Thursday, February 28, 2013

Meyer Lemon Curd



Until a few years ago I thought a lemon was a lemon. And then I found out about Meyer Lemons. Curiosity about food always gets the best of me and I had to know what the fuss was all about. So I purchased some and did some experimenting. Yummy! They have more of a mellow lemon flavor, sweeter and less tart. My first recipe was Lemon Curd. I usually just buy this stuff when I need it because I think I'm too busy to make it.
 
That would be Myth #1. Because it's easy! And not very time consuming at all.
 
And the end result is a lot fluffier than the more "plastic like" substance you purchase in the cute little jars. I think it's the little jars that attract me to the stuff. Weird, I know.
 
The first batch I made was a little bit too buttery for me so I made a second batch and reduced the butter. I liked it much better. I used that first batch (ha, what was left of it) in an angel cake roll that was amazing with a raspberry sauce. I'll post that one later. And the last batch is headed for a cheesecake (what else? :) for the weekend. Yumm!
 
Question for you. If I would be making that cheesecake for you, would you prefer it IN the cheesecake or would you prefer it as a topping for a plain cheesecake?
 
2/3 cup sugar
4 teaspoons Cornstarch
4 teaspoons zest
½ cup fresh squeezed juice
4¼ Tablespoons unsalted butter
 
4 eggs, beaten
 
In a small bowl beat the eggs. Set aside.
 
In a saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch with a whisk. Add the next 3 ingredients and cook over medium heat till it is thickened and bubbly.
 
Add half of this mixture to the 4 beaten eggs whisking as you pour. Return all to the saucepan and cook for another 2 minutes, whisking constantly.
 
 
 
Remove from heat and place a piece of waxed paper directly onto the entire curd surface. Let cool completely.
 
 
Approximately 2 cups.
 


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Berry Yummy Parfait

 
 
It's almost too pretty to eat but I've been enjoying these flavors together since making my latest Granola (previous post). Blueberries and Blackberries, one fresh one frozen, in this one. But really, any berries would do. Greek Vanilla flavored yogurt is usually my choice for parfaits. Yum!!

 
Serena doesn't eat it in parfait form but she likes a small dish of it with dark chocolate chips. No milk, just plain. Like I said before, it's like eating candy.
 
Happy Tuesday everyone!
 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Honeyed Coconut Almond Granola


 ♥♥♥
 

A couple of months ago when I made this I made a little discovery which led me to this granola. It was the fact that heating the honey and mixing it with the unsweetened coconut and almonds creates the granola texture I enjoy from commercial granolas. You know, little clumps of chewy goodness in the midst of satisfying crunchiness. And it tastes like candy. The fact that candy is no longer a part of my daily diet made this seem like good news. :) It's also simple and doesn't have an ingredient list as long as my arm. That makes it seem like a bonus too.

Preheat oven to 350.
 
5 cups Rolled Oats
5 cups Organic Brown Rice Cereal
3 cups Unsweetened Coconut
3 cups Sliced Almonds
1½ cups Raw Honey
¼ cup Ground Flax Seeds
 
 
 
On a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper) toast the Oats for about 10 minutes.
 
Meanwhile combine the coconut and almonds in a bowl. Heat the raw honey till it is melted. Pour over coconut mixture and toss to coat. Pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes stirring several times. Watch closely so it doesn't brown too much.
 
When the oats is done toasting a bit, remove from the oven and add the Organic brown rice krispies and the ground flax seeds. Toss to combine.
 
coconut mixture ready for the oven
 
 
When the coconut mixture is browned a little toss it with the oat mixture on your baking sheet and bake for another 10 minutes, stirring once. Again, watch closely because it gets dark quickly towards the end of the baking time.
 
 
I used extra large baking sheets and when it was all combined on the one it was really full, so if you need to use smaller sheets you may want to use 2 of them.
 
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!
 
                                                                              
 
I'm pleased to tell you that my Father-In-Law is at home from the hospital and feels well. Recovery will still be long, but he's home! What a blessing!
 
                                                                                
 
I took a walk through the yard yesterday to assess what I'll be up against when I get serious about working outside in the Spring. I came in again when I started getting that overwhelmed feeling :).
 
