Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pioneer Woman's Favorite Kitchen Tools

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Ree just posted her favorite kitchen utensils and links to them, but thanks to dear hubby, I already have a couple of her favorites. I mentioned often that I loved her flat whisk and her slotted (fish) turner and last December he actually called Ree’s assistant to find out what they were, and he ordered them both for me, the Stainless Steel Flat Wisk and also the LamsonSharp Pro Slotter Turner.  I meant to blog about it, totally forgot, but you can imagine how thrilled I was to think that he took the time, actually made several phone calls, eventually getting to the right person to find out what they were.

So now I’m looking at the rest of the things she loves, and I’m thinking that I really need her offset spatula.  *grin*  And the knife, heart be still, but dang, it’s pricey!

I continue to be such a fan of Pioneer Woman.  She’s just the best!

Here’s the link to the tools, and you can also enter her win them, along with the other 1,478,972 people who are trying to get them.

Oh, I do love what he got me, in case you’re interested, they’re just awesome!  ~ Jan

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Food Tv's No. 1 Most Requested Recipe, Alton Brown's Baked Mac and Cheese

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • TOPPING:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente. 
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf. 
Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Source:  Food Network

Monday, November 18, 2013

Perfectly Perfect Low Carb Hot Chocolate...

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This just might be the best hot chocolate ever.  No more nasty chemical laden Swiss Miss at my house, this is so easy to put together, it tastes sinfully delicious and this is under 40 calories a cup.   I adapted this recipe from Hershey’s Cocoa, it’s SO good, just the perfect finish to a cool winter evening. ~ jan

1 cup Unsweeted Almond Milk (I use Silk, 30 calories, <1 carb per cup)
2 Tablespoons Splenda
2-3 teaspoons Hershey’s Cocoa
dash salt
1/2-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Microwave your milk in a mug until hot, mine takes about 1.5 minutes.

Meanwhile stir the rest of the ingredients together, except for vanilla.  Add to mug of hot milk, and whisk to blend, then stir in the vanilla.  Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Note:  The first time I made this, I added a splash of half and half, the next time I didn’t.  Of course it was a bit richer with the half and half, but still amazing without.  You can also add just a dash of cinnamon to make Mexican Hot Chocolate.

This is a keeper, Almond Milk rocks, I will never look for another hot chocolate, this one, as Hershey says, is perfectly perfect...

Carb count - 5-6 carbs 

Photo courtesy of Hershey’s Chocolate

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sloppy Joes, revisited once again...

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Every year I post my Sloppy Joe recipe.  It’s been a Halloween tradition in our family since the boys were little.    It was always so easy to just make Sloppy Joes earlier in the day on Halloween, and serve them with potato chips before the boys headed out for the evening.  Oh, how I miss those days, but the tradition continues and now their families have Sloppy Joes on Halloween.

So here is the recipe again, it’s my annual halloween post.  It’s just the easiest and the best recipe, ever.  Pinkie swear it is.  ~ Jan 

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped 
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 Tablespoon white vinegar 
2 heaping Tablespoons brown sugar 
1 Cup Heinz Ketchup 1/4 cup water 
Cayenne Pepper to taste

Brown meat and onion, season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.

Drain, add remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.  If mixture gets too thick, add a bit more water. 


Note:  I usually double this recipe.  When the boys were little, they loved Velveeta Cheese melted on the top of the sloppy joes.  I would put the joes on the bun, top with the cheese, leave the top bun off, and nuke it until the cheese melted.  Velveeta is so “not cool” these days, but for some recipes it will always be the best! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Old Fashioned Chicken Salad

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Mother made old fashioned chicken salad with ingredients she had in her fridge.  This doesn't have fruit or sour cream or nuts, like a lot of chicken salads today, it's just a basic old fashioned chicken salad and it's so good.

 She always ground her chicken salad with a food grinder, I prefer just chunking it.

There isn't an exact recipe, you just adjust ingredients as you go along.

