Monday, October 19, 2009

The simple things in life.

Thursday October 15, 2009 8:01pm
The simple things in life. That really is the honest to goodness truth sometimes isn’t it?

A few weeks ago I received the seasonal email from Krispy Kreme announcing the arrival of the Halloween Doughnuts. Apparently, they have a few cool flavors this year- the spider web doughnut, the pumpkin glazed, and the pumpkin spice cake doughnut. This brings a total of 5 Halloween doughnuts to the table this season.

Naturally, I make it a top priority to not only talk about it excessively but to drive first thing even if it is in the middle of the night to get a dozen. Yes, I said “get a dozen.” Because no matter if I live alone or with 10 other people I will always buy a dozen. I mean at $7.55 including tax- I am not exactly breaking the bank here.

I have actually been following their stock for years…When will this company pull through already? When will America step up and make a commitment to ensure that Krispy Kreme will be a success for another 72 years? I made a vow a long time ago to my family when I first wanted to buy Krispy Kreme stock and if you know my family, you know they looked at me like I was nuts each and every time I made such a statement (and never let me buy the stock)!

When I arrived at the Ponce de Leon location I was forced to go through the drive-thru window. My schedule just doesn’t permit me to do things at normal business hours so naturally they were closed. Pretty bummed because I just adore going in and sitting at a table and watching the doughnuts plop down into the oil, get magically flipped, drained and dunked into that creamy vat of icing. Last but definitely not least each doughnut gets handpicked with the dip stick and then snuggled nicely into a box and handed off nice and warm to the customer behind the counter. I get the simplest feeling of joy by going and watching through the window. Maybe, just maybe one day I will get the pleasure to witness first hand- and maybe even get to use the dip stick!!!

I remember when my parents moved to North Carolina and they took me to my very first Krispy Kreme store. The store in Raleigh was the second location to be built, with the first in Winston Salem where the company was founded. I hold that memory closer to my heart then a lot of other things and I have never been able to pinpoint why…

Ok- to split it up I ordered 6 regular glazed and 6 Halloween inspired doughnuts (1 of each of the seasonal and 1 extra pumpkin spice).

And the verdict is...the original with the orange coating is a bit too aggressive. It tastes funny and I’m not sure if I could compare the tasting to anything specific. The pumpkin and the spider were both filled and honestly I am not a huge fan of filled doughnuts. Next was the traditional with icing and sprinkles- like the sprinkles but it only had one bite from me. The last flavor I tried was the pumpkin spice cake- naturally my favorite. It is perfect, I mean not as perfect as the original glazed but definitely my favorite of the season.

But, of course the only flavor that I completely devour is…..the original. I don’t really need to say more right?

My truth: is that no matter what, I promise to do everything in my power to promote Krispy Kreme. The wholesome goodness in that 210 calorie doughnut= priceless. Now look at that picture of me above- worth a million words and a million calories isn’t it. I can’t help it- Krispy Kreme just makes me happy!

Ps. thank you Krispy Kreme. Hallow on...

Monday, October 5, 2009


Monday, October 5th, 2009 3:31AM Yes, I know I am crazy...
For months I have been thinking about this blog…ahhh…7 months to be exact. God only knows how long it has been since the first entry. When I began this particular blog I was visiting my mother in Palm Beach. This recipe originally sparked my memory during this particular visit with my mother when I picked up the first edition of the Twilight book series- and then my love affair began.

Yes, I stayed up many nights turning page after page and even drove to Blockbuster at midnight to rent the movie when it first became available on DVD. The man on the island looked at me like I was crazy when I walked in asking if there where copies still available. I am probably the ONLY, and I mean ONLY person looking for that movie on DVD for a good 30 mile radius in the middle of March. Yes, Blockbuster also delivered my DVD in the mail the next day as well. You see, I had to cover all the bases. I knew I was about to travel again and needed a portable version with me on the road. Ahhhhh, I fell asleep to Twilight every night for a month!

I confess…I have jumped on the Twilight train and never looked back- not once even after everyone made fun of me for being so obsessed with a young adult vampire book.

So many different dishes passed through my mind whenever I was reminded that Edward didn’t eat human food. I thought about all of the dishes that he wasn’t able to enjoy during his lifetime: Duck Confit, Sushi, Lamb, Korean BBQ, Fried Chicken- the savory list obviously goes on and on. But, one particular sweet dish always reminds me of Twilight due to the blood red color (plus it’s my personal favorite)- Red Velvet Cupcakes!

In many Red Velvet Cake recipes the red food coloring is usually a bright fake red which isn’t very- well sexy in my opinion. If I start to think about all of the food coloring that is used to make it that blood red color I get anxious about it not being very natural. So, I usually try to talk myself into using a beet juice coloring but then the color is all wrong. In this recipe the cocoa cake is so dense that when you add the coloring the outcome is this gorgeous blood-like rich red color. Topped with a creamy cream cheese frosting and cocoa nibs…ugh…I will suck the life out of that cupcake any day!

A few weeks ago I was at the Ole Miss football game. As we prepared for tailgating in ‘The Grove’ we popped in to this adorable little foodie store in the heart of Oxford. On the menu was a Red Velvet Cheesecake Bar. And you know we walked out with ½ dozen of them in a box. I haven’t quite figured out my recipe to recreate those most delicious treats but when I do…I will let you know! Until then, this is truly my recipe for a love story….with Red Velvet Cupcakes.

Now…go bake…read…and ENJOY!


