Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Scones

Have you ever made homemade scones? Normally they require you to roll the dough and and then cut it into triangles before baking. However, my friend recently introduced me to a great kitchen item that makes the finished scones look even more uniform and luscious. It is called a scone pan and it is made by Nordic Ware. I have another baking pan from Nordic Ware and I love how the items I make in it turn out, so I was confident that this pan would also produce great baked goods. My friend and I have been having fun experimenting with various scone recipes and our families are benefiting by getting to try all of the yummy creations. Today I am going to share one recipe that I recently made, and will share some of the other ones in future posts.
This time I made 2 separate batches. In one I put the craisins and white chocolate chips, and in the second one I only added the white chocolate chips. The craisins I used were the blueberry flavored ones and they were amazing! You can have fun customizing yours however you'd like.

Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Scones

1/3 cup low fat buttermilk
1 large egg                                                      
3 cups flour                                                   
4 tsp baking powder                                                        
1/2 tsp baking soda                             
1/4 tsp salt
8 Tbsp cold butter
3/4 cup craisins (I used blueberry flavored craisins and they were wonderful)
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease pan if you are using a scone pan or grease a cookie sheet. Beat the egg with the buttermilk and set aside. Soak the craisins in 3/4 cup of water and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slice the butter into small cubes and add to the bowl and then use  a pastry cutter or two butter knives to combine all of the ingredients until it resembles coarse meal. Drain the craisins and blot dry with a paper towel. Gently fold the craisins and white chocolate chips into the mixture, and then add the sugar. Stir in the buttermilk and egg mixture with a fork until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead only until it is all combined. Be careful not to knead the dough too much. At this point roll the dough into a round shape and cut into eight pieces if you are not using a scone pan, and place the pieces onto the prepared cookie sheet. If you are using the scone pan, separate the dough into eight equal sections and press into each cavity of the pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until medium brown in color. Let cool for 20 minutes in the pan. Remove from the pan and cool completely. These make a great breakfast treat or a special snack and are a great accompanied by a warm cup of tea or coffee.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

The $50 Home Makeover by Shaunna West

The weather has finally been a little warmer around here, and that, in combination with the longer days, makes me want to work on some new projects. However, despite the slightly higher temperatures, the ground is still snow covered and is limiting me to things  that can be done indoors. So, this morning I searched  my bookshelf for some inspiration, and decided to share what I read with you. It is called The $50 Home Makeover by Shaunna West. Shaunna is the author of the DIY blog Perfectly Imperfect, and has now branched out and written a book full of creative ideas. Shaunna teamed up with some other home design bloggers to compile a book which consists of 75 quick projects that can be completed with $50 or less. Through her down to earth style of writing, she encourages you to start small and to remember that while creating is a process, it is not a process of perfection.The projects all include full-color photographs and are divided into four categories: Before and After, Semi-Handmade, Upcycling, and Simple DIY. Each project is also labeled with a key that indicates the cost, difficulty, and approximate time needed to complete the venture.Whether you are in the mood to paint a basket or some furniture, stencil a pillowcase, or construct a wreath or garland, there is bound to be something that you will want to create once you finish paging through this book. Shaunna encourages you to look around for ways to "transform your current space into your dream place" and to do it all without breaking the bank

Monday, March 2, 2015

Comforting Chicken Pot Pie

  The cold,snowy, and icy weather continues in northwestern New Jersey. Although daylight savings time and spring are just around the corner, the frigid temperatures can make it difficult to believe that warmer weather and longer, brighter days are on the horizon. 
.This wintery season is the perfect time to offer a dinner that consists of a satisfying comfort food to your family. This tasty meal is bound to warm their stomachs as well their hearts, and they might not even mind the continued blustery forecast that is being predicted for the coming week.

Comforting Chicken Pot Pie

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes        
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup white all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp celery seed
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 9 inch unbaked pie crusts

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
In a saucepan combine the chicken, peas, carrots, corn and celery. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the ingredients and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain and set aside

In a saucepan cook the onion in the butter until it is soft and translucent. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed.. Slowly add the chicken broth and milk while continually stirring the mixture. Simmer over medium- low heat as you continue to stir the mixture Until it thickens. remove from the heat and set aside.

Place 1 of the pie crusts in a 9 inch pie plate and spoon the chicken and vegetable mixture into it. Pour the gravy mixture over it and then cover with the remaining crust.
 Seal the edges of the pie crust and cut some slits in the top pie crust to allow steam to escape.

Place the pie pan on a baking sheet to catch any juices that may overflow, and bake it for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
  Allow the pie to sit for 10 minutes before serving.