Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Sweet Treat To Celebrate A Famous Pair



It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies,
but just as much to stand up to our friends.
J.K. Rowling

Jane Austin is the pinnacle
to which all authors aspire.
J.K. Rowling


How could one resist a sweet treat? Certainly not me! Recently I was gifted with a small silver box wrapped with a bright yellow bow. Inside were 4 truffles just begging to be sampled. Now these weren't just your ordinary truffles purchased from a store but ones that were homemade and made with very few ingredients one being Oreo cookies. Perhaps you will find this easy recipe just the thing to make your day much happier and brighter.
Oreo Truffles
recipe supplied by Dennie
Ingredients:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 1 lb. Oreos
  • 1 lb. milk or dark chocolate
  • 1/2 pound white chocolate
  • Whole Almond
  • 1/4 cup Amaretto liqueur
Directions:
  • Grind Oreos to fine powder in food processor.
  • With a mixer blend cookie powder and cream cheese till thoroughly mixed-there should be no white traces of cream cheese, add liqueur and blend
  • Roll into a ball (a little less than golf ball size) and place on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet
  • Chill about 45 minutes
  • Line two cookie sheets with wax paper
  • In double boiler melt chocolate or microwave
  • Dip balls and coat thoroughly
  • Using a slotted spoon lift out of chocolate and let excess drip off
  • Place on cookie sheet
  • Using a fork drizzle white chocolate over ball and press whole almond on top
  • Let cool and keep refrigerated
Note: Optional ideas
  • Melt chocolate slowly in microwave so as to prevent over melting rather than double boiler
  • Add other flavorings
  • Use food coloring
  • Reverse white and dark chocolate
  • Can use reduced fat cream cheese
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I could not let this day pass by without noting that one of my favorite book series is celebrating a birthday...
Today is Harry Potter's Birthday. The boy wizard Harry James Potter was born July 31st. 1980. It is the same birthday as author J.K. Rowling born in 1965.

For trivia fans HP books have been translated into over 62 languages.
Here are three questions to think about
1. What is the name of Albus Dumbldore's phoenix?
2. Which Hogwarts house does Harry call home?
3. Who are Muggles?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What Makes You Happy?




Whoever is happy
will make others happy, too.
Mark Twain

Happy is he who forgets
what cannot be changed
Mark Twain

An article The Secret to Happiness in the current issue of Whole Living.com devoted several pages interviewing people asking "What makes you happy?" I was struck at how simplistic the responses were to the question. Some included: spending quality time with someone, finding time to finish a book with a hectic schedule, reorganizing a room, being involved in a creative project were things that made them happy.
Since we are all so different there really isn't a magic formula to what makes each of us happy. It can be said though being happy is more a state of mind. And happiness comes when we are receptive to what's good in the present moment here and now. Many of those interviewed did not feel they had to do anything extra special, reform themselves, visit an exotic place or find perfection. So The Secret to Happiness...is that there is no secret! Joy can strike at any moment, especially when its least expected.
Today that unexpected joyful moment struck me. A warm, humid summer day leaves one less than enthused to do a Outdoor Garden/Water Garden Tour. But after house #1 totally forgot the heat. Each of the homeowners had lovingly created these tranquil outdoor spaces with koi ponds, blooming lotus flowers, fountains, brooks, waterfalls and stunning flower/plant arrangement. It was like having this zen moment in the middle of a warm morning. But I would like to add maintaining these outdoor spaces seemed like a full time two person job.
I posted pictures of nature's beauty and some even spilled over to side posting!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reruns




I am posting pictures of some recipes I recently used at a luncheon. The chicken cantaloupe recipe was featured on July 20th blog: Triple Digits. The Berry Sorbet was posted May 30th: Backyard Recipes and Black Bottom Pie has been revised and I am posting it with changes. I am also including a Caesar Salad recipe which is very easy with few ingredients.
All perfect for summer entertaining.
Black Bottom Pie
Ingredients:
  • 1 package Nabisco chocolate wafers
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Directions;
Preheat oven 375 and use a glass pie pan
Process cookies in food processor until fine, add sugar and melted butter
Pat crumbs into a pie pan
Press pecans into crumbs
Bake 12 minute-cool completely before adding filling
Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups milk divided
  • 2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 TB. vanilla
  • 2 TB. Kahlua
Directions:
  • Combine 1 cup sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, espresso, and salt in a saucepan
  • Whisk in 2 cups of milk (I did put this mixture in a blender and then back into a saucepan)
  • Cook over medium heat till thick about 6 minutes be sure to stir constantly with a wooden spoon
  • Remove heat add chips
  • Whisk yolks and remaining 1 cup of milk and blend into chocolate mixture
  • Bring to boil and simmer 3 minutes
  • Off heat stir in 1 TB butter, vanilla and Kahlua
  • Cool and pour into crust and cover with wax paper
  • Needs to be chilled overnight to set for easier cutting
Topping
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/8 cup powdered sugar
  • Chill beaters for a few hours then beat cream and sugar when stiff add 1 TB. Kahlua
  • Add topping to each pie slice garnish with chocolate shavings
Caesar Salad
Ingredients:
  • 1 bottle of prepared creamy Caesar salad dressing mix
  • 1 small package of mixed greens or baby spinach leaves with trimmed stems
  • Parmesan cheese
  • toasted pine nuts about 1/2 cup
  • 4 cups cooked chicken
  • 2 cups cooked drained pasta shells
Directions:
  • Mix 1/2 package of greens, chicken, cooked pasta and enough dressing just to moisten ingredients
  • Add I cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Mix in toasted pine nuts
  • Chill for several hours







Sunday, July 24, 2011

Door Conversations

If your house is really a mess
and a stranger comes to your door
greet him with "Who could have done this?
We have no enemies."
Phyllis Diller

Trouble knocked on the door,
but hearing laughter,
hurried away.
Benjamin Franklin

Yesterday's blog got me thinking about doors and I do not mean the rock group from the 60's and 70's. Do you know what three doors are considered the most famous in the world? One is the called The Columbus Door. The door is the main entrance to the Nation's Capitol Rotunda. The doors are almost 17 feet high and weigh 20,000 lbs. The door depicts the life of Christopher Columbus. Another famous door is Number 10 Downing Street in London. It is the headquarters of the Prime Minister and Office of the Lord of Treasury. The third famous door is Florence Baptistry one of the oldest buildings in Florence. It is a gilded bronze door that shows 28 different biblical scenes. It is also called The Gates of Paradise.
Doors were first invented for protecting one's privacy as well as making the outside entrance beautiful. Doors can be welcoming, some breathtaking and some unforgettable. I have posted several pictures of doors to the right of the blog rather than in the blog. Thanks to my brother- in-law for supplying me with some of his Italy pictures. Many European doors are quite ornate. Take some time and notice the doors around you. Do you have a favorite?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Come Right In-enjoy a drink with some appetizers


Louise May Alcott once said:
"Stay" is a charming word in a friend's vocabulary.
So with keeping that quote in mind invite some friends over to enjoy conversation, drinks and appetizers.
Peach-Riesling Sangria
serves 8 note that this is a light refreshing summer drink
Ingredients:
  • 1 bottle of dry Riesling wine
  • 1-1/2 cups white cranberry peach drink
  • 1/2 cup peach schnapps
  • 3 TB. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TB. sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean split lengthwise
  • 2 thick lemon slices
  • 2 thick orange slices
  • 2 peaches cut into large chunks
  • 10 raspberries
  • about 3 cups ice cubes
Directions:
  • Mix first 5 ingredients in a large pitcher
  • Scrape seeds from vanilla bean
  • Add bean and stir well
  • Mix in fruit
  • Cover and chill overnight or can make early in day to serve later in the day
  • Serve drink over ice cubes
Florentine Artichoke Dip
serve with garlic bagel chips or pita bread triangles
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed use several paper towels to squeeze out moisture
  • 1- 6 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts drained and chopped
  • 1- 8 oz. package of softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 large garlic cloves chopped finely or 1/2 tsp.prepared garlic from a jar
  • 1-1/2 TB. fresh lemon juice
  • grated provolone cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups bread crumbs (using whole wheat bread crumbs is a good alternative to French baguette crumbs)
  • 2 TB. parsley flakes
  • 2 TB. melted butter
Directions:
  • Combine spinach, artichoke hearts and rest of ingredients except butter, parsley flakes provolone cheese and bread crumbs
  • Stir well
  • Spoon into a lightly greased 9 inch square or pie pan
  • Grate provolone cheese over top of this mixture
  • Mix bread crumbs, parsley flakes and butter-sprinkle on top of grated cheese
  • Bake uncovered 375 for 25 minutes
Panko Breaded Brie
recipe from Lake Elmo Inn, Lake Elmo, MN
Ingredients:
  • Brie
  • Croutons
  • Eggs
  • Flour
  • Panko bread Crumbs
  • Butter
Directions:
  • Make large homemade croutons from baguette. Brush slices with olive oil toast in oven for 5 minutes @ 350
  • Set aside
  • Cut Brie into bite sized pieces (a little smaller that crouton size)dip in flour, then into egg-then into bread crumbs
  • Preheat a saute pan with some butter when hot add brie pieces brown and flip and brown other side(caution-do not cook too long or will fall apart)
  • Place brie on crouton, add very small amount of honey on top of cheese, add one toasted almond and a very light sprinkle of thyme
Note:They are quite addictive and you can not eat just one



Friday, July 22, 2011

Beat The Heat




Well we only missed scoring the triple digits by 1 degree recently. Fortunately for us the weather pattern has settled down a bit more into normal summer temperatures. My garden is flourishing despite the sizzling heat. I have been on the hunt for recipes that could use up a crop of tomatoes, cucumbers and basil. The following stuffed tomato recipe was quite good for a light summer meal and even healthy. Tomorrow will be posting some light summer drinks and appetizers for outdoor entertaining. Click on right photo of dog for full view.
Stuffed Tomato
adapted from MarthaStewart.com
serves 8
I added 2 cups combination wild rice/white rice but could use brown rice or couscous
also added dressing instead of the 6 TB. olive oil suggested in original recipe
Ingredients:
8 large beefsteak tomatoes-slice top off and scoop out inside-set aside
2 cups of chopped peaches
1-1/2 cup chopped cucumbers
kernels from 2 ears of corn that have been cooked
1/2 cup prepared dressing- Ken's Steak House Lite Vidalia Onion(could use poppyseed dressing or a vinaigrette)
1 TB. lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup shredded chopped basil
2 cups rice
Directions:
Add all ingredients in a bowl and let sit 15 minutes then taste test to see if ingredients need adjustment for acidity or seasoning
Chill mixture for 1 hour and then divide among 8 tomatoes


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Triple Digits-Stay Cool


As the temperatures soar today toward triple digits its time to get more serious on keeping cooking simple. If you have had enough of take out foods consider some of these easy make ahead recipes below. Also check out this link to Southern Living Summer Salad recipes. Lots of good ideas!
http://www.southernliving.com/food/entertaining/cool-summer-salads-00400000046866/page38.html

Twist on Coleslaw
Ingredients;
  • prepared dressing (I used Marzetti Original Slaw)
  • 1- 16 oz. bag coleslaw (try the tri color)
  • 2 granny smith apples-sliced thinly
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrots
  • red or green onion
  • 1 package 3.75 oz. Honey Roasted Almonds (in the deli aisle)
  • optional crumbled bacon about 1/2 cup
Directions:
  • Mix all ingredients except almonds
  • Chill several hours just before serving add almonds and crumbled bacon on top
Chicken-Cantaloupe Salad
serves 4
note this salad looks quite festive-invite some friends over for a meal
Ingredients:
  • 1 package chicken flavor rice mix(Rice-A-Roni) do not substitute or use a product similar to this one-following cooking directions on box
  • 4 cantaloupes
  • 4 cups cut up chicken (could buy a roasted chicken from deli)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1-2 tsp. curry powder
  • cantaloupe pieces
  • optional 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • Miracle Whip (do not substitute)
Directions:
  • Cut each cantaloupe in half-place one half face down on cutting board-with a sharp paring knife cut a saw tooth edge going all around the cantaloupe-set aside the triangle shaped pieces-repeat this three times with other cantaloupe halves
  • Cut rind off triangle pieces left and place in bowl-add chicken, curry, cherries if using them and cooked rice Note: you will only use 2 cups cooked rice so save rice for another meal
  • Add only enough Miracle Whip to moisten all ingredients
  • Cover and refrigerate till chilled
  • Wrap 4 saw toothed cantaloupe pieces till serving and refrigerate
  • To serve divide chicken mixture among cantaloupe pieces and sprinkle with almonds
Note: My original recipe called for 1 TB. curry powder-curry is a strong spice so I would suggest starting with 1 tsp. and taste till you get the flavor strength you want

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Sultry Day






We live in a wonderful world full of beauty, charm and adventure.
There is no end to the adventures that we can have
if only we seek them with our eyes open.
by Jawaharial Nehru

While the pluses do outweigh the minuses of living Up North not having air conditioning has recently proved to be a real negative. We have entered into a long stretch of warm and very humid days. Escaping our warm house to go on a Home and Garden tour was a perfect outing for the day. And one of the bonuses was air conditioning in all the homes we visited!
The gardens were stunning displays of beauty but they all left me puzzled. Why aren't the deer disturbing these plants I asked myself??? Several of the buildings on tour were quite interesting. I especially liked the home where the owners strove to remain true to their Scandinavian roots. On their property they had turned a building into a very cute garden shed complete with a grass thatched roof. Behind it was a sauna created out of a large barrel. As we were leaving one home we passed by a small lake where the water lily flowers were in full bloom. Enjoy the photos (one photo shows how you can make a bench out of old doors). Lucky for me I spent some time yesterday making dinner. The Barbecued Pulled Pork recipe makes a lot of sandwiches and was perfect for our outdoor dining.

Barbecued Pulled Pork Sandwiches
serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 TB. barbecued seasoning mix (dry) divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 3- lb. Boston butt or pork loin center rib roast (I used a prepared Hormel package with no bone)
  • 1-15 oz can chunky tomatoes (basil, oregano, onion)
  • 1 onion cut in slices and separated
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TB. spicy brown mustard
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 cup prepared Kansas City Barbecue Sauce (I used honey, cider, vinegar)

Directions:

  • Combine 1 TB. barbecue seasoning mix and 1 tsp salt
  • Rub evenly over pork
  • Stir rest of ingredients together with the other 1 TB. barbecue seasoning mix
  • Place in crock-pot, add onion rings, add roast insert meat thermometer into pork
  • Cover and cook 6 hours on low or until meat registers 180 and meat shreds easily
  • Shred meat on cutting board using 2 forks or hands
  • Put meat back into crock-pot that has been turned off, mix well-let sit for 10-15 minutes
  • To serve use a slotted spoon since there is a lot of liquid and place meat mixture into buns

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Midnight Raid





Nobody can go back and start a new beginning,
but anyone can start today
and make a new ending.
by Maria Robinson
7th president of Ireland (1990-1997)

The perils of Up North living are taking its toll. As if finding out recently I have Anaplasmosis (tick borne disease) wasn't enough I woke up in middle of the night to Bella's excessive barking. Seems a midnight garden raid was in progress and she was alerting us sadly not quick enough. The damage had been done and the Hydrangea bush with its beautiful blue blossoms (they left me two) and all my sunflowers took a big hit! And to think we have been so vigilant using deer repellent. Just not fair!!!
As the July days continue to simmer I am adding more easy summer recipes for your collection below.
Tomorrow a recipe for Barbecued Pork Sandwiches will be posted.
One of the photos shows what I might have had...
If you click on photos you can get a clearer picture of the raid.
__________________________________________________
Dessert Salad

Serves 4

Adapted from www.cuisineathome.com 2011

Ingredients:

  • 6 pound cake slices (cut in 1/2 inch thick)
  • 1 TB. sugar
  • 1 TB. butter
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 TB. honey
  • 2 TB. Grand Marnier
  • 2 bananas quartered
  • ½ pint strawberries halved
  • ½ cup fresh pineapple (chunks)
  • ¼ cup blueberries

Directions:

  • Sprinkle Grand Marnier over cut up fruit and set aside
  • Melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat
  • Add cake slices and sauté till browned about a minute
  • Flip and sprinkle browned side with sugar
  • Saute another few seconds
  • Remove from heat and cut into large crouton size and set aside
  • Whisk yogurt and honey together-set aside
  • On 4 salad plates divide fruits equally-divide cake slices equally and drizzle each plate with yogurt-dust with confectioner’s sugar

Apple Cheddar Salad

Adapted from www.cuisineathome.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pecan halves or pieces
  • 1 TB. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Braeburn apples, cored and sliced
  • 1 bag salad mix
  • sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 cucumber sliced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries or cranraisins

Directions:

  • To toast pecans sauté nuts in butter, salt and sugar over medium heat about 3 minutes but keep a watchful eye so as not to burn them
  • Toss apple mixture with salad greens and sugared pecans
  • Drizzle with homemade vinaigrette or prepared dressing
  • Garnish with cheddar cheese shavings

Vinaigrette Dressing

Combine

  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 TB. minced onions or shallots
  • 3 TB. fresh herbs( parsley, basil or tarragon)
  • 1 TB. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. minced garlic

Slowly drizzle in 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil while blender is running

Refrigerate till needed

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Salami Trade


The World According to Bella
Well my careful watch on the wildlife finally paid off! As I was sitting on the porch staring intently over my domain something caught my attention as it quickly ran by. I ran furiously to catch up with that rabbit who scurried around the corner of the garage. Let me tell you I was quicker and managed to clamp my jaws firmly on its neck. I was so proud of myself as I laid down in the grass and was just about ready to take a bite when I heard a blood curdling scream from my owner. "Stop, stop!"he yelled running towards me with something in his hand but I was not about to drop my prize. Yet the temptation was too great when I saw it was salami. So my owner managed to make a trade. I dropped that dazed rabbit and scarfed up the salami. I do not understand why my owner was making such a fuss over what I thought was the ultimate prize.
________________________________________________
This Tomato Basil Tart is the perfect way to celebrate your garden bounty. I have been looking for a recipe that uses ripened tomatoes and fresh basil from the garden. I posted a picture of my first raspberry crop. Quite small but fit nicely in a sherbet glass.
Ingredients:
  • prepared pastry for a tart pan (I used Pappy product- 2 dough balls rolled thin)
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic-finely chopped
  • 3 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 4 or 5 tomatoes sliced thinly and dried on a paper towel
  • 1-1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese or Gruyere cheese
Directions:
  • Preheat oven 375 and press dough evenly into tart pan and up the sides-line pastry with foil on bottom and up on sides
  • Add foil strip around sides to prevent browning
  • Bake 10 minutes
  • Remove foil and bake 4 minutes longer
  • In a blender add eggs milk, salt, pepper and garlic
  • Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on the bottom, onion slices and add chopped basil on top of this
  • Slowly pour liquid into shell
  • Arrange tomatoes on top of liquid and sprinkle cheese on top
  • Bake 35 minutes till center comes out clean using a knife



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sizzling=Wilting=Who Wants To Cook??




If you obey all the rules
you miss all the fun.
By Katherine Hepburn
This quote got me thinking about something I had read once where the author suggested we should all try to step out of our box once in awhile and try something we don't usually do. Perhaps give yourself permission to put on some sparkly pink glasses and look at life through a new lens. Just an idea...
As temperatures rise and the heat puts a sizzle in our day many of us feel a bit wilted by the time dinner time rolls around. To avoid heating up the kitchen I have picked easy recipes to assemble and some grilling favorites. Please check back during the week as I will be posting more recipes.
In honor of a very small crop of raspberries I recently picked from newly transplanted bushes I am posting recipes using raspberries. Unfortunately the raspberry photo I had in mind did not work in this blog so I substituted another favorite berry.
____________________________________________________
Raspberry Balsamic Sauce
serve over fish or poultry during last minutes of grilling
and use rest of sauce as a side
adapted from CuisineAtHome.com
Saute
1/2 cup shallots in 1 TB. olive oil
Whisk in a bowl
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1/4 cup each balsamic and red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. each Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce
  • Sauteed shallots
  • salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste
Simmer
Sauce 10 minutes and season-reserve some of the sauce for serving
Baste on meat last minutes of grilling
Serve meat/fish with sauce topped with fresh raspberries

Chilled Raspberry Souffle
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 TB. confectioner sugar
  • 2 TB. Amaretto
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 -1/2 cup crushed berries
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp. creme of tartar
Directions:
  • Beat heavy cream with vanilla and confectioners sugar till stiff
  • Clean beaters and beat 3 egg whites with 1/4 tsp. creme of tartar
  • Fold egg whites into cream mixture
  • In a small bowl add crushed berries, Amaretto and sugar
  • Fold into cream/egg white mixture
  • Pour into small souffle bowl and refrigerate several hours
  • Garnish with whole berries to serve





Saturday, July 9, 2011

Starting from Scratch and an Almond Bar Recipe




No one lives long enough to learn everything they need to learn starting from scratch. To be successful, we absolutely, positively have to find people who have already paid the price to learn the things that we need to learn to achieve our goals.

Brian Tracy

After reading the book Starting from Scratch by Susan Gilbert-Collins I was inspired to try an Almond Bar recipe that has been in my collection for quite some time. So long I am not even sure of the source.

The device of using recipes in novels has become rather popular the past few years. This book will interest those who like food stories with a serving of a good plot to accompany it. Olivia the main character has finished presenting her dissertation in graduate school when she receives news of her mother's unexpected death. As the story unfolds we learn more about the dynamics of Olivia's family, the legacy Olivia'a mother Vivian has left behind and how each family member comes to accept their loss. Unexpectedly along the way Olivia discovers her journey in life leads to a new path.

This is Ms. Gilbert-Collin's debut novel. The setting is Eastern South Dakota particularly Brookings so the book often resonates with cultural identity with its references. I thought the book was well written and enjoyed how the author was able to incorporate Vivian's mother's food legacy and Olivia's self journey and discovery.

Almond Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter (not margarine)
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Directions: If you love sugar cookies and almonds then this is the recipe for you!

Note that after making dough I chilled it in refrigerator for about an hour so it was easier to handle

  • Beat softened butter and sugar. Add egg, almond extract, baking powder,salt and flour
  • Beat until well mixed
  • On a lightly greased cookie sheet divide chilled dough into fourths(quarters)
  • Form each into a 10 x 3 rectangle-will need to use rolling pan to get that size or put flour on hands and pat that dough to that size
  • Brush very lightly with butter and bake 325 for 13-14 minutes or until edges start to brown
  • Cool 15 minutes on cookie sheet and frost with almond frosting and sprinkle with crushed almonds on top-cut into small pieces and place each piece on a wire cooking rack to cool
Frosting

In a bowl mix: 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 tsp. almond extract, 4-5 TB. milk

Blend well and frost, if really like almonds could increase extract to 1/2 tsp. rather than 1/4 tsp.

The recipes makes about 30 small pieces




Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Thrill of the Ride and picnic recipes



The World According to Bella
If I had only thought to wear stripped red, white and blue boxer shorts I might have had a better chance to win The Best Dressed Dog prize. Needless to say I was disappointed but still had such fun being in the boat parade. Our boat looked festive and sparkly with all the decorations our company had helped my owners put on.
One of the best parts of the water parade was honking the horn as we passed by people standing on their docks. I tried to do my best princess wave with my paw but it just didn't quite work and everyone just laughed. But still I was content with the wind in my face as our fleet of 34 boats moved along the water. As I closed my eyes in pure bliss. I couldn't help but think about all the food we were going to have afterwards. I knew the cook had been busy for days preparing a feast. I hope she won't mind I was able to sneak out a few of her recipes to share with you all.

Three Bean Casserole-serves 10-12

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. pork sausage or 1 lb. hamburger
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large can baked beans
  • 1 can butter beans
  • 1 can light kidney beans-rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans chunky diced tomatoes with basil/oregano
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup chili sauce
  • 1 TB. mustard
  • 2 TB. apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • optional crumbled bacon on top

Directions:

  • Cook sausage/hamburger till crumbly, celery, onion over medium heat
  • Add rest of ingredients except bacon
  • Pour into an ungreased 3 quart casserole
  • Bake uncovered about 45 minutes at 350 or slow cooker on low for a few hours
Blackberry Sauce
Ingredients:
  • 1-16 oz. bag frozen blackberries thawed or 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 TB. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch mixed in 1/3 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup Blackberry jelly
  • 2 TB. Brandy
Directions:
  • Mix cornstarch into water and add all ingredients into a saucepan
  • On low heat cook till mixture thickens and is clear
  • Remove from heat and strain to remove any seeds add 2 TB. Brandy
  • Cover and refrigerate
  • Drizzle over ice cream- another good option serve over lemon sorbet
  • Note: if using frozen blackberries reduce sugar to 1/2 cup
  • Recipe adapted from Cooks.com

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I'm Baaaaaaaaaaack!




The World According to Bella
I finally got my mojo back after a hiatus of not writing for some months. My batteries are recharged and I am on a roll. With the big holiday weekend in full force and my owners are preoccupied with company I seized my chance to get my paws on the keyboard. I have been bursting to get my stories out there.
I am happy to report that life has been real good for me. After the ugly encounter with porcupine awhile back lake life has settled in rather nicely. I have been given a lot of freedom and taken full advantage of it. Each morning I sit out on the porch and look over my domain. I do my best to bark off any wildlife intruders all through the day. But it can get tiring keeping watch on the front yard plus the lakeside. I have done my best to even scare off any wildlife or boats that come close to the dock. Note photo of me on "my lakeside watch." But one thing that really annoys me is the fact I have to wait so long all day to get a boat ride. I run down the hill jump on the pontoon boat several times a day hoping my owners will get the hint. They always seem too busy to give me a ride so I am forced to wait patiently till the end of the day. Note Lately I have really gotten into fishing at dusk. I keep hoping for the big catch or at least a nibble of my line.
In one photo I am modeling part of my 4th of July outfit. I am going to be in a boat parade and this year there are prizes. I am hoping to win for the best dressed dog on board. Wish me luck.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Food for Thought




My neighbor does food demonstrations at Williams & Sonoma. She thought this link would be of interest. http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/national/4313
you can download 6 grilling recipes. Each month she will pass along to me featured recipes to post on the blog.

While perusing books at small local bookstore the title The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake caught my interest. I love lemon cake and the title seemed quite intriguing. I expected a light summer read but as I got into the book the plot became more complex and quite compelling the more I delved into the story. The storyline is unusual with mystical qualities written into real world of Rose and her brother Joseph. Rose is a young girl who at the age 8 tastes her mother's lemon cake for the first time. It was at that very moment Rose discovers she has a gift. It is the gift of being able to tell the emotions the person who prepared the food is feeling. This gift actually becomes a burden for Rose. She finds out some heart-breaking family secrets. The story is also a coming of age story for Rose as the years go by she has to learn how to cope with the gift of knowing. Along the way Rose learns how to accept and forgive her loved ones and find herself. Aimee Bender the author, does a good job developing her characters and capturing Rose's voice. The author creates anxiety and build pressure with each sentence especially in the last 1/3 of the book. Perhaps that is why I devoured this book from start to finish in under 24 hours!

On the way to the bookstore which is in a small rural Up North town of Dorset we passed by some interesting yard art. I had to include the photo. Pay close attention: can you find antlers, horseshoes, hubcaps, weathervane? Someone showed a lot of ingenuity.