Friday, July 30, 2010

Lemon Ricotta Cheese Cookies

My computer was down all day yesterday. So what is there to do when I have no FaceBook? Bake, of course....
What??? Did you really think I was going to go through all the trouble of making these cookies and not try them?




I changed-up this recipe big time. And for one reason, I didn't have enough ricotta cheese. I pulled this recipe from http://www.allrecipes.com/, of course. The original recipe sounded kind of bland, so I "kicked-it-up a notch". Who doesn't like a refreshing lemon cookie? The original recipe called for vanilla, but I wanted to try something different. Why not lemon?
As you can see from the pictures, these cookies are very light and fluffy. I think if someone was to stick to the original recipe (vanilla), these cookies would make an awesome soft sugar cookie.
Isn't it funny how the closer you get to the end of the cookie dough, the bigger the cookie is? Why is that? When making cookies, does the baker get in a hurry to be done?
Here is what I did with this recipe:
2 c. white sugar
1 c. butter, soft
5 oz. ricotta cheese (I think if the ricotta and yogurt were placed in this recipe in equal measurements (amounts) this recipe would be even better. This is definitely one I will make again, and continuously change the ingredients.
10 oz. plain yogurt
2 tsp. lemon extract
2 eggs
4 c. all purpose flour
2 TBS baking powder
1 tsp. salt
For Glaze:
1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar
1 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS milk
Oh yeah, and yellow food coloring
Just whisk these ingredients together in a small bowl. I used a honey spoon to drizzle the glaze onto the cooled cookies.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix sugar and butter on high until light and fluffy (5 minutes). Turn down to medium speed and add ricotta, yogurt, lemon extract, and eggs.
On low mix in dry ingredients. The cookie dough seemed light and fluffy to me.
Drop by even (see, that says even not get bigger as you go.) TBS 2 inches apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes, or until they are just turning light golden brown.
Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Green Beans


Green beans, meet my little friend bacon....


This is my Wednesday night dinner. It was so hot outside that I felt like having an all vegetable dinner. Have you ever done that? OK, it's not all vegetables, there is some bacon.
The way I make my fresh green beans is like this:
I picked up two nice sized bags of fresh green beans (from a local producer, of course), cleaned them and French style cut them. I sliced my whole package of bacon in chunks, browned it in my dutch oven. I drained the grease (leave a little for flavor), dumped in my French-cut green beans, and added two cups water. Cover and simmer, stirring regularly. When the beans are of the consistency that you want them, they are done. I like mine crisp/tender. Needless to say, my dinner was very good.


Green beans are one of the first vegetables to ripen, and a very good sign of summer's bounty. The nice thing about green beans, you can purchase them year round. This homey vegetable is one of late summer's most traditional taste sensations. They're inexpensive, packed with nutrition (did you notice the nutrition tab for fresh green beans?) and flavor, and make great summer salads, sautes, and side dishes.
The health benefits:
Every produce choice you make is a good one, whether it be fruits or vegetables, but adding fresh green vegetables to your diet could give you extra protection against disease. Green beans contain a compound called phytonutrients that may prevent cancer and heart disease. Green vegetables may also help strengthen vision and promote strong bones and teeth.
FRESH IS BEST!!
Good luck~Happy eating~Enjoy


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Make-Ahead Scrambled Eggs












My daughter loves egg casseroles, and I always thought they were a pain to make. She has corrected my negative thinking. This casserole is prepared the night before you want to serve it. It has to sit overnight in the refrigerator. How handy for the busy Sunday morning. Throw this casserole together Saturday night and you have instant breakfast for Sunday morning, and the oven will already be preheated for the roast that will cook while you're in church. Great idea!!

The egg....there are so many uses for the egg; egg salad, breakfast eggs, fried rice, deviled eggs, macaroni salad, potato salad, plain boiled eggs (with a dollop of mayonnaise, of course), and the list goes on, and on....

Eggs have gotten a bad rap over the last few decades. Viewed as bad for the heart by health experts, the egg has been the subject of criticism and examination. But are our white and brown friends really that unhealthy for us? In the last few years, numbers of health organizations have been justifying eggs' reputation. So, what are we to believe? Why were eggs deemed to be bad, only to be applauded again?

Cholesterol....First one has to understand that cholesterol is not bad. Humans need it to maintain cell walls, insulate nerve fibers, and produce vitamin D. There are two types of cholesterol; dietary and blood. Both are important.

Eggs are actually quite nutritious. They are not just fat (yolk) and protein (white). They contain a wide variety of essential vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins:

A: good for the skin and growth. I fed my kids scrambled eggs all the time when they first starting eating solid foods.

D: strengthens bones.

E: protects cells from oxidation.

B1: helps properly release energy from carbohydrates.

B2: helps release energy from protein and fat.

B6: promotes the metabolism of protein.

B12: an essential vitamin in the formation of nerve fibers and blood cells.

Minerals:

Iron: essential in the creation of red blood cells.

Zinc: good for enzyme stability.

Calcium: most important mineral in the strengthening of bones and teeth.

Iodine: controls thyroid hormones.

Selenium: like vitamin E, it protects cells from oxidation.

I don't know about you, but I think eggs sound pretty healthy. I know eggs have a chance of carrying salmonella, so an egg should never be eaten raw. And an egg fried in gobs of butter wouldn't be too healthy, but all-in-all, sounds like the "bad" in eggs has been very over-rated.

Make-Ahead Scrambled Eggs

5 TBS butter, divided

1/4 c. all-purpose flour

2 c. milk

2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 c. finely chopped onion

1/2 lb. breakfast sausage

12 eggs, beaten

1 tsp. salt

1 cup soft bread crumbs

In a saucepan, melt 2 TBS butter. Add four; cook and stir until the mixture begins to bubble. Gradually stir in milk; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in cheese until melted; set aside. In a large skillet, saute onion and your choice of breakfast sausage in 2 TBS butter. Add eggs and salt; cook and stir until the eggs are completely set. Add the cheese sauce; mix well. Pour into a greased 11x7x2 inch baking dish. Melt the remaining butter and toss with bread crumbs. Sprinkle over egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Broccoli can be added to this recipe when adding the cheese sauce. I think it would even be good with cooked asparagus added.







Monday, July 26, 2010

Blue berry Streusel Coffee Cake

This is Blue Berry Streusel Coffee Cake. I have been searching for a recipe that I made years ago. It was also a blue berry coffee cake that was made with ricotta cheese. Blue berries and ricotta cheese are amazing together. This recipe is the closest I could find. I found this recipe on the Taste of Home Web site. I did make some changes, and I will let you know later what those changes are.

The Blue Berry.....Do you ever wonder about the health benefits of blue berries?

The blue berry is a very important food that the body needs. Just listen to all the benefits....

Aging: The blue berry will definitely bring you a ray of hope in the aging process because they are loaded with anti oxidants, and rank number 1 in the world of anti oxidants. This is due to the presence of Anthocyanin, a pigment responsible for the blue color of the blue berries. Do you think I have hope?

Urinary Tract Infection: The building of colonies of certain bacteria like b-coli along the lining of the inner walls of the urinary tract is responsible for this infection. The blue berry has a compound formed of big polymer like heavy molecules which suppresses the growth of such bacteria. These heavy and big molecules almost wash-off these bacteria along the tract, therefore preventing the infection. I think I will eat a handful of blue berries daily.

Eye Care: The blue berry is one of the best alternatives for spectacles, contact-lenses, eye drops, medicines and eye surgeries. They can prevent or delay all age related eye problems.

Brain function, Memory, and Alzheimer's: To keep it short, all the vitamins that a blue berry holds can prevent and heal neurotic disorders by preventing degeneration and death of neurons, brain-cells, and also by restoring health of the central nervous system. Now you know what to eat before a big test.

Cancer: Blue berries can prove to be bliss for the cancer patients. They contain certain compounds that perform miracles to prevent and cure cancer.

Heart Disease: The high fiber content, the anti oxidants, and the ability to dissolve the "bad cholesterol" make the blue berry an ideal dietary supplement to cure many heart diseases. It also strengthens the cardiac muscles.

Immunity: All those anti oxidants boost your immune system and prevent infections. No more colds, fevers, and nasty viral and bacterial diseases.

