Looking for something to feed the kids? Need a great dessert to take to a gathering?
In the mood for a delicious soup, salad or whatever? Look no further.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Focaccia Bread

I love focaccia bread. But, you know what I love about this focassia bread? It's quick and easy. It dresses up soup nights when I finally decide what I'm making for dinner with only an hour to go (someday I'll be on the ball and try out that "planning ahead" thing). I found this recipe at allrecipes.com and made a few changes. I don't have a picture at the moment, but I wish I did, because it is very pretty... I'll have to take one next time I make it.

Focassia Bread
adapted from allrecipes.com

1 c very warm water
1 Tbl active dry yeast
1 Tbl sugar
2 1/2 - 3 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbl oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbl olive oil
A few sprinkles of course salt
4-ish Tbl grated parmesan cheese
1/2 - 1 c mozzarella

*Pre-note: I do this in my mixer, so the instructions go that route. Obviously, it would be easy to do this by hand - you just don't get to be lazy in the kneading process.

Proof the yeast in your mixing bowl with the water and sugar. Add flour, salt, oil, and seasonings and mix in. Knead with dough hook for about 6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Add enough flour that it pulls away from bowl, but no more than that. Remove dough from bowl to lightly oil the bowl, then return it to bowl, cover with a cloth, and let rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes or until doubled in size. Punch dough down and place on a greased baking sheet. Pat it into 1/2 inch rectangle (err on the side of thicker, rather than thinner). I bake this on a jelly roll pan, but it does not fill the entire sheet. Brush the top with olive oil, sprinkle with course salt, then sprinkle on the parmesan and mozarella. Cook at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Amy's Jumbleberry Pie with Variations

This has become one of our favorite pies, and has graced our Thanksgiving table for the last couple of years.  I got the recipe from Amy, who is the baking queen in my book!  It's also got an open faced variation and a cream cheese variation, which I haven't tried because of Sarah's lactose intolerance.  But cream cheese?  Of course it must be wonderful.  Amy also included a pie crust recipe.

So here you go.  This is exactly as Amy e-mailed it to me.  I'll take a picture on Thanksgiving if I remember before it is all gone.

For one double crusted pie:

3-4 cups of berries (frozen or fresh) - depending on the size of your pie plate & whether or not you add a layer of cream cheese
1/2 c. sugar
2-3 Tbl cornstarch (I'm not exactly sure how much cornstarch you would use because I use Ultragel for my pies.  It says that 1 Tbl cornstarch = 2 Tbl Ultragel, so I guess this amount is about right.)
1/4 c. lemon juice

Mix sugar and cornstarch together, then toss berries in the mixture and add lemon juice.  If you are not adding a layer of cream cheese, then just mound this into your unbaked pie shell, top with other crust, and seal edges.  Make slits in the top of the pie crust then brush on an egg wash (1 egg and a couple Tbls of milk).  Cook at 400 for 20 min, then reduce heat to 350 for another 35-45 minutes or until crust is a deep golden brown and juices are bubbly.  If edges are browning too quickly, cover with foil ring. 

Something that I read, but haven't tried yet (because I never have paper bags) is to cook your pie in a paper bag the entire time.  Just make sure it's not touching the sides of the oven.   It's supposed to make it brown perfectly.

If you want to add a layer of cream cheese:

1 pkg 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth, add egg and vanilla.  Smooth into bottom of unbaked pie crust.  Add berries on top of layer and finish off as above.

If you want to do an open faced pie:

Cook pie shell and let cool.  If you want the cream cheese layer, then cook the pie shell with the cream cheese layer on the oven rack below the middle.

For berry filling:

3/4 c water
1/4 c lemon juice
1/2 c sugar
5-6 Tbl cornstarch (again, not exactly sure on the amount.  Add more if it's too thin, and more water if too thick)
3-4 c berries

Mix sugar and starch together, then whisk into water and lemon juice.  Add berries and cook on medium heat until bubbly and thickened.  Let cool a bit, then add to cook pie shell and chill in fridge.

I'm not sure if you needed the pie crust recipe as well, but here it is if you want:

2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 c sugar
1 c butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/4 - 1/2 c ice water

In food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt.  Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 sec).  Pour 1/4 c. water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched.  If necessary add more water.  Do not process more than 30 seconds.  Turn dough out onto surface and gather in a ball.  Divide in half, flattening each half into a disk.  Cover w/ plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour before using.  After it's chilled, remove one portion & roll out on lightly floured surface.  Roll out to 12" circle.  To help prevent sticking, lift shell up as you roll out and add a little more flour if necessary - also make sure to keep your rolling pin floured as well.  Transfer to pie plate, and let the magic happen :)

To bake pie shell:  Prick sides and bottom of shell and cook at 400 for about 15 min? (with cream cheese: 375 and about 20 min) or until it's slightly browned.  *Keep an eye on it - I'm not positive on those times - I'm too lazy to go and look :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Green chili enchilada sauce

Lately, I've been trying to rid my house of MSG & GM products (which equals pretty much any processed food). It gets a bit tricky to find decent replacements for some of the products I use on a regular basis (does anybody have a really good ranch recipe?), but by darn, I'm on a mission. It requires a lot of label reading, and wouldn't you know it, the canned enchilada sauce that I use to use was full of MSG. So, here is a recipe for a homemade version that I found. I can't remember where in the world wide web that I found it, so unfortunately, I can't give due credit.

2 Tbl oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 lrg garlic clove, chopped
3 Tbl flour
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 c. chicken broth (I use the concentrated veg. broth. Thanks again Heather!)
1 c. anaheim or poblano chilies, roasted & peeled OR 1c. canned chopped green chilies (I usually use the canned)
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt (I just use more veg broth, to taste, to add a little more flavor along with the salt - this stuff has been the best substitute for boullion (holy MSG!)
2 tsp chopped jalapenos (optional)

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cover and cook for about 5 minutes to soften the onions, but not browning them. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes while stirring (it will clump up with the onions, but it's okay). Gradually pour in broth, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should be thick enough to coat a spoon - if it's too thick, add a little water. You can store this in the fridge for a week or so. It congeals when cold, but will return to liquid when reheated.

*If you prefer a less chunky sauce, then blend it in a blender until smooth.

A really good recipe to use this in is these honey lime chicken enchiladas. I highly recommend giving them a try if you haven't done so already. My sister in law brought these to us after I had the baby, and they are now one of our favorites. They are also really good with shredded pork.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cheesy Vegetable Soup

Since I have been getting Bountiful Baskets I always have a good variety of vegetables in my refrigerator. This week I have quite a few things that needed to be used up so I made this soup. It was well liked by everyone in my family. Abby and Tyler even took some of the leftovers in their lunch the next day.

3 C. chicken broth (or 3 c. water + 1 Tbsp. vegetable broth concentrate)
2 C. cauliflower, chopped
2 C. potato, diced
1 C. celery, chopped
1 C. carrot, chopped
1/2 C. onion, chopped
5 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. flour
3 C. milk
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, combine water, cauliflower, potato, celery, carrot and onion. Boil for about 20 min. or until the veggies are very tender. Puree vegetables with an immersion blender until there are no big chunks. (If you like your soup more on the chunky side you can skip this part. The reason I blended everything was to prevent my kids from picking out the vegetables they don't like.)

Melt butter in a saucepan over med. heat. Stir in flour and cook for 2 min. Remove from heat and gradually stir in milk. Return to heat and stir until thickened. Stir in vegetables, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in cheese until melted.

This recipe makes a ton of soup. We had plenty of soup for dinner, Abby and Tyler had some in thier lunch the next day and I also had some to take to playgroup. If you don't need quite that much you should half the recipe.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ramona’s Pumpkin Fudge



I got this recipe from a friend who used the word “Divine” to describe this fudge. Since I was looking for something different to do with pumpkin I decided to give it a try. It is definitely a rich and decadent candy. A little goes a long way – still, I ate more than a little.

I made it two different ways – vanilla and chocolate - and I decided that both were worthy to take to a gathering. Since several people requested the recipe, I have decided that I am not the only one who thinks this fudge is pretty tasty.


1-1/2 C sugar
1/2 C canned pumpkin
2/3 C evaporated milk
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
1 (12oz) pkg vanilla or chocolate chips
2 C mini marshmallows
1-1/4 tsp vanilla
chopped nuts if desired


Line an 8 X 8 pan with foil, letting the foil hang over the sides of the pan. (I don’t have a square pan, so I just use a round cake pan.) Spray the foil with non stick spray.

It’s a good idea to have the chips, marshmallows and vanilla measured out and ready to add at the end of the cooking time.

In a heavy pan, combine the sugar, pumpkin, evaporated milk, butter, salt and pie spice. Stirring constantly over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 12 minutes while continuing to stir. This is a lot of stirring, but it’s important or else the mixture will burn and be ruined. It should look like a thick caramel sauce. I have many ideas for how I could use just this pumpkin caramel.

Remove sauce from heat and stir in chocolate or vanilla chips, marshmallows and vanilla  until smooth. Poor into the foil lined pan. Cover and refrigerate until set.

* I mixed up my own pumpkin pie spice using: 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cloves and 1/2 tsp ginger. It’s more than you’ll need, but it’s good to have a little left for other holiday recipes.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Buttermilk Gingerbread with Streusel Topping and Butter Cream Sauce

We had this at a stake Relief Society meeting I had to go to. It was so, so good!! People were filling up plates to take home with them it was so good. It's making my mouth water to think about it. I can't make it since Rocky doesn't like Gingerbread, or any bread for that matter, and I CANNOT eat a whole pan of this by myself!

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt

Mix until crumbly. Reserve 1/2 cup of the above mixture for the streusel topping. To this, add 1/2 cup chopped pecans, if desired.

To the remainder, mix in

1 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs

Pour batter into a well-greased 13x9 baking pan. sprinkle with the reserved streusel topping. Bake at 350 for 28 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Watch carefully so you don't overbake. Let cool slightly, and serve warm with Butter Cream Sauce.

Butter Cream Sauce

1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter
dash ginger

Combine and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Stir 4 minutes. Serve and warm sauce over gingerbread. Refrigerate any remaining sauce.

Sorry no pictures! I STILL haven't purchased a new camera yet.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Three Sisters Soup

Yes, it's me with another soup recipe.  If you haven't figured it out, I love eating soup, and I love making it.  I especially enjoy a good hearty soup that fills me up.  This soup is super-yummy and surprisingly easy.  I found it on allrecipes and tweaked it according to what I had on hand.  I was especially glad to find a great new recipe, since most of the new stuff I've tried lately has ranged from disappointing to disastrous.  Mark, who adamantly dislikes squash and isn't a fan of meatless, loved it and is taking the rest to work for lunch.  Sarah, who doesn't love veggies, had a couple of bowls.

It's name comes from the Iroquois who planted the three sisters (corn, squash and beans) and believed they would only grow and thrive together.  Go here for a better explanation.

2 c. frozen corn-you could also use canned corn or hominy
2 c. fresh green beans trimmed and snapped. Frozen beans just don't quite taste as good.
2 c. peeled and cubed (bite-size) butternut squash
2 c. diced (bite-size), peeled potatoes- red or yellow potatoes work best
5 c. water
5 tsp. vegetable broth base-or the equivalent of whatever you soup base you like
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. melted butter
2 Tbsp. flour
1/4-1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt

Put everything but the butter, flour, salt and pepper in a pot.  Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer until vegetables are soft (about 30 minutes).  Blend the flour into the butter and stir into the soup. Add the salt and pepper.  Increase heat to medium and cook a few more minutes until soup thickens.

Crock Pot directions:  Put everything but the butter, flour, salt and pepper in the crock pot.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours.  After five hours stir the flour into the melted butter and add to the pot.  Add the salt and pepper.  Turn crock pot to high and cook until soup thickens.

We served ours with cornbread.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I found these muffins on Annies Eats. They are worth the extra effort!!


8 oz cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar


3 cups flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cloves

1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

4 large eggs

2 cups sugar

2 cups pumpkin puree

1 1/4 cups oil


1/2 cup sugar

5 tbsp. flour

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

To prepare the filling, combine the sugar and cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil. Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.

To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350*. Line muffin pans with paper liners. IN a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons). Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving. The cream cheese filling gets hot.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Squares


I like this recipe, because I prefer to make these instead of pie.
They seem to be less work, and they are great for large gatherings.
Plus it’s easy to divvy them up to give away to the neighbors.



1-1/4 C flour
3/4 C oats (quick or old fashioned)
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C pecans, chopped
2/3 C butter, melted


4 eggs
2 (15oz) cans pumpkin
2 (14oz) cans sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 350

Combine flour, oats, brown sugar and pecans. Add melted butter and mix well. Press into the bottom of a stoneware bar pan. Bake for 15 min. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and then add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk until smooth. Pour over cooled crust and bake for 30-35 minutes or until filling is set and a knife comes out clean.

I top these with a dollop of whipped cream and they are just as tasty as pie. I even like the brown sugar oatmeal crust better than traditional pie crust.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Absolute Best Pancake Syrup

Well, the title just about sums up how I feel about this pancake syrup. I promise I am not exaggerating. Over the past little while I have been on a quest to rid my pantry of all HFCS. It really has not been too hard to do but I have just had to be really good about reading labels. Did you know that some brands of applesauce have HFCS in them? I thought that was really crazy. I figured that the biggest one I needed to get rid of was the pancake syrup. I found this recipe on allrecipes.com. It is super easy and much better tasting then the fake maple syrup junk. A little goes a long way and since there is butter in the syrup I don't butter the waffles or pancakes. This batch will make enough for two breakfasts.

1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. buttermilk (I used 1 c. milk + 1 Tbsp. lemon juice)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Bring butter, sugar, buttermilk, vanilla, cinnamon to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Once simmering whisk in baking soda (make sure you cook this in a big pot because the baking soda really foams up) and cook for 10 seconds before removing from heat.

I like to make the syrup earlier in the afternoon so it has a chance to cool and thicken. Store leftover syrup in refrigerator.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

French Toast Sticks

Okay, ladies.

I have a ton of recipes I want to post, but I don't have pictures of all of them yet. Here is a recipe with accompanying pictures that I do have, and I took pictures because we got these little trays at Target {for only 2.50 each. My kids have never eaten better, I swear, than off these things. Best money ever spent} and they told their grandparents about them, so they wanted to see them {run-on sentence}.

You can pretty much just use your favorite french toast recipe, but this one is a healthy version from 24 Hour Fitness' website.

see that little hand? that is a hand antsy with excitement.

French Toast Sticks

8 slices whole grain
5 oz. liquid or frozen egg substitute, thawed
2 1/2 T. skim milk
dash nutmeg
1/3 t. cinnamon
1 t. granulated sugar

Slice each piece of bread into 4 slices {I don't do this, I wait until after each slice is dipped and cooked to cut them, but whatevs}. Mix egg substitute with milk. Blend spices with sugar and add to egg mixture. Dip bread pieces into egg mixture and cook on a heated non-stick skillet until golden brown. Serve with powdered sugar and/or sugar-free syrup {or... regular syrup. Or whatever your kids will eat}.

I cut them up with a pizza cutter into even smaller pieces for my kids, and they had a lot of fun dipping them. And they really did eat these so well. David was so excited he had a hard time just letting me take a picture before he dug in.

Give these a shot for an easy Saturday morning breakfast or something!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Broccoli and bacon salad

I had a request to post this recipe, so here it is. A big pile of broccoli may not sound all that exciting, but trust me, once you add the rest of the not-so-healthy ingredients, it's down right yummy.

Broccoli and bacon salad

2 bunches of broccoli, cut up
1/4 c. chopped green onion (or red onion, if that's what you prefer.. personally, I prefer green)
1 lb. bacon, cooked and chopped
1 c. sunflower seeds
1 c. dried cranberries

1 1/2 c. mayo
1/2 c. sugar
4 Tbl vinegar

Mix up dressing, add to the rest of ingredients and coat thoroughly.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Epic Waffles

I am a big fan of breakfast for dinner, which is what we did tonight.  We hadn't had waffles in a very long time, and I was really craving some.  So, I was happy when one of my new favorite food blogs (Real Mom Kitchen), posted this waffle recipe today.  With a name like "Waffles of Insane Greatness" how could I go wrong?  They are super light and the cornstarch gives a light crispiness to the outside.  They almost melt in your mouth. We had them with fresh peaches.  Lizzie felt the name didn't do these waffles justice, so she re-named them "Epic Waffles."

Turns out this recipe gets around, but I got it from Real Mom Kitchen.  I tripled her measurements as she recommended.  I also added whole wheat flour for part of the flour.  I thought about substituting applesauce for the oil, but ended up throwing caution to the wind.  Next time I might try half applesauce-half oil since I wonder if eliminating the oil all together might make them hard to get off the waffle iron.

Make Ahead Note: You let the batter rest for 30 minutes before making these.

3/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 ½ cup whole milk (I used plain soy milk)
1 ½ cup buttermilk
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/4 tsp. vanilla

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.  Whisk together to blend.  In another mixing bowl, beat together the whole milk, buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and whisk just until incorporated and few lumps remain.  Set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat a waffle iron.  Fill waffle wells and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Cook until crisp and golden.  Serve immediately. Yield: depends on the size/shape of your waffle iron.  We got about 12 Belgian waffles.
Note: To make your own buttermilk, just add 1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup milk and let stand for 5 minutes.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mom's Cheeseball

This is my mom's recipe {um. obviously.} and the holidays just aren't the same without it for me. It's easy, and always a hit at the parties.

Before I had two toddlers, I was able to make it all fun and turn it into a snowman with olive halves and a carrot nose {ha! ha ha. haaaa......}. See?

My oldest daughter helped with that part, so it can be fun for the kids to get them involved and do something creative. {I know it's something you'd never see in Martha Stewart Living, but still. Fun. And one year, I was crazy enough to turn it into a pine cone and I shaped it up all perfect and took like 4 hours to place sliced almonds in that thing. Yeah. Never again.}

At any rate, if you're looking for a new cheeseball recipe, I recommend you give this one a try!

Mom's Cheeseball

2 1/2 pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 t. Bon Appetit seasoning
1/2 t. ground mustard
4 green onions, chopped finely
chopped nuts, optional {walnuts, pecans, almonds, whatever you fancy}

Combine everything but the nuts in a bowl - mix and soften 'til smooth. Chill 'til firm. Roll in chopped nuts. {It's good without nuts, but it holds together better with them.} Serve with a variety of crackers or veggies.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Taco Soup

I love this soup so, so much not only because it tastes great, but it's the easiest thing on the planet to make.

{Remember when I called myself a lazy-face?}

I borrowed the picture from recipetips.com as I don't have any pictures, but this looks pretty much the same.

Taco Soup

1 lb. lean ground beef, browned and drained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained {I get the kind with tiny onions and chilis in it - Mexican blend I think?}
1 can black beans, undrained
1 can kidney beans, undrained
1 can whole kernal corn, undrained
1 pkt. taco seasoning {you can get mild, medium or hot depending on your preference - I like mild}
1 pkt. dry ranch dressing
1 can olives, drained and sliced {<----- the most effort you'll have to make putting this together, or you can get rid of that effort by buying the pre-sliced kind}

Pour all ingredients into a crockpot, stir it all up and cook on low 4-6 hours. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese and crushed tortilla chips.

This is a perfect recipe to use now, as the weather is getting colder. I have a 6 qt. crockpot, so I always double everything but the tomatoes {only because there isn't room for one more can of something and I haaaaaaate tomatoes} and invite people over. It feeds a large group or gives you plenty of leftovers.

I also like to do the beef on Sat. nights, load up the crockpot Sunday morning and we can have it for lunch, or if you get out of church by noon, you can load it up when you get home, and it's ready just in time for dinner.

p.s. I added a slow-cooker label. I hope that's okay? Look at me, all new and trying to run the place.

Easy Classic Deviled Eggs

Hi, ladies!

I'll start by introducing myself so you don't think I'm a freak. Or at least you'll know for sure that I am one. Or whatever.

Amy and I grew up around the corner from one another, and I knew exactly when to pick up my bare feet to avoid stepping on the rocks when I ran over to her house to play. We go way back, and I adore her.

I read her blog frequently, and once when I clicked to see her complete profile/stalk her, I found this blog and I must say I love it. I love the idea of people sharing recipes they've found to be tried and true {ly delicious}.

Thanks for letting me in on it.

I'll start by submitting this incredibly easy appetizer - the classic deviled egg. As "classic" as this recipe is, it's so yummy and they're definitely far and above the ones I grew up with. I found the recipe when I googled "deviled egg recipe" forever ago and took them to a Christmas party. I really wish I'd tripled the recipe, because they were literally gone in 2 minutes. Everyone raved about how they were the best they'd ever had.

I've not ventured too far into the waters of different flavors/varieties of deviled eggs, but these really are the best I've ever tasted. Easy, cheap {watch for sales on eggs at your local grocers - you can pretty much steal them sometimes}, and you can take them to a party, bbq, picnic, anything really.

Recipe from The Deviled Egg Gourmet {who also provided the picture Ü}

Easy Classic Deviled Eggs

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
1/4 c. light mayo or salad dressing
1/2 t. dry ground mustard
1/2 t. white vinegar
1/8 t. salt
1/4 t. ground black pepper
paprika for garnish

Remove egg yolks to small bowl and mash with a fork. Add mayo, mustard, vinegar, s & p and mix thoroughly. Fill the empty egg whites with yolk mixture and sprinkle lightly with paprika. Cover lightly with plastic wrap {or if you're fancy and have one of those egg carrier thingies, put them in there} and refrigerate for up to one day before serving.

