March 31, 2012

Life...Sometimes We Need Dessert First!

WOW! Do you ever feel a tad bit overwhelmed with life? We are in the midst of transition and being born under the sign of Cancer the Crab.....I am feeling rather unsettled. I think I am going to toss caution to the wind and eat dessert first! How about a piece of cake? NOW!

You see, we have one house to sell in New England, we are purchasing a new house in Texas, we have two sons getting married, one wedding being held next week, we have two rehearsal dinners to plan, a trip back to New England to move our household goods, followed by the closing on the new house, a big anniversary and milestone birthday in Atlanta and then the move into the new Texas home. After this we will be in full swing of the second the summer wedding plans. No wonder I find myself on a fast track and that life is a bit daunting! So, I thought last night, of the perfect little sweet treat to serve the family this weekend. I remember the day I made this in Texas, and it was a real hit. I think we will all feel justified in having a piece of....

My Big Fat Bumpy Life Cake
 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, divided
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup butter flavored shortening
 1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
 4 eggs
 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 1 cup buttermilk
 1/2 cup cocoa powder
 1 cup hot water

 1/4 cup butter flavored shortening
 Sweetened condensed milk (reserved from cake)
 1 cup powdered sugar

 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows, halved
 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Measure out 1/3 cup of the sweetened condensed milk for using in the cake. Reserve the rest for the icing. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the shortening, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until creamy and fluffy. Add buttermilk and cocoa powder and beat until blended. Add flour mixture and beat on low to blend. Then increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Stir in hot water with a spoon until just blended. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake for 35 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove to a serving plate, fluted side up. Cool cake for 20 minutes.
Combine icing ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at a medium speed until smooth. Stir the ingredients for the drizzle together until combined and set aside. Frost the warm cake with the icing and allow the hole in the middle to fill if you like. Sprinkle the marshmallows and pecans evenly over the icing. Combine the cocoa and vegetable oil. Decorate the cake with the chocolate drizzle. Serve warm or at room temperature. Lawd, this is one fantastic cake!

Now....I promise to do more of this.......

Thank you Estelle's!

March 30, 2012

Make Mine Lavender Please!

Lavender is a color that is associated with spring flowers, peace, Royalty and spirituality.
Lavender has the potential to look
very soft and very feminine.

Estelle's is preparing ideas for spring decor on the Easter table and for celebrating a very special birthday. Can the color Lavender serve well for a male birthday celebration? Greg's birthday is the day before Easter and I have been noticing all the beautiful spring colors of the wildflowers and the bluebonnets. I adore this color of purple ever since my mother, Miss Helen, decided to paint their bedroom Lavender. She used to just salivate over paint colors of these shades of purple and decided upon a deep shade of Lavender. In one day, she had changed the entire feel of their bedroom, which softened the look of the room and she had accented the color with shades of cream, yellow and deep purple. And you know what, Daddy really liked it. His masculinity was not in the least bit bothered!

A lovely lavender pillow

Lavender Cache Pottery

Bold Deep Lavender Floral Print

Lavender Dining Nook with Lavender Home Accents

Lavender Beverage Glasses...I think I have to have these

Deep Lavender Tapestry Table Runner on Dining Buffet

Now, I know Miss Helen would have loved all of these ideas and would have wanted to incorporate these into her Mississippi home. I just love them too! Which brings me back to Greg's birthday and the color of Lavender on perhaps....cupcakes? When I asked him what his thoughts were on this, he thought about if for a while, before he replied, "Mom, if that's what you would like to make me for my birthday, I don't mind what color they just makes us happy ya'll are home!"....Aw, now is that a good son, or what!

Estelle's Buttermilk Birthday Cupcakes
3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium. Add whole eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add yolks, and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each. Beat in vanilla. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely before frosting!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing
2 1/2 cups sugar
10 large egg whites
4 cups (8 sticks or 2 pounds) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Lavender food color (I found this at Michael's)

Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla, and beat just until combined. Add your food coloring to your desired shade, then mix in until well combined. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Estelle's Sweet Tip....
You can also use this website to help you create the color you select for your recipes....this will guide you as to the exact number of drops to mix together for the desired shade.

March 29, 2012

Spring is in the Air!

It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is.
 And when you've got it, you want~
oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want,
 but it just fairly makes your heart ache,
you want it so! ~Mark Twain

OK! The weather here is simply beautiful! I have been able to wear flip-flops everyday. Just to go outside and feel the sunshine, to wear capri length slacks and a light little's been sooo long. Yes, we are relishing being home in so many ways. It's funny how exciting it is to visit other places and experience new ways of living. But after all is said and done, it's that comforting feeling of familiarity that tugs at our hearts and wraps us in comfort like a big ole' bear hug! The azaleas have bloomed, the bluebonnets cover the fields and the redbuds are sprinkled throughout the neighborhoods. It is Spring in all it's beauty. Enjoy these few simple light ideas for putting dinner on the table for your loved ones. Ya'll enjoy your spring days and come back to Estelle's for a visit!

Estelle's Cranberry Mustard Chicken
1 pound chicken tenderloins
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons oil
2/3 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons country-style Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
1/4 cup sliced green onions, green part only

Lightly toss chicken pieces with flour; shake off excess. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and oil in a large skillet. Add half of the chicken; cook about 2 minutes, turning once until chicken is golden brown on each side and cooked through. Add more butter and oil if needed. Remove to a platter; keep warm. Repeat with remaining chicken. Add wine, chicken broth and mustard to skillet, scraping up browned bits. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir into skillet. Add dried cranberries. Boil 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir in green onions; cook 1 more minute. Pour over chicken. I have served with over hot buttered rice and also with wide buttered noodles! YUM!

Estelle's Watermelon Punch
 4 cups watermelon juice
1 can pink lemonade concentrate
1/2 cup white sugar
 Lemon slices

Stir together watermelon juice, pink lemonade concentrate and sugar in a pitcher or punch bowl until sugar dissolves. Add water according to directions on lemonade concentrate cans or to taste. Add lemon slices to pitcher or punch bowl for garnish.
 If you are making this from scratch, you will need 4 cups of juice. I buy watermelon at Costco and cut the watermelon into chunks and puree in a food processor. Strain puree through a sieve or cheesecloth to remove seeds and pulp, reserving the juice. You can normally get the amount needed with one medium sized watermelon.This is incredibly good and so fresh tasting!

March 28, 2012

Four Seasons of Formal Dining

Welcome to Estelle's at The Maine House! Darling and I grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. I suppose from the time we were quite small, our grandparents and our parents entertained in their formal dining rooms. These rooms had a rather elegant feel to them. They hosted holidays and special occasions and often times, Sunday dinner after church service. They hosted bridal showers, bridesmaid luncheons, church socials, bridge clubs, senior tea's and funeral visitations. It has always been a very special place within our homes, where our grandfathers and fathers sat at the head of the table, while our grandmothers and mothers were seated at the opposite end of the dining table. The children encircled the adults on both sides. Oh, the special memories of these formal dining rooms! Darling and I have raised our children in the same manner...and they share in these very special memories!

My crystal chandelier I brought with me from Texas to Maine

Christmas at The Maine House, December, 2010

Easter of  April, 2011

Learning the art of Crackin' Lobstah!

Miss Catherine seems to be having no problem at all..
Here's the way it's done Robbie!

Halloween Night....The Best Trick or Treating Fun Ever!

Thanksgiving Dinner

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Miss Vicki toasting her happiness of visiting The Maine House
Our dear friends visiting from Texas last October

For now, all is quiet....
waiting to welcome the next family and their own celebrations...
These were the best of times. Thanks for the memories Estelle's!

March 27, 2012

The Kitchen.....Love Me or Love Me Not!

The joys of selling your home? Are there any? I am trying very hard to keep that mind set of "the glass is half-full, rather than half-empty and sounding a bit like Eeyore! I am not understanding home buyers these days. I have always read that selling your home is generally based on four factors, Location, Price, Condition of the home and Square Footage! I can tell you this is what we look for when purchasing a home.

Our Kitchen

Open House in December, 2011

Countertops....loved them...neutral and in perfect condition with
rounded corners and no grout line.
But! They are not granite!
 I also loved the tile backsplash!

I am extremely particular about the view out of the kitchen window. In Texas, our view was the fence about three feet away and the neighbors above ground cement bunker they had built, thinking a hurricane would blow them away, just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. That's a horror story unto itself, which I will write about in another post, so the view out of my Maine House window was breathtaking everyday. The woodlands, the snow falling, the wildlife we saw, the incredible was a gift everyday!

I fell in love with the Maple cabinets and the amount of storage space we had. Believe me, anyone can tell you, I have ALOT of china and serving pieces. I had room to accommodate most all of it. I loved the openness of the kitchen space and the ease of cooking here.

One of those beautiful winter sunsets

This was our new farmhouse table with the new ladder back chairs. I thought if fit beautifully in the style of a formal Colonial New England Home. I simply adored the hardwood floors. The sun would filter in during the day and make for a beautiful and warm kitchen. I miss that!

I loved this kitchen. I loved it when I first saw it and at that time, it looked completely different than this. I think you make the house yours. It either has you at hello, or it doesn't. My heart does not require granite or stainless steel appliances as HGTV tells you is a must have nowadays. If you have good appliances that work beautifully, what's wrong with black or white? Do we live in a throw away society of tossing out good quality homegoods? Well, I enjoyed being a homemaker here...absolutely loved it!

The Divine Miss M, who has a great deal of experience being a real estate agent, reminds me that today's home buyers do not share my way of thinking. They do not look at square footage, nor do they give thought to the view from the kitchen window. They will immediately look at a room and disregard it if it is not the color, layout or have the latest and greatest of everything. Today's consumer......what we valued yesterday, may not be what is valued today. Onward and upward old girl!

March 26, 2012

Spring Plans for the Home

Get ready to savor a sweet slice of cake with more than a hint of lemony tang and a yummy drizzly syrup to go over top. As March winds blow and we wait impatiently for the first signs of spring, when we’re in need of a bit of comfort, nothing beats a light lemon loaf (or lemon cake) à la Grandma’s best and a piping hot cup of tea, as the perfect afternoon treat!

 1 to 2 large Meyer lemons
 ½ cup granulated sugar

For Loaf
 1-¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
 6-½ tbsp unsalted butter, softened
 1 cup granulated sugar
 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
 2 large eggs
½ cup whole milk
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 pint blueberries for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a loaf pan; set aside. Squeeze out enough lemon juice to measure ½ cup. To make the syrup, stir together all but 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and sugar in a small bowl until dissolved. Set syrup aside.To make the loaf, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with milk, until combined. Stir in the poppy seeds and reserved 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve loaf in slices drizzled with lemon syrup and topped with a handful of fresh blueberries!

Changing your table decor is an easy and inexpensive way to give your living space a quick makeover. I am always on the hunt for inspiring floral arrangements to place on the dining table, mantle, in the foyer or even on the bath vanity.

Whether it's changing vases, getting a new array of fresh flowers or finding visually interesting pieces to showcase, decorating your dining room space will create a cozy place for gatherings.

March 25, 2012

Daddy and Me at Home Depot

Hi Everyone! I wanted to share my photos of my Daddy and me at The Home Depot. Daddy and I live in Atlanta,Georgia with Mommie. Mommie is married to my Daddy. I love shopping with Mommie, but I also have very special times with my Dad.

He takes me to The Home Depot Kids Workshops and we build amazing, cool "things" together..just Daddy and Me. I can handle the tools pretty well too.

Daddy has taught me all about tools and construction equipment. Maine Grandma keeps asking me how I know so much about tools, and I just tell her that "Jay told me!" This makes Grandma "snort-laugh!" I pretty much do most of the construction by myself, but I do let my Daddy join in the fun....sometimes.

I have my own Home Depot apron that even has my name on it. My Dad is pretty cool and he is also pretty smart! I like it when we do things together. I can tell how much Mommie and Daddy love me by their smiles and the way I make them laugh when I tell them super hero stories.

When we get back home after an afternoon of "manly things" at the Kids Workshop, my amazing Mommie has a delicious dinner waiting for us. Maybe this is the best ending to a perfect day of just Daddy and Me time.....shhh....I really miss Mommie though, when I am hard at work building super things, like tool benches and birdhouses. It's really fun being a little kid in Atlanta.....I have a really cool Mom and Dad!

Estelle's Easy Lasagna
 8 ounce dried miniature lasagna noodles, broken
 12 ounce mild or hot bulk Italian sausage
2-1/2 cups desired red pasta sauce
1 egg, beaten
1 cup cream-style cottage cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese 
 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (3 oz.)

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.  Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe 2-quart square baking dish, crumble sausage. Cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 4 to 6 minutes or until sausage is brown, stirring once or twice. Drain fat. Stir cooked pasta and pasta sauce into sausage in dish. Cover and microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through, stirring once. In a medium bowl, stir together egg, cottage cheese, and Parmesan or Romano cheese. Spoon mixture over pasta mixture. Cover and microwave on high for 6 to 7 minutes more or until heated through. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

1 stick butter (1/2 cup), at room temperature
2 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste with a pinch of
salt and extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
 1 loaf crusty baguette
 Extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For the bread, stir together the butter, mashed garlic, and herbs in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Tear open the loaf of bread  lengthwise, spread the herb-garlic mixture over both halves and sprinkle with a little olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes!

