Monday, July 28, 2014

Bakery Blueberry Muffins

Hands down, these are some of the best blueberry muffins I've ever eaten.  Moist does not even begin to describe these babies.  They're dense and moist and really more like cake.


Cake for breakfast!  I'm all about it.


Frozen blueberries work fabulously in these muffins.  The only thing you should NOT do is overmix the batter.  And don't overbake them.


You know. The usual.

They're just really good.  I think it's the sour cream.  It makes the batter super-thick and just amazing.  You'll think you went to a bakery for these.

Bakery Blueberry Muffins
Adapted from Kelsey Nixon

1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
Juice & zest of one lemon
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Whisk together the oil, sour cream, sugar, egg, lemon zest & juice, lemon extract & vanilla extract.  Use a spatula and fold in the remaining ingredients.  Don't overmix the batter.

Spray a 6-count muffin tin with nonstick baking spray.  Use a large ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into the muffin tin.  The muffins will be very full.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until just set (the tops should spring back when you press lightly).

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

It's been so long since I've been on here that I'm not even sure where to begin!  The last recipe I posted was a strawberry cake.  And this...well, this is a Strawberry Shortcake Cake.  I made it for my oldest's birthday!  Three months ago.


Once again, where is my life going.


I have a few random pictures of this cake, but the point is that it's really yummy.  And you can't use too many strawberries.  It's inspired by a Paula Deen recipe, but I tripled the amount of strawberries she called for.


Telling you what.  Can't use too many strawberries.  Especially when they're in season.


Oh!  And did you want to see Bitty?  She's almost two months old, y'all.  Oh the sweetness.


Strawberry Shortcake Cake
Inspired by Paula Deen

1/2 of a homemade poundcake (I used a basic recipe), sliced thin
3 lbs. strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 large box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 1/2 cups milk
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz. container Cool Whip

Whisk together the pudding mix and milk.  Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk and the vanilla.  Use a spatula to fold in the Cool Whip.

Place a layer of poundcake on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  Evenly layer strawberries on top.  Spread about half of the Cool Whip mixture on top.  Repeat the layers, ending with the Cool Whip mixture.  Cover and place in the refrigerator until completely chilled.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fresh Strawberry Bundt Cake

A month ago today I birthed this real, live Bitty Baby.


How has it been a month already???  Where is my life going.  While we opted not to find out the gender of our baby, we were all sure she was a boy.  So we didn't try too hard to come up with a girl's name.  Until Levi came out a girl.  It took us a little while to decide on a name - not just any name, but the right name.  The perfect name.


She is an amazing, precious part of our family, and we are so thankful!  All of us...and her big brother is especially pleased with her, in case you couldn't tell.


And so now we have fresh strawberry cake.  Because it's strawberry season, and this mama still bakes occasionally.  One hand measures ingredients and the other hand snuggles this baby girl.  Miss Sarah Kate is not fond of being anywhere except in my arms.  And I'm pretty happy about that.


This recipe has been all over Pinterest so I made a few changes and came out with a really great base cake recipe. You could add anything in place of the strawberries - next time I'm definitely going down the blueberry route.


My big girls are quite happy with their "New Baby" too.


Fresh Strawberry Bundt Cake

Adapted from A Spicy Perspective 

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups flour, divided
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 oz. fresh strawberries, diced (could also substitute 1 1/2 cups blueberries)

Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 T)

Cream together the butter, oil and sugar in a mixer until combined and fluffy.  Add the eggs and combine well.  Add the lemon juice, vanilla, lemon extract and sour cream and mix until combined.  Add 2 1/4 cups of flour, soda & salt and mix until just combined.  Toss the remaining 2 T flour with the chopped strawberries and fold them into the batter.

Pour into a well-greased bundt cake and bake in a 325 degree oven for about 60 minutes, until a knife inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs sticking to it.  Let cool in the bundt pan for about 15 minutes.

Turn the cake out onto a cake stand and let it cool to room temperature.  Meanwhile, whisk together the glaze ingredients.  When the cake has cooled, drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it fall down the sides.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Cherry Turnovers

I made these turnovers sometime during the throes of winter.  You know, the winter that never ended.

The winter that dumped snow on us in April.


The winter that made me so thankful for SPRING!

Yeah, then. Turnovers just seemed like the right thing to do on a cold, dark night after supper.


My kids loved them.  Did I even need to tell you that.

I got the idea from the cherry turnovers my mom used to make for me and my brother.  Back in the day.


We loved them then.  Probably didn't need to tell you that either.

They're ridiculously easy and totally delicious.  Not really even a recipe.  But it is a bite of my childhood.  And now my adulthood.  And my children's childhood.

I love generational blessings.  And yes, I consider even cherry turnovers a generational blessing.

Cherry Turnovers

2 8 oz. packages Crescent rolls
21 oz. can cherry pie filling
1 cup powdered sugar
2 T milk
1 tsp vanilla (or almond extract is delish too!)

Unroll the crescent rolls and divide them into the triangles.  Lay on a sheet tray and evenly divide the pie filling on the widest part of the triangle.  Fold the smaller end of the triangle over on top of the pie filling.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 17-18 minutes until puffed and golden.

Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract.  Drizzle on top of the hot turnovers.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Spinach & Artichoke Breakfast Casserole

I've made this casserole twice recently and people have asked me for the recipe both times!


I absolutely love egg dishes with cheese and veggies.  Not all breakfast casseroles have to have meat in them, you know.  So I put spinach & artichokes in this one!  It's like spinach-artichoke dip baked into a breakfast casserole.


Even men love this one.

Spinach & Artichoke Breakfast Casserole

2 T butter
1 onion, chopped very small
12 eggs
1/4 cup flour
16 oz. container small-curd cottage cheese
15 oz. can artichokes hearts packed in water, drained and chopped
10-12 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 lb. shredded Swiss Cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Saute the onion and butter in a skillet for about 10 minutes, until pretty soft.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Beat the eggs together with the flour and cottage cheese in a large bowl.  Stir in the remaining ingredients and the cooled onions.  Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, until just set.  Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Snickerdoodles

I made these for my brother because a couple of years ago, after knowing my brother for all 30-ish years of my life, he announced that Snickerdoodles are his favorite cookie.


It was one of the most random things I had ever heard him say.

Snickerdoodles?  I mean, whose favorite cookie is that, anyway?


My brother's.  Apparently.

This was news to me.  But good news, since I like Snickerdoodles.  They're fun to say and super yummy to eat.

So I made these for a family gathering at my aunt's house.  I took a plate piled high of Snickerdoodles.  I waved them under my brother's nose and then sat them on the dessert table.


Nearly immediately, the plate of freshly baked cookies were totally demolished.  My brother got approximately one cookie + a stray crumb out of the entire mound of cookies I took.  That's all that was left.

You can't dawdle in our family.  If you want something, you'd better grab it.


Otherwise it's gone.

But, of the one cookie + stray crumb he got to sample, my brother said these were the best Snickerdoodles he'd ever had and that I should blog the recipe.


That's a high compliment.  And that's why I'm blogging this recipe.

Snickerdoodles
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
Heaping 1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar
1 T cinnamon

Cream together the butter and sugar for several minutes in a mixer until creamy and totally combined.  Add the eggs and combine.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir (mixer on low) until just combined.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure everything is combined.

Combine the cinnamon & sugar in a bowl.  Use a cookie scoop to make cookie dough balls and roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Place on a baking sheet (I line mine with parchment paper) and bake in a 350 degree oven for 6-8 minutes.  Do not overbake!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Creamy Spring Vegetable Soup

I know I've told you about the Greentree Tea Room.  It's a wonderful Lexington gem.

Lexington has lots of gems, you know.  But this post is about Greentree.  And its amazing soups.


See, when you go to Greentree, they serve one menu for the entire month.  It changes every month.  And every month is equally unique and delicious.

They always start you out with a bowl of soup.  I've had about six of their soups (meaning I've eaten there six different months of the year) and I've loved every single one of them.

The second course is a scone served with some type of fruit curd (April was blueberry curd…there are no words) and Fayette Cream.

You'll just have to make your own reservation at Greentree to find out what Fayette Cream is.

So the last time I had the pleasure of lunching at the Greentree, they sat this bowl of creamy spring vegetable soup in front of me.


It. Was. Divine.

So I came home and tried to make it.  It went pretty well, I'd say.  My family actually loved it.  They've never actually been to the Greentree (my husband wouldn't set foot in the place…totally a girl spot…and my kids are entirely too young.  I go there to get away from my children).  So my family has never had the real thing, but they did love my copycat version.

I was happy with it.  And I'm already planning when I can return to the tea room.  May's a new month with a new menu!  Fortunately, every menu has Fayette Cream on it.

Creamy Spring Vegetable Soup
Copycat recipe from the Greentree Tea Room

3 T butter
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, small-diced
3 T flour
1/2 cup rice
6 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 cup hari coverts, chopped into bite-sized pieces (tiny green beans; I used Trader Joe's from the freezer)
1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen)
1 cup petite peas (I used frozen)
1 cup heavy cream

Saute the onions and carrots in the butter in a medium pot over medium heat for about 10-12 minutes, until tender.  Sprinkle in the flour and rice and stir around for about a minute.  Add the stock, salt, pepper and turmeric and bring to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 25-30 minutes, until the rice is tender.  Add the hari coverts, corn and peas and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add cream.  Stir well and serve immediately.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Creamy Spinach & Orzo

I made this the other night as a side dish with some salmon...it was awesome.


I just love orzo, and I had some spinach I needed to use.

The creamy combo was just delicious!


Creamy Spinach & Orzo

1 T butter
1 onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T flour
1 cup milk
5 oz. package spinach, chopped
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 cups cooked orzo (about 1 cup uncooked)
3/4 cup romano cheese (or parmesan)

Saute the onion in the butter for about 10 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook another minute.  Stir in the flour.  Add the milk and spinach and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fruit Salad with Yogurt Poppyseed Dressing

Spring is here.  My peonies have come out of the ground.  I was so happy to see them!  I can't wait until they bloom.


I carried white peonies down the aisle.  My bridesmaids carried pink peonies down the aisle.  Our groomsmen wore the nearly-opened buds of pink peonies on their tuxes.

Do I even need to tell you that it was beautiful.

And so it's only fitting that we have an entire row of pink peonies in our front yard.  I think we have 11 right now, which is perfect because our 11th anniversary is approaching.  I may need to add more this year.

I may cover my entire yard with them.


Anyway.  On to this fruit salad.  It was very fresh and springy and I ate an entire bowl of it for dinner because I was uninterested in the actual meal I had prepared for my family.

Should I blame my strange behavior on pregnancy?  Hormones?  Maybe I was tired?  Maybe I had done laundry that day.  I could keep going with my list of excuses but it doesn't really matter.

Who knows. Who cares.  This fruit salad was delicious and a big hit.  Will make it again.  You should too.

Fruit Salad with Yogurt Poppyseed Dressing

8 cups cut-up fruit (I used a combo of oranges, bananas, strawberries, apples & grapes)
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (I used fat-free)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey
1 T sugar
1 T poppyseeds
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Toss the fruit together in a bowl.  Whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over the fruit about 20 minutes before serving.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Avocado-Mango Salsa

In an effort to make up for my complete lack of culinary creativity that has lasted...well, my entire pregnancy, I made avocado-mango salsa tonight.


Oh my word! I think I made up some serious ground.  It was amazingly flavorful.  I served it on blackened salmon, but seared salmon would be great.  And jerk chicken would be fabulous.  This would be great on chips as an alternative to pico.

People, this salsa was so good.  My husband and I were eating it with a spoon while the salmon cooked.


And I have virtually no pictures because things were a little wild around my house.

We had just gotten home from the girls' swimming lessons, this boy:


was bent on following me around the kitchen, sticking his head up my dress (his new favorite game) (it's apparently hilarious), and the girls were really hungry.  Plus, the girls were cold and trying to change from their bathing suits into their pajamas and my husband had just gotten home from work!  And did I mention that Teddy was WILD.


This one.


Have I mentioned that my puppy is almost one?!?  How does a year go so fast?

So anyway, all that to say...I didn't get many salsa pictures.  But you know how to make salsa.  Just do it.  So delicious.  So simple.  So healthy.

I'm so proud.

For aesthetic reasons, I thought the salsa needed something red - like a finely diced red pepper or a tomato.  But I was in a hurry, so here's what I came up with.  Feel free to add something red.  The flavor was totally awesome without anything else, but I just thought I'd share my red thoughts with you.

Avocado-Mango Salsa

2 mangoes, peeled and diced
2 avocados, peeled and diced
1 onion, finely diced
Juice of 2 limes
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, minced (about 1/2 cup minced leaves)

Toss ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Serve immediately.