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.