12/23/06

Roasted Red Pepper Bisque

Roasted Red Pepper Bisque with Shrimp

5 large red bell peppers (Char under your broiler until black. Put into a paper bag and let sit for 10 minutes. Peel off the blackened skin and remove seeds.)

3 1/2 c chicken broth
1 t paprika
1 t sugar
3/4 c heavy cream
1/2 grated romano cheese
hot pepper sauce (optional)
1 T olive oil
1 lb. raw, peeled, deveined shrimp
2 T chopped fresh basil

Cut the peppers into large pieces and place into the chicken broth in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender.

Puree in a food processor until smooth.

Pour back into the saucepan. Add paprika and sugar. Simmer 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Whisk in cream and cheese. Season to taste with a dash of hot sauce and salt and pepper if wanted.

Heat 1 T oil in skillet over medium. Saute' shrimp about 3 minutes until cooked. Season with salt and pepper and chop coursely if you prefer, or leave whole. Divide into 4 serving bowls and top with the soup. Sprinkle basil over to garnish. Serve.
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12/22/06

Triple Coconut Macaroons

1 c canned Thai coconut milk (it's canned and it's NOT cream of coconut)
2 T corn syrup
1/4 c sugar
4 egg whites
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t salt
3 c unsweetened shredded coconut
3 c sweetened shredded coconut

milk chocolate *optional*

In a bowl, whisk the coconut milk, sugar, corn syrup, egg whites, vanilla extract and salt. In a larger bowl (mixing bowl) combine the coconuts and break apart any lumps. Pour the sugar and milk mixture over the coconut. Mix until everything is equally moist. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to let it soak in and set up.

Use 1 tablespoon of mixture for each ball. Using a pampered chef small cookie scoop works great. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake at 375 about 15 minutes. Let cool on the parchment before attempting to move to a rack to cool completely.

At this point you can melt the milk chocolate (or semi-sweet if you prefer) and either dip the entire macaroon, dip half, or drizzle melted chocolate over top. The chocolate gives the coconut just the right flavor.
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12/20/06

Christmas Is Coming..... The Goose is Getting Fat

... please do put a cookie in the old mans hat.
Oh, I know it's a "penny" but I'm short on those right now. I have cookies though!



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12/15/06

Let the Baking Begin!



I'm oh-so-late on getting started with my baking and candy making for the holiday's.

Before I went back to work outside the home I would start baking around November 15th and do just one or two things at a time, taking it slow until I got to Christmas. I used to send 2 huge trays of goodies to work with my husband for his 125 employees, and then would do baskets for all the neighbors, the mailman, all three kids teachers, the school bus drivers and 2 trays to take to Christmas Eve with all the extended family.
With my current work schedule, my husbands (retail) schedule (read; never home) and the three kids, I'm dreadfully behind this year. I have 28 things on my 'list' with another 2 that I found in my hometown cookbook last night that I'd like to make as well.

That makes 30 different recipes.

Thirty.
And how many I have done so far?
Two.
Peppermint Pinwheels and English Toffee.

But I just returned from the grocery store with all the ingredients I need to make at least 28 things.

Let the Baking Begin!
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12/10/06

Steak Marinade

This is what I should be making right now instead of typing... hee hee.


STEAK MARINADE

1/3 c soy sauce
2 T vegetable oil
1 T brown sugar (I've used Sugar Twin with success)
3/4 t garlic, minced
1 t ginger
1 t seasoned salt


Mix and marinate your steaks. The longer the marinating time, the stronger the taste. We like ours strong so I refrigerate overnight if I remember to get it made that far in advance.
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Chewy No Fail Brownies

Tonights Special: Brownies

1 dry dark chocolate cake mix (18.25 size)
1 c chopped walnuts (omit if you want)
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 stick butter, melted
1 package of chocolate chips or a mixture of peanut butter chips, caramel chips, chopped up Snickers bars or other candy bars, etc. (Whatever you want!)

Preheat your oven to 350. Combine the dry cake mix and nuts in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and the evaporated milk. Spread 3/4 of the batter into a 9X13 inch pan (ungreased, or if you feel you must, just spray/grease the bottom only). Top the layer of batter with your mixture of chopped candy or chips. Drop the remaining batter by spoonfuls onto the top. Spread a bit but most of the chips will show through.

Bake approximately 30 minutes. Cool. Cut into bars.

(If we want to make it official for this weeks topic by using fruit - lets top this with WHIPPED CREAM AND FRESH RASPBERRIES AND SERVE....). THERE. I used fruit. :)
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Mexican Lasagna

Mexican Lasagna

It's a recipe that my entire family loves and we have it fairly often. I recently posted it on my blog and it got rave reviews. Enjoy!


1 lb. Ground Beef
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 t seasoned salt
1 can diced tomatoes or about 1 cup fresh diced
2 - 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 - 4 oz. can green chilies
1 c ricotta or cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
10 flour tortillas
2 1/2 cups shredded cheese

Cook the ground beef and drain. Add taco seasoning, seasoned salt, tomatoes, tomato sauce and chilies. Mix and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Mix the ricotta cheese and eggs in a bowl. Preheat your oven to 350. Spread half of the meat mixture in a 9X13 pan. Rip your flour tortillas in half and lay about 5 of them down on top of the meat mixture to cover, overlapping if necessary. Spread half of the cheese mixture over the tortillas. Sprinkle with half of the shredded cheese. Repeat layers. Bake uncovered about 20-30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes to 'set up' before slicing into squares. Serve with salsa and sour cream if desired.

*Note*
Recipes are NEVER mandatory as written. Use a mixture of ground turkey and beef, or tofu in place of the meat if you want. Mix the shredded cheeses or just use monterey jack or just cheddar. Use corn tortillas if you prefer, but the flour tortillas take the place of the lasagna noodles and are more pasta-like. Have fun with it!
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Breakfast Pizza

For the EGGS topic: How about a breakfast pizza? My SIL uses her Pampered Chef stoneware to bake it on after preparing the eggs seperate and adding them already cooked. Either way you'll get a yummy brunch item to serve.


Breakfast Pizza

1 lb. bulk sausage, cook, drain and set aside
1 8 oz. can crescent rolls
1 c frozen hash browns, thawed (I thaw in microwave)
1 c cheddar cheese
5 eggs, beaten
1/4 c milk
Salt and Pepper


Place the points of the crescent rolls (seperated) towards the center of a round 12" pizza pan. Press to seal and make a crust. Sprinkle the crust with the cooked sausage, then top with th hash browns and cheese. Combine the milk, eggs, salt and pepper and pour over the mixture. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Sprinkle the top with more cheese if desired (I always desire!) and bake 5 more minutes.
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Homemade Salsa

This was posted back in 2006 and revisiting it now (the end of 2015) I smile at how different recipe and food blogging was back then. 

Recipe blogs didn't really exist, and those that did were NOTHING like they are today.  Most were just textual recipes typed out - once in a great while, one had a photo posted but most did not.  Iphones weren't invented yet (until first released in 2007) so almost no one took pictures on their cellphones back then and if you did, it stayed on your phone.  It wasn't uploaded to a computer and certainly not the internet as the photo sites like instagram and twitter weren't invented yet.

With that background, you'll understand why many of the recipes on sites from 2005-2008 didn't have photos - or small, 'second thought' pictures uploaded.  They were uploaded from cameras, using memory sticks or cords - so it was a bit more labor intensive than it is today.  Also - no one had to water mark them back then because no one was stealing the images. 

This was the first time I posted my homemade salsa recipe - I went on to post it a couple more times later - with photos - but this one is true 'vintage'.  HERE is the 2012 version with updated photos:  http://www.housewifebarbie.com/2012/07/homemade-salsa-canned-salsa.html


Homemade Salsa

10 Cups of peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
5 c chopped onions
3 sweet banana peppers, diced
4 jalapenos, seeded and diced
2 t minced garlic
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 1/4 c vinegar
2 T chili powder
2 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 T sugar


Simmer 1-3 hours and can for pantry storage. Use a waterbath for extra protection, 25 minutes for pints.

*Save and can the juice from the tomatoes. Can each quart with 2 t lemon juice and 1 t sugar. Waterbath 45 minutes for quarts.



To peel/skin your tomatoes easily just put them in boiling water. Skins will split in 10 seconds - 2 minutes. Remove as soon as the skin splits and lay on a clean towel to cool until you can handle them comfortably. Some tomatoes won't split. If it has been in the water for approximately 1-2 minutes, lift it out and feel it. If it looks tight and ready to burst, yet it feels like a water balloon, then remove it to cool. It's ready.







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Chocolate Drops & Vanilla Wafer Cookies

These hardly warrant a 'recipe' but they were a huge part of my childhood and so... I post them.



Chocolate Drops


Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup of chunky peanut butter and 2 T butter. When smooth, drop by teaspoons onto foil. Place into the refrigerator and let harden.

I remember eating these when I was about 3 years old. We had to ask permission and we would be promised a chocolate drop "after nap time" or some such nonsense.





Vanilla Wafer Sandwiches


Place a tablespoon of Cool Whip or mixed up Dream Whip inbetween 2 vanilla wafers. Place them on a large cookie and sheet and put them in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours until they are 'soft'. Enjoy.



(My Mom was quite the cook... no?)
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Enchiladas

Since these are in the oven right now and I have about 20 minutes to waste I'll go ahead and type it up! *All amounts can be adjusted! More or less of any or all works just fine depending on what you have on hand and what your tastes are.


Enchiladas

8 flour tortillas
1/2 - 1 lb. ground beef ground with onion, or leftover cooked chicken or leftover steak
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 c sour cream
1 t minced onion
1/4 chopped green pepper
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t cumin
1 c mozzarella cheese
3-4 oz. cream cheese


Use about 1-2 cups of whatever chicken or cooked leftover meat you have. A mixture of 2 works great. Mix all but the mozzarella and microwave it for 3-4 minutes until the cream cheese is soft and you can mix it all easily.

Place about 1/4 of the mixture into a flour tortilla and roll up. Place seam side down into a 9X13 pan. Cover with any leftover sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until heated through.
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Iced Almonds

Iced Almonds

1 1/2 c whole raw almonds
1/2 c sugar
2 T butter
1/2 t vanilla

Have a piece of foil ready on a cooling rack or laying on a kitchen towel. Place all the ingredients in a skillet and cook over medium high heat for 9 minutes. Spread on the prepared foil and let cool. Break apart. Mmm Toffee Almonds!
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Blueberry Pie

Tonights dessert: BLUEBERRY PIE


3 pints blueberries - cleaned and stems removed or frozen
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c all purpose flour
1/2 c sugar (I use a mixture of brown and white)
1/4 t cinnamon
2 T butter, cut up

A double pie crust (I don't have time to post the recipe - so use your recipe or just buy the canned or frozen version).


Mix the ingredients together in a bowl and then place in the bottom crust. Top with the cut up butter and then carefully place the top crust over and crimp or use a fork to seal the edges. Slice a pretty star shape on the top with a knife or fork to let steam escape. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes and then lower the temperature to 350 for another 30-40 minutes.

Let cool and serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.
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Hambuger Steak with Onions and Gravy

Looking over my files I see I made this on in December 1997 and I noted; "Ok, but not great. Ended up adding some mushroom soup to the gravy to give it flavor"

So here it is: Looks good but obviously didn't turn out for me, as I've never made this particular recipe since then! You can give it a go - maybe it's just too 'midwestern farmer-ish' for my personal tastes?


Hamburger Steak with Onions and Gravy

1 1/3 lb. ground chuck
3/4 c fine chopped onion
1 egg
1 T worchestershire sauce
1 1/2 t seasoned salt
3/4 t pepper
1/2 t garlic powder
1/3 c plus 1/4 c self-rising flour
3 T oil
2 medium onions, thin sliced
2 c water
1/2 t salt

Combine the first 4 ingredients with 1 t seasoned salt, 1/2 t pepper and the garlic powder. Mix. Shape into 4 patties. Dredge well in 1/3 c flour. Heat oil and add patties and cook until browned on both sides. Remove and add sliced onion to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and saute' the onion.
Combine water, 1/4 c flour, 1/2 t seasoned salt and the pepper. Stir and add to skillet. When thick, add the steaks. Turn to coat. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

4 Servings
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Chili

Brown: 1 lb. ground beef or turkey with
1 T minced fresh garlic
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
Add; 1-2 T chili powder
1 t cumin

Add; 2 cans hot chili beans
1 large can crushed tomatoes
8 oz. can tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Simmer all day if you can. Best if you can make it 1-2 days before, refrigerate and then reheat on serving day. Serve with sour cream, cheddar cheese sprinkled on top and with garlic bread.
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Hot Fudge Sauce

Looking over the recipes I don't see that I've offered my hot fudge sauce... gasp! OK, but keep this one under your hat k? Cause it's amazing. So amazing that I (a person who does not care for chocolate, doesn't crave chocolate and can walk by a bowl of candy bars, mam's or anything chocolate without blinking an eye... will eat this with a spoon!)


Hot Fudge Sauce
(it's for ice cream but I won't tell anyone if you eat it up with a spoon!)

3 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 stick butter (not margarine! ewwww)
1/2 c cocoa
1 1/2 c sugar
1/3 c milk or coffee (leftover from breakfast is a great way to use it up!)
1/3 c cream (I've used half and half when I didn't have any cream on hand)
1 t vanilla

Melt butter and chocolate in a pan over low to medium heat. Stir smooth, do not scorch. Add sugar, cocoa, milk or cream, coffee and vanilla. Let it simmer about 2-3 minutes to thicken. Cool. Stores well in a canning jar.
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Bleu Cheese Dressing

As I'm munching on this right now, I decided I'd pop online and share the recipe. If you like bleu cheese you'll love this.


Bleu Cheese Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise (Kraft is best)
1 c sour cream
1 clove minced fresh garlic
1 T white wine vinegar
1 T lemon juice
1/2 c bleu cheese, crumbled
fresh cracked black pepper
*optional: 1 teaspoon Hidden Valley Ranch dry dressing mix


Mix all together with a wire whisk. I sometimes add the ranch dressing mix just for something different.
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Seasoning Mix for Burgers

This one originally started out as a copy cat style recipe. I have to admit that if you do this right, your burgers will taste like the popular golden arches!

Burger Seasoning for Grilling

In an empty spice container or other shakeable container mix;

4 T salt
2 T MSG
1 1/2 t pepper
1/4 t onion powder


When you make your hamburgers make them incredibly thin, try for less than 1/2 inch thick if you can. While grilling sprinkle on the seasoning liberally. Flip. Toast the buns briefly over the grill as well and then add dots of mustard, ketchup, reconsituted dried minced onion and 2 pickles to each burger. If you are liberal with the seasoning you'll end up with a pretty good match to mcdonalds.
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Pesto Pasta Salad

Much thanks to my anonymous BIL for the original version of this one.

Pesto Pasta Salad
(too easy!)

