lemon zucchini blueberry tea cake

My initial intent was to post about the asparagus that I cut from the garden Friday after work I had pork chops out and a plan. But it was so nice out and we haven’t been able to use the patio or the porch yet this year; it has been too cold and too rainy. Friday afternoon was beautiful out so instead of cooking we made a plate of cheese and crackers and had our first Happy Hour out on the porch. I will admit our Happy “Hour” usually turns into Happy till the sun goes down or the bugs force inside.

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Since my asparagus is still in the fridge and we are going out to dinner with some friends tonight (Saturday) I still won’t have time to cook the dinner I planned on making last night. Welcome to nice weather and the changing of plans. Happens to me all the time!
My daughter and I got the porch, patio and the flower garden ready this morning plus did some raking and got my in-laws patio ready for them and I made my shopping list but it is way to nice out to go to the store, so that will have to wait for another day. I am currently sitting out on the patio writing this while my husband is lounging over there reading. Life is good!!!

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If you have never had lemon and blueberries in a muffin, tart or cake or something you really need to try some sort of baked good using both of them, they are like the perfect compliment a little sweet, a little tart. the flavors are terrific together though I am very partial to lemons so maybe I am a little biased but they are worth checking out.

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This is my first one using their suggested amount of blueberries – we all felt every bite benefited from having a blueberry with it.

Lemon Zucchini Tea Cake preheat oven to 350 degrees

¾ cup applesauce – or if you want coconut oil
1 ¾ cups shredded zucchini – drained
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3 eggs
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
Handful of fresh blueberries

In a stand mixer or use your hand mixer; combine the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until light in color 1-2 minutes. Add the applesauce, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla beat until well combined another 1-2 minutes. Add the zucchini, beat till combined; another minute. Sift the flour, soda, powder and salt. Add this mixture to create the batter and beat till combined; do not over mix.

Grease or spray your pan and add the batter, place in the oven for about 40-45 minutes. Bake until your wooden toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool, loosen the edges and invert the cake onto a wire rack to completely cool. Once cool, spread cream cheese frosting and top with some blueberries

I used 2-8” cake pans but could be made in one larger cake pan; it doesn’t rise like you would think as it is a denser kind of cake.

Cream cheese frosting
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 16-ounce bag of powdered sugar (roughly 4 cups – I buy mine in bulk)

Cinnamon Rolls for Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day!

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You really should make these this morning – my mouth is watering

I will be going out to breakfast this morning without my children. My husband and I are away for the weekend for a wedding in Rhode Island. For those of you that are home and plan on making breakfast for your mother, wife, grandmother or just for yourself. These are worth making today, or any day really.  They are so easy to put together and crazy fast that you can make them in under an hour – seriously!

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Do I have your attention yet?

I’ve made them a few times and it still surprises me how good they are and how quickly I can make them and with so few ingredients that I always have on hand; I bet you do too. Make a frittata or strata or just scrambled eggs and a fruit plate and you will have a very tasty very satisfying breakfast or brunch fit for a Queen!

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The dough comes together very easily!
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Add as much or as little cinnamon as you like

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after baking
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before baking / after rising

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Cinnamon Rolls
Serves 9
Easy, fast, light and fluffy Cinnamon Roll with great flavor
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  2. 3 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast = 1 packet
  5. 1/2 cup water
  6. 1/4 cup milk
  7. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  8. 1 large egg
  9. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
for the Filling
  1. 1/2 stick butter softened, room temperature
  2. 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  3. 1/4 cup brown sugar
for the Glaze
  1. 1 cup powdered sugar
  2. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  3. 2-3 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. pre-heat your oven to 200’ and just before you place the rolls in the oven; turn it off.
  2. in a large bowl add the flour, sugar, salt and yeast; mix well
  3. In a microwave safe bowl heat the milk, water and butter till the butter melts 30-40 seconds.
  4. Once melted stir into the flour mixture and the egg and knead until the the dough is no longer sticky roughly 3-4 minutes.
  5. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl to rest for 5 or 6 minutes.
  6. Mix together the cinnamon and brown sugar for the filing
  7. Roll out the dough after it is done resting; into a 15″x 9″ rectangle.
  8. Spread the softened butter on top and then sprinkle the sugar cinnamon mixture over the butter.
  9. Roll the dough on the 15” side tightly and cut into 9 large even pieces.
  10. Place them in a 9″x 9″ slightly greased pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the; turned off oven for 20 minutes.
  11. After 20 minutes remove the plastic wrap and turn the oven up to 375’F. Bake for 15-20 minutes until they are lightly browned.
  12. Make the glaze while the rolls are in the oven. Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla and use enough milk to make the glaze light enough for you to drizzle over the hot rolls when they come out of the oven.
Adapted from from the recipe critic
Adapted from from the recipe critic
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

Blueberry Pie Bars

Before my husband and I were married way back in the late eighties. We got a puppy together, isn’t that kind how things tend to progress for most? You date for a few years; you move in together and get a pet? I see it is a trial period to see if you can co-habitat before pulling the trigger on marriage and kids. If you can co parent a pet and not kill each other; you might have a shot at this marriage/parenting thing. In my opinion!
IMG_3984We have had dogs more than we haven’t; 4 in total and all but the first were rescues. The current one is testing all of us. I have lovingly dubbed him my ungrateful rescue. The last two were wanderers but that is nothing compared to the coo coo that runs our lives now. I really wish I documented everything he has done. It would make for an entertaining dog drama. He has separation anxiety and he has come a LONG way in the last 9 years. He is lucky he has us and we are lucky to have him. BUT last week he had to have TPLO. I proudly can say I have never heard of this up until now. TPLO stands for Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy – now that’s a mouthful.
IMG_3990.JPGWe have been spoiled with free feeding all of our dogs, very few leash walks, we have a lot of land that’s partially ours and all around us. Mostly hands off care for our pets. This surgery comes with a lot of restrictions for not just weeks but months. It’s going to be a long road not just for him but for us. My daughter gets all the props for leading and keeping us on track. Just a glimpse of the first 14 days; no stairs, his own pill of the week box and a cone of shame. Here’s hoping for a full recovery 4-6 months down the road.
IMG_3993.JPGWhat is my segue into my cooking blog – absolutely nothing and I apologize but it has been pretty much all dog and no cooking in my world right now. I will share with you a wonderful blueberry recipe that is worth checking out and pretty easy to throw together.

INGREDIENTS:

Crumble Crust and Topping
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch salt, optional but recommended

Filling
1 large egg
1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt; or sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Blueberry Layer
12 ounces (2 cups) blueberries (fresh or frozen; thawed or unthawed either works)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.

Crust and Crumble Topping In a large bowl add the melted butter and sugars, whisk to combine. Add the flour and salt. Stir to combine, should be dry and sandy with a few large clumps.  Set a heaping 3/4 cup crumble mixture aside for the topping. Transfer remaining mixture to prepared pan, Create an even smooth flat crust. I use the bottom of my measuring cup. Set aside.
IMG_3985Filling In a medium bowl, add the egg, Greek yogurt or sour cream, sugar, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Evenly pour filling over the crust smooth it over the crust.
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Blueberry Layer In a separate medium mixing bowl, add all filling ingredients and toss to combine. Evenly distribute blueberry mixture over the filling.
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sprinkle with the reserved topping.

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Bake for about 60 minutes, or until edges are bubbling and the topping is slightly browned. Place pan on a wire rack and allow bars to cool for at least 1 to 2 hours before slicing and serving. Don’t skip this part or they will fall apart.
IMG_3992.JPGBars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the fridge for up to 10 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. I bet they won’t make a week in my house.

 

Recipe adapted from Avery Cooks 

Raspberry Squares

I am going to share this recipe with you that I originally posted about 5 years ago. Yeah I know I can’t believe I have been writing a weekly blog for about 6 years now. I honestly didn’t know how long I would stick with it. I didn’t know what my objective for a blog would be. I see bloggers come and go, I see them change format, and timing some slow down with how often they write. I am still writing and sharing because I enjoy it, I enjoy hearing that people look forward to reading my post, I enjoy sharing recipes that I would make again. I love it when someone makes one of my recipes and gives me a shout out.

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Sometimes you want something sweet but you don’t have the time or patience to make individual cookies.  I will admit I do make more cookies than bars and I am not a fan of jelly filled anything but I found this raspberry bar recipe and fell in love.  I have made these many many times now, when I offer to bring them places I always double the batch just so I can leave some at home.  They are really easy to make, generally can be thrown together in about 15 minutes, not including baking I hope you try making them.  You can substitute the filling for whatever your preference is.

Raspberry Bars

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ cups quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup finely chopped pecans or almonds, or a combination of both
12 tablespoons unsalted butter softened but still cool.  Cut into pieces
1 10 oz jar of raspberry preserve

Easily doubled – which is how I generally make them
Preheat oven to 350’F

Spray 9×9 pan fold two 16-inch pieces of parchment or aluminum foil. Fold and press the first sheet into the pan pressing the corners, with the second sheet crisscross over the other.  You will want to make sure the end over hang; this is to take the bars out of the pan a lot easier.  Spray with the sheets with cooking spray.

Mix the flour, oats, sugars, baking soda, salt, and nuts in a bowl of an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.  With the mixer on low, add the butter pieces; continue until the mixer is well blended and resembles wet sand; about 2 minutes.

Transfer two thirds of the oat mixer to the prepared pan; use your hands to press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake until the crust starts to brown, about 20 minutes.  Using a rubber spatula spread the preserves evenly over the baked oats; sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly over the preserves. Bake until the preserves bubble around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 ½ hours. Remove the squares using the foil or parchment paper handles. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1 ½ inch squares.

Baklava thumbprint cookies

Happy Healthy New Year To You All

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I am guessing you are thinking wait didn’t she write just last week it was going to be a sugar free zone January. I did, especially at the office, now if only someone; anyone would come and eat the giant margarita glass overflowing with Lindt chocolates before I go back to work on Wednesday there might be a fighting chance.  Also I did mention this at home and got a resounding hell no we won’t go chant sooooo not sure how this is all going to pan out.

IMG_3864.JPGI also mentioned several blog posts ago that there will always be baked goods in my life so I am just going to keep being me!
IMG_3865.JPGI saw this recipe in a magazine that intrigued me in 2 ways. Firstly I have always wanted to make a thumbprint cookie but none of the fillings seemed calorie worthy; I’ve never been a huge fan of a lot of jelly, don’t get me wrong I like it just fine, but I want it to be a light layer as an accent not the main ingredient, if you get my drift. You will never see me eat a jelly donut – just saying! Secondly I like baklava and actually since spending time in Greece recently you could say love; because theirs was all amazing. But the ones I have had here in the states were just way too sweet for me. I sound too picky for a foodie but there you have it!
IMG_3866.JPGThese cookies were almost perfect and everyone over Christmas loved them. The only thing I would do actually will be doing differently is; not a huge fan of almond extract it is such a powerful flavor and tastes kind of fake to me, I would add half the amount of that and increase the vanilla extract. I will give you the recipe as I found it but since I am going to be me; you do you!
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Ingredients
1 cup of sugar
½ cup butter, softened
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract – here I would do ½
1 teaspoon vanilla extract – here I would to 1½
2¼ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Topping
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup honey
¾ cup of chopped walnuts

Directions
Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a small bowl and set aside.

Cream the sugar and butter until well blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the extracts.
IMG_3868.JPGAdd the dry ingredients to the wet, beat until creamed all together.

Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm enough to form into small balls. Around 30 minutes or so.
IMG_3870.JPGPreheat oven to 375’F
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place them about 2 inches apart on either parchment lined or silpat lined baking sheets.
IMG_3872.JPGBake for 8 minutes. Pull them out of the oven and press a deep indentation in the center of the cookie with the back of a spoon or I used the back of a melon baller. Fill each indentation with a little honey and top with nuts; then sprinkle them with the cinnamon and sugar. Back into the oven for another 1-9 minutes.
IMG_3876.JPGCool them on the sheet for a minute and them remove them to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Approx.
1 cookie 168 calories, 7g fat, 25g carbs, 2g protein

Recipe: Sharon Eshelman – Taste of Home

Russian tea cakes or Mexican wedding cookies?

I really love these cookies, I mean what’s not to love, butter, sugar and nuts. They are super easy to put together and rather quickly too. I don’t know why but they are generally only made around this time a year. Maybe because they look like a snowball?

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How cute are my fish teaspoons?

I have heard them called many things; Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cakes, Italian wedding cakes, snowballs, snowball cookies, and butterballs to name a few. Why so many names? Why called a cake when they clearly the size of a cookie?
IMG_3719.JPGIn doing a little research the names Russian versus Mexican seem to come from what nut you choose to use. Russian tea cakes use Hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts. And Mexican wedding cakes use pecans. The names snowballs and butterballs seem to be more of whatever your family has grown up using maybe? The cake versus cookie has a long explanation but I will try to condense it A LOT. Mexican weddings used to not have the typical tiered creations that we have here in the US instead they had tables with all kinds of confections for their guests and these were popular. The Mexican wedding cake cookies are known as polvorones. The Russian name is said that they were a popular treat at tea time for Europeans. 
IMG_3718.JPGPreheat oven to 325 – prepare 2 cookie sheets either with parchment, spray or silpat mat

2 cups whole pecans or walnuts, chopped fine
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but cool
⅓ cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups confectioners sugar for rolling cooled cookies

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Mix 1 cup chopped nuts, flour, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside
Place the remaining nuts in a food processor and process until they are the consistency of corneal, careful not to over process and make butter. Stir into the flour mixture and set aside.
IMG_3713.JPGCream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about a minute or two. Beat in the vanilla; scrape as needed. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until the dough just comes together; about 15-20 seconds. Scrape again as needed and process till dough has all come together a few more seconds.
IMG_3714.JPGWorking with 1 tablespoon at a time, use a cookie scoop if you have one to make them all the same size. Roll into a ball and place on a prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes; just until the tops are barely brown. Rotate halfway through cooking.
IMG_3716.JPGCool on the cookie sheet for about 2 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes or so. Roll cookies into confectioners sugar, gently shake off the excess. They can be stored in an airtight container up to 5 days, or frozen for a couple of months. Just before serving roll them again in confectioners sugar to coat again; tap off the excess.
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Recipe: Cook’s Illustrated