Monday, April 27, 2015

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Lately, I have been slacking in the cooking. When I do cook, I've been making some of our favorite meals like lasagna soup or blueberry oatmeal. It is because Spring is here and I just don't want to be home. The flowers are in bloom and it is hard to stay home. Well, this weekend was rainy or cloudy so I figured I would stay home and rest. I asked my husband what kind of dessert should I make this weekend. He elected chocolate chip cookies until I showed him the dessert I was thinking we should try. He agreed with my selection. This dessert was gone beside the piece my children wrapped for their lunch. It is a soft bar. It is creamy with a nice touch of lemon to them. I didn't wait for them to chill before serving. I guess it would have firmed a little more but my husband didn't want to wait an hour for them to cool after cooking so there was no waiting additional time. I did change the recipes topping and the crust. I really like how the dessert came out.
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
4 cups mini vanilla wafer cookies
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp lemon zest, grated
8 oz. butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Line a 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor, pulse the cookies, sugar, and lemon zest until the texture of sand.
  4. Add the melted butter. Pulse until combined.
  5. Remove 1 cup of the mixture and set aside.
  6. Press the remaining mixture into  baking dish. 
  7. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove allow to cool.
2 packages (8 oz.) reduced fat cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

  1. In the food processor, combine the cream cheese, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice,1 Tbsp lemon zest.
  2. Process until smooth. 
  3. Pour over the crust. Set  aside. 
1 cup of the crust filling
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp butter

  1. In a small bowl, combine the crust filling, sugar, and flour.
  2. Cut in the butter with a fork.
  3. Evenly distribute the topping over the filling mixture.
  4. Bake the bars for 35 minutes or until the top is lightly golden. The middle will still be a little jiggly.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 hour.
  6. Transfer the bars to the refrigerator to allow to chill for several hours before serving.
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker.

One year ago................................I made Cream Puffs.
Two years ago..............................I made Softies Morning Rolls.
Three years ago............................I made Double Chocolate Cookies.
Did you already know.......................
-In April, the average temperature for North Carolina is in the 60s.
-North Carolina has three geographic demographics: the coast, piedmont, and the mountains.
-Piedmont is the land at the base of a mountain.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Provence Chicken

When I see our oldest son, we normally talk about different foods we have made. Recently, he told me about his favorite dish. I knew I had to try it especially since it has asparagus in it. Asparagus has been popular in my household since my husband finally tried it. Yes, we wore him down enough to give in to our peer pressure. Hey, it was for a good cause-he should be eating his vegetables. If my children eat their vegetables, then my husband can too.This recipe is seasoned with herb de Provence. It has shallots, asparagus, tomatoes, and topped with Gruyere cheese. I liked it. Good choice, son, good choice.
Provence Chicken
2 tsp olive oil
4 chicken breast
1 Tbsp herbs de Provence
2 Tbsp shallots, chopped fine
10 sweet cherry tomatoes, quartered
10 asparagus, chopped
salt and pepper
4 slices Gruyere cheese

  1. Preheat oven to broil. 
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the chicken to the pan.
  4. Sprinkle the herbs over the chicken and allow the chicken to brown. 
  5. Turn the chicken and season other side with a little herbs. 
  6. Remove the chicken onto a plate. Set aside.
  7. Add the shallots, tomatoes, and asparagus. 
  8. Sprinkle a little herbs on top of the vegetables. 
  9. Saute the vegetables for 5 minutes.
  10. Add the chicken back to the pan.
  11. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  12. Allow to cook until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the asparagus is tender.
  13. Transfer the chicken to an oven proof pan. 
  14. Top with the vegetables. 
  15. Cover with a slice of cheese on top.
  16. Place in broiler and cook until the cheese is melted.
  17. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe aspired by my son.

One year ago..........................................I made Steak Sandwiches.
Three years ago.....................................I made Oatmeal Crisps.
Did you already know.......................
-To grow asparagus from seeds, it will take three years to harvest.
- An asparagus crop can be harvested for 15 years.
-White asparagus is grown underground so the lack of sun will prevent the vegetable from turning green.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Almost herbs de Provence

Since I have so many spices in my kitchen, I like to make up my own blends rather than buy them. I make my own poultry seasoning and taco seasoning. Well, now I have added another blend. I will admit I had to buy some more rosemary since I was out. I didn't realize how often I use it but it seems like I go through a lot of it. Also, I had to leave out savory since I had never bought it and couldn't find it. Last year, I had some in my farm share but didn't think to dry it. Since I had so many other herbs, I decided not to go hunting all over town for savory. Why am I showing you this blend? My next posting will probably not surprise you if this blend shows up in it.
Almost Herbs de Provence
2 Tbsp dried rosemary
2 Tbsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp dried basil
2 Tbsp dried marjoram
1 Tbsp dried fennel seed

  1. In a zip lock bag, add all the ingredients. 
  2. Shake well until combined. 
  3. Store in an air tight container.
Recipe adapted from Emeril.

One year ago.................................I made Bunny Cupcakes.
Two years ago...............................I made Fried Cheese Sticks.
Three years ago............................I made Breakfast Bruschetta.
Did you already know......................
-Herbs de Provence are herbs reminiscent of Southern France.
-Different brands have different mixtures of herbs but traditional summer savory is included. 
-The addition of lavender is not a traditional ingredient.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Caramel Bars

I have wanted to make these bars for awhile. The reviews were mixed. Several times, the comments said they weren't very caramel flavor. Well, I added additional caramel. Some comments were the bars were dry. My bars weren't dry. These bars are rich. I liked the bars but my daughter loved them. She ate two of them immediately. I think these bars are soft and gooey like a brownie.
Death by Caramel Bars
2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 cans (13.4/14 oz.) dulce de leche
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 (8 oz.) bag of bite size Snickers
10 caramels, coarsely chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Line a 13x9 baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside. 
  3. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and 1 can of dulce de leche. 
  4. Add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Fold in the snickers pieces and the caramel pieces.
  6. Evenly spread the batter into the baking pan. 
  7. Bake the bars for 1 hour or until the bars are baked through. (It took about 1 hr. 20 min. for us.)
  8. Remove the bars and evenly spread the other can of dulce de leche over the bars.
  9. Allow the bars to cool before serving.
Recipe adapted from My 

Two years ago............................I made Steak Sandwiches.
Three years ago.........................I made Banana Split Cake.
Did you already know..................
-Dulce de leche means sweeten milk.
-Dulce de leche is very popular in Mexico, Central and South America countries.
-Dulce de leche is known as arequipe, manjar blanco, and fanguito.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Salt and Pepper Biscuits

We had a poll at my house. We had to vote on whether we liked salt or pepper better. The unanimous winner was pepper. I remember my great grandfather loved pepper so I knew where I inherited my love for pepper. I already knew my son loves pepper. I was surprised my husband picked pepper over salt.  I didn't want salt to feel left out so I made some Salt and Pepper Biscuits. If you like pepper, then these biscuits should be made immediately. I will be making these biscuits again.
Salt and Pepper Biscuits
3/4 cup sour cream 
4 Tbsp heavy cream, plus some for topping
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups all purpose flour
6 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. 
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and the heavy cream.
  4. In a food processor, add the baking powder, salt, sugar, ground pepper, and the flour.
  5. Pulse 20 times or until the mixture appears to be the texture of coarse meal with some pea size pieces of butter.
  6. Add the sour cream mixture and pulse for 10 times.
  7. Transfer the mixture to a lightly dusted surface and knead the dough together quickly.
  8. Gently roll the dough to an inch thickness. 
  9. Using a cutter/cup, cut out the biscuits. (I made 8 biscuits.)
  10. Place the biscuits onto the cookie sheet. 
  11. Brush the biscuits with heavy cream.
  12. Bake the biscuits for 15 minutes or until the tops and bottoms are golden brown.  
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
One year ago...................................I made Pastry Cream.
Two years ago.................................I made Mixed Berry Lemonade.
Three years ago...............................I made Peanut Butter Cupcakes.
Did you already know.............................
-Black pepper is native to India.
-Black pepper is a berry from the flowering vine of the pepper plant.
-The pepper fruit is picked when it is half matured then dried to produce black pepper.