Hot Summer Day with Tiny Hippo

Tiny Hippo is Too Hot

Argh, it is too hot!

Tiny Hippo Climbs some Stairs

I must go inside to find something that will cool me down

Tiny Hippo in the Ice Box

Ahhh… this is very nice, but I was hopping for something sweeter

Tiny Hippo has Ice Cream

Yes, this is more my style

Tiny Hippo Scoops Ice Ceam

Now, to make the perfect cone

Tiny Hippo's Ice Cream Cone is Not Right

It is missing something…

Sprinkles Come from Above

Thank you, Sprinkle Fairy!

The Perfect Ice Cream Cone

Now it is a masterpiece, I must take it outside and enjoy it quickly

Tiny Hippo Eats Ice Cream Cone

Delicious, the dino sprinkles really make it

Tiny Hippos Love Ice Cream Cones

Nom nom nom…

Tiny Hippo gets Brain Freeze

BRAIN FREEZE!

Tiny Hippo is Pleased

Nothing is better than a vanilla cone on a hot summer’s day. I need a dip in the pool, I have made a bit of a mess.

 

 

Fabulous French Toast

Behold, the Fabulous French Toast! It is crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, and oh so flavorful.

The French toast is topped off with our tart berry compote and Kahloa whipped cream

The French toast is topped off with our tart berry compote and Kahlua whipped cream

First off, the method for the French toast is from Alton Brown. Check out this video, it will help you follow along. The recipe is of our own concoction.

French Toast Ingredients:

1 loaf of Challah (Hallah) bread, this is a Jewish egg based bread and it is key to this recipe.
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 teaspoons Kahlua
4 teaspoons vanilla

The night before you are planning to make the French toast, beat the eggs, milk, and spices in a shallow resealable container, stash in the fridge.

On to the bread, still the night before, cut the Challah bread into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices. You may have to hunt around town for this bread and you can expect some pretty strange looks from bakery boys when you ask for Challah (pronounced hallah), but it will all be worth it when you find this amazing bread! Leave the cut Challah on your oven rack with the door cracked open (NOTE: your oven is not on at this point, this is just a safe place to stash the bread while it is drying out).

Next comes the compote, we like to do this the night before but you can do it while you are making the toast. If you make it the night before just be sure to reheat it on the stove top before serving.

Tart Berry Compote Ingredients:

1 bag frozen raspberries
1 bag frozen blueberries
1/2 bag frozen strawberries (optional)
1/2 cup juice, cranberry or orange, whatever you have on hand
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of corn starch to thicken, add as needed, the pectin in the fruit will gradually thicken as well, so don’t go nuts with the corn starch.
1 tablespoon triple sec, or another orange flavored liqueur
1 squirt of lemon juice

Add all the ingredients to a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often until the raspberries have broken down and the sauce has thickened. This is a very simple recipe, feel free to play with it, when I make a compote I pretty much just throw what looks good in the pan and heat, it is always amazing.

Day of the French Toast Bliss:

Now that the long-awaited day of the French toast feast has arrived, let’s get cracking!

Get your Challah out of the oven and prepare your station for dipping. Set up a cookie rack over a baking sheet for the dipped bread to drain onto (at this point please watch Alton’s video).

Soak each side of the bread in the egg mixture for 30 seconds per side (be sure to give the mixture a whisk before dipping the bread). Move the soaked bread to the cookie rack.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

The bread should rest on the cookie rack for several minutes, dip all the bread and then move on to the griddle stage. We like to use an electric griddle, but a large frying pan works fine. Heat the griddle to medium heat, melt a tablespoon of butter on each end of the griddle. Once the butter is bubbly, add the drained slices of toast, as many as you can comfortably fit on the griddle.

Cook each side 2-5 minutes until they are golden and crispy. Once each batch is done move them directly onto the rack of your preheated oven, bake for 5 minutes at 350 degrees. This stage ensures that the inside of the French toast is light and fluffy.

As the last batch of the French toast is baking, start your Kahlua whipped cream:

Kahlua Whipped Cream:

1 small container of heavy whipping cream
1-2 tablespoons Kahlua

Whip the two ingredients together until peaks form.

Serve the French toast with the warm tart berry compote and some Kahlua whipped cream.

Hope you enjoy!

Makes 10 pieces of French toast and a whole lot of compote.

 

Happy New Year’s Eve from a Tiny Hippo

Happy New Year’s from a Tiny Hippo!

It is New Year's Eve, a time for revelry, tiny hats, and fancy drinks!

It is New Year’s Eve, a time for revelry, tiny hats, and fancy drinks!

Hope you all have a great New Year’s Eve and a wonderful new year! Check out my oh so scrumptious Spiced Mint Julep recipe.

Spiced Mint Julep

We have created a scrumptious Spiced Mint Julep recipe that I am sure you will all love. This spicy citrus drink, with a hint of fresh mint, is perfect for a winter party or a quite evening at home. The spiced simple syrup requires 24 hours to steep, so plan ahead, it will be worth it!

