Thursday, October 30, 2014

Crockpot Baked Potato Soup

I made this recipe a while back and loved it.  I can help but share it with you.  I'm including the link where I found it. 

I do it a little different and shred the potatoes, instead of dicing them, to get them to cook faster. I push them into the liquid to coat them a little before putting the lid on. 

Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup

  • 5 pound(s) Russet Potatoes, Washed but not peeledDiced into 1/2 in cubes
  • medium yellow onion, diced
  • 10 clove(s) garlic, minced
  • 8 cup(s) chicken stock or broth
  • 16 ounce(s) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon(s) seasoned salt
  • bacon, shredded cheese for garnish
  1. Add potatoes, onion, garlic, seasoning, and chicken stock to slow cooker.

  1. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.

  2. Add the softened cream cheese and puree soup with an immersion blender until the cheese is incorporated and about half the soup is blended. (Alternately you could remove half the soup and the cream cheese to an upright blender, then re-incorporate).
  3. Stir well, top with your choice of garnishes & enjoy!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

I'm doing a recipe someone I know shared. My batch is smaller than hers, though. She had 3 gallons.  I only have 1. 

I had a gallon of peels and cores. Put them in a clean jar. I had kimchi in my gallon jar, so I had to use 2 half gallon jars. 

Add 1/3 cup sugar to each 1/2 gallon (2/3 cup per gallon). 

Fill with water about 1-2 inches over the top of the peels. 

Cover with a cloth to keep bugs/dust out, but allow to breathe. 

Stir daily for 2 weeks. 

Once the alcohol smell starts to go away, strain it. The apple will be pretty broken up at this point. 

Bottle, but it still needs to breathe to avoid exploding. Leave the jar lid loose with cloth between the lid and ring to allow it to release the gas/alcohol. 

Wait 12 weeks. Then take the cloth out, recap and done. 

We will see how it goes. I'll blog it as it goes. 

Day 1

Day 7

On Day 16 I strained it.  Then let it set overnight while I prepared the bottles (cleaned them up from being stored).

Day 17 I bottled them, but the caps are not sealed so the gasses don't cause the jars to explode. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Brent's Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

My husband likes a flat and crispy, yet still chewy, chocolate chip cookie.  He came up with this recipe, and it's become a favorite in our house. 

Brent's Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

1 stick butter; softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup walnuts; chopped
1/2 cup Gheridelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350°

Whip butter until light and fluffy.  Add in brown sugar and whip until mixed and light. 

Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together. 
Slowly add to sugar mixture. 

Add egg and vanilla extract.  Mix until combined. 

Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips. 

Drop onto greased cookie sheet (a silpat baking mat is recommended) by tablespoon. You want a lot of space between the cookies.  You can get 8-10 per batch. 

Bake 10 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Let them sit 3-4 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Otherwise they will smash into itself and fall apart if moved when too hot. 

**These are also really good if you add 1/4-1/2 cup shredded coconut to the mixture.**

Monday, July 28, 2014

Whole Wheat Lemon Ginger Cookies

I was wanting some cookies, and thought I'd throw together some whole wheat cookies.  I had some lemon ginger coconut oil and decided to use that to see how the flavors turned out. It's a pretty basic recipe, but is delicious. 

Whole Wheat Lemon Ginger Cookies

1/2 cup coconut oil (Ziggy Marley's Coco'Mon Lemon Ginger)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 

Preheat oven 375°

Mix coconut oil and sugar about 2 minutes until smooth and slightly fluffy. Add egg and mix until combined. 

Sift dry ingredients together and add to sugar mixture.  Stir until combined. 

Drop on cookie sheet or muffin tin if you want them taller (as mine are  in the picture) by tablespoon or cookie scoop.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden around the edges. If you used a muffin tin, let cool 30 sec to 1 min. Then run a butter knife around the edges before they harden. 

These are a little oily, so you'll need a napkin.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Easy Korean Kimchi

With the new found American interest in probiotics, this Korean staple is finding its way to the American plate and palate.

Kimchi is Korea's most celebrated dish, and is the general term given to a group of fermented vegetables.

There are over 200 different kinds of Kimchi. In fact there is even a kimchi museum in Seoul, S. Korea.

According to the Korea Food Research Institute, correctly fermented kimchi contains higher amounts of lactic acid and lactic acid bacteria than dairy fermented products such as yogurt.

