Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
summer is right around the corner, and that means that prime popsicle season is nearly upon us. popsicles are such a refreshing treat in the warm weather, but i'm not a fan of all of the mystery ingredients that come in store-bought popsicles.
so, what better way to cool down when it's hot outside, than with homemade popsicles?
recently, we made meyer lemon popsicles.
there are only three simple ingredients in these popsicles: water, sugar, and meyer lemons. no mystery ingredients. no ingredients that you cannot pronounce or spell. just three natural ingredients, that's all. how can you beat that?
if you aren't familiar with meyer lemons, they are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. they have a sweeter taste than traditional lemons, and they have a slight orange color to them.
they are perfect for lemonade . . . or in this case, popsicles!
these popsicles have the perfect balance of sweet and tart. they are so good and so refreshing. just like frozen lemonade.
to make our popsicles, we used this popsicle mold. it is super easy to use, and it makes six large popsicles.
really, the hardest part is just waiting for them to freeze!
go ahead and make a batch of meyer lemon popicles for yourself and for someone you love. you'll be glad you did!
. . .
prep time: 10-15 minutes
cooking time: 5 minutes
freezing time: at least 4 hours
yields: 6 large popsicles
1 3/4 cups water
2/3 cup granulated sugar
6-7 meyer lemons
in a sauce pan, bring the water to a boil. remove the water from the heat and stir the granulated sugar into the hot water. stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. set the sugar-water mixture aside to cool.
meanwhile, juice the meyer lemons. (you should have approximately 3/4 cup of juice.) add the juice to the sugar-water mixture and stir to combine. (optional: add 1-2 teaspoons of grated meyer lemon zest to the mixture.) pour the mixture into popsicle molds and allow the popsicles to freeze for at least 4 hours, or until they are completely frozen.
Monday, May 20, 2013
it's hard to believe that father's day is right around the corner (sunday, june 16th). luckily, our sponsor the pampered chef has a ton of amazing gift ideas for the cooks, bakers, and grill masters in your life.
ryan and i both come from families that love to cook and love to eat, so kitchen gadgets and grill accessories are always great gift ideas. we have many pampered chef products that we use on a regular basis, and we absolutely love them. the pamperd chef's products are reasonably priced, and super durable. they sure hold up to a lot of use and abuse too.
since the summer is prime grilling season, and many dads love to grill, we have rounded up a few of our favorite pampered chef grilling products which would make great father's day gift ideas for the grill master in your life . . .
1. smokey barbecue rub - $4.75
2. great grilling recipes cookbook - $15.00
3. bbq basting bottle - $16.00
4. bbq tongs - $19.50
5. bbq corn and skewer rack - $18.00
6. bbq jumbo turner - $21.00
7. bbq pizza set - $49.00
8. bbq tool set - $49.00
9. bbq roasting pan and can holder set - $59.00
10. bbq essentials set - $39.00
i am currently hosting an online pampered chef party. to order any of the pampered chef products mentioned in this post, simply click here and type "laura houser" into the search box. all orders will be shipped directly to your address.
*bonus: the pampered chef is offering two 1-cup prep bowls for free with your purchase of $60 or more during the month of may! but you better hurry, because this great offer ends on may 31st.
Friday, May 17, 2013
the final recipe that we are sharing from our mother's day brunch this past weekend is a lemon poppy seed bundt cake with lemon glaze.
i just love lemon recipes. i was inspired by a lemon pound cake recipe that i read recently, and decided to make a lemon bundt cake to accompany our mother's day brunch. that amazing husband of mine had the idea of adding the poppy seeds. why didn't i think of that?
this cake is light and refreshing. the sweet lemon glaze balances out the tart lemon cake perfectly, and the poppy seeds provide just the right amount of crunch too. it was a great way to finish off our brunch!
lemon poppy seed bundt cake with lemon glaze
prep time: 10 minutes
baking time: 40-45 minutes
yields: approximately 12 servings
adapted from everyday occasions
8 tablespoons salted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 large lemons
1/2 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 cup powdered sugar
in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 3-4 minuts). add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda into a large bowl. zest and juice the lemons. set aside 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. finely chop the lemon zest and add it to a bowl with the remaining lemon juice. whisk the milk and vanilla into the lemon juice.
add half of the wet ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture and beat well to combine. add half of the dry ingredients to the mixture and beat well to combine. repeat with the second half of the wet and dry ingredients (ending with the dry ingredients). beat well. stir in the poppy seeds.
spoon the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan. bake for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of the the cake comes out clean. once baked, allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan and transferring it to a wire rack to finish cooling.
to make the glaze, whisk together the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with the powdered sugar. once the cake has cooled completely, pour the glaze over the top of the cake and decorate with additional lemon zest.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
one of the main dishes that we served for mother's day brunch this past weekend was a strata. a strata is basically a breakfast casserole. the great thing about this dish is that all of the prep work is done the night before. that means all that you have to do is just wake up, preheat your oven, and let the strata bake.
the base of this strata is bread. we used a loaf of crusty italian bread, but french bread would work great too. since asparagus is in season, we loaded this strata with fresh asparagus. we included scallions and red onion for some extra flavor too. there are also three different types of cheese in this strata which really make it amazing.
this strata is so versatile because you could substitute just about any type of vegetables and cheese in this casserole . . . but, i have to tell you that the combination of the asparagus, scallions, cheddar, gruyere, and parmesan is really great!
this strata is super yummy and super impressive, yet it is so easy to make.
it's so nice to have easy dishes like this when you are entertaining a group of people (or when you want to wake up to a really nice breakfast on a weekend morning)!
asparagus and scallion strata with cheddar, gruyere, and parmesan
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 15 minutes
baking time: 50-60 minutes
yields: 10-12 servings
adapted from say yes to hoboken
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 small red onion, chopped
1 bunch asparagus, chopped (set the tips aside)
4-5 scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
8 cups cubed french or italian bread (1 inch cubes)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
9 large eggs
2 3/4 cups skim milk
1 tablespoon brown mustard
melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. cook the onion in the melted butter until translucent (about 5 minutes). stir in the chopped asparagus (remember to set the asparagus tips aside for later), the chopped scallions, and the pepper. cook until the vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes).
place half of the bread cubes in the bottom of a buttered a 9x13 inch glass baking dish. spread half of the cooked vegetable mixture over the bread cubes, then spread half of each cheese over the vegetables. create a second layer with the remaining bread cubes, vegetables, and cheese, then arrange the asparagus tips on the top.
whisk together the eggs, milk, and mustard. pour the egg mixture evenly over the strata. cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or over night.
remove from the refrigerator and allow the strata to sit on the counter for 30 minutes to come to room temperature. meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes, or until the are no visible signs of liquid egg mixture. remove from the oven. allow the strata to sit for several minutes to set up before cutting. serve hot.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
for mother's day brunch this past weekend we made two different types of mini muffins. in addition to our mini banana walnut muffins, we also made mini oatmeal flax seed muffins with chocolate chips.
these muffins are hearty muffins . . . and they are (mostly) healthy for you too!
they remind me a little bit of bran muffins. they have a mixture of white whole-wheat flour and all-purpose flour. they are loaded with oats and ground flax seed meal too. there is also just a hint of coffee in them which adds a great flavor.
to make them just a little bit naughty, we added big chocolate chunks to them. these muffins were super easy to make, and they were ready in no time. they were a great addition to our brunch menu!
mini oatmeal flax seed muffins with chocolate chips
prep time: 5-10 minutes
baking time: 16-18 minutes
yields: 12 mini muffins
adapted from pastry affair
1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon decaffeinated instant coffee
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks (or chocolate chips)
preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. in a large bowl, sift together both flours. add the flax seed meal, oats, sugar, instant coffee, baking soda, and salt. stir to combine the dry ingredients. add the milk, oil, and egg to the dry ingredients and mix well until all of the ingredients are evenly combined. stir in the chocolate chunks.
spoon the batter (approximately 1 tablespoon per mini muffin) into a well-greased mini muffin pan. optional: sprinkle additional oats on top of the muffins. bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean. once baked, allow the muffins to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing them from the pan and transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
one of my favorite things that we made for mother's day brunch this past weekend was our banana walnut muffins. since we knew that there would be a lot of food for brunch, we decided to make these muffins miniature, and they were just the right size.
these muffins have a great banana flavor. they have a touch of sweetness, but they are not too sweet for breakfast/brunch. the walnuts in them also provide a great crunch. if you're not a fan of walnuts, you could always eliminate the walnuts or substitute a different type of nut instead. (i bet these muffins would be great with few chocolate chips in them too!)
these mini banana walnuts muffins are the perfect addition to a breakfast/brunch gathering!
mini banana walnut muffins
prep time: 5-10 minutes
baking time: 16-18 minutes
yields: 20 mini muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. sift the flour and baking soda into in a large bowl. add the sugar, melted butter, egg, and vanilla. beat well with an electric hand mixer until combined. in a separate bowl mash the bananas with a fork. add the bananas to the mixture and beat well. stir in the chopped walnuts.
spoon the batter (approximately 1 tablespoon per mini muffin) into a well-greased mini muffin pan. optional: add additional chopped walnut pieces on top of each muffin. bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean. once baked, allow the muffins to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing them from the pan and transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Monday, May 13, 2013
on sunday we celebrated our mamas with a mother's day brunch. ryan and i made a bunch of yummy treats, packed them up, and then headed down to ryan's parents house to "cater" mother's day.
we really enjoyed celebrating mother's day with my parents, ryan's parents, and ryan's grandmother. we are so grateful for our amazing mothers, and we were happy to be able to prepare this brunch for them as a special thank you for all that they do for us.
^fresh fruit bouquet^
^banana walnut muffins^
^oatmeal flax seed muffins with chocolate chips^
^asparagus and scallion strata with cheddar, gruyere, and parmesan^
^bacon and cheddar quiche^
^lemon poppy seed bundt cake^
happy mother's day!
. . .
. . .
ps: this week we will be sharing all our our mother's day brunch recipes . . . we previously shared our quiche recipe here (we just left out the broccoli this time and added a bit more bacon instead).