2/28/10

You Just Can't Ruin a Roast in the Crock Pot.... unless you over cook it


Sundays are never lazy days around our busy household. On the contrary, my husband works almost every weekend and my son works Saturday and Sundays as well. To mix it up a bit this weekend my college-age daughter and her two friends were here stopping to sleep on their way back to college after a road-trip to Texas for their Spring Break. After saying goodbye to the girls and returning to the now empty kitchen I grabbed a roast out of the refrigerator I had placed there on Friday with anticipation of making 'at some point' this weekend.

Today is the day.

As I opened the cupboard to add spices and herbs to the roast I realized that a nice beef roast in the crock pot is one of those foods you can add almost anything to and it's going to taste good. Ok... even though he isn't here right now, I know my 17 year old son would at this point say to me with a grin... "So Mom, I could add toothpaste or Cheerios to it and it's still going to taste good?" So let me add "WITHIN REASON!" Please don't add toothpaste or cereal to your roast.

But if you put a roast in the crock pot with little more than salt and pepper... it's going to taste good. If you add a dry packet of onion soup and a cup of water... it's going to taste good. Cover it with garlic, salt, pepper and parsley... it's going to taste good. Add a cup of red wine and a handful of cleaned and sliced mushrooms... it's going to taste good.

See where I'm going with this? The only thing you don't want to do is over cook it so it becomes dry shoe leather. Other than that, add a few things and you are well on your way to a delicious dinner.

This time around here is what I did:

Roast in the Crock Pot

1 pot roast, 3 to 4 pounds
3 T flour
salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, halved, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 t dried marjoram
light sprinkle of dried thyme (about 1/2 t)
1 small bay leaf
1 c beef broth
1 c water with 2-3 T vinegar
1 can petite diced tomatoes

Place the beef roast in the crockpot and top and surround with the other ingredients. Cook on high 6-8 hours until beef is tender. Serve with a side of garlic mashed potatoes, green beans and homemade rolls for a delicious Sunday dinner.
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Pumpkin Pie - It's Not Just for Thanksgiving Anymore!

Although people tend to think about pumpkin goods in Autumn, I'm one of those odd-balls that love vegetables in any shape or form and love pumpkin muffins, breads, bars and pie year round. It's easy to find good pumpkin recipes being traded in October and November, but they tend to disappear after Thanksgiving.

I found this recipe tucked away in my files from one of my favorite catalogs to browse and buy from; The King Arthur Flour Company. I love getting their catalog not only for the product selection and (wishful thinking on my part) but for the recipes I can clip and save. This recipe is from 2007 but I loved the oats in the crust, which is what caught my attention and made it a keeper in my collection.


Pumpkin Pie

Crust

2/3 cup (2 1/4 ounces) old-fashioned or quick rolled oats, ground for 30 seconds in a food processor
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) King Arthur whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3 to 4 tablespoons (1 1/2 to 2 ounces) cold milk or half and half

Filling
15-ounce can puréed pumpkin
3 large eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) half and half or light cream
3/4 cup (9 ounces) honey
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) melted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dark or spiced rum, optional

To make the crust: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the oats, flours, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut the butter into small cubes, and work it into the dry ingredients (using your fingers, a pastry blender or fork, or a mixer) until the dough is unevenly crumbly. Sprinkle in the milk, continuing to mix until the dough is cohesive. Grab a handful; if it holds together willingly, and doesn’t seem at all dry or crumbly, you’ve added enough liquid.

Shape the dough into a disk. Roll its edges along a floured work surface (as though the disk were a wheel), in order to smooth them out. Pat the disk till it’s about 1" thick, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 3 days.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Allow it to warm a bit and become flexible, 15 to 30 minutes. Flour your work surface, and roll the dough into a 12" circle. It may crack a bit around the edge; that’s OK. Just patch the crust once it’s in the pan. Transfer the dough to a regular (not deep-dish) 9" pie pan that’s at least 1 ¼" deep. Trim and crimp the edges, making a tall crimp. Place the crust in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the filling. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, mix together all of the filling ingredients until smooth.

To assemble and bake the pie: Remove the crust from the refrigerator. Pour in the filling. Cover the edge of the crust with a crust shield, or aluminum foil. Place the pie on the bottom rack of your oven, and bake it for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, move the pie to the middle rack, and bake for an additional 35 minutes, or until the temperature at the center is at least 170°F, and a knife inserted 1" from the edge comes out moist, but clean. Remove the pie from the oven, and cool to room temperature (or chill) before serving. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.


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2/23/10

Too Easy! Chicken Enchiladas with Green Sauce

The housewife and Mom in me from 5 years ago cringes but the working-Mom who walks in the door at 5:30 pm with her arms full to deposit her purse, the daily mail, work from home files and a bag from Target where she stopped on the way home to buy cat food and then immediately starts to cook dinner for her family while still in high heels and pearls... smiles and sighs in relief.

It was almost too easy. Chicken Enchiladas with Green Sauce, a side of seasoned rice and a second side of fat free, vegetarian refried beans with black beans... and it was delicious.



While shopping at Super Target on Superbowl Sunday (because I certainly would NOT be watching a football game...) I saw they had finger foods for sale and they were quite affordable. I bought a box of chicken taquitos knowing it would save me the trouble of purchasing the chicken and corn tortillas and then cooking, shredding and seasoning the chicken, rolling them up into the corn tortillas and sealing them.

My family loves Mexican food so while in the ethnic foods aisle I saw canned enchilada sauce (again... I only make mine from scratch) and decided on a whim to add a can of sauce to the cart. I chose one green and one traditional red.

Later that week I had one of 'those' days when work, errands and the commute got me home just minutes before I usually have dinner on the table. No problem! The Taquitos were put into the serving dishes (2) and topped with the sauce(s) and then microwaved while I heated refried beans on the stove and added drained and rinsed black beans.

As the Taquitos were now warmed through, I added a mixture of shredded cheese on top of each and placed them in the oven to finish while I grabbed a 'cook in the bag' seasoned Southwestern rice mixture to the microwave. As the rice finished 4 minutes later, the cheese was melted on the Chicken Enchiladas, the side of black beans was put into a serving dish and all was placed on the table with salsa and side of tortilla chips.

It was delicious and completely done in 10 minutes.

Always frugal, store-purchased Taquitos will not be on my everyday list as they are usually too high priced, as most prepared foods are. But if you can find a great sale and you want an easy meal in a hurry, this one fits the bill and it got a thumbs up from my whole family.
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2/21/10

What is Nalysnyky?

Today America features some of best foods from around the world thanks to our diverse nationalities. I'm thankful as ever for the internet and for sites like Wikipedia where I got this photo for Nalysnyky - pronounced (na-lish-na-key) - or if you prefer; 'Ukrainian Crepes'. Basically, Nalysnyky is.... a thin pancake. I found fillings calling for cottage cheese dill and others taking more of a sweet approach with raspberries or strawberries and cream.

Being more of a savory type person than sweet, this recipe found itself in my files years ago by luring me in with one of my favorite foods; cheese! The Nalysnyky recipe can be doubled or tripled as it will only make about 8-10 crepes.

Nalysnyky

2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
3 T water
1/2 c flour
1/4 t of salt
oil

Beat the eggs with a beater until light, add milk and water, beat again. Gradually add the flour and salt, continuing to beat as you add the flour. Beat until smooth. The batter will be thin. Pour a few tbsps of batter into the center of a heated and greased small frying pan. Tilt the pan to distribute the batter evenly across the bottom. Cook over moderate heat. When lightly browned on the bottom and firm to the touch on top remove cake to a plate. Continue frying in this manner until the batter is used up.

Filling for Nalysnyky

2 cups of dry cottage cheese
2 egg yolks
2 T cream
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tsp of dill (dry or fresh)
2-3 cups of cream to cover
2 tbsps of soft butter

Combine cottage cheese, egg yolks, 2tbsps of cream, salt and dill until smooth in texture. Add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of cream if mixture appears to thick. Spread filling down the center of each Nalysnyky and roll each into a tube. Lay the Nalysnyky side by side in a buttered casserole dish .Spread 1 tablespoon of butter over each layer. You may have up to 2 layers. Pour the 2-3 cup of cream over the Nalysnyky and cover with foil. Bake at 325*F for 30 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking.

Updated: I was thrilled to receive feedback from a reader who offered this bit of a 'hint' to make a delicious and quick chicken version;

"... I wanted to recommend ground chicken for the inside. We usually just buy a rotisserie chicken that's already cooked to save time. Pick the meat off, run it through a food processor or meat grinder and with some salt, pepper, garlic, caramelized onions, whatever you like. Simply stuff and roll. They make an excellent dinner with some sour cream or cheese sprinkled on top and a side salad."

Thanks Kelly!!!! I love hearing from my readers!
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Product Review: Shrimp and Crab Stuffed Ravioli

Twenty years ago my husband and I lived in Southern California and were members of a large membership warehouse where we bought our groceries. Over the next two decades whenever we've lived in a large city where one of the two major membership warehouses were nearby, we continued to enjoy membership and savings and availability of the grocery products. Almost everyone knows the type of retail store I'm talking about most of you probably have joined or at least shopped with a friend in one.

One of the products I like from the membership warehouses is their stuffed pasta. This version was a simple crab and shrimp stuffed ravioli. Although bland with just butter and salt and pepper and not quite 'right' to serve with a red Italian sauce, the perfect addition (I feel) to seafood stuffed pasta is an alfredo sauce.

Here is a quick and simple idea for you to try if you are interested. I made a very simple alfredo sauce (use your favorite recipe) and added grated smoked gouda cheese to add a bit of a twist on the flavor. As the sauce thickened I sauteed onions in a pan until they were caramelized.


Topping the cooked and drained pasta with a smoked Gouda infused alfredo sauce and garnishing with caramelized onions? Mmmm. Perfection.
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A homemade white sour cream cake




This morning I was looking over some of my recipe files from 2007 and found this one for a homemade white cake. When I looked over the ingredients it sounded very, very similar to the two cakes I made for my daughters birthdays that winter. So very similar that i might even be a copy of it - even though I had this one in a file marked so I knew I hadn't used it yet. Still, with thousands of recipes in my collection and the way recipes are handed down between friends and families and the billions printed in cookbooks, it's possible I have this in my records a number of times.




White Almond Sour Cream Cake

2  boxes white cake mix
2 c all-purpose flour
2 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 t salt
2 2/3 c milk
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 t real vanilla
2 t almond extract
2 c sour cream
8 large egg whites, room temperature

Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together with a wire whisk. Add the remaining ingredients and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into greased and floured cake pans, filling each pan about half full. Lightly tap cake pans on counter to bring air bubbles to top. Cut through batter with a toothpick or tip of a knife to break large bubbles. Bake in preheated 325° F oven until cake tests done. Cool and decorate as you wish.





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Homemade Spaghetti O's

About 4 years ago I came across this recipe and stuck it in my files. It was fun and quirky and interesting. Unfortunately I've not made them but they look rather fun!

Homemade Spaghetti O's or Abc' and 123's

3 cans tomato soup
1 can water
1 can milk
1 lb. small pasta rings
6 oz. shredded Velveeta cheese
salt

Cook and drain pasta according to package. Mix all ingredients together, heat through until cheese is melted.
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Homemade Chocolate Cake

Given the choice I would choose white cake and white frosting. I'd also probably choose vanilla ice cream and other vanilla choices over chocolate but I know I'm the odd one out.  I've not made this yet but it's been in my files for about 7 or 8 years now. I think perhaps it's time I made it for my family... it's something I know my husband and kids will love!


Homemade Chocolate Cake

2 c flour
2 c sugar
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 1/3 c milk, divided
1/2 c butter, softened
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sugar
4 T butter
2 T cornstarch
2 eggs
4 T milk
1 t vanilla

In a large bowl, mix flour, 2 cups sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add 1 cup of milk and 1/2 cup butter; mix well. Add 2 eggs, 1/3 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla and chocolate and mix for 11/2 minutes at low speed. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, 4 tablespoons butter and cornstarch until blended. Add 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Blend well. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 13-by-9-inch pan. Spread half of the cake batter in the pan. Carefully spoon the cream cheese batter on top. Spoon and spread the remaining cake batter on top of the cream cheese layer, covering all of the cream cheese layer with cake
batter. Bake 50-60 minutes. Cool before icing
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2/20/10

Tiramisu Part II

This one is actually a second version of one of my favorite desserts, but it's not the version I typically make. I like to make the authentic version of Tiramisu, which uses eggs. This one does not, which makes it a favorite of many others.

Tiramisu


8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups whipping cream, divided
1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/4 cup coffee liqueur
2 (3-ounce) packages ladyfingers
1 teaspoon cocoa


Beat cheese, sugar, and 1/2 cup whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat remaining 2 cups whipping cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold into cheese mixture.

Stir together 1 cup hot water and coffee granules until dissolved. Stir in liqueur. Split ladyfingers in half, and brush cut sides of ladyfingers evenly with coffee mixture.

Arrange one-fourth of ladyfingers in bottom of a 4-quart trifle bowl. Top with one-fourth of cheese mixture. Repeat layers 3 times. Sprinkle with cocoa. Chill tiramisu at least 2 hours.
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Meatballs

I saw this recipe in my files tonight and it made me smile. I was reminded of when I was pregnant with my first child and trying to cook for my husband and I while being extremely nauseated. Even on a good day when the nausea had passed, I would have trouble cooking certain foods. Ground beef was one of them. I could never have made Meatballs, chili, taco meat filling or spaghetti sauce back then!

Meatballs

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 t ground black pepper
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
4 slices bread, torn and pinched into small bits
1/4 c milk
1/3 c Italian flavored breadcrumbs
1/4 c fresh parsley OR 2 TB. dried parsley flakes
2 T minced dehydrated garlic powder
1-2 T minced onions
Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl mix all ingredients well. Shape into balls approximately 2" in size, dividing the raw meatballs evenly on cookie sheets. Fill pans with about 1/2 " water then carefully place the pans in preheated oven and bake for about 45 Minutes. Drain liquid out of pans. Makes approximately 35-40 meatballs. Great to freeze half and use the other half with your favorite sauce.
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Got Cake-ability in Your Cupboard and Need to Use it Up?

Pulling a few of my low-carb recipes out of my files tonight I noted one for cheesecake that sounded delicious because it used green tea in the recipe.  For those of you who already do low-carb and may have bought a few 'odd' ingredients and now have Cake-ability left to use up - this one is for you.

Green Tea Cheesecake with Splenda

1 1/4 c Splenda
6 egg whites
6 egg yolks
1/4 t cream of tartar
3/8 c half-n-half
6 green tea bags
1/2 stick butter
1 8-oz. package + 1 tbsp cream cheese
1 T lemon juice
1/4 c Wise CHOice Cake-ability Baking Aid**
1/4 t salt

Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan with greaseproof baking paper or parchment paper. If using a springform pan, line the outside with foil so the batter doesn't leak out.

Scald the half-n-half in a saucepan. Do not boil. The ideal temperature is 180 F. Pour the half-n-half in a cup, add the tea bags, and steep the tea for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the tea bags and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

Melt cream cheese, butter and tea mixture over a double boiler. Cool the mixture.

Combine the Cake-ability Baking Aid and salt in a small bowl.

To the cream cheese mixture, fold in the Cake-ability mixture, egg yolks, 1 tbsp lemon juice and mix until smooth. If lumps remain at this stage, they will not come out later. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the Splenda and beat until soft peaks form.

Lighten the cheese mixture by mixing it with 1/3 of the egg white mixture.

Add the rest of the egg white mixture to the cheese mixture and gently fold. The batter should be well combined.

Bake cheesecake in a water bath (the water should be warm but not boiling) for 1 hours 10 minutes or until set and golden brown.

**Cake-ability is no longer available commercially but one of the most popular substitutes for Cake-Ability is;

1/4 c egg white powder
1 t xanthan gum
1 T baking soda
1 Vitamin C tablet

Crush the vitamin C tablet in a coffee grinder.  Blend all and use in place of cake-ability.
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2/19/10

And the Winner's of the Quizno's Choose 2 Menu Gift Cards Are........

It's only early morning but I'm serving up some sandwiches, soups and salads from "Quiznos Choose 2 Menu!".

As I call your order, come up to the cyber counter and get it! I took orders by comments and by email so from all the orders that came in, let's choose not one... not two... but three lucky customers who get their choice of lunch today.

