Monday, October 25, 2010

Apple Bread

I LOVE this apple bread! This time I used pecans instead of walnuts only because that's what was already in my cupboard.

2c flour
1t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2t salt
1/2c chopped walnuts
1/2c butter, softened
1c white sugar
2 eggs
1t vanilla extract
2+c apples, peeled, cored and shredded (I used 2 apples cut in chunks and 1 shredded)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one 9x5 inch loaf pan.
Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nuts.
In a large bowl beat margarine, sugar, one egg at a time, and vanilla. Stir in apples.
Add dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake for 50-60 minutes (it took mine over an hour by toothpick test). Let stand 10 minutes then remove from pan.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Welfare PB Cookies

Found this recipe online through a couple different sources and decided to try it out. Apparently the recipe used to be on the back of welfare peanut butter. Regardless of where it came from, these cookies are exactly what I'm looking for in peanut butter cookies!

(picture to come... eventually)

2-1/2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup fat (margarine, butter, or shortening)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
Mix flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
Mix fat and peanut butter. Add both kinds of sugar. Mix well. Add eggs and beat well.
Stir flour mixture into peanut butter mixture.
Drop dough from a teaspoon on baking pan. Flatten with a fork.
Bake at 375 ° (moderate oven) 10 to 15 minutes until lightly browned.
Makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies

Monday, July 19, 2010


Phil has asked me several times to find a good recipe for this. I've kept my eye out but haven't run across one until now. This one was really good and I'll be making it again when Phil comes home. Hopefully it matches up with his expectations. It's a nice budget friendly meal since it makes a lot with a little.
We didn't use parsley. We've had a really dry summer here and my herbs just haven't grown the way I wanted.
 1 Tablespoon Oil
1 Large Onion, Chopped
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 pound Ground Beef
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (or 1/2 Teaspoon Table Salt)
½ teaspoons Black Pepper
1 Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
2 cans Diced Tomatoes (14.5 Oz), Zesty-style Works Great
½ teaspoons Kosher Salt (or 1/4 Teaspoon Table Salt), Or To Taste
¼ teaspoons Black Pepper
8 ounces, weight Macaroni Or Your Favorite Pasta Shape
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley

Fill a pot with some water for the pasta; cover, and set over high heat. Start heating 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the ground beef, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; cook until fully browned. Drain.
While still over medium heat, add the bell pepper, chili powder, paprika, and tomato paste to the ground beef and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, then stir to combine. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer.
When the meat mixture has come to a full simmer, add a good amount of salt to the boiling water. Add the pasta, then stir to combine. Cook the pasta for two minutes less than the shortest cooking time listed on the box. You want it undercooked. While the pasta is cooking, stir the meat mixture periodically.
Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the meat mixture, then stir to combine. Allow the pasta and meat mixture to simmer together for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the pasta is as done as you like it. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Add the parsley and stir to combine. If desired, serve with some cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lemonade and Pink Lemonade

These are Joshua's recipes from the lemonade for his lemonade stand. Both were perfect and we had lots of compliments!

The Best Lemonade
1 1/2c sugar
8c water
1 1/2c lemon juice

Old Fashioned Pink Lemonade
2c sugar
9c water
2c lemon juice

1c cranberry juice (we used cranberry/raspberry and it was even better!)

With both of these recipes we just mixed everything together in a jug and let it set for a while. Then we made sure to stir it up before serving.

Banana "Ice Cream"

Easiest Recipe Ever! This is the first recipe that I've found that sounds too good to be true that was actually as good as I expected! It does melt quickly so blend at the last minute. If you're a gluten like me you'll enjoy this with some chocolate sauce on top. It's like having ice cream but without so much guilt! It will be returning to my kitchen this summer for sure!

3 bananas (but I used more for the 3 of us)

Peel the bananas and cut them into 1/2″ slices.
Place them on a plate and freeze overnight.
Let bananas sit for about 5 minutes so it’s easier to get them off the plate.
Slide them in a blender and puree until smooth. This took me a while, but be patient!
Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I was born and raised in California. I didn't eat a lot of jambalaya or creole growing up.
I know.
You're shocked.
Believe it or not, that still hasn't stopped me from learning to love things like this. This recipe was so easy and really delicious! I'll post the recipe as I found it in this cookbook but next time my plan is to cut the spices in half to make it a bit cooler for the boys.

1T olive oil
1 1/2c chopped onion
1t minced garlic
1c chopped green bell pepper
1c chopped red bell pepper
2 1/2t paprika
1/2t salt
1/2t oregano
1/2t ground red pepper
1/2t black pepper
1c uncooked long-grain rice
2c fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2c shredded cooked turkey (I didn't use this)
6oz andouille sausage, chopped (couldn't find this so used turkey kielbasa)
2T sliced green onions (I didn't use this either)

Heat oil in a large dutch oven (I used my stock pot) over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and garlic to pan; saute' 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in bell peppers and next 5 ingredients to pan; saute' 1 minute. Stir in broth and tomatoes to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add turkey and sausage to pan; cover and cook 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Delicious Chocolate Bundt Cake

This recipe came from Joy the Baker. I made it for a friend one day... and I made it again tonight for a meeting. I will make it again some day. I can feel it in my bones. It is delicious and awful for you... but so very good for your soul. The boys and I threw on some 4th of July sprinkles to make it a bit more festive.
On a side note, cut the frosting recipe in half. You'll thank me for that later. If you make a whole batch you'll feel obligated to make something else to put this frosting on. Or you can go ahead and make a whole batch. They're your thighs. Do with them as you please!

For the Cake:
1 1/4 cups plus 1 Tablespoon brewed coffee
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups plus 1 Tablespoon buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups, plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted
For the Glaze:
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 cup brewed coffee, cooled
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  
Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan and set aside.  
To make the cake batter:  Put brewed coffee and cocoa powder in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Remove from the heat and let come to room temperature.  
In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a whisk attachment, mix together sugar, salt, baking soda, eggs and egg yolk on low speed for about 1 minute.  Add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract and mix on low again for another minute.  
Add the flour and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the cooled cocoa mixture and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes.  The batter will be very loose.  Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.  
Let the cake cool completely in the pan and then invert onto a cooling rack.  
To make the icing:  Chop the chocolate into small pieces, put them in a heatproof bowl (or a double boiler), and set the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water.  Be sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water.  Remove the bowl from the heat when all of the chocolate bits have melted.  
Melt the butter in a separate pan or in the microwave.  Whisk the melted butter into the melted chocolate until thoroughly incorporated.  Sift in half of the powdered sugar.  Add the sour cream and whisk to combine.  Sift in the remaining powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.  The glaze should be thick and shiny.  Lastly, add the coffee and whisk to create a glossy glaze.  
Pour the glaze over the Bundt cake, covering it completely.  Leave at room temperature until ready to serve. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

BBQ Corn on the Cob

I have only BBQ'd a few times in my life on my own, but this is one my hubby and I have put together together and I just made it all by myself last night. We found it in our favorite BBQ cookbook. The past few years I have been growing a few of my own herbs in the backyard so I just go snip the basil from there. Doesn't get fresher than that!

1/4 c butter, softened
1/4c freshley grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2T finely chopped fresh basil
1/2t kosher salt
1/4t freshly ground black pepper
1/4t granulated garlic
4 ears of corn husked

In a small bowl, mash butter and all other ingredients aside from the corn together. Brush about 1 Tablespoon of the seasoned butter all over each ear of corn. Grill over direct medium heat until browned in spots and tender. 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally. Serve warm with remaining butter spread on the corn.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rosemary Bread

I got this recipe from one of my favorite baking cookbooks, "Baking at Home."

4c bread flour plus extra as needed
1 1/2 t active dry yeast
1 1/2 c room temp water (68-76 degrees F)
2T coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
2t salt
Extra virgin olive oil for greasing
Cornmeal for dusting
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

Combine the flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixre fitted with the dough hook. Add the water, rosemary, and salt and mix on low speed for 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and knead for 4 minute. The dough should be slightly stiff, smooth and elastic.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise ina  warm place until naerly doubled in size, about 40 minutes. Fold the dough over on itself, pressing gently to release the gas. Let the dough rise a second time, about 40 minutes more.
Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and round into smooth balls, pulling hte outer layers taut and pinching the excess dough together at the base of the balls. Place seam sides down on a lightly floured work surface, cover, and let rest until relaxed, 15-20 minutes.
Prepare 2 baking sheets by scattering them with cornmeal. Put your hands under each dough round and stretch and pull it gently into a rough 6 x 8 inch rectangle. It is important to maintain an even thickness Transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
Brush or mist the surface of the dough lightly with water. Let the dough rise for a third time in a warm place, covered, until the dough springs back slowly to the touch but does not collapse.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Score the dough 5 times, starting at the same corner each time and trascing a line to each of hte other 3 corners. The remaining 2 scores will be in between the first 3 radiating out from the same corner. Brush or mist hte dough with the watre once more. Bake until the loaves have a golden brown crust and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom, 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely on wire racks. Brush or drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt if desired.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chicken Chowder

Ever since I can remember clam chowder has been my favorite soup. I found this recipe on a food blog called Whisk. All 4 of us really liked this soup. I didn't have the fresh thyme so I used a little bit of dried thyme. I also used a green pepper since I've never really liked the red variety. Honestly, if you knew me as a kid, you'd be surprised that I even eat the green kind! You hardly taste it in this recipe and it adds a nice little zing. This was such a yummy chowder and a lot easier than the last clam chowder I made!

6 to 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
4 ounces bacon, cut into a ⅓ -inch dice
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery (4 ounces), cut into ⅓ -inch dice
1 small red bell pepper (6 ounces), cut into ½-inch dice
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 pounds Yukon God, Maine, PEI, or other all-purpose potatoes, peeled and slice ⅓ inch thick
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream (optional) or 2 cups chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Broccoli (optional)

For garnish:
6 green onions, very thinly sliced

In a frying pan, sauté the chicken. Set aside.

Fry the bacon until crisp and golden brown. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat, leaving the bacon in the pot.

Add the butter, the diced onion, celery and red bell pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not brown.

Add the potatoes and 4 cups of stock. The stock should just barely cover the potatoes; if it doesn’t, add enough water to cover. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Add the thyme leaves. Cover and cook the potatoes vigorously for about 10 minutes, until they are soft on the outside but still firm in the center. If the stock hasn’t thickened lightly, smash a few potatoes against the side of the pot and cook a minute or two longer to release their starch.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the chicken meat. Stir in the cream (or stock). Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and a bit of cayenne pepper if you like.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bacon and Mushroom Pasta

Mmmmm... this was good! I stole this recipe from Pioneer Woman and boy, am I ever glad I did! She's right. It's the perfect Monday meal.
Here's her recipe. She walks you through the whole process step by step, though, so I strongly encourage taking a look at her site!
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 slices Thin Bacon, Cut Into 1/2-inch Pieces
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 package (10 Ounce) White Button Mushrooms, Sliced Thin
  • 1 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth (OR Dry White Wine)
  • 1 cup Half-and-half
  • ¼ cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 whole Green Onions, White And Light Green Parts Sliced
  • ¼ cups Flat-leaf Parsley, Minced
  • ½ cups Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt To Taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • 1 pound Thin Spaghetti Or Angel Hair Pasta
  • Extra Parmesan, For Sprinkling
Preparation Instructions
Cook pasta according to package directions.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bacon pieces and cook until light brown but not crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Do not clean pan.
Add mushrooms and garlic to pan. Toss/stir around and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes; increase heat to high if needed to help mushrooms begin to turn golden brown.
Pour in chicken broth. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any bits. Cook over medium-high heat for several minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by half.
Reduce heat and pour in half and half and cream. Stir and allow to bubble and thicken for a couple of minutes. Add sliced green onions and parsley, then cook for one more minute. Finally, add Parmesan and stir, allowing cheese to melt and incorporate into the sauce. Turn off heat.
Add cooked pasta to a large bowl. Add half the sauce from the pan. Toss with tongs. ***Add 1/2 cup hot pasta water at this point if the pasta mixture is too thick and gunky. Toss and add more water until it reaches the consistency you need.***
Serve pasta in individual bowls, topping each helping with the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with extra parsley and extra Parmesan.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hot Mocha Fudge Pudding Cake

This recipe is like a coffee-infused lava cake times 20! Hot and gooey and rich... we'll be making this again. Only next time we'll do it when we have visitors so we don't eat so much of it ourselves!

