Sunday, February 7, 2010

Jalepeno Popper Dip

So I've been bad with blogging this week! I've been off riding horses, cleaning house and prepping for the Super Bowl. NOT that I care for football... who played again... oh yeah... Saints and Colts. I love the Super Bowl for the commercials and the party. My favorite commercial was the one close to the beginning of the game for Doritos. The dog wearing the shocking bark collar that gets teased by the man with the Doritos and the dog sneaks the collar onto the man... hilarious. I'm sure there were other ones that were better than that one, but honestly, I didn't even watch much of the commercials either, I was too busy chatting and cooking... shocker, I know ;-) I made a new dip today (well new for me!) This dip whipped up quickly and was so easy... and TASTY! I'm glad I didn't get around to making it until the party was well under way. By the time I pulled it out of the oven, everyone had been snacking on so much of the other food, there was little belly room left. There is just enough of a corner left for me to have a snack tomorrow! If you love Jalapeno poppers, you will LOVE this dip! The panko bread crumbs can be found on the Asian aisle of your grocery store. They add just a hint of crunch to the topping. I served these with thin triscuit triangles. I also need to mention that I have some awesome friends that helped me clean up before they left. I wasn't expecting them to, and I turned down the help when they first asked me, but I am so thankful that I will have a clean kitchen to wake up to tomorrow. I do feel a bit guilty though knowing how many dishes I messed up with all my food prep I did during the party! Thanks a ton guys =-)

Jalapeno Popper Dip

2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 C mayonnaise
1/2 C sour cream
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
3 jalapeno peppers, membranes and seeds removed and finely chopped
1 C Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 C Panko bread crumbs

Mix the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, green chilies, jalapeno peppers and 1/2 C Parmesan cheese. Spread out into a 9X9 pan. Combine the remaining Parmesan cheese and panko bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until the top is lightly golden brown. Serve with triscuits or cracker of your choice.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


I had planned on making pizza for Ellie's birthday earlier this month. With everything else I had going on that day, I didn't get around to making it homemade, so we had Papa Murphy's pizza instead. (Hey... at least it was home cooked ;-) ) Hubby was REALLY craving homemade pizza since I had mentioned making it for the birthday. I might have gotten myself in over my head now... after hubby had taken a few bites, he said he was NEVER gonna buy a Little Caesar's pizza again. I think that is maybe taking it a tad to far... after all, mine takes a few hours, not very feasible for a spur of the moment lunch! I do see this in a regular rotation!
I adapted the dough recipe from Culinary in the Country. I love the different topping ideas they come up with. I doubled this recipe and made a Canadian bacon/ pineapple pizza and a "supreme" with sausage, olives, mushrooms, Canadian bacon, pepperoni and pineapple. The crust is not too heavy with the half and half use of flour. Of course I had to add some flax seed to up the nutrition. If you haven't gotten around to using flax yet... it IS optional. I add it to all my dough recipes to boost the Omega 3's my family gets. The sauce is QUICK and EASY! I swiped this from Coleen's Recipes I will never buy pizza sauce again!
We found that if you cook the pizza for 15 minutes adding the cheese after the pizza has baked for 10 minutes, the crust doesn't get soggy and the cheese doesn't get burned! These pictures didn't come out too well (I can't wait until we have daylight at suppertime again!), but someone has been muttering about me making pizza tomorrow, so I will get some new ones with better light!

Pizza Sauce

1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 clove garlic minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste
1 (6 oz) can of water
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp fennel seed(do not leave out)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp dry crushed red pepper flakes

Saute the onion and celery in the olive oil until soft. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Sauce will become very thick. Makes enough sauce to top one pizza.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 cup warm water
1 T olive oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 T flax seed, ground

Combine flours, salt and ground flax seeds. In mixer bowl, combine yeast, sugar and water. Let sit for 5 minutes or until frothy. Add oil and dry ingredients. Knead for 5 minutes. Turn out into a greased bowl and flip dough to oil top of dough. Let rise until doubled. Roll dough out and spread with sauce and desired toppings (excluding cheese). Bake at 450* for 10 minutes. Add cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes. This recipe makes enough for a 1 lb dough (1 pizza)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cinni Thins cookies

I was in the mood to make some cookies today! I thought it would be a nice surprise for the littles when they come home from school. These cookies come out wafer thin so you don't have to feel guilty by having more than one... or two... or..... ;-) I used soft white wheat in these cookies and they turned out fine. Make sure you use an ungreased (and unlined) baking sheet for these otherwise you won't be able to press them out with a glass. (They will want to stick to the bottom of the glass instead!) You will want to press the bottom of your glass into cookie dough before pressing it into the cinnamon sugar mixture the first time. The cinnamon sugar mix won't stick to your clean base. I used my smallest scoop (#60) to make these cookies. Don't try to put more than a dozen on a jelly roll pan. These cookies spread out while cooking.

Cinni Thins cookies

3/4 C butter, softened
1 1/4 C brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 C whole wheat pastry flour (soft white wheat)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

In mixing bowl beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl if necessary. In a separate bowl, combine flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Pour all at once into butter mixture and stir to combine. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine sugar and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Flatten cookies with a glass dipped in sugar mixture. Bake at 375* for 7 minutes. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Whole Wheat Tortillas

