Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mixed Greens with Apple Vinaigrette

I love the mixed green salad at Earls, it is apple in my salad! Yum! The dressing is tangy and sweet all at once. I can’t get to Earls for lunch very often (or my wallet would really hate me) so I needed to make this at home. I think I have come up with a pretty decent copy.

Candied Pecans (from Suzie the foodie)
¼ cup pecans
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar

Apple cider Vinaigrette (epicurious)
½ cup unfiltered apple juice (I used homemade, but you can buy this)
1 tsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar


Lettuce (mixed greens work best, but I just use what I have in the fridge) (2 - 3 cups for single serving)
Feta Cheese (1 tbsp for single serving)
1 Apple (I use a gala as that is what we usually have in the house, but a tarter apple would be great)

1. In a pot mix together the pecans, water and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and heat until most of the syrup is gone (don’t forget to stir!) This takes about 10 minutes. Spread on a pan to cool. (This can be done days ahead of time and stored in a container ready to top your salads).
2. In a jar/container mix together the juice, honey, olive oil and vinegar. Shake until well combined.
3. Rip the lettuce and toss in a bowl. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese, candied pecans (step 1) and thinly sliced apples. Pour 1 to 2 tsps of dressing over the salad and toss.

Reviews: I really enjoy this salad, it is delicious and perfect for summer. It isn’t exactly the same as the Earl’s salad but it is a good imitation.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Menu: August 29 - September 2

This week is going to be busy, I have 3/4 of a box left to deal with, a 4l pail of blueberries and some raspberries, so I with all that going on suppers are going to be fairly quick meals this week.

Monday: Tacos
Tuesday: Grilled Steak and broccoli quinoa
Wednesday: Smokies and grilled asparagus with feta
Thursday: Goulash
Friday: Leftovers

Other food and snacks: peach ice cream, blueberries/raspberries and yogurt, roasted red pepper hummus, peaches (fresh)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Milkshake - For Grownups

Recently a few friends and I went out for supper at SodaJerks - and the best part was the grown up milkshakes. They were delicious, I have been wanting more since I left. Well the past couple of days have actually been warm (apparently summer has decided to finally make an appearance here) and I have been looking for something to sip while sitting on the deck in the evenings. I decided to try making my own mixes of milkshakes. this one was inspired by the fact that I had been playing with Malibu to make some cookies, and a hot chocolate that a friend of mine makes (she works at a coffee shop and mixes me up all sorts of drinks when she is bored).

“Grown up” chocolate Macaroon Milkshake
3 large scoops of vanilla frozen yogurt
½ cup milk
1 tbsp chocolate sauce
1 tbsp Malibu rum


In a blender mix together all the ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy! If you are feeling extra indulgent, top with some whipped cream, chocolate sauce and shredded coconut!

I love this and it was perfect for a hot day on the deck. Owen also thought it was good and finished off the last ⅓ of it on me...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pina Colada Macaroons

I have a friend at work who was leaving soon and so i wanted to make something special for her. I know that she loves Pina Coladas and so decided to try and make them in a cookie form. I had just come across the Papaya Mac Cookies by Joanne Fluke (found in Devils Food Cake Murder). I used this as my inspiration and as a guide to start my Pina Colada cookies.

½ can (7 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk
2 ½ cups (7 ounces) unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tsp Malibu (Coconut Rum)
½ cup chopped dried pineapple
2 tbsp Malibu

1. In a bowl mix the dried pineapple and the 2 tbsp of Malibu - you want enough so all the dried pineapple is in some rum, but the top layer should not be submerged. Let sit overnight ( you could probably get away with a couple of hours, but overnight is best).
2. Preheat the oven to 325F
3. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. The mixture should be sticky and should stay in shape when formed.
4. Spoon onto a cookie sheet (I covered mine in parchment paper as the dough is quite sticky). They do not spread so you can place them quite close together.
5. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. They should be soft, but feel dry on the outside and the coconut on the top of the cookie should be starting to become a golden brown.
6. Cool and enjoy!

I first served these when I had friends over for supper and they were a big hit (more so with one guest than the peach pie!).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Menu: August 22-26

It is that time again - time for me to figure out what on earth I am going to be eating for the next week. So here goes:

Monday: "Turtle" Burgers
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken and garden green beans
Wednesday: Egg "McMuffin", salad
Thursday: Grilled sausage and corn
Friday: Left overs/sandwiches (on the road)

Snacks/Desserts: Fruit salad, Veggies and Dip, Banana Caramel Pie.

There are no weekend meals again this week as we will be out of town. I am going to pick up some fruit and doing some canning at my parent's house this weekend.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Myah’s Quilt

I have been drooling over the Just Wing It fabric for a while, and couldn’t figure out what I wanted to make with it, until I saw the McKinley Quilt. It was so cute, and I knew just the little girl to give this quilt to.

Using a charm pack of Just Wing It from Moda, this quilt went together very quickly! I decided to do a raw edge applique for the flowers (I wanted to practice for an upcoming project I have and the fact that that with a 4 year old and a new baby on the way, it would just be safer for my recipients than buttons).

I embroidered the little girl's name onto the quilt and used a fabric from the Just Wing It line for the back. I did straight line quilting to outline the boxes, and I think it turned out well.

I love how this quilt turned out and it’s new owner seemed to be pretty happy with it as well. It was quick to put together, and the tutorial was easy to follow.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Menu: August 15-20

I had a friend request that I put up my weekly menu for a while to help her figure out what she was going to eat for the week. So here is the first week. The meals don't always stay on the assigned days depending on what time I get home and the prep time needed for the meal. Also in the summer I don't usually have meals planned for the weekends, as we tend to go places on the weekends more often than not.

Monday - Clazones
Tuesday - Breakfast "Burrito" (I will make extras for breakfasts for a few days)
Wednesday - Coconut Curry Chicken
Thursday - Grilled Ceasar Chicken salad
Friday - Tuna Melt

For snacks and dessert during the week will be blueberries with yogurt, and canned peaches with vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Garden Update

Things are growing really well in my little garden. The first of the beans was ready today (sadly the dog stole it when I dropped it).

The peas have been coming for a couple days and are awesome. I haven't made any with them, as none have made it into the house before being eaten yet.

The strawberries have been going, and the pepper count is at 5 so far for green peppers and too many to count for the chilis!

Glueten Free Cherry Chocolate Pudding Cake

I have a friend who should not be eating a lot of gluten but she loves baking. She was drooling over the Cherry Chocolate Pudding cake that I made, so I decided to try making her a cake of her own (well actually I put her to work in the kitchen to show her how to do it). I also decided to make it a smaller cake, as it is a fairly rich cake and even with taking it to work with me it was hard to get through a 9 x 13 pan of it. What we ended up with was an 8x8 pan of gluten, egg and dairy free cake!

¾ + 2 tbsp all purpose GF Flour mix (I used Kinikinik brand)
¼ cup organic whole brown sugar
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp coconut milk (you could also use almond, soy, or rice - I just had coconut on hand)
¼ cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1 cup cherries - rough chopped

½ cup organic whole brown sugar
1 ½ cup hot water
2 tbsp cocoa powder

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. (if using a glass pan cook at 325F).
2. In a bowl mix together the flour, sugar, ⅓ cup cocoa powder, baking powder, milk, and applesauce. (I had to add an extra 2 tbsp of milk, try mixing without before adding it. The batter should be thick but not dry).
3. Fold in the cherries.
4. Spoon the batter into a greased and floured 8 x 8 pan (or a pan lined with parchment paper).
5. In the same bowl mix together the dark brown sugar, hot water, and ¼ cup cocoa.
6. Poor overtop of the batter.
7. Bake 35 to 40 minutes (the cake will be set but not firm, you should see some pudding bubbling up on the edges.).

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chocolate Angel Food

I recently had a birthday, as seeing as how my birthday falls in August, I usually have ice cream cake. This year though, the weather has been cooler and I wanted something different. I wanted chocolate, but light and airy as it is summer. When I saw a chocolate angel food cake, I knew I had to make it!

¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup granulated sugar
12 large egg whites (make sure not to get any of the shell or egg yolk in with the whites or they won’t beat up properly)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Heat the oven to 325F.
2. In a bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar (3/4 cup) and set aside for a minute.
3. In a bowl with a stand or hand mixer (I guess you could do this by hand but there is no way my arm is that strong) mix the egg whites and vanilla. Beat the egg whites on medium high speed until they are frothy.
4. While beating the egg whites sprinkle the cream of tartar into the bowl mixing it in as you go.
5. Continue to beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (the egg white will come up with the beater if you remove it, but will flop over and not really hold its shape).
6. While beating the eggs slowly add the remaining ¾ cup of sugar and continue to beat until the eggs white become glossy and stiff peaks form (will hold a peak shape when the beater is removed).
7. With a whisk fold in the mixed dry ingredients.
8. Pour into an angel food pan (do not grease the pan, or flour it). Using a spatula smooth out the top of the cake.
9. Bake for 40-45 minutes (mine actually took about 55 minutes, but I think my oven might be a little off). The top of the cake should spring back when touched and the cracks should appear dry.
10. Let cool upside down (I stick mine on a top of a bottle or the top of the cake will get soggy).
11. Slide a knife gently around the pan to release the cake.
12. Enjoy

I love this cake! It is great without anything on it, but fantastic with strawberries and whipped cream. It was a great light birthday treat!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Birdie Stitches

I first came across the Birdie Stitches BOM from Little Miss Shabby when I was looking for something to make with my sunkissed fabric. I had fallen in love with the fabric, bought a bunch and couldn’t decide what to make with it. Embroidery isn’t something that I have done before, nor was it something that I thought I would be interested in doing, but I couldn’t get those cute little birds and the bright spring colors out of my head. So I decided to do a test run to see if I could 1. do embroidery and 2. if it would drive me nuts trying to do it.

I ended up with this cute little.... something.... I am not sure what to call it, but it is cute! I think it will end up being an oddly Shaped Mug rug, or might end up hanging as a teeny quilt in my quilting room, who knows. This did tell me though, that oddly enough I kind of enjoyed doing the embroidery.

With that knowledge and an upcoming vacation, I pieced together some blocks, printed the patterns, got myself a larger hoop, some thread and a water erasable marker. I have now been working on these blocks for just over a month (I started them on July 2 - really late) and this is what I have to show to date:

I am slowly catching up and can’t wait to see the final blocks and the final quilt. I love this quilt more and more as I work on it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cherry Chocolate Pudding Cake

I came home from vacation with a bunch of cherries and knew I had to do something with a few of them before I made myself sick eating them. I found a recipe for cherry chocolate pudding cake, and I had been wanting to try a pudding cake for a while. I had remembered them from when I was younger and loved the goey pudding mixed in with the cake, so I decided to give it a try. I did change the recipe a little bit to cut down on the sweetness and make a darker richer chocolate.

1 and 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Sugar (1 original recipe)
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3 tablespoons Baking Powder
¼ + 2 tbsp cup Milk
1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1 cup Cherries, fresh/frozen, pitted
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
3 cups Hot Water

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. In a bowl mix together the flour, sugar, ⅓ cup cocoa powder, baking powder, milk, and applesauce. (I had to add an extra 2 tbsp of milk, try mixing without before adding it. The batter should be thick but not dry).
3. Fold in the cherries.
4. Spoon the batter into a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan (or a pan lined with parchment paper).
5. In the same bowl mix together the dark brown sugar, hot water, and ¼ cup cocoa.
6. Poor over top of the batter.
7. Bake 35 to 40 minutes (the cake will be set but not firm, you should see some pudding bubbling up on the edges.).

This cake got good reviews and it was even good cold the next day. However, O decided that he would like it better without the cherries, or with the cherries chopped into small pieces. I am sure I will make this again at some time.

Relaxing Eye Pillows

There is nothing that helps a person cool down or great rid of a headache quite like a cool pillow on your forehead. I love placing something cool over my eyes when I have a headache or just want to relax. I have a couple of the gel filled eye masks that I keep in the fridge, and while I love how cool they are, they are very uncomfortable to actually put on. I have a heat pad that I picked up at a craft market for my shoulder that I love. As I love it so much, but it is a little big for my head, I decided to make a smaller version to keep in the freezer so i could just pull one out when I wanted to put something on my head, or pop one in the microwave to have something warm.

I started with the free pattern provided by Amy Butler (I love the idea of a slip cover I can take off and wash!), and then made a few modifications to it to spruce it up a little. I had a bunch of solid fabric and some scraps sitting around so I decided to do a little piecing to make them more interesting and fun (why not have them look fun as well?). I do love how they turned out. The blue one is filled with flax seeds and the pink has rice in it. They were very simple to make and I had them done in no time, which is great.

I also tried tracing my old eye mast and making one of a different shape. It turned out nice as well, but the I like the removable cover of the Amy Butler pattern.

I had so much fun making them I am now thinking of making a neck wrap to match!