Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Chai Snickerdoodles March 21, 2011

Filed under: cookies,Family — hmills96 @ 10:27 am

At any family gathering, there are two things that have to be on the menu:  Rice Krispy Treats and Snickerdoodles. My uncle LOVES my mom’s Snickerdoodle cookies. I never cared for them much–but I think that was mostly because I always went for the ones with chocolate in them. But in the past few years, my chocolate cravings have reduced, and I’m finding that I want more spice. Now I’d rather pick up a Snickerdoodle than anything else!

When I saw this recipe, I immediately thought of my uncle. And who’s fooling…myself. Even better, they are CHAI Snickerdoodles. One of the downsides of not “using” caffeine, is that I cannot have Chai anymore. Man I love that stuff. But the black tea it’s made with is almost always caffeinated. Sigh…

The cream cheese in these cookies give them a moist, but crumbly texture. Don’t turn your nose up if you don’t like cream cheese, you can’t really taste it, but it definitely makes these cookies extraordinary. I also like that the spice mix is a little more complicated than the usual Snickerdoodle mix. These take a little time to make, because of the chilling time–and let’s be honest, they are a little messy too. But it’s all worth it when you take that first warm bite. My coworkers will be heaven tomorrow.

Chai Snickerdoodles
Adapted from Sugar Plum Blog

2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 cups all-purpose flour (I ran out of AP, so I did 75% AP and 25% bread flour)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup cream cheese (1/2 a brick)
2 tsp honey
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

In a small bowl, mix together 2 Tbsp sugar and spices. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt.

In your mixer, cream butter, cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar, honey, and vanilla until creamy. Beat in egg until combined. Slowly add flour on low speed until mixed.

Chill dough about 20 minutes.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in spice mixture. Place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly with your fingers.

Bake at 350 for 9-10 minutes or until puffed and golden.


French Onion Soup Pizza March 15, 2011

Filed under: Family,garlic,Pizza — hmills96 @ 10:05 am

I think I’ve mentioned here before that one of my sisters is a vegetarian…although not by choice. She cannot have meat, but she IS able to have broth. One of her favorite dishes is French onion soup. My mom always makes it for her when she is home.

I thought of K when I saw this recipe. The flavor on this pizza was sooooooo good. It was gloriously oniony, savory, cheesy. And it didn’t include nasty soggy bread. I just used store bought, prebaked pizza crust to save time, but this would be even better on a real, homemade yeast crust.

Oh one more thing–don’t make this for someone special…your breath will be RANK after. Haha!

French Onion Soup Pizza
Adapted from Carrie’s Sweet Life

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
Pizza dough (stretch and prebake for 15 minutes if using raw dough)
1 cup sour cream
1 beef bouillon cube
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar
3/4 cup shredded Gruyère (provolone would work too)
1/2 cup Parmesan

Preheat oven to 450.

Pour 2 Tbsp EVOO into a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion to the pan and cook gently until onions are soft, about 15 minutes. Add garlic, cook for 10 more minutes.

While the onions are cooking, melt a bouillon cube in 2 Tbsp hot water. Once onions are golden brown, add bouillon, Worcestershire, rosemary and sour cream. Stir sour cream has melted.

Spread onion mixture onto pizza dough. Add cheeses, and bake for 10 minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes before you try to cut into this. Otherwise you’ll burn your mouth! Not that I found that out the hard way or anything….


Summer Fruit Ice Cream June 15, 2010

It’s been an eventful couple of days here at the Wall household. Yesterday, a friend asked me to go with her to a nearby shelter to look at dogs. The no-kill shelter was way over capacity and my friend had heard a rumor that things were not looking good for the animals…if you know what I mean (thankfully, we found out this was not true when we got there).

She and her husband were looking to adopt a dog, so down we went to Hamilton County Humane Society. If you live in this area and are looking to adopt, check them out. It’s a great facility, they REALLY care about their animals there. Even though they had so many, they knew them by name, personality. We spent about 2 hours with them and the staff was very friendly and helpful. The pens were clean, the animals happy (or at least as happy as they can be locked in a pound). I have never seen a pound that nice before.

J and I had talked off and on about getting another cat to replace Keira. She and Smokey had finally got to be good friends when she left us, and Smokey has always had a companion. I hated that my girl was alone. Plus, Keira was so lively, and we missed having that personality around. So, when we went to visit the shelter yesterday, we went into the cattery. I wasn’t really looking to take anybody home, I just wanted to see what they had. J wanted a kitten, but I like them old enough to have developed a personality (because any cat person can tell you, they all have VERY different personalities).

I looked and smiled at the fuzzballs as we went through the pens, just enjoying the way the kitties showed off, saying “Pick me!” But then, in the very last pen was the funniest face I have ever seen. He was sitting there pouting at me. I knew right then he was one of my family, as we have a hereditary Pout that we laugh about. I looked over his information, and he likes other cats, he likes dogs, adapts well to new places. Good, good, good! I watched him in the cage for a while, and my heart melted. Then I got to take him into the visiting room, and he played with some toys, sat in my lap. We bonded :). I noticed he was very laid back, but friendly, and active. Perfect. Now all I had to do was convince my husband. I paid part of his adoption fee to hold him until today, so J could come down and meet him.

