Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lapsang Souchong Smoked Beef Roast

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you my visit with Stacy of Food, Lust, People, Love at her friend, Naszreen's tea shoppe, The Rendezvous with Tea.  While I was there Naszreen gifted me some lovely, smoky, decadent Lapsang Souchoung tea.  It smelled delicious and we discussed how not only would it be wonderful to drink with beef but that it would make a wonderful rub to use on a beef roast.

We were right......


I crumbled the tea.


Mixed it with salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil.


Massaged the rub over both sides of a Chuck Roast.


Browned the meat.


While the meat was searing I placed some vegetables in the bottom of the crockpot.



Place the browned meat on top of the vegetables.


Deglaze the pan with water, creating this beautiful, golden, fragrant braising liquid.
Pour this liquid over the roast and vegetables and set on low heat for 8 hrs.


The beef was tender, flavorful and delicious with a slight hint of smokiness from the tea.
The only problem was that there were no leftovers with which to make the dinner I had planned for tomorrow night.

Lapsang Souchong Smoked Beef Roast

1 beef pot roast, I used a Chuck Roast
2 T. Lapsang Souchong tea leaves
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, quartered
2 stalks celery, cut into 2" pieces
1 small bag baby carrots

Crush tea leaves and place in small bowl.  Add the olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic and mix together. Pat the beef roast dry.  Rub tea mixture over both sides of the beef roast.  Heat a large skillet over med high heat.  Place beef roast in dry hot skillet and sear for about 5 minutes, flip roast and sear for 3 or 4 more minutes until browned on both sides.  While beef is searing place vegetables in the bottom of a crock pot.  When beef is browned, remove from pan and lay over vegetables.  Carefully add 2 cups of water into the hot skillet and boil, scraping up any brown bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Pour over meat and vegetables.  Cover and cook on low setting for 8 hrs. Print Recipe






In Like a Lion, Out like a Lamb????


Here it is the last day of March.....Springtime.....Easter is less than a week away......It was 54* yesterday while I was out running errands.


This is what we awoke to this morning.  This is the view from my front door!!  Beautiful....if it were December!!  Do you think maybe it is an April Fool's joke???  And here is the view from my back door......


Go away March!!!  You have been an absolutely HORRID month this year!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Product Review and Giveaway Opportunity...

Calling all Bloggers


You might recall a while back when I introduced you to my daughter and son in law's products at Petoskey and Pine. Well, I am very proud to announce that their website, Petoskey and Pine. com is up and ready to start accepting orders.



I cannot say enough wonderful things about their products.  I have lived through an entire Michigan winter without suffering from the dry, scaly, itchy skin that has always plagued me during this time. My husband, who normally suffers terribly when his fingertips split and crack each winter, did not suffer that malady this year after he began using this wonderful soap.  I used the lip balm exclusively this year and never suffered with dry, cracked lips.  The candles smell lovely and burn evenly and efficiently.

I think this is because Petoskey and Pine only uses the finest, all natural ingredients they can find to make their products. I will share their words with you.
Petoskey and Pine is a bath and beauty company created with the idea of using only the purest ingredients with respect to the environment. We research our suppliers to ensure that they provide sustainable products and purchase those products through fair trade programs. We are a small company that produces everything by hand and we test all our products on ourselves to ensure they meet our high standards.
Now, I know that I may be a little biased.  After all, the owners of this company are very near and dear to my heart.  That is where you, non biased and non related bloggers, come in.  Petoskey and Pine would like to send twelve lucky bloggers their choice of either a bar of soap or a candle.  Each blogger will also be given a lip balm to try.  All Petoskey and Pine asks for in return is an honest review of their product and your inclusion of a product giveaway in your review post.


What a wonderful Mother's Day gift this would make!


Petoskey and Pine will be raffling off a gift box set to one lucky reader.  This set comes complete as shown with two bars of soap, one candle and one lip balm.  These items are packaged beautifully for gift giving nestled in decorative boxes and wrapped up with a bow.  


Petoskey and Pine will also be giving two more of our lucky readers a gorgeous bar of soap on a wooden soap dish tied up and ready to be presented with a flower attached.

