Friday, December 2, 2016

Baked Caramel Corn

This is a recipe I've had for many years.  I think it originally came from a pamphlet of popcorn recipes.  We have enjoyed it over the years, it's quite addictive!  We really enjoy having it around for the holidays and giving it to friends. 

Baked Caramel Corn:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light or dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 quarts popped popcorn

Melt butter, stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Bring to boil while stirring constantly; boil without stirring 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in soda and vanilla.  Pour over popped popcorn, mixing well.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and divide the mixture between the pans.  Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Break into pieces and store in tightly covered container.  Makes 6 quarts.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Banana Bread and Cinnamon Butter

This is a wonderful bread when you have a surplus of overripe bananas!  As my bananas ripen, I throw them in the freezer, unpeeled.  When I have 6 or 7, I make this aromatic bread!  This recipe came from my friend, Jean.  She and I taught together for many years and she was always bringing in something homemade to share.  It's really tasty plain or, served with this cinnamon butter recipe I got from my cousin Deb.  Deb shared this with everyone on one of our "cousin" retreats.  She served it with pumpkin bread, which is another great choice!  Hope you enjoy one or both!

Banana Bread

1 stick butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chopped pecans
6 or 7 overripe bananas, mashed

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, mix.  Then add dry ingredients to mixture.  Add bananas and nuts.  Bake in tube pan at 275 degrees for 30 minutes then 325 degrees  about 45 minutes.  Serves 12.   It can also be baked in two loaf pans,  just adjust the baking time.

Cinnamon Butter
2 sticks butter
3 Tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 lb (4 cups) powdered sugar

Place all ingredients in a mixer or food processor and mix well.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

This chicken soup is so nicely flavored.  The garlic is not pronounced, just adds to the overall taste! It comes together quickly, especially when using a rotisserie chicken!

10 cups chicken broth
3 T. Olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet onion
1 large lemon, zested
meat from 1 rotisserie chicken,  or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cooked & shredded
1 cup Israeli (pearl) couscous
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup chopped chives
salt & pepper to taste

Peel onion, quarter and slice into thin strips.  Heat the oil in your soup pot, and once hot, saute the onion & minced garlic until it is nicely softened.  Make sure it's nice and soft!

Add the chicken stock, lemon zest and crushed red pepper to the pot and bring to a boil.  Add the chicken and simmer until chicken is warmed.

Add couscous, a teaspoon of salt and black pepper.  Simmer 5 minutes.

Serve with crumbled feta and chopped chive.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Chocolate Raspberry Mini Desserts

Chocolate and raspberries are a favorite of mine.  I also love serving mini desserts.  I've combined a few recipes to come up with this relatively easy dessert. 

Chocolate Raspberry Mini Desserts

For the Mousse layer:
5 ounces chocolate, I used Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
dash of salt
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 Tablespoons hot water

For the Whipped cream layer:
 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (Knox)
4 teaspoons cold water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Raspberry layer:
Any good quality raspberry jam, can use seeded or seedless
Fresh raspberries

To make the mousse layer:

Mix the cocoa powder and hot water, let cool while making the mousse.

Melt the 5 ounces of chocolate in a double boiler then cool for 5 minutes.

Combine the whipping cream, sugar and salt and, using an electric mixer, mix about 30 seconds.  Turn mixer to high and mix until stiff peaks form.

Whisk the cocoa mixture into the melted chocolate until smooth.

Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, then add remaining whipped cream and fold until there are no white streaks.  Set the mousse aside.

To make the whipped cream layer:

Place cold water in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over it, let sit for 5 minutes.
Once gelatin is set, place bowl in microwave and heat about 10 seconds, until gelatin turns to liquid.
Combine heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in bowl of electric mixer.
Begin beating cream mixture on high for about a minute, slowly pour the melted gelatin into the cream in a steady stream.
Continue beating the cream until you have medium stiff peaks.

To assemble:
Melt about 1/4 cup raspberry jam in the microwave. (You may need more).
Place a tablespoon or so in the bottom of your serving dish.
Ladle or pipe a portion of whipped cream on top of the jam and push 4-5 fresh raspberries into the cream.
Ladle or pipe a portion of the mousse mixture on top of the cream.
Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a raspberry.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.  These keep well, refrigerated, for several days.

You should get 4-6 desserts, depending on the size of your dessert dish.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Wild rice patties
Wild rice is one of my husband Ryan's favorite things. Luckily when we go back to Minnesota I can get it fairly inexpensively.  I decided to make up some wild rice patties. These are a great side dish and pretty easy. So here ya go!
1 cup wild rice
1 cup shredded cheese
1 small carrot shredded
1 egg
2 tbsp flour
dash of salt
dash of garlic powder

I like to combine this early in the day so the cakes can come together a bit. I also cook my rice in chicken broth. I used a gouda truffle cheese that I found at Costco and it was fantastic. I would recommend any good sharp cheddar or a pepper jack would also be good. These are pan fried in a little olive oil.  They can be a bit fragile, just keep reshaping them as they cook with your spatula.Fry until golden brown, then flip and cook them on the other side.  Enjoy
P.S. I used 1/2 cup dry wild rice,  to 1 1/2 cups water, you will have leftover rice for another use.

Monday, July 25, 2016


This is a delicious Sangria perfect for summer.  We usually have it on the boat when we gather together for our annual Blue Angels Day at Little Sabine Bay in Pensacola, Florida.  My niece, Tracy Doig got the recipe from her dear friend, Andy Turner.  You may use any fresh fruit you like.  This year we used fresh, sliced Chilton County peaches, orange slices and blueberries.  It was perfect!

Andy's Sangria

1 bottle each:  dry white wine, we used Chardonnay
                        sweet wine, we used Moscato

1/2 cup Peach Schnapps
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 bottle ginger ale (1 liter)

fruits of your choice:  peaches, oranges, mangoes, blueberries etc.

Everything should be chilled before you mix it together!
Combine all and chill well before serving.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Shortbread-Candied Ginger Cookies

 I love both shortbread and ginger.  This recipe is perfect to go along with tea or coffee.  They have just the right amount of sweetness and the ginger bits are delicious!  I'm a huge fan of using parchment paper to both roll out my cookies as well as bake on the parchment.  It just makes baking easier!  Enjoy.

Shortbread-Candied Ginger Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3 Tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 275 F.

Beat softened butter until creamy, gradually adding the sugar, beat well then stir in vanilla.

Stir together the flour, ginger and salt and gradually add to the butter mixture.  Beat at low speed until blended after each addition.

Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper and place dough on the surface (dough will be quite soft).  Roll out to 1/4"thick (I use parchment on top, too).  Cut out with a square 2" cookie cutter, placing each cut side by side.  Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment.  Re-roll scraps. 

Bake for 40 minutes until lightly browned on bottom.  Cool on cookie rack.  You should refrigerate 2nd batch until ready to bake. 
Makes 2 - 2 1/2 dozen cookies.  They freeze well.

Savory Breakfast Bread

I was looking for something different to serve at a family breakfast and this bread was very popular.  I served it toasted with a veggie cream cheese.  It was filling and packed with protein. 

Savory Breakfast Bread

2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup diced red peppers
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
2 sticks (8 ounces) softened butter
4 teaspoons whole grain mustard
10 room temperature eggs
3/4 cup cooked crumbled bacon (about 12 slices)
3 cups grated Cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)

Line 2 loaf pans with parchment paper, spray with Pam, set aside.
Heat oven to 375 F.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add peppers & scallions, mix and set aside.

In separate bowl, whisk together butter & mustard.  Add eggs & whisk until thoroughly incorporated.  Add half of the flour mixture and mix just till blended.  Stir in bacon & shredded cheese.  Add remaining flour mixture and stir until combined.  Don't over mix.

Pour into pans, bake for 30-35 minutes.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then take bread out of pan to finish cooling on a rack.  Serve warm, at room temperature or toasted.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Apple Noodle Salad

So got inspired to use my spiralizer for a salad of a different kind after my daughter Jessica said she really wasn't into lettuce these days, just didn't have the palate for them. One of my favorite snacks is an apple with peanut butter and other toppings, I thought why not a salad..... so here it is
1 apple spiraled
1 tbsp peanut butter
juice of half a lime
water to thin out the peanut butter and lime juice
unsweetened flaked coconut
chopped nuts
chopped dark chocolate
a few dried cranberries
 just mix the lime juice and peanut butter together and thin to make pourable,,, assemble salad and enjoy :)
I happened to have lime juice on hand, you could mix the peanut butter with apple juice, lemon juice, or just water. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Nancy's Easy Jam

My sister, Nancy came up with this easy jam recipe.  We made strawberry jam here but you can use any type of fruit.  We made this jam with 2 cups of mashed fruit and came out with 3 half pints of jam.  It's super fast and easy!

Nancy's Easy Jam

1st steps:
Wash your fruit
Heat three half pint jars in a large pot of water, keep the water simmering, add lids & rings and keep simmering until you need them
Have your mixer ready
Measure out 2 cups of sugar

Wash your fruit and cut, if using larger fruits (leave blueberries/blackberries whole at this point).  We just cut our strawberries into fourths.  Gently mash fruit, you will need to have a full 2 cups of mashed fruit.  Place the fruit in a heavy 2 quart saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until it comes to a rolling boil.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Add the 2 cups of sugar,  continue to stir as you return the mixture to a rolling boil.  Boil for another 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and place in your mixing bowl.  Mix on medium for 2 minutes. Remove beaters.  Remove 1 jar from the hot water.  Ladle the jam mixture into the jar, wipe jar mouth and rim with a clean, damp cloth, top with a lid and ring and tighten the ring.  Set aside and repeat with the other 2 jars.  As the jars cool, you should hear a "pop" as each jar seals.

You can double the recipe if you like but we've found it easier to work in small batches.