Red Velvet Cupcakes

Prep Time: 1½ Hours
Yields: 2 Dozen

Ingredients for Cupcakes:
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup hot water
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
1 (1-ounce) bottle red food coloring
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Chocolate covered cocoa nibs or espresso beans (optional)

Method for Cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl combine butter and sugar. Using a mixer on high speed beat until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each one.
4. In a separate small mixing bowl combine cocoa powder with the boiling water. Using a whisk or an emersion blender to dissolve cocoa powder entirely into hot water.
5. Add cocoa water, buttermilk, vanilla, vinegar and red food coloring to butter mixture and mix carefully on low speed.
6. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt and mix thoroughly.
7. On low speed gradually add dry mixture to the wet making sure to mix well.
8. This batter is thinner than most cake batters. It’s less messy if you pour the batter into a glass liquid measuring cup and then pour the batter into the muffin pan. Fill the cups to just about the rim of the liner. They will not rise very much- but will be SUPER moist!
9. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan to ensure even baking. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.
10. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
11. Cover with frosting, the recipe is below. Garnish with chocolate covered cocoa nibs or chocolate covered espresso beans.
12. Close your eyes and taste that sweet red velvety passion run all the way down your throat. If temptation gets the best of you…go ahead…have another. I won’t tell.

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
5 tbsps unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1-2 tbsps milk (optional)

Method for Cream Cheese Frosting:
1. In a large bowl combine cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Using a mixer on medium speed beat until light and fluffy.
2. Gradually add in confectioners’ sugar and mix until well blended.
3. You can add a tablespoon of milk at a time if you desire a thinner frosting consistency.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Breaking Bread

With the beginning of my new blog I had all sorts of crazy ideas. What would be the first entry? Of course I wanted it to be special. I am like an idea factory and everyone I asked had a different opinion. Deep down I knew I had to wait it out, that it would inevitably present itself.

This morning I remembered it was Friday, which is trash day. I literally ran out of the house in my pj’s and was practically startled to death when I looked up from my recycling bin and saw my neighbor greeting me with the biggest smile on his face. “Good Morning, How are you?” I smiled and greeted him in return, and then he said “Your mother told us you were coming but you have been here a while, almost a month right? Are you relocating here? Welcome to the neighborhood! What do you do?” My head was swimming as I had just woke up, I could hear my cell phone ringing, and all I could think about was why do all these questions keep flying at me nonstop these days! “Emily what are you doing…Why are you doing that….You did what?” Really, I am quite used to being the rebel, never following the path of someone else. The road less traveled is the one I am on…and on it for life.

I stated that I was a Media Chef, and that I was recently in a “change of life” mode. I had been laid off from my job and have finally started to do my own projects.

It was instantaneous, just as soon as the word “chef” crossed my lips, my neighbor’s eyes lit up and my body went into tingles. It made him so happy! As we began to “speak food” I had tears in my eyes and became alive. Even now as I am sitting here in my chair writing, I am wiggling and giggling.

He went on to tell me about his life as a Navy Engineer and how there was a cook on his ship that made the best bread! Time and time again it was made from the same recipe, the same yeast starter, and baked in the same oven as all the other ships- but his bread was legendary.

They had to assign an official Navy Policeman to guard the bread oven when that particular cook was baking because only the first 100 men would get it! They would take stacks of the bread, instead of following the allotted 2 slices per person rule. He didn’t understand why it tasted so differently and he had always wondered. I told him, that when you really love what you do- love it right down to the core of your being, that love transfers into every little thing you touch! Of course that bread was magical! Like that Navy cook, I too have an incredible passion and love affair for food and I hope that it translates to you through my writing.

Today, my neighbor gave me so much joy from that conversation that I thought I would make him some bread. And not just any bread, but what I love to give people that I care about the most- My Banana Nut Bread. This recipe has been in the works for about ⅔ of my life. Over the years so many of you have begged me for this recipe and I never gave in, until now!

Banana Bread is a comfort food. It seems to have this reputation of melting many hearts, especially when it comes right out of the oven and slathered in butter. Perfection!

So my friends, I am officially breaking bread with you, and my neighbor. I hope that you enjoy my blog and all that it entails: the recipes, the pictures, the stories, the trips and the companionship. Please don’t hesitate to comment or send me an email as I can’t wait to hear from you!

“Good Eating with Peace, Love, and Lucky Dogs!”
Emily’s Banana Nut Bread Muffins
Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Yields: 2 Dozen

¾ cup Crisco© butter flavored shortening
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extra
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1½ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
5 overripe bananas, mashed
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup sugar for garnish (optional)
3 tbsps ground cinnamon for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
2. With an electric mixer, in a large mixing bowl whip shortening, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time while continuing to mix.
3. In another large mixing bowl combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
4. Gradually add dry ingredients into shortening mixture while continuously mixing.
5. Blend in bananas and walnuts.
6. Spoon batter ¾ full into lined muffin pan.
7. In a small bowl mix together ½ cup sugar and 3 tablespoons cinnamon. Sprinkle each muffin top with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
8. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the muffin.

Many of you know how hard it is for me to use such ingredients like shortening. There are only a few reasons why I will even allow it in my house. This recipe is the primary reason that it’s in my cabinet just in case I need to whip up a batch of banana muffins for unexpected guests- it really does make the difference in this recipe.

Are you on a diet or need to cut back on sugar?
A great friend of mine is a diabetic and I used to bake him and his lovely wife fresh Banana Bread every Sunday! Since he couldn’t “quit” my baking he came up with a great way of savoring every last bite. He would cut the bread up into bite-sized squares and freeze them. Then just pull out a few squares at a time. Also, you use a mini muffin pan to cut down on portion size. Line the pan with the mini liners and bake for 15 minutes at 350°F.