Kimchi contains protein, calcium, phosphorous, vitamins C, B1, B2, and niacin.

Kimchi is a must serve at Korean meals.

The following recipe

uses common ingredients usually kept on hand or easily found. The ingredients are cut into small pieces for easy eating and quicker fermentation.


1 head Chinese cabbage*, 2 ½ - 3lbs. (also known as Napa cabbage)

1 medium Asian radish

¼ cup coarse sea salt

4 scallions (cut into 1" pieces)

4 garlic cloves (minced)

2 tablespoons fresh ginger (minced)

2 tablespoons hot chili flakes

1 Teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)


To prepare:

1 - Dissolve salt in 1 cup water/set aside.

2 - Thoroughly wash the cabbage/then cut into 2 inch lengths/peel Asian radish and halve it lengthwise, then halve lengthwise again - then slice thinly into ½" squares.

3 - Place cabbage and radish in a large bowl and pour salt water over them.

4 - Let soak overnight or at least 5 hours.

5 - After soaking drain vegetables BUT RETAIN SALTED WATER.

6 - Add scallions, garlic, ginger, chilipowder (and optional sesame seeds).

7 - Mix all vegetables, thoroughly, by hand

(using gloves as chilis may sting)

Pack all in a large jar (about 2 quart size)/pour the salted water over the mixture.

Leave an inch of space at the top of the jar.

Cover tightly.

Let sit for 2-3 days depending on how fermented you like your kimchi.

Refrigerate after opening.

Share and Enjoy!

* Although Napa Cabbage is preferred, regular cabbage can also be used.  

Substitutions: What to use when you don't have what you need


What to use when you don't have what you need





When making substitutions for alcohols, it is important to keep the volume of liquid in the recipe the same as originally called for. Depending on the recipe, apple juice or chicken broth often makes a good substitution for wine. When using flavored liqueurs, extracts can be substituted if you make up the balance of the liquid with water. For example, if a recipe calls for 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier you could use 1/2 teaspoon orange extract. Just be sure to get the same level of orange flavor. This may take some experimentation.  


Baking Powder:

1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar can be substituted for 1 teaspoon baking powder.  


Baking Soda:

There is no recommended substitute for baking soda.  


Bouquet Garni:

1/2 teaspoon each dried parsley flakes, dried thyme leaves and 1 bay leaf (crushed), can be substituted for 1 teaspoon bouquet garni.  



Unsalted butter can be substituted for regular butter in any recipe. It is NOT necessary to add salt. Margarine can also be substituted for butter. Do NOT use

lowfat spreads or light butter for baking.  



1 tablespoon vinegar plus enough milk to equal 1 cup OR 2/3 cup plain yogurt plus 1/3 cup milk can be substituted for 1 cup buttermilk.  



1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes plus 1/8 teaspoon rubbed, dried sage can be substituted for 1 teaspoon chervil.  


Chicken or Beef Broth:

1 cup hot water and 1 teaspoon instant bouillon granules (or 1 bouillon cube) can be substituted for 1 cup broth.  


Chocolate Chips, Semi-Sweet:

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped, can be substituted for 1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips. When substituting for chocolate chips, make sure to use the same type of chocolate (i.e. semi-sweet, milk).  


Chocolate, Semi-Sweet:

3 tablespoons chocolate chips OR 1 square (1-ounce) unsweetened chocolate plus 1 tablespoon sugar can be substituted for 1 square (1-ounce) semi-sweet chocolate. 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder plus 7 tablespoons sugar plus 1/4 cup fat can be substituted for 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate.  


Chocolate, Sweet Baking (German):

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1/3 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons fat can be substituted for 4 ounces German sweet baking chocolate.  


Chocolate, Unsweetened:

1 2/3 ounce semisweet chocolate (reduce sugar in recipe by 2 teaspoons) OR 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa plus 1 tablespoon butter, margarine or shortening can be used instead of 1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate or 1 ounce premelted unsweetened chocolate.  



1/2 cup hot water and 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules can be substituted for 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee.  


Cooking Sprays:

Can usually be successfully substituted for shortening to prepare baking sheets and baking pans.  



2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch can be substituted for 1 tablespoon cornstarch.  


