Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sweet Sour Red Cabbage (German Style) Made by an Irishman

My Husband, Scott, and Irishman, made this Sweet Sour Cabbage (German Style) because he wanted to. Can an Irishman make German Style cabbage? Yes, he can, and it was wonderful. This cabbage dish is sweet with apples and sugar, tart with vinegar and lemon juice, and even has red wine, and spicy with cloves and bay leaves.  It smells amazing as it's simmering in your kitchen with the spices and sweet apples, and vinegar. He got this cabbage from our, neighbor, Pauli.

 Pauli, has a garden plot at a community garden  and one of her garden friends had given her a beautiful, red cabbage. (We have too much shade in our yards to have a garden of any size.)  Unfortunately, we didn't get a picture of cabbage. She gave it to my husband, because she knew that he would know what to do with it,  He was thrilled.  He's always up for a cooking challenge. We made this for neighborhood BBQ we had, and it was a definite hit for those who like cabbage.

Here is Pauli in her garden,
She is a tiny woman standing next to her Indian Corn with Sweet corn on the left, and her pumpkins in front of her. She is so generous with her produce, and the whole neighborhood is enjoying the fruits of all of her hard labor.

Here are some of her San Marzano tomatoes ripening, that we have been enjoying, Unfortunately, I didn't make it out to her garden to take pictures, until last week, so this isn't the peak of the season.

Now back to the cabbage here is the recipe.  Here it is.

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage (German Style) Adapted from

1/4 c. butter
4 med. apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 head red cabbage, finely shredded
1 c. red wine
4 whole cloves
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 bay leaves
1/4 c. vinegar
1/4 c. butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Melt butter in 4 quart Dutch oven. Add apples and onion; saute slightly. Add cabbage, red wine, cloves, sugar and bay leaves. Simmer, covered for 1 hour, then add the remaining ingredients. Heat to melt the butter and serve immediately.  Makes 6 servings. Enjoy!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Key Lime Cupcakes with Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting and a Twist

I am finally posting the Key Lime Cupcake recipe from Cherise's shower.  These cupcakes have a smooth graham cracker batter with the cool. creamy Key Lime filling marbled into the graham cracker batter, so your cupcake will look like the when baked.

You get a taste of the graham cracker batter and Key Lime filling in every bite. Then these yummy cupcakes are frosted with Key Lime Cream Cheese frosting, and dusted with a few graham cracker crumbs

Key Lime Cupcakes -Makes about 24 Adapted from Stef @Cupcake Project

1/2 C. butter (room temperature)
1 c. sugar
3 eggs
1C. milk
1 C flour
1 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/8 t salt (I didn't add)
3 egg yolks
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c Key Lime Juice( I used Nellie & Joe's Famous Key West Lime juice)

1. Beat butter for about 30 seconds until creamed
2. Add sugar and mix for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, being sure to beat for 30 seconds after each egg.
4. Use the food processor or potato masher, or rolling pin to grind the graham cracker   crumbs into tiny crumbs and powder.
5. Sift flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda and powder, and salt if used.
6. Add about 1/4 of the mixture to the butter mixture.
7. Add some of the milk.
8. Continue to add the ingredients in a dry-wet method, ending with the dry ingredients.
9. Mix until just combined.
10. In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and the key lime juice. Mixture should not be green. Lime juice is not green.
11. Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full with graham cracker batter. Spoon about 1 T of key lime filling on top of graham batter and swirl with a knife.
12. Bake at 350 for 20 min, or until top springs back.

Key Lime Cream frosting

1 8 oz package cream cheese( room temperature)
1/4 C butter (room temperature)
4 C powdered sugar, sifted
1-2 T Key lime juice ( I used Nellie & Joe's Famous Key West Lime juice)
zest of 6 Key limes, depending how may cupcakes you have to decorate.
½ cup fine graham cracker crumbs to sprinkle

1. Mix butter and cream cheese.
2. Beat in powdered sugar and Key Lime juice, and zest, until desired consistency.
3. Frost cupcakes, and sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over the frosted cupcakes, and refrigerate, until serving time.

** Here is a tip for picking a ripe, juicy limes. The best limes have a shiny, smooth peel, and are soft, but they don't have to be completely green.

Now, I took a quick trip to Minnesota with my husband to see his son and family.  We had a great time.  On Saturday, we went to a lake party "up north" of St. Paul, complete with kids and dogs.

Elliot rowing

Lake Chisago (no I didn't misspell Chicago!)
My husband, his son, rowing and Jasper the dog, !
Eventually, everybody ended up in the canoe, even Jasper.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Take on Seven Links

I was tagged by Elisabeth @ Food and Thrift Finds recently for the 7 links game. I finally have time to write the post. thank you Elisabeth for the nudge to go back and review my posts, like old friends you haven't seen in awhile.

 My Most Beautiful Post was the dessert table with six luscious mini desserts for Cherise's shower.

My Most Popular post was the Almond Joy cupcakes that I made for my belated Blogiversary and my 10th wedding anniversary.

My Most Controversial Post, no controversary here so here are my Nutella Fudge Brownies

The Most Helpful post was the post for the day of the Online Bake Sale to benefit the American Cancer Society and the Relay for Life.  Our wonderful blogging community raised $700.  Thank you again for all of your support.

My Most Successful post in terms of the recipe was the Cinnamon Walnut Loaf. I made that bread for a healthy snack when I went shopping with my future Daughter-in-Law and her Mom for "The Dress.".  Cherise didn't find "The Dress" on that trip, but the bread was wonderful, and that was my first baking experience baking with Greek Yogurt.
The post that didn't get the Most Attention was Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas with Ancho Chile Sauce, that my husband makes. They are so good with all of that cheesy chicken in that wonderful spicy ancho chile sauce The picture is BNC, Before New Camera, and I was fairly new to the blogging world. I think that the next time that he makes them, I'll take another pic, that will hopefully be better.

The last of the Seven Links, but not least, is the post that I am Most Proud of which is the King Cake that I made for Mardi Gras. I finally conquered my fear of yeast.  I haven't made anything with yeast since, but I should. I guess that I really don't want all those tempting goodies around the house to expand my waistline.

Well, that is my take on the 7 links and now I am passing on the 7 Links challenge to my blogger friends:
Gina @SP Cookie Queen
Jill @Dulce Dough
Christine  @Christine's Pantry
Brandie @The Country Cook
Kim @Liv Life
Kim @The Farmer's Wife

I entered the giveaway that Monet Anecdotes and Apple Cores had a couple of weeks ago for a  a selection of fresh Bagels and other goodies from  Los Bagels  in Eureka, California  and I won.  shortly after Monet notified me that I was the winner a huge box arrives at my doorstep.           
Inside was the most assortment of bagels and other goodies, 1 doz bagels, assorted varieties, 2 types of Rugelach, Apricot and Chocolate  Chip,1 loaf of Challah bread, Mustard sauce, and Slug Slime. Slug slime is a concoction of dried onions, garlic, sesame seeds and poppy seeds to spread on top of your bagels and cream cheese. Yum!
Thank you Monet @Anecdotes and Apple Cores for this wonderful giveaway! Now I will have to have a Bagel party.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Not your Mom's or your Grandma's Scalloped Corn-My Guest Post with Chef Dennis

After I went to the Norton Farm to buy corn, I had to make a corn dish, not any dish, but one that was chef-worthy, and I'm over the moon excited.  You see I am guest posting, the first guest post,  today over at Chef Dennis' New site, A Culinary Journey with Chef Dennis.  It is simply gorgeous, and he even has a logo;)   If you haven't been there yet, hurry on over now to check it out, and also see my wonderful scalloped corn recipe, made with home made creamed corn.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Upside Down Peach Rum Cake

What do you do if you have a bowlful of ripe  peaches?  Of course, you make Upside Down Peach Rum Cake. Dark rum and peaches are a wonderful combination, and add a depth of flavor to the peaches I actually got the idea from Lindsey@Gingerbread Bagels to add the dark rum to the peaches. I haven't baked anything lately except cupcakes in awhile, so It was time to fire up the oven.  It has cooled off here, thank goodness. This cake is so moist with the caramelized peaches and rum on the top, or is it on the bottom?  Anyway it is delicious.

Upside Down Peach Rum Cake Adapted from Allrecipes
  • 1 1/2  cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 5 peaches, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a small bowl; set aside. Butter a 9” cake pan.
  2. Stir the brown sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, and dark rum in a 9-inch cake pan until the sugar has dissolved. Arrange the peach slices in the pan.  Set aside. Beat 1/2 cup butter and the white sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the first egg until incorporated, and then beat in the second egg. Pour in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing until just incorporated. Gently pour the batter over the peaches.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake is golden brown, about 50-55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before running a knife along the edges and inverting onto a serving plate to cool.  Can be served warm or cool with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Norton Farm- Locally Grown Produce from the Farm

This is the Norton Farm, locally grown produce right across the road from the entrance to my subdivision. Norton Farm has been a family farm since 1846. In the early 1900's it was a dairy farm. In 1938 the farm changed from dairy to beef cattle and hogs. In 1992, they started Norton Produce to sell fresh fruits and vegetables to the community. Now it's a farm in the middle of the suburbs.
I went to buy some of their wonderful corn, and find out more about the farm, to write a post. I was lucky enough to meet Mr, Norton, the Patriarch of the Norton Farm, He was on the lawn tractor, and and been cutting the grass. His son Benn and wife Caryl, run the operation now.
I had a delightful conversation with Mr. Norton. Because he has lived his whole life in these area, he is a wealth of information on local matters. He said that he was in the Army in 1958, and because he was lived on a pig farm they made him a cook  After the army, he returned to the family farm.  Today, they have a greenhouse for plants and flowers in the Spring, fresh produce in the summer, and Norton's Hollow for Fall Festival activities and pumpkins. I am very lucky to have locally grown produce so close, almost a garden in my backyard.  Here is a sampling of their produce.

Sweet corn
Inside the Produce Store
As you can see, you can get many varieties of fresh produce at Norton's Farm.  You can be sure that you will be seeing some fresh produce recipes soon on my blog.  Maybe Peaches,  or corn,  what will be next ??? Stay tuned!  Thank you for coming along with my visit to Norton's Farm.  If you are in the Chicago area, take a ride out west  and discover all of the wonderful produce and activities.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Cake and Birthdays

This weekend would have been my late Mom's birthday.  I always made a Lemon Blueberry Cake for her birthday. I made a lemon cake mix, Duncan Hines was my choice, fold in a pint of blueberries, and top with Cool Whip. I didn't toss the blueberries with flour, because when they sank to the the bottom they created a thin layer of blueberry lusciousness.  She loved it and so did the rest of the family. I wanted to make a lemon cake from scratch, have the blueberries sink to the bottom, and top with whipped cream, That's exactly what I did, except I made a mini three layer cake, with whipped cream in between You also have enough batter for 12 cupcakes to share with someone. My Mom gave me my love of baking, when I would  help her bake cookies, pies, and cakes. Thank you Mom for that gift.

When I first started blogging, one of my first blogging friends was Gina@SP Cookie Queen. She had always there to support me and answer questions, and is dear friend.  When I found out that her birthday is the same day as my late Mom's, August 14th, she was even more endearing to me. Sorry Gina, I didn't bake a pretzel for you, but I baked this lovely cake.( Refer to Gina's post about the pretzel comment.) Happy Birthday Gina, my Dear Friend!
You can see the blueberry layer on the bottom of the cupcake.

Here is the recipe.  With this recipe you get three little cakes, and 12 cupcakes
Adapted from Forgiving Martha

Lemon Blueberry Cake with Whipped Cream
¾ cup all-purpose flour, divided
¾ cup cake flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoons salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. milk, at room temperature
1 1/2  cup fresh blueberries

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 mini cake pans.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners; Set aside. 
1.      In a medium bowl, combine the ¾ cup all-purpose flour, the cake flour, baking powder and salt; whisk together and set aside. 
2.      In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar and lemon zest. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. 
3.      Beat in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lemon juice. 
4.      With the mixer on low speed, mix in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. 
5.      Blend in the milk. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated.
6.       Using a spatula gently fold the berries into the cake batter. 
7.      Divide batter into 3 mini cake pans and bake 20-25 min. cool on rack 10 min., remove from pan.  Cool Top with whipped cream.
8.       Divide the rest of the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about ¾ full. 
9.      Bake 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
10. Let cool in the pans 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting for Cupcakes
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
 2cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 1 large lemon

 To make the frosting, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the lemon and zest and mix until incorporated. Slowly add confectioner's sugar until the desired consistency is reached.  Top on cooled cupcakes and serve!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mediterranean Pasta Salad and More

This was one of the salads that we served at Cherise's Bridal shower along with others. This salad is so versatile because you can add any veggies you might have, change up the pasta, add protein or not to be vegetarian, and vary the dressings. Also, because the dressing has no mayo, you don't have to worry about serving the salad at an outdoor BBQ. with all of the hot weather that we're having, this a perfect dinner salad. The The salad can even be made the night before, so all of the flavors can meld, so good.

