Thursday, May 20, 2010

Homegrown Party Fare

Time to finish up blogging about my little guy's birthday menu. :)  So, for his party on the weekend I was sticking to a pretty strict budget and I thought, why fill everyone up on chips and processed food (the usual party fare) if I can use of my baking skills and the eggs provided by my chickens!  I still had to hit up the grocery store because we aren't harvesting nearly enough strawberries for the fruit salad I made or any other fruits or vegetables in a decent quantity just yet.

Old-fashioned Lemonade
Homemade whole wheat toast with:
Egg Salad & Chicken Salad
Summer fruit and berry salad with Vanilla Yogurt
Soft Pretzel Bites with Whipped Cream Cheese


Old-fashioned Lemonade

10 organic lemons
2.5 cups sugar
2.5 quarts water

Peel lemons and set aside.  Place lemon peels in large bowl and toss with sugar.  Cover and let stand one hour so the sugar absorbs the oils from the peels.

Bring 2.5 quarts water to a boil.  Pour over lemon peels and sugar.  Let stand 20 minutes.

Squeeze juice from lemons and put in pitcher.  Strain out lemon peels while pouring sugar water into pitcher with lemon juice.  Stir to combine and refrigerate.  Serve over ice.

Honey Wheat Toast

Here's the post with the honey wheat bread recipe.  I made this one freestyle instead of in a loaf pan and sliced it into oval slices.  I toasted it under the broiler for a few minutes and served with egg salad and chicken salad.

Egg Salad

12 eggs
2:1 ratio horseradish mustard to mayonaise
paprika (for color)
Flat leaf parsley (snipped/chopped)
sea salt and fresh grated black pepper

Place eggs in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Boil one minute then remove from burner, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.  Place eggs in an ice water bath and then peel when cool.  Mash eggs with two forks and stir in 2 parts mustard to 1 part mayo.  Season with salt and pepper and garnish with paprika and snipped flat-leaf parsley.

Chicken Salad

2 large cans shredded chicken breast in water
1 cup halved red grapes
1 cup chopped gala apples
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
salt and pepper

Combine shredded chicken, grapes, apples, and walnuts in a bowl.  Add mayo to desired consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Summer Fruit Salad with Vanilla Yogurt

1 Gala Apple
1 Granny Smith Apple
1 cup red grapes
1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries
1 cup Organic Vanilla Yogurt

(double for a crowd)

Combine all ingredients except yogurt.  Serve yogurt as a dressing/dipping sauce on the side.

This is also great with sugared walnuts (also good with brown sugar).

Soft Pretzel Bites with Whipped Cream Cheese

Simple!  Just make up this soft pretzel recipe detailed in a past post of mine.  Chop into bit size pieces and serve with whipped cream cheese!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Apple Banana "Cupcakes" with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

What a crazy week!  My son turned four and we had three separate celebrations.  One on his actual birthday, one at his school, and then a big party with family friends on the weekend (followed the next day by MY birthday)!  It's been exhausting!  I have several food-related posts and recipes I want to share from his birthday celebrations and I'm going to kick this off with these delicious Apple Banana Cupcakes.  I found this recipe on (here's the link), I seem to be finding a lot of good recipes there lately! These are kind of like a cupcake/muffin hybrid.  I think it's really the frosting that makes them cupcakes, and the frosting is to die for!  My inspiration for the frosting came from this recipe and you can find my version below.

Apple Banana Cupcakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup shortening (I used butter)
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I omitted this because I didn't have it on hand)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (I used powdered buttermilk during the mixing of the dry ingredients and an extra 1/4 cup milk later on)
  • 1 cup ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 apples - peeled, cored and shredded


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour 24 muffin cups, or use paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and buttermilk. Beat in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Fold in the mashed bananas and shredded apples. Fill each muffin cup half full.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool.


    Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting


    • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
    • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 2-4 tablespoons powdered sugar (to desired sweetness)
    • Dash milk if needed for desired consistency


    1. Melt butter and allow to cool.
    2. In your stand mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, and brown sugar. Beat at speed 4-6. When mixture starts to stiffen, stop mixer and add honey.
    3. Continue to beat and add powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time until light and fluffy. 
    4. Spoon into ziploc bag with your spatula and cut the corner off bag.  Pipe onto cupcakes.  If you have pastry bags available of course that would work too!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread

My new go-to recipe for sandwich bread.  My little guy has been taking P&J's to preschool made with this delicious bread and he loves it!  We've also enjoyed grilled cheese sandwiches on this bread and eggs on toast, yum.  Adapted from this recipe on


  • 3 tsp. dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
Pour warm water over brown sugar in mixing bowl of your stand mixer.  Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow to sit 10 minutes until frothy.  Turn mixer to stir speed and pour in evaporated milk, water, melted butter, and honey.   DO NOT ADD SALT YET!! (Details in a minute).  Add whole wheat flour and all purpose flour 1/2 cup at a time on stir speed.  Once combined turn to speed 2 and knead 8 minutes.  Cover mixing bowl with a tea towel and let the dough rise for 15 minutes.

Here's the part about the salt:  My latest bread trick!  I recently read this post on the Farmgirl Fare blog and the best thing I took away from it was the bit about adding salt after the autolyse.  The autolyse is a resting period given to dough during the kneading stage.  As explained on Farmgirl Fare, salt inhibits gluten development and causes it to tighten.  For this reason the bread should be allowed 15-20 minutes to rest and allow the gluten to develop before the salt is added.

After the 15 minute resting period add kosher salt and knead another 2 minutes on speed 2.  Grease the mixing bowl with butter and turn dough to coat.  Cover mixing bowl with tea towel again and allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes.

Turn dough out onto floured surface and divide into two loaves.  Place in buttered, floured bread pans, sprinkle with flour and allow to rise under tea towels for 30 minutes more.

Preheat over to 375 degrees.  Place risen loaves in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gingerbread Pancakes

Yesterday morning my kids requested pancakes for breakfast.  I was mixing together ingredients and decided I wanted to do something a little special with our pancake batter.  So I threw in some ginger and cinnamon and...yum!  Gingerbread pancakes!  The kids loved them.


4 tbsp. powdered buttermilk
1 tbsp. sugar or honey
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. bakind soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup milk
1 egg slightly beaten
2 tbsp. melted butter

Mix dry ingredients, add wet ingredients.  Mix until combined.  Pour by the 1/4 cup onto 350 degree griddle.  Flip and serve.

These got Izzy's seal of approval!