Wednesday, December 23, 2009

ya'll come back now, ya hear?

well i am taking a holiday break to spend with the family. i expect lots of over eating and lots of laziness to be followed by a new year's resolution of diet and exercise. i wish you and yours a delightful and safe holiday. merry christmas and happy new year! see you in 2010, so don't forget.

enjoy. beth

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

rebecca's mom's chocolate jack daniels fruit cake

i made a chocolate fruit cake spiked with jack daniels this past weekend and with thirty folks at my house on sunday to eat, it was devoured, not a scrap, a crumb left. i am going to send you over to the foodie blog it's located, so miss rebecca's pic can do all the talking. i think it is fair to stay it was a big hit. i did get to eat a piece though, moist, fruity, jd tangy and delicious. i am a loyal follower of ezrapoundcake, and when this popped up, i just had to make it. the cake is her mama's fruit cake recipe, a family tradition. while you are checking out the recipe, mosey around a bit, ezrapoundcake is one of my absolute favorite sites. miss rebecca cooks and bakes like i like, good ol' comfort foods, but she takes it to the next level of goodness. if you have ever had my(i use that term loosely) king ranch casserole, that is another one of her recipes and its dang tasty. please go check out ezrapoundcake and please go make one of mama's chocolate jack daniels fruit cakes today. it is too easy and too delicious not to and to quote ezrapoundcake, "guaranteed to get you into the spirit". enjoy.

peace and love, bethcomptoncalifornia

Monday, December 14, 2009

we po....we ain't got no marshmallow skiers....

we wanted to roast marshmallows the other night, but we do not have the appropriate equipment, so jamie improvised with a surf rod and a metal skewer. don't ask me why on the video i squeak something out that sounds like "skiers" rather than skewers. it's gotta be the southern accent. enjoy our version of "camping with the rednecks".

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

good ol'oatmeal raisin cookies

today is my husband's birthday and these were his birthday "cake". you see, oatmeal raisin cookies are his favorite. the recipe is one that i found years ago on recipezaar, and there is no reason to try any others. he loves them, done. you can find the recipe here. the cookies are soft, moist and chewy. i don't make any changes except to add about a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. now, i have added chocolate chips, walnuts and cranberries to dough in the past. also, i don't own a cookie scoop(hint-hint), so i just use a spoon to make a ball about an inch big and then flatten it a little with my fingers. the dough does not spread much at all, so don't go too big or thick. overall, this is just a great basic oatmeal raisin cookie that needs little or no help. enjoy.

oh, and the recipe makes a ton, too!

easiest toffee ever

first, i apologize for the crappy pic of the finished toffee, but it is dark, gray and pouring outside, so no natural light photo. i need to snap something because it was being inhaled. oh well, sorry.

okay, this is the easiest and tastiest toffee. it comes together in minutes. the wait time is mostly for the chocolate to harden. i am making more today!

place a cup of nuts, your choice, on a silpat or parchment paper. spread them out, they don't have to be perfect, although i did flip my pecans upright, but just sprinkled on the slivered almonds. in a saucepan on high and stirring constantly, melt two sticks of butter and one cup of sugar, tsp of vanilla and pinch of salt. stir, stir, stir until it goes from light brown to about the color of the pecans above.

now pour the toffee mixture all over your nuts. do not scrape the pan, you don't want the crystals clinging to the side, just let it flow over your nuts covering the best you can. now let it cool. it will cool very quickly, maybe ten minutes or so. you will be surprised. oh, your saucepan will look like a mess, but go fill it with water, let it sit and magically the toffee residue will pour out with the water.

now melt a cup of chocolate chips(semi-sweet or milk) in the microwave, stir often as not to burn. start at one minute, stir, heat in ten second intervals till you get the right consistency. pour over you toffee and make pretty swirls with your knife covering your toffee the best you can. at this point you could sprinkle anything you would like on top, crushed nuts, candy sprinkles, me, it was sea salt. i only wished i had some fleur de sel. let the toffee cool, a few hours, then break into pieces. enjoy!

