Why haven’t I done this sooner?

I love sweet potatoes. I’m not talking about those marshmallowy sugar bombs you get during the holidays. Those don’t really qualify in my mind. I’m talking about solitary sweet potatoes. I sometimes bake them like a potato and eat with just a bit of salt and pepper. Other times I boil and mash them and eat them with a bit of maple syrup and lavender (they are truly amazing that way let me tell you). I dice them and fry them with regular potatoes, onions and peppers – country style. They are so much tastier than a plain potato. They’re really good with curry too. Oh, my!

Tonight I decided to shred one and make hash browns. Oh WOW! I had half of a large sweet potato left over from a week ago and it needed to be eaten or thrown out. It was really just a very impromptu event. I shredded it, dusted it with about two tablespoons of flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder then cooked them in two batches. I used a non-stick skillet in 1 tablespoon of very hot olive oil and a tab of butter. Each batch took about five or six minutes. Then I put them in the toaster oven at 300 for about 10 more minutes. They were so delicious!

I served these with baked bar-b-que chicken breast and an arugula salad. YUM-MEE!

Pinterest I love and hate you!

I too have fallen victim to Pinterest. I waste and inordinate amount of time perusing the never ending barrage of images. I get why it’s so popular. Everyone wants a voice, everyone wants needs inspiration and a laugh. The thing is … all these pictures of food are going to be the end of me. I have un-followed most of the “food, recipe” boards because it’s just too distracting to see all this food. I’m having a bear of a time controlling my appetite and all these pictures of food send me right to the kitchen to find one more thing to shove in my face. ARGH!  Last night there was a lovely picture of a lemon cake. I thought, wow, that looks good, I have those Meyer lemons in the fridge! I think I’ll go make one for myself. I did and it was GOOD. Of course I didn’t follow the recipe provided I just improvised based upon what they did.

LFH version of Meyer Lemon Cake

Here’s the recipe:
1 stick + 1 tbsp room temperature butter
1-1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs (room temp)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Zest of one Meyer lemon
Juice of one Meyer lemon (appx 1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and line the base of a cake pan with parchment paper.

Beat butter, lemon extract and sugar in a bowl until creamy and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition and beat until light and fluffy. Sift flour, salt, and baking powders over the egg mixture. Add zest and juice beating for a few seconds. Add buttermilk and mix until well combined.

Pour in prepared pan. Tap the pan on the worktop to settle the batter. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 50-60 minutes until golden and cooked through when tested with a skewer.

Stand cake for 5 minutes, then turn onto a cake plate or wire rack and cool completely.

Top with lemon glaze comprised of 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the juice of one Meyer lemon.

As you can see, this is easy and will take less than 1/2 hour to put together. It’s light and tender in texture. You will love it!

I love spring, have I said that before?

Here’s why . . .  First of all, I can exercise outside. Yesterday I found a lovely place to do just that, even though it’s twenty miles away from here. Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is an actual forest where there are a multitude of paths, hiking and biking trails, and vistas to explore. There is a bridge overlook that extends out the side of the precipice to give you an amazing view.

Image

I tried to walk out to the end but a damn bumble bee was blocking my path and yes, I know I’m much larger and scarier than him but I deferred to his territory anyway. Besides, the trees are still mostly brown and the view (although lovely) will be that much more lovely once the world has turned completely green. I will be going back regularly.  They have an amazing facility where they educate and grow a full range of trees, shrubs, flowers and I was told there’s a prairie portion that blooms entirely of Black Eyed Susan’s. Cool. I can’t wait to see that. In the mean time, the ground cover was blooming very nicely and I took a picture of one flower at a cemetery tucked away on a hillside there. Really, it’s an amazing place. I’m so glad I found it.

I love this little wild flower. I don't know what it's called but it is lovely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second reason:  Well, the flowers of course. Nothing inspires happiness more than flowers. I especially love those I grow myself.  I am still amazed that my tulips are blooming and I have some really pretty ones. I especially love this one.

Once again I'm not sure which variety this is but it's so beautiful.


The third reason: The world is once again turning green, thank you Lord! Fall and winter are so drab and cold. I’m a spring/summer gal all the way. I like the world green and blue. So I guess it’s fitting that I’ve moved to the Bluegrass state. I took this photo last summer in Lexington.

Serenity and bliss ...

I have been busy the last few days . . .

Thanks to the springtime weather in March. Can you believe I’m wearing shorts in March? Amazing. I know, I know what a scintillating blog, she’s talking about the weather. I apologize but I love spring and it inspires me to get outside and plant and mow and exercise. I do have a wedding coming up in September that I am in no way ready for. In fact, I have gained weight since I bought my dress NOT lost weight. Thank goodness for spring and summer coming. I can get my sweat on so much better then.

