Saturday, January 28, 2012

(Belated) Thirsty Thursday: Root Beer Float, and Root Beer Cake!

I was having a sweets craving the other day while perusing the aisles of our local wine emporium (not exactly the most normal place to crave sweets)...thankfully, this store also carries the full line of Louisiana's famous Abita brews, so I skipped the wine & bought a six-pack of Abita Root Beer. One of my favorite things on this planet.

My husband & I are both big root beer fans--we even had a root beer float bar at our wedding as our "signature drink" (which people seemed to really appreciate since it was about 100 degrees outside).


"It's hot out here. Let's go get a root beer float."


I had reallllly wanted to use Abita for our wedding, but it was cost-prohibitive since we can't readily get kegs of Abita up here, and at a buck a bottle (times 150 guests), we had to go with generic two-liters (BIG sad face.) They were still nice and refreshing...just perhaps not AS refreshing as Abita would have been. :)



Wanting to reminisce about our big day with my hubs, I snagged that six pack & headed home, where a pint of vanilla ice cream was already waiting.


Even used leftover straws from our wedding!


And they were DEE. LISH. USS. I think the only way it could have been better would be if I had chilled the mugs first (and snagged pre-refrigerated bottles... it wasn't as ice-cold as we would have liked). But we were too impatient to wait for all of that. ;)

Though Abita has only been around since the mid-80's, Louisiana has a long history of cranking out delicious root beer. There's the infamous Dr. Nut, created and bottled in New Orleans, LA in the 1930's, which John Kennedy Toole references in "A Confederacy of Dunces" as the protagonist's favorite drink. Dr. Nut was an "almond flavored" soda produced originally by the World Bottling Company which was bought out by the Wright Root Beer Company. The business went under in the mid 60's, but after the rise of Toole's popular book, a company in Jennings, LA started bottling a soda that they called "Dr. Nut" in 1977; however it was a cherry cola and there were enough people around who knew what Dr. Nut was SUPPOSED to taste like that the product was a failure & folded about 10 years later.





Then there's Barq's root beer...but not the Barq's we know & love today. The Barq's company originated in New Orleans in 1890 by two brothers--in 1897, one of the brother's moved to Biloxi & opened a second bottling plant there. Barq's root beer began appearing around 1900. In the 1930's, the FDA made some changes to the definition of "root beer", and the original Barq's recipe had too high of a caffeine content to fall into the category. The Mississippi Barq's bottlers changed their recipe to comply with the new standards, while the Louisiana side just removed the phrase "root beer" from their bottles & kept the old recipe. Eventually, another company bought out the Mississippi Barq's, and a long running battle went on between the two companies until Coca-Cola acquired both in 1995.




And of course you can't forget Zatarain's...yes, the same Zatarain's that makes those rice mixes in your pantry. Their first ever product in 1889 was root beer. You can still buy Zatarain's root beer extract in some parts of the country (or off their website).




And there's Rex root beer from the 60's and 70's, bottled in Gretna, LA... they were originally produced by the New Orleans Bottling company (which was eventually bought out by Coca-Cola...always gotta corner the market, jeez...)




And then there's one of my favorites: Frostop. Now--Frostop doesn't have it's origins in Louisiana--it was started in the 1920s in Ohio. Frostop was a drive-in diner style place where you could score a delicious Lot-O-Burger and a frosty mug of root beer that had been made there at the diner. Most of these diners have since disappeared and bottled Frostop is hard to find (I snagged a couple bottles when I found it at Big Lots last year). However the diners are still alive & well in Louisiana, with locations in New Orleans (Claiborne Avenue), Baton Rouge (Government Street downtown), Thibodaux (Canal Street), LaPlace, and Raceland (Highway 1). The diners are easily identifiable by the giant neon-lit frosty mug on top of the buildings:

LaPlace location at night:


New Orlean's location during the day:

Katrina knocked the mug off its pole, and they've left the mug upside down where it landed as their new trademark.


Okay, I've crammed enough history down your throat. Howsabout a cake recipe?

This is another one I got off Pinterest last year from Joy the Baker. The original recipe has a recipe for homemade root beer icing--which we did not make because we don't have any powdered sugar in the house. So I'll let you reference the link if you want to snag that recipe.

The original also makes her cake as a bundt cake. However, I prefer to make cupcakes because then you're not as tempted to overindulge. Everything's already portioned out, so you can grab one & go & know how many calories are in that one serving.

Ingredients:
1 large egg
1 cups root beer (don’t use diet)
1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup applesauce (replaces the butter in the original recipe)
1/2+ 1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon root beer extract (I added this because the flavor of the chocolate was kind of overpowering the flavor of the root beer. I would of course recommend using Zatarain's extract if you can find it.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (gives it more of that "float" taste)


Directions:

Go cook some rice. (No, just kidding. No rice in this one.) :D

First: Preheat the oven to 325*F and insert muffin liners into your muffin tray (or grease your muffin tin if you don't have liners). This will make enough for 12 cupcakes.

Next: Beat your egg until well blended, then add the other wet ingredients + the cocoa powder to the bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Add the baking soda and salt, mix.


(I'm going to pretend it didn't take me 6 tries to get this action shot of the Kitchenaid.)

Then slowly add your flour. Don't over mix or the cakes will end up a bit tough. It's okay if it's a little lumpy.

Next: Use an ice cream scoop to portion the batter into the muffin tin.



Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from the tin & let cool on a baking rack.




Now, as I mentioned before, the original recipe came with instructions for how to make icing as well. We did not go that route--rather, we had some white frosting in the house, so I mixed a bit of the root beer & root beer extract with that & glazed the tops of our cupcakes with that. The frosting will become much thinner, so refrigerate it for a while after mixing. Then glaze each cupcake with about a teaspoon or so.




NutriFacts: (per cupcake, with icing)

Calories 160.0
Total Fat 2.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Cholesterol 15.4 mg
Sodium 178.5 mg
Potassium 95.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 35.3 g
Dietary Fiber 1.5 g
Sugars 25.0 g
Protein 2.3 g

Thursday, January 26, 2012

“Cook Some Rice.”

A quick confession.  I’ve noticed that the vast majority of my Cajun recipe posts involve me giving the direction “cook some rice”.  Because, yes, there’s a lot of rice in Cajun dishes.  But in all honesty, it’s a teensy bit of an inside joke, and I write it that way because it makes me giggle to myself.

But if you’re not from Louisiana and haven’t scoured the outer rims of YouTube, then you probably haven’t heard of PooPoo Broussard, Louisiana’s own version of…say…Justin Bieber, as viral YouTube sensations go.

Okay, so maybe not that extreme.  But he is pretty well known locally down there.

So, here you go.  Readers, meet PooPoo & his buddies, & their rendition of the Spielberg classic, “E.T.”

 

I’ll let you peruse the rest of PooPoo’s YouTube channel on your own time. :D

 

Oh, and…go cook some rice.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday’s Word of the Day

 

I took French in high school.  Two years of it.  I went to a small school, so our options were French, Spanish, or German.  German would have made sense, since much of our area of Missouri was settled by German families.  Spanish would have made sense because it’s really practical—I mean, if the U.S. of A. were to have any sort of official secondary language, it would be Spanish.

But no, I took French, because it seemed more exotic, and because I wanted to visit Paris some day, and I justified it by saying (in my infinite 14-year-old wisdom), “someday I can live in Louisiana or Canada, where it will be useful.”

image (Even K-5th graders in Louisiana speak French, why shouldn’t I?)

In college, I continued this delusion with two semesters of French.  I threw one semester of Spanish in there, but discovered that I can’t roll my R’s (true story—it’s an actual physical defect), so that was the end of that.  And to be fair, while on our honeymoon in Europe, having one Romance language under my belt made it fairly easy in both France & Italian, since there were enough similarities to limp by. (Though, on our two days in Germany, I was REALLY wishing I’d taken German instead, and was so happy that our next stop was London.)

However, I’m here to say—whatever French I learned in those 4 years was somewhere next to useless when I DID in fact move to Louisiana.  Aside from knowing that the “Vieux” in Vieux Carre (aka the French Quarter) meant “old”, a beignet was a donut, and “cafe au lait” was coffee with milk…yeah.  Not so useful.

Because a) contrary to what i believed as a 14 year old, everyone in Louisiana does not speak French…and b) the French they DO speak is not the formal French I learned.  It’s a bit of an amalgamation of English, Creole French, Acadian (Nova Scotia area) French, and Houma Indian. And you wrap that up in a Cajun accent and…yeah… We’re so far out of “Je m’appelle Bobbi” that it hurts.

Thankfully, it didn’t matter much, because as a “Yankee” (come from anywhere north of I-10, and you’ll be branded as such) they didn’t expect me to speak it anyway. And the ones who do speak it tend to just throw it in now & then, like the seasoning on a bowl of gumbo.  And I got a good bit of satisfaction on those occasions that I DID understand bits of it, like while doing field work, one of my coworkers was measuring something, and finished off by saying “C’est bon" (“It’s good”).

I digress.  Today’s word! (Which I did NOT learn in French class, but rather from one of my favorite former coworkers, Jude.)

Frissons: (Free-SOHNS) essentially, goosebumps.  Other online dictionaries define it as “an intense moment of excitement, or a shudder”.  Use it as you will.

And, as a bonus, the video for Flight of the Conchords’ “Foux de Fafa”, which always reminds of the feeling I had when I moved to Louisiana & realized just how much “french” I DIDN’T know.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cajun Stuffed Bell Peppers

ItshereitshereitsfinallyHEEEERE!

…okay.  I got that out of my system.  But yes, my free copy of the cookbook that my recipes were published in finally arrived at my house!

image (It gets the place of honor on the kitchen easel for a while.)

See?  My name & stuff!  (well, my maiden name.  I submitted these recipes over a year before the wedding.

image (Note: if you’re interested in getting a copy of this book, see the bottom of this blog post.)

 

So I figured it was only appropriate to make a recipe from my new cookbook! 

Not one of my recipes, mind you, because the ones that were selected for the book were already done on this blog back in 2008-2009.

I’ve been craving stuffed bell peppers, so I flipped through the book & sure enough, a lovely lady named Jill from Baton Rouge had submitted her recipe for that very dish.

Jill’s recipe doesn’t use tomatoes, which a lot of recipes do.  I personally like to have tomatoes in my dishes because a) canned tomatoes are an inexpensive way to add some nutrition to dishes, and b) I love tomatoes.  However, I really wanted to be true to the original recipe & give it a whirl.

 

Ingredients:

4 large red or green bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise & cored

1 lb 93% lean ground beef or turkey

2 slices bacon (optional) – we didn’t have any bacon on hand, so I used 1.5 tbsp bacon grease, which we ALWAYS have on hand

2 stalks celery, diced

1/2 large onion, diced

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp Cajun seasoning

1 tsp Louisiana Gold hot sauce (not in the original recipe—I added this for more heat & flavor)

1/3 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese

1/4 cup skim milk (original calls for half & half, but we didn’t have that)

1/2 cup italian seasoned breadcrumbs

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup cooked rice (we like to use brown rice)

 

Directions:

Okay, the prep for this dish can be a little labor intensive, so you may want to enlist some help, otherwise there’s a lot of pots to balance.  I had my wonderful husband prep the peppers & do the dicing for me.

image (We didn’t use all that celery, he was just cutting up the rest for me to take to work as snacks.)

 

Once your prep work is done:

First: Cook your rice. Also, preheat your oven to 350.

Second: In a separate pot, boil water & then drop in your bell pepper halves.  Boil for about 4-6 minutes. Afterward remove them w/tongs and place them on a paper towel covered plate, upside down to drain out the excess water.

 

image

 

Third: In a skillet, brown your meat.  Because the beef (or turkey if you choose to use it) is so lean, the addition of the bacon (or bacon grease, in our case) really helps add flavor and a little bit of fat which this dish needs to cook everything without scalding or burning the veggies.  And you’re going to end up with 8 servings, so it’s a pretty piddly amount of fat when it gets portioned out.

Then add the onions & celery & cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the veggies are tender. Remove from heat, then add the remaining ingredients, including the rice, and stir until well combined.  Taste for seasoning and add more spices if needed.

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Fourth: Put the peppers into a lightly sprayed glass baking dish (9x13 should work if you’re using 4 peppers—if you only make a half batch, an 8x8 square should probably do) with the hollow sides up, and scoop the filling mix into the peppers.  Portion it out evenly between the peppers, if it mounds up a bit from the top, that’s okay.

Then sprinkle a little bit of extra grated cheese across the tops.

image

Finally: Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown.

image

One half is a serving.  Makes 8 servings.  Serve with a side salad or steamed veggie, and a hot roll.

This recipe turned out REALLY well.  The peppers were perfectly tender and the meat was really well seasoned.  As you can probably tell from the pics, we only had 3 peppers on had, so we actually had leftover filling.  So I mixed some leftover pasta sauce (So I got my tomatoes after all!) into that for meals later on this week.  It was really tasty both ways.  I might like to try it again some time with the pasta sauce or tomato paste mixed in, as I think it would help as a binder.

 

Nutrition facts:

Calories 202.8

Total Fat 10.1 g

Saturated Fat 2.1 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g

  Monounsaturated Fat 1.6 g

  Cholesterol 7.2 mg

  Sodium 288.5 mg

  Potassium 187.7 mg

  Total Carbohydrate 10.6 g

  Dietary Fiber 1.2 g

  Sugars 1.0 g

  Protein 19.1 g

 

COOKBOOK INFO! The cookbook is currently on sale on Amazon for $18.95; however-- the publisher offers a discount to the recipe authors, so if you are interested in purchasing a copy of this book, please leave a comment here.  The amount of the discount is based on how many I order, so if enough people are interested, I can get them as cheap as $11/each plus media mail shipping.  Once I see what the response looks like, I’ll make a follow up post about payment, etc.

Thanks for reading guys!  And happy cooking!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Photologue Louisiana: A Weather Report.

 

Hi readers!  I was visiting my parents this weekend so I did not have an opportunity to cook up anything delicious…rather, I got spoiled by my mom who made biscuits & gravy, and fried chicken & potatoes, and meatloaf…good good stuff.  Aside from not cooking, it was a productive weekend full of shopping, crocheting with my mom, and helping my mom set up her Facebook account (she’s so 21st century now).

Here in Missouri we’ve been having some absurd weather…50 one day, then dropping to 20s over night, then back up to the 60s… then it’s 40 again.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that we haven’t had a lot of snow, but everyone’s sinuses are going crazy.

So I thought it might be a good time to reminisce with a few pictures from Louisiana… and their current weather reports.

New Orleans’ Jackson Square: Currently 71F with a 60% chance of rain.

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Grand Isle: High of 74 with a 30% chance of rain.

image

LUMCON Coastal Research Lab in Cocodrie, Louisiana: Currently 60 degrees & sunny, wind 5-10 knots.

image

Port Sulphur: Currently 73 with a 10% chance for rain. (A great day for fishing, wouldn’t you say?)

image

Estherwood: 69 and cloudy.  Slight chance for rain.

image

 

Lake Martin: 73 and cloudy.  10% chance for rain. (I could totally be a weather person).

image

Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge: High of 78 & partly cloudy, with a 10% chance of rain. (Or 100% chance of getting wet if you’re sitting on the back of a boat.)

image

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blue Runner Red Beans & Rice!

 

This isn’t really much of a recipe, so much as an unpaid advertisement. 

At one point I was planning on featuring Blue Runner canned beans as “Tuesday Timbit” since it’s one of my favorite Louisiana products.  In fact, I usually smuggle at least a can or two of it back with me when I go to Louisiana for work, since it wasn’t available up here.

And then I went to my local WalMart last week, & saw stacks & stacks of Blue Runner beans sitting on an endcap for 92 cents.

image

I love Blue Runner.  It’s New Orleans in a can!  So if you see them at your local store, GRAB THEM.  Shove 4 or 5 cans in your cart & high-tail it home.  (PS—pick up some smoked sausage while you’re at it.)

For a super fast meal, slice up a package of smoked turkey sausage & brown it in a large skillet.

Reduce the heat, and add 1 large can or two small cans of Blue Runner New Orleans style spicy red beans.  These are already perfectly seasoned.

Steam some brown rice (rather than white rice, for the added health benefits).

Serve the beans & sausage over rice.  Or, if you’re not a huge fan of rice, cornbread also works great.

Garnish with fresh chopped green onions.

Your family/friends/anyone who stuffs this food in their face will thank you for it.  And you did it in less than half an hour (or however long it takes your rice/cornbread to took.  Use Minute Rice—it’ll be done even faster.)

image

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Homemade Granola, and a Fruit & Yogurt Parfait!

I love sleep.  Which is why it’s probably a good thing that I’m a pretty low maintenance gal.  On weekdays I sleep in as long as possible, then after the 3rd or 4th Snooze button, I crawl out of bed, slink into the shower, and hope the hot water will help me wake up.  My morning routine is about 30 minutes from getting up to getting out of the house. 

Meaning I don’t usually have time to eat breakfast at home, so I take my breakfast with me & eat it at the office.  Ergo, my breakfasts need to be portable, easy to throw together, and of course, hearty enough to stick with me. 

Somedays it’s oatmeal with a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips thrown in. (An idea I learned from Pinterest.  God bless Pinterest.)

Somedays it’s a hard boiled egg, an orange, and half a bagel with some peanut butter.

Oh, and coffee.  Every day.  Of course.

image

(I have this magnet on my fridge.)

 

But one of my favorite breakfasts is a yogurt parfait.  It’s like dessert for breakfast!

They DID just open a McDonald’s on my way to work…

image

…however, a parfait from MickeyD’s will run about a buck-fifty with tax, and with a 5.3oz serving, you get:

160 calories, 4 g protein, 1 g fiber, 21 g sugar.

Not “bad”, but not great either. And certainly not enough to stick with you all morning.

 

I prefer to make them at home & have total control over the ingredients, and the price.

 

Step 1. Buy Greek yogurt in bulk: A 32-oz container of Greek yogurt typically runs about $4 at Walmart.  I personally love Chobani brand, and they offer 50 cent off coupons on their website.  With a 6-oz serving size, that gets you about 5.5 servings for 72 cents/serving.

One serving of Greek yogurt has about 100 calories, 7g sugar, 0g fat, and 18 g protein.  That’s like 3 eggs—but without the cholesterol & fat.

If you’re not quite hardcore enough to get the plain greek yogurt, you can get the vanilla, which adds a little bit of sweetness & cuts the tart flavor of the yogurt.  But I find that the fruit & granola add enough sweetness for my taste.

 

Step 2. Buy unsweetened frozen fruit, or make it yourself: You can either stock up on your favorites when they’re on sale, or buy a bag of frozen fruit.  I picked up a 16oz bag of blueberries at WallyWorld for about $2.  At 1/2 cup (4oz) per serving, that’s about 50 cents per serving…if you keep an eye out you can get much better deals.  Farmer’s markets sometimes have a frozen section—I used to regularly be able to find 2-3 lb bags of blueberries for about $3. Or the next time you see a roadside stand with a guy selling a half-flat of strawberries for $10, slam on your brakes & stock up. Cut 'em in half and freeze what you can't eat right away. (Same goes for peaches, berries, whatever. I love me some roadside stands. There were a lot more of them in Louisiana than here.)

Blueberries have about 42 calories, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugar per 1/2 cup serving.

Half a  cup of strawberries will set you back 37 calories, 2.5 g fiber, and 5 g sugar.

Either is way better than the syrupy stuff they use at McD’s.

 

Step 3. Make granola!  A box of granola, even the generic kind, is rarely less than $2-3 at the store.  We can do better, and cheaper.

The nice thing about making your on granola is that it can be totally customized to a) what you like, and b) what you have on hand.  The basic rule of thumb is to remember The Golden Granola Ratio.

Yes, I made that term up.  But it works.  Remember to have 7 parts dry ingredients to every 1 part wet ingredient.

For your wet ingredient, you can use honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, molasses, or any combination of those. 

Here’s my favorite recipe:

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats

0.5 cup shredded coconut

0.5 cup wheat bran (I keep this around the house for adding into cookies, oatmeal, & other baked goods--it's full of fiber, iron, & a bit of protein, and it doesn't change the flavor of things.)

0.5 cup dry roasted almonds, unsalted

0.5 cup black walnut pieces

0.25 cup light brown sugar

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

0.5 cup Acadiana honey

1 tbsp olive oil (it gives a nice shine & helps bind)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl, & add honey & oil.

IMG_0120

 

(Layers of flavor!)

Mix thoroughly, making sure all the dry ingredients are well combined and coated.

Pour onto a lightly sprayed cookie sheet in an even layer.

 

IMG_0127

Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing once about halfway through.

When your kitchen starts to smell unbelievable, it’s time to pull your masterpiece out of the oven! At this point, if you like, you can add dried fruit (or wait until fully cooled & add chocolate chips, yogurt buttons, etc.)

 

IMG_0130

 

Makes 16 0.25 cup servings.

In one serving, you have 148 calories, 6g fat (mainly from the nuts, so 4.6 of that is unsaturated fats),  163 mg potassium, 4g fiber, 15g sugar, and 3 g protein.

 

Step 4: Assemble your parfait.

6 oz greek yogurt

1/2 cup blueberries

1/4 granola (Sometimes I double up on the granola to make it more of a meal, so it sticks with me longer, but if you wanted to have it as just part of your breakfast, stick with 1/4 cup granola)

IMG_0138

 

IMG_0136

Nutrifacts for Parfait: 12 oz serving (over twice the serving size of the McD’s one)

Calories: 290 (24 calories/ounce—the McD’s parfait has 30 calories/ounce)

Fat: 6g (4.6g unsaturated) – slightly higher than the McDs parfait, but that’s because of all the awesome unsaturated cholesterol-lowering fats coming from those walnuts & almonds.

Sugar: 27g  (The McD’s parfait has almost that just in 5 ounces!)

Protein: 21g – This parfait just kicks McD’s butt on that one, with their piddly 4 grams

Fiber: 6.5g – more than THREE TIMES what the McD’s parfait offers.

Calcium – 24% daily value

 

So hopefully this does you some good—lord knows it’s hard sometimes to get up & go in the morning!  This is super easy to throw together.  If you’re using frozen fruit, I typically scoop the yogurt & fruit into a small container the night before & refrigerate, then add in a scoop of granola in the morning on my way out the door.  That way the fruit is fully thawed & the sugars have time to integrate into the yogurt, and the granola stays crunchy!


Shared on 33 Shades of Green's Tasty Tuesdays

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sweet Potato - Pumpkin Bread: Oven or Crockpot?

 

We got a nice big 6-quart Crockpot as a wedding gift, so I’ve been trying to use it at every opportunity I can.  Since both my husband & I work, it’s really nice to be able to do a bit of prep the night before, throw things together in the removable crock, put it in the fridge, and then the next morning, finish assembly and start it cooking on low.  By them time we get home, dinner’s done!  Coming from someone who has an hour roundtrip commute and 9 hour work days, not having to cook when I come home is fanTASTic.

So when I saw a recipe last year for Slow Cooker Pumpkin Bread on 52 Kitchen Adventures, I HAD to try it.  This is one of those recipes that’s been sitting in my stockpile for a while.

We had some canned pumpkin on hand, but not enough to make this recipe.  But I did have some sweet potatoes in the crisper, so I simply peeled & boiled one, then pureed that to make up the difference.

Ingredients: (makes one 9x5x3 loaf)

  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 8 ounces of pumpkin and/or sweet potato puree 
  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

Combine sugar and oil in a large bowl, beating to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin.

In a separate large bowl, combine flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Add to the wet ingredients in 2 batches.

Now, the original recipe says there are two ways to make bread from this point.  You can be all traditional, and heat your oven to 350F, and bake the bread in a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan for 1 hour (or until a toothpick comes out clean)

OR…

You can be a rebel…with a Crockpot.

In a slow cooker large enough to fit a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan (we have a 6 quart), place a ball of aluminum foil to hold up the pan.

IMG_0109

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan, and place into the Crock on top of the aluminum foil.

IMG_0111

Cover, and set the CrockPot to High and cook for 2-8 hours.  Yes, you read that right—apparently it can be really variable, depending on the size of your slow cooker, the brand you use, maybe the stars and the weather too.  For us, it took about 3 hours.

IMG_0114

We set it to cook for 2 hours, then I started checking it with a toothpick every 20-30 minutes after that.

The end result was really moist and a little dense, but delicious.  The wait was a little agonizing though, because it smelled sooooooo good.  I think I definitely want to try this recipe again in the oven to see what it turns out like. 

Published??!?!??!?!!?!

Once upon a time (2009), when this blog was still in its infancy over on Livejournal.com, I was contacted by a gentleman named Kent Whitaker who told me he liked the blog and asked if I would be willing to share a couple recipes for a cookbook he was working on. So I gleefully submitted three of the first recipes I ever made for this blog (sweet potato muffins, "cheaters" red beans & rice, and a catfish dish w/ mustard sauce & crab-boiled veggies). Then I pretty well forgot about his request.

Today, I was cleaning out my inbox, and I found Mr. Whitaker's original email. Which left me wondering if he had ever succeeded in getting his book published.

So I did some Googling, and lo & behold, "Louisiana Hometown Cookbook", co-authored by Kent Whitaker and Sheila Simmons, was published back in 2010.



A little more Googling and it seems that all three of my recipes were in fact used in the book!


(Not to copy of my friend Jo, but..."It's a major award!!!")

I'm a little disappointed that I never got a follow up email once it was published, but it's still FREAKING COOL to find out now! To just wake up one day & realize your name is in print in some cookbook? I feel so famous!!!! ;)



...I wonder if I'm entitled to ask for a free copy.... :D