Thursday, March 29, 2012

Impeccable day

Yesterday after I kissed my daughter, I said to her, "Have a wonderful day." Then I kissed my son good bye and I didn't want to be repetitive so I said, "Have a great day." He looked at me disappointed and asked, "I can't have a wonderful day?" 
Don't worry because I replied that I hope he has an impeccable day. When I kissed them good bye today, I told them both to have a wonderful day. They both replied impeccable day. I just wonder what type of day they will have tomorrow.
I hope you will have a wonderful, great, and impeccable day. If you make this dish, at least your supper will be great. I even had leftovers to freeze for another day. I figure if I make more of the recipes in The Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook then I can justify why I should buy her new cookbook. I served the chicken spaghetti with this bread which my husband request often. I just formed rolls instead and they came out wonderful.

Chicken Spaghetti
1 chicken, cup into pieces
1 lb spaghetti
1 4 oz. pimiento jar, diced and drained
1 small onion, finely diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp Lawry's season salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions
  1. Add the chicken to a stock pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the chicken until it is cooked about 25 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool.
  4. From the pot, remove 2 cups of broth and set aside.
  5. Bring the remaining liquid in the pot to a boil and add the spaghetti. Cook until al dente.
  6. Drain the spaghetti and discard the liquid from the pot.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Add the cream of mushroom soup, and about 1 1/2 cups of cheddar to the spaghetti. Toss lightly. Set aside.
  9. Remove the chicken from the bones and cut up.
  10. Add the chicken to the spaghetti with the season salt, black pepper, and the cayenne pepper.
  11. Add the 2 cups of reserved broth to the spaghetti and toss.
  12. Stir the mixture together well. Add more seasonings if desired.
  13. Pour the mixture into a large baking pan and top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. 
  14. Bake the chicken spaghetti for 35 to 45 minutes until bubbly.
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook
Did you already know...
-In 1938, Lawry's season salt was created in Beverly Hills, CA.
- The Lawry's Prime Rib Restaurant created it to season its Prime Rib.
-It contains no MSG.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

deliquify

Since my husband loves ice cream, I showed him how easy it was to make his own. I asked him what type he would like and it was peanut butter. It turned out great. My youngest daughter did not finish her bowl and left it on the kitchen counter. The ice cream did not liquify as expected ice cream to do. My oldest daughter said it was not ice cream. I told her it was so she challenged me and told me to look up the definition of ice cream. In which, I did and told her this recipe does meet the definition of ice cream just because it didn't deliquify. She informed me that deliquify was not a word. Don't you just love teenagers? 
 I am no English major and deliquify is not in the dictionary. I checked several. I told her that it should be and my definition would be when a solid does not turn into a liquid as expected. She said it would mean a liquid was removed. I am really glad I see my tax dollars are paying for her to receive a decent education. So, I guess the correct nonexistent word I should have used was aliquify. The prefix a-means completely so aliquify should mean to make it completely liquid, right? Note: I am not asking my soon to be college student these questions any more.
My daughter and I did continue our discussion of deliquify. I told her that if a popular artist sang a song with deliquify in it then it would be in the dictionary. For an example, "You deliquify my heart, baby!" Right? She agreed with that statement. We did both come to the agreement that it would be a cool name for a band. "See Deliquify in concert, tonight!"


Peanut Butter Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups peanut butter
1 cup of peanut butter cups

Directions:
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of heavy cream, the sugar, and salt. 
  2. Stir the mixture over medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining heavy cream, milk, and vanilla. Stir well.
  4. Add the peanut butter.
  5. Stir the mixture over medium low heat until all of the peanut butter has melted.
  6. Allow the mixture to cool for about 10 minutes before chilling the mixture in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  7. When the mixture has thoroughly chilled, add the mixture to the ice cream maker and mix according to the ice cream machine manufacturer's instructions.
  8. When recommended, add the peanut butter cups to the ice cream machine. 
Recipe adapted from The Perfect Scoop cookbook. 
Did you already know....
-When a solid becomes a liquid, it has melted or dissolved. 
-The melting point to change a solid into a liquid varies depending on the solid.
-The melting point of water is 32 degrees F.
-The melting point of peanut butter is a lot higher than water. (The only answer I found was around 150 degrees F but it seemed too high.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Patty Melt

