Mother’s Day Best Recipes: Make Together Ideas!

Mother’s Day Best Recipes: Make Together Ideas!

It’s Mother’s Day, and I have just the (fool-proof!) plan for your at-home celebrations. These dishes don’t skimp on thoughtful details but are quick and easy to prepare with all of the kiddos!

No matter what they call you (or how many times they shout your name), when they call for mom, they are calling out of need.

“Mom, where’s this…”
“Mom, can you believe she did that?”
“Mom, tell him to stop touching me!!!”
“Mom, I can’t find……………..”

Well, on this one Sunday in May, we Moms don’t need to have all of the answers.

In fact, it may be the only day of the year when you can reply, “Ask your father,” without ending your marriage in the process.

Let me help get your Mother’s Day morning (or noon or Saturday before!) inspired with a few of my favorite recipes that are easy enough to prepare, absolutely perfect to share, and will definitely show your care.

Ask your family to whip these up or make it a group activity!

When Life Gives You Lemons….. Make Lemon Curd!

When life gives you lemons…..Make lemon curd! You can spread lemon curd on your English muffin, swirl it in the center of a pound cake, whip it into a mousse, transform it into ice cream or make lemon curd parfaits for a light, airy, and bright spring dessert.

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Breakfast Skillet with Glazed Eggs

Here’s my make-it-at-home version of breakfast pizza that’s easily prepared, and tastes just like the one from the market. It’s just a little slice of breakfast heaven!

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Camp Greystone Famous Opening-Day Scones

This is the recipe for the famous Camp Greystone opening day scones. The campers are greeted with these on the first day of camp. The parents are given some to take on the trip home and then hustled out the door. It’s a camp tradition that has met with success for generations, and one I am always excited to recreate with my granddaughter.

 

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Chilled Strawberry Soup for Hot Days

Say, “Hello” to DOUGHNUT Muffins! Get everyone into the act when making these delicious treats. My grandson Sammy LOVES donuts and has got in on the fun: Little ones can brush the warm butter and sprinkle the toppings and the older kids can stir the ingredients together and wash up the bowls! 

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What to Feed Your April Fool? How About Dinner for Breakfast?

There are so many savory breakfast classics, but this one is something special.  In Spain, it’s just a tapa, but in my house, it can be breakfast, brunch, and even dinner! Try this potato torte and pair it with sangria for an authentic experience. 😉

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A Trick for Your Treats: Pumpkin Spiced Melt-a-Ways

A Trick for Your Treats: Pumpkin Spiced Melt-a-Ways

Whether you’re socially distanced, staying at home, or just driving around the neighborhood, make the best of this Halloween weekend. And enjoy the treats of the seasons!

Click to skip to the recipe

 

If you are choosing a Halloween costume and moving on from your sweats and pj’s you may have turned a corner during this crazy 2020. Bawdy parades and close-quarter parties of the past may not be in vogue this year, but, hey masks are all the rage… right.

I’ve seen all sorts of socially distanced candy transfers and in-car Halloween parade plans. Some neighborhoods are allowing door-to-door tricking while others are suggesting at-home treats. 

I for one, feel the young moms out there need some sort of normalcy in the first holiday of this upcoming season. I hope you get it.

Whether you’re socially distanced, staying at home, or just driving around the neighborhood, I do have an easy, delicious treat for you and the kiddos

These simple cookies are easy to make, FUN to decorate, and easily packable for handing out. 

I use my favorite sources for these cookies. Fancy Sprinkles for the colors of the season and The Spice and Tea Exchange for flavored sugars

Make the best of this Halloween weekend. And enjoy the treats of the seasons!

 

Pumpkin Spiced Melt-a-Ways

These cookies are so much fun to make that you will want to make them for any and all occasions. Just vary the spices in the dough, the flavor of the sugar and the color of the sprinkles to make them your holiday go-to!

Ingredients

4 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups cornstarch

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cloves

3 pounds unsalted butter, at room temperature (that’s a whopping 12 sticks!)

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

Sanding sugar (I used Apple Pie Spiced)

Fancy Halloween Sprinkles

Makes: 4 dozen 3-inch cookies

Time:   30-Minute Cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Preheat the oven to 300°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a 2-inch ice cream scoop to portion out balls of dough. Place the balls onto the parchment paper about 3-inches apart. Use the tines of a fork to flatten the balls into circles. Sprinkle each cookie first with sugar and then with sprinkles. 

Bake until the cookies are firm to the touch and just beginning to turn golden on the bottom about 20 to 25 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Camp Nana: Famous Camp Greystone Scones Recipe

Camp Nana: Famous Camp Greystone Scones Recipe

Summer camp canceled? Enter CAMP NANA! Create a memorable experience for your troop, starting with these scones. Click to skip to the recipe

Camp Greystone Famous Opening-Day Scones

 

There are so many tragedies of COVID 19, serious and heart-breaking tragedies. 

The helplessness of what we can and cannot do to protect ourselves and the ones we love is a full occupation. 

In our hearts, I know we’re all struggling to come up with ideas that make things just a little bit better for those around us. 

My “Nana” moment came when my granddaughter was informed that her beloved camp, Camp Greystone tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains, announced that they would be closed this summer.

She and all her fellow campers (and their parents) were devastated.  

In so many ways, summer camps are a rite of passage; The child leaves her family nest and flies to what will become her flock of friends, counselors, and influencers. Growing through this process allows the girls to make independent choices in activities, faith and meditation, what they wish to eat, and most especially the selection of summer friends who are destined to be friends throughout their lives.

Out of this disappointment, Camp Nana was born! 

Just a few of her closest friends were invited to our camp. Our activities included hiking, a ropes course, a thoroughly harrowing tubing trip down a river in a lightning storm (email me for details on that one!), and a fully active haunted house. 

The crafts were candle making, bath bombs creating, jewelry designing, making fresh pasta, and learning to grill pizza. 

After all….It was MY camp! It was an action-packed adventure.

In trying to fit the traditions of Camp Greystone into Nana Camp, I replicated their recipe for Opening Day Scones and offered them to the campers upon their arrival. 

These simple biscuits are light and airy and can be filled with either chocolate chips, berries, or oats.

They are delish and I kept them coming all through camp. 

Perhaps inviting teens for a camp adventure is not on your agenda this summer. 

But, if you dig deep and put on your thinking cap, perhaps you can come up with something special to do for a friend or family member that needs a smile. 

Can you?

Camp Nana 2020

Camp Nana: Famous Camp Greystone Scones Recipe

This is the recipe for the famous Camp Greystone opening day scones. The campers are greeted with these on the first day of camp. The parents are given some to take on the trip home and then hustled out the door. It’s a camp tradition that has met with success for generations.

 

 

Camp Greystone Famous Opening-Day Scones

Ingredients

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon baking powder

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup sour cream

½ cups mini chocolate chips

Yields:  Makes about a dozen 3-inch round scones

Time:   20-minute cuisine (10)

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into a bowl. Stir in the cream and sour cream until the dough just comes together. It will be a sticky mess!

Transfer the dough to your floured work surface. Press the dough into a 2-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the chocolate chips onto the dough. Fold the dough over the chips to combine. Press the dough out to a 1-inch rectangle. Use a three-inch round biscuit cutter to form the scones. Transfer these to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. 

Bake the scones until they are just beginning to turn golden on the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Put the Lime in the Coconut: Lazy Summer Biscotti

Put the Lime in the Coconut: Lazy Summer Biscotti

Take a tried and true biscotti recipe and switch things around to create a tantalizing summer treat, perfect for lazy Summer days that call for lemonade and lounging.  Click to skip to the recipe

Lime Coconut Biscotti

 

Do you remember that song by Harry Nilsson?

 

“Brother bought a coconut, he bought it for a dime

His sister had another one she paid it for the lime

She put the lime in the coconut, she drank ‘em bot’ up….”

 

Well, in these lazy days of summer, that song started whirling around in my head and hello….. a cookie was born. Now, you might think this a bit strange, but if you’ve been around me long enough, you’ll know that strange is the inspiration for much of my food!

I love biscotti as a mid-afternoon snack. I make myself a latte and dip the cookie right in the cup. But, on a warm summer day, sometimes a latte can be a bit much. So, I settle for an ice coffee or lemonade.

These drinks do not lend themselves to appropriate dipping.

So, I decided to summer-up my traditional biscotti.

I added a bit of cornmeal to the flour to give it an earthier flavor. Fresh lime juice, zest, and thyme bring in the Italian flavors that I associate with summer.

And then….Well, coconut is so tropical that I just had to throw some into the mix. Toasted pine nuts complement all the other flavors while adding richness and voila…a crisp, fully-flavored biscotti was born.

This is just another example of how you can take a tried and true recipe and switch things around to fit your mood. Give these biscotti a try and let’s see what you think.

“Put the lime in the coconut and call me in the morning…. woo….”

Lime Coconut Biscotti

These biscuit-like cookies are crisp, crunchy, and full of Italian flavors. They are the perfect afternoon snack with a glass of chilled lemonade or even better…. how about as a late-night snack with a flute of limoncello!

Ingredients

For cookies:

3 ounces pine nuts, about ½ cup

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Zest of 2 limes, about 2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup cornmeal

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, 1 stick

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Juice of 2 limes, about 3 tablespoons, divided


For glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla

Yields:   3 dozen biscuit cookies

Time:   60-minute cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Toast the pine nuts in a shallow skillet over medium heat until just golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Keep your eye on the pine nuts as once they are fragrant, they go from perfect to burnt in a nanosecond.

Place the granulated sugar, coconut flakes, lime zest, and thyme into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

Use an electric mixer to combine the butter with the flavored sugar. Mix in the eggs, vanilla, and two tablespoons of the lime juice. Stir in the flour. Add the pine nuts. Divide the dough into two halves, cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Form each portion of dough into a log about 3-inches wide and 10 to 12-inches long. Place these onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until the logs are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the dough from the oven and cool for at least 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°. When cooled, use a serrated knife to cut each log into ½-inch slices and lay cut-side-up on the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet back into the oven and bake until the cookies are dry and just crisp, about another 30 minutes.

Whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, half-and-half, and vanilla until smooth. When the cookies have cooled, drizzle each one with the glaze.

One Potato, Two Potatoes, Three Potatoes…More!

One Potato, Two Potatoes, Three Potatoes…More!

The other day, I was rummaging around in my fridge and discovered a treasure trove of leftover potatoes! Multitask those spuds with two different recipes sure to hit the spot. Click to skip to the recipe

I love potatoes. 

I think this devotion stems from early breakfasts shared with my Dad. 

To quell my then rebellious teenage persona, Dad would spend quality time with me on the weekends.

He traveled for his business during the week but was always home on the weekends. Saturday morning was our time.

We woke early (thus my lifelong habit) and drove to his office where he would catch up on paperwork and I would help him run job cost numbers.

First things first, we stopped for breakfast on the way. Many times, it was just to gather a box of donuts to share with the others in the office. 

But SOMETIMES we would splurge and stop at the local Denny’s restaurant. 

We would sit, sip really good coffee and Dad would order either a Denny’s Grand Slam or Denny’s Skillet breakfast. The grand slam loaded pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, and fried potatoes onto one large plate. The skillet was just that, a cast-iron skillet loaded with potato and meat hash and topped with a couple of eggs – your way. 

It’s been almost 20 years since my Dad went to heaven and my fondest memories still include the joy on his face as he tore into that meal.

The other day, when I was rummaging around in my fridge, I was delighted to find a treasure trove of leftover potatoes! I had leftover twice-baked from last Sunday’s potluck supper and a baked potato because hubby and I decided to split one instead of consuming a whole.

And, I even had a mound of left-over smashed parmesan potatoes from Monday night’s meatloaf dinner. Eureka!

It’s one of the good cook’s miracles that leftover potatoes will last a long time in the fridge, giving you an opportunity for a second dish with just a little effort. 

So, with a nod to my Dad, and a love of leftovers, I have two dishes for you this week.

The first is a breakfast skillet made from the baked potato and enhanced with beef, bacon, peppers and onions and topped with a glazed egg.

This is a hearty breakfast that is super served after an early morning hike or when combining breakfast and lunch into one leisurely brunch meal.

The second dish was FUN. I used the inside of the twice-baked potato with the mound of mashed and made a potato croquette that was perfectly (and simply) fried crisp on the outside with a soft, almost gooey center.

Yumm oh yumm!

 

Breakfast Skillet With Glazed Eggs

Breakfast Skillet with Glazed Eggs

Ingredients

A perfect use for leftover potatoes, feel free to add absolutely anything into your hash.

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 sliced bacon, diced

4 ounces beef (I used tenderloin, but you can substitute with ham, corned beef, or chicken, it’s your choice), about 1 cup

1 large baked potato, cooked and cut into ½-inch cubes, about 1 cup

1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch cubes, about 1 cup

1 white onion, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes, about 1 cup

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated, about ½ cup

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

For eggs:

1 tablespoon butter

4 large eggs

Servings:

Time:

2

30-Minute Cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Drizzle the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and beef. Cook until the bacon begins to crisp. Remove the bacon and beef from the skillet. Add the potato, pepper, and onions to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook until the onions and peppers are soft, and the potato begins to brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the bacon and beef back onto the skillet and toss. Scatter the cheese on top of the hash. Cover the skillet and cook to melt the cheese. Toss the fresh dill over the top.

Place the butter into a separate skillet (with lid) over medium heat. When the butter is melted, crack the eggs into the pan. Fill an empty eggshell half with water and pour this into the pan. The water will bubble up. Cover the pan with a lid. Lower the heat to medium-low. Coo the eggs until the yolks are just set, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Scoop out the hash onto a plate. Top the hash with eggs. Garnish with dill sprigs.

Mashed Potato Croquettes

Ingredients

Starting out with seasoned left-over mashed potatoes makes this an easy recipe to prepare. However, if you like to start from scratch, just bake a couple of potatoes and scoop out the flesh. You can season with salt and pepper and even add some sour cream or cheddar cheese. It’s all good!

4 cups left over mashed potatoes

1 large egg yolk, plus 1 whole egg

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons milk

2 to 3 green onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs

Canola (or vegetable) oil for frying

Yield:

Time:

1 Dozen 3-inch croquettes

30-Minute Cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Place the mashed potatoes into a bowl. Stir in the egg yolk (reserve the white part), and green onions. Place the bowl into the fridge for a couple of minutes while you assemble the breading station.

Place the whole egg and the egg white into a shallow bowl. Beat with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water until combined. Place the seasoned breadcrumbs into another shallow bowl. 

Remove the potatoes from the fridge. Use an ice cream scoop to form round potato balls that you dip into the egg wash and then the breadcrumbs. Transfer each ball to a parchment lined sheet pan or platter. When all the croquettes are formed, place them back into the fridge for 15 minutes. 

Heat oil in a fryer or deep pot to 375°. Fry the croquettes in the oil a couple at a time until deeply golden. Transfer to a paper-towel lined platter. When all of the croquettes are fried garnish with a touch of sea salt and fresh herbs.

Make Ahead Tip:

You can make these ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Bring them to room temperature before you fry.

The BEST Lemon Cake Recipe and Berries, Cherries, and Pies (Oh My!)

The BEST Lemon Cake Recipe and Berries, Cherries, and Pies (Oh My!)

Spring means berries and cherries and all the delicious baking that goes with it! Even if you can’t go to the farm, let the farm come to you by way of your local grocer and get ready to cherry and berry. Click to skip to the recipe

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

 

When I think of Spring, I think about berry pickin’. When I was little, my grandparents had a huge garden. (They also raised pigs and chickens… but that’s another story.) In the garden we picked ripe strawberries from vines for Gram when asked.

We usually ate more than we turned over for Gram’s famous berry pies as was evidenced by our stained (and somewhat guilty) smiles.

At the end of Gram and Gramp’s long, dirt drive was a hedge of berry bushes. I think they were huckleberries, but they could have been blackberries. I remember my brother and sister and I would pick the berries and thread them onto long straws and then eat them like an ear of corn. Yumm! Many of these didn’t make it to the pies, either.

Luckily, Gram had nine grandchildren, and even given our full bellies, pies were baked!

Today, I love to take my grandkids to a strawberry patch at this time of year, but, in this climate of social distancing, the patches are devoid of pickers, yet abundant in berries. I recently bought a box of over-sized deeply red, ripe, strawberries from my grocery store. The handwritten sign told me that they came from a local farm, not but five miles away.

Which leads me to my berry recipes! The first is not a recipe. It’s a “just a little extra’ to your everyday standard.

I’m talking about blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup.

Blueberry Pancakes with Berry Sauce

easy blueberry pancakes with blueberry sauce

I add a dash of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon to my standard boxed pancake batter. Then I substitute melted butter for vegetable oil. This creates rich batter for your cakes.

I reserve about twenty blueberries from a pint. The rest I place into a deep saucepan. Pour maple syrup over the berries and simmer on low until the berries break down. Be careful, the berry syrup can bubble up if you’re not watching. Turn off the heat so that the syrup cools down a bit.

Make the pancakes as you normally would, but place a few of the reserved berries onto each one before you flip it over. Stack the blueberry pancakes on a plate. Top with a dollop of butter and ladle warm berry syrup over the top. The cakes absorb the berrieness from inside and out! It’s a treat.

As you might imagine, I can find myself with a bunch of leftover berries. These, I freeze and use to make smoothies and sauces. My lemon cake is the perfect foil for an easy berry sauce.

Glazed Lemon Cake With Very Berry Sauce

Serves:

Time:

A crowd

30-Minute Cuisine, Plus 1 Hour Baking

Ingredients

This lemony cake with berry sauce is just puckerable enough to make it into the lip smackin’ category.

For cake:

1 ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup butter, 1 ½ sticks, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

¼ cup sour cream

Zest from 2 lemons, about 2 tablespoons

Juice from 2 lemons, about ¼ cup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Juice from 1 lemon, about 2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon cream

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For berries:

4 cups assorted berries (I used frozen left-over berries)

½ cup granulated sugar

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly coat a 9” x 5” loaf pan with vegetable oil spray. Fit a piece of parchment paper into the pan with some of the sheets overlapping so that you can use the paper to remove the cake after baking. Then spray the paper.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Use an electric mixer to combine the butter and 1 cup sugar until creamy and smooth. Stir in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the lemon zest and juice from 2 lemons, sour cream, and vanilla. Add the flour about ½ cup at a time, until the batter is just mixed together. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 to 60 minutes. Cool the pan on the rack for 30 minutes, then transfer the cake from the pan to the rack to cool completely.

While the cake cools, stir together the confectioners’ sugar, juice from 1 lemon, cream, and vanilla. The glaze will be thick, but pourable. Place the cake onto your serving platter. Pour the glaze over top.

Place the berries and ½ cup sugar into a deep saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat. Cook the berries until they break down and are soft and mushy. Cool to room temperature. Place a colander into a larger bowl. Push the berries through the colander, using the potato masher. You want most of the pulp and seeds to stay in the colander. Transfer what’s left in the bowl to a small pitcher.

Drizzle the sauce onto a plate. Top with a slice of cake and a few extra berries for garnish.

Best Cherry Tart Recipe

I have a thing with cherries. I love cherry pie, cherry jam, cherry chutney. Just eating freshly pitted cherries with grandson, Ben, is a blast. He loves the pitting!

On the flip side, I deeply dislike canned cherry pie filling; Don’t get me started!

So, I came up with a way to satisfy my cherry pie craving, using fresh cherries and time-saving refrigerated puff pastry dough. It’s easy and delish!

Serves:

Time:

Makes about 20 palm-sized tarts

30-Minute Cuisine

Ingredients

These little tarts are best warm from the oven. You can make them and freeze them and bake them off when you’re ready for a treat!

For cherry filling:

2 pints fresh cherries, pitted about 3 cups

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

Zest from 1 lemon, about 1 tablespoon

Juice from 2 lemons, about ¼ cup

For pies:

1 (13.5-ounce) refrigerated package puff pastry dough

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon coarse sugar (I used raspberry flavored coarse sugar)

Mini Cherry Tarts

Place the cherries into a deep saucepan. Add the sugar and splash in about 2 tablespoons of water. Heat the cherries over medium heat until they begin to breakdown and the sugar dissolves, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Stir together the cornstarch, lemon zest and juice until smooth and pour into the pot. Continue simmering until the cherries begin to bubble up the sides of the pan. Use a potato masher to mush together the cherries in the syrupy sauce. Continue simmering until the mixture resembles fruit jam. Remove the pot from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Place the dough onto your floured board or work surface. Roll out the dough to a rectangle about 15” x 18” and about 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the dough into four equal strips, horizontally and 5 equal pieces, vertically. You will end up with about 20 squares.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Place a colander into a larger bowl. Pour the cherries through the colander, using the potato masher to squeeze out as much of the juice as possible. Place a tablespoon of cherry filling on each square of dough. Fold the dough over and seal with the tines of a fork. I folded mine into triangles, but rectangles or squares are fine too! Place each tart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each tart with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake until the tarts are puffed and golden, about 15 to 18 minutes.