Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sweet Clover Dinner Rolls for Easter

We are headed to a friend's house for Easter dinner this year and I offered to bring some homemade rolls. I made crescent rolls for our last dinner together, so I wanted to try something different. After a bit of searching, I decided to give these sweet dinner rolls from a try, with a few changes to make them by hand (instead of with a bread machine) and as clover rolls. I wanted to try them ahead of time to make sure they would come out. As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about - they are awesome! Just the perfect touch of sweetness to go with a traditional Easter ham dinner. If you're still planning your Easter dinner menu, these are definitely worth a try! My adapted recipe is below.

Sweet Clover Dinner Rolls
(Adapted from; Makes 12 rolls)

1/2 cup warm water (100-110°F)
1/2 cup warm milk (100-110°F)
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
4 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1/3 c. salted butter, softened

1. In a small bowl, mix water, milk, yeast and sugar. Let rest 5 minutes until frothy.
2. In a larger bowl, mix flour and salt. Work 1/3 cup softened butter into the mixture with hands.
3. Pour yeast mixture into flour mixture and work into a soft dough. Knead 8-10 minutes until dough forms a supple, yet firm ball.
4. Lightly oil bowl, cover dough with plastic wrap or a floured kitchen towel and let rise 1 hour or until doubled:

5. Punch down dough. Pinch off tablespoon-sized pieces of dough and roll into 36 fairly evenly sized balls.
6. Grease a muffin pan with olive oil.
7. Place 3 balls of dough into each muffin well in a triangle shape:
 8. Brush dough evenly with 2 Tbsp. melted butter, cover loosely and let rise 45 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled.
9. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake rolls for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with a pat of butter--and enjoy!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mourning the End of Google Reader

If you use Google Reader, I'm sure you've heard by now that they are cancelling the service as of July 1, 2013.

First they announced the end of iGoogle, now this? What are trying to do to me Google?!

I loved Google Reader because it kept track of all of the blogs I'm interested in, in one easy to access spot. So, like many of you, I'm now looking for a replacement. Earlier this week I signed up with another reader service called NewsBlur. While I liked the interface, I've had problems accessing the site numerous times. That doesn't bode very well, IMO. So, I think the hunt continues.

How do you keep track of the blogs you like? Do you have a favorite Reader service? Do tell!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Crockpot Irish Stew for St. Patrick's Day

This year is really flying by and believe it or not, St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner on Sunday the 17th! I put together this pork stew for tonight's dinner this morning and as soon as I tasted it tonight when I got home, I knew it would be a perfect St. Paddy's Day recipe.

While traditional Irish Stew is made with mutton, the pork shoulder steaks in this recipe are much easier to find at the local market and still offer great flavor thanks to the lovely marbling they have. One of my favorite parts about the recipe is that it's incredibly easy -- throw everything in the crockpot, cover, set to low and come back in 8-10 hours to a perfect, hearty meal. Can't get much better than that for St. Patrick's Day -- or any day, really. Forget at about that over-salted stringy corned beef this year and try something new!

St. Patrick's Day Crockpot Irish Stew
Serves 4-6

1.5 lbs. pork shoulder steaks
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3-4" pieces
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large 2" chunks
1/4-1/2 cup chopped celery leaves (go ahead and throw some chopped stalks if you like, too)
1/2 cup good-tasting beer (I used an unfiltered wheat ale)
3/4 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
3 bay leaves

Mix together salt, cumin, garlic powder and onion powder. Rub over pork steaks. Put steaks in the bottom of your crockpot. Top with bay leaves and chopped carrots, potatoes and celery leaves. Pour beer and water over the top of everything. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Don't forget to enter my Apron Giveaway!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Can you ever have too many aprons? (A Cafe Press Giveaway!!)

When I started this blog nearly 4 1/2 years ago, I didn't own a single apron. Now I own 6... and am constantly wanting to grow my collection. This was the aprong that started it all when I won my very first blog giveaway back in 2009:

It still gets top billing in the apron drawer, along with my "Kiss the Cook!" apron that was too cute to resist. I was looking around the Cafe Press website the other day and got the itch to add to my collection again when I saw these funny aprons:
"I like cooking with wine - Sometimes I even put it in the food!"

"Yes, I am a SUPERHERO... and I'm fully aware that my cape is on backwards..."

"Party like a Crock Star"

And let's not forget the guys, they have some really funny men aprons, too:
"Real Men Make Waffles"
"I'm to sexy for my hair. That's why it isn't there!"

Since the apron drawer is already getting a little hard to close (need to move to a bigger one!), I resisted. But you don't have to, because I teamed up with Cafe Press to give a $25 gift certificate to buy whatever apron (or t-shirt, hat, stationary, smartphone case, etc.) you want!

Entering is simple - get 1 entry for leaving a comment about what you'd use the gift certificate for and 2 entries for becoming a follower (or if you already are a follower!). Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter -- and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway