Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pumpkin Scones

I decided to make pumpkin scones last month and was perusing one of my Pinterest boards and saw I had three or four different recipes pinned. I gave one a try and decided that one is a keeper, no need to try the rest. I like my scones with a bit of frosting/drizzle on them and found something that sounded good from a different scone recipe and gave it a try. I really liked it, but the girls were not happy I "ruined" their scones. The other major "crisis" was that the first time or two I made these when I patted out the dough it ended up more rectangular so I cut the scones into squares. Apparently that's not acceptable, they need to be triangles so this time I shaped the dough into a more circle shape to get the necessary triangles. Wow, these girls are demanding! Love them anyway. These scones don't last long around our house.

Pumpkin Scones
makes 8

For the scones:

2 c flour
7 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 c pumpkin
3 Tbsp half & half or whole milk (or whatever you have on hand)
1 egg

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut in the butter. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, milk, and egg then add to the dry ingredients. Be careful not to overmix. It will take a bit of doing to get the ingredients combined and you may have to get your hands dirty to get the last bits all together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 1" thick circle and cut into 8ths (I used a pizza cutter for this, made it super easy). Put on a baking sheet and bake at 425* for 16-17 minutes. Remove to cooling rack to finish cooling.

For the ginger molasses icing:

1 c powdered sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
1-2 Tbsp milk
1/4-1/2 tsp ginger (to taste)

Combine all together then drizzle on the scones. Adjust the milk or sugar to get the right consistency, it should be thick but fall off a spoon easily enough to drizzle.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hot Chocolate Cookies

I found these on pinterest probably sometime last winter and wanted to make them for my hot chocolate loving daughter. Never did it last year, but I saw that Friday was National Hot Chocolate Day so decided to make them for her. They're very chocolatey and yummy. I actually had two hot chocolate pins, one for a recipe on Stepable and the other was a link to Rachel Ray's magazine. After reading the comments on Rachel Ray's recipe, I made a few with the extra chocolate and a few without. Basically you make the cookies, bake them, take them out of the oven, top them with a piece of chocolate and a marshmallow half then stick them back in the oven to melt the toppings. The issue is that when they cool, the chocolate on top gets hard and it just isn't quite as good. Two solutions are to eat the cookies warm out of the oven or to stick them in the microwave for about 5 seconds if you're eating them later, that's just long enough to soften the chocolate again. Either way, they're good; they're also good if you don't add that extra piece of chocolate. I did find that less is more in this case; that extra piece of chocolate should be small or I found it was just too much chocolate but that's more of a personal preference thing. So on to the recipe.

Hot Chocolate Cookies with Marshmallows
makes 36 cookies

1/2 c butter
12 oz. package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 c brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate, cut into small pieces
18 large marshmallows, cut in half

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and chocolate chips, stirring constantly just until melted. Remove from the heat and let cool 5 minutes.

In a mixer bowl, combine the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat until blended; add the cooled chocolate and beat until just combined. Add the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt and mix on low until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325* and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Scoop and drop the cookies by the tablespoon onto the cookie sheets. Leave about 2 inches between cookies; you should be able to get 12 cookies per sheet. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven, place a piece of chocolate, then a marshmallow on top of each, then put them back in the oven for 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies cool 5 minutes then move them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bar Harbor Beerworks

Bob and I recently went on a cruise to New England and Canada to celebrate our 25th anniversary. On the second day we were in Bar Harbor, Maine; I love Maine, especially its rocky coast. We wandered around town, did some shopping, and got lunch at the Bar Harbor Beerworks. It was a beautiful day and we sat outside on the roof-top deck. We had a really great waitress who explained the beer menu, which had a lot of local beers on it. Both Bob and I tried the Shipyard Blueberry beer. It was an ale that had hints of blueberry and we both enjoyed it. Bob followed it up with a dark beer.

When in Maine, one must have a lobster roll. I had the lobster roll two ways. They were small, but with a basket of fries to go with them, it was a filling lunch. One roll was cold with mayo, the other was warm with butter. I enjoyed both. My only complaint (after having another lobster roll the next day) was that the lobster meat was chopped.

The best part of the meal was dessert. I had a slice of blueberry pie. Oh,my,gosh. Warm out of the oven, with vanilla ice cream. It was so good! Lots and lots of little Maine blueberries, flaky crust, and none if that syrup stuff, just blueberries and crust. SO good! Bob was jealous, his Guiness chocolate cheesecake wasn't quite as good as my blueberry pie.

So if you get to Bar Harbor, give the Bar Harbor Beerworks a try. If it's in the summertime be sure to get the blueberry pie!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

One of my favorite tools

I never thought I'd need or want, much less love having a citrus press but I do. I got it mostly by accident, one of the youth leaders at church bought it for a dinner they were doing. It was a going away dinner for the mission team going to Guatemala and they were serving (non-alcholic) sangria. She bought the press, used it that night, but didn't need it after. I'm not sure if she already had one or what but we ended up taking it home with us. I don't use it very often, but when I need some lemon juice or lime juice, like tonight, it sure is handy to have around. It does a great job of getting out all the juice and leaves these cute little rounds of pressed peel. If you don't have one, I highly recommend getting one.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Easy Sesame Chicken

One of my girls made sesame chicken to take to bible study one night a while back. It was really good and pretty easy. It was requested again for dinner at home. Of course, we couldn't find the recipe we printed off and a quick search didn't bring it up but I did find this one. It was even easier, really tasty, and quick. My only quibble with it is that it didn't make enough sauce so I've doubled the recipe here for the sauce. The recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken thighs; you can also use breasts or tenderloins (which is what I had and used).

Easy Sesame Chicken
serves 4

Not the prettiest picture, but I had already eaten all mine.
1 egg
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 pinch each salt & pepper
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

4 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
3 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 inches fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp cornstarch

for serving
4 c cooked jasmine rice
2 whole green onions, sliced

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, 2 Tbsp cornstarch, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Trim any extra fat from the chicken, then cut into small 1 inch pieces. Toss the chicken in the egg and cornstarch mixture.

Heat a large skillet with 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the chicken and all of the egg mixture. Cook the chicken, stirring only occasionally, until it is golden brown and cooked through (about 7-10 minutes). Drain off the excess oil, if desired.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl stir together the sauce ingredients. Once the chicken is cooked through and golden brown, pour the sauce over top. Toss the chicken to coat the sauce. The sauce will begin to thicken as soon as it hits the hot skillet. Once the chicken is coated and the sauce thickened, turn off the heat.

Serve the chicken over a bed of rice and sprinkle the sliced green onions over top.

modified from Budget Bytes

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Coconut Lime Chicken Soup

Oh. My. Gosh. This soup was so fabulous! I had some leftover coconut milk that I needed to use (most of a can) and I found this on my soups pinterest board. I figured I'd give it a try since it was supposed to be cooler today (it was, but it was still very humid) and since I wasn't sure how the rest of the family would like it, I made it while they were gone. This is a super easy recipe and very flavorful.

Coconut Lime Chicken Soup
serves 6

3 Tbsp butter
1 or 2 small carrots shredded
Thai seasoning:
    1/2  tsp curry powder
    1/4 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp ginger
    1/4 tsp chili powder
    1/4 tsp paprika
    1/4 tsp salt
3 c chicken broth
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 15oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1 2-2 1/2 lb deli roasted chicken, shredded
1 c cooked long grain rice
juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp soy sauce
optional garnish: extra cilantro and lime wedges

Add the butter, carrots, and Thai seasoning to a large pot, cooking over medium-high heat until carrots are softened.

In a blender, combine the chicken broth and cilantro, pulse a few times then pour contents into pot.

Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a low boil, then remove from heat. Serve with extra cilantro and lime wedges.

slightly modified from Favorite Family Recipes

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mt. Dew Cake

This is another recipe from my friend Wendy. We needed to take a dessert to a potluck for the Guatemala mission team and I was told by one of my girls that this was really good. This is really easy and makes a good tasting, moist Bundt cake. This would probably be really good with a lemon glaze drizzled on it. Maybe we should try that next time.

Mt. Dew Cake

Lemon cake mix
12 oz. Mt. Dew
4 eggs
Lemon pudding
2/3 c oil

Mix all the ingredients together. Spray a Bundt pan really well with non-stick spray. Bake at 325* for 40-45 minutes. Cool 20 minutes, then remove from pan and finish cooling on a rack.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

We needed to make cookies for something recently and went for oatmeal. The containers of oatmeal that I had didn't have a recipe on them for cookies so we had to hit the web to find something. We came across these and they were really good. They didn't last long enough for a picture! I guess that just means that we'll have to make more and remember a picture before they're gone again.

Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

1 c butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 1/2 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 c rolled oats
1 1/2 c raisins
1 c walnuts, chopped (optional)

Cream butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl whisk flour, baking soda, cnnamon, and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in oats, raisins, and walnuts.

Chill the dough for a bit (this makes for a thicker, chewier cookie) then scoop onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. You could also scoop the dough, put it into a freezer container and just bake as needed.

