Friday, November 26, 2010

Gingersnap Cookies

½ c. butter or margarine
1 c. sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 egg
¼ t. salt
2 t. soda
2 c. flour
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1 t. cloves

Mix together – Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Roll into balls, then roll balls in sugar.  Place on cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

From whence it came:  A lady who I dearly dearly love gets the props for this must make recipe.  Carolyn Boden, you are a hero to me in so many ways.  I have learned so much by knowing you.  I haven't seen Carolyn in quite a long time, but she has left a sweet stamp on my life.  And boy oh boy can she cook!  I'm gonna let y'all in on a little something that I believe with all my heart and soul.  It's not so much about being a great cook, it's more about having great recipes.  I don't claim to be a great cook, a am just a girl with some fabulous recipes.  And this one came from Carolyn.

I made a goal this year to search the world over and find the best gingersnap recipe in existence.  I was willing to go to any and all lengths to make this happen so that we could all enjoy heavenly gingersnap cookies.  Pondering how to start this worthy and noble task, I first turned to my own box of wrinkled and smudged recipes.  In there, from many many years ago, I found a piece of paper with this recipe on it, and on the paper was written the name Carolyn Boden.  Right then I knew.  I just knew.  This was going to be a good recipe.  If it's got Carolyn's name on it, it's a winner.  It's just that simple.  And I was right!  My search for the perfect gingersnap ended almost as quickly as it began, thanks to Carolyn.

Why it's blogable:  First of all, these cookies instantly passed The Spy test.  The Spy, who is always brutally honest when it comes to my cooking, was an instant fan.  These cookies are just what a gingersnap should be.  A tiny bit crispy around the edge and oh so soft and chewy in the middle.  The sugar coating gives them the perfect touch.  Also, they turn out so perfect looking.  I used my small Pampered Chef cookie scoop and rolled them into balls and each and every cookie was exactly the same size and shape.  I'll make a confession here, that hardly ever happens for me.  Usually my cookies all look a bit different.  Each is unique.  (I justify my lack of perfectionism in cookie making by saying that, but the truth is that mostly I'm to lazy to make them all exactly the same.)  But I did make an effort on these to make them all the same, and it was worth it.  

Just in case you're not convinced, I'll tell you one more reason these gingersnaps are blogable.  We are spending Thanksgiving with my married daughter and sonny-in-law in the fabulous town of Park City, Utah.  I made these cookies to bring to Thanksgiving and was very excited to have my married daughter try them.  I offered one to her, and she kind of gave me the thanks but no thanks look.  I resisted the urge to lay down on the floor and kick my hands and feet while crying and wailing and instead I insisted she try one.  One bite was all it took.  She was hopelessly and eternally in love.  And just trust me guys, you will be too.

Start this magical Christmas season off right with a new recipe that will put a smile on the faces of those you love.  And isn't that what Christmas is all about?  

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pomegranate Jello

1 large package cherry jello (regular or sugar free)
1 large pomegranate
2 ripe bananas
Cool Whip (if desired)

Make jello according to directions on box.  Put in fridge until fully set.  Using a wire whisk, break up the jello.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Add as much Cool Whip as desired.  I like about 1 cup but you can add more, less or none at all.

From whence it came:  The credit for this most fabulous of all jello recipes goes to either me or my mom.  I can't remember which one of us thought of it first.  We both love, cherish and adore pomegranates.  They are at the top of my "foods I just can't live without" list.  Unfortunately I am forced to live without them about 10 months out of the year because they are only in season around the holidays.  And that, my friends, is just one more reason to love the holidays.

Why it's blogable:  I am not fibbin' when I tell you that every time I make this jello people go nuts for it.  It's just the best jello you will ever eat, and it's super pretty!  You might be thinking that pomegranates are a pain to deal with, and you'd be a little bit right, but they are so worth the trouble.  You can pull them apart in a bowl full of water and avoid the squirts and stains caused when you deal with them.  Me, I like to sit with a big towel on my lap and just go at it.  (Pomegranates do stain, so be careful and don't wear your favorite cashmere sweater when dealing with them.) 

