Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

One of the best things on a chilly morning is the smell of fresh cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. It always makes me think of my childhood and just warms me inside. I made some just this morning and thought I'd go ahead and share my recipe with you. I like to add nuts to mine, as well as orange zest.

Lady by the Bay - Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

If you don't want to spend a bunch of time making these in the morning, I suggest making them the night before and put them in the refrigerator overnight. The dough is the best I've ever had and I always make this one. I use America's Test Kitchen recipe. Alternatively, you could use a pre-made bread dough, such as Bridgford. I have used that before and it is quite good.

Lady by the Bay - Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe



3/4 cup buttermilk, warm

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

3 large eggs, beaten

4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 package rapid-rise yeast

1 1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil


1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Zest of one orange (leave a little for the frosting)


1 cup confectioners' sugar

3 Tbsp. whipped cream cheese, room temperature

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 Tbsp. milk

A few pinches of orange zest


For the dough, whisk the buttermilk, butter and eggs together. Set aside. Mix flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about a minute.

Increase the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. 

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball, about 1 minute. Lightly oil the ball and place in a bowl, cover and let rise for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the sugar, cinnamon, pecans and orange zest for the filling. Set aside.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle, about 12" x 16". It doesn't have to be perfect. As you can see with mine. ;) Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving a little melted butter to brush the tops of the rolls before baking. Sprinkle the filling mixture evenly over the dough. 

Lady by the Bay - Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch the seam closed. Slice 12 or so rolls from the cylinder and place in a lightly greased pan. Brush tops with remaining melted butter and sprinkle with a little sugar (about 1 Tbsp.) Wrap tightly with plastic wrap or cover with a towel and let rise 1 - 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.

Alternatively, this could be where you stop for the "night before" method and wrap with plastic and place in the refrigerator overnight. Take out and let sit on the counter for 15 minutes or so before baking in the morning.

Lady by the Bay - Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Lady by the Bay - Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Before baking - after they've risen

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Lady by the Bay - Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

For the frosting/glaze, mix together all ingredients with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle over rolls right when they come out of the oven.


Greek Roasted Chicken

Roasted chicken has to be one of the most made recipes of all time. It's perfect on its own, added to soup or salad, as a sandwich. I could go on and on about the numerous recipes I make that include roasted chicken. I was just making some of my Greek version the other night and thought I'd share my recipe with you. It is so juicy and delicious and the skin crisps up and sends this chicken over the top. I know you'll love it!

Lady by the Bay - Greek Roasted Chicken Recipe

Here's how to make it:

1 whole chicken cut up
1/4 cup olive oil (I used garlic flavored olive oil)
Juice of one lemon
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup or so of chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup or so of chopped fresh basil
A couple mint leaves, minced (You don't need a lot of this. It's quite potent.)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Rinse and thoroughly dry chicken pieces. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle some olive oil all over chicken pieces and rub it all over each piece, thoroughly coating them. Generously sprinkle each piece with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. You want to cook the chicken skin side up so that as the skin renders the fat it runs down into the chicken to make it nice and juicy.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees. Check the temperature at around 25 minutes. If it has reached its safe internal temperature, or is just about to, and isn't as brown as you'd like yet, put it under the broiler for a bit to darken the skin up. Be sure to check the temperature and not just go by the time. You don't want to overcook the chicken or it will become dry.

When the chicken is done, remove it from the pan and place it in a shallow dish. 

Add any remaining olive oil, the minced garlic, lemon juice, and vinegar to the hot pan. Scrape up any bits that were left behind from the chicken. You want to do this while the pan is hot so that the bits come up easily. Let this sit for a few minutes so that the garlic has a chance to release its flavor from the warmth of the pan. Pour the sauce you just made into a liquid measuring cup. Add the chopped herbs and stir together. Pour over the chicken. Allow the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

I like to serve basmati rice, a Greek salad and naan when I make this chicken. The sauce is wonderful drizzled over the rice and the chicken just falls off the bone.

Lady by the Bay - Greek Roasted Chicken Recipe


Until next time...

Lady by the Bay


Italian Chicken Vegetable Soup

Lady By The Bay - Italian Chicken Vegetable Soup Recipe

This is such a delicious, healthy and easy soup to put together. I use whatever veggies are in season or that I have on hand at the moment, so you can put any veggies you like in this soup. Here's what I put in this batch...

