Thursday, February 13, 2020

Copycat Beaver Nuggets - I'm "Eager" to be your Valentine + FREE Printable Valentines

They saying goes, "Everything is bigger in Texas" and it's true.  If you've ever traveled around Texas, chances are you've stopped at a Buc-ee's.  To call it a convenience store would be a serious understatement.  Buc-ee's typically has it's own dedicated highway exit and 35 locations around Texas.  The New Braunfel's location is the largest convenience store in the world.  It is so big you could fit 22 average-sized 7-11 locations inside this location.  Buc-ee's is known for their famously clean restrooms, beef jerky bar, homemade fudge, a WALL of candy choices, home decor shopping, t-shirts, lawn chairs, hunting accessories and of course Buc-ee's Beaver Nuggets.  With their unmistakable Beaver Logo, it's only natural that they would have their own world-famous snack food:  an addicting caramel coated puffed corn snack.  We buy a bag or three every time we visit, usually diving in before we even leave the parking lot.  Imagine a treat, similar in texture to a Cheetos puff, minus the savory cheese.  Add a caramel-y, buttery, slightly maple flavor.  Now you know why Buc-ee's is a MUST VISIT when you're in Texas.  If you aren't visiting anytime soon, you can satisfy your addiction until the next trip by making them at home.  With Valentine's Day tomorrow, they are the perfect treat for family and friends.  In the past I've made Red Hot Applesauce (Valentine You're Awesome Sauce) and Strawberry Brownies (Shooting For Brownie Points Valentine) So a Beaver- Themed Valentine seemed  silly and appropriate.  I made little Valentine Tags, perfect for gift giving: I'm EAGER to be your Valentine.  Whether you're sharing the Beaver Nuggets with people you love, or hoarding them all to yourself, whip up a batch immediately for a true Taste of Texas!                         
Careful, these are addictive and anyone you
gift them to will LOVE you forever!
Step One: Locate Chester's Puff Corn.
Step Two:
Boil together butter, brown sugar,
and corn syrup.
Much like you're making caramel corn.
Step Three:
Remove from heat and add baking soda
(the mixture will foam up, so use a good-sized pan)
vanilla and maple extract which is key for the authentic
Buc-ee Beaver flavor.
Combine this mixture well with the
puff corn in a large bowl.

Step Four:
Make sure your puffed corn is well-coated.
Place onto couple of pans lined with parchment paper
and bake in a 250 degree oven for 45 minutes,
stirring every 15 minutes.
Allow to cool before breaking into pieces.
Step Five:
Now you can consume the Beaver Nuggets
all for yourself OR you can share with your
family and friends, especially for Valentine's Day
using the tags I've provided.
I'm EAGER to be your Valentine.
(These almost said, "Are you a Beaver cuz Dam" but
I'm not sure the grandparents would appreciate my humor AND
in the unlikely event you make these for school-aged Valentines-giving...well inappropriate)
Copycat Beaver Nuggets,
the quintessential Texas Road Trip Treat!
I found little treat bags at Dollar Tree.
Since these are going to adults and not school
Valentines, I was generous and scooped about
4 cups per bag, tied them up with a cute ribbon
and added my adorable homemade gift tags.
Here are the FREE Printable Gift Tags.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Right click to 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 Valentine's Day Friends and Foodies!
I'm EAGER to be your Valentine

Monday, February 10, 2020

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce from the Occidental Hotel

One of the zillion things I love to collect is paper ephemera.  That's a fancy word for collectible memorabilia that was for a short term purpose.  Ticket stubs, post cards, newspaper articles.  I really don't collect recent ones as much as I love to prowl antique stores and estate sales for little historical things that catch my eye.  There's not really a theme, just little advertising images or blurbs that were once tossed aside but now seem historically interesting to me.  So when I saw this cute little newspaper article including a hot fudge recipe I immediately had to try it.  In true historical fashion, I had to do a little research on the Occidental Hotel.  It was originally built int 1864 in Muskegon, Michigan as the Hamilton House Hotel.  It reopened as The Occidental in 1868 and enjoyed many decades, even experiencing a devastating fire in 1936.  It finally closed the doors in 1970, making way for the Muskegon Mall.  But back in the glory days, apparently Betty and her friends that worked at Sears nearby were onto something because the hot fudge sauce is amazing.  I'm ashamed to admit how many nights in a row we ate hot fudge sundaes.  With Valentine's Day coming up, this is the perfectly classic ending to a Valentine's Day meal.  Enjoy with someone you love!
This sauce is so thick, rich and luxurious.
Be sure and use quality cocoa powder,
whole milk, real butter and quality vanilla
to get the full experience.
Here is the original newspaper clipping
that caught my eye and inspired me to
make this recipe.

