Monday, September 10, 2012


At our farmers market, you can purchase vegetables, cheese, baked goods, and seafood. Seafood? Can you tell we live near the coast? Normally, there are several vendors who provide free samples. One of these samples are mussels. My son loves them. He tries to get me to purchase him a bushel all the time. Occasionally, I will break down and buy them.
I am not a fan of mussels but I have no problem cooking them up. If you like mussels, you really need to make this recipe. It always smells so good. 
Wild Mussel Recipe
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
3 cloves of garlic
1 shallot, chopped
1/4 cup fresh herbs (I used basil, parsley, chives, and oregano)
1/2 cup Riesling wine
2 lbs. mussels, rinsed (throw away any open mussels)

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the butter to the pot and saute until melted.
  3. Add the garlic, onion, and the herbs. Saute for about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the wine and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the mussels to the pot and cover.
  6. Cook until the mussels opened about 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Cook for about 3 more minutes after the mussels have opened. 
  8. Pour the mussels with the broth into a large serving dish.
  9. Serve with crusty bread. 
  10. Use the broth for dipping the bread and mussels.
Receipe adapted from Blue Dragon Mussels Wagon.
Did you already know...
-Mussels can live to be 50 years old.
-Male mussels have pale white meat while a female has an orange color.
-Wild mussels have a bluish black shell with white erosion spots and maybe barnacles. Cultured mussels will have a shiny bluish black shell.

Friday, September 7, 2012

PB Brownies

When I am really tired, I have a bad habit of calling people by the wrong name. Normally, it is no big deal. I have on occasion called all of my children by their sibling's name. The children just answer me. They do not even correct me. I have even introduced myself by the wrong name once. I don't even realize I did it. The problem comes when I call my husband by the wrong name. Well, the other night I happen to call my husband by my brother in laws name. Without correcting me, he just answered, "Sweetie, you can call me by any name you want as long as you continue to cook this good!"
One of the recipes my husband was referring to are these brownies. They are dense and chocolatey with the added bonus of peanut butter. These brownies have been requested again. They were gone fast. My oldest daughter ate one and she was in heaven even if I recently called her by my sister's name.
Peanut Butter Marbled Brownies
Peanut Butter Layer:
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
Chocolate Layer:
1 cup butter, melted
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, and 2 Tbsp milk until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, 2 cups sugar, and vanilla. 
  5. To the melted butter mixture, add the eggs one at a time. Beat well after each egg. 
  6. In another medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. 
  7. Combine the flour mixture to the melted butter mixture.
  8. Remove 1/2 cup of the chocolate batter.
  9. Stir 1 Tbsp milk to the 1/2 cup of the chocolate batter. Set aside.
  10. To the remaining chocolate batter, fold in the chocolate chips.
  11. Spread the chocolate chip batter into the greased baking pan.
  12. Spread the peanut butter filling over the top.
  13. Drop the reserved chocolate batter by spoonful over the peanut butter filling.
  14. Using a knife, gently swirl the topping layer for a marbled effect.
  15. Bake the brownies for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out almost clean.
  16. Allow the brownies to cool completely before slicing into bars.
Recipe adapted from Lick the Bowl Good.

1 year ago post...Snow White Vanilla Birthday Cake
Did you already know...
-About 540 peanuts were used to make a 12 oz. jar of peanut butter.
-60% of consumers prefer creamy peanut butter or chunky.
-In the U.S., peanut butter is the leading use for peanuts.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread

So, I made the shortbread cookies and had a few left over. Alright, I hid them so I could make this recipe. They are chewy and sweet.
I preferred the shortbread cookies without the additional toppings. Now, I will admit I don't care for chocolate chip pancakes or muffins. My youngest daughter and husband loved them. I think they are easier to eat after you make them. To me, they do not taste like a candy bar.
Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Cookies
20 Shortbread cookies
20 pieces of caramel candies
1 Tbsp milk
3 oz. semi sweet chocolate
3 oz. white chocolate

  1. Place a piece of foil underneath a wire baking rack to save on clean up.
  2. Spread out the shortbread cookies on a wire rack.
  3. In a microwave bowl, microwave the caramel and milk for 1 1/2 minutes.
  4. Stir the caramel and microwave the caramel for another 30 seconds or until the caramels are melted.
  5. Spread the caramel over the top of the shortbread cookies.
  6. In a double boiler, melt the chocolates.
  7. Spread the chocolates on top of the caramels.
  8. Allow the bars to sit until cooled before serving.
Recipe adapted from Food & Family magazine Fall 2012.
Did you already know...
-In 1967, the American company Mars Inc. introduced the Twix candy bar to the United Kingdom with the name of Raider.
-In 1979, the Twix candy bar was introduced to the U.S.
-The Twix bar was invented by Forrest Mars Sr.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Shortbread Cookies

It has taken me six months to break down and purchase a new car. It isn't my favorite thing to do. My husband loves it. He wasn't able to convince me to buy a convertible. My children (meaning the boy) gets in trouble for throwing things in the car. I couldn't imagine a convertible. My husband tried to convince me to purchase a two door sports car. It takes me forever to get the children (meaning the boy) into a mini van. I just could picture how late we would be if I had to wait for everyone to use only two doors. I just purchase a normal 4 door fuel efficient car with a normal roof. I am so glad the chore is complete. 
A better note would be these shortbread cookies I made. They are buttery and flaky. I actually didn't realize how quick they are to put together. It does take awhile to cook but they are worth it. Tomorrow I will have a recipe on how to accessorize the shortbread cookies.
Classic Shortbread
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar


  1. Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the dish with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, sift the flour and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream the butter until fluffy.
  4. Slowly add the powdered sugar to the butter. Beat until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. 
  6. Press dough into the greased glass dish. Cover with plastic wrap.
  7. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   
  9. Remove the plastic from the dish.
  10. Using a fork, poke the top of the dough evenly. 
  11. Bake the cookies for about 40 to 1 hour or until the cookies are golden brown.
  12. Remove from oven and transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
  13. After the cookies have cooled, cut the bar down the middle. Then cut the bars into 2 inch rectangles.
  14. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 weeks. 
Recipe adpated Martha Stewart Cookies cookbook.
Did you already know...
-Shortbread originated from left over bread dough cooked at low temperatures like a biscuit. 
-The bread dough yeast was gradually replaced by butter.
-Shortbread was named bread so it wasn't taxed like a biscuit.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Wild Berry-Oatmeal Cheesecake Muffins

While I was outside performing some yard work, I noticed some leaves that had already begun to fall. It is not autumn yet. We still have at least a month before the beautiful autumn foliage is in full bloom. So, I started to think I should rebel. I really should show these trees a lesson. I was thinking about how I could accomplish this task like taking some sap and tacking the leaves back onto the trees? Just as I was having these thoughts, an acorn smacked me on the head. Don't worry-I haven't done it yet. I didn't want to embarrass my neighbors. My family already know I lost it.
Since the beginning of school is fast approaching, I wanted to try new types of muffins. I did realize that I make muffins more than I make cookies. I know my husband wished it was the other way around but muffins are great. I can serve them for breakfast and a snack. If I'm really tired, I offer them for a quick dinner but no one has gone for it yet. 
Wild Berry-Oatmeal Cheesecake Muffins
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup buttermilk
8 oz. low fat cream cheese (Neufchatel cheese), softened
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp lemon zest
1 cup flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup fresh berries (I used blackberries and strawberries)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the oats and buttermilk. Set aside for about 15 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together. 
  5. Add the lemon zest to the sugared cream cheese. Set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  7. To the oat buttermilk, add the egg and the butter. Mix well.
  8. Add the oat mixture to the the flour mixture. Stir until moistened.
  9. Gently fold in the berries.
  10. Fill each paper liner half way with the batter. 
  11. Top the batter with a scant Tbsp of the cream cheese mixture. 
  12. Cover the cream cheese mixture with the remaining batter.
  13. Bake the muffins for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Recipe adapted from Food & Family Fall 2012 magazine.
Cream Cheese Filling
Did you already know...
-In America, Maine is the most heavily forested state.
-Maine's land base is 90% growing trees.
-Maine has over 50 native types of trees.