Archive | April, 2014

Blueberry Banana Bread

29 Apr

My five-year-old asked me today, “Mom, why do we always have to do everything you tell us to do?” This was after I told the kids they couldn’t play until they cleaned up the toy room. I know…worst mom ever! At first I told her, “Because I’m Mom, that’s why.” But then I decided to provide some enlightenment. I asked her if she knew what I did all day. “I cook for you, I clean up your messes, I do your laundry, I drive you places, I buy you fun prizes sometimes at the store, I take you to the library and the playground, I sit outside with you while you ride bikes, I let you play with friends while I do the dishes, I vacuum, I scrub toilets, I take care of you when you are sick…” We came up with a  pretty good list. And then I said, “Sometimes, I figure the least you can do is do what I say.” She gave me a pretty awesome pout, but decided not to argue. And someday, she’s going to call me on the phone and say, “Mom, guess what my five year old said to me today?” And I’m going to smile and say, “Serves you right. Love you!” 🙂

Blueberries and banana bread; they go together like kids and questions. Only the bread will always turn out great, even if the answers to your kids questions could use some work. 😉

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Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 tsp vanilla

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350^F. Lightly coat five 3/4-inch mini loaf pans with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt – set aside. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla until well combined. Beat in bananas until well combined. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating just until incorporated. Add blueberries, and gently toss to combine.

Scoop the batter evenly into prepared loaf pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until center tester comes out clean.

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Neiman Marcus Dip

26 Apr

Good dips are hard to leave alone. If you skip the plate altogether and count the serving bowl as your personal trough, you have a winner. 😉 photo 2

Ingredients:

5-6 green onions

8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

1 1/2 cups mayo

1 jar real bacon bits (or 5-6 pieces cooked crisp and broken into bits)

1 pkg slivered almonds

Chop the green onions. Shred the cheese. Mix the onions, cheese, mayo, bacon bits, and almonds together. Chill for a couple of hours. Serve with Ritz crackers or corn chips.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

22 Apr

We had a little fun with our Easter cupcakes yesterday! You can’t go wrong with a strawberry cheesecake cupcake base; add a little surprise center, and top with a festive Peep (which I really hate, but look darn cute sitting on their little cupcake-birdie nest!). The kids had fun putting the eggs on, and I had fun eating all the of the cupcake centers that I had to scoop out to make the nest. 🙂 Win, win!!!

This recipe is really so easy – just a boxed cake mix with a make-over. But no one would guess it’s from a box! The star ingredient being real-life strawberries, which really makes the flavor fresh and Spring-y. I frosted them with Buttercream Frosting, but my neighbor has a spectacular strawberry frosting that I must steal and try with these…

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Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

1 (18.25 oz) plain white cake mix

1 (3 oz) pkg strawberry gelatin

4 Tbsp flour

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup crushed fresh strawberries

3 large eggs

Filling:

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350^F. Make cupcake batter by combining all ingredients and mixing until completely incorporated. Make filling by doing the same. Spoon or scoop about 1/4 cup of cupcake batter into prepared cupcake cups, filling it to 2/3 full. Spoon a generous Tbsp of the cheesecake filling over each cupcake. Place cupcake pan on the center rack of the oven and bake until tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger – about 20-25 minutes. Cool 15 minutes or longer before frosting.

For Easter Nests:

Scoop out a tsp size hole in the middle of each cupcake and fill with sprinkles. Top with a candy egg. 

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Swirl frosting around egg, like a nest, and top with a Peep.

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Coast Toast

21 Apr

This is no ordinary French Toast…I cannot impress upon you how serious I am…this is NO ORDINARY French Toast. So, so good – I actually preferred not to put syrup on mine. How many French Toast recipes can stand on their own with out a little drizzle of syrup? Not many!!! I also tried it with a fruit compote, which was super tasty – but I really just loved it plain. Perfect amount of orange snuck in there. Perfectly complimented by the dusting of powdered sugar. Just…well, perfect.

P.S. Happy Easter!!!

