Monday, December 31, 2007


Peter loves spinach. Just plain old cooked spinach. I do not. I do enjoy spinach in other dishes or when it's doctored up. So here's a lovely quick way to make spinach taste good, coming from my very own mother in law. She sometimes substitutes kale for the spinach in the recipe - also good and good for you!

Panned Spinach
1 lb spinach-wash and remove coarse stems, shake off as much water as possible
In a large, heavy skillet heat the following:
1 T butter
2 T olive oil
Add 1 clove minced garlic
Add spinach. Cover at once and cook over high heat until steam appears. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 5-6 minutes in all.
To make this Sicilian spinach: add 2 or more chopped anchovies

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Gingerbread Cookies!!!

i LOVE making gingerbread cookies, or maybe I just love gingerbread anything. Here is a recipe that I remember my mom using since I was ..well..young enough to remember. It's from the 1974 edition of Betty Crocker cookbook.

Gingerbread Cookies (actually labeled "gingerbread people")

1.5 cups dark molasses
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup cold water
1/3 cup butter (that's 3 tbsp, as labeled on the butter package)
7 cups flower
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix molasses, brown sugar, water and butter. Mix in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hrs.

Heat oven to 350. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick on floured board. Cut with floured gingerbread cookie cutters. Place 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake until no indentation occurs. About 10-12 mins Decorate as desired.

Makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

-My mom taught me this trick: pour a little bit of olive oil/or any oil..into the cup for the molasses and use your finger to coat the cup. The molasses will come right out.

-I didn't grease the cookie sheet, instead we used wax paper. Less mess. Works just as well.

-I forgot about carry over heat, so I kept baking my cookies util they were practically hard, and they kept baking after I took them out, so some of mine were overdone. I was cooking them for about 18 minutes!! tooooolongggg...but bear in mind that every oven is different.

-To frost them, you can do whatever your like, but I just mixed 2 tbsp water with 2 tbsp powdered sugar/food coloring, and it MAKES A MESS!! So I decreased the amount of water. The recipe suggests Decorator's frosting, but I liked this better..I like mine smothered in frosting as you can see in the picture.

French Toast Souffle

Souffle makes it sound so official and fancy, doesn't it? Really it is just a casserole that I like to make thru the holidays. We are having friends over for brunch tomorrow and I was making this. It prompted me to post the recipe in case anyone else wants it in time for Christmas.

French Toast Souffle

16 slices of cinnamon bread, cut into cubes
8 oz. low fat cream cheese
8 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cups half and half
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 TBS powdered sugar

Place cubed bread in bottom of 9x13 dish. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs one at a time. Mix well after each addition. Add milk, half and half, maple syrup and vanilla. Pour mixture over the bread. Chill, covered for 8-12 hours. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking. Bake 375 for 50 minutes uncovered. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top and serve.

It is so delicious. Hope you all enjoy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Roast in the crockpot

I've never made a roast before, but I tried this and it was a great combination:

1 beef roast (whichever cut you prefer)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can beef broth
1 package dried onion soup mix
dash of worchestshire sauce
garlic powder

Put all the veggies you want in the bottom of the crock pot. Flour the roast on all sides and rub garlic powder and pepper on the outside. Place in the crockpot. Mix in a bowl the other ingredients. Pour over the top. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

This turned out to be pretty tasty and mess free and hassle free.

Christmas Baking has Begun!

I started my Christmas baking last night. I don't have much freezer space (I live with two other girls right now) so I have to bake closer to Christmas for lack of storage room. I made Snowalls last night. I tend to name these cookies whatever to occasion calls for. If I were making these for a bridal shower I would most likely call them Mexican Wedding Cakes. So, call them what you want but they also have the same great taste every time they're made.

1 cup butter
½ cup powder sugar
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
2 ½ cups flour
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine butter, sugar, salt and vanilla. Cream until light and fluffy. Mix in flour and then add the nuts. Roll into 1 inch size balls. Place on an ungreased cookies sheet. Bake for 6-8 Minutes. Roll in powder sugar while hot and then again when cool.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hawaiian Pork (Again)

Did I tell you what happened last time I made the Hawaiian Pork?

No? Well then, let me counsel you: sealing that tent of foil is so extremely important. I did not seal it well enough last time and our dinner was charred. Ruined. So sad.

But I'm brave, so I'm trying again. This time I checked and double-checked those seals! We should be okay!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

How's this for innovation?

I felt like some corn muffins today. So I jumped over the following hurdles. I don't know the end result yet, but the batter looked just like it's supposed to...

Can't eat wheat, substitute rice flour.
Out of vegetable oil, substitute applesauce.
Out of milk AND can't eat it anyway, substitute water.

I'll keep you posted!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Turkey Chili

I love the spice of chili, but I don't like beans. It's a texture thing for me. So, I finally have come up with a great recipe sans beans, and it's healthier than regular chili because it is made with ground turkey, not ground beef. Now, I'm sure you could substitute ground beef, but the ground turkey in this is delicious. Hope you all try it and like it!

Turkey Chili

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
2 1/2 pounds ground turkey (85 percent lean) or ground turkey breast (99 percent lean), 2 packages
4 tablespoons dark chili powder, 2 palm fulls
2 tablespoons grill seasoning blend, any brand, 1 palm full
1 tablespoon cumin, 1/2 palm full
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce, medium to extra-spicy
1 large onion, quartered
2 large peppers, any color combination, red, green, purple, yellow or orange, chopped
1/2 bottle beer (the alcohol cooks out), about 1 cup
1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup smoky barbecue sauce
2 cups corn kernels, optional

Heat a pot over medium to medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 3 turns of the pan, and the turkey meat. Season the meat with: chili powder, grill seasoning, cumin, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Break up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon into small crumbles.
Chop the onion, reserving 1/4 of it for topping the chili. Brown meat 5 minutes, then add onions and chopped bell peppers and cook 10 minutes more. Add beer and deglaze the pan, scraping up the drippings and cooking off the alcohol. Add tomato sauce and barbecue sauce and bring to a bubble. If using corn kernels add them now. Let chili simmer 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings and heat level to your taste. Remove from heat and serve.

Here are some pictures along the way:

Monday, December 10, 2007

Loaf of Meat

Meatloaf is one of those comfort-type foods that is definitely not picturesque. Good thing I always forget to take pictures!! So I loosely used a couple of different recipe to come up with this recipe that Peter quite enjoyed. So did I for that matter. There are no leftovers. But at least I used the majority of the ground beef before it went bad! I served this with a sweet potato. Love those roots!!

MeatLoaf Anne-Style
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
most of a small onion, minced
1/4 cup(ish) green pepper, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
1 egg (wasn't enough, try 2)
few dashes of Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients together. Form into two loaves. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

Some Spaghetti with Meat Sauce on a cold day

Well, this is my first post on here. Thank you so much for inviting me. I was cooking one of my winter favorites today and thought I would share. It is my grandmother's meat sauce recipe. Measurements are not exact, but it is delicious and very yummy on a cold soggy winter day.

