Fresh Lemonade

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Lemonade is so good on a hot summer day and we love this version.   It takes quite a few lemons (don’t sub the stuff in a bottle ~ use fresh lemons) but it’s well worth it!

Fresh Lemonade

1 3/4 cups sugar
8 cups water
1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice

In a saucepan, mix 1 cup water and sugar together. Bring to a boil and boil until the sugar is dissolved. Cool syrup to room temperature than refrigerate until it is chilled.

Remove seeds from lemon juice but keep the pulp.

In a pitcher, stir together the chilled syrup, lemon juice and the 7 cups of water. Mix well. Add lemon slices and ice if desired.

Makes 12 or so servings (or more if you are using small cups). This is really a guess, you’ll have to judge for yourself.

Happy Cooking!

Perfect for Summer Lemon Bars and Some Chitchat!

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Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!  I hope you have a great day!

We had a wonderful time at our niece’s wedding in Boston ~ she was a beautiful bride and I hope that she and her new hubby have a fabulous life together.  Right now they are in Paris for their honeymoon ~ how great is that?

The happy bride and groom:

To keep this food related, their wedding cupcakes were made by the daughter of Chef Todd English ~ red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese and white chocolate frosting:

On to the lemon bars…this recipe is easy and so lemony!  They are perfect for any time of year but really seem to hit the spot during the summer. Please use fresh lemon juice and zest in this recipe or they won’t be nearly as delicious.

Lemon Bars

Crust:
1 cup butter, room temperature (no substitutes, they just taste better with butter)
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour

Filling:
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tbsps flour
zest of 1 lemon
4 eggs
2 fresh lemons, juiced (no substitutes)

Preheat oven to 350º.

In a mixer bowl, blend together the butter, 2 cups of flour, and 1/2 cup sugar. I mixed it in my KitchenAid ~ it won’t come together in a ball. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, and zest then add the eggs and lemon juice and whisk until well combined. Pour filling over the baked crust.

Bake for 20 more minutes.

The bars become more firm as they cool.

Makes anywhere from 12 to 14 servings depending on how large or small they are cut.

Happy Cooking!

Easy Strawberry Pie

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Hooray!  I finally found a strawberry pie recipe that actually cuts into a pie shape instead of having pie soup on my plate.  Plus it has the added bonus of having jell-o in it and I LOVE jell-o, LOL!

You can make your own pie crust or buy a premade one ~ either way, this pie is nice and strawberry tasting!

Easy Strawberry Pie

1 (9 inch) baked and cooled pie crust
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsps cornstarch
1 cup water
1 (3 ounce) pkg strawberry jell-o (I used sugar free)
4 cups sliced fresh strawberries, I just chunked mine up and kept the small ones whole

In a medium sized saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and water until smooth. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes or so. Remove from heat and stir int he jell-o until it is dissolved. Refrigerate this mixture until slightly cooled ~ about 15 minutes.

Arrange berries in the pie crust and pour cooled jell-o over the them. Refrigerate until set.

Makes 8 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Red, White, and Blue Trifle

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In honor of the Olympics, I decided to make my red, white and blue trifle for dessert last night.  It’s so easy to make and I used all sugar free products so that I could have some.  This recipe uses lots of help from the grocery store but you can always make homemade versions instead of store bought. I end up using the pint of blueberries and a whole package of strawberries and I never add the banana.

This is also a nice dessert to make for the Fourth of July or any patriotic holiday.

Red, White, and Blue Trifle

1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 (4 ounce pkg.) cheesecake flavor instant pudding
1 (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed
16 ounce frozen pound cake, thawed
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup sliced banana

Mix together the milk and pudding mix and beat with a wire whisk for 1-2 minutes or until well blended. Gently stir in the thawed Cool Whip.

In a trifle bowl or large glass bowl, layer half the cake cubes, half the fruit, and half of the pudding/Cool Whip mixture. Repeat layers, ending with pudding/Cool Whip mixture.

Chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Makes 12 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Raspberry Delight

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I was looking for a sugar-free, fat-free dessert after all the dessertiness of the holidays, and I found this in the recent issue of Kraft’s Food and Family magazine.  The recipe didn’t call for sugar-free, fat-free ingredients but I subbed them in and it worked great!  Even my full sugar, full fat loving DH couldn’t tell.

Now if, like lots of people, you don’t like Cool Whip, just sub in whipped whipping cream but just know that it will no longer be fat free.  You can alsochange the jello flavor and fruit to any you like.

This would be a terrific dessert in the heat of the summer!

Raspberry Delight

1 3 oz pkg sugar free raspberry jello
3/4 cup boiling water
2 cups frozen raspberries (do not tha)
1 cup fat free Cool Whip, thawed

Mix boiling water and the package of jello in a large bowl and stir until the jello is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes or so.

Stir the frozen fruit into the jello and keep stirring until jello starts to thicken. Add 1/2 cup of this mixture to the cool whip and stir until blended.

Spoon cool whip mixture into 4 dessert dishes and cover with the remaining jello mixture.

Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or until set.

Makes 4 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Winter Fruit Salad

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My house is so quiet today ~ I don’t like it one bit!  We had a great Christmas and I hope you did, too.  Lots of great food, that’s for sure.

I’ve been making this fruit salad for a long time.  It’s easy to make and I always make it a day ahead.  It’s our standard fruit salad for winter holiday breakfasts. I usually try to pick a large tart green apple and two sweet red apples. You can also add a couple of bananas, sliced, but I don’t because that’s not one of our favorite fruits.

Winter Fruit Salad

1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsps cornstarch
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
3-4 medium apples, chopped

Drain the pineapple, reserving 3/4 cup of the juice from the can.

In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Add the pineapple juice, the orange juice and the lemon juice and whisk until smooth.

Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbling; cook and stir for 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a large serving bowl, combine all the fruits. Pour the sauce over the fruit and mix gently. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Makes 12-14 servings.

VIEW PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE!

Happy Cooking!

Vanilla Tarts

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I had a bunch of the Fruit Salsa leftover from our party and I wanted to find a way to use it up that didn’t involve me eating it by the spoonful.

This recipe is very easy.  I think it would also taste yummy with lemon pudding instead of the vanilla.  I made half of the recipe but I am posting the entire recipe ~ it’s easy to make half the amount of tarts.

Vanilla Tarts

1 pkg Puff Pastry Sheets, thawed
1 egg, beaten
1 box instant vanilla pudding (4 serving size)
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup fresh fruit or berries, cut-up if necessary

Heat oven to 375º and lightly grease 24 muffin pan cups.

Unfold one sheet of the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 9×12 rectangle. Cut into 12 (3 inch) squares. Repeat with other pastry sheet. Press the squares into the muffin pans. Brush with beaten egg.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the cups are puffed and golden. Remove from the cups and let pastry cool completely on wire racks.

Make the pudding with the above amount of milk according to pkg. directions. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Spoon 1 tbsp pudding into each tart shell and top with fruit. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. We also put sugar free whipped cream on some.

Makes 24 tarts.

Happy Cooking!

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

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I am sorry for the absence ~ I just haven’t been cooking anything exciting.

We did have our annual Christmas party this past Saturday so I’ll be posting some of those recipes ~ at least the ones I remembered to take pictures of.  I like to have at least one fruity appetizer on my table and this one is so good ~ I could just eat the fruit with a spoon!

This recipe can be found all over the internet with all kinds of ingredients.  I like this combination best.  I think this started out as a Pampered Chef recipe but I’m not positive.

Tomorrow I’ll post a recipe showing what I did with the leftover fruit salsa.

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

Salsa:
2 kiwis, peeled and diced
1 large Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored, and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 pound strawberries, washed, cored, and diced
2 tbsps white sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsps fruit preserves, any flavor (I used a blackberry, raspberry, blueberry combo)

Cinnamon Chips:
8 (10 inch) flour tortillas
butter flavored cooking spray
2/3 to 1 cup cinnamon sugar

In a large bowl, gently mix all the salsa ingredients together. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350º.

Coat one side of a flour tortilla with the spray and sprinkle with some cinnamon sugar. Cut into wedges with a pizza wheel. Carefully place wedges on a cookie sheet and spray the wedges again with the spray. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until crisp. Continue until all tortillas are used up. Let cool completely ~ about 15 minutes.

Serve with fruit salsa.

Makes at least 10-12 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Candy Apples

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A Halloween/County Fair staple when I was a kid, I much prefer candy apples over caramel apples.  Something about the hard, sweet coating and the tart apple underneath.  These aren’t hard to make but you do need a candy thermometer.  I made 6 smallish apples with this recipe (I used McIntosh).

Candy Apples

Candy Apples

6 smallish apples
6 skewers (I used cookie pop sticks by Wilton)

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup (I used the less sugar kind)
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup cinnamon candies such as Red Hots

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using clean apples, stick the skewer in the stem end.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup and hot water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and then continue to cook until the thermometer reaches 250º. Add the cinnamon candies, stir briefly, and continue to cook until the thermometer reaches 280º.

Remove from the heat and stir so that the candy is smooth. Hold an apple by the skewere and dip in the candy and swirl to coat, tilting the pan as needed. Hold apple over pan so that excess candy can drip back in the pan. Repeat until all apples are covered.

Cool at room temperature. After about 24 hours they start to get a little wimpy so try to enjoy within 24 hours or store in the refrigerator for longer storage.

Makes 6 apples.

NOTE: The candy is HOT and will burn. This is really NOT A RECIPE FOR CHILDREN to help make.

To get the candy out of your pan, boil some water in the pan and then let it soak and the candy should melt and come right out.

VIEW PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE!

Happy Halloween!

My Signature

Apple Bundt Cake

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I was searching around the internet for fall-type recipes and came upon a blog called Fresh Approach Cooking .  There, I found this super yummy apple bundt cake recipe.  It is one of the most moist recipes I have ever made.  The brandy really gives it a great flavor.

You can add 1 cup pecans (or any nut) with the apples if you want.  I used 2 Granny Smith apples and 2 Fuji apples ~ both peeled.

Here is the link to the original recipe ~ Apple Bundt Cake

Apple Cake

Apple Bundt Cake

2 cups flour
2 tsps cinnamon
1 1/2 tsps nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
pinch of salt
1 cup of butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I used light brown but the author suggests dark)
4 large eggs
1/4 cup brandy
1 tsp baking soda mixed with 1 tbsp warm water
4 apples, cut into large chunks
1 cup nuts, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and then sprinkle with white sugar.

Combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt together and set aside.

Using a mixer, beat butter until creamy. Then beat in the both sugars. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the brandy, baking soda and water. Stir in the flour mixture and then add the apples and nuts until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Let cake cool completely. It’s delicious with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Makes 12 servings.

Happy Cooking!

My Signature