Friday, September 23, 2011

Recipe: Basic Dessert Crepes

One of my favorite things I hardly ever make is Crepes, especially dessert crepes. They are really thin, somewhat sweet and remind me of really thin pancakes. I love filling it with a mixture of cream cheese and powdered sugar, rolling it up, and drizzling the top of the crepe with a favorite jam, fresh fruit, or chocolate sauce, then sprinkling it with powdered sugar. I had an instant craving for them so I whipped up a small batch of them. Yum!

Basic Dessert Crepe Batter

2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/8 cup water
1/2 tablespoon melted butter

In a blender, combine ingredients in a blender jar; blend for about 1 minute.
Scrape down sides with rubber spatula and blend for another 15 seconds or until smooth.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat a traditional crepe pan on medium-high heat.
Taking about 1/8 cup pour batter in pan and immediately tilt pan in all directions, swirling the batter to cover the bottom of the pan in a very thin layer.
Return the pan to the heating unit and cook until the botton is browned, 1 minute.
Turn the crepe over and brown the other side for a few seconds.
Remove from pan and stack on plate.
Repeat until all batter is used up.
Makes 10-15 crepes.

Crepe Cookery cookbook by Mable Hoffman
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Recipe: Creamy Mashed Potatoes

If you are the type that loves really creamy, yummy, hot, fresh, just absolutely delicious mashed potatoes then these are the ones for you. Ever since I saw the recipe for these on The Pioneer Womens blog I have wanted to make them. So I finally I got to make them. These mashed potatoes are really easy and the results were just delicious. I was so full but I still kept going back for more helpings of potatoes. Now this is what you definately call comfort food. I made these mashed postates for dinner with garlic chicken and a green salad.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

2 1/2 pounds Russet potatoes
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 package (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup half-n-half
1/2 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoning Salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Peel and cut potatoes till they are about the same size.
Place in a pan and fill with water just till the potatoes are barely covered.
Bring to a boil and cook till potatoes are fork tender, and can easily be cut in half.
Drain water and place pan back on stove with the heat turned to low.
Mash potatoes. Mash potatoes some more.
Add butter, cream cheese, seasoning salt, and black pepper.
Mash some more until all ingredients are mixed together well.
Place in an oven proof dish and add a few slices of butter on top.
Place in an oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through.

Makes 4-6 servings
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Recipe: Blackberry Jam

On the property of our house are blackberries, lots of blackberries. When we moved in, the previous tenants warned us about them. At first I didn’t really notice them since it was the wrong season for them. Now since summer I can’t keep the blackberry bushes trimmed back fast enough. The majority of them are near our mailbox which I’m sure is inconvenient for our postal person delivering our mail. My son went out a few weekends ago and picked a big bowl full. We ate them raw. This last weekend my son and I both went out and picked 5 cups worth of blackberries. We had fun but it sure is pokey! I didn't want these delicious, fresh blackberries to go to waste so this batch of blackberries was made into jam! It is perfect for on top of toast, pancakes, or even on a dish of ice cream.
Our blackberry bushes

and more blackberry bushes

and MORE blackberries (that's my little helper, picking blackberries)

mmmm...fresh picked blackberries

Blackberry Jam

5 cups fresh blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

In a medium saucepan, combine the blackberries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt.

Mash with a potato masher or wooden spoon until the berries have released their juices.

Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, about 18-25 minutes.

Transfer to containers and refrigerate for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 1 year.

Makes 3 cups

Real Simple magazine July 2011
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Recipe: Date Delight Oatmeal Cookies

I have been in a very big cleaning and organizing mood. My spinning pantry has been on my mind a lot and made the time to clean ingredients out, organize spices, put all the baking and sweet stuff in one section, olive oils, and vinegars together, and the espresso syrups in one place. In the process of doing all of this I found a box of chopped dates (which I knew I had and had a specific recipe to make the dates with). I just hadn't made them yet. It was when I turned the chopped dates box over and realized there was a recipe for cookies on the back. I was feeling in a baking mood and read through the recipe to see if it would be something I would like to make. It definately was!

These cookies turned out to be unbelievably delicious. They remind me very much like oatmeal raisin cookies, but instead of raisins there are chopped dates.

Date Delight Oatmeal Cookie

1 stick of butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cup Quick Oats
1 (8 ounce) pack chopped dates

Cream butter and both sugars together.
Then add egg and vanilla and combine well.
Next add flour, baking soda, and cinnamon, and combine into ingredients.
Finally add quick oats and dates and mix together.
Use a teaspoonful to drop mix onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 11 to 12 minutes ato 350 degrees or until golden brown.
Recipe makes 2 dozen.

Recipe on back of an 8 ounce box of Amport Chopped Dates
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Random Post: Labor Day Shopping

This Labor Day weekend my mom and I took the two kids down to Oregon to visit their great grandparents and great aunt and uncle. Our husbands were out hiking for the long weekend and neither my mom nor I wanted to sit home alone. One of my highlights I was so excited to get to do (besides visiting family) was to stop at a Penzeys Spices store. We got to the store and was incredibly disappointed to find it was closed for the holiday. We went on our way down the road and stopped at a Starbucks in a really REALLY nice BIG shopping center to get coffee for the road. I saw a Home Goods store across the parking lot from Starbucks and since we weren’t in much of a hurry to get, we took a wander through. I have been to a couple of Home Goods stores and always thought they had cute decorating and kitchen items. I had mentioned to my mom just an hour before how I would really like to find some Irish Cream latte glasses- those cute tall glasses with the handle. Well I found just that at Home Goods and grabbed two boxes (set of 4) for only $7.99. I was thrilled! I love making coffee in them and during the holidays I make my own peppermint mochas with whipped cream and crushed peppermint on top. It looks so fun and fancy in these glasses.
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Random Post: My Most Favorite Kitchen Items

Wooden Spoon. This isn’t just your standard wooden spoon. If I am sautéing something this is the first wooden spoon I grab for. It is comfortable to hold and the way the spoon is made just works so well for what I am doing in the pan. Many years ago my parents visited the East Coast, and on their travels visited the Stonewall Kitchen store where they got this wooden spoon.

Kitchen Aid Mixer. A few miles from where I live there is a cute little community that has an annual garage sale during the summer. I love to go these garage sales. A few years ago this is where I found my Kitchen Aid mixer. The guy selling it said it had only been used a couple of times and was only a couple years old. It was very clean and came with an unopened box of attachments (meat grinder, etc). I had been borrowing my mom’s mixer at the time and really did need one, so I asked the guy selling it how much it was. He said, “$40”. gulp uh, duh, SOLD!!

Martha Stewart Cutting Board. This cutting board I received for our wedding. I was quite desperate for new boards since all my other cutting boards had been cut into too many times and was time to get them replaced. This Martha Stewart cutting board is fantastic and has a no slip backing so doesn’t slid around on the counter while trying to chop.  The size of the board is perfect and allows you to have space to push whatever items aside and out of the way of your knife.

Mini Spatula. This little handy kitchen tool has been used more than any of my other spatulas. This one is perfect for scrapping the bottom of a salad dressing jar and has many uses for those small little dishes and spaces you want to scrape clean. I have a dark green so it doesn't stain and is dishwasher safe.

Whisk. Given to me from Pampered Chef. It is the my ultimate favorite for mixing sauces on the stove.

Kitchen Shears:  I love having sharp kitchen shears for opening packages of chicken or cutting the fat of chicken breasts. I grab for these all the time. The scissors completely separate into two pieces and they are dishwasher safe.

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Recipe: Creamy Penne Pasta with Bacon

Pasta is one of those dishes I love to make with a big salad and side of fresh bread. A rather simple meal, but fully satisfying and easy to make. The one pasta dish I seem to make often is fettuccini. I have been really craving some but didn’t have the fettuccini noodles in my pantry, and instead had penne noodles so I whipped up this creation instead.  Wow! This was a huge hit for dinner.
Creamy Penne with Bacon
1 package (12 ounce) Penne noodles
6 strips of bacon, cooked until crispy, broken into small pieces
½ white onion, chopped
2 small heads of garlic, minced
1 pint (16 ounces) heavy whipping cream
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 package (ounces) finely shredded parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley, for garnish

In a large pan, boil Penne according to package directions; drain water.
Fry bacon on medium heat until crispy.
Place bacon on paper towel to soak up extra grease and set aside.
Pour grease into disposable container.
In the same pan as you cooked the bacon, add the onions and garlic.
Cook until onions are translucent and soft, about 3-5 minutes, stirring often.
In a saucepan on medium-high heat, add cream, sour cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Stir until sauce is well blended and comes to a boil.
In the same pan as the noodles, combine onions, garlic, cream sauce, parmesan cheese; mix until cheese is melted.
Serve in a big bowl; add the bacon on top, and parsley for garnish.
Makes 6 servings.
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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Recipe: Kahlua Flavored Latte (non-alcoholic)

Coffee is one of those "morning have to haves" while driving on my way to work and I continue to drink it most of the morning while at work. My usual is black coffee with lots of cream and sugar. I like some of the flavored creamers from time to time to pour in, instead of cream and sugar, just to mix it up.

Many years ago I was really interested in learning how to make espressos at home. I found a Mr. Coffee espresso machine at a garage sale for $10. It was a start and an inexpensive way to learn how to make different espressos. I found recipes online to get me started and was soon making caramel macchiatos with the whipped cream and caramel drizzle on top every Sunday afternoon as a treat for my parents. Eventually the machine was put back in a cupboard and not used very often and ended up passing it along to someone that would use it more than I was.

Overtime, I really missed having an espresso machine. I added one to our wedding registry and we got it! I was thrilled. We bought syrups and we made espressos everyday for weeks. I was needing a little extra caffeine one evening and made this latte.

Kahlua Flavored Latte (non-alcoholic)
2-3 tablespoons Kahlua flavored syrup
1/2 cup frothed milk
2 shots espresso

Mix syrup, milk, and espresso together in your favorite coffee cup.
Makes 1 cup.


Life is good...really good!
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