Posts tagged ‘Food’

April 3, 2015

Super Simple Easter Brunch!

Super Simple Easter Brunch!

Easter is early this year on April 5! If your menu isn’t planned yet, enlist some friends and get this easy brunch for a crowd together for Sunday!

Menu:

  • Ham
  • Egg Strata
  • Sweet Potato Tater Tots
  • Deviled eggs
  • Chilled Asparagus lemon salad
  • Fruit Salad
  • Sugar cookie and Dessert tray
  • Rolls for sandwiches
  • Biscuits
  • Condiments
  • Mimosas

Normally we purchase a Honey Baked Ham, of course you can’t go wrong there. Instead this year we are trying a ham from the famous New Braunfels Smokehouse). We’ll let you know how if it was a good decision!

HAPPY EASTER TO YOU AND YOURS!

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November 3, 2013

Menu Planning

Everyone is so busy now-a-days with duel working households, endless activities and chores, the list always seems to go on. We are certainly no exception. BF and I both work and have our own activities keeping us busy. We also try to exercise and eat healthy. The task of keeping even just the two of us fed for a reasonable amount of money and time invested often seems daunting. For those of you with families, I am sure it is compounded!

We often talk about eating healthy and that there is a triangle you get to choose from: healthy, tasty and affordable. The caveat is you can usually only pick two. We are doing our best to work all three in as often as possible, but that takes planning. The best way we have found to stay on track is to plan our menu for the week and create a shopping list prior to our weekend errands. BF and I sit down together and talk about the schedule for the week and what we would like to have. I usually have some new recipe I have been wanting to try (usually inspired from my Pinterest boards). I also plan to have things that complement each other so I can cut down on the number of things we are making, for example rice with two meals or leftovers with lunch. We then make a list of what to get at the “regular” store and what to splurge on at Whole Foods. We seem to stay much more on track when we have a plan and don’t do as much impulse buying.

I am also working much harder at paying attention to coupons. I think you can get sucked in to couponing and end up buying things you don’t need, but for those things you buy anyway it is great if you can save a little. This week our store was offering a coupon for 10% off your groceries if you got your flu shot. So for a flu shot that was covered by my insurance, we saved more than $10 off our groceries…those things really do add up! I have even gotten pretty good at remembering to bring my own bags, which is now something we pay for in our town. I feel really good about myself when I remember bags and coupons!

You can see from our scribly menus that our system is not fancy, but it works for us. The latest menu goes on the fridge and we work together to make it work for the week. We often shop on Saturday and I prep on Sunday. That usually involves roasting chicken breasts and prepping veggies. I try to make sure we have things that are easy to pack for lunches (probably where we save the most money from this system). Mary, Ali, Geff and I recently had an all day cooking extravaganza to create some meals for the freezer…lots more on that to come…it has been so helpful to have soups and sauces, even ready-made meals on hand. It is so nice to be able to pull something out and know where it came from. Sometimes the best laid plans don’t work out (like when I forget to defrost the fish) but for the most part this helps us a lot! Do you do something similar? I would love suggestions!

Kelly

October 1, 2013

Lemon Dream Cake

Some recipes come and go from your repertoire and others become staples, go-tos, still others grab you and become yours…they become part of your traditions. One such recipe for us is what we have come to call Lemon Dream Cake (or Morphine cake or in this case, Kelly’s birthday cake)! I honestly don’t care that much about cake…put a chocolate chip cookie in front of me and I will be hard pressed to say no, but cake often disappoints. This changed my entire view of what cake can be; it is super lemony and not too sweet, moist and just perfect…every time! A little story about this cake: my grandmother was kind enough to let me live with her for a time and I really wanted to do something nice for her. I decided on this cake and I had none of the right equipment. We had to borrow pans from her friend (in exchange for some cake, of course), I had to do it all by hand and Grandma kept looking at all the work I was putting in thinking it couldn’t possibly be worth it. “Just go and get one!” she would tell me multiple times. I just kept at it, knowing it would be worth it, and it was. Shortly after I made it (luckily with some still safely stored in the fridge) she had surgery and when she woke up the first thing she asked for was a cup of coffee and a slice of my cake. Hence, Morphine Cake. It is still one of my fondest memories of living with her.

The first time we made this cake, we kept looking at it thinking there couldn’t possibly be a recipe with more steps (turns out we were wrong, we just hadn’t gotten that brave yet). But after investing the time and energy once, you get the hang of things and try it again, and again, and again. In fact, we have made it for more of my birthdays than I can count. Though having made it by hand on two occasions, I can tell you this recipe taught me to love the Kitchenaid! It is one of those multi-step, multi-day labors of love that really is worth it in the end. Plan 2-3 days ahead to spread out the steps and make it feel a bit less like a production and really try to follow the directions (which we are notoriously bad at), especially for the curd and the cake. If you are looking for a show stopper, try it out!

Kelly

 

Lemon Dream (Morphine) Cake

From Bon Appétit via Epicurious

Makes 10 to 12 servings

*You’ll need a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch star tip to create the decorative rosettes. Though we have decorated it lots of ways…Be Creative!! You will notice, ours is not perfect, but it does look homemade!

Ingredients:

Lemon curd

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Cake

6 large eggs, separated

14 tablespoons sugar

1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Syrup

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup boiling water

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Filling and frosting

2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup sugar

3 8-ounce containers chilled mascarpone cheese*

 

For lemon curd:

Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk constantly until thickened and instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 160°F, about 10 minutes. Remove bowl from over water. Add butter; whisk until melted. Transfer 1 cup curd to small bowl for spreading on cake layers. Reserve remaining curd for filling. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of both curds. Chill overnight. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled. Make extra to use on everything!!)

 

For cake:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line bottom of two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides with parchment paper, do not grease pans or parchment. (Try this method). Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until mixture is very thick and slowly dissolving ribbons form when beaters are lifted, about 4 minutes. Using clean dry beaters, beat whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Add remaining 7 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff and glossy. Fold half of whites into yolk mixture, then sift half of flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt over and gently fold in until incorporated. Fold in remaining whites, then sift remaining flour over and fold in just until combined, being careful not to deflate batter.

Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool in pans on racks.

Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto 9-inch-diameter cardboard rounds, tapping on work surface if necessary to release cakes. Cut each cake horizontally in half (layers will be thin, you will think they are too thin, have faith). Peel off parchment.

For syrup:

Place sugar in small metal bowl. Add 1/2 cup boiling water; stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in lemon juice. (Can be made several days in advance and kept refrigerated).

For filling and frosting:

Beat whipping cream and sugar in large bowl until peaks form. Add mascarpone to lemon curd in medium bowl; whisk until blended. Fold whipped cream into lemon-mascarpone mixture.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Brush with 1/4 of syrup. Spread 1/4 cup lemon curd over, then 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Top with second cake layer; brush with 1/4 of syrup and spread with 1/4 cup lemon curd and 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Repeat with third cake layer, syrup, lemon curd, and filling. Top with fourth cake layer. Brush with remaining syrup, then spread remaining lemon curd over. Spoon 2 cups lemon-mascarpone filling into pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch star tip (to be used for rosettes). Spread remaining lemon-mascarpone filling as a frosting over sides of cake. Pipe small rosettes of frosting over top of cake, covering completely. Cover cake with cake dome; refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

Decorate for the occasion as Ali did here…

And remember to Enjoy!!!!!

June 30, 2013

Cedar Plank Salmon

Looking for an easy way to update your salmon recipe? Cooking on a salmon plank on the grill adds a whole new dimension. You end up with a slightly smoky flavor with a nearly candied finish. This is a great way to fancy things up a bit with very little work. BF brought this idea home one night and it was a huge hit!

Soak the cedar plank in water for 1-3 hours. (I will admit we cut it close at about 30 minutes and it should have been a bit longer, but we were hungry!) Season 1-1 ½ Pounds Salmon Filets with salt and pepper. Preheat grill. Remove the planks from water and place on the grill until hot. Brush smooth side of boards with olive oil. Place fillets on the smooth surface part of the plank. Brush teriyaki sauce (we like Soy Vey) over salmon. Cook over a medium to high flame for approximately 10 minutes or until done.

Serve with a great salad of CSA mixed greens and strawberries tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and finished with salt and pepper for a healthy meal!

Kelly

June 23, 2013

First Day of Summer!

How did you spend your first day of summer? BF and I enjoyed an al fresco dinner on our brand new patio furniture.

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We had be looking for something for a while and finally found the perfect thing on sale. When you live in a place that boasts 300 days of sunshine a year, outdoor living is a way of life, and dining is no exception. I fixed one of our very favorite meals, Poisson Cru.

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It is so light and easy to make. If you are not a sushi lover, this is a good place to dip a toe in. The lime cooks the fish and it takes on a different texture. This one is a keeper! In fact, for lunch today I switched it up a little by eating the leftovers over rice.

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Try it, you won’t regret it! Enjoy summer!
~Kelly

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