Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sallee'sSix - The Brownie-Blondie Edition

Brownies. One word that makes me think: crinkled, chewy, chocolate squares of fudgy deliciousness.

Blondies. Buttery, tender squares of sweet richness. Okay, I have to stop or start pulling blondie ingredients off of the pantry shelves.

Non-chocoholics rejoice because this recipe list includes blondies for you.

1. Zucchini Brownies   Gardeners, your zucchini plants are producing like crazy. You are tired of making zucchini bread, zucchini relish, etc... How about some zucchini brownies? Trish, over at "Mom on Time Out", has a wonderful zucchini brownie recipe just for you!

2. Dulce de Leche Brownies  Special occasion coming up and your short on time? Try these brownies that start with a Ghiradelli Brownie Mix and are topped with Dulce de Leche Milk Caramel Spread.

3. White Chocolate Decadence Brownies  I promised non-chocoholics that I would include some brownies for them. Here is my first offering, a platinum blondie from Leigh Anne over at "Your Homebased Mom".  Six ingredients for the blondie and five ingredients for the frosting. Decadent and easy. 

4. Caramel Crunch Blondies  Dorothy Kern, from "Crazy for Crust",  made these blondies to send to an Armed Forces member in a care package. Dorothy has more blondie recipes that you may like, Lemon Coconut Blondies and Nutter Butter Butterscotch Blondies. Three blondie recipes from one link. Woohoo! Now you know why she is one of my favorite six for the brownie edition. 

Tip: This recipe uses caramels and mini-chocolate crunch bars. Bookmark this recipe or post,  and bake blondies using those left over Halloween candy bars that your children received.

5. Brown Butter Caramel Toffee Chip Blondies  My mouth is watering just from typing the name! Luscious, buttery, and richness (singing voice) are playing a melody to my taste buds. Stephanie, over at "Back for Seconds" is a sweet genius! 45 minutes to sweet satisfaction! PLUS she has a yum-a-liscious Snickers Brownie .

Tip: The Snickers brownie recipe uses mini-candy bars. Use those extra Halloween candy bars that the kids received. 

 6. My Kid's Favorite Brownies  From Shelly over at "Cookies and Cups",  a simple brownie recipe that will transport you back into childhood. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

SalleeShares - Food Network Star Week 9

The Big Apple, New York City. I have never been to New York and can understand the excitement of the five finalists. I would be gawking and chattering like a chipmunk. To walk down the halls of the Food Network offices would be so scary-marvelous.

Woohoo! I am celebrating. Last week's Bonham Business prediction is in perfect alignment with the decision made by the Food Network Star (FNS) mentors. Butcher Babe Loreal Gavin went home.

A bit of advice for Loreal: Practice talking and teaching about food. Then, try again.You can do it Loreal. Your point of view was made for television. Yes, I am trying to encourage Loreal. After all, we both ride motorcycles and biker chicks need to hang together. 

Week 9 was about two challenges.

1. Visit a Chelsea Market business and learn about a summer staple. THEN, give a live camera presentation to the mentors who were back at Food Network HQ. No redoes here.

2. Solve a food problem for one of Rachael Ray's viewers. Rachael Ray is my cookin' shero! I know, I'm corny, but I love Rachael Ray. 

Challenge 1
I disagreed with the mentors decision on who did the best job. Luca has star power, a 1000 watt smile, and charisma. He did a great job and handled Bobby Flay's question well. Luca's smile shone through that camera lens and engaged the judges and viewers. However, the mentors couldn't hear me and picked Nicole Gaffney.

Nicole pulled everything together and did a great job. Remember, last week I did say that if she would quit trying so hard and RELAX, we would see a more polished Nicole. We did see the professional, friendly and capable Nicole, finally.

The Bottom Three
Cowboy Lenny just wasn't connecting with the yogurt, or the camera.
Texas gal Sarah started out well with the Santa Clause melon, but forgot to taste it.
Butcher Babe Loreal did not volunteer any information about why viewers should shop for meat at a butcher shop, her POV.

