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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.

Oct 31, 2011

Sea Foam Candy

Every year for Halloween, my favorite trick-or-treat house was diagonal from my own.  This lovely older lady made and wrapped homemade sea foam candy to give to every trick or treat-er.  Sea foam is a wonderfully sticky candy that tastes like the pecan logs that you can purchase around Easter.  For those of you who know what divinity candy is, this is similar, but the brown sugar gives it a much richer flavor.  I highly recommend a stand mixer for this undertaking, but it can be done with a hand mixer.  Try it - you'll LOVE it - and I know it takes me back to my childhood.

  2 egg whites                                                                         1/4 Tsp salt
  1 Cup firmly packed brown sugar                                           1 Tsp vanilla
  1 Cup granulated sugar                                                          1/2 Cup coarsely chopped pecans
  2 Tbl light corn syrup                                                             
  1/2 Cup water                                                                         

In small bowl of electric mixer, let egg whites warm to room temperature, about 1 hour.

In heavy 2 quart saucepan combine both kinds of sugar, corn syrup and water.  Cook, stirring with wooden spoon, over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking over low heat without stirring, to 255F on a candy thermometer, or until a little syrup in cold water forms a hard ball. Set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, beat egg whites with salt at high speed until stiff peaks form when beaters are slowly raised.

When thermometer goes down to 250F, gradually pour hot syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. Continue beating mixture is stiff enough to hold its shape when beaters are raised. 

With wooden spoon beat in vanilla and nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls, 2-1/2 inches apart, onto a tray lined with waxed  paper, swirling each candy into a peak. Let dry at room temperature.

To store: Store at room temperature in a covered container. Will keep several weeks.

Oct 30, 2011

Apple Butter Pancakes

The last few years we have made Apple Butter as a group event and I have started making Apple Butter Pancakes as a result.  It gives a nice flavor and, if you like an occasional nut, goes will with added chopped walnuts or pecans.  Substitute and fruit butter of your liking or use pumpkin puree.  Makes 8 pancakes.

  3/4 Cups Bisquick                                                                   1/2 Cups Apple Butter
  1/4 Cups Wheat Flour                                                              1/2 Cups 1% Milk
  1 Large Egg                                                                             

Mix together.  Pour 1/4 cup in a skillet over low heat, cook until bubbly, flip.

Per Serving: 107 Cal (23% from Fat, 10% from Protein, 67% from Carb); 3 g Protein; 3 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 1 g Mono Fat; 18 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 8 g Sugar; 44 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 158 mg Sodium; 27 mg Cholesterol

Oct 29, 2011

Pumpkin Creme Brulee - Option 2

I like to make this when I make an angel food cake.  I have all those yolks, this gives me something to do with them.

  4 Cup heavy cream                                                                  1/4 Tsp salt
  2 Tsp vanilla extract                                                                1/4 Tsp ground ginger
  16 egg yolks                                                                            1/8 Tsp ground cloves
  1/4 Cup brown sugar                                                               1 Cup canned pumpkin puree
  3/4 Cup white sugar                                                                 1/4 Cup white sugar
  1 Tsp ground cinnamon                                                          

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).2. Heat the cream and vanilla in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer. Whisk together the egg yolks, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, cloves, and pumpkin in a bowl. Slowly pour 1 cup of the cream mixture into the egg mixture, stirring continually. Then pour the entire egg mixture into the saucepan; whisk briskly for 1 minute. Pour the mixture into ramekins. Arrange ramekins on a baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven until set, about 15 minutes; refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.4. Before serving, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar over the top of each creme brulee. Use a kitchen torch or your oven's broiler to caramelize the sugar. It may take 2 to 3 minutes in the broiler. Serve immediately.

