Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Our Only Hope... Squashed.

Last year the only hope of squash we had was the rogue squash growing on our fence with the neighbor.  Our zucchini did not grow at all -might have been the Preen we used, maybe not.  Last year as the squash on the fence grew larger and larger, and further and further into our yard, our neighbor profusely apologized.  We were a little excited to find out what kind of squash they were.  Then? He squashed our hopes and dreams and tore the vines down and no more squash.
This year, we have massive zucchinis - they are great!  We've used them for zoodles, bread, and muffins too.  But my favorite so far?  Breaded and fried.  Andy decided to make Fried Zucchini Parmesan over noodles with marinara.  Lots of words to say awesome and delicious.  They really were.  I was sad we did not have any ranch dressing or I would have eaten the whole plate sans noodles with marinara.  Naturally the kids were dubious about the whole thing - by they at least tried them.
I'm so thankful I have an Andy who likes to cook, is tall enough to get over the fence to pick the garden veggies, and gets home before me to do all of the above. I'm spoiled - I know.

ask Andy.

Oh OK.... I"ll give it a shot.

First - go to google and google "Fried Zucchini"

Ha ha... right....

Basically dip slices of zucchini in flour, then a beaten egg.  Dip into seasoned breadcrumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese.  Then fry these in vegetable oil until gold brown.
Serve over your choice of noodles with your choice of sauce.

Or... Ranch Dressing....

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake - um yes. The answer is yes.

Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake sounds too good to be true - doesn't it?  sounds like... sure, it'll be vaguely similar to a cinnamon roll, but I doubt it will actually be like a cinnamon roll.  Well folks, this recipe calls for a tube of cinnamon rolls as the crust.  Oh my yes.   The crust!  you mush those rolls down - wait until they are warmed up a little.  I tried them when they were pretty cold and that was a struggle, wait start mixing everything else up - then no struggle with the mushing.
I made this recipe for my mom's birthday.  An icecream cake would have been so cool and refreshing, but traveling for 35 minutes in the car in a 95 degree day?  Yeah, not so much.  I've been there and done that awful horrible thing (and the cake slid all over the platter and almost into my lap).  So dumb.  Hrm... Now I want to make an ice cream cake again - soon!
This recipe is really easy and is not obnoxiously cinnamony.  It also does not make that heavy or thick of a cheese cake so it doesn't feel like you are eating something too rich.  Give it a try - my family polished off an entire one in one sitting - can yours?

Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake
The What...
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
⅓ cup butter, melted
½ cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoon. cinnamon
1 pack refrigerated cinnamon rolls with frosting (8 regular sized)

The How....
1. Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C.
2. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
3. Add the sour cream and vanilla, and beat until there are no lumps.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing completely after each one. Set aside.
5. In another bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon until fully combined. Set aside.
6. In a greased springform pan, press all of the cinnamon rolls flat, until they completely cover the bottom of the pan.
7. Evenly spread the cheesecake batter, then drop spoonfuls of the butter mixture onto the cheesecake batter.
8. Swirl the butter mixture into the cheesecake using a knife (try to keep it away from the edges!).
9. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cheesecake is firm around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the middle. Remove from oven and cool completely.
10. Top with frosting from the cinnamon rolls.
11. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
12. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Buying Good Behavior with Bread Dough

At four years old, Bronwyn has proved to a strong will… oh my strong.  One way I can get her to help out around dinner time is to have her help me in the kitchen.  We were planning to have my folks for dinner the following night to install bathroom cabinets (YAY!) and dinner was on the plan too.  I found a recipe for bread in a bag, for kids to help; I thought we’d give it a try.
I told her as soon as we got home that if she listened and helped where I asked, she got to make the bread, she was so excited.  You see, this girl is food motivated in a way that Nicholas is not.  Nicholas is like Rusty… oh FOOD!!  And he’s there.  Bronwyn?  Eh… take it or leave it.  But if she gets to HELP make it?  She’s there.
She raced around setting the table; then she got to squish all the ingredients in the bag and help knead the dough.  It actually was quite easy to get it all mixed up and in the pan.  She even got to put it IN the oven herself.  It was past her bed time when it came out, but the next night she proudly got to tell everyone that she made the bread.   So fun and well worth the flour all over.

Bread in a Bag
3 C all purpose flour, divided
3 Tbsp white sugar
1 (.25) package rapid rise yeast (2¼ tsp)
1 C warm water
3 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
1½ tsp salt

1. In a Ziploc plastic gallon bag place 1 C flour, sugar and yeast and add in warm water.
2. Squeeze air out of the bag and seal.
3. Squish with your hands until well mixed together.
4. Let it rest for 10 minutes at room temperature. Bubbles will form.
5. Open bag and put in 1 C of flour, oil and salt.
6. Seal bag again and squish until well blended.
7. Add last cup of flour and continue mixing in the same manner until well blended.
8. Remove dough from bag and put onto a lightly floured surface.
9. Knead for 5-10 minutes or until smooth.
10. Divide dough in half and place each half into a greased mini loaf pan. Or make one large loaf.
11. Cover with a towel and allow to rise for about 30 minutes.
12. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until bread is golden brown.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

10 Years of Myrtle Grace Motifs

 10 years ago today - this wide eyed girl started her own company.  She placed a notice in the local newspaper for an assumed business name and hence Myrtle Grace Motifs was created.
Amazing what can happen in 10 years. What started in my bedroom of my childhood home had brought me two homes later, a husband, two kids, and one very happy hound.
We have 102 published patterns (almost double if you count cross stitch and punch needle separate), countless magazine publications, book publications, and special designs for shops.
We've been to many different markets, traveled all over the country, met so many amazing people and called so many dear ones friends.

Thank you!
Thank you to the punchers and to the stitchers.
thank you to the shops and to the other designers.
Thank you to the thread and fabric companies and to the magazines.
Thank you especially to my family, who has loved me and
Thank you all being willing to go on this adventure with me.
I can't wait to see what the future holds, with so many fun things in the works.  I hope it involves meeting more people and making more friends.  That by far has been the best part of this adventure!  Thank you friends!

10 years difference in pictures and I still wear the same earrings... at least I've upgraded my photographer... my 4 year old did a better job than I did. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Catching Grasshoppers and Poor Child Rearing...

Baking for the church youth group dessert auction has become a yearly tradition.  So has finding fun recipes to try that I hope people will like.  This year I did one that I knew would go over well - the Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes - and truly they were a hit.  I also tried a Grasshopper Pie.
First you have to be sneaky - you have to catch about 25 grasshoppers.  If you don't live near somewhere they can be found you can simply go to the store - or send your loving husband and ask him to buy the chocolate mint cookies oddly named grasshoppers.  In our case we shop at Aldi - so they aren't called grasshoppers.  So I have to explain, "You know where the cookies are?   you know how they have Girl Scout wannabe cookies that are amazing?  Look for cookies that look like thin mints - chocolate cookie covered in chocolate with mint."  Imagine if we went to a normal grocery store and I could just say "hey, please pick up some grasshopper cookies" - that would be too easy.
This pie while boosting some pretty heavy ingredients was actually pretty light and minty.  Certainly a nice cool summer treat.  It was fun to have Bronwyn's help with counting the cookies and crushing them.  The up side of her not liking chocolate, no missing cookies.  In other news… my daughter does not like chocolate… was she switched at birth?  Is she un-American?  She used to not like French fries too… crazy talk.

Grasshopper Pie
8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz tub Cool Whip
1 Oreo Crust
1/2  (of a 14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
16 Grasshopper Cookies
Green food coloring

Crush cookies in a large Ziploc bag.  Some large chunks are fine, but you want mostly very small, even crushed pieces.
In the bowl of a mixer, beat cream cheese on medium until smooth.  Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until combined.  Mix in crushed cookies and fold in Cool Whip.  Add food coloring and fold in until desired color is achieved.  Pour into pie shell and chill for at least 4 hours.
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