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Almond Scones

Recipes By November 2, 2016 Tags: , 4 Comments

I have always wanted to make scones.  It is possible I am just caught up in a romantic English countryside fantasy, including the accent and frilly apron.  But for whatever reason, I decided to give it a whirl.  They came out great (even on my first try) and my scone eating son declared them delicious.  Here is the recipe for an almond version, icing optional but I really like them with icing!

Almond Scones Recipealmond-scones3-a

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In large bowl  mix together:

  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

Cut in to flour mixture with pastry blender or knife:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold butter – cut into pieces
  • ¼ cup almond paste – broken into pieces

Add to mixture:

  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup milk (with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar added to it)

Stir mixture gently until flour is mixed in.  Place dough on floured surface and pat into a square about ½ thick (or as thick as you like). Using a sharp knife cut into squares.  Try to handle as little as possible.

Place squares on parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for 5 minutes then turn tray and bake for another 5 minutes.  Scones will be golden brown on the bottom and soft on top.  Remove from oven.  Let them set for a few minutes and then spread icing over the top.  Let them finish cooling. Place in sealed container.

Scone icing or glazealmond-scones2-a

  • I cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp cream or milk

Mix the above ingredients together to form the consistency you want.  I like to make it slightly runny – it’s easier to spread. You can adjust the consistency buy adding more cream or more powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Peach Crisp

Recipes By August 28, 2016 5 Comments

This sounded so delicious the other night, I just had to make it.  I didn’t have any fresh peaches so I used canned.  I actually think peeling and slicing slippery peaches while trying to remove the pit is not all that fun.  Thus, I was fine having to resort to using canned peaches.

This is a simple and quick recipe.

Heat oven to 350 degrees

In a oven proof, 2 quart casserole dish – stir together:

  • 1 large and one small can of sliced peaches – drained (I like the ones in pear juice)
  • 3 Tbs. flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

In another bowl add:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats (I used Old Fashioned because that is what I had on hand)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Stir together – then add 1 stick of cold butter, cut into pieces.  Cut butter into flour mixture with a fork or pastry blender. Add a tablespoon or two of water to make mixture crumbly.  Spoon on top of peaches.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Filling should be bubbly and crust slightly brown.

Enjoy!

 

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Blueberry Banana Muffins

Recipes By August 21, 2016 Tags: , , 2 Comments

I have been making this recipe since my kids were little – so forever.  I usually make it into a quick bread loaf but decided to try muffins this go around.  They turned out great and I was able to use up my very ripe bananas in the process.muffins4a

I like to use foil liners so the muffins don’t stick. These muffins also freeze well.

Blueberry Banana Muffins

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Put liners in muffin tin.muffins1a

  • 1 stick butter – softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 – 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 – 6 oz. carton of blueberry yogurt
  • ½ cup blueberries

Cream butter and sugar, add egg and mix well.  Stir in flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  In separate bowl, smash peeled bananas, then add yogurt and mix together.  Stir banana/yogurt mix into batter. Then gently stir in blueberries.

Fill muffin cups about ¾ full.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Makes about 1 ½ dozen muffins (or 1 loaf).muffins2a

Enjoy!

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World Famous Potato Salad

Recipes By July 10, 2016 Tags: , , , 15 Comments

Ok. Ok.  Maybe not WORLD famous – although I do have friends who live in Japan that like it.   However, IT IS frequently requested at summer BBQ’s.potato4A

I learned to make potato salad from my sister-in-law, probably three decades ago (when I could barely cook!).  I don’t make it the same as she does but that is where my recipe got its start.

I like to use red potatoes and then cook them a bit longer, so the end product is a little lumpy but creamy. The potatoes are done when you can easily pierce them with a fork and a twist will break them apart.  It may take a few times to figure out the cooked potato consistency that your family likes.

Yummy Potato Salad

Serves about 8-10 as a side dish

  • Approximately 2 ½ pounds of red potatoes (half of a 5# bag) – peeled, rinsed and cut into chunks
  • 2-3 hard-boiled eggs – peeled, rinsed and chopped
  • 3 generous (meaning heaping on the spoon) tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon of brown mustardpotato5A
  • 1 tablespoons of yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper

Bring water to boil in a large pan.  Add the potatoes chunks.  Keep it on a low boil, stir occasionally until the potatoes are tender.  Drain.

Place chopped eggs and drained potatoes in a large bowl.  Add the mayonnaise, mustards and spices.  Stir with a large spoon.  Once the mayonnaise and mustards are mixed in – taste.  Add more mayonnaise to make it creamer, more yellow mustard to make it tangier and of course, a little salt if it seems bland.  Caution: start out by adding just a little more – you can always add more, but you can’t take any away! 😉potato3A

Once everything is combined and tastes good, cover the bowl and put in the refrigerator.  Let is cool down before serving.  I usually make mine the day before.  It also tastes better once it sits.potato2A

Mine usually looks like chunky, yellow mashed potatoes.  Hmmm.

Enjoy!

 

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Birthday Pie

Recipes By June 26, 2016 Tags: , 15 Comments

What do you get the person who has everything?  It gets harder and harder (as we get older) to find that perfect gift. This is the dilemma I faced with one of our dear friends.  Then I discovered he really likes apple pie.  Who wouldn’t want to be given a home made pie? So I set out to find a delicious but fairly simple apple pie to make for him.  This one is fabulous.  He now gets an apple pie every year for his birthday.  Actually, I make two at the same time because my husband also likes apple pie.  They both think it is the best gift ever!!!

I am not a pie maker but this recipe is fairly easy and straight forward.  As I mentioned earlier, I double the recipe to make two pies because I only do this once a year.  I also don’t make pie crust from scratch, I purchase mine from the freezer section of the grocery store.  They come in packs of two which is very convenient. Make sure to buy the deep dish variety and then over fill it a bit.

Birthday Apple Piepie2

Filling:

  • 6 cups thinly sliced apples
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 T. flour
  • 1 – 9 inch deep dish pastry pie shell (freezer section of grocery store J)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Put oven shelf in center of the oven.

Peel, core and slice apples.  In a bowl toss apple slices with lemon juice and vanilla. Stir together sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour.  Then toss with the apples.  Fill the pie shell with the apple mixture.  Mound the slices if necessary.pie3

Topping:

  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup cold butter (1/2 stick) cut into pieces

Mix flour and brown sugar in a bowl. Cut in butter (use a fork if you don’t have a pastry knife) until is resembles coarse (not fine) crumbs. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the pie.pie5

Bake pie on cookie sheet, on center rack, for 40 to 50 minutes until the juices form bubbles that burst slowly and the pie is slightly brown on top.  Remove from oven and cool.

Now its time to party!!!

pie6

 

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Nathan’s Favorite Pasta Salad

Recipes By June 5, 2016 Tags: , 10 Comments

I am not sure when or where I came across this recipe but I have been making it for years.  It is my youngest sons’ favorite “summer dish”. Unlike a lot of pasta salads, the guys in my family like this one…probably because it tastes like a deli sandwich.

Here is what you need to make this easy and delicious pasta salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of multicolored corkscrew pasta (or any other kind you want to use)
  • 1 small bottle balsamic vinegar dressing
  • 1/2 can of black olives – cut into piecespasta2
  • 1 cup of grape tomatoes cut into halves
  • 1/2 cup red onion – chopped fine
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese – cut into cubes
  • 1/4 pound Genoa salami – cut into cubes
  • 1/4 pound pepperoni – cut into cubes

Cook pasta until done. Drain.  Put drained pasta into a large bowl.  Pour the entire bottle of dressing over the pasta, then stir.  Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate, make sure to stir before serving. It works as a side or main dish.  Super easy!

This salad can be modified anyway you wish.  Substitute cheddar cheese for mozzarella, use different meats or vegetables.  At the deli I ask them to cut my meat in one big quarter pound chunk.

This pasta salad ended up in large plastic storage containers due to an oversized watermelon taking up space in my frig!pasta1

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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Food Triggered Memories

Recipes By May 8, 2016 Tags: , 30 Comments

My Aunt Gertie’s Molasses Cookies

When I was a child, my grandmother would take us to visit her sister, my great aunt.  She lived in a small town, about an hour’s drive outside the city.  Aunt Gertie was stocky and had a long salt and pepper braid that she coiled and pinned neatly at the back of her head.  Without fail, she had fresh, home-made molasses cookies ready for us to eat when we arrived.  Neither my mother, nor my grandmother baked much, so this was a real treat for a bunch of hungry kids.  These tasty cookies were firm on the outside and chewy on the inside. Oh so good.

My Aunt Gertie died when I was a teenager.  There were no more home-made molasses cookies after that. When I was a young bride, I asked my grandmother if she knew the recipe.  Not only did she send me the recipe, but the actual handwritten one my aunt had given her.  Years later I realized that having the actual handwritten recipe was a treasure. Of course, by this time it had cookie batter and grease stains on it. I finally copied it and put the original away.  I estimate Aunt Gertie’s molasses crinkle recipe to be over 90 years old.

I began making them for my new husband and then my children. On occasion, my mother would ask for them and I would make her a batch and put them in the mail.  This simple cookie has been my most requested over the last three and a half decades.  I plan to continue making them for my grandchildren, sharing the story of my Great Aunt Gertie.   My children never met my Aunt but they have a memory of her because of a delicious cookie she baked for me fifty years ago.

My Aunt Gertie has been and will continue to be, fondly remembered for her love, kindness and molasses cookies.

Aunt Gertie’s Molasses Crinklesmolasses-recipe

Bake 375 degrees

Mix together :

  • ¾ c. shortening
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ c. molasses

Then stir in:

  • 2 ¼ c. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • ¼ tsp. salt

Mix thoroughly, then chill the dough for about an hour.  Roll into balls the size of walnuts.  Dip one side in white sugar and place sugar side up on a greased or parchment covered cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  The cookies should be set but not hard.   Let them cool for a minute or two and then remove to a cooling rack.  After they have cooled – store the cookies in a sealed container – if you have any left.  My Aunt Gertie kept them in an old fashioned Rooster cookie jar on a kitchen shelf.   🙂

rotated-aunt-gertie

 

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Tasty Granola Bars from Scratch

Recipes By April 8, 2016 Tags: , , 18 Comments

I found this recipe for homemade granola bars at Grammie Time.   I’m always on the look out for easy and delicious snack ideas. You can see the original recipe here.

I changed it up a little. My version is below.

The almond butter I had on hand was too unruly to use.  I ended up splashing myself with the almond oil while I was unsuccessfully trying to stir it back together.  I decided to go with peanut butter, which was much better behaved.  I didn’t find dried cherries at my grocery store, I substituted dried cranberries.  I went with ½ cup of roasted almonds, put them in  a sealed baggie, then I smacked it several times with a rolling pin to chop them. It worked great.  Since I  don’t have a food processor I was a little bit concerned about all the ingredients blending well, but they did. I just stirred it all up with a spoon and scraped it out with a spatula.

Here is my variation of her recipe.

Tasty Granola Bars from ScratchGranola-bar2

2 ½ cups old fashioned oats

1 cup raisins

¾ cup peanut butter

¼ cup honey

2 tsp. vanilla

½ cup roasted almonds – chopped- anyway you like 🙂

3/4 cup dried cranberries

½ cup dark chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place oats on baking sheet, toast in oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and place them in a medium mixing bowl. They cool quickly.  Note: I wasn’t going to do this (toast the oats)  but I decided to do it anyway.  I think it probably gives the bars a better flavor and consistency than using the raw oats.

Cover raisins with hot water for 10 minutes, then drain.granola-bar3

Line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper letting it hang over the edges slightly.

Add the raisins, peanut butter, honey, vanilla, almonds, dried cranberries and chocolate chips to the toasted oats.  Mix well.

Spoon mixture into parchment lined pan.  Press into pan with back of spoon or piece of wax paper (as you can tell, I didn’t want to use my fingers for this job). Let stand for at least an hour to let them set up.

Pull them out of the pan using the overhanging parchment.  Cut into bars.

These turned out delicious.  They even passed the fussy family test.  Meaning – they ate them and liked it.

*If you want to spend a little less on the almonds buy raw ones and roast them yourself.  Place raw almonds on a baking sheet in a cold oven set to 350 degree, bake for 15 minutes.  Easy.

 

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Simple Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipes By February 21, 2016 Tags: , 9 Comments

I have hosted a cookie baking/decorating party, every December, for the past 7 or 8 years. This year we had a newbie in our group, who I later found out was gluten intolerant. She was a trooper, not mentioning it, despite being surrounded by mountains of cookies and then being offered pasta for dinner. In my defense, I didn’t know. Thank goodness I made a nice salad to go with the pasta! To make it up to her, I found and tweaked a gluten free cookie recipe I found on the minimalistbaker. I have made these cookies several times now.  My husband likes them, even though he knows they are gluten free. That says a lot!

Simple Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 40 small cookies

  • 2 ½ cups almond meal (I purchased mine from Trader Joe’s)gluen-free1
  • 1 ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 Tbs. butter (softened)
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs. Stir in almond meal, baking powder and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. Do the whole process in one bowl.

Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Drop by heaping teaspoonful, on to parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Just until the edges start to turn brown.   Let them sit for a minute, then remove to plate or wire rack to finish cooling.gluten-free4

Enjoy!gluten-free3

 

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Snowy Day Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Recipes By February 14, 2016 Tags: , , 14 Comments

Our wonderfully mild New England winter has drawn to a close. We are now in the mist of our 4th or 5th snow storm of the New Year. To celebrate yet another snow day and to make something warm, comfy and satisfying for dinner, I pulled out my crock pot beef stew recipe.

This stew is simple and delicious. I usually put it together the night before and store it in the refrigerator, but it can be done early the same morning. I use a 3 ½ quart crock pot. This makes enough for dinner and lunches over the next few days, for my husband and I. It can also be separated into individual servings and frozen. If you are feeding more people, then use a bigger crock pot, increase the vegetables and add another can of chicken stock. When I developed this recipe, we had stopped eating white potatoes, but of course they can be added if you like.resized-stew-vegetables

Delicious Slow Cooker Crock Pot Beef Stew

  • 1 ½ pounds stew meat (it usually comes in large chunks, I just cut them into smaller pieces)
  • 7-8 large carrots (peeled and cut into chunks)
  • ½ of a celery bunch (rinsed, chopped including the leaves at the top)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (peeled and chopped)
  • Sliced mushrooms, if I have them
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I like to get the one with added ingredients, like garlic)
  • I can Rotel tomatoes with green chile (this adds just a little spice but if you don’t want spice just skip it)
  • 2 cans chicken stock
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of garlic salt

resized-carrots

Brown meat quickly, on medium heat, in skillet sprayed with cooking oil. Don’t cook it though; just turn it over a few times (season with a little garlic salt). Put meat in crock pot. Add the rest of the vegetables, canned tomatoes, Rotel and chicken stock. Add garlic salt and put on the lid. Turn on high for two hours and then low for 4 more. Stir when you turn it to low (or after about 2 hours). Check the carrots for tenderness and then turn it off.

It can be served alone, over rice or noodles and with crusty bread. Yum. Stay warm!

resized-chopped-celery

 

 

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