Thursday, April 22, 2010

the deen brothers do it up right.

Ally, here.

About two months ago, a few friends and I went on a Spring Break road trip to Savannah, Georgia. Why Savannah? To eat at Paula Deen's restaurant, The Lady & Sons, of course! Yes, that's how much we love food. We planned our entire trip around restaurants, and let me tell you, we had some incredible meals. I highly recommend a vacation of this variety.

Anywho, these same friends and I gathered last night to cook a meal together, and it only made sense to get back to our roots and use recipes from the Deen family. It turns out Jamie and Bobby cook just as well as Paula (and use a little less butter)! We cooked up some bacon-wrapped chicken breast with chile cheese sauce. Bacon. Chicken. Cheese. Excellent. If you try to make this yourself, I recommend adding way more chipotle hot pepper sauce and Worcestershire sauce, especially if you actually want it to taste spicy. We even added some crushed red pepper to ours. Yum.

And as for our side dish, bite-size tomato and mozzarella tarts. They taste a little like healthy, flaky pizzas. Now, Bobby's tarts were significantly more beautiful than mine (the lack of a circle cookie cutter is at fault here), but mine were still delectable.

The best part of this meal is that it's all super simple. You can make it yourself. And you're going to love it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

if Spring were a food, I'd bet it would taste like this..

Becca, here

Besides recipes, Ally and I thought we'd share with you some of the best places we've eaten, and foods that give us inspiration along the way. So here is a taste of that...

If you are unaware...Springtime in Louisiana is the best.
Warm weather starting in February (sorry for your continual freezing Ally), crawfish, strawberries, flowers, and free weekends (Geaux Tigers! ...but having Saturdays free is real nice). There are countless other great things about Springtime in Louisiana, but you really should just come check out this great state yourself.

Eating is obviously a huge part of Louisiana.
And when family comes down, you do it big.

So when my little sister, Emily, arrived this weekend, the obvious thing to do is eat something fried. Fried dough with sugar that is. More affectionately known as beignets (...that's Ben-yay's for all you Kentuckyers out there).

It's basically fried dough with powdered sugar, but it is heaven.
And the best place to go? Well, if you're not in New Orleans then one must find themselves at Coffee Call in Baton Rouge, LA. 24/7 beignets at your service! Plus the BEST vanilla hazelnut coffee around.

Later on in the weekend, all three of us sisters found ourselves in the same city, and what to do? But eat! One of our favorite things to do is meander around Whole Foods. What's not to love about free samples? If you have spare time, and a city with a Whole Foods...check it out. (Here is when you swoon with me as I dream about their beautiful produce, flowers, herbs, and more)

It's Louisiana. Springtime. Crawfish anyone? In case you have ever wondered what that large hole in your soul was's a crawfish boil. Nothing like pouring a pile of crustaceans on the table and eating pounds of them, in no time flat.

This weekend's crawfish is brought to you by Tony's Seafood.

Please, if you have never experienced this...Add it to your life list pronto.

Of course if you give a girl a crawfish...She'll probably want some cake.

This weekend also happened to be Emily's 17th birthday! So out comes a cake that takes it's inspiration from the infamous Rainbow Cake, iambaker's "The Best Chocolate Cake", and my head.

One-Layer-a-Lemon Cake

2 boxes of white cake mix
1 box of lemon cake mix
1 2liter of diet 7up
1 small container of Cool Whip
2 16oz. containers of Vanilla icing
1 pint of blueberries
3/4 cup of toasted (sweetened) coconut

1. Pour white cake mixes into a large mixing bowl.
2. Add 3 cups of Diet 7UP and beat with handmixer for 2 minutes. (You don't need eggs or oil! Really!)
3. Grease two 8-inch cake pans WELL (adding parchment paper is a great idea too). Pour batter into 2 8-inch round cake pans. Bake as directed on box.
4. Mix lemon cake mix and 1 1/2 cups of Diet 7Up (add more if it seems too stiff).
5. Beat on low-speed handmixer for two minutes.
6. Pour batter into another 8-inch round cake pan. Bake as directed.
7. Place cakes in freezer for 20 minutes, or refrigerator for a few hours so they are easier to handle.
8. Cut each cake in half. (A long, serrated bread knife works best)
9. On the first layer, place one half of a white cake. Add cool whip ontop. Place the other half of the cake on top. Add cool whip on top.
10. Next, layer one lemon half. Add cool whip. Top with remaining lemon half. Add cool whip.
11. Continue with the last white cake (Half cake, Cool Whip, Half cake). But do not top with cool whip.
12. Ice the cake completely (as liberally as you like. I am a huge icing fan).
13. Top with blueberries and toasted coconut. Eat!

Refrigerate any leftovers...Which there may or may not be. Second helpings are encouraged.

Please forgive photography. I'm trying to catch up with Ally's photography skills, and the cake had a little accident on the ride over to final eating destination :)

Where ever you might be, happy spring!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

pie is the best pick-me-up.

Ally, here.

