Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hey Ya'all from Fort Worth, Texas

I can't wait to get home to try making some of the great Tex-Mex cuisine we have been enjoying down here. I thought I would share the joy of BBQ once again with you before the 4th of July. Rob thought you would like the Baked beans, and I thought the lucky get both! Enjoy and let me know what you think.

3 bacon slices
1 cup chopped onion
1 green or red pepper chopped
6 teaspoons minced garlic
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons dark molasses
3 T Worcestershire
6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 t cumin
1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed, drained
1 15- to 16-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed, drained
1 15- to 16-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed, drained
Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels. Chop bacon; reserve. Pour off all but 2 teaspoons
drippings from skillet.
Heat drippings in same skillet over medium heat. Add onion and pepper and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, 1 cup water, sugar, molasses, vinegar, cumin and mustard and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in all beans and bacon and bring to boil. Pour beans into a heavy baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for at least a half an hour at 375 degrees. If you want to bake longer reduce temperature to 300 and bake up to three hours. Season with salt and pepper.


2/3 cups veg. oil
1 can beer
5 Tbsp.Worcestershire
1 cup cider vinegar
1 lemon juice and zest
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. ginger
2 Tbsp.mustard
1 can of beer

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.


1/4 cup paprika
3 Tbsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. coarse salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. chili powder

Combine all ingredients together and rub generously on brisket.


Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Rub Brisket thoroughly with prepared rub and place fat side up in a heavy roaster. Slop he mom sauce over the meat every half an hour or so. Cook for about 8 hours until brisket is about 185 degrees. Adjust heat to 400 degrees and brush BBQ sauce on the brisket. Cook until BBQ sauce bubbles on the brisket. Remove from oven and let sit for 20 minutes. Cut meat against the grain.


Following manufacturer's instructions and using natural lump charcoal, start fire in BBQ or smoker.
When charcoal is ash gray, scatter the charcoal. Bring smoker or grill to 200°F. to 225°F., regulating temperature by opening vents wider to increase temperature and closing slightly to reduce temperature.
Place brisket, fat side up, on rack in smoker.
Cover; cook until tender when pierced with fork and meat thermometer inserted into center registers 185°F., about 10 hours (turn brisket over for last 30 minutes). Every 1 1/2 to 2 hours, add enough charcoal to maintain single layer and to maintain 200°F. to 225°F. temperature. Brush brisket with chilled mop in pan each time smoker or grill is opened. Transfer brisket to platter; let stand 15 minutes.
Thinly slice brisket across grain.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Where in the World is Sara

Hey everyone...just thought I would drop you a note from Fort Worth Texas. MMMMMM Texas BBQ! We are down here for the World Paint Horse championships with our daughter Sterling. Currently she has places 13th in the World in Showmanship and 4th in the world in English Equitation! Pretty good for her first time here. I'll post new recipes soon so hang in there with me. In the meantime make some of those BBQ sauces and pretend you are here with me.
See Ya'all later.....yeeeehaaa

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Banana Cream Pie

I just thought you might want to know what your Banana Cream Pies are going to look like when they are finished. Don't forget to brulee the bananas - it makes the cream pie just that much better!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Banana Cream Pie Oh My!

So this is the recipe for the ever famous Banana Cream Pie. Its is meant to be made in individual portions. This will make a dozen. You can make a large pie but the little ones are better. Enjoy!!


½ cup corn starch
16 oz sweet and condensed milk
2 ½ c water
8 egg yolks
½ stick butter
1 T vanilla
Sugar to sprinkle
2 cups of whipped cream, whipped

In a bowl dissolve the starch in water. Then mix in well the milk. Over medium heat in a heavy sauce pan bring the mixture to a boil (stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. If you use anything else it will burn to the bottom.) Temper the milk mixture into the egg yolks. Add the tempered egg yolks into the milk, and stir until bubbly. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour into a bowl. Add the butter cubed and the vanilla and mix until smooth(a hand held mixer works great for this) Cover with plastic wrap to cool.
Fold the whipped cream into the custard. Just before serving fold fresh cut bananas into the pudding. Spoon into the shell and top with sliced bananas. Sprinkle the top with sugar and then brulee the top.


In a cuisinart combine:
3 cups AP flour
1 ½ cups sweetened coconut
1 ¼ tsp. salt
Mix until blended. Then add:
2 ½ sticks cold and cubed unsalted butter
pulse until the mixture is coarse textured.
Add up to :
½ cup ice water
Add to the above mix until the mixture comes together.
Press into tart molds and blind bake. Blind baking with weights for about 15 minutes. Remove the weights and bake for another 5-8 minutes.

What does to bake blind mean?

Blind baking is another term for prebaking, and it refers to a pie or tart crust that you partially or completely bake before it is filled. This is done in many cases to help keep the crust from becoming soggy from a wet fruit filling, or so that you have a cooked crust if you are filling the pie with something already cooked, such as a custard.

Generally to prebake a crust, you roll it out and put it in the pan. To keep the bottom from puffing and the sides from falling, you should line the crust with parchment paper or a large coffee filter, and fill it with beans or rice. There are special pie weights on the market, and some people might encourage you to line the crust with foil, but Rose Levy Beranbaum, author of The Pie & Pastry Bible, says you should use neither. The foil keeps the crust from beathing, she says, and the weights are simply too heavy, often producing a "cardboard-y" crust.

Make sure to gently push the beans or rice up against the sides of the parchment or coffee filter, to keep the sides of the crust from collapsing in the heat of the oven. Place the crust in a hot oven (say, 425°F; 220°C), which will help set the flour in the sides before the fat starts to soften, and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and liner from the crust, prick the bottom with the tines of a fork to allow steam to escape, and return the crust to the oven.

If you are prebaking the crust, it may only need another 5 minutes in the oven, until it is a very light brown. If you want to fully bake the crust, it may need 10 to 20 minutes more baking until it is done. You may also have to prick the bottom again if it gets uppity.

**Blind baking information gathered at

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Center Stage Side Dish

Most people think first of the entrée when planning a meal, but a good side dish can make or break a meal. And really, BBQ, although tasty, usually is not all that visually exciting. Here is a super simple side dish idea that is sure to please the masses. The great thing about it, is that a few ears of corn will feed a lot of people. Let me know what you think.

P.S. That Banana Cream Pie recipe will be up in the next couple of days, so keep your eye out for it!


1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Lb green beans
2 large red peppers, sliced
6 ears of corn, sliced into inch thick wheels
1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh lime zest
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro

Mix together the corn, red pepper, and beans and toss in a small amount of olive oil. Arrange on a baking tray and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Cook shallot in butter stirring, until softened. Remove from heat and stir in lime zest, cilantro, and lime juice. Add beans, corn, red pepper, and salt and pepper – toss until covered with sauce.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Man Food

This is a zesty sandwich sure to be loved by all, and a great treat for Dad on Father's Day.


1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies

1 large red bell pepper
1 large yellow bell pepper
1 large orange bell pepper
1 large red onion, sliced
12 6- to 8-ounce skinless boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeños, sliced
4 French bread baguettes, ends trimmed, each cut crosswise into 3 equal pieces, halved lengthwise
Mix mayonnaise, garlic and chipotle chilies in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast bell peppers (lightly brushed with olive oil) for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Place in bag; let stand 10 minutes. Peel; seed. Roast the onion on the same tray lightly tossed in balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Preheat oven to 400. Lightly oil heavy large baking sheet. Place chicken on baking sheet. Brush chicken with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer chicken to cutting board. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide slices, keeping slices of each breast together. Return chicken to baking sheet. Top with roasted pepper, onion and cheese. Bake until cheese melts, about 2 minutes.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Root Beer Barbeque Sauce

This is a super easy recipe. Homemade BBQ sauce makes all the difference.


2 cups root beer
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground fresh ginger
1 clove of garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried onion

Combine all ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 30 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Cool slightly. Transfer to bowl. Cover and refrigerate.

Ode to Being a Medium

Years ago, when my good friend Jessica had a new baby I was visiting her. Now, Jessica, by all appearances, is very tidy. And when I went into her kitchen I noticed cereal bowls, milk cups, and an eggy frying pan on the counter. I remember thinking, she must feel really swamped if she hasn't done the dishes. So I being the fabulous friend that I am washed her dishes. Many months later, at a party Jess and I were catering together, she offered to wash the dishes. Well, that was something I couldn't refuse. As she was washing, she commented, "That time when you visited the baby and me...and you washed the dishes...", My ears perked up because I just knew she was going to tell me what a great friend I am...."well," she continued, "I found out that your kind of a 'medium" at washing dishes." Medium...I thought....what does she mean...I am a clairvoyant when I wash dishes....that doesn't make ant sense. She finished by saying, "yea, they were a little dirty still, but I was happy to know you are a medium at something." Oh My Gosh...she meant that I did an average job...not so good...What?!...What kind of friend calls her friend a MEDIUM? I forced a smile and laughed, trying not to show the hurt I felt. But she saw it and quickly apologized for insulting me. Poor Jess, little did she know that I am the proverbial Anne of Green Gables at holding a grudge.
A few years have passed and I must admit that every time I was the dishes, I think of that moment. The moment that it became painfully aware that my self professed perfectionism was lacking. It seems that every time I have seen Jessica, the subject has come up somehow. I believe that is because of me...and my ego...and my want to be something better than average at all times.
So why do I share this moment with you? Well, happily enough, I have had a moment of clarity on the subject. Like I said, ever time I wash the dishes, I think of being a medium. And I believe that since that fateful day, I have been a much better dish washer. So is being a medium all that bad...I think not. It gives us the room to strive to be better and grow. It also gives others the opportunity to shine. I think secretly, I don't want Jessica to see what a better dishwasher I have become, because she won't be so likely to offer to wash the dishes in the future.
So the moral of today is to celebrate the things you are above average at doing, and embrace being a medium at all the other stuff....because lucky get to grow.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sara's Secrets

