Thursday, May 21, 2015

Glazed Cherry-Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

If muffins were people this one would be one of my best friends. These muffins have many of the traits one would want in a friend.  They're sweet, but not overly so. They're a little nutty, but only in a good way. They're warm and inviting. They're not too simple, not too complex. They're a good companion at breakfast or at tea. Say hello to my friend, Glazed Cherry Oatmeal Muffins.






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Glazed Cherry-Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup old fashioned oats

Glaze

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a muffin pan by greasing or use paper liners.
In a small bowl, combine pecans and cherries. Toss with 1 tablespoon flour until coated. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine butter and sugar. Stir in milk and egg. Whisk together remaining flour, baking powder, salt, and oats. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, stir until combined. Fold nut mixture into batter. Spoon batter into prepared pan, filling cups almost full. Bake for 20 - 22 minutes. Makes 9 muffins.

To make glaze:  In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Stir together until smooth. Drizzle over cooled muffins.







For more delicious cherry bread and muffin recipes:

Cherry Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
Cherry Oatmeal Muffins
Cherry Pie Muffins
Cherry-Wheat Germ Muffins
Dried Cherry Cardamom Bread


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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Dark Chocolate Mint Julep Pie

I'm a believer of the adage 'failure is never final', and it especially applies to mishaps in the kitchen. After much recipe scrutiny, I set my sights on a Dark Chocolate Mint Julep Pie for my birthday treat this year. Long story short, my birthday pie ended up in the trash. It looked quite lovely, but the taste was not good.

My taste buds were sure they knew how a Dark Chocolate Mint Julep Pie should taste, so not to be defeated, I tried again. This time I made a number of changes to the recipe. Fortunately, failure really isn't final, and the pie was wonderful on the second try.





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Dark Chocolate Mint Julep Pie

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
3.5 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used Moser Roth 85%)
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon mint extract
1 tablespoon bourbon
2 tablespoons butter
1 prepared graham cracker crust
3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips, for garnish
Whipped cream, optional

In a double boiler, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in milk and cream. Cook and stir over medium heat, adding the chocolate a little at a time. Continue to cook and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is thickened. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks, then add the yolks to the chocolate mixture. Cook and stir about 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Add mint extract, bourbon, and butter; stir until well combined. Cover the hot mixture with plastic wrap and allow to cool. When cooled, pour into prepared crust. Refrigerate until set. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top and serve with whipped cream, if desired.






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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Candied Mint Leaves

Over the past couple of weeks I've been going through dessert recipes, searching for something really yummy to make for my birthday. I came across a recipe I want to try that sounds almost too wonderful - Dark Chocolate Mint Julep Pie. The pie is rich with milk, eggs, and heavy cream, plus it combines dark chocolate with a touch of bourbon. This sounds like a dessert worthy of a birthday to me. The recipe suggested garnishing the pie with candied mint leaves. Since I had never made candied mint leaves, this in itself piqued my interest. The pie is yet to be made, but with the birthday is right around the corner, I decided to test out the mint leaves.







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Candied Mint Leaves

Fresh mint leaves
1 egg white, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons sugar
1 drop mint extract

Prepare the mint leaves by removing from the stem. Using your fingers, gently rub the egg white onto each leaf. Lay the leaves out on a sheet of parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine sugar and mint extract, mixing well. Sprinkle or sift the sugar mixture over the mint leaves. Allow to dry. When crisp, the mint leaves are ready to use.








My original purpose in making these candied mint leaves was for garnishing the chocolate dessert, but now I'm also thinking how great they would be in a pitcher of LEMONADE. Actually, a Dark Chocolate Mint Julep Pie served with lemonade and candied mint leaves sounds like a great plan for a birthday party.


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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sourdough Biscuits

Those who like sourdough bread will probably find sourdough biscuits to their liking, as well. I've tried different recipes for sourdough biscuits and have found this simple one gives great results. I used my sweet sourdough starter in this recipe.








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Sourdough Biscuits

1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sourdough starter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a baking pan by lining with parchment paper. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add butter and use a pastry blender to cut in until mixture is blended and crumbly. Stir in sourdough starter. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead several times. Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness and use a biscuit cutter to cut biscuits. Place biscuits on prepared pan. Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 8 biscuits.






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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cilantro Lime Salsa for Cinco de Mayo

This morning when my husband and I had our usual, "what do you want for dinner tonight" discussion, he asked me to make Mexican Chicken. Hmmm, appropriate, I thought, since today is Cinco de Mayo. I have his Mexican Chicken in the oven, but I decided it wouldn't be much of a celebration without some salsa. This recipe is quick and easy to make, and I love it because it's so chunky. I know there are two camps of salsa lovers, the chunkies and the runnies. I am definitely on the chunky team (no snide comments here, please)! Runny salsa is not my thing. Who wants to dip a tortilla chip in tomato juice? Not me. If you're on the chunky team with me, then this Cilantro Lime Salsa is the perfect way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.



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Cilantro Lime Salsa

2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire roasted tomatoes, drained (or regular diced tomatoes, if you prefer)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, garlic and jalapeño. Add lime juice, salt, and cilantro; mix well. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips.






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Friday, April 24, 2015

Copycat Zax Sauce

Zaxby's is one of the local fast food places my grandson and I enjoy. I always order a salad, and he orders chicken fingers with an extra Zax sauce. I think the sauce might be his favorite part. When he learned there was a recipe for a copycat version of Zaxby's dipping sauce, he wanted to make it at home to see if it could be as good as the original.

This sauce takes only about 5 minutes to make, but it needs to chill to let the flavors blend. Once the sauce was ready, he was the first to try a taste test, and it passed his rigorous dipping sauce standards. He said it really did taste like Zax sauce.







Zax Sauce (copycat version)

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup catsup
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a small bowl combine mayonnaise and catsup. Add garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper. Stir until all ingredients are well blended. Cover and refrigerate for two hours before serving. Serve as a dipping sauce for chicken tenders.








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Making Memories Monday

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dresser Repurpose for Laundry Room

I can't take any credit for this dresser remake. This is my daughter's project, and she did the planning and the work. It turned out so well and is so useful in her laundry room, I just had to share it. I didn't get a before photo, but she started with an old dresser that was well-used. First she removed the mirror and several of the drawers.




She gave it a new look with a little sanding and a couple of coats of white paint. She also refreshed the original hardware with some metallic-type spray paint. The drawers were replaced with colorful storage baskets to match the decor.

Next, she added an ironing table on the top. This part was my contribution to the project. I made the ironing board in the same way I had previously made an ironing table for the top of my clothes dryer. We made hers 17.5 x 40 inches to fit the top of the dresser, leaving room at one end for her iron.

To make her laundry chores a little easier, she used a discarded bar stool as an accessory for the ironing table. She recovered the seat of the stool with the same print fabric that we used on the ironing board. Her finished project has proven not only to be pretty, but to be a useful and practical part of her laundry room.





Reusing furniture by giving it new purpose and new life is both economical and environmentally friendly. I'm so glad she had a creative vision for an old, discarded dresser and a forlorn bar stool.


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