Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Door County Cherry Rum Pie and an Award

For the past few Thanksgivings my husband has been making  this Door County Cherry Rum Pie.He even makes his own crust and cuts out cherries from the crust, for the top of the pie. For those of you who aren't from the Midwest, Door County is a far North Eastern county in Wisconsin.  It is a getaway location for many people from the Chicago area.  They grow the most amazing cherries up there, hence the name Door county cherries.. We were lucky to have friends that were going up there for a weekend last August,, and brought us back the coveted cherries, small ruby gems bursting with flavor  We would be able have the Door County Cherry Pie, once again,

Ingredients Adapted from McCall's Cookbook
Preheat to 425 F

Make pie rust and refrigerate until ready to use.  He used Michelle at Brown Eyed Baker's Recipe for Perfect Pie Crust.
 32 oz or about 4 cups of tart cherries drained reserve  juice
 3/4 cup reserved Cherry juice
1/4 c dark rum
1 c sugar
1/3 c unsifted flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter
1 egg yolk (for egg wash)
1/4 tsp almond extract

What to do
1. Combine sugar, flour, and salt.  Stir into reserved cherry juice and rum. Bring to
    boiling, stirring.
2. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 min, till thickened.  Stir in buter
3. Add almond extract and refrigerate. 
4. Roll out half of pastry on well floured surface, and place in 9" pan. Trim pastry even with pan      and fill bottom crust with cooled cherry pie filling
5. Roll out the other half of the pasty into an 12" circle
6.. Place pastry circle on top of your cherry     filling . Cut  a few large slits on the surface to allow      steam to escape. Crimp edges as desired. Brush with egg wash.      
7.Bake 30-35 Min., until pastry nicely browned. Cool on wire rack.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

Now, for the Award!   Dimah at Orange Blossom Water, who has a beautiful blog with a lot Syrian recipes handed down from generations, gave me The Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you, Dimah.I appreciate it so much!  I have learned so much about your food and customs  That's what blogging is about, isn't it. Go check out her lovely bog, and I'm sure that you won't be disappointed!

Here are the rules for the award:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and put a link on your blog back to the person who  gave you the award.
2.  Share 7 things about yourself.
3.  Pass this award along to 10-15 bloggers whom you have recently discovered and who you  think are fantastic for whatever reason, in no particular order.
4.Contact the bloggers that you have picked and let them know about it.

Here are the bloggers that I have chosen for the award:  Please stop by their blogs and check them out, if you already haven't done so.
Karen at Tasty Trials

7 things about me:

1. I don't watch scary or violent movies of any kind.  I have nightmares.
2.My favorite food is strawberries.
3. I have a Cock-a-Poo, named Baileywho is sweet, but high maintenance.
4 .I started blogging after seeing Julie & Julia. I wonder how many people started blogging     then?
5.I love tea parties! 
6. My favorite colors are green or purple.
7. I don't like mashed potatoes, turnips, or anchovies.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Post Thanksgiving Post-Things that I'm thankful for.

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and for thinking of all of the things for which you are thankful.  However, when you are the one hosting Thanksgiving, there is hardly time to think let alone reflect After you have been in the kitchen from early morning until evening, the food looks better the next day.  That is why to me the best part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers. You can take the time to savor the turkey, the dressing, the sweet potatoes, and don't have to worry about playing hostess. Now don' t get me wrong , I love to entertain, but Thanksgiving, especially, is a lot of work. The day after Thanksgiving gives you time to reflect, even if you went shopping at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.

In my moments of reflection I am very grateful for my wonderful husband, Scott, who has been there for me in the good times and the bad, as well as the fact that he cooks and bakes. I'm also grateful for my family and friends, that I see often In addition,. I am very grateful to all of my bogging friends that I have made in the past months. I never realized that there was such a caring, thoughtful community of people on the other side of the screen.  Several of my blogger friends played a part in my Thanksgiving dinner. I made Kim Kelly's Grand Marnier Cranberries , which were so good. Below is the "after" picture in my the dish that I got from my Grandma.  That's all that was left.