1 package 4 cheese torillini (dry, fresh or frozen... your choice, just cook it normally)
1 small jar pesto sauce (I use homemade - and no, I don't measure)
1/2 c black olives (if you use the canned, chopped or sliced it so easy!)
1 T fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered

Mix. Serve warm or cold. Both are delicious.
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Shrimp and Red Bell Pepper Bisque

4 red bell peppers
3 - 4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 t paprika
1 t sugar
3/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c fresh grated romano cheese
hot pepper sauce
1 T olive oil
1 lb. raw, peeled, deveined and coarsely chopped shrimp (easy to chop if partially frozen!)
3 T chopped fresh basil

Char the peppers under a broiler or on a grill until black. Put into a paper bag and let cool about 10-15 minutes. Peel off the black skin and seed the peppers. Julienne one of the peppers, coarsely chop the rest. Set aside the matchstick pieces and put the coarsely chopped peppers into a large pot with the chicken broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the peppers are tender (5 minutes). Work in batches to puree the pepper mixture in a blender or processor until smooth. Return the puree to the saucepan or pot.

Mix in the paprika and sugar. Simmer 5 minutes. At this point you can refrigerate it for use the next day or continue on by whisking in the cream and romano cheese. Season to taste with a dash or few or hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the reserved julienned pepper and the shrimp. Saute until the shrimp is cooked through (3 minutes) being careful not to let the shrimp clump. Dive the shrimp into 4 serving bowls. Ladle warm soup over each and sprinkle with the basil. Serve.
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Seafood Bisque

Otherwise known to my kids as "Octopus Soup".


Seafood Bisque

3 T butter
1/4 c diced onion
3 T flour
1 T parsley
1/2 t salt
pepper
2 c milk
2 c chicken broth (or water with chicken bouillion)
1 1/4 c fresh mixed seafood (octopus, cuddlefish, crab, shrimp, squid and mussels)

In a saucepan cook the seafood mixture in about 1-2 cups of water. Boil about 5 minutes and drain part of the water. In 2-3 batches briefly process the seafood in a processor to chop the pieces smaller. (I pulse it about 3-4 times. The pieces should be about 1/2" big... do not process longer or you'll have seafood paste).

Melt butter in a large pot. Cook diced onion until tender. Stir in flour all at once. Add parsley, salt and pepper. Take off the heat, briefly. Cook 1-2 minutes while whisking or stirring. Put the pot back on the burner and add the broth, whisking smooth. Add the milk, heat to boil, boil 1 minute. Reduce heat and add the seafood. Simmer until needed.

*Note*
I like my bisque nice and thick so if your soup isn't thick enough, raise the heat to medium high and in a cup or small bowl place about 1/2 cup of flour. Add about a cup of water or more while whisking smooth. If it's too thick add a little more water. With your whisk going continually, pour about 1/5 of the flour/water mixture into the soup pot and blend quickly. Add another 1/5 and again blend. Giving the flour mixture about 1-2 minutes between additions, stop when the bisque is as thick as you desire. If you get it too thick, add more milk by the 1/2 cup until your desired consistancy. If you do add more milk/water or flour before to add more salt and pepper to adjust the flavor accordingly.
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Chocolate Pie with Pecan Crust

Crust:

2 cups finely chopped pecans
1/3 c firm packed brown sugar
1/4 c butter, melted
2 t Kahlua
Pam Spray

Combine the 4 ingredients. Firmly press into a sprayed, 9 inch pie plate. Bake 350 for 12 minutes. Press the crust back down with a spoon if it puffs during cooking. Cool completely.


Pie:

6 - 1 oz. squares of semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 t instant coffee granules
2 large eggs, beaten
3 T Kahua or coffee flavored liqueur
1/4 c powdered sugar
3/4 c whipping cream
1 t vanilla extract

Crust

3/4 c whipping cream
1 T Kahlua
grated chocolate

Place chocolate squares and coffee granules in a pan over boiling water (or a double boiler). Gradeually stir until the chocolate is melted. Stir a quarter of the mix into the beaten eggs and then return the egg mixture to the rest of the chocolate mixture in the pan. Stir in Kahlua and powdered sugar. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature.

Beat 3/4 c whipping cream to soft peaks. Fold into the Chocolate mixture. Stir in vanilla. Spoon into the pecan crust. Cover and freeze. Transfer the pie to the refrigerator about an hour before serving.

