Saturday, July 14, 2012

More Tarts

Could there be anything easier?  Put a pie crust in your pie plate, arrange your fruit. brush lemon curd over the fruit, fold down the edges of the pie crust over the edges of the fruit, and bake (350)- till the crust is lightly browned.  How easy is that?  Top one is apricot raspberry, bottom is blueberry raspberry.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cookie Pancakes

This was just a spur of the moment idea- I bought some very thin cookies, with a short bread kind of consistency.  I thought they'd look pretty baked in to a pancake.  So I used Krusteaz chocolate chip pancakes, and when they were firmly set on one side, and I put the cookie on the uncooked upper side, and then flipped it and cooked it until it was done.  The key to this is using a very thin cookie.  These are really amazing!  You get the soft deliciousness of a pancake, AND a cookie crunch, all in one bite.  I was afraid the cookies would get soggy, or the pancake wouldn't cook thoroughly, but it just turned out sinfully delicious :-)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Very Easy Pasta Salad

For lunch today I made pasta salad.
1 lb cooked pasta- al dente- you can use any medium/large pasta that will retain its integrity after cooking (you don't want something that will turn to mush)
1/2 a pint of cherry tomatoes - the small ones I leave whole (if I had had larger tomatoes I could have cut them up)
1 can pitted kalamata olives
1 can Trader Joes mild green olives, or some other pitted green olive
8 oz- 1 pound feta cheese- depending on how much cheese you like in your salad- crumbled
1 chopped onion, cooked until translucent
3 chopped green onions
Paul Newman's balsamic vinegar dressing- 1/4 C (or more or less, depending on how much dressing you like on your pasta)

Mix all ingredients together, and enjoy!

Looks good enough to eat, right?  This salad makes a great lunch, and it travels well.  I always make a big bowl, because the flavors are even better the next day.

Easy Nectarine Plum Tart

My kids said this was the best thing I ever made.  As it was so easy, I felt a little offended for a minute or two, but I got over it.

You will need one pie crust, unbaked.  I used Trader Joes.
2 oz lemon curd
One large nectarine - sliced in very thin sections (or enough nectarines to make sections to fill the pie crust)
One large plum- sliced in thin sections
And all you need is about 10 minutes for prep!

Line glass pie plate with crust.  Make a star in the center with some of the nectarine slices.  Continue with the star by outlining it with plums.  Finally, make an edge with the last of the nectarine slices.  Push the crust of the pie down around the edge so it's almost even with the fruit.  Heat lemon curd until liquid- it will cook very fast. Pour lemon curd over fruit- brush to cover fruit.  Bake at 350 until crust is light brown.  Let cool completely.  Serve with whip cream or ice cream.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Best Granola Cookies Ever!

Ok, maybe that's hyperbole.  I haven't tasted your granola cookies, after all.  Maybe yours are the best.  (If they are, please send me the recipe)

But here's a really good recipe, that uses Love Crunch, my youngest daughter's favorite granola.  It is a chocolate granola with bits of dried strawberries and raspberries in it.

Please do not blame me if you eat them all.

You will need:
1/2 cup butter, unsalted
2/3 cup sugar (I use a turbinado)
1 large egg
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp coconut flavoring (if you have it- it's not absolutely necessary)

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 cup flaked coconut
1 and 1/4 cup Love Crunch (chopped up, so there aren't any large clusters)

Cream together butter, sugar and flavoring, then add egg.

Now add all the other ingredients, and stir till well mixed.

Drop by the teaspoon onto a parchment lined cookies sheet.  Bake at 375 for approximately 12 minutes- ovens will vary, and some people like their cookies more done.  Let cool before moving cookies.

Love Crunch has dark chocolate, dried strawberries and dried raspberries in it- so as you eat the granola cookies, occasionally a delicious burst of berry will hit your taste buds!

Is Lip Balm a Food?

I found this wonderful lip balm, and since you do sort of end up eating whatever you put on your lips, I'm going to mention it!  I bought lavender, grapefruit and vanilla.  It's got super ingredients, and it's made by a local small business.  I found a coupon for this business on one of those sites- like Groupon, and Living Social.  And I'm so glad I did!  Listen to these ingredients: white beeswax beads, candelilla wax, carnuba wax, illipe butter, cocoa butter, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, castor oil, grapefruit essential oil:

Now I did make my own lip balm (using beeswax and vanilla), with my girls, for fun, but it's so much easier (and cheaper) to just buy some from Uprising Botanicals!  I am looking forward to trying their other products.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Easy Napkins and Placemats

Having a large gathering over for lunch or dinner?  Planning to cater a relative's wedding?  Let me introduce you to My Drap- a fantastic line of napkins and placemats that come on a roll(in several sizes).  I love these. The napkins can be washed about 6 times, and after that you can recycle them in your yard waste can.  I think you could also laminate the placemats- I've been thinking about doing that, since I've got a laminator and I'm not afraid to use it!

I got my My Drap at Amazon, and always when they were on sale.

To give you some idea of sale prices, I paid 13.64 for my last purchase of placemats, 10.45 for my last buy of luncheon napkins (7.9 by 7.9 and 25 on a roll), 9.43 for the last dinner napkins I got (15.8 by 15.8 12 napkins per roll).  I also bought some cocktail napkins but I can't find the price I paid.

I have pictures of the blue gingham placemats I used on July 4th, with a bright red napkin.  I also took pictures of some of the different napkin rolls I bought.

Here's the way to fold the napkin in picture:

 Aren't these great looking placemats?  But they ARE really thin- which is why I think I could laminate them.  They would probably not stay put in a windy location- though you could weight them down with silverware and plates and such.  But I think the corners might whip up.

Here are rolls of various sizes:

The pink gingham are cocktail napkins, the blue gingham are the placemats, the brown are the large dinner napkins, and the light blue are luncheon napkins.  Even though they are rolled, they come off perfectly flat- I did not have to iron the placemat you see in the top photo.  It comes off the roll just like that!

Got Parts?

My beloved Sunbeam breadmaker insert was starting to flake teflon- not a Good Thing, as Martha might say.  So I looked around the net for parts, and I found this great place:

It might not be the cheapest, but it was the cheapest I found.  I ordered 2 inserts and 2 paddles, just so I would have my next replacement on hand.  This place seems to have parts for everything!  And since I hate sending things to the landfill, I definitely want to get parts.  Shipping was quick, and the goods were well packed.  I'm a fan.

If you have a breadmaker with teflon, keep an eye on it.  I had never read all the reviews on Amazon- because my machine was a gift, but it appears that no matter how careful you are you'll need to replace the insert at some point (usually between 1 and 2 years- no matter how careful you are).