Friday, April 18, 2014

Spring Recipe Corner: "Easy Hot Cross Buns"

A beloved Easter treat, hot cross buns are a popular during Lenten season and a Good Friday tradition to many, including in our household, where I baked them today for our Good Friday breakfast tradition.  

The preparation process with the rising of the yeast, mixing and all-around hoop jumping to get the dough just right can leave some frazzled and tired. I use an easy and time-saving shortcut method by using Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls and make use of  candied fruit leftover from making fruitcakes during the Christmas season. My family and I were happy with the results. 

For the history of hot cross buns, marking crosses on baked goods such as breads and buns dates back to pre-Medieval times and was meant to be a visible sign that the bread was “blessed” and had the power to ward off evil spirits and help the longevity of the bread by stopping it from molding or becoming stale too quickly. One story says hot cross buns origins date to the 12th century when an Anglican monk placed the sign of the cross on the buns to honor Good Friday. I came across a fun old rhyme about hot cross buns that says, "Half for you and half for me, between us two good luck shall be".  

"Easy Hot Cross Buns" 

1 can Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing

1/2 cup candied fruit 

Egg Wash Glaze: 

1 egg
1 tablespoon milk 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare egg wash glaze by whisking together one egg and one tablespoon of milk. Set aside. Remove each roll from can and place each on wax paper. Take each roll and gently knead dough together to form a ball of dough. Place each back on wax paper. Make a well in the middle of each ball of dough. Place 1 tablespoon of candied fruit in the middle of each ball of dough. Gently knead candied fruit into each ball of dough just enough to combine candied fruit into dough. Place back on wax paper. Place each one on baking sheet. Coat each with glaze. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown in color. Remove from oven and cool. When cooled, drizzle icing in cross shape on top of each. Enjoy!   

Disclaimer: This post is not a sponsored post by the Pillsbury company. I was not financially compensated by the Pillsbury company for this blog post. All opinions stated in this blog post are my own.    

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sponsored: “Sing Into Spring” with Disney Music Review and Giveaway

I am excited for the opportunity to review a set of Disney's preschool-age music CDs as part of "Sing Into Spring".  I was delighted by each of the four selections. 
I love the "Frozen" movie soundtrack. It includes the 2014 Academy Award winner for Best Original Song, "Let It Go", which I found inspiring as a grown up. The fun songs so perfectly match the wonder-filled movie.  I experienced such heartwarming emotions throughout the sweet song, "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"

I found the treasure with the spirited and energetic songs in Jake and the Never Land Pirates "Yo Ho, Matey!". 

I think Doc McStuffins "The Doc Is In" is a prescription for a joy-filled journey of the imagination.

DJ Shuffle has a variety of cheerful songs that make for a spirited playlist.

Thanks to the generosity of Walt Disney Records, I will be giving away a set of Disney CDs to not one, but TWO winners. One winner will receive the Preschool set of CD’s and the other will receive the Tween set. 
The Disney 4-CD Preschool CD set includes:
  • Disney Junior® DJ Shuffle
  • Jake & the Never Land Pirates: Yo Ho Matey®
  • Doc McStuffins; The Doc Is In®
  • FROZEN® Soundtrack
The Disney 4-CD Tween set includes:
  • Disney Channels® Play it Loud
  • Austin&Ally: Turn it Up® 
  • Doc McStuffins; The Doc Is In®
  • Teen Beach Movie® Soundtrack

To enter, leave a comment below and let me know which set you would like to win.   

Giveaway closes Wednesday, April 9 at Noon EST. Winner will be announced immediately. 

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary collection of Disney Music CDs to review as part of Entertainment New Media Network.  Giveaway is sponsored through the network by The Southern Fried Bride with prizes provided by Walt Disney Records. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ready for St. Patrick's Day with "Easy Irish Soda Bread"

St. Patrick's Day will soon be here and here is a favorite treat for this fun holiday. Irish Soda Bread is Ireland's version of a classic quick bread. Baking soda was introduced to the country in the 1840s and was used as a leavening agent in this bread made from staple ingredients. A tradition in the preparation of this bread, carried on by many to this day, including me, is to cut a cross shape into the dough with a knife before baking the bread to ward off the devil and protect the household. Many families have treasured recipes abounding with favorite variations of this beloved bread, including my Grandma Cleva's recipe. She loved buttermilk in her soda bread and I carry on her buttermilk tradition in my own recipe.

In the United States, this bread has come to be known by many as a dessert bread, but in Ireland, as with many traditional Irish families in the US, it is to this day enjoyed served with the main course meal rather than as a dessert bread
This is my recipe take on Irish soda bread that includes raisins, a favorite ingredient addition of mine for pairing with this bread's tangy flavor and tender texture topped with a hard crust.

"Easy Irish Soda Bread"

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
2 cups raisins
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and dusting of flour. In large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, margarine and raisins. Add egg and 1 cup of buttermilk. Stir until mixture is combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round shape and place on baking sheet. In small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk. Brush buttermilk mixture over bread. Use a sharp knife to cut a cross shape or an 'X' into the top of the loaf. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on wire cooling rack. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Fun Fat Tuesday Recipe: "Flameless Bananas Foster Bundt Cake"

New Orleans is a city dear to my heart. My husband was a Hurricane Katrina medical volunteer in NOLA days after that tragedy and went on to spend 6 weeks in the area taking care of patients many times out of a makeshift medical tent. When it came time to choose our honeymoon destination, New Orleans was our unanimous choice. We had an amazing time.

In December of 2012, I returned to New Orleans on a solo trip to fulfill my bucket list wish to visit NOLA during Christmastime! I had the most amazing time. I spent treasured time with my sorority Little Sister Susan. We both have December birthdays and it was priceless to be able to celebrate together. I stayed at the Le Pavillon Hotel in the French Quarter, which was my honeymoon hotel and how wonderful it was to see some of the same staff again. 

Today as NOLA celebrations for Fat Tuesday are underway, I am sharing my recipe tribute to one of my favorite desserts which was created in New Orleans at Brennan's Restaurant. I've invoked the name of this restaurant so beloved in my heart before. Bananas Foster is an amazing mix of bananas, caramel, cinnamon and rum. This dish is traditionally prepared by igniting the rum. I created a recipe for an easy, flameless version. I choose to cook the banana mixture until it thickens and has a syrupy texture. I decided to pay homage to this favorite NOLA recipe in a cake: a bundt swirl cake with a flameless bananas foster filling.

                            "Flameless Bananas Foster Bundt Cake"

2 1/2 cups King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup light sour cream
1 teaspoon Rodelle pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup "Flameless Bananas Foster Filling"

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 10 inch bundt pan with Baker's Joy spray or coat with cooking spray and sprinkle with flour. In large bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In separate mixing bowl, beat butter with mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add sugar and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream and mix well. Slowly add dry flour mixture to creamed butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour half of batter into the prepared pan. Add bananas foster filling mixture by the spoonful over batter around the pan, then lightly swirl together with wooden skewer or spoon handle. Cover with remaining cake batter. Bake 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert cake onto a plate. Enjoy!  

"Flameless Bananas Foster Filling"

1 medium banana, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon rum OR rum extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. When butter is melted, add brown sugar, cinnamon and rum. Stir to dissolve brown sugar. When mixture is bubbling at the edges, add chopped bananas and stir to coat bananas. Let bananas cook in the syrup, stirring often, until mixture has a thick and syrupy consistency.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mardi Gras Recipe: "Easy Mini King Cakes"

I love the history of the Mardi Gras celebration. Here are some fun facts for you about this annual event imparted to me by a number of the French Quarter's fabulous tour guides: 

*"Mardi Gras" is French for "Fat Tuesday"and it is an official holiday in the state of Louisiana since 1875.

*French explorer Sieur d'Iberville is credited with bringing the Mardi Gras tradition to America in 1699 because the festival had been celebrated as a major holiday in Paris, France since the Middle Ages.

*Some historians have said New Orleans' grand traditions began in 1827 when a group of students returned from school in Paris and donned strange costumes and danced their way through the streets during Mardi Gras after taking part in this type of revelry in Paris celebrations. Other history sources attribute early French settlers to Louisiana to the growing revelry of this literal holiday. During the years 1827-1833, the New Orleans' Mardi Gras celebrations became more elaborate, culminating in an annual Mardi Gras Ball. 

*The exact date of the first revelries cannot be determined, but  it was well-established by the middle of the Nineteenth Century. The Mystick Krewe of Comus presented its 1857 Torchlight Parade with a theme taken from "Paradise Lost" written by John Milton.

*The colors of Mardi Gras are purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power. 

