3/31/08

April Fools Day Foods!

One of the best sites I've ever found for April Fools Day foods is Family Fun. This year I've linked some of their 'classic' recipes and noticed they added one or two new ones as well.

I can personally vouch for the awesome recipes they offer. I've made almost half of these myself and they are perfect! Perfectly fun to make and perfectly fun to receive! Enjoy these innocent and yummy pranks in honor of April Fools Day 2008.








You'll WANT to eat these green beans













It only LOOKS like pizza!













Grilled cheese? It's cake!



Spilled Hot Chocolate

Tax on allowance

Fake Booger Candy wrapper

Mashed Potatoes? It's frozen yogurt!


Shhh! It's not sushi!
Fake spaghetti and meatballs

Meat and Potatoes only LOOK like chocolate pie


Pink and Blue... cupcakes? Nope.


Stir Fry? Don't Count on it!









None of it's what you think!
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Homemade Fabric Softener, Marble Cleaner, Copper Cleaners and more

At any given time I have about 50 cookbook, 50 cooking magazines, 9 hand written notebooks, 3 binders and a couple recipe boxes out... but wouldn't you know that the 1 cookbook in particular that I wanted today must be packed away in a box in storage. (Oh what I wouldn't give for more room in this kitchen!) So off I went to search the storage room for it and although I never found it (I seem to recall possibly letting a friend borrow it now that I think about it...) I did find a piece of paper that made me smile and I decided to add it to my blog.

On a single piece of notebook paper, ripped out of a long forgotten notebook (the frayed edges still on the left hand side) I have handwritten 6 recipes in pen. I seem to recall copying them down in a far away and long forgotten memory and if it serves me correctly it would have been around 1995 or 1996.

Here is exactly what I had written down;



Fabric Softener

1 c glycerin
1 gallon water
essential oils to scent

Add 1/2 c to wash rinse cycle


________________

Cleaner

2 T ammonia
1 t dish soap
1 pint rubbing alcohol
1 gallon water

Spray bottle.


________________

Marble Cleaner

1/2 c vinegar
1/4 c baking soda
1 c ammonia
1 gallon hot water

Use sponge to wash. Rinse Dry.


________________

Ceiling Patch

Elmers Glue
Baking Soda

Make paste. Patch crack.


________________


Baking Powder

2 parts cream of tartar
1 part baking soda
1 part cornstarch


________________


Copper Cleaner

Rub with ketchup or worcestershire sauce. Rinse.



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3/30/08

An American Housewife's Wheat Bran Muffins (using wheat bran flakes)



Yesterday I had a craving for bran muffins. At first, just a fleeting thought, it grew until I couldn't deny it anymore. Mmmm they sounded so good! My 'regular' bran muffin recipe calls for 100% bran cereal (you know... the kind that looks like little sticks), and I didn't have any. Readers should know by now that that wouldn't matter in this house - LOL - I always (!) substitute and make up my own recipes in the end, almost never, ever able to actually follow someone else's recipe anyway!


So... off I went to play scientist in the kitchen and see what I would come up with. And in the end? A yummy, delicious muffin that was so good that although I only planned to 'taste' it, I finished off the whole thing straight from the oven with steam still rolling out of it! My husband took two of them with him to work for breakfast this morning and made me swear that I really did write down how I made them so I could make them again!



Soaking the wheat bran in the buttermilk


Wheat Bran Muffins
March 29, 2008


1 1/4 c wheat bran flakes
1 c buttermilk (use vinegar to sour regular milk if you are out)
1/2 granola/flake/nut cereal of any kind, with or without dried fruit (I used Abundance cereal)
1/4 c canola oil
1/2 c applesauce
3/4 c brown sugar
1 egg
1 T molasses
scant 1/3 c sour cream
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 c flour
1 t each of baking powder and baking soda
1/2 t salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degree's while you place foil or paper liners in 12 muffin tins. Soak the wheat bran flakes and cereal in the buttermilk while you get the rest of the ingredients out as they need to soak about 10 minutes. With a mixer, blend the sugar, oil, applesauce, egg, molasses, sour cream and vanilla. Stir in the cereal and bran mixture just until barely blended and then add the dry, stirring just until moist. Bake 20 minutes. Cool.





 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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3/29/08

Cream Cheese Frosting from An American Housewife


Last week while I was doing the baking of the cupcakes and cheesecake for Easter Sunday I ended up with leftover frosting from the cupcakes. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with that frosting! I baked a large pan of pumpkin bars as well and while they were baking I added softened cream cheese to my cupcake frosting and now that I had 'cream cheese' frosting it was going to be absolutely yummy on my pumpkin bars! (And it was!)


Cream Cheese Frosting

1 c shortening
1 c butter
8 oz. cream cheese, soft
4 c powdered sugar
3/4 c marshmallow cream
4 t vanilla extract


Cream the butter, shortening and cream cheese until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat on low 30 seconds and high 2-5 minutes until it looks like whipped cream.



The Pumpkin Bars - batter stage before baking

Pumpkin Bars

2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 t salt
4 eggs
1 (15oz.) can pumpkin
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c canola oil

Beat the pumpkin, oil, sugar and eggs until smooth. Add the dry ingredients. Mix well and pour into a prepared jelly roll pan with 1 inch sides. (You can use a 9X13 pan but you'll end up with a pumpkin cake rather than bars... which is still good!). Bake at 350 for 25 minutes until done in the center. Cool completely. Mix the frosting ingredients and spread over all.
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3/28/08

Beer Batter Fried Fish (Fish and Chips!) Use your favorite beer or lager

One of my favorite foods is fish... seafood. Almost any kind - oysters, crab, lobster, catfish, shrimp, salmon; name almost any seafood and I probably love it. My husband doesn't share my affinity for 'fishy fish' so going to Long John Silvers (which I LOVE) is something he won't do with me and since I'm not crazy about going out on a date by myself I get to go to Long John Silver's about once a year. Let me pause a moment and be sad about that. Sigh. OK! So... if you are like me and crave batter fried fish once in a while, or have a little bit of "London" in your blood and crave fish n' chips... here you go. I have another recipe for batter fried fish as well that tastes almost exactly like Long Johns. Yummmmm I may have to post that one this week too!


Fried Fish

2/3 C Self-rising flour
2/3 C Beer or lager
4 Pieces of Cod fillet (skinned, about 4 oz each)
Oil for deep frying
Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Malt Vinegar

Blend the flour, beer and 1tsp salt in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pour into a shallow bowl. Heat about 1 1/4 inch of oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Season the fish with the salt and pepper, dip into the batter and lay carefully into the hot oil. Deep fry in 2 batches for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper towel and serve with the malt vinegar to sprinkle on the top.




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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3/27/08

Cherry Cheesecake Balls

While looking through my files of recipes I saw this one and my mouth almost started to water! The thought of cherry cheesecake balls made with almond extract sounded so good! I've not made this one before, as it's just been sitting in my files for about 2 years now. Since I have hundreds of cookbooks, cooking magazines, file boxes, hand written notebooks and binders full of cut out, clipped and ripped recipes it's no wonder a few will go unnoticed once in a while! Ha. I seem to be on a cheesecake kick lately don't I? Hmmmm. I do love cream cheese!



Cherry Cheesecake Balls

8 oz.cream cheese softened
1/2 cup sugar or Splenda
1/2 t vanilla or almond extract
1/2 cup coconut
8-10 chopped maraschino cherries
1/2 cup fine graham cracker crumbs

Mix the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, coconut and cherries. Drop by teaspoons full into graham cracker crumbs and roll into balls. Chill for at least 2-4 hours.
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Candy Bar Cheesecake Bars

The week after Easter... the time when the excitement over the Easter candy has worn off and Moms and Dads everywhere are thinking about some recipes they can make to use up a few of the leftover candy bars. How about cheesecake bars? I found this one in my collection of recipes and smiled because it was perfect for using up a few of those little bars that are sitting in a bowl on top of the refrigerator right now.

Snickers, Butter Fingers, 100 Grand... doesn't matter. Take your pick. Yum!


Candy Bar Cheesecake Bars

Crust
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Filling
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
6 small (1oz) Butter Finger, Snickers or other candy bars;chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In large bowl, beat butter on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, 1 minute. Add sugars; beat 3 minutes or until smooth and fluffy. On low speed, beat in flour. Beat in nuts just until incorporated. Reserve 1 cup of mixture for later. Press the rest into a 9X13" pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; let cool slightly.

In large bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract and eggs; beat for 2 minutes. Fold in candy bars. Spoon over baked crust. Sprinkle reserved crust mixture over top. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheesecake layer is set. Transfer pan to wire rack; let cool to room temperature. Chill at least 2 hours before serving either cool or at room temperature.
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3/26/08

Hints and Helps (and photos) for a perfectly creamy cheesecake

While I already gave you the recipe for the perfect cheesecake here, this morning while looking through my photo files I found two pictures I took during the process of making it last week that I forgot I took! But they are perfect to show my readers two points;

1. A creamy base! Be sure you beat the cream cheese filling long enough to get a smooth and creamy consistency.




2. Although I'm a 'crust' girl myself, when it comes to cheesecake, it's best to go light to make the masses happy. While my recipe used just about 2 tablespoons of graham crumbs, here, my photo shows you that it's just about 'right' to get a great, even coverage.

Note the foil up around the edges of the springform pan and the pan is set inside a large roasting pan. This is where you will pour the hot water to reach just past the half way mark on the springform pan. This water bath helps your dessert to bake evenly, not get over done on the edges and best of all? No center crack!
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3/25/08

Balsamic Chicken Breasts

I think this is one recipe that really wants to be made this week! I came across this no less than three times this week and that's pretty incredible considering I was so busy with Easter baking and such that I didn't really spend much time looking over recipes! I saw this in a cookbook my FIL gave me, then I found another version of it handwritten by me in a notebook from circa 1996 and lastly, saw it on a recipe message board as well. Gracious! But since I have balsamic vinegar in the cupboard and breasts with skin on them in the deep freeze, I think it's one I need to make, don't you?



Balsamic Chicken Breasts


4 boneless chicken breast halves
Freshly milled black pepper and salt
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 c chicken broth or chicken stock
2 T unsalted butter

Sprinkle the chicken salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot; reduce the heat to medium-high and add the chicken breasts, skin side down. Sauté for 6 minutes or until the skin is nicely browned. Turn the chicken over and sauté for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Reduce the heat to medium; add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened slightly, about 3 minutes.

Add the vinegar and broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Add any juices from the chicken plate to the pan and the butter and heat just until the butter is melted. Transfer the chicken, skin side up, to each of 4 plates and top each serving with some of the sauce.

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Need an Easy Marinade Container?

So many things that we do during our days without any thought may be something 'new' to another person. This is one of those things!

While preparing a marinade last week for steak I got out a large gallon sized ziplock baggy and a bowl. Opening the baggy I placed it in the bowl and proceeded to add the ingredients and then picking it up out of the bowl, gave it a swish to mix and then add the meats and sealed it tight.



While doing this I remembered years ago when I first started to make marinades regularly I would often put them in a pan. Later I tried ziplock baggies but would fight with them laying on the counter and 'opening' and 'shifting' thereby spilling their contents on my countertop!

About 10 years ago I just started to set the baggy inside a bowl to 'hold it in place' while filling. I've never looked back.

So todays topic; Make a marinade! The easy way......
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3/24/08

Perfect Homemade Cheesecake

We traveled to the relatives house for Easter this year and I took along the cupcakes you see in the photo elsewhere on the blog (below) and a cheesecake. In order to please the masses I left half plain and put pastel sprinkles on it just to add an Easter/Spring touch, and the other side, after slicing, was drizzled with caramel and topped with chocolate curls. The only problem is that the house was full of people, it was a hectic time trying to get the meal and desserts done with 25 people pushing through and milling about - screaming and laughing children, loud conversation and well... we forgot to actually take a picture.

My husband saw me slicing the cheesecake and knowing that I have to take photos of most of our food for my recipe blog he grabbed the camera and quickly snapped one picture before being pulled away by his father to talk about... well, I have no idea, but he disappeared and this is the only photo of the oh-so-delicious, perfectly creamy cheesecake we have.



It's not a pretty picture, but it was an incredible cheesecake!



Rich and Creamy Cheesecake

1 T butter, melted
3 T graham cracker crumbs
2 lbs. regular, name brand cream cheese (I used Raskas from Costco - incredibly creamy!)
1 1/4 c sugar
4 large eggs
1 t zest from 1 lemon
2 t vanilla
1/4 c heavy cream
1/4 c sour cream

Preheat oven to 325. Place foil over bottom disk of a 9 inch springform pan. Tuck excess underneath, assemble the pan and pull the excess foil up over the sides. Brush the interior of hte pan with butter. Sprinkle graham crumbs into pan, tilt to cover. Cover exterior of pan with heavy duty foil and set into a large roasting pan.

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and beat about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl often to prevent any lumps. Add zest and vanilla, beat. Stir in cream and sour cream by hand. Pour batter into springform pan and set the roasting pan on the rack. Now add boiling water in the roasting pan around the springform pan, half way up the sides. Bake about 55-60 minutes until the permiater of the cake is set but the center is still slightly jiggly when you tap the pan. Turn off the heat of the oven and leave the oven door open but do not remove the pan.

Leave it in the turned off oven for 1 hour (with the door open!) Remove, set on wire rack to cool. Cover and refrigerate until the next day. After cooling I froze mine and removed it the day before Easter to thaw in the refrigerator. As you can see from the photo it turned out perfectly! No cracks and it was the creamiest cheesecake we've ever had.

I found this recipe in "The Perfect Recipe" Cookbook by Pam Anderson (which I've owned for almost 10 years now!) - and I checked, it's still available through Amazon!

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3/22/08

Easter Cupcakes or Spring Cupcakes


Tomorrow is Easter... do you need a last minute dessert? Children and adults alike can't resist a tempting cupcake! And really, they are so easy to make, why not whip some up today and surprise your crew for Easter dinner tomorrow?

  • Make your favorite cake recipe or use a box mix.
  • Make it into cupcakes (as you can see from the photo I made both large cupcakes and 24 mini cupcakes).
  • Let cool completely and top with your favorite frosting recipe (I have a bunch to choose from on my side bar!).
  • Sprinkle with non perils or colored sugar and wha-la! You are done!

The frosting I used on the cupcakes in the picture above is;

1 c shortening
1 c butter
4 c powdered sugar
3/4 c marshmallow cream
4 t vanilla extract

Beat on low 30 seconds and high 2-5 minutes until it looks like whipped cream.
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Cantaloupes Recalled March 2008

People should throw away cantaloupes from a Honduran manufacturer believed to be linked to a salmonella outbreak, the government said Saturday.

The Food and Drug Administration issued the alert for the melons from Agropecuaria Montelibano. Grocers are advised to remove from their stock any cantaloupes from this company. People should check with stores to see whether recently purchased cantaloupes came from Honduras.

Fifty people have become sickened in 16 states and nine have become ill in Canada after eating the cantaloupes. No deaths have been reported, although 14 people have been hospitalized, the FDA said.

The government also is seeking to detain all cantaloupes shipped to the United States by Agropecuaria Montelibano.

The FDA said it was taking this step while it investigates the outbreak with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and individual states.

To reduce the risk of contracting salmonella or other foodborne illnesses from cantaloupes, the FDA recommends:

• Purchasing cantaloupes that are not bruised or damaged. If buying fresh-cut cantaloupe, refrigerate or surround it with ice.

• Washing hands with hot, soapy water before or after handling fresh cantaloupes.

• Scrubbing whole cantaloupes by using a clean produce brush and cool tap water immediately before eating.

• Cutting away and not eating bruised or damaged areas of the cantaloupe.

• Discarding leftover cut cantaloupe if left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Symptoms of foodborne salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

The 16 states that have reported illnesses are Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.
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'Almost' Sugar Free Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

I'm trying to make up for not posting as many low-sugar or sugar-free recipes as I had hoped before this Easter holiday weekend. Time has managed to get away from me and although we regularly cook and bake with lower sugar or even low-carb dishes, I find that I have the photos stuck inside my computer and I never get the time to post them as I intend! LOL. I'm hoping (?) that once we get through Easter and Spring vacation, Prom and Track season that life will slow down a tiny bit.

And yes, I'm just shaking my head at the absurdity of what I just wrote. LOL.

Never-the-less here is another yummy Splenda recipe that I've collected as I am signed up with them to receive their monthly emails. If you need a quick dessert, give it a go!


