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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Honey Poppyseed Vinaigrette Dressing {And my current favorite lunch}


I feel kind of bad not sharing this dressing recipe with you sooner. We've been enjoying it for the last 7 years.  I need to share my staples more I guess. I hope you'll forgive me!


On Saturday my sweet husband grilled a few pounds of chicken for us so we could have more yummy salads for lunch. I'm really trying to stop eating quesadillas with my cheese loving children every day for lunch - and after day one of having this salad, I think I could do this for life! 


I don't always make the same salad - but this one was some fresh greens, grilled chicken, my favorite fruits (blueberries, strawberries, and pears), some tangy feta, and some buttery smooth avocado topped with this lightly sweet dressing is like heaven. A few other things I love on a salad are grated carrots, toasted almonds or pecans (candied if you prefer), bleu cheese, cucumbers, sweet corn, black beans, cilantro. You can really change it up. I feel like this salad dressing is versatile enough that you can use it on most any kind of green salad. 

Enjoy!  

Xo, 
Lu

Honey Poppyseed Vinaigrette Dressing

Ingredients:

¾ cup olive oil
⅓ cup honey
⅓ cup red wine vinegar (or half red wine half balsamic you can use apple cider too)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Directions:

Blend or shake all the ingredients in a blender or pint jar.  Just don’t blend the poppyseeds.  Shake those in. Store in the fridge. If it solidifies from the olive oil let it sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes to let it melt.  Mine doesn’t always solidify.  

Recipe Source:

from my mother-in-law, Maureen G. 

A few other salads you might like:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lemon Iced Shortbread Cookies


I don't know what it is about lemon, but I'm obsessed. Actually I do know what it is. It's light and refreshing and has such a yummy taste. A few weeks ago we shared a lemon  meringue pie, and I've listed in my menu plan (listed on the side bar) one of my favorite pastas, lemon chicken pasta. Lemon is so versatile and can go with a sweet dessert or a savory dinner.  I love using it in chicken marinades and fresh lemonade. I think it's safe to say I'm a lemon fanatic! Are you? 

I was asked to make some shortbread cookies for a party the other day, and I had never made shortbread. Have you ever made shortbread? It's really quite easy. And these cookies can be rolled into a log and sliced into rounds. Or shaped into a rectangle and cut into long rectangular cookies or rolled out like sugar cookies and cut into your shape of choice. 

The cookies are full of butter, which gives them a crisp melt in your mouth kind of feel and taste. Topped with a light lemon icing they are simply to die for!  I could hardly stop myself from eating an entire cookie sheet full.

I thought theses were especially light and spring-ish! I hope you'll enjoy them sometime soon!

Xo,
Lu



Lemon Iced Shortbread Cookies

Makes 2-3 dozen depending on the size you cut them
Notes:


I used a kitchen scale to measure my ingredients, since depending on how you scoop or pack your measuring cups you end up with a lot more or less than needed.

Make your own 1 cup of cake flour by combining 93 grams of all-purpose flour with 20 grams of cornstarch.


Ingredients:


1 pound (4 sticks) butter, room temperature (I used salted butter)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 ½ cups powdered sugar (5 ½ ounces)
2 ½ cups all purpose flour, sifted (12 ½ ounces)
1 cup cake flour (5 ounces), see note above about making your own cake flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon zest (optional)

Icing:
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2-3 drops of lemon oil (I used doTerra lemon oil)
⅛ teaspoon salt

Directions:


In a large bowl or mixer (like bosch or kitchen aid), beat the butter, vanilla and powdered sugar together until combined and smooth. Scrape sides as needed and beat til incorporated.

Add salt and mix.  Gradually add the sifted all-purpose flour and cake flour, about ¼ cup at a time until just combined, trying not to over mix.

If you want long rectangle cookies then press the dough into a rectangle shape about 1 ½ inches high. If you want circle cookies roll dough into a log, and if you want to roll them and cut with cookie cutters press into a disc. Place dough  on a parchment lined cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for one hour to chill dough well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Once the dough is firm, slice the rectangle or log into cookies about ¼ inch thick. Or to roll them - lightly flour work surface and roll dough to ¼ inch thick and cut with cookie cutters.  

Line baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners and place cookies about an inch apart from each other.

Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until lightly golden brown on the edges of the cookies.  Increase or decrease baking time as needed.  The cookies will bake a bit more as they cool on the sheets.  Let them cool for 2-3 minutes on the sheet before removing them and placing them on a cooling rack to cool completely.  

For the icing: Whisk powdered sugar cream of tartar and salt.  Add lemon juice and whisk til smooth.  It should be quite runny.  Add lemon oil and whisk to incorporate. Use a small spoon like a baby spoon to spread icing on each cooled cookie.  Let them set up - the icing will dry in about an hour.  

Place in an airtight container to store for up to several days.

Recipe Source:


Shortbread lightly adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, and the lemon icing adapted from here.




Monday, March 9, 2015

Double Chocolate Brownies {& a Sweet Deal!!!}


Today we are sharing two awesome things! Two things Leesh and I both love!  Double Chocolate Brownies & a sweet deal that is exclusive for our readers and their friends. Brownies have a special place in my food loving soul.  Leesh told me about these brownies she has made and I had to make them!  I love a good fudgy brownie, and when the phrase "double chocolate" is associated with brownies, I simply can't resist.  These brownies have  melted chocolate chips (no cocoa powder), chocolate chips, and nuts if you please (I do!).  There is a lot to love about these!  

Now I know you're wondering what this exclusive deal is. So I won't keep you waiting any longer.  To start, I'll tell you that for Christmas my brother-in-law asked what we needed/wanted for Christmas.  My husband mentioned a few things and among those things were new spatulas.  Ours were all worn out and ripped and not really doing the job.  So for Christmas he sent us a 3-piece set of these spatulas. (PS. I am not getting paid to say any of this! I just really love their stuff and they are giving you a sweet deal since I sought them out!) Keep reading.


The first thing I noticed on the packaging was that it had a lifetime guarantee.  I was shocked!  You don't see those kind of guarantees anymore.  In fact, we've recently been shopping for new appliances and the salesman at the appliance store was telling us how back in the day his fridge came with a 40 year warranty.  And now fridges generally come with a 1 year warranty and you can buy more years but at a great expense.  You'd think a fridge that costs $X would really guarantee their product, when you are spending so much, but they don't.  It's sad. So I was totally impressed that di Oro Living believed in their product enough to guarantee them for life.  They say if you aren't happy, they aren't happy, and if they can't make it right, they'll give you your money back. I love that they own it!  

The next thing that I loved was that because they are new on the market, they asked my husband to write a review for them, so he did. He wrote an honest review on amazon, and as a thank you they enrolled us in their VIP club program and we were sent a new long-handled mini spatula for free (shipping included!) to use and review.  So now I have 4 of these spatulas and love them! Like, I really love them.  I didn't know I could possibly love a kitchen tool so much, but I do. They do the job and they do it so well.  I use spatulas every day. I start each morning with some scrambled eggs and I use one then. I often find myself needing another one for the kids PB&J sandwiches or scraping applesauce out of the jar.  I've loved the feel of these and how well the reach into a jar and can scrape it out. 

So I wrote di Oro Living, told them I had a blog and asked if they'd like to do some kind of giveaway for my readers. They were excited!  And so starting today, 300 of you can claim a 3-piece set on Amazon for $1. These have a retail value of $39.95 - what a deal!  All they ask in return is for an honest review. Your real honest opinion about them. They want to hear it from you.  These spatulas also qualify for AmazonPrime, so if you are a Prime member they'll ship for free!  Wahoo! If not it's just a few dollars for shipping - a great steal still! 

https://dioroliving.leadpages.net/leesh-and-lus-spatula-set-promotion/

To get the coupon code for purchasing these on Amazon for $1 click here and enter your email address, you will then be sent a coupon code by email. You can then purchase the set of spatulas on amazon for $1. Please share this with your friends! I'm sure they'd love these spatulas too.  And did I mention what a steal this is?!?! 


And now, back to those brownies.  These chocolate-y babies were whipped up with these very spatulas! Deee-licious!  I made them last week and took them to a party, you better believe they were the first thing gone! 


Here is the recipe! :)

Enjoy! 

-Leesh & Lu


  
Double Chocolate Brownies
Ingredients:

1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, cut into pieces
3 large eggs
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
In a large, microwave-safe bowl, heat 1 cup chocolate chips and butter for 90 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth.  If necessary, add an extra 30 seconds.  Stir in eggs. Stir in flour, sugar, vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt. Stir in remaining ½ cup chocolate chips and nuts, if desired. Spread into prepared baking pan.
Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars

Notes:

I bake mine at 325 when I use a glass or nonstick pan.  The baking time remains the same.  I also have substituted white wheat flour for the all-purpose flour with great results.   

Recipe Source:

Modified slightly from Toll House


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Classic Biscuits & Gravy

Not having grown up in the south, I thought it was awfully strange that people ate biscuits for breakfast. I had only ever eaten biscuits as a dinner side. After we were married my husband convinced me that it wouldn't kill me to try it. My mother-in-law made them for us shortly after and now they make an appearance at our house a few times per year. It's one of those special occasion breakfasts for us. It shows up around Christmastime and weekends that we have visitors in town.  

I was a little embarrassed that I had to ask her for the recipe--because I guess it's not much of a recipe if you know how to make gravy (which I obviously didn't), but I was grateful she wrote it down for me anyway--it's one of the hubby's favorites. My 4-year-old and my picky almost 2-year-old loved these, too!


Biscuits & Sausage Gravy

Ingredients:


1 lb. your favorite sausage (I like Johnsonville’s HOT sausage)
¼ cup flour
2 ½ cups milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 can Pillsbury Grands, or 1 recipe of your favorite biscuits

Directions:


Preheat oven and bake biscuits according to recipe or package instructions.  


Form sausage into patties, if desired.  Brown patties and remove to a plate.  Brown remaining sausage.  Drain off as much grease/flavor as possible. :) Add flour and mix well.  Stir in milk.  Add salt and pepper.  (Lots of pepper!) Gravy will thicken as it boils, and as it cools.  If needed add more milk to reach desired consistency.


Recipe Source:



Leesh’s Mother-In-Law, Karen



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Lemon Meringue Pie


**Quick update: If you've been following along with my Menu Monday recently, I've decided to post it on the sidebar. You can print it or just view the links to the recipes in my menu plan. Enjoy!**

You guys! Have you ever had Lemon Meringue Pie? Oh  my goodness, I hadn't until a month and a half ago. My husband requested it for his birthday dessert. He never wants a birthday cake, but always something super yummy. He also requested Clam Chowder for his birthday dinner. These were both two things I had never ever made or tried before in my life, so I felt like he was putting me to the test.  Luckily they both were pretty easy to do and turned out perfect. And let me tell you. I feeling pretty guilty for not trying this pie sooner. I remember my grandma having a Lemon Meringue at her house on occasion and I never dared tried it as a kid.  Now that I've had it and looved it, I'm sure they didn't feel bad I didn't try it, that meant more for them! :) 



I'm kind of obsessed with lemon. I love it in lots of things.  We especially love this pasta recipe. This pie is definitely #1 on my favorite lemon recipes.  Light flaky crust, and smooth, lightly tangy lemon filling, topped with soft billowy meringue! It's like little bites of heaven in each bite. 



And did you know pi day is coming up? You know pi the never ending number. 3.1415926.... It's celebrated on March 14th, since the fist 3 significant digits of pie are 3.14.  I can use any excuse to eat more pie! Hope you'll enjoy! Happy Pi Day!

-Lu



Lemon Meringue Pie

Ingredients:


1 baked pastry shell (our favorite version here)


For the Lemon filling:
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature (save 3 of the whites for the meringue)
1 ¾ cup water
2 teaspoons lemon zest
⅔ cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons butter


For the Meringue:
3 large egg whites, room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
⅓ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions:


Bake pastry shell and set aside.  


Get meringue ready to whip. But don’t make yet, it helps to have it as ready as possible so it can be applied to the hot lemon filling as soon as possible.  The hot filling and fresh meringue seal better (with less likelihood of separation of the layers when done this way). Put the 3 egg whites in a grease-free stainless steel or glass bowl. Measure the cream of tartar sugar and have vanilla ready to add.  This will all be mixed up after the filling is made.  


Preheat oven to 325°.


For the lemon filling: combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large sauce pan and set aside. In a medium size bowl combine the egg yolk, water, and lemon juice; beat with a whisk for about 2 minutes or until frothy, and then pour into the sugar mixture in the sauce pan.  


Over medium heat cook lemon mixture, stirring constantly until it thickens and boils. Once it comes to a boil let it boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and lemon zest.  Pour into the baked pastry shell and smooth.  


Now for the meringue: place the cream of tartar in with the egg whites and beat on medium speed with an electric hand mixer until soft peaks form (you can tell they are soft peaks when you lift the beaters and the mixture peaks and the tips curl). Once you’ve reached this stage, start slowing adding the sugar (about a tablespoon at a time) while beating on high speed. Once all sugar is added, continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks have formed (you can tell they are stiff by lifting the beaters up and noticing that the peaks stand tall and don’t droop or curl).  Turn off mixer and add the vanilla and beat one more time until combine. Smooth the meringue over the hot lemon filling, taking care to seal it to the edge of the pastry.  You can pile it billowy or smooth. I kind of like the look of little peaks and billows.


Bake at 325° for 25-28 minutes, until the meringue is a medium brown color.  Let it cool completely and store the the fridge until ready to serve. You can add lemon rind curls for garnish if desired.  


Recipe Source:


Adapted from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, 1999. Originally posted on landeelu.com

Pin this and make soon! :)


Monday, March 2, 2015

Team Landee 24-Hour Instagram Giveaway

Late last year we started blogging once a month over at Landee Lu with a bunch of other awesome bloggers.  We've enjoyed sharing ideas with these other bloggers and today we are teaming up with them for an awesome giveaway over on Instagram.  Do you have an Instagram account?  Follow us @leeshandlu. Check our Instagram today for all the details of our giveaway. Giveaway ends in 24 hours. Winners announced on Insta.

