Monday, December 19, 2016

Candy Cane Krispies

Yeah--lunch with my cousins! I know I am 61 but I was excited.  We seem to only see each other at funerals. We wanted to gather and laugh and eat and basically reconnect with each other. We had so much fun. It was like we were kids again. Your cousins know you like no one else. They know your parents and grandparents, they know your brothers and sisters. They know more about the struggles and challenges you have weathered. You can be a great support to each other. We had a wonderful time. So good that we have another lunch scheduled for January!

An  hour before I left I decided to take a treat to share. It had to be quick! I had just seen this recipe on Our Best Bites. I knew it would be good. It was excellent! The kind of treat that you just keep eating. I love Rice Krispie treats in just about any form. The addition of crushed candy canes, white chocolate and dark chocolate made these a treat I was happy to share. So very, very good. So easy to make. This recipe was made for Christmas Gatherings!

Candy Cane Krispies
16 ounce package marshmallows
7 tablespoons butter
9 cups rice krispie cereal
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
4 ounces white chocolate (I use the melting discs)
4 ounces dark chocolate (I use the melting discs)
I purchase my chocolate discs at Gygi's in Salt Lake City or they are sold in bulk at Winco. I have heard that Sam's Club carries them seasonally. Yes, you could use chocolate chips, just add about 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil to the melted chocolate and mix.
8 Candy Canes crushed. I crushed them and then put them in a fine mesh strainer. The dust like particles went in the mix with the rice krispies. The bigger chunks were used as garnish after the chocolate had been drizzled.

Use about 1 tablespoon of butter and butter a large sheet pan. Don't use Pam--it will taste nasty in this recipe (and I do love Pam--just not here). Melt butter in a large bowl in the micro wave. Add marshmallows to melted butter and stir. Return to microwave and cook for 30 seconds, remove and stir. Continue until marshmallow are completely melted. Add rice krispies, peppermint extract and peppermint dust. Stir until combined. Put sticky mixture in a large buttered sheet pan. I get my hands damp and spread/pat the mixture in place. You may have to re-moisten your hands a few times.
Put dark chocolate in a baggie--microwave until melted (my microwave has a chocolate melting button--genius)! Once chocolate is melted cut a very small corner off the baggie. Have fun and drizzle the chocolate all over the top of the krispie treat. Put white chocolate in a new bggie and melt and drizzle. Once all the chocolate has been drizzled quickly sprinkle candy cane pieces on top.
Beautiful. Let cool. If you are in a hurry and you live in Utah just put them outside for 20 minutes and your delicious treat is ready. Cut and bag or plate.
Printable Recipe
This recipe was inspired by a recipe on Our Best Bites--I increased quantities but nothing drastic.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pumpkin, White Chocolate, Cherry Muffin with Streusel

I have girls--my girls are great cooks. I'm proud to be their Momma. Amber sent an early morning text--she had just created a delicious muffin. I'm sad I live 1000 miles away, it would have been a perfect breakfast. This recipe was inspired by a recipe on Smitten Kitchen. Pumpkin is always a good choice, streusel makes it better. The addition of white chocolate chips and dried cherries sent this muffin out of the park. Amber's hubby, Tadd (who has a palate for fine food) said this was a $5.00 muffin.
I will make them very soon. Amber who is also a fine photographer was kind enough to take a photo or two. Thanks Amber.

Pumpkin, White Chocolate, Cherry Muffin with Streusel
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/3 cup solid pack pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup chopped dried tart cherries
1 cup white chocolate (chopped)
Streusel Topping
3 tablespoons 
1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
Rub together until pea size.
Heat oven to 350. Spray muffin tin with Bakers Joy, put 1 teaspoon sugar in each sprayed cup. Shake the tin around to coat each cup with sugar.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spice in a bowl, add the cherries and white chocolate.
I a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin, oil, eggs and 1 1/4 cup sugar. Add dry ingredients ad stir until just combined. Divide batter among muffin cups filling about 3/4 full.
Sprinkle Sreusel Topping over muffins.
Bake until puffed and golden. A wooden pick should come out clean, about 25 minutes.
Cool in pan for five minutes. Remove muffins and cool on a wire rack.
Most muffins have a short shelf life. This muffin does keep for two days. It also freezes well. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin

I do love pork tenderloin. Once I purchased a good meat thermometer my pork was delicious. Overcooked pork is dry and chewy--not good. Pork cooked to 140-145 is moist and delicious, you can cut it with a fork. Pork tenderloin is really a fast food, you can easily make it on a week night. This recipe can be made in under 40 minutes. Most of that time is cooking/resting.
My daughters are great cooks, we share recipes and encourage each other to cook dinner. Jill was kind enough to share this recipe. I am glad she did as I probably wouldn't have made it without her positive review. Really who uses cinnamon when cooking pork?  Please trust us, it is so good. It is an amazing combination of sweet and spicy. Add it to your dinner rotation.

Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin
1 pork tenderloin (about 16 ounces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Dry Rub
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 large cloves garlic--pressed
2-3 teaspoons Franks or Cholula hot sauce
Heat oven to 350. Trim silver skin from tenderloin and pat dry. I cut the tenderloin in half because it fits it my frying pan better. In a small dish mix together dry rub ingredients. Rub the spice mixture over the pork to coat.
Heat olive oil in a heavy, oven safe frying pan till very hot. Quickly brown meat on all sides. It will smell amazing! Leave meat in frying pan. Combine glaze ingredients and spread/pat on tenderloin. Bake 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes. Internal temperature should be 140 degrees. Remove from oven, leave meat in pan and tent with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes. Slice meat and drizzle with pan sauce.
Serves 4 adults.
Printable copy
I adapted this from a recipe found on Food.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

BBQ Cilantro Chicken Pizza

I enjoyed a pizza at a local pizza joint that was amazing. It was a Hawaiian Pizza with a hint of barbecue sauce. It was unique and delicious. I am usually not a fan of barbecue pizza (just too much BBQ taste) but a hint was great.
This recipe was perfect. Basically an easy homemade pizza sauce with barbecue sauce mixed in. I topped the pizza with roasted chicken, pineapple, cheese and cilantro. I'm sure this would work great cooked on the grill.

BBQ Cilantro Chicken Pizza
Prepared pizza dough, I bought a pound of dough at the deli of my favorite market or make your favorite recipe
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small can tomato paste
1 medium can tomato sauce
1 tomato, finely diced
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons oregano
salt and pepper
1 cup BBQ Sauce--your favorite brand
Cheddar and mozzarella cheese
grilled/roasted chicken, rotisserie works great
pineapple fresh or canned (drained), cut in small pieces
cooked bacon (optional)
For the sauce, saute garlic in a little olive oil for 30 seconds, add tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomato, and seasonings. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in BBQ Sauce. Set aside.
Roll the pizza dough onto a stone or pan. I like my pizza crust thin. Pre-cook the dough in a 400 degree oven for about 6-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread with pizza sauce. Top with cheese and pineapple. Bake until cheese is melted and crust is done about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and top with chicken and cilantro and bacon.
I like this recipe because the BBQ flavor is subtle. A combination of cheeses works well with the chicken and BBQ flavor. I like to pre-cook my pizza crust--it allows the crust to cook through and the toppings are not over cooked. I think it is brilliant to add the chicken to the cooked pizza. If cooked chicken is allowed to cook another 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees you get chicken leather--not good. I like the pineapple cut in small pieces. I want pineapple in every bite. This is a great recipe. Enjoy!
Printable Recipe
Recipe from Family Favorite Recipes

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Half Square Triangle Quilt for Maya

My oldest granddaughter was visiting last summer. I took her to the fabric store and let her pick out some fabric for a quilt. We talked about color, pattern, scale, design etc. Maya has a great eye (like her Mom) and knew exactly what she wanted. She picked out some beautiful fabric--no flowers just clean lines. Maya's quilt was designed with half-square triangles--lots of them! I was able to practice my skills with a seam ripper. I made plenty of mistakes (it looked so simple). Greg was kind enough to draw me a pattern that made sense to me.

I purchased a ruler years ago--it has odd markings and really made no sense to me. I did a little google research and discovered the odd ruler I had was used to square up half-square triangles. What a gem, this ruler helped me make perfect half-square triangles. The quilt was a success. I put some beautiful soft minky on the back and finished it with a scrappy binding. Thanks Maya for letting me develop my quilting skills.

Maya's happy place is in my scrapbook room. It is paradise for a creative pre-teen. Maya will spend hours in this room making signs, lists, notes and anything with glitter. She also likes to organize all my supplies--now that is helpful!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

This yummy dessert comes from America's Test Kitchen. I have quit taking cooking magazines and buying cookbooks because there are so many great recipes on line. However, I do pay for a yearly membership to America's Test Kitchen. I love this site--it has so many excellent recipes, cooking tips and product reviews. It includes recipes from Cooks County, America's Test Kitchen and Cooks Illustrated. It is my go to sight for any good recipe!
This recipe was for a 9x13 cake, a perfect family size cake. But there are just two of us now and I really don't need a 9x13 cake tempting me! I halved the recipe and it made 16 beautiful cupcakes. I ate a cupcake and then quickly shared the remainder with friends. It is a win/win.

Carrot Cupcakes
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon (rounded) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound carrots, peeled
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
Shred the carrots using the large holes of a box grater (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). Mix together the granulated sugar, brown sugar and eggs until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds. While mixer is running add the oil in a slow steady steam. Mix about a minute longer or until mixture is light in color and well emulsified. Turn off mixer and stir in carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated. Stir in toasted pecans.
Using a large scoop put batter into a paper lined muffin cup. Bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool and frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
5 tablespoons butter, softened but still cool
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar (4 1/2 ounces)
Mix together cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla using a mixer set at medium speed. Mix about 30 seconds or until well combined. Add confectioners sugar and mix unticakel fluffy--about 1 minute. Put frosting in a pastry bag with a large star tip. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Refrigerate cupcakes. This cream cheese frosting is perfect, it is my go to cream cheese frosting recipe.
If you really want a 9x13 cake just double the cupcake ingredients and bake for about 35-40 minutes. The frosting recipe will make enough for a 9x13 pan. I like cupcakes because they are just so cute, they also have more frosting per cake ratio. That is always a good thing!
Printable Recipe

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

I was introduced to this recipe many years ago at a Pampered Chef Party--I think it was the reason I purchased my Food Chopper. I usually dice using my favorite chef's knife but sometimes The Chopper is the best tool for the job.
I made this Fruit Salsa for book club--it was a hit! I forgot how much I like it. It is fresh and delicious, I think your family will love it.

Fruit Salsa
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
1 pint strawberries, chopped
2 kiwi, peel and dice
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons jam or jelly
Mix fruit in a bowl. Combine zest, juice, sugar and jam. Gently combine mixtures. I used my Food Chopper for the apples and strawberries. I think I got carried away while chopping the berries, next time I will hold back a bit. I'm sure this recipe would work with different fruits. The apples give great texture. Whole raspberries or blueberries would be a great addition.

Cinnamon Chips
Flour tortillas (I like thin tortillas)
cinnamon sugar
Cut tortillas into strips or wedges, place on baking stone. Spray lightly with Pam or water and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes until crisp and lightly brown. Cool. A drizzle of chocolate is always a good thing.
Printable Recipe

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Roast Beef Dinner--by Greg

When our kids come to visit they always request a roast beef dinner cooked by their dad. Greg has this meal perfected. He makes the meat, gravy and mashed potatoes. I take care of the sides and the dessert. It is a perfect team effort.
When my health declined and Greg was released from his 5 year calling as a bishop of our LDS ward he suddenly had time on Sunday. He wanted to help with Sunday Dinner. He wanted to find a foolproof Roast Beef recipe, one that made delicious gravy.
My past attempts at this meal were sometime good, sometimes not so. I did what my Mom did--put a roast in a pan, cooked it for hours and hoped for the best. Sunday dinner was always yummy at Mom's.
Long story, we'll shorten it. So Greg wanted a recipe were he could have controlled results. Cook's Illustrated to the rescue. I had their cookbook The Best American Classics on my shelf. It had a simple pot roast recipe. From this recipe came The Perfect Roast Beef Dinner.
This recipe is not difficult but does require cooking time.

Perfect Roast Beef
1 boneless beef roast, about 3.5 pounds. We use rump roast but I'm sure you would have success with a pot roast or chuck eye roast
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small rib celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup beef broth
1 cup chicken broth
1-1 3/4 cups water
Pat the roast dry with paper towel, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed dutch oven, I use a le Cruset pan. When the oil is shimmering add roast and brown on all sides. This will take about 8 minutes. Transfer the roast to a large plate. Reduce heat to medium; add onion, carrot and celery to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until browning begins. Add garlic and sugar, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and beef broths, scrapping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen brown bits. Return the roast and any accumulated juices to the pot. Add enough water to come halfway up the sides of the roast. Place a large piece of aluminum foil over the pot and cover tightly with a lid. Bring the liquid to a simmer then transfer the pot to the oven--heated to 300 degrees. Cook turning the roast every 30 minutes until tender. This will take about 31/2 to 4 hours.
Transfer the roast to a carving board, tent with foil to keep warm. Strain drippings. Allow fat to come to the top (we use a fat separator). Use drippings to make gravy. 
Gravy is simple--for every cup of drippings you need at least a tablespoon of fat (there is usually plenty of fat in the drippings). Mix 2 tablespoons flour in some water, whisk well, you don't want any lumps! Add flour/water mixture to 1 cup warm drippings. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Let boil gently for 2 minutes. Adjust seasonings. We come from a long line of gravy loving ancestors. 1 cup of gravy would never do. Just increase amounts--keeping proportions the same. Today Greg made about 4 cups of gravy. He used 3 1/4 cup drippings, mixed 8 tablespoons flour with 3/4 cup water.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Prairie Flower Quilt for Mom

My mom loves flowers her yard is a blast of color each summer. I saw a pattern for a Prairie Flower Quilt, it had Mom's name on it! I had to run with it. The pattern comes from Missouri Star Quilt Co. MSQC has lots of fun video segments that demo different quilts. I watched this demo several times until I felt confident enough to start cutting and sewing. It was a fun quilt to make, the blocks were big--over 13 inches. I used Miss Kate, a fabric line by Bonnie Camille for Moda. This is a fun fabric line with lots of color--just like Mom's flower garden.

I wanted to do a scrappy back, I got carried away and it turned out very scrappy. It is fun. It was quilted at The Quiltmakers on a long-arm quilting machine. She did the quilt freehand--it is beautiful with many fun details.
Happy Mothers Day to the best Mom ever!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Double Chocolate Bread

Sometimes you just need a slice of Chocolate Bread! It is a bread so I'm sure it must be a breakfast food. Think of a Costco Chocolate Muffin only on steroids (and in a loaf form). This bread was moist and delicious. I like to make it in my stoneware mini loaf pans. It is easy to share that way. I spread some Costco Cherry, Rhubarb Jam on a slice--now I could call  it a dessert!

Double Chocolate Bread
1 1/2 cups flour (7.5 ounces)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (1.25 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (5 ounces)
1/3 cup oil, vegetable, avocado, melted coconut, etc.
1 cup light brown sugar (7.5 ounces)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (5.25 ounces)
1 cup chocolate chips
In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
In a large bowl whisk together the applesauce, oil, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and sour cream.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the chocolate chips (I used a chopped chocolate bar). Mix gently just until combined. Do not over mix.
Spread the batter evenly in a 9x5 loaf pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes--until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs but not wet batter.
Let the bread cool completely--it really is better the second day (if you can make it last that long).
I cooked this bread in my Pampered Chef Mini Loaf Pan. It made 3 small loaves. Check it after about 25 minutes. I'm not sure why I spread some Cherry Raspberry jam on my slice of chocolate bread. But it was wonderful!
Printable Recipe
Recipe came from Mel's Kitchen Cafe--my favorite blog!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Ham and Vegetable Chowder

There is nothing like a warm cup of soup on a cold Spring day. It is March, it is Spring Break, it is Easter Weekend--it is cold! The grandkids don't seem to mind the cold but they were happy to eat a warm cup of soup at the end of the day! This delicious soup was a hit. Everyone loved it from the 2 year old to grandpa.

Ham and Vegetable Chowder
1 1/2 cups diced ham--leftover Easter Ham works great
6 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced (1 1/2 cups)
2 diced peeled carrots (3/4 cup)
2 stalks diced celery (3/4 cup)
2 cans chicken broth
5 Yukon Gold potatoes (1 3/4 lb.), peeled and diced
3/4 teaspoon oregano
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (or frozen)
3/8 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk (heat in microwave till hot)
1/2 cup cream
1/8-1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar/jack cheese
green onion, crumbled bacon, shredded cheese for garnish
In a large pot melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add carrot, onion and celery. Saute till tender, about 4 minutes. Add chicken broth, potatoes, oregano, bay leaf. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover pan and simmer gently until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes, stir occasionally. Reduce heat to warm, add ham and corn.
In a medium saucepan melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook mixture for 2 minutes--stir constantly. Stirring constantly add hot milk, stir until mixture is thick.
Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste. Add cream, grated cheese and Cayenne Pepper.
Pour milk mixture into soup. Stir gently. Correct seasonings if necessary.
Garnish with bacon, green onions and cheese.
This yummy recipe feeds a crowd. Recipe inspired by Cooking Classy.
Printable Recipe

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lemon Angle Pie for Pi Day

I don't make many pies--you have to have guests over to make a pie and we did, so I did! It was in celebration of Pi Day, I was going with a theme.
Angel Lemon Pie is heavenly--if we eat food in heaven it will be this light delicious desert. It has a meringue crust, which is the easiest crust ever made! The filling is a lemon curd made completely in the microwave. When cool it is lightened with whipped cream.
That's it. The only tricky part is it must be made the day before which is a great thing when entertaining. You must also let the crust and lemon curd cool before filling the crust. Just read the recipe through, a good thing to always do, before making a recipe.
Lemon Angel Pie
4 eggs at room temperature, separated
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice, (I used Meyer Lemons but any lemon would work)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whipping cream

Meringue Crust
In a stand mixer fitted with the wire whip beat the egg whites until foamy. While mixer is runing gradually add 1 cup sugar and the cream of tarter. Beat until stiff but not dry. This happen in about 3 minutes. I think a high altitude with no humidity helps (this is one of the few desserts that works best high and dry!) If you cannot get your egg whites to go stiff enough no fear they will work. Butter a deep dish glass pie plate. Put meringue in pie plate, mine looked like a beautiful cloud!
Bake at 300 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Cool completely.

This is the meringue going into the oven. It is light and beautiful!

When the meringue came out of the oven it puffed over the pie shell--it was gorgeous! As it cooled it slowly sank down to create a perfect pie shell.

Put the 4 eggs in a microwave safe bowl, I used a quart Pyrex measuring cup. Beat slightly. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice, lemon rind and salt. Cook about 3 minutes stirring with a whisk every 30 seconds. Mixture will be very thick, lemony and sweet. That is just how it should be! Cool completely. I cooled this in the fridge.
In a clean mixer bowl fitted with a wire whisk pour the 2 cups whipping cream. Beat until stiff--don't over beat or you really will get butter. How do I know?? I make many mistakes--I share them with you so you don't need to make them. Do not add any sugar to this whipped cream. Put half of the whipped cream in the cooled lemon curd mixture. Stir gently. You want to combine the ingredients but not deflate the cream. When mixed pour into the meringue shell. Using a short off set spatula spread the lemon cream on the crust. Top with the rest of the whipped cream. I also used an offset spatula to spread the cream. Put the pie in the fridge. It needs to cool up to 18-24 hours.
Serve the chilled pie and enjoy rave reviews (I did)! Serves 8 adults.

I googled this recipe and found several that were similar. It is a very basic recipe and has been around for years. I liked the photos in Homebased Mom.  My Mother-In-Law was so excited to eat this--it was similar to a recipe her sister made many years ago. Aunt Melba has been gone for many years. She was a great cook, I know eating this dessert brought back many memories for my Mother-In-Law. Food will do that to you! It was a great dessert, I will make it again soon.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Broccoli Cheese Soup

After 40 years of cooking I finally found a recipe for Broccoli Cheese Soup that I like. I found it on one of my favorite blogs, Mel's Kitchen Cafe. It had a couple of hundred positive reviews so I thought I would take a chance. I made a few changes, it was excellent. I took it to a Relief Society Service Luncheon--there was nothing left, it got rave reviews. What made it wonderful? I think the combination of cheeses gave it great flavor and the fact that the broccoli was crisp tender gave it a great texture. I do know that I need to write the recipe down so I can make it again soon.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
1 can chicken broth
1 small onion diced
1/3 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
2 cups milk--heat in microwave for 3 minutes
6 ounces shredded cheese--part extra sharp cheddar, part Mexican blend
4 cups lightly steamed broccoli
1 cup lightly steamed cauliflower
Simmer diced onion in chicken broth in a covered saucepan for 15-20 minutes.
In a stock pot melt butter, add flour and seasonings. Cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
Add warmed milk and whisk till soup thickens.
Add warm broth with onion, stir.
Add cheese, stir till melted.
Add steamed veggies.
Season if needed.
I just cooked my broccoli and cauliflower in the microwave for about 4 minutes. The recipe called for all broccoli, I didn't have enough so I added cauliflower. I think lightly steamed carrots would also be an excellent addition. Steamed diced Yukon Gold potatoes would be delicious or asparagus. Use a variety of cheese, sharp has great flavor and Jack or Mexican blend cheese melts wonderfully. I think this is a great basic recipe that could have many variations.
Printable Recipe

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Double Chocolate Mint Cookie

In December I searched for Andes Red Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips. By the time I found them I had lost interest in using them. Things like that happen. So it is February and I have a couple of bags of Andes Red Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips that are aging. Red is the color for Valentines Day and mint works for any holiday.
I tried a recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe--I am happy to say the cookies were delicious. They totally would have worked for Christmas treats. I passed them out tonight to our dinner group, they were a perfect Valentine treat. If the red chips are not available the green chips would work great too. I think it is safe to say this cookie works year round!
This cookie is soft and chocolaty with a bit of peppermint crunch. The crunch is not hard like a candy cane--it is perfectly minty and melts in your mouth. The recipe called for semi-sweet chocolate chips. I like to rough chop a bar of Ghirardelli Bittersweet 60% Cocoa Baking Bar. This is my go to semi-sweet chocolate. You can get this in chocolate chips--they are excellent, but I like the variation of a chopped bar. Either way this is the only semi-sweet chocolate I use. Sounds kind of snobby I know, I take my chocolate seriously!
Choose a holiday and make this cookies--they will be a hit. I promise.

Double Chocolate Mint Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar (5.5 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3.75 ounces)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour (10 ounces)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 (4 ounce bar) Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa Baking Bar, rough chopped
1/2 cup Andes Red Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips
additional 1 cup Andes Red Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips for dipping
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine butter and sugars (yes, I really do weigh ingredients, it is quick and so much more accurate), beat 2 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs, beat well. In another bowl combine flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix gently till flour just disappears. Add chocolate chips/chunks and 1/2 cup Peppermint Chips. Do not over mix.
Use a medium cookie scoop to form a ball. Dip the cookie top in Peppermint Chips. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-13 minutes, cool on a cooling rack. Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies. Share quickly, they are too tempting!
Printable recipe

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

First Crush Quilt

This Stacked Coin quilt was created after I looked at several dozen similar quilts on Pinterest. I am not at all opposed to purchasing quilt patterns--I have dozens! Sometimes you just can't find the perfect pattern so you create one. That is the hard way for me because I am not a math whiz. You use plenty of math to figure out a quilt pattern. Luckily I have a sweet hubby that draws bridges for a living and does math all day. He is quite helpful in the pattern drafting department. I am happy with the finished quilt.

I would have loved a better photo and I will get one. I really just didn't want to go outside in a blizzard for the perfect photo op. This quilt is made with First Crush by Moda. The back is way scrappy. It is a great feeling to use up bits and pieces of fabric--I love how it turned out.
This quilt will live in my front room, it is all about hearts and love, I'm good with that!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Harrisons's Quilt

Harrison came to visit this summer. We went on a little field trip to the fabric store. Harrison chose
the fabric and pattern, he has excellent taste. Making this bold chevron pattern was just fun. It has a soft minky back and a fun striped binding. It was made with a lot of love.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Martha's Quilt

Martha Ann patiently waited for this bright quilt. The colors were fun and happy. It is a happy quilt for a fun, happy gal. We love Martha Ann.