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

 

 

Advertisements

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!

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!

csi project

Punch and Pie

Notice anything… different?

I freakin’ hope so! I spent the better part of last week customizing my page with some original artwork. It being the first time I’ve experimented with manipulating my drawings through Photoshop, I have to say I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.

I know what you’re thinking, “I was under the impression there would be punch and pie?”… I kind of lied. Look, there will be pie, it’s a big deal and we’ll get to that in a minute, but there is no punch. It was more of a play on words really, the ‘punch’ was supposed to be you opening this page and being like, “Woah- things look different.” That is assuming that you are a frequent reader… so I guess only about seven of you actually get the ‘punch’ and all you new readers only get pie… still a good deal.

“Why is it such a big deal?” you ask, “And why should we believe anything you say after the punch incident?”

Okay… fair point. It’s a big deal because I’m starting something new!

“Like that other time you started something new with Magnet Mondays, and then you just totally stopped doing it after like two months?”

Woah… you really cut to the core, don’t you? Magnet Monday will be back next week with May and June’s magnets, and I’m making the ones for July and August this week to avoid any future fiasco. Let’s get to the good stuff now!

I’m so excited to introduce a new blogger, my beautiful, smart, funny and talented, older sister, Katie! She will be writing her own food segments, dubbed “Katie’s Kitchen”, a few times a month. You’ll see after today that she’s got some killer recipes to share, so stay tuned guys!

lizzeh

Now, before I turn over the wheel, I’m assuming you’d like to get to know a little bit about Katie. Since both she and I have access to this post, I’ll take this time to ask her a few questions about herself, so you can learn a little bit about who she is.

Can you state your full name for the court record please?

(Glances around nervously) I was told this was an informal meeting, and that I wouldn’t need my attorney….well, since my name is already in the title….I guess I can confirm that my name is Katie. Nice to meet ya.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

I love outdoor activities; gardening, beach days, hiking, camping, kayaking. I love reading, baking and cooking, and spending time with my family. Oh, and karaoke.

Tell us more about your family…

Pat (my husband) and I share many of the same interests (duh). Family hikes and camping trips are a must each spring, summer and fall. Our 2 kids are now old enough (Leanora, 4½ and Quinton, 2½) to really participate and appreciate nature. They love all the different plants and animals we see, and are always full of questions. They always want to ‘help’ us with whatever projects we are working on, in fact I just got back from a local greenhouse and the kids can’t wait to get out and help me plant the flowers and veggies I picked up. Pat designs and builds rustic furniture, as well as some watercolor painting. We have recently expanded our business to include re-purposing and up-cycling old furniture, picked from places like old factories/mills or even side of the road piles…yup, we’re garbage pickers. It’s been really fun and exciting adding this new dimension to our business, which also includes house painting and small carpentry repairs.

How do you manage to still have time to bake and cook all of these great things with two young kids?

Well….if I decide to devote a day to baking, which is almost always done with the kids help, I know I am going to fall behind on things like laundry, dishes, etc. But I love baking and experimenting with new recipes, so you just have to balance things out. I’ll take the day before, or the day after, and devote that to housework, or the kids activities, or working on a new piece of furniture. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it because its something I truly enjoy. Plus I love the fact that my kids always want to help out, instilling a love and appreciation of baking (plus gardening, hiking, ‘fixing’ furniture-they always have their toy toolbox handy) in them this early in life is a wonderful thing.

What about your sister, Elizabeth, why is she your favorite sibling? Remember, you are under oath.

(Clear throat….check watch, realize I’m not wearing a watch) Wow, would you look at the time! I’d better get those veggies in the ground before they wilt…..but seriously, EB and I have always been close. We have the same sense of humor and love of creating. I stick to cooking and baking mostly, and EB, as you know, has a unique artistic ability that allows her to craft and create beautiful meals, home decor, gifts, invitations, etc. I am very honored to be a part of her ever-growing blog. Thanks again, EB for the opportunity! Love you!

Alright, let’s see…
Hobbies… check
Family… check
Obligatory compliments about me… check

That’s about everything!
Thanks for taking the time to introduce yourself, and thanks for taking part in the blog! I expect we’ll be learning more
and more with every post, and I’m so happy and excited to have you here!

And now, without further ado, the first edition of Katie’s Kitchen!

Ahh strawberry rhubarb pie, a summer staple and one of my personal favorites.