Cooked chicken breast
Hard Boiled Eggs
Chopped Green Onions
Diced Celery
Celery Seed
Pimentos (Mother didn't add pimentos, but my friend Jean does, and it's a nice touch)
Sweet pickle relish
Mayonnaise
Pepper 

Just blend ingredients, adding enough Mayo to make it creamy, chill and enjoy.  It's wonderful, great made with turkey, too...
 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cool Fall Days, Low Carb Recipes

I've lived the low carb lifestyle since May of this year, May 23rd, 9:30 am to be exact, only veering away  for a few meals, mostly pizza. and never eating sugar.  And how's it working out for me? Oh, I did gangbusters at first, dropped eighteen pounds, then stalled, and have gained and lost the same pound since the beginning of September.

I keep telling myself that it's a lifestyle, but we all know I've lost and gained back a badzillion pounds over the years and have little hope for anything long term.  But that's not the point of this post to talk about my success or lack there of with what I put in my mouth, I merely wanted to some recipes because they're really good.

oa know, it's not all that bad.  I'm sitting here sipping a cup of that wonderful Trader Joe's Ruby Red Chai tea, liberally laced with cream. It's a perfect treat on a cool fall day.

And dinner tonight?  Sausage pumpkin soup, such a good recipe,  (I'm trying it tonight with Italian sausage) you really don't taste pumpkin at all, it just thickens it and gives it depth and richness.  Also Cheddar Bay Biscuits (leaving out the Old Bay Seasoning, I'm not a fan), they're almost a dead ringer when they're warm for Red Lobster's Biscuits, except made with almond flour.

And dessert?  Warm, Brownie in a mug with a scoop of Breyers Carb Smart Ice Cream.  It's pretty awesome, too.

I know, I know, you're saying to yourself, "no wonder she hasn't lost weight."  But this shouldn't affect any weight loss, it's the way you eat on low carb, it's normal to stall for a month or two, and at least I'm not gaining.

So, do you want a look at the recipes?  Just click on the following pictures.  I've made all of these, they're  "tried 'n true."  It's what I do, I cook, every.single.day and I'm always trying something different.   If anybody is interested in low carb links and more recipes, just email me.  ~ Jan


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Soup Tweaks:  Simmer the soup uncovered so that it reduces and thickens.  Warm the cream in the microwave for 1 minute before you add it to the soup.  Cream curdles easily if you pour cold cream into hot soup, heating it prevents that.  I don't add the half cup of water at the end with the cream, I just stir in the half cup of cream and simmer it for a minute until it all blends.  If you add water, then you have to reduce it again.  Too much trouble.  I also added diced red pepper to this.  I prefer the Italian sausage to regular sausage, it gives it a really good flavor.

 

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Soup Tweaks:  Simmer the soup uncovered so that it reduces and thickens.  Warm the cream in the microwave for 1 minute before you add it to the soup.  Cream curdles easily if you pour cold cream into hot soup, heating it prevents that.  I don't add the half cup of water at the end with the cream, I just stir in the half cup of cream and simmer it for a minute until it all blends.  If you add water, then you have to reduce it again.  Too much trouble.  I also added diced red pepper to this.  I prefer the Italian sausage to regular sausage, it gives it a really good flavor.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Low Carb Pumpkin Pancakes

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I'm a huge fan of pumpkin pancakes, and also a huge fan of George Stella's Still Livin' Low Carb Cookbook.  His other books are good, but his latest is my favorite, he's switched from using that nasty soy flour to almond flour, with wonderful results.  Almond flour wasn't around a few years ago, and low carb eating has vastly improved because of it.

I make his Cinnamon Toast Pancakes weekly, but our family loves pumpkin pancakes in the fall, so I modified his recipe with amazing results.  This one is a keeper, it's so yummy!  ~ Jan

  • BATTER
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup almond flour (Bob's Red Mill sells it in your grocery store, I get mine at Trader Joes, MUCH cheaper)
  • ¼ cup milled flax seed (available at WalMart)
  • ¼ cup bulk sugar substitute (recommended: Splenda)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  1. Grease a griddle or large skillet with vegetable oil spray and heat over medium-high heat.
  2. Mix all the batter ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon until well blended.  You may have to add a bit more water if the pancakes are too thick, pumpkin is dense.  If you think yours are too thick, just stir in a bit of water until they look right, it's not rocket science, it's just cooking… ;o)
  3. Pour approximately 6 large pancakes onto the hot griddle, and cook on the first side for 3 to 4 minutes until almost done, and then flip and cook for just another minute or so to finish. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

