Good Coffee….

Hey there!  I have not froze out, but wish I was south of here where it is warmer!!!!

Last nite I cooked for seven young ladies having a bachelorette party here in Fredericksburg!  They were from the Houston area and had contacted me through USPCA last year.  We had been conversing back and forth since about October or so and last nite was the big event for them here at a B&B!

The menu was:

Spinach Dip with pita chips

Smoked salmon on Cucumbers

Romaine Salad with Vinaigrette (Basil and Red Wine)-the salad had fresh tomatoes and fresh moz slices on the side

Chicken Parm-Giada’s recipe on Barillo Plus spaghetti noodles

Steamed Asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto

Dessert was fruit salad marinated in honey, cinnamon, and a splash of Amaretto, with vanilla honey yogurt and an almond lemon Biscotti coated with white chocolate

Sounds simple enuff, right????  Well, let me tell you all the things that goes behind the scenes……..if I can just do a Reader’s Digest version…….

First of all, you don’t know if the place they are staying has adequate plating, so I make sure I have enuff plates to do a full course meal..$$$$$$$ invested……..

Then you think of all the little things that you need to have and remember….thank goodness for computer, pens and paper……and a few vacation days off to get it pulled together……(my house is a wreck…)

Friday I was running around town getting last minute things, going to the store after meeting up with the hostess, we would be using the plates, etc. from the B&B(I used my silverware though and serving bowls, etc.).  Friday nite I made the Spinach dip and marinated the chicken and finished the Biscotti I had made that afternoon(Tooter stole a piece while the chocolate was getting hard and I had to get it from him and trash it, so I guess he approved it!). Friday I was pulling the last of the things in the bins to take to the B&B.

I did not sleep well Friday nite….what I needed to do and things I did not want to forget was running through my mind continually along with how I was going to do my cooking there, over and over and over the same thing kept running through my head…..if I had just got up and put the salt&pepper shakers on the cabinet and the other thing I can’t remember now I wanted to make sure I got and put them where I would not forget them, I think I might have slept better….no, things would still be playing in my head…….

Saturday, yesterday, I was on my feet all day getting things ready for the big event….going to the store, coming home and doing the prepping of all the things I wanted to have ready to save me tons of time there(and it did!!!) Did I say the coffee tastes good this am??

I was to be at the B&B around 4:30. Once I had everything prepped and in its place, and after running back to DKL to pick up some ice tea spoons and stopping to get some ice, it was 3:00.  Ok…stop and eat something so I don’t pass out from lack of food, get dressed(my chef garb on), and load up the cooler.  I had already loaded up all the bins and pans before I ate.  I was there at the B&B at 4:30.  Unload all the bins and stuff and start setting up.  Did I say they wanted the table set??? Thank goodness I read how to set a table out of the Emily Post Book of Etiquette the store just got in…..

Once inside and unloaded, I started picking things up that was left around and cleaned everything off so that I could set the table, which was first on my list after I put all cold stuff in the fridge. I have to admit, the table looked really nice and the girls were impressed too!  Appetizers got made first so that when they came in, they could snack  while I pulled the dinner together….they came in while I was still making the smoked salmon on cucumbers, saw what I was doing and was totally making good noises over them!  They got their drinks going, and I put out the dip and salmon.  Once they all got there, they dove right in to the apps! I never heard so much commotion over something as those girls did about the dip and salmon! (guess they liked it…will post recipes later…)  Then they went into the living room and started a movie.

Meanwhile, I was busy pulling together the salad and extras, dressings, and starting the rest of the dinner trying to have it ready by 7:00…..while I was frying the chicken in the pan(did I say there was a six-burner gas stove I got to use for cooking in there??) I had a paper towel that I was wiping up splattered oil on the side and front of the stove. Well, you may have guessed it…it caught on fire from the burner….I saw it, said a few words under my breath and rushed it to the sink and washed the fire out……note to self……it may be a good thing that I don’t have a gas stove to cook on at home!!!!!!!

When I had it all ready, it was about 7:30 and I totally apologized to them that I did not have it ready at 7:00.  They were fine because they were drinking their wine and watching a movie…..they came together, held hands to say a prayer and I asked to join in.  That was so nice to see those girls stopping to give God thanks for the time they were having!

They first got their salad and then came back for the main meal.  It all looked very nice and pretty….I hope they will send me pics too!  I served the chicken to them instead of them doing it themselves(did I say that there was a double convection oven that I got to use for the chicken, asparagus and rolls??? Might be something on the wish list….) Anyway, there was a bunch of moans and groans from them once they started eating.  Meanwhile, I was pulling the fruit together for dessert…….once they were all finished eating the meal, I served the fruit on little plates (thank you Marilyn!) in clear coffee mugs with two almond Biscotti on the side, Bride first! I heard comments from them that this was better than sitting down at a fine restaurant and eating!  Much more relaxed and better food! (one up for me!)

