Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Soft Sugar Cookies

1 cup soft butter or margarine
2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup dairy sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
5 1/2 cups flour

Cream together butter, sugar; add eggs and beat well; add sour cream and vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture. Cover dough and refrigerate for about an hour. Roll out dough on floured surface, or between plastic wrap, to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 14 to 17 minutes or until lightly brown, Do Not over bake or roll to thin.
Use Butter Cream Frosting to decorate.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Butter Bean and Rosemary Soup with Farmhouse Cheese

This is a classic Scottish soup and no one does soup better that the Scots, well maybe the Germans.

12 oz dried butter beans
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 pints hot chicken stock
2 thick sprigs of rosemary
1 3/4 oz grated farmhouse cheddar

Soak the beans over night, drain and rinse. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onion and garlic for 10 minutes then add the beans, hot stock, rosemary and some black pepper, no salt yet. Bring to boil then cover and simmer gently for about 1 hour or until beans are tender. Remove the rosemary and try to get out all of the leaves which will have dropped off the stem; then puree about half the soup in a blender or with a kitchen wand, leaveing some beans whole. Now add the salt and pepper if needed. To serve ladle into warm bowls and top with some cheese.

Butternut Squash Soup

1/4 cup butter
2 Tb vegetable oil
1 small to medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium apple, pealed, cored and chopped
1 medium butternut squash, pealed, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
4 cubs chicken broth
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
sour cream (optional)
garlic croutons (optional)

Melt butter in large soup pot, add chopped onion, celery, carrots, garlic and apple; cook until tender but not brown. Add squash to pot and enough chicken broth to cover all the vegetables; bring to a boil. Add spices and cover pot, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for one hour or until vegetables are all very tender.

Using a cooking wand or blender, puree until smooth return to pot and add any remain broth to reach desired thickness (I prefer it nice and thick). Bring the soup back to a good temperature and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and garlic croutons.

Garlicky Parmesan Croutons

2 cups firm white bread cut into about 1/2 inch cubes; sourdough or rustic work great. Crust on or off, whichever is your preference.
1/4 cup butter
3 Tb olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tb grated Parmesan

Heat butter, oil and garlic in a pan over medium heat; add bread cubes and brown cubes on all sides Remove pan from heat and sprinkle hot croutons with Parmesan.

These croutons are perfect on a salad or as a garnish for soup.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake

Marshmallows prior to toasting

  • 1 bag of marshmallows
  • Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
  • Milk
Open all the windows and turn on all the fans. Have someone stand ready at the fire alarm. Broil the marshmallows on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil on high for 3 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on the marshmallows because they may catch on fire. After the marshmallows are done, turn them out on to wax paper to cool. Blend together Ice Cream, Milk and Toasted Marshmallows in a blender until it is a YUMMY milkshake! That's it. Not a very scientific recipe. We typically use about 1/2 a container or ice cream to a tray of marshmallows, not sure how much milk. This is very taste specific. Use more milk for thinner milkshakes and less for thicker.
MAJOR THANKS to Stand in New York City for creating the Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake. Tyler had one last time we were there and couldn't think about anything else until I finally figured out how to recreate them. Now he drinks at least 1 a week.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


My grandma Etta's German Plum Cake was a little taste of heaven on earth. I knew when she made it she loved me and that summer was coming to an end. It's a recipe she learn from my German great grandma Camilla. My mom made it every fall, I've made it for my kids and now they are getting old enough to start making it for theirs. For me this is German comfort food. Traditionally it is served at German coffee or tea. We enjoy it for dessert or as a breakfast cake.
1 small batch of any good sweet yeast dough (enough for one standard batch of cinnamon rolls)
3 cups of homemade vanilla pudding
1 pound of Italian plums, pitted and sliced (if you can't find these you can use small black plums)