For this particular salad, it has tri-color rotini, kalamata olives, red and yellow peppers, artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes, fresh basil, green onions, and we added cooked shrimp.  You can also top with feta cheese, which I did not. The dressing was a Greek Vinaigrette with red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, a little balsamic vinegar, as well. We also served Lemon Strawberry Bread 

and Cherise's Banana Bread
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
1 1 lb box of your favorite pasta I used Tri-color rotini
1 red bell pepper cut in 1 inch slices
1 yellow bell pepper,cut in 1 inch slices
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half, or any type of fresh tomatoes
1 can of artichoke hearts
1 12 oz jar Kalamata olives, drained
1 cup chopped green or red onion
5 oz. crumbled Feta cheese, optional
1/2 c fresh basil, chopped or chiffonade
1/2 c, red wine vinegar
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp  garlic powder
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1tsp of sugar to taste

1. Cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions  Do not overcook.  Rinse with   cold water and drain
2. Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, oregano, garlic powder. sugar in a large bowl.
3. Add cooked  pasta, red and yellow peppers, tomatoes, olives, tomatoes artichoke hearts, onions, and chopped basil.
4. Toss until well coated.  cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
5. Sprinkle Feta cheese on top of salad before serving  Enjoy

And here is more.  Recently I received this gracious award from Elisabeth's Food and Thrift Finds.  I have been remiss in thanking her for this wonderful award. Thank you for thinking of me and sorry this recognition is belated. i appreciate the award so much!

And not but not least, I won this amazing cookbook by Joy Bauer of healthy recipes from Claudia @Blogs Got Heart and What's Cookin" Italian Style Cuisine.  Thank you , Claudia!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Finally The Bridal Tea Shower, and Goodies Too Numerous to Mention!

The shower was a huge a success, a lot of work, but so worth it. My friend Barb, the groom's Godmother and I,  were able to coordinate the Bride's colors, mango and metallic, into all phases of the shower,  favors,  table settings, and even the cupcakes.  We wanted to make everything very special. Here is our bride-to be, Cherise with her "bouquet". My grandaughter is in the backround.

 We had a sweet table instead of a cake and the bride chose the cupcakes.

Cherise's favorite cupcakes are the  Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling and Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting, so they were the signature cupcake.  Then she chose the Champagne Cupcakes, which I had made for their engagement.
The last cupcake that Cherise chose was the Key Lime Cupcake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting on the top plate.  Recipe to be posted soon.
I rounded out the dessert table with Raspberry Bars on the second plate, and Nutella Fudge Brownie Bites on the bottom plate. The last dessert item was Lizzy@That Skinny Chick Can Bake Mini White Chocolate Cheesecakes, which were wonderful, putzy, but wonderful.

Yes, we did have other food, however I didn't get good pictures of the food.  I didn't designate a photographer, because it wan't on my list. I took pictures of the sweet table, before the guests arrived, so that's why I have them.  Here is the rest of the menu.  I will post recipes for some of the food soon.
Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
Egg Salad Tea  Sandwiches with Watercress
Cranberry Chicken Salad in Phyllo Cups
Lemon Strawberry Bread
Cherise's Banana Bread
Strawberry Salad on Mixed Greens with Chicken & Walnuts and Poppy Seed Dressing
Mediterranean Pasta Salad with or without Shrimp and Greek Vinaigrette Dressing
Champagne Punch, Iced Tea, and Coffee

Friday, August 5, 2011

Where is Waldo, I mean Becky?

Here are some pictures of where I have been for the last week.  After co-hosting the shower for my future daughter-in-law, my husband and I got away for a week.  See if you can guess our destination. 

Yes, there are mountains!
And blue skies

and crystal clear streams
with many river stones,
And wildlife.  We even saw a black bear, but he moved to fast to get a picture.  Luckily we were in the car.

Also, an idyllic spot to cool off and reflect...

and we had these ginormous buttermilk pancakes at the the River Stone Cafe, the fluffiest and the best pancakes that I ever had,  a secret recipe.

You were right it if you guessed...
Man, It was so hot there, we sought refuge in the park everyday.  What a beautiful national park, but we were so glad to be home to the cooler temps.

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