I'm of the firm belief that baking is the best way to anyone's heart. My fiancé is particularly fond of this idea (I think that's why we are so compatible), so I baked this delightful pie for him a few weeks ago. We're both huge fans of peanut butter and oreos, so why not combine those wonderful ingredients into a rich, tasty, delectable treat? This peanut butter wonder is super simple. You're going to love it.
Peanut Butter Wonder

double-stuffed oreos (I used about 2 rows of cookies)
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1. Crush about 2 rows of cookies and use an electric mixer to combine with 8 oz. cream cheese.
2. Spread the cookie and cream cheese mixture into a pie dish, making sure to cover the sides of the dish. The crust should be pretty thick.

1. Combine 8 oz. cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and heavy cream in a large bowl. Mix until creamy.
2. Pour filling into pie crust. Smooth the top.
3. Sprinkle with crumbled oreo pieces. (You could also sprinkle chocolate shavings or any other chocolate delight on top.)
4. Refrigerate for several hours.


Monday, April 12, 2010

dinner party.

Ally, here.

Well, I've just hit a milestone. I celebrated my 21st birthday on Thursday, and as I am now a full-fledged adult, I've decided to become a bit more sophisticated. I celebrated my birthday with a dress-up dinner party in the backyard. I prepared the main course, asparagus and mozzarella stuffed chicken, while the guests brought side dishes and desserts. I'm telling you, there's nothing better than enjoying a great meal with great friends. And doing so in the great outdoors (well, as great as the outdoors can get in the middle of the city) makes it even better.
Here's the recipe for the chicken. You're going to love it.

chicken breast (one for each person)
mozzarella cheese
black pepper
garlic (powder or the real deal)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Beat the chicken breast until it is thin enough to easily fold/roll. (I'm limited on tools, so I used the back of an ice cream scoop.)
  3. Put a dab of butter in the middle of the chicken breast.
  4. Lay whole asparagus (I did 4 or 5 pieces) in the middle of the chicken breast.
  5. Sprinkle with pepper.
  6. Sprinkle with mozzarella (in my opinion, the more cheese the better).
  7. Roll the chicken breast until the asparagus and cheese are nicely contained.
  8. Sprinkle the top with basil and garlic, followed by a drizzle of EVOO.
  9. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
This is a great dish for a large group. It only takes a few minutes to prepare, and it's not too expensive to make. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

live. love. pray. eat.

Ally, here.

Like Becca said, we both love food. And we love everything that comes with it. Grocery shopping (preferably at the farmers' market), baking, cooking, serving, sharing, and eating. For us, food isn't just something you eat. It's something you bond over. There's nothing better than a table covered in good food and surrounded by great people. And like Becca said, we're hoping to take this passion and create something really awesome one day (when we live in the same state).

So, a little about me. I grew up in a house where we constantly had friends over to visit. And my mom would always have snacks ready for our guests. I think that's where I get my love for hospitality. I know people loved coming to my house because my mom was (and continues to be) such a great hostess. Thanks, Mom.

When it comes to what I like to eat, I must say I'm a huge fan of dessert. It's just so good. Ice cream. Cookies. Brownies. Cake. Cupcakes. Goodness. We'll be making a lot of that on this blog. But I'm also becoming a pretty big fan of the healthier foods (after not eating vegetables for the first 18 years of my life), so you'll see some of that here too.

I started on this little adventure last semester where I decided to bake something new every week. I haven't exactly succeeded, but I have baked a lot of new, exciting things this year. And I'm hoping to share a lot of this food with you!

So prepare yourself for awesomeness. Because that's what you're going to get.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

a little beginning..

Welcome to our blog! Becca, here.

Ally & I met Summer 2008 in Bellevue, WA. We spent a lot of good weekends exploring Seattle, and I think most of our inspiration for eating, cooking, conversation came from the Public Market. If you have never been...add it to your travel list.

In case you’ve missed the ‘About us’ section, this blog is all about the joys of life…through food. Have you ever thought about how many wonderful things there are in the world? Well, Ally and I like to discover just a portion of those things through food. It’s not just about eating...but cooking, baking, and sharing it. I would be happy to cook for people the rest of my life. (And let me let you in on a little secret...Ally and I want to make that happen together, someday, somewhere).

I could not even begin to nail down my favorite things to make..because most of the time (if you know me well enough) it’s a completely made-up-mess that turns out to be worth eating.

And let me take this time to say…Thanks Mom. She’s the master of cooking concoctions. And she taught my sisters and I well...

Picking up with the favorites again...I will admit: One of my favorite foods is pizza. ClichĂ©..I’m aware of this. But what could be better than bread and cheese? Most memories I have with the friends I am blessed to know include bread and cheese (with pesto in between of course). Simple pleasures.

And the question of “Are you a sweet or savory person?” Well, I think after a few posts on this blog you’ll discover the reason Ally & I are friends. Love of sugar. And cake. And fruit. And cake with fruit. And desserts. And chocolate. And coffee. And chocolate cake with coffee…

(And where our joint love for all things sweet began...)

So eat some cake (and whatever else makes it on the blog) with us, and let's see where this thing goes...