Crawfish Dip

A few years ago, my sweet friend Nicole brought this dip to a neighborhood gathering.

Everyone went a little crazy. 

It is way beyond rich and decadent.
It is absolutely amazing.
Now, that I have made it a few times, my family always requests it at family gatherings
---so it was on the appetizer list this past Christmas.  
I thought that I would share ( with her permission, of course) in time for New Years.

Caution---you might want to eat this dip and then start your diet!!!

 Crawfish Dip
 2 sticks butter
2 bunches of green onions, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds crawfish tails (without the fat)
3- 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
1-2 tablespoons creole seasoning

In a large skillet, add butter and melt.  Saute onions, parsley, and garlic for 4-5 minutes over low to medium heat.  Be careful not to burn the garlic.  Rinse the crawfish thoroughly.  Add the crawfish and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the cream cheese and mix well.  Season to taste.


My Quest for an Organized Home Office

 Definitely one of my New Year's Resolutions is to get organized.  
I think that I possibly make this resolution every year and I usually start off in the right direction, but this year I'm going to try my hardest to follow it through (to the bitter end). 

 I think that my office and closet are off to a good start, but really need some tweaking.   Last year, I worked really hard on them (see here) , but the paper has seemed to take over (along with vases, fabric, picture frames, etc...).

Right now my home office looks a little like this... 

 Just kidding, but really, I so want it to look like this...

I really love all of the baskets used for storage and how everything has its place.

Everything is SUPER organized in the photo.   I don't know how long I could keep it like this.

These bins are so adorable. 
This is gorgeous.

 All images via pinterest 1, 2, 3, 4

 Maybe these will help.
Ballard Design
I guess that it's time to get to work.  
(Well, maybe on January 2nd.  It is a NEW Year's resolution afterall.  )

White Chocolate Bread Pudding

One of my favorite desserts has to be bread pudding.

There is nothing quite like it.  And if you find one with chocolate---oh my goodness.
If you have never had it, you must go run directly to the store and get the ingredients to make this one.  It is probably one of the best bread puddings that I have ever had (and I've had a few).

This recipe is from one of my favorite magazines--Louisiana Cookin'.
White Chocolate Bread Pudding 
12 ounces white chocolate chips
3 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, well beaten
2 loaves French Bread, cubed
White Chocolate Sauce, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Place the white chocolate chips in a large bowl and set aside.  In a large sauce pan over medium heat, mix the milk, cream, and sugar.  Bring to a boil, then pour over the white chocolate chips.  Let sit 1 to 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth.  Add the eggs and mix well.  Place the bread cubes into a greased pan and pour the white chocolate mixture over the top.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the center is just set.

White Chocolate Sauce

1/2 quart heavy cream
1/2 pound white chocolate chips

Just before serving, place the white chocolate into a medium bowl.  In a large sauce pan, bring the heavy cream to a boil.  Pour the cream over the white chocolate and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth.  Drizzle a generous amount of sauce onto each serving of pudding.  Keep warm until ready to serve.



Our Christmas Eve Dinner

One of the traditions that our family has is gathering at our home for dinner on Christmas Eve to celebrate our family Christmas. 

This year we were joined by my parents, my mother-in-law, my sister and her family and my oldest daughter's boyfriend.
I thought that I would share our Christmas Eve menu along with a few recipes links. 

Our Menu

Here are some of the highlights--

Filet Mignon sliced and ready to eat

Glazed ham with pineapple, brown sugar, and mustard

Individual servings of  Penne and Cheese

Marniated Crab Claws

Boiled Shrimp ready to be served with Spicy Cocktail Sauce and Remoulade Sauce

Chopped Salad with Pears, Cranberries, and Feta Cheese

I usually make most of the food with everyone's help and this year my mother-in-law graciously volunteered to bring her fantastic chocolate pie and coconut cake.  
My husband's grandmother's secret recipe---Delicious!!

Fresh Coconut Cake

White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Warm White Chocolate Sauce

Check back soon for recipes for the White Chocolate Bread Pudding and Chopped Salad.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,


Merry Christmas

My Christmas Wish is for everyone to have peace and love this day and for the year to come

Merry Christmas, 

Vanilla Creme Brulee

One of my absolute favorite desserts is Vanilla Creme Brulee. 

It is sweet, silky, and truly decadent. It is also very easy to make. 
This dessert is perfect for an elegant dinner.

Vanilla Creme Brulee
 (makes 4)

1 pint heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vanilla sugar
5 egg yolks
hot water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  In a small saucepan, scald cream over medium heat (small bubbles on the side of the pan).  Do not boil.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile in a medium sized bowl, mix the egg yolks and the sugar together until just combined.  Whisk in the cream and vanilla.

Pour the mixture into 4 (7-8 ounce) ramekins.  Place the ramekins in a deep cake pan.  Add hot water to the pan until covering at least half of the ramekins.

Cook for 45 minutes until the center is set.  Remove from the water, cover, and place in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.  

When you are ready to serve the creme brulee, sprinkle coarse sugar in a thin layer on each ramekin.  

Use a torch to melt the sugar to form a crisp shell.


Crock Pot Bean Soup

There is nothing better than coming home from work,
when it's dark and cold outside,
and you have a crock pot full of delicious soup waiting on you. 

