Category Archives: Dessert

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #13 ~ Next Up Is Keystone South Dakota

On our way out of Sundance Wyoming we went through Deadwood South Dakota, interesting place for a morning visit.

On to the main event: Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

I know that I’ve said WOW! quite a few times already in sharing our Great Western Adventure with everyone, but WOW!

As we walked towards the granite faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln, I stopped in my tracks, tears welling up and rolling down my cheeks.

I spotted Hawaii’s State flag in the breeze, which reminded me what a lucky little girl from Kaneohe Oahu I am. My husband was so excited, he plowed ahead, getting as close as he could to this National Treasure. This was a place we both had been waiting all of our lives to see…

So let’s not waste any more time dilly-dallying around.

We didn’t bother with our hotel until later that afternoon. We stayed at the park for the majority of the day, got a quick bite in the cafeteria and then found a good spot to watch the Evening Lighting Ceremony.  I don’t have one of those fancy cameras that can take a good night-time photo, but was really awesome to see!

The next day we had breakfast in our hotel, which was once again the usual “continental-plus” fare and then back to the park for the day. Surprisingly, there is a lot to see and do. We had decided that we would end our day early and have dinner at the Powder House Restaurant. You wouldn’t know that this is a restaurant, it looks like a log cabin, but man, what great food. In my research prior to leaving on this trek, I found that the Powder House specializes in local grass fed beef, bison and game.

My husband and I shared an appetizer of game kebabs-venison, bison and elk, wonderful. My supper was the special game of the day, pheasant with a fresh apple relish if you will and steamed veggies. My DH ordered the Prime Rib and the steamed veg as well. It seems that we had just enough room leftover to share a chocolate mousse.

We found a small grocery store in the next town over and replenished our supplies the next day and spent one more day at Mount Rushmore. We both just sat, in silence, looking up at the four faces that helped to forge America.

WOW, just WOW!

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #12 ~ Sundance

No, not the town that you’re thinking of, Sundance Wyoming. Why did we go there you may ask? Because once again, that was the closest town with a hotel to Devils Tower National Monument.

It’s kinda of out in the middle of, well, nothing and nowhere, but once you spot America’s first National Monument, it’ll take your breath away.

We spent a good part of the day at the park, hiking around the base of the igneous intrusion, that’s what it’s called, I thought it was a granite tower. We tried to have a picnic lunch, but the bees were everywhere and unrelenting.

Trying to find dinner in a very small town can be a challenge, but I had done my homework. Aro Restaurant, very unassuming and homey. Each of us ordered a burger and sweet potato fries that came with ‘yam butter’. When our waitress came back to check on us, I had to ask, what is yam butter. She gave me the basic recipe, combine butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and butterscotch topping. I know it sounds crazy, but it works! Dessert was one of the daily special pies, chocolate and peanut butter with a meringue topping, very good.

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #11 ~ Movin’ On Again

Cody Wyoming.

The morning that we left Billings, heading towards Cody, it was pouring buckets! It was very difficult to see the road; its good thing we have a GPS device, especially since there has been no Cell Phone reception for the majority of our trip. In fact the rain stayed with us for most of our time in Cody, but that didn’t dampen our adventurous spirit.

@ the Whitney Museum in Cody Wyoming

We took the Cody Trolley, which included entrance to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, WOW! Five museums under one roof.

@ the Whitney Western Art Museum in Cody Wyominf, this a Remington!

I personally liked the Whitney Western Art Museum , where as my husband enjoyed the Firearms Museum. It worked out well being indoors on this portion of our trip, because it was still raining!!

Granny's Family dining in Cody Wyoming

I found Granny’s Family Dining while doing my research prior to our trip, and we weren’t disappointed. I didn’t take any photos of our wonderful meals, plural, we ate here on three occasions. This was the type of Mom&Pop diner ‘where everybody knows your name’ and I didn’t feel like I should be breaking out the Kodak. Our waitress Sue was wonderful (thanks Sue), she reminded me very much of my mother. I have to say that our favorite meal here at Granny’s was breakfast. Their biscuits and gravy, oh my!

