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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sorry no post tonight.

A friend told me that she caught a virus while checking for recipes on The Culinary Creative, possibly from an embedded link. So I am reporting it and will try to get it straightened up as soon as possible. Until you get a notice from me, I recommend not using TCC. I will send out a notice once I have gotten cleared up.

Apologize for any inconvenience and will be back in touch soon.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Strawberry Mint Tea Ice Cream

Since in theory it's spring, though we in NC are still waiting for Mother Nature to put that into practice, I thought I'd do something seasonal and nothing says spring like the sweet taste of strawberries. 

Wanted to try out something new so dusted off the old ice cream maker and whipped up this frozen treat for you to try.  It's light and fruity and refreshing too.

Strawberry Mint Tea Ice Cream

3 cups heavy cream
1 cup half & half
3-4 mint tea bags
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups chopped strawberries

Mix heavy cream and half & half together in a pitcher.  Add 3-4 mint tea bags, cover and steep in refrigerator for 4-5 hours, depending on how minty you want your cream to be.

Once it's ready, remove and strain tea bags.  Add vanilla and sugar and mix until sugar is dissolved.

Using an ice cream maker, start the machine as instructed and pour in mixture.  Allow to spin for 10-15 minutes.

In a small bowl, crush the strawberry pieces into a chunky paste.  If necessary, add sugar to sweet the berries (but only if they aren't already). 
Pour the strawberries into the machine and spin until ice cream forms.

If your ice cream doesn't set all the way, remove to freezer.  I would recommend pouring it into a metal cake pan for maximum efficient freezing.

Once it hardens up, it is ready to serve with your favorite toppings or pop into a cone and enjoy!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Espresso Chocolate Cheesecake Bites

Here's a little bite-sized chocolate treat.  Goes great with coffee or tea or just whatever you happen to be drinking.

Espresso Chocolate Cheesecake Bites

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp. flour
3 tsp. instant espresso
1 tsp. hot water
1/2 cup honey graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp. butter, melted

Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy.

Add in eggs, sugar, and vanilla.  Blend until smooth (or mostly smooth) and creamy.

In a small bowl, blend together cocoa powder and flour.  Add to the cream cheese mixture a bit at a time until well blended.

Dissolve the instant espresso in the hot water and add to the batter.  Blend together.

In another bowl, pour the melted butter into the graham cracker crumbs and mix until the crumbs are moistened through.

Line mini muffin tins with mini muffin cups and press about 1 tsp. of crumb batter into the bottom of each.

Fill each cup to with the espresso-cream cheese mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until batter is set.

Remove from oven and transfer cheesecake bites to a cooling rack.

Once the bites are at room temp, move to a lidded container and refrigerate until cooled through.


1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs = 2-1/2 full graham crackers

Makes about 2-1/2 dozen bites.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Good and Good for Everyone: Hershey's

Before I start on tonight's topic, just a quick follow-up to last weekend's post.  According to several of my post-post taste testers, the fun thing about using shredded cooked parsnips is that in consistency and texture it's very similar to shredded coconut.  It's moist and chewy, but without the super sweetness of coconut, so if you know someone who has a tree nut allergy or just doesn't like coconut, cooked shredded parsnips is a viable alternative. 


So, chocolate...who doesn't know the name Hershey's, or better yet, who hasn't enjoyed one of their myriad of delicious products?  Have always been a fan, but after Mom and Dad's last trip to Hershey, PA, they shared some info that made me an even bigger one.

Did you know that Milton S. Hershey actually had little to no schooling?  Did you know he started out by making carmel candies?  Did you know that he didn't find success until his 40s?  Did you know there's a Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania?

The history of Hershey's is a fascinating one (which you can find it in more detail at  It's founder Milton S. Hershey (1857-1945) was from a Mennonite family in Pennsylanvia but moved around a great deal as a child as his father attempted (unsuccessfully) several different ventures to support his family.  His mother did not emphasize book learning, as it had proven to do his father no good, so Milton's success came without what he considered the benefit of a good education.

Like his father he attempted several ventures before finding some small success with making caramel candy which he learned as an apprentice to a candy and ice cream maker named Joe Royer in Lancaster.  His first exposure to the world of chocolate-making came during his trip to the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago where he was enthralled with a set of German chocolate-making machinery.  He bought the equipment and had it installed in Lancaster where he started making his own chocolate.  In 1900, the first Hershey's chocolate bars hit the market and the rest is delicious history.

But chocolate was not Milton's only legacy.  In 1909, he and his wife, Catherine, founded the Hershey Industrial School.  Being childless themselves, they used a portion of their wealth to establish a school where young orphaned boys could come not only to live and be cared for, but to receive a sound education and training in several trades and occupations so that the children would be able to earn a livelihood when they left the school.

In 1918, three years after the early death of his wife, Milton made the school the principal recipient of the bulk of his fortune in order to provide for its perpetual continuation.  In 1951, six years after his own death, the name of the school was changed to the Milton Hershey School.  In 1968, the first non-white male student was enrolled and in 1976, the first female student was enrolled.  Today the school still exists, providing education and training for boys and girls, pre-kindergarten through grade 12, from families of low income and social need.  Students attend for free and receive housing, education, clothing, meals and as well as medical and religious services.

This is just a little didyaknow but do know there's more to the story of Milton Hershey's, a tale of good taste and great deeds.  I hope I have intrigued you enough to read more about it or at least realize that when you enjoy your Hershey product, behind every tasty bite there's a story of an enterprising man who left the world a little sweeter for everyone.

Hershey's In A Nutshell Product History

1900   Introduction of the Hershey's Chocolate Bar
1907   Introduction of Hershey's Kisses
1908   Introduction of Hershey's Milk Chocolate with Almonds
1925   Introduction of Hershey's Mr. Goodbar
1926   Introduction of Hershey's Syrup
1938   Introduction of Hershey's Krackel
1939   Introduction of Hershey's Miniatures
1971   Introduction of Hershey's Special Dark  
1989   Introduction of Hershey's Symphony bars
1994   Introduction of Hershey's Cookies'n'Creme

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Parsnip-Almond Chocolates

Okay, so who's an evil culinary genius...ah, that would be me.  You may be cringing a bit at the idea of parsnip-almond chocolates, but SUCCESS!  I think they are delish! 

Parsnip-Almond Chocolates

3/4 cup grated parboiled parsnips
1/2 cup almond slices, food processed fine
2 tsp. sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup dark chocolate, melted

Cook a parsnip until fork tender.  I cut a large parsnip into large pieces and cooked them on high for 4-5 minutes.

Once the parsnips are cooked, allow to cool to room temperature before grating. 

I used almond slices instead of whole almonds to process because it took less time and I was able to get them into smaller pieces quicker since they were already sliced.

In a bowl, mix together the grated parsnips, almond crumbs, and condensed milk.  Once mixed, chill the mixture until ready to roll.

In a small pan over low heat, melt your chocolate pieces.

Remove mixture from fridge and roll into 1" balls.  Put back in the fridge to firm up.

Dip the balls in the chocolate, coating them thoroughly and set on a piece of waxed paper.

Once all the balls are coated, put back in the fridge and allow the chocolate to set.

Remove from fridge and impress yourself, wow your friends, and the blow the minds of total strangers. :D