Back to Basics- Butter

I love two for one deals. Who doesn’t? This is a definite three for one. Butter! Who would have thought that making butter would have such a great return. Around here we pay about $3.50 for a quart of heavy cream. I can make whip cream, butter, and get buttermilk out of it. I think that is a great deal!

The whip cream that you get out of it is better than anything in the store. Hands down.

But the butter is the sweetest butter that you have ever had and is effortless to make. Besides scrapping down the sides every once and a while the mixer does all the work. This is where that two for one comes into play, while making the butter you get the byproduct of the buttermilk that is being taken out of the cream while you are whipping it into butter. You show me where you can buy a pound of butter for under $2 not on sale and still get buttermilk!

And don’t throw out that buttermilk there are still plenty of uses for it bread, muffins, scones, biscuits, etc. I usually make scones and cakes they are so moist when they are pulled from the oven.

How to make Butter

How to make Butter

Summer Time Chicken Grilling

I love my grill! Some might say I have an unhealthy fascination with it. Once the weather warms up, the stove and oven are off, and that grill is lit.

Nothing says warm weather more then the smell of good food on the grill. It can be anything: burgers, chicken, hot dogs, sausage, and steak. They all smell so good, and they look great with the grill marks when they come off the grill. I love my grill. Even grilled vegetables are great on the grill. I like putting vegetables in a little foil packet with a pat of butter then throwing them on the grill to cook. Oh, the flavors are just amazing. Simple to do yet you get such great aromas and flavors.

Tonight was no different. Grilled Honey-Mustard Chicken with Brussels Sprouts. Now since I make my own mustard it will have a different flavor than store bought, but it tastes great with either one. This is one of my to go to meals during the hot months, and let’s face it, in the South, that’s about eight months out of the year.

Honey-Mustard Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

Honey-Mustard Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

 

 Grill Honey-Mustard Chicken

  • 2 whole chicken breast, cut in half
  • 1.5 TBS deli mustard
  • 3 TBS honey

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl mix together the mustard and honey. Set to the side for later.
  2. Start the grill. Give the grill a few minutes to warm up. Place chicken skin side down on the grill. Cook for about 25 minutes.
  3. Using either a spoon or a grill brush spread a small amount of the honey-mustard on the chicken. For for about 5 minutes then turn over and spread another small amount of honey-mustard on the turned side.
  4. Keep turning the chicken and spreading the honey-mustard over the chicken until it has been used up. You want to coat the chicken slowly so not to burn the chicken.

Enjoy with vegetables of your choice.

 

My Swedish Meatball

I remember my mom making Swedish Meatballs growing up, using a mix from a package. I loved it! Only problem was when I grew up and moved away, I couldn’t find it anywhere. I looked in three different grocery stores, speciality stores, and even Walmart. Nothing. I was heart broken. Once in awhile my mom would send me some packets so I could have them when I wanted Swedish Meatballs.

I have old cookbooks around my house that were my mother-in-law’s, so I started looking in there for a recipe so I would not have to keep trying to find the packets. And I did! My only problem was that it had things in it that we don’t eat, like ground chuck and a lot of butter, I have not had ground chuck in about 10 years. I knew I had to make this healthier, yet still keep that yummy flavor. You can add flavor to food without adding fat, but you can’t tell that to some people.

These meatballs turn out so tender and moist. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, get in there and mix it up!

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

  • 1 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, unseasoned (2 slices of toasted bread will work if you are out of bread crumbs)
  • 1/4 ts nutmeg
  • 1/4 ts all-spice
  • 1 garlic clove, finely diced
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 TBS flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl combine your ground turkey, onion, garlic, and bread crumbs. Once everything is well combined, make golf ball size meatballs.
  2. In a large skillet, pour in about 2 TBS of olive oil and heat. Once oil is heated add in the meatballs one at a time. Don’t turn over the meatballs until they are ready, turning too soon will cause them to rip and tear apart. They will be ready to turn when they are easily moved with a spatula.
  3. Once all meatballs are completely cook through, about 10-15 minutes, remove from pan and set to the side.
  4. In the small skillet pour a little bit of the broth in first and deglaze the pan. You want to get all the yummy flavor on the bottom of the pan that is left over from the meatballs cooking.
  5.  Pour the rest of the beef broth, flour, heavy cream, nutmeg, and all-spice. Stir so there are no clumps of flour in the mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Once everything is cooked and well combined, add the meatballs back in the skillet. Cook until the sauce has thicken up.

