Salted Caramel Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Bars. New Music From Ally Evenson.

While I can’t get help with all of your quarantine woes, I can share this delicious recipe to make your day a little bit better.

Salted Caramel Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Bars.

Mmmmmmm….Let that sink in for a minute.

This sweet treat tastes as good as it sounds and makes A LOT. Salty, sweet, chewy, buttery…yum.


Salted Caramel Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter
1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
14-ounce bag soft caramels, unwrapped (not caramel sauce)
2-3 tablespoons milk or cream
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Line a 13 x 9-inch pan with foil or parchment paper. Lightly grease the bottom and sides with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and add the butter. Whisk constantly until brown bits appear on the bottom, about 4 minutes. (The butter will melt, foam, then become clear golden before finally starting to turn brown. Stir frequently and do not leave the butter unattended as it goes from perfect brown to burned very quickly.) Remove skillet from heat and let butter cool completely, about 20 minutes.

3. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt to the browned butter and stir until evenly combined.
Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the flour and chocolate chips.

4. Scatter about 2/3 of the dough, in large pieces, across the bottom of the prepared pan. Press into as even a layer as possible.

5. Combine the unwrapped caramels and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in one minute increments, stirring in between, until the mixture is melted and smooth (Be careful not to burn).

6. Spread the warm caramel over the cookie dough in the pan. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, if desired. Sprinkle teaspoon-size pieces of remaining cookie dough across the caramel.

7. Bake for about 25 minutes until the cookie dough is golden (The bars will be very gooey coming out of the oven but will set up as they cool). Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe



“Not So Pretty”, from Detroit-based Ally Evenson’s debut EP, gut punched me the first time I heard it. So much sadness laid bare in that heavenly voice…the song is really the opposite of its title.

“I’m so sick from you
and I wish I could
feel just like I used to”

And, seriously, that someone as beautiful as this young woman could be made to feel bad about herself by another human makes me so sad.

Check out Ally Evenson on Facebook. You can buy her music on Bandcamp.

Cheers!

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Mini Mac & Cheese Meatball Cups. New Music From Bethany Ferrie.

It’s probably about that time in this quarantine universe where dinner ideas are met with a chorus of “Nahs” because everyone really just wants to go to a restaurant.

Well, that’s not going to happen for awhile, unfortunately. So here’s a fun dinner idea to shake up the meal train. Just doctor up some boxed mac and cheese and bake in muffin cups with a meatball thrown in. Easy and tasty.

Mini Mac & Cheese Meatball Cups

Ingredients:

1 pkg (225g) Kraft Dinner Macaroni and Cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
12 frozen fully cooked turkey meatballs (1 inch)
1 cup tomato-basil pasta sauce

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.

2. Prepare Kraft Dinner as directed on package. Remove from heat. Add 1/2 cup mozzarella and stir until melted. Stir in egg.

3. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

4. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of Parmesan into each cup of the prepared muffin tin. Divide macaroni and cheese mixture into the muffin tin then press 1 meatball into each cup.

5. Bake 15 minutes or until meatballs are heated through.

6. Top with remaining mozzarella and bake for 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, heat pasta sauce as directed on label. Serve mac and cheese cups topped with sauce.

Serves 6

Recipe from Kraft



“Stayed”, new from Glasgow-based artist Bethany Ferrie, is break-up gold done to perfection. Sad and honest while beautifully catchy.

Check out Bethany Ferrie on Facebook and her Website. You can buy the music here.

Cheers!

Posted in Beef, Main Courses, Pasta, Snack | Tagged | Leave a comment

Short And Sweet. Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert.

If you have a few minutes in between all of the hand washing, here’s an easy dessert for you to make.

Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert is exactly what it sounds like. Ice cream sandwiches are layered with Cool Whip, fudge sauce and chopped nuts. You can even make it ahead up to two months, but these days you’re more likely to eat it all on the way to the freezer.


Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert

Ingredients:

18 or 19 ice cream sandwiches
12 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 jar (11-3/4 ounces) hot fudge ice cream topping
1 cup salted almonds

Directions:

1. Line bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9-inch pan with a single layer of ice cream sandwiches, cutting to fit as necessary.

2. Spread with half of the whipped topping. Spoon fudge topping by teaspoonfuls onto whipped topping. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup nuts.

3. Repeat layers with remaining ice cream sandwiches, whipped topping and almonds.

4. Cover and freeze for up to 2 months. Cut into squares to serve.

Serves 15

Recipe from Taste Of Home

Here’s a short song.

“I can’t keep it all together
I don’t know which way I’m heading”

And a sweet song. Not going to deny that the title resonates with me A LOT these days.

“Ooh, if I were dying
your love is all I’d need”

Check out Thirsty Curses on the band’s Website where you can buy their music.

Learn more about Ryan Egan on his Website. You can buy the music on Bandcamp.

Cheers!

Posted in Dessert, Ice Cream, Short And Sweet | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Chocolate Peanut Butter Globs. Listening To Carriers.


Chocolate and peanut butter can’t cure all the ills in the world, but they can certainly make you feel a little better. These Chocolate Peanut Butter Globs are packed with rich chocolate flavor and crammed with loads of nuts and chips. They melt in your mouth while at the same time providing a satisfying crunch.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Globs

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder such as Medaglia d’Oro
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole walnut halves (not chopped)
1 cup whole pecan halves (not chopped)
2/3 cup peanut butter chips, such as Reese’s

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325℉. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl set over simmering water, melt the butter, 6 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate, stirring occasionally, until melted. Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, espresso powder, and vanilla until combined. Add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes on medium-high speed until the batter is thick and falls back on itself in a ribbon. Set aside.

4. With the mixer on low, slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture.

5. Combine the 1/3 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

6. Fold flour mixture into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula.

7. In another bowl, combine the walnuts, pecans, peanut butter chips, the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips, and the tablespoon of flour and fold it into the chocolate mixture.

8. Use 2 soup spoons to drop rounded mounds of batter 1-inch apart onto the prepared sheet pans.

9. Bake cookies for exactly 15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets.

Makes about 22 cookies

Recipe from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten

Cincinnati-based band Carriers debut album is titled “Now Is The Time For Loving Me, Yourself & Everyone Else”.

Say that aloud.

‘Patience’ was released almost a year ago, but couldn’t be more perfect for what is happening in the world right now. To quote band member Curt Kiser, “Overall it’s about appreciating what we have and remaining present, while still being able to have an honest perspective of the past and our future. I’m just trying to accept what happens and handle it the best I can.”

Wow.

Enjoy this lovely song.

Check out Carriers on Facebook. You can buy their music on Bandcamp.

Cheers!

Posted in Cookies | Tagged | 2 Comments

Spicy Margaritas. New Music From Happy Freuds.



If there was ever a time to indulge in a frosty adult beverage…it’s now.

You can whip up a pitcher of these Spicy Margaritas in practically no time at all. The hint of heat makes this spin on margaritas so much fun.


Spicy Margaritas

Ingredients:

6 limes, juiced
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) silver tequila
3/4 cup (6 ounces) Cointreau
2 serrano chile peppers, very thinly sliced (seeds and ribs included)
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions:

1. Spread 3 tablespoons salt on a small plate. Rub the rims of 6 glasses with cut limes then dip the rims in the salt. Fill the glasses with ice.

2. In a pitcher, stir together the tequila, Cointreau, chile slices, red pepper flakes and lime juice. Pour into the prepared glasses.

Serves 6

Recipe from Food Network

This is lovely and soothing.

“Why”, the new single from Spanish band Happy Freuds, blends the best of a ballad with some old-school rock guitar riffs. Very pretty.

Check out Happy Freuds on the band’s Website where you can buy their music.

Cheers!

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Chicken Pot Pie Casserole. Blasting British Sea Power.


Oh boy.

What a mess we are all in.

I hope that all of you and your families are doing alright. Stay safe and be well. Sending love from my kitchen to yours.

If ever there was a need for comfort food, it is right now. This Chicken Pot Pie Casserole is super easy to make, will warm you up and will hopefully make you feel better.

Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

Ingredients:

3 Tbs olive oil
4 cups mixed vegetables (I used frozen peas, carrots, green beans and corn. You can use fresh, of course.)
1 onion, chopped
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
1 (9 inch) refrigerated pie crust

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease a 9-inch round baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add mixed vegetables and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the chicken, chicken broth, soup, milk and flour. Mix well and cook over medium-low heat for an additional 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Pour the chicken mixture into the prepared baking dish. Cover with the pie crust, letting the edges hang over the sides of the dish. Crimp the crust a little then use a sharp knife to cut a few slits into the dough.

5. Place baking dish on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

Recipe slightly adapted from Pip & Ebby


I spend a lot of my time listening to new music. But when I need to pull myself up, it’s usually something older that goes on the stereo.

To say I was obsessed with ‘Waving Flags’ by British Sea Power would be an understatement. It’s been 12 years since I first heard it and those first 5 seconds still transport me to a place that only music can take me.

Somehow the cry for kindness and unity that ‘Waving Flags’ delivers seems so right at this moment.

“We’re all waving flags now
Waving flags
But don’t be scared”

Since the lead singer is very easy on the eyes, sharing the video gives you some visual happiness, too. That voice, those drums, the insane build-ups….brilliant.

Turn it up.

Check out British Sea Power on the band’s Website where you can buy their music.

Cheers!

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Blueberry Streusel Pancake Casserole. New Music From Thrillhouse.

If you are looking for an easy breakfast recipe to feed a crowd, this Blueberry Streusel Pancake Casserole is for you. It uses store-bought pancakes that you wedge into a casserole dish with blueberries, soak with vanilla scented custard then cover with a sweet streusel. Served with a lashing of orange maple syrup, it makes waking up extra special.


Blueberry Streusel Pancake Casserole

Ingredients:

1-1/4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, divided
18 (4 inch) frozen buttermilk pancakes, thawed and halved
4 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla
Streusel (recipe follows)
Orange Maple Syrup (recipe follows)

Directions:

1. Grease a 2 quart baking dish.

2. Place 3/4 cup blueberries in prepared dish.

3. Arrange pancake halves upright, with the cut side down, over the blueberries.

4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, half-and-half, milk, brown sugar, and vanilla. Pour over the pancakes and let stand for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 350℉.

6. Crumble the streusel over the pancakes and top with remaining 1/2 cup blueberries.

7. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until set, about 20 minutes longer.

8. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve warm with the orange maple syrup.

Serves 6 to 8

Streusel

Ingredients:

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
2 Tbs brown sugar, packed
2 Tbs butter, melted

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats and brown sugar.

2. Add the melted butter and stir just until combined.

Orange Maple Syrup

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups maple syrup
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange zest

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, bring maple syrup and orange juice to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Remove syrup from heat and stir in zest. Serve warm.

Makes about 2 cups

Recipes slightly adapted from Paula Deen


“Lesser” is new from Brighton-based indie trio Thrillhouse. I can easily jumpstart my day with a blast of this 80s throwback, synth-heavy, Will Butleresque gem.

Yes, life is a struggle but we are all going to get through it together.

Check out Thrillhouse on Facebook where you can keep tuned for info on where to buy the music.

Cheers!

Posted in Breakfast | Tagged | 1 Comment

Crema di Limoncello. Listening To My Little Hum.


Hi friends!

I know it has been awhile, but I had a good excuse.

My eldest son (in the middle, in the photo) is currently doing an abroad semester in Sydney so it seemed logical to go and visit. It was a lovely trip, but a crazy amount of travel. We were there for 7 days with two full days of travel on each end. Totally worth it, though.

A week’s holiday was a nice break from American politics, snow and constant coronavirus newscasts.

A good way to make re-entry easier? A lovely little glass of Crema di Limoncello. Limoncello, the sweet, lemon-flavored Italian liqueur, gets a hit of custard that results in a refreshing, creamy, lemony libation.

Here’s to all of you! x

Crema di Limoncello

Ingredients:

5 lemons, scrubbed
375 mL 80-proof vodka
1/2 vanilla bean
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water

Directions:

1. Use a vegetable peeler to remove lemon peel from the lemons.

2. Place lemon peels in a blender with the vodka. Process until the lemon is in very small pieces.

3. Transfer the lemon vodka to an airtight container and let steep for 1 week in a cool dark place.

4. Strain lemon vodka through a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a medium bowl. Discard solids.

5. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds.

6. In a large saucepan, combine vanilla bean and seeds, half-and-half, sugar and water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat then set aside to cool completely.

7. Strain vanilla mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a large bowl. Add the infused vodka and whisk to combine.

8. Transfer the crema di limoncello to bottles and refrigerate until cold. (Can be refrigerated for up to 1 year.)

Makes 5 cups

Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated


“One of a Kind”, from California-based duo My Little Hum’s second album, feels like taking in a happy pill through your ears. Catchy and poppy, with an intoxicating retro vibe, it’s perfect for destressing and crema sipping.

‘All they ever need to know
Is you’re one of a kind’

Check out My Little Hum on the band’s Website. You can buy their music on Bandcamp.

Cheers!

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Pretzel Crust Pizza. New Music From Suzy & The Lifeguard.

I love pizza. I love soft pretzels. Put them together and you get this insanely delicious Pretzel Crust Pizza.

