Wednesday, August 21, 2019

When the ingredients fail

Did you ever have one of those days where nothing about a recipe went right?

I had one of those days the other day, but the result was so delicious that I decided to share.

I was out walking Fenway and was craving tomatoes and cheese, but I needed something healthier that pizza (again!). I'd bought some zucchini and heirloom tomatoes at the farmers' market, so I figured I'd cook them and some chicken breasts and serve it with pasta.

Except when I took out the zucchini, it had shriveled up to nothing.

And one of the tomatoes had turned totally black.

But the chicken was already cooking when I noticed this. (There goes the pizza excuse.)


I grabbed a bag of frozen green beans from the freezer and dumped them in the pan with a healthy helping of my favorite freeze-dried garlic.

Then I put on water for the angel hair pasta.

At the last minute, I chopped and added the other tomato - a tiny one so you'll note there's not much red).

I chopped the chicken and tossed that in as well. Somewhere along the line I'd added some olive oil.

Once I cooked the angel hair, I added some mozzarella and then poured the garlicky veggies on top.

It was delicious!

I may also have poured in way too many green beans for one person, so I had tons of leftovers.

The next night, I cooked some potatoes in garlic water, smashed them, slathered in butter, and poured the heated leftovers on top.

This was even better than with the pasta and cheese!

The moral of the story - if there has to be one - is, as my mother would say, necessity is the mother of invention - and sometimes it even tastes good!

Have you ever started out with one meal in mind and ended up with something totally different?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Celebrating with Lemon Bars

Today's the day!
Book four in my Rocky Mountain Heroes series releases today. 

A fresh start...and an old love reignited?

For widow Kayla Bradshaw, restoring a historic Colorado hotel means a better life for her and her soon-to-arrive baby. But she needs construction help from Jude Stephens, the love she lost through a misunderstanding. Working with Kayla, the police officer finds himself forgiving her--and longing to rebuild her shattered confidence. But can they trust each other enough to forge a future together?

So let's celebrate with one of my favorite desserts.

Lemon bars are a quintessential southern tradition. One problem I have with these tasty treats, though, is that sometimes they're too sweet. I prefer mine with a little more tang. And this recipe has the perfect balance of sweet and citrus.Best of all, they're really quite easy to make. For years, I opted for a box kit but, really, this scratch-made version doesn't take much longer.

**FYI - refrigeration time is required, so plan accordingly**

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil.

For the crust you will need:

  • 2 sticks of cold butter (I prefer unsalted)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix dry ingredients together, then cube butter before adding.

Cut butter into the flour, sugar, salt until crumbly, yet incorporated.

Then dump into foil-lined pan.

And press to cover bottom of pan.

Bake 20 minutes or until golden.

While that's baking, let's make the filling.

For the filling, you will need:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 eggs
  • Zest and juice of 5 lemons

Okay, so this is where homemade versus a box-kit might cost you a little more time, because you have to zest and juice the lemons.

First, you want to wash them. Yes, that means soap. Just be sure to rinse them well before drying.

Now I'd like to introduce you one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.

This is called a microplane. You can use it for finely grating lots of things, like citrus peels, whole nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. I used to just use the fine grate on my standard cheese grater, but I was over the moon when I found this in my stocking one Christmas. I can't tell you how much easier it makes things. And no more bloodied knuckles or chipped fingernails.

Simply drag the grate across the peel and it traps everything in this little channel. Then you simply tap what's there into the bowl. 

Once all you're lemons are zested...

Simply cut them in half and squeeze out all the juice, taking care to strain out any seeds. A task I usually just use my hands/fingers for.

Now, whisk together your flour, sugar and eggs until smooth.

Then add the lemon zest and juice...

And stir to incorporate.

Once your crust is done...

Pour the lemon mixture over the top.

Put it back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until just set.

Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.

When ready to serve, lift foil from pan and dust with powdered sugar.

Cut into squares and serve.

So pretty. SO tasty. And that citrusy tang is perfect for summertime or a nice compliment after any rich meal.

As the title reveals, Reunited in the Rockies is a reunion romance. It's a story of broken hearts, broken promises and learning to trust in love again. Because true love, the way God intended it, never fails. It beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things and endureth all things. 

So grab you a lemon bar, pull up a chair and let's talk books. What are you reading? I'm currently reading The Soldier's Redemption by Lee Tobin McLain and I can't wait to read the final book in her Redemption Ranch series, The Nanny's Secret Baby. How's your TBR pile looking?

Three time Carol Award finalist Mindy Obenhaus lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. She passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she's not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more a