Sunday, February 19, 2012

Small Things, Letting Go & Baked Mac and Cheese!

"We can do no great things; we can do small things with great love". ~ Mother Theresa
When I want someones attention I usually bake something for them. I woke up on Valentine's Day in a bit of a panic fearing that maybe no one would remember me that day. I made chocolate cookies and cranberry Biscotti dipped in chocolate for neighbors, the school bus driver, my kids and a couple of other friends. It was nice to see their smiles and receive words of appreciation. It is better to give then receive. Besides Mother Theresa was on to something-it really is those small things we do that matter most.
As for letting go, I don't like it when I have to, especially of something I deeply love and care for. But sometimes I see that I must. We all have to at times.
My daughter Bella left for a trip to Spain with her Spanish class. It wasn't easy for me to let her go, but I knew that I had to. She has a journey and a unique path of her own to follow and going on this trip was a part of it.
She and I spent the afternoon together before she left. I made a large Baked Mac and Cheese, neighbor's came over to eat with us. I made a heartier than usual Mac and Cheese. I used what I had on hand and what I thought would make a tasty combination. My son seemed to like it as he ate three bowls of it. And Bella left for Madrid, happy and full! Just in case you feel like giving it a try, here is what I made.
Baked Mac and Cheese with Bacon
1 lb. elbow macaroni
5 strips bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces
2 cups sharp cheddar, grated fine
1/4 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
handful of fresh diced scallions
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1) Cook the macaroni. In a large bowl toss together all ingredients, except the bread crumbs. Spoon into a 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil & Ricotta Tart

I got a call the other day from an old friend in Texas. She reminded me of a recipe I'd shared with her years before. It was something I baked often for either a lunch get together with girlfriends or to add to a Potluck party. But I haven't made it in years.
I shared the recipe in "Linda's Hearth"- a collection I put together years ago for Christmas gifts for friends and family.
When my now teens were still toddlers, I didn't feel like dragging them around to shop at the mall looking for gifts so that year I put together those books right from home.
I baked it for this weekend because I'm going to a birthday party later today and I hate showing up to a party empty handed. I also baked one of my Lemon Cake's.
Are you looking for something to do this weekend? Give this simple and delicious recipe a try and invite some friends over to share it with you.
Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil & Ricotta Tart
Prepare your pie crust
Take 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
2 Tbsp olive oil
black pepper, freshly ground
12 oz. ricotta
3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan
3 eggs
4 Tbsp. whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped, oil-cured sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup pine nuts
1) Pre-bake your crust until edges are golden brown at 350 degrees.
2) Put your basil, oil, eggs, whipping cream and cheeses into a blender or food processor, season with black pepper and process until just mixed.
3) Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and nuts but don't process.
4) Pour mixture into the pie shell and bake for 40 minutes or until set. Serve warm.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cupcakes, Joy of Food & Super Bowl Sunday!

"Talk of joy; there may be things better than beef stew and baked potatoes and home-made bread--there may be" ~ David Grayson

I baked a batch of cupcakes today to bring to a dance Sophia is going to this weekend. I made butter flavored cupcakes with a whipped cream cheese frosting and decorated them in honor of valentine's day.

On Super Bowl Sunday I'll continue the tradition I've started with my kids years ago; we put together a squares chart with candy or fun toys as a prize.

It's going to be cold Sunday so I'm going to put a large beef stew in my crock pot and bake some home made bread first thing in the morning. It will make the house all cozy and warm and smell extra good.