Blondie Tea Cake

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Oh my…right smack dab in the middle of that Blondie Cake are two chopstick sized testing holes. Missed that one amidst  grading over 50 midterms, quizzes and final assignments. I just needed a break from the mundane! Is this tasty little tea cake ever yummy. Dipped like a biscotti, with the texture of brownie, this treat settled our sweet tooth right away.

Blondie Tea Cake

6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch salt

1 cup cake and pastry flour (all-purpose is ok too)

1/2 unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet squares

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Coat an bread loaf pan with a non-stick ingredient (I use coconut oil on a paper towel).
  2. Mix melted oil with brown sugar and beat until smooth, then beat in the egg and vanilla.
  3. Add salt, stir in flour. Add shredded coconut and chocolate (or anything else you may find tasty!).
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until set. Cool before cutting.

adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

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Weekend Viewing

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What another lovely week it’s been. While raining most days in our neck of the woods in Ontario this week, it has still been wonderful to get outside for a brisk walk and enjoy every bit of Fall. Jordan and I are pumping ourselves up for winter with the occasional, “We really have to make the most of this winter, ok?” or “Let’s try to remember all the good things about winter….hot cocoa, reading books, fires, snow shoeing…” But for now it’s still cider and apples and Thanksgiving and foliage (sigh). Enjoy your weekend!

Help Stop the Spread of Ebola, spread the word!

A beautiful post on praying into your “marriage mission”

Fall Produce Guide…so beautifully done

How to plan the right amount of food for a dinner party

Killing your $1000 grocery bill, good tips on how to cut back and grocery shop below your means.

The updated British Mini Series Guide

photo credit: 1

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A British Mini Series Update

land girlsCalling all Britophiles! And yes, there is such a term. There are a few additions to the British Mini Series Guide, so be sure to check it out!

The best part about this post, however, is that I’m about to give away the biggest and best secret I know to seeing these series as they come out in Britian. It is legit…I’m sure…I hope, and I just can’t keep it to myself any longer! Visit Simply June to view several recent and popular British series that are listed in the guide and also not listed here (If it’s not listed, it’s because I either haven’t seen it/am not sure of the content, or have and decided to not endorse or recommend it for reasons of preference or content). June is passionate about advocating for victims of violence or abuse, and shares about it here.

Have you seen any recently that you’ve enjoyed?

Enjoy!

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I Was Afraid To Make Bread

DSC03555This post is about homemade bread. Not because I am so thrifty and DIY. In fact, it’s the opposite. Making things from scratch kind of scared me. “I can’t do that!” or “It takes too long!” or “That’s only for the pros!” But when I made soup stock or bread for the first time I thought, “Wow, that was easy. What was the big deal.” I felt like superwoman…it was awesome.

I understand that blogging can give the appearance of being cool and having amazing abilities and talents beyond the average woman. I say that, because I’ve thought that about blogs I love and women I admire. Wow, homemade deodorant? Four kids and homeschooling? Amazing photography AND amazing food?

While I love to cook, to learn, to take my time in the kitchen, I am a novice [I'm also not a photographer but if I'm going to include photos, I try to put some effort into making it pleasing to the eye!]. So this post about homemade bread is more about saying, “You can do it!” and not here’s yet another thing you haven’t tried.

Maybe it’s not bread for you, maybe it’s paying bills or hanging those pictures…sewing that button back or knitting mittens…writing that email or learning to braid your daughter’s hair. Small things that have a huge-heart-swelling effect.

BREAD (makes one medium loaf, I double for a large loaf)

1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 1/2 cup warm water

3 1/2 flour

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cornmeal or flour for dusting

FIRST: In a large bowl dissolve water and yeast. Add flour and salt and mix until blended and looks shaggy. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 8 -18 hours at room temp. DSC03532SECOND: Scrape from bowl(s) and place on well-floured counter. Fold in half, lightly flour, then fold again. DSC03534THIRD: On a clean towel, lightly sprinkle cornmeal/flour and place dough on the towel. Lightly sprinkle again and place another clean towel on top. Sit for one hour. DSC03544FOURTH: Preheat oven to 475. Place a heavy dutch oven (or oven-safe pot) in for about 15 minutes while preheating. Next, carefully (it’s hot!) line with parchment paper and place the dough in the pot (see picture). Bake for 30 minutes covered, then 20 minutes uncovered. The bread is done when you knock on it with your knuckles and it sounds hollow.DSC03551FIFTH: Slice, butter, and enjoy. Slice and freeze. Or simply admire! DSC03554

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Engagement Anniversary

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On my parent’s anniversary today, Jordan proposed two years ago. It’s a wonderful day to celebrate such wonderful marriages! This is our little montage from the last several years of knowing and loving one another!

2010 (At college, having the time of our lives)

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2011IMG_0371

2012 (First picture after Jordan proposed!)

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2013 (Our first fall as Mr. and Mrs.)

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I am so blessed by this patient and loving man. So worth the wait, such a gift every day.

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Turkey Meatballs

DSC03513This recipe: This recipe for these delicious turkey meatballs is on a now crinkly page in my well-loved GP’s Its All Good. I seriously love these meatballs, and I seriously love this cookbook. Everything in it is comforting and yummy and clean.

Making them again this Fall brought back so many memories from our first apartment and months of marriage. I made these a bunch along with many other recipes I’d experiment with when I didn’t work. I would start dinner at 2pm because wanted to get to know my kitchen, and learn more about food while I had the time.

DSC03500Ground Turkey: I go crazy over ground turkey from Costco. It comes in a four pack that is so easy to freeze right away. I get kind of antsy when I turn the corner and see the ground turkey case. I get excited about freezing meat and I love the potential with this protein! Knowing there in the freezer is almost empowering. Meatballs, chili, burgers, bolognese, lasagna, ahh! I almost try to play it cool when I see the bright orange sticker saying, “$5 off ground turkey”.

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Turkey Meatballs (adapted from It’s All Good)

Serves 4

1 small onion (or several shallots), roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

small palmfuls of fresh sage, basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley (Or use dried herbs. I’ve tried both, and it’s yummy either way)

1 pound ground turkey

sea salt  & pepper

Combine onion, garlic, and herbs in food professor and pulse to very finely chopped. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and mix together with a large pinch of salt, several grinds of pepper, and the ground turkey. Mix with hands, then roll into small meatballs.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick skillet (the non stick does make things a lot easier). Cook meatballs in batches until browned on all sides (2-3 minutes per side). [If enjoying without sauce, keep turning until entirely cooked through].

If you’re having this with pasta and sauce, bury the meatballs in your sauce while it is heating up or cooking. Make sure the meatballs are cooked all the way through (about 1/2 hour).

Enjoy with any pasta and red sauce, or on their own with rice and a hearty green!

Happy Cooking!

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Recipe Testing with The Yellow Table

DSC03301This past week I had the privilege of recipe testing for The Anne Watson Carl of The Yellow Table, a New York City based cook who is self publishing her first cookbook this coming Christmas! I learned of Anna’s blog through my sister’s friend who is a good friend of Anna…so I feel like I practically know her personally! 

Several months ago, Anna invited readers, family, and friends to recipe test and I eagerly volunteered. Anna’s recipes are delicious and sure to be enjoyed by everyone who cooks and creates from her cookbook! She is passionate about sharing life together around the table, and I was able to do just that while testing these recipes. Not only did my husband and I benefit, but we were able to have impromptu company to share in the tasting part of the testing. And that, I really like: cooking and have company.DSC03312Along with a panini and burger recipe, I tested a Lamb Tagine dish, something I’ve been intimidated to try for a long time, so I’m glad I got to do it finally! DSC03358DSC03298DSC03335It was a busy week, and I had left the testing to last minute so some of it had to get done late when I got home. It was a true taste of what Anna has been doing for the last year! In the picture above I am really enjoying myself and happy to be cooking despite it being eleven p.m. and my expression!

My only regret is that I wasn’t able to complete all of the four recipes given to me to test due to the lack of ground lamb readily available in our area. And is there a story for that. In brief, we searched our city for a butcher with ground lamb and made a second unsuccessful stop at a specialty South African meat shop. Think indigenous South African taxidermy everywhere. I, being on a mission to get this ground lamb or else, walked right past a stuffed (from the shoulders up) giraffe. A. real. one. It was huge and impossible to miss. But missed it I did and walked right past to plead for one pound of ground lamb. Just. One. Pound. But alas, there was none. And my husband, who later told me he couldn’t look at anything or anyone else in the eye because this giraffe was staring at him, pointed the poor guy out to me before we left the shop. I stopped and said, “Really? Seriously? Where?” And two feet away…how peculiar. DSC03324DSC03349My amateur photography doesn’t do the experience and recipes the justice they deserve, but I still wanted to chronicle the process as I’ve been looking forward to it for months!

Thank you to Anna and her team for the honor in inviting us to take part! I hope it is a help!

 

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I’m Gonna Read Instead

Read InsteadI’ve seen this poster floating around the internet these days and when I have, I tell you, I’m off the internet in a flash and reading, or gardening, or creating. Because this is a wonderful message about what summer (and winter) is for. (The irony is that I had to see it on the internet to be inspired in the first place.)

Summer is the best time to read instead of internetting….facebooking….blog reading or writing…It’s the best time to be out walking…exploring…swimming…instead of being inside so much. And this is coming from a rainy-day lover! So for me, it’s either “Get out” or “Read instead”.

I hope it’s a wonderful summer for you too! What have you been up to? No wait, don’t tell me! Go outside…or start reading Harry Potter, a classic, cookbooks!

Photo credit: BOOK/SHOP

 

 

 

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Pizza At Home 101

DSC03200Even before our honeymoon to Italy, where we had a steady diet of amazing pizza for lunch and dinner most days, we were pizza lovers. My parents can make a mean pizza, so I grew up with an almost weekly tweaking and tasting of this wonderful food. It can also be one of the easiest, most cost effective meals to make at home.  This is how we do our pizza at home. Our’s is pretty straight forward, often changing it a bit each time.

Preheat oven to….ummm…about….450? 475? See, I never know. Something high. You can’t go wrong.

ONE- Let the dough (pre-made or homemade) come to room temperature (this way it won’t spring back on you when rolling out)

TWO- Flour a large surface and roll out dough with a well floured rolling pin. Roll until very thin (the dough will always puff up a bit when baking).

THREE- Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and fit dough to pan using fingertips.

FOUR- Sauce: Using an immersion blender, puree a can of whole or crushed tomatoes (It’s easiest to just sit the immerse blender in the can itself). Add some olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and a pinch of salt.

FIVE- Spread a ladleful of sauce on the dough. Then cover with toppings (we do fresh mozzarella, turkey or regular sausage, peppers, onions, basil, spinach, goat cheese in various combinations; my mom makes a great white pizza with swiss chard and Romano cheese). Drizzle with olive oil.

SIX- Bake until crust is crisp (about 15 minutes). Then, mangiare! Eat!DSC03194These pictures where taken by my sister, Laura, on our recent vacation to Connecticut.

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Lately

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This summer has been really, really enjoyable. We’re settling into our new place and making it our own. These instagram images are a good taste of what summer has been like so far. Sweet, quiet, warm, creative. Now that I am only teaching part-time at the college I have all of Tuesday and Thursday’s to do other things. It’s wonderful to be able to spend an entire day cooking, reading, helping others, errand running. I’m grateful for this unique season of more time. Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.45.58 PM

We now have a potted garb garden with basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and lavender. Most of which I use regularly. The lavender I need to harvest (any suggestions), but I walk by, pick a bud and smush it between my fingers to enjoy it’s relaxing aromatic aromas. Mmmm…

And then I have taken on a few little DIY projects. All of which I will share once they’re done…the trick it to not bite off more than you can chew, but oh, that is oh-so-tempting! DSC03292Our homemade pizza 101 coming up!

 

 

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