First Order Chosen at Random: Broccoli Cheese Soup & the Pesto Turkey Sandwich (Corrina)

Second Order Drawn Randomly... this person says she has a killer sinus infection and can't taste anything but she would like to order; The Turkey Club and Tomato Basil Soup (GTIChick)

Last Grand Prize Order Drawn at Random from all orders placed by comments or email: Alpine Chicken Sammie and a bowl of Chili (Marlene)


Thanks to all of you who entered and a special thanks to Shift Communications and Quinzos for sponsoring this contest on the American Housewife website!



***GTICHICK, CORRINA and MARLENE please email me with your contact information so I can mail your gift cards out to you!


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2/17/10

Quiznos.... Choose 2! And Win a Gift Card!


It's 12:32 p.m. You're sitting at your desk and your stomach is growing. A bowl of Broccoli Cheese Soup and a Veggie Flatbread Sandwich sounds heavenly.....

It's 11:45 a.m. and you leave for lunch in 15 minutes. A Turkey Pesto Sandwich on a Baguette with a Cobb Salad is calling your name....

It's 5:25 p.m. and on your way to your childs middle school track meet. Your stomach is telling you that a flatbread sandwich and Chipotle Raspberry Salad would work perfectly as a quick and delicious meal on your way to the track.

With the recent launch of the Quiznos Choose 2 menu, which features several low-calorie meal combos, as well as vitamin enriched breads, Quiznos is proving that you can make smart (and tasty) choices while grabbing food on the go. Below is some additional information:

Monday, Feb. 8, Quiznos started to offer fortified breads that provide customers with eight essential vitamins, antioxidants, vitamin E and zinc. Their Choose 2 menu allows customers to select two entrees (bullets, sammies, soups or salads) for just $5.



In honor of the Choose 2 menu, Quiznos wants to offer 3 of my readers a chance to WIN a gift card you can use to mix and match the menu that sounds good to YOU. Two (2) $5 gift cards will be given to two lucky readers as well as one $15 gift card you can use to feed the family or horde it all to yourself!

All you need to do is comment or email me with your answer to this question; If you were at Quiznos right now and ordering from their Choose 2 Menu, which would you choose?

On Friday, February 19th (that's THIS Friday) I will choose, by random drawing of the entries that listed their 'Choose 2' choice, three winners from both comments and email entries. Your name/email/contact information will not be used for any other purpose than this one (1) drawing and will not be shared with anyone.
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Caramel Thumbprints

Back in the mid 90's I started to receive a cooking magazine called Taste of Home. Around 1999 (I'm pulling this out of the depths of my brain here as I stopped receiving it in 2002) there was a cookie recipe similar to a Raspberry Thumbprint but was filled with a dab of melted chocolate instead of jam. I made my own version of these for years and started to drizzle melted caramel across them to give them a finished look. I was surprised when I saw online that Taste of Home then updated a version of that recipe around 2004 by flip-flopping the ingredients; caramel filling with chocolate drizzle. It was a moment of "why didn't I think of that!?" in all those years I made chocolate with caramel, why not caramel with chocolate!?

Caramel Thumbprints

1/2 c butter, softened
2/3 c sugar
1 egg -- separated
2 T milk
1 t vanilla extract
1 c flour
1/3 c baking cocoa
1/4 t salt
1 c finely chopped pecans in a food processor pulse mode
Filling:
12 to 14 caramels
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg yolk, milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa and salt; add to the creamed mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle. Roll into 1-in. balls. Beat egg white. Dip balls into egg white and coat with nuts. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make a 1/2-inch indentation in the center of each ball. Bake at 350' for 10-12 minutes or until set. The 'holes' you made will puff a bit and be smaller now. Remove to wire racks to cool. Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, melt caramels with cream over low heat; stir until smooth. Using about 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture, fill each cookie. In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening. Drizzle over cookies.
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2/15/10

Keurig Chai Latte? Delicious! I Will Buy Them Again!

Knock on wood... my latest Keurig coffee brewer has been working just fine. Maybe the third time is a charm? (My regular readers know we are on our third since last June as the first two only worked for a few weeks before freezing up on us and refusing to do anything but sit there and glow blue.)

