Chocolate Chip & Cherry Brownies

I have been fairly good and don’t make near as many sweets and treats as I used to.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE sweets & treats, and that’s the problem.  I love them too much, and I eat them too much as well.  But every now and then, I just have to give in and make some.  This time, I was beckoned with the lure of chocolate chip and cherry brownies.  They are full of cherries so they are healthy, right?!  Well, that’s my story and I am sticking to it.  🙂

The herbs were a gift from Julia and her garden.  Julia arranged them so prettily I just had to put them in a vase too.  🙂 Yak & Yeti

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I love the combination of chocolate and cherries.  It’s one of the best matches out there.  So when I find delicious recipes that combine both of these great tastes together, I just have to make them.  The richness of the chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is a perfect match for the tartness of the cherries.  It’s like I am just called to it.  These brownies are ooey and gooey and just plain perfection, even if I do say so myself.

Chocolate Chip & Cherry Brownies

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1 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and chopped – dried cherries will work too

2/3 cup water

1 tsp almond extract

4 TBSP butter, melted

6 TBSP canola or vegetable oil

1/3 cup cocoa powder

2 eggs + 2 egg yolks

2 tsp vanilla

2 1/4 cups sugar

4 oz chocolate chips

1 tsp salt

1 3/4 cups flour

powdered sugar for dusting, optional

 

Chop the cherries and add them to the water and almond extract.  Cook in the microwave for about 1 minute, then let them set for a few minutes before using them, while you are combining the rest of the ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 350* F or 180* C

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray then line with aluminum foil and spray the foil with cooking spray too.  This makes for an easy release with minimal clean-up afterwards.

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Combine all the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips and set aside.

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Whisk the eggs and sugar together, then add the melted butter, oil and vanilla and combine well.

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Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Then add the cherries and incorporate them into the batter.

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Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the the brownies are slightly puffed up and a toothpick comes out with just a few brownie crumbs.

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Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting them into squares.  I always like to dust my brownies with powdered sugar too.  They just look more polished and finished this way, but this is purely optional.

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Enjoy!  It’s hard to stop at just one.

Stay safe and stay well Everyone.  ‘Til next time.

 

 

 

There Are Many Jeanne’s Out There

I am writing this because lately there has been a lot of confusion.  There are many Jeanne’s out there, and apparently, the way I spell my name J-E-A-N-N-E is a popular spelling too.  I am Jeanne Jones, author and creator of a “A Jeanne in the Kitchen”.  Those of you who follow me know my style, and what I write about.  I write about my recipes that I cook and my experiences.  I write about these things exclusively.  Everything in my blog is 100% mine and are my creations.  I do not write about politics or other subjects.  The ONLY website I have is “A Jeanne in the Kitchen”.  I DO NOT write under any other website or website name.  Lately, there has been some confusion about that because there are other Jeanne’s out there who have blogs too.  I am getting credit for things I did not write or say, and I am also being blamed and falsely accused of  plagiarizing things from other people’s blogs and posts.  If you see something written by ANY OTHER name than “A Jeanne in the Kitchen” I guarantee it DID NOT come from me.  We all make mistakes, but I WILL NOT apologize for things I did not write or say or do, nor do I want to take credit for something that is not mine either.  I hope this clarifies things a bit.

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Stay safe and stay well Everyone.  ‘Til next time.

Nature Walks – They’re Not Babies Anymore

All my ducklings and goslings have grown up.  They are all so big now.  They have lost all their baby feathers and are almost as big as their parents.  Soon, they will be leaving the nest and will venture off to start their own.  These may the end of the goslings and ducklings for this season.

The not-so-little-anymore ducklings out for a summer’s swim.  I am so jealous.  The pools here STILL have not opened up.  This is the driest I’ve ever been as a swimmer.

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Bottoms Up!

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Swimming with Mom.

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The goslings are all grown up too.  A family who swims together stays together, at least for now.

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The ducklings and goslings bid you all adieu for now.  But they’ll be back.  See ya next spring.

Stay safe and stay well Everyone.  ‘Til Next time.

 

Lima Beans with Browned Butter and Ham

Lima beans are legumes that go by many names.  You will know them by different names depending on where you are.  They are known as lima beans, butter beans, sieva beans and Madagascar beans.  They also have a close cousin known as Christmas beans that are very similar but are speckled.  These beans originated in Peru, and date back as far as 6000-5000 BC.  When the Spaniards came to the new world, they named these beans after Lima, Peru, where they first discovered them.  Lima beans are very popular all throughout South America and the Southern parts of the United States.  Just like any beans and legumes, they are very healthy and nutritious and can be cooked and prepared in many different ways.

Since Juneteeth originated as a Southern day of celebration, I prepared them in a traditional Southern way, as part of our Juneteenth celebration.  Celebrating Juneteenth I made them with browned butter and ham.  Simple, yet delicious; just the way I like it.  Browning the butter gives the beans a bit of a nutty flavor.

I thought I had a better picture of them, but alas, I do not.

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Lima Beans with Browned Butter and Ham

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1 stick of butter

32 oz frozen baby lima beans

1 can chicken broth

1/2 lb ham, cubed small

1 TBSP garlic

salt & pepper to taste

 

Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook it for about 5-7 minutes, or until it turns caramel colored.

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Add the lima beans, ham, garlic, salt & pepper and the chicken broth. Partially cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the beans are tender.

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Let rest for about 5-10 minutes before serving and enjoy.

Stay safe and stay well Everyone.  ‘Til next time.

 

 

The Awesome Blogger Award

My friend Rory, from aguycalledbloke has “gifted” me the Awesome Blogger Award.  WOW!!!!  Thank you so much Rory.  I am very honored.

I just do what I do, but it always makes me happy that others are enjoying it too.  I write my blogs for me, but it is always an honor when others are touched by something I write and share as well.

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My Five questions
What is your wierdest daily habit or ritual?

I can’t think of anything.  I am actually pretty boring.

Which ancient or futuristic civilisation would you prefer to be living in NOW and why?

With the direction the world is heading right now, I definitely would prefer to go back in time, rather than into the future.  I think I would like a time machine that could take me through a wide variety of different times rather than stay and live in just one.

Back in the days when you were in your teens which band was your complete ‘go to band’ for entertainment and the one that your life resonated with the most?

Gosh, that’s a really difficult question.  I have always LOVED music and have been a “rocker” my whole life.  Although, I really love all kinds of music.  HMMMMMM!  Maybe Van Halen.  I am originally from Pasadena, CA and Van Halen are too.  I used to run into Diamond Dave everywhere and even went to their backyard parties back in their early days, when they were still known as Mammoth, before they made it big.

Of all your personality traits and attributes which three are the most beneficial to you as a blogger?

My work ethic, my diligence, and my never ending curiosity.

Can you see anything else other than people?

Dogs, cats, horses, dolphins, whales, sharks, etc.  The animal world is a much better place than the human world, especially right now.  If we could “just talk to the animals”, we could all learn a few things from them.

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I like Rory’s idea of “gifting” the award rather than nominating, so I am gifting this award to:

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My questions to all of you are:
1.  What makes you “YOU”?
2.  What is your favorite thing, and why?
3.  What is your least favorite thing, and why?
4.  What motivates you?
5.  If you could change one thing to make something better, what would it be, and how?
Congratulations to all of you, and to the rest of the blogging world.  Just by being ourselves and opening our worlds up to share with others, we all make the world a little bit better everyday.  Keep on doing what you do and keep on just being you.  You are all AWESOME!
Stay safe and stay well Everyone.  ‘Til next time.

BLT Pasta Salad

BLT sandwiches, aka bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, are very popular, but then if you are a bacon eater, ANYTHING with bacon is going to be a bit hit.  The BLT is now going to a completely different level, and can be turned into a pasta salad too.  I use bacon and tomatoes for everything anyway, so no news there, but the twist was adding the lettuce to the salad as well.  The lettuce is actually mixed in with all the rest of the ingredients, and not just used as a bed for the salad.  It is an interesting new twist to an old classic.  Larry was more than a bit surprised to see the lettuce was actually mixed into the salad too.  He had a hard time believing it, until he saw it and enjoyed it.  I served this salad as part of our Juneteenth celebration feast.  Celebrating Juneteenth

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BLT Pasta Salad

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1 lb cooked pasta – elbow, bowtie, shells, etc.

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

3 TBSP sugar

1/2 red onion, diced fine

1 TBSP garlic

1 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp dill

salt & pepper to taste

1/4 cup green onions, sliced thin

1 cup tomatoes, medium dice

1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled

2 cups shredded lettuce

 

Combine the pasta, bacon, and vegetables and toss together well.

Then combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and spices.

 

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Mix the pasta and the dressing together, making sure to thoroughly toss everything together well.  This salad is best when served cold.  Chill it in the refrigerator until you are ready to enjoy it.  This is simple and easy to make, and very refreshing on a hot summer’s day.  Top with more bacon and green onions.

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Stay safe and stay well Everyone.  ‘Til next time.

 

 

 

Nature Walks – Cormorants and Egrets

I just love walking around through “our backyard”.  You just never know who you are going to run into.  Everyday is different and everyday is full of surprise and wonder.  The other day, while out on our “walk-about”, we saw so many familiar faces and friends.  They were all out enjoying the first day of summer.  Nature Walks – The First Day of Summer

Usually I only see one cormorant, but this time, there were two.  They were even on the same lake, although they were definitely social distancing themselves from each other.

Which is my best side?  To the left?

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Or to the right?

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Or looking straight at you?

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Just spreading my wings.

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We also saw a few egrets.  Sometimes they like to socialize with each other and sometimes they prefer their solitude.

It’s a bad hair day and something has ruffled my feathers.

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OK.  I’ve regained my composure.  Now I can walk on water again.

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Hiding in the reeds.

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Stay safe and stay well Everyone.  ‘Til next time.

 

 

Yak & Yeti

The other night we got together for dinner with friend and fellow blogger, Julia from http://retirementrvdream.wordpress.com/.  Julia and I only live about 30 minutes away from each other.  We met and  became friends when Julia hosted her fun and festive Mardi Gras party, on fat Tuesday, at the end of February.  Two Bloggers Meet  We hit it off really well, and it felt like we had known each for years.  We have been meaning to get together ever since, but as you all know, the world and life was put on hold due to COVID.  But now the world is beginning to open up, it is time to start living life again, and part of that means getting together with friends.

Julia chose a restaurant that is about 1/2 way between both of our houses.  We went to the Yak & Yeti in Arvada.

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There are four Yak & Yeti restaurants in the Denver Metro area.  This is the Arvada location.  It has been around since 2008.

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Mr. Dol Bhattarai, the owner of Yak in Yeti, has been in the restaurant industry for almost 13 years. Always interested in fine food, he began his culinary career in India. He honed his cooking abilities apprenticing in of the world-class restaurants located in the metropolitan city of Delhi. Not long after, Mr. Bhattarai worked as main Chef in an internationally recognized Indian Restaurant in Dubai.

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Coming to the USA and settling in Boulder Colorado, Mr. Bhattarai worked at the Taj Restaurant in Boulder for about five years before launching his own family-flavored restaurant, Yak and Yeti.

Mr. Dol Bhattarai is originally from Syangja village, located in eastern Nepal. This is an area of scenic mountains, fresh air, and natural produce. Generations of Indian and Nepalese influence have made the food Mr. Bhattarai offers tantalizing and tasty for all palates.

The Yak & Yeti specializes in foods from Northern India and Nepal, where “food is an art form that has been passed on from generation to generation, from guru (teacher) to vidhyarthi (pupil).  The cuisine is as rich and diverse as Nepalese & Indian civilization, encompassing a vast scope of traditions and regional variations in taste, color, texture, appearance, and delicacy. The hospitality of Nepalese & Indian people is also legendary. In Sanskrit literature there are three words that form the motto of Nepalese & Indian hospitality: “Atithi Devo Bhava,” meaning “your guest is your god.” Food is the crown of festivals and celebrations, and whatever the occasion, Nepalese & Indians eat with great gusto.”

We all ordered something different, and everything was delicious.

As soon as we ordered our meal, we were served a plate of Indian flat bread with four different sauces.

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Then our meals were delivered.  We feasted on Lamb Biryani, Honey Chicken Curry, Lamb Vindaloo, and Tandoori Salmon, along with Basmatic rice, and alu naan and garlic naan bread.  Everything was so good.  Northern Indian food is not nearly as spicy as Southern Indian food, but you can still choose your level of spiciness.

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It seemed like we all ate quite a bit of food, yet by the time we had finished eating, it looked like there was still a lot of food leftover.  Of course we brought it home.  It was too good not to take it home with us.

Julia and Bruce in between courses.

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Bruce knew he wanted dessert before we even ordered, so he saved room for it.  He was the only one who did though.  The rest of us were too full for dessert.  Bruce was waiting for his kheer, which is an Indian rice pudding.

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Once again, we had a very good time and a scrumptious meal.  It’s so good getting together with friends and sharing a meal.

Yak and Yeti Brewpub in Arvada is located at 7803 Ralston Road, Arvada, CO 80002.  Call ahead for reservations at (303) 431-9000 or you can contact them by email at yakandyetiarvada@gmail.com or online at http://www.TheYakAndYeti.com.  

Stay safe and stay well Everyone.  ‘Til next time.

 

 

 

Nature Walks – Colorful Flowers All Around

It was pretty cool when we first started our walk, so we took a long walk.  By the time we got home, we were all hot and tired.  The clouds had burned off, which made it quite a bit warmer.  Today, there were not as many critters out and about, but there were a lot of colorful flowers.  Some of these flowers are wild flowers and some are from the neighboring gardens.

The Whites

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These are my daisies, in my front yard.

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The Orange and Yellows

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The Red and Pinks

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I just love flowers.  They always brighten up even the gloomiest of days.  Even the weeds can be pretty.  If you are willing to open your eyes and actually see what’s around you, you can find beauty in everything.

Stay sand stay well Everyone.  ‘Til next time.

 

More Food From our Juneteenth Celebration

Our Juneteenth celebration was a feast of what I like to call Southern tapas.  Celebrating Juneteenth  The dishes I prepared were all small dishes and mostly finger foods.  But as we all know, and a concept I am VERY familiar with, a lot of small things can easily add up to a lot.

The little smokies wrapped in puff pastry were super easy to make, only required a few simple ingredients and were a HUGE hit.  If you are so inclined, you can definitely make your own puff pastry, but that is a lot of work.  I’ve done it, but most of the time, I just don’t have that kind of time, so I buy the pre-made puff pastry, which works just as well.  These little snacks are perfect for any occasion.

Smokies Wrapped in Puff Pastry

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I package puff pastry, completely thawed

24 mini smoked sausages or smokies

egg wash

poppy seeds and/or toasted sesame seeds

honey mustard sauce for dipping

 

Cut the puff pastry into 24 equal squares.  Place a smokie in the center of each square or at an angle at one of the corners.  Fold the dough around the smokie and wrap like a burrito.

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Preheat oven to 400* F or 200* C.

Brush the wrapped pastries with egg wash, and tightly pinch the seams together so they don’t unfold.  Sprinkle the top of the pastries with either toasted sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds.

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Pop them in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden brown.  Serve immediately.  These are best when served hot with some honey mustard sauce on the side for dipping.  I made my own honey mustard sauce with honey, Dijon mustard, and then I added a dash of my Sweet Heat Mustard as well. Bread and Jam

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These are light and and flaky and taste of so good.

Stay safe and stay well Everyone.  ‘Til next time.