Monday, May 31, 2010

Rice Krispies Star Pops

Happy Memorial Day!

I hope that you are doing fun things with your family today!  This is just something I whipped up for a last minute Memorial Day idea...just Rice Krispies on a stick!  I will include the recipe, though I doubt you will need it.  Most of us moms know this recipe by heart!

3 tablespoons butter
1 (10 ounce) bag of marshallows
6 cups Rice Krispy cereal
Red, White, and Blue Sprinkles
Sucker Sticks

On medium heat, melt better in large stock pot or large sauce pan.  Add marshmallows and heat until melted.  Add Rice Krispy cereal and stir to coat cereal completely.  Put Rice Krispy mixture in a greased 13 by 9 by 2 pan.  Shake sprinkles on Rice Krispies.  Cool.  Using a star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out stars and insert a sucker stick in the middle.  Note:  If you have scraps, you can reform them and make more stars.

NOTE:  Please check back, I will be doing a fun giveaway to celebrate reaching 100 followers.  This giveaway will help you prepare for the 4th of July!

I am posting this with the following:
Skip to My Lou's Made By You Monday.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lemon Cornmeal Cake

This cake has become a family favorite! It always turns out perfectly!  I love the texture that the cornmeal gives the cake and OF COURSE I love the lemon flavor...especially the lemon glaze.  This cake is made with a normal-sized Bundt pan, but my daughter Tati has made this recipe with the mini-sized Bundt pans HERE.  This recipe is from a March 2009 Women's Day Magazine.

Recipe and Instructions for Lemon Cornmeal Cake:

Baking spray (cooking spray with flour)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt, stirred to loosen

Sugar Glaze:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 10-cup decorative tube pan or 12-cup Bundt pan with baking spray. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice with mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until blended. With mixer on low, alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk until batter is smooth. Scrape into prepared pan; level top with spatula.

Bake approximately 45-50 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in cakes comes out clean. Do NOT overbake!!!  Check frequently as you near the end of baking.  Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes.  Then add the glaze.  See instructions for inverting cake and making and adding glaze.

Recipe and Instructions for Sugar Glaze:

Whisk glaze ingredients in a small bowl just until combined (sugar will not be totally dissolved). Invert cake from pan onto rack; place rack over a baking sheet. Brush glaze all over hot cake until absorbed (sugar crystals will be evident). Cool completely. Transfer cake to a serving plate and cover. Let cake rest several hours or overnight before serving. Store cake covered at room temperature up to 4 days.  Note:  Make the glaze while the cake is baking.

I am posting at Foodie Friday where Michael Lee West reigns as hostess.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lovely Lemons Tablescape

Hi everyone!  I just celebrated a "significant" birthday and my husband sent me shopping.  What did I buy?  Lot of lovely dishes of course!   I was also gifted lovely dishware from my children!  Additionally, I was given a wonderful surprise party by my children, husband, mother-in-law and sister.  Tati, the blogger instigated the party!  Thanks Tati and thanks to everyone who made my day so special. 

All of my new dishes will show up, sooner or later, on a tablescape.  One of the things I bought was these lovely lemon and pear plates.  I bought eight of these plates for a ridiculously low price!  I adore lemons....the smell, the look, and the taste of lemons. 

Also I wanted to note that I reached 100 FOLLOWERS today!!  Coincidentally, ironically, and appropriately, my sister Jackie, who is a new blogger, became my 100th follower!  I have been inspired by her kitchen skills and her giving and caring ways.  She has a sign in her home that says something to the effect that "My life should be like a pair of shoes...worn up in service."  I think she reflects the essence of the sign perfectly.  There is a link to her blog on the left side of my blog.

First, I want to start with a candy appetizer.  My daughter, Tati the blogger, gave me a new apothecary jar for my birthday.  I filled it with lemon heads tonight.  Please have one!

Why not add a lemon to each plate?

I added a white fruit embossed plate and a square white plate.

We often have lemons or limes in our waterglasses at dinner.  How about you?

Here's an overhead view!

Before you leave, please have a slice of cake.  Here's a peak of it!

Here's a full view of the cake....Lemon Cornmeal Cake.  It is a favorite with our family.  I will be posting the recipe and instructions for the cake on my blog tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping by!

I am posting this with Tablescape Thursday at Susan's blog Between Naps on the Porch where you will be inspired to set a better table!

