8/31/07

Old Fashioned Egg Coffee

As is typical for me, I'm sitting here at the kitchen island literally surrounded by some of my cookbooks. I especially love my old church cookbooks, as well as the Neighborhood Lady cookbooks from the 50's. I even have a cookbook from 1910 that is almost 100 years old now! I treasure all of them... new, old, fadish or classic.

A topic of conversation by the Moms at a football meeting this week was the coffee we all remember watching our parents sip at church and family functions when we were tiny. It was memorable because they used an egg in it! Do you remember your grandmother fixing it this way? If you do it's probably because you either grew up in Iowa or Minnesota, or had family that came from a Scandinavian country. I'm 2 for 2 on both accounts. LOL.

My Dad and my Grandmother were just talking about this last year and how no one makes it this way anymore. Hmmm. Now that I'm such a coffee nut myself this old recipe that is in roughly a full third of my 'old' cookbooks just asks to be revived! All similar with little bits and differences here and there - this is the basic recipe for "egg coffee".



Egg coffee


8-10 cups water
1/2 cup coffee grounds
1 egg
1 1/4 cup water

Bring 8-10 cups of water to a boil on the stove. Combine coffee grounds, egg and 1/4 cup water in a bowl. Add egg/coffee mixture to the boiled water. Boil 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of cold water. The addition of cold water is to bind the coffee grounds and egg and settle it so you can pour the coffee!
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8/26/07

Save those bread heels and day old bread!

In our family the last 2 slices of bread rarely get eaten (ate?) unless it's my husband. I have never forced the kids to eat them because I never liked them either. The only way I ever serve them is to make grilled cheese where it doesn't matter.

However! They do not get thrown out. Even if we have 3 or 4 slices of bread left in the package and I know it probably won't get ate in a couple days I break it into pieces on a bread sheet and stick it in the oven where I forget about it for a couple days. In this time it usually dries out. In the summer if there is high humidity I sometimes leave the bread in the oven after I've baked another food product so the leftover heat will dry it out.

Then? Pop it into a freezer bag and place it in the freezer.

Now it can be ground up in the food processor or blender for instant bread crumbs when breading chicken or pork for dinner, as a topping for a side dish vegetable or casserole or left in cubes you are on your way to being prepared for Thanksgiving Day stuffing without having to buy anything!

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8/24/07

Free Sample


Folgers Gourmet Selections. Get A Free Sample

If you know me in 'real' life you know I'm a coffee drinker. I love coffee! And when I found this free sample offer I not only ordered one for myself, but decided to share the love. No, it's not a sponsored link, I get no kick-backs or anything for offering it to you - but it's yummy coffee and I wanted to share the link. I personally love the Lively Columbian so that is what I ordered, but they also offer French Vanilla.
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Pepperidge Farm Breadsticks

I love twisty parmesan bread sticks that are crisp and crunchy, but I don't always have the time nor want to take the effort to make them from scratch. I found a package of pepperidge farm pastry and decided to take the cheaters shortcut to a bread stick and used the pastry instead. The end result was... ok.

A bit too greasy for my taste, with a flavor that wasn't quite the bread stick that I was hoping for. Still, for a quick last minute pastry addition to a meal when you want to serve a bread stick but haven't the time to make the real deal, this would do.

Here is the recipe from their site; recipe - but for my own version I omitted the oregano and added fresh minced garlic instead.




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Hickory Nut Pie



A friend of mine gave me some much coveted hickory nuts this summer. Never being the recipient of those before I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them. But after munching on a couple I knew exactly what I wanted to do - bake a pie! They tasted so similar to a pecan or walnut that it was only right to use my favorite pecan pie recipe but substitute hickory nuts. It was delicious!
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8/22/07

I'm Smokin Hot!


Ok, even the best of us have a few little fires every now and then. LOL. This was from some grease that had escaped from the pan the last time I used the oven. I was baking and the heat ignited the flame. Sure, it's a little scary, but if you just leave it alone it burns off pretty quick and you can wipe the ashes away.
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8/20/07

Strawberry Torte with Cream Cheese Filling

This is the dessert I made yesterday for dinner. It's a recipe I vary according to what fruits I want to use, as I've made it with blueberries, kiwi, mango and strawberries, but I have to admit that strawberries are my favorite.


1 prepared pound cake
3/4 c boiling water
4 T lemon juice
1 package sugar free lemon jello
8 oz. cream cheese, soft
1/3 c evaporated milk
3 cups whipped cream
1 package instant cheesecake flavored pudding
1 1/2 c sliced strawberries


Prepare your pound cake and bake in a 10X4 tube pan (or bread loaf pan). Cool completely. Trim all edges of the cake to make even. Slice into 3 layers, lengthwise. Mix boiling water with jello and 2 T lemon juice. Drizzle or brush the mixture over the 3 layers of cake.

In a bowl combine the cream cheese, 2 T lemon juice and milk. Mix until smooth. Add cheesecake pudding mix and whipped cream. Whip briefly until mixed well. Pipe the mixture in a pastry tube bag around the outside inch of the first layer of cake. Spoon or pipe a little filling to the center and top with a 2nd later of cake. Pipe and spoon more filling and top with the last layer. Fill the top of the cake with more piped or spooned filling and add more around the bottom. Freeze or chill. Top the entire dessert with fresh sliced strawberries just before serving.

Delicious!
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Scalloped Carrots

Growing up in the Mid West as a child I had a regular diet of 'scalloped' vegetables. In the heartland we scallop almost everything; zucchini, corn, potatoes, oysters... even carrots. As much as I poke fun, I have to admit that on a chilly fall evening it sure does hit the spot as a great side dish. Don't scoff... just give it a try!



Scalloped Carrots

4 c. sliced peeled carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
3 T butter
1 can condensed cream of celery soup
salt and pepper
1/2 c grated Cheddar cheese
3 c. seasoned bread stuffing
1/3 c melted butter

Cook carrots in microwave or stove top until just tender. Drain. Saute' onion in 3 Tb. butter until soft. Stir in soup, salt, pepper, cheese and carrots. Place in greased 2 qt. casserole dish. Toss bread stuffing mix with 1/3 c. melted butter. Spoon over carrots. Bake in 350 'til thoroughly heated, about 20 min.
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8/17/07

Homemade Bread using a Bread Machine

Something my mother never once made was homemade bread. As a matter of fact, growing up, I thought the only way to make homemade bread was to buy frozen bread dough, let it thaw and then bake it. Granted, the end product was the same, but I never used yeast until I was 30 years old! This is a classic, simple bread dough recipe for use in your bread machine so you don't have to knead. The machine does the work for you. It is versatile too! Bake it as bread or use it in my cinnamon roll recipe, garlic bubble bread recipes, monkey breads or rolls! It's a great, basic recipe to keep in your files.



12 oz. water
1 1/2 t salt
2 T butter
4 c bread flour
2 T dry milk
2 T sugar
1 3/4 t yeast - dry

Put in your ingredients in your bread machine in the order called for by your machines manufacturer. I put mine in the order listed. Set your machine for 'dough' setting. When it's ready remove the dough and since it makes 2 pounds, divide the dough in half and place each in a greased loaf pan. Cover and let raise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-3 hours depending on the temperature of your home. Bake at 375 for approximately 25-35 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let set about 5 minutes. Rub the top with butter and turn out on a cooling surface to cool completely before cutting.
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Another Use for Canning Tongs

The corn is hot and the fork slips. Fingers get burned and it's more like playing 'hot potato' than it is getting an ear of corn out of the pan. Get creative... get your canning tongs!

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8/13/07

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Marshmallows


I typically whip up a batch of cinnamon rolls every 2-3 months. I would do it more often, but I find myself so busy sometimes it just slips my mind. When I do make them I use a classic white bread dough that I knead in my bread machine on the 'dough' setting and then take it out after the first rising to roll out and sprinkle with the filling and make into rolls. If you want to skip that part you can use a store bought bread dough that you let thaw, but I've never found the store bought to be as easy to work with as homemade. It's your call!