Corn Syrup, Light:

1 cup dark corn syrup can be substituted for 1 cup light corn syrup, and vice versa. (Note: Flavor will be affected somewhat.) OR substitute 1 1/4 cups sugar plus 1/3 cups liquid.  


Cream (20% fat) (Coffee Cream):

3 tablespoon butter plus 7/8 cup milk can be substituted for 1 cup cream (in baking and cooking).  


Cream (40% fat) (Whipping Cream):

1/3 cup butter plus 3/4 cup milk can be substituted for 1 cup cream (in baking and cooking).  


Cream of Tartar:

There is no recommended substitution for cream of tartar.  


Egg Whites:

Meringue powder can be substituted for egg whites in a meringue application. Three egg whites equal approximately 3 tablespoons meringue powder plus 6 tablespoons water.  


Flavor Oils:

It is not recommended that you substitute flavor extracts for flavor oils. Oil based flavorings are necessary for hard candies because the liquid portion of the extracts add too much liquid, causing steam, to the hard candy syrup.  


Flour (as thickener):

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch, potato starch, rice starch, arrowroot starch, or 1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca can be substituted for 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour.  


Flour, Cake:

1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour can be substituted for 1 cup cake flour.  


Flour, Self-Rising:

1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt can be substituted for 1 cup self-rising flour.  



1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon instant minced garlic or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder can be substituted for 1 clove minced garlic.  



1 tablespoon fresh herbs equals 1 teaspoon dried herbs.  



1 1/4 cups sugar plus 1/3 cup liquid (use whatever liquid is called for in the recipe) can be substituted for 1 cup honey.  


Italian Seasoning:

1/4 teaspoon EACH dried oregano leaves, dried marjoram leaves and dried basil leaves plus 1/8 teaspoon rubbed dried sage can be substituted for 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning.  


Meringue Powder:

You can't substitute meringue powder for egg whites in most recipes because it contains other ingredients such as sugar.  


Milk, Whole:

1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water OR 1 cup water plus 1/3 cup nonfat evaporated dry milk powder OR 1 cup skim milk plus 2 teaspoons melted butter can be substituted for 1 cup whole milk. NOTE: Whole milk is higher in total fat than low-fat milk. If a baking recipe calls for whole milk, you may be able to substitute a low-fat milk variety like skim, 1% or 2% fat. Be cautious about substituting skim milk in pudding, custard and sauce recipes. These recipes rely on the dairy fat for added texture and flavor. Baked items such as cakes and cookies can usually tolerate the use of low-fat milk.  



1 cup honey can be substituted for 1 cup molasses. (and vice versa) Note: flavor will be affected.  


Mustard, Dry:

1 tablespoon prepared mustard can be substituted for 1 teaspoon dry mustard.  


Mustard, Prepared:

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard plus 2 teaspoons vinegar can be substituted for 1 tablespoon prepared mustard.  



1 cup melted butter, margarine or shortening can be substituted for 1 cup oil. Note: Recipe results may vary. Texture and appearance may be affected.  



1/4 cup instant minced onion, flaked onion OR 1 teaspoon onion powder can be substituted for 1 cup (1 medium) chopped onion.  


Poultry Seasoning:

1/4 teaspoon ground thyme plus 3/4 teaspoon ground sage can be substituted for 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning.  


Pumpkin Pie Spice:

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/8 teaspoon EACH nutmeg and cloves can be substituted for 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.  



1 cup butter or margarine can be substituted for 1 cup shortening. When using shortening in place of butter or margarine, 1 tablespoon milk or water for each 1/2 cup shortening used may need to be added. DO NOT substitute vegetable oil for shortening when recipe calls for melting the shortening.  


Sour Cream:

1 cup plain yogurt can be substituted for 1 cup sour cream.  



1 cup firmly packed brown sugar can be substituted for 1 cup sugar. Note: Flavor will be affected somewhat.  


Sugar, Light Brown:

1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup sugar can be substituted for 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar. (Slight flavor differences will occur.)  


Sweet Potatoes:

1 (18-ounce) can vacuum-packed sweet potatoes can be substituted for 1 (23-ounce) can sweet potatoes, drained.  


Tomato Sauce:

3/4 cup tomato paste plus 1 cup water can be substituted for 1 cup tomato sauce.  



1/2 cup fruit juice can be substituted for 1/2 cup wine in desserts. 1/2 cup chicken broth can be substituted for 1/2 cup wine in savory recipes.  