1 rotisserie chicken
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
2 cups fresh kale, chopped
1 handful of green beans (I use the frozen, petite ones)
1 14.5 oz. can fire roasted, diced tomatoes
1 can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, minced
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup white wine
8 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup pasta of your choice, cooked al dente (For this batch I used frozen tortellini)
Fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
Parmesan cheese
Crushed red pepper flakes

Pick all of the meat off the rotisserie chicken and set aside. In a large heavy-bottomed pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, bell pepper, celery and carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add oregano, basil, kosher salt and pepper, stir. Add chicken, tomatoes, beans, wine and chicken stock. Stir. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Add zucchini, kale and green beans and cook for 5 minutes. Add pasta and parsley. Stir and let cook for a couple of minutes. Serve topped with fresh parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes. A crusty bread is a wonderful accompaniment to this soup.

Until next time...

Lady by the Bay


Pasta Fagioli

I'm so happy that it's soup weather. I was in need of some comfort today so I made some of my Pasta Fagioli and thought I'd share my recipe with you. It's super easy and quick, so you can enjoy a delicious bowl of soup in no time.

Pasta Fagioli Recipe - Lady by the Bay

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 lb. ground sirloin
1 can diced tomatoes
2-3 slices of jarred roasted red bell pepper, chopped
1 can cannellini beans or kidney beans
4 cups beef broth
1 cup V8 juice
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
1/2 cup small elbows, shells or ditalini (any small pasta you love)


Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add ground sirloin and cook until browned. Remove from pot and set aside. 

Add olive oil to pot. Add carrot, celery, onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent. 

Add ground sirloin back to pot. Add all remaining ingredients except pasta. (I also add a splash of wine. Any wine you have on hand is good. Wine makes all soups better.) Stir and bring to a boil. 

Once the soup comes to a boil, reduce heat to a low boil and cook for 10 minutes. 

Add the pasta. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until pasta is al dente.

Serve with fresh parmesan cheese and chopped scallions and/or chopped fresh parsley. A crusty bread is a wonderful accompaniment to this soup.


Until next time...

Lady by the Bay

Spinach Salad with Apples and Walnuts Recipe

This has been my favorite salad for the past few weeks. I've had this almost every day for lunch and am still not tired of it. :) So I thought I'd share my recipe with you all.

spinach salad with apples and walnuts recipe

Salad Ingredients:
1 container of fresh spinach (I love Organic Girl brand)
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
4-5 campari tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup walnuts
1-2 slices thick bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
Parmesan cheese

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (use a good, thick one)
1 Tbsp. apple cider
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. fresh chopped parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Assemble salad to your liking with the salad ingredients. Shave pieces of parmesan cheese over the salad. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients and whisk together. Drizzle salad with vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Until next time...

Lady by the Bay


Baked Italian Meatballs

I blogged my meatball recipe a couple of years ago, but I have changed a few things and I wanted to share my updated recipe with you. We're always trying to make things healthier, which is what I've tried to do with these, so now I bake them instead of fry them. Also, I found something new to add to them that makes them even more delicious.

Lady by the Bay - Baked Italian Meatballs Recipe

The other night I wanted to make meatballs but I was missing one key ingredient: bread. I mean I had no type of bread at all, not even breadcrumbs. After searching through my pantry hoping I would find breadcrumbs somewhere, I came up empty-handed. I did, however, have a bag of croutons. That's made of bread!! They say everything happens for a reason and I truly believe that's the case here, as using garlic flavored croutons in the meatballs sent them over the edge! I'll always make them this way from now on. It's funny how things work out. 

Ingredients for Meatballs:

1 lb. ground beef (90/10)

1 lb. ground pork

2 eggs

3/4 cup garlic flavored croutons

1/4 cup milk

3 tbsp. finely minced onion

1 clove garlic, finely minced

2 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely minced

1/2 cup fresh grated or shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Olive oil

Ingredients for Sauce:

4 Tbsp. olive oil

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup red wine

1 28 oz. can crushed San Marzano tomatoes

8-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper


Place croutons in a food processor and pulse a few times to make crumbs, or place in a large plastic bag and pound a few times with a mallet, rolling pin, back of pan, or other blunt object, to make crumbs.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with cooking spray.

Turn oven on low broil setting.

Add all meatball ingredients, except olive oil, to a large bowl. Mix well to combine all ingredients.

