I never thought I was the kind of girl that would enjoy a bike tour but I've got to say - after my first tour through Watskinville, Georgia - I'm hooked. When Ben and I signed up for a very easy "mild" Agro bike tour last month I was a little apprehensive because I hadn't been on my bike since last summer. (I was even more hesitant when I woke up to 40 degree temperatures the morning of the ride.)
Since I had no idea what an Agro Bike Tour was until I signed up for one, I'm assuming that there are blog followers who have never heard of an Agro tour either. In essence, it's a bike ride with stops at local farms along the way. Ben and I opted for the shortened bike ride and we stopped at Three Porch Farms in the middle of our bike ride.
The farm was hosting an open house the day that we were there so we sat outside and rested our legs while we ate pork sliders and listened to the swing band. We also took a tour of the farm before getting back on our bikes to finish the rest of our ride.
We passed the cutest pigs (and piglets!!) on our ride back that I just had to stop and snap a few pictures with my phone. I fell in love with these pigs - they were sooo cute.
The lunch at the farm was delicious but I was craving something sweet after my first bike ride of the season. A raspberry lime mint mojito cupcake seemed like the perfect sweet treat to replenish the calories burned on my bike.
Raspberry Lime Mint Mojito Cupcakes
1¾ cup cake flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1¼ cup sugar
zest of 2 limes
½ cup butter
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
¾ cup buttermilk
Wilton Leaf Green Gel Food Coloring
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen raspberries, thawed
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups butter
Preheat your oven to 350F degrees and line your cupcake pan with liners.
Zest the 2 limes into a small prep bowl and pour the sugar over it. Using the back of a rubber spatula, press the sugar into the lime zest.
One at a time, add the eggs and mix on medium-high for 30 seconds after each addition making sure to scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is incorporated.
Add the lime juice .
Add a small dollop of the gel coloring and mix until the color is uniform. Scape the bowl down to make sure all the batter has been dyed.
In three parts, add the flour with the mixer on low speed. Between each addition of flour, add half the buttermilk. After the last amount of flour has been added, turn the mixer off and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and fold in the remaining flour.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool cupcakes in pan for at least 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
While cupcakes cool, prepare raspberry filling.
Puree the raspberries in a blender or food processor.
Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a saucepan to remove the seeds.
Prepare mint buttercream while filling cools.
Cut a hole in the center of each cooled cupcake.
Fill each center with a spoonful of raspberry puree.
Top with a swirl of mint buttercream.
Fill center of buttercream with another dollop of raspberry puree.
This cupcake is all the incentive that I need to spend an afternoon riding my bike. I love it.
This weekend was super busy for me. I baked, frosted, decorated and delivered over 400 cupcakes in under 48 hours. Considering the fact that I have 1 mixer, 1 oven and just 1 pair of hands - that was quite an accomplishment. I estimated that I used about 28 pounds of butter in less than 48 hours!!! Needless to say, this afternoon - I took a much needed nap.
As you might imagine - cupcakes covered every single counter and flat surface in my kitchen on Saturday. There was really no room for anything else in my kitchen this weekend - and that includes people! Since my poor family really wasn't interested in being served leftover cupcakes for dinner, we had to go out to eat on Saturday night.
After a weekend of butter and sugar, I decided that we needed to eat a non-cupcake meal in our own kitchen on Sunday so late Saturday night, I got a chicken ready to roast in the crock pot. I got it all prepped and ready and went to bed. Ben got up early Sunday morning and started the crock pot so it would be ready by lunchtime.
Slow Cooker Roast Chicken
15 baby carrots
1 onion, cut into 1" pieces
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 fryer chicken
Cook on low for 4 - 5 hours. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the breast. (165 degrees) Let rest 15 minutes before serving.
Slice and serve.
Sunday dinner just doesn't get any easier than this. So glad to have this recipe ready for busy weekends when there just isn't much time (or space) to cook dinner. Hope you enjoy.
I have a child who loves meat sauce on her pasta and I love her which means I needed to start making meat sauce for our pasta dinners.
I don't remember my Italian family eating meat sauce so I had to do some research to find a recipe. My mom and my grandmother made AMAZING pasta sauce and they put meat in the sauce to flavor it while it cooked but it certainly wasn't a TRUE meat sauce.
To be perfectly honest, I don't remember seeing meat sauce while we were in Italy either. I wasn't really looking for it though - I'm more of a marinara girl myself. I'm not sure how "Italian" meat sauce really is, but it doesn't really matter. I have a girl who loves it and I was going to figure out how to make it for her.
4 ounces mushrooms
1 slice hearty white sandwich bread (I used a hot dog bun because it was the only white bread that I had in the house.)
