Category Archives: Foodie

Baked Donuts – A Healthier Alternative to Deep Fried

I love donuts..I have eaten a dozen Krispy Kreme‘s from the drive-thru when the “Hot” light flashed on.

I’ve made donuts at home, but I’m pretty terrible at frying vs. burning in general. I decided to take the plunge into baking them. There are some pretty good reasons to bake rather than fry. The oil to deep fry them in is basically where all the “fat” comes from so eliminate it so you can put on those sprinkles!

I terrorized trolled the internet for different recipes…I wanted a fast donut recipe for those mornings I want a donut bad – “flour”, the days where I want an old fashioned type – “cake flour” and the actual donut using “yeast”.

Today I made the “immediate” recipe because every few minutes Big Boy is asking for donuts! I found Bakerita‘s recipe to whip up. Don’t mistake the baking part with real yeast tasting donut. This is like a regular cake taste. I’m going to try to figure out a ratio to make it a yeast donut by adding like 5 Tablespoons of yeast. I know that adding a ton of yeast will yield almost instantaneous “rise” in other recipes I’ve tried where time wasn’t a friend. Although you can get a donut pan, you can flip your muffin pan (I know you have one) and use that for the donut the same way if you aren’t ready to put out money for a donut pan. I did buy one yesterday (shh, don’t tell Husband – he loves donuts but thinks these things are ridiculous but what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him)

Baby even liked them so much when she went back for seconds she yelled DONUTS in protest to me being in her way of the plate of donuts. Ha-ha.

I really like the idea of the rainbow donuts, I’ll try them.

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Sweet & Bittersweet: Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day! In honor of it, I made my children this sweet crepe from Alton Brown (with a few tweaks added, like Watkins Danish pastry flavor instead)  filled with fresh sliced strawberries, a dabbling of chopped peanuts, and drizzled Hersey chocolate syrup. Of course Mommy gets the scrambled eggs with Tabasco!

As I get older I find more and more of my friends are experiencing as have I, the loss of a parent, or serious illness of a parent. In my case I am lucky to still have my Mother living, but she is afflicted with a dementia affecting the frontal lobe called Pick’s Disease. It mimics Parkinson’s with muscle debilitation, Alzheimer’s for the memory loss, and Schizophrenia from mood changes. Mom has hospitalized October 8, 2010, I had to jump through hoops to get her onto Medicaid so that she would be medically covered by what Medicare didn’t cover, and the ongoing 24/7 care she would require in the future. It took 2 weeks to get things in line and I put her in a nursing home then went to the hospital with early onset labor. One shot later, 2 days later, another shot, and by that Friday – a baby over one month early.

My daughter had incomplete lungs and heart. Emergency surgery was performed 24 hours after birth due to a collapsed lung. She was LifeFlighted by Learjet to a St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Denver, CO, and spent another 2 weeks there. Baby is healthy now, but it was really scary.

My Mom thought I’d abandoned her in a nursing to get rid of her. She didn’t know where she was, who the people around her were, and having constant hallucinations about people hurting her and the others – murdering, locking them in closets, etc. Not true. But still horrific for her to live. She retreated within her mind in a few months because the reality was too great for her to live knowing that one of her greatest fears at the end of her life was going to happen.

For the rest of her life I’ll count her days in the nursing home in the same that I count the days of my daughter’s precious life…bittersweet to be sure.

I’ll be going to the nursing home today, bring her flowers, kiss her, hug her, have the children see her, and not only will she not know us, not remember she has a daughter, but completely forget we were there in just a few seconds after we leave her sight. It’s not right, but it’s the way it is, and we’ll have the memories.

What to do with Leftover Peeps

An evil ending to a sweet Easter. Got them off the clearance carts at the grocery store. My #1 use for Peeps after Easter is s’mores (not an original idea, obviously). My children are in awe of me while older children are either terrified or think I’m the coolest adult present.

So, first I broke the head off of a $0.25 chocolate bunny…

I broke the package open of the purple bunny peeps and stuck the two onto a fork over open flame…

Once I’d melted their faces and set them on fire a bit, I blew them off and ended it by putting them into the iron maiden (graham crackers and my teeth).

As Baby says, “Ta Da!”

Cable Car Chocolate Brownies

Photo1298 (2)The picture you see contains this recipe as originally printed on the sides of the metal canister. The final product I made is adapted using the recipe from 25 years ago by San Francisco based Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, aptly titled “Cable Car Chocolate Brownies”. Although they post the equally delicious Empress Chocolate Cake, I couldn’t locate this brownie version among the others.

These turned out very different than what I remember and I attribute that directly to having made some adaptions that I hope replicate for you! I normally use Ghirardelli cocoa powder for brownies even buying their 4 pk. Triple Chocolate brownie mix from Sam’s Club. Unfortunately, Big Boy made a mess and I needed a cheap replacement at the time and what was on sale was Hersey’s. Tonight I dug out this recipe for brownies because it’s simple for me and quick. This recipe at times seems to be hard to find, but you can also find it slightly different here.

Ghirardelli’s Cable Car Chocolate Brownies

2 eggs

¾ C sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

½ C melted butter or margarine

¾ C Ghirardelli Ground Chocolate* (SHOULD BE NOTED AS “SWEET”!)

2/3 C unsifted flour

¼ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

½ C chopped walnuts*

Using a spoon, stir eggs with sugar and vanilla; add butter. Sift Ground Chocolate with flour, baking powder, salt. Stir into egg mixture; add nuts. Spread into greased 8 or 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes. For extra chewy brownies, use 8-inch pan and less baking time. For cake-like brownies, use 0-inch pan and longer baking. Cut into squares.

 Now the original recipe is great, but this is what I did:

  • I had no idea when I used Hersey’s UNSWEETENED Cocoa that it would give the brownies such a deep, sultry coffee like taste. Next time I’ll try it with both types of cocoa to try for a better balance of chocolate and coffee richness.
  • I also omitted the walnuts (I know, shocking since I have several pounds) but used the last of my chocolate chips that probably amounted to less than 1/4 cup.
  • Add in what you like – both the original version of the recipe and my adaptions result in a very thick mix, you could add up to 3 tablespoons of milk or equivalent “rich” substitute to thin it out slightly.
  • I have a convection setting on my Frigidaire oven (considered a commercial setting for residential use) so I used it. When I’m not paying attention using convection at the typical temperature called for in a recipe is a burnt disaster. Remember when using the convection setting, use the temperature at 325 degrees F. I let the brownies bake for 25 minutes, letting them cook themselves at rest outside the oven.

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Walnut Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins for Breakfast

Walnut Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins for Breakfast

Click for the recipe

Walnut Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins

Walnut Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins – adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook (1950 edition)

This is from the “Sweeter Popular Muffins” recipe – the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of milk but I found that the muffins are too dense for my taste so I always double the milk.

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup soft shortening

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 cup blueberries (frozen, canned or fresh) – put an extra 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour aside.

Nut-Crunch Topping

Mix together 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup broken nuts (walnuts or pecans are excellent!), and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Make sure to break up any lumps.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together with blending fork or pastry blender. Then stir JUST UNTIL ingredients are blended. Roll your blueberries into the sugar and flour you set aside. Carefully fold your blueberries into the rest of your mixture. Then should help keep your blueberries from bleeding purple juice into your muffins. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle the Nut-Crunch Topping over the muffins.

Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Makes about 12 muffins.

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I use frozen blueberries I get at one of the club stores and have a lot of broken blueberries, and I never know when I’m going to get a tart one I like to add some sugar onto them.

Knock Off Almost Waldorf Salad

I wanted to make it but ran out of time! As long as you have the ingredients the “amount” you put in is up to you. It’s a great item to take on a picnic or BBQ. For the small amount that fed my two kids and us I used 1/4 cup mayo and probably what amounted to 1/4 cup of yogurt.

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Mayonnaise

Flavored Yogurt (I used what was left in an open container of strawberry yogurt)

Grapes

whole Walnuts (or Pecans, even)

Apples, sliced & cut into bite sized pieces

Mandarin oranges

Celery, sliced

Cranberries

I didn’t think of it too late but I would have added some of my frozen blueberries.

What would you like to add?

Copycat Cookie Recipe: Walnut-Chocolate Chip

IMAG0577Gotta love the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe (at least my Husband does) but I have a wondering eye. I like my cookies to be more fluffy as a “cookie” and chewy. I don’t like flat cookies (chips that are higher than the cookie part), greasy or salty.

The other night I was begging, whining and asking for some chocolate so my husband dropped the bag of chocolate chips in my lap. I rolled my eyes and went looking for my old standby from “Mrs. Fields” first cookie book. I checked the book out from the library so many years ago and never looked back. Can’t remember what page it’s on but it’s her (the one she gave for public release!) Blue-Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I actually like it better than the one from the store, which I found to be too salty

The key secret to her cookies are baking at the specified low temperature. It is the low temp and longer baking time that gets the cookie to the right consistency. You can chill the dough too which allows time to enhance the flavors.

Here is the recipe word for word, I encourage you to go to her website to snap some other suggestions for cookies too:

“Blue-Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium bowl combine flour, soda, and salt. Mix well with wire whisk. Set aside. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend sugars at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla extract, and mix at medium speed until just blended. Do not overmix. Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips, and blend at low speed until just mixed. (Again, do not overmix.)

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Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto an un-greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake low and slow for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer cookies immediately to a baking rack or cool surface.”

I filled an entire cookie sheet of the recipe and added 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts to the remainder of the dough. I was craving some walnuts too, I guess. Mmm…don’t you love seeing morsels?

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What do you think? My Mom’s favorite mix-in are potato chips, not walnuts or chocolate (or even white chocolate) chips! I’ll post that recipe soon because it’s too good not to share.

 Link your fav chocolate chip cookie recipe in a comment.

A Fish Tale

Only a few days ago I was moaning about my first official fishing trip. Today Husband bought me my own rod. I put my 2 piece rod together, tied my own hook on (Husband tied on the weights) but let him put on the worm bow tie while I held Baby back.

Must have done the trick:

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About 12 inches, male, stock from the hatchery (docked fin). We were laughing and joking about how we probably should check the lines, I laughed and said wouldn’t it be funny if there is a fish just hanging on there, waiting? You got it. Husband actually went in and grabbed the hook, bowtie and all, right out of his gullet, for me to use again. I liked that.

Yeah, we were still laughing when I said…. um, maybe we should check his. Big Boy caught himself a sucker fish. No good for eating (they are bottom dwelling, trash eating, vacuums). We can use it for bait though! Big Boy was pretty upset about “my friend” for awhile.

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And even Husband caught something…

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Baby cooed at that crawdad for at least a good half hour, if longer, calling it her “‘dad” and carrying it around like a kitten or a doll. Only pinched her once, but he was still hers, yelling “MINE, MINE, MINE. No touch. MINE! Poked at its eyes a lot, petted him, soothed his feelers, and after I told her I’d cook him up for her she perked right up. To eat him. Stuck the poor thing butt first in her mouth.

“Love it. I’d say this day was right up there with one of the best in my life,” declared Wyomingstorygirl

Oh, yeah. Big Boy locked the keys in the car and luckily I had my cell phone. Called our neighbor who kindly drove 45 minutes out to us with a spare set. There is a special place in heaven for good friends like her! Thank YOU.

Throw in the Skillet Quiche

IMAG0545I’m not a fan of quiche so me making such a dish is unusual in its self. It was a lot harder than I expected and I started cooking when I was tired. There was a lot of timing issues I’m still not sure how I’d handle: fry bacon, make pie crust/bake pie crust, boil water, cook veggies, and mix the flour into the eggs. Whew! I’m tired all over again talking about it.

I’ve adapted the recipe from the “Classic Quiche Lorraine” and “Individual Quiche Casseroles” recipes in Section 10, page 203 in the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book 1981 and added a bunch of things. I used the pie crust recipe as-is from Section 13, page 288.

Single-Crust Pie

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shortening or lard

3 to 4 Tablespoons COLD water

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In a mixing bowl stir together flour and salt. Cut in shortening/lard till pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push to side of bowl. Repeat till all is moistened. Form dough into ball. On a lightly floured surface flatten dough with hands. Roll dough from center to edge, forming a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Wrap pastry around rolling pin. Unroll onto a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate; fold under extra pastry. Make a fluted, rope-shaped, or scalloped edge. Do not prick pastry.

To keep crust in shape, line the un-pricked pastry shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake in a 450 F degree oven for 5 minutes. Remove foil. (I had a bubble but poked it and it went away.) Bake 5 to 7 minutes more or till pastry is nearly done. Remove from oven; reduce oven to 375 F. (The original recipe called for 325 F but it was too juicy so we turned it up and it worked like a charm).

Throw It In The Skillet Quiche

Preheat oven to 325 F. (I had my my oven on to cook the pie crust so I had to let it cool down)

4 slices bacon

1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup spinach

1 cup of shrimp (I had about 4 handfuls of frozen, breaded shrimp)

4 eggs

1-1/2 cups milk

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup shredded cheese (I used Mozzarella but the original recipe called for Swiss)

Ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon Rosemary

1/8 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1/4 teaspoon Marjoram

1/4 teaspoon Parsley

1/8 teaspoon salt

Mostly I stuck with the directions in preparing the recipe. If you buy a prepared crust from the store, great. It will save you some messy hands. If you would like to make mini quiches, have at it – just ensure to use boiling water around the little crocks/pans and they should be done in about a little less than half the time.

“Cook bacon till crisp; drain, reserving 2 Tablespoons drippings. Crumble bacon, set aside.”

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“Cook mushrooms, celery, and onion in reserved drippings till tender; drain.” (I set the water to boil and totally forgot to chop the veggies.)

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“Beat eggs, milk, flour, and salt.”

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“Stir in cooked vegetables, bacon, and cheese. Drop in shrimp. Stir.”

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“Turn into pie crust. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.”

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Pour cheese mixture into HOT pastry shell. If necessary, cover edge of crust with foil to prevent overbrowning. I’m not sure if placing boiling water in the oven made a difference or not? Probably unnecessary, huh? I was getting a little harried in the kitchen and just did it anyway.

Bake at 375 F for 35 minutes or till a knife inserted near center comes out clean and doesn’t appear juicy. Quiche is firm. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

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We had some of the cornbread I made the other day with the quiche. For my first time making it, and screwing around, it filled the house with the best scents of savory pie crust, eggs and herbs & spices. I dislike both mushrooms and onions but found them to be savory and the foil that made the recipe so good. Remember I didn’t chop any of the veggies? It didn’t make a difference, so if you are a kind of throw it in cook like me, you know how to adjust the amounts given in this recipe.

I think Amarah’s looks the most like my quiche, what do you think?

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