Beat the remaining 3/4 cup whipping cream and add the Kahlua. Beat to soft peaks and use to make stars or dollops around the edge of the pie. Finish off with sprinkled grated chocolate shavings.

*Note*
My chocolate siezed up a bit so when I mixed in the whipped cream it was thick enough I did not have to freeze it. I simply refrigerated my pie and it turned out perfect.
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Valentine Cookies




Just finished making about 60 of these little heart cookies for my daughters Valentine's Day Goodie Bags. Thought I would share with everyone in time for Valentines just in case you wanted to make some too!



Frosting

4 c confectioners' sugar
3 large egg whites
1/2 t cream of tartar
1/2 t vanilla
1 T water

Beat 6 minutes on high
(add more or less water depending on stiff it is and how stiff you want it).



Cookies:

3/4 c sugar
6 T butter
1/3 c shortening
1 large egg
1 T milk
1 t vanilla
2 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
Dash of salt

Cream the sugar, butter and shortening. Add the egg, milk and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder and salt then mix just to blend. Chill dough for at least 2 hours. Roll and cut into shapes. Bake on parchment lined cookie sheets for approximately 8 minutes at 370 degrees.

Cool.
Decorate





Do you need cookie cutters? Food color? Goodie Bags?

If you enjoy visiting An American Housewife, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon. - American Housewife at Amazon














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Unbaked Penne

I had cheeseburgers and buns on the counter planned for dinner last night as I was in no mood to cook. My oldest daughter raised her eyebrow at me and said; "Cheeseburgers. Again?" Yeah... that was all it took. I put it all away and looked (once again) in the refrigerator for something to 'jump out at me'.

I saw a 1 pound package of Italian sausage. I had no idea what I would use it for when I bought it, but I bought it anyway knowing I'd use it on pizza or in a spaghetti sauce, etc. So I took it out and started to brown it, still not knowing what I was going to do with it.

The result? This yummy amazing dish! It was going to be a 'Baked Ziti' type meal, but I was running the oldest child to dance class and the other two were hungry and there was no time to wait for a 30 minute bake time. It's my own version as I never (never!) follow recipes and usually take 2-4 versions of the same dish and make my own from all four. That is how this was born.



Unbaked Penne

2 T olive oil
1 lb. Italian sausage
1/2 onion, diced
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
12 tomatoes, peeled and diced into the pan with the juice**
2 t dried thyme
2 t dried basil
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 pound dried penne pasta
3/4 c fresh shredded parmesan/asiago/romano cheese mix (or just parmesan if that's all you have)

(*After last summers garden harvest I froze whole tomatoes in 1 gallon bags. This is what I used to make my sauce. There were approximately 10-12 medium sized tomatoes, peeled and frozen in the bag. I dumped them into the pan frozen and mashed them as they thawed. I think you could use fresh instead, or if you must, choose a large 24-30 oz. sized can of whole peeled canned tomatoes.)

To peel fresh tomatoes you drop them into boiling water for approximately 10-60 seconds until the skin splits. Place the tomato on a paper towel or clean dish towel, or in a colander, and when cool enough to touch, slip the skins right off!


Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until mostly tender. Meanwhile make the sauce;

Heat the oil in a very large pan. Brown the sausage for about 4-5 minutes, mashing into small bite sized chunks. Add the onion and garlic, stiring constantly. Cook about 4-5 minutes more until the meat is cooked through.

If you are using whole frozen tomatoes, remove the sausage from the pan and place the tomatoes into the pan to thaw and smash as soon as they are warmed through and reduced to a sauce, add the sausage mixture back to the pan with it. If you are using fresh or canned, add the tomatoes to the sausage mixture all at once. Add the spices.

Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer for at least 10 minutes, and up to 30 if you have time. Pour the mixture and the pasta into an oven/broiler safe container. My sauce pans are metal with no plastic on the handles so I used the pan it was cooking in.

