Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cherry Dump Salad

This is an easy throw-together type of dessert...something I grew up with my Grandma making.

Cherry Dump Salad
1 can cherry pie filling
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
1 tub Cool Whip (if you're like me, whip your own heavy cream & add a little powdered sugar to sweeten it.)
1 cup pecan pieces, (I prefer finely chopped pieces)
1 cup small marshmallows

Throw all ingredients into a large bowl and mix until everything looks fluffy and pink.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

This is the good stuff.  I've served it at baby showers when a girl is expected because the pink color is so nice, but if your doing this don't use the dark cherries.  The color of the fluff will be almost purple!  This is something we like to serve at Christmas, too, but you'll find that it dots southern tables for just about any occasion.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


  • Beignets
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • In a medium size sauce pan over medium heat, combine first four ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add flour all at once and with a wooden spoon, stir vigorously ‘til mixture is thoroughly combined. Mixture should leave the sides of the pan and form into a ball. One at a time, beat eggs into mixture. Mixture should be smooth and glossy. Add vanilla and stir ‘til incorporated. In a medium skillet, preferably cast iron, heat two inches of vegetable oil. Test heat of oil by dropping one spoonful of batter into oil. You will know oil is hot enough when the dough floats up and begins browning. Once oil is hot enough, continue to drop batter by spoonfuls. Fry until golden and centers are no longer doughy. Be mindful not to overcrowd the skillet. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or sop in cane syrup.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011


Totally unexpected, lovely, wet, cooling rain.  Oh, how we've missed you and needed you so.
It's been so long, I think we've all forgotten what an umbrella was for!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


In the wee hours of the morning, we received the type of phone call one hopes never to get.  My best friend's husband was killed in an accident at around one in the morning.  She left my house in such a good mood yesterday evening, showing my daughter the diamond earrings he had just given her for her birthday this past Wednesday, and now she is devastated.  Please pray for my friend and her two small children.  At this time, prayers are greatly needed.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Keep your butt in the car

Can't sleep...thinking of my Great Uncle Tommy's property which has been battling blazes for the past two days.

If I could convince just one friend who's a smoker to not throw their cigarettes out the window, think of the impact that would make!  It only takes a few seconds to toss a cigarette out the window, but think of the devastation you could be causing to what may have taken another person a lifetime to get.

Cigarette Litter IMPACTS has an interesting website if you are interested in reading up on the issue.  Texas has been in a major drought so my concern of spreading fires makes sense.  Many towns are worried about whether or not they will soon run out of water to drink.  Battling blazes, unfortunately, is just not something they have enough water for.  No water + fires cropping up everywhere = no good.

If you're a smoker, get yourself a disposable cup with a little water in it and toss your butts in that, if you're not a smoker, but are around one, provide a cup for them next time you're in the car with them.  You'd be doing a world of good.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Luscious Lemon Berry Trifle

It's my month to host bunco so I've been busy plotting away at a menu, and, though I haven't firmed up the meal...yet, I've got dessert in the bag.  Er, in the bowl, rather. : )

The great thing about trifles is that pretty much the sky's the limit on ways to make one.  If you've got an imagination (or the internet) chances are you can make one!

I got to thinking about yummy flavor combinations and decided lemon and strawberry was it for me.  Having never made one before, I thought I'd test out the lemon-strawberry combination before I tried it on my dozen bunco cohorts.  Besides, my family loves serving as guinea pigs.

Here's what you will need:
1 store bought Angel Food cake
1 package instant lemon pudding, prepared
2 packages frozen strawberry slices in syrup, thawed
1 package cream cheese, softened
Juice of 1 lemon
1 jar (10 oz.) lemon curd
1/2 cup Half & Half
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 pint heavy whipping cream
Fresh strawberry & mint for garnish.
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a large glass bowl, tear about half of the angel food cake in to bite sized chunks.  Don't bother tryin' to cut this up; the cake's so spongy that a knife doesn't do much good.

Now that you've got your first layer down, pour a package of strawberries in syrup over the cake layer.

Next, drop your block of cream cheese in a mixing bowl and get that to beating.  Add powdered sugar and half & half to the cream cheese.  Once these ingredients start to come together, add your lemon juice.  Careful, no seeds!  I was going for a pourable type of sweetened cream mixture so you may want to add a little more half & half than I've noted.  Once the mixture has come together smoothly, pour over strawberry layer.  You may place slices of fresh strawberry around the perimeter of the bowl for a decorative layered look.

Dollop lemon curd across the top of the cream mixture, then top by spreading half of the lemon pudding mixture across the top.

Repeat with the remaining half of angel food cake, torn into chunks.  Drizzle the last package of strawberries in syrup over the sponge cake.  Layer on cream, lemon curd, and lemon pudding, and finally top with sweetened whipped cream.

For the whipped cream, I beat heavy cream and remaining powdered sugar until fluffy.

I garnished with a sliced fresh strawberry and chocolate mint.

This dessert, I'm ashamed to admit, had me going back for seconds.  Actually, it had us all going back for seconds.  It was really good, and nice not to have to turn on the oven to get it!

