Mother’s Day Tea Party | Feat. A yummy spread & recipes!

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Hi loves!

I realized, that I never made a blog post about our Mothers Day celebration we had at my home (but it’s better late then never right?). I invited my mom and dad over for Mothers Day and I knew I wanted to do something different then the typical ‘bengali styled lunch’ which usually includes, biryani, a cucumber salad, some raita and another dish consisting of veggies or meat. I wanted to do something different, that I know she would appreciate.. so I whipped together a really cute Indigo/Kate Spade/Stephanie Sterjovski inspired tea party.

The spread included, delicate cucumber sandwiches, a cantaloupe boat with fresh black berries and mint, mini quiches, samosa’s, veggie pin wheels, a special blueberry & watermelon juice and of course, tea! You wont believe how simple each of the dishes were to make and you’ll find that the common ingredients are: cream cheese, dill, mint and fruit. What I like about this spread was that I was able to do use one ingredient on a couple different items which made my life and grocery list inexpensive and easy.

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For the recipes of each dish, please see below 🙂

Recipes: 

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Cucumber Sandwiches:
1. White bread
2. Cream Cheese (softened)
3. Dill
4. Cucumbers
5. Salt & Pepper

Cucumber sandwiches are super easy, tasty and delicate. All you do is spread cream cheese (make sure its softened!) on both slices of bread. Sprinkle each side with some fresh dill, salt and pepper. After slicing some thin cucumbers (and letting them soak out their water on a kitchen paper towel), neatly distribute them on one slice of the bread. Put both sides together and cut off the crust using a serrated knife. (These sandwiches were a huge hit, especially with my dad! lol)
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Cantaloupe Boat:
1. Cantaloupe
2. Berries of your choice (I used blackberries)
3. Mint
4. Icing sugar or regular sugar

This is a super easy dish and only takes a few minutes to make. I made it the night before and just refrigerated it over night. First, cut your cantaloupe into slices and present them on a platter. Grab some berries of your choice and place them nicely around and in between the cantaloupe. Next, slice up some fresh mint from your garden and sprinkle over top. Lastly (and you want to do this moments before you serve the item) – dust over some icing sugar which will give your fruit platter a beautiful touch. I unfortunately did this the night before, and my icing sugar dissolved.

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Mini Quiches:
1. Phyllo Dough (1 box)
2. 12 Eggs (Feel free to use less)
3. A dash of heavy cream
4. Mozzarella Cheese
5. Chives
6. Sour cream
7. Lemon Zest
8. Dill

They sound fancy, but trust me it was the EASIEST dish to make (also made the night before). In a bowl, mix together your eggs, heavy cream and salt and pepper – whip it up and leave it aside for a moment. Using a cupcake tray, line your THAWED phyllo dough and make little cups. Fill the bottom of each cup with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and then transfer your egg mixture into each cup, sprinkling a handful of chives on top. Now bake at 375 for about 15 minutes or until the eggs are golden brown and puffed up. While this is cooling, in another bowl whisk together about a cup of sour cream, the zest of one lemon and a handful of dill. Once your eggs are out of the oven and have cooled, apply a doll up of the sour cream mixture on top and garnish with some fresh dill. VOILA!

Pin Wheels:
1. Colorful tortilla bread
2. Softened Cream Cheese
3. A variety of veggies (I used red/green/yellow peppers and onions)
4. Salt & Pepper

Spread softened cream cheese on your tortilla bread. Sprinkle your favorite veggies on top and add salt and pepper. Roll very tightly and cover with aluminum foil (or you can cut it into pieces and serve right away). I covered it with the foil, put it in the fridge and cut it into bite size pieces in the morning.

As for the samosa’s, they were bought but absolutely delicious and added that bengali touch to the tea party. Additionally, I just grabbed some blueberry watermelon fruitopia and added frozen fruits and lots of ice for a cool, cold drink. I hope you guys enjoyed the recipes and pictures!