We ask that you go to petoskeyandpine.com and check them out.  Then, if this is an opportunity that you would like to offer to your readers email me at wendyklik1517@gmail.com with your blog name, blog url, choice of soap or candle and mailing address.  We are very sorry but at this time Petoskey and Pine is only able to ship in the United States.  

Camilla, of Culinary Adventures with Camilla, is already on board.  That leaves eleven spots open for other bloggers who would like this opportunity.  The first 11 to respond will be the lucky recipients of these products for review.


A Very Rough Weekend

This was a very rough weekend on the farm....

Some of you may remember when I posted a year and a half ago introducing the newest member of the family, Princess Fiona of Fair Haven.  The title of that post was A Perfectly Wonderful Weekend. This weekend we lost our Princess when she was hit by a car in front of our house.


We were not home when the accident occurred.  Thankfully for us, Tragically for them, Jen and Randy were here visiting.  We were at Mom Klik's 91st birthday celebration.  Jen and Randy had just returned home from having dinner out.  The dogs were let out and within a minute Randy heard a loud noise and knew that something had been hit.  He ran to the door and and called for the dogs, threw on his shoes and started down the driveway where Bella and their dog, Winston, ran to him. Randy found Fiona on the side of the road.  She was unable to move her back legs and her front leg were out stiff in front of her.  She was not bleeding and her breathing did nto appear to be labored. Jen called us as Randy loaded Fiona into their van to be brought to the hospital where we met them.

Fiona was taken into ICU and we prepared ourselves mentally to lose her.  We believed her back was probably broken and we would need to humanely put her down.  It felt like we were there forever and it was agonizing to hear our girl whimpering and crying in pain.  After a couple of hours, the doctor met with us and told us that the xrays showed that there were no broken bones, however they were unable to get good films of her neck because of the pain Fiona was suffering.  The doctor further said that the films showed no signs of lacerations or tears in any of Fi's organs.  Fi's stomach was filled with air but she felt that was due to the trauma of the impact and that Fi was extremely bruised and sore.  The only damage that she could confirm at this point was a torn ligament in Fi's leg that could be remedied with surgery.

The doctor said that she would like to keep Fi hospitalized with strong pain medication in an IV drip and monitor her over the weekend.  Once the pain was under control they would be able to get better films of her neck area and the doctor thought that would show a subluxation of the spine that would also be able to be treated.  We were relieved and happy that the diagnosis was not the death sentence that we believed we were going to hear.

We signed away a good portion of our savings (I didn't really want a new kitchen floor anyway) and went home with a prayer of gratitude.  At 6 am our phone rang, it was the vet who advised that Fiona continued to worsen during the night and that she had what appeared to be a slow arterial bleed and that her stomach had filled with blood.  The doctor said that, if we chose, she could do exploratory surgery to see if she could find the tear, she also advised at this time the the paralysis to the front legs had not eased at all and they were still unable to get good films of Fi's neck.  We made the very difficult decision to have her put down at this time.


This tragedy came right on the heels of our having to have our Buddy Boy put down at the beginning of this month.


This leaves us now with only or Bella Baby who you see lying here next to her Dad.  She spent all day yesterday roaming from room to room and to all ends of the yard in search of her brother and sister.  When she is not roaming she sits next to us and whines.  It is breaking our hearts.

Last night as we climbed into bed to cry ourselves to sleep, Frank said we needed to get another puppy right away, for Bella and for him, and that he wanted another chocolate lab even though he knows the chances of getting another lab puppy as good and as calm as Fi would be rare.  I told him we would worry about it after Easter....I don't know that my heart is ready for another puppy just now.....

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Weekly Menu for Holy Week

This is a very busy week coming up for us.  Between Choir, Masses, Services, Food Pantry and Easter Basket Distributions most of my time will be spent at one church or another.

Today we are celebrating Mom Klik's 91st birthday with a party hosted by Roz and Ron at their house.  We will be going over there right after the 4 pm Mass at which we are singing.

Tomorrow we are going to be hanging out with Jen and Randy all day.  If the weather is nice we are going downtown to the Farmer's Market and to Belle Isle which has recently been made a State Park. We will be having meals out except for breakfast, and perhaps we'll go to a movie in the evening.