Streusel  (topping)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
Mix together till crumbly
Make up the sweet dough and let rise until ready to shape. Dough can be rolled out to fit a 9x13 baking pan or a half sheet jelly roll pan. Grease pan and line with dough so that dough comes about half the way the sides of pan.
Pour cooked pudding onto the dough. Lay the plums on top of the pudding with the skins side down. They can be placed in rows or decoratively, however you choose. Make up streusel and sprinkle over plums to cover. You do not have to use all of the streusel, but it's yummier if you do.
Let rise 45 minutes, then bake at 375 F for 30 minutes or until crust is done.
For Apple Tart - use about 5 pipen apples in place of the plums.  Peal and slice apples thin. Any tart fruit is good in this cake, such as cherries or apricots.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Orange Julius

This is a standard at our house when the kids are gathering. Served up best with warm chocolate chip cookies at 11:30pm

⅓ cup frozen orange juice concentrate
½ cup milk
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. Vanilla
5 to 6 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth. serve immediately.
Makes 3 servings

Saturday, April 17, 2010

St Louis Italian Salad

There was a time I lived for excuses to make this salad. It is my all time favorite pasta salad! Sadly it is not low in calories, but it is very high in flavor. I have always called this St Louis Italian Salad because that's where I learned to make this recipe. St Louis has a wonderful Italian influence and amazing American/Italian food. This recipe makes a big salad and I usually make it even bigger by adding extra pasta and dressing.

1 16 oz pkg confetti spiral pasta, cooked and drained
1 cup broccoli, chopped and lightly blanched
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
¾ cup black olives, sliced
2 green onions, chopped
1 oz. Pimentos
¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small zucchini, sliced
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp garlic salt
½ to 1 tsp parsley, chopped
8 slices of salami, cut into fourths
½ or more cup of Zesty Italian Dressing 
In a large bowl combined ingredients one at a time, tossing gently.  Cover and chill over night.  More pasta may be added as needed. You may add more dressing to refresh.

Funeral Potatoes

Although the name is a little depressing these potatoes are very comforting; maybe that's why they're always served at funerals. These have been an Easter basic at our house for as long as I can remember. They can be put together the day before and kept in the fridge. Let them stand at room temp for a while before baking them, if you do store them in the fridge. 

¼ cup butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups sour cream
8 to 10, half cooked potatoes, grated
⅓ cup chopped green onions
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Extra butter
In a small pot, heat butter and soup on low heat till butter melts, cool.  Add sour cream.  In a large bowl, combined remaining ingredients; pour soup mixture over top and gently stir. Place mixture in 9 by 13 baking dish; top with dots of butter.  Bake at 350° for 45 mins.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Olive Garden Minestrone Soup (copy cat)

I was so excited to find this. It tastes just like the real thing and sooo easy to make.

3 T. olive oil
1 small minced white onion
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup frozen cut Italian green beans
1/2 stalk minced celery

4 cloves garlic
4 cups vegetable broth
2-15oz. cans red kidney beans, drained
2-15oz. cans great northern or small white beans, drained
1-14oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 T. minced parsley
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
3 cups hot water
4 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup small shell pasta

Measure olive oil into a large pot and heat on medium.

Put the onions, celery, garlic, green beans, adn zucchini into the pot and asute for about 5 minutes or until the onions become see-through.

Add the vegetable broth, drained tomatoew, beans, carrots, hot water and spices to the pot.

Bring to a boil and them reduce heat to a simmer for 20minutes.

Add the spinach leaves and the pasta and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Serve with grated parmesan as garnish. Enjoy!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

yummy yum yums

Ever since we started buying this maple yogurt for Baysil I've been DYING to bake with it. It's sooooo yummy. (A BIG thanks to my Aunt Kristal for introducing me to the stuff way back in '04, I'm glad to finally have an excuse to keep the creamy goodness in my house). So as Will pulled out of the drive way, oops excuse me, I mean parking spot, I thought to myself... Today isTHE day. Yummy yummy yummy maple yogurt, it is time to start baking!

I wasn't in the mood for being too original or creative or homemade. I didn't want this to be the most elaborate creation I just want it to be GOOD. And good it was my friends, gooooooood it was!

I started by adding a little more than 1/2 a cup of the yogurt to a chocolate cake mix... yumdelicious. It turned out beautiful. Bay and I sampled a warm one and it was smooth moist deliciousness... couldn't really taste the maple, oh well.

Onto the frosting. Being the resourceful person that I am... (cough cough) I decided to just liven up some cream cheese frosting I had left over from my last baking excursion. (I like baking ok get over it) I added coco, more butter, sugar and some maple extract and voila.PERFECTION!

Listen you may not know this but I am quite the cupcake connoisseur... I've tried Trophy's andRoyal's here in WA. Royal was ok, don't waist your time on Trophy's. I've had a Mini's cupcake a time or two in Utah, eh, good. I'm not exsaturating when I say I'll take one of these Maple Chocolate Yum Yums (that's the name I gave them) over all of them... (notice I didn't mention the sacred Elizabethan Desserts in Encinitas.. yeah that's because nobody and i mean NOBODY beats those cupcake creations. That Elizabeth is down right magical!)

jolly ho.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Classic Cheesecake

For some reason I am thinking cheesecakes right now, so here is a basic recipe that you can go crazy with and add and play with in any way you want. The graham crackers can be changed to chocolate wafers. I have divided the filling and added melted chocolates to part to make marbled cheese cake. I have also not used crust or a spring form pan, greased a 9-by-13 lightly greased brownie batter in the pan first and then topped with filling; once baked and cooled, top with a poured ganache. Try whatever sounds good, it's all yummy. Sorry I forgot to take a picture of a slice of the cake, it is too yummy and we eat it up every time before I remember I need one.

1 ¾ -cups fine graham cracker crumbs
¼-cup sugar
½-teaspoon ground cinnamon
½-cup butter or margarine, melted
3 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
1-cup sugar
1-teaspoon vanilla
¼-teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1-cup sour cream

Combined first 3 ingredients, add melted butter; stir well. Press firmly on bottom and 1 to 2 inches up sides of a lightly greased 9-inch springform pan. Bake at º325 for 10 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack.
With mixer beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy, gradually add 1 cup sugar and salt, beating well; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; scrape sides of bowl occasionally. 
Stir in sour cream and vanilla. Pour batter into prepared crust.
To help keep you cheese cake from being to dry, cover the bottom of the spring-form pan with heavy foil, coming up the sides a few inches, making sure the bottom ans sides are sealed. This can be done before you pour the batter in the pan. Place the spring form pan, with foil covered bottom,  onto the center of a shallow baking pan, such as a jellyroll pan with about one inch of water, like you do when baking a custard. 
Now place the pan into the center of the oven. Bake at º325 for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until lightly brown. Turn off oven and leave in closed oven for 30minutes. The cheese cake will not look completely solid at this point, but will continue to cook in the warm oven. After the 30minutes remove the cake from the baking pan with water and place the cheese cake on a rack till completely cool. Refrigerate uncovered for 4 hours or over night.
Top with your favorite topping.

Individual Cheesecakes

You can't have Valentines Day without these for the kids. You can make them heart shaped by putting one regular marble between the liner and the pan

paper muffin liners

14 vanilla wafers

4 3-oz packages cream cheese, soften

-cup sugar

2 eggs

1-teaspoon vanilla

your choice of fresh fruit or pie filling

Line muffin pans with paper liners. Place a vanilla wafer in each cup. Set pan aside.

Beat cream cheese with mixer until fluffy; gradually add 2/3-cup sugar and mix well. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well until smooth. Fill liners two-thirds full with mixture. Bake at ˚350 for 10 minutes. Cool in muffin pan, then remove and chill. Top with your choice of fresh fruit or pie filling. Makes about 14