Pineapple Pork

Hey There!

I’ve missed you guys! I hate to miss a post, but our summer is in full swing. Our past weekend was jammed packed with fun!

We left work on Friday and headed straight up the road to a friend’s river lot where we got a little Pennsic practice in as we hung out until the wee hours of the morning with friends and campfires.

Since it was a short trip, and I really hate to mess with putting the tent up, we “camped” in my Jeep.

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I figured that at this point I should be old enough to know better than to sleep in the back of my car. I was afraid my neck would hate me for it the next day, but it was convenient for a one-night stay.

Thankfully, it wasn’t as much of a rough night as I was anticipating. We put the back seat down, so we had a flat surface and tossed our Pennsic futon mattress down, grabbed a few blankets and pillows, and we were good to go.

If you remember from our Summer Project update, we purchased some curtains from Ikea to screen in our back porch which we quickly learned would not work with our brick. Unfortunately, we didn’t want to make the drive to return them, so they’ve been hanging around the house. We decided we may as well use one set as bug netting so we could leave the windows down and breathe.

The next morning we went on a 3-hour tube float which was amazing! I forget how much I enjoy things like that until I’m doing one!

I had double booked our Saturday, so after we got off of the river, we hurried home Saturday afternoon to host a beach party. Since I knew that I was going to be tight on time, I prepped almost everything in advance including our Pineapple Pork shoulder!

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I am the odd one out in my family as I love pineapple and pork. Hawaiian pizza? Sign me up! The rest of the family, not so much, so I don’t get this yummy combo too often. Since this was a friend not family gathering, I got to add a little tropical flair to our menu with the sliced pineapple rings. And really, they just make a hunk of pork look better.

You know how much The Fellow loves his new grill, and typically he handles the meat prep for our cookouts, but we just didn’t have time to slow smoke the meat with everything else we had going. I tried out a hybrid approach which thankfully worked amazingly well!

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We cooked the pork shoulder in the Crock-Pot overnight; then smoked it in the grill for an hour to re-heat and serve. It was a win-win – quick, easy, and the meat still had that glorious smokey flavor.

I was really pleased with the simple seasoning we used as well: 1 can of pineapple rings, some salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste. It turned out sooo well!

What are your summer favorites?

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My New Favorite Summer Drink – Mexican Mule

Hey There,

It’s finally starting to feel like summer, and it’s looking like we’re not going to make it to the beach.  While it’s a bummer, there are plenty of summer activities to keep my spirits up!

As you know, The Fellow and I love to spend our evenings out on our porch grilling and relaxing. I’ve found that there are few things as enjoyable as sitting down, enjoying good food, and a warm summer breeze with a good drink in your hand.

The Fellow drinks beer, and since I reserve moonshine for special occasions and the holidays, I typically drink wine or cider when I’m not drinking tea. A while back a friend introduced me to a new drink that I think you’ll love too – a Mexican Mule!

Copper Mule Mugs have been all the rage for a year or two now, but I’ve never gotten into experimenting too much with them. The traditional drink you make in them is a Moscow Mule which uses Ginger Beer, vodka, and lime. The Mexican Mule is a variation on that as you switch out tequila for the vodka.

I love this drink because it’s simple and easy. (If you want to spice it up some, check out this recipe from I’m Bored, Let’s Go.)

I’ve been waiting for warmer weather to truly enjoy this. I’m sure that it’s a treat on a hot day.

My New Favorite Summer Drink- Mexican Mule

My New Favorite Summer Drink- Mexican Mule

Ingredients

  • Ginger Beer
  • Tequila
  • Lime

Instructions

  1. Pour ginger beer into a copper mule mug
  2. Add 1 shot of tequila
  3. Squeeze 1 lime edge into the cup
  4. Garnish with a lime slice
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The ginger is crisp and refreshing, a single shot of tequila cuts the ginger just a bit and is great for sipping, and the lime adds a nice little twist.

Perfect for cooling down on a warm summer day!

Try it and tell me what you think!

What are your favorite summer sipping’ drinks? Let me know in the comments!

Everything on a Waffle Cinnamon Bun!

Hey There!

If you read the past few posts, you’ll remember that I hosted a Mother’s Day brunch. You may also have noticed that I like to cut a few corners when serving a group.

Each time when I was setting something on the table, my cousin kept asking, “Ooh, are those homemade?” Well, kinda? It seems definitions of “homemade” vary. For me, if I didn’t sift the cocoa powder for the brownies myself, it’s not homemade.

That conversation got me thinking about a book I used to love as a kid – Everything on a Waffle . It had recipes sprinkled throughout, and one of them was for homemade cinnamon rolls!

This also is the first of my Baking Through Literature series. Don’t worry, you’ll get some Anne of Green Gables Recipes soon!

Moonshine in a Teacup|Cinnamon Rolls

Since I served cinnamon buns at my brunch, I had a hankering for some homemade ones and thought I’d share with you!

This recipe was intended for kids with adult supervision, so we can handle it, right?!

Everything on a Waffle Cinnamon Buns!

Everything on a Waffle Cinnamon Buns!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 C Warm Water
  • 1/2 C apls 1t Sugar
  • 2t Yeast
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 C Milk
  • 3 C Flour
  • 1t Vanilla
  • 1/2 C Butter (1 Stick)
  • Additional 2 T melted butter
  • Cinnamon/Sugar for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine 1/4 C warm water, 1t sugar and 2t yeast.
  2. Let stand for 10 min to activate the yeast.
  3. Combine eggs, milk, vanilla, and the remaining sugar and add to bowl with the yeast mixture.
  4. Add an additional 1/2 C Flour and mix.
  5. Turn out dough onto floured surface and work in the stick of butter.
  6. Continue to knead and add flour as needed for roughly 10 min.
  7. Let rise in a greased bowl until double in size.
  8. Punch down dough and using your hands roll into a long log before rolling out flat.
  9. Melt the additional 2T of butter and spread over dough.
  10. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar until coated.
  11. Roll up longways (into a narrow tube)and slice into 1" wide discs.
  12. Set on a cookie sheet (I always use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat) and let rise a second time.
  13. Bake at 350 degrees for half an hour.

Notes

Icing: The books calls for 1/4 C butter, 2 C sugar and a few drops of milk, but I'm going to stick to an easy powdered sugar icing instead. This is really an eye it up scenario, so pour some powdered sugar into a bowl and add a tiny bit of water or milk to start. Mix and add tiny bits of water or milk as you go to thin it down to icing consistency.

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I made these the other day, and The Fellow took them in to work. They were a hit!
What are your favorite made-from-scratch baked goods? Let me know in the comments!

Dirty Peanut Butter Sauce

Hey There!

You ever find something so delectable you want to eat it every day? I’ve found a repeat recipe that I am excited to share with you! I’m calling it my Dirty Peanut Butter Sauce because it’s it’s so easy it’s not playing fair.

What I love about this recipe I (besides that fact that it’s ridiculously simple to make) is that it’s also incredibly versatile, and the quantities can be easily adjusted.

The first time I whipped this up was for our Mother’s Day Brunch. I had baked brownies in tiny bundt pans and piped some peanut butter sauce over them.

They were a hit! The next day my cousin messaged me asking for the recipe. Unfortunately, the first time I made it I was winging it, so I didn’t have measurements for her.

Recently, I made Mama’s birthday cake, and I got a second opportunity to experiment with the sauce. This time I poured it over the cake to give it a velvety peanut butter-dripped glaze. I paid a bit more attention to the proportions this time.

Moonshine in a Teacup|Dirty PB Sauce

Since it’s finally getting warmer, we’re eating more ice cream, and I’m a sucker for vanilla with toppings – like peanut butter. This time around I tested my measurements and can finally share them with you!

Moonshine in a Teacup|Dirty PB Sauce

Are you ready for the quickest, easiest recipe that you’ve ever seen?

Dirty Peanut Butter Sauce

Dirty Peanut Butter Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/4 C. Peanut Butter
  • 1 T. Honey

Instructions

  1. Measure both Peanut Butter and Honey out into a microwavable safe bowl.
  2. Microwave for 30 seconds.
  3. Stir.
  4. Pour or pipe as desired.
  5. *Increase proportions as needed for larger quantities, maintaining the same ratios.
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What is your favorite peanut butter dessert? Let’s compare favorites in the comments below!

Strawberry Pretzel

Hey There!

I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. I know we did. The Fellow and I hosted what was supposed to be about a 10-person cookout. Final count – we had a house full of 23 friends and family. I’m really getting my hostess game for large groups down to a science!

Nothing makes me happier than having our cottage full of friends, family, and love.

Now, hostessing means serving delicious food, and I’m a dessert gal all the way. I’m a baker, not a cooker. If I could have you over and only serve baked goods, I would. (Dessert dinner, anyone?)Luckily, in the summer The Fellow handles that portion for me by grilling, so I can focus on my favorite part – the sweet treats!

It’s finally warming up and to quote Tom Petty: “I feel summer creepin’ in” and summer means strawberries. I figured what better way to kick off summer than with an old family strawberry favorite – Strawberry Pretzel.

Moonshine in a Teacup| Strawberry Pretzel

For me, this recipe will never quite taste how I remember it as a child because it’s missing one all-important ingredient – strawberries grown in Pappy’s garden.

Moonshine in a Teacup| Strawberries

Strawberries were such a huge part of my summers growing up. Pappy would toss strawberries to us in the pool as he gardened. We would eat them in green-print CorningWare bowls sprinkled with sugar, and Strawberry Pretzel was served in Grammy’s old Pyrex dish for Sunday dessert.

Fixing this dish was so nostalgic for me, and I’m excited to share it with you. I hope your family loves it as much as mine did.

It looks intimidating with all the layers, but I promise it’s easy! Since it’s been around forever, I’m sure there are all kinds of places you can find this recipe, but I’m going to give you my Grammy’s recipe – just how it came to me.

Strawberry Pretzel

Strawberry Pretzel

Ingredients

  • 2 C. Crushed Pretzels (not too salty or fine)
  • 3/4 C. Melted Margarine or Butter
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese - softened
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip (C's note - softened/refrigerated Cool Whip, not frozen)
  • 2 - 3 oz. Pkg. Strawberry Jell-O
  • 2 - 10 oz. Pkg. Frozen Strawberries (or 1 qt. sliced fresh strawberries)
  • 1 C. + 3 T. Sugar
  • 2 C. Boiling Water

Instructions

  1. Mix pretzels, butter, and 3 T. sugar and press into a 13x9 pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 min.
  2. Blend cream cheese with 1 C. sugar.
  3. Fold in Cool Whip
  4. Spoon over cooled crust.
  5. Dissolve Jell-O in 2 C. boiling water.
  6. Stir in berries.
  7. Refrigerate for 10 min.
  8. Spoon Jell-O mixture over cream cheese.
  9. Refrigerate until set.
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What are your summer traditional foods? Let me know so I can check them out! If you make this Strawberry Pretzel, leave me a comment or snap a pic and tag me in it on Instagram! I’m excited to see it!

Baking through Literature

Hey There!

Do you remember BOOK IT! through Pizza Hut? Or summer reading programs at your local library? Every summer, I would sign up for these programs (OK, like 3 of these programs). I would go to the library and emerge with a tote bursting at the seams with new adventures. Looking back, I’m surprised our family vehicle made it to the beach. It was over the weight capacity from just my “beach books.”

For some reason now though, I don’t make as much time in my life to read. I have several old friends I need to revisit, and so many new friends I need to make. I’m embarrassed to share this with you, but there are several classics I haven’t read yet. I left Anna Karenina in the middle, and I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice. (I know. I know. We can still be friends, right?)

The other day I was watching the movie adaptation of Anne of Green Gables (the Megan Follows adaptation, as if there were anything else), and I began to yearn for Anne in her later years. Anne of Green Gables is a character that you grow with, and every few years I go back to her to see what lessons she can teach me. And then we came to it. The tea scene. If you haven’t read or watched Anne of Green Gables, you cannot understand the heartbreak that comes with Diana Berry’s accidental intoxication over afternoon tea.

Anne-Green-Gables

Then it hit me. Why don’t I use MiaT as my reason to do two things I love: read and bake?

Baking through Literature. Starting this month, at least one post each month will bring you recipes for food/baked goods from the books that I read.

I am so excited to get back my reading time, share my favorite characters with you, and bake some delicious treats!

What are your favorite books? What should I put on my reading list? Let me know in the comments below!

Big Top

This past week was our Employee Appreciation Week, and it had a carnival theme. We had a lot of fun! There were carnival games, food, and a  bunch of guest visitors from other branches of the company.

I ate my first fried Oreo which was simultaneously delicious and disgusting. All that grease! But that’s to be expected.

There was cotton candy on a stick (Side note: Other countries’ names for cotton candy include Candy Floss, Fairy Floss, Tooth Floss and Sugar Clouds. Sugar Clouds is my favorite.) which made me particularly happy. I never had cotton candy on a stick as a kid, but I would always see it in old pictures and things. When I got cotton candy, it was always in a bag. I’ve had it on a stick only one other time. Yuuumy!

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Don’t mind me. I’m just clowning around!

We also had a dessert contest at work. I originally planned to make a Big Top-themed cake with a performing elephant on top but ran out of time. I decided to make the easiest thing I could find – fudge. Normally, we make peanut butter fudge, but I was feeling some chocolate.

This recipe is all over Pinterest from a dozen different sites with little to no variation.

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 bag of chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
sprinkles (optional)

Put the full bag of chocolate chips into a microwaveable bowl. Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk and vanilla over them. Microwave for one minute, stir, pour, chill, and serve. It’s that easy! (But I will give you some additional tips in a moment.)

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I’ve made this with both semi-sweet chocolate and milk chocolate chips, and it sets up about the same with both. My mother thinks that the semi-sweet chocolate chips are too “chocolaty,” but I think they’re just fine. (There is never enough chocolate for me!)

For work, knowing that each judge would need a piece and having already bought the elephant, I decided to pipe the fudge into mini cupcake wrappers instead of just pouring it into a glass baking dish lined with wax paper (which is how I did the second batch and what I would actually recommend doing with this recipe). The fudge doesn’t harden like some fudges; it stays pretty pliable – which can make it hard to get out of the wrappers.

I added some fun rainbow sprinkles to give it a little carnival color pop, printed some circle circus cupcake toppers, and arranged them on a tray around Reginald the Fancy Elephant.

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Working with office supplies, Reginald’s stand is a Dollar Store bucket, that I usually keep pens in, with a paper circle and star, and his top hat was printed on our no-color printer.  He now lives on the cubicle divider between my desk and my neighbors among the jungle that is my office plant.

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We’ve grown rather fond of him.

Summer Vegetable Color Pop Skillet

Fall is slowly creeping in. It’s still warm, but the mornings are crisp, and I’m ready for hot apple cider. While fall is coming, the last bits of summer are fading away including the end of most of the fresh garden produce.

A friend recently gave me a beautiful summer squash and I was so excited to use it! (The zucchini was purchased.)

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A staple meal in my tiny apartment is a veggie skillet. Usually I go for a spaghetti sauce-based meal, but for this one I went with just some seasonings.

Ingredients:

1 Yellow Squash
1 Zucchini
1 Large Onion
Grape Tomatoes
Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil

Chop your zucchini and squash, slice the onion, and halve the grape tomatoes. Squash takes longer to cook than the rest of the veggies, so get those in your pan first! Add a little bit of olive oil and cook over  medium heat.

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Once the squash has softened, add in the zucchini and onion. Next add in some garlic. I used two heaping tablespoons of garlic, but that’s because I love garlic. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and a seasoned salt. Garlic-seasoned salt is the best. Now, the seasoned salt I used is from a phenomenal spice vendor from Pennsic (the SCA event I attend each summer). Don’t worry; the dish with just the ingredients listed above holds its own!

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Also, I was so excited to get this fox bowl! I wanted one last year, but the only one  in stock was cracked, and they never got more in. Now this one is in my cupboard!

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Pickle Party!

Sometimes you just don’t question where ideas come from. This was one of those times. A Facebook invite popped up from a friend for . . . a Pickle Party!

He provided the vinegar, liquids, and spices, and everyone brought their own jars and whatever they wanted to pickle.

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The Fellow and I ended up bringing mushrooms and green beans since that was what I had in the fridge. We made an apple cider brine that I feel pretty confident will turn out yummy.

We quickly realized that having multiple pots of vinegar boiling in an enclosed space was probably not the best of ideas, but once we got the windows open and fans going, it cleared out. It was a lot of fun; everyone chatting and swapping ingredients, recipes, and ideas!

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Our host also made a special appetizer in advance – Koolickles. Yes, you read that right. Koolickles. Kool-Aid soaked pickles. Apparently, they are a delicacy from the Mississippi Delta region. They are a cherry, sweet, dill pickle infusion, and they are amazing!

Here’s the recipe from Taste of Home.

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar (32 ounces) whole dill pickles, undrained
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 envelope unsweetened Kool-Aid mix, flavor of your choice

Directions:

  1. Drain pickles, reserving juice. In a small bowl, combine the reserved juice, sugar ,and Kool-Aid, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Slice pickles; return to jar. Pour juice mixture over pickles. Discard any remaining juice. Cover and refrigerate for one week before serving. Store in the refrigerator up to two months. Yield: 3 cups

Try it; it’s interesting!

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Death by Decadence – Chocolate Cake

We celebrated my mother’s birthday along with Memorial Day this year, so Grammy and I headed down home for a picnic. We had ate outside on the deck and had burgers, chips, baked beans, macaroni salad, and corn roasted on the campfire. We ate out on the deck since the weather was finally warm!

As usual, I made my mother’s birthday cake. This year it was a monstrosity of a cake; it took nearly a full jar of peanut butter to complete!

Unfortunately, the project was pretty time consuming, and I was on a deadline so I wasn’t able to do a step-by-step, but I’ll give you a synopsis as best I can.

I only had one cake mix, so I stretched it. I added 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup oil, and 1 egg. Since this was going into a chocolate cake, I made the sugar a slightly heaping 1/4 cup and added 2 T cocoa powder.

I always substitute out milk for water when making a box cake, a trick I learned from an amazing woman and talented cook back when she made my 14th birthday cake!

I baked the cake in 3 pans. On one of the layers of cake, I used a bowl to cut out the center leaving a hole.

Then I whipped up some peanut butter icing. I have absolutely no measurements for this. I used nearly a whole jar of peanut butter and a 2 pound bag of powdered sugar and a drizzle of vanilla. Whip on high and add in milk until you reach your desired texture. Good Luck. Godspeed.

Now comes the fun part. I laid my first cake layer down on the plate and drizzled it with Hershey’s syrup. After the syrup, I spread straight-from-the-jar peanut butter. On top of that, I piled on the peanut butter frosting. Next came the cut-out cake layer. I filled the hole with Peanut Butter M&Ms and more Hershey’s syrup, and peanut butter and peanut butter frosting followed. Finally – the last layer of cake. I used almost all of the frosting to over the outside of the cake. This cake probably weighed 10 pounds.

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In the remaining frosting, I crumbled some of the cake that had been cut from the center layer. I set the cake/frosting mixture aside while I worked on the next step: chocolate ganache. Now, this was my first attempt at ganache and I followed Martha’s recipe. I bought mini Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chips, but I don’t think that the cocoa count was high enough.

Next time I’ll be sure to get a more quality chocolate. I drizzled the ganache over the cake, crumbled the cake/icing mixture around the edges and scattered in some mini and whole-sized Reese’s Cups and finished it off with a sprinkle of peanuts. This cake was layered, drizzled, smothered, scattered, and decadent! You should’ve seen my mother’s face when I pulled off the lid of the cake carrier.

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It was such a pretty day that when we rolled up she and Daddy were out on the hammock.  We had corn on the cob roasted in the fire ring and ate on the deck. Nothing like country living.

This month has involved so much traveling! I went to Canada, Pittsburgh, up above Harrisburg, down home in WV and the next trip will be to the beach! I hope the warm weather holds out because I need some salt water to soothe my soul.