Deep breath. I know that one day at a time, one flowerbed at a time, not obsessing about perfection, and starting the work soon will be what will get me there. I can do this! :)
 
The sun is beautiful and invigorating today and the birdsongs bring the promise of Spring. I feel happy that this week brings the beginning of March and the gray months will soon be a distant memory. I know, sometimes we get a major snowstorm in March. That's okay, Spring is still closer every day! :) As much as I enjoy the slower pace of Winter, Spring is still one of my favorite seasons!
 
Praying a blessing for each of you today!
 
 


Friday, February 22, 2013

Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Chowder

 


I had some leftover Grilled Chicken in the fridge and lots of veggies that needed a purpose. It was a cold, windy day and I was in the mood for soup. I didn't have noodles to make the usual Chicken Noodle Soup and I didn't have potatoes that I normally use in the soup either. So I thought I'd use the veggies that I had and change it up a bit and make a chowder instead. It ended up with more of a Mexican flair and I served it with plain tortilla chips instead of crackers, because yeah, I was out of those too. I think Black Beans or Brown Rice, Hot Peppers, and Sour Cream would be nice additions yet, don't you? Maybe next time I'll add them to my bowl. :) Lin and I enjoyed the chowder, two of the boys ate it, said it was okay but not their favorite. No reviews from the other two children. :)

2-3 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 shallots, sliced
1½ cups petite carrots
¼-½ of each red, yellow, and green peppers
½ teaspoon minced garlic
3 cups corn, divided
¼ red onion, chopped
1 qt. chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
salt and cumin, to taste
2 cups grilled chicken, diced
plain tortilla chips

Roast all veggies except red onions. I sauteed them in oil just because I like them aroma. :) Place roasted veggies and chicken stock into the blender (reserve 1½ cups of the roasted corn) and blend until mostly smooth. Saute onions in a Dutch Oven until soft. Add the blended mixture and the reserved corn and the diced chicken. Heat through then add the heavy cream. Season to taste and serve. Makes about 5-6 servings.


Happy Friday to all of you!
♥Be Blessed!♥
 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hawk Visitor...

 
I've been seeing this hawk skulking about in the trees for the last several days.
 
Even so, I was surprised when I looked out the window today and saw this guy sitting about 20 yards from the deck where "my" pretty birds (no one, messes with them!) were dining on nuts and seeds and Homemade Suet. While I wasn't going to sit back and let him feast on bluebirds or anything like that, I may have hand fed him a few others... like say, a European Starling or two... or three. And the blackbirds. They come in droves! 
 
My teenage boys, who like to tease, call my Bluebirds, "blue starlings" just to see if they can get a rise out of me. Ha, never works. :)
 
But really, up close these guys are beautiful. I did what any responsible blogger would do. I picked up my camera and started "shooting". He saw my movements at the window and decided I can't be trusted.

 
The sun was bright and beautiful today and I'm beginning to feel the tug of Spring. Warm sun on my skin, air that is cool and light, but warm enough to be pleasant... anyone else with me on this?
 
♥Blessings!♥

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Quesadilla

 
Remember these? I used one to make a hearty quesadilla recently. I had a bit of avocado in the fridge along with some habenaros that I added for extra heat and some cheddar jack cheese. Put it all on a flour tortilla with a bit of butter and season it with Fiesta Citrus seasoning and Cumin. Served with sour cream and salsa it was delicious!

 
                                                                                                         
 
Today was a blustery day with a bit of rain and snow. I helped (along with 3 other Moms) serve hot lunch at the school where our two youngest children attend. Serena's classroom had Occupational Dress Up Day today as well. They were to dress up as an occupation they want to have when they grow up and give a short report on what it is that they would do if they had that job. I saw a Policeman, Cowboys, Nurses, Musician/Singer, Football Player, Photographer, Cowgirls, Rancher, someone in Case Tractor Sales, a Gap Power worker, Chef/Baker, Painter, and an Equine Veterinarian. Horse Vet as Serena would say. Yep, that last one was my daughter. She's been insisting on this for several years. I guess time will tell. But she does love horses, so who knows? They were all cute! Another younger classroom had Hat Day. February is always a fun month for them because of all the special things they do for February Fun.
 
Yesterday was rather disappointing for my husbands family. Dad-In-Law thought he would possibly be released from his stay at the hospital but started with a massive sinus infection :( and was not able to come home after all!
Please pray with us that this would clear up quickly so he could come home! We appreciate your prayers and believe every one of them makes a difference!
 
