Strawberry banana frozen yogurt

8 Jun

It was very warm here last week, and I wanted some tasty frozen yogurt to cool off. I had some strawberries, and a very ripe banana so decided to make strawberry banana frozen yogurt. It was loosely inspired by this Strawberry Daiquiri frozen yogurt from Thursday Night Smackdown, but without alcohol.

I only had whole milk yogurt in the house, which I don’t think I would use again! It was a bit too creamy.

Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt

1 lb ripe strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup plain yogurt
Juice and zest of 1 limes
1 ripe banana

Hull and quarter the strawberries and place in a bowl. Add sugar, mix, and let macerate for about an hour. This will draw the water out of the berries and make them nice and juicy. Stir occasionally.

Put the berries, yogurt, lime juice and zest and banana into a blender. Puree until nice and smooth. Pour the berries, yogurt, lime juice and rum into a blender. Blend until smooth. Chill in the fridge for about an hour, or stick in the freezer until you just can’t wait anymore.

Freeze in ice cream maker, according to manufacturer’s instructions. You can eat it right away if you don’t mind it being slushy, or move to a freezer-safe container and freeze for about 30 minutes. It will be really hard so you’ll have to let it sit for a few minutes before it will be scoop-able.

This reminded me of the smoothies my aunts used to make when I was little. It’s super tasty and refreshing!


Burgers with feta mint sauce

22 May

I didn’t take a picture of these burgers, but they were so tasty I want to remember the recipe!

I took this recipe for lamb burgers and modified it a bit.

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
3 green onions
Greek seasoning
salt and pepper

Feta sauce
4 ounces crumbled feta
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
Leaves from 3 stalks fresh mint, chopped

I think I would double the feta sauce recipe, because we ended up using almost all of it on two burgers. This was super fast and easy, and very delicious.

A new dress

20 May

I actually made this a while ago, but haven’t had a chance to post about it until now.

James’ department party was a couple of weeks ago, and I really wanted a new dress to wear. I was in Baltimore and went to Anthropologie with some friends looking for one, and realized that I could just make a cute summery party dress and not spend $100+. With two weeks to go before the party, I had to work fast. Luckily I stopped in Ikea and found this crazy bird fabric. Crazy in a good way, right?

I decided to use a pattern for a dress that I have already made before, with a view slight modifications. I made the straps long so they could be tied, instead of attached. I also didn’t use the skirt pattern, I just used the rest of the fabric to make it as long and full as possible. I used a self-fabric lining, which was actually kind of cute because the birds peeked out from the under layer. This fabric is pretty thin, and I think I will make a lining for the skirt. I made most of it in one evening, and then finished it the next morning. I love this pattern because it’s so fast and easy, and the result is so cute and comfortable.

The dress was a hit and I got a lot of compliments! The woman working the bar at the party asked if I made it, and said she knew because she recognized the fabric from Ikea!

I wore it with a black camisole underneath, and a grey short-sleeved cardigan. A perfect summer party outfit!

Earl Grey Tea Latte

19 May

This has been a drab, gray and drizzly day. It started raining yesterday afternoon and hasn’t let up since. It was the perfect day for staying in and knitting. I have to cook up a blog post on the knitting projects I have been doing, but until then here is one about the delicious drink I whipped up this afternoon. I wanted a bit of a treat, and decided to try to re-create the tea latte I have had a couple of times from Starbucks.

Earl Grey Tea Latte
Serves 2

1 cup boiling water
2 Earl Grey tea bags
1-2 tablespoons sugar

2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Boil the water, and pour over the two teabags. I did this in a 4-cup pyrex measuring cup. Let steep for at least 5 minutes, or while you are heating up the milk.

Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat until it foams up. Remove from heat. Add vanilla to milk.

Remove teabags from water, pressing to get all the tasty tea goodness out. Add the sugar. I used 2 tablespoons, which was yummy but super sweet.

