Monday, February 23, 2009

Soup's On...

Hey y'all, today I am going to switch gears away from the sweets. Today's entry is dedicated to Estelle, Maggie's 2nd grade teacher. She wrote me on Monday asking me to please make the recipes healthier, bless her heart she didn't grow up here. Wait until I tell her how vegetables really should be cooked. So today's recipe is for a soup that I made recently for the teacher's luncheon at Maggie's school. Maybe Estelle was just trying to make me feel good, but she asked for this recipe.

I do have to give proper recognition to the person who first gave this recipe to me, Rose Lane. Growing up I spent as much time at my house as I did at Rose Lane's. When I got married she passed this recipe along to me, and I can honestly say it is one of our favorites during the cold months. Try switching up some of the veggies in it. I usually just add whatever is already in the fridge.

When I make this, I make it in my Crock Pot. Let me stop here and tell you about one of the best inventions EVER for the Crock Pot....Slow Cooker Liners by Reynolds. You simply put one of these bad boys in your pot before turning it on, throw your ingredients in, stir, put the lid on and walk away. I know you are dying to know why these are so fab, so here it is....after you eat your delish meal all you have to do is pull the liner out and throw it away! Hello y'all less time scrubbing the pot means more time on Facebook!

So here is the pot-full of love recipe....enjoy! xoxox

Quick Minestrone

Saute the following in a little oil:
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon crushed basil leaves

Put the following into Crock Pot:
2 cans Bean with Bacon soup
3 soup cans of water
1 can beef broth
1 16oz can tomatoes (undrained)
1 cup cabbage, cut in long thin strips
1 cup cubed zucchini
1 chopped carrot

Stir the above together until smooth and add in the sauteed onions, celery, garlic and basil.

Cook on low for 8 hours. 30 minutes before you want to serve, add in 1/2-3/4 cup small pasta, like Orzo.

Please note with the addition of pasta to this, the soup thickens up. Obviously the more pasta you add the thicker the soup. Additionally, the last time I made this, I started it at 11pm the night before I needed it, and just cooked it on low all night. The house smelled fabulous when I got up the next morning and the soup was done. I felt like my day was off to a great start!

Hope y'all enjoy this, hurry and make it before the weather gets to warm! xoxox

A Monday Fix

Woo-Hoo, here we are at the beginning of another week. In my house, we like to say, "gotta bad case of the Mondays!" Well listen up, bad Monday's are about to come to a screeching halt with the addition of a Coca Cola Cake, or as my grandmother Eunice would say "Co-cola Cake". Y'all, this cake is like nothing you have ever had. When you take your first bite, you will want to close your eyes and have a little moment to yourself.

Unlike the Hot Milk cake, this cake is based off of a cake mix. How cool is that?! If you get in the kitchen and dig your heels in, you can have this cake mixed and in the oven in about 8 minutes. What could be better....except maybe someone doing it for you AND cleaning up!

Y'all have a great Monday and stop off at the Teeter, Ukrops or whatever your grocery store of choice is and grab the ingredients for this, you will not be sorry.

Coca Cola Cake

Preheat oven to 350 and grease or spray a 9x13 pan.

Beat together the following:
1 box white cake mix
4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 stick of melted butter
1 cup of Coke
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon quality vanilla extract

Beat this for 4 minutes on medium high, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Stir in:
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

Pour batter into pan and bake about 35 minutes. Once the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and the cake springs back when you press on it, it is done.

While the cake is cooling for 15 minutes, make the frosting/icing.

Coke Icing

1 stick of butter
4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/3 cup Coke
1 1lb box of powdered sugar, sifted

Melt the butter of medium heat. As butter is melting, stir in the cocoa and Coke. Stirring constantly, bring this to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in the powdered sugar. Mix until the icing thickens up and is smooth. You can add a splash of Coke if you need to.

Pour the icing over the top of the cake. Spread it so that the entire cake is covered. Once it sits, it will harden up. Wait 30 minutes before cutting the cake.

Franny's notes:
Like the previous recipe, a stand mixer is top of my list for beating. Also, right up at the top are the silicone spatulas from Sur Le Table. Wow, these things rock it out! My mom gave me the one and only that I own, and it has reindeer on it. I love it so much that I refuse to put it away until the Christmas season. That being said, I think that the store comes out with themed spatulas for each season. Not as cheap as the dollar store, but will certainly last you longer than 1 week! I also have to give kudos to my 9x13 Wilton cake pan. This is the only pan that I make this cake in. It comes out perfect every single time. So grab your 40% off coupons from Michaels and Hobby Lobby and treat yourself to a great cake pan. I am sure that glass pans would do fine, this is just what makes me happy.

In terms of the ingredients, any white cake mix will do. I usually get whatever is on sale or better yet a "buy one get one" deal. The buttermilk I use is usually the fat free, only because that is all I can usually find in a quart container. I know that I don't have to remind you about my thoughts on butter and vanilla, if you need a reminder, go back and read my notes on the Hot Milk cake.

Savor each bite of this trashy sounding, but incredibly fantastic cake. xoxox

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Old Southern Standby's

I am kicking off this new blog with a recipe for a cake that I just made this week for a friend's birthday. The recipe is for Hot Milk Cake with Caramel Icing. When you mix this up, do not be freaked out by the consistency. It is fairly thin, but bakes up beautifully. When I made this, I poured the batter into 2 round pans to make a layer cake. After pouring the icing over it, I wished I had done it as a 9x13 "sheet" cake. The icing is quite thin; however, it hardens up as it cools on the cake. You do not have to use the Caramel Icing for this cake, that is just what I used.

Before I give you the recipe, I will say that unless otherwise noted, I use the hound out of my Kitchen Aid stand mixer for all my recipes. I typically let batter beat on medium high for a minimum of 4 minutes. I use the paddle attachment and do stop halfway through to scrape down the sides of the bowl. If you do not have a stand mixer, a GOOD hand mixer will work just fine. Blah Blah Blah onto the recipe!!

Hot Milk Cake

Preheat oven to 325 and grease/spray either 2 round pans or a 9x13 pan.

Beat together:
4 eggs (preferably room temperature)
2 cups sugar

Add in:
2 cups sifted flour (I only use Swans Down, but regular flour is okay too!)
2 teaspoons baking powder

Let this beat/mix until the flour in mixed in and then add:

1 cup milk, in which you have melted 1 stick of butter

Beat this mixture for about 4 minutes and then add:

1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract

Pour batter into prepared pan at bake for 30-35 minutes or until knife comes out clean from the center. Cool.

Caramel Icing

Boil together the following:
2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt

Boil until the temperature reaches 'soft ball' on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.

Beat (I used a hand mixer at this point) adding up to 1/2 cup more of milk while beating to prevent icing from becoming cement.

Pour over cake. let the icing "set up" on the cake before cutting.

Enjoy.........Let me know how it goes for you!

A few additional notes:

I only use real unsalted butter. I also only use a good quality pure vanilla extract. If you belong to Costco or BJ's, you can get a 16 oz bottle for short money. Seriously y'all, please do NOT use that cheap imitation mess that cost 99 cents at Wal-mart. If you are taking the time and effort to make a "from scratch" cake, then use quality ingredients.

Can't wait to hear from you! xoxox

What is this about?!

OK y'all, so after many requests for several recipes, I decided that the easiest way to get them to you was to just create a blog. Welcome to Franny's Favorites. Like the name? I thought it was catchy and reminded me of my oldest and dearest friends. I will post my favorites on here as I come across them. Feel free to tell me what you think of them.....the good, bad and the ugly!

For those that read this who may not know me, I am a mom to Maggie and Quinn and wife to Brian. I grew up in Richmond, VA, moved to Boston, MA after I got married, and we are now settled in upstate SC. For as long as I can remember, I have loved to cook. When I was in my early 20's I had a small baking business called 'A Smackeral of Love'. I did this mostly out of my parents kitchen. Once I got married and left Richmond, I lost my baking focus. In the past several years I have found that passion again. I am more than thrilled to be sharing recipes with you. To me that is the greatest compliment! I will also try to put in kitchen products that I love and will never be without in my kitchen.

I will be including all different kinds of recipes, not just baked goods....although they are my favorite! I may even post what I am fixing for dinner, if I think it is worth your time. This mama is all about keeping things fairly simple, especially at the end of the day! Feel free to send me your recipes as well, and I will post them up here and give you props, after all who doesn't want props?!

I am putting this disclaimer in, that I really do not know what I am doing with this whole Blog thing, but I am sure that as I go along, I will get better at it, so please have patience. xoxox