Have a wonderful evening!
♥Be Blessed!♥

Monday, February 18, 2013

Buttermilk Blueberry Sour Cream Pancakes

 
We had pancakes for our Sunday Night supper. I was tired of the usual ones that I make and I had just enough buttermilk in the refrigerator to make the right amount from scratch for our family. So I looked around and found some that I decided would do the trick. Thanks to a family friend, Tammy, who shared them in a cookbook compiled by one of my sisters. :) The only thing I changed about the recipe was the addition of buttermilk instead of regular milk and I put blueberries only in the two that I ate. The rest of my family likes their pancakes plain. One of the boys commented that you barely have to chew them they just melt in your mouth. They were delish!
 
I made sure everyone had enough before I set about making my own. I added blueberries and whipped some heavy cream. Sweeten it a little according to your taste then add fresh pineapple. Sprinkle with Toasted Coconut and drizzle with Maple Syrup. I was out of the real deal so I improvised and made my own 'maple' syrup. They were super yummy for a special treat on a cold blustery evening!
 
2 cups All Purpose Flour
¼ cup Sugar
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 Eggs
1½ cups Buttermilk
1 cup Sour Cream
1/3 cup Butter, melted
1 cup Fresh Blueberries, optional
 
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. In a seperate bowl beat the eggs then add buttermilk, sour cream, and melted butter and mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until blended. Fold in blueberries, if adding. I like to use a size 20 cookie scoop for thick pancake batters because it makes it easier to get the right amount for a nice even size. Melt a bit of butter on a griddle over medium-medium low heat and cook until bubbles form on top of the 'cakes or the edges look dry. Flip over and cook till the second side is golden brown. Drizzle with syrup, or in the case of some of my kiddos, slather them with peanut butter and drown them in syrup. :) Enjoy!
 
Homemade 'Maple' Syrup
2 cups water
3½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
¾ cup dark corn syrup, optional
 
Bring water to a rapid boil. Turn heat off and stir in sugar, maple flavoring, and corn syrup, if adding. I don't usually add this but had a bit left that's been in the cupboard long enough now so I did this time. Let set for several hours to allow flavors to blend. Or if necessary use it right away. I've done it both ways and the world is still the same. :)
 
Happy Monday to all of you!
♥Be Blessed!♥
 


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Nature's Beauty


Some photos of the last week...
 

Love this little outbuilding on a nearby farm.

And the snow a few mornings later was amazing!!
 

 
 
 
And of course, some of my favorite birds. I think they know I'm crushing on them!
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you have a wonderful week!







 
 
 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

 
No.1
 
 Gorgeous Roses!
 
Here at our house we have celebrated Valentine's Day 3 times now in 2013. So much fun! The first time we hosted our boys' youth group here in the basement. We had a lot of fun getting to know some of their friends better and watching everyone enjoy themselves was very rewarding! This was hosted the day after Dad-In-Laws very long (13 hr.) surgery. I could not have pulled it off without the help of my sweet friends. Some volunteered to bring food and one volunteered to help with the decor. Thank You all from the bottom of my heart! You will never know just how much that really meant to me!! All of the youth that were here (except one) invited a friend. This added a lot of fun because the group is pretty small otherwise.
 
 
These are our handsome young men with the sweet, beautiful girls they escorted. :)
 

 Andre - Amanda
Shawn - Kelsey

Dessert!!
 
                                                              
 
No. 2
 
 
 
Last night the youth group hosted a fundraiser in the church basement. They and the youth leaders did a fabulous job of cooking and serving the food! Amazing Food, too!
 
Appetizers and Punch
 
Chicken Parmesan
Ham Balls
Caesar Salad
Buttered Red Potatoes
Green Beans w/Almonds
 
and 3 kinds of delicious desserts
 
We sponsored a table and filled it with friends and had a wonderful evening!
 
Youth Group & Leaders
 
The couples on the ends are their leaders and they are amazing! The youth (and us too!) love to have them as youth leaders! Thanks for a job WELL done Mike & Jo and Wayne & Stella! We appreciate you and all your good ideas and the energy you bring to this group of great young people!
 
had to pose with my handsome men! :)
 
                                                                              
 
No.3
 
And tonight we opted for dinner at home. The kids always love it when I set the table with our wedding China and light some candles.
 
 
Fresh Warm Banana Bread

Grilled Chicken
Salad
Asparagus with Brown Butter

and of course
Snickers Sundaes :)
 
I hope your Valentine's Day was a good one too!
♥Blessings!♥
 


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Spicy Chicken And Black Bean Burger



A week ago when we were sitting at the hospital through the long surgery that my Father-In-Law had, I kept thinking about a burger like this. I knew that it wouldn't 'go away' until I had made it and tasted it. I'm pleased to tell you that it is delicious and seems a bit spicier the longer it is in the fridge. This recipe makes 5 (¼ lb. each) burger patties and I prepared them all right away knowing that they would keep better that way. Because of the spicy and the black beans no one else here will touch them. They do not know what they're missing! But that only means I get to enjoy them longer. :)

¾-1 lb. ground chicken breast
(approximately one whole chicken breast)
1½ cup black beans, drained, rinsed, and chopped
¼ cup red onions, chopped
3 Tablespoons chopped habenaros
1½ teaspoon Perfect Pinch Southwest Seasoning
1½ teaspoon Perfect Pinch Fiesta Citrus Seasoning
1¼ teaspoon lime zest
1/3 teaspoon cumin

Combine all ingredients and form patties. Brown in grape seed oil. Assemble burgers and enjoy!

Serve with:
Mini Kaiser Rolls
bacon strips
pepper jack cheese
guacamole
tomatoes

For the guacamole:
avocado
cilantro, chopped
lime juice
salt

Mash the avocado with a fork and add the rest of the ingredients and combine. They would definitely be less messy to eat if the avocado would be simply sliced so I might give that a shot for the next round. :)


 
Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday!
♥Be Blessed!♥



Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sweet Sesame Ginger Garlic Chicken with Sticky Orange Glaze

 
 
I've been eyeing an Asian Spice blend at the grocery store for a long time and yesterday I decided it's pointless to keep resisting. I knew I would buy it eventually anyway. Just can't seem to resist new flavors.
 
 
I also picked up an Organic Roasting Chicken and decided to combine the two for supper. It turned out very tasty, moist, and delicious! And it was so easy!
 
I started by spatchcocking the chicken, which is really just a fancy name for cutting the backbone out of the chicken with a heavy duty kitchen scissors. I also cut into the breast bone from the top so the chicken would lay very flat. This makes so that you have lots of roasting surface and none of the skin is left soggy. And it seems to cook faster. I like it a lot!
 
 
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
 
Line a shallow baking sheet with foil (for easy clean up) and spray with non stick spray. Rinse chicken well. Pat dry with paper towels. Then spray with Olive Oil front and back. Sprinkle generously with seasoning, front and back, and lay flat on the baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, uncovered. Then spoon Sticky Orange Glaze over the chicken and return to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes. Glaze again. Return to oven until internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 180. Remove from the oven and tent with foil for 10 minutes before carving. Mine got a tad darker than I wanted it so maybe lay a piece of non stick sprayed foil on top after glazing for the last time. The flavor was amazing! Wings like this would be super yummy!
 
this was right after the second glaze went on before returning to the oven
 
and this was the finished product
 
Sticky Orange Glaze
6 Tablespoons Butter
6 Tablespoons Clover Honey
2 Tablespoons Orange Zest
½ cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
4 teaspoons Arrowroot Flour
 
In a small saucepan melt the butter and honey. Add the zest and juice and stir to combine. Whisk in the Arrowroot Flour until smooth and thickened slightly. I was going to use corn starch for this but discovered that I was out of it but the arrowroot worked perfectly.
 
                                                                    
 
My husband and 3rd Son left early this morning to deliver propane to some unfortunate soul with an empty gas tank in this weather! Brrr!! 1st and 2nd Sons are holding down the fort at the office till he gets back. Love to see them pitching in and I know they love the feeling of making a difference in the work load for their Dad. Serena is busy doing what she loves and the house is quiet. So the question is, should I "waste" my time cleaning or experiment with that recipe that lurks there in my mind? :)
 
Lin and I plan to take Mom to Baltimore this afternoon to see Dad at the Hospital. Dad is out of ICU and doing well. :) Thank you Marilyn for having Serena over for the afternoon/evening. She is excited to come over! :)
The boys were weighing their options and looking for some friends to hang out with for the afternoon. Not sure yet who/what they came up with. Sure is nice though that at least one of them can drive! :)
 
Brrr it's cold out there! Stay warm and have a wonderful day!
♥Be Blessed!♥
 
 


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bacon and Swiss Omelet




I had some spinach and Swiss cheese in the fridge and some grape tomatoes on the counter needing a purpose so I thought I'd put them all together into an omelet for breakfast.
 
