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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Jun 30, 2014

Banana Cinnamon Buns

Ripe bananas give these a wonderful caramel covered banana flavor.  When you frost the rolls, put the cooling rack over parchment paper.  The excess caramel frosting will fall onto the paper and you can just pick up the paper and throw it out - easy clean up.

For Dough:                                                          2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  1/2 Cup 1% Milk                                                1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
  5 Tbl Butter                                                         4 Tbl Butter, Melted
  1 Cup Smashed Bananas                                  For Caramel Frosting:
  1/4 Cup Sugar                                                      8 Tbl Butter
  1 Tsp Salt                                                             1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  2 Large Eggs, beaten                                            1/4 Cup 1% Milk
  4.5 Tsp Yeast                                                       1/2 Tsp Vanilla
  2 Cups Flour                                                        1 Pinch salt
  2 Cups Bread Flour                                              1 1/2 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
For Filling:                                                            
  2/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed                                          

For Dough:
Melt the butter.  Add the milk.  Heat or cool until it is about 110 degrees.  Add the yeast and set aside.

In large mixer bowl, combine banana, sugar and salt.  Beat in eggs.  Add milk mixture to banana and beat with electric mixer until well mixed.  In separate mixing bowl, combine flours. Add half of flour mixture to banana mixture. Beat mixture on low speed 5 minutes, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Add remaining flour and mix thoroughly (dough will be very soft).  Put dough into a lightly  greased bowl, turning so all sides are greased.  Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.  

Punch dough down. Turn onto floured surface. Knead a few turns to form a smooth dough, sprinkling with enough additional flour to make dough easy to handle.  On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 24x10-inch rectangle.   

Brush with melted butter.  In small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg then sprinkle over the butter.   

 Beginning with long side of dough, roll up jelly roll style. Pinch seam to seal. With sharp knife, cut roll into 24 slices, about 1 inch wide each. Place rolls in a 9-inch round baking pans that have been buttered.

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover rolls and let rise until nearly doubled.   

Bake rolls at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until golden.  Remove from pan to a cooling rack, making sure to turn upright.

While the rolls bake, make the frosting:
In small saucepan, heat butter and milk until butter is melted.   

Stir in brown sugar.

Cook over medium low heat 1 minute. Transfer to small mixer bowl and cool mixture until you remove the rolls from the oven.   

When the rolls are cooling, stir in vanilla, salt, and confectioner's' sugar. Beat with electric mixer until well blended. If necessary, add more confectioner's' sugar for desired consistency.  As soon as the frosting is done, pour over cinnamon rolls.

Jun 26, 2014

Turkey Smoking Rub

Yes, it is summer.  Why have turkey only at Thanksgiving?  Don't want a whole turkey?  Just get a breast, a split breast and/or Thighs.  This rub makes enough for one half of a breast and two thighs.

1 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Seasoned Salt
1/2 Tsp Herbs De Provence
1/2 Tsp Paprika
1/4 Tsp Pepper
1/8 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
8 Tbl Unsalted Butter, Softened

Mix together all dry ingredients.  Add butter and mix thoroughly.

Rub UNDER the skin of the turkey.

Smoke according to your smoker directions.

Jun 25, 2014

Pasta/Veg - Hot or Cold

Sometimes I need to throw together something to go with the grill.  During the summer, I have lots of veggies from my CSA.  I always have whole wheat pasta on hand, so this is my go to throw together side.  Served hot or cold, it is very tasty.  There are no quantities, you have to use what you need.  Want to make it a main dish?  add diced chicken.

Vegetables (baby carrots, chopped peppers, spinach, asparagus - whatever you like).
Olive Oil
Italian Seasoning

Cook pasta to package directions.  Add vegetables to the pasta water at the appropriate cooking time. For example, if your pasta cooks for 11 minutes and you want to cook shelled peas, add them during the last two minutes.  When done, drain.

While cooking, heat olive oil in a small skillet.  Add Italian seasoning and cook until just fragrant.  Add oil to pasta/veg when drained.  Toss, salt and pepper to taste, enjoy.

Jun 24, 2014

Kickin Chicken

These cutlets can be as spicy or as mild as you like.  I used Red Hot Extra Hot, so mine were quite spicy.  Heated the next day, they made an excellent sandwich.

12 Ounces Chicken
1/2 Cup Flour
2 Large Eggs
1/2 to 3 Tsp Red Hot
3/4 Cup Bread Crumbs
1 Tbl Parmesan

Place chicken between two flexible cutting boards OR two sheets of plastic wrap.  Pound to 1/2 inch thick with a rolling pin.

Cut into serving pieces.

Put the flour in one shallow bowl.  In a second, whisk together eggs and red hot.

In a third, mix together Bread Crumbs and Parmesan.

Heat oil in a large skillet.  Dredge the chicken through the flour, then the egg mixture and finally the bread crumbs.

Place coated chicken into hot oil and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Jun 22, 2014

Quiet, Please

We don't always keep collars on our dogs, but when we do, the jingling tags would get annoying.  For them and for us.  Then a wonderful friend introduced us to Quiet Spot.

This is a small pouch that you slide all of your affiliated tags into then velcro shut.  Quiet tags, reflective pouch, all is good.  Keeps the tags from clanging together or onto other things. 

Jun 21, 2014

Whiskey + Ginger + Lemonade? YUM

Looking for a new summer cocktail?  How about this one that is customizable to the amount of alcohol content you desire.  This recipe does really well in a pitcher used to add fruit to water.

