Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Skillet Red Potatoes

Right after I had made recipes with herbs de Provence, my sister had mailed me some. She thought it would be something I would like. Since I have a nice quantity of herbs de Provence, I decided to try it on some potatoes. Also, I had some left over Gruyere so I sprinkled some on top. Now, Gruyere isn't cheap so I want to ensure I use it up. It was a nice addition to this dish. I had planned on making some mashed potatoes but elected a change. We have mashed potatoes almost every week. My daughter loves them. She would pick either mashed potatoes or rice for every meal (or cupcakes). I am glad I made something different. The kids really liked this dish. This dish would be easy to change the herbs or cheese. It is an easy dish to make.
Skillet Red Potatoes

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
12 small red potatoes, cut in quarters
1 Tbsp herbs de Provence
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded

  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. 
  2. Add the butter and allow to melt.
  3. Add the red potatoes. 
  4. Season the potatoes with the herbs, salt, and pepper.
  5. Cover and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. Uncover and allow to cook for another 8 minutes or until done.
  7. Season to taste and sprinkle with cheese.
Recipe by Jen of Sweet Morris.

Two years ago..............................I made Chocolate Chip Bars.
Three years ago............................I made Nuevo Texas Waldrof Salad.
Did you already know.............................
-Potatoes were first cultivated by the Incas. 
-Around 1537, Europeans discovered potatoes when the Spanish conquered Peru.
-In Washington D.C., there is a potato museum.

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.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Blueberry Oatmeal

Recently, I went to Maine. Yes, there was snow still on the ground. Yes, I saw family. Yes, I ate way too much chocolate. So, I decided I needed to eat a little healthier and exercise just a little more. I decided to try this oatmeal recipe. I liked it. I didn't add any sugar to the oatmeal for sweetness. I figured I would rather have the sugar in my ice tea. However, my children added sugar to their oatmeal. They liked it and would eat it again but with sugar. With a serving of fruit, this recipe is a great way to start the day. I love the purple color.
Blueberry Oatmeal
2 cup water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup frozen wild blueberries
1 apple, chopped
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

  1. In a medium saucepan, mix the water, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  2. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Stir in the oatmeal and allow to bring to a simmer.
  4. Stir in the blueberries and allow to cook for 1 minute.
  5. Turn off the heat and cover.
  6. Allow the oatmeal to sit for 15 minutes. The mixture should be thick and creamy.
Recipe adapted from Dr. Fuhrman's site.

One year ago.......................I made Lemon Cream Cookies.
Two years ago.....................I made Baps Breakfast Sandwich.
Three years ago...................I made Sand dollar Cookie.
Did you already know..........
-Blueberries are native to North America. 
-Maine produces the most wild blueberries.
-During the Civil War, wild blueberries were canned and shipped to the Union troops.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Chicken Marsala

Lately, my son has decided he doesn't like mushrooms. He doesn't want any extra added to his salad. However, he told me I can still cook with them. I told him good since I cook often with mushrooms. So, I made chicken marsala. Do you think he complained? No, he even ate the mushrooms. He said it has to do with the texture or something. I love chicken marsala and I order it often when we are eating out. I actually should make it more at home since it is a quick meal. It took me longer to make the mashed potatoes.
Chicken Marsala 
4 boneless chicken breast
salt and pepper
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp unsalted butter, divided
4 shallots, chopped fine
1 cup button mushrooms
1 cup crimini mushrooms
1/4 cup dry Marsala wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp lemon juice

  1. With a meat pounder, flatten the chicken to an even thickness.
  2. Salt and pepper the chicken. 
  3. In a large skillet, melt 1 tsp butter with 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the chicken and saute for a couple of minutes per side. 
  5. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  6. Add another 1 tsp butter with 1 tsp olive oil to the pan.
  7. Add the shallots and the mushrooms to the pan and saute for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are lightly browned.
  8. Add the Marsala wine to the pan. Bring to a boil. 
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  10. Add the cream and lemon to the pan. Bring to a boil.
  11. Add the chicken back to the pan.
  12. Cook the chicken for about 3 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Recipe adapted from 

One year ago...........................I made Creamy Polenta.
Two years ago.........................I made Yogurt Pancakes.
Three years ago.......................I made Margaritas.
Did you already know......................
-Marsala wine is made in Sicily, Italy.
-Marsala wine is a dessert wine.
-Since Marsala wine is a fortified wine, a hard alcohol is added to it.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Hearth Bread

Lately, I have been teaching my husband to make bread with me. I've taught him how to proof the yeast. I think his favorite part is the kneading. He takes all of his aggression out on it. It is nice since we have been having homemade bread more often. My son decided he wanted to be my food stylist for me. I think he did a pretty good job. He even sprinkled some herbs around the baking sheet. I really will not be surprised if he grows up to be a chief.
Hearth Bread
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
2 cups warm water, 110 degrees F
5 1/2 cups to 6 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp salt
 1 Tbsp rosemary, crushed and more for topping
1 Tbsp olive oil


