Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Meyer Lemon Bread

I had one lonely Meyer Lemon left, when I bought the Meyer Lemons over the weekend. Even if you don't have any Meyer Lemons, you can use a regular lemon.  I have known Carolyn for many years and we have shared this bread over countless cups of coffee and tea, at tea parties or coffee klatches. Actually, there is only lemon zest in the bread batter, but there is a lemon glaze that is poured over the warm bread, as it comes out of the oven. The bread is moist with a delicate lemon flavor, topped with the sweet, lemony glaze on top. Carolyn always has a loaf of this bread in her freezer, because it freezes well, for unexpected guests. This bread would be perfect for the upcoming holidays, for a quick breakfast, snack, or on your dessert tray. Enjoy!

Carolyn’s Lemon Bread   Makes 1 8x4 loaf


1/2 c butter

1 c. sugar

2 eggs

zest of one lemon

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c milk I used almond milk

1/2 c chopped walnuts Optional. I didn’t add these


1/2 c sugar

juice of 1 lemon

Directions Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees F, or 325 F for glass pan**

Cream butter with sugar, till light and fluffy. Add 2 eggs and lemon zest. Beat well. Whisk flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl. Alternately, add the flour mixture and 1/2 c milk, ending with dry ingredients, to creamed sugar and eggs.

Pour batter into an 8x4 pan sprayed with cooking spray and dusted with flour. Bake at 350 degree oven, until pick inserted in middle comes out clean.

After removing the loaf from the oven, pour glaze over the bread with sugar dissolved in the juice of the lemon.  Cool on rack.

**I used a glass pan, so I baked in 325 F oven for about 1 hr. 10 min.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Meyer Lemon Bars

I was in the grocery store over the weekend, and saw Meyer Lemons in the produce department.  I have seen so many recipes and posts on the blogosphere, but never seen them in the produce department before.  I guess that they have never been on my radar.  Well, I bought them and had to make lemon bars for my hubby, who loves anything lemon. I made them while decorating my Christmas tree. The bars were great, just ask my husband. I only made an 8x8 pan, but I want to freeze the rest of them.  Has anyone ever frozen lemon bars?

Here are my Meyer Lemons, stickers and all. One of the lemons didn't have a sticker. Is that really a Meyer lemon?  I only used two of the lemons, juice and zest for the recipe.  I haven't used the the third one yet. The Meyer Lemon bars had a slightly different taste, less acidic, and very lemony, so good on top of the shortbread crust. I will definitely freeze the rest, so I don't eat the whole pan of them, he, he. These would be a a great addition to your Christmas Cookie plate. I usually make them for my husband, anyway.  Enjoy!

Meyer Lemon Bars Adapted from

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1 c flour

2 eggs
3/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 lemons, juiced and zest*** 
1/2 cup powdered sugar for dusting bars when cool


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 1 cups flour and 1/4 cup sugar. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 8x8 inch pan.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 3/4 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice. Pour over the baked crust.
Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven. The bars will firm up as they cool. When cool, dust with powdered sugar.
***Note I got almost 2/3 cup lemon juice, so increased the flour in the filling to1/3 cup, and the bars were nice and firm.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turkey and Broccoli- What To Do with Leftover Turkey

If you have leftover turkey from your sumptuous Thanksgiving feast, you can make this easy, delicious, one dish meal, Turkey and Broccoli.  I have made this dish forever, so it's tried and true, You can also use cooked chicken, if you don't have leftover turkey. Even if Scott and I are going to family on Thanksgiving, we cook a turkey sometime around Thanksgiving to have the leftovers.

For this recipe you cook, fresh or frozen broccoli, even your leftover Brussels Sprouts  in a  1-2 qt casserole casserole dish in the microwave for about 5 min.  Then place chunked turkey on top of cooked broccoli. Mix I-2 cans cream of mushroom soup, depending on the size of your casserole dish,  and 1/2 cup mayo or Miracle whip, in sauce pan.  Heat mixture over low heat, just until blended.  Stir in 1 tsp curry powder.  Pour over Turkey in casserole dish. Top with grated cheese, any type. Heat in microwave, until cheese is just melted.  Enjoy!

