Sunday, August 23, 2009

Little Chicken in the Woods

I hope everyone had a nice and enjoyable weekend. We spend the second to last weekend of the summer at our cabin. We have been up a few times this summer and every time has been fun. The best part about our cabin is that our property is large for folks to camp and bring trailers, but there is a cabin which means a real bathroom and kitchen.
The past couple trips we have had folks bring some food and have done some community meals. The kitchen is small and we always seemed to be tripping over the collections of coolers that tend to make their way in. This time, we did all community food. I did the shopping and kept the meals pretty simple. To save money I did some shopping from my freezer and brought up a couple of chickens. I thought it would be fun to try "Beer Butt Chicken" and I'm glad I did. It was soooooo easy (you know me I'm all about the easy) and it was soooo good as well.

Seriously all you do is season the bird (I think our birds were around 4 lb) with your favorite seasoning (I used Old Bay because that is all we had up there, but anything would work. I wanted Johnny Salt, but we didn't have)
Place the chicken upright on a can of open beer (all we had was Keystone so a quality beer isn't necessary) and roast for an hour at 400. We had two birds and one was a little bigger than the other. The larger one could have gone longer, but we just chopped it up and threw it back on the grill. Anyhoo, the chicken was crispy on the outside and the meat was super moist. I will totally make this again and if you need a cheap and easy dinner I recommend you give it a try.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fresh Blackberry Pie

Tonight we had the best dinner. We caught some salmon of the deck of a friend's house and grilled it up. For dessert we had blackberry pie. Ben and Sam went berry picking with my mom so we had lots of fresh berries and I whipped up this pie. It couldn't be easier and since it is blackberry season you might as well give it a try.

Fresh Blackberry Pie
1 prebaked pie crust
3 C fresh blackberries
1T lemon zest
1T lemon juice
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C water
1 T cornstarch plus 2T of water

In a saucepan combine 1 C berries, sugar, water, zest and lemon juice.
Bring to a boil and add cornstarch slurry and stir until thickened, let cool
Mix remaining berries and "jelled" berries, stir gently
Pour into crust and let stand until set ~ you could put it in the fridge to help set.
Serve at room temp with some whipped cream or heat and serve a la mode.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Z is for Zucchini

This is the time of year when backyard gardens are over run with zucchini. If you are someone who like zucchini then you are lucky. I am not a fan. When I was little, one summer every night for dinner my parents would make sauteed zucchini. Didn't help my love of zucchini, but I digress...
It seems everyone has a zucchini bread recipe and I thought I would share mine. It was the one quick bread my mom ever made and it tastes really good with a little schmear of butter.

Laurie's Mom's Zucchini Bread
1 C oil (just regular veggie ~ or you could be a good mom and use 1/2 cup applesauce & 1/2 oil)
2 C sugar
3 eggs
2-3 C grated zucchini depending how much you need to use up (frozen zucchini works just fine)
1/4 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 T cinnamon
3 C flour
Mix wet, add dry
divide between 2 9" well greased loaf pans and bake @ 350 for 1 hour ~ let cool for 10 min and then take them out of the pans
It will also make 24 muffins, bake those for about 20-25 min
The loaves and muffin freeze fine, just be sure to wrap them up well.

My mom gave me one huge zucchini and from it I was able to make 4 loaves and 2 dozen muffins with enough leftover for two more loaves.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lemon Love

Yesterday was my friend Matt's birthday. One of my favorite qualities of his is that he loves my cooking (which comes in handy since he works for food) Anyhoo, I wanted to make him a little treat and decided on Lemon Chiffon Pie.
This could not be any easier and you probably have everything you need in your kitchen already. I know the picture is not the best. I was planning to take more, but the pie was gone in a matter of minutes. If you like a light and lemony, this pie is for you. Plus as an added bonus, if you use a premade crust, no cooking required, perfect for a summer dessert.