I also served Michelle from Brown Eyed Baker's Classic Green Bean Casserole with a few modifications. I used Trader Joe's frozen Haricot Vert, instead of the fresh green beans.  I also made my own caramelized onions, instead of the canned onions, and croutons to go with onions.  It was so much better, than everything out of a can.

My husband I both used Brown Eyed Baker's Perfect Pie Crust recipe. to make our pie crusts I hadn't made a pie crust from scratch in many years, so I made a pumpkin pie and my husband made Door County Cherry Rum pie, so good. The cherry pie recipe will be posted soon. Enjoy your post Thanksgiving activities and the time spent with your families.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monet's Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies Again and Happy 91st Birthday Dad!

I made Monet's Pumpkin Brownies for the second time in two weeks.  The first time that I made them, I didn't even get a picture, they went so fast.. Our neighbors were having a bonfire to christen their new gigantic fire pit.  What could be better to have than these wonderful, moist rich, chocolaty, pumpkiny (is that a word?) brownies. I could go on and on:)  See for yourself, if you need a quick, delicious addition to your Thanksgiving desserts. 

Monet and her family are going through a challenging,  stressful time in their lives right now.  Monet's nephew, Ryan, 22 mos. had a near-drowning experience in October, and is currently in a Children's hospital in the Denver area. Monet is a very  sweet, thoughtful person, and I've never met her, but I would certainly like to.
She just keeps baking these amazing sweets and breads.  Please keep Monet and her family in your thoughts and prayers

The second time that I made the Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies was for my Dad's 91st birthday.  He's in a nursing home, in a wheel chair with Dementia, it's like he's in his own little world.  What better to make for his birthday, but Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies!  My brother, two of his kids, my husband, and myself went to see him yesterday.  That's the picture of my Dad, my niece, and me. Every time I go to see him it's bittersweet., remembering the man he used to be and the man that he is now.  He seems happy in his own little world, so at this point that is all I can ask, and to love him.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Rum Baked Apples!

I always bake pumpkin bread  in the fall and I make a loaf for my son that doesn't like chocolate.  Inevitably. something chocolate shows up at dessert on Thanksgiving. This year we are having a small group. I think, so I wanted to change a few of the side dishes  I found this recipe for a Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Baked Apples in one of my Cooking Light cookbooks.  I had never made this recipe before, but  it only had 2/3 c. oil for two loves of bread.  I then changed the oil to 1/3 c. and added 1/3 cup of applesauce I got from my Jars of Love.  Also, I added 1 c. total of craisins.  This bread is so moist and flavorful and full of craisins.  Then when you make the Rum Baked Apples and put them on top of a warm piece of the Spiced Pumpkin bread, it's pure heaven. This would make a beautiful presentation on a Thanksgiving dessert table.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread Adapted from Cooking Light
 Yield:  2 loaves,

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup canola oil, I used 1/3 cup applesauce, 1/3 cup canola oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
1/2 cup craisins or raisins, I added 1 c. craisins
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (through nutmeg) in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine canola oil, applesauce, eggs, and pumpkin in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in craisins.
Spoon batter into 2 (9 x 5-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool loaves in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool loaves completely.

I only made half of the Rum Baked Apples, and there were still a lot left.  These Rum Baked Apples would be good over pancake, waffles, oatmeal or vanilla ice cream.  I might bake  my sweet potatoes with the Rum Baked Apples in a casserole.  I usually make the Candied Sweet potatoes with the marshmallows, but not that many people eat them, so I'm changing things up a bit..    I'm also using a re-made recipe for Green Bean Casserole, no cans only fresh ingredients.( a later post).  You have to be careful when you change tried and true  recipes too much, or some family members might protest! 

