Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sewing again

My friend says I look like a pilgrim because the apron is so long. Its way huge...I know this, but hey its still really cute!

I am aware I am headless and this thing needs ironing...I am excited to share though.

I bought myself a sewing machine back in April and did a few projects and then just sort of stopped. When I first bought the sewing machine, the sweetest little lady at Joann Fabrics suggested an apron as a first "pattern project". I grabbed a pattern and this fabric (I happen to think its cute), and then it just sat for a while.
Last night, I got to work and finished up tonight. I am not loving patterns. I am, however, loving this apron.

I think I'll stick to pattern-free projects for a while.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Say it ain't Soy...

Tip for the Soy milk drinkers out there (thats me!):
You can drink it, you can cook with it, you can bake with it, but my friends you can't make instant pudding with it. I have tried not once, but twice and failed!

I ended up with a chocolate soup and then cookies and cream soup (oreo pudding is an amazing center for a chocolate layer cake).

After my second failed attempt, I went a "google-ing". Turns out soy milk does not contain casein which is needed to make jello, well jel!

Kraft suggests using a half soy, half milk mixture. We drink Silk based on flavor and nutrition content, so using milk is fine for pudding.

So, fellow soy drinkers, if you have had instant pudding issues now you know why.

Monday, July 21, 2008

One of our faves

This is a great meal and is perfect if you are making a transition to ground turkey or chicken from ground beef, since its heavy on spices for flavor.

Moroccan Beef/Turkey/Chicken Patties. Go here for the recipe

I toast up some pinenuts and throw them on top of whole wheat couscous.

If you are feeling crazy, you can always make this version of tzatziki. It's great for topping the patties.

1/2 cucumber, chopped or grate
1 1/2 Cups FAGE total greek style yogurt (or plain yogurt)
1 clove garlic, chopped

Mix together and chill.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Name that pasta!

Do you know what this one is?

I don't, so I am hoping you can help.

More on where it came from later....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'll miss you dear Kitchen-Aid

but hopefully distance will make the heart grow fonder!

I am headed back up North to visit family, friends, and some co-workers. The highlight of the trip will be celebrating Dad's birthday!

Do not fret my loyal readers.

The amazing pre-post feature will allow me to have plenty of posts next week. No pictures of food I have created, but I will promise fun stuff.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pineapple Coconut Loaf Cake

The results are in...

The cake was delicious. It was a perfect breakfast treat. The sour cream provided a nice little zip. I would suggest you raid the pantry and get baking.

If you don't feel like baking, just toast some makes the house smell amazing!

I wanted to be sure Emily didn't mind if I linked to her site. She said go for it. You will find the link on my sidebar as well. Today she made suckers and then baked crayon biscuits.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I needed a little inspiration...

And "little momma" delivered.

I didn't get to make it out to Whole Foods for the chocolate for the cookies from the New York Times article, so the dough didn't get made before we headed to Orlando Saturday. I intended to take care it yesterday, but I woke up with a headache (its always nice to open your eyes and be greeted with a migraine) that never went away. I just felt worse as the day went on. No cooking or baking was happening (Lucky Charms for dinner).

Today I felt better, but still not great. I wanted to bake, but just didn't feel like going out to pick up anything. I made my daily blog visit and was so happy to see Emily's post.

Emily's blog is one of my favorites. She blogs everyday and always has something fun, creative, and exciting to do. She really does give me fun ideas and inspires some of my creative bursts! I often wish she were my neighbor (especially May Day). Not to mention I may be able to get some of the ric rac button/hair tie/whatever you want to do with them creations, or amazingly cute spritz cookies, and who can forget (or doesn't want) her homemade aprons.

Yesterday, she made Coconut Pineapple Loaf Cake, and it sounded divine. I was excited, because I had all the items on hand, and got to work.

The cake is baking now. I can't wait to try it. I will give my update tomorrow. I promise.

Coconut Pineapple Loaf Cake
1 1/2 C sweetened coconut
1/2 C butter (room temp)
1 1/2 C flour1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 C sugar
3 eggs
1 C sour cream
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple, drained well.
Preheat oven to 350.
Place coconut on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted. While keeping an eye on your toasting coconut, grease and flour a 9X5 inch loaf pan.In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and incorporate well. Add dry mixture, mix well. Add sour cream and mix until combined. Do not over mix.
Fold in pineapple with a spatula. Fold in 1 C of the coconut. Spoon into prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining coconut on top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (60 minutes). Let cool and remove from pan.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Kickin it old school

We went retro for dinner last night and had an old family favorite. Cheeseburger Pie!! Hey, it doesn't have to be fancy everynight, and this is actually a fave of Jims. He was realy excited when I told him I was bringing it back. So here it is....maybe it will be a favorite in your home as well. It's easy!!!

1lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 C shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2C Bisquick mix
1 C milk (we use Silk)
2 eggs

Heat oven to 400* Spray 9inch pie plate with cooking spray

In medium-skillet cook beef and onion over medium heat until beef is cooked. Drain, spread in pie plate, sprinkle with cheese

In small bowl, stir remaining ingredients with whisk or fork until blended. Pour into pie plate.