Other Benefits: Blue berries keep you fresh, active, fit, sharp, close to nature, and in a good mood, as they are very good anti depressants. So, sneak your boss a bowl full of blue berries every once in a while.





Blue Berry Streusel Coffee Cake
Coffee Cake Batter:
2 1/3 c. all purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter (soft)
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. milk (I used powdered milk per package directions for 3/4 c.)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. fresh blue berries
Cheese Filling:
1 c. ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 TBS sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
Streusel Topping:
1 c. reserved crumbs from coffee cake batter
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Directions:
To make batter, combine flour, sugar and salt in large bowl; cut in butter as for pie crust. Reserve 1 c. of mixture. Add baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla to larger portion of dry ingredients. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour evenly in greased 13x9 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with blue berries. Blend cheese, egg, sugar and lemon juice until smooth; spoon evenly over blue berries. Make topping by mixing reserved crumbs, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle over cheese layer. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45-60 minutes (I would start with the 45 first), or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool slightly before cutting (if you can wait that long).
Good luck~Happy eating~Enjoy

Cinnabon Cake


I have had a lot of requests for this recipe. Look Carol, it is finally here. This cake was perfect, and I didn't have to make any changes to the recipe. I can't recall the exact location of this recipe, so I won't be able to reference it. If I had to take a guess, it was from http://www.allrecipes.com/.
Here is the Cinnabon story: Cinnabon is the world-wide leader in the cinnamon roll bakery business. It was founded in Seattle, Washington in 1985, and Cinnabon opened its first bakery on December 4, 1985 at the Sea Tac Mall. Cinnabon started their business by selling their most popular cinnamon roll only.
Cinnabon bakeries have built a reputation for serving fresh, aromatic cinnamon rolls made with premium Indonesian cinnamon and topped with a sweet, rich, cream cheese-based frosting. Every Cinnabon product is served hot out of the oven and baked fresh before their guest's eyes. Just to throw in a little tid-bit of information from me....my dream restaurant is to have a kitchen behind glass so all my customers can see their food being prepared. Just a dream of mine....
The Cinnabon bakeries have grown with the products they offer. They started with a single product (the Cinnabon cinnamon roll), and they are now serving beverages, Pecanbons, Cinnamon stix, coffee, and their new recent line, varieties of cupcakes.
Here are the top 5 health benefits of Cinnamon:
1. Cinnamon has anti fungal, antibacterial, and atiparasitic properties. Which means that cinnamon has been found to effective in fighting vaginal yeast infections, oral yeast infections, stomach ulcers, and head lice.
2. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties. So when you eat fried, fatty, processed foods (which cause inflammation to the internal tissues and organs (heart disease)), just eat cinnamon and it should take care of the inner inflammation.
3. Cinnamon may help people with Type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels, and cinnamon my also lower LDL "bad" cholesterol.
4. Cinnamon is an excellent source of manganese, dietary fiber, iron, and calcium.
5. If that's not enough, there have been studies done that show that just the smell of cinnamon improves memory, and performance of certain tasks. (I am going to purchase a cinnamon candle for in my computer room where I go to school).
Do not start eating cinnamon in large amounts just from reading these five health benefits. If cinnamon is consumed in large quantities it could possibly be toxic.
I am not a cinnamon fan, but this cake makes me think twice.
Cinnabon Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1 c. sour cream
3/4 cup oil
4 large eggs
Filling:
1/3 c. honey
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1 TBS ground cinnamon
1/3 c. finely chopped pecans
Sugar glaze:
2 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Place rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray 13x9 inch baking pan (I have used two 8 or 9 inch pans). Place cake mix, sour cream, oil, and eggs in mixing bowl. Blend well with mixer. Beat on low for 1 minute. Scraping sides of bowl. Mix on high until well blended. Pour into pan. Drizzle honey on top, then sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans.
Bake 38 to 40 minutes until golden brown or until it springs back when you press lightly with fingers. Remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool. Place glaze ingredients in mixing bowl and stir until well blended. Pour over top of warm cake. Allow to cool 20 minutes before cutting. Store covered with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Good luck~Happy eating~Enjoy

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Christmas in July Cut-out Cookies



Christmas in July....


This is a perfect time to share my Cut-out Sugar Cookie recipe. These little gems are so buttery and soft, they just melt in your mouth when you eat them. I always top them with butter cream vanilla frosting. The frosting and the buttery cookie go absolutely perfect together.

This recipe was given to me by a friend many, many, many years ago when I was a teenager. I loved these cookies so much that I kept track of this recipe and guarded it with my life.
My kids always look forward to the holidays so they can eat these cookies, but I have also used this recipe for Valentine's Day. Huge heart shaped sugar cookies are a huge hit on Valentine's Day.

I have a story to share with you. I was attending the local Farmer's Market in my area during Sweetest Day. I used this recipe and made heart shaped frosted (pink) cut-out cookies. I packaged them up 3 in a box with a clear lid. I displayed them on my table with a sign saying, "Don't Forget Your Sweetie". Ten boxes of heart shaped cookies were gone (sold) within fifteen minutes.

Would you like to know the history of Sweetest Day?

Sweetest Day is celebrated each year on the third Saturday of October. Even though it is thought of as a second Valentine's Day, it is actually a day meant to celebrate all the people who make your life special.

Sweetest Day was founded around 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio by Herbert Birch Kingston who was a local candy company employee. Herbert wanted to bring cheer and happiness to the lives of those who were often forgotten. With some help from friends, he began distributing candy and small gifts to children living in orphanages, people with illnesses and disabilities, shut-ins, and many others.

Within a decade, the being sweet idea gained such a popularity that the city of Cleveland officially declared the third Saturday of October as Sweetest Day.

Sweetest Day will be celebrated on Saturday, October 16, 2010. Remember to celebrate the holiday and touch the life of someone special.

"Don't Forget Your Sweetie"

Cut-out Sugar Cookies

3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. butter
2 eggs
1 c. sugar

Mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut in butter (I use two knives, or a pastry blender). In separate bowl, beat eggs, add sugar and beat well. Blend egg mixture into flour thoroughly. Chill dough 4-5 hours or over night. Roll out dough on floured surface using cookie cutters to cut out in various shapes. Bake on un-greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees F. for 6 to 8 minutes.
You have to be very careful not to over-bake these. Remove them from the oven when they look like they are just starting to brown. Baking stones work wonderful for these cookies.

Good luck~Happy eating~Enjoy

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blueberry Mini Bread



From flop to fantastic!!

I was suppose to have this up sooner, but I got wrapped up in homework and was up till wee hours of the morning. Now I have slept, I have my caffeine fix entering my body, and I can concentrate all over again.

This recipe was taken from the Zucchini/Blueberry Muffin attempt. I made some changes and left the zucchini out this time. The result is, beautiful looking mini bread loaves. I think a mini bread loaf is so cute. They make great gifts, and they are just the right size to share with a friend or neighbor.

Mine are going camping....my family and I are getting together with friends this weekend for a camping/corn hole adventure. We have made this a tradition and we always have fun. In the past I have tried to turn the outing into a cooking pleasure, but quickly found out that when I go camping I need to enjoy myself. My thoughts; there is nothing better than campfire food. Fire pot chili, foil packs, and nothing smells better than a fresh breakfast outside in the morning, leaving the camping neighbors jealous....MUAHHHHH!!! This year I have decided it's going to be hot dogs on sticks and finger foods. I am going to enjoy myself!!

The recipe that I have come up with for these beautiful mini loaves is this:

Blueberry Mini Bread

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 c. unsweetened applesauce

3 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/4 c. white sugar

2 1/2 c. all purpose flour

1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 TBS ground cinnamon

1 pint fresh blueberries

Cane sugar to sprinkle before baking

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a mini loaf pan (notice mine had 8).

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, applesauce, vanilla, and sugar. Beat in the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the prepared mini-loaf pan. Bake 50 minutes (I started out at 30 minutes, with a complete bake time of 40 minutes). When my toothpick came out clean, I knew they were done. Cool 20 minutes in pan, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Soft cream cheese on warm blueberry bread.....

Good luck~Happy eating~Enjoy

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Zucchini/Blueberry Flop
















When I said I was going to share my flops, that's what I meant. These are a recreation, or are suppose to be Zucchini/Blueberry Muffins taken from a Zucchini/Blueberry Bread recipe. I made some changes to the recipe, like, replacing the oil with apple sauce, and I added some whole wheat flour along with the white flour. Something went wrong, as you can see. They taste good, but are kind of heavy. I am not going to post this recipe until I get it perfected.
ATTN: EXTREME TESTING IN ANGIE'S KITCHEN!!
I have one more pint of blueberries, I am going to try again.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pineapple



I could not resist sharing this with you. A fresh pineapple. Is there anything anymore beautiful? Did you know that a pineapple is the fruit of a herbaceous plant that is actually produced from hundreds of flowers that grow in a spiral pattern around an axis? The flowers produce individual fruits, which merge to produce one fruit. An awesome result of teamwork.
A pineapple does not contain starch that will turn to sugar. The pineapple's supply of sugar comes from the the stem of the plant, which stores the starch that is converted to sugar and then passed on to the fruit as it ripens.
Do you want to know how to purchase the best fresh pineapple? Choose one that feels heavy, and has fresh green leaves. The rind can be dark green, yellow (I buy mine when they are a yellow color), or reddish yellow, but they should not contain any bruised or brown spots. A ripe pineapple (yellow color) will have a fragrant scent. Avoid pineapples with brown leaves.
I am on a roll here. Would you like storage information too? A fresh pineapple can be stored at room temperature for 1 or 2 days (I leave mine sit on the counter for a couple days after purchasing). A pineapple will spoil quickly, so it is best to eat it as quickly as possible. It can be peeled and sliced, placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. I would not suggest freezing pineapple. When frozen it tends to lose its flavor.
Have you ever made a pineapple bowl? All you have to do is, cut the pineapple in half and cut out its insides. Mix the chunk pineapple with strawberries and blueberries, and place it back in the body of the pineapple bowl you created. Very pretty!!
Pineapple is a very good sweet snack food. Were you paying attention? No sugar!! It is naturally sweetened by nature.
Now I know you are going to run right out and buy a pineapple, because I have instilled a craving.....
Good luck~Happy eating~Enjoy

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Home-made Garlic Bread





Who would have thought I could make home-made garlic bread? This is amazing, but you have to eat it warm out of the oven, while the cheese is still gooey.
As I was preparing this dish, I had a lot of thoughts run through my mind. Oh, the endless possibilities....
I can picture this turned into a pizza. Spread seasoned olive oil on the crust, top with thin sliced tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers, bacon; should I go on? Also the possibilities with the cheeses. Cheddar, mozzarella, Romano, Parmesan, Monterrey jack, even feta.
The bread under all that cheese is amazing.
I was rushed while making this recipe, and I did not get to experiment like I wanted too.
One thing I loved about making this bread; no kneading by hand. I stuck it in my Kitchen Aid with a dough hook and let it go to work.
Home-made Garlic Bread
For the dough:
1 c. plus 1/2 heaping c.
2 TBS milk powder
2 TBS plus 1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 c. luke warm water
2 TBS canola oil
For the topping:
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 1/4 TBS butter, softened
3 cloves garlic, crushed
I sprinkled Rosemary and Thyme in with my cheese mixture. I didn't measure, I just sprinkled. You can use your own judgement.
Method:
Mix water, 1/2 tsp. sugar and yeast in a small bowl. Leave until bubbles appear on the surface, about 10 minutes. Stir together the flour, 2 TBS sugar, milk powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture and the oil and mix to form a ball. Knead with a dough hook for about 15 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place it into a lightly greased bowl, cover the dough with cling wrap or tea towel and let it rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until double in size.
In the meanwhile, make the topping by mixing all ingredients together and set aside. Punch the dough down and push out the air bubbles. Roll the dough out into 9 inches round and fit it into a lightly greased 9 inch cake pan. Spread the topping over the dough and cover. Let it rise again for another 30 to 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the top is golden. Leave the bread in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Slice and serve while it's still warm.
One thing that runs through my mind while making home-made bread; Why does it take so long to prepare, but only a short time to bake? I wonder if that's the reason why it tastes so good?
Good luck~Happy eating~Enjoy

Spinach Enchiladas



Alrighty then....we are going to leave the sweets behind for a little bit (maybe a minute or two).
What's for dinner? You have got to try this recipe. Here is the story behind my wonderful mishap:
I went to the grocery store with list in hand. I bought all my supplies (ingredients), but when I got home I realized I bought feta cheese instead of ricotta. OOPS!! Well, I was bound and determined to make this for dinner. I was looking through my refrigerator and noticed a partial container of ranch chip-dip. "HMMMM"...my mind is saying. Chip-dip has sour cream in it. So I created a masterpiece!!
When I completed the filling part of the enchiladas (with help from my daughter), and tasted it of course, we had to break out a bag of tortilla chips. The filling tasted exactly like warm spinach dip. Am I making your mouth water yet? I am not going to make you suffer any longer. Here is the recipe my way:

Spinach Enchiladas

1 TBS olive oil
1/2 c. sliced green onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
1 c. feta cheese
1/2 c. ranch chip-dip
2 c. pepper jack cheese
10 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1 can (19 oz.) enchilada sauce (I used Carlita)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat olive oil in a sauce pan or deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, cook for a few minutes until fragrant, not brown. Stir in spinach, and cook for about 5 more minutes. Remove from the heat, and mix in feta, chip-dip, and 1 c. of pepper jack cheese.
In a skillet over medium heat, warm tortillas one at a time until flexible, about 15 seconds. Spoon about 1/4 c. of the spinach mixture onto the center of each tortilla. Roll up, and place seam side down in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour enchilada sauce over the top, and sprinkle with the remaining cup of pepper jack cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven, until sauce is bubbling and cheese is lightly browned at the edges of the pan.

Good luck~Happy eating~Enjoy!!!!

The original recipe can be found at http://www.alrecipes.com

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Heavenly White Cake






One thing I have to say, I am definitely not a pastry chef. This is called Heavenly White Cake, and I would not change one thing about this recipe. It is perfect!! The cake smelled heavenly (maybe that's why it's called Heavenly White Cake?) as it was baking. My whole entire house smelled of white cake. The cake itself has a sponge texture and consistency of an angel food cake.
I have not had the opportunity of digging in yet. I am waiting on the Birthday Boy (Eddie). He says he has never had a home-made birthday cake. Well, he is getting one now.
As I was preparing the cake batter, a thought came to my mind. I do know now why chef coats are white. As I was alternating my dry ingredients with my wet, I had flour flying everywhere. My black Kitchen Aid turned white. I don't know if that was out of fear, or from the cake flour.
Oh no, the fear is the reason I was white. I did not want this cake to flop. I had one chance, and four hours to get this right.
Happy Birthday Eddie!!
Heavenly White Cake
2 3/4 c. sifted cake flour
4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
4 egg whites
1 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
Measure sifted flour, baking powder, and salt; sift together three times.
In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add 1/2 c. sugar gradually, and continue beating only until meringue will hold up in soft peaks.
Cream butter. Gradually add remaining 1 c. sugar, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add sifted ingredients alternately with milk a small amount at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Mix in flavorings. Add meringue, and beat thoroughly into batter. Spread batter in two 9 inch round cake pans lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 to 35 minutes.
A piece of advice: When the recipe says to line pan with parchment paper, make sure you do it. I thought I could skip that step, and the cakes stuck to the bottom of my pans. You can tell by looking at my pictures.
Enjoy~Eat Happy~YUMMMMM

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dutch Apple Pie


This is definitely another crying recipe as I so (fighting) easily give it away. My Dutch Apple Pie is a famous one. Guaranteed, this pie will be wiped out in seconds. The best way to eat this pie is when it is still warm, and with family. This one is a must during the holidays, but if you are going to a family gathering, make sure you take more than one.
The oatmeal crust sets off this pie, creating an amazing flavor combination. Have you ever had apple/cinnamon oatmeal? Isn't that just the most amazing flavors in your mouth? When I eat apple/cinnamon oatmeal, I never want the flavor sensation to end.....MMMMMM!!! The sensation caused from this pie is the same way. "Oh please, don't let this end...."
I have topped this pie with whipped cream, but it can easily stand alone.
Dutch Apple Pie
2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. packed light brown sugar
3/4 c. butter melted
1/2 c. quick cooking oats

Filling:
1 1/4 c. water
2/3 c. sugar
3 TBS cornstarch
1 1/4 c. diced peeled tart apples (3 large granny smith)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (don't be afraid to let this run over the tsp.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the first four ingredients; set aside 1 c. for topping. Press crumb mixture into an ungreased 9-inch pie plate; set aside. For the filling, combine sugar, cornstarch, and water in a saucepan until smooth; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 minute, or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in chopped apples and vanilla. Pour into crust; top with reserved crumb mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40-45 minutes. The top should be nice and brown.

Good luck, happy eating, and enjoy...

Monster Cookies




These are a favorite recipe in my household.
My daughter was in a baking mood yesterday and whipped up a batch of these scrumptious cookies.
I found this recipe at http://www.allrecipes.com/ , but of course I had to make changes. The recipe calls for corn syrup, but I put honey in its place. This is a no fail recipe that everyone in your home will love, especially a peanut butter lover.
I got lucky enough to find a monster cookie chip mix at a local bulk store in my area. It comes already mixed with candy pieces, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and white chips. Makes it very easy to prepare these amazing cookies. I have also added chopped walnuts to this recipe making them a little more rich tasting.
Monster Cookies
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. honey
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
4 1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. butterscotch chips
1 c. candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
*opt* 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a very large bowl, beat the eggs.
Add the remaining ingredients in order, mixing well (I use my Kitchen-Aid for these cookies)
Use an ice cream scoop to put on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
I like to bake mine just until light brown, and once again, all I use is baking stones. I also leave the cookies sit on the cookie sheet, after baking, for about 7 minutes before removing to cooling racks.
Enjoy!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Root Beer Chocolate Cake


I am sitting here trying to come up with a good description for this cake. I know I could use words like good, great, awesome, incredible, amazing, etc..., but this cake should receive more credit than just a few words.
This cake recipe has been moved to the top of my favorite cakes list. It has a taste of it's own, like nothing else compares. When this cake was made and tested, I received comments like, "I think it tastes like a spice cake." I did not get one person to pick out the root beer flavor.
The original recipe called for a butter cream chocolate frosting, but if you put chocolate frosting on this cake, it will just ruin it. I introduced this cake to a butter cream vanilla frosting. Enjoy!!
Root Beer Chocolate Cake
3/4 c. shortening
1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 TBS vanilla extract
2 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. dutch-processed cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 12oz. can root beer, (make sure it's not sugar free)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and dust with flour a 13x9 inch pan.
Cream the shortening and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
Beat for five or six minutes so that the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla.
In another bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, salt and soda together.
In three or four additions, add the dry ingredients and the liquids to the creamed mixture alternately starting and ending with the dry ingredients (alternate the root beer with buttermilk). Mix only until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool completely before frosting with the frosting of your choice.
Butter Cream Vanilla Frosting
3/4 c. butter
about 5 c. powdered sugar
2 TBS milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
additional milk as required
Cream the butter. Add half the powdered sugar and two tablespoons milk. Gradually add the remaining powdered sugar and vanilla, beating as you go. Add the additional milk to reach a spreadable consistency.

The Best Ever Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie

As I am sitting here looking at this picture, I am almost to the point of tears. I worked very hard at perfecting this recipe. This is one that I am having a hard time publicizing.
This jumbo chocolate chip cookie is probably one of the best cookies you will ever eat in your lifetime. I sometimes dress these up with mini colored baking chips, and sometimes walnuts.
These cookies are one of my top sellers, and I have family begging me to make these all the time.
I have to let you know that I do not use any other type of baking sheet besides the Pampered Chef baking stones. If you have never used Pampered Chef baking stones, you are truely missing out on a great thing. When baking cookies on a baking stone there is no such thing as a bad cookie. When they are light-brown on top, they are exactly the same way on the bottom.
If you do not own a Pampered Chef baking stone, I highly suggest you get one. Take the time to locate a Pampered Chef Representative, and I do believe that Pampered Chef is sold on Ebay.
Well, here it goes *sniffle, sniffle*
Chewy Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies
4 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. cup sugar
1 1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 TBS vanilla
1 12 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips, or colored chips
*opt* 1 c. chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder in medium bowl. Set aside
Combine butter, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Reduce speed to low. Beat, gradually adding flour mixture, until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop dough by 1/4 c. (I use the 1/4 c. size cookie scoop, or an ice cream scoop works good too) cupfuls, 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until light golden brown (when these cookies just start turning brown is when they should be taken out of the oven. I also leave them sit on the cookie sheet for about 5-7 minutes before removing them). It is very improtant that you do not overbake these cookies.
This recipe will make about 26 jumbo cookies.
Well, I got through it without second thoughts, or "having the big one". I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Peanut butter/Chocolate chip/Bacon Cookies




I was visiting one of my favorite blogs (Vanilla Sugar) when I ran across this recipe.
Bacon in cookies? No way!!
I had to try this for myself.
The Vanilla Sugar blog is my most favorite blog, and I can spend hours reading it and looking at the pictures. The owner of Vanilla Sugar is the most amazing woman. She is my inspiration, and keeps me driven.
Now back to the cookie and recipe. I studied this recipe and came to my own conclusion that there needed to be some changes made. It took me two batches of cookies to get this recipe perfected. Also, the bacon in this cookie is AWESOME.
There is a little village close by where I live, and there is a woman that runs a candy shop. She sells chocolate covered bacon, and it is a huge hit. People in my area go nuts over the chocolate covered bacon candy. I have yet to try it, but I hear people talk.
This is what I did to the recipe:
Peanut Butter/Chocolate Chip/Bacon Cookies
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 stick plus 6 TBS butter (softened)
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla
1 c. creamy peanut butter
6 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup crumbled cooked bacon
Cane sugar for sprinkling
Sift the flour and baking soda into a medium sized bowl, set aside.
In a mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until fluffy.
Scrape down the bowl and add eggs one at a time. The mixture will look light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and peanut butter, and beat until Incorporated.
Using a wooden spoon, fold in chocolate chips and bacon. Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least three hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (I baked mine on baking stones, no parchment paper needed). Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet, at least two inches apart. With the palm of your hand, very gently press each cookie down, don't flatten them.
Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with cane sugar and bake for 10-12 minutes, or just until the tops are lightly brown. Leave the cookies sit on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks.
This recipe should make about 30 cookies.
You will not be disappointed with this recipe. If you like peanut butter, A+. If you like chocolate, A++. If you like bacon, A+++. Enough said!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Peach Salsa




This is Peach Salsa. Move over tomato, the peach is taking over....

I believe the tomato is so over-rated. Ketchup, spaghetti sauce, spiced canned tomatoes, cocktail sauce, tomatoes on fast-food burgers, V8 (3 servings of vegetables), etc...

Where do you see a peach? Pie, cobbler, cake, and in a can. The peach was thought of enough in 1961 to have a children's novel written about it (James and the Giant Peach). What has the tomato done?

Ok....Fried Green Tomatoes, but that was not produced until 1991. The peach does over-power the tomato!! This recipe will convince you.


Peach Salsa


3 1/2 cups fresh peaches (about 6)

1 bunch chopped green onions

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. fresh ginger root, grated

2 whole hot chili peppers, minced (I bought the whole chili peppers in the jar. It is up to you how spicy hot you want your salsa. I thought 2 was plenty.)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1 TBS lime juice

salt and pepper to taste


In a bowl, mix peaches, onion, garlic, ginger, peppers, cilantro, and lime. Season with salt and pepper. Chill until serving.

Mine is going to a cook-out, so I made it the day before, and refrigerated it so all the spices and flavors will blend.


Enjoy!!


It is now July 10, 2010. I think I have spent enough time sulking and pouting about losing my job October 26, 2009. I abandoned my blog, and I do apologize. I am back, and ready to give it my full attention.
I have been involved in school (Axia College of University of Phoenix (online)) for a year and a half. My graduation date (associate degree in business management) is November 7, 2010. I am counting down the days....
2010 is a new year for me (even though it is half over), and I am going to make some major changes to my blog. When I started this blog, I had every intention of using it for feedback on my food creations. How can I get feedback on a food item if I do not share the recipe? I will be sharing all of my recipes, thoughts, tips, tricks, and flops.
Hang on tight, because here we go....

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