Officially, it’s still summer, but it is after Labor Day. That means no white, if you were raised in the south, and pumpkin spice everything is back!
I absolutely adore everything about fall, even though it actually ISN’T fall. I love football, falling leaves, bonfires, apples, and the cool, crisp air, even if it is just in the mornings right now.
It is also the time of year when I find myself cooking again. The hot months of summer are almost over, and I can’t wait for that first pot of chili or stew.
I have even started baking again recently. These Cafe’ Blueberry Squares are Wesley’s favorite snack. They are perfect with a cup of coffee for breakfast. It’s a great way to use those blueberries that you stuck in the freezer just a few months back, and this recipe could not be easier! There are no ingredients that require planning ahead, and it literally comes together in a matter of minutes.
Cafe' Blueberry Squares
- Crust and Topping:
- 1½ c. all-purpose flour
- 1½ c. rolled oats
- 1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ⅛ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 c. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 3 c. blueberries
- ¾ c. granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Generously spray an 11 x 7-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and place the pan on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- For Curst and Topping: In a food processor, put flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and pulse to blend, about 20 seconds. Add butter and pulse to cut butter into dry ingredients until you have a crumbly mass, not dry but not sticking together.
- For Filling: Toss berries in a bowl with sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice.
- Spread or pat half of oatmeal mixture firmly into pan. Spread on blueberry mixture. Top as evenly as you can with remaining oatmeal mixture and press slightly. Chill 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350℉.
- Bake 40 t0 45 minutes until fruit starts to bubble; then reduce oven temperature to 325℉ and bake until done, another 15 to 20 minutes or until fruit that bubbles is deeper in color and edges of squares are browned. Cool completely in pan before cutting or refrigerate 2 to 3 hours before cutting.
With the kitchen in complete disarray, cooking has been a challenge. Not that I am complaining because a little time off is good! I’m sure I will be back at it soon. The house is looking great but Greg could possibly be regretting the decision to paint. My “honey-do” list for him is getting longer by the day! New light fixtures, coffee bar, floating shelves, and the list goes on!
This week I will be sharing a recipe that I tried a while back. I started with Greg’s grandmother’s cream cheese pound cake, one of my all-time favorite cakes. I wanted something coconut though, so I added a little coconut extract and flaked coconut for an excellent cake. It’s moist and with just the perfect amount of coconut. This cake is even better a few days after it’s baked! I like to use a tube pan for this cake rather than a bundt pan. I then place it on my cake plate exactly the way it cooked, with the flat side down. This way all the crunchy goodness does not get smashed under the cake.
Coconut Cream Cheese Pound Cake
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 8-oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 c. granulated sugar
- dash salt
- 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. coconut extract
- 6 lg. eggs, room temperature
- 3 c. cake flour
- 7-oz. bag flaked coconut (or about 2 c.)
- Grease and flour large tube pan, set aside. Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add salt, vanilla extract, and coconut extract, and blend.
- Add one egg at a time, blending well after each addition.
- Add flour, gently stirring to combine.
- Stir in coconut.
- Pour into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven. Check the cake with a long wooden skewer after 1½ hours. If addiditonal baking time is needed check every 10 to 15 minutes until cake tests done.
- Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack to cool completely.
I have always enjoyed Halloween. Not so much the spooky part of it, but the decorating, dressing up, and fun treats! A lot has changed since I was a kid wearing the plastic costume with a hot plastic mask that always has little holes or slits to see. If you are from that generation, you can relate. With every breath, the mask got hotter and hotter. With every step, the mask would slip down just a little farther making it impossible to see.
I don’t want to rush anything. My kids are still in college and not even married, but I look forward to doing Halloween with grandkids some day. Hayrides and pumpkin patches and of course them helping me in the kitchen.
I saw these chocolate-covered apple pops were on Pinterest recently. I love caramel apples, but they are extremely messy. Plus a big apple is often too big for children. These are just the perfect little treat!
Melted caramel will not stick to the sliced apple so if you like caramel drizzle it over the decorated apple. Set up a decorating station with an array of toppings for your kiddos to decorate their very own apple pop.
Chocolate Dipped Apple Pops
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- 1 pkg. CandiQuik Chocolate Coating
- 2 large apples, (I like Granny Smith or Honeycrisp)
- Popsicle sticks
- Optional toppings:
- Caramel sauce for drizzling
- Melted white chocolate for drizzling
- Crushed Oreos
- Mini M&M's
- Candy Corn
- Crushed Peanuts
- Crushed Pretzels
- Melt chocolate coating as directed on package.
- Place apples upright on a cutting board and cut into ½" to ¾" slices. Using a paring knife, make a small cut into the bottom of the apple slice. Insert the popsicle stick.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Dip apple slices into the melted chocolate and place on the prepared pan. Decorate as desired. Refrigerate for 5 minutes while chocolate and caramel set. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator.