Just as side note, our Sharp microwave, which was 1 1/2 old, out of warranty, died last week. It was on a shelf over under a cabinet, not over the range,  It is so aggravating, that all of these appliances, or components made in China are crap, and made to be disposable. Sure,  we could have taken it to a service center to be repaired, but the parts and labor would have been a lot more than a new microwave.  We didn't buy a really expensive one, because we might be replacing it another year or so,  Hopefully not.  Have you had to replace newer appliances that died, before their time?

Mom's Chicken or Turkey and Broccoli

This recipe is for a 9X13 pan 350 degree oven or microwave

3-4 cooked chicken breasts, or 2-3 cup cooked turkey, cut up
1 16 oz pkg of frozen broccoli florets, or you may use fresh broccoli
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup.  You can also use cream of chicken soup
1/2 c. Miracle Whip (I use Light or fat free)
Curry powder to taste
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese, or Colby Jack

1. Partially cook broccoli in microwave and place in the 9X13 pan.
2. Place cut up chicken over the broccoli in the pan.
3. Heat soup, Miracle Whip, and curry powder over low heat until blended.
4. Pour blended soup mixture over the chicken or turkey
5. Cover and microwave 5-10 min. until bubbly or bake in 350 degree oven
    about 30 min. or until bubbly.
6. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and serve with rice, regular or sticky
Miracle Whip, and curry powder over low heat until blended.
4. Pour blended soup mixture over the chicken
5. Cover and microwave 5-10 min. until bubbly or bake in 350 degree oven
    about 30 min. or until bubbly.
6. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and serve with rice, regular or brown rice.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Snickers Oatmeal Cookies for National Peanut Butter Month and Black Friday

 I would be remiss if I didn't have a post for National Peanut Butter Month, since between Scott, me and oh yah, Bailey. the dog., we go through one jar of peanut butter easily. Scott has half of a whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter every week day.  Maybe on weekends we have eggs or pancakes, otherwise it peanut butter and muffins.  I love peanut butter just as much, especially with peanut butter on a piece of banana, and so does Bailey. If you have ever given your dog a glop of peanut butter to eat, it so funny watch them try to eat it.  We have tried to take a video of her "on peanut butter", but of course by the time we get the camera ready, she has scarfed it down. We are sure that the video would "go viral."

I made these Peanut Butter Snicker Oatmeal cookies, because you guessed it, I had leftover Halloween candy. I purposely bought an extra bag of candy, but by the time I got to Walgreen's, they only had the Peanut butter Snickers left.  I wanted the original plain Snickers, but none were to be found. That happens with Hershey's Kisses at Christmas time, when I go to look for the Milk chocolate kisses and original M& M's.  The type that you grew up  and loved are in short supply. That's my rant for the day. Oh wait, How much is your peanut butter now? I have used Smucker's Natural Peanut Buttersince my kids were babies.  It's just peanuts and salt, no sugar or hydrogenated fats. Due to the "peanut shortage", this jar went from $2.49 to $3.29, at Super Target !!!

These cookies have the peanut butter of Snickers, and a little chocolate with the healthy oatmeal,  They are very good, and I actually made them for Cherise, my new DIL, who gave them the seal of approval.  They would also be good for all of you shoppers going out on Black Friday. Just slip some of these cookies in a baggie, and you are good to go.  You don't have to take the time stop and buy a snack. Do you go shopping on Black Friday?  Around here a lot of the stores will be opening at 12 AM Friday.  I won't be going then, but I might be there at 5AM, or so, because I will be going to the Northern Illinois University football game at 10AM, with my son. Chris and DIL, Emily.  We are all alums.  Go Huskies!

This recipe can adapted for someone doesn't like chocolate, like my son. The original recipe was Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip cookies.  You can halve the dough, add chopped Snickers to half of the dough, and add the Craisins to the other half of the dough, which is what I did. My son doesn't like White chocolate either. That way you can have two different kinds of cookies from one dough;)  Here are Todd's cookies, Oatmeal Craisin cookies.  These would be good for Black Friday shopping, too:)

Peanut Butter Snickers Oatmeal Cookies Adapted from


2/3c butter, softened
2/3 c brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
7-8 Fun size Peanut Butter Snickers, chopped or ¾ . Craisins


Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter  and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in chopped Peanut Butter Snickers.  
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mini Thanksgiving Stuffings with Cranberries and Apples, My Way!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  We just had an early Thanksgiving, with the newly weds, Cherise and Todd, yesterday.  Everything was wonderful.  Here was our menu:
  Turkey cooked in the roaster oven
Bread stuffing cooked in the turkey
Garlic mashed potatoes with turkey gravy
Roasted Vegetable Medley
   with Sweet Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Red Onion, and Turkey bacon
Roasted Pear Salad
Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce (Thank you, Liv Life)
Pumpkin Pie
Door County Cherry Rum Pie
We even forgot the rolls, but we didn't them. I ate way too much, but everything was so good. Remember, I didn't have any cute ramekins, but I wanted Santa to bring some,  Well Santa came early:)  I saw these cute little ramekins at World Market for a really great price, $2.99!!! These are great stocking stuffers for foodie friends.  Now back to the stuffing.

