Posted in Baking, Dessert, Easy Meals, Food, Recipe, Recipes, Uncategorized

4 Ingredient​ Almond Joy Cookies

These have to be the easiest and most delicious cookies I have ever made.  The most important thing to keep in mind is, to use exactly what the recipe calls for.  Now, this isn’t my normal way of cooking.  I like to improvise. And I tried to a couple of times with this recipe and was disappointed with the outcome each time. So, with that in mind, are you ready?

Ingredients:

2 cups milk chocolate chips

1, 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

1, 14 oz bag of sweetened coconut flakes

2/3 cup of slivered almonds

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  You HAVE TO use parchment paper.  Not wax paper. If you do, they won’t come out right.

Mix all ingredients together well.  If you’re like me, and second guess things sometimes.  This will be one of those times.  I guarantee you’re going to think “this can’t possibly be enough milk.  It’s too dry!”  I hear ya.  But, don’t add any more. They’ll still taste good but will look weird if you do.

Size doesn’t really matter when arranging them on the pan whereas the cookies don’t spread out during baking.  You can use either a tablespoon or teaspoon.  I like mine to be smaller, so I generally use a teaspoon or a pampered chef cookie dough scoop.

Put in the oven for 12-14 minutes or until the coconut starts to turn a light brown.

And that’s it.  Like I said, super easy recipe.  I hope you love them!  Whats the easiest recipe you know?

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Posted in Dessert, Easy Meals, Food, Inspirations, Maine, Recipe, Recipes, Uncategorized

No Churn Homemade Maine Blueberry Ice Cream

When I was wracking my brain trying to come up with blueberry recipes, I remembered making ice cream in a bag back in my 10th grade biology class.  Unfotunately, that may have been the only thing that stuck with me from that class. But,  I thought that the recipe was would be  perfect to share here.  Now, the recipe itself is easy, but you may want to skip arm day at the gym before making this.  You are about to get one hell of a workout.

Ingredients:

2 Cups half and half

4 Tbs sugar

1 Tsp vanilla extract

2 cups of blueberries

You will also need:

Ice

1/2 Cup kosher salt

1 Gallon size Ziplock bag

Several plastic shopping bags.

Instructions:

Fill one of the shopping bags about half way with ice.  Keep in mind, it’s going to leak so I highly recommend double or triple bagging it.  Pour the kosher salt over the ice and let sit while making the ice cream mixture.  In a food processor, pour in the half and half, blueberries, sugar and vanilla and mix on high for a few minutes.  Pour mixture into ziplock bag and seal tightly.  Place the ziplock bag into the shopping bag with ice.  Shake for 10 minutes.  You’re arms will get tired, and time will go by slow, and you’ll worry that you did something wrong when it doesn’t harden.  Keep shaking.  I found that tying the shopping bag and rolling it on a table worked well too.  Once you feel the consistency get harder, pour mixture in a freezer safe container.  And there ya have it. Enjoy!

 

 

Posted in Baking, Dessert, Easy Meals, family, Food, Maine, Recipe, Uncategorized

Blueberry Lemon Freezer Jam

When we found the blueberry bushes in our yard, my mind immediately started racing.  I don’t really care for the texture of most fruits, blueberries included. So I needed to be a little creative in what I made out of them.  My first thought was jam.  I had already been on a toast and jam kick for a while, so it was perfect.

A few months ago, my grandfather spent some time at our house.  In the morning, I would ask him what he’d like for breakfast.  It was always the same thing, toast with jam and coffee.  Normally, at home, he’d tell me, he would only have one piece.  But, since he was at our house, he’d have two pieces of toast. I don’t know what it is about our house.  Maybe because it’s a few hours away from his, he felt like he was on vacation?  He wanted to let loose a little bit. I know when I’m on vacation I usually eat more than I do normally. Anyways,  because of that, a breakfast of two pieces of toast is now known as the Bampie Special at our house.

