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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Week of Fine Dining at Lake Powell

We have spent two of the three
weeks in August at Lake Powell
and of all of our trips to Lake Powell,
this one was out of this world!

We asked our friends' daughters to
be the chefs on the boat.  The Harkness
twins have gone to Culinary Art school
and jumped at the chance, creating themed
menus for each day.

Unfortunately Grace broke her collar
bone so she wasn't able to come but her
older sister Hannah stepped in to 
assist Esther.

I am going to start you off with
Caribbean Night.

The girls posted menus for
lunch and dinners on the fridge
each day, each one cleverly themed.

Let me introduce you to our chefs
and wait staff.

For Caribbean Night I
asked everyone to dress as pirates
so our waitress for the evening
was Tinkerbell with her scabby chef Essy.

The girls set the table each night with
attention to the theme.
Tonight the table was set with a pirate flag
and pirate napkins

Even the houseboat was decked
out for the theme of the day.

Imagine how thrilled I was to 
see everyone dressed in their
pirate costumes!!

They win extra points for going the
extra mile!!!
This is a dinner group that
we belong to that is
called FIRM
(Friends In Retirement Mode
although no one is retired yet!)

Even the parrot came to dinner.

I applied these fun temporary
tattoos that I got at 

Dinner started with an appetizer of 
a deconstructed crab wonton.
Wow, the flavors were incredible!
Mahi mahi with a pineapple and
mango salsa with coconut rice
was the main dish and a
Pavlova with berries on a bed
of sweetened whipped cream
finished the meal.

This menacing pirate provided
the fun blinking goblets for everyone.

You can get these from
They really added to the
festive table.

We also had American night.

Each evening meal began with what they
called their

Each person received a Sees Chocolate for
their Pre-Appetizer.  Yum.

Marinated and grilled fresh
garden squash began the meal.

The star of this meal was the bacon-wrapped
filets with home made Bearnaise sauce.
It was accompanied by creamed corn
and cheesy potatoes.

Dessert for American Night 
were cake push pops with
red white and blue cake and
blue frosting.

Our waitress for American Night
was Stacy from Georgia.
(Hannah had gone the extra mile and
studied different accents on the internet
to play her roles.)

The girls set the table every night
choosing different plates and placemats.
Their service was incredible.

 Captain Kirk had shown up in
costume starting the week off 
with lots of fun.

 We had originally asked the girls
to make only dinner, but they got 
so excited about it that they also 
made us lunch.

Top left and going clockwise,
Steak and Blue Cheese Sliders,
Wedge Salad with Poached Egg,
Grilled Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella.

Gigi was our waitress for 
Italian Night.
It was everyone's favorite.

Chef Essy had prepared six homemade
pastas at home for this fabulous night.

After our pre-appetizer of a chocolate,
we had these fun
Caprese Salad Skewers.
We got the cute plates and dishes
from Partyland 
and Webstaurant for petite 
plastic dinnerware
(scroll down to find smaller packages).

This was the perfect menu to
try out these wonderful mini
dishes that we had used for my
daughter's wedding reception.

The first plate was three pastas,
Spinach Lasagna,
Goat Cheese Tortellini
and Butternut Squash Ravioli.

The next plate was three more
dishes - 
Buccatini Carbonara, Gnocchi
in a Pepper Sauce and Home Made Meatballs.

All of these recipes came from
Williams Sonoma Pasta cookbook.

Wow, how can you 
ever repeat a meal like this?

 Dessert was freshly made 
Mango Sorbet with
a Double Chocolate Brownie.

There was a little quiz that 
we were given each night that
went with the theme while
we waited for the girls to
plate the meals.  All of these
fun little extras made the week
out of this world.

We really enjoyed our
waitresses.  They were another huge
surprise and
we never got to see her before dinner
so that when she came upstairs
it was really fun.  

Oriental night was skewered tenderloin
with green onions on fried rice.
Love the happy face made with
the veggies!

A commercially prepared 
Oriental spongecake with fresh
cream and berries was our dessert.

It is hard to conceive 
their boundless energy 
and their skill of planning
and preparation.

 Our final night brought
and Indian food.

The big hit were the potsticker
where the chefs made the 
dough by hand and rolled it out.
There is no comparison.

I don't think this table will ever
see such food or such service
ever again as Chef Essy is heading
off to college and Waitress Hannah
is finishing college.

We had to regale them with kisses
in gratitude for the most amazing
week at Lake Powell EVER!!

Blondie asked if I had done a post
on the kitchen on the boat,
I will have to do that in the 
future, but for the meantime
I am adding a picture of
the girls working in the kitchen.

I will be posting with

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ice Cream Cone Cake or Brownie Pops

Aren't these cake or brownie
pops just adorable?

My niece made some for her
wedding reception and we
fell in love with them and had to go
home and try some.

The miniature cones are made
by cutting off the tops!
Super simple and then you can
fill the cones with candy as
an added surprise.  

I decided to use brownies.
I just made up my favorite brownies
and added M&Ms.
When you make pops with 
brownies you don't even have to
add any frosting to the mix,
just shape the cooked brownies
into a ball.  The moistness of
the brownies hold them together.

Don't try to dip them as the
weight of the brownies plopped
the top right into the melted
candy melts.  

I just spooned the melted pink
candy melts onto the brownie,
tipping it to the side as I went
around.  Keep the candy melts nice
and runny to make a smooth coating.
Reheat when necessary.

Melt additional chocolate
candy melts and pipe it onto
the top of the cooled cone. 
Add sprinkles while the chocolate
is still wet.

Voila!  Talk about easy and adorable.

Add a cut off straw to the top if desired.

Here are pictures of the ones
she made.  These will give you
some more fun ideas.

Talk about fun and yummy too!

These little sundae ones are adorable.

You could make these with 
cake also.

Definitely an adorable way
to make pops for a party.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Crazy for Breakfast Sandwiches

At Purple Chocolat Home
we have been
"Crazy for Breakfast Sandwiches"
for years ever since my
oldest son was in football
training and hubby would create
breakfast sandwiches for him
so when I was approached
by Ulysses Press to
review their new cookbook
Crazy for Breakfast Sandwiches
by Jessica Harlan,
I was excited.

The first one I tried was
Pecan and brown sugar glazed bacon
with an egg are sandwiched
between French toast!

To quote the book,
"We're taking breakfast sandwiches
to a whole new level of awesomeness....
From classic and healthy to creative
and gourmet, these recipes utilize the
wildly popular sandwich makers
to make the most tasty sandwiches
for any meal of the day."

So of course I had to start with
a breakfast sandwich.

Normally I need a picture to motivate
me to try a recipe,
but with a name like
I was hooked!

First I had to hunt down an
individual sandwich maker.
I remembered a couple of family
members getting these for Christmas
this past year.  They are clever little
gadgets but these yummy recipes
could easily be adapted to more
conventional cooking.

The star of this sandwich is
the Praline Bacon!  Just drool
over that one!!!!

Bacon sprinkled with brown
sugar and pecans and baked in the oven.

Jessica calls these 
Bacon Lattice Patties
and they are so clever.

You start with 2 pieces of bacon
that you cut in half and weave
together in a lattice.  You could
easily do a whole pan of these
at one time.

While those are baking, cut
your bread into rounds that fit the
individual sandwich maker and
make French toast with them.

The whole sandwich gets put together
in the individual sandwich maker
where a fresh egg is baked.
Rather clever!  

I added a little praline on top for
extra crunch and that yummy
breakfast sandwich disappeared!
French Toast Sandwich with
Praline Bacon

(Makes 1 sandwich)
2 slices bacon
1 tsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp chopped pecans
2 slices stale white bread
2 eggs, divided
1 T. heavy cream
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 T. butter (I used less)

Preheat the oven to 400.  Line a
baking sheet with aluminum foil
or parchment.  Cut the bacon pieces
in half and weave together.  Sprinkle
with the brown sugar and pecans.  
bake about 20 minutes or until
the bacon is crispy.  Remove and
drain on paper towel.

Meanwhile cut the bread into 
rounds to fit the sandwich maker.  
In a small, shallow bowl, whisk 
together 1 egg, the cream and the
cinnamon.  Heat the butter in a nonstick
skillet over medium-high heat until
melted and foamy. Dip the bread pieces
into the egg mixture, then place in the hot
skillet.  Cook for 2 minutes until browned
and then flip over to cook the other side,
1 to 2 minutes more. (I would cook this
side a little less as it will brown up in
the sandwich maker.)  Remove from
pan and set aside.

Preheat the sandwich maker.  Break
the remaining egg into a small bowl and
pierce the yolk with a fork.

Place the second French toast piece
in the bottom compartment of the heated
sandwich maker.  Top with the cooked
bacon patty and lower the middle plate.
Pour the egg into the top compartment
and let it cook for a minute then place
the second piece of French toast over it.
Close the sandwich maker.
Cook for about 4 minutes or until
the egg is set.  Slide open
the middle plate to assemble the
sandwich and remove it from the
sandwich maker.

Praline Topping Garnish
In a frying pan melt 1 tsp.
butter with 1 tsp. brown sugar
and 1 tsp. chopped pecans.
Cook over medium heat until
the three mix well and let cool.

Top the sandwich with the
garnish if desired and finish
with Maple Syrup.

But you can also make open-faced
goodies like these
Mini Margheritas!

A crisp pizza crust with fresh
tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and
fresh basil, drizzled with olive
oil and topped with sea salt and
freshly ground pepper.

I drizzled mine with Trader Joe's
Lemon Olive Oil.  That one is
great on anything.

Yum, the breakfast sandwich maker crisps
the bottom of the pizza and the top
of it melts the cheese.  You can
use pre-made pizza crusts or I had
some leftover pre-baked crusts in
the freezer from making pizzas in
the pizza oven.

Of course we had to try a dessert

How about this 
S'Mores Toast?  

No bites left for a picture -
hate it when that happens, but
it means it was super yum!
(I substituted white bread for
the raisin bread on this one and 
just buttered it and sprinkled it
with a little white sugar as I
am not a big raisin bread fan, and
then I garnished the dessert
with a little crumbled
graham cracker.)

Super yum three times in a row.

With recipes titled:
Portobello, Polenta and Manchego Stack
Biscuits and Gravy Sandwich
Chicken and Waffles
Lemony Artichoke-Emmentaler Flatbread
Apple Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich
Green Eggs and Ham
Bacon Waffle Stack
Ham and Brie Croissant-wich
Monte Cristo with Raspberry Sauce
and many, many more
there are going to be a lot more
creative sandwiches 
coming out of 
Purple Chocolat Home's 

Thank you
Ulysses Press for
choosing me to
review this book.  

You can find it on 

(I plan to make the 
French Toast Sandwich 
with Praline Bacon for a
crowd and I will just use an
electric griddle.  I think all
of these wonderful recipes
can be adapted to a griddle
or fry pan when cooking for
a crowd so don't overlook the
cookbook if you don't have
an individual sandwich maker 
or you have more than two in
your family.)

Jessica has 101 different delicious
recipes!  Give this cookbook a try!


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