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7.31.2012

Blueberry Peach Cobbler Bars



If you had to pick one favorite summer fruit what would it be?

It's tough for me... I love strawberries, raspberries, and  blackberries a lot. But what I really really get excited over is peaches. Peaches and maybe blueberries as well.

We have this great market in Alton, NH called Fiddlehead Farm Market Place. They ship fresh baked breads and pastries in from Boston, fresh cut meat from the Meat House, and freshly caught seafood from Portsmouth.  As tempting as all those fine things are what I always go there for is the produce. I'm not sure how they do it but they run the BEST sales on fruit. Peaches .75$/lb! Seriously... they are 1.99 at the grocery store and if you are lucky enough to find native NH peaches at an orchard or farm stand they are 2-3$/lb.

I stocked up this week. Get ready for a boat load of peach recipes coming your way!

One of my favorite desserts is a peach cobbler topped with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. But I feel like when I make a big dessert like that it tends to go to waste with my husband and I. So this time around I wanted to make a hand held cobbler so it would be more kid friendly and I could "gift" away the leftovers! 

I recently was browsing cobbler recipes on Pinterest and saw this recipe from  my friend Regan's blog for Blueberry Cobbler Bars. Regan and I met at KAF's Blog and  Bake back in June. I instantly liked her and have since become a big fan of her blog.... as well as her food photography website Healthy Aperture. I just KNEW her bars would be fabulous and needed to try them asap!

I made a few small adaptions biggest being that I subbed half her berries for peaches. My husband, who hates cooked fruit... or so he says ;) raved about these cobbler bars as did my mother. They were everything that a fruit cobbler should be, but hand held!




Blueberry Peach Cobbler Bars
(Recipe adapted from The Professional Palate)

Ingredients:

2/3 cup brown sugar divided
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick of cold unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
1 egg 
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup chopped peaches (skins on pit removed) should be about 2 small peaches
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour


Directions:

Preheat oven to 400.

In a bowl combine baking powder, flour, cinnamon, half your brown sugar, salt and butter together. Working with your fingers or a pastry blender until it is crumbly.

Mix in your egg.

Divide in two. Pressing half on the bottom of a greased 8x8 baking dish. Bake for 5 minutes and remove from oven. Turn oven down to 375.

Meanwhile in a separate bowl toss remaining sugar, lemon juice, zest, 1 tbs flour, and fruit.

Spread over the top of the baked crust.

Sprinkle with remaining crust "dough"  bake for 30 minutes.

Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before slicing. I enjoy mine warm.

Recipe yields about 6-9 bars.



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7.30.2012

Oven Baked Buttermilk Chicken Fingers ~Secret Recipe Club~



This month for the Secret Recipe Club I was assigned The Daily Dish. Nicole is a busy mom. and has a ton of busy mom recipes to share on her blog.

I loved so many things.... I tried two recipes from her blog! First last week I made her Bread Bowls for a broccoli cheddar soup. Mine did not rise up enough and get that dome shape ( you all know how challenged I am with yeast baking!) so we sliced it up and dipped it in our soup instead. It was still awesome awesome! My kids and husband gobbled it up like the carb addicts they are.

On a busy weeknight of my kids favorite meals is chicken fingers. I am guiltily, I ONLY make them IF they are frozen Tyson brand... OR I fry my own. I have been wanting to try an oven baked healthier version for a long time.

When I saw this post for a freezable bulk method. I jumped on it!  Nicole has instructions on making a large batch freezing the extra so you can pull them out and bake as needed. This is the type of recipe we busy moms need!

For the recipe I adapted it to my tastes, and used a different oven temperature. (our ovens may bake at different temps...every oven is slightly different)



Buttermilk Oven Baked Chicken Fingers:

Ingredients

3 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts sliced into tenders
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups of panko  bread crumbs
1/2 cup corn meal
2 cups of all purpose flour; divided in half
3 tsp salt ; divided in 3 parts
3 tsp ground black pepper; divided in 2 parts
3 tsp onion powder
3 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika

Directions:

In a shallow dish like a pie plate, add in your buttermilk whisk together with 1 tsp salt.