So, what has kept me busy, you ask? Well, I mowed our nearly one acre yard with a non-propelled mower. It took nearly three hours and I was so worn out by the end of the night I could barely move. Talk about good exercise. It was exhausting but rewarding once completed.

Yesterday I traversed my four mile walk and burned up some calories plus started to work on my summertime tan. Which basically consists of a sunscreen farmers tan. I’m no teenager anymore. God made me white, why fight it? Following that, my plan was to put up my hammock and kick back for a bit but upon setting the beast up I realized I was missing a part and therefore needed to run the Lowe’s, where I found fresh herbs and flowers to buy and had to have them. I bought and planted basil, lavender, spinach, poesy’s and snapdragons, all my favorites.

Snapdragons from my previous garden.

I also bought some zinnia’s seeds to plant but I’m not sure where I’ll put them yet. I’d like them in front but that means I have to talk D into that and he’s so finicky about stuff . . . We shall see.

Today I fertilized my lawn again, I’m trying to kill the damn onions growing rampantly throughout our entire lawn. The little buggers are a pain and really stink up the place when you mow. I’m told it’s nearly impossible to get rid of them unless you dig them up and let me tell you … I would have to just dig up the entire lawn to do that and D say’s absolutely not. So … I’ll do what I can and we’ll see what happens.

I did manage to get the hammock up and it’s a beautiful morning, I should be out there now enjoying the beautiful weather before the rain sets in. Here is the view from my hammock. It’s so much nicer than my previous back yard.

The view from my hammock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up to no good …

Well, boredom is about to kill me. I cleaned my firearm this afternoon. I’ve done laundry. I made the bed with clean sheets and now … rather than work out … I’m baking. WTF? I am experimenting with molasses. Oatmeal, raisin, with browned butter, and molasses cookies. The batter tastes great. RICH but lovely. The cookies themselves are still in the oven. I’m afraid I haven’t used enough flour but I always think that so I’m trusting that once baked they will be fine. I hate crunchy cookies. I like my cookies soft and chewy and occasionally cake-y. Mmmm . . . cake.

Derek is going to kill me. Oven timer is chiming … be right back with the results.

Oatmeal, Raisin, Browned Butter and Molasses Cookies

WOW! They are rich and and chewy. If I make them again I’ll definitely add more flour. I think they’ll be better if they’re cake-y.

mmmmmmmm . . .

Pancakes, how do you make yours?

I have never understood why people use pancake mixes. They are the easiest of breakfast foods to make and I’ve never had a mix taste nearly as good as homemade. I don’t know about you but I like my pancakes dense, hearty and slathered in peanut butter, of course.

Lately, I’ve been making mine with as many grains as I can. I suppose to offset the guilt I feel about eating a pure carb meal.  Here is what mine look like:

Whole wheat, bran and flax pancakes.

What you need to make them:
Dry Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat flour,
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
1 tbsp flax meal
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Wet Ingredients
2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
2 tbsp grape seed, canola or vegetable oil
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix your dry and wet ingredients separately then pour the wet into the dry and mix thoroughly but not so much you see bubbles appear. I like my batter to be a bit thicker than most but you should still get a thick stream when pouring. Cook on a non-stick griddle or frying pan using a bit of butter to make the edges crispy and even more tasty.

Seriously folks, put away the mixes and make your own healthy pancakes. You won’t regret it, I promise!

I’m just making this up as I go.

Last night I needed to fix some dinner but my resources were low. By resources I meant will and groceries. It seems like every month there’s some expense we weren’t expecting that takes our spending budget to zero before we know it and I have to be imaginative in my cooking.

After scrounging around the kitchen for several minutes, I remembered that I had some chorizo in the freezer and thought … maybe I can make empanada’s with them. So, I got out my trusty cookbooks and sure enough, there was a recipe for chorizo empanadas in one of them. I promptly closed the book and got to work. Who needs a recipe when you can just whip them up on the fly? They were so simple to make. Yes, there was some time involved in rolling out the individual pastries,  it’s worth the extra effort. I think the total time to prepare these was about and hour and a half.

Here is what I did.
1. Make a pastry dough using 1-1/2 cup flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 stick very cold butter, 2 tbsp Crisco, 6 tbsp ice cold water. I use my food processor to mix all this together. Form into a cylinder wrap with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for 20 – 30 minutes.

2. Saute one small onion with 1 lb chorizo. Once meat is browned add 1 cup corn and 1 cup black beans. Cook altogether until good and hot. Turn off heat and get dough out.

3. Cut dough into 10-12 portions, roll each out on a floured surface (one at a time) add a spoonful of pepper jack cheese, a spoonful of meat mixture, coat the edges of the rounds with egg white, fold dough over, seal with a fork and then baste the entire thing with egg white.

4. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. I baked mine on my Pampered Chef stoneware.

Chorizo, black bean and corn Empanadas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Derek loved them the pastry was perfect and although they’re not “perfectly” formed they were quite delicious!