I have to admit, there were some of the girls who ate everything and there were some who just picked around……but they may have been full from appetizer overload….I cleaned everything up, loaded the dish washer and got it to running…..packed my stuff, and by that time, my back, feet and arms were very tired…..I wiped everything down(oops…..I did not wipe down the center Island I used as prep station..I realized that when I was laying in bed last nite), did the stupid check(I left my napkin holder there…so stupid check did not all work), waved goodbye to the girls and came home.  It was about 9:45 when I got home……yes I could hardly move….I finished my water, got me a glass of Cab and two Alieves, sat in my chair with my feet up in Yoga style for about 30 minutes(Larry was at the lake, so I had “my time”).  I was too tired to shower, even though I probably would have felt better, so I went to bed(had PJ’s on while unwinding)………

I was expecting to be totally stiff when I woke up, but I am not, thank you Dear Lord!  Next, though, is to unload the car from last nite, take a shower and get ready to work at the store…..did I say the coffee tastes good this morning?????  Hugs!  Me



Published in: on February 26, 2012 at 8:43 am  Comments (3)  

Sleet/Snow and Cooking

Snow! 2012

There is nothing better to do on a cold day than to experiment with recipes that you found to see how good or bad they are!  Yes, it snowed and sleeted here in this town of Fredericksburg, Tx.  Every so often it does that, thank goodness it is not very often….(did I ever say that I hate cold…..)

Back of the house.


BitBit does not know what to think of the snow and cold.

After eating brunch (home-made sausage, eggs and toast with coffee), I proceeded to get ready for the great recipe cook-out!  First on the list is Lemon Biscotti!  I read the recipe and re-read the recipe and nearly ditched it because it did not have eggs in it……but, I told myself to try it anyway…… is from  Go there and see what all she has there!  Anyway, here is what I did!

Biscotti ingredients.

I got out the trusty KitchenAid food processor, added the 1 ¼ cups of almond flour, 1 TBSP arrow root powder and ¼ tsp sea salt; hit pulse 5 or 6 times to blend it all together.  I then measured out the ¼ cup of agave nectar and zested one lemon into the processor bowl.  I then pulsed it for a few minutes until it all looked like little pebbles of dough.

Biscottie dough pebbles.


Once I chopped the roasted almonds, I added them into a bowl that held the dough.  Using my hands, no I cannot take pictures and knead the dough at the same time…, I worked the ground almonds into the cookie dough; then put it into the USA biscotti pan and formed it into a rectal “log”.

Almonds worked into dough.

Dough in Biscotti pan.


My oven was pre-heated to 350 degrees F, so I put the pan in to bake for 15 minutes.  Once the buzzer went off, I pulled them out, they smell so good, and cooled them for one hour on a rack in the pan.

Once baked Biscotti.


Using a serrated bread knife, the cookies got cut into little logs and baked again, cut side down, at 300 degrees F for 15 minutes on a cookie sheet.

Cut Biscotti.

Biscotti cut and on second bake.

They then cooled on the sheet for quite a while on cooling rack so they would get crispy and ready for eating!

Taste test:  (drums are rolling……….) they taste purty good!  Will put some melted white chocolate on them next time! (I’m not getting outside to the store just for that…..did I say that I don’t like cold weather?????)


Next………Clean Whole Wheat Bread….

This recipe came from The author is Eric Pater.  I have been looking for a clean and easy whole wheat bread recipe so that I could make my own and know it was good and good for you!  I saw this and printed it out.  With 6 ingredients, how complicated would this be?  I think I can handle it…..

I keep my flours in the fridge outside, so I got my white whole wheat flour and Old Fashion whole wheat flour out, measured 1 ½ cups of each one in a bowl to come to room temp.

Ingredients for bread.

Recipe calls for 3 cups whole-wheat flour, 2 tsp yeast, 1 tsp kosher salt, 2 TBSP honey, 2 TBSP EVOO, 1 ¾ cups warm water.

Here is what I did……..

Measure out flours into bowl, mixing flours evenly, let come to room temp.  In large mixing bowl, put 1 ¾ cups warm water, 1 envelope active yeast or the 2 tsp if using bulk yeast and the blended flours.  Stir with wooden spoon, mound dough into ball shape.

Dough ball.

Cover with warm towel(microwave towel for 15 seconds) and let rise for 30 minutes in a warm place, my stove was still warm from the biscotti, so that was the perfect place!

Covered dough bowl, rise one.

While this was rising, I took a small bowl, added the salt, then the EVOO and then the honey, mixing as well as I could. My tip is that you measure out the oil first and use the same spoon to measure out the honey; you will notice that the honey just slips right out of the spoon without sticking to it because the oil has coated it for easy release!

Salt, oil and honey.

Once the dough has risen, uncover and add salt, honey, oil mixture and stir with your cleaned-up wooden spoon, stirring until the dough is sticky.  Take your bread pan, I used a stone loaf pan from Pampered Chef, and coat it lightly with pecan oil.  Pour the sticky dough into the loaf pan, cover with warm towel, and let rise another 30 minutes in a warm place (back on my stove)(I warmed my towel in the microwave for about 15 seconds before covering the dough each time-another tip)

Dough in pan.

Covered pan to rise second time.

Second risen bread.

About 25 minutes into the rising, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Once pre-heated, put bread in the oven, positioned in the middle of the rack, rack needs to be in the middle of the oven too.  Bake for 40-50 minutes.  Take out, cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes, invert pan, continue to cool until you can remove pan from loaf. You may need to take a knife and run it around the edges to get it out of your pan.

Once I got the bread out of the pan, I could not let it cool completely, I had to see what it looked like on the inside and eat a piece of the heal with butter…….note for next loaf…let it bake for 1 hour, not the 40-50 minutes recipe read.

Not bad for a first time!

Center was a little doughy, but the taste…………O.M.G.!!!!!!!  I just love hot home-made bread with butter!  Will definitely make this again!  It is easy and it is good!!!!!!!  Toast a piece, put butter or cream cheese on it and enjoy!  Hope Larry eats this too……..Much better than store bought bread….now it is your turn!!!!!   Hugs!  Vicky

Published in: on February 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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