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Are You Ready for Some Football Food?

If you follow this blog regularly, you know that I’m a bit of a football fan.  Okay, more than ‘a bit’.  It stands to reason that this is my favorite time of they year–those few weeks before the opening kick-off when we’re all still in the hunt for the NCAA championship or the Lombardi Trophy.  But there’s more to football than just watching the game or listening to the marching band.  There’s food.  Tailgate food, specifically.

Next week, the fourth book in my Out of Bounds series, Sleeping with the Enemy, will hit e-readers and bookshelves.  To publicize it, I created fun recipe cards that double as book marks.  The recipe we put on the back is a great football snack whether you’re tailgating or camping out in front of your big screen.  Since I can’t send you all a bookmark, here’s the next best thing:

Thanks to Su at Earthly Charms for the beautiful recipe cards.

Thanks to Su at Earthly Charms for the beautiful recipe cards.

Here’s the scoop on Sleeping with the Enemy:

Dot-com millionaire Jay McManus is discovering that owning a pro football team like the Baltimore Blaze isn’t easy. An anonymous blogger is out to destroy his reputation, and now his team is being sued by its own cheerleaders. If Jay’s not careful, he could lose big—and not just financially.

Bridgett Janik’s brother may play for the Baltimore Blaze, but she’s not thrilled to be defending Jay McManus, the man who broke her heart. It’s bad enough she has to mingle with Jay during games, but working beside her former lover may be too much for her body—and her heart—to resist.

Jay’s determined not to let Bridgett slip away from him a second time. But, as the two follow the mysterious blogger’s trail, secrets—both past and present—are revealed, and Jay and Bridgett must decide if their relationship can be something more than just sleeping with the enemy.

Get your copies here:

Apple iBooks
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
Google Books
IndieBound
Kobo
Powell’s Books

Best of luck to your team this season!!

Fluffiest Carrot Cake EVER

Looking for the perfect dessert this Easter? This carrot cake differs from most in that it’s light, fluffy and kid-friendly—from the making to the eating! Not only can they help by harvesting and shredding the carrots, they’ll love to decorate this spring treat (bunnies, anyone?).

light and fluffy slice

While this recipe calls for cream cheese frosting, a bit tangy for some youngsters, it would also be great with a creamy white/vanilla frosting, too.

Fluffiest Carrot Cake

2 cups self-rising flour

2 tsp cinnamon

1 ½ cups vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

3 cups freshly grated carrots

½ cup raisins (optional)

½ cup walnuts, finely chopped (optional)

pre-made fondant for decorations

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

Grease or butter 9 x 13 or 2 8-inch round pans. In a large bowl, combine oil, eggs and sugar and beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour and cinnamon and mix together until creamy smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet and blend well. Fold in grated carrots, followed by any optional items of your liking!

Pour batter into pan and bake for about 35-45 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Serve with cream cheese frosting (even plain, this cake is so good).

Approximately 1 large or 2 8-inch cakes.

 bunny cake

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese, refrigerated

2 TBSP unsalted butter, softened (at room temperature)

1 ½ – 2 cups powdered sugar (depending on how thick you like your frosting!)

1 tsp vanilla extract

dash of grated orange zest (optional)

Combine cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in blender until well-blended and smooth. Add sugar gradually, 1/2 cup at a time, beating until blended. Stop when you have reached your desired consistency. For stiffer frosting, use more sugar. For creamy frosting, use less. Stir in optional flavorings at end. Spread (or drizzle) frosting over cake and enjoy!

You can purchase packages of pre-made fondant at most major craft stores (Joann’s Fabrics, Michael’s…) and forming your figures is easy. We used a tube of green cake decorating color for the greens on our carrots—for a more feathery effect. Don’t forget the pre-made flowers and sprinkles—talk about EASY! You’ll have a stylin’ cake in no time!

AIB Logo

For more great recipes, be sure to mark your calendar and join my 4th Annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop where authors and bloggers share their favorite recipes and gardening tips plus offering a host of GREAT prizes, including a brand new ereader of your choice (up to $200 value). Fun begins April 8th-April 17th.

Happy Spring!

Watch Out for Flying Pigs!

