Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Chicken Bruschetta Potato Skins #FWCon

I grew up on a farm where every meal consisted of meat, a vegetable and potatoes.
My mom was and still is an excellent cook who put dinner on the table every single
day without the assistance of Pinterest, the Food Network or Instagram :)

My parents planted a huge garden full of vegetables of every shape and color,
but potatoes were always my favorite.
Digging them out of the ground was not as fun as eating them, but thank goodness
I don't have to do that anymore.

Chicken Bruschetta Potato Skins combine my love of potatoes with one of my favorite
appetizers, Bruschetta.  Served with a side salad, my potato skins could easily be a meal.
Chicken Bruschetta Potato Skins

One of my favorite things about blogging has been attending a few food blog conferences.
Food blog conferences are such a wonderful opportunity for learning, networking and
making new friends.  They are so much fun too!

Recently I heard about a conference that is new to me.
It is called the Food and Wine Conference and it is being held this summer at the
Orlando, Florida Rosen Shingle Creek Resort.

I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to attend this conference and if money wasn't an issue
I would be all over it!
However, since we are putting our daughter through college right now, certain
luxuries have to wait.

Or do they???

The Idaho Potato Commission is sponsoring a recipe contest and three winners get a
paid ticket to the conference, plus gift cards too!!!
So it's time to get my potato baking on and share this recipe with you!
I hope it's a winner, winner potato dinner :)
Wish me luck!

Chicken Bruschetta Potato Skins

Chicken Bruschetta Potato Skins

Chicken Bruschetta Potato Skins

4 large Idaho® Russet Potatoes, washed and dried
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1/2 C balsamic vinaigrette dressing
1/3 C shredded parmesan cheese

14.5 oz. can of Italian diced tomatoes, drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T olive oil
1/3 C basil, chopped
1/8 tsp. ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Place potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for one hour or until done.

While potatoes are baking make bruschetta by combining Italian diced
tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Drizzle olive oil into a frying pan over medium heat. Add chicken and
season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette dressing and
saute chicken for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through.

Slice baked potatoes in half length-wise and scoop out a little of the potato.
Fill each potato half with cooked balsamic chicken and bruschetta.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and basil.

Serves 4-6.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake cream on top
Tell me the name of your sweetheart.
Fresh Strawberries

How many of you remember jumping rope to that song?
Any one, any one?
Do kid's even jump rope anymore?
Well they should.
Just sayin'.

Anyway, for some reason that song popped into my head as I was editing these photos
and now I can't quit singing it.
Don't you hate when that happens!

Strawberry Shortcake

Moving on.
On Mother's Day I hosted a cookout for all of the fam.
I wanted to keep things simple and classic, so I decided on Strawberry Shortcake for dessert.
It is National Strawberry Month after all.
And everyone loves strawberries!
Well in my family they do.
Strawberry Shortcake

This shortcake is simple and sweet.  
The perfect compliment to fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream.
Strawberry Shortcake
Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

1/2 C unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 egg
1 C milk (I used almond milk)
2 C all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
raw sugar for sprinkling, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray bake dish with cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour,baking powder and salt.
In another bowl whisk together egg, sugar, milk and vanilla.
Add wet ingredient to the dry, mixing just until combined.
Pour into prepared bake dish.  Sprinkle raw sugar over top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cut into squares and serve with fresh Driscoll's organic strawberries and whipped cream.

Note:  I used a 9 x 13 inch bake dish, but next time I will use a 9 inch square pan
for a thicker cake.

Recipe from Hopeful Things.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Spring Gardening with OXO

One of my favorite things to do during the month of May is to visit a local greenhouse.
We have so many of them to choose from here in the Shenandoah Valley!
The greenhouse I go to most often is located way out on a country back road and
it's so pretty and peaceful. I could stay there for hours!

I love brightening things up around our yard with pretty flowers and fresh herbs.
After a long drab winter it so nice to add color around the deck and pool.
With all of the trees in our yard, it takes a while to get things in shape around here.
There is always raking, weeding and mowing to do.
The right tools can make the job so much easier!

Did you know that OXO offers a line of gardening tools.
I had no idea!
I am a huge fan of OXO!
OXO has motivated me get my pantry organized, helped me with my spring cleaning
and provided me with all of the kitchen tools needed to make my No-Churn Cookie
Dough Ice Cream! Their products are of the highest quality and make life so much
OXO Watering Can

I was super excited to give their gardening tools a workout!
The Outdoor Pour and Store Watering Can is the nicest watering can I have ever used!
The spout rotates, which makes it easy to fill and also easy to store in a garage or shed.
It holds two gallons of water so I don't have to make as many trips back to refill.
The watering can comes in this pretty blue, green or fushia color.
OXO Watering Can

The Adjustable Hand Rake is my favorite.
We have a ton of leaves around our yard.  They hide everywhere!
This little rake is perfect for getting those hard to reach leaves hiding out in the shrubs.

