Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Black Bean Soup

I had black bean soup at Ruth Ann's tonight.  Here is my attempt at an ingredient list.

3 cans black beans
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes w garlic
1 can corn
1 onion, sauteed
Lime Juice
Worchestershire Sauce
Jalapenos (a couple rings, cut in pieces)
Cheddar Cheese (garnish)

Note from Ruth Ann: I pureed several ladles of soup (with as little liquid as possible) in the blender and added it back in.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hard Candy

Hard candy is awesome.  It is especially awesome when you make it from scratch and everyone is impressed. 

I used the recipe here as a starting point. 

1 1/4 c. white sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/3 c. water
2 t. flavored extract (have used: almond, mint, cinnamon, lemon)
food coloring
powdered sugar for dusting & storage

Put your candy thermometer in a pot along with the first 3 ingredients.  Bring the first 3 ingredients to a boil, stirring regularly.  Once the mixture is boiling, stop stirring.  While the sugar mixture is heating, grease a metal cookie sheet or cake pan (9x13) with a little bit of butter.  Bring the mixture to a hard crack (300-310*F).  Add the extract, stirring briskly.  Add the food coloring, stirring briskly.  Pour into the prepared pan.  In about 5 minutes, score with a pizza cutter.  Wait until the candy is fully cooled and then break (twisting the pan like an ice cube tray helps).  Combine with a little powdered sugar to keep it from sticking.  Eat/store/give!

Okay... now for some sugar science.  Hard crack temp can vary based on the humidity, so... prep a tumbler (squatty glass) with cold water.  When things get close to 300*, drop a little bit of the sugar into the cold water.  Take the sugar out and crunch it to see if it is crunchy.  If it sticks to your teeth, it is not ready yet. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dressing (Stuffing, but not inside a bird)

This "recipe" (more like an ingredient list) is from my Oma.  She rocks.  :) 

I am only listing the ingredients that I use and trying to put in some measurements

Onion - approx 1/2 of a med one
Celery - approx 2 ribs
Green Pepper - approx 1/4-1/2
Red Pepper - approx 1/4-1/2
Sage, Mrs. Dash, black pepper, basil, parsley, celery seed, sugar
1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of mushroom
1 c chicken broth (when I don't have any that is homemade, I just use bouillon)
1 stick butter, melted
1 stick butter, NOT melted
16 oz Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing (I use the little cubes)

Chop & sauté vegetables (you can also microwave if that is your style).  Mix everything together except the unmelted stick of butter.  Taste to ensure seasoning is as desired.  Put mixture in 9x13 glass dish or 2 8x8s.  Add water as necessary (this is the part that freaks me out).  The stuffing absorbs a lot of moisture during baking and it is kind of hard to add water during baking.  I think you want about 1/4-1/2 c.  Cut the last stick of margarine into slivers and poke into the mixture (or lay tabs on top).  Bake at 350* until golden brown.  Freezes well after baking. 

Well, hope that gets you started. :)  It's tasty, but not low calorie.  If you want to trim the calories, my suggestion would be putting only 1/2 a stick of butter on top.  Depending on your saltiness preferences and the saltiness of your broth, you might want to use unsalted butter or you might want to add salt.  Just some ideas...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sweet, Savory and Spicy Chili

2 lb ground beef (sometimes I use less)
1/4 c chopped onion
1/4 c diced green bell pepper
1 T crushed red pepper
2 T hot sauce
2 cans (28 oz) diced tomatoes (chili style) (I use one chili style & one regular)
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 lg can tomato sauce (probably could use broth here if you prefer a clearer chili)
1 1/2 T chili powder
1 t salt
Dash of pepper
1 c water
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (*not* pumpkin pie filling)
3 T brown sugar
1 1/2 t cinnamon
2 c shredded cheese

Saute beef & onion & peppers.  Pile everything in the slow cooker, except cheese.  Cook on low overnight or while at work.  About 20 mins before serving, stir in cheese (I don't... I just let everyone add at the table.).  12 servings. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sugar Roasted Peanuts

¼ water
1 c sugar
3 c raw peanuts
Dash of salt and/or dash of cinnamon, if desired

Cook over medium heat until peanuts are coated. Place on cookie sheets and bake in oven @ 225* for ~1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Test for doneness by setting a nut or two on the counter to cool and then testing.  They will crisp as they cool.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tomato Soup

Can you tell it is autumn?