this is crazy good folks!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

why didn't someone tell me....

how easy it is to make biscotti! wow, these were a cinch to make and are truly delicious. i am participating in another round of "secret bakers" this month and this time it is a cookie exchange. when i saw these posted here, i knew i had to make them. in my deranged mind i always have thought that biscotti were too troublesome to make, boy was i wrong. they come together so quickly and are just too dang easy not to make. i followed the recipe to the "t" and they baked up so crispy and chockful of flavor. i did use dried, tangy cranberries as suggested. i am going to make another batch with some mini chocolate chips and walnuts. enjoy!

they baked in no time flat, browning so nicely. i did go overboard on flouring my surface, so there is too much "leftover" flour on the cookies. you'll see in other pics. hey, live and learn.

i melted about a half cup white-no-chocolate-involved chips in the micro and drizzled, slung and slopped over the cookies.

ain't they purty?
see, flour overkill....oh well, didn't hurt the taste none. go make ya some today.

Friday, December 4, 2009

i'm still here, again.

i will be baking this weekend and posting for secret bakers, so stay tuned, pretty please.

life is so much better when you get a handle on it!

Monday, November 30, 2009

cook's illustrated crust and pumpkin pie

family loved it, i thought it was too spicy and too much trouble. the pie crust was simple and flaky enough, but i think there are still better recipes out there. the pie, libby's version is definitely simpler and way taster in my opinion. regardless. the pie is gone, eaten by my pumpkin eater caroline. she thought it was fantastic. i found the recipe here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

simple vanilla bean whipped sweet potatoes

holy moly! secretly, this was my favorite food this gobble day. every dish we had this year was a new recipe, with the exception of the straight from the can green beans for the kids and caroline's requested personal sized bag instant mashed potatoes, just add hot water! ick! (oh,let me say, sorry for the unappetizing photo, but all my pics from our dinner are. i was in a hurry to feed the masses, all four us and didn't make much of a photographic effort) okay, let me tell you about these sweet potatoes, about how creamy, slightly sweet and oooooooh so vanilla-y they are. i found the original recipe on recipezarr and change it up a bit. i opted out of the heavy cream for ff half and half, and skipped salt and pepper all together. let me tell you it is worth the sacrifice of a vanilla bean, well half anyway. i just reheated a little bowl for my supper tonight with a pat of butter melted on top. heaven!! i will make these often. jamie, the hub who won't eat a bake sweet potato, loved them. go whip up a batch for your kin. enjoy.

beth's vanilla bean whipped sweet potatoes, her way

4 large sweet potatoes roasted
1 cup fat free half and half
1/2 vanilla bean, cut and scrape out seeds, save pod
1 tbsp of vanilla sugar, if ya got it
4 tbsp of unsalted butter

roast your sweet potatoes for about an hour at 450 until tender. meanwhile, over low heat in a saucepan whisk the half and half, butter and vanilla seeds and pod till warm and blended. once the potatoes are done, let them cool till you can handle and split. scoop the flesh and put into a food processor, sprinkle with the vanilla sugar and process till smooth. now slowly add the the warm milk mixture(remove the vanilla pod) and continue to process. you might need to remove the top and scrape the sides down once or twice. put into a lovely dish and serve, preferably not a pink one like i did. it clashes.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

pork tenderloin, it's what's for thanksgiving dinner

no turkey or ham for us this year. we opted to change it up a bit since it was just us four. i had posted on twitter asking for suggestions on how to cook a pork tenderloin and barbara bakes shared her wonderful recipe for spicey grilled pork tenderloin. i jumped on it. oh my lordy, is this ever so good and easy. this is such a keeper. i know i should have taken a pic of the tenderloin after i sliced it, but oops, i forgot, but let me assure you it is flavorful, juicy and oh so tender. jamie ate so much he was moaning in deliciousness agony. it is good, no great, stuff folks. thank you barbara for you recipe. in the words of jj, it is dy-no-mite! enjoy.