Sometimes on the weekend, my husband brings us out for breakfast. It is really nice. Our first date, we went to breakfast. Sometimes, we do not arrive to the restaurant until it is the borderline between the breakfast and lunch menu. Please remember we call our son Mr. Brevity for a reason.
One of the restaurants we visit have patty melts on their lunch menu. So when I asked my husband what I should make for supper, he said patty melts. I was surprised and I knew our teenager would be happy. I didn't know what constituted a patty melt. What I found out is that a patty melt is made on rye bread. It has taken me 10 years to convince my husband to eat whole wheat bread. My husband will eat whole white bread. I knew I could never get him to eat rye bread even 20 years from now.
The other thing about patty melts is the presence of caramelized onions. I hadn't realized the steps involved to make a patty melt. I actually thought it was just a hamburger on toasted bread. How wrong was I? I will admit I used a whole white bread with cheddar cheese. My husband asked for American cheese. I will say this meal was very dangerous and I will not make it often. It tasted too good. I served it with a spinach salad.

Patty Melt
8 slices of bread (rye is the preference)
4 oz. of butter, softened
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 lbs hamburger
4 slices of cheese (swiss is the traditional selection)

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter one side of the bread.
  3. Place the bread with the butter side up on a baking pan.
  4. Bake the bread for about 8 minutes or until the bread is toasted to the desired darkness. 
  5. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  6. In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
  7. Add the onions and saute the onions until caramelized.
  8. Form the hamburger into patties.
  9. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the hamburgers for about 5 minutes per a side or until internal temperature reaches around 160 degrees.
  10. Once the toast has cooked, flip the bread over and add the desired cheese on top.
  11. Place the baking pan back into the oven and cook until the cheese has melted.
  12. Remove from the oven and assemble.
  13. Place the caramelized onions on top of the cheese.
  14. Add the cooked hamburger patty and top with another piece of bread with the butter side up. 
Recipe adapted from Serious Eats and Friendly's.

Did you already know........
- In 1935, the first Friendly's restaurant opened in Massachusetts.
-Two young brothers opened the ice cream shop.
-For 5 cents, the Blake brothers sold double dipped ice cream cones.
-Friendly's restaurants filed for Chapter 11 in 2011.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Butter

When I was a toddler, I climbed out of my crib and went downstairs. I took out some sticks of butter from the refrigerator and joined my younger sister. I shared the butter with her and we made a huge mess. My Mom informed me that butter isn't easy to clean up. 
 I'm telling you this story because at a certain time in ones life there comes a time when something becomes too buttery. If you haven't reached this milestone yet, then this tart is for you. It wasn't one of the popular recipes I have made from the Project Pastry Queen. This week's pick was from Alice of This Home Plate. I did learn that I liked Frangelico liquor which I don't think I've ever tried before so I'm glad I made the tart. I only say tried because you use Frangelico in mixed drinks. One of my sisters has her bartending license and I just know she has made me some great drinks but I don't ask what she is mixing. Next time she visit, can you guess what type of drinks I'm going to ask her to make? Alright, I will still ask her to make butterball shots and drinks with Frangelico.
Since it seems like I haven't had great luck making tarts, it must be the pan, right? Maybe I will just have to purchase another tart pan and then I will have better luck. Do you like my reasoning? I guess it is like purchasing a new pair of shoes. If they hurt your feet since they aren't broken in, you should purchase another pair, right?

Hazelnut Filling
1 cup hazelnuts
3 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp Frangelico liquor
6 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Arrange the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 7 minutes.
  3. Gather the hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel and rub to remove the hazelnut skins. 
  4. Allow the hazelnuts to cool for 5 minutes and coarsely grind in a food processor. Set aside.
  5. In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 1 minute.
  6. Add the egg and beat for 30 seconds on medium high speed.
  7. Add the hazelnuts, vanilla, Frangelico, flour, and salt. Mix on low speed until incorporated.
To make the tart:
Spoon the batter into an unbaked tart crust and bake for 40 minutes. Allow the tart to cool for 30 minutes before adding the fruit topping and any glaze. Please see the Project Pastry Queen for the tart crust and the other members variations of this dessert. 

Recipe adapted from the Pastry Queen cookbook. 
 Did you already know....
-Frangelico is a hazelnut liquor from Northern Italy.
-Frangelico is kosher and gluten free.
-The bottle is shaped like a monk's habit with a rope belt as a symbol of the monks who made the liquor over 300 years ago.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tennessee

Occasionally, I have to travel out of state for work. If I'm going to be gone for weeks, I will ask my family if they want to visit me. My Mom, husband, and sister have all taken me up on the offer. They are so nice to me since they will bring the kids. Two weeks is a long time to be gone without little ones.
One time, I was fortunate to visit Nashville, Tennessee. My Mom joined me at first and we toured Graceland with a friend. It was an interesting tour. Then my husband and kids later joined me. While we were there, we ate at the Neely's restaurant. Everything had barbeque sauce even the spaghetti. I happen to see this recipe on Foodnetwork and figured I would give it a try. 
We liked it. It is easier to make then my sloppy joes since I am trying to hide more vegetables in it. If you like barbeque and sloppy joes, you should try it. I always know if my husband likes it since he will eat the leftovers the next day. 

Spenser's Sloppy Joes
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper 
2 lbs. ground beef
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup barbeque sauce ( I used Jack Daniels original)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce (I used Frank's RedHot sauce)
4 hamburger buns
Desired toppings: barbeque sauce, cheddar cheese, onions, etc.

Directions:
  1. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil.
  2. Add the bell peppers and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the ground beef and stir. Cook for 8 minutes or until the meat is fully cooked. 
  5. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, barbeque sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and the hot sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Spoon the sloppy joes over one side of the bun and add any desired toppings.
Recipe adapted from the Neely's.
By the way, my son informed me I shouldn't take the photo with the pepper on the plate since it would make it look messy.  I know he is my food stylist but I told him it was sloppy joes and there is always some on the plate. Just so you are aware, my son wants you to know he did not approve of these photos. He is now 7 years old.

Did you already know.........
-In 1957, Elvis purchased Graceland for  around $100,000.
-Elvis had floor to ceiling carpeting in his Jungle room.
-Elvis purchased his plane Lisa Marie for around $250,000.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Life is good

At dinner time, we ask everyone what their favorite part of their day. Normally, our teenager has the most to tell us which is very nice. The other day my son said he wanted to tell us two favorite parts of his day. Afterwards, he decided to give everyone a hug including his older sister. 
When he sat back down, he said, "Oh, I forgot one person." Then he gave himself a big hug. It is nice that he thinks life is good. The day we had these potatoes skins life was good. My oldest daughter made them. She did a great job!
PW's Potato Skins
8 slices of bacon
8 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
1 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup sour cream
4 green onions, sliced

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cook the bacon and then chop into small pieces.
  3. Rub the cleaned potatoes with the vegetable oil and place on a baking pan.
  4. Bake the potatoes for about 45 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
  5. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise.
  6. Scope out the inner potato but leave a small area of potato on the skin.
  7. Brush both sides of the potato with oil and salt liberally.
  8. Place the skins cut side down onto the baking pan and bake for 7 more minutes.
  9. Flip the potatoes over and bake for another 7 minutes or until the skin is crispy.
  10. Sprinkle cheese into each potato and then top with bacon.
  11. Return the potatoes to the oven until the cheese melts.
  12. Serve each potato with sour cream topped with green onions. 
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook.
Did you already know......
-Potatoes are native to South America.
-Potatoes first arrived in the U.S. in 1621 when the Gov. of Bermuda sent a chest full of vegetables to the Gov. of Virginia.
-Potatoes weren't first cultivated in the U.S. until Scottish immigrants planted them in 1719 in NH.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Milk Chocolate Cookies

