Saturday, July 30, 2011

Classic Madeleines

Madeleines are a classic French pastry.  Technically it is a cake batter, but once they are baked it becomes a cross between cake and cookie.  Originally, I was going to post this recipe as the cookie for Cookie Corner for August.  Then I started thinking, it really is a cake. Besides a have a "cool" idea for August's cookie.

It is an easy treat to make.  It can be modified with different extracts and fruit zests. Also think about adding cocoa powder or mini chocolate chips to the batter.  All very delicious.

To make Madeleines you need a Madeleine pan.  It is a metal mold with a scallop shape.  You can find them at any bakeware supply store, and they are inexpensive.  My pan was $10.00 and can make 12 standard size cakes. You can find mini scallop shape pans which make 24 at a time.  The recipe for today is for the standard size.

recipe (adapted from Epicurious) makes about 20

2 large eggs
2/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon zest (or orange zest)
pinch of salt
1 c. flour
10 T. butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter and flour pan; set aside.  In a large bowl combine sugar and eggs.  Add vanilla and lemon zest. Slowly add flour and salt until just combined.  With a mixer on low speed, gradually add the cooled butter in a steady stream.  Mix until just blended.  Fill mold with a scant tablespoon of batter.  Bake for 13 to 16 minutes, until the edges are just turning golden brown.   Allow to cool for a minute in the pan, and them transfer to a wire rack.  Once completely cooled, dust with powder sugar.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Birthday Journals

I have had a secret for a long time.  It's nothing too juicy.  Ever since Adam turned one, I would write him a letter on his birthday.  In the letter I would tell him why I was proud of him. I would mention special moments or accomplishments.  I continued to do so for Brandon as well. 

My letters were simply on notebook paper, and put into an envelope.  I put the envelopes in their baby books.  I have never mentioned this to anyone, not even my mom (who I tell everything).  I figured someday when they are grown up, I would give them the letters.  Life is so rushed and sometimes little moments can be forgotten. I never want my children to forget how much I love them.  I want them to know that I took the time each year to write them a letter, because I am so honored to be their mom. I also want my boys to see their lives from my perspective as they were growing up.

So about a month ago, a friend of mine turned me onto a series of books.  One of things in the book that struck a chord with me was the anniversary journal.  The couple would write to each other every year on the their anniversary.  Through hard times and good times, they had those thoughts and feelings documented.  It was reflective for the couple to be able to read the journal through the years.  It helped them to remember the little things that made their relationship. 

I decided to make my letters a little prettier, and more organized.  I bought two journals, one for each boy.  I will put the previous letters in the journal, and will continue to use the journal for the future.  One day I will give the "birthday journals" to my boys.  I hope it will be reflective for them too.  Perhaps it will be a tradition to pass along, as it was in the novel.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bluberry Crumble Muffins

I love a good muffin, and I love an excuse to make one.  I actually make muffins quite often.  They are great for breakfast, or the kids split one for a snack.  So, a couple of days ago, my husband brought home fresh blueberries from work.  I asked what he wanted me to make with them, and he said blueberry muffins.

The request was simple enough.  However, I didn't want to make just another plain blueberry muffin.  I decided to make a blueberry crumble muffin.  The recipe is a scratch one, but don't let that scare you. This is so simple and the outcome is so impressive.

The texture on this muffin is soft and fluffy, if that makes sense for a muffin.  While it has a fabulous crumb topping, the muffin itself won't crumble on you; that's because of the yogurt in it.  Also, for those who are keeping track, this is one for my bakery someday.

Linking to these parties.


2 C. flour
1 T. baking Powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 C. superfine sugar
2 large eggs
1 C. plain or vanilla yogurt
6 T. butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. blueberries


1/2 C. flour
3 T. cold butter
2 T. superfine sugar

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  In a small bowl combine the ingredients for the crumble. Working with your fingers, rub the mixture together until it is the consistency of bread crumbs or Parmesan cheese.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, butter, and vanilla.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet.  Combine until a soft dough forms, do not over mix.  Carefully fold in blueberries.

