Monday, January 31, 2011

Still pale but still trying

Marinated Carrot Salad
Food & Wine An Entire Year of Recipes 2004 Copyright 2004

1 pound carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal or julienned
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil I used canola oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar I used red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced shallot I used some yellow onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley I used green onion
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground pepper

1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Salt the water, then add the carrots and cook until they are barely tender, about 3 minutes (watch them - the cooking time with vary depending on the thickness); drain them.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, shallot, parsley, mustard and sugar and season with salt and pepper. I whirled it all together in my mini-chopper. Add the carrots and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve the carrot salad chilled or at room temperature.

As I continue my quest to give my complexion a healthy yellow glow, I turned to this recipe. So far my complexion is still the color of Wonder Bread and I was beginning to doubt if I could eat enough colorful vegetables to change it. After tasting this recipe I think it might be possible. I could easily down a pound of carrots a day eating this. I loved the dressing and since I'm not a big fan of raw carrots, that little bit of cooking made the difference. I had to make a few substitutions based on what I had on hand but they worked and I'll probably stick to my substitutions from now on.

I used a cheap mandolin-style, 'as seen on TV' vegetable slicer for this. I don't buy these products directly since I have plenty of opportunities to buy them at yard sales. I bought this brand-new, never-used, in-the-box for $1. It has several blades. I think it's worth what I paid. It actually did a nice job of slicing the carrots, although skinny carrots are not the easiest vegetable to slice on this type of slicer. You can't adjust the thickness of the slices as I would hope you could on a more expensive slicer but I happened to want these slices very thin and that's what I got. Now that I've taken the slicer out of the box and used it, I will probably use it a lot more. It wasn't difficult to use or clean. This is one of those things that I just don't need an expensive version of but I can get some use out of this cheap one.

I have to admit that I liked this so much I wanted to make another batch right away and I didn't feel like slicing another bag of carrots. Since I'm not sure if my food processor is working or not (it stopped working mid-recipe that last time I used it), I bought the bagged matchstick carrots and that worked out very well. They're a bit more expensive but a great time saver.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Since someone asked ...

This is my $20 mixer. It's in excellent condition on the exterior and it came with the paddle, whisk and dough hook. Ain't she purdy?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Recipes I'm not going to tell you about

There have been a lot of things I've made this past year that I never got around to telling you about. I either can't (I don't remember where the recipe is) and/or they were just not that great or exciting (I know, since when has that stopped me?)

This is an eggplant and tomato salad with feta cheese and capers that I made way back when that just didn't wow me. I used the light purple eggplants which are adorable but rather flavorless and I didn't care for the texture of the eggplant. Otherwise, I think this recipe has potential except I don't know where it is. If I even find it I might give it another try with a different variety of eggplant, when tomato season comes along again.

This is a sloppy joe recipe that was fine but there was nothing special about it. I think I used ground turkey.

World Peace Cookies - just about every blogger has made these already. They were okay. I didn't use a really good chocolate or a specialty salt so I won't argue with anyone who did and raved about these (as most people have). Also, I made them for a shower with a bunch of other cookies so I think I was just cookied out when I finally tasted these.

I made these big oatmeal cookies when I made a bunch of other big cookies for my son's teachers. I actually used raisins since I also made chocolate chip cookies for them. I usually put chocolate chip in my oatmeal cookies. These were really good but not so outrageously good that I'm upset that I don't remember where the recipe is. I might have found it online. I think it was the 'big' that made these so good - I'm a sucker for oversized cookies .

These glazed Chinese drumsticks were a failure. They were cooked on the stove top and the skin just about came off and the glaze was pretty lame. They tasted okay but, well, the picture tells the rest.

These drumsticks were cooked in Heinz 57 Sauce. They were supposed to be cooked on the stove top but learning a lesson from the glazed Chinese drumsticks, I did them in the oven. I liked the way they turned out texture-wise but I didn't care for the flavor.

A three pepper relish that wasn't bad, I just don't remember where I got the recipe from.

This is your typical lemon bundt cake, made from scratch with a lemony glaze. It was good, nothing earth shattering about it though. I made it to use up some lemons that I had. I have no idea which cookbook I got that recipe from. I'm sure there is a recipe like this is many of my cookbooks.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The story of my Kitchen Aid mixer

The Essential Soft Oatmeal Cookie
The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion Copyright 2004

1/2 cup (1stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten
6 tablespoons sour cream or yogurt (not nonfat) I used sour cream
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 cup currants or raisins (optional) I used chocolate chips
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon I left this out
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans or walnuts (optional) I left these out

Preheat the oven tho 350 degrees F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment paper) two baking sheets.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, oil and sugar. Add the egg, beating until fluffy, then beat in sour cream and vanilla. Stir in the currants and oats.

In a separate bowl, mix together the baking soda, cinnamon, salt and flour. Add this mixture, a cup at a time, to the oat mixture, beating well after each addition. Stir in the nuts. Let the dough rest for 15 to 30 minutes.

Using a tablespoon cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, or until they're light brown, Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.

Okay, not the most exciting cookie recipe. I can't get fancy when I'm looking for a sure thing to put in Nick's lunch bag. He's funny about what he likes and what he doesn't. Store-bought definitely has a greater appeal to him than homemade at this point. He really liked these and so did I. Although I love the oatmeal cookie recipe that uses vanilla pudding, it's nice to have options.

This is a somewhat historical recipe, boring as it is. It's the first recipe I prepared using my Kitchen Aid stand mixer! I never thought I needed an expensive Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Well, there was a point that I wanted one but I was given a Kitchen Aid hand mixer as a wedding gift over 10 years ago and it's so powerful, I stopped coveting the stand mixer.

But I was one of the first shoppers at a local church yard sale late last summer, and what do you think I did when I saw a Kitchen Aid stand mixer sitting there priced at $20? Yep, I bought it! Well, I guess I gave the ending of that story away already, huh?

$20 is a lot for me to spend on something at a yard sale, especially something mechanical that may or may not work. I might have passed it over if it weren't for the handwritten note written on a sticker and placed on the mixer letting me know that all Kitchen Aid attachments work for this mixer. Would someone have taken the time to write that note if the mixer didn't work? And it was a church yard sale after all, all items donated, all of the money going to the church. I took a chance.

I picked that thing up and paid for it so fast, putting down the strawberry shaped cookie jar I was carrying. I was wrangling a 2 year old too, something had to give. Someone else snatched up that cookie jar while I was paying for the mixer and getting it to my car but that's okay. It was nothing special. I've seen those at other yard sales and at Goodwill. I've never seen a Kitchen Aid mixer out in the wild before.

The cashier was amazed that I was paying $20 - everything was priced so cheaply, he thought that was a lot! It's a Kitchen Aid K5-A, with the Hobart name on it, so it's older but those older models are usually better made than the newer models.

So now I'm using it cautiously. I don't know how much life is left in it. I want to use it, but if it croaks, I don't want to be so attached to it that I find myself wanting to replace it at a more believable price. I used it for all of my Christmas baking (my poor neglected hand mixer!) It got a great workout and gave me no problems. What was also nice about it was that it forced me to keep washing the bowl between cookies instead of building a large mountain of dirty bowls like I might tend to do when I use my hand mixer.

So yes, I'm getting a wee bit attached to it, but would I pay hundreds for one of these? I still don't think so, not at this point in my life. I'd rather have more cookbooks.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2 less frozen bananas in my freezer

Quick Banana Coffee Cake Streusel Muffin
The Ugly Binder, clipped from a newspaper

For the streusel topping:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut into small pieces and softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the muffins:

3/4 cup sour cream
2 bananas
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut into small pieces and softened

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with baking spray, or line it with paper muffin cups.

2. To prepare the streusel, in a food processor, combine the flour, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Process for 15 seconds, or until well blended and resembles slightly clumpy wet sand. Transfer to a bowl and set aside

3. To prepare the muffins, in the food processor combine the sour cream and bananas. Process until smooth. Add the cinnamon, ginger, salt, vanilla, egg and brown sugar. Process again until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and butter. Pulse only until combined. Add 1/4 of the streusel mixture, pulse the processor 2 to 3 times. I hate the vagueness of that step - tell me exactly how much streusel to add back!

4. Scoop a generous 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup. Top each with a heaping spoonful of streusel topping, pressing it lightly into the top of the batter. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.

Nutrition information per muffin (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 310 calories; 97 calories from fat (31 percent of total calories); 11g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 48 mg cholesterol; 49 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 1 g fiber; 172 mg sodium.

This is not one of my old recipes from the Ugly Binder, I actually clipped this from a newspaper recently. I sometimes kill the long 3 1/2 minutes it takes to heat my lunch in the microwave by picking something out of the recycling bin to read and that's where I found this recipe, in a coworker's local newspaper.

I've had a stock of overripe bananas in the freezer forever, planning on making something with them every week, but all the banana recipes I saw seemed blah. This isn't terribly exciting but it was a step up from banana bread or plain banana muffins. I love a muffin with a topping. I'm not a fan of a plain muffin top. I will use this topping on other muffins.

I had some technical trouble. My food processor cut out before I finished. I switched to a mixer but I don't think the butter incorporated properly. I'm not sure. Even though I used foil liners, there was melted butter under each muffin when I took these out of the pan. Weird.

I thought these were very muffin-like, not a cupcake disguised as a muffin. They weren't too sweet or too oily. They looked beautiful - I piled on the topping expecting it to fall off but it stuck beautifully. They rose so nice, and didn't spill over at all. The flavor didn't make my eyes roll back into my head but it was very pleasant.

It's been a while since I made muffins but this might be the start of another muffin kick around here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Yummy vegetable soup

Carolina Vegetable Soup
Moosewood Restaurant New Classics Copyright 2001

3 tbsp olive oil
2 c chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 c chopped carrots
1 c chopped sweet potatoes
1/2 c chopped celery
1 1/2 c chopped zucchini
1 c cooked lima beans– fresh or frozen I used frozen baby lima beans
3/4 c frozen corn kernels
1 1 /2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes I used a 14.5 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves I used dried
1/4 c barbecue sauce I used Sweet Baby Ray's Original
4 c water
1 tsp each salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley I omitted this
Tabasco or hot sauce to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil (optional) I omitted this
Chopped scallions

In a large soup pot, warm the oil over medium heat and saute the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, yams, and celery and saute another 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, lima beans, corn, tomatoes, thyme, and barbecue sauce. Stir for about a minutes, then add the water, salt, and pepper.

Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the veggies are tender. A few minutes before serving, stir in the parsley and hot sauce to taste.

Serve topped with chopped scallions.

Serves 6

Recently I saw an article online about how people who eat a lot of vegetables that contain carotenoids develop a more attractive skin tone. Well my skin tone could use all the help it can get. I am pale. Not that cool, vampire pale or that cute Irish kind of pale but the 'OMG! Are you ill?!' kind of pale. I won't risk tanning. Fake tans, while much improved over the years, still come up short as far as I'm concerned.

So, I've been upping my vegetable consumption in general and trying to get more of the red and orange vegetables in my diet. This recipe seemed like a good way to get some carrots, sweet potatoes and tomatoes in me and the barbecue sauce intrigued me. This seems to be a vegetarian take-off on Brunswick stew which I've never made since it seemed like a lot of work. This version is not at all much work and the result is absolutely delicious.

It had a distinct flavor which may have been the thyme. I don't usually care for thyme but I liked this soup so go figure. For some reason I keep adding thyme to things even though I don't like it so maybe that habit finally paid off.