St. Phillips Church Social Coleslaw

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Old fashioned church socials have the best food.  Every summer we go to a local Parish for their wonderful summer social, and this year was no exception.  My son and his wife were visiting, and he just loved the coleslaw.  And because church ladies are so congenial, they shared the recipe with me.  This is a keeper, it's different because it's vinegar and sugar based, but has no oil.  If you use Splenda instead of sugar, you don't lose any of the taste, but it takes away the calories.  It keeps well in the fridge, too, in fact, it's better after it sits for a few hours.  I jar mine up in a Ball wide mouth quart jar, I do love those Ball jars... ~ Jan

I tweaked the original recipe a bit, I used pre bagged coleslaw mix, so I had to adjust the liquids.

1 bag coleslaw mix
1/2 green pepper, chopped (I used food processor)
2 carrots, chopped (food processor again, let the machine do the work :-)
4 chopped green onions (food processor)
1/4 cup chopped celery (food processor)
-------------------------------------------
Mix together:
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar or Splenda
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 heaping teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon salt

Stir all together until sugar or Splenda dissolves and pour over coleslaw mixture.  It wilts down after a few minutes, this is enough dressing for the entire bag of coleslaw mix.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Awesome Low Carb Ranch Dressing

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This is the perfect low carb ranch dressing, so easy to make and really good!

 

2 c. mayonnaise

1/2 c. sour cream

1-1/2 t. vinegar

1/4 t. Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup chopped chives

1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 t. dill weed

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 t. pepper

 

Whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into a large jar with a tight-fitting lid. Secure lid and store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Makes 4 cups.

 

This is thick, dip consistency, thin with a little half and half if you want thinner dressing

Friday, July 12, 2013

Pioneer Woman's Buffalo Chicken Salad

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I think Pioneer Woman is amazing, and her food speaks to me.  Her Buffalo Chicken Salad looks like nectar of the Gods, and I just had to direct you to her site so you can see for yourself.  She makes bleu cheese dressing with ranch dressing and throws in bleu cheese crumbles, how easy is that!   The woman is amazing!  Seriously!

Here's her link, check out her recipe.  I snagged her picture from her site, have to give her credit for that, too.  

Another winner from this talented lady and mother.  I'm such a fan!  ~ jan

Access her recipe here...

Picture Source:  Pioneer Woman 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Lemon Pie S'Mores and MORE!!!

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This isn't my recipe to give, it comes from a great site called Cooking Classy.  I snagged her pictures, and I'm linking to her blog so you can see how amazing these really are.  Creative people absolutely fascinate me.

Good job with this one Cooking Classy.  Here's the link...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

World's Best Butterscotch Brownies

 

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Moist, decadent, delicious brownies made with simple ingredients you have in your pantry.  These seriously are the best butterscotch brownies you will ever eat!  My daughter-in-law, Lindsay is a huge fan, this has been her signature recipe for a few years now.  They really are wonderful and so easy to make.  

 ~ Jan

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (well-packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and butter an 8 x l0-nch baking pan.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and add the sugar. Combine well. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, mixing while adding.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring while adding. When the wet and dry mixtures are well combined stir in the vanilla and the walnuts, if using.
  4. Scrape the batter into the pan. Bake the brownies for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the brownies cool for about 20 minutes before cutting. Serve them right out of the pan or arrange on a platter.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Corn on the Cob Cupakes

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INGREDIENTS

  • Vanilla Frosting

  • Yellow liquid food coloring

  • 24 , baked in white paper linersVanilla Cupcakes

  • 3 1/2 cups small yellow, cream, or white jelly beans, such as Jelly Belly

  • 4 pieces yellow fruit chews, such as Laffy Taffys or Starbursts

  • 1 tablespoon black decorating sugar

  • 1 tablespoon white decorating sugar

  • 8 sets of corn holders (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. STEP 1

    Color the frosting pale yellow with food coloring.

