Friday, September 30, 2011

A New Look and Carrot Zucchini Cake

I'm excited to have a new blog look. Thanks to Rebeka from Monkeys Love Donuts I have a fun updated blog with my own button! Rebeka was so fun to work with, she is amazing.
Now for the recipe. We have had the most beautiful September, temperatures around the 80's. So that means our garden is still producing a bit. I had one last zucchini, I think I found the perfect recipe.

This has to be good for you, it is full of carrots, zucchini, dates, nuts and honey. Now that is one great list!
The recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens. I substituted dates for the raisins. Delicious! I do love dates. The recipe calls for a Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting. It tasted great but was so soft that it didn't set up even after refrigeration. So you might want to find a cream cheese frosting you can trust! But do add the citrus, it adds a great flavor. This is one great cake full of yummy ingredients
Here is the recipe for Carrot and Zucchini Cake.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just A Soft Cookie

I asked a friend one day what her favorite treat was. Her response surprised me. "I just want a soft cookie", she said. She didn't mind a little chocolate but she didn't want a brownie. Just a soft cookie. I decided nuts were out as were many other additions that added crunch or too much texture to the cookie. I didn't want a sugar cookie--soft but boring.
I made a cookie I had pinned, took one bite and knew I had found the 'soft cookie' I was looking for. It had a little peanut butter, a small amount of oatmeal and just enough chocolate it give it character. And it was soft!
I called my friend and said I had the perfect cookie for her. She took one bite and agreed, it was soft, it was perfect!

Just a Soft Cookie
1 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Whisk together flour, soda and salt, set aside
Cream butter, peanut butter, sugars and vanilla for about 3 minutes on medium speed. Add egg and beat to combine. Add flour and mix until just combined. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips. Use a large cookie scoop, about 3 tablespoons and drop dough on a parchment lined baking stone. Bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden. They will not look done, but if the edges are set and the cookie is puffy they are done. Let cookie cool on baking sheet. This recipe makes about 18 large cookies.

Recipe adapted from What Megan's Making

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TWD Flip-Over Plum Cake

By now I shouldn't be surprised that Dorie has created another fun and delicious recipe. I didn't quite know what to expect I have never cooked with plums. I love Dories description, 'a texture that can't decide whether it wants to be a cake or a pudding'. The crispy cake bites were yummy and the pudding bites were a fun surprise. The plums added a bright flavor and color. I can't wait to make this for the 'Grandmas', I know they will love it!
The complete recipe will be on Project Domestication. Or it's on page 42 of Baking, From My Home To Yours. A cookbook that everyone should own.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Secret Recipe Club--5 Minute Fudge

Another great month as a member of the Secret Recipe Club! This month I had the pleasure of getting to know Melissa at Melissa's Cuisine. Melissa is a great cook, her blog is full of yummy foods. I had a hard time choosing between cinnamon rolls, cookie dough or several kinds of pizza. But a simple chocolate fudge recipe caught my eye. This recipe is a favorite of her husband, who makes it often. It is smooth and creamy and very easy to make. It is made with common pantry ingredients and I'm happy to say you do not need a candy thermometer. Thanks Melissa for a great recipe, I'll make it often. I also have several other recipes bookmarked.

5-Minute Fudge
2/3 cup Carnation Evaporated Milk (it's the tiny can)
1-2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups mini marshmallows (you can also quarter regular sized marshmallows)
1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Mix milk, sugar, butter, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Remove from heat and add vanilla, chocolate chips, and marshmallows.
4. Stir until marshmallows melt.
5. Immediately pour into a greased 8x8 pan.
6. Cool before cutting into squares.
I added some chopped walnuts

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Something Crafty

I have five grandchildren that are in grade school. I wanted to send them a little something in the mail to let them know that we love them and are thinking of them. I also wanted them to laugh! A card is good, a laugh is great and a 2 dollar bill is wonderful. So I made some silly cards, tucked a 2 dollar bill inside and a handwritten message by Grandpa or Nana. And sent them on there way and hoped that I brightened a child's day.

Moosical Chairs

A Big Mac

Because they always know when you are eating outside.

Breakfast in Bed

He was allergic to nuts

What makes you smile????

