Category Archives: food

N’awlins gal in Colorado – Parade of Mardi Gras King Cakes

New Orleans Tasty Donuts' McKenzie cake
New Orleans Tasty Donuts’ McKenzie cake

I grew up outside of New Orleans.  I moved to Colorado in 2002, and since then, have always searched for comparable king cakes for Mardi Gras. Nothing compares to New Orleans king cakes, so far, especially my favorite from New Orleans: McKenzie’s or Tastee Donuts, but here are some options you can try if you miss the Big Easy in the Mile High City.

 

Note: If you come across other options, please share them in the comments.  We want to hear from you!  

1)  Rheinlander Bakery-  I posted about Rheinlander king cakes and they even improved their recipe.  Below are my two previous posts on Rheinlander King Cakes.  Rheinlander is an amazing bakery located in Old Town Arvada, Colorado.  They have amazing pastries, coffee, and made to order cakes.  Their king cakes are good, and freshly made, and they have improved their recipe a lot.

Rheinlander King Cakes for Katrina Mardi Gras
Rheinlander

The bread has just enough cinnamon, and the icing and sugar are not overwhelming. King cakes vary in price based on size, and come in several different filling and flavor options.  I still tend to go with cinnamon but there is apple and pecan.  I do not like all the extra filling and things.  i like the idea of sweet cake with light icing and sugar.  I like how Rheinlander provides a baby and some beads and a history on the King Cake and the cheapest is generally about $24.99 (goes up every year).  I find this is a bit pricey for king cake, considering you can have one shipped with all the fixings for $30 (includes overnight FedEx).

Mardi Gras King Cakes for Katrina- Rheinlander Bakery in Arvada, Colorado

Happy Mardi Gras- follow up review King Cakes for Katrina & Rheinlander Bakery in Arvada

2) Whole Whole Foods carries king cakesFoods is the latest (just since 2014 for us) to start selling Mardi Gras king cakes and they sell these for about $14.99 – they go up each year.  You can choose from filled, generally raspberry, apple or plain cinnamon.
The sugar is a bit coarser and definitely different than the sugar on a traditional New Orleans king cake but these are not very sweet, and I like that.  The bread is fine, and the toppings are not overwhelming.  You can pick them up and they tend to be fresh, but as with all things baked in Colorado, you have about 3 days to enjoy, freeze or toss.  Things just get dry here quicker, especially bread and pastries.  Of course, you can always make your own, which Whole Foods encourages you to do.  Here is a recipe to make your own delicious knock off King Cake.  Will it come to close my favorite from New Orleans?  Probably not, but worth a shot!

3) King Sooper’s or Kroger’s – King soopers just introduced, this year (if they had them in the past, I never found it at my local shops), the Mardi Gras King Cake.  It is about $6.99 with the card, and is a round, flat (not risen very well) Cinnamon roll with icing on it and sugar.  The sugar is like the one from Rheinlander, but this cake is super sweet.  You can’t have a lot, but it is flavorful and basically a giant cinnamon roll with icing on it.  Add in the purple, yellow and green and some beads, and voila! King Soopers Mardi Gras King cakes It is a Mardi Gras king cake.  It’s okay, but the price can’t be beat for sure if you are having a Mardi Gras party in the Mile High City.  Since the Broncos were in the superbowl this year, I got myself a Blue, Orange, and White one this year in hope they do not get crushed like last time.  Don’t forget y’all, Peyton Manning is a hometown New Orleanean, even though he is QB for the Denver Broncos.

I plan to review more if you can share where I can get more King Cakes, but ’til then, Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler and have a very Happy Mardi Gras!

 


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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread – a family favorite

wpid-20150824_213735.jpgNot sure what to do with all that zucchini from your garden?  You can make bread out of it, or freeze the zucchini after grating, and make bread all winter long.  I am sure these would make great teacher gifts too!  My favorite recipe that I like to use is this one at Simply Recipes, and then I modify as you see below.

I like how this is the one recipe that tells you to drain the zucchini after grating.  I didn’t realize how much water was in this stuff, and you do not need all the water, although maybe my bread would not be so dry if I left it some of it in – I will try that next time.  All I know is that this bread tastes super yummy and with some icing on top, the veggie properties of this bread can easily be shielded from prying young taste buds.

wpid-20150808_105128.jpgI base this recipe on needing 4 cups of shredded zucchini, but lots of others out there only call for 2 cups and split the instructions from wet mix and dry mix and keeping the zucchini separate.  You can cut this recipe in half if you choose to do so or have a small zucchini.  I like to add chocolate chips to the entire batter, and for my husband and I, I like to add in chopped walnuts- yum!

  • 4 cups grated zucchini – I recommend a food processor to shred/grate.  I did it by hand the first time, it was a nightmare and messy.  When I used the food processor, it was done in 5 minutes, and less messy.  If you only have a small zucchini to yield 2 cups of grated zucchini, cut the rest of the recipe in half.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (white granulated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1.5 sticks)- melt in microwave safe container
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (natural unsweetened cocoa)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (not milk chocolate)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans) – optional, or add to your batch
  • 1-2 or more greased pans- whatever size you want (loafs, square, or cupcakes) –  I like to make a combination of all
  • preheat your oven to 350 degrees at this time

Zucchini

Shred it, and put it in a colander over a bowl or over the sink so it drains a bit while you do other things.  I have shredded it by hand or by food processor, and a food processor takes the cake (pun intended)!

Wet mix

You need a larger bowl for this because you will end your mixing in this bowl.  Beat together the eggs, the sugar, and the extract – use a mixer or your hand.  I have tried both ways, and it is fine either way.  Make sure to get the consistency to where it is a smooth mixture and not lumpy.

Dry Mix

In a smaller bowl, you can mix together the flour, cocoa, the baking powder (or soda), salt, and cinnamon.  Mix it together so it is not lumpy – I use a small egg whisk to just mix it all up.  I also add in the chocolate chips here, but it is optional. You can add nuts too, or add them later if your kids do not like them.

First, put the Zucchini into the wet mix, then slowly (about a quarter of the mix each time), stir in the dry mix.  Stir and put in the dry mix fully until mixed in well.  You do not want to put it in all at once or it creates giant lumps.  But, fermenting apparently has begun the minute you mixed wet and dry, so get the pans ready, and scoop in the right portions for the pan you chose.  I generally leave enough for the “adult” pan or loaf of this bread and then mix in the nuts into that smaller portion.  Then, scoop it into the pan.

wpid-20150824_213649.jpgBake

Bake for 50 minutes (if at lower altitudes) at 350 degrees, depending on size of pan, but in Colorado, you need only bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  I like to check it after 30 minutes for cupcakes, 35 minutes for a loaf size pan, and 40 minutes if you go 8×8 brownie pan.

Happy baking and yum!

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Easy Vegetarian Quiche Recipe

I absolutely love this recipe (source:allrecipes.com), which is my go-to vegetarian Quiche recipe to refresh my memory on what I need and steps, but for months now have created my unique loaded vegetarian Quiche recipe, and wanted to share; even added some cool photos.  I truly love the taste and texture of this Quiche and it is a huge hit with hubby and anyone else who tried it (I am rather selfish with it).

Because I am picky and do not like mushrooms or onions, it is always best for me to make my own recipe at home.  I know what I like, and this Quiche encompasses most of the ingredients I love, well, except for chocolate.  I’ll save that for another recipe.  The crust is yummy too and the Kroger brand comes with a pack of two rolled crusts.  This is an easy recipe, except for cutting.

INGREDIENTS:  Note: I use these, but you can modify any of these, or add onion and mushroom if you like those ingredients.  I do not like them.  You can also add zucchini, different color peppers, green chile, and whatever other veggies your heart desires.

Pie Crust (I use the Kroger-brand pie crust and it is great), 1 green pepper, 1 roma tomato, fresh spinach, broccoli florets (fresh), 4 leaves basil (chopped), cauliflower (optional), 1 clove garlic, onion salt, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper (or to taste), 4 eggs, heavy whipping cream, olive oil, and shredded sharp cheddar cheese (1 cup or to taste).

Here are the steps and some photos to go along with them:

1.  First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Thaw your pie crust outside the fridge for 10-15 minutes – do not, I repeat DO NOT thaw in microwave.  Made that mistake before, and it got ugly.  While thawing, cut up your vegetables and get ready to cook.

2.  I dice up one fresh tomato, about 1/4 of a green pepper (small cubes), spinach leaves (fresh), cut the basil, broccoli, cauliflower florets and any other vegetables of your choice.

20150726_1332063.  Put olive oil in pan -about 2 tablespoons, I use a garlic crusher and crush one clove in the oil, while it is over low to medium heat.  Then throw in the vegetables and cover to sauté them – salt to taste, or put onion salt, and pepper/creole seasoning, etc.

20150726_1332134.  Unroll the pie crust into a glass pan (preferred over metal) because it seems to cook more evenly, and bake for 5 minutes (NO MORE) so the crust gets a little cooked.  Pull it out, and gently pop any bubbles.

 

5.  Place20150726_134213 about 1/4 of the cheese or more on the bottom to coat it.  Then put veggies mixture on top.  I like the cheese on bottom because it coats it and prevents the vegetables from making the crust too soggy.  If you want to make no – crust muffins in a muffin pan, put the veggie mixture into the cups, sprinkled with cheese on top.

20150726_1342166.  Take the eggs and mix them with 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, and then whip vigorously for about 2 minutes.  If you do not beat the eggs well, you will end up with an omelet or fritata – you need to beat the eggs well to get the Quiche consistency.  You can use milk in place of whipping cream.  Pour the egg mixture on the top of the veggies.

20150726_1414537.  Bake for 30-35 minutes (depends on altitude), and once the middle is heated throughout or toothpick inserted comes up clean.  I also made the no-crust muffins and those cook for only about 25 minutes.  20150726_141446

 

8.  Let sit for about 5 minutes and then cut, and enjoy!  Yummy!

 

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Another candle on the cake

20150317_084417Well, to be exact, there was only one candle in the cupcake, but another birthday has come and gone.  24 backwards is not a milestone birthday, but I do enjoy birthdays. After getting married, and having children, there is really no excuse for the world to celebrate YOU!  Birthdays are about it.  Of course, I create excuses to make each day special – see all my posts on the 100-day course I took, but there’s no better excuse to eating cake and ice cream than your birthday.

I generally start my birthday the minute the first free item coupon rolls in – $15 at Ann Taylor, or $10 at Kohl’s, and free dinner at Rubio’s, free burger (yes, this vegetarian loves her veggie burger) at Red Robin, free scoop at Baskin-Robbins, free Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts coffee, Lamar’s donut (yum!), and the list just goes on and on.  While I celebrate bit by bit all month-long, this year was just not the same without my best friend.  I miss her terribly.  When it’s a work day and you have to be at work on your birthday there’s just something to be said about having a best friend to do lunch with, or get pampered with on your special day.  But, sob story aside, it was so nice to celebrate this year with friends and neighbors.  Earlier in the week, I also got to do a painting and wine event and painted a beauty!  Also, I am so blessed to live near and around so many cool people who are not just great to have as neighbors, but whom I get to call friends.  A bottle of wine outside on the porch after an 82-degree day set the scene for a perfect birthday and flowers from a good friend ended the perfect day.

An entire weekend of perfect weather with family preceded this, mind you.  And I finally got to try a place I have wanted to try for sometime.  The meal was so great, I promptly passed out afterwards.  Another candle on the cake, another fun day, week and month celebrating.  We ended it with a family cruise.  Here’s to birthdays!

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Pick up Service from #Walmarttogo Grocery – It really is quick!

I posted before about Walmart Grocery To Go! delivery, but I have never tried pick-up service. I tried home delivery four times, and you can read about all my experiences on Get Clued In!  So, this time we tried pickup to see if it was really a “game changing time saver.”  It really is.

20150110_123124It worked great! And we did it with our kids in tow!  When the weather is nice like it was today, roll up your sleeves, head out to run errands, and make a quick 5 minute or less stop at Walmart Curbside pick up, and get all your groceries before you head home.  Make sure to register here for Walmart Grocery To Go, so you can set up your account, so when you are ready to order, you are good to go!   Pick your store, the one you will either pass by on the way home from work, or running errands, and you actually give Walmart a 4-hour window for pick up.  They call you at the start of your window to let you know to call them when you are 15 minutes out.  Once you are 15 minutes out, call them, and when you get there, you pull into a special marked area, and voila!  They come out, review your order, and load your car.  We had our items and loaded into the trunk within two minutes of arrival.  No fuss, no muss, no standing in long lines, no trying to find all you need from various Departments.  It is all ready for you and best of all, it’s FREE!  Delivery is approximately $7, and pick up is free.   And, they even gave ua free gift for our loyalty – a little Walmart care package.  Wow!  What a treat!

20150110_123117Holiday rush at the store? Fret not, order everything you need on-line. Oh, and be sure to indicate which items you are okay to substitute out because if they do not have the one you ordered, are you okay with generic or another brand?  Make sure to put that in, and check out. You pay on-line when you check out, but you are not charged until pick up because they might not have all your items.  Worked like a charm for us!

20140316-231926.jpgWhether you choose home delivery (a truck like the one pictured to the left will deliver all your goods to your home), or pick up service, save time, money, and hassles of traffic and lines of holiday grocery shopping, and order from Walmart Grocery To Go. Reduce stress of the new year and spend time on things that matter.

Disclaimer: As a participant in the Walmart Grocery to Go program, I’ve received a personal invite and payment for my time and efforts in creating this post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.  Don’t forget to CLICK HERE so we both get a $15 credit at WALMART To Go! 

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