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.