Meat Sauce

2 lbs ground beef
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
one handful parsley
1-2 TBS oregano
28 oz. can crushed OR diced tomatoes
14 oz. can of tomato sauce
6 oz. can of tomato paste

Dice up onion and garlic and put in a pan. Add ground beef and brown. Switch to a large pot and add all the rest of the ingredients and turn down to low and let simmer. I feel the longer you simmer, the better it is. Sometimes, though, just for 20 minutes will do if you are in a pinch. Today, I got it done early, and it will simmer for 2 hours.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

It's cold out! I need soup!

I don't remember where I got this recipe. It may have been from the time Danielle Bean had everyone submit easy recipes? I decided to make it because it looked easy. I wasn't sure how it would work -- it kind of looked like I was just throwing in a bunch of stuff that tasted good individually.... would they taste good together?
It did!

Tortellini Soup
9 oz. tortellini
14 oz. can whole tomatoes
1 can navy beans
1 jar artichoke hearts
1 c. chopped onion, 1 pepper and garlic (amount to taste)
1 1/2 large box vegetable broth
1 bag fresh spinach
Heat in crockpot. Serve with Parmesan cheese and sourdough bread.

So this is what the recipe looked like.... not very specific, though! How big of a jar of artichoke hearts? How big is a "large box" of broth? And is the red pepper and garlic TOGETHER a cup, or is it a cup of both? And is that red pepper, like the vegetable, or red pepper flakes?
So... I used real red pepper, and used about half of that, and then threw in a couple of cloves of garlic, chopped up. I think I would use less artichokes next time, too -- I got a big jar, and I think I would get a little jar next time.
But it was good! Anne, perhaps you can throw something in there instead of tortellini so it would fit the regulations?
(Italians wouldn't like this, because the tortellini gets very soft and very un-al dente! Hee hee!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A good company dinner

Anne, I'm glad you posted! Jill and I were worried we were taking over the blog. I didn't want to post a recipe until someone else had posted! : )

I made these tonight for a some friends. I know you're not supposed to try something new when you're having company, in case it flops... but luckily, these came through wonderfully! They were really easy to make but tasted like I had slaved in the kitchen! : )

Chicken Parm Bundles

4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
1-1/4 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
6 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 lb.), pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1 egg
10 RITZ Crackers, crushed (about 1/2 cup)
1-1/2 cups spaghetti sauce, heated

PREHEAT oven to 375ºF. Mix cream cheese, spinach, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and 3 Tbsp. of the Parmesan cheese until well blended; spread evenly onto chicken breasts. Starting at one of the short ends of each breast, roll up chicken tightly. Secure with wooden toothpicks, if desired. Set aside.

BEAT egg in shallow bowl or pie plate. Mix remaining 3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese and the cracker crumbs in separate shallow bowl or pie plate. Dip chicken bundles in egg, then roll in crumb mixture. Place, seam-sides down, in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

BAKE 30 min. or until chicken is cooked through (165ºF). Remove and discard toothpicks, if using. Serve topped with the spaghetti sauce and remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.

Tyson sells a thin "scallopini" chicken breast that would be perfect to use since it wouldn't need pounding, but I wasn't that smart at the store. I don't have a meat pounder, and my attempts to use other things failed, so I actually just cut the breasts in half and it worked pretty well. I used fresh spinach, diced up, because that was just what I had on hand. I also didn't use Ritz crackers, I used a mixture of crackers that I had -- some toasted butter crackers and some multigrain.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I've never been to Hawaii, but this is good food!

Hello, ladies! It's been awhile since I've shared a recipe and since I've been up since 4am, I have not only made (and eaten) breakfast this morning but I've got dinner mostly ready to be cooked! I have made and loved this recipe before. I got it from Danielle's Easy Meals thread. So this delicious meal comes to us courtesy of Nikki. Thanks for sharing.

I've made this already once and loved it. The first time I used pork chops, today pork loin. So I don't think it really matters what cut of pork you use. Whatever is handy (or on sale, as in my case) will work.

Hawaiian Pork
serves 6

3-4 lb pork butt or shoulder, trim the fat and cut into large steak size chunks

In a bowl mix:
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced (have you ever tried to mince ginger? It's quite a tough little root.)
6 cloves of garlic (or more), peeled and minced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup whiskey

Line 13x9 inch pan with foil. [This is where it gets a bit tricky.] Use a long piece length wise and a long piece width wise, enough to make a tent over the pork. Place chunks of pork in bottom of pan. Spoon sauce over pork. Bring up and fold the opposing side of the foil (to form tent) and seal over the pork in a dome shape (to allow for steaming room). Make sure the foil is tightly sealed. Place in 325 degree oven for 3-4 hours. Nikki says: you can't overcook this. Serve with rice and your choice of veggie.

I have, sadly, never had whiskey available to me (we're too poor) but I'm sure it makes this taste even better, if that's possible. And today I'm actually marinating my pork so that it's ready to throw into a pan and in the oven at lunch time, so we'll see how marinating it affects it.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Thanksgiving recipes

I won't post them all, since the stuffing was yucky and the green bean casserole was just from the back of the can. But here are the recipes for pumpkin pie and the turkey gravy, which Joannie made (it was fantastic). For the turkey, like Joannie said, I just brushed it with olive oil and sprinkled some s&p. Very simple!

Best Pumpkin Pie
(From Better Homes and Gardens magazine)

1 15oz can of pumpkin
3/4 c. white sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/4 c. milk (not evaporated, just regular)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3 eggs, beaten
9" pie crust

1) Preheat oven to 375.
2) In a large bowl, combine pumpkin & spices. Add eggs; beat slightly with a fork until combined. Gradually add milk; stir until combined.
3) Carefully pour filling in pastry shell. Cover edge with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, bake 30 more minutes or until knife comes out of the center clean. Cool. Refridgerate within two hours.

Quick Gravy
from Real Simple magazine

Pan juices from the turkey and roasting pan
4 cups turkey or chicken broth
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Strain the pan juices into a bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes. Skim and discard the fat from the surface. In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, bring 1 cup of the juices and the broth to a boil. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water until no lumps remain. Slowly whisk the cornstarch mixture into the simmering broth. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and season with the salt and pepper. Strain just before serving.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Our Thanksgiving (according to Joannie)

Sorry, sorry! It's been a crazy week and I haven't had a chance to post. We weren't able to upload the pictures over the weekend, like we wanted to, so this post is a little late. I don't have any of the recipes, so Jill will have to post another entry and include any of those.

