Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you all are having a wonderful day of giving thanks for friends, family, and rich blessings! I would love to hear what your favorite Thanksgiving recipes and traditions are! Please post comments!!

I'll be sharing a few of my own over the next couple days! For now, enjoy your family and feasting!

P.S. I wanted to post a couple pretty Thanksgiving pictures but I am having technical difficulties with that at the moment...please stay tuned!

Monday, November 12, 2012

S'mores Housewarming Party!!

Yes, I'm still alive and well. I can't believe I've left my readers hanging for over a month and a half with no posting!! No excuses but I have been a little busy moving to a new house.  Buying and selling a house is very stressful and is a lot of work and very time-consuming (and mind-consuming). But hopefully you'll forgive me when I share with you a wonderful recipe to make home-made marshmallows that are super yumma yumma and surprisingly easy!

S'mores Buffet

Only two weeks after moving in we decided to host a housewarming party for our new home.  We were only able to pull it together so quickly because A.) we had TONS of help moving in and getting unpacked and B.) I had already mentally planned this party in my head for about the last year before we even knew we were going to move, not knowing it would necessarily become a housewarming party. I came across the idea of a s'mores party when someone turned me onto this wonderful little party idea blog called Juneberry Lane.  Ever since then I've been dying to have my own s'mores party! And since s'mores and fall go so well together and our move took place end of October, how fortunate for me that the timing was perfect!

Strawberry Marshmallows...pretty in pink!

So I began the search for homemade marshmallow recipes. And came across a great one by one of my favorite TV food personalities, Alton Brown.  Here is the basic recipe as follows:


  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Nonstick spray


Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

gelatin and ice water

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.

Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture.

it's like magic...sugar syrup transformed before your eyes!

mmm...marshmallow fluff...

Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. [If you want to do other flavors, here is where you can add them.  Instead of vanilla, you can substitute any flavor of extract, or you can still use the vanilla but add a tablespoon of whatever spice you want, like cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice or cardamom. This is also the time to add a few drops of food coloring if you want some pretty colors to your marshmallows. For the chocolate marshmallows I added 1/4 cup of cocoa powder.  For the pumpkin marshmallows I added a 1/4 cup of pureed pumpkin. The possibilities are endless!] While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.




 Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl (for chocolate marshmallows you can also add a little cocoa powder to this mixture. I even added a little cinnamon for the pumpkin ones too). Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.


pumpkin...the pureed pumpkin in this recipe made these extra moist. next time I might use less pumpkin and/or more pumpkin pie spice instead.

 When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

I will warn you that these marshmallows are a little more sensitive than store-bought ones so they will melt a little quicker over the fire.  Have your chocolate and crackers ready!

Mint and strawberry...we purchased these lovely metal containers from the dollar section at Target!

Pumpkin and Cinnamon...the containers are not food-safe so we lined them with linen napkins.

Plain (store-bought ones for the less adventurous eaters) and Chocolate

A variety of graham crackers...honey and cinnamon...

And also chocolate grahams!

A variety of chocolates...toffee, raspberry, and orange

Dark chocolate

Milk chocolate and white chocolate

And some good ol' Hersheys for the traditionalists (and these are nut-safe for those with allergies as most of the fancy chocolates are not!)

Its good to offer a variety of toppings for your s'mores buffet...a variety of marshmallows, a variety of chocolates and crakcers, even some caramel dip, peanut butter, and apple slices. And of course don't forget the s'mores sticks and the fire!

some of our guests gathered outside around our new firepit (a housewarming gift from the family)

a perfect sweet treat...chocolate and vanilla marshmallows on chocolate bars with chocolate graham crackers, served with hot cocoa and marshmallows!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Taste of Childhood

I apologize Yumma Yumma has been a little quiet over the past few months. We've had quite a lot going on in the Superking household as we are in the process of selling our house, trying to buy a new one, and getting ready to move next month.  If you've ever been through this process, you know it can be very daunting and stressful. To help relieve some of this stress the other day, I decided I needed to have one of my favorite childhood treats...No Bake Oatmeal Cookies.

I love these because they are so quick to make and as easy as making rice krispie treats.And most of the ingredients I already keep as staples in my house. What's also great about these is that you can easily change the ingredients into a myriad of variations for your own liking or for whatever staples you may have in your own house.

The first few ingredients are the base. Those are a must-have and can't really be altered too much.
                             *2 cups sugar
                             *1/2 cup milk
                             *1/2 cup (stick) butter
(My mom also likes to add 1 cup butterscotch chips along with these first three. I'm personally not a fan so I left them out. But you could substitute chocolate chips here in any variety or cocoa powder.)

Put all those items in a pot over medium heat, let the butter melt, stirring constantly, and let it come to a rolling boil for about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Now here's where the fun comes in where you can change up the ingredients.  Here's the original recipe that I used...
                          *1 tsp vanilla
                          *3 tbsp or 1/3 cup peanut butter (crunchy is my fave but creamy works too)
                          *3 cups oats
I've seen recipes similar to this that add coconut, different kinds of nuts, dried fruit...whatever your heart desires! Stir until everything is well blended. Then drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool!! Thats it!

These cookies are so delish! And it takes me back to a simpler time in life.  When I was kid, my mom and I used to make these together.  We would make dozens of them, especially at the holidays. Every bit of kitchen counter space was covered in cookies. I can remember kneeling on a dining room chair saddled up to the counter, helping my mom add in the ingredients one by one and then we would take turns stirring. The best part was licking the spoon at the end when the leftover bits of ingredients were still warm. I know I can't go back to being a kid in the kitchen with my mom, but at least when I have these cookies, I can have a little bite of it to carry with me.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hill Country BBQ

BBQ is one of those down-home comforting kind of meals that just feels like a great big hug when you eat it. And sometimes its hard to find really good BBQ thats not over cooked or over processed or accompanied by sides that taste like it came out of a can or a blue box. Because BBQ is not just about the meat. Ok, its mostly about the meat but its also about the side dishes that come with the meat, things like mashed potatoes, mac n' cheese, corn, cornbread...

My brother-in-law turned us onto a great BBQ joint in DC called Hill Country.  Its a unique dining experience with some great BBQ, great sauces, and great sides! Its not like a regular restaurant where the waitress brings you everything.  She brings your drinks (served in glass mason cute!) and then she gives you a ticket.  You then take your ticket up to the counter to order your meat. You can choose from beef brisket, ribs, pork chops, chicken, game hen, even sausage, among a variety of other items.  You can also order by the slice, by the rib, or by the link, as much or as little as you want.

Its a little chaotic as the meat servers are constantly shouting out meat orders for people and then they mark it on your ticket as you pick it up.  But its also kind of cool because its not like any other place I've been to. And the meat is so juicy and tender and smoky, all wrapped up in brown paper.

aahh, the messier the better! Yumm!

Once you have your meat in hand, you move over to the "sides" counter.  Baked beans with burnt ends (yumm!), mac 'n cheese, collard greens, German potatoes, sweet potato bourbon mash (you know I couldn't pass that one up!), cole slaw, potato salad, cornbread...the list goes on. And again they mark your ticket.

Then you can sit down and enjoy your meal for a while, scarfing down barbecued, saucy meat like a ravenous animal and barely using a spoon to scrape out the sweet potatoes from the bowl, all while downing a mason jar full of ice cold sweet and tart lemonade.  Man it doesn't get much better than this!

sweet potatoes (left) and cornbread (right) with honey butter

Then if you're not too full, you can take your ticket back up for seconds or sidle up to the dessert counter for some rice pudding, a pb&j cupcake, a slice of red velvet cake, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Unfortunately we were too full for any of that but they all looked very yummy! Can't wait to go back next time I get a hankering for some good ol' fashioned BBQ!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Magnolia's At The Mill

Back in June for Father's Day (I know I'm a little behind but I've been a little busy) Superking and I took my parents out to dinner to a place we've been wanting to get to for a while...Magnolia's at the Mill located in Purcellville, VA. A special occasion + nice local restaurant combined for a great evening of yummy food. And the company wasn't too bad either. :)

old train station outside the mill

This restaurant is located in the heart of a quaint little town in the countryside of Loudoun County.  The building is actually an old mill built in 1905. It has served in the production of pasture seed as well as flour. During WWII, even orchard grass produced here was shipped to Europe as packing for artillery shells and armaments. The restaurant itself opened in February 2004 with the goal of resuming the position of the old mill as a vital part of the community. As you dine there, you are surrounded by its history as many parts of the mill still remain intact as part of the decor.

We began with a couple small plates.  First up is the pan seared sea scallops accompanied by bruleed oranges, a fennel salad, and dressed in a miso glaze. Sweet, tangy, and perfectly cooked!

Then came the roasted garlic chicken wings with two really yummy sauces...a smoked tomato aoli and peppercorn parmesan ranch.

My mom also ordered the tomato smoked gouda soup! My parents have graciously learned to let me take pictures of their food whenever we go out. Thanks mom and dad!

Another delight, fried green tomatoes! Nothing like a good fried green tomato especially when its topped with goat cheese! This version also had thin slices of ham on top along with a pistachio relish and the plate was drizzled with a red pepper aoli. Crispy breading on the tomato, the sweet tomato and tangy goat cheese...there are no words.

Both my parents went for a traditional steak and potatoes dinner. The NY Strip steak...a beautiful piece of meat.  It was served with whipped potatoes and tender asparagus, accompanied by a horseradish sauce and a peppercorn sauce.  I didn't get to taste any but every bite was gone from both their plates when the night was done.

Superking went for a delectable special of the evening...soft shell crab! This is something he's been dying to try for quite some time from various places.  Here was his opportunity!!  It arrived with colorful plating, the soft shell crabs with their legs kicking out for all to see.  In the middle of the plate was a pile of vegetable goulash topped with crispy potato wedges and surrounded by dollops of some kind of tartar or remoulade sauce.  I've never had anything like this.  They were quite tasty and crispy. If you like crab, whats not to like? However eating the shell was a little strange and off-putting at times. I guess that comes with the territory of eating soft shell crab. But nevertheless, a great dish!

I stuck to the smaller plates and ordered the house smoked trout.  I've had smoked salmon before and really enjoyed it and this was served pretty much the same way...surrounded by salty capers, spicy diced red onion, chopped hard cooked egg, a dollop of remoulade, and toasted flatbread.  The trout had a lighter flavor than the salmon but it was a lovely mixture with the stronger flavors of capers, onions, and egg.  The crispiness of the flatbread added a nice crunch and helped pull all the flavors together.

We could not leave this place without dessert.  There were two cheesecakes...dulce de leche and some sort of glazed peach, another special of the night. 

I went for the fancy sounding fresh berry zabaglione. Its not only fun to say but fun to eat as well. It was served in its own dish of a light sugary pastry shell which was filled with fresh sweet strawberries and blackberries and a delicious creamy custard, all topped with whipped cream and a mint leaf. To die for!