Challenge 2
  • Nicole's advantage for winning Challenge 1: assign the family food problems to the other finalists.This challenge should have been fairly easy; if you used some common sense. Unfortunately, "common sense is so rare that it oughta be a super power!" Yes, it is a T-shirt slogan, but I really like saying it. Nicole put siracha sauce on a plate for children to eat. The youngest boy promptly spit out the spicy spoonful of food his mom fed him. Not what you want to see happen on national TV.
  • Luca  did well, but unfortunately for him - the kids saw him put the cauliflower in the food processor. You cannot let the kids see the veggies!  Giada also pointed this out to the other mentors.
  • Loreal made an involved dish of asparagus stuffed chicken breast for a family that wanted quick, budget friendly food for on the go.
  • Sarah made sure everyone knew that she had cooked Loreal's dish for her own husband on Valentine's Day because the dish is special. Catty comments will not make you the next Food Network Star, Sarah. The mentors were clear that Sarah had not connected with the family, or the audience. 
  • Lenny ripped his jeans during his cooking demo, OMG! However, he hid it well and continued with his cooking. Thumbs up to Lenny. None of the mentors realized  he had a wardrobe malfunction until he told them. Personally, I would have kept that info to myself. 

Who Will Go Home? - Week 10

Out of the final four, Lenny, Sarah, Nicole, and Luca, I predict that.....I am nervous to make this prediction...Sarah Penrod will be the finalist to go home next week.

My decision is based upon the fact that Sarah missed the mark on both of the challenges.

  1. During the first challenge, she should have known to taste the Santa Clause melon before talking about it. Taking a bite out of half a melon to answer Bobby Flay's question," What does it taste like?" was a beginner's mistake. 
  2. Yes, I did not like Sarah's catty behavior. BUT, as a mom, she should have been able to connect with the single mom and children.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

SalleeShares - Food Network Star Week 8

Out of the kitchen and on the road.
I thought Food Network Star was set to record Sunday night, but it was not in the recorded list Monday morning.  (shrug) Oh well, stuff happens right? I watched Food Network Star Week 8 last night, 7/24.

This week's challenge was a team challenge to cook and present a "One of a Kind " four course meal. First, each contestant was treated to an expensive, "One-of -a- Kind" dining experience in a famous Vegas dining establishment. $1,000 ice cream sundae,or a $777 Kobe burger anyone? 

Redemption for Team Captains
Next, Sarah Penrod and Emma Frisch were surprised by being told they would be the team captains. A chance at redemption for the bottom pair!  Each team was assigned high dollar ingredients like Mangalitsa pork, Wagyu beef, langoustines, and sea urchin. The team captains assigned an ingredient to each team member.

Team Sarah, Luca, and Nicole
 Sarah and Luca wowed the judges with their personal connections, but Luca's nerves got the best of him and his hands were shaking like aspen leaves.  Kudos to Alton Brown for quietly telling Luca to relax. 

Nicole Gaffney did okay, but her story was confusing. She talked about her firefighter husband and his buddies liking chicken wings, then said she was going to the coast of Thailand for tamarind glazed frog legs. Huh? A chicken wing slightly resembles a frog leg, but Huh?

Sarah, Luca, and Nicole won the team challenge easily. How? They had a more general theme of "Around the World" which fit everyone's POV. 

Team Emma, Lenny, and Loreal
Emma picked the theme. Unfortunately for Lenny and Loreal, "Gods and Goddesses", was a terrible fit for both of their POV's. Just my opinion. All of the judges agreed that one word described their dining experience - Weird. Not what you want to hear is it? None of the three team members was able to present a memorable dish. Loreal did get a compliment on her Chicken Skinagrette. 

Who Went Home?
Sarah Penrod was my choice to go home. Wrong. Emma Frisch went home. Last week I said she, Emma, wasn't going to make the final four and she didn't. Yes, I am rationalizing being wrong. Just let me have that little crumb, okay? 

Sallee's Prediction for Food Network Star - Week 9 The Rachael Ray Show

Hmmm, who do I think is going home? Based on over all performance, I think it is between Loreal Gavin or Sarah Penrod. Both gals have moments of brilliance. However, based upon Sarah's comeback performance I think she will be able to continue competing. 

