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!