Lady by the Bay - Baked Italian Meatballs Recipe

Using a small scoop, scoop meat out and shape into balls. Using a scoop keeps them all the same size so they cook evenly. 

Lady by the Bay - Baked Italian Meatballs Recipe

Place meatballs on lined baking sheet, leaving a little space between them. Drizzle the tops of all the meatballs with a little olive oil.

Place in preheated oven and cook on low broil for 15 minutes. No need to turn them. After 15 minutes turn the broiler on high and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, or until they become dark and slightly crispy on the outside.

Lady by the Bay - Baked Italian Meatballs Recipe

To make the sauce, heat olive oil and garlic on medium heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Just when the garlic starts to sizzle, add the crushed tomatoes, wine, basil, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add meatballs and let simmer for about 25 minutes.

Lady by the Bay - Baked Italian Meatballs Recipe

And with all the leftover meatballs you can make

meatball subs

the next day. :) 

Until next time...

Lady by the Bay

Honey-Ginger Lemonade

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend! I wanted to share with you another of my recipe creations. I have several more I need to get out of my head and into real life, so stay tuned for more. :) 

Until next time...

Lady by the Bay

Roasted Cherry Tomato Bruschetta

I've been having a lot of fun putting together these little creations with a recipe attached. My goal is to get at least twelve together and make a calendar. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Until next time...

Lady by the Bay

Blueberry Preserves

I decided to add a recipe to my latest fruit flower creation. These preserves are so simple to make and are so delicious. I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Until next time...

Lady by the Bay

Fudge Brownies with Chocolate & Caramel Topping

For Father's Day this past weekend I wanted to make a special dessert for my husband and son. By special I mean sinful, something that we don't get to have often. :) So I grabbed my trusty 1950's Chocolate Cookbook for the tried and true fudge brownie recipe. And then I decided that I'd take those delicious brownies over the top by melting chocolate and caramel together and pouring it over top of them. I'm sure chocolate would have been enough, but caramel is what sent them over the top and made them "special".

Don't they look sinful? This is the photo I posted on Instagram, which made everybody want chocolate at that moment.

Here they are all finished, before we devoured them!

I couldn't decide on which angle I liked best, so you get both. :)

I promised to blog the recipe, so here you go...


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 8-inch square pan.

Melt the unsweetened chocolate either in a double boiler or the microwave and set aside to cool.

Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Cream together the softened butter and vanilla. Gradually add the sugar, creaming until fluffy after each addition. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.

Stir in chocolate. Blend in dry ingredients.

Spread in prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on cooling rack for at least 1 hour.

For the chocolate topping:

*Use same method as above for melting chocolate.*

Place chocolate chips, caramels and cream in a double boiler or microwave safe bowl and melt. Pour over brownies. Let sit for about a 1/2 hour and then cut into serving size pieces.


Until next time...

Lady by the Bay


Greek Kale Salad

Lady by the Bay - Greek Kale Salad Recipe

My mother-in-law turned me on to kale in my salad and now I find that's all I ever want in my salads. It is so delicious! I've always loved Greek salad, and adding kale to it just sends it over the top for me.

I'd like to mention that I've tried a few different types of kale and the best one I've found is the curly kind. I don't know the technical name for it, but it has the curly edges like you see in the photo here of the salad. The reason I say this is the best kind is because the others I've tried have a harsh bitterness to them and this type doesn't. So I just wanted to point that out for when you go to select your kale for your salad. And here's how I make mine. :)

1 bunch of curly kale, cleaned and trimmed from stem, dried off (if you don't know how to trim kale, here's a great tutorial)
6-8 Campari tomatoes, quartered (this is just the kind I love, but use whatever tomatoes you like)
Half of a small red onion, sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
1/3 cup Kalamata olives
1/4 cup sliced pepperoncinis
3-5 oz. crumbled feta cheese (depending on how much you like)

For the dressing:
2 lemons, juiced
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, very finely minced
1/2 Tbsp. Greek oregano
1/2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

Add the kale to a large bowl. Drizzle half the lemon juice and half the olive oil over the kale. Gently massage the juice and oil into the kale with your hands for a minute or so. Doing this takes away any toughness and bitterness from the kale. Take a bite before and take a bite after and you'll see what I mean.

Add remaining vegetables to the bowl. Sprinkle kosher salt, pepper, oregano, minced garlic, and mint over the salad and gently toss together. Drizzle the vinegar and the rest of the olive oil and lemon juice over the salad and add the feta cheese. Toss gently and serve.

Until next time...

Lady by the Bay


Quick, Delicious and Healthy Lunch Salad

I made this salad for my lunch yesterday and it was so delicious (and pretty) that I had to take a photo of it and share it with you. It went together so quickly and was very satisfying. The perfect lunch!

Here's what went into my salad:
A couple handfuls of mixed greens
Some chopped cucumber (use how much you like)
Quarter of a green apple, sliced into thin pieces
3 radishes, sliced thin
A couple thin slices of red onion
2 campari tomatoes, quartered
2 slices roasted turkey sliced into bite-size pieces
A small handful of chopped walnuts

For the dressing:
1 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. apple juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil

That's it! Super simple and incredibly yummy! Enjoy!

Until  next time...

Lady by the Bay


Ham and Bean Soup

Every time I would visit my grandparents' house they would have a pot of ham and bean soup simmering on the stove. I always associate that aroma with them. My granny taught me how to make this soup many years ago and I still make it just the way she taught me. I'll share her recipe with you here.

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 lb dried small white beans (I usually use Great Northern), rinsed
1 leftover ham bone with some meat on it
9 cups of water
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soak beans overnight, according to package directions.

Drain and rinse beans.

Add oil to a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot on medium heat. When oil is hot, add onions, celery and carrots. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Cook for about one minute.

Add the ham bone and water to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 2 to 2-1/2 hours with the lid not completely over the pot (leave a little opening), until beans are soft and tender.

Once the beans have reached the desired tenderness, remove the ham bone from the pot and place on a large cutting board. Allow to cool slightly and then remove ham from the bone and add the meat back to the pot. Taste soup and add salt and pepper to taste. 
I always serve my soup with homemade cornbread. :)


Until next time...

Lady by The Bay

Hurry Up I Don't Feel Good Chicken Noodle Soup

For the first time in about 11 days now I am finally feeling like I'm getting over this flu I've had. It has been awful! One of the very best things when you're not feeling well is homemade chicken noodle soup, but it's not really something you feel like making when you're sick. Well, I was desperate to have my homemade soup the other day, so I found the strength to get out of bed and go make it. While I was making it I thought I'd snap a couple pictures to share my quick and delicious recipe with you. I made this soup in under 30 minutes.

If you don't already always have these items on hand, then you should, as they can be useful for any number of recipes.


2 cups or so of cooked chicken - I always have rotisserie chicken on hand, fresh or picked and frozen. Or when I grill chicken I make extra, slice it and freeze it so I always have it.

1/2 of a large onion, diced

3 stalks of celery, diced

3 carrots, sliced

8 cups chicken broth

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning

1 Tbsp. fresh parsley

Kosher salt and pepper

1 cup egg noodles or pasta of your choice

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. all purpose flour


In a large, heavy bottomed pot heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat just until the butter is melted. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and some salt. Stir and saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to coat them. Cook for about a minute. Add 2 cups of the chicken broth and stir to incorporate the flour coating with the broth. Add the remaining 6 cups of chicken broth. Add the chicken, egg noodles, poultry seasoning, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Increase heat to high to get the soup just to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium high and continue to cook until the noodles are done, about 7-8 minutes. Add the parsley and stir to combine.

That's it. Now just serve and enjoy and feel better. :)

Until next time...

Lady by the Bay

Mixed Berry Christmas Tree Hand Pies

I get so excited around the holidays!  Recently I was going through all my baking goodies to get them all organized and came across a large Christmas tree cutter that I immediately thought would be the perfect hand pie size.  Turns out it was!

These are so fun and easy to make. Here's how I made them:


I always use

Pioneer Woman's pie crust recipe

. I have never found any better!

Or you can use a store-bought refrigerated dough if you want to cut back on time.

To make 12 pies you will need 4 pie crusts-- 2 packages of store-bought dough or double Pioneer Woman's recipe.  You will have 2 pie crusts left over to freeze for another time if you use Pioneer Woman's recipe, as it makes 6 pie crusts.