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Ingredients:

1 loaf soft French bread

1 qt whipping cream

10 eggs

3/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup sugar

pinch of salt

2 Tbsp vanilla

2 Tbsp orange flavoring

Combine all ingredients. Pour over bread slices. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour. Remove bread and discard liquid. Spread butter on a flat grill. Cook bread until golden brown on both sides, then bake at 450^F for 5-7 minutes or until bread is puffed up like a soufflé. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

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Original recipe: www.brocktonvilla.com

 

Irish Soda Bread

20 Apr

Easiest loaf of bread I’ve ever made. Dense and hearty, this bread is great for slathering with butter and jam, or dunking in some soup. No yeast = no rise time. Extra bonus!

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Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 – 2 cups buttermilk or soured milk

Preheat oven to 450^F. Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in most of the buttermilk, leaving about 1/4 cup to use as needed. Using your fingers, bring the flour and liquid together, adding more buttermilk if necessary. Dough should be soft, but not too wet or sticky.

When dough begins to stick together and form a ball, remove it from the bowl and place on a floured work surface. Continue to bring it together until it is formed into a ball. Pat the dough down into a circle, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to 400^F and bake for an additional 30 minutes. When done, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the bottom, and will be golden in color. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Original recipe: www.oldworldgardenfarms.com

Cream Cheese Berry Roulade

14 Apr

I have about 20 some-odd recipes sitting in my drafts…I am falling so behind! But I am in the process of making a fabulous Prom dress for my neighbor’s daughter. It is going to be so pretty (I’ll have to sneak in a few pictures)! But I am learning a lot on this project, and am finding that learning a lot requires making a lot of mistakes. I almost cried when I got the bodice all put together only to find that I got a section caught in the serger and cut a nice little hole in the very delicate chiffon. After a sleepless night trying to figure out how to fix it, I finally concluded that I couldn’t fix it and would have to replace the panel. It was a grand mistake…painfully grand. But I have been ever careful of my serger edge ever since. Yay for me.

Thank goodness I had a little slice of this heaven sitting in my fridge so I could wash the bitterness of a careless mistake down with a truly sweet treat. Delicious beyond words. So easy. Don’t skip the whipped topping. And don’t cut holes in Prom dresses.

P.S> The whipped topping can also be used for a great fruit dip!!!

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Ingredients:

2 packages Crescent Rolls
8oz Cream Cheese
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Fruit Preserves (strawberry, blackberry…I used plum!)
Fresh Strawberries
Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
1 Lemon
Confectioners Sugar
1 egg

Lay out the crescent rolls and press seams together. Mix cream cheese with brown sugar and vanilla until soft. Spread inside crescent rolls. Then spread preserves on top. Sprinkle blueberries and strawberries on top. Pull edges of crescent rolls over. Egg wash pastry. Bake at 375 for 20 mins. In separate bowl mix juice and zest of a lemon with confectioners sugar until it becomes an icing. Garnish with strawberries.

Whipped Topping:

  • 1 large (5.1 oz) instant vanilla pudding
  • 32 oz. container vanilla yogurt
  • 8 oz. container Cool Whip
  • 1 pkg. frozen strawberries

Mix together pudding mix and yogurt. Fold in whip cream. Fold in strawberries.

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Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet Dinner

1 Apr

Watching the movie ‘Frozen’ the other day, I paused it on the part where Rapunzel and Eugene make a little guest appearance at the coronation. My kids were so excited! We had to rewind that 2 second clip at least ten times. 🙂 And then they remembered how much they liked the movie ‘Tangled’ and wanted to watch it too! “Frying pans…who knew?”

I’m going to add skillets to the wonderfully versatile world of frying pans. This dinner was so easy and really good! It’s a down-home kind of comfort meal that everyone in my family enjoyed.

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Ingredients:

1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled

4 Tbsp butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups cooked shredded chicken

4 cups cooked rice

1 cup additional shredded cheddar cheese

Cook bacon, drain and set aside. Reserve 2 Tbsp bacon drippings.

Place butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in flour, salt, and pepper until smooth and bubbly. Slowly whisk in chicken broth and mix until thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1 1/2 cups of cheese. Reduce heat to a simmer, and set aside.

 

Place reserved 2 Tbsp bacon drippings back into a cast iron skillet. Stir in cooked rice, coating well. Add chicken and cheese sauce, mixing to combine. Top with 1 cup cheese, then top with crumbled bacon. Place under oven’s broiler for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted.photo 3