"When's the next Kids Workshop, Daddy? Will Spiderman be there? Can Juggernaut go with us? What's Mommie cooking for dinner? Daddy?.............Daddy?"

March 24, 2012

Authentic Mexican Delights

Welcome home to Texas!
If you like to make meals that have a bit of kick, these recipes are for you. Fresh poblano chilies and Tomatillo's provide ample spice for this hearty, comforting Mexican meal.

Why not learn to cook authentic Mexican cuisine when living in the state of Texas? One of the ingredients in this scrumptious enchilada recipe is tomatillo's. If you are not familiar with these little fruits, here is a small bit of information for all of us. Tomatillos are a staple in Mexican cuisine.

The tomatillo fruit is surrounded by an inedible, paper-like husk formed from the calyx. As the fruit matures, it fills the husk and can split it open by harvest. The husk turns brown, and the fruit can be any of a number of colors when ripe, including yellow, red, green, or even purple. Tomatillos are the key ingredient in fresh and cooked Latin American green sauces. The freshness and greenness of the husk are quality criteria. Fruit should be firm and bright green, as the green color and tart flavor are the main culinary contributions of the fruit. Purple and red-ripening cultivars often have a slight sweetness, unlike the green- and yellow-ripening cultivars, and are therefore somewhat more suitable for fruit-like uses like jams and preserves. Like their close relatives cape gooseberries, tomatillos have a high pectin content. Another characteristic is they tend to have a varying degree of a sappy sticky coating, mostly when used on the green side out of the husk. Ripe tomatillos will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks.

Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas Verde
1 1/2 pounds poblano chiles
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds (16 medium) tomatillos , husked, rinsed
4 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 large white onions, chopped
24 corn tortillas
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup crème frâiche or sour cream
6 cups shredded roast chicken (from 2 roast chickens)
1 pound (4 cups) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Heat broiler. Place chiles on a baking sheet; lightly brush with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Broil as close to the heat source as possible, 8 to 10 minutes, turning frequently, until skins are blackened all over. Transfer to a plastic food storage bag or paper bag; let cool. Scrape off charred skins; cut off stems, halve chiles, and remove seeds; coarsely chop. Place tomatillos and garlic on broiler pan rack; broil close to heat source, 15 minutes, turning frequently, until tomatillos and garlic are charred in spots and soft. Remove skins from garlic and chop.Heat remaining oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook 8 minutes. Add chiles, tomatillos, garlic, 2 corn tortillas, torn into small pieces, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat; when cool enough to handle, transfer mixture to food processor with cilantro and salt; pulse until sauce is just slightly chunky. Transfer to a bowl; whisk in crème frâiche until blended. Spread 3/4 cup of sauce thinly on bottom of 2 (13x9x2-inch) baking dishes. In a large bowl, combine chicken with 1 cup sauce and toss to lightly coat (sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated; thin with more broth or water before using).
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Stack 11 of the remaining tortillas on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a moist paper towel. Microwave 1 minute, until heated through and pliable. To assemble enchiladas, dip a tortilla into sauce just to moisten and top with a heaping 1/4 cup chicken mixture and 2 1/2 tablespoons cheese. Roll up tortilla snug and transfer to a baking dish. Repeat with remaining 10 tortillas.
Soften remaining tortillas in microwave and assemble second baking dish with enchiladas. Spoon remaining sauce and cheese over top of enchiladas. (Can be covered and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead; bring to room temperature before baking.) Bake 20 minutes, or until heated through and sauce is bubbly. Remove enchiladas from baking dishes with a spatula and serve immediately.

"My grandmother, or Mama Grande, lived in Donna, between Brownsville and McAllen, and we’d often go see her on Sundays. We’d take Highway 281, a two-lane road that runs parallel to the Rio Grande and that Dad called el camino militar. I remember sitting in the backseat of his ’57 Chevy for the 45-minute drive, no air-conditioning. Mama Grande was born in 1886, and she raised fourteen children. In her kitchen, she always had a pot of beans cooking, a stack of tortillas made with White Wings flour, and rice. She probably made two pots of rice a day, grinding the fresh cumin, garlic, and black pepper for it in her molcajete. She loved rice, sometimes even eating it cold. My mother learned the recipe and passed it down. Now when I want a taste of home, I make a batch of this rice and relive those weekend afternoons with Mama Grande".~From Sylvia Cásares, Featured in Texas Monthly

