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Thursday, December 20, 2007


I haven't been posting much because I've been busy making another wedding cake (and a groom's cake!). Here's what I've been up to. (No, I didn't do the flowers...the florist took care of that...I just did the cakes.)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

I don't eat as many salads as I'd like (or should). And, normally, I don't make my own dressings. However, I happened to have some pomegranate molasses, and this recipe from Bobby Flay looked too good to pass up. I was right. This is delicious on a spinach salad, especially if you add some chopped apples and toasted walnuts as suggested with the accompanying salad recipe. Very refreshing and tasty. I only made a slight modification to the amount of pomegranate molasses.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk together the pomegranate molasses, vinegar, mustard, honey and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.

Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay

Monday, December 03, 2007

Chickpea Curry

This tasty dish could have come from your local Indian restaurant, but it's so simple and quick to make at home, either on the stovetop or in a crock pot/slow cooker. Since I cooked this on the stove, I smashed some of the chickpeas (probably 1/4 to 1/2 of them) to make the curry a bit thicker and less chunky. I served this over rice. Mmm...yum.

Chickpea Curry

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, grated
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander, crushed
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt
15 oz. can chickpeas
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. garam masala

Saute oil, onions, ginger, and garlic for 5 minutes. Place onion mixture & remaining ingredients except garam masala into crockpot and cook for 6-9 hours on low. Add garam masala before serving.

Saute oil, onions, ginger, and garlic for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except garam masala and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add garam masala before serving.

Recipe courtesy Simple Vegetarian Recipes

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Cranberry Swirl Coffee Cake

I love cranberries! My freezer is stocked full of them. However, this recipe is great using canned whole berry cranberry sauce (though I'm sure it would be even better using homemade cranberry sauce). It's quick to put together, and the results are fabulous. It was perfect to serve for brunch on Thanksgiving Day. Just make sure to cool the cake before you try to glaze it. (Trust me; it works better that way.)

1/4 pound margarine (I used BlueBonnet)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pint (1 cup) sour cream
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
7 or 8 ounce can whole cranberry sauce
1/2 cup chopped nuts, lightly toasted (I used pecans)
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1 tablespoon warm water

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease 6 or 9 inch tube pan. Cream margarine and sugar with electric mixer. Add unbeaten eggs one at a time, beating after each addition on medium speed.
Mix dry ingredients and add alternating with sour cream.

Add flavoring. Put a layer of batter on bottom then swirl some cranberry sauce over batter and sprinkle with a few nuts. Add batter, more cranberry sauce, then the remaining batter and remaining cranberry sauce. Swirl the cranberry sauce into the batter with spatula or spoon. Sprinkle with nuts.

Bake for 55 minutes or until cake tests done with toothpick. Cool in pan for 5 minutes then turn out on rack to cool, or to serve. If desires, drizzle with glaze.

Glaze: Mix sugar, water and flavoring and drizzle over cooled or cold coffee cake.

Recipe courtesy Carroll Pellegrinelli on About.com

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Brined Turkey

This year is the first year I've cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving, and I decided to brine the turkey. Boy, am I glad I did! The turkey was so flavorful and juicy. My husband said it was probably the best turkey he'd ever had! Even my mother-in-law, who only likes dark meat, thought the white meat was really juicy. So, even if you never use this brining recipe, it's here so I have a record of what I did so I can repeat it next year. :)

2 gallons cold water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
3 dried bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh sage
1 Tbsp. dried lemon peel
1 Tbsp. dried orange peel

Heat ~1 quart of the water, salt, sugar, and bay leaves to and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Use the remaining water to cool the mixture down. Place a washed turkey in the brine, making sure the cavity fills with the liquid. Put in the sprigs of thyme and sage. Put the dried citrus peel in a cotton bag or a pouch made of cheesecloth. Cover the turkey/brine and place in the refrigerator. Let sit for 8 hours, or overnight, up to 24 hours before cooking.

To cook: Remove the turkey from the brine, making sure the herbs stay with the brine instead of the turkey. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Put an onion, peeled & quartered, carrots and celery (use larger chunks) in the cavity along with some fresh sprigs of thyme and sage. Truss. Roast at 400F for an hour, covered with foil. Turn the heat down to 350 and cook for another 1.5 hours. Check the internal temp with a meat thermometer; it should read around 165. Take the turkey out and let it carry-over cook while covered in foil until it's done (about another hour). The outside won't be too pretty, but the meat is oh-so-tasty. *drool* :) I think next time, I'll roast it uncovered at first, then tent it with foil so the skin won't burn.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Butternut Squash Apple Cranberry Bake

For a yummy fall side dish, this certainly fits the bill. In fact, I served it for Thanksgiving dinner this year. I found this recipe on Elise's Simply Recipes, but I've made a couple of minor changes to make it more delectable for my palate.

Butternut Squash Apple Cranberry Bake

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large tart cooking apples cut into 1/2-inch thick slices (no need to peel)
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries (i.e., Craisins), soaked in water or apple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup (half a stick) butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350F.

Slice and peel squash and apples. Put squash cubes in ungreased 9x13-inch baking dish. Place apples on top and then cranberries. Mix the flour, salt, sugar, and nutmeg and sprinkle on top. Dot with butter. Bake 50-60 minutes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Corn Bread

I don't think there's anything I like better in the summer than homemade Corn Bread with butter and home-grown tomatoes. (My mouth is watering as I type!) However, for the Thanksgiving holiday, Corn Bread also makes a great stuffing/dressing to accompany the turkey. No matter when you eat it or how you make it, it's always yummy. This particular recipe is from my mother-in-law, with slight adaptations. I like a sweeter Corn Bread, but feel free to decrease the sugar to your own taste.

Corn Bread

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal (not self-rising!)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
8 heaping tsp. sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425F. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Add the wet to the dry and mix just until combined. Let mixture sit for ~5 minutes while you preheat a cast iron skillet. Once the skillet is hot, add ~1 Tbsp. oil (enough to cover the bottom of the skillet with a thin layer). Pour the mixture into the skillet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden, brown, and delicious.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Lone Oak Cookies (aka Cake Mix Cookies)

The organization with which we volunteer, Remote Area Medical (RAM), completed an expedition at Lone Oak Community Center this weekend. During most RAM expeditions, locals provide food for the volunteers, and the food at Lone Oak is always excellent. Several ladies from the community made homemade desserts for the weekend, and they were gracious enough to share two recipes with me. The first is Lone Oak Cookies (aka Cake Mix Cookies). I ate more than my share of these cookies over the last two days, and thanks to Joel (& Martha), I can make my own. :) The recipe, as given to me by Joel, is below. They're super easy and very tasty. Try orange cake mix...it's delicious!

Lone Oak Cookies

1 box cake mix
1/3 cup oil (she used corn oil)
2 eggs (she used large)
Canned/prepared icing - (she used vanilla)

Mix - this makes a very stiff dough. Make balls (smaller than a walnut). Bake 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool. Ice with canned icing between 2 cookies.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Greek Shrimp & Couscous

I've never been to Greece, so I'm not sure of the authenticity of this dish. However, I know it's tasty, easy, and quick to make from pantry & freezer staples, which is a good thing since I don't have a whole lot of time to cook these days. :) Enjoy!

Greek Shrimp & Couscous

1 (10-ounce) package couscous
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound frozen shrimp, thawed, peeled and de-veined
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion, drained
1/2 cup Greek black olives, pitted and chopped
1 tablespoon dried mint leaves
1 teaspoon garlic and herb seasoning (i.e., Ms. Dash brand)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, cook couscous according to package directions. (Or, for more flavor, use broth instead of water.)

In a separate pan/skillet, add olive oil and shrimp. Add tomatoes, olives, mint, garlic and herb seasoning, and oregano. Simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes to cook shrimp and heat through. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Pour over couscous and serve.

Recipe courtesy Robin Miller/Food Network

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

While I was out...

I had this little fellow in September.

