Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Banana Walnut Bread

Nothing says "fall" to me more than banana walnut bread!
It reminds me of my mother, who loved banana bread and her family.
        Years ago I started adding cinnamon to the recipe, well, because I love a cinnamon.

Banana Walnut Bread
(or dessert with whipped cream)

(Makes 2 large loaves or multiple assorted pan sizes)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp sour milk (add one tablespoon lemon juice to 1/3 cup milk and let sit for 10 minutes)

1.  Cream sugar and butter.
2.  Add eggs, beat one minute.
3.  Add the mashed bananas and mix.
4.  Sift flour, salt, soda and cinnamon.
5.  Add flour mixture into sugar mixture and blend well.
6.  Add in the sour milk and mix until smooth.
7.  Wipe the bottoms and sides of bread pans with shortening and dust with flour.
8.  Fill the pans 1/2 to 3/4 full.
9.  Bake at 325 degrees until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Note:  smaller loaves will cook faster than larger loaves.
(35 minutes for tiny loaves 45 for medium sized 55 for large loaves)
10.  Cool on a rack for 10 minutes.  Gently use a knife to loosen the bread from the sides of the pans and invert to remove the bread.
11.  Continue to let cool completely and then place the bread in a plastic bag.  Refrigerating the bread helps it stay fresh longer.

Serve with butter or creamy cream cheese.  Or you can serve a large portion warm with whipped cream and dusted with cinnamon.
It's so easy to make it special!


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Monday, October 29, 2012

Caramel Corn Rice Cake Jack O'Lantersn

Halloween Snack Caramel Corn 
Rice Cake Jack O'Lanterns

I was trying to think of a relatively "healthy" snack for my grandson's classroom Halloween Party.  So I took some caramel corn rice cakes, I put Nutella into a zippered bag and clipped the corner with scissors.  I squeezed out the Nutella into faces.  

You could also use peanut butter, or a layer of peanut butter and then the faces.  Frosting works well too, but I love Nutella... and the kids LOVED them too.  

This was super quick to make and simple and yummy fun!
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World Series Baseball Cheese Ball

Baseball Cheese Ball 
Pretzels & Pepperoni 

We do love baseball at our house, and we love cheese balls.  So here is my latest creation...

8 oz cream cheese
1 pound of finely grated cheeses 
(for this one I used 1/2 lb mozarella, 1/2 cheddar
1 cup pretzels (or chopped nuts)
1 oz pepperoni

1.  Grate the cheeses into a medium sized bowl.
2.  Drop in the cream cheese and blend slightly with a fork.
3.  When it is mixed a little, knead with your hands to blend the cheeses.
4.  At this point you can add, green onions, bits of pepperoni, or even bacon bits.
5.  Crush pretzels or nuts using a food processor or knife.
6.  Roll the ball into the pretzels or nuts.
7.  Cut thin strips of pepperoni and push the ends into the cheese ball with a toothpick forming the "stitches" on the ball.
8.  Refrigerate until used.
Serve with crackers. (I used pretzel crackers.)

Of course, you realize these make great "footballs" too when those Super Bowl parties come around.
Make hearts shapes for Valentine's Day!  
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Sunday, October 28, 2012

World Series Baseball Pizza

I love "Easy & Fun"

Make any pizza, even use take n' bake and just arrange your pepperoni to form the stitches on a baseball!   

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Chocolate Glazed Almond Cake From a Mix?

Scrumptious, yet Simple

I'm always looking for ways to make great tasting, unique, yet simple to prepare foods.  This has been a cake week as we had a family birthday party and a friend's birthday and it was my turn to make the cakes.  

I'm not a fan of bakery cakes, their price nor their attitude towards my taste buds.  So I created this new cake with one of my new favorite products...Duncan Hines Amazing Glazes.  They are rich, and very fancy looking when used on a variety of desserts.   You microwave them and they pour out and spread and drip and cool into something quite remarkable looking for a relatively quick dessert.  They are great on ice cream as well.

Chocolate Glazed Almond Cake (From a mix!)

1 box white cake mix, fix as directed, using three whole eggs.
Add 2 tsps almond extract
Add 2 tblsp cocoa powder

Bake as directed, I used 3 9" pans because I like the look of a triple layer cake.
I also used three different frostings as I like variety.  Chocolate for between the layers, cream cheese (canned) for the sides and the chocolate glaze for the top.  It is quite fun to watch the warm glaze ooze from the center of the top layer, keep pouring until it begins to drip down the sides.
Adding whole almonds around the bottom edge gives a feel for the almond flavor inside.

So there you have a quick, but unique and quite fancy looking home cooked dessert.


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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

7 Layer S'mores Cake

7 Layer S'mores Cake
(Actually 14 if you count each layer of frosting!)

Using 9 inch round springform pans, you can use any of your favorite recipes to make this unique cake.

You'll need two of each, chocolate chip cookies, brownies and cheesecake.
You'll need marshmallow frosting (see below) and chocolate frosting, and graham crackers.

Layers are as follows:

1.  brownie
2.  marshmallow frosting
3.  chocolate chip cookie
4.  marshmallow frosting
5. cheesecake
6.  chocolate frosting
7.  graham crackers
8.  chocolate frosting
9.  cheesecake
10. marshmallow frosting
11. chocolate chip cookie
12. marshmallow frosting
13. brownie
14. Chocolate frosting over the entire cake.

Now the fun part about this recipe is that you can use all of your favorite recipes for each layer.  I recommend using parchment paper then non-stick spray for each layer.  I found it easier to freeze the cheesecake to move it onto the cake.  The cheesecake is not a very thick cheesecake.  

I let the kids help me with the extra marshmallows and crackers on the outside.  You could use the piourett cookies that look like little logs and build a fake fire on the top as well.

Use a serrated knife to cut it, it's rich and scrumptious, but very filling.  This cake could serve 20 adults.

I will share my marshmallow cream frosting because it is so fluffy.

Marshmallow Cream Frosting

7 ounce jar of marshmallow cream
1/2 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

1. Beat the marshmallow cream and butter together until light and fluffy.  Medium speed 3 minutes
2.  Slowly add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
3.  Spreads like a dream.

Use a serrated knife and saw more than push, it's more dense than a normal cake.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bacon Potato Soup

Fall is here, soup is in order!
     The new crop of Idaho potatoes have arrived in town.  Ever since I was young growing up in California, my mother would search high and low to find the Idaho potatoes.  They are amazing, and if you can get the "new crop" instead of the stored ones, even better.  And what says fall more than a bowl of warm soup? Only a soup with bacon in it!  

Bacon Potato Soup

1/2 cup butter
31/2 cup flour
1 onion, chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 gallon heavy cream
1 quart milk
1 cup water
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 tsp thyme
3 tblsp parsley

1.  In a large pot, slowly melt the butter.
2.  Add the flour and stir to incorporate.
3.  Add the onions and bacon and cook about 4 minutes until onions are clear.
4.  Add the cream, water, milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder and potatoes.
5.  Bring to a boil.
6.  Simmer on very low heat about 1 hour.
7.  Garnish with parsley

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the flour until absorbed thoroughly by the butter. Add the onion and chives and saute for 5 minutes. Pour in the cream, water, milk, cumin, salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, thyme, potatoes and chicken. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 1 hour. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, pour into individual bowls and garnish each with parsley.
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Monday, October 8, 2012

Utah Valley Magazine Shoot!

Holiday Meals - November Issue of Utah Valley Magazine

Last Thursday I was invited to do a photo shoot with some pretty amazing people for the November issue of  Utah Valley Magazine.

They were highlighting local cooks, cookbook authors and bloggers.  Some pretty amazing women. 

Christina Dymoch, author of 101 Things To Do With Popcorn.  Lindsey Johnson food blogger and writer.
Carrian Cheney of Oh Sweet Basil blog.  Janey of Utah Valley Foodie, food critic.

 I made the dessert for the shoot.  It is the Delectable Eclair Bars in my most recent post.  They are easy, elegant, you can make them ahead AND everyone loves them.

The chocolate drizzle can go underneath if using a white plate, or on top if using a darker plate.

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Delectable Eclair Bars

Elegant, Delicious, Easy, Make-ahead, Versatile

Delectable Éclair Bars

These taste like you worked really hard, but you didn’t!

1 cup water
½ cup butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs
2 small pkgs. instant vanilla pudding mix
2½ cups milk
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (8-oz.) container frozen whipped topping

Note: 4 cups of canned pudding can substituted for instant pudding and milk.

1. In a medium saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil.
2. Remove from heat and dump all flour in at once. Stir until it forms a ball.
3. Let stand to cool 10 minutes.
4. Beat eggs into mixture one at a time using a fork.
5. Lightly spray a 12 x 18 cookie sheet (with sides) with cooking spray.

6. Spread dough to the edges of the pan. 
7. Bake 30 minutes at 425 degrees. Poke holes in any bubbles that occur while baking.
8. Let crust cool completely. (At this point you can refrigerate crust for a day or so if needed.)

9. Combine pudding and milk (or canned pudding), vanilla, and cream cheese.
(At this point you can refrigerate this mixture for a day or so if desired and assemble the éclairs just prior to serving. This also makes it very easy to transport!)
10. Spread pudding mixture onto cooled crust.
11. Spread whipped topping on top of cream cheese mixture.
12. Drizzle with chocolate syrup, dust with cocoa powder if desired, and serve with a few raspberries or a large strawberry.

This recipe is SO versatile.  You can use chocolate pudding, or banana cream pudding.  You can serve with a huge strawberry or dust it with cocoa powder.

Note: Have copies of this recipe on hand when you serve this; everyone will want a copy!

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Cereal Pumpkins

Puffed Rice Pumpkins
So easy, so fun for the kids!

3 Tablespoons butter
40 Large marshmallows (10oz bag) or 4 cups of small ones
7 cups of puffed rice cereal

In a large, heavy pan, slowly melt the butter.
Add the marshmallows and stir constantly until melted.
Add the cereal and stir until coated.  
Remove from the heat.
Butter your hands and a cookie sheet.
(let cool slightly if kids are going to form them)
Form the mixture into pumpkin shape.
While warm, add a pumpkin top and press into the top.
When cool, store in tupperware or individual sandwich bags.

You can add orange food coloring to the marshmellow mixture before adding cereal to tint it orange.  
You can also add candy corn faces using frosting to attach.

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