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Monday, August 30, 2010

Chewy Sugar Cookies

These are great sugar cookies. I am not usually a huge sugar cookie fan. But, these are an exception. These are hands down, the best sugar cookies I have ever had.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease 2 or 3 cookie sheets.


3/4 cup(1-1/2 sticks) unsalted softened butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl beat the sugars, butter, corn syrup, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and egg.
Stir in the flour.
Using a medium size cookie scoop, drop cookies onto the prepared sheets. Use a spoon if you don't have a scoop..
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. The edges will just start to brown. They will look soft though.
Take them out of the oven and leave them on the sheets for 5 minutes to finish cooking.
Transfer to a rack to cool.

You will get 2-1/2 to 3 dozen cookies.
These are great frosted with simple cookie glaze.

Simple Cookie Glaze

This is a great glaze for your cookies.
It dries shiny and hard so it's great for decorating after it sets up. And it does set up pretty fast.
It is not completely opaque so is really great for food coloring additions.


2-1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon milk
20-25 drops food coloring-optional

Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.
The glaze should be somewhat thick, but spreadable.
To make sure it is the right thickness, do a test cookie.
Spread it over the cookie and let it set for about 30 seconds to a minute. The glaze should settle smoothly over the cookie.
If it is too thick to smooth out, add a tiny bit of milk, about a teaspoon and stir that in and test it again.
When you have the right consistency, glaze all your cookies.
They will harden up in only a few minutes.

Decorate as you like.

This will make about 2/3 cup and will frost about 2-1/2 dozen cookies.
Double the batch for large cookies or for a lot of them.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Baking Without Eggs

Sometimes we find ourselves without eggs, but we want to bake something with eggs.
So what should we do?

Substitute, of course.

Currently there is a major recall of eggs due to potential salmonella contamination. People have been getting sick.

So, if you are like me, you can't use the eggs you have.
I am not sure I can even buy eggs, at this time.

So, if you want to bake, you have 2 options.
Find a recipe without eggs.
Or, substitute other ingredients for your egg or eggs in the recipe.

You can buy egg product, which comes from egg whites.
Or you can make your own egg substitution.

For each egg that you need, use:
2 Tablespoons liquid
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 Tablespoon shortening
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

You can also use:
1 teaspoon cornstarch
add an additional 3 Tablespoons liquid to your recipe.

But, the first substitution is the better option.

Dill Pickles

This is my mom's recipe for dill pickles. You can slices them for sandwiches or leave them whole. The jar on the left was just made and still needs to go through it's curing stage. The jar on the right is done and is ready to eat.


Cucumbers to fill 1 quart jar
2 heaping teaspoons dried dill seed

1/3 cup vinegar
1-1/2 cups water
1 Tablespoon pickling(also called canning) salt

Fill your sterilized jar with cucumbers. Add the dill set.
Set aside.
Put the water, vinegar, and salt in a pan and bring to a boil.
Pour over the cucumbers and dill seed.
Carefully pour the vinegar mixture back into the pan, making sure cucumbers stay in the jar.
Placing a jar flat partially over the mouth of the jar helps a lot.
The dill seed will come out though and that is OK.
Bring the vinegar mixture back to another boil.
Pour back over the cucumbers.
Seal the jar with a flat and jar ring.
Turn over the jar and let stand 15 minutes.
Turn upright.
Let cool.
Store for 6 weeks before opening so the pickles will develop really good flavor.

If you are making a lot of pickles, you can process them in a water bath.
After pouring the vinegar over the cucumbers the first time, seal the jars and process for 10 minutes in a water bath canner.
It works, but the pickles never seem to come out crunchy.

Jambalaya Salad

This is no ordinary salad. I stumbled across this recipe while trying to find pasta salad recipes.
It is a great addition to a potluck or even great as a meal, all by itself.


1-1/3 cups water
2/3 cup long grain white rice
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 oz. salad shrimp
1/2 cup cubed ham
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped tomato

3/4 cup Italian salad dressing
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced

In a 2 quart pan, bring the water to a boil.
Add the rice and turn down to medium low. Cover. Cook for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed into the rice.
Fluff and turn out into bowl to cool.
Chop all your vegetables and ham.
If you don't have celery or don't like it, use 1 cup green pepper for the 1/2 cup celery and 1/2 cup green pepper. Still is great that way.
Add the crumbled bacon, shrimp, ham, and vegetables to the bowl with the rice.
In another bowl whisk the Italian dressing, thyme, salt, chili powder, and garlic together.
Pour over the rice mixture.
Stir to coat.
Chill until serving.

Serves 6 as a main dish.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Definitely Not From The Store French Onion Dip

I love French Onion Dip. I think just about everyone does.It seems that way, anyway.
Here is a yummy recipe for a French Onion Dip that is worlds away from the kind you buy at the store.
It is so good!
If you want to cut the fat use fat free mayonnaise and sour cream.


2-1/2 cups sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup chopped onion- choose a mild such as yellow or even green onions.

a 1.4 oz. package dry French onion soup mix

1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion

Mix all the ingredients together.
Chill until serving.

You will get a nice bowl of dip that should see you through a bag of chips.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Blueberry Cobbler

I know, I know. Another blueberry recipe. Hey what can I say? They are in season and I grow them.
Blueberry cobbler is just simply wonderful. It is homey and delicious.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
You will need a 2 quart baking dish.


4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup water
1/3-2/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1/4 cup milk

Combine the 1/3-2/3 cup sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add the water and blueberries.
Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.
Turn heat to warm and keep filling hot while making the rest.
In a medium bowl, stir the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly.
Stir together the egg and milk.
Add to flour mixture and stir to moisten.
Pour filling into baking dish.
Drop mounds of dough on top of the filling.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the topping comes out clean.

Serves 6.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Blueberry Crisp

Most times, when thinking of a crisp, apple or peach comes to mind. But, you can use about any fruit for a crisp.
So, for a change of pace why not try a blueberry crisp?

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
You will need a 2 quart baking dish.


5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
4 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons flour

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, cinnamon, or ginger
1/4 cup butter

In a large bowl mix the 3 Tablespoons flour and 4 Tablespoons sugar. Add the blueberries and toss well to coat.
Pour into the baking dish.
In another bowl mix the remaining flour, brown sugar,rolled oats, and cinnamon.
Cut in the butter til the mixture is crumbly.
Sprinkle over the fruit.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. The topping should be golden.

Serves 6.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

This isn't much better than a fresh from the oven blueberry muffin for breakfast. Yummy!

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease the cups of a 12 muffin cup pan.


1-3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

In a medium bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
I a separate bowl whisk together the milk, egg and oil.
Add to flour mixture and stir, just to moisten.
Fold in the blueberries.
Divide the muffin batter evenly between the 12 greased muffin cups.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
The tops will spring back when touched lightly.

Serves 12.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cooking Dry Beans

Making beans from scratch is pretty simple.
It does take a bit of time, but that is about it.

First of all, when you get your beans out to cook, always rinse them first.

Even if they don't look dirty.
They are.

They just get run through a shaker to get rid of the dirt clumps. But they don't get washed.

They also need to be sorted.
You may find a rock or clump of dirt among the beans.
Some of the beans are probably broken.

To rinse them, cover with water. Take out any beans that float.
These are old.

After you have rinsed and sorted through the beans, you may want to soak them.

Some people believe it shortens the cooking time.
It does, but not by much.
Maybe 15-20 minutes.
So soaking is pretty much your call.

Lots of people get gas from beans.
There are some things people do to try and prevent this.

One way is to add baking soda to the cooking liquid of the beans.
Some people swear it works.
Others don't think so.
Use no more than a teaspoon per pot of beans.

Another method is what I use.
Truthfully, I don't seem to have much gas at all when I do this.
Add a spoonful of bacon grease to the bean pot.
The addition of animal fat seems to help the beans digest easier.

So to cook the beans, add the beans and optional bacon grease or baking soda to a large pot.
Cover the beans fully with water.
Bring to a boil and lower the heat so the beans are bubbling gently.
Partially cover the pot. You want to let some steam escape.
The beans will be down in an hour to and hour and a half.
About 15 minutes before they are done, season them how you like.
They are done when you can blow on a bean and the skin will split. It will be creamy throughout with no crunchiness.

Baked Beans

Yes, you can just get a can of baked beans from the store. But there is nothing like making your own old-fashioned baked beans.
You could take a short cut and start with canned beans.


1 pound dry navy beans or great Northern beans- about 2-1/4 cups

about 3-4 sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled. Or if you have some leftover ham use that.
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup molasses or maple syrup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard. If you don't have dry, use 1 Tablespoon prepared mustard.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Rinse and sort the dry beans. Cover beans with water and let soak for a couple hours up to overnight.
Drain the beans.
Cook your bacon in the bean pot. Remove bacon from drippings.
Add the beans to the pot.
Cover the beans with water and add a handful of the chopped onion.
Bring to a boil.
Partially cover pan and turn heat down so the beans are simmering gently.
Cook beans, stirring occasionally, for about an hour to an hour and a half.
Add more water, as needed, so the beans remain covered by about an inch of water.
They are ready when you take a bean out with a spoon and blow on it. The skin will burst open.
Take off the heat. Drain the beans, but save the liquid.
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a 2-1/2 quart bowl or baking dish mix the beans, bacon(or ham) and onion.
Stir in 1 cup of the bean liquid, the molasses or maple syrup, brown sugar, mustard, salt, and pepper.
Cover the dish and bake in the preheated oven for about 2-1/2 hours, or until it is as thick as you like.
Stir occasionally.
Add more bean liquid, if needed.

Serves 10-12 as a side dish.

If you are using ham, you can add some bacon grease to the pot of beans or use vegetable oil or just skip that part all together.

If you want to make beans and weinies, cut up hot dogs and add to the baked beans about a half hour before the beans are done. Any sooner and the hotdogs seem to lose most of their flavor.

Making Pasta Salad- The Easy Way

I love pasta salad so much. I could eat it all the time.

I never used to make it. I would eat it when I'd go somewhere or someone brought it to my place and I always loved it.

I searched for recipes or just bought a mix.

Than I realized I was making it much harder than it needed to be.

All you need is some pasta,whatever meat you want- if you want, cheese, and vegetables.
You will also need a bottle of salad dressing. Just whatever kind you like.

I usually take a handful of every veggie I am using.
If it is frozen, put it in a colander.
The rest goes into a big bowl with the meat. Use maybe a cup of meat.

Cook 3-4 cups of pasta.
Drain in the colander you have the frozen vegetables in. The hot water will thaw out the vegetables.
Rinse the pasta and vegetables in cold water. Drain well.

Pour the pasta/veggies into the bowl with the meat and other vegetables.
Add a handful of shredded cheese or small cubes of cheese.

Pour salad dressing over the mixture.
Just add enough to coat the pasta salad.

Chill until serving.

The pasta may absorb some of the salad dressing. So, if the salad seems dry, add a little more to moisten.

What could be easier?

That's it.

Your pasta salad done your way.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Blueberry Jam

Homemade blueberry jam is so yummy. It is super easy to make. You can use fresh or frozen berries to make your jam.

You will need 4 or 5 (1/2 pint) jars, flats, and rings.
You will also need a dutch oven to make the jam in.


6 cups blueberries
4 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

Get your jars, flats, and rings ready to add the jam.
Put the blueberries in your dutch oven. Crush them thoroughly.
Add the sugar and lemon juice.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil rapidly, stirring often. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
Take off the heat. Stir and skim off any foam, if needed.
Pour jam into the prepared jars.
Wipe the threads and lip with a hot damp cloth. Do the same with each flat and ring. Seal the jars.
Turn jars upside down for 5-10 minutes.
Turn back upright and let stand for 24 hours.
When sealed the flat might make a popping sound. But to be sure they have sealed correctly push down on the top of the flat. If it can be pushed down, it hasn't sealed and needs to be stored in the refrigerator.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cheesy Zucchini

Cheesy Zucchini

If you grow your own zucchini, you know how plentiful it can be.

If you are like me you get tired of fried zucchini or zucchini bread.
So, I went on an internet and cookbook quest to see what all I could make with it. This is one of the ways I found.

It is inspired by a recipe I found online. I did change it a bit and I find it so yummy! 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
You will need a 9" square baking pan.


2-3 medium-small zucchini
2 Tablespoons butter
salt, pepper, garlic powder to season
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Wash, stem, and thinly slice the zucchini. You will need 3-4 cups.
In a skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
Add the sliced zucchini.
Season with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Saute for about 10 minutes, until the zucchini has softened. Stir frequently.
Spread the sauteed zucchini in the baking dish.
Sprinkle  the cheese over the top and put in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Serves 4 as a side.