Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cranberry Nut Muffins

I made these for my grandpa and everyone approved of these.  Ray even really liked them.  I don't like cranberries or nuts, so I just had a bite, but the OJ worked well in here.

Modified from Taste of Home

2 cups flour
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
2/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 cup pecans, chopped

In large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and baking powder.  In another bowl, beat egg.  Add orange juice and oil; stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened (batter will be lumpy).  Fold in cranberries and pecans.  

Spoon into 12 greased (or paper lined) muffin cups (cups will be almost full). 

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.   Remove from pan to cool on a wire rack

Makes 1 dozen.  

Monday, January 15, 2018


Grandma had a ton of apples last year so I have done a lot of apples recipes, working on using them up.  These turned out well, but I didn't think they would ship well because of the fruit, which is an issue for the amount of cookies I sent overseas. 

Modified from some website

3 cups flour
1 tbsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 large apple, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup) (I even did this with frozen apples as we had them leftover from summer)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat to 350.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, 2 tsp cinnamon and salt.  Mix well and set aside.  In another bowl, combine butter, 1 1/2 cup sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Mix until creamy.  Gradually add the flour mixture until combined.  Fold in shredded apples.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon.  Mix well.  Form dough into 1 inch balls and then roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture and place onto prepared baking sheets. 

Bake for 11-12 minutes or until done.  Cool on wire racks.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

New Jam Recipes

These are my new recipes from this summer's canning season.  I did the apple as gifts this year as we had tons of apples leftover from last year's apple season.  So I had issues finding peach pie filling, but Rachel found it for me.   I was a little leery about the orange Jell-O, but it was seriously delicious!

Apple Rhubarb Jam
Modified from Straight from the Farm

3 cups rhubarb, diced
3 cups apples, diced and peeled
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 (2 oz) pkg dry pectin

In a large saucepan, mix the rhubarb, apples, sugar, water and spices.  Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat for 20 minutes or until the fruit is oft.  Stir in pectin and boil for 5 minutes.  

Ladle into sterile jars, wipe rims with clean cloth and seal with new lids.  Process in water bath canner for 10 minutes (unless need to adjust for altitude).   

Makes about 3 pints (6 cups).  

Modified from Taste of Home

 2 quarts (8 cups) sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb, diced
4 cups sugar
1 can (21 oz) peach pie filling
1 pkg (3 oz) orange gelatin (Jello)

Combine rhubarb and sugar (this has it stand overnight...I didn't bother...I think I might have added a little water, can't remember...I just have it a bit to sit).  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile cut up peaches and add with filling to saucepan; return to boiling.  Remove from heat, stir in gelatin.  Spoon into canning jars and process in a water bath canner.  

Makes about 7 half-pints.  

Fresh Herb Bread

So I made this this summer when I had a lot of herbs in my garden and it turned out well.

Fresh Herb Bread
Modified from Betty Crocker

1 cup plus 2 tbsp water
2 tbsp butter, softened
3 cups flour
2 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp oregano, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme, copped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
3 tbsp dry milk
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp bread machine yeast

Place all ingredients in bread machine pan.  Select basic/white cycle.  Use medium or light crust color.  Remove baked bread from pan and cool on rice write.

Makes 1 (1.5 lb) loaf. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Mongolian Beef

I have been playing with this and thanks to some help from my brother-in-law (who is a real chef), I think I have this.  I'm AMAZED at how much the cornstarch step helps here!

Mongolian Beef
Modified from Delish

1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup beef broth
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 lb steak, sliced against the grain
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 small onion, diced
cooked rice

In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil.   Add garlic and onion and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes.  Add soy sauce, hoisin sauce, broth, ginger, broth, sweet chili sauce and brown sugar and stir until dissolved.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until reduced by  half, 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile in large skillet over medium heat, heat remaining 1/4 vegetable oil.  In a large bowl, toss flank steak with cornstarch until fully coated.  Add steak to skillet and sear until crispy, 3-4 minutes per side. Drain fat.

Add sauce and toss until combined then simmer a few more minutes.  Serve with rice.

Makes 4 servings.

Casserole Crock

So I've been playing with my new crock pot.  I already did the tater-topped casserole, but here's another one.  I've also been working on simply converting my casserole recipes over.  This is a great resource.  I find that doing a casserole in the oven (which often takes an hour to bake) is hard to scheduled for me (sports pick up and whatnot) many nights so being able to have this on, cooking, while I do pick ups is nice. I've been working through my regular casserole recipes and so far haven't had any issues. 

Chicken Rice Casserole
Modified from Campbell's Crock Pot Recipe book (that comes with the casserole crock)

1 can (10.75 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/3 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked white rice
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 ups frozen mixed vegetables
1 1/4 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Stir soup, water, rice, onion powder, black pepper and vegetables in the removable stoneware of the casserole crock pot.  Top with chicken.  Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours (or low for 5-6 hours) or until chicken is cooked and rice is tender.  Top with cheese. Let stand, covered; for 10 minutes.  Stir the rice mixture before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

This was also a new casserole recipe I found and I did it in the casserole crock, on high, for 3-4 hours versus the instructions here. 

Chicken Tater Tot Casserole
Modified from Gonna Want Seconds

2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 (1 oz) packet ranch dressing mix
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp parsley
3 cups chicken, cooked and diced
1 pkg frozen mixed vegetables
1 (32 oz) pkg frozen tater tots
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheesed, shredded

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9 by 13 pan with Pam.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, combine soup, sour cream, milk, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, bacon, ranch dressing mix, pepper and parsley until thoroughly combined.  Stir in chicken and vegetables.  Transfer to baking dish.  Top with tater tots then cheese. 

Cover the casserole and bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes.  Uncover and bake 5-10 minutes or until through and golden. 

Makes 6 servings.  

Buttermilk Scones

Grandma asked me for scones....this is what I meant.  These came out pretty well.

Buttermilk Scones
Modified from Better Homes and Gardens

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp finely shredded orange peel
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter
1 beaten egg
1/2 buttermilk (which I can make....)
1/4 cup currants or raisins (I might try dried cherries)

2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp finely shredded orange peel
1 tbsp. buttermilk or milk

Preheat oven to 400. 

Stir flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, 1 tsp orange peel, baking soda and 1/4 tsp salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Make a well in center and set aside.

In another bowl, combine egg, 1/2 cup buttermilk, and raisins.  Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture.  Using a for, stir just until moistened. 

Turn dough out and knead for 10-12 dough or until nearly smooth.  Pat into 7 inch circle. Cut into 12 wedges.  Place wedges 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet.
Combine 2 tsp sugar and 1/4 tsp orange peel.  Brush wedges with 1 tbsp buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar mixture.  Bake for 12 minutes or until golden.  Remove and let cool. 
Makes 12 scones. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

So I had never made these before - I know weird, right?  But I don't like peanut butter...like at all.  So I had no reason to do them. But Ray asked for them....so I made them!

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
Modified from Taste of Home

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
36 milk chocolate kisses

Preheat oven to 350.  Cream butter, PB ad sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.  In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; beat into PB mixture.

Drop by tablespoonfuls on ungreased baking sheets. Bake until light brown, 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately push a chocolate kiss on the top of each cookie.  Cool on pans for 2 minutes and then remove to cooling rack to finish cooling.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Apple Bread

Apple Bread
Modified from Simple & Delicious

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups chopped peeled apples
1 cup chopped walnuts (which I skipped)

Preheat to 350.  Line to loaf pans with parchment paper and grease. 

Whisk first six ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, vanilla; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened (batter with be thick).  Fold in apples and walnuts.

Transfer to prepared pans. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.  Cool for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

Makes 2 loaves. 

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

A nice little side!

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
Modified from Simple & Delicious

2 broccoli crowns (8 oz each)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp grated lemon peel

Preheat oven to 425.  Cut broccoli crowns up. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with seasonings.  Place in a parchment lined pan.

Roast until crisp tender, 10-12 tends.  Sprinkle with garlic, roast 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese; roast until cheese is melted and stalks of broccoli are tender, 2-4 minutes more.

Sprinkle with lemon peel.

Makes 4 servings. 

A Pet Peeve

So now I'm not talking about like people who actually have a reason (like handicapped, little old ladies or moms with screaming kids), but the rest of you can put your carts back! This is especially annoying in Palmer, where I've seen carts literally going across the parking lot.  And the thing is that Fred Meyer actually has a ton of cart returns - there is no excuse, people!  Put your carts back!  

Monday, January 08, 2018


Ray wanted chili...this worked out really well. Very easy and Ray approved!  And remember...real chili has no beans!  Adding them is perverted...just saying....

Modified from Taste of Home
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley (I used dried)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp pepper

Crumble beef into crock pot.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or until meat is no longer pink.  Serve with rice and pasta or toppings of your choice. 

Serves 6.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread

So I tend to end up with cream cheese.  And other than cook with it, I don't use it (like I don't put it on bread or anything) so I was looking for something to "use" up cream cheese. I found this recipe....Ray has declared it better than my strawberry muffins, which is quite the compliment from him as he ADORES those!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread
Modified from Genius Kitchen

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional...I didn't use it)

Cream butter, sugar and cream cheese until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Mix in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend flour mixture with butter mixture just until blended.  Add milk and only stir to blend. 

Fold in strawberries.  Dough will be thick.

Grease and flour 9 by 5 inch loaf pan*.  Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes. 

Makes 1 full loaf*.

*I actually did this as mini loaves and got like 16 or 17 mini loaves out of a double batch.  I baked it for about 30-35 minutes. 

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Honey Gingerbread Trifle

I made this for Christmas Eve.  I thought it was really good and everyone seemed to like it. It also just got better each day as the pudding soaked into the cake.  The cake layer was actually good just by itself.  Definitely a keep of a recipe!

Honey Gingerbread Trifle

1 cup sour cream
1 cup honey
1 large egg
1/4 cup canola oil
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pudding Layer
2 cups milk
1 pkg instant white chocolate pudding mix (I used sugar free as that's all I could find and that took me 3 stores!)

Pumpkin Mousse Layer
1 cup milk
1 pkg instant pumpkin spice pudding mix (so Google says this exists...um, yeah....no.....I could have ordered it online....which is SO not helpful....so I used vanilla pudding mix and then just added 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice and it worked great)
1 carton (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Preheat oven to 350.  Beat sour cream, honey, egg and oil until well blended.  In another bowl, whisk next six ingredients; gradually beat into sour cream mixture.  Transfer to a greased 9 inch square baking pan.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes.  Cool in pan 5 minutes.  Remove to cool completely on a wire rack. 

For pudding layer, whisk milk and white chocolate pudding mix about 2 minutes.  Then let stand for about 5 minutes, until soft set.  Refrigerate.  For mousse layer, whisk milk and pumpkin pie pudding in another bowl for 2 minutes.  Fold in whipped topping. Refrigerate. 

To assemble, cut cake into 1 inch cubes.  In a 3 quart trifle bowl, layer a third of cake cubes, white chocolate pudding and pumpkin mousse.  Repeat layers twice.  Refrigerate, covered, 4 hours or overnight. 

Makes 12 servings.