I have been growing my own rhubarb for about 4 years now, and there is a definite sense of satisfaction gained (and money saved! Yup, I’m cheap) from baking with your own homegrown ingredients. Anyway, strawb-rhub, as I ridiculously like to call it, is not only my fav, but the favorite of several of my brothers-in-law, and therefore a much requested, and fought over, dessert when they come to visit. A couple years ago, I started experimenting with mini pies. The single serving size, easy to eat treats have become quite popular with my family, so popular in fact that Liz and Tyler had me make several dozen as the desserts for their wedding. The process is a bit more time consuming, but the end result is well worth the effort. First I will start off with the ingredients and tools needed...

Pie Crust

1¾ c  all purpose flour
¼ c sugar
pinch of salt
12 tbsp unsalted butter
ice water

Filling

1¼ c sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch (if you don’t have cornstarch, substitute 6 tbsp all purpose flour)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
pint container of strawberries
3 c chopped rhubarb

Tools

mixing bowls
chef’s knife
cutting board
measuring cups/spoons
pastry cutter, or 2 butter knives
rolling pin
cupcake tins
circular cookie cutter, glass, plate bottom, etc…something to cut dough circles about 3-4 inches across
small cookie cutters, various shapes

Ok, lets get started.  Preheat the oven to 400°F and make sure the oven rack is in the middle. Dice up (you want small pieces of each to evenly fill each mini pie) the rinsed strawberries and rhubarb. Measure and add to the bowl the cornstarch, sugar, salt and nutmeg. Mix well. This is what the filling should look like when you’re done.

I like to make the dough right before I use it, rather than letting it chill in the fridge. I know a lot of people like to let the dough chill before rolling, so if that’s your thing, go ahead and make the dough first and prepare the filling while you wait. First I measure out the flour, sugar and salt, and whisk it together. Then I chop but the butter a bit and add it to the flour. Using a pastry cutter, (or the 2 butter knifes, but this is a real pain..trust me….you should invest in a pastry cutter), cut the butter into the flour until the pieces of butter are about pea sized. Start adding ice water, a few tablespoons at a time, gently folding or mixing with a rubber spatula. Continue this process until the dough comes together, and remember, if it gets too wet, you an always add a little more flour.

Dust your work surface with some flour and dump the dough onto it. Knead it around slightly, adding more flour if necessary. I work with about half or a third of the dough at a time..so separate the dough into 2 or 3 pieces, and get ready to roll. Dust the rolling pin, and probably the work surface again, with some flour, and roll the dough out pretty thin. I don’t have an exact measurement here, it’s not crucial to get it perfect. You want it thin enough to be able to crisp up, but not so thin it will burn or break.  Using your cookie cutter, cup, plate bottom, whatever, cut out your 3-4 inch circles, and place them in your cupcake tins. To be safe, I usually spray the tins with non-stick spray. Repeat until you have about 18 mini pie crusts. Then roll out your remaining dough (re-roll the scraps if necessary) for the top crust. Small cookie cutter shapes like leaves, hearts and stars are cute, small strips for a lattice top, or rolled up strips to make roses are some ideas for top crust, you can really do anything you’d like.

Brush the tops with milk, then sprinkle with sugar if you want, totally up to you. Bake these puppies in the oven for about 25 minutes, this may vary slightly. Check them after about 20 to make sure they aren’t too dark…then again they might need 30 minutes to become golden brown, it just varies from oven to oven. One they look crispy and golden, remove them from the oven and place on a cooling rack. I let them cool a few minutes before removing them from the tins, to cool completely on the rack. Or, eat them before they can cool at all. Once cooled, they can be stored in an airtight container for 5-7 days. No need to refrigerate unless its super hot out.

Enjoy!

k80

Linking up to The Summer Dessert and Goodies Challenge!

At The CSI Project.

csi project

We made the cut!

There was only a top 6 this weekend and we made it! Thanks to everyone at The CSI Project and everyone else who came to check out our post!

I Heart Cookies

I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.

Okay, well, it’s jam technically, but I still don’t think you’re ready for it!

Valentine’s Day will shortly be upon us. For once, I’m on top of my game and have prepared things in advance in order to share before the day actually comes. I realize it doesn’t do anyone much good to post a good recipe or a fun craft after the event that the project was for… so let’s get going!

These little gems are known as thumbprint cookies and they are a classic Christmas cookie in my family. My great grandmother always used to make them and my older sister has taken over the task of doing so in the past few years. I was trying to think of a delicious but different treat to share for Valentine’s Day, I remembered the way the raspberry jam looks in these and thought they’d be pretty cute in the shape of hearts.

I hate to rub it in, but I was totally right.

These cookies aren’t as easy as your everyday cookie, don’t get me wrong, they’re not super challenging either, just maybe a little more time consuming (preparation wise) than average.