We needed to get more picnic supplies and LOOK! There’s a Walmart, let’s go!

Oh my gravy all over my two scoops rice (that’s OMG! in my world) I found Aloha Brand soy sauce and some of my other favorite goodies from Hawaii… IN CODY WYOMING!! Did you know that Wyoming is the LEAST populated state in America, and yet the Walmart has Shoyu!? 😀

After dinner one night at the restaurant in our hotel, which will remain nameless (we didn’t care for their food at all), we went looking for dessert and found Bubba’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant (that’s right, the same as Bubba’s in Jackson Wyoming).

Chocolate Buttermilk Pie @ Bubba's Bar-B-Que Restaurant in Cody Wyoming

I had THE BEST pie I’ve ever had! Chocolate Buttermilk Pie. I have to learn how to make this, for sure.

Ice Cream Sundae @ Bubba's Bar-B-Que in Cody Wyoming

My dearest husband wanted Ice Cream. Would you look at that Ice Cream Sundae? MAN!

This was a delicious stop in our journey, but it’s time to mosey on down the trail.

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #7 ~ This Is What We’ve Been Waiting For!

Yellowstone National Park

Leaving Jackson, we headed north towards Yellowstone National Park. There, we stayed in West Yellowstone Montana for four nights. I’m glad that we had a `fridge and a micro. We had stopped at the local ‘mega-market’ and found some healthful choices for lunches/picnics while spending our days in the park.

We would start out each day (this hotel didn’t offer free breakfast) with a yogurt, a piece of fruit and a low fat granola bar each morning and were in the park no later than 8am. It seemed that the route through the West Gate of Yellowstone was a particularly busy locale to view wild life at that time of the day.

Our first afternoon’s luncheon was alongside Yellowstone Lake at a beautiful picnic area. As I turned my back to reach for something or another in preparing our meal, we were joined by several rather large birds, who insisted that we share with them. Oh, so this is why they have signage everywhere telling you that feeding the wildlife is considered animal cruelty. They no longer forage in the wild, just at your table and they were a little aggressive.  We were told this is what happens when animals in the wild figure out humans have food that they can either steal or you actually give them.

We tried dinner one night at the restaurant connect to our hotel, meh. When we looked at their dessert offerings, we decided to pass. There must be something else around these parts.

YUP!

Outpost Restaurant around the corner.

My better half had a Butterscotch Sundae (when was the last time you saw that?) and I had the special for the week, Triple chocolate cake with a side of Huckleberry ice cream.

In fact, we went back to the Outpost for breakfast our last day and had sugar cured ham and the best hash browns I’ve had in a while.

On our last night in town, we had the Turkey as well as Baked chicken dinner plates; of course dessert too!

And what’s a trip to America’s first National Park without going to Old Faithful and the Old Faithful Inn?

For lunch we ordered Bison and Pheasant sausage with sauerkraut cooked in Apple cider, mash, and the best mustard on the side!

Now that was an adventure of a lifetime, yet another check mark off the bucket list!

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #4 ~ Day Two Of Our Great Western Adventure

Can you believe it? I was up at 5 am!

We got ready and went down to breakfast in the hotel. It was okay I guess for the free fare that you get in most hotels; then it was out the door with us.

Bryce Canyon National Park, WOW!

Even the drive up there was beautiful, going through those red rocks. We’ve got our America the Beautiful annual pass, which will get us into all of the National Parks for a year.

Bryce Canyon Utah

What I had read before hand, was to drive all the way to the top of the road, which was 13 miles, and then work your way back down to the front gate. That was perfect! We got to see the red rocks and formations in the different changing light and then on top of that, the pullouts or vistas are all on the right hand side of the road going back down, it made sense.

BREATHTAKING!

We had a picnic lunch at Sunset Point which was the only stop with water and flushing toilets. It was a very pleasant day, starting out at 45 degrees when we woke up, but by the time we had lunch it was in the high 60’s.

Dinner was at Ruby’s Inn again; I ordered a baked potato with the trimmings all on the side and a cup of chili; I topped my potato with everything, yum.

It was Rainbow Trout for my husband and we shared an apple pie ala mode. We’ve found it best to go to eat dinner by 7pm; I’ve never seen so many Germans in one town that wasn’t in Germany. We were told that 88% of visitors to the National Parks for NOT Americans.  #SeeAmerica people !!!

Oh, I forgot to tell you, there was this campground just outside of the entrance to the park that has TIPIs, for real kind that you could camp out in! I didn’t get a picture though, shucks!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

What did you make for your valentine?

 

I made Macadamia Nut Dark Chocolate Brownies with a Fudge Drizzle for my honey 🐻

Bake Sale!

As I catch you up on what’s been going on here in the middle of the desert, let me tell you about the Fall Bake Sale that we had in our new community.

DH saw a flyer for the sale and encouraged me to participate.  So I got crackin’.

I started out by making 1 full sized Bundt® and 4 half-sized Rum Cakes and stashed those in the deep freeze.  I did some research online about what sells at a Bake Sale and I was surprised to find Jumbo Muffins on that list.  I found a recipe for Healthful Morning Glory Muffins; those are the two next to the cakes there.  Another surprise was jarred stuff, such as cookie mixes ready for an egg and milk (see below the cakes, cute huh?).  I also jarred up some Chai Tea Mix, just add water.  Those red sandwich baskets are filled some of my homemade Flavored Salts and Seasonings, they didn’t sell well though.

I found that adorable red Cupcake Caddy at the Dollar Store and thought maybe someone might need a hostess gift (it was the weekend after all), but sadly that went un-purchased as well.

Next up on my bake-ahead agenda was a double batch of my Great Grandmother’s recipe for Old Fashion Gingerbread,  into the freezer that went.  I had about 10 extra cupcakes that I wrapped individually, packaged up neatly with its own spoon for immediate consumption and those flew off  that table, fast!

The last item that I baked ahead of time was different Brownies.  I read that you should make twice as many as you think, those sell the best.  Basically anything CHOCOLATE!!   So pictured above you’ll see (from left to right) Magic Bars, my Tricked Out Brownies and my Haole Brownies or Caramel Cuts.  I guess not enough people knew what a Magic Bar was, because they sat there all day, so lonely, that I wound up giving them away… I wasn’t taking anything home with me, well not much anyways.

The best fun of this entire experience was dreaming up a cute table display and packaging for all of my wares.  For this I also researched, what draws folks over to your table.  I labeled each item with all of the ingredients, so that if someone was allergic to or didn’t care for this or that, I was covered.  I was poking around in the Scrape-booking aisles at the local hobby store and found this collection of assorted printed paper that spoke to me, “buy me, I’ll look fantastic on your Bake Sale table”.  I used boxes covered in the paper to give different heights for eye appeal. I also cut out my own pennant from the various sheets to put a name to my table as well.

While I was baking, I had my new apron on and it dawned on me “Doni’s Kitchen” was the perfect name for my table.

So many of our neighbors that came over commented on how professional everything looked.  “Where is your bake shop?  Do you take orders?  This is delicious!”  I was just flabbergasted.  I did this all for fun and only charged folks what I spent to make each item, not a lot.  I introduced myself to a ton of new neighbors and am hoping that there’ll be a Spring Bake Sale too!

But for now I have my `fridge and freezer back, for the time being anyways.  😉

Crostata Two Ways

Crostata, Galette, Pie, whatever you want to call it, it tastes pretty dang good!

I do recall telling everyone about what my husband calls “Your Apple Pie” .   I found two lonely Apples in the `fridge that sorely needed to be eaten or pitched out, I opted for pie.

I also found a quart of fresh Cherries that got pushed to the back of the ice box, so I figured, let’s make two pies.  I do not own a Cherry Pitter, so used my paring knife to pit the fruit… have you ever done that?  My hands were cramping up by the time I got through all of them, one by one!