  2. STEP 2

    Working with 3 cupcakes at a time, frost cupcakes with yellow frosting. Arrange 5 rows of jelly beans, close together, on each cupcake. Place the 3 cupcakes side by side on a corn dish or serving platter to resemble an ear of corn. Repeat process with remaining cupcakes, frosting, and jelly beans.

  3. STEP 3

    Cut the fruit chews into eight 1-inch squares. Soften the edges slightly by hand so that they look like melted butter. Place 1 square on top of each ear of corn. Sprinkle with sugars. Insert a corn holder in the end of each ear of corn, if using. Serve.

    Source:  Martha Stewart Living

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Buttered Coffee Keeps you from Being Hungry...

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Adding a tablespoon of butter to your morning coffee keeps you full until lunch.  I know, it's strange, but it really does work.  It's a low carb trick that would work for anyone.

Just melt your butter, pour in your coffee and whisk to combine and make it a bit foamy.  It's absolutely yummy, a little cream makes it even better!

Crockpot Chicken in a Bag, Moist, Fall Apart Tender, BEST CHICKEN, EVER!!!!

 

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This is so tender it falls off the bone.  I've been making this recipe for years, and all of a sudden it's popping up everywhere online.  It's so simple, and you can season it the way you want to make it your own recipe.  Back in the day we used to call it "sticky chicken" because its so tender.

You just take a whole chicken, season it, put it in a Reynolds Cooking Bag, (the kind you put a turkey in at thanksgiving, but a smaller size for a chicken, or just use the big turkey bag if you can't find a small one) twist it shut with a twisty and put it in the crockpot, no liquid, nothing, don't worry it won't burn.  Cook it on low for 8-10  hours, or high 6 hours and the chicken literally falls off the bone.

I lift the bag out of the crock, snip the end and drain the chicken stock to use later.

This is a win-win recipe, you will love it!  Pinky swear you will.

Variations:

Season it with fresh herbs, stuff it with lemons, apple, oranges, any kind of fruit you want.  Sprinkle ranch dressing on it, or taco seasoning, the possibilities are endless.  I like it with just salt and pepper myself.

You will never make more tender chicken than this.

Enjoy!!! ~ Jan

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mastro's Signature Warm Butter Cake - Heather Locklear's Favorite

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I read in People Magazine that Heather Lockler's favorite cake is Mastro's Steakhouse Butter Cake.  She buys two at a time, one for herself and one for everybody else.  So, of course I was intrigued and it was easy to find the recipe.  It always has rave reviews, I'm thinking this is a "must try."

Makes 4 cakes

Cake Batter
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Layer

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325.

Spray 4 mini springform pans with baking spray. You can also use oversized Ramekins or a mini soufflé pan.

Prepare the cake batter

In a stand mixer cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar for 1-2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat on low for 20 seconds after each addition. Whisk flour and salt, then add to creamed mixture. Beat on low until just incorporated, making sure not to over beat.

Prepare the cream cheese layer

In a small bowl whip together cream cheese and granulated sugar until creamed, add egg and vanilla extract.

Pour cake batter into prepared springform pans then top with a layer of the cream cheese mixture. Bake for 60 – 75 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cakes.

Cake can be made a day ahead. When ready to serve microwave until hot approx 1 minute on 80% power then with a kitchen blow torch brûlée the top and sides of the cake to caramelize the sugar crystals.

To serve this cake a la “Mastro’s”, top with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, top with strawberries and top with a sprig of fresh mint.

 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mason Cash Mixing Bowls as seen on Pioneer Woman...

 

Amazon 1 com Mason Cash Mixing Embossed Bowls  Lemon Home  Kitchen 2Jan CAN Cook

 

 

Pioneer Woman was giving these away on her blog today, which of course winning one is about as probable as winning the lottery, so I just hopped over to Amazon to check them out.

Well, they aren't cheap folks, but they are wonderful.  But they will also be sold out faster than a New York Minute since Ree featured them on her site.

Here's the link in case you want to salivate along with me.

~ Jan

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tuna and tomato but easy...

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I love tuna stuffed tomatoes, it's my go to summer lunch.  I've always laboriously cut the tomato into petals, scooped the tuna inside, a great presentation, but a bit of a pain in the patootie to eat.

But with age comes wisdom, and today when I  made my tuna salad, I precut the tomato into small bits, and it was so much easier.

My recipe is simple - 

a pouch of albacore tuna
diced scallions
diced celery
dill weed
celery salt
mustard seed
a scoop of Hellman's Mayo

And today for a change I added some shredded lettuce.  Lunch in a bowl. Works for me ;o) 

Magic Shell Chocolate Ice Cream Coating, Make It at Home!!!

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Ingredients:

 

1 11 - 12 - ounce package semisweet or bittersweet chocolate pieces, butterscotch pieces, white baking pieces, peanut butter pieces, cinnamon pieces, or cherry pieces

1/4 cup coconut oil or vegetable oil

 

Directions:

 

Place ingredients in a medium microwave-safe bowl; stir. Cook on 50%25 power (medium) for 1 minute; stir. Continue to cook at 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until almost melted. Remove and stir until completely melted. Pour over ice cream in dishes. Allow to harden 30 to 60 seconds.

Store remaining mixture in a glass jar at room temperature up to 1 week. If mixture hardens, uncover and reheat in the microwave on 50%25 power (medium) about 40 seconds or until just softened but not war; stir.

nutrition facts

 

Servings Per Recipe 21, Trans fatty acid (g) 0, Polyunsaturated fat (g) 0, fiber (g) 1, Fat, total (g) 7, cal. (kcal) 94, sat. fat (g) 5, calcium (mg) 5, Potassium (mg) 54, chol. (mg) 0, Monosaturated fat (g) 2, Mark as Free Exchange () 0, carb. (g) 9, iron (mg) 0, Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (µg) 0, Folate (µg) 2, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 0, Niacin (mg) 0, Riboflavin (mg) 0, Thiamin (mg) 0, vit. C (mg) 0, vit. A (IU) 0, pro. (g) 1, sugar (g) 8, sodium (mg) 2


Picture and Recipe Source:  Midwest Living


Friday, June 14, 2013

Butter Bell Crocks, they're a good thing...

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I've had my red Butter Bell Crock for a few years now and it works so well.  You never have to try and soften butter again.

Here's a video explaining how it works.  And here's a link if you want to buy one...

 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Low Carb Pasta

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I got the niftiest little Oxo Julienne Peeler to make low carb pasta.  It's just amazing.

I posted it on my daily blog, you can read about it by clicking here.

~ Jan

Monday, June 10, 2013

Iced Tea Day

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I love Fruit Flavored Tea.   Mother always put orange slices in her tea, and I've been a huge fan of doing that my whole life.  People are always surprised, they expect lemon.  But don't forget peach slices and raspberries when they are in season.  It's a good thing...

 

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And if you don't mind the calories, Nashville Fruit Tea is just amazing.  I had it for the first time at HRH Dumplings,  a great little restaurant in downtown Franklin.  I posted the recipe a few years ago, five to be exact.   Here's the quick link...

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cracker Barrel Coca Cola Cake

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This is an absolutely delicious copycat recipe of Cracker Barrel's Famous Coca Cola Cake.  I like to add coconut and pecans to the frosting, but it's great plain, as well.  

The recipe is similar to Texas Sheet Cake, a recipe I've made since the 70's.  Texas Sheet Cake uses two sticks of butter, this one uses a stick of butter and a half a cup of oil.  I actually like this better, because oil makes a really moist cake.  The addition of a cup of Coke is the only difference between my original Texas Sheet Cake and the Cracker Barrel clone.  

People love this cake, make it a day ahead and it's really moist.  A definite 5 Star recipe!  

Enjoy… ~ Jan

Ingredients:
1 cup coca-cola
1 stick margarine
1/2 cup oil - I actually use a generous half cup of oil
3 HEAPING tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

***Frosting***
1 stick margarine
3 HEAPING tablespoons cocoa powder
6 tablespoons cream or milk  - I use Fat Free Half and Half, and it works great!
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners sugar

Directions:
In a saucepan, bring coca-cola, margarine, cocoa and oil to a boil. In a separate bowl mix sugar, flour and salt, then pour the boiling mixture over the dry ingredients and whisk until blended. Beat eggs, buttermilk and vanilla together, and add to wet ingredients.  Pour into a  9×13 pan that has been sprayed with PAM and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

For Frosting: Sift confectioner's sugar - be sure and do this so it doesnt lump.  

In saucepan combine margarine, cocoa and milk and heat until the butter melts. Beat in the remaining ingredients and spread onto HOT cake. Cool and cut.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Lemon Ice Cubes

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What a great idea, make these large cubes in muffin tins and put them in your pitcher this summer...

Friday, April 19, 2013

The BEST Cocktails from Southern Living

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Mississippi Mudslides, Pink Cadillac Margaritas, Shoo-Fly Punch, just to name a few.  This collection would turn even a non-drinker into a believer!  Hop on over to Souterh Living and check the all out.

Here's the link!

Photo courtesy of Southern Living

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Making a Box Cake Taste LIke It's from a Bakery

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Step 1: Look at the directions on the cake mix,
Step 2: Add one more egg (or add 2 if you want it to be very rich),
Step 3: Use melted butter instead of oil and double the amount,
Step 4: Instead of water, use milk.
Step 5: Mix well and bake for the time recommended on the box....

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Williams Sonoma Strawberry Huller, it's a good thing!!!!

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This little strawberry huller is just fantastic!  I'm such a kitchen gadget junkie I am and salivate every time I get a Williams Sonoma Catalog, so this was at the top of  my "must have" list when I saw it.  It has fantastic reviews, people love this little huller, and the price was right, only $7.95.  But wait, I love a deal, so I went to Amazon, sure enough they had the same thing on Amazon Prime for $7.95, with free ship no tax.  I ordered this puppy so fast, it arrived in two days and it does it ever work well!

You just plunge it into your berry, twist it, and that white core comes right out.  It's a good thing, ladies, and 'tis the season of the strawberry, so what are you waiting for!

Oh, the link, the link - here you go...

Williams Sonoma 

Amazon - Free Ship/No Tax

 

The World's Best Lemon Coconut Cake

Lemon Coconut Cake

 

This cake is delicious, I mean seriously, decadently, wonderful, too marvelous for words!  I've baked cakes for years, and this one is in the top five of the best ever.  I adapted it from a recipe from Sugar & Spice by Celeste, it's a "must try" if you are a lemon lover.

Here is Celeste's recipe, and following it are my adaptions:

Lemon-Coconut Cake
Makes one - 9 inch (23 cm) layer cake.
Source: joyofbaking.com
Originally Adapted From: Foster, Sara. 'The Foster's Market Cookbook'. Random House. New York: 2002.

Ingredients:
Lemon Curd:
3 large eggs
1/3 cup (80 ml) fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons) (do not use the bottled lemon juice)
1 tablespoon (4 grams) finely shredded lemon zest (outer yellow skin of lemon)
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces

Coconut Cake Recipe:
6 large eggs
2 1/2 cups (325 grams) all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups (350 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
1 tsp coconut extract
1 3/4 cups (420 ml) buttermilk
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Frosting:
2 large (60 grams) egg whites
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) cold water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Garnish:
2 cups (150 grams) sweetened shredded or flaked coconut (can use unsweetened dried coconut)

Directions:
Lemon Curd:
In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until blended. Cook, stirring constantly (to prevent it from curdling), until the mixture becomes thick (like sour cream or a hollandaise sauce) (160 degrees F or 71 degrees C). This will take approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps.

Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted. Add the lemon zest and let cool. The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Cover immediately (so a skin doesn't form) and refrigerate until cold. The lemon curd can be made several days (up to a week) in advance.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Butter and flour two - 9 inch x 1 1/2 inch (23 x 3.75 cm) cake pans, and then line the bottoms with parchment paper (or spray with Bakers Joy).

Coconut Cake:
While the eggs are still cold separate the eggs, placing the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another bowl. Cover the two bowls with plastic wrap and allow the eggs to come to room temperature before using (about 30 minutes).

In a mixing bowl sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In bowl of electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Gradually add 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) of the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

In a clean bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, (or with a hand mixer) beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup (50 grams) of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula gently fold a little of the whites into the batter to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining whites until combined. Do not over mix the batter or it will deflate.

Divide the batter and pour into the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in center.

Place the cakes on a wire rack to cool, in their pans, for about 10 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto a greased rack. To prevent splitting, reinvert cakes so that tops are right side up. Cool completely before filling and frosting.

Frosting:
In a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, place the egg whites, sugar, water, and corn syrup. With a handheld electric mixer beat the mixture for 3 to 4 minutes on low speed. Increase the speed to high and continue to beat for another 3 to 4 minutes or until the icing is shiny and satiny with soft peaks.

Remove from heat, add the vanilla extract, and continue to beat on high speed for another 1 to 2 minutes or until the frosting is thick. Use immediately.

To Assemble:
With a serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half, horizontally. Place one cake layer on your serving plate and spread with about 1/3 of the lemon curd and sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of coconut. Continue with the next layers, stacking and filling with the lemon curd and coconut. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the 7-Minute Frosting and then sprinkle with about 1 cup of coconut. Cover and refrigerate the cake until serving time.

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My Tweaks:

Lemon Curd - I made this a couple of days ahead, just like her recipe, except I used 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice, because we love tart lemon curd, and added extra lemon zest.

Cake Batter:  I omitted the coconut extract, and added an extra splash of vanilla, because I didn't want the coconut flavor, just the coconut on the top.  

Frosting:  This was time consuming, but worth it.  I beat the mixture for four minutes on low, then four minutes on high, to get the soft peaks, then additional two minutes.  Very time consuming over a hot pan of water, but totally worth it.  

Assembly:  I totally dropped the ball on this, instead of splitting the layers and putting lemon curd between each layer, I just put lemon curd on top of the first layer, then icing, then put the other layer on top, and it wanted to slide off the bottom layer.  I then put on more lemon curd and iced it.  Next time I will make it like Celese says, and split the layers, and add the lemon curd.  I still won't put coconut between the layers, just on top, as not everyone in our family is a fan of coconut.

Photo Courtesy of Sugar & Spice by Celeste

Click here Celeste's original recipe and instructions

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pina Colada Ic Box Pie

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups pecan shortbread cookie crumbs (about 16 cookies)
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, 
    softened
  • 1 1/2 cups cream of coconut, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Garnishes: lightly toasted shaved
    coconut, pineapple wedges, fresh
    pineapple mint sprigs

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together first 3 ingredients; firmly press on bottom and up sides of a lightly
greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack; cool
completely (about 30 minutes).

2. Stir together sugar and cornstarch in a small heavy saucepan; stir in pineapple. While stirring
constantly, bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook (keep stirring!) 1 minute or until thickened.
Remove from heat; cool completely (about 20 minutes).

3. Beat cream cheese at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer, using whisk attachment,
until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup cream of coconut, beating at low speed just until blended. (Chill
remaining 1/2 cup cream of coconut until ready to use.) Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended
after each addition.

4. Spread cooled pineapple mixture over bottom of piecrust; spoon cream cheese mixture over
pineapple mixture.

5. Bake at 350° for 38 to 42 minutes or until set. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Cover
and chill 4 hours.

6. Beat whipping cream at high speed until foamy. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup cream of coconut,
beating until soft peaks form; spread over pie.

Note: We tested with Keebler Sandies Pecan Shortbread and Coco López Cream of Coconut.

This recipe is adapted from Southern Living.  Photo furnished by Southern Living

Friday, February 22, 2013

The absolute BEST Greek Yogurt

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It's been a year now since I started making Greek Yogurt.  In the beginning I made it with non-fat milk, several months passed and it wasn't working any longer.  I made it exactly the same way, but always ended up with just sour milk.  So I got discouraged and quit.  Then last fall I read an article about how your digital thermometers have to be recalibrated on a regular basis, and the light dawned.  My temperature was off, that's why it wasn't working!  

So I pitched the digital thermometer, went back to using a regular meat/utility thermometer and I was back in business.  And then I decided to try eating low-carb for the umpteenth time and read that I could eat whole milk yogurt.  I started making it, and oh my, it's absolutely decadent, wickedly delicious, there is no comparison between non-fat yogurt and whole milk yogurt.  It has 20+ grams of protein per cup and approximately 220 calories, but I never eat a cup, a half of a cup is sufficient.  I eat it with raspberries, blackberries, strawberries.  I mix a tablespoon of peanut butter in it, sometimes I use maple extract, sometimes lemon, but I always use a lot of Splenda.  It isn't that sour to begin with, not like Fage or Chobani Greek Yogurt you buy in the store, but it's so good sweetened, it's almost like ice cream.

I make it and give it away, and always get great feedback.  I make it every couple of days, a half gallon of milk makes a quart of yogurt.  I bit the bullet and invested in equipment, a YoGourmet Yogurt Incubator and that pricey Mafter Boullion Strainer, and it was worth every penny.  I've already paid back my investment many times over, since I get a gallon of milk for $1.79 at Aldi's, and a gallon makes two quarts of yogurt.  I know I'm repeating some of this information, but I've had so many people ask about this and some things are worth repeating.

I've read extensively about yogurt making, you don't have to buy any equipment.  Some people incubate theirs on a heating pad, I used to put mine in the oven with the light on, another way of incubating is to wrap it in a towel and put it in an insulated cooler along with a bowl of hot water.  There is a ton of information about yogurt making if you just Google it.  

When I tell people what I do to make it, the standard response is "that's too much trouble."  But once you do it a few times it's a no brainer and doesn't take that much effort.  I know exactly how long it takes to get to temperature in my microwave, I know that it takes 20-30 minutes for the temperature to fall to 100-110 degrees in an ice water bath, then I just put it in the YoGourmet, and in 6-8 hours I have yogurt.  

I always refrigerate mine for a few hours or overnight before I strain it, it just works better to refrigerate it first.  Then whisk, jar it and enjoy.

Okay, that's my last yogurt post for now, but I did want to update you one more time.  I'm going to give you some links to my original entry, but do yourself a favor and watch Paula's video.  I consider myself a serious yogurt maker these days, but Paula is the guru.  And yes, I know I've already put her video on here, but it's worth watching again.

I've tried several different recipes, including adding dry milk.  Yuck!  Paula's recipe is best by far, trust me on this one.

Now go buy a gallon of whole milk, and make some yogurt, it's good for your bones and it's good for your gut and it tastes like no yogurt you've ever eaten.  And don't try and calculate calories from the milk jug, it doesn't work that way, because you drain off the whey which has carbs and calories in it.  And yes, I pour the whey on my houseplants and they love it.  And I'll quit posting about this for awhile, pinky swear I will.  Well, until I make frozen yogurt, but that's a whole other ballgame.  ;o)

~ Happy Yogurting - Jan

Click thru the following links for more information...

My original yogurt post from last year

Mafter 17360 Exoglass Boullion Strainer

YoGourmet Electric Yogurt Maker 

And one more viewing of Paula's Video, it's worth watching again...

 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cream Cheese Pancakes...

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These pancakes were absolutely WONDERFUL!  I found this on ibreatheimhungry.com, and I ate them so fast I didn't take time to snap a picture, so I snagged the picture from her site, but I'm linking directly for the recipe.  Not right if I just take their recipe and post this as my own.

This is a low carb recipe, but it would be yummy regardless of what diet or non-diet you are using.  The only thing I altered was I used 1 egg and 1 egg white instead of 2 eggs to cut the calories a bit.  They taste more like a cream cheese crepe than a pancake, but oh my, they're wonderful.  

Just had to share….

Now hop over to www.ibreatheimhungry.com and check out all of her recipes.  I'll be trying more, if the rest are half as good as my breakfast was, I'll be such a fan of this site.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pioneer Woman's Ranch Chicken Sandwiches

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When I saw these on Pioneer Woman's hit Food Network show, I just had to share the link.  The women is phenomenal, and her recipes are amazing!

Here's the recipe, enjoy!

Photo obtained from Pioneer Woman's Website