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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Sometimes a slice of pound cake is simply what the doctor ordered. It is rich and satisfying without being messy! This one sounded wonderful while I was reading through staffmeals, and I could not wait to make it. So let's get started!

This cake is so easy to make, and smells heavenly
while baking. It is also everything I hoped it would be;
delicious and moist, with a fine crumb.

Totally delicious, but this cake would be so pretty baked in a bundt or tube cake pan.....

Cream Cheese Pound Cake
adapted from: staffmeals
makes 1 cake, serves 16
325 degree oven

Prepare a 10 inch tube pan, set aside

1 1/2 c butter (3 sticks) - at room temperature
1 8 oz package of cream cheese - at room temperature
3 c sugar
6 eggs
1 T vanilla extract
3 c all purpose flour
1 t salt
1/2 t baking powder*

In a large mixer bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until well combined, add sugar and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes (set a timer to be sure you beat this long enough), add eggs two at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add vanilla salt, baking powder and flour all at once, beat just until incorporated.

Turn batter into the prepared pan or pans, gently shake pan to even out the batter.

Bake 1 to 1 1/4 hours, remove cake to a rack to cool for 20 minutes. gently turn cake out onto serving plate. Finish cooling before serving.

Note:  The original recipe calls for a tube pan, since we will need to freeze some of this cake, we are using 2 long loaf pans. Remember to adjust baking time for pan or pans used. However I will use a tube pan when baking for company.

* my addition

As always, thanks for taking a minute to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Recipe rating:
Oh yes, will make again!

Melt in your mouth meatloaf!

The wonderful thing about two cooks in a family is the variety of what looks and sounds good, that second set of senses is very agreeable to variety. My husband is somewhat a new cook, however since retirement, he is quickly becoming a regular contributor to our evening meals.

The other very nice happenstance is that food is viewed from a different angle than that of a long term cook, who while still enjoys cooking, has become somewhat stuck in a rut! And that would be me.......plus I have learned from my husband that the slow cooker is a cook's best friend.

This lovely meatloaf was waiting to be top sauced when I got home from work, and from there we had a lovely supper. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did, and the leftovers will make delicious sandwiches. This is a compact meatloaf, yet still tender and the sauce sets it off perfectly.

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Meat Loaf
adapted from:  Taste of Home, slow cookers, casseroles and soups
Serves 6

2 eggs
3/4 c milk
2/3 c seasoned bread crumbs
2 t dried minced onion
1 t salt
1/2 rubbed sage
1 1/2 pound ground beef - (see below when using 2 pounds of beef)

3/4 c ketchup
2 T brown sugar
1 T ball park yellow mustard
1/2 t Worcestershire sauce

In a large bowl, combine eggs through ground beef.  Mix well, mixture will be moist. Shape into a round ball and place in a 5qt slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until a thermometer reads 160 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine ketchup through Worcestershire sauce. Mix well and spoon over meatloaf. Cook additional 15 minutes.

Remove meatloaf from cooker, allow to rest 5 minutes, slice and enjoy.

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Update:  we purchase ground beef in 1 pound frozen chubs from Costco, this will show you how easy it is to to use 2 pounds, and not have half of a pound of leftover thawed ground beef.

If using 2 pounds of beef, simply increase the bread crumbs to 3/4 cup and follow recipe as indicated. We made it this way last night and it is wonderful, just like the first time, but with no leftover beef to try and use up.

Recipe rating:  Oh yes, will make again!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

This treat is all but gone at this point. Baking for my husband is a challenge. His mother you see, while a great cook and hard worker at preserving the foods that grew in the garden and family orchard, was not a baker. Not because she did not know how, baked goods simply were not regularly served. Through the years my husband grew fond of purchased bakery treats. But this delicious loaf, he really enjoyed!

This is called zucchini bread, on the kitchn, but the tender crumb and delicious taste are to my way of thinking, more like a wonderful loaf cake.

Double Chocolate Loaf Cake
adapted from: the kitchn
makes one loaf
350 degree oven

2 c grated zucchini
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup (1 ounce) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Grate the zucchini, place in a colander to drain excess fluid, set aside. 

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. 

I did find one of the new scraper mixing paddles at the store the other day, and I must say I really like how it works!

Add vanilla, cocoa, salt and baking powder, mix well. Add drained zucchini and flour, combing well. Stir in chocolate chips. 

Spoon into prepared 8x4  inch loaf pan, bake 50-60 minutes or until done in your oven. 

Let cool for 15 minutes in the pan, loosen gently from sides of the pan, turn out to cool completely. 

Recipe rating:  Oh yes, will make again!

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments! 

Carrot Top Pesto

The timing was just right, we had harvested some of the carrots from the garden and I also stumbled upon this recipe for Carrot Top Pesto. I have made a few changes to the ingredient list, because I think that pesto is somewhat personal and just a little bit different for everyone. Some like it quite oily, more like a sauce to drizzle and other's like it to mound in a spoon, so that it may be served in a little dome shape.

To accommodate both kinds of pesto enthusiasts, it is very easy, use the larger amount of oil. And the difference in the walnuts, that is simple, if you love walnuts, use the larger measure.

Carrot Top Pesto
adapted from:  Rooted Blessings
makes approximately 2 cups

5 c carrot top leaves - packed
1 to 1 1/2 c olive oil
1 t salt
1/4-1/2 c walnuts
5 cloves garlic
fresh ground pepper to taste (I used about 5 "grinds")
1/2 c Parmesan cheese (yep, the kind in the green can)

Combine everything in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth, you may need a bit of addition oil to keep the food moving in the processor bowl.

Divide into small containers, label and freeze. Use anywhere on anything calling for pesto, the flavor is bright and delicious.

Recipe rating:  Oh yes, will make again!

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Easy Mac and Cheese, a slow cooker recipe

A couple of things are happening in our kitchen:

1. August is a hot month for cooking and,
2. Terry is really enjoying this cooking thing!

Today he had 4 slow cookers going, and one of them was this delicious Mac and Cheese.

Easy Mac & Cheese
adapted from: Fix it and Forget It New Cookbook
serves 4-6

1 T butter
1 1/2 c uncooked macaroni
3 c milk
2-3 c grated sharp cheese (a mixture of your favorite kinds makes for the best Mac & Cheese)
1/2 t salt - (try garlic salt!)
1/4 t pepper
1/4 (rounded) t dry mustard

Rub the butter on the insides of the crock pot insert, to grease it.

Add remaining ingredients, mix well.

Cover and cook on low, 2-3 hours. Turn to high the last 30 minutes if there is water at the edges and you want it gone.

Very cheesy and delicious.

As always, thanks for taking a minute to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Swiss Chard, easy freezer method

Here is a photo outline for the easiest method for freezing swiss chard, or any leafy green for that matter! The secret will surprise you.

First, harvest your greens.

Yes, a canning kettle is the secret or more precisely the jar rack inside. That rack keeps every thing under control. To begin, fill the kettle 3/4 of the way with water. Add 1 T salt, cover and bring to a boil.

For freezing, due to blanching time differences we do not chop and freeze the stems. To wash I place the greens in a large sink of tepid water with about 1 cup of vinegar added. The greens soak for about 20 minutes or until the water is boiling in the kettle.

Add the jar rack, and all the greens. Use a large spoon to push the top greens down under the water to make sure every leaf is blanched. I only blanch greens about 1 minute.

Lift and remove the rack, almost all the greens will be right there, on the rack. Place in a clean sink with cold water, and carefully turn rack and release greens to the sink.

Continue adding cold water and ice, let greens chill. When ready to drain, most of the ice should be melted. Drain greens in colanders.

I prefer to cut greens into 1 inch squares, this is easy to do. Simply place a large handful on the cutting board and run a knife through at one inch intervals.

For greens it is more convenient to freeze in containers, to establish a block of frozen food.

When frozen solid, I prefer to remove and freeze in a seal a meal type package. The two large bowls of chard produced 6 packages for the freezer. There will be another harvest in about a week. The great thing about greens is that they grow quickly!

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Creating a better life

So as life gets more and more complicated and there are more and more stimuli thrown at us I want, no make that I NEED to simplify and minimize my life.  One of the ways I’m doing that is by creating a singularly better creative space for myself over at SAVORY KITCHEN TABLE where I am combining all my blogs into one.  Please follow and join me there for all future posts and recipes.

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