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Sunday, October 31, 2010

What's on the Menu this week!

Thanks to several other's recipe ideas, this week's menu planning was very simple!  Hope you are able to get some ideas as well!

Monday - Curried Chicken Rice Soup (thanks South of the Fork), Salad, and Bread
Tuesday - Fish Tacos, Lime Coleslaw, Black Beans
Wednesday - Beef Stew with Barley and Pumpkin Cornbread
Thursday - BBQ Chicken Pizza and Salad
Friday - Steaks, Baked Potatoes, Salad

Pumpkin Cornbread Autumn Foods Day 7

When I typically think of Pumpkin Foods, I think of Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Bread.  But when teen came across recipes for Pumpkin Cornbread and Pumpkin Chilli, I thought, Ummmm, might just have to give it a try!  And after reading the reviews, the Pumpkin Cornbread is on our menu for this week. 
So why don't you try something new this week?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sweet Potato Maple Cupcakes with Marshmallow Maple Topping - Need I say more!

After making the Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate drinks the other morning, I have almost a cup of pumpkin leftover.  Previously, I had planned to just make more hot drinks (good thought right!).  Then I found this recipe for Sweet Potato Maple Cupcakes with Marshmallow Maple Topping at Marlo's Kitchen.  Why not substitute the pumpkin for the sweet potato?  I have the right amount!  So tomorrow afternoon, I will be baking these little treats for friends to taste when they visit on Monday.

Banana Pudding - the Southern Way!

See this empty dish.....
It's one of my favorite dishes.  We just recently added it along with a small identical dish and 6 coffee mugs from Lantern Hill Pottery in Seagrove, NC.  I really like this dish.  So much so, it won the prize of holding the most scrumptious Banana Pudding I do believe I have ever tasted!
Company was coming for dinner and I needed a good dessert recipe for the evening.  I debated between a pie or something with bananas as I had plenty of them.  But I did not have the old faithful - vanilla or banana pudding.  How hard could it be to make true from scratch pudding?  I found out - NOT HARD AT ALL!
As Big Guy stated after dinner, "That Banana Pudding was absolutely unbelievable!"  And he is not a sweets guy!  Got eggs, milk, flour, and sugar - there you go!  Add bananas and some cookies and you have one of the most amazing creations to hit your tastebuds!
And yes, I did make one change to the recipe - I used Scottish Butter cookies instead of Vanilla Wafers since I had them on hand.  And I broke them in bite size pieces.
This is two layers of sliced bananas and broken cookies.  Cookie on top is just an example of what I used.
Pudding has been poured over the 2 layers of cookies and bananas.  I had a few slices of banana left and crumbs so I just added them on top.
The recipe uses 3 egg yolks.  I took the 3 egg whites and left them out while I made the recipe.  This gave them time to become room temperature which helps to whip them into meringue.  Very simple to make meringue - egg whites and a couple tablespoons of white sugar.  Then whip and whip!  Tips for the perfect meringue are given by Christy Jordan over at Southern Plate.

Final Product!

Homemade Banana Pudding
1/2 Cup Sugar (or splenda)
1/3 Cup Flour
3 egg yolks
2 Cups milk
1 box Nilla Wafers
5 bananas
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
dash salt
Place a layer of Nilla Wafers in the bottom of a medium sized mixing bowl. Slice a banana over the top. Repeat two more times with another layer of wafers and remaining bananas. In sauce pot (or double boiler) on medium low heat, add all ingredients except for vanilla. Stir well with wire whisk. Allow to cook, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until thickened – about fifteen minutes. Add in vanilla and stir. Immediately pour over wafers and bananas. Let sit for about five minutes or so before serving, to allow wafers time to absorb pudding. Top with meringue, if desired.
This recipe can be found at Southern Plate.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ghosts, Goblins, and Frights Oh My! Halloween Goodies

Want to give someone a "treat" this Halloween weekend?  Searching the internet for other goodies, I stumbled upon so many cute and adorable ideas I wish I was hosting a Halloween party just to serve them all!  Don't like candy corn (is your name Moose A. Moose)?   How about baking Candy Corn Cookies?

And these Peanut Butter Spider Cookies?  Don't think I would be running from them!

Even after Halloween is over, I think I just might have to find a reason to make these Cookies 'N Cream Jack-o-lantern Popcorn Balls.  Really - oreos and popcorn, what a combination!  YUM!

But for the simplicity and ease of making, my vote this weekend is going to the Googly Eyes using Oreo Cakester.  At least it gives me a reason to buy them!

An Apple a Day - Autumn Food Day 6

You now the saying, "An apple a day, keeps the doctor away!"  So why not have your apple in a delicious Autumn Fruit Salad.  This is a very simple but yummy salad that is quick to mix together and gets rave reviews when taken to gatherings.  Many years ago, I was asked to help with a Teacher Appreciation Luncheon at my daughter's elementary school.  I made a large dish of the Autumn Fruit Salad and not one bite was left!  Numerous people asked for the recipe!  Marshmallows, grapes, apples, and oranges mix together with yogurt - what's not to love!  And with apple season hitting it's peak right now, you can easily substitute other favorite varieties for the Granny Smith ones listed in the recipe.
So if you are looking for an easy side dish to go with burgers for the weekend or the pot roast, the Autumn Fruit Salad is quite delicious!