For those of you who subscribe, I know you have already received a notification for one post today. I am not a computer whiz. Far from it, so sometimes running this blog has me quite confused. I’ve been trying to make a few changes on here today. Probably nothing that you will even notice. However, to make sure that I have done everything correctly I am going to post a second recipe today.
School starts in our county on Monday. The reason I know this is because Wes has a job there this year! Those of you that have put a child through college will understand the pure joy of him having a job, making money, earning a living. I wish I could stay young forever, with little kids forever, but that’s just not happening. College may possibly be the catalyst that parents need to push them to the point of “letting go”. I mean, the thought of no more tuition makes me want to do a dance!! (Well, no more tuition for one child anyway.) Just knowing that he can pay for his own insurance and his own gasoline thrills me! I could go on, but I think I’m getting a little too excited!
Here is an easy and very versatile recipe for the kiddo’s as they head back to school. Use this folding method with the ingredients you like and you’ll have a delicious and easy portable breakfast. For convenience have a few packs of diced ham in the freezer for those rushed mornings. You could also cook the bacon or sausage the night before and have the veggies chopped for easy a.m. preparation. Cook the quesadillas while the kids are getting ready and keep in a warm oven. Wrap in foil for easy traveling.
"To Go" Breakfast Quesadillas
- 4 (10-inch) flour tortillas
- 8 lg. eggs
- 1 med. onion, finely diced
- 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
- 1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled, drained OR
- 1 lb. breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled, drained
- 1 lb. cooked ham, cubed
- 8-oz. shredded Cheddar cheese
- Salsa, if desired
- Melt butter in a skillet and saute onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño until softened. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- Scramble eggs in the same skillet, set aside.
- Place a tortilla flat on counter. Add a little shredded cheese in the center of the tortilla. Keeping all ingredients in the center of the tortilla top with ¼ of the scrambled eggs and top with some of the onion and pepper mixture. Add crumbled meat of your choice. Top with some additional shredded cheese.
- Melt a pat of butter in your skillet while you assemble the quesadillas.
- With the tortilla in front of you, fold the bottom up over the filling to the center. Hold the folded piece in place and start working your way around the tortilla making folds around the quesadilla until you have completely covered the fillings. You will end up with a quesadilla that resembles a Taco Bell Crunch Wrap.
- Carefully place the quesadilla in the skillet, folded side down. Cook until lightly browned, then flip over and cook the other side until lightly browned. Serve with salsa, if desired.
Add chopped tomatoes, avocados, even cooked cubed hash browns to the filling, if desired.
In August of 2014, I was heartbroken, even writing a post about it on Not Just Sunday Dinner. We had just moved Savannah into her dorm, and I felt that my life and my purpose was over. She hated dorm living and after her freshman year, she moved back home. However, after commuting to college her sophomore year she has decided moving closer to college is what she needs to do at this point. She will be moving out again in three weeks. I’m not sure why, but I feel like this may be forever. I’m not sure my baby girl will ever live with me again. I don’t feel the despair that I felt two years ago though. I feel that she has grown up so much in just two short years. My baby girl is a young woman. Time has made changes. We have gone from disagreeing on most everything two years ago, to being great friends now. I won’t say I’m her best friend because I am sure that I am not, but she just might be mine. I’m sure I don’t have another friend that knows me so well or that I love as much!
I have been trying to help her fill her little cookbook with healthy dishes that she can make in a hurry. Between work and school, she is already quite busy. With the added responsibilities of living on her own, she needs healthy, fast, and cheap meals.
These turkey and bacon lettuce wraps with basil mayonnaise from iowagirleats.com are delicious. It takes two to make a meal for me, but even alone they make a good snack. These will be perfect for her to pack for lunch, or as a quick dinner after a long day at school/work and before a long night of studying.
Turkey and Bacon Lettuce Wrap with Basil-Mayonnaise
- 2 whole iceberg lettuce leaves
- 4 sliced deli turkey
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and drained, and cut in half
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- 1 to 2 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
- Basil Mayonnaise
- ½ c. mayonnaise
- 6 lg. bail leaves, torn
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- For the bail mayonnaise, combine the mayonnaise, basil leaves, lemon juice, garlic, and salt & pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. (You can also mince the basil, and whisk everything up in a small bowl.) Can be kept in the refrigerator for several days.
- Lay out lettuce leaves. On top of lettuce add a layer of turkey then slather with basil mayonnaise. Layer on a second slice of turkey, followed by bacon, and a few slices of avocado and tomato. Season with salt and pepper and fold up bottom and sides, like a burrito. Serve cold.