J was reluctant, but he agreed to come down this morning. He had the same reaction to his funny face. How can you resist? Then when we went into the visiting room, Patrick was MUCH more lively than he was yesterday. Running all over the place, showing off for J. He couldn’t say no. So we packed him up and brought him home.

I was worried, but the introductions went fairly smooth. Smokey growled and complained, but Patrick just laid down and chilled, he was completely relaxed. No big deal. We still have a long way to go before Smokey is cuddling up next to him but with his laid back attitude, she won’t be able to find a reason to be mad at him for long (except that because she’s in such a bad mood, he’s getting more attention right now). He was even unfazed by a 60 pound bounding ball of wagging mud pouncing at him and following him around. He just keeps coming in here and rubbing on me like, “Dude, this is SOOOO much better than that cage.”

My Funny Fellow

All three got new collars today, and their tags have been ordered. After Keira left and never came back, I don’t want that to happen again. I’m sure she’s living at the top of a tree somewhere eating squirrels, but I miss her. HCHS microchips all their animals, and because they will microchip your pet for $30, I’m seriously considering having the other two done too.

In the chaos of welcoming a new family member, I managed to make ice cream last night! This is some seriously awesome stuff. You can play around with the fruit, do whatever looks good to you. You can do all one if you don’t want to mix it up, but I had those blueberries leftover from my sister’s party (and still have more!), and some strawberries and a peach that were about to turn. Also, if you don’t want to add the creaminess, or you’re lactose intolerant, just make it a sorbet. Just make the fruit syrup (and add the strawberries to the blueberries when cooking), cool, then freeze that. It would be delicious, and I may do that with the rest of the blueberries once this is gone.

Summer Fruit Ice Cream
Adapted from

1 1/2 cup sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 large egg yolks
3 cups milk
1 cup half and half
3 cups blueberries
1 sprig rosemary
1 peach, diced
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 pint strawberries, diced & macerated in honey while other ingredients are cooling

Beat together 1 1/2 cups sugar, cream cheese, and yolks. In a heavy saucepan, combine milk & half and half, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and gradually add to cream cheese mixture, with beater on med.-high so not to scramble eggs. Return to pan. Cook over medium low until thermometer reaches 160 degrees, about 5 minutes. Place pan on ice, cool completely.

Combine blueberries, peach, rosemary, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup water in saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir often. Remove rosemary sprig and discard. Cool completely.

Stir blueberry mixture into milk mixture, add strawberries. Pour into ice cream machine and freeze per manufacturer’s instructions. Put in freezer-safe container and freeze until solid.

**Note–This made too much for my Kitchenaid attachment. Don’t overfill!


Blueberry Sunrise Muffins June 6, 2010

Filed under: Berries,Breakfast,Family,Freezer Meals,Muffins — hmills96 @ 12:45 pm
Tags: , , ,

Can you believe my baby sister graduated from high school last week?  Ugh. I feel so old!

I’ve spent a lot of time in my hometown lately, watching those that I think of as 10-year-old midgets throw their last pitches, sing their last solos, and finally, don their caps and gowns and walk across the stage at BHS. Congratulations Class of 2010! I laughed with one of my former classmates, a brother of Em’s friend, when we realized our 5th year reunion is not far away. Oh dear…

You know what else makes me feel old? Babies. I have found out every day for the last 4 out of 5 days that someone else is pregnant. No one yet today, but it’s still early. One of my college friends is even having twins! It’s crazy! I made a list, just for spite yesterday. Off the top of my head, I could think of 9 people who have recently had good news, and several more who have just given birth! It makes me feel old to think we are at that stage in our lives. Trust me, there are no plans for little Haley’s anytime soon…much to my family’s dismay! That doesn’t mean I don’t jump up and down when I find out another of my friends is expecting though! There’s been a lot of squealing going on over here!

One good thing that came out of feeling old is 2 lbs of blueberries leftover from Em’s graduation party. She had the first party of the class, which means it’s usually the biggest. Still, we had waaaaaaaay more food than we needed. Which, from my perspective is not a bad thing, because I got to take home leftovers! The 2 lbs of berries I took was only half of what was left. Luckily, they freeze well! You may see blueberry recipes for a while. I know, so disappointing right? Ha!

Blueberry Sunrise Muffins

Adapted from Dine and Dish

1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg, beaten
/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp fresh orange zest
Juice of 1/2 Orange
1 cup fresh blueberries

Melt butter, let cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 400. Spray Muffin cups with Pam.

In batter bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and zest.

In separate bowl, whisk together butter, egg, milk, and juice.

Pour wet over dry ingredients and stir just until mixed. Will be lumpy. Stir in blueberries.

Pour into muffin cups. Bake about 18-24 minutes, until golden.

Makes 8-10.


