Friday, August 13, 2010

Really? It's been that long?

Wow, I can't believe how long it's been since I have posted anything. Life tends to get in the way of things, doesn't it? I was very ill for almost two months this year, but the rest of the time? Sorry, no real excuse.

I have been frequenting my local farmer's markets recently. What fun to explore all the delights these wonderful people have to offer! There are such colorful sights and fragrant aromas to enjoy. Everything is delicious, tastes so fresh, makes me feel good, in that I am eating healthier and for helping the local farmers in my community. It's a win-win situation! Some markets have musicians playing and singing for your enjoyment as well. Seek out your local farmer's markets. Talk to the people who grow the food. It's a delightful, enriching experience.

Here is just a sampling of the goodies I bought yesterday:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hello Again!

I know, I know. It's been a long time. Truthfully, I forgot all about this until recently when someone commented they were going to try some of my recipes. Oh, yeah! Anyway, I am here today.

Lots of things have happened since my last post. Our family took trips to Florida, Kentucky, and Chicago. My, we have been busy, eh? So, have not done much cooking or baking all summer, although I did manage to whip up this wonderful salad.

Yes, it tasted as good as it looks!! This was a huge hit and will be seen again in this kitchen. Enjoy in your home!!

Seven Layer Mexican Salad

2 cans refried beans
2 pounds ground meat (I used turkey)
1 cup chopped onion
1 package taco seasoning
2 jars mild salsa (or hotter to your family's taste)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
3 cups sour cream
chopped lettuce
2 chopped tomatoes
green onions
tortilla chips

Brown meat with chopped onion. Drain. Add taco seasoning. Layer refried beans at bottom of pan followed by browned hamburger mix. Next, pour salsa over meat. Spread on top of that the shredded cheese, then the sour cream. Chop the lettuce fine and sprinkle on top of the sour cream. Sprinkle chopped tomatoes and chopped green onions over the sour cream. With your hand, crunch the tortilla chips into pieces and sprinkle over entire salad.

Serve to your drooling family and friends!

Feel free to adjust the amount of the ingredients to your taste.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Strudel anyone?

Wow, this was hot work. Our challenge for May was a strudel with any filling we wanted to use. I chose an almond filling. My mother and I LOVE almond filled anything, so seemed the best way to go, especially since I will be seeing her soon. Lucky girl! She gets to taste it as well.

I was so into making the strudel that I forgot to get pictures along the way. I can tell you that I split the dough in half, as I just don't have the room to make one as big as the recipe called for. When I put those two almond-filled dough rolls into the oven, they looked like two baby whales!

But they sure smell good.

See? Baby whales.

Well, it turned out more like stollen than strudel, and tastes like cake. Don't know what happened, but have a feeling I made the dough too thick. But my daughter loves it. She asked for seconds. Can't be all bad then, eh? Oh well, I know that I can cross strudel off my list of things to make. :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pigeon Forge

This past three day weekend I spent in Pigeon Forge with some of my Red Hat sisters. What did I do? Well, I didn't go into the Smoky Mountains. Or to Dollywood. Or into Gatlinburg. Actually, no sightseeing at all. So, what DID I do?! I did walk up and down the strip (Parkway) checking out the sights there and did a bit of shopping. The only thing I ended up buying was postcards, a couple keychains, and a jar of homemade Amaretto Pecan Honey Butter (sounds luscious, doesn't it?). Other than that, spent time socializing with the Red Hat group, eating, and listening to the Elvis impersonators that entertained us for the weekend. Yes, that was plural. There were three gents serenading us! It was lovely. Now, I am not an Elvis fan, but these three blokes have great voices and were very entertaining, so I truly enjoyed the shows. I think everyone had a great time.

Me with my Red Hat Queen, Rebecca

The three Elvis' - Dwight Icenhower, Joe Trites, Bill Kelly

I did happen to see the Old Mill as I was walking the strip.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cheesecake Time!

Ok, now we're talkin'! Cheesecake of any kind is good. Well, not entirely true, is it? Some are better than others, yes, but basically, it's all good.

I made a Grasshopper Pie Cheesecake a couple weeks ago. Couldn't post it until now, so here it is.

By the way, this cheesecake was gone in two days! Yummo!!!

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake

2 cups/180 g graham cracker crumbs (I used chocolate graham crackers; when - no if here - I make it again, will definitely use Oreo-type cookie crumbs)
1 stick/4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp/24 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (24 oz total) at room temperature
1 cup/210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup/8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean) (I didn't have any vanilla so used chocolate extract)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional (I used 1 tbsp EACH green creme de menthe and white creme de menthe)

Preheat over to 350 degrees F (gas mark 4 = 180 C = moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath. (I used my tea kettle to boil water)

Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom or up the sides of the pan. Set crust aside.

Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol, and blend until smooth and creamy.

Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done. This can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those one-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery. They are 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.

Maggie's note: I used a springform pan with foil wrapped around it, and had no problems with any seeping. I always use heavy-duty foil, so maybe that made a difference? Don't know. Just know it worked for me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quickie Dinner

Simple ziti with meatballs

Sugar-Free Lemonade pie with chocolate graham cracker crust

This does not taste like lemonade at all, not even lemony. Wouldn't recommend it. Should I say what product it is? Why not! It's The Gourmet Cupboard. I do have two other products of theirs that I will try (Sugar-Free Key Lime Pie and Dreamsicle Pie) and post here when I do. Hoping the next two at least taste like their namesakes!!


I have been craving pancakes for the past week or two. Seeing billboards for IHOP with those luscious-looking pancakes in extra large size in all their glory. So, I finally got my fix. I did cheat, though. I stopped at the grocery store today and bought a mix, extra light and fluffy! I have always had trouble with making pancakes tasting any better than the paper the pictures are printed on. But this one worked out great. Nothing special, just plain pancakes with butter and maple syrup, but they were sooooo good.

Aahhh....sometimes the simplest things are the best.