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Thank you so much for reading!

Love,
Anisa

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Macaroning with Hafsa

Hi dolls!

Hope everyone is doing fabulous on this rainy wednesday night. A few weekends ago, my girl Hafsa and I decided to get together to make Macaron’s! Now I did it once before and it worked out perfectly.. this time we had a few bumps along the road but thats mostly because we were goofing off the whole time. We used ‘Beth’s fool proof recipe’ that my cousin sent to me and it’s the only video that is very detailed in terms of making the perfect Macaron! Now without further ado, let’s get started!

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You will need:
3 Egg Whites
1/4 Cup of White Sugar
2 Cups of Icing Sugar
1 Cup of Almond Flour
Pinch of Salt
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
Buttercream (Chocolate or Vanilla – your choice)
Your choice of food coloring (if any)
A mixer
A sift
A spatula
A couple bowls
Parchment Paper
Cookie Sheet
Piping Bag

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Step 1: Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Sift your almond flour and icing sugar into a bowl. During this time, you also want to make sure your eggs are at room temperature. If they are not, throw them in a bowl of luke warm water for about 3 minutes and they will be ready to go!
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Step 2: Prepare your egg whites (make sure to not get any yolk inside) and turn on your mixer to a medium speed.
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Step 3: Add a pinch of salt and your cream of tarter.
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Step 4: Mix on medium-high speed until you reach stiff peaks. You should be able to put the bowl over your head without the mixture falling! At this point, you should add a drop of your favorite food coloring. We unfortunately forgot and had to mix it by hand later which was also okay!
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Step 5: It’s time to mix your dry and wet mixture together. Make sure you fold slowly and do not over mix with your spatula! Once everything is well incorporated and is a thick consistency, pour it into a piping bag and get ready to make little circles!
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Step 6: On a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, pipe out 1 inch rounds! Then, tap the cookie sheet 3 times and let the macaron’s sit out for 30 minutes.
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Step 7: Bake your macaron’s for 20 minutes and let them cool before you start assembling them with your butter cream mixture.
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Step 8: VOILA! The macaron’s are complete! Bon Appetite!
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I hope you enjoyed this simple and easy Macaron recipe. Check out the youtube video for more details on the baking process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJ636Y8N6E8

Below, you will also find some more pictures of macaron’s I made a few months ago, dusted with icing sugar and made with chocolate ganache!

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Also, check out my girl Hafsa on her blog: http://www.hafsapathan.com/

Thanks guys!
Xo!

 

Recipe: Oreo + Brownie Chocolate Trifle

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Happy Wednesday Everyone!!

It is tiiiiime for a recipe blog post. First of all, don’t mind my ugly writing on my little chalkboard – I was in a rush. I made this chocolate trifle a few weeks ago at our first house warming party! It was an Oreo and chocolate filled trifle that was creamy, delicious and not too chocolately! It finished so fast and the kiddies (and adults) were coming back asking if there was more left, it was simply a big hit!

Now, it is nooothing special, it was super easy and seriously took no time. So, Let’s get started!

You will need:

1. Chocolate Brownies (I used store bought brownies, aint nobody got time to make some when you are throwing your first house warming)

2. 1 tub of Cool Whip

3. 2 packs of Jell- O Chocolate Pudding Mix

4. Oreos

5. A Trifle Dish

Instructions:

Step 1: Prepare your chocolate pudding mix and leave it to the side until later. Also take your cool whip out of the freezer and let it defrost for about 10 minutes prior to using it.

Step 2: It’s time to LAYER! At the bottom of your trifle add your brownies! I broke mine up into bite size pieces so they would be edible.

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Step 3: Grab a dollop of your cool whip (defrosted) and spoon a semi thick layer over your brownies.

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Step 4: It’s chocolate pudding TAIMEEE. Grab another dollop of chocolate pudding and throw it on top of the cool whip.

