Category Archives: Food and Recipes

Quick and Easy Dinner Rolls

I love rolls. They are a welcome sight whether it is spring, summer, winter or fall. Rolls are also great at making the house smell cozy and inviting. I wanted to share my favorite recipe. This recipe can make a nice sized pan of rolls. I love how fast and easy they are! When it comes to any Thanksgiving sized feast, this recipe is my secret weapon for great tasting, soft dinner rolls.

 

 

Ingredients
Lukewarm Water
Warm Milk (100º to 110º F)
Butter
Sugar
Instant Yeast
Salt
All Purpose Flour
Equipment
Scale
2 Large Bowls
Plastic Wrap
Baking Pan

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
113 grams Lukewarm Water
454 grams Warm Milk (100º to 110º F)
43 grams Butter
21 grams Sugar
28 grams Instant Yeast
34 grams Salt
723 grams to 843 grams All Purpose Flour
Recipe in Ounces
4 oz Lukewarm Water
16 oz Warm Milk (100º to 110º F)
1 1/2 oz Butter
3/4 oz Sugar
1 oz Instant Yeast
1 1/4 oz Salt
25 1/2 oz to 29 3/4 oz All Purpose Flour
Recipe in Volume
1/2 cup Lukewarm Water
2 cups Warm Milk (100º to 110º F)
3 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons Instant Yeast
1 tablespoon Salt
6 to 7 cups All Purpose Flour

1) Add water, milk, butter, sugar, salt and yeast to a large bowl. Stir well and let sit for 6-8 minutes or until you see the mixture begin to foam.

2) Add 5 cups of flour and mix until you have a shaggy mess. The dough will not have formed a ball yet. It will be just shy of coming together.

3) Add the remaining flour a 1/2 at a time, blending until smooth. Knead by hand for 10 minutes or by machine for 4 to 5 minutes until the dough of ball is soft and smooth. It should be elastic and slightly tacky to the touch.

4) Spray a bowl with cooking spray. Place the dough inside and spritz the top with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to sit for 1 hour or until the dough is full and puffy.

5) Gently deflate the dough and pat out to a rough rectangle about 8 inches by 12 inches. Cut the dough into 4 long strips, then cut each strip into 6 portions for a total of 24 dough balls. With one hand, put your index finger and thumb together forming an O. Push the dough through that O forming a smooth top and a small seam that will become the bottom of the roll. You may need to spritz your hands with cooking spray so the dough doesn’t stick.

6) Place the rolls in a lightly greased or parchment lined pan. (I used a 9X13 inch pan.) After the rolls are in the pans, cover again with your plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for another hour, or until well rounded and full looking. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

7) Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and an internal thermometer reads 190°F. You can brush the baked rolls with melted butter if desired. Serve warm, store leftovers in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.

Taylor

Baked Rolls
Baked Rolls

DSC_0002

Adding Warm Milk
Adding Warm Milk
Adding Yeast
Adding Yeast
Mixture after being allowed to sit
Mixture after being allowed to sit
Adding Flour
Adding Flour
Mixing Dough
Mixing Dough
Dough ready to roll out
Dough ready to roll out
Dough rolled out
Dough rolled out
Greased pan ready for rolls
Greased pan ready for rolls
Pushing Dough through fingers to shape the roll
Pushing Dough through fingers to shape the roll
Pushing Dough through fingers to shape the roll
Pushing Dough through fingers to shape the roll
Shaped roll
Shaped roll

Rolls ready to rise then be put into oven
Rolls ready to rise then be put into oven
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Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Lemon Cranberry Rolls

I absolutely adore cinnamon rolls. Pulling them apart bit by bit makes me feel like a kid again. Sometimes I need something lighter and not so intense. You have to admit, traditional cinnamon rolls are an intensely flavored and sweet confection. When I make cinnamon rolls some of the most common complaints are that people get a sugar rush, a carb coma and/or heartburn from the sweet treat. I wanted to make something light but just as delightful to pick apart with the fingers. Today I am going to share a simple recipe I created that has fresh flavor and a more mild sweetness for a light, delightful roll that can be enjoyed as dessert or even for breakfast!I am including this recipe in several forms for your convenience. You can make it using your scale with grams or ounces. You can even used a more traditional volume recipe!

