Monday, June 29, 2009

chocolate dream pie

folks, if you need something quick and easy for a summer cookout, church social, or just to treat the family, whip up this chocolate dream pie. it is so easy and so tasty. this recipe has been around for a gazillion years right on the back of the ole dream whip box. you remember dream whip, don't ya? it came before cool whip. i can see my mama right now whipping up a batch to top my dad's saccharine sweetened jello. mmmm, mmmm good. my mama also used to make this pie for us kids. i had forgotten all about this simple sweet treat until i spotted a box of dream whip at the market. i just had to make a chocolate one for my youngin's and it was a big hit. no one ran screaming in horror, but all smacked their lips in approval. heck, i already got plans for a coconut one. holey moley. enjoy.

dream pie

2 envelopes of dream whip
2 3/4 cup cold milk(separated)
1 tsp. of good vanilla
2 small boxes your flavor choice of instant pudding
one baked pastry crust or a graham cracker crust( i went with graham cracker myself)

with mixer, beat the two envelopes of dream whip, one cup of milk and the vanilla till stiff peaks form, about five/six minutes. add in the two boxes of pudding and the rest of milk(1 3/4 cup) and continue to beat about two minutes. scrape down the bowl at least once. spoon into crust and chill at least four hours. top with whipped topping if you like.

this would also be good as parfaits! yum.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

sugar crinkles

i love these. sugar crinkles are some of the best cookies i think i have ever made. they are so easy, in fact, i bet you have the ingredients in your cupboard right now. these little babies are sweet and tender with hints of lemon and vanilla. they are slightly undercooked for a chewy bite and pair well with both coffee and tea, or diet coke. also, they make your kitchen smell like a bakery. i hope you give these easy little treats a try. enjoy.

sugar crinkles

1 cup shortening
1.5 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp pure lemon extract
2.5 cups of all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
extra sugar to roll in

preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. beat with an electric mixer till fluffy the shortening and sugar. add in the eggs and extracts. in a separate bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt, now slowly add to the egg mixture. once thoroughly blended, chill your dough for a half an hour. now form the cookie dough into a walnut sized ball and roll in the extra sugar. place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake about 13 minutes or so. allow them to cool a few minutes before moving to wire racks to cool completely.

Monday, June 22, 2009

kitchen sink cookies

i made these today and have to admit, they are not my favorite. i am a purist at heart, straight ole chocolate chip is what i prefer. i thought big j might enjoy these especially since they included two of his favorite ingredients, coconut and walnuts. i intended on making them for father's day, but didn't get around to it until this morning. it is a martha stewart recipe found on her site. they are easy enough to whip up and are moist and cakey, but i an not sure i would make again. if i do, i would cut the chocolate chips back to one cup. i don't know what it is, but i just don't have good luck with martha's recipes, yet i keep going back. enjoy.

"key lime" pie

no key limes were harmed in the making of this pie, but a few plain ole ones were juiced. whip up this pie is minutes and then sit back and watch others eyes roll, lips pucker and moan in delight. i made this one for big j's father's day because key lime pie is one of his favorite things. usually i make my own graham cracker crust, but i grabbed a prepared one this time and grabbed the wrong size. i like a thicker pie, so i stick with a nine inch crust, but accidentally bought a ten inch. although thinner, it still tasted goooood. also, i topped the pie with some sweetened vanilla whipped cream to help round out the tartness. holey moley! you know, i could eat whipped cream by the spoonful, but that is a whole other post.

anyway, make one of these babies today for someone you love, that includes yourself. enjoy.

in a food processor pulse till smooth:

1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup lime juice, about six limes(i am sure key limes would be fine, but have you ever seen how tiny those suckers are)

once smooth, pour into a graham cracker crust of your choice and chill for a few hours till firm. this pie couldn't be easier and more refreshing.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

simple soda

three ingredients are all you need to make a simple and refreshing summer soda; seltzer water, flavored syrup and ice. grab your favorite glass, add a generous splash of flavored syrup, (i like raspberry), add some seltzer and ice. now give it a quick stir and viola. you have a sweet, bubbly soda.

you can find a large assortment of syrup flavors at your local mega mart. i like to keep a variety on hand because they are also great for snow cones and iced tea. enjoy.

Friday, June 19, 2009

"make'em think they're special" meatballs

these are delicious meatballs full of flavor from fresh garlic and parsley. these little meat nuggets can make any jar of sauce and box of dried pasta taste homemade. you make these and your family will love you for life. the best part, they won't have a clue as to how easy these guys are to make and what little effort you've really put into their "homemade" spaghetti and meatball dinner. all they will be thinking as they greedily slurp clean their plates how special they must be for you to go through such trouble. only we know better. okay, let's do it.

in a big ole bowl, mix the following:

1.5 lbs. of ground beef or your favorite meat mix, i like a beef/pork combo(1 lb. beef and .5 lb. pork)
1 egg
1/3 cup italian bread crumbs, give or take, you need enough for it to bind the mixture
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. of salt
1/2 tsp. of black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 clove of garlic minced fine, or more if you like garlic
1/4 cup of fresh chopped parsley
and a big jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

i do this by hand, just until well blended. make into balls roughly the size of a golf ball and drop into your favorite sauce. simmer until done, probably about 30 minutes. don't stir you meatballs for the first 15 minutes to keep them from falling apart. enjoy and remember to just nod your head when your family tells you just how much they love you.

aw mom, you're the best. yes, yes i know. now mangi, mangi!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

open face cucumber sandwich

help, i can not stop eating these. i gobbled this one right after i snapped the photo- gone, history, sayonara. it is not my fault, i have no control. it's, it's, it's lauri's fault, yeah, that's right, sounds good. you see my lifelong friend created this lovely combo, so i blame her(someone's gotta take the fall). she makes these little babies for her "talk of the town" tea parties. i tell you there is nothing, next to boiling water, that could be simpler to do. all you need is a few slices of your favorite bread. i prefer bakery pumpernickel. you can cut it into any shape or size you would like or not. spread vegetable cream cheese straight from the philly container and pile on the cukes to your liking. oh mama, these are goooood and oooooh so addicting. the only thing better, will be homegrown cucumbers, courtesy of my brother's garden. meanwhile, i guess i have no choice, but to make do with their pale and less tasty grocery store cousins. enjoy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

super simple oven baked spare ribs

this is so easy, i almost didn't post it. i am not sure if it even qualifies as a recipe. a few simple steps that produce some of the most killer and tender oven baked ribs, definitely finger lickin'.

this is for a 2 pound slab of pork spare ribs-preheat oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit

1/2 cup brown sugar(light or dark)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup or so of your favorite barbecue sauce, sweet baby ray's is mine.

mix everything, but the bbq sauce, this is your rub. massage this into your slab of ribs lovingly and generously. wrap your ribs, meat side down, in heavy duty foil or a double layer of regular foil. bake two-two and half hours. once done, cut into smaller pieces and baste with your favorite sauce. switch over to your broiler and broil for about five to ten minutes, till glazed, brown, sticky and sweet. watch these very closely or they might burn. my family likes corn on the cob and cheddar garlic biscuits with these. enjoy.


i submitted the peanut butter brownies to foodgawker and got accepted. holy cow, i am getting my few minutes of culinary fame. i would like to thank my new camera and god. i couldn't have done it without you.

you like me, you really, really like me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

peanut butter brownies

i had to make something to try out my new camera, so i whipped up some peanut butter brownies. i have had this recipe lying around for sometime, yet never had made them. boy howdy what have i been missing? these babies are gooooood. they are super simple to make, yet totally decadent. they are dense and sweet, yet not overpowering of peanut butter. these are a real do again folks. just imagine a big ole scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with hot fudge sauce perched on top of this baby. oooh mama. enjoy.

Peanut Butter Brownies

5 tablespoons butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon real vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup peanut butter( i used creamy)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

melt butter in a saucepan, remove from heat and stir in the sugar till well mixed. add the rest of the ingredients. pour into a greased 8x8 pan. bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit about 30 to 40 minutes. keep an eye on them, they can burn quickly. use your nose, once you smell them start a lookin'. cool and cut into bars. yummy.

Monday, June 15, 2009

elvis may be alive, but not my camera

i am going to have to buy a new camera. i wanted to share a pic of my new favorite thing, celestial seasonings madagscar vanilla red roobios tea, but my camera is dead. i mean dead as a door nail dead. there is a more probability of elvis being alive than my kodak. i guess i will pull the money out of my buttocks somehow and go camera shopping tomorrow.

anywho, let me tell you about this lovely, lovely tea. me and the kiddos attended a fantastic bird themed tea party yesterday hosted by one of my life long friends, miss lauri. she gives the most delightful teas, full of good food and fun. we were given a large selection of teas to choose from and this one just jumped off the tea menu because of my love of vanilla. wow, was it ever so good. it is a herbal tea just full of vanilla fragrance and flavor. it's like dessert in a cup. now miss lauri is quite the tea connoisseur, so i was figuring it must have come directly from madagscar, so imagine my delight when i found out i could buy it at the local market. i rushed right out today and picked up a box. i am enjoying a cup right now with a packet of splenda and a splash of 2% milk in my elvis mug. i think it pairs lovely with my peanut butter and banana sandwich, just kidding. it is a cucumber sandwich, although i bet a pb&b would be tasty. thank you, thank you very much. enjoy!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