Why, you ask? Because for the first time ever, I’m sharing a recipe on Women Unplugged. It’s not that I don’t like to share, but I’m not exactly known for my cooking. But if I had a signature recipe, a recipe others routinely requested, it would be this. Pumpkin Bread.medium_5274906480

That’s it? Pumpkin bread? Pumpkin bread recipes are a dime a dozen. Yes, I know. But this one is better. Guaranteed. Go ahead and make it and see if I’m wrong… You can thank me later 😉

Pumpkin Bread:

1 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar (a little less if you add white chocolate chips)
1 cup cooked, mashed or canned pumpkin
2/3 cup water
1 cup cooking oil
4 eggs
1 bag white chocolate chips (optional, but why wouldn’t you?? Dark may also be substituted, but white is better)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, flour and sugar in large mixing bowl. Add the pumpkin, water, oil, and eggs and mix well. Spray or grease three 11 to 13 ounce coffee cans (or loaf pans) and divide the batter evenly among the cans or pans.

Bake for one hour or more, until brown or until a bamboo skewer comes out clean. Stand the cans upright on a rack for 15 minutes. Invert cans and remove the bread. Serve warm or stand the break upright on a rack and cool and wrap. Can also be made as muffins or even sheet cake.

Savor this moment, WU fans. It won’t happen again 🙂
photo credit: mccun934 via photopin cc

Banana Nut Bread

My guys love bananas. I however do not. I have a vivid memory of eating a banana as a young girl but near as I can figure, I had sunstroke and the end result wasn’t pretty – or discussion for a food post. To this day, I can’t stand the smell of bananas. Whenever any of my guys eat them, they’re not allowed near me with their banana breath.

This recipe started out as a labor of love but turned into a healthy favorite family snack.

In our house, we have bananas around for breakfast or lunches. However as soon as the bananas get spots, my guys won’t eat them. Needless to say, there’s always several bananas left on the counter that either get thrown away or turned into my version of Banana Nut Bread.

This recipe makes a single loaf with 1 to 2 bananas, doubled with 3 bananas or quadrupled with 6 bananas. You can also play fast and easy with the amount of white or whole wheat flour you use. My preference is half and half, originally because I didn’t want to scare my guys off with an all whole wheat flour concoction. In the end, it’s what suits our taste buds, so that’s the mixture I’ve stuck with.

Because I can easily make 4 loaves at once, I’ve always got a few loaves frozen for lunches or to pull out to take to my mom or my parents-in-law’s house, saving them the trouble of baking for themselves or guests.

Banana Nut Bread (makes a single loaf)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9 X 5 X 3 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, sift together:

1 cup white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

Put the following ingredients into a blender:

3/4 cup skim milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 to 2 ripe bananas (when doubling recipe, use 3 bananas)

Blend until smooth, then add a handful of walnut halves and blend using the chop or grind function. (This saves on the time consuming task of chop-chop-chopping!)

Pour liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix well.

Turn into the prepared pan and bake for 65 to 70 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 to 20 minutes, then turn out of the pan to let cool on the counter.

Eat the loaf while it’s warm or freeze it for later use. And even if you’re like me and can’t stand bananas, give it a try because once it’s cooked, the banana smell and taste are totally gone, replaced by something far more delicious.

Enjoy!

So what’s your least favorite food and is there a reason why you can’t stant to eat it?

Poppycock: A Family Favourite Recipe

This week marks the second anniversary of my Dad’s passing so I’ve been thinking about him a lot. And thoughts of Dad always lead me to memories of his sweet tooth, which he kindly passed down to his kids. Inspired by Myndi Shafer’s recent blog, and in honour of my Dad’s memory, I’d like to share with you my recipe for Poppycock, which I used to give to him every Christmas.

Sheila’s Poppycock Recipe

1 cup pecan halves

1 cup whole un-blanched almonds

8 cups popped popcorn

1 1/3 cup brown sugar

1 cup margarine

1/2 cup golden corn syrup

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

1/2 tsp. soda

1 tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Spread pecans and almonds on an ungreased cookie sheet and toast lightly. In a very large unbuttered bowl, mix nuts and popcorn together.

In a small heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, margarine, corn syrup and cream of tartar. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water, approximately four minutes. Note: if you like your poppycock less chewy, then cook until the mixture forms a hard ball when dropped into cold water, approximately five minutes.

Remove from stove and stir in the soda and vanilla. Be careful because the addition of the soda makes the mixture foam up.

Pour over the popcorn and nut mix. With a wooden spoon, stir until evenly coated. Leave in bowl until the poppycock is partially cooled but make sure you stir it once in a while to keep the mixture from forming into one hard ball.

When the popcorn and nuts have cooled some, dump it on to the countertop or on large cookie sheets and continue to stir occasionally until fully cooled. I usually leave it out overnight and every time I walk by, I stir it to break it apart. Someone will no doubt sneak a piece or two but that’s okay because it’s easy to make a second batch.

This makes a wonderful Christmas gift. I like to put it into jars and tins to give to family and friends. Enjoy!

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