Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Rose Gold & Ellen Gold Maine's Brown Sugar Spritz Cookies

Brown Sugar Spritz Cookies

My sister-in-law, Ellen and her Mom, Rose have made these cookies since Ellen was a child.  She and I made them last year while she and my brother Tom were visiting in Florida.  This year, El brought them along when she and Tom came for their annual visit, hooray!  They are delicious with tea or coffee, some of us have even been known to have them for breakfast!  Enjoy.

2 cups brown sugar
1 pound Crisco
2 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
4 - 4 3/4 cups of flour (amount varies with climate!)

Mix first 6 ingredients until well blended.  Add in flour until dough ball pulls away from sides of bowl (or it doesn't stick to your fingers).

Use cookie press to distribute cookies evenly on un-greased cookie sheet.

Bake cookies at 350 degrees until golden brown.  Makes:  12 dozen

Monday, February 24, 2014

Scrumptious Toasted Cheese & Creamy Tomato Soup

Toasted Cheese Sandwich

This is my version of a wonderful toasted cheese sandwich & tomato soup I had while in Atlanta.  It was super creamy and just delicious.  The soup is quick and easy to make.

Toasted Cheese:
Boar's Head Mild & Creamy Asiago Cheese
Boar's Head Swedish Fontina Cheese
Bread, I used an Italian loaf

Place cheeses between the bread, butter outside of bread, place in skillet & toast until cheese is melting & outside is nicely toasted.

I've added turkey as well as very thinly sliced Granny Smith apples to this sandwich with delicious results!

Creamy Tomato Soup

4 slices bacon
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (28 ounces each) tomatoes in juice (I used Cento brand diced)
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Fry bacon until crisp, crumble & set aside.
In soup pot, use 1 Tablespoon of the bacon drippings & cook the garlic over medium heat for about 1 minute.  Add tomatoes & their juice, broth, sugar and black pepper; bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes with cover ajar.

Puree soup with an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender).  Stir in cream until incorporated & heat through.  Remove from heat; stir in vinegar.  Serve, topped with crumbled bacon.
Serves 6

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Virginia Biscuits

I haven't posted in a really long time due to the fact I couldn't figure out how to access my photos after an upgrade last year!  I think I have it at this point, so here we go again!
I've been making these biscuits for years, the original recipe came from a friend of mine when we were living in Charlotte, NC.  They are wonderfully light and flaky, perfect for butter, jam or a slice of ham!  Definitely worth the splurge on calories.

Virginia Biscuits
3 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter (this is for brushing on the dough, doesn't go in the mix)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, either grease your sheet pan, or bake on parchment paper or a stone.
Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, cut in shortening until evenly distributed.  Using a fork, stir enough milk into mix to make a soft but not sticky dough.  Knead on lightly floured surface until dough is smooth & elastic.  Roll out 1/4 inch thick, brush melted butter on half the dough then fold dough over so that biscuits will open easily when baked.  Cut with small biscuit cutter & place on pan.  Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes.  Serve with additional butter, jam or a slice of ham.  I use my smallest biscuit cutter as these biscuits are rich.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Janets Chili

Janets Chili
This is from a friend of my sister Janet.  It makes a large pot of delicious chili.  This is what was left after we got done with the first servings. It has no beans in it. I did add one can of black beans just for a little something.
1 tsp meat tenderizer
1 tsp. mustard
1 tbsp sugar
8 oz. beef consommé
2 tsp oregano
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp cumin- I used only 1 tbsp.
1 tbsp celery salt
7 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp mole paste, I can't find so I leave this out.
2 lbs beef chuck , cut in cubes
2 lbs ground round
2 lbs ground pork
3 cups minced onion
2 tbsp fresh garlic
                                                                1 cup chopped green chilis
                                                                20 oz tomato sauce , I only can find 15 oz. so I use that
                                                               Dash each of Worcestershire,tabasco, and soy sauce
                                                               1 can beer
                                                               1 shot whiskey
Let beef sit in mustard and meat tenderizer for about an hour. Dissolve next 9 ingredients in 2 cups water and keep at a simmer. Saute the ground meats and add to pot, then sauté the onion and garlic and add to the pot along with the chilis. Add all the rest of the ingredients and simmer uncovered 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Let stand for 1/2 hour and skim the fat off.  Then bring back to temp and serve .. We love it with sour cream, cheese, whatever you like.. Enjoy

onion soup-style farro

This is from the Food Network magazine… I got this from a friend and just had to try it.. I love onion soup and just bought some farro.  If you can't find farro you could substitute barley.  I actually used 1/2 brown rice along with the farro. It is a great side dish…
 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. brandy or cognac
2 cups farro
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 1/2 c chicken broth
Kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper
1 bay leaf
1/4 c. grated parm. cheese
1 cup (4oz) grated gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 400 Melt the butter in a medium pan, add the onion and cook until softened , about 5 min..Add brandy, cook 2 min. Add the farro ,Worcestershire ,1/2 tsp salt and some pepper. Cook, stirring until farro is coated. Stir in chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups water bay leaf, bring to boil and add parmesan cheese.  Transfer to a casserole dish, ( I used my 9 x 13 porcelain , cast iron pan)
cover with foil and bake about 40 til farro is tender and water is absorbed.  Uncover and sprinkle with the gruyere and put under the broiler and broil until golden brown…

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Western Baked Beans

This recipe comes from my good friend, Annette.  I've served it often over the years.  It's a great side dish for a crowd as it serves at least 12!

8 slices bacon
4 large onions, peeled & separated into rings
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 (15 oz.) cans dried lima beans, drained
1 (16 oz.) can green lima beans, drained
1 (16 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 (1lb., 2 oz.) can New England Style baked beans, undrained

Pan fry the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towel; set aside.  Place onion rings in a large skillet & add the sugar, mustard, garlic powder, salt and vinegar.  Cover & cook 20 minutes.  Add the onion mixture to the beans and stir in the bacon, crumbled.  Pour into 3 quart casserole.
Bake at 350, covered for 1/2 hour then uncover and bake 1/2 hour longer.

I have also prepared this and cooked it in the crockpot.  It's worked out just fine!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chocolate smoothie

 I love smoothies, but I really don't like a banana in them, as it seems to be the only thing I taste. I came up with a good substitute, avocado, now don't say yuck. You really cant taste it and it makes it so creamy.  If you process this enough is will turn into a mousse.  

1 c. milk. low fat, coconut, almond. whatever your favorite  is
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp. or to taste. of peanut butter.
for sweetener I use 1 packet of stevia and 2 tsp of sugar
blend all together until smooth.
then add 1/2 and avocado  and blend to the consistency you like. You can add ice if you like it slushy.

Chocolate Orange Muffins

This morning as I was enjoying my coffee, I decided to make a batch of muffins. Since I haven't made any in quite a while, I decided to make something different. So what comes to mind...well chocolate of course it was then that I noticed 2 oranges from my nieces tree in Fla., innocently staring at me, at about the same time I came upon this recipe. I have no idea where it came from but it all came together for what I was craving this morning. Here it is my masterpiece!!!

2 med. oranges                              1/2 fresh o.j.
3 oz. bittersweet choc                    1/2 c yogurt, buttermilk or sour milk
1 c. sugar                                       2 c. flour
1/2 c. butter at room temp              1 tsp. baking pwd
2 eggs                                             1/2 tsp. baking soda
Oven at 375
grease muffin tin, Zest the oranges, Chop chocolate into small pieces. Beat sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time and mix thoroughly. Add peel, O.J. and yogurt. (your mixture will look very odd and "broken" but don't worry).  Mix the flour, powder and soda together, then sprinkle flour mixture and the choc. over the batter.  Fold gently until just mixed.  Bake 20 to 25 min. or till springy. This muffin is very tender, and just delicious.!

