Orange You Glad It’s Almost 2021?

Orange isn’t a holiday hue, but it’s my favorite color. (Not that you could tell from my wardrobe or our house — there isn’t a speck of it to be seen.) No offense to red and green, but I love orange’s vibrant cheerfulness!

Above and below are a few favorite holiday foods a L’Orange

Plus, a must have book for 2021.

First up are/were these sweet potatoes that graced our Thanksgiving table. They made a repeat performance on Christmas Day, too. Easy, peasy — and orange.

Maple & Pecan Roasted Sweet Potatoes

1 Tbsp. butter or extra virgin olive oil

2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and sliced into 1/4″ rounds

1/3 – 1/2 cup pecan halves and/or pieces (the more, the merrier!)

2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or oil a baking dish and layer with sweet potato slices. Cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour or until a fork easily pierces sweet potato slices. Remove from oven and remove foil. Sprinkle pecans over the top, drizzle with maple syrup, and return to oven uncovered. Bake 15 minutes more. Enjoy!

Then, these beautiful citrus fruits from Texas arrived — a gift from a beloved Aunt in Minnesota. (Thank you!) Originally there were more oranges, but I juiced and zested a few to make her Apricot Nut Bread pictured at the top, plus a batch of my favorite Southern pecans below. Sorry, no photo… but, here’s the recipe:

Orange-Glazed Pecans (courtesy of former pecan grower and fab cook, Linda Lamb)

1 Tbsp. grated orange rind

1/4 cup orange juice

1 cup granulated sugar

4 cups pecan pieces or halves

Combine first three ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. Add pecans. Stir until most of the liquid is gone. Remove from heat and stir until pecans separate and glaze. Pour onto waxed paper to cool. (Ditto on easy, peasy!)

As for the Apricot Walnut Bread, I’m awaiting clarification re: how much sugar to add before I share the recipe. Recently I punted and added the “right” amount (to me) with rave reviews from The Man Of Few Words:

“Now THAT’s some good bread!”

Sometimes he actually speaks. :)

Last, but not least, is a book I ordered from Marc Ensign, whose skill with words (and the bass guitar) I’ve admired for a long time. Please don’t judge his book by its cover, “Dick” is Marc’s neighbor who inspired him (and many others, including me) to brighten the world with kindness, humility, forgiveness, and much more.

Plus, it’s my favorite color!

In just over 100 pages, Marc’s succint writing, storytelling, and humor touched my heart. Everybody needs to read this in 2021! You can order it by clicking here. But, with shipping delays, sell-out stock, and hardcover copies hard to come by these days, you might have to wait awhile for delivery. (Be patient!) It’s well worth waiting for — and reading. “Be A Dick” is a treasure.

I don’t often recemmend things on my blog, but Marc’s book (and the recipes above) are sure to bring you a Happier New Year, or at least a happier outlook on life. We all need that in 2021. Happy New Year!

Enjoying orange at The Lake,

~ Kim

Orange & Chocolate Treats for Halloween

With Halloween-related recipes making the rounds, I figured it was time to celebrate two of my favorite colors and flavors… chocolate and orange.  (Chocolate qualifies as a color and flavor, yes?)  First up, orange…

I grew up (or came of age) in an era when dessert drinks were popular.  The Brandy Alexander.  The Grasshopper.  Basically anything booze with ice cream!

It seems incredible now that we often ordered them after a substantial dinner.  Of course, there were “lighter” dessert drinks, too — The Pink Squirrel and The Golden Cadillac, to name a few.  (Booze and half & half… not quite as “dessert-y” to me, though.)

Clearly a compromise is needed to solve this dessert drink dilemma! ;)

Recently, I found myself with a leftover shot of Jose Cuervo.  (Bear in mind, I started with one of those teeny, tiny bottles — not the whole shebang.)  Anyhow…

What does one do with an ounce of pure Gold?