Aren't these just the cutest little Valentine's Day Desserts?
A Classic Hot Fudge Sundae with
Homemade (Historic) Hot Fudge Sauce

Be generous with the Hot Fudge Sauce and
Whipped Cream.  You only live once!
This is soooo good.  We ate sundaes for a week.
We have the scale to prove it.

Using quality ingredients in the sauce makes
all the difference.  Using homemade whipped
cream and splurging for these cherries will too.
The Merry Marachino Cherries from Tillen Farms are the best cherries ever.
Here are a few of the little paper ephemera
things I have collected over the years.
Sometimes I change it around for the holidays
with things like vintage Valentines.

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce from the Occidental Hotel

2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup cocoa (I used dutch-processed)
6 tablespoons flour (I used gluten-free flour blend with great results but feel free to use all purpose)
1 teaspoon salt (I used Diamond Kosher)
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
2 teaspoons vanilla

Whisk together the dry ingredients (sugar, cocoa, flour and salt) in a saucepan.  Place over medium-low heat stirring in the milk and cubed butter.  Stir constantly until combined and thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Store in refrigerator.  To reheat, place in a microwave-safe container and heat for 20 seconds at a time, stirring well in between until hot.

NOTE:  I varied a little from the instructions when I made this.  The clipping wasn't entirely clear when to add the butter or vanilla so I added ingredients according to similar recipes with great results.

Prep Time:  Approximately 5 minutes     Cook Time:  Approximately 25 minutes

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Three-Ingredient NUTELLA Brownies {Gluten-Free}

It's World Nutella Day!  WHAT?!? That should be every day.  It's a holiday devoted to the globally sensational cocoa hazelnut treat.  I made these brownies for the Super Bowl, simply because they are made with almond flour so they are gluten free.  I took a platter full to the party hoping they would be overlooked and I would have leftovers.  NOPE!  They were gone in a flash.  The texture of a rich, fudgy brownie with that Nutella flavor we all know and love.  You would never ever know these are only made with three ingredients and the almond flour is a great alternative to regular all-purpose flour and gluten.  I've been using almond flour a lot as I've been dabbling in Macarons, and I really like baking with it.  (Stay tuned once I get those suckers perfected!) Super easy, super tasty, Super Bowl festive and totally worthy of an international holiday celebration.  Pour the milk and party!

World Nutella Day here I come...
A thick, fudgy brownie sans gluten.
Only 3 ingredients to a tray full of treats!
Break out the milk and enjoy.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Ranch Dressing is the quintessential Okie condiment.  I'm not positive but I think the trend of putting ranch salad dressing on pizza started in Oklahoma.  I remember doing it in high school much to the chagrin of my parents and Pizza Hut waitresses everywhere.  As I've gotten older though my tastes have changed and while you'll still catch me grabbing a bottle of Ranch Dressing when we order a pizza, it's not something I really put on a salad anymore.  Mainly because I like to make things from scratch.  In fact, we make so many things from scratch around here when I do eat something like a store bought cookie all I can taste is preservatives.  So the other night we made lovely salad for dinner.  I brined and baked some chicken breasts, fried and crumbled some bacon, chopped some hard boiled eggs.  We had Romaine lettuce, chopped celery and carrots.  It was quite colorful and refreshing and lovely to look at and then I realized I had no dressing to put on it.  What would have been perfect was Mr. DD's Blue Cheese Dressing but I didn't have any blue cheese on hand and I sure wasn't changing out of my pajama pants to make a trip to the store.  So I came up with a quick little version of Homemade Ranch Dressing that was an absolute hit.  The secret ingredient?  Pickle Juice. Mr. Devilish Dish loves anything with lots of dill and while I did add dried dill to the recipe, I wanted to boost the dill flavor and thin the dressing just a little.  The result was delicious and we ate salad for days.  This is my new favorite go-to dressing and I just might have to order a pizza for old times sake and try it out! 
Oklahoma's favorite condiment: HOMEMADE!
Delicious on salads, veggies, as a dip
and of course on pizza!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Firecracker Chicken

When Little Devil lived at home our menu consisted of constant Asian recipes.  When we became empty nesters Mr. Devilish Dish said, "Can we take an Asian Food Hiatus?" so we did for a while and after a break I can report we are now enjoying some Asian meals now and then.  I made a version of this recipe a couple of weeks ago and while it was good, it wasn't great so I made it again last night because I wanted to tweak the sauce.  Both Mr. DD and I were really happy with the way it turned out.  Warning, it does have a little kick, hence the name Firecracker Chicken.  I'm super excited to have something that is crispy and fried that is gluten-free so it is a winning recipe all around.  I served it over rice and garnished it with some crisp green onions.  Skip the take out and make your own at home, it's that easy!

Better than Take Out!
Fry your chicken in a small amount of
oil until crispy.

Coat with sauce and bake until thick.
Garnish with green onions.
Serve over hot, steamed rice and enjoy!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The BEST Cold Brew Coffee Featuring the Toddy Cold Brew System

Back in December, my pal Ginger and I had our Annual Holiday Pop-Up Shop where Mr. Devilish Dish was kind enough to teach a workshop on how to put together a charcuterie board for the holidays.  He also demonstrated the Toddy Cold Brew System for making cold brew coffee.  We purchased this system earlier this year and he has been hooked on this coffee ever since! Iced coffee is brewed hot and served cold. ... Cold-brew coffee, however, is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in room-temperature water for six to 24 hours. This creates a coffee concentrate you mix with hot water, cold water or milk.  The biggest benefit to cold brew is its acidity level. As one study points out, cold brew is almost 67 percent less acidic than hot coffee, which means it's better for your teeth as well as your stomach. There's a taste benefit to this type of coffee as well.  I'm not even a huge coffee drinker and I love this coffee.  It is so smooth and tasty, it really doesn't even require a lot of cream or sugar (bonus if you are watching your calories) BUT, I especially enjoy it as an after dinner Carajillo Cocktail when it's mixed with Tuaca or Licor 43.  One of the biggest things we enjoy about brewing our coffee at home this way is the savings.  The coffee concentrate lasts us about ten days or two weeks using only 3/4 pound of coffee, which is a big money saver compared to buying expensive coffee drinks.  I should let you know at this point, that I have not been compensated in any way by the Toddy folks, we just really like the coffee made this way and I thought I would share it with you! 
The BEST Cold Brew Coffee.
There is the finished concentrate.
Ready for hot or cold water.
We use about 3/4 pound of coffee (coarsely ground)
per batch.  Mr. Devilish Dish
likes to weigh it out.
Place the coffee in the filter.

Add water.
We use filtered or bottled water here.
Brewed coffee is only as good as the
quality of coffee beans and water
you start with! 
Now sit it aside and let it steep anywhere
from 6-24 hours.

Mr. DD prefers 24 hours.
Now you've got several days worth of
concentrate.  At this point you can introduce
hot water if you want a cup of hot coffee, we
love it with cold water as a Cold Brew Coffee Drink.
There are endless amounts of recipes on the Toddy Website,
using the concentrate.  We also like the sparkling version below!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Gran Gran's Apple Dumplings

It's January 8th, surely those New Year's Resolutions have been blown by now right?  If not, then everything in moderation because you MUST try these!  I was asked to bring a dessert to Thanksgiving Dinner and Mr. Devilish Dish said, "Anything but pumpkin or pecan pie." (I know, I know *gasp* we don't like pumpkin or pecan pie) I rattled off several suggestions and we settled on Gran Gran's Apple Dumplings.  I cannot believe in 25 years of marriage I have NEVER made these for Mr. Devilish because I've made lots of her recipes over the years including Chicken Spaghetti (one of his favorites) and of course her famous Apricot Nectar Cake.  He was so intrigued when I made this.  In fact he said, "Who came up with this dessert and then said, 'You know what would make this better?  Let's pour a can of Mountain Dew over the top!" I'm not sure what the Mountain Dew actually does for the recipe, unless it helps create the sticky, syrupy, gooey goodness of a sauce.  I can honestly say I haven't bought a Mountain Dew since the last time I made this recipe, but I never omit it. These dumplings are incredibly rich as is, but you can up the indulgence factor by adding a scoop of ice cream or homemade whipped cream.  Bonus factor they are simple, travel well, and everyone loves them.  Just like the rest of Gran Gran's recipes. 
One of Gran Gran's Favorite Recipes!
So simple and delicious!
Peel and cut the apples into 8 wedges each.
Microwave for 2 minutes to soften.

Roll each apple wedge into a crescent roll strip.
You'll have 16 total.

Combine the granulated sugar, melted butter,
cinnamon and vanilla and pour this mixture
over the rolls.

Now pour a can of Mountain Dew
over the whole thing.
I know it's crazy but it's delicious.
Check out that golden, delicous
goodness.  Really indulge and add a
scoop of ice cream or whipped cream!
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