Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Oatmeal Pancakes with Cinnamon Cream Syrup


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I have said before that my hubby doesn't eat breakfast except on rare occasions so I don’t make things like pancakes very often.  I did, however, want to post this recipe which was a favorite of my children when they were growing up.

The Oatmeal Pancakes are hearty but not heavy and have a nice texture with a slightly nutty flavor.  The kids preferred these to regular pancakes.  The Cinnamon Cream Syrup is great for those who like cinnamon and is a nice departure from maple syrup.  The only drawback with the syrup is that it must be refrigerated and reheated when you use it.  Since we have microwaves now that is not the chore that it used to be.

The Oatmeal Pancake recipe comes from a book, “Pancakes Aplenty”, 1962.  This was written by Ruth Ellen Church, the Chicago Tribune’s food editor who wrote under the name Mary Meade.  It has recipes for pancakes, waffles, fritters, omelets, and lots of recipes for syrups, sauces and butters.  I do not remember where the syrup recipe came from.  It might have been Better Homes and Gardens.

The recipe calls for melted fat.  Most of the time I used vegetable oil for convenience, but melted butter adds a really nice flavor to the pancakes.

Oatmeal Pancakes
1 1/2 c. quick oats
2 c. milk
1 c. flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 T. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 c. melted fat (this can be vegetable oil, melted butter, margarine or shortening)

Measure oats into a large mixing bowl.  Pour milk over oats and let stand 5 minutes.  Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Add eggs to the oat/milk mixture.  Mix well.  Add dry ingredients.  Mix quickly and lightly.  Fold in melted fat.  Pour mixture by spoonfuls onto hot griddle or frying pan.  (I use my gravel ladle to do this.  Two scoops makes about a 6 inch pancake).  Cook on one side until bubbles have formed over the top of the pancake.  Turn and cook about 1 minute on the second side.  Makes 4-6 servings.

Cinnamon Cream Syrup
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/4 c. water
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. evaporated milk

Combine sugar, corn syrup, water and cinnamon in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.  Cook and stir 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.  Stir in evaporated milk.  Serve warm over pancakes, waffles, French toast, ice cream or cake.  Store in refrigerator.  Makes 1 2/3 c.

Linked to:  This Week's Cravings
Tuesday Talent Show
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Tasty Tuesday
Totally Tasty Tuesday
Show Me What Ya Got
Tasty Tuesday
Take a Look Tuesday
Tuesday Time Out
Tip Me Tuesday
Food on Friday

Monday, November 28, 2011

DIY Groceries-Homemade Brownie Mix

Good Monday and Welcome to my new followers.  I want to thank everyone who takes time out of your busy life to read this  blog.  I hope that the information that is posted here is helpful to you.  Have a great week.

Last week I said that I was putting theme posting days on hiatus, and that is true.  I did, however, want to get these Homemade Brownie Mix recipes up before the holidays.  Even though brownie mix is one of the most heavily promoted groceries products and can often be purchased for around $1.00, it is just as cheap or cheaper to make you own.  Additionally, homemade mix does not have any of the additives and preservatives of the commercial kind.  A batch of homemade brownie mix or any other homemade mix makes a nice gift for a busy mom.  Tie it up with a pretty bow and include any nonperishable ingredients needed to make up the brownies.


I have Brownie Mix recipes from several different sources.  The only difference between the recipes is in the amount of flour and cocoa used.  I am going to post three recipes with the varying amounts.


Brownie Mix from "The Thrifty Cook" 1974
8 c. sugar
4 c. flour
2 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 t. baking powder
4 t. salt
2 c. vegetable shortening


Brownie Mix from "Make Your Own Groceries" 1979
8 c. sugar
4 c. flour
2 2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 t. baking powder
4 t. salt
2 c. vegetable shortening

Brownie Mix from "Make a Mix Cookery" 1978
8 c. sugar
6 c. flour
1 (8 oz.) can unsweetened cocoa (about 3 1/2 cups)
4 t. baking powder
4 t. salt
2 c. vegetable shortening

For all recipes, combine dry ingredient in a large bowl and mix well.  With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in shortening until mixture looks like chocolate corn meal.  Place in a large airtight container.  Label and store in a cool, dry place.  Makes about 16 to 17 cups Brownie Mix.  Use within 4 months.

Brownies
2 c. Brownie Mix
2 eggs, beaten
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped nuts

Place Brownie Mix in a large bowl.  Beat eggs and add vanilla.  Blend into Brownie Mix combining well.  Mixture will not be smooth.  Stir in nuts.  Spread in greased and floured 8-inch square pan.  Bake at 350 degrees 20 to 25 minutes, until slight imprint remains when lightly touch with finger.  Cool in pan set on rack for 10 minutes or cool completely in pan.  Cut into 2-inch squares.  Makes 16.

Rich Brownies:  Add 1/4 c. melted and cooled butter or margarine to eggs.  Mix well and stir into Brownie Mix.  From "Make Your Own Groceries"

Coconut-Pecan Brownies:  In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 c. sugar, 1/3 c. evaporated milk, 1 beaten egg yolk and 3 T. butter or margarine.  Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.  Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 t. vanilla, 2/3 c. flaked coconut and 1/2 c. chopped pecans.  Cool 10 minutes.  Spread on cooled brownies.  From "Make a Mix Cookery"

Quick Brownie Cake
3 eggs, separated
3 T. milk
1 t. vanilla
2 c. Brownie Mix

Beat egg yolks; stir in milk, vanilla and Brownie Mix.  Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into batter.  Spread in greased and waxed-paper lined 8-inch square pan.  Bake at 350 degrees 35 minutes.  Cool on rack.  Cut in square and spoon Fudge Sauce over cake.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.  From "The Thrifty Cook"

Fudge Sauce
1 c. Brownie Mix
1/2 c. water

Blend Brownie Mix and water in saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches a full boil.  Reduce heat.  Cover and simmer until sauce is thick and smooth.  From "The Thrifty Cook"

Next week I will post additional recipes that can be made with Brownie Mix as a base.

Linking to:  Melt in Your Mouth Monday
Must Try Monday
On the Menu Monday
Mangia Monday
Made by You Monday
Ingredient Spotlight

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cooking from the Blogs-What I Made

Even though it was a busy week with Thanksgiving and all, I did manage to cook a few new recipes from the blogs.


Monday I ran across this Chicken Noodle Soup over at Delightfully Dowling.  When I read her post, I remembered that I had some chicken breast bones thawed in the refrigerator that I had almost forgotten about.  I decided to use them to make this soup for lunch.  I made a few changes, adding some chopped red pepper because I put them in almost everything.  I did not have any fresh dill on hand so I used dried, maybe about a teaspoon.  I use Sriracha hot sauce.  Since my hubby likes his soup a little thicker like chowder, I mixed an additional 1/4 cup flour with 1/2 c. water towards the end and cooked the soup until it thickened slightly.   I couldn't really taste the dill, but the combination of the Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and dill gave the soup a lovely flavor that was different from the typical chicken soup.  I will definitely be making this again.


Spiced Sirloin Tip Roast from At the Well.  The original posted recipe used brisket and was cooked in a slow cooker.  I can rarely buy brisket here and am not really a fan of beef roasts from a slow cooker so I used a sirloin tip roast and cooked it in the oven.  I used the exact ingredients called for in the brisket recipe and put it in a Dutch oven.  I did brown the roast in some olive oil before I put it in the oven.  I usually stud beef roasts with slivers of garlic but did not do that to this one.  Next time I make this recipe I will.  The first night I served the meat without the gravy as we had loaded mashed potatoes so I felt we didn't need the gravy.  When I served the roast a second time I made gravy from the cooking liquid.  There was about 3 cups of cooking liquid.  I removed the fat and thickened the liquid with 1/4 cup flour mixed with 1/2 c. water.  I also added 1 T. Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 t. garlic powder to the gravy to give it a little more oomph.  The photo above is from the second time the roast was served.  What is there about meat that makes it so unphotogenic?  This recipe is going into my regular rotation for beef roasts.


I tried two new recipes for our Thanksgiving dinner.  The first dish was for a new dressing.  I saw a post over at Fake Ginger for a Cornbread, Bacon, Leek and Pecan Dressing.  I decided that I wanted to make this one.  In all my years of cooking, I have never cooked with leeks.  Probably because of the expense.  I was able to find two leeks that had really long white parts so used them instead of the four she suggested.  I got busy and forgot to cover the dressing when I put it in the oven.  Because of that, my dressing came out dryer than hers did, I think.  Nevertheless, it was very good.  I did miss the celery that I usually put in dressing so I will add that the next time I make this.  I think that dried cranberries would be a nice addition to this.  I did not add them as I had two other dishes with cranberries in them already.


The second recipe that I added to our Thanksgiving dinner was Autumn Chopped Salad.  I found this at Espresso and Cream a new to me blog that I will be checking out further soon.  I did change the recipe quite a bit to work with what I had on hand.  I used mixed salad from a big instead of the romaine, used an apple as well as a pear, used toasted walnuts, left out the cheese and used honey mustard dressing that I let each person just add to their helping.  I was going to use candied pecans, but I burned them.  I liked the fruit/lettuce mix a lot and will be making some version of this combination again.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Finds

I hope that each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of Family, Food and Fun.  Here are a few dishes that caught my eye this last week or so.

The Quick Journey

I really like rice but hubby is not so crazy about it.  He will eat rice fixed as pilaf a little more willingly than plain steamed rice.  This one, with the addition of the cranberries, fits right into the season.  If I was serving it with poultry, I probably would use chicken broth instead of beef broth.  I am going to add this to my menu this week if I can fit it in.

Crystal and Co.

These chops cooked in a crock pot might just be the thing to serve with the rice pilaf.  I think my homemade apple butter would work well in this.

Green Beans with Bacon and Pecans
Fake Ginger

Here I am again, finding a recipe that takes a perfectly healthy vegetable and maybe turns it into a vegetable that is not quite so healthy.  But, hey, doesn't bacon and nuts make anything better, especially when the pecans are candied.

Chicken Garlic Pasta with Red Peppers
Giving up on Perfect

Ever since I discovered that I really like red peppers, I add them to everything I can get away with.  Red peppers along with garlic are part of the stars in this dish.  I want to try this very soon.

Pumpkin Hazelnut Blondies
Will Cook for Smiles

Pumpkin and hazelnuts made into blondies.  The only reason that I have not yet made these is that I haven't gotten to the grocery store to purchase the hazelnut syrup.  I can't wait to try them.

Mashed Potato Cakes
Lizzy Writes

I usually make mashed potato cakes with leftover mashed potatoes, but I have never added cheese to them.  It seem like a very good idea.  I will try this the next time I have leftover mashed potatoes.

The Ranch Wife Chronicles

It is no secret how happy I am when I find another recipe for a DIY seasoning.  I love to make these and try them out at home.  This one probably would be good on any beef cut, even hamburgers.

That is my list for this week.  As always I am anxious to see what others have found on their travels around blogland this week.

Photos were taken by and are the property of the owners of the respective represented here.

Linking to Friday Favorite Finds






Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Feast in 15" E-book Sale

Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope all of you are having a day full of Family, Food, and Fun.  Enjoy it all.


My friend, Tiffany, is having a little sale on her e-book, "Feast in 15".  Today through Monday the PDF version can be purchased for only $1.99.  This is a great little book which I reviewed when it first came out.  As I said in the review, this is a good buy at the regular price of $4.99.  It is a great buy at $1.99.
With the PDF version you can print out any recipe and have it right by your side when you make it.  Just go here and put the code THANKSGIVING in when you check out.  It will be money well spent.

Disclosure:  Since my initial post about "Feast in 15", I have become an affiliate so will make a little tiny bit of money if you click through from this post. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies-Maple Sugars

12 weeks of christmas graphic

Here we are in Week 9 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies & Sweets.  I can't believe how quickly the time has flown.  Brenda at Meal Planning Magic has been doing a wonderful job of keeping us all organized.  Thank you, Brenda.

Today I am sharing a recipe that has all the pluses that I look for when choosing a recipe to make a batch of cookies.  The recipe makes a lot (6 dozen), is quick to put together and the dough can be made ahead.  Since the dough requires some time in the refrigerator, this is an excellent recipe to include in a Christmas cookie baking day.  It can be made several days before and refrigerated or even frozen.  The cookies can be baked when you have the time.

I love the flavor of maple.  These cookies make the kitchen smell so good when they are baking.  They have that crisp unique texture that comes from using both butter and vegetable oil.

The original recipe called for using the bottom of a greased glass dipped in sugar to flatten the cookie dough balls.  I do not have a glass that is smooth on the bottom so I use a 1/3 cup metal measuring cup that has a smooth bottom.  I just grease the bottom of the cup, dip it in sugar and press the cup onto the cookie dough ball until the cookie is the same size as the bottom of the cup.  This bakes up into about a 3-inch cookie.

To dress the cookies up for Christmas, I place a walnut half on top of each cookie.  If you don’t want to bother with this, use 1 to 1 12 cups walnuts that are chopped to a size between fine and coarse.

This recipe came from Pillsbury in one of those little cookbooks found at the grocery store.  It is from Mmmmm Cookies published around 1985.  I am fully aware that I have too many of these little cookbooks.  I bought them regularly for many years.

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Maple Sugars
1 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 c. vegetable oil
1 T. maple extract
2 eggs
4 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 t. cream of tartar
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
about 60 walnut halves, toasted or 1 to 1 1/2 c. medium-chopped walnuts, toasted

In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vegetable oil.  Mix together well.  Add maple extract and eggs.  Beat well.  In another bowl combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.  Stir to combine.  Gradually add dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture, mixing well.  Stir in chopped nuts if using.  Cover bowl with plastic warp and refrigerate at least 1 hour.  (May be refrigerated several days.  Shape dough into 1-1 1/2 inch balls.  (I use my little cookie scoop to measure the amount.)  Place balls on ungreased cookie sheet at least 2-inches apart.  Flatten with bottom of glass greased and dipped in sugar.  Top each cookie with a walnut half if using.  Push the walnut half a little bit into the cookie to secure it.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.  (My cookies take about 9 minutes in my oven.)  Remove to wire rack and let cool.  Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

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Be sure to visit the other bloggers’ posts to see what kind of goodies they have for you today.

Ingredient Spotlight-Parmesan Walnut Bread


When I learned that “Stinky Cheese” would be the ingredient spotlighted this week I knew immediately what I would make.  Parmesan cheese may not be the most stinky cheese, but Tiffany included it.  This is a recipe for a very good, very easy quick bread that I clipped from our local newspaper many years ago.

The original recipe called for grated Parmesan and did not indicate whether to use fresh or dry.  I have always made this with shredded Parmesan.  This doesn’t have a very cheesy flavor.  It is more of a “what is that underlying thing I taste" flavor.  Regardless, I think this bread a lot but don't make it often as it can be very addictive.  It probably would have a "more cheesy" flavor if the grated Parmesan was used.

Although the recipe says that it will make one 9x5-inch loaf pan, I have always made this in four 5x3-inch mini loaf pans.  I think this would easily make two 8x4-inch loaves.
 
I have included mini loaves of this bread with mini loaves of other flavors in Christmas gifts.  They have always been well received.

Other nuts could be substituted for the walnuts.  No matter which nuts I use, I always toast them.

Note:  the dark ring around the top of the pictured loaf  is because I sprayed the little loaf pans very heavily with nonstick spray.   The bread must be stored overnight before slicing.  The slices will crumble if cut too soon.

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Parmesan Walnut Bread
3 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese (I use 3/4 c. shredded Parmesan)
4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 3/4 c. milk
1 egg
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 to 3/4 c. coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
1/4 c. finely chopped toasted walnuts

Place flour, sugar, Parmesan, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Combine well.  Measure milk in a 2-cup glass measuring cup.  Add egg and beat well.  Add vegetable oil to egg mixture.  Pour milk/egg mixture into dry ingredients.  Mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Stir in the coarsely chopped walnuts.  Turn into greased loaf pan or pans of choice.  one 9x5-inch, two 8x4-inch, or four 5x3-inch.  Sprinkle the finely chopped nuts over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees 35 minutes to 1 hour.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.  Remove from pan.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store overnight before slicing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Festive Cranberry-Pineapple Salad

I posted this recipe back in May at the very beginning of my blog so think that most people have not seen it.  Since this salad is so good at Thanksgiving, I felt that it was worth posting again.  I still have not taken a picture of the finished salad (note to self-remember to do that before anyone digs in).  I did take a new picture of the ingredients which is definitely better than the original one. I did update the old post with this new picture if anyone ever goes back that far.  This a a very good, easy, make-ahead dish.




