Monday, December 30, 2013

Amaretto, a Digestif

Amaretto has always been one of my favorite after dinner drinks, or as the French may say, a good digestif.

Recently, the good folks at Twin Liquors introduced me to a new brand - Lazzaroni Amaretto. Sound familiar? Lazzaroni is famous for their almond macaron biscuits.  

The drink has just the right amount of sweet with a hint of cinnamon and of course that delicious almond flavor. 

Go ahead, give it a try... you can thank me later.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Poinsettias for the Holidays

Each year for the holidays my Mom would fill the house with Poinsettias. Then she'd also buy a few extras for my Dad to deliver to family, friends, and neighbors, spreading around good cheer. I helped one year on the delivery wagon, "Don't forget to wish them happy holidays!" my Mom would shout out as my Dad and I backed out of the driveway.

To this day, Poinsettias bring a smile to my face. I always know the holidays are approaching when these plotted plants start making their way into the local grocery markets.

The leaves are the perfect compliment to Christmas red and green with the plant usually plotted in a gold foil pot, no less

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Texas French Bread, a restaurant

It started with a man, a woman, a kitchen, and a darn good bread recipe. Pretty soon, word spread around, and Paul and Judy Willcott outgrew home operations with bread demands coming from all corners.

Texas French Bread has been a Willcott family success since 1981 and remains with the family to this day. For a while, Texas French Bread was a bakery and cafe solely serving up bakery items with daytime hours.

 Nowadays they're open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Menus change weekly based upon availability of fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Homemade Chex Mix or Texas "Trash"

Growing up I, like most people, thought Chex mix came in a chip-type plastic bag. Then, in walked holidays with my husband… Fresh Chex mix hot from the oven? Huh? 

Around Christmas time, his family would always make homemade Chex mix. I wasn't sure if it was a Texas thing, but either way, I was smitten in more ways than one. 

And the recipe is actually quite simple. It takes time, but just to bake, so you can kick back, relax and let the oven do all of the work!

Below is the original recipe, taken from the box of Chex cereal, in just 5 simple steps:

3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex cereal
1 cup Mixed Nuts
1 cup bite-size Pretzels
1 cup Rye chips
6 Tablespoons of Butter
2 Tablespoons of Worchestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons of seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
Aluminum Baking Tray

1) Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

2) Pour the Chex cereals, nuts, pretzels, and chips into the aluminum baking tray.

3) Melt the butter and stir in the worshestershire, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder until combined.

4) Pour the wet mixture over the dry mix and lightly stir to mix (trying not to break the chez).

5) Bake for 1 hour, stirring (carefully) every 15 minutes.

Serve it up in a pretty dish and you will have your guests squealing with delight as they scoop it up by the handful.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Frito Pie at Texas Chili Parlor

After moving down South I kept hearing about this thing they called a Frito Pie, cheese ontop of chili ontop of Frito corn chips. Sounds delicious, right? So I headed on over to where I knew they had to get it right - the Texas Chili Parlor.

The chili at Texas Chili Parlor comes in three different levels of heat: mild, hot, or spicy hot. The heat level is noted as one X, two XXs, or three XXXs. Now, I like to spice up my life, but I decided to just try the double XX, and let me tell you that it packed a punch! I'll stick with level 2 for now, thank you.

Apparently, a true Frito pie is served in the bag. I'll leave that to Anthony Bourdain

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Salted Caramels at Dean & Deluca

Okay, we all love the salted caramel trend that hit the nation a few years ago, but have you tried the salted caramels at Dean & Deluca yet?! They are truly out of this world.

Check out Bon Appetit's December 2013 Bourbon-Sea Salt Caramel recipe. My friend made some and they are divine.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

One of the best ways to get into the spirit of the season is to hop in the car and head on over to the tree farm where there are rows of green with the piney smell of winter.

This weekend we found our perfect tree:

And these reindeer were super cute: