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 

Buttermilk Biscuits

I have been writing this blog for several years now and while I enjoy writing and sharing with you all. You would think I would have a better game plan; I don’t I have been on vacation this past week and it didn’t occur to me to write this weeks blog or even make something worthy of sharing until 7:40 last night ugh! I literally had all week and I want to say we had cereal at least 2 nights and I think my husband made banana pancakes one night. It could have been a perfect week to try out some new recipes write up a few blogs so I didn’t add to the pressure of the holiday season. Nope not me let’s get up early and make something so I could take pictures and write it down for you. You’re welcome 🙂
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I have been wanting to make cookie dough for the freezer so I figured I would make some sort of cookie for you, then the fridge ingredients dictated that I needed to use up some of the buttermilk and we needed to eat something for breakfast; who doesn’t love biscuits; seriously I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t at least like biscuits.
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I have made this recipe several times and they never had really come out as advertised. I will go on record that it was all my fault. I used her recipe and made them my usual way which apparently was wrong; well not wrong I was just not going to get the same results as they showed in their pictures. So I decided to make them step by step according to the recipe which I will share with you, and you can decide if you want fluffy or flat biscuits, they taste the same to me. but the fluffy ones are beautiful to look at.

Buttermilk Biscuits
Spray a sheet pan lightly with nonstick spray or use a silpat mat like I did.
Preheat oven to 450°F.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
4 tablespoons (½ stick) cold unsalted butter
¾ cups cold cultured buttermilk

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add the shortening and use your fingertips to pinch it completely into the flour mixture.

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Using a box grater, grate the cold butter into the flour. Toss until all of the pieces are coated. We have some butter we keep in the freezer so mine was frozen.
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Lightly coat your work surface with nonstick cooking spray, then flour. (The spray keeps the flour in place.) Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture. Gently mix the dough with a rubber spatula until there are no dry bits of flour left. The dough should be slightly sticky. I really did this step to the letter and I think the dough is a little more than slightly sticky.
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Transfer dough to the prepared work surface. Lightly coat your hands with flour and gently press the dough with the heels of your hands to form it into a smooth flat rectangle, 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle the dough with flour, then fold it into thirds (like a letter). Press the dough out again, sprinkle with a little flour, and fold it into thirds again. This time folding in the open ends first. Repeat one more time. Dough should no longer be sticky. again this is the first time doing this step and it worked and I get it!
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With a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out dough rounds. Flip the rounds over so that the smooth sides that were against the work surface face up and place on the prepared pan, 1-inch apart. Stack the scraps and press and cut again. Refrigerate until cold, about 15 minutes. I put mine in the fridge just long enough to clean up my mess.
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Bake until the tops are golden brown and crisp, about 16 minutes. I set the timer for 10 and only added 3 more minutes. You know your own oven so adjust the time. Let cool 5 minutes before serving hot. This step was killing my husband; he is pretty dramatic when it comes to food. He is always starving – not really!!!

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the ones in the back are the fluffy ones
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You can see the difference in size – so your choice follow the directions as written or have flat biscuits – both are delicious!

Recipe by Carla Hall

 

Buttermilk Berry Muffins

This weekend and last I have been spending at least one of the weekend days in the kitchen. I wanted to; well actually had to make sure my gardening wasn’t for not.
IMG_3111Last week I had some blueberries and raspberries that needed to be either eaten or made into something else. Tomatoes that I needed to make into a sauce, green peppers washed, sliced and frozen and broccoli into soup and froze the rest. Plus cucumbers needed to turn into pickles and I had a ridiculous amount zucchinis that I wanted to give to someone else. I did bring seven or so to work and sent my daughter to the lake she works at with a basket full. Thankful people are still excited, or that might be a strong adjective, to see me coming with produce.
IMG_3105Last weekend I made some mixed-berry muffins that I hope you like. You can use whatever kind of berries you have on hand or one that you like the most. The berries can be fresh or frozen so these can basically be made whenever you want with what you have on hand
IMG_3107Buttermilk  Mixed Berry Muffins – makes 12 muffins – preheat oven 350’F

2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
¾ cup buttermilk
⅔ cup canola oil – or ⅔ cup applesauce
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups blueberries
2 cups raspberries

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, applesauce or oil and vanilla.
In another bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt.

Gently fold in the berries into the dry ingredients.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry just till combined, do not over mix the batter
IMG_3106Either spray the muffin pan or line with paper cups liners.  Fill to 3/4 fill or slightly more.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let rest for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

Healthier Banana Zucchini Bread

We have had some wacky weather here in NH – well all over the country but I can only speak to here in my minuscule part of it; pretty much all summer. Hot and humid and either a pop up shower or a thunderstorm. It has been hard trying to time when to harvest not only my garlic but everything out there.  I feel bad for my husband and his crew that generally work outside, how to plan a days worth of work when half of it or at least a portion of it you’re going to get soaked. When I got home from work on Friday I quickly harvested the rest of my garlic before the thunderstorms started up since the soil needs to be dry to harvest.
IMG_2988The problem with not doing a drive by of at least the squashes; they seem to grow overnight and go from cute to shit how did I not see that one! So this morning (Saturday) I had 3 way to overripe bananas, too many ginormous zucchini’s so I grated one up and made a couple of loaves of banana zucchini bread.
IMG_3006.JPGMy daughter thought I was making banana bread and zucchini bread – I’ll refrain from what she actually said but it was kind of like “wow running with scissors Mom” I actually found a healthy low fat recipe that I tweaked a bit to what I had on hand. I have mentioned before that just because someone dubs it healthy doesn’t mean its healthy for your diet. But if having to eat healthy means I can’t have any baked goods I don’t want to play. Which is probably why – oh never mind!
IMG_2994.JPGHealthier Banana Zucchini Bread – makes 2 loaves
Preheat oven to 350’ – get out 2 9×5 loaf pans and spray with non-stick

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ ground nutmeg
4 eggs – thinking of using egg beaters next time
1 cup sugar
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
3 overripe bananas
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups shredded and drained zucchini

Whisk the first 8 ingredients to the nutmeg in a small bowl.

In a stand mixer or not mix the eggs, sugar, yogurt, bananas and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix till combined, add the zucchini and mix again till combined.

Additions if you choose – nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate chips etc. you do you!

Split batter between pans and cook for about 45-55 minutes or until cooked through, test by inserting a toothpick and it comes out clean.

The bread(s) came out very moist and I can taste all the spices and the banana’s; the oats add a little texture – plus it smells awesome!  it’s a keeper!

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My daughter tried it before I took pictures – oops!


Macros 1 piece
174 calories  9 g protein  4 g fat  29 g carbs