Cheat Treat! Fireball Apple Cider!

Bam!

This has become a Kirkwood Family Signature.  SUPER simple and easy, but makes you feel like a fancy pants!  Or maybe it just makes me feel like that.  But it’s the closest I have gotten to making a “mixed drink.”  Other than that white wine sangria I made once.  That was the bomb.  But definitely more of a spring/summer drink.  This is a nice, “warm you up and comfort you because you thought spring was here because it was 41 degrees yesterday but there are 6 inches of snow today” drink.  Speaking of…I bet this would be amazing heated up.  I have to try that now.  Man!

So I love this drink not only for the flavor, but also the memory.  When my sweet grandmother passed away, I was on the first plane to Washington and missed her by a few lousy hours.  Though it was definitely a heart-achy reason to be visiting…the memories were beautiful, and through the tears we had so much fun.  It was what grandma would have wanted.  Laughing.  Playing games (I introduced the West Coast to Kan Jam!).  Being together.  Perfect.  And then, they introduced me to this new drink they love.  And I was forever changed 😉

And all you need is two ingredients:

  • Fireball Cinnamon Whisky (1 Shot)
  • Angry Orchard Hard Apple Cider (1 Bottle-ish, any flavor…for this time I used Ginger, because that is what they introduced it to me with.  But I have since heard that they love other flavors just as much, like Crisp Apple!)

And you probably know where to go from here!

  1. Pour your cider into a chilled glass (if you are drinking it cold.)
  2. Measure out one shot, and dump it in.
  3. Stir.  Sip.  Enjoy!

What you think?!

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A Promised Update: Sweet Potato Cassarole with Brown Sugar Pecan Crumble

So from here on out I wanted to only post healthy recipes…at least for a long time!  Buuuut I had promised you all that I would add pictures of the process to this post, and it is so delicious it is worth it!  I don’t want you to miss this!!  The most heavenly Sweet Potato Cassarole EVER.  So here’s pictures for ya!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 3 C Mashed Yams
  • 3/4 Stick of Butter, Melted
  • 1 C Canned Evaporated Milk
  • 1/4 C Orange Juice Concentrate
  • 1 1/2 C Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

For the topping:

  • 3/4 C Butter, melted
  • 1/2 C Brown Sugar
  • 1 C Corn Flakes, Crushed
  • 1/2 C Pecans, Chopped

And here’s how you do it!!

  1. Preheat oven to 425*
  2. Mix together yams, butter, milk, and sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time.
  3. Add spices and vanilla.
  4. Pour into greased baking dish and slide in oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 400* and bake 5 more minutes, or until set in the middle.
  5. Add topping and bake until pecans look toasted but NOT BURNT!!  5 – 10 minutes.
  6. Serve warm!!!

I see on the original here that it can even be made the day before…just warm up in the oven, put the topping on, and heat!!  🙂

Pretty easy, huh?!  You gotta try this!!  Let me know what you think!!

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Peel and chop your sweet taters.

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Boil until tender, just like you were making normal mashed potatoes.  It will probably take 20 plus minutes, just because sweet potatoes are more firm.

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Drain…

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And mash!  I use my stand mixer, it makes them uber creamy!

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See?

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Now add the rest of the ingredients…

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Pour into a greased casserole dish…

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Slide in oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 400* and bake 5 more minutes, or until set in the middle.  (It usually takes mine a bit longer than that.)

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While waiting, combine your topping ingredients.

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Sprinkle on top and bake 5-10 minutes, until it is browned but not burned.

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And there ya go!!  SO DELICIOUS!!

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Yummy yummy yummy!!

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A Tip On Entertaining: On the 11th Day of Christmas…

…my true blog gave to me a tip to help me not stress when cooking for a party!!

Yes, cause we all know that entertaining and hosting can be stressful. Personally, I LOVE throwing parties! I love making gorgeous food spreads that people ooh and aah over and enjoy to the fullest. However, there are times when I over plan and stress myself out to such a degree that I end up having a panic attack before the party which makes it so hard to enjoy the party itself!! So, here is my thought that can help.

Put out appetizers. Now I know that sounds silly, cause it’s more food to think about. But here’s my thought.

Sure, make an extravagant meal. Something that will make you happy, and your guests. But put out a SUPER simple appetizer. Something crazy easy like the Grinch Kabobs I showed you earlier in my 12 Days of Christmas series, or even…gasp, don’t hate me for saying this…go out and BUY something!!

I know. You never thought I’d say that. I’m all about making stuff. Home made home made home made!!! But I’ll explain.

Timing. Timing is what stresses me out the most. People arrive and I am still frantically trying to prepare things. Or even if it’s just a family holiday with my husband and mother in law, everybody starts getting grumpy cause they’re hungry and can smell the great food but not eat it yet. So…turn on some happy tunes, light a few candles, make a nice atmosphere, and put out a cheap, easy appetizer. Not too much. We’ve done that and been too full to eat dinner. But just a little something for people to snack on while they chat…to keep them busy so they don’t notice that you haven’t served the main course yet…so you’re off the hook and free to not rush your little hiney off!! Want to see our super fancy appetizer this Christmas? Kudos to my husband for plating it and taking artsy fartsy pictures. Here it isssss!!

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Crackers. Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar. And a nice big summer sausage. (By the way…have you ever wondered why summer sausages come out during the winter?!). Not fancy. Not expensive. Not hard to prepare. Everybody loves it and will be pleased snacking on that while you calm down and do what you need to do!! You know what else we do sometimes? A jar of mini dill pickles. They go fast, they’re tasty…all you have to do is dump them in a bowl. You see what I’m saying here? Deviled eggs take a tiny bit of prep, but are still easy and a well loved favorite.

So here’s what I’m saying. Don’t stress. It will all come together. Don’t be ashamed to buy a little something to put out on the table while people gather. And remember the real reason for your party. People. Fellowship. Fun. Best of luck to you!!

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Mamma Lorri’s Fudge Perfection: On the 10th Day of Christmas…

…my true blog gave to me a REAL and simple fudge recipe!!

 

So, here’s the deal.  I’ve never been brave enough to make fudge myself.  Everyone made it sound so hard to get it just right.  And I’ve never been the hugest fudge fan.  Well.  Then my mother in law made her famous fudge (that literally people all over town BEG for her to make every year!  She’s famous!!).  She made 4 different kinds:  Peanut Butter, Butterscotch, Milk Chocolate, and Dark Chocolate Walnut.  She was so excited for us to taste them, so I obliged.  And fell in love.   Especially with the dark chocolate Walnut.  Oh.  m.  g.  SO GOOD!!  And my husband, a proud son, went on to explain to me that no one makes fudge like his mom, and that she always gets the texture just right and any one else who tries can’t even compare.  I’ve never really tried any one else’s fudge, but it was so good that I have no reason to doubt him!!  SO since I have been posting so many recipes and traditions from MY family’s side, I decided it was time to share something from his side!!  And what better than Lorri’s fudge perfection?!

The secret is out.  You can now make the perfect fudge.  Join me!!  (PS…as I look at the recipe…it doesn’t sound like it’s too scary to make!!  I have hope!!  Maybe I will join her next year!!!)

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 5 C Sugar
  • 10 oz Evaporated Milk
  • 24 oz Flavored Chips of Choice (ie…dark chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, etc…your choice!!)
  • 1 Lg Container Marshmallow Fluff
  • 1 Stick Butter or Margarine
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

 

And here’s how you do it: (For about 5 lbs!!)

  1. Mix sugar, evaporated milk, fluff, butter, and salt in a large sauce pan over medium high heat, until it starts to boil
  2. Gently boil for five minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla and chips.  Stir until smooth.  Add nuts if desired.
  4. Spray a pan with cooking spray and pour fudge into it.  Spread evenly and let set up for about two hours!!
  5. Cut into squares, serve, and wow the crowd!!

Yum.  Doesn’t that make you hungry?  I wish I could eat some right now…but it’s all gone.  *Single tear*  Alright, there you go my friends, happy fudge-ing!!

