The Little Things

Lot’s of sunshine, seasonable temperatures, and the little things made today a perfect fall day in the Finger Lakes.  It was one of those days when I felt like a lot got done.   I baked homemade cinnamon pumpkin (yeast) bread, made an apple pie, AND whipped up a dish of coleslaw for dinner to boot.

Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt like spending that much time in my kitchen!

Once I closed the kitchen down for the afternoon I headed out for some fresh air.  These little plants, or should I say weeds, were begging to have their pictures taken.  And so I obliged and I even gave them each a caption.

Sunny Fall Flowers
Sunny and Bright; Yellow and White
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More Pink Than Purple
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Pretty and Periwinkle

What kind of weekend did you have?  Busy, slow, productive, or not so much?

 

 

 

It’s 2017 and I’m Back!

This post is being updated from 2015 when it was initially written.  That was the day that I flipped the switch and started blogging on a self-hosted site with a paid domain.  And now for the good news…  I’m back!  Blogging back here at my old stamping grounds – yay!

Please continue to stay with me as I share my new recipes, DIY projects, photographs, and my simple country life back here where it all began.

Mini Blueberry Cupcakes

Wish me luck!

Pizza Focaccia Bread – Ready in 1 Hour

This is a new favorite in our house.  A fresh and flavorful pizza bread that can be made and ready to serve in an hour.  Yes, you heard me correctly, 1 hour!   And if you’re intimidated by making bread have no fear…  Seriously, this recipe is great for beginner bread makers.

Pizza Focaccia Bread

3/4 c. warm water

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. yeast

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

Toppings

1/4 c. pizza sauce

1/2 c. mozzarella cheese

8 slices pepperoni, cut into small pieces

2 dashes of Italian seasoning

Spray a 9” pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, add water, sugar, salt, and yeast.  Let sit for a couple minutes.  Add oil and flour; mix thoroughly.  On a lightly floured surface knead dough for about 1-2 minutes.  Place dough in the prepared pie plate and press out.  Poke holes in the dough (as shown below).

Top dough with pizza sauce, pepperoni, and cheese (as shown below).  Sprinkle Italian seasoning on top.

Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for 20 minutes;  bake for 20 minutes.  Serve warm.

I like to dip this bread in fresh pizza sauce.  It makes a great appetizer, compliments a fresh salad, and can be served with a meal.

Either way, it won’t last long – I guarantee it!

Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Pie–A Summer Treat!

Grab a fork and a plate for a taste of this Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Pie.

With the 4th of July weekend here don’t pass up the chance to make one of these deliciously rich and creamy pies.  This pie is easy (no-cook) to make and will wow just about any hungry crowd.  I made a pie for a gathering of six and we didn’t leave as much as a crumb.

Bluberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Pie (Recipe adapted from Jamie Cookies It Up)

Crust

1 package (not the entire box) of honey graham crackers, crushed fine

5 tbsp. butter, melted

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Put all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix completely.  Press into a pie plate and bake at 375 degrees for about 7 minutes.

Filling

12 oz.  cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. white chocolate chips, melted

2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. milk

2 c. whipped topping

1 pint of fresh blueberries ( add an extra half a pint of berries if you LOVE fruit)

dash of salt

In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat cream cheese and melted chips together.  Add milk, vanilla, and salt.  Mix in powdered sugar and whipped topping one cup at a time until smooth and creamy.  Fold in blueberries.  Pour into prepared pie crust.  Refrigerate for two hours before serving.

Do you have plans for the  4th of July?  What are you making for dessert?

A Simple and Wickedly Good 4th of July Dessert–Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

Even if you haven’t given  4th of July  dessert a thought at this point I think you might after looking at these pictures of these simple and wickedly good ice cream cookie sandwiches.

Of course you can buy cookies from your favorite bakery to make these but they aren’t the same as using chocolate chip cookies made from scratch. 

