Czech Heritage · Family · Family Favorites · My Roots

Strawberry Shortcake…sweet summer delight!

Strawberry season is here.  Bring on the shortcake!  This recipe is from an old Czech cookbook that I’ve cherished for years.  The cake is yummy enough to eat by itself, but topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream is to die for.

My girls love the cake more than the strawberries…I’m partial to the entire package.  I have been know to drown the cake and berries in milk, something I picked up from some elderly Norwegian friends back in Iowa.

However you like it, try it.  It’s strawberry time!

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together and bake in 9×9″ baking pan for 45 minutes or until baked through.
  • Cut into squares and top with fresh sliced strawberries and whipped cream.

New Favorite

Spanakopita Bites

New recipes are such fun for me and I loved the idea of Spanakopita bites.   Spanakopita is a favorite but would never have the patience to make the real deal.  I had no idea that you could buy phyllo cups at the local grocery store but they make simple work of this yummy recipe.

The recipe is simple and the results are great.  The bites can be served hot or at room temperature.  Either way, you’ll enjoy!

SPANAKOPITA BITES

30 frozen phyllo cups (2-15 count packages)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed then squeezed dry
6 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
pinch ground nutmeg
1 egg, whisked

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees then place phyllo cups on 2 baking sheets and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Add onion, season with salt and pepper, then sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds then transfer mixture to a large bowl and cool slightly.
  • Add spinach, feta cheese, parsley, nutmeg, and egg then stir to combine.
  • Spoon mixture into phyllo cups then bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cups are golden brown around the edges.
  • Serve hot or at room temperature.

Spanakopita bites from Iowa Girl Eats

New Favorite

Farmer’s Breakfast Casserole

I love a hearty breakfast from time to time and this casserole is a favorite.  It combines all of the things I like…sausage, eggs, potatoes and, of course, cheese. The casserole is easy to make and can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking making easy work of brunch/breakfast preparation.

Serve with fresh fruit, perhaps a pastry and good cup of hot coffee!

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FARMER’S BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

6 cups frozen shredded hash browns
1.5 cups shredded Jalapeno Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups cooked breakfast sausage (or ham)
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
8 eggs, beaten
3 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a 4 quart baking dish.  Evenly arrange the potatoes in the bottom of the dish.  Sprinkle the cheese, sausage and green onions on top.

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  • In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt and pepper.  Pour the egg mixture over the potato mixture.
  • Bake uncovered for 50-55 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Holidays · New Favorite

Cranberry Coffee Cake for brunch, lunch, anytime!

Cranberry Coffee Cake is a new recipe that my sister-in-law, Donna, shared with me several weeks ago.  The Mother’s Day weekend coffee/tea was a great time to try it. The cake is so moist and the extra treat of cranberry is so good.  I chose to go without nuts this time but the glaze was a wonderful touch.

This coffee cake is wonderful anytime of year but could be a wonderful addition to your holiday go-to-recipes.

CRANBERRY COFFEE CAKE

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 can (16 ounces) whole-berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

GLAZE:

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
5 teaspoons warm water
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs; mix well.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream.  Add extract.
  • Spoon a third of the batter into a tube or bundt pan.  Top with a third of the cranberry sauce.
  • Repeat layers twice. Sprinkle with walnuts (optional).
  • Bake for 55-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted hear the center comes out clean.
  • Allow cake to cool and transfer to serving plate.
  • Optional:  Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over cake.

Family Favorites · New Favorite

BLATO (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, Tomato, Onion) Sandwich Bar

Family was visiting and we were gathering for lunch at my house.  It occurred to me that a BLT, or better yet at BLATO, bar would be fun.  Standing over the stove frying endless pieces of bacon didn’t sound appealing so I turned to baked bacon instead.

Early that morning I baked 30 pieces of bacon and it was a breeze!  I also washed and prepared the lettuce and sliced the onion for later.  Immediately before serving, I sliced the avocado and tomato.  I provided 2 types of bread along with the option of toasting the bread in the toaster oven and provided condiments of mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup.  In addition, I served sliced turkey and cheese for those that may not like bacon OR prefer to make a mega-sandwich with all of the above!

For the vegetarian or vegan in the group, they can still partake with a wonderful veggie sandwich!

BAKED BACON

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Place a baking rack in a large baking, or cookie, sheet. The baking rack allows the drippings to fall away from the bacon.  Place bacon strips on baking rack.  Bake for 10-20 minutes depending on thickness of the bacon.  I used thick sliced bacon that took 16-20 minutes to bake.  For 30 slices of bacon, I baked 10-12 slices per pan.
  • Remove bacon and pat excess drippings with paper towel.  Set aside until time to serve.
New Favorite

Chicken Quinoa Soup…Yummy!

Colorado weather is typically wonderful but as the locals say, ‘if you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes’.  Last week we were blessed with much-needed rain that left a chill in the air and a craving for soup.  My sister-in-law, Betty, has told me about the Chicken Quinoa Soup recipe she makes regularly, compliments of Iowa Girl Eats.  It sounded like the perfect soup to satisfy my craving, and indeed it did.

I’ve become a huge fan of quinoa, kale, and sweet potatoes and the combination in the soup is divine.  The addition of the parmesan rind adds a wonderful salty/nutty flavor to the soup.

I served with a fresh pretzel roll and loved every bite!  A new favorite for my recipe box.

CHICKEN QUINOA SOUP

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 rib celery, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
salt & pepper
4 cups torn kale
1 garlic clove
8 cups chicken broth, divided
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2″ parmesan cheese rind (optional)
2 large chicken breasts (about 1lb), cut in half
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes (2 cups)
1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes (1-1/2 cups)
2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

  • Heat oil in large soup pot over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, and onion, season with salt and pepper, then saute until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add kale and garlic, season with more salt and pepper, then saute for 2 more minutes. Add 7 cups chicken broth, parsley flakes, dried thyme, bay leaf, and parmesan cheese rind (if using), then bring to a boil.
  • Add chicken breasts to the pot then cook for 10 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center. Remove to a plate then add sweet potato, russet potato, and quinoa to boiling broth. Place a lid on top, lower heat to medium, then cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and quinoa is cooked. Meanwhile shred chicken.
  • Add shredded chicken back to the soup, remove bay leaf, then add parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt & pepper if necessary. Serve topped with additional parmesan cheese, if desired. Use remaining 1 cup chicken broth to add when reheating soup, as quinoa will absorb much of the broth as it cools.

Recipe from Iowa Girl Eats

Family · Holidays

Mother’s Day 2013…Daughter, Mother, Grandmother, Friend

Mother’s Day 2013 will be a weekend of celebration starting with my annual Mother’s Day Coffee/Tea on Saturday.  There will be much laughter, hugging, catching up and, of course, delicious treats.  This year our friend Barbara has designed T-shirts to celebrate our annual event.

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Sunday, our family will share a meal celebrating daughter Sarah as a Mother and now adding Grandma to my title.   We are blessed.

As I reflect on Mother’s Day, I think about my Mother who passed away in 2001.  I miss her every day.  How many times have I wished that I could pick up the phone and talk to her!

Our journey as Daughters and then Mothers (and now Grandmothers) takes many twists and turns.  I recently read this poem which reminds me of my Mother being there to support me and my own journey as a Mother.  And the journey continues with my daughters.

Love you, Mom.  Love you girls!

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Baby Evan with Grandma, Mommie and Aunt Megan

A Mother…

When you’re a child she walks before you,
To set an example.
When you’re a teenager she walks behind you
To be there should you need her.
When you’re an adult she walks beside you
So that as two friends you can enjoy life together..
Author Unknown
New Favorite

White Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Guests were coming for lunch on Saturday…what to make for dessert…

The Ghiradelli White Chocolate chips were calling my name.  Normally one thinks of White Chocolate with Macadamia nuts but why not pecans.  I baked these yummy cookies from the Ghiradelli recipe with delicious pecans.  They are slightly addictive so the remaining cookies are in the freezer for a quick dessert another time.

WHITE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES

Yield: 5 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups unsifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (11 oz. bag) white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Cream the butter and sugars until fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, and beat well.
  • Blend in the flour, baking soda and salt.
  • Stir in the white chips and nuts.

  • Drop by teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheets (or lined with parchment). Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Adapted from Ghirardelli Macadamia White Chip Cookies recipe on the back of the Ghirardelli Classic White Chips package

Family Favorites · My Roots · Vegetarian

Oh, the lowly radish sandwich…

Do you have a favorite childhood memory of food that, to most people, seems utterly ridiculous (and perhaps disgusting)?  Perhaps my lowly radish sandwich seems that way to you.

Growing up my Mother had a wonderful garden and I loved the fresh radish sandwich my Mother would make for me.  Simple but pleasing.  Today another walk down memory lane.  This radish sandwich is for you Mom!

LOWLY RADISH SANDWICH

Buttered bread of choice
Fresh sliced radishes
Salt

Yum!