Monday, October 27, 2008

Pistachio Cake makes Frankenstein Cupcakes! ! !

With Halloween here on Friday, I have decided to make Pistachio Cake. I am going to bake them in souffle cups. Once cooled, pull them from the cups. Paint the sides and bottoms with a glaze. Frost the tops with Black Chocolate Frosting (from a previous post) to make Frankenstein's hair, put some of the same frosting in a piping bag for eyes and a mouth! And then use candy corns for the plugs. Cute or what?

Pistachio Cake

One box yellow cake mix
one small box pistachio pudding
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup canola oil
4 eggs (no white thingies)
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients. Mix. Add hot water, and mix. Add oil and mix. Add one egg at a time, mixing between each addition. Once combined fold in sour cream.

Place 24 souffle cups on a jelly roll pan. Fill each cup a little less than 2/3 full. Pop in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool and decorate as suggested above. Make glaze out of powdered sugar and water.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sweet Tea

One of my friends, comes to her morning appointments with me, armed with a cup of Iced Sweet Tea. I never could understand why she picked Iced Sweet Tea instead of coffee. She makes gallons of her tea and has it daily.

She would speak of a restaurant that makes the best Iced Sweet Tea and Chicken sandwiches. When she flies home to North Carolina, her Daddy always has her Iced Sweet Tea and Chicken Sandwich waiting for her in the car. Never thinking I'd ever get to experience either, I kinda put that Dream Meal for my friend on the back burner.

Until May 2007, I made a trip to see my sister and her family is Kansas. I had asked my sister about this restaurant and she knew the name and shared that there was one minutes away. So we loaded up the kids, ran the errands, stopped at the library and then to the infamous restaurant. I ordered a Chicken Sandwich and LOVED it. My sister doesn't care for their food too much. I LOVED it. The Sandwich, the waffle cut fries fried in peanut oil. Just delicious. But in my haste, I forgot to order the Sweet Tea.

I visited Kansas again this past August. I made sure not to miss the tea. I ordered a chicken sandwich with fries and a large Iced Sweet Tea.

NO WONDER SHE LOVES THE STUFF AND DRINKS IT EVERY MORNING. It ROCKS. It is so amazing. The blend of tea they use is unbelievable. They sweeten it just the right amount. I bought a gallon. I heard their Hand squeezed Lemonade was amazing too. (My sister loves it) I bought a gallon of it too!

I have since dreamed about the tea. The tea in my sister's new neck of the woods, was not as good as the tea in Kansas. Maybe Kansas water tastes a little better. The tea was good. I found some Irish Breakfast at Trader Joe's the other day and I made some with that. The taste is very similar. So I have a placebo, until I visit my sister again.

Sweet Tea

a cup of hot water
one Irish Breakfast Black Tea bag
1-2 tsp simple sugar syrup
1 cup of ice

Put your tea bag int the hot water. Allow it to steep for a couple minutes. Stir in the sweetener. Pour over the glass of ice. Sit back and enjoy.

The restaurant has made it's way west! I am so happy. A few locations that require a bit of a drive. My sister has relocated back to California and luckily in her new neighborhood there is a Chick Fil-A!!! You must check it out as soon as you see one. Pull over, get in there and order yourself a yummy meal. Honest, it is that good!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Beef Stew for 2

I love my crock pot. I do. It is my friend. It makes my dinner. It's not that messy. It makes my house smell good. It's contents comfort me and fill my tummy. One of my favorite things to make in the crock pot is Beef Stew. A few simple ingredients and wha-la, a meat and potato meal.

Beef Stew for Two

a pound of lean beef cubed
Lawry's Garlic Salt
Salt and pepper
6-8 small to medium sized Red Potato's
1 cup mini carrots
1 cup celery chunks
1 small onion chopped
1/4 cup water

Season the bottom of the Crock pot. Place potatoes on the bottom. Put meat on top of that. Season a little more. Arrange carrots, celery and onion on top of that. Season a little bit more and sprinkle water on top. Put the lid on the crock pot and let the crock pot do the cooking! 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 on low. Serve it up and enjoy. We make our potatoes like baked potatoes.

