Monday, March 26, 2012

Jezebel Sauce for Spring Parties

It's that time of year when preparations for spring parties are heating up. It seems like the warmer weather and the combination of baby showers, weddings, graduations, Mother's Day, Father's Day and any other number of events has party planners looking through recipes for interesting items to add to the menu. If you don't have a big "To-Do" coming up this spring, you could still make this fancy little sauce and cheese to take to a family reunion this summer; don't you love it when everyone is guessing who brought the yummy item that they've never tasted before?! This sauce recipe is that, "something different" item that is perfect for an appetizer (or just for snacks on the back porch with a a glass of iced tea!!) You can mix this up ahead, keep it in the fridge, and when the time comes just pour it over cream cheese and surround it with your favorite crackers or Melba toast.

Jezebel Sauce

1 (18 oz.) jar pineapple preserves
1 (18 oz.) apple jelly
1/2 (1.37 oz.) container of dry mustard
1 (5 oz.) jar horseradish
1 tsp coarsely-ground pepper
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese

Mix preserves, jelly, mustard, horseradish and pepper together. Chill. Place cream cheese on a pretty serving plate; pour sauce over cheese and serve with crackers.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Austin Over Spring Break....Lovin' that BBQ!!!

We spent part of my youngest son's spring break last week in Austin, Texas. Although my husband has been there several times on business trips, Ben and I had never seen the capitol city. We went during the South By Southwest event, a celebration of media including technology, music and movies. Ben really enjoyed the atmosphere that went with SXSW. He spotted musician, Ziggy Marley, on the street; made a video in the Dell booth (that is now online) and saw several tech start-ups like his own Yummmbox app. Ron Howard's Imagination Photography Project was on display and there was literally music flowing down 6th street! One of our favorite bands was called Tins; we thought they sounded a little like Franz Ferdinand. Ben came home with a shirt, magazines (gaming magazines for his friends) and information related to some his favorite subjects!
On our second day in Austin, Dana surprised Ben with a previously-arranged segway tour that lasted for two hours. The tour guide took them all around Austin to see its historic landmarks. I was offered this tour, as well, but opted for my "girls-only shopping tour"; this included Target and Ross for..... Two Hours!!....with nobody "waiting on me" at the front of the store! I found two summer dresses that I liked. That's quite an accomplishment for me; I don't enjoy the tedious and time-consuming project of trying on new clothes when there are time constraints.
The next day, I had the luxury of Dana and Ben giving me a personal tour, on foot, of all that they had seen and learned about Austin on the previous day. The weather was just a perfect 10 for our trip. The sky was so blue that in many of the pictures that I snapped it looks like a "storybook sky". We roamed around the capitol grounds, buildings, statues and huge old trees (my favorite photo subjects). We covered the Lyndon B. Johnson Museum (which had Dr. Seuss' original sketches and storyboards for The Lorax on display!); the University of Texas Campus; 6th Street; the historic Driscoll Hotel and the Convention Center (SXSW). We ate Texas BBQ, Tex Mex food and Thai street food. It was a fun experience; I recommend putting Austin, Texas on your "bucket list".
I thought I would go with a BBQ theme this week as I return to real life after my Austin trip. Here's a recipe for those of us who like BBQ but are limited on time; get your Crock Pot out!

Texas BBQ-Coke Roast

1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 (4 to 5 lb.) boneless chuck roast
2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 (12 oz.) can of Coke or 1 (10 oz.) bottle of coke
1 (12 oz.) bottle of chili sauce
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
2 TBSP Louisiana Hot Sauce
3 TBSP cornstarch
1/4 C water

Combine garlic salt and pepper; rub over roast. Brown roast on all sides in hot oil in large skillet. Transfer to 4 qt. slow cooker. Combine Coke and next 3 ingredients; pour over roast. Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 to 6 hours or LOW for 8 to 9 hours. Remove roast, reserving juices. Keep roast warm. In slow cooker, combine cornstarch and water, stirring well. Cook, uncovered on HIGH for 15 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Serve sauce over roast. Makes 8-12 servings.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Banana Bars A -Recipe from Aunt Vivian

I can't tell you how much I enjoy getting "snail mail" from "home"! We are living across the country from our parents, siblings and extended family, as I know many of you are, as well (and some of you are living countries away from your loved ones, bless your hearts!). When I wander out to the mail box each day to get what is usually junk mail and bills and find a letter or card in the mix, it makes my week special! (It also makes me feel guilty if I haven't sent anything out in a while to brighten my sons' or parents', etc.'s day.)
Last week I received a note from my Aunt Vivian (Mom's sister). I stopped in the middle of my day just to enjoy the photos she had sent and read her note. A bonus treat (in addition to that cute picture of her first great grand baby!) was the recipe she sent; another great way to use up ripe bananas! Mom gets the credit for mentioning to her that I would like to have this recipe.
My little chats with Mom (and joke-swapping with my dad) always make my week better. Our last "catch-up" conversation was about Aunt Vivian and Uncle Henry coming down (they live 5 miles from my parents) to go to the fish fry at the town's volunteer fire department with them. Vivian wanted to bring the dessert to have at Mom and Dad's place, later. Mom described it as a banana cake and said it was really good. I'm always on the hunt for recipes that use up those 2 or 3 ripe bananas that always seem to be left on my kitchen counter. As soon as I said, "I'd like to have that recipe, if she doesn't mind", Mom must have made a call, because it wasn't a long wait until I heard from my aunt; those two are efficient! Thanks to the "tag team" of Mom and Aunt Vivian, I'm able to share this wonderful and useful recipe with you. Have a great day and keep in touch with someone from "home"!

Aunt Vivian's Frosted Banana Bars
(originally from Karen Dryak from Niobrara, Nebraska: looks like a Taste of Home clipping 3/20/'96)

1/2 C butter or margarine, softened
2 C sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 C mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 C All-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt

1/2 C butter or margarine, softened
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
4 C confectioner's sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, bananas and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Pour into greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until bars test done. Cool. For frosting, cream butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Gradually add confectioner's sugar and vanilla; beat well. Spread over bars. Yield: 3 dozen.

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