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Category — Recipes

gingerbread time!

At the Craft Party last weekend, it may have been warm outside and most of the guests were wearing shorts and sundresses …. that doesn’t mean we can’t begin to dream about and enjoy the fun and flavors of fall and winter!

crafting

What the heck!??! We were making fall and winter crafts so we may as well eat food associated with the season! With that in mind, I made these tasty gingerbread muffins.

gingerbread muffins

Gingerbread Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 8-ounces sour cream
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger

Grease 12 muffin cups; set aside.

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October 17, 2014   3 Comments

zucchini & tomatoes

Rainy and crafts

This is Rainy and the crafts she made at the Craft Party. Cheryl and Angie provided the Fall Wire Tray (with all the trimmings) as their craft and Sloane brought the Thankful Glitter Leaf Garland that Rainy chose to make.

Below is the second egg dish I served at the Craft Party. A quick note about it – leftovers are only good the day after. By the third day, the tomatoes have given off too much of their liquid and it gets soggy. If you don’t have a crowd of 10 to 12 to serve, feel free to cut the recipe in half and assemble in an 8-inch square baking dish, bake for the same amount of time.

Z & T Strata

Z & T Strata

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 green zucchini, ends trimmed then sliced in half diagonally, then thinly slice
  • 1 yellow zucchini, ends trimmed then sliced in half diagonally, then thinly slice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups dry French bread cubes
  • 3 cups shredded Swiss cheese (12 ounces)
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup julienned fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet, melt butter over low heat. Use a brush and take some of the butter and grease a 3-quart baking dish; set the baking dish aside.

Zucchini and tomato

Add tomatoes and zucchini to skillet, season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 6 minutes, , stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to lose their firmness but do not allow them to pot; remove from heat.

cooked

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October 16, 2014   5 Comments

Cocktail Infusions

The original craft that Tram planned to bring for the Craft Party was a very cool black and white-painted harlequin pumpkin. She and I looked at several options on Pinterest and we were both quite excited about it.  Then… time passed and well, if you’ve read this blog for more than a few months, you know that Tram has adorable 7-month old twins, Zak & Zoey. 

Z&Z

Yeah, I know! They are just about the cutest thing on this Earth! And to think that when they start talking up a storm, they will be calling me “Aunt Linda” – I’m super excited about that!

Anyhow, Tram has her hands more than full. As the party approached, I decided to take the pressure off and offer an easier craft option. One that I could help her with and one that was close to her strength. One with coffee! You also probably know that Tram and her husband, Steve, own Press Coffee Roasters.

So… I found some awesome bottles. Here are the bottles we used. Next, I gathered up all the ingredients needed – except some cinnamon sticks, and the coffee, of course, which I left to the expert! Somehow, between the two of us, we came up with the most popular craft at the party.

infussionsPhoto courtesy of Tram Mai

Cocktail Infusions!

And not just one flavor, but three delicious options!

Shopping Notes: All of the dried fruits were purchased at Trader Joe’s.  The whole spices can be found at any grocery store. The brown sugar cubes at Cost Plus and the rock sugar at an Asian market.

They come together in no time and make THE perfect hostess gift for the holidays. Or just a super cool thing for your own bar. Enjoy!

cranberry

To make the Cranberry Infusion:

Gently remove the cork topper.

Place about 5 of each of the three varieties of cranberries in the bottle. Add 2 brown sugar cubes and 8 white rock sugar pieces. Tear 2 of the large pieces of the dried Mandarin fruit into the bottle.

Return the cork topper and add the Cranberry Infusion label.

 (Trader Joe’s carries at least three varieties of cranberries. All have slightly different coloring and texture, so I bought 3 packages for added interest. You can use just one variety and drop in 15 cranberries of the same type.)

ginger

To make the Ginger-Cardamom Infusion:

Gently remove the cork topper.

Place 4 pieces of the Crystallized Ginger and 6 pieces of the Uncrystallized Ginger in the bottle. Add 2 brown sugar cubes and 8 white rock sugar pieces. Add 1 tablespoon Cardamom seeds to the bottle. Tear 2 of the large pieces of the dried Mandarin fruit into the bottle.

Return the cork topper and add the Ginger-Cardamom Infusion label.

(Same thing with the ginger. It would be perfectly fine to just use either ginger, but the two add a better look to the bottle with more variety and interest.)

espresso

To make the Espresso Infusion:

Gently remove the cork topper.

Place 2 tablespoons coffee beans (preferably Press Coffee!) in the bottle. Add 2 brown sugar cubes and 6 white rock sugar pieces. Next add 1 piece of vanilla bean (cut a vanilla bean in thirds and just add 1/3 of the bean) plus 1 piece of cinnamon stick, and 3 whole loves.

Return the cork topper and add the Espresso Infusion label.

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October 15, 2014   5 Comments

Caramel Apple Crêpes

caramel apple crepes

This was the most popular recipe from the Craft Party, not surprising since it’s basically a dessert disguised as a breakfast food. Tomorrow, I’ll post the instructions for one of the most popular crafts that was offered … Cocktail Infusions. Those may not sound exactly crafty, but they are easy to assemble and make great hostess gifts!

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October 14, 2014   6 Comments

breakfast lasagna

crafty!

Yesterday, I held my 5th annual Craft Party.  This time around, I only provided three craft options and asked the attendees to provide crafts they wanted to share too.

Just as only one of my three craft sold out while the other two went nearly or completely untouched – some of the guest crafts were very popular and others only had one or two that were made. But, it’s all good – everyone had a great time crafting, eating, drinking and socializing.

craft food

I made two egg dishes, a sweet crêpe option, muffins and, as promised, the Frosted Pumpkin Cookies.

The first recipe I’ll be sharing is a fun breakfast or brunch lasagna.

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October 13, 2014   2 Comments

dinner on the fly

market

I wander through farmer’s markets and produce departments with the best intentions. Squash for a gratin, cucumbers for a dip, apples for a pie, spinach and mushrooms for a salad.  Unfortunately, once I get home and pack it all away in the produce drawers – gratins, dips, pies and salads don’t always get made.

mushrooms

Such was the case with my most recent packages of mushrooms and spinach. The meal that the salad was planned for didn’t happen when we were invited out to dinner with friends, and for some inexplicable reason, I didn’t feel like a spinach salad the next night. OK, honestly, I was too tired to make an entrée and a salad.

spinach

Instead, I combined the ingredients and just made one dish. The result wasn’t especially inspiring, but it did get dinner on the table … with minimal thought, time and effort. Sometimes, one can’t ask for more than that!

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October 8, 2014   2 Comments

pumpkin, butternut and red kuri squash soup

sugar pumpkin

Aaron Chamberlain, co-owner and head chef from St. Francis, recently taught at Les Gourmettes.

butternut

He made this soup, which he simply calls Pumpkin Soup. As you’ll see, it is much more than just pumpkin soup.

red kuri

Aaron uses a combination of squashes to create a more complex flavor. If he wants to call it Pumpkin Soup, so be it. I call it good!

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October 7, 2014   1 Comment

quick chicken pasta dinner

creamy cajun

We’re on a chicken kick at my house. Boneless skinless chicken breast is what I make for dinner when I’m uninspired. Not that that’s a bad thing.

After all, one can’t be creative and “in the mood” to make a “wow” dinner every night!

Even so, this quick and easy pasta dinner put smiles on the family’s faces.

The best part …. even though the cupboards are quite bare … I had everything on hand and didn’t have to make a trip to the grocery store.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

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September 30, 2014   No Comments

accidents happen

This summer, when we were out of town, my full-size freezer in the laundry room was accidentally left open for a day.

oops

It wasn’t all the “openers” fault.

Although the freezer is only a few years old, the seal had come loose and instead of figuring out how to fix it, I used duct tape to keep it closed.

Additionally I had a little chalkboard chef on the front of the freezer who told “would be openers” this:

do not open

“Do NOT OPEN! It is next to impossible to re-shut and keep shut.”

Unfortunately, the “opener” did not see or heed the chalkboard chef’s warning.

Even though I knew of the “freezer-breach” immediately upon my return home, I avoided the freezer and refused to open it and face the music until two months later.

Nearly everything was a loss; homemade chicken and beef stocks, frozen citrus juices, handmade puff pastry, lobster broth, homemade mole, demi-glace, frost-burnt cookies and brownies, and quite a bit of meat. I threw out more chicken breast and chicken thighs than I’d care to mention.

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September 29, 2014   1 Comment

Pumpkin season is upon us!

cookies!

Everyone jumps on the Pumpkin Bandwagon this time of year. Recipe blogs have the best reason to do so! It’s our mission to spread the Pumpkin Joy!

These delicious cookies are inspired by a recipe I found in Better Homes and Garden Magazine.

The first ingredient is scary!

One pound of butter is A LOT!

The upside, if that is possible? The recipe makes 100 cookies. One Hundred – that’s A Lot too.

lined up sheets

Luckily I have enough cookie sheets so I don’t have to use the same sheets over and over. If you do need to use the same sheets, be sure to let them cool completely between batches.

frosted cookies

Plus, I have plenty of cooling racks. One of the advantages of having a cooking school!

I’ve named these cookies “cakey” because of their cake-like texture. I suppose another option could have been to name them “mini-cakes” instead of cookies.

You Decide.

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September 26, 2014   5 Comments