Friday, November 30, 2012

Lemon Ricotta Muffins

              As I recover all of my photo's from my hard drive back into their rightful places in this blog, I figure I would take some time and post a great recipe that I found on for Lemon Ricotta Biscuits.  They are more like muffins.

              I did not stray much from the recipe.  I added lemon extract when it wasn't called for.  It seemed like right thing to add, and it was.  Everyone liked these.

             These muffins are very light, and they freeze and reheat amazingly well.  The little bit of lemon brings a little sunshine to a cold dreary day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hey, Where are all the Pictures?

            Just because I posted my 100th post yesterday, doesn't mean I know everything there is to know about blogging, and using blogger.  I definitely don't, and the missing pictures on my blog are there to prove it.

             When I upload pictures to the blog, they get stored on Google's Picassa site.  Google only lets you store a certain number of pictures before they charge you money.  Well, the other day I reached my limit, and I received a message stating that if I wanted to store more pictures, that I would need to pay a fee.  Well I thought, why don't I just delete the photos I have on Picassa?  Seemed like a great idea at the time.  Little did I know that when I deleted them from Picassa, they were actually getting deleted from my posts.  I didn't know that the posts couldn't live without Picassa.  Apparently that is the case.

             So, I may be spending a lot of time reloading my pictures into the posts.  I will admit that for a minute I was set to give up on the whole thing.  I am not a quitter though, so on I go.  Please ignore the black spots where the pictures were.  I will try my hardest to fix things as quickly as possible.

             Another lesson about blogger learned.  Please learn from my mistake if you plan on or are blogging.

Update:  Thank you to Ellie who left a most helpful comment.  My answer to my photo dilemna was answered in her comment.  Please read her comment for the photo storage solution.

Monday, November 26, 2012

No Sew Kid Pillows

                     I started this blog this past August.  It has thus been only 3 months since I started.  Amazingly enough, this is my 100th post.  Thanks to all of my faithful readers.  You may mostly be silent, but I appreciate you taking the time to stop by.

                     For my 100th post I wanted to share a craft that makes a great present for kids.  It is a pillow made from fleece material which is really soft.  You know how kids love soft, cuddly things.

                    This also couldn't be easier because there is no sewing involved.  If you can cut with scissors, and tie a double knot, you can do this.

                     To make the pillow you need 2 pieces of fleece material.  One should be patterned and the other should be one color.  You will need pillow stuffing to stuff the pillow.  You will need scissors and a ruler as well.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells

               I really liked the way that the Butternut Squash Lasagne turned out.  I made it for the day before Thanksgiving when I had family over.  My dad does not like butternut squash.  He made it abundantly clear.  He however loved the lasagne.  He had three helpings of it in fact.

               The supermarket had a pasta sale the other day.  I saw a box of large shells and thought that maybe I could try the butternut squash filling in them.  It worked of course.  I modified the recipe a little for the shells.  I basically just added Ricotta cheese to the filling.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dinner Rolls

             My family's new favorite roll are based on the Pani Popo rolls I found on King Arthur Flour's website.  The original roll recipe calls for a coconut syrup type topping to be brushed on the rolls.  I will try it one day I think, but everyone loves the rolls without it.  I make 24 rolls per batch of dough, and they are gone within 2 days.  My first batch didn't come out the prettiest.  They were kind of uneven, as you can see from the final pictures.  With practice, (I have made these numerous times since), they look like those that you would get right from a bake shop.

             These make great slider buns.  I used them for meatball sliders.  If you make bigger buns, you can probably use the dough for hamburgers.  The texture is soft and they taste slightly sweet.

             I slightly modified the recipe from King Arthur.  I also made liquid adjustments due to lack of humidity.  This is a sticky dough, but easy to work with once it rests for a few minutes.  I will explain my trick.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cabbage

                    We have been learning about the United Kingdom in school this week.  It is a country that has in the past been known for really bad food.  I was there in the early 90's with my parents and can say that I really enjoyed the culinary offerings.

                     We needed a dish to celebrate this country of course so we came up with "Bubble and Squeak".  The dish I made is not completely a "Bubble and Squeak" because it is fried in the end.  If you do not know what "Bubble and Squeak" is let me explain this funny name of a dish.  It was created to find a way to use up the leftovers from Sunday's Roast Dinner.  The main ingredient is potatoes and then includes the other left over vegetables like cabbage, peas, carrots, etc.  You mix them up together and then fry them in a patty.  The name comes from the sounds of the patty as it is cooking.

                      I took the idea of the mixed up left over vegetables and turned it into a mixed vegetable mashed potato.  You can then go the extra step and fry it to make a traditional "Bubble and Squeak". 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cauliflower Carrot Soup

                   This is a recipe I made prior to the point of starting a science experiment in the fridge with forgotten cauliflower and carrots.  You've got your carrot soup recipes, your cauliflower soup recipes, so why not go and combine them both into one.

                    I seem to be in a soup making mood lately.  Soup is my safety net for when I really don't want to cook much.  With school in full swing, and laundry piling up, and the tiniest one just into everything, all of my time seems to be getting all used up really quickly.  So for me the maybe 20 minutes of actual prep time and stirring, soup has become a dinner savior.  It is also satisfying on a cool night, of which we are having more of.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Smothered Chicken

               This is sort of my version of The Cheesecake Factory's "Chicken and Biscuits". Well, without the biscuits.  I will have to work on that.

                I made this from start to finish in an hour.  That includes the mashed potatoes, which are from scratch.  I dice the potatoes small and they are cooked 20 minutes after the water starts boiling.  I then add some half and half, butter, salt, and pepper.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cheesy Corn Soup

               I have said it before, soup is one of the easiest things to cook.  I find it is a great way to use up vegetables you may have sitting in the fridge for too long.  If you are in a pinch to figure out what to make for dinner and have only a little time, you can always start it on the stove and then move it to a crock pot to finish cooking.

               I made this soup when to be honest, I didn't really feel like cooking.   I wanted something easy that needed little prep work.  I looked in my pantry and saw canned corn.  Nothing could be easier than opening a can of corn. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Parker House Rolls

               I was looking for a roll to serve with a holiday meal that was not the typical crescent roll roll.  I remember buying yeast rolls in the supermarket when I was still purchasing breads that were buttery and really rich.  I may have found a great substitute on King Arthur Flour.  It is the recipe for Parker House Rolls.

               The Parker House is a famous hotel in Boston that has been around since 1855.  It's original building was demolished in the 1920's and replaced by the present building in 1927.  John F. Kennedy proposed to Jackie there at table 40.  It is most famous for it's Parker House Rolls and The Boston Creme Pie.

              The rolls take some time to make because the total rising time is 2 1/2 hours.  They can be made a day ahead and reheated in an oven.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

South Korea

              South Korea is known as "The Land of the Morning Calm".  That comes from the original Chinese name that was made up of 2 symbols.  The first symbol was for morning, and the second for the word calm.

              Much of South Korea (which is located on the Korean Peninsula) is mountainous, with most of the population living on the coastal plains or river valleys.

               Seoul is the capital and largest city in South Korea.

               Prior to 1960 South Korea was a poor country.  Most people farmed or fished for a living.  But then, the economy boomed and today South Korea is one of the most high tech countries in the world with about 3/4 of the population with high speed internet access.  South Korea is also developing robots.  They are looking to have a robot in every home by 2020.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Butternut Squash Lasagne

                       Until recently I was not a fan of butternut squash.  As I said in a previous post, my husband and I a few years ago decided to decrease our meat consumption.  This brought about an increase in veggie consumption that included veggies never tried before.  One of those vegetables was butternut squash.  I made a winter squash soup that used acorn and butternut squash.  It was delicious and thus started my incorporating of winter squashes into my everyday cooking.

                       The supermarket is now full of butternut squash, and they are kind enough to offer the squash already pealed, cut, and seeded, which is the most time consuming thing to do yourself.  I will spend the extra money for this convenience.

                        The holiday season is coming and I am always on the lookout to make something different.  I found a Butternut Squash Lasagne on  It sounded different and it can be boring making the same tomato and cheese based lasagna.  I was willing to make my family guinea pigs before I tried it out on anyone else.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Black and White Cookies

               Growing up in the New York area, Black and White cookies were found in most bakeries.  There was a Seinfeld episode that featured this cookie in which there was a discussion on what side of this cookie you would eat first.  One side, in case you don't know, is covered in white icing and the other in chocolate. They are also not cookies.  They are more of a cake with a hint of lemon.  So if you bite one and are expecting a crumbly cookie you will be disappointed.  These are more of a flat cupcake.

               The history is a bit sketchy.  These are known as Amerikaner cookies in Germany.  It is thought that American GI's brought the cookies to Germany after the war.  In New England they are known as Half Moon cookies. But, regardless of the how they originated, I am glad they did.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Citrus Cupcakes

                    With gloomy weather headed this way, I needed something sunshiny to brighten the day.  What is more sunshiny than citrus fruits.  I had a bag of grapefruits in the fridge.  I had recently seen an episode of Cupcake Wars on Food Network where a contestant had made grapefruit cupcakes.  I thought it would be a great way to use a grapefruit.

                    I adjusted the recipe from Food Network which you can find here.

                    The final result is not one where you will be pursing your lips.  You can definitely taste the citrus in the cupcake, but my picky 9 year old didn't flinch when I told him that there was grapefruit juice in it.  He gave me a look like "what, you just gave me a cupcake with grapefruit in it?  How could you?"  He then proceeded to take another.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Chili Cheese Fries

                Today was a dance class day, so I needed to come up with a dinner plan.  I hate cooking in the evening.  I am very much a morning person.  Then inspiration hit when my 11 year old handed me a sack of potatoes.  "Can you make french fries, mom", she said with pleading eyes.  I had a pound of ground beef that needed to be cooked.  So, what could I make with potatoes and ground beef that would not ruin my day.  Chili, off course.  It can cook itself after a start in a pot.
                 I made the fries, which I bake, in the oven at lunch time and just put them in an oiled ziploc bag for reheat later.
                 Putting the dish together when I got home was a snap.