Easy Cheesy Broccoli Bake

 This is a recipe given to me by my sister-in-law.  My husband absolutely lives it, and I think we lived on it for a month at one point.  I'm pretty sure I gained a few pounds as well.  It's really good and great for any potluck. 

Easy Cheesy Broccoli Bake

  4 pkg. (16 oz packages) frozen chopped broccoli, cooked
  2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  2 cups mayonnaise
  4 eggs
  1 large onion
  1 cup grated cheese

   1/2 cup butter, melted
    2 cups grated cheese
    2 cups ritz cracker crumbs

Mix soup, mayo, eggs and onion.  Add cheese and broccoli.  

Pour into 9 x 13 pan.  Crumble on topping and bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.

Weight Loss Vegetable Soup

This recipe is one my mom have me when she was on Weight Watchers.  I just copied and pasted it in here.  

"We found this soup to be very effective in reducing toxemia in my midwives practice, from around 5% to less than 1%. the national average is between 10 and 25%. 

It is made as a edible fast or cleanse, as we believe (though the med model often disagrees) that toxemia (PIH) is almost solely caused by diet and that by cleansing your liver and kidneys and improving nutrition will lower the blood pressure and reduce other effects of toxemia. 

When we first see women showing signs of toxemia, rising bp, swelling, protein in the urine etc... we encourage them to eat this soup for 3 days. We have had AWESOME results."

1 bulb garlic (and yes I mean the whole bulb) cut coarsely 
1 red onion 
1 white onion 
1 yellow onion
1 cup mushrooms 
1 cup carrots 
1 cup spinach 
1 cup broccoli 
1 cup cabbage (shredded) 
1 cup yellow squash 
1 cup zuchinni 
2 cups tomatos

The first 4 ingredients (garlic and onions) are not optional, though you can use 3 onions of the same type, but I like all the different flavors better.

The other ingredients you can have or not have and the amounts are not precise. You can also add other veggies but You want there to be a good variety of colors represented in the soup. And you want them to be fresh, no canned or frozen. A little salt is okay, but not too much.

Do not use potato, celery, corn, or any other veggie that is starchy or has no or low nutritional value.

Cut all the veggies to around the same size pieces (except the garlic it should be smaller, but still chunky for garlic).

Use a tiny bit of olive oil (not vegetable oil) and cook the garlic and onions until they begin to sweat. Add the mushrooms let cook for a few minutes.

Fill a large pot about 1/2 way with water. add the rest of the veggies. Add the cooked garlic, onions and mushrooms. 
Boil until the veggies are cooked but still crisp.

It is meant to be eaten for three days. Eat it as often as you are hungry as it is all you eat and the only beverage is water.
After this cleanse your body should be much improved! >>>

Creole Seasoning

We use this a lot in our house.  Especially when blackening meats and making jambalaya.  This is Emeril's recipe. 


Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning): 

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika 
2 tablespoons salt 
2 tablespoons garlic powder 
1 tablespoon black pepper 
1 tablespoon onion powder 
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper 
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano 
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup

Amanda's Bacon and Vegetable Quiche

On the hunt for a quiche recipe, I found that they all differ in amounts of milk and eggs.  I thought I'd be adventurous and use what I had to make my own quiche.  So, here it is. 

Amanda's Bacon and Vegetable Quiche

 serves 12

crust for 2 - 9 inch pies


13 eggs (room temp)

1 cup milk (room temp)

1 1/2 tsp salt

pepper to taste

1 1/2 tsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce

5 oz (1/2 pkg) bacon (cooked and diced)

1 small/medium bunch of broccoli (steamed 5 minutes - still slightly firm) coarsely chopped

1 onion (chopped and caramelized)
1 -2 cups of spinach (slightly wilted in skillet)

1/4 cup of Italian parsley

3 cups shredded cheese (any kind desired)

Crust -
1 3/4 cup flour
6 Tb cold butter cut into small pieces
5 Tb cold shortening
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tb ice water
Mix flour and salt.  Cut butter and shortening into flour mixture until resembles course meal.  Add water and knead.  (If too dry add more water 1 tsp at a time)  Make into disc, put in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 350 deg.
Roll out chilled crust to fit 9 x 13 dish (bottom and sides of dish buttered).  Chill crust in freezer 10 minutes (remove from oven a few minutes before putting in oven so glass will warm up and not break in oven).   Pre-bake crust 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.
Filling -
Caramelize onions; cook bacon and dice; steam broccoli 5 minutes and coarsely chop (broccoli should be still slightly firm); chop Italian parsley; slightly wilt spinach; shred cheese - can be done in advance.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl mix eggs, milk, salt, pepper and Worcestershire Sauce. 
Put 1/3 of cheese on top of crust.  Add vegetable/meat mixture.  Top with 1/3 of cheese.  Pour egg mixture over vegetables, meat and cheese.  Top with last 1/3 of cheese. 
Cook for 35 - 45 minutes or until firm.  (Do not overcook or it will be dry)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Taco Salad

It's not the most healthy recipe, but it sure is good.  It's a hit with the whole family. 

Taco Salad

1 bag Doritos 
1 pound sausage*
1 head leaf lettuce 
3 tomatoes 
1 can black beans (drained)
1 cup cheese dip
1 small can chopped jalapeños
1 cup salsa
2-3 Tbsp taco seasoning

Brown sausage and add taco seasoning as it's cooking.  Add about 1/2 cup of water when it's completely cooked and let simmer.  Add cheese sauce, salsa, beans, and jalapeños to the sausage. Stir until combined.  Remove from heat and cool 3-5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and stir until combined. 

Crush Doritos slightly.  Put in large bowl.  Tear or cut lettuce into bite sized pieces.  Mix into Doritos.  Pour meat mixture over the lettuce and chips.  Stir until everything is coated.  Serve with sour cream and black olives if desired. 

* You can use hamburger.  I prefer sausage for the added flavor. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fruit Pizza

It's a tasty dessert dish. It's not too sweet, and everyone loves it. 

Fruit Pizza

2 containers cressent rolls
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 container key lime yogurt
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
Mixed fruit, diced

Preheat oven to 375°. 

Grease cookie sheet.  Lay cressent rolls flat across bottom of cookie sheet. Bake 10 min, or until light golden brown.  Cook completely. 

Mix cream cheese, yoghurt, and powdered sugar until smooth.  Spread evenly across cressent roll crust. 

Cover with mixed fruit.  I like diced strawberries, whole blueberries, grapes (quartered), and nectarines. 

Chill until ready to eat. 

Cut into 2-3 inch squares and serve. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Baked Stuffed Zucchini

I had a couple huge boxes of yellow zucchini from our local produce auction.  So, I wonder what I can do besides zucchini pie and zucchini bread.  

I decided to make stuffed baked zucchini.  It is so good!

Baked Stuffed Zucchini

4 Zucchini 
1 Onion
3 Cloves Garlic
2 Large or 4-6 Small Tomatoes
2 Tbsp Fresh Herbs (Basil, Thai Basil, Oregano, Sage, and Parsley)
1/2 Pound Bacon
2 cups cooked rice 

1) Preheat oven to 350°

2) Cut ends off zucchini, slice them in half lengthwise, and scoop the middle out to make a boat. Put cut side down in baking dish and bake 15-20 minutes. 

3) Chop up half of what was scooped out of the zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, and herbs.  Put in a bowl and set to the side. 

4) Dice onions and cook in skillet until starting to soften.  

5) Chop raw bacon and add to onions.  Cook until onions and bacon are cooked fully.  

6) Add zucchini/tomato mixture. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add 2 cups cooked rice.  

7) Flip partially cooked zucchini over.  Fill with cooked mixture.  Bake another 20-30 minutes. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Chocolate Truffles

I found a basic truffle recipe online.  I changed it up a little.  A definite way to go with this. 

Chocolate Truffles

8 ounces semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate morsels 
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp good vanilla extract
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and chopped walnuts

1. Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.

2. In a separate bowl, pour in your chocolate, 2 Tbsp powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.

3. Once the cream has come to a boil, pour it over the chocolate, and stir vigorously until the chocolate has melted.  Do not use a whisk.  

4. Put the chocolate in the refrigerator for several hours until it sets.  When you bring it back out, you will want to let it come to room temperature to form it into 1/2 to 1 inch balls.

5. Roll it lightly in powdered sugar, cocoa powder, or chopped nuts.  Eat one daily. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Strawberry Pie

This is a recipe I got from my mil.  It's one of my daughter's favorite pies.  Although she does have many favorites when it comes to desserts.  