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cracked Pepper Salad Dressing

Cracked Pepper Dressing has been a family favorite for years. The recipe came from a Taste of Home Magazine, seems like many of our favorite recipes come from this source. This dressing reminds me of a Ranch Dressing with a lot more flavor. I usually have the ingredients in the fridge to make it and it keeps for a week or so.
Cracked Pepper Dressing is delicious on a Garden Salad or Baked Potatoes. Make it and you may never make a 'packet' dressing again.

Cracked Pepper Salad Dressing

2 cups mayonnaise
¼ cup water
¼ cup milk
¼ cup buttermilk
3 Tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
2 finely chopped green onions
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, pressed
In small bowl, whisk all ingredients until blended. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. May be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

I went to a class on cooking with a crock pot. It was taught by the author of 101 Things To Do With A Crock Pot, Janet Eyring. It was very interesting, did you know that every time you lift the lid on your crock pot you add 30 minutes cooking time to the recipe? That would explain why dinner is late!
I made one of the recipes suggested and it was delicious. A perfect meal for a busy fall evening.

 Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded
1 small can diced tomatoes
1 can enchilada sauce, 10 ounces
1 small can chopped green chilies
1 can chicken broth
1 can corn or frozen corn
1 onion diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dried cilantro--look for this in the produce department
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or on high 4-5 hours. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream and cheese.
Janet Eyring—101 Things to do with a Slow Cooker

I asked Janet why the recipe called for cooked shredded chicken. She cooks a crock pot full of chicken breasts and shreds them. She then bags them in 2 cup portions and freezes them. So when she makes this recipe she just puts a bag of frozen shredded chicken in. Making it a very quick meal to assemble.
Candise tried it with frozen chicken tenders, she said it cooked perfect. She just took out the tenders before serving and shredded them and put them back in the soup. Candise added a can of drained black beans and served the soup with diced avocado and a splash of lime. Perfect.
Did you know it takes about 9 chicken tenders to equal a pound? I love my kitchen scale. When I made the soup I used homemade enchilada sauce, it was pretty warm, we liked it. Candise used a can of mild enchilada sauce, next time she would use either a medium or hot variety of enchilada sauce.
So friends, here is way more information than you probably need. Try this soup, it was delicious.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Flavored Cream Cheese Spread

I wanted to have a yummy flavored cream cheese spread with my breads. I was short on cream cheese so I added some softened butter. The two were mixed within an inch of their life. I added a few tablespoons of honey and a small amount of powdered sugar. I also added a little bit of Pampered Chef's Cinnamon Plus and some vanilla. I think I hit it! I beat it for a few more minutes and it was perfect, slightly sweet and very creamy. Perfect to spread on a little slice of sweet bread.
Flavored Cream Cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces butter
Beat together till very smooth and light add:
2-4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cinnamon Plus to taste, or a little cinnamon and nutmeg
Beat together and serve on sweet bread,  bagels or biscuits.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Glazed Poppy Seed Bread

I'm a fan of small loaves of sweet bread. For some reason small loaves work for me. They cook evenly, they don't dip in the center with a raw middle and they are so easy to share. I was assigned to bring sweet bread to a church function. I couldn't decide what to bring so I made 3 recipes. Occasionally hubby calls me an over achiever. I just say that I like to cook! I'm alway looking for someone to give food to so this was the perfect opportunity to overachieve!
I made a personal favorite, Date Nut Loaf; a wonderful recipe by Dorie Greenspan. It is really more of a cake that happens to be baked in a loaf pan. I also made a delicious spice laden Zucchini Bread with Coconut, Apples and Walnuts and last I made a Glazed Poppy Seed Bread. All three were excellent but the Poppy Seed went first!

Glazed Poppy Seed Bread
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
Spray pans with Pam for Baking, I used 4 Pampered Chef Mini Stoneware pans
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs and oil. In a smaller bowl combine the sugar, flour, salt and baking powder, mix well. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and combine. Add 1/2 cup milk and stir. Add 1/3 dry ingredients and mix. Add 1/2 cup milk and stir. Add last third of flour, extracts and poppy seeds. Combine well.
Pour batter in prepared pans. Bake at 350 until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out with small crumbs attached. With small pans start checking after about 30 minutes.
While bread is baking combine the glaze ingredients and mix well. When bred is done allow to cool in pan about 5 minutes. Remove bread from pan and place on a wire rack. Brush the tops of the bread with the glaze while the bread is still warm. Continue brushing or pour glaze over bread. Cool completely before slicing.
Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Denver Omelet

I have no idea why this is called a Denver Omelet, I don't know where the recipe came from. I do know that it has evolved into a simple weekend breakfast or a 'breakfast for dinner' as we like to call it. It is easy to double and feed a crowd, we often have brunch crowds. I like Denver omelet because there are so many variables. The recipe calls for ham but crisp bacon or even cooked sausage works. Any kind of pepper works, red and green are pretty for Christmas. Use whatever kind of cheese you have, it's a good clean the deli drawer dish. Do top the warm pie with fresh diced tomato. So try Denver Omelet and see why it is a favorite at our house.


6 eggs                                      
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon salt                        
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded cheese, cheddar, jack, Swiss or a combination
½ cup diced ham or crisp cooked bacon
½ cup green, yellow or red pepper, diced                                                                   
4 cups frozen shredded hash browns, I put them in the microwave for a minute or two. They don’t need to be completely thawed.
1 tomato, sliced
Serve with Cholula Hot Sauce or Franks

In batter bowl, beat the eggs, seasonings, ham, potatoes, peppers and cheese.  Pour in a greased 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean.
Garnish with tomato slices or salsa. Fresh salsa is the best but Pace works.
This can also be baked in a 9x9 pan. It is easier to serve a crowd.  
Double the recipe and it fits in a 9x13         

Monday, September 12, 2011

TWD Classic Brownie

I could rename this brownie, it would be 'The Perfect Brownie'! Such a simple recipe, melt butter, two kinds of chocolate add sugar, eggs and salt. Mix well. Gently fold in the flour and pecans. That's it! I baked mine 33 minutes which was prefect. I did toast the pecans. Toasted pecans are one of my new favorite ingredients.
I'm sure this brownie did not need frosting but hubby loves frosting on brownies. He's out doing yard work, I think frosting is his Love Language. I frosted them with my favorite Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting. It only makes brownies better.

This brownie recipe uses ingredients I keep in my pantry. I won't admit to how many kinds of chocolate I keep in my pantry. This brownie would be great served with ice cream and hot fudge. Leave out the nuts and slip one in your child's lunch box. Wrap this brownie well and send it to a hungry college student. One brownie, so many uses! Thanks Dorie for another excellent recipe.
The complete recipe can be found on Anne Strawberry's Blog. Anne's blog is one I look forward to looking at often. She has great recipes, fun favorites and darling little ones!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Peach and Raspberry Crisp

What happens when you have a few extra ripe peaches, some fresh raspberries and dinner guests? Peach Crisp by Ina Garten. Her recipes are really not to be messed with but I had to make a few changes. Lemon zest instead of orange zest, twice the amount of raspberries as called for and I halved the recipe. I also added about 1/4 cup chopped pecans to the topping. I was only serving 4 not 10. But everything worked out perfect. I would suggested putting the dish on a sheet pan to bake as it did overflow just a bit. This was excellent with fresh whipped cream or ice cream would have been yummy.
The recipe can be found here. It's delish.

Just a Memory

Sundays were pretty predictable in the Lindstrom house when I was a child. We fought over the funny papers, they were in color. Sunday School started promptly at 10, Mom would make sure all six of us were dressed in our finest and off we went. Dad stayed home, when questioned why he got to stay home his answer was, do what your mother says. And we did.
Sunday dinner was a meal not to be missed. It was also predictable but that was ok because it was delicious. Roast beef, mashed potatoes, brown gravy, hot rolls, frozen corn and Jello. Now that was a feast! With eight people at the table conversation was always enjoyable. Dad had plenty of stories to tell. We love Sunday Dinner. No one left the kitchen till all the dishes were done. Now I have 5 brothers and they are pretty good in the kitchen.
After dinner we would all retire to our big living room. More stories and pleasant chatter. The boys would often get restless and start to wrestle. Dad would say, if you want to fight take it outside. They usually didn't want to fight that bad!
Sunday afternoons often included a ride in the Plymouth or Buick touring car. In the fall we would ride 'around the loop' and see the beautiful fall colors. In the summer we might go to the zoo or to see Aunt Ruth and Uncle Mark in Salt Lake City. Winter time often meant sleigh riding or maybe a trip to Grand Central to see the Christmas decorations. I think we felt like if we were together we were keeping the Sabbath Day Holy.
One thing we did every Sunday was ride to Lehi, five miles away, and see Grandma College. She was always there sitting in her chair, crocheting with a smile on her face. We knew she was waiting for us! She was so happy to see us, our hour visit went quickly. But we knew we would be back next Sunday.
Our children had the luxury of visiting Grandparents every Sunday and often in between as they lived just a few minutes away.
Now I am the Grandmother and guess whose grandchildren live all across the country?? Mine. So what do we do on Sunday? We skype! Luckily we live in an age where technology has made the miles a little closer.
I read stories while skyping. Not quite the same as cuddling a little one but it works. I get 'kisses and hugs' virtually. Hugs and kisses from a two year old are always a good thing.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pizza Loaf

This is a fun recipe that kids and adults love. I used a loaf of Rhodes Bread Dough--yes I can make my own and I have; but it never hurts to have a few cooking shortcuts on hand. This is a Pampered Chef Recipe, we have enjoyed it for years. Have it ready as kids are coming in the door from sports or dance. Add some fresh fruit and you have a complete meal and a happy family. Try to sit together and enjoy dinner as often as possible. After dinner was a time my dad was willing to talk. Oh the stories he told, living in a small mining town and then lying about his age so he could join the Navy. Dad had great stories, they got better every year!

Greg and I spent a day last week at The Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. What a delightful day it was. This is something we have wanted to do for years, but it was never convenient. It wasn't convenient this year either, but we went.  I'm so glad we did. So tell a story around the dinner table. Make dinner a place kids want to be and mark your calendar for August 30-September 1, 2012. We'll see you at the Storytelling Festival, it's at the mouth of beautiful Provo Canyon.

Pizza Loaf--Pampered Chef
1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
2 eggs separated
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces diced ham or mini pepperoni
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Mushrooms, peppers, olives as desired

On a greased bar pan roll thawed dough into a 15x10 inch rectangle. In a small bowl combine the egg yolk, oil, seasonings and Parmesan cheese. Brush mixture over dough. Sprinkle with meat, cheese and veggies. Roll up jelly roll style starting at the long side. Brush with lightly beaten egg white. Bake at 35 for 35-40 minutes. Serve with pizza sauce

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cream Cheese Brownies

Thanks to Amy I have a new hobby/interest/addiction. It's Pinterest. I have been pinning my favorite recipes, crafts, quotes, books I'm reading etc. It's fun, but as I was wildly pinning I decided that before I pinned another thing I would actually make something I had pinned. It was not a difficult choice,
Cream Cheese Brownies by Brown Eyed Baker was the winner. And it was a winner. Luckily I had Book Club to share the treats with. They were easy to make, just dirtied a few bowls, all the mixing was done by hand, it couldn't be easier. A perfect back to school (or pinning) treat!

 Cream Cheese Brownies

For the Brownies:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (½ cup) butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
For the Cream Cheese Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk

 Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together in a small bowl; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate and butter. Microwave gently stirring every 30 seconds. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla, cool slightly. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Whisk until mixture is completely smooth. Gently add the dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated.
Make the cream cheese filling by beating the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk together in a small bowl until evenly blended.

Heat oven to 325 prepare 8 inch square pan. Cut two 16 inch pieces of foil, fold each piece in half, you will now have 2 eight inch pieces of foil. Put one piece in sprayed pan, put the other piece perpendicular in pan. You now have a clever sling that will help in removing the cooled brownies, Spray again. Pour half the brownie batter into the prepared pan, spreading it in an even layer. Drop half the cream cheese mixture, I used a small Pampered Chef Scoop, by spoonfuls, over the batter. Repeat, layering the remaining brownie batter and cream cheese filling. Use a butter knife to gently swirl the brownie batter and cream cheese filling, creating a marbled effect.
Bake until the edges of the brownies have puffed slightly, the center feels not quite firm when touched lightly, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out with several moist, fudgy crumbs adhering to it, 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool the brownies in a pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil handles. Place the brownies on a wire rack; allow them to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours. Cut into squares and serve. The brownies can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerate for up to 5 days (ours were gone in 24 hours).

(Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated)