Friday, December 30, 2011

The French Toast English Muffin with Grand Marnier

I was delighted to receive a gift of Wolferman's large English muffins recently, and I immediately imagined these muffins as orange French toast!  The delicate orange flavor which the soak infuses in the French toast is enhanced by topping the toast with orange marmalade.

                                               Pamper Yourself...
                
                                      And Anyone Else You Care To!


Ingredients

Muffin Per Serving:
1/2 to 1 whole Wolferman's Original English Muffin (or 1 whole smaller English muffin, such as Thomas)

Soak (makes enough For 3 Wolferman's Original English Muffin halves (or 4 smaller English muffin halves):
1 egg
1 TB milk
1 TB orange juice
1/8 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. Grand Marnier (triple orange liqueur) or 1/8 tsp. orange extract
1/16 tsp. (a dash) of ground mace spice

For The Skillet Per Serving:
Butter-flavored cooking spray
1 TB butter

Garnish per serving:
1 tsp. powdered sugar, sifted
about 1/4" orange wheel slice

Topping per serving:
about 1/3 c. orange marmalade


Directions
  1. Whisk together the ingredients for the soak in about a 9" shallow cooking pan or dish.  Split the English muffin(s) with a fork and lay each half in the soak.  Let the halves absorb the egg mixture until wet but not completely soaked.
  2. Spray a non-stick skillet with the butter-flavored cooking spray.  Add the butter to the skillet and melt over medium heat.  Using a fork or cooking tongs, lift each English muffin half from the soak and gently shake off any excess mixture.  Transfer the muffin(s) to the skillet and cook, flipping once, until golden brown on each side.
  3. Garnish with a dusting of sifted powdered sugar and a slice of orange.  Serve orange marmalade for topping.  

Celebrate the New Year with this wonderful orange-flavored, English muffin French toast and enjoy!

Printable Recipe  

                 
                                                 My Granddaughter...

                                              Says Happy New Year!


And so do I!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wholesome Buttermilk Scones with Whole Wheat (Fruit Optional)

When I was young, a very large pear tree grew outside our kitchen window.  From that tree, my mother made pear preserves which I'll never forget.  When she made biscuits, I'd pile those crisp, thick slices of pear preserves on top of my biscuit halves.  I was in pure, pear-pleasure heaven!  Now, my brother has pear trees and recently very generously shared a large jar of his preserved pears, reminiscent of Mother's.

We agreed that the best way to enjoy these coveted preserves was on top of biscuits.  In pursuit of a more healthy version, I set out to make whole-wheat biscuits.  After a couple of attempts, I decided the biscuits made with all whole-wheat flour were too much of a good thing and that scones made partially with bleached, all-purpose flour would be a better alternative.

I am particularly delighted to share with you my wholesome, light and tender, whole-wheat scone creation.  My favorite way to eat these scones is split and toasted, which brings out the nutty flavor of the whole wheat.  Of course, I have to spread them with a little butter and pear preserves!


                                       Big, Bold and Beautiful...

                               
                                    This Scone Is No Wimp!


8 Large Scones

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 c. bleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 c. whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 TB light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. + 2 TB cold butter
  • 1 slightly beaten whole egg
  • 1 c. buttermilk*
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • about 1/2 c. bleached, all-purpose flour for kneading
  • butter-flavored cooking spray 
  • 1 slightly beaten egg white
  • 3 TB turbinado sugar (Sugar In The Raw)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450º.
  2. Sift the first 5 ingredients together in a medium-large mixing bowl.  Blend in the light brown sugar with a fork or whisk.
  3. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or fork until you have very coarse crumbs or the butter is pea size. (Don't over process...it's better to have larger, rather than too small, pieces of butter!)
  4. Make a well in the center of the mixture.  Add the slightly beaten whole egg, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix just until moist.
  5. Kneading Process:  Flour your hands and a medium-large cutting board.  Turn the dough out onto the board...it will be very sticky.  Sprinkle a little of the all-purpose flour on top of the dough.  Using a floured pastry scraper, scrape the edges of the dough toward the center to incorporate the flour. Then start lightly kneading with your hands.  To achieve moist scones, add as little flour as possible as you knead, utilizing the pastry scraper as necessary.  Knead about 8 times.
  6. Pat the dough into about a 3/4" thick, 6 1/2" to 7"circle. Using your floured pastry scraper or a very sharp knife, and without sawing, cut the dough into 8 equal wedges.  (If you cut straight down without a sawing motion, the scones will rise better.)
  7. Spray a baking sheet with the butter-flavored cooking spray.  Place the wedges in opposite directions about 1" apart on the sheet.  If necessary, reshape the wedges a little with your fingers.
  8. Brush each wedge with some of the slightly beaten egg white and sprinkle liberally with the turbinado sugar. Very lightly press the sugar into the scones with the back of a plastic spoon.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes or until the scone tops are light golden brown and the bottoms are golden brown when slightly lifted.

