Saturday, December 31, 2011

Oatmeal Coffee Cake + Pecans

Another fabulous recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart challenger, Lynn Ford. We love some sweetness/bread/coffee cake for breakfast around here. Nothing like a little sugar to get your day started! This oatmeal coffee cake is one of our favorites.

For the cake, you'll need:
  • 1 cup regular uncooked oats
  • 1 stick butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 and 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 and 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup regular sugar
For the topping, you'll need:
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13x9" pan. Place oats and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Pour boiling water over oats. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes.

Stir together flour, baking soda and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside

Once the 20 minutes are up, add your eggs to the oat mixture. Beat at medium speed, just until blended. Gradually add the sugars, beating again until just blended. Next, gradually add flour mixture, beating until just blended. 

Pour batter into the pan. Bake for about 25 minutes.

While your cake is baking, mix up the topping in a saucepan over low heat. Do not cook, just let the butter melt so you can mix it all together. Pour your topping over the warm cake - it'll be nice and gooey. Let cool a little before you cut into the cake so you don't have a big ol' mess.

Look at this deliciousness. The pecans make it look so pretty, and add a little crunch.

Speaking of pecans, I've got a new project a-brewing for the new year. I just opened a shop on Etsy called The Proper Pecan. It is by no means complete, but I love a work in progress with a plan! Danielle Moss is designing a logo and banner for me which I am so excited about! Click here for a sneak peek.

What do you have in store for the new year?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Decadent Chocolate Roulade

When you have a free afternoon, make this. Trust me. It is a tad time-consuming, but fabulous.

We made this for Christmas Eve dessert, and I've been craving it ever since. It is a beautiful presentation and is incredibly tasty.

You'll need:
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 6 ounces German sweet chocolate, such as Baker's
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • cocoa
This will take you at least 20 minutes to prep, 25 minutes to bake and an hour to chill, so do this ahead of time. It is served chilled.

First, separate the eggs. I do this with my hands. It's gooey and fun. Add 3/4 cup sugar to the yolks.

Beat egg yolks with sugar, like so. We just used a whisk, or a hand mixer would also be fine.

Melt chocolate with water. This is strange...the recipe does not require a double boiler, but you actually add the water INTO the chocolate and melt it over low heat...

...until it looks smooth and silky, like so...set aside to let it cool slightly.

Once your chocolate has cooled slightly, mix it into the yolk/sugar mixture.

In a mixer, beat whites at a high speed with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. We beat them until firm peaks formed. 

Next, add your egg white mixture to the chocolate/egg mixture.

Gently fold together...

...until it looks like this.

Butter a large jelly roll pan (approximately 11"x17"). Line the buttered pan with wax paper and butter the paper too. This is super important!

Spread the mixture evenly on the buttered jelly roll pan with buttered waxed paper.

Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes and then at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it the last few minutes. We cut it short by about 2 minutes.

Remove from oven and immediately cover with a damp dish towel. Allow it to cool thoroughly. 

After it has cooled, remove the towel. Starting to look delicious, here. 

Sprinkle generously with cocoa.

This part is kind of tricky, but if it falls apart, you can fake it and put it back together. Turn the cake onto another piece of wax paper, cocoa side down. You'll have to peel off the wax paper from the top - this is where you are thankful for butter!

Spread evenly with sweetened whipping cream. We made our own by beating together heavy cream, a few tablespoons of sugar and about a teaspoon of vanilla.

This is where it all comes together. Roll up from the short side like a jelly roll. Use the wax paper as a guide. Don't worry too much about cracks, as you can pinch them together with your fingers.

And here's where you are! Be sure to chill until ready to serve, then slice away. 

We served this with extra whipped cream and raspberries. It was a hit!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rustic Christmas

How great it was to be back in the mountains for Christmas! Josh and I hadn't been to Brevard since July 4th...way too long to go without my mountain fix. Although we didn't have a white Christmas like we did last year, it was still perfect. Filled with love, family + friends, dogs and good food. Here are a few pictures!

Mom had her fireplace decorated to perfection.
 After toppling over into a big mess earlier in the week, the Christmas tree decided to behave.

There's Barn carving the beef for Christmas Eve dinner...

And Rae with a champagne concoction...

Two of my favorite people right here likely having a deep discussion about Cam Newton...Maughi has got to be the most "with it" 92-year-old ever.

Mom and Dad with rescue pup turned starlet (she is famous in Brevard!), Little Bitsy...

Finally got a picture we both liked!

Oliver in mountain dog stance, ready to scare off those mountain lions...

Lots of pup shots are next...they were all vying for a spot in front of the camera.

Bitsy, the Diva.

May, the Biotch.

Happy-go-lucky Buster Brown (recovered + healthy)...

The newest rescue, Lilly. A diva-in-training.

The prettiest sunrise (well, the only sunrise) I saw while in Brevard! I love the fog that hovers over the mountains.

Hope you all had a happy holiday season with all the ones you love! Here's to a prosperous 2012!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Oliver's Holiday Photoshoot

Oliver no less than performs in front of the camera. He has got that head tilt down. Couldn't help myself.

More mountain holiday (& dog) pics to come!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

From Our Family To Yours

Merry Christmas, y'all!!

P.S. This was Christmas last year in Brevard. We barely fit into my parents ski suits from the 90s. So. Much. Fun.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Parties by Mountain Gourmet

Mountain Gourmet has had quite the season with festive holiday parties and gatherings. That's a good sign for a fresh company in a down economy! Here's what they've been up to. 

Beef + Red Pepper Skewers + Other Background Yumminess

Nearly Famous Stuffed Mushrooms + Baby Twice Baked Taters

Beef Tenderloin - YUM!

Cucumber Shrimp

Mini Kahlua Chocolate Mousse + Two-Bite Sized Pecan Tarts
More Guilt Free Desserts!
Mom - I look forward to this kind of cooking in the mountains :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Good Ol' Chicken Soup

Thanks to Pioneer Woman, we enjoyed a very simple and light dinner of a nice traditional chicken soup earlier this week. Sometimes you just need to get back to the basics and simplify!

Check out her recipe here. I added a little more salt and lots and lots of black pepper, yum!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Howlidays!

This is the holiday card I intended to order but ran out of time, so we've got a virtual card this year...going green! :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Merry

Merry Christmas week from the Vans! It's hard to believe this week is here. I am definitely in the Christmas spirit but the warm weather is throwing me. We had a white Christmas in North Carolina last year. Josh and I got into my parent's ski suits from the 80s...we sure won't get that lucky this year!

I got lots of presents wrapped this weekend so our tree isn't looking so lonely anymore. It actually looks pretty content and dreamy.

Wanna hear about my weekend project? It was chock full of cooking and creating which is just the best. The Evans side of my family has been in the farming business for almost 100 years. Pecans are now the main "crop" and because they are personal to me, I selfishly think they are great Christmas gifts :) This year, I decided to make my mama's spiced pecans and package them up all rustic chic. Take a peek!

The acorn ornaments from Angel Dog Designs truly pulled them together!!! Ornaments are the perfect gift adornment...something to keep after the gift is gone, or in this case (hopefully), eaten! I used wide mouth pint-sized mason jars with burlap (2 different colors), twine and a holiday ribbon.

Mountain Gourmet has made a hit out of these pecan tarts, so I stole their recipe and gave it a go. They are fabulous and bite sized (which spells serious trouble).

I put these in a quart-sized mason jar. Not gonna lie, it was hard to part with these tarts. 

Are they precious little things or what?

Oh, I love holiday projects!!! What did you do this weekend?