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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Mar 31, 2011

Toasted Almond Cookies

  1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter              1/2 Tsp Coarse Salt
  1/2 Cup Sugar                             1.5 Cups All Purpose Flour
  1 Tsp Almond Extract                 1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds, Toasted -And Finely Chopped
  1 Large Egg White                                                                   

Prehat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy.  Mix in extract and egg  white.  Reduce speed to low and mix in salt and flour.  When just combined, stir in almonds. 

Make 3/4 inch balls and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.  Press down with the bottom of a glass coated in sugar.  Bake until cookies just start to turn golden, 13 to 15 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet for 1 minute and then move to a cooling rack.  Cool completely and store in an air tight container.

Mar 30, 2011

The ORIGINAL Baking mix - great for pancakes, too.

Have you ever been using that baking mix that comes in the yellow box, blue print - starts with B and, in the middle of the recipe, you realize you don't have enough mix?  Get in the car, drive to the store and get more...or make your own.  To make your own homemade mix:

Combine the following:

  2 C Flour                                                                                 1 Tsp Salt
  3 Tsp Baking Powder                                                               1/4 C Sugar

Mix well and stir in an air tight container.  To make it healthier, you can replace up to half the flour with wheat flour.  Now you will  never run out again.

Mar 29, 2011

Turkey Casserole

  20 Ounce Frozen Broccoli                                            1/2 Cup Skim milk
  2 Cup Turkey, Cooked & Diced                                    1 Cup Cheddar Cheese, Grated         
  10 Oz Cream Of Broccoli Soup                                     Dash of hot sauce

Preheat oven to 375° F. Cook broccoli according to package directions. Layer in 12 x 8 inch baking dish. Spread turkey evenly on top.  Combine soup with milk, mix until smooth.  Stir in ½ of the cheese and hot sauce to taste,  pour over turkey. Sprinkle grated cheese on top.  Bake for 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. 

Mar 28, 2011

Vanilla Pudding

A simple, yet elegant, dessert.  Pour into individual serving dishes or one large container to cool.  If you have not yet made vanilla sugar, you may use plain granulated sugar.

  2 Cup milk                                                                              1/4 Tsp salt
  1/2 Cup vanilla sugar                                                               1 Tsp vanilla extract
  3 Tbl cornstarch                                                                      1 Tbl butter

In medium saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Whisk in milk and heat over medium heat, cook and stir until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Do not boil. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and butter. Pour into serving  dishes. Chill before serving.

Mar 27, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

This is not going to be a 'traditional' recipe - i.e. - no ingredient list, no specific instructions.  You will find ingredients, but you will need to gauge what you need based on how much you want to make.  I will put a suggested amount list at the bottom.  However, don't worry, if you make too much, it freezes beautifully.  I am going to try and type how to make chicken pot pie they way I was taught, and that most certainly did not include a recipe.  So buckle your seat belt and come along on a tasty homemade journey.

First and foremost, this is Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Pot Pie.  It is made with chicken and it is made in a pot.  Anyone expecting a crust and a pie dish, that is a chicken PIE.  Perhaps I'll post a recipe for that in the future.

Purchase chicken - whole chicken, chicken pieces - doesn't matter.  Rinse the chicken and put in a dutch oven or other similar large pot.  Cover with water and boil until chicken is cooked.  Remove chicken from the pot and put in a colander.  Place the colander back over the pot and allow to drain until cool.

Meanwhile, cut up potatoes until 12 to 1 inch cubes.  Peel or not, it is your preference.  Place the potatoes in the pot - you should not turn the heat back on yet.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove colander from pot and sit on a plate.  Turn the heat back on under the pot.  Remove the skin from the chicken and discard.  Remove chicken from the bone, breaking into bite sized pieces, and return to the pot.  When all chicken is skinned and boned, pour the broth that dripped on the plate into the pot.  Add enough water to the pot so there is about 3 inches of liquid above the chicken and potatoes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil.  When boiling, reduce heat to a slow simmer.

In a small bowl, mix flour and 1 egg.  Add enough water to make a dough that can be rolled out.  Roll dough into desired consistency.  Keep in mind, it will swell as it cooks.  I learned to roll it about 1/4 inch thick, I prefer it thinner (about 1/8 of an inch).  Cut the noodles into strips or squares and drop into simmering broth, a few pieces at a time, stirring to incorporate after each addition.

Allow to cook for 30 minutes.  Make a slurry of 1 cup cold water and 1/4 cup flour, mixing well so it is not lumpy.  Pour into simmering mixture - you may pour through a sieve to help prevent lumps.  Stir constantly while adding.

Allow to cook for about 15 more minutes until thickened.  Keep in mind, the slurry will cause the gravy to thicken more as it cools.  Ladle into bowls and enjoy.

One option for proportions:

4 lb chicken
3 medium potatoes
2 cup flour
1 egg
water, as needed
salt and pepper to taste

Mar 24, 2011

CSA - Join Now!

CSA - Community Supported Agriculture - is a tool to help you buy seasonal, local food directly from the farmer(s) that grow it.  For a fee, you purchase a share of the harvest, delivered to a centralized pick up location or picked up directly at the farm (depending on the organizer).  They can be weekly or biweekly and the variety depends on growing season and success of a crop.  However, there is not a better way to eat fresh foods locally.  A full share is generally recommended for Two adults and two children OR Two vegetarians.  A half share is recommended for two adults.  There are CSA's for fruits, vegetables and/or meats.  Some will add eggs.  So eat healthy, eat locally, save money and sign up NOW.   

Go to Local Harvest ( to find a farm near you. 

You may even learn new things.  For example - Eggs come in white, brown and - of all things - GREEN.  Dr. Seuss was right - you can eat green eggs and ham.  Thank you Katie at Cool Beans CSA for helping me learn about eggs.  Some CSA's blog, some offer recipes to help you use the food provided, so don't be afraid to try it.

Mar 22, 2011

Greek Lentil Pasta Sauce

Looking for a vegetarian option that is filling and tasty?  Try this pasta sauce and serve it over your favorite pasta for a nice change on ordinary spaghetti and sauce.

1.5 Cup Baby Carrots, thinly sliced                             8 Ounce Tomato Sauce
3 Clove Garlic, minced                                               2 Tsp Dried Thyme, crushed
2 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil                                        1 Tsp Dried Oregano
9 Ounce Lentils, rinsed and drained                             1/4 Tsp Salt
28 Ounce Diced Tomatoes                                         1/4 Tsp Black Pepper

In a large heavy bottomed pot, cook carrots and garlic in hot olive oil over medium heat until tender. Add lentils and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 to 35 minutes or until lentils are tender, adding additional water if needed.  Add un-drained tomatoes, tomato sauce, thyme, salt, and pepper. Return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until desired consistency.  Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; toss cooked pasta with a small amount of olive oil. Top pasta with sauce to serve.

Mar 21, 2011

Where to stay in Virginia Beach

During my recent trip to Virginia Beach for the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon, we selected the Holiday Inn Express as the place to say.  We made the right decision.  The staff was friendly and helpful, the rooms are all ocean view, it sits right on the boardwalk and for the Shamrock Marathon, parking was perfect.  They have three lots available, two of which allowed for egress even with the event road closures.  Any time we travel to Virginia Beach, either next's years Shamrock marathon or a vacation, we will be staying at the Holiday Inn Express - 2607 Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 • 1-800-HOLIDAY (465-4329) • 757-491-6900

Mar 17, 2011

Corned Beef and Cabbage???? Sort of

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone.  While corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick's day dish, my hubby is not always game for this dish.  He is always game for a good old every day Reuben (corned beef, saurkraut - aka, fermented cabbage).  I am always game for a good Mac and Cheese.  When I found this recipe that married the two, I knew I had hit on something BIG!

Thank you Rachael Ray.

Mar 15, 2011

Pork Chili with Black Beans

Chili peppers in adobo sauce can be found in the ethnic food section of your local grocery store.  The recipe says one or two - my suggestion is to start with one.  You can always add more, but you cannot remove them if they start eating the lining of your stomach.  I learned the hard way that 1.  They are HOT and 2.  They get HOTTER with cooking.