My husband said to me, "You know, you were right." Before he could continue, I replied, "You know, you can tell me that every day." He just laughed. Wouldn't that be a great way to start the day? "Good morning, dear. You know you are always right." I don't think he'll go for it or he'll try to comprise and I'll have to greet him as, "Good morning, Great One!"
When I made these cookies, he hadn't returned home yet. I left a couple on the counter for him. I had previously told him they were good. He tried them and told me that I was right. The kids agreed that the cookies were really good.
Dark Chocolate Cookies
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder, dark
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz. mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, unsalted
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, add 1/2 the chocolate chips and the butter. Microwave for 1 minute and stir. If needed, microwave in 20 second intervals until all the chocolate is melted.
  4. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly.
  5. Add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla to the cooled chocolate mixture. Mix until combined. 
  6. Slowly add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture. 
  7. Fold in the remaining chocolate chips into the batter.
  8. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Scoop the batter onto the cookie sheet. Bake until the surface of the cookies have cracked. The cookies should be soft. The large cookies took about 15 minutes and the mini cookies took about 10 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Cookies cookbook.
Did you already know.....
-Chocolate is made from chocolate liquor, chocolate butter, and sugar.
-White chocolate has no no chocolate liquor but does contain chocolate butter.
-Milk chocolate contains milk while dark chocolate has no milk added.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rice Pilaf

I grew up on Rice-A-Roni which I like. The problem is I don't do well with high sodium products. So, I have tried several rice pilaf recipes for awhile. I have made this version several times and I keep trying to take photos of it but there is never any leftover. My family loves rice so any rice dish is gone. 
When I think of rice pilaf, there is a mix of rice with pasta. So, I had to add broken pieces of spaghetti to this recipe. I think I make this about once a month. It is a great side dish.
Rice Pilaf
1 Tbsp butter, unsalted
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
 1/2 cup of uncooked spaghetti noodles, broken into 1 inch pieces
2 cups basmati-style long grain rice
3 cups chicken broth, low sodium
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp parsley


Directions:
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter.
  2. Add the shallot, salt and pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the spaghetti noodles and 1 cup of the rice. 
  4. Stir and toast the noodles and rice for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the other cup of rice, chicken broth, and bay leaf. 
  6. Cover and bring the rice to a simmer over low heat. 
  7. Cook the rice for about 15 minutes. 
  8. Remove the rice from the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. 
  9. Remove the bay leaf from the rice.
  10. Add the parsley and fluff the rice with a fork.
Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence.
Did you know....
-Rice-A-Roni was created by the DeDomenico family in 1958.
-The DeDomenico's family pasta plant was located in San Francisco.
-The recipe is influenced from the Armenian style rice pilaf. 
-Rice-A-Roni is a Quaker Oats brand which is owned by Pepsi.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

PQ: Tropical Carrot Cake

Are you a coconut type of person? I really love coconut. I remember my Dad trying to open one. It is hard work especially if you don't want to spill any milk. If I was stranded on a desert island, I think we would be having coconut nightly. We would be having bananas soaked in coconut milk. Fish brushed with coconut oil, etc. Please share any of your suggestions. You never know if you will be stranded on a tropical, deserted island. I don't want you to say hey, I wish I could remember some of the ideas suggested for the use of coconuts because it is really hard to reach those bananas. Good thing, the majority of my children like coconut. We could make it like the Swiss Family Robinson.
The carrot cake is tropical with macadamia nuts, coconut, and pineapples. Doesn't this cake make you want to travel to some tropical island? The island could be in the Pacific or Atlantic. The island can be made of entirely volcanic rock or man made. I wouldn't care. It just would have to be warm. 
 This weeks pick for Project Pastry Queen was picked by Emily of A Gilt Nutmeg. I made cupcakes so I could share which I'm glad since the recipe made about 20 cupcakes. I really liked these recipe. I highly recommend using fresh pineapple. (You may want practice cutting one up just in case there are any on your deserted island.) Please make sure to check out the other members blogs and for the frosting. I used different topping for the cupcakes like shredded coconut, pineapple, and shredded carrots.
Tropical Carrot Cake
1 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cups sweetened flaked coconut
4 large eggs
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and shredded
1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, diced
1/2 cup sweetened cream of coconut

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line the muffin tin with about 20 cupcake liners.
  3. Arrange the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them for about 7 to 9 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut, and nuts. Set aside.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, oil, carrots, pineapple, and cream of coconut.
  6. Pour the egg and carrot mixture into the flour mixture.
  7. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full.
  8. Bake the cupcakes about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  9. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting if you can wait. 
Recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen.
A single serving cupcake holder to go
Did you already know.....
-The Swiss Family Robinson was written by Johann Wyss.
-It was published in 1812 in German.
-The family were on their way to Australia.
-The first animal to greet them on the island were penguins.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Leprechauns

My youngest daughter set up traps to catch a leprechaun. She said she wanted his gold or to make him a servant. I said to her I thought your younger brother was your servant. "Yep, he is," she replied. I just don't think he received the memo or he is going to be fired soon.
Since my daughter is setting up traps, I figured I could set up my own trap. I made Pioneer Woman's Knock You Naked Brownies. This way I can catch someone with no green, right? Clever, huh. My husband tried this dessert and he said they are really good even with the nuts since he doesn't eat nuts.
 Knock You Naked Brownies
1 box German Chocolate Mix

1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
60 whole caramels, unwrapped
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9 x9 or 7.5 x 11 inch baking pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, pecans, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and the melted butter. Combine well.
  4. Take half of the batter and press into the baking pan.
  5. Bake about 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Remove and set aside.
  7. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the caramels with the remaining evaporated milk for about 2 minutes. Stir and microwave for another 20 seconds if needed until all of the caramels are melted.
  8. Pour the caramel milk into the baking pan evenly over the pressed brownie base.
  9. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the caramel.
  10. With the remaining batter in the large bowl, roll out onto a floured surface.
  11. Place the rolled batter dough on top of the chocolate chips and caramel.
  12. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  13. Remove from pan and allow to cool.
  14. Once the brownies have cooled to room temperature, cover and refrigerate for several hours.
  15. Before serving, dust with the powdered sugar. 
Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman
Maybe next year

 Did you already know....
-Leprechauns originally wore red.
-You can try to find one by listening to the sound of their hammer while they make shoes.
-Here is a webcam in Ireland to spot a leprechaun
Good Luck!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ides of March

The other day while I was cleaning, I noticed our toothbrushes seemed to be multiplying. I didn't know how this was possible but there were twice as many toothbrushes as people living in this house. (Maybe our friends are slowly moving in and we didn't realize it. First, they leave a toothbrush then next they will want a part of a closet.)
So, I called everyone to grab their toothbrush. My son comes into the bathroom and grabs 4, yes let me repeat 4, toothbrushes. I ask him why he needed so many toothbrushes especially since he is losing his teeth. He shrugged and said he just needed them. I asked him to retire two of them and he could still keep two. The question I have is where did he get the toothbrushes?
Since it is the Ides of March, I decided to make a Caesar Salad.This salad was great. All my children loved it. My husband happened to be in the kitchen when I add the anchovy so he was reluctant to have any. He did however eat the croutons and loved them. So did my son who was very disappointed that I hadn't made more.

Caesar Salad
Homemade croutons (see below)
Caesar Dressing (see below)
Romaine Lettuce
Shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:
  1. Clean and dry the lettuce.
  2. Add the lettuce to a bowl.
  3. Top the lettuce with the dressing and Parmesan Cheese. Toss.
  4. Add the croutons and serve.
Homemade Croutons
1/2 loaf of Italian bread, cubed
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried parsley/oregano
salt for seasoning to taste

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Add the cubed bread to a bowl.
  3. Top with the olive oil, garlic powder, and the oregano. Toss.
  4. Spread the cubed bread evenly onto a baking sheet.
  5. Season with salt.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes or golden brown.
Caesar Salad Dressing
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
3 cloves garlic
1 cup lite mayonnaise
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 anchovie, raw and chopped
black pepper for seasoning to taste

Directions:
  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Store in a sealed container until ready to use.
Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats.
Did you already know.........
-Julius Caesar married three times.
-Julius Caesar was romantically involved with Cleopatra but could not married because Roman law.
-The Julian calendar was introduced by Julius Caesar and the month of July is named for him.
-Julius Caesar was born around July 12th, 100 B.C.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Liebster Blog Award


I would like to think Emily of Ruf Love for nominating me for this award. I think it is very sweet. Please check out her blog especially for the great food and photos. She makes me want to convince my sisters to have another baby in the family. Babies are so wonderful! We both belong to the Pastry Queen Project which is a lot of fun and I look forward to participating every week. My family also look forward to the great recipes I've been trying out.


Here are the rules:
  1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
  3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
  4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserves to be noticed. (Sorry if someone has more than 200 followers. I used Google Reader Subscribers and Facebook followers as my reference.)
  5. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog.
Creative Missy- Missy blogs about recipes and knitting plus inspiration. She also participates in the Pastry Queen Project. The recipes she has made look amazing.  

Cupcakes and Kale Chips- Brianne blogs about food and her family. 

Growing Brains-Heather blogs about raising 3 wonderful boys and one precious little girl. 

 Mygrations- Gary travels the world and documents it on his blog. How I would love to travel to a new, exciting destination.

She Makes and Bakes-Emily blogs amazing recipes like a Guinness Challah. Emily also participates in the Pastry Queen Project. 

Thank you again Emily!

St. Patrick's Day Green

Do you wear green on St. Patrick's Day? Not only do we wear green on St. Patrick's Day, we even wear green the night before. Who really wants to be woken up by being pinched? Don't worry no one has been pinched to this date. It is like a game and no one gets caught without green in this household. Plus I wouldn't pinch anyone hard but I couldn't guarantee the kids play by the same rules. I sure don't want to find out.
Last year, I purchased The Perfect Scoop cookbook by David Lebovitz and my ice cream machine gets used often. If my husband had his way, it would be used daily. He has been disappointed lately since I haven't used it once this year. I wanted to continue with an Irish theme that was kid friendly. Since I didn't find one I liked, I decided to create one using the Chocolate Ice Cream, Philadelphia-Style as my template. The end result was delicious!
Irish Mint Chocolate Ice Cream
3/4 cups of Baileys Irish Cream Coffee Creamer
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 package of Andes Mint Chocolates, 18 pieces chopped
1 cup low fat milk
1/4 tsp mint extract

Directions:
  1. In a large saucepan, mix the creamer, heavy cream, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
  2. Over medium heat, mix the mixture until a rolling boil.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the chopped bittersweet chocolate and half of the chopped mint chocolates.
  4. Stir until the chocolate has melted.
  5. Add the milk and the mint extract until well combined.
  6. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
  7. Add the mixture to an ice cream machine. 
  8. Follow the ice cream machine's instructions for the amount of time to mix the mixture.
  9. At the end of the mixing cycle time, add the remaining chopped mint chocolates.
Created by Jen of Sweet Morris.
Did you already know..........
-The first St. Patrick's Day parade occurred in New York City in 1762.
-Besides New York, Boston, Savannah, Philadelphia, and Chicago have a St. Patrick's Day parade.
-Every year, Chicago dyes the Chicago River green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. The city has been doing this tradition since 1962.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Butterflake Herb Loaf

