Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Coconut Macaroons

So here's the deal, coconut macaroons have always been the one cookie that has done it for me.  I don't know but that one little bite of heaven has always drawn me in, much more than any other cookie, or dessert for that matter.  Unless we're talking Victoria Sponge cake which is a very high contender.

Anyway, as much as I love eating them, I have to admit that I've had a love hate relationship with making them, and I think it's due to the fact that I haven't quite found, or rather, hadn't quite found the right recipe.

I tended to always end up with a big round messy pile of half melted coconut which didn't taste bad, but wasn't exactly appealing.

A few weeks ago when I decided to bring back the blog and get back at posting recipes, I was looking through my bookmarked folder and deleting things I no longer want to try, or links to recipes I tried and didn't like etc.  I came upon this one for Coconut Macaroons and honestly my first thought was to delete it because my search for the right recipe had been so long and frustrating.

At the urging of my kids, I kept it and decided to give it one more try, I was completely determined to try it, find it yucky, delete it and never again try my hand at making these delicious little bites.

I'm so glad I didn't.....I think I finally found the Coconut Macaroon recipe for me and I hope that if you've also been on the search for the right now, this may just be it.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons



1 14-oz bag of sweetened shredded flaked coconut
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 - 3 Tbsp. of all-purpose flour


In a large mixing bowl, mix together the coconut, condensed milk, flour, almond extract, and vanilla extract until well incorporated. Cover and put bowl in the fridge for several hours; overnight if needed.

Use a cookie dough scoop to scoop batter and then roll with your hands to form 1 1/2-inch balls. Place each ball on baking pans lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, leaving about 1-inch of space in between each. If desired, add the chocolate baking discs by placing one disc flat side down on top of each coconut ball (they may flatten, but that is ok).
Preheat oven to 330 degrees. Bake for 20 - 23 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
Immediately transfer macaroons to a plate. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

White Chocolate Chip, Almond, Banana Cake

White chocolate chip, almond, banana cake

So I was looking through my refrigerator and cleaning it out in preparation for grocery shopping.  I found 4 bananas that were needing to be used up or thrown out, and I never throw anything out that I can use.

What came to mind?

Banana bread, but I didn't want to just make plain banana bread, I wanted to kick it up a little.  I've used chocolate chips before but again, I wanted to change that up some, so I grabbed a few things and got to work.  I used my Banana Bread recipe just changing it slightly by adding two different ingredients.

If you want to make this cake, follow my recipe for Good Ol' Banana Bread but add in White Chocolate Chips and some Almonds.  I didn't measure, I just poured in a bit, I would say a cup of the chocolate chips and maybe half a cup of the almonds.

Bake in a loaf pan according to the directions on the recipe.

Remove from pan and let cool, slice the loaf into thirds so you'll end up with 3 layers and let cool completely.

Sandwich them between layers of Cool Whip and dust with powdered sugar.

Your family will thank you for this.  I promise.  It is so good, and all those amazing flavors meld together to create an out of this world delicious cake.

White chocolate chip, almond, banana cake

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Cream Cheese and Sweet and Chili Sauce

I'm bringing you a fun yummy, super easy appetizer or snack to serve at your next family/friend get together.

It's one of those things that you don't really realize how simple it is to get on the table, but yet when you try it, you're amazed at how yummy it is.

Really doesn't even need a recipe, persay, but nonetheless, I'm sharing it with you.


Cream Cheese and Sweet and Chili Sauce

Cream Cheese and Sweet and Chili Sauce

1 package (8z) cream cheese, room temperature
Sweet and Chili Sauce (your favorite brand)

Place the cream cheese on a plate, pour on the sauce and serve with crackers. That's IT!!!

Like I said, not really much of a recipe, but just an idea for a quick snack to serve, especially good when you have unexpected guests.

Cream Cheese and Sweet and Chili Sauce

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Custard Cake

I've been making this one for many years, sometimes with coconut, sometimes with lemon rind.  You may actually know it as Impossible Pie.

My favorite has to be the coconut, but my son doesn't like it so I tend to stick to either the lemon or just the plain custard.

The magic part is how it creates it's own crust, followed by a silky custard filling and a crust on the top.  It's so good, and so easy to make.  A definite to throw together when you have unexpected guests.

For this version, I used the recipe from Hugs and Cookies

Custard Cake

Custard Cake

4 eggs (whites separated from yolks), room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
8 Tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk lukewarm
powdered sugar for dusting cake
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Grease and Line 8 inch x 8 inch baking dish with parchment.
Separate eggs and add the egg whites to a mixer and beat egg whites stiff. Place egg whites in a bowl and set aside.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light. Add butter and vanilla. Beat for two mins. Add the flour and mix it in until fully incorporated.

Slowly start adding the milk and beat until everything is well mixed together. Add the egg whites, a third at a time and gently fold them in using a spatula, repeat until all egg whites are folded in. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for approx 60 minutes or until the top is lightly golden. Cool and dust heavily with powdered sugar.

Custard Cake

Mexican Lasagna

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Back in the kitchen, and back at it.

The kitchen has always been my haven, since I was a little girl.  I've told you all the story many times of how I used to sit at my great grandmother's feet and pretend to cook.  I guess my love for cooking started at a very early age and was definitely inspired and brought on by my great grandmother, she loved cooking, loved feeding the family and was always in the kitchen, apron around her slender body and humming a song while she worked.

These last few months that I couldn't really cook, were terrible.  I missed it so much, and so now that I'm back at it, I feel immense happiness.

Last night I made a Mexican Lasagna adapted from one of my Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks.  I changed a few things, not many, and it turned out really good.  The family were thrilled to be sitting back down at the dinner table with a home cooked meal.

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Mexican Lasagna

1 pound mild pork sausage
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes with garlic
Chili flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (10 3/4-oz.) can cream of celery soup
1 (10 3/4-oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (10-oz.) can enchilada sauce
18 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 tomato, seeded and diced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped



Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain. Stir in diced tomatoes and next 5 ingredients; cook until thoroughly heated.

Spoon one-third of sauce onto bottom of a lightly greased 13"x9" baking dish; top with 6 tortillas; sprinkle with half of Cheddar cheese. Top with 6 tortillas; repeat layers, ending with tortillas. Sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese and next 3 ingredients.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Chocolate Chip Challah French Toast

Back in April I made a Challah Bread for Easter weekend, a chocolate chip Challah bread.  It was so good and so simple to make.

I used a recipe from the Cuisinart website, I was looking for an easy Challah Bread recipe, if there was such a thing and I lucked out because this one really is as easy as it claims and it's delicious too.

I had leftover Challah and made French Toast the next day.  It was AMAZING!!!

I'm giving you the recipe for the Bread and you can just use your favorite French Toast version to complete it.

Easy Ten-Minute Challah Bread

Chocolate Chip Challah French Toast

one package of active dry yeast
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose bread flour
2 eggs
4 heaping tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm (105-110°F) water
1 egg mixed with water for egg wash
handful of sesame or poppy seeds
cooking spray

Instructions

Sprinkle yeast over water in a small bowl or cup, add sugar and watch it bubble, about five minutes.
Pour the above mixture into a food processor; add flour and then the rest of the ingredients. Mix and let it rise (It's okay to cover and leave it in the food processor or remove it to a greased bowl and cover) for about an hour.
Punch down the dough (press pulse a few times) and let it rise again (about an hour).
THEN:
Separate the dough into four pieces. Use three to make the main bread, and use the fourth piece to make a smaller braid that you’ll pinch into place on top of the main braid. Place the braided dough into a greased bread pan and cover with greased plastic wrap (PAM is easy to use.). Let it rise another hour.
Paint with egg wash (egg and water whisked together). Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
Bake for 45 minutes in a 350° oven.

Chocolate Chip Challah French Toast

Variations:
For savory: Saute' finely chopped onion in olive oil. Roll onion in dough (No braiding with this version). Sprinkle some onion on top of egg wash (in place of sesame seeds) for an Onion Challah.
For sweet:
Before separating into four pieces, knead about 1/2 cup raisins OR 1/2 cup chocolate chips into dough.

Chocolate Chip Challah French Toast

Chicken Fajitas

Without a doubt one of my favorite food to eat, aside from the Portuguese, obviously, is Mexican.  I just love everything about it, the flavors, the combinations, the copious amounts of cheese, yeah, everything.

I have not yet been able to completely and successfully recreate a lot of my favorites, but I keep trying because even if they are not authentic, they are delicious.

One thing I do like doing, is following Authentic Mexican Food Blogs, I believe that is where I'll find the best recipes and I have yet to find one I didn't like.

The Chicken Fajita recipe I'm about to share comes from Cooking Mexican Recipes.  I have found quite a lot of gems on that website.