I HAD to do it! I couldn't get last night's dinner out of my mind, so I made more this morning! I have a dear friend that I see once a week for cleaning. We take turns cleaning at each others house. Who wouldn't rather clean at someone elses house than your own, and isn't it more fun to clean with someone else anyway! The person coming to the other person's house brings something for lunch. This gives us a chance to catch up on the most recent goings on and gives us energy for whatever project we are tackling that week. Both of us love to try new dishes and we are both notorious for tweaking recipes... were always on the search for a healthier way to make something. Unfortunately my friend has been dealing with gastric problems. She had some allergy testing done and has found out she is allergic to wheat, milk, soy, eggs, and CHOCOLATE! Unfortunately she heard from her Dr. after eating these burritos. Hopefully she won't have a problem with Kamut or Spelt. I can sub that for wheat, but no chocolate makes me so sad for her! Carob just isn't as good! ANYWAY... I'm rambling. I made a double batch of the Brown Rice and Black Beans this morning, because I couldn't wait to share my newest yummy recipe! I decided to make some tortillas to go with them. Just as I suspected, these make a divine burrito. We came to the conclusion these would probably freeze well also, so I may try that with any leftovers after tonight. The tortillas are fairly simple, just don't cook them too long or you will get brittle tortillas. I am the Queen of Kitchen Gadgets. I have a tortilla maker that flattens and cooks the tortillas. I tried to use the tortilla maker. It was only the second time I have used it, and I would NOT recommend anyone buy this. If you press too hard, the steam blows apart your tortilla, but if you don't press hard enough, you get a pita thick tortilla. I tried pressing the tortillas without any heat thinking I could get it thin enough.... no go. The best route for making tortillas is your good ole, handy dandy, rolling pin. Roll them out as thin as you can. They do puff a tiny bit while cooking, so you want them thin to start with. Let me repeat.... do not overcook these tortillas. Since they are so thin, it doesn't take more than 20-30 seconds per side to cook. I use soft white wheat in this recipe. Soon I will do a little tutorial about the differences between the types of wheat. Once again my kitchen scale came in handy to divide dough. My dough balls came out to be 60 g each.

Whole Wheat Tortillas

6 C whole wheat pastry flour (soft white wheat)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C olive oil
2 C cold water

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in mixer. With mixer running, slowly drizzle in oil. Then slowly drizzle water just until a ball forms. You may have some water left over. Knead at least two minutes. Divide dough into 24 even portions. Roll into balls and roll out with a rolling pin into paper thin rounds. Cook on a hot (350*) dry griddle for 20-30 seconds per side. Keep covered to avoid drying out.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Brown Rice and Black Beans

I LOVE Cooks Illustrated magazines. They really put a lot of time and research into their recipes to get them right. Sometimes the recipes they come up with have too many steps to make the recipe feasible for everyday dishes, but this method of cooking brown rice made me a believer in brown rice. I have wanted to incorporate more brown rice in my diet for the health benefits over white rice, but have never been happy with the end results. It seems like I never got it cooked enough. It always had too much bite in it. Kind of takes away from the pleasure of eating rice! This recipe starts on the stove and finishes in the oven. So make sure you start it in an ovenproof pan. My stainless steel cook set has no rubber or plastic handles on it, so I cooked it in my stockpot. I must say, I wish I had doubled this recipe. There was enough for my family of 5 to get stuffed off of it, but I want leftovers! I'm already envisioning homemade wheat tortillas filled with this.... hmmmm might have to make a batch of it again in the morning! When I told hubby I was making beans and rice for dinner, he was a tad disappointed. He is NOT a great fan of rice. He wanted to know what the meat was going to be. (Doesn't matter to him that a combination of beans and rice make a complete protein!) I cooked up some mozzarella chicken sausages and he (and the littles) had that sliced over their portions. Hubby was picturing in his head rice you would get at a Mexican restaurant (you know the instant rice with a hint of tomato flavor.... blah!... but that is one of his favorite parts of eating at Mexican restaurants), so he might have been a touch unsatisfied with this dinner (although it didn't stop him from having two heaping portions) Me... I can see this becoming a regular meal for us... doubled of course ;-) This is my slightly tweaked version from Cooks Illustrated. I stirred in the still frozen corn with the beans and it turned out fine! Don't pass up on the lime wedges.... mmmm fresh lime!

Brown Rice and Black Beans

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1 3/4 C water
1 1/2 c long grain brown rice
1 tsp salt
2 (15.5 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 C frozen corn
1/2 C cilantro leaves
1/4 tsp black pepper
lime wedges and avocado to garnish

Saute onion and pepper in olive oil in an ovenproof pot until tender and onion is translucent. Add garlic and cook stirring for about 30 seconds. Pour in water and broth and bring to a boil. Stir in salt and rice and cover with a tight fitting lid and place in a 375* oven. Bake for 65 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from oven and stir in black beans and corn. Place lid back on pot and let sit on counter for 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and pepper. Serve with lime wedges and avocado.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Buttermilk Waffles

One of my pantry staples is buttermilk powder. I don't always have fresh buttermilk on hand, but if you have the powder, you don't have to make an unexpected trip to the store when the urge hits you to make something that calls for buttermilk. We had one of those nights recently where breakfast for dinner sounded good. With my buttermilk powder, I was able to whip these up in no time. I of course had to top them off with the leftovers of my buttermilk syrup. Hubby had his topped with fried eggs and syrup. This recipe made enough batter for 9 Belgian waffles (perfect for our dinner and leftovers for the littles before school the next day!) I used ground soft white wheat and they weren't too heavy. Of course if you'd rather, use all purpose flour. The flax seed is optional, but adds extra nutrition!