Thumbprint Cookies

yields: roughly 12 cookies

½ cup unsalted butter (softened, not melted)
¼ cup  sugar
1 large egg (separate the yolk and white)
½ tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
⅛ tsp salt
¾ cup  finely chopped nuts (I used almonds but you can use hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts)
¼ – ½ cup  jam (I used raspberry but you can use any flavor you chose)

First you’ll want to toast your nuts. My almonds were thinly sliced already, so I kind of lucked out when it came time to chop. You can toast any nut by spreading them out on a baking sheet and baking at 350° for about 8-10 minutes. Once they’ve cooled you can chop them up by hand or do it in a machine, whichever you prefer.

Preheat the oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla, mix well. In a separate bowl mix the flour and salt, then combine the two sets of ingredients. Roll the batter into small balls, If the batter is too soft, refrigerate it for about a half hour to an hour.

Here’s where I go off of the recipe and shape the balls into little hearts. Don’t worry about them being perfect, they’re going to be covered in nuts anyway.

Remember when you separated that egg? Now’s when you will use the white. Whip it up to a nice and frothy state before dipping your hearts (or balls) in. Have your chopped nuts spread out on a cutting board, mat or plate, ready to go.

Now take a finger, I found my pinky fit nicely, and push into the dough to make a little heart shaped bowl for the jam. You could also use the end of a wooden spoon, but honestly, your hands will already be coated in nuts so I say just go for it.

Once your bowl is complete, fill it up with jam.

Bake these little beauties for 12-15 minutes or until they’ve firmed up and the nuts are golden brown, place them on a wire rack to cool.

You know how much I love versatile food? That’s half of the beauty of these little cookies! You can chose any flavor jam you’d like, heck, you could even cut up your own little fruit bits and throw them in there too. I decided to not put nuts on some of them because Tyler doesn’t like them in cookies (freak), otherwise the variety of nut that you can choose from is an added bonus as well. Mix walnuts and an apple jam, pecans and pear, hazelnut and blueberry… the possibilities are endless!

Final Step: Enjoy to your heart’s content!

UPDATE (February 9, 2013):  I made the top ten!

csi projectsubmitted for The CSI Project’s weekly challenge

Holy Crêpe!

Good, and good for you!


…well kind of.  Maybe a bit healthier without the bacon and chocolate in it, that and the holy load of syrup and sugar I dumped on there. If I were you though, I’d just go with it.. I mean look at that picture. Look at it. Simple, delicious and all rolled up into one yummy package, this treat can be eaten for breakfast or dessert! We had them for breakfast the other morning which is how the bacon got thrown into the mix.

By the way: bacon and chocolate. Have you seen this popping up a lot? Like all over the freakin’ place? Bacon and Chocolate is a great mix, don’t get me wrong- my palate and I are huge fans of the salty/sweet combination. But, is chocolate covered bacon it the best thing I’ve ever had in my entire life? No, it’s a piece of bacon, covered in melted chocolate chips that cost me (haha okay, it cost Tyler) $6 at the freakin’ fair. With that being said, they still work great together and you can save yourself (or your man) the $6 and put bacon and chocolate together in a crêpe you make yourself!

If you’ve never had a crêpe before I’m sorry to tell you that you’re missing out friends. Crêpes look a lot like tortillas but are basically extremely large and thin pancakes.
Best. Explanation. Ever.

The in-crêpe-ible (see what I did there?) thing about crêpes is that you can put whatever the heck you want in them. Sweet crêpes, like the one pictured above, are best for breakfasts or desserts. You can also make savory crêpes, filled with meats, vegetables and cheeses for lunch or dinner.

Out of the blue side note: I just had a remarkable realization when I remembered that my favorite meal at an awesome, not-so-little breakfast joint in Canada (Cora’s) is the panini crêpe. Panini. Crêpe. The crêpe is filled with eggs, cheese and ham or bacon, it’s then wrapped up and pressed, panini style. Typically, the thought of this would make me sad, because there are no Cora’s around here and we’ve never had a panini press… until now (thanks A,C&K!!). How and why I didn’t think of this the other day when we were actually making the crêpes is beyond me, but it pleases me so to think that now I can make my own and I will. And I will share (the recipe, not my actual food- we’ve been over this, I’m not that nice).

Back to the crêpes at hand, because these were just as delish, a different type of delish (sweet vs. the savory of the panini crêpe….mmmmm panini crêpe…. focus Liz, focus.) but just as delish. Crêpes are quite simple to make. Traditionally, they are made with wheat or buckwheat flour, I went with a very basic recipe and just used regular old white flour.

