Monday, January 30, 2012

Grilled Garlic Pork Chops



The boys were talking last evening about the fact that we haven't had pork chops lately and I needed something easy and quick for supper tonight and happened to be at the grocery store today, so I picked up some thin sliced boneless pork chops. I brought them home and looked through my cupboards to see what I could marinate them in and decided on this combo.

7 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup honey
½ cup Sherry Cooking Wine
10 ounces crushed pineapple in juice
salt and pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
12 thin sliced boneless pork chops

Combine the first seven ingredients, place the chops into a resealable bag or a glass baking dish and cover with marinade and allow to marinate for at least 3½ hours. Grill and serve.

~Blessings~

Home Sweet Home

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Happy Sunday


Some of the recent sunsets that always draw my mind to our Creator and His abundant goodness to us!

Enjoy your day!




~Blessings~

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies


 Someone mentioned last night that she was hungry for peanut butter cookies. These are for you Betsy!☺ This made me think I'm hungry for them too! I needed cookies for the lunches on Monday anyway so I thought that gave me a legitimate excuse to make them. The recipe comes from my sister-in-law Laura and uses vegetable shortening instead of butter. I like to use the oraganic, non-hydrogenated kind. They turned out delicious (especially with a cold glass of milk) and made me fear they might not last till Monday! The boys wanted to eat them all, but I put them away for safe keeping.☺

¾ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup vegetable shortening
1½ cups brown sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoons vanilla
1 egg
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1¾ cups AP flour

Combine the first 5 ingredients and beat until well blended. Add the egg and beat until just blended. Combine flour, salt, and soda and add to the creamed mixture. Mix just until blended. Drop onto a cookie sheet and bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until the tops begin to brown. Enjoy!

~Blessings~

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Creamy Chive Rolls


These rolls are a bit tricky and sticky to handle but the flavor is totally worth the stress. The dough itself isn't hard to handle, it's the creamy chive filling you spread on that makes it difficult to form them nicely. I definitely need more practice with the rolling and shaping but there is nothing wrong with the flavor of these soft, tender rolls. I won't tell you how many I ate :) I'll just tell you I won't be needing any tomorrow! ha 

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon Yeast
(I used Instant)
¼ cup warm water
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Set aside.

In a small saucepan combine-
1 cup milk
5½ Tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup instant potato flakes
1/3 cup sugar
1¼ teaspoon salt
Heat to 110°-115°. remove from heat and allow to cool a bit the add yeast mixture and
1 beaten egg

Pour into mixer bowl and add flour, approximately
3¾-4 cups flour
to form a stiff dough. Knead on a floured surface until smooth and elastic. Place into a greased bowl turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise till doubled, about 1 hour.

Filling Ingredients:
1 beaten egg
¾ cup heavy cream
1/3 cup fresh chives, minced
½ teaspoon salt
Place filling ingredients into double boiler. Cook and stir until thickened. About 6 minutes over medium heat. Cool.

Divide dough in half, roll out onto floured surface in a 16x12 rectangle. Spread ½ of cream filling over dough.


Start with the long side and roll like you would for cinnamon rolls, seal edges. Transfer to a greased baking sheet and form a circle. With a scissors or a sharp knife cut in 1 inch slices almost through the roll, then twist and lay the cut part on its side. This was really hard to do so I just cut it and pretty much left it like it was.


Another option is to shape like a crescent. Roll into a circle, spread with filling and cut into wedges.


Starting with the wide end roll towards the point. Shape into a crescent and transfer to a baking sheet.

Brush with 2½ Tablespoons melted butter.


Here are the finished products.



Like I said, not perfect, but oh. so. yummy!

~Blessings~

Friday, January 27, 2012

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

~Lunch Today~


Recently when I was out and about I stopped in at my favorite Reuzit shop and found this cute little glass. I love it for my smoothies I've been enjoying for lunch. Today the smoothie consisted of  2 cups fresh strawberries and about 3 large frozen ones, a ½ banana, ½ cup Greek vanilla yogurt, ½-1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon flax seeds, and 1 packet of SomerSweet sugar.

It was delicious!

~Blessings~

Creamy Potato Soup with Ham


It was a dreary day with lots of rain and it was chilly outside. The menu was begging for soup but we've had our usual Chicken Noodle and Chili lately so I didn't want to make those again. Most of us enjoy a good Potato Soup so I went on a hunt and found this one and adapted it to our taste preferences. It turned out delicious and sure hit the spot on a chilly, grey evening in January. I liked that it was not milk based and thickened with flour but I would have preferred it a bit thicker, so the next time I think I would add more potatoes or reduce the liquid and possibly add some cooked, diced potatoes after the blending.

Ingredients:
4 Tablespoons butter
2 Leeks, finely chopped
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
2 quarts Chicken Broth
3 Celery stalks, diced
4 Fresh parsley sprigs, chopped
6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
salt and pepper, to taste
2 shakes of Worcestershire Sauce
½ teaspoon curry powder
1 cup heavy cream
2 lbs. ham, cubed
Fresh Chives, chopped

In a Dutch Oven melt butter and add the leeks and onions. Cook slowly until vegetables are tender but not brown. Add chicken broth, celery, parsley, potatoes ans seasonings. Cook mixture until potatoes are tender. Blend soup in a blender in batches until completely smooth. Before serving add cream and ham and heat through. Garnish with fresh chives.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Crock Pot "Rotisserie" Chicken


It doesn't get any easier than this!

You know those yummy Rotisserie Chickens from the grocery store deli? Tender, juicy, and flavorful they are, but I always wonder what kind of preservatives lurk in all those juices. I've been seeing these around the web and have been making them for a little while now in my crock pot. Such a simple way to get such a moist roasted chicken! I love to have it on hand because of it's versatility...and because seemingly the children's love languages include quesadillas fairly often lately. ha


5 lb. chicken
Olive oil
Seasoning of your choice
I used the Perfect Pinch Rotisserie seasoning.

Remove chicken from it's wrapping and rinse. Pat dry with a paper towel. Spray or rub with olive oil and sprinkle generously with seasoning. Place in crock pot. Spray crock pot with non stick spray and add about 8 ounces of water to the pot.


I don't like if the cooked chicken is in it's juices and I don't have a rack for the bottom of the crock pot so I use these 3 little ramekins. Works like a charm!


Just set the chicken on top. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours. Turns out tender, juicy, and perfect every time.

~Be Blessed~

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Moist Dark Chocolate Layer Cake w/Oreo Buttercream


Because it was Anthony's birthday I asked him what kind of cake he wants me to bake. I should have known ☺ he always picks a chocolate layer cake. I try different ones about every year but this one is by far my favorite as far as cakes go. He likes dark chocolate so I thought I would use that instead of just the regular cocoa. I also had some buttermilk in the fridge that needed using so in place of the water in the recipe I used that. It turned out very moist and delicious and is even better a few days later. I added crushed Oreos to a basic Butter Cream Icing (my favorite for a cake). So. Good! It turned out just like I thought it would and "Buddy" was quite happy with his dark chocolate cake.☺

Ingredients:
2 cups AP flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 cup Mayonnaise

Basic Butter Cream Icing
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup Crisco
4 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk, maybe more
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 Oreos, crushed

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Spray and line 2 (9 inch) round pans with waxed paper cut to fit.


In a medium bowl, combine flour, dark chocolate cocoa, baking soda and powder, set aside.

In a large bowl beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla at high speed for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape down sides occasionally. Reduce speed to low; beat in mayonnaise till well blended. Add flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Pour into prepared pans, evenly divided.Bake 30-35 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in the center. Cool in pans for a few minutes then run a sharp knife around the edges carefully. Invert onto waxed paper and a wire rack.


Carefully peel the waxed paper off the cake and allow to cool completely. Ice with your favorite Icing.


For the Icing: Combine all ingredients in a mixer bowl (except Oreos) and whip with the paddle attachment until it's fluffy. Then add the crushed Oreos.



Be Blessed!

Mango Pineapple Smoothie



It's been rainy and foggy around here for the last little while and although the sun did make a reappearance today, I still felt like I needed a bit more sunshine.