Buttermilk Waffles

4 eggs
4 C buttermilk (I used 58 g (1/2 C) buttermilk powder and 3 1/2 C water)
2/3 C vegetable oil
4 C (1 lb 3 oz) soft white wheat flour
4 T (40 g) flax seeds, ground
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Beat eggs and combine with buttermilk and oil. Combine remaining ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour liquid ingredients in the dry and stir just until blended. Pour about 3/4 cup into a hot Belgian waffle iron and bake according to manufacturers instructions.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

More uses for Honey Whole Wheat and Flax bread

This isn't a recipe per se, but a showing of how you can use the Honey Whole Wheat and Flax dough! Hubby has been craving hamburgers since he isn't eating lunch out every day (the only upside to him not working... dang slow down in construction!) We were out of bread anyway, so I made my 4 loaf batch. I made two loaves of bread, a dozen hot dog buns and a dozen hamburger buns. My kitchen scale came in handy to portion the dough out evenly. Each of the buns weighed in at 58 g before cooking. Make sure you keep any dough covered that you are not working with. This is where my stockpot that I used for the first rise came in extra handy. After I weighed the dough ball out, I just dropped it back in the pot and put the lid back on. This keeps the dough from forming any sort of a crust. You wouldn't think that a few minutes would make much of a difference, but it really does. For the hamburger buns, I rolled the dough into balls and pressed them flat with the palm of my hand. Transfer them onto a lined jelly roll pan and cover with sprayed saran wrap. For the hot dog buns, after rolling them into a ball, I rolled them out into ropes. Cover those the same way and leave on the counter to raise. I had formed the bread loaves first, set them in my slightly warm oven, and by the time they were raised and cooked, the buns were ready for their turn in the oven. I cooked them at 350* for 25 minutes. If cooking two sheet pans at the same time, be sure to switch position of the pans halfway through cooking so they get evenly browned. I got sidetracked when they came out of the oven, so I don't have an after pic of them out of the oven. Instead I'll let you drool over the pic of our "Daddy Burgers"... I think I'm off to have them again for dinner!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Mmmmmmm chewy, gooey, sticky caramels! These might just be the reason my pants aren't as loose as I'd like them to be! I swiped this recipe from My Kitchen Cafe I LOVE that they don't need babysitting at the stove. After adding the second half of the sweetened condensed milk in, just walk away... I mean it... don't touch that stirring spoon (but don't walk away too far, you still need to keep an eye on the thermometer!). I used a non stick saucepan and everything slipped out nicely. If you like caramels soft, cook them to 234*, if you like them a bit firmer, cook them up to 248*. (I recommend the lower end of the scale). I've had these wrappers on hand for some time now. I picked them up at a kitchen supply store, but you could easily use wax paper cut into squares. My kitchen shears made quick work of cutting the caramels. Next time I make these, I am going to substitute 1 tsp of vanilla with 1 tsp of rum extract. You can add 1 1/2 C chopped toasted pecans to this recipe when you add in the vanilla, but I like how they just melt away on your tongue and didn't want nuts interfering with that! These kept well for a month at room temperature. They did start to get a bit firmer towards the end of the month.

Homemade Caramels

2 C sugar
1 1/2 C light corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1 C butter
2 tsp vanilla

In a medium sized, heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk, salt and butter. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Once it comes to a boil, add the rest of the sweetened condensed milk, stirring just until it reaches a boil again. Boil the mixture still at medium-low heat, without stirring until the mixture reaches 234*(soft) to 248* (firmer). When the caramel reaches your desired temperature, immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla . Carefully pour the hot mixture into a buttered 9X13 pan without scraping the bottom and sides of the pan. Let the caramel cool completely before cutting into squares and wrapping in waxed paper.

Poultry Dressing

My hubby was on a Thanksgiving dinner kick if you couldn't tell from these last few posts! We had Thanksgiving dinner at his sister's house this year, so we didn't have too many leftovers to enjoy for days ;-) He wanted the whole she-bang, but since I was the only one home cooking, he didn't get the full blown Thanksgiving dinner! This dressing is my second favorite one. My all time favorite is a cornbread dressing, but that requires making cornbread first... something I didn't have time for with everything else. This is jazzed up with apples, craisins and... (my mom will be so proud of me!) the cooked gizzards. This is the first time I have ever actually cooked the gizzards and incorporated them in a dish. Usually the whole packet gets tossed in the garbage. I just tossed all the gizzards and the neck and covered all with water. Then I boiled it for probably about an hour. I knew it was done when a fork was able to pierce everything easily with a fork. I saved the broth and used that in my gravy, since I didn't have turkey drippings due to the unusual method of cooking my turkey. I used my handy dandy food chopper to chop the gizzards into small pieces. The littles didn't even know they were in there!

Poultry Dressing

1/2 C butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 bag dried bread cubes (specifically for stuffing, found in bakery was probably around a pound of dried cubes)
1 lb sage sausage, browned
1 C pecans, toasted and chopped
1 granny smith apple, chopped
1 C Craisins
Gizzards and neck from turkey, cooked until tender and chopped (absolutely optional!)
2 Cans chicken broth (or use broth from cooking gizzards, or use turkey drippings)

Saute onion and celery in the butter until tender. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except chicken broth. Stir to evenly distribute everything and add chicken broth to moisten dried bread cubes. You don't want the mixture to be swimming in liquid. Spoon into a lightly greased 9X13 pan and bake covered at 375* for 25-35 minutes or until heated through.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Italian Flair Turkey

This turkey is not your usual turkey! My husband's niece has been making this turkey for Thanksgiving for several years now. Since this side of the family is quite large, there are typically two turkeys made each Thanksgiving. Her turkey is always the preferred one (not to bash the other turkeys that have been served along side it, by any means) It is just that this turkey is always so moist and the flavor unique. When I pegged Eliza down to share her recipe, she said she wings it every time she makes it, based on what spices she has in her cupboard. So this can be changed to suit your herb tastes.
This is how I made it: Mix your mustard and spices and slather it over the turkey
Bake for 1 hour and pour spaghetti sauce over turkey. Baste at least once an hour, until turkey timer pops out.

Italian Flair Turkey
1 onion, flowered
1 C mustard
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp sage
2 (26 oz)cans Spaghetti sauce (I used Hunts garlic and herb)
1/2 spaghetti sauce can of water
Wash and pat turkey dry with paper towels. Insert onion into cavity. Combine mustard and all seasonings. Coat turkey all over with mustard paste. Bake uncovered at 325* for 1 hour.*** Pour spaghetti sauce all over turkey and add the water to the pan (this prevents it from drying out and makes basting easier). Cover and cook until turkey is done (this varies depending on the weight of your bird), basting at least every hour. The turkey takes a little longer to cook due to losing heat every time you open the oven door to baste. After turkey is done, remove from oven and tent with foil. Let rest for 20-30 minutes. Carve turkey and pour pan juices over the meat. (You will want to use your baster to get below the layer of grease in the bottom of your pan, or use a fat separator)*** I use a counter top roasting oven to free up my oven space. In my case I cooked it with the lid on the whole time, so I didn't need to worry about cover or uncover.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pecan Topped Pumpkin Pie

This pumpkin pie is a bit different than the usual "Libby's" pumpkin pie. For one it uses sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated milk. It also has a pecan struesel type topping that is put on during the baking. This pie is best eaten after it has chilled, and is good with or without whipped cream. The pie crust recipe makes enough for 4 single crust pies. You can freeze the remaining dough, just let it defrost in the fridge the day before you plan to use it.

Pie Dough
6 C flour
1 1/2 T sugar
1 T salt
1 C cold shortening
1 C cold butter
1 egg, beaten
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 C ice cold water

Combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut in shortening and butter with two knives or a pastry blender, until it has pea sized crumbs. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, vinegar and water. Pour into flour mixture and toss with a fork until it comes together. Don't overwork the dough or you will wind up with a tough crust. Divide evenly into 4 disks and wrap with saran wrap. Chill dough before rolling out.

Kitchen Tips: If you have time, chill your pie dough after you've fluted the edges before you fill it (or if it's for a pre baked pie, before baking the crust.) This will keep your fluted edges from losing shape in the oven.

Kitchen Tips: Don't tell me you throw out your dough scraps after you trim your edges! Reroll onto parchment paper or silpat liner (for ease of transferring), butter top side (don't be shy) and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (here's not the time to be conservative!) Place onto a jelly roll pan (liner and all) and bake at 350* for 20-30 minutes until golden on the bottom. Just TRY to wait until it is cool to eat it ;-)

Pecan Topped Pumpkin Pie
4 C canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
1 T cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
Mix spices with pumpkin. Stir in eggs and sweetened condensed milk. Pour into 2 prepared pie crust. Bake at 425* for 15 minutes. Spoon topping on pies, REDUCE HEAT to 350* and bake an additional 40 minutes or until knife inserted near middle comes out clean. Chill and serve plain or with whipped cream


1/4 C flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C butter
1 C (110 g) pecans, chopped
Combine flour cinnamon and brown sugar. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Boursin Cheese spread

Have you ever eaten Boursin Cheese spread? It is garlicky and yummy and WAY too expensive! This recipe tastes just like it and is quick (not counting softening the cheese and butter) and easy. These crackers are a recent find at Costco. They come in big sheets and they have a bright rosemary flavor to them. This spread would be good on any cracker though, and it is a fabulous topping for baked potatoes too! Fresh herbs can be used instead of dried, just increase each by using 3 T of oregano and 1 T of the others
Boursin Cheese Spread

2 (8 oz packages) cream cheese, softened
1/2 C butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp dill
1/4 tsp chives
1/4 tsp parsley
Beat cream cheese and butter together until well blended. Add remainin ingredients and mix well, scraping bowl as needed. Chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Strawberry Salad Dressing

This salad dressing is easy, tasty and healthy! Agave nectar is a sweetener made from agave plants (same plants that tequila is made from). It doesn't effect blood sugar like regular sugars do because it has a lower glycemic index. It has more calories than sugar cup for cup, but since it is sweeter than sugar, you use less. This salad dressing stays good in the fridge for several weeks. My kids who are die hard Ranch Dressing fans LOVE this dressing.

Strawberry Salad Dressing

1/3 C agave nectar
1/3 C rice vinegar
10 strawberries

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hummingbird Cake

My sweet Elizabeth turned 8 yesterday! She is turning into a mini me! She loves to help out in the kitchen. I wasn't going to ask her to help dry the dishes for me since it was her birthday, but when she saw me washing, she asked if she could help dry. I know it won't last too long... so I will enjoy it while it lasts! She didn't have a preference for what kind of cake for me to make. I wanted to try something new. I've read about Hummingbird Cakes and it intrigued me. It is a dense cake without being too heavy. I decided to use fresh ground soft white wheat in it and it worked! I wouldn't want to use whole wheat in delicate cakes, but with this cake having bananas, pecans and pineapple in it, I figured it would hold up well. I must say, it was a hit! There is only one piece left... I hear it calling my name, but I think I will wait until the littles come home from school and share with them! Toasting the pecans brings out their nutty flavor and gives them a crisper texture. I toasted them at 350* for about 7 minutes, shaking the pan every couple of minutes. Careful, they can go from toasted to burnt real quick. I got the Stable Whipped Cream frosting from Coleens recipes It was very light and piped beautifully, with a hint of the cream cheese. This will be my go to recipe any time a cream cheese frosting is needed.

Cool Kitchen Gadgets: This is my food chopper. It makes quick (and clean) work out of chopping up nuts) No more nuts flying all over the kitchen while chopping with a knife! I use a paper plate underneath, chop a handful at a time and then toss the nuts into the dry ingredients! The chopper is useful for chopping fruits and veggies as well. The kids enjoy slapping the top of the plunger to chop.

Cool Kitchen Gadgets: Here is my kitchen scale. I use this mostly for baking, but it did come in quite handy for weighing food for dieting. I love the gram feature of it... but do wish it weighed in 1 gram increments instead of 2. The Tare feature is something that is necessary (IMHO) for a kitchen scale. I can weigh one ingredient, hit Tare, and then add a second ingredient, etc. 1 C of flour weighs 4 3/4 oz. (134 grams) Fresh ground flour will not measure the same as store bought flour since it has so much air incorporated into it during the grinding process. I weigh my grains before grinding. I also use the scale to evenly divide cake batter in the pans. Kitchen tips: I like to use parchment paper to line my cake pans. No worries about the bottom sticking. Then when you turn the cakes out of the pans, you just peel the liner off. I grease the pans before putting the liner in. This helps hold the liner in place. Then I grease the liner as well. You can find 9" parchment rounds at specialty baking supply stores or you can take a piece of parchment paper, fold it in half 4 times and trim it to fit. This may take more than one trim to get it right. Just unfold it and lay it in the pan. Then you can use the first one as a guide for the second one.

Hummingbird Cake

3 C (402 g) whole wheat pastry flour (AP could be used, but you can't tell this has whole wheat)
2 3/4 C (400 g) sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1C (110 g) pecans, toasted and chopped
2 C mashed bananas
1 C crushed pineapple (with juice)
3 eggs beaten
3/4 C vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and pecans. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients stirring just until combined. Pour into two greased and floured (or greased and lined with parchment paper) 9" cake pans. Bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes. Leave in pans for 10 minutes and then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. Frost with Stable Whipped Cream.

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Combine the cream cheese, sugar and extracts in a large mixing bowl until very smooth (scrape the sides of the bowl often). While the mixer is still running, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Continue beating on high speed until very stiff peaks form.

Ice Cream cupcakes

This was an afterthought for the birthday party. I knew that some of my family would be coming to celebrate a bit before Nathan's family. I didn't want to cut into the cake until after everyone got to see it (I know "what a show off" ;-) So I took a cake mix (gasp!) and portioned it out into the ice cream cones. I stood the cones in a muffin pan... they didn't have any problem staying upright even though the muffin holes are much bigger. I DID overfill them though. ONLY fill them 1/2 -2/3 full or else you will get the batter running over the edge. They baked at 350* for 20-25 minutes. I used the same frosting as the cake and just piped it on. These were cute, but the cake did soften the ice cream cones which detracted from the texture.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Ezekiel Bread

I have had a few requests since my teaser for the Ezekiel Bread. I have yet to make another batch of this bread, after my overdone batch a couple of days ago (which made great chicken feed!) I will post the recipe now, and hopefully in the next day or so, I will get around to making it again. When I do, I will get some pictures to add to this post.

Ezekiel Bread (also known as Bible Bread) has come about from the scripture Ezekiel 4:9 "Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof." So according to the Bible, this combination sustained Ezekiel for 390 days.

Dairy products, meats and eggs contain all eight of the food-supplied amino acids our bodies need. Most vegetables and grains are "incomplete proteins" (with the exception of soy). Grains such as wheat tend to be low in lysine, while beans and legumes are high in lysine. Beans are low in methionine and cysteine, where grains have a higher content of those. When we eat beans and grains together all of the essential amino acids are provided. By milling your flour at home you can combine beans, grains and legumes to create a bread which is a complete protein.

Food For Life, the company that commercially produces Ezekiel Bread for health food stores, posts the following on their website (here ) "We discovered when these six grains and legumes are sprouted and combined, an amazing thing happens. A complete protein is created that closely parallels the protein found in milk and eggs. In fact, the protein quality is so high, that it is 84.3% as efficient as the highest recognized source of protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids. There are 18 amino acids present in this unique bread – from all vegetable sources – naturally balanced in nature."

So take what you will from the above statement. I am not a scientist, so I can't validate their "facts". My family enjoys this bread, and I do believe that combining the grains with the legumes makes for a more complete protein. Whether one can survive on this solely for 390 days, I won't put that to the test! This bread is more of a batter type bread than a dough that will form a ball. You want to mix it in your mixer until it is elastic (kind of stretchy). It will tend to climb your paddle if you mix it at too high of a speed. This recipe does require use of a grain mill that will handle grinding beans. If you don't have a mill, there are a few places online where you can purchase the grains already milled. I would tend to worry about the flours going rancid quickly or not all of the components of the whole grain being included in the milling process. Whole Wheat flour at the store does not include the wheat germ as the oils tend to start degrading after 72 hours. One reader mentioned eating Ezekiel muffins. I had never thought to make this into muffins, but I don't see why you couldn't. In fact, maybe when I make it, I will take one pans worth and try it! I like to make up bags of the grains mix ahead of time. I just measure out the whole grains and beans and store them (1 recipe worth per bag) in gallon size ziplock bags. Then when it comes time to grind, I just have to pour the contents of the bag into my grain mill. If you are concerned about your mill not grinding the beans at the same time as the grains, you can put them in a smaller bag inside the bigger bag. Then you can run the beans through the mill at a larger setting and then decrease the setting size for the remaining grains.

Ezekiel Bread

2 1/2 C (16 oz) Hard Red Wheat
1 1/2 C (10 oz) Spelt
1/2 C (4 oz) Barley
1/4 C (1 3/4 oz) Millet
1/4 C (1 3/4 oz) Lentils
2 T Great Northern beans
2 T Pinto beans
2 T Kidney beans
4 C warm water
1 C honey
1/2 C vegetable oil
2 T active dry yeast
2 tsp salt

Grind grains in a mill. Mix water, honey, oil and yeast in mixing bowl and set aside 5 minutes until frothy. Add salt and all of flour to yeast mixture, mixing until smooth and elastic (about 7 minutes). Pour into 3 greased bread pans. Place in oven on lowest heat (170*) and allow to rise to within 1/2" of tops of pans (15-20 minutes). Once risen (WITHOUT OPENING OVEN DOOR), turn heat up to 350* Bake 45-50 minutes or until nicely browned.

Dark Brownies

These are a variation of Alton Brown's brownies. They are dark and delicious. I have been making these brownies for a couple of years now. They are my families favorite. The bad thing about them is this recipe only makes an 8X8 pan. The good thing about them is this recipe only makes an 8X8 pan ;-) A small piece goes a long way to satisfying you. They are meant to be fudgy in the center, so don't overcook them! I use my kitchen scale to measure the flour and cocoa powder (I am REALLY trying to convince you to buy a kitchen scale. This is the most accurate way to measure.) The cocoa powder should be sifted to break up the lumps. I just put my mixing bowl and sieve on the scale, Tare it out and then measure the cocoa powder right into the sieve. You can Tare it out again and add the flour to the cocoa powder as well. Then just stir the powders through the sieve with a spoon and it is combined and lump free! Make sure your brown sugar is soft, otherwise it won't cream well with the eggs. I like to line my pan with parchment paper. I leave edges long enough so I can lift the brownies right out of the pan when they are completely cooled. This makes for easier cutting (and easy clean up!). If you have a health food store locally that has a bulk foods section, see if they have cocoa powder. It is much cheaper if you buy it in bulk than at the grocery store. You can buy as little or as much as you need. I store it in a quart jar.

Dark Brownies

4 large eggs
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
100 grams (1 1/4 C) natural cocoa powder (NOT dutch processed)
68 grams (1/2 C) AP flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 T instant coffee granules
2 tsp vanilla
8 oz butter, melted

Beat eggs until light. Add sugars and beat well. Sift dry ingredients together and add to egg mixture. Add vanilla and slowly add butter while the mixer is still running. Pour into a parchment lined 8X8 pan (or grease and flour your pan well) Bake at 325* for 50-60 minutes. If you can hold out, these brownies are best when cooled completely, and even better the next day!) I had to hide the brownies last night from my family!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Unstuffed Cabbage

My mother's parents are of Polish descent {yes that makes me part Pollock ;-)} My mom learned very early on how to cook. Grandma didn't much enjoy cooking, and it was either cook (for a family of 7) or clean up (after same family of 7!) Mom loved to cook (and still does) She is the BEST cook I know! I strive to be half as good as her. One dish I remember fondly having on occasion is Guampki. These are basically cabbage leaves, stuffed with a meat mixture and cooked in a tomato based sauce. To make them even more divine, salt pork is rendered and the crispy bits are sprinkled on each serving. MMMMmmmmm! I came across this Unstuffed Cabbage recipe recently at My Tasty Treasures ***{warning this food blog is for mature audiences only. If you get offended easily or talks of a sexual nature embarrass you... choose not to follow this link. I happen to think she is a great cook and can overlook her naughtiness in order to access her wonderful recipes. (k, so in reality I'm laughing my head off most of the time) }***

Back to the recipe! I was intrigued by the concept of this dish. My family LOVED it! I loved how easy it is, and that it only used one pot. We did still top ours with some ketchup and I didn't think about using salt pork until after the fact. I do believe next time I make this dish... I will buy the salt pork! (Bacon could be substituted, if you are not familiar with or don't want to use salt pork.) Since I still have an abundance of wild game, I used a pound of ground deer and a pound of ground beef. The deer was undetectable in this dish. I hope you enjoy my slightly tweaked version of this recipe!

Cool Kitchen Gadget: I LOVE using the Pampered Chef mix n chop tool for breaking down hamburger. After my burger was put in the colander to drain off the grease, I put my stewed tomatoes in the stockpot and used the tool to break up the tomatoes as well!
Unstuffed Cabbage

2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans Italian diced tomatoes
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 1/4 C water
1 T dried parsley flakes
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 small head cabbage, shredded

Brown the ground beef, onion and garlic in a stockpot. Drain the grease and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then simmer covered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Easy Skillet Chili

This dish is super easy and only requires one pot. When I cook rice, I like to do it in my rice cooker. I always make extra (it freezes well). I never have luck cooking rice in casseroles. Inevitably, the rice is underdone and everything else is turning to mush. Nathan loves porcupine meatballs, and the rice was NEVER done in the time it was supposed to be. That dish is what has converted me to using cooked rice in any recipe that calls for the rice to cook with the dish. Nathan isn't a big rice eater, so this dish adds some rice in our diet without being so pronounced. I used half ground deer in this recipe and you could not detect it at all. Another recipe to use to hide gamey flavors from the littles! It may not look like much, but it is hearty, satisfying and there are NO complaints from anyone when eating this. BTW... if you wanted to keep it a tad on the healthier side, you could omit the cheese, or just sprinkle a bit on the top. It will still taste yummy!

Easy Skillet Chili

2lb ground beef
1 large bell pepper
1 med onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T Chili powder
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp salt
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, undrained
1 (15 oz) can black beans, undrained
2 (15 oz) cans corn, drained
1 (6 oz) can olives, sliced
2 C cooked rice
2 C V8 juice
2 C grated cheddar cheese

Brown hamburger with onion, bell pepper and garlic. Drain any grease and return back to pot and add remaining ingredients. Warm through and serve!

Blog stalking

So I can't keep away from blog stalking! I LOVE being able to peek into others lives and see how they are doing AND what they are cooking! I was doing this last night in the comfort of my bed (thank you Honey for the laptop!!!) I had a batch of Ezekial Bread in the oven (3 loaves). In my getting swept away with reading about others lives, I forgot about the bread... until I could smell it! My bedroom is a bit away from the kitchen. So needless to say, if I can smell it in my room, it's overdone! I was so disappointed! Nathan was planning on rabbit hunting this morning, and I wanted to pack him a lunch with some sandwiches. I did have some bread left over from last time I made bread, but it was stale and only enough for one sandwich. So for breakfast I made him eggs and ham on (crust removed) toast. So at least he had a hearty breakfast! (and I did pack more goodies in his lunchbag to make up for only one sandwich) One of my favorite food blogs is celebrating their two year anniversary (I can't wait for mine to "mature!") They are having a giveaway to celebrate it. Check them out at Grumpys Honeybunch and enter to win. (just promise you'll share some truffles with me if you win!) I will make more bread soon, so I will share the recipe with you when I have a pic to go with it!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chicken and Dumplings