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Another picture from the outside of the trifle dish (don’t the layers look pretty?)

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Step 5: I really could have done this in a “prettier” way but it’s going into your tummy either way right? So what does it matter. #timesarehard. This layer is all about your favorite cookie. I added some Oreo’s right on top of my chocolate pudding layer.

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Step 6: I then added more chocolate pudding on top of the Oreo’s and coated evenly! The Oreo’s were pretty much sitting in between 2 layers of chocolate pudding which made them soft and moist, easy to eat and delicious.

ImageStep 7: Then, add the rest of your brownies (in bite size pieces) on top of the chocolate pudding.

ImageStep 8. Now you could stop at Step 7 but when you have more room in the trifle dish, why wouldn’t you continue? Add another dollop of Cool Whip and make a smooth finishing layer with your silicone spatula (or a spoon to be less fancy).

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Step 9: DECORATING! I totally messed up on this part. I ran out of Oreo’s! #sadtimes SOO my decoration on top looks pretty ugly. Feel free to do whatever you want! What I should have done is crushed up the Oreo’s I did have and sprinkle them on top. It would have looked way prettier then my half Oreo and half graham cracker crust dĂ©cor :S #noshame

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And that’s it ladies and gents! I hope you enjoyed this trifle recipe as much as my family enjoyed eating it! Let the trifle sit in the fridge for one night before you serve it. By doing this, the Oreo’s and brownies become SUPER moist and all the flavors sink in with one another.

In addition, remember to use COOL WHIP instead of Whipped Cream (yes they are two different things). If you use whipped cream (the ones that you can spray out of a can), it will dissolve over night in the fridge and then your layers… they wont really look like layers. So SKIP the mess & the drama and use Cool Whip.

Lastly, remember you don’t have to use the same items I used, you can use anything you have at home. Instead of Oreo’s, you can use Chocolate Fudge Cookies? instead of chocolate pudding, you can use vanilla? You can even top with strawberries. Do whatever you like, it’s your trifle!

Enjoy!

 

Soft Pretzels … From Scratch!

Happy Sunday Everyone!

Every year I visit my best friend & cousin in Florida and since we were little we made a little tradition of going to “Pretzel Time” and grabbing a delicious warm salted pretzel with a cold lemonade in the local Ocala Mall. It’s just one of those things that we both get excited about and enjoy watching through the window as the employees make the soft pretzels right in front of your very eyes. Unfortunately Pretzel Time was taken out of the mall and Auntie Anne’s was added in. Of course we tried it! With cheese, mustard and even a hot dog right in the middle but I have to say, nothing beats the soft pretzels from Pretzel Time.

With that being said, this weekend I decided to tackle something I’ve always wanted to try. While watching endless youtube videos of ‘how to make soft pretzels’ I kept assuming that the process was just long, frustrating and tedious. I then decided to at least give it a try and combine a few youtube videos together to make my own home made soft pretzel from scratch!

Though the process was not fast and easy (and believe me when I say I am the most impatient person EVER!) the end result was perfection which made it worth the wait. Crispy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside! I would recommend trying this recipe on a saturday or sunday when you have time to yourself and don’t have many errands to run as the process requires tender loving attention and care! The best part about this recipe is that you probably have all of these ingredients, if not most at home. Now enough pep talk, lets get this recipe started!

Ingredients:

a) 1.5 cups of warm water (make sure the water is not hot or your yeast will not activate)
b) 1 Tbsp of Sugar
c) 1 tsp of Salt
d) 1 package of Dry Yeast
e) 2 Tbsp of melted Butter
f) 4 ½ cups of All Purpose Flour
g) 5 cups of HOT water
h) 1/2 cup of Baking Soda
i) Egg Wash (1 Egg beaten)
j) Kosher Salt or Cinnamon + Sugar for seasoning
k) Vegetable Oil (As needed)
l) Pam or Cooking Oil Spray

Step 1: Prep all of your items, this makes the process much faster as you aren’t running around your kitchen looking for the necessary ingredients/items. I do not have all of my pictures here but you get the idea ;). Also, preheat your oven at 420 degrees.