I am serving up a "piece" of Mardi Gras tradition in a bite-size cake at my house today to celebrate. I am a huge fan of Nordic Ware baking pans because of their durability, non-stick coating and even baking nature. I love mini cakes for personal-size treats and this pan was perfect for my miniature King Cakes for Fat Tuesday. For their 65th anniversary, the Nordic Ware company released a special edition cake pan for mini cakes. They are called "bundtlette" cakes and I think the name is just as cute as the pan. 

Native New Orleanians and locals alike can tell you about the history behind the King Cake and here are some fun facts about this tasty treat. It is traditionally oval in shape, made from a sweet dough and covered with a poured sugar topping decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras-colored sugars of purple, green and gold, symbolizing the  Three Wise Men who visited the Christ Child. This cake tradition is believed to have begun with French settlers around 1870, who were themselves continuing a custom which dated back to Twelfth Century France, when a similar cake was used to celebrate the coming of the Magi twelve days after Christmas bearing gifts for the Christ Child. As a symbol of this Holy Day, a tiny plastic baby (symbolic of the baby Jesus) is placed inside each King Cake but other items sometimes used are coins, beans, pecans or peas. In 1871, the tradition of choosing the Queen of Mardi Gras was determined by who drew the prize within the cake. Today, finding the baby or other prize in the cake is a sign of good luck to the one who finds it. It can also mean the person who finds the prize has to host the next King Cake Party.

I make an easy mini King Cake using Pillsbury reduced fat cinnamon rolls and ready-made writing icing found in the cake decorating section of the baking aisle. It is customary to place a plastic baby inside the cake, but for times when I don't have or want to use a small plastic baby in the cake, I have found a good and fun substitute is to use a pecan instead, and the recipients had just as much fun seeing who finds the pecan in their cake. 

The glittery mask you see pictured is my new Mardi Gras mask, local made in NOLA with no rubber-band because it glues right on with eyelash glue! I am donning at multiple celebrations this year thanks to seeing fabulous Fleurty Girl maven Lauren wearing one and I was so happy to find one for purchase on her website before they sold out. 

"Easy Mini Bundt Pan King Cakes"

1 can Pillsbury reduced fat cinnamon rolls
1 shelled pecan  
1 small tube purple writing icing
1 small tube green writing icing
1 small tube yellow writing icing

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray mini bundt pan with cooking spray and dusting of flour. Remove rolls and glaze from can. Cut each roll in half to make each mini cake. In one of the pieces of dough, add the pecan and shape dough around pecan. In each mini cake mold, shape dough halves around center of bundt mold, then gently press the ends together. Bake 11-13 minutes, or until top is golden brown in color. Cool for 10 minutes and revert pan onto cooling rack or heat-safe surface and remove rolls from pan. Coat rolls with the glaze that comes with the can of rolls. I then drizzle the purple, green and yellow icings across the cakes in sections. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Now...enjoy your Fat Tuesday and as they say it in NOLA, "Laissez les bons temps rouler!" (let the good times roll!)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

10,000 Fans Celebration: "10-Carat Carrot Cake"

I launched my Facebook page for this blog in September 2011. I am elated and blessed to have had such a tremendous response from people who care to be a part of what I call the "SFB Family" through reading my blog and/or keeping up with the blog on Facebook. Last night I achieved a very special milestone on my SFB Facebook page and I am elated and blessed to share the news that the count reached 10,000 fans. I heard from fan #10,000 personally, and that made it even more special to me, because my readers are why I love being "here" in the first place.

I started this blog as a bride-to-be in Oklahoma on the verge of making a cross-country journey to New York following my honeymoon in June 2011. At that time, the lifelong Oklahoma girl became a bride and began a new chapter of my life in a new place. I sat out as a newlywed making new homemaking and cooking discoveries I have shared here and through my FB page.

In the time I have had my blog, I have been asked by several who have started their own blogs the question, "What secret to success can you give me for my blog?" My answer is always the same: the answer lies not within me, but within them. Your blog should be a reflection of your life, an extension of who you are. That has always been my aim. I believe when you are reflecting yourself, that who you are shows through in different aspects of your life that you choose to bring to your blog. One of those aspects of my life I aspired to reflect in my blog from the very beginning has been not just telling, but showing my readers the power of one person to touch someone else. The power each one of us has to do that through any size act of kindness. I believe from the small acts spring forth seeds to grow in size a tremendous amount of good in our world today.

Food traditions and family recipes have always been a special part of my life from the time I was a young child. I seek to share not only some of those recipes here, but the stories behind them, in some cases the people behind them, as well. In doing so, I have been inspired myself to explore in my kitchen new recipe creations honoring these same traditions I was raised with that I watched first-hand in my late Grandma Cleva's Oklahoma kitchen.