Are you having corn beef and cabbage this week? We will be having it on Saturday. Since it is on sale this week, I always buy two of the corn beef and freeze one. It freezes very well. I guess that means we will be having Turkey soon since I will need to make room in the freezer.
 My husband never had corn beef and cabbage before he married me. His family didn't have any special Irish meal on Saint Patrick's Day. I will also be making this bread. My husband loved this bread. He said it was awesome and would have it every day.  My son agreed since he ate the remaining bread for breakfast the next day. This recipe makes 2 loafs. It looks complicated but it really isn't hard. The filling can be changed up. Maybe this weekend I'll add some Irish cheddar, doesn't that sound good?
Butterflake Herb Loaf
1 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tsp instant dry yeast
4 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp whole white all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp rosemary
1 1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry basil

Directions:
  1. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a small pan, bring the milk to a simmer.
  3. In a mixing bowl, pour the milk over the butter.
  4. Add the sugar and salt. Allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm.
  5. When the temperature is around 110 degrees F, add the eggs, yeast, and 3 1/2 cups of flour. Begin to mix the dough.
  6. After mixing for 3 minutes, begin to add the remaining flour until the dough is soft and smooth. The dough should not be sticky. 
  7. Cover the dough and allow to rise for 1 hour.
  8. While the dough is rising, combine the softened butter with the herbs in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  9. After the dough has risen, roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness.
  10. Use a circle biscuit cutter (circular cookie cutter or glass) cut out circles from the dough.
  11. With each circle, butter one side with the herb butter. 
  12. Fold the circle in half. and place the folded circle dough into the greased loaf pan vertically. Any scraps place on top of the loaf.
  13. Cover the pan and allow to rise for another hour. 
  14. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  15. Place the loaf pan uncovered in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  16. If the loaf becomes to brown on top, cover with foil or parchment paper.
  17. Allow to cool for a few minutes and enjoy.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur

Did you already know.......
-In 390, Saint Patrick was born in Britain. He was not Irish.
-When he was 16 years old, Saint Patrick was kidnapped.
-Saint Patrick was a slave in Ireland for seven years before escaping and returning to Britain.
-Saint Patrick became a priest and returned to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bourbon Cookies

Any surname with an O'..., you know is Irish. You don't have to guess their family nationality. When I met my husband, I knew he was Irish. (It really wouldn't have mattered his family origins anyways.) Now if he had told me his last name was O'Trouble, I may have waited for a longer courtship. 
My nationality is English, French, American Indian, Martian, and etc. I am just kidding about the Martian. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention. I am 100% Earthitarian. Earthitarian sounds more intelligent than Earthling. 
Since Saint Patrick's Day is next Saturday, I figured I would make some clover shaped cookies. I could not find a clover cookie cutter. I even had a 101 cookie cutter kit and it didn't have a clover. I ended up making one. I made some with currents and green sugar. I was pleasantly surprised how sweet they were even with the Bourbon. These cookies taste great the first day but the next day they taste a little flat. 

Bourbon Currant Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour, sifted (plus more for work surface)
1/3 cup bourbon
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.
  3. Add 1 egg, flour, bourbon, and the currants.
  4. Mix until well combined.
  5. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness.
  6. Cut out desired shapes.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining egg with the heavy cream.
  8. Brush the cookies with the egg cream wash.
  9. Space the cookies 1 inch apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  10. Bake until pale golden brown about 12 to 15 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool on wire rack.
 Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies.
Did you already know......
-O'.. means descendent of ...
-A lot of Irish surnames have a coat of arms.
-There are maps to trace your family clan and surname to a specific location in Ireland. 

