Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chocolate with Francois - Flourless Chocolate Cake

In our Chocolate with Francois group, the recipe for this month was Francois Payard's Flourless Cake.  Apparently these cakes are popular in France.  They are easy to make, but oh so rich.  If you do not like chocolate, and I am serious here, you would not like this cake.  I'm sure my friend Kayte would not even look once at this recipe!

My friend Joanne, of Applecrumbles, was the host this month.  Joanne makes the most fabulous foods, a lot of them are vegetarian dishes but she also prepares meat dishes for her husband.  And her photos are amazing!

Okay back to this cake.  It was easy.  You mix it up, cook in a water bath, then freeze.

I probably kept it frozen for a couple of weeks.  Francois said if you cook in a regular cake pan it might be difficult to unpan it and he was right.  I ended up using my hairdryer to blow across the bottom of the pan and then it came right out.  It was not a pretty cake.  And my photos of the cake as a whole cake turned out unfocused.

Chandler put whipped cream on his.  I think the whipped cream might cut a little of the chocolate flavor off.  This is one very rich cake.  I could not eat a very large piece.  But it was delicious.

You can get the recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany or Joanne probably will have it posted on her webpage.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Kitchen, My World - Great Britain

This month in our group MKMW we virtually went to Great Britain to find a recipe to share.  My friend Sarah lives in London so naturally I went straight to her for an opinion.  She sent me the recipe for Toad in the Hole.  Now I've made Toad in the Hole before where you just cut a hole in a slice of bread, drop an egg in, and bake.  This is not the same thing.

The only change I made was you were supposed to wrap the sausages in proscuitto and instead I had some ham I needed to use so I just put some chopped up ham in mine.  We loved this dish and I hope you will if you make it.  Check out MKMW and see what everyone else came up with for Great Britain.  I cannot wait to check it all out.

Go here for the Toad in the Hole recipe.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'm in afternoon LOVE - Pecan Pie Mini-muffins!

Last Saturday night in our dance club, my friend Pam brought the most delicious pecan pie muffins.  I had eaten them once in a restaurant near my house called The Three Eared Rabbit but I had never made them.  I asked her for the recipe, but today, I couldn't wait any longer so I made up what I thought the recipe would be.  They did not taste "exactly" like hers, but these are to die for if you love pecans.

1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup broken pecan pieces
I sprayed my mini muffin pan with olive oil spray and this made ten muffins.
350 degree oven.  Cook for 15 minutes or so.  Remove immediately from muffin pan.

You will be in afternoon love too!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

TWD - Dark Chocolate Sorbet

This week's TWD was a sorbet recipe.  Steph of a Whisk and a Spoon chose this for us.  Steph has some wonderful treats on her blog.  Check them out!

I treated myself this month to a new ice cream maker - the Cuisinart.  I was tired of the old salt and ice routine.  This was the perfect time for me to use it.  It does not hold a lot of ice cream, but that is perfect for us since it is just the two of us.

I followed Dorie's recipe and then at the last minute I added just a pinch of kosher salt, and a handful of butterscotch morsels.  Oh this was so tasty!  Now I'm thinking peanut butter morsels would have been even better.  Our only problem with it was it melted very rapidly.  As soon as we spooned it into our bowls, it started to melt.  So a lot of it tasted like chocolate water.  Did I do something wrong?
You can get the recipe at Steph's blog.  It is really easy to make.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Asian Slaw - Great for Picnics

Do you ever want coleslaw but that mayonnaise just sitting there in the sun keeps you from enjoying that wonderful dish?  Try this Asian Slaw.  It has no mayonnaise in it.  I made it Sunday for a pool party we attended and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  I still kept it on ice just to be safe and because it really is better cold.  At the end of the party as we were leaving, it dawned on me that I had forgotten to put the sugar in it!!!  Everyone said that was fine and not to put the sugar in next time.  But I think it is better with a little sweetness.

Easy to make.
16 oz coleslaw mix
3 oz chicken or beef flavored ramen noodles broken up
1 8 oz bottle Paul Newman's oil and vinegar salad dressing
Sprinkle the ramen noodle seasoning in
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup almonds
1/2 cup sugar

stir and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.  Delicious!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

There's just something about a chocolate cake . . . . .
This week in our Ina Garten group (Barefoot Contessa), the theme was Sweet Baked Love. If you have baked something from one of Ina's fabulous recipes, please leave your linky below.

The members of our group are Chaya - Bizzy B. Bakes; April of The 21s Century Housewife and The 21st Century Housewife’s Kitchen; Louanne of Louanne’s Kitchen;
Mia of Bright Morning Star; Yummy Chunklet and me. Check out their webpages to see what they cooked this month for their "love bake."

For me, it had to be this cake. The batter is a bit runny after you add the coffee, but it all works out in the end for a beautiful cake.  Now that I am enjoying my new Keurig coffeemaker, making just one cup of coffee for a recipe is a snap.

I did not butter my parchment paper as Ina suggests in the recipe. I always cheat and use spray olive oil. Cakes always come out easily when I do. It baked in 30 minutes - a little less than the recipe stated.The frosting was fun to make, and so creamy and tasty. I think it may be some of the best frosting I have ever tasted. Just the barest hint of coffee flavor. Chances are you will not even notice that was an ingredient. The cake is very moist. Definitely will be made again at my house!

Hope you are having a wonderful week! Be sure to try this cake and do it soon!

Beatty's Chocolate Cake
Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

DirectionsPreheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Chocolate Frosting6 ounces good semisweet chocolate1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fish and Tomatoes en papillote

Get the recipe here

I did not take a photo.  But last night I prepared Dorie's Salmon and Tomatoes En Papillote only substituting tilapia for the salmon.  It was fabulous.  Cooked up so easy and quick - just 12 minutes in the oven.  I used parchment paper instead of foil.

I also made a potato gratin from my new book Cooking Light Vegetarian and a squash casserole that I tossed together with cheese, egg, onion and breadcrumbs.

The husband was in heaven.  I strongly recommend cooking the fish this way.  Dorie never fails.

Again, sorry there are no photos today.

Monday, July 11, 2011

TWD - Cream Scones

I've never had a lot of luck with scones.  That is, they have always seemed rather bland to me.  This week's TWD recipe was chosen by Lynn of Cafe Lynnlu

We did not have much in the way of breakfast foods this weekend, so I decided Saturday morning to go ahead and make the scones.  I had all the ingredients except for raisens so I substituted dried cherries. 

These were fast to prepare - you don't want to over handle the dough - and they cooked quicker than Dorie's instructions.  My only disappointment was that I hurriedly cut them and they were not all the same size.  Does not affect the taste however.  Chandler was busy on a carpentry project and he was delighted to enjoy a little mid-morning snack of scones.  These were a big hit and I will definitely make them again and again.

Daily Devotional - Angels Among Us?

I have always had a fascination with angels.  I love reading about them, looking at photos of them, admiring statues of them.  Have you ever studied about angels?  I thought I would take a minute this morning in my "quiet" time and just read what the Bible has to say about angels.  I know that angels are mentioned in the Bible from the beginning (Genesis) to the end (Revelation) so they must be important.

The word “angel” is from the Greek word aggelos.  Aggelos means “messenger.” In Hebrew the word mal'ak means angel.

Angels are not glorified human beings.  They are spirits.  I think of angels as beings that communicate with God and then somehow pass that information on to us.  In Matthew 22:30 we read that angels do not marry or reproduce.  Also, there is no mention that I can find of an angel being a chubby little baby.  They are all adults.  I also think when they took human form in the Bible, they were mostly males.  The angel Gabriel, for example, came to Mary to tell her she was going to have a baby and name him Jesus.

Angels are mentioned at least 108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament.  I'm not sure if angels carry out the same tasks or if each angel has their own specific talents.  From what I read, angels were most likely created in the beginning when God created the earth. 

Hebrews 13:2 says "be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for in doing so some have unwittingly entertained angels."  I always think of that passage when I pass a homeless person on the street or notice a stranger lurking off to the side seeming to stare or appear to be keeping watch over something.  Do they watch over us?  Do they protect us?  I hope so!

I've had some personal angels in my life.  You might call them friends, but to me they have been angels.  They are people God has placed in my lives at certain times to give me encouragement, comfort, and just walk beside me when I needed a friend.  God can always send someone to "make us feel better" when our lives seem to be going in the wrong direction. 

Have you had an experience with an angel?  If so, please share with me!

Angels make me happy and bring peace to my life.  I hope you all have an angel in your lives this week!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ina's Garden - Zucchini Graten

This week in our Ina's Garden group, the theme was Vegetable Delight and I am the host for our group.  I chose Ina's Zucchini Graten.  I am not in love with zucchini, but I do like squash casseroles so I was hoping Ina's zucchini would spur me on for this abundant summer vegetable.  It was very good and the topping was so crunchy and delicious.  I'm not "in love" yet, but it was a very good dish if you like zucchini. I used Vidalia onions in it - they are the best - so sweet and delicious.  This was easy to prepare.  Chandler loved it.  I served it with a pork tenderloin and a tortellini salad.  I would highly recommend you try this for a wonderful side dish.

If you have made any Ina Garten squash dish, please leave your linky below.  Just be sure as a courtesy to mention our group in your post.  Thank you.  Check out our webpage for upcoming themes and recipes.

Our theme for July 21 is Sweet Baked Love chosen by Mia.  Jump on board and make something sweet from Ina's collection and leave your linky on the 21st!!  We would love to see what you come up with.