In a second shallow dish add 1 cup of flour with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper. Whisk together.

In a third bowl whisk together panko, corn meal, remaining flour, salt pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika.

Dredge chicken pieces through the flour mixture, then the buttermilk then through the panko mixture completely covering each tender with your breading. Place onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

To Freeze:

First we want to "flash freeze them". Prepare chicken as instructed right up to the baking point. Place tenders on a plate stick in the freezer for about an hour or until they are slightly hard and not "squishy" anymore. From there you can place them in a freezer bag.

When you are ready to use them, preheat oven to 375 and  bake for 30-40 minutes.




~Family verdict? Kids and husband approved! These were perfectly crunchy on the outside with plenty of flavor and then super moist on the inside! Thanks Nicole for a great family friendly recipe!

Want to know more about the Secret Recipe Club? Click HERE for info.

Check out what some of the other members made this week  below......

7.29.2012

Blueberry Orange and Almond Pancakes with Orange Maple Glaze ~Sundays with Joy~



I'm back... sort of!

I'm still  a bit ehhh feeling, between my husband quitting smoking *again* he's a real gem to be around let me tell ya! Feeling a bit under the weather my self, and then the passing of my Aunt who's service is today. I haven't felt much like blogging.

If I'm not feeling it why force it right? You don't want a forced post... because those are no fun for me to write and no fun for you to read!



So this week Sundays With Joy is going to be quickie.

First go but the book, you want this recipe. Trust me! I stuck to the recipe. It's spot on. Awesome. Delicious. And just plain pancake perfectness.



If you are not a member of Sundays With Joy click HERE to find out more and to join our group.

If you are a member of our awesome group... link your recipe below!





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7.25.2012

Rest In Peace Aunt T

We all love you and will miss you. Thank you for all sweetness you have brought into our lives.



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7.23.2012

Chili and Cheese Dogs, Happy National Hot Dog Day!



Most of my blogging friends are on a hot dog roll this month. It's killing my diet plans.

Wait what diet plans?! Carrie you clearly are not on any special diet when you are posting butter laden treats all month.

This girl loves her a hot dog. I have had them TWICE this week. And I blame Deborah.
I am quite particular with my hot dogs. I like them 2 ways and normally only one brand will fly in this house.

1st, Schonlands. The only brand you will find in my house. My mother drilled that into me as a kid. It's all she buys and it's all I will ever buy. I like a good snap when I bite through the casing. YUM. And when they grill up on my god. So good and crispy!

2nd way, is a steamed hot dog from my favorite hot dog truck in Concord NH. Puppy Love. All you locals know what I'm talking about. Back in the day Puppy love had a truck in my home town of Plymouth. I have so many memories of getting lunch with my Nana or Mom there. When I was in high school. They moved to Concord. Luckily for me I moved there as well after graduation.

On a nice day I take my kids down to Puppy love and we walk around Main St. Concord with our dogs in hand. It's a huge treat for them... and for me!

My all time favorite way to eat a hot dog is smothered in chili and cheese.

When we go to puppy love my husband always orders their chili and cheese dogs which are smothered in some sort of canned chili product (yuk) and neon yellow nacho cheese. As much as I loooooove me some puppy love I can't do that stuff on top.

So I started making them at home with my chili (specially made just for dogs) and my own cheese sauce.

Sprinkle some sliced scallions and jalapenos on top and I am fat and happy.

OR better yet put some coleslaw on top of that chili HOLY YUM!

To make my chili for hot dogs I want something that isn't super chunky. Its a condiment after all. We also use this chili as a dip, or on top of fries.



