Search Good Living

Friday, April 29, 2011

Strawberry Muffins

Organic Strawberries for $1.99, today only at the Wheaton Whole Foods!  And they are gorgeous, so sweet!

Time to make these muffins again...

Succulent Strawberry Muffins
1/4 lb. softened unsalted butter
1 & 1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt, scant
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. good vanilla
18-20 medium to large strawberries, hulled and chopped

Cream butter and 1 & 1/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla.  Blend well but do not overbeat.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.  Add alternately with cream to butter, starting and ending with flour mixture.  Fold in strawberries.

Fill 16 large muffin tins with papers.  Fill them almost full with batter, then sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup sugar over top.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 25-30 min, or until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on rack.

Should I be concerned?

Sam's current favorite toy is his piggy bank.  I can hear him now, the "plink, plink, plink" as he counts his quarters and dimes, dropping them back in one by one.  Over and over again.

I think we could have another Ebeneezer Scrooge.

Monday, April 25, 2011


We've entered a new stage.  Charlotte has decided she is now old enough to feed herself with a spoon.

The results pained me deeply, as I struggle with a type A personality who likes to keep my environment clean and tidy at all times.

You can imagine what a trial I am to my children.

But it was time.  She has been showing signs of wanting more independence lately, and we needed to give it to her.

I'd say she was pretty proud of herself, wouldn't you?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Great Aunt Florence's Easter Orange Roll

Happy Almost Easter everyone!  Eating these orange rolls warm out of the oven on Easter morning has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember.

Basically it takes the idea of monkey bread and replaces brown sugar and cinnamon with white sugar and orange peel.  I use this homemade dough recipe for the bread, but you could easily just use a package of Rhodes unbaked dinner rolls.  My dough can be completely formed and finished the day before, you can wait 24 hours before you finally bake it, a nice plus for a busy morning.

4 & 1/2 cups flour (you may need closer to 5 cups)
4 tsp. active yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1 & 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk, warmed to about 125 degrees F
6 TB. butter, room temp
3 large eggs, room temp
Pam for greasing the bundt pan

1 cup white sugar, in a small bowl
1 stick butter, melted, in another small bowl
the zest from a large orange

In a heavy duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 2 cups flour, the yeast, the 1/3 cup sugar and salt.  Add the hot milk and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.  Add the butter, eggs, and 1/4 cup of the flour; beat for 1 minute.  Switch to a dough hook.  Beat in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the bowl's sides.  Knead on low speed until soft, smooth, and springy, about 5 minutes.

Scrap the dough away from the sides of the mixing bowl, cover with a dish towel and allow to rise at room temp until doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.

Melt the butter in the bowl.  Add the orange zest to the sugar and mix well, until thoroughly combined and the sugar smells deliciously orange-y.  Spray a bundt pan well with Pam or grease well with butter.

Tear off walnut sized pieces of dough, roll it into a ball and roll it quickly through the butter, then the orange sugar.  Layer the round pieces evenly throughout the pan until you run out of dough.  Cover really well with plastic wrap and allow it to finish rising in the fridge, up to 24 hours.  Or, if you want it the same day, let it finish rising at room temp for another hour or two, until doubled yet again in size.

Pull it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking and allow the dough to come to room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 25-30 min.  Keep a close eye on it and cover with tin foil if it browns too fast.

Loosen the rolls from the mold when done and flip gently onto a plate, rounded side up.  Serve with butter or the good old Betty Crocker orange frosting.  (1 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 3 TB. softened butter, 2 TB. fresh orange juice, 1 TB. orange zest, a splash of vanilla and a pinch of salt-- cream together until smooth)

Amy from our Bible Study gives them two thumbs up!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday Indeed

It has been quite the week.  

It began with an unexpected tooth pulling for Scott and a couple stitches in his mouth on Monday.  It continued with him being fouled at his men's soccer game on Tuesday, falling hard and bracing himself with his thumb and hand.  

It broke, in three spots.  He had surgery this morning and is upstairs at this moment, valiantly attempting to avoid throwing up his copious amounts of pain meds as his hand swells to three times its size.

On a minor note, Wednesday, Charlotte decided to pick up a case of double pink eye, and Thursday I hosted Bible Study here at the house.  Our leader Cris, had the amazing idea of attempting to recreate the last Thursday night of Jesus's life for the group.

We tried to pull together a rough tray of some of the food they were eating...

We read passages from John's gospel, about what happened around the table as they talked and then how Jesus washed their feet, as the ultimate example of humble, loving service.  

The Lord knew I needed that reminder heading into this experience with Scott.  I've been doing a Lent reading for the past 40 days from the Bible App on my phone.  It was no mistake that Philippians 2:5-11 popped up four days in a row.  It took only the FOUR full days for me to realize God was trying to tell me something:

"You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.  Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.  When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross..."

And today, Good Friday, my slow brain finally realized that THIS was what I was supposed to be doing this weekend, taking care of  my best friend, my partner, my husband.  Not running around to all the fun events we had planned tomorrow and Sunday, not playing piano in the services, not spending time cooking food.  This was my opportunity to show love to him by humbly attempting to do what Jesus did as an example to me.

Moody Church's Good Friday service is going on as I type this, a beautiful time of solemn remembrance on so many levels.  I wish you a meaningful Easter weekend, that in the midst of the egg hunts and the brunches and the chocolate bunnies, that we feel the awe, the remorse, the JOY on Sunday and the anticipation of what lies ahead of us!

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Chicago French Market!

So I was crazy enough yesterday to pack the kids into two separate strollers, transfer all their kid-crap into a backpack that felt like it weighed 40 lbs, (why is their stuff so heavy?!  I swear, the diaper bag weighs more then Charlotte and I don't know why) and jump on the 9:54 am train to Chicago in search of the supposedly fantastic indoor french market.

Thank goodness for Grandma.  My mom had the foresight to pull a brand-spanking-new Superman Comic book out of her purse for Sam to read five times in a row (out loud) on the train in.  He was enthralled.

Charlotte charmed everyone around us with continual "Hi's!" that sounded like a tiny kitten mewing over and over again.  She loved sitting like a big girl in the seat next to me, spilling crumbs from some contraband cheese-it's all over the chair, anything to keep her happy.

We pulled into Ogilvie train station and walked immediately down the steps that are out by the train tracks.  The Chicago French Market entrance is right off that main lobby there, along with the welcome addition of a great Lavazza coffee cafe.
There are about 30 vendors, each and every one legitimate in what they do.  An awesome artisanal cheese maker, several bakeries and patisseries, four large local produce stands with great looking fruits and veggies, a fishmonger with the biggest shrimp I'd ever seen, octopus and smelt, and best of all, the smell of freshly cut Belgian "chips" being fried to order.

They had something like 15 different dipping sauces for the fries.  Awesome.
Highlights included the fantastic sandwich made by Fumare Meats (their hot daily special, something like turkey, pastrami, provolone, dijon mustard and mayo on a challah bun, grilled until oozing and amazing); the eclair from Delightful Pastries; the rainbow of French macarons at Vanille Patisserie; the peanut butter chocolate chip bar, filled with raspberry jam; the croissants, also at Vanille; and the fries.

All in all, it was perfect.  We arrived at about 11am, and had time to wander through the nearly empty market and buy our lunch before the noon crowd rolled in.  Suddenly there were lines everywhere, people waiting for sandwiches and pasta/crepes/japanese noodles/juice made to order, with no tables or places to sit to be found.  I was glad that they were doing well, and SO jealous that this market didn't exist when we lived directly across the street on Canal, years ago.

My advice to you?  Go!  And as soon as possible.  Look for the free 30 minute parking on Canal Street, or take the train into Ogilvie.  Get there well before noon.  Keep your three year olds locked in their strollers, inhibiting the grabbing of pastries and knocking down of flower displays.  Definitely wait the four minutes for a "grande" order of Belgian fries.  Look for Fumare Meats and buy the hot sandwich of the day.  Before you leave, order a caramel latte from Lavazza coffee to enjoy on the train ride home.

And, finally, DON'T, under ANY circumstances, forget to grab your precious bag full of french macarons and a peanut butter raspberry jam chocolate chip bar and chocolate croissants and leftover sandwich, leaving it under your seat on the train.

The engine pulled away and I stared after it dejectedly, as my three year old cried and wanted to know where his "me-coons" were.

I hope somebody at least got to enjoy them.