Blueberry Lemon Bites

It’s July already?

Eeek! Where has the time gone? Just because I haven’t been blog-active doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy! We finally went on our honeymoon, it was an amazing adventure to Costa Rica. Feel free to drop by my photoblog to check out some of my favorite photographs from the trip. The summer has been busy already, but it’s not stopping me from working on new art projects and experimenting with new recipes. The one I have to share with you today is a real treat. A bit time consuming and elbow-grease is required if you don’t have a mixer, but these babies are worth it!

It’s no surprise where I got the cake recipe, that Martha certainly knows her baked goods. Her recipe is for a bundt cake. I don’t have a bundt pan and was in the mood to try something different, so I took Martha’s  cake recipe, a generic cream cheese icing recipe and my mini muffin tins and went wild.

 

Blueberry Lemon Bites

yields: at least 48 mini cakes*

4 eggs
2½ cups flour
2 cups blueberries, washed
1 cup sour cream
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. flour (additional)
½ tsp. salt

Preheat your oven to 350º.

Whisk flour (omit the additional tsp.) baking powder and salt together.

Cream the butter and sugars together.

Add one egg at a time, mixing well before adding the next. Add vanilla.

You will add the flour and sour cream in alternating increments, mixing well in-between. Add a third (roughly, this doesn’t have to be exact) of the flour, mix well.

Followed by half of the sour cream, continue to combine the remainder of each. You’re supposed to break it up like this just so it’s easier to mix.

Carefully toss your blueberries and lemon zest with that last teaspoon of flour before folding them into the batter.

Pour mixture into greased mini muffin tins, fill ¾ of the way.
I filled my up too much and had to cut off the muffin tops, this, unfortunately resulted in a lot of wasted cake.

Bake them for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before placing them upside down on a rack.

While they completely cool, you can move onto the…

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

yields: the perfect amount for this many cupcakes.

3-4 cups confectioner’s sugar*, sifted through
1 cup cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup butter
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla

Mix everything together, don’t forget to add the vanilla like I almost did!

When the cakes are cooled, slice off the bottom to level it out (if you have to, hopefully you won’t eat waste as much as I did).

Pipe on your frosting! It’s rare that I have the proper tools required when it comes to baking, but I actually have piping materials. If you don’t , hakuna matata friends, just use a freezer bag and cut a small hole in one of the corners.

Pop a blueb on the top of each and boom, done-zo. These treats went pretty fast, the bite-size option was a huge plus. Make sure you store extras in the fridge! They should keep for up to a week.

Enjoy!
lizzeh

 

 

Dinner and Dessert

It’s a two-fer!

In a desperate attempt to make-up for my absence, here’s a dinner and dessert two-fer!

So, here we have an asparagus and goat cheese stuffed pork tenderloin. Behold, dinner:

Followed by dessert, a chocolate torte topped with a fresh raspberry, yum.

No need to bore you with the stories behind these dishes, let’s skip the foreplay and jump right into the good stuff, shall we?

Asparagus and Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

1 tenderloin
1 bundle of asparagus*
½ cup goat cheese
½ teaspoon Mediterranean sea salt**

For the rub:
2 cloves of garlic
½ teaspoon Mediterranean sea salt**
¼ teaspoon of the following:
onion powder
chili powder
cayenne pepper

* Depending on their thickness you could fit 4-12 stalks inside the pork, might as well just make them all and serve the extra on the side.
** I know, I know. I’m not one to typically use fancy salts and spices, but this one is awesome. I got it for Christmas and have used it A LOT. It’s basically salt mixed with Italian Seasoning, so do ¼ of each of those as a substitution.

Blanch the asparagus (drop it in boiling water for a few minutes and then shock it to stop the cooking by placing it in an ice bath).  While you’re waiting for the water to boil, and for the few minutes (2-4) that the asparagus is cooking, you can mince or press the garlic and mix everything else together to make the rub, and set it aside.