You can find the recipe for the zucchini graten here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bal's No Butter Chicken and Corn with Aromatic Seasonings

Last night some of my twitter friends and I made an Indian dinner together.  It was my first time to "cook together" with someone while tweeting about it.  I added a little drama to the session when my first attempt at chopping onion caused me to drop my knife.  On its way to the floor, it made a slight detour and swiped my leg which took me to the ER for a few stitches.  Ouch.  My kitchen looked like a murder had occurred!  When I returned, I cleaned up everything and still managed to cook along with Kayte and Margaret.  I think Leslie cooked later.  Abby and Katie used tofu in theirs.  The meal was delicious.
We made Bal's No Butter Chicken and Madhur Jaffrey’s Corn With Aromatic Seasonings as a side.  The sweet cream of the corn was a nice coolness against the spicey hot chicken.  Although this recipe is not too hot.  It is just right.   I am definitely going to make this again soon.  It was quick and easy to prepare.  A perfect meal to end a wild and crazy day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

TWD - Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Muffins

The host this week was Bridget of The Way the Cookie Crumbles.  Check out her link and you will find the recipe there for these delicious muffins!!

When I was hosting a couple of months ago, I kept going back and back to this recipe because it just sounded so delicious.  I'm glad Bridget chose it.  They are fabulous!  Of course, I'm on a new heart healthy diet that strictly forbids me to have any caffeine, but I had to take just a bite of these fresh out of the oven.  One bite won't hurt a fly, right?

These are rich in chocolate with nuggets of bittersweet hidden inside.  Delicious.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Seven Devotionals - Day Seven - Miracles

Today is the end of my seven days of devotionals.  These are just my thoughts and in no way reflect a professional opinion in any way.  Thank you all for reading along and for your emails and comments.  You have all inspired me!

Are you looking for a miracle in your life?  Most people are at some time or another.  I'm going to give you my thoughts on miracles and please feel free to comment and tell me your thoughts. 

When I think of miracles, I think of something happening that is against the laws of nature.  If someone cut my ear off, for example, and then just stuck it back on without medical help, that would constitute a miracle in my mind.  Or if a car were coming straight at me on the highway and then suddenly before impact it flew in the air above me.  Many people refer to childbirth as a miracle.  While I think it is a glorious and wonderful event, I see it more as a natural occurrence rather than a miracle.  It is certainly a gift from God, however, and its glory should not be overlooked.

The dictionary defines miracle as "an event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God."

Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding in Cana.  We can read about that in John 2:1-11.  This was perhaps the beginning of his teaching for the disciples.  The host of the wedding ran out of wine so Jesus' mother asked Jesus to help him out.  So he took some big urns of water and turned them into really good wine.  I believe I read somewhere that it was about a hundred gallons of wine so that was a lot.

I think Jesus performed miracles during his walk on earth so that people would believe in Him.  Now that we have the Bible, we no longer need miracles to believe and have faith in our saviour.  We can simply read about the miracles and faith allows us to believe them.  As far as I can tell, all miracles that Jesus performed were immediate except for the one where the blind man had to go wash in the pool of Siloam and then he was healed and could see.  Weren't most of Jesus' miracles a healing of some sort?

Jesus also gave the power of healing to his disciples.  We see that in Matthew 10:1 which says, And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

In Matthew 15:29 we read about Jesus feeding a multitude of 5,000 with just a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish.

One of the greatest examples of miracles in the Bible to me, was when Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead.  This miracle is only noted in one of the four gospels.  I believe it must have been omitted for a reason in the other three, but I will have to study that some more to get answers.  John 11:1-43 is where we read the wonderful story.

“…he [Jesus] cried with a loud voice,

Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth…
Then many of the Jews which came to Mary,
and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.
But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees,
and told them what things Jesus had done”(11:43-46)

I can only imagine what this miracle was like for those who witnessed it.  Their were plenty of witnesses - the Jews that showed up to mourn the death of Lazarus saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead and some of them went and reported this miracle to the Pharisees.  After hearing about this, the Pharisees wanted Jesus dead more than ever.  I can only imagine the pain Jesus must have felt to have to bring his friend back from Paradise to live on earth again.
I do believe in miracles.  I'm just not sure they happen today in our everyday lives if I follow my definition of miracle.  However, I do believe in the power of prayer.  God can heal, God can provide for us, God can change an event in our lives.  All we have to do is pray believing on Him, trusting in Him, and have faith.
I have learned a lot this week with these devotionals and I hope my sharing has helped in your life in some small way. I know it has helped mine. Please feel free to email me any time and we can learn together.  As always, I wish you peace, joy and love in your lives.  Since today is July 4th, I would like to close with a prayer from an unknown soldier and then follow that with a prayer for you and me.
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.

I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey...
I asked for health, that I might do great things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things...
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise...
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God...
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things...
I got nothing I asked for - but everthing I had hoped for;
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among men, most richly blessed!
Attributed to an unknown Confederate soldier

Dear Lord,
I pray today for myself and my friends that we may love you in all things and above all things.  We pray for strength when we are weak, health when we are sick, comfort when we are struggling.  Thank you for all your blessings and help us to grow together in wisdom.  Help us to remember that all good things come from you.  For those who are hurting today, please envelop them with your arms of love and take their pain away.  We ask these things because of your promises to us that you would never leave us and that you would provide for us in our times of need.  Please place your love in our lives and your peace in our hearts.  Amen.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Seven Devotionals - Day Six - Why Worry?

Worry - we all do it, just some more than others.  And yet, worry does not accomplish anything.  It is a complete waste of time.  It never helps any situation.  The more you worry, the more your brain is clouded so that you are not free to make positive decisions.

In the Bible we read that there is no need for worry - God will take care of you and all your needs.  Matthew 6:31-33 says "So do not worry, saying what shall we eat?  or What shall we drink?  or What shall we wear?  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

Jesus said in Luke "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest."

You can avoid worry even in your darkest hour by trusting in God. 

Wikipedia says "Most people experience short-lived periods of worry in their lives without incident; indeed, a moderate amount of worrying may even have positive effects, if it prompts people to take precautions (e.g., fastening their seat belt or buying fire insurance) or avoid risky behaviours (e.g., angering dangerous animals, or binge drinking)."

But needless worry will get you down and even cause health problems.  So how do you stop worrying? 
1.  Jot down on a piece of paper your worry and then tell yourself you will come back to it at a later date.  In other words, learn to postpone your worry!
2. Another thing you can do is any time a negative thought pops into your brain, replace it with a positive one.
3. Get busy.  Make good use of your time so that you do not have time to worry!
4.  Take care of yourself - eat right and get plenty of sleep.
5.  Relax with good music.
6.  Attack the problem and make a final decision and move on from it.
7.  Write down everything in a journal and then close the book and walk away.
8.  Take a walk or read a book and in doing so you will distract yourself from worry.
9.  Get support from friends and family.
10.  Count your blessings.

I'm not a professional and I worry right along with you.  But maybe we can take it one day at a time and reinforce our positive energy together!

I always say, "Tomorrow is a new day!"
My challenge for you today is take just one thing you are worrying about and toss it in the garbage and move on from it.   Have a peaceful day.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Seven Days of Devotionals - Day Five - PRAYER

How many of us pray on a daily basis?  Prayer develops our relationship with God. If we never spoke to our friends, family, or spouse, those relationships would quickly fall apart.  In the same way, lack of prayer causes your relationship with God to suffer, so it is important to keep those lines of communication open.

There are different types of prayers.  There are individual prayers, community prayers, prayers for forgiveness, prayers for healing, prayers for help and guidance, prayers for financial aid, prayers for thanksgiving, etc.  One can pray with words or sometimes I personally like to pray with song.  When I take time to play the piano and I sing hymns to God, that is my private time with Him.  As believers, we can pray from our hearts and use our own words to convey our feelings.  Your prayer does not have to be eloquent or wordy, just from your heart.  You can kneel to pray, stand, go in a closet, fold your hands, whisper, or speak out loud.  God hears all.

Do you sometimes feel as though God is not hearing or answering your prayers? I think we all feel that way at some time in our lives.  I often question myself and wonder if maybe I am not praying in the right way or maybe my prayer will be answered at a later date when it would be the most beneficial to me.  Prayer should not be a grocery list of things that we desire. It should be a quiet time to talk to God about your worries, your needs, asking help for others in need, asking for His healing power.  Just a sweet time of connection.

Joel Osteen said the other day that our prayers should start with reminding God of His promises to us rather than just asking for thing after thing after thing.  If you are a parent and your child begs you for this or that, sometimes we turn a deaf ear.  But if that child comes to us and reminds us that we promised him or her a particular thing, our ears perk up and we listen because we do not want to disappoint by breaking a promise.  God is the same way.   He does not break his promises to us.

God instructed us to pray in Matthew 26:41:  "Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!"

The first mention of prayer is found in Genesis.

Genesis 4:26 - "And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the LORD."
Despite our heartfelt prayers, things do not always go the way we want. You may lose a loved one or your job.  The relationship you are in may fizzle out.  You pray and yet the outcome seems to be the opposite of what you asked for.  I do not profess to have all the answers, but I know God has made mighty promises to us if we only pray.  He wants to hear about our heartaches and He works in your life for your good if you love Him. 
I love this verse and it brings hope to me.

1 John 5:14-15: "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him."I leave you with this prayer:
Dear Lord, bless those that are reading this today. Place your love in their lives and your peace in their hearts.  Amen.