Monday, October 22, 2012

Orange Pumpkin Bread

Fall is here!! 

One of my favorite tastes of fall is pumpkin.  I found a great recipe for Pumpkin Bread!!

Orange Pumpkin Bread

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup solid pack pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1/3 cup orange juice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg. Grease pan.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, pumpkin spice, and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend sugar, oil and eggs. Stir in pumpkin. 
  4. Slowly blend the flour mixture into pumpkin mixture. While blending the mixture add juice a little at a time. 
  5. Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 90 minutes. 
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

2-Cheese Crackers

We went into the city this weekend.  On the way home, I realized hey, we didn't have any "adult" snacks. Not that adults can't eat and enjoy goldfish or stale graham crackers.  I wanted something that I could love and the kids wouldn't keep asking, "Mom, can I have one of those?"  So I found this great recipe for Parmesan Cream Crackers.   Being a crazy cook, I adjusted it to 2-cheese crackers and here's the recipe!
2-Cheese Crackers

1 cup all-purpose flour, more as needed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup cream or half-and-half, more as needed

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly dust with flour. 

1.  Put flour, salt, cheese and butter in bowl of a food processor. Pulse until flour and butter are combined. Add about 1/4 cup cream or half-and-half and let machine run for a bit; continue to add liquid a teaspoon at a time, until mixture holds together but is not sticky. 

**Be careful.  I added too much cream and had to add more flour.**

2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/2-inch thick or even thinner, adding flour as needed. Transfer sheet of dough to prepared baking sheet (drape it over rolling pin to make it easier). Score lightly with a sharp knife, pizza cutter or a pastry wheel. 

3.Sprinkle with salt or other topping if you like.  Sea Salt, Sesame Seeds, Caraway Seeds, whatever you'd like (I would brush with a little butter or milk first so it will stick)
**I missed this step and they really didn't need it. :-) **

4. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. 
Cool on a rack; serve warm or at room temperature or store in an airtight container for a few days.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Easy Pizza

I am all for easy peasy as long as it's great tasting food.

I'm  a let's try a pinch of this or a pinch of that kind of cook. I'll try add-ins to just about anything.   Not real crazy things but like peanut butter in pancake mix or adding a little maple syrup to the batter.

So today is an Indian Summer day.  It's not super hot but hot enough that this momma doesn't really want to cook, or in this case, put too much work into cooking.  My hubby works  in DC  or as the boys say "in the city" a few times a week; which in VA means leaving before the sun gets up and getting home 2 hours after you leave the office (20 miles away) and getting home about 6:30 or 7:00. Crazy for this girl who's been a country girl all her life!!

So I thought I'll whip up a Pizza for dinner.

It is EASY!!

1 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar

Put into a large bowl and let yeast dissolve and get foamy.

Add to the bowl
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tablespoon oil (it can be olive, vegetable or cooled melted butter)

Knead for 5 minutes or until a soft dough forms.  Let rest for 5 minutes.

with your hands stretch the dough into whatever shape you want.  You can leave it thick for a deep dish style or use a rolling pin to make it thin for a thin crust.

Add whatever toppings you'd like!   Bake at 400 for 18-22 minutes (in my gas oven it took about 19 minutes) until crust is golden brown.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cookie Dough Bites (nuggets from heaven)

Check out the recipe on Disney's

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup packed light brown sugar1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
6 ounces miniature chocolate chips or chopped regular chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar together.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well -- use your hands to get it together the best.
Roll into 1-inch balls.
Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Dip in chocolate, drizzle with chocolate or eat as is. I am going to use my to add to homemade ice cream
Let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Lightest Hamburger Buns You Will Ever Make!!!

I LOVE King Arthur Flour.  When I went on vacation to New England last year, we stopped by the store to check it out.  

Today I was planning on making burgers for my crew.  I found a recipe for hamburger buns on the website and just had to try them out.  They are SO light that I just about dropped them when I picked them up.  It would have been like a slapstick comedy episode, the girl picks up something light and flings it across the room because she expected a rock! Not only were they light...they were TASTY.

I did mine just a teeny bit different.  I didn't have instant yeast so I proofed the yeast with the water and sugar first and then added the other ingredients.

1 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp yeast (1 packet)
I proofed in my stand mixer until bubbly and spongy looking. (about 5 minutes)

I then added:
2 tablespoons melted butter (cooled)
1 large egg (if you plan on using an egg wash for the tops to add seeds, save the egg white and add the extra yolk here)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

I used the paddle of my mixer until it was smooth and elastic.  It was a little bit sticky.  Sprinkling a little bit of flour on my board. I kneaded the bread for about 5 minutes.  The dough needs to be smooth.  I put it into an oiled bowl with a cover for about 90 minutes.  It was doubled in size.

Gently deflate the dough and divide into 8 pieces. (it depends on how big you want your rolls to be.  If you want BIG rolls divide it into 8).

Roll the dough into balls and flatten with your hand into circles.  Let the dough rise another hour or until they are puffy.

Preheat oven to 375.

Brush with egg wash (the reserved egg white and 1/4 cup water) beaten.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds or any other seeds you'd like.  If you don't want to add seeds you can brush melted butter on the tops.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool before slicing and ENJOY!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lazy Momma Cookies (or just too busy to bake)

Lazy Momma Cookies:

1 box yellow or white cake mix
2 eggs beaten
5 T melted butter
2 C M&M's or mini chocolate chips

Mix together, put in a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 20 min!

adapted recipe from the awesome website I Am A Lazy Mom

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yummy Dark Bread

  • 1 - 10 ounce brewed strong coffee (1 1/2 cups), cooled to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 heaping tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
  1. Place all ingredients in bread machine pan in order suggested by manufacture. Select dough cycle. 
  2. When the machine indicates the end of the final rise, remove the dough.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Shape the dough into 2 round ovals on piece of parchment. Let rise until doubled in size.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until the loave sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Chocolate Buttermilk Scones

3/4 cup cold buttermilk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

1 cup all purpose flour 
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp chilled butter (must be cold) cut into small pieces

3/4 cup chocolate chips
cooking spray

     Preheat oven to 375°. Combine the first four ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
     Combine flour, baking powder, salt, in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
     Cut in chilled butter with a pastry blender, or you could use 2 knives, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. 
      Add milk mixture, stirring just until moist.
     Gently fold in chocolate chips.
     Place dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly four times with floured hands.    
     Form dough into an 9-inch circle onto baking sheet, about 3/4" thick. Using a knife, cut dough into 12 wedges all the way through.

Adapted from recipe at

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Apple Crumb Pie

There is nothing more patriotic than Apple Pie.  

My mom used to make the BEST apple pie.  Her crusts were amazing.

I never got the hang of crust making.  It is my kryptonite.  Some times it turns out PERFECT...other times not so much.  I've used *gasp* store bought pie crust and made some pretty stellar pies...but I miss homemade crust. 

So today I searched and found a basic pie crust. Ready?

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
    1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    3 Tablespoons White Sugar
    1 teaspoon Salt
    2 Tablespoon milk
    1/2 cup melted butter, cooled

     Mix together the dry ingredients.  Slowly mix in the milk and then butter with a fork until dough forms a ball (I had to use the whole amount of butter because of the whole wheat flour.)
     I rolled out the dough gently with my rolling pin until it fit my pie pan. Since I made a "topping" for the pie, instead of a crust; I didn't make the crust go all the way up the sides of my pie pan.

I then chopped 5 medium apples. I was living the "high life" and actually bought 4 different kinds of apples to try!! I know...all fancy schmancy! But my genius is clouded by the fact that I didn't write down what kind they were.
     While fighting off hungry apple robbing children..I quicky cored, peeled and sliced the apples...all the while thinking to myself  "Man, I have to feed these kids more often!!"

Once you've made you apples pie worthy, mix the apples with:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Go ahead and put those beauties on top of your pie crust. (They are tasty little morsels)
For the Topping

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup butter melted and cooled
     Mix together the dry ingredients and slowly add the butter.

     Most of the time I cut in the butter to my toppings.  This recipe didn't do that. I was game so I went for it.  It made the topping more like a cobbler than a crisp.  Still very tasty!
I didn't "sprinkle" the topping...I had to spoon blobs of it all over.   It actually made the pie look pretty.  Again more like a cobbler than a crisp.

  • Bake at 425 for 20 minutes with foil loosely over it.
  • Remove foil and bake at 375 for another 20-25 minutes.

For the next time I make this!  Once I put the apples in the pan, I will put/dab small pats of butter over them before adding the crumble.  The pie itself was dry (meaning I didn't pick out the right kinds of apples).  When I served a piece warm to my hubby...I drizzled a little flavored coffee creamer over the top to give it a little more moisture.  He gobbled it up so it must have tasted pretty good.  I have not had a piece yet...but as soon as I post this...I will!!

Happy Baking!!


I'm linking to these awesome linky parties: 

What I Made! at Creations by Kara
Linking Party at Passionately Artistic
What's Cooking Wednesday at The King's Court IV
Mrs. Fox's Sweet Party #27 at Mrs. Fox's Sweets

Please stop by and find a plethora of great ideas!!  DIY! Cooking! Tips of all kinds!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Maple Mustard Pork Chops

You will need:

  • 8 thin sliced pork chops
  • 1/3 cup dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • olive oil
  • 1/3 cup panko crumbs


  • Mix mustard, syrup and sugar together until smooth.
  • Put parchment paper in pan. Drizzle with olive oil.  Lay pork chops in pan, close but not touching.  Drizzle more olive oil over top. 
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper over chops.  
  • Pour on mustard sauce.  
  • Sprinkle panko crumbs over the top.
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Check out the Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy, Mandy's Recipe Box "Totally Tasty Tuesday" Linky Parties!!  LOTS of delicious recipes!!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Beer Battered Fish

2 lbs of white fish-see note 
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 teaspoon favorite seasonings (I used a fish seasoning that had garlic, red pepper and lemon flakes) 
1 12 oz bottle beer
salt and pepper

In a small mixing bowl whisk together the flour, corn starch, seasoning, salt and pepper. Slowly add the beer and whisk until smooth. The mix should look like thick pancake batter.

In a deep fryer heat the oil to 350 degrees**. Season the fish with salt and pepper, dip the fish strips into the batter and carefully place in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 2-4 minutes on each side. If your basket has holes in it like mine might have to loosen the batter from underneath to get fish loose. Those are yummy tidbits to tide you over. ***if you don't have a deep fat fryer, you can heat about 2 inches of oil in a skillet to 350 degrees and fry them that way...about 3 minutes on each side.

I used Swai.  It is like catfish..a bottom feeder from Vietnam.  People have expressed concern about whether or not it is healthy but I have found many more people that have not had any problems with it.  I got a 2 pound bag for around $5 at Walmart. I am NOT a big fish fan.  If there is even a little bit of fishiness to it...I can't eat it.  This wasn't fishy at all but it was a different texture than I like. I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either.  The beer batter was a recipe I found for fish tacos and I LOVED the taste of the batter. Next time I might have to splurge and buy Halibut. :-)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chicken Crockpot Casserole

After a couple of days of living on the broil setting and having to check my kids hourly for those beautiful grill marks on their backsides, yes, that's how hot it was! I am ready to cook in my kitchen!

I actually don't mind the sunshine. It is a change of pace for me.  I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, where we had 2 seasons.  Rainy, dreary gray from November 1st  to July 4th (the Rainy Season). Then we'd have outbreaks of sunshine for July, August, Sept and usually October..usually only a few at a time peppered with rainy days.

Now that I live in the DC area.  I've had to get used to not only warm days, but HOT days...HOT days that stick to you like stink on a stink bug. (Something else that we didn't have in the Northwest)

So today I decided that it is a crockpot day.  Casserole without having to heat up the oven.  Genius, I say!  I found a GREAT recipe by Christy Jordan at Southern Plate.  She's my sister..she just doesn't know it. I LOVE her recipes! Please go to her web site to check out her delicious recipes!

 Here is the link to her fantastic recipe for Cheesy Chicken Crockpot Chicken that I will be making tonight.

First chicken in the bottom of the crockpot and cover with onion and some minced garlic (I didn't have a fresh one..haven't replenished my pantry this week).  I also sprinkled some Caribbean Jerk seasoning over the chicken too for a little kick.

Spoon over the cream of chicken soup.  I added some carrots.

Now I am "potting" it on low for 6 hours and am filling my house with delicious smells that will make my neighbors jealous! Before serving, I added 1 box of rice-a-roni, cooked according to the box.  

Dinner in a flash! Okay maybe not a flash but no muss, no fuss!! :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Most Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's a holiday weekend and the thing I love most to do...BAKE.  My kiddos love Chocolate Chip Cookies so when I find one that turns out so great.  I grab it and make it over and over again.
These turned out even better than I thought they would.  I actually made them yesterday evening and left the dough covered and in the fridge overnight.  The cookies after baked had a really nice coloring and almost sheen to them.  They are crunchy but soft and yummy.  You'll LOVE them!

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup margarine, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant french vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 

  • Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. 
  • Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. 
  • Stir in the eggs and vanilla.
  • Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips. 
  • Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wisdom from Julia's Kitchen

  • To make canned broth taste homemade - Simmer for 15-20 minutes with a handful of minced carrots, onions and celery.  You can also add a little dry white wine or dry white French vermouth.

  • How do I know if baking power is still okay to use?  Baking powder usually lasts about 6 months.  To test add a teaspoon into 1/2 cup hot water.  If it doesn't bubble up throw away.  Make sure to smooth out lumps before adding to recipe.

  • To clean a burn blackened pan (I know that hasn't ever happened to you!!!) Fill the pan with 2 Tablespoons baking soda per quart (4 cups) of water.  Simmer for 10 minutes, cover and let soak off heat for several hours or overnight.  The black residue should scrub off easily.

  • Figuring the timing between convection ovens and regular ovens.  Convection ovens are usually about 1/3 faster.  So if you roast something for 2 hours and 325 degrees.  It would probably take about 1 1/2 hours in a convection oven.

  • When is bread done?? The loaves should feel light and they should make a nice thump when taped. (an instant read thermometer reads 200).

  • When baking how do I proof the yeast?  Stir a tablespoon of active yeast in 3 tablespoons of lukewarm water and a pinch of sugar.  Yeast should be bubbly in about 5-10 minutes.

  • How do I saute?  
    • Make sure the food is dry.  If it is damp the meat will steam not brown.  Pat it dry with  paper towels.
    • Heat the pan.  Add butter or oil and wait until it is almost smoling.
    • Don't crowd the pan. Leave about a 1/4 inch between the pieces.  If you crowd them, they will steam, not brown.
    • Find a good solid frying pan. It shouldn't too big or too small.  It won't be fancy but functional every day pan.

Excerpts taken from the book "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom"  
How many minutes should you cook green beans? Is it better to steam them or to boil them?
What are the right proportions for a vinaigrette?
How do you skim off fat?
What is the perfect way to roast a chicken?

Julia Child gave us extensive answers to all these questions–and so many more–in the masterly books she published over the course of her career. But which one do you turn to for which solutions? Over the years Julia also developed some new approaches to old problems, using time-saving equipment and more readily available products. So where do you locate the latest findings?

All the answers are close to hand in this indispensable little volume: the delicious, comforting, essential compendium of Julia’s kitchen wisdom–a book you can’t do without

Friday, May 18, 2012

Focaccia Bread

Do you have any food favorites that you don't know how to say??? At our house...Focaccia Bread is F word bread because none of us know how to say it...but boy do we love the taste of it.

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup water, warm but not hot
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella

Proof yeast by adding sugar to warm water to dissolve and sprinkle yeast on top.  Let sit 5-10 minutes until frothy (spongy looking)

In mixer or large mixing bowl add flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, seasoning, pepper, olive oil. Mix together.

Slowly pour in yeast mixture. Continue mixing until smooth.

I used my kitchenaid with dough hook knead for about 5 minutes.  It should be smooth, soft but not sticky. If you touch it, it shouldn't stick to your fingers.  You can knead by hand until it is the consistency you want.

Lightly oil a bowl and add dough and turn to coat the dough.  Cover with damp cloth and let sit for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450

Press dough into rectangle (about 1/2 in thick) on baking sheet with parchment paper, make sure to leave good indentations in the dough. 

Drizzle with oil and sprinkle on cheese.  
Add extra seasonings if you'd like. 

Bake at 450 for 15 minutes.

Friday, May 11, 2012

homemade protein bars..super easy and YUMMY!

Based on a recipe from Frugal Follies

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup butter
1 heaping Tablespoon of protein powder (I used Shaklee's original protein powder)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup chocolate chips (I used peanut butter and semi-sweet)

Line an 8x8 baking pan with wax or parchment paper. lightly spray with cooking spray

In a medium saucepan, combine the peanut butter, honey, and butter.  Cook over medium-low heat until melted and well combined.  Remove from heat. Slowly add protein and mix well.  I just dumped it in to the mixture on the stove and it took me a little bit to get the lumps of powder mixed in.  Add the oats and mix until the oats are covered.  Allow to cool for 2 minutes, then add the chocolate pieces. (I let it cool a little less than that so the chocolate chips would melt a little)

Using a spatula, spread the mixture into the 8x8 pan.  Place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or until solid.  Remove from paper and cut into squares. 

Here is the protein powder I used. 

My husband's parents sell Shaklee. If you would like to get in contact with them on how to order. Please email me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Julia's Kitchen Wisdom

I'm on a Julia Child kick! I went to the library and checked out as many Julia Child books I could find.

The first on my list to go through is Julia's Kitchen Wisdom. From the very beginning the book is CHOCK-FULL of tidbits that every cook, foodie or hungry human can use!

Over the next few days, I'll be testing out some of the recipes...share some of the tips and blog about them. If you'd like to cook along, go to my Julia Child Amazon Store and get a copy for yourself!

Julia Child Amazon Store

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pizza Grilled Cheese Sandwich

So this month for the crazy cooking challenge...grilled cheese sandwiches!!!

     I married an Italian boy. He loves anything that has tomatoes, meat and carbs...preferably pasta! When I saw this sandwich from "Forkful of Comfort", I *knew* that this was the sandwich for my family.
     While shopping for the ingredients I found mini pepperoni that fit the bill perfectly for what I wanted to do.  We LOVE our pizza with pepperoni, bacon, cheese and onion.  So I got together all our favorite ingredients. I used shredded cheese but I think if I make it again I will use slices instead. When I put together the sandwich, I sprinkled on some Italian Seasoning to give it a little more kick.

Pizza Grilled Cheese Sandwich

2 slices of bread
shredded cheese
crispy bacon bits
diced onion
pepperoni (mini or regular cut into pieces)
pizza sauce for dipping 

I used Honey Butter Bread from Nature's Own.  I would definitely try different kinds of bread when making it again but white bread is what my kiddos eat.

On the inside, I spread a little bit of butter and sprinkled on cheese on each side. Added mini pepperoni, onion, bacon to one side and flipped into a sandwich. 

I found that adding a thin layer of mayo instead of butter to the outside makes the bread cripsy and not soggy.

Brown on each side and serve with pizza sauce for dipping!

Want to be part of the Crazy Cooking Challenge?? Click the picture below.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies!

1 package devil's food cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
sugar for topping

Mix together cake mix, eggs and peanut butter. Mix until smooth.  Dough will be stiff.  Fold in chips.

Roll 1-2 inch balls.  Dip tops in sugar and put on greased cookie sheet...flatten slightly (these will not be big cookies) Bake for 10-12 minutes.  If you press the tops and there's just a small indentation they are done! Makes 2 dozen cookies.

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I love to cook. It is my passion.