Lemons to spare

A few days ago our friends brought us gigantic lemons from their trees. Softball-sized lemons. So many lemons I couldn’t decide how to use them all. Tonight I managed to use three of them between dinner and dessert and we loved every bit of them.
For dinner I made chicken with capers and green beans. It was delicious and I have leftovers for one dinner maybe when Carver is out bowling. The perfect chicken cutlet, a dash of sauce and about a cup of green beans. Easy.
For dessert I decided a simple lemon cookie would be nice. I had never made lemon cookies before but I knew what I wanted. I wanted a sugar cookie that was not super buttery or sweet. I worked it by adding lemon zest, lemon juice, ricotta cheese, applesauce and whole wheat flour. Tomorrow I will share the what and the how of these little treats.
Carver urged me to bake up a few for QA. He is so thoughtful; didn’t want me to waste my time writing about them if they were no good. Nice try honey- I know you just wanted warm cookies before bed.
Anyways tomorrow we are trying out a newish lunch concept for the blog. It’s going to last the next four days. Then who knows maybe I will win him over with the ploughman’s lunch. A healthy take on it anyways.
Have a good night all. See you in the morning



I’m a cookies & muffins kinda girl

The kitchen and I had some quality time today. We’ve shared passing glances over the past few weeks, but not one on one time like today, and tomorrow if all goes as planned. It has been a busy few weeks and I haven’t planned early as much as normal. Some people prefer to live that way- for me it stresses me out. So the past couple days I have worked on a new plan- one that embraces our lives as they are now but still gives us some structure and fun. I have also managed to cross off some nagging projects recently. Going on that business trip seemed to throw me off more than I anticipated. Luckily I have a few weeks before my next trip so I can brainstorm.
I am sure you are curious what my first project back (so to speak) was. Well I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and zucchini walnut muffins. The zucchinis came from the farm where Carver and I took our engagement photos taken this past weekend. And the cookies are a result of a week long conversation about cookies.
Tomorrow I plan on making Chex mix, meatballs and tomato sauce and smoothies. Another day of kitchen therapy should get me on the right track. Here are photos of the cookies to hold you over until we get the recipes up.



homely lemon cupcakes

I LOVE LEMON. I am also a fan of simple subtle sweets. I have been reading up on cakes lately and decided to go to work and make a Frankenstein-like cake/dessert. I knew these would be delicious as I scooped the batter into the muffin tins. The fresh lemon smell and the thick decadent batter just screamed ‘I’m a winner’.. and they are. Fresh out of the oven these cupcakes (if being judged on looks alone) are rather homely and bordering on blah. Don’t let that fool you. We ate one of these 5 minutes after coming out of the oven with nothing but a cup of coffee. The lemon really brightens up the cake to make it seem light. If you wanted to make an even lighter version of this I would suggest switching to egg beaters and egg whites (1/2c egg beaters and 3 egg whites). Sticking with Greek yogurt and a few tablespoons of butter will keep the richness to the cake. I would also suggest using 1c whole wheat flour and 1c white flour (instead of 2 white).

This is a very good base cake recipe and would handle many different flavors. For example you could make these with cinnamon and a bit of nutmeg, or you could change out the type of citrus… The possibilities are endless.

Lemon Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease 12 large muffin tins (or 6 large and 18 small) with cooking spray. In a large bowl, blend 4T butter, 4oz applesauce, 1/4c powdered sugar and 1c white sugar until light and fluffy. One by one, add 3 eggs, beating well after each addition. Add 1t vanilla extract, and beat to blend. In a medium bowl, whisk together the 2c flour, 2t baking powder, 1/2t salt, and the juice and zest from one lemon. Add about 1/2 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and beat on low-speed to incorporate. Add 1/4c nonfat greek yogurt, and beat again. Add the remaining flour mixture, mix then add the remaining 1/4c yogurt and beat to just combine. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir to incorporate any flour not yet absorbed. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, spreading it evenly across the top. Bake for about 20 minutes (rotate 180 degrees halfway through), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes; then remove from the pan and continue to cool.Serve at room temperature. Or slightly warm, if you want. Large cupcakes = 6 Points Plus; small cupcakes = 2 Points Plus.

Dinner was super light juicy and delicious but I had to lead with the cupcakes… If you could taste/smell them you would understand.

Turkey Meatloaf (adapted from WW)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 1t vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 medium onion chopped, 2 medium jalapeno diced and 1T minced garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Cool. Combine onion mixture, 1/4c low-fat shredded cheese1/4c breadcrumbs1t ketchup1t italian seasoning (I used a bit of oregano, basil, garlic and onion powder and a dash of red pepper flakes), 1 egg1 1/4 lb lean ground turkeyS&P in a large bowl; toss to moisten and combine. Pack meat mixture into an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes. Combine 1⁄2 cup ketchup1T brown sugar and 2t mustard in a small bowl; stir well. Spread ketchup mixture over meat loaf and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Remove meat loaf from pan. Cut into 10 slices. Yield: 5 servings (serving size: 2 slices). Points Plus: 7.

I  served this with mashed potatoes (1:3 bliss : sweet) and roasted broccoli. I dusted the top of the dish with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese (1t or less).

I saw this muffin recipe in the WW weekly circular though it was originally intended for Bosc pears. They are very yummy, but I have a recipe for ‘Cake to Remember’ which is a family favorite. I think I prefer that recipe for sentimental reasons, and I believe the Points Plus values are similar. I will share that recipe soon.

Glazed Apple Muffins

Preheat oven to 375ºF and coat a 12-hole muffin tin with cooking spray (or muffin liners). Core and chop 2 Granny Smith apples into tiny cubes; place in a large bowl. Add 1/2t cinnamon, 1/3c granulated sugar and 1t lemon juice to apples; gently stir and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2c Greek nonfat yogurt, 1 egg, 1t vanilla extract and 1/3c nonfat milk; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together 2c flour, 1t baking powder, 1/2t baking soda and 1/2t salt. Make a well with a spoon in center of flour mixture and pour in liquid mixture and apple mixture, alternating in small batches; mix until barely blended. Do not over beat. (NOTE: Batter will be very thick.) Drop batter into prepared muffin holes until about 2/3 to 3/4 full; bake until tops are golden, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes in muffin pan; remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. (Or leave slightly warm to dip into glaze for easier preparation.) While muffins are cooling, make glaze: Mix together 1/2c powdered sugar, 1/4t ginger, 1/4t vanilla and 1T warm water in a small bowl (add another teaspoon of water if glaze is too thick). Spread a thin layer of glaze over each muffin. Yields 1 muffin per serving. Points Plus: 4