I had a few won-ton wrappers hanging around after making my totally amaz-balls Sriracha and Cream Cheese Wonton Bombs. Not enough of them to make another batch (drat!), but plenty to not want to waste them. While wondering what to do with them, a truly genius thought entered my noggin. Fill them with cheese. Everything filled with cheese has the potential to be glorious, and never more so that when that thing is fried.
My kids love walking to the mailbox for one reason. It comes in the form of a brightly colored magazine called Clubhouse Jr. Within the pages are stories, life lessons, jokes and activities. They pour over every amazing detail together on the couch and then inevitably have some craft request from within. I am decidedly un-crafty. This month, the “craft” they were interested in was a fun food activity. Whew. Food crafty-ness I can handle. If you are looking to make vegetables incredibly delightful for your kids, or simply enjoy throwing some fun into lunchtime, try out these veggie train and lunchtime lollipop recipes, courtesy of Clubhouse Jr.
I went with the hummus version for the trains and added an olive for my smokestack on the engine. You can fill those little celery cars with peanut butter, cream cheese or whatever your kids love instead. And I’m sure there are much more creative veggie toppers than I used. Let your (or your kid’s) imagination run wild! My kids have officially reached the “awkward-never-a-good-picture” age. Notice my son’s olive engine is already gone. He loves olives with the passion of a thousand suns.
adapted from Clubhouse Jr.
Celery stalks, washed
Cream cheese, hummus or peanut butter
Olives or cherry tomatoes
Bits of veggies, fruit or nuts (optional)
Cut celery into 2 1/2 inch stalks.
Spread one teaspoon of cream cheese, hummus or peanut butter in each stalk.
Cut a carrot into circles about 1/4 inch thick to make the wheels.
Push a toothpick into the center of a carrot wheel. Add a wheel to the other end. Repeat to make 2 sets of wheels.
On a plate, arrange the wheels 1 1/2 inches apart.
Place the filled celery between the wheels to rest on the toothpicks.
Repeat as neccessary for more train cars.
Place an olive (or cherry tomato) with a piece of green pepper (or broccoli) in the top on the front of on of the cars for an engine stack.
Add a piece of carrot (or a baby carrot) for the engine body.
If desired, load your train cars with raisins, craisins, peas, broccoli or nuts.
adapted from Clubhouse Jr.
cream cheese, softened
lunch meat, sliced
1. Spread thin layer of cream cheese on tortilla.
2. Cover tortilla with lunch meat.
3. Add lettuce, if desired.
4. Roll up tortilla tightly.
5. Poke in toothpicks, 1 inch apart.
6. Cut between toothpicks to make 1-inch pieces.
If desired, slip a 2-inch piece of straw over the toothpick. Wrap each lollipop in a 5-inch square of plastic wrap. Tie with curling ribbon at the top of the toothpick stick.
Gobble-Berry Lollipops: Fill tortilla with cream cheese, cranberry sauce and sliced turkey.
BLT Lollipops: Fill tortillas with herb cream cheese, bacon bits, thinly sliced tomato and lettuce. Eat right away—tomatoes can make the lollipops soggy.
Rainbow Fruit Lollipops: Fill tortilla with cream cheese and fruit leather or jam. Make several lollipops, using a rainbow of colors.
Pizza Pops: Fill tortilla with cream cheese, pepperoni, mozzarella and sliced black olives (optional). Dip in tomato sauce.
Sunny Hawaiian Lollipops: Mix 2 tablespoons of cream cheese with 1 tablespoon of well-drained, crushed pineapple. Fill tortilla with cream cheese mixture, shredded carrot and a thin layer of ham.
My mother has been making this cake as long as I can remember. As a child, the thought of a vegetable baked into a cake was just supremely odd. Now I know that little flecks of zucchini melt into the chocolate batter making the texture and richness just perfect.
Sweet appetizer perfection Batman. These spicy, creamy, crisp and soft wonton bombs are going to completely blow your mind. Ka-pow.
Great neighbors are hard to come by. I know someone (who shall remain nameless) who lives next to a family where the kids play a game called “Am I Being Murdered?”. An activity that’s such fun, it has to be enjoyed during every single hour of every single day. A jolly good time for the whole housing development I’m sure. On the other end of the spectrum are the good folks who reside just over the fence from me. Specifically the very talented gardener of the family, who delivers just picked fruit and vegetables to my greedy doorstep all summer long. I get nature’s bounty freely given with zero effort on my part. It’s simply divine. Just this week I’ve received zucchini, cucumber, apples (two kinds), and most delicious of all, plums. They arrive in bags and buckets. Fragrant, juicy, mildly tart and perfect.
It didn’t take much convincing for my children to believe that plums are far better than candy. They have free reign to enjoy a succulent treat from the plum basket whenever they want. Both munchkins are now consistently a sticky mess of dribbly plum juice and I don’t even care.
This recipe is a quick bread that tastes dangerously close to a cake. It’s sweetness and light with a hint of tart sprinkled throughout from the plums. Delicious. It would be perfect for a brunch, ladies tea, afternoon snack, or dessert. Basically, whenever you want to eat it, do.
You can use yogurt instead of sour cream if that’s what you have handy. The batter is nice and thick so all those beautiful plum pieces won’t sink to the bottom of your bread. I also baked this in mini loaf pans as well as a 9-inch square cake pan. Both turned out with a perfect texture and golden crust. Just adjust your bake time accordingly. I started by baking about 30 minutes then checked on my cake bread every 5 minutes or so until it was done.
Plum Cake Bread
adapted from Allrecipes.com
1 cup pitted, chopped plums
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.
2. Sprinkle chopped plums with 1 tablespoon of flour in a bowl, and toss to coat. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter, white sugar, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. In another bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cup of flour with salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, alternating with sour cream until the mixture forms a smooth batter. Lightly stir in the flour-coated plums, and pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the top of the batter with brown sugar.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool in the pan 10 to 15 minutes before removing from pan for slicing.
This pie indulged my sweet tooth, and my highly closeted rebel nature. You see, this recipe makes dulce de leche out of sweetened condensed milk. And does so by boiling the cans. Yes. Boiling them. If you are looking to add a little danger to your life, this is the way to do it. I’ve been told the cans can explode, spreading thick gooey sticky caramel milk all over your kitchen. I think some cans even explicitly warn you not to boil them due to the risk of explosion. Sounds exciting right? Pretty sure it’s made up danger though. No eruptions for me, and in all the years my grandmother made a thick, milk-based caramel sauce out of canned sweetened condensed milk, I don’t recall it ever happening to her either. I did have a little excitement while baking this pie. Enough to completely derail my day and prove that you really cannot mess up a pie this easy. More on that later.
I’m very excited to announce a new partnership in my life. The gals over at NFLfemale.com have invited me to be their guru of food, providing delicious recipes to be enjoyed while witnessing a perfectly thrown fade or celebrating a bone crushing hit.
NFLfemale is an interactive website where women who love football can go for everything you need to know and want to share about the NFL. I have found “my people”. They love football and food…just like me. Find time while screaming yourself hoarse this football season to nosh on some of the Bakerlady deliciousness being featured on their site!
Whoever thought “National Lasagna Day” should fall the last week of July was absolutely insane. If you are interested in heating up your house making lasagna today, here’s a great recipe full of fresh summer veggies. Enjoy!
Originally posted on Bakerlady:
There are times in life when the only thing you can do for someone is feed them. When no words can soothe, a warm favorite food meal may provide some measure of comfort. Packing a casserole with goodness and love because it’s all you can do is occasionally part of this thing called life. The sucky part of life. This lasagna is perfect for such a time. It is also great for a weekday dinner for your family. Who, you should hold close. And tell them you love them. Give your kids an extra hug today while you’re at it. Because life is precious.
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It has already been a long hot summer here in the Pacific Northwest. And it isn’t even August yet. June and July have been far too sticky and sweltering for this mild-weathered girl. Thankfully, I recently returned from an Alaskan cruise. Blissful 50 degree breezes blowing across the deck of our ship were the perfect relief from sweaty summer days. We saw gorgeous glaciers bigger than you can imagine. Giant chunks of ethereal blue ice creating tidal waves of force as they fell off. The little dots in the foreground of this picture are harbor seals.
One of the highlights of our cruise were the drink cards our travel agent Dana (Dana@aplustravel.com) provided for us. She was incredibly helpful from booking to completion of our cruise and I highly recommend her! I had the opportunity to try some drinks I’d never even heard of before and really enjoyed one called a Snow Bear. It was cool and light – the perfect thing to put a chill in the summer air. It tastes a little like an Mounds candy bar. Full of refreshing coconut, milk and rich chocolate.