I have never made jam.  Initially, the process seemed daunting. Just the set up alone was intense.  I knew there had to be an easier way.  I just had to find it.  And luckily, I did.  It’s called Freezer jam. It’s delicious.  And this is how I made it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups blueberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  •  Half a lemon
  • 1 package of fruit pectin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6, 8oz ball mason jars

In a bowl, combined blueberries, sugar and juice from the halved lemon.  Use a potato masher to smush (that’s very technical kitchen lingo) the ingredients together.  Once sufficiently smushed, let sit for 15 minutes.  While that’s doing it’s thing, pour water and pectin packet in a small sauce pot and heat to boiling while stirring constantly.  Boil and stir mixture for 1 minute.  Combined the pectin mixture with the blueberries and stir constantly for 3 minutes.

Pour into mason jars and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours or until the mixture has set.  Then, put in freezer for up to 6 months.

 

Also, I bet this mixture would be amazing in a homemade pop-tart.  Check out my homemade Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart recipe to get started.  Just put this blueberry lemon jam inside instead of the brown sugar cinnamon mixture.  And instead of adding cinnamon to the icing, use lemon zest.  Man, I’m already super excited to try this out later this week.  If anyone makes either of these recipes, I would love to hear how they turned out!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Baking, Dessert, Dinner, Easy Meals, family, Food, Health, Maine, Recipe, Uncategorized

Foraging Our Little Lot of Land

I found some blueberry bushes on our property a few weeks ago. We only have 2 acres.  But those two are filled with apple trees, blackberry bushes, a pear tree and several blueberry bushes. Most of which we didn’t know about before we bought the house.

A few weeks ago, when we found the blueberries, we had already missed out on the first round to ripen. Hundreds of blueberries littered the ground.  But that didn’t matter much. Our first haul garnered six and a half pounds of some of the biggest blueberries I have ever seen.
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I don’t even really like blueberries. I mean, they’re alright.  But finding them, picking them and cleaning them has brought something out in me that I didn’t know was there.  A foragers instinct that I’ve never explored.  Every few days I’ll go and survey the land.  I’ll take my colander just in case anything is ready to be picked.  I’ll stop by my pear tree, check on the one pear that still hangs.  At one time there were 2 pears on it, but something got one of them.  After I confirm that the pear, is in fact, still in the tree, I move on to the blueberry bushes.  I pick what I can.  Trying to contain my excitement at the bounty so as to not pick any before they’re ready.

Next, I move on the apple trees.  When we did our home inspection before we bought it last year, our inspector was pretty impressed by how old the trees appeared to be. Upon inspection of the apples, some research, and a professionals opinion we have concluded that these are Baldwin apples.  One of the oldest types of apples there is.  First introduced to Maine in the late 1700’s.  They are great for making pies, apple sauce, and cider. A couple of friends came over for dinner the other night and they tried some of the apples. The smaller one they tried was still tart, but the bigger one was sweet.  They should be great for baking.

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I told my husband the other day that I wanted to be a farmer.  He looked concerned.  I assured him that I meant as a hobby, not a profession.   We are going to work our way up to getting some chickens next spring, I think.  In the meantime, I wanted to make sure I could keep something alive, other than humans and dogs.  So I started a herb garden.  So far so good.  Much better than my succulent garden last year.

 

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As the weather changes and fall creeps in, the thought of all the baking and cooking possibilities with these provisions gets me even more excited for fall than I usually am.  I’ve already tried out a few recipes that I’m excited to share here soon.  So keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Blueberry Lemon Freezer Jam
  • Homemade No-Churn Blueberry Ice Cream
  • Tomato Basil Bisque

More will be added as soon as the apples ripen.

 

 

Posted in Dinner, Easy Meals, family, Food, Recipe

Very Cheesy Mac ‘N Cheese

A very good friend of mine taught me how to make homemade macaroni and cheese.  She is an amazing chef and has worked in some of my favorite restaurants in Portland, Maine.  I think a lot of people make theirs by adding shredded cheese directly to the macaroni and baking it.  This recipe is very different.  In this one, you make a cheese sauce and just about drown the macaroni in it before baking.  And because of this, the left overs are still perfectly cheesy.  I hope my rendition of her recipe will do her and her amazing dish proud.

Ingredients:

  • 1, 1lb box of pasta.  Pick your noodle.  I usually go for a medium shell.
  • 4 Tbsps of Butter
  • 2 Tbsp of Flour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Roughly 1/2 a quart of half and half
  • 2 cups shredded cheese blend.  This is really where I can leave it up to you.  Any type of cheese you want will probably be fine.  Sometimes I make it with all cheddar and other times I throw a softer cheese in the mix, like gruyere or Monterey jack.

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cook macaroni until completely done.  Make sure the water is very well salted.  While that’s boiling, make a roux.  Melt butter in a medium sized pot.  Once melted, add flour and whisk. The roux should be a fairly thick consistency.  If it seems too thin, add more flour.  Add half a quart of half & half.  Whisk together well.  Once the mixture has heated up a bit (but before it’s boiling) add the cheese mixture, stirring constantly.  The sauce will thicken as the mixture reaches a simmer.  If cheese sauce gets too thick, add more half & half.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

When pasta is done, strain and put in an oven safe casserole dish or large bowl.  Pour cheese sauce over macaroni and stir together.  Put in the oven for 10 minutes and serve.

Other Variations:  Feel free to play around with this.  Everyone has a staple way they make homemade Mac N Cheese.  Don’t be afraid to try something new or add something to the dish.  Sometimes I cook kielbasa and add it to the dish before I bake it.  I’ve also cooked very crispy bacon, chopped it up and put that in there. Sometimes I put crushed Ritz crackers on the top. I’ve also put seasoned, crushed breadcrumbs on top.  Make it your own.  There is no wrong way to do this.  Unless it tastes terrible, then you have in fact done something wrong.  But I’m sure you’ll be fine.

Posted in Dinner, Easy Meals, Food, Maine, Recipe, Uncategorized

Turkey Meatloaf with Meme’s Meatloaf Sauce

Growing up, I didn’t care much for meatloaf, but it was a staple dish at our house.  We were the quintessential downeast Mainer, meat and potatoes kind of family.

Now, my house consists of me, my husband and my 28-year-old brother.  Most nights the decision as to what to have for dinner falls on my shoulders.  It’s my cross to bear.  My husband will happily eat most anything.  My brother is far more picky.  I’ve made turkey meatloaf a few times,  and he was having no part of it.  But he had a suggestion.  “Why don’t you make it like Meme does?”

I had no idea how my grandmother made her meatloaf.  I mean, how many ways is there to make it really?  I asked J.J how Meme made it.  He wasn’t sure either.  The only thing he knew for certain was that it came with some type of tomato based sauce.

So the other night, I called my Meme.  I told her I was going to make her meatloaf, and needed go over the recipe with her.  When I told her that I was going to make it with ground turkey instead of ground beef, you could sense the hesitation.  She was trying to be so nice. She said “Uh, well Darci, I just don’t know how that will turn out”. And  ” You can’t put tomato sauce with turkey!” I assured her that it would be fine.  I also had to give J.J. a pep talk. I told him that it would be fine.  He agreed to try it, and voila, he ate it all.  I win.

So here’s what I did:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together 1 lb Lean Ground Turkey, 1 egg, 1/2 a large chopped green pepper, 1/2 an onion finely chopped, and 5 or 6 ritz crackers.  Put mixture in a loaf pan and put it in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

When it’s done, lift the meatloaf out of the pan and put the pan on a burner and turn it on low.  Add a can of Tomato soup, half a cup of chicken stock, and a couple of tablespoons of wondra to thicken.  Heat the mixture until it starts to simmer.  If the consistency seems too watery, add more wondra until it thickens.  Once it’s the right consistency, I pour it into a gravy boat so everyone can serve themselves at the table.

So that’s that. But now, I’m curious… What was a staple dish at your house growing up?  Have you revamped it or changed it now that you’re the one cooking it?