I loved this right off but it was even better the second day. I regret not making a double batch of this but really, it's so simple to make, it will be no problem to whip up another batch sometime soon.

Oh, and baby lima beans? Very, very cute!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

One of those once in a while recipes

Cheeseburger Ramen
101 Things To Do With Ramen Noodles Copyright 2005

½ pound ground beef I used 1 pound
1 package ramen noodles, with seasoning packet I used 3 packages
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tomato, diced (optional)

In a frying pan, brown and drain beef. Season to taste with ½ of the seasoning packet.

Cook noodles in water according to package directions and drain. Add beef and cheese to noodles and stir until cheese is melted. Add tomatoes, if desired.

Makes 2 servings.

I changed the proportions a bit here but this isn't a recipe that needs to be anywhere near exact. I didn't add much cheese. You can't really even see it but you could taste it.

I actually enjoyed this. No, it's not very healthy but it's not the worst thing you could have for dinner either. I wouldn't make it every night but it might very well just show up on the dinner table again. Maybe I'll even add some vegetables!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Out of hibernation

Spiced Sweet Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
from the Ugly Binder, most likely from

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (4 ounce) jar roasted red peppers
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley I skipped this

1. In an electric blender or food processor, puree the chickpeas, red peppers, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Process, using long pulses, until the mixture is fairly smooth, and slightly fluffy. Make sure to scrape the mixture off the sides of the food processor or blender in between pulses. I used my immersion blender. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The hummus can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before serving.)
2. Sprinkle the hummus with the chopped parsley before serving.

Makes about 2 cups

This recipe is from my pre-blogging days. It's been tucked away in my ugly binder, never out of my mind, but it's so hard to find tahini around here. Not even just around here - I looked in stores near my parents too and could never find it. I finally remembered to pick some up when I was in Wegman's a few weeks ago. I think I paid over $7 for a jar of organic tahini but I can make 18 batches of hummus with that tahini. There were slightly cheaper options but this one appealed to me the most.

Everything else in this is inexpensive. I got a 24 ounce jar of roasted peppers for $2.39 (store brand). The beans were 75 cents (for name brand on sale, the store brand are even cheaper). I bought lemons at Costco. I figured this cost about $2 to make 2 cups. That isn't bad for hummus.

Many hummus recipes call for oil but this one is oil-free and I don't miss the oil. I am crazy about this stuff. CRAZY! Love it, love it, love it! It's great on a whole wheat tortilla, with roasted veggies, made into a wrap. I can't believe I let this recipe hibernate for so long.

When I was in the Ugly Binder, I pulled a few recipes out. My poor Ugly Binder gets ignored. It doesn't grow very much since although I bookmark recipes quite often, I rarely print one out anymore. Most of the recipes predate my time on the internet or I printed them out in the early days. I think it's about time that I try some of these recipe out that have been in there for 15 years.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Better than bottled

Kanpai Ginger Salad Dressing
Favorite Restaurant Recipes Copyright 1982

½ cup soy oil I used canola oil
¼ cup soy sauce
1/3 cup diced onion
¼ cup diced celery
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons peeled, diced fresh ginger I used jarred ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon rind
½ teaspoon catsup
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Place all ingredients into blender or food processor and blend until vegetables are pureed. Store in covered jar. Shake thoroughly before using.

Makes about 1 ½ cups

This dressing was sooooo good! The only thing that would make it better is if we could call it a soup instead and then I could eat it with a spoon. Don't laugh - try it first and then get back to me on that.

You can buy ginger dressings but the ones available to me are expensive and none that I've tried have been as good as this one. With some won ton strips and some grilled chicken, this salad really hit the spot.

This cookbook contains 500 recipes from the R.S.V.P column of Bon Appetit magazine. The recipe is from the Kanpai Japanese Restaurant in Philadelphia. I doubt it's still there since restaurants generally don't stay in business that long and I don't recall ever hearing about this restaurant when I lived in Philly, from the late 80s to the late 90s. I couldn't find any information on it. Their dressing will live on with me, that's for certain.

Question of the Day: Are there any restaurant recipes that you would like to have?
I can't think of any actual restaurant recipes but years ago I took a Royal Caribbean cruise and I loved the key lime pie they served. It had a creamy top layer. Years later I found a recipe for their pie, supposedly, but I could tell it wasn't the same since it didn't have a creamy top layer (or they changed it or my memory stinks). And a local grocery store chain used to sell an apple caramel dessert from a major dessert distributor but I haven't seen it in years. I would love to make something like that - one of the best things I've ever had. I found the ingredient list online but I haven't had it in so long, it would be hard for me to figure out how to duplicate it now. I need to taste it again.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Another birthday cake for Nick

I survived another birthday party. Nick turned seven this past week. We had his party today since he didn't tell me he wanted one until after Christmas. I was hoping to avoid the party thing this year but it turned out well. Except for Dan complaining of a bellyache 30 minutes into the party. He wouldn't let me go and I was sure he was going to throw up but he didn't. He turned back into his old self right at the end of the party. Must have been gas. I hope (knock on wood). It threw me off but thank God I had backup (another helpful mom).

I made the cupcakes from a box (Duncan Hines) and the cake was my favorite chocolate cake recipe, the awesome Chocolate Fudge Cake. I love that cake! I used Easy Buttercream for the green frosting. The football is canned chocolate frosting and the gold is canned white frosting with gold food coloring. The accents are from tubed icing. It's just easier to do it that way.

Yay! I just realized when I posted to that Buttercream recipe that it shows a picture of Nick's 2nd birthday cake. I was looking for pictures of all of his birthday cakes the other day and I couldn't find one of that cake anywhere. Thank God for blogging! I've only missed his first birthday here since I started this blog a few months before he turned two.

Now I have two days off to recuperate. I hope I get to cook something.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Closer Look At The Books
- Esquire's Handbook for Hosts, 1949

This is one of my more entertaining books. I think the audience for this book was the 1950 metrosexual male. (This book belonged to someone named Shelly - not sure if that is a man or a woman.)

