Monday, July 31, 2006

Blueberry Pie...A Little Late

Well, it may not really be blueberry season anymore, but I have to give this wonderful blueberry pie recipe It is my grandfather's recipe. This is a dessert we have every summer Papa always had a garden and grew his own blueberries. So, when we had blueberry pie at his house, we KNEW it would be delicious. Thankfully, my mom had him tell her his recipe and she wrote it down So, now we have it to enjoy for ourselves.

One Saturday, when my parents were out of town, I went to Landrum's (the vegetable stand I mentioned earlier) to get some veggies and found som BEAUTIFUL blueberries for only $1.59/pint (that's cheap here). When Granny invited us for lunch on her birthday, we said we would bring cake; we then added blueberry pie to the mix! It turned out GREAT! In the past, the filling has been a little runny, so this time I decided to decrease the sugar a little bit What a good decision. The texture was perfect and the blueberries were sweet on their own merit!

One other recipe I practiced was my homemade pie crust.. I haven't quite mastered it and need to get it under my belt. My mom is expert at this, so I always make sure she thinks it looks good. What I find hardest is rolling it out without making it too thin or getting it in a good circle (that's really heard to do). What I've found that helps is putting the dough in a disc shape BEFORE rolling it out. Then roll a couple of strokes in multiple directions to makintain the disc shape. This works quite well. I need two of these crusts for my blueberry pie.

Pie Crust
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 T water
1/3 cup shortening
Sift flour and salt into bowl. Remove 1/4 cup flour and blend to a paste. Cut shortening into remaining flour until pieces are size of small peas. Add paste to flour mixture. Mix with fork until dough comes together and can be shaped into a ball (this is best done by putting a piece of saran wrap over the bowl, dumping it, and pressing the dough together.) Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Roll out crust to 1/8 inch thick to cover 9-inch pie pan Makes 1 crust Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes (If not baking with a filling, poke crust with a fork or place dried beans in the dough).

Blueberry Pie
1 quart (4 cups) or a little more blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
3 T flour
2 T corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix dry ingredients. Fold in berries to coat. Place in deep dish pie crust. Dot with butter Seal with second crust and cut vent holes with knife Fold crusts together on edges. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes and at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with ice cream.
This is my ARF entry for ARF Tuesday at Sweetnicks. Check out the other great foods and be good to your body!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Cleaning out the Freezer

I'm trying to help my parents clean out their freezer, so when we were invited to my grandmother's for dinner and told to bring dessert, I decided to use the frozen peaches and raspberries we had. I used a recipe for peach raspberry crumble that I found on The fruit was beautiful even after being frozen for a while. The recipe called for fresh fruit but I used what we had. I didn't thaw the fruit, as that is usually the way you are instructed to bake with frozen fruit.

This dessert tasted good, but when it came out of the oven it was quite soupy. AFter it cooled some, it firmed up a good bit. However, I was NOT pleased with the texture of the crumble on top. It was mushy instead of crispy. I followed the instructions exactly. Anyone have an idea about how to crisp the topping?

Raspberry Peach Crumble
1 pint fresh raspberries (I used 1 cup)
3 fresh peaches, pitted and chopped (Probably used about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup white sugar
1 pinch cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8-inch square dish. (Original recipe was for 6 ramekins.)
In a bowl, mix the raspberries, peaches, lemon juice, 1/3 cup white sugar, and 1 pinch cinnamon. In a separate bowl, mix the oats, butter, brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar, vanilla, salt, and 1 pinch cinnamon.
Fill the prepared baking dish with equal amounts of the raspberry and peach mixture, and top with equal amounts of the oats mixture. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until browned. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve with ice cream, if desired.

On a slight non-food side-note. At my grandmother's, we visited with my aunt and uncle who had brought their grandson with them. He is not quite 3 and is SO smart. He's talking in whole sentences of 4+ words! Anyway, while my dad and his grandfather were outside working, we showed him how to look out the window at them. After playing there a little bit, he walked away from the window and said "Love that window!" He also told his "Bunny" (grandmother) "I like my Mama." and his "Badeebah" (grandfather) "Is Bunny coming? (Yes.) Good. I like her." How sweet can little children be! What a blessing they are!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Guiltless Dessert...or breakfast

Last summer I went to a cooking class at a local store, The Everyday Gourmet, with my mom. It was fora guiltless desserts class. If you can't tell, I really like to bake and try to be conscious of what ingredients I use (although I'm not as conscious as some). This class was so enjoyable and I came home with many great recipes. My favorite recipe from that class was one for raspberry pear turnovers. I have not been able to make these until this past Monday.

It was the last meeting for my summer discipleship group. So, I decided that this would be a perfect time to bring out this recipe, as the group is a bunch of girls who would probably like this kind of dessert. So...about an hour before I was supposed to be there I started the cooking. I cut the pears and started cooking the filling. I pulled out the fillo dough from the freezer. Uh oh! Thawing instructions: thaw for 2 hours. RRRRGGGG! I almost got really upset but then my mom, who used her brain unlike what I was doing, suggested defrosting in the microwave. Although this is NOT what you generally want to do with the thin, dry dough that is fillo it worked for the pinch I was in!

All in all I think these turnovers were a great success. I got many compliments and our hostess' husband even had some. The only disadvantage (?) is that these do NOT keep well. I would suggest eating all of them the day you make them or at least by the next day, as the fillo gets really soft and mushy. Maybe serve for dessert and eat for breakfast the next day!!! :-)

Raspberry Pear Turnovers
3 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used a little more)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons water mixed with 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup frozen raspberries (unsweetened), do not thaw
8 sheets (I ended up using more) "country style" phyllo dough, regular dough, thawed following package directions (oops!)
8 teaspoons dry bread crumbs (unseasoned)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 37 degrees F
2. Coat a large skillet with "spray" over medium heat. Saute pears, sugar, cinnamon, and salt, about 5 minutes until tender.
3. Stir water/cornstarch mixture into the skillet, cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Gently stir in raspberries. Remove from heat.
4. Lay single sheet of phyllo on work surface. Coat with "spray" and sprinkle 1 teaspoon bread crumbs on dough. Fold sheet into thirds (I did halves because thirds was too small for me to work with). Place 1/4 cup filling about 1 inch from end of phyllo strip. Fold over 1 corner diagonally to cover filling, forming a triangle. Keep folding flag style (to corner, over, to opposite corner, over, etc). Place on baking sheet and spray tops.

5. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.
6. Combine confectioners' sugar with 1/2 teaspoon water, until drizzling consistency. Drizzle over turnovers. Makes 8 (I got more) turnovers.

Per serving: 158 calories, 2 g fat, 2 g protein, 35 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Leftover Chicken?

Sunday we made a really good parmesan chicken, which I'll post about later. However, there were several pieces left-over. Normally this wouldn't be a "problem." However, my parents, as mentioned earlier , are moving next week. So, I was trying to decide how I could use that chicken. I decided to offer to make chicken chili for my parents, who are returning from closing on the house tonight. This recipe can be made with fresh or left-over chicken. It turned out great and uses up that extra chicken you may have. For a complete meal, serve with cornbread and a green salad.

Chicken Chili
1.5 lbs (or 1.5-2 cups) chicken breast, cut into cubes
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 can chopped green chiles
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon cilantro leaves
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 can white kidney beans, undrained
2 green onions

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onions; cook 4-5 minutes.
Stir in broth, green chiles, and spices; simmer 15 minutes. Stir in beans. Simmer 5 minutes. Top with onions. Garnish with a white cheese, if desired. Makes 4 cups.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Farewell Dinner

Well, I am an "unhappy" blogger probably for the next week or so. My parents are moving from our home of 23 years (the only one I've known) to Jackson, TN. Daddy is changing schools. This will be quite an adjustment for me as most of the places I go outside of school, my parents "should" be there. We go to the same church, Mama and I sing in choir together, and I go home to cook quite often. Those things will be changing. Although change is good, it will take a while for me to get used to this. I just pray that God uses this to make me more dependent on Him.

Anyway, Friday we went over to my parents' best friends' house for dinner. Joanie and Bruce are like parents to me and my brother. I'm sure I'll spend some time at their house now that Mama and Daddy are in TN. We had Mexican Salad. This is a dinner that we had EVERY YEAR at Christmas. We would go over to their house, eat Mexican Salad, and open presents. It was a great tradition. Now, Joanie has said that when Mama and Daddy come visit and eat at her house, we'll have this same dish.

It's really a simple dish to make. Just take some (I guess a pound or two) ground beef (or turkey if you want, this is what I would use now!), cook it, drain, add taco seasoning and a couple cans of Ranch style beans (more or less depending on how many beans you want). Then make your salad using the following add ons:
-corn chips
-green chiles
-sour cream
-Catalina dressing
-picante sauce/salsa
Combine with friends and family and you have a wonderful meal to be remembered!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tomato Salsa

Remember those beautiful homegrown tomatoes from earlier? I decided to try a salsa recipe that we had received from an old (and greatly missed) neighbor. This is really more of a pico de gallo recipe. For me, it didn't have enough spice to be called "salsa" but it is still good with chips. I put it on my squash, which I got from one of the nurses at work.

What is the deal with REALLY big vegetables? The biggest one is the one I used for dinner, so it's not in the picture.

I think the salsa is definitely something that you need homegrown tomatoes for since the major flavor comes from the tomatoes. This salsa would be great in soup, on chips, on bruschetta, in an omlette (mmm), the possibilities are endless.

Fresh Tomato Salsa
3 cups (about 3 large) tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
4 green onions
1 jalapeno pepper
3-4 tablespoons lime juice (I used lemon, as that is what I had on hand)
2 tablespoons cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste

Chop the tomatoes in very small pieces. Chop pepper in small pieces. Cut onions. Combine these ingredients together in a mixing bowl (Pampered Chef batter bowl is great for this). Chop the jalapeno pepper and add to the mixture. Add juice to the vegetables and stir. Add salt to taste. Enjoy with the desired dipper or dish. Refrigerate.

This is my entry for Sweetnick's ARF Tuesday. Peek at her site and check out the other entries, which are bound to be wonderful.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

White Chocolate Pound Cake

When browsing through some of Sweetnicks' old posts, I found this recipe. It reminded me of my mom's chocolate chip pound cake, which is the only chocolate cake I like. Being that my brother likes white chocolate, I decided that it would be a good cake to try out. Turns out to be a good weekend to try it. My aunt and uncle from Houston are in town and we had them over for Sunday lunch.

The reports were good. I served it with a decoration of chocolate syrup and ice cream. The consensus was that the ice cream overpowered the flavor of the cake. Philip, the brother, seemed to like it (ate his whole piece) and that's good, because he's funny about the desserts he likes. The men thought that the chocolate did the same, but the women said the chocolate was great. Go figure! Uncle Daniel said "The flavor of this cake is so delicate that the ice cream overpowers its flavor. I think it would be great on its own." Daddy thinks that instead of using chocolate sauce, a raspberry sauce should be used. I think that I have to agree with him! Next time, raspberries here I come!

White Chocolate Pound Cake
1 box yellow (I used white) cake mix
1 box white chocolate pudding (4-serving package)
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup oil
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
3 egg whites
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in an electric mixer. Beat on high for several minutes to get a fluffy batter. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into a greased bundt pan. Bake for 40-55 (I had to use 55, but could probably have done a tad shorter. 40 was definitely not enough) minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

IF DESIRED: Make a glaze of milk and confectioner's sugar and pour over the cake.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Zucchini Bread

Remember that HUGE zucchini I had? Well, half of it is gone. Tonight I made zucchini bread from a recipe from Ana at Kitchen Space. I did modify this a tad. My verdict: WONDERFUL! I think it would be really good with some apples thrown in as well. So, if you have extra zucchini to use, try this great quick bread.

Zucchini Quick Bread
1/3 cup sugar*
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup cup plus 1 teaspoon oil*
1/2 cup AP flour*
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup grated zucchini
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon*
handful of pecans*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together sugar, egg, vanilla, and oil. Grate the zucchini:

Add dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. Stir until combined. Add zucchini and stir until combined. This should moisten the batter. Stir in nuts if desried. Pour into greased 8X4 loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour.

*Original recipe called for 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup oil, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and walnuts.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mountains and a Meme

There once was a cookie store in Clinton,
It sold lots of treats you could eat on.
My dad once went in,
He came out a fan,
So I created a mountain...

Cookie that is. After tasting a cookie at a bakery that he really liked, my dad requested that I try and make that cookie at home. So, I selected a cookie that had a good base and started modifying. Remove some butter here, add peanut butter there. Add oatmeal, remove flour. Add this, add that. What do you get...a mountain cookie. I think these are some of Daddy's favorite cookies. They have had some modification over many bakings, but I think they have turned out moist, crunchy, and soft all at the same time!

Mountain Cookies
2/3 cup margarine
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups AP flour *
3/4 cup wheat flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 37 degrees F. Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix. Add flour, soda, and salt. Stir in oatmeal, chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut. If the mixture gets too stiff, mix ingredients in with hands. Put by tablespoonfuls on baking sheet or stone. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until slightly browned. Do not overbake or they will become dry. Remove to cooling rack to cool. Enjoy! Make ~7 dozen

* You may want to do a little less than this to prevent the dough being too dry.
**I halved this recipe the other night and it worked out great.

Now the for meme. I was tagged by Mixed Salad Annie and will comply with here request!

5 Things in my freezer:
Fillo dough
Assorted vegetables

5 things in my closet:
boxed winter clothes
exercise ball
empty boxes

5 things in my car
tennis racquet
headphones for working out
insurance card
old tests for my M1 buddy
nose mask for CPR

5 things in my purse

And thus ends my meme. I won't tag anyone, because the people I would tag have already do this!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Curry Chicken and a Really Big Zucchini

Once I learned that broccoli is good, one of my favorite dishes to eat became Curry Chicken Divan. Over the past few years, I've tinkered with the recipe a bit and lightened it up. For those of you afrain of "lightening up" an already good recipe, this still turns out great! It has a light curry flavor combined with creaminess and the healthful (as Rachel Ray would say) ingredients of broccoli and chicken breast.

Curry Chicken Divan
2-3 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless) boiled, chopped
2-3 small heads of broccoli (or one large bag frozen chopped), cooked
1 can cream of chicken soup (I use 98% fat free)
1 cup yogurt (or 2/3 cup yogurt, 1/3 cup mayo)**
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 cup New York or sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crackers, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put cooked broccoli in the bottom of a casserole. Put chopped chicken on top of broccoli. Combine soup, yogurt, curry powder, and cheese. Pour over top of chicken (I don't usually use all of this mixture, but it is creamier if you do!). Crush crackers over the casserole. Spray with cooking spray or dot with butter. Bake for 30 minutes.

**The last time I made this, I didn't have much yogurt and only used ~1/2 cup and it still worked. So, if you don't have "enough" go ahead and try. it may surprise you!

From this recipe, I"ve decided that I really like curry but don't have any other recipes. If you have a good one, let me know. I may try something with shrimp next time. That, I think, would be yummy! Chieck this recipe and other great ARF recipes at Sweetnicks for ARF foods day tomorrow!

BTW, anyone have any good ideas about what to do with a HUGE zucchini? I may put it in a soup or make zucchini bread.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Paula Deen

Just got back from the Paula Deen cooking show. We were on the next to the last row all the way up, but we were in the center, so it was okay. Here is the view.

Paula was funny, but she talked too much. She acted like she didn't care about cooking. If she had talked while she cooked it would have been fine. Michael ended up doing most of the cooking while she talked. She even went over 15 minutes and still didn't get to make her dessert. Oh, well. It was still fun.

Here are some things I learned:
-Gerti is not her dog. She is Godon Elliot's.
-She and MIchael are currently quitting smoking (15 days now)
-IN four weeks she is going to be a grandmother to Jackson (I think)!
-In the fall she will be on a prime time show on food network with a live cooking show.
-Put white bread under meatloaf to soak up the grease.

Even though she didn't cook much, it was still fun. I got to spend the afternoon with mama and Joanie, which is always fun. Now I"m going home to cook a blueberry pie with Mama. I'm going to practice my pie shell baking skills and, as Paula said today, "build memories!"

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Snacks for Work II

I only have a week and a day left for work. So, here is one of the last snack entries. I found a new recipe for oatmeal cookies with pudding in the dough. It turned out really good. I got this recipe from I used a cheesecake pudding, but other flavors could be used. I think the original recipe called for vanilla. Additionally, the pudding was one of those sugar free varieties. I don't think it made much of a difference. I've really decided that those mixes are made pretty well. Try this with your favorite pudding flavor and the right kind of add-ins for that flavor. Let me know how it goes and what you used.

Pudding Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter flavored shortening (I used 3/4 cup trans-fat free)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 (4-serving size) pudding mix
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup AP fllour
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup desired add-in (chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, etc)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.Cream shortening and sugars together. Add pudding mix and mix. Add eggs and mix until creamy. Add flour and baking powder. Stir in oatmeal. Stir in add-in. Place on baking stone or sheet by slight Tablespoons. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove to cooling rack.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Wednesday Night Snacks

This is the last week for Wednesday night snacks as next week we have our performance. This week I opted for a blondie with chocolate and white chocolate chips. The base I used is actually for a three great tastes blondie (which is better than this one) but I didn't have everything I needed for that. The verdict? "This is absolutely delicious (on her third taste!)." "This isn't good, this is perfect (with a cute little, squinty smile!)!" And finally, from Mama, "What is this? (Leftovers from my treats) Oh, yay. It's for us?"

1 cup margarine, melted
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chocolate chips, white chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 15X10 jelly roll pan. Stir together sugar and butter. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add flour and salt, beating until just blended. Stir in chips. Pour in pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Cookie Lost but Now Found

When I was younger there were the wonderful cookies called lemon coolers. They were crispy Mexican wedding-type cookie except the powdered sugar was lemon flavored. That made these cookies SOOOO refreshing. All of a sudden, they disappeared and, now, you can't find them anywhere. I have tried to reproduce these cookies several times but couldn't seem to succeed. The powdered sugar wasn't lemon flavored, which made them refreshing. Even if the cookie was lemon flavored, it didn't have the same effect.

So, I went in search of a recipe. Eariler this year I found it! What was the trick to the powdered simple...unsweetened lemonade Kool-Aid! How novel! Anyway, this weekend, with the summer weather upon us, I decided that a refreshing cookie was in line. When these cookies come out of the oven, they are a little soft but after cooling, crisp up nicely as long as you keep them separate from other foods which might soften them.

Lemon Coolers
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon water

Lemon Powdered Sugar
1 cup powdered sugarrounded
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened Kool-Aid lemonade drink mix

Preheat oven to 325°F. Cream together sugars, shortening, egg, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Add the flour and baking powder. Add 1 tablespoon of water and continue mixing until dough forms a ball. Roll dough into 3/4-inch balls and flatten slightly onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until cookies are light brown. As cookies bake combine 1 cup powdered sugar with the lemonade drink mix in a large plastic bag and shake thoroughly to mix. When the cookies are removed from the oven and while they are hot, add 4 or 5 at a time to the bag and shake it until the cookies are well coated. Repeat with the remaining cookies. ( Makes 50-56 cookies. (I only got 42 cookies, but some of mine were a little bigger than the others.

FYI: This year, the Girl Scouts sold a low fat version of these cookies! They were great! Next year I will definitely be buying these.

Monday, July 10, 2006

No Fish...No Problem

Sunday, my dad and brother were at a motorcycle safety course. I'm not too thrilled about motorcycles, but I guess I'd rather them have been to this course than not! Anyway, that meant that after church mama and I were on our own for lunch. We had planned to get fish and broil it. Our favorite is tilapia (and I like flounder as well). Anyway, I got to Kroger and their lights had gone out. Thus, they couldn't sell produce, meats, fish, and something else. So...I went to the other grocery in town and looked at their fish. Fresh fish wasn't too appetizing and the only other fish was catfish. I had just had it last weekend and didn't want that flavor fish so, I went home empty handed. I offered Mama eggs but we just decided to have veggies, fruit, and bread. It was a yummy summer lunch.

I decided to try a new recipe provided by a beloved friend, Mrs. Jackie. She THINKS that she can't cook, and has made a cookbook of tried and true recipes that she gives to special friends at graduation. I was a blessed recipient of one of these books. One of the recipes is for Provencal Tomatoes (from the Barefoot Contessa Family Style). Since Mama loves tomatoes and the boys were gone, I knew this would be a prime time to try the recipe. Can I just say delicious! Try it out while the tomatoes are ripe and in their prime!

Provencal Tomatoes
6 ripe tomatoes (2 1/2 -3 inches in diameter)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices) *I used homemade wheat bread
2 scallions, white and green parts
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
2 T minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 t. minced garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 t. minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese *I used cheddar and Parmesan as that is what I had.
Olive oil (forgot this part)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the cores from the tomatoes removing as little as possible. Cut them in half crosswise and, with fingers, remove the seeds and juice (I ended up quartering the tomatoes because I didn't want too much tomato in one bite. This worked great!). Place tomato in baking dish.

In a bowl, combine bread crumbs, scallions (sliced), basil, parsley, garlic, thye, and 1 t salt. Sprinkle the tomato halves with salt and pepper. With your hands fill the caviites and cover the tops of the tomatoes with bread crumb mixture. Bake tomatoes 15 minutes or until they are tender. Sprinkle wiht cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 30 seconds more.

Serve hot or at room temperature. NOTE: I used all dried herbs because I didn't have fresh. Although fresh would be better, dried works just fine!

THis was a delicious dish and went well with the rest of lunch: roasted zucchini, peaches, watermelon, and wheat bread. YUM!

Check out Sweetnicks for ARF Tuesday! This is my entry, and there will be many other GREAT recipes!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Veggie Time!

Well, Saturday I had planned on going to the farmer's market, but I didn't make it. Instead I went to this wonderful vegetable stand in my home town. It's a family owned stand with great Mississippi grown (and sometimes other places!) grown vegetables. I love going there because they have good vegetables, good prices, and good service. It makes me want to support them. Anyway, this is what I came home with.

Apparently, I'm getting pretty good at picking watermelons. The last two I got split right down the center and smelled delicious. They also tasted delicious. I LOVE summer. Tune in tomorrow to see what NEW recipe I tried with the tomatoes! It was delicious.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Snacks for the Nurses

As I've mentioned earlier, I'm working in a pediatric clinic this summer. In appreciation for the nurses, and because I like to bake and get the goods out of my house(!), I have tried to take a snack every week or two. This week I decided to take an original "Claire" recipe. This should take you back to when you were a little kid.

I think one of the best candies created is Reece's (really anything from this company) pieces. My dad also likes this candy. So, to combine it and a cookie would be delicious. One day in my kitchen, I made this recipe. It's fun to make your own recipe and see it work out, because so many DON'T work out!

Reece's Cookies

3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) margarine or shortening (I used margarine)
1 cups brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup AP flour
3/4 cup wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup Reeces pieces

Preheat oven to 375 F. Cream margarine and sugars. Add egg and vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon). Add to creamed mixture. Stir in candies. Place on baking sheet or stone in Tablespoons (I used my cookie scoop). Bake 8-11 minutes or until slightly browned. Allow to cool on baking sheet. Remove to cooling rack to complete cooling.

If you find that the cookies flatten out too much, add an extra 1/4 cup of flour. I've found that sometimes I have to do this with several cookie recipes. I don't like flat cookies. One other funny thing I've noticed about these cookies is that when you take them off the stone (or pan), the places where the brown reeces were is a little purple! I guess they use purple food coloring in the candy coating to get the brown color. Oh, the things I notice!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Snack Ideas

I don't have much time on Wednesdays to cook because I work (or got ot school) all day and then have church at night. Sooooo...tonight I think it would be fun to give some healthy snack ideas. This summer I'm working in pediatrics at a hospital in Mississippi. As many of you know, this wonderful state is in competition with Louisiana for fattest state! Not something to be proud of; so, one of the things that the pediatricians say it to make treats healthy. If Mama tells child an apple or banana is a treat, child will think an apple or banana is a treat.

Sometimes, I think, though, that plain fruit might seem "everyday." So, to really make it a treat do something fun. Take bananas and peel them. Stick a popsickle stick in it and pop it in the freezer. This is SO very good. If you want to dress it up. Let it thaw for a minute and dip in chocolate. Healthy, special, and delicious. Other fruits a good frozen as well; I've done grapes and peaches. Frozen fruit can also be used along with some yogurt, blended and enjoyed as a smoothy.

One more quick frozen treat is to take graham crackers, spread some cool-whip on top, and return to the freezer for an "ice cream sandwich." Hope these snack ideas help someone with their kiddos and keep us healthy!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Wednesday Night Snacks

When I was little I thought these were the BEST chocolate chip cookies I had ever had. Although these are still VERY good, I have a superior recipe that I will share later. These cookies were some that my Aunt Merle made and kept in a wonderful Friar cookie jar! In addition to being good, they are super simple. These are cake mix chocolate chip cookies.

Because I'm going to a baseball game tonight, I won't have time for "major" baking, so I made these easy cookies for my girls at church. No one will ever guess that these cookies are made from a cake mix. You'll impress all the way around!

Cake Mix Cookies
1 super moist of pudding cake mix (The kind depends on what flavor you want. I used yellow but think anut Merle used butter.)
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
Handful of choclate chips (Admitedly, I didn't measure these but just eye-balled them).

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together. Put on a baking stone or sheet in
tablespoon-fuls (I used my cookie scoop which I think is around 1 T). Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned. Let cool for 2 minutes on pan. Remove to cooling rack to cool.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Breakfast Cookies...Hmmm

These cookies were the final in a series of three requests of my Dad from my cookie cookbook. It kind of surprised me because of the presence of apples, carrots, raisins, and coconut. But, hey, such healthy ingredients, I'm all for it!

These didn't turn out as well as I'd have liked; however, that may be due to the fact that I only had margarine and it called for shortening. I usually don't use shortening, but want to do these recipes, at least the first time I make them, by the recipe. The cookies ended up VERY soft, crumbly, and almost sticky. I'm pretty sure that the moisture from the carrots and apple had a lot to do with that, but I think the margarine also added to it. Anyone confirm my thoughts or have any other ideas? I think these would be really good with more of the apple and a crunchier texture. Also, I didn't used to be a coconut fan, but I think I really like it!

Breakfast Cookies
1 cup butter flavor shortening (I used margarine, as that was all I had)
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4 cups quick oats, uncooked (I used Old Fashioned)
1 1/2 cups raisins (I used less, but it could use more)
1 medium Granny Smith apple, finely grated, including juice (I did this in the Oscar)
1/2 cup finely grated carrot (Once again, Oscar is my best friend)
1/4 cup flake coconut

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine shortening, peanut butter, and sugars in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until blended. Beat in eggs.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add gradually to creamed mixture at low speed. Beat until blended. Stir in oats, raisins, apple, carrot, and coconut. Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheet (or baking stone).

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until just browned around edges. Do not overbake. Cool 2 minutes on sheet. Remove cookies to foil to cool completely. (I cooled on a cooling rack. Could this be a reason they were so crumbly and soft?)

These can be frozen between sheets of waxed paper in a sealed container and pulled out as needed.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


I LOVE blueberries. I put them on cereal, oatmeal, and yogurt. They are really good in yogurt after they've been frozen. When you put them in the yogurt they start to melt and get a nice, soft texture. Anyway, last Sunday I made blueberry muffins for breakfast. They are from the Come On In cookbook from the Jr. Civic League of Jackson, MS. These are really good with a light glaze over them!

Blueberry Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles a crumbly mixture. Combine egg and buttermilk. Stir into the dry mixture. Blend in blueberries. Dump onto floured surface and knead 4-5 times. Roll or pat to a 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a 2.5 inch biscuit cutter. Place of a baking stone or sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and drizzle with a glaze if desired. This is a yummy breakfast and full of antioxidant rich blueberries! Catch ARF day at Sweetnicks for more recipes with anti-oxidants!