Step 2: In your mixer, or a bowl, combine your Sugar, Salt, Warm Water and Yeast (do not mix).  The yeast will start activating when it forms a foam like texture – this should take about 5 minutes. Once the yeast is activated, put your mixer on low to combine all of the ingredients together. The picture below is an example of what the yeast should look like when it is activated, you will notice that it is a little foamy, dissolved and separated.

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Step 2: After measuring out EXACTLY 4.5 cups of flour and keeping your mixer at a low speed, start adding in your flour very slowly. If you go too fast, your flour can spill everywhere and make a big mess.

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Step 3: After your flour has been incorporated, add in your melted butter very slowly.

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Step 4: When your yeast mixture, flour and butter are incorporated, turn your mixer up to a medium speed and let it go for about 7-10 minutes. You are looking to make sure that your dough mixture becomes well incorporated and soft.

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Step 5: Take your dough out of the mixer and gently pull it together. Put your dough in a lightly oiled bowl and tightly seal it with saran wrap. Make sure you do not let any air out.

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Step 6: Next, put your bowl in a closed space, this could be your microwave or stove (don’t turn ON the microwave/stove obvs). This is just so that you can let your dough rest and rise. Leave it in the closed space for 2 hours for best results. 1 hour will do if you really are that impatient. #dontbeimpatient

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Step 7: This is the best part. I love the difference in the dough size and the dough texture – its so soft! On your counter, sprinkle some flour and take your dough out of the bowl.

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Step 7: Grab a knife and cut your dough into 2 pieces. Then, taking one side you want to cut 6 equal pieces.

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Step 8: Working quickly one by one (so your dough doesn’t become crusty), roll out a portion you originally cut and make it into a “U” shape.

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Step 9: Take the right side of your “U” and bring it over to the bottom left side. Do the same with the left side of the “U” and bring it over to the bottom right. Since this was a horrible explanation, refer to the pictures below. LOL

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Step 10: After you have successfully made the perfect pretzel shape, put your pretzels on a tray topped with parchment paper that has previously been sprayed  heavily with cooking oil.

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Step 11: While your pretzels are resting, grab a bowl and add your water and baking soda mixture. You want to submerge each pretzel into the mixture for 30 seconds, dry the pretzel on a towel and put it back onto the tray.

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Step 12: You then want to take your egg wash mixture and brush each pretzel. Once each pretzel is brushed, sprinkle some sea salt on top!

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Step 13: Throw your pretzels into the oven for about 10-12 minutes. Make sure to turn your tray around half way through the baking process, this will help evenly bake the pretzels. This recipe will make 12 pretzels, I did not put both trays into the oven at the same time. When the pretzels are out, they should be golden brown, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.. and yes I am drinking coke in a cup.

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And there you go my friends! 13 easy steps to making fabulous delicious pretzels! It may be a long process but it really is simple and easy. Do not rush and follow each step thoroughly. If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comment section and I will answer them to the best of my ability!

Happy Pretzel-ing & Good Luck!

Fool Proof Recipe: Chicken Biryani

It’s come across my mind that I have yet to share with you a South Asian dish that may be of your liking. Last night I decided to try Biryani for the second time (the first time, I added way too many spices and  to be frank – it didn’t taste too good). Although I did not have all the ingredients that I would have liked to use at hand, I made the Chicken Biryani anyway as Irshad and I were really craving it.

SO! Let’s begin my friends! Yall better appreciate the fact that I had my professional huge camera with me during this cooking process #noteasy

Ingredients:
1. Salt (honestly the biggest ‘andaj’ ever – basically meaning, I put in whatever I thought was the right amount)
2. Chili Powder – 3 tbsp (My chili powder isn’t very strong, if yours is strong then put less)
3. Tumeric Powder – 1 tbsp
4. Ginger and Garlic Paste – 2 tbsp
5. Cinnamon Stick – 1 large stick broken into 2 equal pieces
6. Cumin Powder – 1 tbsp
7. Bay Leaves – 3
8. Black Cloves – 8
9. Cardamom – 6
10. Green Chilies – I used 3 big ones because we like our food really spicy, you can use more or less
11. Garam Masala – 1 tbsp
12. Onion – 1
13. Chicken Breast/Legs
14. Basmati Rice – 3 Cups
15. Vegetable Oil – 2 tbsp

Okay now that we have the ingredients listed, LEGOO!!!

Step 1.
Set out your ingredients (I forgot the salt here but just pretend its sitting right there in the middle)

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Step 2.
Slice some lemons

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Step 3.
Slice some onions

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Step 4.
Put 3 cups of rice in a bowl and add at least 5 cups of water to fully cover it. Put it aside and leave it for one hour.

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Step 5.
Clean your chicken! Why do I only have drum sticks? Well because it was cheap. #forthewin

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Step 6.
In a non stick pan, heat up your oil and add your onions stirring constantly. Stove should be on a medium level.

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Step 7.
When your onions become translucent, add in your chili powder, garam masala, tumeric powder, cumin, salt, ginger and garlic paste, cinnamon sticks, 2 black cloves, and 2 cardamoms, stirring constantly.

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Step 8.
After stirring and coating your onions completely, add half a cup of boiled water into the pan. Remember to always have water boiling when you are cooking a curry dish, hot water is the best to add (don’t ask me why, just do it).

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Step 9.
Throw in your chicken and coat the pieces with the curry

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Step 10.
Add another half cup to full cup of water. The water will keep absorbing so keep adding water every few minutes. At this point, I also added 1 green chili that I chopped up into little pieces.

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Step 11.
Keep your stove at a medium level and cover the pan. Do not cover it completely but leave the lid a little open so there is air coming through. Remember to keep checking up on your chicken curry and mixing constantly. If the water is absorbed, keep adding more water, a half a cup at a time.

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Step 12.
While your chicken is cooking, drain your rice.

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Step 13.
In another pot, add in your rice and enough water to JUST cover the rice, 3 bay leafs and the rest of your black cloves and cardamoms. Close the lid and keep on low to medium heat for about 10 minutes. Keep checking on your rice to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.

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Step 14.
Once your rice is complete, it’s time to layer your rice and chicken. Take some rice out and put it in a big bowl. The first layer is rice, then add all of your curry chicken on top.

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Step 15.
Then add another layer of rice to coat the chicken. On top of that, add your sliced lemons and some chili’s.
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Step 16.
Coat the lemon slices with some more white rice. Then add food some food coloring to the mixture. I mixed this food coloring powder with some water and spooned it over the rice.

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Step 17.
After adding your food coloring, put the lid back on and leave on low for about 15-20 minutes. Although everything is already cooked, you want the flavors to incorporate with one another and let the food coloring soak into the rice. After about 20 minutes, thoroughly mix everything together and voila! You have Chicken Biryani!

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Now, there are a lot of items that our mom’s usually add into Biryani but we just didn’t have them at home! Some of those items may include: Tomatoes, Plain Yogurt, Mint Leaves, Coriander Leaves and even Cilantro. I just did this with what I had at home. I hope that this step by step process helps you to make some delicious spicy Biryani at home. Remember, if you do not want it to be as spicy as mine, lessen some ingredients!

Enjoy!

Recipe: Home Made Scones

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Happy Wednesday! We are half way through the week. Last weekend I decided to make some yummy scones for a little tea party that I had with my girlfriends. I was inspired by the fun afternoon tea sessions I had with my husband on our recent trip to the Bahamas. This recipe was very simple, easy and hardly a mess… in fact you probably have all the ingredients sitting at home right now! I kept them fresh by placing them on top of a piece of parchment paper in a cute little jar that I bought from Pier1! A lot of you have been asking for the recipe so I figured I would make a blog post about it. Remember, that you can always alternate the recipe by adding items you like such as dried fruits, chocolate chips or even cheese! I wanted a semi sweet scone to compliment the other desserts we were going to have so I only added sugar. Check out the recipe below and let me know how your scones turn out!

You will need:

1. 1 cup of sour cream
2. 1 teaspoon of baking soda
3. 4 cups of all-purpose flour
4. 1 cup of white sugar
5. 2 teaspoons baking powder
6. 1 teaspoon of salt
7. 1 cup of butter (cold)
8. 1 egg

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet
2. In a bowl, pour in your sour cream and baking soda then set it aside until later
3. Grab a large bowl and add in your: flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in your cold butter (which you should have previously cut up into little cubes)
4. Add in your sour cream mixture and egg
5. Start mixing and kneading with your hands (remember not to over mix – once it is mixed just stop)
6. Roll out your dough and grab a cookie cutter (I used a basic circle) and cut into pieces
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the tray around half way through the baking process and keep checking up on it
8. Let it cool on a cooling rack and then put them in a tight container or jar that keeps them fresh
9. Serve with a side of whipped cream or jam and voila!

Enjoy!

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Roasted Chicken & Potatoes

Right out of the oven

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Hi friends!

It’s that time to share a recipe! A lot of my recipe’s come from Laura Vitale, I have mentioned her in my blog before. She is an excellent chef and her YouTube videos are fabulous! Although I changed up this particular recipe just a tad, it is still almost the same as Laura’s. I’ve been making this since I moved in with my husband and I have to say it is quite healthy… in addition, it is delicious, affordable and very filling! Look below for the recipe and enjoy the pictures!

Step 1 – Pre heat your oven to 425 degrees. Clean your chicken (do not take off the skin, it’s the best part!)
Step 2 – Marinate your chicken. In a bowl, add your cleaned chicken, teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of pepper, table spoon of rosemary and a table spoon of thyme. (You can alternate the measurements depending on what you like) Laura’s recipe states that using fresh herbs tastes the best, I have only been using what I have on hand but it still tastes JUST as amazing.
Step 3 – In the marinate, also add a zest of one small lemon, and squeeze out the lemon into the bowl (make sure you catch the seeds). Also add a little bit of olive oil.
Step 4 – As your marinate sits, start cutting your potatoes. I used Yukon yellow potatoes because the skin is thin and I don’t have to peel the skin. Throw the potatoes into an oiled dish and add in your marinated chicken.
Step 5 – Add in 6 garlic cloves (unpeeled) into the dish as well as the lemon you squeezed out.
Step 6 – Throw the dish into your oven for exactly one hour at 425 degrees. Take it out, let it cool and serve straight from the dish!

What you may be wondering:

1. Why do you leave the peel on the garlic cloves? Well, since the oven is at a very high temperature you don’t want your garlic to burn… that would completely ruin the taste!
2. How long do you marinate your chicken for? You can do the marinating process the night before or even a week before, defrost it and put it in the oven if you like. I just leave my marinate out for 20-30 minutes as I’m cutting my potatoes and cleaning up the kitchen.
3. Can you provide exact measurements? I can’t, I really just guess and throw spices in the mix. Do what you think is best! If you like more pepper, add more pepper. If you don’t like thyme – don’t add thyme.. Maybe try Parsley, Dill, Oregon?
4. Can you use other types of potatoes? Of course you can, use whatever you have at home!

I served my chicken and potatoes with buttered rice and a nice spring mix! You can serve yours with anything, for example) Soup, yellow rice, pasta salad etc.

Try the recipe and leave your comments! Did you make different variations? Let me know!

Ps- Sorry about the un professional pictures, I have to pull out the Nikon next time!