Monday, August 3, 2015

Eats in Destin, Florida

Edited: I forgot to mention that I don't eat seafood! I received some great restaurant suggestions in the comments, but they were places I ruled out because they didn't have anything that I would eat. ;-) However, if you're a seafood lover, be sure to check out those suggestions!

Hey all!

So, I've been taking a bit of a blogging break (I feel like I keep saying that, but summer has been SO BUSY that I can't keep up with blogging) but I'm back to give some recaps on our trip to Destin!

I'll include the pictures I have (which are all iPhone pics...I didn't feel like hauling my huge camera with me on this trip) and at the end I'll give some bullet point recommendations.

So, one of the coolest places we ate at was called LuLu's. There's also one in Gulf Shores (so I've been told).

This is what makes LuLu's so cool - the back of the restaurant is faces the bay (I think it was the bay).  They have this big sand area and the kids can go play out there. It's a really pretty view.

The food wasn't that great, in my humble opinion. I grabbed a snap of the menu for you! It's mostly burgers, salads and sandwiches. We arrived early because every place in Destin gets super crowded and we didn't want to wait three hours to be sat (yes, that did happen somewhere else!). Unfortunately, 4:45 must be shift change time and we lost our waitress and ended up with another and it caused mass confusion with our order which ended up pretty messed up.

Lulu's saving grace was their key lime pie. It was SOOOO GOOD!

One place that everyone told me to check out was The Donut Hole. Y'all. I was SO EXCITED. I mean, I never use the word y'all so that should tell you how excited I was.

And then I was disappointed. Majorly. I don't know if they were having an off day or what, but the food was awful. I had the french dip with onion rings and it was honestly no good. No one in our group (my in-laws were with us) liked what they had. The donuts themselves were just okay.

Another fun night out was at Uncle Bucks. You can go bowling here, which we did, and if you can't tell by the decor, it's owned by Bass Pro Shops. The food was decent and the kids loved the atmosphere.

 My very, VERY favorite meal was at The Back Porch. The view is phenomenal and they got us seated really quickly. We were on the second story deck and it came with an AWESOME view.

See what I mean? We watched a pod of dolphins playing while we waited on our food. I'm not even kidding. It was the coolest thing ever.

 The last place I have a pic of is Fudpuckers, not to be confused with Fudruckers. Two different things.

And why, you're asking yourself, doesn't she have a picture of the food? Well, because we waited THREE HOURS to sit down and eat, and by that time I was so ravenous that I forgot to take a picture.


Fudpuckers is fun. You can watch a live alligator show, feed the alligators, visit the gift shop and they also have an arcade. All that should have been my first clue that there was a long wait ahead of us.

The food was standard, over-priced vacation fare. It was fine but nothing great and I certainly wouldn't do it again, but I'm glad we did it once.

 So, here's my list (some places aren't pictured) of recommendations:

Definitely go to:
The Back Porch
Bubba Gumps (I've been to several and this was one was by far the very best food)
The Beach House (if you're in Sandestin, it's a great place to eat when actually at the beach)
Fudpuckers - it's a good, one-time experience
LuLu's - if just for the atmosphere and pie

For food and fun:
Uncle Buck's

Not for me:
The Donut Hole

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

So, I bought this antique cake plate that I LOVE and it was just begging for a cake. I was going to make one of my go to cake recipes, but I decided to switch it up and combine two of my very favorite flavors - chocolate and peanut butter. 

This cake it one of my favorite recipes for a from scratch chocolate cake - it's moist and so flavorful. Even if you don't like a peanut butter frosting, file this cake recipe away! You can use it with just about any frosting and it's always great.

And speaking of this It's one of my favorites. You'll notice that I always make a LOT of frosting. I pack up the extra in a storage container and whoever wants more can add some to their slice!

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

For the Cake:
3 cups all purpose flour (plus extra for pans)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (plus extra for pans)
2.5 cups white sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream (light sour cream is fine)

For the Frosting:
1.5 pounds of powdered sugar (I buy the 2lb bag and use 3/4 of the bag)
2 cups creamy peanut butter
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup milk, plus more if needed


Preheat oven to 350.

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add cocoa and whisk until dissolved. In a mixer, combine butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Add cocoa. Add sour cream. Mix well.

In a bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, soda, powder and salt. Add in batches to wet mixture, stirring to combine.

Use extra butter to coat two 9" round pans. Be sure to get the sides! Add a couple of tablespoons of flour and rotate the pan to coat. Tap out extra over a trash or sink.

Divide batter evenly between the two pans. Slap pans on the counter once to knock out air bubbles from cake.

Bake about 30 minutes, checking with a toothpick for doneness. I usually pull them out just before their done.

Remove from pans to wire racks and let cool completely.

For the Frosting:

In a mixer combine butter and sugar. Add peanut butter and milk as needed until desired frosting consistency is reached.

NOTE: When I make a cake like this, I usually frost the middle before adding all the milk. The frosting will be thicker and won't squish out! Once I've put the frosting in the middle, I thin out the remaining frosting with a little more milk for a more spreadable consistency.

Frost and serve! Store extra frosting in the refrigerator.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sweet Pepper Poppers

My mom came up with this little gem and I CAN'T GET ENOUGH. 

Seriously, these are SO GOOD.

And if you think you won't like them because they have the word pepper, don't write them off yet. These are sweet peppers - there is no spice at all!

Sweet Pepper Poppers

1lb sweet peppers
1 block cream cheese at room temperature
1 package ranch dressing mix (or buttermilk ranch mix)

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with nonstick spray.

Chop the tops off the peppers (where the stem is) and then slice the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the stems and the ribs.  Place in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, until the peppers are just starting to roast up.

In a bowl, mix cheese with ranch mix. Place cheese mixture in peppers and return to oven until cheese is melted and browned (about 5 minutes).

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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