My prediction is.........Loreal Gavin.   Love Butcher Babe, but she isn't consistent with her POV, or cooking.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cinnamon Cake Waffle Cherry Torte

Cinnamon Cake Waffle Cherry Torte

This is a great pantry style dessert to make ahead of time. It is similar to a refrigerator cake because it should be refrigerated for 3 hours to overnight, once it is assembled. BUT the end result is worth the wait! The cinnamon cake waffles and whipped cream create a moist, cinnamon flavored layer that is accompanied perfectly with the lightly spiced cherry filling.

The cinnamon cake batter will yield 8 - 6.5 inch waffles. You will use 4 waffles for one torte.

Tip: Place extra waffles in a freezer bag and freeze for another day. Thaw waffles. Serve topped with ice cream and fruit. 

Batter Ingredients for Cinnamon Cake Waffles
  • 16.5 oz. box of extra moist white cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon  
Tip: Keep two boxes of white cake mix in the pantry at all times. White cake mix is a versatile ingredient that can be used to make a wide variety of cakes, cookies, dessert waffles, and more. 

 Ingredients for One Torte       Yield: 4-6 servings
  • 21 oz. can of cherry pie filling or topping
  • 14 oz. can of sweetened whipped cream  I used the light version and it was great!
  • Ground nutmeg
  •  4 - six and a half inch cinnamon cake waffles

Directions for Cinnamon Cake Waffles
1. Place the first five ingredients in a 1.5 quart bowl. 

2. Blend on low speed until moistened. About 30 seconds.

3. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.

4. Preheat your waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions 
for waffles

5. Lightly oil your waffle iron. 
Mine is nonstick and I use pan spray before cooking each waffle.

6. Place 1/2 cup of batter in center of preheated waffle iron.

7. Cook the waffle for 2-3 minutes, or until the waffle is golden brown.
8. Place the waffle on a cooling rack until completely cool. 

9. Repeat numbers 5-8 until all of the batter is gone.

My yield was eight -  six and a half inch waffles.

Assembling the Torte
1. Place first waffle on your serving plate.

2. Spread a generous amount of whipped cream on the waffle.

3. Spoon 3-4 Tbsp. of cherry filling on top of the whipped cream.
Sprinkle cherry filling very lightly with nutmeg. 1/16th of a tsp.

4. Place another waffle on top of the cherry pie filling. 

5. Repeat number 2-4 until all of the waffles have been stacked 
and topped with whipped cream and cherry filling.  See pictures below

6. Wrap the assembled torte lightly with aluminum foil, or place a large bowl
over it as a lid.

7. Place the assembled torte in the refrigerator for about three hours, or overnight.

8. Immediately before serving, add a layer of whipped cream to top of torte. Cut
and serve immediately.

Yield: 4-6 servings.
Homemade happiness on a plate!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sallee Shares: FoodNetworkStarWeek 7

I could not wait to watch Food Network Star. Which Star Salvation contestant had been chosen to go to Las Vegas?

My choice was Luca. I based my choice upon the fact that Luca had described Geoffrey Zakarian's omelet as a "French Omelet" and why it was a French omelet. Then he described the flavors in the omelet. Reuben's description was about the flavor profile of the omelet.

My choice was absolutely correct! Luca appeared in Las Vegas with the other six finalists of Food Network Star. The other finalists were amazed and stunned by Luca's improvement. Twice I heard Luca being asked if he used the Rosetta Stone to improve his English. His 1,000 watt smile was constantly flashing and camera engagement was not an issue.

Cowboy Lenny is such a character! He had the crowd at the pool eating out of his hand. He promised a belly flop in the pool if he won the challenge. He was not lying. Lenny took off his hat, unbuttoned his shirt, and belly flopped into the pool. The judges were fairly speechless. My eyes will not forget that scene anytime soon!

The contestant going home was Chris Kyler. Chris is such a personality, but he just couldn't get his food quality to match his on camera presence.

The rest of the finalists.
Nicole Gaffney is going to have to RELAX. In my opinion, she is pushing herself too hard and is having trouble putting everything together. Her "Coastal" POV* is good. I like it.

Emma Frisch can cook, but her voice puts me to sleep. She is trying hard to be energetic, but I don't think she will make the final four.

Loreal Gavin, Butcher Babe, is not always being Butcher Babe. She morphed from Butcher Babe into Party Gal on this week's episode. Stop It Loreal, Dang!

My guess for the next finalist to go home?
I think it will be Sarah Penrod.
Sarah changed her POV two episodes ago to "Texas." She still isn't presenting a clear POV.

*POV = Point of View

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sallee's Six - The Summer Milkshake Edition

This week I am featuring my favorite treat. Give me a thick, frosty milkshake and I am a happy camper.

Milkshake Happy Hour

Steak n Shake has a buy one-get one free, BOGO sale, on milkshakes! Whoever thought up Milkshake Happy Hour is a genius. You can order any milkshake on the menu for half price from 2:00 - 4:00 AM and PM.

Bill and I stopped in at our local Steak and Shake for the Milkshake Happy Hour (2:00 PM-4:00 PM) this week. We ordered the Double Chocolate Fudge flavor. Oh my gosh! Thick, frosty chocolate, fudgy goodness in a cup. Topped with whipped cream and a cherry. I was so full that I didn't want supper.

Steak n Shake has twenty specialty shakes for you to try out.

Sallee's Six Milkshake Picks

No way could I pick a fave out of these six flavors! These are not in a certain order, the order is completely random.

(chanting voice) Strawberries, Apple Pie, and Fried Bananas Oh My!

Make your own amazing milkshakes at any hour. Just click on the links below for the recipes.

1. Strawberry Rhubarb Milkshake from the Dairy Good Life

2. Apple Pie Milkshake from fifteen spatulas

3. Fried Banana Milkshake from the little kitchen

4. Chocolate Coffee Milkshake from Crunchy Creamy Sweet

5. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Milkshake from Foodie Crush

6. Peanut Butter Cup Banana Milkshake from the Reluctant Entertainer

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Star Salvation Episode 6 - My Choice is Luca

Part 1 - Describe an omelette made by Geoffrey Zakarian was the first challenge in Star Salvation Episode 6.

When are we going to be able to SMELL that food cooking? Just watching the Iron Chef make a French-style omelette made me hungry.

When Luca flashes that 1000 watt, star-powered smile, I want to listen to him all day long. Plus, the man knows his food. Luca immediately informed me that Geoffrey had made a French-style omelette with no brown on it. Reuben and Chad both missed that in their descriptions.

Reuben's energy was jumping out of the screen at me. Geoffrey's omelette must have been amazing because Reuben took it with him. I would have too. 

Chad was obviously going home. He just wasn't coming up with much to say except, "perfect."

Part 2 - Another burger challenge.

Sigh. A point of view burger challenge.

The judges just aren't giving away which Star Salvation competitor is going to Las Vegas; Reuben or Luca?

Judges comments:

Luca - dry bun, good burger, good connection, but needed to talk more about the Texas side of his burger
Reuben - good burger, too many items on the burger, good story connection with his abuelo.

Personally, I think Reuben is still speaking too quickly. A staccato burst is the phrase that comes to mind when I listen to Reuben speak. Plus, he would have more star power if he would closely trim, or shave, that beard. 7/12/2014 Update: I watched Episode 6 again. Reuben's beard is much shorter than it has been. Good deal.

Luca is my choice to go to Las Vegas.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Meets Banana Split

  1. Light, airy whipped cream 
  2. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream 
  3. Strawberry preserves
  4. Chocolate syrup
  5. A banana

What a lovely list!

Today, I just needed to indulge myself by making a banana split.

A banana split served in a lovely, glass banana boat.

A banana split with three scoops of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, smooth, chocolate syrup intermingled with the sticky sweetness of strawberries, and topped with three, airy stars of whipped cream.

Yes, that is exactly what I indulged in. Want one too?


  • Remove the peel from a banana
  • Cut the banana in half longways and place it in a banana boat or bowl.
  • Top the banana with three scoops of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.
  • Warm one rounded Tbsp. of strawberry preserves in a microwave for 10 seconds. 
  • Stir the preserves. If it isn't syrupy, warm another 10 seconds.
  • Pour the strawberry syrup over the three scoops of ice cream.
  • Pour desired amount of chocolate syrup on next.
  • Top with whipped cream. I use the canned whipped topping that is found in the dairy case.
Your sweet indulgence banana split is ready to eat.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Steak! Steak! We Love Steak!

Craving a steak?

Bill and I love steak! However, we have been satisfying our need for red meat with hand-formed (by me), 80/20 ground chuck patties. But finally, the urge for juicy, hot, rare to medium rare steak overcame my resolve to stretch our food bucks.

This is how it happened: 
  1. I was pushing the shopping cart through the beef section of the local market.
  2.  Almost simultaneously, a packaged pair of beautiful, rib eye steaks caught my attention; AND I saw a SALE sign fastened to the shelf edge under the packaged steak pairs. 
  3. My self-talk went like this,"$13.36 for two 16 oz. rib eyes is cheap. That is less than a steak dinner at  C's Steakhouse. Why, that is only about $6.50 each for supper. What a bargain!" 
  4. The red, marbled perfection of each steak smashed the weakened wall of my budgeting resolve into splinters. Swiftly, I grabbed and put a packaged pair of glorious, rib eye steaks into the shopping cart.
  5. My traitorous brain was chanting, "Steak for dinner! Rib eye steak for dinner!"  I could hardly wait to get home and start preparing those gorgeous rib eyes.
I know you have done this too, so don't try to act innocent. All of us talk ourselves into buying things because the sign says,"SALE."

Grilling and broiling are popular ways to cook steak, but I pan fry my steaks. Okay, get the look of horror off of your face! 

Steaks taste marvelous when you prep them correctly and pan fry them in butter. 

The advantages of pan frying steaks in butter are:
  • No grill of any kind is needed.
  • No messy charcoal. 
  • No charcoal lighter is required
  • No flames burning your steak.
  • No hot oven. 
  • No unwieldy broiler pan. 
  • AND a rare to medium rare steak is done in three to four minutes . Steak is the perfect fast food. 
Have I convinced you to try pan frying your steaks in butter?

Good. Now, it is time to cook a pair of juicy, tender steaks to rare or medium rare perfection.

  • a meat mallet
  • a large nonstick skillet
  • 2  cold rib eye, porterhouse, or New York strip steaks; sliced 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick
  • meat tenderizer
  • garlic powder (optional)
  • chili powder (optional)
  • rainbow peppercorn blend in a pepper mill
  • fine sea salt
  • 2-3 Tbsp. salted butter

Have your side dishes prepared. Your cold steaks will only need to cook for three to four minutes each.
First, set the cold steaks on top of a piece of wax paper, or aluminum foil.
Then, apply meat tenderizer following the directions on the container.
Next, apply desired amount of seasoning to top side of the steaks.

Using the course side of a meat mallet, the side shown in picture,
gently beat the seasoning into the steak, or steaks.
Repeat seasoning on the other side of the steak. Gently beat the
seasoning into the steak.
I try not to thin the steaks more than 1/3 - 1/2 of the original thickness

A perfectly seasoned and tenderized rib eye ready to go
into a hot, nonstick skillet.

Place 2 Tbsp. of butter into a large, nonstick skillet that is
over medium high heat. On my gas range, I use the
high output burner and set the flame on 7. When the butter is melted
and browning put a steak in the pan.

Bill likes rare steak, so I always cook his first. Immediately after
placing the steak into the hot skillet, set a timer for two minutes.
Check at one minute and if the steak is nicely browned like the one below
turn to the other side. If the skillet is getting too hot, turn the
heat to 6, but no lower or your steak will not cook correctly.

When the 2 minute timer goes off, reset timer for 1 more minute.
Check bottom of steak and if it looks like the picture above,
turn it over and continue cooking.
Immediately remove steak to a plate when the 1 minute timer goes off.

  • Let the rare steak rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. 
  • If you are cooking a second steak, add 1 Tbsp. butter to the skillet and allow it to melt and begin browning. Then add your second steak.
  • For a medium rare steak, cook for 4 minutes. 2 minutes per side. Allow the steak to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.