Monday, October 25, 2010

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Let's take a vote! Is Carrot Cake Health Food? Yes or No? When I'm trying to justify slicing myself a big piece of carrot cake, I remind myself that it has: carrots, which are a vegetable, nuts which are a protein source, and in this case even has pineapple, which we all know is a yummy fruit. I try to forget about the fat that's also hidden away in each delightful piece. Oh well, all things in moderation. Right?
I like to make them in disposable pans so that I can give one away.

If you're ready to use my selective reasoning, let's make carrot cake!

Carrot Cake

3 cups of all purpose unbleached flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
Mix these ingredients with a whisk to aerate and incorporate. Put aside

In a large bowl mix together:
2 cups Sugar
1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts
3 eggs, unbeaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple, drained
1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups grated raw carrots

Add the two groups together and mix well.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes in prepared 8 inch pans.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pound of confectioners sugar
1 stick of real butter softened
4 ounces of cream cheese
Just enough milk to make it spreadable.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chicken Tortellini Soup

Got some left over chicken? Let's make Chicken Tortellini Soup!

The weather in San Diego County has been strange lately. Gray, wet, and cold. Not at all like we expect at this time of year. In other words, perfect soup weather. There's nothing like a hearty bowl of soup to comfort you when you just want to stay inside and get cozy. I made this soup today, and Harry says it's the best one yet.

Messy cook, aren't I?! This is the soup simmering, before adding the tortellini.


1/3 cup of real butter
1/4 cup finely diced onion
2 cloves of crushed garlic
2 cups diced chicken breast, cooked
1/3 cup of flour
1/2 of a carrot, shredded
1 stick of celery, shredded
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3 chicken bullion cubes
pepper to taste

Over medium heat melt butter then add the onion and saute until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and continue to saute for another minute. Add chicken and stir. Add the flour and stir until it's all incorporated into the chicken mixture. Next add the milk and cream. Stir well, and add in the carrot and celery. Add in the bullion cubes and stir until they're dissolved. Crack some fresh pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Lastly, add about 2 cups of cooked tortellini, stir and serve.

Do Not Add Any Salt, as the bullion makes it salty enough.

Mix it up - you could substitute gnocchi instead of tortellini.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

Cheap and easy to prepare. While this is simmering you can put your feet up, or read a good book. Maybe both.


6 Chicken thighs, with the skin still on
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black Pepper, to taste
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 medium Onion, halved and sliced
2 cloves of garlic finely minced
6 ounces White Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup of dry White Wine
28 ounces diced Tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon Basil (dried)
1/2 teaspoon Thyme (dried)
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
2 tablespoons of dried Parsley

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet or dutch oven. Salt and pepper the chicken and place chicken, skin side down in the hot oil and butter. Brown on both sides and then remove from the pan. Pour off excess oil, leaving just enough to sauté with. Sauté the onions for a few minutes and then add the mushrooms and garlic, and sauté for two minutes. Once tender add the white wine and let it bubble for a minute or two. Then add the diced tomatoes, basil, thyme, red pepper flakes and parsley. Stir to combine, and then put the chicken back into the pan. Simmer for 45 minutes with the cover on, and 15 minutes with the cover off to reduce the juices. Drain off any excess fat, if desired.

Serve over cooked egg noodles.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Creamy Lemon Crumb Squares

Creamy Lemon Crumb Squares

A brown sugar and butter crust, with the crunch of oats - Combine this with a creamy lemon filling, and this makes an irresistible treat. I could have eaten the whole pan myself.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Bake: 30 minutes for a 9 x 9 pan (no need to grease it)

Crust and Topping

1-1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick of butter, slightly softened
1 cup of brown sugar (lightly packed)
1 cup of oats


1 can (14 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
zest of one lemon


Mix the butter and brown sugar until well combined
Stir together oats, flour, salt and baking powder
Add the oats and flour mixture to the butter & sugar mixture. Combine well.
Press half the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan

Mix together the condensed milk, lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat until it's creamy. Pour over the bottom layer of crumb mixture. Top with the other half of the crumb mixture, but don't press down.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Allow the pan to sit on the counter for 30 minutes after baking. Cut into squares, but don't remove from the pan until it's been refrigerated for at least 2 hours.
Serve cool.

This recipe was adapted from the recipe on The Pioneer Woman Cooks website. For step by step instructions, please go to her site at:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Your Momma's Best Apple Pie!

Who's Momma? I had no idea. My Mom was a great cook, but she never made this for me. (Do you feel sorry for me yet?) I've been making this since the late 80's with nary a clue where it came from. Since then I figured out, thanks to genius-level mathematical skills, that if it wasn't my Momma, it must have been yours! Tell me if I'm wrong. If I'm right, give her a big hug for me, because her genius made it possible for me to make this marvelous pie!

Pie Filling

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 large, or 7 medium apples. Peeled, cored and sliced

Combined the sugars, flour, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add sliced apples and toss well to mix.


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) of real butter

Combine the flour brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Scatter the topping thickly over the apple filling

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until the crust and topping are nicely browned.

First make your favorite pie shell. The recipe I used follows. Then peel 6 large or seven medium apples. Use your favorite. I used Red Delicious.
Chop up those apples!
Here's what it looks like after the chopped apples have been spiced and put in the pie shell.
The uncooked pie topping is now on.
All done. Now we just have to wait until it cools.

My easiest pie crust

This recipe was given to me by my Mom. Not yours.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk.

Combine ingredients, and roll out between sheets of wax paper. Take the top sheet of wax paper off. Place an empty pie pan upside down on the exposed dough. Put your hand under the bottom layer of wax paper and tip it all upside down so it ends up in the pie pan. Fit and crimp as desired.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cashew Brittle

You'd better make friends with your dentist fast! You're not going to be able to resist this buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cashew brittle. You may find yourself popping a piece into your mouth every time you break it apart. Guilty as charged here.

You're going to need this recipe, because I can't think of a better gift you could give to your sweet-loving friends over the holidays. Keep that in mind for the holiday season, and you're sure to stay on everyone's 'Good Girl List.'
You'll need these simple pantry staples and some roasted un-salted cashew pieces
It's just started to boil and the butter has been added.
Now it's reached the thread stage.
We've just added the cashews. Now it'll be stirred until it reaches 300 degrees.
Spread out on the buttered pan.
Yummy! Let's make cashew brittle

1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of corn syrup
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup real butter (1 stick)
1-1/2 cups of roasted unsalted cashew pieces.
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Cooking time will be approximately 30 minutes at medium heat. Use a thermometer for best results.

In a heavy saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Blend in the butter. Stir frequently when it reaches the thread stage. When the temperature reaches 280 degrees on the candy thermometer add the cashews. Keep stirring. When it reaches 300 degrees remove from the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda. Pour into a buttered jelly roll pan. Spread it out fast! As the candy cools, stretch it out thinner by lifting and pulling at the edges with a fork. Loosen it from the pan as soon as possible, and turn over. Break it into pieces when hardened.