Chili for Hot Dogs:

Ingredients:

1 16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup of black beans
1 lb of lean hamburger
1 tbs of chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 clove of minced garlic
1 jalapeno diced
2 tbs of dehydrated minced onion
1 tsp balsamic vinegar


Directions:

In a fry pan brown your beef, cook through completely breaking the pieces up with your spatula. You don't want big hunks of hamburg.

Drain grease from your hamburger and add it into a large sauce pan with the rest of your ingredients. Simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes.  Slop on top of your hot dog!

For your Cheese Sauce:

Ingredients:

2 tbs of butter
2 tbs of flour
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup of shredded American Cheese
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

In a sauce pan add butter and flour whisk together to create a paste, Slowly whisk in milk.

One it is combined add in cheese and salt. Mix on low heat until it has thickened and smooth.

Drizzle over hot dogs.



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7.22.2012

Zucchini Cake with Lemon Buttercream and Six Years Ago Today




"On this day I marry my best friend, the one I live laugh and love with."
 Quoted from our wedding invites. 


Today marks 6 years of married life with my best friend. As most of you know Steve  and I have known each other our whole lives. As a little girl I used to write things in my diary (you know the little one covered with hearts and stars with a lock that anyone can pick?) I <3 Stevie. I wish Stevie was my boyfriend. Today I saw Stevie at the dance. Stevie this... Stevie that.  I knew then he was the one for me. I'm not joking... I knew it! I always envisioned my life with him. Any boy I thought I might like enough I'd compare to him. I crushed on him hard for YEARS.

He's all mine!
November 17th 2000 my sister's Birthday. Stevie and I went on our first date that consisted of some nervous hand holding and a big hug at the end....we have been attached at the hip ever since.

We lived in different towns during our high school years so I would take a bus down to his house and visit on the weekends. During the week we sat on AOL IM (back in the dial up days) and would IM all night long. Talking on the phone was   tough because it was long distance and I was wracking up mom and dads phone bill.... boy I got in so much trouble over those bills through the years! 

We both graduated early and moved in with each other in 2003.

November 17th 2005, Stevie proposes.

July 22nd 2006 we were wed.



Our wedding was at the gorgeous Webster Barn in Hyde Park, Vermont. About 4 hours north of where we live in New Hampshire.

I know what you are thinking... " You were married in a BARN?" Yes I was.



It was the prettiest barn I have ever seen and only available for weddings. It was converted into a wedding venue in 2004 since then Webster Barn has become a hot spot for New England Weddings.



It was simple country Vermont wedding, we served BBQ, and home cooked foods galore. Our drinks were served in galvanized metal tubs filled with ice. Our table cloths were hand made quilted fabric.



The center pieces were wild flowers in canning jars, each table had an antique kerosene lamp.



For wedding favors we had mini picnic baskets filled with fudge from my favorite fudge company in Peirmont, NH. There were bales of hay in the entry way of the barn, huge stained glass windows, straw chandeliers, an antique John Deer sitting in front of the barn, and a small country house open to the wedding party for the weekend.



It was perfect for us. Rustic and 100% New England.

As gorgeous as the setting was nestled in the center of the Green Mountains. It was cloudy with a chance of rain ALL day.



Around 11 pm I had to make the judgement call to stick with our plans and set up the ceremony outside or move it into the barn.


I was NOT going to have an indoor wedding. I wanted to look at the mountains while I said my vows. 
 


I swear someone up there held that rain off just for us!

The ceremony was performed by my husbands step sister Shannon. She had only married one other couple besides us.... her mom and Stevie's dad. So having her do our wedding was very special. We also had my brother in law and cousin play music as I walked down the isle. He was on guitar and my cousin on the fiddle. It was gorgeous.

 

As soon as we were pronounced husband and wife, the winds picked up and we all rushed to get inside when the rain started!

 

I thanked my lucky stars that the storm held off until we finished the ceremony.

Now for the reception... this is where it gets kinda comical.