It's not strictly a cookbook but it does contain hundreds of food and drink recipes.

The recipes are appealing. They try to have an air of sophistication about them although there is a recipe for buttered toast.

The recipes don't seem very dated to me. There are many international recipes - Armenian, Indian, French, Italian, Hungarian, Russian - even Turkish! Even though this book is supposed to be about being a good host, there are a few recipes geared toward eating alone and the one for hot dog stew caught my eye.

The drink recipes are even more appealing. I'm not a big drinker but it doesn't seem like people drink the variety of cocktails that they once did. I am tempted to try many of these drinks. Maybe not this one though:


1 quart beer
1/2 pint of brandy
2 eggs
Sugar to taste
Small amounts of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg

Stir thoroughly until well mixed.

I think this is a classic drink somewhere in the world but it does not appeal to me. But I may tell the next person who annoys me to 'Huckle-My-Butt'. It can be my own Kiss-My-Grits catch phrase.

This book contains plenty of information on entertaining - conversation tips, card games, party games, party tricks - even after-dinner witchcraft.

There are a few pages devoted to figuring out how attractive you are to the opposite sex. Here are some of the highlights:

How Attractive Are You To Men?
If you are asked to get another girl for a foursome, do you pick one obviously less attractive than you are? You are unwise to do so. Get the most glamorous girl you know and both men will be pleased.

I'm not going to argue, I don't think women should compete with each other, but since this book is written from the male point of view, the answer didn't surprise me the least bit.

Do men marvel at your capacity for holding liquor? A great mistake: it gives you a fast reputation and runs into money - the man's money - besides.

A think a good portion of men today would actually consider buying a woman liquor a good investment.

How many comfortable chairs are in your living room? At least two, I hope. No man can fall in love unless he has a chance to relax and he he can't if either of you sits bolt upright.

I wonder how many women ended up as old maids in the 1950s soley because of a poor choice of living room furniture.

Do you either play bridge or dance really well? If not, takes steps to correct this at once. You're better off to do both well, but at least one talent is mandatory.

Those aren't that talents Cosmo tells me I need.

How Attractive Are You To Women?

Do you show your devotion to a woman by holding her hand or putting your arm around her when her friends are present? Please don't. Even a girl who is affectionate in private dislikes public mauling.

Hand holding was considered a public mauling in 1949?! I find that hard to believe.

Would you dine a girl expensively and not buy her flowers or economize on the place and bring her at least a gardenia? Most women would prefer having flowers and less to eat.

No wonder women were smaller back then. They were surrounded by lots of pretty flowers too.

Do you consider it a young girl's own business whether she gets tight and is indiscreet when she's out with you? Keep an inexperienced girl from getting tight, if you have to spank her, and don't let any woman become indiscreet through liquor. Triumphs over liquor don't help any man.

So you can't hold her hand or put your arm around her, but you can spank her?

The book suggests that the host not get too drunk at his own party. They suggest a few ways he can tell if he's had too many:

The Sober Duty Of A Host

You've had a few if ..

You hold eight diamonds to the ten, jack, a singleton spade and four small clubs, and bid one heart figuring that, although you are vulnerable, a psychic bid, in an effort to save rubber, is a fine strategic move.

Well, duh! This is the most obvious sign that you are drunk. I think even police officers are using this as part of their sobriety test.

You think it might be fun to send a telegram to somebody.

When I was in my heyday, drunk dialing was the problem. Now it is drunk texting, facebooking or tweeting. But back in 1950, drunk telegram sending was the danger?! I have to say, that one might still hold as a good indication that you've had too much to drink.

And what if one of your guests over imbibes?

Is There A Drunk In The House?

Since you guests might not be as careful as you to stay on the sober side, you'd best bone up on How To Handle A Drunk On The Premises. Your object, whenever a drunk guest begins to annoy the rest of the party, is to lure the lush into a bedroom and get him to take a nap. "Let's have a drink in here" or "I must speak to you alone" are the approaches most likely to succeed. Thereafter, the use of Mickey Finns is not particularly recommended; you can often achieve the same effect with bed or chair combined with just one more very strong slug.

This is so wrong, on so many levels. Luring drunks into your bedroom? One more strong slug? Yes, with any luck that will push the guest right into alchohol poisoning and he won't disturb any of your future parties either.

The illustrations are gorgeous and the cartoons are amusing:

I also got a few bonus items with this book:

A paper napkin from Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans. I will assume it was saved here for the drink recipes printed on the other side.

also, a dried rose:

I paid either 50 cents or a dollar for this book from my former cookbook guy (my dealer LOL). He never came back after giving up his stall at the auction when gas prices started going up. As much as I miss him, I think I would be buried in cookbooks by now if he hadn't left.

This wasn't the only edition of this book, I'm not sure how many or which was the earliest. There are many copies floating around out there. I think this would make an amusing AND useful gift for the modern single man.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sauce or just jello?

Cranberry Strawberry Sauce
The Ugly Binder, a newspaper contest winner

1 pkg fresh Cranberries
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
Rind of 1 Orange, cut in small thin strips I used my microplane to zest the orange
1 Lrg (6oz) pkg Strawberry JELLO
1 cup boiling water
1 pkg Frozen Strawberries, thawed

Cook cranberries with 1 cup Sugar and 1 cup Water according to pkg directions for "firm" cranberries. While cooking add orange rind.

After cooked add JELLO-dissolved in just 1 cup Boiling Water

Mix well and add the thawed strawberries

Let stand in refrigerator at least overnight.

One of the newspapers that I read online runs a 'local flavors' cooking contest. This recipe was one of the runner ups. I had a bag of cranberries that I was looking for something to do with when I read this.