Tablescape Information:
Lemon and Pear Plates:  Roberts Arts and Crafts
Fruit Dinner Plate:  Gift
Square Plates:  Tai Pan Trading
Green Stemware:  Dollar Store
Green Placemats:  Wal-Mart
Yellow Napkins:  Wal-Mart
Apothecary Jar:  Tai Pan Trading
Silverware:  Wal-Mart

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chicken Satay With Indonesian Ketchup

If you are in the mood for something spicy and different, this satay is for you!  I have been making this for years and I just love the peppery flavor of this "ketchup"!  I love the intoxicating smell of freshly ground pepper and use freshly ground pepper every time I can!  The Indonesian ketchup also boasts the flavors of nutmeg and fresh ginger to ramp up the flavor a bit.

I am playing along with Jenny Matlock for Alphabe-Thursday where the letter of the week is "S" for Satay.  I encourage you to visit her Alphabet Party where you will be treated to fun and informative "S" posts this week.

Jenny Matlock
Unfortunately, I can not credit this recipe.  It is one of those recipes that I just clipped from a newspaper or magazine and the clipping doesn't contain the original source.

Indonesian Ketchup:
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg   

Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 7 to 10 minutes.  This sauce can be made ahead (up to 2 weeks).   Cover and refrigerate.  Makes about 1-1/4 cups.

Chicken Marinade:
2-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 to 4 tablespoons minced jalapeno or serrano chiles
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper

Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks.  Combine water, lime juice, soy sauce, chiles, and black pepper in medium bowl and add chicken and toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours, stirring once or twice.

Prepare grill.  Remove chicken from marinade and thread on skewers.  We ususally thread about six pieces of chicken on each skewer.  Grill until cooked through and browned.  Just before removing from grill, brush lightly with the Indonesian ketchup.  Serve with additional Ketchup for dipping.  Serves about six.   Note:  Soaking the skewers in water for about 1/2 hour before barbecuing can help so that the skewers don't burn so much.

When we made these recently, we didn't brush the skewers with Ketchup while they were on the grill.  We just served the ketchup as a dipping sauce.  Some of my children are not fans of the ketchup; others are.

I am also posting this with the following:

Blessed with Grace

Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday.
All the Small Stuff's Tuesdays at the Table.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Birthday Traditions

 What birthday traditions does your family hold?  For us, we always celebrate by serving  "Birthday Donuts" on the morning of our birthdays.  The tradition began when we lived in an area where we could buy a huge, what they called "Texas-styled," donut.  Since then we have moved and cannot buy huge donuts; the tradition mutated and we now buy normal donuts and stack them in a tower. 

This is a real treat for my children because we only buy donuts on their birthdays.  For my husband, who is more health conscious, we buy him birthday bagels and stack them.  We always use the "You are Special" plate that I received as a wedding gift some 22 years ago, to serve the donuts or bagels on.

One of our other traditions is to always sing our version of the Happy Birthay song. My extended family has sung this song for as long as I can remember. After my Aunt Ionia died in 2003, the last sibling of my dad's family, my cousins and my siblings were sitting around discussing things.  The birthday song came up and we talked about the possible origins of this song.  No one knew where the song came from. 

Later, I did a little research and found that we were singing a version of a song that used to be on the "John and Sparkie" radio program broadcasted in the 1950's.  They would sing this song to recognize those children celebrating their birthdays in their studio audience.  Big John was John Arthur who played a father figure to Sparkie a little boy. They opened up the radio program with "Teddy Bears Picnic," which was also a song that we sang at our home. 

Pictured below is John Arthur and "Sparkie."  If I recall correctly, there wasn't really a physical "Sparkie" when the show first started.  I believe a contest was held to design or picture a "Sparkie" and as a result of that contest, a "Sparkie" doll was developed.

We sing the traditional "Happy Birthday" song:  Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday Dear (insert name) Happy Birthday to you! Then immediately after singing the traditional birthday song we sing:

Today is a birthday I wonder for whom.
We know it's for someone right here in this room.
So look all around you for somebody who,
Is smiling and happy
My Goodness it's You!
Happy Birthday (insert name)!
From all of us to you!
Happy Birthday (insert name)!
May all of your good dreams come true. Boom Boom! (Some of my siblings do the Boom Boom differently.)

We also serve "Birthday Torte" which you can link to the post HERE for the recipe. I have been making this recipe for our birthdays for at least thirteen years.

What Birthday Traditions do you have?  I would really love to hear about them!  Please let me know about your traditions in the comments section.

I am posting this with the following:

The Girl Creative

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Orzo Asparagus Salad

Do you love fresh spring asparagus?  The first pick of the season always tastes the best!  This pasta salad is enhanced by the clean taste of lemon juice and lemon rind.  The capers provide a bite and the pecans provide a crunch.  My kids didn't like the asparagus in the salad, but liked the rest of the salad.  I did like the asparagus in the salad.  Next time I might make the salad without the asparagus for them.  This pasta salad was made with foraged asparagus.

Going foraging for asparagus is one of the delights we have found in living in the sticks like we do.  My husband likes to takes the kids on walks and forage for asparagus.  No, we don't go where we aren't wanted when we are foraging! 

My husband snapped these pictures of asparagus while foraging.  I think the photos are beautiful!

This recipe was adapted from Culinate.

1 lemon, zested and juiced
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and chopped
2 cups asparagus, cut into ½-inch lengths, cooked until just tender 
1(16 ounce)package cooked and drained according to package directions
2 tablespoons Italian parsley
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped pecans or pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and juice with the olive oil. Add the chopped green onions, cooked asparagus, cooked orzo, parsley, capers, and nuts. Toss until the pasta is coated with the dressing, then season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Note:  Make sure that you do not overcook the asparagus; after cooking run under cold water or set in ice bath.

I am posting this with Michael at Designs By Gollum for Foodie Friday.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Memorial Day Tablescape

I am so ready for Memorial Day!  I just love the old red, white, and blue and summertime!  When I first moved to Utah I was surprised at how many flowers are put on graves -- it really is a pretty sight!  It's almost that time of year again....yeah!  It's the official start of summer.

The last day of school for my kids is tomorrow!  Yahoo!  I am ready after the last week of two band concerts, two piano recitals, two dance rehearsals and a dance concert.

It's "time" to start thinking about Memorial Day!

I found these plates at Target quite a few years ago.  They are called "Spirit of Flag" plates designed by Warren Kimble for Brandon House.  I bought eight dessert plates.  Each plate has a different historic flag pictured.  This plate is called the "Birthday Flag."

The second plate I will show you is called "The New Millennium Flag."

I set the table with my ruby goblets.  I love how the light shines through them.

I put some Bacopa in a basket.  It is one of my favorite outdoor summer plants.
A good view of the candlestick?
An angle shot of my tablescape.
My final shot!

I think that there is nothing more American than baseball and Baby Ruth candy bars NOT inspired by the "Babe."  Click on HERE to read about the naming of the Babe Ruth candy bar.  Please take one or two candy bars before you leave.  Thanks for stopping by!

Stop by Between Naps at the Porch to see wonderful and inspiring tablescapes. 

Tablescape Information:
Plates from Target several years ago
Red plates:  Wal-Mart several years ago
Red Ramekins:  Wal-Mart last Christmas
Red Goblets:  Costco:  Several Years Ago
Placemats:  Wal-Mart
Silverware:  Wal-Mart
Napkins:  Wal-Mart
Napkin Holders:  Bed Bath and Beyond
Candy Dish:  Target several years ago 
Candlesticks:  Gift

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rosemary Leek Pasta

"R" is for Rosemary!  I love the herb rosemary, how about you?  The original recipe came from a newspaper food section.  Where I used to work, we received the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Sacramento Bee; the newspapers had great food sections in those days.  I have long lost the recipe for this pasta and this is my version.  I hope you will try this recipe; it is really simple to make and yummy to eat!

When I first started making this I lived in California, and even in winter, when I needed fresh rosemary I would run to the parking lot of my church and snip some off the bushes.  I guess I didn't ever think about whether the rosemary had been fertilized or not!  Now, during the summers I have my own fresh rosemary. 

If you are unfamiliar with leeks, click HERE for a fun article on leeks and cleaning them by David Lebovitz.  He mentions that the French use leeks frequently in their cooking.  I also love leeks!  By the way, the leeks I have used are never as dirty as he shows in the article.  Don't skip using the feta; it is just what is needed in this pasta.  I also think this would be a great, minus the broth, pizza topping!

Rosemary Leek Pasta Recipe:
1 (13.25 ounce) package of whole wheat pasta
3-4 nice sized leeks, cleaned and chopped into small pieces.  Do not use the dark green, tough part of the leek.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Rosemary leaves from four (1 to 1-1/2 inch) pieces
1 (14 ounce) can of vegetable broth
2 teaspoons corn starch
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Salt to taste 

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Put cleaned, chopped leeks and olive oil and butter in a large skillet.  Cook for about 10 minutes until leeks are soft, but not browned.  Add vegetable broth and simmer for a few minutes.  Then add corn starch to thicken and add rosemary leaves.  Season with salt and pepper.  Put 1/4 of pasta on dinner plate with 1/4 of leek mixture.  Top each dinner plate with 2 tablespoons of feta cheese and 2 tablespoons of walnut.  Note:  If you are a huge fan of rosemary, you may add more.  If you are not a fan, use less rosemary.  Serves four.

I am posting this with Jenny Matlock at Alphabe-Thursday where the letter of the week is "R."  Come stop by to see interesting and funny posts!

Jenny Matlock

I am also posting this with Mama Bird's Whatcha Got Cooking Wednesday.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lemon Buttermilk Pudding Cake

My in-laws were here for dinner last night and we had Lemon Buttermilk Pudding Cake for dessert.  We have made this dessert on numerous occasions and love it everytime.   Last night we served it with a strawberry sauce and fresh strawberries and whipped cream.  During the winter I have made it with a raspberry sauce and topped it with frozen raspberries and mango.  You can use whatever berries you have on hand.  It is easy to make and delicious, light, and lovely! 

I found this recipe awhile ago on Crabby Cook's website where she cites Bon Appetit magazine as the original source.  The original recipe calls for Meyer lemons.  I have made it once with Meyer Lemons,  but they are a very seasonal fruit and difficult to find where I live.  I usually make this recipe with normal lemons.  I also altered the recipe to make it in ramekins, because I love baking and cooking with ramekins. 

Lemon Buttermilk Pudding Cake Recipe:
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup sugar, divided
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites

Whipping Cream
Fresh Berries and Sauce -- See recipe below.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter eight (6 ounce-sized) ramekins or an 8x8x2 glass baking dish.  Blend buttermilk, 1/2 cup sugar (reserve other 1/2 cup), egg yolks, lemon juice, flour, butter, and salt in a blender until smooth.  Set aside buttermilk mixture.  Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form.  Gradually add reserved 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff, but not dry.  Gently pour buttermilk mixture into the beaten egg white mixture.  The batter will be runny.

Pour batter into prepared baking dish(es).  With the ramekins I used, I poured about 1/2 cup of batter in each.  Remember, that you need space remaining at the top for the pudding cake to rise a bit.  Place dish(es) into a roasting pan and then into the oven. 

Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the side of the baking dish(es).  DO NOT GET WATER INTO THE BATTER.  Make sure you pour the water in the roasting pan while it is sitting on the oven rack!  It's hard to transfer the roasting pan to the oven with water not splashing into the ramekins.

For ramekins, bake for 26 to 30 minutes until the tops are slightly light brown and springy to the touch.  For square baking pan, bake for about 40-45 minutes until slightly brown, springy to the touch, and the center moves very slightly in the center.  As ovens vary, watch carefully while baking, especially for the first time.

When done baking, remove baking dish(es) from oven and allow to cool on a rack.  When cooled, it is best to refrigerate for at least three to six hours.  In a pinch, although not as good, we have also just eaten them when cooled.

Top with berries, sauce, and whipping cream.  If you want to make berry sauce, see below for recipe.

Strawberry Sauce Recipe:
Take strawberries (1 pound package, less several for garnishing) and puree in blender.  Add some sugar to taste, from about three tablespoons to six tablespoons depending on the the sweetness of your berries.  Place berry puree in small saucepan and on medium heat bring to a slight boil.  Remove from heat.  You can also do the same with an unthawed frozen berry package.

I am posting this recipe with the following:
Skip to My Lou's Made By You Monday.
Sumo's Market Yourself Monday.
The Girl Creative's Just Something I Whipped Up Mondays.
Blessed With Grace's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.
All The Small Stuff's Tuesdays at the Table.
Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday.