Happy Thanksgiving!

inthekitchen320If you are in the United States, I hope you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with family and friend. If you’re not in the US, I hope you’re having a wonderful Thursday!

I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen the last couple days and it doesn’t look to be ending until sometime tomorrow after I get done baking some cookies. I am in the mood for some giant molasses cookies. Or maybe some sugar cookies. Chocolate chip? See, I haven’t decided yet. And yes, even though I have 3 different pies in the house right now, I have a hankering to bake cookies. It’s kind of a transition between Thanksgiving and Christmas for me, I guess.

On the topic of Thanksgiving…

There are only 4 of us in the house so a whole turkey didn’t make sense in a lot of ways. For a few years now, I’ve done turkey breasts. Once, I roasted it in the oven, but last year and this year I cooked it overnight in the slow cooker. Oh. My. Goodness. Yum city! There are a variety of websites and blogs that have slow cooker turkey breast recipes, but the one I used this year is from Six Sisters Stuff(more…)

Books ‘n Baking #1

inthekitchen320This is an idea I’ve been pondering for a while. It’s not about writing a book or changing the world. It’s about having fun, doing something I love (aside from writing), connecting with readers, bloggers, other authors who might enjoy it too.

I’m going to start a baking group called Books ‘n Baking. Sort of a take on Julie and Julia and sort of a take on an idea that a food blogger I follow is doing, but with my own spin. (No, we’re not going to bake our way through a Julia Child tome, I promise.)

The premise is, we take a cookbook (a general baking one) and bake our way through it for a year. One recipe a month. And then, we blog about it. The why, the what, etc… (more…)

In The Kitchen With…Lissa

I cook all the time. I love cooking and baking and trying new things in the kitchen. New products, new foods, new appliances. I love trying to substitute ingredients in recipes that might be more flavorful or healthier than what was originally called for.

And I only hate going grocery shopping if I don’t have the money to splurge on anything different or new. Because it’s such a big passion of mine, being in the kitchen, I always try to shift funds around to make sure I can get a few things I am curious about trying.

I’m the one who views food and recipes and cookbooks and appliances and food stores the way some women view shoes, clothes, and jewelry…

Do you try new things? New ingredients? Switch out favorites?

A few of my newest finds that I’d read about or wanted to try on my own lately, or that I have tried and found I wanted more of, have been:

Larry’s Beans… whole bean coffee in awesome varietal names such as Cowboy, Bad Kitty, Mightier Mocha Java

So Delicious French Vanilla Coconut Coffee Creamer... now, because of my coffee love, I try different creamers all the time. I have made my own, I have used half and half plus sugar/flavored syrups (until I stopped using the syrups unless I can make my own), Organic Valley French Vanilla Half and Half (my fave, honestly, but high in carbs and sugars and calories), Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss, Bailey’s non-alcoholic, Silk, etc… I decided to try this product when I saw it in Earth Fare the other day. I’m not a fan of coconut unless it’s straight out of the shell, but there are a few products with coconut or made with coconut that I do love (coconut oil, homemade granola). The coconut creamer is good. Very good. I’ll be using it more often. It’s light on coconut flavor, but creamy and full of vanilla flavor.

Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Peppers and Onions… frozen peppers and onions, but I use these in all recipes calling for fresh onions and peppers. They give an excellent flavor to everything.

Trader Joe’s Sprouted 7-Grain Bread… I don’t like sprouted grains very much. I’m not big on nutty texture in food and I’ve tried sprouted grain breads before like Ezekiel brand, but couldn’t get beyond the price and texture. But the Trader Joe’s brand…delicious and the texture is just right for me.

Sucanat… I use this in place of white and brown sugars. It’s a deeper flavor and I love it.

Coconut Palm Sugar… It smells like graham crackers, but has a different taste. It can be used in place of other sugars as well and it’s low on the Glycemic Index.

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour… I use this in muffin recipes, have used it in chocolate chip cookie recipes, waffles, pancakes, etc… It’s wonderful in place of all-purpose white flour. Harder to find (I buy mine from Earth Fare in the bulk bins), costs more, but it’s worth it to me.

Quinoa… I’m still getting used to this super grain that is high in essential amino acids. It’s got an odd taste, I can’t quite describe it. An odd texture, not unlike couscous. I don’t like couscous, but I’m able to eat the quinoa, especially mixed with other foods like chicken, vegetables…

I am always up for trying new things, eating different foods, researching foods that may be more flavorful, healthful, etc… Do you try new foods and ingredients? If so, what have you found lately that you have grown to love?

~lissa

Easter Parade

If you celebrate the holiday of Easter, I hope you had a wonderful day with friends and family.

We celebrate in our own way, mainly a relaxed day spent together, cooking a special meal, laughing, and generally just being us.

There’s also a tradition I always uphold on Easter weekend. I watch Easter Parade.

When I was growing up, I would spend the summers with my grandparents and one of the things we’d do, especially my grandmother and I, is watch old movies. A lot of Doris Day and a lot of Judy Garland. I loved both of these women and I am still a big fan. Easter Parade has always been one of my favorites. Judy Garland and Fred Astaire were delightful together and oddly enough, it was their only movie together. Kind of sad as both were superb talents as actors, dancers, and singers.

I loved the costuming, the beautiful women in elegant gowns and the men in smart looking suits. You can’t overlook the fact that women had gorgeous figures that didn’t have to slip into the single digits for them to be considered desirable and beautiful. Men were gentlemen and women were ladies. Movies from this era make me smile and I love all the songs. The movie reminds me of my childhood, the good things, the good parts, the dreams I used to have.

Of course my favorite song from the movie is  Easter Parade and here’s the clip for it…(you’ll have to forgive the subtitles…lol)

I hope you have some very happy memories and traditions that make you smile… I used to get Easter baskets filled with gifts and candy and I loved them, but these movies are part of me and part of the influence of who I’ve become in my life. Music, and song and gaiety and warmth and comfort and good food. My grandparents were a huge part of my childhood and as well a huge influence in who I’ve become.

Speaking of good food, my kids and I made Marshmallow Reeses Brownies today. I found the recipe online the other day on a blog called BruCrew Life and oh my goodness they are gooey and rich and so amazing. Here’s the recipe…

Marshmallow Reeses Brownies

by Inside BruCrew Life

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes


Ingredients

  • 1 brownie mix
  • 2/3 c. oil
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bag peanut butter eggs (or cups)
  • 1 c. marshmallow fluff

Instructions

  • Spray a 9×13 pan with baking spray and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350* In a large mixing bowl combine the brownie mix, oil, water, and eggs. Beat until just combined. Spread half the brownie batter in the bottom of the prepared pan. Lay the peanut butter eggs on top of the batter. Drop spoonfuls of marshmallow fluff around each egg. Top with the rest of the brownie batter. Spread the batter completely over all the marshmallow fluff swirling slightly. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into the brownies.

~lissa

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