Butterfly your tenderloin (omg you guys, did you notice I’m using proper cooking terms??) I pounded it out a bit to even out the thickness (obviously after this picture was taken), sprinkle the salt over the meat.

Arrange the asparagus (blanched and pat dry) and goat cheese in the middle of the tenderloin.

Wrap it and rub it!

Heat up some oil in a pan, you’re going to brown this baby before roasting it in a 375° oven (preheat it now!).


Sear the tenderloin on all sides before putting it in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until it’s 160° inside. I did it on a roasting pan with a rack, rather than having it lie flat in a baking dish, although that is a suitable option if you don’t have a rack.


Awwwww, yiss. Serve it along side some potatoes, extra asparagus or another vegetable for a delicious, savory meal.

Alrighty, onto dessert! I found this recipe through Pintrest (shocker), and it was too good not to share. It’s from Baker Bettie over at bakerbettie.com, here is the original recipe and following was my step-by-step attempt.


Mini Chocolate Tortes

4 eggs
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
6 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
fresh raspberries

For the Chocolate Ganache:
¾ cups bittersweet chocolate chips
¼ cup milk
pinch of salt
Let’s start with the cakes themselves, preheat oven to 325° and grease a mini muffin pan.
Double boil the semi-sweet chocolate and butter, stirring frequently. Once everything is melted and it’s smooth, set it aside.

Crack and beat the eggs until pale yellow and frothy about 3-4 minutes. Set these aside.

Add salt and cornstarch into the melted chocolate and mix until well combined. Although not mentioned in the original recipe, I mixed the salt and cornstarch together and sifted them once before sifting them again into the chocolate. My cornstarch had some small clumps and I didn’t want to have those sitting in the tortes.
Pour ⅓ of the egg mixture into the chocolate and stir gently until combined. It’s important to do it a little bit at a time, above is what it looked like when I did the first third and only stirred for a bit. I was about to freak out but after a bit more stirring, it smoothed out.Continue until all of the egg is combined and chocolate mixture is smooth. Fill the muffin tins half full with the chocolate mixture and bake for 7-10 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

In the meantime, prepare your raspberries. I like to let them air dry on a paper towel after rinsing. I find if I let them sit on top of each other after rinsing that they tend to get mushy. Mind you, I don’t always line them up perfectly to dry, either.

Double boil the bittersweet chocolate, when it’s mostly melted add the milk and the salt.
I like to add a little bit at a time, especially after I see how the milk makes it look.
When it smooths out (it always does) set it aside to cool, slightly.
Top the tortes with the ganache, I think I did about a heaping teaspoon on each.
Add a raspberry to each. Try not to eat them all in one sitting, believe me, it’s hard.  I stored them in the fridge, to let the ganache harden and the raspberries keep. 

So, it’s still early in the day… what are you eating tonight?
lizzeh

 

Reduce, Reuse, Regift!

What if I told you that you could save the planet, one baked good at a time?

You heard me. Would you like to know the only other thing I love more than giving someone a gift? It’s making that gift for that person.

Ah, the ol’ recipe in a jar gift, a classic. A nice, homemade way to say “Hey, you look like you want to bake something. Here, now you’re halfway there.”

Next time you feel like saying that to a friend, why not put a little twist on it by encouraging your friend to spread the love!

Once you’ve baked your goodness, refill it (all of the ingredients are listed), regift it (use the same tag and recipe, or make your own!) and inspire the recipient to do the same!

Recipe’s in a jar are simple enough to make, if you have the perfect sized jar right off the bat. It’s finding the right sized jar that’s the hard part. I had to eat sacrifice a batch of cookies when I realized the jar was WAY to big for the size recipe I had. Then I had to do math (ugh) and increase all of the ingredients by a half, because doubling it would’ve made it too much for the jar. So now that recipe is ridiculous (and if you are someone who receives that jar and refills it and is like wtf is up with these stupid measurements? It’s because I had to do it that way in order for it to fit in that stupid jar!).