Tips

These would be good with one of the following options stirred in just before adding the wet ingredients:
                     1 tsp. orange zest and/or 1/2 c. dried cranberries
                     1/2 c. golden raisins
                     1/2 c. blueberries
                     1/2 c. chopped, dried apricots
                     1/2 c. peeled, chopped apple

*See my Morning Muffins with Bran and Raspberries where I explained the powdered blend for buttermilk, which I often use in lieu of regular buttermilk, because the blend has a better shelf life.

This recipe is the basis for a good scone.  For a more traditional American scone, just use 2 c. bleached, all-purpose flour and omit the whole-wheat four.

For a festive-holiday look, try sprinkling the scones with colored sugar in lieu of the raw sugar just before baking.

If toasting, make sure you place the top of the scone with the sugar coating facing up, so it will not stick to the toaster rack!


                                           My Favorite Way...
                               

                                    Toasted, With Pear Preserves!


This healthy and nutty-flavored scone is sure to help Santa and Chanukah Harry power through the holidays!  Enjoy!

Happy Holidays!

Printable Recipe

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hearty Beef Pot Roast with Vegetables In The Slow Cooker

Put this hearty pot roast on early in the morning and come home to a nice hot meal.  You can do the prep work the night before, including searing the roast, if you like!  It's all very easy, but so satisfying! Make enough to have leftovers for sandwiches!

                                 When It's Cold and Ugly Outside...
                         This Will Keep Them Warm and Cozy Inside!

Serves 6

Ingredients
  • 1 approx. 3 lb. boneless beef shoulder (pot) roast--allow about 1/2 lb. per person
  • 2 TB all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 TB vegetable oil
  • 4 cleaned stalks of celery, cut into about 3" pieces
  • 4 cleaned and peeled carrots, halved or quartered to achieve about 1/2" thickness ea. piece
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled & sliced into about 1/2 slices*
  • 3 approx. 1/2 lb./ea. Idaho baking potatoes, scrubbed and cut, unpeeled, into halves
  • (table salt and freshly ground black pepper for sprinkling on the vegetables)

Directions
  1. Preheat the slow cooker on low.  
  2. Pat the roast dry with a paper towel on all sides.  Mix the flour, seasoned salt, pepper and garlic powder together with a fork or small whisk.  Sprinkle the mixture all over the roast and rub it in with the back of a spoon.  Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.  Sear all sides of the roast about one minute each side, or until well browned.  
  3. Place the potatoes on the bottom of the slow cooker and sprinkle lightly with the table salt and pepper.  Scatter about half of the other vegetables on top of the potatoes and lightly sprinkle with more table salt and the pepper.  Place the roast on top of these vegetables, pouring any drippings scraped from the skillet on top of the roast.  Put the remainder of the vegetables on top of the roast and sprinkle lightly with additional table salt and the pepper.  
  4. For a tender roast, cook on low for 10 hours.  The internal temperature of the roast should register at least 160º for medium. (Optional:  If you're at home while the roast is cooking, flip it over after about four or five hours.)  
*Tip:   To avoid odor on your hands, rub them with lemon juice before peeling an onion.  To avoid or keep tears to a minimum, peel and slice an onion under cool, running water.

The vegetables and roast will create a flavorful gravy in the cooker.  Serve the roast and vegetables with the gravy and nice soft rolls or bread.  Chow down and enjoy!

                                        Find A Little Comfort...                     
                                            All In One Pot!
                               
Printable Recipe


Monday, November 14, 2011

Exotic Roasted Pumpkin Soup

It all started when my daughter recently charmed me into removing the seeds for toasting from their Halloween pumpkin.  (She has loved toasted pumpkin seeds since childhood.)  Well, as you know, I first had to cut the pumpkin...it was about 15 lbs.!  Then, once I got it open, naturally it only made sense to roast it.

It's actually easy to roast a pumpkin:  Once you've washed and cut it in half, remove the pulp and seeds.  Place the  pumpkin halves in a baking pan with the skin side up.  Add and keep about 1" of water in the pan. Roast at 400º until tender, or easily pierced with a carving fork.  Their 15 lb. pumpkin took about one hour per half to roast.  (Since their pumpkin was so large, we could only fit half of it in the oven at a time.)  For yummy toasted seeds, try this site: sugar and spice pumpkin seeds.

So, what do you do with that roasted pumpkin?  I know you'll love this enticing  pumpkin soup collaboration between daughter and mother.  In our adaptation of this recipe from Epicurious, we omitted a few of the spices because we felt they were unnecessary, duplicated flavors.
 
So, Charlie Brown, here's our tribute to The Great Pumpkin and just in time for Thanksgiving!

                                  Add A Little Spice To Your Life...

                    
                                      And You'll Be Thankful!

As Adapted from Epicurious

Serves 8

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 TB butter
  • 3/4 c. chopped carrots (use baby carrots to keep it easy)*
  • 3/4 c. chopped celery*
  • 3/4 c. chopped ripe banana (about 1 large)*
  • 1/2 c. chopped white onion (frozen is fine)*
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 5 c. low-salt chicken broth
  • 4 c. approx. 1/2" cubed roasted fresh pumpkin (or 2 c. canned pure pumpkin)
  • 3/4 c. canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 c. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/16th tsp. (pinch) ground sage
  • 1/4 tsp. yellow curry powder
  • table salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
*Use a medium chop on these ingredients.

Garnish options for each serving:  mint sprig (as shown in the photo above), basil leaf, parsley sprig, dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream

    
Directions
  1. Melt the butter in an approximate 5 to 6 quart soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the carrot and the next 6 ingredients and saute, stirring frequently, for about 10+ minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Discard the bay leaf.  Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  Return the mixture to the pot.  Add the broth and all the remaining ingredients.
  4. Boil the soup over medium-high heat 15 minutes to blend the flavors.  Cool slightly.
  5. Working in batches, pour the soup into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.  Return the soup to the pot.  (Or, use an immersion blender directly in the pot.)
  6. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.  (Can be made one day ahead and kept in the refrigerator.  Also freezes well in batches.  I suggest you could freeze up to three months.)
  7. Bring soup to a simmer.  Serve in individual bowls and garnish as above.

Add a little spice to your Thanksgiving with this exotic pumpkin soup and enjoy!  Gobble, Gobble!


Printable Recipe


Monday, October 31, 2011

Genius, Panini-Pressed Cornish Game Hen (Spinach Optional)


I'm so excited to present to you my version of this recipe which I adapted from Alton Brown!  I was so impressed with the genius technique of this simple, quick and delicious main course when I first saw it on ABC Good Morning America. This is particularly great to cook on a weeknight when you're hungry and craving a good meal you can eat right away without a lot of preparation.  Although I feel it's wonderful for two to four people, I think it's fantastic for one or two.  It also makes a great presentation if you have any guests.

                                                 Pure Genius!

                                    And Oh, So Delicious!


Adapted from Alton Brown as seen on ABC GMA

Serves 2

Ingredients
  • 1 Cornish game hen, approx. 1 1/4 - 1 3/4 lbs.
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt for the hen + a sprinkle of table salt for the spinach
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper + a sprinkle for the spinach
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • All-purpose, non-stick cooking spray
  • 1/ea. 9 oz. bag baby spinach (optional)*

Directions
  1. Preheat a panini press on high.*
  2. Wash and pat the hen dry.
  3. Working on a cutting board, use poultry shears or a very sharp knife (I love my surgery shears!) to cut down the center of the top of the bird along the breastbone.  Open up the hen like a book and place body up on the cutting board.  Give the bird a good smack in the middle with your hands to press it as flat as possible.  To remove the backbone, cut along both sides of it from the neck to the tailbone. You can discard the backbone or save it for use in a soup stock.
  4. Sprinkle both sides of the hen with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  5. Spray the bottom of the panini press with the non-stick cooking spray.
  6. Place the bird skin side up on the press. (I cook half a bird at a time...you can keep it warm while you cook the other half.)  *Spray the hen with the non-stick cooking spray and close the lid.  (Don't forget to place a drip pan under the press to catch the juices.)
  7. Place about a 4-lb. weight on the press and cook for about 10 minutes or until the skin is golden brown. (I use an iron skillet as a weight.)
  8. Remove the hen from the press and let it rest for about 3 minutes before serving. 
For each serving:
While the hen is resting, toss half the bag of spinach onto the panini and sprinkle with a little table salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Close the lid to the press and cook about 30-45 seconds.  The spinach will soak up the hen's juices and be very flavorful!

Immediately place the spinach on an individual serving plate and top with a Cornish hen half!  Presto...a quick, lovely, delicious and impressive dinner with practically no effort!

*Tips:  I haven't tried it; but if you don't have a panini press, a similar grill such as a George Foreman may work.  In his TV presentation, Alton said most any green salad mix would work in this recipe; but, here again, I have not tried that.  He also suggested brushing the hen with olive oil right before closing the lid: I used the cooking spray here, as offered in the printed recipe, and it worked fine...I haven't tried the olive oil yet.

Enjoy this after a busy day when you're tired and hungry!  Better yet, impress your loved one with this delicious dinner on date night and be prepared for lots of hugs and kisses!

Printable Recipe

What's That Got to do with This?

We had so much fun with my grandson the other day decorating this Halloween cake!  (I confess, it was from a kit...he's only 2 1/2!)  He was so excited to decorate the cake.  He's not allowed a lot of sweets; and as you can imagine, most of his decorations went into his mouth!

                                         Yes, Put It Right There!


                                            Good Job!


     <<<<<<<<<Happy Halloween>>>>>>>>>



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Crunchy Carrot Salad with Golden Raisins and Walnuts

If you're looking for a super-easy salad as a side or take-along dish, look no further!  Carrot salad seems to be a Southern staple, and I know you'll enjoy my crunchy version with a unique twist of sweet, golden raisins and walnuts.  As an extra bonus, this delicious salad is loaded with healthy nutrients!

                          As Bugs Bunny Would Say..."Carrots Are Divine!"         


            And They Are, Especially With Golden Raisins And Walnuts!


Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients
  • 3 c. coarsely shredded carrots (about 6/ea. whole carrots)*
  • 1 TB sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1/ea.  8 1/4 oz. can crushed pineapple, well drained (about 3/4 c. after drained)
  • 1/2 c. golden raisins
  • 1/2 c. coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/4 c. mayonnaise*

*Tips:  Use prepackaged grated carrots to make it even easier, and I prefer Hellmann's light mayonnaise.

Directions

Toss all ingredients gently, but thoroughly.  You'll enjoy watching your fans multiply (like rabbits) after they munch on this delicious salad!

Printable Recipe

What's That Got to do with This?

My daughter recently taught my 2 1/2 year-old grandson to make cookies for the first time.  Snickerdoodles were the cookie of choice that day...sorry, they disappeared before I got a photo of the gorgeous delectables!

                                          Cooking Is In Our Blood...

 

                                  And We Start Early Around Here!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Southern Grits, Pencils and Red Eye Gravy

A friend recently passed this funny article with recipe on to me about how to properly cook and eat grits.  If the original author recognizes this, please step forward so I can give appropriate credit (I couldn't find you)!

I, with great hesitation, confess I do not remember the last time I cooked grits that were not instant.  I tested the recipe in the article and found them to be really yummy.  I can't wait to try the fried leftover grits!

I did make a couple of changes (in quotes) of the article for my blog post. When you read this, I hope you get as big a belly laugh as I did!

                   Yep, They Pass The Test!     




What Are Grits?
(Author Unknown)


Some folks believe Grits are grown on bushes and are harvested by midgets by shaking the bushes after spreading sheets around them. Many people think Grits are made from ground up bits of white corn. These are lies spread by Communists and terrorists.  Nothing as good as a Grits can be made from corn.  
Research suggests that the mysterious Manna that "was" rained down upon the Israelites during their time in the Sinai Desert was most likely Grits.  Critics disagree, stating that there is no record of biscuits, butter, salt and red eye gravy raining down from the sky and that "people would not be punished" by forcing them to eat Grits without these key ingredients.

How Grits are Formed: 
Grits are formed deep underground under intense heat and pressure. It takes over 1,000 years to form a single Grit. Most of the world's Grit mines are in Georgia, and are guarded day and night by armed guards and attack dogs.  Harvesting Grits is a dangerous occupation, and many Grit miners lose their lives each year so that Grits can continue to be served morning after morning for breakfast--not that having Grits for lunch and dinner is out of the question.

Yankees have attempted to create synthetic Grits. They call them Cream of Wheat. As far as we can tell, the key ingredients of Cream of Wheat are Elmer's Glue and shredded Styrofoam. These synthetic Grits have also been shown to cause nausea, and can leave you unable to have children.

Historical Grits:
As said earlier, the first known mention of Grits was by the Ancient Israelites in the Sinai Desert.  After that, Grits were not heard from for another 1,000 years. Grits were used during this time only during secret religious ceremonies and were kept from the public. The next mention of Grits was found amidst the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii in a woman's personal diary discovered in the seat of an old sedan. The woman's name was Herculania Jemimana, who was known as Aunt Jemima to her friends.

The Ten Commandments of Grits:
I.    Thou shalt not put syrup on thy Grits.
II.   Thou shalt not eat thy Grits with a spoon or knife.
III.  Thou shalt not eat Cream of Wheat and call it Grits, for this is blasphemy.
IV.  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's Grits.
V.   Thou shalt use only salt, butter and red eye gravy as toppings for thy Grits.
VI.  Thou shalt not eat instant Grits.
VII. Thou shalt not put ketchup on thy Grits.
VIII.Thou shalt not put margarine on thy Grits.
IX.  Thou shalt not eat toast with thy Grits, only biscuits made from scratch.
X.   Thou shalt eat grits on the Sabbath for this is Manna from heaven.

How to Cook Grits:
For one serving of Grits:  Boil 1.5 cups of water with salt and a little butter. Add 5 Tbsp. of Grits.  Reduce to a simmer and allow the Grits to soak up all the water.  When a pencil stuck into the Grits stands alone, they are done. That's all there is to cooking Grits. (When I used this recipe, I used 1/8 tsp. salt, 1 TB butter and I did not cover the grits (since no mention was made of a lid); and the grits took about 15 minutes to soak up the water using direct, low heat. Also, I found it should be stirred occasionally, and I feel this recipe is enough for one to two servings.)

How to make red eye gravy:  Fry salt-cured country ham in cast-iron pan.  Remove the ham when done and add coffee to the gravy and simmer for several minutes. Great on Grits and biscuits.

How to Eat Grits:
Immediately after removing your Grits from the stove top, add a generous portion of butter or red eye gravy. Do NOT use low-fat butter.
The butter should cause the Grits to turn a wondrous shade of yellow. Hold a banana or a yellow rain slicker next to your Grits.  If the colors match, you have the correct amount of butter. In lieu of butter, pour a generous helping of red eye gravy on your Grits.  Be sure to pour enough to have some left for sopping up with your biscuits.  Use biscuits made from scratch.  Never, ever substitute canned or store-bought biscuits for the real thing because they can cause cancer, tooth decay and impotence. Next, add salt.  The correct ratio of Grit to Salt is 10:1.  Therefore for every 10 Grits, you should have 1 grain of salt.  Now begin eating your Grits.  Always use a fork, never a spoon to eat Grits.  Your Grits should be thick enough so they do not run through the tines of the fork.
The correct beverage to serve with Grits is black coffee. DO NOT use cream or, heaven forbid, skim milk.  Your Grits should rarely be eaten in a bowl because Yankees will think it's Cream of Wheat.

Ways to Eat Leftover Grits:
Leftover Grits are extremely rare and may only be a rumor. Spread them in the bottom of a casserole dish; cover and place them in the refrigerator overnight. The Grits will congeal into a gelatinous mass. The next morning, slice the Grits into squares and fry them in 1/2" of cooking oil and butter until they turn a golden brown. Many people are tempted to pour syrup onto Grits served this way.  This is, of course, unacceptable but delicious.

BLESSING BEFORE EATING GRITS 

"Bless" these Grits.
May Yankees never get the recipe.
May I eat Grits each day while living.
And may I die while eating grits.


AMEN

So, there you have it...how to properly cook and eat grits!  Try them...just be prepared to speak with a Southern drawl after you finish!  Enjoy! 


Printable Recipe

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Simply Nuts for Roasted Corn Salad

I decided I'd like to try to emulate this crunchy and nutty roasted corn salad when I fell in love with it at Fresh To Order Restaurant.  When I made it the first time, I tried to keep it extra simple by using canned corn kernels...wasn't quite what I wanted.  So, I roasted some corn on the cob in the oven (see my super-easy recipe below) and was much happier with the results!  In addition, I decided the taste and color were better preserved by not tossing the salad with dressing or oil. (The little bit of oil applied to the corn before roasting is just enough oil for the salad.)  Also, keeping the onions and seasonings to a minimum emphasized the flavor of the roasted corn.

I know you'll find this salad absolutely delicious as I did!  Because it's so filling, you really don't need very much as a side dish.  The generous serving of nuts makes it wonderful and unusual (you could omit them if necessary).
 
                                          So Crunchy and Satisfying...
 
              
                              You'll Go Nuts for This Roasted Corn Salad!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 2 c. kernels from roasted corn on the cob (about 3 ea. fresh corn cobs)*
  • 3/4 c. long strips of coarsely grated carrot (I used prepackaged)
  • 1/4 c. chopped sweet red bell pepper
  • 1/2 TB chopped red onion
  • 1 TB (tops only!) chopped green onion
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 c. canned, salted mixed nuts (reserve and add right before serving)

*The Oven-Roasted Corn on the Cob

Preheat oven to 375º.  Shuck and clean the corn on the cob (three each for this recipe). Apply a little olive oil to a paper towel and rub on each corn cob (I got this idea from my son-in-law!).  Place the corn cobs on a foil-lined baking pan with shallow sides.  Roast the corn on the middle rack in the oven about 35 minutes or until the corn is a light-golden brown.  (Flip the corn over halfway through roasting time to assure browning on both sides.)

Directions

Cut the corn from the cobs and mix with all the other ingredients, except the nuts.  (You can refrigerate this salad about a day ahead without the nuts.) Toss the nuts into the salad right before serving.  Enjoy every crunchy bite!

Printable Recipe

What's That Got to do with This?

Well, this sweet girl (and her brother) have been keeping me busy lately...not as busy as her parents, of course!  This photo was taken at two weeks.  My precious granddaughter is now almost seven weeks old. As you can see, she's very prissy.  She was 5 lbs., 13 oz. at birth; and now at almost seven weeks old, she weighs about 10 lbs!  This girl didn't waste any time putting on the weight!

                              She may be a redhead like...guess who?


 I know you love to eat darling, but you may have to wait a while for that corn salad!


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Very Berry Butter

Thought I'd give you a laid-back recipe for Labor Day weekend!

This is the butter I suggested you might want to try with my Morning Muffins with Bran and Raspberries which I recently posted. It is incredibly easy, yet adds just the right touch to your muffins, pancakes, waffles and toast; especially if you'd like to make weekend guests feel a little extra special. Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries or blueberries should all work well in this recipe.  Shown in the photo is raspberry butter on an English muffin.

                                                An Easy Way...
 
                             
                                          To Brighten Their Day!
 

As adapted from foodista.com

Ingredients

  • 1 c. softened butter
  • 1 TB sugar
  • 1 c. cleaned and crushed berries (raspberries, strawberries, blackberries or blueberries)*

Directions

Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add the berries and beat just until well blended.  Serve at room temperature and store in the refrigerator.  (May be frozen for about one month: when ready to use, thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator.)

*Tip:  Fresh or frozen berries are fine (except frozen blueberries).  If you use frozen berries, let them come to room temperature before adding to the recipe to avoid clumping.  I don't use frozen blueberries in most recipes because I feel they lose their flavor when frozen.

Spread a little extra love with this very berry butter and enjoy!


Printable Recipe

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Reese's Puffs~Rice Krispies Squares with Peanut~Butter~Chocolate Drizzle

I very rarely eat really sweet cereals, but when I spotted the Reese's Puffs on sale, I thought they would make a great low-calorie, crunchy snack.  Then after a couple of weeks, it occurred to me they would make the traditional Rice Krispies Treats Recipe much more interesting and a whole lot better!  When I was ready to do my twist on the traditional recipe, I was feeling particularly lazy.  I wanted a really quick and easy topping for my squares and found myself in the ice-cream topping area of the grocery store!
                        
                           Even Better Than Rice Krispies Treats...

                    
                                 At Least That's What My Kids Said!


Approx. 24 ea. 2" squares

Ingredients

  • 3 TB butter
  • one 10 oz. pkg. regular (about 40 ea.) or 4 c. miniature marshmallows
  • 3 c. Reese's Puffs cereal (chocolate and peanut-butter-flavored corn puffs)
  • 3 c. Rice Krispies cereal
  • 7 oz. bottle Reese's Peanut-Butter Topping*
  • 7.25 oz. bottle Hershey's (Chocolate-Flavored) Shell Topping*

Directions
  1. Melt the butter in a deep sauce pot over low heat.  Add the marshmallows and stir constantly until completely melted.  Remove from the heat.
  2. Working quickly, with a large plastic spoon, mix in both of the cereals.  Finish mixing well by kneading with your hands which you have sprayed with a butter-flavored cooking spray.  Still using your hands, spread the mixture as evenly as possible into a 13x9x2 inch pan (I prefer glass for this recipe).
  3. Let cool and set up for about 1/2 hour.
  4. Cut the set mixture into 2" squares and place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
  5. Drizzle the peanut-butter topping over the squares.  Freeze for about five minutes or until set.  Then drizzle the chocolate-flavored topping over the peanut-butter topping.  Freeze the squares again for another approximate five minutes.  Alternate cookie sheets in the freezer between drizzling the squares.  (The peanut-butter topping requires a good squeeze, whereas the chocolate-flavored topping flows easily without hardly squeezing...shake both toppings well before using.) 
  6. For presentation, serve the squares in paper cups.

Tips*:

The toppings can be located in the ice-cream topping area of a grocery store.  You will have some topping left over (enjoy it on your ice cream!).  With these toppings, the squares have to be refrigerated.  If you want to transport the squares or ship them in a college-care or similar package, melt some chocolate-flavored-candy coating and peanut-butter-flavored candy coating and drizzle over the squares in lieu of the ice-cream toppings. The candy coatings (found at craft stores or online) will set and hold up better at room temperature than the ice-cream toppings.

If you use the ice-cream toppings, keep the squares in the refrigerator (until ready to serve) in a covered plastic container with sheets of wax paper between layers.  You can freeze the squares if you need to store for more than a week and thaw them a little before serving (again, keep extra ones in the refrigerator).

Spray all working utensils with a butter-flavored cooking spray before using.

To clean your pot easily: add a little dish detergent, fill with warm water and let soak a while.

                                                So Addictive...

                                 
                                         You Can't Eat Just One!

Make them for an after-school snack or with the kids for fun (or just make them because you're craving them)!  Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


Saturday, August 6, 2011

So Simple, So Perfect, Crispy Roast Chicken

 (I've had this sitting in draft for a few days.  However, I had a slight interruption...my precious, new baby granddaughter was welcomed into the world on August 2nd!)

Craving some protein?  Make it on Sunday and have it for leftovers during the week...a salad, a sandwich or just more delicious roast chicken.  That wing or leg will haunt you for a late night snack!

Roast chicken just doesn't get any better or any easier than this!  After much experimenting over the years, I came to this simple method for a classic and delicious roast chicken.  No need to stuff or truss!  Roasters are not as dry as baking chickens; all they need is a little seasoning...not even any butter or oil!  Follow this recipe and I guarantee you a succulent roast chicken with a crispy exterior!
                               
The aroma of a chicken roasting in the oven just seems to say:
                              
                                              "Welcome Home!"


                                    Salivating?  Let's Cut Into It...

Serves 4 or more

Ingredients
  • 1 plump roasting chicken (about 4 to 5 lbs.)
  • garlic powder
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • dried thyme leaves
  • dried rosemary leaves

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375º.
  2. Place a rack in a shallow roasting (or baking) pan which you've lined w/foil.*
  3. Wash the chicken and remove any fat,* neck or giblets from the inside.
  4. Pat the chicken dry and place it breast up on the rack in the pan.
  5. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper.
  6. Sprinkle all the seasonings on the top of the chicken.
  7. Place in the oven and roast uncovered about 30 minutes per lb. or until a drumstick moves easily at the joint and the juices run clear, or the chicken registers at least 180º when a thermometer is inserted.  (Check after about 1 to 1 1/2 hours and if already golden brown, loosely cover with a tent of foil to keep from over browning.)

*Tips 
  • You can save any fat for schmaltz, see:  "The Schmaltz" under "Bon Bon's Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls".  
  • Over the years, I've used so many different configurations of a roasting pan for this chicken.  Generally I use whatever is handy.  I've even used a toaster-oven rack in a baking pan.  You really don't need anything fancy...just a rack and a pan! (This note is especially for those who don't own a lot of equipment or are just starting out in the kitchen).  However, if you happen to have an impressive roasting pan and rack, enjoy it!
  • My Not Just White Chicken Chili would be great for using leftover chicken breast from this roast!

Let the chicken rest a few minutes before slicing. (I prefer an electric knife to achieve attractive slices.) You'll feel like Mama just wrapped her arms around you while you enjoy this with your favorite sides!*

*Suggested Sides:
My Simple Side Salad with Avocado and Satisfying Spatzle Casserole with Swiss Cheese; Sweet Potato Casserole with Crunchy Nut Topping or Yellow Summer Squash Casserole.

Printable Recipe

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Morning Muffins with Bran and Raspberries

Ready for a moist, tender and satisfying muffin?  Unless you're having brunch, you don't need much more than one or two of these healthy little devils (maybe add some yogurt?).  They're so easy; plus, you can make ahead and keep in the refrigerator a few days or just freeze.  I've had this recipe drafted for some time...thought I should share it while raspberries are still in peak season.

                                      What A Way To Start The Day!
                                        Or, Take A Mid-Day Break!


Adapted from cooks.com recipe search

Makes 18 muffins

Ingredients
  • 3/4 c. Kellogg's Original All-Bran cereal
  • 1 c. buttermilk*
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
  • 1 1/4 c. sifted all-purpose bleached baking flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • optional:  1/2 c. toasted chopped walnuts
  • 1 c. fresh or frozen raspberries*

*Tips:  Since I don't typically buy buttermilk, I use Saco cultured buttermilk blend which is a canned powder:  refer to the can for directions and proportions on mixing with water.  If you elect to use this blend, I suggest you make a cup ahead for this recipe and add as you normally would add buttermilk.  I've found this blend at Kroger and Walmart, and you can also order it through Amazon.

The original recipe called for raisins and carrots or apples.  These sound like great options if you want to try them: see the link above.

Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix the All-Bran, buttermilk, egg, brown sugar and vegetable oil.  
  2. Preheat the oven to 425º and let the muffin batter stand for 10 minutes.  
  3. In a larger bowl, combine the dry ingredients (and the optional nuts if you like).  
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk-bran mixture: mix just enough to incorporate the dry ingredients.  Gently fold in the raspberries.  The batter should be lumpy.
  5. Line the muffin tins with paper liners or grease well.  Fill 1/2 full with the batter.  Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of a muffin.  Cool the muffins in the pans about 5 minutes before releasing.
Spread some butter* on these beauties, have a nice cup of coffee and you're guaranteed to enjoy your day!

*Since I've made this recipe, I've made a raspberry butter which would be fantastic with these muffins...see my Very Berry Butter (adapted from Foodista).

Printable Recipe

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Frozen Margarita {Yes, I Have No Tequila!} Pie

That's true...I have no Tequila and it's not that I'm opposed to alcohol...I'm just opposed to buying it!  Just kidding! I didn't want to bother with buying Tequila for this pie, so I went online and found a really neat substitution list for alcohol: http://whatscookingamerica.net/alcoholsub.htmSince I was not particularly interested in finding cactus juice (as one alternative this list offered), I bought a really inexpensive can of guava nectar beverage and it worked great!

I just happened to have Triple Sec (probably left over from my adult son's Bris?...I dunno). In lieu of the Triple Sec, Cointreau should work well; however, if you want to substitute for that (as my handy list suggests), you might try frozen orange juice concentrate. This could easily be a "Virgin Pie"!

This pie is amazingly easy and absolutely delicious!  Just make sure you freeze it well (at least overnight) before you serve it!

                                            What'll Ya Have?
                                 Make Mine A Frozen Margarita Pie!

Inspired by Southern On Occasion cookbook offered by the Junior League of Cobb-Marietta, GA @ www.jlcm.org as seen in Our Town Magazine

Serves 6- 8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 c. finely crushed pretzels (approx. 4 oz.)*
  • 1/2 c. butter (You can use margarine, but I've used both in this recipe and...as Paula D would agree...butter is better!)
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated!)
  • 1/3 c. frozen lime juice concentrate (for limeade)
  • 3 TB Tequila or guava nectar canned beverage (fairly easy to find...Kroger carries it)
  • 3 TB Triple Sec (which I used) or Cointreau (or you could try frozen orange juice concentrate)
  • One 8 oz. container frozen whipped topping (slightly thawed for about 10 minutes)
  • One can whipped cream for garnish
  • One lime for garnish

*Tip:  Crush the pretzels finely...not into a powder.  Crushing between two sheets of wax paper with a rolling pin works well.

Directions
  1. Melt the butter in the microwave on 50% power for about 15 seconds at a time until liquid.  Mix the melted butter well with the crushed pretzels and sugar.  Spray a 9" freezable pie plate with a butter-flavored cooking spray.  Press the crumb mixture as evenly as possible over the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
  2. Whisk the condensed milk, frozen lime juice concentrate, Tequila or guava nectar and Triple Sec or Cointreau (or frozen orange juice concentrate) in a bowl and mix well.  Thoroughly mix in the slightly thawed whipped topping.
  3. Pour the pie filling into the prepared pan and freeze at least overnight.
  4. Zest about 1/2 the lime and make lime curls with the other half.
  5. Just before serving, pipe either the whole pie or one slice at a time with the whipped cream and garnish with the lime zest and about two lime curls per slice.  Beautiful!**
**Tip: Have your serving items and utensils ready and keep the pie in the freezer until you are literally ready to serve it!

                                     Have Your Drink & Eat It Too!
                                                    OLE`!!                    

You and your guests will enjoy and find this light and refreshing dessert the perfect ending to your perfect summer meal.

Excuse me, my mouth has been watering the whole time I was preparing this post...I have to get another slice!

Printable Recipe


Margarita on FoodistaMargarita

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ooey-Gooey Peanut-Butter/Honey or Nutella Popcorn

My daughter said she made this childhood treat recently and thought I should post it..."Mom, it's sooo good!"

When my children were small, I was always trying to think of healthy snacks.  They just loved this easy peanut-butter/honey popcorn I concocted.  I didn't really bother to make it into balls or anything; I just made one big bowl and had a lot of napkins handy.  Now, you could do that and maybe dish into individual bowls; or if you wanted it to be a little more neat (and attractive), you could serve as popcorn balls in individual paper cups, as per the directions I've given below.  You can make it with smooth or crunchy peanut butter...I prefer crunchy, although it seems some people, especially children,  prefer smooth.  I also experimented with combining Nutella and peanut butter, which my brother really liked! (My favorite is the peanut-butter/honey combination, but I like both...it's fun to have a little variety!)

                                     Ooey-Gooey Can Be Healthy!

                                
                                     And Fun For Kids of All Ages!

Makes approx. 14 popcorn balls

Ingredients
  • 12 cups air-popped* popcorn (approx. 3/8 c. unpopped popcorn)
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter (crunchy or smooth, even reduced fat works well!)
  • 1/2 c. honey (I love the whipped clover honey*!)
*Tips:  
  • I use a gadget especially made for air popping popcorn in the microwave.
  • Kroger has a very competitive price on their brand of whipped clover honey (fancy, pure white honey).   
  • You can use Nutella in lieu of the honey for a peanut-butter/chocolate popcorn, just add 1/4 cup of light corn syrup.

Directions**
  1. Mix the peanut butter and honey together and melt in the microwave for 15 seconds on 50% power. Thoroughly but gently combine the mixture well with the popcorn in a large bowl.
  2. For the popcorn balls, use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to measure the mixture for each ball and release onto a piece of cello-wrapping paper sprayed with a butter-flavored cooking spray.  Gather the wrapping paper around the popcorn mixture; squeeze and shape into a ball with your hands, then release into a paper cup.
  3. If you're feeling extra casual, just scoop servings into individual bowls.  
**Extra Tips:  Spray all utensils used under the directions with a butter-flavored cooking spray for easy release.  Be Sure to tell everyone to be careful of seeds!

So reward them with a special treat after a slash in the pool or as a snack after playing outside all afternoon...or just cuddle up with your loved one(s) and enjoy while watching that summer movie!  They'll all watch their "p's and q's" for this ooey-gooey treat!


Popcorn


What's That Got to do with this?                                      

                                    He's a two-fisted lemon eater!


Keeps My Grandson Happy When We Eat Out!