3 Cups Lemonade
1 Cup Whiskey
1 Small Lemon
1 Tbl Ginger
Ginger Ale to Taste

Combine Lemonade and Whiskey.

In a large tea steeper or in pitcher core, add thinly sliced lemon and peeled and sliced ginger.

Let sit for at least 8 hours.  When ready to serve, combine with ginger ale to taste.

Jun 20, 2014

Pasta and Lots of Green

I had a perfect storm - Asparagus and Kale from my CSA, avocado from a friend and peas in the freezer - lots of green to mix up and enjoy.

8 Ounces Whole Grain Pasta (I used linguine)
1 Bunch Asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
1 Cup Stemmed and Chopped Kale
1 Cup Frozen Peas
1 Avocado, peeled and seeded
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Tbl Lemon Juice
1 Tbl Lime Juice
1/2 Tsp Cilantro
1/2 Tsp Tarragon
1 Tbl Fresh Basil, Chopped
1/4 Cup Sour Cream
2 Tbl Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Cook the pasta to package directions, adding the asparagus and Kale when there are 4 minutes remaining.  Add the peas when there are 2 minutes remaining.  Drain and return to the pan.

While pasta cooks, combine avocado olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lime juice and herbs in a food processor and pulse until well combined.  Scrape bowl, add sour cream, and pulse again to combine.

When the pasta is done, add the avocado mixture to the pasta and stir.  Add salt and pepper.

Jun 18, 2014

Deep Dish Blueberry Pie

Hubby asked for Shepherd's pie for Father's Day.  He did not ask for Blueberry, but I listen, and he had mentioned that he was hungry for one the week before, so that is what he got.  A Deep Dish Blueberry Lime Pie.  That's it - no cinnamon, nutmeg, spices, etc.  I used a mix of frozen and fresh blueberries - the frozen were thawed and thoroughly drained

You'll Need:

9 Inch Deep Dish Pie Plate
2 Pie Crusts
2 Tbl Butter
2 Tbl Sugar
6 Cups Blueberries
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Cake Flour
1 1/2 Tbl Lime Juice

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Place one crust in the bottom of the pan.  Rub with 2 Tbl Butter then sprinkle with sugar, emptying out excess.  Place in refrigerator.

In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients (you can use AP flour if you do not have Cake Flour).  Pour into chilled crust and top with second crust - either venting or doing lattice, as pictured.

Place in bottom third of oven and bake for about 40 minutes.

Jun 17, 2014

Cantaloupe Salsa - Sound Fishy?

It should, it goes well with fish.  Hubby wanted something fresh and springy to go with our grilled fish, so this was the solution.

1 Cup Cantaloupe, Diced
1/2 Cup Tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 Tsp JalapeƱo Pepper, Diced
1 Lime, Juiced and Zested
1/2 Orange, Juiced and Zested
Pinch Salt and Pepper
1 Tbl Fresh Basil, chopped.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and toss to combine.  Let sit for at least an hour before using.

Jun 10, 2014

WaterDog Restoration

After the long winter, our decks looked worse for the wear.  The old stain was wearing thin in places, green patches sprouted in the damper corners, water no longer beaded and there were chips from attempting to remove ice.

We had stained the deck ourselves when it was built and I vowed never again.  This time, we found WaterDog Restoration.  I requested a quote on their website and had a call back within one business day to schedule a time for an estimate.  The owner of the company came out and met with me.  I was impressed by the detail he took to explain the conditioners they use to prepare the wood for staining as well as the care they take to test the wood with a hygrometer to ensure that it is not to wet to properly accept the stain.  We had an e-mailed estimate the same day.  Once the proposal was accepted, they gave us a schedule for when they estimated that they would be out to pressure wash the deck and indicated that the staining afterward would depend on the weather.  After the pressure washing, the wood looked new.

Then it rained.  Fairly Regularly.  Pressure washing occurred as indicated, but staining took a couple of weeks to begin because the wood just wasn't getting dry enough.  It was worth the wait.  The staining was done by hand and looks beautiful.  As I write this, it is raining yet again, and the deck are once again beading.  So, for all of your Central Pennsylvania pressure washing needs, call WaterDog Restoration.  You'll be glad you did.

Jun 9, 2014

Cabbage Salad

I recently received a head of Napa Cabbage with the CSA.  I had recently made cole slaw, so I was looking for something different.  The CSA provided a recipe for Chinese Cabbage Salad, but I did not have everything on hand.  This is what resulted after some modification.

1 Stick Butter
2 Pkg Ramen Noodles
2.25 Ounces of Pine Nuts
1/2 Cup Sesame Seeds
1 Head Napa Cabbage
1 Spring Onion
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 Cup Sugar
1.5 Tsp Soy Sauce

Melt butter into a large pan.  Break noodles into small pieces and add to melted butter - stir until browned.

Turn off heat and add sesame seeds and pine nuts, stir.

Pour into a large bowl and cool.  When cool, add cabbage and onion, stir well.  Put Dressing ingredients into a container with a tight lid, shake vigorously until combined, pour over cabbage when ready to serve.

Jun 8, 2014

Rubit Dog Tag Clip

Our dogs have multiple collars or harnesses that they wear at different times.  Hiking, walking, tracking, just playing in the fenced area....but we like to keep the tags on them.  That used to mean wearing an collar AND a harness. Yes, we have them micro chipped, but why put them through the stress of going to a shelter to be scanned if a phone number can be right there on their collar? Enter our groomer - she told us about Rubit Dog Tag clip.  Put all the tags on one ring not the Rubit then use the clip to move the tags from place to place. Voila - dog safety.  They come in multiple colors and two sizes.