Big Flavor for a Small Supper: Ranch Quick Bread

The hotter it gets in the dog days of summer, the less time spent in the kitchen cooking and baking the better.  Yes, I know we live in the modern age of central air, but the excuse of it’s too hot to cook gets me out of many a late summer what’s for dinner dilemma. That’s where this recipe for Ranch Quick Bread comes in.  This easy to mix, quick to fix, and deliciously filling Ranch Quick Bread recipe hits the spot with big flavor for a small supper.

ranch quick bread

Ranch Quick Bread


3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 package dry Ranch seasoning mix

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk**

½ stick unsalted butter, melted

1 cup cottage cheese


Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.


Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter in a medium bowl until combined.

** How to Make Homemade Buttermilk:

Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.  Let stand at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes.


Add the cottage cheese and stir to combine.


Pour mixture into the flour mixture.


Gently fold ingredients together until the flour is incorporated.


Spoon batter into loaf pan.  Bake 50 minutes until golden brown or until knife inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

bread-doughAllow bread to cool in loaf pan for 10-15 minutes.


Transfer bread from pan to bread board or wire rack or serving tray. Allow bread to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


Wrap any leftover bread in waxed paper and store in airtight container.  I added fresh rosemary sprigs to canister for good seasoning measure.


Signs and Sounds: Fall or Autumn Wishfall Thinking

Signs and sounds hinting at an early fall or autumn leads to wishfall thinking.  Concrete proof of fall’s preview peppers the Places In The Home driveway, sidewalk and patio with yellow leaves intermingled among summer’s last holdouts.  As I blog and type “Dancing In The Moonlight” by King Harvest is currently playing on Music Choice.  Now “Night Moves” by Bob Seger is playing.  Two songs played back to back with the lyrics everybody’s dancin’ in the moonlight and with autumn closing in. Changing colors, temps and tastes.  Oh yeah, this is happening.

yellow-fall-leavesWe crazy Louisianians grab hold of the slightest hint of a fall weather preview and hold on for dear life.  Hey, speaking of crazy Louisianians

britney-ellenLouisianians  Ellen DeGeneres and  Britney Spears

Dave and I stood on the front porch for a few minutes Friday night listening to the high school bands playing during the local football Jamboree.  Humidity and mosquitoes crashed our party, making me wish for fall even more.  Hope springs or falls eternal, and I can testify to sure signs of wishfall thinking- shorter days, a changing sun that casts a bright white light through the windows, and wind chimes that play a North wind lullaby.


The first gumbo feast of fall is soon to be cooking in the big blue pot.


Okay.  I couldn’t wait until the official arrival of fall for a gumbo feast.  No respectable Louisiana cook can talk about gumbo and not break out the big blue pot, make some roux, chop up the Cajun trinity, and whip up a pot of chicken and sausage gumbo.  C’est si bon!


The hunt is on for Sportsman’s Paradise activities to do.  Fall festivals of pecan, tamale, meat pie, and funktoberfest are on our fall calendar of events.


A new to me vintage mixing bowl is ready for fall recipe duty.


A bag of fresh and faux apples and a dash of wishfall thinking leads the inspired charge to create delicious apple themed recipes and diy projects.


A Guide to Apples from Williams-Sonoma

1.  Cortland – Crimson in color with a sweet flavor and crisp texture.  Best for:  applesauce and apple butter.

2.  Red Delicious – Softer in texture with a mellow, not-too-sweet flavor. Best for:  apple cider

3.   Braeburn – Reddish-orange with green and yellow streaks and a unique sweet-tart flavor.  Best for:  cooking and baking

4.  Gravenstein  –  A juicy apple with a finely-grained texture and a light yellow or red skin.  Best for:  applesauce and apple cider

5.  Gala  –  Sweet, aromatic and crisp with a light-red color.  Best for: eating raw and applesauce

6.  Fuji  –  Crisp texture and dense flesh with a sugary-sweet flavor.  Best for: eating raw

7.  Pink Lady  –  Crisp in texture and bright pink with a tart-sweet flavor.   Best for:  eating raw

8.  Golden Delicious  –  Very sweet to the taste with a golden yellow color.   Best for:  applesauce and apple butter

9.  Granny Smith  –  Very tart and crisp with a bright green color.  Best for: baking


Wishfall thinking exhibit A as in a fall diamond in the summer rough.  The seasons they are a-changin’.

 Fall Autumn Wishfall Thinking

There is nothing like a good fall preview or autumn sneak peek to build the anticipation of seasonal things to come.  By all accounts, it’s fall y’all!

Love your style!

Finds and Treasures Currently Catching My Eye

Finds and treasures currently catching my eye for the August gotta have it list include all things house that make a home goodies in appetizing, modern, polished and pumpkin time is right around the corner style.  First up in this month’s round up is a set of appetizer plates with a sense of style and a sense of humor.


ED by Ellen

Memories lay the ground work for a collectible fascination to take root.  My frog fascination began in the summer of 1974 when I landed the coveted lead role in the local community theater production of Fairy Frog Superstar.  The play was pure G-rated fun, a take off on Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother.  The frog thing stuck, and I’ve been an avid collector of frog themed objects ever since. Metals are trending with a vengeance for fall 2015, and this brass finished frog object from West Elm is one handsome hopper.


The mixing of traditional, vintage and/or antiques with modern pieces remains on trend and in style.  Contrast is good, visual impact the desired decorating effect, and creating a unique and impressive focal point is the point.  I am inspired by the INSPIRE Q Canali Sleek Modern Accent Chair.


Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater Hand Therapy smells as good as it feels and heals. Perfect treatment for project weary hands.


Thank You in any language translates well.   Modeled after antique enameled European signage, this Merci Word Play porcelain wall art says thank you in ooh la la fashion.


Howard Feed-N-Wax is the Tina Turner of wood polishes.  Simply the best.


Who’s looking forward to getting their fall baking, cooking and seasoning on? The Staub Ceramic Pumpkin Cocotte from Williams-Sonoma is making it very hard for me not to be in a fall-pumpkin-cinnamon state of mind.


Speaking of seasonal recipes, may I suggest Louisiana De Mer: Seasonal Seafood Recipes for your cookbook collection.  This definitive collections of recipes for seafood lovers features 160 pages of beautiful photography, recipes from celebrated Louisiana chefs and restaurants, New Orleans classics- including po-boys and dozens of Cajun and Creole cooking tips.


Now we’re cooking!

Love your style!

A Most Fetching Friday





adjective: fetching


synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible


This week’s A Most Fetching Friday is dedicated to dessert, the art of baking (and no-baking), and the edible works created, admired and deliciously celebrated as the grand finale of the holiday dinner.

Thanksgiving-apple-pastry-package-del1014-lgnWrapped Baked Apple Crumble – Country Clever

beekman-boys-buttermilk-pie-with-pecan-crustButtermilk Pie with Pecan Crust – Country Living Magazine

apple-nut-cake-walnutsApple Nut Cake  with Caramel Walnut Icing

white-chocolate-pumpkin-cheesecakesNo Bake White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecakes with a Pecan Pie Crust

Butter-pecan-cakeButter Pecan Cake

butterscoth-pudding-Coquette-New-OrleansButterscotch Pudding with Snickerdoodle Cookie Crumbs & Bacon Whipped Cream

I hope you have a most delicious and fetching Friday.

Love your style!

A Most Fetching Friday 11: The Tasteful and The Decadent

This week’s Fetching Friday 11 accentuates both the tasteful and the decadent.  Taste, tastes, style and chic decor accents make beautiful homes together.



ff-fall-dessertsCountry Living Magazine


Chocolate-Pear-Loaf-Cake-via-BHG1Chocolate-Cinnamon Pear Loaf Cake

ff-wallpaper“Zebras” in Safari Brown from Scalamandré as featured in Traditional Home

ff-hot-cocoa-brownie-cakeHot Cocoa Brownie Cake with Pumpkin Marshmallow Frosting

I hope you have a most fetching Friday.

Love your style!

Define Homemade

How do you define homemade?  I like to take culinary liberties with the word homemade. My homemade state of mind is firing on all culinary cylinders at this time of year.  Shortcuts that simplify, enhance and spice up the homemade baking and cooking experience top my ingredients list. Store bought banana nut muffin mix is just an extra teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of ground cloves, and two ripe bananas thrown in for good measure away from scratch. Welcome to my this is how we homemade world.

fall-fruit-plate-banana-breadSpiced up banana-nut muffin nread served with sliced apples and grapes make for a lovely fall afternoon nosh.

My daily life is messy, clean it up routine finds me at the kitchen sink washing dishes several times a day.  The upside of this daily routine is it allows me a pondering session.  Over the last 40+ years I’ve stood in that exact spot pondering and appreciating the view from outside my kitchen window with today being no different.  Gazing merrily along I spotted one lone falling leaf of deep golden amber. That one lovely leaf was all the verification I needed to determine it’s soup weather! The beauty of fall was the inspiration, but leftover instant mashed potatoes became the culinary catalyst for this recipe.  I like to come up with a soup, stew or chowder rich in hearty simplicity.  I think this simple corn chowder delivers.


Corn Chowder


4 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1/3  cup all-purpose flour

8  cups chicken broth

1 can cream of mushroom soup

2 medium potatoes, diced

1 cup prepared instant mashed potatoes

¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

½ teaspoon fine black pepper

2 bay leaves

1 package frozen sweet corn

2 cans cream style corn


In a large pot melt butter over medium heat. Add diced onions and saute until tender. Add flour to onions , stirring onions and flour constantly until onions are coated. Pour in chicken broth and cream of mushroom soup, stirring until well blended.  Add potatoes, bay leaves, kosher salt and fine black pepper.

Stir to incorporate and bring mixture to a boil stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10 minutes or just until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

Add instant mashed potatoes, whisking until well blended.  Next, add frozen corn and cream style corn, stirring to incorporate. Reduce heat to simmer, and allow chowder to heat through, uncovered, 10 – 15 minutes longer.


For no reason other than I adore the beauty of this cottage and its outdoor fall finery,  I’m including these images for the fall of it.  I like this definition of homemade.



The Southern Dinner Table

The Southern dinner table tells a story.  Gathered in regional reverence, devout worshipers of the dining divine keep time to culinary tradition-nourishing the soul as well as the body.

Taking a meal at the Southern dinner table is a multi-layered celebration weaving through generations, tradition and culture.

A sudden wave of news copy on the popularity, rediscovery, and dare I say it, appreciation of Southern foods, has not only resonated with my taste buds, but my memories of times spent gathered around the Southern dinner table.


I surely don’t believe nor make the claim that the South holds the patent on dinner table philosophies, but sitting down to the Southern dinner table is an intended event.

It doesn’t matter if the table is set for cornbread, red beans and rice, or chicken fried anything with all the fixings, eating is far from simply a practice in sustenance.

From Southern farm, garden, market or waterway to the Southern dinner table, the prepping, cooking, baking, frying, boiling or grilling is a culinary event.


Culinary tastes, rituals and traditions of cooking and dining vary from state to state, dining table to dining table across the South, but the core principles of preparing and sharing good food is uncomplicated, simple and basic.

If you cook, bake, fry, roast, barbecue, boil, grill, can, preserve or pickle it, they will come.


The differences between the ways of my Texas, Tennessee and Louisiana relatives always seemed to warrant a they don’t do it like this in whichever two states you were not breaking bread in.

The shared commonality between the Texas, Tennessee and Louisiana masses boil down to simple dining vocabulary.

Dinner is the meal eaten in the middle of the day.

Supper is the meal eaten in the evening.


Breaking bread with the Texas family came with rituals and a throwback vibe all its own.

The dining room table was for the adults, and the kitchen table was for the kids.

Soft white bread on a porcelain bread and butter plate was as close to a bread basket as you were gonna get.

My Aunt Sis was as full of sass as she was wit, and lightening quick with an answer and a serving spoon.  This firecracker’s table came equipped with its own GPS system.

Grease.  Preserves.  Salt.

Grease was the answer for everything, a pressed glass compote dish filled with homemade pear preserves never left the center of the table, and salt was not an acquired taste.

It was a required taste.


The ladies of both my Texas and Louisiana family subscribed to the take down the china, fill the crystal to the rim, and put a hint of silver on the situation school of thought.

When questioned why a middle of the week dinner called for a fine lace tablecloth and a china pattern worthy of royalty, Aunt Sis would shoot back with a, “Well, hon, what’s the use of having the stuff if you don’t use it?”

I knew there was wisdom in her words, and they resonate with me to this day each time I open the doors to the china cabinet.

Life is too short not to use the good china, crystal and table linens every day.

You can quote me and Aunt Sis on it.


Does any of this ring a familiar dinner bell with you?

In continuation and reflection of the traditions and tastes of the Southern dinner table, my Tennessee family round the Southern dinner table traditions is the subject of my next post.

Love your style!




Delicacies, Dishes and Desserts: Malted Buttercream Frosting

Good morning, afternoon or evening!  I hope everyone had a lovely Easter. For those of you beginning your spring break week enjoy your well deserved holiday.  For those of us beginning the work week let’s pretend we’re one of the ones beginning our spring break week.  Dave the Builder’s brother sent me a video he filmed while he and his family were having lunch at one of their favorite restaurants last week.  Floridians with their ocean liner afternoons way of life need not rub it in.


My Easter weekend went from cooking, baking and casual entertaining to full blown extravaganza somewhere around late Saturday afternoon. That’s what happens when two family members tell two family members and they tell two family members. Get where I’m going with this?


Let me tell you something about going into full-on double and triple the recipes, come up with another dessert mode – it’s not exactly my kind of bunny hop. Grabbing the April issue of Better Homes and Gardens and turning to the dog-eared page I somehow knew I would need this holiday, inspiration stared me in the face.


This is the result of that inspiration.


Over the summer months I’ll periodically be featuring a summer recipe series, Delicacies, Dishes and Desserts.  This Malted Buttercream frosting recipe kicks it off because it’s a summer is coming share worthy favorite. With summer comes get togethers of the family reunion, 4th of July and dinner on the grounds kind.  Delicacies, dishes and desserts come to the buffet table not only to celebrate, but to comfort and to impress.  This particular frosting, complete with a generous measure of malt shop goodness, has the flavor of summer whipped all over it.  The coconut nest and malted milk eggs topped off the Easter theme, but I topped a second cake I prepared for our neighbors with fresh strawberry and lemon slices.  How’s that for a preview of summer delights to come?  I didn’t get a picture of that cake, but I’m sure it won’t be long before I have a reason to make another one.

Malted Buttercream Frosting


2 cup (4 sticks) butter, softened

6 cups powdered sugar

1 cup vanilla-flavored malted milk powder

4 tablespoons evaporated milk or milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

¼  teaspoon salt


In a very large mixing bowl beat the butter on medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy.  Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in 6 cups of the powdered sugar and the malted milk powder.  Increase speed to medium and add 4 tablespoons of the milk, the vanilla, and salt.  Beat for 2 minutes or until smooth.  Add enough of the remaining powdered sugar or milk to make a frosting that is spreadable.

Frost top and sides with frosting. Decorate as desired with cotton candy and Easter egg candies just before serving.

recipe via Better Homes and Gardens

Some may be thinking and asking, “six cups powdered sugar?”  The malted milk powder keeps this frosting from being overly sweet.  Into everyone’s life a little sugar will fall, and realizing that fact is why I don’t shy from posting and developing dessert recipes.  From the measurement of an ingredient to the measurement of interior decorating and design, balance is key.