  8 Ounce Pork, Lean And Boneless                            1 Tsp dried basil, crushed
  1 Tsp olive oil                                                           1 Tsp dried oregano, crushed
  1/4 Cup Onion, Minced                                             1 Tsp chili powder
  2 Clove Garlic, minced                                              1/2 Tsp ground cumin
  14.5 Ounce Diced Tomatoes, undrained                     15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  8 Ounce Tomato Sauce                                             1 1/2 Cup frozen whole kernel corn
  1 Cup water                                                                                      
  1 or 2 peppers from a 7 ounce can of chipotle         
      pepper in adobo-sauce, chopped                                        

Trim fat from meat. Cut meat into bite sized pieces. Lightly coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat.  Add meat, cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until meat is brown. Remove meat from saucepan and set aside.  Carefully add the oil to the hot saucepan. Cook onion and garlic in the hot oil about 4 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, chipotle pepper (use one or two from the can – they are very HOT), basil, oregano, chili powder, and cumin. Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in black beans and frozen corn. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Stir in meat. Heat through.

Mar 14, 2011

English Sticky Toffee Pudding

While watching Good Morning America recently, they interviewed a local pub owner who had been invited to the upcoming royal wedding.  While being interviewed, there was a reference to English Sticky Toffee Pudding.  While Catherine may not have ever ordered the dessert, it sounded tasty, so I looked it up.  That led me to the food network and a recipe courtesy of Marie Simmons.  This recipe, click name below to be redirected, is very easy to make and was very good.

English Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

So give it a try, it is quite tasty.  

Mar 13, 2011

Chicken in White Wine Sauce

medium red-skin potatoes, quartered
cups baby carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
chicken thighs, skinned
Tbsp. snipped fresh parsley
tsp. salt
tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
tbl fresh thyme, chopped
tsp. white pepper
clove garlic, minced
cup chicken broth
cup dry white wine
tbl butter
tbl flour

Make Roux:  In a large saucepan melt butter. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.  Turn off heat and allow to cool.

In a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker place potatoes and carrots. Place chicken pieces on top of vegetables. Sprinkle with parsley, salt, rosemary, thyme, pepper, and garlic; add broth and wine.  Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 9 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 4 1/2 hours. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and vegetables to a serving platter; cover with foil to keep warm. 

Strain juices. Turn on pan containing roux, slowly add cooking juices. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more.

Mar 11, 2011


Spring is in the air, time to add some spring to your step.  Get out there, get walking.  Get Podrunner Intervals from DJ Steve Boyett to get you moving, get you moving longer and get you moving faster.  This is a great interval training program that takes you from First day to 5K, 8K or 10 K.  Don't let the distances or the 'runner' in the title scare you off.  I use these for my walking workouts.  They are fun, keep me moving, keep me motivated and have helped me beat my time in events.

Not into intervals?  There are set beat running options, as well.  So get out there and get moving!

Mar 9, 2011

Stuffed Pepper Soup

  1 1/2 Lb Lean Ground Beef                                   20 Oz Tomato Soup, undiluted
  3 Large Green Pepper, chopped                             28 Oz Crushed Tomatoes, undrained
  28 Oz Beef Broth                                                  1 1/2 Cup Rice, Cooked

In a dutch oven or large saucepan, cook beef, peppers, and onions over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the broth, soup, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the rice, heat through and serve.

Mar 8, 2011

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

  1/2 Lb Elbow Macaroni                                           1 large egg
  3 Tbl Butter                                                            12 Ounce Extra Sharp Cheddar, -shredded
  3 Tbl Cake Flour                                                                      
  1 Tbl Powdered Mustard                                                          
  3 Cup 1% milk                                                        Topping:
  1/2 Tsp Hot Hungarian Paprika                                3 Tbl butter
  1/2 Tsp Grains Of Paradise (or Black Pepper)          1 Cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five  minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, paprika and grains of paradise. Simmer for ten minutes.  Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.  Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes.   Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Mar 7, 2011

Corn Chowder with Crab

The recipe below calls for seafood seasoning - recipe follows.  If you have Old Bay, you may substitute it for the seafood seasoning.  This does not 'stink up the house like crab' - as suggested by someone near and dear to me.  If used as a main dish with four servings, it is about 302 calories per serving.  I divided it into 7 servings and used it for a light lunch.

29 Ounce Low Sodium Chicken Broth                                     
2 Cup Frozen Corn                                                                   
1 Cup Potatoes, peeled and diced                                             
1 Cup Baby Carrots, cut into -1/4-inch pieces                          
1/2 Cup Celery, trimmed and diced                                          
1/2 Tsp Fresh Thyme, chopped                                                
1/4 Tsp Seafood Seasoning                                                       
1 1/2 Cup Red Bell Peppers, seeded -and diced
12 Ounce Evaporated Skim Milk
2 Tbl cornstarch
8 Ounce Pasteurized Crab Claw Meat

Combine chicken broth, corn, potatoes, carrots, celery, thyme and seafood seasoning in a large oval slow cooker. Cover and  cook on HIGH for 4 hours.  In a bowl, stir together evaporated milk and cornstarch.  Uncover slow cooker and stir in red peppers and cornstarch.  Replace cover and cook on either HIGH or LOW for 1 hour.  Stir crabmeat into soup and heat through. Serve warm.

Seafood Seasoning

  1 Tbl celery seeds                                                            1/2 Tsp mustard seeds
  1 Tbl whole black peppercorns                                          1/8 Tsp Ground Clove
  6 bay leaves                                                                     1 Tsp Hot Hungarian Paprika
  1/2 Tsp Ground Cardamom                                                    

In a spice grinder or small food processor, combine all of the ingredients. Grind well and store in a small glass jar. Best if used  within 6 months.

Mar 6, 2011

Vanilla Sugar

Some of my recipes call for vanilla sugar but say nothing of where you can find it.  While the recipes do not require vanilla sugar (you can just use regular granulated sugar), vanilla sugar gives it a richer flavor.  To make vanilla sugar:

Get a 6 to 8 cup container that you can seal.  Put 2 vanilla beans in the bottom and pour sugar on top of them, filling to the top.  Seal and let set for at least 2 weeks.  I keep sugar 'soaking' in vanilla bean goodness all the time.  I periodically ad sugar and add a new bean or replace the old every 6 months.


Mar 5, 2011

Vegetarian Chili

  5 1/2 Cup water                                                           28 oz crushed tomatoes
  3/4 Cup Bulgar wheat                                                   15 oz pumpkin puree
  2 Tsp olive oil                                                              1 medium zucchini, diced
  1 Cup chopped red pepper                                            1 Cup frozen corn
  1 Cup chopped green pepper                                         15 1/2 oz low-sodium black beans, rinsed
  2 Tbl salt-free chili powder                                            1/2 Cup chopped fresh cilantro
  2 Tsp minced garlic                                                                
  2 Tsp ground cumin                                                                

Put 3 cups of the water and the Bulgar in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high until Bulgar is tender, about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet then add peppers and saute 5 minutes. Add chili powder, garlic and cumin; saute until fragrant.  Add remaining 2 1/2 cups water, tomatoes, pumpkin, zucchini and corn; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender.  Stir in beans and Bulgar; heat through. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

Mar 4, 2011

Carrot Cake

Yesterday, I posted a simple carrot cake recipe.  Really, it is there, scroll to the end of the cheesecake is what you do with the other half of the yellow cake batter.  Today, I give you my from scratch carrot cake recipe.  For either cake, I like to use shredded Baby Carrots. 

  2 C Sugar                                                                     2 C Flaked Coconut
  1 1/2 C Vegetable Oil                                                    8 Oz Crushed Pineapple
  3 Eggs                                                                          2 Tsp Cinnamon
  2 Tsp Vanilla                                                                 2 Tsp Baking Soda
  2 1/4 C Flour                                                                 2 C Carrots, Shredded
  1 Tsp Salt                                                                     1 C Walnuts, Chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.  Combine sugar, oil, egg and vanilla.  Blend using a mixer.  Stir in flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt - mix well.  Drain pineapple well.  Fold carrots, coconut, pineapple and nuts into batter.  Pour into pan.  Bake until center is clean - approximately 55 minutes.

Frost with cream cheese frosting, if desired.

Mar 3, 2011

Yellow Cake Mix? How about a cheesecake...

My husband loves Boston Cream Pie, so I made him this cheesecake when he was celebrating a new job...

  18.25 ounce yellow cake mix                                Chocolate Topping:
  24 ounces cream cheese, softened                        1/2 Cup whipping cream
  3/4 Cup sugar                                                      4 Ounce Semisweet Chocolate, finely chopped
  1 Tsp vanilla                                                        4 Tsp Butter, softened
  1 Tbl Cake Flour, Optional                                                      
  3 Large Eggs                                                                           
  8 Ounce Sour Cream, NOT low fat

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, set aside.  Prepare cake mix according to package  directions.  Pour half the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly (see below for ideas of what to do with the other half).  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove pan to a wire rack.  In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.  Add eggs (add flour with first egg, if using), on at a time, and beat just until combined.  Stir in sour cream.  Carefully pour cream cheese mixture over cake layer.  Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a 2-inch area around the outside edge appears set and the center appears nearly set when gently shaken.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Using a small sharp knife, loosen edge of cheesecake from side of pan.  Cool completely (about 1 3/4 hours).  Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours.

When chilled, if using a serving dish, Remove side of pan; transfer cheesecake to a serving plate.

In a small saucepan, bring whipping cream to simmering.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate; stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.  Stir in butter.  Chill about 15 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened, stirring once.  Spoon chocolate mixture onto cheesecake, spreading to cover top.  Return to refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill the chocolate.

So, now you have 1/2 a yellow cake batter, what to do?  Well, you could just put it into a greased and floured 9 inch cake pan and bake it along side the cheesecake base until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Good?  Yes, but it can be better.

After you put the spring form pan in the oven, go ahead and grease and flour a nine inch cake pan.  Get the bowl with the remaining yellow cake batter stir in the following:

2 Cups Carrots, Shredded
8 Ounce Crushed Pineapple, Drained
2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon                                                       
1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg                                                          
1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger                                                            
1/2 Cup Coconut, OR 1/2 Cup Walnuts, Chopped

Pour this mixture into your prepared pan.

When you remove the cheesecake base, turn the oven up to 350.  You can put the cake in as soon as you take the other one out, you do not need to wait for your oven to be heated.  Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting, if desired.

Mar 2, 2011

Peach Custard Crisp

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1.5 Cups All Purpose Flour
  1/2 Tsp baking powder                                                           
  1/8 Tsp salt.                                                                            
  1/2 Cup butter                                                                         
  2 Tbl milk                                                                               
  1 Large Egg, lightly beaten

Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat together egg and milk, make a well in the center of the flour mixture.  Add liquid all at once. Using a fork, stir just until moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough by folding and gently pressing dough for 4 to 6 strokes or just until dough holds together.   Lightly flatten the dough with your hands then roll into a 12 inch circle.  Place dough in a 9 inch  deep dish pie plate, trimming as desired.

Peach Filling
  1 Tbl all-purpose flour                                                            
  1 Tbl sugar                                                                              
  1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon                                                       
  1/4 Tsp ground nutmeg
  3 Cups Peaches, Peeled And Sliced

In a small bowl, combine 1 flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir in sliced peaches.  Pour entire  mixture into the crust.

  3/4 Cup sugar
  2 Tbl all-purpose flour
  3/4 Cup milk
  3 Large eggs, lightly beaten

In a medium bowl, stir together 3/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons flour. Add milk and eggs; mix well.  Pour  over the peaches.

Crumb Topping
  1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
  1/2 Cup sugar
  1 Tsp ground cinnamon
  3 Tbl butter

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, cut  in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.   Sprinkle on top of the custard/peach mixture.  Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 1 hour or until center is set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate any remaining  dessert.