Puff Pastry Quiche Lorraine

While traveling in Florida recently, Greg and I discovered the lovely little town of Venice. We enjoyed great restaurants and friendly people. One little French cafe in the downtown area was so charming that I would make the drive again just to go there.

The pastries were divine, and we ended up splitting a few things so that we could try more. While there we had a delicious puff pastry quiche that I had to recreate when we returned home. It is a simple quiche made with prosciutto and Swiss cheese, and the crust was a delicious, flaky puff pastry.

When we returned home, I had to try to recreate the amazing quiche. I would prefer homemade puff pastry crust, but the purchased frozen puff pastry that I used was a good substitute. Feel free to substitute a regular pie crust.

Puff Pastry Quiche Lorraine
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 oz. to 4 oz. prosciutto, cut into strips
  • ¼ c. finely diced onion
  • 6 lg. eggs
  • 1½ c. whole milk or half and half
  • 2 c. grated Swiss cheese
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Thaw puff pastry in refrigerator overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 425℉.
  3. Sprinkle a board with flour and roll out puff pastry to fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Fit pastry in pie plate and refrigerate until ready to fill.
  4. Melt butter in a skillet. Cook prosciutto quickly, in batches, in butter, until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
  5. Saute onion in skillet, until tender, adding more butter if needed.
  6. In a large bowl whisk eggs and milk until well blended. Add prosciutto, onion, cayenne, salt, and pepper and stir to blend.
  7. Remove pastry from refrigerator and put egg mixture into crust.
  8. Bake at 425℉ oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325℉ and continue cooking for 30 to 40 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

 

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Almond Poppy Seed Muffins

almond-poppy-seed-muffins

I have a question for the ladies out there. Do you ever take your purse and dump it out? Dump every little coin, paperclip, hair tie and piece of trash out of it? Then pick through the contents, get rid of those things that are cluttering it up and placing your necessities neatly back inside your purse.

With the painter almost finished here at our house I have been thinking about what I have that is really necessary and what can be considered clutter. It’s as if I have “dumped” it out and I am starting over. Just thinking about the purge makes me feel invigorated.  Imagine if you will, how much better our lives would be if we applied “dumping the unnecessary” to ourselves.  How much better would we feel to get rid of the negative thoughts that are cluttering our minds every day?

These muffins are wonderfully moist and delicious. The finishing touches are not necessary, but I love the added crunch on top. I promised easy recipes, and that is still my goal. This week’s recipe is easy, but I’m not sure how many of you will have almond paste lying around. These muffins are well worth the trip to the grocery store though. This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks. One that is well worn with plenty of vanilla splashes and creased pages. Almond Poppy Seed Muffins is from Marcy Goldman’s The New Best of Better Baking.com. You may add one teaspoon of lemon extract and a little lemon juice for a fantastic lemon poppy seed muffins.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Almond Poppy Seed Muffins
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 4-oz. almond paste, minced
  • ½ c. finely ground almonds
  • ½ c. (4-oz.) unsalted butter
  • ¼ c. canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • ⅓ c. milk
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2¾ c. all-purpose flour
  • 2½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. poppy seeds
  • FINISHING TOUCHES
  • Slivered almonds
  • Coarse Sugar for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Position the oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend the sugar and almond paste together well, about 2 to 4 minutes. Add the ground almonds, butter, and oil and blend well. Fold in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds and blend, scraping the bottom of the bowl occasionally to ensure nothing gets stuck in the well of the mixing bowl. If the mixture seems too loose, add a touch more flour. It should be the consistency of thick cake batter.
  3. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Top each muffin with some slivered almonds and sugar. Place the muffin cups on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake about 30 to 35 minutes, until the muffins are nicely browned and spring back when lightly touched. Let them cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning them out onto a rack to cool completely.

 

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Healthy Nutty Bars

healthy-nutty-bars

 

I know that we all go through times in our lives when we simply get bogged down by the demands of life. Honestly, I have been going through one of those times for a few months now. I think there are several contributing factors which include an empty nest and Greg’s changing work schedule. I have come to realize that one thing that keeps me sane and grounded is writing to you!

I enjoy “talking” to you about the good things happening in my life, as well as the bad. I like running across old recipes to share and finding new favorite recipes to try for you. I feel a change coming to NJSD, and I’m not exactly sure what that change is going to be yet. With my changing life, my recipes also are in need of a rehaul. I believe I am moving in the direction of fresh, easy, few ingredient recipes.  I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen at this point in my life.

I hope you also look forward to the new and exciting recipes that I will be bringing you in the future. As promised, I also plan to bring at least one healthy recipe a month your way, starting today!