Since we are all Irish on Saint Patrick's Day, I figured we all need Irish names. I guess I'll go by Brianna next Saturday. Here is a site to pick your Irish name. Hopefully, I will remember to answer to the name.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

White on white buttermilk cupcakes

We've been having lots of birthdays lately. Since it is wildcard this week for Project Pastry Queen , I decided to try the White-on-White Buttermilk Cake but with the chocolate frosting variation. Buttercream frosting is the best. 
 My oldest daughter isn't a big fan of frosting and she said she could eat the whole bowl of it. Since I had some left over frosting, I decided to store it in the freezer for another day or maybe just hide it from my oldest. If it becomes missing, I'll know why. 
 This cake recipe was selected by Beth of The Powdered Plum. She used a Jack Daniel's Buttercream frosting. The cupcake recipe is found here.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
3 eggs
4 egg yolks
1/2 cups water
2 cups sugar
3 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted

Directions:
  1. Whip the eggs and egg yolks in a large bowl on high speed for 5 minutes.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the water and sugar.
  3. Simmer the water and sugar until a candy thermometer is between 234 degrees F. and 240 degrees F.
  4. Immediately and slowly, add the sugar mixture to the egg mixture while mixing on low speed the whole time. 
  5. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 7 minutes.
  6. Add half a stick of butter at a time while beating on medium speed.
  7. Let the butter mix for about 20 seconds before adding the next half of stick of butter.
  8. Once all the butter has been added, beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes so the frosting thickens. 
  9. Stir in the salt and the cooled chocolate.
Recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen cookbook.

Did you already know.......
-Some types of buttercream are: American, Swiss, Italian, German, and French.
-The Swiss, Italian, and French buttercreams are meringue based.
-The German buttercream is custard based.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mr. Brevity

Last year, I thought it would be a good idea to have a word of the week since my oldest would be taking the SAT. The youngest kids didn't mind. They thought it was pretty cool learning new words plus I tried to use fun words like flippant and impeccable. Now, my youngest children tell me how their oldest sister has a flippant attitude all the time. Their oldest sister just agrees with them. 
One of the words of the week was brevity. On school days, my son is so slow getting ready for school. He has missed the bus several times since he thinks the world will wait for him. On these mornings, I will say, "Come on, Mr. Brevity. We need to go." Well, the other day we were reviewing our words of the week. I asked my son if he knew what brevity meant. He said yes, it means quick like him because is why we call him Mr. Brevity. So, the next word of the week will be facetious.
If you have a great vocabulary word for the word of the week, let me know. The word I would use to describe this sandwich would be delicious!

Fried Meatball Sandwich with additional meatballs
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup dried parsley leaves,
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
3 lbs ground chuck
1 lb ground pork
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 buns
4 slices of Provolone cheese
1 jar of marinara sauce


Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs.
  3. Add the Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, ground chuck, ground pork, and the Panko breadcrumbs. Mix until well incorporated.
  4. Form 4 patties and the remaining meat roll into desired size meatballs.
  5. In a skillet on medium heat, add the olive oil.
  6. In a pot, heat the marinara sauce on low heat. Stir occasionally.
  7. Add the four patties and cook about 6 minutes a side.
  8. In a baking dish, add the meatballs and cook in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the meatballs look medium rare done. (You will be reheating at another time.)
  9. When the meatballs are done, allow to cool and transfer to a freezer bag to store in the freezer until ready to use.
  10. Cook the patties until cooked through and then top with cheese.
  11. Remove the patties and place on top of the opened bun.
  12. Top the patty with the warmed marinara sauce.
Recipe adapted from The Sandwich King on Food network. Enjoy!
Did you already know.............
-In 1901, the SAT was developed to test intelligence.
-In 2005, an essay section was added to the SAT.
-The SAT is offered seven times a year.
-The average score is 1520 out of 2400.
-It is recommended to score at least a 2080 for Harvard.

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