Fancy Corn + Bread

cornbread COVER

My favorite things about the holidays are family, food, and festivities.  Who would have thought that gathering around a dead tree would be so fulfilling? Or how about eating massive amounts of side dishes could be called a meal?  Or how about gathering by the masses to watch lights turn on and cheer like it’s the first time we’ve seen electricity (St. Augustine Nights of Lights)?  I love ever minute of it.  In fact, my decorations are still up and Christmas carols still playing in my car.

One of my friends had to make a “corn dish” for a family meal and asked if I had any suggestions. – Side note: I LOVE when people ask for suggestions on what to make.  Whenever I make something new, I always search other blogs for inspiration to get a starting point.  I don’t think anyone should ever follow a recipe to the T (unless it is a cheesecake – those are a little challenging to get the correct consistency) but should deviate and make your own thang (because “thing” is too structured) 🙂 . Back to the corn dish… I didn’t have one since I don’t cook with corn that often but asked if I could use this as an experiment to find the best corn dish out there…

Well friends, I introduce you to the cheesy corn casserole!  This recipe is inspired by Paula Deen and adopted for the healthier taste buds.  It’s super easy to make and stores really well!  You can prepare this in advance and cook right before the meal.

Cornbread ingredientsIngredients

  • 1 – 15 oz can whole corn (unsalted / low sodium)
  • 1 – 14 oz can creamed corn
  • 1 – 8 oz package of corn muffin mix
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt or fat free sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese

This recipe was made in an 8×8 casserole dish.  Double the recipe for a 9×13.

Directions

Drain the corn and put in a mixing bowl.  Combine with melted butter and remaining ingredients.

cornbread mixing

Next, add some pepper to taste.  I LOVE the black peppercorn grinder by McCormick and put it in just about everything.

cornbread cheese

Now add a handful of cheese to the mixture – about 3/4 cup.  I use my Kitchen Aid mixer for as much as I can.  It’s super easy and mixes things perfectly.  The different paddle attachments make it very versatile.  Plus, while this is mixing, I usually try and clean the kitchen as I go along so I don’t have a huge mess in the end.  This might be good planning but the execution is horrible.  The kitchen is always a mess!

cornbread all mixed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Scoop into a baking dish.  Bake for about 45 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and top with remaining cheese. Cook for an extra 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

cornbread baking

Enjoy as a yummy, slightly sweet, side dish to any holiday meal!  I told my friend how great this turned out and she went to Publix the next day to make a double batch for her family gathering.  What I also love about this recipe is that you can leave out the cheese for a fancy semi-traditional cornbread option.  You get the cornbread with pieces of corn, adding a little extra texture.

Bon Appetite!

To be a quarter of a century…

bday cupcakes

I feel old.  Is that bad?  Relatively speaking, 25 is young.  I mean I can just now FINALLY rent a car at a cheaper rate, but I don’t get carded at rated-R movies and the latest music sensations look like children.  Ok, I am old.  But I am owning this year.  I am owning that I’m 25.  That I’ve never been happier.  That I have the best friends and family.  That I found a passion in traveling, running, biking, cooking and blogging. 🙂  I love this life!

For my 25th birthday, I had a small gathering of my friends but wanted to share just a few highlights with you… the food of course!

bday foodThis is the fun yumminess I made/prepared from left to right…

  • Guacamole
  • chili-lime humus from Publix
  • Salsa from Publix
  • s’more cups and carrot cake cupcakes
  • Cowboy Caviar (CHECK THIS RECIPE OUT… IT’S AMAZING)
  • and other yummy snacks

Of course, I can’t forget about the desserts… oh my desserts… I made key lime pie which I have yet to post — seriously — These are so good I keep forgetting to take pictures because I eat them to fast!

bday s'more cups

My friends and family are awesome.  Here are a few pictures that I took…

My step mom and I….bday cassie sally

My best friend, Leah, her mom and I…. bday walkers

My final birthday celebration was dinner at Taco Lu… the BEST Mexican place EVER.  If you live in Jax or are visiting, this is a must go to place!!   The service was wonderful and the food absolutely amazing.  Ok, I might be bias towards Mexican style dishes, or pizza, or desserts, but this is a very very good place!

For dessert, the bartenders sang happy birthday to me when delivering the chocolate churros!  What a great end to a birthday week! 🙂

bday taco lu

25 has started out as the best year ever and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings!  I might be too old for Justin Bieber, but I can definitely enjoy a good glass of wine and great company. 🙂

A Sundae Fit for a Princess

ice cream sundae COVER

I went to my first ice cream themed birthday party for the coolest 1 year old in the world last weekend!!  First of all, it’s a great theme!  Perfect for Florida summers, there are super cute ideas all over Pinterest, and kids go crazy for all the toppings!

Secondly, I wanted to contribute so I decided to make a healthy (yes healthy!) and delicious “sundae” dessert.  So it’s not a traditional sundae with ice cream, whipped cream, syrup and sprinkles, but just stick with me here here – remember, I wanted to stay with the theme. 🙂

I whipped up this recipe while shopping at The Party Shop looking for a fun way to serve something.  It’s basically angel food cake layered with whipped cream and fruit!  Since Angel Food Cake uses egg whites, it’s actually sort  of healthy!  Save your egg yolks and make Key Lime Pie!  I made the most amazing Key Lime Pie Cupcakes recently so I will share soon!

ice cream cake fillingWhat you will need…

The Cake Ingredients:  1 and 1 /2 cups sugar(divided), 1/4 tsp salt, 1 cup cake flour, 10 egg whites, 1 1/2 tsp cream of tarter, 2 tsp vanilla extract

***this recipe will make 1 bundt loaf.  Only half of the loaf will be used to make 20 mini sundaes.***

The toppings: 1 tub lite whipped topping, 1 container of strawberries, 1 container of blueberries and 1 jar of stemmed cherries.

Directions: Separate the yolks from the egg whites and let the egg whites sit and come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.  Sift 1/2 cup sugar and flour together.

Move the oven rack to the lowest position and preheat to 350 degrees.

ice cream cake

In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tarter, vanilla and salt on medium until soft peaks form.  Gradually add remaining sugar and beat on high until stiff peaks form.

Fold in the flour mixture until it is all combined, not over mixing.

Spoon into an ungreased bundt pan.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until lightly brown and the top appears dry.

ice cream cake bake

Remove from oven and flip onto a cooling rack and let cool completely.  (I know this sounds weird but this prevents the cake from caving in).

Once cooled, remove from pan and cut in half.  Save half for another recipe.  With the half you are working with, crumble into small pieces in a bowl.  Use your hands and break it up.  The smaller the better!  The angel food cake is super moist ans sweet.  It’s a little sticky but don’t worry about it getting stuck to your hands.  Crumble away!

ice cream sundae side So I got these plastic dessert cups from The Part Store (20 cups).  They were small but the perfect size for a sweet treat!  Here’s how I made the sundaes:  Scoop 1/3 cup of crumbled cake into each cup.  Press down on the cake to make a solid base.

Cut the strawberries into small (smaller the better) pieces and mix/mash slightly.  The strawberries will make a lightly-syrupy-chunky-mixture.  Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons into each cup.

Put the whipped topping in a frosting bag/dessert decorator and squeeze a layer on top of the strawberries.

Next layer with blueberries. 🙂  These are full of antioxidants.

Top with a small dollop of whipped topping and a mini spoon!

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

ice cream cups

Did you know?! Fruits and veggies are best picked during their “in-season.”  Looking for local fruits and veggies? Use this calendar for Florida crop season.

Happy 1st Birthday, Mia Elena!!  Love Auntie Cassie