Archive for May, 2012

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Starting Something New

May 30, 2012

I apologize for not posting.  Last week was a whirlwind.  It was my last week at work.

For those of you that don’t know, I’ve been looking for another job for quite some time.  The job I was at for the last few years was well below my skill level.  I took it due to budget cuts in my old department.  A few weeks ago I had a job offer, which I took, but that involved leaving some of the nicest people I know.  Truly, the people I worked with daily made the drudgery of my job seem less like drudgery.  I’ve cried more in the last week, then I have in a while.  I’m excited about the new changes, but it has been a very bittersweet week.

Of course, this week hasn’t been any better.  For the first time ever, I decided to take time of between jobs and I had such grand plans.  I think I’ve been able to accomplish some of those things, but not many.  It’s Meeshie’s last week of school, so I’m making arrangements for summer for her.  It’s been unusually warm, so the plans I had to work in the yard have been put on hold.  Except for the garden.  We expanded the garden this year and added a lovely fence.  I planted all of my veggies over the holiday weekend.

I’ve been trying to get some baking done while I’m home.  I want to bring in a treat to all my new co-workers next week, and I’m trying to figure out what that will be.

These lemon jam bars are a pretty good start.  I used some homemade jam in them, but store-bought will work.  I think either strawberry, raspberry or blueberry would really make this pop.  The jam complements the lemon in the bars perfectly.  I know I’ve been make quite a few things with lemon lately, but why not?  There’s something about lemon in the spring or summer that is so perfect.

Lemon Jam Bars

  • Crust:
  • 1 C Butter, softened
  • 2 C Flour
  • 1/2 C Confectioners’ Sugar
  • 1/2 t Baking Powder
  • 1/4 t Salt
  • Zest from one Lemon
  • Filling:
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 C Sugar
  • 1/2 C Fresh Lemon Juice (I used 6 lemons)
  • Zest from one Lemon
  • 3/4 t Baking Powder
  • 4 t Flour
  • 1/2 C your favorite jam, I used strawberry, but use what you think will work well with the lemon

Line a quarter sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine the butter, flour, confectioners’ sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest together in a medium bowl.  Use a wooden spoon to form a soft dough.  Press evenly into the prepared pan.  Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Bake the crust for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Remove from oven,  but leave the oven on.  Allow the crust to cool for at least 15 minutes.

Combine the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, baking powder and flour together in a medium bowl.  Whisk until well blended.  Spread the jam over the cooled crust.  Slowly pour the lemon filling on to the jam layer.  Bake for 22-24 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  After that, lower the temperature to 325 degrees and continue to bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the topping has set.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Dust with additional powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

This is another great recipe I found on pinterest.  Here’s the original.

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Pineapple Mango Salad

May 16, 2012

I know I’ve mentioned in the past that I get Everyday Food magazine.  It was a gift a few years ago from my friend Cathy.  I love it so much that I renewed it myself this year.  The renewal came with WholeLiving.  It’s a strange magazine and usually I just recycle it, but I came across a great recipe that I love.

The thing I love about Everyday Food is that I don’t have to hunt down one strange ingredient (or five) to make a recipe and then never use that ingredient again.  If you don’t mind doing that, than you may like WholeLiving.  This wonderful fruit salad originally calls for a Meyer Lemon and a 1/2 C of freshly shaved coconut.  You’ll see that I left both out. I’m not about to hunt all over for the lemon or go through the hassle of opening a coconut.  Not to mention figuring out what to do with the remaining coconut.

The balance of the pineapple, mango and lemon for this salad is wonderful.  This is a refreshing and different way to enjoy pineapple.  You could chill it, but I served it at room temperature and it was divine.  I must admit that I do prefer the Manila mango.  It’s a sweeter mango with a yellowish skin that is bursting with flavor.  I was fortunate to buy a box of them at my local grocer.  But use what you like, or can get your hands on.

Pineapple Mango Salad

  • 1 whole Pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 whole Mangos, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 whole lemon, zested and juiced

Combine all three ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  Toss and serve.

Serves 4-6.

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Irish Soda Bread

May 7, 2012

I’m home today because Meeshie is not feeling well.  This morning she told me that she didn’t feel well and I did what I normally do, I told her she had to go to school.  I have a crazy week a head.   But she insisted.  She was actually not herself yesterday and didn’t sleep as well as she normally does.  Plus, I knew I was staying home when I told her that she had to go back to bed this morning and she agreed.  That meant no television, or electronic devices.

But that’s okay.  I’m keeping busy in the kitchen today while Meeshie rests.  Plus, I’ve been wanting to share this great recipe.  It’s Irish Soda Bread.  I know that in March this recipe is everywhere, but I love this bread all year round.   My good friend, Cathy makes a wonderful Irish Soda Bread.  This recipe, though, is from a lady who works in my office.  She said it’s an old family recipe and it makes two very large loaves.  This recipe can easily be divided into four loaves for sharing.

I’m a raisin soaker.  I know that some people like to soak raisins for Irish Soda Bread in whiskey.  It does add extra goodness to the bread, but I actually don’t have a preference.  Start with the six cups of flour, and adjust the dough accordingly.  Irish Soda Bread is dense and should not be overly dry.

Irish Soda Bread

  • 6-6 1/2 C Flour, sifted
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 3 t Baking Powder
  • 1 t Baking Soda
  • 1 3/4 C Buttermilk
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 C Butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 C Raisins, soaked in warm water for at least 20 minutes (I used 1 C regular raisins and 1/2 C golden raisins)

Grease a large cookie sheet and set aside.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda together in a bowl.  In another bowl, mix the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter together.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the egg mixture in the center.  Mix the ingredients with the dough hook on a stand mixer, if you have one.  If not, mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon.  Mix the ingredients together until well combined.  Add the raisins and knead until fairly smooth.  Turn out on floured countertop and continue to knead for another minute or two.  If the dough is overly sticky, add more flour and continue kneading.  Divide the dough into two parts.  Place on the prepared cookie sheet and pat into two round loaves.  With a butter knife, cut a cross about 1/2 inch deep on top of each loaf.  Sprinkle with flour and bake for 45 to 50 minutes in a 350 degree oven until golden brown.

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