Friday, April 27, 2012

Lemon Loaf with Lemon Glaze

I know, I know.... another lemon recipe.  My middle daughter wasn't happy - wishing this was a plain pound cake or something with chocolate.  I heard..." Another Lemon Recipe!"  I mentioned I had this large bag of lemons from Costco.  I still have 4 or 5 so I may not be done with my lemon creativity!

This lemon loaf is delightful!  I love the crunchy top that is formed by the glaze... and how moist the top of the loaf gets from the glaze.  I have a tendency to under-cook loaf cakes and breads.  I am so worried about them being dry that I take them out early and then I have a raw center.  I cooked this right at an hour but the middle wasn't finished cooking.  Get out that handy cake tester and use it in the middle.  You don't want to have to throw out any of this yummy Lemon Loaf!

Lemon Loaf - adapted from The Junior League Celebration Cookbook

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus 2 Tbsp
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup buttermilk (I made my own with milk and a tsp or so of white vinegar)
grated zest of one lemon
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional but I used chopped pecans)


1/2 cup sugar
juice of one lemon

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Cream butter,and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy, beat in the eggs.  Whisk the dry ingredients together and add to the batter, alternating with the buttermilk.  Mix well.  Stir in lemon zest and nuts, if desired - mix well.  Pour into the prepared loaf pan.  Bake one hour or until cake tester comes out clean.

While the loaf is baking, stir together the sugar and lemon to make your glaze.  Allow the mixture to stand until the sugar dissolves.

Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan, pierce the top of the loaf with a cake tester in quite a few places.  Spoon the lemon glaze over the loaf.  Allow to cool, then slice and serve.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pecan Pie Bars

I love pecan pie!  I saw this post on another blog and just had to try it.  They are so good!  I love the shortbread crust!  Please visit Just a Taste for the recipe and to see her wonderful pictures of this yummy dessert!

Pecan Pie Bars :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lemon Bars

I have been on a lemon kick lately.  I bought a huge bag of lemons from Costco so I am being adventurous.  Annie's graduation party is in May, and we are serving all desserts.  I found this lemon bar recipe, and I just love it.  It isn't too difficult, yet nice and lemony but not too sweet..... I love the shortbread-type crust.  The recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar in the filling.  I made a batch with 1/2 cups of sugar and one with 1 cup sugar.  Both were good - just depends on how sweet you like your lemon bars!  I also doubled the recipe - baked in a 9 x 13 and they were perfect!

Lemon Bars (adapted from Taste of Home)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar


2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon peel
additional powdered sugar for dusting

Combine flour, butter and powdered sugar in a bowl.  Using a fork, mix til crumbly.  Pat into an 8x8 greased pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 - or until golden.  For filling, beat eggs in a medium bowl.  Add sugar, flour, baking powder,lemon juice and peel;  Beat until frothy.  Pour over the hot crust.  Bake 25 minutes longer or until light golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.  When cool, dust with powdered sugar.

9 servings - 263 calories, 11 grams fat; 74 mg cholesterol, 140 mg sodium

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

For some reason, I wanted to make cookies with Ricotta cheese.  I found this recipe at The Food Network by Giada De Laurentiis with over 600 good reviews - I knew I had found my recipe.

I LOVE them.  I am a chocolate girl but I so love these cookies.  The texture is amazing and I especially love the yummy lemony glaze.  I truly think the glaze makes the cookies.  I must have been a little over zealous with the glaze as I ran out and had to make a little more.  Giada suggest making large cookies with 2 tablespoons of cookie dough.  I didn't - I only use on tablespoon using my cookie scoop.

If you love lemon, you will LOVE these cookies.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze ( adapted from Giada De Laurentiis from The Food Network)


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 (15 oz) container whole-milk ricotta cheese
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 lemon, zested


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 lemon, zested

Preheat oven to 375.  In a medium bowl, combine, flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar.  Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Add ricotta cheese, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Beat to combine and stir in dry ingredients.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spoon dough (about 2 Tbsp each... I only did 1 Tbsp) onto cookie sheets.  Bake for 15 minutes until edges or golden.  Remove from the oven and let cookies rest on baking sheet for 20 minutes.  Glaze.


Combine powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest in a small bowl stirring until smooth.  Spoon about 1/2 tsp onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread.  Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours then pack into a decorative container.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ham and Cheese Croissant Casserole - Make Ahead

I am liking this idea of "Make Ahead" breakfast casseroles.  My family loves having "backwards night" and having breakfast for dinner.  I love coming home and just popping my casserole in the oven!

This was easy and tasty.  My friend Lori who is a rather conservative "eater" thought it was amazing.  My hubby on the other hand has an adventurous palate and thought it was good but could be jazzed up a bit.  He would prefer I didn't use croissants (didn't love the sweet) but maybe an asiago bagel.  He also thought I should use a more flavorful cheese and maybe a crunchy veggie.   He did however eat every bite!

I didn't have as much ham as I thought so I threw in a cup of precooked bacon crumbles.  This added a nice texture and flavor.  I know your family will enjoy this new breakfast casserole.  Be creative!

Ham and Cheese Croissant Casserole (adapted from Southern Living)

3 (5-inch) large croissants, diced
1 (8 oz) package chopped cooked ham
1 (5 oz) package Swiss cheese, shredded
6 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1 Tbsp dry mustard
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (optional - I used an 1/8)

Place croissant pieces into a lightly greased deep-dish pie plate.  Top with ham and cheese.  Whisk together eggs, next 5 ingredients and if desired, nutmeg and pour over croissants.  Press croissants down to submerge in egg mixture.  Cover tightly and chill 8 - 24 hours.  Preheat oven to 325.  Bake, covered for  35 minutes.  Uncover and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until browned and set.  Don't rush so to get middle set.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Christine's Gourmet Toffee, Madison, Wisconsin

I just had the opportunity to try this amazing toffee.  Christine's Gourmet Toffee sent me a sample box to try, and I cannot tell you how incredibly buttery and delicious this toffee is.  The toffee is made with Wisconsin butter, Belgian dark chocolate with a sprinkling of French sea salt!  Each flavor was unique and amazing - from cashew, pecan, butter, pistachio to coffee and even bacon.  I also loved the Chocolate Toffee Bites - little rectangles of amazing chocolate with little toffee pieces hidden in the chocolate.  I also tried two types of buttery, soft caramel - original and chai.  These were also delightful!   I think the cashew toffee, the chocolate toffee bites and the original caramels were my favorite.  BUT - I really loved it all!

I have made toffee many times but my husband feels that I can never get it hard enough.  Christine's toffee is hard and crunchy but also very buttery.  I know you will be pleased.  Please visit when you are needing that perfect gift.  They have many sizes and different variety packs.  I love giving food as teacher/employee gifts - everyone loves food and I believe that everyone loves toffee!

Also, a few great facts about this toffee - Gluten free, no trans fat, all natural, room temperature stable and a 4 months shelf life

Please visit Christine's Gourmet Toffee and order for Mother's Day!

*Please know that I wasn't paid to share my opinion with you - just my own love of toffee!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

One-Dish Blackberry French Toast - Make ahead

I have been on a kick of making Breakfast Casseroles.  I found this one in an older Southern Living.  I love the idea of blackberry and cream cheese and of course, the idea of making it in advance.

I didn't really have a reason for making this - I just thought it sounded yummy.  I made it and took it to preschool the next morning.  We loved it.   It could be eaten with or without a topping.  Some teachers enjoyed it with a little maple syrup and others enjoyed it with a squirt of Reddi-Wip!   Don't hurry the baking as you will want to get it done all the way through!

Excuse my picture - once again.  I took this picture with my phone at preschool so not great quality!

One-Dish Blackberry French Toast (adapted from Southern Living)

1 cup blackberry jam
1 (12 oz) French bread loaf, cut in to 1 1/2 inch cubes
1 (8 oz) pkg 1/3 less fat cream cheese
4 large eggs
2 cups half and half
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Toppings - maple syrup, whipped cream

Cook jam in small saucepan over medium heat for 1 - 2 minutes until melted and smooth - stirring once.  Place half of bread cubes in the bottom of a lightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish.  Top with cream cheese cubes, and drizzle with melted jam.  Top with remaining bread cubes.  Whisk together eggs and next 3 ingredients.  Pour over bread mixture and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Cover tightly and chill 8 to 24 hours.  Bake in a preheated 325 oven covered for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake 10 - 15 minutes or until bread is golden and mixture is set.  Serve with toppings.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Green Bean Bundles

Green Bean Bundles are a favorite at our teacher birthday luncheons - especially when we are having a "comfort food" luncheon.  These are one of Robin's specialties and she was nice to share her recipe.  These would be a perfect addition to your Easter lunch.

Green Bean Bundles

4 - 5 cans DelMonte whole green beans (can use fresh but will need to cook longer)
uncooked bacon
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar

Drain and rinse green beans.  Using 1/2 slice of bacon, place 5 to 6 green beans in the middle and roll bacon tightly around bundle.  Place bundles in a 9 x 13 dish.  Once dish is filled, sprinkle with brown sugar.  Pour melted butter over bundles,  Cook at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until bacon is crisp and green beans are tender.

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