Mama Grande’s Rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 medium tomato, cut into wedges
1/2 cup onion, chopped
½ cup green pepper, chopped
2 1/4 cups chicken broth, divided
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oil in a 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat. Add rice and stir every 3 to 4 minutes until it turns golden brown. Meanwhile, put tomato, onion, and 1/4 cup broth in a food processor and blend until tomato is liquefied. Grind garlic and cumin seeds with a molcajete or mortar and pestle. Add the tomato mixture, the garlic and cumin, pepper, salt, tomato sauce, and remaining broth to rice. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and leave covered for another 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork before serving. Serves 5 to 6. ~ Sylvia Cásares

March 23, 2012

Limes.... Easy, Elegant and Everyday

 This time of year,it seems like the words
 “light” and “colorful” permeate our vocabulary.

Fresh Limes in Spring Bouquet

"Green is the prime color of the world and that from which
it's loveliness arises."
~Pedri Calderib de la Barca

"For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider,
every Green tree is far more glorious than if it were
made of gold and silver."
~Martin Luther

"Green is my favorite color.
It's my favorite color because it's the
color of my husband's eyes."

How to Make a Cake Roll
 Line your jelly roll pan with the parchment paper.
Prepare and bake the angel food cake according to package directions.
 Sprinkle the towel with powdered sugar.
Cover a space large enough for the entire jelly roll pan.
Cool jelly roll pan 10 minutes, loosen cake from edges of pan,
turn upside down onto towel sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Carefully remove parchment paper.
Carefully roll hot cake and towel from narrow end.
Cool completely on cooling rack, about 1 hour.
 Unroll cake and remove towel. Spread lime sherbet in an even layer on cake.
 Roll up carefully. Place roll, seam side down, on a large piece of foil.
 Wrap in foil and freeze at least 6 hours until firm.

Lime Angle Food Cake Roll
1 box (1 lb) White Angel Food Cake Mix
1 1/4 cups cold water
Powdered sugar
5 cups lime sherbet, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 11 x 17 x 1-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Beat cake mix and cold water with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 1 minute. Spread the batter in prepared pan. Bake jelly roll pan 20 to 25 minutes, or until top springs back lightly when touched in center. Cool jelly roll pan 10 minutes. Loosen cake from edges of pan. Turn upside down onto towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Carefully remove parchment paper. Trim off stiff edges of cake if necessary. Carefully roll hot cake and towel from narrow end. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 1 hour. Unroll cake and remove towel. Spread lime sherbet in an even layer on cake. Roll up carefully. Place roll, seam side down, on a large piece of foil. Wrap in foil; freeze at least 6 hours until firm. Remove from freezer and cut roll into 3/4 inch slices. Store wrapped in freezer.

March 22, 2012

Cool Spring Rain....Perfect for Soup and Muffins

A Rainy Spring Day in Maine

This was taken from the front door of The Maine House last  year during a windy, spring downpour. I love looking back at pictures of the neighborhood, which I often referred to as "Normal Rockwell Drive!" We had a lovely view out of every window. Days such as this, are ideal to have a good homemade soup simmering on the stove as Darling comes in from work. The aroma of homemade cheddar muffins can lure him into the dining room in no time at all. Warm all thy soul with lovin' from the oven!

This soup will warm your heart and your tummy

1 tablespoons extra virgin oil
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 quart half and half
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
1 cup onion, finely diced
2 minced garlic cloves
2 )14 ounce) cans of chicken broth if you enjoy thick soup, use one can
1 cup carrots, finely shredded
1 cup chicken breasts, cooked and diced (you can use a rotisserie chicken)
1 package gnocchi, cooked (you can find these in gourmet/pasta section of the grocery store - you may want to cut the gnocchi in half if it is large, or purchase the mini size if available)
1 cup of fresh spinach coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Saute the onion, celery, and garlic in the butter and olive oil over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent. Add the flour and make a roux. Let the butter and flour mixture cook for about a minute before adding 1 quart of half and half. Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Into the roux, add in the carrots and chicken. Once the mixture becomes thick, add the chicken broth. Once the mixture thickens again, add the cooked gnocchi, spinach, and seasoning; simmer until soup is heated through. Before serving season to taste by adding additional salt!

Estelle's Bacon Cheddar Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ¼ cups milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin tins. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and cayenne pepper in a large bowl; blend well. Add milk, oil and egg; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in bacon and cheese. Fill greased muffin tins three-quarters full. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm!