Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Paula Deen's Grits Pie

Hi everyone! Hope you all had a great holiday. I had a very nice Christmas. Christmas is always merrier when there are little ones around. This was my first Christmas as a grandma. My youngest is also 10 so Christmas is a very exciting time around here! We are supposed to be going away to Chincoteague for the new year tomorrow and I am just hoping we don't have any snow or ice. I don't like driving in that. Keeping my fingers crossed.

This recipe was another husband request. Do you like grits? I'm not crazy about grits at all and never even heard of them till I married my husband. We don't have grits up north. Maybe farina or cream of wheat....grits is similar to that. However, this pie is really great. I love it! Paula has come through for me once again. I had my doubts but shouldn't have. It's so easy to make. If you like custard pie, then you will like this. Custard pie is one of my favorites. The only thing different with this is the texture. If you want to try a different pie, then give this one a shot. It's easy and really good.

Hope all of you have a very happy and healthy New Year!!! I'll see you all again in 2010!!!!

3/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup quick cooking grits
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup buttermilk (I used lowfat)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) frozen pie shell, thawed
Whip cream, any fruit, optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add the grits and cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the butter and cook for 1 additional minute. Set aside and cool slightly.
In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Slowly stir into the cooled grits. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 35 - 40 minutes or unti set. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream and fruit as garnish, if desired.

Monday, December 21, 2009

White Chocolate Cherry Chunkies

What a long weekend this was!!! All it did was snow, snow and then it snowed some more. I just have a "feeling" this is going to be a very long winter. I certainly hope I'm wrong though! The schools here are now closed till after the new year. They are just not able to get all the parking lots and roads cleared enough for it to be safe for the schools to open. Of course, my son is absolutely thrilled. I remember going through this with my older boys when they would be glued to the TV for a school closing announcement and how excited they'd get when they found out school was closed. My youngest is beside himself since he is getting 3 extra days off!!!

Here is a great cookie that I made that is definitely a winner any time of year but especially pretty on a Christmas cookie tray. Of course, it's from Paula Deen, and our girl comes though again! I have yet to make anything of hers that has not turned out great. I have learned to trust Paula. Remember to bake these only till slightly golden brown around the edges so they come out very chewy. These cookies will not disappoint!!!

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup candied cherries
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chunks (I used white chocolate chips)

Preheat over to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, with electric mixer, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined. Set aside.

Sift together flour, soda and salt. Add milk to the butter mixture and then add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Batter should be stiff.

In another bowl, combine nuts, cherries and white chocolate. Then add to batter, stirring only to blend. Drop heaping tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for approximately 11 to 13 inches. Cool on wire rack.

Makes approximately 4 dozen.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Eggnog Pannetone French Toast

This is a recipe that my husband had been asking me for weeks to make. Well, after I had seen it on Cooking, Dunkin Style I knew it was about time that I try this. I have to say it was delicious!! I used Pannetone Italian bread and that really bumped it up a notch. This alone could be a meal. I didn't even use maple syrup. You really don't need it. Just some powdered sugar on top will do. Not only is this a great breakfast but it could be a delicious dessert using the Pannetone bread.

It has snowed about 18 inches here in the past 24 hours. I am not a fan of snow and I'm hoping this is not a sign of things to come for the winter. I'm having some majors problems here with my dog, Selena since she doesn't care for the snow either. Since she is so tiny I have to dig an area where she can do her business and carry her there because she just sinks into the snow. Not fun. I did do a bunch of baking today though. I made my usual cut out sugar cookies and I'll post them soon. I am glad that is behind me. They are so good and are one of my favorites but boy are they a mess to make. Flour everywhere!!! I am still trying to decide which other ones to make for Christmas. I love Christmas cookies and always eat way too much of them!

Eggnog Pannetone French Toast

5 thick slices of Pannetone bread
3 eggs
1 cup eggnog
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
powdered sugar

Melt 2 to 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet. Mix eggs, eggnog, cinnamon and nutmeg together in large bowl. Dip slices of Pannetone into egg mixture and coat well on each side. Place slices in large skillet and fry for several minutes on each side till browned. Remove and place on platter and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

This would be great alongside some bacon and cut up fruit.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Easy Eggnog Pound Cake

Here is a pound cake that is just perfect for this time of year. I had found several eggnog pound cakes I'd like to try but started with this one since is was the easiest. It starts with a cake mix and it doesn't get easier than that! Because of the cake mix this is not as dense as the usual pound cake and some of you may prefer that. I would definitely make this again and it's a recipe you can play around with and add your own things to. I found this at Recipezaar. I will be making another eggnog pound cake in a few days with the addition of coconut extract and coconut. It will be one from scratch and I will post that before Christmas. Enjoy!

1 (18 1/2 ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 (4 oounce) package instant vanilla pudding
3/4 cup eggnog (thicker the better)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I also used 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon)
confectioners' sugar
(ice cream, optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl combine cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, eggnog and oil; beat at low speed until moist.
Add eggs and nutmeg (cinnamon, if using) and mix on high for 4 minutes.
Pour into greased and floured fluted, bundt or miniloaf pans. (I used bundt pan.)
Bake 40 to 45 minutes (20 to 30 for minis) or until wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan.
Cool completely and sprinkle with confectioners's sugar if desired.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cottage Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

Several weeks ago I made Pioneer Woman's Lasagna using cottage cheese and it turned out really well. When I was looking for a different chicken enchilada recipe I came across this one at allrecipes. This intrigued me since it once again used cottage cheese like the lasagna did. Well, they were terrific. I would definitely make this again and again. My husband and I really enjoyed them but my son was not at all crazy about them because he found them to be too spicy. Must have been the green chile peppers!!!

Well, I am still not done with my Christmas shopping. We have a few things for my youngest son but all he seems to want are video games! Ugh!!! I don't mind getting one or two but he is asking for several - including Rock Band 2....We already bought that in fact, and another video game but that's as good as the video wishing is going to get. There's more to life than just video to figure out what else to get. It's easier when they are grown. My two older sons are very happy with gift cards and my granddaughter will be thrilled with anything!!! How's your shopping going???? Are you done yet or a last minute shopper?

