Happy Birthday Hubby!!!

It's my husband's birthday today. I used to always make such a big deal about my husband's birthdays...I would try and throw him parties and make a big old fuss. It used to make him really...well, irritated, I guess. He's not a big birthday guy. Is this just a guy thing?

I love if someone makes a big deal about my birthday. (Just sayin'...you know, in case anyone wants to oblige!)

As it turns out, old habits die hard. I love making a big deal about it anyway--it's my way. I am a big deal kinda gal. I want to celebrate his birth. So today we are having a little pool time at our farm and I invited some family and friends over. It's not the biggest deal in the world, but it's a celebration; it makes me happy.

Because it's my husband's birthday, I would like to take a moment to tell you about some of the things I love about him. Let's do this thang!

His sense of humor. My husband is a funny guy. He is one of the only people I can be fighting with and then suddenly be making jokes with! We have a lot of laughs in our marriage, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

That he tells me he loves me a lot. We might not be big on the PDA, but we're really verbal in our love. I really like hearing "I love you" and I'll never get sick of it. Never. Ever.

His sense of style. My husband is a stylish guy. When it comes to artwork, clothing and even our yard, he takes pride in the way things look. I enjoy that our styles over the years have melded into a unified vision.

That he's awesome with children. Sure, we haven't got any kids, but I love watching him with children. They gravitate to him, and he's the kind of guy who will sit patiently and answer questions like "Why does that cloud look like that?" and "What kind of bug is this?"

His appetite. My husband will eat what I put in front of him 99% of the time. That gets major points in my book because I am a cooking fool.

I love you, babe! Happy birthday! I hope it's as awesome as you are! 

Quick Fix: Radish & Cucumber Salad

This year my mother in law and I have a garden together. It's just down the road at a friend's house where they have given us three rather large rows to plant in. We've had pretty good success, if you ask me. One of our biggest successes? Our radishes.

I am crazy about our radishes. Well, I am crazy about radishes in general, really, but now that I ahve grown my own? Double crazy. When we made our first harvest of them, I began making this salad. Becuase when radishes taste this good, you want to show them off. This is the perfect salad to do just that.

We have just done a second round of radishes, so in about 20 days, I'll be enjoying them again, and making LOTS more of this salad.


Peel and slice one cucumber.... 


Then slice six or so radishes. I say "six or so" because this is a preference thing. For instance, had I a milion radishes, I would just throw those in because I love them that much. I eat radishes like they are pieces of chocolate. So, you know, six or a million or whatever works for you. 


Slice up three basil leaves and throw them in. Now, I don't want to sound like this could just be basil...this could also be cilantro (which I have used) or fresh oregano. 


Now drizzle three tablespoons of red wine vinegar. You can also use apple cider vinegar, but I think the red wine vinegar is the way to go. 

AND do a little salt and pepper to your taste. 


YUM! 
This is the perfect side salad to almost any meal. I have had it with hot dogs, burgers, or sandwiches, or just all on its own. What will you pair it with? 

Radish and Cucumber Salad 

Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 4 as a side dish | Difficulty: Easy 

You Will Need: 

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced 
6 or so radishes, sliced 
3 basil leaves, sliced (you can also use cilantro or fresh oregano, depending what you have) 
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
salt and pepper, to taste 

Method

In a bowl combine the ingredients. I like to use a tupperware with a lid because then I add them all and I shake it to combine, really mixing it up good all on all sides. 

You can also use a spoon. Whatever you got will get the job done. 

Serve alongside your favorite meal! Goes great with lunches or dinners. 

So easy and sooooooo freshy fresh! 


BIW Vs. Paula Deen Scandal

Paula Deen made racist comments, and when news of it hit the airwaves, the consequences and repercussions were serious. Racism is a serious issue, but as the scandal began to unfold, some people didn't think the punishment fit the crime.

So what do I think about all that? Find out in the video below! If you are a mobile viewer, CLICK HERE to watch!

video

And once you've watched, let's discuss in the comments section below! 

Healthier Turkey Meatball Recipe

There was this song that we would sing when I was little, and I am not sure if you know it, but the lyrics went like this: "On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed." The rest of the song proceeds to tell the tale how the meatball rolls off the table, out the door, and finally becomes mushed.

