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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.

Dec 31, 2013

Our New New Year's Tradition - Pretzels

Recently, my friend posted information about a German tradition of making New Year's Pretzels.  These aren't just any pretzels - they are a sweet dough topped with frosting then sprinkles or nuts.  The dough reminds me a lot of a cinnamon bun, but denser because of not being rolled thin.  I made them, and shared them, this year and can see this becoming a New Year's tradition - pretzels for breakfast and Pork and Sauerkraut for lunch/dinner.

  2 Cups 1% Milk                                                                       Topping
  1/2 Cup Salted Butter                                                               1 1/2 Cups Confectioners Sugar
  4 1/2 Tsp Yeast                                                                        1 Tsp Vanilla
  2 Tsp Salt                                                                                 1/2 Cup Salted Butter
  1/2 Cup Sugar                                                                          1/2 Cup Crisco, NOT Butter Flavored
  8 Cups Bread Flour                                                                  Rainbow Sprinkles
  2 Large Eggs                                                                           

Grease a large bowl and set it aside.  Melt the butter.  Warm the milk and add the butter.  Test it on your forearm to make sure it is not too hot - you want it to feel warm and not burn you (about 110 degrees).  Stir in the yeast then add the salt, sugar and 1 cup of flour.  Mix for three minutes.  Add 1 cup of flour and eggs, mix for another two minutes.  Add remaining flour, about a cup at a time, until it forms a soft dough.  Knead for a few minutes until smooth.  Put the dough into the greased bowl, turn it over, cover the bowl with a bowl and raise for 1 hour - at least double in size.  Punch down the dough and rise again for about an hour until once again doubled in size.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Divide dough into 4 pieces.  Roll each piece into a 25 inch rope about 1 inch thick.  

Make a circle, crossing the ends over each other then pull the top over the ends to make the pretzel shape.  Put on a baking sheet that has been lined with non stick foil or a silicone baking mat.   

Once all 4 pretzels are formed, allow to raise another 10 minutes.   

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.   

Remove from pan to  a cooling rack.

When cool, mix Confectioners sugar, vanilla, butter and Crisco.  Beat until smooth and spread on pretzels.  Top with Rainbow Sprinkles.

My friend took a picture of a pretzel next to a computer mouse so you have a reference of how large they are.

Dec 30, 2013

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

After making an angel food cake, you have a lot of left over yolks.  I didn't want to make ice cream in the middle of winter, though about custard and creme brûlée but decided against it.  Devil's food cake?  Couldn't find one with enough yolks.  Then I decided on a lemon poppy seed cake.

2/3 cup Demerara sugar (can use granulated sugar)
8 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
2 Lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 sticks salted butter
1 1/2 ounce poppy seeds

Glaze (optional)
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 Tbl Lemon Juice

Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour a bundt pan, set aside.

Melt butter, set aside to cool.

Combine sugar, egg yolks and whole egg.  Beat at medium high speed until the mixture is pale yellow and very fluffy.

Beat in the lemon zest.

Beat in the lemon zest.  Sift flours over the egg mixture, add salt,  Fold together with a rubber spatula.

Add the butter and beat in at medium speed then add the poppy seeds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes (the cake will pull away from the side of the pan.

Invert the cake onto a rack and cool completely.  Stir together glaze ingredients (if using) and top cake.

Dec 29, 2013

Brown Sugar Angel Food Cake

I offered to make a friend a brown sugar angel food cake.  I could not find my recipe, but I found this recipe on  It is a delightfully good recipe.


  • 10 egg whites at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar -- divided
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour


Beat egg whites and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl on high just until foamy. 

Add cream of tartar and salt. Beat until soft peaks form. (Soft peaks will curl over slightly.) 

Press 1 cup of brown sugar through a wire mesh sieve the sprinkle over the egg white mixture. 

Beat until stiff peaks form.

Sift together remaining sugar and cake flour. 
Gently fold the sugar and flour mixture into the egg white mixture a little at a time. Pour into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. 

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan and cool completely. Loosen the cake from the sides with a knife or narrow metal spatula.

Dec 28, 2013

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Thighs

Baked chicken in any form is wonderful - even chicken thighs.  Stuffed with spinach makes a great entree - especially with garlic fries.

You'll need:

1 Tsp Olive Oil (I used sun dried tomato olive oil)
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 ounces baby spinach
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Spray a pie plate with cooking spray, set aside.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large skillet, heat oil.  Add spinach.

Stir and cook until wilted.

Move to a cutting board.

Chop and put in a medium bowl.  Add lemon zest and spices, set aside to cool

While cooling, place chicken thighs on a cutting board.

Lightly pound to flatten slightly.

Add the sour cream and cheese to the spinach, stir to combine.

Place spinach mixture on chicken thighs.

Fold chicken over spinach mixture, place into a pie plate.

Put in oven and bake for 35 minutes or until internal temperature is at least 165.

Dec 22, 2013

Garlic Fries

Okay, so you don't like is another option for baked french fries.  If you read both, you'll get the simplicity of baking fries:

Coat in olive oil, bake.  If you want to add flavors, add it to the oil before coating the fries.  Here is an easy way to make garlic fries:

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix 1/4 cup olive oil with 2 to 3 minced garlic cloves.  Microwave for 35 seconds.  Set aside.

Slice 3 to 4 potatoes into wedges or with a french fry cutter.

Put the potatoes in a bowl.   Put a fine mesh sieve over the bowl and pour the oil through the sieve.  If you want the garlic included on the potatoes, reserve it to add after baking.  The garlic will get too brown in the oven.

Line a baking sheet with non stick foil.  Put the potatoes in a single layer.  Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes until cooked through.

Dec 15, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent - works in HE washers, too.

Lots of people have told me how wonderful, and inexpensive, homemade laundry detergent is to make and use.  I finally decided to try to make it myself.  Initially, I planned on making liquid laundry detergent, then I started research.  The cooking was not bad, but it makes a 5 gallon bucket.  I was not sure I wanted to have that much, so I then went to the manual for my front loading washer.  I learned that I can use powdered laundry detergent and put it in the soap drawer, the same place that I put my liquid detergent.  WOO HOO - powdered it was.  Then I discovered that there are MANY variations of soap to enhancer variations (1/2 cup to 1 cup to each 1 cup of soap).  After talking to some that have used homemade detergent, I opted for slightly more Washing Soda and Borax to fight those sweaty exercise clothes.

I have completed my soap and will be storing it in blue ball jars with zinc lids because it looks nice, but you can store it in anything from a zip top bag to a plastic container.  I have washed my first load - towels - and did not add a drier sheet.  The towels are still fresh and fluffy.  Not saying I will never use drier sheets again, just wanted to see an outcome.

To Use:  Add 1 to 3 teaspoons per load, depending on size of load and amount of dirt to be removed.  Please note:  This is not a sudsing soap.  You won't see bubbles, but it is working.

Another tip I received:  You can add Oxi Clean for extra stain fighting power.  I have not done so (I didn't have any), but you can also add it on a load by load basis.

I found all items at my local grocery store and I purchased the following:

1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap
1 Box Borax
1 Box Washing Soda

Grate the bar of soap with a cheese grater.

You should get about three cups.

Add 2 1/4 cups Washing Soda AND 2 1/4 Cups Borax (1 Used a 1:.75:.75 ratio, but you can use anywhere from 1:.5:.5 to 1:1:1)

Put all ingredients into a food processor.

Pulse until powdered - keep the lid on the processor for a few minutes until the dust settles.

Place in an air tight container.

Dec 11, 2013

Coconut Pecan Pie

Old fashioned pie with a twist...coconut and pecan.  I used coconut powder entirely because that is what I had.  You can use shredded coconut or a mix of shredded and powder.

9 Inch Pie Shell, unbaked
1 Cup White Corn Syrup
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Melted Butter
1 Tsp Vanilla
1/3 Tsp Salt
3 Large Eggs
3/4 Cup Coconut
3/4 Cup Pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Put pie shell into pan and put into refrigerator.

Combine syrup and sugar, mix well.

Add salt, vanilla and butter, mix well.

Add eggs, stir until well combined.

Pour into pie shell.

Sprinkle coconut over all.

Top with pecans.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.