Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cindy's Hot Apple Cider

Cindy is one of my favorite people in the whole wide world, and she would make this cider for us at school. She would make some for school potlucks and would often keep a pot brewing in the teacher's lounge for all of us to sip away our stress.  Several years ago, she graciously shared her "secret" recipe. We have enjoyed it at Christmas and holiday parties ever since.  We have it every Christmas morning.

Cindy's Cider
2 quarts apple cider (sometimes I cheat and use juice)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash ground nutmeg
3" stick cinnamon (or two)

I use my mom's old percolator to make the cider.  I put the spices and sugar in the basket part and then let the juice percolate.  I have also use one of the large coffee urns, again putting the spices in the basket, and letting it do it's magic.  If you don't have any of those fancy gadgets, you could simply simmer everything in a sauce pot, then strain before serving.  If I am making it for a party, or making it at school, I measure everything and just keep it in a baggie the night before.  The sugar gets infused with the spices, and is just as delicious.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Candied Nuts

This one falls in the "clips" category, so I am not sure where mom got this one.  My Dad loves nuts, so I am sure she clipped this to make it for him.  They are pretty easy to make if you have a stand mixer, since you coat the nuts in a meringue type mixture before baking. They smell great cooking, too!  I just made some for my Dad for his birthday...shhhh  don't tell!!

Candied Nuts
1/3 cup butter
2 egg whites
dash of salt
1 cup of sugar
3 cups of nuts (use raw almonds, cashews, or pecans... or a combo)
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place butter in a cookie sheet and melt while you are whipping the egg whites.

Using a mixer, beat the egg whites with the dash of salt until frothy.  Add the cup of sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form, like a meringue.

Gently add cinnamon and fold in the nuts.  It looks weird, and white... but don't fret.

Spread in the pan and coat with the butter.  You will bake it for a total of 35-40 minutes, but you'll want to stir it every 8-10 minutes and watch it turn into golden nuggets of deliciousness.

I turned mine out on a sheet of parchment to cool.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Another "later-in-life" favorite, Mom loved the cakey texture of these yummy cookies.  We usually make them around Thanksgiving for friends and family. The chocolate chips surprisingly compliment the spicy pumpkin.  Mom would enjoy them in the mornings with coffee. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup shortening
3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
2 cups canned pumpkin
1-1/2 packages chocolate chips (about 3 cups)
2 teaspoons vanilla

4-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

Cream shortening and sugar; beat in eggs and vanilla.  Mix all dry ingredients together. Mix in with shortening/sugar mixture, adding pumpkin when dough becomes too stiff.
Add chocolate chips. Drop in tablespoon sized balls.  (Dough is sticky.  I use a cookie scoop.) Bake at 375 degrees for 13 to 14 minutes.  Makes about 7 dozen cookies.  Store in airtight container. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010


 Snickerdoodles are my hubby's favorite cookie. So on a rare rainy day here in Arizona, I decided to surprise him with a batch. (Mom always baked on rainy days... it was a given.)  Nothing fancy, but simple and delicious. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Mix together: 
     1/2 cup shortening
     1/2 cup butter
     1-1/2 cup sugar
     2 eggs

Stir in:
      2-3/4 cups flour
      2 teaspoons cream of tartar
      1 teaspoon soda
      1/4 teaspoon salt

Roll into balls then roll into a mixture of:
     2 Tablespoons of sugar
     2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Puppy Chow- A Snack for People!

When my niece Catie was in preschool, her teacher Mrs. Sandberg made "puppy chow" with the children.  Many years later when I was teaching home economics at Catalina, we made it every year. It was always a big hit as my junior high students would tote around paper sacks filled with this delicious munchie!  In fact, every year I have a handful of former students contact me for the recipe.  Now I am making it with my preschooler. We still love it!

Puppy Chow

9 cups Crispix Cereal (almost a whole 12 oz. box)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 box of powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 paper grocery bag

Measure cereal into a large bowl, and set aside.  Over low heat, melt butter, chocolate chips, and peanut butter in a small saucepan.  Stir until well blended and smooth. Pour over cereal; mix well.
Place coated cereal in a paper bag, and dump in the powdered sugar. Gather the top of the bag so that it is closed tightly, and SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE! until cereal is coated with powdered sugar and resembles "puppy chow."  After it cools down, you'll want to put it in an airtight container or baggie... if it lasts long enough to store. 

