Monday, November 30, 2009



I got this recipe from my friend Summer years ago. They are always a fun one and kids think they are great! I loved them as Christmas cookies, so many possibilities. Next time I think I will add peppermint to the frosting and sprinkle the edges with crushed candy canes. Let them set for a while after frosting though or the frosting oozes out of the sides. Not a big deal to me, I just licked the edges like an ice cream cone, but not so good for kids!


2 boxes devils food cake mix
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil

Mix all together until there are no lumps. Drop by spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes. They should start to crack on the top. Put a spoonful of your favorite icing on one and top with another cookie. Here is my favorite icing.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chocolate Chip Pie

Also known as Heaven on Earth! My mom made this growing up and I have always loved it! What could be better than a big gooey chocolate chip cookie baked into a pie crust?! Nothing, nothing at all!

Chocolate Chip Pie

2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup melted and cooled butter
6 oz chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
9 in pie shell

Preheat oven to 350. Beat eggs until foamy. Beat in flour and sugars, then butter. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour into pie shell and bake at 325 for 1 hour.

Yams {the BEST}

Here is another of our !Must Haves! for Thanksgiving. This is another one from my sister-in-law. This is really more like dessert than a side dish but I still claim it as part of dinner so I can stuff my face with dessert later and not feel guilty!


5 cups cooked and mashed yams (about 4 large)
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
4 T flour
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup brown sugar
5-6 T butter

Whip together yams, 1 cup butter, 1 cup sugar and 4 eggs. Put into a greased 9x13 pan. Melt 5-6 T butter and add flour, walnuts, and brown sugar. Sprinkle on top of yams. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cranberry - Orange Sauce

A friend of mine requested this recipe. This is a must at Thanksgiving for us. But I didn't want to wait because I thought some might want to take a stab at this for their holiday. I got this recipe from my sister in law and would not do Thanksgiving without it (or left-overs for that matter)!

Cranberry - Orange Sauce

1 pkg fresh cranberries
1 orange (peel and all)
1 apple, cored
2 cups sugar
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Combine cranberries, orange and peel, and apple in a food processor or blender. Blend until no more chunks. Add sugar and nuts and stir until all mixed together.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Crumble Bars

I am not a huge fan of pumpkin pie, but I do love pumpkin. So, when I saw these over at Our Best Bites, I couldn't resist. And they totally did not disappoint. I loved them, especially right out of the oven! So whether you love pumpkin pie or don't, these are sure to please. Try something new for Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Pie Crumble Bars

1 box yellow or white cake mix
1-2 sticks butter (see notes in instructions)
1 16 oz can pumpkin*
2 eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t ginger
1/8 t cloves
1/8 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1/3 C chopped pecans
1/2 t additional cinnamon for topping*

Preheat oven to 350.Place 2 C of the cake mix in a bowl. Cut in 3 T chilled butter. Just use your fingers to crumble the butter until it's in small crumbly pieces. Place mixture in a 9x13 baking dish and press flat with your fingers.

Mix pumpkin, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, and spices until smooth. Pour on top of the cake mixture in the pan.

Now take the rest of the dry cake mix and mix in 1/2 t cinnamon. Sprinkle it all over the top of the pumpkin mixture. Use a measuring cup so you have a rough measurement of how much you're putting on.

Here's why:
Next sprinkle on the chopped pecans. You'll have 3 distinct layers now: For every 1 C of cake mix you sprinkled on top, you'll need 3 T of melted butter. Drizzle it right on top. That butter is going to combine with the cake mix and make magic in the oven. Pop it in your 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or so. A knife should come out without globs of pumpkin on it and the topping should be nice and golden.
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Apple Cider Muffins

Muffins are one of my favorite breakfast foods and snacks. I wanted to do an apple muffin without chunks, I am not a fan. So, I found this recipe that has apple cider in it instead. These are so yummy, with a hint of apple flavor. I didn't have apple butter, so I just doubled the apple cider and it worked just fine.