Cover the top of the pasta and sausage with the cheese. Preheat your oven and place under the broiler for about 3-4 minutes until the top is a beautiful golden brown on the tippy top of the edges.

Let it set for 5-10 minutes while you set the table... this helps it 'set up' and the pasta will absorb the tomato sauce. Serve with a crusty bread and salad.
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Artichoke Salad

We returned home late last Saturday night from being gone on a lengthy vacation. My plans of grocery shopping Sunday afternoon flew out the window when we had out of town guests that overstayed. Monday immediately following work was off to a different kind of store, picking up a child, making May baskets, delivering baskets, home to make dinner, drop off another child, home to finish making dinner and then off to pick up another child after a track meet. It was then almost 8:30 pm and all I wanted to do was take off my 'work clothes' and relax.

Now it's Tuesday and dinner time. I've not yet been to the grocery store since mid-April. What do I make? The freezer and refrigerator is almost bare. Let's see.........

Shrimp Scampi
Hash Brown casserole
Puff Pastry with Creme for dessert and......
Accidental Artichoke Salad

The salad is so yummy I can't stop 'snitching' it and I fear I am in no mood to eat the rest of the food made for dinner! I don't have a recipe and I just 'threw it together' but wanted to come online and write it down from memory for safe keeping and future reference.



Accidental Artichoke Salad

1 can artichoke bottoms, diced
6 oz. whole wheat spaghetti, broken into pieces and cooked as directed
2 garlic cloves, fresh minced
1/4 red pepper, julienned
balsamic dressing to taste
Italian dressing to taste
diced smoked provolone
4 oz. sliced black olives
1/4 c pesto

mix everything but the pasta and then toss in the drained, cooked pasta.

(I have homemade pesto in my freezer at all times. I had the provolone and red pepper also in the freezer, as I didn't want it to go bad while on vacation). YUM!
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Yorkshire Parkin

I was looking through a book I have of 'homemade' everything; from bath 'pretties' to foods to dried flowers. They had a photo of 5 different breads and named them all... and proceeded to give recipes for everything except the one I was most interested in! Yorshire Parkin. A bread that looked so dark it was almost black and had tiny dots of 'something' in it. I was a bit miffed it didn't give the recipe, but I suspect it is an oversight as it does give for all the other breads. Anyway, it piqued my interest so I had to come to the computer to look it up.

I will share with you what I found: A moist ginger cake usually served cut in squares. It originated in Yorkshire, where oatmeal is always used in its preparation.


Ingredients

4ozs lard or margarine
4ozs golden syrup
4ozs black treacle
4ozs sugar
8ozs plain flour
8ozs medium oatmeal
pinch of salt
4 teasp. ground ginger
2 teasp. ground cinnamon
1 teasp. bicarb. of soda
1 egg

Method

Heat the oven to 150C or gas mark 1.

Melt the fat. Add the syrup, treacle and sugar and warm over a very low heat till the sugar begins to dissolve. Avoid overheating the mixture, keeping the saucepan warm rather than hot.

Sieve the dry ingredients, make a well in the centre and gradualy beat in the liquid from the saucepan & the beaten egg. Mix to a soft consistency, adding a little milk if required.

Pour into a greased flat tin so that the mixture is 1 inch in depth. Bake for 1 hour in a cool oven (300 degrees,or mark 1) and partly cool it in the tin, then turn out to finish cooling.

Serve the parkin cut into squares.
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Moisturizing Cream & Body Lotion

Some day you are going to find me (hopefully) on a couple acres of land, barefoot, in a long white skirt with my hair braided down my back. I'm going to be gathering eggs from the chickens and then I'm walking into the house to continue whipping up some homemade lotions, bath scrubs and bath fizzies. I'll do this inbetween making my homemade soap and baking the bread. When I need a break I'll wander out to the garden and check my peppers and tomatoes, possibly stop by my flower garden to say hello to fuzzy yellow and black bumble bee's and then come back inside home where I'll sip some ice cold freshly squeezed lemonade.