Add milk to the tea and stir, then divide into two cups. Enjoy with your sweetheart.

English Muffins

17 May

I like having a toasted English muffin with some peanut butter and a glass of milk for breakfast. When shopping the other day I checked the ingredients list before tossing that familiar cardboard and plastic sleeve in my cart. I was appalled by the list of chemicals and artificial ingredients in those simple little muffins. I had been thinking about baking my own for a while, but that settled it. This recipe was pretty time consuming, but the muffins are so tasty that it’s definitely worth it.

I found a recipe on the Life in Recipes blog and modified it slightly. I bought some graham flour a few weeks ago, and was looking for something to use it in so I used that too. I didn’t notice a different flavor, so next time think I’ll use a full cup and see that that does.

Whole Wheat English Muffins
1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups white whole wheat flour

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cups graham flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal – or enough to scatter on pan

First you make the sponge. Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup water. It’s easy to do this in a glass measuring cup. In a large bowl, combine the 1 cup of warm water, the honey, the milk and the salt. Add yeast mixture and 2 cups of flour. Stir to combine, cover and leave in a warm place for at least an hour. It will puff up and become very bubble. This is what mine looked like after an hour.

Add the oil and mix in the rest of the flour, bit by bit. I had to switch to my hands towards the end. Eventually I had a smooth but slightly sticky dough.

Dust a cookie sheet with cornmeal. Roll the dough out to about 1/2 an inch, then cut with a round cutter. I’m not sure how big mine was. I have a set and I picked the one that looked English muffin-sized! Place the rounds onto the cookie sheet and allow to rise again until puffy and almost doubled in volume. Mine took a while to rise, and I ended up turning the oven on for a few minutes and setting them in there. I think my kitchen was too cold! Here they are nice and puffy. I ended up with 20 muffins, but some of them were too thin, I think.

Next you cook them on a griddle or in a skillet. I used a non-stick skillet. I had a hard time transferring the muffins from the cookie sheet to pan, and they ended up deflating quite a bit. I think this is why they didn’t really have the nooks and crannies that an English muffin is supposed to have. They do puff back up while they are cooking, which is fun to watch! Let them brown on the first side before flipping them over. This takes a few minutes.

After the muffins have been “griddled” they will need to finish cooking in an oven. As you take them off the stove, put them on a different cookie sheet and then bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Here they are ready for the oven.

My friend Monet, who just made some English muffins of her own, which she describes on her blog Anecdotes and Applecores, says they should cool for 30-60 minutes. I couldn’t wait and ate them straight out of the oven!

I made these a few days ago and we have been enjoying them at least twice a day since then. We’ve had them toasted with butter and local honey, had them with some chicken barley soup last night, and today James used them to make delicious egg, bacon and cheese breakfast sandwiches. They are hearty and wonderful. I’ll never buy packaged ones again!

Whole Wheat Quinoa Bread

4 Apr

This was a bit of an experiment. I was craving bread so decided to make some this afternoon. While pulling the yeast out of my pantry I noticed the red quinoa I bought at the co-op the other day, so I decided to add some of that in to the dough. It’s pretty tasty, and I hope will have some of the nutritional benefits of quinoa. I adapted this recipe. I used wildflower honey from Warm Colors Apiary which is just a few miles from my apartment. It is raw, so it’s a bit cloudy, and has the most delicious, spicy flavor.

The quinoa is definitely noticeable in texture, but not so much in flavor. I was worried I over-kneaded the dough but it turned out beautifully. This was my first time using white whole wheat flour and I think it makes a nice loaf. It’s not too dense but still sturdy and flavorful.

I made this with my stand mixer, so that’s how I wrote the directions. My mixer has the lock-in bowl. I would not try this with a smaller mixer because the dough is extremely thick and heavy.

Whole Wheat Quinoa Bread – makes 2 loaves

  • 1/4 cup quinoa, plus enough warm water to measure 1/2 cup (You could probably do 1/2 cup and use less water)
  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
  • 1 heaping TBS dry yeast (This might be a bit much. My dough rose super fast.)
  • 3 TBS honey
  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur brand, from Wal Mart of all places!)
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • another 2 TBS honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt (I forgot to put this in)
  • 2 1/2-3 cups stoneground whole wheat flour
  • Oil for greasing the pans


  1. In a glass mixing cup, measure 1/4 (or 1/2) cup quinoa, plus enough warm water to make 1/2 cup. Let sit.
  2. In the bowl of the mixer, combine warm water, yeast, and 3 TBS honey, let sit until yeast is foamy. Add 3 cups white whole wheat flour, and mix with dough hook until just combined.
  3. Mix in 3 TBS olive oil, the next 2 TBS honey, and salt. Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour. Add quinoa and water mixture. Keep adding flour with the mixer running until the dough is smooth but still slightly sticky. This took about 10 minutes for me, plus at least another cup of flour.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled. This took less than an hour for me today, but sometimes it takes much longer.
  4. Punch down slightly, and divide into 2 loaves. I use my kitchen scale to make sure they are divided equally. Each of my loaves weighed 1 lb, 15 ounces. Place in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes or so. You can tell the loaves are done when an instant read thermometer stuck in the middle registers about 190 degrees, or when the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it with your knuckle. Cool completely.
  6. NOM. Especially good with butter and more local honey, and a glass of local Mapleline milk.

Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Gratin

17 Mar

I have been getting beautiful, huge sweet potatoes from Swartz Farm in Amherst lately, and last week I added swiss chard to my produce order. I was figuring out what to do with them, and decided to make a gratin and found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen. With Mapleline Farm milk, this was an almost entirely local meal! This recipe was a great way to get some veggies. We ate it with bread the first night, with slices of baked ham the second night, and I just made a frittata with the last bit of it for breakfast this morning. The sweet potatoes are so sweet, and they are nicely balanced by the bitterness of the chard. I halved the recipe.

I usually just roast the sweet potatoes. I can cook up a bunch of them and then eat them throughout the week. I don’t have a microwave, and slices of them heat up beautifully on the stove. They get brown and sticky and caramelized, and so delicious!

Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Gratin – Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1/4 stick butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 pounds Swiss chard, leaves and stems separated and both cut into 1-inch pieces
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cups whole milk
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds – I used one very large sweet potato
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated cheese – I used a mixture of white sharp cheddar and Romano cheeses

Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a wide pan, over medium-low heat until softened but not brown.

Add chard stems, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender but not browned, Increase heat and add chard leaves, stirring, until all greens are wilted. (Deb at Smitten Kitchen says to drain the greens in a colander at this point, but I didn’t do that and it turned out fine.

Make sauce: Combine milk and garlic in small saucepan; bring to simmer; keep warm. Melt one tablespoons butter in a medium heavy saucepan over moderate heat and stir in flour to make a roux. Cook stirring one minute, then slowly whisk in warm milk and boil, whisking, one minute. Season sauce with salt and pepper. I cooked mine too long and it turned out really thick! I couldn’t pour it and just sort of plopped it on the layers. The gratin was still tasty, just not as creamy as Deb’s gratin.

Assembly: Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter deep 9×13 baking dish. Spread half of sweet potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a 1/2 of the cheese. Distribute half of the greens mixture over the cheese. Pour half of sauce over the first two layers then continue with the remaining sweet potatoes, more salt, pepper, herbs and cheese and then the remaining greens, salt, and pepper. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the gratin, pressing the vegetables slightly to ensure that they are as submerged as possible. Mine weren’t submerged at all!

Cover with foil and bake gratin for about 1 hour. The last 15 minutes I sprinkled some more cheese on the top.

Ready to go in the oven

You can see it’s not as creamy and wet as a gratin usually is.

Ready to eat!

It still baked up creamy and delicious.