Cinnamon Swirl CoffeecakeServes: 16
Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Cooking Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes
What you need:

3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1 1/3 cups SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
1 egg
1/4 cup egg substitute
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cups light sour cream, divided

3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
What you do:
1Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a nonstick bundt pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
2Sift cake flour, baking powder, and baking soda into a medium-sized mixing bowl; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer. Add SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener and egg. Beat until smooth. Add the egg substitute and vanilla. Beat briefly to incorporate. Add applesauce and half of the sour cream. Beat until smooth. Add the sifted flour mixture and beat at medium speed just until smooth. Add remaining sour cream and blend just until incorporated and batter is uniform. Set aside.
3Make Filling: Place 1/4 of cake batter in a small bowl. Add brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir well.
4Place 1/2 of the remaining cake batter into prepared pan. Top with filling. Swirl with knife. Top with remaining batter.
5Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Submitted by: Maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products
Nutrition Info (per serving)
Calories 200 | Calories from Fat 80 | Protein 4g | Fat 9g (sat 5g) | Carbohydrate 25g | Fiber 1g | Cholesterol 40mg | Sodium 180mg | Sugar 4g
©2008 Splenda
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Mocha Cheesecake from Splenda

With the holiday weekend upon us there are many who are looking for no or low-sugar recipes. I'm signed up as a member of the Splenda email group to receive news, recipes and offers and I know from some of my readers they love when I post low-sugar or no-sugar. (I'm sorry... I really need to find the TIME to post more! LOL.) So this one is straight from Splenda - but I have it in my own personal collection because in our family, even though we have no health issues to force us to cut down on our sugar intake, I do it because it's just healthier.



Marvelous Mocha CheesecakeServes: 16
Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Cooking Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 7 Hours 20 Minutes
What you need:

44 Reduced-Fat Chocolate Wafers, crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated


3 (8 ounce) packages reduced-fat cream cheese
3/4 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 teaspoons instant espresso crystals
2 (.55 ounce) packages Sugar-Free Swiss Miss Instant Cocoa Mix
What you do:
1Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2Mix crust ingredients together, and press into a 9-inch springform pan. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
3Reset oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
4Beat cream cheese and SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener together until well mixed and smooth. Add eggs, egg whites, cornstarch and salt. Mix until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix until well blended.
5Measure 1/2 cup of the cheesecake batter and pour into a small bowl. Add instant espresso crystals and cocoa mix. Stir until well combined.
6Pour half of plain batter over crust. Top with half of the coffee batter by placing rounded spoonfuls over the cheesecake batter. Gently swirl the coffee batter into plain batter with the tip of knife or spatula. Repeat with remaining batters.
7Bake 45-50 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven and gently run metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cheesecake (this helps prevent cracking). Let cool 20-25 minutes before covering and placing in the refrigerator. Refrigerate 4- 6 hours or overnight before serving.
Submitted by: Maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products
Nutrition Info (per serving)
Calories 200 | Calories from Fat 120 | Protein 7g | Fat 13g (sat 8g) | Carbohydrate 14g | Fiber 0g | Cholesterol 65mg | Sodium 270mg | Sugar 4g
©2008 Splenda
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3/21/08

Lime Melt-Away Cookies

Last Christmas I added a new cookie to my list of 20-something recipes to make for cookie gifts to friends, teachers and neighbors. It was a lime sandwich cookie that was really quite remarkable. Because the light green color at Christmas time invokes thoughts of 'mint' I think people were surprised to find they munched into a refreshing lime cookie instead. I think pastel green, lime and refreshing citrus tastes go best on warm sunny Spring days or hot summer days and when I saw this cookie from Martha I knew exactly how it would taste when it hit my tongue. I'm turning into a huge fan of 'lime' cookies and was happy to add this recipe to my collection.


Lime Melt-Away Cookies
from "Martha Stewart's Cookies."

Makes about 3 dozen

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room
temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 limes
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Put butter and 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar in
the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the
whisk attachment, and mix on medium speed
until pale and fluffy. Add lime zest and juice
and vanilla, and mix until fluffy.

Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt in a
bowl. Add to butter mixture, and mix on low
speed until just combined.

Divide dough in half. Place each half on an
8-by-12-inch sheet of parchment paper. Roll
in parchment to form a log 1 1/4 inches in
diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parch-
ment at each turn to narrow log. Refrigerate
logs until cold and firm, at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove parch-
ment from logs; cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.
Space rounds 1 inch apart on baking sheets
lined with parchment paper. Bake cookies until
barely golden, about 13 minutes, rotating
sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to
wire racks to cool slightly, 8 to 10 minutes.
While still warm, toss cookies with remaining
2/3 cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag.

Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at
room temperature up to 2 weeks.
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3/20/08

Almost Sugar Free CupCakes

I'm a huge fan of Splenda. Our own family has used it since the Spring of 2003 and although we are not sugar free, I like using part Splenda in many things to reduce the amount of sugar in them. I was never aware of the sugar that is in all our foods until I started to really read labels closely. Even frozen green beans have about 2 grams of sugar per serving! Frozen vegetables for pete's sake! LOL.

With Easter this weekend we are obviously inundated with sugar treats right now. This cupcake recipe uses mostly splenda with just 1/4 c sugar which helps with flavor and texture of the finished product. I collected this one from my own personal email as I'm signed up to receive recipes from their company.



Yellow Cupcakes

2 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place 18 paper baking cups into muffin pans. Set aside.

Place cake flour, SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener, sugar and softened unsalted butter in a large mixing bowl. Mix 1 to 2 minutes with electric mixer set on medium speed, until butter is mixed into flour mixture.

Add nonfat dry milk, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix on low speed until blended.

Mix buttermilk, eggs and extracts in a small bowl. Stir well. Add 2/3 of the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix on medium speed mixing until the liquids are just blended into the flour mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix on medium-high speed about 45-60 seconds until the batter starts to become lighter in appearance. Reduce mixer speed to low and add remaining liquids. Mix on medium speed until blended. Stop mixer and scrape sides and bottom of bowl again. Mix on medium high speed an additional 30 seconds.

Pour cake batter into prepared pans. Bake cupcakes in preheated 350 degrees F oven 12-15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Submitted by: Maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products
Nutrition Info (per serving) Calories 170 | Calories from Fat 80 | Protein 4g | Fat 9g (sat 5g) | Carbohydrate 19g | Fiber 0g | Cholesterol 55mg | Sodium 150mg | Sugar 5g©2008 Splenda
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Marinated Shrimp and Vegetables for Grilling

Here is a quick picture I snapped of our dinner Tuesday night. On Monday I opened two packages of E-Z Peel raw shrimp, rinsed and placed in a container and then opened my cupboards to throw a bunch of random ingredients on to marinade. I then chopped up red and green peppers and 1 1/2 onions into large chunks and added them. On Tuesday I removed the container from the refrigerator and cleaned the shrimp, threaded them onto skewers and we grilled a yummy, healthy and very 'springy' meal for dinner. It's actually one of our favorites and my husband has already requested grilled shrimp ka-bobs weekly all summer long. LOL.

Amounts. I know you want amounts. But what I want you to do is to have 'fun' with cooking and not treat it like a science experiment. Don't be scared of your food. Add and delete according to your taste and common sense. So I'll put an approximate amount behind, but really... have fun with it!



Marinade


Olive Oil - about 1/3 cup
Lime Juice - about 1/2 cup
Cayenne Pepper - 1 t (although I used 1 T because I like it spicy)
Salt
Pepper
fresh minced garlic - about 3 t to start
oregano - 1 t dried
a little cumin if you want - 1/8 t

Mix, chill and marinate for 1-2 hours if the shrimp is already peeled, and up to 24 hours if it still has a shell on it as it won't soak up as much if it has. Clean if needed, thread vegetables and shrimp on separate skewers as the vegetables will need about 3-4 minutes per side longer than the shrimp. Cook the shrimp last as it will only need about 3 minutes per side over medium high heat. The shrimp is done when it turns white/pink and has little grill lines on it. The veggies will have a golden brown edge to them and be crisp-tender.
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3/19/08

Cheesy Potatoes for Easter?

Judging from the hits I get by people looking for Cheesy Potatoes, you all must be getting ready to make them this weekend! I have already posted a couple recipes for them and have also made it clear that this is a recipe you can change almost anything in and it will still turn out yummy! Don't be afraid of it. Just throw it together and leave out what your family doesn't care for and throw in what they might! LOL.

I've made this one once in awhile since 1999. It's a great one and is especially delicious and perfect with baked ham.


Another Cheesy Potatoes Recipe

32 oz. frozen hash brown potatoes
1 onion, chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
16 oz. sour cream
2 c grated cheese (cheddar, swiss, jalapeño, Monterey jack... whatever you have!)
1/2 c (1 stick) melted butter
1 1/2 c crushed regular corn flakes


Preheat your oven to 350. Butter or grease a 9X13" pan. Break up the frozen potatoes and spread them on the bottom of the pan. Top the potatoes with the chopped onion. Mix the soup, sour cream and cheese together and pour over the top of the hash browns. Mix the melted butter with the corn flake crumbs and spread over the top of all. Cover with foil and bake 50 minutes and then remove the foil and continue baking for 15 minutes until golden brown.
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3/18/08

Cream Cheese Wontons! (Cream Cheese Puffs)

Many Chinese restaurants offer a simple dessert item called Cream Cheese Puffs or Cream Cheese Wontons. Very (very!) similar to Crab Rangoon, Crab Wontons, etc. these do not have seasonings, crab or sauce in them. Some places sprinkle the finished goodies with a light dusting of powdered sugar, but me and my crew love them just as they are - no sugar needed!

Excellent with plum sauce, we can't make enough of these, they're the first to go at every meal they are served! Excellent as an appetizer as well.


Cream Cheese Wontons

1 package wonton wrappers - small! Not egg roll wrappers (Melissa's is one popular, easy to find brand)
1 - 8 oz. block cream cheese
water
oil

Using whatever way you find works best for you, place about 1 1/2 teaspoons of cream cheese inside each wrap and fold over, sealing the edge with water to hold the cheese in. I've pulled one wrapper at a time off and scooped the cream cheese in, I've also laid them all and scooped the cheese, and lastly, laid out the wrappers and sliced the cheese in a 1/4" slice and then it in half, and then each half into triangles. They all work just fine so use the process you like best!

Fry in hot oil - I don't have a temperature gauge but drops of water sizzle when dropped in, but not overly hot or your cream cheese puff will instantly turn dark brown and burn before you can flip it! I set a pan of canola oil on an electric burner on high and then turn it down to medium/medium high when it's hot and use that setting to cook them.

Fry approximately 15-20 seconds on each side and drain on paper towels. Serve with sauce or sprinkle with powdered sugar.






 


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Cranberry Jalapeno Relish (Salsa)

I absolutely love cranberries and jalapenos and really love them together as well! I've posted a couple relish or salsa's on my blog before, but I haven't in a long time due to winter I guess. Now, the snow is melting and I'm looking towards a lot of grilling, fresh foods, fruity salsa's and other warm weather dishes. Yum!

Cranberry Jalapeno Relish (Salsa)

1 pkg (12 oz.) fresh or frozen cranberries
1 lime
3/4 cup sugar
1 - 2 jalepeno peppers (how hot do you like it?)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Place cranberries, jalapeno and lime into a food processor bowl and process until coarsely chopped. Add sugar and cilantro. Refrigerate relish 2-6 hours to allow flavors blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature with tortillas or as relish to accompany roast turkey.





