Category Archives: Ambrosia

Very pleasing to the taste or smell.

Bison Chili

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Like most chili eaters, I made up my own recipe for this thick, hearty, comfort soup. And it goes a little somethin’ like this.chili recipe

Ingredients:

Ground Bison – 1 pound
Tomato Puree or Crushed Tomatoes – 28 oz can
Vegetable Broth – 1 cup
Onion – 1 diced
Garlic Cloves – 2 or 3 minced
Kidney Beans and/or Pinto Beans and/or Black Beans – 15 oz can each of two varieties
Salt – 2 tsp
Ground Black Pepper – 1 tsp
Chili Powder – 1/4 cup (I blend together a combo of cumin, garlic powder, cayenne    pepper – all to taste preference.)
Water – 1/2 cup

Now do this with all that:

1. In a large Dutch oven, add the ground bison and diced onion. Brown the meat over medium heat. Drain excess fat if necessary. I usually don’t have to with bison. Stir in minced garlic.

2. Pour in the tomato puree and vegetable broth. Pour the half cup of water into the empty tomato jar/can, swish around to loosen remainder of puree and pour into pot.

3. Stir in the chili powder, salt, and pepper.

4. Drain beans and empty the cans into the pot.

5. Now don’t get in a hurry. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 2-4 hours. Allow the heat and bison fat to draw those wonderful flavors out of the spices. The longer it simmers, the more the flavors blend together.

6. Serve with biscuits or homemade croutons. Try my recipe for croutons here.

7. Top your serving with the usual suspects – cheese, sour cream, onions, relish, olives, jalapeno peppers. The choices for chili toppings are endless!

Chili is even better the next day so look forward to those leftovers!

Extra Rich ‘N Chewy Brownie Bites

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I was enjoying a lovely afternoon at home when I decided to make the day even lovelier by whipping up a sweet treat. Inspired by an Instagram photo posted by my childhood friend @coachb308 aka Shelley Bishop, I set about to satisfy my sweet tooth. I scrounged around in my kitchen cupboards and pulled out the necessary ingredients to make Extra Rich ‘N Chewy Brownie Bites (I just made that name up. I know, I know, not incredibly original but whatever…I digress). Here’s what to do:

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a mini cupcake/muffin pan with coconut oil.
  2. Mix together the oil and vanilla and beat in the egg.
  3. In a separate bowl pour in the sugar, then sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  4. With your mixer on low speed, gradually stir the egg/oil/vanilla mixture into the sugar/flour/etc mixture until well blended. 
  5. Spoon in about one tablespoon of the batter into each muffin cup in the prepared pan. I like to use The Pampered Chef’s Small Scoop and Deluxe Mini Muffin Pan.
  6. It took 12-13 minutes in my oven, so watch these little dudes very closely as to not over bake them. Mini hockey pucks aren’t very rich ‘n chewy.
Some of the stuff you put into this recipe.

Some of the stuff you put into this recipe.

Yeah, so I tested one before they cooled. So?

Yeah, I tested one before they cooled. So?

Pan and scoop

I didn’t wash the pan and scoop before photographing them. Sorry about that.

This sweet little platter that belonged to my Gran is just right for Extra Rich 'N Chewy Brownie Bites.

This sweet little platter that belonged to my Gran is just right for Extra Rich ‘N Chewy Brownie Bites.

These would also be delicious with a pecan on top of each one or some powdered sugar sprinkled on top. Let me know if you make some!

 

Practically Perfect White Cake & White Icing

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Practically Perfect White Cake

I found it!  The best recipe for scrumptious white cake!  Well, I found a recipe that I modified into what I want white cake to be – moist, light, moist, tantalizingly delicious, and moist.  One of my soulmates, Shelley Haynes Heile, had a birthday in March. Her favorite thing in life is white cake with white icing.  It’s never too late (early?) to celebrate, right?  Okay, so Shelley and I don’t need an excuse to indulge in this blessed confection, but I’d been promising it for two months.

Shelley & Tracy - Seniors at RCHS 1985-86

Shelley & Tracy – Seniors at RCHS 1985-86

Tracy & Shelley - 25 Year Class Reunion 2011

Tracy & Shelley – 25 Year Class Reunion 2011

Now on with the business at hand. CAKE!

Ingredients:

-2 1/4 cups cake flour –  I use Swans Down Cake Flour but oddly, their cake recipe isn’t my favorite
-1 cup almond milk, at room temperature
-6 large egg whites at room temperature
-1 teaspoon almond extract
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
-4 teaspoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 1/2 sticks of butter (12 ounces) softened

Directions:

-Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees.
-Grease or spray two 9-inch round cake pans (I use coconut oil)
-Sprinkle greased pans with flour
-Line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper rounds (I cut some rounds out of wax paper).
-Grease/spray the wax paper rounds, place them in cake pans, and dust with flour

-Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measuring cup/bowl, and whisk until blended
-Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed.

photo 1

-Slice butter and add the pats to the flour mixture a couple at a time while slowly mixing.

photo 2
-Continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs and all flour is moistened

photo 3
-Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed  for 1 1/2 minutes.
-Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more.

-Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl.
-Return mixer to medium-high speed and beat 20 seconds longer.

photo 4
-Divide batter evenly between two prepared cake pans; using rubber spatula, spread and smooth batter.

photo 5

-Place filled cake pans on middle oven rack.
-Bake 23-26 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
-Let cakes rest in pans for about 3 minutes.

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-Cover wire racks with greased wax paper or parchment paper.
-Loosen cake from sides of pans with a knife (if necessary), and invert onto wire racks.
-Let cool completely, about about an hour or so.

Lovely, cooling cakes

While cake is baking or cooling, whip up some frosting from scratch, like this:

Lighter-Than-Air Cake Frosting

Ingredients:

– 3 egg whites

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– 1/4 tsp almond extract

– 1 cup granulated sugar

– 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

– 1/8 tsp salt

– 1/3 cup water

In a large glass or metal bowl, add the egg whites and extracts, set aside.  In a saucepan, mix the sugar, cream of tartar, salt, and water; stir well and bring to boil until the sugar dissolves. This creates a sweet, syrupy concoction.

Start beating your egg whites and extracts on HIGH while slowing adding the hot syrup. Beat for 4-5 minutes with a stand mixer or 7-8 minutes with a hand mixer. Gorgeous, fluffy peaks will form.

Beat frosting mixture on high!

Hello there precious, fluffy, marshmallowy icing!

This frosting recipe makes enough to frost a three layer cake. Since my cake recipe is for a two layer cake, I had to eat the remaining delicious, fluffy, marshmallowy frosting with a spoon over the next couple of days as any self-respecting baker will do.  Fill a pastry bag or decorating tool with the light, airy frosting or easily smooth onto cake with a knife or spatula.  I used a Pampered Chef Frosting Spreader on this one.

Happy birthday, Shelley!

Happy birthday, Shelley!

I don’t want to cook dinner!

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At the end of a mind numbing Monday workday, I couldn’t bear the thoughts of cooking dinner.  I got home and scrounged around in my fridge and cupboards and came up with this:

Easily found, easily fixed.

Easy fixin’s.

  • A can of white albacore tuna – drain it.
  • Grape tomatoes – slice them in halves
  • Grapes – slice them in halves
  • Ranch dressing
  • Crackers
  • Best part – remember those fantastic crockpot black beans I made yesterday?
Albacore tuna and black beans.

Albacore tuna and black beans plopped in a bowl.

Slice the grapes and maters.

Slice the grapes and maters.

Mix it all together and serve with crackers!

Mix it all together and serve with crackers!

Brad! It's suppertime!

Brad! It’s suppertime!

Black Bean Quesadillas

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Black beans are absolutely delicious and nutritious! I made an extra-fabulicious “mess” of black beans today.  I poured six or seven cups of water and nearly a pound of dry beans into the crock pot.  Then seasoned  with 3-4 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, and cooked them on the low setting for seven-ish hours.  Oh mercy! Delicious isn’t a good enough description!

I decided to whip up a fast dinner of Black Bean Quesdillas. I used to wait tables with a lady who called them kwaza-dill-ahs. Well, she wasn’t entirely incorrect, phonetically speaking. Anyway, here’s what I used:

  • Scrumptious, homecooked black beans
  • Goat cheese
  • Raw spinach
  • Fresh avocado
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Flour tortillas
  • Olive oil

Drizzle olive oil into a skillet on medium-low heat.  Lightly brown one side of a tortilla, flip it over. While the other side is browning, crumble goat cheese onto one half of the tortilla, spoon black beans on top of cheese, crumble a little cheese onto the beans.

Tortilla, goat cheese, black beans.

Tortilla, goat cheese, black beans.

Roughly chop spinach leaves and lay them on top of the beans/goat cheese.  Slice the avocado and grape tomatoes and top off the the quesadilla innards.

This just keeps getting better.

This just keeps getting better.

By now the tortilla is golden brown and slightly crunchy. Using a spatula, gently fold the bare half of the tortilla over the yummy-ness.

Hello darlin!

Hello darlin!

With the spatula, lift the quesadilla onto a cutting board, slice into triangles with a pizza cutter, and move to a plate.

Ooh la la!

Ooh la la!

If you have time, this dish would be even better with my fresh salsa and guacamole.

Tracy’s Creamy Tomato Basil With Roasted Garlic Soup

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Tracy’s Creamy Tomato Basil With Roasted Garlic Soup

Keep in mind, I made this up so do what you feel led to do.

Ingredients that I had on hand:

28 oz can of diced tomatoes

Small can of tomato sauce (I think I’d rather use tomato paste for more richness)

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Ground pepper to taste

5 or 6 garlic cloves or one small bulb

2 tsp dry basil (next time I’ll try fresh basil – maybe 4 tbsp?)

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

*Mince  garlic cloves and brown in olive oil on the stove – medium heat. Or  roast the bulb in the oven. I did the stove method for time’s sake.

*In the blender, puree tomatoes, tomato paste/sauce, olive oil, basil, roasted/browned garlic, sugar.

*In a large pot or dutch oven, melt 1 tbsp of butter. Add the tomato mixture to the pot.  Stir in heavy cream and chicken broth.  (I think you could use the tomato mixture for pasta sauce by leaving out the cream and broth.)  Simmer over low heat (don’t boil) for around 30 minutes.

Ladle into bowls, top with shredded parmesan cheese and sliced olives. Serve with the Best Croutons Ever.

So satisfying for a chilly night!

So satisfying for a chilly night!

Best Croutons Ever!

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Best Croutons Ever!

As I am prone to do, I modified the Pioneer Woman’s recipe a bit.

Cast of Characters:

Italian  Bread, olive oil, garlic cloves, fresh rosemary, sea salt. You can use  French bread or whatever.  You could also try different herbs or crushed red pepper. And/or flaxseed! (Occasionally, I like to sneak a tad of nutrition into stuff.)
*Preheat oven to 200 degrees

*Cut bread into 1 inch cubes and spread onto a baking sheet

*Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in small skillet over low heat on the stove

*Peel  and crush -don’t chop- two cloves of garlic and put them in the oil.  Stir the cloves around for 3-5 minutes, then remove them from the oil  with a spoon.

*Remove the leaves from a couple of stems of rosemary. Finely chop the leaves and stir into the oil.

* Drizzle the oil mixture over the bread cubes and toss them up with your hands.  Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

*Bake at 200 for 45 minutes. After the 45 minutes is up, crank the oven up to 400.  Bake 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.

Absolutely AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS if I may say so!

Serve croutons with soup, salad, or alone as a snack.

Serve croutons with soup, salad, or alone as a snack.

P.S. Go here to make Tracy’s Creamy Tomato Basil Soup.