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Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream.

With how hot and humid this summer has started out, there isn’t anything more refreshing than a bowl of homemade ice cream. When our cousin, Eleanor, stopped by the other week and gave us a big bag of fresh blueberries, I just had to try out a recipe for Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream.

And it was the perfect treat! Cold, refreshing, and addictively delicious.

Ingredients:
Blueberry Filling:
2 cups of fresh blueberries
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 c water

Graham Cracker Crumbles:
2 c Graham Cracker Crumbs
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c butter, melted

Ice Cream:
2 c heavy cream
4 c whole milk
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pkg cheesecake or vanilla instant pudding

Blueberry Filling:
1) Combine the sugar and corn starch in a small saucepan. Gradually add the water, stirring until combined. Add the fresh blueberries and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer until it begins to thicken. Refrigerate until completely cooled.

Graham Cracker Crumbles:
1) Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

2) In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and use a fork to combine completely. Using your hands, pat the graham cracker mixture into a 9×9 glass pan (or really any glass pan of a similar size). Bake until lightly browned (about 15-20 minutes – give or take). Once out of the oven, allow to cool completely, then crumble and set aside.

Ice Cream:
1) Combine the sugar, whole milk, and heavy cream in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and cinnamon. Refrigerate the mixture and allow it to cool. Once cooled, whisk in the dry pudding mixture. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

2) In a large sealable container, layer the ice cream, graham cracker crumbles, and blueberry filling (in that order) at least two or three times. Use a spoon or rubber spatula to swirl the ingredients. Freeze until you’re ready to serve it.

Enjoy!

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Lemon Blueberry Mini Trifles.

I love these mini trifles, so delicious, wonderfully tart, and they were a perfect dessert for Mother’s Day. And easy, which is the best part of course 🙂

Ingredients:
1 Pound Cake (store bought or homemade), cut into bite sized pieces
1 jar of lemon curd*
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
2 cups of fresh whipped cream, give or take
5 Tbsp powdered sugar, give or take
Blueberries, washed
1/4 cup of lemon juice, give or take
*Our town’s grocery store unfortunately didn’t have any lemon curd, so I made my own using the recipe for lemon cheese cake frosting, but cut in half. The recipe for it is below.

1) In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and the lemon curd. Fold in about half of the whipped cream. Set aside.

2) In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice and about 5 Tbsp of powdered sugar. Set aside.

To assemble:
Place a layer of pound cake into the bottom of a clear glass container of your choice. Drizzle a small spoonful of the lemon juice/powdered sugar mixture on top of the pound cake (this step can be optional, but to me it makes this dessert even better by making the dense pound cake a little moister and giving it a tarter taster). Then top with a large dollop of the cream cheese mixture. On top of that place several blueberries. Top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

This recipe made 4 mini trifles for us plus one larger sized one for later. For a patriotic look, you could easily use raspberries in addition to the blueberries.

Lemon Cheese Cake Frosting (halved)
Ingredients:
4 egg yolks
3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 sticks of butter
Juice of 2-3 lemons
Zest from 1 of those lemons

1) Mix all of the ingredients together and cook in a double boiler until the mixture thickens (takes about 25 minutes or slightly longer). Make sure to stir constantly. Allow the frosting to cool before using (it will thicken even more after cooling).

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Apple Crisp with Caramel.

I love this recipe, it’s perfect for cool weather, stormy Spring days like we’ve had today, and especially good when the lights go out during those stormy days. As I’m currently sitting here waiting for the electricity to come back on (thank goodness the Hopper recorded Farm Kings earlier – don’t you just love that show. . . or better yet the guys on it?), I’m seriously considering grabbing another bowl 🙂

The original recipe is here, but you know me, I just had to change it around a little 😉

Ingredients:
Apple Filling
3 Granny Smith apples (or whichever apple you prefer), peeled and cut into large bite sized pieces
A dash of lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 c Caramel (recipe here)*
*I halve the caramel recipe, and of course, exclude the part where you dip apples into it 🙂

Topping
1/3 cup of butter, softened
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c wheat flour
1/2 c old fashioned oats
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg*
*I freeze nutmeg, and then take it out and grate when I need it, so 1/8th of a teaspoon is a guesstimate. 

The Filling:
1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Then, toss the peeled and cut up apples in a dash of lemon juice. Add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and the cooled caramel sauce, and stir to make sure the apples are completely coated. Pour into a baking dish (I use an 8×8 square casserole dish).

2) In a medium sized bowl, combine the softened butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, wheat flour, oats, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Combine using a fork, until the mixture is crumb-like in texture.

 
Just before going in the oven.
 

3) Spoon the topping on top of the apple filling, covering completely. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the apples become tender.

Serve with ice cream, fresh whipped cream, or how I like it, just plain 🙂 And enjoy!

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Presidential Cookies

I’m a week late posting these cookies, but oh well, they’re just as good no matter when you make them 🙂

I’ve been wanting to try out the recipe for Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies for a while after seeing it repeatedly in cookbooks and online. What better day to make them than Presidents’ Day? So, that’s what I set out to do last Monday.

It was such an easy recipe, and one that I may just have to share with my mom (who is a complete non-baker). But first let me say that I’m not much of a chocolate chip cookie baker as they just never seem to turn out like the yummy ones you can get in the mall, but these turned out amazingly well. Soft, melt in your mouth, and just how I like them.

You can see the original recipe here. The only things I changed when making them was: to cut the recipe in half to make a smaller batch, used wheat flour, and I made each cookie a little smaller than called for.

 
Hope everyone is having a great start to your week! For us, it’s rainy and altogether a little too soggy outside, and I may just have to make another batch of these cookies 😉
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Chicken Enchiladas

I am a huge fan of Mexican/Tex-Mex cuisine of any type – flan, chimichangas, chile rellenos, sopapillas, anything with tomatillos, etc. In fact, if I never had to eat any other type of cuisine, I’d be perfectly happy. But I can’t stomach Mexican fast food, so I started making my favorite dishes at home years ago. And even though a ton of really great, authentic Mexican restaurants have opened up in our area in the past several years, I still enjoy doing it myself.

My absolute favorite is Swiss style chicken enchiladas or (testing out my very rusty high school Spanish here) Enchiladas Suizas con Pollo – hope I got that right. Even my mom, who is notoriously picky and barely likes anything besides hamburgers or fried chicken, has admitted they’re pretty tasty. You have no idea how big of a compliment that is from her 🙂

Ingredients:
3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (reserve about a cup of the broth)
Vegetable Oil
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 small can of roasted green chiles, diced
3/4 c Milk
Salt (to taste)
Black Pepper (to taste)
Taco Seasoning (to taste), recipe below
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour *
Grated Monterrey Jack Cheese (or Pepper Jack, Colby Jack, Swiss, whatever you like or have on hand)
4 oz of sour cream
8 Tortillas*
* I make this with both wheat tortillas and wheat flour, so mine may appear a little darker.

Taco Seasoning:
6 tsp chili powder
5 tsp paprika
4 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
a pinch of red pepper flakes

1) Stir together all of the ingredients and store in a sealed container.

Enchiladas
1) Heat about 1 – 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the diced onions and bell peppers and cook until the onions begin to turn translucent. Then, add half of the diced chiles, all of the shredded chicken, the taco seasoning (I usually add about 2 – 3 Tbsp to the chicken mixture), and salt and pepper to taste. Stir together well. Add about half of the reserved chicken broth and about 1/4 cup of milk or cream. Stir together, and allow the mixture to simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

2) In a smaller skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, then whisk in the flour. Allow it to cook for a couple of minutes. Then, add the remaining chicken broth and about 1/2 a cup of milk or cream. Stir together well. Now, stir in the taco seasoning to taste (I usually add about 2 -3 Tbsp to this, as well) and add the rest of the diced chiles. Stir in the sour cream and about 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. Let the sauce simmer until the cheese has completely melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3) Microwave the tortillas for 30 seconds so they’re more pliable. Place a couple of large spoonfuls of the chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla, sprinkle a little cheese on top, and roll the tortilla up. Place each rolled tortilla in a baking dish, seam side down.

4) Pour the white sauce on top of the rolled tortillas. Sprinkle a little more cheese on top and bake in a 350F degree preheated oven for about 20 – 30 minutes.

Just before going in the oven.
 
I like a little fresh salsa with enchiladas.