Here are pictures. It was a simple dinner-- which was good, since there were only three of us anyway! (Well, four, if you include George. I think his favorite part was the marshmallows on the sweet potatoes!!)

Just like our Mom taught us, we used a bag to make the turkey. This has never, ever failed. The bag makes the turkey so moist and flavorful -- without any fuss! Jill barely seasoned the turkey at all, and it was so wonderful... Mmmmm....

We made the old standby green bean casserole, stuffing, sweet potatoes, turkey, and rolls. Like I said, it was a good simple meal. Oh, pumpkin pie and pecan-chocolate pie (see that recipe in the post below) too. I must say, the pumpkin pie was delicious. I've only made pumpkin pie with the Libby's recipe on the back of the can, but Jill's recipe was different and very yummy (not that yours isn't, Libby). I'm pretty sure I ate 80% of the pie, if not more. George had a piece, too. : )

We made a few mistakes... like putting the onions on top of the green bean casserole at the beginning, instead of the end. But Jill saw that they were burning, realized the mistake, and just stirred them in. So it was still yummy! The stuffing was... interesting. We used too much stuffing for the amount of stock we mixed in, but Jill threw in more stock when we saw it was too dry, and it helped. We decided we wouldn't recommend the stuffing recipe, though, so I don't know if Jill will even post that. Oh, and we burned the rolls... but we had more, so it was okay. But when we ran out of leftover rolls the next day (they're so yummy for making mini turkey sandwiches), we were sad we burned them. We almost burned them twice -- I think Patrick said something about needing more starch or something, as a joke, and Jill and I both leapt up from the table and rushed to take the second set of rolls out! : )

I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch of stuff. All in all, it was a very yummy holiday!! And it was a good bonding time for these sisters.

Okay you J sisters, you promised us coverage! I need pictures! And recipes! And stories! And whatever else you've got to share!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanksgiving in less than a week!

I brought home our Thanksgiving bird today and he's thawing in the fridge right now! Joannie is coming down so hopefully we will take some pics and bring you coverage of our day of cooking and feasting! I have a few new recipes up my sleeve (as well as the usual traditions).

I made this pie last year and highly recommend it:

Chocolate Pecan Pie
by Emeril Lagasse

1 1/2 cups pecans
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Spread the pecan pieces and the chocolate chips evenly on the bottom of the pie shell.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together. Pour the filling over the pecans. Bake until the filling sets, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes before slicing. Cut into individual servings and serve with a drizzle of Caramel Sauce and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Notes: Since there is so much sugar in this pie, and my oven tends to be hotter than average, I reduced the temp to 350 and covered the pie with aluminum foil . My first attempt came out almost black on top after an hour because all the sugar burned. I also recommend testing the middle of the pie to make sure it's set all the way through; my second attempt, although nice and brown on top, was still runny in the middle. Okay, it actually took me three attempts before I made this pie correctly. But it was worth it, trust me. It is simply decadent. Of course, I don't recommend making it 3 times in one day, especially if you have time constraints.

There are so many recipes for chocolate pecan pie out there, so if you have one I'd love to hear it!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

must be the season for soup...

I was going to post this yesterday, but I didn't want to snatch the spotlight from that yummy-looking soup of my sister's. So I waited a day.

Chili seems to be a hit around here, so I don't feel bad adding another chili recipe to this list. This wasn't your typical chili, though -- with the addition of pasta, most of the liquid was soaked up, at least in the leftovers. But it was still really good.

Italian-Style Chili

1 lb ground beef
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
2 cups of water
2 cups of medium-sized pasta shapes, any kind (I used rotini)
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 c Parmesan cheese, divided
1 Tbsp chili powder

1. Brown meat in large saucepan; drain.

2. Add spaghetti sauce, water, pasta, beans, onion, 1/4 c of cheese, and chili powder. Stir.

3. Cover; cook on medium heat 10 to 12 minutes, or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.

4. Sprinkle with remaining cheese just before serving.

Okay, now it's time for Joannie to explain how she could make something so easy turn into a mess . . . it looks really easy, right? And it is . . . unless you only own one pot (I know, who just owns one pot?!) and it's too small for this... It was all okay until I added the sauce and the water, and then I thought, "uh oh..." and my pot was full. I stirred it for awhile, not really sure what I was going to do, but knowing I needed to do something... so I threw what I had mixed (beef, sauce, water) into the crockpot, turned the crockpot on high, then cooked my pasta in my one pot. While my pasta was cooking, I threw the beans, onion, and cheese in the crockpot, and then when the pasta was done, it all went into the crockpot for a good stir. Tada! Like Anne said, you can't mess up chili. I think I need to buy another pot, though...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Get your soup on

Are you feeling vitamin A deficient? Then this is the soup for you:

Butternut Squash Bisque.

1 tablespoon canola oil
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 diced onion
1 peeled and cubed butternut squash (about 4 cups)
3 cups water
3 bouillion cubes
salt and ground black pepper to taste
ground nutmeg to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

Heat the oil and melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the onion in the butter and oil under tender.
Mix the squash into the pot. Pour in water and bouillion, and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are tender.
In a blender or food processor, puree the soup mixture until smooth. (Don't forget the lid for the blender -- very important. Return to the pot, and stir in the heavy cream. Heat through, but do not boil. Serve warm with a dash of nutmeg.

You can also smack a nice dollop of sour cream on the top.

I made this last week and we still have leftovers. It is not a soup to take lightly, as it is very filling! But it keeps you nice and warm on chilly nights.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fool Proof

I've said it before and I'll say it again: You can't ruin chili.

Not if you put in chick peas instead of standard chili beans. Not if you put in a mixture of Prego spaghetti sauce and regular tomato sauce. Not if even if you eat some leftovers and absentmindedly throw the remaining leftovers in the freezer without the lid being completely air-tight. Defrost, then heat through.

Still good.


If you want to get a jumpstart on your Christmas cookie baking, check out Angela's blog. I received this same email from our very own Joannie a couple days ago, but never thought to post it.

Looks like fun!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

French Onion soup Question

Does anyone know, does the incredible taste (and dark color) of french onion soup come from making it with beef broth instead of chicken broth? Has anyone ever made it? I tried making it last night with chicken broth and a lot of onion (and a blender) and it tasted rather , nay VERY blah. I even put in a bunch of random such luck? anyone have success with this?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

cookie failure

alright anne, here you go..except, I'm not posting a recipe..because I failed at it.

