time for this, however:

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I hope you had a lovely Easter Sunday!

If you'd like the recipe for the monkey bread I made (which originally came from Martha Stewart, but with my slight changes), here it is:

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EASTER MORNING MONKEY BREAD

FOR THE BREAD:

1/4 c. water
3 1/4 c. flour
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
1/4 c. granulated sugar, plus a pinch for yeast
3/4 c. milk, warmed
2 T. shortening
1 pkg. yeast

1. Put the warm water and pinch of sugar in small bowl; sprinkle yeast over top. Stir; let the yeast soften and dissolve, about 5 minutes.

2. Place shortening, warm milk, sugar, salt, and egg in mixer bowl. Grease Bundt pan and a medium bowl.

3. Once yeast is dissolved and foamy, add it to mixer bowl; mix well. Slowly add flour. Knead by hand for 5 minutes or so. Place in the greased bowl; cover with plastic. Set dough in warm place and let rest 20 minutes.

FOR THE COATING:

1 stick butter, melted
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 c. light brown sugar

4. Put melted butter in a bowl. In another bowl, mix brown sugar and cinnamon.

5. Shape dough into 1/2" balls and then roll in butter and then brown sugar mixture. Place into prepared Bundt pan.

6. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise about 1 hour or until double in size.

7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes in pan.

8. Turn bread out of pan; cool 20 minutes on rack or plate.

FOR THE ICING:

2 c. confectioners' sugar
1/4 c. milk

9. Make icing: In a small bowl, stir milk into confectioners' sugar. Drizzle over bread.

Enjoy! And be sure to have a fresh pot of coffee to go with it. 🙂

Mom’s Pot Roast!

If you've never been successful at cooking a roast that's tender and extremely flavorful, you're going to want to make my mom's recipe. It's very easy and absolutely delicious. It's one of the first things I asked her to teach me to make when I got married, and it's been my family's favorite for dinner ever since. Head on over to Four Seasons Cafe to make your own!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

I just had to share with you the little cards the girls and I made for them to pass out to their friends. Sophie will be sharing hers with her classmates when they exchange Valentines (this is her last year, since middle-schoolers don't "do" Valentine's Day parties), along with the Pop Rocks and Blow Pops she's attached to each of the envelopes…

Sophie Valentine

And here is Sabrina's… we got the crazy idea to stick sprinkles on her lip gloss from a photo someone submitted to Pioneer Woman's site a while back. I thought I was going to fall down from laughing so hard, watching her smash her face into the counter so her lips could come into contact with the shallow dish of sprinkles.

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Although high-schoolers don't generally exchange Valentine's cards any more than middle-schoolers do, I doubt Sabrina will have trouble finding takers for them, considering she also has Pop Rocks and Blow Pops to accompany them. 😉

(Btw, the original templates for the cards came from Jodi Friedman of MCP Actions.)

And would you believe…

I haven't posted to Four Seasons Cafe since October of last year! I cooked and baked and took photos, but never got them posted. "For shame, for shame," as my grandmother used to say, while crossing-and-swiping her two index fingers together.

If you need a dessert for your sweet family tonight, this one is easy as pie. 😉 Head on over and print it out!

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Holiday Baking

The shopping is done, the gifts are wrapped, and I've decided to spend the remaining hours before Christmas Eve baking to my heart's content! Here's what I have on the menu…

Shrimp and Cocktail Sauce
Honeybaked Ham
Sweet Potato Casserole
Summer Sausage
Crackers
Jack Cheese
Sugar Cookies
Reindeer Eyes
Peanut Clusters
Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
Cinnamon Rolls
Zucchini Bread
Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Fleur de Sel Caramels
Savory Meatballs

I think that's it, but I can't guarantee it. I have no idea why I'm making so much food, bc much of it will end up in the freezer or taken to Mike's office. But I do love it all, and I feel very fortunate to be able to do it. (Plus, some of Frieda's staples every Christmas Eve were shrimp, sausage, crackers, and cheese, and I'd like to keep her tradition going for Mike and the girls.) I'll also be taking quite a bit of it over to my parents' house on Christmas Night, where I feel sure my brother will polish off the reindeer eyes!

Here's what I have so far (most of it baked while listening to Christmas movies)…

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I clearly have a long way to go. 🙂 I did bake gingerbread cookies as well, but I've eaten every last one of them. Sorry, Mom. I'll make more.

Btw, I've been making the Reindeer Eyes ever since my good friend Chris sent them to me in the mail several years ago. Get yourself some round pretzels (I got mine at WalMart) and almond bark and Christmas M&M's. Melt the bark, drizzle it in the middle of each pretzel, and drop an M&M down into it before it hardens. Voila! They're sooo good!

I hope you all have a beautiful Christmas Eve. We're expecting snow, for which I'm happy. I do love a good snowfall…puts me in the mood to bake!

Merry Christmas!

P.S. For those of you who wanted to learn how to make the snowflakes that Sophie made, she posted the video on her blog! Have fun! Paper Snowflakes

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Vanilla Icing

Just posted this recipe over on Four Seasons Cafe! It's delicious!!!

Pumpkin cake

I forgot to add on the recipe post that my family LOVED it, which completely surprised me. As I was saying over there, they're more into the rich desserts with chocolate and ice cream. 🙂 Sophie usually will eat only the frosting on a piece of cake, but she actually ate the entire thing when I let her try this one.

Btw, it came from this wonderful little book that was gifted to me by my mom last week: 

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Happy Fall!