 I had a mango that needed to be used and a pineapple just sitting around. So I decided to make a smoothie for lunch, with a bit of Greek Yogurt it was very satisfying. ☺

1 mango, peeled and diced
1½ cups fresh pineapple, diced
1 (6 oz.) container Greek yogurt
Cardamom, to taste

Combine and blend till smooth. Enjoy!

Cupcake Apothecary

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy 13th Birthday Anthony

 Today, 13 years ago we were blessed with a quiet, calm, baby boy with dark chocolate brown eyes. He slept most of the first 3 months of his life. He is still gentle, easy going, and calm. Like his Dad! ☺ He is third born of 3 boys in row, so I always assumed his calm personality was a double blessing.☺

He loves to read, does well in school, loves to play games and is a peacemaker/keeper. He is dependable, patient, and will do everything he can to make sure the ladies of the house are taken care of. ☺

He is also a perfectionist and asks very technical questions that can make me feel confused about the instructions I'm giving him at the time. haha

He's quite a handy fellow in the kitchen and loves it when I ask him to bake cookies. He's usually willing to try new food ☺ at least once.

He has a hilarious sense of humor and has a way of telling his little jokes that make us all laugh. He's not overly fond of being photographed and once when I told him to just simply smile he replied,"But I never know which smile to use!" ☺

Anthony we are blessed to be a part of your life and thank God for trusting us with your care! We love you! Happy Birthday! I hope you will someday look back on your teen years with fondness!

                                                                               ♥♥♥
♥♥♥

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Almond Chicken Salad



If you enjoy chicken salad and avocados you will love them put together like this. It was a lovely light supper for me today.

3 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
1 cup cabbage, shredded
½ - ¾ cup celery, diced
¼ cup green onions, chopped
½ cup sliced almonds

Dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
2½ teaspoons mustard
1½ teaspoons sugar*
½ teaspoon salt*
¼ teaspoon pepper*
Milk, to desired consistency

* I substituted Stevia and Herbamare for these.

Combine the first four ingredients in a mixing bowl.


Add dressing ingredients and toss together.


Just before serving add the almonds. Serve in halved Avocados.

Have a blessed weekend!


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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Spiced Oatmeal Cupcakes w/ Caramel Buttercream and Toasted Coconut and Pecans Sprinkles




Like some of the rest of you when January comes I usually think of eating healthier and getting more exercise. But the rebel in me always asks for a sugar fix before too much time has elapsed. So one dreary day... yes, still in January! I caved.

I've been craving oatmeal cake for quite a while. I know, strange, but it's true. The one I had in mind has a wonderful topping of coconut and pecans and buttery brown sugar that gets a bit of time under the broiler. Love that topping! ( Like my Mom used to make ☺ ) But... since I'm the only "nutty" one in my family that also enjoys coconut, I knew I would be the only one consuming that confection. And while that is totally possible, (gasp!!) it is also entirely unnecessary!! so I decided to play with it a little bit to see if I could give everyone what they wanted, (yes, I'm like that) including me.

I googled to see if there's such a thing as Caramel Butter Cream, and found that indeed there is! and it's delicious! Not willing to give up the coconut and pecans, I decided to toast them in the oven and sprinkle them on top of just MY cupcakes. Aaahhh, very satisfying! (but I'd still want the stuff that's cooked and then broiled and turns out all gooey and chewy), but this was a very nice alternative! I liked that the coconut was crunchy and gave the cupcake several different textures.

Here's what you'll need:
1½ cups boiling water
1 cup quick oatmeal
½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into chunks

Pour boiling water over the oatmeal and butter and stir until the butter is melted.



Allow to cool.

Add:
¾ cup white sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1½ cups AP flour

Mix well. Using a size 20 cookie scoop, fill cupcake papers (in a cupcake pan) with one scoop.


Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.


Frost with Caramel Butter Cream Icing.

Icing:
Adapted from myrecipes.com
½ cup butter, softened
1/3 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
16 ounces powdered sugar
Milk, optional

Beat the first 4 ingredients at medium speed until creamy.

Add the powdered sugar. Beat until fluffy. I did not add the milk like the original recipe asked for because I wanted the icing to be more firm. Sprinkle with toasted coconut and pecans if desired.

Be Blessed!


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