Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sour Cream Free Coffee Cake

Our family loves coffee cake, its a classic sweet bread that always seems to hit the spot.  It had been a while since I had made some in our home and I had a few of my girlfriends over with their kids, so I thought it would be a nice treat to nibble on while our kiddos played.  I got all my ingredients prepped and realized I had no sour cream, ah!!  Well, that threw me.  I am sure I am not alone, but once something is on your mind- especially food, its hard to go a different route until that craving is satisfied.  This was no exception, so the adaption began to making a coffee cake without sour cream.  By not using sour cream, the coffee cake was a bit more dense bread, but JUST as tasty!

Here is what I did ...

Cream 2 sticks of butter with a beater until the butter becomes whipped.  Add 3 c of flour, 2 c brown sugar, 3 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of salt.  Mix these dry ingredients with the butter until well incorporated.  Set aside 1 c of this mixture in a small bowl for a bit later.

With the remaining mixture, add 2 eggs and 1 c milk.  Using your mixer, continue to mix all the ingredients until your batter is formed.

Oil a bundt pan well and fill the pan evenly with your batter.  Top your batter with the remaining dry mixture that was previously set aside.  Once evenly sprinkled on top, place in your oven to bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

Let it cool for a few moments before turning it out to cool.  Slice and serve! 

I thought to blog this particular recipe after I had a few requests for the recipe; however, today our coffee cake was finished- leaving nothing to photograph!  Enjoy with your family, serve with your friends or enjoy ALL alone!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Brunch, Chicken Leek Strata

Happy Easter From the Harmon's

For Easter this year, we invited Jeremy's family to come celebrate with us.  Considering they would have a 3 hour drive home Sunday evening, I thought it would be nice to enjoy a brunch after church instead of a formal dinner.  I was in search of a casserole style dish to serve that offered flavor and substance- I decided on a Chicken Leek Strata- a great option to your typical egg dish.  Between the prep and refrigeration time, you will need some work done in advance.  To allow for less work to be done the morning of, I prepared the dish the day before.  

Lets get started!  

You will need the following ingredients:

 1 tbsp butter
1 c sliced leek
5 c sliced french bread
2 c chopped chicken
2 tbsp dill
3 c shredded mozzarella cheese
7 eggs, beaten
3 c milk
21 seasoning salute

After setting your ingredients aside, begin by chopping and washing your leek.  

In cutting the leek, remove the base of the white with the roots and the green sides where the stalk begins to branch out.

After chopping the leek, place it in a bowl and be sure to rinse well with a cleanser.  When buying leek- especially organic leek, dirt is all throughout.  After many soaks and rinses, the leek is sure to be clean!

Set your leek aside and start on your bread.

For this particular dish, a more dense and tough bread is best to absorb the flavors and egg without becoming soggy.

Slice the bread into 1/2 inch thick pieces until you have about 5 cups.

Now it is time to cook the leek.  In a saucepan over medium heat melt the butter.  Once melted, add your leek and cook until they caramelize and begin to brown.  Once the leek has softened, remove them from the stove.

While cooking the leek, shred your cheese.

At this time chop two chicken breasts and cook them on the stove.  While cooking, I seasoned the chicken with the dill and a few dashes of 21 seasoning salute.  Once the chicken has thoroughly been cooked, combine the chicken with the leek in a bowl.

Now add the 5 cups of bread with your cheese.  Stir all the ingredients together until they have been well incorporated.  

Spray a 9x13 pan and fill the pan with your mixture of bread, chicken, leek and cheese.

In a bowl beat your eggs and milk together with another dash of dill.  Once mixed and beaten, pour evenly over your pan of ingredients.  Top with any remaining cheese.

Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but no longer than 24 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 325 degrees and bake uncovered for 55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let it stand for about 10 minutes before cutting.

We enjoyed this dish with the rest of our Sunday Easter brunch!

Before our brunch the boys found their Easter baskets

The boy's place setting

Our before church loaf of Kucha bread

Our table setting

Banana Clove Bread and Kucha

We also served bacon in a maple brown sugar glaze

Pink Lemonade

Fresh fruit and hard boiled egg place cards

My handsome husband and I


Braydon and Momma

Our family guests- Cole took this picture!

Cole and Momma

Harmon Family

Cole enjoying his bread and lemonade

We finished our afternoon with an egg hunt at the park

Finishing on the perfect note ...

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter celebrating with loved ones!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hard Boiled Egg Place Cards

Hard Boiled Egg Place Cards

Hard boiled eggs are one of those foods that are hit or miss- people either love them or hate them, I hate them. I don't particularly love eggs in and of themselves, but the smell of hard boiled eggs does me in. Besides the fact that hard boiled eggs are an edible option, they have also become a fun activity of decoration during the Easter holiday.  This year we opted for a decorative and functional hard boiled egg- I kept my opinion of eating hard boiled eggs to myself, as I always encourage my kids to make their  own opinions regarding food and while boiling the eggs yesterday Cole asked me if we eat these.  I asked him why he would suddenly ask if these particular ones were edible since he eats eggs regularly and his reply in a scrunched up face was, Because these are really stinky!!  It is true- so if you haven't made hard boiled eggs before, be prepared- but have fun while doing it!  

To get started we carefully placed our eggs in a large pot, making sure to not place too many to where they would touch and crack while boiling.

Fill the pot with just enough water to cover the eggs.

Place the pot on the stove and boil over medium-high heat until a rolling boil is achieved.  Once this happens, remove the pot from the stove and turn off the heat.  If you let the eggs boil to high or long they will crack.  Let the eggs cool.

We decided to keep our eggs simple this year.  We were going to use stickers and a white crayon.  The  stickers would create a shape on the egg when placed in the dye and the white crayon would be used to write our attending guests names on the eggs for our Easter brunch.

We filled 3 bowls with water and then food coloring.

Now that our eggs had cooled, we softly patted them dry after a quick rinse and set them aside to color.

We began by placing some stickers on our egg, softly pressing down on all sides to make sure the dye didn't seep under the sticker.  Then take your white crayon and write the names of your guests on the egg.

Use a spoon or egg dipper to submerge the egg in the food coloring.

After a few moments remove the egg to reveal the written name and softly pat dry to remove the excess of colored water.

Gently peel off the stickers to also reveal the design- on this egg, they were hearts.

Continue the process until all of your eggs have been decorated and colored.  Cole was a great helper!

We made sure to write all the names of our Easter brunch attendees.

With the remaining eggs, Cole used the white crayon to draw his own shapes and designs and picked the colors he wanted the eggs to be.

Ta-da!  A simple, yet fun Easter activity to do with your little ones!  Our eggs will act as edible place cards Easter morning- I love that they are multi-functional, the best kind!!

Enjoy your Easter celebration and lets remember the REAL reason to why we celebrate!!

Sure- family gathered together, good food, egg hunts, cute church outfits, and visits to see the Easter bunny are all great and fun to partake it- but lets not forget that the real reason we celebrate is because our Lord has risen!  Let us rejoice in that wonderful truth!!

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die."
John 11:25-26

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
John 3:16 NIV

"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me."
Matthew 28: 6-10 KJV