Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Apple-Honey Challah Bread

I've been going through my Martha Stewart magazines (not to get rid of them, for that would be blasphemy, just to move them to a different place) and I found this recipe. I knew that I was going to be home all day doing housework, and I had all of the ingredients, so it seemed a good day to try it.
I do find some of Martha's recipes to be arranged strangely, and a bit hard to follow, as well as overly complicated at times. I didn't butter my plastic wrap, and I was too lazy to go downstairs to get a cake pan, so I just baked it on a pizza stone. Worked fine.
A more appropriate name might be "House Arrest Bread", because it is very time consuming due to all of the risings. IIt was a big hit with the family, something I will definitely make again. On another gloomy day where I don't plan to leave the house.


Makes one 9-inch round loaf

* 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter or nondairy margarine, plus more for bowl, pan, and plastic
* 3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour, plus more for surface
* 3/4 cup warm water (100 degrees)
* 2/3 cup honey
* 2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
* 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (from one 1/4-ounce envelope)
* 2 teaspoons coarse salt
* 1 1/2 tart green apples, preferably Granny Smith, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 1 3/4 cups)


1. Butter a large bowl, and melt 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat; let cool. Combine 2 tablespoons melted butter, the flour, water, 1/3 cup honey, the eggs and yolks, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Mix until dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.
2. Transfer dough to buttered bowl, and brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Cover with plastic. Let rise in a warm place until dough almost doubles in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Pat into an 8 1/2-by-14-inch rectangle. Top with apples; knead to incorporate. Return to bowl. Brush with remaining tablespoon melted butter; cover. Let rise again in a warm place until dough almost doubles in volume, about 1 hour more.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Roll dough into a rope (about 24 inches) on a floured surface. Coil into a circle, and transfer to pan. Butter plastic wrap, and cover dough. Let rise again until dough almost doubles in volume, about 45 minutes more.
5. Heat remaining 4 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup honey in a saucepan over medium-low heat until butter melts. Brush dough with half the honey-butter. Bake until golden brown and firm, about 35 minutes.
6. Brush challah with the remaining honey-butter. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Turn out loaf from pan, and let cool.

From Martha Stewart Living, September 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blueberry Chai Quick Bread

2 green tea bags
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg (lightly beaten)
2 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 350, Spray a 5”x9” loaf pan with baking spray. Steep the tea bags in the boiling water for at least 10 minutes, until the tea is very strong. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and spices in a large bowl. In a small bowl. combine the sugar, applesauce, sour cream, and egg. Add brewed tea.
Gradually add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring just enough to combine. Fold in the berries with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake approx 30 minutes of until pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Blueberry Lemonade Glazed Cupcakes

Blueberry season is here. I used fresh blueberries for these cupcakes, but frozen work just as well.

Blueberry Lemonade Glazed Cupcakes

1/2 cup softened butter
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
4 tbsp frozen lemonade concentrate
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Lemonade Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 cups confectioners sugar
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp frozen lemonade concentrate

Preheat oven to 350. Line 12 muffin tin cups with paper liners.
In bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg, beat. Add vanilla, sour cream, milk and lemonade concentrate. Beat to combine.
In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture a little at a time. Beat just until combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Pour batter into cupcake liners. Bake approx 25 minutes, or until pick inserted in cake comes out clean.
Frosting - In bowl of electric mixer, combine all ingredients (sugar can be added gradually). Beat at medium speed until thoroughly combined and creamy.
Glaze cupcakes when cool.. Garnish each cupcake with a fresh blueberries if desired

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Garden is blooming

Almost summer, our flower beds are starting to bloom. Rhododendrons are at their peak. The peonies are almost ready, looks like they are going to be really nice this year.

We replanted some new roses after losing 4 last winter, due to my negligence. The vegetable garden is in, now if we can just keep up on the weeds! We don't use any weed killers, so that makes it a lot harder. Some of those weeds seem to able to grow 2 feet in a day.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Akron Zoo

First trip of the year to the Akron Zoo. This is a small zoo, not a lot of large foreign species like elephants or giraffes, but it's a nice afternoon outing. They just opened a new jellyfish exhibit, which is amazingly beautiful and interesting. I can appreciate the beauty of jellyfish a lot more if they aren't brushing up against my leg in the ocean!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Waldorf Turkey Burger Sliders

Waldorf Turkey Burger Sliders

2 lb ground turkey
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely chopped granny smith apples
2 tbsp dijon mustard

1/2 cup chopped apples
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 tsp salt

Garnish- 2 cups Romaine lettuce
12 small Italian buns

Combine all patty ingredients in a large bowl. Mix just until combined. Form into 12 patties. Grill to desired doneness, approx 5-6 minutes for medium.

In medium bowl, combine topping ingredients.Stir until combined.
Place finished burgers on buns. Top with apple topping and garnish with romaine lettuce.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hartville Flea Market

If anyone ever ends up in Northeast Ohio on a nice day, the flea market in Hartville is a fun place to visit. The biggest days are Monday and Thursday, but it's also open on Friday and Saturday. They have an indoor building, but I usually don't even go into the building because it's mostly new junk. I like vintage junk! You never know what the vendors outside might have on any given day, so it's a treasure hunt. They also have great prices on produce.
Today I bought vintage cookbooks, cherries, melons, and some new baking sheets. We'll probably head back on Memorial Day if it's nice. Holidays bring out acres and acres of vendors.

Stan Hywet Hall

Last week I went on a 4th grade field trip to Stan Hywet Hall in West Akron. This historic mansion was built by the Seiberling family, who started the rubber industry in Akron. Unfortunately no photos are allowed inside. I would have loved to get some shots of the crystal/amber/amethyst chandeliers and the stained glass windows.
The gardens and grounds are beautiful. Made me want to get working on my own english garden.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


The lilacs are blooming, late spring is here (I hope)! I'd love to bring a vase inside, but the cats would just tear them to pieces.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More chicks!

Our son had really wanted a specific breed of chicken for the fair this year. The breed is Polish, and as adults they look like they are wearing hair metal wigs.

The feed mill where I purchased our other chicks didn't have any available. We decided that we would try to hatch some eggs in an incubator. I bought 6 eggs from ebay, had them delivered. All 6 eggs arrived intact. For the 3 week incubation period, we carefully turned them 3 times a day, and made sure that the temperature and humidity stayed correct. All 6 eggs were duds. Absolutely nothing developed in them at all.
Back to the drawing board. Most hatcheries only sell batches of 25 chicks. We did NOT want 25 more chicks. I found a hatchery that would sell us just 4. $12 worth of chicks costs $46 with shipping.
This morning the phone rang at 6:30 am. The post office telling us that the chicks had arrived. I went to pick them up after the kids went to school. As soon as I walked into the building I could hear them peeping. All 4 were healthy and happy. They ship them in a box with straw type material and a heat pack to keep them warm.
At first the older chicks were afraid of the babies when I put them together, but they seem to be getting over it. The others are 2 weeks old now, and have doubled in size. Fluff is being replaced by feathers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Grape Jelly Turkey Meatballs

Some version of this recipe can be found in almost every church/local organization cookbook from the late 60s and early 70s. Unlike many of the icky sounding recipes in some of those books, these actually taste a lot better than they sound.
I make them for parties all the time, because it's something that everyone (especially kids) seems to eat, and there are rarely leftovers. Most people probably have no idea that the recipe contains grape jelly. You can also use ground beef, but I don't eat/cook red meat so I use turkey.

3 lbs ground turkey
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tsp garlic powder
32 oz jar grape jelly
2 12 oz jars chili sauce

Combine turkey, bread crumbs and garlic powder. From into 1" meatballs and place on nonstick baking trays. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the jelly and chili sauce in a crockpot (or a large pot on the stove). When meatballs are cooked, add them to the sauce mixture and simmer on low for at least 20 minutes.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chick Day!

Our 9 year old son raises "fancy" chickens for 4H, to show at the fair in August. We have 7 older chickens from last year, and we just added 7 babies on Tuesday. We special ordered several different breeds from a feed mill about an hour away, and picked them up on Tuesday. Fancy chickens are breeds that are considered more or less "ornamental". Not used for meat or known for producing lots of eggs, though they do lay some eggs. Pets basically.
All of ours are bantam breeds, which are about half the size of most other chickens. This year we got one Araucana, 3 Buff Brahmas, 2 Mille Fleurs, and one blue Silkie. We also have 6 Polish breed chicken (they look like they are wearing Tina Turner wigs as adults) eggs in an incubator which should hatch, or not, in afew days.
Baby chicks are cute, but it is quite a lot of work to care for them. They tend to be quite messy, especially once they get a little older and have sawdust in their cage. Which is a baby swimming pool in our laundry room. They can't go out to the barn until they are fully feathered, which will be about 6 weeks. I'm hoping that in 2 weeks or so we'll be able to put them in the garage with a heat lamp.
I put a marshmallow peep in with them to show how small they are. Not much bigger than a marshmallow peep with legs! I also learned that real chicks are afraid of marshmallow chicks.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lemon Bars

This recipe comes from Martha Stewart's "Baking" book. Many great recipes in that book, although sometimes things can be a little overly complicated. I melt chocolate in the microwave with no problem, where Martha would call for a double boiler. I highly recommend the book though, haven't found a dud recipe in it yet. This is the best lemon bar recipe I've ever had, although the crust is a little involved. You can mix it by hand with a pastry blender, but it would take forever. A food processor is really a must. You can use the lime called for in the recipe, or substitute with more lemon juice/zest.
I won a blue ribbon for these at the county fair (they don't care about the recipe, just the final result). These are real artery cloggers, so I don't make them very often!

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 8 large eggs
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, wheat germ, confectioners' sugar, and salt. Add butter, and cut in using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers, until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas.
  2. Press evenly into a 12 1/2-by-17 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until completely cool.
  3. To make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together, eggs, sugar, and flour. Add lemon and lime juice, lemon and lime zest, and salt. Whisk to combine. Pour over cooled crust.
  4. Bake until center is set, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until completely cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Will keep, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 2 days.

Carrot Cake Cheesecake

I've had carrot cake cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory, and wanted to try to make it myself. I found a copycat recipe online at CD Kitchen, so I didn't have to come up with my own from scratch. This is a bit of a lengthy recipe to prepare, and I made afew minor changes such as adding more spices. I used reduced fat cream cheese, even though the original recipe said not to, and it turned out fine. I frosted the cooled cake, and let it chill in the refrigerator overnight prior to cutting and serving. Below is the recipe with my changes.

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour
3 eggs

***Carrot Cake:***
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
8 1/2 ounces can crushed pineapple, packed in juice, drained well, reserve juice
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

***Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting:***
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice

In large bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Beat in flour, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth. Set aside. Meanwhile prepare Carrot Cake.

Carrot Cake:

In large bowl, combine oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract; mix well. Stir in dry ingredients; mixing well. Stir in drained pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts.

Spread 1/2 carrot cake batter over bottom of greased 9- or 9 1/2" springform pan. Pour cream cheese batter over carrot cake batter . Top with large spoonfuls of remaining carrot cake batter. Do not marble with a knife. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for approx 60 minutes or until cake is set and cooked through. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. When cake is cold, prepare Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting.

Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a bowl of electric mixer, combine cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and reserved pineapple juice. Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency. Frost top of cheesecake. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Glitter Eggs

I love glitter. The more sparkly, the better. I decided to make some glitter easter eggs this year. I used Martha Stewart glitter, it's much more fine textured than the usual craft supply glitter, and it works better. Just hardboil the eggs, let them cool, brush one side with elmer's glue, sprinkle with glitter. Wait until that side dries thoroughly before handling the eggs and doing the other side.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Today's Rainbow

From our front porch, this afternoon

Sweet Potato Apple Muffins

Apples and sweet potatoes are a great flavor combination. These muffins use no oil, so they are low in fat. I prefer to use skim milk and unsweetened applesauce, so as not to add any unneeded fat or sugar. Granny Smith or Fuji apples both work great, depending on whether you want more tartness, or sweeter muffins.

