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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Recipe Wednesday! CONGRATS! Wedding soup and cookies, in honor of my bro + new sis!

The family nuptials we attended this weekend have me thinking of recipes that celebrate wedded bliss. These two are a match made in heaven! (The people AND the food!)



1 pound extra-lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
3 tablespoons minced onion
2 1/2 quarts chicken broth
2 cups spinach - packed, rinsed and thinly sliced
1 cup seashell pasta
3/4 cup diced carrots


In a medium bowl, combine the beef, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, basil and onion. Shape mixture into 3/4-inch balls and set aside.
In a large stockpot heat chicken broth to boiling; stir in the spinach, pasta, carrot and meatballs. Return to boil; reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, at a slow boil for 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente, and meatballs are no longer pink inside. Serve hot with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.



1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups finely ground almonds
4 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for rolling


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Cream butter or margarine in a bowl, gradually add confectioners' sugar and salt. Beat until light and fluffy. Add almonds and vanilla. Blend in flour gradually and mix well.
Shape into balls (or crescents) using about 1 teaspoon for each cookie. Place on ungreased cookie sheets, and bake for 15-20 min. Do not brown. Cool slightly, then roll in the extra confectioners' sugar.

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person."
~Mignon McLaughlin

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

VOICI! Two Truly FRENCH recipes - Bread-machine BRIOCHE + Filled French CREPES

Bonjour! I love fancy breads, and I love them MORE when I can make them so easily! This rich, eggy BRIOCHE takes only 15 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to bake. The CREPES are a classic, and wonderful filled with rich PASTRY CREAM and fresh fruit. Try them also for LUNCH, filled with diced ham + shredded swiss cheese, or shredded chicken + sauteed mushrooms. Délicieux!

(for the bread machine)
[brioche machine à pain]


1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 egg white
2 tablespoons water


Place the first seven ingredients in bread machine in order suggested by your manufacturer. Select dough cycle.
Turn finished dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead 5 to 10 times. Separate into 2 or 3 pieces. Roll with hands into strips. Braid or twist strips together. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Set aside to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Whisk together 1 egg white and the water. Brush onto the top of the loaf.
Bake in the preheated oven until deep golden brown, about 20 minutes.

[crêpes fourrées]


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
2 cups milk
2 Tbs butter, melted


Sift together flour, sugar and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk together with an electric mixer. Beat in flour mixture until smooth; stir in melted butter.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 2 tablespoons for each crepe. Tip and rotate pan to spread batter as thinly as possible. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
Fill with pastry cream (recipe below) and fresh fruit.

[crème pâtissière]


3 egg yolks
3 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp vanilla


BEAT egg yolks well in medium bowl or glass measure; gradually stir in milk until blended.
MIX sugar, cornstarch and salt in large heavy saucepan. GRADUALLY stir in a small amount of milk mixture, making a smooth paste. Gradually stir in remaining milk mixture until blended.
COOK over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, 20 to 25 minutes. BOIL and stir 1 minute. REMOVE from heat immediately.
COOL quickly: Set pan in larger pan of ice water. STIR occasionally and gently for a few minutes to hasten cooling. STIR IN vanilla. PRESS piece of plastic wrap onto surface of pastry cream to prevent "skin" from forming. REFRIGERATE until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.

JOUIR! [Enjoy!]

Bien manger est la meilleure vengeance!
[Eating well is the best revenge!]

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Itching to PLANT? Here's the current calendar for Moon-phase/sign planting!

With this warm weather, everyone wants to be outdoors, and gardeners are ready to plant and start those seedlings! Here's the next 2 month phase calendar for planting...

MARCH 2012

5th-8th A Most Barren Period, Best For Killing Plant Pests Or Doing Chores Around The Farm.
9th-11th Favorable Days For Planting Root Crops, Fine For Sowing Hay, Fodder Crops, And Grains. Plant Flowers.
12th-13th Excellent Time For Planting Root Crops That Can Be Planted Now, And For Starting Seedbeds. Good Days For Transplanting.
14th-16th Poor Planting Days.
17th-18th Any Root Crops That Can Be Planted Now Will Do Well.
19th-20th A Barren Period, Best Suited For Killing Pests. Do Plowing And Cultivating.
21st-22nd Favorable Planting Days: First Day For Beets, Carrots, Radishes, Salsify, Turnips, Peanuts, And Other Root Crops. Good Day For Transplanting. Last Day For Aboveground Crops. Both Days Good For Planting Cucumbers, Melons, Pumpkins And Other Vine Crops, And For Setting Strawberry Plants.
23rd-24th Cultivate And Spray, But Do No Planting.
25th-27th Favorable For Planting Crops Bearing Yield Above The Ground.
28th-29th Seeds Planted Now Will Rot In The Ground.
30th-31st Best Planting Days For Aboveground Crops, Especially Peas, Beans, Cucumbers And Squash, Where Climate Is Suitable. Plant Seedbeds And Flower Gardens.

APRIL 2012

1st-4th Grub Out Weeds, Briars, And Plant Pests.
5th-7th First Day Good For Planting Corn, Melons, Squash, Tomatoes, And Other Aboveground Crops. Last Days Favorable For Planting Root Crops. All Days Favorable For Sowing Grains, Hay And Fodder Crops, And Planting Flowers.
8th-9th Good Days For Planting Beets, Carrots, Radishes, Turnips, Peanuts, And Root Crops. Also Good For Cabbage, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Kale, Celery, And Other Leafy Vegetables. Start Seedbeds. Good Days For Transplanting.
10th-12th Barren Period. Do No Planting.
13th-14th Favorable Days For Planting Beets, Carrots, Turnips, Radishes, Onions, And Root Crops.
15th-17th Excellent Time To Kill Weeds, Briars, Poison Ivy, And Plant Pests.
18th-19th Favorable Days For Planting Root Crops, Extra Good For Vine Crops. Set Strawberry Plants. Good Days For Transplanting.
20th-21st Poor Planting Day. Break Ground Or Cultivate.
22nd-23rd Favorable Days For Planting Beans, Corn, Cotton, Tomatoes, Peppers, And Aboveground Crops.
24th-25th Poor Days For Planting, Seeds Will Rot In The Ground.
26th-27th Plant Tomatoes, Beans, Peppers, Corn, Cotton, And Other Aboveground Crops. Plant Seedbeds. Start Flower Gardens.
28th-30th Grub Out Weeds, Briars, And Other Plant Pests.

Good luck with your gardens this year, and have fun getting dirty! :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Recipe Thursday! SUPER FAST desserts for your family or a bake sale!

When time is of the essence and you need sweets FAST!
Try these two go-to zippy desserts!



12-oz. can of evaporated milk, minus 4 Tbsp.
1 stick of butter or margarine, melted
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
7-oz. bag of shredded coconut
1 tsp. vanilla
2 unbaked 9-inch pie shells


Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients together and pour into two unbaked pie shells. Bake until firm — about 35 minutes.




1-1/3 cup crumbled vanilla wafers
2 Tbsp sugar
5 Tbsp butter, melted

1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp flour
Confectioner’s sugar, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a two-quart tbaking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, combine crust ingredients and then press into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes and remove. Whisk together all filling ingredients and then pour over the crust. Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until center is set. Cool and serve room temperature or refrigerate and serve chilled, dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 45 minutes before refrigerating to fight condensation.

"Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything."
~Wyatt Earp