Monday, July 20, 2015

Lemon-Blackberry Olive Oil Cake

As I was looking to see which post to do today, I went back to find the "One Year Ago" recipe and saw that today is the 2nd Anniversary of my blog, which means I now also get to do "Two Years Ago" and the end of the recipes/posts.  Oh my gosh, where has this year gone?  Can anyone please tell me?  I am amazed how fast time keeps ticking by me.

I perused through my photo cache of recipes from the past few months and realized I had not posted this one yet.  It's easy, refreshing and a perfect summer dessert.  In our case, also a great coffee cake for mornings.  

I changed up the Orange Olive Oil Cake that I made a few months ago to see what switching out a couple ingredients would do.  The end result was awesome.  I cannot wait to make this for my grandma when we visit her during our vacation.

Lemon-Blackberry Olive Oil Cake

Non-stick baking spray
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice and zest of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbls. juice, 1 Tbl. zest)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 cups fresh blackberries

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Spray 9-inch round cake pan with non-stick baking spray.

Mix together the sugar and eggs in a medium bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed until blended and light.  Drizzle in the olive oil and vanilla and mix until light and smooth.  Add the lemon juice and zest and mix well.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in another medium bowl.  Add the flour mixture half at a time to the wet ingredients and mix on low just to incorporate.  Carefully fold in the blackberries to the batter, until evenly distributed.

Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake, 25 to 30 minutes.  Let the cake cool 15 minutes.  Serve with fresh whipping cream and blackberries.

One Year Ago:  Fry Sauce
Two Years Ago: Pickling Cucumbers

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Fritters and White Sangria Sparkler

Summer is well upon us and we have had the fortunate time to be visiting our Saturday Farmer's Market and all their fresh abundance of fruit, veggies and flowers that Colorado supplies.

This past weekend we picked up some beautiful peaches and made a chilled, refreshing Sangria.

White Sangria Sparkler
Courtesy of Damn Delicious

1 (750ml) bottle white wine
2 peaches, sliced
2 kiwis, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup raspberries
3 Tbl sugar
1 (750ml) bottle sparkling white wine (like Prosecco)

In a large pitcher, whisk together white wine, peaches, kiwis, raspberries and sugar.

Let chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Serve over ice with sparkling white wine,

Angus just has to be in every photo,
especially during our patio Happy Hour time,
or should I rephrase..."Puppy Hour".

Our newest bloom in the front yard.

We also picked up some spaghetti squash to have with marinara sauce for dinner.  I ended up having one half of the squash left over and found this amazing side dish recipe for later during the week. Super easy and really delicious!

Served along side our chicken and pepper kabobs.

Bacon, Spaghetti Squash and Parmesan Fritters
Courtesy of

2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
3 cups spaghetti squash, cooked, shredded and wringed out
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp salt
3 green onions, chopped
5 bacon strips, cooked, drained and chopped
2 Tbl. olive oil

In a large bowl, using electric mixer, beat 2 eggs on high speed for 1-2 minutes.  Add flour and continue beating for about 30 seconds to combine.  To the same bowl, add spaghetti squash, Parmesan cheese, green onions and salt.  Mix very well until all the mixture has uniform consistency. Add bacon and mix. 

Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat until very hot.  Only then add olive oil.  It should sizzle and smoke right away.  Using a tablespoon, spoon the tablespoon full of the batter for each fritter and crop on the skillet.  Using a spatula, correct the shape of each fitter, making it flatter and rounder.  Cook until the bottom side of each fritter is golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium.  Using spatula, flip fritters to the opposite side, and cook 1-2 more minutes.

When flipping fritters, you can use a spoon on the opposite side of spatula to help push each fritter onto the spatula and then flipping.

Turn off the heat and let the fritters sit in the skillet (uncovered) for 2-3 more minutes. (Check the bottom, if they're too dark, remove fritters from the skillet immediately.)  Do 4 fritters at a time, so they crisp up, and not steam.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.

One Year Ago: Turkey Chili

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Artichoke (Addiction) Gratin

So my oldest daughter and I have been having artichoke cravings this summer...we cannot get enough of them in any shape or form.  She learned a new hot artichoke dip on Pinterest and has been making us batches of it every week.  We'll have a little nosh on it with some crackers during our family debriefing or she'll warm it up for one of her late Netflix movie night snacks.  (If) there are any leftovers, I have been re-purposing it, warmed up over mini penne pasta or I even tried it out using as the stuffing for my broiled stuffed mushrooms...served them up with a cobb dinner salad - delish!!!

Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms - oh my!!
I have also been making this gratin for a quick dinner side dish.  It has terrific flavors and goes wonderfully with steak or chicken.

Artichoke Gratin
Serves 4

4 cups canned artichoke quarters with herbs, drained
2 Tbl. shredded Parmesan cheese
2 Tbl. shredded Romano cheese
2 tsp. roughly chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil

Set an oven rack on the lowest position and preheat the broiler.

In a shallow oven-proof baking dish, arrange the artichokes in a single layer.

Combine the cheeses, thyme, and red pepper flakes and scatter over the artichokes.

Drizzle the oil over the cheeses.

Broil until the cheese is melted and the edges of the artichokes are lightly browned, 15 to 18 minutes.
(Keep an eye on it, as it can brown fast under the broiler, even on the lowest rack),

Served over grilled chicken and rice pilaf.
One Year Ago:  Grilled Vegetable Salad

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cracked Out Chicken Bubble Up

Our 95 degree days of sunshine have made way for more clouds, rain and thunderstorms this week. 

Another dreary event has been one of our little guys, Theo recently had surgery to remove a skin tag on his eye, teeth cleaned and a lump removed from his thigh...poor guy.  Between that and the noise of fireworks, he's had a tough couple weeks around our house.

It's time for warm comfort food again and this one definitely does the trick!  Super easy, delicious and makes great leftovers.

Cracked Out Chicken Bubble Up
Courtesy of Plain Chicken

2 cups chopped or shredded chicken
1 (10.75oz) can Cream of Chicken Soup
8 ounces sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 Tbsp Ranch dry dressing mix
1/4 cup cooked, chopped bacon
1 (12oz) can refrigerated Grands Jr biscuits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Combine chicken, soup, sour cream, cheese, Ranch mix and bacon.  Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. Toss with chicken mixture.

Pour chicken mixture into prepared pan. (Make sure the biscuit corners are separated from each other and placed throughout the pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly and biscuits are golden brown.

One Year Ago: Quick Marinated Cherry Tomato Salad

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Traeger BBQ Beef Ribs and Celebrating Our Independence

Happy 4th of July to everyone out there today!  We have been very busy decorating the yard and house and preparing for the day.  We started with a wonderful hike with the dogs to one of the rivers and they took in a well deserved swim.

The girls have planned our menu and jumped right into the kitchen preparing our evening's picnic and festivities while we watch the City's fireworks display.

All decorated and ready to go!

So very handsome!

Our patriotic pups!
The main event for tonight of course will be grilled ribs.  This recipe comes from our Traeger book, which has proven to be our go-to for smoking and grilling time and time again.

Beef Ribs
Courtesy of Traeger's Everyday Cookbook

(2) 7-bone racks beef long ribs (back ribs), 5 to 6 pounds total
Traeger Prime Rib Rub (or your favorite barbecue rub)
Traeger Texas Spicy Barbecue Sauce (or your favorite barbecue sauce)

** If you don't have a Traeger, you could certainly do this same rib on your grill and/or smoker, and cook according to your temperature's/manufacturer's directions.

Remove the thin papery membrane from the bone-side of the ribs by working the tip of a butter knife. Use paper towels to get a firm grip, then tear the membrane off.

Season the ribs with your Prime Rib rub.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes).  Smoke the ribs, meat-side up, for 2 hours.  Set the temperature to 225 degrees.

Continue to cook the ribs for 3 to 4 hours more, or until the meat is tender.  If desired, wrap the ribs tightly in foil partway through the cooking time.  The last 30 minutes, carefully remove the ribs from the foil and brush them liberally with your barbecue sauce, and return to grill.  Transfer the ribs to a cutting board and let them rest for a few minutes before carving them into individual ribs.

Season them up.
Set it...and forget it!

I think family "blooper" photos are my favorite!

One Year Ago:  Apple Pie Cake