Monday is the only day that I won't be running around like a chicken with my head cut off....they really do that by the way...I will be using this day to plan my Easter Menu.

Tuesday I will be shopping for the Easter Basket Food Distribution on Thursday and we have choir practice in the evening so I am making a crock pot meal that can be used for the rest of the week.

Wednesday will be spent at the Food Pantry to prepare for regular distributions and to make sure there are no last minute additions to the client list for Easter Baskets.  Wednesday night I will go shopping for our Easter Feast.

Thursday we will be distributing the Easter Baskets and then will be singing for Holy Thursday Mass. We will probably order up pizzas while doing distributions.

Friday we have church service at 1 pm and then are singing the Tenebrae at 8 pm.  It is also a day of fast and abstainance for us with no meat and only 2 small meals and one full meal with no food at all between 12-3 pm.  We will be eating out in between services.




Saturday
Dinner at Roz and Ron's

Sunday
Dinner out

Meatless Monday
Pasta, Pesto and Peas

Tuesday
Root Vegetables

Wednesday
BBQ Beef Sandwiches

Holy Thursday
Ordering in Pizza

Good Friday
Dinner out


Please stop by each day as I share recipes and photos.  I will also be joining up with Menu Plan Monday where you can find tons of menu ideas.

Spring Vegetable and Shrimp Stir Fry

The original plan was to go out for dinner last night but Jen and Randy both had to work yesterday so weren't able to get here until 7:30. Instead I deciede to throw together a Spring Vegetable and Shrimp Stir Fry and make some Vegetable Egg Rolls, using this recipe and just deleting the shrimp.  I had everything prepped and ready to go as they walked in the door.  Dinner was served within 15 minutes.


Spring Vegetable and Shrimp Stir Fry

2 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 c. low sodium soy sauce
2 t. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. ginger paste
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends snapped off, cut in half crosswise
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
7 scallions, white and light green parts sliced
1 T. peanut oil
1 T. cornstarch


Combine soy sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger in large bowl.  Add shrimp and toss to coat.  Let stand in marinade, refrigerated for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in the bottom of a wok.  Add the asparagus and scallions to the wok, reserving some scallion for garnish.  Stir fry for a moment before adding the shrimp reserving the marinade.  Continue to stir and fry until shrimp turns pink.  Add the tomatoes and stir and cook briefly.  Whisk the cornstarch into the reserved marinade and pour into wok, cooking and stirring until sauce thickens and contents are coated.  Print Recipe

Friday, March 27, 2015

Goodbye Odd Thomas....I will miss spending time with you.

Image result for saint odd

I just finished the last book in the Odd Thomas series.  I am going to miss my good friend Odd Thomas.  I always looked forward to sitting down and spending time with him.  

Dean Koontz has a way of bringing his characters alive even when we know that there are things about them that are unrealistic.  Koontz has a gift of making you believe that the incredible is credible and the outlandish just might have a hint of truth to it. 

If you have never read any of the Odd Thomas books and are looking for a way to spend a pleasurable, lazy afternoon, pick up Odd Thomas, the first in the series and introduce yourself.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

If you need some heat get into the kitchen....

I wrote earlier today about making some muffins to help heat up the house this morning when we awoke to a broken furnace.  Our friend and heating and cooling guy extraordinaire, Kurt, came over and discovered that the gas valve needed to be replaced.  We were going into the city anyway so we told Kurt we would pick up the part and call him when we got home.

Actually, while we were out running errands, the sun was shining and it was comfortable outside. When we walked in the house, it felt colder inside than out, so on again went the fireplaces, space heaters and oven while we waited for Kurt to finish up another job and get back over.

My Weekly Menu had already gotten turned around this week (boy, that's unusual....NOT) when we went out for a going away dinner on Monday night.  So, tonight we were supposed to have pork chops but I hadn't made my chicken yet so I decided to use that.  However, I changed from the original recipe I had planned for the chicken because (a) our errands took longer than I had anticipated (b) I wanted to use the oven and (c) I was feeling lazy.  So I decided to make Easy Baked Chicken and Roasted Red Skin Potatoes for dinner along with some Glazed Carrots.