Nanny Smith’s BBQ Sauce May 31, 2010

Filed under: Family,sauce — hmills96 @ 1:53 pm
Tags: ,

I have only a few very specific memories of my great-grandmother. She passed away when I was in elementary school. I remember going to visit her in Kentucky, especially in the last few years of her life. I loved going there, we were each other’s “special person”.

I don’t know if she ever made her BBQ chicken for me, but I grew up eating it–made by my Nana and Mom. It was one of my favorites, especially when the sauce would burn around the edges. That caramelized goo is the best part!

This is the reason I prefer southern style BBQ sauce to our thicker Midwestern version. It’s thin and tart. There’s no hiding the vinegar base in this. It’s wonderful!

I like to keep a jar of it in my fridge, so I double this recipe when I make it. Also, I added the Worcestershire sauce, that wasn’t in Nanny’s original recipe. She calls for regular sugar, but I use brown.

Nanny Smith’s BBQ Sauce

1 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp mustard
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

In a small saucepan, mix together all ingredients. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat and let sit until cool. Store in jar in fridge.


Pork Roast Tacos May 5, 2010

Filed under: crockpot,Family,holiday,Mexican,Pork — hmills96 @ 6:02 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Today is the day where margaritas are on sale at every restaurant that sells so much as a nacho chip and every food blogger cooks something with tortillas or tequila! Not that I’m complaining–seriously what’s wrong with tequila?

The 5th of May, in my family, has always meant Dad’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Daddy!! There’s an unwritten rule in our house that the birthday person gets to pick the restaurant for dinner, and I always remember going to get Mexican–Banditos in my younger days, then El Camino when they came in to town. Dad LOVES spicy food–chiles rellenos is one of his favorites!

This is old, but cute!

He would have liked this dish–it doesn’t pack much heat, but the spices are definitely there. The pork is seared, then braised for 2 hours in all kinds of deliciousness. My house smelled AMAZING yesterday when I was making this!


Pork Roast Tacos
Adapted from My Baking Adventures

Chili Spice Rub–See Below

3lbs pork tenderloin
1 large onion, cut into wedges
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
3 dried red chiles (or a handful of red pepper flakes)
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp Mexican Hot Chile Powder

Pat pork dry. Rub chili mixture into meat.

Set dutch oven over medium high heat, coat bottom with oil. Sear meat on all sides.

Add onion and garlic to pot and cook until the caramelize. Add tomatoes, chiles, cumin, and chile powder. Add 2 inches of water.

Cover and simmer for 2 hours, adding more liquid as necessary. Mine boiled down quite a bit, keep an eye on it.

Shred meat and serve on tortillas.

Chili Spice Rub
Adapted from 500 Five Ingredient Recipes

1/2 cup Hot Mexican Chili Powder
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
8 cloves garlic, minced fine

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Rub into meat before cooking.

**Note–Once seared, this could probably be cooked lower and slower in a crockpot, just make sure your meat is cooked thru before serving.


Roasted Mushrooms with Herbs April 30, 2010

Filed under: Family,Herbs,Mushrooms,Side Dish,Vegetarian — hmills96 @ 4:53 pm

Last summer, J and I went to visit my cousin in North Carolina. K, who had grown up in a typical, meat-centric Midwestern family, married a doctor, started running marathons, and became vegetarian! I could hardly believe it! I mean, this is the girl who used to stand in the kitchen with me when the turkey came out of the oven at Thanksgiving, so we could get the very first pieces of meat, straight off the bird!

Ever since then, I’ve been sending her veggie recipes as I come across them. I’ve even started a section in my recipe binder for meatless dishes to try. However, I am too much of a meathead. I crave protein, and I don’t often reach for that section.

But, when I went to visit my sister last week, she told me she had become a vegetarian too. This time I was glad. She has some health issues, and her doctor has been telling her for a while cutting out animal protein would help considerably. She’s like me though, and was very stubborn about giving up her meat. Then she read Skinny Bitch. The book talks about how humans aren’t built to digest other animals and how the kidneys can’t process them. A light went on for her and she finally understood why her doctor wanted her to go vegetarian. I read part of the book while I was there. It was pretty hard-hitting, but I’m not giving up my meat anytime soon.

However, I’m going to start including more meatless recipes in my diet. K. is still in school and has her meals prepared for her every day, but when she gets out, it will be helpful to have some recipes she knows are edible. You can’t live on salad and french fries every day (which is basically what she’s doing now). Blech.

This one makes a fantastic side dish–I served it with last night’s chicken. It can also be increased to make a main dish for a vegetarian.

Roasted Mushrooms with Herbs
Adapted from the Kitchn

3/4 lb bella mushrooms, washed and sliced
1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, washed and sliced
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh herbs (I used chives, thyme, marjoram and parsley), minced
2 Tbsp Sour Cream
1/4 cup white wine

Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheet with parchment.

Toss mushrooms in large bowl with salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Roast for 20 minutes. Add herbs and wine. Return to oven to 10 more minutes until dark and slightly shrunken.

Mix in sour cream. Reseason if necessary.