 

Ingredients

Dough:
Lukewarm Water
Warm Milk (100º to 110º F)
Butter
Sugar
Instant Yeast
Salt
All Purpose Flour

Filling:
Sugar
All Purpose Flour
Apple, grated
Lemon juice
Chopped, dried Cranberries
Lemon Zest from two lemons

Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams Dough:57 grams Lukewarm Water
227 grams Warm Milk (100º to 110º F)
22 grams Butter
22 grams Sugar
14 grams Instant Yeast
17 grams Salt
361 grams to 421 grams All Purpose Flour

Filling:
99 grams Sugar
21 grams All Purpose Flour
227 grams Apple, grated
14 grams Lemon juice
113 grams Chopped, dried Cranberries
Lemon Zest from two lemons

Recipe in Ounces Dough:2.01 oz Lukewarm Water
8.00 oz Warm Milk (100º to 110º F)
8.00 oz Butter
0.77 oz Sugar
0.49 oz Instant Yeast
0.59 oz Salt
12.73 oz to 14.85 oz All Purpose Flour

Filling:
3.49 oz Sugar
0.74 oz All Purpose Flour
8.00 oz Apple, grated
0.49 oz Lemon juice
3.98 oz Chopped, dried Cranberries
Lemon Zest from two lemons

Recipe in Volume Dough:1/4 cups Lukewarm Water
1 cup Warm Milk (100º to 110º F)
4 1/2 tsp Butter
1 Tbl Sugar
3 3/4 tsp Instant Yeast
1 1/2 tsp Salt
3 to 3 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

Filling:
1/2 cup Sugar
3 Tbl All Purpose Flour
2 cups Apple, grated
2 tsp Lemon juice
1 cup Chopped, dried Cranberries
Lemon Zest from two lemons

1) Combine the water, milk, butter, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir well and let sit for 6 to 8 minutes, or until you see the yeast begin to foam.

2) Add 5 cups of flour and mix by hand or with the paddle attachment until the dough forms a rough, shaggy mass. The dough will not form a ball at this point, but will be just shy of coming together.

3) Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time and blend with the dough hook until a smooth ball begins to form. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes, or by machine for 4 to 5 minutes until a soft, smooth ball of dough is formed. The dough should feel elastic and slightly tacky to the touch.

4) Lightly spray your work bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Spritz the top of the dough with spray as well and cover lightly with plastic wrap or a shower cap. Let rise for 1 hour at room temperature or until the dough is full and puffy. You will know when the dough is ready because you can poke the dough with two fingers and the indentation will stay.

5) To make the filling: Combine the sugar, flour, and lemon peel. Toss the apples with the lemon juice; combine them with the sugar mixture. Add cranberries. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

6) Gently deflate the dough and pat out to a rough rectangle about 12 inches by 16 inches. Spread with the filling. Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a log and seal the edge.

7) Place the rolls in an 8×8 pan lined with parchment Allow to rise for an hour.

8) Bake the buns for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned.

9) Remove the buns from the oven. Cool for 10 minutes and enjoy!
Taylor

Finished Rolls. Yummy!
Finished Rolls. Yummy!

DSC_0002

Adding Warm Milk
Adding Warm Milk
Mixture after being allowed to sit
Mixture after being allowed to sit
Adding Yeast
Adding Yeast
Adding Flour
Adding Flour
Mixing Dough
Mixing Dough
Collecting Ingredients for filling
Collecting Ingredients for filling
Mixed Filling
Mixed Filling
Dough ready to roll out
Dough ready to roll out
Dough rolled out
Dough rolled out
Spreading Filling on top
Spreading Filling on top

Rolling dough to form a log
Rolling dough to form a log
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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Sugar Cookies for Valentines!

I love Valentines Day. You see couples doing something extra special to remind the other they love them. I see things like that and I become an ooey-gooey mess, much like a chocolate bar that has melted in a pocket. Because Valentines is almost here I wanted to share my absolute favorite sugar cookie recipe. 

If you like the big, soft, pink sugar cookies, then this is the recipe for you. This recipe creates soft, tender sugar cookies. I like this recipe a little better than convenience store cookies because I like to add a little extra vanilla. What can I say? I am a vanilla junkie. (Psst. Did you know you can get a bottle of Vanilla Extract for free in any qualifying order? Request one in your next order!)

