Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pauli's Taco Salad

Large can pinto beans
Taco Seasoning - 1 packet

Drain beans; marinate in taco seasoning (with 1/2 c. vinegar & 1/2 c. oil).  Marinate a day or so.  Drain beans, but save marinade.

Layer salad:

Pour rest of marinade on top.  Serve with chips.

From whence it came:
  Another doozie from my friend Kerinda.  But really, her mom, Pauli, gets credit for this one.  Pauli was just one of those people who could do everything and anything and did it all oh so well.  She passed away last November, and her presence is truly missed by so many people.  Thanks for this great recipe, Pauli, and thanks for a life and legacy that truly lives on.

Why it's blogable:
  This recipe is light and really flavorful.  You can eat quite a pile of this yummy salad and not feel like you stuffed yourself like a Thanksgiving Turkey.  I guess you could add chicken if you wanted to, but without the chicken it's super good.  Labor Day is just around the corner and this would be a great salad to make for whatever you're doing to celebrate.

Why I've been such a lazy blogger lately:  First we went on vacation, and then I came home and decided to get sick.  Really sick.  So sick, in fact, that I ended up in the hospital for a couple of days.  Now you know why I've been such a lazy blogger.  I'm feeling a little bit better each day and sometime this week I will share some of the funnier moments of my hospitalization with y'all.  The things that go on in hospitals are astounding.  I'll fill you in on all the nitty-gritty soon.  Til then, enjoy this great salad.  It's pretty healthy, and at this particular time in my life, I'm all about healthy.  I don't want to find myself staring at a hospital ceiling anytime soon!

Click here to get the printable:

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cake

  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Filling and Frosting:
1 carton Frostin' Pride (quart size carton)
1 package Oreo cookies, crushed, but not too tiny

Mix the Frostin' Pride in your mixer with the wisk attachment as directed on carton.  Mix half of whipped Frostin' Pride with crushed Oreo cookies and reserve other half for frosting.  Spread Oreo filling on top of one layer then top with the other layer.  Frost entire cake with remaining Frostin' Pride.  Store in refrigerator until serving.

From whence it came:
  There are a few people who get credit for this amazing cake.  And when I say amazing, I'm not kidding!  First, one of my very favorite Food Network Stars, The Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten), gets credit for the cake recipe.  It is quite honestly the best chocolate cake I have ever made.  It is very dense and seriously moist, which, like I've said before, is good if you're a cake, not so great if you're a person.  I adore The Barefoot Contessa.  She's my second favorite, after my BFF, Paula Deen.  These two ladies are very different, but I love them both.

Next is the filling.  Two people get credit for this heavenly concoction.  When I was trying to figure out a twist on a chocolate cake for my daughter's wedding last summer I put a post on my Facebook asking for suggestions.  A wonderful girl who I love more than peanut butter, Lauren Stange, suggested a Cookies and Cream Cake, and I knew immediately that it was a genius idea.  Next comes into play another cake wizard, my fabulous Aunt Joyce, who is also responsible for Joyce's Buns.  Joyce's talents go far beyond her buns, they go all the way to filling and frosting wonderful cakes.  Aunt Joyce told me about Frostin' Pride and suggested we use it for the filling and the frosting.  It was a very good suggestion!  If you've never used Frostin' Pride, you must.  And don't wait long before you do.  It's the easiest thing you'll ever do, and people will love you for it.  All you do is buy a carton of the stuff and whip it up.  Here in sunny San Diego I buy it at Smart and Final, but if you aren't fortunate to have a Smart and Final near you, you can probably get it from a cake decorating store.  You find it in the refrigerator section and it can be frozen and then thawed before you whip it.  If you can't find Frostin' Pride you can use Pastry Pride and I'm sure it will work just fine.  They are both delish!  And if you don't want to use either, I think this frosting would be amazing on this cake.  I'm going to make cupcakes with this cake recipe soon and frost them with this frosting and I'll let you know what I think.  I have a feeling the reviews will be REALLY good.  Also, you don't have to make it a cookies and cream cake.  You can just make it a chocolate cake and frost it with whatever icing you like.  This cake recipe will be fabulous no matter what you do with it!

Why it's blogable:  I think this may have been the favorite cake flavor of the four cakes I made for my daughter's wedding.  I took the leftover cake to church the following Sunday and people sang the Hallelujah Chorus after taking just one bite.  I'm not bragging folks, I'm giving all the credit to the genius women who thought this up, and they deserve a lot of credit.  My sonny-in-law's dad, who is now my daughter's father-in-law, was especially fond of this cake.  I just made another one and took it on dry ice to Utah to celebrate my sonny-in-law's graduation. Also, this past April, one of my favorite people and a great friend of my married daughter got hitched himself, and when I offered to make the wedding cakes, this is one of the flavors he chose.  And it only took him a half a second to make up his mind.  He remembered eating it at my daughter's reception and he was sold.  I'm not kidding when I tell you that this cake is a winner!

A few other thoughts:  Coffee!  Are you a moron like me?  Did I say moron?  I meant to say Mormon!  Silly slip of the computer keys.  I guess I've just been called a moron so many times that it comes out very naturally.  Anywho, I am a Mormon, and Mormons do not drink coffee.  Please don't write me letters about all the Mormons you know who drink coffee.  I know, some do, but most don't.  And I don't.  But I do always have a container of instant decaffeinated coffee granules in my freezer for occasions such as this.  Here's a REALLY BIG TIP that I learned from The Barefoot Contessa.  She is such a smarty!  She says, and it's true, that if you add coffee to chocolate, it enhances the flavor.  And boy oh boy is she right!  If you add a little bit of coffee, about a rounded teaspoon or so, to the water before adding the water to your brownies, you will have yourself some of the best brownies you've ever tasted.  You won't taste the coffee, just like you won't taste it in this cake, but the flavor will be fabulous! For this cake I just mix the dry coffee crystals with hot water and that's that.  I doubt it matters that the coffee isn't brewed.  But if you're not a moron, oops, I mean Mormon, and you have freshly brewed coffee, then by all means, go for it!

Also, when I have made this cake for weddings and graduations I have made it in a half sheet pan.  This is what I do:  I double the recipe twice.  So, I mix up a double batch and bake it in a half sheet pan.  Then I remove the cooled cake and do it again.  Kind of like lather, rinse and repeat.  Only don't use any soap.  The Spy Who Loves Me swears that soap gives you the runs.  Sorry to be so gross and graphic, but The Spy swears it's true.  If he is in the kitchen while I'm doing dishes, or helping with dishes, and if he sees so much as a teeny tiny bubble on any pan or dish that has already been rinsed, he will freak out and scream like a little girl.  The Spy is a little over the top about some things, and bubbles are on that list!  How did we get from blogging about delicious chocolate cake to bathroom issues?  I'm so very sorry.

Why didn't I share this recipe sooner?  I was waiting for a special occasion.  And because I feel so guilty for taking a vacation and not blogging for a couple of weeks, now is the time for me to share this recipe, and it's my way of thanking you for your blog stalking loyalty.  The advice about the soap was just an added bonus.  You're welcome!

Click here to get the printable:
Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cake

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I'm taking a break!

Hey everybody!  Just wanted to let y'all know that we're headed out of town for some vacation fun, so I won't be posting for a couple of weeks.  I'll miss you all terribly, and to make up for my laziness I'm going to post a truly fabulous chocolate cake recipe when I get back.  It's the chocolate cake I made for my daughter's wedding last summer and it's divine!  I also made one last weekend and stuck it in the freezer.  It's going on vacation with us and we're using it to celebrate the college graduation of my super smart sonny-in-law!  This cake is sinful!  In a happy way!  A very happy way! 

After the graduation we're headed to a remote cabin where there's no cell service and no Internet.  My teen daughter already has the shakes just thinking about not being able to text for days at a time.  Pray for her soul.  My teen son is giddy, positively giddy, looking forward to quad rides through the forest and shooting up a storm with his BB gun.  Don't worry, he doesn't shoot living creatures, unless you count his sister, and in that case we can't make any promises.

The Spy Who Loves Me is a mountain man.  I'm a beach girl who married a mountain man.  (Today, once again, I had my toes in the sand and a diet coke in my hand...and it was pure bliss!  A lovely lovely day in Oceanside.  As lovely as they come!)  I married a camping man and not long after the honeymoon I converted The Spy from a camping man into a cabin man.  You can read all about his conversion here

As for me and my vacation plans, they involve books...lots of books...and my feet being propped up, and with any luck, being rubbed by The Spy.  I'm a humongous fan of foot massages.  Not giving them...GROSS!  Getting them!  I don't like to touch the feet of others, but I will do almost anything for a foot massage. 

You might think I'm crazy, you probably already do, but I also like to cook on vacation.  We cook lots of good stuff up at the cabin in the woods.  We like to barbecue, too.  Basically, we like to eat.  That's the bottom line.  But cooking on vacation is very enjoyable, if you're me.  Maybe not if you're you, but definitely if you're me. 

So, now that I've given you more information than you ever wanted to know, I'll sign off and tell you all that you are the best blog stalkers any silly girl ever did have!  I hope summer is treating you well!  Before you know it I'll be sharing my favorite fall recipes.  Until then...

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Breakfast...or dinner...Scramble

5 medium sized red potatoes, cut into cubes
1 lb. bacon, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
10 eggs
1 c. grated cheddar cheese

Place potatoes into microwave container with an inch or so of water and cook in microwave for 10 minutes until soft.  While potatoes are cooking, fry bacon in frying pan.  When bacon is crispy, remove from pan and drain grease.

Place onions and bell peppers in frying pan and saute until tender.  Add cooked potatoes and sprinkle with Montreal Steak Seasoning or salt and pepper.  Cook until potatoes are slightly brown.

Add beaten eggs to potato mixture and when eggs are almost fully cooked, add bacon.  Stir until eggs are done and top with cheddar cheese.  (Feeds five.)

From whence it came:  Me!  This one came from me!  I've been making this for my family for many years, and they all really like it!  I know it's not super original, but it is super yum-e!

Why it's blogable:  This is a hearty, although not necessarily heart healthy, breakfast or dinner.  Tonight we had this for dinner and everyone at the table was all smiles.  I served it with cinnamon toast and I was a hero!  I should have and normally would have also served it with fresh fruit, but we're getting ready to go on vacation and I'm not buying groceries before we go, so we are fruitless.  We probably eat this recipe more for dinner than we do for breakfast, mostly because I don't always have time to make a big breakfast, and as far as dinners go, it's a pretty easy one.  Today I was sitting at the beach, with my toes in the sand, and a diet coke in my hand, and I was thinking about what in the world I would stir up once I got home.  On the way home I realized I had everything I needed for this yum-e scramble, so I got busy and made Breaker...or Dinfast.  Call it what you want, us Andersons call it good!

Oh, and just so you know, The Spy Who Loves Me LOVES having breakfast for dinner.  If I'm in the mood to make The Spy happy, I make breakfast for dinner.  It's a sure fire way to put a smile on The Spy's face.  If, however, The Spy is on my nerves, which does happen occasionally, I make spaghetti.  The Spy is not a huge fan of Spaghetti.  Making Spaghetti when The Spy is on my nerves is my passive aggressive way of saying, "I have one nerve left, and you are standing on it!"  I have a few passive aggressive ways of dealing with The Spy, but I can't tell you what they are because then The Spy might realize that these little things aren't an accident, they are my way of avoiding sitting on the couch of a therapist.  And they work!  I have yet to plop my buns on a therapeutic couch.  OK, since you're begging, I'll tell you how I passively aggressively deal with The Spy.  But you have to promise not to tell him.

First of all, you should know that passive aggressive behavior runs in my family.  I learned it from my mom, who is seriously the nicest person you would ever want to meet.  My mom would never ever hurt a fly.  Well, that's not exactly true.  One day she fed a fly...actually more like a my dad in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  It was a brilliant move, if I do say so myself.  My dad was on my mom's nerves one day and while she was making him a PB&J for lunch, a poor little innocent gnat happened to be buzzing around the kitchen.  My mom, in all her brilliance, put a piece of bread in each hand and clapped them together, capturing that gnat right in the middle.  Then she sliced that sandwich in half and handed it to my dad, probably with a smile on her face.  I know many of you don't know my mom, and I guarantee those who do will be shocked to know about this incident.  My mom is as nice as they come, but even she has her limits.  She is my hero, and my mentor, especially when it comes to the art of being passive aggressive.

So, I promised to share one more way I passively, aggressively deal with The Spy when he is on my nerves.  Here it's a huge secret.  Raise your right hand and promise to never ever tell The Spy about my evil ways.  OK, now that I've brought you into the circle of trust, I'll tell you.  If The Spy happens to be on my nerves on Monday, which is laundry day, I fold a dark blue sock with a black sock, and then I put them in his sock drawer.  There, I said it!  And The Spy gets up very early in the morning, when the light isn't so good, and he doesn't have a clue that he's putting on two different colored socks.  Truth be told, he may never even realize it.  But that's not the point.  The point is that I know it, and it makes me evil, Grinch-like grin!  I know what you're thinking..."Pam is a passive aggressive genius!"  And you're right!

Are you worried that The Spy might find out my evil and twisted secrets?  Don't worry, he doesn't read this blog.  Which, now that I think about it, kind of ticks me off!  Actually, it really ticks me off!  Gotta run...I've got socks to fold and a batch of spaghetti that needs to be stirred up!

Here's the printable:
Breakfast...or dinner...Scramble

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Karen's Chocolate Frosting

In saucepan melt 1/2 c. butter.  Add 4 T. cocoa and 5 T. milk to melted butter and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and pour over one box of powdered sugar.  Add 1 t. vanilla and chopped nuts if desired.  Beat with mixer until smooth.  Pour immediately over cooled cake.

From whence it came: 
Karen!  Oh how I love this lady.  Karen Perkins is one of my favorite people in the whole wide world!  She was like a second mom to me when I was growing up.  I am truly blessed to have a wonderful mom, and doubly blessed to have a wonderful second mom.  Karen had such a profound impact on my life.  I am a better person for knowing her.  I love you, Karen Perkins!  You are a hero to me!

Why it's blogable:  This frosting is more like fudge.  It's like having a piece of fudge on top of your cake.  Cake and fudge in the same bite?  Now that's what I call heaven!  It's so easy to make and everyone just loves it!  I made it tonight and poured it over this chocolate cake.  And then I took it to a church dinner.  And I didn't bring a single piece home because it was all gone.  Because it's so good!

Here's a cake tip for y'all:  My friend, Janice, taught me that if you bake a box cake for one hour at 300 degrees it will turn out amazing every time.  Let me tell ya, Janice is right!  Just mix up a box cake mix and pour it into a 9x13 pan, bake for an hour at 300 and you will have yourself one yum-e cake.  Don't worry, it won't be dry.  It will be oh so good!  Then all you have to do is make this frosting and pour it on top and stand still while everyone kisses your feet for making such a fabulous cake!  (Be sure and get a pedicure, first!)

Here's the printable:
Karen's Chocolate Frosting

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!