So it has come to my attention that Sara Moulton (Food Network) has a show called Sara's Secrets. How rude of her to use my name! LOL. Anyway, when one tried to google Sara's Secrets, everything that comes up is about her...not me. (Once again, how rude!) So I don't know what I want to call myself anymore. I had a plaque that hung on my wall when I was a little girl that read: "Little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice." And my brother had a plaque that read "Little boys are made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails." Thus, the silly new name.
I would welcome any suggestions-I'll pick my two favorite and we'll vote on it! Yea that sounds fun.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Make the S'More Cookies below..

Trust me...s'more cookie make rainy days better!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

How you know it's the same for all of us

I know this is a bit old, but I still laugh when I hear it.

S'more Cookies Please


1 ¾ cup flour
¾ cup cocoa
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
graham crackers, broken into eighths

Whisk together dried ingredients. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Next add the egg and vanilla. Combine the milk and flour mixture alternately. Place tablespoon sized balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet and press the graham cracker into the top and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and top with half of a marshmallow. Place back in the oven and bake for two more minutes. Let cool and then frost with chocolate frosting.


3 ½ cups powdered sugar
¼ cup cocoa
½ cup butter, softened
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 Tbs. Milk

Mix powdered sugar and cocoa together. Add softened butter, vanilla, and milk. Beat until smooth.

Oooh sooo sticky sweet and better than cupcakes....

So, for those of you who know me, I struggle with the average momma struggle. In this state especially, it seems that if you are not careful, you just might become a clone. Now don't get me wrong, there are a lot of women that I might like to be cloned after, but I do relish my individuality. I can hear you thinking..."What is she talking about?!" Well, I mean, the topical things like: I like my hairstyle to be different than everyone else's, my music, my clothes (don't laugh, I know that those of you who know me know that I only wear jeans and T shirts- but it is MY style), etc...etc. But you have to admit it...birds of a feather DO flock together...and well...I like to be the big Dodo on the power line amongst all the cute little finches. (I know I should probably delete that ramble, but it does pertain to what I am really blogging about).
What am I really blogging about? Well, I wasn't much of a dancer growing up. I preferred sporty type activities and singing at the top of my lungs. So when my oldest daughter, Sterling, started dance (because all of my friends signed their daughters up) , many years ago, and wasn't immediately the Prima Ballerina...I...alas...pulled her out and signed her up for soccer. I think I was translating my own insecurities about dancing to my daughter. To be quite honest, I am not even sure if she was enjoying it- I just knew that I wasn't. I was too worried about everyone else - and I didn't want her to be embarrassed. Unfortunately, at the time, ballet was lost on me. Sterling has participated in many other activities, prompted by what everyone else's daughters were doing, but I did finally get a clue, and let her do what she wanted to do. As I have tried to do with the rest of my children. get on with it..
Recently I signed my two younger daughters, Ruby and Bridget up for ballet. But I was so proud of myself so many years later, for even though my little girls may not have been the Prima Ballerinas of their classes...this time I did not care. I found myself starting to question near the end of the season as the program drew near, how important is it that I pay all of this money for classes, costumes,tickets and programs? They are only four and three...what exactly am I trying to achieve here with them?
Well, last night was the epitome of "What am I trying to achieve with them?". Bridget's dance performance was last night (Ruby's is Wednesday). They dance at The Children's Ballet Theatre and the program was at the Marriot Center for Dance. With grandparents in tow we all watched the most beautiful display of children's spirit. And as I watched my darling 2 foot tall Prima Ballerina pirouette across that stage (with her fingers in her mouth) I understood exactly what I was trying to achieve. Joy...joyful It doesn't matter what everyone else is girls may not become the best dancers...but if they have joy doing it then well done! So a public apology to Sterling, sorry I didn't get it then, but I get it now. And hopefully you wont take me on the Oprah show when you grow up claiming "My mother ruined my life because I can't dance!" And I am hoping all of the wonderful things you have achieved since will suffice.
So last night was so sweet, a perfect end to a good experience. And Bridget, she hasn't taken her ballet slippers off yet....

Monday, June 2, 2008

New Look Coming Soon

Hey I am getting a make-over. Give me a few days and it should be working better.