Finally Friday! What's For Dinner you ask???

With the Teen gone for the weekend and our fridge full of goodies from the past week, it's kind of a fend for yourself night.  And just so you know I am not always cooking and baking, the Big Guy will be enjoying a frozen pizza.  Yes,  we have frozen pizzas in our house just like everyone else!  For factors of convenience and well, they are a great alternative to ordering delivery (and SOOOO much cheaper!).  Big Guy is a cheese hog!  Yes, I said it.  He loves his pizza super cheesy.  The more cheese strings hanging from a slice of pizza as he pulls it off the pan, the better!  So Big Guy takes frozen pizza to a new level.  Not only does he pile on extra mozzarella and Parmesan, he adds extra pepperoni as well.  Add a big Greek Salad and That's What's For Dinner! 
And if you aren't a fan of pizza in my house, you have a hodge podge of other choices from the past week's menu.  Think of leftovers like going to a buffet - a little of this and a little of that!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's Big and Orange and.... Day 5 of Autumn Foods

Has Seeds inside!  Pumpkin Seeds!  Roasted Pumpkin Seeds - definitely a great Family activity.  I still remember roasting Pumpkin Seeds as a child.  Scooping all of the insides out of the pumpkin, separating the bulk of the seeds from the pulp.  And after roasting the seeds, they were a tasty snack!  And you can take the basic recipe and toss with Kosher salt or Creole Seasoning.  You can also add a twist with some onion powder, garlic salt, and hot sauce as in Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with a Twist.
And if you tire of just snacking on them, add them to your salad, top pasta with them, or top pumpkin muffins with them.

Whip It, Now Whip It Good........ Potatoes

This song always comes into my head as I put my cooked potatoes in my mixer to whip them.  So if you ever come for dinner, and mashed potatoes are being served, pardon me as I sing a little of Devo.
So how do you make the Perfect Mashed Potatoes?  Personally, I believe mashed or whipped potatoes are subjective to a person's individual taste.  My grandmother whips her potatoes till they are smooth and creamy with a bit more liquid than not.  I prefer to use Red Potatoes, part for convenience (no need to peel them) and with not peeling them, you get a splash of the red skins against the white on your plate.  Eye appeal!  I have also made great mashed potatoes and not so great mashed potatoes.  Tonight's were exceptionally good.  To the point that my one child who does NOT like mashed potatoes are two servings of them and no meat.  This is the same child who can eat a 6 oz steak before touching his fries. 
So I will share you the tricks I used tonight.
Red Potatoes about 8.  I cut them into 1/8s to 1/6s depending on the size of the potato.  Put them in a pot with water covering them about an inch above the potatoes.  I toss in a chicken bouillon cube for an extra bit of flavor.  Boil for about 15-20 min till potatoes are tender. 
Drain and place into mixing boil.  Add 2 tablespoons of butter (you can use more, I just try to use less), 4 oz of cream cheese, 1/4 cup of plain yogurt, several dashes of dried parsley, and several dashes of garlic salt.   Whip in mixer (or by hand) for about 3 minutes.  They were so yummy!
-I have used sour cream in the past but the cream cheese seems to give the potatoes the same flavor without the extra liquid from the sour cream.
-The kind of potato you use makes a difference as well.
-Some have used a touch of nutmeg for a hint of flavor.
-Dill and thyme are good for mashed potatoes as well.
-Mash while still hot!

Cranberry-Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin - it's what's for dinner!

I can wait to try this tonight!  I "cheated" a bit after reading the reviews and browned the tenderloins (they come 2 in a pack about a pound each, more than what the recipe called for) to insure tenderness.  Tender tenderloins - say that one 10 times fast!  Whew - what a tongue twister!  Then I removed the meat from the skillet and put it in the crockpot.  Ah, the crockpot!  One of the greatest inventions of all time!  Back to the meal - then I sauteed my chopped onions.  Added the chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, cranberry sauce, and about 1/4 cup of Orange Juice to the skillet.  I had originally chosen a dish that used cranberry and orange sauce and was really wanting that flavor.  Heated it in the sauce for about 8 min.  Then poured it over the meat in the crockpot.  Turned crockpot on low for about 3 hours. 
It smells SO YUMMY! 
With the Cranberry-Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin, we will have mashed red potatoes and green beans.
Just wishing dinner time will hurry up!!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lunches - what to pack!!!!!

Whether you send a child to school, take the kids to the park, head to work, or just want to avoid fast food while out running errands during meal time, packing a lunch can be a life saver!  Take our day today - Teen wanted to purchase (her money please note, she babysits) some craft items.  And it was a nice outdoor day.  Add to that combination we had a day of no time obligations.  So a short trip to the craft store and then time at the park was on our agenda.   But wait, by the time we do lessons (Teen is homeschooled) and a few chores, it will be mid-morning before we even leave the house.  THEN the boys will definitely be hungry, not to mention myself and Teen.  And we had McDonald's yesterday out of necessity and lack of planning on my part. Two days in a row of the Golden Arches is not appealing to me at all!  So I packed heavy snacks for all of us - cartons of yogurt, cheese cubes, peanut butter on crackers, and fruit.  That was our lunch!
But couldn't there be more in my lunch bag.  Doesn't have to be a steak and salad but something with more substance. (Don't get me wrong, I could easily survive on peanut butter and crackers for days, just need some more ideas!)
And the thought of a basic sandwich and chips is about as appealing as the Golden Arches or the King!  Then I found it!  Purely by accident!  A website dedicated to meals for backpacking!  Well, lunch boxes and back packing are very similar - one typically has a campsite while the other has a juice box!  But just look at the recipes and ideas on One Pan Wonders.  Esmeralda Wrap with bacon and avocado.  YUM!  Southwest Black Bean and Couscous Salad - oh my!  I don't have to dehydrate my food for just a few hours.  I can just grab the nifty little freezer packs hidden away in my freezer.  I am so excited to have stumbled upon this site!  Just might have to find another excuse for a picnic soon!

I have a little addict!

I have created a little addict - My Teen!  She is of the Starbucks generation.  Who makes the worlds best Hot Chocolate - Starbucks!  Where can you get a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino - Starbucks!  Heck, my own Mother doesn't even know what a Frappuccino is!  But I will say, Teen understands the concept of the almighty dollar.  Especially when it is HER money that has to purchase these liquid luxuries!  So she searches online for various recipes - some for baking, some for dinner ideas, and here lately, drinks!  And Teen found a winner today!  We will be making Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate on Friday morning for some friends at "coffee time".  Doesn't that just roll right off your tongue - Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate!  Makes you all warm and fuzzy inside all while looking oh so chic!  Might just have to do a trial run tomorrow just to insure that it meets our standards to serve to friends!

Fish Fry tonight!

With the change of the menu with last night's dinner, our Fish Fry was tonight's dinner.  I am very blessed with family that lives on the coast of NC and supplies us with fabulous fresh coastal fish.  Our seafood supply currently consists of Spanish Mackerel, Wahoo, and Peanut Dolphin, sometimes referred to as Maui Maui.
Both of my grandfathers have ponds on their properties that were stocked with fish as we were growing up.  I can recall many summer afternoons spent fishing with one Granddaddy or another.  Catching several fish, Granddaddy would clean the fish and Grandmother would fry it!  One of the BEST meals of all time! 
We enjoy fish many different ways but fried is one of the best.  I often use House of Autry seafood breader but recently I have not kept it in my pantry, making my own breader.  Taking equal amounts of Italian bread crumbs and flour, I dredged my fish fillets (that have been soaking in milk - or buttermilk - for at least 15 minutes) through the mixture.  Then frying it in hot oil in a cast iron skillet.  YUM!
Big Guy has taught me quite a few tricks in the kitchen.  One is how to make your own tartar sauce.  Very simple and you can adjust to what you like.  We like a hint of heat to our sauce so I chop a few jalapeno slices into the mix.
For tartar sauce:
mayonnaise - 1 cup
grated onion - 3 tablespoons
sweet relish - 3 tablespoons
lemon juice - a dash
Worcestershire sauce - a dash
Simply mix all together and let the flavors "marry" for a few hours prior to serving if possible.  If you forget and make right before dinner, it will still be good.  And you can adjust the amounts according to how much you need or like.

Oh Sweet Potato-Pecan Casserole! Day 4 of Autumn Foods

My Brother In Law typically makes Sweet Potato Casserole for holiday family gatherings.  And it is delicious!  To me, it tastes like a true Southern Sweet Potato Casserole, full of sugar and butter!  On top of the gravy and stuffing with the mashed potatoes and turkey, my arteries begin to harden after lunch!  All that butter!
And with sweet potatoes coming into season, I was tickled when I happened upon healthier version of the traditional Sweet Potato Casserole.  So of course I HAD to make it to try it out, right?  And it was wonderful!  Fabulous taste, a hint of sweetness but the sweet potato still shone through, and fluffy!  This is a keeper for the holidays.
And why do I have the holidays on my mind you might wonder?  Even though it was above 80 degrees here in NC (crazy weather!)!!! I was waiting in line at a store to pay for my purchases and there it was .... November's issue of the Food Network magazine.   Picking it up and flipping through it just for those few moments, I saw recipe after recipe I wanted to try in my kitchen.  And I was just flipping through the first 40 pages of how to cook the perfect turkey, homemade dinner rolls, quick weeknight meals, cranberry relishes!  So I brought the magazine home with me.  And have had visions of Thanksgiving dinner since!
So I followed Ellie Kreiger' Sweet Potato-Pecan Casserole this evening and my home smelled like Autumn!  I didn't miss the butter or white sugar at all!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Been picking lately???? Apples Day 3 of Autumn

What says Autumn more than Apple Picking?  Gingergold, Gala, Courtland, Red Delicious, Winesap, Fuiji - the list goes on and on for the variety of apples available.  Then you can make apple butter, apple muffins, applesauce, apple fritters, apple cider, and TAFFY APPLE PIZZA.  This is a simple and kid friendly dessert recipe that uses ready made ingredients for convenience.  Apple time can very much be the perfect family time!  So grab some cookie dough, cream cheese and apples and the kids and make this simple eye-pleasing dessert!
(Copied from the Pampered Chef website but other kitchen tools work just as well)

Taffy Apple Pizza

1  package (18 ounces) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1/2  teaspoon vanilla
1  package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2  cup packed brown sugar
1/4  cup creamy peanut butter
3  medium Granny Smith apples
1/4  cup caramel ice cream topping
1/2  cup peanuts, chopped
1.Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape cookie dough into a ball and place in center of Large Round Stone; flatten slightly. Using lightly floured Baker's Roller®, roll out dough to a 14-inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Bake 16-18 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes. Carefully loosen cookie from baking stone using Serrated Bread Knife; cool completely on baking stone.
2.Combine cream cheese, brown sugar, peanut butter and vanilla in Small Batter Bowl; mix well. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over cookie.
3.Peel, core and slice apples using Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer. Cut apple slices in half and arrange evenly over cream cheese mixture.
4.Microwave ice cream topping on HIGH 30-45 seconds or until warm; drizzle evenly over apples. Chop peanuts using Food Chopper; sprinkle over apples. Cut into wedges.
Yield: 16 servings

Nutrients per serving: Calories 300, Total Fat 17 g, Saturated Fat 5 g, Cholesterol 25 mg, Carbohydrate 36 g, Protein 5 g, Sodium 270 mg, Fiber 1 g

Osso Buco - say THAT 3 times fast!

It's What's For Dinner!  As mentioned in earlier post, my find of Osso Buco changed our menu for tonight.  Had it not been for Stone Barrington, I would have had zero idea what this meat was or how it needed to be prepared.  Let me just preface - this was DIVINE!  Teen took one bite and said, DELICIOUS!  And didn't say another word for many many minutes to follow.  And in reality, it truly was an easy recipe.  Once prepped, all you have to do is let it simmer.  That's it!  Buy the meat and  viola!  Delicious country Italian food!  I served it with salads, roasted red and sweet potatoes, and steamed green beans.
Osso Buco means bone with a hole.  Traditionally, it is a hearty Italian dish of braised veal shanks.  A wonderful comfort food dish with it's rich red sauce full of cooked celery, carrots, and onions, the aromas perfect for a cool Autumn day.  Other meats could be used in place of the veal - pork shanks or beef shanks would work just as well and a bit more economical.  The tender veal though literally fell off the bone as I was plating the entree for dinner.  No knife was needed to cut the meat either.
I did add entire can (the small ones) of tomato paste to the dish instead of what the recipe suggests.  And I did not make the herb bouquet or tied the Osso Buco with twine.  Instead, I added the herbs into the sauce.  I did brown the meat and put on simmer low for about 2 1/2 hours.  One of those dishes that you can cook (brown) at 3 and then just let simmer till dinner time.  No fussing or flipping required.  Perfect for company coming and not wanting to wait till the last minute to time all the dishes to end together.

Stone Barrington is coming for dinner tonight

Big Guy is a fan of Stuart Woods' Stone Barrington books.    The lawyer/detective seems to be always flying off to adventure with a beautiful lady in his arms and danger just around the bend.  When he comes home, Stone enjoys having dinner at his favorite fictional haunt, Elaine's, where he orders Osso Buco with a glass of Knob Creek to wash away the day.
So rearranging the menu a bit for Big Guy as I found a deal on Osso Buco at the grocery store this morning!  Just might email Stuart Woods and see if he would like to fly in for dinner!
Check back later this evening for the recipe and reviews, as well as tips to cook this dish with other cuts of meat.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Orange and White - what a delight! Day 2

Roasted Sweet potatoes.  Just saying those words in my head makes me want to cook dinner all over ago!  For many many MANY years, I would have told you the ONLY way I liked sweet potatoes was in a casserole smothered in marshmallows at the holidays.  Really - when you put the words SWEET in front of a vegetable, doesn't it mean it is going to taste like a pie?????  Oh, their orange color was beautiful.  Family and friends made them sound scrumptious as they flaked them after baking and put a tab of butter to melt in them.  But I just wasn't a fan.
Until one day, for some crazy reason (I believe a family member had left sweet potatoes in my pantry and you know how much I hate waste) I decided to roast white and sweet potatoes.  Simply peeled the sweet potatoes and cut into 1/4 slices.  Either use russet or red potatoes and cut into 1/4 slices as well.  I leave skins on most potatoes (scrub them clean) for extra fiber.  Toss with olive oil.  Sprinkle with kosher salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme.  Roasted this at 450 degrees for about 50 min flipping potatoes halfway through cooking time. 

HEAVENLY!  I could honestly do without the white potatoes but my crew likes the balance.  I had planned to cook this side dish last week and my plans were changed.  I was mentally perturbed I was going to be missing the yummy goodness of Roasted Sweet Potatoes.  I don't follow an exact recipe but for those who need, Thyme-Roasted Sweet Potatoes does the trick!
Ah - sweet potatoes!

I Love a Rainy Night!

Here in the South, we are having wonderful fall showers!  Just enough to make it look and feel like FALL!  Makes for a great night of comfort food as well!  And what is more perfect than Beef Stroganoff over Egg Noodles for a cool rainy day! 
So I am adjusting the cooking times a bit on this recipe.  Browning the meat (the house smells SO DELICIOUS right now!) as well as the onions and mushrooms (I did use canned mushrooms).  Adding that and the sour cream, beef broth, and cream of mushroom soup in a crockpot on low till dinner time (in about 3 hours).  So yummy and easy!
Will boil the egg noodles and steam the broccoli right before dinner time!

Having trouble planning???

Before you start to pull your hair out or give up and run through the drive thru every night this week, Check out the Super Organizer!  And be sure to enter the weekly giveaway.

What's on the Menu

Let me just say - this is not written in stone and can always change as needed.  I'm flexible like that!

Beef Stroganoff over Egg Noodle
Steamed Broccoli
Salad with Italian Dressing and Feta Cheese

Fried Fish
Roasted Sweet and Red Potates
Cole Slaw

Garlic Bread

Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Orange Sauce
Steamed Green Beans
Rice Pilaf

Oven Baked Fries

Deep Fried Halloween Candy

This is the week when the kids will be getting their buckets full of candy.  And after you secretly eat all the "good stuff" while their sleeping, here's a not so healthy way to use the rest!  If you try it, let me know what you think!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm late, I'm late......Feeling a bit like the White Rabbit!

I haven't planned my menu for this week!!!!  YIKES!  We've been going going and more going, I have barely sat down let alone think of what I am feeding the crew!  Have you planned your menu yet?
And it doesn't have to be set it stone.  Just a game plan to keep from running to the store every day or through the drive thru in a rush!

This is how we Roll! Pumpkin Roll!

The Classic Pumpkin Roll.  A very lovely dessert to present after the dinner is complete.  Everyone oooohs and ahhhhs over it's beauty.  And you want to know a secret - shhh, *spoken in hushed tones* It's really easy!
The first Pumpkin Roll I made 2 years ago for Thanksgiving Lunch.  Not to be confused with Thanksgiving Dinner.  Yes - like thousands of others, we get to eat 2, count them 2, Turkey meals on the Pilgrim's Holiday.  The first is historically at my Mother's home where all families bring a dish that is somewhat planned and coordinated.  I say somewhat as my sisters and Mother and I make sure all the basics are covered - turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, bread, a green veggie, and a ham. So for a change from the normal pumpkin pie that is brought by other family members, I decided to venture into the land of the Rolls!  It was so simple, I made another one the following year for dinner at my home with Big Guy's family in attendance.
For many many years, my grandparents, whom are now 89 and 86, had a HUGE garden.  By profession, they were tobacco and chicken farmers so a garden was just a normal way of life.  But even after it was just the two of them and all the children had flown the nest, they still grew and grew and grew many many vegetables in grand abundance.  So neighbors and family benefited.  One vegetable that they grew was butternut squash.  Until a month ago, I had never actually paid for a butternut squash.  I would roast them just like a pumpkin and use the "meat" of the squash in place of pumpkin in breads and pies.  And even in my pumpkin roll. 
To roast a butternut squash or a pumpkin, simply cut in half.  Place cut side up on a large cooking pan.  Add about 2 in of water.  Then heat up the house!  Roast on 375 degrees or so for about and hour.  You can test to see if done by piercing the squash with a fork.  Easy to pierce, it's done.  You can add cinnamon or pumpkin pie spices to the roasting squash to make your home smell delicious!
I say heat up the house as I tried to plan roasting the squash on cool Autumn days.  Simply let the cooked squash cool and you can freeze the meat for use later.
So in the following recipe, I used my own cooked butternut squash.  And parchment paper makes the rolling Super Easy!  Enjoy!
LIBBY'S® Pumpkin Roll

LIBBY'S® Pumpkin Roll


45 mins
13 mins
60 mins
Dazzle family and friends with Libby's® Pumpkin Roll; moist and creamy, with a tantalizing aroma and beautiful presentation.
  • Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)


oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

COOKING TIP:Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

All things Autumn!

Think for a minute - pumpkin pie, zucchini bread,  pumpkin rolls, sweet potato pie, butternut squash soup, roasted sweet potatoes. Ah - the delicious foods of Autumn!  And thanks to overhearing a discussion at a trunk or treat this afternoon with the kids, I had an idea!  What about 30 days of Fall Foods!  I am so excited - all the good uses of pumpkin, squashes, sweet potatoes, and so much more!  All while boosting our beta-carotene, fiber intake, and potassium!  So for the next 30 days check us out for a special Autumn recipe and ideas!

Friday, October 22, 2010

What you learn from others

I adore listening to other's menus or what they are having for dinner.  I probably would not have ever tried tofu had it not been for a fabulous recommendation from a friend for Coconut Curry Tofu.  And the list of foods that the Big Guy has introduced is quite long -
goat cheese
and so much more!
And I would have never EVER even thought of googling Pastitsio!
But I am constantly influenced by what others eat, mostly people I know.  Stromboli is now on our menu rotation thanks to friends.  Certain snacks.  Ideas for desserts.  And one idea I love and adore GRANOLA!  Two years ago, while trying to lose weight after Number 1 Son was born, I utilized an online group where you journaled your caloric intake, chatted with others, etc.  It was very helpful.  (making mental note to get back on that bandwagon...). Anyway, as I've mentioned I wake up hungry and wanting sweet.  So breakfast while trying to eat healthy was difficult for me.  Until someone mentioned vanilla yogurt with GRANOLA sprinkled in it!  Bliss, absolute bliss for me.  To the point that my sons ask for this breakfast OFTEN!
I am not a connoisseur of Granola as this fabulous blogger South of the Fork is, I enjoy it greatly!  I just get overwhelmed standing in a grocery store looking at 10 different varieties of granola.  But the Ooohs and Ahhhs I have heard about Gorilla Grains, I WANT some!  Seriously, when someone gets THIS excited over food, it must be had!
Here's a little info about Gorilla Grains -


Eat Strong. Swing Long.                            

Gourmet Granola, 100% Organic Oats
   My first mistake, I married a chef.  Over 20 years ago. Arizona farm girl meets Detroit chef.  What was I thinking? Seriously, I was raised in a farming family that took vitamins, blended protein shakes out of raw eggs and powdered milk, and exercised back in the ‘60’s.  My husband, Steve, always said he would rather go without food than eat something that didn’t taste good.
 I began a quest to come up with a granola that Steve would eat that tasted good.  Well, 14 years passed and Steve’s comments advanced from, “Tastes like sawdust,” to “I would rather eat the paper bag.”
Undaunted, I pressed on.  After years of refinements, he said, “Now that’s good.  I could eat it every day.”  And he does.
Friends and family that try it also love it.  Steve says, “The last bite tastes as good as the first bite.”
Eat strong. Swing long,
Alicia Rehburg
Originator of Gorilla Grains
(815) 846-0924

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You know you've made it big time.....

You know you've made it big time when your husband starts emailing you recipes to check out and cook for your blog!  Just had to let you guys know!  How funny is that!  Big time for me that is!  Seriously - he emailed me three links for different recipes to "test" out!  Then he CALLED me to see if I had read my email yet this afternoon.  He is almost giddy with excitement.  I think he's thinking what a cool way for my wife to feed me some new stuff!  You have to appreciate a man who enjoys a good home cooked meal! 
One recipe was for a Slow Cooker Bread Pudding.... I think I'll be making it sooner than later!

I'll admit it, I've never eaten

A S'more!  Nope Never!  And yes, I went to summer camp for YEARS!!!!  Was even a Girl Scout where the earliest recipe for a S'more can be found in the Handbook of 1927.  But I can honestly say (unfortunately) I have never eaten a S'more!  I want to Yell - I WANT SOME MORE!
And in case you ask - why is she speaking of S'mores????  During a 30 min drive back from a Museum today with the boys, the Great Big Purple and Green Dinosaur aka Barney was playing on the van DVD player.  Even though I attempted to block out the extreme perkiness of the singing, I still heard mention of S'mores in one of the songs.  Got me thinking - have I ever tasted the chocolate covered gooey graham cracker concoction in my life???  NO!  Shock!  Growing up, we often had "brush" fires when a large pile of broken limb or trees that had been cut or trimmed needed to be burned.  Those were nights of hot dogs and marshmallows!  Grab a long stick and Daddy would trim the end to a point with his pocketknife to insure the hot dog would not fall in the fire.  Flames would heat the hot dog to the perfect crispiness.  What a dinner!  Then for dessert, roasted marshmallows.  Just a touch of flame, not burnt but a few bubbles of dark brown on it.  Oh so yummy!  Ooooey, Gooooey, YUM!
But no chocolate or graham cracker to go with it!
So what is your perfect S'more?  Makes me want to build a fire outside and find some marshmallows now!

Appetizers, Finger Food, Hors D'Oeuvres

No matter what you call that mini tasting prior to the meal, appetizers are fun and delish!  A friend is attending a Halloween Party next weekend and requested a recipe for a "different" appetizer to make.  She did not want to make a fruit or vegetable tray (although my friend Jessica makes a super neat one with kabobs and the best fruit dip! Recipe to follow soon!)  Nor did she want to make a Hot Crab Dip, Sausage Balls, Cheese Ball.  Something that is not normally found at the parties she had attended recently.... this was getting difficult!  We pulled out recipe books.  I searched the world wide web.  All while we tossed around ideas.... pigs in a blanket, brownie bites, Prosciutto Wrapped Melon.  EUREKA!  We found it - Goat cheese logs with Pepper Jelly and crackers.  This was served last Thanksgiving as the family waited for the dinner on Black Friday.  I should say the MEN waited patiently as the WOMEN had been pottery shopping all day and were just happy to prop their feet for a moment!  Super simple appetizer and quite tasty!  A friend had given us a jar of homemade pepper jelly.  Simply open a log of Goat Cheese  and pour pepper jelly over top of it.  Serve with buttery crackers.  The creaminess of the cheese and the hint of heat in the jelly on the golden cracker is heavenly BLISS!
You can also make individual crackers topped with a slice of cheese with the jelly.  In case you need a recipe or guidance, check out this link:

And let me just add, with all this talk of appetizers and sausage balls - the Big Guy made sausage balls last night! ;)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chocolate Covered BACON!!!

Fair Food.  Walking down the midway smelling turkey legs on the grill, sausages, peppers and onion, fries, cheeseburgers, kettle corn (I could just swim in it!), gyros, funnel cakes - all are the norm in the way of fair food.  Today we went to the NC State Fair.  Fabulous day.  I love my state and all that it gives us.  And the vendors with the food - oh my!  Even walking through the Midway on a full stomach, the aromas hitting my nose were intoxicating.  And then we spied it FRIED OREOS! 
And fried snickers, and fried ho ho's, and fried twinkies, and is an artery already clogged yet????? 

Seriously, I'm a country gal and love some fried food but man oh man, I was unsure of all of those goodies.  Then we spied chocolate covered bananas, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate dipped cheesecake and THEN....... for $3.50 - CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON!
 I believe I have seen it all now.  The under 16 crowd that was with me was not so impressed but Sweet and Salty, might not be a bad mix. 
I will admit, we did not sample any of the above items.  We ended up having the most affordable lunch of Chick Fil A nuggets and fries from the Civitan Group.  But I know I will be thinking fondly of fried oreos for the next year......

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If you could only have SMELL-A-VISION

You would be loving it right now!  Well, maybe not as the smell entices you to pour a cup of coffee!  Banana Chocolate Chip muffins are baking as I type for breakfast in the morning.  YUM is an understatement!  And if I can stay up just a little bit longer, I might give them enough of a chance to cool off - and EAT ONE!  Why am I baking at this hour you might ask???  Well, we are heading to the State Fair tomorrow morning bright and early.  So bright and early, I will need a few extra minutes to insure I have gathered changes of clothes for little ones, snacks and drinks for all of us, Scavenger Hunt list (this is an Educational Field Trip), and all the kids in the right seats of the van!  Planning ahead is the key to my survival.  So with 25 min under my belt, I have breakfast ready for hungry mouths - including my own!
Ahhh - warm banana muffin smell - it should be a candle!  Oh wait, I believe it is!

Oscar the Grouch!

That's what is going on tonight at our house!  Leftovers!  The Big Guy and I have a surprise date night thanks to family being in town.  So the kids and Mother in Law are going to enjoy the remnants of the past few nights of dinner - lamb stew, wahoo oscar, steamed asparagus, quinoa.  Big Guy and I are going to venture to a Thai restaurant nearby. 
So what's the deal with Oscar?  Well, as I have once heard, America has the best feed garbage disposals!  Think about it!  How much uneaten or spoiled food do you toss into the trash or garbage disposal?  I hate it when I forget about some great dinner that the leftovers have sat in the fridge for too long!  Hate waste! Makes me feel like I just threw some George Washingtons right down the drain!
So how do YOU deal with leftovers?  I have started utilizing my freezer.  Have leftover mashed potatoes - they get frozen, baked potato soup in the future!  Leftover rice - freeze it, rice pudding, rice for stir frys!  Leftover steamed veggies - carrots, peas, green beans, corn - they all are added to a freezer bag for a future chicken pot pie.  We often eat leftovers for lunches the next day.  What an easier way to have lunch ready for the kids - pull out the leftover from dinner the night before!  No brainer right?!  But sometimes, there are too many servings in the fridge.  How about freezing single servings so when you don't have something ready for lunch you can pull it out?  Who needs Lean Cuisine - make your own frozen lunches!
So here's a challenge for each of you - eat your leftover or freeze them.  Sounds simple, right?  Might be a bit harder but you can do it.  Or at least, empty one less dish into the garbage disposal.

Mommmmmmm, I'm hungry!

Actually the boys say - MOM, I want a snack!  First thing out of their cute little mouths.  Even before Good Morning, Even before I love you.  So breakfast for them needs to be quick.  Or at least have some fruit on hand to cut up.  Bananas and Strawberries seem to satisfy their little tummys for a few moments while I can get a cup of java and prop my eyelids open!  I have started taking the 3 extra minutes at night it takes to program the coffee pot so it's already brewed when my feet hit the floor.  I'm getting smarter in my old age!
So back to breakfast, What do you have?  I wake with a sweet tooth - not a good way to start the day.  Then I want sweets all day long.  So while I feed the kids pancakes, I have started have either a scrambled egg with canadian bacon chopped in it or whole wheat toast with creamy Laughing Cow cheese spread on it.
So what did you have for breakfast this morning?  What's your FAVORITE breakfast?  If calories didn't add up, I would love sausage gravy biscuits in the morning!  But they do, so I don't.....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Even though I couldn't pronounce it...

I still made it.

We had a friend over tonight for dinner as well as family visiting.  So the Big Guy was creating the menu - Wahoo Oscar (benefits of family living on the coast), quinoa (see previous post), steamed asparagus, steamed carrots and salad.  And for dessert - pumpkin pie with creme anglaise sauce.  The creme anglaise sauce is the word I can not pronounce but trust me, you can call it simply cream sauce!  It's that good!  Lick the pot you create it in good!  How did I come about to make this divine addition to the pumpkin pie?  I decided to bake the pumpkin pie after asking family members ideas for dessert for tonight's dinner.  Teen and Mother in law both got excited at the thought of pumpkin pie.  Simple - I had everything for that.  But no whipped cream.  No full of fat heavy whipping cream to fluff into creamy goodness.  So off to google the internet.  I did have Half and Half.  Can I pour that into the bowl and have the Kitchen Aid do it's magic?  I could but Eureka, I found a recipe for creme anglaise!  And that is how it came about to be poured over top Pumpkin Pie.  Takes a few extra moments but definitely gives pie the WOW factor!

Q.U.I.N.O.A. Pop quiz - what is it????

Until recent months, I had never heard of this grain that is harvested in the Andes Mountain of South America.  A shopping trip from Costco (we love Costco in this house!) brought this wonderful grain home to us.  See what happens when you go shopping with others!  Have you ever had couscous?  Well, it's not quite like a rice and not like a pasta (technically it is a pasta though).  Well, quinoa is different as well.  I'm not sure how to describe it - just try it.  It's worth a try!  So tonight we had quinoa with our dinner.  And thanks to a past dinner with my sister in law, our quinoa had sauteed spinach, onions, feta cheese and gala apple chunks in it.  I would have never dreamed this combination would have been so yummy!  The Teen adores this dish - literally gets giddy when she see quinoa on the range.
And here is a life tip, cook once, eat twice.  Last night we had rice.  I now have a quart bag of rice frozen in the freezer for a future night of stir fry.  Same with the quinoa.  I cooked enough to freeze. 
About a month ago, Teen made quinoa lasagna for our meatless meal.  It wasn't my favorite but it was exciting to try something so different.  And quinoa is SO GOOD for you!  Gluten free and is a complete protein.
Check it out - this might be a great dinner one night!

1 can peeled tomatoes or
   4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 lb hamburger or veggie burger
2-8 oz cans tomato sauce
3 cups quinoa, cooked
1/4 lb mozzarella cheese, crumbled
1/4 lb parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp oregano
1 cup onion, minced
1/2 lb ricotta cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until browned. Add hamburger, cook until browned. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, salt and oregano. Simmer. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put layer of this sauce in bottom of 13x9x2-1/2" baking dish, following with layer of quinoa and layer of cheese. Repeat two more layers ending with sauce an extra Parmesan cheese on top. Bake about 35 minutes. Serves 6-8.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A taste of the Mediterranean Lamb Stew

I did not grow up eating lamb.  For that matter, pinto beans one of the main source of protein for us.  Our family did enjoy home grown sausage from a neighbor that raised a pig or two.  So lamb was an exotic thought to me - like sushi or Thai food (both of which I love now!).  My Big Guy has a wide range of taste.  Remember when I said he literally wakes in the morning and says - Hey, can you make XYZ????  This is one of those times.  When he enters the grocery store, I can guarantee he will exit with more than the 3 items requested.  And 9 out of 10 times, he has found the deals in the meat department.  So Big Guy has picked up several great deals on lamb stew.  Family is visiting this week that has memories of eating Lamb Stew as a child.  Thus my dilemma was to prepare a yummy lamb stew dish.  Having never had eaten Lamb Stew, I searched the internet.  But at last, I found it!  Was unsure what to expect as the stew had Garbonzo Beans, but it was super fabulous!  Served over rice (cooked in Chicken Broth), cornbread muffins, and salad.
Haven't tried Lamb?  Give it a shot.  Teen loves it!
I also used frozen tomatoes from my freezer instead of tomato sauce and added one cube of beef bouillion.  Frozen tomatoes are occupying space in my freezer courtesy of my wonderful Mother.  My parents (retired) have a summer hobby of growing produce.  When they have an excess of very ripe tomatoes, my Mother would peel them and freeze them whole.  And since number 4 arrived this summer, Mother spent some time in my kitchen.  Therefore, I benefited with not only having my Mother near for help with a newborn (and the rest of the crew) but also several gallons of frozen tomatoes.  Future thoughts on making tons of spaghetti sauce.......

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Company's coming!

When we have overnight company and I have the time, I typically like to bake a dessert and muffins for breakfast.  So Friday morning after an early phone call, family was visiting Friday and Saturday.  And since the Teen enjoys baking, I requested she bake these most fabulous fudge brownies (and I'm eating one RIGHT NOW!)  The Teen had made these goodies a couple of weeks ago when she had a hankering for chocolate.  It was the first time she made brownies from scratch and well worth it!  Didn't take too much time and the taste is addictive!  I've never met Brooke but her Brownies are the BOMB!

And I had been hearing rumors from several other sites about these super easy (2 ingredients!) PUMPKIN MUFFINS!  Earlier in the week, I had grabbed a can of pumpkin and yellow cake mix while at the grocery store.  Already had some spices on hand - pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla.  Mixed it all together.  Seriously - no egg, no water, no oil needed!  Trust me - they are that EASY!  Bake 20-25 min at 350 degrees in muffin tin.  Makes 12 muffins!  Seriously - muffins with 2 ingredients!  AND your house will smell like Autumn!