Bake 25 minutes.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

There will be a quiz...

Anna posted some reading material today...
The New York Times searched and found what they believe is the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

I plan on making this dough on Saturday morning before we head to Orlando to see Cirque du Soleil (points for Jim). Then, I'll bake away when we get back. I can't wait. I sure hope Alton will forgive me for straying. Really Alton, it's not you its me!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

When you don't forget baking soda...

Isn't this better?

I used my trusty Alton Brown chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe.,1977,FOOD_9936_13617,00.html

I added
1/2 C shredded coconut
1/2 C chopped pecans
and I remembered the baking soda

These taste great. The cookies are nice and crisp at the edges, and soft chewy in the center. I have tried other choc chip cookie recipes, and always come back to this one. The coconut adds a nice sweetness and texture, and the pecans are delightful. Neither of the additions overpower the chocolate chip cookie flavor.

BTW...Remember the post about my love of coffee mugs? Well, thats one of my faves in the picture. I didn't buy it, it was in a set that belonged to my mom. It's reserved for special occasions, mostly days that I need cheered up. It made a special appearance for the photo.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Ever wonder what would happen....

If you forgot to add baking soda to your cookie dough?

Yep...sad indeed.

I was planning on going back to the basics and making chocolate chip cookies. As I reached in the pantry for the chips, my eyes met the coconut. Why not?! Then, a lightbulb; nuts, pecans in fact. I was so excited. I quickly got to work, baking away paying no mind to my regular organized baking. I didn't premeasure my flour into a bowl and add the baking soda and salt. Nope, I was still in a haze of excitement over "my creation". I was disappointed as I pulled the cookies out of the oven. They were like little chocoloate/coconut/pecan hockey pucks, and they were burnt on the bottom. Do you think you forgot to add something Jim asks. The shock, the shame...Of course I didn't forget anything. As the words left my mouth, it hit me - "THE BAKING SODA!"

So, there you have it. All your baking soda mysteries solved!

Friday, July 4, 2008

A shout out to AllRecipes.Com

If you read the previous post, you know that I got my recipe from AllRecipes and made some changes based on reviews.
This is another reason I love allrecipes. The recipes are tested by others, rated, and reviewed. If you take the time to read the reviews you can get helpful tips and tricks to make sure your recipe is just right. If you sign up as a member (no cost, just create a username), you can review the recipes, participate in recipe exchanges, and create a recipe "box" which saves your favorite recipes for quick, easy access.
I refer to allrecipes often. Once I know what I am looking for I sort by rating. I pick recipes with a rating of 4 1/2 stars or more (sometimes 4) based on at least 100 reviews, read through them, and make my selection. If you think that's obsessive, you should see my spice cabinet.

Recipe Update

Creamy Lemon Blueberry Bars

I would definitely recommend allowing these to chill for a few hours in the frig before serving. Like I said, these were great before the chill, however, allowing the bars to chill allows them to set, making for easier cutting/serving, and they taste even better!

Dutch Baby - Round Two

I made Dutch Baby for breakfast again this morning, and used my leftover blueberries for a yummy blueberry sauce. It was a nice compliment to the powdered sugar and lemon. I found the recipe on allrecipes, and a lot of the reviews stated that the orange juice taste was a little overwhelming unless you allowed the sauce to sit for a few hours. I didn't have a few hours, so I decreased the orange juice from 1 Cup to 3/4 Cup, and increased the water added in the beginning of the recipe from 1/4 Cup to 1/2 Cup. The orange juice provided a nice citrus note to the sauce, without being overwhelming. Here is the recipe as I found it. Feel free to modify as I did, or follow as instructed.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wednesday Night Dessert

Creamy Lemon Blueberry Bars

Thanks to Anna at Cookie Madness for tonight's dessert.
I only let these chill in the frig for about an hour before it was too much and I had to try (the recipe states to place in frig for two hours). They taste great, but I think they will be even better after chilling just a bit longer. I guess I will see tomorrow morning. Blueberry and lemon....totally acceptable breakfast.

Creamy Lemon Blueberry Bars

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt (omit the salt if you are using salted butter)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups oats (quick cooking)
2 large egg yolks
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
2 cups room-temp blueberries, washed, drained, patted dry
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch metal baking pan. (Line with foil or parchment if desired)

Combine the flour, both sugars, salt and baking soda in bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse until mixture is coarse and crumbly. Add oats and pulse to mix.

Press about 2/3 of the crumb mixture into the pan and set remainder aside. Bake crust for 12 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare filling.

Whisk the condensed milk, lemon juice, lemon zest and egg yolks together in a medium bowl and let stand for 5 minutes.

Arrange blueberries evenly over the crust; pour lemon mixture over the blueberries. Spread gently with a spatula to distribute as evenly as possible. Bake until the lemon mixture just begins to form a shiny skin; 7 to 8 minutes.

Sprinkle reserved topping over the lemon layer, then sprinkle pecans over topping. Bake for 25 minutes.

Let the bars cool in the pan on a rack until just warm, about an hour. When cool, transfer to refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours. The longer the chill time, the better they’ll be.

Cut into about 24 bars