Thursday, July 25, 2013

Super Birthday Giveaway!

Today is the start of the biggest and best multi blogger giveaway I have ever been involved in!
My fellow blogger, Ashton, from Something Swanky is celebrating her birthday,
and in a big way! Ashton, with some help from her friends, is giving away the birthday presents 
she would like to receive!
What are they?

A Red 5 qt. Kitchen Aid mixer,
 a $300 gift card from Target, 
and 
10 different cookbooks written by bloggers!!

ARE U READY ??!!
Follow the rafflecopter below!


Want to win some of my favorite things?! Here's what's up for grabs:
How can you enter to win all of these goodies (an $800 value!)? Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below by signing in with your Facebook or E-mail account (you're required to use one of those so we can contact you if you win!):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 22, 2013

Best Banana Muffins Ever !!

It is time for Secret Recipe Club reveal today, and this month I was assigned the blog, Eliots Eats. If you haven't read this blog yet, please do so as soon as you can! Debra is the writer, her husband is her inspiration, and her recipes are amazing! For the second month in a row, I choose a Banana Bread recipe. I didn't do this on purpose, but when I saw Debra's recipe for The Best Banana Bread Ever, I had to put it to the test. Another thing I love about this recipe? Coconut Oil substituted for butter. Oh, so good! I made two changes to Debra's original recipe. I left out the chopped pecans, and I made muffins instead of a loaf. Oh, and yes, they are the best banana muffins, ever!


The Best Banana Bread {Muffins} Ever
1/2 cups coconut oil (in solid form)
1 cup sugar
2 large farm fresh eggs
1 cup mashed bananas (2 or 3)
2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together your coconut oil and sugar.
 Mix until creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time. Mix until incorporated.
Add bananas and mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt.
On low speed, mix the flour into the coconut oil and
egg mix. Just mix until incorporated. Do not over mix.
Spray mini muffin pan. Bake muffins for 10-15 minutes.
Remove from pan and let cool for 10 minutes.
Enjoy your muffins!

Thanks Debra for a great recipe!
Check out what everyone else made!!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Red, White and Blue Mini Cupcakes

It's 4th of July! One of my very favorite holidays. I hope you have something fun planned. These cupcakes are easy and quick and they will fit perfectly into your holiday menu! I had fun using the Twizzler red, white and blue licorice strings to decorate.  
Red, White and Blue Mini Cupcakes   
(adapted from BHG)

egg whites 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup butter or shortening, softened 
1 3/4 cups sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla  
1 1/3 cups buttermilk 


Allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until well combined. Add egg whites 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Spread batter into the cupcake liners

  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool thoroughly on racks.



Frosting
6 oz warm water
5 tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
2.25 pounds Confectioners Sugar
Red, white, and blue licorice strings


In a mixing bowl, place the warm water and the meringue powder.
Whisk for 30 seconds.
Add the cream of tartar. Whisk for 30 seconds more.
Pour all the confectioners sugar in the bowl at one time.
Mix on low speed for 10 minutes. Cover with towel to keep frosting fresh.




 Color 1/3 of the cake mix red, and 1/3 of the mix blue.
Add some white cake mix, some red mix, and......


 some blue.


Swirl the colors together.


Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Let cool.


Make your frosting.
 Cut your licorice into small pieces.
Top each mini cupcake with frosting.
Top each cupcake with pieces of the licorice.
Enjoy and celebrate!

Happy 4th of July! 

We are partying here:
Fabulous Fridays! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Got Ground Beef ? You've got a Meal!

This post is courtesy of Instawares food and restaurant blog.


.                                                                        
Four Ways To Prepare Ground Beef Easily



It’s 6:30 p.m., and you’ve just come home from work. The kids are hungry. There’s nothing to prepare. Or is there? If you’ve got ground beef, you’ve got a meal, even if there is little else in the pantry or refrigerator. You might also try these ideas when you have plenty of unique ingredients on hand; your next super-secret, family favorite recipe might be just around the corner, since these recipes encourage substitution and experimentation.


Hamburger Soup

If you have tomato products available, try hamburger soup -- it’ll take the chill off even the coldest winter day. A rich and hearty meal, its preparation is simple: grab a pound (or more) of hamburger meat, brown it in a skillet, then throw it in a large pot. Add a liquid base. Tomato sauce, about five small or two medium cans, works well. So does a medium can of crushed tomatoes or tomato paste mixed with the same amount of water. You can even add two cups of water and a couple of freshly diced raw tomatoes. Bring the soup to a simmer and add vegetables, either canned or fresh. Potatoes, green beans and peas work well, but almost anything you have on hand is fine. Serve alone or with crackers, sliced bread, corn bread, or biscuits.