Spiced Mint Julep

Spiced Mint Julep

Spiced Mint Julep:

5 mint leaves

3 orange wedges

1 ounce grapefruit juice

1 ounce spiced simple syrup (recipe below)

1.5 ounces bourbon

0.5 ounces Grand Marnier

1 cinnamon stick for garnish

Muddle torn mint leaves, orange wedges, and Grand Marnier in glass. Fill glass half full with crushed ice. Pour in bourbon, spiced simple syrup, and grapefruit juice, stir well. Fill the rest of the glass with ice, stir and garnish with cinnamon stick and sprig of mint.

Servings: makes one 12 ounce drink

Spiced Simple Syrup:

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

zest from half an orange ( use a vegetable peeler to get large strips)

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp whole black pepper corns

6 whole cloves

2 all spice berries

1/8 tsp cayenne

1 pinch salt

In a small saucepan, bring water, sugar, and orange zest to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. When mixture comes to a boil remove from heat and add all the spices, stirring to combine. Once mixture is cooled refrigerate for 24 hours in a sealed container, then strain. Simple syrup will keep for two weeks in refrigerator. Be sure to stir the syrup before use, all the best flavor is at the bottom!

Tiny Hippo Creates the Perfect Hostess Gift

With all the homes I visit during the holiday season it is great to have a delightful treat to offer my hosts. There is no better sweet treat than these homemade apple cider caramels!

Behold! These lovely caramels are a hit for anyone who tries them, and they look so cute in a little bowl or a mason jar with a twine bow.

This awesome apple cider caramel recipe comes from a great blog, Blondie’s Cakes and Things. The recipe is easy to follow with no alterations or additions needed, be sure to wear your protective goggles while stirring the bubbling candies. When you select an apple cider for making these little gems don’t buy the cheap stuff. I used apple cider from our local orchard because Wilson’s Apple Orchard makes divine cider, and it is a great place for a family outing, see my Tiny Hippo at the Apple Orchard post.

Once your awesome caramels have cooled its time to turn them into perfect little presents that all your buddies will love!

Alright, remove the caramels from the pan using the parchment paper. While you may be tempted to wrap this huge block up and keep it for yourself willpower must prevail.

Instead of scarfing down the whole block of caramel, divide it into even rectangles or squares using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter

Now for the fun part! Set up a work station for the caramel wrapping extravaganza. You will need the cut caramels, rectangles of wax paper, and a neat surface to roll up the caramel in paper.

Once your lovely caramels have been wrapped up safe and sound, all that is left is for you to take them to all those fancy parties where it is only proper to give a great gift.

I hope that you try these great caramels and take them with you when you visit friends and family this season.

Tangy Red Rice Salad with Apricots

This Tangy Red Rice Salad with Apricots is a great side dish or a perfect light lunch for those hot summer days when warm leftovers just don’t seem that appetizing.

Tangy Red Rice Salad

Ingredients for the salad:

1 cup red rice (we like to use Ruby Red Rice from Thailand, but whatever you can find will work)

3 ripe, but firm, apricots, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1/4 cup dried currants, soaked for 5 minutes in 1 cup boiling water

Ingredients for vinaigrette:

1 bunch green onions (about 5), finely chopped

1/4 – 1/3 cup canola oil (depending on your preferences)

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp orange marmalade

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp honey

juice from half a lemon

Method:

1. Cook the red rice according to directions on the package. Drain excess water and spread the rice out on a baking sheet to cool quickly.

2. While the rice is cooking, toast the pecans in a pan over medium heat, shaking pan frequently. Cook until pecans are lightly browned and fragrant.

3. Next, prepare vinaigrette by whisking all ingredients together. Set aside.

4. When the red rice has cooled to room temperature, toss with remaining salad ingredients and the vinaigrette. Serve cold or at room temperature.

We hope you enjoy this amazing summer salad!

Spiced Whiskey Sour

Spiced Whiskey Sour

This Spiced Whiskey Sour uses a variety of spices to add great depth of flavor to the more traditional whiskey sour. The nutmeg is sweet, the cinnamon is spicy, and the cayenne adds heat to the drink; all together they make for a well-rounded medley of spices that complement this tart whiskey concoction.

Ingredients:

2 shots of Revel Stoke Spiced Canadian Whiskey

2 shots club soda

1 shot lemon juice

1 tbsp honey (local honey from a small supplier is best, we love the honey sold by Indian Creek Nature Center, if you visit the center on a Saturday afternoon you can watch the beekeeper harvest the honey.)

1 pinch (1/16th tsp) powdered cinnamon

1 smidgen (1/32nd tsp) powdered nutmeg

1/2 smidgen (1/64th tsp) powdered cayenne pepper

Cinnamon stick and maraschino cherry for garnish

Method:

In a glass or beaker mix the whiskey, club soda, lemon juice, and honey. Making sure to stir well so that the honey dissolves, it is important to do this without any ice, otherwise the honey will get too cold and harden. Once the honey is dissolved, stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne. Now fill an Old Fashioned glass 3/4ths full with ice. Pour the drink mixture slowly over the ice. Garnish with cinnamon stick and maraschino cherry, serve immediately.

Yields enough for two Old Fashioned glasses.

Because this Spiced Whiskey Sour uses honey instead of homemade simple syrup no electrical appliances (like the stove top) are needed to create it, making this the perfect drink for when the electricity goes out.

Even a Tiny Hippo can make this drink in the dark, it’s that easy and oh so good