Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rhubarb Sauce-Pie-Crisp-Bread...won't be long now...!

How exciting to see the rhubarb sprouting...after today's rain and tomorrow's predicted sunshine, the "pie plant" should really grow!

This particular rhubarb plant is a "start" from my Dad and Uncle Alfred's that grew alongside the seemed to me that many people would stop by in the spring and get an armload to make a pie or whatever. There was never a charge, just help yourself was the motto! I love rhubarb sauce on ice cream!!!

There really isn't a recipe for the sauce...
Just gather a dozen stalks or so, wash & slice in 1/2" pieces
Place in a large saucepan with a small amount of water and bring to a boil and then simmer until "done"
Sweeten to taste and enjoy by itself or with toast, on a biscuit, or good vanilla ice cream!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Stuffed Chicken Breast

These chicken breasts are stuffed with a yummy cheesy/herb mixture and I regret not taking a photo so that you could see the filling! This is a quick and easy dish to prepare and the chicken is moist, which is a requirement at our home!

Stuffed Chicken Breasts:

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
12 slices of bacon (or more if desired)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 - 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
4-5 ounces cream cheese, softened

Line a large cookie sheet (with 1/2" sides) with aluminum foil
and place an oven proof rack on top of foil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, thyme, tarragon, pepper & garlic
Cut 1" slits in the side of each chicken breast and try to expand the slit about 1/2 way into the breast...stuff the slit with 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture.
Take a bacon slice and starting at one of chicken breast, firmly wrap bacon around the chicken in a spiral direction, covering all of chicken.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
Cook the bacon wrapped chicken breasts until the bacon becomes a little crispy (about 4-6 minutes on each side.
Remove from pan and place on prepared rack...
Place in oven and bake about 20-30 minutes.

It is a treat to bite into the filling!!!

This recipe was adapted from a Southern Living publication.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Garlic Press - Oh My - This is Great!!!

I attended a Pampered Chef party recently and decided the garlic press was a MUST!
Check out the little removable cleaning tool above...clever to say the least.
And there is no need to peel the garlic clove, just place it in the little "basket" and squeeze the handles don't need to be a body builder to use this!
One end of the cleaning tool is meant to scrape the minced garlic off the edge and the "pronged" end fits nicely into the basket and any garlic bits left just get pressed out!

The Pampered Chef consultant was Dorene Stevens and she demonstrated many tools and kitchen necessities!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Foodie News!!!

For those of you not familiar with Northern Lower Michigan please be advised that the Grand Traverse Region is well noted as a resort area and now as a "Food City"!

In a recent (4/12/2010) Traverse City Record-Eagle Food Section newspaper article the following headline appeared: No Surprise - TC is a food city!

Here is the article:

Traverse City is the No. 1 "Surprising Food City" in a survey at "Known as the Cherry Capital of the World, the Lake Michigan resort town of Traverse City does a pretty good job with other foods, too," the entry says.
It cites an Associated Press story by Traverse City-based writer John Flesher, posted at Huffington Post, and Midwest Living magazine's list of best food towns that put Traverse City in second place (after Madison, Wisconsin).
The new survery singles out chef Myles Anton of Stella Trattoria and the wines of the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas.
Other cities rounding out the top 10 are Asheville, NC; Boulder, Colorado; Kansas City, MO; Walnut Creek, CA; Eugene, Oregon; Albuquerque, NM; Withita, Kansas; Logan, Utah; and Pueblo, Colorado.

Our region of Michigan boasts beautiful lakes, shopping destinations, and of course lots of good food and beverages!

Please consider visiting our neck of the woods!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lime Jello Salad

This lime salad is worthy of your attention...the photo does not do it justice but trust me on this one, it is a tasty little salad that would be perfect for a ladies spring luncheon.
I modified a recipe from Taste Of The South Magazine as follows:

1/2 cup sliced red grapes
1 cup boiling water
1 3oz. package of lime gelatin
1 cup sparkling grape juice
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Cool Whip, thawed

Lightly coat 6 1/2 cup molds with cooking spray (I used a decorative pumpkin pan)
Place sliced grapes into bottom of molds
In a medium bowl, combine gelatin & boiling water, stirring until completely dissolved
Add sparkling grape juice
Reserve 1 cup of gelatin mixture at room temperature
Pour remaining jello mixture into prepared molds.
Refrigerate until set, but not firm, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours

In a medium bowl, beat the softened cream cheese and Cool Whip at medium speed with electric mixer
Gradually add the room temperature gelatin, beating until smooth
Pour cream cheese mixture over the set gelatin and return to fridge for about 3 - 4 hours

I did have a little difficulty removing the cute little salads from mold but with a bit of patience they popped out and looked quite nice on a bed of leaf lettuce, garnished with strawberry & mango slices.

A silicone mold would probably be perfect for this salad!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Butterfinger Cupcakes

Some time ago I stumbled upon a recipe for Butterfinger Cupcakes but failed to copy the recipe and when I Googled it today CheatDayCafe popped up and Melody has a nice blog for your viewing. I modified her recipe a bit and these cupcakes are quite tasty!

Butterfinger Cupcakes:

1 yellow cake mix
1 small package instant Cheesecake pudding mix
2 cups warm water
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
Prepare as directed on cake mix box
Chop 2-3 Butterfinger Candy Bars and fold into the batter.
Spoon batter into paper liners in muffin tins
Bake at 350 degrees for about 23-25 minutes
Remove from tins and cool on rack


1 can Buttercream Frosting
2-3 chopped Butterfinger Candy Bars
I used a large star tip to pipe the frosting on the cupcakes and then placed "chunks" of candy on top

When I purchased the Butterfingers I accidently chose the ones with crispy wafers...they were just fine but I would like to try the original bars because it seems like the crunch would be delightful!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Over The Sink Cutting Board

Courtney & Matt gave me "wooden coins" from Crystal Crate & Cargo for my birthday and I found just what I over-the-sink cutting board. As you can see it has a removable drainer which is just so handy!