When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350* for 10-12 minutes (perhaps slightly longer if you bake them from frozen). Take them out when they are golden on the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the cookie sheet 5 minutes, then put on a rack to cool.

Recipe from (and ever so slightly modified) smitten kitchen.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Food of the South

We just got back from a bike trip in the deep South. We had a good time cycling and mostly ate at the campgrounds, but we did go out to eat a few times to partake in Southern specialties, namely pulled pork and fried catfish.

The first stop we made was in Natchez, MS at The Pig Out Inn. This was (obviously) a bbq joint that probably gets crowded and hopping pretty good some evenings. We were there early for dinner so it wasn't busy but the food was really good. Most of us got either pulled pork or ribs. You had a choice of sides and the baked beans were good with a smokey flavor and the cole slaw had a  bit of a kick to it (good but not what I'm used to). We all enjoyed that meal very much. After we drove a very short distance to the Mississippi River and overlooked Louisiana.

The next meal out was to get fried catfish. The place we were going to go was closed but we ended up at a place that was really good. We ate at the Sawmeal in Adamsville, TN. Now the only reason you'd be in Adamsville is if you're going to Shiloh National Military Park which is nearby. Otherwise, there's nothing nearby that would draw you there. We finished riding early that day and went over to Shiloh to do some sightseeing and stopped at the Sawmeal for dinner. For the true Southerner with us, the catfish was perfect; I'd have to agree. The meal was delicious! We started with hush puppies, then most of us got the fried catfish that came with cole slaw and another side. The second side varied by interests, Sarah got a baked sweet potato, most got fries, and I got the onion rings. Whitney had a steak and baked potato and raved (and probably dreamed) about her steak. The service was friendly and efficient. We really enjoyed eating at the Sawmeal.

The last meal out was at the River Rat Grill in Hohenwald, TN. Another good meal and a fun waitress. The catfish wasn't quite as good, from the reports of those that got it, but I can say the reuben was fantastic. I don't remember what the rest ate, I think the girls got steaks, but mostly they said the food was good. The only downside to the River Rat was that the choices of sides was pretty much limited to some form of potato or another starch (mac & cheese or white beans). Most meals came with a choice of two sides so it made it hard.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Aunt Betsey's Carrot Cake

I've had this recipe of my aunt's for carrot cake for years and love it each time I make it.

Carrot Cake

1 1/2 c cooking oil
2 c sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 c flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 c chopped walnuts
3 c grated carrots

Blend oil and sugar, add eggs one at a time. Beat well after each addition. Combine dry ingredients, add to creamed mixture. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bake in a 13" x 9" pan, 50-60 minutes, 350* oven.

Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Chocolate Mousse

A super quick and easy chocolate mousse.

Nan's Chocolate Mousse
serves 4-6

1 6-oz package semi-sweet chocolate
3/4 c milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier, etc  (optional)
1 egg
2 Tbsp sugar

Dump all dry ingredients and the egg into a blender. Heat milk to scalding. Dump milk in blender; whir for about 1 minute. Pour into custard cups or small dishes and chill until set. For garnish - a shaved curl of orange peel, whipped cream or chocolate curls.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Buttermilk Waffles

We loves waffles around here and these are the best, when I remember to get buttermilk. The girls have said that they're the ones that freeze the best so I usually try to make extra and freeze them so they can just pop them into the toaster. Way better than buying frozen ones! This recipe is from my Fanny Farmer cookbook.

Buttermilk Waffles

1 1/2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 c buttermilk
3/4 c melted butter
1/4 c milk, if needed

Put the flour into a mixing bowl and add the baking powder, soda, salt and sugar. Stir with a fork to blend. In another mixing bowl, beat the eggs until well blended. Stir in the buttermilk and the melted butter (cooled off a little). Add the flour mixture and stir until well mixed. If the batter seems rather thick, add some milk to thin it. The batter should flow from the spoon, not plop. Bake in a hot waffle iron until crisp and golden; serve hot.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Paula Deen Popcorn

This is one of those REALLY addicting, so not healthy snacks that is so good. Rosie Jane loves it (as do Bob and I) and asks often to make it. I try not to make it too often since I could eat it all in a sitting but it's easy enough she made it herself the other day.

Paula Deen Popcorn
makes lots!

1 c butter
2 c brown sugar
1/2 c light corn syrup
1 tsp baking soda
8 quarts popped corn

Preheat oven to 200*.

Over medium heat, combine first four ingredients and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda. Stir well. Pour over popcorn. Stir to coat well. Bake in large roaster or pan for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on waxed paper to dry.

Original recipe