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.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake

Graham cracker pie crust

7 oz package caramels
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cups pecans
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cup milk
1 3 oz instant chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup fudge topping

Melt caramels and evap milk, stirring constantly until smooth, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in pecans; pour into crust. Combine sour cream, cream cheese and milk in bowl or blender; process until smooth. Add pudding mix, blend again. Pour cream cheese mixture over caramel layer. Chill 15 minutes. Drizzle with fudge sauce. Chill 1 1/2 hours.

OK. Here's another one that sounded much better than it was in reality. If you should make this, serve it immediately and don't expect it to keep well in the fridge (or anywhere else, for that matter.) The pudding mixture did some major weeping overnight, and the fudge topping melted into it as well. This is why the photo looks really gross. I'd say skip the fudge topping and drizzle with just chocolate sauce, or a homemade chocolate glaze.

It was really simple to make though and would do for an emergency dessert.

Monday, November 22, 2010


White Chocolate Brownies

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
6 oz white chocolate, chopped
or…white chocolate morsels
½ cup white sugar
½ cup butter, cut into pieces
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 oz milk chocolate chips

7 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch spring-form pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In saucepan over medium heat, melt white chocolate, butter and sugar until smooth, stirring constantly. Cool slightly, then beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in 6 oz milk chocolate chips. Spread batter evenly in pan, smoothing the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted 2 inches from the side of pan comes out clean. Remove from the over, sprinkle 7 oz of chocolate chips over surface, avoid touching the sides of the pan. Return to oven for 1 minute.

Remove from oven and, using the back of a spoon, smooth out the softened chocolate. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, chill for 1 hour. Remove from pan, cut into thin wedges to serve.

These are quite rich, and always disappear when I take them anywhere. This is also the only brownie recipe I can make without ruining the brownies. I am a brownie making failure. But these are good and always turn out.

This recipe comes from a book called “1000 Recipes” by Martha Day. Believe it or not, the original recipe in the book did not say when to add in the flour mixture. I modified it a bit; in the book it calls for nuts and a milk chocolate topping. I am the only one in our household who enjoys nuts in things. Plus I make these for my Wednesday night teen class at church and one young lady is deathly allergic to nuts in any form.

Also; the topping is supposed to be made with milk chocolate and the semi-sweet chips are supposed to be in the mix, but I switched them. I tried using milk chocolate chips as the topping, but they wouldn’t spread; they just clumped and tore up the brownie as I tried to spread them. The semi-sweet chips melt and spread much more smoothly on top.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


My hubby loves bread. I could do without it, but he HAS to have it. Therefore most any quick bread that's fresh and hot is welcomed with cries of delight from the husband. There are some he doesn't care for; anything with a crunchy crust, but this recipe was enjoyed. It makes a great change from johnny cake, or biscuits.

Dutch Babies

¼ cup butter
3 eggs
¾ cup milk
¾ cup flour

Place butter in a large iron skillet. Place skillet inside 425 degree oven until the butter is melted.

In a bowl, blend 3 eggs for 1 minute. Add milk and blend for 30 seconds more. Add flour and blend for 1 minute more. Remove skillet from oven and pour the batter into it with the melted butter. Return skillet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve with syrup, honey, or powdered sugar.

This was much better than I’d thought it would be. I thought that since it didn’t have salt in the batter it’d taste kind of flat, but the salt in the butter more than made up for it. It poofed up pretty big in the oven, but after a while of being removed from oven, it flattened out. And by the end of the meal it had turned tough. So eat it warm, straight from the oven. Hubby liked it, so did the child.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

More apples

Another good-sounding recipe gone awry. Here's the recipe first:

Caramel Apple Strata

2 cups packed brown sugar
½ cup butter, cubed
¼ cup corn syrup
3 large apples, peeled and chopped
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp apple pie spice
6-8 slices day-old cinnamon bread
½ cups chopped pecans
10 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

In small saucepan combine the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine apples, lemon juice, sugar and pie spice. Arrange half of bread slices in greased 13-in x 9-in baking dish. Spoon apples over bread; drizzle with half of caramel sauce. Sprinkle with pecans, top with remaining bread.

In large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt and vanilla. Pour over top. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cover and refrigerate remaining caramel sauce.

Remove strata from the fridge 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

In a small microwave safe dish, heat reserved caramel sauce, uncovered, for ½ minutes or until heated through. Drizzle over strata.

This sounded really good; layers of caramel-y bread, apples...etc. It did not work out in theory as easy as the recipe makes it sound.

For one thing; I couldn't get the "caramel" to caramelize. Maybe it was just me. I'd never tried to make my own caramel. I cooked and stirred for 20 minutes just to see if the brown sugar would ever dissolve and become smooth; nope, never did. Argh! I drizzled it anyway.

I must not have baked it quite long enough, or something, because it was rather smooshy inside. Hubby liked it well enough, but since we only eat 2 pieces per day, (if that) it got really rubbery by the time there wasn't much left of it. I'll likely never make this again either. Maybe only if I am entertaining a big bunch of people and they will consume it all in one meal.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Apples and Cream Pie

Apple Cream Pie

4 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 unbaked 9” pie shell
1 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
¾ cup coarsely chopped pecans

Arrange apples in pie shell. Mix together cream, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, egg, vanilla and salt until well blended. Pour over apples. Sprinkle with pecans.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until apples are tender, 35-40 minutes.

This was OK, I guess. I think I need to use "pie" apples to make it good. But anyway, it was easy enough to make. But it's still not as good as a "real" apple pie. I probably won't bother making it again.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Fall Treat

Pumpkin Muffins

½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg, room temperature, beaten
1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
1 ¾ cups flour
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp grated nutmeg
¼ cup raisins

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Use 14 greased muffin cups, or papers.

Cream butter, add sugar and molasses and beat until light and fluffy.

Add egg and pumpkin and stir until well blended

Sift flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Fold in just enough to blend, do not overmix.

Fold in raisins.

Spoon batter into muffin cups, fill ¾ full.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the tops spring back when touched lightly. Serve warm or cold.

Delicious. These are a great fall treat.

NOTE: Well, for heaven's sake. I know I took a picture of these, but I can't find it now. I guess a muffin looks like a muffin. Trust me, they were good. I frosted them with plain cream cheese frosting.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cookie Fun

Here's a fun one if you have kids.

An Edible Puzzle

16½ oz tube of sugar cookie dough
1/3 cup of flour

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimless baking sheet with parchment paper.

Knead flour into sugar cookie dough. Reserve half of dough for late use. Roll the dough on a floured surface to a ¼ inch thickness, then cut it into three approximate 4-inch squares.

Place the squares onto the baking sheet and chill them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes.

Remove the cookie sheet and slide the parchment paper onto a counter or cutting board.

Push the cookie cutters into the dough. (Warning, it will be HOT!) Be sure to cut cookie all the way through.

Slide the paper back onto the sheet and bake for 2 more minutes.

Let cookies cool.

To frost:

Thin a cup of white frosting (I used my homemade cream cheese and it worked just fine) with a small amount of water (I used milk) until it’s the consistency of honey. Divide into small bowls and stir in desired food coloring.

Frost cookies with a paint brush.

My alterations here; I don't have a cookie sheet without sides, so I just cut the cookies on the parchment paper on the sheet. It worked just as well.

I also was a bit more creative with my shapes. Instead of just squares I cut out a green grass bush for the bunny adn an oval for the teddy. It also worked as well. The only thing is that I didn't have a leaf cookie cutter for the apple, so when I attempted to cut one out, it didn't work. As in, it wouldn't come out of the puzzle. But it still tasted as well.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More Strawberries

Chocolate Cream Cheese Strawberry Pie

3 squares (1 oz each) semisweet chocolate, divided
1 tablespoon butter
1 9” pastry shell, baked
2 3 oz packages cream cheese, softened
½ cup sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
1/3 cup strawberry jam, melted

To melt chocolate; in a glass jar or cup place 2 ounces chopped chocolate and butter, set glass into pan of hot water, stir chocolate and butter until smooth. Spread or brush chocolate mixture over the bottom and up the sides of the pastry shell. Chill.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread the cream cheese mixture over chocolate layer; cover and chill for 2 hours.

Arrange strawberries, tip end up, over the filling. Brush strawberry jam over the fruit. Melt remaining chocolate and drizzle over all.

This got two thumbs up from the husband. It's really good, and as I said before I prefer the chocolate in this recipe over the chocolate in the previous recipe. I do have to add that I prefer the strawberry/water puree from the other recipe as a glaze. Using jam seems like cheating to me for some reason. But that's just my preference.

Ellen, the 3 yr old, loved helping with this recipe, especially licking the spoon after I'd melted and brushed the crust with the chocolate. But she also loved helping glaze the berries.

Monday, November 15, 2010


This one will be familiar to those who read my other blog, but I figured there's no rules here for reposting from blog to blog. I got this recipe this year from a different blogger, The Lumberjack's Wife. It's easy and fun for kids to help with.

Chocolate-lined Strawberry Pie

Graham cracker crust
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips(ish)
2 tblsp butter(or so)
1/4 cup whipping cream(about)
1 tablespoon light corn syrup(give or take a little)
8 cups strawberries(or more if ya want), stems removed
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Now, for the directions:

Melt chocolate pieces and butter over low heat;set aside.

In a heavy saucepan stir together whipping cream and corn syrup. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; gradually stir into choc mixture. Cool to room temp. Spread cooled choc mixture over the bottom and sides of the crust; set aside.

In a blender combine 1 cup of the strawberries and the water. Cover and blend till smooth.

In a saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in pureed berry mixture. Cook and stir over med heat till mixture is thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Cool for 10 minutes without stirring.

Arrange half of the remaining strawberries, stem end down, in crust. Carefully glaze thickened mixture over fruit, thoroughly covering each peice of fruit.

Arrange remaining berries over first layer. Glaze these berries as first layer. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!

The only thing I'd say about this is that the chocolate tastes kind of diluted; more like those fake chocolate candies you get at holiday times.

I found the answer to that in a second strawberry pie recipe, which I will post tomorrow, if I remember. HA.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fun in the Sand

Sand Dough

1 cup sand
½ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon alum
¾ cup water

Optional; twigs, toothpicks, shells…etc

Add cornstarch, sand and alum to a saucepan; use a wooden spoon to mix thoroughly.

Add water and stir the mixture until it is smooth and the cornstarch is dissolved.

Then cook the clay over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. The clay should start to thicken within a minute or two. (It will get weird-looking chunks in it and you will think you’ve done something wrong. But keep stirring, it’ll turn out OK) Stir more vigorously, being sure to scrape the mixture from the sides and bottom of the pan.

After about 3 minutes of cooking, the clay will have thickened to the consistency of play dough. Remove the clay from the pan. Once it’s cool enough to handle, you can start sculpting. (You can wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it, but only for a day or two.)

Once your sculpture is dried you can use clear glue to reattach any pieces that may have fallen off. It took my castle 4-5 days to completely dry all the way through.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sweet Potatoes

When you grow your own sweet potatoes it's fun to find different recipes for them. Until I came to Missouri and started growing my own I had only eaten them in 4 different ways; in Sweet Potato Pie, in these yeast sweet potato biscuits I'd once tried, candied with marshmallows and just baked. I liked them all, but I wanted to branch out and try them differently. This past year I found this recipe. Yum!

Sweet Potato Sausage Casserole

4 oz uncooked spiral pasta
4 oz smoked sausage, cut into ¼ inch slices
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ¼ to ½ inch cubes
½ cup chopped green pepper
¼ cup chopped onion
½ teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium tomato, diced
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook the sausage, sweet potatoes, green pepper, onion and garlic in oil over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until veggies are tender; drain.

Add the tomatoes, cream, salt, pepper. Bring to boil; remove from the heat. Drain the pasta, stir into sausage mixture. Transfer to a greased 9”x9”x2” inch baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 4 servings

This is my take on a recipe that came from a cooking magazine published by Reiman; I dunno which magazine because I ripped it out and it isn’t identified on the page. It’s either “Country,” “Simple and Delicious” or “Taste of Home.”

In any case, I modified it quite a bit. First off this recipe is “halved.” I usually do this because Ellen won’t eat stuff like this and hubby and I wouldn’t be able to eat a full 9x13 inch casserole before it goes icky. And then it called for canned tomatoes, but I ask you; who’s going to used CANNED when you have fresh in the garden? Puh-leese.

The final report is that I LOVED this dish and will certainly make it again. I love the blending of flavors; sausage, peppers, onions; and the sweet potato seems to absorb them and adds a different personality to it. It is pretty rich though, what with the cream and the cheese.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Let's Talk Tuna

Dilled Tuna Patties with Veggie Yogurt Sauce

Veggie Yogurt Sauce

½ cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup grated carrot
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
¼ teaspoon dill weed

Combine all above ingredients, mix well. Cover and chill.

Dilled Tuna Patties

2 cans (6½ oz) chunk light tuna in water, drained
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 egg
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
¼ teaspoon dill weed
¼ cup flour
vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients except vegetable oil, adding flour last; mix well. Shape into 6 patties, sauté in vegetable oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Serve each patty with 2 tablespoon yogurt sauce.

(Please note, for some reason they look really really dark in the above picture, but I don't think they were THAT dark. I am not a professional photographer.)

Growing up I ate my share of tuna sandwiches. Plenty of them. In fact my mom made them for us more than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I loved a tuna sandwich with a glass of chocolate milk back when I was a kid. But none of that tuna SALAD junk for me; just straight tuna mixed with a bit of real mayo, spread on whole wheat, dill pickles, tomato and lettuce. I haven't had one of those in years.

But wait, I digress. Um...anyway in all those years of tuna sandwiches, never did I have a tuna or any other kind of fish patty sandwich, you know, the fried kind. Hubby was used to that kind, so I learned how to make them for him. I prefer the salmon, but just a month or so ago I found this recipe. I love the tang the yogurt and dill give them, and having run out of yogurt once I used light sour cream instead and that worked well too.

The veggie yogurt sauce is also really good, and I'd be more prone to use it as a dip for crackers instead of on these patties, but that is just my preference.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honey Pork

Honey-Pecan Pork Cutlets

1 lb boneless pork loin cutlets
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, divided
¼ cup honey
¼ cup chopped pecans

Pound pork to ¼-inch thickness; coat with flour. Heat one tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pork and sauté about 5-6 minutes or until brown on both sides. In a small mixing bowl, soften remaining butter and mix with honey and pecans; add to skillet, stir gently. Cover and simmer for 7-8 minutes or until juices run clear. Remove to serving platter and spoon sauce over pork. Makes 2-3 servings.

OK, this is a tasty dish. But really it is like a simplistic algebraic equation of food; honey + pecans + butter = dinner + dessert all in one. In other words, this is rich, a treat to have once or twice a year maybe for a special occasion or to entertain.

To be honest, I was unable to find anything in the meat department that proclaimed itself to be a “pork cutlet” so I just used what was already in my freezer, some kind of pork chops I’d repackaged from the original. I just removed the bones from them, and pounded them down. One cut refused to be pounded to ¼ inch thickness, but I just coated it and cooked it anyway. And as another footnote, I had nothing official to use to do the pounding with. I doubt any chef on the food network would have approved, but I grabbed a clean empty quart canning jar and hammered away at the meat. That’s how I run my kitchen; whatever’s on hand that can do the job, well, it gets pressed into service.

In conclusion; hubby liked these pork thingamabobs I made, so did I. I will make them again…some day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More Granola Bars

These are the granola bars I forgot to post a day or so ago. They are really good and the recipe is easily customized as far as the optional add-in items. For this particular picture I used 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 cup yogurt covered raisins, 1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts, 1/2 sunflower seeds. For a subsequent batch I used dried cranberries instead of raisins, and a few white baking chips instead of the yogurt raisins. It was all really good.

Extra Chewy Granola Bars

4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups assorted add-ins

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease one 9x13 inch pan.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla, butter or margarine, honey and brown sugar. Stir in the 2 cups assorted chocolate chips, raisins, nuts etc.
3. Lightly press mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing or serving.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Butterscotch Pie

Here is a recipe to use some of your brown sugar. Even though this isn't that attractive-looking of a pie, it is actually really good. I loved the different take on a graham cracker crust. The only problem with it was how crumbly it was...the crust that is. I had to pretty much serve it with a spoon, but the taste was fine. Hubby's comment; "I approve this message." Which is his way of saying he'd eat it if I fixed it again. Ha.

Butterscotch Pie

1/3 Cup peanut butter
1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 cup brown sugar
4 Tbs butter
1/3 cup flour
½ tsp salt
2 egg yolks
2 cups milk, scalded
¼ tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp sugar
1 cup whipping cream

For crust:
Blend peanut butter and graham cracker crumbs. Line pie plate, including sides, with mixture and chill.

For filling:
Mix flour, sugar and salt. Gradually stir in scalded milk. Cook in double boiler over boiling water for 10 minutes, stirring constantly until thick. Stir small amount into egg yolks and then add to cooked filling. Cook 2 minutes longer. Add butter, vanilla and then cool. Pour into pie shell and cover with whipped cream.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Brown Sugar

It's about time to get into more of my dessert stuff here, so I thought I'd start it off with a basic. If you do a deal of baking (or even some stir-fries and soups), you will run into recipes requiring brown sugar. If you do a super great deal of baking you will find yourself frequently running out of brown sugar.

Basic fact: Brown sugar is a bit more expensive than white sugar.

A few years ago I was surprised to read that all brown sugar is made of is white granulated sugar and molasses. Then last winter I ran in to this recipe:

Brown Sugar

3 cups white sugar
1/8 tablespoon molasses

Mix together thoroughly. This will get you 3 cups of regular golden brown sugar. Need dark brown sugar? Add more molasses. Store in an airtight container.

Tah dah! How easy can you get? Here's a series of pics of my first brown sugar attempt.

Here's the molasses just added to the sugar:

Here's after about a minute of mixing with a wooden spoon:

Here's what I had after about 4 minutes: (There are still a few dark spots, but they were easily mixed in.)

Now we are ready for cookies, puddings, pies...etc.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


When I was growing up I remember my father had to plant what seemed to me to be miles and miles of carrots. We ate quite a few carrots. There was one point where my father went on this fruit and vegetable juice craze. He got a juicer and had my mother make him gallons of carrot juice...of which he would drink several glasses a day. It wasn't too long before he started noticing something strange when he looked in the mirror.

Yep, you got it. He started turning orange. So that did it for his carrot juice craze. But we still ate quite a few carrots. My mom made many and many a carrot salad. I have tried many times to replicate her carrot salads; she never really measured anything in it, I don't believe. But I can never make them to where they taste as good as the ones she made.

But in that Recipes from India article I found this gem:

Carrot Salad

Carrot Salad

2 medium carrots, grated
1 med tomato, seeded and chopped
½ C plain yogurt
½ C sour cream
¼ C raisins
¼ C finely chopped red onion
½ tsp salt
Fresh cilantro leaves and coarsely ground pepper, optional

In a small bowl combine the first seven ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Garnish with cilantro and pepper, if desired.

This is super easy to make, you can make it a few hours ahead of time and it's very good. Even hubby liked it, and he's not much into carrots, at all. Once again I loved the plain yogurt addition to it; it adds a tang to it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A different crispy rice bar...

This is one of two "granola/health bar" recipes I found.

Chewy Energy Bars

2-½ cups crisp rice cereal
2 cups quick oats
¼ cup toasted wheat germ
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine the cereal, oats and wheat germ. In a small saucepan, combine the corn syrup, peanut butter and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until peanut butter is melted, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat, stir in vanilla. Pour over cereal mixture, mix well. Transfer to a greased 9x13 inch pan. Gently press cereal mixture evenly into pan. Cool completely, cut into bars.

So this is the recipe as I made it. But I did it a bit differently from the original. The recipe calls for a 9 inch square. But after the cooling and cutting part I ended up with two dozen of them instead of the 1-½ dozen that they state the yield to be and I don’t believe mine were any thinner than the ones in their picture. (Taste of Home Sept 2010) So if you choose to make this recipe you can experiment and use whichever sized pan you.

Hubby loves these bars, as do I. They are chewy and tasty. At first I kind of cringed at the idea of a WHOLE cup of corn syrup, on top of the peanut butter. But here’s what I figured; I KNOW what is in these bars, I DON’T know what’s in the average pre-packaged granola bars from the store. I like the wheat germ addition, as well as the peanut butter. Plus these are great to make with kids, and they have more nutrition for them than plain rice crispy bars made with marshmallows…etc. It would also be easy to add extra goodies in these: dried cranberries, mini M&Ms, chopped nuts…etc.

I learned a valuable lesson from this recipe: wheat germ can be found down the cereal aisle, NOT down the flour/baking aisle at your local grocery store. I also bought the untoasted variety and toasted it in my oven. It was much cheaper that way, I believe.

*Note: I found an answer to the corn syrup issue; see the next bar recipe.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Something Sweet for the Crepes

Berries’n Cream Crepe Filling

4 cups fresh berries, (slice strawberries)
2 Tblsp sugar
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup whipping cream, whipped
12 dessert crepes
Whipped cream for garnish
12 whole berries for garnish

Sprinkle sliced berries with sugar and set aside. Beat condensed milk with lemon juice until thick. Fold in berries and whipped cream. Divide between crepes and fold. Garnish with additional whipped cream and a berry centered on cream.

Note: 20 oz frozen berries can be substituted for the fresh berries. Drain off juice and omit the sugar.

I used my own raspberries from the freezer. This was delish...super-rich. Hubby said that at first he thought he'd eat 2 of them, but by the time he finished the first one he didn't need another.

