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.

Chicken & Dumplings

I totally intended on trying another recipe in my slow cooker this last week but every night seemed to have something going on so I didn’t have time to prep and I am really not interested in making and cleaning a mess so early in the am. So instead I made chicken & dumplings on the stove top. It is definitely a warm comfort meal and pretty easy to make.  The batter for the dumplings is pretty simple and they cook themselves to perfection sitting on the top of the yummy broth. Homemade if you have it on hand.

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By using one pot to brown the chicken and made the stew it can’t help but being delicious, there is SO much flavor sticking to the bottom of the pot.

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I do use a lot of chicken broth both homemade, which I refer to as liquid gold, and pre-boxed which is great when I forget to take mine out of the freezer.

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I am not a fan of mushy peas so I only use frozen ones and by throwing those in last works out really well.

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The dumpling dough is really easy to make; it will be slightly thicker than pancake mix.

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The size of your dumplings depends on the size of the dollop you place on top of the stew. Be mindful they will expand.

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If you can hold off, it tastes a lot better if you can let it sit and let all the flavors meld.

Season chicken liberally with salt, pepper and adobo; add oil to a heavy duty pot, such as a Dutch oven. Cook chicken letting each side get nice and brown and remove to a plate until cool enough to shred.  Add celery, carrots and onions to hot pot, if too dry add more oil. Saute until onions are soft but not browned. Add flour and cook another minute; add chicken broth and simmer until veggies are cooked through. At the last minute add peas. Whisk all dumpling ingredients and add by spoonful. Cover and let the dumplings steam for about 15-20 minutes. Let meld and enjoy!!!

Stew

1-2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast cut into chunks

Kosher Salt

Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Adobo seasoning

Olive Oil

2 ribs celery diced

3 carrots diced

1-2 onions diced

3 tbs flour

Chicken Broth

Handful of peas

Dumplings

Whisk all ingredients

¾ Cup Flour

1 ¾ tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp Salt

½ Cup Milk

Crazy Chocolate Cake

I have been making this particular chocolate cake for as long as I can remember; at least since I was in middle school.

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I am not entirely sure where it came from but I believe it has been around for many many years.  If you are looking for a great recipe to teach a child try this one. It mixes easy in one bowl and is pretty forgiving.  The frosting is pretty simple as well.  The benefit is no box is necessary.

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If your house is anything like mine, any given night an impromptu dinner party can happen.  I am pretty sure the majority of people out there like a little something sweet to have after dinner. I believe it is always a good idea to have a few recipes in your back pocket for such an event.  It also helps if the recipe has everyday ingredients you probably already have on hand. It doesn’t take long to put together or bake.  I think the longest part of the process is waiting for it to cool. I know be impatient; I  have even served it slightly warm.

You know when you go to someones house for dinner and you are asked to bring the dessert.  Even though you are full everyone still wants to at least sample it. The host insists you bring the leftovers home.  Well I have not been asked to bring this one home.

This delicious cake meets all of the requirements I listed above; plus it travels well.

 

Crazy Chocolate Cake

Bake at 350’ for about 25-30 minutes – Cool completely before frosting

You can leave in the pan or remove and plate

1½ cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

3 Tbs cocoa

½ cup vegetable oil

1 Tbs vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup milk

Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Spray a 9×9 pan or similar.  This makes one small cake I tried doubling it but I didn’t care for the way it came out.  It is so easy to throw together if you want to make a layer cake just add ingredients to the same bowl.

 

Buttercream frosting

1 stick of softened butter

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

If too thick to spread add a dash or two of milk

In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients turn on the mixer on medium until all combined about 3 minutes.  You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Square the other cookie (Raspberry Squares)

There are a couple of types of bar cookies the typical chewy type like brownies and blondies.  Then there is a very nice alternative that is more like a pastry shortbread type that is tender, buttery and crumbly.

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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 10oz jar of raspberry preserve

 

Easily doubled – which is how I generally make them

Preheat oven to 350’

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.

Happy Easter – Carrot Cake – Cream Cheese Frosting

Sorry this is a day late, we have been without internet for 4 days UGH!

 

Today like the last 30 years has started off with a pancake & sausage breakfast to support our local Rotary Club.  Let’s just say I would rather just donate money than actually attend and that is all I will say about it. My in-laws have been going to this event since they moved here in the late 70’s and we, I mean they just cannot break from tradition. I do say this lovingly.

Carrot Cake w/cream cheese frosting

Carrot Cake w/cream cheese frosting

I only added a few nuts and I was too distracted and ended up cooking it a little longer than I should have.  It was still very moist and yummy!

Later today I will be having family over for Linner, late lunch early dinner as I have called it for many years.  It is I think the first year that I didn’t hide eggs for the kids.  Which is kind of funny since they really are not “kids” anymore 21 & 23; but they always insisted that eggs be hidden.  When they were little I used to do a treasure hunt all over the house and yard for them depending on the weather.  I have a feeling if my daughter was home; she would insist on me hiding some for her and her brother to find.

Another tradition we started many years ago was we played four square in the driveway on a huge course with one of those huge plastic balls you see in those bins at the grocery stores.  We have had some crazy games over the years, not only on Easter, but I think that is when it started. We have had marathon games lasting 6-8 hours with everyone playing at some point from as young as 4-5 to as old as 70-80.  It would get pretty crazy at times but always full of laughter.  I do definitely miss playing with my brother, may he rest in peace.  Our main goal was to get him out of the servers’ box not sure how but he had a knack of always being in it.

Yesterday while out getting stuff for dinner I picked up a bag of used golf balls so that we could smackem’ down the driveway; the 3 of us sent all 48 through the woods and down the 1000’ driveway.  We do this periodically, afterwards we walk the driveway hunting for the.  Alex mentioned that we should have done this for a hunt when they were little.  Dad and I could send the balls down the driveway and then send the kids out to find them, whoever found the most would win a prize.  Excellent idea why didn’t I think of that!  This year I think we were only 14 shy of the 48 sent.  Not too shabby!

Today’s menu not unlike many others will be Ham, not the spiraled one, I’m probably on the short list who is not a fan all the ones I have ever had have been so very dry, I go for the monster shank or butt ones, always juicy. Smashed roasted baby potatoes, steamed zucchini and summer squash and I am going to make carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

Have a wonderful day doing whatever it is your family does on this beautiful (this year) Spring Easter Sunday!

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Carrot Cake – Cream Cheese Frosting

4 Eggs

¾ Cup apple sauce

¾ Cup vegetable oil

2 Cups Sugar

2 Tsp vanilla extract

2 Cup AP flour

2 Tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

½ Tsp Salt

2 Tsp ground cinnamon

3 Cups grated carrots

Optional

1 Cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350’ grease and flour 9×13 pan

In a large bowl beat together eggs, sauce, oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix in flour, soda, powder, salt and cinnamon.  Stir in carrots. If using nuts fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. then turn onto a wire rack and cool completely.

½ Cup butter, softened

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional

1 cup chopped pecans

Make frosting: in a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. You can also stir in some chopped pecans in this if you would like.  Frost cake once cooled.

Being Frugal – It’s a good thing

Last weekend my refrigerator was severely overloaded; my house was full of people and I had a lot of “different” ingredients leftover after it was all said and done. I really hate throwing food away so I try to use up whatever is left over before it goes bad.  I love finding a recipe, buying the ingredients, making and eating whatever it may be.  I am sure I am not alone in this where you find yourself with some ingredients that generally are not found in your fridge very often.  I had some leftover Buttermilk, Blueberries (I forgot to put them out) and some Heavy Cream.  I was reading one of my magazines that I subscribe to this last week and came across a couple of recipes that uses some of my leftover ingredients; I guess it was meant to be.

 

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

 

Blueberry Scones

Blueberry Scones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I made Blueberry Muffins and Blueberry Scones this morning and they are both really delicious! I have actually never made scones before. I have no idea what I was waiting for, they are very easy to make and they don’t have to be pretty; though I am sure I could have measured them out perfectly and formed them just right.  I did not, I just plopped them on the baking sheet and put them in the oven; 20 minutes later YUM!  Let’s just call my scones rustic and I am OK with it.

Blueberry Muffins

2 Cups AP flour

¼ Cup sugar

1 ½ tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp Baking Soda

½ tsp Salt

2/3 Cup Buttermilk

½ Cup Sour Cream

2 Eggs

3 + 2 TBS melted butter

1 6 ounce container blueberries

Sugar in the Raw for dusting after baking

Preheat oven 400’ grease 12 muffin cups, set aside

I tend to use my stand mixer for majority of my baking, but you need to be gentle with these dough’s, you don’t want to over mix them and you will need to fold in the blueberries so they do not turn to mush. With that being said, I used my stand mixer creature of habit.

Add all the dry ingredients to your bowl and stir together; set aside. Whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, eggs and 3 Tbs butter.  Add to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. Do not over mix; batter should still be lumpy.  Gently fold in the blueberries.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Filling each three-fourths full; bake 18 minutes or until golden brown.

 

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Brush with remaining butter and sprinkle with Turbinado Sugar aka Sugar in the Raw. Don’t stress over this, if you don’t normally use it you don’t need to buy any just use regular sugar.

On our honeymoon 25 years ago we were introduced to sugar in the raw on the island of Barbados and have been using it every morning ever since; in his coffee and in my tea.

Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Make sure to let the muffins rest the 5 minutes so they don’t fall apart but do not wait too long that they become soggy.

Blueberry Scones

2 Cups AP flour

1 Tbs baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 Tbs sugar

5 Tbs cold unsalted butter

1 6 ounce container of blueberries

1 ¼ Cup heavy cream

Gently whisk dry ingredients together. Grate the butter on the course side of a box grater and add to the dry ingredients; gently toss to combine.  Fold the blueberries into the dry mixture.  Make a well in the center and pour the heavy cream in. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not over mix.  Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and form into mounds.

Preheat over 400’ either use parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.  Bake 16-20 minutes or until tops are barley golden brown.

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