Friday, July 30, 2010

Baby Turkey's

I was on my way down to our lower level to do some laundry and thought I heard something outside so approached a window and much to my surprise there were five little turkey's with their Momma right near our foundation. Off I went to get the camera as quickly & quietly as I could and to my delight the little ones were still there when I returned with camera in hand!

They didn't seem frightened at all but Momma was taking no chances so I clicked away rather quickly and got a few pretty good shots.

These pictures were taken in the morning and that evening we heard what sounded like a "crow fight"...looking out the window we saw Momma turkey diligently protecting her babies from about eight hovering large black crows...oh to live in the woods and take in nature. Every day is different out here and we love it!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Yummy Cupcakes

I have been wanting to make summery cupcakes and yesterday was the chosen date...I should have taken the humidity into consideration but I pressed on.
I spotted some pretty cupcakes recently on blogs and in magazines and decided I wanted to try my hand at something a little different!

I take great pleasure in using my collection of serving pieces, of which many have been gifts over the years from special loved ones!

Use your favorite cupcake batter and allow them to cool completely.

Use the frosting of your choice and color half with a bluish color and half with a purple color and place in a decorating bag (purple on one side & blue on the other). Using the tip of your choice, decorate the cupcakes as desired. Personally I like a buttercream or cream cheese frosting but on a hot & humid day, the consistancy is a bit challenging.

Be creative and know that even if the decorating doesn't turn out quite like you had hoped, the family will still eat the cupcakes & be thankful for a sweet!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mock Turtles

Ooey...gooey Turtles!!!
I love me a turtle...but multiple turtles can be I made just a few of these little gems!

Of course they aren't up to Kilwin's (the chocolate franchise in town) standards but for homemade they are really good and very easy to make.
Three ingredients is all you need and very little of your precious time!

Pecan halves
Snaps style pretzels (or you can use other styles)
Rolo candies

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or aluminum foil)

Place pretzels on parchment paper
and on top of the pretzel place an unwrapped Rolo
then top the Rolo with a pecan half

Now place in oven for about 4 - 6 minutes
(don't over-bake)
When they are removed from oven, gently push down on the pecan to spread the Rolo out a bit and allow to cool completely

Grab a nice cold glass of milk and enjoy a Turtle!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Strawberry Mojito

I must admit that making mixed drinks doesn't occur often at our home so when it came down to the Family Throwdown I didn't really have a clue. I did a fair amount of recipe searching and decided on a Strawberry Mojito.

Personally, I thought the drink was tasty although a bit strong for my liking...the addition of mint leaves and sliced strawberries in the glass made for an attractive drink!

The Strawberry Mojito recipe is modified a bit from a Southern Lady magazine.

Strawberry Mojito:

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 ounces light rum
3 ounces Strawberry Mint Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
2 ounces club soda
Fresh mint leaves
Sliced Strawberries (fresh)

In a large (4 cup) measuring cup combine the lime juice, rum, simple syrup and club soda, stir to combine.
Place a few sliced strawberries and mint leaves in the bottom of desired glass. Fill glass desired amount of ice and pour drink over all.
Garnish withe fresh berries & mint leaves if you wish.

Strawberry Mint Simple Syrup:

3 cups water
3 cups sugar
3 cups chopped fresh strawberries
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

In a large saucepan, combine the water and sugar over medium high heat, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Add the strawberries and bring to a quick boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the mint leaves, cover and steep for 15 minutes.

Strain syrup and cool completely.

The Strawberry Mojito looks most attractive and tastes good on a hot & humid day!!!

Refreshing indeed, although I would personally cut back on the rum just a bit.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tortilla Chips

I needed some sort of chip to go with the previously posted Squash Dip and decided to use Tortilla's and bake my own. Very quick and easy!

I purchased a package of 8" flour tortillas and cut them in desired "chip" pieces, placing them on parchment lined baking sheets.

Then I sprayed them with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkled with Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 - 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on wire racks.

