Friday, December 24, 2010

Yummy Snack's...

Tonight "Christmas Eve" our family eats all kinds of snacks. So we are eating Guava Cheese Turnovers. I used leftover Guava paste and placed little cubes of it on thin Triscuit crackers that I had spread original Laughing Cow cheese wedges. We had to have the tamales I made with friends on Wednesday. We rolled about 300. There were chicken and green chilies, Pork and Beef with red chili. It's really hard to choose which was the yummiest. Then there were homemade cheesy corn dogs that Krystan made last night with her newest kitchen gadget. We have green grapes covered with blue cheese and rolled in crushed croutons. Krystan pulled out Chex Mix, her favorite. Olivia just wanted to make flavored Milk Frother's. Yes we have a milk frother/warmer that is so great for chocolate milk or regular milk that has flavored syrups added to it. TOMORROW NO COOKING YEAH!!!! Merry Christmas!

New Year's Menu Planning...

New Year's Resolutions aren't my thing. As a focus for the new year I have decided to revise my menu's that I have used before. I used to have theme's for each day. You know: Monday-Chicken, Tuesday-Italian, Wednesday-Mexican, Thursday-Pork, etc. That worked for a while. Then I tried three days of cooking and the remaining day's for leftovers. That worked OK. Then we added a pizza night. It works very well for my family. Now our recipes are kind of dull. I am trying to reduce our money budget but offer my family nutritional and palatable meals.

So you might ask, "Why Meal Plan?" Several things come to mind immediately. It is easier. It saves money. No more "Mom, what's for dinner?"

I am going to use some of my favorite things to try and show you how this will work. I encourage you to follow along. Maybe you will find something that will work for you and your family.

-1st Things 1st-

Collect all of your favorite recipes.
This is not a time to include new recipes or recipes only two people in your family will eat only once a year. Go get them out of the junk drawer. You know that infamous place where all the good stuff gets placed until we can get to them later. Do you have index card files that are stuffed full? You may have folders in the file drawers. I have little post-it-flags in my cookbooks. It's just the way I do it.

Separate them by categories.
Appetizers, Soups, Breads, Cakes, Candies, Pies, Moo, Cluck, Fish, Oink, Coooookies, etc. You know what you call them in your home.

Put them in one place.
I am putting them all into electronic form. You can type them, handwrite them, scan them in, etc.

This will all help you when we get to Step2 the planning part of this revision.

For part 2... you will need large blank calendars. I purchase them from the dollar tree. I can write on them with a sharpie marker. I will post pictures, starting next week. You will see how these recipes start to make an easier day of food in your home.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Did you know that I used to be the Southern Cooking Editor over at Bella Online The Voice of Women?

I have lots of cooking recipes over there. Maybe some of your favorites that you enjoy!

The current editor is Jenny Lane. You will find me as the guest author now!

You should go on over and try them out!!!

Mamoo's Sugar Cookies

I love these cookies especially since they are drop cookies. They are made with the most unusual combination of ingredients. BUT they are so delicious! These are more like "Sandies" style cookies. They have small crunch but then melt in your mouth. I bet you will have to make more than one batch. And YES your friends will want the recipe.

Mamoo's Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar 10X
2 eggs
4 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract (or lemon extract)

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Mix together butter and both sugars. Mix until light and creamy. About 2 minutes. Slowly add oil and then eggs. Mix in vanilla and extract or your choice. Scrape down sides of bowl. Sift together flour, soda, cream of tartar and salt. Slowly add flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Mix thoroughly between cups of flour, then scraping the bowl down each time.

Scoop by teaspoonfuls or scoop with a cookie scoop. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until sides are light brown. Remove baking sheet from oven and let cookies rest for 2 minutes on the pan. Then remove from the sheet pan and place on a wire cookie rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container. Frost with your favorite icing and top off with sprinkles.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Homemade Marshmallows

I love marshmallows! I love fresh marshmallows! They are so light and fluffy. It may sound impossible but YES! you can make marshmallows. You don't need a candy thermometer or any special equipment. A stand mixer will make these fast. Here's what you will need...
1/3 cup cool water
1 package Knox plain gelatin
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light Karo Syrup
pinch salt
1/2 cup 10x sugar confectioners'
1/2 cup corn starch
Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Place in a large bowl. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Then beat for about 7 minutes on high. Mixture will become white and form peaks when whisk is lifted from the bowl. Spread the fluffy mixture in an oiled 8x8-inch pan. Smooth out the top. Let rest on counter for 2+ hours or until firm and set. Sift together cornstarch and confectioners' sugar. Cut the marshmallows with a sharp knife dipped in hot water. Toss the individual marshmallows into 1-inch squares in the sugar and cornstarch mixture. Store in an airtight container with waxed paper between layers.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hot Chocolate on a What? x2

OK! I am still really intrigued at these. My first go round turned out cute but my never ending brain function took me to another level. Yes, sleepless nights and all the pondering waking moments has me inspired to blog a round "2". So a couple of days ago; I was at the Dollar Tree Store picking up some clear glass mugs and found two packs of ice cube trays for a $1.00. No I have an automatic ice maker so I don't own ice cube trays.

I started to think about all the chocolate fantasies I have had. OH MY! I love chocolate, especially artisan chocolates. You know the ones that have basil or lavender or sea salt or chilies in them. They are so yummy and they offer amazing flavors that plain chocolate can't touch. Well this was my inspiration for round "2". So I found some Honeyville Mint Cocoa Mix that I purchased this summer at Honeyville in Utah on the now infamous RV trip. Then I had some Steven's Peanut Butter Cup Gourmet Hot Cocoa that I picked up in Utah also on the RV trip. So my mind decided to make some extra thick ganache mixture that conjures up some chocolate fantasies from my past.

I give you one new recipe of Hot Cocoa on a Stick but the twist is there are two versions. I know you are saying, "oh, now they sound so hard and too yummy for me to make"; but I can assure you they are so easy and take only 4 ingredients. Enough of the talking about it here is the recipe...

Hot Cocoa on a Stick

1 can (14 ounces) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 cup whole whipping cream
3 cups Baking Chips (Peanut Butter, Mint, Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, etc)
1/2 cup Dry Hot Cocoa Mix (Peanut Butter, Mint, Dark Chocolate, Chocolate Cherry, Milk Chocolate, etc)
1 cup of chocolate coating

Place sweetened condensed milk and whole cream in a large microwave bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Whisk together until thoroughly incorporated. With a wooden spoon or strong spatula stir in baking chips and dry hot cocoa mix. The mixture will thicken up and begin to stiffen. Mix with spoon until thoroughly incorporated. Spoon mixture into lightly oiled ice cube trays. I have a 2 tablespoon sized scoop, so it makes it really easy. Tap the ice cube trays filled with chocolate mixture to level them slightly. Let rest for about 5 minutes and insert wooden or paper lollipop stick placed in the center. Place in refrigerator for about an hour for the chocolate to set firm. Remove the chocolate cocoa cubes carefully. Set to the side. Melt chocolate coating and place 2 teaspoons into the bottom of each ice cube mold. Place the cocoa cubes back into each slot. Place back in the refrigerator for 5 minutes. Remove set chocolate cubes and wrap festively.

To serve: Heat 1 cup whole milk. Add to mug and stir with the chocolate cocoa cube. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hot Chocolate on a What?

Ok, I'm intrigued. I love making and giving little gifts. So I was looking on the web for something different and unique. I came across this little blog a while back and loved her ideas and inspiration.

Originally the post came from a really neat website This website also has some really amazing ideas.

These are so cute but I had to take a second look. Surely I understand and can follow directions but are they marshmallows? or Chocolate? So I experimented. I have an automatic ice maker, so I don't own ice cube trays. I do have chocolate molds for pretzel rods or lollipops. I believe these will do... I might just have to purchase ice cube trays? Still going to try.

So I decided that I would give these my own spin. I made "White Chocolate Malted Hot Chocolate Sticks". Then I made "White Chocolate Malted Hot Chocolate Pops". Now we all know white chocolate is nothing but a bunch of cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids. It doesn't taste anything like chocolate. It has a pleasantly sweet and buttery flavor. This is one of those things that you have to purchase the BEST quality for the BEST flavor. The white chocolate chips have added ingredients that hold it together during the baking process. Not so good for quality chocolate making. My favorite is Callebaut. It has a hint or under note of caramel and good vanilla. I purchase it at Williams Sonoma over in Destin, FL at the Destin Commons.

So more inspiration came when I went to my cupboard and looked at some of my Mexican style hot chocolate mix. I make my own. Maybe I could use this as my additive to my chocolate pops. Ok, this was ingenious. Oh how I love these and they have that added kick of the chipotle pepper and the sensuous Kortinji Cinnamon. Oh how yummy!