To make it even more clever it is expandable to hold more of whatever you are chopping!

To make this board even better it is also expandable to fit over different sized sinks!

This over-the-counter cutting board sells for $26.50 at Crystal Crate & Cargo in Beulah, Michigan.
Thanks again to Coco & Mac!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Courtney's Birthday!

Carrot Muffins are always served with Chicken Salad at our home! And they happen to be a favorite with the birthday girl, Courtney Amber Groves! She is such a loving daughter and a good, good friend...I love you, Sweetie!!! I must mention that the little hot pad was made by my Grandma Bessie and she was one talented lady who passed away on my 30th birthday. The hot pad consists of canning jar lids that she saved by the dozens to create these little gems. She crocheted little circles and then fit them around the lids. Placing the lids in a circular pattern, she stitched them together and passed them along to our family to enjoy for years to come.

Carrot Muffins:
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
1/2 cup raisins, optional
(our family opts out of the nuts & raisins)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place paper liners in muffin tins

Beat sugar and oil well. Blend in lightly beaten eggs. Sift the flour, baking powder, soda & salt. Gradually stir dry ingredients into oil mixture, blending well. Lastly, fold in grated carrots. Spoon batter into liners. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen muffins.
Sugared almonds, good enough to eat like candy! The recipe can be located on the post just prior to this one.

Courtney's Birthday!

One of Courtney's favorite dessert's is Neopolitan, originally named Banana Split. The recipe is from Jan Petteys (our Pastor's wife) and she is one fine cook! Jan placed sliced banana's on top of the crust before adding the ice cream, hence the name.
2 packages graham crackers (finely crushed)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar (or a bit more)
Combine above ingredients and pat into a 9 x 13 pan, place in freezer for awhile
1/2 gallon Neopolitan ice cream, sliced in approximately 1" pieces to fit on top of crust
1 cup chopped peanuts
Place the ice cream slices on top of crust and then sprinkle peanuts over all
Now the chocolate sauce:
Melt together:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk chocolate chips
add 2 cups 10x sugar (sifted) alternately with 1 1/2 cup evaporated milk slowly
over medium heat bringing to a boil and cook until thick ( this takes awhile)
Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon of Madagascar vanilla
and allow to cool at room temperature
After the chocolate sauce has cooled, pour on top of peanuts and place back in freezer
Whip 2 small cartons of whipping cream and sweeten to your taste
Spread over chocolate topping and top with additional chopped peanuts if desired
Return to freezer

Auntie Courtney with Maggie~ About to extinguish the candles

Another favorite recipe of Courtney's is chicken salad...
Chicken Salad:
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked & cooled
1 cup chopped carrots
1 large head of broccoli, separated
2 cups grapes, sliced in 1/2
1 cup chopped sweet pickles
8 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2/3 cup chopped sweet onion
4-5 large chicken breasts, cooked
Mix the above together and add a little Hellman's Light to the mixture...(maybe 3/4 cup or so)
3 to 4 small cartons whipping cream (whipped & sweetened to taste) and now add to the salad

You can add chopped dried cherries, celery, etc. to the above~

I generally decorate the salad with a few mandarin oranges, sliced fresh strawberries, and sprinkle with dill weed.

The crowning touch is Sugared Almonds:
1 egg white, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Beat egg white at high speed of electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add sugar (1 tbsp. at a time), beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in almonds. Pour butter into a 9" square pan. Spread coated almonds in pan over butter. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes or until almonds are dry, stirring every 5 minutes. Set almonds aside to cool and allow guests to garnish their own chicken salad!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Now comes the "Easter Bunny"

Sorry the adorable picture is not rotated...

Such a happy little Maggie!

And now the Easter Bunny has arrived!!!

He is Risen! Happy Easter!

Easter sunrise from our deck...Christ has risen...He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

It is a season of Hope!!!

Now to the Cookies!!!

Caribe & Courtney joined me on Saturday to make Easter cookies! Courtney continues to be our inspiration and she is a good little instructor! The bunnies turned out so adorable with the touch of green icing!Now on to the cute little chicks...they were decorated with modified royal icing and then dipped in colored sugar for a finishing touch!

This was the lone tulip...when cutting out the cookies I thought perhaps the tulip would be difficult to frost but I should have made more...they are so cute!

The carrots turned out cute!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

More prepping for Easter

Motorcycle Bunny is a treasured gift from Courtney & Matt purchased from a cute shop in Marshall, Michigan!As you can see, Motorcycle Bunny is perfectly displayed on the sofa table along with the antique looking tree adorned with ornaments and another bunny in the same color scheme!

The Welcome Spring sign was purchased at "The Barn" several years ago. Jan Milbert, along with her husband, sister, and brother-in-law created some beautiful items and I wish they were still in business!
A colorful display to welcome family & friends!

Preparing for Easter's Arrival

This will be the first year with a grandchild in our midst and even though Maggie is only 11 weeks old there needs to be some eggs and bunnies!!! The playful plastic eggs are displayed on bittersweet vines.The little bunny is ready with his basket of eggs!!!

Miniature daffodils bloomed just in the nick of time!

And the brilliant little crocus erupting for our spring-time pleasure!