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Just a simple gal living on the outskirts of Portland making ends meet. I have lived in Portland for over 20 years and I am happy to call it home. On this blog you will find everything from cooking to my crazy life. I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Coconut cupcakes with Lemon Frosting

So last weekend was the daughters birthday. Most likely the last one she will be living at home for. I decided to make something different with a lot of flavor, so I made up coconut cupcakes with lemon frosting.
Start by creaming together 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar and 4 eggs. Add eggs one at a time.
In a separate bowl combine 3 cups of all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. baking powder. In a measuring cup pour 3/4 cup of milk and 1-2 tsp. coconut extract (I used 1/2 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup buttermilk). Alternate between the dry ingredients and wet and mix into butter and sugar mixture. If the cake mix is a little too thick for your liking you can add up to another 1/4 milk or buttermilk.
Fold into cake batter roughly one cup of toasted coconut. I used sweetened shredded coconut that I toasted on a parchment lined cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven.
We did cupcakes. I love the stuff in this Etsy shop
I baked the cupcakes in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
Just waiting for the frosting.
The lemon frosting was a cinch. Combine in a bowl 1 cup very soft butter, 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, for desired consistency
The final touch was a little coconut sprinkled on top. Perfection.
I halved the cake recipe and frosting recipe for this occasion and it still made 14 regular sized cupcakes and the halved frosting recipe covered them perfectly with just enough left over in the bowl for me to taste.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Burger Mac

Last night called for comfort food. It is cold out and I had made a loaf of bread the day before that was begging to be finished off with something hearty and saucy. I haven't had this since I was a kid, which was so long ago I can't remember when it was that I had it, or who's house I had it at. It is super simple, tasty and saucy.
Over medium heat you brown a pound of ground beef, breaking it apart as it cooks.
Add to the beef one medium onion diced and two cloves of garlic peeled and minced. Cook until the onion is translucent.
Then add 1 1/2 cups water.
Then add one regular can of tomato sauce.
Add a regular can of diced tomatoes (juice included). Also add to taste salt and pepper and 1 to 2 Tlb of Italian seasoning (whatever you have). Give it a stir and let it simmer covered for about 20 minutes. Stir is occasionally.
After it has simmered for twenty minutes add 1 cup elbow macaroni (I used the large type), stir it in let it simmer for another 20 minutes covered. Stir it from time to time.
TaDa! Comfort food at its finest. I served it up in bowls with just a tiny sprinkle of parmesan cheese, crusty homemade bread and a side of roasted sweet potatoes. Sublimely satisfying and delicious.
Work has been crazy and there has not been a lot of free time for cooking lately, but I promise something wonderful comes this way soon. I am cooking up a dinner party this Saturday for friends so make sure to look for that post.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year

Around here the new year started with a quiet little bang. We stayed up until midnight which has got to be a first for me in many years. We were watching a movie it didn't end until 11:30 p.m. we figured "Hey while were up we should ring in the new year" The neighbors were still lighting off fireworks when we crawled into bed around 12:05 a.m. The funny thing I was back up at 5:30 a.m. the next morning I guess I have plenty of time to sleep when I am dead.
Time to get back on track with my portion control and eating. I swear during the holidays I misbehaved every way possible and had absolutely no self control. I have reset my goals (bumped things up a bit) and am back on track starting today and for the new year. Now if the weather would just cooperate with me and be less cold and wet I would happily be out riding.
I did roast a beautiful chicken for our New Years Day dinner, and it was all made possible by being able to have fresh herbs straight from the garden even this time of year.
I heated the herbs up with some butter to infuse their wonderfulness into the butter, so when I basted the chicken it got the full flavor of the herbs.
Roasting a chicken is easy you basically season it and slide it into a well preheated oven (I roasted mine at 350) for a hour and a half to two hours depending on your oven and temp and size of bird.
I wanted to make a dessert on New Years Day, but we went for a hike to enjoy the frosty air and sunshine.
Two of my favorite guys! I let them lead, that way I can take photos of obscure ice formations that don't turn out.
Is that not one of the cutest faces on the planet? Right now those eyes are beseeching me to let him off the lead so he can follow the scent of a deer, coyote, squirrel, rabbit, chipmunk, slug to the ends of the earth...That's a big not.
We hiked for roughly three hours, which was about all my poor feet could handle.
It really was a perfect day for a hike.
For my delayed dessert I made a slab pie, and I was impressed at how simple it was. No recipe was needed for this. Basically what you do is make a pie crust for a two crust pie and add some filling (I used some of my home canned jam). It worked like a charm and the bf was amazed at the flavor.
So you put all your butter, shortening, salt, sugar (I added some raw sugar) flour into the bowl of your food processor and give it a whirl until you have crumbs.
Add your liquid.
TaDa!(should be a word) you have pie dough.
My kitchen helper today is Katsu!
Cut the dough so one chunk is a little larger.
Roll the larger half of dough out first. I did a circle, but you could do a square or oblong it doesn't really matter.
spread your fruit filling onto the dough leaving about an inch of edge. I used 2/3 cup of my homemade and canned jumbleberry (this is a word in my world) jam. I could have used just a smidge more, but decided err on the side of caution the first go round.
Roll out the top of your slab pie.
Place the top on and fold over the edge and crimp it with a fork. Poke some fork holes in the top (being careful not to poke all the way through to the bottom) Brush the top with some milk (or egg) and sprinkle with some additional raw sugar.
Bake in 400 degree oven until the bottom is golden brown.
It was wonderful and easy to make and tasted like a poptart should. As a matter of fact if you have kids and they like poptarts don't let them anywhere near this or you will be cranking one of these out of the oven every morning.
I have spent the long weekend going through things and getting a box of odds and ends together for the consignment shop, working on a healthier menu for next week, cleaning, sorting and throwing away things. I purchased this years day runner yesterday and I need to work on that. I am currently sorting through recipes some I have collected with good intent only to decide that I am never going to make/bake this or that. I have a brand new shiny recipe box (thanx again K.B. I love it) that I need to organize and fill. I read my first dyed in the wool romance novel in over twenty years this holiday break...Fiola, I loved it! Keep up the good work. I don't do resolutions because in my opinion that is a sure fire way to jinx yourself. What I am going to do is try and be kinder to myself and others...lets see how that works out.