cream scone

i made scones this morning to accompany the lemon curd at the fancy schmancy tea party that me and the youngin's shall be attending. i have never made scones before and truly believe it is an art. it is art at finding the right recipe and then replicating it. i am much better at the art of making buttermilk biscuits. don't get me wrong, i love scones and starbucks has some of the best, but us southerners or americans for that matter, are not really familiar with them. we drink our tea iced, not hot, so scones are still somewhat unfamiliar territory to us. we think tea and scones and our minds jump to snooty british women in hats with there pinky fingers extended high in the air talking smack about the royal family. sounds like a good time to me. anywho, i found a recipe on the internet that i changed up slightly. here ya go.

Mix in a large bowl the following:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp sugar plus extra for sprinkling

whisk to combine, then cut in five tbsp of cold butter till it looks like coarse sand. then add one cup of heavy cream and a 1/2 cup of dried fruit of your choice. i used a little pack of dried blueberries, cherries and cranberries mixed. stir this, the batter will be loosely and crumbly. you can add a drop or two more of the cream, but don't go overboard. move the whole ball to a floured board and knead just a little bit. the less you handle it, the flakier it will be. pat into a circle about a half inch thick and cut into wedges. i got about ten big scones. move the individual wedges to a silpat or parchment lined pan. brush with cream and sprinkle with additional sugar. bake at 425 degrees fahrenheit for about 10 to 12 minutes. keep an eye on'em now. they get brown on ya quick. smoother with butter, lemon curd or a big ole dollop of clotted cream. clotted what? enjoy.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

lemon curd

tomorrow, my children and i shall be attending a fancy schmancy tea party, ya'll. i am in charge of scones and lemon curd. i guess that is pretty much biscuits and jelly, right? kinda. i made the lemon curd this morning and was pleasantly surprised just how delightfully tasty it is. i mean i was eating it by spoonful, so much for manners and having never made lemon curd before, i was again surprised as to how simple and quick it was to make. i poked around the internet until found this recipe. it guarantees you a smooth and lump free curd and it delivered. big j didn't like it too much, too tart for his sensitive taste buds. the kids, i didn't even offer up a taste, why bother, they would only run away in agony. i will whip up the cream scones in the morning, so look for those lovelies tomorrow. alrighty now, put the kettle on and fix yourself a cup of lipton's. i need to go practice my manners. enjoy.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

baked beans

sorry about the photo folks. those beans had already been chowed on and some lucky person got all that caramelized goodness off the top. no matter, let me tell you those are some of the easiest and tastiest baked beans on the planet. i can't remember where i came across the original recipe, but i doctored it up over time. here is what you need:

3 28 oz. cans of pork and beans
1-2 tsp. of minced onions depending how much you like onion
1 tsp of yellow mustard
1 cup ketchup
1/4 molasses(my special somethin')
five slices of crumbled bacon

mix all this together and pour into a three quart casserole. baked uncovered for two hours or so at 300 degrees fahrenheit. i always put my dish on a cookie sheet in case it bubbles over( my ovens are way overdue for a scrubbing as it is). it will have a sticky, smokey, sweet crust on top. oh boy are they good and yummy. i hope you will give these a try at your next summer get together. enjoy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

carrot salad, not a big hit

although i thought it was good. i nicked the recipe from here. i guess we just ain't sophisticated folks.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

happy birthday - the big four!

from this to
this, in four short years.

you are my miracle baby and mama loves you very much.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

red skinned tater salad, best ever

this weekend we celebrated my son's fourth birthday and i baked and cooked for two days. one of the things i made was red skinned potato salad and you know what? it was the best potato salad i have ever made, seriously. i have always made some version of a yellow(mustard) potato salad and this had some mustard in it, but unlike the others, it was dang good. i mean really dang good. i have an cantankerous aunt who always says she doesn't like anyone's potato salad, but her own. i figured if i could get a compliment from her, and she will let me know, i did good. well, apparently i did do good because she made a point of telling me how much she enjoyed it.

what i did was poke around the net and pick a few recipes to combine. i don't like pickles or pickle relish, sweet or dill, in my salad. i don't like large hunks of onions or eggs either. i think paprika is unnecessary and i sure don't like salad dressing(miracle whip), ick.

i decided that i was way too lazy to peel potatoes before boiling, so i picked red skinned ones. they are yummy to eat, skin and all. i love potato skins, that is where all the flavor and vitamins are. (trying to keep it healthy, yea right) anyway, what i did was basically boiled a five pound bag of red skin potatoes, cooled and cubed into my big mixing bowl. i then mixed the following in a separate bowl:

1 to 1.5 cups of good mayo-i used duke's(good southern tradition and my mama's favorite)
2 tbsp of cider vinegar
a hefty tbsp of yellow mustard
a teaspoon or so of garlic salt
a hefty shake of black pepper, probably about .5 tsp

i blended this together, simply with a spatula and then folded it into my cooled potatoes trying not to break them up too much.

to the potatoes i then added six chopped boiled eggs, two springs onions, white and green, finely minced, and two stalks of celery sliced thin. fold these in till well mixed, once again trying not to break up the potatoes too much. let chill, overnight is best.

my picture does not do it justice. good stuff folks. enjoy.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

it's a party

tomorrow we are celebrating my son's fourth birthday with family at my house. i always fix piles of food, as usual, so today is going to be a super busy day for me, cooking and baking. little daddy requested a chocolate cake with blue frosting, easy enough, i hope. i am also fixing baked beans, potato salad, my mama's pea salad, carrot salad, king ranch chicken casserole, fresh salsa, mexican pinwheels, a key lime pie and jello shooters(bad, i know). i begged off the deviled eggs to my cousin cindy(love ya) and mac/cheese/tomatoes to my brother roger(love ya, too). i opted to order fried chicken from the local mega mart along with the rolls. i will post lots of pics and recipes over the next few days, so stay tuned.

it is hard to believe that my little fellow is getting ready to be four after coming seven weeks early and spending a month in the nicu.

happy birthday! i love you.

(look close here, you can see his shiner? he feel out of bed)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

strawberry julius

i opted to make a strawberry julius with my quart of freshly picked berries. it was exceptionally delicious and loved by all, but my three year old. he had rather suck the life out of his scooby doo go-gurt than give it a try. i will make these babies often and have already devised a plan to tweak it-dream whip! i am thinking that the dream whip powder will thicken the mixture a tad more and lend a little flavor. i was also thinking that you could make it a grown up strawberry julius with a shot of rum or alcohol of choice. try this, its berry good. enjoy.

oh, btw, i used about six ice cubes instead of the water.

6/5/09 i wanted to add that the dream whip powder did squat to the julius, so i gave instant vanilla pudding a shot. i threw in about a tbsp per batch and it made the mixture really thick and creamy. that little secret is between you and me. have fun.

fresh from the field

by golly i love strawberries. i picked up these little gems from a local produce stand. they were picked fresh this morning, dirt and all. they are not the prettiest strawberries, a few of them are soft, most likely from too much handling, but they have a wonderful taste. i want to use them in a recipe, but what? i need to do a search to see what i can find and i'd better act fast, 'cause i can not stop eating them, dirt and all.

any ideas? bring'em on.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

we interrupt your regularly scheduled program...

to bring you this public service announcement or rant. i will get back to the food, soon, i promise. i have had a great deal floating around in my head this week. i am trying to plan a little family gathering to celebrate my son's fourth birthday. usually planning such an event would be fun, right? wrong.

well, i got a phone call on sunday that has completely thrown me off kilter. a conversation that i keep replaying in my head. i just can't shake it.

first, let me attempt to explain a few things. i am a mama to an adopted child. my late husband and i adopted my daughter c at birth in 1998. it was a non-family open adoption, a great experience. i got to know c's birth mom really well and eventually even some of her family members. when my daughter was five, she got to meet her birth grandparents for the first and only time. it is a long story, but they didn't even know she existed till then. they were nice folks, but choose, out of respect to their daughter and her family, to back away from a relationship with c. okay, fast forward, c's birth mom, as mentioned, has her own family now and makes no contact with us, but i do keep in contact with her sister or c's birth aunt. it was sunday when this sister calls to tell me that her dad, c's birth grandfather, took his own life a few weeks ago. i had only met the man once, but i cried like it was my dad. it broke my heart. this man had so much to live for, wife, three daughters, three grandsons and a new grand baby due in july. well, this is were it gets shocking. turns out he was trying to quit smoking and was taking the med chantix. folks, it has come to light that chantix has very serious and frightening side effects. this man is not the first person to kill himself while on this medication and i doubt the last, until the fda pulls this crap from the market. i have spoken to quite a few people about this drug and turns out, my own sister in law was taking the drug and in a few days time started having issues. she stopped it immediately. my brother's good friend was taking it as well and begun talking about whether his life was worth living. he too stopped it immediately, thankfully. i don't get it! why wouldn't a medication with such serious side effects still be marketed? i guess the percentage of deaths from shotgun blasts to the face is less than that of lung cancer? i don't smoke, never have, but i had much rather see someone put a cigarette in their mouth than a gun barrel.

putting my soapbox away. we know return you to your regularly scheduled program. thank you.