Thursday, March 15, 2012

Strawberries Strawberries Strawberries!!!!

Here it is!!! The post you've all been waiting for... my glorious strawberry recipes.

If you remember, we went strawberry picking 2 weeks ago and left with 5 pounds of strawberries... each. I'm sure you're thinking, WHAT is she going to do with 5 pounds of strawberries!?!?!



Well, I'll tell you.

Summer Strawberry Salad - I added some strawberries to my usual salad to make it more summery. The only thing it needed was walnuts and it would have been perfect!



Ingredients: Lettuce (cut, rinsed, dried), small handful of raisins, 1 small granny smith apple (diced), 6 strawberries (sliced), fat free raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

Simple, but delicious!!!




Strawberry Bread from Strawberry-Recipes.com - Sounds a little weird at first, but once I thought about how much I love banana bread I decided to go for it. It was very good... just like banana bread but instead of each bite tasting like the fruit you would get these fresh fruit pieces. Very VERY good.


Ingredients

- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup shortening
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups strawberries, sliced

Directions

Combine flour, salt, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon. Beat eggs. Add eggs, shortening , strawberries and bread dough enhancer.

Stir until all ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into 2 well-greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes. Test and keep baking until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes.

Put upside down and let cool on racks. Serve while still warm. You can store the strawberry bread in the fridge for a few days.




Strawberry Banana Smoothie - Much to the pleasure of my roommate, I'm sure, I made these smoothies in the morning before work quite a few times.


Ingredients: 6 strawberries (fresh or frozen), 1 banana, 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt, splash of milk, handful of ice.

Instructions: Blend.



Fresh Strawberry Pie from allrecipes- very simple with minimal ingredients and not terribly bad for you. This pie was delicious. I used a shortcake crust that brought it all together.


Ingredients: 2 (8 inch) pie shells (baked), 2 1/2 quarts fresh strawberries, 1 cup white sugar, 2 tbsp cornstarch, 1 cup boiling water, 1 (3 oz) package strawberry gelatin

Directions: In a saucepan, mix together sugar and corn starch until corn starch is blended completely. Add boiling water. Cook over medium heat until mixture is thick. Add gelatin mix, stir until smooth. Let mixture cool to room temperature. Place strawberries in pie shells with tops sliced flat and tips up. Pour cooled gel mixture over strawberries. Refrigerate until set. Serve with whipped cream if desired.



Strawberry Shortcake Cookies from buddingbaketress - I was worried about these cookies because my strawberries were in the fridge marinating in their own juices, so the batter ended up being very very moist. I baked them anyways and they turned out a little damp but very very good. Use as fresh of strawberries as you can for this recipe.



Ingredients: 12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (2 cups)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling over the cookies

Directions: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, stir together the strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and remaining sugar. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingertips until moist and fragrant.

Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the zest/sugar mixture and whisk to combine. Using a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture until you have coarse crumbs. Add the cream to the bowl and stir until the dough starts to come together, then gently fold in the strawberry mixture.

Use a small cookie scoop (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) to drop dough onto the prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the cookies cool. The cookies are best the day they're made, but can be kept in an airtight container for 1 day.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.



Those are all my strawberry recipes, and the 5 pounds are officially gone (along with almost everything I made with them). I should say, the 5 pounds of strawberries are gone... who knows where those 5 pounds ended up ;)


Hope you enjoyed the recipes and you do your own strawberry baking before the season is over!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Crockpot Mac and Cheese, Sock buns, and Clipboards

So the February challenge may be over, but I'm not done with challenging myself!!!




Don't worry, I'm working on those strawberry recipes... I have quite a few down! But I'll save that for another post to keep you waiting in misery :)




Let me share with you another recipe that I tried this week (sans Strawberries)... Slow Baked Mac and Cheese.




This was a recipe that was made in the crock pot, which I love! It took about 3 hours, so this would be an after-work recipe, not an at-work recipe. It is really delicious!!! Mine turned out a little more chuncky than the picture, but it was still very good. Also, the sides were a little crispy and were thrown away, but the inside was perfect. This was my dinner every night this week! I'm so proud to say I made homemade mac and cheese!!


I also finally got around to making my very own teacher clipboard. Remember Meredith's from last week? Well, here's mine!!!


The last thing I wanted to share with you is my sock bun. I have been doing this for quite a few months now, but I never got around to taking a picture. The bun is great because I can use it instead of my boring old pony tail. It also looks great messy or neat. Also, my hair turns out curly when I take it out!!! I got all kinds of compliments about it at school, and I was (embarrassingly) proud to tell everyone that it was a sock holding my hair together!




Finally, I'm going to mention that great knitting project I'm working on, just so you don't forget about it!! You should be seeing an end result by... the end of this week (hopefully)!!!


Look forward to Strawberry recipes, coming soon.








Monday, March 5, 2012

February Challenge Week 4

Sorry about the late update on my February challenge!

I might not have stuck to the days I wanted to this week, but I certainly got a lot done.

We'll start with the hair.

Oh, the hair.

Last Monday I attempted this Neatest Messy Bun. I failed miserably. I think my problem was that it says to start with wavy hair. I put mousse in my hair and braided it into small braids all over my head before I went to sleep that night. I woke up in the morning, took out the braids, and BOOM. Straight. My hair just won't stay wavy!!! So I spent 20 minutes trying this hairstyle only to remove the bobby pins and throw it up in a pony tail and make my way to school. I would call this one a failure. Maybe I'll try it again when I have more time.


Okay, Outfit!

I wore this number on Tuesday. I got lots of compliments. I just HAD to find a way to work in my cowboy boots, I love them! The only thing I don't like about this is the white tights. White tights just make me feel so... pale!





New Recipes:

It was my friend Meredith's birthday on Friday so I got to use her as an excuse to make two crafts and a recipe!

For the recipe, I made Better than Crack Brownies and they were absolutely delicious!!! I'm not usually one who prefers nuts in my desserts, but the way the nuts complimented the Reeses cups and mixed in with the texture of the rice krispies was PERFECT. Loved them, and they weren't that hard to make!!!!

Crafts:
One craft that I finally got around to at the beginning of the week was Hand Towels that Don't Fall Off the Handle! I ended up using fabric placemats from the dollar store (shhh! Everyone thinks they're handtowels!) and just some cheap cloth I found. I think when I redecorate this summer I'll make some super cute ones that go with the kitchen. Anyways, they work very well, I love them!



Next, like I said, I got to use Meredith as an excuse to make some crafts.

For her birthday card, I did a five minute attempt at the Crafty Friend card. I was in a rush and having a hectic evening (think: carpet covered in mod podge and hot glue blisters all over the fingers) so I didn't put nearly as much effort into it as I could have. It was really easy though! I used this ribbon spool template (which looks like a cute idea for ribbon too!), some ribbon I had already, and some dollar buttons from Michaels. I printed the spool out on brown cardstock with a wood picture background and cut it out. Again, 5 minutes. Tops.



The thing that took up the majority of my night was the Blingy Clipboard. I had been wanting to make one of these for myself for awhile, and I thought it would be the perfect gift for my fellow crafty teacher-t0-be friend. I bought a recycled wooden clipboard at Office Max for $2. I bought scrapbook paper at Michael's for $1. I bought a few blingy odds and ends from Goodwill but mostly used some leftover mardis gras beads and things I found around the house. I printed her name on complimentary cardstock, cut it out, glued it to the scrapbook paper, and mod-podged the scrapbook paper to the clipboard (hence, the mod podge carpet explosion). Then I hot-glued the 'bling' on randomly to the clip of the clipboard (hence, the hot glue blisters on my fingers).

I am in the process of making mine now, but it took a backseat to some more, erm, important things that came up this weekend.

Curious?

It's not good news. It involves my laptop falling. Right on the hard drive. It involves wiping the hard drive clean. It involves me kicking myself for not backing up my information for the past 2 1/2 years. It involves me redoing hours of schoolwork. It involves me finding as many pictures and music files and projects as I can through email and old laptops. It involves a very unhappy Amy.

The moral of the story is...

Go back up your computer.
Now.
Don't say you'll do it tomorrow.
Don't wait to buy an external hard drive.
Go get your thumb drive and back up those things that you can't lose.

You'll thank me later.


I'll end on a positive note!!!! On Sunday we finally got around to going strawberry picking at Pappy's Strawberry Patch! I have lived in this town practically my whole life, and I have never been strawberry picking at this patch that is literally 10 minutes from my house. I've been trying to go for about 4 weeks, but it's always something. So Logan and I went with some friends. They sucked us in with a deal: Pick 10 pounds or more and you get 20% off. Then they showed us the 10 pound box. It was huge! We scoffed at them and thought, "We won't pick 10 pounds, they're crazy." Then we picked 10 pounds. Oops. The good news is, we split it with the other couple we were with so each couple (each lady) has 5 pounds of strawberries to figure out what to do with.

Sounds like a challenge? I think so!!!!

Look forward to some strawberry-themed recipes in the near future! I'm sure you will see Fresh Strawberry Pie before you can say rotten strawberries!