Yesterday I was finishing up a short shopping trip to my local grocery store when I walked through the coffee aisle and paused to see if they had my husbands favorite bold Emeril blend of K-cups for our Keurig machine. They didn't, but my eyes were drawn to the Cafe Escapes Chai Latte K-Cups. I'm a bold, black and piping hot coffee kind of girl but as I debated, realized a tea latte might be rather nice in the evening when I want to relax with something hot but I don't want coffee, don't care for black tea and don't enjoy flavored tea's. I'm not a fan of hot chocolate or cocoa either so my choices are limited!

Last night I brewed my first cup of Chai Latte for Keurig and... wow! Delicious! It's a black tea with warm and comforting spices including cinnamon, cardamom and clove; smoothed by a splash of milk and sugar or honey. (The box says sugar but their website says honey - perhaps they are switching over to honey and I bought a sugar sweetened variety.)

They are a little pricey; my grocery store sold a 12 pack for about $9 but admittedly, this is a product I think I'm going to enjoy having on hand as an alternative to coffee. As a matter of fact I've just sipped a cup of Chai Latte while I composed this morning's entry!
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2/14/10

The WINNER of the PERSONALIZED CUPS IS............


Congratulations to Barbara N. whose name was drawn at random this morning from all the entries (both by email and comments) in the Twist-ID Personalized Cup Contest. An email has been sent to Barbara this morning asking for her to contact me with her shipping information. Barbara - if you are reading this, check your email!!!

A NEW CONTEST IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!

Thanks to the people at Quizno's I'm going to make 3 lucky readers happy when they receive a gift card to try their new Choose Two Menu. Look for the new Quizno's Contest soon!!


Edited to add: Barbara has contacted me and will be receiving her prize from Twist-ID products. Thanks for entering everyone and don't forget to watch for your chance to win in the QUIZNO'S contest - coming up next!



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2/12/10

Only 1 more Day to Enter the I Love My Colour Cups Contest!!!


Thanks to all of you who have emailed (or commented on the original entry post) to enter to win your own set of personalized cups from Twist-ID products. These plastic, dishwasher safe cups have two ways to personalize them. When you order you can personalize the cups with individual names or do the whole set in one name (like a family name or even a company or corporation name) and the second level of personalization comes by twisting the black band to choose the rainbow color you want for your cup. Children can't fight over whose cup was left on the counter when they know their color. Green, red, orange... John, Mary, Joe.... Enter to win your own set of six (6) personalized cups from Twist-ID by clicking on the link or the image above.
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White Chocolate Frosting



In honor of my husbands birthday I'm posting a recipe for frosting. Not just any frosting, but a white chocolate frosting. Enjoy.

White Chocolate Frosting

2-(4-oz) bars white chocolate, chopped
1/2 c boiling water
1 c butter, softened
1 (2-pound) package powdered sugar, sifted
1/8 t salt

Stir together white chocolate and 1/2 cup boiling water until chocolate melts. Cool; chill 30 minutes.

Beat chilled white chocolate mixture and butter at low speed with an electric mixer until blended. Beat at high speed 2 to 3 minutes or until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar and salt, beating at low speed until blended. Beat at high speed until smooth and fluffy.
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2/11/10

Valentine's Day Cookies and Anti-Valentine's Day Cookies... Done!

Every Valentine's Day I ask my readers if they've made their Valentine's Day cookies yet... and here I am again! Have you made them? Mine are done! Last weekend I made cookies for our family, cookies to send to my oldest daughter in college, cookies for work, as well as cookies for a special event for the legislature's in our metro area. In all, I made 12 dozen cookies last weekend.

I decorated them in different styles as I always make my original, now-traditional 'Anti' Valentine's Day cookies with the messages "Loser" "Geek" "No" "Umm Never" and other fun messages but I decided the cookies for the legislative members and the office might not see my humor.


A simple sugar cookie recipe and two different kinds of icing (one royal and one a glaze) left me with some very fun and different cookies... perfect for all 4 occasions to send to this week.

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2/7/10

Sausage and Cheese Dip

(Serving idea - this particular recipe not included)
For many of you today is a big football game day and plans have been made for a month to attend or host a football party. For others an invitation may have just come and you want a hearty dip to make. Bingo! This one is for you. So easy because it only has 3 ingredients but it's hearty and hot and can be served in a crockpot. However! I added the photo to the left to show an alternative way to serve it - which is one of my favorites.

Make or purchase a loaf of round bread, cut out the center of the bread and hallow it out, leaving about an inch all the way around and on the bottom. Cube the bread you remove and spray it with a butter or oil based cooking spray and lightly sprinkle it with an Italian seasoning blend or a tiny dusting of garlic and onion powder, chili powder or whatever seasoning your family or friends tend to like. If you don't know... then just spray and leave them unseasoned. Bake them in the oven at about 350 degree's until they are slightly toasted. Mix and melt the recipe in the microwave or stovetop and pour it into the hallowed out bread bowl. Serve the cubed bread with the dip.


Easy Sausage & Cheese Dip

1 lb. hot Italian sausage
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 lb. Velveeta processed cheese

Cook sausage and ground beef thoroughly, then drain. Slice or roughly chop the cheese and blend ingredients together and stir to mix in a crock pot. Heat until the cheese melts. Serve warm with corn chips, hearty tortillas, crackers or thin, toasted bread slices.
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Fresh Veggie Dip with beaumonde seasoning

When I was pregnant with my first child the ladies at the church where I worked as a secretary and receptionist held a baby shower for me. This is one of the vegetable dips made and served that day. It's a very old recipe - although I'm not sure how old, I know I see versions of it in old church cookbooks from the 40's. These days the typical vegetable dip is made by mixing a packet of ranch style dressing mix with sour cream... which admittedly is quite delicious, but for something a little different and fresher tasting, this one is for you!


Dip for Fresh Vegetables

2 t dill weed
2 t beaumonde seasoning
2 t chopped fresh parsley
2 t chopped fresh chives or 1 t chopped onion
1 c mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
1 c sour cream

Mix thoroughly and chill.
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2/6/10

Musings of a Housewife: Valentine Cookie Baking and The My Colour Cup Contest Reminder!

This morning I'm sipping my coffee and gearing up for yet another busy Saturday.

Paying bills will start me off, followed by making double batches of both sugar cookie and M&M cookie dough, cleaning and laundry while it's chilling, decorating for a Father/Daughter Dance Fundraiser this afternoon and then hopefully, if there is enough help at the fundraiser, I can come home to bake cookies and get them into the freezer so I can spend tomorrow decorating them.

I had originally planned on making our family's annual Valentine cookies this weekend and thought I would double them to bring some to work, however I also somehow found myself volunteered to bake cookies for a special non-profit event going on this week at the state capital so up to my eyeballs in cookie dough, I'll be!

As I finish my (now cooling) coffee I just want to remind my readers of the personalized cup contest I'm currently holding with my sponsor, Twist-ID Products. A set of 6 durable, clear plastic, with a rainbow of color choices personalized band with your family or individual (or cow0rkers) names - could be yours on Valentine's Day simply by entering the My Colour Cup Contest by commenting or emailing your name and preferred email addy.

I've gotten quite a few entries by email (the comment section can be quirky so many are simply emailing) but there is an unlimited number of people who can enter so be sure to check out the link above and get your name in!
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2/5/10

Cream Cheese Wontons



These wontons are actually my family's favorite Chinese food of all - they are simple and delicious. If you don't mind the smell of oil in the air from frying them, they are well worth making! All you need is quite literally, two ingredients; cream cheese and wonton wrappers!



Cream Cheese Wontons

1 block (8 oz) cream cheese
1 package wonton wrappers
oil for frying


Lay out the wontons on the counter or a large baking sheet and make them assembly style. Use a butter knife to slice off a little cream cheese for each; slice and then slice again diagonally or cube them. It doesn't matter! The cheese is going to melt anyway.

Place a bit of cream cheese on half of the wonton, moisten the edge with either a finger dipped in water or you can use a slightly beaten egg white, fold on the center diagonal to form a triangle and seal. Place in hot grease and fry about 30 seconds on one side, flip and another 30-60 on the second side until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel. Serve as is, dusted with powdered sugar or with a sweet and sour sauce or (our favorite) plum sauce!




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2/4/10

Tiny Vegetable Sandwiches


When I say that today's post is for 'Tiny Vegetable Sandwiches' some people will think garden parties, tea and big hats. Wrong! These awesome little sandwiches are so adaptable I'd serve them in the garden to the 'ladies' as well as fix a big plate of them for the buffet table during the big game next to a similar sandwich with a meat filling (perhaps ham and cheese, turkey and swiss or an Italian blend).