Strawberry Pie

Slice fresh strawberries into a cooled, baked pie shell. 

Bring to a boil until thickens:
  1 cup sugar
  1 cup hot water
  3 level T. Cornstarch

Remove from heat. Stir in 3 T. Strawberry jello till dissolves. 

Pour mixture over top of berries.  Refrigerate til cold. Top with whipped cream. 


(Mine doesn't always set up like I think it should but it is still good even if it is a little runny.)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Fudgiest Chocolate Brownies

I found this recipe a few years ago.  These are quite possibly the best brownies ever to be created.  I only make them once or twice a year due to the fact that more often would likely kill me.  They are definitely not something that should be eaten often, but saved for special occasions. 

I'll post the recipe as it was when I found it. 

Chocolate Brownies

Gourmet | February 2000

The Farm of Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills, CA

"The Farm of Beverly Hills has the most incredible, delectable giant brownies!" says Cindy Grand of San Francisco, CA. "They taste more like fudge with a light, crunchy surface. Would you help me get the recipe?"

These are probably the fudgiest brownies we've ever tried—in fact, they seemed too rich to serve in giant squares, so we've cut them smaller. They taste even better the day after they're baked.

Yield: Makes 20 brownies
Active Time: 20 min
Total Time: 3 hr

3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
12 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
6 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 13- by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan, knocking out excess flour. Melt butter with chocolate in a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from pan and whisk in eggs, 1 at a time. Sift together flour and cocoa powder in a separate bowl and stir into batter with sugar and salt. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven until top is firm and a tester inserted into center comes out with crumbs adhering, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours, before cutting into 20 squares.

Cooks' note:
· Brownies keep, layered between wax paper in an airtight container, 5 days.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Pumpkin Crockpot Oatmeal

I decided to try a little something different with the oatmeal today (or last night if you will).  I had a can of pumpkin left over from the holidays, and wondered if it would work in the breakfast.  Come to find out, the kids love it!  They say it's like pumpkin pie for breakfast.  

Pumpkin Crockpot Oatmeal

4 1/2 cups oats (not quick cooking kind)
10 cups water
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg and cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 - 29oz can of Pumpkin

Combine all ingredients in crockpot. Chunk up pumpkin and try to distribute chunks evenly. It will cook and separate on its own.  
Cover with lid.
Turn to warm for 8-10 hours. Mix well.  Serve.  

It's a full crockpot of oatmeal. ;)

Monday, January 13, 2014

English Toffee

My husband came across this recipe and we tailored it a bit to our liking.  We've made it several times.  It doesn't seem to last very long.  We've tried a few different chocolates.  It seems self explanatory, but spend a few extra dollars for the good chocolate.  It really does make a difference.  

English Toffee

1 pound unsalted butter 
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. corn syrup
1 1/2 to 2 cups raw pecans, chopped finely or ground loosely
2 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean (scraped or split so the seeds will come out inside the toffee)
1 tsp. salt
2 cups chocolate chips or shaved chocolate


Spread chocolate on a large silpat sheet, greased cookie sheet, or greased marble slab. 

Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed pot on stove top. In separate bowl, mix together white sugar, brown sugar and corn syrup, add to melted butter. Add 1/4 cup water. Cook mixture on medium-high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Using a candy thermometer—most can clip onto the pot—cook until 260°, stirring hard and fast to make sure nothing is sticking to the pan and your toffee doesn't burn. At 260°, add the almonds, then lower the heat and finish cooking until your candy thermometer reads 300° and reaches the soft ball stage. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes total to reach the 300° mark. The mixture should be a beautiful, bubbly, golden brown color. At 300°, turn off heat immediately.

Add vanilla (if adding vanilla beans, you must fish them out when you pour the toffee before it cools) and add the salt. Stir quickly. 

Pour the mixture out over the top of the chocolate. Smooth out the toffee to 1/4-inch thickness. After about 5 to 10 minutes, you can score the toffee with a knife or pizza cutter in order to break it up later. Using hot water and wiping the knife clean after every slice can help in scoring the toffee. 

You may now let the mixture cool. When cool, you can sprinkle with a dash of fleur de sel (French sea salt), break them up and wrap them in cellophane or an airtight container to maintain the freshness.