Monday, January 28, 2013


Heard about this recipe on a talk show on Sirius..a Martha Stewart talk show...It's very easy!  I cut the ingredients down for two people, and went from there.  It is very good, guess the thigh is a more budget friendly cut of meat..(bone in can be used).*  The chicken turns out very moist and the sauce was very lemony tasting, (used fresh lemon from my garden!).  We had peas and mashed potatoes to go with....the sauce is actually good served over the chicken and potatoes...it was a good meal.

8 boneless chicken thighs*       (I used 2 skinless/boneless)
Salt & Pepper
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced      (I used about 2 - to taste)
1 cup dry wine                           (I used 1/2 cup)
1/4 tsp dried thyme                    (I used some fresh I had)
1 lemon cut into 8 thin slices,  (I used 2 lemon slices -1/2 -1 slice topped each thigh)
plus 1 TBSP.  fresh lemon juice
(I squeezed some of the juice from half a lemon for the sauce)
1 TBSP COLD Butter, CUT IN PIECES  (I used same amount of butter)
2 TBSP chopped flat-leaf parsley (I didn't have any so had to leave out)
Cooked rice or mashed potatoes

1.  In a 12-in skillet with a tight-fitting lid , arrange thighs, bone side up; season with salt and pepper.  Add garlic, wine and thyme, Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer.  Cover and cook 30 minutes.

2.  Turn chicken over.  Place a lemon slice on each piece, cover and continue simmering until tender, about 15 minutes.  Leaving garlic and liquid in skillet, transfer chicken and lemon slices to a platter.  Cover tightly with foil to keep warm.

3.  Bring liquid in skillet to a boil; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat  Add butter (It must be COLD), parsley and lemon juice; stir until butter has softened and sauce is smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve chicken with sauce and, if desired, rice or mashed potatoes

Friday, December 28, 2012


This recipe came from Southern Living December 2012...I made it for Christmas Dinner Dessert....it turned out really good...nice and moist and has lasted several days since the first cutting.  Next year I would like to try a fondant decoration as shown in the magazine..this year edible silver sprinkles and light blue sugar were the decorations...thanks to my sister Janet who supplied me with those!  Enjoy!

Mrs Billett's White Cake
Makes 10-12 Servings;  Hands on Time: 40 mins;  Total Time:  2 hrs (including frosting)

Use a heavy-duty electric stand mixer for best results.  Also, lining the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper ensures that the layers come out of the pans with ease.

Parchment paper
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 cups cake flour
1 TBsp baking powder
5 egg whites
Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 3 (8-in) round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper, grease and flour parchment paper; tamp.

2.  Stir together milk and vanilla.

3.  Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating until light & fluffy  Sift together flour and baking powder; add to butter mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning ending with flour mixture.  Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.

 4.  Beat egg whites at medium speed until stiff peaks form; gently fold into batter.  Pour batter into prepared pans.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-23 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.  Remove from pans to wire rack; discard parchment paper.  Cool completely (about 40 minutes)  I cooled, left the parchment paper on the cake and froze the cakes so I could frost at a different time.

6.  When frosting, spread vanilla butter cream frosting between layers (about 1 cup per layer) and on top and sides of cake. 


Makes 4 1/2 cups;  Hands-on time:  10 min; Total Time:  10 min.

1 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
1 (32 oz) package powdered sugar (I sifted the whole pkg and used that)
6-7 TBSP milk
1 TBSP vanilla extract

Beat butter & salt at medium speed with an electric mixer 1-2 minutes or until creamy; gradually add powdered sugar alternately with 6 TBsp milk, beating at low seed until blended and smooth after each addition.  Stir in vanilla.  If desired, beat in remaining 1 TBsp milt, 1 tsp at a time, until frosting reaches desired consistency.