Thursday, March 29, 2012


Am I blogging about an egg?  Yes.  I am.  Blogging. About an egg.  I have not lost my mind.  In fact, this egg may just be my saving grace.  You see, a few nights ago was husby's birthday.  We ate out.  It was nice.  Well, as nice as a near-two year old will allow.
There were friends and family,
funny hats,
and merriment.

There was also my teenager who insisted on carrying my purse, but forgot it in the restaurant which resulted in me spending the first half of the next day putting accounts on hold 'til the restaurant reopened and I could verify that my purse was still there.  All that stress made me a major killjoy.  Enter the egg.  When I finally got home from my studies, later that day, I was greeted by said daughter presenting me with our new hen's first egg.  How could I hold onto any anger at that point.  I had my first fresh egg.  All was right with the world.

Then, today.  Storm of all storms dropped bucket fulls of rain which apparently all gathered into our chicken run.  Poor gals.  I spent the evening trying to hoist the buckets-o-water out of the run and into our nearby grass, cursing all the while.  Praying that this area has a speedy recovery.  Looking to throw down dry shavings as soon as it looks like we're in the all-clear on rain.

Needless to say, we made and easy "breakfast for dinner" kind of meal and frying up that fresh egg made it all seem a little less horrible.  Moods twice-lifted by that egg.

It's amazing what an egg will do! ; )

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easy Hummingbird Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

We recently celebrated Hubby's birthday.  I decided to try out a hummingbird cake since I'd never made one and what I realized is that there's myriad ways to make it and a host of similar cakes that go by names such as Ambrosia cake, Mandarin Orange cake aka Pig Pickin' or Cotton Pickin' cake, Banana & Pineapple Cake, and my favorite moniker, "Better than Sex Cake."  Once you start down that search path on the web, you'll fast realize the similarities between these cakes.  Some are doctored up cake mixes and others are from scratch.  I made an "easy" box mix option with homemade cream cheese icing.  All versions are truly Southern treats and, in true Southern fashion, slap-your-Momma-sweet.  Enjoy~

Here's what you will need...

1 (18 1/4 oz) boxed white or yellow cake mix (DO NOT get the kind with pudding in it) 
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple in juice , undrained
medium bananas, mashed (I only had one banana since mystery mouths ate up the rest)
10 maraschino cherries, chopped
teaspoons maraschino cherry juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
teaspoon vanilla extract
teaspoon cinnamon (I forgot to add this part, but didn't miss it)
(I added two eggs since I was short a banana.  If it hurt things, I'm couldn't tell)
1 recipe for cream cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350.  

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well combined.  Divide mixture equally between 2 greased 9" round cake pans.  

Bake on both pans on middle oven rack for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes then remove cakes from pans and let cool completely on wax paper lined wire racks.  

Place one cake on a plate and frost with cream cheese frosting, taking care to make it heavier on top.  Place the remaining cake on top of the frosted cake to create a layer cake.  Frost the top layer so it blends with the bottom layer.  NOTE: If the cakes are not flat on the top, use a long knife to cut the "baking bump" off so they are flat BEFORE you frost them. It will give them a more uniform appearance.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 block cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat cream cheese and butter 'til well combined.  Add sugar one cup at a time.  Add vanilla at the end and mix thoroughly until fluffy.

Foodie FridaySharing @ Designs by Gollum.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Buttermilk Biscuits

One of my Summer reads last year was "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe" by Fannie Flagg.  In the rear of her novel, Flagg included recipes.  One of these was for Buttermilk Biscuits.  I've made this recipe a few times.  I think the trick is not to roll them too thin.
Don't get distracted cutting biscuits and over cook the bacon! ; )

Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder (my spoonfuls were heaping)
1 or 2 tsp. salt (I suggest two)
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ cup Crisco
1 cup buttermilk (you could use regular milk if you don't have buttermilk or add a tbsp. lemon juice to milk and let sit for 15 minutes before adding to flour).

Sift dry ingredients together.  Add Crisco and blend well until like a course meal.  Add buttermilk and mix.  Roll out thin on a floured surface and cut into desired size biscuit.  Bake on greased pan at 450 degrees until golden.

The recipe didn't specify a time for cooking so I let my nose do the talking and kept a watchful eye on them.  I'd guess about 7-8 minutes bake time.

To cut biscuits, I use an old cutter that I found in an antique store.  Most of the color has rubbed off the handle, signs of a time when prepared such things on a regular basis.  I wonder how many biscuits have been cut with this cutter throughout the years... 