Photo (10)See the dark chocolate one there in the front?!  FAVORITE!!  You can see the chunk I took out of all of them…that’s a lot of fudge.  And yes, yes it is all gone.  Haha!!

Jesus’ Birthday Cake (Rainbow Poke Cake): On the 8th Day of Christmas…

…my true blog gave to me a refreshing dessert recipe!!

Yes, my family call this Jesus’ Birthday Cake!  I cannot remember a Christmas growing up without this cake.  It’s Uncle Bob’s favorite!!  Really…I think it’s everybody’s favorite!!  Here is a picture that my mom sent me of my brother about to enjoy this cake for his birthday…because it is so good we ask for it more often than just Christmas!!

photo 1 (1)Anyways!!  Back to the holidays!  I have such beautiful memories with this cake.  All the cousins and uncles and aunts would gather in a circle around the little table in my Grandma and Grandpa’s dining room, and we would legitimately sing happy birthday to Jesus, then the youngest kids would blow out the candles.  Then we would all try hard not to clobber each other for the first piece…you know, in the spirit of Christmas and everything.  🙂  Unlike a lot of desserts, this is cool and light and makes your insides feel good instead of heavy.  You gotta try it!  And IT’S BEAUTIFUL!!

Now, if you don’t believe me on the whole…this has been a tradition FOREVER thing, check this out.  I was asking my mom for a picture of this cake because I knew in the madness that is currently my life, I would have no chance to bake one myself.  And this is what she sent me…

photo 5This is the original recipe out of a magazine that my mom got…she believes it is from her FIRST Christmas with my dad.  How precious is that?!  And now you get to share in this!  Welcome to the family 😉

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Box Super Moist White Cake Mix
  • 1 (3 oz) Box Raspberry Jell-o (Or your favorite red flavor)
  • 1 (3 oz) Box Lime Jell-O (MY FAVORITE)
  • 2 Cups Boiling Water
  • 1 Container Whipped Cream

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Bake white cake mix (as directed)  in two round cake pans.
  2. Let cool for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely.
  3. Return cake to pans.  Using a big fork, poke holes all over the cake!!  If you look close at the picture, it says to do this in 1/2 inch intervals.  I’ve never paid that close attention to it (poking the holes was always my job!).  I just poked the poo out of those cakes!
  4. Bring your 2 C of water to a boil.
  5. Pour half of the boiling water over your first flavor of Jell-O and whisk until it is dissolved.  Pour evenly over one of the cakes, so that it can soak down into the holes.  Repeat with other flavor.
  6. Put your cakes into the fridge until Jell-O is set, 3-4 hours.
  7. When ready to assemble, dip the bottom of the pans in warm water for 10 seconds, then gently shake onto a platter.
  8. Put a layer of whipped cream on top of whatever color you want on the bottom (usually raspberry for us), and top with the other.  You may need to slide a few toothpicks in at this point to keep the layers together.  Just warn everybody if you do!  Traditionally, the person that finds the toothpick has to do dishes or make the cake next year 😛
  9. Frost with the rest of the whipped cream and put into your fridge until ready to serve!!  My mom usually put it on a beautiful crystal cake stand, and topped the cake with little fake holly sprigs.  BEAUTIFUL!!

Edit 1/8/14…my mommy sent me pictures of the process just for you, my faithful readers!!  So here ya go!!

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Bake white cake mix (as directed)  in two round cake pans.  Let cool for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely.  Return cake to pans.  Using a big fork, poke holes all over the cake!!  If you look close at the picture, it says to do this in 1/2 inch intervals.  I’ve never paid that close attention to it (poking the holes was always my job!).  I just poked the poo out of those cakes!  Bring your 2 C of water to a boil.  Pour half of the boiling water over your first flavor of Jell-O and whisk until it is dissolved.  Pour evenly over one of the cakes, so that it can soak down into the holes.  Repeat with other flavor.  Put your cakes into the fridge until Jell-O is set, 3-4 hours.

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When ready to assemble, dip the bottom of the pans in warm water for 10 seconds, then gently shake onto a platter.

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Place first layer on a cake stand.

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Spread a layer of whipped cream on top…

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Place second layer on top and secure with toothpicks if needed.

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Frost with the rest of the whipped cream…and with something pretty like my mommy does!!

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So pretty!  Place in fridge until ready to serve!

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Doesn’t that look DELICIOUS!

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Feel free to try this with different flavor combos, and celebrate!!  😀

Kirkwood “Garlic Parmesan Dilly Biscuits…On the 7th Day of Christmas…

…my true blog gave to me…a REALLY late Christmas recipe!!

We are back in business folks!!  Good gracious I am sorry for my silence!  The past week and half have felt like absolute madness!  Between an ice storm and all the adventure that surrounds that, throwing a Graduation party for a friend, an Ugly Sweater party at work, being the only shift leader and manager for 2 weeks, Christmas itself, and trying desperately to hold together my disaster of a house and still spend quality time with my sweet husband…I’ve been a bit frazzled!  But I’m back!!  I missed you all!!!

I felt like such a failure with this whole 12 Days of Christmas thing I started and didn’t finish.  I wanted to curl up in a ball and pout because I don’t like failing…I like finishing what I start!!  However, when I expressed my disappointment to my lovely Sister in Law, Dani, she informed me of something…APPARENTLY the advent and “12 Days of Christmas” season continues till January 6th!!!  So, I’ve decided to stop my pouting and do my best to get my last 6 posts out before then!!  So…here we go!!

I figured it was time to finally share with you the beauty of this recipe with you.  It is a LEGEND.  For real.  We have people that…after tasting these…make them ALL the time.  In fact, one friend in particular will buy all the supplies and bring them to my parents house and make them with my mom…they will be the only food needed at our parties!

On top of that, it seems that every holiday party has some form of warm yummy rolls.  Once you try these, you will forsake all other breads and make these every chance you get!!  Oh, and did I mention that these are easy and I have been making them since elementary school?  Anyone can do it!!  And the family will love them.  Whenever mom made them, I would sit down and before anyone had a chance to speak I would ask (with much concern) “HOW MANY BISCUITS CAN I HAVE?!”  My brother Judah and I would have competitions to see how many we could!!

 

So, here’s what you need for one batch (you’ll want to make more than that)!

  • 1 Tube Pillsbury Biscuits (The small ones…the kind that pops when you peel it!)
  • 1/2 Stick Butter
  • Garlic Powder
  • Powdered Parmesan
  • Dill Weed

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees (or whatever is recommended on the tube of biscuits you are using).
  2. Put the butter in a (preferably metal) 9 inch cake pan.  Slide it into your oven while it preheats so that it melts.
  3. As soon as butter gets sizzling and just starting to brown, take it out of the oven.  Sprinkle a very generous amount of garlic powder on the surface of the butter so that you have a garlic layer.
  4. Open your biscuits and one by one place the biscuit in the butter, swish it around, then flip it over and swish again so that both sides have a coating of garlic butter.
  5. Shake a layer of parmesan on top of the biscuits.
  6. Sprinkle a touch of dill weed on top…really you can do this to taste, I like a decent amount but I know some people aren’t as big of fans.
  7. Bake as directed, until the biscuits are raised and the tops are a nice golden brown.

 

Photo (4)Preheat your oven and melt your butter in the pan while it warms up.  I used my cast iron skillet here because it was before I had bought a cake pan, but the best pan to use is a metal 9 inch cake pan 🙂

Photo (3)Take butter out when it is melted, bubbly, and slightly browned.  Shake a generous layer of garlic powder onto the surface of the butter.

Photo (2)One by one take your biscuits, place in the butter, swish around, then flip and swish so that you have a coating of garlic butter on both sides.

Photo (1)Shake a layer of parmesan on top of the biscuits, then finish with a sprinkle of dill weed.

PhotoBake as directed, until biscuits have risen and tops are nice and browned!!

Eat.  Enjoy.