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Please excuse the lack of photos in some of my older posts as I am trying to slowly go back through and add the photos that were accidentally deleted

August 20, 2012

Cross That Off The Bucket List! {Use Deep Fryer + Use My DSLR for Food Photography}

Guys! I love to cross things off of my bucket lists. So now's the time to do it again...

I used my deep fryer and actually made something good! I did use my deep fryer awhile back to make "fried chicken" but that didn't turn out so well so I didn't want to count it since technically I didn't use the deep fryer successfully... but this time things went well.

So I got to use my deep fryer, and for the same recipe I only used my dslr camera for food photography. Usually I test some pics out on the dslr but resort to my old Nikon Coolpix since I actually know how to use it. But this time, people, it was all on the dslr. 

Go me!

Crossing #3 and #32 off my blog bucket list!

Feels so good!

Peace, and bacon grease!

August's Secret Recipe Club - Deep Fried Twinkies with Strawberry Topping

I sure have missed this blog and you guys. I've been slackin this month on posting unfortunately. PJ and I just got back from our vacation in Destin, FL! Let's just say I don't wanna be back in Cincinnati. But more about that vacation later...

Now it's time for this month's Secret Recipe Club. I was assigned to Joanna's (aka Jo) blog, which I was excited about because it was a new-to-me blog. It's always exciting to stalk a new blog. And this one was no exception. I was intrigued by Jo's recipes, like her Brown Butter and Rum Glazed Pineapple, her Red Wine Braised Short Ribs, and of course her Crispy S'mores. But when I came across her post about some deep fried goodness, nothing else mattered.

You see, last year PJ and I went on a double date with our friends to the Clermont County fair. It was a revolutionary occasion, as it was the first time we ever tried the oh-so-amazing deep fried oreo, and its delicious friend, the deep fried twinkie. I couldn't tell you anything else about that fair except for the joy I found when I discovered those deep fried treats. We were supposed to go again this year, and I was anticipating the day. Waiting for the chance to get my hands and mouth on those deep fried miracles again. But we didn't end up going! I seriously was so distraught. What? You mean I have to wait another year?!

So you can imagine my insanity when I saw Jo's recipe for Deep Fried Twinkies. No, you probably can't even imagine my insanity when I saw that recipe. Pure and utter insanity bliss.

Turns out I don't need the Clermont County Fair after all. I'm bringing the county fair to my own kitchen.

Deep Fried Twinkies with Strawberry Topping
Deep Fried Twinkies from Cairns Manor
  • 6 Twinkies, frozen overnight
  • 4 cups vegetable oil*
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Powdered sugar, for topping
  • Strawberry Topping - recipe follows
Heat vegetable oil in deep fryer to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: milk, vinegar, and olive oil. In a separate large bowl, blend together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing until smooth.

Dip Twinkie into the batter, rotating until batter covers the entire Twinkie. Place carefully into the hot oil. The Twinkie may float, so you may want to hold it under with a utensil or continuously flip to ensure even browning. Cook until golden brown for 3-4 minutes, turning as needed. Cook 1 or 2 at a time to prevent them from sticking together.

Remove Twinkie(s) to paper towel and drain. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Top with Strawberry Sauce and powdered sugar, and whipped cream if desired.

Strawberry Topping 
ever-so-slightly adapted from Our Best Bites
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Wash strawberries and remove leaves. I cut off the ends where the leaves were too and then cut them in half lengthwise. 

Combine strawberries, sugar, and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan, bringing to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for five minutes, stirring constantly. Serve over Deep Fried Twinkies.

*I just filled my deep fryer almost to the max line with vegetable oil.

Printable Recipe


Thank you, Jo, for letting us re-experience the memories of the summer county fair and its deep fried goodness. In the comforts of our own home. Anytime we want.


Check out my other Secret Recipe Club posts too! 

And I also got to cross another item off of my Blog Bucket List... I used that deep fryer I've been meaning to for years :)  Take that, bucket list!

Linking up here.
Peace, and bacon grease!

August 7, 2012

Mini Oreo Turtle Cheesecakes {Crazy Cooking Challenge}

Hello there my pretties.

This month's Crazy Cooking Challenge is here! It's the last month, you know. I'm sad about it. The theme for this month was cheesecake. Eaten many, but never made one myself. Nonetheless, I was up for the challenge. That's what these challenges are about anyways, right? Challenging yourself. Myself. Whatever.

Would I say I challenged myself? Not exactly. But I did make some adorable little mini cheesecakes. Not a whole one. Still a bit intimidated there. But one day, I will conquer that intimidation.

But for now, these mini cheesecakes count as cheesecakes. And not only are they just adorable to look at, they have oreos... and nuts.... and chocolate.... and caramel. Yes, I'd say Lauren is a genius for this one.

Mini Oreo Turtle Cheesecakes
  • 12 Oreos
  • 8oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Place one oreo cookie in the bottom of each tin and set aside.

In a large bowl, whip the softened cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Scrape sides and whip again until there are no lumps. Spoon cheesecake batter over oreos evenly. Depending on how deep your muffin tins are, you should get anywhere from 9-12 individual cheesecakes. Top with chopped pecans and mini chocolate chips. Bake for 15 minutes or until completely set. Bring to room temperature. Refrigerate until cold. To serve, remove liners, place on serving platter and top with caramel sauce.

PJ liked these more than I did (shocker, because there is caramel and nuts!). Next time I'd make more of the cheesecake filling because mine didn't turn out as deep as Lauren's, so there was more oreo than cheesecake. And I may play with the cheesecake recipe a bit more.

But overall I'm happy with my first cheesecake recipe.

Even if they are only minis  :)

Be sure to check out all of my other Crazy Cooking Challenge recipes

Peace, and bacon grease! 

August 2, 2012

Book Review: In a Perfect World by Laura Kasischke

The book started out awful, I had to try so hard to keep reading. I would start and stop so many times. Nothing about it was calling me. Jiselle marries a handsome pilot. Blah blah blah. He is always gone. All the ladies love him. He has 3 children from a wife who died, named Joy. He urges Jiselle, a flight attendant, to stay at home with the children, so she does.

Meanwhile, there is a Phoenix flu going around and is killing people. Jiselle's husband gets detained outside of the country and isn't allowed to come back for fear of the flu spreading. Jiselle is left to care for the kids, who treat her like dirt, besides the sweet young boy Sam.

It started getting good for me well into the book, like about half way into the book. I don't know how I made it that far, but I'm glad I kept reading. Jiselle has to take care of her new stepchildren while her husband is away, and with that comes many challenges and discoveries. With the threat of the Phoenix flu, loss of electricity and power, shut-down stores, lack of food and water, and deaths around them, there actually seems to be an interesting plot developing. Too bad it took so long!

This cheesy love story turns into one about family, survival, love for children, and resilience. There isn't a definite resolution at the end of the book, but things are starting to look up for Jiselle and her new family. 

I wouldn't say this is the best book I've ever read, or even close to it. But it definitely gets better. If you can force yourself to get through the first 100+ pages, I think you'll be glad you read it. It wasn't life-changing or anything for me. And there weren't any quotes that really stuck out to me. But a decent read.

Wanna enter the 2012 reading challenge? Do it. Double dog dare you.

Peace, and bacon grease!