Oct 27, 2011

Pumpkin Creme Brulee - Option 1

I wanted to make creme brulee, but the recipe I had used all egg yolks and I didn't want to make anything with them.  I could have frozen them, but I want to get an ice cube tray to do so.  Why an ice cube tray?  You can put one white in one cube and freeze them individually so they are pre-measured.  But, aside from that, you can freeze them any way you like.  However, I digress.  If you want to make creme brulee but don't want to separate as many eggs, try this one.  If you want to practice egg separating, try the next creme brulee option.

  2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream                                              1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  3 Large Egg Yolks                                                                   1 Tsp Ground Ginger
  2 Large Eggs                                                                            1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
  1/3 Cup Sugar                                                                          6 Tsp Sugar
  1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree                                                          

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat whipping cream until just bubbly, set aside.  Put a large pot of water on to boil OR put 4 cups in the microwave and heat to boiling.

In a medium boil, combine egg yolks and eggs, beat slightly.  Add 1/3 cup sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and beat with a wire whisk until combined.  Slowly add the cream to the egg mixture, whisking continuously until incorporated.  Place 6 6-ounce custard cups in a 13x9x2 inch baking pan.  Divide the custard mixture evenly among the cups.  CAREFULLY add boiling water to the baking pan until it reaches half way up the side of the custard cups.  Place baking pan in oven and bake until the centers appear set when shaken - about 30 minutes.  Remove pan from oven, removed dishes from pan to a wire rack.    When cool, place in refrigerator for at least an hour.

When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator.  Sprinkle each with 1 tsp sugar and melt with a brulee torch.  If you do not have a brulee torch, allow the dishes to set at room temperature for 15 minutes, sprinkle with 1 tsp sugar, place cups on a cookie sheet and place under a broiler until sugar caramelizes.

Per Serving: 279 Cal (65% from Fat, 9% from Protein, 26% from Carb); 7 g Protein; 20 g Tot Fat; 11 g Sat Fat; 6 g Mono Fat; 18 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 16 g Sugar; 58 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 90 mg Sodium

Oct 26, 2011

Easy Potato Soup with Rivvels

Growing up, if we needed a quick meal, this was a go to dish.  To make:

Cube potatoes - enough for as many people as you want to feed.  Peeling is options.  Boil potatoes in water until soft.  Drain, return to pan and just cover with milk.  Add 1 Tbl butter for each person.  Heat over low heat until hot and just starting to simmer.  Drop rivvel dough into hot liquid by fork full and simmer until cooked.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

To make Rivvels:

Mix 1 cup flour, 1 egg and just enough water to make a stiff dough.

Oct 25, 2011

Shannara Series

Terry Brooks is a prolific author who has written a fantastic series of series.  The Shannara Series has various sets of books that tie beautifully together and move both forward and backward through its own time line.  Starting with the Sword Shannara, you learn about Flick and Shea Ohmsford and follow them through a rich tale of discovery, adventure and family.  You proceed through time with beautifully painted tales that can be read alone but are much richer if read as guided through duologies, trilogies, etc.  The Terry Brooks site does suggest a reading order, which I concur with, and it can be found at
The next trilogy is due to start September of 2012, with books two and three being released in 2013, so start reading and lose yourself in the World of Shannara.

Oct 24, 2011

Sausage and Peppers

While the nutrition information is for Turkey sausage, feel free to substitute what you have on hand.  If you are vegetarian, there are several nice alternative varieties.  Also, if you don't like spicy food, use mild sausage and/or omit the crushed red pepper.  Finally, if peppers are not in season, feel free to use a frozen medley.  Serves 4.

  1 Lb Hot Italian Turkey Sausage                                              14.5 Ounce Fire Roasted Tomatoes,
  1 Tbl olive oil                                                                          -Undrained
  2 Clove garlic, minced                                                             1 1/2 Tsp Italian Seasoning,
  2 Cups Bell Pepper, Mix Of Red,                                             1/4 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper
  -Green And Yellow                                                                 

Add 1/2 oil to a 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook sausage links over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until browned, turning frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook about 10 minutes more or until juices run clear. Transfer sausage links to a cutting board; thinly bias slice sausage links. Set aside.  Add remaining olive oil to the same skillet and increase heat to medium. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the sweet peppers and cook about 5 minutes or until crisp tender, stirring occasionally.  Return the sausage to the pan and add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper.   Bring to boiling;
 reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, until heated through.

Per Serving: 255 Cal (48% from Fat, 28% from Protein, 24% from Carb); 18 g Protein; 14 g Tot Fat; 4 g Sat Fat; 5 g Mono Fat;  15 g Carb; 4 g Fiber; 9 g Sugar; 35 mg Calcium; 11 mg Iron; 1288 mg Sodium

Oct 22, 2011

Pennsylvania Dutch Hustle Cake

I was recently reviewing recipes that my aunt gave me and found a recipe for Pennsylvania Dutch Hustle Cake.  I was looking for a use for apples and almost passed this up until the word apple caught my eye.  This is a cake that requires patience as it is yeast raised, but it is not as sweet as a traditional cake and has a lovely flavor.  Heating it and topping it with Smucker's Low Sugar Caramel Sauce puts it over the edge.

1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
1 large egg
1/3 cup wheat flour, sifted
1 cup cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 cup apple slices
2 Tbl light brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Mix lukewarm water and yeast in a large mixing bowl - set aside to proof.  Scald milk.  Remove from heat and stir in butter to melt, stir in sugar and salt.  Set aside.  Beat and egg and add it to the yeast.  Stir in flour.  Add milk mixture and beat until smooth.  Spread dough in a greased 9 inch square cake pan.  Arrange apples on top.  Combine sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg - sprinkle on top of apples.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Oct 21, 2011

Roasted Squash Soup

This is a light, creamy soup that is a great lunch or appetizer.  To make it a main dish, add some cooked rice noodles and/or chicken sauteed with curry powder.  If you are short on time, the squash can be simmered in the broth and processed carefully in a food processor, but roasting adds another level of flavor.  You can also use a mix of butternut and acorn squash.

  2.5 Lb butternut squash, halved                                           1 Bay Leaf
  -and seeded                                                                       1 Tsp Curry Powder
  1 Small Onion                                                                    1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon
  1 Medium Garlic Head                                                       1/4 Tsp ground nutmeg
  1 Tsp Olive Oil                                                                  salt and pepper to taste
  5 Cups vegetable broth                                                       1 Cup Light Coconut Milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with non stick aluminum foil.  Place squash halves and onion onto the prepared baking sheet. Cut the top off the garlic; pour olive oil on top, wrap garlic in foil and set with other vegetables.  Roast in the center of the oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until the squash is tender. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Squeeze garlic cloves out of their skin like paste into a food processor. Scrape the flesh from the squash and place into the food processor along with the roasted onion. Puree until smooth. Add vegetable broth.  Season with the bay leaf, curry powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in  coconut milk.  Remove bay leaf and serve hot.

Oct 20, 2011

Cranberry Pear Cake

I have been raving about the apples this year, but the pears are just as wonderful.  Make this cake and enjoy the bounty of the season.  Please note - most grocery stores only carry fresh cranberries during the holiday season -  November and December.  Purchase some slightly under ripe pears at your local farmers market and refrigerate them until the cranberries are available.  When you do buy cranberries, take the advice on the Ocean Spray Bag - buy at least two bags and freeze one.  They freeze beautifully and will give you more options throughout the year.

  2 1/2 Cups Flour                                                  1 1/2 Cups Pear, peeled, cored, -and chopped
  2 Tsp Baking Powder                                          3/4 Cup Walnuts, Chopped                   
  1/2 Tsp Cinnamon                                                                   
  1/2 Tsp Nutmeg                                                  Caramel Sauce
  3 Tbl Butter, softened                                           1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
  3/4 Cup Sugar                                                      1/2 Cup Butter
  1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed                      1/2 Cup Whipping Cream
  2 Large Eggs                                                        2 Tbl Light Corn Syrup
  1 Cup 1% Milk                                                     1 Tsp Vanilla
  12 Ounce Cranberries, Fresh                                                  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 inch square baking pan; set aside. Combine 2 cups of the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg, set aside.  In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating on low after each addition until combined. In a bowl, toss cranberries, pear, and walnuts (optional) with remaining 1/2 cup flour; gently stir into batter. Spoon into prepared pan.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan; cool on rack.

To make Caramel Sauce: In a large saucepan combine all caramel sauce ingredients except vanilla.  Bring to boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil gently for 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cool slightly. Serve cake warm topped  with caramel sauce and, if desired, whipped cream.

16 Servings:  Per Serving: 344 Cal (35% from Fat, 6% from Protein, 59% from Carb); 5 g Protein; 14 g Tot Fat; 6 g Sat Fat; 4 g Mono Fat; 52 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 32 g Sugar; 87 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 147 mg Sodium

Oct 19, 2011

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Fall is a great time for pumpkin recipes.  I recently found myself with too much pumpkin to fit in my freezer, and I couldn't throw it out, so I made cinnamon rolls.  Hubby's co-workers as well as the family of his drum student got surprises the next day.

  For Dough:                                                                              2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  1/2 Cup 1% Milk                                                                     1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
  5 Tbl Butter                                                                             4 Tbl Butter, Melted
  1 Cup Pumpkin Puree                                                              For Caramel Frosting:
  1/4 Cup Sugar                                                                          8 Tbl Butter
  1 Tsp Salt                                                                                 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  2 Large Eggs, beaten                                                                1/4 Cup 1% Milk
  4.5 Tsp Yeast                                                                           1/2 Tsp Vanilla
  2 Cups Flour                                                                            1 Pinch salt
  2 Cups Bread Flour                                                                  1 1/2 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
  2/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed                                       

For Dough:
In small saucepan, heat milk and butter just until warm (120-130 degrees) and butter is almost melted, stirring constantly, set  aside.

In large mixer bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar and salt.  Add milk mixture to pumpkin and beat with electric mixer until well  mixed. Beat in eggs and yeast.

In separate mixing bowl, combine flours. Add half of flour mixture to pumpkin mixture. Beat mixture on low speed 5 minutes, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Add remaining flour and mix thoroughly (dough will be very soft).  Put dough into a lightly  greased bowl, turning so all sides are greased.  Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.  Punch dough down. Turn onto floured surface. Knead a few turns to form a smooth dough, sprinkling with enough additional flour to make dough easy to handle.  On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 24x10-inch rectangle.  Brush with melted butter.  In small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg then sprinkle over the butter.  Beginning with long side of dough, roll up jelly roll style. Pinch seam to seal. With sharp knife, cut roll into 24 slices, about 1 inch wide each. Place rolls, cut side up, in 9-inch square or round baking pans that have been lined with waxed paper and greased.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Cover rolls and let rise until nearly doubled.  Bake rolls at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until golden.  Using wax paper, remove from pan to wire racks.

While the rolls bake, make the frosting:
In small saucepan, heat butter until melted.  Stir in brown sugar and milk. Cook over medium low heat 1 minute. Transfer to small mixer bowl and cool mixture until you remove the rolls from the oven.  When the rolls are cooling, stir in vanilla, salt, and confectioner's' sugar. Beat with electric mixer until well blended. If necessary, add more confectioner's' sugar for desired  consistency.  As soon as the frosting is done, drizzle over cinnamon rolls.

Oct 18, 2011

Oatmeal-Applesauce Cookies - to sandwich or not?

These cookies are great alone or, using the optional ingredients, take them to the next level as sandwich cookies.  Either way, you cannot miss.  Thanks to my wonderful Hubby for suggesting the caramel filling option.