My husband always make the traditional bread stuffing.  He used French bread this year,  sauteed celery, onions, and mushrooms in butter, and an egg.  I always wanted to add apples and cranberries, but he never wanted those.  I finally got my chance this year, because all of stuffing wouldn't fit in the stuffing bag inside the turkey.  I took the little amount left over, added a handful of fresh cranberries and chopped apple to the stuffing, and put the mixture n my cute little ramekins and popped them in the oven, Voila! I had my own Mini Bread Stuffing with Cranberries and Apples, Yum. I did add a splash of chicken stock to the stuffing before I baked them.  Those little ramekins will be getting a lot of use, I know.
When I made my pumpkin pie, Libby's famous recipe,  I had a little custard left over, so I got out my little ramekins, love 'em, and made mini pumpkin custards.  Now, there are so many uses:)  Thank you, Santa!

Since I have already cooked Thanksgiving dinner, I'll be thinking about all of you the rest of week as you plan, prepare, and clean up your wonderful Thanksgiving feasts.  All I need now are those kitchen fairies to clean up the kitchen, which is the worst part of Thanksgiving, I believe. We are going to my husband's side of the family on Thankdgiving, but I only have to make Vegan Chocolate cupcakes.  Since I saw Lora@CakeDuchess's Vegan Maple Pumpkin Pie, I may be trying that out now for the vegan side of the family.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Roasted Pear Salad with Blue Cheese

Sometimes before I make a new recipe for company, I try it out first, or if it happens that I have ripe pears begging to be used.  In this case it was the former and the latter.  I made this Roasted Pear Salad earlier in the week and it was wonderful. The newlyweds, Cherise & Todd are coming this Sunday for an early Thanksgiving. When you have a blended family,  holidays are complicated, to say the  least. I will be making this great salad again Sunday.

You are going to love this salad, if you like pears. The pears are filled with the crunchy toasted walnuts, craisins,  blue cheese, and roasted to perfection, and basted  with  a tangy, sweet, sauce. Now, I'm definitely not a fan of blue cheese, but my hubby loves it.  I didn't put any blue cheese on mine.

First you start by slicing your pears in half.. Then, you take a melon baller, and remove the core and make a hole for filling. The filling is roasted walnuts or pecans,, craisins, or dried cherries, and crumbled blue cheese. Make a basting sauce of cranberry juice or apple cider, and brown sugar, and port wine, perhaps.  Pour sauce over filled pears and roast for about 30 min, until pears are soft. When the pears are done, place on serving plates with your favorite greens.  Drizzle the basting sauce over the pears and greens and serve warm. Enjoy!

I had my cholesterol re-tested last week.  Remember it was 226  three months ago?  Well, now it is 194, Woot! Woot!  With the help of eating oatmeal, (rolled oats), almost every breakfast, with a few exceptions, riding my aerobic exercise bike, and hardly eating any bad carbs, white flour, white sugar, corn syrup, starchy vegetables, etc., I was able to drop my cholesterol  32 points, and still don't have to take the meds!  Just in time for Thanksgiving!

I now know that my 226 reading three month ago wasn't hereditary.  I was eating too many carbs and not moving enough, and getting older, even though I am thin. I have femoral nerve damage from a previous hip surgery, so the exercise bike is about the only type of aerobic exercise that I can do. Now, I believe that controlling my cholesterol is a lot about the "M" word, moderation, which I will try to practice.  Now back to the recipe.
Roasted Pear Salad Adapted from


  • 3 ripe but firm Anjou pears
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 ounces coarsely crumbled blue cheese or Feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice, apple juice or cider
  • 3 tablespoons port (optional)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Favorite greens; Baby Spinach, Butter lettuce, Arugula


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

Peel the pears and slice them lengthwise into halves. With a small sharp paring knife and a melon baller, remove the core and seeds from each pear, leaving a round well for the filling.. Toss the pears with some lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Arrange them, core side up, in a baking dish large enough to hold the pears snugly. 

Gently toss the crumbled blue cheese, craisins, and walnuts together in a small bowl. Divide the mixture among the pears, mounding it on top of the indentation. 

In the same small bowl, combine the apple cider, port, and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over and around the pears. Bake the pears, basting occasionally with the cider mixture, for 30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside until warm or at room temperature.

Just before serving, whisk together the olive oil, and basting liquid in a large bowl. Divide the greens among 6 plates and top each with a pear half. Drizzle each pear with some of the basting liquid, and serve warm.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Braised Chicken Breasts with Glazed Pears

Our next door neighbors, Frank and Barb, are  moving to Florida this week.  In fact, Barb is already in Florida, because her Mom isn't well, and Frank is leaving tomorrow. We will miss them, but they will be back, because their grandchildren live here. We had Frank  and another couple over for dinner and made this fabulous Fall one pot dish.  You braise chicken breasts in wine and  chicken stock, add Herbs de Provence, or fresh herbs if you have them,  baby red  potatoes, and let this marvelous combination bubble away. While the chicken is cooking, you make glazed pears with brown sugar and butter, and top the cooked chicken and vegetables with the glazed pears and chopped parsley. This dish is so good with the wonderful sauce from the braised chicken and tender vegetables, and then you top it with sweet, buttery glazed pears, Oh my!

This is another Rachael Ray recipe perfectly suited for company or Sunday dinner. You could even make this on a week night.  The longest part of the recipe is browning the chicken breasts first, but from then on it's a wonderful one pot meal. You can make the glazed pears ahead of time.  Serve this dish with a salad and bread, if you are not watching carbs, a glass of white wine, and you are good to go. Enjoy!

Braised Chicken Breasts with Glazed Pears
Adapted from Rachael
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6  boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour, for dusting
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 4 sprigs rosemary, or 1 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • 1  ½ pound small red potatoes, halved
  • 1 ½ c. bottle dry white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 Bosc pears, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Pre-heat a large pot or Dutch oven with two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish and coat the drumsticks, shaking off any excess. Add half of the coated chicken to the hot olive oil and brown on all sides. Once the chicken is browned all over, remove from the pot to a plate to reserve. Add another two tablespoons of olive oil to the pot and brown the second batch of chicken breasts. Remove them to the plate with the first batch.

Add the last two tablespoons olive oil to the pot. Add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, thyme and rosemary, or Herbs de Provence and cook for another two minutes. Add the potatoes and cook until they begin to brown. Add the wine and reduce for about two minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring up to a bubble. 

Add the browned chicken back to the pot, then cover and reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick.

While the chicken is cooking, make the glazed pears: melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Add the pears and increase the heat to medium-high. Shake the pan to make sure you coat all the pears in the glaze. Cook until the fruit is easily pierced with a knife.

To serve, place ½ chicken breast in a shallow serving bowl or plate and top with vegetables and sauce. Finish each dish with some of the glazed pears and chopped parsley.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Paella-Style Chicken and Rice

I found this recipe in a magazine I was reading in the Dr.'s office.  It was for Paella-Style Chicken and Rice adapted from  Extra Lean Family by Mario Lopez. Now, I never do this, but I ripped the recipe out of the magazine and put in my purse. Bad, I know, but how many of you out there have done the same thing?  Who can resist a recipe from that cute, hunky guy, with those dimples! Remember, he was on Saved by the Bell and Dancing with  the Stars a few seasons ago and is the TV host of Extra?  According to Mario, This is a healthy version of the family classic. Maybe if you eat this dish, you can have abs like Mario;)  If you want to see more of Mario go to see Priscilla @She's Cookin',  because she  got to meet Mario Lopez, Lucky girl:)

Paella is Spanish dish of  saffron flavored rice combined with a variety of meats and shellfish (such as shrimp, lobster, clams, chicken, pork, ham and chorizo.), garlic, onions, peas, artichoke hearts and tomatoes. It's named after the special two-handled pan — also called paella  in which it's prepared and served. The pan is wide, shallow and 13 to 14 inches in diameter. If you want to see an authentic paella pan, check our Chrisitiane@The Mom Chef on making an authentic Paella.

This recipe is a healthier version of that paella classic.  It has chicken, Andouille sausage, brown rice, red bell peppers, peas, and saffron. Now, the recipe said that you could use chicken andouille sausage, which is what I did.  I got mine at Trader Joe's, that's why you small pieces of the sausage in the dish.  You can use saffron, if you have it.  It's a little pricey for me, so the recipe said that you could sub Italian seasoning for the saffron. You can also add a little turmeric for the saffron like color, if you wish.

This dish goes together quickly, and has layers of flavor from the spices, is healthy with the brown rice, and chicken breasts, and tastes so good.  We will definitely be making this again!  Believe it or not, I didn't change anything in the recipe. I followed it to a "T".  I don't do that too often, Enjoy!

"Paella-style" Chicken and Rice 

Adapted from Extra Lean Family by Mario Lopez -Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 oz chicken sausage or 1 oz andouille sausage
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 tsp saffron, or 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Chopped parsley and scallions to taste
  • Heat oil in a large skillet. Add sausage and cook for 3 minutes, crushing with a wooden spoon. Add onion, celery and salt. Saute for 3 minutes. Stir in brown rice. Stir saffron into chicken broth and add to pan. Bring to a boil and add chicken.
  • Cover and cook for 30-35 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Stir in peas and sliced bell pepper. Serve in bowls and top with parsley and scallions.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mini Pear Banana Muffins

When I went to see my Dad on his birthday,  Wednesday, I also made these Pear Banana Muffins for the staff, as well as the Pumpkin Cranberry Bars. These muffins were a hit, as well as the bars. I had some ripe pears and ripe bananas, so I found a recipe and made them.  They were so moist and flavorful with the ripe fruit, a tasty morsel. This is a very versatile recipe, because you can use white or brown sugar, white or whole wheat flour, and add chopped nuts, if you wish.  I didn't add the nuts. I used brown sugar, half white and half whole wheat flour. My husband said that they could have been sweeter.  If you aren't watching your carbs, you can add a bit sugar.

I was in a hurry when I made the muffins, so I used the cupcake liners for the muffin pan, and I didn't have time to spray the pan. However, almost half of the muffin stuck to the paper. Next time I will spray the pan. Do yo have trouble with the cupcakes or muffins sticking to the liners? 

Here are some birthday pics of my Dad in his new Northern Illinois Univ, Huskie sweatshirt. He has lived in DeKalb, IL, home of NIU, for over 65 years. I am a proud alum of NIU, as well as my son Chris and his wife, Emily.  My Dad used to go to all of NIU's football and basketball games, and gave me my love of sports. Go Huskies!
Dad & Me
This picture says it all, simple pleasures, when you are 92!
Dad with Mickey D's coffeee
Now for the yummy recipe!

Pear Banana Muffins   Adapted from
  • 2-3 large very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup sugar, white or brown
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2-4 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (if you have it) I added 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or half all-purpose and half whole wheat
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 ripe pear, finely chopped 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

 In a medium bowl, mash together the bananas, sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla with a potato masher or spatula until blended and the bananas are well mashed

Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, and stir just until the batter starts coming together; add the chopped pear, and stir just until combined.  Do not over mix, or your muffins will be tough.  
Spoon the batter into muffin tins that are lined with paper liners or sprayed with nonstick spray, filling them about 3/4 full. If you like, sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your muffins, until golden and the tops are springy to the touch.

Makes 6 jumbo, 10-12 regular muffins, or 24 mini muffins  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pumpkin Cranberry Bars

Today my Dad turns 92!  I made these Pumpkin Cranberry Bars for the staff that takes such good care of him in the nursing home.  He has dementia, and thinks that I am his sister, Ruby.  It's not easy to go and see him, because the man sitting in the wheel chair is only the shell of the person that was the father I knew.  He used to live and breathe sports, and now you mention, St. Louis Cardinals, and it doesn't even register. So Sad.   My only consolation is that he is content where he is, at the nursing home, and all of the staff love him. He loves to watch the birds at the bird feeders and imitate birds sounds.  Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you!

I made him a big chocolate cupcake, (picture to come later), and I always bring him Mac Donald's coffee, which he loves.  He had a friend who used to bring him Mac Donald's coffee every week, but sadly Delbert passed away.  So now I bring the Mac Donald's coffee, when I come.  Simple pleasures when you are 92.  I will also bring picture's of my son's wedding, and see if he can recognize his family.

I knew when I saw Emily's Sour Cream Pumpkin Bars@Cleanliness is Next to Godliness I knew that I had to make them. They were a healthier version of my old pumpkin bar recipe.  I added more Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream, and dried cranberries for a little contrast.  Also these bars had part whole wheat flour, and less fat.  The bars were very moist , full of pumpkin flavor, and spices, a perfect complement to the dried cranberries, several of the flavors of Thanksgiving in one bar.  I used the 15x10x1 pan.  Now instead of a cream cheese frosting or glaze, I did a few lines of vanilla and chocolate glaze, just something simple for a 92 year old's birthday!

You can make these Pumpkin Cranberry Bars just because it's November, and almost halfway to Thanksgiving,  someone has a birthday, or just because you can never have enough pumpkin recipes. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cranberry Bars

Adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens and Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Ingredients :

½ cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
3/4 cup low fat or non fat vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans( I didn’t add)

1cup. dried cranberries

Directions :

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using butter or nonstick cooking spray, grease a 15x10x1 baking pan, or a 9x13 baking pan (note: you will add approximately 5 to 10 minutes to your baking time using a 9x13 pan). I used a 15x10x1 pan.
3. Using an upright mixer or a hand mixer beat the butter for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, beating until the mixture becomes fluffy, approximately 1 minute.
4. Add the eggs, pumpkin, yogurt, and vanilla, beating until combined, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Slowly add the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, beating until combined.
6. Using a spatula, fold in the nuts, if used and dried cranberries
7. Spread the mixture evenly into a greased baking pan and back for about 25 minutes (for the 15x10x1 pan), or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Apple Walnut Cake Made with Fresh Apples

Apple Cake Made with Fresh Apples

When I made My Apple Walnut Cake earlier in October, I was a guest blogger for Brandie@The Country Cook. I got several requests for the recipe to make the Apple Walnut Cake using fresh apples.  It seems a lot people went apple picking, and wanted a yummy reicpe to use up their apples. Well, they asked, and I delivered.  I thought that the Apple Walnut Cake was so good before, but now made with the fresh apples, it was even better, no preservatives, and I added  a lot more apples than were in a can of apple pie filling.

There is one caveat, however, and that it does take more time if you use fresh apples to make this delicious cake.  First you have to wash, peel,core, and slice the apples into thin slices.  I have an apple slicer that cores ans slices the peeled apples in one motion.  However, I sliced the apple slices in half again, so they were thin.  Then you have to cook down the apples in a sugar, water, and cinnamon mixture until the apples are slightly soft.   You may have to thicken the syrup with cornstarch if it seems too runny. Then refrigerate the apple pie filling till cool to the touch. You don't want your eggs to curdle. After the filling is cool to the touch, you can put the apple pie filling in the bottom of the 9x13 pan .sprayed with cooking spray, and proceed with the rest of recipe. My husband thought the Fresh  Apple Walnut Cake, was even better than the cake made with the canned apple pie filling.  It was just  as moist and gooey as the canned apple pie filling cake, but much more flavorful, definitely worth the extra time. Now, if you don't have the time, go ahead and use the canned apple filling.  I made the cake that way for many, many years, and was never disappointed.  Enjoy!

                                            Apple Walnut Cake (with canned apple pie filling)

Apple Pie Filling
5-6  medium Apples, washed, peeled, cored and sliced.  I used Jonagold
1 c. water
1 c sugar or Splenda
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

In a large saucepan combine, apples, water, sugar, cornstarch, and  cinnamon .Bring to boil, and simmer over medium heat, until filling is thick and bubbly. Add  an additional 2 Tbsp .more cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup cold water, if filling is too runny. Remove from heat and refrigerate until filling is cool to the touch.  You may make the filling the night before and refrigerate, until ready for use.

Ingredients for Cake
Fresh Apple Pie Filling or 1 can apple pie filling, small size
2 cups All-Purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup canola oil
3/4 c chopped walnuts, divided

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
¾ c chopped walnuts, divided
1 tsp. baking soda.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
Spread apple pie filling in bottom of a 9x13 pan, sprayed with cooking spray. Combine flour, sugar, and baking soda in a separate bowl.  Sprinkle over apple pie filling.

Mix eggs,oil,and 1/2 c walnuts in small bowl.  Pour over flour mixture in pan and mix well.

Bake in 350 degees F oven for 35-40 min, until golden brown.  Remove from oven, and immediately poke holes over the whole cake.  Pour hot topping over the cake, and top with remainder of 1/4 c walnuts. 
Combine sugar, sour cream, and baking soda in medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, just until it starts to boil.  Don't let the mixture caramelize.  Immediately pour over hot cake, which has had holes poked in it with a fork. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts. Serve warm or room temperature.  I like mine warm.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Whole Wheat Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash, Turkey Bacon, and Walnuts

I love Butternut Squash, which speaks of Fall to me.  Maybe its the golden color of the squash, or the abundance of  squash recipes that I see everywhere. I had posted a similar squash recipe last year, but I decided to rework the recipe.  I added add some turkey bacon to the squash to change things up a bit, as well as using whole wheat pasta, and my husband loved it. He even took some for his lunch the next day.  Must have been the turkey bacon and whole wheat pasta;) You can use regular pasta, and bacon or pancetta in this dish if you have no health issues.  Besides, it was BNC, before my new camera, and I got a better pic this time.

This recipe is wonderful with the roasted butter nut squash, onions, bacon, garlic, and toasted walnuts  Roasting the vegetables caramelizes them, and gives them a richer, deeper flavor.  I actually cooked the bacon along side the peeled, diced squash, onions and garlic.  The turkey bacon package said to cook in 400 degree oven for 15 min., until crisp, and it turned out perfectly. I just had foil on the cookie sheet, and there was very little grease. Actually the hardest part of the recipe is peeling the squash, but  I have a tip to do that in the recipe.

After the squash, onions, garlic, and bacon are cooked, toss with the rubbed sage or fresh, chopped sage leaves.  This time I didn't have the fresh sage leaves, so I used the dry rubbed sage, which was fine. the vegetables and bacon cool a bit with sage. This is a very easy recipe to make vegetarian, just omit the turkey bacon, and use vegetable stock.

Then you cook the whole wheat pasta of your choice to al dente, firm to the teeth. I used Farfalle, because I think that it looks so pretty in the pasta bowl. Drain the pasta, do not rinse.  Remember to save about 1c of pasta water to mix with the squash, to prevent the pasta from getting sticky. Add a little chicken or vegetable stock, if needed. Mix pasta and vegetables in large bowl.  Top with Parmesan cheese, and toasted walnuts. Enjoy! 

Whole Wheat Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash, Turkey Bacon, and Walnuts
I adapted this recipe from Seth Roth and Bryan Devlin at

  • 1 pound , or your favorite pasta I used whole wheat Farfalle
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2 medium onions, quartered 
  • 3 slice, of turkey bacon, cooked 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, or 1Tbsp dried, rubbed Sage
  •  3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4-1/2  c. chicken or vegetable stock
  • 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, garlic, and bacon  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.Chop bacon in small pieces and add to vegetable sage mix.

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, turkey bacon,  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 Parmesan cheese and toasted walnuts.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Got Snickers? Make Snicker Apple Salad

When my three boys were growing up, and would come home from trick or treating, the first thing that they did was to sit on the floor and dump the contents of their bags on the floor. Then they preceded to "trade" their candies back and forth. This one liked Three Musketeers, the other one didn't. Another one liked Baby Ruth,. the other one didn't. You get the idea  Once they had divvied up their candy, they put it in separate bowls, which I took and put away to dole out each day.  We always had a lot of Snickers, so many in fact I would put them in cookies. If I would have had  this recipe back in the day, I would have made this one.

This "salad" is so  easy to make.  I use the term salad loosely, because it has whipped topping and Snickers in it , so it could go either way, salad or dessert..  It is fairly "healthy", because it does have apples in it. I used Jonagold apples, but you can use any apples that you have on hand,  I also used the fat free whipped topping, but if you don't have to worry about fat in recipes. make whipped cream. The first time that  I made this  was for Thanksgiving one year, and my nieces loved it.  Now, I have to make it every year. This salad could be addicting, just saying. It's a good way to have portion control with those Snickers. Depending on how many Snickers, and apples you have, you can vary the amounts.enjoy!

Snicker Apple Salad 

4-5 apples cored and  sliced in chunks 
1Tbsp. Lemon juice to keep apples from turning brown
8 "fun size" Snickers, chopped, more or less
1 8 oz container of  whipped topping, defrosted

Combine apples and lemon juice  in large bowl, and mix thoroughly. Fold in Snicker pieces and whipped topping until well mixed.  Refrigerate until serving time.  

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