Classic White Bread
(for the bread machine)

12 oz. water
1 1/2 t salt
2 T butter
4 c flour
2 T dry milk
2 T sugar
1 3/4 t yeast



1/3 c butter
1 T cinnamon
2 T sugar
3/4 mini marshmallows


1 c powdered sugar
2 T butter
Cream or milk

Put in the machine in the order listed or in the order your particular brand calls for. Use the dough setting.

When the dough is finished take it out and divide it into half as this recipe makes a 2 pound loaf. You can freeze the extra loaf or double the filling ingredients and make 2 batches of rolls. Using one of the loaves roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle approximately 17 X 10 or so. (No, I don't expect you to measure. If it's 15 X 9 that's fine too!). Spread approximately 1/3 c soft butter over the dough. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of sugar over the butter. Sprinkle the marshmallows over all. Starting with the long side, gently and carefully roll the dough up and pinch the end into the dough to seal the roll shut. Taking a sharp knife slice 1 1/2 inch slices. Place the rolls in a 9" round pan that you've sprayed with Pam. Don't worry if the marshmallows are sneaking out or the slices are uneven. They will double in size and turn out perfectly anyway. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until ready to use or cover and let rise in a warm place until the rolls are double in size. Bake at 350 degrees 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Turn out of the pan onto greased foil and then flip the rolls back over so the top is up. Let them cool briefly while you mix up the icing. Start with 1 to 1 1/2 c powdered sugar. Add 2 T soft butter and about 1 tablespoon heavy cream. Turn on the mixer and mix until completely smooth. If it's too thick add more cream (or milk) but only 1 teaspoon at a time as you don't want to add too much and have 'soup'. Frost the rolls and serve warm.
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8/10/07

Italian Tortellini Salad

Today for lunch I leftover tortellini salad from last night. It's always a hit at our home in the summer time when our bodies seem to crave fresh red peppers, a light zesty italian dressing those awesome artichokes.

I actually make this different each time because I use what I have on hand. That's the beauty of a recipe such as this one. The only thing I really would stress is please don't use a bottled dressing. Oh, I well know they are easy to buy and quick to use, but the flavor isn't the same and the peppers and tortellini really deserve so much more.

The first step to this recipe is buy a package of Good Seasons dry Italian dressing mix. I buy a box of 4 when I buy them because use them in so many foods. I also make my own version if I don't have a box on hand, but I suppose, in the long run, if you don't have a mix on hand go ahead and use that bottled dressing you have in the refrigerator. Just promise me that next time you will try making the dressing from scratch or the mix instead so you can see what a wonderful improvement it is.


Italian Tortellini Salad
(pictured above)


1 package dry stuffed tortellini pasta (the flavor is your choice)
1 red pepper
1 package of Good Seasons Italian dressing
capers (optional)
fresh shredded asiago, parmesan cheese mixture or provolone, diced
tomato (optional)
cucumber (optional)
fresh snipped basil
1 can or bottle artichoke hearts, drained (water based is best)


Boil the pasta until just tender. Rinse under cool water and continue rinsing until the pasta is cooled. While the pasta is boiling make the dressing using rice vinegar and canola oil if possible instead of distilled vinegar and vegetable oil. In the meantime dice the red pepper, using 1/2 the pepper for most salads, but the whole pepper if you know the people you are serving really like fresh red peppers (like us!). Dice the cucumber and zucchini, tomato as well if you are using it. Add about 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil - or just a 1/2 t of dried. Stir in drained artichokes. I choose to use water packed so the marinade doesn't interfere with the Italian dressing flavor of the pasta salad.

Mix with the chilled pasta and chill until serving. SIMPLE AND OH SO GOOD!
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Berry Tiramisu

Well gosh darnit! I just wrote out a whole nice paragraph talking about traditional tiramisu and how excited I was to find this recipe from Good Housekeeping this week because it's so light and fresh it will be perfect for the hot summer days. Then blogger ate it.

So... suffice to say you can find the fabulous traditional tiramisu recipe on my site, and now since I added this one to my collection, you can try it as well. And blogger better be nice and full after eating my post! LOL.