These Healthy Nutty Bars are fresh and delicious. With the Paleo Bars from my blog as a guide, I set out to make a substitute to a store-bought nutty bar. I am thrilled with this final recipe! The nuts are crunchy, and with the addition of honey and dried fruit, they are a sweet treat too.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Healthy Nutty Bars
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 c. whole almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • ½ c. flax meal
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • ½ c. apricots, chopped
  • ½ c. dried cherries, chopped
  • 12 Medjool dates, pitted, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ c. almond butter
  • ½ c. coconut butter or coconut oil
  • ½ c. local honey
Instructions
  1. Toast almonds and walnuts in a 200°F oven. Remove and cool.
  2. In a large bowl combine the cooled nuts, chia seeds, flax meal, salt, rolled oats, apricots, and cherries.
  3. In a medium saucepan combine the almond butter, coconut butter (or oil), honey, and chopped dates. Stirring occasionally keep over heat until ingredients are combined and warm. Remove from heat and add to the bowl of a food processor. Add vanilla extract and process until dates are finely chopped Pour over the nuts and fruit and using a large spoon or spatula combine.
  4. Press the mixture into a 9 x 9-inch pan lined with wax paper. Use the bottom of a glass to press it down tight so that they bars will be solid.
  5. Cover and refrigerate until firm, a couple of hours.
  6. Remove from pan using the wax paper, cut into small bars. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

 

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Mama’s Coffee Cake

mama's-famous-coffee-cake

 

This week my beautiful mother celebrates her 77th birthday. The woman who has been my biggest cheerleader my entire life, my wise instructor who has loved me even during some very unloveable times.

My love for cooking began with her. When I grew up she prepared just about every meal we ate because in those days you didn’t pick up take-out and we only went to restaurants occasionally.

Everything was homemade, a luxury that I didn’t quite appreciate as a child. I remember spending the night with a friend once. The next morning her mother baked canned biscuits for us. I can recall it like it was yesterday because I thought that her mother had done the greatest thing and those canned biscuits were delicious to me at the time.  I can remember wondering why we always had to have homemade biscuits.  I probably came home and boasted about the wonderful biscuits that Sara’s mother fixed.  I am sorry mama!!

Believe me; my thought process has changed! Now I understand the trouble she went to for her family. She was a “farm to table” person way before it was the popular thing.

There are not enough words in the English language to tell my mother just how much I appreciate all of those homemade biscuits; the advice, the spankings, and the love. She will probably never know how important she is to me, but I would not be here today without her.

In honor of my mother, I wanted to share her coffee cake recipe. My brother and I have always loved this.  She made it for us on special occasions growing up and sometimes just to surprise us and she still makes it when we gather for Christmas brunch.  It is easy enough to prepare before work or school.  I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as I have over the years.

Mama's Coffee Cake
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • ¾ c. granulated sugar
  • ¼ c. shortening
  • 1½ c. self-rising flour
  • ⅓ c. milk
  • ½ c. sour cream
  • Streusel Mixture:
  • ½ c. brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • ½ c. chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Grease a 10-inch skillet and set aside. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a small bowl combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, melted butter, and pecans. Set aside.
  3. Using a whisk, combine and egg, sugar, and shortening. Add flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in sour cream.
  4. Spread about half of the cake mixture in the prepared skillet. Sprinkle all of the streusel mixture over batter then drop spoonfuls of the remaining batter over the top. You can swirl with a knife if desired.
  5. Bake at 350° F for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 

 

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Nutella French Toast

nutella-french-toast

 

When I sat down to write this article, I did not plan for it to become so personal. I mention friends and family a lot because they are part of what makes me who I am. Sometimes not all that great, I still need a lot of work, but mostly okay. Today’s article gives you a glimpse of just how ordinary my life is. I hope you don’t mind that I shared this with you.

Valentine’s Day, the day of love and romance, is just around the corner. Valentine’s day has certainly changed for me over the years. As a young married couple with limited funds for extravagances, Greg and I tried to make the day special. There were never any fancy meals in the budget, but we could usually swing a card, and Greg would always come home with a single rose for me.

Fast forward ten years and it became all about the kids. Buying Valentine’s for school and decorating shoe boxes. Making heart shaped pancakes and buying stuffed animals.

After 29 years of marriage, with grown kids, what will Valentine’s Day entail for us this year? I would say we are as romantic as the next couple. However, when I tell you how we will most likely spend Valentine’s day, you may wonder about that. We don’t usually buy cards or gifts. We will wish each other a Happy Valentine’s Day as I hand Greg his coffee, give him a kiss, and he walks out the door for work. We will probably use the day as an excuse to have dinner out if Greg gets home from work early enough. It will be nice and quite, and we will enjoy spending time together, whether we make it to a restaurant for or if we sit at home and watch a few Andy Griffith show reruns. It’s life, it’s not fancy, in fact, it’s mostly downright chaotic. It’s learning to be content and happy in those “not so fancy” times that has made this marriage work for 29 years, though.

So, Greg, if you happen to read my article (or blog) this week, I want you to know I love you and I love our life together. God blessed the kids and me by giving us you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you want to make more than a cup of coffee for your Valentine, this Nutella French Toast is a wonderful way to start any day. It is certainly simple enough to make on a weekday morning, but it’s fancy enough for a wonderful weekend treat as well. This French toast is delicious topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, or bananas.

Nutella French Toast
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 8 (1/2-inch) thick slices brioche or challah bread
  • 8 tbsp. Nutella spread, divided
  • Powdered sugar, divided
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and salt. Working in batches, melt some butter in a large nonstick skillet over moderately high heat. Dip the bread slices in the egg mixture and quickly transfer to the skillet. Cook 2 slices of the bread until golden brown, and then flip over and cook the other side. Spread approximately 2 tbsp. of the Nutella on 1 piece of bread and place the other piece of cooked bread on top to enclose the chocolate spread. Gently press so that the pieces stick together. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve with fresh fruit and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

 

 

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