Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lishie's Lemon Spaghetti

Growing up in Florida, with citrus trees in my backyard, I discovered a love for lemons. They have so many wonderful qualities- aroma, taste, acid to emulsify, cleansing... it's hard not to use them all of the time. A very easy recipe is my lemon spaghetti. Now Giada De Laurentiis has a lemon spaghetti (say it like her: spah-get-TEE!) recipe but I promise you, I had this long before she introduced hers. Mine, like most of my "recipes" is probably different each time. When you are cooking with lemons, their taste & amount of liquid they produce varies so you really cannot "measure". Here's what I do:

Cook a pound (one box) of spaghetti to box directions. I love thin spaghetti but really, it can be any pasta. 

In a bowl, zest one to two lemons depending on your taste. I usually do two... Juice the lemons into the bowl. Usually the two lemons will make a nice amount of juice but depending on their size, you may need a third. While whisking, add extra virgin olive oil to emulsify the dressing (combine it) little by little. Taste it to see if more is needed, then add more, or don't! Cooking's not a science, baking is. Grate or add grated parmesan to the mixture. I only add about 1/4 cup because I love to sprinkle a LOT on later. Add S & P to taste... Sometimes I add chopped, fresh parsley or basil. Whisk well.

Using a slotted spaghetti spoon, transfer the pasta directly from the pot, HOT, into the bowl with the lemon "sauce". Toss well & serve hot or room temperature. This pasta even tastes great cold!

Yes, it's that easy! And DeLish. Enjoy!

<3 Lishie

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baked Gnocchi

Here's a really easy meal that is prepped so fast, anyone can make this...

Baked Gnocchi~
Just pick up the fresh gnocchi in the refrigerated section. I used individual, oven-safe ramekins (but you could use a larger one)... Divide the gnocchi amongst the little bowls. Pour some tomato sauce (a 14 oz. can) to cover the gnocchi. Sprinkle garlic powder, dried oregano, fresh basil (chiffonade) &/or parsley over the sauce. Then top with shredded mozzarella & provolone... Sprinkle grated parmesan on top... Bake @ 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted, browning.

Quick, easy, yummy... DeLish!
<3 Lishie
*Gnocchi are Italian potato dumplings, heartier than pasta...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Easy Parmesan Knots

Happy "Monday-after-Thanksgiving" people! :) Now you may be surprised at this but, my family is not a good leftovers type family. So we don't live off Thanksgiving for days to come. We don't waste it, we just do not morph the turkey into new creations because, for one thing, turkey is great but not every day. So I made new things over the weekend & decided to try these easier than easy garlic knots I had seen on Pinterest. If you are not on Pinterest- go look now: 

If you need an invite, comment below with your email & I will send you one!

The garlic knots were so tasty I cannot wait to make them again!

Easy Parmesan Knots

adapted from Real Mom Kitchen

  • 1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

  1. Roll each biscuit into a 12-in. rope & tie into a knot; tuck ends under. Place 2 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; brush the warm knots with the mixture. Yield: 8 knots.
For another Pillsbury-type creation, a sweet, try my Cinnamon-Sugar Knots
<3 Lishie

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mini~Pumpkin Pies

  • I have the most insignificant, smallest dilemma around the holidays I can imagine having: No one but me loves pumpkin. So I always end up baking everything else (I made my rustic apple turnovers  for my pop-in-law) for everyone else but I am left wanting pumpkin pie! I know, boohoo on me ;) But I figured out what to do this year- make a few mini pies for ME! 
  • Mini~Pumpkin Pies
  • 1/4 c sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 can (6 oz) evaporated milk
  • 1 unbaked pie crust
    • Preheat oven to 400° F.

      Mix together sugar, cinnamon, salt & nutmeg in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar~spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

      Cut the pie crust into 6 large muffin~sized circles. Use the excess to make little shapes for on top of the mini-pies (like the leaves pictured). Fit the individual circles into a large muffin tin (I used my muffin~top tin).

      Bake in 400° F oven for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 300° F; bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, until the custard seems set (not jiggly). Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. 

      I hope everyone had as wonderful a Thanksgiving as I did. Happy Black Friday to all! Or as I am calling it, Frog~day!!! "...It's Time To Play The Music, It's Time To Light The Lights... " :) The Muppets!

      <3 Lishie

See my signature gap~toothed bite?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cranberry~ Pomegranate Nut Bread

Everyone brought in something for the last day of work before Thanksgiving break & I made more pumpkin seed cranberry biscotti (a HUGE hit) & this tasty bread... I tweaked the BH&G recipe a bit, using pom juice instead of their suggested orange. When I finished mixing the batter, it was LAVENDAR colored! Beautiful, but funny! Ha! It smelled delicious baking & turned out a gorgeous carmel color. The bread was moist & sweet, a nice treat!

I hope you & your families have the most wonderful Thanksgiving! We'll be watching the parade on tv in the morning & Gabriel & I will be out walking beforehand. Then more baking & getting together for eating & laughter with family. Be safe & make those memories.

<3 Lishie

For more Thanksgiving ideas & children's crafts go to this post.

Cranberry~ Pomegranate Nut Bread
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup Pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; set aside. In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder & salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the egg, milk, & oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts & cranberries. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing. Makes 1 loaf (14 servings).

Taken at work with phone camera, ha!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stuffed Mushrooms

Looking for a great, no fail appetizer for Thanksgiving, or any day? Well here it is. My hubby love, love, loves mushrooms. There are so many variations on stuffed shrooms but this is a great base recipe... add more things anytime. Change it up with bacon or sausage... add carrots. Use shallots. Do as you wish! I make this as a side sometimes too!

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!
<3 Lishie

Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 16 large or 32 small white button mushrooms
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 4 celery stalks, diced small
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • S & P
  • 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

With a slightly damp cloth, wipe the mushrooms clean. Pull the stalks from them carefully (reserve). Finely dice the stalks. 

In the olive oil, saute the onion, celery & diced mushroom stalks until the onion is translucent & the celery is soft. Mixing, add the garlic & the S & P.  Add the bread crumbs & combine, take off heat.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Take the mushroom tops & using a small spoon (I like my Tablespoon measure for this) over-fill/stuff them with the onion mixture. Place flat-side/non-stuffed side down on a sprayed baking sheet. Top the stuffed mushrooms with the parmesan & bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese is browned & the mushrooms are softened. Enjoy!

Look at these HUGE, "button" mushrooms we got!

Check out my post: Thank you for Thanksgiving Crafts ideas for the kids.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pumpkin Seed Cranberry Biscotti

If you are looking for a delicious fall treat, that is different, look no further! My father-in-law loves biscotti so when I saw this recipe from Taste of Home, I knew I had to make it. This is the perfect dessert for the gazillionth course of Thanksgiving (you all know what I am talking about after appys, after dinner, after dessert... When things have wound down... Coffee, tea & pumpkin seed, cranberry biscotti. Or for the next morning. Or really, any time!!! YUM. So good, so different. These will be super appreciated (I know, my first batch were!!!) <3 Lishie

Pumpkin Seed Cranberry Biscotti Recipe
from Taste of Home
  • 3/4 cup 
  • sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Spice Islands® pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup salted pumpkin seeds*
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries*
In a small bowl, beat the sugar, eggs, oil and extracts. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to sugar mixture and mix well. Stir in pumpkin seeds and cranberries (dough will be sticky).

Divide dough in half; place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray 
(I lined with parchment paper) . With lightly floured hands, shape each portion into a 12-in. x 2-in. rectangle. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Carefully remove to wire racks; cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; cut diagonally with a serrated knife into 3/4-in. slices. Place cut side down on ungreased (I lined with parchment paper) baking sheets.

Bake for 5 minutes or until firm. Turn and bake 5-10 minutes longer or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

*Lishie tip- I bought raw, hulled pumpkin seeds & baked them, each side, 6 minutes. No added salt! They were perfect. Also, with the dried cranberries- add a little of the flour so they mix right into the recipe.

Biscotti means "twice baked" in Italian. To me it = DeLish!
Try this one too: Citrus Biscotti.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thank you

Thanksgiving is here. Time to reflect upon everything we are thankful for! And I have to tell you, truthfully, I am thankful every day of my life for everything I have; I am so fortunate for my family & my friends. And I am so thankful for you all who read my blog! THANK YOU. Now that I have a child, I want to convey to him how appreciative I am & I want to teach him to be the same. Along with this, I want to also teach him the history of Thanksgiving.

Part of my childhood was spent in Brockton, Massachusetts, not far from Boston. And due to this we also were able to travel to other parts of the state, like Salem & Plymouth. I was able to see Plymouth Rock up close & hear the history of the Mayflower & the Pilgrims there. We will be voyaging to MA at some point soon with our toddler but until then, I can teach him in other ways. I was ecstatic to see these in Disney Family Magazine. Great for Gabriel's school! (And no eggs!!!):

Plymouth Rock Cookies

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • black & green food coloring

  • Heat the oven to 375°. With a mixer, blend the butter, 1 cup of the sugar, and the extracts for about 1 minute. Add the flour and salt. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the milk with a wooden spoon until the dough sticks together.

  • Form the dough into eight Plymouth Rock shapes (ours measure 3 by 4 inches and about 1/2-inch thick). Press a small rectangular lid (we used a spice container) 
  • into the dough to create a frame, then use a toothpick to engrave the date 1620.

  • Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the cookies begin to brown. Remove them and let them cool completely.

    For a gray glaze, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk with a drop of black food coloring and a drop of green food coloring. Adjust the color and, if needed, add milk to thin the glaze so that it's brushable. Apply it 
    to the cookies with a pastry brush, then let it cool and harden for an hour.

    I love this book: 

    "The Story of Thanksgiving"
    by Nancy Skarmeas 
    Illustrated by Stacy Venturi-Pickett

     ISBN 9780824941642

    This series of books is great- explains the history is an easy & fun manner for ages 2 & up!
    Followed up by...

    We crafted a Mayflower together! Easy to draw, then color... used rectangular pieces of white tissue paper for the sails. 

    The best part about crafts with toddlers? It does not have to perfect & the child still has fun! And learns. 

    Lastly, all of the craft stores have these great little kits. They contain ALL the pieces you need & are inexpensive. Gabriel loved making this turkey:

    And, there's the Native American craftwork, like this feather headband, modeled by Gabriel:

    Or, Native American "Cave Art" made with sidewalk chalk:

    And a Native American Rain Stick made with an empty paper towel roll-holder, filled 1/4 the way with dry beans then closed on the ends with plastic wrap & rubber bands. Chalk coloring the outside:

    I will be blogging all week & crafting more with my tot, but want to say early:
    Happy Thanksgiving!!!
    <3 Lishie