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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, June 30, 2015

Vanilla Cupcakes with Greek Yogurt and Lemon Yest, topped with Fresh Marion Berry Buttercream

We are having a bit of a heat wave here...the real ugliness starts tomorrow with some triple digit temps. I am not excited about it. My daughter texts me while I am on my way home from work, and tells me that she wants to make cupcakes. I text back..."seriously it is 90+ out and you want to turn on the oven?" "Are you high". Pretty sure those are close to my exact words. She was and so we did. She had a recipe that called for a few things that I didn't have, but what I did have worked real well.
For the cupcakes: 1 3/4 cups cake flour 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 plain Greek yogurt 1/2 cup milk (I used 2%) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 large egg whites, at room temperature 1 stick (4 ounces) butter, melted and cooled 1 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
In a mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients and set aside in a smaller bowl add your wet ingredients yogurt, egg whites, vanilla, lemon juice and zest and mix together. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and blend. Then add your wet to your dry and mix until batter is smooth.
Preheat your oven to 350 degree and line a regular size cupcake pan with paper liners. Fill each cupcake 2/3 full of batter. Bake in preheated oven for roughly 16 min. Toothpick check to make sure they are done and remove from oven and from pan. Place cupcake on cooling wrack and allow to cool. This is a small batch recipe and makes roughly 12 cupcakes. Perfect for a little gathering of friends.
For the Marion Berry Buttercream: 1 cup Marion Berries 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 sticks (4 ounces) butter, VERY soft, pinch salt (do not skip!) 2 cups confectioners sugar (more if needed), sifted. Into a small bowl add your marion berries and 1 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Mash them until really, really pulverized or use your immersion blender. Then pour through a strainer you want all the juice but none of the seeds. Use a spoon to work it through the strainer if you must. Then into a separate bowl place the soft butter, and pinch of salt and whip together. Add confectioners sugar 1/2 cup at a time and alternate with slowly drizzling in marion berry puree. Get your buttercream the consistency you want by adding more confectioners sugar or more marion berry puree. You have to gauge how stiff you want your frosting. You may not use all of the puree. If you store the cupcakes in the fridge take them out about 30 minutes before serving.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Granola in a snap

I haven't made granola in a long time so I thought I should make up a small batch...for one I had oats in the pantry that needed something done with them and two well granola goes so well with everything from milk, yogurt to ice cream.
Into a large bowl pour in 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats. The dried fruit I added to the oatmeal was 1/2-3/4 cup large shaved flake unsweetened coconut, 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds and a handful of walnut pieces. Into a large measuring cup or small bowl add 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup pure maple syrup a good pinch of salt, cinnamon, 2 Tlb dark brown sugar and a 1 tsp. vanilla extract or maple extract or whatever you think might go best with the dried fruit and nuts your adding and 2-4 Tlb of coconut oil. Mix this well and slightly heat if needed to melt the coconut oil. Pour this over your oatmeal, fruit and nut mixture and blend well. Make sure to coat all of the oatmeal. Spread the granola on a cookie sheet and bake in a 300 degree preheated oven for 30 min.? make sure you go in and check the granola and turn it making sure that it all becomes nice and golden brown. When cooled put granola in an airtight jar. It will keep for a couple of weeks...It won't last that long, but it could.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Blueberry & Raspberry Cobbler

The berries came in early this year and I wasn't able to get out into the fields and pick any strawberries this year. I managed to get a handful of blueberries and maybe, if I am lucky, I will get back out to the farm and pick some raspberries and anything else I can get my hands on.
I made this cobbler from last season's berries that I had frozen in my deep freezer. I think frozen berries work perfect for cobblers. Cobblers are the perfect dessert for busy days. They have minimal ingredients and you don't need to dirty a lot of dishes to make one.
For the Blueberry cobbler you will need 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 cup sugar (divided), 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2-2/3 cup milk (I used 2/3), 1/2 cup butter (melted), 3 cups blueberries and raspberries (fresh or frozen) and 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 2 qt. baking dish. Into the bowl with your berries mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1 Tlb fresh lemon juice and set aside. If your berries are extra juicy add 1-2 tsp of corn starch to the berries and sugar. Into another bowl add the remaining cup of sugar, 1 cup of flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, mix ingredients together then add the melted butter 1/2 cup of milk (always start with less add more if needed)and mix together to make your batter. Pour the batter into your greased 2 qt. baking dish and top with the berries. Slide it into your preheated oven and let it bake for 35-45 min. (depends on your oven and dish) Mine took a little longer than 45 min. Keep an eye on it.
This was the perfect dessert to finish our extremely busy day of berry picking, household chores and yard work.
Super delicious. Hope the rest of your week is wonderful.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Chicken Caesar Salad

We are having a run of hot weather here and even though you don't want to cook people have to eat, so you have to come up with something light yet satisfying.
Caesar Salad is about as simple as it gets. Into a large bowl you place about 6 cups of rinsed, dried and course chopped Romaine lettuce. Add to the lettuce about 1/3 cup (don't overdue the dressing you don't want soggy lettuce)good creamy Caesar dressing and toss to coat the lettuce. Add some shredded Parmesan cheese and toss again.
Make or buy some big rustic croutons for your salad. I made some from some of my leftover bread...simply cut big chunks of bread and toss with some olive oil and seasoning and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place in an oven that has been preheated to 350 and bake them until they are crispy and golden brown. Don't forget to turn them over during baking.
You can either use precooked chicken or you can grill or broil a couple of chicken breast halves your self. If you cook your own be sure you don't over cook them and let them rest for a couple minutes before cutting into chunks and topping your salad. I prefer making my own chicken for cost and flavor. Add some more shredded Parmesan cheese and your croutons. Chicken Caesar Salad is super easy, super fast and super delicious.
This is a simple meal that goes together in a flash. Less time in the kitchen is a good thing on a hot night.