Our DJ.... was THE worst DJ ever. Seriously horrible. It was one of the things we booked at the last minute and only had one option. She was the only DJ around. There was a point where she played the Hokie Pokie.


                                              
That was my face when I saw what the DJ was doing....

No joke. She did! Worst part was my Nana, Great Aunt Bett were the biggest participants.
THEN she did musical chairs. I kid you not! My Nana and my Mother Inlaw Dixie actually fought over the last chair. My Nana giving Dixie a butt check sending her falling on the floor and my Nana won.

Yeah... 

Then there was cake.

We were referred to a local cake baker from Hyde Park. We didn't do any taste testing, I just emailed her some photos and said. Make this.

It was simple nothing great. then we cut it.... I had a piece shoved in my face courtesy of my new husband. Apparently he didn't want to be married long since I specifically told him before the wedding started... NO CAKE SMOOSHING! But yeah anyways I got a taste of the frosting when he smashed it into my face. It was fake maple flavor. FAKE... in VERMONT... FAKE!!

                                                  

I was so so so disappointed. If anyone can spot fake maple flavor it was this bunch of guests... considering my inlaws own a huge ass Maple Sugar Business. Yeah....

Whateves...

Over all despite the rain, corny DJ, and fake maple cake. It was everything we wanted and more!




A huge thanks to my mom, dad, and my father inlaw for helping us put on a great wedding that we will never forget!

Six years later... and this guy is still all mine!




Because today is our anniversary I wanted to bake something special for Stevie. Since our wedding cake was a bust I thought what better thing to make then a scrumptious cake? If we were to get married again. THIS is the cake we would serve. It's seasonal, country, and fanfreakingtastic!



The zucchini cake is filled with brown sugar, nutmeg, lemon and then topped with a light and fluffy lemon buttercream.



Though it tasted amazing, had great texture and was super moist. My decorating job needs some work. I'm getting there. Each cake I make seems to get better and fancier!



Zucchini Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter; browned
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Directions:

Preheat oven at 350.
Grease and flour (2) 8 in cake pans.

To brown your butter add your sticks to a sauce pan over medium heat, melt until it gets a golden brown color and becomes nutty smelling. Kind of like toffee. Careful not to burn.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, spices and baking soda.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy. Add sugar and brown sugar, and continue beating until well blended.

Stir in browned butter, vanilla, zucchini, and lemon zest. Stir in sifted ingredients.

Pour into cake pans and bake for 25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center and comes out clean.

Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.

FOR THE FROSTING:

3 sticks of room temperature butter (1 1/2 cups)
6-7 cups of powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs of lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
*yellow food coloring optional

Directions:

Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add in sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Mix in cream, salt, lemon and vanilla. Add extra sugar if needed to get desired consistency.

Pipe or frost onto cooled cake.



*** Happy anniversary to my handsome husband Stevie. Cheers to 6 years with more to come! 
May we always be this awesome ***








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7.21.2012

Espresso Granita With Lemon Cream ~Sundays With Joy~



You guys are in for a treat you get Sundays with Joy a whole day early!

Tomorrow marks 6 years that my husband and I tolerated each other and not kicked one another to the curb! (Kidding of course!) so in celebration of our mad love (yes I said mad) I have a special post scheduled for tomorrow. Problem is it gets in the way of Sundays with Joy. Luckily I can post mine today and hand the reigns over to my friend Ellen from Indigo Scones to run the group tomorrow.



I handed my husband a cup of this granita the other night when he got home from work he says "Whats this?"

Espresso Granita with Lemon Cream.

"Well aren't you fancy!"

Yes I am! Fancy indeed.

The great thing about granitas is that they are so stinking easy and a big girl slushy. As a kid I was a huge slushy fan. It was the ultimate treat. Remember Slush Puppies? I looooooved slush puppies. I'd fill my cup with the ice and then do about 100 pumps of each flavor creating a sickly sweet syrupy brown substance. No wonder I had cavities as a child.