Here we are in that beloved kitchen in 1979. She taught me invaluable lessons about cooking and baking, so much of her technique is reflected in my recipes, in my kitchen today. 

As my blog is all about my journey, when I aspired to create a new recipe to celebrate 10,000 fans milestone, I looked to one of the new friendships I have made during my time here in Northern NY for inspiration because it was my heart sister in Christ, Denise, who requested I share a recipe for carrot cake. This blog post also marks the first time I have shared a "selfie" picture with you. Here are Sister Denise and I are last night at prayer time at our friend Sister Karen's home.

My recipe is a lightened-up version of this traditional cake. I couldn't resist naming it "10-Carat" not because it literally calls for 10 carrots in the recipe, but 10-Carat so perfectly describes the joy I receive from my readers every single day.

If you are a fan of The Southern Fried Bride on Facebook, this week I will be having 10 giveaways to celebrate 10,000 fans. If you have not visited my FB page, you can stop by here  and I would love it if you left a message to let me know you stopped by my little Southern fried corner of Facebook.

"Southern Fried Bride's 10-Carat Celebration Carrot Cake"
                                                               2 cups all-purpose flour
                                                             1/2 cup granulated sugar
                                                               1/4 cup brown sugar

                                                            1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
                                                            1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                                                                     1/2 teaspoon salt
                                          1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
                                                                  1/4 cup vegetable oil
                                                                           2 large eggs
                                                                           2 egg whites
                                                              1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                 2 1/2  cups grated carrots (7 medium carrots)

"Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting"

                                            1/2 (8-oz.) package 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, softened
                                                         2 tablespoons butter, softened
                                                             1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                                3 cups powdered sugar
                                                                 1- 2 teaspoons 2% milk
                   Optional Garnish: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 cup chopped pecans 

Cake preparation: Preheat oven to 350°. Coat 2 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in center of mixture. Set aside. In separate bowl, whisk together pineapple, oil, eggs and vanilla. Add pineapple mixture to flour mixture, stirring until moistened. Fold in carrots. Pour batter into cake pans. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans onto wire cooling rack to cool completely. Frost cooled cake, if desired, with whipped cream cheese frosting and garnish with cinnamon and pecans. Enjoy! 

Frosting preparation: In medium bowl, add cream cheese and butter. Blend with mixer on low speed until fluffy. Gradually add vanilla, powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon milk until all ingredients are blended. Increase to medium speed and beat 7 minutes, or until light and fluffy. If mixture becomes stiff, add additional 1 tablespoon of milk.  

Angela's Baking Tip: Using fresh carrots you grated yourself rather than pre-packaged grated carrots will give add more of a moist texture to the cake.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A DIY Valentine Gift from the Heart: "Cherries Jubilation Refrigerator Jam"

Valentine's Day is fast approaching and I love to make a homemade valentine treat for my nearby friends and loved ones. This year, I chose to make a cherry refrigerator jam with not one, but two kinds of cherries. I love the flavor combination of red cherries and black cherries. As a special touch, I like to serve it at my house on slices of toast that I cut into a heart shape using a heart-shaped cookie cutter. This is also a fun jam recipe to celebrate the President's Day holiday coming up.

"Cherries Jubilation Refrigerator Jam"
*makes 6 half-pint jars

1 cup red cherries, pitted and chopped
1 cup black cherries, pitted and chopped  
4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 (1.75 ounce) package powdered no-sugar fruit pectin
3/4 cup water
6 half-pint canning/freezer jars

Rinse 6 clean half-pint freezer-safe canning/freezer jars with boiling water. Dry thoroughly. Wash cherries, remove pits and chop in quarters. Place in medium bowl. Do not drain cherries. If cherries have been chilled, set aside until the cherries reach room temperature. In large mixing bowl, combine room temperature cherries with sugar and lemon juice. Stir well. Set mixture aside 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. In saucepan, combine powdered fruit pectin and water. Stir well. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Immediately add pectin mixture to cherries and stir well. Keep stirring mixture about 3 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved. Quickly pour into sterile jars to within 1/2 inch of top of jar. Wipe off top edges of jar and cover with lid. Makes 6 half-pint jars. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours to set. After jam has set, enjoy immediately or it can be frozen for up to one year. Once opened, it can be stored in refrigerator up to 3 weeks. Enjoy!