Rebekah Lyn's Kitchen

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Birthdays and Markets August 29, 2014

Filed under: Family,Fresh Foods — itsrebekahlyn @ 7:27 AM
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Birthday cake

Sunday was my mom’s birthday so I flew to North Carolina to spend the weekend with her. The moment I stepped outside the airport I was welcomed by a cool breeze and the fresh, woodsy scent that always makes me smile and fills my heart with peace. I inhaled deeply while I waited for mom and dad to arrive from the nearby McDonalds and could feel the muscles in my body unwinding.

 

There weren’t any real plans for the weekend, but I was looking forward to visitng the Farmer’s Market Saturday morning. I was delighted to find out it was customer appreciation day and there were tons of free samples- garlic cloves, organic coffee, pastries, homemade pesto, homemade soaps, there was even a chance to win $200 worth of fresh produce and a fresh pie of our choosing. Sadly we didn’t win.

 

My own hometown has been trying to get a farmer’s market off the ground, but with only one produce vendor and a handful of other non-food related booths, it hasn’t gained much traction. This North Carolina market, though, it was what I always envisioned. Knots of people gathered between each booth to catch up the week’s events; multiple farmers with their fresh-picked crops; a table piled high with delicious-looking homemade bread that reminded me of a scene from a French movie; a cooler with fresh, free-range chickens; a table of fresh pastries, a lady with homemade soaps and other bath products, and even flower vendors. We bought some ears of corner and a couple of huge tomatoes before wandering into some nearby antique shops. Looking back now, I’m surprised that I can’t remember any sounds or smells and can only guess my eyes were so overwhelmed all of my other senses were dulled.

 

That evening I had a yummy tomato sandwhich, and was actually able to tell a difference between this tomato and those from my own garden. I had read that basil is an excellent companion plant and added one to my tomato area. There definitely is a difference.

 

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Happy Birthday Mom! August 24, 2012

Filed under: Family — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:57 AM
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You may remember just two weeks ago we celebrated my dad’s birthday. Today it is all about mom. This year is a milestone for her, but I won’t tell you which one. We are spending the weekend in Atlanta shopping till we drop. Yesterday we went to Ikea and then discovered this very cool store called Mega Mart.

 

Mega Mart is the size of a Macy’s or Dilliard’s with one floor of clothes, furniture, housewares, and jewelry, and one floor that is all grocery. Mom & I both love exploring the foods of other cultures. When we visited Cozumel, Mexico a few years ago we went to the Mega Superstorenot far from the port and brought home some home some Svelte, a Mexican powdered milk product. When we were in St. Maarten, the French side, a friend told us to Zangs, where we got French baguettes and passion fruit juice concentrate. So stumbling upon Mega Mart in Atlanta was a real treat for us. We easily spent an hour wandering the aisles trying to figure out what so many of the food items were. I was astounding to see how much dried seafood they had, everything from dried kelp to dried anchovies.

 

Today, we are going to Mall of Georgia and the nearby Tanger Outlet. What woman wouldn’t be thrilled to spend the entire day shopping? I am so happy I was able to get time off work to spend this time with my mom. These are the memories that will keep me company when she is off enjoying retirement.

Happy birthday mom! I love you a bushel and a peck.

Tea Selection at Mega Mart

 

Mega Mart Atlanta

 

Happy Birthday Daddy August 10, 2012

Filed under: Family — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:50 AM
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Today is my dad’s birthday. I’m not ashamed to say that I am totally daddy’s little princess and I am very sad that I won’t be able to celebrate with him today.  As a little girl, he and I would dance together to Bobby Vinton and Ritchie Valens. When I turned 16, we worked together rebuilding the transmission on his Chevy Chevette for me to drive. When I started commuting fifty miles to work, he took me to the shooting range and taught me how to protect myself. There are many things about my dad I am eternally grateful for; he makes me laugh, he makes me feel safe, and he gives me the encouragement to pursue my dreams. I want to let him know, that even though I can’t be with him today, I hope that he has the most happy birthday.

 

Happy Birthday Pam July 20, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Cooking,Family,Recipes,Tea — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:50 AM
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Wednesday was my dear friend Pam’s birthday.  Since I was a kid she has been like a second mother to me, but especially more so this past year as my parents have taken to traveling in their retirement years.  Pam has taken me in on those holidays my parents were away so I wanted to do something nice in honor of her birthday. After considering several ideas, I decided to invite Pam and her daughter Jennifer over for dinner.  I know Pam enjoys grilled chicken, but I’m not confident enough in my grilling skills yet so I decided to make the Garlic Roasted Chicken Breast recipe I recently found.  I tested this a couple weeks ago in the toaster oven and was amazed at how juicy it came out in only 15 minutes.   This is definitely one of my new favorite chicken dishes.

My shoulder has been bothering me so I admit I made instant mashed potatoes, but I added about a tablespoon of sour cream to the Garlic & Herb mix and they were so creamy and yummy.  I could have eaten the whole pot of those.  Of course there had to some colorful veggies as well so I sautéed squash, zucchini, and onion in olive oil.  This is such an easy, tasty way to add veggies to any meal.

Instead of doing a traditional birthday cake with too many leftovers for our girlish figures, I opted to make lemon soufflés.  I discovered this recipe a couple years ago and it is definitely one of my absolute favorite desserts, especially in the summer.  It is light and refreshing after a long hot day.  I had forgotten the base of the soufflé is actually lemon curd, and aside from the zesting of an entire lemon it is incredibly simple to make.  Next time I need lemon curd to go with my scones I will be sure to pull this recipe out.

With my new Afternoon in Tuscany cd playing softly in the background, the house freshly cleaned, and a few candles scattered around, we enjoyed a lovely evening of food and fellowship.

 

Fireworks, Salsa, and Memories July 4, 2012

Filed under: Family,Fresh Foods,Recipes — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:55 AM
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Happy 4th of July!  I hope you all take some time today to reflect on what makes this day so very important in the history of the United States, especially as times are so rapidly changing for us.  There is another reason this day is so important to me though.  Today would have been my grandmother’s 90th birthday.  I have been thinking about Grandma Pearl all week and wish she could have been here over the weekend to help me with my first endeavor at canning on my own.

I have many memories of helping her can preserves, green beans, and tomatoes.  I remember setting up the Coleman stove on the back porch, watching the giant pot boil, peeling the skin off the tomatoes and skimming the froth off the strawberries. Those are memories that I will always treasure.

Since I had so many tomatoes of my own I took 25 of them and made salsa.  I don’t recall the process of peeling and coring tomatoes taking so long or causing back pain when I was kid, but I plunged ahead and found my 25 Roma tomatoes would make about 2 pints of salsa.  It may not sound like much, but split them up into ½ pint jars and I probably have enough to last me the rest of the year.  I can’t wait to crack open a jar at my next social event and share the fruits of my labor.

If you are interested in learning more about canning your own salsa check out this website:

http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html

 

Happy Birthday David! April 26, 2012

Filed under: Baking — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:23 AM
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I have a pretty close-knit core team at work and one of them is having a birthday Friday.  Since he is taking that day off I decided to bring in a cake today to celebrate, but what kind of birthday cake do you make for a man who has gone on a health kick and rarely eats sweets?  I searched until I came across a recipe for Guinness Chocolate Cake.  Perfect!  He does enjoy an adult beverage along with a good cigar, so I decided to give it a shot.  My first challenge was converting the receipt from UK measurements to US.  I wasn’t up to the task, but I found someone else who was.  Then I was surprised how hard it was to find a single serving of Guinness, so I ended up getting a four pack.  Aside from the immense amount of whisking involved in this recipe it was remarkably easy.

Guinness Chocolate Cake

If you would like to make this yourself, here’s the recipe:

1 cup Guinness (dark beer)

1/2 cup butter, cubed

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup baking cocoa

2 eggs, beaten

2/3 cup sour cream

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

TOPPING:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

Grease a 9-in. springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper; set aside.  In a small saucepan, heat beer and butter until butter is melted. Remove from the heat; whisk in sugar and cocoa until blended. Combine the eggs, sour cream and vanilla; whisk into beer mixture. Combine flour and baking soda; whisk into beer mixture until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Remove sides of pan.

Topping

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and cream; beat until smooth (do not over-beat). Remove cake from the pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cakeso that it resembles a frothy pint of beer. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield: 12 servings.

I’ll give the extra three beers as a gift to the birthday boy, and maybe tomorrow I’ll post a picture.

 

Welcome to my kitchen January 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:53 PM
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In my experience, some of the best memories are made over food, everything from casual sandwiches to elegant dinners and especially desserts.  In my writing I often find the characters getting together to share a meal and I’ve been chided for that, so today I invite you into my kitchen, where we can talk about the foods we love, the parties we still dream of hosting, and even where my characters like to eat.

To start things off, let me tell you a little about my birthday this past December.  I have been experimenting with new dessert recipes in hopes of opening a tea house one day.  For my birthday, my wonderful mother bought me tons of baking supplies.  Since I had just rearranged my kitchen, thanks to the fabulous pot rack my dad built, I had plenty of room for all of these new gadgets and I look forward to using every one.  My first attempt was mini muffins, which I will tell you all about next time.

 

 
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