Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Crockpot Cashew Clusters

Only four ingredients and a crockpot away to a simple yet ever so scrumptious recipe. My candy making skills are my weakest link, until I made this one. I have respect for candy makers and their attention to fine detail, I just don't have it. I have seen numerous crockpot candy recipes, but I could not find one that uses quality chocolates. So this is my version. Ghirardelli is by far one of the best chocolates that I can get my hands on. I researched Ghirardelli's melting wafers and found out that they are only made for the Holiday season and when they sell out that is it until next year. I found 2 lb bags ($7.98 per bag), of these treasures at Sam's Club in Frederick, MD. I also saw smaller bags in the grocery stores and on Amazon, but if you bargain shop like I do you will get the best bang for your buck at Sam's Club. I even found a 2 lb container of Planter's fancy whole jumbo cashews there for $12.98 as well.

You can find the Baker's German chocolate in any larger chain grocery store. Also I made 60 candy pieces with this recipe and in hindsight I wish I made them smaller. If you want to make a smaller batch I recommend you cut this recipe in half. Don't be a scrooge, share the love and make their fat cells sing while you are at it. I am so excited that I can hardly wait to share these with my family and friends over the Holidays.

Could you imagine how good these would taste made with macadamia nuts!

Theses babies only cost me $25.39 for my batch of Crockpot Cashew Clusters. That is a great price for such a large quantity of quality chocolates. Enjoy!

  • 2 lbs Ghirardelli white melting wafers
  • 2 cups Ghirardelli dark melting wafers
  • 2 lbs Planter's fancy whole cashews with sea salt
  • 1 4oz bar Baker's German sweet chocolate baking bar
IMPORTANT TIPS! Know your crockpot  as low is much hotter on some and the temp varies. My crockpot is old so that means it does not get as hot a as a new one. Mine is 180- 250 watts, it will say that on the bottom of the crockpot how many watts, too high a wattage will not work either. Also it is a 5 qt. crockpot and this recipes fills it up. If yours runs on the hot side set on low, this recipe will BURN. Also slow cookers cook hotter than a crockpot and do not work for this recipe.

Turn crockpot on low and add the cashews first, then the white wafers, the dark chocolate wafers and the German chocolate on top after you broke it into the scored sections. Put lid on and DO NOT PEEK, after 3 hours open lid and stir until all is mixed well. TIP! When you open the lid the chocolate will still have it's original shape, but as soon as you stir it the chocolate melds together. 

When candy is mixed well add by spoonfuls onto a large cookie sheet lined with wax paper. I used a cookie dough scoop dispenser that looks like a mini ice cream scoop. As I said earlier I made 60 pieces of candy and wish I made them smaller. So fill the scoop evenly and level on top to make them a bit smaller.

As you add them to the cookie sheet this is the time to shape them a bit nicer as you go so there are not any rogue cashews sticking out at odd angles. No worries because no matter how they are shaped they will still make your fat cells sing with delight. Chill in fridge for about 30 minutes or until set.

  •  3 cups Ghirardelli white melting wafers
  •  1 cup Ghirardelli dark chocolate wafers
  •  1 lb cashews
  • 1/2 of a 4 oz bar of  Baker's German's sweet chocolate baking bar

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pepper Jack Mac & Cheese

I love Mac & Cheese and also spicy food so I decided to beef of my mac & cheese with some added spice. I must admit that this recipe is not for anyone that is a spice wimp. If you are a cry baby about spice then you are best to ignore this one. I added pickled jalapenos on top as a garnish and must tell you that it makes it over the top hot. It's up to you if you choose to add the extra extreme heat, I will tell you that it is plenty hot enough without them. If you are daring go ahead as there is not any danger in trying it. The beauty of it is that if the jalapenos are too hot you can pick them off and still enjoy your spicy deliciousness.

I saw Wacky Mac Veggie Shapes in the grocery store and that inspired me to make this dish.

  • 1, 12 oz bag of Wacky Mac veggie noodles
  • 1/2 cup Smart Balance Margarine, original
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 2 1/2 cups milk, I used fat free
  • 2, 8 oz block of pepper jack cheese, sliced thin
  • picked jalapenos, strictly optional

Cook noodles according to package directions and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile melt margarine in a large pot, as soon as the margarine is melted add the flour, mix together well with a whisk to make sure that there are not any lumps. 

Immediately add; milk, salt, pepper, cayenne and onion powder. Stir over medium heat until mixture starts to thicken, now add the cheese and stir occasionally until it is melted through. 

Drain pasta and then add pasta to the pot of the melted cheese mixture, mix well. Spray your baking dish with cooking spray and add the noodles and cheese mixture. Add the optional jalapenos on top at this time if you choose to be daring

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Below is a pic of my Wacky Mac Veggie shapes that inspired this dish. Go figure. 

If you can't find Wacky Mac Veggie Shape noodles use 12 oz of any noodle of your choice.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Chicken Cacciatore

I must admit that I am a Italian food snob only because my Mom made the best Italian food. As a matter of fact my Italian Great Grandmother taught my Mom how to cook and in turn my Mom passed on the importance and the love of good homemade food to me. I have made the recipe simpler and easier to make without compromising any flavor.

If you want a one pot meal that all you have to do is plop the ingredients into a pot and let it simmer for a few hours than this baby is for you. I love how the chicken is so tender that you can cut it with a fork. Another bonus is the aroma of this dish simmering on a cold day will delight your sniffer like only Italian food can do. Mangia!

  • 1 (29 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup white wine, the drinkable kind
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic from jar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • about 4 -6 oz fresh white mushrooms, cleaned & sliced thin
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • flour for dusting
Add first 7 ingredients to a 4 1/2 qt pot, stir well and simmer covered over low heat for 1 hour. 

Dredge chicken breast onto a plate covered with flour,  lightly coating the chicken. Add raw chicken breast (yes raw), one at a time to simmering sauce laying them on their side so that all will fit in the pot. Once all chicken breasts are coated and in the pot cover with a lid and simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally if you want. 

The only thing you need to be careful about is that the heat is not too high as to burn the sauce. Or too low, you will want to see light bubbles simmering away not a boil. It will take some time to get to this point of simmering since we are cooking on a low heat. 

I buy individual frozen portions of chicken breasts and have even started this dish with frozen chicken and it is still scrumptious! The olive oil adds a nice flavor to the sauce and I found that I could skip browning the chicken in the oil and still get the same great flavor by simply adding it into the sauce. 

I always serve my Cacciatore with Angel Hair pasta or Capellini imported from Italy. I love the thin pasta and it cooks in mere minutes. Serves six.

If you want to make this in a crockpot I would recommend you cook it for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.

My one pot wonder of pure deliciousness!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Mini Pumpkin Pies~~~16 count

Who would ever think that a martini glass and pumpkin pie would have anything in common. Well I have a tale to tell. It all started with seeing little pumpkin tarts in the grocery store. I confess that I almost bought them, sins of all sins. I must say that common sense prevailed and I knew in my heart that I could make them and not only that but mine would taste better and be fresher. It baffles my mind how long these store baked good expiration dates go on and on, it's just not natural. So back to my tale. I did not have a circular cookie cutter so I scrounged up my Stud Muffin's martini glass to do the circular cuts. It was perfect! I did purchase Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts to help make this recipe quick and easy. By all means if you have the time please make your crust from scratch, don't let me stop you from that.
  • 1 package Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust, 14.5 oz.
  • 1 can, 15 oz pure pumpkin
  • 1 can, 12 oz evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
Remove pie crust from refrigerator and set out at room temp for 15 minutes. Meanwhile in a medium size bowl whisk together; sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, & cloves, now set it aside. In a large bowl whisk together; pumpkin, evaporated milk, & eggs, set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Now it's time to roll out the pie crust onto a floured surface and you will need to roll it out into a 15 inch circle so that the crust is not too thick. You should be able to cut out 8 circles from each crust with your martini glass (my glass was 4 1/2 inches wide at the top). If you can not get enough out of your pie crusts you will need to press scraps together and roll it again, if you need to do this you either did not roll it out thin enough or you did not place the circle cuts close enough together. Make sure that there is plenty of flour on the back of the circle of crust so that it will not stick to the muffin pan.

My Martini dough crust cutter, thanks Stud Muffin!

After rolling and cutting out crust center the crust over the top of the muffin pan and gently press down with a small juice glass.

To the large bowl add the dry mixture from the medium bowl and whisk together well. Pour slightly less than 1/3 cup of the pumpkin mixture into each mini pie crust. Being careful not to spill on the edges so the crust will not stick later. Place in oven for and bake for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes longer or until knife in center comes out clean.

Now cool these babies on a wire rack for 15 minutes. If any filling has seeped over the edge of the pie it will make the crust stick, if that happened gently run a thin knife around edges to break pie loose. After removing pies let cool for another 30 minutes on wire rack before you cover and refrigerate them to cool. Chill for several hours or overnight to let flavors meld. I like to serve mine with a little fat free Reddi Whip.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Burritos~~~ Made Healthier

I just love ethnic foods! My love affair with Burritos spurred me to make this dish healthier. I managed to cut back on the fat and also add fiber without compromising the flavor. Another bonus to this recipe is that it only uses 7 ingredients. The products that I mention for you to use you can find in a grocery store with an extensive ethnic section. This will make 8 nice size burritos. I'll tell you that one of these babies stuffed me.

  • about 1 lb of ground turkey 99% lean
  • 1 medium size sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1 can El Pato tomato sauce
  • 1 can El Pato Salsa de Jalapeno
  • 1 can Goya Rancheros, refried pinto beans
  • 1 pkg La Tortilla Factory tortillas, 8 ct.
  • Reduced fat, grated Mexican cheese blend

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, meanwhile preheat a large nonstick pan over medium heat sprayed with cooking spray. Now add the ground turkey and diced onion to skillet, stir meat well while it cooks until meat is no longer pink. In a 2 cup measuring open Both El Pato canned sauces and mix them together well. Add 1/4 cup of the sauce to the meat mixture along with the Ranchero beans (reserving the rest of the sauce later on for the top of the burritos). Stir mixture well until all is blended in evenly.

La Tortilla factory tortillas are the bomb.They are only 100 calories, 1.5 g fat, and they have 8 g of fiber.

Add 1/2 cup of meat bean mixture to all 8 tortillas and roll them up as shown. Fold in the sides, then the top and roll in the bottom.

I managed to squeeze all 8 of mine into my baking dish. Next you need to top them with remaining sauce and a handful of cheese on top of each one. Now bake those babies in the oven for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.



Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pizza from the Weber Kettle Pizza Kit

I must admit that I do have a love affair with Pizza. It has been a favorite if mine as long as I can remember. As a teenager I frequently ate it for breakfast. For now I must give my Stud Muffin the credit for finding our latest food gadget, the Weber Kettlepizza Kit. I thought what a clever idea to be able to turn your Weber grill into a wood burning pizza oven. So next thing you know Mama is on a mission and our trials and mistakes will you help you get off to a great start if you want to try it as well. I will confess that it is a good bit of work, so this is only for the serious pizza lovers who want to make it at home.

I found out that fast, easy and great tasting dough can be made from Fleischmann's Pizza Crust Yeast. I tried the store locator online but none of the grocery stores that said they sold it in their store actually did. I finally found it in my local super Wal-Mart in Frederick. We tried many different dough recipes and this one won hands down. Another one that was great was a pizza dough recipe that I made in my bread machine set on manual, but you do need to proof the dough for several hours or overnight.
It came as a 3 pack and cost $1.34. I get two pizza crusts from one package since we like a thin crust pizza, you will only get one pizza crust if you like it regular. Just follow the directions on the back of the pack and they even have videos you can watch online as stated on the back of the packs. If you want a thick crust you will need to play with making 2 packs at a time. I can't help you with that since I never eat a thick crust pizza and I welcome feed back on that.

Also yellow corn meal is very important!!! Hopefully my constant nagging during this blog post will drum that into your head. You will need to generously coat your pizza stone and your pizza peeler with it, this will let the dough slide off without sticking. I also like to spray my crust with a thin layer of olive oil before I put my sauce on. I make my pizza right on top of the pizza peeler so that it has one less transfer, the hardest part.

Your next important selection will be your sauce that you choose for your pizza. I can not emphasize the importance of a good tasting sauce, it truly can make what would be a perfect tasting pizza just barely OK. There is so much to choose from so use your favorite jar of sauce or canned pizza sauce. I must admit to you that my best tasting pizza came from my homemade spaghetti sauce. The sauce is your choice! Make sure you do not put it on too heavily or your cheese will right slip off of your pizza. As you can see in the pic above all you need is a nice thin layer.

 Don't forget to generously cover the peeler with corn meal for ease of sliding onto the pizza stone. Also do not make it too far in advance, make it just before you need to place it onto the pizza stone or you risk it sticking.
You will also need a chimney charcoal starter to get to your coals cooking quickly since you do not want to use charcoal lighter fluid. You will also need wood chunks to place on top once you get the coals going. We bought our chunks at Home Depot but make sure you buy a big bag of the larger chunks. You will be surprised how fast the big chunks burn off, those small pieces would disintegrate.

You can see our pizza cooking in the oven. IMPORTANT TIP ~~~ Make sure that your stone height is correct by putting the grill grate inside the Keetlepizza ring on the bottom 3 handle bolts. This will keep your stone level with the opening. Also your stone will get all discolored as it seasons, not to worry. Make sure you have cornmeal on the stone so the pizza slides easily. Your pizza will need to be turned after just a few minutes because it is much hotter in the back then it is in the front. Also I recommend not putting on any toppings until you have mastered your pizza peeler skills. Even so no more than 3 toppings per pizza, it is harder to navigate if you use a thin crust pizza vs a regular crust. Also if the pizza developes a bubble in the crust I like to pop it right away with a long bar b q meat fork.
 If you choose to try the Kettlepizza kit you will be rewarded with a great tasting pizza at home. I used Sargento grated reduced fat 4 cheese Italian blend. So my pizza was lower in fat and to help boost the flavor I sprinkled a little bit of grated Asiago cheese on top and some garlic powder before cooking. My pizza cooked in only 5 minutes and look at that golden brown crust. Yum yum!!!

I watched several videos on youtube and found them helpful to get me started with my new adventure. Please do your homework and you too will feel much better prepared. Also make sure you read the suggestion sheet ( directions), that comes with the Kettlepizza kit. Oh and don't forget the corn meal. 

  • 1 pack of Fleishmann's pizza crust yeast
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, & a bit more for dusting
  • 1/1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup very warm water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • pizza sauce
  • grated cheese, I used Sargento reduced fat 4 cheese Italian blend
  • garlic powder
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • grated Asiago, optional
  • corn meal
  • olive oil spray
  • optional toppings
  • Weber Kettlepizza Kit for your Weber grill with accessories 
  • Wood chunks meant for cooking on grills
  • Kingsford charcoal
  • Charcoal Chimney
  • High temp cooking mitts

The amount of the dough ingredients is enough for 2 thin crust pizzas or 1 regular crust pizza. I love to eat a sprinkling of Parmesan on top of my pizza.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fresh Lima Bean Soup

I just love the sweet buttery flavor of Lima Beans. Did you know that they are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber and are cholesterol - lowering from the plant sterols. Whew! That makes the Lima a win win in my eyes. I can't bring myself to eat something healthy unless it tastes good as well. You can hit the jackpot on the Lima Bean when it comes to taste and nutrition value. My Stud Muffin shucked the 4 1/2 cups of these buttery treasures for me. I lured him on with the promise of fresh Lima Bean soup. Enjoy this nice hearty buttery flavored soup where once again I worked my magic on cutting back on fat, but not on flavor. Trick your fat cells into singing. Enjoy!

  • 4 1/2 cups of freshly shucked Lima Beans*
  • 1/4 cup chicken base
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup yellow meat potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Smart Balance original margarine
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup Half & Half
In a large 8 qt soup pot over medium heat add first 8 ingredients. Stir well and bring to a low boil, then set to low heat and cover with lid on and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Whisk together Half & Half and cornstarch until there are no longer any lumps left. Now while stirring the soup slowly pour in the Half & Half mixture, constantly stirring. mixture will thicken up immediately. Turn off heat and serve immediately.

*I understand access to fresh Lima Beans is limited and seasonal so use some frozen ones if you do not have access to the fresh ones.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Mushroom - Miso Pasta

I found this treasure published in my local paper The Frederick News Post. It caught my eye because it uses two of my favorite food groups, mushrooms and pasta. All I can say is that it is doubly special because it is scrumptious and healthy too. I just love that! Needless to say my Stud Muffin is my hardest critic and he loved it as well. The creaminess of this dish is wonderful without any adding fat and calories. Not to mention my love affair that I have with mushrooms. I must say my all time favorites are, number one maitake and second place is cremini. So enjoy this rich creamy tasting pasta dish without the guilt of a high fat dish, sin no more.

  • 1 12oz. box of Ronzoni Smart Taste Penne Rigate
  • 5 Tbsp of salted butter
  • 12 oz (or more if you are a mushrooms addict), of maitake and cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine, the drinkable kind
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. white miso paste
  • 9 oz. of chicken broth
  • 4 Tbsp. of nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. of Dijon mustard, optional
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile in a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, allowing it to bubble and cook until it turns a nutty brown, about 5 minutes. Watch it carefully because butter burns easily! Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the wine, stir and scrape to deglaze the skillet, simmer for about 1 minute to cook off the alcohol.

Whisk in the miso into the chicken broth and cook for 2 -3 minutes in the skillet, then add the nutritional yeast (this adds a cheesy like flavor), and stir until the sauce is uniform. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat and toss into the cooked pasta.

Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of a cookbook, "Supermarket Healthy." This is my version of her scrumptious recipe.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Skunk Odor Removal

On the right is our two knuckleheads, Riley the Corgi and Teddy the Labrador. I named this pic " The Dueling Wee Wee boys". We love our boys very much, but they have a serious problem with skunk hunting. They seem to relish in chasing them and always ending with the same results, GETTING SPRAYED. I even talked to my Veterinarian about our dilemma. He said---Some dogs will only get sprayed once, while others keep going back for more. Well our two nuts keep going back for more. Luckily for them we have over 4 acres for them to roam on and we have an invisible fence to keep them on our property. We love our backyard and all of the wildlife we see, but the Invisible Fence does not keep out other animals. The main problem is Mr.Skunk sauntering onto our property, and the skunk spray is NASTY!

  • 1 Quart 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 tsp. Dawn dish detergent
  • latex gloves
  • bucket
  • sponge
 I recommend two people to help with this process. Make sure you soak the collar in the mixture as well because chances are the collar was sprayed too. Also we hook the hose up to our basement laundry tub sink and run the hose out the basement door. We are able to do so because our faucet has threads on it to attach a hose at the end of the faucet. This is not by chance, after many dogs getting sprayed through the years we installed our beloved life saving faucet. The Stinker Saver!

I also had a Feasty Fan tell me that it removes pet odor from carpet as well. Thank you for the tip Jenny.

1. Rinse dog down completely with warm water. I highly recommend that you do this outside if at all possible. We put on another collar and attach it to our gas grill by a leash. No running away and your hands are free to clean them up.

2. Meanwhile as the dog is being thoroughly wet down with warm water have your partner mix together the skunk mixture, stir well and drop in collar and sponge.

3. Remove collar from bucket once saturated and set aside. We have nylon collars that clean up well, no leather here.

4. Now sponge the mixture over the dog spreading in well with the sponge, being careful not to get any mixture into their eyes, nose, mouth or inside the ears. When working near these areas make sure the sponge is squeezed out well so nothing runs where it should not run, but enough to clean off stink. You will need to spend careful attention to the face, head and neck area because skunks have impeccable aim and shoot for the face.

5. Now wait for 10 minutes as the mixture does it's magic. Trust me it will be the longest 10 minutes of your life.

6. Rinse mixture off well with warm water and let your furry buddy shake off what they can. Now dry your baby off and bring him/her inside.

Dawn dish detergent is a must because of it's grease cutting ability aka the oily skunk urine. Check your dogs eyes and make sure they did not get a direct hit. If so I recommend a visit to the Vet as the skunk spray burns their eyes and is a horrible irritant. I buy my Hydrogen Peroxide at the wholesale food clubs. Also I always have my skunk station set up and ready to go during skunk season.

Above you can see Teddy sleeping peacefully on his favorite blanket on our leather couch minutes after his deskunking. What a life, let the abuse continue.

I found this recipe on the internet from B.O.S.S..Boxers, JLH Web Productions and it is by far the best recipe for skunk odor removal. We have used this recipe many time with great results. Thank you BOSS Boxers!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Grilled White Peaches

Summer is one of my favorite seasons for many reasons and fresh peaches is at the top of my list. Not to mention sweet corn, home grown tomatoes, oh I could go on and on. I must admit that I am hooked on fresh sweet white peaches. Pure ambrosia!

It all started years ago when my Dad brought me some white peaches for the first time. I ate 3 of them that day and immediately was addicted. So every year I look forward to satisfying  my craving once a year. This year I decided to try grilling these sweet treasures. I  felt it in my bones that it had to be a win because I know how delicious grilled pineapple is.

  • 2 ripe white peaches
  • 1 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter
  • Turkey Hill Vanilla Bean fat free ice cream, no sugar added
  • 1/4 cup Kashi Go Lean crisp multi grain cluster cereal, slightly crushed
 Preheat grill on high for about 5-8 minutes. Meanwhile wash and dry peaches and slice in half and gently remove pit then brush melted onto both side of peaches. Crumble cereal and set aside. After grill has been preheated place peaches on grill for about 3-4 minutes per side, only turning once gently using tongs. I use a gas grill and every grill is different so your cook time may vary. Serve naked on a plate or top with one scoop of ice cream and crushed cereal.

I did not want to add much fat, calories  or sugar to my version, but feel free to Haagan Daaz it up if you want too. Be daring and choose any crunchy topping of your choice, maybe granola. I also thought about dipping the flat meaty side of the peach into brown sugar, maple syrup or honey to help carmelize it. For me the peach has a nice sweet delicate flavor and I would not want to cover it up. Sometimes simple is better, serves four. Enjoy!

Monday, July 13, 2015

German Chocolate Cake

Boy oh boy does this cake bring back memories from when I was a child. When my Mom was alive she always asked me what kind of cake I would like for my birthday. My steadfast choice was German Chocolate Cake.  I would only get it once a year on my birthday so it was always a special treat for me when she made it. That my Feasty Fans is what spurred me to make one for myself. July 12th,  Happy Birthday to me! You may now reap the rewards of my craving and the celebration of my Birthday.

Now to tell you where this recipe came from because sadly I never found my Mom's recipe. This scrumptious recipe came from my friend Susan Alexander, she is a foodie friend of mine and that is exactly what brought us together. Mind you now this gal is a hoot and entertains me daily with her crazy antics. A big thank you to Susan for sharing her scrumptious recipe with us.

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 oz German sweet chocolate squares, break into sections
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour, Pillsbury Soft as Silk
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 egg whites, room temp

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9 inch cake pans, set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt, set aside

In a small saucepan on low heat water and chocolate until melted. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract at this time, whisk together well and allow mixture to cool.

With your mixer in a large bowl whip egg whites until stiff peaks form, transfer to another large bowl and set aside.

Now add to your large mixer bowl the butter and sugar, cream until light and fluffy. Then beat in 4 egg yolks one at a time. Blend in the melted chocolate mixture to mixer bowl, then beat in the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk, mixing until just incorporated. Next gently fold in half of the egg whites, then fold in the other half until just mixed in.

Pour into three 9 inch cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.

Allow to cool on wire racks for 10 minutes before inverting onto wire racks.

Two important tips~~~Egg whites whip up best if room temp and make sure no oil residue is in the mixer nor any of the yolk. Also if you do not have buttermilk you may make your own by adding 1 Tbsp. of white vinegar to 1 cup of milk, stir and wait 10 minutes. Ta da!

German Chocolate Frosting
  • 2 cups evaporated milk
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tsps. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 2/3 cups flaked coconut

In a large saucepan combine evaporated milk, brown sugar, egg yolks, butter and vanilla. Cook over med/low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in pecans and coconut. Let cool completely before spreading between layers of cake and on top, do not spread on the side of the cake. Ii is important that the icing and cake are cool to the touch.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rye, Turkey & Cheese Melt

A cool rainy Summer day inspired this twist on an old classic, it's like a grilled cheese on steroids. Normally we would feast on a cold sandwich on a hot Summer day. You know the old saying~~~~necessity is the mother of all inventions.

It's very important that you get yourself a good quality rye bread from a bakery. It grills up nicely to a golden brown and when you bite into it there is a nice crispy crunch on the outside, but soft and moist on the inside. I also use low fat & low sodium turkey lunch meat along with a low fat cheese. I chose Dusseldorf style mustard, but use your favorite mustard or cheese of your choice if you do not want to try my suggestions. *Be brave and experiment.*I became hooked on Dusseldorf mustard when I spotted it in the international section of my grocery store. The little mug it is in initially caught my attention, but I must admit that I am addicted to it once I tried it.

  • Dusseldorf style mustard
  • 3 Jarlsburg lite reduced fat cheese slices
  • Deitz & Watson lite turkey slices, 40% less sodium & 99% fat free, 6 slices
  • Russian or Jewish Rye bread, 4 slices
  • Butter or Margarine
 I made two sandwiches at a time, one for me and one for my Stud Muffin. He raved about how good it was. He can be a little picky because he is so spoiled. The bonus to that is that he is my toughest critic and will always be honest with me. So my Feasty Fans you all know that it is Stud Muffin approved and you get to reap the rewards of his critiquing .

You will need a 12 inch nonstick skillet and two 8 inch nonstick skillets. Preheat all 3 skillets over medium heat, meanwhile butter the 4 slices of rye bread just as you would for a grilled cheese, only on one side of the bread. I fold 3 slices of the lunch meat on top of each other and place it in the 8 inch skillet (I fold it to fit the size of the rye bread), repeat with second 8 inch skillet. I do this so the the meat will be hot in the center and the cheese will melt better as well. Flipping only once to heat up both sides of the lunch meat.

Now on on bare side of the last two slices of the rye bread spread the mustard and place into the 12 inch skillet mustard side up and add about 1 1/2 cheese slices to the top, repeat for second sandwich. Now top the cheese with the hot turkey lunch meat, then spread mustard on the bare side of the last two slices of rye bread and place mustard side down on top of the turkey. Grilling until golden brown and flipping only once.
Yum, Yum, Yum!!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Garlic Infused Olive Oil

Garlic is one of the loves of my life and when you add it to Olive Oil I'm in heaven. If you have not tried this it is a must try. It's expensive to buy, but I finally mastered a easy recipe that tastes great and will save you money as well. So get yourself some nice crusty bread and some grated Italian cheese like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano. Did you know that this hard cheese is a high calcium lower fat cheese and packed with protein? They are very healthy cheeses to eat, I just love that. Warning this could turn you into a bread, cheese & oil eating machine. It's a bit touchy to make stove top but I mastered this baby in the crockpot. WARNING! The garlic has to simmer to make sure that you do not risk botulism poisoning. So simmer away and enjoy the aroma of garlic in your home while it cooks.
  •  1 1/2 cups Olive Oil
  •  9 cloves of garlic

You will need to smash out the garlic cloves and crush them with a flat knife, this will now make the skin peel easily off of the clove. Slice off the little root end of the cloves and them throw away. after peeling all of the cloves smash one more time with the knife to help release the garlic goodness. I must confess that at this time I stop and smell my sticky garlic fingers, oh how I love the smell of garlic.

Now place the garlic cloves single layer in a crockpot and cover with the Olive Oil. This is where you need to know how high a heat your crockpot truly cooks at. I have 4 of them and they all seem to vary in the amount of heat that they put out. The one I used is older and cooked mine perfectly on low for 2 hours. Look at the oil and it should be hot enough to see light bubbles coming up, but you do not want to simmer long enough to turn the garlic cloves brown. The first time you make this I would start checking it after 30 minutes.

Once the oil has simmered I pour it into my little oil canister while straining it through a little wire strainer and funnel into my oil container.

Let cool on counter and then put on stopper and store in cabinet. To think that I almost donated my old oil canister to a second hand place. I always loved this little canister and never wanted to part with it. I am so glad that I saved this and have a use for it once again.

By the way I made this oil one week ago and we have already almost made all gone. Mangia!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Diabetic Friendly Dessert~~~Mini Tarts

This dessert is not only low sugar and low fat, it is quick and easy to make as well. You can still
satisfy your sweet tooth without a lot of fat or sugar and this baby rocks in that department. I love the versatility of this recipe. The pic shows Chocolate Fudge but I also made it with the White Chocolate flavor and put in some sliced strawberries. You have the option of picking the flavor you want and adding some fruit if you wish. The possibilities are almost endless. A spritz of whipping cream on the top and you are good to go.

  • 1 box of Jello sugar free fat free instant pudding
  • 2 cups fat free milk
  • 1 pkg. Keebler mini graham cracker pie crusts
  • Reddi Whip fat free whipped topping in can

Make pudding according to package instructions. I like to chill mine for several hours or overnight. Once chilled divide pudding into the 6 mini pie crusts, of course you may add some fruit at this time if you want. Top with whipping cream and serve immediately. You may fill pies in advance and cover until ready to serve with plastic wrap and keep it cold in the fridge. Save the whipped cream til just before serving. The only difference I noticed in filling pies in advance vs filling just before serving is that the graham crust softens up some. I prefer it softer but my Stud Muffin prefers it more crispy. Decisions, decisions. Either way you can't go wrong on this one. I rate this recipe super easy, tasty, quick, and easy on the waistline. It's perfect for the hot weather ahead. Enjoy!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Kentucky Butter Cake

This scrumptious cake is so easy to make. I just love how you just throw everything into the mixer and mix well, then bake. There is a hot glaze that you pour over the hot cake and it reminds me of a glazed donut, only so much better. Simply tasty!

You can serve this cake naked, or with strawberries in a glaze or with ice cream. Heck throw it all on there and add some whipped cream too if you wish. Either way you can't go wrong and will love this simple buttery glazed cake.

It travels well and stands up on a hot Summer day for a Bar B Q or a picnic. I could not begin to count how many times that I have made this treasure. I found this recipe in the Valley Elementary cookbook that I was in charge of publishing many years ago. It was not until years later that I found out that it was a Pillsbury Bake -Off winner. I have made this for numerous cake raffles and bake sales throughout the years. As an added treat I always gave the printed recipe with it. Passing on the recipe adds a nice sweet unexpected touch.

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened *
  • 2 tsp. vanilla or rum extract*
  • 4 eggs, beaten

You will need a tube pan for this cake or you may use two 9 x 5 x 3 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Generously grease and flour pan or use Pam cooking spray. Blend all ingredients together on a low speed with your mixer until moistened. Beat for 3 minutes on medium speed. Pour into greased pan and bake for 55 to 70 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean and cake is golden brown. Immediately pour hot glaze over the top and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

  • 3/4 cup extra fine sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter*
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract or rum extract*

In a small saucepan combine sugar, butter and water.  Heat until butter melts. You want to make sure that the sugar crystals are melted so that it will not feel gritty on your teeth when you eat it. This is where the extra fine sugar comes in handy because it melts so easily. Whisk it occasionally until sugar is melted. Pour immediately over hot cake fresh out of the oven. After cake has cooled for 30 minutes I like to invert it onto a plate from the pan and then invert it again onto my cake plate. That way it looks so much prettier seeing the top of the cake instead of the bottom.

* Please only use butter for this recipe if you want the best flavor and results.
* I have only used vanilla extract on my cake but that is only because I do not like rum flavor. Please by all means use rum extract if you like that flavor. You can't go wrong.
* You may make your own buttermilk by adding 1 Tbsp of white vinegar, stir well and wait 5 - 10 minutes at room temp.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Weed Killer~~~Non-Toxic

I know this is not a food post, but it is a recipe post. I had to share this with you because it works great!  Also this is a triple goodness post because it kills weeds, is non-toxic and it will save you money. I just love when that happens.

I used it on some Poison Ivy climbing up our big trees and it killed the Poison Ivy ( on new growth), in a few days and that stuff is tough to kill. Three ingredients is all that you need, just get yourself a good spray bottle and a funnel. Since there is table salt in this recipe do not spray on or near concrete. Salt ruins and especially TABLE SALT since the grains are finer. Also I would not spray on a day that is calling for rain either. I don't know about you but I worry about using Round-Up around my family and pets. Be kind to your loved ones, but show those nasty weeds who is boss.
  • 2 Qts of White Vinegar or White Cleaning vinegar *
  • 1/4 cup table salt
  • 1 tsp, Dawn dish detergent*
* I used cider vinegar, but after trying 3 vinegars I believe the white cleaning vinegar does a better job. It turns it up a notch by using cleaning vinegar which is a bit more acidic, 6% instead of 5%. The white vinegar works well too. It has to be Dawn dish detergent so it will cut through the oils on the leaves, then the salt and vinegar burns the leaves.

Mix above ingredients together in a large 8 cup measuring cup if you have one or a large bowl with a lip for pouring. I like to use a whisk to mix well until salt is dissolved. Using a funnel pour into the spray bottle and use immediately. Left over keeps well, just shake bottle before using if it as sat for a while to remix any separation. I have found that this works better than Round-Up and it kills on the first application.

I purchased a 64 oz. jug of White vinegar and stored my unused portion of the mixture back into the bottle. Don't forget to label it well with a sharpie pen.

I noticed that the established Poison Ivy vines get thicker and the vine starts to look hairy looking. Those are roots that sprout out as it climbs the tree or whatever it climbs. If you find an established vine cut it off at the top as far as you can reach, then spray the whole vine down all the way to the ground. You need to not only kill the leaves but also the roots. Whatever you do never touch the vines nor the leaves bare handed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Crockpot style Pulled Bar B Q Chicken

I must admit that I am busting at the seams to share this treasure with my Feasty Fans. This baby only has two ingredients, yes count them only  two. Not only that it has to be one of the easiest recipes ever to make. Also it is a low fat version of traditional Bar B Q and I promise you that will will not miss the fat. I used Stubb's spicy Bar B Q sauce and the sweetness from the Pepper Slaw with the spiciness of the sauce will have your taste buds doing  the Tango.

Feel free use your favorite brand but mine is Stubb's. The great thing about this is that you can make any amount that you want. The ratio for this recipe is 1 cup sauce to 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast.
Ta Da!!!

  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup Stubb's spicy flavor Bar B Q sauce

You will need a crock pot for this recipe. Trim any fat or cartilage from the chicken breast, I like to use my kitchen scissors. Once chicken has been trimmed place into crock pot with 1 cup of the sauce.

I have 2 variations on the cook time.
#1 Cook on high for 3-4 hours
#2 Cook on low for 6-8 hours

Do not add any water! Also no peeking!!! Keep the lid closed because no nose bags are allowed to peek in. Seriously for a crock pot to be efficient you need to leave the lid on to keep in the heat and moisture. You will know the chicken is done because it will shred easily by pulling apart with two large meat forks. Once you have shredded all of the chicken stir mixture well and make sure that all meat is coated evenly with sauce.

Another helpful hint here with the hot season coming up. If you do not want the added heat in your house you may plug it in your garage or covered area outside. You don't have to worry about a dog or cat getting into it because it is too hot to touch. Your main concern is that you do not want it to get rained on. If it is cold you will want to keep it inside because once it gets cooking it smells so delicious.