Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hoppin' Marty-John

Marty is always in charge of cooking the Hoppin' John at our house every New Year's Day. When we were first married, he made me eat pickled herring in a sour cream sauce as soon as I opened my eyes in the morning. After proving to him that this did not bring good luck- I was able to introduce the southern tradition of black eyed peas and I have had great luck ever since! (at least I have been lucky enough to avoid pickled herring!)

1 pound of bacon 1 pound black eyed peas
1 large yellow onion diced fine Fajita spice mix

Cook the bacon in frying pan slowly until it is cooked. Take out the bacon, add the onions to the pan and cook them until they are tender.
Meanwhile boil the black eyed until tender. Drain. Put the bacon/onions on top to the black eyed peas and cover with chicken broth add fajita spices and salt to taste. Simmer for about an hour. Serve with rice or eat alone.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


1 cup butter softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups flour
Mocha Filling (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat 1 cup butter, confectioners' sugar and cocoa in large bowl until fluffy. Blend in flour until smooth. Shape dough into inch size balls. (If dough is too soft to handle, cover and refrigerate until firm.) Place on cookie sheets. Press center of each ball with knuckle of finger to make indentation.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until set.

Prepare Mocha Filling. While cookies are still warm, spoon about 1/2 teaspoonful filling into center of each.


2 tbsp butter or margarine
6 tablespoons unsweetened chocolate
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp hot postum or pero

Melt 1 tablespoon butter and chocolate in small heavy saucepan over low heat; stir until melted. Blend in powdered sugar, vanilla and enough postum to make a smooth filling.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

April's Chili

A few years ago a friend of mine gave me her award winning chili recie  I can't guarantee that I always win the prize with this but I really like it.  Sometimes I alter the ingredients a little.  Last time I made it I added 1/4 Cup of BBQ sauce so that I could have a little bit of a smokey flavor but I usually don't.

2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 C chopped onion
5 minced garlic cloves
1 Chopped  green pepper
1 C choppeed celery

Saute, then drain off grease.

Then add the following 14 oz cans:
1 can black beans
2 cans ranch style beans
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can rotel
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can low sodium chicken broth or beef broth

Then Add:
1 t worstershire sauce
2 T chili powder
1 T oregano
1 t corriander seeds
1 t basil
2 t salt
pepper to taste
1/2-3/4 C Brown Sugar
1 T vinegar
1/4 C catsup
Dash of tabasco

Bring to a low boil then simmer for a couple of hours.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I have been making this fudge for years. Years ago I wanted to make some fudge and looked through tons of recipes. Most of my results turned out grainy. I finally found a recipe and through out the years, I have modified it to my family's tastes. This fudge is really easy and it is never grainy.

1 can sweetened condensed milk.
3/4 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips I use either (Guittard or Ghiradelli)
3/4 bag of milk chocolate chips
a dash of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat the condensed milk in a medium to large sauce pan until it is warm/hot. Stir while heating so that it doesn't scorch. Take the pan away from the heat and add the chocolate chips. I never really measure but I try to add about 3/4 of each bag of chocolate chips. Stir the chocolate in the warm/hot milk and let it set until it melts. Stir until it is well blended. If the milk wasn't hot enough to melt all of the chocolate chips, you can heat the pan on low for a minute of two. Add the salt and the vanilla. Pour into a wax paper -or plastic lined--8" X 8" pan. Chill until set, about 3 hours. Cut into pieces and store in a plastic zip lock bag.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


This is a wonderful salad dressing-- but remember to brush your teeth and chew gum if you go out after eating it.

1 cup Hellman's mayonnaise

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 egg

2 Tbsp. dried parsley (or handful of fresh)

1 to 2 cloves of garlic

2 tsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp . anchovy paste

pinch of sugar

salt and pepper (to taste)

A tiny bit of water if you want it thinner

Mix all ingredients together and let sit in fridge for at least an hour before serving. This stores well for about a week.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Southern Style Asian Broccoli Salad

Every time I bring this salad to a picnic or party I don't bring home any leftovers!

1 pound broccoli florets (Cut into Bite sized Pieces)
4 chopped green onions
2 Large stalks of celery, chopped

Crunchy Topping
1 package ramen noodles (break the noodle into small pieces and throw away the flavor pack)
1 C chopped pecans (this makes it southern)
1/4 C butter

1/2 C vegetable oil
1/4 C cider vinegar
1/4 C sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 T soy sauce.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. When the water is briskly boilng throw in the broccoli. Turn off the heat and cover with a lid.  After about 2 minutes, drain the broccoli in a collander while rinsing with cold water.
This just barely cooks the broccoli and it ends up slightly tender but still very fresh.  Add the other vegetables then set aside in the refrigerator.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan.  Add the package of ramen to the butter.  Keep the heat on medium and keep stirring to prevent burning.  When the noodles are a nice golden brown remove from heat and let drain on a paper towel.  Next, put the pecans in the same pan and cook these until golden brown and crunchy.  Remove from heat and put on the same paper towel as the ramen noodles.  Allow this to cool completely before you add it to the salad.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together.

Do not assemble this until you are ready to eat.

To assemble, pour the dressing on the vegetables.  Toss in the crunchy topping.  That is it! 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Breakfast Chili Relleno Casserole

12 eggs
16 oz sour cream
16 oz monterey jack/colby grated cheese
7-8 oz canned chopped green chilis, drained
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Preheat oven to 350.  Whisk together eggs and sour cream together.  Gently mix in the cheese, chili, salt, and pepper.  Pour this into a 9X13 inch pan that has been sprayed with Pam.  Place this pan into a larger pan and put in the oven.  Fill the larger pan with boiling water so that the water reaches at least half way up the side of the egg pan.  Close the oven door and bake for 30 minutes.  Cut this into serving size portions and serve with a little picante sauce.

This is my favorite breakfast casserole.   You could add a little cooked sausage, bacon or ham but I never do.  It is a great protien start to the day.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pumpkin Bread

What says fall like a warm fresh loaf of Pumpkin bread?  This is easy and so good.  The crystalized sugar on top is is a good texture treat.  Don't store this in an air tight container or else the sugar will melt.


1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoon ground cloves
Crystalized sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray three 7x3 inch loaf pans or 16 mini loaf pans.

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans. Sprinkle generously with crystalized sugar.

Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven for large loves or 30 minutes for mini loaves. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Lemon Blossoms

As I was looking for the cobbler recipe that keeps turning up lost I came across a recipe that I made for one of our tea parties. They are very easy and very good.

Lemon Blossoms:

18 1/2 oz. package yellow cake mix
3 1/2 oz. package instant lemon pudding
4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray nine muffin tins with nonstick spray. Mix the ingredients and fill each tin half way. Bake for 12 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the glaze.

4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
3 Tbs. water

Sift sugar into a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix until smooth. Dip cakes into glaze while still warm. Set 1 hour.

I am still looking for the cobbler recipe. Let's just hope it isn't lost forever.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pasta Salad with Olives--Insalata di pasta con olive

Sometimes I run out of ideas for side dishes. I get kind of tired of potatoes, rice, and corn. I have been looking for a pasta salad recipe for a long time. Tonight I found one in my Italian cookbook. The one Sarah D gave me. We loved it! As soon as I find my camera cord, I will put on a picture. This is a really pretty salad!

1 pound pasta- such as medium shells, farfalle, or penne
4 Tbs. olive oil
10 sun dried tomatoes- thinly sliced
2 Tbs. capers (rinsed)
2/3 cup black olives sliced
2 cloves garlic-finely chopped
3 Tbs. Balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until done. Drain and rinse with cold water.
The the water is boiling and the pasta is cooking soak the sundried tomatoes in one cup of hot water for 10 minutes. In a medium bowl combine the rinsed capers, olives, garlic, and vinegar.
After 10 minutes drain the tomatoes - reserving some of the water to add later. When the pasta has been drained and rinsed, add it to the bowl. toss the pasta with the olive oil and add to the bowl with the other ingredients. Add enough of the reserved water to moisten it. Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper.
Let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Serves 4 to 6

Friday, October 30, 2009

Caramel Apple Spice

Caramel Apple Spice is one of my favorite drinks from Starbucks. 
Unfortunately it's kind of expensive
I was really craving some this fall season 
but didn't want to spend 5 bucks on one cup. 
This recipe tastes almost exactly like the one from Starbucks 
and it's a lot cheaper too.

You will need:
Apple Cider
Meltable Caramels (6 per cup)
Whipped Topping

Mix a pinch of cinnamon (per taste) into your cider.

Heat up the cider using either microwave or stove top.
Pour into individual mugs.

Using a double boiler melt your caramels over the stove. 
Follow the instructions on the caramel packet.

(Remember it's about 6 cubes per cup.)

Once the caramels are liquid begin pouring equal amounts into the mugs.
Stir well, until you can no longer scrap caramel from the bottom of the mug.

Add whipped cream on top.
Drizzle any remaining caramel on top of the whipped cream.

Enjoy... It's delicious. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

I made this salad for Megan and Chris when they came to visit. They wanted to eat it everyday they were here. It is so good and fresh.

Spinach Salad

Baby spinach
sliced fresh strawberries
canned mandarin orange segments (drained)
sliced fresh avacado
sliced purple onion

Poppy Seed Dressing

1/2 small onion chopped
3/4 C sugar
1 t dry mustard
1 t salt
1/2 C white vinegar
1 C oil
1t poppy seeds

Place the onion in the blender and give it a whirl. Add the sugar, mustard salt and vinegar. Give it a whirl until everything is smoothe and pureed. Add the oil slowly while continuing to process. Add the poppy seeds but dont process anymore. Pour the desired amount over your spinach salad and toss. Refrigerate the remainder. You will want to make this again!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Halloween Dessert

When I was at Disneyland after my freshmen year of college, I got a free recipe book from the Mission Tortilla Factory. This is my favorite recipe in the book. It is fun to serve to a party because everyone gets to participate in making their dessert. I did this at BYU and everyone liked this dessert even though it is simple.


Flour tortillas
1T Sugar
1T Cinnamon
Vegetable oil for frying

"Carve" each tortilla into a jack-o-lantern face with a knife. Combine cinnamon and sugar mixture and set aside. Heat oil in a pan. When hot, fry each tortilla. The tortillas will puff up. After the tortillas are a golden color, take out of the pan and put on a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle each tortilla with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Eat while hot. This is good when served with ice cream.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Corn Chowder

I made this for the first time last night and both Eric and I really liked it. It is very similar to the Mimi's Cafe corn chowder and that is one of our favorites. This makes 4 servings.

Corn Chowder

2 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. chopped onion
1/3 cup diced celery
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup cubed potatoes
1 1/2 cup corn
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1 1/2 Tbs. flour
1 pint Half and Half

Melt the butter in a large pot. Add celery and onion and saute for about five minutes. Add water, potatoes, corn, sugar, salt and pepper, making sure the water covers everything. Add more water if needed. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Whisk the flour into a 1/2 cup of the half and half. Stir the flour mixture into the soup. Add the remaining half and half and simmer until thickened and creamy- about fifteen minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding is a simple, old fashioned dessert.  It tastes kind of like french toast on steroids.  It is the kind of dessert you might crave in the fall or the heart of winter.  When I was a little kid my father would make bread pudding out of bread that was going stale, like hot dog buns.  He never used a recipe so it tasted different each time depending on the bread he used and the number of eggs we had in the house.  He always used raisens in the pudding.  I really like to make it out of croissants after Christmas or Thanksgiving.  I never add raisens, but if I did I might use golden raisens.  This recipe is a little more up scale.  I really like the crispy, sugary buttered croutons on top.  I was at a restaurant the other day and we ordered a bread pudding for dessert and split it between three people.  This is really filling and soul satisfying!

5 large eggs
1C sugar- divided use
2 1/2 C 2% milk
2 1/2 C evaporated milk
1 T vanilla
3/4 t nutmeg
1 t cinnamon- divided use
1/4 t salt
2 T Melted butter
12 oz bread cut into 1 1/2 inch peices(5 or 6 large croissants or 8 slices of high quality sandwich bread)

Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Lightly coat a 9X13 inch baking dish with Pam.

Whisk the eggs and 3/4 cups of sugar in a bowl. Whisk in the milks and the vanilla, nutmeg, 1/2 t cinnamon, and the salt.  Add 6 Cups of the cubed bread and toss together until the bread is soaked.  Pour the mixture in the baking dish, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. 

Toss the remaining 2 cups of bread with the melted butter and the remaining sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top of the bread pudding , pushing down to partially submege.

Bake until the pudding is a golden brown, puffs around the edges, and jigglesslightly in the center, about 40 to 50 minutes.  Let cool for about 30 minutes before serving.  Serve wth Carmel sauce.

Carmel Sauce

1/2 C water
1 C sugar
1 C evaporated milk
1/8 t salt
1/2 t vanilla

Pour the water in a large sauce pan.  Add the sugar to the center of the pan taking care not to let the granules adhere to the sides of the pan.  Cover and bring to boil over high heat. 

Once boiling, uncover and continue to boil until the syrup is straw colored and registers 300 degrees on a candy thermometer( about 7 minutes).  Reduce to medium heat and continue to cook until the syrup is a deep amber color and registers 350 on the candy thermometer( about 1 or 2 minutes.) This last step goes really fast. Watch it, or you may find yourself throwing it away beacause it is burned. 

Mean while, bring the milk and salt to a simmer in a small saucepan.

Remove the syrup from the heat.  Pour about 1/4 of the milk into the syrup and let the bubbling subside.  Add the remaining milk and the vanilla.  Allow to cool a little.  Serve over the bread pudding. If you have leftover sauce it is great for dipping crisp fall apples.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Deanna's Spaghetti Sauce

I married an Italian. Not an I-talian, but an Italian. When we were first married, I tried making homemade spaghetti sauce. I remember spending all day chopping fresh tomatoes and cooking up a potful of sauce. I wanted to impress my Italian husband with this sauce I had spent so much time preparing. When I served it the Marty he wasn't impressed. He doesn't remember what he said after he took his first bite, but I do. He said it was kind of bland--in fact he called it
"Chef-Boy-are-Deanna" after the Chef Boyardee store brand. I was kind of mad. I had spent an entire day making this sauce and it tasted like something that came out of a can. So I made a decision that day.

If after spending all day cooking and it still tasted like a store-bought spaghetti sauce, why not just buy a store-bought spaghetti sauce and start from there.

I experimented with lots of brands and finally decided on the one I liked the best. Barilla. It has been a family favorite for many years. I have served it to lots of people, and the one Italian that I tried to impress many years ago loves it.

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
3-4 cloves of fresh garlic--crushed
1/2 tablespoon of dried basil
1/2 tablespoon of dried parsley
1/2 tablespoon of dried oregano

1 pound of hamburger
2-3 mild Italian sausages
2-3 pieces of lamb... optional (I put it in there because Marty likes lamb)

5 bottles of Barilla spaghetti sauce. I usually buy a combination of tomato basil, mushroom, and marina.

First, saute the herbs in the olive oil until it is golden over a medium heat. This only takes about 3-4 minutes. (Do not brown the garlic, it won't taste very good) Once the herbs have been cooking for a few minutes, add the meat. If you are using Italian sausage links, remove the casings before add it to the pot. Stir the meat as it browns.
Once the meat has browned, add the jars of spaghetti sauce. After the jars are empty, I add a little water to each jar and swirl it around to get the rest of the sauce out. Add the water to the rest of the sauce and cook over a low heat for a few hours. I usually cook the sauce for about 4 to 5 hours stirring every so often.

Serve this over your choice of pasta. Freeze the remaining sauce in ziplock bags. It freezes really well and is a wonderful quick dinner that can be enjoyed for months later.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cheddar Ham Soup

I decided that I would post my favorite soup recipe as well, while I'm sitting with my recipes all over the place. Eating this soup just reminds me of that contented feeling of being inside and watching the rain or snow coming down.

Cheddar Ham Soup
2 cups diced, peeled potatoes
2 cups water
1/2 cup sliced carrot
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cupu flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 tsp pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups cubbed, fully cooked ham
1 cup frozen peas, thawed.

In a large saucepan combine the potatoes, water, carrot and onion. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 10-15 minues or until tender. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add the milk, salt and pepper. Boil and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the cheese until melted. Stir the cheese sauce into the undrained potato mixture. Add ham and peas, heat through.

Tuna Cheese Sandwiches

For my first post ever on a blog, I decided that I would post one of Eric's and my favorite quick lunches. It only takes about 10 minutes to make and that's if you are pretty slow. I got the recipe out of a Taste of Home cookbook but have added to it and adjusted it so that now, I think it's about perfect. So, here goes:

Tuna Cheese Sandwiches:
2 cans (6 oz.) tuna, drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1 Tbs. milk
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. onion salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups of finely shredded lettuce
Wheat bread

In a small bowl combine the first 10 ingredients. Put the mix on bread and enjoy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Leftover Chicken or Turkey Hot Sandwich Dinner Idea

Three cups leftover chicken or turkey-chopped
8 ounce tub chive flavored cream cheese
1 clove minced garlic
Opt- small can of mushrooms, drained,  1/2 C chopped artichoke hearts, or 1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes.

Mix this togetrher.

10 to 12 sheets of filo dough
1/2 C melted butter
1 C Mozzarella
Parmesan and garlic powder

On a cookie sheet layer the filo dough brushing a little butter between each layer.  Put the chicken mixture in the middle of the dough so that it is 3 inches wide.  leave two or three inches at each end.  Use a sharrp knife and cut the sides of the dough into 1/2 inch strips.  Top the chicken with 1 Cup of mozzarella cheese.  Lace the strips over the chicken and cheese.  Brush the top of the sandwich with butter and top with a little garlic powder and Parmesan. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

After Thanksgiving I am always looking for creative ways to use the leftover  Turkey.  I don't think anyone would complain about this recipe.  It is surprisingly flavorful.  The filo dough is light, crispy and flakey.

Almost As good As Fried Butter Cake

I saw Rachael's recipe a few days ago and knew I had to make that cake. But we do live in Texas so a few changes to the recipe were necessary to fit in with the local cuisine. Texans are big on pecans because they grow here. Fried Butter is the new must try food at the State Fair that everyone is raving about so I thought that I would fill in the blank with that.

So here is the Texas version:

1 C cold Butter
1 C flour
1/2 C pecans

Put this in the food processer and pulse a few times until it looks like the right consistency. Put this on the bottom of a 13"X9" pan. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. If you are using a convection oven bake at 325 for about 22 minutes. Allow this to cool completely before putting in your filling.

In the mean time. Whip together an 8 oz box of cream cheese and 1 C of powdered sugar. Add 1/4 Cup milk. Fold in an 8 oz container of col whip. Put this in the fridge while you are waiting for the crust to cool.

Next, mix 2 small boxes of chocolate pudding and 3 cups of milk. Pour this on top of the cream cheese mix.

Then top the whole thing with about 4 ounces of cool whip. Crush up 6 Oreo cookies and two Heath bars and sprinkle these on top of the cool whip. Put the wole thin in the refrigerator for 3 hours or more.

Bob really liked this dessert. I am not sure if Joe is old enough to eat this but he ate it anyway. He really liked it too.  Thanks Rachael!  I am going Visiting Teaching tomorrow so I think I will pass some of it out then.

I will let you know what fried butter tastes like when we go to the State Fair of Texas.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Grandma's Recipe Box (Crazy Crunch and Boiled Raisin Cookies)

When I was going to Rick's College, now BYU Idaho, I had the opportunity to stay with Grandma Bullock during the summer. I worked during the day and in the evening I would come home and copy the recipes that she had collected over her lifetime. She was the best cook I knew. I wrote down all of her favorite recipes and put them in my own box. I still treasure that recipe box today. Here are a few of my grandmother's favorite recipes:

Crazy Crunch
There is a story that goes with this recipe. My grandmother found this recipe in a newspaper years ago. She loved candied popcorn! She made this recipe so much that she had it memorized. She also made this recipe so much that she gained a lot of weight. Because she had gained so much weight, she decided to throw away her newspaper clipping and stop making crazy crunch for a while. She felt confident that she had memorized this recipe and would never forget it. Well after a few years, she had lost the weight and had a craving for candied popcorn. She tried over and over again to make it, but could not replicate the recipe. To her dismay, she had forgotten it. She ended up writing to the Karo Syrup company and requesting the recipe from them. The lesson she passed on to me was to never throw away a recipe, even if you think you have it memorized.

1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup light karo syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 cups popped corn
2/3 cup toasted almonds (I usually don't add the nuts)
1 1/3 cup toasted peanuts

Combine sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a 2 quart saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Continue boiling for 10 to 15 minutes-- until the temperature reaches 290 degrees (hard crack stage) If you don't have a thermometer you can get a glass of cold water and pour a small spoonful of the hot liquid into the water, the candy is ready if the cooled candy cracks when you take it out of the water.
Remove the candy from the heat and stir in vanilla. Pour this syrup over the popped corn and nuts Toss with spoons and spread out on a cookie sheet to cool. Break into pieces and stor in a tightly covered container. Makes 1 3/4 pounds.

(Caution.. eating too much of this can make you gain weight)

Boiled Raisin Cookies
This recipe is very old fashioned. I am sure it was developed before the chocolate cookie.

1 cup water
1 cup raisins
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
3 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup nuts--optional
4 cups sifted flour

Add water to raisins and boil for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool Cream together shortening and sugar until light. Add beaten eggs then vanilla. Sift flour and spices and stir into dough. Add nuts and cooled raisin with the liquid. Drop by spoon onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes in a 400 oven or until light brown. Do not over cook. Makes 60 cookies

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Corn Cassrole

One of my favorite restaurants is the Cheesecake Factory.  My favorite dish there is the sweet Tamale cakes.  I made Paula Dean's Corn Casserole recipe as an accompaniment to brisket and it was like de ja vu all over again.  The flavor and consistency are an excellent replica of corn cakes.  So top this with a little sour cream and pico de gallo.  This would go great with tacos or fajitas instead of the traditional beans and rice.

Corn Casserole

1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (recommended: Jiffy)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter. Pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and top with Cheddar. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.

You really don't need the cheese if you are using the pico de gallo and sour cream

Unlike Cheesecake Factory this is cooked in one pan.  So you need to spoon it out on your plate.  Sorry about the misleading picture.  I bet you could make it look like this if you really tried.

Texas Caviar

When John was home this summer he loved this black-eyed pea salad.  I made it for Megan and Chris too.  Chris really wanted the recipe.  I guess those five recipes I taught Megan don't really even get her one week worth of dinners.

Texas Caviar 

Two 15 ounce cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes or 4 romas, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and minced
¼ c. diced red onion
3 green onions, chopped, white and green parts
1 c. chopped bell pepper, any color or a combination
¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 C diced celery
1 C canned or frozen corn (opt)


1/2 C cider vinegar
1/2 C Oil
1 t. salt
1 T sugar
½ t. freshly ground black pepper
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. ground cumin

Combine all of the vegetables in a large bowl.

Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Mix well to combine. Cover, refrigerate, and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours. Before serving, taste and add extra vinegar, salt or pepper if necessary.

You can eat this plain, like a salad or with tortilla chips as a dip.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hand Made Soap

Hand Made Soap

You can learn about more about soap making on You can also go to this sight and come up with your own recipes using different oils. Another good spot for recipes is Basic soap is a combination of oil, water, and lye. You can’t make soap without lye. Lye causes the chemical reaction that turns the fat into soap.

In this instruction set you will find a basic recipe for soap using ingredients you have on hand or that you can purchase at a grocery store. Lye can usually be purchased at a hardware store. I have found it at C&S. Make sure you buy 100 percent lye. It will be in the plumbing department next to the drain openers. You can find fragrance oil at Super Walmart next to the candle making supplies. I found these fragrances work great but be aware that any vanilla scent will turn your soap brown, which is okay if you want brown soap. You can find colorants at Michael’s in the soap making section. All of these items can also be purchased on line at or

Along with the recipe ingredients, you will need to gather some basic soap making equipment. You will need a basic scale to weigh out the oils, lye, and water. You will need a small plastic pail for the water/lye mixture. You will need some newspaper to line all of your work surfaces. You will need some rubber gloves and safety goggles to protect your hands and eyes from the lye. You will need a plastic pail that you can put in the microwave to melt the oils. You will need an instant read thermometer to measure the temperature of your oils and your lye water. You will need a hand blender to mix the oil and lye water. You will need a spoon and a rubber spatula. You will need some molds for your soap. The mold can be as easy as a Velveeta box lined with parchment paper or a silicone pan.

Ingredient                              Ounces

Water                                     24.32

Lye - NaOH                            9.245

# √ Oil/Fat                %           Ounces


Crisco                     50%            32


Milk Fat (Butter)    37.5 %         24


Coconut              12.5%             8

The first step is to line your work area with newspaper. You should even line the sink. Put on your goggles and gloves. Weigh out the water. You can use ice as part of the water. This helps the temperature to cool to the correct temperature more quickly. Put your water pail in the sink. Weigh out the lye. Add the lye to the water and stir. Step away from the lye/water. You can take off the goggles and gloves for a time. Weigh out the oils and put them in the plastic microwavable pail.

Put the oils in the microwave just until everything is melted.

At this point you need to take the temperature of the lye/water and the oil. Wait until the temperature is between 110-120 degrees F for both the lye/water and the oils to proceed to the next step. This is important! If the temperature is too high your soap will turn into an oily mess! Believe me, I have made a few too many oily messes before I discovered this.

Put on your gloves and goggles. When the oil and lye/water are at the right temperature add the lye water to the oil pail. Use a hand-held blender to stir this mixture. When the pioneers did this step it would take several hours to get the soap blended. With the miracle of a handheld blender this step only takes about 3 or 4 minutes. Blend the mixture until it becomes the thickness of a thin pudding or gravy. This is called trace. Add 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of fragrance oil and incorporate with the hand-held blender. Add any colorant, incorporating with the blender. Carefully pour the soap into the molds. Clean up is pretty easy because you have just made soap. Use plenty of warm water.

Wait for 24 hours before you cut the soap. Allow the soap to dry for 3 weeks before you use it. It needs some time to complete its chemical processes and to dry out.

So, what happens if you have a big oily mess? Don’t panic. Just wait a few hours and take the oily mess out of molds . Use a mixer and mix it up just like whipping up mashed potatoes. If the soap is too thick put it in the microwave for a few minutes. Put the soap back in the molds and bake it in the oven at 200 degrees for a couple of hours. Take it out of the oven and let it sit over night. Cut the soap the next day. You can use this soap 2 or 3 days after it is cut because the oven processing has speeded up the chemical process. I’ve never made a soap mistake that I could not redeem by this method.

After you learn to make basic soap you can get artistic! Good Luck.

Bread Sticks

I made up this recipe about 10 years ago. About a year or so later I was asked to some bring bread sticks to a homemaking night. I brought a bunch of these. I gave the recipe to a few people who "just had to have it." Last year as I was sitting at a youth activity I was served these very same bread sticks. I recognized them at once! To my surprise, when I asked where the recipe came from, the young man said... "this is my mom's bread stick recipe, she is the best cook!" His mom was one of the ladies who asked for the recipe. It's funny how recipes travel.

Deanna's Bread Sticks

1 Tbsp. yeast 1 Tbsp powered milk
3 cups flour 1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt 1 1/3 cup warm water
2 Tbsp. sugar

Put into bread machine or mix by hand and knead for 10 minutes. let rest for 10 minutes. Knead again for 10 minutes. When the dough is ready, roll out to 1/2 inch thick and cut into strips. Place on a greased cookie sheet.

1/3 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder 1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp. lemon and herb seasoning (McCormick makes this)
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients, except cheese. Brush butter mixture on bread sticks after you put them on the pan and before they rise. Sprinkle with salt and Parmesan cheese. Let rise for 30 to 40 minutes. Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until browned.

Frito Fried Chicken

This summer when we were camping in the Olympic National Park, my neice Christi had just about had it with the non-fast camp food. She was starving so she was eating what I served but she was in desparate need of a fast food fix.  That is pretty hard to find in the middle of a mountain wilderness.  I was planning to grill some chicken but I looked at my ingredients to see what I could come up with.  This was when I created Frito Fried Chicken.  John and Joe were also grateful for the fast-food fix after 4 days of the really healthy stuff.  John was pretty amazed that something so good could be made with the supples in a camp kitchen.  I also made this recipe when Chris and Megan were over.  Chris wanted Megan to add this on to her list of the 5 recipes she knows how to cook.

Frito Fried Chicken

About 1 1/2 pounds of chicken tenders
About 1/2 C flour
2 or 3 eggs beaten with about 1/2 cups milk
1 bag of finely crushed Fritos
Oil for frying

Dredge the chicken in the flour to lightly dust.  Dip the chicken in the egg/milk mixture then roll in the Fritos.  Fry in hot oil for about 3 minutes on each side.  Drain on a paper towel.  Sprinkle with salt.  This is really good with a honey mustard dip or with ketchup and fries.

Honey Mustard Sauce
1/2 C dijon mustard
1/2 C mayo
1/4 C honey

Mix this until well blended.

Almost Better Than.. (?).. Cake

(Use your imagination in the title...)

This recipe was given to me by Taylor's Mom. It is incredibly delicious.

1 1/2 Cup Flour
1 1/2 Cubes of Butter
2/3 Cup Chopped Walnuts

Mix and spread in a 9x13 pan.
Bake at 325 for 25 minutes.

(I used 2 store bought ready-made pie crusts. The cake is good with graham cracker, Oreo and chocolate crusts. Just note that you will need 2 of these.. or cut the recipe in half.)

(1st Layer of Filling)
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
8 oz Cream Cheese (room temperature)
8 oz Cool Whip (save 1/2 of container for later)

Mix together in mixing bowl. Stir until smooth. Spread into the cooled crust.

(2nd Layer of Filling)
2 small packages of Chocolate Pudding
3 Cups of Milk

Mix together in another mixing bowl, scraping bottom and sides. Once pudding is smooth, spread onto the first layer.

Top with the other half of the whipped cream.

Sprinkle with a few chopped Walnuts.


We sure did....

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lunch For 8 For Under 10 Dollars

Last year I was hospitality chair for our elementary PTA.  It was toward the end of the year and the budget was nearly gone.  Then came Paraprofessional's day.  I decided that I needed to come up with a really good lunch for a bunch of people while not spending a ton of money.  I knew you could feed a massive amount of people for pennies with beans because that is what Grandma Stockam did almost everyday.  But how to get them to taste great?  I looked at a several of recipes to inspire me and came up with my own version of  Tuscan Bean Soup.  I also made Corney Bread and Grandma Bullock's Chocolate Cinnamon Cake.  This was the perfect meal.  It was easy to prepare and very budget friendly!  The secretaries and aides all loved it!  I made a banner which read, "Thanks for Be-an so good to us."

Corney Bread

1 C corn meal
1 C white flour
¼ C sugar
4 t Baking powder
¾ t salt
1 C milk
2 eggs
¼ C shortning melted
½ can of cream style corn

Mix all ingredients. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes in a 9X13 inch pan.

Chocolate Cinnamon Cake

2 sticks of butter
1 C water
1/3 C cocoa
Put these ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a boil.

Then add the following ingredients into the pot which you have taken off the stove top.

2 C flour
2 C sugar
2 eggs
1C buttermilk
1 t baking soda
1 T Cinnamon
½ t salt

Empty the batter into a sheet pan or a very large baking pan.
Bake for 22 minutes at 350 degrees.
While the cake is cooking make the frosting.
Melt 1 stick of butter together with 4 T cocoa
Remove from heat and add the following:

6 T buttermilk
1 LB powdered sugar
1 t vanilla

Use a mixer to get this really smooth. Pour the frosting over the hot cake when it comes out of the oven.

This cake is soooo good!  I remember making it at Grandma's house to take to a young adult BBQ in the canyon one summer when I was living with Grandma.  I told her that I bet I was going to get at least one marriage propsoal after the guys tried this cake.  She just laughed.  I was pretty surprised when two of the guys at the party proposed after eating the cake.  You can't go wrong with Grandma's recipes.

Tuscan Bean Soup

1 pound dry white beans
1 pound sweet italian sausage
2 T Olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of minced garlic
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 stalks of celery cut inot 1/2 inch pieces
2 quarts of chicken broth
3 T Italian seasonings
Sprig of fresh rosemary or 2 t dry rosemary
1 C kraft pramesan cheese

Soak the beans over night or do a quick soak.  To do a quick soak put the beans in a bowl and fill the bowl with boiling hot water.  Let them sit for 1 hour.  Rinse with cool water.  They are ready to go!

Brown the sausage and drain off the grease.  In the pressure cooker add a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until softened.  Add the garlic and cook for about a minute longer.  Add the other vegetables, the chicken broth, the italian seasoning, and the rosemary.  Put the lid on the pressure cooker and bring to pressure.  Cook at pressure for 20 minutes.  Quick cool the pressure cooker by running cold water over the pressure coker until it depressures.  Add the parmesan.

Slowcooker method:

Follow the instructions up to and including browning the onion and garlic.  Put all of the ingredients except parmesan in a slow cooker.  Cook on high for one hour, then on low for the rest of the day.  Add the parmesan.


1 1/2 cups chopped Roma plum tomatoes.. this is about 6 to 8 tomatoes
2 tablespoons diced red onion
1 large clove garlic minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil... 4 to 6 small leaves
2 tablespoons olive-oil
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
dash ground black pepper

1/2 loaf French baguette
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Combine the tomatoes, red onion, garlic and basil in a medium bowl.
Add 1/2 tablespoon oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and mix well.
Cover the bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

When ready to serve, preheat the broiler and slice the baguette in 1 inch slices.
Combine the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil and the garlic salt. Brush both sides with the oil mixture. Brown under the broiler 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until brown.

I put the toast on a platter with the brushetta next to it so that each guest could make their own and the toast would not get soggy.

I served this to Joe's homecoming group. It was a huge hit!