Monday, March 23, 2009


I know I've posted this recipe before, but I wanted to get it on the food blog.

At the market the other day they had a HUGE display of avacados. They looked wonderful so of course I couldn't pass them up without grabbing a bunch to make some guacamole. This is what Big Bear and I had for dinner last night. Hopefully there will be some for tonight too if Big Bear doesn't take it all for lunch ~ he said he wouldn't.

If I do say myself it was one of my better attempts. I can't help but think of last summer in Georgia every time I make guacamole. Fun times!

4 ripe avocados, chopped
2 limes ~ squeeze the juice over the avacados
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
½ purple onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped fine
large bunch of cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Serve with chips.

Banana Surprise Cupcakes

The other day I noticed that my banana bread stash as disappearing at a faster rate then it should be. When I asked Big Bear about it he said that he has been taking a couple of pieces to work every day for a snack. This is from the man who used to always turn his nose up at banana bread. Don’t get me wrong, I am VERY happy about it.

While looking at food blogs last week I came across a post for banana cupcakes with Nutella swirls. Big Bear and I have thought about buying some Nutella, but never have. This recipe looked interesting, so I thought I would give it a try.

Of course when I finally had time to make the cupcakes I couldn’t remember where I saw the recipe. (I really need to start book marking the ones I like.) Any way, I thought how hard could this be? I found a banana cupcake recipe and fumbled along from there. Here is my finished cupcake:

It was impossible to swirl the Nutella. The batter was too light, and the Nutella was too dense. This stuff is like peanut butter. So I just pushed it below the surface of the batter. I didn’t realize it would fall to the bottom. It does make a nice surprise when you eat the cupcake.

Even though I am not wild about the Nutella, the cake part is excellent. I wanted to freeze them so Big Bear can take them to work. I had already planned not frosting them, and they really don’t need it. I will make the cake part again and frost them with chocolate or maybe a peanut butter frosting. Yum!
*I didn't have any butter milk so I used a little more than a teaspoon of vinegar with 1/4 cup of milk.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Since I don't make or eat corn beef and sauerkraut I was wondering what I could cook or bake for St. Patrick's Day. After a little search I found St. Pat's Pistachio Cookies. Well, cookies are my thing so I thought I would give them a try.

The recipe is really simple. The finished cookie is like a short bread. They are not an extremely exciting cookie, but I think they'll be good with tea. They are perfect for St. Patrick's day because they sure are green! If you do make them I would offer one suggestion. If you can't find unsalted pistachio nuts cut the amount of salt in half or leave it out all together. I wish I would have.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cozy Comfort Sunday

A week ago I tried my first ever pie crust. Remember this? The recipe makes enough for two single crust pies. I had one left so I attempted to make another pie. Big Bear asked for an apple pie. That’s good, I don’t like apple cooked anything ~ except applesauce ~ so I won’t be tempted to eat it.

I bought lots of apples (six pounds) on Saturday. Yesterday I pulled out the dough all ready to start rolling. Ha! HA!!! What a joke. The so called crust was a crumbling mess of butter, Crisco and flour. I couldn’t roll that mess out if I wanted to. Great! Now what was I going to do with six pounds of apples. We don’t eat THAT many apples.

I pulled out my faithful King Arthur Baking Companion Cookbook. I found a recipe for Apple Cobbler and Apple Crumble. When I saw the ‘secret’ ingredient for the crumble the decision was made. See the ‘secret’?

This recipe made the house smell like fall. It smells wonderful. I did try it, but still not a fan, not even with some of ‘The Captain’ in there. Big Bear says that it is really good. That is all that matters. :)

Earlier in the day Big Bear decided that he wanted to make his mac & cheese. Talk about a great way to spend a cold/rainy Sunday afternoon. In the kitchen making comfort foods.
Luckily I put the foil under the crumble, because it made a bubbling mess.

Big Bear's Mac & Cheese ~ YUM!!!

Banana Coconut Bread

We had some bananas that were well past their prime again. Sometimes we go through a bunch of bananas in less than a week. Then we must get bored with them because we’ll have several left at the end of the week. Not that I mind. I like making this bread. Even Big Bear likes this, and he doesn’t like coconut!

I’m posting this again because there was some interest in what recipe I use. I had a couple of emails from people who wanted the recipe. I thought I would just post it here instead of going back through the emails. Lazy – I know.

The original recipe is from a bag of nuts. My mom cut it off a bag of walnuts 100 years ago. We have been making this bread forever! I have changed it up a little bit, but the basic bread is the same. If you are not a fan of coconut just leave it out. Add three tablespoons of milk instead of the coconut milk. Also reduce the bananas to 2-3. I add four because the coconut can make the bread a little drier. The original recipe also calls for granulated sugar instead of brown sugar. I like the flavor of the brown better. Which ever you prefer works well.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Comfort Food

This weekend I wanted to make something to take to my parents’ house. My mom just had surgery, so I wanted to bring a comforting dinner. In my opinion nothing is better than soup when you’re not feeling good. It is so warming – inside and out. I decided to make a Minestrone soup. At least that is how it started. I took some liberties here and there, but the bottom line this turned out to be a really good soup. It made a HUGE pot that we were able to share with my parents, my in-laws, and still have five servings to put in the freezer.

I typed up the recipe after I finished the soup. The measurements aren't exact because I don't measure when I am cooking, only when I bake. If you’re like me just use it as a guideline and add whatever vegetables, beans, or pasta you have in the cupboard. It all works!

A few weeks ago I took a class to learn to bake pie crust. I want to make my own pie crust and not use one from a box. I haven’t had the time to practice what I learned until this weekend.

For my first pie I made a banana cream. It is a pie that everyone in both of our families enjoys. The crust came out 'ok' for a first attempt, but I still need to practice. Thankfully the cream and meringue were pretty good.

The recipe for the cream filling and meringue came from The Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. My grandma and my mom have used this recipe for as long as I can remember. Whenever I bake a cream pie I always go to this book and this recipe. It is the best!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

March Referral Baking

This month's recipe for my 'Referral Baking' spoke to me as soon as I saw it. It has been said that 'it is darkest right before the dawn'. It is just about to be dawn for several of my friends: Pug Mama, Sea Star, Lisa, and Lisa so when I saw the name of this recipe I thought it would be fun. Then after the sad number of days referred I thought that the chocolate overload was most definitely needed. :) So for the March Referral Baking I made Midnights.

This recipe if from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion I love this cookbook. This is the second cookie I've made from this book, and both times I thought the cookies were going to be dudes, but they came out amazingly good.

When making Midnights you chill the batter for an hour before baking. It was almost two hours before I could get to them, so all of the melted chocolate and butter was as hard as a rock. I really didn't hold out any hope for a good cookie. I was about to chuck the entire thing into the garbage. Big Bear convinced me to give at least one batch a try.

Luckily I did, because these are sinfully good. They are more like little fudgy brownies. They have TONS of chocolate. There is not much flour in the batter so the cookie is very tender. There is also an extra bite of salt. I almost cut down the amount of salt because I thought it was too much, but I'm glad I didn't. I have seen several recipes for salted chocolate cookies lately, it is a good combination.

You can see the recipe HERE. Let me know if you give them a try. I'm telling you, if you need a chocolate fix these are the way to go!

Red Beans & Rice

For Christmas I got the book How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. It is a wonderful book. Big Bear has used it several times, and so have I.

On Monday I decided to try to make REAL Red Beans and Rice. I usually don't have much luck cooking beans. I usually stick with the ones from a can. Well, Mr. Bittman may have cured that for me.

On Monday I made the red beans, the vegetarian version. If you like meat I bet the meatatarian version is AMAZING, because the vegetarian version is fantastic. The one pound of dried beans made enough for MANY meals. I think we are going to have them over baked potatoes one night this week.

I took three cups of the red beans mixture to make the Red Beans and Rice for dinner last night. All I can say is WOW! The beans, on there own, are really good, but then add the beans and rice cooked in coconut milk. Good Golly! I now know the secret to those southern red beans and rice. Yum!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Blog

I am crazy ~ I know! I don't keep up with my first blog, so what makes me think that I will keep up with this one? Well, I have had several posts I wanted to write about food that we have made, but I feel guilty only posting about food, so I don't post. Then the other day I was thinking that I really want to keep a record of successes, and those occasional failures *wink-wink*, that I have in the kitchen.

Here is my answer. I have decided to do a food blog. That way I won't feel guilty when I post about our kitchen creations because this will, after all, be a FOOD blog.

You may have noticed my pronoun choices in this post. I am using 'our' and 'we' because Big Bear has also been cooking quite a bit lately. He made the BEST wild mushroom risotto last weekend. I can't wait to post some of his creations too!

I hope you'll follow along, or maybe just check in once in a while. Which ever, sit back, have a cup of tea (or coffee), and enjoy. Tonight I will be baking for this months "Referral Baking". I'll post it tomorrow.