Thursday, April 26, 2018

Coconut Lemon Scones

I love coconut so when I saw this recipe, Toasted Coconut Lemon Scones from Two Peas & Their Pod I had to make them.  These scones are so tender, loaded with coconut and a hint of lemon.  Delicious!
I did make a change to the recipe.  When making scones I like the shortcut of using a food processor.  I don't enjoy cutting the butter in the flour with a pastry blender, just takes too long.  Using the food processor helps get the butter evenly distributed in just seconds and when the butter melts while baking, it produces the air pockets that make scones so tender.  The trick is to use really cold butter.  These scones will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days but they are best the day they're made.  They also freeze well.  




INGREDIENTS:
FOR THE SCONES:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • zest of one large lemon (should yield 1 Tablespoon for scones and 1/2 teaspoon for glaze)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

  • 6 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE LEMON GLAZE:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (If your lemon didn't give you enough juice you can use some water)
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes or coconut chips
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  2. In a large food processor, add flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and pulse a few times until mixed.  Add lemon zest, and coconut and pulse a couple times to incorporate. Add cubed butter and pulse (about 15-20 times) just until the butter resembles coarse meal, with a feel of larger butter lumps.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of heavy cream, lemon juice, coconut extract, and vanilla extract. Using a spatula pour mixture over the ingredients in the food processor and pulse just until dough begins to form. Don’t over mix.
  4. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and gently knead the dough to form two balls.  Form each ball into a 6" round circle.  Cut each circle into 6 triangles, 12 scones total.
  5. Place scones on the prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush scones lightly with the additional heavy cream. Bake scones for 13-15 minutes, or until scones are light brown. Cool scones on a wire cooling rack.
  6. While the scones are cooling, make the lemon glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth. While the scones are still warm drizzle or frost the glaze over the scones and top with toasted coconut. 

12 Scones - Can store in airtight container for 2 days or freeze to enjoy later.






















adapted recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Mushroom Soup


Here's another recipe that comes from Chrissy Teigen's Cookbook, Cravings:  Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat.  As you can probably tell, I loved her cookbook!  She had me laughing with each page, she's hilarious and I was drooling over every one of her recipes.  I've made a few of her recipes, Chicken Lettuce Wraps , Prosciutto-Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breasts, and Perfect Seared Scallops with Warm Corn Salad.  We've loved it all!   
Now, about this Mushroom Soup, I have to start out by saying this soup is UGLY.  You know the saying, "you eat with your eyes" and if that's the case you might not try this soup.  But, look past the ugliness and take a bite.  It's really good!  It's also healthy, there's no cream added.  The texture is creamy and chunky at the same time.  In the photo that's a pat of butter on top of the soup. At first, I didn't think it needed it but Chrissy says to add it so I did and it did add that perfect something.  I'm just saying, that girl knows what she's doing in the kitchen.  If you like mushrooms, you'll love this soup!
*I should mention that you really need a food processor to chop the mushrooms as 3lbs is A LOT of mushrooms!

Ingredients:
3 lbs of assorted mushrooms (roughly chopped)*see note
4 tbsp unsalted butter (plus 6 pats for serving)
1 small onion (chopped)
6 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 tbsp fresh thyme (plus more for garnish)
2 cups chicken broth (I used beef broth)*see note
salt and pepper to taste (I used 1 tsp salt and 1/4 freshly ground pepper)

Directions:
  1. In a large soup pot (starts out big and once the mushrooms cook it will shrink down) melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir one more minute.
  2. Add your mushrooms, thyme, a teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, stir until the mushrooms shrink down to about half of what you started with about 10 minutes.
  3. Add broth, and bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 15-20 minutes. The mushrooms should be tender and the soup thickened slightly.
  4. Use a blender or an immersion blender to puree about half the soup. Once smooth stir it back into the pot.  
  5. If needed, add additional broth and salt and pepper to taste and stir.
  6. Serve in bowls and top each with a pat of butter and some thyme.
*Notes:
  • If you have a food processor, use it to chop your mushrooms in batches.  Make sure you pulse so not to puree. You can chop by hand but there are a LOT of mushrooms!
  • I used white button, (baby bella) crimini and shiitake mushrooms.
  • I used beef broth instead of chicken broth, only because I forgot to get chicken broth at the store.  I'm not sure I'll make it with the chicken broth as the beef broth was so good.

Adapted from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Avocado Chicken Salad

 I've had this recipe from Natasha's Kitchen tucked away to make this summer, once corn is in season.  The other day I was shopping at Aldi's and they have sweet corn (on the cob) and thought why wait for summer.  The corn was actually good and combined with so many other great flavors and textures, this salad was delicious.   I'll be making this again soon because it's too good to wait until corn season!




Slightly adapted from Natasha's Kitchen 
Salad Ingredients:
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts chopped
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 cup corn from 2 cooked corn on the cobs
  • 2  boiled eggs, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 4 strips bacon cooked and chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion, diced
Lemon Dressing:

  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh dill chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Instructions:
1.  In a large bowl place (cooled) cooked chopped chicken breasts. 
2.  Peel and pit avocados, slice into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl.
3.  Add (cooled) corn, boiled eggs, chopped bacon and green onions.
4.  Add dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Drizzle over your salad and lightly toss to combine. * If making ahead, Cover the bowl with plastic wrap directly over the surface of the salad (keeping the air out will prevent the avocados from browning) and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Serves 6 side salads or 4 main dish salads
*Easily halved to make 2 servings as the salad doesn't store well for leftovers.

This is another favorite avocado recipe from Natasha's Kitchen




Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Our Daily Burn

This was the first January in a long time that I didn't have a new years resolution to exercise more because for the last year I've exercised 5-7 days a week.  What has motivated me through the year is my husband Kevin.  Once he decided to take better care of his health and get in shape, it helped me so much as we now work out together.

I've always exercised but walking was my exercise of choice.  Kevin loved running until a few years ago when his knees started to hurt.  He started an online exercise group and was doing it daily while I was still walking on our treadmill.  He would always suggest I join him.  "No thanks" was my reply, I was just fine walking off my calories.  After 3 months of Kevin saying how much he loved his new exercise routine, his weight loss of 15 pounds and how good he felt, I decided I would give it a try.  I tried it and I fell in love!  Love is a strong word about exercise but I'm loving how I feel with more energy and strength.  I also took off a few pounds!  The name of the online exercise group in called Daily Burn 365.

Daily Burn is a 30 minute workouts each day.  It airs live at 9:00 am Eastern Time.  So for us, central time, we usually work out at 7:00 am so we do the recorded show the day before.  So whenever you like to exercise, you can, there is an episode ready 24 hours a day.

Each day is a different trainer with a different full body workout.  All you need is a yoga mat.  Sometimes, there are exercises where you can use weights but only if you want.  Kevin will use weights but I don't.  The workouts are hard enough for me!  I'll admit, I have my favorite trainers but what I like is each trainer has their own spin and I'm never bored.

The workouts are designed for everyone.  If you're starting out there are modification to met you at your fitness level.  After a year of doing Daily Burn, I've come a long way but I still do the modifications.  It has helped me move better, feel better, have better balance and feel stronger.

What I personally love about Daily Burn is I can exercise in the privacy of my home.  I've never enjoyed going to a gym, exercising in front of people is not my thing.  Last February, we were in New York City where the Daily Burn Studio is, and Kevin got to work out live.  They encourage members to come to the studio and work out.  I watched from behind the cameras (like I said, exercising in front of people and cameras, no thanks)!  I'm uncoordinated and when the trainer is going right I'm usually going left.  We had a lot fun meeting everyone, Kevin working out live and me, so proud of him, watching behind the scenes.

A 30 day free trial is available to try and see if it's for you.  The basic subscription cost $14.95/month.  You access Daily Burn with WiFi and can be streamed to your TV, computer, and ipod.  Daily Burn has been such a positive in my life I just have to share, check it out here.

Daily Burn Studio in NYC.  Kevin's in back with the orange shirt.








Friday, October 13, 2017

Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad


When I'm grilling (lemon pepper) salmon for dinner, this has been my go to salad.  While salmon is grilling, I whip up this salad and dinner can be on the table in 15 minutes.  To top it off, it's healthy!

I've made this salad several times with different tomatoes I've gotten at the farmers market.  The fresh garden tomatoes are what makes this salad so good.  Tomato season is at it's end but when grocery store tomatoes will have to do, it's still a great healthy side salad.

I've only made this for my husband and I so I haven't followed the full recipe.  I just cut up enough ingredients for the two of us then drizzled with olive oil, squeeze of lemon juice, and sprinkled with some salt and pepper.  It's that easy!

 Ingredients:  
cucumber, avocado, tomato, red onion cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper


Go here for the full recipe:  Natasha's Kitchen 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Forequarter Restaurant, Madison Wisconsin


I love going out for Sunday brunch after church and this place is my new favorite.  When I go out for breakfast food, I want something special, something different, something I wouldn't make at home.  Well, Forequarter met all my expectations for a perfect brunch!

Sitting outside on this beautiful Sunday morning sipping their spicy Bloody Mary was a great way to start out brunch.
Their menu changes a little bit everyday.  My husband and I decided to share as we wanted to try a few different dishes.  Since tomatoes are at their peak we started with sourdough toast with homemade ricotta, heirloom tomato and basil.  So simple but so delicious!
Oh my gosh, these potatoes were so good!  Crispy fried new potatoes dolloped with smoked pepper aioli and pickled mustard seeds.  

We were really glad we shared, the potatoes almost filled us up.  Almost, but we manage to have enough room for the main course.  This dish was exceptional in preparation and presentation!  The hanger steak was so tender, the poached eggs were perfectly cooked, and the pickled green tomato salsa was a tasty addition.

We left happy a so very full but worth every bite.

(608) 609-4717