Berry Tiramisu



2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package (3 to 4 1/2 ounces) ladyfingers
2 cups vanilla low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/2 pint fresh raspberries or other favorite berries

Directions
1. In small bowl, stir sugar with 2 tablespoons very hot water until sugar dissolves. Stir in vanilla.

2. Separate ladyfingers. Brush sugar mixture over 1 side of each ladyfinger. Arrange about 6 ladyfingers vertically around inside of each of 4 wide-rimmed glasses such as martini glasses or dessert bowls.

3. Spoon half of yogurt equally into glasses. Top each with one-fourth of jam. Spoon remaining yogurt over jam; top with raspberries. If not serving right away, cover loosely and refrigerate up to 2 hours.
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Goji Berries and Kashi

In the past few months I've blogged about goji berries a few times since I bought a bag at Costco and looked them up on the internet to find out just how healthy they are. They are an amazing little fruit, but I have to admit dear readers, that you can only eat so many dried goji berries when you are just not a dried fruit kind of girl. I don't eat raisins, I don't care for dried cherries or even cranberries except a handful every once in a very very great while.

So after forgetting about my container of goji berries for about a month I pulled it back out this week and added them to Kashi cereal. Thinking about what an amazing healthy breakfast this turned out to be is why I decided to 'remind' my readers to do the same. Do you have a granola cereal sitting in your pantry that you've grown tired of or simply forgotten about? Grab the granola and grab some dried fruit. Raisins, Goji Berries, cranberries or cherries, even dried blueberries.

Add milk or eat it by the handful. Nutritious and easy and also very very filling. It was 2:30 in the afternoon before I was hungry!
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8/9/07

Quick and Simple Grilled Steak

Last night I prepared a dinner that included some delicious steak. However, I didn't make up my mind that we were having steak until just 2 hours before it was to hit the table, ready and waiting. I usually like to marinate it for a couple hours (or use a Montreal steak seasoning) but I took it out of the freezer, cut open the packaging and decided to wing it. I sprinkled and poured a few ingredients on top of the frozen steaks and left them for about 1 1/2 hours. I heated up the grill and placed the still frozen steaks on the grill to cook as normal. They were amazing. Tender and juicy and absolutely perfect. The flavor was great as well. Not too strong, not too mellow.

If you want to have steak tonight and they are sitting frozen in your deep freeze right now, don't let that stop you. Give it a try!


Quick and Simple Grilled Steak
(nothing measured)

4-6 good quality steaks
soy sauce
fresh garlic, chopped or minced
brown sugar (I used Brown Sugar Twin)
Salt or Lawry's Salt
oil (canola, or even the spray Pam style)


Drizzle soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar and salt over the frozen steaks in a container or pan to marinate. If you are using Pam style spray, spray the tops just before placing them on the hot grill. If you are using canola or olive oil, drizzle it on the steaks at any time. If you remember, flip the steaks once during the 1-6 hours you can marinate them. If you don't remember, that's ok too! Grill as usual to your degree of doneness. I like to grill about 7-8 minutes per side and serve just barely medium. Cook them 10-15 minutes each side if you prefer them to be well done.
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8/8/07

Creamy Herbed Pork Chops

Our family isn't a big fan of pork chops. It's interesting to me because as a child, I was. One of my favorite meals as a child was pork chops cooked with mushroom soup over them. (Yes, that was about the extent of my mothers cooking... LOL). But I loved it!

My husband has never cared for pork chops. When we were first married (at age 18 and 19) I would make them the way I loved as a child and although he would eat them, he let me know it wasn't a favorite food of his. In the past 15 years I typically make pork chops about once every 6 months and use a creamy chive sauce, a mushroom sour cream sauce or we grill them. Once every 2-3 years we may have them breaded. What I've found in the last 3 years or so is that I've become very sensitive to the 'farm' and 'pork' flavor of pork products. While I still enjoy bacon and I like ham on certain sandwiches and stuffed chicken breasts, I can't really stand to eat pork chops, much to my husbands joy. He would be happy if we never had them again! LOL.

But the kids still like them, and they LOVE the sauces I prepare with them. We love the different sauces so much that I usually substitute chicken breast for the pork and serve it as a new poultry recipe instead.

When I saw this recipe I decided to add it to my collection for two reasons. 1. I still make pork chops about every 6 months and this one will be a great addition. 2. It's similar to the recipes I currently make and the kids love them. I know they'll like this one too... and I'm pretty sure I'll be using it with chicken in the future as well!

Creamy Herbed Pork Chops

4 pork chops, cut 3/4 inch thick
1 T butter
1/3 finely chopped carrot
1 T. parsley
2 t. flour
1/2 t. dried basil, thyme or tarragon, crushed
1/2 t. instant beef bouillon (or 1 cube)
2/3 c. milk or light cream
2 T. water

Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper. Brown in butter for 5 minutes on 1 side. Flip and add carrots. Cook 5-7 more minutes. Remove chops and reserve drippings and carrots.

For sauce, stir in parsley, flour, spice, bouillon and 1/4 t. pepper. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir till thick and bubbly. Stir in water. Return chops to sauce and heat through.
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8/7/07

Lemon Cheesecake Balls

Today I am in the mood to bake. What to bake, however, remains to be seen. I thought I knew... I was going to make a Pampered Chef cookbook recipe for a layered dessert that includes a pound cake, layers of a lemony filling, with kiwi and blueberries and a cream cheese frosting piped around. However, I then saw my recipe for the Easy Cheesecake Bars I made a few weeks ago that my family almost inhaled, they were so good. Just when I thought my mind was made up I came across a recipe for lemon cheesecake balls that sound so good as well. The only thing I know for sure is that I must be craving 'lemon' as all three recipes have a lemon flavor. What to do, what to do? I'm going to add this recipe to my collection and if I don't make it today I know I'll be making it in the near future... it sounds too yummy to pass up!


Lemon Cheesecake Balls


1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 (6 oz) can frozen lemonade, thawed
1 lb powdered sugar
1 (13 1/2 oz) box graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c finely chopped pecans

Cream the lemonade, cream cheese,and sugar by hand. Add crumbs and nuts. Shape into balls just smaller than a golf ball. Chill. These can be frozen.
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8/6/07

Sugar Free Iced Latte

Iced Mocha Latte

I am a big fan of Splenda, I have been since it first became widely available in the United States. I am signed up to receive recipes and emails from them and this one grabbed my attention immediately. Coffee and whipped cream!? What could be better on a hot summer day! And using the half and half (or even cream) would make it a low carb option as well. Mmmmm.


Sugar Free Iced Latte'

2/3 cup Splenda
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 cups boiling water
2 cups half and half, divided
Whipped topping, chocolate curls

Mix Splenda, cocoa, and coffee in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in boiling water, whisking until blended. Stir in 1 cup half and half. Pour mixture into ice cube trays. Freeze 8 hours.

POUR remaining 1 cup half and half into blender. Gradually add frozen mocha cubes, blending until smooth. Serve immediately. Garnish with chocolate curls and whipped cream, if desired.

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8/1/07

Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


I had a piece last night for dinner. I had another piece this morning for breakfast, and I'm going to have another for my lunch! I love this cake! Reminiscent of a pumpkin cake or a light carrot cake, it's fabulous. It's actually one of my personal favorite recipes for zucchini. I've been making this particular cake since 1996 and never tire of it. Although I haven't yet, you could make this into large muffins as well.

Zucchini Cake

2 c sugar
1 c oil
3 eggs
2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 T cinnamon
2 c shredded zucchini
1 T vanilla

Mix oil, sugar and eggs with a mixer for 2-3 minutes. Mix the dry ingredients and add. Mix in the zucchini, either by hand or mixer depending on long your shredded zucchini is. Shorter grated can be with mixer, longer shreds by hand. Bake in a well greased springform or tube pan of your choosing. Bake 1 hour at 350 and cool in the pan at minimum 20 minutes or completely. Chill and frost with a simple cream cheese frosting.


Frosting

3 c powdered sugar
6 oz. cream cheese, soft
5 T butter
1 t lemon exract

Beat until smooth, about 4-5 minutes. Frost.



* I sprinkled chopped hickory nuts on top of mine, you can use pecans or walnuts, or leave them out completely.
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