Friday, December 20, 2013

Chocolate Spoons

Chocolate Spoons



I recently came across the cutest little treat while I was Blog Surfing! Call me Cupcake has some great food photography and y'all know how much I love my food photography! When I first saw the recipe for chocolate spoons, I immediately envisioned my adorable little niece and I making them in the kitchen over the Christmas Holiday! I had to try out the recipe first so I'd have a good idea of the process once working with a 3 year old LOL!

They are also great for stirring my hot chocolate on a cold winter night :-)




Time: 20-30 minutes
Yield: 9-10 Spoons


Ingredients:
9-10 Spoons - mixed sizes and designs
100 grams dark or milk Chocolate (I don't like dark chocolate so I used milk chocolate)
50 grams White Chocolate
Mini Marshmallows
Peanut Butter and/or Butterscotch Pieces


Instructions:

■ Melt Chocolate in the microwave (I add a splash of milk to chocolate when I'm melting it in the microwave. It prevents the chocolate from drying out while melting)

■ Line a edged baking sheet with Parchment Paper

■ Let the handle of each sheet rest on the side of the baking sheet to keep the spoons level

■ Fill the spoons with melted chocolate, being creative with your designs

■ Continue decorating with additional chocolate chips, peanut butter and/or butterscotch chips

■ Enjoy as a tasty treat by themselves or as a delicious way to stir your coffee or hot cocoa!



























--Dr. April

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chocolate Chip & Candy Cane Ice Cream

Chocolate Chip & Candy Cane Ice Cream



          It may be winter time, but ice cream is a dessert that can be enjoyed year 'round - especially when it's Chocolate Chip & Candy Cane Ice cream! Yes, just in time for the Christmas Holidays - Homemade Chocolate Chip & Candy Cane Ice Cream made without the use of an ice cream maker! Prior to finding this recipe, I actually didn't realize I could make ice cream without an ice cream maker, so I was super excited when I found this one :-)

This recipe is adapted from the Call Me Cupcake Blog.



Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


Ingredients:

4 Large Egg Yolks
1/2 Cup Sugar
1.25 Cup Heavy Cream
3/4 Cup Milk (I always have Almond milk on hand and used it here)
Peppermint Extract
Candy Canes
Milk Chocolate chips


Instructions:

■ Whisk Egg Yolks and Sugar until mixture is white and fluffy **I've made this recipe twice and whisked the heck out of it. I've gotten it pale but never "white")

■ Put in a sauce pan together with milk and cream

■ Heat carefully on the stove until slightly thickened - about 10 minutes

■ Remove from heat and let cool

■ Add Peppermint Extract,  Crushed candy canes and chocolate chips to taste

* Go slow when adding the Peppermint extract. It can go from "not enough" to "too much" quickly!

■ Put into a clean bowl or small pan and place in the freezer

■ For the first hour in the freezer, stir the mixture every 15 minutes

■ After the first hour, let freeze for at least 3 hours

■ When ready to serve, allow the ice cream to sit on the counter for a few minutes prior to serving

■ Serve with more crushed candy canes and chocolate chips for crunch


I was so excited when the day came for me to photograph my ice cream because there was a fresh winter snow that descended upon Nashville that night before! I could not have asked for a better backdrop for this shoot :-)















--Dr. April

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Garlic and Feta Cheese Corn on the Cob

Garlic & Feta Cheese Corn on the Cob



          I recently published a post with the recipe for Chili Lime Corn on the Cob and today I'm featuring the recipe for Garlic & Feta Corn on the Cob. This one is actually my favorite of the two!!! I derived the recipe from the A Beautiful Mess Blog and I'm so glad I included it in this year's Thanksgiving dinner because my family loved it!

            Before I give you the recipe, I want to share with you a story that one of my patients blessed me with. It's a Thanksgiving story that warmed my heart and almost brought me to tears right there in the treatment room of my office and she encouraged me to share it! For the sake of me sharing and not wanting to violate HIPPA laws, I will refer to her as Mary.

          Many of us are so blessed beyond measure, we don't even realize it sometimes! We go through the processes of grocery shopping, inviting family and friends to our homes and prepare enough food on Thanksgiving Day today to feed a small village. We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the Holiday that we can easily forget there are some people who don't have families to celebrate Thanksgiving with. This had been the case with Mary and she was determined to change that this year!

            Mary's family lives clear across the country - 2,000 miles away - and she doesn't see them often. Mary feels lonely when she has to spend holidays alone. So, this year, longing for companionship during the holidays, she posted an ad on Craigslist. The ad said something to the effect of, "50-something year old fun, loving woman who is 2,000 miles away from her family, looking to spend Thanksgiving Day with a local family." After weeding through responses from a bunch of nasty old men and some nasty young men, Mary reiterated that she was not looking for a hook-up of another variety (We laughed about this for a minute LOL)!!

               Mary posted this ad a couple weeks before Thanksgiving, but didn't receive any responses until..................the very last minute! The day before Thanksgiving, a woman called her and after talking with Mary for a while, invited her to Thanksgiving Dinner with her family! The family drive 45 minutes to pick her up on Thanksgiving Day and welcomed her into their home. Mary also stressed that just when we think that God is not going to answer our prayers, He answers them in the manner which is best for us and in His time! This encourages us to trust Him...sooooo true!

             Mary was so excited about the kindness of this family that she could not stop gushing about it! She talked about how many family members were there, everything they ate, the games they played, etc. She stayed for 6 hours with the family and then they drove her back home. Mary's been talking with the mother of this family on a regular basis since Thanksgiving Day and they are now Facebook friends!

          Does this not just warm your heart?!?!??! So, during the Holidays as you are celebrating with your family and friends, remember that the Holidays can also be a sad and lonely time for many others. Pray for those who are lonely, offer a meal or your generosity to someone who may need it. You never know how your kindness can positively impact someone else :-)

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Now that you feel all warm and toasty inside, here's the recipe for the Garlic & Feta Corn on the Cob

Time: 45 minutes total
Yield: 3-4 ears of corn

Ingredients:

3-4 ears of corn
1 teaspoon garlic salt (or more to taste) * I used way more than this....a very generous sprinkle!
1-2 Tablespoons of melted butter
2-3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese

Instructions:

■ Remove husk and threads from corn cobs

■ Brush corn with a mixture of melted butter and oil.

■ Sprinkle on the Garlic Salt 

■ Wrap individually in foil

■ Bake at 350 Degrees for 20 minutes

■ Remove corn from the oven and brush on a bit more melted butter and garlic

■ Sprinkle with Feta

■ Enjoy!








Yep, that's me showing off my tasty corn :-)


--Dr. April

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Chili Lime Corn on the Cob

Chili Lime Corn on The Cob

I just love the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday seasons so I'm gonna start this post with a Thanksgiving 2013 story!!

          I have so much to be thankful at all times!!! I especially enjoy expressing thanks to my Heavenly Father, family and friends during the holiday season! I come from a pretty large extended family who loves to gather during the Holidays and eat, and eat, and eat some more.....like for real! Our Thanksgiving "dinner" usually starts around 1pm and folks usually graze on the plethora of delicious southern food all afternoon, evening and night lol!

          This year, we had an unexpected power outage on Thanksgiving day. As my mom and I got up Thanksgiving morning to start preparing for the day, every light, TV and anything else in the house that requires a surge of electricity went completely out......Yikes! My dad got up to flip the breakers - no luck. We called around to the neighbors/cousins - they had power and we didn't. The next call was to the electric company to report the outage. We expressed to them that Thanksgiving dinner was planned for our home in a couple of hours, it's cold outside and without electricity to give us heat inside we were starting to get cold inside. We need electricity to cook the food for all the family and friends coming over........you get the picture.

          Once the power company workers came out to take a look at the electricity coming to the house, the first thing we hear one of the guys say is, "Hmmmmmm, this doesn't look good at all!" He dips his hand down into a puddle of transformer oil on the ground and let's us know the transformer that supplies all energy to my parents home had completely blown!!! He goes on to say the only way we are going to have electricity will be for them to replace it with a new one which could take a couple of hours or maybe even a day!

           My initial reaction -->What??? All these people are coming over and we may not have electricity until the next day?!?!?!?!?

          My reaction once I calmed down a bit --> "Father, today is a day of Thanksgiving. Even though there is no electricity coming into the house right now, you have given us an abundance of gorgeous, natural sunlight shining through the windows of my parents beautiful home that allows us to see everything we need to. Even though it is frigid outside and the central heat is not working, you have provided a warm natural gas-fueled fire place that is keeping us warm and toasty. I am here with my mom, dad, sister, brother and adorable niece and even without some of the comforts like a working flat screen TV to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, we are enjoying each others company as we sit around the kitchen counter eating cereal. We have each other and that is such a blessing. You've blessed us with the financial means to buy an abundance of food for today's Thanksgiving Dinner that we will share with family and friends. Above all, Lord, if you don't do a single, additional thing for me ever in life, You have already done enough!! So instead of complaining, I will say Thank You Lord!"

           And as God often does when He is speaking to us and/or teaching us a life lesson, He waits to (what we think is) the last minute and reveals Himself faithful! Our dinner was scheduled to start at 1pm and the lights came back on around 12:45pm! You should have heard the screams of joy in the house lol! We had to push the dinner back a couple of hours, but we still had dinner, everything worked out fabulously and we enjoyed time spent with family and friends!

Life lesson #1---> Even while we didn't have any power in the house, my mom and I kept working and preparing the food that could be prepared without the use of electricity. Even when there is a monkey wrench thrown into your plans, keep working toward your goal, it will eventually work out

Life Lesson #2 ---> Count it all joy and praise God no matter the circumstances. I used this experience as an opportunity to hold hands with my 3- year old niece and teach her that we can pay to God about anything :-)  She loves praying to God and made me repeat the prayer 4 times.......true story!

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          I threw a couple of new dishes into the mix this year including two flavors of corn on the cob - Chili Lime and Garlic Feta ( recipe coming soon). Here's the recipe that I adapted from the A Beautiful Mess Blog for the Chili Lime Corn on the Cob.....super easy and super good!


Time: 45 min total
Yield: 3-4 ears of corn (If you prepare more like I did, just multiply the ingredient amounts accordingly)

Ingredients:

3-4 ears of corn
1 Lime
1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chili Powder

1/4 teaspoon Cumin
1-2 Tablespoons melted Butter
2-3 Tablespoons Melted Butter

Instructions:

■ Remove husks and threads from Corn

■ In a small bowl, combine the chili powder and cumin

■ Brush the corn with a mixture of melted butter and Olive Oil

■ Sprinkle on the spice mixture and wrap each cob in foil

■ Bake corn at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes

■ Zest the lime then combine the lime zest and salt.

■ Once you remove the cooked corn from the oven, brush a bit more butter/oil mixture and sprinkle with the Lime Zest and corn mixture

■ Serve with Lime Wedges

■ Enjoy!












Yep, that's me!


-Dr April

Friday, December 13, 2013

Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs

Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs


Adding Pimento Cheese to Anything makes it automatically Southern.........Ha! For thanksgiving this year, I decided to create Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs and they were an absolute hit at both Thanksgiving dinners I made them for! The only problem with my Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs is that they are so good I have to make a couple of extra eggs to eat outside of what I place in the Deviled Egg dish to bring to dinner :-)

Total Time: 1 hour total
Yield: 24 Deviled Egg halves

Ingredients:
1 dozen Eggs
1 small container (12 oz) of Pimento Cheese Spread
4 Tablespoons of Mayonnaise
4 Tablespoons of Sweet Pickle Relish
Dash of Smoked Paprika

Instructions:

■ Boil the dozen eggs by placing the eggs in the pot first, then adding water to cover them. Bring them to a boil for 20 minutes. (I made the mistake of boiling my water first then adding the eggs which resulted in 1 of the eggs cracking upon placement into the pot. All the others turned out fine, however)

■ Remove the eggs from the boiling water and pour out the hot water adding cold water to them in the pot. Let sit in the cold water for at least 45 minutes. (I actually boiled my eggs the night before and let them sit in the cool water overnight)

■ Allowing the eggs to sit in the cold/cool water makes them much easier to peel.

■ Peel the eggs
■ Cut the eggs in half length-wise and empty the yolks into a separate bowl.

■ Discard 1/2 of the egg yolks

■ In a Medium mixing bowl, combine the remaining egg yolks, pimento cheese, mayonnaise, and relish. Mix until thoroughly combined.

■ With a knife (I found the the tip of a knife is easier than a spoon), scoop enough of the pimento cheese mixture into each egg white half.

■ Place the eggs on a decorative or Deviled Egg plate.

