Saturday, March 31, 2012

Old Fashioned Cornbread

We love cornbread around this house.  But we despise any cornbread recipe with sugar!  I get so disappointed when I see cornbread in other places (restaurants, other people's houses, etc.) and it's light and fluffy and it's served with some sort of honey butter.  The cornbread we make here hardly even needs regular butter.  It's perfection all on it's own.  We get it from the Hodgson Mill bag of yellow corn meal, but I just had to share.


  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups yellow corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Put shortening in cast iron skillet in 400 degree oven.  Mix corn meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; add egg and buttermilk.  Batter should be thick.  Add heated shortening to batter and put batter into heated skillet and bake in 400 degree oven 25-35 minutes or until brown.

This recipe also works for muffins.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Cady, Rachel, and I made the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes again this year for St. Patrick's Day.  I realized that while I've posted about them two years in a row, I didn't include the actual recipe from The Culinary Chronicles.


  • 1 cup stout beer
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup quality unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 1½  teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup non-fat yogurt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake cups with paper liners.  

Put the butter with the stout beer in a sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk in cocoa powder until smooth. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a mixer bowl, beat the eggs and the sour cream together. Add the beer/butter/cocoa mixture and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat briefly just to combine. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined, making sure to incorporate little pockets of flour on the bottom so that the batter is of equal consistency everywhere.

Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way if you want flatter cupcakes and 3/4 if you want domed. Bake for about 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely to room temperature.


  • 4 to 5 cups confections sugar
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur

In a large mixer bowl, whip the butter for several minutes until very light and fluffy. Slowly add about half of the powdered sugar a few spoonfuls at a time until incorporated. Slowly drizzle the Irish Cream and whip until combined. Add the rest of the powdered sugar until your desired consistency has been achieved.

Fill a pastry bag and pipe buttercream on top of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with sprinkles or other adornments. Enjoy!  (This makes a lot of buttercream so that you can pipe large mounds on the cupcakes. If you prefer less on your cuppies, halve the amounts.)

We made a few changes to the recipe, using a little less sugar and substituting the sour cream for non-fat yogurt.  I also made a huge mistake this year, adding twice as much butter than the recipe called for.  (I don't know what I was thinking.)  So the cupcakes were really moist and fell apart easily, but they were also really greasy on the bottom.  They were still delicious, but that's not the healthiest mistake to make!  Most people would use Guinness and Bailey's for the beer and liquor, but we used Milk Stout Nitro from Left Hand, a Colorado brewery that actually replaced Guinness after there was a shortage, in huge markets like Chicago!

I've seen some recipes with variations like a whiskey ganache, but around here, we like this one!  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ten on Ten :: March 2012

Today was kind of a weird day, but I completed Ten on Ten anyway.  It's not my favorite set.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

The Elation Vacation - Day 6

For our last morning on the ship, we decided to meet up at the dining room for breakfast.  It was a little different than dinner and lunch, the way the service worked, but the food was delicious.  I decided to risk it all and order eggs Benedict, which I'm usually pretty skeptical about, but it was worth it.  Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Nicole, Brandon, and Kenzie after breakfast because they had to get off the boat early so Brandon could get back to work in plenty of time.

We had to be out of our room by a certain time, so we went back down to gather all our belongings.  We decided to meet in the library to hang out until we could get off the boat, but they were actually setting up a wedding for the next cruise!  I didn't realize people actually got married on cruise ships!  Cool.  So we moved up to the buffet and found a table right at the back of the boat with a nice view of downtown New Orleans.

Since the cruise line thought we were flying out that day, we were able to get off earlier than everyone else, but we waited with them until the highest number called.  When we got off the boat, we had to go to this warehouse to pick up our bags then wait in a line to go through customs.  It was a lot of waiting, but we finally got out!  Aunt Joy and Uncle Robert took our bags to our hotel so we could just head downtown on foot.

We walked down the Riverwalk and then out to the French Quarter.  Rachel really wanted fried oysters, so we had lunch at a restaurant called Felix's near Bourbon Street.  I didn't know I liked fried oysters until I tried one, so I had jambalaya.  It was good anyway.

After lunch, we walked down Bourbon Street for a while.  It was pretty crazy down there with all the bars crowded and people everywhere.  It was the Monday before Mardi Gras, and the festivities were already getting started.  We walked around in the nearby area for a while too.  That's when we saw a bunch of religious people yelling at the drunks on speaker phones.  What they had to say and their signs were pretty humorous, I must admit.

We were able to get a table at Cafe du Monde for some beignets and coffee.  Well, I had hot chocolate.  It was so busy that the service was a little slow, and we had to grab a table that hadn't yet been bussed.  But it was so worth it.  It was incredibly good and worth all the hype!

We were going to watch the parade that night, but we were all getting exhausted from walking around.  Plus we were all pretty much in shorts and t-shirts.  I was the only one with a light jacket and it was a lot colder than we anticipated.  The parade wasn't going to start until after the sun went down, so we decided to head back to the hotel.  But not before people watching!  There were definitely some interesting people and interesting outfits.

A cab driver at the port had given my mom his card, so she called him to pick us up.  That was a whole ordeal.  We ended up waiting almost an hour for him because of the traffic from the parade.  Once he picked us up, we got on the highway to get back to the hotel and we saw the parking lot that was the highway going the opposite direction.  Apparently there was another parade after that and the traffic was just a nightmare!

When we got back to the hotel--which was very nice, I might add--Rachel and I decided to hang out in the hot tub for a while.  It was outside and quite, which was nice.  Afterward, we went to the business center to get online for the first time in a week.  Unfortunately, we had to wait for over 15 minutes while two boys were on the only two computers looking at random girls on Facebook and chatting with someone.  Super annoying!  When we got back to the room, we all settled in and watched The Voice.  None of us had ever seen it before, but I liked it a lot.

The next morning, we had to get up at 5:00 something in order to catch the shuttle to the airport.  When we got there, the security line was out of control.  At DIA, they have a really big roped off area to accommodate long lines, but this line was so small, so the real line extended all the way across the main lobby.  We got in a second line that turned out to be a lot shorter, but we were ahead of a family of four who we later discovered were running late for their flight.  When we were about 10 minutes from just having our boarding passes looked at, we heard them say they had to board their flight in exactly 10 minutes.  Sucks to be them!  We didn't even get out of security for another 15 minutes after that.  I wonder if they made their flight.

When we got to the gate, we all grabbed some breakfast in the terminal and waited to board.  The flight was full, so my mom and I checked our bags.  Getting on the plane, we discovered none of us were sitting together for either return flight.  I ended up sitting in the first row of non-first class seats, so I got off the plane really fast.  I tried to read The Help while in flight, but I literally fell asleep with the book open!

Our layover wasn't too bad in Houston.  My mom and I grabbed some food to eat on the plane before boarding and Rachel was able to check her bag on that full flight too.  While on the flight back to DIA, I ended up finishing The Help and starting The Hunger Games!  Before I knew it, we were back in Denver, which was actually quite a bit warmer than we all expected.

Overall, it was a good vacation, but I don't know if cruises are my favorite.  That last afternoon on the boat really got to me.  We got off the boat Monday morning, but it wasn't until Wednesday evening that I no longer felt like I was on a rocking boat.  Also, I'd rather go to some exotic location and be able to spend more time there than traveling.  I think next time I go to Mexico, it will be to an all inclusive resort.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Elation Vacation - Day 5

We once again had breakfast at the buffet on the lido deck our final day at sea.  It was pretty easy to find everyone and we all headed up there around the same time.  Rachel and I went up to breakfast ready to lay out for a while.  It was still really sunny and warm outside, so we were desperate to catch some more rays.

When we found some good chairs and established our territory, there were hardly any other guests out.  Slowly, people started filing onto the deck to swim, to eat, and to sunbathe.  Luckily, we got two of the best chairs on the deck.  We continued to try to finish our books. (And Rachel finally did!)  I was itching to get in another work out while we were on the ship, and with her ankle, she decided to stay on the deck for a while longer.

I went up to the gym again and enjoyed their high tech machines and great view.  Rachel and I tried to find everyone for lunch, but they weren't in the dining room.  When we check the buffet, we found them.  That's when I had the worst lunch ever!  I mean, it was delicious, but imagine all the food you eat at a baseball game or a carnival...that's what I ate in one meal!  I guess being on the cruise finally got me!

That day the boat was really rocky and it started getting pretty bad while we were eating lunch.  I went back to the room with Rachel to lay down for a while.  She was definitely getting sea sick.  My mom found us back in the room, so we all went upstairs for some trivia games.  I think after that, we went back to the room to take a nap.

Dinner at 6:00 came pretty early every night when we were all sharing a shower and an outlet.  Our last dinner menu on the ship was pretty good, but it was actually the appetizers that really had everyone's stomachs growling.  I'm sure our two waiters had their hands full with the two to four appetizers that everyone ordered!  So much good food and we all wanted to try everything! Because of the rocking on the boat, there wasn't a song after everyone finished eating, which Jayson was pretty bummed about.  But as he promised, he taught me his trick.  I'll show you someday, if you ask!

We went to another comedy show that night.  It was the same guy (for the fourth time), but he was still hilarious!

Since that was our last night on the ship, we had to go back to the room early to pack in order to put our bags out by 11:00.  I think we just called it a night after getting everything together.

Sadly (or maybe stupidly) I only took a handful of pictures that day.