I'd never beated sweetened condensed milk before, nor even thought of mixing it with whipped cream, but it was really good. And would likely be good used with other desserts as well.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another Crepe Recipe

This is just your basic crepe recipe; to be filled with whatever you might desire. Once again; easy to make, but I found them tough. Maybe I am overcooking. I DID follow the recipe to the letter this time, too.

Basic Crepe Recipe

1 ½ cups milk
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 ½ cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl beat eggs well on medium speed. Gradually add dry ingredients alternately with milk and oil. Beat until smooth. Using about ¼ cups of batter, swirl onto bottom of heated crepe pan, or 8-9 inch frying pan. Cook on one side for 1-1 1/2 minutes, or until mostly dry on top. Flip and cook an additional 1 minute.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Crepe Beginning

Indian Chicken Crepes

1 ½ cups chopped cooked chicken
8 oz plain low fat yogurt
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons sliced green onion
2 tablespoons chopped sweet pickle
½ to 1 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

¾ cup rye flour*
¼ cup AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts

Combine chicken, yogurt, raisins, onion, pickle, curry powder and red pepper. Mix well, cover and chill.

Combine dry crepe ingredients. Combine liquid crepe ingredients and add to dry ingredients, mixing well. Heat 6-7 inch crepe pan or skillet over medium heat. Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray or oil before making each crepe. Pour about ¼ cup batter onto hot prepared pan; immediately tilt pan to coat bottom evenly. Cook 1 to 1 ½ minutes or until top looks dry. Turn; cook an addition 1 minute. Cool. Stack between sheets of waxed paper.

Stir peanuts into chicken mixture just before serving. Spoon about 2 tablespoons filling along less evenly browned side of each crepe. Fold or roll up sides to cover filling. Serve immediately.

*Note: The original recipe called for ¾ cup Quaker Oat Bran, 1 cup skim milk and 3 egg whites. I didn’t have Quaker Oat Bran, so this was my substitute.

This was my first venture into making crepes. They were easy enough to make really; pour, swirl, cook and turn. I rather enjoyed making them. But when it came to eating them; well , frankly, I preferred the filling and could have done without the crepe part of it. I thought they seemed tough. Hubby seemed to like them alright, but I dunno if he was just being a good sport or really DID like them. Perhaps my substitutions made them tougher than normal, but I don’t think so, based upon my further experiments with a different recipe.

At any rate, the filling was really good, but since I got it out of a health food booklet, I really felt it needed salt. The curry powder did add great flavor, though.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

One of my Favorites...

The following recipe is one of my favorite Indian recipes. I love it. The only problem here is that I DON'T have a picture of it. *sigh* Sorry. I said I'd have a picture of all of my recipes. ARGH! Well, it's good anyway.

Chicken Korma

1 large potato; peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches long)
1 bay leaf
3 whole cloves
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp curry powder
½ tsp minced fresh ginger root
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 tsp salt
½ C sour cream
Hot cooked rice

Boil potato 10-15 minutes, just until tender. Drain.

Sauté onion, cinnamon, bay leaf and cloves in oil until onion is tender. Add chicken, garlic, curry and ginger; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Stir in tomatoes, salt and potato.

Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from heat; discard cinnamon, bay leaf and cloves. Stir in sour cream. Serve with rice.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Shall We Begin

Hmmmmm....This is the hard part; deciding where to begin.

I think I'll just start with the fun stuff. Fun for me at least. Back in '03 I was privileged to be able to spend 2 weeks in Malaysia, a country that is a crossroads of many different cultures. The most fun my friend and I had there was trying all the different foods. I fell in love with Indian, umm...India Indian, food; the curries and sauces...etc. While I was still living in Portland it was easy enough to indulge this love of Indian cuisine. But when I moved to Missouri in '04, my ability to find Indian fare came to a screeching halt. Mid-Westerners, as a general rule, do not indulge in anything foreign. At least this is so of the family I married in to.

However, a few months ago a cooking magazine I subscribe to featured some Indian foods and actually had this recipe:

Curry Powder

3 cardamom seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp pepper
1/8 tsp fennel seed

Remove cardamom seeds from their pods if necessary. In a spice grinder or with mortar and pestle, combine all ingredients until it becomes a powder. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 year.

I altered it quite a bit, my husband and I cannot "do" spicy-hot foods, so I cut down on the chili powder. But I made up a container of this and use it to flavor several different dishes that I now make. This recipe is very easy to adapt to your own tastes; just change the amounts around to suit yourself. I use the ground cardamom, instead of seeds, and I guess at the amount.

At any rate, curry powder will appear in a couple of other recipes I will post on here.

Thanks for visiting.