Farmers Market Scramble

Farmers Market Scramble_vertical2 Remember that beautiful basket of carrots and potatoes, garlic and pomegranates that I showed you earlier this week? My farmers market treasures? Well, that was only about half of what I brought home; there were also apples (that became delicious applesauce!), kale, lettuce, tomatoes, bread, cheese, and more! Not a bad score if I do say so myself....

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Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Lemon Poppyseed Bread_2 Some things just scream Spring. You know, like pumpkins in Fall and cinnamon in Winter. Well, Spring always has me dreaming of and craving all things yellow and green, especially lemons and cucumbers. From fish and salads to infused water and muffins, these items make their way into just about everything in my home (including the linen - check out these fantastic dish towels! There's a matching table runner and tablecloth, if you're so inclined.) But when we want something on the sweeter side, it's all about the lemon poppy seed bread. This stuff is magic. Incredibly rich (thank you, buttermilk), each bite melts in your mouth. We call it bread, but it is probably more closely related to cake. For a treat, try nuking a slice in the microwave for a few seconds and then layering on a good helping of cream cheese. I believe this is called heaven. I've never been so I can neither confirm nor deny, but it's gotta be close. I can usually only manage one slice before the sweetness overwhelms, but it is a fantastic treat. After a long day, a slice of this and a glass of bubbly makes sliding out of "work mode" and into "summer days mode" a piece of cake (pun intended). The best part about this whole endeavor is that all I have to do is toss all the ingredients into my trusty bread machine and a few hours later - lemon poppy seed bread. No joke. It's like a slow cooker that caters to my carb addiction. Brilliant. *** Sips champagne, eats lemon poppy seed bread, and licks fingers. *** Lemon Poppyseed Bread_1 Lemon Poppyseed Bread_5 Lemon Poppyseed Bread_3

Springing For Salad

Spring Salad_partial angle I like to consider myself a healthy, nutritious eater. But, during the winter months when the leafy greens look less than fantastic, I find myself eating fewer salads, opting instead for starchier sides and mains like roasted root vegetables and veggie sautés. While not terrible decisions, the weight of these heavy vegetables takes its toll on the body. ...

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Hummus Cups To Go

1 Hummus Cup_angles white It’s one pm on a crazy Monday afternoon. You’ve been sitting at your desk since 7am and your stomach is sending some not-so-subtle reminders that the last time you ate was 6am. You meander into the kitchen still overwhelmed by your 106-message inbox. Too exhausted to cook or make anything, you grab the first thing you see and head back to your desk. Crunching away on bags of Chex Mix, you silently curse yourself and promise to do an extra 15, no make that 20, minutes on the elliptical in the morning....

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Molasses Butternut Squash

My hubby does NOT like butternut squash. I mean does. not. like. butternut. squash. He especially detests butternut squash soup. I, on the other hand, LOVE butternut squash. This is an important fact because normally he will eat (and enjoy) anything I make. (While this makes dinner slightly more simple, it is frustrating when I ask for an honest opinion on various dishes. If you don’t like something, I blame the hubby! j/k). His dislike of this fantastic veggie aside, I really wanted some while it was in season and had been dying to try my own variation of several versions of this recipe I had seen over the past few months, ok, years! ...

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Kitchen Sink Sauce

Versatility. I love versatility. I love boots that can be worn in the winter with pants and sweaters just as easily as they can in the summer with a sundress and a floppy hat. I love movies that are age appropriate for children, but which adults can also enjoy (not just suffer through!) – hello Frozen. I love my SUV that makes me feel a little bit sexy and cool, but is also safe for my children and provides easy access to all their shtuff. ...

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Herb Cheese Crackers

It is November. The cold, crisp air should have me craving a hearty chili, crusty bread, and a steaming cup of tea. Instead, the 85-degree weather and constantly sunny skies have me reaching for a lighter fare more inline with my standard summer spread and it begins with these fantastic herb cheese crackers. I serve these with creamy brie, big red muscato grapes, and a glass of bubbles (or crisp white wine, such as sauvignon blanc).

Herb Cheese Crackers

The Fantastic Cook Could:
Double (or triple!) the recipe and freeze the extra. If well-sealed, it should stay in the freezer for up to 6 months. Just put it in the fridge overnight to defrost. I like to have several varieties on hand so I can please any theme, mood, or cheese selection.

Play around with the mix-ins. Instead of herbs, what about minced pistachios or chopped dried cranberries? The options are endless! If you don’t want to risk making a combination you don’t like, divide the dough in half and experiment.

  • 1/4 pound butter (1 stick) at room temperature
  • 4 oz parmesan cheese (about 1 cup-ish)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for about 1 minute. Turn the speed to low and add the parmesan, thyme, salt, and pepper. Then, add in the flour and mix until combined. It should be crumbly and dough-like. If it is too dry, add a dash of water (a teaspoon or so at a time).

Dump the dough onto the counter and work into a log shape. Put the log shape onto a big piece of saran wrap and continue to form the log to whatever length and thickness you desire. I like having lots of small, bite-size crackers so I make a pretty long and thin log.

Once done, close up the ends of the saran wrap and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. I think it’s best if it can be left overnight as that gets it really hard and makes it much easier to cut.

When ready to cook them, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the crackers about 3/8-inches thick (don’t measure them. So long as they’re about the same size it will be fine). Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake them for 20 - 22 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees half-way through.

Cool and serve.

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