Saturday, August 28, 2010

Spiked Berry Half and Half

This is a great summer time tea recipe.
It has wonderful fruit flavors combined
with Earl Grey Tea and a splash of vodka.

Spiked Bery Half and Half
Original recipe from Everyday Food
This is my version with a few changes.

In a small container combine 2-3 Earl Grey Tea bag,
2 cup warm water,1 cup of sliced strawberries and peaches
and 1 cup vodka. Let steep for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a small pitcher, stir together
1/4 cup of superfine sugar and 1 cup fresh
lemon juice (until the sugar dissolves).

Discard the bag,add the two mixtures together.
Chill and serve with ice.

Ahhhh ~ Refreshing!

Mediterranean Chicken Salad Pitas

My bi-weekly menu included several new dishes that I was excited about making.
This recipe from Cooking Light for Mediterranean Chicken Salad Pitas was very
good. It was fairly easy to make which is one of my requirements for a week
night dinner. The chicken salad is light but has great flavors.
This recipe could easily be made for lunch or dinner.

Mediterranean Chicken Salad Pitas
from Cooking Light

1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt (such as Fage Total Classic)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup chopped red bell pepper (about 1 large)
1/2 cup chopped pitted green olives (about 20 small)
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
6 (6-inch) whole wheat pitas, cut in half
12 Bibb lettuce leaves
6 (1/8-inch-thick) slices tomato, cut in half
1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
Combine chicken and next 5 ingredients (through chickpeas)
in a large bowl. Add yogurt mixture to chicken mixture;
toss gently to coat. Line each pita half with 1 lettuce leaf
and 1 tomato piece; add 1/2 cup chicken mixture to each pita half.

I served hummus and chips with our Chicken Salad Pitas ~ YUM!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cooking Trout

What a nice dinner!

This trout was caught and cooked by my husband.

The trout was coated in blue cornmeal and pan fried in butter and lemon.
He also made a nice arugula salad with parmesan slices and tomato.

You gotta love a guy who catches and cooks dinner!

Purple Basil Lemonade

My husband bought some purple basil at the market this past weekend. He said the lady who was selling the basil told he that he should use the purple basil to make lemonade - hmmm -interesting.

I looked up a few recipes online and found that Purple Basil Lemonade is quite popular.

Here is a great recipe :
Purple Basil Lemonade

4 cups water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup loosely packed purple basil leaves
6 tablespoons sugar
4 cups ice
4 purple basil sprigs

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Then turn off the heat. Place several springs of basil into the water and let sit for about an hour. Then strain this mixture saving the 4 cups of basil water. Combine the basil water and juice in a large bowl. Place 1/2 cup basil and sugar in a mortar; pound with pestle until a paste forms. Add sugar mixture to juice mixture; stir until sugar dissolves. Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl or pitcher. Serve with ice and garnish with a sprig of basil.

Purple Basil Sugar:

Everything you need:

A glass of Purple Basil Lemonade:

This is a very refreshing drink!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Strawberry Popsicles

Fruit of your choice + yogurt + sugar + lemon juice =
yummy popsicles
And trust me popsicles aren't just for kids.
Everyone in your house is going to love these
creamy, sweet, strawberry popsicles.

Strawberry-Yogurt Popsicles

1 pint strawberries cut into small pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup yogurt - your choice of type ( plain, greek or even strawberry)

Place the strawberries, water, and sugar into a medium sauce pan. Simmer for five minutes, or until strawberries are very soft. Let this mixture cool for a few minutes. Then pour the cooled strawberry mixture into a blender and add the lemon juice Pulse a few times until fruit is almost pureed. Add the yogurt to the mixture and pulse a few more times until the mixture is combined.
Pour into molds and freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Bananas and Chocolate ~ such a great combination.
I don't really like to bake with bananas unless
I can add chocolate to the recipe.
There is a friendship created when you bake
bananas with chocolate and eating the
combination is delightful.

Banana Cake with
Cream Cheese Frosting

You will need:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 to 1 cup of chocolate chips

Cream the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour and baking soda in a bowl alone and mix. Then gradually add them to the creamed mixture. Blend in the bananas. Lastly, stir in the chocolate chips. Spread the batter into a greased 9 by 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool.

Making the Frosting:

1 package cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
2-3 cups powdered sugar

Let the cream cheese and butter soften. Then blend the cream cheese and butter together first. Then add the vanilla. Add the sugar a little at a time. Taste
the frosting to determine if you want to use all three cups. It just depends on
how sweet you want the frosting to be.

Here is what the cake looked like after taking it out of the oven:

Yum ~ a piece of cake with frosting:

This is a wonderful banana cake. The icing makes adds quite a bit of sweetness to the cake. The cake is moist and has a nice balance of chocolate and banana flavor.

Beautiful View

This was the view right outside our window the other night.
I was only able to capture a small portion of the beauty
but I hope you enjoy the photos.

a few minutes later


Chipotle Chicken Salad

With the weather still reaching high 90's each day it has been hard to come home and want to cook a big, warm meal for dinner. If this terribly, hot weather continues I may start serving ice cream for dinner. This week I just tried my best to cook light dinners avoiding the oven as much as possible.

This recipe I found in Cooking Light is wonderful. It has a great mixture of flavors and the dressing adds a little spciy kick to the dish.

Chipolte Chicken SaladIngredients
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 cup light sour cream
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
1/3 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can no-salt-added whole-kernel corn, rinsed and drained

To prepare dressing, combine first 7 ingredients, stirring well.

To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Here is what it looked like when I first served it - ahh so nice.

I took a second picture of the salad after I mixed it all up so you could get a glimpse of the creamy dressing and all the "good stuff" that was in this salad.

This is a great meal for this hot, summer nights.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Baking Cookies, Mini Cakes and more

There has been alot of baking but there just isn't enough time to blog
so I am just going to show you the evidence.

Chocolate, Chocolate Cookies

Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Mini Cheesecakes with Caramel or Chocolate Ganache

I know what you are thinking ~ and YES~ I ate them all myself. :)

Grilled Salmon

Check out this healthy, colorful dinner!

Grilled Salmon, Orzo and Green Beans.

We grilled our salmon on a cedar plank with spicy mustard and brown sugar.
It turned out excellent. The fish was tender and full of great flavor.

I also made the orzo that I purchase a few weeks back at Piedmont Park.
I added some chopped red peppers and corn. The orzo was already flavored
~corn, black bean and red pepper orzo.

Everything turned out great.