Monday, January 24, 2011

The Care-Paula Experiment-Dish #9: Sweet Black Cherry Crisp

My husband LOVES cherry pie. I personally am not a fan as I find it too sweet. I also tend to like fresh fruit over canned, so when I saw this recipe ( I knew I had to give it a go.

Not only was this one of the easiest recipes I've ever made, it tasted wonderful. Hubby loved it and I did too because it wasn't too sweet. We highly recommend!

With friendship,


Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Care-Paula Experiment-Dish #8: Brussels Sprouts

I don't like brussels sprouts. I've even tried them steamed, which usually does great things for veggies. To me, they taste like dirt.

My husband LOVES them. He goes on and on about how his mom use to make them for him growing up and how he devoured them.

What kind of weird kid eats brussels sprouts?

Well, after making this version ( my kids are weird too.

I have always subscribed to the "bacon makes everything better" theory, and am a recent convert to the "butter makes everything better" concept - thanks to Paula. This recipe calls for bacon AND butter. After you drop those little sprouts in butter and bacon, they taste mighty fine.

Mighty, mighty fine.

I always have left over veggies when we make them. Not this time. I think I saw hubby's eyes roll in the back of his head one time . .

With friendship,


Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Care-Paula Experiment-Dish #7: Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken

I took a bit of a departure and decided to try out an Ina Garten recipe, something I NEVER would have tried before I started this journey. I will tell you that having never dealt with a full chicken before, there were times I wanted to call it quits and get hubby out of bed to deal with it. But, I managed to survive the experience.

The recipe is here:

The chicken turned out beautifully and was very moist. The only thing I didn't like was the gravy, so we just left it off. I did learn some important things on this one, such as the need to over-season before cooking. While it was very tasty, I could have been a little more heavy-handed with the salt and pepper.

Overall, it was a winner and will be on the menu again. And, I'm over my fear of cooking a full chicken now. Who knows, maybe I'll make the turkey at Thanksgiving this year!

With friendship,


Friday, January 21, 2011

The Care-Paula Experiment-Dish #6 - English Toffee

Is a simple, one word post of "YUM" sufficient?


Okay, a bit more detail then. . .


Not only was this easy to make, it was well worth the wait for it to set up. That was the hardest part - waiting to break off a chunk and devour it. Okay, okay . . . I confess that I did get into it a bit early and left chocolate fingerprints on the counter, but it was so hard to resist.

You can find the recipe here:

Paula has a few more receipes that call for toffee bits. I plan to use this recipe to make the bits instead of using store-bought.

Drool over my pictures . . .

With friendship,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Care-Paula Experiment-Dish #5 - Icy Coffee Punch

It's a bit of a joke around my house about how I can't stay awake past 9:00. Even on the weekends when I want to stay up later than the kids, I usually fall asleep on the couch. Turn on sports and I'm sure to be sawing logs within 20 minutes. The problem? I like to watch hockey, and I never make it through a game.

So, when I saw this recipe ( while staring at a pot full of coffee that I was going to have to dump down the drain, the light bulb went off.

It was a snap to make and tasted delicious. I won't be spending $$$ at that unnamed place any longer, as it keeps beautifully in the fridge. I not only enjoyed it that night (and saw the ENTIRE game), I had some left over for my morning commute to work. You can serve it over ice or ice cream depending on your mood. I had it both ways and can recommend both. Enjoy!

With friendship,


Monday, January 17, 2011

The Care-Paula Experiment-Dish #4 - Cajun Fried Okra

In the spirit of full disclosure, I totally cheated on this one. I love fried okra. It's one of the few veggies I can get the 12YO to eat. But raw okra freaks me out. Some people freak on chicken gibblets; others on eggs. For me, the sliminess of raw okra is just nasty.

So, when I found Paula's recipe, ( I almost passed it by. I purchase the ready-to-fry stuff in the frozen section and it tastes great. Why mess with one of the few things I could make already?

Then it dawned on me. Maybe I could just season the stuff that was ready to fry? Then, I could punch up the flavor without all the hassle? Besides, the worst that could happen is that it turn out inedible and I have to toss it. (We're use to that around here).

I gave it a whirl and it turned out just fine. The kick of the cajun seasoning was great. Normally we plow through a package of frozen okra with a little bit left over. This time there was none left. I even saw the 12YO smile a bit.

With friendship,


Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Care-Paula Experiment-Dish 3: Chocolate Creme Brulee

Yeah, I know what you're thinking . . . trying to make creme brulee when I'm this new to cooking is a bit ambitious. I agree. And, if I hadn't watched Paula make it on TV I would have just passed it right by in the cookbook. But she made it look so easy. It was!

As a bonus, we got to use the the blow torch for an activity not related to home repair, but that's another story.

The recipe is here:

It certainly is a rich dessert, but it tasted great. I served it with sliced banana on top. I definitely will make this again in the future - especially if we have company. (Look at me actually thinking of cooking for company!)

I did learn some tips while doing this that I'll pass along:

1. The chocolate flavored liqueur can be substituted for chocolate extract. I had trouble finding both on short notice so I left them out and substituted water. I think it was missing that little bit of punch, so I would not do that again.

2. Less is more when it comes to putting sugar on top for the caramelizing process. I was a bit heavy-handed on my first attempt.

Here's a pic. Enjoy!

With friendship,


Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Care-Paula Experiment - Recipe #2: Crispy Fries with Mayo Dip

Growing up I remember Mom always trying to recreate french fries. Don't get me wrong . . what she made tasted great. But, it was never quite as crunchy on the outside as what you could find at the local restaurant.

Well, after watching an espisode with Paula, I now know the secret! You have to fry those bad boys multiple times! (Yes, you can say "duh" if you want. I can take it!)

Here is Paula's recipe:

I ended up using sweet potatoes and they were great. We even made the mayo dip and that is a new favorite in our household.

With friendship,


Friday, January 7, 2011

The Care-Paula Experiment: Dish 1: Croque Madame Casserole

My first Paula dish is Croque Madame Casserole. I watched Paula and Michael make it this past weekend on the Food Network, and I immediately developed a craving. You can find the recipe here:

I will admit this recipe was a bit adventurous for me . . . the concepts of cooking a sauce and frying an egg (no, I have never fried an egg before) were new, but I was determined to give it a try. I spent a good portion of my day last Saturday trying to hunt down Gruyere cheese. (I found it at Kroger.) I then had to go back out for the ham yesterday because the 3YO ate what I had already bought. I finally had all the ingredients together yesterday, so I gave it a go.

I was honestly surprised at how easy it was to do. The hardest part was frying the egg, and I could still use some practice there, but with enough cheese on top no one seemed to notice. And the taste? AMAZING! It was my-eyes-rolled-in-the-back-of-my-head good!

I was a little worried that my 12YO would not eat it, but he inhaled it and went back for seconds. He is the king of picky eaters, by the way. I failed to get a picture of the finished product as the boys were eating it before I even had a chance to sit down. I'll work harder to get pictures in the future.

Give this one a try. You'll love it!

With friendship,


The Care-Paula Experiment

Last weekend I finally had an opportunity to watch the movie Julie and Julia. Yes, I know that move came out in 2009 and it's now 2010. My inability to stay current with movies is a very long story best saved for another day. Anyway, that movie really inspired me to try and finally learn to cook.

I grew up with a Mom and Dad and multiple grandparents that could cook. And I mean REALLY REALLY cook. I was exposed to amazing food my whole life. When I got married, I gained a mother-in-law and a husband that can also REALLY REALLY cook. My sister can also REALLY REALLY cook.

Alas, I cannot.

Yes, I can make desserts and there are a few dishes I can do, but the ability to just walk in the kitchen, look in the pantry and throw something delicious together completely alludes me. If it weren't for my husband, the kids would be very tired of chicken and rice by now.

So, while watching the movie I got to thinking . . . could I do the same thing?

Right after the movie I caught one of Paula Deen's shows and the idea was cemented. I decided that I would learn to cook using Paula's recipes and watching her shows. Last week I started the journey.

Stay tuned for my trials and tribulations as I attempt to add new recipes to my arsenal. No more chicken and rice!

With friendship,


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cake Balls!

While browsing the internet I came across this site:

I was intrigued . . mesmerized . .excited . .
I am in constant pursit of making those wonderful little desserts. I LIVE for the Food Network challenges where they make the cakes and sugar sculptures. I have tried many times to create these masterpieces and failed. Miserably.

Yet, here was something that looked attainable. There was enough science to the process of making cake balls, but still room for creativity.

Could I do it? Dare I try?

Well, this past holiday season I did give it a go. In all I made about 20 dozen cake balls and they were all a HIT. For Christmas I asked for Angie's book. It is awesome and a great deal. I highly recommend it.

Here are some pics of my creations. I am anxious to try more!

Oh, and they taste GREAT too . . .

The ones on the top are chocolate cake inside with chocolate icing, and the trees are red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. I also made a batch with butter cake and butter icing dipped in milk chocolate. I don't have a picture of those because they were gobble up too fast.

You have to give these a try.

With friendship,


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