Archive for July, 2010


Peach Bread

July 29, 2010


I made this bread the other day.  My sweet neighbor has a peach tree growing in her backyard and brought me some peaches.  This is the same sweet neighbor that looks after Vader when we go out of town and makes the best fried zucchini flowers.  Mind you the peaches were the size of apricots, but what do you expect for midwest?    They had great flavor and they were pretty juicy.  

I wanted to make something other than a pie with them.  I have a great recipe for a peach almond pie but my husband isn’t a big fan of peaches and he has to be in the mood for that one.  I thought that if I made muffins or bread with the peaches he would definitely eat that.  

This recipe is good, but let’s be honest peaches baked in a bread are not bursting with flavor.  And I think that the next time I make it I may omit the cloves.  I love cloves but I think that the bread may not need them.  I think I’ll also reduce the amount of cinnamon too.  

Peach Bread 

  • 3 whole Eggs
  • 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Apricot Nectar
  • 1/4 cup Canola Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 3 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¼ teaspoons Nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoons Cloves
  • 3 cups Fresh Peaches, Peeled-pitted-diced
  • ½ cups Chopped Pecans
  • ½ cups Flour
  • ¼ cups Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cups Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ½ cups Pecans, Chopped
  • ½ cups Butter, Softened
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 2 – 8 X 4 loaf pans.  Beat eggs lightly. Blend in sugar, nectar, oil, and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices.  Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.  Gently fold in the peaches and nuts.  Pour into the pans. Make the crumb topping by combining the flour, sugars, cinnamon, pecans and butter together with your hands. Sprinkle over the top of the loaves.  Cook for 1 hour or until tester comes out clean. 

    I served this to my husband with some clotted cream and he couldn’t eat it fast enough!  Which reminds me I need to update my clotted cream recipe.  I’ve been tinkering with it and I’m thinking it’s even better than before.    But I’ve been known to be wrong once or twice.


    Tomato Pie

    July 28, 2010

    I made this the other night for dinner along with some garlic bread and zucchini.  I found the recipe for it here.  If you haven’t found the Tasty Kitchen community yet, you’re missing out.

    When I told my husband we were going to have tomato pie for dinner, he was less than thrilled.  Until he ate it. 

    This was so surprisingly tasty considering there isn’t that many ingredients.  Maybe the simplicity is what makes it so good.

    Tomato Pie

  • 1 whole Store-Bought Pie Crust
  • 4 whole Tomatoes (peeled, Cored, Seeds Removed)
  • 8-10  leaves Fresh Basil
  • ⅓ cups Chopped Green Onion
  • 1 pinch Salt To Taste
  • 1 pinch Pepper To Taste
  • 1 cup Grated Part-skim Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • Cook store-bought pie crust according to package directions and allow to cool.   Once the pie crust is out of the oven, set the temperature for the oven to 350 degrees.   Clean and slice your tomatoes and arrange the slices in the crust, overlapping them.  You must make sure to seed and peel the tomatoes otherwise you’ll have tomato soup not tomato pie.   Add basil and onion, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.   I did use truffle salt.   Mix cheeses and mayonnaise in bowl.  Spread over tomatoes.   Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly brown.  Cool about 10 minutes before slicing.

    This is a great way to use up those garden tomatoes and that fresh basil growing like a weed in your garden!


    Birds of Memphis

    July 26, 2010

    While we were in Memphis, we stayed across the street from two different birds of Memphis.

    The Peabody ducks.

    The Memphis Redbirds.

    The duck master parades the ducks into the lobby of the Peabody Hotel every day at 11 where they stay in the fountain all day until 5.

    They then get back on the elevator to their penthouse. 


    They are trained to march through the lobby, stay in the fountain all day and then march back through the lobby to their room.   The ducks draw quite a crowd.  There was group of people next to us that was from Germany.

    The Redbirds are the St. Louis Cardinals Triple A team. 

     The park is beautiful, clean and the seats are close to the field.  You really need to keep alert or you’ll get hit by a foul ball. 

    It was a great time, even if it was the dreaded Cardinals.  That night they played the Kansas City Royals Triple A team.  It would have been really cool to see the Cubs, but it was a great night all the same. 

     It was especially great because the young lady I bought a beer from carded me.  I haven’t been carded in over a year and I really miss it.  I’m still mad that they’ve finally started to offer me samples of liquor at the grocery store.  I know a woman my age shouldn’t be mad about it, but I am.  When you’ve been carded for as long as I have, you really miss it when it’s gone.


    Walking in Memphis

    July 25, 2010

    While we were in Memphis we visited the zoo.

    Did you know they pandas at their zoo?  They’re on loan from China until 2013.  The day we visited it was 95 degrees and the pandas were trying to keep cool by sleeping.

    Meeshie loved the pandas.  So did I. 

    They have komodo dragons at the zoo.  We had seen one a few years ago when the Shedd Aquarium had one on loan from somewhere.  There are three at the zoo and each one is kept in its own enclosure.

    I also liked the otters. 

    The zoo has a new exhibit called Teton Trek.  It has timber wolves.


    And bear.

    That’s the bridge you walk across to view the bear, timber wolf and elk.

    There’s a fountain at the Teton’s that simulates Old Faithful at Yellowstone.  They encourage people to run through it to cool off.  We did.

    When you first enter the zoo, there is small version of the Nile for wading.  We saw a lot of children in swimsuits and some were doing more than wading.  I did mention it was 95, right?  With the humidity it felt like 115.  Almost all the exhibits had a building with the ac cranked.  Plus, we are early morning people and got to the zoo when it opened and left in time for lunch.

    I stopped a policeman and he recommended this place for lunch.

    It was awesome.  They had their own wood smoker that was about half the size of the restaurant.

    We also went to Graceland, but just the gift shops.  I had stopped there before while I was in college on the way back from New Orleans.  My husband and I went back and forth about touring the house but in the end decided against it.  It is pretty pricey and Meeshie knows who Elvis is, but we figured the tour would not hold that much appeal.  The people watching on the other hand are worth the price they charge to park.

    I’m not sure why people have written on the wall, but it is a site to see.

    We had lunch that day at a triple D suggestion.  Uncle Lou’s.  They had some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.  Their honey biscuit melted in your mouth.  The place was really busy and there wasn’t anywhere to sit.  The staff was so helpful and found us a place to eat without making us feel rushed to hand over the table.


    Memphis in the Meantime

    July 24, 2010

    We left for Memphis on Tuesday at 4 am.  This was not the trip we had planned last summer, but we went with it and had fun. 
    Last summer we had planned to go back to Disney because we figured that if Meeshie worked hard at school we would give her a reward.  Then my hours were cut and I had to pay extra for insurance and the nest egg for vacation became the life line for bills.  While watching the Food Network, we decided to go on a trip based on places we’ve seen Guy Fieri visit on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  We narrowed it down to somewhere less than 10 hours away with awesome food.  Hello Memphis!

    On the way down, we decided to stop at a place that Guy had been to in Springfield, Illinois.  Springfield is only a 3 hour ride, we’d be there by 7 and back on the road in no time.  It would probably only add about an hour to our trip.

    It’s pretty nondescript, almost like a poll barn.  Very 50’s inside.  The breakfast was fine.  Not awesome, not bad, just fine.  Was it worth the stop?  Sure.  It’s not like we’re in Springfield a lot.  Although I do want to see the Abraham Lincoln Library, but we’ll have to do that some other time. 

    Unfortunately the stop caused us to go off track and we ended up adding hours on to our drive.  We should have hit Memphis about noon, we got there just in time for check in at 3 p.m.    Luckily we were able drop off our stuff and head over to Beale for something to eat.

    We found this place-The Pig on Beale.

    Can you see the sign?  That’s what drew us in.  Memphis has an annual fest in May and they were crowned champion.  I mean Grand Champion.  Their pulled pork was divine.  So were the ribs and the sweet tea was heaven.  I love sweet tea.  My girlfriend Angel’s granny made some awesome sweet tea.  Everywhere we went in Memphis I drank it.  I think I gained 15 pounds from the sweet tea alone.  I need to find a recipe.  Now.

    These are on the sidewalk up and down Beale.

    This is Beale before the night sets in.

    Don’t let the cars fool you.  They block traffic from coming down the two block stretch.

    I think it’s for two reasons: it allows people to walk down the street with open alcohol and it prevents those same people from being hit by a car.

    It was Tuesday when we got there and pretty quite.  Thursday at the same time was much crazier.


    PuffCorn Caramel Corn

    July 19, 2010

    I made this awesome treat for Meeshie’s party.  I even gave it away as the party favor along with some silly bandz.  This stuff is addictive.  Since I discovered this recipe from my friend in Wisconsin, I’ve made it a lot.  I made it for 4th of July, because it was Wednesday, because it stopped raining, you get the picture.

    It caught my eye because Meeshie loves puff corn.  You know that styrofoam type treat?  We can’t really understand what the appeal of that stuff is, but I buy it for her on occasion.  With this recipe I can see some of its appeal.  It also caught my eye because when I was a girl we used to make caramel popcorn.  This recipe is similar except you don’t have to pop any corn to make this treat.  It’s so simple and so yummy.

    Puffcorn Caramel Corn

  • 1 Package (9 Ounces) Puffcorn
  • 1 cup Butter
  • 1-¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • ⅔ cups Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

    Combine butter (don’t use margarine), brown sugar, and light corn syrup in a 2-quart sauce pan. Cook on medium heat until mixture has melted. Once mixture has melted, add the baking soda. (NOTE: This will cause the mixture to foam.)

    Pour the puffcorn into a large roaster pan. Pour the caramel mixture over the puffcorn and stir until mixed.

    Place in oven for 45 minutes, stirring at least every 10-15 minutes.

    Remove from oven, pour onto waxed paper and break apart. Let cool and then break into individual bites.

    You can store it in an air tight container.

    Enjoy and thanks again Kathy for hooking me up with this great treat!


    The Party

    July 18, 2010

    Yesterday was Meeshie’s birthday party.  Oh to be 8 again!

    Back in January she decided that she wanted a karaoke birthday party and a piano cake.  Last month she decided she want to have a make your own sandwich bar.  Sticking with the music theme, I made invites that looked like a concert ticket.  I even gave out those silly bandz in a rock band theme as the party favor.

    Due to the humidity, and the 90 degrees heat, I had issues with the fondant for the cake.  It cracked and also started to sweat.  The filling was fine, though.  And the stars were fun to make.  Meeshie requested the they keep their tie-died look.  I bought markers to write on the stars and they were horrible!  I got as far as the 8 and Happy and then the marker ran out of ink!  The size of the pen was very deceptive.

    For the make your own sandwich bar, I set out peanut butter, fluff, grape jellie, bologna and cheese.  The children loved making their own lunch. 

    For the adults I had sub sandwiches, pasta salad, taco salad, and Calabrese salad.  There was also fruit salad, various dips-including a fruit salsa that my mother made with cinnamon chips.  It was very refreshing.

    Then it was time for karaoke.  Almost everyone had a turn.  There was only a few girls that didn’t want to sing.  They had fun watching the festivities instead.

    Our good friend’s daughter LOVED it.  She was having the time of her life with that microphone. 

    She could have sang into that thing all day and night.

    Watch out Miley Cyrus!

    The girls loved the fact that there was two microphones.  Everyone loves a duet.


    Oreo Cupcakes with Oreo Frosting

    July 15, 2010

    I made these cupcakes for Meeshie’s birthday party.

    I wanted to make some cake pops that looked like microphones, but Meeshie vetoed that. It would have gone great with the karaoke theme, but it is her birthday after all.

    I stumbled on this recipe for Oreo cupcakes thinking that I could make the frosting as a filing for the piano cake. I thought it would look so cool when the cake is cut to see the frosting used as a filling. Meeshie of course requested a strawberry filling so I decided to make the cupcakes to serve at the party in case the piano cake hits a sour note. Children love cupcakes.

    I was even able to sample how I plan to pipe them because the intern in our office is leaving next week. I wanted to bring in a treat for her and since I’ll be enjoying some Memphis BBQ next week, I set to work.

    I do plan to cut out the center of the cupcake, insert a chocolate cordial cup and fill it with milk for dunking the mini Oreo. I’ll just pipe around the cup and insert the Oreo in the frosting.

    Let me tell you that I had major issues with the frosting.  First, I wanted to make sure the frosting was stiff so I added all the recommended powdered sugar. Next I decided I would use my spritz cookie press with the proper tip to help with the piping. The cookie press is electric and probably as old as I am. It was also acting up so I had to move on to plan B. I took a sandwich bag and cut out a hole and inserted the tip. The problem was that the sandwich bag was too flimsy for the stiff icing and the icing started to come out through the seems in the bag. It was a disaster.

    Good thing they taste so good.  This cupcake is almost like a brownie in consistency.  It is very moist with chunks of Oreo floating about.  Yummy!

    Oreo Cupcake

    • 3/4 C Butter, softened
    • 2 1/4 C Brown Sugar
    • 8 oz. Dark chocolate, melted
    • 3 large Eggs, separated
    • 2 t Vanilla
    • 2 C Flour
    • 1 t Baking Powder
    • 1 t Baking Soda
    • 1 3/4 C Milk
    • 8 Oreo cookies, smashed

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until peaks form, set aside.

    In a separate bowl, beat the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.  Mix in the egg yolks.  Mix in the vanilla and chocolate.

    In another separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and baking powder.  Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the butter mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture and mixing well after each addition.  Stir in the Oreos.  Fold the batter into the egg whites.  Fill the prepared cupcake liners almost to the top, you want the cupcakes to be tall.  Place the cupcake tray on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

    Oreo Frosting

    • 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
    • 1/4 C Butter, softened
    • 3-4 C Powdered Sugar-use more or less depending on how stiff you want it
    • 1/2 t Vanilla
    • 3/4 C Crushed Oreos super fine (that was 8 regular Oreos)

    Whip the cream cheese and the butter until light and fluffy.  Mix in the sugar, one cup at a time.  Add the vanilla and mix again.  Stir in the Oreos.



    July 14, 2010

    I have an abundance of fresh basil.  I’ve already given some to my sister and I was fortunate enough to get an amazing pesto recipe from a friend of this blog.  She is the same lady who introduced me to truffle salt.  Thanks Denise!

    I had planned to have this pesto last night for dinner but changed my mind as I was making it.  My husband likes pasta with lots of sauce and I wasn’t sure that this would make him happy.  Plus, generally I don’t make pasta in the summer.  I associate pasta with cool weather. 

    I decided that we would have marinated chicken on the grill, and placed on toasted buns with provolone, garden tomato and this pesto.  Grilled zucchini will also be served. 

    I love that this recipe actually browns the pine nuts and the garlic instead of just throwing everything into the food processor.  The aroma of the pine nuts and the garlic was heavenly while they toasted in the pan.  Once the basil was brought into the mix my mouth was watering and I wished that I had made the chicken sandwich right then.

    The smell was heavenly, but the flavor was amazing.  This is the best pesto I’ve ever eaten.  Thanks again Denise!


    • 1/4 C Pine Nuts
    • 3 Medium Garlic Cloves
    • 2 C Fresh Basil, packed
    • 7  T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • Salt, to taste
    • 1/4 C Parmesan Cheese, finely grated

    In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium heat.  Stir frequently until just golden and fragrant, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove the pine nuts from the pan and set aside.  Add the garlic cloves (do not peel the garlic) to the empty pan.  Toast until fragrant and the color deepens, shaking occasionally, about 7 minutes.  Transfer the garlic to a plate, cool, peel and chop.  By heating the garlic first, you are opening up the flavor of the garlic. 

    Place the basil in the food processor and chop.  Place the nuts, garlic, oil and salt in the food processor.  Process until smooth.  You may have to add a little bit more oil to get the consistency that you want.  Add the cheese and process again.

    Toss on your favorite pasta.  Or dip it in bread. 

    Or add it to a sandwich.

    This can stay up to three days in a covered container in the fridge.  If you can keep yourself away from it, that is.


    Blueberry Zucchini Bread

    July 13, 2010

    I’m pretty excited that I have more than one zucchini from the garden.  Plus we are blueberry picking next week.  We look forward to blueberry picking all year.  My husband and I are very competitive and last year we picked 15 pounds of blueberries between the two of us.  Meeshie brought a friend and still didn’t put that many in the bucket.  She eats more than she brings home.  Good thing the blueberry farm doesn’t require us to weigh her before we leave.

    The blueberry farms picking season only lasts about 3 weeks.  That’s not a lot of time.  It’s become a tradition to go between my husband’s birthday and Meeshie’s birthday.  We’ve gone when it’s over 100, we’ve gone in a downpour, we’ve gone and stood in line for 2 hours just to get to the fields.  You may think that’s crazy, and it is, but when it’s the middle of December and we have a hankering for a fresh blueberry pie it’s totally worth it.

    I make this blueberry zucchini bread and Meeshie just thinks it’s blueberry bread.  I do have a wonderful recipe for that too which I’ll be posting soon.

    Blueberry Zucchini Bread

  • 3 whole Eggs Beaten
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 3 cups Zucchini, Shredded
  • 3 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 pint Fresh Blueberries
  • _____
  • ½ cups Flour
  • ¼ cups Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cups Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ½ cups Pecans, Chopped
  • ½ cups Butter, Softened
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease bread pans.

    In a large bowl, beat the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg, leaving 2 tablespoons of flour on reserve. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture.

    Dust the reserved 2 tablespoons of flour over the blueberries to coat. This will ensure that they do not sink to the bottom of the pan. Gently fold in the blueberries. Pour the batter into the bread pans.

    Make the crumb topping by combining the flour, sugars, cinnamon, pecans and butter together with your hands. Sprinkle over the top of the loaves.

    Bake for 50 -60 minutes until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool for about 20 minutes in the pans before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

    This recipe is so moist and delicious.


    If you’re interested, here is the farm where we blueberry pick.

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