Sunday, March 31, 2013

happy Easter!

Soooo, did you have fun Easter egg hunting?
Hear a good sermon at church?
I hope so :)
And now, go make these before dinner!
They are fake-out lofthouse cookies that you get at the grocery store.
You know the ones.
That call to you with dreams of white flour and sugar and are so so soft?
Creamy frosting on top and those cute sprinkles?
You know the ones.
We call them "fatty cookies" at our house.
And here's my version!

Fatty Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen.
Adapted from several places online.

6 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons heavy cream
Food coloring, optional
Sprinkles, optional, but necessary :)

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and sour cream and beat at low speed until combined.
Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. Dough will be a little sticky and that is ok. Divide dough into two sections. Flatten into rectangles about 1 1/2 inches thick, then wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator overnight or for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 425*F. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Lightly flour the countertop and the top of the dough. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7 minutes, until cookies are slightly golden around the edges. Immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Cook cookies completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and vanilla extract. Slowly beat in powdered sugar and the pinch of salt. Once smooth and creamy, add in heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, then beat at medium-high speed for a minute or two until light and fluffy. Add food coloring, if desired, and beat until combined.
Once cookies have cooled completely, frost and add sprinkles, if desired. Allow frosting to set, then store in an air-tight container.

Friday, March 29, 2013

flashback friday - need Easter dinner ideas?

Need Easter dinner ideas?
This was the best Easter dinner to date...but we'll see how I do on Sunday ;)

Roasted leg of lamb with herb crust and mint sauce, except I used a mix of herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc) and did a fresh mint sauce (mint and white wine vinegar) instead of that sauce.  Oh, and we marinated it for 1/2 an hour before roasting...

Scalloped potatoes, except I added more cheese :)

Roasted Brussels sprouts with thyme and red pears....sooooo good just as is :)

Hot cross buns, delicious!!

And, as always, coconut cake :)
(But, I did cheat and use bagged, shredded, sweet coconut this time ;) )

Monday, March 25, 2013

greek pizza

This is fantastic.
Possibly our new favorite pizza.

Greek Pizza
My brother sent me this recipe from somewhere he found online.
12-16 ounces fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Olive oil
Pizza dough for one medium pizza, homemade or storebought, rolled out to your preferred thickness and size
2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, grilled or roasted and cut into bite-sized dices (use leftovers if you've got them!)
1 can of artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed, chopped
1/2 cup black olive slices
A couple handfuls of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
A handful of mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat your oven to 450*.  (Or you could grill this outside.)
Meanwhile, saute the spinach and garlic in a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat until wilted.  Process until smooth in a food processor or blender.
Spread over pizza dough with a spatula.
Evenly spread diced chicken, artichoke hearts, olives, cherry tomato halves, feta and mozzarella.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden and bubbly!

Friday, March 22, 2013

homemade coconut deodorant

I know, I know.
Or beyond odd.
But, my mama is a breast cancer survivor.
The docs told her to use a natural deodorant.
We started researching and realized how much yucky stuff goes into deodorant/antiperspirant.
A. Lot.
Even the natural stuff.
So, I decided to make my own.

And it works!!
All natural and 4 ingredients (or less!), you can't beat that.

Homemade Coconut Deodorant
Make one little tub (or enough for a standard size deodorant tube)
Adapted from several online sources.
1/4 cup arrowroot (or cornstarch)
1/4 cup baking soda
5 tablespoons coconut oil, pure, organic, melted
A few drops rose oil or other essential oil of your choice (optional)

Sift arrowroot and soda together in a small bowl.

Add coconut oil.

Whisk until powders are dissolved and mixture is very smooth.
*Add essential oil(s) now, if using.*

Pour into a small bowl and pinch out with fingertips and rub into skin.
Let set for a bit in the fridge (depending on how hot your house is) and pour/mold into empty deodorant container and use as normal.

Monday, March 18, 2013

spinach artichoke dip

I love this stuff.
Creamy, gooey, and oh-so-satisfying!

This is my take on it.
I like creamy, not chunky.
I like this dip hot or cold.

Plus, my version is low(er) fat!

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Makes about a cup and a half.
6 ounces fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic, sliced
Olive oil
1 can artichokes, drained and rinsed
8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, at room temp
1/4 cup Parm, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the spinach in the olive oil and garlic slices over medium heat until wilted.
Process in food processor or blender until smooth.
Add artichokes, cream cheese, and Parm and blend until very creamy.
Enjoy at room temp or chilled in the fridge.
Spread in a baking dish and broil for a few seconds!

Friday, March 15, 2013

flashback friday - huevos rancheros

Anyone else in a funk?
I am.
I need comfort.
And we just did scones.
So, I go back to my roots.

Want a quick breakfast that satisfies?  Try huevos rancheros!  It's Tex Mex at it's best!  And it's easy!
Get a tortilla and grill it:
(That's right, I'm "grilling" on my burners...)

Cover it with mashed black beans:
(Recipe here)

Sprinkle on the cheese:

Zap in the microwave for 30 seconds and top with a fried egg!

Add some hot sauce and yum!

Monday, March 11, 2013

maple oat scones

Need a pick-me-up from daylight savings?
I hate spring forward.

So, we will make scones today!
Light and crumbly!
Barely sweet and might even be healthy for you ;)

Maple and Oat Scones
Makes 8-12, depending...
From Smitten Kitchen!

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting surface
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 very heaped tablespoon baking powder
1 very heaped tablespoon superfine or granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Scant 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup milk or buttermilk
1 egg, beaten (for glaze)

Preheat your oven to 400*F. 
Butter a baking tray, or line with parchment paper.
Whisk the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. 

Grate cold butter with a box grater and incorporate into dry mixture. 

Add milk and syrup to the butter and flour mixture. 

By hand or with a rubber spatula, bring everything together to form a soft dough. If it feels too dry, add a little more milk but not enough that the dough is sticky. On a lightly floured surface, pat or roll the dough out until it is 1 1/4 inches tall. 

Using a 2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter, cut the dough into rounds and place them on the prepared tray so that they almost touch. 

Glaze the tops with beaten egg and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the scones are lightly golden.

Serve warm and enjoy!

*Kinda dry the next while you can!*

Friday, March 8, 2013

gd likes

a beautiful Easter dress?  ha. only around $4000.

a new blender.  mine is dead.

these.  oh please, oh please.

and this.  where can i find this?? :/

Soooo, what do you like this week????

Monday, March 4, 2013

feed the birds!

It's still so cold outside!
And my sweet little one asked the other day how the birds live outside in the cold.
And that had me thinking...why not feed the birds!

A perfect craft to do with your small ones when it's still too cold to go and play at the park.
Hope you (all!) enjoy!

Birdseed Shapes
Makes 2-4, depending on how large your cookie cutters are.
1/4 cup water
1 envelope of gelatin
3/4 cup birdseed
Cookie cutters
Twine, string, or ribbon
Wax paper

Combine water and gelatin in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring often.  Let dissolve completely and then remove from heat for one minute.  Stir in birdseed, adding a bit more if you still see liquid at the bottom.  Lay out your cookie cutters on a piece of wax paper.  Fill a cookie cutter halfway, insert a twine loop (to hang), and continue filling to the top.  Press as much as you can (it's sticky!) and let dry for a day, turning over a couple times.  Hang (on the doorknob if you are too lazy/cold to walk all the way to a tree) and enjoy!

Friday, March 1, 2013

flashback friday - onion tarte

Before we get too spring-y, let's have a few more nights of comfort food, eh????

*and please excuse those pictures!  old camera + no experience = yikes.  still a good recipe though!*

Onion tarte doesn't sound too appealing, huh?  Even if you call it a tarte instead of a pizza, like it really is?  :)
What about if it looks like this??

This tarte is great.  The onions get super sweet and caramel-y and the mustard really brightens things up.  It's great to serve with soup (like we did) or as appetizers for a dinner party.  It's homey but fancy and just plain delicious.
Might sound strange to have a whole pizza with just onions, but trust me, if you call it atarte, it transforms :)

Onion Tarte
Adapted from Gourmet  
Serves 8, as appetizers
One recipe pizza dough, or store-bought
Olive oil
3 pounds yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved

Roll out the pizza dough into a big rectangle, 15"x12".  Lay on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a large heavy Dutch oven over medium low heat.  Add sliced onions and the salt and pepper.  Cover with a lid or a piece of parchment paper and cook until onions are very soft and dark golden brown, about an hour and a half.
Preheat oven to 375*.
Brush the pizza dough with the mustard and spread onion mixture evenly over the surface.  Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until tarte is golden brown.  Cut into diamonds (it's pretty!) and serve!

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