Note:  This is PEOPLE food, NOT DOG food!  (Just to clarify!)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes

This is one recipe that I have been making since I was in the fifth or sixth grade. I still have the original page that was torn out of an old Snoopy recipe organizer from Hallmark circa 1980 or so. I have seen a lot of similar recipes lately, which inspired me to dig this one out. The original gives a recipe for the cake part, but I am a cheater and just use a box mix. (Gasp!) It is the cheesecake-like filling that makes them special.

Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes

1 chocolate cake mix, prepared using package instructions

Using an electric mixer, combine the following until fluffy:
      1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
      1 egg
      1/3 cup white sugar
      1/4 tsp. salt

     1 cup (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tin with paper liners. Fill liners 2/3 full with cake batter. Drop a heaping teaspoonful of cream-cheese-chocolate chip mixture into each cupcake.

Bake according to package directions. Frost when cool with your favorite frosting.  I topped mine with chocolate chips, too. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Renee's Lemonade Pie

My mother-in-law, Renee started making this pie before Brandon and I were married, and quickly became one of my Dad's favorites. The tartness of the lemonade is offset by the ice cream and yummy whipped topping.  Refreshing after a HOT summer day!

Renee's Lemonade Pie
1 graham cracker crust (better with homemade, but pre-made is ok, too)
1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream, softened
1 large can of frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 (8 oz) tub of whipped topping, thawed

Combine ice cream, lemonade, and about 3/4 of the tub of whipped topping.  Pour into graham cracker crust.  Cover and freeze until firm. When frozen, top with small dollop of leftover topping, if desired.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pork Verde

Another little treasure for the Crockpot.  I will get this ready the night before and stick it in the fridge.  My hubby will put it on the next morning, and dinner is done when I get home.  It's  a beautiful thing.  My Dad loves this one, too- just like mom use to make!

3 lb. pork sirloin roast, cut into cubes
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup minced cilantro
2 ears of corn, remove kernels
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 T. vegetable oil
1 large can of green enchilada sauce (or 2 small ones)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped **
flour tortillas (for serving)

In a large skillet, saute the pork and onions in small batches in the oil until browned. Transfer to the Crockpot. Next, in the same pan, saute the corn kernels, and garlic for a little bit. (It's ok if there are a few onions left in the pan- It's all good!) Add the cilantro and wilt. Add corn/cilantro/garlic mixture to meat in the Crockpot. Add the enchilada sauce and jalapenos. Stir.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours until the meat is tender. Serve wrapped in tortilla.  YUMMY!!

**Callie's notes:  I am a total lightweight, and LEAVE OUT the jalapenos.  There is enough heat for me in the enchilada sauce, but if you like heat- by all means add the jalapenos! Ole!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pina Colada Cake

This is a super simple cake recipe-one that everyone always loves, and is just in time for summer! Again, not sure where this one originally came from, but I remember we made 10 of them (yes, 10 cakes) the year I had a ginormous International Food Festival with my junior high students. They were gone within an hour. I have also made this for parties and potlucks, and usually will bake the cake in an foil cake pan. That way, the pan can just be tossed when it is done. Works great!

Pina Colada Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 can cream of coconut*
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 large tub whipped topping (Cool Whip or generic)
1 cup can crushed, canned pineapple, drained with all but a little juice
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Bake cake according to package in a 9 x 13" pan. Mix cream of coconut and condensed milk. Set aside.

When cake is done (and still warm) poke the top with the handle of a wooden spoon, so there are a lot of little holes.
Pour coconut cream/ milk mixture over the top and spread into the holes. Spread pineapple and reserved juice over cake. Let cake cool, or cover and chill overnight. ** (my preference)
 Mix together whipped topping coconut. Spread over cooled cake. Sprinkle nuts over the top, if you desire. Refrigerate and serve cold.

* Cream of Coconut can be found in the liquor department by the mixers or sometimes by the Thai food. It does not contain alcohol. It is not the same as coconut milk.