  4 Tbl Unsalted Butter, melted                                                  1/4 Tsp Coarse Salt
  1 1/2 Cups Light Brown Sugar,                                                1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  -Packed                                                                                 1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
  1 Large Egg                                                                          --Optional--
  1/2 Cup Applesauce                                                                1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
  2 Cups Old-Fashioned Oatmeal                                                1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  1 1/4 Cup Flour                                                                       2 Tbl Light Corn Syrup
  1/2 Tsp Baking Soda                                                                1 Tsp Vanilla
  1/4 Tsp Baking Powder                                                           

Preheat oven to 350.  Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix until fluffy.  Add egg and applesauce, mix until well blended, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies until golden and just set, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack set over parchment paper; let cool completely.

Combine all optional ingredients except vanilla, stir to combine over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and boil gently for 3 minutes.    Remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp vanilla.  Cool completely and use as a filling between two cookies.

Oct 17, 2011


Apples are very sweet in Pennsylvania this year due to the wet weather conditions - perfect for applesauce.  Get any variety of apples - I usually like to use two or three (or more) varieties.

Invest in an apple peeler/corer/slicer - I prefer the ones with a suction cup bottom as oppsed to one you have to clamp on - mine is green, but the ones carried in my local Bed Bath and Beyond are red. 

As you prepare them, just put them right into an 8 quart pot and fill it to the top full of apples and add only about 1/2 cup to a cup of water - just enough to have about 1/2 inch of water on the bottom.  Put it over medium low heat, put a lid on the pot and cook until the apples are soft.  When cooked, process in a food processor or, for smoother consistency, a food mill.  I prefer the Oxo Good Grips food mill (also available at Bed Bath and Beyond.)  I like this food mill because it comes apart easily as well as having three plate sizes for mill size.

After you have pureed the apples, TASTE THEM - you may not need to add sugar.  If you do, add it a little at a time (1/4 cup or less) and taste after each addition.  Eat warm, refrigerate leftovers and enjoy.  Too much to eat now?  It freezes beautifully or can be canned - make sure to follow guidelines for water bath vs pressure canning.  Next - Oatmeal Applesauce cookies.  Stay tuned.

Oct 16, 2011

German Potato Soup

Recently, I received cabbage from my CSA and decided to make this soup again.  I like it because we can eat half and freeze half.  I needed a few other things, so I stopped at my local farmer's market.  While there, I chose fingerling potatoes just because I liked how they looked.  A nice lady stopped me to ask what to do with them and I promised her that I would post the recipe, so here it is.  Yesterday's post is another option for using the potatoes.  Please note, mushrooms are optional.

  12 ounces turkey sausage                                                      1 -3/4 cups beef stock
  3 ounces mushrooms, chopped                                               1/2 Cup lager
  2 Tbl onion, minced                                                               2 medium potatoes, cubed
  1 stalk celery, chopped                                                          2 Cup small broccoli florets
  1 Tsp caraway seeds, crushed                                               2 Cup shredded cabbage
  1/4 Tsp ground black pepper                                                  1 -1/2 cups 1% milk

In a 4-quart Dutch oven, cook sausage, mushrooms, onion, and celery over medium heat until sausage is browned, stirring to break up sausage as it cooks. Drain off fat.  Add caraway seeds and pepper to sausage mixture in Dutch oven. Add beef stock and beer; bring to boiling. Add potatoes. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add broccoli. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes more or until potatoes and broccoli are tender.  Stir cabbage and milk into sausage-broccoli mixture. Return to simmer and cook for about  5 minutes or just until cabbage is tender and soup is heated through.

Oct 15, 2011

Roasted Potatoes

One of the easiest thing to do with potatoes is roast them.  I like to use smaller red or fingerling potatoes.  Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Wash the potatoes, cut them into 1/2 inch pieces, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and a spice blend of your choice (I like to use Herbs de Provence).  Bake for about 20 minutes until browned and tender - Enjoy!