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, boiled and shredded
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (7 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
1 package taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups cottage cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch fresh ground black pepper
12 (6 in) corn tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce

For Meat Mixture: Heat oil in medium skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, onion and green chile peppers and saute until browned. Add taco seasoning and prepare meat according to package directions.
For Cheese Mixture: In a medium bowl mix sour cream with cottage cheese and season with salt and pepper; stir until well blended.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
To Assemble Enchiladas: Heat tortillas until soft. (I put mine in microwave 2 at a time for 25 seconds). In each tortilla place a spoonful of meat mixture, a spoonful of cheese mixture and a bit of shredded cheese. Roll tortillas and place in a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. (I spooned some sauce on bottom). Top with any remaining meat and cheese mixture, enchilada sauce and remaining shredded cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

I served this along with refried beans and rice.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Grandma's Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

When I first finished baking these cookies and placed them all in my tupperware container, my husband looked at me and wondered who was going to eat all these cookies. This recipe must have made 4 to 5 dozen! That is a lot of cookies considering that my son doesn't care for oatmeal cookies and it would just be me and my husband eating these. Well, not to worry - these were gone in a few days! We literally could not stop eating these. Once you start munching on these, it's all over!!! They are one of the best oatmeal cookies I've ever had. These were so soft and chewy - and believe me I've made many a cookie so hard you could bang them against the wall! Not these. I found the originial recipe in a Favorite Brand Name Cookbook Series. It's titled Incredibly Easy Cookies. My husband spotted this book as we were checking out at TJ Maxx.....they "conveniently" place them right near the cashier. The price was right so how could we resist!

I changed the original recipe a bit by omitting raisins and adding craisins instead. I also added a cup of chopped walnuts and a cup of white chocolate chips. I subbed the 2 cups of white sugar for 1 cup white and 1 cup dark brown sugar. I think that softened these up even more. I hope you give this a try if you enjoy oatmeal cookies. So easy and good!!!!

2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups uncooked old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup raisins (I omitted these)

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
Beat sugar and shortening in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until mixture is light and fluffy.
Combine flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in separate bowl. Beat into shortening mixture, 1/3 at a time, alternating with buttermilk until well blended. Stir in raisins.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly on cookie sheets. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Serve at room temperature in airtight containers.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Gina's Chocolate Pound Cake

This recipe is courtesy of The Neely's from Food Network. My husband really enjoyed this cake but I thought it was just okay. I would make it again because he really raved about it but it wasn't a favorite of mine. I like a plain old pound cake. My favorite is a 5 flavor pound cake, which I blogged about last year. This just didn't do anything for me. I prefer a chocolate layer cake....with rich chocolate frosting! This did call for a chocolate glaze but I didn't have any heavy cream to make it with so I just melted white chocolate chips and that definitely did the trick. Funny, I tried to thin the glaze a bit but when I added a tablespoon of milk all it did was turn to a paste. I had to start all over again! Anyone know why this might have happened? I don't have a clue but I certainly won't do that again!

I went down to Richmond this past Friday and saw my little granddaughter. Well, she really isn't so little - at 4 1/2 months she has become a 15 lb little butterball!!! Just cute, cute, cute! It's funny because every time I went to hold her my little chihuahua Poncho would just keep barking at me! Could we be jealous!!!!

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pan
3 cups sugar
5 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Glaze: (I just melted white chocolate chips)
4 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup

Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10 inch Bundt pan and dust with cocoa powder.
In a large bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and the sugar. Using the paddle attachment, cream together until light and fluffy and the volume has increased. Add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating after each addition.
In another mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.
Add the dry ingredients alternatively with the buttermilk to the butter and egg mixture ending with the flour. Stir in the vanilla and pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack before turning out onto a serving plate and slicing. (I let mine cool for 10 minutes and then turned it out).
Add the chocolate to a medium-sized bowl. In a small saucepan over low heat, add the cream and bring to a low simmer. Pour the cream over the chocolate and add the corn syrup. Once the chocolate melts, whisk together to combine. Drizzle over the cake and serve.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

I found this recipe at The Pioneer Woman Cooks and it is so delicious. This one is not in her new cookbook, only on her website. It is so simple to make but so tasty. I'm a huge fan of artichokes and this is a great way to use them. I will definitely be making this again and again. Of course, hubby is not a big pasta lover and this is not a Paula Deen recipe so he was not impressed. I could eat pasta at least several times a week. Could be all those Italian Sunday dinners at my grandmothers house growing up.....I cannot live without pasta (or chocolate or coffee or cake or cookies........etc......).

Hope you all have a great weekend. They are calling for a chance of snow flurries here in Virginia this Saturday and I'm hoping that doesn't happen. I am NOT a fan of snow....I'm a warm weather and sunshine person!

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 whole medium onion, finely diced
1 can artichoke hearts (14.5 oz quartered or whole), drained
1 can diced tomatoes with juice (14.5 oz can)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicked broth (more as needed)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound thin spaghetti
1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons fresh chives, or other herbs, chopped

Cook spaghetti till al dente. Drain and set aside. Melt olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add artichokes hearts and tomatoes. Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream and chicken broth. Add salt and pepper to taste (do not undersalt). Cook over low heat until heated through, then turn off heat. Place drained pasta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 cup Parmesan. Pour sauce over the top. Add chives (or other herbs). Toss lightly to combine and coat; add a tiny bit of reserved pasta water if sauce seems to thick.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pear Fritters

I'm back from the beach and it was definitely a much needed mini vacation! We love going to Chincoteague Island because it is just so laid back. Nice little sleepy town with some really nice shops and a movie theatre that is reminiscent of the 1970's. Not a multiplex. We saw New Moon there and boy was that good. I think I've mentioned that I'm a Twilight fan. Very good movie! My husband and I have been seriously thinking of some day moving to the Island. I grew up on Long Island, NY so I would love to be near the water again. I've never gotten used to living far from the ocean and even though where we live now is several hours away, that is too far for me.

Anyhow, this dish was another husband request and it was really good. Of course, it's from Paula Deen! He just loves her recipes! This one is another winner. Simple, delicious, fattening but there is some fruit in this so maybe it's not all bad! I would recommend trying it. I never made any type of fritter before and it's so easy!

Pear Fritters

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup sour cream

1 cup self rising flour

2 peeled and cored pears

Vegetable oil, for frying

Vanilla ice cream, optional

Confectioners' sugar, optional

Maple syrup, optional (I did not use any)

Whisk together milk, egg, sugar, cinnamon and sour cream. Add flour. Set aside.

Slice the cored pears into rings. Heat the oil in skillet. Dip rings into batter and place in hot oil.

Fry until golden brown.

Top with vanilla ice cream and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, if desired. Drizzle with maple syrup, if desired.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

200th Post - Banana Walnut Bread

I'd like to say thank you for all your kinds words and prayers that you left on my blog regarding my uncle. Even though I've never met any of you I still think of you as my friends and appreciate all your messages. I cannot believe that this is my 200th post!!! I don't think I've ever baked as much as I have since I started this blog 1 1/2 years ago! Many of you know that one of my favorites cakes is banana bread and this one is special to me since it is the recipe that Starbucks uses and it's great! When I visited King's Dominion Amusement Park this summer there was a Starbucks in the park. They had recipe cards they were giving out at their counter with their banana bread recipe. I was thrilled since not only do I love their cafe mocha's but I'm crazy about their banana bread too!

I'm wishing all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. My husband and I and our son will be heading to the beach for the holidays and I am looking very forward to getting away and walking on the beach (even though it's cold) and visiting different restaurants!!!

Starbucks Banana Walnut Bread

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

1 1/8 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tbsp buttermilk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 ripe medium large bananas, mashed

1/2 cup + 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan and dust with flour.

Blend together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. Mix together the egg, sugar and vegetable oil until combined. Add the flour mixture and when blended add the buttermilk, vanilla and mashed bananas and mix until combined. Fold in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Top batter with remaining 1/3 cup chopped walnuts. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing from pan.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Sad Day......

Sorry I haven't posted anything for several days but unfortunately a very precious family member passed away. He was my wonderful Uncle Danny who had been the best uncle anyone could ever ask for. He was much more like a father to me. His death was very unexpected and we thought he would recover from the minor illness that he had. Little did we know he was much more sick than anyone realized and that he would pass within days. My whole family is in shock and I'm hoping you will keep me and my family in your prayers. I hate to have to post such sad news on this blog since it is mainly an upbeat, fun cooking blog but I feel like I "know" many of you and want to share this.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pioneer Woman's Lasagna

I don't know how many of you have the Pioneer Woman Cooks new cookbook, but I can tell you that it is as fantastic as her website is. I've been visiting her blog for close to 2 years now and her recipes have never let me down. I am thrilled to have her book and I just wish she would come to Virginia to do a book signing. Yes, I would wait in line to meet her and I wouldn't wait in line for just anyone....believe me! This lasagna is excellent! I had been been making a different one for several years that I found at allrecipes that is very good but uses so many ingredients. You know those recipes that have about 30 ingredients in them....some ingredients you will never use again? Well, this one is just as good, if not better, with way less ingredients. It even uses cottage cheese instead of ricotta (I am Italian myself and at first had a "hard" time with this), but it doesn't take anything away from how good this is. Please do yourself a favor and make this! It's kid friendly too, at least in this house!

Hey, I wanted to tell you that I am now wireless....a big deal for me. I have a laptop and don't like to venture too much into using it in different ways so I always just used the broadband. I finally decided to try to set up a wireless connection...OMG....You are dealing with a person that has no patience and doesn't understand hardly any computer lingo. Well, it just so happens that my son (yes, my 10 year old son) has a 12 year old friend who is just a whiz at this type of thing. I'll let you guess the rest......but I am wireless!!! Yipee!!!!

Pioneer Woman's Lasgana

1 tablespoon olive oil


10 ounces lasagna noodles

1 pound mozzarella cheese

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 pound hot breakfast sausage (I used Bob Evan's regular breakfast sausage and removed the casings)

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 14.5 ounce cans whole tomatoes

2 6 ounce cans tomato paste

freshly ground black pepper

10 to 12 basil leaves

1/4 cup finely chopped flat parsley

3 cups low fat cottage cheese

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the olive oil and a dash of salt. Cook the lasagna

noodles according to the package directions until al dente. Drain the noodles and lay them flat on a piece of aluminum foil.

Grate the mozzarella cheese and set aside. In a large skillet over medium high heat , saute the hamburger, sausage and garlic until brown. Drain off excess fat. Add the tomatoes with their juice, tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir together well. Simmer over low heat uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cut basil into chiffonade by stacking leaves on top of one another and rolling them tightly, then cutting across. Finely chop the parsley. Add half the herbs to the meat mixture and stir together.

In a medium bowl combine the cottage cheese, eggs, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and the other half of the herbs. Stir together well.

To Assemble: Begin by laying 4 lasagna noodles in the bottom of a deep rectangular baking pan. The noodles should overlap. (I used no bake noodles and followed the instructions on the box regarding assembling the lasagna...this will differ from what is written in Pioneer Woman's directions for assembly so make sure to follow instructions on the box as written for no bake noodles).

Spoon cottage cheese mixture onto the noodles. Spread to distribute evenly. Sprinkle half the mozzarella on top of the cottage cheese mixture. Spoon just enough of the meat mixture on top of the mozzarella. Spread evenly, being careful not to distrupt the layers below. Now repeat the process, beginnning with a layer of the lasagna noodles followed by the cottage cheese mixture followed by the mozzarella mixture and ending with a thick layer of the meat mixture. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes until lasagna is hot and bubbly. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake

This is an absolutely fantastic cake. One of the best I have ever had! The Nutella just puts it over the top. I also found myself digging out every little bit of Nutella that was left in the jar after I used it for the cake. I literally licked the spoon clean. Let's just say that I highly recommend making this cake but keeping a close eye on it because it won't last long!

I'm adding some pictures to the post from my recent trip to Sharp Top Mountain. I'm picture here with my youngest son Zach. This was after we hiked up the mountain and were at the very top! I had such a fun day.

I was supposed to go down to Richmond tomorrow to visit my dad and sons and granddaughters but what do they said about the best laid plans never working out? I feel like I'm getting the flu here. I had my H1N1 vaccine last week so who knows what's going on. Maybe it's the plain, old flu or even a different strain. Who knows, it seems everyone is sick these days....

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 stick butter, unsalted, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 jar (13 oz) Nutella

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 9x5 in loaf pan, tapping out any excess flour. In a glass measuring cup, lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups flour with the baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer at medium low speed, gradually beat in the egg mixture until fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating at low speed between additions until just incorporated. Continue to beat for 30 seconds longer.

Spread 1/3 of the batter in the prepared pan, then spread half of the Nutell on top. Repeat with another 1/3 of the batter and the remaining Nutella. Top with the remaining batter. Lightly swirl the Nutella into the batter into the batter with a butter knife. Do not overmix.

Bake the cake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack, turn it right side up, and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut the cake into slices and serve.

From Food & Wine Magazine

(Has anyone noticed I FINALLY found out how to move my pictures around and not just have them all clustered at the top....oh well, it only took a year and a half!!!!).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Coconut Bundt Cake

This is a very, very good pound cake recipe. My husband saw The Neely's on the Food Network make this and thought it sounded great. He was right. He certainly does have a knack for picking out good cake recipes! I really love the glaze on this. It has a delicious light pineapple taste and that just balances out the sweetness from the powdered sugar perfectly. Very, very good. I'd like to try this glaze also on some other cakes. I also used unsweetened coconut flakes on top of the cake.

Did you all have a good weekend? We had a great time at the Ham & Oyster Dinner at our church and of course, ate way too much! I also saw my granddaughter who is now 3 1/2 months old and getting bigger every day. Did I tell you she is adorable???!!! I will probably be going down to Richmond again this Friday (only 200 miles round trip). I can't keep away from this little one! I even bought her Christmas outfit already. I will have to take a pic of her in it on Christmas and post it for all of you to see. The selection of clothing for girls is way better than it is for boys. My youngest son is 10 and the selection of clothes in the stores for him is not nearly as great as it is for girls!

Nonstick baking spray, for pan
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
Pineapple glaze, recipe follows
1/2 cup flaked coconut (I used unsweetened)

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.

Spray a Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray and dust with flour

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Once incorporated, add the extracts. Stir in the coconut milk and beat until combined. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool cake in pan 5 minutes (I waited for 10 minutes) before turning it out onto a rack. Let cool completely on the rack.

Once the cake has cooled, ladle the glaze over the cake and top with flaked coconut. Let glaze set before serving. Transfer the cake to a platter or serving dish and serve.

Pineapple Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons pineapple juice

In a mixing bowl, whisk the powdered sugar and the pineapple juice together until smooth.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Katy's Simply Great Chicken

I only have two words to say about this chicken recipe and that is - make it!!! I found this a few weeks back on Katy's blog, Food for a Hungry Soul. I knew when I saw this that I just had to make it. It's so simple and delicious. All it requires are 1 packet of Good Season's Italian salad dressing mix and brown sugar. Can it get any simpler, no. Can it get any tastier than this, no. Please check out Katy's blog if you haven't already. You will not be disappointed. Her recipes are all terrific and I love reading some of her stories behind them.

This weekend we are going to a Ham & Oyster Dinner that our church has been having for probably at least 60 years! I never had oysters until I had them at church and these are terrific. And get this - all the food is prepared in the church's kitchen. It's like having one terrific home cooked meal. And the desserts are all baked and donated by church members. You know that I save room for that. The church has this twice a year and I literally count the weeks until Ham & Oyster time rolls around again! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Simply Great Chicken

About 3 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (I used legs and thighs and simply removed the skin)
1 (.7 ounce) packet of dried Italian dressing mix (I used Good Seasons)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (I used light brown)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 9 x 13 inch pan or cover with foil (I used foil and sprayed it with Pam).

Mix together in large bowl dried Italian dressing mix with brown sugar. Coat chicken pieces with this mixture. You may have to really pat this down on the chicken like I did. Don't be afraid to have a thick coating of this on the chicken. It will melt and carmalize somewhat and is so good. Any extra coating that is left just sprinkle on top of chicken.

Bake for 50 to 60 mintes. Pour any juices over chicken. I served rice with this dish.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Praline-Apple Bread

I first saw this bread over at Cookies with Boys. I saw how delicious it looked and knew that with all the apples I had on hand from our mountain trip last month I would be making this. It really is a delicious bread. I brought this to work with me and several of my coworkers wanted the recipe right away.

It's back to school around these parts tomorrow. Thank goodness! My son will have been home from school since last Wednesday! Between our mountain hike and 2 days off this week due to teacher conferences and election day, he has certainly had an extended vacation! We've also both gotten our H1N1 vaccines. I work in a local hospital so I certainly felt I needed one. Normally, I don't even get a flu shot but this virus has me very nervous. My son is also asthmatic so we definitely wanted to make sure he had his. Poor guy, he was a nervous wreck this morning on the way to his doctors to get the shot. He was glad when it was over...and so was I!

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided
1 (8 oz container) sour cream
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups finely chopped, peeled Granny Smith apples (about 3/4 pound)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake 1/2 cup pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 to 8 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring after 4 minutes.

Beat sour cream and next 3 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until blended.

Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients. Add to sour cream mixture, beating just until blended. Stir in apples and 1/2 cup toasted pecans. Spoon batter into a greased and floured 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup chopped pecans; lightly press pecans into batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, shielding with aluminum foil after 50 minutes to prevent excesive browning. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack.

Bring butter and brown sugar to a boil in a 1 qt heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly; boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and spoon over top of bread; let cool completely (about 1 hour).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Peaks of Otter

I'm back and I survived (actually did quite well) on the mountain hike with my oldest and youngest son. Peaks of Otter consists of a group of 3 mountain peaks on the Blue Ridge Parkway, outside of Bedford, Virginia. They are Sharp Top, (the one we climbed and the most strenuous) with an elevation of a little over 3800 ft, Flat Top and Harkening Hill. There is also a very nice lodge with a large lake around it. The colors this time of year are beautiful along the parkway. Here is a picture of Sharp Top, the lodge and lake. I'll be back in the next day or so with a recipe. Hope you all had a fun Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spooky Oreo Bundt Cake

This is my post for Halloween. I saw this cake about a year ago on Cookie Madness and have been wanting to bake this ever since! The oreo cookies look so cute in this cake. I just love the way it looks and it is delicious too! If you love pound cakes, this if for you.

I probably won't have any more posts before Halloween. I am leaving tomorrow to hike the Blue Ridge Mountains with my youngest son and oldest son. It's about a mile and a half to the top of the mountain we are hiking and I have a feeling it will kick my butt! It's been a very long time since I have done a hike like this so we'll see exactly what kind of shape I am in! I'll let you all know! I'll try and get some nice pictures to post also. Have a great youngest is going as Michael Meyers....very scary mask! He walked around the house with it on and kept staring at me and I told him to take it off. It was making me nervous!

18 whole Oreo cookies (Halloween colors)
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cool, room temp
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
3 whole eggs, large, cool, room temp
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup sour cream, cool, room temp

Preheat over to 350 degrees F. If you are using a black Bundt pan, preheat to 325 degrees F. Spray a Bundt pan with flour-added cooking spray.
Break the cookies into quarters and set aside.
Sift together flour, salt and soda. Reserve.
Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in extracts and sour cream.
Add flour mixture and stir just until it is well mixed - it should be fairly thick.
Spoon about 1 1/2 cups batter into the bottom of prepared pan. Form a shallow trench in the center of batter.
Fold Oreos into remaining batter and finish filling pan, spreading the batter up the sides a bit to prevent a dome shape.
Bake for 50 - 60 minutes, until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes and remove from pan. Dust with powdered sugar and cocoa powder (I only used the powdered sugar).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Toffee Brownies

Hope everyone had a nice weekend. I went to an Oktoberfest this past Saturday night and had a blast. I went with family and we stood from opening till closing. Needless to say it was a late night. My youngest son has discovered the chicken dance and the electric slide and loves it! He's definitely not as shy as I thought he was! The food however was lacking.....the bratwurst was okay but the potato pancakes and sauerkraut were barely edible. Desserts were another matter. There was a bakeshop there from Ohio who brought along fresh breads, pastries and German cakes. OMG...the black forest cake was to die for! Now THIS was the real thing. A huge assortment of German cakes and pastries and one was better than the next one. Thank God I wore off some of the calories dancing!

These brownies however would require hours of dancing to burn away any calories. I don't know how fattening they are but let's start off by saying they are another Deen family recipe, this one from Paula. I am going to tell my husband that this just has to stop. He wanted these brownies so badly and was telling me how she had put whipped cream on top of them and then for a vegetable so they would be healthy she added a mint leaf. When I saw this recipe I told him no way was whipped cream coming into the picture. Enough is enough!!! They are really, really good.....but a bit over the top since they contain 3 large chocolate bars in the middle!!!! I'd make them again but only for something special. They are too good and I could never have them around here long since I would just keep digging in and picking at them every time I'd pass them. They are also super easy to make since they are made from a brownie mix. If you don't like mixes and prefer home made brownies, I'm sure you could make your brownies the way you normally would and just add the layer of chocolate bars in the middle just like with a mix.......Be careful. They are addicting!

1 (17.6 ounce) package brownie mix with walnuts (I used a plain family size mix)
Vegetable oil cooking spray
3 (6 ounce) candy bars with almonds and toffee chips (recommended: Symphony brand)

Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions.
Line a 9x13 inch cake pan with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil cooking spray.
Spoon in half of the brownie batter and smooth with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Place the candy bars side by side on top of the batter. Cover with the remaining batter.
Bake according to package directions. Let cool completely, then lift from the pan using the edges of the foil. This makes it easy to cut the brownies into squares.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Deen Brothers's BBQ Chicken

My son has recuperated from being sick earlier this week. Seems it was just a virus that aggravated his asthma. Now we're all sitting tight and hoping we don't get the H1N1 virus. I work in a local hospital and we have seen a number of cases this week. We also ran out of the vaccine that were given to the employees and I was one that had not received it yet. Oh well.....let's keep our fingers crossed.

This recipe was another husband requested one. Most of the recipes that involve Paula Deen are! This was very good. Since we're not grilling anymore this time of year I just baked these in the oven and they were very tasty. And very simple. Give them a try if you are looking for a new BBQ recipe!

1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (I used light brown which was fine)
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke (I did not use this)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (3 1/2 pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I used legs and thighs)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F or prepare a grill (brush the grill grate lightly with oil).
In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients except the chicken. Reserve 1/3 cup of the BBQ sauce; set aside. Add the chicken to the remaining sauce in the bowl, turning to coat.
Arrange the coated chicken in a roasting pan or on the grill. Cook (covered, if grilling) for 40 to 45 minutes or until cooked through, basting with the reserved 1/3cup sauce after 20 minutes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

American Idol

For all you out there who watch American Idol here is a picture of me with Jason Castro! Oh is he ever cute! He made a brief appearance here last night at Potomac Mills Mall and sang a few songs. He was there to promote his new cd which is coming out sometime in November. As you can see he stood for a while after performing to signs autographs and take pictures. There was a lady standing next to him that looked a little like him and I asked if they were related. It was his mom - how sweet is that? She and his brother evidently travel with him. Anyhow, just thought I would share this with you all and I'll be posting a recipe again tomorrow!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Apple Cranberry Streusel Pie

First off let me say that I did see Paranormal Activity this weekend and loved it! It was very creepy. I highly recommend it to all the horror film buffs out there. If you like gore though then this might not be for you. No gore, just creepy. Did not do much of anything else this weekend since my son is sick with a cold. My middle son is also sick and most of his friends are sick. I know my youngest is so worried about getting the swine flu and I just keep reassuring him that all he has is a cold.

I made this apple pie today because I had a pie shell in the freezer that I needed to use already. Usually I make my own crust or use the refrigerated ones but this one definitely came in handy. This pie is ok.....I don't think that it was bursting with flavor but that could be my fault. I didn't have any apple pie spice which is what the recipe called for so I used pumpkin pie spice. I'm sure it would be much better with the applie pie spice. But it's still good and very simple to make. Besides, I still have lots of apples to use up!!!

1 baked pastry shell, unpricked (I used a premade one)
1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried tart cherries
6 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used Granny Smith's)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon apple pie spice (I used pumpkin pie spice - big mistake!)
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup half and half or light cream
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup toasted finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons butter

Prepare a baked pastry shell or premade one, but do not poke holes in it.
For filling, pour boiling water over cranberries or cherries. Let stand for 5 minutes; drain. Mix cranberries or cherries and apples; place in baked pastry shell. Combine granulated sugar, the 3 tablespoons flour, spice, lemon peel and salt. Stir in half and half. Pour over fruit.
For topping, combine 1/3 cup flour, the nuts, brown sugar and nutmeg. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle over filling.
To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake in 375 degree F oven for45 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes more or until topping is golden and fruit is tender. Cool for 45 minutes on a wire rack; serve warm. Store any leftover pie, covered, in refrigerator.

This recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fresh Apple Cake

This is the first recipe I have made using the apples we bought at the mountains this past weekend. It comes from good ole Paula Deen from the latest issue of Good Housekeeping. Like all her recipes, it's very, very good. I would definitely make it again and again. Even though she uses a 10 in tube pan with a removable bottom, I used my usual Bundt pan since I did not have the other kind. It came out just fine.

I'm looking forward to seeing the new horror movie "Paranormal Activity" this weekend. I am a horror movie fan and this one looks good. I've also just seen the movie "Twilight" (better late than never) and it was great. I had seen the preview recently for the sequel which is opening in November and knew I would want to see that. I was telling a coworker at work how much I liked "Twilight" and she brought in the book for me. I just started it and love it. Usually I only read non-fiction but I'm enjoying this. Evidently, I must have been living on Mars for quite a while since I didn't even know that this series of books existed!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! If you live down here in Virginia it's supposed to be cold and raining.....good movie weather!

1 cup chopped walnuts
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 1/2 cups chopped Granny Smith apples (from 3 medium apples, cored and peeled)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat 10 inch tube pan with removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray with flour.
Place walnuts in 15 1/2" by 10 1/2" jelly roll pan; toast in oven for 7 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt. In another large bowl, combine walnuts, vanilla, cinnamon and 3 cups of apples. Reserve remaining 1/2 cup apples (only if you are using removable pan).
In large bowl with mixer on medium-high speed, beat granulated sugar, oil and eggs until well blended. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture, scraping bowl occasionally with rubber spatula. Beat 1 minute longer or until well combined. With spatula, fold in apple mixture (batter will be thick). Spoon batter into prepared pan. Scatter remaining apple over top of batter; with fingers, press into top of batter (only if you are using removable bottom of tube pan).
Bake 1 1/2 hours or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Unmold cake and transfer to cake plate. Dust cake lightly with confectioners' sugar to serve.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Peachy Pork Chops

We are back from Graves Mountain and had a terrific time. The weather on Friday was beautiful and still warm enough that you didn't even need a sweater. Luckily we decided to take the nightime hayride that night instead of Saturday because by Saturday it was cooling down. The hayride at night was really nice. They take you out into a large field where there is a huge bonfire. You get to toast marshmallows and make smores. Who can resist that? We also saw 2 shooting stars in the sky. The night sky is so clear in the mountains and there are tons of stars we normally can't even see. On Saturday we went to the apple festival the lodge has every year and visited all the craft booths and listened to bluegrass bands (my husband's favorite). We snacked on fresh apple donuts when we weren't eating large homestyle meals at the lodge. I think I put on 5 pounds and I'm not happy about that! Why is it that it's so easy to gain weight but not easy to lose it? Of course the recipes I cook don't help either....Oh and I brought back a ton of apples! I'll be baking with them the next few days (weeks) to you will be seeing plenty of apple recipes!

This is similar to a recipe I saw on Allrecipes that was made with apples instead of peaches. When I made this I did not have any apples so I used peaches since that is what I had on hand and changed it so much that it really is not even the same recipe anymore so I am not going to bother to even link to the original. This is nice for a change and the flavors really blended well. I'd make this again and was surprised how well it turned out. It's very simple too. I served this with rice and poured some of the sauce over the rice and the flavor was very good.

5 pork chops (cutlets would work well too) about 1/2 to 3/4 in thick
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar (divided)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 stick butter
1 can peach pie filling (Comstock is very good for this)

Preheat over to 325 degrees F.

Brush pork chops with oil and cook over medium high heat in a large skillet for 5 to 6 minutes until nicely browned. Transfer to baking pan.

In the same skillet melt one stick of butter. Add peaches, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg. Mix together well and when warmed, pour over pork chops in baking pan. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown sugar over pork chops and bake additional 15 minutes uncovered.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon

This is probably the most involved recipe that I've made to date. I really would not be a good judge of this dish since I really don't care much for this type of beef. My husband on the other hand loves these types of meals and he said it was very good. He enjoyed it very much and ate most of it. My 10 year old, needless to say, did not like it at all. I did love the gravy, since it had lots of wine in it. I do love sauces and gravies made with wine. I also have to say that I followed the recipe exactly as written and my gravy came out with the perfect consistency. I did not have to thin it out or thicken it up. Perfect. I couldn't find the onions the recipe called for so I used jarred ones but did brown them nicely. The inspiration for me making this, of course, was the movie which I loved. I plan on making more of the recipes from Julia's book, but not too often since they involve lots of time and work. But the effort is well worth it. I am not going to post this recipe myself since it is soooo long, but you can find it here. (This link also has a video you can watch of Julie Powell cooking Julia's recipe while she is being interviewed and also has some clips of Julia Child cooking. It really is worth watching.)

We are leaving tomorrow morning for Graves Mountain which is a wonderful mountain lodge with homestyle, home cooked meals! All the desserts have something baked with apples and ice cream on the side. Dessert comes with lunch and dinner. Nothing like putting on a few easy "weekend" pounds!!! The lodge has a huge apple festival in October every year so we always come home with a boxful....Look for lots of apple recipes from me in the next few weeks. Please feel free to let me know if you have any good apple recipes for pies, cakes, etc.....I'd love some suggestions!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Toffee Gooey Butter Cake

Paula Deen strikes again! My husband saw this recipe of Paula's and asked if I would make it. How could I resist? I've discovered (via my husband) that just about anything Paula makes is very good. I don't want to imagine the calorie content because I have watched her show many times on Food Network and don't know how anyone could possibly eat her meals on a regular basis without blowing up. Boy is her food fattening - but I have no problem making her recipes every now and again. This is one that I will make however, not now and again, but again and again and again! It is sooo good and would be great to bring to a get together, party, etc. You don't want this hanging around your house because it is too tempting to just keep "picking at."

We had a blast at the State Fair this past weekend. I saw my first live rodeo. I had only seen rodeo's on TV before so I really enjoyed it. I just wish they had bull riders. I LOVE to watch bull riding. I always am pulling for the bull!!!! We also saw a demolition derby and my son had a blast watching that. There was more food there than you could imagine. I'd never seen a state fair with so much food. An added bonus was perfect weather! We also stopped by King's Dominion on the way home since we promised my son we could go there for a bit. That is a huge amusement park in Virginia. Needless to say, by the time we were home that night my feet were aching. Lots of walking, but that's ok since I needed to work off all the pounds from Paula's Gooey Cake!

Here's the recipe:

Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 (18.2 oz) package yellow cake mix
1 large egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted


1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (1 pound) box confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with vegetable oil cooking spray.

In the bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the cake mix, egg and butter and mix well. Pat evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.

In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, eggs, vanilla extract, confectioners' sugar and butter. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Fold in the toffee bits with a spatula.

Pour the filling over the cake mixture and spread it evenly. Bake until the center is just a little bit gooey, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into pieces and serve.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Lime Banana Coconut Cake

This recipe comes courtesty of Reeni of Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice. It's a great cake and one of those recipes that when you see it makes you want to immediately make it! I seem to always have extra ripe bananas on hand so this was perfect. The lime gives it a little extra zing and really makes it stand out. So the next time you have extra bananas that are a bit too ripe, instead of making a banana bread, try this recipe! Thanks Reeni for another great recipe!

Have a great weekend everyone. We are going to the Virginia State Fair on Sunday. Hope the weather is good since it's no fun to walk around in the rain!

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup mashed bananas (about 3)
1 tablespoon grated lime zest (about 3 limes, save them after zesting for the glaze)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (sift first, then measure)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Lime Glaze to follow

Preheat over to 350F degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan.

In a dry saute pan toast the coconut flakes over medium low heat until golden brown, turning often. Set aside.

In a medium bowl beat the sour cream, banana puree, lime zest and vanilla together about 2 minutes with an electric mixer on low.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, 3/4 of the toasted coconut and salt. Add the butter and 1/3 of the banana puree. Beat for a minute on medium speed. Add another third of the banana puree and beat until well incorporated. Repeat with the last third of the banana puree.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes and remove the sides. While still warm, brush with glaze.

Lime Glaze

Juice of one - two limes
Confectioners' sugar

Make a very thin glaze, start with the juice of one lime and gradually add the sugar a little bit at a time. Whisk well. If it gets too thick add more lime juice, it should be very thin. Almost a watery consistency.

Poke holes in the cake with a chop stick or butter knife about an inch apart over the entire cake while still warm. Brush with glaze over the cake and especially into the holes. Repeat.