 Simple. Satisfying. Delicious!
 
2 Strips Bacon
Red Onion Strings
Baby Spinach
Grape Tomatoes
1 Thin Sliced Swiss Cheese
2 Eggs
1 Tablespoon Heavy Cream
Salt
Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
 
The bacon I used was partially cooked so I just cut it into smaller pieces and sauteed it with the veggies and a small amount of butter till the veggies were tender and the bacon fully cooked. Scrape the veggie bacon mixture to the center of the pan and spread out slightly. Beat the eggs and cream in a bowl and pour over the mixture in pan. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook for a minute or so till the eggs begin to set then fold the edges over the veggies and top with Swiss cheese and bacon crumbles. To avoid over cooking the eggs pour a small amount of water into the pan and place a lid over the omelet and allow the steam to melt the cheese.
 
Brew some tea and sit back and start your day with a delicious breakfast!
 
                                                                              
 
Father-In-Law Surgery Update for those of you interested.
 
Tuesday was a long day for us as a family. Originally we thought the surgery would last 6-8 hours but because of the biopsy report the day before, it became much more involved and turned out to be 13 hours instead. Surgery went well though and the Doctor was able to remove all the cancer that he could see. PTL! However they removed a kidney, spleen, a portion of each of the following, pancreas, small intestine, diaphragm, and stomach, and 8 spots off of his liver. They also applied heated chemo to the surrounding area during surgery. Chances of him having microscopic cells that the doctor could not see are extremely high and we are under no delusions, but feel very blessed for him to even have had the option of removing a tumor of this size. (small to medium soccer ball) The amazing part is that he has had zero pain since the Anointing Service months ago when the tumor was the size of a baseball. Pain was present before the service. That has been a huge blessing and we Praise God for answering our prayers in this way!! Recovery will be long but we are blessed to be on this side of surgery and with Doctors who care and are good at what they do.
 
I was proud of my boys for managing things at home and for taking great care of their sister while we were gone. (Thank you also to Mary Lou for having Serena over for the evening! that was a huge boost for her, too!) We left the house at 3:30a.m. and returned home around 11:00p.m. So it was a really long day for them as well, but they were wonderful!

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Surgery...

Sitting through a long surgery at Mercy in Baltimore. Praying for steady hands for the surgeon and a successful outcome for my Father-In-Law. Happy for him that he gets to have the option for surgery. Inviting you to join in our prayers for healing with us.

So to pass the time I'm thinking about food, of course. :) If someone could stop in with a Fiesta Chicken Burger with Pepper Jack, tomato, bacon strips, and guacamole i would certainly not chase you away. I would be happy to meet you at the door :) Something with chocolate would be grand as well. Haha

Thanks for taking time to stop in. Hope your day is going well!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Asparagus and Red Onion Frittata


I wait to eat breakfast most mornings till I have everyone dressed, fed, lunches packed, and delivered to school. Actually they all dress themselves, but there's one, with long blond hair, that needs lots of encouragement for the motivation process. She's not really grumpy, she's just doesn't move real fast. She gets up and wants to read books right away. :)
 Anyone else have one like that?
 

This morning after I got back from dropping them off I was especially hungry for something warm for breakfast and I had some fresh asparagus and red onions in the refrigerator so I decided to make a yummy frittata. It turned out just right. Not too much of anything and so satisfying!

2 eggs
2 Tablespoons milk
5 asparagus spears
1 thin slice red onion
1 small snacking size red pepper, sliced into rings
2 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan Romano Cheese
1 Tablespoon bacon bits
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Grapeseed oil, for sauteing

Saute veggies in oil until tender. Beat eggs and milk together. Add the rest of the ingredients. Place into a baking dish that is sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for approximately 10-12 minutes or until eggs are set. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!
 
 
♥Blessings!♥