■ Sprinkle with Smoked Paprika
































--Dr. April

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Apple Cider Punch with Whiskey

Holiday Apple Cider Punch with Whiskey


This past Thanksgiving, I wanted to make a little something extra for my family and I to sip on during dinner and while watching the great football games on that day! I found a great recipe from the A Beautiful Mess Blog and knew immediately that this would be a hit over dinner! I could not have been more right! My folks loved it and want me to make it again for Christmas Dinner. I got a lot of request for the recipes over social media as well so here's the recipe:


Time: 15 minutes
Yield: About 2 Gallons


Ingredients:
1 Gallon Apple Cider
4 Cups Orange Juice
2 Litters of Ginger Ale
1 bottle of Whiskey ( I used Evan Williams Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey)
Apple Slices
Orange Slices
Fresh mint leaves


Instructions:

■ In a Large Punch Bowl or Punch Dispenser (I used a punch dispenser), combine the chilled Apple Cider, orange Juice, Ginger Ale and Whiskey

■ Garnish with Sliced Apples, Oranges and mint leaves

■ Make sure to chill all the ingredients prior to combining. I'm not a fan of adding ice to most drinks because I think it dilutes the drink too much.

■ Sit back and watch your Holiday guests enjoy this wonderful Cider Punch!










--Dr. April

Monday, December 9, 2013

Food, Wine & Design

Food, Wine & Design




I recently had the pleasure of attending Food, Wine & Design presented by Nashville Lifestyles Magazine and held at the Brand new Omni Hotel downtown Nashville! From the minute I walked through the door, I was taken on a visual and gustatory experience like none other! The added bonus is that I was in attendance with 2 of my favorite Nashville Food Bloggers, Lisa Mays of Wine With Lisa and Charles Hunter III of The Local Forkful.

 This dinner series offers food lovers a unique and memorable dining experience at a dinner 2-3 nights in one week at one location. Each evening features music, food from local chefs, wine and beer pairings from area mixologists and creative table top designs by local designers. The cost was $100 per person and well worth every dollar!!
This dinner series offers food lovers a unique and memorable dining experience at a dinner 2-3 nights in one week at one location.
 Each evening will feature music, food from local chefs, wine and beer pairings from area mixologists, and creative tabletop designs by local designers. - See more at: http://www.nashvillelifestyles.com/special/food-wine-design#sthash.RhQVVGAU.dpuf

I attended on Wednesday November 13, 2013 where the Chef was the very talented Deb Paqutte of Etch Restaurant and Steve Robillo of Amerigo. The Serenata Latin Ensemble provided the music for the evening.

The evening started with a cocktail hour from 6-7pm with cocktails provided by Southern Son Vodka. The hors d'oeurves were provided by Chefs David Harker and Jonathan Moore of the Omni Hotel.

Everything that I tasted was A-MA-ZING! I just figured I'd tell you now so I won't feel compelled to make that comment on every picture below! Deb Paquette's Cusine has never let me down......
Wednesday, November 13
Deb Paquette of Etch
 +  Steven Robillo of Amerigo
Spirit + wine pairings
Entertainment from Serenata Latin Ensemble - See more at: http://www.nashvillelifestyles.com/events/food-wine-design#sthash.qGZKi84g.dpuf
This dinner series offers food lovers a unique and memorable dining experience at a dinner 2-3 nights in one week at one location.
 Each evening will feature music, food from local chefs, wine and beer pairings from area mixologists, and creative tabletop designs by local designers. - See more at: http://www.nashvillelifestyles.com/special/food-wine-design#sthash.RhQVVGAU.dpuf






The breathtaking view I encountered immediately upon entry......



















My table!





The Signature Drink for the evening





Passed hors d'oeuvres - Roasted Cauliflower





Here's what I ate:

A Trip to Spain




1st Course - Idiazible bacaloa (Smoked sheeps cheese), Confit Octopus, mediterannean mussles, pea aioli, olives, radish





The first dish was Paired with Mont Marcal Brut Cava





2nd Course - Little gem and escarole salad, Spanish olive oil





It didn't have a chance sitting in front of me :-)


2nd dish was Paired with Martinsancho Verdejo





3rd Course - Oloroso duck and plum tart, fig sauce, chorizo frites, gauva sweet potato, safron hazelnuts





The 3rd course was Paired with El Pajaro Mencia




4th Course - Paprika Pork tenderloin, beluga lentils, green beans, iberico ham, Marcona Almond Relish








5th Course - Fig, orange and walnut cake, smoked goats milk ice cream, dom PX syrup, poached plums





My fellow Food Blogging friends, Charles and Lisa!


Nashville Designer, Hugh Howser of H Three Events is responsible for the beautiful "Design" component of the event. Fabulous job Hugh!





Great music added to the awesome ambiance for the evening!


I sure hope Nashville Lifestyles decides to do this again next year. If they do....I'm there!

--Dr. April