My teen son and I will sit together and devour an entire pomegranate.  He is also a lover of this heavenly red fruit.  And pomegranates are super duper healthy.  They are loaded with fiber and are rich in antioxidants that can keep bad LDL cholesterol from oxidizing.  Bet you didn't know I was such a smartie about this stuff.  I'm really not, I just Googled it to prove my point.

The best pomegranates are available at Costco.  They can be a bit pricey, but they are worth every cent.  Oh, and another favorite thing I do with them is put them on cold cereal, like granola or Honey Nut Cheerios or my very favorite cereal on the planet, Just Bunches!  It's the best!  I'm drooling just thinking about it.  Buy them!  Eat them!  Make this jello! 

Click here to get the printable:
Pomegranate Jello

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Terri's Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups (about 3-4 whole potatoes) cooked and mashed sweet potatoes  
   (I like to bake them and I use a mixture of the yellow and the orange kinds.)
½ c. melted butter
½ c. evaporated milk
2 eggs, well beaten
1 t. vanilla

Mix all of the above and put into a 2 qt casserole dish.  

Mix together:

½ c. brown sugar
2 ¼ T. butter, softened
½ c. chopped nuts - I use pecans

Spread this topping onto casserole.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

From whence it came:  A wonderful gal named Terri Johansen shared this terrific recipe with me.  Terri is so great!  She is one of those people who does everything perfectly!  She is a true perfectionist.  Her home is decorated so pretty, and she cooks some really good stuff!  One time she made this pumpkin roll that was so fancy and really yummy!  Terri is wonderful and very generous to share this recipe just in time for the holidays!

Why it's blogable:
  Here's the deal - I'm breaking one of my blogging rules with this recipe.  I said that I wouldn't post recipes I hadn't made myself, and it looks like I lied a little, because I've never made this casserole.  But, before you click off of my blog and run to The Pioneer Woman or my BFF Paula Deen, you should know that I was at a party a couple of weeks ago and everyone was raving about these sweet potatoes.  They couldn't stop talking about this recipe.  I knew right then and there I just had to have it.  And, because Terri is so sweet, just like her sweet potatoes, she gave it to me.  And because she is so generous, just like the size portion I plan to eat of these on Thanksgiving, she said I could share the recipe with y'all!  So I did.  And you're welcome!

Click here to get the printable:

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Unfussy Rolls

1 cup whole milk
½ cup butter
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ tsp salt
3 eggs
1 tbsp dry yeast +1 tsp sugar
4 cups white flour

In saucepan heat milk, butter, sugar, and salt until scalded.  Let cool to lukewarm.  Add eggs and stir.  Dissolve yeast and 1tsp sugar in ¼ cup warm water.  Add yeast to milk and add four cups white flour.  Don’t over mix - treat like muffins.  Let rise until double in bulk.  Shape into rolls*.  Let rise again and bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees F.  These can be stored overnight in the refrigerator, let warm to room temp 20 minutes before baking. 

*I usually divide the dough into two portions and roll each portion into a circle about ¼ inch thick (use flour as necessary to prevent sticking).  You can brush the dough with melted butter at this point if you wish.  Cut into 12 wedges.  Starting at the end opposite the point roll the wedge into a crescent and curve the ends.  Place on ungreased cookie sheets with the point on the bottom to keep it from unrolling.

From whence it came:  One of the very best cooks I know, Janice Luncford, shared this terrific recipe with me.  These rolls are really tasty, and they're very easy to make.  Perfect for the holidays, perfect everyday!  Just like Janice!

Why it's blogable:
  Today I made jam with my friend, Kerinda.  We made lots of jam.  A whole lot of jam.  We made four kinds of jam.  I'm tired from making jam.  And from licking my fingers.  And from licking the bowls.  And from licking the spoons.  It was impossible not to lick because each batch was so good!  We made red raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, and apricot strawberry.  I can't decide which one is my favorite.  I think it's whichever one I happen to be eating at the moment.  

I don't want to sound like a snob, but I need to tell you I almost never, pretty much never ever buy store bought jam.  It's just not that good, and once you make your own, store bought is second best, by a long shot!  Homemade jam is not that hard to make, and it's worth the effort!

What does this have to do with rolls, you might ask?  Well, after we made the jam, we were so sad we didn't have any homemade rolls to spread it on.  We put it on store bought English muffins, and it was good, but not as good as it would have been on Janice's Unfussy Rolls.  And then I realized I've never posted this yum-e recipe, and now seemed like the time to do it.  Right before Thanksgiving.  Right before Christmas.  But don't wait for a special occasion to make these, make any occasion special with these delicious rolls!

Click here to get the printable:

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hot Chocolate - Comfort in a Cup

This post is a bit long because I am very passionate about hot chocolate.  I'm giving you a great recipe, and a bunch of handy hot chocolate tips.  By the end, you'll know I wasn't kidding when I said I'm passionate about hot chocolate.  Well, truth be told, I'm passionate about chocolate.  Period.  It's my one vice.  Or at least my biggest one. 

Geralene's Hot Chocolate

20 quart box of instant powdered milk
2 pound can Nesquik
4 c. powdered sugar
2 t. salt
1 pound Coffeemate creamer (powdered)

Mix all ingredients well and store in airtight container.

Add 1/3 c. hot chocolate mix to 1 c. hot water

From whence it came:  Here's another fun recipe from my sister-in-law, Geralene.  I haven't made this recipe for a long time, but my memory regarding chocolate is long.  Very long!  And I remember that this recipe is worth making.

Why it's blogable:  This hot cocoa has a great flavor.  And it's really fun to give as a gift.  Put it in a cute container and give it to someone you love.  Serve it with these cookies and your popularity will instantly increase!

I am a hot chocolate girl!  I really do love hot chocolate.  I'm one of those annoying girls who always complains that she is cold.  The Spy Who Loves Me is never cold.  Never!  I always say he could be naked in a blizzard and asking someone to crank up the air conditioning.  I find this annoying.  The Spy says that he could bake a pan of muffins in my van while we're driving because I keep the heat cranked up so high.  The Spy and I rarely agree on things pertaining to temperature.  It's a problem.  A problem I solve with hot chocolate.  I solve most of my problems with chocolate.  Someone gave me a magnet for my fridge that says, "Inside me there's a skinny girl screaming to get out - I keep her sedated with chocolate."  Yup, that just about sums up my life!

This is the hot chocolate I drink 90% of the time:
I really, honestly and truly like this no sugar added hot chocolate.  Pinky swear!  And I like it even better when I add this:
What is a Mormon doing with coffee creamer, you might ask!  Pouring it in my hot chocolate, people!  If you have never tried this, you must!  You'll never drink plain hot chocolate again.  This one is coconut, which I love, but I also love hazelnut and mint.  And my all time favorite is peppermint mocha.  I know, mocha is a coffee flavor.  Please don't judge.  It's not coffee, it's coffee flavor.  It's my only vice.  Wait, didn't I say that once before?  It's only available at Christmas time and it's pure heaven.  Our family is so spoiled that we won't even drink hot chocolate unless we have some sort of flavored creamer in the house.  Guys, this may be the best advice I've ever given to you.  And you're welcome!

If you want to be nominated as mother of the year, buy these:
I send my teenagers out the door almost everyday (except during summertime) with one of these in their hand, filled with hot chocolate with some sort of flavored creamer.  I love making it for them, and they love me because I do.  And because I'm nice.  And because I'm cool.  And because I'm never annoying.  Well, that might not be totally true.  But they do love leaving the house with a nice cup of hot chocolate.  Those little punks better nominate me for mother of the year soon or the hot chocolate's going to come to a screeching halt!

Here's my new most favorite kitchen contraption in the whole world:
It's called the Sunbeam Hot Shot.  A dear friend who ended up with two of these recently gave me the extra one and let me tell you, I don't know how I have survived the last 50 years of my life without it.  (Thank you, Kerinda!)  This amazing little machine boils water instantly.  It's incredible!  You just pour the water in the top, push the button, wait a few seconds, then push another button to dispense the hot water into your cup.  I've had it a couple of weeks and have already used it to make jello, Joyce's Buns, and a million cups of hot chocolate.  Yes, we've consumed about a million cups of hot chocolate in the past two weeks.  Please don't judge.  It's our one vice!  (I think I've lost some credibility during this post.)

The bottom line is, hot chocolate is my friend.  It comforts me.  It warms my innards.  It doesn't judge me.  It loves me unconditionally.  It makes me happy!  I have a feeling it will make you happy, too!

Click here if you want the printable:
Geralene's Hot Chocolate

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Super Sensational Red Chili Sauce

Red Chili Glaze

·        ½ Cup champagne vinegar
·        1 to 2 TBL red chili flakes
·        1 TBL minced garlic
·        2 TBL minced red onion
·        2 C packed light brown sugar
·        ½ C soy sauce
·        1 tsp salt
·        2 TBL tomato paste
·        1 stick sweet butter, cut into chunks

·        In a heavy saucepan, simmer vinegar, chili flakes, garlic and onion until it has reduced 50%.
·        Add brown sugar, soy sauce, salt and tomato paste and bring back to simmer for 3 minutes.
·        Remove from heat and whisk in butter chunks, one at a time.

This sauce goes well with pork, lamb, and game birds, as well as venison. It will hold for two weeks in the refrigerator.

NOTE:  For best results, use filet mignon. Trim filet of all fat, BBQ to medium rare, refrigerate overnight, cut next day (will be easier to work with firm) in 3/8” x 1 ½” strips. Serve hot or cold.

From whence it came:  This super sensational recipe came from Bob Wallace, the dad of my good friend DeAnna Andrews.  Bob is a true gourmet cook.  I'm just a cook, Bob is gourmet.  In a very fancy schmancy way.  He invited our family over for dinner a few weeks ago and served filet mignon with this sauce.  (It's really called Red Chili Glaze, but that name doesn't do it justice, so I'm renaming it Super Sensational Red Chili Sauce...because it is!)   Bob and his wonderful wife, Lucy, are so generous.  Bob cooked a masterful dinner for us and Lucy did all the dishes.  Every single dish.  She wouldn't let me help even though I begged and pleaded.  She said doing dishes is her therapy.  A twisted idea, but hey, if it works for her, who am I to interfere with her psyche.  Bob and Lucy, a million thank yous for such a fabulous dinner.  And a million more for sharing this wonderful recipe!

Why it's blogable:  I told you already.  It's super sensational!  The Spy Who Loves Me has not stopped talking about this sauce since that night.  He has begged me to make it.  I'm holding out because I am going to work this to my favor.  I'll think of something I want and in return I'll make the sauce.  Genius, I know!  

Bob made the sauce with just one tablespoon of red chili flakes and we all thought it was just right.  Not too spicy, just a little kick.  If you're into a big kick, use two tablespoons.  Bob and Lucy sent us home with a doggie bag that was to die for.  Lots of left over filet mignon and lots of sauce.  I sliced up the meat and made a stir fry with lots of vegies and the sauce.  Believe me when I tell you The Spy's eyes rolled back into his head.  He and the rest of the family went crazy for this stir fry!  Super sensational crazy!

This sauce would be great with steak, chicken, pork, or whatever you want to put it on.  It's a real winner.  You've got to try it folks.  You've just got to!

Click here to get the printable:

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!