Friday, December 31, 2010

My 2010 Food Adventures~ A tour of my road trips via food!

My 2010 Food Adventures!

In 2010 I was very blessed, I got to spend my first entire year home being a stay-at-home mom!

We were blessed to get to go lots of fun places, with good friends, and eat lots of good places, here are a few of those adventures in recap:
(note bleu cheese bread pudding, BBQ, Jack Daniels and bread pudding, monster burgers, and to die for cupcakes to name just a few!)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Homemade Biscuits for leftover Ham!!!

Now that everyone is probably finished with all of their Holiday dinners there are leftovers to be had!

Leftover green bean casserole,

leftover mac and cheese,

leftover sweet potato casserole,

leftover turkey and ham...

 So, let's make some biscuits for all those leftovers! 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hot White Chocolate Cocoa ~ Snowflake Cocoa~ aka Slow Cooker Cocoa

Snowman kit ready!

Nothing like cranberries and carrots and flat snowmen!

With the winter weather upon us it is that time of year for some nice, warm cocoa,

White Chocolate cocoa, that is...
( and the best part is, it is made in the slow cooker!)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Morning Rolls or Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Whatever you want to call them they are yummy!

This is the Christmas tradition I have started at my house with my children, waking up on Christmas morning to see what Santa left us and having fresh Cinnamon Rolls baking while we open presents!!! (My kind of breakfast! Fast, easy, smells heavenly, and cinnamon and sugar together!)

So, you may be asking why am I giving you this recipe now instead of before Christmas, well these are really just cinnamon rolls but they have become Christmas Morning Rolls at my house becuase that is the only time I will let myself near them or else I would become a cinnamon roll, muffin top, etc., etc., ... you get the picture!

This is truly a very easy recipe, minimal ingredients, most you have around the house. You stir a couple of ingredients, sprinkle some, and let it sit overnight, then just put in to bake and voila!

You have this...

Read more for recipe!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Traditions ~ Giving and Receiving

Well, with it being a long weekend for my family I thought that the Monday after Christmas would be a good time to revisit Holiday traditions.

If you can't tell by now I am really not wanting to let go of Christmas, that means decorations go down, no more Christmas cards, I have to think of another reason to make ten dozen cookies...

There are just some things that just come once a year, ya know what I mean?! 

Like this...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Browns 2010

Family Ornament Pictures Christmas
View the entire collection of cards.
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from our house to yours!!!

Happy Baking,

Lynn aka Loco Cocoa

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reindeer Treats ~ Taking Care of Santa's Team

Most everybody remembers to leave Santa out some treats because the big guy brings the presents, but you have to remember who helps him get those presents here...

The reindeer!

So, this year we made reindeer treats to help refuel them. Although I am sure all those years I never made reindeer treats Santa probably shared some of his cookies and other treats people leave for him with the reindeer, but ya know it just isn't right for Santa to have to share his food.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Peanut Butter Pinwheels

I seem to be on a no bake kick this week. So, I bring you this great sweet treat,
                                                           the Peanut Butter Pinwheel..

If you are needing something last minute to whip together for a Christmas Treat, this is it! You probably already have the ingredients and it is simple to make and does not take a lot of time, yet it seems to be one of those treats few people make but everybody loves.

So, here we go...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Santa Trail Mix ~ Santa Hat included! and December Cook off

With lots of goodies on my list to make I ran across a Santa Trail Mix concotion from Cookies and Cups that I just could not resist making, so, here we are:

Santa Hats with M&Ms, pretzels, peanuts, and raisins

Also, the December Cook Off over at Kitchen Corners is under way so please visit and vote for my Derby Day Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Voting ends Friday!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rum Balls ~ A Christmas Tradition

Ok, well, as I promised another liquor infused treat. I hope you all got a chance to try the Derby Day Chocolate Chip Cookies, if you didn't please check it out!

 Now it is time to make Rum Balls. It just wasn't Christmas at my house if we didn't have Rum Balls, one of my Dad's favorite traditions, and when I say it was one of his favorite traditions it wasn't just that he enjoyed eating them, he actually made them!

So, let's move on to this...

Me, with a tasty concotion known as a Rum Ball, let's get mixing!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Derby Day Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Ok, the holiday season is upon us, so if you are making homemade treats to give to people I am sure you are already in the kitchen doing your thing or have it all planned out. If you don't do homemade treats for others or don't have it planned out yet let me give you some inspiration...
Goodie Gift Basket for friends of ours in South Carolina
Then let's move on to this:
One of my new fav cookies that will be added to our treat packs this year

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cookie Swap ~ Are you ready for some cookies?!