Hmmmm.... What to have for dinner when you didn't plan ahead!?! I wasn't thinking until this morning that we didn't have any meat defrosted. I have been blog stalking at Sisters Cafe (one of my FAVORITE food blogs... go check them out!) They posted last year (O.K.... so that was only 4 days ago ;-)...I couldn't resist) a recipe for chicken and dumplings. I had Costco canned chicken, so I decided to adapt the recipe and make it for dinner. It was super fast, easy AND delicious. I do think it would taste better with chicken not from a can, but in a pinch it works! I was also out of Poultry Seasoning, so I made up my own! The dumplings were flavorful, light and airy. I hope you enjoy my version... we all did :-)
Chicken and Dumplings

3 (12.5 oz) cans chicken chunks (or 3 C diced, cooked chicken)
1/2 C butter
1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 (14 oz) cans chicken broth (afterthought... If I were to make this again with canned chicken, I would use the juice from the chicken as part of the broth, but would not add the extra salt)
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
2 C flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp poultry seasoning (1/4 tsp each of rosemary, marjoram, sage, thyme and a dash of nutmeg)
1 tsp celery seeds
1 C milk
1/4 C vegetable oil

Spread chicken evenly in a 9 X 13 pan. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over med high heat. Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes to cook out the "raw" taste of the flour. Add the chicken broth and cook, stirring frequently until it is thickened. Stir in the cream of chicken soup until it is smooth and pour over the chicken. In a medium bowl, combine dry dumpling ingredients. Add the milk and oil all at once and stir just until it is combined. I used a medium (# 40) scoop to drop the dough onto the gravy. I yielded 18 dumplings. Bake uncovered at 425* for 25 minutes.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

I have a chef in training! My youngest daughter Ellie (7) loves to help in the kitchen. Of course I have encouraged her with an extension of my cookbook addiction. She has a good start. So far she has 4 cookbooks that cater to children cooking in the kitchen. She REALLY wanted to make these chocolate crackle cookies so we started them yesterday and finished them tonight. Freezer space around here is pretty limited, so instead of popping the dough in the freezer for the allotted time, we chilled them overnight. This recipe needs some tweaking. The chilled dough was still pretty soft and we were having a hard time getting it to come out of the scoop. I used a #60 scoop and got 34 cookies out of this batch. The chocolate flavor was amazing and the cookies were pillow soft. Ellie is so proud of her creation. She had so much fun rolling the dough in the powdered sugar and knocking off the extra powdered sugar using a sieve. She can't wait for school tomorrow so she can share some with her bus driver.

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

2 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 eggs, room temperature
2/3 C sugar
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C AP flour
Place chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on 70% power for 1 minute. Stir and continue heating in 15 second increments until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Let stand until cool. Scrape into mixer bowl. Add eggs (if they are not room temperature they will harden the chocolate), sugar, oil, baking powder, vanilla and cinnamon. Beat at medium speed until combined. Slowly add the flours, continuing to beat until a soft dough forms. You will need to scrape the sides of the bowl periodically. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the freezer 30-60 minutes or until the dough is easy to shape. Pour a cup or so of powdered sugar into a small shallow bowl (feel free to use more, you can reuse any remaining powdered sugar). Portion out dough into even sizes and roll each portion into balls (this is where the small scoop came in handy!) Roll the dough balls in the powdered sugar and knock any excess off. Place balls 1 inch apart on greased or lined cookie sheets. Bake at 375* for 8-10 minutes until edges are set and tops are dry. Cool on pan for a couple of minutes and transfer to a wire rack.

Grilled Halibut with Grapefruit Oregano Relish

I was looking for something different to do with Halibut. I found a recipe that was definitely unique! I wasn't too sure how my family would take to it. Nathan said it was an unusual flavor combination (grapefruit and stone ground mustard) but he said he liked it. He even had a large serving of seconds and really piled on the relish. Now the two littles on the other hand didn't want to try it. I "made" them each try 1 bite with the relish. As expected, they didn't like it. The marinade and the relish are very similar ingredient wise, but once cooked, the fish doesn't have a strong flavor of the marinade so they didn't mind eating the fish without the relish. I did splurge and buy some fresh oregano for this dish.

Grilled Halibut with Grapefruit Oregano Relish

1 1/2 lbs halibut steaks or fillets

3 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/2 cup grapefruit juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
In a shallow dish, whisk together marinade ingredients; add halibut, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour

1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
1 red grapefruit, sectioned and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together the relish ingredients. Cover and refrigerate

Preheat grill or broiler to high. Grill Halibut for about 4 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with relish spooned on top.

Creamed Corn Bread

When I made my stew a few days ago, I opened up a can of creamed corn on accident. I guess I should check my labels a little more carefully ;-). I didn't want to "muddy" up my stew as it was the first time I would be taking pictures of it for this blog! So I stashed it in the fridge and decided to use it for corn bread today. My all time favorite corn bread is soft and cake-like. I didn't think it would pair well with the creamed corn. I searched through several of my cook books and finally found a recipe that didn't also use the "Jiffy" muffin mixes. I prefer to make from scratch when I can. This recipe was simple and came together quickly. I don't think it necessarily needs the cheese on top. I don't feel it added that much to it other than a chewier top. I do think I would definitely add a can of diced green chilies next time. That would put them over the top!

Creamed Corn Bread
1 C AP flour
1 C yellow cornmeal
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1/2 C sour cream
1 (16 oz) cream-style corn
2 T vegetable oil
3/4 C grated cheddar cheese
Stir together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add the sour cream, corn and oil. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together stirring just until combined. Pour into a greased 8X8 pan. Top with grated cheese and bake at 400* for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.

Buttermilk Syrup

We have an overabundance of fresh eggs (thanks to our 28 hens!), and I made 4 loaves of my Honey Whole Wheat and Flax bread recently that we haven't used near enough of. I decided I better make french toast this morning! We are out of syrup and I keep forgetting to buy more at the store. I DO happen to have buttermilk in the fridge, so Buttermilk syrup it is! This syrup is decadent and you only have to use a little. Store the leftovers in a microwaveable container for easy reheating. When making initially and for storing, make sure that you have a large enough pan/jar as it grows due to the baking soda!