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas


1 - 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
2 medium yellow onions sliced into 1/4 inch strips
1 large red bell pepper sliced into 1/4 inch strips
2 medium zucchini, sliced into strips

Marinade

1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp. liquid smoke
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1/4 cup water
1 tbs. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. oregano leaves
1 tsp. soy sauce


Combine the ingredients for the marinade and place 2/3 in a glass bowl or Ziploc bag and the other 1/3 marinade in another glass bowl or Ziploc bag.

Rinse chicken in cold water and slice into 1/4 inch strips. I happen to like chicken thighs so I use them in this recipe. If you are concerned about fat intake use chicken breast.

Remove any remaining fat. Add chicken to the bowl with 2/3 of the marinade.

Slice the vegetables and place them in the bowl with 1/3 of the marinade. Refrigerate both dishes for 2 hours or more.

Pan fry the chicken in a cast iron skillet, remove, and fry the vegetables, toss together and serve with warm flour tortillas.

Easy Cream Puffs

Right, I am back and I'm ready to start sharing recipes again.  The first few I'm sharing are actually recipes I made back in Idaho and never got around to posting because I was in the middle of the big move.

I do have some new ones coming up too, so keep an eye out for those.

So the first recipe I'm sharing today is one that my 16 year old daughter actually made.  It's one of those recipes that is so easy to do and it always looks like you've been working on it for hours.  Matter of fact, cream puffs were one of the first things I learned to make in my teenage years.

We had Home Economics in high school and for cooking, we had to make these.  I've always enjoyed them, and I'm happy to pass on this love of cooking to my children.

The recipe comes from Real House Moms, go on over there and take a look, you're sure to find tons of yummy things to try.

Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs

½ cup (one stick) butter
1 cup water
1 cup flour
4 eggs
2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding (3.4 oz each)
1⅓ cup cold whole milk
8 oz sour cream
powdered sugar


Cream Puffs:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Melt stick of butter and water to a rolling boil
Stir in flour and stir vigorously over low heat until mixture leaves the pan (comes off the sides) and is in a ball (about 1 minute)
Remove from heat and cool for a couple of minutes
Beat in eggs (one at a time) with a mixer
Beat mixture until smooth and velveety
Drop by spoonfuls (walnut sized) onto ungreased cookie sheet
Bake until DRY, 20-25 minutes (maybe longer)
Allow to cool

Cream Puffs

Filling:

Mix instant vanilla pudding with whole milk until the pudding is dissolved
Add sour cream until thick
Put mixture in the refrigerator (at least an hour)
Slice the cream puffs in half and fill with the chilled pudding mixture
Sprinkle with powdered sugar
Enjoy

Cream Puffs

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Knock, Knock....anyone still out there?

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Oh what a crazy past few months this has been, actually what a crazy year it has been for my family and I.

I just realized that my last post on this food blog was back in January when I made those amazing Banana Beignets, which if you haven't yet had a chance to try, I would suggest you do.

I've since relocated from Idaho to the beautiful State of Texas and it's been a crazy roller coaster.  My husband came first and the kids and I remained for 4 months before joining him, it kind of meant not cooking much in the sense of trying new recipes or making elaborate meals.  When it's just the kids and I, things like hotdogs and chicken nuggets and ramen noodles seem to take the stage.  Boy was I glad when we finally reunited with the hubster and I could start thinking of cooking actual meals.

I'm now in Texas, I've not yet started cooking much but that is about to change, which means this blog is going to get a nice little revamp and a pick up.

It's time for me to clear out the cobwebs, make a new header, change out the background and get back to cooking in my huge kitchen.

What say you?  Ready for new recipes?  Is anyone even still out there?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Banana Beignets

So when I went grocery shopping, I found some cheap bananas at the commissary.  I always buy them when they're on sale because whatever doesn't get eaten by the kids, will end up in banana bread or banana jam.

I decided to make something a little different this time, just to change it up a bit, so these banana beignets happened.  I've had this recipe saved for a while, I think actually since the last time that I had bananas that needed using up.

The recipe is simple to follow, easy to make and well worth the time, which truth be told is not that much at all.

They are delicious on their own, or enjoyed with a cup of coffee.

Banana Beignets

Banana Beignets
Source:  Taste of Home


Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

BEIGNETS:
2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
Oil for deep-fat frying

Directions

1. In a small bowl, mix sugars and cinnamon until blended. In a large bowl, whisk the first five beignet ingredients. In another bowl, whisk egg, bananas, milk and 2 tablespoons oil until blended. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened.

2. In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat oil to 375°. Drop tablespoonfuls of batter, a few at a time, into hot oil. Fry about 45-60 seconds on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Roll in sugar mixture while warm.

Yield: about 3 dozen.

Banana Beignets