The song is supposed to be funny, but when I was a child, it made me incredibly sad. For years, I would hear this song sung by various family members, I had to actively fight the urge to break into tears. To me, losing that meatball might as well have been losing a loved one.

Maybe my family members are just really good actors. Maybe it was the words "poor meatball" that got me choked up....I don't know but one thing I can tell you is that it still makes me sad. I hope when you make this recipe, you don't lose it when someone sneezes it off the table...if you do, though, know I am sad for you and your poor meatball.


You know what I realized at just this moment? How easy meatballs really are. Throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl and mix it with your hands. Easy. 

Here I have a pound of ground turkey, an egg, bread crumbs, oregano, garlic, spinach, and crushed red pepper. Put it ALL in the bowl and mix it with your hands. Mixing it with your hands is the only way. 

Well, I take that back, you can use something else if you want...but it won't taste as good, I tell ya, it just won't! 


COOL! It's all mixed and such. Perfectly, might I add, because I did it with my hands. 


Now it's time to roll those meatballs! I make mine about the size of a golf ball, perhaps just a bit bigger. 


Here's a closer look at my balls. 
My husband walked through the kitchen about this point and you know what he said? He said, "These smell great and they aren't even cooked yet!" My husband was right. I wish you could smell these balls. 

Now, at this point, if you want you can stick these in the fridge until you are ready to bake them. Or you can bake them right away. Your choice. 


I cooked these on 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, but you are mostly shooting for an internal temp of 160 degrees. I use my thermometer, which I just love. 


You can totally serve these meatballs with red sauce, but I wanted them to shine so I served them with an artichoke and egg pasta. The recipe for this great pasta is coming next week!!! 

Between three of us, we devoured these meatballs leaving only 2. Yea, I know, that's some serious eating. But I am serious about my food, so..... 

Healthier Turkey Meatballs 

Time: Prep 10 minutes, bake 40 mins | Makes 20 meatballs | Difficulty: Easy! 

You Will Need: 

1 pound ground turkey meat 
5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained 
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1 egg
1/3 cup breadcrumbs 
1/3 cup parmesan cheese 
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 
salt and pepper 

Method: 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

In a medium mixing bowl, combine ingredients. And by "combine" I mean you need to mix it with your hands. Don't be afraid. Be happy, you are awesome because you are mixing meatballs with your hands! 

Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Why? Because parchment paper is god's gift to baking. 

Roll your meatballs. I like mine to be just bigger than a golf ball, but I am a unique human. You can make yours bigger or smaller depending on your own unique human status in life and your personal tastes. Keep in mind, it may change your cook time slightly. 

Bake on 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until internal meatball temperature registers 160 degrees. 

Serve over pasta. 

Around The Mulberry Bush [Mulberry Pie Recipe!]

I have irrational fears sometimes....like going over the Bay Bridge, which I did the other day. As  was driving over the bridge with my husband, I observed these platforms that the workers have to walk up, and it nearly gave me a heart attack. THEN, I saw a portojohn suspended over the side of the bridge where the workers do their business.

It was a double nightmare scenario: having to use a portojohn suspended over a bridge. EEK! My fear of portojohns comes form being a kid and going to a lot of festivals with my cousins. They would always hold the door shut and tell me they were going to push it over.

What does any of this have to do with mulberries you ask? Well, I used to be afraid to eat them. I was convinced for quite a long time that the berries in my yard were poisonous and that eating them could kill me. I would eat one every year, and then I would wait to die. But by the next year, I couldn't remember if they were safe or not.

I have surmised that they are, in fact, safe. This helped:

video

I was totally going to make jam, and then I thought to myself, "pie." Because it seemed somehow more practical....given that I had a free hour as well as a pie crust. Holla at your Jiffy Crust! 


YUM! Look at all these pretty berries! Let's put 'em in a pie, shall we? 


I rolled out my Jiffy Crust and put in this square pan. I do what I want. 


I have three cups of berries, and I'm adding 1/4 cup 00 flour. I love 00 flour, but you can also use AP flour. 


I cup of sugar....suuuuuuugar. *wink* 


And a teaspoon of vanilla. Just for kicks. Everything is better with vanilla. 
Now, mix it allllll up really well..... 


And pour it in your pie crust. Then, I folded over the pie crust on the sides, and I did a pretty lattice design on it. 


Now, when you are doing your lattice design, and it turns out like this....you call it "rustic." 

"Rustic" 

Then bake it up. 400 degrees for about 35-45 minutes or until it's getting all goldeny and bubbly and ya ya ya. 


YUM! 
Crazy good, and practically free from my mulberry tree!!!! 

Billie's Mulberry Pie 

Time: 10 mins prep, 45 minutes bake | Makes 1 pie | Difficulty: Easy as .... pie! 

You Will Need: 

3 cups mulberries, stems removed and cleaned 
1 cup sugar 
1/4 cup 00 flour (or all purpose)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 package of Jiffy crust or two crust pie shell

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Prepare and place your bottom crust in a pie plate (or a square baking pan, whichever you are in the mood for--no judgements!) 

In a mixing bowl combine berries, flour, sugar, and vanilla. Mix to combine fully. Pour your berry mixture into your pie crust. 

Fold the pie crust sides over if you like. Lattice the remaining crust by cutting it into strips and placing them on the pie in alternating pattern (see picture above.) Or, if you aren't into latticing, just throw the other pie crust over the thing and cut a couple holes to vent. 

Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until crust is getting golden and the filling is bubbly. 

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream! 

Quiche with Hash Brown Crust

This quiche is amazing. First of all, it's got a hash brown crust. Second of all, it's got a hash brown crust. Need I say more? Also, this is a great solution for those who want to enjoy a quiche without the gluten. Not that I aimed for it work out that way....I don't always cook gluten free, but when I do, it's usually by mistake.

My chickens have been busy a-laying some eggs, and so I have been coming up with ways to enjoy them! This quiche is one of my favorites. It is a little time consuming, which is why I would classify this sucker as a "dinner quiche."

Not that I am telling you when you should eat it or anything. Do what you want. It's your quiche....do what you wanna do.

But FIRST, you want to make that crust! For that you will need to boil two peeled potatoes for about 20 minutes. I didn't show this because, let's face it, a picture of two potatoes in a pot of boiling water is just not all that exciting... what can I say? But boil them I did, and then I let them cool a spell. Then I put them through my food processor. You could also grate them--your choice. My grater mysteriously grew legs and walked away several weeks ago. I hope it writes home. 


Once you've shredded yer taters, press them into your greased pie plate. Literally. It's so easy. Then salt and pepper them. 

This would also be a good time to say that if you wanted to skip the whole boiling potato thing, and then shredding it thing, you could buy hash browns in the store...I think they have them in the refrigerator section some place. If you are pressed for time, that would be a great solution. 

Next, you are going to pop this in the oven and bake the crust on 375 for 25-30 minutes or until it gets goldeny brown on the edges. You can do this a few hours ahead too, which is what I did because I had the time. If you don't, that's okay too. 


8 eggs. These are from my chickens. It just makes me so happy. See how yellow they are? It's 'cuz my chickens are happy and stuff. Hehe. 


At this point in the cooking my advice is to have your husband pour you a beer. Make sure you say thank you, and then sip it. And then get back to beating them eggs! 


And adding all the gooooooood stuff to it!! What I love about quiches is that you can just add whatever you have. I added onions, turkey, cheese, salt, pepper, and some cayenne. I add cayenne to everything, but really, I think it adds intrigue to any dish. I'm a cayenne gal. 

Then pour it into your prepared crust! 


At this point, I am happy because I am practically done with my quiche. I like to celebrate by talking to it.

"Hello inadvertently gluten free quiche! Are you ready to be baked?" 

And then I bake it. 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. 


Mmmmmm. Who's a purdy quiche--YOU ARE! 
Since this was a dinner thing, I served it with some fresh greens from my garden. I steamed up some kale and beet greens and topped them with some of my prosciutto chips which I crumbled. Heavenly dinner!! 

Quiche with Hash Brown Crust 

Time: 1 hr, 30 minutes | Makes 1 quiche | Difficulty: Medium 

You Will Need: 

2 potatoes, skinned 
1 onion, diced
8 eggs 
1 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar) 
5 pieces of lunchmeat (I used turkey) 
1/2 cup almond milk (or regular milk) 
dash of cayenne
salt and pepper 

Method: 

Fill a medium pan with water and bring it to a boil. Add skinned potatoes and boil for 20 minutes. Remove potatoes from pot and allow them to cool about 10-20 minutes or until you can handle them. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease your pie plate using butter or Pam. I ran out of Pam and was sad...so I used butter, which worked just as well. 

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, you want to grate them into the "hash browns." I used my food processor be cause I couldn't find my grater, but either way will work. Once they are grated, you are going to press them into the pie pan. It should be easy, but you want be sure to make it one even layer. 

Salt and pepper the hash brown crust and then place it in the oven. Bake the crust for about 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are getting a nice golden color to them. Remove from the oven, and let it sit until you are ready to add your eggs. You can do this a few hours ahead, if you like. 

For the filling: break your eggs into a bowl. Add your milk and whisk to combine. Add your cheese, meat, onion, cayenne, and some salt and pepper to the eggs and stir to combine. 

Pour the egg mixture into your prepared hash brown crust. Bake the quiche at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until cooked through. 

Serve and enjoy this truly wonderful quiche!!!! 


Cute Lil' Boots & Pretty, Pretty Pickles

Oh. My. God. I can't even handle it. Look at these little tiny boots!!! They are so cute, are they not? They were my husbands. When he was a wee babe. The other day during canning, my mother in law broke out these boots.

It was really cute how she did it....she had come across them and she wanted to show them to me..."for incentive." Now, normally, I would say that this was fighting dirty. We all know I am ambivalent about parenthood. But this was not at all taken wrongly by me. In fact, you know what it did?

It melted my little ice heart.

It made me think about little tiny husband men....little tiny men in boots. Or little cowgirls. It made me want to get a baby. Maybe not have one...but at least get one.

Okay, alright....it gave me the warm and fuzzies. Why is this so hard for me to admit? It gives me hives. Fuzzy hives.

Anyway, I wanted to--nay, had to--share these little cowboy boots with you. Because they make me  fuzzy and hivey and stuff.

Also? We made pickles. And we were all but pouring our brine on our pickles when my mother-in-law said, "Look at these pretty, pretty pickles!" She was so right. We ordered the special vintage blue Ball jars this season, and our pickles were on point! We got a TON of cucumbers from our farmer that day, and made an astounding 25 jars of refrigerator pickles.



Refrigerator pickles are my favorite because they retain their CRUNCH and have great flavor. And they are fast. I love me a no fuss pickle. We made a bunch of varieties that day.... Old Bay Pickles, Extra Spicy Pickles, Classic Dill pickles....and my personal favorite, Italian Dill Pickles!!!!!


This is a look at the wonderful herbs and spices spicing up our Italian pickles!!! Too bad you can't smell this picture because they smelled as good as they look. I've modified this recipe so that you don't have to make 25 jars. Just in case your pickle addiction isn't as palpable as mine. 

Italian Refrigerator Pickles 

Time: 30 minutes, tops | Makes 3 pints | Difficulty: Easy! 
You Will Need:

3 pint jars with lids and bands, sanitized
3 large cucumbers, sliced to fit the jars
3 leaves fresh basil (chopped)
several leaves fresh oregano
dried dill (a pinch in each jar)
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced (one per jar)
6 coriander seeds (2 per jar)
a pinch of crushed red pepper in each jar
a few whole peppercorns per jar
a dollop of diced green peppers per jar (optional)


1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons kosher salt

Method:

Sanitize your jars, bands and lids.

In a medium saucepan combine your vinegars, water and kosher salt. Allow that to come to a boil. (This is your brine!)

While your brine is coming to a boil, slice the cucumbers lengthwise so that they fit easily into the jars. You want to leave about a half of an inch of headspace in the jar.

Add your herbs and spices to the jars right on top of those cucumbers. It's going to be smelling pretty good, so take a whiff. Life is good.


Pour the hot brine into the jars, carefully, leaving that 1/2 inch headspace at the top.

Secure the lids and bands on the jars and leave them to sit until they reach room temperature. Once at room temp, place they jars in the refrigerator. Let them sit at least a couple days before you open them up. If you can control yourself (which, I usually can't) try to wait a week.

Enjoy the pickles of your labor!!!

8 Things I Take For Granted

My pearly whites 
I have always had white teeth and with little effort. I read once in a birthday book that people born on my day have really white teeth. Crazy huh?

My public speaking abilities 
I came out of the womb ready to speak with the world. I know a lot of writers are supposed to be shy, but I am clearly not one of them. I don’t even give it a second thought [although I realize that there are people out there whose biggest fear is public speaking.]

Kindness
This might sound silly, but when people are mean, I am totally and utterly shocked by it. I truly believe that all people are kind in their heart of hearts and I take it for granted until I am reminded that they aren’t...and then I’m shocked. It’s a circular thing.

Television/Internet and other electronics 
Every time the satellite or the internet goes out, I try to remind myself to be extra thankful for them because they could just be gone...but it never lasts. I just take them for granted like I do breathing...and you know what? I get really mad when they don't’ work. Unreasonably so. I may or may not tell the internet people they are keeping me from working when it goes out.

Breathing 
Well, I just said it in the one above--I take breathing for granted. This is funny because I have been an asthmatic for most of my life. Whenever I have to take my inhaler, I am so surprised. I should really not take this one for granted.

Boners
It’s funny, but I always just expect penises to be hard. I keep thinking to myself that I will wake up one day in my fifties and realize they don’t work that way--and I know they don’t deep down--but I honest to gosh think my husband gets hard from looking at me. I totally take his boners for granted.

Mascara
I swear that I believe the tube will never end. Why is that? I mean, mascara DOES last a long time, but it’s not indefinite. And I never really remember buying the stuff, either...it’s like I think there is a mascara fairy that delivers it to my make up drawer.

My fertility 
I recently had a “fertility scare” where my OB/GYN told me I might not be able to get pregnant. It was strange because I have always just assumed my lady parts are working correctly. It was a wake up call...in a good way. So maybe I don’t take this for granted as much now.

So tell me, what do you take for granted?!?!? Share in the comments section below!

Quick Fix: Preserving Fresh Corn

Today is the first day of summer, and before we know it, corn season will be in fullllll swing! We get a lot of different things from our farmer friends when they are past their prime, and one of those things is corn. Last year, we turned away corn from our farmer, and we lived to regret it. Why?

Because corn is sooooo easy to preserve it's just silly, and there is nothing like corn, frozen in season, enjoyed all year long!! At first, we had been intimidated by shucking and then cutting all the corn off the cob. So if there is one piece of advice I have, it's this: don't be intimidated by the volume! 

This particular day, we had an astounding 137 ears of corn. Yes. 137 ears. BUT it took us less than an hour to shuck it, and then get those kernels ready to be packaged. See? Don't be intimidated. Don't think, just do.


I'm not trying to be corny, but don't laugh at my bad picture....the lighting was strange and I just couldn't figure it out. Let's all agree that this is a TON of corn. 


This is my mother-in-law and she's shucking that corn. Unfortunately, just a moment later, this shucker shucked her back. Then I used it, and she took over with the knife. To be honest, her getting shucked like that gave me a new found respect for this shucker. 

Anyway, all you gotta do is to shuck your corn and then measure it into freezer bags. 


We measured ours into 2-cup portions because that seemed a logical size. We all have two people families, so.... but there are o hard and fast rules with this. And in case you were wondering: NO, you don't have to cook the corn. I know. So easy. 


Seriously. 16 bags of corn. That's a ton of corn! Good for me because my husband LOVES corn. Whenever I say to him, "What vegetable do you want with dinner?" He says, "Corn." And I always say "That's a starch." I like to think we're both right. Right? Right! 

Anyway. Moving on...once you've got your corn, just throw it in the freezer. I swear. You will never look at the grocery store corn again. 

Bossy Italian Book Review: Beautiful Disaster By Jamie McGuire

Image from Jamie McGuire.com 
Right off the bat, I don't want any confusion, so I have to say this book is not a part of the Beautiful Creatures series that I recently reviewed. This book is in no supernatural, but it IS super sexy. This book came on my radar from my "what should I read guru" Jess. As she puts it, she reads romance novels and then supernatural novels. With her guidance, I am slowly but surely following in her reading footsteps. She gives me the best recommendations!

When I am reading a book, I want to be engrossed from start to finish, no matter what the subject matter is, Beautiful Disaster totally fit the bill. I fell in love with Abbey right away. She is one of the main characters whose point of view the story is being told from. The opening chapter was like, "WHOA!" because immediately I was wondering what was going to happen.

Of course, Abbey meets Travis in the first chapter, the man who is known for his....how shall we say it...wantonness with regard to violence and women, really. He's a man-whore. All the women flock around him. And Abbey? Not a chance. She is totally not impressed with his bravado or flirty nature.

And yet...she seems unable to escape him. They are drawn to one another, no matter how hard Abbey tries to fight it. Unfortunately for Abbey, her attraction to Travis is bringing out a side of her that she trying desperately to put behind her. She left her hometown to get away from the drama, and to hide a deep secret that shames her. [Don't worry, no spoilers here.]

Even though Travis is little crazy, I was rooting for the couple to get it together right up until the end. Jamie McGuire does a great job of creating tension in the book between the characters, and creating a world that is unique and even believable. Sure, it's a bit sensational, but don't we all like that in our books?!?!

It ate this book up with a spoon it was so delicious. And I'm a lucky gal because the follow up book to Beautiful Disaster is already out....Walking Disaster is the same story, told from Travis' perspective!! I love this concept and I have already downloaded it. The only thing stopping me from reading it? Writing this review post right now!!! 

I Made Homemade English Muffins!!!

I was doing my usual thing, which is cruising the grocery store aisles for enjoyment, when I got a hankering for English muffins. This is strange because it's just not one of those items that I buy. Nonetheless, there I was, smack dab in the middle of the bread aisle, checking out those English muffins when I noticed something funny: they were all--ALL--the same brand.

I looked over my shoulder to see if someone was playing a practical joke. Why all the same brand? There has got to me more than one brand of English muffins in the world, right? Does anyone else think about this stuff?!!

At this point in my thinking, I just didn't want to feed into the machine. I wasn't buying their monopolized English muffins--I was MAD! I wanted another brand of English muffins! Not because they would be better, but because they would be different.

That was when I recalled a recipe I had tucked away for English muffins. I rushed home and made these. Since I successfully completed those sub rolls a few weeks ago, I had new bread confidence. Seriously you guys, I made English muffins. I am so happy.


The whole rising and mixing thing isn't so interesting, so I decided to start my photographic journey to English muffins here...after the rise and before the roll. The basic gist of all this? The dough has a consistency not unlike pizza dough, which was really helpful for me. I make a lot of pizza dough, so I knew where I wanted to aim. 


I used a four inch cutter thingy. Technical. It's the cutter thingy from my Breville mini pie maker. I swear, I use this cutter thingy more than the pie maker. (But I love my pie maker, really, I do!) 


So far so good. The trick to getting the good English muffins is to turn them in the middle of baking...well, actually the recipe said to bake them for 8 minutes, turn them and then bake them for 7 minutes. Practically half way. 


When I turned them over, I squealed with excitement. Like a pig. I squealed. 


MUAHAHAH! The world is mine! 
Okay, well, maybe not the world...but all these English muffins are. They are MINE! 

If you are an aspiring bread enthusiast like myself, you have to try these English muffins. It will be one of the best things you try all week. Maybe all month. 






Cherry Cake Muffins & Cherry Limeade!

I have never had the problem of finding myself with an abundance of cherries, but there is a first time for everything. I love cherries. So when my farmer threw a boatload of those suckers at us one day, I was elated to try cooking with them...but I didn't want to go with a cherry pie because that was just too predictable for me. And I didn't want to blow all my cherries on one recipe.

So I settled on these cherry cake muffins. Only one problem....it's canning season so I had left my Kitchen Aid mixer over at my mother-in-laws house so that we could use it the next day. Lesson learned because the recipe called for creaming butter. And I threw out my hand mixer when I got my Kitchen Aid. Double lesson learned.

I could have creamed the butter by hand, but modifying the recipe seemed the more logical thing to do. Because I was feeling lazy.



Here we go! 


Seemed like an okay batter to me...but I will admit, I was nervous that it wouldn't turn out. This is nothing new...I am always nervous when it comes to baking, though I must say much less os than I used to be! 


This is picture of filled muffin cups and cherries. A lot of cherries. 


Obviously I didn't use all those cherries on these muffins. Just four halves per muffin. Then I baked them.....and guess what happened? 


They came out really well!! Now, these are very moist, which is what I look for a cake. I don't do dry. Dry is for the birds. I was proud of myself because this my first time baking with cherries.
Also? Great breakfast item. Why? No butter. Hehe. I can justify it! 

And then I was like...you know what I could go for? A refreshing cherry limeade!!! 


This picture was only to prove that I juiced the limes myself. I don't want you all thinking I am skimping here. This is a bonafide limeade. Bonafide. Great word. 


Sooooo.....a cup of lime juice, two cups of cherries and....


Two cups of water. Lets get blending. Well, I used my food processor, as you can see. Which, turned out to be a mistake.... 


It started leaking and then I was yelling frantically to my husband in the living room, "Quick babe! Grab me the Waring! I'm in trouble!" and I might have dropped the f bomb...I might have dropped several f bombs. I'm classy like that, what can I say? 


My husband assisted me; disaster averted, and blending complete. Thank god for my husband, otherwise I would have not have been able to pull off this refreshing beverage. 


Now, we need to talk straining. Because I was totally like, "should I strain out all those good little bits?" Then I thought about orange juice with pulp, and I recalled how much I hate it. All those little bits sliding down my throat get in the way of my enjoyment of the beverage, which, without pulp is quite delightful, if not a little to "thick" for my taste, so I like to add water. This might sound like an over analyzation of this particular question, but I assure you, it's not. 
Long story short? I strained it. 

I also like to dilute mine with seltzer, but if you don't share my love of seltzer, you can add a couple cups of water to this limeade until you get whatcha want from it taste-wise. Tweak it. Twerk it. I just thought of Miley Cyrus. Anyone else? 


And then when I went to put it in my container, the lid broke. More f bombs. I am not proud....just honest. Lucky for me, my husband fixed that too. 

Even after all of that, I STILL had cherries left over to the tune of two cups. I know. What a problem to have. So I froze the rest because frankly you never know when you are going to need some cherries....right? 

Cherry Cake Muffins 
{adapted from heathersfrenchpress.com

Time: 30 minutes | Makes: 6 muffins | Difficulty: Easy 

You Will Need:

1 cup all purpose flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/3 cup sugar 
6 tablespoons spiced applesauce 
1 egg, beaten 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/3 cup almond milk 
24 cherry halves 

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with muffin cups. I like the pretty colored ones, but whatever turns you on works just fine. 

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking power and salt. 

In a separate bowl, mix your applesauce, and sugar . Once mixed, add your beaten egg and your vanilla. 

Alternate adding your milk with your applesauce mixture to the dry ingredients. Though I never understand why they make you alternate, I hear this is a thing in baking, so I just do it. Just don't as me why. But do it. 

Once it's all mixed up, distribute the batter amongst your muffin cups. Top each muffin with four cherry halves. 

Bake in your preheated oven for 20 minutes or until they are looking all cakey and wonderful. 

Let them cool on a rack, and then enjoy with some.....CHERRY LIMEADE! 

Cherry Limeade 

Time: 5 minutes (not including pitting cherries) | Makes: A bunch of limeade | Difficulty: Easy 

You Will Need:

The juice of 7 limes (approx. 1 cup lime juice)* 
1/2 cup sugar 
2 cups pitted cherries
2 cups water 

*I used 7 limes because that was what I had. However, it really worked out by juicing me an even cup. You might need t10 if you bought them fresh in the store same-day. 

Method

In a blender...or a food processor that doesn't leak....or a blender just to be safe, combine lime juice, sugar, cherries and water. Blend until smooth. 

Strain through a fine stainer and put juice into a storage container. I like to dilute my juice with a little seltzer, but if you don't like seltzer, feel free to add a couple more cups of water to thin it out, or don't. This is your juice. Can't nobody tell you how to juice it up!