I got a 4lb bag of tomatos for $2.  :)

I started with the recipe here and the final product is as follows. 

3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onions (1 onion)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves) (I used the dried equivalent for 3 cloves -- 3/4 t.)
4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (I cut them in half)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
1 1/2 T dried basil (or 1/4 c fresh)
3 cups chicken broth (I made mine from bouillon)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and celery and saute for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken vroth, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.

Process in blender or with immersion blender (or... or...).  Make sure you really process well or the skins will be annoying.  Add cream and warm.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

Courtesy of Anne Stahl.

About twice a year, I wish I had an immersion blender.  This is one of those times.....But the blender did work (be careful!).

1 lg onion (diced)
2 med butternut squash (cubed)
1/2 stick butter (probably could use less)
3 cans or 1 box chicken stock (I used homemade broth and then rounded it out with some broth from bouillon)
8 oz cream cheese (probably could use less; I used light)
salt & pepper to taste

Oh, and it was brilliant with broccoli in it. 

Saute onion in butter.  Add squash and cover with stock.  Boil til fork tender (< 20 min).  Puree until smooth.  Add cream cheese and blend til fully incorporated. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wheat Thins

SI finally tried Wheat Thins.  :)  I tried the recipe here .  They turned out good.  I would definitely make them again.  You really will have to work out your preferred thickness and cooking time.  I would definitely suggest parchment paper if you only have one stone because rolling it out on a hot stone wasn't that easy.  I liked mine closer to 1/8 inch thick.  Even at 1/16 they took like 9 mins to bake.  The thicker they are, the more edge problems you have, so you might consider trimming the edges before baking...

Some of the commenters added ranch seasoning and the like... I'm sure they would be great.  RA & H, I hope you get a chance to give these a try.  :)

Hope you enjoy.  Ingredient list copied here in case the other blog ever is taken down.

1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour (can use spelt flour, traditional whole wheat or white whole wheat)
1 ½ Tbs sugar (or honey)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp paprika
4 Tbs butter
¼ cup water
¼ tsp vanilla
salt for topping

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I promised this recipe to my sister a while ago.... Sorry it took me so long. 

I have been using this brownie recipe for a while now.  It rocks.

It is also easy to make a 1/4 batch, which is perfect for 4 generous servings.  The only special trick is that you can't have the butter/sugar portion too warm, otherwise your brownies will taste like eggs.  Not so great...

Here are the measurements for those of you who aren't that great at kitchen math yet!

1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1 egg
3 T cocoa powder
1/4 c flour (whole wheat works fine, too)
1/8 t baking powder
1/16 t salt (I just eyeball half of an 1/8th of a teaspoon)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip or Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

This recipe is from Holly.  It is one of the many reasons Dustin has to go to the gym all the time.  Holly, I miss the excuse you gave me to eat sweets all the time!

1c. Shortening
3/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1t vanilla
1/2t water
1t salt
1t baking soda
1/2 c flour
2 c old fashioned oatmeal (you can use quick oats, but old fashioned are sooo much better)
2c chocolate chips OR 2 c raisins (or some combination if you're daring!)
1t nutmeg
2t cinnamon

Bake at 350* for 10-15 minutes.  Makes a great cookie cake.

P.S.  I stopped using shortening a while ago and haven't tried this recipe with butter.  I don't imagine it would cause too many problems if you use butter.

Ginger (Molasses) Cookies

I got this recipe from Mrs. Bauder.

Cream 3/4 c. shortening or margarine (use oil for harder cookies) with 1 c. sugar.  Add 1 egg and 1/4 c. molasses.  Add 2 c. flour, 1 T ground ginger, 2t baking soda, 1t cinnamon and 1/2t salt.  Chill until firm.  Roll into balls and roll balls in sugar.  Slightly press down on to baking stone.  Bake 13 minutes at 350*.  Cookies will be slightly underdone.  Allow to cool on pan for chewy cookies.

P.S. I stopped using shortening a while ago and haven't tried this recipe with butter. I don't imagine it would cause too many problems if you use butter.

Updated: I used butter last night and they were better than ever!  I won't ever go back to the other options.

Monday, March 29, 2010


I'm so excited.  I'm making homemade mayo tonight.  Wish me luck.  I'll report back the results.


The cooking for engineers website had a recipe that I used.   It turned out OK.  I think I will do vinegar instead of lemon juice next time as I thought the lemon flavor was kind of overwhelming.  I'm not sure I got mine to set up as nice as I was supposed to.  I used a food processor and I think the blade didn't go close enough to the bottom so it didn't emulsify right at first.  Anyway.  I used it on cabbage to make slaw and it is OK.  Again, the lemon flavor is too powerful.  I do have photographic evidence, but I'm too lazy to upload it now.  When I get the pictures off the camera next, I'll post it here.  I'm planning to use the leftovers for making tuna salad.  Lemon flavor shouldn't be too bad for that one.  Who doesn't love lemon on their tuna?  It's a standard in pretty much every tuna recipe I've ever made.  The other thing, that might have been better had I successfully created the full emulsion is that there is a somewhat significant oil flavor.  I bought light olive oil instead of extra light, so that is probably my fault.  The other thing I have read is to do a combination of canola and olive oil.  Anyway, it was a great experiment.  Not many people can say they have made mayonnaise.  I think I will do it again sometime.  Perhaps I will do it by hand for practice in seeing how it should look at the various stages of the process.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pot Roast

Making some Pot Roast today.  Thanks Heather!

Update:  Making some more today to use up all the leftover carrots and celery and V8 juice I got stuck with when Aaron left.  Trying to work, but this smells sooooo yummy and it is soooo distracting.   You totally need to make this if you haven't.  Find a big hunk of beef that is on clearance because it is dated for today and make some!  Red wine vinegar is my vinegar of choice.

Just in case Heather ever takes down this recipe, I'm putting it here because I love it!

From New Crockery Cooker Cook Book

2 1/2 - 3 lb beef chuck pot roast
1 T cooking oil
1 1/2 C tomato juice
1/4 C wine vinegar
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t basil
1/2 t thyme
1/4 t pepper
1 clove garlic
6 carrots - 1/2 inch pieces
6 boiling onions (I also add potatoes)
1/4 C quick cooking tapioca or corn starch (I use flour)

Trim fat. Brown roast on all sides in hot oil. In a bowl combine tomato juice, basil, thyme, pepper, and garlic. Place carrots and onions in a crock pot. Sprinkle tapioca/corn starch/flour. Place roast on top of the veggies and pour tomato mixture over the roast.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Easy Greek Salad

6 leaves Romaine lettuce, torn
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 c sliced red onion
1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
2 T olive oil
2 T lemon juice
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t salt

Combine vegetables and cheese. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, and salt. Pour over vegetables and toss until coated. Serve immediately.

Serves 6


The way I do it these days:

1/2 pkg cherry/grape tomatoes sliced in half
1 cucumber
1/4 c (or more!) sliced red onion
1/4 c (or more!) crumbled feta--I usually buy the block and use a fork to scrape it off... much cheaper

2 T olive oil
2 T lemon juice
1 t dried oregano
1/4 t salt

 Combine vegetables and cheese. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, and salt. Pour over vegetables and toss until coated. Serve immediately.

In the summer time when I have lots of tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden, I make a bunch of the dressing and keep it on hand.  

Serves 4 very generously as a side salad.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pecan Pie (sans corn syrup)

Adapted from here

1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour 
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
9 inch pie shell (if using deep dish, use 1.5x as much of each of the other ingredients... don't forget 1/4 c sugar = 4 T, so 1.5x is 2 extra T)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy, and stir in melted butter. Stir in the brown sugar, white sugar and the flour; mix well. Last add the milk, vanilla and nuts. 

Pour into an unbaked 9-in pie shell. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake for 45-50 minutes (pecans start to smell nutty), or until done. (Don't forget to use a baking sheet under the pie in case it spills over or the butter leaks out.)

Cool significantly before serving. 

Sunday, January 31, 2010


You'll never buy box mix again. :) This recipe courtesy of Marlene Gaffner.

1 1/4 C flour
1T baking powder
1T sugar
1/2 t salt
1 egg
1 C milk
2T oil


I mix up a couple recipes of the dry ingredients in a big ziplock bag and then keep it in the fridge. When I want to make pancakes, then it is just 1 1/3 c of the dry ingredients mixed with the egg, milk, and oil. If I'm making a lot of pancakes, I make up milk from powdered milk (usually in a nalgene bottle) and that works great!

I usually make 4 batches at once, which makes 5 cups of flour. I usually make one of those cups whole wheat flour. That seems to be about right for my tastes.