Archive for April, 2011

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The Little Things

April 12, 2011

We are enjoying a brief burst of nice weather around here.  It was in the 80’s this past weekend so I took advantage of the day. 

You know fun stuff like prepping the yard and pulling grass.  Why does grass always grow where I don’t want it to?  We also de-frosted the freezer in our garage.  Perfect day for that.  The mounds of ice melted in no time and now everything is ready for summer.

I had planned to bake a few things over the weekend but never really got there.  I made muffins and banana bread, but that’s it.  I plan to make a wonderful dish with the banana bread for Easter that I hope to share soon.

And last night, Meeshie got to join her Girl Scout troop at the village hall.  They led the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.  I’d like to say I took tons of pictures of the girls, but I didn’t.  I did take pictures but, I brought the wrong lens so none of them were in focus.  That happens sometimes and I’m hoping some other parent got some great group shots.  Meeshie has met the mayor before, played soccer with his step-daughter, and his wife is the principal for her school next year.  Ah the glory of small towns!

I hope you’re enjoying some good weather!  Come on Spring!

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A Great Morning

April 10, 2011

When I was first married, there was a grocery store we used to frequent that made the best almond poppy seed muffins.  My husband and I loved those muffins. 

We ate them a lot.  As a matter of fact I failed a random drug screen because of one of those muffins.  So I suggest that you may want to enjoy these babies in moderation.

I came across this recipe while searching for things to make for Easter brunch this year.  I love to serve muffins for brunch.  You can easily make them ahead and they’re a great finger food.  I made these for breakfast this morning and they were wonderful.  As good as I remember from when I was first married. 

I had to make them in the large muffin tin, as well as the regular sized one.  I also made them without a liner.  You can make them with a liner, but to me a muffin stands alone and the liner is for a cupcake.  If you like it with a liner I won’t judge.

Almond Poppy Seed Muffins 

  • 1 C Butter, softened
  • 1 C Brown Sugar
  • 1 T Almond Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 ¼ C Flour
  • ¾ t Baking Soda
  • ¾ t Baking Powder
  • ½ t Fine Sea Salt
  • 2 T Poppy Seeds, rounded
  • 1 1/2 C Half and Half (a little more if batter seems too dry)
  • ½ cup sliced almonds, plus additional for the top

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the extract and the eggs and combine until creamy.  In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix, then half of the liquid and mix, continue until both the dry and wet are incorporated.  Add the almonds and stir until just incorporated.  Scoop into greased muffin tins.  Sprinkle the top with sliced almonds.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until baked through and the tops are just golden brown.  If you use the Texas size muffin tins, bake for about 30-40 minutes. 

Makes about 2 dozen regular size muffins and 1 dozen Texas sized ones.

Here’s the original.

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Sunshine

April 7, 2011

 

I’m trying to be patient about spring.  I really am.  I miss spring.  It seems like every year we have a little less of it.  We go from winter, to crappy inconsistent weather to hot and humid.  Oh, we have a nice day or two, but not what I would call spring.

So I’m recycling a recipe that I posted last year.

This recipe for lemon triangles, or squares if you cut them that way, is the best one I’ve ever had.  Lots of lemons in there to give it the best lemon flavor.  When I make these, I need to hide them from my husband.  I don’t do that too often, which says a lot more about him than it does about me.  I say that because he enjoys everything that I make but he does it in moderation.  He knows his limits, I know he has to due to his diabetes, but still I’m impressed. 

Lemon Triangles

  • FOR THE CRUST:
  • 1-¾ C Flour
  • ⅔ C Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ C Cornstarch
  • ¾ t Salt
  • 1-½ stick Unsalted Butter
  • _____
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • 6 whole Eggs Room Temperature
  • 3 C Sugar
  • Zest from 2 Lemons
  • 1 C Lemon Juice (from About 7 Lemons)
  • 1 C Flour

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter a 13 x 9 inch baking sheet and line with parchment paper, allowing the paper to come up the sides of the pan.

Pulse the flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch and salt in a food processor or use a pastry cutter. Slice the butter into 1-inch pieces. Add the butter blend until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle the mixture into the lined pan and press firmly with your fingers to form an even, 1/4-inch layer over the entire pan bottom. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and flour. Pour over the warm crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature (or refrigerate overnight in the pan). Using the parchment to pull it out of the pan, transfer to a cutting board and peel the paper down. Using a sharp knife, cut into 20 squares. Then cut each square diagonally to form 40 triangles.

Here’s the original recipe.

Here’s the original post.

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A Weekday Pasta

April 5, 2011

Do you ever get in a pasta funk?  I do.  We love pasta, but sometimes I feel like I’m making the same dish all the time.  You know, like Wednesday is Prince spaghetti day.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to know the day of the week by what we are eating.  Sure, I like to plan meals ahead so I can adjust my trip to the grocery store, but I do like my variety too.

This is a great pasta dish using bowtie pasta.  It’s a perfect complement to the chicken pieces and the mushrooms.  I also like this dish because you’re only using one large skillet.  I’ve also made this dish and added about 1/2 C of half and half to the sauce. 

Quick, easy and hearty, what more could you ask for during the week?

Chicken with Bowties

  • 1 lb Mushrooms
  • 3 T Olive Oil
  • 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into chunks
  • 1 Small Onion, diced
  • 1 lb Farfalle (Bowtie Pasta)
  • 1 C Red Wine
  • 1/2 C Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare the pasta according to directions.

In a large skillet, heat 2 T olive oil and add the chicken, salt and pepper.  Cook the chicken until browned, about 5 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the pan.  Add the remaining olive oil and the onion and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook until tender, stirring frequently.  Slowly add the wine and heat to boiling.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Add the chicken and cook for another 2 minutes or until chicken turns opaque.  Add parsley and parmesan and pasta.  Toss and serve.

 A perfect pairing with some crusty bread and some salad.

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