 Ms. enPlace

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bug Hunt

Books and Chickens

Yesterday I introduced you to the three new gals on the block.  Two of which are named from characters of some of my favorite books.
Photo courtesy

Shelby comes from Michael Lee West's novel, Mermaids in the Basement.
Photo courtesy
 Bitsy is found in Mad Girls in Love.

If you haven't read either of these books, you ought to.  With summer fast approaching, these books would be ideal to add to a summer reading list.  Then, go on and read the rest of West's books.  You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Meet the newest members of our family,
Ruby, our Rhode Island Red


and Bitsy or as Bebe calls her, "Bit."
Two are named from characters of my favorite books.  Can you match the names to the book?  I have a feeling one of my followers will be able! ; )

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hen and Chicks in Haeger planter
Assorted succulents in buttery-yellow art deco planter
Succulents have fast become my favorite plants.  I bought an assortment at Wal Mart, yesterday, and hit antique row after school, today, so that I could find a few vintage pieces to store them in.  Whadaya think?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Zatarain's Creole Mustard Potato Salad

For St. Patrick's Day I cooked corned beef and cabbage.  Though I'm not Irish, I relish any opportunity to celebrate with food.  Corned beef is something we prepare several times a year.  Usually I serve a macaroni or yellow potato salad alongside the beef, but this time I was craving something with a little kick.

Enter Zatarain's recipe for Creole Mustard Potato Salad.

3 pounds red potatoes
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup ZATARAIN'S® Creole Mustard
1/2 teaspoon ZATARAIN'S® Creole Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon (optional)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion (I didn't have green onion so added crisp, diced celery)


1. Place potatoes in lightly salted water to cover in large saucepot. Bring to boil on high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain, then quarter potatoes.

2. Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, Creole Mustard, Creole Seasoning and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add warm potatoes; toss to coat well. Add tomatoes, bacon and green onion; toss lightly. Cover.

3. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until ready to serve.

Nutritional Info per 1 serving

Calories: 159Sodium: 295
Fat: 7Carbohydrates: 21
Cholesterol: 7Fiber: 2

Protein: 3

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you give this potato salad a try.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lemon Honey Muffins with Honey Butter

The other day, I found a muffin recipe on Pocket Change Gourmet's blog.  The muffins sounded so good at the time, I pinned the recipe so that I'd be sure to try it out and I'm so glad I did.  The recipe doesn't make many; I got eight smallish muffins, but the flavors were spectacular.  I decided to use the remaining 1/4 cup softened butter to make a compound.  I added 2 tbsp. honey to the butter in my mixer and whipped for a minute.  Voila, honey butter!  **I skipped the glaze since I made the honey butter which added plenty of sweetness.

 Here's the recipe for muffins...
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour, all-purpose
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Glaze
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Drizzle of milk
  1. In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients, flour, salt & soda, set aside
  2. In a medium bowl, cream the butter, honey, and brown sugar
  3. Add the lemon juice, egg and vanilla, cream until well blended
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients, blend well
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and fill muffin tin with liners {we got 8 muffins}
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean
  7. Cool, combine powdered sugar and milk for glaze and drizzle over muffin {optional}

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chicken Piccatta with Lemon-Caper Sauce

Mornin'!  Well, you might say, "she's at it, again!"  I am.  I made some major adjustments to this recipe because it seemed like a lot going on.  I've marked my adjustments for 4 milanesa (thin cut) chicken breasts.  Adjustments aside, this was a tasty dish and I'm glad I discovered it.


  2. 6 eggs, whole  4 eggs
  3. 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated ( I had Kraft three cheese mix, Asiago, Romano, & Parm)
  4. 1/4 cup fresh Romano cheese, grated
  5. 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 tsp dry) I just tossed in a handful of fresh to the sauce and nixed it in the batter)
  6. 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped (or 2 tsp dry) (I skipped this altogether, well, because I forgot to add it in, but did add a pinch of sage and thyme)

  8. 4 ea 6oz. chicken breasts, boneless skinless, split
  9. 2 cups flour, seasoned with salt and black pepper  (I went with more like a cups worth...didn't measure exactly)
  10. Salt & black pepper to season the flour.
  11. 1/2 cup olive oil (or as needed), (I definitely followed the as needed as I thought 1/2 cup was excessive, ended up using about 2 tbsp. and added  2 tbsp. unsalted butter)

