Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Food: Lemon Ricotta Muffins

I had leftover ricotta cheese from making Four Cheese Baked Rigatoni and since I don't like to let food go to waste, I went in search of a recipe. I didn't want to make manicotti and my cookbooks don't index on ricotta cheese, so despite the zillions of recipes I have, I ended up on the internet. I found this at FoodNetwork.com by Giada De Laurentis as Nonna's Lemon Ricotta Biscuits and modified it slightly to use up all of my ricotta. They're a tasty combination of lemon and almond and because of the ricotta cheese, they even have some protein to them! That makes them health food, right?


Lemon Ricotta Muffins

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp grated lemon peel
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
sugar
thinly sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups.
Mix sugar, butter, and lemon peel until light and fluffy. Beat in ricotta. Beat in egg, lemon juice, and almond extract. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir until just blended (batter will be thick and fluffy).
Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle sliced almonds and sugar over the muffins.
Bake until muffins are pale golden on top, about 20 minutes.
Cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Food: Alpine Fruited Oatmeal

Sorry I missed Friday Food last week. I ran through my backlog of recipes I'd made. We've been overwhelmed with food lately, as happens in the South when someone passes, so the last thing I needed to do was cook more food! Things are getting back to normal now though so my cooking and baking should get back on schedule. Though I'll admit that I realized I didn't have anything for Friday Food yesterday and whipped off this recipe to remedy that!

If you like oatmeal for breakfast, this is a good variation. I've had this recipe a long time and think it may be a Quaker Oats recipe. Just put it together the night before and it will be ready in the morning. You can serve it hot or cold, plain, or with milk or yogurt. You can make it with different juices and fruit. Use your imagination!


Alpine Fruited Oatmeal 

2 cups uncooked oats
1 cup apple juice
1 cup water
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Stir well before serving. Serve cold or hot with milk or yogurt, if desired. To heat, put 1/2 cup in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute 30 seconds. Store tightly covered in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Reviving Normal

It's been a long year. A year of dealing with family illness. A year of not really knowing what to do or where to be. A year of being on edge, waiting for that phone call. A year of not being able to make any real plans. A year of separation while my husband spent much of his time away from home as a caregiver. It's been a long year.


That year has ended, as we knew it would, and we begin the process of healing and getting our lives back in order. Fitting that it is Spring, a time when all life changes perceptibly with warmer weather, flowering plants, leafing trees, chirping birds, longer days. It's a perfect time to get back to projects long idle and learn something new.

For me, that means:
  1. Getting my Etsy shops back in order. My vintage shop had been doing pretty well, but has been neglected over the last month. My art shop, on the other hand, is badly in need of a revamp. And a revamp means that I need to be...
  2. Getting creative. I haven't taken the time to be creative lately and I can feel it. It effects my mood and how I feel about myself. It means I'm not getting any better at my craft. It also means I don't have anything new to offer the shops that carry my work, so that part of my income stream stagnates.
  3. Learning something new. I can't wait until the end of April when the Daring Adventures in Paint e-course begins! I bought the book last summer and made one collage. It was great fun, but right about now I need the motivation that a course provides. Last year's Get Your Paint On class was another great motivator and I look forward to the same sort of rush that class provided!
  4. Traveling. We've neglected ourselves over the past year and we've spent entirely too much time indoors. We've got several trips planned that will be cover both familiar and unfamiliar territory to give us a mix of old and new experiences. It'll be good just to get away.
  5. Exercising. Did I mention we'd neglected ourselves and spent a lot of time indoors? The winter didn't help - it seemed exceptionally cold, windy, and dreary. I look forward to daily walks to clear the head and provide inspiration (and tone the bod!). 
It'll take a bit to revive normal, but we'll get there. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Food: Peanut Butter Cake

I'm stuck on the desserts again...this time, I needed something I could send to my grandmother and great uncle for Easter. Since we get the leftovers, I thought something in peanut butter would be good. I found this recipe from a Healthy Cooking magazine. Yummy!


Peanut Butter Cake

1/2 cup peanut butter
6 Tbsp butter
1 cup water
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

In a large saucepan, bring peanut butter, butter, and water just to a boil. Immediately remove from heat; stir in flour, sugar, yogurt, applesauce, eggs, baking powder, vanilla, salt, and baking soda until smooth.
Pour into a 15x10x1 inch greased baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

Frosting

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp milk
1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, melt butter and peanut butter over medium heat; add milk. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth. Spread over warm cake.
Cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers.