Thursday, April 13, 2017

~Color Update~

Bright Yellow Forsythia Blossoms
What a beautiful time of year!  Whenever I glance out our kitchen window the bright yellow Forsythia blossoms get my attention!  Three bushes are in our back perennial garden.  It's so easy to admire these beautiful bushes all over my neighborhood, because many of us have them in our yards.  Last year, the Forsythia did not blossom, due to our warm, then freezing temps early in the year.  They sure were missed!  However, this year they are a welcoming Spring sight!

The "AmaZing surprises" that made their appearances in March have also brought color to our emerging garden!  A bright yellow Daffodil stands tall.  :)  

Sole Surviving Daffodil
Pink & yellow Hyacinth flowers are opening on the stalks!  It's a ritual that I enjoy seeing every year!  

Hyacinth Blossoms Opening
Before I know it, it will be time to plant the saved Zinnia & Marigold seeds!

What a great time of year!
Spring in New England!
Enjoy!
   

Thursday, April 6, 2017

~Flatbread Pizza~

BBQ Pork Tenderloin Flatbreads
with Roasted Asparagus
Spring!  Asparagus! Flatbread Pizza!  Oh yes!  What a great combination!

A couple of months ago my DH & I were looking at the menu in a New Jersey hotel dining room- famished.  I wanted to order something I'd never tasted.  That's something I always enjoy doing.  When I return home I like to prepare a new dish that's so tasty.  There on the menu was "Flatbread Pizza".  The description of the ingredients sounded so appetizing & I was so hungry!  Oh, it was so good!     

Three weeks ago, a grocery store in my area started carrying packaged flatbread for pizza.  O.K., that got my attention!  Now, I've prepared Flatbread Pizza twice in the past 3 weeks.  Forget Friday night pizza!

These are great!  They are so easy to prepare!  The Directions are on the package.  With the Flatbreads I use, they are placed on a baking sheet & baked for 2 minutes.  Add toppings & then return to the oven & bake again for 4- 5 Minutes. 

It's Asparagus time, so roasting Asparagus that's coated with Olive Oil for baking & sauteing & also Parmesan cheese is a great veggie when making these.  We like White Pizza, so a coating of Ricotta Cheese is a great base.    

With the first Flatbreads, BBQed Pork Tenderloin chunks, Roasted Asparagus & fresh Spinach were placed on a coating of Ricotta Cheese.  Top with shredded Mozzarella/ Cheddar! 

We enjoyed the taste of  Veggie Dream Flatbreads the second time.  Roasted Asparagus & Roasted Summer Squash along with fresh Spinach were placed on the Ricotta.

Veggie Dream Flatbread

Useful Hints
:

  • Before adding toppings, I spread a little Olive Oil for baking & sauteing on each baked Flatbread.  Then, add & spread Ricotta Cheese on top. 
  • For both varieties make a drizzle of 1 teaspoon Water with 4 teaspoons of BBQ SauceCombine & then drizzle over the top of each Flatbread just before sprinkling on the shredded Cheddar/ Mozzarella Cheese.  Bake.  This gives it a great tang!
Does your family enjoy these, too?

Enjoy!
Yummy!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

~Early Spring~

The snow that fell 2 weeks ago has melted.  The rain has now stopped.  Today the sun is shining, so it was time to check out the perennial gardens. 

AmaZing surprises!!!

In our front yard the lavender Crocuses in our lawn are enjoying the sunshine!

A Ritual of Spring!





A walk to our backyard brought more smiles!  The sole Daffodil in our back perennial garden already had a bud before the snowfall.  Yes, it's growing!

The sole Daffodil!

 Even the Hyacinths continue upward!

Flower buds growing larger!

The recent snowfall did not stop determined Spring!  Woohoo!
It's anticipated & totally Enjoyed!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread
It's March! Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day!  It's time to bake the Irish Soda Bread to enjoy this weekend!!!  This yummy bread is also called Spotted Dog.  Oh, it is so good!

Unsalted Butter, Raisins & Fat Free or Low Fat Buttermilk are 3 of the ingredients.  Enjoying a slice or two of this bread on St. Patrick's Day is a tradition in my family.  What a great bread!  If you have any extra slices, they can be frozen to enjoy another weekend.  There just may not be any extra slices.

Here's my history of me finding this recipe: 

I'll always remember the year I was "googling" for an Irish Soda Bread recipe that used 1 Cup of Buttermilk.  That's all I had in the fridge.  There was the recipe on the blog Charli and Me written by Carol.  Carol shared that this great recipe originally came from the Will O'Glenn Irish Bed and Breakfast in Michigan with Mrs. Biddy Gahan sharing it.  I'm always so happy that all of these kind folks passed it along!  I use unsalted & fat free/ low fat ingredients & it's so good!  Every year I bake this Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day & also a couple of other times during the year.

***My hints:
  • Melt & then cool the Butter before using.
  • Before placing the sticky dough in the pie plate, rub a little Butter on your hands.
  • Spray the pie plate with PAM. 

Ready to place in my oven!
Irish Soda Bread
Oven: 400°F, then lowered to 375°F.

Total baking time:  40- 45 Minutes

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 Cups Raisins
1 Cup Boiling Water
**********
1 stick unsalted Butter 
2 and 1/2 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
5 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Cup Buttermilk, can be Fat Free or Low Fat 
PAM

Method:  
  1.  Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2.  Spray Pyrex pie plate with PAM.
  3.  In a small bowl combine Raisins & boiling water.  Let sit while preparing dough.
  4.  Melt butter.  Cool.
  5.  In large mixing bowl combine Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder & Sugar. 
  6.  Add melted Butter to dry ingredients.  Stir in.
  7.  Add Buttermilk. Stir.
  8.  Add drained Raisins.  Stir. 
  9.  Shape the dough into a ball after placing in the pie plate.  Dough is sticky.
  10.  Bake 15 Minutes at 400°F.
  11.  Then, lower oven temperature to 375°F.  Bake 25- 30 Minutes longer.
  12.  Remove bread from pie plate after using a cake tester or toothpick to test for "done".  
  13.  Cool on rack.
  14.  Wait at least 5 hours before cutting into slices.
  15.  Enjoy!
Heat half of a slice in the microwave for a few seconds.  What an extra special treat!  Warm or room temperature, this is just so good!

Enjoy!
Yummy!
 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!    

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!!

Today's the day
To say
Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!!!

Two days ago I stopped into the Springfield Museums in Springfield, MA.  I was on my way to the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum for a presentation, so I walked past the statues of Dr. Seuss & his friends.  The Lorax greets visitors as they walk onto the museum complex.

The Lorax
Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, MA.  He grew up in Springfield & later wrote so many books for children using the name Dr. Seuss.  Seuss was his mother's maiden name.  The sculptor Lark Grey Dimond- Cates, Theodor Seuss Geisel's step- daughter, designed these large detailed bronze statues.  The Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 & Thing 2 & Horton the Elephant are just a few.

Horton & more Dr. Seuss Friends!
While writing his stories he used his native Springfield, MA for inspiration.  No, Ted Geisel did not live on Mulberry Street.  His dad was Superintendent of Parks in Springfield & Forest Park is located in the city.  Often the phrase "If I ran the zoo..." would be voiced by Springfield residents.  You will recognize the title of another great story of his- If I Ran the Zoo.  Indian Motorcycles were manufactured in the city, so they have a place in his stories, too.

Green Eggs and Ham is my favorite Dr. Seuss story!  What's your fave story???

Enjoy!
        

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Ah Yes, Color!

Welcome Sight!
Red Amaryllis
In the middle of January I was ready to work with the Amaryllis!  It was the potted bulb 2 of my cute grandsons gave us.  The color was a mystery.  Mysteries are good!  It was also a mystery if  I would see any beautiful anticipated flowers.  A YouTube video was very helpful. 

O.K., the lid was carefully removed from the pot.  The bulb was watered- not too much.  The pot was rotated:  90°- 180° every time.  The ever growing stem with a "bud" was staked- gently with yarn.  Suddenly the "bud" began to open & small red buds appeared.  I was on my way to see brilliant red color in the winter!  Woo hoo!

The buds opened.  The Amaryllis is watered.  The pot is rotated.  What a gorgeous sight in February!

Pollen & me have issues, so I also removed the pollen sacs.  I am planning on enjoying these bright red flowers for as long as  can!

After it flowers (with some TLC), I've learned that the bulb can be replanted at a later date.  Oh yes, brilliant red flowers again!  This is so similar to my Marigold plant!  Seeds are saved every year & planted the following spring!      

Enjoying the Amaryllis!
               

Monday, February 20, 2017

Butternut Squash Raisin Muffins

~Butternut Squash Raisin Muffins~
We have a few packages of Butternut Squash in our freezer!  Ah, just a very few.  It's the veggie that we purchase in autumn from Meadowbrook Farm.  After bringing the bushel home the next step is to steam/ mash/ package/ label/ freeze it to enjoy during the other months of the year.  Yesterday, while we were enjoying this yummy orange colored veggie during dinner I decided to save out 1/2 of a cup.  I had Butternut Squash Muffins on my mind.  The yummy muffins that most people think about & enjoy in autumn.  Why wait for autumn in 2017?  These light muffins with Raisins are also  flavored with Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Cloves.  They taste so good any time of year & during the winter they are a great treat.

Looking outside, the snow in our yard has certainly melted!  Streets & sidewalks are clear.  That makes taking the daily walk outdoors so easy!  After returning from the walk, the Butternut Squash Raisin Muffins were soon baking in the oven!  Yum!         

Butternut Squash Raisin Muffins
Oven:  400°F
Time:  20- 22 Minutes
Yield:  12 Muffins

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon Ground Cloves
2 Egg Whites (or 1 Whole Egg)
3/4 cup Soy Milk (can be 1%, 2% or Whole Milk)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil for baking & sauteing
1/2 cup Butternut Squash cooked & mashed 
1/4 cup Raisins

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Line muffin pan with liners.
  3. Combine the first 7 dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir to mix.
  4. Separate Egg Whites & place in small bowl & beat with a fork. 
  5. Add Soy Milk & Olive Oil to small bowl. Combine.
  6. Add mashed Butternut Squash to liquid mixture, combine.
  7. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients.
  8. Add Raisins.
  9. Mix all ingredients together until moistened.  Batter may be lumpy.
  10. Fill muffin liners.
  11. Bake 20- 22 Minutes in 400°F oven until muffins are lightly browned on top.
  12. Remove muffins from pan immediately.
  13. Cool on racks.
After these muffins cooled for about 10 minutes, suddenly 1 was gone from the rack!  You guessed it.  My Hubby walked into the kitchen.  :)

Will you be baking a batch of these muffins?

Enjoy!
Yummy!