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3/14/08

Cake Mix Cookies - II


Yesterday I made Chocolate Chocolate Chunk cookies. I've already made (and raved) about this style cookie on my site a couple of times, as I've made these in a lemon version, white vanilla version and chocolate as well. However this version uses 2 eggs and a bit of brown sugar in the recipe. In the end, it was a yummy cookie and quite moist, but I hesitate to tell you that you must include the extra brown sugar. I don't really feel it is needed. If I make these again I think I'll leave that part out as it really didn't add anything to the end product.

1 cake mix
1/3 c canola oil
2 eggs
2 T brown sugar
1 t vanilla
1 package chocolate chunks


Mix the cake mix, oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla. Stir in the chocoate chunks (or chips) and drop by tablespoons on a baking sheet either sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for approximately 12-15 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
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3/13/08

Free Cookie Cutter offer From Splenda!

I'm signed up with the sugar substitute company 'Splenda' to receive their emails with recipes, hints, new announcements and information. They also have their own website to order products on and in my last email they had a number of good offers that are available through their Splenda website. One of which is Free 'Sweet as Spring' cookie cutters with every purchase. I also found offers on their site for free shipping on orders over $49 if that is a better fit for your needs.

I wanted to pass along the information (I am not being sponsored or reimbursed for sharing this information, nor do I own these cookie cutters! But I think they are adorable and you might too!)
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3/12/08

Mexican Lasagna with Photos

In December of 2006 I posted this recipe on my site and pointed out that I really wanted to make sure everyone knew they could improvise! Mixture of ground beef and/or turkey or even tofu! And the chilies? Leave them out... add more... what do YOU like?


Mexican Lasagna

1 lb. Ground Beef (try a turkey, tofu - mixture!)
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 t seasoned salt
1 can diced tomatoes or about 1 cup fresh diced (I have also used habanero pepper diced tomatoes! Hot and spicy and oh so good!)
15 oz. can tomato sauce ( or 2 - 8 oz.)
1 - 4 oz. can green chilies (leave out if you use habanero pepper Rotel tomatoes or you can use jalapenos too if you like)
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.

Layer the tortillas

Lay the flat side of the flour tortillas against the flat side of the pan
Use whatever mixture of cheese that you and your family like!
Cheddar and Monterey Jack is a great mixture!
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3/11/08

Fudge by any other name would taste as sweet

When it comes to fudge recipes you'll find hundreds of variations on basically the same thing. I've also noticed that some very popular named fudge (like Mamie Eisenhower's) can be any number of recipes and someone tacked the name on it even though you can have 20 different recipes that all have the same claim to fame.

I think basically what it comes down to finding a fudge recipe you like and make it no matter what it's called. This particular recipe is a mixture of traditional and modern as it uses the traditional evaporated milk and granulated white sugar, but also adds the German's chocolate bar and marshmallow creme. For someone who doesn't regularly care for chocolate, even I can't resist a cube of traditional fudge with nuts in it! YUM!




Mamie Eisenhower's Fudge

4-1/2 c sugar
1/4 t salt
4 T butter
1 can evaporated milk (regular sized, not tiny)
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
12 oz. German's semi-sweet chocolate (bar)
1 jar marshmallow creme
2 cups chopped nuts

Boil sugar, butter, milk and salt for 6 minutes, start timing after mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and German's chocolate, and marshmallow cream. Beat until everything is melted. Stir in nuts. Pour into a buttered 9x13 pan and let cool for at least 3 hours to set up. If you cover it, will will stay pliable and moist, but most people tend to like their fudge to dry out a little, in that case, store it uncovered or loosely covered.




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3/10/08

Bacon Crisps

Some readers might be surprised to know that I don't watch TV food shows. I don't mean that I don't watch 'many' or 'only sometimes'. I mean, I do not watch food shows. Period. I don't, because I don't watch any television. I used to watch them... but I quit watching TV in the Fall of 1998 and haven't bothered with it since.

I don't live in a cave though, and I've obviously seen bits and pieces of shows when I'm shopping in a store, or are at other peoples homes, or even when I go downstairs to our Family Room and the tv in the basement is on. My kids actually don't watch tv either, but once in a great while my youngest daughter will have a crime investigation or decorating show on and so... I have seen Paul Deen once. She was using her hands to mix something in a bowl (meatloaf?) and I smiled. Finally! A REAL cook. Not one of the fake froo-froo chefs who have assistants do all their dirty work, never touch the food without a foot long wood spoon between them and the food item and she actually said something to the effect of 'that's why God gave her hands!'.

I knew when I saw the ingredients in this recipe that I would love it... and then I saw it was from Paula. *Big grin*


Paula Deen's Bacon Crisps

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 sleeve buttery rectangular crackers (recommended: Waverly Wafers)
1 pound sliced bacon cut in 1/2

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Place 1 teaspoon of the cheese on each cracker and wrap tightly with a strip of bacon. Place the wrapped crackers on a broiler rack on a baking sheet and put the baking sheets on the oven rack. Bake for 2 hours, or until the bacon is done. Do not turn. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot or at room temperature

Cook's note: You can also bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes if you're in a hurry!
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3/9/08

Brown Sugar Nut Cake

Years ago, when we lived in Nashville, Tennessee, we wanted to take a vacation to the beach but didn't know where we wanted to go. After some information-digging we decided on South Carolina. That was back in 1994 and we've been going back every single year since then! We LOVE the Carolina's and only wish that fate, providence or God would send us that way to live and not just visit! LOL.

On a whim, I was doing some searches online for South Carolina recipes. Click upon click upon click led me to this yummy one posted by; Charleston Cake Lady. I copied it to my recipe files but I am not sure which website I found it on. Suffice to say we might all owe the Charleston Cake Lady a 'thank you' after eating this one. Yum!


