Expect the Unexpected

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Archive for the tag “recipe”

The BEST Irish Soda Bread?

Stir Crazy Irish Soda Bread may not be traditional, but it's darn good.

Stir Crazy Irish Soda Bread may not be traditional, but it’s darn good.

Last year, when I was looking for Irish soda bread recipes for St. Patrick’s Day, I found a gazillion online proclaiming to be “The Best Irish Soda Bread.”

For the most part, I wasn’t impressed. So many recipes were bland, dry and crumbly.

Before you yell at me, I understand traditional Irish soda bread is just that, and it doesn’t even have raisins in it. It’s meant to be eaten with stew, or carried in your pocket for a quick snack. 

But try as I might, I just don’t like dry Irish soda bread.
Read more…

Recipe Reveal: Quick and Dirty Truffles

Homemade Chocolate Truffles, clockwise from top, Ginger, Toasted Coconut, and Cherry. In the center, "Dirty" Chocolate Truffles.

Homemade Chocolate Truffles, clockwise from top, Ginger, Toasted Coconut, and Cherry. In the center, “Dirty” Chocolate Truffles.

Nobody knows the truffles I’ve seen. I found out at the last minute that it was a co-worker’s birthday. Someone was bringing a cake (whew!) but I wanted to make something special too. I had no time to shop or bake.
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Recipe Reveal: Blueberry Shortbread


We were watching an old episode of Dirty Jobs the other night where host Mike Rowe goes to Maine to pick wild blueberries and make pies with the Pie Moms of Berry Manor Inn.  A really fun show that gave my husband a hankering for something blueberry…. but not pie. Oh, and not cake. The two things I would usually whip up with blueberries. He wanted something “different.”
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Recipe Reveal: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies?

CookiesMilkHome bakers have to have a great Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in their arsenal. It’s an American classic and the ultimate comfort food. Ask people what their favorite cookie is, and most times they’ll say chocolate chip.
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Super Bowl Sundae


Lighting cherries and kirsch for Super Bowl Sundaes.

The highlight of the Super Bowl for me was listening to Renée Fleming perform the best version of the National Anthem at a football game EVER.

The Seahawks decimated the Broncos, 43 – 8, and it was all about Beratin’ Manning.
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Thanksgiving: Confessions of a stuffing junkie

What's Thanksgiving without stuffing? I mean dressing! Whatever...

What’s Thanksgiving without stuffing? I mean dressing! Whatever, it’s delicious!

It’s almost Thanksgiving, my absolute favorite time of the year. I love every single thing about it. From crafting the menu to making sure I have enough silverware and chargers for the plates for all the guests coming to my home.

While others are frantically muttering to themselves in obscenely crowded supermarket lines, I’m smiling. I doublecheck my shopping list. Did I get enough Kerry Irish butter? How about fresh raspberries for my lovely niece Lynn, and yeast for Brian’s pepperoni-cheese bread?

Thanksgiving is a great holiday because it doesn’t involve gift giving. It’s all about the four  F’s — fun, family, friendship, and food.
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Recipe Reveal: Crostini with Roasted Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella

Great summer treat, Crunchy crostini topped with fresh mozzarella and roasted tomatoes.

With a glass of chilled white wine, crunchy crostini topped with fresh mozzarella and roasted tomatoes makes a perfect summer lunch.

Technically, it’s not too hot to cook right now. The massive heat wave is over. So I have no excuse for not heating up the oven. Except I don’t feel like it.

I’ve been enjoying salads with chicken cooked on the grill, and cold soups like gazpacho. My husband is happy with stir fried meats and veggies, so we’re not missing the oven too much. Read more…

Recipe Reveal: Cheers to the Royal Baby, Summer Berry Pudding


Thanks to the British for inventing Summer Berry Pudding.

Congratulations to Prince William and Duchess Kate on the birth of their baby boy. In their honor, I’d like to make something British. Berries are plentiful right now and it’s still too hot to bake, so how about a Summer Berry Pudding aka English Summer Pudding, which requires no baking.

The basic concept for Summer Berry Pudding is pretty straightforward. The traditional British version calls for fresh black currants and other berries sweetened with sugar then poured over sliced white bread in a bowl. The mixture is refrigerated and then unmolded to serve. It’s kind of like a lazy shortcake that does nothing but sit around and soak up juices. I know some guys like this. But say no more.

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Recipe Reveal: Ice Cream Cake

Raspberry Sorbet and Vanilla Ice Cream Cake

Raspberry Sorbet and Vanilla Ice Cream Cake

As the song from Kiss Me, Kate goes, “It’s too darn hot!” We’re in the midst of a heat wave, so I’m not cooking these days. No oven, no stove, nada.

When Fourth of July rolled around it didn’t take me long to figure out what dessert I was going to make for a family cookout — Ice Cream Cake.

Fast, easy, and COLD. Read more…

Recipe Reveal: Instant Strawberry Ice Cream


Frozen strawberries, nonfat dry milk powder, and a little sweetener = Guilt-free Instant Ice Cream.

With strawberry season in full bloom, I was fortunate to visit a local farm recently and pick berries to my heart’s content.

I used some of the berries for a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and Strawberry Sauce for Lemon Budino. Because they’re so perishable, I put the remaining berries on a baking sheet, froze them individually, and bagged them for future use.

With the weather so hot and muggy, I decided to use some of the frozen berries to make Instant Strawberry Ice Cream. As its name implies, this is a quick recipe. No ice cream maker is required, all the ingredients are just whipped up fast in a food processor and eaten immediately. My favorite version has no added sugar, so it’s a guilt-free pleasure too. Read more…

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