Basically all granita is slush, you freeze a drink or fruity stuff. Mix it ever 30 minutes or so. In about 3 hours you have an icy cold slush. So much easier than ice cream! And waaaaay lighter!

This weeks Sundays with Joy recipe was a strong espresso flavored granita topped with lemon scented whipped cream. I'm not an espresso fan.

I like my coffee loaded loaded with cream. I'm a latte fan. they are so milky creamy and sweet. So when i took a bite of the granita with out the lemon cream. Yeah no.... didn't like it.

But then, with the cream?! YUUUUUUUUM



To get the recipe for Joy the Baker's Espresso Granita, you can buy a copy of her book. Click HERE for details.

If you are a member of our group please link you recipes up tomorrow on Indigo Scones.

If you are not a member and would like to learn more about our group Sundays with Joy please check it out by clicking HERE.

(Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Joy the Baker or the publishers of Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes. All opinions are my own)






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7.20.2012

Zucchini Whoopie Pies



Do you ever set out to make something and find that half way through the recipe you go to grab the next ingredient only to find you are out?

If that ingredient was something that could make or break the recipe such as butter, milk, flour, sugar. Your done. Finished. Over.   Toss that batch right in the trash.

It happens to me too often. I'm sure you have all gathered that I am a hot mess in the kitchen. Total craziness erupts several times a week in here.

Sometimes... (most times) I am missing something small something that can be subbed. Which is good for me and good for you because you get a new twist on a classic posted here on the blog.

Yesterday I set out to make a cookie that I grew up eating in the summers and early fall. I had a teacher Mrs. Messier (for those of you from HCS you'll remember...) Mrs. Messier was also a friend of my parents and babysat my brother and I after school.

I remember feeling so special that I got to stay after school after all the other kids piled onto their buses while my brother and I played on the playground. Mrs. Messier would then pile us into her old Volvo and bring us down the road to her house.

She would set us up in her in living room to watch "Goof Troop" and give us zucchini chocolate chip cookies. It's been about 20 years since I've had one of those cookies but I can still taste them! They were filled with a hint of nutmeg, a  little lemon, cakey much like a pumpkin cookie and loaded up with chocolate chips.

Yesterday I was hell bent on having one of those cookies. Yeah well... no chocolate chips threw a wrench in that plan! I had the base cookie done. So I knew they would be good just as is.

When they came out of the oven I was super bummed. Just a bit plain without the chocolate. I was also in the middle of making a special cake for my husband (post on Sunday!) I was up to my eyeballs in Lemon Buttercream.

Duh Carrie fill those babies up with frosting and you have a whoopie pie. Mrs. Messier's cookies can wait for another day!

My husband loooooooves zucchini cake with lemon frosting. So I knew this would be popular. The kids are weirdos and don't like frosting on things? But yet they will sit down and lick the mixing bowl clean when I'm whipping up a batch. Go figure they didn't like the whoopie pies but wanted me to save them some un filled cookies. They loved them as is. So I guess chocolate chips were not make or break.



Zucchini Whoopie Pies


Ingredients:

1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup of shredded zucchini (skin on seeds removed)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.


In the bowl of your electric mixer cream butter and sugars together. Add in egg, lemon zest, and vanilla. After it is combined mix in flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Fold in zucchini

Drop heaving 1 tbs mounds onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes. remove and allow to cool completely before filling with frosting.

(Recipe yields 1 1/2 - 2 dozen cookies)

For the Frosting:

1/2 cup room temp butter
2-3 cups of powder sugar
1 tsp heavy cream
1 tbs lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

With an electric mixer cream butter with sugar. Add in sugar 1/2 cup at a time.  If it is too thick add in heavy cream to thin it out a tad.

Mix in lemon zest, vanilla and salt. Whip oh med/high until it is light and fluffy.

Pipe into cooled cookies.




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