Craisin peach crumble bars

Ohhhhh my moly.

If I were the demanding type I’d demand that you make these immediately. I’m not, of course so I’ll just strongly suggest it.

The peaches are so good this year and I bought more than I’ll ever be able to eat, so I wanted to some up with something to do with them. This is based on the apple crisp recipe, but with more of the crumble part so that you end up with a crust. It is OH so good.

Craisin peach crumble bars

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-to-large peaches, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Craisins
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and chop the peaches, then put them in a saucepan with the Craisins, cornstarch and sugar. Bring it all up to a nice bubble and let it cook till it thickens, then set aside
  2. Cream butter and sugar, then mix in remaining ingredients — it will look coarse like a crumble topping
  3. Take two cups of crumble mix and press into a greased 8×8 dish and bake till it’s lightly browned, around 10-12 minutes, then spread fruit mixture over crust. Sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture over the top and bake till that’s lightly browned, about another 15-18 minutes or so

Fast and good! How can you beat that?

Cornstarch: your friend in the garden

Just like last year, I planted a bunch o’ tomatoes in the garden in the back yard. Unlike last year, my tomatoes this year came under attack (ATTACK I say!) by bugs. First it was worms (tomato worms? Hornworms? I don’t know. Icky worms). Then came the stinkbugs. All my tomatoes were being eaten and rotting before they even started to ripen and I hadn’t gotten a single tomato for me to eat.

I wanted to evict the bugs, for sure, but I didn’t want to do it with a bunch of chemicals — sort of defeats a large part of the purpose of growing them in the back yard, you know?

Enter: cornstarch. Seriously! Now my garden looks like this:

I use a powdered sugar shaker full of cornstarch to cover the leaves, the tomatoes, and the ground around them. The plants look ridiculous, sure, but guess what? The tomatoes are MINE again!

I’m not sure exactly why this works, honestly — I don’t know if it kills off the bugs or if it just keeps them away; as long as I’m the only one eating the tomatoes, I’m good. It even deters Vinny the squirrel a bit which is an unexpected bonus. A quick wash in the kitchen sink removes all the cornstarch and I’m good to go. Tomato sandwiches for everyone! :)

Biscuits and gravy

Wondering what to do with all those biscuits?

Wondering how to add a few calories to your breakfast?

Allow me.

These are really super easy to make (along with, uh, everything else I ever blog) and are such comfort food for breakfast!

Biscuits and gravy

Ingredients

  • 1 pound breakfast sausage
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 can evaporated milk or about a cup and a half of milk (I guarantee nothing with skim milk; I’m a whole milk kinda girl)

Instructions

  1. Brown up the sausage till it’s crumbly and completely cooked — no pink! — then evaluate your sausage grease situation. I put all the sausage on a paper-towel lined plate so I can see what I’m working with. You want to end up with about three tablespoons of grease left in there; drain off anything in excess of that
  2. Turn the burner to medium or so and sprinkle in three tablespoons of flour; whisking to combine. Pretty soon your mixture will look super thick and you’ll want to sock me one because this can’t possibly be right, but it is! Stay with me
  3. Now pour in your milk and keep whisking! Remember that flour doesn’t hit full thickening power till it’s bubbling (unlike cornstarch), so don’t give up; in just a couple minutes you’ll have gravy
  4. Now add back in the sausage and serve over your hot biscuits

This dish may or may not cause a Yankee to propose do you. I’m just sayin’.

Mediterribbean punch

Some people come from money; I, on the other hand, come from funny (which is even better). My Uncle Steve named this drink. Don’t you love it?

The folks over at Pom Wonderful contacted me a while back and asked if they could send me some of their juice to try (for free, okay, FTC?). I was honestly a little hesitant because, um, I was pretty sure I was the last person who hadn’t tried pomegranate anything yet and I wasn’t sure what to expect. A lot of people love the stuff, however, so I gave it a shot.

For my first attempt I thought I’d try pomegranate molasses.

Fail, party of one. Not having a clue what I was doing following a specific recipe, I cooked the mixture too long and ended up with a giant Le Creuset-shaped lollipop. Oops.

Not wanting to wash that pan again repeat my mistake, I thought I’d try something different. And, if y’all haven’t noticed, it’s a million degrees outside so a cool cocktail sounded like the thing for my next pomegranate attempt.

Success! It is yummy and tart and sweet and limey (is that a word?) and I’m loving it.

Mediterribbean punch

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. simple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • squeeze of lime

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients; serve over ice and enjoy!

This makes a sweet drink, so feel free to adjust the simple syrup as your little heart desires.

Biscuits

We’ve seriously never talked about how to make basic biscuits? This is mind boggling to me.

This is one of those recipes I make by throwing stuff into a bowl; I very rarely measure this at all, so I had to go back and make these again and actually pay attention. The sacrifice! I make pretty small batches of this because I make small biscuits and I make them pretty often, so there are always more on the way; the recipe is easily doubled.

Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. instant/bread machine yeast (you can certainly leave this out; I like the little extra rise and the flavor of it)
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, shortening, bacon drippings (seriously) or any combination thereof
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup milk or buttermilk (see instructions)

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, salt, baking powder and yeast in a bowl or in the work bowl of a food processor, then cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork, or pulse in the food processor till the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal
  2. Slowly add milk, gently stirring with a rubber spatula or your fingers; add just enough so that it turns into dough
  3. Turn onto a floured surface (I do it right on the counter lately); knead it four times, folding it back over itself as you go. FOUR! Then STOP, no matter how much fun it is. Overworked dough = unhappy biscuits
  4. Roll and cut out biscuits and bake at 400F till just starting to brown on top; I do these in a cast iron skillet, but any kind of dish or baking sheet with a little butter in the bottom works just fine

September, 2011 update: be sure to check out the lovely Fearless Homemaker’s version of these too — are those not the prettiest biscuits you’ve ever seen?

PB&J muffins

Hello, lovelies!

Not to get all Bob Ross-ey on you, but these are happy little muffins. It’s a Paula Deen recipe (that involves only 3 Tbsp. butter, I might add) and were apparently quite a hit at The Yankee’s office. Yay!

PB&J muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tsp. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup thick jam (not jelly!)
  • 1/3 cup honey roasted peanuts, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the food processor; add in all the peanut butter and pulse till it looks like coarse crumbs (think biscuit making); add in milk, egg, and melted butter and pulse till just combined
  3. Scoop half the batter into the muffin cups, then drop a teaspoon of jam on each; cover with the remaining batter and top with chopped peanuts if you’re using them
  4. Bake until muffins are light golden, about 15-20 minutes; cool on a wire rack (or eat immediately — these are SO GOOD still warm)

 

Paula says these will keep for 1-2 days, but they lasted about 1-2 hours in The Yankee’s office. So there you have it. :)