Monday, April 27, 2015

Homemade Strawberry Italian Ice

Spring is finally here and the Farmer's Market is open and abundant with all of the yummy things Spring has to offer.  I love it when strawberries are in season and are the biggest, brightest, freshest red.  Nothing beats fresh strawberries, and while they are perfectly wonderful by themselves, they have lots of versatility.  My husband is a huge Italian food fan.  I try to fix at least one or two Italian meals per week.  And when there is an internationally appropriate dessert to go with it, even better.  Last week I made Arancini with Meat Sauce  (recipe coming soon.)  After dinner Mr. Devilish Dish finished up with his usual, "Good dinner Mom.  What's for dessert?" Usually my reply is, "You just stuffed yourself with a home cooked meal, you don't need dessert."  But not this time.  My reply was, "Homemade Strawberry Italian Ice."  And it was delicious and refreshing and easy and a brilliant red from fresh strawberries. 

Homemade Strawberry Italian Ice
made with fresh strawberries!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Loaded Banana Bread

I think I've told you before I'm not a fan of coconut.  Neither is Mr. Devilish, so I rarely make anything that calls for coconut.  In an effort to provide recipes that will appeal to everyone, and not just based on my picky tastes, occasionally I try to make coconutty things.  Recently my best friend (since the 6th grade) celebrated her wedding anniversary.  After many years of us living in various states we finally live about 2 miles from each other.  Which translates AWESOME for us and not-so-awesome-but-who-cares for our husbands.  Anyway, she loves coconut so her anniversary gave me a good excuse to share a coconut recipe with all of you.  AND since she lives right down the road I was able to deliver it to her warm from the oven.  Enjoy a slice with your best friend. 
Bake a loaf, and if you're lucky enough
to have your best friend right down the road,
share a slice or two.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Indian Clay Mud Mask

In my quest to find the fountain of youth (that I'm convinced someone has pinned on Pinterest) I'll try just about any skin care product that's out there.  Earlier this year I was sick.  Like the deadly flu that went around Oklahoma sick.  It really put me out of commission for about two weeks.  I felt pretty puny and looked even worse.  Even after I felt better, my skin and hair still looked dull and lifeless.  I just needed a really good mud mask to shine things up.  Estee Lauder used to make one that I loved.  And then they stopped making it and I'm ashamed to admit there are about 7,457 assorted tubes of mud masks in my bathroom cabinet.  All of which have had one use.  Then I did some reading and heard all about how this Indian clay is the next big thing in beauty.  (Actually if you've ever used any of the GlamGlow products it's very similar.  I love these but I don't love the price tag as much.)  I'm a big believer in apple cider vinegar for lots of things and I always keep that on hand.  I found a HUGE container of this Bentonite clay at Sprouts and mixed up the mask.  Let's just say it's a true MUD MASK.  It is brown like mud and gets hard like mud.  Which is the kind of mud mask I like. It will also tingle and kind of make your face pulsate.  Don't freak out, it's just a very deep pore cleaning mask.  I mixed up a batch and tried the mask.  20 minutes later my face felt softer than it has ever felt.  I really felt like I had some color back in my cheeks and just looked all around better.  In addition to my face looking so dull after being sick, my hair was so limp.  Which NEVER happens.  I have the thickest hair on the planet.  Sometimes I can't sleep because my ponytail is too thick on the pillow.  I also mixed up a mud mask for my hair.  It came out so thick I could barely get the brush through it.  Mr. Devilish Dish totally noticed without me even telling him.  It made a huge difference in my hair.  I now do the mask about once a month and the hair treatment about once every three months.  The clay lasts forever.  I've even shared some with my friends.  I like that the products are all natural and inexpensive too. 
My new favorite miracle mud mask!
A huge tub of dry clay.  It lasts forever too.
You can't use any metal with this clay.
Hopefully you have some adorable plastic measuring spoons like I do.

Combine equal parts clay and
apple cider vinegar.

Mix well.

Apply to your face and let harden
for 20 minutes.
And then look like a total dork
to millions of strangers on the internet.
Give it a try. 

Indian Clay Mud Mask

Combine equal parts clay and apple cider vinegar.  (I usually do about 3 teaspoons of each.)
You need to make sure and DO NOT USE any metal spoons or bowls.  It will react with the clay.  I use my cute little plastic measuring spoons and just a disposable spoon to mix it up.  Spread evenly over your face and let dry.  Keep on 15-20 minutes then wash away with warm water.  Enjoy how smooth, soft and vibrant your face is!

Indian Clay Hair Mask

Mix enough of the powdered clay in a plastic cup with water to coat your hair.  (The mixture will be thicker than conditioner, but you want it where you can massage it through your hair.)  Remember DO NOT USE any metal.  I do the rest of this in the shower.  Work the mud through your hair.  Massage through your hair and let sit three minutes.  (Remember 3-minute miracle?  I leave everything in three minutes.)  Rinse thoroughly.  Now, you MUST rinse with apple cider vinegar.  This is necessary to restore the PH balance to your hair because the clay is very stripping.  I used about 1 cup but I have a lot of hair.  Work the vinegar through your hair and then rinse thoroughly.  After this step I go ahead and use my regular conditioner because I don't want my hair to smell like vinegar but that's just me.  If you want to smell like dyeing Easter Eggs, be my guest.

NOTE:  I am not a skin expert.  I'm just a girl that will try anything and tell her friends about it.  If you have skin issues then of course check with your doctor first.  I'm just sharing information that works well in my case. 

Make sure you use good quality unfiltered apple cider vinegar.  I always buy the Bragg Organic Raw Unfiltered kind.  It has so many uses.  If you'd like, take some time and read up on the internet or Pinterest about all of the great uses for both this clay and apple cider vinegar.  In addition to deep pore cleansing the clay can also be used for foot soaks, acne etc.  There are lots of good things to try these two products on.  Good Luck!

Friday, April 17, 2015

How to Perfectly Boil an Egg

We love deviled eggs around here.  Obviously if we're The Devilish Dish.  One thing that totally grosses me out is when you boil an egg and the yolk has that grey/green color around it.  It doesn't really taste any different but since we also "eat with our eyes" it makes a huge difference on a deviled egg platter.  This is the method Anthony Bourdain recommends in his Les Halles cookbook.  In fact, the recipe is titled, "How to boil a freakin egg."  This is the technique I've always used and had success no matter how many eggs I'm cooking.  I have even used my big stockpot and cooked 2 dozen eggs at a time.  With spring here and summer coming up it is truly deviled egg season.  Now you'll have the most beautiful deviled eggs at the picnic or barbeque. 

My favorite method.  It never fails.
Cover your eggs with water.
Bring to a rapid boil.
Place on lid.
Turn heat off and allow
pan to sit on burner 10 minutes.
Cool in ice water before peeling.
There you have it.
Easy, perfectly boiled eggs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Brownie Cookies

So Little Devil has this skinny boyfriend.  She not only shares my love of baking, but also apparently the need to fatten up everyone around her with over the top sweets.  About every other night she makes him a batch of these cookies.  And then our house smells awesome like brownies only she doesn't let us eat them.  When Mr. DD and I were dating he told me that he liked banana pudding.  And I made it for him in the biggest bowl I could find.  Like literally a wash tub of banana pudding.  To this day he will not touch banana pudding.  So far the boyfriend hasn't gotten tired of these cookies.  Or if he has he's smart enough not to tell her so he'll keep getting homemade treats.  Even if you don't make these every other night like she does, make at least one batch.  They are dark, rich and decadent just like a brownie, with all the fun of a cookie!

Little Devil's dark, rich, decadent
Brownie Cookies
try them!
Apparently some folks never tire of them!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pimento Cheese-Like The Masters

It's no secret Mr. DD loves golf.  And when The Masters tournament rolls around every April, he's glued to the tv for days.  My theory is "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" so I decided it would be fun to prepare a Masters-themed menu for dinner.  He actually went to Augusta, Georgia for the tournament a couple of years ago and raved about the food.  He said everything was really good, and the prices haven't changed much over the years.  You can still get a sandwich for a couple of dollars versus the insane concession prices at other events.  Being the South, it just wouldn't be proper to have an event like The Masters and not have Pimento Cheese Sandwiches.  I grew up on this stuff.  Sometimes it was on white bread and sometimes it was in a bowl and you just put it on your plate like a blob of cheesy goodness.  Mr. DD said this version was very close to what he enjoyed when he attended The Masters, the only difference is I added some chopped, pickled jalapenos at his request.  They gave it a nice kick, and just a slight twist on the original.  The best part about this recipe is you don't have to be a golfer to enjoy it, so grab a loaf of good 'ol white bread and make yourself a sandwich.

The quintessential sandwich of golfers everywhere.
I used Duke's Mayonnaise.
It's the "Mayonnaise of the South."
You have to have your sandwich with a
an "Arnold Palmer." 
(That's an iced tea and lemonade blend.)
You don't have to play golf to enjoy this!
My clubs are in the garage under 500 years of dust.
And that didn't stop me from eating a sandwich or two.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Steak Pizzaiola

Picture this:  You have three steaks thawed out for dinner.  Your husband calls and says, "I'm bringing home Mr. Bo-de-bo for dinner."  (Is that grammatically correct? We don't want to eat Mr. Bo-de-bo for dinner.  Let's eat Grandma. Let's eat, Grandma.  Punctuation saves lives people!) Panic ensues.  Because you don't have an extra steak for Mr. Bo-de-bo.  And pretend you live a zillion miles away from the grocery store and can't get an extra steak for Mr. Bo-de-bo.  So now you have 4 people and three steaks.  (This is like the makings of a crazy math word problem.  If you have 3 steaks and Mr. Bo-de-bo eats 2, solve for X) Anyway...Steak Pizzaiola is a great way to stretch a small amount of beef for several people.  It's steak, sauteed with a lot of garlic (Don't plan on kissing Mr. Bo-de-bo) and marinara sauce.  Serve it over crusty bread and you've got a lovely dinner without the expense or time it takes to prepare a separate steak for each person. 
Steak Pizzaiola,
Or as I like to call it:
How to feed my family of three with one steak.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fruit Cocktail Cake

Every time I make this cake, I think of Dolly Parton's character Truvy in Steel Magnolias talking about a recipe in her beauty shop.  Her friend Clairee asks for her recipe for Cuppa Cuppa Cake and Truvy says in her best Dolly Parton voice, "Oh hell, Clairee, you don't need a recipe.  It's just a cup of flour, a cup of sugar and a cup of fruit cocktail with the syrup, stir and bake in a hot oven til' golden brown and bubbly.  I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness."  This recipe has a little bit more going on than just a cuppa cuppa, but it does have fruit cocktail.  Also, even if you don't like fruit cocktail or coconut you'll still love this recipe.  Trust me.  I don't like fruit cocktail or coconut and I love this cake.  I made the cake in this adorable pan that makes mini decorative bundt cakes.  I probably would not use that pan for these again.  They came out okay but you couldn't really see the decorative edges.  Plus they got covered with the ooey gooey buttery frosting anyway.  So use a plain bundt pan or a tube pan or a 9x13-inch pan for better results.  Make the cake, cut yourself a huge slice, get on Netflix, watch Steel Magnolias and enjoy!

So good. 
Trust me.
Make extra frosting so
you can eat it with a spoon
for breakfast.
Truvy and Miss Clairee...
I just love this movie!!!
Fruit Cocktail Cake

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups fruit cocktail (approximately 1 1/2 cans, undrained)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg beaten


1/4 cup sugar
1 cup salted butter
1/4 cup condensed milk
1/2 cup coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 12 cup bundt pan very well.  In a large mixing bowl combine all of the cake mix ingredients.  Stir until just mixed.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes before inverting onto a cake plate.  Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar, butter and condensed milk.  Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in coconut.  Allow to cool before pouring over cake.

Prep Time:  Approximately 10 minutes     Cook Time:  Approximately 30 minutes

Friday, April 3, 2015

Bunny Bites Snack Mix

When Little Devil was a toddler we left fresh carrots on the porch for the Easter Bunny before we went to bed.  When we awoke on Sunday morning, he had always taken big buck-tooth bunny bites out of them, and filled our empty baskets with treats.  Now everyone is grown.  We put the carrots in our salads and they aren't always here to get their baskets filled.  But, that doesn't mean they don't get some kind of treat.  I've seen all kinds of things from hot cocoa mix to play-dough put into these disposable icing bags.  They are the consummate carrot shape and demand to be filled with something fun.  (Even more fun than icing!)   I always have a holiday treat for my BFFs and the Grandparents too, and you can't exactly leave a chocolate bunny on a porch in Oklahoma in April, because he'll either blow away or melt.  By this time every one has had their fill of Cadbury Eggs, and are craving something salty anyway.  So I came up with Bunny Bites, which is a savory, taco-seasoned snack mix.  I used the Annie's Cheddar Bunnies snack crackers, which are like gold fish, only bunny shaped.  How cute is that?  You don't even have to bake this mix.  Just shake everything together in a paper bag, let it dry and fill your icing bags.  Tie at the top with a green ribbon and you're ready to go.  I've even included a free printable for the tags.  Simply print and cut them out and you've got an Egg-cellent treat that is Easter Bunny worthy!
Bunny Bites Snack Mix
Great for stuffing Easter Baskets!
You'll need disposable icing bags, ribbon, hole punch
scissors and some string to tie on the tags.
I've provided free printable tags for you.
See Below.
The Annie's Cheddar Bunnies really make
Bunny Bites adorable don't you think?
I found these at Sprouts.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Right click and save to your computer.
Open with the software of your choice
and print onto cardstock.
These images are my exclusive artwork.
Please be courteous when using these printables
and remember they are for personal use only.
Happy Easter.
Hope you get lots of chocolate eggs and
Bunny Bites!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

FunBites Food Cutter Dessert Dippers

Recently I was offered the fun opportunity to test out a groovy kitchen gadget.  The FunBites Food Cutter was featured on the ABC show Shark Tank FunBites promotes their tool as a novel way to encourage picky eaters to play with their food.  The cutter also makes fun shapes out of sandwiches or other foods.  It's safe for kids to use, and BPA free.  I consider myself a kid at heart, and who wouldn't want to eat food cut into fun shapes?  Not wanting to do the usual sandwich or lunch box snack, I wanted to create something using FunBites that would be delicious and fun for KIDS OF ALL AGES.  Not only are these little bites easy to eat and a fun treat for children, but the FunBites Food Cutter is also great for adult treats.  I used store bought pound cake, and a batch of my Simple From Scratch Brownies, and easily cut everything into shapes (the hearts were my favorite.) The curved blades cut easily through the cake and the matching popper made the shapes super simple to pop out.  I simply skewered the cake and brownie bites and served with with a wonderful homemade Strawberry-Raspberry Sauce for dipping.  It made a fun dessert for the husband and I, and I can't wait to try this idea for a party.  Not only is FunBites great for pancakes, deli meats, cheese, Bento and lunch boxes and more, but as you can see here adults can enjoy a treat made with FunBites too!
FunBites Food Cutter
Dessert Dippers
Yummy AND Fun!

As Featured on Shark Tank
Such a cool tool
and packaged so cute!
The FunBites Food Cutter consists of a Made
in the USA, BPA-free plastic
safe "blade" and a matching popper.
Great for burgers, sandwiches, fruit, quesadillas
and more.  But check it out with yummy pound cake...
FunBites is available in a variety of shapes
but I just love the cute little heart. 
It's like a puzzle!  No wonder it encourages picky eaters!
Here's a close up of my pound cake
and brownie skewers.
So delicious dipped in my
Homemade Strawberry-Raspberry Sauce
Get some FunBites Food Cutters for your kitchen.
Whether you have kids or not, it's a cool tool
for making food fun!
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