Just measure out your jars before you start to fill them, okay?  I used two 6 cup jars and one 3 cup. Filling them is the fun part.

Some things should be separate. In my choconana muffin recipe, you cream the sugar in with the butter at the beginning. It would be nearly impossible to separate the sugar if it’s not packaged separately.

I just used a ziplock sandwich bag, cut off the ziplock part and tied it shut. This was also the method I chose when adding nuts to the brownie batch, some people just don’t like them and would rather not include them, this gives them that option.

To making wrapping easier, secure a rubber band around the jar, tie your bow, and remove the band!

I made the little cards with cardstock, glue and a template I made myself. Here’s a blank one and here’s one that’s got directions on it.

I used my choconana muffin recipe in a 3 cup jar.
The brownie recipe in a 6 cup jar
And a modified version of my delishies in a 6 cup jar.

If you’ve got those sized jars and would like the templates with these recipes, feel free to send a message or leave a comment and I’ll hook you up!

Regifting at it’s yummiest!
lizzeh

Linking up at Natural and Free‘s Think Green Link Up!

They See Me Rollin’

They eatin’, budgin’ lines tryin’ get a second helpin’.
(Weird Al, if you’re reading-  yes, I am available to work for you.)

These rolls are so good, (how good are they?), they’re so good that you won’t want a second helping, you’ll want a fifth! (Weird Al, please disregard that last one and instead, focus on the opener.)

This is not my recipe, I searched for ‘bread machine dinner rolls’ a little over a year ago, stumbled across Betty Crocker‘s recipe and haven’t looked back. Here’s the original, I haven’t changed anything, I find no need to.  They take a considerable amount of time to make (about 2½ hours), but they don’t take nearly as much work. It’s just a lot of waiting, waiting for the bread machine to finish doing the only real work required, and then waiting for them to rise, twice.

Let’s get rollin’!

Betty Crocker’s Dinner Rolls
yields: 15 rolls (says Betty. I make 16, so take that!)

1 cup water
2 tbsp. butter (softened) or margarine
1 egg (I beat it first, don’t know if that’s necessary)
3 ¼ cups flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. yeast (I use bread machine yeast)

Load the ingredients into your bread machine as recommended by your bread machine instructions, I listed the ingredients in the order that I load them into mine. Typically you need to put the liquids in first, then dry ingredients, keeping the salt and sugar away from the yeast (if you’ve done it before you know the drill, if this is your first time using a bread machine to make dough, just make sure you read up and know how to load it).

And this is where I would put a picture of the ingredients,


IF I HAD ONE. (I forgot.)

Wait impatiently while your machine does all of the hard work. When it’s finished remove the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface.

Sometimes the dough is stickier than other times, in that case I used a little more flour and knead it in a bit. Cover the dough and let it rise for about 10 minutes. I cover it with a slightly damp (obviously clean) towel, some people use plastic wrap for easier clean-up. In the meantime, lightly grease a cookie sheet (Betty says to use shortening, I use a spray can).

If you want your rolls to all be exactly the same size, you might want to head over to Betty’s site. We have different methods at this point. I take my large ball of dough and half it, half each of those, half all of those I just halved, and half them again. That’s easy enough to understand, right? In layman’s terms, it’s pretty much the mitosis of dough. That explains it, no? How about a crummy gif made out of blurry, reject pictures I took?

Don’t watch it for too long, I don’t want anyone to have an epileptic episode brought on by roll mitosis. Maybe this wasn’t the best time to document by roll mitosis considering those two large rolls on the right that felt as though they didn’t want to divide. That’s because this particular batch (the dozen on the left) was given to a friend and the two on the right were used as hamburger buns that very evening. Another great thing about these rolls is their versatility. We’ve had them on the side with stew, had pulled pork and sloppy joe sliders (or make them bigger and have normal sized sandwiches), hamburger buns, I’ve used them with breakfast sandwiches (SO GOOD) and they were such a huge hit at Thanksgiving I had to make two batches the following day so people could have them with their leftovers.

I suppose you need to make them before you can enjoy them though, eh? So let’s get back to the recipe. Divide the dough as you wish and place them on the prepared sheet. Leave some space in between the rolls, because you’re going to cover them and allow them to rise again for another 30-40 minutes. They should double in size. You can rearrange them just before you put them in the oven if you’d like, make pull-apart rolls by placing them closer together, or individual rolls by leaving some space in between them.

Preheat the oven to 375° and pop those bad boys in for 12-15 minutes. Check around 10 though, depending on their size you may need more or less time. You’ll know when they’re done, they turn a delicious golden brown.

They may look like they’re going to be hard or tough, but they are the softest most scrumptious things. As a final option, you can brush some softened butter or margarine on the top when they come out of the oven (these have gone without. I actually haven’t done it in a while, just because it’s a bit messier, but oh man, is it good!).

I wish I could tell you how long they keep in the pantry for, but to be honest they’ve always disappeared after a few days. I do know, however, that they freeze and defrost well, just don’t overdo it with the defrosting or heating up, they will get really hard and stale if you do.  I don’t think I blasted them for longer then 45 seconds from frozen, but every microwave is different, you might have to sacrifice one during a trial period. Of course, they are best fresh.

Roll out!
lizzeh

Choconana Muffins

Or Bluenana Muffins, pick your poison.

Both are amazing choices, though honestly ‘bluenana’ has a nicer ring to it, I think. This time I went with good ol’ choconana (banana chocolate chip), because, why not?
I mean, look at these things…

I have no idea where I got this recipe from, it’s been in my recipe box for several years. I have a banana muffin recipe pinned on one of my Pintrest boards, but when I went to look at the recipe it wasn’t the same. So you’re guess is as good as mine, all I know is that I didn’t make it up myself (expect for the addition of vanilla). Alright then, let’s get on with it.

Choconana Muffins
yields: 12 muffins

3 bananas (ripe or frozen)
1 egg
½ cup butter, salted and softened
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (or blueberries!)

Mash up the bananas however you please, I used a potato masher and then a fork. Mix the butter and sugar together (mine is already mixed in the picture), add the vanilla, combine with the bananas and add the egg. Sift the dry ingredients into the banana mixture and mix well. Mix in the chocolate chips and divide the batter equally amongst 12 muffin cups.

Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

These little guys are always a crowd-pleaser, whether filled with chocolate or fruit. They stay nice and soft for about a week if kept in an airtight bag or container.

Enjoy!
lizzeh

Linking up to The CSI Project’s Love of Food Challenge!

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Heart Art, the Second Part

Another?

Here’s the first part, in case you missed it!

I spent more time making Valentine’s Day decorations this year, probably because I didn’t spend one minute making valentines for anyone (sad face). I like to try to keep on top of that stuff, but I suppose you can’t do everything, can you?

I had the idea for this one at the same time as the other, I’d say this one might be a little harder… (maybe?) if you want it measure it and make it look perfect.

Simple materials, an old frame, a piece of cardboard fitted for that frame, some fabric (I chose burlap this time…shocker!) and some ribbon or string (I chose white yarn).

I made a little heart template the size I wanted and traced it onto the cardboard, then glued on the burlap on the side opposite of the traced heart. I attempted to trace lines where I would like the yarn to go, but they ended up pretty crooked, which is why I suppose my heart came out a little crooked.

I poked holes in the cardboard and through the burlap along the lines and weaved the yarn through it. (There’s a hole puncher pictured in my materials picture that I ended up not using by the way, it was too big and would’ve left gaping holes. That’s something else to keep in mind when you pick out a fabric, the burlap was nice because there are already holes in it that I could use, where a solid piece of cotton fabric (for example) would need actual holes poked through.)

I got both impatient and lazy and started to skip lines… or maybe I realized I was going crooked and attempted to get back on track… maybe a little of both.

But was able to fix it (kind of) in the end. Think of all of the different fabric and ribbon combos you could use! Another easy, versatile project, brought to you by the bear.

Happy Heart Day!

lizzeh

 

 

 

 

Linking up to the Hearts Only Challenge at The CSI Project!
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Heart Art

It’s the follydays!

Probably my favorite time of year, it’s the dark time inbetween when the real holidays end and whenever the heck Easter is. We just make up our own holidays by stealing holidays from other countries, adding a little ‘merican twist and just using them as excuses to “celebrate” something (maybe?) by buying overpriced stuff and usually drinking.

That’s the part I like (I mean the drinking), well that and the crafting.

In all honesty, it’s a nice excuse to finally clear out winter decor and add something new. I like subtle decorations, if you missed my magnets from last year, check them out! Those things were so subtle Tyler didn’t even notice them (I think I normal person might have noticed them though). So this year I continued on my subtly relevant theme. (how many times did I say subtle?)

I had a glimmer of an idea but in the beginning really had no clue what I was going to do. Thankfully, through a series of failures, flops and surprisingly no alcohol, heart art was born.

I have a collection of unused picture frames that I refuse to get rid of unless I’m positive there is absolutely no way it can be used in the future. When you draw, paint, photograph and craft however, there are endless possibilities for frames. So the true problem really isn’t my stack of unused frames (acquired through my inability to say no to a free frame a friend is giving away or ten cent frame day at the thrift store. Yes, ten cents.) that are taking up space, but instead the lack of appropriate wall space.

So yeah, the frames were a good place to start. I found one I liked and that fit in my desired location (top of a bookshelf).

What appears to be a pile of laundry is in fact, a pile of old (chill out, it’s clean) laundry that I saved to use as fabric for a moment like this (stuff I never wore but either liked the pattern or kept just because it was a solid color… because I’m cheap and fabric is expensive!). At this point all that I new is that I wanted to take the glass off of the frame and do three pieces of 3D heart art in each section.

Something to keep in mind: The frame was nice for a piece like this because it came matted and bordered already (the white part that separates the three pictures is the matting and the black outline around each individual picture is the border). That’s a lot of measuring and cutting and annoying if you have to do it yourself.

I cut cardboard to fit each section of the frame and picked a neutral background fabric.

Wrapping and gluing the fabric was just like wrapping a present. Make sure it’s nice and tight so there aren’t any wrinkles or extra fabric hanging loose in the front.

It was somewhere inbetween the second and third wrapping that I decided I wanted to use some small assorted wooden hearts I originally bought for the wedding and never used.

I decided to make the hearts into ‘everyday’ type things, using the hearts as the objects with the plan to then add little details to accentuate. At first I thought how lovely it would be to stitch the accents in. I still think it would be lovely. Unfortunately, I am not the best at sewing, and I actually did try it but the fabric was already glued to the boards and it was just an utter disaster, and I don’t have one of those hoop things that you need for needlepoint projects and I think I’ve made enough excuses for myself, thank you.

What I did have, however, was fabric paint (not pictured in the materials picture because I didn’t know I’d be using it).

This took me five minutes, it would’ve added like three hours if I decided to stitch it (haha, hey, I said I was bad). While the fabric paint was drying I glued fabric onto the little hearts and then hot glued them onto the boards.

How subtly sweet.

Do you heart art?

lizzeh

Update (Feb, 10): I made the cut! I got the number one project for the Valentine’s Day Challenge at The CSI Project! Thanks to everyone at The CSI Project and the guest judge, Patty from How Sweet it is!

 

Submitted to The CSI Project’s Valentine’s Day Challenge!
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And Through the Craft Room Door Challenge Blog!