Scoop batter evenly into a 12 cup greased muffin tin.  Spoon crumble topping over each muffin, pressing slightly into the dough.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fried Ice Cream

Like the rest of the country we have been suffering with unbearable temperatures.  So what do you do when it is so hot??? Go out for ice cream, of course.  Here in Oneonta, we have so many options. There are the popular chain ice cream franchises and our favorite the mom n pop stands.  We decided on the Golden Gurnsey. 

My absolute favorite item there is fried ice cream.  So I get to the counter order for the kids and Jay, no problem, then order for myself and PROBLEM!  There are out of fried ice cream.  I stood there for a moment contemplating another choice, and then decided on nothing.  I was pouting, if I couldn't have the fried ice cream, I wasn't going to have anything at all.

I was really crabby about it the rest of the night.  Then it hit me, make it yourself.  I have done it before, but the heat must of fried my brain and I forgot.  So the next morning I made the ice cream balls; let them set up in the freezer.  Last night we all enjoyed fried ice cream.

It is really simple.  It takes a few steps and a little planning, but it's not rocket science.  I'm not sure exactly how other people make their fried ice cream, but this is my take on it.


2 C. Corn Flakes, plain
2 T. Sugar
2 tsp. Cinnamon
Vanilla Ice Cream
1 Flour Tortilla
Whipped Cream and Dessert Topping for garnish

In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.  Take half of the cinnamon sugar, and in a food processor combine sugar and corn flakes. Pulse until you have a fine crumb.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment or waxed paper.  Using a standard ice cream scoop, about 1/2 c., scoop balls of vanilla ice cream.  With your hands quickly form a round ball about the size of a baseball.  Then roll immediately into cornflake mixture, coating evenly.  Place on cookie sheet and freeze for several hours. (This should be enough crumb for 4 servings.)

When you are ready to serve dessert, heat about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in a skillet.  Cut the flour tortilla into eight wedges. (I use a pizza cutter to make quick even pieces.)

Fry the tortilla in hot oil for about 30 seconds per side.  Fry only a few pieces at a time so you don't crowd the pan.  Lay on paper towels and dust with remaining cinnamon sugar while they are hot.

Next it's just assembly.  Place a few tortilla pieces on a plate, put ice cream ball on top, and drizzle with dessert topping and whipped cream. 
Linking to these parties.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Triple Chocolate Brownies

It is so hot outside, I can't even think about turning on the oven to whip up a new creation.  So here's an old favorite with a new little twist.

We were invited over to a friend's house to swim and cool off.  I received the invite early enough in the day, I was able to bake for a just a bit.  I went back to an old favorite, fudgy brownies, but made them triple chocolate fudgy brownies.

It was simple enough to do. I kept the same basic brownie recipe and added three different chocolate chips to it.  They were a hit, and the only unhealthy snack at the swim date.  I did have a little guilt bringing out the treat while everyone else had carrots or fruit. Oh well, that's what summer is for; little treats!

recipe (serves 12)

1 stick of butter
1 c. flour
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. chocolate (I used milk chocolate chips)
1 1/4 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
add ins: 1/2 c. each of white, milk, and semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter, cocoa powder, and 8 oz. chocolate chips over a double boiler. Set aside to cool a bit. Cream sugar and eggs until fluffy. Slowly add the cooled chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Add dry ingredients until just mixed. Fold in three different kinds of chocolate chips. Bake in a greased 9x9 pan for 42 to 45 minutes. Be careful not to over bake. The edges will be slightly crispy but the center should be a little soft.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tracy's Strawberry Pie

Several years ago, my sister-in-law Tracy made a strawberry pie that I fell in love with.  She told me it was very simple, which is what I need.  Although I can bake a mean cupcake or a fabulous cookie, pies still elude me.  My pies come out with only 50% accuracy.

Well, this pie is easy and Lisa proof.  It starts with a ready made pie crust that you just thaw and bake.  Then if you can measure ingredients and slice strawberries you can make this pie. 

So when I was home in Buffalo a couple of weeks ago, I asked Tracy if she was making the pie anytime soon.  I've wanted to post this recipe since I started the blog, but I needed pictures.  Of course I could just make the pie and take my own photos, but then I would most likely consume the whole pie myself.  That would not be good for my waistline!

Tracy was not making the pie soon, so I immediately started thinking of an excuse to make it myself.  Enter in dinner with friends this evening.  We are grilling simple burgers and hot dogs, so I figured this would be a light refreshing ending to dinner.  I made the pie yesterday, took pictures for the blog, and of course sampled one piece. (I had to make sure it still tasted as I remembered ;o)


ready made 9 inch frozen pie crust
4 C. strawberries
1/2 C. plus 2 T. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1/2 C. cold water
1 T. butter
dash of salt
1 T. lemon juice

Thaw and bake pie crust according to package instructions.  Allow to cool completely.  Sort through berries, reserving about a dozen nice looking berries. 

Hull and slice the remaining berries and crush slightly. 

In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch with the water.  Add cornstarch mixture with crushed berries and sugar in a medium stock pot.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and becomes clear.

waiting to thicken
Add butter, salt, and lemon juice.  Stir until completely combined.  Allow to cool completely.

Slice the remaining strawberries in half.  Line the cooled crust with berries.  Pour cooled filling over strawberries and crust. 

Refrigerate and serve with whipped cream!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Celebrate Your Child's Art

We are back from vacation, and I'm just a little bit tired.  I have a new respect for my parents.  When we were little and wanted to keep going at amusement parks, my parents never let on how tiring it is.  They made it look so easy.  We are planning a Disney trip, but I think I need a few more years to prepare for it!

I had planned on posting this last week, but had some technical difficulties at the hotel with our WiFi connection.  Oh well, so here it is today.

When my oldest son brought home his Kindergarten art portfolio, I was impressed.  He seems to have some abilities when it comes to painting.  Now I will admit, I am probably biased.  However, most of the painting was really good.  One piece that Jay and I really loved was his still life of flowers in a vase.  This is the same piece that made it into the art show for the school district. 

I decided to frame this painting.  I was looking for a new art piece for our family room.  I painted the room several months ago, to a very neutral grayish white.  The walls definitely needed a pop of color.  Then I found myself staring at Adam's painting and it hit me.  I will celebrate him and his talents by framing it and hanging it proudly in our home.

I found an inexpensive frame and with a slight trim, voila!  I hung it up, and just watching the smile spread across Adam's face was priceless.  He kept asking me that whole night, if I want him to paint any other paintings for the house.  He was proud and so was I.

So the little tip for today, is find a piece of art your child is proud of and display it.  It can be a painting, drawing, or a craft.  Use a frame or shadow box to show off your child's creativity.  You can also change it out.  Use a standard paper size like 8" x 10", then when your child has made a new masterpiece just switch it out. 

Displaying their art will give them confidence and encourage more creativity.  Not to mention it is a conversation starter when guests come to visit!

Adam at the art show

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thanks To All Who Voted!

I have had so much fun writing this blog for the past year.  I have met some really great fellow bloggers, and it has given me the opportunity to express myself.  Among meeting great bloggers, I have also won some awards. 

The most recent award was from Lamb Around. I won 2nd place in best of the best in show.  Thanks to all who voted for me.  Also thank you to everyone who has supported My Little Blogspot!

Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wholesome Wednesday (Easy Pasta Salad)

It's been a while since we had a visit from Wholesome Wednesday.  Honestly, I haven't been preparing too many "healthy" dishes.  With jumbling of schedules for the summer, dinners have been quick and easy (and on the convenient side, if you know what I mean).  I am back on track now both physically and mentally.  So here's a quick and easy summer pasta salad. It can accompany a grilled item or serve as a quick lunch.


8 oz. pasta, any shape
1/2 c. mozzarella pearls, found by the fresh mozzarella
1 c. vine ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 c. prepared Lite Italian salad dressing of your choice
salt and pepper to taste

Cook and drain pasta according to package instructions.  Allow to cool.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  Refrigerate for several hours.  Can be made a day in advance.