Update:  Did finally get a photo of the finished dish taken.

When Tiffany at Eat at Home interviewed me, one of the questions was about my favorite meal.  This is the cranberry salad that I listed.  This salad has pretty much replaced regular cranberry sauce at our Thanksgiving dinners.  I do make it throughout the year, though.  The recipe was in a magazine ad for Jell-O back when Bill Cosby was Jell-O's spokesperson.  I have never done the molded version, but am including the instructions for it.

Festive Cranberry-Pineapple Salad
1 can (20 oz.) Crushed Pineapple, undrained
2 pkgs. (4-serving size each) or 1 pkg. (8-serving size) red gelatin, I use sugar-free
1 can (16 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 medium  apple, chopped
2/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts

DRAIN pineapple, reserving liquid in 1-qt. liquid measuring cup.  Add enough cold water to reserved liquid to measure 3 cups; pour into large saucepan. Bring to boil; remove from heat. Add gelatin; stir at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Add cranberry sauce; stir until well blended. (Note: Due to the presence of whole berries in the cranberry sauce, the gelatin mixture will not be smooth.) Pour into large bowl. Refrigerate 1-1/2 hours or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg whites.)  Add pineapple, apple and walnuts; stir gently until well blended. Pour into medium serving bowl.  Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.  Store any leftover salad in refrigerator.  Makes 14 servings (1/2 c. each)

If you don't want the salad to take as long to set up as the instructions above take, you can freeze the cranberry sauce overnight.  I take it out of the can and put it in a heavy-duty plastic bag, seal it well, flatten the bag, and freeze.  Add the cranberry sauce to the warm pineapple/water mixture, breaking it up well.  This helps the Jell-O to set up faster.

You can also just go ahead and stir pineapple, apple, and walnuts into the pineapple juice/cranberry mixture right away.  This will cause the apple and the nuts to float at the top of the Jell-O.  If I am in a real hurry, I don't have a problem with that.

Variation - Molded Cranberry-Pineapple Salad
To serve as a molded salad, substitute a 6-cup mold for the serving bowl. Also, use 1 can (8-1/4 oz.)  crushed pineapple, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts and add enough cold water to the reserved pineapple liquid to measure 2 cups. Makes 10 servings, 1/2 cup each

Linking to:  Tuesday Talent Show
Totally Tasty Tuesday
Tasty Tuesday
Show Me What You Got
Take a Look Tuesday
Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods
Tuesday Time Out
Tip Me Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Recipe Roundup at Mandy's Recipe Box

Monday, November 21, 2011

Not That Green Bean Casserole

Mom has been laid to rest with beautiful flowers, wonderful music, and a memorial that truly represented her life here on earth.  Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers during the last week.  I am now back and hope that some of the recipes I post will be enjoyed by others.

Monday is the day that I welcome any new followers and thank those who read my blog.  So welcome and thank you all for taking time in your busy schedules to stop by.  I hope that the information provided here will be useful.

I have many recipes that I want to make and share during this holiday season that do not fit into the themed posting days I had set up, so I am putting them on hiatus until the first of the year.

Here is a recipe using green beans that can also be made with an equivalent amount of other cooked veggies such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, mixed vegetables, carrots, peas, etc.


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Practically everyone knows about the famous green bean casserole. You know the one with the green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and French fried onions. Well, I have another offering, and there is not a can of cream soup in sight. If you are not a mushroom fan or just want something a little different, you might give this one a try.

This is a quick, easy, versatile recipe which is easily halved or doubled. It can be made with fresh, frozen, or canned green beans. I usually make this with canned as that is what my husband prefers.  Sometimes I saute some diced red pepper and/or celery in a little butter and add it to the green beans.  I use Worcestershire sauce and garlic pepper in this, but other herbs can be used. It is up to the imagination. I also vary the topping using Panko, dried bread crumbs, different kinds of nuts, cheese, and sometimes even use those French fried onions.

The yield is 6 servings, but if this is part of a dinner like Thanksgiving with many other dishes, this will easily serve 8 or more. There is just my husband and me, so I halve the recipe which is what is in the photo of the casserole below.

The original recipe is from Betty Crocker and appeared in “An Old Fashioned Holiday”, 1990, one of those little cookbooks available at the grocery store.

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NOT That Green Bean Casserole
1 lb. fresh green beans, cut up, cooked or 4 c. frozen green beans, cooked, or 2 cans (16 oz. each) cut green beans
1 c. sour cream (can be low fat, do not use fat free)
2 T. flour
1/2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
1 t. garlic/ pepper blend or 1/2 t. garlic powder and 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 t. salt (omit if using canned green beans)
1/4 c. milk
1 T. dried minced onion
1/3 c. panko or dry bread crumbs
1/4 c. chopped almonds
2 T. butter or margarine, melted (I don’t always use this)

In a 1 1/2 qt. greased casserole, mix sour cream, flour, Worcestershire Sauce, garlic/pepper, salt, milk and onion. Add drained green beans and mix until well combined. Combine panko or bread crumbs, almonds, and butter or margarine, if using. Sprinkle over the green beans. Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes until top is lightly browned. Makes 6 servings.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Beginning an Eternity Journey

My sweet and wonderful mother left us to join my father and the Lord today.  We are so saddened that she is gone, but thankful that she had 92+ years on this earth and rejoice that shes has now begun her eternity journey. Our memories of her and her wonderful spirit will sustain us.  

On Mondays, I usually give a special welcome to all my new followers, so welcome and thank you for reading my blog.  I will be taking a brief hiatus from posting, but will be back soon.  Thank you for understanding.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Finds

First, I must apologize to a fellow blogger, and I don't know who you are.  I ran across a blog with a wonderful recipe, commented on it, and said that I was including it in my Friday Finds.  I closed my browser and don't remember the name of the blog.  So, if you are that blogger and don't see your recipe listed here, please sent me an email and tell me who you are and the name of your blog; and I will be back.

Now, on to the recipes I did remember to list.  It appears that I was in a bit of a white mood this week as the first few finds are on the white side.

Jane-Adventures in Dinner

I have never tried to make gnocchi, but Jane makes it look so quick and easy I am going to give it a try.  Also, she makes it with leftover mashed potatoes, and I am always looking for new ways to use up those.

Uncle Carmen's Sicilian Cauliflower
It's a Keeper

Roasted cauliflower with parmesan cheese and topped with bread crumbs.  Maybe this would get a cauliflower dish by my hubby.  I know that I certainly would like it.

A Slice of Southern

This looks like such a fun breakfast.  French bread soaked in a custard and cooked in a waffle iron.  This is a treat I am going to make soon.

Perpetual Green Onions
Homemade Serenity

I had no idea that you could do this with green onions.  I never have green onions when I need them.  They are also relatively expensive on a price per pound basis.  I am going to buy a bunch and try this out for sure.

At the Well

Brisket is not easy to purchase here where I live, but I think that I will try this with the next sirloin tip roast I make.  I think the combination of ingredients is really interesting.

This is a just a bit of the great food and ideas that I ran across this week, but I am stopping now.  Again I am looking forward to seeing what others have found this week.

The photos were taken by and are the property of the owners of the blogs represented.

Linking to Friday Favorite Finds
  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

!2 Weeks of Christmas Cookies-NOT Pecan Pie Bars


Here we are starting the second half of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets. Time has really flown.  I am getting so many good recipes from the other bloggers who are participating.  Be sure you check them out and visit our hostess at Meal Planning Magic, too

Last week over at Southern Plate, Christy posted a recipe for Faux Pecan Pie that used pretzels instead of pecans.  Her wonderful idea intrigued me, and I couldn’t stop thinking about trying to use pretzels instead of pecans in a pecan pie bar cookie.  I knew that I had to try it.

Because of the drought, pecans are projected to reach as much as $12 a pound.  I don’t know about you, but that price is more than I am willing to pay.  Now I am not necessarily a fan of pretzels as far as just eating them is concerned, but here they may just save the day.  This substitution may also benefit those who have nut allergies.  One note:  the only pretzels I could find where I shopped were processed in a facility that processed peanut so be sure to check the label on the pretzels for that possibility.

Now I have to say that I did not think that the bars had a true pecan flavor, but they were good in their own right.  There are places that sell butter pecan flavoring that could be used, but that would probably negate any benefit to those with nut allergies.  I may add a little maple flavor next time I make these.  Although Christy crushed hers, I broke the pretzel sticks into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces.  This took about the same amount of time as it would have to chop the same measurement of pecans.  I tossed the pretzels with 1 T. melted butter and toasted them in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.  I am not sure that this is necessary, however.

The recipe that I used came from a little Karo cookbook, another one of those grocery store ones.  There are actually 5 toppings that go on the base recipe from this cookbook so I am going to go ahead and post them all.   Another note:  Karo has nothing to do with high fructose corn syrup and does not contain it.  Grease the measuring cup to make removing the Karo easier.


Bar Cookie Crust
2 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. butter or margarine, cut up

Place flour, sugar, salt in a mixing bowl.  Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Press crumbs firmly into bottom and 1/4 inch up the sides of a greased 9x13-inch baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Top with desired topping and complete as recipe directs.

NOT Pecan Pie Bars
1 Bar Cookie Crust
2 eggs
3/4 c. Karo, Light or Dark (I used Dark)
3/4 c. sugar
2 T. butter or margarine, melted
2 t. vanilla
1 1/3 c. broken pretzels sticks

Prepare and bake Bar Cookie Crust.  While crust is baking, beat eggs, Karo, sugar, butter or margarine, and vanilla together in a large bowl.  Stir in pretzels.  Pour over hot crust, spreading evenly.  Bake at 350 degrees 20 minutes or until filling is firm around edges and slightly firm in center.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Cut into 2x1 1/2-inch bars.  Makes about 32 bars.

To make real Pecan Pie Bars use 1 1/4 coarsely chopped pecans in place of the pretzels.
Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars:  Follow above recipe and add 3 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted to egg mixture.  Compete as above recipe directs.

Almond Toffee Triangles
1 Bar Cookie Crust
1/3 c. Karo, Light or Dark
1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
3 T. butter or margarine,
1/4 c. heavy or whipping cream
1 1/2 c. sliced almonds
1 t. vanilla

Prepare and bake Cookie Crust.  While crust is baking combine Karo, brown sugar, butter or margarine, and cream in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; remove from heat.  Stir in almonds and vanilla.  Pour over hot crust spreading evenly.  Bake at 350 degrees 12 minutes or until set and golden.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Cut into 2-inch squares; cut diagonally in half for triangles.  Makes 48 servings.