  1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, salt, and water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Slowly, add two cups of flour.
    Add the salt and rosemary to the mixture.
  3. Continuing add the flour until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Onto a floured surface, knead the dough even if it is still a little sticky.
  5. Knead the bread for 5 minutes. Continue to sprinkle a little flour to help prevent sticking. 
  6. Allow the dough to rest to rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  8. Knead the bread for another 3 minutes.
  9. Place the dough into the greased bowl. Turn it over. 
  10. Cover the top of the bowl with a damp towel. 
  11. Allow the dough to rest for 1 hour or until it doubles in bulk.
  12. Punch down the dough.
  13. Knead the dough for 1 minute. 
  14. Cut the dough into half. 
  15. Shape the dough into 2 loaves.
  16. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
  17. Place the loaves onto the cookie sheets.
  18. Allow the dough to rest for 40 minutes.
  19. With a sharp knife, lightly slash the tops with a double of diagonal lines.
    Lightly brush the olive oil on top of the dough.
  20. Sprinkle the tops with additional rosemary if desired.  
  21. Place a roasting pan with water into the oven.
  22. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  23. Bake the bread for 15 minutes before lowering the temperature to 400 degrees. 
  24. Bake the bread for 10 minutes or until the crust is golden and the bottom sounds hollow to the touch.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur.

One year ago..........................I made White Cake.
Two years ago........................I made Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Three years ago......................I made Tortilla Soup.
Did you already know..............
-Yeast is a single cell fungus. 
-The Egyptians used baking yeast as a leavening agent.
-In 1859, Louis Pasteur studied yeast which made the manufacturing process of yeast possible.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter Cake

One of the first cakes I remember making in Home Economics is this cute bunny cake. I decided it would be easier to show the kids how to make small ones. By making small cakes, the kids can decorate their own anyway they want. Since I love coconut chips, I elected to forgo the sweetened coconut. Next time, I will crush the coconut chips a little finer. My bunny looks like he has a thick winter coat. I decided to make the cake from banana bread. I cooked the bread in the miniature cake pans. Then I cut them. For the diagram, click here. After cutting, I placed the banana bread into the freezer for a couple of days since I didn't have time to decorate them at the time. I think the bread being firm worked out pretty good.
Bunny Cake
2 small circle banana bread/cakes (4.5 width cakes)
1 cup white frosting
1 cup coconut chips, crushed
assortment of candies for the decorations

  1. Set one cake onto a wire cooking rack over a plate. (Easier clean up.)
  2. The second cake cut two half circles leaving a center bow tie. 
  3. Place the two ears and bow ties onto the wire rack.
  4. Heat the white frosting in the microwave for about 30 seconds. 
  5. Stir the frosting and pour the frosting over the cake. 
  6. Sprinkle the crushed coconut chips over the frosting.
  7. Using a little of the frosting, decorate the bunny with the candies.
Recipe adapted from Kraft foods. 

One year ago...............................I made  Egg Cupcakes.
Two years ago.............................I made Pound Cake.
Three years ago...........................I made Chocolate & PB Ribbon Dessert.

Did you already know.................
-Female rabbits are called a doe and male rabbits are bucks.
-A wild female rabbit can have up to eight litters of babies a year.
-Rabbit's teeth never stop growing.

He had a haircut later in the day!

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Apple Cupcakes

If you guessed apples, you were right! The kids thought these apples are the best kind. They are sweet and bright. They are messy. Next time, I am going to skip the mini doughnut and just make rounded tops. I think it would be easier just to cut out a little in the top to make the apple shape. It probably didn't help that my husband ate the glazed mini doughnuts and I had to settle for the powdered doughnuts. They weren't as easy to frost. I'm thinking he was pulling an April Fool's prank on me. I hope you have a great April Fool's Day with only fun pranks.
Apple Cupcakes
12 spicy apple cupcakes with red cupcake liners
6 mini glaze doughnuts, cut in half horizontally if using
1 cup white frosting
6 drops of red food dye
1 small package of fruit roll ups
6 tootsie rolls, cut in half vertically
gummy worms as suggested by my kids

  1. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before assembling. 
  2. Cut out a small section on top of the cupcakes to place the doughnuts.
  3. Cover the cupcakes with a thin layer of frosting to seal in place.  
  4. Heat the remaining frosting in the microwave for 45 seconds.
  5. Mix the white frosting with the drops of red food dye to the preferred color.
  6. Carefully dip the cupcakes into the red frosting. Allow the excess frosting to drip off.
  7. Shape half of the tootsie roll into a stem.
  8. In the center of the doughnut, place the tootsie roll stem.
  9. Cut out leaf shapes from the fruit roll ups.
  10. Pinch one end of the fruit roll up leaf to gather it.
  11. Next to the tootsie roll stem, place the pinched end of the leaf.
  12. Decorate with gummie worms if desired.
Recipe adapted from Hello, Cupcake! cookbook.

One year ago.............................I made Hamburger cookies.
Two years ago...........................I made Candy Eggs.
Three years ago.........................I made Spaghetti and Meatball cupcakes.
No green fruit roll ups so blue and purple had to do!
Did you already know..............
-Tootsie rolls were created by Austrian immigrant Leo Hirshfield.
-Mr. Hirshfield had a candy store in New York city.
-In 1896, he named the candy after his daughter Clara's nickname.