Thursday, January 1, 2015

Lemon Scones Recipe

This is a re-post from 2009.  Happy New Year!

"What would you like me to cook today?" Occasionally I pose this question to the members of my household. Sometimes I ask, "What would you like to cook with me?" Other times, however, I desire to prepare something by myself but enjoy taking requests from my family who range in age from four and a half to thirty nine and three quarters.

Glazed Lemon SconesLast week when I asked this question, three out of five of my family independently answered, "Lemon Scones". (I think it is so cute that a ten year old boy would request lemon scones as the thing he would most like his mom to cook. Awwwwwww!) I remembered that I had a few lonely lemons and some heavy cream hiding in the back of my refrigerator. The other two people in my family who had requested cars birthday cake and sushi were also big fans of lemon scones so we were all happy.

This recipe comes from a page I ripped from "Family Fun Magazine" in March of 2008. Some of my best recipes are from magazines. Before I ever put one of my periodicals in the recycling bin, I rip out interesting recipes. This is a habit I acquired form my mom and I'm so glad I did. Sometimes these clippings hang around my house for years before I actually get around to cooking them. Once I've prepared the recipe I either file it, if I like it, or pitch it, if I don't.

I filed this recipe for lemon scones because it produces a treat that can be made in less than a half hour with simple ingredients and because it is scrumptious. Although it has the texture of a great biscuit, it has the flavor of a delicious lemon cake. The addition of the lemon glaze makes it a favorite with the kids. My family and I often enjoy Glazed Lemon Scones on Sunday afternoons with a pot of hot tea, but they would be great for breakfast or, as Family Fun suggests, as part of a brunch.

Lemon Scones
    (adapted from Family Fun Magazine)

Scone Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/4 inch peces
1 cup whipping cream, plus more for brushing
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
2 Tablespoons whipping cream


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease a baking sheet or preheat a baking stone.
  2. Sift or whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into large mixing bowl.  Add the lemon zest and gently toss together.  
  3. Using fingers or pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Pour in the cream, the yolk, and the vanilla extract.  Use a fork to blend the liquids within the well.  Use a wooden spoon to combine all the ingredients, just until the dough holds together.  Dough will be crumbly.
  5. Scrape the dough onto a floured surface.  Using floured hands, gently knead three or four times until a ball forms.  Flatten the ball int a disk about 3/4 inch thick.  Cut disc into 8 wedges (I use a pizza cutter).  Transfer the pieces to the prepared baking sheet or preheated stone, leaving at least 1/4 inch between them.  Brush the tops lightly with cream.
  6. Bake the scones in the center of the oven until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes.  Allow scones to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack.
  7. While the scones are cooling, make the glaze.  Whisk together the powdered sugar, fresh lemon juice, lemon extract, melted butter, and whipping cream.   Thin glaze with cream a few drops at a time to create a loose consistency.  Drizzle each scone generously with glaze.
Makes 8 scones.  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

     Summer Heidi is making pesto!  Since returning to teaching full-time I have assumed two identities:  Working  Heidi and Summer Heidi. My family loves when Summer Heidi spends quality time in the kitchen baking this or giving guidance on how to make a pan of these, but they also enjoy the paycheck that Working Heidi provides. I am pleased with both. 

     Today I am embracing Summer Heidi by whipping up a batch of homemade pesto. Although Working Heidi will gladly use the jarred variety, Summer Heidi likes the process of picking basil from a plant in our backyard that my youngest son has been tending since April, carefully trimming the fragrant leaves, and being greeted by a container of this vibrant green concoction every time the fridge is opened. 

     My recipe is inspired by Betty Crocker, Pinterest, and Food Network. I started by adding two firmly packed cups of clean, dry basil leaves to my handy dandy blender. Then I layered on Parmesan Cheese, pine nuts, diced garlic, and a few pinches of kosher salt. Next I poured in some olive oil and began to blend. Whenever I combine ingredients in the blender I follow Alton Brown's advice of increasing the speed gradually.  My blender isn't one of the high end versions that has a dial so I have devised my own method:  pulse on low ten times, pulse on high ten times, blend on low for ten seconds, blend on high until a whirlpool appears.   When my pesto was fully combined I tasted it, added a bit more garlic and salt, and whirred it around on high for another minute. 

     Tonight Summer Heidi is using this fresh basil pesto to create Cynthia Sass' Savory Spaghetti Squash. Tomorrow she will probably make some pesto deviled eggs. After that, who knows? Summer Heidi has nothin' but time!  

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe
     (makes about 1 1/2 cups of prepared pesto)

  1. Place the clean, dry basil leaves in a blender.
  2. Addd the cheese, pine nuts, olive oil, and garlic.
  3. Blend, starting off slow and increasing speed gradually.
  4. Stop blender and scrape sides.
  5. Taste.  Add more garlic and salt as needed.
  6. Blend until smooth.
  • Refrigerate pesto for up to two weeks.  Freeze for up to six month.
  • Use pesto to top pasta, roasted chicken, grilled fish, spaghetti squash, and more.  Add to dressings, sauces, or deviled eggs.  

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Watergate Salad Recipe

Here is a classic recipe worthy of your Thanksgiving table or any festive gathering. Enjoy!

Watergate Salad Recipe

1 package pistachio instant pudding (3 ounces)
1- 9 ounce Cool Whip
1 can crushed pineapple (20 ounces), undrained
2 cups mini marshmallows 
1/4 cup maraschino cherries, drained

1.  Mix dry instant pudding, cool whip, marshmallows, and crushed pineapple. 
2.  Spread into a casserole dish. 
3.  Slice cherries in half. Arrange on top of mixture. 
4.  Chill for at least an hour or overnight. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cranberry Parmesan Herb Popcorn Recipe

Thanks to lots of lazy hours perusing the internet, my sons have solved our popcorn dilemma.  They stumbled upon an online catalog that includes entertaining videos which promote each of the company's unique products.  Despite multiple attempts by my youngest to get me to sit down and view a few of these clips, I resisted until he said in his most persuasive voice, "Mom, they sell cooking stuff!" After I relented, I lost at least an hour of my life viewing these corny yet oddly informative ditties.  The company is called Vat 19 and I loved it so much I even agreed to place an order.

Currently on my Vat 19 wishlist is the Butter Bell Crock, the Soup and Cracker Mug Set, and the Double Dish Snack Bowl (might just order this one today).  I have such an extensive wishlist because the first item we ordered, the Microwave Popcorn Popper, has been a huge success in our household.

I have been on a quest for a healthy popcorn popping method ever since my children have been old enough to eat this optimized snack food.  In theory, popcorn is a healthy and satisfying snack that our family can enjoy after school, during play dates, and while we gather to watch a movie.  In reality, however, most of the microwave bags that we buy from the grocery store are expensive and full of chemicals.  I tried a high end popper (it broke), the paper bag method (not always successful), and healthy grocery store options (overpriced).  The Vat 19 popper meets all of our popcorn popping needs, but don't just take my word for it, check out this informative and entertaining video.  Trust me you won't regret it.

Although my eight year old still needs assistance to make popcorn with our Vat 19 popper, my older children can manage it independently.  This summer they have used it to create classic popcorn, Old Bay popcorn, and their version of kettle corn.  My favorite is Cranberry Parmesan Herb Popcorn (recipe following).  I also love that I can use coconut oil to flavor my kernels.  Because the Vat 19 popper is made of glass, I always do the washing which is fine with my kids.

So grab a friend or family member and check out Vat 19.  You will be entertained as you quickly discover the Microwave Popcorn Popper and a plethora of other amazing items.  Once you order and receive  a popper of your very own, make a big bowl of Cranberry Parmesan Herb Popcorn and check out all of the other "curiously awesome" products.

Cranberry Parmesan Herb Popcorn Recipe

1/4 cup dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)
1/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernals
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon coconut oil (or other fat which is solid at room temperature such as butter)
1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning mix
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (or more to taste)
a dash of freshly cracked pepper (optional)

1.  Pop the popcorn with the coconut oil or other fat.  If using the Vat 19 popper, place the unpopped kernels in the bottom of the glass decanter and the coconut oil in the silicone lid then microwave for approximately 2 minutes and 45 seconds.
2.  Dump the popped popcorn into a large bowl.  Add dried cranberries, Parmesan cheese, Italian herbs, salt and pepper.  Toss.
3.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ham Sliders Recipe

This morning my family and I said good-bye to our fabulous friends who drove from Minnesota to Texas to visit us.  They are dear friends that we have know for 18 years.  When we met, they had one sweet little boy and now we have 8 amazing children between us.  We've vacationed together, shared meals, and had lots of laughs.  Our kids jive, the parental conversations are inspiring and entertaining, and the food we share always tastes better when we are together.

This visit started with Easter dinner that included ham, macaroni and cheese, pretzel salad, deviled eggs, roasted asparagus, garlicky green beans, and King's Hawaiin rolls.  As I was digging in the fridge for our second meal together, our friends' oldest son, who has loved ham since we introduced it to him in his highchair, remembered a hot ham on Hawaiin roll sandwich that his aunt in Chicago had made.  Doing a bit of searching on the internet and perusing of my pantry lead us to the conclusion that we could make a pan of these type of sandwiches to add to our feast of leftovers.

The sandwiches that we created were warm, toasty, and flavorful.  With 3 hungry teenagers as part of our crowd, the sandwiches didn't last long. The cheese got melty and gooey while the poppy seeds and Worcestershire sauce accentuated the taste of the ham.  Yum!  These Ham Sliders are going on my "Make for Party" list and will always remind me of our good times with our BFFF's (Best Family Friends Forever).

Ham Sliders Recipe

1 package of King's Hawaiin Rolls or other small dinner rolls (I used Mini Sub Rolls)
1/2 pound of ham (from the deli or leftover from you Easter dinner:)
6-8 slices of Swiss or Provolone cheese
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder or Garlic Salt
1 teaspoon Poppy seeds

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder.  
  3. Split rolls and place on a baking sheet.
  4. Top each roll with ham and cheese.
  5. Place tops of rolls on sandwiches.
  6. Using a pastry brush, generously slather each sandwich with the melted butter mixture.
  7. Sprinkle poppy seeds on top of sandwiches.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or cover with foil and back for 20 minutes or until rolls are toasty and cheese is melted.  Add a few minutes if sandwiches are chilled

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Roasted Cabbage Recipe

In November my husband learned about The Hunter Gatherer Diet from a group of his co-workers.  Wanting to loose some mid-life weight he started following this eating plan by changing his diet to meat, some fruit, and lots of vegetables.  At the time, I chose to watch from the sidelines as he converted from toast to eggs in the morning and went from a bit of meat with some rice or pasta to a slab of meat surrounded by steamed vegetables in the evening.

After preparing and ingesting as many holiday goodies as I wished and spending hours on Pinterest  doing some research on this new way of eating, I decided to join him in what I found was also referred to as a Paleolithic Diet. On my Paleo journey I lost some weight (especially around my middle), got rid of my usual joint and back pain, and discovered that vegetables can be much more than a microwaved bag of broccoli.  I have come to enjoy steaming, roasting, and grilling brussel sprouts, turnips, kale, and more.

I have always been a fan of cabbage, but I usually had it boiled and served along side corned beef or ham.  Now I use this recipe to roast it.  It is quick enough for a weeknight and very tasty.  This recipe comes from my old friend Martha Stewart and was published way before people were throwing around the term Paleo.  I love how the cabbage caramelizes and sweetens in the oven.  It is perfect when served alongside a grilled pork chop or chicken breast.  You don't have to be Paleo or a Hunter Gather to enjoy this recipe for Roasted Cabbage.

Roasted Cabbage Recipe

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 medium head green cabbage, rised and dried, outer leaves removed
Kosher Salt and Cracked Pepper
1 teaspoon fennel seeds

  1. Cut cabbage into 1-inch-thick rounds.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Brushed a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  4. Place cabbage rounds in a single layer on the prepared sheet pan.
  5. Brush the cabbage rounds with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with fennel seeds.
  7. Roast until cabbage is tender and edges are golden brown, 35-45 minutes.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Chipped Beef Ball Recipe

Growing up my favorite breakfast was creamed chip beef on toast.  My mom made it very thick and served it open faced on toasted white bread, while my best friend's mom made it a bit thinner and placed buttered toast alongside for dipping.  Either way, I enjoyed it.

I tried serving creamed chip beef on toast to my own children a few times when they were preschoolers but none of them were big fans. In fact, I had forgotten all about this salty and rich breakfast treat until I found two recipes for Chipped Beef Ball in my recipe box. I was searching for a savory appetizer to serve alongside the steamed shrimp that we traditionally have on New Year's Eve.  In keeping with the menu that my grandmother started years ago, we will also have a variety of dips, crackers, and potato chips, a sweet cheese ball that my daughter made yesterday, and pigs-in-a-blanket.

Mixing a cheese ball is a snap with my new mixer.
My desire for something  (anything!) made with chipped beef, which I realize now is really known as dried beef, increased when I was unable to locate it in my local and brand new grocery store, HEB.  My husband and I were purchasing our shrimp, enjoying lots of samples, bumping into neighbors, and looking for my chipped beef.  First we unsuccessfully looked near the lunch meats, moved onto the bacon area, and finally instated the help of a man who was stocking kolaches (it's a Texas thing and worthy of it's own blog post).  My husband pulled up a picture of Esskay dried beef on his phone and four HEB employees later we found it near the canned tuna.  I mentioned that in Maryland it was in the refrigerator section and the HEB manager, who was the one who found my challenging item, said he could chill it for me if I would like.  My husband was wary of this non-refrigerated Armour dried beef which was available in a jar or a plastic package, but I was even more determined to have a Chipped Beef Ball for New Year's Eve.

At home, I put my new apple green Kitchen Aid mixer to work and whipped up two Chipped Beef Balls, one to eat and one to share.   I merged both recipes that I found in my recipe box by adding some grated Parmesan cheese and Worcestershire along with horseradish.  Yum!  It is everything I remembered and more. Happy New Year!  Hope you rediscover a childhood food favorite this year.

Chipped Beef Ball Recipe

1 package dried beef (4.5 ounces or so), finely diced
2 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each), softened
1 Tablespoon horseradish, more to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional

  1. Mix softened cream cheese, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and Parmesan cheese (if using) until well combined.
  2. Add half of diced dried beef, and mix to combine.
  3. Shape mixture into one large ball or two small balls.  Roll in remaining chipped beef.  
  4. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour or overnight.
  5. Serve with crackers.