{They piped theirs into the egg whites to look purty. I don't do that because I'm a lazy-face.}

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Zucchini cupcakes with caramel frosting

I figure it's that time of the year again; more zucchini recipes. I guess I'll go ahead and post the first one. I found this recipe at tasteofhomes.com and really like it. The frosting is heavenly and goes great with the yummy cupcake.

Zucchini cupcakes:
slightly adapted from Taste of Homes

3 eggs
1 1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil (I'm sure applesauce would work... if you're into that)
1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder (I actually didn't add this - I like my cakes more dense)
2 c shredded zucchini

Beat eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice, extract, and vanilla. Sift in dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in zucchini. Fill lined muffin tins two thirds full. Bake at 350 for 17-22 min. (or until set). Makes 18-24 cupcakes.

Caramel frosting:

1 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c butter
1/4 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 - 2 c powdered sugar

Combine brown sugar, butter, and milk in a saucepan and bring to boil over med heat. Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until thickened a little. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool to luke warm. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until spreading consistency.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Peach Cobbler Muffins

I had some peaches in my Bountiful Basket that were REALLY ripe on the outside and hard near the pits.  But I still wanted to use them, and figured any cooked peaches are good.  These really tasted like peach cobbler.  I got the recipe from allrecipes, but I have totally tweaked it.  Sarah and Lizzie each had several after dance yesterday, so there's the kid endorsement factor.


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups applesauce
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups peeled, pitted, and chopped peaches-I like even more, and the smaller the pieces the better.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease 16 muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the applesauce, eggs, and sugar. Stir the wet mixture into the flour mixture just until moist. Fold in the peaches. Spoon into the prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fry Bread, a.k.a. scones

So, I'm posting two recipes today: What I think of when I hear the word 'scone' (deep fried goodness), and also the more biscuit-like, English version of the word. Both recipes are yummy and easy.

I believe I got this recipe from my sister in law, Dani. What I like about this recipe is that it is fast. I love scones, but I don't usually plan ahead and get the dough going in advance. These don't require much raising time, so it works very well with my unorganized self. These are great for Navajo tacos (I use the 'taco plate' meat mixture that I sort of posted on here a while back).

Fry Bread

4 c. flour (more if needed)
2 tsp salt
1/3 c sugar
2 oil
1/2 c milk
1 1/2 c very warm water
1 Tbl yeast (I usually use regular yeast, but I imagine that quick-rising would be better)

Dissolve yeast & half the sugar in the warm water and let sit for a few minutes. Mix flour, salt, and the rest of the sugar. Add milk, oil, and yeast mixture to the flour and mix to a soft dough (until it pulls away from your bowl). Add more flour if necessary. Knead for about 5-7 minutes. Let rise in warm place for about 20-25 min. Punch down. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut into lengths (I just pull off pieces of dough and stretch to the thickness I want). Fry in hot oil until golden brown.

Strawberry scones

I found this recipe at Annies Eats. I love this type of scone and these were a good and easy recipe. The strawberries are yummy in them, but I think it would be good with other things as well (blueberries, craisins, currents, etc).

Strawberry scones

1 large egg
1/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (I didn't have yogurt, so I used sour cream)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. orange or lemon zest
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I had to add a little extra)
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling (I bumped it up to about 1/3 c)
1 Tbl. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 heaping cup diced fresh strawberries
I also added 1 tsp vanilla

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, yogurt, milk and citrus zest until blended; set aside. In the bowl of a food processor combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulse briefly to blend. Add the butter pieces to the bowl with the dry ingredients and pulse several times to cut the butter into the flour, until the largest butter pieces are the size of small peas. (If you don't have a food processor, you can just as easily mix up the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two knives or forks.) Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Add the strawberries to the flour mixture and toss to coat. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and gently fold together with a fork or spatula until a sticky dough has formed. Knead just a few times to ensure that all the dry ingredients are incorporated and the dough is cohesive. (Only if absolutely necessary, add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time to hydrate the remaining dry ingredients.)

Transfer the dough to a well floured work surface and pat into a disc about 7-8 inches in diameter. Sprinkle lightly with additional sugar. Slice the disc into 8 wedges.

To bake the scones, preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Place the shaped scones on the prepared baking sheet and bake until lightly browned on top, about 15 minutes. Let cool a few minutes before serving.

To freeze, transfer the baking sheet with the shaped scones to the freezer and let them chill until they are firm, 30-60 minutes. Wrap the scones individually and store in a freezer-safe bag until ready to bake. Bake as originally indicated, adding a few minutes to the baking time.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

Are any of you in need for a new lunch idea for this summer? Did you say yes? Oh good, because I have a fun and creative idea. I found this recipe in kind of a round about way on this website. All of my kids and Drew Sullivan loved these today when I made them for lunch. The mini pepperonis were a huge hit. The kids thought they were great.

Tyler: "Oh man, I love these!"
Drew: "I know, I wish my mom made these!"

Luckily for Drew I know his mom and I will make sure she gets the request.

They all liked them so much they have already requested them for tomorrow's lunch. I think when we make them tomorrow we will try some different variations for the toppings.

At the end of this recipe I have included the recipe I used for the pizza sauce. I have been trying a lot of different pizza sauce recipes lately in hopes of nailing down my absoulute favorite. I found this one on allrecipes.com. I think this may have earned one of the top spots. I will have to try it out on a pizza to be completly sure it is the one. I really liked that it had rosemary and olive oil in it.

3/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 egg
1/2 c. mozzerella cheese
1/2 c. parmesad cheese
1/2 c. mini pepperoni

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, milk, salt, oregano and egg. Stir in cheese and pepperoni. Let stand for 10 min.

Stir the batter. Divide evenly among the mini muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with warm pizza sauce for dipping.

Easy pizza sauce

1 (6 oz.) can of tomato paste
1 1/2 c. water (I only used 1 c. because I wanted it a little thicker for dipping)
1/4 c. olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary

Combine all ingredients in small saucepan. Simmer on med-low until ready to serve.

The directions for making a pizza with this sauce (from allrecipes.com):
Mix together the tomato paste, water and olive oil. Mix well. Add in garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and rosemary. Mix well and let stand for several hours to let the flavors blend. No cooking nessesary, just spread on dough.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Good for you blueberry muffins

For the last few months the only thing Sam will eat for breakfast are muffins. As if that request was not specific enough, he will only eat the "tops" of the muffins. So, every morning I have plenty of "stumps" leftover. Until lately, Sam's muffin of choice has been these. After three solid months of making these almost daily, the other 3 kids don't want anything to do with the applesauce muffins. I realized that I probably should find another recipe to please everyone. I found this recipe on Annie's Eats. These muffins looked like a good and healthy option. The list of ingredients is packed with good for you things with minimal oil and sugar. I did make a couple of minor adjustments. The first time I made these I followed the recipe exactly and the batter was pretty runny. The next time I made them I added an other 1/4 c. flour, more blueberries and switched the brown sugar for white sugar. As a result, the muffins baked up a little taller and so the had more of a "top". Here is the recipe with my changes.

I will post a picture the next time I make them (which should be tomorrow).

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c. quick oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 4/ tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. unsweetend applesauce
1/2 c. buttermilk (I just used 1/2 c. milk with 1 tsp. vinegar)
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 -1 1/2 c. blueberries

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl combine applesauce, buttermilk, egg and oil. Stir wet and dry ingredients together just until dry ingredients are incorporated. Gently fold in blueberries. Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin cups. Bake for 16-18 minutes at 375 degrees.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Turkey Kabobs

When these babies are grilled correctly, they are amazing. They trick is to get them cooked through without burning them. Steve can do it, but I can’t. I served them undercooked to my parents, and completely charred to a few guests last summer. I think the trick is to keep the heat low, and make sure the bacon gets crispy. 

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbls lemon juice
1 Tbls brown sugar
2 (3 pound) boneless turkey breast halves
1 (16 oz) pakage of bacon

You might also need:
Fresh Pineapple Chunks, Cherry Tomatoes, Sweet Onions, yellow squash, zucchini or any other type of veggies that you want on your kabobs. (Sometimes I save a little marinade for any veggies that might benefit from some extra flavor)

Cut turkey into 1" cubes. In a large bag, combine first 7 ingredients and mix well. Add turkey to marinade and let sit for about an hour, or more. Even overnight if you want to.

When its time to put together your kabobs, cut bacon slices in half and wrap each piece of turkey with a 1/2 strip of bacon. Then assemble your kabobs with desired fruits and veggies.

Grill kabobs until the bacon is all nice and crispy and enjoy. Makes about 10 kabobs with 4 pieces of turkey on each kabob. This will vary depending on how many veggies you put on the kabobs.

I get turkey breast halves at Smith’s. Sometimes they have them in the butchers case or sometimes by the chicken in a Jenni-O package.
If you don’t have turkey, I’m sure chicken would also be tasty.

If you didn’t want to use chicken or turkey – how good would shrimp be? Or, how good would bacon wrapped anything be? But seriously,
I have a recipe for bacon wrapped water chestnuts that we make at Christmas time, and I think they might work as a substitute for those of you who are not to hip on poultry.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Chicken Salad

We had this at a Relief Society dinner a couple years back, and I've been asked for the recipe multiple times. So, I suppose that makes it a keeper. I will add a picture next time I make it.

2 cups cooked chicken, chunked or shredded
2 cups chopped celery
1 1/2 cups grapes, halved
1/2 cup cashews
1/3 cup Light Mayo*
3/4 cup Light Miracle Whip*
1/2 tsp. Onera
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. salt
pepper to taste (optional)

*I switch the amount of mayo and miracle whip because I prefer mayo.

Also, Onera is a locally made seasoning that you can purchase at Days behind the produce section and in front of their seafood case. It is quite tasty, and in the summer we love to saute our zucchini with it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Alfredo sauce with a little less guilt

This is what I make when I need/want an alfredo sauce. I hate the bottled stuff and I also cringe at all the cream that 'real' alredo sauce recipes call for, so this is what I came up with. I guess it might not taste like the real deal, but my family really likes it.

3 Tbl butter
1/4 c flour
3 c milk
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
about 1/2 tsp pepper
2-3 tsp chicken bouillon
3/4 - 1 c parmesan cheese

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat along with garlic. Let garlic cook a couple of minutes, then whisk in flour and cook another minute. Add half of the milk and whisk until smooth and thick. Add the rest of the milk, pepper, bouillon and whisk frequently until it thickens up (about 10-15 min - be patient). Add parmesan cheese and stir until melted and smooth.

*So, I apologize for the vague measurements - I don't really measure things out (except the first 3 ingredients), I just add everything to taste. This is what I like, but you may not be as big a fan of bouillon as me, so you could just add some salt and other seasoning you feel would work. Also, you can adjust the thickness to your liking by adding more/less milk.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Adam loves biscuits and sausage gravy (because they're so heart healthy). I love them because biscuits are super quick and easy to make, and my boys will also eat them up. So, if you have a hankerin for some biscuits, give these a try.

2 c. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
4 Tbl butter, chilled, cut into pieces
4 Tbl shortening (I use butter flavored shortening)
3/4 c. milk (or 1 c. buttermilk)

Mix dry ingredients in bowl. Cut in butter and shortening (I use my fingers), until it's a coarse meal (don't over-work the fat). Make a well in the center and pour in milk. Stir until dough just comes together - will be sticky. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Dust with flour and fold over about six times (try not to add too much additional flour). Press into a 1 inch thick circle. Cut out (I just use a 3 inch cup for this) and place on greased cookie sheet so that they are just touching. You can gather scraps and reform into another circle. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Makes about 10-12 biscuits, depending on the size you make them.


You can use all butter, if you don't care for shortening.

Lightly brushing the tops of the biscuits with a little melted butter after taking them out of the oven, gives a nicer look, and an extra bit of buttery goodness (I didn't do it in this picture).

Monday, May 3, 2010

Refried Beans-Hold the Refry

I am on a bit of a "south-of-the-border" kick lately.  I have not really been a fan of refried beans, but Sarah loves them, so I have been trying to find an alternative to canned beans.  I really like this recipe I found on allrecipes.  First, I can make them in my crock pot.  Second, they don't call for bacon fat, or other funky ingredients, so they're actually pretty healthy.  Third, it makes a lot of beans which keep really well in the freezer or refrigerator.  Fourth, even I think they are REALLY YUMMY as a side dish or wrapped in a warm tortilla.  I have made several batches over the last few weeks.

1 onion peeled and halved
3 cups dry pinto beans; rinsed with stones removed
1/2 fresh jalapeno; seeded and finely chopped
2 Tbsp minced garlic (5-6 average size garlic cloves)
5 tsp. salt
1 3/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
9 cups water

Add all ingredients to crock pot, adding water last.  Cook on high* for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if you need to add more than 1 cup of water, the temperature is too high.  

After beans have cooked, drain them reserving some of the water.  Mash with a potato masher adding reserved water until you get the consistency you want.

*My crock pot tends to cook really hot, so I cook the beans on high for 1-2 hours and then turn it down to low.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tomato Basil Soup

Is it to late to post another soup recipe? I think since I can see snow out my window I am going to say no. I know a few of you may have this recipe already. I thought I would still post it any way because it really is a great tasting simple soup. I love that it uses simple and inexpensive ingredients, is easy to prepare and is loved by all in my family. Lately, have tried a few different variations to change the soup up just a bit. I have included those variations at the end of the recipe. I highly recommend this soup with the french bread I posted a few days earlier.

2 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. sugar
1 c. whipping cream or half & half (I have tried substituting milk and it is just not the same)
1 Tbsp. butter (this helps to cut the acidic taste of the tomatoes)

In a large saucepan, bring the tomatoes and chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for about 10 min. Add sugar and basil. Reduce heat to low and stir in cream and butter.

Variation #1- Just before serving add 1 9oz. package of cooked cheese tortellini.

Variation #2- Stir a spoonful of pesto to your individual bowl just before eating. The great thing about this one is only the people who want the pesto can add it to thier bowl. I tried this the other night and it was really good.

Variation #3- You could get really crazy and combine variation #1 and #2.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mexican Chowder and A Passionate Product Endorsement

I don't know if this sort of thing is allowed, Neisha, feel free to delete it.

Some of you have heard me bear testimony of my favorite vegetable broth. My friend told me about broth from the Asian market and how it would change my life, and it has. I don't use any other stock any more.

The ingredients are: kale, cabbage, carrot, radish, turnip, broccoli, and salt--no msg, hydrolyzed soy protein, or anything like that. It has fantastic flavor and no hint of chemical taste.

Unfortunately, the market I got it from no longer sells it, neither do the two other Asia markets I checked. It has been a difficult search since I don't know how to Google in Chinese and Asian market proprietors don't speak much English. Anyway, I finally found it online here. I am going to order a bunch tomorrow (Thursday). If anyone is totally pumped by my endorsement and wants a bottle let me know. (It's $4.50 for 35 oz concentrate, you use 1 tsp to 1 cup water).

P.S. I make no money off the sale of this product.

And since, apparently, it is still soup weather:

Mexican (Chicken) Chowder

1 can cream of chicken soup (I usually use the powdered milk make-a-mix version)
2 C. broth (made from by beloved vegetable broth) or chicken broth
1 C. water
1 40z. can diced green chiles
2 T fresh cilantro
2 T taco seasoning
2 C. corn
2 C. chopped chicken (or 2 cans white beans)

1 C. sour cream

In large pan combine all ingredients except sour cream (unless you are using beans, add those after you have simmered). Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in 1 cup hot mixture with the sour cream; return to sauce pan and heat through.

(I also added a cup or so of cooked brown rice to bulk it up a bit when I made it with beans)

Serve with tortilla chips and shredded cheese.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

French Bread

I know I am probably stating the obvious, but I love cooking blogs. I love that at my fingertips I have countless recipes with mouthwatering pictures, tempting descriptions and helpful reviews. Since discovering all of these cooking blogs, I think the thing that I am most pleased about is my increased level of confidence in the kitchen. I am no longer intimidated to try new recipes, cook a turkey, bake bread, cook from scratch or invite people over for dinner (cooking food for other people used to give me major anxiety). I have now realized how easy and cheap baking bread can be. I have a few no fail recipes that I rely on so I am no longer paying over $2.50 for a package of dinner rolls or french bread. This bread usually makes an appearance when ever I make soup. So even if you don't bake bread a lot, try this recipe and I know you will love it.

1 Tbsp. yeast
2 c. warm water
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
4 1/2 c. to 5 c. flour

In a large bowl, combine yeast, warm water and sugar. Stir to combine. Add the salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Knead for about 6-8 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about one hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape into 12 in. long loaves.

Place seam side down on a baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf. Brush entire loaf with egg wash (1 egg and 1 Tbsp. water mix together in bowl). Bake at 450 for 15-20 min. (I have never had to bake mine longer that 15 min.)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Spanish Rice

This is a great alternative to the boxed stuff.  I found it on allrecipes.  I took some of the reviewers suggestions and doubled it since we really like Spanish rice, and some people make a whole meal out of it when they don't like the other stuff we're having. If you have a smaller family or don't want a lot of leftovers, I'd half this recipe, but I will add that I think this is actually better the second day.

3 Tbsp. canola oil
2 c. long grain rice
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped (I only had red pepper, which worked fine)
1 clove garlic, minced
4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
1 (14 oz can) diced tomatoes with green chilis
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. salt
1  tsp. dried parsley

Heat oil in deep skillet over medium heat.  Saute onion, garlic and pepper for a couple of minutes.  Add rice and brown well.  Stir in broth and tomatoes.  Add chili powder, cumin salt and parsley.  Cover and simmer until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.

I want to try making it in my rice cooker, and I think some fresh cilantro stirred in before serving would be wonderful.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

THE Soft Ginger Cookies of my Dreams

I LOVE soft ginger cookies, but the "snap" variety...not so much.  I have been looking for the perfect soft ginger cookie recipe for almost ten years.  I would even call it a quest.  I have tried more recipes than I can count.  They have never been "just right"- you know, soft enough, gingery enough, thick enough, etc.,.  Then I stumbled upon this little number. They are just what I have been looking for all these years.  Dunk them in some cold milk and you're in heaven. 

Plus, this recipe makes about five dozen cookies!  We were able to share with neighbors and have a couple dozen left.  That is until Holly somehow got the container off the table and ate ALL of them.  Who knew a Basset Hound could do that?  I guess they really are THAT good.

From The Sisters' Cafe

2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. shortening
2 eggs
1/2 c. molasses
4 c. flour (I used half whole wheat and half white flour)
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. white chocolate chips (optional-I opted against them)

Mix first four ingredients well, then add the remaining ingredients.  Roll into balls and roll in sugar.  Crystal or raw sugar is the prettiest.  Bake at 350 degrees for 11 to 13 minutes.  I think they stay softer if you stay closer to 11 minutes.

The shortening is a drawback for me, but I think it may be the key to these cookies.  I'm going to try them with butter, but I fear the butter flavor might interfere with their greatness.  I think if you want to try butter, it would be best to chill the dough for awhile so they don't spread out too much.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Grown-Up Lunch: Brie Paninis

I am always on the lookout for a delicious lunch that I can make in the same amount of time as it takes to grill up my boys' cheese sandwich. Mel's Kitchen Cafe posted this Smoked Turkey, Brie, and Apple Panini and I had to run out and get me some brie. It was divine, and so much more exciting than cheddar on wheat. You can click on the link for more specific instructions, but basically it is sliced apples, sliced brie, caramelized red onions, and turkey lunch meat on a grilled sandwich.

Personally, I'm not a turkey breast person and I left the turkey off my second panini and still loved it, so when I saw this version on Paninihappy.com with pecans instead of turkey I knew it was even more up my alley.

My hybrid version is like this:

French bread
Caramelized Onions
Sliced Brie
Sliced apples
French bread

Alas, today I had brie and french bread, but no apples. But, never fear, inspired by this pizza, I made this panini, and I think I might even like it more than the apple version.

French bread
Sliced Brie (Costco has it far better priced than anywhere in Heber)
Fig preserves (The Store in Midway sells it under the Barefoot Contessa Brand)
French bread

Next time maybe I'll add the onions and pecans.

And that is my rather long explanation for a pretty simple lunch.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lemon Berry Trifle

I made this Lemon Berry Trifle for dessert on Easter.  It was delicious and beautiful.  It looked so impressive, and it wasn't really that hard to make. I'm just posting the link to it because this lady, a friend of a friend, deserves 100% of the credit. 

Like Emilia, I also used frozen berries.  I was too cheap to pay more than $5 for a pound cake at the store, so I used this Lemon Pound Cake recipe from My Kitchen Cafe.  For those of you on the Wasatch Back, you can find Lemon Curd with the jam and peanut butter at Day's.  Lemon Curd, which I thought was something dairy, is an English jam made with lemon juice, butter and eggs.  Butter...need I say more?

Really, this trifle is so good I am trying to think of an occasion to make it again.  

I didn't take a picture before it was destroyed, because I guess I am a little superstitious, and didn't want to jinx it.  I know, it doesn't make any sense, but that's how I roll.

Also, thanks Liz for letting me borrow your trifle bowl!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lemon Whoopie Pies




I thought I would save time and just direct you to this link.

I made these today. I followed the recipe exactly except that I made them smaller – about 1 Tablespoon of batter for each cookie. The plan was to give them away, but I couldn’t part with them. So much for the weekly exercise – now I’m going to have to start all over again.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mini Breakfast Quiches

Breakfast is definitely my least favorite meal of the day. I would say most days I skip it because I get busy and forget or there just isn't anything that sounds good. I haven't wanted to eat cold cereal for a few years now so if I do eat breakfast it's usually toast. Well, toast can get a little bit boring. I was excited when I saw this recipe on Our Best Bites. I was even more excited after I made them this morning. They are just the perfect thing to solve my breakfast problem. They were tasty, easy and much more fancy then my regular breakfast. One of my favorite things about them is they can be frozen and reheated when you are ready to eat them. So, my plan is to eat one of these with a piece of toast every morning. The flavors of these little quiches can be easily changed by choosing different veggies. I really loved the combinations in the recipe. I know the recipe says you need to use foil liners, but I just sprayed my muffin tin with pam and they came out just great.

4 eggs
1 C egg substitute*
3/4 C shredded low-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 C shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 C cottage cheese
5 oz frozen spinach (that's half a standard frozen box)
1/3 C roasted red peppers, diced (jarred, or make your own)
1 oz finely diced ham, canadian bacon, or crumbled bacon (about 1/4-1/3 C)
1/4 C finely diced onions
1/4 t kosher salt
1/8 t black pepper
1/2 t hot sauce

foil muffin tin liners

*1/4 egg substitute = 1 whole egg, so if you're using all eggs, or some eggs and some egg whites, you can adjust accordingly.

Preheat oven to 350

Thaw spinach (you can nuke it in the microwave) and squeeze out all the liquid. Putting it in a clean kitchen towl and ringing the heck out of it works well. After it's drained of all the liquid, give it a rough chop.

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well.

Place foil cupcake liners in the muffin tins and spray with cooking spray. Don't forget this step! And yes, they really do need to be the foil ones. If you have a silicone muffin pan, those work great and you don't need to line them. My silicone pan makes them taste like soap, so I don't go there. As you're dividing the egg mixture into the muffin cups make sure to keep stirring it so all of the ingredients are well-dispersed. My pan takes about 1/4 C in each hole and it fills them up perfectly. You want them to fill right up to the top.

Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. The tops should be just barely set on top. Over-baked eggs get tough and spongy so don't do that! They'll puff up while baking and then sink down when cooled. You can store them in an airtight container in the fridge, or freeze them. When reheating in the microwave, make sure to take off the foil liner! And if you're reheating from frozen, I try to take them out the night before so they can thaw in the fridge. Then when you microwave them, set them on a folded paper towel to drain excess moisture.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Pancakes

My sister-in-law, Dani, gave me a recipe for some yummy oatmeal pancakes. I had some pumpkin that needed to be used up, so I thought it would be good to use some in the recipe. They turned out really good! We really like the regular recipe, but everyone agreed that it was even better with the pumpkin. Here is the recipe... I'll also put the recipe for the regular oatmeal pancakes for those who may not love pumpkin, or just don't want to use it.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Pancakes

1/4 c. melted butter
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
1 c. pumpkin puree
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 c. quick oats
1/2 - 3/4 c flour (I usually have to use about 3/4 c.)
3 Tbl sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of cloves

Mix everything together well and cook just under medium heat (these are pretty dense, so you don't want to cook them too high or they won't cook all the way through). Make sure to spray your pan well. Top with your favorite syrup, or some other clever topping. Makes about 12 pancakes. These are very filling, so I recommend making them a little smaller than your average pancake.

**To make regular oatmeal pancakes: leave out pumpkin and use 2 c buttermilk or about 1 c regular milk.

**For either recipe: Add more flour, if too runny, or more milk, if too thick.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Minestrone Soup

Heather asked me to post this a couple of weeks ago, so since I'm so on top of things, I'm posting it now.  I love Minestrone Soup.  I've been making this one for a few years now, and I just can't find one that beats it.  I think the key is the can of Bean with Bacon soup.  I don't love condensed soups, but the smoky flavor in this one really makes the difference. I got this recipe from the Mormon Essential Celebrations cookbook, by Julie Badger Jensen.

1 lb. pork sausage- (I just use ground pork so I don't have to mess with the casings.  I've tried using bulk Italian sausage, but it just overpowers the soup.)
4 c. water
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 (10 oz) can beef broth
1 can bean with bacon soup
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 T. sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 cup cooked noodles (optional)

Brown sausage in a large pot.  Drain off fat. Add remaining ingredients except noodles, and stir together. Simmer uncovered over low heat for at least 1 hour. Add cooked noodles before serving.

This soup tastes even better the next day.

The noodles are completely optional, but there are some in my family that are more likely to eat a soup that has noodles.  If you do add the noodles be sure to cook them first before adding them, otherwise they soak up a lot of the broth.

Crock-pot option: You can make this in your crock pot, by browning the sausage, and then dumping everything except the noodles in the crock pot and cooking on low for the day.  Then just add the noodles before serving.

This soup also freezes well.  Again, just freeze without the pasta, and then add it before serving.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Jack's Salsa Soup

So this soup doesn't really have a name my sister had it at a baby shower and asked for the recipe it is really easy and good.

1 container of Jack's Salsa from Costco.
(It is by the fresh Mango salsa, you can probably buy it other places but I get it there.)
4 cans white beans with the juice
2 cups cheese
3 breast of cooked diced chicken (I cooked it in a little garlic powder, or whatever you like)
and about 2 Tablespoons of cumin
put it altogether in a crock pot and leave it for about 4 to 5 hours.

I like to eat the salsa too because it is really good so I use about 3/4 of the salsa 3 cans of beans about 1 1/2 cups of cheese and a little less cumin.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches

So, this isn't really a recipe - just yet another idea for that pork roast. I just wanted to include it because it is one of my boys favorites. All I do is: Cook a pork roast in a crock pot (in beef broth) on low all day, take it out and shred it. Dump the juices, put the pork back in and add bbq sauce. I think the most important part is to use a really good bbq sauce - not the cheap stuff. Once again, I would like to promote Danielle's bbq sauce on this blog - it's great. If I use a bottled sauce, I usually add some apricot preserves to my liking (Danielle's recipe is usually sweet enough). Also, I know some people add a little pop (i.e., sprite) to their sauce, which is also good. Serve on a yummy role and I'm sure your kids will love it (or are mine the only ones obsessed with bbq sauce?).

Southwestern Pulled Pork

I got this recipe from Taste of Home. It's another one we all like. I'll have to add a picture later.

Southwestern Pulled Pork
adapted from tasteofhome

3 lb-ish pork roast
1 c. barbecue sauce (make sure it's a good one. I suggest trying the one Danielle posted - it's fantastic!)
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
2 cans chopped green chiles
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbl chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano

Cook the roast in 1-2 cups of beef broth, with some S&P and garlic powder in a crock pot on low for 6-8 hrs (or you can just cook the roast in all of the ingredients, if you don't care about draining off the drippings). Remove pork and shred. Remove juices from crock pot and add the rest of ingredients. Add shredded pork and continue to cook for about 2 more hours. Serve on tortillas with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, etc.

Sweet Pork

I got this recipe from the Sister's Cafe. I am a sucker for sweet + pork anything, so it's one of my favorites.

Sweet Pork
adapted from the Sister's Cafe

3 lb pork roast
1/2 c worcestershire sauce (the original recipe calls for 1 c. - I think it's unnecessary to use an entire cup)
1/2 c beef broth (to make up for the above)
1 c brown sugar
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbl minced onions

Cook all ingredients in a crock pot on low for 6-8 hrs. One hour before serving, remove roast and shred it. Dump out juices, reserving about a cup. In crock pot mix 1 c. red enchilada sauce and 1 cup brown sugar, then add shredded pork. Add 1/2 - 1 cup of juices to your liking (the original recipe doesn't have you add any of the juice back in, but I think it adds to the flavor). Serve on tortillas with beans and rice, sour cream, cheese, etc.

Chile Verde

Okay. So I LOVE pork loin roasts. They are yummy, cheap (we buy the huge ones at Sam's and divide them into 3-4 smaller roasts), easy and the possibilities are endless. And, since about half our meals end up being some form of pork loin, I decided to list a few of the regulars... sorry, if it's a bit much pork to swallow.

First up, chile verde (or my americanized version anyway).

Chile Verde

3-4 lb pork roast
1 lrg can (28 oz) green chile enchilada sauce
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 or 2 cans of green chiles (when I'm in a good mood, I like to roast, peel and chop my own)
1/2 - 1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
chicken boullion to taste (about 2 tsp)

To cook the roast you could just combine everything in a crock pot, add the roast and cook all day, but I prefer to cook the roast first without the other stuff, so that I can drain off all the fat drippings and gunk. I cook my roast in the crock pot on low with about a cup or two of beef broth, with some S&P and garlic powder on the roast, for 6-8 hrs. A couple of hours before eating, combine the rest of the ingredients in a med. sauce pan and simmer, so that the veggies are soft. About an hour before serving, shred the pork, return to crock pot, and add the sauce . Serve on tortillas with beans and rice, sour cream, guacamole, cheese, etc.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

We really, really enjoy Indian food. Since we live at least an hour from a decent Indian restaurant, I've been trying to learn to make some of my favorites at home. I've been tweaking this recipe for a few months. To be REAL Tikka Masala you would need a tandoor oven, but this comes pretty darn close. This makes enough for all of us, with a little bit for me to have for lunch the next day.

Adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

Marinade and Chicken:
1 cup plain yogurt (I like the 2% Greek variety, but regular is fine)
1 tablespoons lemon juice (bottled is fine)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts; cut in half or quarters to cook faster

Combine all ingredients except chicken. Pour sauce over chicken and refrigerate for one hour. Grill chicken or cook chicken in frying pan, then cut into bite-size pieces. I prefer the taste of grilled chicken, so I grill it on my panini maker. Also, it's faster. Discard marinade. While the chicken is grilling, make the sauce.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 8-oz cans tomato sauce
1 1/4 cup cream (I use plain soy milk)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic for one minute. Stir in cumin, paprika and salt, and stir until fragrant (I have learned this is one of the secrets to Indian food. It really brings out the flavors). Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add chicken pieces and simmer for another 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve over hot rice. We like jasmine or basmati rice.

Adapted from My Kitchen Cafe (and I swiped her photo)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Darn good chocolate cake

I got this recipe from my sister, Steph, a while ago but since then I have seen it on various blogs as well. I'm sure it has made it into most people's recipe box's, but just in case any of you don't have the recipe, here you go. I normally steer clear of cake mixes. Not that I am too good for simplicity - I just think they're weak. But, there are two recipes that I have that use them, and doctor them up terrifically... this is one. It's super easy, and SUPER yummy.

Darn good chocolate cake:

1 box dark chocolate cake mix
1 pkg 4 oz instant chocolate pudding
4 large eggs
1 c sour cream
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. oil
1 1/2 semi sweet choc. chips

Mix everything together very well, add choc chips. Cook in greased and floured bundt pan (12 cup?... whatever the bigger one is). Bake at 350 for 45-50 min, or until toothpick comes out clean... just don't overbake. Cool about 30 min before removing. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, or use a chocolate glaze. Here is what I use:

Chocolate glaze:
On stove, melt 1 pkg chocolate chips, one can sweetened condensed milk and 2 tbl butter together. Remove from heat, then add 1 tsp vanilla. You may want to add a couple tablespoons of milk as well, if it is thicker than you want. Drizzle over cooled cake. Also, I usually only use half of the amount that this makes and just save the rest for something later.

** A couple of side notes:
A yummy variation of this is to use butterscotch pudding and butterscotch chips instead of the chocolate. I know that sounds weird (or yucky), but my sister did this when she didn't have chocolate pudding one time, and it was quite yummy.

Another variation I've tried is to substitute 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree for the oil and 3 of the eggs. Again, it sounds odd. I saw this on the Today show and decided to give it a try. The lady said to replace the oil and eggs in a cake mix recipe for the pumpkin. Cake mix recipes call for 3 eggs and this one uses 4, so I did still added one egg (impressive math skills, right?). Now, I'm not going to say that it tasted exactly the same, or that it was as good as the normal recipe (because I hate when people claim you can't tell the difference). But, I was pleasantly surprised. However, I did notice that it took just a bit longer to cook. I took mine out just a bit too early, and it was a little doughy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pumpkin carrot bread/muffins

I like veggie/fruit breads. I like them a lot. I make them a lot. For some reason, my mind has justified these as being 'healthy', as opposed to cakes or cookies or other baked goods. But, that's probably not quite the case, since I end up eating a good half loaf of bread or half dozen muffins vs. a couple of cookies. Anyways, since I eat them a lot, I like to come up with new combos, or new ways of cutting out some lard, while keeping in some moisture, or adding more hidden veggies in them so that I can use the word 'healthy' with less guilt. So, here is a recipe that I came up with that is moist and 'healthy'. I guess it's very similar to the pumpkin zucchini bread I posted, but it's more on the pumpkiny side and even more moist.

2 cups pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/2 c milk
1/2 c oil
1 3/4 c sugar

2 c shredded carrot

3 c flour
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

You can also add 1 cup of choc. chips for some extra yumminess. For bread (makes 2 loaves): grease loaf pans and bake at 325 for 50-65 min, or until toothpick comes out clean, cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pans. For muffins (makes about 24): grease muffin tins, fill almost to top and bake at 350 for 18-22 min, or until set, cool for a few minutes before removing. For mini muffins (makes about 48): grease tins, fill almost to top and bake at 350 for 12-16 min, or until set.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cheeseburger Soup

Sorry, no pic at the moment. But, this is a super duper yummy soup. I got this recipe from my sister, Steph, and it won me the 'Best Soup' award at a ward party a few years back. If that isn't a testament of a great soup, then I don't know what is :) It does take a bit more time, than a throw-everything-in-a-pot soup, and dirties a few more dishes, but I (and my family) would say it's worth it. Here is the recipe along with way too many side notes. If you have a large family, or like leftovers, then I would definitely double the recipe.

Cheeseburger Soup:

1/2 pound burger (more if you like a lot of meat)
3/4 c. chopped onion
3/4 c. grated carrots
3/4 c. chopped celery (I always add a bit more carrot and celery)
4 c. diced (smaller is better) potatoes
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 Tbl. butter
1/4 c. flour (I like it a tad thicker, so I use more like 1/3 c)
3 c. chicken broth
8 oz velveeta, cubed (I add an extra ounce or two for more cheesiness)
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. sour cream (optional - it's good either way)

Brown burger and set aside. In large skillet, saute veggies and spices in 1/2 of the butter until potatoes are soft (I cover it with a lid until almost done to prevent the veggies from burning before they are cooked). In a large pot, melt the rest of the butter and add flour to form a paste, then add 1/2 of the broth and boil until thick. Add veggies, the rest of the broth and other ingredients (I also add chicken boullion to taste - at least a few teaspoons, maybe more?). Simmer 15-20 minutes. This is a really good soup to serve in a bread bowl.