This recipe came from my Mom and I think she got it from a restaurant somewhere--I don't really know the specifics, but oh well, it's delicious.

Crock Pot Bean Soup

2 cans Great Northern Beans
2 cans Ranch Style Beans with Jalapenos
1 can Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup
2 cans water
1 pound smoked sausage, cut into bite-size pieces (I used Down Home Green Onion)
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

 Combine all of the ingredients in the crockpot and cook on high for at least 4 hours.  If cooking 8 hours, reduce heat to low.

Serving suggestions----over rice and with cornbread.  YUM!! 


Mudslide Martini

I thought that I would share a very festive holiday cocktail---
The Mudslide Martini. 

It is a bit deceiving.
It looks just like a sweet little innocent chocolate milkshake, but whoa watch out. 
It will definitely sneak up on you. 

(I know, I'm drinking one right now as I write this post---hope I am making sense. )

 Some of my girlfriends and I try to attend a special "girl's night" at least once a month and we usually go to the same restaurant for the martini and appetizer specials.  We always order these decadent little martinis with as dessert.   The bartender was kind of enough to share the recipe (actually I wrote it down while he was making it--haha).

Mudslide Martini
(makes one small martini---double if needed)
1 1/2 ounces Vanilla Vodka
1 ounce Bailey's
1 ounce Creme de Cocoa
1/2 ounce Liqueur 43
Splash of cream
Dark Chocolate 

Pour all ingredients together in a shaker.  Add ice.  Shake until mixed well.  Pour into a martini glass and garnish with grated chocolate.


Red Velvet Pound Cake

Every year for the last 10 years, 
I have bought the Christmas with Southern Living book. 
If you don't have these books, they are full of ideas and recipes for the holidays.

Well, the other night I was looking through them for inspiration and came across this cover. 

I don't know why this photo has not called my name before, but this time I heard it loud and clear.

What---A Red Velvet Pound Cake????

Definitely sounds like something that I could be interested in.

My version--

 (Looks pretty good, if I do say so myself).

This cake was wonderful.  Very moist and flavorful. Very rich, though.  I could only eat a very small piece.  I can't wait to have a piece with my morning coffee.

Red Velvet Pound Cake
(Christmas with Southern Living 2009)

3 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup milk chocolate morsels, melted
1 1/4 teaspoons red liquid food coloring
3 cups powdered sugar
9 tablespoons whipping cream
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sift together flour and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl.

Beat butter in a large mixing bowl at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until creamy.  Gradually add the sugar; beat at medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, 1 at a tie, beating just until yellow disappears.

Gradually add one half of flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed.  Add 1 cup cream and extracts, beating just until blended.  Add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended.  Scrape down sides of bowl; increase speed to medium-high and beat five minutes.  (Batter will become very creamy and satiny).

Reserve 1 1/2 cups batter.  Pour remaining batter into a greased and floured 10" tube pan.  Add melted chocolate and food coloring to reserved batter; stir until blended.  Add to batter in pan in 2 batches, using a spoon to swirl the batters.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes.  Run a knife around edges to loosen the cake; cool completely in the pan.

Whisk together powdered sugar, 9 tablespoons cream, and a pinch of salt in a bowl until smooth; spoon thickly over the cake.


I'm linking up with 

Holly Bloggy christmas at Chef in Training


Holiday Open House Tour

Welcome to our Holiday Open House

This year I am so pleased to show you most of the areas of our home that I have decorated for the holidays.  I try to bring a little bit of Christmas to all of our rooms.  We usually have house guests in December and I love for them to enjoy the decorations throughout the house.  

The Foyer and the Dining Room

I thought that I would start my Christmas Home Tour with the first two rooms that you see when you enter our home. 

The Christmas decorations in the dining room are probably my favorite. 
I love the all of the colors and how the room is traditional, yet simple and glam at the same time.

 The colors featured in the dining room decorations are copper, gold, silver, and red.  I also incorporated a little bit of chocolate brown and champagne.  We host several parties throughout the holiday season and the dining room is definitely the room in which everyone gathers--that's where the food is!!  

All of the ornaments from the chandelier to the tree are glass or beaded.  They are all very special and delicate, not to mention---heavy.  
One of my favorite vignettes---the beaded Christmas Trees and the chocolate brown candles on antique brass candle holders.

Step under the mistletoe for a kiss!

The Family Room

The tree in the family room is primarily gold with red accents.   I've kept most of the other areas in the family room simple with greenery, poinsettias, and a little sparkle to a few places.  

The Kitchen

The decorations in the kitchen were kept very simple--herbs, pots of amaryllis and paper whites, and a few festive linen towels.  
 (The printable is from Jones Design Co.)

The Office

Our home office is probably the most festive of all of the rooms in our house.  I moved my collection of over 50 Santa's from the kitchen (last year) to the office bookshelves. 

The Bedrooms

"P's Room"

For "P's" the tree is primarily green with botanicals including berries and beaded acorns and pinecones.
"L's Room"

This tree is nicknamed the "Saint's Tree".  There are fleur-de-lis ornaments and ribbon in gold, copper, and black all over the tree.

"Master Bedroom"

I decided not to put up a tree in the Master this year---I added a small amount of red berry garland in a few places.  Just to add a splash of Christmas in our retreat.

Cottage & Vine