  13. 1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped (forgot these, too.  Oops, not on my A-game)
  14. 1 Tbsp garlic, chopped (used 3 cloves)
  15. 2 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped (used 3/4 tsp. in the batter not in the sauce.  Whoops!)
  16. 2 Tbsp parsley, chopped (or 2 tsp dry)
  17. 1/4 cup lemon juice (juice of 2 lemons)
  18. 1 Tbsp lemon zest (zest of 2 lemons)
  19. 1/2 cup white wine (forgot this part...jeez, what's wrong w/me?)
  20. 1 cup heavy cream
  21. 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold  (scractched this since there was plenty of oil in the pan)
  22. Salt and pepper to taste (scratched this and added 3 tbsp. capers instead. salt from the caper berry was plenty)


Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. 

  1. COMBINE eggs, cheeses, parsley and basil together in a large mixing bowl.

  1. POUND chicken breasts until ¼” thick ( bought thin cut breats so skipped this step).  Dredge chicken in the flour mixture and dip it in the Piccata batter; coat evenly on both sides.
  2. HEAT olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. (I added garlic here to flavor the oil and sauteed for just a minute.  Place chicken in the skillet and fry until edges are golden brown on each side. Transfer chicken from skillet into a baking pan. ( I just cooked on in the skillet and it was fabulous).
  3. BAKE in a 350ºF oven for 5-6 minutes, until juices run clear. (seemed like an added step and a waste of time)

  1. DRAIN 3/4 of the oil from skillet and add the shallots, garlic and herbs. (By using less oil, I didn't have to drain any of it and was able to retain all the good crispy bits.  HELLO FLAVOR!  I added the garlic to the oil before I cooked the chicken so at this point all I added was the lemon juice and zest to deglaze the pan.  Then I added the cream.  The left over flour bits from the cooked chicken thickened the sauce like a roux, kinda.  Yum.  Saute over medium heat until shallots are transparent. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, white wine and reduce liquid by 1/2. Add heavy cream and simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly.  Dropped capers in at this time then poured it over the plated chicken.  We served the chicken on a bed of linguini in pesto.
  2. REMOVE pan from heat and whip in the cold butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (What are they talking about?)
  1. POUR ¼ cup of sauce on plate and place chicken on top. (Well, that seemed somewhat backwards so I plated the chicken and poured sauce over it.  Serve immediately. (on a bed of pesto linguine if you're smart).

I know there are a lot of changes, and forgotten ingredients, but somehow this turned out sooooo good.  My husband loved the batter and sauce...said it's the best dinner I've made in a while.

Monday, March 19, 2012

"Tillie Lays an Egg" book review

I've never blogged about children books before, but we all loved this book so much that I felt especially inclined to share.  The photos in Golson's book, Tillie Lays an Egg, are precious.  I love every page.  I stumbled across it at our local library, but will definitely go buy it because it's a keeper.
photo courtesy

You may visit this website to check out more on the book, including some of the fab pictures and you can even visit her "hen cam" to see the birds in action.  Golson also features a "chick cam", "coop cam", and a "goat cam," but be forewarned on the last one mentioned.  I clicked on that link and got an up-close shot on the hind end of one of the critters and it didn't mind moving one little bit.  I don't think I've ever witnessed such a foul scene ; )

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

So good you'll cry ; )

  • Blueberries were on sale at the grocery store so into the basket they went and I had just the plan for them, lemon-blueberry muffins!  

  • I trawled the web to find a recipe with good reviews (many marked comments about being too dense, not sweet enough, dry, etc.).  Then, I found a Southern Living recipe.  The smell of home-made muffins in the oven is divine!  Bebe and I danced to some of our favorite tunes while the muffins baked away.
If you're game to try a muffin recipe for this weekend, here's a good one...

Lemon-Blueberry Muffins
  • YIELD: Makes 1 dozen

  • Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed and drained
  • 3/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites
  • Vegetable cooking spray


Combine first 3 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; add blueberries, and gently toss to coat. Make a well in center of mixture.
Stir together milk, sugar, and next 3 ingredients; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.
Beat egg whites at medium speed with an electric mixer 1 minute or until soft peaks form; fold into batter. Spoon batter into muffin pans coated with cooking spray, filling two-thirds full.
Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until done.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 151
  • Calories from fat: 30%
  • Fat: 5g
  • Saturated fat: 0.4g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.7g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.4g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Carbohydrate: 24g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0mg
  • Iron: 0.8mg
  • Sodium: 133mg
  • Calcium: 50mg