So here is my take on these lovely little gifts. How cool would it be to receive this in a hand painted cocoa mug, with a little package of digestive biscuits or some biscotti! You will need a cute little tag with directions. Maybe wrapped in some pretty cellophane and a beautiful ribbon bow. I would be so impressed. Can we say Teachers Gifts!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I love this website for the many projects they have to offer. There has to be something for everyone. I registered today for the giveaway of the book Card Making with Cricut. I love my cricut. I love this website. I usually make something and bake something to give together. There are lots of great ideas in the book. Later!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Glorious Oreo's Homemade Version

Glorious Oreo’s Homemade

2 packages dry dark chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
¾ cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tub “whipped” whipped cream icing

In a large bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients. Mix together by hand with a sturdy wooden spoon. Scoop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350F degrees for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 2 minutes on a pan. Remove from cookie sheet and place on cooling rack. Cool completely. Place 2 teaspoons of icing on one-half of the cookies. Take the remainder of the cookies and make a sandwich out of the cookies. Makes about 35 cookie sandwiches.

Homemade Oatmeal Pies

Out of this World “O” Pies
2 packages spice cake mix
1 ½ cups oatmeal, ground into coarse meal
4 eggs
¾ cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tub “Whipped” whipped cream icing

In a large bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. Mix together by hand with a sturdy wooden spoon. Scoop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350F degrees for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 2 minutes on a pan. Remove from cookie sheet and place on cooling rack. Cool completely. Place 2 teaspoons of icing on one-half of the cookies. Take the remainder of the cookies and make a sandwich out of the cookies. Makes about 35 cookie sandwiches.

Monday, October 11, 2010

8:30 pm Hi Hats...

Can you say sugaaaarrrrr ruuusssshhhhh....

Ok surfing the web and just visited one of my favorite sites Bakerella. Do you know this amazing woman? Angie Dudley is so creative. I love her cake pops but decided to look under her cupcake section. Oh my, I found the Hi Hat Cupcake recipe link. It was on a past Martha Stewart show episode. So of course at 8:30 pm I decided to make these.

I can hear it now, "But Mom, they looked so good". I had to cave. I sunk to the yummy level of sugar after dinner time.

Olivia and Krystan said they wanted me to save them one so they could take them to school tomorrow. I can see my Livi eating one for breakfast saying that the milk it took to wash it down made it healthy.

Here's the link.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Yummy Pumkin Blobs with Maple Cream Filling

We love blobs or whoopie pies. When we lived on the east coast we loved traveling to Amish country in Pennsylvania to get fresh ones on a cool fall day and enjoying the countryside. We cheat a little with the recipe and make them at least a little healthy. Here is our recipe for ...
Pumpkin Blobs with Maple Cream Filling

1 small can of solid pack pumkin
1 dry spice cake mix

Mix together until well combined. Mixture should be smooth. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350F degrees for about 12 minutes or until center is set. They are so soft and yummy that you may just eat them now. We think they are worth the wait to place the filling in them. Let them cool completely on a wire rack.

1/2 cup butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 cups powdered sugar (10x)
Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add the vanilla and the maple syrup. Slowly add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix on medium speed for one minute between each cup. Place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour so that it sets. Place 2 teaspoons of Maple Cream Filling on half of your cooled cookies. Place the other half of cookies on top. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes about 26 cookies.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Coconut Key Lime Cupcakes

I was in the mood for really good cupcakes. I so love coconut cake and it takes a lot of work. So I decided to shorten the process. I am sharing the recipe I use to make really good coconut cupcakes. And to sweeten the process, I decided to use some key lime pie filling. Sorry the pictures don't do them justice. I had to use my phone camera since the batteries were gone out of my camera.

Coconut Cupcakes

2 cups flour, sifted
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup key lime pie filling
extra coconut for topping
3-minute Frosting

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Cream together the butter and sugar. Mix on high speed for 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mix well between each egg. Add coconut extract. Sift together flour with baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture alternately with the coconut milk. Beginning and ending with the coconut milk. Mix on high speed for 3 minutes. Scoop into muffin pans lined with paper liners. Bake at 350F degrees for 18 minutes. Remove pan from oven and let cool in pan for 2 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely on wire rack. Scoop out centers of cupcakes. I use an apple corer to remove the center of the cupcakes. Pipe pie filling into the hole in the center of each cupcake. Top with frosting.

3 Minute Frosting

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp corn syrup
1/3 cup water
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon coconut extract
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a mixer. Beat at high speed until soft peaks form. In a saucepan, combine sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Slowly add the sugar syrup to the eggs, mixing at high speed. Beat for 3 minutes on HIGH. Immediately pipe onto cupcakes and top with coconut.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Thai Food Party=Food+Friends+Fun

Thai Bananas in Coconut Milk and Tapioca (Che Chuoi)
4 servings
2 cups water
1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
½ cup sugar
¼ cup uncooked small pearl tapioca
½ teaspoon salt
2 large ripe bananas, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
Bring water and coconut milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in sugar, tapioca, and salt. Reduce heat to medium, and cook 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in bananas. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 15 minutes. Serve warm or chill 3 hours. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

Coconut Rice
¼ cup oil
1 onion, diced
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 2 inch pieces
4 cups jasmine rice
5 cups water
1 (14 ounce) cans coconut milk
14 ounces chicken broth
½ cup lightly toasted coconut, optional
In a large frying pan, sauté the onion in the oil for 3 to 5 minutes. Add rice and lemongrass and cook for about two minutes, until rice is toasted, stirring frequently and adding more oil if needed. Carefully add water to rice. Allow to boil before reducing heat and covering. Continue to stir occasionally for about 15 minutes. Add coconut milk and cook 10-15 minutes, until rice is cooked through. Remove lemongrass stalks. Top with toasted coconut flakes, if desired.

Thai Red Curry
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp red curry paste
1 can coconut milk
½ cup chicken stock
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 pound peeled shrimp, tails on
3 cups cut vegetables (bell pepper, onions, carrots, sugar snap peas)
2 tbsp julienne-cut fresh basil
Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add curry paste, stir fry 1 to 1 1.2 minutes. Add coconut milk and chicken stock, bring to simmer on medium high heat. Stir in brown sugar and fish sauce until well blended. Add meat and vegetables, simmer 5 to 7 minutes or until meat is cooked through and vegetables are tender-crisp. Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil.

Thai Chicken Chilies and Basil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon thinly sliced Thai Chili
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Thai basil
Heat the oil in a large wok on medium-high heat. Add garlic, chili; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add chicken, water, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar; stir fry 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in basil and garnish with additional chili slices and fresh or deep fried basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Beef Satay
8 ounces beef sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
bamboo skewers
3 cloves garlic
½ cup coconut milk
2 tbsp green curry paste
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
peanut satay sauce

Thread meat onto skewers . place in a baking dish. Place garlic, coconut milk, curry paste and fish sauce in blender, cover. Puree until smooth. Pour marinade over skewers. Cover. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Remove skewers from marinade. Discard remaining marinade. Broil or grill skewers 2 to 3 minutes per side or until meat is lightly browned and cooked through. Serve skewers with peanut satay sauce.

Traditional Pad Thai Noodles
7 ounces stir fry rice noodles
1/3 cup tamarind
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp paprika
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
½ pound shrimp
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup bean sprouts
¼ cup coarsely chopped unsalted peanuts
chopped fresh cilantro
lime wedges
bring pot of water to boil. Add rice noodles, cook 3 to 5 minutes. Rinse under cold water, drain well. Set aside. Mix tamarind juice, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar and paprika in small bowl. Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add garlic; stir fry 30 seconds until fragrant; scramble until set. Stir in rice noodles and tamarind mixture; stir fry 1 minute or until heated through. Place noodle mixture on serving platter. Sprinkle with bean sprouts, peanuts and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Friday, September 24, 2010

House Party Thai Kitchen

Thai Kitchen House Party is tomorrow. We are going to have a really good time cooking some really good food. I have to go pick up some flowers today and some fresh mango's as the commissary has much of nothing still. After almost two years of renovations you would think they would purvey much better quality fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead new display features with the same old quality. My soapbox is now put away.

I have about 10 confirmed people coming. Last minute preparation to get more rsvp's in. Even if they drop in, there will be lots of food. The photo is of all the really good food items that sent courtesy of Thai Kitchen. We will be cooking and tasting about 5 different dishes and two desserts and two beverages. I so love to cook. I have been busy in the past several weeks getting ready to teach art at school. Now that all the credentials are in the right place, I hope to blog more often. Check back in the next day or two and you will be able to see what we did at the Thai This Thai Kichen House Party.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Last weeks cooking venture...

Well last week I was perusing the Gourmet Sweets cookbook and I cheated a bit. I made the Chocolate Dipped Apricots.So use your imagination. Melt good quality chocolate and dip dried apricots in the chocolate. I had some nut topping from an event left over so I toasted the nut topping and sprinkled it on the apricots. Just lay the dipped apricots on waxed paper. Sprinkle with the nut topping if desired. Let rest on tray until the chocolate sets. If you live in a hot humid area you will have to put it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Just a warning... These are addictive..

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Decision Has Been Made

So after much thought, I have decided to cook and blog my way through Gourment's Sweets Desserts for Every Occasion. I couldn't contain myself after perusing it last night. The pictures were calling me to bake, bake, bake... And the word bake kept getting louder.

So I made the Lemon Rspberry Wedding Cake on page 84. And I tweaked it a little. Raspberries are still available in our area and they taste ok. They aren't the same as Bear Lake in Utah. But they still taste good and are firm and uniform in shape and size. I made the single batch of Cake and Syrup and Buttercreme Frosting. I am definately out of practice but it turned out just fine.

So this is how I tweaked it...

I made the cake up according to directions. And baked it in three 9-inch cake pans. They turned out great. Just lightly tan on top. It was of even texture and dense in texture.

The syrup to soak the cake was sweet but not over the top sweet and the lemon juice didn't make it too tart.

So I took the buttercreme and made it without the added lemon curd. I reserved the lemon curd for the layers of the cake.

So each layer of the cake was soaked with the lemon syrup. I triple soaked the cake with the lemon syrup. I then piped a thin circle of buttercreme around the edge of each layer. In the center of the buttercreme, I placed lemon curd. Then place each layer on top of each other. Place a thin layer of buttercreme to the top and sides. Place a second layer of buttercreme over the entire cake. Place the raspberries on top. Pipe a decorative layer of buttercreme to the sides and top to finish the cake off.

So there are pictures to go with it. I can guarantee that you will have ooh's and aah's. My kids wanted to know if it was for us. And I said yes, so I am the best mom of all time!

Until next week...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Yummy Wraps

We love wrap sandwiches. I purchase burrito sized tortillas in 50 packs because they are simple and so versatile. My favorite is a Roasted Turkey Mango Wrap. I am sharing the recipe here. This recipe makes one ginormous wrap for one person. The best of all is the taste. I have this little obsession with Harry & David Chunky Mango Relish with Candied Peppers.

1 burrito sized flour tortilla
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 Tbsp Harry & David Mango Relish with Candied Peppers
4 thin slices oven roasted turkey
2 large pieces romaine lettuce
3 slices havarti cheese

Place dijon mustard and mango relish on the flour tortilla. Add the turkey and lettuce and cheese. Wrap up tightly and enjoy.

Baked Fish

My family loves fish. I love it baked. This is a recipe for one of our favorite recipes and usually there are no leftovers. It is the easiest recipe; we have no cleanup afterwards. Makes enough to serve 4 to 6.

Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
1 1/2 lbs cod fillets
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh lemon zest
2 tbsp chopped fresh orange zest
1/3 cup fresh chopped Italian Flat Leafed Parsley
3 scallions, thinly sliced

Place cod fillets in the center of a large piece of foil. Season cod fillets with salt and black pepper. Combine oil, lemon zest, orange zest, parsley, and scallions. Spread over cod fillets. Seal the foil over the fish. Bake in a preheated 425 F oven for 17 minutes. Be careful when removing fish from foil as it is very hot and steam will rapidly escape. If you gently poke a hole in the aluminum foil and let it rest for a moment before opening foil.

PB & J for Breakfast?

One of my daughters favorite foods is Peanut Butter and Jelly. Grape jelly is their favorite. I love red raspberry but the great thing about this breakfast dish is the syrup is created from your favorite flavor jam of jelly. This is so simple and takes under 30 minutes to complete. This recipe makes enough pancakes and syrup to serve 6 people. ENJOY!

Peanut Butter Pancakes
2 1/2 cups pancake and waffle mix
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups milk
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
Place milk and peanut butter in a large microwave proof bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Add pancake and waffle mix to the peanut butter/milk mixture and stir until smooth. Add the two eggs. Stir until eggs are thoroughly incorporated. Cook as directed for pancake and waffle mix.

Jelly Syrup
1 cup favorite flavor jelly or jam
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp cornstarch
In a small saucepan over medium low heat, add jelly and stir until smooth. Add cornstarch to water and stir into a slurry. Add to jelly in the pan and cook for about 2 minutes until jelly mixture cooks clear. Serve warm over pancakes.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies 'like the bakery'

2 cups baking mix
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 whole egg
2 cups ghirardelli double chocolate bittersweet chococlate chips
Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with silpat.
Mix together baking mix and baking soda with a wire whisk. Mix together melted butter and both sugars until smooth. Add vanilla extract, egg and egg yolk. Mix until smooth. Add dry baking mix. Mix until smooth. Mix chocolate chips in with a wooden spoon. Scoop onto baking sheet by 1/4 cup measurements, leaving 3 inches between each cookie. Bake for 17 minutes in a preheated oven. Let cool 2 minutes on the pan. Move cookies to cooling rack to cool completely.
Makes 18 cookies

The need for good bread here...

I love those bread bakeries that have daily selections that keep you wanting to come back everyday. Unfortunatiely we don't have such a place here. You know the ones that only do breads.

I have a master baking mix of flour, salt, sugar, and dry milk that sits on my counter. I refill the big container once every two weeks for our baking purposes. You can make bread, cookies, biscuits, scones, pancakes or waffles, etc. I love the fact that this mix doesn't have all those unwanted preservatives and unknown origins of ingredients.

I love the simplicity of a great mix that makes things convenient. On Monday, we made chocolate chip cookies. Today I am going to make some molasses whole wheat batter yeast bread. I'll post those recipes.

If you enjoy baking, having a pre-made all purpose baking mix makes life easier.

Old/New venture for me

I love to cook. I mean really cook!! I am out of practice some as I have been really busy the past 3 years volunteering full time and my church calling keeps me preoccupied 24/7.

I used to cater volunteer luncheons,charity functions,neighborhood association venues, weddings and business affairs for my husband. They were all amazing and I always have great comments and feedback. I loved it even more when people just had to have the recipes.

SO...I am looking through a pile of cookbooks I own and one or two online to cook from cover to cover and blog my journey. Do you have any suggestions? I need to get back to the things I love and make a regular time for it. So since cooking happens at least twice daily in my home I want to incorporate more of it as a time for me. I plan to place ads that I choose to review on this blog. Be assured that I will show you the products that are my favorite, that I own, or that I used to try the recipes.

I hope you enjoy this chapter in my life as I restore one of my talents and favorite hobbies.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Swiss Chard Soup

Today I made Swiss Chard Soup for lunch for family. A neighbor here in River Heights gave us a large bag of fresh swiss chard. It was enjoyed by all because there are no leftovers. Even the kids ate it. The recipe follows...

Swiss Chard Soup
1 pound chicken spinach and asiago sausage, cut into small dice
1 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups cubed peeled potatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon anise seed
3 cups water
1 cup sodium reduced chicken stock
2 cups sliced swiss chard, packed
1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese

Cut sausage into 1 inch pieces. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and brown sausage. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Add onion, garlic, potatoes, Italian herb seasoning, pepper, salt, and anise seed. Cook until onion is softened about 5 minutes. Add water and stock, bring to a boil. Return sausage to a pan, reduce heat and cover. Cook until potatoes are almost tender. Cook for about 7 minutes. Add swiss chard; simmer, covered, until tender, about 5 minutes. Top with parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Magic Ice Cream Topping

I love magic shell and it is so good over fresh homemade summer ice cream.
Here's my version...

1 cup virgin coconut oil (virgin oil gives that slight coconut flavor)
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips (you can use peanut butter or other flavored chocolate)

Combine the oil and chocolate chips in a microwave-proof bowl. Microwave for 1 minute on HIGH. Stir until smooth. Pour melted chocolate mixture into a chocolate candy melting bottle. Place bottle in a cool dry place. You will not need to refrigerate. If this sets up or begins to thicken; heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

*Note: You can add a couple of drops of flavoring oil. You will find this in the chocolate melt supply isle of your local craft store. Experiment with your favorite chocolate and flavoring oil. I love white chocolate melts and creme de menthe flavoring oil. Another favorite is dark chocolate and raspberry flavoring oil.

S'more Tarts

Krystan, daughter #1, is off to YW girls camp and she asked if we would have s'mores at reunion. I don't know, I told her but she might get lucky at camp!
So this is for you Krystan...

1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Peheat oven to 375F degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and press into 24 bite-sized tart molds. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool and set in the refrigerator to chill. When they are completely cooled, remove from pans.

1/2 cup vanilla soymilk
pinch of ground chipotle pepper
pinch of salt
Place in a saucepan and heat until the mixture is hot, but do not boil. Stir in...
6 ounces of fine quality chocolate (preferably 70% cocoa) I like Scharffen Berger!
Stir until smooth and glossy. This will thicken as it cools. Let cool for about 20 minutes, then pipe into each tart shell.

2 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups water, divided
4 packages unflavored gelatin
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 egg whties at room temperature
Combine 2 cups granulated suar, light corn syrup and 3/4 cup water in a large saucepot over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Boil this mixture until it reaches 260 degrees on a candy thermometer. Warm the remaining 3/4 cup of water. To the warm water add the vanilla extract and 4 packages of gelatin. stir briefly to allow the gelatin to bloom. Beat the egg whites utnil firm peaks form. Slowly add the gelatin mixture to the egg whites, beating at hight spead. Now add the sugar syrup slowly and let the mixture beat on HIGH for approximately 10 minutes. Pipe this mixture from a pastry bag onto the tops of the choclate truffle mixture. Let rest for for about 45 minutes. This will allow the marshmallows to set up. Take a culinary blow torch and lightly toast the tops of the tarts. Serve immediately.

Easy Summer BLT Mini's

Looking for an easy summer luncheon food that is simple and looks great. The best thing is they taste amazing and it looks like those cute little sandwiches at an upscale tea shop. These are the best when summer's bounty is within your reach. There is nothing like the taste of a garden fresh tomato in the summertime. And BLT's are the best!!!

24 baguette slices, 1/4-inch thick
1 package (8 wedges) Laughing Cow Garlic and Herb Cheese wedges
2 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced and drained on paper towels
12 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked, drained
1 small bunch watercress

Spread one side of each bread slice with Garlic Herb Cheese. Top half the slices of bread with tomato slice, watercress, and bacon. Top with other half of bread slices, cheese side down. Skewer each sandwich with a food pick and serve immediately. Makes 12 sandwiches

Monday, June 28, 2010

Quick Chicken and Broccoli Pockets

1 can grands biscuits
1 can cooked chicken breast
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped broccoli
grated parmesan cheese
Optional: sliced dry roasted almonds and dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Mix chickenm mayonnaise, dill weed, broccoli, lemon pepper, salt and almonds and or cranberries, if desired. Flatten out each biscuit and place a large spoonful of mixture in the middle. Press the seams of biscuit together to seal. Brush the butter over each biscuit and shake the parmesan cheese over them. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 8

Dilled New Potato Salad

1 (5 pound) bag red skinned new potatoes, cut into quarters
1 (16 ounce) bag of frozen green peas
1 (32 ounce) container plain non-fat yogurt
1 package Knorr Dill Dressing dip Mix
1 package ranch dressing dip mix
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 (2 cup) package grated sharp cheddar cheese

Mix together the yogurt with the dill dip mix, the ranch dressing mix and the black pepper. Set aside. Bring the new potatoes to a boil in one and one half the times of water as potatoes. Cook about 10-15 minutes until they are fork tender. During the last 2 minutes of cooking the potatoes add the bag of frozen peas. This is to blanch them, not cook them through. Remove from the stove and drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water until they are cool. Then drain thoroughly. Toss cooled potato/pea mixture in the yogurt dressing. Fold in the cheddar cheese. This recipe is best when prepared the day before and refrigerated until ready to serve.

Candied Jalapeno Turkey Burgers

I love turkey burgers and love jalapeno peppers. I love them combined even more. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare both.

Turkey Burger Recipe
1 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup candied jalapenos, chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
5 whole wheat flat bread sandwich rounds
2 sliced ripe avocados
2 sliced tomatoes
lettuce for each burger

Preheat grill. In a large bowl combine ingredients, mix until combined. Using your hands shape into 5 burger shaped patties. Press your finger through the middle of the pattie. This will help the center to cook evenly with the rest of the burger. Brush the grill with olive oil. Place the patties on the hot grill and cook about 4 minutes per side. Place one slice of Monterey Jack cheese on top of each turkey burger and let melt slightly. Place cooked burgers on buns and top with avocado, tomatoes and lettuce.

Candied Jalapenos
1 1/4 cups fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Combine jalapeno slices, sugar and water in saucepan. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until jalapenos are cooked and liquid is reduced to a thick syrup. Remove from heat. Place in a clean jar and refrigerate for up to a week.

Carmelized Onion and Garlic Jam

About 11 years ago we lived in California and I loved Stonewall Kitchen's Jams and Jellies that they had in the stores there. I loved them so much that I tried my version of making copies of them. This is one of our favorite. Gilroy wasn't far from where we lived and wild garlic, artichokes, and asparagus grew in the field behind our house. I make this once a year and if family finds out; I am left with maybe one or two jars. This is especially good on a turkey sandwich with smoked gouda cheese.

8 large onions, thinly sliced
1 head garlic gloves, sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 can concentrated frozen apple juice
2 cups water
1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 box pectin

In a large skillet, saute onions and garlic with brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Simmer until reduced and onions are carmelized. Add black pepper. In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup granulated sugar and pectin. In a saucepot, sugar/pectin mixture with onion/garlic mixture. Add apple juice and water. Your mixture of onion garlic and juice mixture should be about 5 cups total. Bring this mixture to a full rolling boil for one minute. Spoon off any foam. Ladle quickly into sterilized jars and place on lids and rings. Water bath according to altitude requirements.

Brackner Family Salsa Recipe

In the summer, our family makes salsa fresh from the ingredients in our gardens. We love salsa and the men eat hoards of it while playing Domino's until all hours of the night.

*If you have a lot of leftover juice, it makes a really good vegetable soup or chili base, so don't waste it. Can it in quart jars according to your altitude. It is a great way to make really tasty soups and stews in the winter.

5 gallons fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
4 large onions, chopped
6 large jalapenos, chopped with seeds
1/4 cup fresh chili powder, make sure the chili powder has no other ingredients in it, only ground chilies [our favorite is chipotle, a dried smoked jalapeno pepper]
1 whole head of fresh garlic, crushed (about 8 to 10 cloves of garlic)
2 large bunches of fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup ground cumin
6 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons salt

Blanch to peel the tomatoes. Remove the skins and chop the tomatoes. Add onions and pepper. Stir in spices and juice. Simmer for about 1 hour. Puree the salsa if you want a smooth salsa. For our family the cooking for an hour breaks the salsa ingredients down enough for our preferences. You can now fill sterilized pint jars with salsa. Place on lids and rings. Water bath pint jars according to your altitude.

4th of July Wonton Poppers

I usually make these in the summer for the 4th of July for my family. They are so addictive. The sweet from the plum jam and the spicy from the chilies and jalapenos are a great combination. Just a warning...You will need to make lots as you and your guests will want "just one more" over and over again!

Mexican Cheese Wonton's

1 package wonton wrappers
8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese
4 ounce can chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon chopped pickled jalapenos
Red Plum Jam

Mix together cream cheese, jack cheese, chilies and jalapenos. This should be a thick spreading consistency. Place filling into a quart size zip-lock bag. Snip one bottom corner off the bag so you can pipe the filling. Pipe about 1 teaspoon worth of filling about 1 inch from the edge of each wonton wrapper. Moisten edges to help seal the filling in when wrapping. The water will help create a glue. Roll up folding edges to center and then roll. Freeze on paper towel lined plate. Fry in hot oil for about 45 seconds or until golden brown. Serve with Red Plum Jam that you have warmed in the microwave to make a dipping sauce.

Creamy Cheddar Cheese Spread

This is an amazing cheese spread that was served about 12 years ago at a baby shower I attended. When you want an easy and tasty cheese spread for a last minute get together,this is one to keep as you probably have most of the ingredients on hand in your pantry.

1 small container of Cool Whip non-dairy topping, thawed
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 cup strawberry or raspberry preserves

Mix together cream cheese and cool whip, stir in cheddar cheese. In a plastic wrap lined loaf pan, place half of cream cheese mixture in bottom of lined loaf pan. Spread to corners and even out. Place remaining cream cheese mixture over preserves. Spread to corners and even out. Sprinkle toasted pecans over the top. Cover with overhanging plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or over night. Serve with wheat crackers or sweet bagel chips.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bulk Cooking Pasta Recipe

I usually have a bulk pasta cooking session once a month. This is a really easy and nice looking pasta dish. I usually make 4 recipes and freeze to finish cooking later.

Cheese Lover’s Pasta Roll-ups

1 egg beaten
1 container (16ounces) ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded Italian 3-cheese blend
4 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp dry Italian seasoning
1 jar (26-ounces) spaghetti sauce, divided
16 lasagna noodles, cooked
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first 5 ingredients until well blended. Spread ½ cup spaghetti sauce on bottom of 9”x13” pan. Spread each noodle with 3 tbsp cheese mixture. Roll up. Place, seam-sides down, in dish. Top with remaining sauce and parmesan. Cover. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until heated through. Uncover the last 10 minutes to brown the top.

You can freeze this for up to one month. To serve; thaw out overnight in refrigerator. Bake, covered, 1 hour. Uncover last 10 minutes to lightly brown the top.

Ravin' Raspberry Crepes

Today I entered a really good recipe, that I made last week, at

I have included it here...
Ravin’ Raspberry Crepes

Batter if you are making your own crepes…
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 ¾ cup skim milk
3 eggs
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
pinch of salt
In the jar of a blender combine milk, butter and eggs. Pulse on HIGH for 10 seconds. Add flour, sugar and salt. Pulse for about 30 seconds of until batter is smooth. Let batter sit for 10 minutes on counter until bubbles dissipate. Cook crepe batter according to manufacturer directions

½ cup fresh raspberries, gently mashed with a fork
1 cup FAGE Total 0 plain yogurt
2 tablespoons 10X powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Fold together 1/2 cup raspberries, yogurt, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Refrigerate.

1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 cup Haagen Daz Vanilla Honey Bee Ice Cream, melted to room temperature
Measure ice cream into a bowl and allow to melt to room temperature. Fold in whipped crème.

Additional items…
1 cup fresh raspberries
shaved chocolate curls
12 prepared crepes

To assemble crepes…
Place filling into a large zip-top bag. Snip corner to pipe filling. Pipe a long rope of prepared filling down the center of each crepe. Roll each into a cigar shape. Place two crepes onto each plate. Gently ladle sauce over crepes and garnish top with additional fresh raspberries and chocolate shavings.
Enjoy! Makes 6 servings