Simple Crêpes

yields: 4 large crêpes
2 eggs
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup flour
½ cup milk
½ cup water
¼ tsp. salt

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl while you heat your skillet/frying pan. You’ll want a large pan to work with, the smaller you make the crêpes the less filling you can put in and it becomes difficult to close it up.  Lightly grease the skillet- LIGHTLY. I learned that one the hard way- greased it up too much and the first crêpe was… not up to par. Make sure the skillet is very hot before you pour your batter in, the batter should pretty much harden on contact. I used about a half of a cup of batter for each crepe. When you pour the batter in, immediately start swirling the batter around the pan so it moves out towards the edges and forms a very large, very thin pancake. I think the easiest way to spread it around is to just pick up the pan and tip it at different angles so the batter evenly coats the bottom of the pan.. Let it cook for about two minutes before flipping it and cooking for another two minutes.

Now you have your crêpes, but what will you fill them with?

Ahh, beautiful farm fresh summer berries. Doesn’t get much better than that (okay, maybe it does if you add chocolate and bacon to the mix). Don’t have berries? No worries, you can put pretty much anything in these bad boys. Nutella is a popular choice if you have it on hand, and bananas would be a fantastic fruit to throw in there as well. If we had cream cheese I would’ve put that on rather than the chocolate I think. Cream cheese, or any type of cream with berries is heavenly.

Prefer to make a more filling, savory breakfast? Scramble up some eggs with veggies and cheese of your choice, wrap in up in the crêpe almost like a breakfast burrito. Don’t you just love how I always give you so many options? I guess it’s pretty clear that I’m big on versatile foods.

A tip: If you are putting something that you want to melt on your crêpe, like chocolate or cheese, you may want to add these things to the crêpe during it’s last minute on the skillet. The cheese or chocolate will easily melt from the heat and you can add the rest of your filling, roll it up and eat it right away.

I had a ham, cheese and asparagus crêpe for dinner year and years ago- it was delightful. So what would you put in your crêpe? Are you in a sweet or savory kind of mood? Healthy or maybe not-so-healthy-I-just-want-delicious-food-in-my-mouth-now kind of mood?

The choice is yours friends, choose wisely.

Seriously though, you can’t lose on this one. They’re fantastic either way. Enjoy.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

merge [murj] verb, merged, merg·ing.
             to cause to combine or coalesce; unite.

When I first reflected upon the word “merge” I thought of several different things. First off, and most obvious of course, is the merging lives of my main man and myself. The minor merging of our not-so-different cultures, the merging of our different family traditions and routines and merging our different styles and tastes into one home. I reflected on a more personal level and I thought immediately about how when teaching and making lesson plans I’d merge as many subjects together as made sense. I thought about how I enjoy merging different ingredients together when I bake or different artistic techniques together to make a new piece. Then I thought about all the crap in my brain that’s merging together at this moment and started to develop a headache (my questionable brain can only handle so much thinking).

The Bad Merge and the Good Merge

It’s funny because a lot of thought went into the beginning portion of this project, and then I just decided to screw it and take the easy-peasy-most-definitely-cheesy way out on this one. Upon completion of said easy-peasy-most-definitely-cheesy way out I found myself to be extremely disappointed and embarrassed with what I had come up with and therefore chose to take it somewhere completely different. It was then that I realized I should just merge my good merge and my bad merge all onto one Mergical Post.

I’m reminded of my immature attitude in a particular university art class when I was like, “I tried it your way, I can’t do it and you can obviously see it sucks. Now I’m going to do it my way and make it better.” So, in that same respect, I did the assignment- I merged stuff, but as added icing on the cupcake (so to speak) I added something that means merge to me, whether it’s artistic or not… it’s nice to see that I’ve grown, isn’t it?

The Bad Merge: I started to look at old pictures, seeing if I had any contrasting ones that I could merge together. The challenge this week encouraged you to put an object where it doesn’t belong or juxtapose two different objects. I found this:

A picture I took in December of the iconic bull on Wall Street in the busy city of downtown Manhattan, and this:

Sweet and delicate little white flowers on the bank of a serene waterfall and river. I decided to merge these two completely opposite things together into one picture using Photoshop. I just got the basic version and have really only used it to fix coloring, remove blemishes or crop and straighten a picture, so this was a really good excuse to play around with things and experiment, as the challenge coaxed.  All that being said, I think I went too far and came up with this bunch of bull:

It’s okay to laugh, this picture is the bane of my artistic existence.

I hate it, to each their own but it’s just not my style. I like both of the pictures individually better than the one of them combined. I’m glad I got to try new things out in Photoshop, I learned a few new techniques and features… but man oh man, that picture is stupid isn’t it?

I’m actually embarrassed that I put it up. What does it mean? I couldn’t even think of funny text to put with it to make it into a stupid meme because the picture is stupid enough as it is.

Ugh, the pure disgust I felt for this picture left a bad taste me my mouth. I didn’t want my readers to feel the same way.

A cup of coffee and some homemade cinnamon raisin toast calmed me down just fine.

The Good Merge: It’s funny to actually say “the answer was right under my nose”. Eating something that I made by merging different ingredients together has pushed me to finally sharing a deliciously yummy treat that I made a few weeks ago. Merging together two wonderfully tasty things like cinnamon buns and cupcakes are sure to make my readers forgive me for my ridiculous attempt at Photoshopping. It also makes me feel a little better, going back to my ‘roots’ and sharing a baking recipe. That’s my style, not bull pictures that make no sense.

Mmmmm, pretty ooey and gooey looking, right? You best-be-believin’ that these babies smelled just as amazing. I adapted this recipe from The Six Sisters’ Stuff recipe for Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake. If you’ve never been to The Six Sister’s Site before I’d definitely advise you to go there and check it out. Full of great recipes, DIY projects for around the home and for you and the kids- it’s a great place to get sucked in for an hour or so. When I say I “adapted” the recipe what I mean is that I didn’t change the recipe at all, just flat out stole it and put it into cupcake form, which just meant I had to shorten the bake time.

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes
(from Six Sisters’ Stuff)

Cake Batter
3 cups flour
¼ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1½ cups milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp butter, melted

Cinna-swirl
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp cinnamon

Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
5 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°. Mix the cake batter together in a large bowl and pour into cupcake wrappers in your muffin tin. Merge (see what I did there?) the cinna-swirl ingredients together in another bowl and drop the mix evenly over the cupcakes. Swirl the swirl into the cakes with a spoon or knife (This part was a bit harder with cupcakes than I’d imagine it would be with the big cake, it was hard to get a good swirl going in such a small amount of space- but it’s definitely do-able!). Place into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until you can pull a fork out clean.

Whisk (or fork) the glaze ingredients together and smooth over the cupcakes. I’m assuming this is a far, far messier process than it would be to glaze one large cake. If the cupcakes are still warm and the glaze is runny, then the glaze will dribble everywhere. It’s not too hard to control, just keep the runny glaze away from the edges with a spoon or knife. That, or you could let it dribble all over your table and lick it clean it later.

These treats are best served warm and not near a bull who’s got a thing for flowers.


Extra points to those of you who figure how many times “merge” shows up in this post…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

Sweet, Summery Sangria Batman!

I stumbled upon and decided to take part in The Weekly Photo Challenge through The Daily Post, a blog through WordPress that encourages it’s bloggers to post on a weekly basis, or more intensely, on a daily basis. If you couldn’t figure it out by reading the title, The Weekly Photo Challenge provides you with a theme each week and it is your responsibility to take and post a picture within that theme. Why and how it took me until now to discover this, I do not know. However, I think it should make for an interesting year-round challenge and it will certainly be a good excuse (as well as good inspiration) to get up off of my butt and take some pictures!

This week’s theme is Purple.

Although this isn’t my most beautiful shot of something purple, it’s certainly the tastiest looking one, and a perfect treat for a hot summer day like today. Being the nice person that I am, I’ve also decided to share the wealth! No, that does not mean you cannot drink my sangria (I guess I’m not that nice after all, am I?),  but you can certainly make your own.

A Berry Delicious Rose Sangria
1 bottle of rose wine (doesn’t matter what kind, choose your favorite!)
1½ cups of club soda
¾ cup Triple Sec
1 peach, sliced
½ orange, sliced
½ lemon, sliced
As many fresh or frozen berries as your little heart desires!

Some notes:

  1. I originally put the entire orange and the entire lemon in the mix, but it was far too citrus-y for me, so I took about half of each out and saved them for batch #2.
  2. Let the sangria sit for a bit with the fruit in it before serving. This made the drink the darker purple that you see in the photo, rather than the light pink that rose wines have. It also made the sangria nice and sweet (but not too sweet) no need to add any sugar!
  3. It really doesn’t matter if you use fresh or frozen berries. Honestly, fresh is probably cheaper at this time of year. I used frozen and threw an extra bunch in before serving to keep it nice and cool.

No sangria was wasted in the making of this photograph.