Hope you're having a good week.


The Kitchen Witch

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Zucchini Fritters

People all across blog land have been posting zucchini recipes.  Tis definitely the season...zucchini season.  Why, just last week I posted a chocolate zucchini bread recipe from Joy of Baking that utterly pleased.  A few nights later, I decided to try my hand at fritters.  I've combed the web through many, many, recipes.  Simplicity was what I wanted out of a recipe, with no frills ingredients, and this one delivers. 

In true Kitchen Witch fashion, I tweaked the ingredients a little bit.

SERVES  Serves 6
  1. Combine all ingredients and let sit on counter for 20 minutes or so. This will allow liquid to leach out of grated zucchini. Stir batter again to incorporate that liquid. 
  2. Heat vegetable oil over medium high heat in a heavy skillet. Dip batter into oil about 1/4 cup at a time; fry 2-3 minutes, until golden brown, then flip and repeat. Drain on paper towels.
  3. Serve immediately.

Friday, August 12, 2011

On Raising a Tween

Last night, Big Sissy and I went to see The Help.  I had high expectations about this mother/daughter date night.  Watching such a meaningful movie would provide lots of "teaching moments" in our chats during the car ride home, I imagined.  She would emerge the theater a more thoughtful, wiser, young lady, so I believed.

If you've not read The Help or seen the movie, it gives inspiration for equality among people.  It highlights the unacceptable ways that many Southern Women behaved, and the applaudable behaviors of a rare few. 

Unfortunately, before we even stepped foot into the theater said daughter snapped me out of my blissful imagining with her rather deplorable mockery of the concession attendant.  After paying for our snacks, the attendant delivered his standard line, "enjoy the movie," to which kiddo shamed me by laughing, "hu hu hu, okaaayyyy" in what I can only describe as the most smart alecky way possible.  What possessed her?  Pre-teens and teens, alike, are pros at being wise acres, it seems, and mine is no different.  I winced.  I couldn't even look the attendant in the eye.  I could have snatched her bald headed, right there, and I told her as much by reprimanding her in what I'll call "above a whisper".  She skulked into the movie and I followed.

Luckily for us, the movie was good enough that our moods couldn't help but be lifted by the end of it.

We talked on the way home, but it wasn't exactly how I envisioned it.  Mostly, I did the talking and she sat, arms crossed, staring out the window.  I love my daughter and I want her to be a kind human being.  I sure hope she was listening.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Shrimp Quesadillas

Quesadilla dinner night for my family!  Making quesadillas is a super easy, quick, and tasty way to serve up dinner on a busy day.  For these quesadillas you will need:

1 ear of corn, off the cob
1/2 of a red bell pepper
1/2 a sweet onion
1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
Juice of half a lemon
Old Bay Blackening Seasoning to taste
8 count package of large burrito size flour tortillas
1 lb. Oaxaca cheese (pronounced wha-ha-ka)
fresh cilantro to taste

To begin, I sauteed the onion, bell pepper, and corn in a cast iron skillet with a little lug of olive oil until vegetables were soft.  No need to season the vegetables since the cheese is slightly salty and the shrimp will be seasoned.  When done, I placed the veg in a bowl and added a little more oil back to the pan.  Next, you will place your shrimp in the skillet and season with blackening seasoning and the juice of half a lemon.  If you don't have blackening seasoning, season your shrimp with a Cajun seasoning, or your favorite spice blend.  Be sure not to over cook the shrimp.  When done, use the end of your spatula to cut the shrimp into bite sized chunks. 
Next, I placed a tortilla in another skillet and covered the tortilla with a layer of the shredded cheese.  I had a non-stick skillet, but you may need to spray a little cooking spray if foods tends to stick in your pan.  I layered  the shrimp and veg over the cheese and topped this with a little fresh cilantro.  Now, place another tortilla on top, pressing it into the melting cheese.  Cook your quesadilla over medium heat, flipping as the side begins to turn lightly golden.  Cook on both sides.  Place on a serving platter and cut into slices when done.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream (or Crema Mexicana if you've got it), guacamole, pico de gayo, or just eat plain.  My family loves these.
A great thing about quesadillas is that you can personalize for any picky eaters.  Big sister, for instance, requested plain cheese.  Though, I think she didn't know what she was missing ; 0

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake Review

I tried this recipe from Marguerite of Cajun Delights and was pleased with the turnout so thought I'd recommend you checking it out.  Ms. Marguerite's recipes always please and this yummy cake was no exception.

Now, don't let my crummy snapshot put you off.  It doesn't do this dessert justice.  I experienced what I'll call a "little mishap" in testing the cake for doneness.  I was jumping the gun, you see, and flipped the cake onto a plate only to see a gush of batter before I quickly flipped it back into the bundt pan and into the oven for a few minutes more to bake.  The tricky thing for me was that it looked done, and my toothpick came out clean, but I think because the bundt is deeper than the average cake pan, the toothpick didn't reach far enough down to reveal the batter on the bottom.  Quick save, though, and no harm done aside from a little lopsidedness ; )

Shh, don't tell on me.