Let the cake finish cooling. Use the remainder of the glaze to make a thicker icing. If there isn't any left, start again with the juice of one lime, add confectioners' sugar a little bit at a time and whisk well. This should be thicker than the first glaze but not as thick as a standard frosting. Taste - it should have a very strong, pronounced lime flavor. Add more lime if needed. Once the cake is cooled, glaze and sprinkle the rest of the toasted coconut.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Scrumptious Salisbury Steak in Mushroom Gravy and Garlic Mashed Potatoes Secret Recipe

Do you know what I did last night? My husband and I and our son went to see Pink in concert! She was playing at The Patriot Center in Fairfax County, Virgnia. We had an absolute blast! I was so worried on the way there that I would be the oldest person in the crowd but didn't need to worry about that at all. There were all ages at her concert (a 4 year old sat in back of us and 2 women that had to be about 70 sat in front of us.). I'm telling you the one 70 year old lady knew just about every word to each song that Pink sang. I kid you not. I didn't know she had such a varied audience!!! I think we need to go to rock concerts more often! I hadn't been to one in many years so this was a real treat. My son who is 10 was telling his classmates that he saw Pink last night and they didn't believe him! Oh well.... I still think one of my favorite concerts from years back was seeing Cat Stevens. I don't know if many of you remember him but he was quite popular back in the 1970's. I had a huge crush on him.....he was just gorgeous, with a deep, sexy voice! I had wanted to see him so badly and waited hours in line for tickets to his concert only to be told that they were sold out when it was almost my turn to purchase them. Luckily a friend of my cousins worked at the venue he was playing at and he allowed us to sneak in. This is but one of many adventurous stories of my teenage years!

Let's get on to this recipe. I found this on Allrecipes. This is definitely comfort food. I have lots of ground beef in the freezer and was looking for a recipe other than meat loaf or hamburgers and came upon this one. It's very good. I tweeked it just a little and my changes I will put in parenthesis. I also had some red skin potatoes to use before they started growing eyes, arms and legs, etc... (yes, I have had a batch grow legs one time)! This is definitely a different recipe for garlic mashed potatoes since most of the recipes I've tried always use some milk or cream and have the garlic roasted beforehand. These are very good - I was skeptical but they were good! Give these a try if you want some good, old comfort food! p.s. warning - not for the calorie conscious!!!!

Salisbury Steak
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons crushed buttery round cracker crumbs (I used a bit more)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used only a dash)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning (I used Lawry's seasoning salt 1/2 - 1 tsp)
2 (4 ounce) cans sliced mushrooms with their juice (I used 1 can)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 cups milk (I used 1 1/2 cups)
3 cubes beef bouillon (I used 1 1/2 cups beef broth)
(I also used 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup)

In a medium bowl mix together the ground beef, egg, cracker crumbs, onion, salt, pepper and seasoning salt using your hands. Shape into 6 patties about 1 inch thick.
Fry the patties in a large skillet over medium high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until browned. Drain off grease, and remove patties to a platter and keep warm.
Melt the butter in the same skillet and add the mushrooms. Cook and stir for about 2minutes. Sprinkle the flour over and mix in until blended. Stir in the milk and beef broth and soup. Cook and stir over medium heat until smooth and starting to thicken. Return the patties to the gravy and cook over low heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes (the original recipe on Allrecipes yielded 100 servings!....this one is for about 4 servings.)
2 pound unpeeled red potatoes, quartered
5 ounces butter, room temperature
2 ounces Romano cheese, grated (I used Parmesan...that is what I had on hand)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano (I used 1/2 tsp and you could taste it well)

Boil potatoes in a large pot until slightly tender; drain. Stir in butter, cheese, garlic, salt and oregano. Mash with a potato masher or with an electric mixer.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mom's Banana Apple Bread

It's been a rainy day here. I had lunch with a friend today that I hadn't seen in nearly two years so we played a lot of catch up. Ever since I have moved my dad down here to Virginia from Long Island I find I have less and less time to get together with friends. He is in a dementia unit in a Veterans Home down in Richmond where I also have a house and my two older sons live. Between visiting my dad, my mom and stepdad, my older son and wife and granddaughter, my middle son, spending time with my husband and 10 year old son.....I do find it hard sometimes to fit in time with friends. It really is important to get together with friends. Girlfriends are what keep you sane!!! Don't think I am kidding here, because I am quite serious. We share our happiness, sadness, triumphs, joys and miseries with our girlfriends. Who in the world can understand us like our one. I've learned so much from 2 older girlfriends that I had for many years that have passed on. These ladies had so much wisdom and I learned a lot from them. They were both older than my own mom! I loved them dearly. I also have some friends that are my own age and then there are a few that are quite a bit younger. You learn different things from different people. Moving on here.......

I found this recipe at Hot Oven Warm Heart. This is a terrific banana bread recipe that is very different from any other ones I've made since it contains cooked apples. It is a really good bread and I definitely recommend it. It's especially great for this time of year when apples are in season and it's a nice twist on the usual banana bread.

For the apples:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the banana bread:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups very ripe mashed bananas (2 to 3)

Before you start:
Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly butter and flour a 1 1/2 quart loaf pan.

To make the apples:
Preheat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the butter and brown sugar and heat until bubbling. Add the apples and cinnamon and saute until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

To make the banana bread:
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
In a small bowl, combine the orange juice and vanilla.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the orange juice mixture, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each flour addition. Stir in the mashed bananas until combined. Then stir in the reserved apples.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool further.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

One Bowl Chocolate Cake III with Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting

Well Julia's book is on sale so I have decided to buy it. It has so many good recipes in it. I have to say that in the past year since I started this food blog I've gotten way more confident in my cooking and baking and more knowledgeable. There are still tons of things I have never cooked before but I am not nearly as intimidated by certain recipes as I would have been before this blog. A year ago I would have opened Julia's book and immediately shut it and thought "No way can I make that." Now I'll at least try. Hopefully, if I'm having a hard time with a recipe or get frustrated that something is not going right, I don't just slam the food in the trash like I would have in the past.....we'll see. But I will try.

The following recipe is a perfect example of a recipe gone wrong - the cake was wonderful and the frosting was great UNTIL I added the salt. I don't ever remember adding salt to a frosting recipe but this one called for it and sure enough, ruined it. I would definitely recommend both the cake and frosting because they are tasty and quite simple to make, but don't use salt in the frosting. I won't even include it in the recipe below. These were found at Allrecipes. The cake is very similar to the original Hershey's Chocolate Cake. It's great since it's an easy clean up too!

Anyhow, the frosting on the cake in the picture is "stand by" canned frosting since the chocolate one was horrible with the salt!!! It never, ever hurts to have a "stand by" of any product already made for emergencies!!!

Chocolate Cake

2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Preheat over to 350F. Grease and flour two nine inch round pans.
In a large bowl, stir together eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar

Melt chocolate and the butter together. Let cool and blend in the sour cream and vanilla. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar until the frosting is of spreading consistency, beat well.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ranchero Beef & Rice Skillet

I finally saw the movie Julie & Julia and have to say that I loved it! Loved everything about it. I have read that some people felt they would have rather seen more Julia and less Julie but I don't feel that way at all. I enjoyed both stories very much. I think Meryl Streep will be up for an oscar for her performance. She was wonderful (as usual). Needless to say, now I want to try some of Julia's recipes. I looked through some of the book at Borders this weekend and it does look challenging. Although I do remember reading that if you follow her recipes exactly as written, you won't have a problem. We'll see. I haven't bought her book yet (it's $40 - hello???), but I'm sure it will be in my cookbook collection in the near future. I mean, how long can I put this off! I am going to try one of her recipes next week and we'll see how it goes.

The above picture is not one of Julia's recipes (are you surprised?)! This comes from the cookbook America's Favorite Beef Recipes from Time Life Books. I was going to post this later in the week or next week but my son enjoyed this so much this evening for dinner that I am posting it now hoping that if someone is at a loss as to what to cook for some picky eaters, this just might fit the bill. Please note that I did NOT use 1 tablespoon of chili powder as the recipe suggests. My son doesn't care for spicy food so I just sprinkled on some chili powder and added oregano and some onion powder for extra flavor. I also cooked this the day before and served it the next day. I believe that it gave the flavors a chance to blend into each other. I have to say I enjoyed it. My husband liked it and my son devoured two plates of it. So we will put this under "kid friendly." Enjoy! (This one is also an easy clean up....).

1 pound 80% ground beef
1 medium red or green bell pepper, chopped
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon chili powder (I only sprinkled some on the meat)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups cooked rice, cooled
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted (I think corn would be good, too)
3/4 cup prepared salsa (I used a little over 1 cup of mild salsa)

In large nonstick skillet, brown ground beef, bell pepper and garlic over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking beef up into 3/4 inch crumbles. Pour off drippings. Season with chili powder and salt.

Add rice to skillet; mix well. Continue cooking 2 minutes or until rice is hot; stir occasionally. Stir in peas and salsa; heat through.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars

Doesn't the name of these bars sound great? Well let me tell you they are as tasty as anything. And a little goes a loooong way! I made a large pan of these and had a ton. You can cut them up small because they are very rich, to say the least. I found these over at Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness. The glaze on these is made of white chocolate and pumpkin pie spice and to me that alone puts them "over the top!" I would make them again if I felt ambitious only because you make two batters for these bars and there is lots of clean up! But my son and husband and coworkers (yes, this batch made that many) really enjoyed them and so did I. These tasted best when they were freshly baked. You know how some things test better the next day> Well, these are best eaten very fresh. They are good for a day or two, they just had the best flavor when they were just out of the oven and still slightly warm. You can see the two layers of cake too! A pumpkin pie layer and a snickerdoodle layer. So good!

It's a gorgeous weekend here in Virginia. We'll be doing outdoor things today and taking advantage of the warm weather. My son just loves demolition derbies and that is where we are headed this afternoon! Tomorrow I am planning on meeting a friend to finally see Julie & Julia. I had been planning to see this since it opened back in July but have just not had a chance. I'm looking very forward to it. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Snickerdoodle Layer:
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Pumpkin Pie Layer:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cut white sugar
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree or canned

Glaze for drizzling:
1 oz. white chocolate, chopped (I used chips)
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preheat over to 350F.. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch pan and lay a piece of parchment paper across the pan, so that it extends the pan slightly.

To make snickerdoodle layer:
Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until well combined. Spread evernly in prepared pan. Set aside.

In a mixer bowl, with paddle attachment, mix together the pumpkin pie ingredients until well combined. Pour the mixture over the snickerdoodle layer, smoothing out the top.

Bake for 35-45 minutes (maybe more depending on your oven) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the bars cool completely (about an hour). They will deflate a bit and remain a bit pie-like on the top layer.

After the bars are completely cool, place the chopped white chocolate into a bowl or zip lock bag and melt on low power. When it's completely melted, add the pumpkin pie spice and mix (or knead if using a zip lock bag). Use a spoon or cut a small corner off the bag and drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the bars and let it cool and harden. (I just frosted mine.)

Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan. Place on a cutting board and cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator but bring to room temperature before serving. (Next time I would skip the refrigerator step - I didn't find it necessary).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Honey Baked Chicken II

I was looking for a good chicken recipe for chicken thighs. I wanted something different but flavorful. I checked on allrecipes and found this one. It did not disappoint! What's also nice about this recipe is that most of the ingredients you will already have on hand. As I'm writing this I wonder why I didn't go to my huge, buldging folder of recipes that I've clipped out or copied that I want to try. I guess old habits die hard! I need to start trying some of the recipes that have just been sitting in that folder for months (could even be years!).

This is a very good recipe with a ton of flavor. The chicken was also nice and moist. I served rice and peas with this chicken.

1 (3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces (I used 5 chicken thighs)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place chicken pieces in a shallow baking pan, skin side up. Combine the melted butter, honey, mustard, salt and curry powder and pour the mixture over the chicken. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/4 hours, basting every 15 minutes (I baked the chicken thighs for 1 hour), with pan drippings, until the chicken is nicely browned and tender and the juices run clear.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Blueberry Lime Pound Cake

It's Monday and back to work and school. My son is not happy about going back to school but I'm glad that we're all back on somewhat of a schedule here. I'm also looking very forward to heading out to all the pumpkin patches that the fall season brings. There's lots to do in the fall. And lots to bake. I know that soon enough I'll be baking with apples galore so here is one more recipe using a summer fruit. I found this recipe at Jen's food site use real butter. She has so many great recipes but this one really caught my eye. It is absolutely delicious and it goes a long way. The lime and blueberry combination is so good. I'd never had lime and blueberry together and boy have I been missing something.


8 oz unsalted butter, softened (more for buttering the pan)
10.5 oz (2 1/3 cups) all purpose flour (more for pan)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp table salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tsps lime zest, finely grated
6 oz cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature 2 1/2 cups blueberries, room temperature, washed and drained on towels


1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tbsps lime juice, fresh (more as needed)

Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 350F. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl. Pulse the sugar and lime zest together in a food processor about 20 times until well blended. Beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium speed for about a minute until it is smooth. Add the lime sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy (1-2 minutes). While the mixer is running, add the eggs one at a time making sure to mix well after each addition and scraping down the bowl. Beat in the lone egg yolk and mix everything together on low speed. Slowly add the flour mixture. Scrape the bowl down and beat on medium speed for 20 seconds and then gently fold in the blueberries. Pour batter into bundt pan and smooth the top. Tap the pan on the counter to remove air pockets and bake for 50-55 minutes or until it passes the clean toothpick test. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes and invert the cake. Let cool completely.

For Glaze: Whisk the powdered sugar and lime juice together until smooth. It should be just thin enough to pour. If too thin, add more sugar, if too thick, add more juice. Pour over the cooled cake and let the glaze set before serving.