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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.

Jan 31, 2011

In the Chicago Airport with time to kill?

Try a Mediterranean Vegetable Sandwich at the Wolfgang Puck Bistro.  Zucchini, Mushrooms, Red and Yellow Peppers, baby lettuce, Mozzarella, Parmesan and Goat cheese - all grilled to perfection.  It was WONDERFUL.  Served with fries that I barely touched because the sandwich just couldn't be left.  Excellent choice.

Jan 30, 2011

Southwestern Style Bean Soup

30 Ounces Beef Broth                                                     
  15 ounce red kidney beans, rinsed and drained            
  15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained              
  14.5 ounce diced tomatoes with chilis                          
  10 ounce frozen whole kernel corn                               
  1 Cup sliced carrots                                                       
  2 Tsp chili powder
  2 Clove garlic, minced
  2 Tsp Cumin

  1/3 Cup all-purpose flour
  1/4 Cup yellow cornmeal
  1 Tsp baking powder
  Dash pepper
  1 beaten egg white
  2 Tbl milk
  1 Tbl cooking oil

In a 31/2- or 4-quart crockery cooker combine broth, beans, undrained tomatoes, corn, carrot, onion,
undrained chili peppers, chili powder, cumin and garlic. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours.
For dumplings, in a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and pepper. In a small mixing bowl combine egg white, milk, and oil. Add to flour mixture; stir with a fork just until combined. Drop dumpling mixture into 6 mounds on top of the bubbling soup. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 30 minutes more or on high-heat setting for 20 minutes more or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Do not lift lid while dumplings are cooking.) Ladle into bowls and top with a dumpling.

Jan 29, 2011

Slow Cooker Rice Pudding

MMMM, warm rice pudding on a cold, snowy day.  There are no raisins in this recipe as I don't like cooked raisins.  If raisins are calling you, you may stir in 1/2 cup prior to cooking.  

  3 Cup Rice, Cooked                                                       12 Oz Evaporated Milk
  14 Oz Sweetened Condensed Milk                                   1 Tbl sugar
  1 Tsp vanilla                                                                  1 Tsp ground cinnamon

Spray inside of 2- to 3 1/2-quart slow cooker with cooking spray or use a slow cooker liner.  Mix all ingredients except sugar and cinnamon in cooker.  Cover and cook on low heat setting 3 to 4 hours or until liquid is absorbed. Stir  pudding.  Sprinkle pudding with sugar and cinnamon. Serve warm.

Jan 28, 2011

Turkey - It's not just for Thanksgiving any more!

First there was broiled turkey breast, now I bring you......

Turkey Mexican Style

  2 Lb Turkey Thighs, Skinned                                        1/4 Tsp Tumeric
  4 Ounce Chopped Chilis                                                8 Large Flour Tortillas
  2 Tbl Worcestershire                                                      ---- Toppings----
  2 Tbl Chili Powder                                                         Cheese, Shredded
  6 Ounce Tomato Paste                                                   Sour Cream
  6 Ounce Water                                                              Tomatoes, Diced
  1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder                                                   Carrots, Shredded
  1/2 Tbl Cumin                                                               Peppers, Sliced
  1/4 Tsp Onion Powder                                                   Lettuce, Shredded

Place Turkey in a slow cooker.  Stir together tomato paste, water,Worcestershire sauce and spices.  Pour over turkey.  Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.  Remove turkey from bones and shred.  Combine with sauce and spoon onto tortillas, top, wrap and Enjoy!

Jan 27, 2011

Tangy Pulled Pork

  3 Lb boneless pork shoulder                                          
  18 Oz Barbecue Sauce                                                  
  ½ cup orange juice

Place meat in slow cooker.  Stir together barbecue sauce and orange juice, pour over the pork.   Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours (or on HIGH for 4 to 6 hours). Remove meat from slow cooker; cut into small pieces or shred with fork. Return meat to slow cooker; stir until meat is evenly coated with the barbecue sauce mixture

Jan 26, 2011

Chocoroon Pie

Do you like chocolate dipped macaroons?  Then this recipe is for you...

  3 Oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped                          1/2 Cup flour
  1/2 Cup unsalted butter                                                1 Tsp vanilla extract
  3 eggs                                                                        2/3 Cup sweetened condensed milk
  3/4 Cup sugar                                                             2 2/3 Cup sweetened flaked coconut

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9" pie plate with nonstick spray.  Melt chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir together eggs, sugar,flour and vanilla and add to chocolate mixture. Pour into prepared pie plate.  Combine sweetened condensed milk and coconut. Spoon over chocolate mixture leaving 1/2 to 1 inch border. Bake 35-40 minutes until center is firm but still a little moist. Cool completely on a wire  rack.

Jan 25, 2011

Chicken Spice Rub

  2 Medium Garlic Cloves                                                1 Tsp Dried Oregano
  2 Tbl Orange Juice                                                        1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  2 Tbl Cider Vinegar                                                       1/2 Tsp Hot Red Pepper Flakes
  1 Tbl Vegetable Oil                                                        1/2 Tsp Coriander
  1 Tbl Chili Powder                                                        2 Lb Chicken Thighs, About 4
  1 Tbl Hot Hungarian Paprika                                        

Rinse the chicken and pat dry.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Put remaining ingredients in a food processor and process to a smooth paste.  Spread over chicken and place in a large baking dish.  Bake 40 to 45 minutes until the internal temperature is 165 degrees, about 45 minutes.

Jan 24, 2011

Got Yolks? Pumpkin Brulee

Now that you have made the Baked Alaska, you find yourself with some egg yolks.  Make custard, make ice cream, make Pound or Devils Food cake.  Make the Pumpkin Brulee below.

trivia:  Why is it Devils Food Cake?  The recipe was made up to use the leftover egg yolks from making Angel Food Cake.

  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                                                 

1. 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.
3. 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.

Jan 23, 2011

Easy Baked Alaska

You'll need:

2 - 9 inch cake pans
1 cake mix
1 half gallon ice cream
8 egg whites (be very careful separating them, must be whites only)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup sugar

Purchase a cake mix and a half gallon of ice cream - you choose the flavors.

Line a 9 inch cake pan with plastic wrap - leaving a generous overage.  Put ice cream into this pan, smoothing out the top the best you can.  Wrap the top in plastic wrap and return ice cream to the freezer for at least two hours.

Prepare the pan and mix the cake according to package directions.  Put 1/3 of the cake mix in the prepared pan and bake according to package directions.  You may bake the remaining cake mix in any form you like - cupcakes, etc.  When done, cool on a wire rack.

Put a layer of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and refrigerate the cake. When you are ready to make your meringue, remove the cake from the refrigerator and the ice cream from the freezer. 

Pre Heat Oven to 475 degrees

With an electric mixer (fitted with a whisk attachment, if you have one), whip the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form (about 2 minutes).  Turn speed to high and slowly beat in sugar until stiff peaks form.

Place the ice cream on top of the cake and cover everything with meringue, making sure there are no holes in the meringue.  Put the entire thing in the hot oven for 2 - 3 minutes until the meringue is browned.

Serve as soon as possible.

Jan 22, 2011

Steel Cut Oats vs Rolled Oats

Steel cut oats (aka Irish oats) are oats that have had the hull removed and have been chopped into pieces.  They retain some of their bran and take longer to cook than the more traditional Rolled Oats that most people are familiar with.

Rolled Oats are oats that have been steamed, rolled flat and flakes so they cook more quickly.

Nutritionally, for one serving of each, they are very close.  If you want quicker cooking, you can use rolled or quick cooking - which are prepared similarly to rolled oats, just cut smaller.  If you have the time, try the irish oats.  They have a slightly different flavor due to the addition of the bran and I find them quite enjoyable.

To see more information, see the Cook's Thesaurus link below
Cook's Thesarus: Oats

Jan 20, 2011

Cheddar Dumplings

1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 T mustard
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
2/3 cup milk

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in shortening with a fork until mixture looks like coarse crumbs.  Stir in mustard and cheese.  Add milk and stir until dry ingredients are moistened.  Drop by spoonfuls on top of soup or stew.  Put a lid on the pot and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until done.

Jan 18, 2011

Slow Cooker Lasagna

  1 Lb lean ground beef                                                    1 Tsp dried oregano
  2 garlic cloves, minced                                                  12 ounce package lasagna noodles
  1 Tsp salt                                                                     12 ounces ricotta cheese
  29 ounce can tomato sauce                                             1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1 Cup water                                                                  16 ounces shredded mozzarella
  6 ounce can tomato paste                                              

In a large skillet over medium heat cook the ground beef and garlic until brown. Add the tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, salt, and oregano and stir until well mixed. Cook until heated through.  In a large bowl mix together the ricotta, Parmesan and  mozzarella cheeses.  Spoon a layer of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the slow cooker. Add a double layer of the uncooked lasagna noodles. Break to fit noodles into slow cooker. Top noodles with a portion of the cheese mixture. Repeat the layering of sauce, noodles, and cheese until all the ingredients are used.  Cover and cook on low  heat in slow cooker for 6 to 8 hours.

Jan 17, 2011

Benison (Beef + Venison) Barley Soup

When trying to tell my husband that I was using venison meat and beef broth, the words came out benison and the name stuck.  You may use beef stew meat if you do not have venison.

  12 Ounces Venison Stew Meat                                      1.5 Cup frozen mixed vegetables
  1/4 Cup Cake Flour                                                      1 Cup Pearl Barley
  1/2 Tsp salt                                                                 1/2 Cup chopped celery (1 stalk)
  1/2 Tsp pepper                                                            2 dried bay leaves
  1 Tbl vegetable oil                                                        2 Clove garlic, minced
  58 Ounce Low Sodium Beef Broth                                 1 Tsp dried oregano
  14.5 Ounce Diced Tomatoes,  -undrained                       1/2 Tsp dried basil
  1/4 Cup chopped onion (optional)                                   1/4 Tsp ground black pepper

Cut meat into 1-inch pieces.  Mix flour (may use all purpose), salt and pepper in a 1 quart ziploc bag, add vension and toss to coat.  In a large skillet, cook meat in hot oil over medium-high heat until brown.  Transfer meat to a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in broth, undrained tomatoes, onion, frozen vegetables, barley, celery, bay leaf, garlic, oregano, and pepper.  Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.

Jan 16, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Wing Soup

7 Cups Milk                                                                     
5 - 10.75 Ounce Cans Condensed Cream Of Chicken Soup, Undiluted      
2 Lb Chicken Breast, Cooked and Shredded
1 Cup sour cream
5 Ounce Frank's Red Hot                                                

I use 2 Health Choice Cream of Chicken to reduce the sodium.  Combine all ingredients in a 6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

Jan 15, 2011

Pork Loin with Cranberries and Apples

  3 Lb Boneless Pork Roast                                              
  2 Cloves Garlic, minced 
  1 Tsp Salt                                               
  1 Tsp Pepper                                                                
  1 Can Whole Cranberry Sauce                                                                 
  1/4 C Brown Sugar             
  1/2 C apple Juice
  2 Granny Smith Apples                                         

Trim fat from pork roast.  Rub all over with garlic, salt and pepper.  Place roast in slow cooker.  Core, peel and coursely chop the apples.  Place in a  bowl and mix with cranberry sauce, brown sugar, and the apple juice.  Pour over the roast and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours. Pork should be about 160 when fully cooked. Serve with rice.  

Jan 14, 2011

Sleep Number Beds

I love my sleep number bed.  My husband was a little worried when they had us lay on one for our sleep number because it felt like what it essentially is - an air mattress.  When you get your sleep number, they have you lay on a base model.  As you go up through the models, you get more padding on top and it is infinitely more comfortable and you would never know that there was an air mattress involved.  We opted not to get one with a 'temperature regulating top' as they recommend that you should have a mattress cover and you can save quite a bit by just getting the temperature regulation mattress pad.

We have had our bed for 4 years.  By now, on a standard mattress, no matter how much we spent or how many times we flipped or rotated, my husband would be complaining about the divot in the middle.  We don't have that.  We don't even notice the divider between the two halves of the bed (we have a dual bladder model).  It is wonderful.  My sleep number is a 35, my 'I need a firm mattress' hubby is a 40.  I no longer have back pain, even sleeping on my stomach and my shoulder pan is also non existent when I sleep on my side. 

The only way we will replace this mattress is either if it wears out or if we move it to our guest room and buy a new one for ourselves.  Try it out, you have nothing to lose.  They have a 90 day return policy.  if you are interested, I get friends and family coupons quarterly, I'll be happy to share.  Check them out, you'll be happy you did.

Jan 13, 2011

Broiled Turkey Breast

  8 Ounce Turkey Breast Tenderloins                                1/2 Tsp Sage
  1.5 Tsp Lime Juice                                                          2 Clove Garlic, Minced
  1.5 Tsp Olive Oil                                                            1 Medium Lime, Sliced Very Thin
  1/2 Tsp Salt                                                                    

Preheat broiler, not the pan.  Split the tenderloin in half horizontally - each half should be about 1/2 inch thick.  Combine juice, oil, salt, sage and garlic and spread on both sides of each turkey portion and place on  the broiler pan.  Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 5 minutes.  Turn the turkey and place the lime slices on top.  Broil for 5 minutes more or until tender and no longer pink.

Jan 12, 2011

Minestrone Stew

  1 Lb Beef, Ground (Optional)                                          11 Oz Whole Kernel Corn
  14.5 Oz Stewed Tomatoes                                              4 Oz Green Chiles, Chopped
  19 Oz Ready To Serve Minestrone                                   1 Tsp Salt
  15 Oz Pinto Beans                                                          1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder

If using beef, cook beef until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Transfer to a slow cooker.  Add the remaining ingredients, mix well.  Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

Jan 11, 2011

Hopping John

  3/4 Cup Brown Rice, Uncooked                                    1 Tsp dried thyme, crushed
  15 Ounces Black Eyed Peas, rinsed                               1/4 Tsp salt
  -and drained                                                                1/4 Tsp crushed red pepper
  1 1/2 Cup Peppers, Chopped                                         1/8 Tsp black pepper
  1 Cup Carrots, Thinly Sliced                                         2 Tsp olive oil or cooking oil
  1 Cup Corn, Frozen                                                     15 Ounce Diced Tomatoes, drained
  2 Clove garlic, minced                                                   

Cook rice according to package directions, omit any salt.

In a covered 12-inch skillet cook sweet peppers, carrots, corn, garlic, thyme, salt, crushed red pepper, and  black pepper in hot oil for 6 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.  Stir the cooked rice, black-eyed peas, and tomatoes into vegetable mixture. Cook, covered, over low heat  about 5 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley.

Serve with shredded cheddar, if desired.

Goes great with corn bread.

Jan 9, 2011

Potato Donuts

In honor of Pennsylvania Farm Show Week, here is a recipe for potato donuts

2 cups sugar
3 whole eggs
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup milk
5 tsp. baking powder
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. melted butter

Combine all ingredients and roll out on a lightly floured surface. If needed, add flour if dough is too sticky or a little milk if too crumbly, until a rollable dough is obtained. Add as little flour as is possible to avoid having heavy, tough, doughnuts.

Cut out doughnut shapes using a doughnut cutter, dipping the cutter in flour before each cut.  Gently drop the doughnuts to hot oil (about 370°F). Turn once until browned on both sides and cooked through. If outside of doughnut browns before inside is cooked, reduce temperature.  Remove from oil using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Dust with confectioners sugar while still warm.

Jan 7, 2011

Doctor Who

Doctor Who is a wonderful series.  Most people fall into one of three categories:

1.  Watched the original show
2.  Didn't watch the original show, but know the title
3.  Doctor Who?????

I say, no matter your category, give it a chance!  Doctor number 9 - Christopher Eccleston was - to borrow a word - FANTASTIC!.  Doctor Number 10 - David Tennant - I will admit I have a hard time letting go.  I will give Doctor Number 11 a chance.  However, you need to give them all a chance.  Like the original series?  It only gets better with age.  Didn't watch the original show (either because you were too young and hid behind a couch like I did or because it was off the air before you were old enough) - give it a chance.  Have no idea what I am talking about?  BBC at its absolute best.

The title above will link you to the BBC America Doctor Who Website and I have all of the new seasons on DVD - just ask.

Jan 5, 2011

Barley-Vegetable Chicken Soup

I made a wonderful soup tonight from the Diabetic Living Online website.  No salt added at all, lots of veggies, chicken breast....YUM.  I used pearled barley and it turned out delightful.  Click on the title above to be taken to the recipe.

Jan 4, 2011

Baked Grape Nuts

  2 C 1% Milk                                                                   1 C Grape Nuts Cereal
  3 Large Eggs, Well Beaten                                              2 Tbl Butter
  1/2 C Sugar                                                                    2 Tbl Brown Sugar
  1/4 Tsp Salt                                                                    1 Tsp Cinnamon                                             

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine ingredients in buttered casserole.  Cover, bake about one hour.  Uncover and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Let brown.

Jan 3, 2011


  3 Cups Water                                                                  3 Tbl Butter
  1 Tsp Salt                                                                        1 Tbl Grated Parmesan, Optional
  1 Cup Corn Meal                                                             Pepper, To Taste

Bring water and salt to a boil.  Sprinkle in the cornmeal, whisking constantly.  Stir and cook for 15 minutes.  Stir in butter and, if desired, parmesan cheese.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Serve immediately 

OR pour into a 8 inch bread pan and cool completely.  Slice and bake, grill or fry.

Jan 2, 2011

Danish Pecan Ring

  Streusel Filling                                                                Cake Batter
  1 1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon                                             12 Tbl Butter, Softened
  1/2 Cup Pecans, Chopped                                                 1 ½ Cups Sugar
  1/2 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips                                            3 Large Eggs
  1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed                                           1 ½   Tsp Vanilla
                                                                                        3 Cups All Purpose Flour
                                                                                        1 ½  Tsp Baking Powder
                                                                                        1 ½  Tsp Baking Soda
                                                                                        1/4 Tsp Salt
                                                                                        1 ½  Cup Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 12 cup bundt pan.

In a small bowl, mix the filling ingredients, set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla.  In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add half the dry mixture to the butter mixture and mix well.  Add the sour  cream to the butter mixture and mix well.  Add remaining flour mixture and mix well.

Spread half the batter in the bundt pan.  Top with filling.  Top with remaining batter. Bake for 1 hour.  Let cake cool slightly in pan before inverting onto a rack to cool completely.

Jan 1, 2011

Whiskey Balls

Happy New Year!!!!

  1 Cup Pecans                                                                  1.5 Lb Chocolate Wafers
  5 Tbl Jack Daniel's Whiskey                                          
  1/2 Cup butter, softened                                                1 Cup Pecan Halves, Optional
  16 ounce confectioners' sugar                                       

Grind pecans and place in a sealable glass gar.  Pour the whiskey over the nuts. Seal and allow to soak overnight.  Mix the butter and sugar; fold in the soaked nuts. Form into 3/4" balls and refrigerate overnight.  Line a tray with waxed paper. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over just-barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. Roll the balls in the melted chocolate to coat; arrange on the prepared tray. If desired, press a pecan half into the top of  each ball immediately after dipping.  Store in refrigerator until serving.