Apple Cider Muffins
(adapted from Black Cat Kitchen)

2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
4 tsp. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar (I used dark)
1/2 cup apple butter (I didn't have this, so I doubled the cider)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup apple cider
1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 400. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. (I actually got about 16 muffins)
Prepare streusel: Mix brown sugar, whole wheat flour, and cinnamon in small bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or your fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

Prepare muffins: Whisk flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in large bowl.Whisk together egg and brown sugar in medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in apple butter, syrup, cider, yogurt and oil. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just combined. Scoop batter into muffin cups and sprinkle with streusel.
Bake until golden brown and tops spring back when touched lightly, 15-25 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then cool on wire rack before serving.
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

These have been a Fall favorite for years now. My husband will ask for these in all seasons though, he loves them! They make a big pan so I always try and make them when we have friends to share them with.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 t baking powder
2 t cinnamon
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/4 t ground cloves
4 eggs, beaten
1-15 oz can pumpkin
1 cup oil

In a large bowl mix together dry ingredients. Stir in eggs, pumpkin and oil until combined. Spread batter into an UNGREASED 15x10 in pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

6 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 t vanilla
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Cream together first 3 ingredients. Add two cups of powdered sugar, mix well. Add additional sugar, mix until creamy. (The frosting is thick, be careful when spreading it can pull off the top of the bars)
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Apple Pie Bars

I found this recipe at and have been wanting to try it for a couple of weeks. Well I finally got around to it, and boy am I glad I did! These are GOOD! I thought they were the best when they were still warm with a big ol' scoop of vanilla ice cream but they are really good the next day too. Heck, they are good the third day, they are just good! I just made half of this recipe in a 9x13 and it worked great! I know that it looks like a lot of work but it was worth it for me. Besides every once in a while it is nice to have a little longer project than a boxed brownie mix.

Apple Pie Bars

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I just used salted and omitted the salt)
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter (again I used salted)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
12 Granny Smith apples (about 6 pounds)—peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup water, as necessary

3 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar (I used dark0
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled (again, salted)

1. Prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a 15-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. With an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the flour, spices and salt until a soft dough forms. Press the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan and 1/2 inch up the side in an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden and set. Let cool on a rack.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a very large, deep skillet melt the butter with the brown sugar. (If you don’t have a large skillet, divide between 2 skillets). Add the apples to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes longer; scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet and add up to 1/2 cup of water to the pan to prevent scorching. Let cool.

3. Prepare the topping: In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Using fingers (wash your hands and take off your rings first!), squeeze the butter into the oats & sugar and crumble together until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Press the mixture into clumps.

4. Assemble the bars: Spread the apple filling over the crust. Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly into an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking, and keep an eye on it to make sure the top isn’t getting too browned. Let cool completely on a rack before cutting into 2-inch bars.
Makes 4 dozen bars
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Turkey Meatballs

I have never made meatballs before and for some reason had a burning desire to venture into meatball land. So I did a little research and finally found a recipe that I thought sounded good and that was fairly strait forward. It is a recipe from Giada De Laurentis off of Food Network, love her. Anyway here is the recipe for meatballs and her sauce. Yummy, yummy, yummy!

Turkey Meatballs


1 small onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano (I didn't have this so I just doubled the Parmesan)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound ground dark turkey meat (I used ground turkey breast)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Simple Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought marinara sauce


Add the onion, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, parsley, Parmesan, Pecorino, salt and pepper to a large bowl and blend. Mix in the turkey. Shape the turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a large plate or baking sheet.
Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and saute until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Pour off any excess oil. Add to marinara sauce. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors blend, 15 to 20 minutes. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Simple Tomato Sauce:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 t sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
4 to 6 basil leaves (I used dried)
fresh rosemary
fresh thyme
2 dried bay leaves

In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves and simmer covered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. Optional{Add half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.} I liked mine just how it was without smoothing it out.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Left Over Roast Beef Stew

I never know what to do with left over roast. But this roast was so good I just couldn't let it go to waste. So I decided to make beef stew... nothing screams "Fall" more than beef stew. My boys devoured this. And it was so fast since the roast was already cooked. Dinner was ready in about 30 minutes, come on, who doesn't love a fast meal!

