Friday, July 31, 2009

This one is for you Kimmi

We have over 250 photos from our vacation. I choose ones that I really liked for the last post and apparently "forgot" to post any of myself or my love. One of my dear friends brought this to my attention, so I'm posting this just for you! :)


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Crescent beach

Hi Friends!

Sorry it has taken me so long to post. It has been a bit busy around here. As you will see we had a great time... I'll let the photos do the talking. I'll try to post more photos next week! Have a great weekend!


Monday, July 27, 2009

Daring Bakers challenge~ Milan cookies

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

I'm not one for store bought cookies. Besides the occasional oreo, they are rarely purchased. When I saw the challenge for this month I thought, I'm not sure when the last time I had a Milano cookie (Pepperidge farm) was? I love baking cookies though and I love Gale Gand, so I was happy to try.

The recipe really isn't difficult, but it is a little putsy. It was fun to pull out my pastry bag (I rarely use it). Although I love the combination of chocolate and orange. I have a recipe for a shortbread cookie that has orange zest in it. You make a small indentation in the cookie and place in orange marmalade. After the cookies are done baking you dip half of each cookie in chocolate. These cookies are sooo good! I like the recipe I have better for this type of flavor.

I wasn't crazy about the lemon flavor in these cookies, I would add orange extract or orange zest instead. Everyone in my family liked these maybe it's a keeper.

We had the option of making one or both cookies, I choose just one due to time constraints. I would like to try the chocolate marshmallow cookies though...I'm sure my kids would love them!

Milan Cookies

12 tablespoons butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon extract
1 1/2 cups flour
Cookie filling, recipe follows
Cookie filling:
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 orange, zested
Cream the butter with a paddle attachment then mix in the sugar. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
Cookie Filling: In a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl. Whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools). Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.

Chocolate covered marshmallow cookies

3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 tablespoons butter
3 eggs, whisked together
Homemade marshmallows, recipe follows
Chocolate glaze, recipe follows
Blend the dry ingredients in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until sandy. Add the eggs and mix to combine. Form the dough into a disk, wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough, 1 to 1 1/2 inches. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Pipe a ?kiss? of marshmallow onto each cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a nonstick baking mat. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the hot chocolate. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.
Note: if you don?t want to make your own marshmallows, you can cut a large marshmallow in half and place on the cookie base. Heat in a preheated 350-degree oven to slump the marshmallow slightly, it will expand and brown a little. Let cool, then proceed with the chocolate dipping.
Homemade marshmallows:
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Homemade Marshmallows: Combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar in a saucepan, bring to a boil until ?soft-ball? stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff. Transfer to a pastry bag.
Chocolate glaze:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil
Chocolate Glaze: Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I'm back!

Hi Friends~

I hope you all had a great week! I was in sunny Florida with my family. We had a great time! We were in the beautiful city of St. Augustine. We mostly spent time at the beach and we were all kissed by the sun. One day we spent in town visiting the historic sites. We'll I should sign off now. I have loads and loads of laundry to do. My van has turned into a traveling dumpster, and it needs to be vacuumed out! I also need to complete the Daring Baker's challenge for tomorrow. I tell you more about our trip this week and post lots of photos.


This photo is from our back yard. I haven't had a chance to upload any photos from our trip yet.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm taking a little break...

I won't be posting for a little while, but I promise I will be back soon! Take care friends!



Thursday, July 16, 2009


Is it really July??? It surely doesn't feel like goodness it's cold!! Maybe not as cold as these two are, but cold nonetheless. I think I will go make a banana bread, and heat up my home.

My cute husband is "showing off" our little gardens to our neighbor's house sitter. The house sitter is going to town in the neighbor's yard. Brian just mowed it. Our neighbor is in for a big surprise when she gets home tomorrow.

Now for that banana bread.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bits of encouragement

"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:1


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Quiet.and Spicy black bean Salsa

It has been a nice weekend...quiet. We got a few errands done, rather quickly. Brian varnished some shelves. I started painting Ian's room (the border was rather uncooperative). Our to do list got checked off much more quickly than usual. That quiet will be ending soon. The kiddos will be home in a few hours, it will be good to have them home. Even though I love the favorite sound in the whole world is hearing Katie and Ian laugh!

I saw this salsa recipe in one of my old Bon Appetit magazines, and asked Susie to make it for the 4th. It was really good, and it went fast! It makes quite a bit, so keep that in mind if you are not serving a crowd.
Spicy Black Bean Salsa
Adapted from Bon Appetit July 2003
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tbs. olive oil
4 tsps. minced canned chipotle chiles
2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 tsps. ground cumin
2 15 oz. cans black beans rinsed and drained
2 cups fresh corn kernels grilled or blanched or frozen thawed
1 1/2 cups chopped red onion
1 1/2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
1 large ripe avocado, halved pitted, peeled , diced
Whisk first 6 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Stir in beans, corn, onion, and tomatoes. Mix in avocado season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla chips. I think this is best served immediately.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Foodie weekend

We dropped Ian off at my parent's today. So we are childless...for the next two days. My BFF says "some people have all the luck." I know I'm blessed. Well, I have a list of things to accomplish in my free time. The first was to visit the new Trader Joe's in town. I have been there once already, but wanted to go again. They have some neat stuff there, and I will definitely go again. Then I wanted to go to the new cheese shop , we picked up some Stilton to have with our dinner. Then we stopped by my favorite ice cream shop to get a cone. Tomorrow we are going downtown to the big Farmer's market can't wait! As you can see it is all about the food! Actually we are going to the hardware store tomorrow to pick varnish and paint. For a couple of projects in our home.
Well I will leave you with this fantastic recipe for Mint Ice Cream. Have a great weekend friends!!
I have to kind of guess at this, because I adapted the recipe from Martha and for some reason it is not available right now. I wish I wrote it down, because it is sooo good. It should work though.
Mint Ice Cream
adapted from Martha Stewart Living March 2003
1 cup skim milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2-1 cup sugar this is what I'm not sure about
1 cup fresh mint leaves
Mix the mint and sugar in a small bowl with the back of a spoon, until the sugar looks like wet sand. Add the milk and cream and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate the mixture for two hours. Strain out the mint leaves, pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow your manufacturer's instructions. Yum!
The cake is my sister's recipe. I'll get the recipe and post it in the near future.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Chocolate waffles and a surprise

Katie is spending a long weekend with Grandma and Grandpa, so I decided to make breakfast for dinner. I just checked out Gale Gand's new cookbook Brunch from the library this week. Oh my goodness!! If you like breakfast food, then you should look into this great cookbook. It is simple, straightforward, and has great photographs! I decided on Chocolate Waffles. They were great and both "my boys" loved them. After eating three whole waffles, (not three sections) Ian named himself the "Waffle King." I changed the recipe just a bit, so I will post my version down at the bottom. These were great, and a fun change from regular waffles.

Brian dropped Katie off, and when he came home he had a bag with three cast iron pans. His Aunt Kathy had a couple of pans that were from his late Aunt Judy. His mom also had a pan in there that was his Grandmother's. Pretty neat, huh!

He also had a box that was wrapped in floral wrapping paper. I wondered what that was about. He came in and said this is for you from my mom. There was a sweet card on the top and it said "Rachel, I wanted to get you something special for your birthday, but I didn't know what it would be. I hope this is it! The bigger item was my mother's please keep it safe and pass it on to one of the kids. Love, Ruth" My birthday was a couple of months ago, and my mother-in-law NEVER forgets it. She gave me a VERY generous monetary gift. I certainly didn't feel like she forgot about me and wondered what it could be. I opened the box and inside was a pretty glass candy dish, very nice. As soon as I opened the box though I saw that beautiful green color, you know my new "obsession." This was what was inside.

I almost started crying, I couldn't believe it!!! A Jadeite Mixing bowl! Wow, I couldn't believe it! Ruth, told Brian that she read my blog and remembered that her Mom had some Jadeite. Well, I washed it up right away and used it to make my waffle batter. As I was doing that, I was wondering what Grandma made in her bowl. Brian said he remembered Grandma serving gravy in it. After dinner Brian washed it up for me, and I put it in the china cabinet.
Ruth, thank you so much! I love, love it! It is the perfect gift, and very special! Thanks so much for sharing something of your Mom's with me. I will do my best to keep it safe, and I will cherish it always! I will make sure that Katie and Ian know that it was Great Grandma Buntings, and that it is a very special bowl.

Chocolate Waffles
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups skim milk
2 tsps. baking powder
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
4 tbs. unsalted butter, melted
2 egg whites
2 tbs. light brown sugar

Heat waffle iron. In a medium bowl, combine the yolks, milk, baking powder, flour, cocoa, melted butter, and cinnamon and mix until almost smooth. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form; then add the brown sugar and continue to whip until stiff. Fold the whipped egg whites into the batter.
For each waffle, pour 1/2 to 1 cup of batter (depending on your waffle-iron) on your waffle iron; bake according to your iron.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fun on the 4th!!!

We had a great time on the fourth! Here is a little of what we did.


Kansas style barbecue ribs with balsamic barbecue sauce
Lemon, Rosemary mustard chicken
Corn on the cob
Mrs. Anderson's baked beans
Spicy black bean salsa with tortilla chips
Fresh fruit
Cole slaw
Potato salad
Bakewell Tart

The food was sooo goood!!! Everyone brought a couple of dishes to share.

Water fights

Fireworks and sparklers at the golf course


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My new obsession

I'm not sure when it exactly started...I probably first heard about theses beauties from Martha. I purchased a "reproduction" from the campus store number of years ago. Then through one of the blogs I follow it called my name. That's right friends I have fallen in love with Fire King Jadeite!!! I was searching ebay for my new crush when I found out the style/pattern (restaurant/ovenware) that I like is more expensive than my fine bone china!! I told my BFF I'm over it! It was just a crush.

Then when my true love and I went away for our anniversary...guess what was spilling over the shelves and calling my name.

It was so unfair! All those pieces just staring at me with their beautiful color. Every antique shop we hit had some. Whats a girl to do but give in.

That is exactly what I did...I gave in and brought these two beauties home. They are sitting in the china cabinet (next to the fine china) waiting for the rest of their family to come home. I told them it probably will take some time, but they will come home eventually.
If you want to read about the last daring baker's challenge scroll down to June 27th.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!!!

Have a safe and happy 4th of July.


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