Monday, December 24, 2012

Florentine Cookies

This is my favorite recipe so far. I like it because it does not require corn syrup like some recipes do. I do add grated orange rind to this (1-2 teaspoons)

Florentine Cookies from Food Network
10 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 cups sliced almonds
1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a heavy saucepan, bring butter, sugar, honey, and cream to a rolling boil. Stir in almonds and oats and cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until batter thickens slightly and smells of toasted almonds. Take mixture off heat and drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets. I get 8 cookies per sheet...4 on each side. They need a lot of room to spread out. Bake until golden brown around the edges and a lighter brown in the middle. Watch these carefully..they burn fast.. % minutes to 8 minutes or so is the oven time. Take peeks often.

When done, I take cookie sheet out of oven, let it sit for a minute, and carefully grasp  the edge of the parchment and slide the whole thing off quickly onto a newspaper or another big cookie sheet...or whatever surface you think good. No need to use a spatula to carefully remove them from the pan. they cool quickly. Melt chocolate chips while allowing cookies to cool, and finish by spreading melted choc. on the bottom of one cookie and then attaching it to the bottom of another cookie, sandwich style. These are sometimes called lace cookies because there are small holes in the finished cookie.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I Need A Little Cheese Ball

Oh, I need a little cheese ball,
 right this very minute.
Better'n  fudge or cookies
I will savor every bit.

Here is the recipe I like to use:

C H E E S E   B A L L
Make ahead of time to allow flavors to blend.
2 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
8-oz. block Cheddar cheese, shredded (Shred your own)
1 T. onion, finely chopped
2 T. pimento, drained, finely chopped...or red bell pepper
2 T. green pepper, finely chopped
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. lemon juice
t. salt
t. cayenne pepper
½ c. chopped walnuts, toasted


Beat cream cheese until smooth with an electric mixer; add Cheddar, beat just until blended. Mix
in remaining ingredients except the walnuts and crackers. Place mixture on plastic wrap and shape
into a ball; chill thoroughly. Roll in chopped walnuts and serve with crackers. Makes about 3 cups.
TIP: Shredding your own cheese instead of using preshredded cheese binds the cheese ball and creates a creamier texture.

Friday, August 10, 2012

My new Chocolate Syrup Recipe

I am proud to present:

Cocoa Honey Ice Cream Topping

1  1/2 cups water
1 cup cocoa
1/2 cup honey (or more, to taste)

Combine in a small sauce pan and cook and stir over medium heat until
you have a fragrant chocolatey yummy liquid .If you stop stirring (spoon or whisk..but whisk is better), it may burn on the bottom. Then turn the heat to low and continue cooking and stirring until it comes to a more syrupy consistency. Then take off heat, cool it off for a few minutes and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir and pour into glass jar (A mason jar is best...these do not break if your pour really hot liquid into them. If you have a regular glass jar, then cool off the syrup until it is merely warm.)

Use as topping for ice cream or stir into milk for chocolate milk...or hot chocolate. 

Why I like this recipe: It is way more healthy than our traditional Decadent Fudge Sauce. It is much more economical to make, too!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mousse Made with Coconut Milk

Mousse Made With Coconut Milk
Amy found this recipe and tried it this morning. Very yummy! She is avoiding dairy, so this creamy non dairy dessert is perfect!
 1. Obtain 13.6 oz can of Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk. It HAS to be Thai Kitchen. Open the can and discard the lid. Place in refrigerator over night. (Not freezer, just refrigerator.)

 2. In the morning, scoop out contents of can into bowl. Add 1/4 cup cocoa and 1 or 2 packets Truvia. Each packet has 1 teaspoon. Or use stevia product of your choice, to taste. Stir until well combined.

3. Serve.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Just Love Frittatas

There are many different recipes for a frittata. This is how I made my most recent one (pictured)
1. Saute 1/4 onion, finely diced,  in iron skillet. Turn heat off after onions are transparent.
2. Have some chopped up cooked greens ready. I used kale this time...a big bunch was reduced, through cooking and fine chopping and squeezing the moisture out...into 1 cup packed chopped greens.
3. Have about 2 cups of brown rice, cooked (leftovers are great) ready to go...or more.
4. Have some grated cheese ready to go.
5. Break 7 or 8 eggs into a bowl and whisk until all blended and frothy.
6. Add the rice, chopped greens, cooked onion and about a handful of shredded cheese and stir until well combined.

The skillet should be refreshed with a teaspoon or 2 of oil, and heated for 30 seconds and then you add the egg mixture. The heat should be turned to low...very low..and you should sprinkle grated cheese on top. Then put a lid on and let cook nice and slow for about 20 minutes or until egg is set. Bring skillet to table and cut frittata into wedges and serve. We like Tapa Tio on it.

My new mandolin

Here is my birthday present from David and Amber. This was the first time I used a was great! The slim slices of potato piled up ever so quickly and quietly under the device.

You have to soak your potatoes to get the excess starch out. I put them in a bowl of cold water for 2 hours, then drained them and blotted them dry.

Here are some of the potato chips I made. After paying 4.00 for the peanut oil, and standing over the hot  stove over bubbly hot oil, waiting for them to fry nice and crisp, I decided I would rather buy potato chips!

 The rest of the thin sliced potatoes were used a different way: I smothered them in cheese sauce and microwaved them...two 4.5 minute sessions in the microwave. Then I sprinkled chipotle Mrs. Dash on them...Yummy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tomato Flavored Chocolate

Here is a picture of some unusual candy brought back from Japan by Amy and Fox.  At first they thought this candy was confiscated by airplane officials in Japan, but then realized they had them hidden in a special place in their suitcase! This is Chocolate with tomato in it.

I thought it was quite good...since I consider a tomato more like a fruit. Amy does not like tomatoes so this was quite unappreciated by her. I, Joan, enjoyed it!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Favorite Dried Fruit

First of all, before I tell you about the dried fruit I am willing to pay $6.00 plus a pound for, let me tell you about butter pats.

Butter pats are the cutest little ovll dishes..about 3 inches in diameter tha used to be used on tables at dinner time. Each person got their own tiny plate with a pat of butter on it.

Once, my sister Sandy and I went to a pioneer heritage type park in Frisco, Colorado that had all kinds of small pioneer homes that you could go into. One of them had a gorgeous display in a hutch that consisted of rows and rows of butter pats leaning up against the back wall of the hutch: each one unique and cute as could be.

This one I own is the only one left (the rest got broken over the years) of a set of them I had from a collection of dishes found in my husband's mother's garage when she was cleaning it out

The dried fruit here on the little butter pat dish? Dried cherries! These were purchased from a store called Sprout's in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. MMMmmm....

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pizza Dough

I just thought this was fabulous...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Light Fruit Meal Easter Evening

We wanted something refreshing and light and nutritious and fruity for supper...and here it is:
Equal parts nonfat Greek yogurt and full fat honey Greek yogurt in bowls.......put drained Morello cherries (Trader Joe's brand) and fresh pineapple chunks and some sliced banana and a few chopped walnuts on top!

Popcorn in a Paper Sack

I have heard you could do this: Make popcorn in your microwave just by using a paper sack.
Yet, I always was afraid: afraid that the paper sack would burst into flames. Then a friend of mine told me her husband does it almost every night. No oil needed ...just the kernels and a lunch sack. I had to see if there was anything on youtube about this. Yes! The gal did hers for 5 minutes, which seemed too long to me. And she stapled the bag shut before microwaving it. (It did not spark, by the way.)

I read in a magazine that 1/4 cup kernels in the sack is fine, then fold the open end of the sack a few times nice and tight...and microwave 2 minutes. That seemed like not enough time.
After experimenting, I have found that a scant 1/4 cup ( take a tablespoon of kernels off the top of a full 1/4 cup for about 3:00 or 3:07 minutes worked best!
Dump contents of paper sack into bowl and add melted butter (of course!) and a dash of salt

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wash Your Apples Well

Today I have learned about washing your apples if they are not organic. If you want to educate yourself, no one says it better than this person at the link below!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Molly's Awesome Energy Bars

The Cookie of the Month Club shipment for March was this: There are only 3 left...we want more! We want the recipe! They are the best!!!!!!!!!!!! (Written March 26...I just got the recipe see below...)

Energy Bars from Heaven I was looking for the perfect breakfast/energy bar recipe for years and THIS is it. I found it online. These are granola bars in heaven. To make a chocolate version, I replace ½ cup oats with ½ cup cocoa and don’t add the dried fruit. You can use any kind of nut butter. Be careful not to bake them too long. These are seriously granola bars from heaven.

1 cup almond or peanut butter
¾ cup dark agave nectar or honey (I use a combination)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. cinnamon
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup toasted slivered almonds
¼ to ½ cup raisins or other dried fruit.

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9 inch square pan with canola cooking spray. Combine nut butter, agave or honey in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk until melted- three to five minutes. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon. Add in oats, almonds and dried fruit. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely and cut into squares.

Monday, March 5, 2012

99 Cents Only Today's Groceries

Here is what I brought home today in the Nice red re-usable grocery bag that I also bought today at the 99 Cents Only Store.

Nothing says " S P R I N G " like fresh strawberries and asparagus.
I have always wanted to try crimini mushrooms...
Below is the receipt to prove what I payed for. I did not HAVE to buy the 2 chocolate oranges, nor the Jello chocolate mousse dessert, nor the bag. Those 3 items were pure luxury.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Favorite Snack

Kettle Chips (Salt and Pepper)..with my light sour crean, sweet onion, dill dip. I figured this particular plate was 230 calories.

Cookie of the Month for February

Molly gave John a coupon enrolling him in her "Cookie of the Month" club. Here is February's shipment. Tangy molasses cookies made with raw sugar ..arrived early this month. Thank you, Molly!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Friday night last we had fritatta for so easy. I love it. It is stove top in an iron skillet.
2 cups cooked brown rice, a cup of finely chopped kale
some diced onion and red pepper, sauteed
7 eggs ( usually 8, but I only had 7)
a handful of grated cheese.
Pour into skilled that has some melted butter in it. Cook on low with lid on skillet...for 15 minutes or till done. For this one, I put some grape tomatoes in the skillet on top the egg mixture 10 minutes before it was done. Perfect! Hot sweet juicy tomatoe-y bites!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Punchka Time

I did it! I made punchka's!

I made them the way my mom used to make them where they turn out like a round ball. I rolled them in granulated sugar. The filling? Cooked prunes! Yum! They are always the best the first day! I did give some away. You can microwave them to soften and warm them the day after. I did use lard to fry them in.

This is a tradition that dates way back. Polish Catholic housewives needed to use up their stores of fat before Lent (the 40 day period before Easter Sunday that begins with Ash Wednesday).
Lent starts Ash Wednesday...Feb 22nd this year (2012).

Now, they have been selling punchka's in Missouri and Wisconsin at the bakeries and at local churches (made and sold by enthusiastic home cooks) for the past 2-3 weeks...I know because I have talked to my people in those states. Here in my neck of the woods in Southern California,  such items are rarely if ever available commercially or sought after or consumed.

So, feeling nostalgic for the old days, and wondering why I never really carried on this tradition when we had kids at home (I think I was too busy or tired to make them), I got my mom's recipe (she mailed me a freshly written recipe) and got busy.

I recall when we were school kids, we'd come home from school on one of the days before Ash Wednesday and there would be big round fresh punchka's in a large ceramic bowl on the kitchen counter, covered with a white dish towel.

This is the best after school snack ever! Maybe they tasted so good because we only had them once a year.

Evelyn's Punchka Recipe ( from her mother-in-law)

P U N C H K A ' S ~ makes 24

2 cups scalded milk ( Joan used soy milk)
When lukewarm, put in big bowl, not plastic.
Add 1 cake fresh yeast and 2 cups of sifted flour
(Joan used 1 Tablespoon dry yeast)
Mix well and let stand 1/2 hour.
Add 1 egg and 4 yolks (Joan used 3 yolks and 1 egg)
Beat well then add 1/2 cup sugar (Joan used 1/4 cup sugar)
1 tsp salt
1 cup melted butter (Joan used 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix in enough flour to make a soft dough. Mix By Hand, Evelyn wrote. I stirred mine with a wooden spoon and then kneaded it for a few minutes on the counter, making sure to keep the dough soft. Then I put it back in the bow (which I washed out and oiled)
Let rise, covered, until double in bulk.
Put dough on floured board and pat (with hands) until dough
is 1/2 inch think.
Cut with plain round cookie cutter.
or can or use a glass.

Put filling of one or 2 cooked prunes or a date filling or jelly in center
of round and gather dough around. Squeeze ends closed good so don't leak.

Let, rise covered with clean cloth, about 1 hour.

Put in hot grease until one side gets brown.
Turn over. 2-3 minutes. For cooking grease use pure lard or Crisco.
(Joan found on Internet to heat fat to 350 degrees).
Remove finished punchkas with slotted spoon and place in big bowl with paper towel to absorb grease. When cooled, roll in sugar.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A French Bread Mood

French Bread
(from Christy Alfrey)
Dissolve the following ingredients in a small bowl:
2 TBS yeast
1/2 c. warm water
1/2 tsp sugar

In a mixing bowl combine:
2 c. hot water
3 TBS sugar
1 TBS salt
1/2 c. oil

Add 3 cups of flour to the mixing bowl mixture and mix well. Stir in yeast mixture until well blended. (I do all of this in a kitchen aid). Add 2-3 cups more of flour (always 3 for me). Mixture will still be a bit sticky, but not sticking to the bowl while being mixed. Leave in the bowl and let rise 1 hr mixing a few strokes a couple of times. (Yeah, I never do that. Just leave it in the bowl to rise for an hour). Divide dough into 2 or 3 pieces. (I do two) Roll out onto a floured surface and then roll lengthwise like a jelly roll. Slash the top diagonally with a knife. Brush with egg white. Let rise 15 min. Bake at 400 for 25 mins.

Joan used a wooden spoon...not a Kitchen Aid mixer.

Chocolate on Bacon

My first experiment. The bacon was too thin, the chocolate too thick..but still scrumptious!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bacon Lovers Delight

Why I love bacon: It smells so good when cooking! And to eat them crisp and salty and somewhat chewy: heaven!

I bake them on a big cookie sheet in a 350 degree are some samples of my latest bacon cooking spree!

Why We Make Cookies

Because they smell so good baking! And to eat one is a quick "pick me up" !

I have taken to making thin crispy chewy kind of cookies rather than the thicker cake-y kind.

Crispy Chewy Oatmeal Deluxe Cookies

· 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
· 1 teaspoon baking soda
· 1/2 pound (2 sticks)  butter, room temperature
· 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar minus 2 TBSP.
· 3/4 cup granulated sugar minus 2TBSP.
· 1 large egg
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· 1 1/2 cups quick oats
· 1 cup raisins or less (craisins OK)
· 1-1 1/2 cups choc. chips
· 1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour and baking soda.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice during mixing. Add the egg; mix on high speed to combine. Add the vanilla; mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Wait: Joan just uses a wooden spoon!
Add flour mixture to egg mixture, and mix on low speed until well combined. Add the oats, raisins, chocolate, and walnut pieces; mix to combine after each addition.
Spoon a heaping tablespoon of dough onto a lined baking sheet. Repeat, spacing 2 inches apart.
I did 8 cookies to a pan.
Bake cookies until golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container up to 2 days

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Inside Out Grilled Cheese Sandwich

David told me about this: You can sprinkle grated cheese on your griddle and then slap your cheese sandwich down on it...cook until the cheese on the outside melts and starts to get chew-y, crispy. Flip and..before you finalize that flip, lay some more grated cheese on the griddle, then slap that sandwich over it real quick. Cook as before. Then you have 2 sides of chewy crispy cheese. MMMNNNNNmmmmmm.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cute Idea for a Buck!

Got this at Trader Joe's before Christmas. What a great idea...decorate your own gingerbread man...and share it because it is so huge! It comes with frosting and little candies to use to decorate it. 99 cents.

Cherry Chocolate Frosting

I made these morello cherry brownies from scratch (using the Bourdin Bakery recipe below), then frosted them with a wonderful frosting:

This post is dedicated to Amy who loves cherries AND frosting very much!
I love that I do not have to handle any white sugar in this recipe....any sweet stuff is found in the honey and in the dark choc. chips and the jam.
1 cup semi sweet choc. chips (joan uses 63%)...Melt and cool to almost room temp.
2/3 cups sour cream
1/4 cup cherry preserves (I take the cherry chunks out of the preserves, to make 1/4 cup )
2 T. honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix/beat it all until light and fluffy. Then add...
1 1/2 T softened butter and continue mixing well.. ...This makes so much frosting. I frosted a 9 x 13 pan of brownies and had almost a cup of frosting left.

Boudin Bakery's Brownies (note Joan's variation )Total time: About 1 hour

Servings: 24 or more...depends on how big you cut them. They are so rich, cut them small.

Note: Adapted from Boudin Bakery.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, plus extra for greasing the dish.

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate ( use 63% choc. chips and a square (1 oz.)unsweetened choc.)

5 eggs

3 cups sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (6.38 ounces) flour (unbleached of course...once I used half oat flour...turned out great)

2 1/2 cups toasted, chopped pecans or walnuts ( I omit this usually if we are on a tight budget)
To make them cherry..I put in 2 cups drained morello cherries (purchased in a jar from Trader Joe's)

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.

2. In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. In a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the melted chocolate, then the salt and flour just until combined. Gently fold in the nuts.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the center of the oven until puffed and almost set, about 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted will be slightly moist. Remove and cool slightly before serving.

Note: These are dense and delicious. I keep them refrigerated.

Each serving: 336 calories; 4 grams protein; 38 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 21 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 64 mg. cholesterol; 113 mg. sodium.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bargain in Glendora

To feed my lemon addiction, I will continue to shop at a unique 99 Cents Store (Not 99 Cents Only chain) in Glendora, CA. 16 lemons for 99 cents! Now I am using 2 a day! In my water.

I have even converted John to using lemon in his water.

Monday, January 9, 2012

To try!

This looks like fun to make and serve and eat!

Cookie of the Month Club's First Mailing

Molly is sending John (her dad) a package of her homemade cookies, each month. What a nice surprise he will get in the mail each month! These were delicious and I see they are made of whole wheat flour, of course.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Meyer lemons

"What shall I do," asked Joan, "with these Meyer lemons Sheelah gave me that she picked from Bruce's backyard?" Here are some thoughts...lemon curd. Lemon Curd. Lemon curd!

And maybe a lemon meingue pie...