stay tuned because i made some killer vanilla bean whipped sweet potatoes, first ever chocolate almond torte and cook's illustrated pumpkin pie. i will be telling you all about it real soon.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

i'm still here

i just have not felt like posting too much. jamie is on vacation this week and we were suppose to be visiting family in michigan, but decided not to go due to illness. we have just been hanging out with the youngin's. tomorrow, thanksgiving, it will be just the four of us and we are having a tiny dinner. i am fixing a pork tenderloin, vanilla bean whipped sweet potatoes, plain ol'green beans, homemade yeast rolls, homemade pumpkin pie and a chocolate almond torte. i will tell you guys all about it, i promise. please stick around because soon i am going to post my little christmas giveaway! it will be fun. hope you have a gobbling good thanksgiving! enjoy.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

basic ol' chicken and dumplings

chicken and dumplings, a southern staple, but not so much in this house. i do make them once in awhile, but for us(really me) they are one of those foods that you can wait months in between having'em again. i do think i make pretty good ones, pretty simple, but full of flavor. i mean if my picky eleven year old daughter will eat a entire bowl, then they must be okay. i do make my own dumplings which it the best part, right? they are so simple and you do not have to make them perfectly, trust me 'cause i sure don't. anywho, here is what i do. enjoy.

beth's basic chicken and dumplings

first, we are white meat folks, no dark for us, at all. ick. you can use whatever you prefer. i buy a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and put in a dutch oven. i cover the chicken with about two quarts of fresh water and bring to a boil. i add in four chicken bouillon cubes, two bay leaves, 1/2 tsp of poultry seasoning and lots of freshly ground black pepper. i boil till the chicken is done and remove from the pot to cool. meanwhile, i strain the broth into another bowl and sit aside. don't bother to wash your dutch oven, just leave it on the stove. you will be back.

the dumplings, i mix two cups of self-rising flour with a 1/4 cup of cold vegetable shortening in a large bowl. i either use my fingers or a pastry blender to cut in the shortening till it about the size of peas. i then pour in about 3/4 cup of my chicken broth to make a dough. blend it till it pulls away from the sides of your bowl. plop onto your floured table or counter and knead two or three times till it comes together. with your floured rolling pin, roll the dough to about an 1/8 inch and cut into strips. i used my pizza cutter. i also cut the strips into halves or thirds to make them smaller. it really doesn't matter if your strips are varying sizes, they will all taste the same.

now back to your dutch oven, over med high heat, melt 3 tbsp butter. stir in a 1/4 self-rising flour, cook two to three minutes. now add back in your chicken stock and bring to a boil. once boiling, add your dumplings. turn your heat to low, cover and simmer for fifteen minutes. stir a few times while cooking to make sure they don't stick together. they will puff up, so don't be scared.

while the dumplings cook, cut up your chicken however you like it, shredded, cubes, strips, chunks, whatever. add these to your cooked dumplings along with 1/2 cup milk or fat free half and half and lots more of freshly ground black pepper. simmer till warmed through. enjoy.

p.s.-if you feel like you don't have enough stock, just throw in a can. i keep extra in my cupboards. also, when you add the chicken you can always jazz it up with some peas, corn, or carrots. that's yummy, too.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

candy can joe-joe's, now the winners!! yep, i decided to make it two.

mrcarpetc1 where are yooooooooooou? i can not contact you. i will give you one week, then pick another. come out, come out where ever you are!!!'s site is down for maintenance so the hubster gave me two numbers-#22 spacemonkey1138 and #14 mrcarpetc1. Congratulations!! Now, to get a hold of ya......

do you know this cookie? if not, you might soon because i am going to be giving a few boxes away. these are a seasonal cookie sold by trader joe's and they are addicting! picture an oreo and its dreamy, creamy filling spiked with real peppermint and tiny bits of candy cane. ho,ho, ho this is good stuff folks. i bought my first, but not last, box of the year today. travis and i couldn't wait and promptly ripped into them right in front of the cookie display. keep your figgy pudding and give us candy cane joe-joe's.

i'm sorry, were we suppose to pay for these?

who wants sugar laden, highly addictive cookies? just leave me comment telling me that you do and i will randomly pick someone sunday to kick start their habit with a box or two. u.s. only. enjoy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

p-dub's chilies rellenos and white lily biscuits

i didn't like either one so much. the pioneer woman's chilies rellenos were watery and pretty flat tasting. i don't know if it was due to operator error or what. i do know that i won't make that particular recipe again. i still love ya ree!

now on to the biscuits, which were one step from being ellie may style hockey pucks. this is the recipe on the white lily self-rising flour bag. if it wasn't for the slab of butter i plastered on one, it would have gotten stuck in my throat on the way down. oh, pay no mind to the unevenness, it was just because i patted the dough rather than rolled it with a pin. i would not make these again, either. easy, yes, but dry and blah.

hopefully, i can make something decent this week.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

too easy chocolate cake

nothing much to say about this cake other than go make it, now. it is quick, easy, moist, chocolatey and nary an egg involved. enjoy.

too easy chocolate cake!

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup cold water

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt with a whisk until well blended. Pour the oil, vinegar, vanilla, and cold water (all at once) on top of the dry ingredients. Stir until all the ingredients are thoroughly blended together but do not over-mix. Mix and pour in ungreased 8" pan, bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

i also whipped a cup of whipping cream with about a two tsp of powdered sugar and a half tsp of real almond extract to plop on top.

sorry, for such a short post. i am sick. i was hoping this cake was cure for the common cold, but alas it is not.

Friday, November 6, 2009

easy and tasty broccoli cheese soup

i won't keep ya, but a second. i have sick and cranky four year old to deal with myself. i just wanted to share this tasty broccoli cheese soup that we had for dinner last night. this was a big hit in my house, with the exception of the sick and cranky four year old who is currently living off ginger ale. make some for your bunch tonight. enjoy.

beth's broccoli cheese soup

1 bag of frozen broccoli cuts
1 stick of butter
1 medium onion diced
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk( i use fat free half and half sometimes)
1 cup grated cheese, your choice, i like sharp
2 cans of chicken broth(about 4 cups, if using homemade)
small block of velveeta, cubed for easier melting
salt and pepper

cook your broccoli cuts, i zap them in the microwave till done, then either mash them up a bit with a fork or pulse a few times in your food processor. sit aside. melt the sick of butter in a large pot over medium heat and add the onions. cook until tender, 4 minutes or so, then stir in the flour, it will be like a thick paste, cook a few minutes more to cook out the raw flour taste. now slowly add the milk stirring constantly(i like a whisk for this) till mostly incorporated. throw in the cheese, keep stirring till smooth. okay, slowly blend in the chicken broth into your sauce. add your velveeta cubes and continue to stir. it might take awhile, so you can walk away and come back. just don't have you heat too high as to possible scorch the bottom. once your velveeta is mostly melted, add the broccoli. stir well, turn to low and let it simmer about 15 minutes. salt and pepper to taste.

we ate it with saltines(it is a sick house staple) last night, but i usually do those yummy little garlic cheddar drop biscuits.

oh btw, i used a white sharp vermont cheddar last night, so my soup turned out a little less orange than usual. guess what's for lunch? plus ginger ale.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

oh, i feel like i am falling for fall..the winner!!

thanks to, the winner is #8!!

fall is my favorite season, next to lunch. wait, that is not right. jeeze, how silly, lunch always comes first. anyway, i love fall and it is finally beginning to look and feel like fall in these here parts. i love the cool weather, pretty colors, and smells that fall brings. i also love all of the cooking, baking and eating. it seems like fall makes it acceptable or okay for the impending overindulging that looms around the corner with thanksgiving and christmas. the sugar rush of halloween doesn't count. to celebrate i am having a little contest, nothing big or fancy. i don't have a "pioneer woman" budget, so don't go looking for a kitchen aid mixer or nothing. i just wanted to share with you a little fall care package that includes the cute little sprinkles and cupcake set posted, along with a few other surprises.

let's say you have till saturday midnight to answer my question and i will post the winner sunday, sometime. make sure you leave me a way to contact you and i need to limit it to the u.s. only(due to food products).

now the question, do you like cranberry sauce? (personally, i could easily eat an entire can of the jellied stuff, dang tasty in my book) have fun. enjoy.

aren't they cute?

i love the little pumpkin picks....

pizza! pizza!

no quite what you are thinking. this is not a post on pizza, well, it is sorta. i am posting asking my few blogstalkers to please go vote at caroline's blog. this is her science project. you simply pick one, cheese or pepperoni pizza as your pizza of choice. she is trying to determine which is more popular. it would be great if you can leave a comment for her telling her where you live. thank you!

long live middle school!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

hazelnut blondies

i joined a group of ladies via twitter last month. we call ourselves the "secret bakers". our goal, to randomly bake for each other not knowing who gets what from whom. this is our inaugural month, so we will see how it goes. i know i am already a day behind on shipping, but i am not alone. it kinda sneaked up on us, well me, anyway. i choose to bake two items, fresh pumpkin cranberry bread and these hazelnut blondies. do you know how hard it is to find hazelnuts in these here parts? i found some in a specialty market and brought them home to roast. roasting them was crazy easy and my gosh what a huge difference in their flavor. i almost hate to send these little blondies to new york city! (all together now) new york city? yep, new york city. these little morsels are headed to the big apple. i hope my fellow baker will enjoy them. they are full of delicious flavor, hazelnuts, brown sugar and nutella. yep, nutella, that chocolate hazelnut spread of love, not to mention calories and sugar. i love nutella. lord help me with the nutella. wanna get on my good side, bring me nutella and a spoon. i will love ya for life.

okay, here is the recipe. enjoy.

anyone seen my jar of nutella? i better go look under my know, i keep it there for sweet dreams......

hazelnut blondies

4 tbsp of butter
2 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp good vanilla
1/3 hazelnuts, roasted and coarsely chopped
1 tbsp of nutella(chocolate hazelnut spread)

preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and butter/grease/parchment a 8x8 baking pan.

whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. melt butter. Beat butter and sugar until combined, in a large bowl with mixer. beat in eggs and vanilla. add flour mixture, and stir until combined. stir in hazelnuts and nutella. mixture will be thick. pat into pan and bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs. cool 15 minutes before cutting.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

pumpkin cranberry bread

oh my, this is crazy easy and crazy delicious. i whipped up a loaf of this moist pumpkin cranberry bread earlier this morning. it took no time to throw together, in one bowl i might add and bake. i iced it with a vanilla cream cheese glaze i winged. holy moly, it is pumpkin-y, cranberry-y and spicy. i opted out of the nuts, but i bet walnuts would be delicious the next go around. my four year has jumped on it like white on rice. go make a loaf today.

you can find the recipe here . i didn't have an orange, so as usual, i subbed sunnyd! works for me. here is my take on the icing. i put it on the loaf while it was still slightly warm, so it would great the lovely waterfall effect. naw, i was just in a hurry and didn't feel like waiting till it completely cooled. i am lazy that way or impatient is more like it. anyway, it tastes pretty good. enjoy.

beth's vanilla cream cheese icing

in a bowl mix the following til you get the consistency you like:

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cream cheese
1/2 tsp real vanilla
1 cup confectioners sugar
2-3 tsp of fat free half and half(it was what i had, but you could use any type of milk)

my icing was pretty thick, keep adding your milk till you get it how you want it. drizzle, pour, spread, slop, whatever on your ridiculously easy, moist, yummy pumpkin cranberry bread.

leaning loaf of loveliness....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

cranberry bars

i made a half pan of cranberry bars adapted from here. ms. goodman's blog is simply beautiful, her pictures incredible. i am afraid neither my bars nor my picture do her justice. the only changes i made to her recipe, besides cutting it in half was to use vanilla sugar instead of plain white, and since i had no orange, i subbed sunnyd, yep sunnyd. these bars are delicious, if you like cranberries and i happen to adore them, you will enjoy these. they are not overly sweet with a nice tang from the berries. jamie loved the crust the best. he told me he wished i used the dough for cookies. these cranberry bars make a wonderful fall dessert. go check them out. enjoy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

creamy tomato soup with a buttery baguette crouton

i love soups and a good tomato soup in particular, but i always thought the canned soups were the good ones, until now. i made the best creamy tomato soup tonight. i say creamy, but it has crushed tomatoes in it lending it to be a little lumpy, yet delicious. i like the lumps, but i am sure you could do away with them with an immersion blender or a food processor. i don't recall where the recipe came from, but no matter, it's mine now. i switched it up quite a bit adding oregano and freshly ground black pepper among other goodies. it is delicious. no more slithering condensed tomato soup that goes splat in this house. it is homemade all the way.

oh, try sinking a pat of butter to the bottom of your bowl for even more flavor. oh baby....

i also bought a little baguette a the store, cut in pieces, basted it with butter, sprinkled with seasoned salt and baked in a slow oven till nice and toasty. it was a big fat crouton to float on top. mmmm.... mmmm good. enjoy.

beth's creamy tomato soup

3 cups tomato juice(you could use v8, but i just used plain tomato juice)
1 28 oz can good crushed tomatoes( i used hunt's)
1 cup fat free half and half
1 med sized shallot diced
3 tsp butter
1 to 1.5 tsp dried oregano(rub in between you hands to release the oils when adding)
2 tbsp of flour
1 tsp salt
3-4 tsp of sugar
freshly ground pepper or pepper

in a bowl whisk together two cups of juice, milk and canned tomatoes. set aside.

in a dutch oven or large pot, melt butter over med high heat, add the shallot and oregano. saute a few minutes until shallots are tender. add the flour and stir for another minute or so. now add the tomato/milk mixture. whisk to combine and keep whisking till the soup begins to boil. now reduce to low and add the other cup of tomato juice, salt, sugar and a good grind of pepper. let the soup simmer uncovered for about an hour, stir often to make sure it does not stick to the pot's bottom. taste and adjust your seasoning. you could even add some red pepper flakes for some bite.

i think this would be wonderful topped with parmesan or cheddar cheese, pretzels, goldfish crackers, just about anything. i even think the addition of some rice would be lovely. it makes for a tasty jumping off point.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

cream cheese spritz cookies, not so good

so i thought it would be cute and fun to make the kids some halloween or fall like cookies. i also thought a cream cheese spritz might be tasty. i searched the net and found a recipe that sounded good, turns out, not so good. anyway, i whipped up the dough, attempted to dye it orange, baked up more peach, added some sprinkles and colored sugar, ugh, i don't like these.

first, they were hard to press. they wouldn't separate easily from the cookie press. i had to gently coax them with a knife, which doesn't make for pretty cookies. also, the taste of the cookie was too tangy and a tad too flour-y. the recipe, which i am not going to share, (you don't want it anyway) used two full sticks of butter and 8 oz block of cream cheese. jeeze, i could have made a pumpkin cheesecake with that, what a waste. oh well....


today is my 44th birthday, now what?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

just too cute

you just gotta love krispy kreme for these adorable jack-o-lantern doughnuts. travis and i hit up the doughnut plant, factory, bakery, feed store, whatever you call it this morning and bought a dozen to share with the family. just too cute....
they are just plain glazed by the way, no filling. wouldn't a pumpkin filling be spooktacular?

Monday, October 19, 2009

yorktown day 2009 and ham biscuits

today is yorktown day. that is 228 years ago today the british surrender ending the battle of yorktown bringing about the end of the revolutionary war. it also marks the day of eating too many ham biscuits, well, in my case. travis and myself spent the morning in yorktown watching the parade, people, enjoying the perfect fall weather and overindulging in ham biscuits. well, i did. here are few pics of our yorktown day!

p.s.-as you will see, apparently there can never be enough fife and drum corps, not to mention ham biscuits.

i told travis to go stand by the cannon and he went and stood by a trashcan?

the haunted nelson house...spoooky....

its gardens....

the ole alma mater....go falcons!

french children, who can resist....too cute....

brunswick stew....

ham biscuits....oh my....