I really did like this - the cranberries added tang, the strawberries added sweetness. I just wasn't sure what to do with it. It was too strawberry-y and too Jello-y to replace traditional cranberry sauce in any way I might use the traditional version. I had no problem just eating it straight but it made a LOT. A lot of it ended up getting thrown out since I made this before leaving town for a few days and then I forgot about it. Again, don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed this but I wouldn't call it a 'sauce', it was cranberry-strawberry jello.

Question of the Day: What is your traditional cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving? For my family, it's the jellied. I also like the version they sell in the deli at the supermarket but no one else will eat it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rice krispie treats revisted

Rice Krispie Treats On Sticks

1/4 cup butter
1 10 oz. bag marshmallows
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups (or more) rice krispies

Melt butter, add marshmallows. When marshmallows are melted take off heat and add vanilla, then the cereal. Spray pan with cooking spray, firmly add mixture. Let cool a bit before cutting and inserting sticks. If you wait to long you might not be able to get the sticks in. Decorate as desired.

I've made rice krispie treats before but they were just your garden variety rice krispie treats. These were still just regular old rice krispie treats but I dolled them up for Nick's birthday treat at school yesterday with a light coating of CandiQuick on one side, a Swedish fish and some blue sprinkles. I also put them on sticks. Nick saw that and said 'They're on sticks! Now we won't get our hands dirty when we eat them!' Smart boy. Not that my main goal was the kids keeping their hands clean. Food is just more fun on a stick. They would have been just as good without the sticks, and you can risk them being softer without the sticks.

These were a bit of work because I needed two batches and I prefer to make these on the stovetop, not in the microwave. Make sure you use the full 6 cups or more if you're going to put them on sticks. I added more and I may have added more than I should have, especially the second batch, so they were a bit drier than I prefer but I reasoned that meant less sugar for the kids. I prefer my rice krispie treats more towards the gooey end of the spectrum.

My original thought was rice krispie cupcakes but I started thinking about how hard it might be to put that sticky mixture in individual cupcake cups. And would it stick to the cupcake papers? Surfing around I came up with this idea. There are fancier ways to decorate these but I was looking for something uncomplicated and unfussy.

I went the rice krispie treat route because last year when it was my turn to bring snack, I asked the kindergarten teacher what the kids like best and she said rice krispie treats. So I hope these first graders like them too. The first graders don't have snack everyday so they probably at least enjoyed the break in the day. I was hoping to skip the birthday snack but since Nick can't eat most of the snacks the other kids bring in, and they are still bringing them in for birthdays, I went along.

Question of the Day: What foods on a stick do you like? Corn dogs are probably the ultimate food on a stick.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Not your same old, same old cookie

Milk Chocolate Florentine Cookies
Nestle Tollhouse Best-Loved Recipes Copyright 2005

2/3 cup butter
2 cups quick oats
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light or dark corn syrup I used light because that's all I had
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (11.5 oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Milk Chocolate Morsels

PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Line baking sheets with foil. Read my commentary for more on this

MELT butter in medium saucepan; remove from heat. Stir in oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla extract and salt; mix well. Drop by level teaspoons, about 3 inches apart, onto foil-lined baking sheets. Spread thinly with rubber spatula.

BAKE for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets on wire racks. Peel foil from cookies.

MICROWAVE morsels in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) power for 1 minute; STIR. Morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10 to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. Spread thin layer of melted chocolate onto flat side of half the cookies. Top with remaining cookies to make sandwiches.

I was looking for a recipe that used chocolate chips since I bought a huge bag of them in Costco before Christmas and I still had about half left. I was looking for something that wasn't same old same old and this recipe caught my eye. Then I realized these called for milk chocolate chips and that bag contained semi-sweet chips. While I pondered making the substitution (which I think would have been fine), I found a bag of milk chocolate chips in the cupboard. So, the bad news is that I didn't make a dent in my semi-sweet chocolate chip surplus but the good news is that I didn't need to buy anything to make these and I made a dent in my oatmeal surplus.

I've been aware of this type of cookie for many years but they always seemed like they would be a pain in the rear to make. I did have a few hiccups but I think with the lessons I learned, next time I make these it should go much more smoothly.

The batter (which mixes up superquick - nothing fussy about that) was difficult to spread at first (it was sticking to the spatula). Then I started dipping the metal spatula in hot water first and that solved that problem. I dipped between each cookie. If there was no solution to that problem I may have stopped right there because without the water dip, trying to spread the batter into a circle was very frustrating.

I started off baking these on parchment. I drew circles on one side to give me a guideline and then flipped it over and spread the batter onto the parchment.

Then I decided to see how well foil worked after a couple of sheets. I felt like I could freestyle the circles pretty well by then and the cookies don't need to be perfectly round.

Well, the parchment cookies did not stick at all but I did find they spread a bit more than the ones on the foil.

The foil gave me some sticking problems. These are very delicate cookies and even the slightest bit of sticking can be fatal to these cookies. It is nearly impossible to peel one cookie off the large piece of foil without damaging the rest. By the time I realized the foil was a problem, a second batch was already in the oven on foil. So I made sure they cooled completely then I used scissors to cut the foil between the cookies before peeling it off so I was peeling foil off of one cookie at a time. That was much better but still not ideal.

The foil did have an advantage though. The bottoms of those cookies had a thin but solid surface that formed on them, presumably from the corn syrup. This kept the melted chocolate from seeping through the lace-like holes of these cookies during the final step.

So next time I will try nonstick foil. I love that stuff but I haven't replenished my stock in a while.

Parchment or foil, make sure you really do use only about a teaspoon of batter for each cookie. That is plenty.

I think I have seen these with only chocolate on the bottom but I think these are even better sandwiched. (By the way, did you know that Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies originally only had chocolate on the bottom but they ran into melting or sticking problems hence the sandwiched design you see now.)

I made these for my son's lunch this week. It's not the ideal cookie for packing in a lunch since it's rather fragile but I don't think my son will care if it breaks up a bit. The chocolate gives it some sturdiness.

These look pretty and they taste delicious. I'm so glad I finally made these. Who would think that these fancy cookies came from a brand-name recipe board book? I usually don't buy those since they don't tend to contain that many recipes but I spotted a few enticing recipes in this one. I'm pretty sure I bought it at Ollie's. I wouldn't pay retail for one of those books.

P.S. Don't you just love the natural light photos? Why don't you see those more often here? Because I have almost no natural light in my house! There is a small window of time in the day that I can get a picture in natural light. I am not home most days during that time frame. When I am home, I rarely have something ready to photograph that early in the day. Believe me, this pains me. Once in a blue moon I get lucky.

Question of the Day: What was a typical treat in your lunch when you were a child? I didn't pack a lunch, I ate the school lunch. Back then I think there was usually some type of dessert but oddly only a couple of them stuck in my memory. There was something called peanut butter kisses which were scoops of a peanut butter mixture drizzled with chocolate. They were super popular. I thought I'd figured out the recipe but I never got a chance to try before discovering my son had a peanut allergy. Another thing I remember is a cake (or maybe cupcake) that tasted like baby aspirin (orange?)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mom's rice pudding

Rice Pudding
Mama’s Tea Cakes 101 Delicious Soul Food Desserts Copyright 1998

2 cups whole milk
2 cups cooked white long grain rice I used River rice which I think is medium grain
½ cup dark raisins
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon I left this out of the pudding itself
¼ teaspoon ground allspice I left this out
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, well beaten at room temperature
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg I used cinnamon on top instead

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium heavy saucepan, heat the milk until warm but do not boil. Remove it from the heat, add the rice, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, and eggs and mix well. I mixed the eggs and sugar, slowly added the hot milk, then added the rice and raisins.

Pour the mixture into a 1 ½-quart nonstick casserole dish and place the casserole dish in a 13x9-inch pan filled with 1 inch of water. Sprinkle the top with nutmeg cinnamon and bake for 30 minutes. Lightly stir the pudding and bake for an additional 15 minutes (I didn't stir - I don't think Mom did) or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

We serve this with Cool Whip.

Serves 8.

Growing up we always had baked rice pudding as our Christmas Eve dessert. We had a traditional Polish meatless meal on Christmas Eve - mushroom and potato soup, cabbage, fish (later shrimp too), a variety of pierogies, and baked rice pudding for dessert. To be honest, the rice pudding was never anything I craved or thought about other than on Christmas Eve, probably because I just took it for granted and also because holiday recipes are really more special if you just eat them on the holidays.

I started spending Christmas Eve with my husband's family after we married. They served a similar meal but they take it a step further with the no-meat thing and don't even eat dairy on Christmas Eve so no rice pudding there. My parents started spending Christmas Eve with my sister's family where the menu was a little different and I don't think my mom made the rice pudding in years except maybe once or twice my immediate family snuck in our traditional Christmas Eve dinner right before Christmas, as an additional celebration, since we all missed that traditional meal.

But, that rice pudding was the first thing on my mind after my mother died. She never left the recipe but I knew the basic technique. I bought this cookbook months before my mother died and when I saw this recipe, I thought this is basically my mother's recipe and made a mental note to make it at some point. I could have asked my mom for her recipe at that point but I really didn't think about it until it became a reality that she could be dying. And then, it just didn't seem right to ask.

And she may not have had an actual recipe although I imagine she must have used some standard amounts. For years, my mother's brother's wife would call her at Christmas for the recipe since I guess Uncle Frank never got the recipe from Grandma. It was kind of a standing joke that my aunt would call every year instead of permanently writing it down. Isn't that nice, though, to hear from someone every time they want to make one of your recipes? I think it is.

For years I made my mom make a raisinless bowl of this for me but I do like the raisins in this now and eventually learned to like them in her rice pudding since she stopped making the plain bowl after a while. Yes, my mother used bowls. I don't remember her having any flat-bottomed baking dishes (besides cake pans) until the later years. Any type of baked casserole was made in a round bowl as far as I can remember.

So how close to my mom's rice pudding was this? Pretty close. It isn't stirred so you get a nice layer of custard on top and creamy rice on the bottom. I don't remember her's being as sweet but I could just be remembering a time that she ran out of sugar. She was unlikely to have run out for more on the fly if she was a bit short (I would!). It's definitely as inconsistent as my mom's. All of my mom's cooking was a bit inconsistent and her rice pudding was no different. I remember at least once it didn't set right. I've made this a few times, the first batch, then for my family when we were preparing my Mom's funeral, Christmas Eve since I'm spending that at my sister's now, and one more time because I had rice leftover and it was different each time. I think the main difference was the rice. I used River rice like my mom used and I'm not used to cooking starchy rice. It was gummier on Christmas Eve than I would have liked. I will take more care with it next year. Yes, it's time to file this one away under 'Holidays Only'.

P.S. I thought it was kind of funny that I found our family recipe in a Soul Food dessert cookbook but this recipe is good for the soul, at least in my family, especially now.

Question of the Day: What are some of your family's special recipes? I'm not asking for the actual recipes, just name some of them.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

A Closer Look at the Books

Okay, I'm happy with how long I've been blogging, how many new recipes I've tried, and how many cookbooks I've used but I've always been a bit unhappy with the lack of focus on the actual cookbooks. I always feel like I should try a recipe from one before mentioning it, and then when I have tried a recipe and blog about it, most times the book itself doesn't get much of a mention since I am so focused on the recipe. I don't see my habits changing in that respect, to be honest.

BUT, I've decided to spotlight a book every now and then, especially the ones I haven't made a recipe from yet. You might think that's a sign that it isn't a good cookbook but it really isn't. There is no way I will ever cook from every book. I don't expect to, never have. Why have them then? Well, I love the possibilities in every cookbook and even the ones I don't cook from are often educational or just plain interesting. And it's a hobby - hobbies don't have to make sense.

These won't be comprehensive reviews, just small bits of information on the books. I've tried doing this before, more in depth, and I quickly learned I don't have the interest to do that.

So expect 'A Closer Look at the Books' posts to start making appearances soon. I'm not doing this on any particular schedule, just as I come across books I think deserve some extra attention.

Friday, January 07, 2011

The Cookbook Junkie comes to Facebook

Okay, I've had my private account on Facebook for almost a year now. I had planned on just posting links to my blog entries through Networked Blogs there since I was posting so infrequently. But I'm hoping to revive the blog a bit though so I created a page just for The Cookbook Junkie. I set it up to automatically update with any new posts so that is surely the way to go if you don't want to miss anything.

So please look over the the right and 'like' the Cookbook Junkie if you are on Facebook.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

My first reader-submitted recipe!

Laura P.'s Grandma's Meatloaf
submitted by Laura P.

2/3 C breadcrumbs I was all out of plain regular bread crumbs so I used Panko
1/4 C grated onion I pulverized my onion in my mini-chopper
1 C milk
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 lb ground beef
~1/4 tsp sage (recipe calls for 1/2 tsp but Laura's P's mom says to use less than that)
2 slightly beaten eggs

3 T brown sugar
1/4 C ketchup
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp dry mustard

Soak breadcrumbs in milk, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Put in greased loaf pan. Cover with sauce. Bake 350 degree F for 1 hour.

After posting my meat loaf recipe round up, Laura P. sent me her grandmother's recipe. I tend to forget about things if I can't get to them right away but I didn't forget this. My last meat loaf was great and it left me wanting more meat loaf. I had meat loaf on the brain. This is a similar recipe to the last one I made but it's those little bits of spice that intrigued me. Sage and nutmeg? I really wanted to try this.

I went to make this and realized I had no plain bread crumbs and Italian seasoned crumbs would have overpowered the sage and really made an entirely differently meat loaf. I was going to use oatmeal, which Laura had mentioned as an alternative to the bread crumbs. That would have worked and I love the texture of oatmeal in a meat loaf but I spotted the panko crumbs and thought they would be the better substitute. I think they are basically equivalent to regular plain bread crumbs when used as a filler.

What can I say? Another damn good meat loaf. I love that hint of sage in the meat and the hint of nutmeg in the sauce. Those are two spices I don't pull out often enough. They give this meat loaf it's own character but it's not in-your-face.

I think this recipe illustrates why it can be so difficult to recreate a treasured family recipe, if it was not handed down properly. This is a pretty standard meat loaf recipe but if Laura P. had no idea what Grandma was doing in the kitchen, would she ever come up with that touch of sage and bit of nutmeg on her own? Because without them you have a delicious meat loaf but it wouldn't be Grandma's meat loaf. And Grandma's recipe is good!

I'm going to add this to my meat loaf recipe round up.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

I was on the ball this year

Holiday Breakfast Casserole
The Ugly Binder, found online somewhere

1 pound hot bulk sausage (mild can be used – hot is better) I used hot
10 slices bread (cut or torn into cubes)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
6 eggs
3 cups milk (whole milk – low fat makes this casserole kind of runny)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

1. Crumble sausage and brown. Use a fork to break it into smaller crumbles as it browns. Drain off the fat. I did this ahead of time.
2. Pour the bread cubes in a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Spread the cubes around evenly on the bottom of the casserole dish.
3. Sprinkle the sausage around over the top of the bread cubes.
4. Evenly sprinkle the cheese over the sausage.
5. Use a fork to beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper until bubbly and frothy.
6. Carefully and slowly pour the egg/milk batter over the top of the casserole.
7. Cover the casserole doll with a lid or tightly with tin foil and place in refrigerator overnight.
8. Put casserole in a cold oven (since the dish is quite cold). Turn heat to 350 degrees F. Bake for approximately one hour or until the casserole is “set” and slightly brown around the edges. I think mine took much less than an hour - keep and eye on it.

Every year I think about making something special for breakfast on Christmas morning but I never get around to it since I am usually stressed to the max when Christmas Day finally arrives. Well, this year I wasn't rushed and stressed and I actually managed to make this breakfast casserole. I cooked the sausage ahead of time and just put it all together before I went to bed on Christmas Eve. It baked while the boys checked out what Santa brought them.

I have to be honest, while this was good straight off, I preferred the reheated (nuked) leftovers. Fresh out of the oven, the bread was a bit creamy and fluffy which I love in a sweet bread pudding but it was a bit off-putting to me in this for some reason. I used a soft white bread - I think next time I will try something with more body. I think the texture problem was a personal thing - there wasn't anything wrong with it. Reheated this was not a problem - it had all set up pretty well and had a firmer texture. The picture shows a piece of the reheated casserole. It would have been hard to get a neat slice out of the casserole fresh out of the oven.

I loved the flavor. The spicy sausage was great in this but you don't have to go spicy if you don't want to. This was such an easy way to get a savory breakfast on the table. I am not much for a sweet breakfast, especially on Christmas morning, after I have spent the week baking and making candy.

I think this would make a great dinner too. I would brown the sausage the night before and just put it together in the morning and pop it in the oven as soon as you get home from work. I have a problem with browning the sausage, then putting everything together right away. Not a problem if you're baking something right away but something seems weird to me about mixing hot cooked food (sausage) with raw cold food (eggs) and then not cooking the whole thing through right away. That doesn't sound like a good thing to do, food-safety wise, but that is just my gut feeling.

Question of the Day: What did you have for breakfast on Christmas morning?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Last Christmas post

Coconut Corn Nut Cookies
Applehood & Motherpie Handpicked Recipes From Upstate New York Copyright 1981

1 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups corn flakes
2 cups coconut or chopped nutmeats I used coconut
2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Cream margarine and sugars.
2. Add eggs
3. Stir in remaining ingredients and spoon onto greased cookie sheet.
4. Bake at 375 degrees F for 12 minutes.

Yield: 4 dozen

This recipe caught my eye because the title made me think that there were corn nuts in this cookie. It doesn't (that would be odd, I think) but it sounded like a good cookie and I had corn flakes, coconut and margarine so I made these. It was a nice addition to this year's cookie line up. It may or may not make another appearance in the future.

I'm sure you could use butter in these but I always buy one package of margarine to make my Welsh cookies since that's what I've always used for those and I'm too afraid to veer from tradition on that particular cookie. This recipe used up most of the excess margarine.

This and the Crispy Chocolate Truffles were the only new recipes I tried this year. Oh wait, I tried a chocolate and rice crispies concoction that wasn't bad but after I made the Crispy Chocolate Truffles I sort of forgot about that recipe. Maybe this won't be the last Christmas post! Actually, you probably won't hear about that one until next year if I make it again. I think it has possibilities.

So what else did I make this year? Let's see. I made Welsh cookies, fruit cake (without nuts), snickerdoodles, chocolate chip brownies (with Christmas sprinkles), thumbprints, gingerbread men, spritz, white chocolate cranberry cookies, graham cracker chewies (without nuts - wasn't as good but that may have more to do with the fact that the bottom crust was a bit overdone), South Seas cookies, sugar cookies (rolled in Christmas sprinkles before baking), peppermint bark, crispy chocolates (in the little paper cups in the bottom picture - a mixture of chocolate chips, corn syrup, rice crispies and maybe something else), rum balls (not pictured), chocolate and carmamel covered Lorna Doones and pretzels.

Highlights and other notes from Christmas Baking 2010:

Snickerdoodles are always surprisingly delicious. They look so plain but the texture and flavor always blow me away when I take that first bite. They get better as they age too.

Like last year, I topped Lorna Doones and small round pretzels (last year I used pretzel sticks) with caramel and then dipped them in chocolate. The first batch ended up in the trash. The caramel was way too hard - a hazard. I used chocolate chips and shortening for the coating and it was too soft. What a waste - Lorna Doones are not cheap! I swore I was just going to forget those this year. Well, I couldn't forget them. I remade them and the caramel was PERFECT the second time around. As soft as it could be and still set up and be dipped. The second time, I used chocolate coating which is expensive but so easy to work with, it's worth it. These were definitely one of my favorite things this year.

One reason I couldn't just not make the caramel was that I needed some of it to make the South Seas Cookies. They were a big hit again but I might make them smaller next year.

I was only making the Peppermint Bark since it was one of my older son's favorites in the past but I don't even think he touched it this year (I think he forgot it was there). I probably won't make it again. The CandiQuick I use for that is expensive and I personally don't care for Peppermint Bark and I don't think anyone else was raving over it besides my son. It is kind of pretty though.

I like my cookies and treats to be fresh on Christmas so I tend to do everything at the last minute. Sometimes I don't remember what holds best and don't know where to start. Note to myself for next year - the Crispy Chocolate Truffles and caramel and chocolate covered Lorna Doones and pretzels can be made first. They stayed fresh and looked fresh for quite a while.

I've tried freezing cookies before and didn't care for that but this year I baked off some dough for the Cranberry and White Chocolate cookies that I had left over in the freezer and that worked out well. Next year I'm definitely going to make more doughs ahead of time and freeze them.

And that's the end of Christmas Baking 2010!

Question of the Day: Have all of your Christmas decorations been taken down yet? I took them down before the New Year, a little early for me. The outside decorations are still up since I am not in charge of those. It's such a big deal for him to put them up and then they only get turned on a handful of times and stay there until God knows when (even though we just had a 50-degree day last weekend - perfect weather to take down Christmas lights - don't you think?)

Monday, January 03, 2011

My new favorite candy recipe

Crisp Chocolate Truffles
The Ugly Binder, from

1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
2 tablespoons margarine and butter
1 package (6 oz., 1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
2 cups Rice Krispies®
1 package (14 oz.) white chocolate coating
2 tablespoons shortening (I used CandiQuick coating, some vanilla, some chocolate, with no shortening since CandiQuick doesn't need it)
Multi-colored sprinkles (optional)

1. In heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine marshmallow creme, margarine and
chocolate morsels. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is
melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.

2. Stir KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal into chocolate mixture, mixing until
thoroughly combined. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto waxed paper-lined
baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. These firm up quickly - you can pretty much handle them right away. I chilled them briefly and then rolled them into smooth balls. Then I chilled them until I was to dip them.

3. In top of double boiler, over hot but not boiling water, melt white coating and
shortening, stirring constantly. Dip each chocolate ball in coating and place on
waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Refrigerate
until firm. Place in small candy paper cups to serve. Store in airtight container.

I should have wrapped up the Christmas posts before the new year started but I didn't feel like blogging last week. I only have a couple of new recipes to share. I made a lot of cookies and candies this Christmas but most were tried-and-trues. It's getting hard to fit in any new recipes.

I'm so glad I tried this one. These truffles are so easy to make and personally I loved them. They sort of reminded me of a crispy version of a Three Musketeers. There was absolutely nothing tricky about them. The marshmallow, chocolate and butter melts together magically quickly. I scooped it out easily and evenly with a cookie scoop. The scoops were chilled, rolled into smooth balls, chilled again then dipped- some in vanilla coating, some in chocolate coating.

These will definitely be added to my Christmas line up permanently.

Happy New Year! 2010 reads like it should have been a horrible year for me with the divorce (well, the start of the process - it still hasn't actually happened) and my mom passing away but honestly, I don't feel like it was that bad for some reason. I think the 'big' negatives looming over me just made me work harder to enjoy what I could. Or maybe I am just in denial. I won't lie though - I have higher hopes for 2011.

Question of the Day: How did 2010 go for you? What is your plan for 2011?