** I usually will make the cake, spread over the milk and pineapple and then refrigerate overnight. Then in the morning I will put on the coconut/whipped topping combo, then put it back in the fridge until I serve. I am cheap, and my hubby isn't a fan of nuts so I usually leave those off, but they do add a decorative touch.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

BBQ Pulled Pork/Chicken in the Crock Pot

I can't trace the lineage of this recipe, but it is on the new side of our repertoire. Maybe the last 10 years or so?  It is great for making ahead and feeding a crowd.  We have had it for a lot of large family gatherings.  I have even used this same method/recipe with chicken breasts, and shredded that when we had a crew of people here helping us move into our new house.  I also try to buy the pork/chicken when it is on sale, and cheap.

BBQ Pulled Pork (or chicken)

3 lb pork tenderloin or roast (or boneless breasts, if you are going that route)
1-1/2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce
1/4 cup of honey
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
pepper to season
1/4 cup flour

Place meat in crock pot.  Mix 3/4 cup of BBQ sauce, honey, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour over meat.

Cook on low 8-10 hours.

Using a fork (or two), shred meat into bite size pieces.

Mix flour with remaining 3/4 cup of BBQ sauce, and gradually stir into juices. Increase setting to high, cover and cook 15 minutes longer.

*Notes:  Like I said before, you can use pork or chicken.  If I am having a party, I will often double the recipe, and sometimes make it the day before, refrigerate, and re-heat in the crock-pot.  Makes party day a little easier.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Alfredo Sauce

I love it. My hubby loves it. My Mom liked it. My Dad?  Not so much... but he is a meat and potatoes kind of guy.  Super simple, and delicious.  Serve it with fettuccine noodles, tortellini, or my favorite... get some fresh bread or bread sticks and dig in!

Alfredo Sauce
1 pint of heavy cream (2 cups)
1 stick butter
2 Tablespoons cream cheese
1/2- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
2-3 dashes nutmeg, ground
2-3 dashes pepper

Combine cream, butter and cream cheese. Simmer until it is all melted and happy. Add parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. Season with nutmeg and pepper.

Yummy! (I think this is just as good or better than Olive- you know who...)  :-)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chocolate Coconut Pecan Cake

Coconut lovers, pay attention!  This is a moist, yummy cake with a custardy-coconut filling and chocolate ganache topping.  About eight years ago, I dragged my Mom to a local cooking store for some cooking classes. This one comes from a dessert class, and is more on the difficult side to prepare.  Not too tricky, but quite a few steps.  We made it for one of Mom's high school reunion luncheons, and it got rave reviews. The store has since closed but lucky for us, I am a pack rat and don't throw away great recipes! I also listed things in order of the way I do them, step by step.  That's just the way I roll. Isn't it pretty?

Chocolate Coconut Pecan Cake
Step 1:  Make Coconut filling.  (This can be done a day or so in advance, and refrigerated.)
  3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  5 Tablespoons softened butter
  2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  1/4 tsp. coconut oil (not extract)
  1 cup shredded coconut

In a sauce pan, combine milk and butter over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring continually.
Temper the egg yolks and add to the milk mixture.  Cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes until it becomes the consistency of pudding. Remove from heat, and stir in coconut and oil. Cool completely and refrigerate until needed. If made in advance, let sit at room temperature until spreadable.

Step 2:  Toast and cool 3/4 cup of pecans. On another tray,  toast 2 cups of shredded coconut and set aside.

Step 3: Make the cake!
   2-1/4 cups white flour
   1 tablespoon baking powder
   3/4 teaspoon salt
   1 cup shredded coconut, packed
   1 cup butter, room temperature
   2 cups sugar
   4 eggs
   1/4 teaspoon coconut oil
   9 oz coconut milk
Finely grind the cooled pecans with 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Combine with 1 cup of packed coconut. (Not the toasted stuff... that is for later...) and set aside.  I used my little food processor to grind the pecans.

Sift together: flour, baking powder, and salt, and place in a medium bowl. Add pecan/sugar/coconut mixture. Next, in a mixer bowl, beat butter and 2 cups of sugar just until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs and coconut oil. Add flour mixture ALTERNATING with the coconut milk, starting and ending with the flour. Divide between 2- 8" or 9" greased and floured pans. (I like 8", myself.)

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove and cool completely.

Step 4:  Make the ganache!
1-1/2 lbs  semi-sweet chocolate (good quality)
2 cups of heavy cream

In a heavy saucepan, bring cream to boil and set aside. In a double boiler, melt chocolate. Slowly add cream. Whisk until smooth.  Pour into separate bowl and let sit until room temperature.

(Sorry this is an ugly pic... but you get the idea, right?)

I am drooling, now!

Step #5: Assemble the cake!
Spread filling between layers. (Tip!  I put parchment under the cake in sections, to keep my cake plate clean.)

Top cake with ganache.  Garnish sides with coconut, and remove parchment.

Eat your heart out!

I am NOT a professional, but I think Mom would be proud! 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Grandma Bailey's Fry Bread

Crisp and tasty and WAY better than the junk you get at the fair, Grandma's Fry Bread is delicious and so versatile!  You can top these little breads of goodness with cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, honey or all three for a tasty breakfast or dessert. You can also make them a little bigger, and top them with beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes... you name it... for a yummy -and cheap- "Navajo Taco" dinner. My Uncle Bud remembers Gram making them for breakfast when he and Mom were little. We had a fun time making (and eating) them when he and my Aunt Lorie visited this weekend.  Good times!

Grandma Bailey's Fry Bread
4 cups of flour
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup dry, powdered milk
2 cups water
Mix dry ingredients. Add water. Mix with hands, adding more flour if necessary. Pinch off pieces of dough & flatten with hands. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Heat 1 cup of oil or shortening in a heavy skillet or pot to about 375 degrees. The oil should be about 1" deep or so. Pat down dough again into large or medium circles about 1/4 in' thick. (I am a cheater, we used a floured rolling pin.)

Brown on both sides in the hot oil. Drain. (I used a small pot so I wouldn't have to use so much shortening.) We just fried them one at a time.)

Again, you can top these lovelies with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or honey for a sweet treat.  Or you can make it a meal by using it for a base for beans, cheese, even shredded beef.

Makes 2 dozen- 5" rounds, but we halved the recipe yesterday, and it worked great.  A half recipe made 9 of these 6" babies, which was perfect for an afternoon snack! 

Em had fun cooking with Uncle Bud!!

When I taught 4th Grade.. (oh... 10 years ago???) ... Mom and I made up the several batches of the dough, rolled it into 150 balls and covered them with greased wax paper. The next day I took them to school for Arizona Day.  We had a fry bread station and let the kids flatten them and Mom helped with the frying. They loved it!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mrs. Tomasi's Playdough

Two doors down we had a neighbor, Mrs. Tomasi.  She always had neat things for us to do.  One of my favorites, was making Playdough.  This is her recipe.  I have jazzed it up a bit by adding glitter and using the Kool-aid packs*, but I think she'd approve!

Playdough Recipe
Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until mixture begins to pull away from pan:
     1 cup flour
     1 Tablespoon oil
     1/2 cup salt
     2 teaspoons cream of tartar
     1 cup of water

Add food coloring, or powdered Kool-Aid and knead.  I like the Kool-Aid.  It is easy to pour, and makes the dough smell good, too.  Knead in some glitter, too if you like!  

Look how bright the colors are!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

New York Cheesecake

Who doesn't like a creamy, yummy cheesecake? One of two of Mom's cheesecake recipes, this is one is easy to prepare, and yields a result that I think rivals many restaurant cheesecakes.

New York Cheesecake
     1 cup graham cracker crumbs
     1/4 cup sugar
     1/4 cup melted butter

Blend together in a small bowl, and press in the bottom of an 8" un-greased spring-form pan.

     1-1/2 cup sour cream
     1/2 cup sugar
     2 eggs
     2 teaspoons vanilla
     1 pound cream cheese, broken into small pieces
     2 Tablespoons butter, melted

     Blend the sour cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a food processor*  for 1 minute.  Add the cream   cheese. Blend until smooth. Pour butter through the top of the machine, and blend.

 Pour into the spring-form pan.

     Bake in the lower third of a 325 degree oven for 45 minutes. When baking is finished, remove from oven, and turn oven over to broil.  Broil the cheesecake just until top begins to show attractive spots of brown.**

     Refrigerate 4 hours, preferable overnight, before serving.

*I highly recommend you use a food processor with the metal blade attachment.   I have made it in my Kitchenaid, but even with the paddle attachment, it seems to still whip in too much air, and the consistency isn't quite the same.
**The broiling is optional, but it adds some color.  You could also use a chef's torch, if you have one.