We are giving away 4 of our favorite paring knives.  And they come in fun spring colors! Double fun!


Pictured here is what everyone else is giving away. Be sure to find it our Instagram account.

Find all of the blogs here! These ladies are awesome! 

Giveaway items are from left to right and top to bottom.  

1. Steph in Thyme @stephinthyme   ---   http://www.stephinthyme.com/
Steph In Thyme is giving away a cute Easter Egg shaped Deviled Egg Platter
 
2. Leesh & Lu's Recipe Box @leeshandlu  ---   http://www.leeshandlusrecipebox.com/
Leesh & Lu are giving away a 4-piece Spring Colored Paring Knife Set
 
3. Home by Heidi @homebyheidi   ---   http://www.homebyheidi.com/
Home by Heidi is giving away a $25 gift card to Target
 
4. My Name is Snickerdoodle @mynameissnickerdoodle   ---   http://www.mynameissnickerdoodle.com/
My Name is Snickerdoodle is giving away a Menu Planner, Notebook, 14 Mini Spoons, 2 Pink Pens, White and Gold Washi Tape and a Spring Fling Pom Pom Garland
5. The Hamby Home @hambyhomedecor   ---   https://thehambyhome.wordpress.com/
Hamby Home is giving away a cute Spring Wreath
 
6. Left on Penisula Road @laurakingsburyjones   ---   http://www.leftonpeninsularoad.com/
Left on Peninsula Road is giving away a DIY egg shaped crayon kit

7. Landee Lu @landeelu   ---   http://www.landeeseelandeedo.com/
Landee is giving away a $25 gift card to Target
 
8. Shelly @shellyaneilson  ---   contributor at http://www.landeeseelandeedo.com/
Shelley is giving way a fun Spring Banner, Mini Chalkboard frame, IceBreakers Ice Cubes, Bows, Hello NotePapers, Cadbury Eggs, and a pair of Bergies. 

I hope you win! :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fried Rice with Ham & Egg


Do you ever make too much rice and have leftovers you have no idea what to do with?  I know I do.  We usually cook more rice than we need.  Leftover rice is perfect for this simple and tasty fried rice. Fried rice is a family favorite, so much in fact, I'll even go to the effort to cook rice just to make this dish. 

My uncle DJ was the one who got me started on fried rice. He makes it soooo good. He's a pro, really!  My aunt, his wife, said she won't even do it, because it's so good when he makes it.   I have tried to get his recipe written down, but he kind of just does it. So after he, well, mostly his wife, told me how to do it, we've tweaked it, tried it, tweaked it some more, and I've written down our  basic method. It's easy, family friendly, and utterly delicious! 
 

There are lots of variations you can do with this simple dish.  Sometimes if I'm in a real pinch for time I'll just add frozen peas to the mix of ham and egg.  But when I'm wanting something a little more, I'll saute a little onion, garlic, celery and carrot. This particular time I even threw in some finely chopped spinach.  I'll find any way to squeeze as many extra veggies/vitamins in.  My kids don't complain.  If they ask what they green stuff is, I just tell them it's seasonings and it makes it extra tasty. So far, my 1 year old has no complaints, and the 4 year old buys it every time. I love it when they gobble up something good! Makes me feel good!

My 1 year old really loved it so much that she was ready to dive in while I took some photos.  I think she really might have just wanted to grab all those eggs and throw them on the floor. She's a bit destruct-o, if you know what I mean.  Love that sweet little face!


I hope you'll enjoy this dish!  And I'd love to hear what you think!

-Lu



Fried Rice {with Ham & Egg}

Serves approx. 5-6
Ingredients:

1 ½ cups uncooked rice, (about 3 cups cooked rice - we especially love jasmine rice)
8 ounces ham, diced
3 eggs, scrambled
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons butter
Garlic salt and ground pepper to taste
½-¾ cup frozen peas
1-2+ tablespoons soy sauce, to taste (optional - sometimes I do, sometimes I don't)

Extra optional veggies (as many or few as you want)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cups spinach, finely chopped

Directions:

Cook rice according to package directions. If you want the extra veggies, start by sauteing them in a large non-stick skillet - add olive oil and all the veggies you want, and saute until tender. Set aside in a dish.  

In a small bowl whisk eggs with water, and a little salt and pepper. In the same skillet you cooked the veggies, add a small amount of olive oil or butter until cooked, stirring as they cook. Remove from pan and keep warm with veggies.  

Add ham to the skillet and cook until lightly browned; this helps bring out some good flavor.  

Add everything to the skillet with the ham, the rice, veggies, eggs, butter and garlic salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat stirring frequently and letting it brown a little and heat up evenly.  Stir in soy sauce if desired.  

Enjoy!

Recipe Source:

A Leesh & Lu original, by Lu, inspired by uncle DJ. :)