Serve over egg noodles.

The Grown-up Peanut Butter and Jam Bars

I know I have been on a peanut butter kick lately, which is wicked weird for me since I am not crazy for it to begin with. But I had made these for the first time a few years ago, and I wanted to make something special for my kids for their birthday. We were having just friends and family over, so I needed to make something that pleased everyone’s taste buds. The adults ate more of these than the kids did. So much for making sure the kids liked it! It was just the grown up version to the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we ate as kids. And the best part: no crust.
You can use jelly if you want, but I find that the jam works the best. And homemade jam is amazing in it, as store jam is a little too sweet for us. Either way, you will not be disappointed when you make these. You can start to smell them before you even pull them out of the oven.
I hope you enjoy these has much as we have.
Peanut Butter & Jam Bars

Peanut Butter & Jam Bars

Peanut Butter and Jam Bars
Ingredients:
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces jam, I used my homemade strawberry jam
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup peanut butter chips, the amount really is on how much you like peanut butter

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 6×9 inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Make sure to use cooking spray when coating the foil or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. With a pastry cutter or your hands, work in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Add egg and vanilla extract; stir until dough just comes together. Set aside 1 cup dough and firmly press remaining dough into pan in an even layer.
  3. Using a small offset spatula or the back side of a spoon, spread jam over top.
  4. Combine reserved dough and peanut butter chips; crumble over jam layer. Bake until topping is deep golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Run a sharp knife around edges, then, using parchment, lift cake from pan and cut into 12 squares.

Note: I know it will be hard, but you must let these cool completely before eating. That way you won’t burn your tongue on the jam and the top will have time to set and not wriggle all over the place when you cut them. Remember to share!

Crafternoon

I love making things that are pretty and functional. I don’t see what they can’t be both. And by making it at home, two things happen 1) I get to zone out and relax for a little while and 2) for the same amount of money it would be to buy one item, I can make multiples so I am getting a bigger bang for my money. I call that a win win.

My oldest is entering the teenage years now, and she has been using a bed that I had when I was 15 years old. So, needless to say, it is time for an upgrade. This year instead of giving her a huge party with gifts, we are updating her room. New bed, new decor, new everything and all homemade.

I think that when you take your time on making things, you are giving more love then just buying off a shelf. And you have something completely original that no one else has. To me that is great. Try teaching a teen to be different is like talking to a brick wall sometimes.

The materials you see below will be transformed into 3 picture organizers and a name plate for the door.

Materials

Materials

The first project here is the door hanger. This was so simple to make and a steal for $7 total. Now granted, I did have the paint at home already, but I think most people have extra paint lying around their house that they would like to use. You don’t have to use the same colors I used, use the ones that you like.

Door Sign

Door Sign

Door Hanger

Materials:

  • 1 sponge paint brush
  • paint in any color, I used left over chalkboard paint
  • 1 -2 fabric butterflies, I used one
  • paint pen in any color
  • 1 door hanger
  • hot glue gun

Directions:

  1. Before you begin painting, make sure you stir the paint really well. Apply the paint to both sides of the board. You may need a second coat depending on the color and how light your apply the first coat.
  2. Once paint is dried use a pencil to mark out what you want the sign to say.
  3. Test the paint pen before using, just in case it is clogged at the tip. Trace your writing, let dry.
  4. Place the butterfly where you want it before glueing, you only have 30 seconds after the glue is applied to place the butterfly. Using the glue gun apply a small amount to the back of the butterfly and place where you want it to go.
Picture Organizer

Picture Organizer

Picture Hanger

Materials:

  • fabric
  • ribbon
  • thumb tacks
  • hot glue
  • quilt batting
  • nail gun
  • cork board or canvas board, various sizes

Directions:

  1. Place batting on work space. Place canvas board on top. Trim enough backing to cover the entire board plus to cover the sides. Do the same thing with the fabric.
  2. Layer the three things in order: fabric on the bottom, batting in the middle, and canvas on top. Using the staple gun pull the fabric over the edges and secure to board. Do this until all the fabric and batting is stapled to board.
  3. Starting at the back on the board staple one end of the ribbon. Take the ribbon, go to the other corner across in a diagonal and secure with another staple. To make the rest of the angles go one side to the opposite side. Make sure to keep the ribbon straight when going from one side to the other. Repeat steps until the whole board has a criss-cross pattern.
  4. Take one tack and place it at each intersection of ribbon on the board. Once all the intersections have a tack in them, flip the board over and place a small amount of hot over each point. Doing this helps keep the pins in place and protects your walls and fingers from the sharp edges.
  5. Once you have decided if you want to hang it horizontally or vertically that is where you would place your frame hooks. And your done.

Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

There is this restaurant near us that serves this loaded potato soup that everyone in the family but me loves. I swear they eat just about every time we go. I’m sorry there is just something wrong about eating a soup that has french fries. French fries needs either ketchup or honey mustard do dip it.

I wanted to make a soup that was healthier and that had a lot a veggies in it but still tasted like the soup that they love. After looking at a few dozen recipes and finding nothing that I liked. So I took pieces of recipes that I like and just combined them to make this soup and added cheese. The trick to making this soup healthier is not using flour to thicken it, you are just pureeing potatoes and that does the thickening for you. Add you can even use fat free cheese to make it even healthier, the texture of the soup does change just a little but it is still amazing.

If you put this great soup in a bread bowl you get a filling and satisfying meal, with no dishes to clean up afterwards. That is a win win!  I better you never though that eating your vegetable could taste so good.

Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

 

Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  • 1 small onion
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 3 potatoes, medium to large size
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 2 ts Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 c milk

Directions:

  1. Dice up carrots, onion, and celery. Place in medium pot. Cook until the onions are tanslucent.
  2. Add potatoes, 3/4 cup broccoli, and water. Cover, cooking until potatoes are fork tender.
  3. Using a hand blender smooth potatoes and broccoli. Once smooth cooke for another 10 minutes. Add the rest of the broccoli and Worcestershire sauce, cook until tender.
  4. Add milk. Slowly add cheese in, make sure to stir after each addition. Salt and pepper to taste.

**If desired serve in a toasted bread bowl topped with bacon and extra cheese.

Elvis Presley’s Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

I really do get some of the craziest ideas. I love my husband and my husband loves peanut butter and banana sandwiches, as did the ‘King’ Elvis Presley.

I had three bananas that were getting to the gross stages of their lives, I didn’t want to make bread, I have did that already. Making it into a smoothie kinda grossed me out. So I came up with peanut butter banana sandwiches. I figured it had to be easier to eat on the run then making a sandwich and trying to eat.

I wanted to make something that is something a bit healthier then just regular muffins, I added oats to get that extra fiber in there. And who doesn’t need a little fiber in their diet. I didn’t want to use ingredients that I would normally have on hand. So it is just the basics: milk, eggs, sugar, flour. See nothing crazy and most of us will already have this stuff in our pantries. So yummy and yet so simply to make.

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 ts baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Ts creamy peanut butter
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 ts salt

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients until well combined and smooth. It is okay to have some little chunks of bananas. Do not over mix.
  2. Pour into muffin tins. Fill each tin about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Top with just a sprinkle of oats.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes or until the knife comes out clean when inserted.