OXO Hand Rake

The hand rake is adjustable so I can make the rake wider for the rocky area between the
pool and fence. How convenient is that!
OXO Adjustable Hand Rake

The OXO Trowel is perfect for digging small holes to plant flowers and herbs.
It's made of stainless steel and is really durable.  My mom has already asked me if she
can have it! I love the serrated edges - they come in handy when trying to open bags of
fertilizer or cutting roots.
OXO Trowel

The cultivator works great to loosen soil and it helps to fluff up mulch,helping to make it
look fresh and new again. It's also made of stainless steel and easily penetrates the soil.
OXO Cultivator

I am so happy that spring is here and with my new OXO Garden tools - our yard will be
looking great in no time.

Happy gardening friends!

Disclosure - I was sent OXO Gardening tools to review.
I was not compensated for this post and as always, all opinions are my own.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Spelt Bread

Did you know this Sunday is World Baking Day?

I love any excuse to bake, so I was excited to be asked to join with nine other bloggers
to celebrate this special day by baking something sweet or savory with sprouted flours
from our sponsor Granite Mill Farms.

Sprouted flours from Granite Mill Farms are GMO free and low in starch, making things
easier on your digestive system.
Granite Mill Farms is a family based business located in the Rocky Mountains of Montana.
Their grains are 100% organic, whole grain with no additives.  I love that!

I decided to bake mini loaves of raspberry, dark chocolate spelt bread.
Spelt is very similar to whole wheat in taste.
I prefer making mini loaves of bread, making them easy to freeze or give away to friends.
I love the pop of color the raspberries add to the bread!

The sprouted flour in this recipe was graciously provided by our sponsor Granite Mill Farms.
Be sure to check out my other World Baking Day Partners: Angi from SchneiderPeeps -
Chris from Joybilee Farm - Jami from An Oregon Cottage -
Kathie from Homespun Seasonal Living - Liz from Project Pastry Love -
Rhonda from The Farmer's Lamp - Sheila from Life, Love, and Good Food -
Susannah from Feast and West - Wendy from The Monday Box

Happy World Baking Day my sweet friends!!

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Spelt Bread

1 1/2 C Granite Mill Farms Sprouted Spelt flour
1 very ripe banana, mashed
1/3 C pure maple syrup
1 T melted coconut oil
3/4 C unsweetened cashew or almond milk
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 cup raspberries
1/2 C dark chocolate chips
raw sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare loaf pan by spraying with cooking
spray.  In a large mixing bowl whisk together spelt flour, baking powder and salt.
In another bowl combine mashed banana, maple syrup, coconut oil, cashew
milk, vanilla and egg.  Add wet ingredients to the dry, stirring just until combined.
Fold in raspberries and chocolate chips.  Dust with raw sugar if desired.
Bake 6 mini loaves for 20-25 minutes or a 9 inch loaf pan for 35-40 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing from loaf pans.


Disclosure - I was sent Granite Mill Flour to develop my recipe.
I was not compensated for this review.  As always, all opinions are my own.

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Iced Almond-Lemon Loaf Cake

Believe it or not, I didn't start eating yogurt until I was in my early thirties.
Which was just last week, by the way :)

Yogurt just wasn't something my mom ever brought home from the grocery
store, so I never really thought about it.

I have my husband to thank for introducing me to this creamy, delicious,
healthy goodness.  He has been a yogurt fan since he was young and he
often consumes 3-4 containers of Stonyfield yogurt a day!

Today I use yogurt in many of my recipes, so I was super excited when
my friends at Stonyfield sent me a copy of Yogurt Culture by Cheryl
Sternman Rule.
Yogurt Culture Cookbook by Cheryl Sternman Rule

This beautiful cookbook features 115 recipes bringing yogurt to the center
stage.  I can't wait to try Harvest Waffles, Milk Chocolate Yogurt Pots
with Salted Peanut Crush or Frosted Mocha Cupcakes.
And take a look at Ultimate Strawberry Frozen Yogurt!
Delicious and the perfect treat for warm summer evenings!

In addition to the cookbook, I also received a few kitchen tools from OXO.
OXO has the best products!  The wooden reamer works wonders on citrus.
I don't know how I have lived so long without one!

I love using yogurt in baked goods, so naturally I was drawn to the beautiful
Iced Almond-Lemon Loaf Cake. Not only does yogurt make an appearance in the
loaf cake itself, but it is also in the icing, delivering tang and shine to the glaze.

This loaf cake is delicious with bold lemon and almond flavor.
Perfect for gifting to a new neighbor or friend.

I have been given permission to share this sunny loaf cake recipe with you today,
but do yourself a favor and buy the Yogurt Culture Cookbook.
It's a keeper for sure!

Iced Almond-Lemon Loaf Cake
Makes one 9-inch loaf

Yogurt appears twice in this sunny loaf cake: A full cup of it gives the batter tenderness and moisture, and a spoonful in the icing delivers tang and shine. Bold lemon and almond flavors play off the yogurt beautifully, enhancing and deepening its impact.

For the cake
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus soft butter for greasing the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup almond meal
Zest of 2 large lemons
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt (not Greek)

For the icing
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt (not Greek)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Prep. Preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack in the center position. Generously butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

Mix the batter. Into a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in the almond meal and lemon zest. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides as needed. Beat in the almond extract. Slowly beat in half the dry ingredients, then the yogurt, then the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 to 2 minutes to develop some structure.

Bake the cake. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until risen and lightly browned and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Slide a knife around the perimeter and invert the cake onto the rack. Cool completely, then flip right side up.

Ice the cake. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk in the yogurt and then the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the icing is smooth, thick, and drips slowly from the whisk. Wave the whisk over the cake to drizzle lines of icing, or scrape the icing over the cake and smooth with an offset spatula.

Store. Once the icing firms, cover the cake with plastic wrap. It can be kept at room temperature for up to 48 hours, or covered with a layer of foil and refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Disclosure - I am part of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club.  Thank you for supporting brands that make Me and My Pink Mixer possible.  As always, all opinions are completely my own.

Recipe from Yogurt Culture by Cheryl Sternman Rule. Photographs by Ellen Silverman featured in Yogurt Culture.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mini Fruit and Almond Flower Tarts

Yay for May!
My favorite month!
May brings warm sunny days, my birthday, Mother's Day and oh yeah,
May flowers!
almonds, raspberries, blueberries,tart

What better way to celebrate Mother's Day than with cute mini fruit and nut flower tarts.
When hosting holiday parties I love making small, bite-size treats.
They're super cute, easy to eat and look so pretty on a dessert buffet.
almonds, raspberries, blueberries, tart

My May flowers are made using a sugar cookie base filled with a cream cheese
frosting.  I made the flowers using fresh raspberries, blueberries and
Diamond of California Sliced Almonds.
almonds, raspberries, blueberries, tart, sugar cookie

Mini Fruit and Almond Flower Tarts couldn't be easier to make.
You can even use refrigerated sugar cookie dough if you like.
Diamond Sliced Almonds make perfect flower petals!

I love how cute the tarts turned out and I can't wait to serve them this weekend.
They would be perfect for Mother's Day Brunch too!
almonds, blueberries, raspberries, tart, sugar cookie

Happy May!
How are you celebrating Mother's Day?
Mini Fruit and Almond Flower Tarts

almonds, blueberries, raspberries, sugar cookie, tart

Mini Fruit and Almond Flower Tarts

Cookie Cups:
3/4 C unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 C granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. corn starch

Cheesecake filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
3 C confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

fresh raspberries
fresh blueberries
Diamond of California Sliced Almonds
fresh mint leaves

To make cookie cups coat 2 mini muffin pans with cooking spray.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light
and fluffy (about 5 minutes). 
Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined.
Gradually add flour, baking soda and corn starch, mixing just until combined.

Using a small cookie scoop (1 tablespoon) drop dough into each cup of a 
mini muffin pan. Bake for about 8 minutes.  
Once cookie cup are lightly browned, remove from oven and shape into a cup 
using a wooden mini tart shaper.
Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing cookie cups to a wire rack to 
continue cooling.

To make filling add cream cheese, confectioners sugar and vanilla extract
to the bowl of a stand mixer.  Mix until smooth.
Pipe or spoon filling into cooled cookie cups.
Top with fresh raspberries and blueberries.  Place sliced almonds 
around the fruit to form a flower.  Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Makes 36 mini cookie cups.

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Disclosure - I am honored to work with Diamond of California.  
This post is sponsored by Diamond, but as always all opinions are my own.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Older Than Dirt Birthday Cake

Happy Monday!
I thought I would kick off the new week with a little birthday humor :)
oreo cookie cake

Over the weekend one of my co-workers, who enjoys picking on me by the way,
celebrated his birthday.  John loves when I bring sweet treats to work, so I thought
I would make a special cake for his birthday and bring it to work today.
I've known John for twenty plus years, so I knew he wouldn't be offended by the cake.
With his sweet tooth, he'll probably ask me to bring another one next week!
Happy Birthday John!
Oreo Cookies

Older than Dirt Birthday Cake is super easy to make.
Just bake your favorite sheet cake (I made chocolate fudge), frost with vanilla
buttercream and top with Oreo cookies that you have pulsed in a food processor
until you have fine crumbs.
I made extra frosting so that I could tint some blue to write my special
birthday greeting for John.
Top with gummy worms and that's it.
Gummy Worms

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2-3 T heavy cream

In the bowl of an stand mixer, cream together the butter and one cup of confectioners
sugar for 1 minute.  Gradually add the remaining confectioners sugar one cup at a time.
Pour in heavy cream one tablespoon at a time and beat for another 5-7 minutes 
until light and fluffy.

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