He arrived almost 2 weeks early, but he's perfectly fine. I had some complications during/after the birth, so I was out of commission for a few weeks, but I'll hopefully be back to posting soon. The only things I've made recently have been an Apple Cake and Banana Bread anyway, so you haven't missed much. :)

P.S. - Sorry for just a picture of an ear...at the moment I really don't want to post pictures of my child for the whole world to see. Might be the hormones...or maybe just orneryness. :) I might post pics here one day, but for now I'm keeping photos just for family.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Lemon Blueberry Trifle

My sister sent this recipe to me, and it's a great summertime dessert...nice and light but oh-so-delicious. Of course, it's better with homemade pound cake, but store-bought will work just fine. I omitted the white chocolate, but I'm sure it would be a tasty addition. And, if you don't have any lemon pudding on hand, you can do what I did and use vanilla pudding with some lemon extract. Worked like a charm.

Lemon Blueberry Trifle

1 1/2 c. milk
2 tbsp. lemon juice (the juice of one lemon)
16 oz. pound cake, cubed
8 oz. whipped topping
1 pint blueberries
8 oz. sour cream
2 4 serving pkgs. instant lemon pudding
1 lemon for garnish
1 oz. grated white chocolate (1 square), optional

Sprinkle lemon juice over cubed pound cake and set aside. Add sour cream and pudding to milk. Fold in 6 oz. of the whipped topping, reserving the rest for garnish. Stir until mixture starts to thicken. In trifle dish, layer as follows: Pound cake, blueberries, white chocolate, pudding mixture, until all is used. For top of trifle, pipe 10 rosettes of whipped topping around edge and top each rosette with a blueberry. Slice the lemon into thin slices and cut in half. Place the lemon slices between the rosettes. Any leftover white chocolate goes in the middle of the rosette circle on top of the trifle. Chill for 20 minutes to set and serve.

Friday, August 17, 2007

More pics - non-food related

For those who are interested, here are the latest u/s pics. I'm at 34 weeks, so it won't be long now...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Blogging By Mail!

I'm delinquent in posting about my Blogging By Mail package I received from Danielle of Habeas Brulee. She included several of her favorite ingredients as well some homemade goodies for me:

Let's see...we'll start from the bottom left. The small bag contains several vanilla beans, which I plan to use in either some creme brulee or creme caramel (in honor of Danielle's blog, Habeas Brulee). The larger zip-top bag contains homemade Hazelnut Amaretti Cookies. Yum! They're delicious and crunchy! (and I love hazelnuts!)

On top of the cookies are some new-to-me ingredients: Birdseye Chili Peppers and Urfa-Biber (Smoky Turkish Pepper). The aroma of each is intruiging, and I can't wait to try them! (I'm open to suggestions, too, if you're fond of these ingredients or have a recipe I should try; I don't have any idea yet as to how I'm going to use them.)

Continuing on, we have some Herbal Masala Chai, Mustard Oil, and Pomegranate Molasses. I could sit and sniff the bag of chai for hours...it smells absolutely wonderful! I'm looking forward to making some chai soon, but since it's been over 100 degrees here, it will have to be an iced chai. I hate to admit it, but I have no idea what to use the Mustard Oil for. I've never seen it before, so again, if you have suggestions, I'm open to them! The pomegranate molasses will definitely be incorporated into some of my recipes. I've been wanting to try some for quite a while, and now I finally can!

So, to Danielle, sorry for the delay in posting about the package. I'm excited to try some new things, and Thank You, Thank You for everything!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

I'm currently reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver. It's been quite an eye opener for me regarding the "food chain" (or, I guess it would be the food supply chain), especially in the U.S. I'm not sure how much it would apply to other countries, but ultimately the challenges (and problems) of feeding the world's population affect every country on the planet.

While I'm not finished reading the book, I would recommend it to you without hesitation. Her perspective, not to be discounted since she lives in a small, southern U.S. town, is refreshing and really made me think about the food I buy and eat in a different light.

Oh, and her daughter, Camille, contributes recipes and menus throughout the book. They are also available on the companion website (http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com) for downloading. Be sure to check out both the book and the website.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Apple Turnovers

I've purchased and baked the some-assembly-required turnovers available from the grocery store, and while they're tasty (they come in apple and cherry), they are a bit more 'processed' than I'd prefer. (Plus, I don't know exactly what's in them!) So, we now have an easy way to make tasty apple turnovers in our household that uses prepared puff pastry and homemade filling. I must give credit to my husband for perfecting the filling recipe. :) The filling can be made ahead of time (and I assume the turnovers can be assembled ahead of time, too, though I haven't tried it), so they're quick, easy, and tasty. Oh, and you can make the turnovers whatever size you'd like! They're great for breakfast or brunch with a good cup of coffee.

Apple Turnovers

1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry (1/2 package), thawed

1 large Granny Smith Apple, grated (peeling not necessary)
1 Tbsp. sugar (or to taste)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (or to taste)
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Mix filling ingredients and set aside. Cut the sheet of puff pastry into 6 squares (or 4 if you want bigger turnovers). Place the filling in the center of the square, fold into a triangle, and seal the edges with a fork. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool slightly. Dust with powedered sugar and serve.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Food Find

I haven't been doing much experimenting lately with new recipes (mainly because I'm still unpacking our house), but I have visited a few foodie-type stores in the area to see what's available. One such store is the European Market, a small shop that stocks hundreds of items imported from various countries in Europe, from meats to noodles, juices to chocolates, etc. I had read about Lingonberries on Anne's blog, so when I saw a jar of Lingonberry Jam (imported from Sweden), I had to try some. I am so glad I did! It's delicious! The jam has a delicious taste similar to cranberries, but the sweet-tart balance is absolutely perfect for my tastebuds. If you have a local market that carries products from Europe, see if they carry Lingonberry Jam. Or, do a search online for some. Amazon.com carries it. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Moving Right Along...

Since I last posted, we've packed up our house and moved to a different city. I've still got LOTS of unpacking to do, but I've been back in our 'old' town this week for work while my husband paints our new house. (pregnancy + paint fumes = not good). So, needless to say, I've not been cooking/baking much lately. However, I'm still collecting recipes to try, and I hope to post some yummy recipes soon!

Oh, and don't forget to sign up for Blogging By Mail, hosted by Stephanie from Dispensing Happiness. You'll love it!

Meanwhile, here's the latest ultrasound picture. We're not finding out if it's a boy or girl until he/she arrives. My due date is September 25.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Strawberry Trifle

I realized the perfect way to not waste a cake that falls in the middle is to use it in a trifle! Just trim off the edges and/or any part that isn't done, cube it, and add some macerated fruit and whipped cream. It's delicious! I made this trifle during graduation weekend when we had 19 people at our house to help us celebrate, and it was a big hit. For once, I didn't use a recipe, but I'll explain what I did.

I used leftover Strawberry Cake that I had intended to use as a birthday cake for a friend's daughter. Since the middle fell (it was pitifully embarrasing...it looked awful), I trimmed the edges, cubed it, and froze it until I needed it. I thawed and macerated some strawberries (just spooned sugar over them and let them sit in the fridge overnight) and layered cake, fruit, and whipped cream in a glass bowl with straight sides. (After all, the presentation is really pretty, too!) I topped the whipped cream with a few blueberries, and voila! Easy, tasty dessert with rave reviews.

Rice Krispies Treats

I was feeling somewhat nostalgic this weekend (while craving something sweet), so I decided to make some Rice Krispies Treats. I haven't had them in years, but they brought back many pleasant memories, mostly of my mom, my sister, and me making them on Friday nights while watching tv. Isn't it amazing how certain smells and foods can bring back memories so strongly? Anyway, while the recipe certainly isn't new, it's a classic. Make some with your kids/grandkids/spouse/significant other, and enjoy.

Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats (Original)

3 Tbsp. butter (or margarine)
10 oz. (about 40) regular marshmallows OR 4 cups miniature marshmallows (or 7 oz. marshmallow creme or fluff)
6 cups Rice Krispies

Melt margarine in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.

Using buttered spatula or waxed paper, press mixture evenly into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cut into 2-inch squares when cool. Best if served the same day.

Yield: 24 squares

Recipe courtesy Kellogg's

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sausage Balls

I love sausage balls, not only because they can be prepared ahead of time, but also because they're simple to make and tasty. This is another recipe that brings me back to my childhood as my mom made these frequently for receptions and parties. These didn't turn out as well as hers, though the ingredients were the same. Perhaps I made them too small so they dried out. I need to tweak this a bit (perhaps using less Bisquick), but they're still good. And, they're even better if you let them sit (no need for refrigeration) for a day or so before eating them.

Sausage Balls

3 cups Bisquick
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb. sausage (I prefer hot, otherwise they can be somewhat bland)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. (I do this with my hands and it takes a few minutes to get everything consistently mixed.) Roll into 1-inch balls, place on a baking sheet, and bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and serve.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Feeding a Multitude

At least, we had enough food this weekend to do just that. My husband graduated from medical school, and we had plenty of family on hand to help us celebrate. Last week was filled with cooking and baking preparations so we'd be able to avoid going out to restaurants and dealing with all of those logistics. It was enough to try to get everyone transported to and from the graduation events! But, we had a wonderful time, and it was great to see some family that (a) we hadn't seen in a while, (b) we have never met, and (c) could help me out in the kitchen! :) I made Indiana Garden Salad, Chinese Noodle Salad, Banana Bread, Sausage Balls, KFC Clone Coleslaw, and lots of other yummy stuff. I'll post the recipe for the sausage balls later this week (they're super easy and get better the longer they sit). For now, here's the recipe for the KFC Clone Coleslaw. I can't remember the website from where I retrieved it, but we thought it was pretty close to the Colonel's. I think I would add a bit more pepper, but that's it.

KFC Coleslaw Clone Recipe

8 1/2 cups chopped cabbage
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1 tsp. onion, chopped fine
3/4 cup buttermilk (can substitute 1 tsp. white vinegar + 3/4 cup regular milk)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/8 cup milk
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Mix cabbage, carrot, and onion. Whisk together all dressing ingredients except salt, pepper, & sugar and mix well. Add the salt and pepper; stir. Add the sugar and whisk until well-mixed. Pour dressing over cabbage and carrots and refrigerate overnight.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Still Here

Wow...I didn't realize it's been nearly a month since I last posted! I guess life just became too busy in the past weeks. I have been doing a little baking, but nothing has turned out to be spectacular. Actually, I'm just glad I can stand to be in the kitchen again. For a while there I didn't want to be near the smell of food cooking (at least not long enough for me to cook or bake something). Why, do you ask?

So, that's why I haven't been cooking and baking as much. However, my nausea is getting better, and my kitchen endeavors should pick up the pace again soon.

Also, we found out in mid-March that we'll be moving in a few months, so I've been busy packing up things, preparing for a yard/garage sale, and readying the house to put it on the market. Busy, busy!

All this is to say, "Hang in there..." I haven't dropped completely off the face of the earth, and I should be back to my regularly-posting self soon.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Chess Bars

I finally did some baking this weekend, and I made this recipe twice! It's one of my favorites, but my mom had to convince me to try them when I was growing up...I thought they had coconut in them (and I've never liked coconut). I'm glad she convinced me! They're both delicious and addictive. (Consider yourself warned.) At least you don't have to worry about dirtying your stand mixer for this recipe. I even use the same bowl to mix the crust and filling. Less mess to clean makes this recipe even sweeter.

Preheat oven to 325F.

For the crust:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick (8 Tbsp/4 oz) butter, softened

Mix above ingredients with hand mixer until all of the cake mix is moistened. Spray a long sheet pan (at least 12" x 18") with non-stick spray. Press cake mix into the bottom of the pan, covering all of the surface with a thin layer.

For the Filling/Topping:
1 1lb box of confectioners sugar (10X)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix ingredients together with hand mixer until well blended. Pour this over the crust.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the filling is golden brown on top. Cool, cut, and serve.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Pickled Beets

My mom used to make these (actually, she still does), and I absolutely love them. They're great plain, or in a salad, or for whatever else you want to use them for! Pickled beets are so simple to make - please, don't buy them pre-made! However, you can start with canned beets in whatever shape you like (whole, sliced, cubed, chunked, etc). If they're big chunks or slices, I prefer them cold; if however, they're cubed, I like them hot.

This recipe easily doubles...triples...multiplies however many times you want to make it.

2 cans beets, drained - reserve the juice (I used whole beets & cut them into chunks)
1 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup beet juice (from canned beets)

Combine sugar, vinegar, and beet juice and bring to a boil over medium heat. After it reaches a full boil, remove from the heat, cool slightly, and pour over the beets. You'll probably have some juice left over, but not enough for a third can of beets. (This works best if you put them into a canning jar & use a wide-mouth funnel.) Two cans of beets (not sliced) will fill up a quart jar. Either keep them in the fridge, or process them according to home-canning directions.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Long Time, No See

My apologies to anyone who's been checking this site for new recipes; I've been sick, and the last thing on my mind was the computer and my blog! No cooking/baking for me lately - I've just been munching on peanut butter & bananas on Saltine crackers with a glass of milk. However, I'm doing much better, and hopefully I'll be able to start cooking/baking again soon. I received some samples from another Pam's Pantry (she's in Michigan), so, again, hopefully I'll be posting my thoughts on some of her mixes soon.

Meanwhile, Happy Valentine's Day! Make some Pink Stuff to share with your sweetheart(s)!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Apple Pound Cake

Hey folks. I haven't been cooking/baking much lately, hence, the lack of posting. However, I thought I'd share another recipe from my grandmother. She made this for Christmas, and, if I'd skipped Christmas lunch, I'd have consumed the entire cake by myself. It's that good. Obviously I'm biased, but this cake is scrumptious, and the almost crunchy exterior provides a nice contrast to the chewy interior. Yum.

1 1/2 c. oil
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
2 c. finely chopped peeled apples
1 c. chopped nuts
1/2 c. golden raisins
Apple Cider Glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 325F.

Beat oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. Combine dry ingredients and add to the sugar mixture, beating well. Spoon into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan (she used a square tube pan). Bake for about 1 hour or until the cake tests done. Let it cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Prick the top with a fork and drizzle on the glaze.

Apple Cider Glaze

1/2 c. apple juice
1.2 c. brown sugar
1/4 stick butter (2 Tbsp.)

Boil the ingredients together until the sugar is dissolved. (She also notes that you could add 1/3 c. Apple Jack if desired, but she doesn't add it.)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Blueberry Maple Breakfast Bake

I found this recipe on Simply Recipes a while back, and I finally got the chance to try it. I had to adjust it slightly since I didn't have a 9x9 pan. I thought it was rather tasty (and leftovers make a good quick breakfast before dashing off to work), especially when drizzled with more maple syrup. Elise presents great recipes and photos (almost daily!), so be sure to check out her blog: Simply Recipes.

Blueberry Maple Breakfast Bake (slightly adapted)

3/4 loaf of white bread (I used Sara Lee White Wheat)
4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, divided
6 eggs, beaten
1 cups milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove crusts from bread; cut into one inch cubes. Cut cream cheese in small cubes (makes about 1 cup). Grease a 8x8x2 inch baking dish. Place half of the bread cubes in the dish. Scatter cream cheese cubes and 1 cup of blueberries over the bread. Top with remaining bread cubes and blueberries. In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, maple syrup and butter. Carefully pour over bread mixture. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour, covering with aluminum foil if eges brown too much. To serve, cut into squares. Accompany with additional maple syrup, if desired. Can be prepared the night before, and just baked before serving.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Chateau Morrisette

Chateau Morrisette is one of Virginia's largest wineries, and it is located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 171.5). My husband and I stopped at the winery on our honeymoon. When we go to visit my family, we pass within 5 miles of this hidden gem. For those who know me well, the last thing you'd expect me to support would be a winery. However, don't worry! I'm not here to promote their wine. I'm here to recommend that everyone try their vinegars!
The first vinegar we bought from Chateau Morrisette (during our honeymoon) was their Late Harvest Reisling Vinegar. This is a sweeter vinegar that we most often simply used by itself to dress spinach salads with mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries, and toasted pecans. I am not a fan of white or cider vinegar (at least, not by itself), but I loved the Reisling vinegar!
This December, five years later, we returned to Chateau Morrisette to get some more of the Reisling. Much to our surprise (and delight), they had expanded their offerings of flavored vinegars! [They also have flavored oils, pesto, and mustards that are also delicious.] I would highly recommend that you try them. How, do you ask? Luckily for you, they sell their products online, too! You can also find out more information about the winery and the events they have throughout the year. They currently offer Blood Orange, D'Anjou Pear, Blueberry, Spicy Pecan, and Strawberry Champagne vinegars in addition to the Reisling. If you visit the winery, you can sample the vinegars before purchasing. We ended up leaving with the Blood Orange, D'Anjou Pear, and Reisling. Like the Reisling, we just sprinkle some over a salad to enjoy. Personally, I think the Blood Orange is better than the D'Anjou Pear, but my husband disagrees. Either way, they're both delicious.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Blogging By Mail

I finally received my BBM package in the mail yesterday! Aarika from Aarikavination enclosed a letter explaining her rather extensive run of back luck before/during the holidays. Things finally calmed down enough for her to get my package in the mail this week. Hopefully things will calm down even more for Aarika soon!

But, you're interested in the package contents, aren't you? Well, tada! All sorts of goodies!

Starting from the top left, moving clockwise: Double Apple Muffin Mix, from Aarika's local farmer's market; Milk N Honees (Milk Honey Filled Drops); Honey Pear Tea; Raspberry Ginger Tea. Next is a a mix CD entitled "Calmness: December Megamix"; after her eventful holiday season, I'm sure she could use a little calmness in her life! The CD is resting on a big bag of (homemade) White Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Sticks. She said the JELLO Cheesecake Pudding intrigued her when she saw it in the grocery store, and I'm glad she sent it. It's really good with some frozen fruit when you're in a hurry to make a tasty dessert. In front are an Amish Country Postcard and an "Aspens" postcard by Ansel Adams - Excellent choice! I love Ansel Adams' work, and "Aspens" is one of my favorite scenes from his collection. Finally, we have candy canes, (in the middle) Candy Cane Hershey Kisses, and the cute tea towel everything is resting on! Since I don't like milk or dark chocolate, she definitely gave me a reason to smile with all the white chocolate. The Candy Cane Kisses are really yummy; it's hard not to eat the whole bag at once!
I can hardly wait to try the muffin mix; this Saturday morning's breakfast will be the perfect opportunity to do so. The Milk N Honees are wonderful! They remind me of a candy I used to eat when I was growing up. (Wow, was that really 18 years ago?!) I haven't tasted the tea yet, but it certainly smells great. I'll have to have some with my Double Apple Muffins!

Isn't this cute?! Aarika lamented about the tea towel being slightly out of season, but I don't mind a bit. And, like she said, we can all use another tea towel, right? I know I certainly can.

Here's one more cute item from the package, though it was on the outside. Aarika decorated the outside of the package with festive stickers, and I thought these guys were just adorable.
Thank you so much, Aarika, for the package! And, thanks also to Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness for heading up this BBM effort!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I was beginnning to wonder why no one had commented on any of my posts. And, I knew people were visiting this blog. So, what gives? My stupidity, of course. I had comment moderation enabled, but I didn't know there were any comments to moderate. So, I apologize (especially to Brilynn from Jumbo Empanadas). The few comments that have been left are now visible.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Apple Cabbage Raisin Salad

I'm glad to be back from a rather long hiatus! (I tried to update earlier, but Blogger decided that I didn't need to update my blog.) I hope you had a great holiday with your family and friends. Ours was busy, but it was great to see everyone again.

While I was gone, my BBM partner finally received her package from me. [Again, I'm sorry for the delay, but at least you received it before Christmas!] Lisa from La Mia Cucina posted about the package here. I'm so glad that she really liked all the goodies I sent; it's so much fun to gather everything and wait to see/read the recipient's reaction! No word yet on the BBM package I'm supposed to receive; hopefully my BBM partner isn't having too much bad luck these days...especially over the holidays.

Speaking of holidays, I'll share a recipe from my grandmother that she prepared for Christmas lunch: Apple Cabbage Raisin Salad. I haven't actually made it yet, but it's scrumptious. Trust me. I'm sure you could substitute low-fat yogurt for the mayo, but I'd drain it really well to get the right consistency before adding it to the other ingredients. This recipe serves 4, but it can easily be doubled as needed. I'd recommend preparing this dish the day before you'll serve it.

1 red apple, chopped (do not peel)
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup light mayonnaise (or more if needed - just add to taste)

Toss the chopped apples together with the cabbage, raisins, and almonds in a bowl. Stir in mayo and mix well. Store in the refrigerator; serve chilled.