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
1/4 cup milk
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup applesauce
1 egg
1 cup peeled apple, chopped in small pieces

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda,baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine sweet potato, milk, brown sugar, applesauce and egg. Blend until combined. Add in flour mixture and blend just until combined. Do not overbeat. Fold in apples with a spoon.
Spoon into muffin liners, bake 20 minutes.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sweet Potato Dessert Ravioli with Pineapple Sauce

Sweet potatoes are a food item I'm always looking to incorporate into different dishes, because they are so nutritious and versatile. For this dish, I just bake the sweet potatoes in the microwave until they are soft, let them cool, and the skins easily peel off.

Sweet Potato Dessert Ravioli with Pineapple Sauce

2 refrigerated roll out pie crusts
2 cups cooked sweet potato (peeled and mashed)
4 oz cream cheese (half a brick)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg

4 tbsp milk
2 tbsp granulated sugar

Pineapple Sauce:
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 8 oz can of juice packed crushed pineapple
1 1/2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350. Unroll the pie crusts. Using a 2 1/2 round biscuit cutter, cut as many circles as possible out of each pie crust. About 14 per crust. Place half of the circles on a large, nonstick baking sheet. Set other half aside.
In a large bowl, thoroughly combine sweet potatoes, cream cheese, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar, ginger and nutmeg. Place approx 1 tbsp of sweet potato filling on each pastry circle. There will be some filling left over, but if you re-roll the pastry scraps you can make enough additional circles to use it up.
Place the remaining pastry circles on top of the filling. Using your fingers or a fork, seal the edges of the circles. Poke the top of each “ravioli” with a fork. Lightly brush each ravioli with milk, then sprinkle with sugar. Bake approx 25 minutes until golden.
Prepare pineapple sauce - In a medium saucepan, combine salt, cornstarch, sugar and pineapple (including juice). Stir over medium heat until mixture starts to boil. Reduce heat slightly and stir for 5 minutes, or until the filling has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter until combined. Serve hot or cold with Sweet Potato Dessert Raviolis.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Easter is Coming...

Easter is almost here parents, so you'd better order soon. No one wants their children to be disappointed on Easer morning when they discover that the Easter Bunny hasn't left their traditional "Plush Long Arm Religious Gorilla"

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mushroom White Wine Chicken

This recipe was inspired by some open white wine in the refrigerator, and some mushrooms that needed to be used up sooner than later. It's basically a chicken marsala, but I think I used a chardonnay. Pretty much any white wine will work.

Pan Fried Mushroom White Wine Chicken

3 tbsp butter
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp flour

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
4 tbsp canola oil

Melt 3 tbsp butter in a medium sized sautee pan. Add mushrooms, green onions, lemon juice and garlic. Sautee over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add wine, salt, pepper and flour. Stir. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer while you make the chicken, stirring occasionally.
Heat the canola oil in a large, nonstick skillet. Dredge each chicken breast in flour, coating thoroughly. Then dip in beaten egg to coat. Dip in bread crumbs. Put the chicken breasts in the skillet. Cook over medium low approx 5 minutes on each side. Length of cooking time depends on the thickness of the chicken.
Drain cooked chicken breasts and serve with sauce.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cannoli Cookies

Inspired by cannoli filling, these chocolate chip cookies contain ricotta cheese as a twist, for something a little different.

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp orange zest
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, baking powder & salt in bowl, set aside. In the bowl of a mixer, combine sugar and butter. Beat at medium until fluffy. Add ricotta, vanilla and eggs (one at a time). Beat until combined.
Reduce speed to low. Add orange zest. Add flour mixture a little at a time and mix until dough forms. With spoon, mix chips into dough.
Drop by level tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake approx 15 minutes until edges are golden. Makes approx. 3 dozen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Kahlua and Cream Brownies

This recipe was my first national recipe contest win, for Better Homes & Gardens magazine. It is soooo easy to make. People always seem to think it involves a lot more effort than it really does. I do variations on it all the time when I need to take treats to school or another function. This recipe has afew add ins, but you can make "brookies" using any refrigerated cookie dough, and any brownie mix you like. Just make prepare the brownies as directed on the package, pour over the cookie dough "crust" and bake. They usually take a little bit longer to bake than what is listed on the brownie instructions.

Kahlua & Cream Brownies
1 16.5-18 package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 19.5 oz package milk chocolate brownie mix
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/3 cup kahlua
1 cup semi sweet or white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with baking spray. Crumble the sugar cookie dough and press it into the pan to form a crust.
In a large bowl, combine the brownie mix, eggs, oil and Kahlua. Spread the batter over the cookie crumb crust, sprinkle with chips.
Bake approx. 40 minutes or until edges are set. Cool and cut into bars. Makes approx. 24 brownies.

Friday, February 13, 2009

7-up Cupcakes

I had to make cupcakes for school Valentine parties today. I wanted to make them at LEAST a little bit less unhealthy for the kids, and I didn't feel like baking them from scratch today since I had quite afew other things to do for the parties (plus the kids just inhale them anyway).
To make simple, not-quite-as-bad-for-you cupcakes - Just take a box of white cake mix, a can of diet 7-Up or Sprite, and one egg white. Mix together, pour batter into liners, bake about 20 minutes. They do seem to to take afew more minutes to bake than if using the regular box instructions. The egg white is optional, but I find that they hold together better. I also try to go easy on the frosting. Other flavors of cake mix and soda will work too.

Good Old Uncle Jimmy...

Uncle Jimmy always was the life of the party, and never afraid of horses. Minty fresh too!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pizza Crust Recipe

My favorite easy pizza crust. I make this all the time with various toppings. Only takes afew minutes to put together, then about an hour to rise. I lightly sautee my vegetable toppings before putting them on the pizza, and I also like to prebake the crust for about 4 minutes prior to adding the toppings. Dry yeast is extremely cheap at Sam's club, and it lasts forever when kept in the freezer. I don't use a thermometer to check the water temperature. When it's hot enough that it feels like the right temperature for a bath, that's when I add it to the yeast.

1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1 1/2 cups very warm water
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil (plus a little extra)
Approx 4 cups AP flour (another variation is to use half AP flour and half whole wheat)

In a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm water and honey. Let stand approximately 10 minutes, until the yeast looks "foamy". Add 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 cups of the flour. Combine. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and gradually start adding flour and kneading until the dough is smooth and not sticky. Lightly oil a large bowl with a little olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with a dish towel, and place in a warm place until dough has doubled in size. Punch down, spread on lightly oiled pizza stone or pan, top as desired, bake approximately 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sounds yummy

Today at the grocery store I spotted the display below. Does Cadbury really not have a marketing team savvy enough that someone didn't say "Hey guys, this is probably a delicious cookie, but maybe we could come up with a more appealing name..."

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cherries Jubilee Chicken

This recipe was a winner in a Weight Watchers Smart Ones contest to use fruit to create a sweet and savory entree. It calls for grilling the chicken, but the chicken can also be baked. It's really all about the sauce, which can also be used on pork. Fresh, frozen or canned cherries all work well. Frozen cherries should be thawed, and canned cherries drained.

Cherries Jubilee Grilled Chicken

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder

2 shallots, chopped thin
1 tsp fresh choppd rosemary
1 tsp fresh chopped sage
1/2 tsp fresh chopped thyme
2 cups bing cherries, cut in half (thawed if using frozen, drained if canned)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Rub chicken with 1 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place chicken on medium hot grill, turning once during cooking time. Grill until cooked through (depending on thickness of chicken breasts).
Heat remaining oil in medium skillet. Add shallots, rosemary, sage, thyme. Sautee over medium for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add cherries, vinegar, honey, lemon juice and nutmeg. Heat and stir 5 minutes.
Pour sauce over chicken, garnish with fresh rosemary sprig if desired.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lowfat Banana Blueberry Muffins

These muffins are a great way to use up ripe bananas. Blueberries are optional, but I really like the way they combine with the banana flavor, and they add an extra nutritional punch. Baking tip - lightly dust the berries with flour before added them to the batter, and it will keep them from sinking to the bottom.

Lowfat Banana Berry Muffins

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin pan with baking spray or line with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, combine bananas, sugar, egg and applesauce. Ad in flour mixture and stir just until ingredients are combined. Don’t overmix. Gently fold in the blueberries with a baking spatula or spoon.
Bake approx. 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Easy Garlic Cheese Biscuits

Back in my waitressing days, Red Lobster was one of the dozen or so restaurants under my waitressing belt. These are basically the exact same biscuits they serve, made pretty much the same way. Our kids love them, and they are so easy to make. Great complement to seafood or soup.

Easy Garlic Cheese Biscuits

3 cups biscuit mix
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 tbsp garlic powder
Italian seasoning or parsley flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a large baking sheet with baking spray. Combine biscuit mix, water and cheese in a large bowl. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake approx 14 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown.
Combine melted butter and garlic in a small bowl. Brush on hot biscuits. Sprinkle with italian seasoning or parsley flakes if desired. Makes about 14.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Crabcake Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Recipe

This recipe earned me an honorable mention and publication in Country Woman magazine. It can be adapted for smaller mushrooms, and the filling would fill approximately 2 12 0z packages of regular sized mushrooms. The other directions would remain the same.

Crabcake Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

3/4 cup finely diced sweet onion
2 tbsp olive oil, divided, divided
2 cups canned lump crabmeat
1/2 cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 egg
1 cup Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
6 large portobello mushroom caps

Preheat oven to 400. In small skillet, sautee onion in 1 tbsp of olive oil until soft.
In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients except portobello caps. Add sauteed onions and combine. Stuff portobello caps with filling mixture. Top with paprika, grated parmesan and drizzle with remaining olive oil. Bake on nonstick or lightly sprayed cookie sheet for approx 14 minutes until lightly browned. Serves 6.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

All That Glitters

I am fairly sure that in another life I was a raccoon or a crow. If it sparkles, my eye is drawn to it. I find myself drifting towards it in a zombie-like trance. "Shiny thing.... must touch..." When it comes to clothing, I have to remain very alert to this tendency and use great care, lest I end up dressed like Mike Meyers "Linda Richman" character on Saturday Night Live.

Luckily, I do not feel compulsively drawn to holiday themed sweaters with big, glittery snowmen/Santas/Christmas trees/ pumpkins on them. I think that is a whole different affliction, and my thoughts and prayers go out to those who suffer from it.
Years ago, my husband and I started attending estate auctions and tag sales as a hobby. First just to buy things for ourselves and home, then later to sell on ebay. I did really well selling vintage glass and collectibles on ebay for quite a long time. Until ebay changed and pretty much went down the toilet. So now it's back to just buying things for us when I go.
I started collecting vintage costume jewelry and evening bags that I would find at auctions/sales. I am a bargain hunter, so I've never paid a lot for any of it. Lots of sparklies for few dollars! Sometimes to get to the jewelry at an estate sale one does have to fight through the very aggressive jewelry dealers, many of whom are 300 pound man who have no qualms about body slamming a woman out of the way if they both have their eye on the same bracelet.
I missed out on a legendary fight one day between a very flambouyant male jewelry dealer (it takes a confident man to sport full eye makeup and rhinestone chandelier earrings as daywear in Akron Ohio) and a female who wanted the same Bakelite bracelet. The way it was told to me, there were many ugly things said, and a threat of face scratching (by him) as they played tug of war with that bracelet.
Feeling totally non productive on this snow day, I decided to take out some of my vintage glittery things, and take afew pictures of my favorites.

I do wear some of these things on occasion, though I generally limit myself to one piece at a time.

Whenever I take the sparklies out, my daughters ask if they can have them. I tell them "Absolutely. When I'm dead, you can split them". They both seem amenable to that.

I could go to a fancy gown event every night for quite awhile with all of my shiny purses. I don't go to that many fancy events, but I find reasons to use some of them relatively often. The white, box type purse is made of Lucite and is from the 1950s. I use that one quite a lot actually, since it's not flashy. Just unique.

The silver bag on the top left is also quite versatile.

With these one can go from demure,

to disco...

The one with the purple and black stripes IS a 70s disco bag

These 2 are my favorites. The tiny beadwork on the blue one is so intricate and well done. The other is mostly rhinestones.

For everyday life, I tend to prefer an enormous purse that I can fill with stuff until it weighs 20 pounds.