Brown Sugar Nut Cake

3 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1 c pecans, finely chopped
1 1/2 c margarine or sweet butter,softened
2 c firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 c milk
1 t vanilla extract

Do not preheat the oven. Grease and flour a 12-cup tube pan. Sift 3 cups of the flour and baking powder together. Set aside. In a small bowl, toss the nuts with the remaining 1/4 cup flour. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the margarine and dark brown and granulated sugars and beat on low speed until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Alternately add the sifted dry ingredients and milk. Mix well. Beat in the vanilla. Gently fold in the floured nuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and set the oven temperature to 325º. Bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Just before you take the cake from the oven, in a microwavable bowl, put 1/2 stick butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup water and 3 TBS bourbon Whiskey. heat and mix up well, heat in microwave (or you can use a saucepan and use the stove) until just comes to a boil, then remove. While it is hot, take the cake from the oven. Loosen the sides of the cake but do not remove from the pan. Slowly pour the sauce all over the cake. Loosen the sides of the cake again with a butter knife to let it all seep down.

Cool cake IN the tube pan. When cooled, loosen and remove. The cake will have a crunchy sugar crust...a very tasty crunchy sugar crust!!
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3/8/08

Coconut Cream Pie

In the Spring, especially just before Easter, I always start to crave coconut. I've never noticed it before until I was thinking about it this morning. I start to make homemade almond joy candies, and imagine big triple layer coconut cakes and coconut cookies.... This recipe for a coconut pie is a 'quick and simple' country recipe that is listed in quite a few of my old church fundraising cookbooks from the 50's - 80's. I call it a 'country' pie because of the self rising flour and lack of garnish. It's just a quick, filling coconut pie for family. Nothing pretentious about it.

Coconut Cream Pie

4 eggs
1/2 c self rising flour
1 1/3 c sugar
1/2 stick butter, soft
2 c milk
1 t vanilla
1 8 oz. bag of flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, beat all ingredients together, put in a greased 10" pie pan and bake for 45 min. Remove and let cool for 1 hour so it can 'set up' and then refrigerate for 2-6 hours before serving.
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3/7/08

Scandinavian Almond Bars

I don't know if my Scandinavian heritage is showing through or if it's just a personal choice, but when I choose a cookie or bar I'm more likely to go for 'almond' and 'pastry' than I am for anything chocolate or overly sweet. Even as a child I was drawn more to these types of things. Something that would have been perfect with a cup of coffee... had I been a coffee drinker at 8. (Ha ha ha). You can get 3-4 dozen out of this recipe after they are cut into strips.

Scandinavian Almond Bars


1 3/4 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 c butter
1 c granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 t almond extract
Milk
1/2 c sliced almonds
1 c sifted powdered sugar
1/4 t almond extract
4 t milk


Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and the 1/2 tsp of almond extract and beat well. Add the flour mixture and beat until dough forms as soft ball. Divide the dough into four equal portions.

Roll each portion into a 12 inch long 'log'. Place 2 of the logs 4-5 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Gently use a rolling pin to flatten the logs to a 3 inch wide bar. Repeat with the remaining rolls. Brush each flattened log with a little milk and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Bake in 325 degree oven for 12-14 minutes or until edges are lightly golden in color. While still warm, cut crosswise diagonally into 1" strips. Cool completely on a wire rack. Stir together the powdered sugar the 1/4 tsp almond extract and enough of the milk to make icing a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over the cooled bars.
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3/6/08

Homemade CopyCat Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies


NOTE: the Homemade Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies are on our Christmas Tray *every* year!

I've been making my own Caramel D'lites, Thin Mints and Twix cookies for about 15 years now. I also make Salted Nut Rolls but they are such a messy pain in the back side that I figure it's worthwhile to buy them if I'm craving them... LOL. But as for the mint cookies? Here you go. One that is ultra fast and simple... and a more labor intense version for when they switched to a chocolate wafer a few years ago instead of the original cookie.

Faux Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies

Ritz Crackers
Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips or Chocolate Almond Bark
Peppermint Oil flavoring (more intense than extract)


Amounts are completely up to you based on how many you want to make.

Start with about 3/4 of a bag (or 6 oz.) of the chocolate chips and melt in the microwave, stirring often, or double boiler or over very low heat. Stir in about 1/4 t of peppermint oil (add by drops until you get a strong, delicious taste you like. Stronger is better than weaker but don't trust your taste buds after the first taste or two, employ a 'helper' to dip a cracker and do a taste test.) Work quickly so your chocolate doesn't set up while you are dipping, or keep it warming in a bowl or pan over another pan of hot water (double boiler style). You can get about 1 sleeve of crackers dipped with about 6-8 oz. chocolate chips. If your chocolate is too thick to dip correctly you can add 1 tablespoon of vegetable shortening and stir smooth. Don't add butter or water it will seize.

Using a fork, dip the Ritz crackers one by one to cover in the melted minty chocolate coating and let the excess drip off before laying on parchment paper or wax paper. Let harden or if you are in a rush, refrigerate to harden. With the scalloped edge of the cracker they look and taste like the 'real' thing for pennies on the dollar.


Ok... for those of you who want the chocolate wafers.

1 package chocolate fudge cake mix
3 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup cake flour
1 egg
3 T water
nonstick cooking spray

Combine the cookie ingredients in a large bowl, adding the water a little bit at a time until it forms a dough. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a portion of the dough very thin (about 1/16 " thick). Cut out 1 1/2 inch wafers using a scalloped cookie or biscuit cutter. If you do not have one, use a juice glass, the lid of a spice jar or even a clean cutter from your kids play-doh set if they have one! Bake for about 10 minutes until crisp but don't let them burn. Let them cool completely and then dip the same way as stated above. If you make the chocolate wafers you'll need about 2 1/2 - 3 bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips to cover all the wafers.

Can be frozen for storage.