Left Over Roast Beef Stew
2-3 cups left over roast, roughly chopped
3 large carrots, sliced
1 rib of celery, chopped
4-5 small red potatoes, cut into cubes
1 med onion , sliced
2 t minced garlic
4 T butter
4 T flour
2 cans (14.5oz) beef broth
1/2 t paprika
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T tomato sauce
a dash of allspice or ground cloves
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chopped flat leaf parsley

Melt butter in soup pot and saute carrots, celery, potatoes, onion and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook for another minute. Add broth and spices, Cook until the broth thickens. Than add roast and bay leaf. Simmer on low with the lid on for about 20 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
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Monday, October 19, 2009

{The Best} Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Again and again Abby comes through. These are my husband's very favorite! And believe I have made A LOT of cookies. These are just perfect from the pecans to the nutmeg, the oats, the chocolate, oh my!! There is really nothing better than one of these hot out of the oven with a large glass of milk!

{The Best} Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/4 c. room temperature butter (the real stuff, not margarine)
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/8 or 1/4 t. nutmeg (your preference)
1 t. baking soda
3 c. oats
12 oz. chocolate chips
1 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, sugars, egg and vanilla on low speed. Don't over mix - but make sure it's all blended well. Add the rest of the ingredients until mixed well.Spoon medium-sized cookies onto cookie sheet and bake for approximately 9 minutes. Cookies should be a little gooey and slightly browned around the edges. Let cool for a couple of minutes before taking them off of the pan.
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Butternut Squash and Corn Chowder

I found this recipe on Easy As A Menu. This soup is amazing!! My husband grew Butternut Squash in our garden this year so we have been looking for a good soup recipe to use them. This is definitely a keeper! I made Artisan Bread to go with it and it was heaven! Make this soup as soon as you can!

Butternut Squash and Corn chowder

2 T vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks (about 5 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped
10 oz frozen corn, thawed
1 1/2 t curry powder
coarse salt and pepper
2 cans (14.5 oz each) vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a large heavy pot, heat oil over med-high heat. Add squash and onion. Cook until onion is soft, about 6 minutes. Add corn and curry powder and cook until curry is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add broth and simmer until squash is tender, about 25 minutes. In a blender, blend half of the soup until smooth. Return to pot and stir in cream. Heat through but do NOT let it boil.
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Pumpkin Bread

This is the best Pumpkin Bread! I am so happy that it is Fall and I can start making pumpkin things again! My mom always made this when I was growing up and there is nothing better than the smell of this baking. My family can easily polish off a loaf of this warm bread in one sitting, so it is a good thing it makes two loaves.

Pumpkin Bread

3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin
2/3 cup orange juice
2 t baking soda
2 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
3 1/2 cups flour

Beat together oil and sugar, add eggs and beat again. Stir in pumpkin and o.j. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into two well greased loaf pans and let sit for 20 minutes before baking. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mint Brownies

This recipe is actually a combination of my favorites...favorite brownies, favorite frosting and when you put them all together its heaven! Even my husband, who doesn't like mint and chocolate together (gasp!!!) will eat these.

Mint Brownies


2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
5 heaping T cocoa powder
1 t vanilla
1 cup + 2 T flour

Melt the butter. Add the sugar and eggs and beat together. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 1 hour, then frost with mint frosting...

Mint Frosting

5 T butter , softened
2 1/3 cups powdered sugar
1 T light corn syrup
3 T milk
1/2 t mint extract
dash of salt
green food coloring

Mix all together and spread over cooled brownies, let set. Then frost with chocolate frosting...

Chocolate Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 t vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk

Melt butter and stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium to spreading consistency. Add vanilla and mix well.
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Fall Apart *Yummy *Roast

Abby to the rescue once again! I can't even tell you how totally amazing it is to have foodie friends! They just "get it" when it comes to all things food and I love Abby for that! This is a super simple recipe that turns out great AND you can do the night before. I don't know about you but anything that I can make the night before just makes me giddy!

Fall Apart Roast

Chuck roast
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 package lipton onion soup mix
garlic powder
salt and pepper

Salt and pepper the roast and put it in a crockpot. Spread the soup over the roast. Sprinkle the soup and garlic over the top. Put about an inch of water in the bottom of the crockpot. Cook on low for at least 12 hours.
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Monday, October 12, 2009

Chicken Stew over Biscuits

We recently went to Mackinaw Island to see the Fall colors and get out of town for a few days. It was as beautiful as ever, even though it was in the 40's. We stopped for lunch at a little place along Main Street and my husband had turkey stew over biscuits, it was Amazing! So after spending a week with a cold and in desperate need of comfort food, I decided to recreate that delicious meal. This biscuit recipe I got off the Sister's Cafe and I LOVE them! The sister's and the biscuits ;) !

Chicken Stew over Biscuits

1 rotisserie chicken (I got mine at Sam's club, the kind that is already cooked)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
5 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 stock of celery, chopped
4 small red potatoes, sliced
4 oz mushrooms sliced
1/2 cup peas
fresh thyme
flat leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Remove skin from chicken and shred meat. Melt butter in pan and saute veggies until tender. I just used whatever veggies I had in my fridge or garden. Add flour and cook for about 1 minute. Add chicken broth, about half the shredded chicken (save the rest for something else), a sprig of fresh thyme and the bay leaf. I let this simmer while I made the biscuits, about half an hour. Right before serving chop and add the parsley, salt(if needed), and pepper. Place a biscuit in the bowl and top with the stew.

(Sister's Cafe)

2 cups all-purpose flour (9 ounces)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk (I used milk and added lemon juice and let it sit for a few minutes)
3 tablespoons honey

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Chill 10 minutes. (I didn't chill mine and it worked fine)
3. Combine buttermilk and honey, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 times. Roll dough into a (1/2-inch-thick) 9 x 5–inch rectangle; dust top of dough with flour. Fold dough crosswise into thirds (as if folding a piece of paper to fit into an envelope). Reroll dough into a (1/2-inch-thick) 9 x 5–inch rectangle; dust top of dough with flour. Fold dough crosswise into thirds; gently roll or pat to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut dough with a 1 3/4-inch biscuit cutter to form 14 dough rounds. Place dough rounds, 1 inch apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan; cool 2 minutes on wire racks. Serve warm.
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Grilled Cheese with Apple

I just knew I couldn't let that heavenly bread I made yesterday just sit around today. So, in the heat of the moment (you know, dinner time comes out of nowhere and you have no idea what you are going to make)I threw together my "go to" meal, grilled cheese. But before I went to my sour dough I grabbed a thick slice of the artisan bread and went to work. Now, being that this was a spur of the moment meal, I just grabbed what I had...

Grilled Cheese with Apple

Artisan bread
sharp cheddar cheese
herb roasted turkey
apple slices

I grilled my sandwich and then added the thin apple slices. I love cheddar and apple together so I thought why not? I LOVED it!! Just a fun subtly twist, and it felt so "Fall"!
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sausage and Lentil Soup

My very favorite sausage and lentil soup is at Carrabbas. At a time that I lived no where near a Carrabas, I searched high and low for a recipe that was even close to how delish their soup is. After many attempts, I finally came across this. It isn't the same but it is close! I loved this with the artisan bread below.

Sausage and Lentil soup
(This makes a ton, enough to serve about 10, I would guess)

1 lb. Italian sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
6 cups chicken broth, we always add about 2 more
2-14.5 oz cans petite diced canned tomatoes, undrained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t salt
2 cups dry lentils, rinsed
black pepper, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, parsley, and thyme to taste (dried or fresh)

Brown sausage, drain grease. Combine all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 hour or until lentils are tender. Add more chicken broth or water to desired consistency. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
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Artisan Bread

I got this recipe off of The Sister's Cafe. I think I just found my new bread heaven! I loved how little I had to do to this bread, how beautifully it turned out and how absolutely delicious it was! Try this bread ASAP, you will not be disappointed.
**My sister-in-law made this using parchment paper underneath the dough instead of a towel and it worked great! This way you just lift the the parchment paper and bread and set it into the pan instead of flipping it in.

Artisan Bread
(Description borrowed from the Sister's Cafe)
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
1 5/8 cup water

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
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Better Than Sex Cake

OK, it's not really, but if you need a chocolate fix this is it! I know that this is a pretty well known recipe and that there are many versions, but this is my favorite one. Besides anything that calls for loads of chocolate and a can of sweetened condensed milk is worthy of my blog!

Better Than Sex Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix (+ whatever it calls for on the back)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar hot fudge sauce
1-8 oz container of cool whip
4 Skor* Bars, crushed (or Heath Bar)

Make and bake cake according to box directions in a 9x13 in pan. As soon as it comes out of the oven, poke holes with the handle of a wooden spoon all over the cake. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the top. Let cool completely. Next spread fudge over the cake, and put in the fridge to set. When it is cool, spread coolwhip over the top and then top with crushed score bars. Refrigerate leftovers. I like this cake better the next day as the cake gets more moist.

* Sorry if this was confusing to some of you!  Apparently I totally spell this candy bar wrong and some people didn't know what in the heck I was talking about!
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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

This is the ultimate comfort food! I first time I had this was at my BFF Abby's house. I thought I had died and gone to food heaven! It is a Martha Stewart recipe. The flavors are so perfect and comforting and now that it is officially Fall I feel I can start cooking "Fall", if you know what I mean! I borrowed Abby's explanation because she put it into words in a way the made it so easy for me to follow. Here is the link to her blog to see the original explanation. Sometimes to cut down on time I simply cook 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts shred it and use chicken broth instead of stock thus cutting out the whole cook a whole chicken and debone it thing. I love it both ways so if a whole chicken scares you just use chicken breasts. This recipe is the sole reason I grow Thyme and Flat leaf parsley in my garden! We also got to use our carrots, my boys love that they are eating things that they are growing!

Chicken Pot Pie

I've simplified it here by giving you the three major steps:

Prep time: 1 hour & 20 minutes
Total time: approx. 2 hours

1.) Start cooking the chicken (1 hour cook time)
2.) Mix dough, get it in the fridge (1 hour chill time)
3.) About 20 minutes before chicken is done, cut veggies, chop parsley, measure milk, chicken stock, & flour, get casserole pan ready

STEP 1: Cook Chicken:

3-4 lbs. Chicken
4 c. Chicken Stock (or 4 c. water + 4 bullion cubes)
1 Yellow onion, split in half
2 dry bay leaves
1/2 t. whole black peppercorns (or ground pepper, whatever)
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1 rib celery, cut in 3 pieces

Combine all ingredients above in a large stockpot, add enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered 1 hour. When chicken is cooked, remove the chicken and reserve the stock. Remove the skin & bones, shred into bite-size strips, set aside. Strain stock and save for later.

STEP 2: Crust:

1 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
1 T. fresh thyme leaves
10 T. chilled butter, cut into small pieces (1 cube + 2 T. of another cube)
3 T. ice water
1 egg yolk

Pick enough thyme leaves to make 3 Tablespoons. Set 2 Tablespoons aside. Combine flour, salt, thyme either in a food processor or in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water and egg yolk, mix until dough holds together. Try not to over mix. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, flatten into a circle, wrap well, refrigerate at least 1 hour.

STEP 3: Filling:

5 T. Butter
9 oz. red potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 1/2” pieces
1 large onion, diced (or 12 pearl onions, peeled & cut in half)
1 medium leek, white and light-green parts only, sliced into 1/4” thick rounds
2 carrots, peeled & cut into rounds
6 oz. mushrooms, sliced or cut into chunks


5 T. flour
2 c. reserved chicken stock (save the rest for another use.)
1 c. milk
2 T. fresh thyme
2 T. chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
2 t. salt

Heat oven to 375º. Melt 5 T. butter in large sauté pan or stockpot over medium heat. Add potatoes and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, 4-5 minutes, until potatoes begin to turn golden. Add leeks, carrots, and mushrooms, cooking 4-5 minutes more. Add 5 T. flour, and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Stir in reserved chicken stock and milk, bring to a simmer. Cook until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes. Add reserved chicken pieces, chopped parsley, and remaining thyme, 2 t. salt, and ground pepper. Transfer to a large casserole dish. Set aside.Working quickly so you keep the dough cold, roll out the dough until it is 1/4” thick, transfer to a baking sheet and chill if necessary. Otherwise, place dough over the top of the chicken mixture, tuck extra dough around the edges. Cut slits on top to allow steam to escape. Bake 35-40 minutes, until crust is golden. Serve hot.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

S'more Bars

Oh My! Seriously! These are so good. I found this recipe at This is such a great way to do s'mores. They are so much easier to eat and even better tasting, I think. So instead of going camping, just camp out in your living room with these!

S'more Bars
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
3 cups milk chocolate chips (18 oz)
4 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix and crumbs. Stir in melted butter until soft dough forms. Press into ungreased 13×9-inch pan.
Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until set. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt.
Spread chocolate evenly over crust.
Set oven control to broil. Sprinkle marshmallows over melted chocolate.
Broil with top 4 to 5 inches from heat 20 to 30 seconds or until marshmallows are toasted. (Watch closely; marshmallows will brown quickly.)
Cool 10 minutes. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Serve warm.
Store any remaining bars tightly covered.
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Monday, September 14, 2009

Lemon Bars

I had some leftover lemons from a punch I made and as I saw them sitting on the counter for 2 days I began to get an immense craving for lemon bars. So I did a little research online and most of the hits I got said that Ina Garten's (Barefoot Contessa) were the best. So I got busy right away. And I must say I have been taking "bites" every half hour since last night. Ridiculous! What have I gotten myself into!

Lemon Bars

For the crust:

1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:

6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.
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Monday, September 7, 2009

Samoas Bars

I am a huge fan of Samoas Girl Scout Cookies so when I saw this recipe at Baking Bites I just couldn't resist trying them. They are yummy and so fun to make. Spreading the coconut and carmel can be tricky, use your hands, greased, it is the only way.

Homemade Samoas Bars

Cookie Base:

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

First, make the crust. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.


3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
14-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 1/2 T milk
10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a baking sheet and toast, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside. Unwrap the caramels and melt with milk and salt either in a sauce pan over low heat or in the microwave. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula. Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Spread into an even layer. I found that greasing my hands and pressing it down was the easiest. Let topping set until cooled. When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping). Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl or saucepan stirring often to avoid scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish. Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.
Makes 30 bar cookies.
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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Chicken Chimichangas

I am a sucker for Mexican food, especially chimichangas. So when my sister said she had a recipe that was great and as close to Cafe D (our favorite Mexican place in California where we grew up) as she has had, I knew I was in for a treat. She was right, these are fantastic!

Chicken Chimichangas

2-3 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 1/2 t garlic
1 T + 1/2 t chili powder
1/4 t oregano
1/2 t cumin
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
4 1/2 oz can green chilies
1 cup jack cheese, shredded

Saute onions and add seasonings. Add chicken and chilies. Put about 1/4 of the chicken mixture and some cheese in a tortilla and roll with the ends tucked in. Cook in hot oil until light brown. Serve with guacamole, salsa, sour cream, etc.

This makes 4 chimichangas
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