Buttermilk Syrup

1 stick butter
1 C sugar
1 T corn syrup
1/2 C buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda

In a large saucepan combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and buttermilk. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and add the vanilla and baking soda. Stir constantly as the syrup will foam up.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Sweet rolls

I admit it... I am seriously addicted to food blog browsing. This morning I was reading Baking and Boys and came across her sweet roll recipes. I know that I shouldn't be thinking about making these since I have been trying to lose weight (NO not a New Year's resolution... it's been going on for the past 5 months :-( ) So I decided I would make a half of a batch and I asked Nathan which he would prefer... cinnamon rolls or cherry rolls. He said he wanted the cinnamon rolls and yes put in the raisins and walnuts not pecans. So I was happy to oblige! In my not paying attention as I was measuring, I added the full recipe worth of sugar to the 1/2 recipe worth of water. So at that point I decided to make both versions of the recipe. (I know 6 T of sugar isn't much... I could have started over, but it doesn't take much to nudge me into making more!) My MIL happened to call as I was just starting these... so I know where I will be heading this afternoon with some sweet rolls to share :-) I love trying new recipes and cross my fingers that they turn out. I usually stick to the recipe exactly as it is written the first time I make it, so I know how it is supposed to turn out. Well I wanted to "try" to make these a tad healthier, so I switched it up already! I used fresh ground hard white wheat, instead of the AP flour. In my favorite bread recipe (posted previously) I use vital wheat gluten to lighten the dough. I decided to throw in some fresh ground flax seeds to amp up the nutritional value as well. The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 eggs (2 T beaten eggs = 1/2 egg) I happen to have several varieties of chickens and our Frizzle lays tiny eggs... so that was my half egg! Isn't it cute ;-) The kids LOVED both versions of these. Nathan has gone target practicing and hasn't returned to try them, but I'm pretty sure he'll put his stamp of approval on these as well! (BTW.... If I had tried these... I would declared the cherry as my favorite ;-) With the cream cheese frosting these taste like cherry danishes)

Sweet Roll Dough

1 3/4 warm water
6 T sugar
3 T active dry yeast
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 T salt
5-6 C hard white wheat flour
1 1/2 eggs, beaten
3/4 oz (2 T) flax seeds, ground
1 oz (1/4 C) vital wheat gluten

for Cinnamon rolls:

1/4 C butter
Cinnamon Sugar (be heavy handed!)
Raisins (until it looks good!)
Walnuts (again... until it looks good!)

for Cherry Rolls:

1/2 (of a 21 oz can) cherry pie filling
1/2 tsp almond extract (or 1 T almond liquor)
(pulse together in a food processor to break up the cherries)
1/4 C butter

for the glaze:

2 oz cream cheese, softened
3 T butter, softened
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract (or 1 tsp almond liquor)
Beat with a hand mixer until smooth. Spoon into a baggie with one corner snipped off and squeeze onto sweet rolls. If you put them on immediately, they will melt a bit, but you may not want to wait before digging in!

In a mixing bowl combine water, yeast, sugar and oil. Let sit until frothy. Add in the remaining ingredients (flour 1 C at a time). You know when you have added enough flour when the dough cleans the side of the mixing bowl. Knead for about 5 minutes. The dough will be slightly tacky, don't add too much flour, or you will have tough rolls. Divide the dough in half (wrap the half you aren't using in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Roll out into a rectangle 1/4" thick. (roughly 12X8) spread the dough with butter (leaving the far long edge free from toppings at least 3/4" wide) Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar and top with raisins and chopped walnuts. Roll up from the long end closest to you and pinch seam closed. Make evenly spaced markings as a guide to cut into 12 even pieces. Use a long piece of unflavored dental floss to cut the rolls. Slide the floss under the log to the mark you've made. Cross the ends and pull to cut through the dough... no more squished sides! Arrange on one half of a lined jelly roll pan, cut side up and cover with plastic wrap while prepping the second half of the rolls. I put these in my cold garage to keep them from raising too fast.

For the cherry rolls

Roll out dough the same and spread on the butter. Lightly spread the cherry filling on the butter. As you roll up the dough, it will push it out if you spread it heavily. If you wind up with a lot getting squeezed out, spoon it off the dough and save it for the top. If you get any sauce on the outer un-buttered edge of the rolls, the end won't stick. Not the end of the world, they just may not stay rolled up as tight. Cut into 12 rolls using the same dental floss technique. Arrange on the other half of the jelly roll pan. Spoon any remaining pureed cherry filling over the top of the rolls. Let the rolls rest at room temp while you preheat the oven to 350*. When oven is ready, bake for 30 minutes or until rolls are done. Frost with cream cheese frosting and enjoy!

seven layer dip

Another super simple, hardly needs a recipe for, but satisfying appetizer! This seven layer dip is probably Nathan's favorite appetizer. My Grandma uses this to bribe him, (although it doesn't always work) Skylar requested this for his 18th birthday. He didn't care what cake he got... just HAD to have this dip!

In a 9X13 pan layer the following in order (a glass pan makes for a pretty presentation)
1 (30 oz) can refried beans
1 1/2 C guacamole
1 1/2 C sour cream mixed with 1 (1.25 oz) packet of taco seasoning mix
1 1/2 C (more or less) of shredded cheese
1 (6 oz) can black olives, drained and sliced or chopped (I use my egg slicer for quick work)
3 green onions (more or less) sliced thinly (including tops)
3 roma tomatoes (more or less) chopped

This can be served immediately or covered and chilled for serving later. I have to tattle on my husband's nephew in law ;-) He is from Baaaston (spoken with a heavy accent :-) He had never had this dip before moving to Utah. He was at a company party a year or so ago (maybe longer). He didn't know this was a dip to be eaten with chips. He ate a bunch with a Steve.... this one's for you ;-)