Friday, April 29, 2011

Strawberry-Lemon Yogurt Blintzes

My, oh my. What a breakfast we had this morning. Thanks to this amazingly perfect recipe from Cheeky Kitchen, one of my all-time favorite food blogs. These crepe-like blintzes are filled with a pillowy layer of whipped cream (hello richness), greek yogurt (for a slight tang), honey (cue the sweetness), and lemon zest (brings it alive). Topped with a strawberry-lemon-maple syrup.

Yep, we had a good morning. Most definitely going to make these when entertaining guests for breakfast or brunch. Or just to make a hubby happy on an ordinary Friday morning.

Strawberry-Lemon Yogurt Blintzes (Brooke McLay of Cheeky Kitchen)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup honey or pure maple syrup
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon powdered sugar (my addition)

1 pint strawberries, sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup pure maple syrup


1. FOR THE BLINTZES: Combine all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Heat a nonstick cooking pan or cast-iron skillet to medium-low heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Pour a 6-inch circle of batter into the hot skillet. Cook as you would a pancake, until golden brown. Flip and cook the opposite side until golden brown.  Made about 5-6 blintzes.

2. FOR THE FILLING: In an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream until light and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until well mixed. Spoon into the center of the blintzes. Top with Fresh Strawberry Syrup & enjoy! 

Mix all ingredients together. Spoon over yoghurt-filled bintzes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Aussie Anzac Biscuits

Anzac bisquits - Australian for cookies - are eaten by every Aussie. They are eaten year-round, but especially today, April 26, Anzac Day. They are filled with the rich goodness of golden syrup, oats and butter. We do not have ANYTHING like them in the states. I couldn't stop eating the batter - or the cookies.

What's better is, this is an old family recipe. It comes from my hubby's Aunt Helen. She's fun, vivacious, a stellar cook and she can see the beach from her deck (jealous). She's worked on refining this recipe for nearly her entire life, and the result is just heavenly.

So, please invest in some golden syrup, so you can make these delicious "bickies" or my hub's other favorite Aussie dessert, Caramel Slice.

Aussie Anzac Biscuits a la Aunt Hell
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup sugar
1 cup dessicated coconut
1 stick butter (NOT margarine)
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda (carb soda in Australia)

  1. Preheat oven to 280 degrees.
  2. Place all dry ingredients (flour, oats, sugar, coconut) in a biggish bowl and stir them together with a well in the centre.
  3. Then place butter, water and golden syrup in a saucepan on medium heat. When this liquid mixture comes to the boil, bring it over to the bowl and stir in 1 teaspoon baking soda, and stir till all mixed in. (Should be consistency of thick custard - if it's a little dry add a little more hot water). Baking soda added to this will make it froth up and over the top of the saucepan, so hold pot over bowl while you pour and stir it in the dry ingredients.
  4. Put baking paper on trays and spoon a dessert-spoon mixture onto trays about 3 inches apart. With a wet hand flatten dollop a little. About 12 to a tray. 
  5. Place in the oven and allow to cook for 20+ minutes till they are darkish golden brown. THEY will be a little crunchy! For chewy, just allow to go golden brown in the oven.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips

It snowed today. Major bummer. My daughter said to the snowflakes, "Go away snow!" And I agreed. Then, in the spirit of the spring that is supposed to be here, I decided to make this refreshing fruit salsa. It definitely livened our afternoon. It is a perfect party appetizer and it made me dream of future days of summer BBQ's with friends.

The hubs loved this salsa, and my daughter couldn't stop eating the cinnamon sugar tortilla chips.

Thankfully, this weekend is supposed to be in the 60's. Here's to spring days that are WAY overdue!

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips (adapted from Mary Van Driest's recipe in Cook's Country 2008)
2 tablespoons apple jelly
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped fine
1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped fine
3 good size kiwis, peeled and chopped fine
juice from 1 lemon (or you can try a lime)

2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
6 - 8" flour tortillas

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together apple jelly, brown sugar and orange juice (whisk really good to ensure jelly breaks down).
  2. Add chopped jalepeno, apples, strawberries and kiwis to bowl. Mix together with the jelly mixture. Start squeezing the juice from one lemon into fruit salsa, taste, and add more according to taste. I used the whole lemon.
  3. For tortilla chips, adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions, and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Melt butter and brush over both sides of the tortillas. Cut each tortilla into 8 triangles and then place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture generously over the tortilla triangles. Bake until golden and crisp, around 14 - 18 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking time.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcakes

Cupcakes had me down. They are so pretty. Maybe too pretty for their own good. The taste wasn't living up to its looks. So many of my batches were so-so. I even had a conversation with a friend that, perhaps, cupcakes are overrated.

I set out to do some research, and hopefully, prove myself wrong.

These tips really helped me, they come straight from Candace Nelson of Sprinkles Bakery.
  • Temperature is key - All ingredients should be at room temperature before you begin, otherwise, the ingredients can become lumpy when combined, which encourages overmixing (not good).
  • Don't overmix - Stir ingredients together until just combined. Overmixing leads to dense cakes, rather than light and fluffy.
  • Use the best ingredients - The quality of ingredients really does make a difference. In this recipe, use organic strawberries. Reviews reported that normal strawberries made it hard to taste their flavor.
Ok, now to the good stuff.

My final tip: find a fantastic recipe. This Sprinkles recipe won me over. The cake is light, fluffy and has a nice flavor. I added lemon zest thanks to another blogger who suggested it. The frosting? Well, it's basically like biting into a strawberry ice cream cone.


Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcakes
2/3 cup whole fresh organic strawberries
zest of 1 lemon, grated (my addition)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (4 oz)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Sprinkles' Strawberry Frosting (below)

   1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
   2. Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.
   3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, lemon zest, and strawberry puree; set aside.
   4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
   5. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
   6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 17 - 19 minutes. Cool completely.

Sprinkles Strawberry Frosting (I halved this and it lightly frosted 12 cupcakes)
3/4 cup whole fresh strawberries
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
Pinch of coarse salt
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
zest of a whole lemon, grated (my addition)

   1. Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla, lemon zest and 5-6 tablespoons strawberry puree (taste the frosting, add more or less strawberry puree according to your liking); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork

So I found a better pulled pork recipe than before...and it turns out, my friend Amy of QuickFit, found the same recipe. And we made the same adaptions to the recipe, before even talking about it. And both our hubbies loved it.

I know, root beer in a pulled pork recipe sounds crazy. But, the original recipe has nearly 1,500 people on giving it 4.5 stars.

Trust us, it's good! And of course, easy. Because it's a crock-pot meal. My fav.

Root Beer Pulled Pork
1 (2 lb) pork tenderloin
1 can (12 oz.) root beer
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt & pepper
Your favorite BBQ sauce (about half a bottle to full bottle, depending on how much sauce you like)
Kaiser rolls or hamburger buns

  1. Season pork tenderloin with salt, pepper and chopped garlic. Place into slow cooker.
  2. Add chopped onions to slow cooker, and then add the root beer. 
  3. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 6-7 hours. 
  4. Drain juice from the slow cooker (keeping the onions in the cooker). With a fork, shred the pork. Add your favorite BBQ sauce, mix together and serve. (Sometimes it's easier to remove the pork and onions from the slow cooker and put into a separate bowl. Then, shred the pork, drain the juice out of the slow cooker and return the pork and onions to the cooker. Then add the BBQ sauce).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mama Julie's Cheesy Potatoes

If I'm ever asked to bring a hotdish to a get-together, this is what I bring. My mom's cheesy potatoes. It is definitely a crowd-pleaser. And, it's one recipe I MUST pass on to my daughters.

We had a fun couple over last night to watch the NCAA championship game (which wasn't too entertaining - I love basketball, even played it in college, but this game looked more like open gym)...anyways, this is all that was left in my 9x13" pan.
  Needless to say, it's a hit everytime. Thanks, mom, for another good one!

Mama Julie's Cheesy Potatoes
1 normal-size bag frozen, shredded potatoes (there are usually two sizes of bags - normal and extra large, just get the normal size, forgive me, I don't know the exact pounds/ounces right now!)
1 can cream of chicken soup (Healthy Request kind from Campbell's)
1/2 - 3/4 of a 16 oz. container of light sour cream
2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 stick butter, melted
Salt & pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix sour cream, soup and melted butter in your largest bowl.
  3. Dump entire bag of frozen, shredded potatoes into the large bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the cheese to the large bowl as well, and mix together until all ingredients are well combined. 
  5. Transfer cheesy potatoes to a GREASED 9x13" baking dish, and cover with foil.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour, 10 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake for another 5 minutes. The edges should be brown and crispy, and the middle of the potatoes should be hot and the cheese melted.