Peppermint Body Lotion

1/4 t borax
1 t white beeswax
1 t lanolin
2 T petroleum jelly
5 t apricot kernel oil
4 t cold-pressed sunflower oil
10 drops peppermint oil

Disolve borax in 2 T boiled water. Melt the beeswax, lanolin and petroleum jelly with the apricot kernel and sunflower oil in a double broiler. Remove from heat and stir well. Add the borax solution, whisking until cool. Stir in the peppermint oil. Pour into a large glass jar and store in a cool dark place.



A Favorite Oil

3 T almond oil
1 t wheat germ oil
10 drops chamomile oil

Pour into a pretty glass bottle and store in a cool place.





Moisurizing Cream
(fragrance free for guys and girls)

2 T carnauba wax
1 T white beeswax
1/2 c almond oil

Melt the waxes and oil in a double broiler over low heat. Remove from heat and pour into a pot. Let cool to set up. Use as any moisurizing cream, especially before going out into the cold outdoors.
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On a Whim Soup


The other night I was in the mood for soup and homemade bread. I admit that I don't (ever) truly follow recipes, but use them more as a 'guide' of sorts, and I rarely measure. Still, I'm going to attempt to share this soup recipe with you because it was so yummy and perfect for a cold rainy evening.

I added things 'on a whim' and ended up with a wonderful Spicy Vegetable Cheese Soup... so that is what I'll call it.


Spicy Vegetable Cheese Soup


7-8 cups water with
4-5 chicken bouillon cubes and 3 beef bouillion cubes (or just use chicken broth)

add;

1 chopped onion
3/4 cup grated or finely chopped carrots
2 stalks of diced celery

When tender add;

1/2 c flour mixed smooth with 3/4 c water

Whisk into the liquid and stir until thick over medium high heat. Reduce to medium and add 1 c milk.

Add;
1 3/4 c assorted shredded cheese, I used monterey jack with jalapeno, and cheddar.

When heated through and cheese is melted... serve.
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Chocolate Zucchini Bread


Chocolate Zucchini Bread

1 3/4 c sugar
3 eggs
1 c vegetable oil
2 c shredded zucchini
1 T vanilla
3 c flour
1/2 c cocoa
1 1/4 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
dash baking powder
1/2 c mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 2 loaf pans and line with parchment paper on the bottom (optional). In a bowl mix together the sugar, eggs and oil until blended. Stir in zucchini and vanilla. In another bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, soda, cinnamon and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until blended. Add the mini chocolate chips. Pour into pan and bake 1 hour until done. Cool completely befroe cutting. Best for cutting the next day after wrapping in plastic wrap and refrigerating.


If you don't currently have zucchini... don't buy it. I can almost guarantee you can get free zucchini just by putting out the word! Either your neighborhood or workplace... someone within "2 degrees of separation" from you has zucchini coming out of their ears from their garden and would love to share a couple with you for free! Just put the word out.
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12/6/06

Molasses Cookie Mix

I started to make this particular recipe in 1998 and was surprised to find out that my husband and three kids love this cookie. My husband lists it as his 2nd favorite out of the 20 different recipes I make at the holidays. I guess I was suprised that it's also one of the kids favorite since it seems like such a simple, old fashioned cookie.

Molasses Cookie Mix

6 c flour
3 c sugar
1 T baking soda
1 T baking powder
1 T ground ginger
1 T ground cinnamon
1 1/2 t ground nutmeg
3/4 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground allspice

Additional ingredients

3/4 c butter or margarine
1 egg
1/4 c molasses
sugar

In a bowl combine the first nine ingredients. Mix and store in an airtight container or zip lock baggie. Will make 9 cups of mix - or 3 batches of cookies.


To make cookies: Cream butter, add egg and molasses. Mix well and add 3 cups of the mix. Shape into 1 inch balls. Roll in sugar. Bake 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 for 9 minutes at which time the edges should firm up and surface crack. Cool completely. You should get about 4 dozen per batch.
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