I filled these sandwiches with  Edy’s Slow Churned Ice Cream made with 1/2 the fat .  (This is not a sponsored post. )  I’m just sharing one of my favorite products with you.  My new favorite Edy’s  flavor is Mud Pie; coffee ice cream with chocolate cookie chunks and fudge swirl.  I have to admit it rocks the ice cream world. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 stick of margarine, or butter

1/4 c. sugar

1/4 c. light brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 c. mini semi-sweet dark chocolate chips

Makes about 16 cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two  cookies sheets with cooking spray.

In a large bowl cream together margarine, sugars,  egg, salt, baking soda, vanilla.  Add flour and mix completely.  Fold in mini-chocolate chips.  Drop by dining teaspoon onto cookie sheets about two inches apart.  Bake approximately 8 minutes until cookies are light golden colored and are slightly firm to the touch.  Be careful not to over bake.

Move to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before making ice cream sandwiches. 

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Old-Fashioned Apple Sour Cream Cake

I was ready to experiment in the kitchen yesterday.  I planned on making something with some Granny Smith apples I had on hand.  I considered making a pie, muffins, bread, and apple crisp, but I couldn’t shake the idea of creating a deliciously moist apple cake.

I started out with a big bowl and worked my way into this delicious cake.  I promise you this cake is super moist (thanks to the sour cream) and will quench any hankering you have for the combination of apples and cinnamon.   What’s even better?  You can don’t need an electric mixer to whip this cake up; simply mix by hand.

I decided to title this recipe as Old-Fashioned Apple Sour Cream Cake because it is the type of dessert my mother or grandmother would have whipped up to serve following one of their delicious home cooked meals. 

Old-Fashioned Apple Sour Cream Cake

1 c. granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 stick of butter, softened

1/2 c. sour cream

1/4  tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 Granny Smith apple peeled, cored, and sliced very thin

Cinnamon and sugar mixture – 1/2 c. granulated sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon;  add prepared apple slices and set aside

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8”x8” glass baking dish

In a large bowl mix by hand the sugar, egg, softened butter, and sour cream.  Add cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and flour; mix until all ingredients are combined.  Don’t over mix.  Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking pan.  Layer half of the apple slices on top of the batter.  Repeat with remaining cake batter and apple slices.  The apples will be the top layer.

Bake for approximately 30 – 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean after being submitted into the center of the cake.

Cool slightly and serve warm with your favorite vanilla ice cream, or allow to cool and serve later. 

Delicious Apple Sour Cream Cake - From Scratch

 

Old-Fashioned Apple Cake - Serve Warm or Cold

What is your favorite fruit to bake with?

The Best Oatmeal Cookie on Earth

I love oatmeal cookies so recently I decide to experiment a little.  As a result of that experimenting I came up with what I consider as the best oatmeal cookie on earth.  This cookie is moist and tender, not too sweet, and is loaded with delicious dried cherries and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.    

If you are not a raisin fan then using dried cherries is the answer.  Cherries are a healthy filler that gives your cookies the flavor, texture, and heartiness they deserve.  

Chocolate Chip Cherry Oaties

1 c. margarine, softened

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. light brown sugar

1 large egg

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. old-fashioned oatmeal

1/2 c. dried cherries

1/2 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Makes about 2.5 dozen cookies.

In a large mixing bowl, cream margarine, sugar, vanilla, and egg together.  Stir in remaining dry ingredients and mix completely.   Using a dining sized teaspoon, drop cookie dough onto the prepared sheets about an 1 1/4” apart.  Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until a light golden brown.  Cool before transferring to baking rack.  Store in airtight container.

What is your favorite dried fruit?

It’s Not About The Cake

I was originally going to share a recipe for these little dark chocolate cupcakes, but when I realized that they weren’t the star of the show I shifted gears.  The frosting is the true star here!

And no, this isn’t a sponsored post.  It’s just about me being adventurous in my kitchen.

Love making homemade buttercream frosting?   Then I have a new trick for you.  Try substituting Black Velvet Toasted Caramel Whisky in place of vanilla extract.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a huge frosting fan.  For me it’s more about the cake.  But I have to tell you that I COULD NOT STOP TASTING THIS FROSTING the entire time I was taking the photo’s for this post.  Seriously, it is that good!  And don’t you love how the alcohol didn’t tint the frosting?  It stayed bright white. 

I used about 1 tablespoon of Black Velvet Toasted Caramel in place of the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract my recipe calls for and I didn’t think it tasted boozy.  However,  there is no reason that you couldn’t start out by adding one teaspoon of the BV at a time until you reach the desired flavor you’re looking for. 

Cheers!

Help From Betty Crocker and Jell-O = French Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes

Every now and then I call upon Betty (Crocker) to lend me a hand in the kitchen.  While I typically bake from scratch, there are times when I just don’t feel like dragging out all of the ingredients to whip up a batch of cupcakes.  Can you say lazy?  Can you relate?

Now, just because I’m a little lazy and decide to use a cake mix doesn’t mean I can’t be creative.  Take these French Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes for example,  I decided they would create a perfect ending to a delicious home cooked Valentine’s Day dinner we have planned for this evening.

And if you’re like me, there are also times when you’re looking for a flavored cake that is nearly impossible to find.  When this happens I find myself in the Jell-O isle at the grocery store.  Cake mix + Jell-O pudding or gelatin = endless possibilities. (This is not a sponsored post.  I just happen to like both of these products.)

To make these cupcakes you will need:

1 Super Moist Betty Crocker French Vanilla Cake Mix

1 Box of Jell-O Coconut Cream Cook & Serve Pudding

A batch of your favorite homemade vanilla buttercream frosting

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line cupcake tins with cupcake papers (makes 24)

In a large bowl, add cake mix, pudding mix, 1 1/4 c. water, 1/4 c. olive oil, and 3 large eggs.  Mix until all ingredients are combined.  Fill cupcake papers about 1/2 full.  Bake for about 19 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.

Remove from oven and let cool before frosting.

I decorated these with some finely grated dark chocolate.

What would your favorite flavor combo be if I asked you to pick a cake mix and a box of Jell-O?

I shared this recipe over at the blog The Country Cook – Weekend Potluck #162.  Check out all of the other great links that shared there with me.

Create and Share! Best of the Weekend Party at littlemisscelebration.com

Paul Bunyan Sugar Cookies In Time For Valentine’s Day

 

It’s the name that won me over. 

Who in their right mind could pass up making a cookie named Paul Bunyan Sugar Cookies?  As you can see I couldn’t.  These huge sweet cookies are a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day – imagine how creative you could be in decorating them too.   I chose simplicity with this batch, but I wouldn’t be opposed to decorating some with some pretty pink icing and some colorful sprinkles ether.

I found this recipe while snooping through the cookbook, Better Homes and Gardens Cookies and Candies.   The name alone was enough to inspire me to give the recipe a try and I’m glad I did.

These cookies are soft on the inside, but are durable enough for decorating, packaging, and/or easy transporting.  You will also need very inexpensive tool if you decide to make these giants – a large mouth tin can.  I used a large soup can about the same diameter as a one pound coffee can.

Paul Bunyan Sugar Cookiesadapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookies and Candies Cookbook

1 c. butter  or margarine

1 1/2 c. granulated sugar, plus additional sugar for topping

2 eggs

1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, cream shortening, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt, mixing well.    Chill dough for about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

On lightly floured surface roll out dough to about 1/4” thick.  Cut out cookies with can and place on prepared cookie sheets about 1 “ apart.  Bake for about 9-10 minutes, or until lightly golden.  Be careful not to over bake.   Remove from the oven and sprinkle sugar on top. Cool before moving.  Makes about 14 cookies. 

I did sprinkle some mini chocolate chips on some of the cookies as soon as they came out of the oven – yum!  You can also put raisins in the batter – completely optional.