Lemon Chiffon Pie
8 oz of room temp cream cheese (if it isn't room temp, it won't blend smooth)
1 can of sweeten condensed milk (I use about 3/4 of it, but you can use it all if you want)
1/2 C lemon juice (I have used fresh, from a jar and a combo of both ~ whatever you have on hand)
2 T lemon zest (I think this makes the pie, but if you don't have it a dash of lemon flavor would work)
Mix everything, pour into a graham cracker crust and chill (to help with plating, you might want to put it in the freezer for an hour before serving)

Graham Cracker Crust
2 C graham cracker crumbs (about 1 1/2 "sleeves" of crackers)
1/2 C melted butter
3 T sugar
Mix, pat into pie plate and bake 10 min at 350. Let cool before you pour in the filling
If you wanted to, you could serve this with some whipped cream, but I think the crust is sweet enough to balance the tartness of the pie.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Somethin' in the oven...

I'm taking advantage of our cool weather today to do a little baking. Our dear friend showed up at our door last night with 3 big salmon (I love living less then a mile away from Puget Sound) that he caught off him mom's deck. We had just eaten the fish he had given us yesterday, so yummy, and now we have six more fillets waiting to be eaten at a later date. So to thank Big Daddy Fox for sharing the wealth, I'm making some of my favorite Pineapple Bread. I found this on line off some B&B site, but when I tried to find the source to give credit, I couldn't find it whaddya gonna do? So anyway, this is super yummy, tastes like pound cake and you probably have everything already in your pantry :0)

Pineapple Bread

(makes one loaf, yields 18 slices)

1/2 C soft butter
1 C sugar
2 eggs
2 C flour
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 C chopped pineapple (drained) I think a 14oz can is what I use and I prefer not to use the "crushed", but I guess you could.

Cream butter and sugar
mix in eggs one at a time
add pineapple
add dry ingreds
pour into greased 9" loaf pan
bake 1 hour @ 350 or until toothpick comes out clean


Monday, August 3, 2009

Fun in 5 minutes or less... seriously.

Happy Monday Everyone!!

So I was having kind of an unproductive morning and all of a sudden I get this wild hair to paint something. I am not one of those girls who is addicted to spray paint (in fact my last spay paint project didn't go too well) and any other attempts to paint have yielded less than lackluster results. Anyhoo, yesterday I was blog hopping and I saw a few different chicks who had painted their house address on their front doors. The first time I saw this was over at My Sweet Savannah (she is a local girl up north who has a beautiful home and a great eye for decorating). I remember thinking when I get a new door I'm soooo doing this. Well, today for whatever reason, I thought I'm just going to do it and literally 5 minutes (okay, maybe 7) later I was done. I LOVE it and it could not be simpler. Here is what I did...

My door before (yes, it could use a cleaning and has some chippy spots, but if I had to do too much prep, it would never get done so I channelled the Nester and kept on going)

I printed up my address in a WORD doc and made the font (Curlz MT) 150 since that is what fit my door. I also colored the back of paper with chalk for some homemade tracing paper.

Using a sharp pencil I traced the numbers

Got out the white paint pen I bought to use on my chalkboard project, but never did, and started to "color in" the lines and Voila!!

Is it perfect, no. But I like it and it a one of the few projects I can put in the "done" column.

So there you have it. A quick painting project from someone who doesn't paint.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

At Last...

Here are the first tomatoes of the season. Despite their name "Early Girl" they seemed to have sure taken their time. I think I'm about 2 weeks from being up to my eyeballs in tomatoes, but that is okay. I can eat them like apples and the small ones like candy. My goal is to have enough to make some homemade sauce with the fruits of my labor (pun intended).

As a new school year looms, I find myself feeling that "fresh start" feeling starting to creep in. Every since I was 2 years old I have had a "first day of school", as a student, teacher and now a mom. For some reason it feels more the start of the year than January first. I'm feeling motivated to purge overflowing closets and refine my organizational systems to help ease our transition back to school.

My mom and I are thinking of trying our hand at a big bulk cooking session. I've done mini versions of bulk cooking and it wasn't that overwhelming and I LOVED having stuff on hand. Since my freezer space is limited I will probably keep things simple again by focusing mostly on prepping main ingredients like ground beef and chicken. I will probably brown up a bunch of ground beef so it is ready for tacos, chili, sloppy joes, etc. as well as cook and shred a bunch of chicken breasts. Of course, a mega batch of meatballs will most likely happen as well. I find that if I at least have a head start on something, I'm more likely to actually cook (at least that is what I keep telling myself)

Happy Sunday Everyone!!