Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from my house to yours!

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Black Bottom Hot Chocolate Mugs with Marshmallow Whipped Cream

Creamy, rich, indulgent.  You should make this hot chocolate at your earliest convenience, preferably when you are in front of a cozy fireplace in your jammies.  With it snowing outside.  Not that we would know what snow is here in Mississippi.  I'm just using my imagination.

I've melted Nutella and marshmallow cream into milk with just a little bit of cream, and added a surprise in the bottom of the mug: a layer of Nutella you can eat with a spoon after the hot chocolate is gone.  Because *that* is fun, people.  And since I've always struggled with whether to top my hot chocolate with marshmallows or whipped cream, I've decided to do both. 

I am at peace.

Black Bottom Hot Chocolate Mugs with Marshmallow Whipped Cream

1 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup marshmallow cream (fluff), divided
1/3 cup plus 4 heaping tablespoons hazelnut spread (Nutella), divided
3 1/2 cups whole milk
Chocolate sprinkles or chocolate shavings for garnish

Beat 1 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup marshmallow cream in the bowl of an electric mixer on high speed with the whip attachment until medium peaks form.  Refrigerate until needed.

In a medium heavy bottom saucepan, whisk together 1/3 cup hazelnut spread, remaining 1/3 cup marshmallow cream, 3 1/2 cups milk, and remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream over low heat until smooth and hot. 

To serve, place one heaping tablespoon of hazelnut spread into the bottom of each of 4 clear glass mugs.  Ladle in the hot chocolate carefully (do not stir) over spread, then top with a large dollop of the whipped cream.  Garnish with sprinkles or chocolate shavings and serve with extra whipped cream.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Pepperoni Pizza Lovers Rigatoni Pasta

Yeah, I know you can see my reflection on the serving spoon above.  I was too lazy to create a whole new layer in Photoshop and clone it out.  Don't look too closely or you will see my favorite scraggly tank and my bed head which sometimes stays beddy until the early afternoon.   And it's good the camera is covering my face because I'll let you in on a little secret--I don't usually put make-up on to blog.  Sometimes I don't even shower.

And now I'm thinking that I should go back into my archives and check all of the silverware in every picture.  Who knows what I may have unknowingly revealed to the world in a the well of a spoon or the blade of a knife.  *Blogger shudders in fear*

But the pasta looks great, don't you think?  It was great.  It was a huge hit. So big, in fact, that my son-in-law said he might like it better than lasagna.  This is huge if you know my son-in-law.  Which you probably don't.  But still.

Before I give you my notes on the recipe, though, I have some important announcements to make.

First.  I shot the cover of a magazine.

Let me say it again.


The December/January issue of eat.drink.MississippiIt's on the newsstands now.  Probably not in Alaska, though.  But definitely in Mississippi. 

Secondly, I have a spread in another magazine.

Let me repeat.  I HAVE A SPREAD... get it, right?  I am excited.

The magazine is Town & Gown, another Mississippi magazine, and it's their December issue.  I have several recipes and photos.  You should *run* to the local bookstore to buy both of these.  Unless you live in Alaska.  Then I wouldn't bother.

 Okay, here are my notes: 

-First, I bought turkey pepperoni by accident and it was...weird.  It tasted good, but the texture was weird.  And curly.  I think I would prefer the regular variety better but it did taste alright.

-I used Bertolli's Olive Oil, Garlic, and Basil pasta sauce.  

-I used regular block mozzarella for the pasta part that I shredded myself.  For the layers, I used fresh mozzarella that I sliced myself and I really think it made this over the top good.  The kicker is that I don't know how much I used.  The package was very fresh, like from a local farm fresh, and it didn't have the weight on the package.  I estimate it to be about 12-16 ounces.

-My dish was an oval casserole dish, but I think a 13 x 9 inch would be fine.

-I placed mine under the broiler for a golden brown crust on top.

-Let this set for about 10-15 minutes before digging in.

Pepperoni Pizza Lovers Rigatoni Pasta

16 ounces dried rigatoni
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Non-stick cooking spray
1 (24-ounce) jar marinara or pasta sauce
1 (4.5-ounce) package pepperoni slices
12-16 ounces sliced fresh mozzarella
Grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large pot, cook rigatoni according to package directions to al dente.  Immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Drain and set aside. 

In a large heavy saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium to high heat; add flour and whisk for 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in the milk and continue to cook over medium to high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly.  Stir in the salt, pepper, and 3 cups of the shredded cheese until melted.  Stir in the rigatoni.

Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour in half of the pasta in a single layer.  Spoon 1/2 of the marinara sauce carefully over the pasta.   Top with 1/2 of the sliced fresh mozzarella and 1/2 of the pepperonis.  Repeat layers once ending with pepperonis.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and pasta is bubbling in center.  Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes, if desired.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

MK's Quadruple Chip Cookies

You guys.

It's like this.  I sometimes feel shallow for spending time writing a food blog. Often, in fact, if I'm being honest.  I feel shallow for spending the enormous amount of time that I do writing recipes for the blog and for contests.  Making dishes.  Taking time to make them look pretty.  Taking pictures.  Editing pictures.  Posting pictures, writing the posts, and then, all the social networking. 

(And I am not even good blogger.  The good bloggers post three times a week or more!) 

I mean, is this blog changing lives?  No. Waistlines, yes.  Lives, not so much.

I sometimes think to myself, "Why are you doing this, Lorie? Why?  Why?"  

But then I think to myself that hobbies are not bad, necessarily, right?

Unless your hobby is robbing banks, then yes.

But if like doing this, why shouldn't I do it?  And why can't this blog, in a very small, teeny, tiny way, maybe possibly do some good in the world?

So I know that I may appear all shallow and stuff on this blog.  I joke about Black Friday shopping and life crises that are NOTHING compared to what other people in this world are going through.  

But I am not as shallow as this blog looks.  I'm not.  Just know that my heart is to give.  So, yes, I normally give a portion of my ad revenue each month to a ministry that provides the basic necessities for survival to people of underdeveloped nations.  (I have a big heart for Africa.)  But I thought that maybe for December, I would donate 100 % of the ad revenue from this blog.  Not that that amount would be significant.  This blog is not a money maker.  But it would be something.

And I thought that maybe you could help by telling two or six friends about Mississippi Kitchen.  To help it grow.  So it can do some good.  Just a thought.  No pressure.

And I also thought that other bloggers might want to do this.  You know, like a blogging-giving challenge.  To give a portion or all of your blogging income if you have one for the month of December.  Wherever you choose.  And do some good in the world.

Because it is the season to give. 

And now for some yummy cookies.  Every time I make my chocolate chip cookies, I fall more in love.  This version is no exception.  I took it to the extreme by adding four different kinds of chips and I totally think it worked.  My sweet little grand-boy, who I'm sorry to say is also a cookie thief, wouldn't leave me alone when I was taking my pictures.

I had a pretty little set-up with a wine glass full of milk and a dessert glass full of cookies, but he came in and confiscated my props like he owned the place. He doesn't understand the importance of what a food blogger does and how much immense pressure I am under until I am able to finish a post and get it out to the masses.  He's kind of selfish like that.

 Here are my notes:

-I did not chill the dough.  I used a medium cookie scoop (i think it was about 2 tablespoons) and also a small one (1 tablespoon), but you could use any size you want.  The larger cookies baked for about 12 minutes in my oven, and the smaller ones for about 10 minutes, but your oven could be different, so just look for golden brown edges.

 -I love cookies that have the wrinkly tops.  These do. Yay!

-Puffy, chewy middles, and slightly crispy edges.

-Let them cool for at least 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack.

MK’s Quadruple Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cups each milk chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, and peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until mixed.  Beat in vinegar and vanilla.  Mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cornstarch in a large bowl. Slowly add to batter and mix just until blended. Stir in chips by hand until mixed. 

Drop dough onto parchment paper lined baking sheet by a 1-2 tablespoon measure cookie scoop.  Leave about 1-2 inches in between cookies.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies are set and light golden brown around edges.  Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  

There is a three year old boy somewhere in this picture.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Vanilla Bean Iced Coffee

Dear World,

Here is a secret about me:  I don't like football.  And I sit here silently typing this startling fact as my husband switches between the Ole Miss-Mississippi State game and Notre Dame-USC game, and these after he watched the Alabama-Auburn game earlier. 

But I have no complaints about him watching football, because my fine specimen of a man offered to watch our three year old grandson all day on Friday while my daughter and I made our way south to Mobile to hit some Black Friday sales. 

(He offered himself, I might add, and stayed home from hunting on his vacation day to do it.  How grateful am I for this guy?  XOXOXO!!!!) 

They had quite the exciting day starting with Bray giving Pop a fun little lesson on how to properly brush teeth.  ("Not that way, POP!  I DO IT!  Lemme do it!")  

I'm not sure that he combed his hair or put clean underwear on him, BUT he was called into the bathroom to aid in some teeny, tiny, hiney clean-up.

"Pop, I'm thwoo-oo, come and wipe me!  Pop?!  POP!"

Oh. My.  I think we may have conveniently forgot to tell him that Bray occasionally poops for fear the whole deal would be off.  But he handled it like a trooper, or so he let me know.

So daughter and I had a fun day, and by fun I mean we had to leave the house at 4 AM and drive for an hour and a half, stand in lines that rival Disneyland, and create a plan of attack to decide which eight items could be taken into the dressing room to be tried on first and which of the remaining 32 items should be left behind to be tried on during the second through fifth rounds. 

And this: 

My daughter made me take this picture on the very back aisle at Academy Sports.  I normally don't post pictures of myself unless they have been heavily Photoshopped, but this was our special bonding day so I made an exception.  I think we look pretty, don't you?

 Okay, enough about my life.  This iced coffee recipe is my favorite and I made it a little bit different this time by using a real vanilla bean.  Yes, I debated and debated on whether to do this or not as vanilla beans are precious commodities in my house (thank you, Rodelle!), but when I made this I was having a very stressful ten-day stretch and I just needed a little bit of pampering.  This did the trick.

Here are my notes:

-You should try this:  blend one cup of the iced coffee mixture, 1 medium frozen banana and 1/2 cup crushed ice or ice cubes.  You can thank me later.  Heaven.  I forgot to take a picture of it but it is sooooo good.

-I think this would be a good base to blend with some other flavors--butterscotch, chocolate syrup, cinnamon, etc.

-You can use instant coffee granules in place of the espresso.

-You can leave out the vanilla bean and add vanilla extract to your liking.

-The amount of espresso can also be adjusted for a more powerful jolt.

Vanilla Bean Iced Coffee

1/3 cup instant espresso granules
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups cold water
4 cups milk
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract (for extra vanilla-y punch)

Place the espresso granules and sugar in a bowl and stir in the boiling water until dissolved.  Stir in the vanilla bean seeds. 

Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk and cold water until combined.  Pour the milk into a pitcher.  Stir in the espresso mixture and the vanilla extract.  Chill in fridge for about an hour.  Serve over ice.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Bananas Foster White Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

Can I be frank with you?

Thanks.  I knew you would let me be.  I feel safe with you.

I've been busy.  And I am not complaining one bit,  I'm just stating a fact.  (I serve an amazing God who has blessed my photography business more than I could ever imagine!)  Obviously my food blogging is taking a backseat to some other important things in my life. (I wish I could say my family, but I am ignoring them too.)  (*low point for blogger*) 

But I have had an epiphany that I am only one woman.  (Alright, I might be being a little dramatic with this epiphany talk.)

(This would be a good time for violins to start playing softly in the background. )

I am only one woman...not two...not six....and I can only do the work of one woman. 

(One woman, a dictator of a small country, and a packhorse on my good days.)

And although there are SO many things on my list that I would LIKE to do (such as post pretty pictures and awesome recipes on Mississippi Kitchen, write profound and moving articles over at my personal blog which I have all but abandoned, experiment with a flat iron to see if there is the slightest possibility that I can rock a straight look, clean out my barn, dust that top shelf,  take a night to do nothing but lie on the couch and stare into oblivion, find the source of the smell... you know, things like those), I have to pick and choose very carefully.

