Saturday, August 16, 2014

Key Lime Pie


Today I made a Key Lime Pie - it is one of my husbands favorite desserts. He always wants to order Key Lime Pie for dessert in restaurants. It is really very simple to make and this recipe called for lime zest which added a little extra lime flavor. I also did not process my graham crackers in the food processor because I detest cleaning out my food processor. So instead I put the graham crackers in a large zipper top bag and used a rolling pin over them repeatedly until they were almost fine crumbs. I think my crust has a thicker rustic look.

I found this recipe on The Moveable Feasts and it is a really fascinating blog.

Ingredients:

4 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

4 large egg yolks

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

11 graham crackers, processed to fine crumbs ( 1 1/4 cup)

3 tablespoons sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

For the filling whisk the zest and yolks in a medium bowl for about 2 minutes until the mixture is tinted light green. Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk and then the lime juice. I used a combination of regular and key limes to make the lime juice. Key limes are so small that it would take forever to make 1/2 cup of juice.  Set the mixture aside to thicken at room temperature.



For the crust preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter. Stir until the mixture is blended.Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. Pressing the mixture to the bottom and sides of the pan to form an even layer. Bake the crust for 15 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and add the filling on to the cooled crust and bake for 15 - 17 minutes. The center should be set but yet wiggly when jiggled. Return the pie to the wire rack so that it cools to room temperature.


Once the pie is cooled it should be refrigerated for at least 3 hours. Serve with lime slices and dollops of whipped cream.


I used the key limes to make the slices to decorate the pie.


Key Lime Pie is really a perfect summertime dessert. It is both sweet and tart, cool and refreshing.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Peach Cobbler Bars


I saw the Peach Cobbler Bar picture on foodgawker and it lead me to the blog From Calculus to Cupcakes. And I found the recipe really easy and happened to have all the ingredients in my kitchen.

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

2 cups flour

1 cup oats

1 cup sugar

4 large peaches, peeled and chopped into small pieces

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8" x 8" square baking pan with foil. Brush the foil with a little of the melted butter.

In a medium mixing bowl stir together the flour, oats and 1 cup of sugar. Pour the melted butter over the dry ingredients and mix with a fork until the mixture resembles a coarse meal texture.

Press approximately 1/2 of the oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Stir the peaches with the cornstarch and sugar. Spread the peach mixture evenly on top of the  pressed crust. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the top of the peaches.

Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until the top is golden brown.


Let the Peach Cobbler Bars cool for at least 1/2 hour. Then carefully cut the bars into 12 even pieces.


Can you see the juicy layer of peaches?


I have served these bars with both vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Another Back-to-School Treat Bookmarks for Meals on Wheels



I made some cute and quick bookmarks for an additional September treat. These would also be a fun book club treat or a homemade treat to add to a book gift.


I simply purchased some pre-made bookmark tags at Michael's. These also come in white.


On each tag I wrote Bookmark/Hall Pass and tied a little coordinating ribbon.



I found this cute polka dot ribbon at Michael's. I think the polka dots add a fun element.


Along with the pencil treats - these will be a fun little September treat for Meals on Wheels.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Peach Blueberry Muffins


Once again blueberries were on sale this week! And I love the smell of fresh peaches - I can't stop buying peaches. They are a lovely Jo Malone perfume for the kitchen. So while I was looking up some recipes online I came across this fantastic recipe for Peach Blueberry Muffins and I just knew that I had to make them! This recipe called for a jumbo muffin tin. I felt like I might have an extra large muffin tin in my baking pan area. And guess what - I did have a jumbo muffin tin! So no trip to Williams Sonoma needed.

I found this recipe on spoonfulofflavor.com and the photos of the muffins were so amazing that I had to make her recipe!

Ingredients:

For Crumb Topping

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup melted butter

2/3 cup flour

For the Muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 3/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

1 cup peached, chopped

1 cup blueberries

For the Glaze

1 cup confectioners sugar

3 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a jumbo muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Note: my jumbo muffin tin makes just 6 super large muffins which was just perfect for this recipe.

In a medium mixing bowl make the crumb topping combine the sugars, cinnamon and melted butter. Using a rubber spatula stir in the flour until the mixture is combined and crumbly. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment , beat the butter on high speed until smooth. Add brown sugar and sugar and beat on high until fluffy about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add the eggs, yogurt and vanilla.

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Add the milk and mix until there are no longer any lumps.

Remove bowl from stand mixer and scrape the sides. Slowly fold in the blueberries and peaches.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tin, filling them all they way to the top.


Divide the crumb topping among each of the muffins. Crumble the topping with your hands to make some big chunks.


Bake for 5 minutes at 425 degrees then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 23 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes.


 Slowly run a knife around the top of the muffin and pop them out and let them cool on a wire rack set on top of wax paper. These muffins popped out of the pan perfectly.


Whisk the confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla together to make the glaze. Using a fork drizzle the glaze over the muffins.


I drizzled my glaze while the muffins were still a little warm. The next time I make this recipe I will wait until the muffins are completely cool before adding the glaze.


This muffin is ready for breakfast!


The top of the muffin is sweet and crusty and the inside is moist and chock full of blueberries and peach chunks.

These muffins would be fantastic to serve on a special occasion - or anyway day of the week!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Back-to-School Treats for Meals on Wheels


School supplies are so fun! When my kids were little - I used to host little Back-to-School parties and give everyone a goodie bag with pencils, glue sticks, crayons. So when I was thinking what should I make for Meals on Wheels in September? There is no "real" holiday to celebrate in September - but I could do some sort of Back-to-School fun treat.


I saw these pencils at Target. And knew that I could do something cute with them. P.S. It took a long time to sharpen over 100 pencils!


Michael's had a 20% off everything this week - even clearance items. So I picked up these stickers on super sale!


Using "pretzel" bags that you can pick up at any craft or party store - I added two pencils to each bag and made a little tag with my A+ sticker and stapled it on top of the pretzel bag. And this will be the September Meals on Wheels treat.

On the little tag I wrote "You have the write stuff to get an A+

These little pencil bags would be fun for your kids to make for friends/classmates. And if you aren't making 50 bags - you could add extra pencils to the bag. This would also be cute with colored pencils.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hats for the Homeless


My daughter joined the church  knitting group - that knits hats for the homeless. They knit these hats and save them until winter. These are three the three hats that she has made this week.


She is working on a pink and white hat and will most likely finish it at the Friday morning knitting group.


Is the camouflage hat your favorite?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Swimming By To Say Hi! A Meals on Wheels Treat!



I started making these little felt fish last week. It takes me about a half hour to sew three fish. Whenever I make something for Meals on Wheels - I make at least 50 treats. Often I make around 53 just in case a few more ladies or gentleman decided that they need Meals on Wheels.

To make this project you will need:

Orange felt

Fish cookie cutter or template

Black pen

Scissors

Black embroidery thread

Small black bead

Cotton balls

Cellophane bag

Ribbon

Label

Directions:

Using a fish cookie cutter or template trace the image both forward and backward on the orange felt.


When the two sides are sewn together - the black marked sides should be sewn inward.



My little fish template is something that I was using when teaching Religion class many years ago. I am not sure when and where I bought this little fish that I traced for this project.


First I sew the eye on the top piece of felt - then continue sewing the two pieces together. Before the fish is sewn shut add a few cotton balls.


Once all the fish were made (50+) I started to package them.


I found these cellophane bags at Michael's and they sort of look like a goldfish bowl.


I blew into the cellophane bag and quickly tied it with a ribbon. On the back of the bag is a little label that said "Swimming by...to say hi! This is going to be a late August Meals on Wheels treat.

These little fish would be cute to make for a birthday party with a fishing theme or a Religion class.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Blueberry Lemon Bread



Blueberries have been on sale every where in the last two weeks. I have been putting them in my morning yogurt and in fruit salad.  But today I decided to make some blueberry lemon bread.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

Glaze:

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons milk


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter and lightly flour a 8x4 loaf pan.

In a small bowl add the blueberries, 3 tablespoons of flour and the lemon zest. Mix and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat together butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture alternatively with the milk.

Slowly fold in the blueberries. Add the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for about 60 minutes.


Cool bread on a wire rack for 45 minutes. Run a knife around the parameter of the bread and place it on to a serving platter. I love the cracks on the top of this bread.



Once the bread is on a serving platter - stir up the glaze with the powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk. Drizzle the glaze over the bread. It will take the glaze a good hour to set. After the glaze has set - the bread can be sliced.

Yum! You can really taste the lemon and fresh berries.




Saturday, July 12, 2014

Farmer's Market Corn Chowder


Tonight for dinner I made homemade Corn Chowder. It is so simple to make and served with a salad makes a perfect summer dinner. I always make Corn Chowder in the summer with fresh sweet corn.

I also like to add some fresh toppings. On the Corn Chowder that I made tonight I added some diced red bell pepper, crisp bacon pieces, avocado chucks and sliced green onions.


While the soup is simmering I wash and cut up the vegetables that will be sprinkled on the top of the each bowl of soup.

Ingredients:

6 strips of bacon

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion,  finely chopped

salt and pepper

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 medium sized russet potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

5 ears of sweet corn, with the kernels removed

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 pint half and half

Ideas for Toppings:

diced bell peppers

chopped cilantro

chopped flat-leaved parsley

chopped chives

diced avocado

diced jalapeño

shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

In a large soup pot cook the bacon until nice and crispy. Remove the bacon to a plate with a paper towel. Once the bacon has cooled it can be broken into small pieces.

Add the olive oil to the same pan and add the onion and sauté it for 5 to 6 minutes stirring every few minutes  Season the onion with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.

Now add the potatoes, fresh corn kernels, chicken broth and half and half. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes.


Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls and sprinkle each bowl with some fresh vegetables and herbs and the bacon pieces.



The next time you go to the Farmer's Market - pick up some fresh ears of corn and make this easy Corn Chowder.










Friday, July 11, 2014

Oatmeal Raisin White Chocolate Chip Cookies


My husband really likes Oatmeal Raisin cookies - when we were first married I used to make the Oatmeal cookie recipe from the side of the oatmeal container. Then I started looking around for different Oatmeal cookie recipes. One of my favorites is a super thin Oatmeal cookie without raisins that bakes really thin and looks like lace - but he really doesn't like those as much.  Marriage is a compromise.

I found this recipe on fun and food cafe blog http://www.funandfoodcafe.com and the recipe was really easy and the cookies turned out perfect. Of course I changed the recipe just a little to suit my needs and the ingredients that were in my pantry.

Ingredients:

2 sticks of butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

! tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups raisins

1 cup white chocolate chips

3 cups old fashioned oats

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two large cookie sheets,

In a stand mixer beat the butter until creamy. Add both the brown sugar and granulated sugar. Beat until fluffy for about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and give the mixture a final mix.

Mix the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and mix the raisins and white chocolate chips with a wooden spoon. Lastly stir in oatmeal.


Spoon large tablespoons of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes.

While the first batch of the cookies are baking - put the bowl of dough in the refrigerator. The dough should stay cold while each batch is baking.


Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes and then place them on a wire rack to finish cooling.


These can be stored an air-tight container for up to a week - although I doubt they will last that long.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Meals on Wheels Party Favors Guidelines and my Craft Ideas

I have decided to write out all of my ideas of my monthly Meals on Wheels party favors. Some months I might make two party favors - but mostly I just make one a month.

Now if you are planning on calling a local Senior Center or Meals on Wheels and offer to make them monthly party favors - here are some simple guidelines:

1. Don't include food items - many seniors are on special diets

2. Don't make religion specific items for the holidays for example in December make a snowman craft

3. Make the party favors - so that they can be given to a gentleman or a lady

4. Package the party favor in a cute way so it seems like a special treat.

These are my Meals on Wheels ideas for the rest of the year - by planning my crafts I be organized and can watch for coupons and sales.

July - 4th of July Necklaces (Done)



July - mini summer themed card with drink umbrella (Done) The umbrellas will be opened up right before the little summer card is delivered. Inside of the card - I wrote "Stay cool this summer!"


August - little baseball paddle game (Done) On card - I wrote "Summertime is also Baseball time"


August - felt fish -  I need a goldfish cookie cutter to use as a tracing template

September - back to school themed treat - I am thinking pencils?

September - magnifying glasses

October - egg carton pumpkin - need 10 egg cartons (I guess I need to start saving them asap!)

October - witches broom pens

November - a turkey themed placemat and/or turkey bookmark

December - snowman or gingerbread man craft. Still deciding.....