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I finally did it!

I know that grocery stores aren't the most glamorous places to buy bread, but our Kroger bakery has the best rustic Italian Loaf I have ever tried. Since I enjoy baking bread, I don't usually buy artisan or homemade style bread from stores, but I have yet to be able to duplicate the goodness of the Kroger Rustic Italian Loaf. When I am hungry for that specific loaf, I head to Kroger and purchase one to bring home.I had given up on trying to find a recipe that would result in a loaf as good as Krogers. I still tried different Rustic Italian Loaf recipes, but I never anticipated that these attempts would end up being a close comparison to the Kroger loaf.Yesterday I promised my husband I would make some bread. I asked him if he had a particular kind in mind and he said "Surprise me.". I did the easiest thing that came to mind and logged on to Recipezaar. I wanted to try a new recipe, and I had a meeting for a few hours in the afternoon so I wanted my bread machine to do the dough work for me. I came across a recipe for Rustic Italian Bread by andypandy. The recipe had high reviews from the previous chefs and it had some lovely photos along side of it.  From all angles, it looked like a winner.The result?? A winner it was. It had a soft, yet crusty outside and a soft and chewy inside. My husband and I agreed, it was better than the bread at Kroger! I am so excited to finally be able to produce something better than the Italian Loaf at Krogers bakery.  For … [Continue reading]

They say variety is the spice of life

I am so tired of making apple pies. My husband loves apple pie. Every weekend he always asks "are you making me an apple pie this weekend?" He's even willing to do the daunting task of peeling and slicing the apples if I make the crust and pie. I usually give in to his apple pie cravings and make him his precious pie. Sometimes I vary and try out new recipes, but they are still apple pies.This weekend I put my foot down. I was tired of making apple pies. I needed some variety in my life...a change from the mundane. I didn't want to disappoint him, but I also didn't want to make yet another apple pie.I've mentioned to you before that I'm a sucker for advertising, and that little epicurious widget at the bottom of my blog is getting the best of me. When I saw the photo of the Caramel Apple Tart pop up, it called my name. My plan to deviate from the norm started churning in my head.  What would happen if I made an apple tart instead of the apple pie? Would my husband revolt? Would he sulk and pout in disappointment that I did something different? Or, would he discover something incredibly delicious? Would he find out that there is more to the world than apple pie? With trepidation, I was set to find out.As the tart was baking, my husband came downstairs and I saw the delight in his eyes at the aroma of baked apples and cinnamon in the air. When the timer went off and I pulled the tart out of the oven to cool,  he came over and looked stumped. I explained to … [Continue reading]

Food and Wine Top 100 Tastes – #40 Southern Italian Wine

I will be the first to admit... I am not a wine snob. My husband and I enjoy wine, we enjoy going to wine tastings, and we have a nice collection of wine. We do not, however, have the faintest idea about what wines are better than others and why. I personally like to pick the wine we drink based on how pretty the label is. Yes... I judge the wine by the cover (I can feel you cringing now, Kate!). Another plus in my book is if the wine has a fun or interesting name. I do love to drink wine and was so pleased to see how many great wine selections there were in the Food and Wine 100 Tastes to Try in 2007 list. Taste number 40 is Southern Italian Wine. Based on how pretty the label was, I chose to order a bottle of Donnafugata Sedara. We were eating T-Bone steaks with friends and this was the perfect companion to the meal we had. I don't really feel qualified to critique this wine, but in plain "wine gal" terms, it was a very dry wine with a full fruit body. The aroma was sweet and the color was a deep ruby red. In my husband's terms..."I would drink it again." So, there you have it... two thumbs up from two label judging wine drinkers! I'm behind on posting some of my Food and Wine Top 100 Tastes challenge. We tried a couple of other wines over the weekend that I'll blog about soon. I'm sure since my wine posts are so informative, you'll be hanging on the edge of your chair until the next wine post comes along.  … [Continue reading]

Thinking Ahead

This morning I had a little confrontation with our garbage men. I was backing out of my garage and in my driveway when the trash truck pulled up and blocked my way. I was completely fine with that and patiently waited while they empted the trash and recycle bin. I lost my patience when the truck started to drive off and the guy with my trash can threw it so it landed right behind the van, making it impossible for me to leave my driveway without getting out of the car and moving the trash can. I got out of the car and just yelled "Excuse me??" in disbelief. The guy just looked at me and shrugged his shoulders with a sarcastic grin on his face. I decided to let it go and climbed back into the car.I'm not sure what Jacob saw this morning with steam coming out of my ears that made a garbage man (is there a better name than that) job appealing, but all the way to school he was talking about the fact that when he grows up, he wants to be a garbage man. I tried to explain to him that it is a really stinky job, but he could only focus on the fact that he would get to drive that really big cool truck.After awhile, Kelly had to pipe in with her choice of professions. "I want to be a mommy when I grow up. I want to be a big mommy with a real baby and really big boobs."  Let's hope she can achieve such greatness... big boobs or not, being a mommy is the best job there is. … [Continue reading]

I’m a Pepper, You’re a Pepper….

Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?Remember that Dr Pepper commercial from the late 70's, early 80's? Quite the catchy little tune, wasn't it? That commercial and my favorite beverage, Dr Pepper, was the inspiration for the cupcakes I made yesterday. I had made the pumpkin roll for my husbands birthday, but was being kind of selfish and didn't want to waste something so delicious on the younger crowd of kids that would be attending his little party last night. The cake roll was for the adults.... cupcakes, I decided, for the kids. I remember making a Coca Cola cake once and thought that the flavor was slightly unique. I began to wonder if I could do something similar but exchange Dr Pepper for the Coke. Since I'm not confident enough to create baking recipes from scratch, I decided to do a little search on Recipezaar to see what I could find in terms of a Dr Pepper cupcake. Lo and behold, there was such a thing... the Dr Pepper cake. It seemed simple enough and I knew that since it was chocolate, the kiddos would enjoy it. These cupcakes have a rich chocolate flavor with a hint of spice, which I'm assuming comes from the Dr Pepper. The frosting was a bit sweet, but it didn't keep anyone from scarfing them down at the birthday party.Even though I didn't create this recipe, I did make a few minor adaptations (reduced the amount of sugar, added a bit of grape juice) I'm submitting this post and picture to the Cupcake Roundup being held by Garrett of Vanilla Garlic and by … [Continue reading]