Thursday, August 10, 2017

S'Mores Bark...National S'Mores Day

So, what I learned this week...there are s'mores and then there are S'MORES!

My friend Toni in Alaska taught me that s'mores should be made with Reese's peanut butter cups. After one taste, I was completely hooked and I tend to agree with her.

However, for those times (in the not too distant future) and there is five feet of snow on your back patio and you cannot get to your firepit...these S'More Bark beauties are the perfect alternative!  Now I have made Irish Blarney BarkEaster Bunny Bark, and Christmas Holly Jolly Bark, but I think this new one is by far my new favorite bark of all time.

So easy to make and what I like about them is you can pack it all up and enjoy anywhere you are traveling to...camping, hiking, tailgating, picnics...anywhere!

S'Mores Bark
Courtesy of

Semi-sweet melting chocolate (or chocolate chips)
White Vanilla melting chocolate
Graham crackers, crushed into pieces
Mini Marshmallows
Hershey Chocolate Candy Bars, broken up into small pieces

Pour melted semi sweet chocolate into a parchment lined baking sheet.  Drizzle the melted white vanilla chocolate all over and swirl with a toothpick into the milk chocolate (it will look marbleized).

Top with the crushed graham crackers, mini marshmallows and broken chocolate bar.  Refrigerate until firm.  Break into pieces and enjoy!

One Year Ago: Key Lime Jalapeno Cake
Two Years Ago: American Chop Suey
Three Years Ago: Baja Turkey Tostadas
Four Years Ago: Roasted Garlic and Cheese Platter

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Roasted Pears with Brie and Pistachios

Recently we did one of our annual camping trips to Estes Park for a little relaxation and our traditional walk through town and visit The Stanley Hotel.

The famous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park

My daughter treated us to a one hour boat ride around Lake Estes for a sunrise cruise.  We packed up some juices and pastries and had the most beautiful morning ride.  If you ever have the chance to visit this historical little town, I highly recommend you spend a weekend here.  It's perfect!

My sailing crew asleep at the helm...I think they loved it a little too much.

After a weekend of too much ice cream and salt water taffy, I still had a bit of a sweet tooth going. I saw this recipe awhile back and tried it out.  A few months later my daughter called me while I was at the grocery store and asked if I would make "that pear and cheese thing" for dinner.  I admit, I had a bit of a memory lapse and had no idea what she was talking about.  As we worked through the conversation, the light went on and I figured it out...thank goodness.  I was so touched that she liked that much the first time and I had no idea.

These little gems are a beautiful appetizer or side dish for dinner or next to a lunch salad.  Enjoy!

Roasted Pears with Brie and Pistachios
Adapted from Eating Well

2 Tbl honey mustard
1 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 ripe pears
21 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 4 slices
4 tsp chopped pistachios

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

Whisk mustard, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Cut pears in half lengthwise, hollow out the core and slice a small piece off the other side so they will lie flat when served.  Brush all over with the mustard glaze and place core-side down in the prepared pan.

Bake the pears for 30 minutes, basting half way through with the glaze.  Gently turn them over, base again and place a piece of Brie in the hollow of each pear.  Bake until the pears are tender and the Brie is slightly softened, 3 to 5 minutes.  Sprinkle each pear half with 1 teaspoon of pistachios.

One Year Ago: French Dip Date Night
Two Years Ago: Bistro Sandwich
Three Years Ago: Baja Turkey Tostadas
Four Years Ago: Roasted Garlic and Cheese Platter

Friday, August 4, 2017

Spatchcock Smoked Chicken with Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

The only thing more dangerous than me being on my husband and girls surfing the same website...Exhibit A below.

My husband recently expressed he discovered through a co-worker a new chicken recipe for our Traeger Smoker.  What he failed to mention in our conversation (that I discovered as I read the 3 page recipe) takes 8 hours to make.

He said "Don't worry, I will take care of everything and make all of it"....done.  I wasn't about to argue with that offer!

We started it off with my brother-in-law's famous "Mike's Rubbing Mess".  You may remember Mike from my post of his Mike's Marinating Mess which is also one of our go-to dinners!

Eight hours later, this dinner was amazing!  (I should give up cooking more often).  Even if you don't have a smoker, you can still grill/prepare the chicken how you like.  Whatever you do MUST make this Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce!!  Wow was that awesome!

* Served the chicken alongside my Cowboy Baked Beans and Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread

Spatchcock Smoked Chicken with Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce
Courtesy (and adapted) from Hey Grill Hey

1 whole fryer chicken
2 Tbl Olive Oil
2-3 Tbl Homemade (or purchased) BBQ Rub * See below for Mike's Meat Rubbing Mess recipe
1/2 cup Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce *See below for recipe

Place your chicken breast side down on a large cutting board.  Using sharp kitchen shears, cut up both sides of the back bone, from tail to neck.  Remove the backbone completely and turn the chicken over to the breast side.  Carefully spread apart the back and press down gently on the breast until the bird lays nice and flat on your cutting board.  Tuck the wing tips behind the back and adjust the legs until they are fairly symmetrical.

Pat down your chicken with a paper towel and then drizzle with olive oil.  Rub all across the skin. Season your chicken all over with the sub (including the back side).

Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F for indirect cooking with a light wood smoke.  Place your chicken on the smoker and cook for 4-5 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F in both the breast and thigh meat.

Brush the chicken with the Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce (or sauce of your choice) and cook for an additional 25-30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.  Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Mike's Meat Rubbing Mess
1 cup Paprika
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup garlic powder
3 Tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all dry ingredients together. (Tip: Use food processor so brown sugar is evenly broken up.)

Rub meat with molasses.

Add rubbing compound to meat.  (Tip: Use disposable food prep gloves (powder free) to keep hands clean.)

* Excess dry rubbing compound can be stored in an air tight container for future use.

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce
1 cup ketchup
1 cup fresh or frozen sweet cherries (pits removed)
1 chipotle pepper
1 Tbl adobo sauce (taken from the can of chipotle peppers)
1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl honey
1 Tbl molasses
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
zest and juice of one lime
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sauce pan combine all of the ingredients.  Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, stirring often.  Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to cool before transferring to a blender.  Blend until the sauce is smooth.

Store the sauce in a tightly sealed jar or container.  Will last for one week in the refrigerator.

One Year Ago: Glamping Potato Packets
Two Years Ago: GGMa's Angel Food Cake
Three Years Ago: Baja Turkey Tostadas

No photo-shop done to this picture...yes, the Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce was that good!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Raspberry Cream Pie (Galette)

Today is National Raspberry Cream Pie Day...I'm not kidding.  It's an actual thing, according to the National Calendar Day website that I have been having fun with.  You can even sign up for their daily "National" days and receive emails of what is being celebrated during any given month or day.

I know I just recently shared my Raspberry Crumb Muffins recipe that I discovered, but I am on this summer raspberry kick that is in-explainable.

I was going to attempt a "real" Raspberry Cream Pie (similar to my Chocolate Raspberry Silk Pie ), but the hours were flying by when I got home, and the mission was looking further and further from becoming reality.

I then thought...(which can always be a little frightening), why not do a different version of a pie.  I had all the ingredients in the refrigerator already, so I played with it and experimented to what came maybe not the true definition of a pie, but more of a galette.  However, since it does have all the ingredients of a pie, I'm sticking to it!

Nevertheless, this pie/galette was amazing.  It was tart but sweet and flavorful creaminess with the crisp sugar dusted crust.  This would make the perfect brunch side dish, or serve with a dollop of fresh whip cream or vanilla bean ice cream and you've got yourself an amazing fresh summer dessert.

Raspberry Cream Pie (Galette)
Celebrating National Calendar Day

One uncooked pie crust, store bought (the rolled kind)
2 pints fresh raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbl cornstarch
1 egg
2 Tbl Turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)

For Cream Filling:
8 ounce block cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring pie crust to room temperature, while preparing the fruit and cream fillings.

In a mixing bowl, combine the raspberries, 1/4 cup sugar and cornstarch.  Stir carefully to coat. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth.  Add in the 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla and blend well.

On a cookie sheet add parchment paper.  Roll out pie crust to form circle.

Spoon cream cheese mixture over pie crust, leaving room around the edges to fold (about 1 inch).

Spoon the raspberries on top of cream cheese mixture.

Bring the edges up over part of the fruit, overlapping them as needed until all the edges have been brought up and around the fruit.  Gently press together to help ensure they stay up around fruit.

In a small bowl, beat egg with fork and add a teaspoon of water.  Using a pastry brush, brush the edges with egg wash.

Sprinkle Turbinado sugar over the egg wash all around crust.

Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

One Year Ago: Glamping Potato Packets
Two Years Ago: GGMa's Angel Food Cake
Three Years Ago: Baja Turkey Tostadas
Four Years Ago: Sunrise Bars

Friday, July 28, 2017

Parmesan Crusted White Wine Dijon Salmon and Daycations

We have recently coined a new phrase in our family..."daycation".  When there is not even enough time for a "staycation", where you can relax, chill at home and pretend you are on a vacation of sorts, a daycation is the perfect remedy.  A daycation is a one day escape to anywhere you want to recharge your physical and emotional batteries.

We recently did a daycation to Glenwood Springs for a little hot springs, zipline, sunshine and take in mother nature's beautiful views.  Just what the doctor ordered...and a few girly selfies along the way (which my daughters are teaching me how to accomplish)!

Whether you are on a daycation, staycation or cooking on your vacation, this salmon recipe is so delicious and best part...easy!!

Parmesan Crusted White Wine Dijon Salmon
Courtesy of The Cookie Rookie

For The Salmon:
2 lb. salmon filet (or 4-6 salmon fillets)
1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp each; fresh parsley, thyme and chives; finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 Tbl (1/4 cup) butter, melted
1 fresh lemon

For The White Wine Dijon Cream Sauce:
2 Tbl butter
2 Tbl all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 chicken bouillon granule cube, crushed
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup white wine

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.  Place the salmon filet on the baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper and herbs.  Mix well.  Add melted butter and mix.

Spread her/butter mixture over the top of the salmon filet and press down slightly.

Transfer salmon to oven and bake 10-12 minutes or until salmon is cooked through and crust is golden.  If necessary, turn the oven to broil for 1-2 minutes, but watch closely so crust does not burn.

While salmon is baking, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Sprinkle butter with flour and whisk until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Continue whisking while slowly pouring in the milk, cream and pepper.  Whisk until sauce is smooth.  Add the wine, Dijon mustard, crushed bouillon cube and Worcestershire sauce.  Continue cooking over medium low heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.

Leave sauce in the pan and cover the pan with a paper towel (to absorb any extra moisture).  When ready to use, remove the paper towel and reheat the sauce.  Serve immediately.

Drizzle salmon with squeeze of fresh lemon juice and serve with White Wine Dijon Cream Sauce.

One Year Ago: One Skillet Tuscan Chicken
Two Years Ago: Lemon-Blackberry Olive Oil Cake
Three Years Ago: Pork Schnitzel, Sawtooth Hotel and Redfish Lake
Four Years Ago: Buffalo Chicken Salad

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Watermelon Bruschetta

Every now and again you find an awesome new recipe in the most unsuspecting places.  I recently found mine in the local grocery customized coupon flyer that is mailed to us every month....who knew?

I usually just open it up, clip my applicable coupons and away it goes.  This time, I perused through the pages and noticed they had a lot of recipes.  Since it is summertime, the watermelon page really caught my eye.

Oh my goodness, these little sweet, salty, savory, delectable Bruschettas were amazing!  If you're looking for a new appetizer to serve up this weekend...this is a must make!!

Watermelon Bruschetta
Courtesy of King Soopers' My Magazine

Watermelon (cut into cubes)
Minced Garlic
Italian Seasoning
Ricotta Cheese
Fresh Basil, cut chiffonade
Balsamic Vinegar
Baguette (cut on the diagonal into slices), toast in oven lightly

In a medium-sized bowl, gently mix together watermelon cubes, minced garlic and Italian seasoning. Add salt and pepper, to taste.  Set aside.  

Spread ricotta over slices of toasted bread. Top with ribbons of prosciutto followed by the watermelon mixture.

Garnish with chopped basil and drizzle with balsamic vinegar before serving.

One Year Ago: One Skillet Tuscan Chicken
Two Years Ago: Lemon-Blackberry Olive Oil Cake
Three Years Ago: Gloria's Shrimp and Avocado Dip
Four Years Ago: Buffalo Chicken Salad

Friday, July 21, 2017

Peaches & Cream Prosecco Cake...Happy Blogversary!

Four years ago today I took the plunge and created Front Range Fork and Cork, where I have most definitely been "Cooking It Up In Colorado and Corking Life's Moments".  So much has happened in what has seemed to be a lightning fast four years.  New extended family babies, moves, loss of loved ones, weddings, "big" birthdays, start and graduation of high school, sports and academic achievements and milestones, illnesses, memorable trips, obstacles and struggles, and personal growth.  Only God knows what's in the future...but I'm ready for the journey.

Until then, here are some fun Blog facts (thanks to Google Stats) from the past four years...

This is post #305...there have been 28,471 page views by visitors.

The top 5 most viewed pages these past four years (click link of page if you're curious) are:

Volleyball Cookies and Lessons in Icing (2,148 views)
Champagne Margaritas (324 views)
Lemon-Blueberry Buckle (193 views)
Two Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins (143 views)
Hotel Chocolate Cupcakes and Volleyball Catering (124 views)

Now I'm no genius and don't have a PhD in Psychology, but it's quite apparent to me that by the looks of those stats, there are a lot of volleyball moms out there that like to drink adult libations and have a sweet tooth...just saying.  However, in their defense (as I am) one of those moms, if you have ever been to a weekend girls volleyball tournament, you would completely understand!  To those moms out there (and everyone else)...thanks for visiting and following!!

Here's to four more years of "Corking Life's Moments"...Cheers!

This cake is one that takes time, patience and love.  It is fancy and reminds me of one from a Ritz Carlton dessert menu.  This is not a cake to whip out for a five year old's birthday party...but rather one for a very special occasion, it is rich, light and decadent all at the same time.  Enjoy!

Peaches & Cream Prosecco Cake
Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

Prosecco Cake
4 eggs
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2-1/4 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup Prosecco or sparkling rose

Fresh Peach Filling
4 medium ripe peaches, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Prosecco or sparkling rose
2 Tbl sugar

Whipped Cream Frosting
3 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla

For cake:  Allow eggs to stand at room temperature 30 minutes.  Meanwhile grease and flour three 8-1/2" round baking pans.  In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt;  set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In an extra large bowl beat eggs with a mixer on high 5 minutes or until thickened and light.  Beat on medium an additional 5 minutes while gradually adding sugar, 1/4 cup at a time.  (Batter will be light and fluffy).  Beat in flour mixture on medium-low until just combined.

In a small saucepan heat and stir mile and butter until butter melts.  Add to batter, beating until combined; beat in almond extract.  Divide batter among prepared pans.

Bake 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean.  Transfer pans to a wire rack; cool 10 minutes.  Remove cakes from pans;  cool completely on wire racks over a shallow pan or tray.  Using a long-tine meat fork, poke cakes all over.  Slowly pour Prosecco over cakes.  Wrap in plastic wrap;  chill 2 to 24 hours.

For fresh peach filling; In a large bowl combine peaches, Prosecco, and sugar; stir well.  Let stand, covered, 30 minutes , stirring occasionally.  Using a potato masher or fork, mash into a coarse mixture.

For whipped cream frosting; In an extra large bowl beat heavy cream, sour cream, sugar and vanilla with mixer on medium until stiff peaks form; set aside.

Place one cake layer on a serving plate.  Spread with half of the fresh peach filling.  Top with second cake layer; spread with remaining peach filling.  Top with third cake layer.  Spread top and side with whipped cream frosting.

Garnish with fresh peach slices and fresh mint leaves.

*If you want to eliminate the Prosecco and step up the cake process time, you could have the same type of beautiful dessert by purchasing a store bought angel food cake, cut horizontally in thirds, add the peaches filling and frost as shown.

One Year Ago One Skillet Tuscan Chicken
Two Years Ago Lemon-Blackberry Olive Oil Cake
Three Years Ago Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Bake
Four Years Ago For Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow