Thursday, June 28, 2012

Frozen Fudge Bites

Do you have that one sweet treat from your childhood that you remember as being the best treat ever?  My mom made Frozen Fudge Bars, and they were soooo very much my favorite! We didn't get them often, but we loved when she would make a batch up. She would pour 'em into the cupcake pans and go back later and placed the stick in after they had set-up for a while. Then, when they were all frozen into their fudge destiny,  for a few minutes on the hot summer days, my sister and I wouldn't be whining. We would be sitting there enjoying the fudge bars, and Mom had a few minutes of peace and quite.

I thought those Bars would be a nice refreshing treat this week since the temps and humidity are horrible. I did change 'em up a little bit, and made them in my mini-muffin pan, so they will be just a pop-able bite of chocolate fudge goodness!

They still do the trick, and get me to stop whining about the heat :)

Frozen Fudge Bites
1 pkg (4 oz.) instant chocolate pudding
2 c. milk
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. evaporated milk
Sprinkles (optional)

Mix pudding as directed on package.  Next, add sugar and evaporated milk. Mix well. Cool for 5 minutes.  

If you want to add some fun sprinkles, add them to the "mold" before you pour the pudding mixture in.  Pour pudding into paper cups, molds, or muffin pan.  Add sticks if needed.  Freeze. 

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

Summer is finally here! The berries are producing, the garden is growing, I am so happy! The many hours of daylight are so nice! I am all to aware that we really need to enjoy this weather while summer is here. The summers fly by all to fast, in the northern states.

Black Raspberries have been my favorite berry, for as long as I can remember.  I think partially because I never pick enough to make anything with them. Typically, I pick just a few to get that taste, and then wait for the next season. This year I am lucky enough to have enough to bake with, and make my first attempt at a jam. It really is exciting for me! To my friend that took me berry picking on her dad's land to score the berries... Thank You!

I thought of one of the recipes that has been on my must try list.... Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread, from Sally's Baking Addiction. After seeing the picture, I had been craving it. I have been making the same banana bread recipe for way to many years. It's a good recipe, but I have been needing to try something new! I had the banana's ripening, and berries picked. I was ready to rock! Sally used Red Raspberries in hers, so I made a slight change there. She also halved her berries, I wasn't that patient so threw mine in whole. I am so glad I tried this recipe, you will be too! It has to be the best banana bread I have ever made! Moist, and packed full of flavor. Believe me , your house will smell amazing. The combination of banana's, chocolate and raspberries... It couldn't be better!

Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread  (Source Sally's Baking Addiction)

2 c. all purpose flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. sugar
4 T. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c. mashed very ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/3 c. greek yogurt
1 t. vanilla extract
3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. raspberries, tossed in 1 T all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and butter with mixer on medium speed until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla. Continue beating until blended.

Slowly add the flour mixture, until just combined.  Do not overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips and then gently stir in the raspberries.. 
The batter will be very thick, so spoon it into the prepared loaf pan rather than pouring it. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on the wire rack.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Flowers Blooming and Berries Ripening


It's so nice to see color starting to appear in the flower beds!

Black Raspberries are ready to be picked! My all time favorite berry!

The highlight of last week...
Boiled peanuts delivered from South Carolina by my Truckin' Man. 
Thank You Mandy for helping make this possible!

 Over the weekend, we finally got rain! 2 1/2 inches!

 Corn is more than knee high

 Finally enjoying garden fresh salads....

 Looks like we will have a bumper crop of potatoes.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Upside Down Strawberry Meringue Pie

One of my girlfriends has started a pick your own strawberry farm, so knowing that picking season was almost here, I started thinking of what I wanted to make this year. I remembered a pie I used to make back in the days when I used to make pies all the time. Those days had left, and so had my cookbook, apparently. 

Anyone else ever get rid of that one cookbook that you later kick yourself for not hanging on to???  I have been the last two weeks. I guess that is the risk involved when you move so many times, and try to downsize and get rid of things you "think" you no longer need. After some research I thought I could recreate it. Mainly from memory, but I was having problems remembering the filling. Finally, thanks to a blog I stumbled across, Carries Sweet Life, I thought I could put all the elements together.  

Lesson learned??? Before you get rid of ANY cookbooks, make sure that you have copied or written down any recipes you may ever want to recreate again!

Upside Down Strawberry Meringue Pie

1 1/2 squares semi-sweet chocolate
1 prepared 9 inch pie crust (yes, I cheated)
2 egg whites
1/4 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. berries (divided)
1/3 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1/2 c. water
1 c. whipping cream
1 T. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
Grated chocolate for garnish

In microwave, melt 1 1/2 squares of semi-sweet chocolate.  Once melted, pour onto crust. Spread evenly so the entire crust is covered. Chill until set.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Bring egg whites to room temperature. Add egg whites to large stainless steel bowl.  Beat on medium-high speed, until soft peaks have formed.  Gradually add 1/4 c. sugar. Continue beating on high speed, until stiff peaks have formed.  Spread on top of chocolate covered crust.  Bake at 325 degrees, for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden.  Set crust aside to cool.

In medium saucepan, add 2 c. berries, and mash. Add sugar.  Bring to boil, over medium high heat, stirring frequently.  In small bowl, whisk cornstarch, and water.  Gradually add cornstarch mixture to boiling strawberry mash.  Reduce heat, and stir until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Cool.

Once strawberry mixture has cooled, poor over cooled meringue.  Chill until set.

Once set, before serving, prepare whipped topping. In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat.
Garnish with remaining berries, and grated chocolate.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Crazy BBQ Chicken

Many many years ago, when I was still in the banking world, I had the pleasure of sharing my cubicle with a new hire. The bank was going through merger after merger, and we were expanding beyond belief. I trained in the new guy, and since we got along, and were short on desk space, we were assigned to share. It wasn't all bad sharing such close quarters, he liked talking food too! 

In all our bank time together, he shared one recipe with me, that I have kept with me to this day. It's simple, but perfect. It is my all time favorite way to grill chicken.

Here is the recipe, as he gave it to me.  Enjoy!

Crazy BBQ Chicken

1 Large Bottle 7-Up (I use the 2 liter bottle)
2 red onions - diced
4 large garlic cloves-diced
1 bottle soy sauce ( adjust to your taste on how much you want to use!)
Hot sauce (Optional)
2 chickens cut into pieces

Put all ingredients into an old paint bucket (I use 2 of my largest bowls for this part!).

Marinate for 5 or more hours.

Grill-Basting Once.

***Note*** This recipe is easily cut in half, if you aren't feeding a crowd!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

 I am sure you have realized by now, I love Peanut Butter!  It's perfect on toast for breakfast, on crackers for a snack, and of course in any of a bazillion desserts! When taking a break from my hundred outdoor summer tasks last week, I was reading through one of the "Taste of Home" cookbooks that my grandma passed to me. In it, I found my newest cookie adventure...  Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies. This is such a delightful cookie! And tasty filling! As much as we love our cookies in this house, one sandwich is usually enough!

 Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies (Source Taste of Home)
1 c. butter-flavored shortening 
1 c. creamy peanut butter 
1 c. sugar 
1 c. packed brown sugar
3 eggs 
1 t. vanilla extract 
3 c. all-purpose flour 
2 t. baking soda 
1/4 t. salt 

1/2 c. creamy peanut butter 
3 c. confectioners' sugar 
1 t. vanilla extract 
5 to 6 T. milk

In a large bowl, cream shortening, peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add Vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well.  

Shape into 1-in. balls and place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten to 3/8-in. thickness with fork. Bake at 375° for 7-8 minutes or until golden. Remove to wire racks to cool.   
For filling, in a large bowl, beat the peanut butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Spread on half of the cookies and top each with another cookie.

***Note***  I matched the cookies up before frosting so that they would each have the closest sandwich mate possible.  

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Saturday, June 2, 2012

A day on the farm

Some highlights of the week.....

My new boots arrived. Little bit of city fashion, with farm country practicality.  
Truckin' Man calls them "Princess Boots".

Chickens are doing amazing! I learned that they LOVE Strawberries!

This is the last picture we will see of the Cornish chickens. 
It's time for them to fulfill their chicken destiny.

The potatoes are growing! Amazing what happens when the rain finally falls!

Truckin' Man's Soybeans. He is so happy to see them starting to bust through!

Corn is coming along famously too. How does he have time to do all this on top of trucking???

Of course, where ever I walk, the "kids" are always nearby waiting and watching :)