Thursday, April 20, 2017

Awesome Life Friday #109

10 comments:
Welcome to Awesome Life Friday!

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

Here's a bit of what we've been up to this week:




And now our favorite part - the FEATURES !  If you're one of our featured posts, we'd love it if you'd grab a button, and thanks to all of you who shared with us last week!




5 Minutes for Mom // Homemade Soft Pretzels with Honey Mustard Dip
Is there anything better than freshly made soft pretzels with mustard?




Penny's Vintage Home // Vintage Step Stools
Penny takes a pair of old step stools, spruces them up, and creates a sweet garden display.





My Thrift Store Addiction // Earth Day Inspired Bird Feeder from Vintage Match Holder
Here's another cheerful repurpose for your spring garden!





The Ramblings of an Aspiring Small Town Girl // Italian Scalloped Potatoes
This delicious version of a classic recipe is sure to gain a regular spot on my meal plan!




Simply Stacie // Honey Dijon Baked Cauliflower
Another delicious casserole side dish - this time lower carb!




Gluesticks // Make a Whimsical Fairy Garden Kit
This is such a fun way to bring in Spring with the kids.



If you are one of our FEATURED bloggers, this button is for you!





Thank you all so much for sharing your awesomeness!


Are you all ready to party?  If you like, we'd love it you'd help spread the word by grabbing our button:





Here we go!


Coconut Lovers Banana Cream Pie #ImprovCookingChallenge

9 comments:

Serendipity - when unconnected things occur at the same time so that they work together in a beneficial way.

A couple weeks ago, my husband brought up banana pudding - an old fashioned dessert from our childhood made up from Instant Vanilla Pudding, Cool Whip and Nilla Wafer cookies - it was an advertiser's dream recipe and used to be on the back of the box for each of those products.

I was in no mood to make that - but figured a banana cream pie might fill the craving, so I tucked it onto my meal plan list until I could get to the store for the necessary ingredients.

Then came the serendipitous part - a few days later, I came across the Improv Cooking Challenge hosted by Cookaholic Wife.  On the 3rd Thursday of each month, bloggers get together to share recipes that include a preselected pair of ingredients.  This month, the two ingredients are bananas and coconut.

That same day, my husband casually mentioned how much he could go for a coconut cream pie (we talk about food a lot around here) and I went aha!

And that's how this Coconut Lover's Banana Cream Pie was born.

It's a basic made-from-scratch vanilla pudding, poured over a layer of sliced ripe bananas that have been laid into the bottom of a toasted coconut crust (hey! This is gluten-free!), and topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of more toasted coconut.

Mind you - this pie is sweet and very rich, and the flavors all come through very well. I think next time I'd use a blend of sweetened and unsweetened coconut to cut back on the sweetness - but there is sugar in the pudding and the whipped cream, so this is definitely in the category of very-occasional indulgence.


But very indulgent it is and I'd feel quite satisfied if I ordered this from a good dessert menu.



Coconut Lover's Banana Cream Pie
(makes 1 9" pie)

Crust: 
2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
1/2 cup butter

Filling:
2-3 ripe bananas, sliced thin into rounds
3 Tblsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup milk
4 egg yolks (can freeze egg whites for later use)
1 14 oz. can coconut milk
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Topping:
1 cup whipping cream
2 Tblsp confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup toasted coconut

Make the crust:
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat and add coconut. Stir constantly until coconut is browned but not burned.  Turn buttered coconut into a pie shell, and pat evenly over the bottom, making sure it isn't too thick in the corners.

Set crust in refrigerator to chill for at least a half hour.  This can be done up to 24 hours ahead.

Wipe pan clean, and toast an additional 1/4 cup coconut without butter for 2-3 minutes while stirring constantly.  Set aside to top the pie.

Make the filling: 
Remove pie shell from refrigerator.  Slice bananas and fill the bottom of the pie shell - it's fine if they overlap.  Set aside.

Separate the four eggs.  The whites can be frozen in a small container for later use (they won't whip into meringue, but are fine for omelets or macaroons).  Whisk the egg yolks.

In a small dish, place cornstarch.
Slowly whisk in the 1/2 cup of milk, so that cornstarch is completely blended, then whisk in the egg yolks.

Set yolk mixture aside.

In a large saucepan, combine coconut milk, sugar and 1/4 cup milk.  Whisk smooth and bring to boil, stirring constantly.

As soon as this boils, reduce heat to simmer, and slowly stream in yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Don't stop stirring or let it boil, or the eggs will curdle.

Add salt.

Stir and cook about five more minutes, until thickened and an instant thermometer reads 180F.  Remove from heat, and add vanilla extract, stirring to blend.

Pour pudding into prepared pie shell.

Let pie sit on counter to cool for at least 1/2 hour.

Put filled pie in refrigerator until ready to serve - should chill for at least an hour, and can wait for up to a day.

Preparing Topping:
In stand mixer, combine whipping cream and confectioner's sugar, and whip until soft peaks form.

Top pie with whipped cream, and sprinkle reserved toasted coconut over the top as desired.












Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Party in Your PJs #154

5 comments:
Happy Tuesday!

Welcome to the Party in Your PJs Link Party, where your posts will be seen on four different blogs each week.   In addition to Kim from The Cookie Puzzle, you'll also find Party in Your PJs every Tuesday evening at Grandma IdeasWood of Bell Trees and... here!

You'll also find the Awesome Life Friday link-up here at RCHReviews, every Thursday evening at 8pm ET so we hope to see you there as well.


Are you ready to party? I can't wait to see what you've brought to share!



Kim ~ The Cookie Puzzle | Facebook | Pinterest 
Nina ~ Grandma Ideas | Pinterest | Twitter
Lynda ~ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos | Facebook | Pinterest
Heather ~ Woods of Bell Trees | Facebook | Instagram

 Meet the Co-Hosts

Kim @ The Cookie Puzzle 

Kim is a small town girl who love simple things. Simple cookies, simple crafts and simple people. She is a wife, mother to one son and two adorable fur babies. Slightly addicted to reality TV and sitcoms, but she loves curling up with a good book or a good walk while listening to podcasts. You can find her at The Cookie Puzzle, where she shares her love for cookies and crafting. 

Nina @ Grandma Ideas 

How is this: Nina is wildly in love with her grandchildren. She delights in doing activities with them that strengthen their relationship –- playing games, doing crafts, snuggling, reading stories to them, and cooking together. She enjoys reading, technology, and traveling. (Tahiti is her most favorite place on earth!)

Lynda @ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos 

Lynda lives outside DC with her husband Michael and elderly beagle, Sadie. She and her daughter Jackie started RCHReviews as a way to spend time together in spite of living across country, and along the way they've added several friends as regular contributors. Between them all, they bring together many different perspectives and lifestyles with one common philosophy - try new things, have fun, and remember you are awesome!

 Heather @ Wood of Bell Trees

Heather is a wife of a peanut butter fanatic and mom of one silly human and one furry canine, wrangling life on 2nd shift and glitterizing everything as she goes!






The rules for the group board include:
1. Limit of one pin a day.
2. Just like the party anything goes, but clear wonderful pictures with great descriptions are most successful.
3. Please no Spam ( Spammers will be deleted without warning)
4.  If you pin to the Pinterest Board, please link to the Party in Your PJs Party also, the party runs from 7 pm Tuesdays-Midnight Saturday (Central Time)
5.  Finally have fun and share this group board  with blog friends and followers!  The more success the group board is the more success you will see from your pins.

Want to be added to the group board?  Follow our Party in Your PJs board and email Kim at thecookiepuzzle@gmail.com

Features from Last Weeks Party!




I am such a sucker for handpies and this recipe, full of beef, potatoes and other veggies sounds delicious! 




How pretty would these be on a Spring brunch table?




I will certainly be keeping this technique in mind the next time I'm grazing secondhand stores.




I absolutely love this look and can't wait to try out  this technique.



 Make sure you head over to the other member of Party in Your PJs
 to see their features - we each pick our own!




All links are pinned to a Party Board...you can follow the board on Pinterest...feel free to follow the board, there is lots of inspiratioPn to be found there.

Ok...let's party!

Rules -Link to post, not your home page
-Link to something YOU made, wrote or thought
-No Etsy or Business Pages
-Link Parties, Roundups and Giveaways welcome
- Don't Link and Run! Please visit other links, make friends, learn something new, leave a comment.




Monday, April 17, 2017

The American Diner Cookbook: Pork Tenderloin #foodiesread

8 comments:

About a month ago, I'd stopped into our local library to pick up a few books - for as long as I can remember (well back into childhood), I always grazed the craft section and the cooking section no matter what else I was currently in the mood for.

This time, I picked up a book called The American Diner Cookbook, by Elizabeth McKeon and Linda Everett. As I was leafing through it that afternoon, I realized I'd checked it out previously, and likely more than once.  Clearly - in spite of an ongoing promise to myself to not add to my bookshelves until I'd culled it some more - this book wanted a place in my personal library.  An earlier edition of the same book was called Blue Plate Special, which may have had something to do with my not recognizing it at first.

Now, diners are definitely making a comeback - both renovated older diners, and new local (and chain) restaurants with an updated, often more sophisticated diner vibe to them, and there are several cookbooks out there that reflect a 21st century take on these early and mid 20th century icons.

The American Diner Cookbook isn't attempting to update the classic recipes of that mostly bygone era.  Instead, it is sharing recipes that many of us remember from road-trips with our parents, as well as the downhome food our mothers, grandparents and neighbors made week after week.

Interspersed with the 450 recipes for classic diner foods, from all-day breakfast favorites and grill counter sandwiches and sides, to Blue Plate Special meals and desserts, along with several fountain drink specialties (remember the Purple Cow?) are a couple dozen short nostalgic essays on several diners (mostly limited to those on the East Coast, sadly) .

The recipes are simple, familiar, and not at all fussy, but most of them do use real-food methods rather than processed convenience foods.

Many of them also reflect a much simpler relationship with spices than we tend to enjoy today, and for that reason I find myself regarding the recipes mainly as reminders of foods I used to enjoy regularly and inspirations for making my own, rather than instructions to follow meticulously.

I have been doing a lot of 'retro cooking' over the last couple of weeks, all inspired by The American Diner Cookbook, and none of it anything new for me, even if I have forgotten to keep them in our meal rotation.  None of them followed the recipes exactly - but when I am ready  to make some homemade jelly donuts or anything else I've never tried at home, this will be my starting point.

Shortly after I purchased the book, I was having a day where I had a pork tenderloin that needed to be cooked and no particular plans for it, so I decided to 'test run' the book by following their recipe (almost!).

The only change I made to the printed recipe was switching the called-for brown sugar for maple syrup to avoid having to run to the store.

The result is pork that is on the sweet side that takes very little work  - toss it into the oven and forget about it while you go do other things.

I did like the flavor of the maple syrup, but it did make for a more liquid glaze for the pork, which settled in the bottom of the pan - to keep it as a paste that will stay on the pork, I'd use brown sugar or a combination of the  two, next time.

American Diner Pork Tenderloin
(adapted from The American Diner Cookbook)
serves 4-6

2 lb pork tenderloin
Whole cloves
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (or 1/3 cup maple syrup - NOT pancake syrup)
2 Tblsp. brown mustard
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a skillet, place pork tenderloins and add enough water to mostly cover. With a knife, cut slits at regular intervals on the top of the tenderloin, about an inch apart. Insert whole cloves into the slits.

Cover and simmer on med-low heat for 45 minutes.

Transfer tenderloins into a shallow baking dish - because this will be sugary, I suggest using aluminum foil to prevent carbonized stuck on bits at the end.

In a dish, combine brown sugar (or maple syrup) and mustard. Ideally, this should be the consistancy of a paste so that it will cling to the pork while baking.  Season the pork, and spread the mustard mixture over the top of the tenderloin.

Pour a half cup of water into the pan and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.



I served ours with a mixed rice blend, sauteed cinnamon apples, and roasted asparagus, and we had enough leftover pork, rice and asparagus to mixed together into a one-pan leftover 'hash' the next day.


by Elizabeth McKeon and Linda Everett
co. 1993, 2003, Cumberland House Publishing, Inc.

Shared with April 2017 Foodies Read and many other fine blog link up parties.



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Awesome Life Friday #108

5 comments:
Welcome to Awesome Life Friday!

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

Here's a bit of what we've been up to this week:


Low-Carb Mushroom Cap Pizzas


And now our favorite part - the FEATURES !  If you're one of our featured posts, we'd love it if you'd grab a button, and thanks to all of you who shared with us last week!



Tuna, Green Bean & Potato Salad // Moneywise Moms
This delicious, seasonal main dish salad looks just perfect for a warm weather meal.




Easter Mini Cheesecakes // Eclectic Red Barn
It's not too late to add these cute mini cheesecakes to your Easter dessert table.




Enjoy the Month You're In - April // Maggie Lois
A lovely list of ideas for getting the most out of this early spring month.




Trinity Pie // Marilyn's Treats
Apples, cranberries & walnuts, oh my!




Spring Market Basket Remake // Vintage Paint & More
I love the way the hydrangeas and plaid bow coordinate to make this cheery decorative basket.




A Little Lamb is Slowly Appearing // Hillview Embroidery
As a stitcher, I am in awe over all those French Knots. IN AWE, I say.




If you are one of our FEATURED bloggers, this button is for you!





Thank you all so much for sharing your awesomeness!


Are you all ready to party?  If you like, we'd love it you'd help spread the word by grabbing our button:





Here we go!