1 bag frozen mixed berries

1 cup frozen pitted dark cherries

1/2 cup sugar

3 Tbsp. quick-cooking tapioca

Prepare filling by gently combining the filling ingredients in a large bowl.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare your dough and roll out onto a floured surface to about a 1/8-inch thickness. Using your favorite cutter, cut out the shapes.

Carefully place each shape onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and fill the centers with the fruit filling, leaving some room at the edges for pinching them together. You don't want to overfill.

Roll out some more dough, cut your shapes, and then using a ravioli cutter (if you want it to be kind of fancy--I wanted it to look like garland) or a sharp knife, cut a couple of vent holes into each shape.

Brush a little cold water around the edges of each dough shape that is already on the pan with the fruit in it. Now place each top (with the vent holes) on top of each dough shape. Crimp the edges together with the tines of a fork to close each one.

Bake for 20-40 minutes until the edges are golden brown. It's difficult to say an exact time for baking because it will depend on your oven and the amount of filling you have in your hand pies.  Just keep an eye on them starting at 20 minutes and look for that golden color around the edges.

I dusted mine with powdered sugar so I did not brush the tops with an egg wash, but if you are not going to dust yours and want them to be a beautiful golden brown all over, brush the tops of each one with an egg wash before baking.  I've found this to be a good guide to determine what result you want:

Once they are done, remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.

And if you want to add some powdered sugar goodness to yours, just sift the powdered sugar over each hand pie.

Finally, I wrapped each one in parchment paper and tied with a ribbon.  You can store these in an airtight container at room temperature.

Fill with any fruit your heart desires and enjoy!  :)

Until next time...

Lady by the Bay

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

The chill is in the air and I was finally able to get my slow cooker out and start making soups and stews.  I made a delicious beef stew the other night and my husband asked me if I had blogged it yet, and if I hadn't that I needed to.  So here I am to share my recipe with you.  It is so delicious!

By searing/browning the meat before putting in the slow cooker it adds so much flavor.  Yes, you can just put everything in the slow cooker and it will turn out really good, but browning the meat and deglazing the pan with the wine is what sends the flavor of this stew over the edge.  Trust me.

On a side note, I took all of these photos with my iPhone just to see how they would come out instead of getting my camera out.  I think they turned out pretty good but I will stick with my camera :)

2 pounds beef stew meat (pot roast) cut into 1-2 inch pieces
6-8 yukon gold potatoes, slightly peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
6-8 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
4 Tbsp. flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 cup red wine
1-1/2 cups beef broth
1 Tbsp. tomato paste concentrate or 2 Tbsp. regular tomato paste
1/2 tsp. dried thyme

This is the tomato paste that I use

Place stew meat on several paper towels and blot excess moisture from meat. This allows it to brown better. Sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper.  Place flour in a large Ziploc bag.  Place meat in bag and toss to coat with flour.

Heat olive oil in a large stainless steel pan on medium high heat.  Add meat to pan, a couple of pieces at a time, shaking off excess flour before adding to pan.  You will need to brown the meat in batches.  Do not crowd in the pan or it will not sear properly.  

Let cook for a few minutes to get good and brown and then turn and brown/sear on the other side as well.  Remove from pan and place in slow cooker.  You may need to add more oil to the pan between batches.

When all of the meat has been browned reduce heat to medium.  Add wine and scrape up all the bits from the bottom of the pan to release them.  Add the beef broth and tomato paste and stir until incorporated.  Add thyme and stir. 

Add chopped vegetables on top of meat.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss.  

Pour liquid over meat and vegetables.  Stir.  Place lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.

I like to serve it with a green vegetable and bread.  I hope you enjoy!

Until next time...

Lady by the Bay


Homemade Caramel Apples

Lady by the Bay - Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe
Lady by the Bay - Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe

I have always loved caramel apples.  If I could, I would order them for myself from those fancy online sites and have them shipped to me on a monthly basis.  My local grocer even started carrying "gourmet" caramel apples... at ten dollars a pop!!  Since neither of these scenarios are practical I decided to make my own so I can have them whenever I wish.

You can unwrap and melt individual caramels, but to me that's just too much work, unwrapping all those tiny little squares, and homemade is just better.  And once you go homemade, you'll never go back.  I made my own caramel, which is not as hard as people seem to think, and the results were amazingly delicious.

I used Granny Smith apples because I like the tartness of them against the sweetness of the caramel, but you can use any type of apple that you prefer.  I made 10 apples and had two jars of caramel left over, so you could easily make probably 20-25 caramel apples with this amount of caramel.

A few tips before you just jump into making the caramel...

Prep everything else you will need so that you're ready to go when the caramel is done.  You don't want your caramel just sitting there while you do all of this; the caramel firms up quite quickly and you want your toppings to adhere:

  • Wash and dry your apples, insert wooden skewers/lollipop sticks, and place in the refrigerator to keep them cold.  It's better to dip a cold apple than a room temperature one.
  • Line a large rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper and spray the waxed paper with non-stick spray.
  • Crush up toppings that need crushing that you will roll your caramel apples in and just place others that do not need crushing on plates.  I used honey roasted peanuts (crushed), Toblerone (crushed), M&M's, Halloween sprinkles, candy corn, and chocolate chips (mini).  Use any candy you like or pretzels or other nuts. I used paper plates to put each of the candies/nuts on.
  • If you are going to dip in melted chocolate then you want to get that ready to go as well.  I used the candy melts that you can find at Michael's.  They are so easy to use and you can melt them in the microwave.  What I did was dumped them into glass Pyrex bowls so they were ready to be microwaved.  They melt in about 2 minutes, so by the time you dip your apple in the caramel, sit it on the waxed paper and melt your chocolates then they will be ready to dip in the chocolate.


Granny Smith apples

2 sticks butter, salted

1 stick butter, unsalted

2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar (light or dark, doesn't matter)

1 14-ounce can sweetened, condensed milk

1 cup dark corn syrup

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Wooden skewers or lollipop sticks

Variety of candies and nuts

Clear cellophane wrap/bags

In a heavy 3-4 quart saucepan melt the butter over low heat.  Add the sugars and stir slowly until well combined.

Lady by the Bay - Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe
Lady by the Bay - Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe

I love the way that looks! :)

Increase heat to medium. Stir in the sweetened, condensed milk and the corn syrup. Continue stirring until well combined.

Increase heat to medium high, continue stirring until mixture starts to boil.  Once it starts to boil clip a candy thermometer to the saucepan (don't let it touch the bottom of the pan) and reduce heat back to medium.  Here are different stages of how it will look as it gets to the full boiling stage.  It takes approximately 30 minutes from this point to the end.  Just keep stirring and inhale all that deliciousness.  I want to bottle up that scent and have it in my house all year long :)

The final temperature you are looking for is 234-240 degrees (soft ball stage).

Lady by the Bay - Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe
Lady by the Bay - Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe
Lady by the Bay - Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe
Lady by the Bay - Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe

Once you've reached the proper stage remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla.  Let the caramel sit for about 5 minutes and then begin dipping.

If rolling in candies/nuts then do so right after dipping and then place on prepared waxed paper.  If dipping in melted chocolate, let apple rest on waxed paper for a few minutes before dipping in chocolate, then roll in your prepared candies/nuts.  Place each apple on prepared waxed paper as you finish each one.

Lady by the Bay - Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe
Lady by the Bay - Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe
Lady by the Bay - Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe
Lady by the Bay - Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe

Allow to cool for several hours and then wrap and place in refrigerator.  They should keep for about a week.  I wrapped mine in clear cellophane bags and tied them with some cute fall ribbons.

Lady by the Bay - Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe

And just jar up any leftover caramel to warm up and drizzle over ice cream or dip fruit in later on!

Lady by the Bay - Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe


Until next time...

Lady by the Bay

Lemon Coconut Cupcakes

These cupcakes are so moist, fluffy and delicious.  The sweet and tart zing of the lemons sends them over the top.  I topped them with coconut to make them even more amazing.  I used the Lemon Layer Cake recipe from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook and it yielded 17 large cupcakes.  I also used the Lemon Buttercream frosting recipe from the cookbook.  It is so fruity and refreshing.

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.  Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time.  Combine the flours and add in four parts, alternating with the milk and the lemon juice and zest, beating well after each addition.  The batter is pretty thick.

Fill each cupcake holder about two-thirds full.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

For the frosting:

I altered the recipe from the book a little.  Here is what I used:

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl.  Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the juice and the zest.  Beat until smooth and creamy.  Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. 

I put the frosting in a gallon size Ziploc bag and cut the corner to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.  It makes it easier.

Frost each cupcake and then top with coconut.  I also sprinkled a little more lemon zest over each one.


Until  next time...

Lady by the Bay