Thursday, September 25, 2014

Recipes for all!

Oh my! I haven't written in so long. I would apologize, but let's face it, not many people are looking at this blog. Oh well, for those who want recipes that are tried and true, you've come to the right spot. I have had a blast this summer. It was so fun to pick so many Oregon berries. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. I really over did it, when it came to the u-pick farms. And I had my three kids with me, but they were surprisingly happy, chipper little helpers. My oldest was a drill sergeant! DON'T STOP PICKING!!! I got a little frightened. haha. Then of course it was time to pick peaches, apples, pears, and I even got a sweet bundle of Italian prune plums.

This summer was filled with everything from blueberry muffins to peach and blackberry cobbler to triple berry cobbler to apple pie, plum crunch cobbler, and of course apple fritters. I have lost about 75-80 lbs, so to try and keep that off I had to share my treats, which was good for me to get feedback from friends and my family. So I have gathered my favorite recipes from this summer and I will also post some great recipes to kick off Fall.

First up,
Blueberry Muffins: I found a great recipe on Pinterest and it is so good!

*Feel free to use any berries you want in this recipe.

Next up:
Peach and blackberry cobbler:

I just love The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. She has so many wonderful recipes. I was visiting my mother-in-law a few years ago when she showed me this recipe. Ree's recipe is for blackberry cobbler only, but I love the peach added in and of course a triple berry cobbler is perfect too! So, here are the adjustments to make to her recipe. Add whatever berries or fruit you want. Ree says to pour the batter down first and then put the fruit on top. But because I use more fruit I will toss my fruit in a tablespoon of flour, and then I will pour 1/4 of the batter down, then the fruit, and then the rest of the batter and follow the rest of the directions from her recipe from there. 
Try putting them in individual ceramic dishes. Super cute for a party.

Now for Cake!
Lemon Cake with raspberry sauce:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup sour cream

Lemon Curd
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons)
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
3 tbsp butter (I used unsalted)

Lemon Buttercream
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups shortening
12 cups (3 lbs) powdered sugar
3 tsp finely grated lemon zest
6 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp water - plus more to the consistency you want


1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and whisk together.
2.Add eggs, oil and lemon juice. Beat until smooth.
3. Add sour cream and beat until smooth.
4. Bake at 350 degrees in two 8-inch pans for about 25 minutes or until done.

Lemon Curd
1. Combine all ingredients in a double boiler (or in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water, like I did).
2. Heat while stirring constantly with a whisk.
3. It is done when it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. You will be able to tell it has thickened, but I wouldn't say that it's "thick."
4. Refrigerate until cool and thick.

Lemon Buttercream
1. Beat butter and shortening together until smooth.
2. Add 6 cups of powdered sugar, one at a time, beating to combine.
3. Add lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla and combine.
4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat to combine.
5. Add water to get the consistency you want, starting with 1/2 tsp, beat to combine.

To assemble the cake:
1. Divide the cake into four layers by slicing each cake in half.
2. Fill two layers with lemon buttercream and the other two with lemon curd.
3. Frost the outside of the cake.
4. Drizzle the raspberry sauce over each individual piece or add the sauce to each layer of the cake as you assemble it. You can't go wrong either way!

Raspberry Sauce:
12 oz frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 heaping tablespoons cornstarch

1. Thaw raspberries.
2. With a fine wire strainer, use a spoon to press the raspberries so that the seedless pulp falls into a bowl below.  Strain enough pulp to get between 1/3 - 1/2 cup of pulp (I usually get close to the 3/4 cup). (You can skip this step and just use the whole berries, but people at weddings and parties don't like to pick seeds out of their teeth). Add enough water to equal 3/4 cups.
3. In a small saucepan, combine raspberry juice/water, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens (remember it will continue to thicken as it cools).  Remove from heat, set aside.
4. Cool and place in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Turkey Sausage and Kale soup

I love the Fall season. Everything is crisp and cool outdoors and leaves begin to change. I love the warm candles burning in my home, filling every nook and cranny with a wonderful cinnamon smell. But I of course love this season because I get to make all my favorite soups. Starting with this one, my turkey sausage and kale soup.

It is so tasty. Every time I make this soup I find myself tweaking and changing a little ingredient here and there, or adding something new to the pot. I made this soup just yesterday and here is what I came up with:


Turkey sausage and kale soup:

1lb. lean ground turkey sausage
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 medium size onion, small diced
3 stalks celery, with leaves, small chop
3 large carrots chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
olive oil to coat the pan
1 bay leaf
1T. italian seasoning
2 cloves minced garlic
2 large boxes of favorite chicken stock. Broth is ok, but stock really has a greater flavor.
3-4 smallish red or yukon gold potatoes. not peeled. Diced in 1 inch pieces
1 bunch of Italian kale. regular kale is just great if you can't find italian. I find the Italian Kale holds up fabulously and doesn't get mushy. Washed and then remove the stem from the kale leaves. You can do this by cutting around each stem. But I find the quick and easy way to do it is grab the bottom of the stem between your first and second finger and hold onto the leaf and pull all the way down till it naturally comes off. Slice the kale into thin strips.
1 small box of dried cheese tortellini, frozen works well too.
2c. of whole milk, 1/2 &1/2, or 1c. cream
1c. heated through marinara sauce
1c. mozzerella/Parmesan cheese mix

Start by heating up a large pot over medium-med. high heat. Add a tablespoon or two of good olive oil to the pan and break the sausage into pieces into the pot. Cook the sausage till browned and cooked through. Then add in the onion, carrot, and celery. Let them saute for several minutes till translucent. Add in the salt and pepper along with the bay leaf, seasoning, and minced garlic. You add the garlic now and not before so you don't burn the garlic. Me no likey burned garlic. As my son says, "dats bleh mom!"

As the ingredients develop their full flavor, get your chicken stock ready. Then add the stock to the pot, turn the heat down to low, cover and let simmer for 2 hours. Then add your potatoes and let simmer on low for another hour, till tender.

Now you are ready for that healthy and delicious kale! Haha. Kale, it's good stuff, amiright? Even my kids ate it. I didn't even have to force them! And then grab your tortellini. You will cook these two last ingredients together in the pot because they take about the same amount of time. If it's dried tortellini it will be about 11-14 min. Once this is done add in your milk or cream to the soup. Stir and you are ready to serve it up!

Heat through some marinara sauce on the stove in a separate small sauce pot. Add a little bit of that extra italian seasoning to it too! Remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl. Serve each bowl of soup with a spoonful of the sauce and a sprinkle of the cheese.

There you have it! Delicious and somewhat healthy fall soup. The little addition of milk or cream gives the illusion that it's a rich soup, but the majority of it is broth! You can add or subtract any of the veggies you want/don't want. I love throwing in some zucchini or broccoli. But don't add them till you do the kale/tortellini otherwise it will be mushy. Mushy me no likey!

I hope you all enjoy this wonderful Fall season. I know I will!