2 Tablespoons whole milk
salt and pepper
1 pound 85% lean ground beef
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (reserve 1/4 cup tomato juice)
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Process mushrooms in food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl.
Add meat mixture and cook until beef loses raw color. (2-4 minutes) Do not brown.
Stir in crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook on low 30 minutes.
Stir in parmesan cheese. Serve with the pasta of your choice.
The verdict is in - Courtney LOVED this meat sauce. That's really all the confirmation I need to add this recipe to my "make again" collection. This one was a hit AND it made enough for a second meal too!
Do you think that the fact that I started preparing our dinner for last night at 7:00 in the morning, might be an indication that I'm just a little too busy? I tried to convince myself that I was just well organized but in reality, making dinner before sunrise was a direct result of not being able to find any more time in my day to devote to meal preparation. So I guess I just answered my own question. Yes. I am entirely too busy if I'm prepping dinner while I'm eating my breakfast. (That should have been my first clue.)
To say that things have been a little hectic here the last couple of weeks is an understatement. Doctors appointments, soccer games, catering jobs and car issues are just the tip of the iceberg. I think I need to "lighten my load" a little and make more time for the things that are really important.
It's not that I think that prepping dinner at 7 AM is a bad idea - I actually like to do dinner prep ahead of time so it's not so hectic at 5:00. The problem is that I'm trying to squeeze so many things into my day that the only possible time that I could carve out for meal prep was 7 AM yesterday morning!?!
There are days when I need to make dinner ahead of time, and on those days I like to have meals that can easily be warmed up and ready to put on the table in minutes. Roast Beef Sandwiches definitely fit that bill. After I cooked the meat, I wrapped it in foil and put it in the refrigerator for the afternoon. When it was time for dinner, I pulled it out, popped it in the oven for a few minutes to warm, sliced it and it was ready to go. Dinner was ready in minutes.
Roast Beef Sandwiches
1/2 cup horseradish, drained
1 Tablespoon sour cream
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
2 - 2 1/2 pound boneless eye round roast
5 teaspoons vegetable oil
kosher salt and pepper
2 teaspoons minced thyme
1/4 cup horseradish
1 onion, chopped fine
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 1/2 cups beef broth
1 sprig fresh thyme
Combine horseradish, sour cream and mayonnaise for sauce. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 275. Cut roast in half.
Rub each half with 1 teaspoon oil and season with salt, pepper and thyme.
Heat remaining oil in skillet. Add roasts and cook until browned on all sides.
Transfer skillet to oven and cook until roast registers 130 degrees. (Mine took 40 minutes.)
Transfer roasts to cutting board and wrap in foil. Let rest 30-60 minutes.
I put this wrapped meat in the refrigerator until I was ready to warm it and slice it.
For jus, return skillet to stove and heat on medium with onions and oil. Cook until onion is softened.
Strain just through a fine mesh strainer. Cover and keep warm.
Slice beef as thinly as possible.
Toss with 1/3 cup jus and horseradish.
Pile 1/2 cup of roast beef on top of whole wheat kaiser rolls and serve with additional jus and horseradish.
A perfect meal to end a busy day. I will definitely make these sandwiches again but this time - I'm going to wait until after lunch before I start making dinner.
Anybody else super excited about summer already?
I am ready for some sunshine and warmer weather but I'm most excited about having both kids home for a couple of months. (Truthfully, we probably wont see too much of Ryan between jobs, friends and classes but just knowing that he's living at home, is enough for me.) I am so excited about being able to set the table for 4 again!
It's time to pull out some easy summertime recipes for my family. Lemon chicken skillet dinner is a great recipe for those nights when I'm in a hurry and it's just too hot to turn on the oven. This yummy chicken dinner is cooked right on the stovetop and it's super quick and delicious.
Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner
12 ounces baby potatoes, halved
4 ounces chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 thyme sprigs
4 ounces mushrooms
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup whole milk
5 teaspoons flour
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
8 thin lemon slices
Preheat oven to 450.. Place potatoes in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 12 minutes.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in saucepan. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add to pan, top with fresh thyme and brown on both sides.
Transfer chicken to a pan, bake 10 minutes. (or until fully cooked through.)
Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan and heat. Add potatoes and dried thyme and cook until browned. (Just ignore the mushrooms in the photo - that was a mistake.)
Transfer potatoes to a bowl.
Combine milk and flour and pour into empty skillet. Add broth and lemon slices and bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute until slightly thickened.
Add chicken and mushrooms, reduce heat, cover and cook 3 minutes.
Serve chicken with sauce, lemon slices and potatoes.
Light, lemony chicken is the perfect way to welcome in summer.
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