These little "chips" were a nice compliment to the Squash Dip.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Squash Dip

Squash Dip??? I must admit skepticism nearly prevented me from trying this recipe...especially for the family appetizer/beverage throwdown.

But happiness reigns...I'm pleased that I entered this appetizer in the throwdown! I did not win, that honor went to Courtney with a recipe I am sure she will share on her blog.

Squash Dip

About 8 average sized yellow summer squash, sliced
6-8 cups water (salted to taste)
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
1 pound Bob Evans spicy hot sausage
1 small can cream of mushroom soup
1 pound Mexican flavored processed cheese (Velveeta)

Flour Tortilla Chips
(recipe to follow in a later post)

In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Add the onions & sliced squash and cook until tender (not mushy). Drain well.
Now brown the sausage and drain.

In a large bowl, combine the squash/onion mixture, sausage, mushroom soup and cheese. Stir until cheese melts.

Place the mixture in a 9 x 13 baking dish and bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Serve warm with tortilla chips.

This is a great way to use up some of your summer squash bounty...I never would have guessed that summer squash would ever appear as a hot dip in our household. We will certainly enjoy this from time to time during the summer months!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Penne With Summer Squash & Zucchini

A few tomato slices sprinkled with Balsamic Vinegar compliment the pasta dish beautifully!

This Penne Pasta is modified from a Mario Batali recipe...Mario and his family vacation in our neck of the woods and he recently had a book signing event at Border's in Traverse City, Michigan. His new book is entitled: Batali's Molto Gusto! He is a colorful and talented chef and this recipe is simply the best pasta ever!!!
Penne With Summer Squash & Ricotta
(I used part summer squash and part zucchini with great results)

Kosher Salt
1 cup whole milk Ricotta
6 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 pound summer squash (sliced in 1/2 lengthwise and then sliced in 1/3" pieces
1/2 pound zucchini (prepared just like the summer squash)
Sea Salt
1 pound Penne pasta
6 tablespoons coursely chopped fresh mint
Coursely ground back pepper

Prepare the Penne according to box directions (salting the water with Kosher salt (1 tablespoon)

Whisk ricotta and 3 tablespoons olice oil in a small bowl. Stir in Parmigiano well.

Heat remaining 3 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the squash and cook, stirring often until done (we like the squash not mushy). It takes about 5 minutes or so. Season with the sea salt and remove from heat.

By this time the pasta is done to perfection (al dente). Drain and reserve 1/3 cup of pasta water.

Add pasta and reserved water to the squash and cook again over medium heat stirring well. Cover & reduce heat to low and steam for about 2-3 minutes.

Stir in mint, add a bit of salt & pepper if needed for your tastes.

Pour pasta into a serving bowl and garnish with the ricotta mixture.

This serves 6-8

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cheddar Squash Bake

Oh my goodness, the summer squash are abundant and in looking through my recipes I was delighted to find an old favorite (that I have not prepared in several years).

As you can see in the above picture the squash is baked in a 9 x 13 pan so you could have this not only for a family dinner but for guests as well!

The combination of summer squash, cheddar cheese and bacon is reason enough for me to make this casserole! Oh and the sour cream doesn't hurt a thing!!!

We don't have a garden but all we have to do is visit one of several local Farmer's Market's.

Cheddar Squash Bake

2 pounds summer squash
1 cup sour cream
2 beaten egg yolks
2 beaten egg whites
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
5 slices bacon, cooked, drained, & crumbled
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter

Scrub squash, cut off ends but don't peel. Slice to make 6 cups. Cook, covered, in a small amount of butter until tender. Drain well and sprinkle with salt. If desired, save a few slices for garnish.

Mix sour cream, egg yolks and flour together, set aside while beating egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the sour cream mixture.

In a 9 x 13 pan (or you can use a 12 x 7), layer half the squash, then half the egg mixture, and then half the cheese, and finally half the bacon. Repeat this process of layering one more time.

Combine the bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle on top of of casserole. To this mixture I add freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste.

Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

You can, as mentioned earlier, garnish with sliced squash or a combination of crispy bacon, and chopped parsley.

This is a taste treat!!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fresh Strawberry Salsa

This recipe is modified a bit from a Paula Deen recipe and it is colorful and refreshing!

This is a quick and easy salsa recipe and tastes really good with multigrain tortilla chips!

Fresh Strawberry Salsa:

3 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup chopped yellow pepper (I didn't have yellow so used more red & green)
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped Vadalia onion
1 jalapeno, seeded & minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (I used Sea Salt)

In a bowl, combine strawberries and veggies. I a small bowl combine olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, and salt...whisk together well and toss with the strawberry mixture. Place in fridge and chill.

Serve with tortilla chips or pita chips!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Zucchini "Crab" Cakes

Several years ago I clipped a recipe from a church newsletter and stashed it away and recently found it in my recipe box, safely tucked away, just waiting for a bumper crop of zucchini...Matt and Courtney are keeping us in an abundance of the versatile veggie!!! Many thanks to them!

Ben & I didn't think zucchini could possibly taste anything like crab but remember you can't judge a book by the cover! The little gems are really quick & easy and the taste is magnificent, you could be proud to serve these "cakes" to your guests!

As you can see, the zucchini cake looks a lot like a crab cake!

Zucchini "Crab" Cakes:

2 1/2 cups grated zucchini (I patted it of excess moisture)
1 beaten egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup bread crumbs (I used Italian)
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (TM)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying

In a large bowl, combine zucchini, egg, and butter. Stir in seasoned bread crumbs, chopped onions, and seasoning. Mix very well. Form patties and dredge in flour on both sides. Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Fry patties until golden on each side. Serves six!

I made a little salsa-type mixture for a topping:
Chopped green onions
Mango, diced
Tomato, sliced and quartered
Radishes, sliced
Parsley, chopped
Mix the above with a little Balsamic Vinegar and serve over the zucchini "crab" cakes

Thursday, July 15, 2010

BLT'S With A Twist

When it is too hot to cook, you are hungry and have tomatoes, bacon & asiago bread on hand...a hearty dinner of BLT'S is perfect!

I had purchased the Asiago Bread at the local grocery store and it was just being placed on the shelf by a Stone House Bread delivery fellow!!! Fresh for sure and it is some of the best bread ever!
To make the BLT'S a bit more interesting, I jazzed up the mayonaise (Hellman's, of course) with a little cherry vinaigrette and honey mustard!

So quick & easy!!! The heat & humidity in Michigan has been with us much of the summer and with a meal like this you don't have to crank up the oven!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Casserole with Asiago Cheese

This recipe was clipped from a summer edition of the Detroit Free Press a number of years ago and has been stored away & almost forgotten...until now when the zucchini are flowing so freely!
The above picture depicts the tomatoes, summer squash and zucchini layered in a 9 x 13 pan, prior to baking.

This photo (above) is the casserole with the asiago cheese mixture sprinkled over the veggies prior to baking.

After baking for about 30 minutes, the casserole is ready for eating! This recipe is quick and easy and the taste is wonderful...the asiago cheese is so good!


1 large shallot, peeled & thinly sliced (or two - 3 small)
6 medium sized tomatoes (not overly ripe), washed & sliced (1/2" thick)
1 large or two small zucchini, sliced 1/4"thick on the bias
1 large or 2 small summer squash, sliced 1/4" thick on the bias
Arrange the above in rows in a 9 x 13 pan, alternating "colors".

In a small bowl mix together:

1 cup shredded Asiago Cheese
1/4 cup (approx.) of Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (approx.) olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Now spread the above mixture over the veggies.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until zucchini tests tender.

Garnish with fresh basil.

So quick & easy and can be enjoyed alone or with a fillet of fish