The first thing that came to mind was a Tequila Sunrise — or an orange-flavored Margarita.  (The contents of my fridge voted for the latter option.)  So, I spent the better part of a lazy Sunday afternoon messing around with a simple syrup infused with orange peel.

Ta da… The Orange-arita!

I took a sip… hmmm… close, but not quite.  (It was really sweet and I was out of limes or I would’ve rendered some sourness promptly!)

It needed… something.

Hmmm again.  (Opens fridge.)  Aha!

Heavy cream… the perfect compromise between ice cream and half & half.  (I love “aha” moments!)  After a gentle stir and a tentative sip, I deemed it creamy… dreamy… and much better than the traditional (vodka) versions I’ve tasted, in my opinion.

No trick — it was a treat!

The Tequila Dreamsicle

1 oz. Jose Cuervo Gold (or to taste…)

1 1/2 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice

1 1/2 oz. orange-infused simple syrup (recipe to follow)

1 1/2 oz. heavy cream

1 orange peel twist, for garnish

In a shaker over ice, combine Cuervo Gold, simple syrup, and orange juice; shake until combined.

Strain mixture into a chilled Margarita glass.

Stir in heavy cream until smooth.  Enjoy!

Orange Infused Simple Syrup

1/4 c. water

1/4 c. sugar

Orange peel (including pith) from 1/2 an orange

In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; add orange peel.

Simmer several minutes until orange essence is infused.

Remove from heat; cool mixture to room temp.

Remove orange peel before adding syrup to shaker.

Note:  These quantities make one drink.  Feel free to multiply. ;)

And now for the chocolate… actually, chocolate and orange!

Trick or Treat!!!

Wish I could take credit for this delectable dessert, but it’s a photo of the beautiful chocolate-orange cake that my son surprised me with when I was in the middle of care-taking in August.

Thoughtful young man that he is, he invited me to a “night off” from cooking, including picking out a dessert from a local bakery that he knew would tickle my fancy.  (It did!)  He also treated me to his signature burgers hot off the grill (a recipe I hope to share with you one day) and garden-fresh potatoes sauteed to golden goodness.

I love thoughtful treats, don’t you? xo

Wishing you a Happy Halloween.  Be safe and have fun!

Enjoying a lil’ dreaminess in moderation,

~ Kim

Orange French Toast

One of my favorite treats is a leisurely weekend breakfast.  Orange French Toast, anyone?

But first… an outdoor shot.

No… make that a sunlight “spotlight” photo.

Or wait… how ’bout a close up?

Or maybe a picnic table repast…?

Nahhh… LET’S EAT!

Orange French Toast

1 loaf of French bread, sliced into 3/4″ thick slices

1 Tbsp. butter

1 c. orange juice

2 eggs, beaten

1 t. vanilla extract

1/8 tsp. salt

Powdered sugar

Maple syrup

Orange Nutmeg Butter

4 Tbsp. butter, softened

1 tsp. grated orange zest, plus additional for garnish

1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste

Prepare Orange Nutmeg Butter first.  Mix ingredients until blended; chill in a ramekin, or “scoop” into individual sized servings for fun — I put mine in the freezer for a few minutes before I scooped it.

Next, whisk together the orange juice, eggs, vanilla and salt in a shallow baking dish or bowl; set aside.  Melt 1 tablespoon of butter on a griddle over medium heat.  Dip slices of French bread into orange juice mixture and allow them to “drip off” before placing on the griddle.

Cook until golden; flip and cook second side until golden.  Transfer to a cookie sheet and keep warm in the oven until all slices are cooked.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with Orange Nutmeg Butter and warm maple syrup.

Afterthought:  This would be good with a little Cointreau thrown in (maybe sweetened to taste with honey?) — in the butter, the batter — or both.  (If you beat me to it, let me know how it turns out!)

Meanwhile, here’s a slideshow to treat yourself to while you’re thinking about it…

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Enjoying tricks and treats,

~ Kim