Thursday, January 19, 2012

Improv Challenge~Simple Lemon Pound Cake

This months Improv Cooking Challenge is upon us again!! This month our two products to use are  Lemon and Sour Cream. A lot of different recipes went thru my head. I thought about dips, certainly appropriate for all the football parties going on everywhere. I considered some type of bread, but I just wasn't sure. I finally decided on a Lemon Pound Cake that I have baked several times in the past.  It's a simple cake, and if you are a lemon lover, it's perfect!

Simple Lemon Pound Cake 
(adapted from Southern Living)

1 cup Butter, softened
2 1/2 cups Sugar
6 large Eggs, separated
3 cups Flour
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
8 oz. Sour Cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Lemon Extract
2 tablespoon Grated Lemon Rind
1/2 cup Sugar
Confectioners Sugar

Prep Work:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Make sure your butter is softened.
Separate your eggs, into 2 different bowls
 Mix your baking soda into the flour.
Grate your lemon rind.
Grease and flour pan.
Cream your butter on medium speed.
Add your sugar, and beat, still on medium for 4-5 minutes.
I don't have any pictures of this, but add your egg yolks only,
1 at a time, beating after each one.
Now, we are going to add flour and sour cream alternately.
Starting with the flour and baking soda mixture, 
add some to your butter mix.
I usually scoop 2 spoonfuls each time.
Let the mixer mix in the flour mix.
Add a spoonful of sour cream.
Alternate with each until it has all be added.
You don't have to stop the mixer each time, but you 
might want to when you are adding the sour cream.
You don't want to be hit by flying batter!
Because you started with the flour,
the last thing in should be the last of the flour.
Add your lemon extract and vanilla extract.
Add your grated lemon rind.
Mix well.
Now we are going to make meringue.
If you don't have another mixer, put your batter in 
a large bowl until you are done making the meringue.
In your bowl, add your egg whites. 
Beat until foamy.
While the whites are mixing, add the sugar,
1 tablespoon at a time, until the peaks are stiff.
Gently fold the meringue into the batter. 
Pour batter into prepared pan.
 Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.
Let cool on rack for 10 - 15 minutes, 
then remove from pan.
Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
Cake can  be served warm or room temperature.

Don't forget to check out what everyone else
made with Lemon and Sour Cream!!

Improv Challenge

Linking to these Great Parties:
Check 'em out!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Secret Santa Surprise! and My First Giveaway!

During the holidays I participated in some Secret Santa fun 
put together by Tandy from Lavender and Lime.
It was so much fun, 
and I want to share my surprise from my Secret Santa.

It's a book called The Flavor Thesaurus! It is an absolutely wonderful gift! The book is "a compendium of pairings, recipes and ideas for the creative cook." It discusses 99 different flavors and different pairings that go well with each flavor. For instance, the book names Nutmeg as a flavor, and then gives you 21 foods that are compatible with nutmeg. They range from the traditional, such as apples to the unusual, or not so commonly known fact that nutmeg can be paired with cabbage. Who would have thought? Ok, probably a lot of people, but not me! The book also explains why the two go well together. In the pairing of nutmeg and cabbage, the book tells you that the "nutmeg can have an enlivening effect on dreary greens. Dot cooked cabbage with butter and speckle them, like bare winter trees decked in fairy lights, with freshly grated nutmeg". Is that great writing, or what?

I love to create my own recipes, and sometimes I like to TRY to meander a little outside my comfort zone. This book is a big help in that area. I have already created 2 new recipes based on the info from the book, so I know that it will get a lifetime of use. 

Who was my secret santa?  It was Bexx fromThe Divas Dishes!! If you haven't stopped by her blog, please find the time to do so. It's a wonderful blog with stories of her crazy life, her career, her love of food, her recipes, and lots of humor! I know you will enjoy it!! Thank you Bexx for a book that I not only love, but am truly using.

Because I loved getting this book for the holidays, I have decided to have my first ever giveaway!!! Yah!!
I am giving away this book:
I  own a copy of this appetizer cookbook, and I love it! I am an appetizer lover, and this book has over 450 great appetizer recipes. Also included is a 1 year subscription to Better Homes and Gardens!
To enter:
Leave me a comment, telling me what your favorite appetizer is.
Last day to enter is Sunday, January 22!
Winners will be notified by email. I will contact you via the email address you enter with.
You will have 48 hours to reply.
Sorry, US residents only. You must be 18 or over.

Hope to hear from you!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Souper Simple Soup

My husband loves soup. I, on the other hand, can take it or leave it. For me, it is usually too warm here to enjoy it. But, we have lived in cold climates in the past, and we both grew up in a cold climate, so maybe that's why when it's winter, or even just a little chilly outside, my husband feels the need to sip on some soup. This soup is his soup of choice. It is simple and quick to make, so I always try to have the ingredients at home, ready to go.
Souper Simple Soup
2 large cans of Chicken Broth
8 oz. Corn Niblets
1/2 pound Chicken Breast
1/2 of a small Onion
4 Handfuls of Egg Noodles
3 medium Mushrooms
Black Pepper
Open the two cans of Broth into a large pot.
Set your heat on medium.
Peel your onion and cut the onion in half.
Slice the onion.
Turn your onion sideways and slice again.
Now it's chopped.
 Add the onion to your pot.
Add the corn also.
I was going to add onion. It's not something I usually
put in the soup, but my husband likes mushrooms, and
I had a few that had over stayed their welcome in the fridge.
But, as soon as my husband saw the mushrooms,
he said in a slightly suspicious voice,
"What are you doing with the mushrooms?"
When I told him, he kindly asked me not to put them in his soup,
so I didn't, and the mushroom were sent to 
be sauteed at dinner.
Shred the chicken breast into small bite size pieces,
and add it to the soup.
Add in your handfuls of noodles.
Let the soup cook on high for about 5-6 minutes.
Add pepper to the top of the soup.

Thanks for joining me today!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Elvis!

Today we are celebrating the birthday of Elvis Presley. The KING would be 77 today! Can you believe it?! I have read that Elvis loved Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches. So I thought that a version of that sandwich would be a way to honor the exceptional singer, musician, and person that the world still does, and will always love.

 Biscoff and Banana Sandwich
Pretty easy ingredients!
1 Banana
Biscoff Spread
2 pieces of White Bread
Pan Spray
Spray the pan with pan spray. I mean, I know we are using butter
also, but there is no reason to put it in the pan too.
Every little bit helps!! Right?
Spread the bread with butter, and place it in the pan,
butter side down, Spread the other side of the bread
with biscoff. I used a generous amount!
Smush the banana in a bowl.
Spread that banana over the biscoff spread that is
on the piece of bread in the pan.
Take your second piece of bread and spread butter
on it. Place the bread, butter side up on the bananas
and biscoff.
Grill until golden brown on both sides.
The taste is unbelievably delicious!
I'm sure Elvis would approve.
Happy Birthday Elvis!
You are forever young!

Thanks for joining The Freshman Cook today!
Stop by again tomorrow!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Crazy Cooking Challenge~Chicken Noodle Soup

Today for the Crazy Cooking Challenge we were asked to find a Chicken Noodle Soup recipe posted on the web from a fellow blogger. After we find the recipe, we are to make the recipe ourselves, and then post about it. This is so much fun! I spent a lot of time looking for the perfect recipe, and I think I found it. My recipe is from Fields of Cake and Other Good Stuff. It is beautifully written by Carrie Lynn, and it has some really great recipes, and some wonderful photography to go with it. Stop by and browse her blog. It has a great tutorial on how to cover a round cake with fondant (something I need help with), a snickers cake I want to make for a friend who is a snickers fanatic, and several drink recipes that look scrumptious! I think that there is no greater comfort food than chicken noodle soup, and even the name of this soup agrees with me!!

Heart of My Heart Chicken Noodle Soup
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning
Pinch Salt
3-4 Grinds Black Pepper
1 pound Boneless Chicken (cut into 1/2" chunks)
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, diced
10 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Celery Ribs, diced
3 medium Carrots, diced
1 teaspoon fresh Rosemary
2 cups dry White Wine
5 14 ounce cans low sodium Chicken Broth
3 teaspoon Better than Bouillon Chicken flavor
1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme, chopped

  1. In small bowl, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. 
  2. Mix in the chicken chunks.
  3. In a large soup pot (please no non-stick on this, you want the good caramelization bits from cooking to enhance the flavor of your broth however it will still be tasty in a nonstick) heat the oil over medium heat and add the chicken. Cook until juices run clear. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add the veggies and rosemary. Saute until fragrant.
  5. Add the wine to the pan of veggies and scrape up all of those tasty bits from the bottom of the pan. You may notice the wine get very dark. That is OK, it is delicious! Once the bottom of your pan feels free of the bits, add the remaining chicken broth to the pot, along with the bouillon. Raise heat to medium high. Bring to a boil.
  6. When it is at a boil, add the noodles, boil for 5 minutes and add the chicken, boil another 3 minutes. Turn heat to low and add thyme. (I would have added fresh chopped flat leaf parsley as well, I just didn’t have any on hand…so DO it!  It’s a lovely addition)


Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Years Chicken Salad!

Happy New Years to everyone!! Today's recipe is the perfect light meal to start the new year off right. I wish I had started this years blogging off right also, but here is what happened.~I put this chicken salad recipe together. As I was just about done, I realized I had no cheese. I mean, you don't need cheese, but I think it adds a lot to the recipe. So I went to the store and picked up the cheese. Of course, you know I couldn't buy just cheese! Oh no, I had to spend 30 minutes, just browsing, picking up this and that, basically accomplishing nothing. I get home, and I make the sandwich, take the pictures, and begin to eat my creation. What's wrong?~Where is the avocado? I have to have the avocado on this sandwich. It's healthy. It's good for me. It has to be a part of this sandwich. Also, I love avocados, and I try to eat one everyday. I have to have the avocado.!!! So I make another sandwich. No problem, they are little, after all. And most of the pictures are of the ingredients being put together, so this can still work!!  I take the pictures of the avocado on the sandwich. They look really nice. I'm using a new camera I got from my husband for Christmas. I love this camera. It works great, and takes better pictures than my last camera! So, now I am downloading the pictures onto my computer from the card. Everything is good. I start to write this post. I go to put the pictures on my post~There are no pictures! What!!  What is happening? I find out that I have erased every picture having to do with this recipe!! I can't believe it! I just sit here dumbfounded for a few minutes. Then I figure, I better at least make another sandwich so I can photograph it! The good news? I downloaded Christmas pictures onto my computer at the same time, and I didn't lose any of those!! So, all was not lost! So, I am sorry for the lack of pictures for this post. I will try to make up for it next time!

This chicken salad recipe is one I came up with as an alternative to using mayo. I love everything in this recipe, and it is really good anytime of year. I hope you like it also!
New Years Chicken Salad
1/2 pound Chicken Breast, cooked and shredded
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Craisins
2 tablespoons Slivered Almonds
1/2 Roma Tomato, chopped small
1/2 Avocado, sliced
1 slice Sargento Baby Swiss(per sandwich)
Oroweat Sandwich Thins Minis 100% Whole Wheat

Mix all the ingredients together. Build the sandwich
starting with the chicken salad, top with 3 slices of avocado,
and a slice of cheese, cut in half.


Thanks for joining The Freshman Cook today!