I am also including my all-time favorite Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe but don’t feel limited. You can use any type of of frosting that you like! I think these cookies would be great with a lemon flavored frosting! Yum!

Ingredients
Granulated Sugar
Vegetable Shortening
Sour Cream
Eggs
Vanilla Extract
Salt
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
All-Purpose Flour

Cookie Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
397 grams Granulated Sugar
184 grams Vegetable Shortening
227 grams Sour Cream
4 Eggs
6.5 grams  Vanilla Extract
7.5 grams 1 tsp Salt
7 grams Baking Powder
13 grams Baking Soda
868 grams All-Purpose Flour
Recipe in Ounces
14 oz Granulated Sugar
6.5 oz Vegetable Shortening
8 oz Sour Cream
4 Eggs
0.23 oz Vanilla Extract
0.26 oz Salt
0.25 oz Baking Powder
0.46 oz Baking Soda
30.6 oz All-Purpose Flour
Recipe in Volume
2 cups Granulated Sugar
1 cup Vegetable Shortening
1 cup Sour Cream
4 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Baking Soda
6 cups All-Purpose Flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together sugar and shortening. Add sour cream and mix well. Add beaten eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients. Stir dry mixture into creamed sugar mixture. Finished product will be like a big dough ball. The mixture should not stick to the sides of the bowl. If it does, add some more flour. You need to be able to pick it up and roll it with a rolling pin without the dough sticking to the pin. Lightly sprinkle flour onto a flat surface and separate the dough into thirds. Shape one piece of dough into a ball and place on floured surface. Flour your hands and flour dust the top of the dough so the rolling pin does not stick. Gently roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters for a regular circle. I love to eat the dough so make enough for dough cookies and baked cookies!!

I use parchment paper on top of my cookie pan. Place the shaped cookie dough onto cookie pan.

Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes!!! You do not want them to get brown at all. If they turn brown, the cookies will be hard and not soft and tender! When your timer goes off open the oven door and press gently on one of the cookies and if it feels somewhat firm, they are done. I have never had to bake them more than exactly 8 minutes. The thicker cookies might take more baking time though. Cool on wire racks or paper towels.

Ingredients
Cream Cheese
Butter, room temperature
Vanilla Extract
Powdered Sugar

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
113 grams Cream Cheese
28 grams Butter, room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
227-454 grams Powdered Sugar
Recipe in Ounces
4 oz Cream Cheese
1 oz Butter, room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
8-16 oz Powdered Sugar
Recipe in Volume
1/2 cup Cream Cheese
2 tbsp Butter, room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2-4 cups Powdered Sugar

Beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and beat until well blended. Gradually continue to add more powdered sugar until it has reached a consistency that you want. I usually only end up using 2 cups of powdered sugar, but feel free to add a whole bag if you like stiffer and sweeter frosting. If the mixture gets too thick, you can always add about 1 to 2 tbsp of milk. Then spread onto your cookies and you get to lick the bowl and the beaters clean.

Don’t forget to add colorful Valentine’s sprinkles to each cookie!
Taylor

Baked cookies, ready to frost.
Baked cookies, ready to frost.
Cookies - Ready to Decorate
Cookies – Ready to Decorate
Spreading the frosting.
Spreading the frosting.
Frosting is ready.
Frosting is ready.
Adding sprinkles
Adding sprinkles
Another kind of sprinkles.
Another kind of sprinkles.

Ready for your sweetheart!
Ready for your sweetheart!
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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Black Friday!

Happy Black Friday to everyone! We hope you had a wonderful Turkey Day with your family and friends. For those of you that have been out shopping all night and decided to come home for a quick snack and nap before heading out to do more shopping, I will give you a quick, easy and yummy recipe to use up some of those turkey leftovers you may have in your refrigerator.

Grilled Cheese and Turkey Sandwich

What you need
bread of your choice
cheese of your choice
turkey
butter
tomato, lettuce, avocado (optional)

Making it
Heat griddle, frying pan or panini grill to medium-high
Fill bread with cheese, turkey and optional veggies
Spread outsides of sandwich with butter or vegetable oil spread (margarine)

Grill one to two minutes on each side or until the bread is golden brown on both sides. Remove from grill and place on plate. Cut in half or go for it whole! Serve alone, with a mixed green salad, or any other left overs! The melted mozzarella is a dream! Enjoy!

Sandwich Supplies
Sandwich Supplies
Placing bread slice down
Placing bread slice down
Butter Side Down
Butter Side Down
Adding Cheese
Adding Cheese
Adding Turkey
Adding Turkey
Adding Tomato Slices
Adding Tomato Slices
Sandwich ready to eat
Sandwich ready to eat

Tonya

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Bowtie Pasta Salad

EDITOR’S NOTE: Taylor missed her deadline for publishing this recipe last Friday. It is a great salad and a worthy post so we are releasing this blog now. – Ed

Do you have fabulous family recipes that have a story to them? My favorite pasta salad has a wonderful story behind it and I thought that since I will be sharing this wonderful recipe, I should tell the story that goes along with it too! Come join me a fun mini-saga and a delicious pasta salad.

When I was a little girl, I remember going to visit my father at work with my mother and sister. We would all go eat lunch together at a small sports deli just around the corner. We would order sandwiches and salad. They had a very popular pasta salad that has a creamy, ranch-flavored dressing. It was my mother’s favorite! (Mine too!)

Several years later when we were going to move several hundred miles away, my mother asked the owner for the recipe. He had scratched his head and said, “I wish I could give you one but I don’t really measure. It is a pinch of this, a dash of that and that looks about right.” I remember them standing at the counter for some time talking about the process while my sister and I waited restlessly. It took a little time to refine the flavor of the pasta salad so it was nearly identical to that wonderful little sports deli. Memories taste so wonderful!

After much trial and error my mother finally figured a suitable recipe and she wrote it down so it can be shared with friends, families and neighbors. So please come join me for a family favorite. I am sure you will find it will be one of the first things to go at potlucks and BBQs, so enjoy!

Bowtie Pasta Salad

1 packet dry Ranch Dressing Mix
1 cup Buttermilk
1 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Miracle Whip
1 Tbsp Vinegar
1 tsp dry Ranch Dressing Mix
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning Herb Blend
1 tsp Coarse Black Pepper

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until needed later.

16 oz dry bow tie pasta

Cook in boiling water according to directions. Cook to soft stage but do not overcook. Al dente cooked pasta is too firm and will soak up all the sauce. Cook slightly longer, no more than 1 more minute. Drain pasta. Rinse with cold water to cool and stop the cooking process.

Once pasta is cool add:
1/3 cup Tomato, Diced, reserve a few for garnish on top
1/3 cup Cucumber, Diced, reserve a few for garnish on top
Previously prepared Ranch sauce
Dill Weed

Stir sauce and pasta to coat all pasta. Sprinkle dill weed over top. Serve or refrigerate to well chilled. Fills 9X13 baking pan.

Finished Bowtie Pasta Salad
Finished Bowtie Pasta Salad
Cooked Pasta
Cooked Pasta
Preparing Sauce
Preparing Sauce
Mixing Pasts Sauce and Vegetable together
Mixing Pasts Sauce and Vegetable together

Finished Bowel of Pasta Salad. Yum!
Finished Bowel of Pasta Salad. Yum!

Taylor

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Baked Beans

I love baked beans. They are to me the epitome of summer picnic foods. My favorite style is smoky, sweet and tangy but not all ready-made beans fit what I want or what I am looking for. So here is a simple but wonderful recipe to the rescue! And the best part is… they are easy to make! Come with me to kitchen and we will make some of the best baked beans you have ever tasted!

Now, I like to add bacon to my baked beans. It adds a wonderful smoky flavor to the beans without being overwhelming. If adding bacon to your pot of beans isn’t an option, I recommend using Liquid Smoke. It adds that nice smoky flavor without needing to add bacon to your pot. In a pressure cooker put the dry beans and plenty of water to cover them.

 

Ingredients

16 oz Dried Beans (I used kidney beans)
4-8 oz Bacon, cooked
1/2 cup Ketchup
1/4 cup Mustard
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/3 cup Sugar (I used White Sugar because that is what I had on hand but for richer flavor, I
recommend Brown Sugar.)

I like to have at least an inch of water over the beans. Set for high pressure for 20 minutes. If your pressure cooker only has a low pressure option, you may need to increase the time. Every pressure cooker is a little different so you will want to cook your beans until tender. Just be careful to not over cook them or they will lose their shape. They taste just fine, but they don’t look as pretty. I cooked mine just a little too long. Whoops! I guess I am more familiar with my pressure cooker in China than the one I used in the USA when making this. If you have a good idea of how long your pressure cooker will take, please ignore my suggestion and go with your gut feeling. 20 minutes in the USA was too long, 20 minutes in China is too little, you be the judge.

As your beans are cooking, cook your bacon. I like to put it in the oven because it gets a nice, browned and crispy texture in the oven. Once the bacon is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool. After the bacon has cooled, cut or chop it into pieces. If a few strips of bacon have disappeared between cooking and getting into the pot of beans, that is okay. I won’t tell anyone. (This is why the amount of bacon can change batch to batch. ;-) )

Once your beans are tender, drain the extra water from them. Add the onion and garlic powder, ketchup, mustard, sugar and bacon. Stir well. If you want to make sure it is mixed completely, you can mix the sauces prior to adding to the beans. It is entirely up to you. If the mixture needs a touch of water add it at this time. Because everything is cooked it is OK to taste. If you need to add 1/2 cup, or more, of water then may I suggest broth instead for the extra flavor it provides? At this point, you are ready for the hoards to descend and enjoy! (Just make sure you have some hidden away just for you!)

You are now ready for BBQ and picnic season. And you can go CANLESS! Have a good time!

Taylor

Finished Baked Beans
Finished Baked Beans
Beans in Pressure Cooker
Beans in Pressure Cooker
Cooked Bacon.... Yum!
Cooked Bacon…. Yum!
Draining Beans
Draining Beans
Adding Garlic and Onion
Adding Garlic and Onion
Adding Ketchup and Mustard
Adding Ketchup and Mustard
Adding Bacon
Adding Bacon

Adding Sugar
Adding Sugar
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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Artichoke & Spinach Dip

This is one of my family’s favorite recipes. My kids request this for every family gathering, BBQ, and just because we like it days. We call it Mariah’s Dip, because this is Mariah’s favorite dip! She says “Mom, I do eat my veggies – I eat that artichoke and spinach dip”. Well, we would like to see a few more veggies on her favorite list, but this is a start.

I do want to tell you that I generally enjoy this dip with tortilla chips, so today I got some red, white, and blue chips to celebrate the Memorial weekend. (Nice touch, huh)

Guests at our home have also enjoyed this on top of their barbecued hamburgers, with their steaks, and on crackers or chips. Be really careful where you bring this recipe, because this is all everyone will request in the future.  Just a warning, but I would suggest that you always keep canned artichokes and frozen spinach around for the just because days.

Mariah’s Dip
aka Artichoke & Spinach Dip

2- 14 oz Canned Artichoke Hearts Quartered (squeeze out all liquid)
2 – 10-16 oz Frozen Chopped Spinach (thaw and squeeze out all liquid)
8 oz Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 cup Best Foods Mayonnaise

1 Bunch Green Onions – Sliced (for top of dip)
1-2 Tomatoes – Cubed (for top of dip)

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Place green onions and tomatoes on top of mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until melted and yummy.

Directions: Place artichoke hearts in strainer and drain out liquid. Select small handfuls of artichoke pieces and squeeze with your hands until all the liquid is out, then break up the large artichoke into smaller pieces and place into a mixing bowl. Then remove the frozen spinach from package and place in the strainer and run warm water over until thawed. Select small handfuls of spinach and squeeze with your hands until all the liquid is out, then break up large pieces into smaller pieces and place into the same mixing bowl. Measure shredded Parmesan cheese and mayonnaise, add to the same mixing bowl and mix, stir, or fold all ingredients together. Once combined place into oven safe container – top with green onions and tomatoes then place into a 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, fresh veggies, or use as a hamburger topper. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we have. Enjoy!

Recipe supplies
Recipe supplies

Ready to mix together
Ready to mix together

Dip on a chip
Dip on a chip
Rinsing Spinach
Rinsing Spinach

In oven safe container
In oven safe container
Straining Artichokes
Straining Artichokes

Onions & tomatoes on top
Onions & tomatoes on top
Sliced onions & tomatoes
Sliced onions & tomatoes

Smells Yummy
Smells Yummy

Tonya

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Super Easy Fresh Lemonade

I feel like summer is now just around the corner. Summer is a wonderful time for cool, refreshing beverages and lemonade just happens to be one of my favorite drinks! I found this really easy lemonade that uses lemon juice and a simple syrup. I prefer to make this lemonade with freshly squeezed lemon juice, but this recipe also works with bottled lemon juice. Keep in mind the lemonade won’t taste as fresh!

Let’s go make this scrumptious lemonade and I’ll show you how easy it is!

Collect needed items:

Ingredients
Sugar
Water
Lemons or Lemon Juice
Equipment
Pitcher
Spoon
Knife
Cutting Board
Juicer
saucepan or microwave safe bowl

Recipe: (Makes 6 cups or 48 ounces)

Recipe in cups:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
1 cup lemon juice
3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)
Recipe in ounces:
1 cup sugar
8 ounces water (for the simple syrup)
8 ounces lemon juice
24 to 32 ounces cold water (to dilute)

To begin, we will make the simple syrup by mixing 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan or microwave safe bowl. To ensure the sugar completely dissolves, you will need to heat the mixture. I used my cooking wok since I don’t have a saucepan that would fit on my stove. :)

While you are making the simple syrup and waiting for the sugar to dissolve, go ahead and juice the lemons. I used my knife to cut the lemons in half and then squeezed the lemons to juice them. I used four lemons to make 1 cup of lemon juice, but it will depend on the size of your lemons as I’ve also had to use up to 6 lemons to make 1 cup of juice.

By this time, you should have your simple syrup and lemon juice finished. Now combine the lemon juice and simple syrup in your pitcher. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water. The amount of water you use will depend on your personal tastes. I prefer using 3 cups of water for my lemonade, but I’ll dilute it even more than the 4 cups of water for Jerry who doesn’t like it very strong.

Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes to allow the lemonade to be cold and for the flavors to bloom. Now you can serve with ice and lemon slices.!

Enjoy!

Finished lemonade! Yum!
Finished lemonade! Yum!

When life hands you lemons....
When life hands you lemons….
Cutting the lemons for juicing.
Cutting the lemons for juicing.

1 cup of fresh lemon juice.
1 cup of fresh lemon juice.

Sugar as it dissolves.
Sugar as it dissolves.

Fresh lemon juice and simple syrup in the pitcher.
Fresh lemon juice and simple syrup in the pitcher.
Sugar in my "saucepan"
Sugar in my “saucepan”

Finished simple syrup.
Finished simple syrup.

Mixing all the ingredients together.
Mixing all the ingredients together.
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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

A Full Moon, Homesickness and the Perfect Tea Time Cookie

As China prepares for the biggest festival of the year, I find myself a little homesick. The Lunar New Year is all about being with your family, your loved ones. Even though this is my first Lunar New Year, the realization the my loved ones are an ocean away pulls at my heart and mists my eyes. 

 

I also struggled with homesickness during the Mid-Autumn Festival, another festival with friends and family at its center. I struggled with the internal war of being so far from home until a friend pulled me away from the food, games and people. We stood at the window and she spoke to me in a combination of broken English and Chinese.

Allow me to summarize for you. She told me of a legend of two lovers. One is trapped on the Moon and the other is trapped on Earth. During the Mid-Autumn Festival, a flock of birds form a bridge, allowing the lovers to meet and spend one night together. She said “Think of the Moon as being a modern bridge for you now. You may be on the other side of the world, but you and your loved ones can always look at the moon. You may be far apart but the moon brings your hearts close.”

It was a wonderful and mesmerizing way to ease my homesickness. She hadn’t scolded me, told me to make myself busy or that it would go away. She reminded me that it is okay to be homesick and miss things from home. As I am suffering from a new bout of homesickness, I thought it would be fun to make something that reminded me of home and I wanted to share it with you. Especially if you consider the fact that today is the full moon.

The thing that reminds me so much of home is shortbread. It also happens to be the perfect tea time cookie! I remember when my mother would make shortbread when I was little. She has these beautiful shortbread pans that are made from brown clay. Some of them are elegant and dainty while others are cute or silly. One of my favorites had a lace like pattern and I also really like the pig with wings. I remember when my mother would make shortbread, I would pull out all the little dishes that belonged to my tea set and we would have to together. Why don’t you join my mother and me for some scrumptious shortbread and tea? I would love for you to join us!

Ingredients
Butter, Salted
Confectioners Sugar (Powder Sugar)
Vanilla Extract
All Purpose Flour
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
227 grams Butter, Salted
113 grams Confectioners Sugar (Powder Sugar)
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
241 grams All Purpose Flour
Recipe in Ounces
8 oz Butter, Salted
4 oz Confectioners Sugar (Powder Sugar)
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
8.5 oz All Purpose Flour
Recipe in Volume
1 cup Butter, Salted
1 cup Confectioners Sugar (Powder Sugar)
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 cups All Purpose Flour

 

Beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla, then beat in the flour. The mixture may seem a little dry at first; keep beating till it comes together. If it absolutely won’t come together, dribble in up to 1 tablespoon of water, until it does. This is a stiff dough. Divide the dough in half, and press each half into one of the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with your fingers, or with a mini rolling pin. Use a fork to prick the dough all over; this allows any steam to escape, and prevents the shortbread from bubbling as it bakes. You can prick the dough in a random pattern, but it looks nicer pricked with some kind of symmetry. Bake the shortbread until it’s a light golden color, about 35 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and immediately turn the shortbread out onto a clean work surface. Using a sharp knife cut the shortbread into pieces. (Do this while the shortbread is still warm; if you wait until it’s cool, it won’t cut easily.) Transfer the shortbread wedges to a rack to cool. Enjoy!

 

Note: If you don’t have powdered sugar on hand, you can use the same amount of sugar as listed above and a tablespoon of cornstarch. It will work just fine. In fact, that is what I had to do!

 

Taylor

Finished Cookie
Finished Cookie
Weighing Out Butter
Weighing Out Butter
Adding Sugar & Cornstarch
Adding Sugar & Cornstarch
Creaming Sugar, Butter and Cornstarch
Creaming Sugar, Butter and Cornstarch
Mixing in Flour
Mixing in Flour
Mixing Ingredients
Mixing Ingredients
Mixed Dough
Mixed Dough
Pressing Dough into Pan
Pressing Dough into Pan
Shortbread Dough waiting to be baked
Shortbread Dough waiting to be baked

Poking Holes into Dough
Poking Holes into Dough
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Rating: 5.0/5 (5 votes cast)

Golden Oreo Truffles – Day 2

I am glad we have finally made it to today so we can finish these truffles. I kept losing the dough to other staff members and myself. :oops: What can I say? Besides it is really yummy! Shall we head to the kitchen to finish these truffles? Sounds good to me!Collect Needed Items:

Ingredients
Finished Oreo Truffle Mix
White Chocolate
Milk Chocolate
EquipmentMicrowaveable Container
Chopsticks or Slotted Spoon
Pan
Parchment or Waxed Paper
Zip Bag

Recipe:

24 oz Finished Oreo Tuffle Mix
16 oz Milk Chocolate
8 oz White Chocolate

Place the milk chocolate into a microwave safe container. Heat in 15 second incraments until the chocolate appears glossy. Stir until fluid. [Note: Heat the chocolate slowly and gently. You do not want it to burn. :oops: It is a waste of perfectly good chocolate. :cry:] Pull the chilled Oreo truffles from the refrigerator. Using either chopsticks or a slotted spoon, dip the truffles into the milk chocolate and place on the pan with the wax paper. Allow the truffles to harden. Gently heat the white chocolate until liquid. Pour a small amount of chocolate into a zip bag and snip a small hole in the corner. Drizzle the chocolate over the truffles. Refrigerate the truffles and ENJOY!

 

Taylor

Finished Truffles... Yummy!
Dipping Truffle in Melted Chocolate
Dipped Truffle
Dipped Truffles

Drizzling White Chocolate on top
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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)