Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In conclusion for NaBloPoMo 2010...

Heaven help me; another dessert. But hey, it's mostly what I try that's new. I am pretty set in my main dishes. I dont't try very many new ones of those. But with my husband's craving for sweets I get tired of baking the same old thing.

At any rate, the following was a fun and yummy cake. Enjoy!

Honey Bun Cake

1 package yellow cake mix
½ cup water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
8 oz sour cream

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ cup chocolate frosting

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Beat cake mix, water, oil, eggs, sour cream in large bowl on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Batter will be thick. Spread half of batter into greased 9x13 inch pan.

Mix brown sugar, chocolate chips and cinnamon in small bowl, sprinkle over batter in pan. Drop remaining batter by spoonful evenly over cinnamon mixture, carefully spread to cover.

Bake 50-60 minutes or until top quickly springs back when touched lightly in center. Prick surface of warm cake several times with fork. Spread frosting evenly over warm cake, frosting will be thin. Run knife around side of pan to loosen cake. Cool completely, about 2 hours. Store loosely covered at room temperature. 15 servings.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sweet Potatoes; spiced up...

Here's a fun one. It sounds strange, but it's actually really good!

Sweet Potato Enchilada Pie

1 large sweet potato, peeled, cubed (½ inch cubes)
1 Tbsp water
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce
1 tsp chili powder (or more, to taste)
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground cumin
3 flour tortillas (8 in.)
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

Cook sweet potato until almost tender.

Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until beef is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the beans, enchilada sauce, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and sweet potato; heat through.

Place a flour tortilla in a greased 9-in deep-dish pie plate; layer with one third of the beef mixture and cheese. Repeat layers twice more.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly.

Once again, it sounds strange to mix sweet potatoes into a dish like this, but it really comes out well. As I said before, they seem to pick up the flavor of the spices and meat and complement them. I liked it. Hubby liked it. I am sure I will do this one again.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

For the Birds

Here's a fun fall recipe to play around with, if you are into feeding the birds, that is.

I got the basis for this recipe from "Birds and Blooms" magazine, I changed a couple of the ingredients, but it's the same idea. You can also use suet instead of shortening, if you have it. And they said that you can get the suet from a butcher shop.

They stated to fill muffin/cupcake liners with this mixture, chill, and put them out for the birds. Also, if you do not have one of the wire holders I have pictured above, you can pack the mixture into cardboard toilet papers rolls, chill, peel the cardboard off and put the resulting chunk into some other holder, or spear it on a stick for the birds.

Bird Cakes

1 cup shortening
2 cups chunky peanut butter
1 cup oatmeal
4 cups cornmeal
1 cup birdseed

Melt shortening and peanut butter in a medium pan over low heat. Mix in additional ingredients. Line 2 8x8 inch pans with plastic wrap. Divide mixture and press into pans.

Chill in fridge. When firm cut into squares to fit into little wire bird suet hangers.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Fun Cake

Rocky Road Cake

1 box dark chocolate cake mix
1 tub chocolate frosting
2 cups mini marshmallows, divided
1 cup dry roasted peanuts, divided
1 cup miniature Hershey’s kisses

Bake cake according to box directions for a 2-layer cake. Cool completely. Frost as for 2-layer cake. Using ½ cup of mini marshmallows, outline a “road” across top of cake. Coarsely chop half cup of peanuts and “pave” the road. Mix remaining marshmallows, peanuts and all of kisses; press into frosting on cake, covering both top and sides. Serve and enjoy.

This is the recipe I had. My picture looks different than what you'd get if you made this cake, because I used a homemade chocolate frosting recipe. My chocolate frosting was much, much lighter in color than a store bought tub of frosting would be. But I think it tasted much the same, except for the fact that the store bought stuff tastes fake to me. But that's just my palate.

At any rate this is an easy recipe to make for a special occasion.

Friday, November 26, 2010

This is easy and economical. I still use the commercial stuff to pre-treat stains; like Shout, or Spray and Wash, but this homemade soap works as well as any store-bought stuff.

Homemade Laundry Soap (liquid)

All ingredients can be purchased for under $5-6 for all! and will make several batches.

1 quart Water (boiling) + 2 more gallons of room temp water

2 cups Bar soap (grated) Naptha is best. (I use Octagon, it seems to work as well. But any laundry bar soap without oils added will work.)

2 cups Borax

2 cups Super Washing Soda (it’s an Arm & Hammer box found next to the borax-must use exactly this!)

*Heat 1 quart of water to a boil in a medium-sized pan

*Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water, stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.

(2 cups is all but a small chunk of the bar soap, I use the whole bar.)

* Pour the soap water into a large clean pail or 5 gallon bucket, immediately add the borax and washing soda, stir well until all is dissolved. (I would suggest adding the powdered ingredients in small batches, and stirring until partially dissolved before adding more.)

*Add 2 gallons of room temperature water (not hot, not cold) stir until well mixed.

*Cover pail/bucket leave overnight (will gel) Wait till soap has sat overnight before filling bottles.

*You may add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons once soap has cooled:
Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil. (I have yet to try any of these.)

*Shake bottle before each use (It does does separate when it sits)

*Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup per load. (I use 1 cup for large loads)

*Save up old laundry detergent bottles to store this in. Or, I actually use old 1 gallon vinegar jugs.
Note: soap isn't as sudsy as you might be used to, but do not worry, it has nothing to do with the cleaning power.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


As I have said here before; bread is something my husband thrives on. Therefore I welcome new bread recipes. This one is just a different take on the baking powder biscuits, but it's pretty good.
As you can tell from the photo they did poof up really fluffy. And, yes, they are square and triangular shaped. I don't bother using a round cutter; I just roll the dough into a rectangle and slice it up with a very sharp knife. Voila!

Cloud Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
½ cup butter or margarine
2/3 cups milk
1 egg, beaten lightly

Mix dry ingredients together. Cut the butter into dry mixture. Mix in the milk and egg. Knead lightly. Cut into biscuits. Bake in 425 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Wax Bean Soup

Here's a recipe I got by just Googling "wax bean soup." I forget where I got it from. In any case, I grew some wax beans this year, and wanted to try out a soup with them. You can use green beans, it would all taste the same I believe. In any case I like dishes with lots of color to them; this is one of those. It all depends on what you add as far as veggies, but it looks nice.

Wax Bean Soup

yellow wax beans, cleaned & cut (I prefer to cut them lengthwise and then in half)
potatoes, cubed
anything else you have in your kitchen that you want to add (ie. celery, carrots, peppers, etc)
dill or parsley
salt/pepper to taste
sour cream / milk or buttermilk

In one pot cook the potatoes in salt water until just tender and add whatever other ingredients you want to add and finish cooking until all veggies are tender. Chop onion and saute in oil until tender but not brown and add to the veggie mixture. Mix and add seasoning to taste - if you prefer a spicier soup, you can use hot yellow peppers and that will spice the soup up. Let the soup cool a bit and in a bowl, mix sour cream and milk until it is a thick liquid or use some buttermilk on its own. Add the milk mixture to the soup when it's cooled a bit and add the dill or parsley (depending on if you like dill) and heat up to when ready to serve.

The measurements were never specific with my mom's recipes - they just got put together.