Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yummy Yams

I haven't made this recipe recently, so I don't have a picture of it to share.  I will add one later.   It is quick and simple and ideal for this time of year.  People who don't like yams like this recipe.  Maybe because it is more like a dessert than a side dish.

Cook four pounds of yams until soft.  Remove skin and puree.  Beat in two eggs, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/8 cup melted butter, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. allspice and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg. Beat until fluffy.  Pour into a three quart baking dish.

Chop 1 cup of nuts (I use pecans or walnuts most often).  Mix chopped nuts with 1/3 cup of brown sugar and spread evenly over yam mixture.  Melt  1/4 cup of butter and drizzle over top.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until brown and bubbly. 

Try not to moan while eating.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cranberry Walnut Cookies

Cranberries are good for more than turkey this time of year.  I could make dozens of yummy things with cranberries. . . but at my house I would be eating them alone.  It is really a shame that I can't make these more often.  In an effort to not eat them all I must pass them out to my friends and neighbors.  I have made them twice in the last week.  They are that good.


In a mixer cream 1/2 cup of softened butter with 1 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup brown sugar.

Add 1/4 cup of milk, 1 egg, two Tbs. of orange juice, and mix well. Then add 1 tsp. of baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. baking soda and three cups of flour.

Chop cranberries and walnuts.

Stir in 2 1/2 cups of chopped fresh cranberries and 1 cup of chopped walnuts. 

Drop by tablespoon full onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.  


Heat 1/3 cup of butter in pan over low heat until golden brown.  In mixing bowl blend 2 cups powdered sugar, the melted butter, 3 Tbs. of hot water, and 1 teaspoon of almond flavoring.

Frost cookies.

Cranberry Walnut Cookies:

1/ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 Tbs orange juice
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups chopped fresh cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts


1/3 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp almond flavor
3 Tbs hot water

Oatmeal Cream Pie Cookies

Be warned that upon making these little treats you will undoubtedly consume more calories than is healthy for anyone's standards.  Don't worry too much, they are worth it.  I sometimes even eat them for breakfast.  They have oatmeal-- and I eat them with a glass of milk-- so maybe they are not so bad, right?  

For the cookies you will need:

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup molasses
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
scant tsp. salt
2 cups rolled oats
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup milk

Cream together the butter and brown sugar. Beat in the eggs and molasses. Add baking soda, spices and salt.  Mix well.  Stir in oats, flour and milk.  Drop batter by teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake 10 - 12 minutes at 350 degrees.


1/2 cup butter, softened (your could also use cream cheese--or 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup cream cheese)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla

Beat in mixer on low until combined, then on high until fluffy. Eat. Then remember you haven't actually died and gone to heaven, they are just really good.  Although don't eat the whole batch or you might actually die. . . and go to heaven.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ham & Creamy Penne

In an effort to use up the Honey Baked Ham we had for dinner on Sunday I decided to do a pasta and came across a yummy recipe--which I of course altered, because I can't leave well enough alone.  But the end result was delicious.  And simple, which I also love.

What you will need:

17 oz. of pasta (I used penne, and I think the original called for linguine--but use what you like. . .or have on hand)
1 pkg (16 oz) frozen broccoli florets
2 cups of cubed ham
1/3 cup of mayo
1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

Easy Peasy Directions:

Cook the pasta as directed--adding in the broccoli for the last four or five minutes.  Drain. Return to pan. Add remaining ingredients--toss. . .eat. . .ENJOY!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Caramel Apples

With my over abundance of apples, we are getting creative around here.  Last weekend the girls had their cousins over and we decided to make caramel apple slices.  None of them were likely to eat an entire dipped apple, and while scooping out little balls of apple with a melon baller to make mini dipped apples is cute, I was going for easy and fun.  So, we sliced, sticked and dipped our apples. . .then rolled them in more colorful goodness before eating them down and licking our fingers--Yum.

Open a bag Brach's Caramels and heat them in a sauce pan (or microwave) until warm and melted. 

Slice a couple apples and insert sticks into them.

Choose some toppings. . .we have walnuts, chocolate, cherry chips, and orange sugar sprinkles.

Dip in caramel. . .

Add your toppings.

The girls got creative.  Luckily their creativity was delicious--not an apple slice was wasted.  Of course we did have left over nuts, caramel and chocolate.  But I had ideas for those. . .

Monday, November 10, 2008

Apple Pie Filling

You can't let a Washington fall pass by without getting some locally grown apples.  My new favorite variety is Honey Crisp.  I bought a 34 lb. box at a local farmer's market.  I generally can some every year and sometimes make jam and applesauce.  This year I decided to freeze some and I made a whole batch of apple pie filling.  Now whenever the mood strikes I can whip up an apple pie or some apple crisp with little effort.  

Here is what you need:

4 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cornstarch
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 ground cloves (Optional)
2 tsp. salt
10 cups water
3 Tbs. lemon juice (Or if you have Fresh Fruit powder you can use that)
18 cups of sliced apples

After you slice your apples. . .

. . . put them in a bowl of water with Fresh Fruit or toss them in lemon juice.  

Then mix the rest of the ingredients into the 10 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. It should thicken as it heats.  

Toss in all the apples and let simmer for 6 - 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and let cool 30 minutes.  

Place in 5 one quart freezer containers. Store in freezer for up to a year.  And if you bought 34 lbs of apples like I did, repeat (a couple times).  Just don't forget to save some out for caramel apples.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pumpkin Bread

The other day Signe and I were feeling festive so we made paper pumpkins to hang in our front windows. . . or rather I made paper pumpkins while she made a lovely orange crown. 

Then I got inspired by Emily and decided to bake pumpkin bread, with oh so delicious results. And since it was so good I'll share the recipe with you. If you were my neighbor I would have brought you one like this. . .

But for those less fortunate, here is what you need to make them for yourselves:

Pumpkin Bread:

2 1/2 cups of flour
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1 large can pumpkin (29 oz)
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup of butter

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl minus the sugar. In a mixer blend pumpkin, sugar, eggs and butter. Let it whip a good minute before adding the dry ingredients. Blend all ingredients well. Then either fill three loaf tins, or fill four small loaf tins and a muffin tin. I sprinkled raw sugar on mine for added fun. Bake at 350 for 50 -60 minutes, until golden brown and done in the middle. Take the muffin tin out after 30 - 35 minutes.

The result is lovely and spicy and slightly spongy . . .sort of like my waistline from all this autumn cooking I have been doing. But I think it's worth it!

Apple Blackberry Crumble

If you have blackberries coming out your ears like I do (Or even if you don't) you will appreciate another yummy way to serve them up.  Every year I can apples and freeze blackberries so this is a treat we can enjoy all year at our house.

Layer your sliced apples (3-4) in the bottom of a baking dish with three cups of blackberries.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of brown sugar on top.

Chop and sprinkle a teaspoon of crystallized ginger over top. Then heat the oven to 350 and put the pan in there to precook your fruit while you prepare the crumble for the top.

In a bowl mix 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup refined bakers sugar, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Melt 2/3 cup of butter and mix. . .

. . .until you have a course crumbly texture.

Sprinkle over fruit and bake for 30 minutes.

Enjoy! I like this better than the cobbler I made a few weeks ago. If you are feeling adventurous you can add chopped almonds to the crumble--I would have but I was out.

Blackberry Syrup

Since I have an abundance of blackberries this fall, it was brought to my attention that blackberry syrup is divine.

So I made some.

 OH. MY. That stuff is good. I am not a big pancake eater. I figure with the calories you consume it has to be worth it. With this syrup--it's worth it. And it's simple.
(And when the berries just keep coming of this size and quality--FREE, if you don't count the price of blood they exact from your arms--I can't just let them wither on the vine, can I?)

Three cups of berries, 3/4 cup sugar, a teaspoon grated lemon peel and 1/3 cup of water is all it takes and these lovelies can be yours.

Put them in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Let simmer for 8 minutes. Mash the berries while simmering a couple more minutes. Then strain out the juice. If you press it to get most of the juice you should get two cups of syrup. Store in fridge for up to two weeks.

Simple. Delicious. Done.

Blackberry Cobbler

There is something magical about walking down the railroad tracks near our house and picking blackberries. . .

Or rather, we (me and the girls) wore completely inappropriate footwear, got pricked by thorns, and then let Rob pick blackberries. . .

In no time we had ourselves a bucket of berries. . .and purple hands.

Then we came home, just in time to miss a torrential downpour, and washed up our berries.

And made the yummiest blackberry cobbler. It's so simple. 

Take five cups of blackberries and mix them with 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour. Then add 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and mix.

Pour into a 2 quart baking dish.

Mix together:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used heavy cream)
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Blob on top of berries. Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees.

Add ice cream or, like I did, whipped cream, and enjoy.

Honey Vanilla Ice Cream & Vanilla Cinnamon Waffle Cones

As summer is barreling to a close we have been cramming in every ounce of fun we can. Cousins and parties, swimming and picnics, scores of outdoor activities and hours of good old tiring summer freedom and craziness for all. It seems every summer is a contest to out do the one before and this year has been no exception. By the end of summer vacation I need a vacation! Or at least the return of schedules and sanity. But one summer ritual that never gets old (But which I try to restrict due to the direct and undesirable affect it has upon my waistline) is making home made ice cream and waffle cones and bowls.

Each year I try new flavors and, of course, often make my tested and true vanilla batches that can be sprinkled with fruit or drizzled with gooey melted peanut butter and melted chocolate chips. . .or enjoyed in all it's unadulterated simplicity--YUM-O. This year I have a new favorite--Honey Vanilla. AND I tried a new waffle cone recipe that is oh so good. So just to tempt you, I'm going to share.

Honey Vanilla Ice Cream

The very small cast of ingredients. (Here is where I--queen of picture taking--forgot to take pictures of the steps so you will have to use your imagination. . .or follow these few simple instructions.)

Beat five yolks and 1/2 cup of honey in a mixing bowl.

Heat 2 cups of milk in a sauce pan until it reaches boiling point, then simmer. While it is simmering, stir in the egg yolk/honey mixture. Stir until it thickens

Remove from heat and strain. Let cool. (Or like me, finish mixing ingredients in, stick it directly in the mixer then run out of ice before it freezes, then let it cool while the ice maker makes more ice and try again--on second thought, just let it cool first!)

Now that it is cool add 1 cup heavy cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla, THEN transfer to ice cream maker. Freeze according to directions for ice cream maker.

When it looks like this, put it in the freezer to get really good texture and stiffness.

Then let your four year old (Or ten year old, or forty year old) lick the ice cream mixer clean.

In the mean time, make your waffle cones, or bowls, like I did this time. For this you will need a waffle cone iron. Buy one, it's worth it--just ask my mother.

My New Favorite Waffle Cone

Stuff you will need: Heavy cream, vanilla, powdered sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cornstarch and oil for the iron.

Whip 1 cup of heavy cream and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla until mousse-like (no peaks).

Sift together 1 1/2 cups of powder sugar, 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Stir into cream to make a batter. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Heat up the waffle cone iron and brush or spray with oil. Spoon the batter close to the lid so when the lid closes it spreads out evenly over the iron. (This is not my best example, but it's the only one I took a picture of.)

Here you can either wrap around the cone form (and stand up in a cup to keep its shape. . .)

Or like I did this time, press into a bowl to cool.

Then fill it with ice cream and try not to drool while spooning it into your mouth. Mmmmm. Well, maybe just a little. It is THAT good.
Next I think I will try Coconut Ice Cream. It's a good thing summer is only three months. This could really get out of hand! But hey, with all the energy we have been exerting surely we've earned it!