So, I pulled the Chocolate Chip and Pumpkin Cookie recipe from Mixing Bowls and Measuring Spoons ( one of the links on the cookin' sisters site)

and I must have somehow screwed them up because they don't taste like much. I was sure they would have more flavor, I think I must have missed an ingredient or a step or something. I wouldn't put it past myself. Although, upon reflection, I used Ghiardelli dark chocolate chocolate chips...and those are a tad bitter and BIG chips. I dont think I baked them long enough becuase the chocolate chips were not very melted. Also, my mom usually uses a melon scoop for transporting the clumps of cookie dough from the bowl to the cookie sheet, but I grabbed the ice cream scoop instead and then, as I continue to scoop, wonder why the heck these clumps are so big! They lookd more like chocolate chip pumpkiin muffin tops without the muffin bottoms! haha. Oh well, I guess the flavor of pumpkin can be subtle? I havn'et been cooking/baking/experimenting much because have been doing a lot of dancing so as to distract myself and not to think about unpleasant recent events. please say a prayer for the healing of broken hearts. Anyways, my next endeavor is also pulled from another linked blog site: Pink Lemonade Cupcakes, so keep your eyes open for that jewel..yum..

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ah the cooking blog is slow these days. Perhaps everyone is busy, too? This must be a busy time of year and homemade baking and cooking are hard to come by...let alone blogging about it!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Daniel's Dumplings

I finally made apple dumplings on Saturday afternoon and it was a lot fun! Anne came over with the baby and she, of course, helped me out. Truth be told, I'm not too good when it comes to dough so her tips were a huge help.

Apple Dumplings
An easy recipe for a warm fall treat
  • 4 apples, thinly sliced (the cook book is old and two apple of our modern size will work fine. I think apples were smaller back when this recipe was written)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoons of Cinnamon

Mix all three ingredients together in bowl and set a side while making the dough.

  • 2 cups flours
  • 1/2 butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 5-7 tablespoons of ice water

In mixing bowl combine flour and salt. Cut in butter with two knifes or pastry blender. Add 5 to 7 tablespoons of ice water until dough in manageable. Once dough is manageable form a ball, then divide the ball into two smaller balls. Roll each ball into a 10 inch square (square-ish will work fine) then cut 4 equal size squares. In the end you should have 8 dough sqares.

Fill each square with about 2 tablespoons of apple mixture. Top off with a little butter. Pull 4 corners of square together and pinch together so no juices leak out. Egg wash can be brushed on top of dumplings if you wish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Serve to a loving fiancé and you have yourself a successful recipe!

Peeling the apples

Sugar, cinnamon, and set a side

The dough was a eaiser than it usually is for me

This part is always the hardest for me, not this time though, I'm a champ!

Butter on top and they're ready to be wrapped

My first, of many to come, Apple Dumplings!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hoosier Chili

I posted a while ago about wanting to find a good chili recipe and I've found it! A friend let me borrow a really cool cookbook. It’s written by a woman who grew up on an Indiana farm in the 1950s, when horses still plowed the fields and soap and butter were homemade.

2 tbsp of butter
1 large white onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 lb of ground beef
1 28-ounce can of tomatoes
1 46-ounce can of tomato juice
1 lb can of kidney beans, drained
¼ tsp of sugar
½ tsp of ground cumin
To taste:
Ground red pepper
Chili powder
Salt & pepper

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet and sauté’ onion and garlic until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1 pound of ground beef and cook over a high heat, breaking up the meat into bite-size chunks, for 7 to 8 minutes. (This is where I transferred everything to a stock pot then I ->) Add the canned tomatoes, tomato juice, and kidney beans. Season the chili with sugar, ground cumin, and other spices from above. Cover and simmer, stir from time to time, for about an hour.

It seemed like I was using a lot of chili powder but this makes a very nice portion of chili. The seasoning will really just depend on what you want. Daniel loves hot food so this had just enough bite to it, not to much though. I also cubed two potatoes to toss in the chili and everyone seemed to really like it.

Recipe from Memories of a Midwestern Farm by Nancy Hutchens. I'm also going to try her recipe "Get you a husband Apple Pie". Since my soon-to-be husband’s favorite desert is apple pie I thought this sounded perfect.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pumpkin Milkshake Experiment

I was in Spelunkers in Front Royal, VA, a couple weeks ago and saw they were selling pumpkin milkshakes. It sounded yummy to me, so I tried to make some:

2 scoops vanilla ice cream
2 tbsp. canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk

If you really like pumpkin pie, or the taste of pumpkin, you will really like these. If not, I'd substitute the canned pumpkin for two generous squirts of Hershey's chocolate syrup.

Happy Fall!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Roasting Pot

This is a great and easy long as you can start dinner about 3 hours before you intend to eat it. I got it from my mother in law, who found it in the L. L. Bean cookbook.

Pot Roast
1 3lb whole chuck roast with fat on one side
1 T flour
2 c water
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper
2 bay leaves (optional)
1 t dried thyme
2 T dried parsley
chopped fresh vegetables of your choice

Sear roast all over, starting with the fat side. (If there's not enough fat, film the bottom of the pan with oil.) Remove the browned meat. Stir in flour, cook slowly, stirring a couple of minutes, then add the water a little at a time, stirring. Toss the chopped onion, carrot, and garlic into the pot. Lay meat on top. Salt and pepper all over. Add the herbs and bring to a boil. Drape a piece of foil over the meat and simmer very gently for 2 hours. Add cut up veggies and simmer another 40 minuts, covered, until veggies are just tender.

I used broccoli and red potatoes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I stole this one off a box. But it's yummy.

I won't pretend this is a creative, innovative dish. Nope, I stole it (as if I don't steal all my recipes) straight off the back of the Stove Top Stuffing box. But it's really yummy. And quick, which is perfect for when I get off work at 5.

There are four variations. I've only made the Bruschetta one (it's in my oven right now, and smelling quite good...) but I want to try the others too.

Easy Layered Chicken Bake

All types call for:
1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 pkg (6 oz) Stove Top Stuffing

Bruschetta-style includes
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 can (28 oz) Italian-style stewed tomatoes, well-drained
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken in 13x9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with seasoning. Combine stuffing mix with 1 1/2 cups of water
2. Spread add-ins over chicken. Sprinkle with topping. Top with stuffing mixture
3. Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Other styles:
1/2 tsp of poultry seasoning;
add-ins: 1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup mixed with 1/2 c of milk; 2 cups frozen green beans
toppings: 1/2 mozzarella cheese; 1/4 sliced almonds

Cheesy Mushroom and Broccoli:
1/2 tsp garlic powder
add-ins: 1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of broccoli soup mixed with 1/2 cup of milk; 1 jar (4 1/2 oz) of sliced mushrooms, drained
toppings: 1/2 shredded cheddar cheese

1 Tbsp chili powder
add-ins: 1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes, well drained; 1/2 cup salsa; 2 cups frozen corn
toppings: 1/2 cup shredded Mexican-style cheese; 1/2 cup sliced green onions

They say you can "mix and match" toppings and add-ins, but I'm not sure which ones I would want to mix. My buzzer just sounded, so it's time for me to mangiare!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Helpful Link

Here is a link to Danielle Bean's quick recipes post. Lots of experienced ladies dishing out the convenience recipes over there. I've already printed my copy and am scanning it for dishes that fit the eczema diet. Go get your copy now!