Chocolate Chip Walnuts Bars
1 Bar Cookie Crust
2 eggs
1/2 c. Karo, Light or Dark
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. butter or margarine, melted
1 c. (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. chopped, toasted walnuts

Prepare and bake Cookie Crust.  While crust is baking, beat eggs, Karo, sugar, and butter or margarine until well blended.  Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.  Pour over hot crust, spreading evenly.  Bake at 350 degrees 15 to 18 minutes or until set.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.  Cut into 2x1 1/2-inch bars.  Makes about 32 bars
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Cranberry Walnut Bars
1 Bar Cookie Crust
2 eggs
1/2 c. Karo, Light or Dark
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. butter or margarine, melted
1 c. chopped fresh or frozen cranberries or dried
3/4 c. chopped, toasted walnuts

Prepare and bake Cookie Crust.  While crust is baking beat eggs, Karo, sugar and butter or margarine until well blended.  Stir in cranberries and walnuts.  Pour over crust, spreading evenly.  Bake at 350 degrees 15 to 18 minutes or until set.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.  Cut into 2 x 1 1/2-inch bars.  Makes about 32 bars.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cooking with the Journal-One Fudge, Many Flavors

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Clockwise from lower left:  Eggnog Cherry, Cinnamon, Peanut Butter,
 Toasted Almond, Butterscotch Pecan and Milk Chocolate
Besides the bread book I mentioned last week and the two cookie books, Farm Journal published one other specialty cookbook, Homemade Candy, 1970.

This book is my “go-to” candy making book and has recipes for all kinds of candies and confections.  One of my favorite recipes from this book is No-Fail Fudge.  Many of you probably have this recipe in your files already.  If you don’t, you should. 

There are other marshmallow or marshmallow crème and chocolate chip fudge recipes around, but I have always liked this one the best.  This recipe uses evaporated milk, cut-up marshmallows, and chocolate chips which are ingredients that I always have in my pantry.  The fudge is very easy to make and takes only about 10-15 minutes to get into the pan.  In another 15 to 20 minutes the fudge is ready to eat.  You can go from wanting fudge to eating fudge in less than an hour.

Any flavor of baking chips can be used in this recipe which makes it very versatile.  Besides semisweet chocolate, milk chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch, cinnamon, and white chocolate chips can be used.  My preference for white chocolate chips is Ghirardelli Classic White Premium Baking Chips.   They seem to melt a little easier than Nestles.  I have used the Nestles, however, and they will do the job and can easily be found on sale this time of year.  Here is a little trick that I use.  Most baking chip flavors other than chocolate come in packages that have 1 3/4 cups in them.  I keep a package of white chips on hand.  I measure out about 7/8 cup of the chips I am going to use and make up the rest of the cup with the white chips.   That way I get 2 full cups of chips from one package.

Mini marshmallows can be used in this recipe, but I like to use the cut-up regular marshmallows.  The cut-up marshmallows seem to melt a little quicker than the mini ones do.

The original recipes does not call for nuts, but I like nuts in my fudge so almost always use them.  I toast the nuts and try to pair the nuts with the fudge flavor.  I use walnuts with chocolate, peanuts with peanut butter, pecans with butterscotch, almonds with white chocolate.

Many other ingredients can be added to the fudge:  toasted coconut, chopped dried pineapple, candied fruits, chopped, well-drained maraschino cherries, chopped candy.  Whatever your mind can dream up.  I also use various flavorings and extracts with the white chocolate chips and have made anise, almond, cherry, orange, maple, and black walnut flavored fudge.  Mint flavor is very good with both chocolate and white fudge. Food coloring can be used to tint white fudge the color of the flavor used.  For example, red with cherry flavoring, orange with orange flavoring, green with mint flavoring, etc.

An easy way to dress up the fudge is to top the fudge with other ingredients:  sprinkle the nuts on the top, use crushed peppermint candies, coconut, cut up or crushed candy bars, crumbled up cookies, etc.  Pat the topping gently into the fudge with your hand.

To be successful with this fudge, you need to know what a full-rolling boil is.  That is a boil that cannot be stirred down when stirred with a spoon or spatula.  Time the 5 minutes when the mixture reaches that point.

I have only one 8-inch square metal baking pan so rather than butter the pan, I line it with about a 20-inch length of aluminum foil and spray the foil.  I put the fudge in the pan, let it set, take the fudge from the pan and fold the foil over the fudge.  To store the fudge, I put the foil covered fudge in a gallon-size, zip-top bag, seal the bag and put it in a cool, dry place.  I leave the fudge uncut until I am ready to serve it or give it away.  Not cutting the fudge until ready to serve it keeps it from drying out.

No-Fail Fudge
Homemade Candy
Farm Journal Books, 1970

1 (6 oz.) can evaporated milk (2/3 c.)
1 2/3 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. cut-up marshmallows (about 11) or 1 1/2 c. mini marshmallows
1 (6 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips (1 cup)
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped, toasted nuts or other ingredient (opt.)

Combine milk, sugar and salt in a 2-qt. heavy, non-stick saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Bring to a full-rolling boil and boil steadily 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.
Add marshmallows, chocolate chips and vanilla.  Beat vigorously until chips and marshmallows are melted.  Add nuts or other ingredients.  Pour into lightly buttered 8-inch square pan.  Cool slightly.  Store uncut or cut in 36 pieces.  Makes 1 3/4 pounds.

Variations for the Fudges pictured.
Eggnog Cherry Fudge:  Use white chocolate chips, add 1 t. rum extract, 1/2 t. ground nutmeg and 1/2 c. chopped red candied cherries.
Cinnamon Fudge:  Use 1/2 c. white chocolate chips and 1/2 c. cinnamon flavor chips.  I get my cinnamon chips from Prepared Pantry, and they are more potent than supermarket cinnamon chips.  If you are using the supermarket chips (I usually can’t find them),  go ahead and use 1 c.
Peanut Butter Fudge:  Use peanut butter chips and 1/2 c. chopped peanuts.
Toasted Almond Fudge:  Use white chocolate chips, 1/2 to 1 t. almond extract, and 1/2 c. toasted, slivered almonds.
Butterscotch Pecan:  Use butterscotch chips and 1/2 c. chopped, toasted pecans.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Crazy Cooking Challenge-Loaded Mashed Potatoes

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Good Monday morning and welcome to my new followers.  As always, thank all of you who take the time to read my blog.  I hope that what you find posted here is useful.

I am part of  the Crazy Cooking Challenge, and we are doing mashed potatoes.  Our hostess, Tina, over at Mom's Crazy Cooking is doing a wonderful job of hosting.  We are all having a great time.  If you would like to join the fun and participate, hop on over to Tina's blog to get the full details.  Since the challenge posts are today there will no DIY grocery post this week.

When I did a search for mashed potato recipes on blogs, I did not get very good results.  There were lots of mashed potatoes recipes, but not many on what I consider personal blogs.  Maybe it was the search engine I used.  I decided to just check out some of the blogs I have subscribed to over the last year, and I did find that many of them had recipes for mashed potatoes.  In the end, I decided that I would make Loaded Mashed Potatoes from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures.

I liked that Lynn’s recipe just called for milk for liquid and her idea to incorporate the cheese and bacon right in the potatoes.

Of course, I can never leave “well enough” alone so I made some changes.  First, I prefer to use Yukon Gold potatoes to make mashed potatoes.  Second, we love garlic so I almost always use it in my mashed potatoes.  Third I used a Mexican blend for the cheese so I added some cumin.  I guess that what I ended up with was Mexican Garlic Loaded Mashed Potatoes.

To serve the potatoes, I added a dollop of sour cream on top and garnished them with a little more cheese and bacon.        

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Loaded Mashed Potatoes
from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures
3 lb. potatoes, peeled and cubed (I used Yukon Gold)
1-2 large cloves garlic, minced (optional, I added this)
1 c, milk, warmed
1/4 c. butter
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I used a Mexican Blend)
4 slices or more crumbled crisp cooked bacon
1 t. cumin (optional, I added this)
1/4 c. sour cream for garnish (optional, I added this)

Combine potatoes and garlic in a saucepan and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain potatoes well.  Mash potatoes with butter and milk until well mashed and creamy.  Stir in cheese and bacon.  Lynn's post didn't say how many servings, I am thinking about 6.

Thanks, Lynn, for a great potato recipe.




Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cooking from the Blogs-What I Made

With a hectic week, one less night to cook, and travel for the weekend, I did not think that I would be making any recipes from blogs this week.  It turns out I had time to make just one recipe, and, is no one surprised that the recipe was for cookies.


Thursday, Marsha over at the Better Baker, posted a recipe for "Melt-in-Your Mouth" Pecan Toffee Cookies.  They looked so good and were an easy-to-make recipe using a cake mix.  We like to take some cookies with us for snacking when we travel, and these seemed just the thing to take this time.  I got up a little early and made these before we left on Friday morning.  The cookies truly lived up to their name.  My hubby said that they were like eating popcorn; meaning, that if you were not careful, you would scarf them all down and they would be gone before you know it.  It think this basic idea would work well with a chocolate cake mix.  I am also anxious to try these with a Butter Pecan cake mix although that flavor is a little difficult to find where I live.  I will be giving these a try with the homemade cake mix, too.  Thanks, Marsha, for sharing a great, versatile recipe.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Finds


Here are some great recipes and ideas that I found in my travels around the web this week:

Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Yet another Alfredo Sauce that I want to try.  This one includes garlic which we love around here.


Chinese Orange Barbecue Cashew Chicken
Debbie Does Dinner Healthy

This is another oriental dish that look really good, and that I will have to try very soon.  I have some leftover orange marmalade in the fridge and recently bought chicken on sale.

Oven Fries with Genuine Fry Sauce
Make Myself at At Home

These look like they would be really wonderful the next time I make hamburgers for lunch.  I, personally, can't have too many ways to fix potatoes in my recipe arsenal.

Faux Pecan Pie 
Southern Plate

When is a pecan pie not a pecan pie?  When it is made with pretzels.  What a clever concept.  Christy swears that this tastes just like pecan pie so I am taking her word for it.  What a wonderful find for those who have nut allergies.  Pretzels are fat free so that should take some of the guilt out of eating this.

Basic Photo Editing with Picnik
The Mother Huddle

That, obviously, is not a picture of food, but isn't she adorable?  I am just a beginner at editing photos, and Destri has posted a great tutorial for beginners on how to use Picnik.  I have just started to use Picnik in the last month or so, and I think my photos are looking a little better.  Most importantly, maybe, I am resizing them so my blog will load faster.  I had no idea that the photos I was posting were so huge.  Destri has kindly offered to do a post on editing food photos so watch for that in the future.

Note:  the photos in this post were taken by and are the property of the owners of the blogs represented.

I am looking forward to seeing what others have found in their travels around the web this week.  Unfortunately, I will have to wait a couple of days as we will be out of town, and I will have limited computer access.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies-Chocolate Bar Cookies


Note:  for those of you who may have read about my mother being hospitalized in my Tuesday post, I am happy to report that she was released Wednesday.  I appreciate your thoughts and any prayers you may have said on her behalf.  Now, onto the business at hand today.

I cannot believe that we are at the half-way point of 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets.  Time has certainly flown.  I look at my list of things I wanted to post and find I have more than 6 left; so there will have to be some goodie posts outside of the blog hop, I think.  Brenda at Meal Planning Magic continues to do a great job of hosting this blog hop.  It is not too late to join in the fun, just head on over an get the details. 

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I clipped this recipe from Sunset magazine many years ago.  It has become a favorite and is one of my “go-to” recipes when I need a quick, simple but impressive cookie.

These are thin bars with a light chocolate flavor, a texture somewhat like shortbread and toasted nuts on the top.  They are a very additive cookie.  I don’t make them as often as I did when my children were growing up for that exact reason.

Any kind of toasted nuts can be used in this, even chopped, dry roasted peanuts.  Because the nuts are on the top of the cookies, a half cup goes a long way.  Even though they do take a half pound of butter, these are a somewhat inexpensive cookie to make.   You may use half butter/half margarine if desired, but with so few ingredients the butter contributes major flavor to the cookies.

I unwrap my butter and place it on a microwave safe dish and soften it in the microwave in 20 second intervals as I never remember to take it from the refrigerator ahead of time.  It is easier to separate the egg if it is done as soon as it is removed from the refrigerator.  The separated egg will warm to room temperature while you are mixing the butter and sugar.

The dough for this will be stiff, and you may need to do the last little mixing with your hands.  I then divide the dough in half and plop half on each half of the baking pan.  I find this is easier for getting the dough spread out in the pan than trying to spread it from one big glob in the center.  The recipe says to wet your hands, and that is a trick that will work with other recipes where the dough must be spread or patted into the pan with your hands.

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Chocolate Bar Cookies
Sunset Magazine
1 c. butter or margarine or 1/2 c. of each
1 c. sugar
1 egg. separated
1 1/2 c. unsifted flour
2 T. cocoa
1/2 c. chopped, toasted nuts

Cream butter by itself until it is smooth.  Add sugar and cream together until fluffy.  Beat in the egg yolk.  Combine flour and cocoa and mix well.  Add to creamed mixture.  Mix until well combined.  Dough will be stiff.  Divide dough in half and put half on each side of a greased 10x15-inch baking pan.  With moistened hands spread and pat dough evenly over bottom of baking pan.  Beat egg whites until foamy.  With pastry brush, brush egg white over dough, covering it well.  You may not need all the egg white.  Sprinkle top evenly with the nuts.  Bake at 325 degrees 25 minutes or until edges pull away from sides of pan.  Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes.  Cut into 1x31/2-inch bars.  Makes 45

These are just the thing to have with a nice tall glass of cold milk!

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Be sure to hop around and check out all the other great recipes posted today.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Curried Green Pea Soup/Side Dish


Here is a little soup or side dish that I dreamed up because I wanted to combine green peas and curry flavor. I created it as a soup, but it can be a curried, creamed pea side dish by halving the amount of milk.  The 1 teaspoon curry powder gives the soup a bit of a bite so it might be wise to start out with 1/2 teaspoon.

I like to see the whole peas, but the soup can be put in a blender or food processor and blended until smooth if desired.   One-half to one cup cubed cooked ham may be added to make this more of a main dish soup.    

Curried Green Pea Soup/Side Dish
1/4 c. butter
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/3 c. flour
1 can (16 oz.) green peas, undrained
1/2 to 1 t. curry powder
1/2 T. instant chicken bouillon
1 c. milk
1/4 c. crumbled, crisp cooked bacon pieces
1/4 c. finely chopped dry roasted peanuts

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring and watching carefully.  Add flour and stir and cook for 1 minute.  Add peas, curry powder and bouillon.  Stir and cook until liquid in mixture smooths out.  Add milk, cook and stir for 5 minutes or until heated through.  Ladle into serving bowls.  Top each bowl with 1 T. bacon pieces and 1 T. chopped peanuts.  Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cooking with the Journal-Cereal Muffins

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Life happened yesterday.  My mother, who is 92 and suffering from congestive heart failure, collapsed and had to be admitted to the hospital with too much fluid on her lungs.  She is doing OK, and we realize how fortunate we are to still have her.  Blogging definitely comes after life and family, so posts may be a little erratic for awhile.  

I do want to say "Welcome" to my new followers; and, as always, thank all of you who take time out of your busy lives to read my posts.  I am most humbled.

I did make muffins the other night so had this ready to post today.  This recipe comes from perhaps the thinnest of the Farm Journal Cookbooks, “Homemade Bread”, 1969.   It can be made with several kinds of cereal including whole bran, corn flakes, and Cheerios.  I am sure that other “flaked” cereals could be used by using the same amount as the corn flakes.  This is a nice use for that last couple of cups or so of cereal that no one has eaten.
 
The recipe includes variations for blueberry, apple, pineapple, bacon, and cranberry (a nice use of leftover cranberry sauce).  Since I have a lot of apples on hand (we are in the middle of apple picking season here), I made the apple variation.  My hubby likes his muffins with butter and jam, but I liked them just fine plain.

Cereal Muffins
Homemade Breads
Farm Journal Books, 1969
1 1/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. whole-bran cereal, or 2 c. Cheerios, or 3 c. corn flakes
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 T. baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Combine milk and cereal in a large bowl.  In another bowl mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.  Add beaten egg and vegetable oil to milk and cereal and mix well; add dry ingredients.  Mix only until dry ingredients are moistened (batter will be lumpy).  Fill greased muffin cups almost full.  Bake in 400 degree oven 20 to 25 minutes.  Makes 12 medium-size muffins.

Variations:  Add any of these to batter before adding dry ingredients.
Blueberry:  Add 1 c. fresh or unthawed frozen blueberries or 1 c. well-drained canned blueberries.
Apple:  Peel and finely dice 1 medium apple (3/4-1 c.).  Toss with 2 T. sugar and 1/2 to. cinnamon.
Pineapple:  Add 3/4 c. well-drained crushed pineapple.
Bacon:  Add 4 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled.
Cranberry:  Add 1 c. whole berry cranberry sauce.
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