 Rum Baked Apples Adapted from Cooking Light
  • 2  cups craisins
  • 1 1/4  cups  coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon
  • 6  Gala Apples, cored and chopped (about 3 pounds)
Place all ingredients in an ovenproof dish and bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 min, until apples are tender.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Cupcake Duo, Part 2, Pauli's Butter Cakes

I am posting the recipe for the Butter Cakes cupcake recipe from my good friend and neighbor, Pauli. She's part of the The Cupcake Duo, from my last post.  She made Butter Cakes, which are white cupcakes with strawberry jam filling and  Sour Cream Frosting.  I can tell you that the cake is so good, and it  melts in your mouth with a sweet  strawberry surprise and cool sour cream frosting. the little cakes are perfect for any occasion, or no occasion at all.  Thank you Pauli for being my Baking Buddy.

Butter Cakes with Sour Cream Frosting, adapted from Good House Keeping 


  • 1  cup (2 sticks)  butter, softened
  • 1-1/3  cup  sugar
  • 3    eggs
  • 2  tsp.  vanilla
  • 2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 2  tsp.  baking powder
  • 1/2  tsp.  baking soda
  • 1/4  tsp.  salt
  • 2/3  cup  buttermilk
  • Strawberry jam
  • 1  recipe  Sour Cream frosting, recipe below


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line twenty-four 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups.

2. In large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium-high for about 1 minute. Add sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add flour mixture in two additions, alternating with buttermilk, and beating on low after each addition until combined.

3. Fill lined muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

4.Fill cupcakes using the cone method with strawberry jam. Frost as directed. After frosting, refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Sour Cream Frosting: In large mixing bowl beat 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter with mixer 30 seconds; beat in one 8-oz. carton sour cream. Gradually beat in one 2-lb. bag powdered sugar. Beat in 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 Tbsp. milk. Use at once or refrigerate up to 3 days. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before using

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Me & Pauli, The Cupcake Duo, Snicker Cupcakes and Butter Cakes!

Everybody has to have a BF or Besties,  Pauli and  are Besties.  She is my dear neighbor, and would do anything for you, and is so generous.  One day Pauli called me and told me to come over, I went over  next door, and she handed me a bag and inside was this darling cupcake apron, and she got one, too.  She got this for me because I love cupcakes, and I love to make them for any occasion, or no occasion at all. Her husband calls me "Cupcake", so sweet, no pun intended:)    Because we had matching aprons, and Pauli loves to bake, too, we decided we had to have a "Cupcake Event". Our cupcake event was a day where we both made different cupcakes in our homes, then we went to get a bite to eat with our husbands, and came back to my house for dessert.

Snicker Cupcakes
It took a while to schedule our Cupcake Event, but we finally agreed on a date, which was last Monday. I made Snickers Cupcakes with my left over mini Snickers.  I guess that reading Lindsey's blog with all of those candy laden recipes, rubbed off on me:)  Pauli made Butter Cakes, a white cake with strawberry jam filling and vanilla sour cream frosting.  which will be posted later.  (I have to apologize for my pics because the lighting in my house isn't conducive to good pictures, especially at night.  Daytime pics are not easy either, because I have so much shade,  so much for the pics).  However, the Snicker Cupcakes are wonderful., chocolate cupcakes filled with melted Snickers, chocolate butter cream,  and topped with chopped Snickers  We had so much fun eating cupcakes, taking pictures, and drinking coffee with our husbands  Here is the recipe.

Snickers Cupcakes
Makes around 20 cupcakes

  • 1 2/3 C all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1 1/2 C white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 C buttermilk
       What to do 
  1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs and extract.
  4. Beat in flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, until combined.
  5. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. ( I used a 2" ice cream scoop).
  6. Bake at 350 F for twenty minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when touched.
  7. Cool on rack until cool.
  8. Using the cone method, fill with melted Snickers. 
  9. Frost with chocolate butter cream frosting, and sprinkle chopped Snickers over the top.
     Unwrap 12 Mini Snickers, chop, and melt in microwave.
     Unwrap 12 mini Snickers, chopped.  Reserve for topping

     Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting
    1 stick butter, room temperature
    1/2 cocoa
    4 c. confectioner's sugar
    1/4 c. milk, more or less

1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy
2. Add cocoa and 1c. sugar to butter mixture and beat until incorporated
3. Add half of the milk and remainder of sugar and beat until incorporated.
4. Continue to add milk until you get desired consistency

Here's a sneak peak of Pauli's Butter Cakes:

                                                                       Butter Cakes

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Autumn Harvest Chili-Chili My Way!

I like Chili, but I don't like beans or very spicy food, so when my husband make his Atomic Chili, (for an  upcoming post), I make another kind without beans.  In the Fall, I make this kind of Chili, Autumn Harvest Chili, which has zucchini, onions, red pepper. cremini mushrooms tomato sauce. beer, a few other ingredients.  The best part of this recipe is that the "bowl" for your chili is one half of a roasted butternut squash, soo good!  Along with the vegetables in the chili,  you get luscious  bites of squash. I adapted Rachael Ray's Autumn Harvest Chili recipe. 

The recipe also called for black beans, which I didn't add.  I poached a small chicken breast, diced it and threw it into the pan.  The good thing about chili, is that you can take a basic recipe and tailor it to you tastes and desires. My husband's Atomic chili has 21 ingredients. You could make this Autumn Harvest  Chili vegan or vegetarian, with just a few tweaks.  I imagine there are as many chili recipes, and concoctions, as there are people on the earth.  It seems like it any way. So whether you like your chili mild or spicy, meatless, or beanless, vegetarian, or vegan,  thick or thin, go ahead and have it your way!  For another layer of flavor in my chili added about one-quarter of a piece of  Mexican chocolate. we started adding chocolate to our chili  , when my husband made mole, which has 26 ingredients. Did I tell you that my husband likes  to cook complex  recipes?  How many people put chocolate in their chili?


  • 2 small butternut squash, cut in half and seeded
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil , divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 pound button mushrooms, quartered,  I used Cremini or Baby Bella
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 box frozen corn (10 ounces)
  • 1 can black beans (14 ounces), drained I didn't add these
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste(  I also added about 1/2 cup tomato sauce)
  • 1 cup apple cider (the cloudy kind), as needed, (I used beer)
  • 2 cups yellow cheddar cheese, shredded  (optional) I didn't do this)
  • 1/4 c chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 piece of Mexican chocolate
Pre-heat the oven to 425ºF.

Place the butternut squash cut side up on a baking sheet and drizzle it with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast the squash in the oven until tender, about 45 minutes. While the squash is in the oven, place a medium size saucepan over medium-high heat with the remaining,  2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, red bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, mushrooms and zucchini to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the veggies are tender, about 7 minutes.

Add the spices, cilantro, corn and tomato paste and sauce to the pan and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the beer to the pan (start with about 1/2 cup and add more as needed – you want a thicker chili) and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.Scoop the finished chili over the butternut squash halves and sprinkle with the cheese. Place the squash under the broiler to melt the cheese, then serve.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Friend, Becky's Baked Oatmeal with Raisins and Walnuts

My friend, Becky, gave me a recipe for Baked Oatmeal, which is an old family recipe .It tastes like a giant oatmeal cookie, without the flour, with old-fashioned rolled oats, brown sugar, butter, eggs, milk, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon.  If you're  looking for hearty, stick to your ribs breakfast, that's fairly healthy,  this is it , and it's wonderful!  I may have mentioned that oatmeal is one of my comfort foods and this recipe puts oatmeal over the top, especially with the walnuts and raisins.  You mix all of the ingredients together in a greased baking dish and bake for 40-45min.  If you double or triple the recipe for a larger family or Brunch, additional baking time would be required. You might want to make this recipe on the weekend, and eat some then, and save the rest for the coming week.  It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, (if it lasts that long), just re-heat in the microwave.

I know that oatmeal is healthy for you, but didn't know all of the reasons, until I looked at Wkikpedia.  Whole oats are a good source of thiamine, iron, and fiber.  Fiber can help reduce your cholesterol, between 10-20 points. Oats also have properties, which help protect the circulatory system, also. Whole oats can help control blood sugars for people with Type 2 diabetes.  With this recipe you can replace unsweetened applesauce for some of the butter and sugar, to lower the carbs and fat.


1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt ( I didn't add)
1 c. milk
2/1/2 c. rolled oats
3/4 raisins or craisins
3/4 c. chopped walnuts
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix all of the above ingredients together in a mixing bowl and place in a greased baking dish.  As I mentioned above, you can use applesauce, either regular or unsweetened to replace part of the butter and sugar. You may also  sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the top.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. Additional time will be required, if you double or triple the recipe.  Serve baked oatmeal warm with milk, if desired.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chicken Provencal Stoup

As soon as the first leaves start falling and there's a chill in the air, I want Chicken Provencal Stoup.  What is stoup?  "Stoup" is thicker than traditional soup, but thinner than stew. This "stoup" recipe has become our go to recipe for chicken soup, which can be made in about 30 min., and it's wonderful. A hint for the prep is to cut, chop and, slice, before you start the actual cooking.   I adapted the recipe from Rachael Ray's Chicken Provencal Stoup. It has chicken, obviously, carrots, zucchini, baby  red potatoes, onions, garlic, Herbes de Provence, canned diced tomatoes, white wine and chicken stock.  I didn't add the red pepper.  The Herbes de Provence and the wine, make this soup. After you add the Herbes de Provence and wine, your kitchen smells heavenly, as the vegetables saute.

Because we have health issues in our house, I used no salt tomatoes, and added no additional salt. My husband loves this stoup, and doesn't miss the salt, because of the Herbes dr Provence. We try to heat "healthy" most of the time with the exception of an occasional Boeuf Bourguignon or Coq Au Vin. At the end of the recipe it is suggested that you put an olive tapenade in the bowl, before serving.  Again, because of sodium issues, I didn't use the tapenade.  I imagine that it's wonderful, though. 

This is a very versatile recipe because I used green beans, when I didn't have any zucchini in the house, and I wanted to make the stoup.  You could also add noodles if you want or even roasted squash.. I'm going to have some for lunch today:)  Why don't you join me?

What are your favorite soups or "stoups"?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Roasted Buttenut Squash with Toasted Walnuts and Sage with Linguine

Are you ready for another Butternut squash recipe?  Here it comes. This recipe speaks of Fall. I love butternut squash, especially roasted, which caramelizes the squash and intensifies the sweet flavor. Add  a roasted onion and garlic, and toasted walnuts with the squash on the linguine and top with fried sage leaves and fresh Parmesan cheese, a bit of heaven!  This is a perfect meatless meal, if you're looking for one You really don't miss the meat, but you could always add some, if you wanted.. My husband just likes baked squash, and doesn't really care for this recipe, but that means more for me:)

I adapted this recipe from Seth Roth and Bryan Devlin at Oprah.com
  • 1 pound Linguine, or your favorite pasta
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2 medium onions, quartered  
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  •  3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 c. toasted walnuts
 *** Tip for peeling Squash***
Put squash in microwave for about 4 min. to facilitate peeling.  Once out of the microwave, the squash should be easy to peel with a vegetable peeler or knife.

Dice the squash into half inch cubes,. quarter onions, and peel garlic Place vegetables and garlic in 400 degree oven on baking sheet covered with foil and sprayed or greased, drizzle with olive oil,  and roast until soft. Roasting time will vary from 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the age of the squash. Remove from the oven and toss the squash, onions, and garlic with the chopped sage to infuse the flavor.

To toast walnuts, place in small frying pan with no oil, and heat over medium heats for a few minutes until nuts are lightly browned.  Be careful, because they can burn easily.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is al dente . Drain the pasta, then toss with the squash, onions,  garlic,  Parmesan cheese, and nuts.  (If the pasta seems too dry, toss with a little chicken or vegetable stock, or a bit of the pasta water.) Garnish with fried sage leaves and Parmesan cheese shavings. ( I did not fry my sage leaves.)

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