Meatballs

You need very little to throw meatballs together. Add an egg and a quarter cup of breadcrumbs to each pound of meat you have, shape into balls, and place in a skillet to brown. And if you don’t have eggs, omit them and the breadcrumbs, then shape and brown. Create a sauce while the meat is browning. Start with a cup of catsup and add a quarter cup of soy sauce, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, and a quarter cup of brown sugar. Missing ingredients? Start with the catsup and build a base to taste using ingredients found in your refrigerator, such as sweet mustard, steak sauce, or whatever is on hand. Place the meatballs in the sauce and simmer until they’re cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with a vegetable and potatoes or buttered noodles.


Cheesy Hamburger Patties

You might not keep hamburger buns in the house, but you can still serve hamburger patties. Prepare and season your meat mixture, either with egg or without, then halve it. Create the same number of patties from each half. Now, get creative. Place cheese, cream cheese, jalapeƱos or olives on one half, then place the second half on top and seal by pinching the edges together. Cook the patties on the grill or in a skillet, being careful not to break them open. Serve with a salad, mashed potatoes, chips or vegetables.



Meatloaf

With seasoning, an egg, and ground beef, you can have meatloaf. Mix a pound and a half of meat, an egg, a quarter cup of breadcrumbs (optional) and seasoning in a bowl. Line a medium-sized loaf pan with two slices of bread, which will soak up some of the grease for a leaner meal. Place the meat in a loaf pan and cook for 50 to 55 minutes at 350 degrees. Top with plain catsup or catsup mixed with a touch of brown sugar and serve with vegetables, noodles or potatoes.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

4th of July and the living is easy!

 I love the 4th of July! 
The picnic table over loaded with holiday favorites, swimming and relaxing in the sunshine, water gun and water balloon fights, family and friends coming together to laugh, eat, and tell stories, and the oohs, and aahs as the fireworks show up to magically end the day! What could be better?

Here are a few of the goodies you will find on our picnic table!.

 Have a great 4th!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

S'mores Popcorn!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Today is the Improv Cooking Challenge reveal day! This month's two ingredients~fish and chips! Being a non fish lover, I decided to put a little fun twist on the traditional, and go with graham cracker fish and melted chocolate chips! What I came up with is a S'mores Popcorn, perfect for summer celebrations and campfires!
S'mores Popcorn
1 bag popped Popcorn
16.5 ounces Milk Chocolate Chips
1 cup Graham Cracker Goldfish
1 cup mini Marshmallows
Pop your popcorn.....
and spread your popcorn in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Melt your chocolate chips in a double boiler, 
or in the microwave.
Drizzle your chocolate over the popcorn.
Place your graham cracker fish on top of the chocolate 
drizzle throughout the baking sheet.
I got my graham cracker gold fish by buying a bag of
S'mores goldfish and picking out the graham cracker fish to use.
Then drizzle more chocolate over the popcorn
 and graham cracker fish in the opposite direction 
that you drizzled the first time.
Add mini marshmallows on top of the drizzled chocolate,
just as you did the graham cracker fish.
Drizzle more chocolate over the mini marshmallows,
drizzling every which way, making sure there is plenty
of drizzled chocolate over all of the popcorn.
Let the chocolate set up and dry.
Enjoy your S'mores Popcorn!

Check out the rest of the Improv Cooking Challenge entries:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Banana Mini Muffins

Today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day and I am so excited because this month the blog assigned to me is Canela Kitchen! I love this blog! There are so many recipes to choose from that I changed my mind about 4 times before I finally decided on these Banana Muffins. I made mine "mini muffins" to accommodate my family, but oh boy, these are sooooo good! I know there are a lot of banana muffin recipes out there, but I love trying new ones, and I know you will want to make these!!

Banana Mini Muffins

250 g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
130 g  sugar
75 g butter chilled and grated
1 egg
175 ml milk
  1 medium sized ripe bananas peeled
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Add your flour, baking powder, cinnamon,
sugar and grated butter together in a large bowl.
Stir to coat the butter in the flour mixture.
Beat together the egg and milk and stir into
 the bowl until just blended.
Don't over mix - it should still be lumpy.
Place your muffin cups in your pan,
and add batter. Slice your banana into 1/2"
slices, and cut each slice into quarters.
Place a quarter on top of each cup of batter.
Bake for 15 minutes. 
I used this scale to measure out the ingredients.
It works great when you are making a recipe 
that is measured in grams.
Thanks for joining me today!
Thank you to Gloria from Canela Kitchen for such a great recipe!

Here's what everyone else made:


Monday, May 27, 2013

A Guest Blogger and a Recipe Swap!

Today's the day! Welcome to an Old Fashioned Recipe Blog Swap! I am swapping blogs with Tessa from tessacotton.  She has a fabulous recipe I know you will love! There are 30 different blogs participating! Click on the links of the swap hosts at the bottom of this post to see all of them!


Hey friends! My name is Tessa and I'm so excited to be guest posting here at The Freshman Cook as part of the Good Old Fashioned Recipe Swap. I run the blog over at tessacotton and I've created a simple fish and veggies bake (with a chicken option for those of you who don't care for fish).


Tilapia and Spinach Bake

Ingredients: 
10 oz chopped spinach (fresh or thawed and squeezed)
1 large diced tomato
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (divided)
1 cup bread crumbs (divided)
2 eggs beaten
3-4 pieces tilapia
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbs minced garlic

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 



Combine 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 2 eggs, garlic, tomatoes. spinach, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a med bowl, mix well.



Spread spinach mixture on the bottom of a 9x9 or similar sized pan. Arrange tilapia in a single layer on the spinach. Top with remaining breadcrumbs and shredded cheese.  


Bake 17 min or until fish is flaky and cooked through. There you have it! 
**To make with chicken, preheat oven to 350 degrees, cover dish with foil, bake 35 min, remove foil for last 10 min**


for hosting! Go ahead and click through to one of the hosts to check out all the great blogs participating in this fun recipe swap. 




Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Father's Day Man Cave Giveaway!!!

FATHER'S DAY IS COMING!
I am excited to be joining bloggers and authors Lexie Lane and Becky McNeer, along with a lot of your favorite bloggers in an exciting and fun Father's Day Giveaway! We are giving away cash prizes and 3 people have a chance to win!! So make all the entries to have the best chance! Each entry you make gives you another chance to win!
Have you ever wondered if there is a better way to blog? How to do it? How to do it effectively? Should you do it, or not? Well, a lot of your answers can be found in the new book, "The Blogger's Survival Guide".  This book is not just for new bloggers. Written by Lexie Lane and Becky McNeer, this book will simplify your blogging life! Check out this great book!


Enter below for your chance to win! 
The more entries you make, the more chances you may be a winner!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 20, 2013

Cannoli Cupcakes

Today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day! This month I was the lucky blogger who was assigned the blog Mele Cotte, which is authored by Chris. I had a really difficult time deciding which recipe to choose. There are so many great ones and now I have a lengthy list of Chris's recipes that I will be making in the future! I finally decided to make the Cannoli Cupcakes and I was so glad I did. These cupcakes are just like the Italian pastry, and oh, so tasty!

Cannoli Cupcakes
2 cup cake flour
1 ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cannoli Filling
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
 (drained in a fine-mesh strainer for 2 hours to remove excess liquid)
1 cup mascarpone cheese
½ cup confectioners sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt

Mascarpone Buttercream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
16 oz. Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
4-5 cups confectioners sugar
chopped pistachios

Whisk flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl; set aside.
Cream butter and sugar, mixing until just light and fluffy. 
Add eggs 1 at a time until combined, 
scraping down the bowl after each addition.
Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk 
and vanilla to batter until completely mixed scraping down the bowl as you mix.
  Scoop batter into baking cups filling about 2/3 full. 
Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix filling ingredients using a wooden spoon. 
Cover and refrigerate until ready to fill cupcakes, at least 2 hours.
When ready to fill cupcakes, transfer the cannoli filling into a pastry
 bag fitted with a plain tip.
 Push the tip gently into the bottom of a 
cupcake and squeeze in the filling until the cupcake plumps.
 Continue with the remaining cupcakes.
Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, 
cream butter and Mascarpone until light and creamy.
 Add sugar and continue beating until smooth.
Top with mascarpone buttercream.
Add chopped pistachios.
Chris added a cannolli shell to the top of each of the cupcakes,
and they look so cute!
Thanks for joining me today!
Stop by Mele Cotte and see this great recipe and so many others.

Check out what all the other Secret Recipe Club members made today.