Because I'm spread thin.

(Please note, I didn't say I was thin, I said I was spread thin.)

What I am trying to say  is that my posting here will probably be...less frequent.  Which makes me a little sad.  BUT, and this is a BIG but, I have a plan and a goal to get to a point where I am running more efficiently.  It's just going to be a while before that kicks in. 

And that's why I continue to wear my hair curly.  'Cause curly for me is fast and easy.  Straight takes a long time.  I don't have extra time right now.

Am I making sense? 

Good.  I knew you would understand.  We are kindred spirits, you and I.

And this is the part where I get mushy.  I can't even express how *grateful* I am to all who take the time to read Mississippi Kitchen.  You make my days.  Really.  And I am SUPER sorry that I have not taken the time to visit many of the people who have stopped by here.  I have not visited my dear, sweet, crazy talented friends' blogs in forever.  I hope to change this one day. 

But I will still be around!  I will still be posting recipes when I get the chance.  I will still be at Mississippi Kitchen's Facebook page. (I am actually on Facebook quite a bit!  It's an important part of my business, I swear!).  I will still be tweeting as much as I ever did (this is a joke--if you are following me on Twitter you have probably noticed that I don't tweet a lot).  I will still be on Instagram (unlike Twitter, I actually love Instagram and post quite  frequently.)  I also pin things that I dream of making from time to time.

So let's hook up, 'kay?

(Unless you worship the devil or are a serial killer.  Do not hook up with me if you are a devil worshipper or a serial killer.) 

(Or if you are Olan from that travel agency on the coast who keeps calling here to tell me I won a free trip.  STOP CALLING ME, OLAN!)

And the great thing about today is, I am not just here to bleed all over you!  NOOOOOOO!  I actually have a recipe!!!!!  A good one in fact.

I counted seven thumbs up from my test panel, which still baffles me because there were only three of them, but anyway, here it is.  A concoction of some of my favorite flavors in a creamy, cool pie.

Here are my notes:

-Those white things on the pie are supposed to be white chocolate curls, but curl fail for this blogger.  I mostly just got pieces, not curls.  I still loved the way they tasted on the pie, so pile them on!

-Use  a slotted spoon to get the bananas out of the pan and into the crust.  The remainder of the sauce is drizzled on each slice.  

 -I put this in the freezer to firm it up quickly, but I would store it in the fridge to keep it soft and creamy.


Bananas Foster White Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mousse Pie 

24 vanilla sandwich cookies, crushed into very fine crumbs (I used Golden Oreos)
1/4 cup butter, melted

3 medium ripe bananas
1/4 cup butter              
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons rum
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 (8-ounce) container frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
White chocolate curls for garnish, if desired

1.       In a medium bowl, combine cookie crumbs and 1/4 cup melted butter. Press the mixture on the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate.  Place in freezer.

2.      Peel and slice bananas into 1/4 inch slices. Heat 1/4 cup butter in a large, heavy skillet until melted.  Turn off heat and add the dark brown sugar, the rum, and the cinnamon.  Turn heat back on to medium, and whisk and cook until mixture begins to bubble.  Let cook for 3 minutes whisking often.  Turn off heat.  Add bananas and toss gently to coat with sauce.  Remove crust from freezer and, using a slotted spoon to drain off most of the sauce, carefully place the bananas in the bottom of the crust.  Pour the remaining sauce in skillet into a small container or bowl to cool to room temperature.  (I like to use a container with a spout on it for easy drizzling later.)  Place pie in freezer while filling is being made.

3.      Beat the cream cheese, melted white chocolate, and the powdered sugar on high speed with a whisk attachment until fluffy.  Beat in the peanut butter.  Fold in the whipped topping by hand.  Spread mixture carefully over bananas in pie crust covering fully.  Place in freezer for 45 minutes to one hour.  Remove pie from freezer and garnish with white chocolate curls, if desired.  Cut into 8 slices and drizzle each slice with the reserved rum sauce. (If sauce gets too thick, just place in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.)  8 servings.

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