Ok, well I am way behind on the Christmas season as far as blogging goes since I just started this, but let me tell you earmark this for next year or ring in the new year with a Cookie Swap as an afterthought because it is a great excuse to :

1) Get together with friends
2) bake
3) eat lots of different cookies
4) share recipes

Who doesn't like these 4 things? (Ok, well I must admit that #2 can be a deal breaker for some of my friends, um I mean acquaintances, no really, friends) Seriously, my first call for an invite was to a dear friend of mine who I knew was kind of if-y about the whole cookie swap thing but I thought what the heck it is the holiday season, maybe that will get her to cooking, because she is a fabulous cook when she does it and the response I got was "Do you know who you are talking to? Um! No, I do not bake" (I do not bake here or there I do not bake anywhere, sorry I had to do that!!)

So, what exactly is a cookie swap?  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gingerbread House recipe and tips

Ok, so you say you have been inspired to make your own gingerbread house, well, here are some of my tips having just gone through this saga:

1. Plan ahead, leave yourself plenty of time, DAYS!!! If you didn't read my previous posts you need to be forewarned it literally takes DAYS, unless you are just super human. It seems like every process needs an "overnighter", the baked pieces need to dry "overnight", the royal icing mortar needs to dry "overnight" to stick, so there you go I forewarned you!

If you do this you will be fine! and if you are patient...

2. Pick your recipe, make mine, or one you trust, because nothing would be worse than having failed gingerbread after you are prepped!

3. Use meringue powder for your royal icing, I don't know about you but something about dealing with uncooked egg whites, just grosses me out (plus if you have little ones like me inevitably they will lick the icing so we don't want to go there! just an FYI!)

4. Just have fun, enjoy, the excitement of decorating and seeing your masterpiece is fun!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Gingerbread House Finale!

To hold or not to hold, that is the question???

Well, as the gingerbread house saga continues I am woke up by husband (who gets up insanely early) at 3:45 to this "Did you go check on your gingerbread last night?"

Geez thanks, because now I am in a panic, thinking "What?!What?! Oh, no I am such a bad gingerbread momma, you mean I was supposed to check on it during the night, OH, NO, I didn't check on my baby during the night!"

 This must mean it is in shambles.

Nope, this is just my husband, because then he follows up after a long pause with, "...Because the kitchen light was on" and I know he is secretly thinking ("and I know I didn't leave the kitchen light on all night, no way, not me")

Ok, sorry, I will return to the saga at hand, so now that I am over that I run like it is Christmas morning to see if IT made it or not and this is what I found...

Ta da! It stayed together, must say impressive mortar to hold that gap!! It must have been the kidney beans and peaches!

And so, that led to this...

Can you see the excitement in her eyes!

See I told you those extra hands would appear as soon as the candy was brought out!

And so, at this point it is time for an arsenal of candy (leftover Halloween candy, traditional christmas candy, and lots of great sprinkles)

Still, have to use, would make great lightbulbs on a Christmas tree!!! (to come in the future!)

And so after, decorating, and eating, and decorating, and eating some more we have this....


Every gingerbread house needs a mailbox to send Santa a letter, I was informed of this by my 3 year old so there you go!!! (hence the mailbox)

Note the stained glass window, lights up beautifully at night!

So, Thanks for following my gingerbread house saga, hope you enjoyed!!! I will follow up with the recipe I used and some tips if this has inspired you to make your own or dang it, at least go buy the warehouse kit!!! and Enjoy the spirit of the Gingerbread house!

Please share pics if you do make your own Gingerbread house (from scratch or not!)  Would love to see!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Part III ~ The Gingerbread House Saga: Scrapped or Baked?

Ok, we left off at whether the poor thin, mumbled, jumbled dough laying on the pans would make it to the oven or not?

To BAKE or NOT BAKE, that is the question???

Well, I made it this far by golly, and look at around at my poor kitchen, everything covered in flour because dang it that dough is just so sticky, so flour, and more flour, and then even more flour to try and sacrifice it, SO... the conclusion is....

(drum roll please)......

Bake it!!!

So,  after everyone had settled down about the gingerbread (no more husband mumbling, kids asleep) I bake it, the pieces all come out all different in consistency, some perfect (ok, well maybe just one piece), some semi-puffy, and some really puffy (wow what happend to that kind of reaction in the oven!!) It could not have been my rolling of the dough :0) I plead the 5th!!!

Sorry, no pic of the glorious pieces coming out of the oven (again, I only have but so many hands!)

Then, you ready for this, it is intermission time... now that it is baked, I am actually getting semi-excited about putting it together... but not so fast Nelly, HOLD YOUR HORSES...

the gingerbread has to cool over night to harden!!!

Do what?!!! Who ever heard of such, you usually just pull it out of the box and slap it together, done in an hour flat!!! (oh, yeah I forgot, it has probably sat in a warehouse somewhere since last year, plenty of time to harden, ah the miracle of perservatives and whatever other stuff I can't pronounce that they put in those boxed kits)

So, my excitement is let down a little ~ SIGH~ so, I breathe in, must be patient, and wait overnight

then the next night this happens...
Royal Icing ~ mortar for the house

And this,

Trying to make the house not so drafty!

Also, note that peaches, kidney beans, and tomato sauce really help in the making of Gingerbread Houses!!
So, now that we are in to day two of making gingerbread the real question is will this drafty house make it? I am not having second thoughts at this stage, it is on the verge of tears because of all the time and sweat that has went in to this gingerbread man's house is hinging upon the mortar that has to fill those huge gaps!! (Remember the part about how some of the pieces came out perfect (one) and some semi-puffy, and some really puffy "wow what happend to that kind of reaction in the oven!" well this is where that all comes back to HAUNT YOU!!! )

So, once again, I am that stage of patience, Do what now you tell me that the icing has to sit OVERNIGHT to work its mortar magic to see if it is going to hold my gingerbread dough walls together or not!!!!?!!!! Ugh, I won't digress to the whole "sat in a warehouse" ordeal again, but you know what I am thinking...

So, are you feeling my pins and needles, nail biting, hair twirling, fidgeting moments I was having as I spent DAYS during this Gingerbread House saga waiting...

Probably not, but anyways stay tune to see if the Gingerbread House stays together, if my mortar was really made out of it what it says it was, or not, and if I have to let the kiddos down easy and say we are breaking out the Gingerbread warehouse kit!!!

Say it "ain't" so! (sorry, I am southern and will use improper grammar when it comes to the word "ain't")

Until next time!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dancing with Hippos

Ok, while we were supposed to be dancing my 3 year old said, "move your Hippos mom!"

Oh, my maybe this is a sign of too many treats!!!

What do you think?

Part II of the Gingerbread House Saga: To roll or not to roll

Um... Ok, remember the "I am stoked, I WILL make gingerbread, nothing will stop me, no second thoughts here momma!" Well...  there was this :
Mixing, easy, breezy, let the pink machine do the job!
Then there was this:
Dealing with the pink machines results ~ the dough!
Again, to roll or not to roll, I feel second thoughts about this whole homemade gingerbread thing coming on. So, I rolled, and rolled, and rolled, and cut and cut some more, then fling some sticky dough off the hands, try and hold three spatulas to support a roof at one time!

Boy you really need more than two hands to make gingerbread houses, but usually those extra hands don't appear until it is time to decorate the house.

 So, the second thoughts appear, I hear the mumblings of my husband again about how "I made a gingerbread house from scratch in middle school" Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's called Home Economics, do they still have that anymore?

anyways, I divert back, sorry... So, stay tune to see if the dough is scraped (oh, no, I'm the gingerbread man, you can't catch me... or maybe I'm the gingerbread house, you better run!!) or baked! (DU...du.. du...)

Place your bets people!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gingerbread House ~ the real kind, like where real gingerbread men live ~ from scratch

Ok, it is that time of year where Gingerbread house kits start popping up everywhere, at mung-o-mart, shop-o-ramas, and get-it-all-greens, so I can't resist them, but don't want to buy it either, so I decide to go all natural this year ~ yep, you heard me~ ALL NATURAL! FROM SCRATCH... (du..du.. du...)

No second thoughts (at first). I am pumped. So, I hit the cookbooks, the internet, in search of the "Oh, so perfect gingerbread house recipe" (*Please note, there is a difference in gingerbread cookies, gingerbread, and gingerbread house recipes, much, much difference in consistency between the three, I may have to earmark that for a later post!)

So, as the saga continues, I find some comparable recipes, look at them side by side, as my husband keeps mumbling about how he made a gingerbread house from scratch in middle school, how hard could this be? why such intense decisions about gingerbread? So, I continue to contemplate, and choose one primarily based on not having to triple the recipe and not use so much molasses because DANG IT I just don't have that much molasses in my cupboards! (yes, I said cupboards, I am old fashioned and from the south!) 

So, recipe in hand, ingredients out

Here I go!!!! The saga begins... More to come folks, so stay tuned!!! Will the gingerbread house succeed or just crumble??? (du...du...du...)

Getting Started ~ 'Tis the Season

Well, I have finally got brave enough to just go with it! I have been wanting to start blogging so I have decided now is just as good as anytime! ( well, really I want to start posting all my lovely creations) More on my creations to come...

For now welcome to Loco Cocoa's (Crazy Brown's), yep that's me!!! I hope to dedicate this blog to cooking, primarily!!! So, get ready for the cooking...

P.S. This is my first official debut: on a food blog thanks to  Joy the Baker, check her out @