Happy Wednesday,

The Kitchen Witch

p.s. check out many more of Marguerite's recipes.  You'll be glad you did!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Over the Rainbow

Do you know that state of sleep halfway between a dream and reality...
...when things seem so real, but your mind is telling you that they don't make sense?
This morning, I had one of those moments.  I laid there, thinking about what I was dreaming, finally convincing myself that what I was imagining was indeed not happening and utter nonsense so drifted back to sleep, only to be jolted into consciousness again with the sound of one word


My mind scrambled to make sense of it.  "Wicked?" I thought, "Oh yes, that's a book! Man, I better wake up to remember this.  I must read this book...
and then I awoke.

Funny, since I finished Mary Kay Andrew's Summer Rental, I've been asking friends and folks on Facebook to give me suggestions for reads.  I've even scoped out best seller lists, but nothing has really intrigued me.  Alas, the book Gods must have been smiling down upon me, whispering, suggesting.
So this, my friends, will be my latest read.


Friday, August 5, 2011

On Food and Blogging

What gets you when it comes to cooking?  Do you monitor what you eat...think much of it?  
Girl On A Diet
Are you a stress eater? 
burger binge series -  diet Royalty Free Stock Photo
 Or does food relieve your woes? 
 Is cooking a chore?
Do you relish in the task?

Does it evoke memories, bringing people back to life once you've prepared one of their cherished recipes?
Grandma's Kitchen

Maybe it satisfies your creative itch...
Creative Vegetable Salad With Eggs

Fellow blogger and author, Michael Lee West, got me thinking about these things today, asking, "do we cook for ourselves or for others and why?"

I think about these questions often.  For me, I cook for myself and for others...my family, my friends.  I cook when I'm hungry. Heck, I cook when they're hungry.  I cook when I'm craving that certain something.  I cook to conjure memories- When I follow Grandma's recipes, for instance, she comes back to me and I remember her presence through the aromas filling the room, and in every bite, I am comforted by her.  In no other circumstance can I break the barriers between life and death, transcending time.  Cooking does that for me.  Sometimes I love it.  Sometimes it's a chore.  At times, I fail, and others, I score.

Here's a favorite quote regarding food (blogging applicable)

"Pay more attention to what goes out of your mouth than in."

What say you of cooking?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Boudin Quiche

Lately, I've been on a boudin buying kick.  We don't have many varieties available from our surrounding stores.  My Granddaddy used to make his own, and it was good; though, as a kid, I didn't think so.  There are a lot of mysterious things that go in to boudin, from a child's point of view.

What can I say, my taste has grown.  I usually buy Zummo's boudin, a brand out of Beaumont, TX.
image courtesy
Though, most recently I tried Cajun Hollar.
image courtesy
I'd rate it second to Zummo's, definitely not as spicy, but the back of the box had some neat recipe ideas to inspire me.  We grilled our boudin, not bad.  We also stuffed it in bell peppers, and baked them.  Definitely getting better, but lastly we used two of the links to make a quiche...My favorite of the ways we experimented with it.

The quiche was simple so here 'tis-

Cajun Boudin Quiche
1 prepared pie crust, unbaked
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1-1/2 cups half and half cream
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 a medium onion, chopped
2 links of boudin, steamed
1 cup of shredded cheddar jack cheese
a handful or so of fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
Salt & Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Roll your pie crust enough to lay out in a deep dish pie plate.  Line your plate and crimp edges of pie dough.

In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and all other ingredients.  Mix to incorporate and pour into pie shell.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or so depending on your oven.

Also, I'd like to take a moment to thank and welcome my new followers.  It is a pleasure to have you.


The Kitchen Witch

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Who says you can't have chocolate for breakfast?

Last night I got in one of my funky baking spells (the kind that starts somewhere around 11pm) so I'm up in the wee hours of the morn waiting for the magic that's happening in my oven.  The smell of chocolate baking is marvelous.

I have to give credit for the inspiration to bake this to my friend Stephanie who made it the other day and sent pics.  Those pics taunted me.  She sent the link for the recipe which is from the Joy of Baking.

It was simple enough to put together.  As I was grating the zucchinis, it occurred to me that I've never made any sort of zucchini bread...had slices from other sweet cooks from time to time, but never baked it.  Since my friend declared this recipe "da bomb", I figure I'll share.

Image courtesy

Chocolate Zucchini Bread:

1 1/2 cups shredded raw zucchini (about 1/2 pound or 227 grams)
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (45 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (not Dutch-processed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup (120 ml) safflower or canola oil
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (105 grams) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (125 grams) semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Grease or spray a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan.  Set aside

Grate the zucchini using a medium sized grater.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and ground allspice.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract until well blended (about 2 minutes). Fold in the grated zucchini.Add the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Then fold in the chocolate chips.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the bread has risen and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55-65 minutes.  Place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely.

Makes one - 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf.

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