I was really surprised when I saw that I had never shared this recipe for chicken with you.  It is easy, peasy and delicious.....so you know I make it quite often.  Today I baked it, but it can be broiled or grilled as well.  It's not even really a recipe so maybe that is why I didn't share it before now.



Easy Italian Marinated Chicken

Chicken pieces of your choice, can be bone in or boneless, skin on or skinless
Bottled Italian Salad Dressing

Place chicken pieces in a resealable plastic bag.  Pour in enough Italian dressing to coat well. Marinade the chicken at least 3 hrs and up to overnight.  Remove chicken from marinade and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated 400* oven for 40-50 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165*.
**Note...you can alternately broil or grill the chicken to an internal temperature of 165*
Print Recipe

I hope things start heating up around here....

The dogs awoke us at 5:45 this morning and the first thing we noticed is that it was cooooooold in this house.  Our furnace had quit sometime during the night.  This happened a couple of weeks ago and Frank went down, reset the furnace and life was good.  This morning.....no such luck!

What is lucky is that our furnace guy is also our dear friend Kurt who should be here shortly.  In the meanwhile what do you do when the furnace is out?  We turned on all of the fireplaces, grabbed the electric heater from the basement and brought it up to the bedroom, turned on the heat vent in the master bath so we could shower without turning to ice and snuggled in bed until things warmed up a bit.  It is now 67* in the house.  Not too bad but still chilly.  So I turned on the oven and made some muffins.....warmed up the kitchen and warmed up our bellies so we are ready to face the day!


Raisin Bran Muffins.
Quick, Easy and Delicious.



Irish Cream Cheesecake for #FifteenCheesecakes


My friend, Camilla, of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is celebrating her 15th Wedding Anniversary and has invited all of us to join in the party.  Camilla served Cheesecakes at their wedding and thought it would be appropriate to have all of her food blogger friends make a cheesecake of their choice in acknowledgement of her their big day.  Cam originally asked for 15 friends who would be willing to help her out but within a very short time she had that many volunteers and several more that wanted in on the action.  Cam graciously opened it up to any that wanted to participate.  At last count there were 26 of us.....that is a lot of great cheesecake recipes for you to enjoy.  You will find links to all of them at the bottom of this post.

I was having a dinner party in celebration of St. Patrick's Day last Tuesday and, knowing this event was right around the corner, decided to serve cheesecake as one of the desserts.  I had originally planned on doing a Creme de Menthe cheesecake in keeping with the green theme but then I was thumbing through the March/April 2014 Issue of Cuisine at Home and came across this recipe for Irish Cream Cheesecake.  


Happy Anniversary Camilla!!



Irish Cream Cheesecake
as found in Cuisine at Home, Issue #104

1 1/2 c. Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
3 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. Irish Cream Liqueur
1/2 c. heavy cream
3 eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 375*.  Toast the oats in the oven on a baking sheet until they smell nutty, about 10 minutes.  Place the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and butter into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until blended and mixture clumps.  Press the oats mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a springform pan.  Bake crust until firm, 10-12 minutes.  Reduce oven temp to 325*, Let crust cool to room temperature, then wrap the base of the pan in aluminum foil and place into a roasting pan.

Beat the cream cheese with both sugars on medium speed until smooth.  Beat in liqueur and cream. Before adding eggs, beat slightly with a fork, then add to the batter, one egg at a time and mix to incorporate before adding the next.  Pour filling into crust.  Pour boiling water into the roasting pan, 1" up the side of the springform pan. Bake for 1 hr. until edges are set and center still jiggles.  Turn off oven and leave the cheesecake for 1 hour more without opening the oven door.  Let cheesecake cool to room temperature before covering with plastic wrap and chilling for 3-24 hrs before serving.

This is the group helping Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla celebrate her 15th wedding anniversary with waaaayy more than #fifteencheesecakes.

And here is what we all brought to the cheesecake table, listed in alphabetical order. Enjoy!

Berry Cheesecake Bars by Baking and Creating with Avril
Cherry Cheesecake Bites by Cookaholic Wife
Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake by Dancing Veggies
Chocolate Cheesecake by My Hobbie Lobbie
Chocolate Topped Peppermint Cheesecake by Amy's Cooking Adventures
Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars by Tara's Multicultural Table
Easter Basket Mini Cheesecakes by Little Bit of Everything
Everyday Cheesecake by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Irish Cream Cheesecake by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Layered Cinnamon Streusel Cheesecake Cake by Famished Fish, Finicky Shark
Lowfat Blackberry Cheesecake by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Matcha-YuzuCheesecake with a Meyer Lemon GelĂ©e by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Mini Churro Caramel Cheesecake by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Mini Maple Pecan Cheesecakes by Join Us, Pull up a Chair
Mom's New York Cheesecake by Taste Cook Sip
Mudslide Cheesecake by Sew You Think You Can Cook
{No Bake} Marshmallow Cheesecake by An Affair from the Heart
No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake by Angels Homestead
Samoa's cheesecake by Goodie Godmother
Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars by The Savvy Kitchen
Sopapilla Puff Pastry Cheesecake by Pink Cake Plate
Skinny Vanilla Bean Cheesecake by Renee's Kitchen Adventures
Twix Cheesecake Brownie Torte by Making Memories With Your Kids

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Look who's sitting and reading too!!


Melody Elizabeth
6 mos. old, 2 teeth and now sitting on her own while she reads her story.
She is amazing!!

Summer Cocktails


I know that we are just welcoming Spring and for some of us it is very sloooooooow coming, but my friend Cam, of Culinary Adventures with Camilla, is already thinking Summer.  Of course, she lives in Sunny California so it is much closer to Summer there than it is here in Michigan. Not that I'm jealous or anything, not at all....not me....nope.....

Cam has gotten together a great group of people to put together a weeks worth of Summertime recipes and we are going to be sharing them with you the first week of June.  They will get you through the whole summer....for every bbq, cookout, picnic, ice cream social, bonfire.....that you will have.  We are all excited about it and cannot wait to share all of our ideas with you.

Cam has also rounded up some sponsors.  You know what that means....Right.....that means giveaways to you, our lucky readers.  Our sponsors are very excited too.  They want to ensure that our party is a great success so they have already climbed aboard and are sending us out packages early so we have plenty of time to create wonderful and memorable feasts, parties, picnics and casual get togethers to pass on to you.

One of our sponsors is Quirk Books and they sent us this fantastic book, Summer Cocktails, by Maria Del Mar Sacasa. 


When I got home from running errands this afternoon this book was waiting for me on my doorstep.  I was very excited and immediately sat down to flip through it.  The photography is stunning and the recipes are intriguing.  I am going to have a lot of fun with this book.  And it is not just a cocktail book....there are kitchen tips and recipes too.  Wooohooooo.

When Frank came home, I handed him the book to look at while I started dinner.  Next thing I knew he was pulling a bottle from the bar, squeezing limes and making simple syrup.


When dinner was ready so were these lovely, refreshing cocktails.  These, my friends, are daquiris. Maria writes "Forget the fruity drinks the cabana boy hands you at the pool in a resort. The real daquiri is spare and certain."  I am not a daquiri fan and when I think of daquiris I picture those frozen strawberry or lime green concoctions that give me brain freeze.  Well, these drinks have changed all of that and now I AM a daquiri fan!!!


Daquiri
from Summer Cocktails by Maria Del mar Sacasa

2 oz. light rum
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
Ice Cubes
Lime slices for Garnish

Cobine rum, lime juice and syrup in an ice filled shaker.  Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled glass.  Garnish with lime slice and serve.  Print Recipe


Monday, March 23, 2015

Braised Beef Rolls with Risotto Cakes

Our dinner yesterday was from another cookbook written by Lidia Bastianich.  I shared her recipe for Risotto in my #SundaySupper post.  We enjoyed that delicious Risotto on Friday topped with Salmon and a White Wine Cream Sauce.

This recipe for Braised Beef Rolls comes from Lidia's Italian-American Table.  I love taking inexpensive cuts of meat and braising them into a tender, delicious, company worthy meal.  This recipe definitely fits the bill and will be making regular appearances on our dinner table.

Image result for lidia's italian american table

I made some adaptations to the original recipe.  I didn't have any parsley so I used some Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs instead.  I substituted a Mozzarella String Cheese Stick for the Provolone called for in the original recipe.  I didn't have any onions in the house so I used shallots and the canned tomatoes I had were diced tomatoes when the recipe asked for Italian Plum Tomatoes. I had some beef broth in the refrigerator so I added that instead of water to the sauce and I also forgot to add any crushed red pepper to the sauce.


Cut your round steak into 5-6" pieces and pound to 1/2" thick.


Mix together the ingredients for the stuffing.


Layer the ingredients to make your rolls.


Roll them up and secure them with toothpicks.


The Risotto Cakes cook up relatively quickly so you can wait until the Beef Rolls are done braising before starting them.  The Beef Rolls will stay hot in the dutch oven off heat.


Enjoy!!!

Braised Beef Rolls
Adapted from Lidia's Italian-American Table

2 c. cubed bread, from day old bread with crusts removed
1 1/2 c. milk
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 T. Italian Herbs
1/4 c. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded
1/4 c. raisins
1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted
1 clove garlic, minced
2 lbs. round steak, cut into pieces and pounded to 1/2" thickness
4 oz. package Prosciutto
1 Mozzarella Cheese stick, cut into 1/4 x 1/4" sticks

For the Sauce: 
3 T. olive oil
4 shallots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1/2 c. dry red wine
3 T. tomato paste
2 bay leaves
Beef broth or water as needed
salt and pepper to taste

Combine bread cubes and milk in a bowl.  Set aside while preparing the beef, by cutting the steak into pieces 5-6", trimming them and pounding them with the toothed side of a meat mallet to 1/2" thickness.  
Squeeze out the excess milk from the bread and place it in a bowl.  Add the eggs, herbs, Parmesan cheese, raisins, pinenuts and garlic.  Mix well.
Place each piece of meat in front of you with the short side closest to you.  Place a slice of Prosciutto on top of the beef and tap it to make it adhere.  Spread about 2 T. of the bread filling on the Prosciutto and Beef, leaving a 1" border.  Place a stick of the Mozzarella crosswise over the edge of the stuffing closest to you.  Fold the beef into rolls, turning in the sides if possible.  (This was easier said than done).  Secure the rolls with toothpicks
In an enamel lined, cast iron dutch oven heat oil over med heat.  Add the shallots and garlic and cook until wilted.  Add the beef rolls, in batches if necessary, to the pan and brown on all sides.  Remove to a plate and set aside as they are browned.
When all beef rolls are browned add the wine to the pot.  Bring to a boil and cook until most of the wine is evaporated, scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Add the bay leaves and tomato paste.  Season with salt and pepper.  
Return the beef rolls and any accumulated juices to the pot, arranging the rolls so that they are completely submerged in the sauce.  Add beef broth or water if needed to allow the beef rolls to be submerged.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 3 hrs or longer until the beef is fork tender.  Print Recipe

Risotto Cakes

2 c. leftover risotto, room temperature
1 lg egg
3 T. olive oil

Combine the risotto with the egg.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over med heat. Add about a 1/4 c. of the risotto mixture into the pan and gently push down to form a round cake.  Put in as many as the pan will allow without crowding.  Cook the cakes until brown and crisp on the bottom.  Using a large spatula, flip the risotto cakes over and cook until the other side is golden brown and crisp. Remove to a serving platter and keep warm while cooking the remaining risotto cakes.  Print Recipe








Little Miss meets the Easter Bunny

We had a very nice day yesterday.  We went to Mass in the morning and then out to breakfast.  Then we took a ride along the river and looked at all the ice flows that had broken up an were moving rapidly.  We ended up at a Mall in the area where we had Little Miss Melody's photo taken with the Easter Bunny!!


When we got home, I put dinner together.  I made Braised Beef Rolls so once they were put together they slow cooked for the entire afternoon.  This gave me time to go through all the wonderful posts and recipes to the #SundaySupper Spring Fling.  When you have a free moment you are going to want to stop by and see these great offerings.  In fact, I stopped in the middle of my browsing so I could bake up one of the recipes.


These wonderful cookies were submitted by Tara of Noshing with the Nolands.
As I was reading the recipe, my mouth started watering.
I had all the necessary ingredients and a few hours on my hands while dinner cooked.
These cookies went together in a snap and were like eating a little piece of carrot cake.
DELICIOUS!!

I made these cookies just as submitted by Tara, omitting the nuts in the interest of marital harmony and frosting the cookies with a knife because I didn't feel like digging out my pastry bag and tips.

Carrot Cake Cookies
from Noshing with the Nolands

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. baking powder
pinch of salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/8 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1 lg. egg
1 t. vanilla
1 c. grated carrots

Icing:
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 T. milk

Preheat oven to 350*.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.  
Combine flour and next 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
In large bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter with sugars until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla, beat well.  Mix in 1/2 of the flour mixture.  Incorporate the carrots in to the dough and add remaining flour mixture until just combined.
Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon place dough onto parchment lined cookie sheets spacing about 2" apart.  Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes or until browning on the edges but still soft to the touch.
While cookies cool, beat cream cheese until smooth, slowly add the powdered sugar and salt. Add the milk and mix until incorporated and smooth.
Make sure cookies are completely cooled before frosting.  Print Recipe





Breakfast....the Most Important Meal of the Day for SRC

Oh Happy Day....Oh Happy Day....


Today is Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day.  One of my favorite days of the month.  This month I was lucky enough to get two SRC days because I stepped in for a blogger who was unable to complete her assignment in week B.  You have to hate when life gets in the way of your blogging but it does seem to happen every now and then.  I was happy to help her out and I was lucky to get a new member to our club to spy on. You can read all about it here.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program....

This month I was assigned Nora of Natural Noshings.  Nora is a wonderful food blogger who creates healthy and delicious recipes that are mostly gluten free and use little or no refined sugars.  Let me tell you, I had a very difficult time narrowing my choice down this month.  There are so many delicious noshings from which to choose.

How about a Banana Split for breakfast?  Or some homemade baked Cheezits? I almost decided on the Moroccan Chicken Stew but I was in the middle of St. Pat's week and needed to concentrate on using up my leftovers.  I am definitely putting Nora's Healthier Fried Rice with Shrimp on the menu for a Fish Friday very soon.

I finally chose a recipe from her plethora of breakfast noshings.  After all, it is the most important meal of the day.  I chose Nora's Banana Bread Quinoa Flake Bake  and oh boy....was it a great choice!  I chose this recipe because I had a huge bag of quinoa in my cupboard from a past Crazy Ingredient Challenge post where I made a wonderful Quinoa Bowl with Lemongrass Pork Meatballs.  Unfortunately, when I went to make the recipe, I found that my quinoa was not flakes.  Fortunately, Nora was prepared and had given oats as an alternative to quinoa and I did have some old fashioned rolled oat in the cupboard.

I slightly adapted Nora's recipe to accommodate what I had available in my pantry and refrigerator and to make enough for 3 servings.  I used strawberries instead of banana, also a Nora approved substituion.  I used lowfat regular milk instead of coconut milk.  My coconut was sweetened and I used flax seeds instead of chia seeds

We topped ours as we do any oatmeal.  I used a dried mixture of berries and a touch of cream, Frank used raisins and milk and Ting ate hers with no topping at all.

This was like taking a bite of Heaven, made even better because you knew it was healthy for you.....I didn't bother telling Frank or Ting that part....I  just let them think that they were luxuriating with a delicious, leisurely weekend breakfast.



Strawberry Oatmeal Bake
adapted from Natural Noshings

Makes 3 servings.  Preheat oven to 350*.

1 1/2 c. Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 pint strawberries, hulled and pureed (or other ripe fruit, mashed or pureed)
9 T. milk of your choice
3 T. shredded coconut
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
6 t. flax seed
3 T. honey, or sweetner of choice, if desired

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Grease 3 ramekins or oven safe bowls (I used coconut oil).
Distribute the oatmeal mixture evenly among the ramekins and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly and then invert ramekins over shallow soup bowls and serve with assorted toppings.

Topping ideas: dried fruits and raisins, shredded coconut, diced apples, sliced bananas, chopped nuts, chocolate chips, honey, brown sugar or maple syrup.

Take a look at what everyone else cooked up this month