Robby likes a baked potato. I do too. I like mine with butter, chives, salt, and pepper. He likes his...

Baked Potato Rob's Way

1 large baked potato
a pat or two of butter
1/4 cup small curd cottage cheese
salt and pepper
chives if you have them but you don't have to get that fancy

Take your baked potato and cut an x in the middle of it. Squeeze from both ends and kind of mush the potato a bit. Stuff your pats of butter in the slits. Top with your cottage cheese and then salt and pepper. Sit back and enjoy your baked potato! The use of cottage cheese is a healthier choice than the old favorite, sour cream.

Check out for her recipe swap. You won't be dissapointed as this weeks swap is Meat and Taters!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Festive Spiked Punch

The holidays are around the corner. Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then... I won't rush it. Below are recipes for some fun spiked punch drinks.

Mulled Apple Cider

Jug of Apple Juice
Mulling Spice packet
Cinnamon Sticks
Captain Morgan rum

Pour Apple Juice and Mulling Spice into a pot and boil. Let set until it cools. Strain and pour into a pitcher and refrigerate. When ready to serve pour some Cider into a glass of ice and top off with some Captain. Swizzle and serve.

Cranberry Orange Punch

Jug of Cranberry Juice
Juice of an orange
Frozen Slices of an orange
Bacardi Orange Rum

In a punch bowl, pour Cranberry Juice into a punch bowl, squeeze juice from the orange into the Cranberry juice. Stir. Pour half the bottle of Bacardi O into the punch bowl. Stir again. Float frozen oranges on top of the punch. Serve punch in a glass with ice. Float a piece of orange slice on top as a garnish.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Black Chocolate Frosting

Halloween is next Friday! Where has this year gone? Black is a color I associate with Halloween. Black Cats, Witch hats, bats... you know what I mean. Black Frosting would be good for lots of occasions. Over the Hill Parties or Animal Print cakes.

I have made Black Frosting one other time. One of my friends went through a long and troublesome divorce. A bunch of her girlfriends helped her celebrate the finality with a Divorce Party at a local wine bar. It was nice to celebrate the end of that hard time with loving support from all of her girls. I made black frosted cupcakes. They turned your teeth blueish black. The frosting was a butter cream with Wilton's black food coloring. It was good, it tasted black. But the color and the aftermath of black frosting was interesting. However, a true black frosting.

I made a different version of black frosting yesterday. Instead of using a ton of black food dye, I made a Hershey's Chocolate Frosting recipe and then added the black food coloring and a little cinnamon. The black was a brown black. The taste was pretty good.

Black Chocolate Frosting

1 stick butter melted
2/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa
a couple shakes cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1 16 oz box powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
Black Food coloring

Combine butter and cocoa. Stir until combined. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Slowly add powdered sugar and then a little milk, stir. Do that until ingredients are used up. If you need more milk, add a little more. Add black food coloring until the desired shade of black is achieved.

You can frost with a butter knife or pipe it through a bag.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Boiled Pumpkin Equals Fresh Pumpkin for Recipes

My boyfriend will only eat pumpkin pies with Fresh Pumpkin. He can tell the difference. Only the past year or two have I even attempted making a Pumpkin Pie. Tedious chore, labor of LOVE for Robby's Favorite Birthday and Holiday dessert. Fresh Pumpkin and homemade pie crust are a must, too. Bottom line, only Pumpkin Pies made by his Mom, Diane are the best. Hands down, Di is the Queen of the Pumpkin Pie.

Here is what you need.

One Large Jack O' Lantern Pumpkin uncarved.
A large stock pot
Ziploc bags
Sharpie Marker

Clean your pumpkin with soap and water. Rinse well and dry it. Carefully cut the top off of your pumpkin. Remove seeds and set aside if you want to roast them later. Using a bread knife, saw into the pumpkin. I usually cut 6 to 8 slabs, and then I cut the slabs into smaller chunks. Toss the chunks into your stock pot filled with water. Put the pot on the stove and cook until the pieces are fork tender. Sorry, I have not timed it. I do other things while my pumpkin is boiling, so check them periodically. Once pumpkin chunks are fork tender take them off the stove and drain them. Allow them to cool. Once pumpkin chunks are cooled, take a paring knife and cut the skin from the the chunks. (the first time I ever made pies, I called Robby's sister to ask how this process is done, she gave me directions. I did not write them down. I got to the cooled point, called her to double check and asked do I peel the skin from the chunks? She said No, thinking I was going to peel them before boiling. Anyway, I tried to run them through the Cuisinart and the skins would NOT blend up. My pies were made with the skins. People ate them though.) Process the chunks in the Cuisinart. Measure two cups of Pumpkin puree per bag or however much you see fit. I do two cups for pumpkin bread and pumpkin pies. Label your bags with the Sharpie.

Freeze them and use them for all your Holiday baking or for a Harvest Pumpkin Soup!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes is having a recipe swap. Pumpkin recipes a plenty! Life As Mom is a great site. Check it out! Every once in awhile she has a Recipe Swap. Last week was apples. This week its pumpkin. Here is my pumpkin creation. These pumpkin cupcakes are more bread like than cake like. But sooooo good

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with liners or place souffle cups on a baking sheet, set aside. Sift together dry ingredients and set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine pumpkin, eggs, oil and milk. Slowly add flour mixture until well combined. Fill cups to 2/3 full and bake in the oven 25-30 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean. Let cakes cool.

Cinnamon Frosting

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cinnamon
a pinch ginger
1 stick butter (room temp)

Combine pwd. sugar and milk. Stir. Add vanilla, and stir. Add spices. Add butter and whip until fluffy. Frost your cooled cupcakes. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Football Foods

Football Season is here! Football Foods are a necessity. There are plenty of things you can toss in the crock pot, that will be ready in a few hours that are out of this world delish! Below you will find a few recipes for Good Eats! These will get you to Superbowl!

Buffalo Chicken Legs

One dozen Chicken Legs (or more depending on the size of your Crock Pot.)
Lawry's Garlic Salt

Sprinkle the bottom of the Crock pot with the seasonings. Put the Chicken Legs, meaty end down in the Crock pot. Sprinkle with more seasonings. Depending on how much time you have cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours. The legs will cook and skin will turn golden in the crock pot. When legs are cooked, drain broth from pot. (Reserve broth to make soup with or toss it) Mix the 2 ingredients below.

Red Rooster Hot Louisiana Sauce
1/4 - 1/2 cup melted Butter

Pour sauce over legs in the crock pot. Make sure legs get covered in the spicy stuff. Leave them in the crock pot until ready to serve. Turn crock pot to warm or low.

Serve with Ranch dressing and a few celery or carrot sticks.

Sweet and Spicy Meatballs

3 bags Papa Luigi's Meatballs (12 per bag) or 36 homemade pre-cooked Meatballs
1 cup Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet Vidalia Onion barbecue sauce
1/4 cup Wilcox honey (our friends keep bees and their bees make the best honey)
3 Tablespoons Knott's Boysenberry Jam

Put Meatballs in the crock pot. In a bowl combine the BBQ sauce, honey and jam. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave another 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat until sauce is well combined and the pour over meatballs. Stir until all meatballs are sauced. Keep on low heat for about 4-5 hours or high for 2-3 hours. These are delish! Serve with fun toothpicks.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Layered Brownie Bars

Brownies... what a yummy dessert. These were created back in the late 90's. They are one of my favorites and they look so darn delectable.

Layered Brownie Bars

One box brownie mix made as directed on box
One recipe of your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the bottom of a 9 X 13 or jelly roll pan. Press your favorite cookie dough into the bottom of the pan. Make sure it is even. Pour the brownie mix on top of the cookie dough. Spread until brownie mix is even. Pop it in the oven and bake according to the box directions. Toothpick test and add time accordingly.

Allow to cool. Cut and serve your delicious brownies and pat yourself on the back.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Time for Hot Dips

It's cooling off a bit. Salsa makes a fun dip, but as the temperatures cool, it's time to bake up some yummy dips. Hot and Cheesy, calorie laden dips. YUMMY. There is something comforting about a Hot Dip. Below you will find two common hot dips. Most ingredients can be found at Trader Joe's.

28413 Spinach Dip

1/2 cup frozen spinach drained
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
1/2 cup monterey jack cheese shredded
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. Italian herbs
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese shredded (to top the dip)

In a small bowl, mix the spinach, sour cream and cheeses together. Add the garlic and seasonings and mix. Spray the bottom of an au gratin dish or small souffle dish or large ramekin dish with oil. Transfer dip from bowl to whatever you are going to bake it in and top with the extra cheese. Pop that in the oven and bake for 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Sometimes I nuke it first and then put it in the oven so cheese gets bubbly and golden. Microwaving also speeds the cooking time a bit.

This amount of dip will serve 3-4 people as an appetizer. You can double or triple depending on how many guest you are having.

Serve with french bread cubes, or tortilla chips, or pita chips or Miss Vickie's Nine Grain Simply Salted Chips!

28413 Artichoke Dip

1 can Trader Joe's Canned Artichoke (when drained ends up being 8.5 oz)
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. Italian herbs
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cube cream cheese (softened)
1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
1 cup cheddar cheese shredded

approximately one cup of cheese to top.

Chop Artichoke in the Cuisinart. Dump chopped Artichoke in a medium sized bowl. Add garlic and seasonings and stir. Add sour cream and stir. Add cream cheese and stir. Slowly add cheeses, stirring between each addition. Pour dip into a greased 8 x 8 casserole dish or smaller ones. Sprinkle cheese on top. I put mine in smaller oven proof containers, wrap and freeze for later use. Dip freezes well. If baking a frozen one you can speed up cooking time by microwaving. Otherwise, bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.

This amount of dip will serve 6-8 as an appetizer, unless you divy it up into the smaller containers.

Serve with tortilla chips, bread slices, pita chips, whatever your little heart desires. Enjoy.

Friday, October 3, 2008


I ran out of Bisquick. I really wanted a nice crispy waffle. I tried to be healthy about it too.

Here goes...


1 cup unbleached flour
1 packet Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 cup percent milk
a few shakes cinnamon
1 egg (with thingies removed)
1 tbs. canola oil

Get your waffle maker out of the cupboard. Dust it off. Plug it in. Wipe waffle maker with a paper towel. Spray it with a little bit of oil. Wipe if off again. Mix the above ingredients together. It might be a little lumpy because of the oats. When waffle maker is heated and ready, pour a little batter into reservoirs and shut the maker. I cooked mine for 2-3 minutes. The waffle maker light said ready but the waffles were not crispy or cooked enough.

Serve them hot with butter and syrup. We ran out of maple so we had ours with boysenberry and blueberry syrup.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Super Sweet Bars

Super Sweet Bars. Layers of sweet, ooey, gooey goodness. They are almost too sweet. The base of these bars are made with a box of cake mix.

Super Sweet Bars

One box of Devil's Food Cake Mix
1/2 cup butter or Margarine

Mix together with a fork or pastry blender until crumbly. Pat the crust into the bottom of a Jelly Roll pan.

1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup coconut
1 cup nuts (slivered almonds, cashew, pecans...)
1 cup Heath Bits O' Brickle (optional)
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Sprinkle chips on the crust layer. Layer the coconut. Layer the nuts. Sprinkle the Bits O' Brickle. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the layers of sweet goodness.

Bake for 20-30 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.