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3/5/08

Homemade Winter Squash Pasta and Spinach Pasta



Last week I blogged that my parents had come to visit and brought not only some cheese they had purchased in bulk from a local Mennonite auction, but a few other things, including containers my Dad had pulled out of the freezer and brought to me without my mother immediately knowing. They were labeled "Squash" on the top by a hastily scribbled marker. That's all I knew about them.


I honestly thought I'd probably whip up a cream soup out of the squash. It was already baked and scraped into this container, then frozen. But when I opened the container yesterday I had another idea. Pasta. I love making homemade spinach pasta, so why not take the same idea and use squash in its place? Let's go!


Homemade Spinach Pasta
Homemade Butternut Squash Pasta

1 egg
1/2 t olive oil
4-5 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and briefly cooked
or 1/2 - 3/4 c butternut squash puree - already baked and scraped from the shell

Place into the bowl of a food processor and whirl until smooth.

Add 1 1/2 c flour
1/2 t salt

Process just until it gathers to a ball. Let set 10 minutes before working with it.

Roll it out very thin on a lightly floured surface, or if you have an Italian pasta machine, roll it out in portions starting at 1 and thinning it down to a 3 or 4. If you have rolled it thin by hand, now use a pizza cutter to slice it into 1/2 inch strips, or even 1 inch if you like your noodles wide. With the pasta machine, make it into noodles if you have the attachment or lay it out and use the pizza cutter as well. This pasta is also perfect for making homemade ravioli with if you cut it into squares, fill and seal instead of slicing into pasta strips. Use right away by dropping in boiling water and boiling for about 8 minutes. Toss with butter, salt and pepper or your favorite sauce or use in a chicken noodle soup! If you want to let them dry, just let them dry on the counter overnight, flipping the next morning and continuing to dry or if you have a pasta drying rack, let hang over night or to the next day until dried. Store in a sealed ziplock in the freezer until use.



Stop processing when it forms a ball

Butternut Squash pasta, Spinach Pasta and a blended squash/spinach pasta dough


In order from the left; Squash/Spinach Pasta, Spinach Pasta and Butternut Squash Pasta






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3/3/08

Chocolate Chocolate Cake - Quick and Easy using Store Bought Products


Chocolate Chocolate Cake

1 box of moist supreme chocolate cake mix
1-1/4 cups of water
1/3 cups of canola oil
4 egg whites
1 can (15.75-oz) chocolate pie filling

1 can chocolate frosting
8-oz container of chocolate cool whip, thawed

Prepare the cake mix as directed using the water, oil and egg whites. Spread the batter into a prepared 9X13" pan. Drop the pie filling by the heaping teaspoonfuls evenly over the batter. Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degree until done in the center. Cool completely.

Combine the frosting and cool whip, blend well and spread over the cooled cake. Top with chocolate curls for garnish if you want even more chocolate!
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Oreo Cream Pie or Cookies and Cream Pie


I admit... I'm probably one of the only Moms in America that doesn't buy Oreo's. It's true. I don't. I don't regularly purchase any cookies and very little 'junk' food. The kids tend to snack on healthier snacks. Perhaps because it's what I've always kept in the house, but they tend to choose cheese (lots of cheese!), crackers, pretzels, vegetables and ranch dip, yogurt, 100% fruit juice gummies, etc. for snacks - even when we have cookies or candies in the house. My 15 year old son asked for Oreo's when I went shopping last. I said I'd pick some up. He had them that evening with milk but here we were a week later and still had 3/4 of a package left. That was perfect because I saw a picture of a 'Cookies and Cream Fluff' recipe (that I couldn't make because I didn't have store bought pudding on hand) and my mind started racing with a pie idea.

Typical me... I didn't follow any recipe and I made it up, but really, when it comes to this sort of dessert it's pretty easy to 'wing it'.


Oreo Cream Pie
(Cookies and Cream Pie)


2 c graham cracker crumbs, fine
4 T sugar
1/3 c butter, melted

1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese, soft
1 c powdered sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 c heavy cream
15 Oreo's, crushed into large chunks


Mix the graham crumbs, butter and sugar together and press firmly into a large deep dish pie plate or the bottom of a serving dish or pan. A 9X13 inch pan would yield thin bars, a 10" square would make thick 4" dessert squares... your choice. Putting another pan the same size on top and pressing down firmly is an easy way to make the crust even and ensure firm pressure all the way around. Let set while you mix up the filling.



In a large mixing bowl cream the cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the heavy cream and pulse to mix for 30 seconds until it starts to blend. Mix on high until it thickens into a smooth whipped cream, about 1 minute in a large KitchenAid mixer. Fold in the crushed Oreo's and place into the graham crust. Smooth the top. Chill in the refrigerator. Can be eaten immediately but if you can, chill at least 12 hours. This makes for a delicious taste as well as the pie setting up perfect for slicing.
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3/2/08

Garlic Cheese Spread... Lava Loaf... Garlic Bread

Our family eats so much garlic I sometimes buy the large container of peeled fresh garlic from Costco that restaurants use! I've found it's a budget friendly way to spend about $7 on what would have cost me at least $50 at the grocery store. I use them for a couple weeks and then when I suspect they need to be used up quickly to stay fresh I mince the whole lot of them and freeze the minced garlic in the deep freeze, cutting off or scooping out amounts I need over the next month or two.

We eat garlic bread about once a week. Typically it's a cheesy garlic spread of some sort. Garlic and cream cheese with either mayonnaise or sour cream is the basis of many... and here is one more!

Garlic Cheese Spread

1 - 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1/4 c sour cream
1/4 c fresh grated parmesan cheese
2 T mayonnaise
1 T parsley - dried
6 t minced garlic
1/2 t garlic salt
1/2 t onion powder


Mix and spread on one loaf of French bread, sliced on the diagonal. Bake at almost any temperature, best between 350 - 375 until the tops are bubbling and light golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.
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