This was the first time that I’ve ever made a fresh Cherry Pie and I’ll be doing it again.

YUM!  That was so worth it.  Now, if we only had some Vanilla Ice Cream.

Triple Chocolate Half-Sized Bundt® Cakes, One To Eat and One to Share

I love Bundt® cakes!  For the most part, they’re moist and tasty.  I even have more than one type of Bundt® pan, with another one on its way.

I saw a recipe somewhere for Chocolate Bundtlettes, heh, I have a pan like that!

But as I thought about the recipe, I figured I could one up that!  I’ll make the cake in my Half-sized Bundt® pans and then guild the lily farther.

 

Triple Chocolate Bundt® with a Deluxe Ganache Frosting

1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix

1 box Instant Chocolate Pudding (the small one)

1 1/3 C. Vegetable Oil

4 Eggs

½ C. warm Water

1 C. Sour Cream

1 C. Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 350⁰

In a Stand Mixer or using a Hand Mixer, combine all of the ingredients until smooth, excluding the Chocolate chips, stir those in last.  The batter with be like thick pudding.  Using a Baking Spray, grease the two Half-sized Bundt® pans; immediately pour the batter evenly between the two pans (I use a scale to be accurate).  Bake for 20-30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Place the cakes on a cooling rack and set aside until completely cooled and then turn them out (I run a disposable plastic knife around the edge of the pan first) on to the rack, fitted in a sheet pan.

Now comes the fun part, frosting and decorating those two cuties!

I wanted a bumped up Ganache Frosting, so I kinda winged it.

Deluxe Ganache Frosting

1 C. Chocolate Chips

1 C. Half and Half (or Cream, we use ½ & ½ in our coffee)

½ C. Shredded Sweetened Coconut

½ C. Chopped Pecans

In a glass bowl, heat the ½ & ½  in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, just til hot but not boiling.  Add the Chocolate Chips and stir gently until all of the Chocolate is melted.  You might need to “nuke” it again for a few seconds.

Pour the still warm Ganache over the two cakes; sprinkle the Coconut and Pecans into the Ganache, pressing very lightly in so that they stick.

Slice and enjoy with a cup of coffee or a big glass of cold milk.

I took one of the cakes to our next door neighbors and put the other one into our Covered Cake Plate.

It should keep for 4-5 days, that is if you don’t devour it!

ENJOY!

More Lemons, Meyer Lemon Bars

I think my brain is stuck on Lemons just now…

Meyer Lemon Bars

For the crust:

1 ¼ C. All purpose Flour

½ C. Powdered Sugar

1 Tbsp. Corn Starch

½ C. softened Unsalted Butter

For the filling:

3 Eggs

1 ½ C. Granulated Sugar

The zest of 1 Meyer Lemon

½ C. freshly squeezed Meyer Lemon Juice (approx. 2 Lemons)

½ C. All purpose Flour

Extra Powdered Sugar to dust the tops later

Preheat the oven to 350⁰

Line an 8×8 square pan with parchment paper.

Super easy crust for Meyer Lemon Bars

I almost forgot to remove the Alligator Clips before I put this in the oven 😀

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the crust with a whisk; cut in the Butter with a fork or pastry cutter until it’s crumbly (I used a Food Processor, it’s faster and easier).

Transfer the mixture to the pan and press the dough firmly into the bottom of the pan; bake for 10 minutes.

Whisk together the filling ingredients, minus that extra Powdered Sugar; pour the filling mixture over that still hot crust and bake for another 25 minutes or until the filling is set.

Cool on a rack to room temp and then refrigerate uncovered for at least 2 hours.

Dust the top liberally with that extra Powdered Sugar and slice, how good does that look?!

*Cooks note: If you can’t find Meyer Lemons, regular Persian Lemons are perfectly fine, just a little bit more tart than Meyers.  I like to freeze Meyer Lemon juice in half cup portions when they’re in season, November through March.

ENJOY!