Just in Time for the Fall Weather

It's supposed to be 58 degrees here tomorrow! Enough of this 90 degree weather. Thank goodness.

Sweet Potato Casserole
3 lbs canned sweet potatoes, drained
1 3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1/2 cup OJ
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened

Topping: 3/4 c chopped pecans, 1/4 c brown sugar, 3 T melted butter

Grease a 6 cup casserole dish and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients. Using a potato masher, mash to make a smooth puree. Spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish. For the optional topping combine those ingredients in a small bowl and spread on top of the puree. Bake at 375 until the top begins to brown about 1 hour.
Adapted from Sleep On It by Carol Gordon

I would suggest using only 1/2 tsp orange zest (it's very zesty, you know). Also less salt. I used canned yams instead of sweet potatoes (who knows what the difference is between them anyway). Quite a nice side dish. Sweet enough to be a healthy dessert.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Loving to Cook for My Love

Dear Fellow Bakers,

My fiancé, Daniel, loves pie, apple crisp, apple cider...anything made with apples and his heart is content. I want to surprise him with apple dumplings as autumn is approaching. I’ve looked at many recipes and they all look like they would taste good but does anyone have an apple dumpling recipe they've used and know is delicious?

The Future Mrs. Daniel Smith

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

More zoup!

My grandma loves to tell this story: when she came down to help my mom after Laura was born during a blizzard in February, Grandma made a pot of soup for dinner. I guess I enjoyed it because when I was finished I held out my bowl to my grandma and said: More zoup!

Anyway, I didn't find this particular soup that delicious, but it fit the diet and Laura (and Peter) found it post -worthy. So here ya go...

Chicken and Rice Soup
1 2/3 pounds chicken (I used drumsticks. Peter prefers dark meat.)
5 cups water
1 bay leaf
parsely, dried - a dash (fresh 1/4 cup)
1 onion, chopped
Place these ingredients in the crockpot on low for four hours. Remove chicken from broth. Cut into bite size pieces. Discard bay leaf. Pour broth into a pot on the stove.
1 cup carrot, chopped
3/4 cup rice
Add these ingredients to broth on the stove. Add the chicken to the broth. Simmer, covered for 30-40 minutes, until rice is tender.

How could I forget?! Salt and pepper! And plenty of it!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Traditional Meat Loaf

A meal that will warm a home with tradition and good smells!

1 lbs lean ground beef
¼ cup milk
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp sage
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground mustard
¼ tsp pepper
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or 1/8 tsp garlic powder (I used garlic clove)
2 slices bread with crust, torn into mall pieces
1 small onion, chopped to make 3 tablespoons
1/3 cup ketchup, chili sauce or barbecue sauce (I used ketchup)

1 egg

1. Heat oven to 350°F

2. Mix all ingredients together except ketchup. Make a 8x4 loaf from the meat mixture. Place on an ungreased pan with some sort of edge so juices won't drip off. Spread ketchup over top of the loaf.

3. Insert meat thermometer so tip is in center of load. Bake uncovered 50-60 minutes or until thermometer reads 160°F. Let loaf sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Caramel Apple Bars

I made these for a family party yesterday and got a lot of compliments. I didn't tell them that they were super easy and kind of from a mix, because that way I came off looking a lot cooler than I really am. (so much for integrity)
I got the recipe from my mom (yea, mom!) but it is ultimately from Betty Crocker:

Caramel Apple Bars

1/2 cup cold butter
1 pouch (1lb., 1.5 oz.) Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix
1 egg
1 c. finely chopped peeled apple
3/4 cup caramel topping (like for ice cream)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1. Heat oven to 350.
2. In large bowl, cut butter into cookie mix using fork or pastry blender. Stir in egg until mixture is crumbly.
3. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of cookie mixture. Press remaining cookie mixture into bottom of pan. Bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle apple evenly over crust. In small bowl, mix caramel topping and flour; drizzle over apples. Sprinkle reserved cookie mixture over apples.
4. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 2 hours. For bars, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows.

Sorry I forgot to take a picture!!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Easy Peasy

I just got home from my uncle's 60th birthday party bash. It was a lovely party with great food. There was lots of raving about the delicious bacon wrapped appetizers. I enjoyed them too. And they even fit the diet guidelines. So what did I do when I got home after I put the baby to sleep? Googled the recipe of course!

Best of all they look completely simple to make!! Highly recommending these, even though I haven't made them myself yet; they're delicious!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pesto Pasta

I made a very simple recipe last night and it was delicious! It’s also a good recipe for Friday’s. It's from my Cooking Basics book by Betty Crocker.

1 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts (I didn't add nuts because I didn't have any)

1. Place all ingredients in blender or food processor.

2. Cover and blend on medium speed about 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape sides, until smooth.

3. Pour over 8oz (1/2 a box) of cooked Rigatoni

Monday, September 24, 2007

Guacamole Salad - ala Ina Garten

So, as I mentioned in the previous post, Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) made a guacamole salad. I wanted to expand upon that because she didn't make is, she made it into a salad, which I thought was genius. She took all the components of guacamole and mixed them together, only without all the mashing and such. Here is the recipe.

Guacamole Salad © Barefoot Contessa
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1/2-inch diced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup small diced red onion
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno peppers, seeded (2 peppers)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled, and 1/2-inch diced

Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper and pour over the vegetables. Toss well.
Just before you're ready to serve the salad, fold the avocados into the salad. Check the seasoning and serve at room temperature.

I don't like bell peppers, and I would probably skip the salt and pepper, but since not everyone shares my tastes, I decided to just copy/paste the whole recipe. It looks so good, especially with the black beans, which I imagine you can subsitute any kind of bean. I think what I would do is forget most of the measuring and just throw evetything together to taste. It reminded me of another very similiar side salad that my mom makes.

Mix cut up avocado, tomatoes red onions in bowl. Stir in olive oil and balsamic. That's it. It's delicious.

So instead of doing the guacamole salad, I made a single sized portion of the above because we had cherry tomatoes, half an avocado and somoe red onion already cut up. Okay done, sorry I feel like I am hogging this website.

Salmon Burgers...just keep swimming, just keep swimming..

So, Andrew was in a for a brief weekend visit, and when I say brief, I picked him up at midway at 730pm friday and he had to fly out at 330 on sunday, so itwas like a day and a half. Not much time after being apart for 4.5 weeks, but much appreciated nonetheless. We'll see each other for five days in 3 weeks, so we can't be too sad. However, me trying to look on the bright side doesn't seem to keep me from getting mildly depressed anyways. So upon returning from the airport and moping around the house for a few hours, I decided to get my cooking on. It seems to cheer me up and certainly puts my mind on something else. Or at least it satisfies one craving...

I usually put music on when I cook, but this tiime, I needed more visual distration, so I put on Barefoot Contessa. Watching TV and cooking is a tad tricky...but salmon burgers are easy.

Salmon Burgers - makes four patties
1 can (15 oz) salmon
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Fresh parsley chopped (or shredded, whatever your method)
2 egg whites

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with hands. Make patties. Put in a frying pan with a little olive oil and cook till browned.
that's all folks. easy as pie. i really hope I am not forgetting an ingredient...i'm doing this from memory at work.

Side notes: We happend to have fresh grilled salmon that needed to get uesd up so I used that instead of canned, which is perfectly acceptable. The egg whites are what keep the patties held together, make sure you get as much egg white as your can without getting the yolk. Yes, it's a lot of garlic, but man does it taste good...

In case you're wondering, in the Barefoot Contessa I was watching while cooking, she made bleu cheese burgers on the grill, east hampton clam chowder (which I am going to attempt to make as well...) guacamole salad, and ice cream shakes.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

At least dinner was good.

So yesterday was another sad day for those of us that bleed Blue and Gold. But alas, at least I made a yummy dinner during halftime.

Layered Enchilada Bake

1 lb of lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups of salsa
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
1/4 cup of Kraft Zesty Italian dressing
2 Tbsp of Taco seasoning mix
6 flour tortillas
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg (8 oz) Mexican style shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown meat with onions in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add salsa, beans, dressing, and seasoning mix. Mix well.

Arrange three of the tortillas in single layer on bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish; cover with layers of half each of the meat mixture, sour cream, and cheese. Repeat all layers. Cover with foil.

Bake, covered, 30 min. Remove foil. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until casserole is heated through and cheese is melted. Let stand 5 min before cutting to serve.

From Kraft foods.

You can even make this ahead of time and freeze it. You just line your dish with foil before starting the layers, then cover with foil and freeze up to 3 months! Then you can either take it out and bake it for an hour covered and then 15-20 uncovered, OR thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then bake it uncovered for 45 minutes the next day.

Now we will go through everything I did differently from the recipe. I didn't have enough salsa, so I substituted a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles. I didn't measure my Italian dressing. I made it in a smaller dish. I used more than a lb of ground beef. I used more than 2 T of taco seasoning (what the heck was I going to do with the rest of the packet, anyway?) I didn't measure out my cheese or sour cream when I did my layers, I just dumped a bunch on. I think that's all I did differently... Man, it was yummy. And plenty for leftovers, too, which I had tonight.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Just Fine by Me

There are two smells competing in my kitchen tonight. Cinnamony fried apples. And a beautiful big bouquet of fresh flowers, courtesy of my husband!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy Cooking :)

So I started to post a reply to Laura's previous reply to the previous entry...she basically said I love this website. My reply got longer and longer so i'm just going to boil over the gushyness to its own post.

laura i agree, i love this page :) it makes me happy. something about cooking and the idea that there are others out there going through "learning how to cook" life lessons makes everyone seem bonded. okay that doesnt even make sense. i'm just glad i found people to share this stuff with and learn from. even though we all live in different places we all cook and we can share our failures and success stories.

most of my other girlfriends don't cook/dont want to/don't care/make microwave stuff. they're too busy with other things, and not that all of us are not super busy being moms or graphic designers ;) it's still a hobby that I am enjoying much more than I envisioned I would. my mom is an incredible cook and she tells me horror stories about her first cooking experiences when she first got married. She says no one really taught her about cooking so she wants me to learn as much as possible while I am still living at home/chicago.

Something about cooking relaxes me. I dont really care to watch many cooking shows..but my mom and I DVR the barefoot contessa aka Ina Garten and we have all her cookbooks. she is so relaxing to watch. she doesn't bounce all over the kitchen (though I do like rachel ray too...) She makes good coomfort food and puts creative twtists on traditional meals. she also introduces ideas for table settings and advice for throwing different kinds of parties. though she doesn't really focus much on healthy in a sense of less sugar, I still find watching her do really fundamental cooking to be really interesting. check her out if you havent.

okay thats all my gushyness for now. :)

The sign of a productive morning

...a messy kitchen.

This morning I made my favorite fall breakfast: Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins. There are a lot of recipes out there for pumpkin muffins and pumpkin bread, etc., but these are my favorite. It is a pretty easy recipe, but it makes a mess of my kitchen a lot of dirty dishes. However, the payoff is a scrumptiously autumnal breakfast. Paired with a cup of tea courtesy of the earl of Grey, this spells comfort. Ahh, the crisp morning breeze, the smell of fall, and pumpkin muffins warm out of the oven - it doesn't get much better than this!

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

2 c. white sugar

1/4 Tbsp each of allspice, ground ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg

1 tsp. baking soda

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 c. canned pumpkin

1/2 c. vegetable oil

2 c. peeled, corred, and chopped apple

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. white sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

4 tbsp. butter

  • Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a muffin pan or line with 24 muffin papers.
  • In a large bowl, sife together 2 1/2 c. flour, 2 cups sugar, spices, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin, and oil. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, stirring just to moisten. Fold in apples. Spoom the batter into prepared muffin cups.
  • In a small bowl, mix together 2 tbsp flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffin batter.
  • Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Makes about 24 muffins.

I actually made 12 big muffins and used the rest of the batter for mini-muffins, which were ready in about 15 minutes. They're a big hit with the toddler set.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chicken Pot Pie

I love stuff like chicken and dumplings, chicken and biscuits... all that good stuff. This Chicken Pot Pie sounded really easy... and it was. It was scrumptious, too. I'm eating the leftovers as we speak, and they're almost better than the original!

Zesty Chicken Pot Pie

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 c Kraft Light Zesty Italian Dressing
4 oz
Philadelphia Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 pkg. (10 oz. each) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook chicken in dressing in large skillet on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add Neufchatel cheese; cook and stir melted. Add flour; mix well. Add broth and vegetables; simmer 5 minutes.
Spoon into 9-inch pie plate. Cover with pie crust; seal and flute edge. Cut several slits in crust to allow steam to escape. Place pie plate on baking sheet.
Bake 30 min. or until golden brown.

from Kraft Food & Family

Friday, September 14, 2007

Chicken Cacciatore Skillet

Okay, Anne - I've been searching for a recipe for you, and I think I've got one. You can eat chicken, right? I hope so. I found this one once during one of my stints of creatively cleaning the cupboards. I had some chicken, spaghetti sauce and a can of mushrooms that I needed to use up. Most of this stuff should be in your pantry anyway, I would think...and you don't even have to make the rice:

Chicken Cacciatore Skillet

1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 of an onion, chopped up
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (make it with boullion and boiling water instead of from a can)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 4oz. can mushrooms, drained (or fresh)
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp pepper (or to taste)
3/4 c. long grain rice (brown or white)
1 c. meatless spaghetti sauce (I use Classico, which is my favorite)

In a large skillet, cook the chicken, onion and garlic in 3 tbsp. of broth until chicken juices run clear. Stir in the green pepper, mushrooms, bay leaf, oregano, basil, pepper, and remaining broth. Bring to a boil. Add the rice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender. Add the spaghetti sauce; heat through. Discard bay leaf before serving.

This dinner is so simple (only one dirty pan!!) and so fast, but it is REALLY tasty. Hopefully it meets your diet eggs, no dairy, no pasta.

Starbucks' Caramel Apple Cider

There's been a lot of talk about Starbucks' Caramel Apple Cider so, I googled it, and got the recipe from the website above.

The Cider:

Cinnamon syrup- a couple of squirts (sold in the store)

Treetop premium apple juice

Whipped cream Carmel syrup drizzled on top Blend cinnamon syrup with apple juice.

Top with whipped cream and carmel syrup.

Happy Harvest!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cleanin Out The Cupboards

I have been cooking just not anything special to share. I've been trying to use everything in my cabinets. Our big Sunday meal was:

Marinated chicken breast
Brown Rice
Biscuits with honey

I did discover a hint for Bisquick biscuits. The recipe on the box for biscuits called for 2/3 cup milk. I didn't have any so I used water and it worked just as well. And if you butter your biscuits than there's your calcium.

Sweet Potato Biscuits, Black Bean Soup, White Bean Soup

Ok, three recipes coming up:

SWEET POTATO BISCUITS - about 5 or 6 biscuits
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cold
1/3 c milk
1/3 cup mashed sweet potato (or a bit more if you like)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In medium bowl combine flours, baking powder and salt. mix well.
Cut butter into small pieces and add to flour mixture. Using fingertips work GENTLY until flour has consistency of cornmeal. Don't push and press on it too much or the biscuits will come out hard.
In small bowl mix milk and sweet potato and mash with fork. Add this to flour mixture and stir quickly with hands till it forms a ball. Turn dough onto floured suface and knead gently. Do not overwork the dough.
Pat down out until it is 1/2 thick. (The height of your thumb knuckle, roughly)
Cut into rounds with biscuit cutter until all dough is used. Place on cookie sheet.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until bottoms of biscuits are golden brown.

Yummy with honey...

BLACK BEAN SOUP 4 servings
2 tsp veg oil
1 small onion (1/2 cup chopped)
1 clove garlic crushed
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can black beans (15 oz)
1/2 cup broth
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil
In blender, process tomatoes and half the beans. Add to onion mix in saucepan. Stir in remaining beans, broth, cumin, coriander.
Top with cheese, sour cream, avocado etc.

Ok, I have a confession, we got this recipe from a family friend, but we don't actually have THE recipe, we kind of make it up...but it works really easily.

1 med onion, chopped
4ish stalks of celery chopped
1 can of white beans (your choice)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 can of chicken broth

Saute onions and celery (if you don't like chunks of the veggies, puree them after sauteing, but i like the crunch. see the pic of the soup in my previous post for the size of the veggies).
Add can of chicken broth
Add beans (rinsed and drained of course)
Add 2 tbsp olive oil (you could make it without this step, but trust me it makes a huge flavor difference)

That's it! Just let it simmer...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Well, after all my blog cruising I was inspired to use the time while the baby was sleeping to start making a 'real' dinner. I shouldn't have bothered. I had left over steak, so I decided stir-fry with that would be good. Only did you know that canned chicken broth has milk and eggs in it? At least the stuff that I had on hand did. So I tried to make rice pilaf with water. I cannot make rice. The only rice that I succeed at is rice from a box. So that failed.

And the stir-fry? Perhaps I was just a little bit to free with the soy sauce, I don't know but it was not so good and almost too salty - even for me! The sugarsnap peas were good.

Oh least it kept me busy for a bit!

(And see? I finally remembered to take a picture!)

How Come I'm Doing this to Myself?

I've been cruising through the various food blogs located conveniently on our side bar. Seeing loads of delicious looking recipes, some with beautiful pictures of food, food, food. I haven't yet found a recipe that meets all of my current restrictions (well, that's not entirely true there's some good meat recipes - but the baked goods! oh the baked goods!).

Before the diet, this was on our menu plan. Maybe one of you lovely ladies will get to try it before me. And be sure to share your thoughts. (By the way, I've abandoned the menu planning for the duration of the diet because I eat the same thing - rice/potato, veggie, meat and fruit - every meal.)

I miss pasta. I miss bread. I miss cheese. I am such a baby. There are people who have to do this for a whole life time. This is good for me.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Flight of Soups

So my mom asked if I wanted to make soup for dinner, and I had this brillant idea to make a flight of soups instead of just one. We always freeze our leftover soup in single servings in a round tupperware so we can take them to work. Soup is my favorite food to make. Probably because it's so easy and all goes in one spot, but also because I'm a sucker for anything that starts out "saute chopped onions, garlic and celery in olive oil or butter."

but I digress.

The following soups are from top to bottom, left to right: Pea soup (with chives on it) Black Bean soup (with jalapeno cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream), White Bean soup, and Pureed Chickpea soup. (Do I see a pattern here ? I love beans...) My favorite is definitely a tie between the White Bean and the Black Bean. (ha!!) My dad doesn't like beans, so we made the pea soup for him, but I did not particuarly care for it. The chickpea soup was sort of like eating hummus , but runny...sorry that sounds gross, it's not bad, if you like hummus..a lot. I'll take a poll: which recipe do you want me to post: I don't feel like typing them all up right now, but if requested, I certainly will!

The best thing about these soups, ladies..(and gents..if any read this) is they all took like lesss than 15 m ins each to make and have very few ingredients and similar seasonings. Super convenient for quick meals.

So you may be asking what you would eat with these soups for dinner? Aside from salad, the usual side in our house, INSTEAD, we made sweet potato biscuits (yum with honey!) Also my mom sliced up avocado and drizzled some balsamic vinagrette on them, that was SO good!! Or you could go the traditional route and get all Italian and buy French bread. Whatever you prefer. So let me know which soup recipes you want me to post and I'll do so!

No Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, or Nuts

There. Now you try to cook something with those restrictions. Let me know what you come up with! :o) I'm doing an elimination diet in an attempt to discern if a food allergy is causing my son's eczema. So basically my meals consist of potatoes, meat, another veggie and some sort of fruit. Not much cooking is involved. Some pan-frying these items and that's about it. So whenever we figure out what is going on with Charles' skin and I get to start cooking, I'll post all about it!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

What I did tonight

I like these so much I keep Baker's chocolate squares on hand so that I can make them whenever I have a craving. I've adapted the recipe to be the one that follows. I like peanut butter chips, but you can throw anything in there... I've been known to throw in chopped-up peppermint patties for a mint-chocolate lover...

Joannie's Take On Baker's One Bowl Chocolate Bliss Cookies

1 pkg (8 squares) of Baker's Semi-Sweet Baking chocolate
3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 c butter, slightly softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 pkg of peanut butter chips

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Microwave 8 chocolate squares in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min., stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla; stir until well blended. Add flour and baking powder; mix well. Stir in peanut butter chips.
DROP rounded tablespoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased baking sheets. (I make mine on my baking stone.)
BAKE 12 to 13 min. or until cookies are puffed and shiny. Cool 1 min.; remove from baking sheets to wire racks. Cool completely.

Oh, and here's a picture of my creations tonight. If I owned a restaurant, I'd say on my menu:
"pairs nicely with a Guinness"

Friday, September 7, 2007

Can you tell

that our two "J" contributors are sisters? ;O)

Apricot Scones

Thanks, Anne for inviting me to post after I shamelessly asked you to invite me! hee hee...

The other day I read that one of my favorite blogfriends made scones, and ever since then I had a craving. So I lifted this recipe off of the King Arthur Flour website. If you've never visited their recipe section, I suggest checking it out. It is a treasure trove of decadence.

It really was silly for me to make these, since I'm basically the only one who will end up eating them and they are very rich. They're really better suited for company, so my advice is to plan a nice little tea party. Get out your nice linens and invite the girls over for some:

Apricot Cream Cheese Scones

3 1/4 cups (13 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8-ounce package cream cheese (cold)
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) cold butter
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) diced or slivered apricots
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup (2 ounces) milk
white sugar, for topping

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the cream cheese and butter, using your fingers, a pastry blender, fork, or a mixer, until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, then stir in the apricots. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, vanilla and milk.Combine the liquid and dry ingredients and stir until the dough becomes cohesive. Don't mix and mix and mix; the more you work with the dough, the tougher it'll get. Remember: an iron fist in a velvet glove does the trick!

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, and fold it over several times, until it holds together. Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch thick rectangle.Cut scones with a round cutter, gathering the scraps and re-rolling the dough. Or simply cut the dough into squares or diamonds. Brush the tops lightly with milk and sprinkle with sparkling white or pearl sugar.Place scones about 2 inches apart on an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake them in a preheated 425°F oven for 8 minutes. Turn the oven off, leave the door closed, and continue to bake for 8 more minutes, until the scones are a light, golden brown. Serve hot, with clotted cream and jam or raspberry curd. Yield: about 18 medium-sized scones.

I actually used a scone pan, which only makes 8 large scones, so I ended up baking them for twice the amount of time given. Also, I used generic Safeway flour and still turned out great. It was hard to keep little hands away long enough to take a picture of them, which I took as a good sign!

Beer Cheddar Soup and Chili- not together of course..

Ok so i've been astray for a tad, so I'm playing catch up here..

To whomever was looking for a great chili recipe, I just made a white chicken chili last week and it was incredible. I enjoyed it better than beef chili. I made an enormous pot of it and me and four of my girlfriends ate almost all of it! It is a modified version of a chicken chili receipe from the Silver Palette cookbook. My mom had recommended searching for it (online) that way. I guess The Silver Palette is a well-known cookbook? Maybe not so much to us newbie cooks! since I am at work, I just googled the recipe and found it again, so we'll see how well it copies.

First some thoughts on the recipe:

1) It calls for the chicken to be cubed and sauted, but my mom took liberties and went a different route. (she cooked the chicken, I made the chili). She placed the breasts on a baking pan, sprinkled them with a little salt and pepper and drizzled them with olive oil and baked them . Then instead of cutting them into cubes, we shredded them and threw them in the pot.
This might help little ones with small teeth? ;)

2) the end of the recipe calls for adding chocolate. My mom who has been cooking for many years, does not recmmend this. It's your call. We did not use it.

3) I do not like peppers, so we skipped that step, I think I substituted a can of different beans instead, to make up for the food mass loss. I recommend chickepeas...yum yum

4) It calls for adding 1 bottle of beer. I am not a beer drinker, but the flavor was actually quite wonderful, not overpowering at all (due to the massive amount of food you're about ot make). We used LaBat Blue (I think tha'ts how you spell it. Nothing fancy.

Ok-enough already, here it is:

Modified from The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook

In a dutch oven heat 3 tablespoons of oil and brown:

3 pounds chicken breasts, skinned, boned, cut into 1" cubes
Set the chicken aside. In the same dutch oven heat 3 tablespoons of oil and sauté for 5 minutes:

5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 large onion chopped coarsely
Add and sauté for additional 10 minutes:

2 sweet red peppers, diced
4 jalapeño peppers, diced
Stir in and cook for 5 minutes:

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch ground cinnamon
In the dutch oven add the chicken and:

1 28-ounce cans of puréed tomatoes
2 15-ounce cans pinto or cannellini beans
1 bottle beer
Simmer for 30 minutes then add:

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
salt, to taste

Okay, also I am looking for agood Beer Cheddar Soup. I just tried making it on Tuesday night and failed miserably, I think because I didn't let the soup cool enough before adding teh milk and c heese and I think they curdled... :( :( This is the SECOND time this has happend when Itry to make this soup. Another problem, I perfer thick soup, and soups that have been pureed. This recipe called for potatoes , carrots, celery an onions nad beans. We didn't have potatoes, carrots or celery , so I just put in a TON of onions and beans, but it wasn't enough to get it really thick when pureed. I don't like cooked carrots and we don't eat the white potatoes much because it's too much white carbs. So i am looking for a recipe that calls for other added food items that I could try. any suggestions??

thanks ladies!!! Anne, I hope I did the post the label thing right..

Monday, September 3, 2007

Scrap Chili

It could also be called Red and White Chili - a little bit of ingredients for red chili, a little bit for white chili.

I'm to the point in the kitchen where there are very few food items left and really no money to go grocery shopping. So dinner today...interesting. I did brown 3 whole pounds of ground beef the other day, so that it would be ready to use. So I threw it in the slow cooker along with a can of whole tomatoes, a can of white navy beans, 1/2 an onion, some chili powder, cumin and oregano. Oh yeah, and I threw in the rest of some shredded cheese - a mix of mozzarella and Parmesan instead of the usual cheddar. The result is pretty good. I was going to be really creative and make a cornbread mix to cook on top of it, you know, like the dumplings on top of chicken and dumplings, but I'm not that brave. And I didn't want to ruin the chili if it didn't work. So if I do make some cornbread it will be in the oven like always.

Now for dinner the rest of the week...I'll have to get creative. That and make the meals that I had planned to make last week but didn't make because we went out to eat.