¼ c butter, melted
2 t vanilla
½ c whipping cream
1 c Flour
2 t baking powder
1 c Sugar, Divided
pinch of salt
½ c cocoa powder, divided
1 c chocolate chips, melted
¾ c packed brown sugar
1-¾ c strong hot coffee

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Grease an 8 or 9 inch square cake pan. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, vanilla and half-and-half; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and 1/4 cup cocoa. Stir in the butter mixture, melted chocolate chips, and pour the batter into your prepared baking pan.
In another small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and remaining 1/4 cup cocoa. Sprinkle over the cake batter.
Pour the hot coffee on top of that and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top of the cake is set and the edges bubbling.

Enchilada Casserole

What's not to like? All the yum of regular enchiladas... about 1/3 of the work and 1/4 of the mess!

1lb ground beef (or turkey)
1/2 c chopped onion
1 t chili powder
1/2 t ground cumin
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 8-ounce carton regular or light sour cream
2 T flour
1/4 t garlic powder
8 6-inch tortillas
1 10-ounce can enchilada sauce
1 c shredded cheddar cheese (or more... a lot more)

In a large skillet, fry up your ground meat, onion, chili powder and cumin. Drain if needed. Stir in beans and set aside.
In a small bowl stir together sour cream, flour and garlic powder. Set that aside as well.
Lightly grease a 4-quart casserole dish. Place half of the tortillas in the bottom. Top with half the meat mixture, half the sour cream mixture, half the enchilada sauce and 1/2c cheese. Repeat layers.
Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly.
Makes 6 servings.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Cream

We spent several years living where there was a lot of snow on a regular basis during the winter. This winter we have been missing that place a lot. Low and behold it has snowed 6 inches this weekend in our little corner of Virginia. So we played in it this morning and our dessert tonight was none other than... SNOW! Well, with a little something special mixed in.

8 cups of very very clean fresh snow
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Mix them all together and serve immediately or cover and freeze until you're ready for it.

BBQ Chicken

I love my crockpot! There is really nothing better than making dinner right after having breakfast and not having to worry about it for the rest of the day. Or instead of having to make a entire meal, just making a couple sides. It reduces my stress factor all day long in substantial amounts. Here is a super quick and easy recipe that leaves the chicken moist and tender. My youngest is our little carnivore and he approves wholeheartedly!
This recipe does not make a real thick BBQ sauce but infuses the chicken with the flavor. If you want a real saucy chicken, just add some more of that bottle of sauce on top after it's done cooking and give it some time to heat up. 

2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken drumsticks, skinned if desired
1 c bottled BBQ sauce
1/3 c apricot preserves
2t yellow mustard (I use spicy mustard and it turns out fine)

Place chicken in a 3 1/2 or 4 quart slow cooker. In a separate bowl mix together remaining ingredients. Pour over chicken.
Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

This makes 3 loaves, so freeze one or give it away. For us we tend to eat our way right through it. It's good stuff!

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Perfect Pancakes... Not Kidding!

Stealing this recipe from Mommy's Kitchen. I found that using skim milk does not yield the best results. I mixed some whipping cream in with the skim and they were perfect. You could use whole milk or buttermilk instead. These have definitely won me over from using a packaged mix!

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups milk or buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons butter (melted)
Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring very gently until just combined. Melt butter in the microwave and add it to the batter, stirring gently to combine. Cook on a greased skillet over medium-low heat until golden brown. Serve with butter and syrup.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Crepes are near and dear to our hearts since our first experience with them in Old Gaeta when we lived in Italy. Il Molo only made them during the cold part of the year and filled them with all sorts of yummy things like Nutella or strawberries. This was my first attempt making them at home. They take a bit of practice but I know we'll be making them again!

4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, melted butter, flour sugar and salt until smooth.
Heat a medium-sized skillet or crepe pan over medium heat. Grease pan with a small amount of butter or oil applied with a brush or paper towel. Using a serving spoon or small ladle (I use a small round measuring cup), spoon about 3 tablespoons crepe batter into hot pan, tilting the pan so that bottom surface is evenly coated. Cook over medium heat, 1 to 2 minutes on a side, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.