The crust bakes up chewy-crisp and somehow gets that lovely, toasty brown pretzel color. I made a pepperoni pizza, but any of your favorite toppings would be delicious here.


Pretzel Crust Pizza

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon fine table salt
1/3 cup baking soda
1 tablespoon melted butter
Coarse sea salt
1 cup pizza sauce
1 cup shredded cheese
Pepperoni slices or any other toppings you might like

Directions:

1. Combine water, yeast, and honey in bowl of a stand mixer and stir to mix. Let rest for 5 minutes.

2. Add flour and the teaspoon of fine salt to yeast mixture. Mix until a dough forms then use dough hook to knead for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and not too sticky. Remove dough from bowl and allow to rest on a well-floured surface for 10 minutes.

3. Fill a large pot, at least 10 inches wide, with 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add baking soda (be careful, it will bubble and rise) then reduce heat to a simmer.

4. Divide dough into three equal portions and roll each out into three 8-inch disks.

5. Gently drop one dough disk into the simmering water. Allow to boil for 30-40 seconds. Use slotted spoons to carefully lift dough from the pot and transfer to a paper towel lined cooling rack. Repeat with remaining two dough disks.

6. Transfer dough disks to parchment lined baking sheets. Brush the disks with melted butter then sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

7. Bake for 10 minutes at 425℉. Remove crusts from oven and top with pizza sauce, cheese, and pepperoni (or other toppings).

8. Bake for 10-15 minutes longer until cheese is melted and crust is lightly browned.

Serves 4

Recipe from Creme De La Crumb

“Now” is the new single by LA-based band Suzy & The Lifeguard from their EP ‘Anima’. I adore the tempo changes, the sizzling vocal energy and that brilliant chorus.

Check out Suzy & The Lifeguard on the band’s Website where you can buy their music.

Cheers!

Posted in Main Courses | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cookie Dough Cake. New Music From Anthony Mills.


Now you don’t have to worry about digging into the cookie dough. The cookie dough icing in this cookie dough cake uses heat-treated flour so the risk of E. Coli is eliminated and there are no eggs so no salmonella.

Cookie Dough Cake fits the bill when you want an over the top dessert to celebrate any special occasion or to make a Monday bearable. Layers of rich chocolate cake are sandwiched with that delicious, edible cookie dough icing and draped with a thick chocolate ganache. Crumbled chocolate chip cookies are the crowning touch.

Since I made the cake to bring to a friend’s birthday party I didn’t get as many photos as I had hoped for. And none of the beautiful slices. You must go have a look at Olivia’s photos of this cake.


Cookie Dough Cake

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted, plus more for dusting cake pans
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup hot coffee
Cookie Dough Icing (recipe follows)
Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)
Chocolate Chip Cookies, crumbled, to garnish (I used this recipe)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease three 6″ round baking pans and dust with cocoa powder. Line bottoms with parchment.

2. Place all dry ingredients into bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Stir to combine.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk vegetable oil, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Slowly mix in coffee.

4. Add coffee mixture to the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. (Batter will be very thin).

5. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. (Use a kitchen scale to be sure each pan has the same amount of batter).

6. Bake until a cake tester comes out mostly clean, about 35 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes then remove cakes to racks to cool completely.

7. To assemble, place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with about 2/3 cup cookie dough icing. Repeat with remaining layers. Smooth the outside of cake and chill for 30 minutes.

8. Use a teaspoon to drip ganache along the edges of cake and over the top. (My ganache got pretty thick in my cold kitchen so I also used some fudge ice cream topping to drip down the sides of the cake. If yours gets too thick you could briefly microwave it until it is pourable again…I was in a rush, though). Chill for 15 minutes.

9. Top with chopped cookies before serving.

Serves 12

Cookie Dough Icing

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups heat-treated all-purpose flour (instructions follow)
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Beat butter until creamy. Add sugars and beat on high until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until combined.

2. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in flour and sea salt. Mix until incorporated then slowly pour in milk. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Stir in chocolate chips.

How To Heat Treat Flour

1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Spread flour evenly on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until the flour reaches 160℉.

3. Cool flour completely.

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz heavy whipping cream

Directions:

1. Place chocolate and cream into a microwave safe bowl.

2. Microwave for 20 seconds then stir. Continue to microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring in between, until ganache is smooth and silky. Set aside to cool completely before using on cake.

Recipes from Liv For Cake

Let’s mosey over and hop into Anthony Mill’s Rusty Cadillac. It’s a great ride.

Check out Anthony Mills on Facebook. You can buy his music here.

Cheers!

Posted in Cake | Tagged | 4 Comments