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Candied Bourbon Pecans

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Candied Bourbon Pecans

My friend Heather recently gave me a Hy-Vee magazine that came to her in the mail (she’s an Aisles Online fan) and it has some cool appetizer recipes that I thought I might try.  The first contestant is these pecans….warning, the hubster decided we should smoke them, so the first round went in the trash.  Turns out you need to cook them a little lower than the oven temperature.  Round 2 also involved the pellet smoker but at a lower temp.  YUMMO!

I think they would be good in the oven as well, and one thing I might try for Round 3 is to toast the pecans in the oven a bit, then add the gooey, bourbony deliciousness. Check out the recipe below – might be great for holiday gifts!

Candied Bourbon Pecans

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Ingredients:

1/2 bourbon
2/3 C dark brown sugar
1/4 C butter
1 tbsp. finely grated ginger
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 1/2 C pecan halves
cinnamon sugar, optional
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or smoker to 225).  In a saucepan, bring bourbon, dark brown sugar, butter, ginger, salt and pepper to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes until thickened.

Stir in pecans.  Pour on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until toasted.  If smoking, placed on foil vegetable-type rack (or we used screen from the hardware store) for about 30-40 minutes.  Toss occasionally.  Cool and toss with cinnamon sugar if desired.

The BEST pickles

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Yes, I know I’ve been absent for a LONG time, but I now have full staff at work, and hopefully time to share some great recipes I’ve been saving for the last few months!

We have a neighborhood shrimp boil every year around the middle of October, and this year, my friend Becky brought the most amazing pickles.  They’re sweet and spicy with just the right kick and crunch, and the best part is that they’re SO simple to make.

I’m sharing the recipe below, and if you add anything to change it up, please post below in the comments so I can try that as well.  (she says that some people add cauliflower and carrots)  Enjoy, and see you back  here again soon!

~Connie Kaye

Becky's Sweet and Spicy Dills

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Ingredients

1 gallon whole dill pickles
5 cloves chopped garlic
1 jar sliced, drained jalapenos, chopped
2 cups sugar

Chop or slice dill pickles as desired, reserving juice.  Add chopped garlic, chopped jalapenos and sugar.  Stir and place mixture back into pickle jar.  Add enough pickle juice to cover.   Place in refrigerator and turn daily for 2 weeks.  Enjoy!

 

Cheesy Chili Rice

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At our house, anything that even vaguely leans toward Mexican food is the bomb!  I’m sharing this easy side dish that goes with anything:

chili rice

Meet Cheesy Chili Deliciousness

Take cooked rice, throw in a little this and that, and voila, in 20 minutes you’re good to go!

Hope you enjoy, and are cheering for the 2015 WORLD SERIES CHAMPION KANSAS CITY ROYALS on Sunday for their home opener.  It also happens to be my birthday, so I’ve declared it a national holiday!!!!

Enjoy!

~Connie Kaye

Cheesy Chili Rice

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Ingredients:

2 cups cooked rice
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz. can of chopped, drained green chiles
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and place in a greased casserole dish, sprinkling with parmesan.  Dot with butter and bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes

No food in this post….but worth 5 minutes of your time!

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Today I was honored by the Department of Defense and it was not only a huge surprise, but a shock.

You see, I have an employee in the Air Force National Guard who is being deployed to United Arab Emirates.  And they honor ME?  What about his guy, who is making unbelievable plans to leave for 6 months, leaving his job (albeit temporarily), his family, his wife, etc…  basically HIS LIFE to serve his country.  And they honor ME?

When he told me a few months ago, I said “well, we aren’t at war over there, so you should be safe.”  He respects me too much, I guess, to not have replied “DUH you dumb blonde”.  Instead, he said, Syria???  Oh crap was my reply.   In a staff meeting his fellow co-workers asked him to send pictures.  I kinda reminded them that he’s not going on vacation.

At any rate, I’ve posted a picture below of the plaque I was honored with today at our Kansas Technical Education Authority meeting.  The ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve) unit in Kansas has recognized me for my support of Capt. Tincher (a.k.a. Eric) and the Kansas Board of Regents.  I’m still blown away.  He’s going to support our troops in Syria, and they honor ME?    Here’s the pic:

Today was about the military at the KS Board of Regents – check out @ksregents for more — we’ve done extensive work with Army University and articulating military training to specific college credit and there are a number of tweets about my presentation.

Thanks for stopping by — and don’t forget to thank those who serve.

~Connie Kaye

 

 

An EASY, yet fancy dessert!

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I LOVE creme brulee — actually, I love custard-type desserts.  I don’t make them often, but dinner at a friend’s house called for a little yummo action.

I wanted to share this super easy recipe, because it’s not at all complicated, and many of them are.  Vanilla beans – pish, posh — real vanilla (mine’s from Mexico) and some Grand Marnier and you’re good to go.  I also have the little kitchen torch, but if nobody’s looking, just grab your grill lighter and it will work in a real pinch 🙂

creme brulee

Give it a try – you’ll be glad you did!  Happy Friday Friends!

~Connie Kaye

Creme Brulee

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Ingredients:

 

1 extra-large egg  (large eggs work fine)
4 extra-large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for each serving
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the egg, egg yolks, and 1/2 cup of the sugar together on low speed until just combined. Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it’s very hot to the touch but not boiled (be careful that you don’t end up with scrambled eggs). With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream to the eggs. Add the vanilla and orange liqueur and pour into ramekins or small custard dishes until almost full.

Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken (they get kinda bubbly on top). Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.

To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar carmelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.

A cool salad idea

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We recently spent 10 days in heaven (well, Mexico to be exact — Cozumel) and while there, were served a Caesar salad in a very unique way.  I took a pic:

salad from mex

Super simple – basically they took a slice of cucumber and removed most of the inside, creating enough room for romaine leaf lettuce.  Add the dressing, a little mozzarella and shaved parmesan and oh man, was it good.  And it looked so cool.

Wanted to share an easy way to take a simple dish and impress your friends!!!

Happy almost Friday!

~Connie Kaye

The BEST (and easiest) Homemade Mac & Cheese

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We had a birthday party for the youngest daughter, Kristy, last month, and smoked a bunch of pork butts in anticipation of a United Way fundraiser (today) as well as her birthday.  I had made my famous and delicious cheesy potatoes but as I contemplated the number of men and kids attending, I thought I might whip up a quick batch of mac and cheese.

My sister came up with this recipe and it’s super easy, cheesy and delicious.  All you need is mac and cheese, powdered milk, velveeta and sharp cheddar.  I might add that at first I was only able to find these huge boxes of powdered milk, but now you can buy little packages of it which are really handy and work for those of us who don’t use this on a regular basis.

Be sure to use sharp cheddar and the more liquid the better when you pop it in the oven.  (I’ve actually started only buying sharp) Sooo good!

mac and cheese

Enjoy!

~Connie Kaye

Homemade Mac & Cheese

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Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 325 for glass dishes; 350 for metal.  Spray a 9 x 13 dish with non-stick spray.

Ingredients:
2 cups small size elbow macaroni
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
1 lb. Velveeta (1/2 of package)
8 oz. (at least) sharp grated cheddar cheese
1/4 pound butter

Fill a 3 qt saucepan 2/3 full with water, salt generously, and bring to a boil.  Add mac to boiling water, stir.  Allow water to return to boil and cook macaroni just to al dente stage.  This does not take long!!  It will cook more as you melt the cheese and also in the baking process.   Drain some of the water – leaving just enough to “almost” cover the macaroni.

Add nonfat dry milk to the macaroni and water.  Stir until milk is dissolved.

Cut Velveeta into chunks and add to the macaroni mixture.  Stir well, cover loosely and return to very low heat.  Add 1/4 lb. butter, cut into chunks and add to the mac and cheese mixture. Stir frequently until almost all of the Velveeta is melted.  Once that happens, pour into baking dish.  You may want to add more water or milk at this point.  Top with shredded sharp cheddar.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned to your preference.

It’s hatch chile time!

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I was lucky yesterday when I went to the grocery store – they were actually roasting the yummy chiles outside.  I go for the mild version, and one sample of roasted chiles with cream cheese in a tortilla, and I was hooked.

Stay tuned the next couple of days as I share some delicious creations.  And, if your store doesn’t sell them roasted, it’s super easy to do it  in the oven, stove or on the grill.

Very cool spice rack!

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Found these cool little magnetic spice containers at a market that sells items from around the world 🙂  Asked my wondrous husband to get a piece of flat iron, and voila, I have a spice rack!  Very little $$$ involved and looks pretty darn cool.  I bought some chalkboard stickers at a craft store, so I’ll be labeling them soon.

spice rackit’s a pretty sweet little deal and will be even better with labels!

~Connie Kaye