Friday, July 18, 2014

My Key Lime Pie

My Key Lime PieI lived in Florida for three years and in some circles a merengue topping is the "way" you make a Key Lime Pie . Over time I adapted two separate recipes into this one and this is the pie I have made ever since.For the crust
For crust1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs from 9 (2 1/4-inch by 4 3/4-inch) crackers, I use cinnamon graham crackers2 tablespoons sugar6 tablespoons butter,melted

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl with a fork until combined well, then press mixture evenly onto bottom and up side of a 9-inch (4-cup) glass pie plate.
Bake crust in middle of oven 10 minutes and cool in pie plate on a rack. Leave oven on.
For filling1 (14-ounce) can fat free sweetened condensed milk5 egg yolks (save the whites for the merengue topping1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh or bottled Key lime juice I use regular lime juice ad add two tbl lime zestFor the topping5 egg whites5 tbl sugar2 tbl cornstarchpinch of saltpinch of cream of tartar

Whisk together condensed milk and yolks in a bowl until combined well. Add juice and whisk until combined well (mixture will thicken slightly).
Pour filling into crust and bake in middle of oven 15 minutes. 
Meanwhile in a large bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form. I a second bowl combine sugar, cream of tartar, salt, and cornstarch. Add the sugar mixture a little at a time beating between additions. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over top of pie and bake an additional 15 minutes until toasty colored.
You can serve your pie warm or let it chill out in the fridge.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Afternoon Garden Delights

A monarch butterfly on one of my liatris flowers.

Kermit Piggy petunia.

The name of this lily escapes me, I refer to it as a Tiger Cub lily as it reminds me of a mini Tigerlily              

Sourdough Cherry Muffins

I combined several recipes to create these muffins. I needed to use a sourdough starter I made last week and this seemed the perfect way to do so!

Sourdough Cherry Muffins

Sourdough Cherry Muffins

Preheat your oven to 425 F and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a bowl combine the following-
2 eggs
1/2 c sunflower oil ( or any veg oil)
3/4c sugar
1 1/2 c sourdough starter

Set aside.

 In another bowl-pick a large bowl, whisk together
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of  kosher salt

Add your bowl of wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl, fold together until well incorporated, then fold in 2 cups fresh pitted cherries.
Here's a tip- I like to freeze my fruit overnight before I add it to muffins. I find it helps the fruit keep it's shape and doesn't get overdone within the muffin, while still contributing juicy goodness to the muffins :)
Fill your muffin cups.If your cherries are huge like mine were, the cups will be full all the way or even past the top. Don't worry about it, mine didn't spill over as they baked (juices leaked out on top my muffin tin of course but it didn't run over lol) If you want extra insurance, just put a cookie sheet underneath on the bottom oven rack to catch any potential batter overflow.
Place in your oven and bake 20 -25 min. Check them after 20 minutes, if a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean, take them out. If not leave them in a little longer until they are done.
Transfer the muffins to a cooling rack and viola! Sourdough Cherry Muffins.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hill's Ideal Balance

Frankie was chosen to sample Hill's Ideal balance dog food courtesy of Crowdtap and Hill's , as part of a sample share program -#petfoodcrew on Crowdtap.

It was a rocky road  to say the least lol. At first I couldn't get Frankie to eat the food or treats AT ALL. But I consulted my vet to see if she had suggestions for how to switch your pet's food. Usually cats are pickier eaters than dogs are , but she suggested mixing his current food with the ideal Balance and gradually getting that mixture to where it was 100% Ideal Balance. Sometimes your pet needs a transitional phase. I did this over a week and a half and now Frankie eats it *sometimes*.
I hate to say that he still would prefer to have his usual brand of food, but that's the turth... though he consistently eats the treats now. I SO wanted Frank n Beans to love this pet food because it SUPER healthy & well balanced for his needs.

That's why I recommend this food, even though Frank's being picky. Because I feel it's superior to so many other brands out there. Alot of current pet food brands truly are unbalanced. They lean either too heavily or not enough on protein, for instance. I
have already sung Ideal Balance praises to many friends and family members, in fact I packaged up dry food samples from the bag I received and passed them out to others so they could try it with their own dogs. Their success rate was far higher than mine. My brother's dog is now eating Ideal Balance and so are two of my friend's dogs.
I will still keep trying, eventually Frankie might see it my way and become an Ideal Balance dog food lover.

On a sidenote, my CAT
would eat this dog food if I let her! When my package arrived she thought it was for her and she's been absolutely unrelenting in trying to eat it, so I have to keep her out of the kitchen when feeding the dog lol. I think it safe to say I can buy the cat food from Ideal Balance so my Kona will be happy! :)

May thanks go out to Hill's pet food company & Crowdtap for allowing me to be a part of this! I hope to be chosen in the future for other sample shares :)

Salted Caramel Apple salad

For this easy salad I tossed 3 chopped apples (I used a combination of varieties) in  a bowl with the juice of one lime (this helps deter the apples from browning as well as adding a nice fresh, crisp tone to the salad). In a separate larger bowl I combined  2/3 tub thawed cool whip lite with 1/2 bottle of smuckers caramel sauce. Then I stirred in 1 cup chopped peanuts and 1/2 bag mini marshmallows. Finally I added the chopped apples into this and a generous (I mean generous) pinch of kosher salt-don't skip the salt it  is crucial if you want that good salty sweet flavor in this crunchy gooey salad!
Pour this into a pretty bowl for serving and garnish with additional nuts. Chill well and enjoy!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pork Chops with potatoes & onions


    Tonight for dinner I made Laura Calder's recipe for Pork Chops with Potatoes & Onions. The smell of this dish mingling with the lingering scents of the strawberry galette and the green aroma of rain wafting in my smells like an evening walk in Paris. Love it!
   Yes, there are pork chops in there, I promise ..they are hiding under the blanket of potatoes.

The recipe can be found here-Pork chops with Potatoes & onions

Strawberry Galette

    We have an abundance of strawberries in the garden right now so I took the opportunity to craft my version of a french berry galette.

Preheat oven to 400 F
Prepare a box of jiffy pie crust mix according to directions. Pat or roll it out in to a large circle.
Toss about 2 1/2 cups berries in about 1/4 c sugar, mound the berries in the middle of your pie crust circle then fold up the sides. Sprinkle the whole galette with sugar and bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet for about 25-30 minutes.

Simple and scrumptious!