Saturday, July 13, 2013

Honey Butter

Don't you dare buy that stuff in the tub at the grocery!  It's horribly overpriced and tastes just awful.  It takes less than 5 minutes and is MUCH better tasting to just make this yourself!

You'll need:
3 sticks of softened butter (REAL butter)
8 oz honey at room temperature (can warm for 5 - 10 seconds in the microwave if needed - make sure the top is open)

Cut the butter into pats and get the honey out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter while your bread bakes or you go about your morning rounds. 

Add the butter pats into a small mixing bowl, whip together with honey (adding as you go) on a medium speed mixer until completely blended.

If you get a consistency that is thinner than you like, you can add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and it will firm up for you. 

The hardest part of this is waiting until everything is nice and soft from being out on the counter for an hour or so!

Voila!  This is honey butter!

Blueberry Cheesecake Bread

Baking something first thing in the morning just sets the day off right for me!  Today's fare - Blueberry Cheesecake Bread.  Why just go blueberry when you can combine cheesecake with it!  Am I right on this or am I RIGHT?!?!

You'll need:

18 oz packaged blueberry muffin mix (I like the kind with real blueberries,
     some like the kind with the blueberry bits - your choice)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (softened)                                         
1/4 cup white sugar                                           
1/2  teaspoon lemon juice                                                   
1 egg
Mix the bread mix according to package directions (I always add an extra egg to everything I bake - no matter what the recipe calls for.  Mama said that was a baker's secret for luck!).
Mix the cream cheese, sugar, juice and egg until creamy.
Prepare your loaf pan with Baker's Secret cooking spray (I get crazy when it sticks to the pan so spray liberally).  Add 1/2 your blueberry batter in the pan, add your cream cheese mixture, top with remaining blueberry batter.  You can take a skewer and swirl your batter or not, your call (I swirl).
Bake at 375* for 45 minutes or until top is golden and center set.  Let cool completely before you try to flip this out of the pan.  If you try too soon it will break on you! 
Optional Topping:
Sometimes you feel streusel, sometimes you don't.  Either is fine.  I skipped this today but you do what you want.
1/4 cup flour or baking mix
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup sugar (white or brown)
1/4 cup nuts (usually pecans or walnuts) optional
1 t cinnamon sugar
Use a fork to combine all ingredients until you have a small crumbly consistency.  Add to top of loaf mix prior to baking.  I have waited until half way thru my bake to add this on top - I don't ever measure and if I'm heavy handed in the sugar, this may darken too quickly if I add it at the beginning.
This topping will make it just a tad harder to flip out of the pan.  I recommend using a clean tea towel when you gently roll the loaf pan over then use the towel to slide this back upright on your serving plate.  That way you don't loose as much of the topping.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Squash Overflow!

Oh My Goodness!  We were gone for two days and came home to squash OVERFLOW!  While we do love squash, we can't possibly eat it all before it goes bad so I had to come up with a way to preserve our garden beauties!

I did the traditional roast of green peppers and squash cubes (toss lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper then sauté in a wok or skillet until tender) for dinner but that didn't even put a dent in the harvest!

We love stir fry and have it often so I took the top and bottom off then quartered each squash.   Some were overly large so I slipped my knife behind the seed core and removed those (I just don't like the texture of those large seeds).  Then julienne the squash and freeze in quart freezer bags.  The next time I make stir fry, I'll just toss in an extra bag of squash!  This increases the vitamin content and stretches your favorite stir fry mix a little farther!  Or do what I'm doing tonight and just roast them up and serve them as a side dish to your favorite meat!  Toss with olive oil or even your favorite stir fry sauce or soy sauce!

I know there are tons of  squash casserole recipes out there but that's usually heavier that we want in the summer months. 

This was quick, easy and will really add to our healthier diet attempt!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

4th of July Cupcakes

For those that want to do a little light baking for Independence Day! 

You'll Need:
White cake mix
White frosting
blue and red food coloring
cupcake liners
blue and red sprinkles

It couldn't be any simpler...mix your cake batter as directed (you know to always add an extra egg for good luck, right?!).  Pour cake batter into prepared cup cake liners, dot the top with one drop of red food coloring and one drop of blue food coloring (opposite each other).  Use a toothpick or skewer to gently swirl color into your batter. Be careful not to cross the colors (gray isn't what we're going for here)!

Bake and allow to cool completely.  Frost with white frosting and sprinkle!

Minimal work - maximum effect!

Patriotic Layer Dip

This is just your basic seven layer dip with a little creative garnish for 4th of July celebrating!

You'll Need:
1 large jar salsa
1 large tub sour cream
1 package shredded cheddar cheese
1 can re-fried beans
2 cups lettuce (shredded)
1 bunch scallions or 1 small onion (diced)
1 red pepper (diced)
sliced olives to garnish

Layer the dip in this order:
sour cream (reserve half of tub for the top)

Top with remaining sour cream then garnish with sliced olives in the star field and stripes of salsa!  If you're feeling really spunky, serve with blue and red tortilla chips!

You can change out the veggies to suit your own taste.

Graham Cracker Flags

Busy people need to be resourceful and still have a little something to impress on the Fourth of July!

You'll need:
Graham Crackers
Red Food Piping
Blue Food Piping
Star or Pearl Sprinkles

You can either use food coloring in vanilla frosting or just purchase the ready made tinted piping in cans (tips included) in the baking aisle.  Pipe and smooth the blue field first, then top with star or pearl sprinkles.  Pipe the red stripes and let set until firm.

Took 10 minutes and you never had to turn on the oven!