Jan 28, 2017

Lemon Blueberry Bread

I doubled this recipe and baked two loaves of this lemon blueberry bread for the first time today, somewhat of a risk since I'd never tried it before, and I think I'm in love! I love lemon, and this has a ton of lemon flavor, plus the combination of tart and sweet is perfect. The soft texture of the bread is just right. This is definitely not the last time I will make this sweet bread. I found this recipe on the Glorious Treats blog.

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons fresh grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I used fresh)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Lemon glaze
2 tablespons butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9"x 5" loaf pan with parchment paper (or lightly grease with butter). In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix until well combined. While slowly mixing, add flour mixture and milk in two batches (some flour, then some milk, then the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk). Stop mixing as soon as it's just combined. Rinse off the blueberries (if using fresh) so they have just a bit of moisture on them. Then, in a small bowl, toss the blueberries and 1 T. flour. The flour coating will help prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of your loaf while baking. Add the flour-coated berries to the batter and gently but quickly stir, by hand, to combine.

Immediately pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool bread in the pan for about 30 minutes, then move to a wire cooling rack with a baking sheet below (to catch the glaze you're about to add). Prepare glaze by simply whisking together the melted butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla, then pour glaze over the loaf. Allow to set a few minutes before serving.

Dec 22, 2016

Turtle Cookies

My Aunt Fae made these terrific cookies as a Christmas gift this year. She knows the way to my heart in combining chocolate, caramel, and pecans. So good! Thanks for the share, Fae! The original recipe comes from therecipecritic.com.

1 cup all-purpose flour
cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, softened
cup sugar
1 large egg, separated, plus 1 additional egg white
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups pecans, finely chopped

Caramel Filling:
14 soft caramel candies
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Chocolate Drizzle (optional):
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

1 teaspoon shortening
In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside. On high speed in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat together butter and sugar for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla. Mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. 
Whisk egg white in a bowl until frothy. Roll cookie dough into one inch balls. Dip the cookie balls into the egg white and roll in the chopped pecans until outside is coated. Place the balls 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. With a teaspoon make a small indentation in each ball. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes or until set. 
While they are baking. prepare the caramel filling. Melt the caramel and heavy cream in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds until it is fully melted. Once the cookies are baked, make the indentation again and using a teaspoon fill each indentation with the caramel. 
If drizzling with chocolate, melt the chocolate and shortening in the microwave, and scoop into a ziplock bag. Barely snip the corner and drizzle over the cookies. 
Yield 24 cookies

Dec 9, 2016

Honey Lime Fruit Salad

This fruit salad is colorful, easy, and delicious! What more could one ask for? And you can substitute a variety of fresh fruits, depending on what you prefer and what is in season. The recipe is slightly adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

1 (20­-ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained well, or about 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped fresh
1 (15-­ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained well
1 cup blueberries
1 cup green grapes, halved
1 cup strawberries, quartered
Zest from one lime, about 1/2 tablespoon
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
1/2 to 1 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)

Combine the fruit in a serving bowl. Add the lime zest and toss. Drizzle the honey over the fruit and gently mix until the fruit is evenly coated. Sprinkle the poppy seeds on top and toss to combine. Serve immediately or within an hour because some fruits may bleed and color the rest of the salad, making it less visually appealing, though it won't affect the taste. Serves 6. 

Dec 4, 2016

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

This Chicken Pot Pie recipe from the Six Sisters' Stuff blog is very easy to put together, and it's good comfort food

2 tablespoons butter
2-3 celery stalks, diced
2-3 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
2 red potatoes, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup peas
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely minced
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add celery, carrots, onion, and potatoes. Saute for 8-10 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic and season with salt and pepper. Mix in flour, chicken broth, and cream cheese. Let cook for 5 more minutes, stirring constantly. Fold in chicken and peas. Pour mixture into a 12-inch oven safe skillet. Roll out a sheet of puff pastry and place on top of skillet. Use a sharp knife to cut off any excess dough hanging over the sides. Whisk egg in a small bowl and brush over the top of the pot pie. Cook for 18-20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Nov 23, 2016

Cornbread-Sausage Stuffing with Apples

Confession: for most of my family Thanksgivings, we've mainly used commercial stuffing with a few extra things added to it (water chestnuts, sausage, etc.). And I further admit that I've even thought I liked stuffing. But after trying this homemade stuffing from a recipe given to me by my friend Rachel, I can never go back. I couldn't even wait for the Thanksgiving meal to try this because it looked so good. It is heavenly! I'm thrilled that this recipe makes a large batch so that we have leftovers for multiple days.

12 tablespoons butter
2 ½ cups finely chopped yellow onion
3 tart apples (Jonathans are good), cored and chunked, do not peel
1 pound lightly seasoned bulk breakfast sausage (sage is best)
3 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread (homemade is best)
3 cups coarsely crumbled whole wheat bread
3 cups coarsely crumbled white bread (French or homemade preferred)
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup chopped Italian parsley
1 ½ cups shelled pecan halves

Melt half of the butter in a skillet. Add chopped onion and cook over medium heat, partially covered, until tender and lightly colored, about 25 minutes. Transfer onions and butter to a large mixing bowl.

Melt remaining butter in the same skillet. Add apple chunks and cook over high heat until lightly colored but not mushy. Transfer apples and butter to the mixing bowl.

Crumble the sausage into the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring until lightly browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to the mixing bowl and reserve the rendered fat.

Add the remaining ingredients to the ingredients in the mixing bowl and combine gently. Cool completely before stuffing the bird; refrigerate if not used promptly.

If you do not wish to stuff the bird, spoon the stuffing mixture into a casserole. Cover casserole and bake for about 45 minutes at 325 degrees. Baste occasionally with the drippings from the bird or with the reserved sausage fat, if necessary. Leave the stuffing uncovered for the last 15 minutes of the baking time.

Note: The breads should not be dried out as in many stuffing recipes.

Enough stuffing for a 20-pound turkey, to make 12 to 14 servings.