Tiny Vegetable Sandwiches

1 (8-ounce) container cream cheese with onion and chives
1 (8-ounce) container cream cheese with garden vegetables
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 carrots, shredded
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 medium-size red bell pepper, diced
5 green onions, minced
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 teaspoon Beau Monde seasoning
18 very thin wheat bread slices, with crusts removed
18 very thin white bread slices, with crusts removed

Stir together the cheese, carrots, garlic, peppers, onions, pecans and seasoning. Spread cream cheese mixture on wheat bread slices, and top with white bread slices. Cut each sandwich into fourths. Chill up to 24 hours in an airtight container between layers of wax paper.
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2/3/10

Easy Last Minute Salsa and Bean Dip

My schedule has been so crazy lately that I had not noticed nor given thought to the "Big Game" (which we all know as SuperBowl but since the NFL is suing anyone who calls it that but them, we'll have to bow to the stupidity and call it the 'big game'). Personally I don't care about football games and I don't watch. However, my family loves the part I play in the whole big day as it's a day for "Football Food". This of course means... finger foods. Appetizers. Foods they can 'graze' on.

With that in mind, let's throw a few 'no brainer' recipes out there. Things you probably don't need a recipe for but perhaps just a reminder that they exist and you'll read it and say "Oh yeah! I forgot about that. I need to make one of those!" Remember; play with your food. Recipes are guides... but add and delete to your own tastes. In our family I'd add some black olives and chopped jalapeno's to this cold bean and salsa dip. I'd also try adding a can of refried beans and some cream cheese and heating it in a crock pot. Add. Delete. Have fun!

Salsa and Bean Dip

1 can black beans (drained)
1 can red (not kidney beans) beans (drained)
1 can white shoe-peg corn (drained)
4 green onions (chopped)
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
2 c salsa

Mix with a wooden spoon and serve with tortilla chips.






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2/1/10

3 Cheese Calizza

For readers who have been around since this websites start in 2006, you might remember my posts reminiscing of the Calizza I used to have at Pizza Hut back in 1987 (ish) when I was a teenager. Baked in a personal sized pizza pan, it was a cheese stuffed crust, folded over and served with sauce but not one bit of red sauce was included in the entree, nor was there any meat. I have to go purely on memory from 20 years ago, but I knew at the time it was full of a ricotta cheese filling with bits of something green.... and I loved them.

They soon stopped making them and I've been on a small quest over the past 10 or 15 years to try to recreate this dish. Last week I came close. I saw a recipe for a ricotta flan and although it was nothing like the Calizza, my creative mind started to spin and I decided to give it a go. In the end I was close... closer than ever before. There was one thing missing, which I'll comment on at the end.

Here is what I did;

3 Cheese Calizza

15 oz. Ricotta Cheese
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c grated Mozzarella
1 large egg
1 1/2 t chopped basil (use 2 T fresh or about 2 t jarred in oil)
1 1/2 t chopped chives, fresh
1 1/2 t minced/chopped garlic
1/4 t paprika
salt and fresh ground black pepper
Pizza Dough

Mix the cheeses, herbs and egg together until creamy. Divide your pizza dough into 4 balls and roll each into a flat circle on a pizza stone or a greased baking sheet. Divide the filling between the four, placing only on half of the circle, fold over and use a fork to seal the edges. Brush the tops with oil. Bake at 375 until golden brown. Brush with butter or oil when it comes out of the oven. Serve with either a side of pizza sauce or garlic butter.

*Comments
Herbs/Spices are approximate. Add more or less to your personal taste if you like heavy basil or oregano or garlic. The cheese amounts are approximate as well but the ricotta base is the most important. These were delicious but not like Pizza Hut's due to the fact they were not baked in a cast iron pan with lots of oil - as was Pizza Huts trademark Pan Pizza's and Calizzas. I will absolutely make these again, but will bake them in a small pie tin (as I don't have a personal pan pizza pan) with 2 T oil and will see if it makes the difference I'm looking for.


Mixing the cheeses



Seal the edges with a fork so the cheese filling doesn't leak out while baking


Bake until golden brown

Serve with pizza sauce or melted butter infused with garlic and parsley

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