Thursday, February 4, 2016

Black Bean Dip


I have probably been watching the Washington Redskins play football since I was in diapers.
 

My dad is a big fan and he has made me one too. Unfortunately, here in Michigan, it's rare that the local television stations will put a Washington Redskins game on! The biggest professional football game of the year is this Sunday - Super Bowl 50. In our house, that means snacks, snacks and more snacks. My husband is more of a college football guy, but he does like to watch the Super Bowl. Just out of curiosity, I looked on-line on StubHub! to see how much one ticket in a suite at Levi's Stadium is going for. Take a guess, $250,000! Good grief, I think I'll just watch it from the comfort of my own couch :) This is one of the "snacks" we'll be enjoying this Sunday!



Ingredients

14.5 ounce can sliced and stewed tomatoes, undrained
15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup red pepper, membrane and seeds removed, chopped
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

Put all ingredients into a blender and turn on high for 20-30 seconds (less if you want a chunkier salsa). Pour into a container or medium bowl and cover. Refrigerate for one hour. Serve with tortilla chips.  Makes three cups.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Grape-Nuts Crunches



I love being a volunteer "Field Editor" for Taste of Home magazine! We talk about food ALL the time, plus as an added bonus, it is an extremely supportive group of women and men who are all very passionate about baking and cooking, what could be better?!?!?! We had a challenge this week to find our oldest cookbook, take the year we were born (in my case, 1963) and then pick a recipe between the two sets of numbers. So for me, it would be between 19 and 63. I fished out my Town Crier DeLuxe Recipe Book from 1938 and looked for a recipe where I had all the ingredients on hand - that's a challenge in itself, LOL. I picked page 43. There were four recipes on the page - Fudge Four O'Clocks (which I have already made), Golden Pumpkin Cookies, Grape-Nut Crunches and Gum Drop Cookies. Since I had recently bought a box of Grape-Nuts at the grocery store because it was on sale and I had a coupon, I decided to make the Grape-Nut Crunches. I think the name of the recipe was a "typo," because the name of the cereal is "Grape-Nuts," not "Grapenut." I didn't follow the directions exactly, but I did use all of the original ingredients. Grape-Nuts have been around for over 100 years, that's pretty remarkable isn't it? These cookies came out really well and my "taste-tester," Dominic, had two!!


Ingredients

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup shortening
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup Grape-Nuts cereal


In large bowl, put the brown sugar and shortening and cream together by hand with a large spoon or with an electric mixer. Add the two eggs and beat well. In a small bowl, put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla. Pour the flour mixture into the large bowl and mix well. Add the oats and the Grape-Nuts cereal and combine until all ingredients are well incorporated. The batter is a little crumbly, so I used my hands. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge a minimum of one hour. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Roll the batter into 40 equal-sized balls.  Place 12-16 balls at a time on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press each ball with the palm of your hand or the bottom of a drinking glass. These cookies do spread when baking.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the cookies start to turn brown. Remove from oven and let them sit for five minutes on the cookie sheet before removing them to a wire rack to continue to cool. Makes 40 cookies. Store covered at room temperature.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Southern Cinnamon "Cake"



Earlier last year during one of the trips I took to Maryland, I looked through a desk that belonged to my grandmother that is now in my parents house. I remember seeing this particular desk at my grandmothers apartment when I would visit her. Tucked into the desk, I found a recipe book and some other loose sheets of paper with recipes written on them. When I saw the word, "cinnamon" in the title of this recipe, I knew I had to make it! The original recipe had raisins, which no one here in my house would eat, so I omitted them. I also accidentally put an extra teaspoon of cinnamon in the muffin batter, which I didn't discover until after I baked them, oops. I decided to keep that extra teaspoon in the recipe, because you can never have enough cinnamon, right?!?!?!?! I thought this recipe came from my great-grandfather, because he was a baker, but when I flipped the piece of paper over, there was part of a letter written on October 11, 1943, that starts out, "My Dearest Catherine." I'm pretty sure the letter was written by my great-uncle to his wife when he was on the USS Charger in World War II. Pretty cool, huh? I love when a recipe has a bit of "history" to it. It's interesting it was called a "cake" because in the original directions, it says to use, "crinkle" cups, which I figured were cupcake or muffin liners. I decided that this "cake" actually tasted more like a muffin :)

Ingredients

1/4 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg
2 cups white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk

Topping:

2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put paper liners into a 12-cup muffin tin. Set side. In large bowl, put the shortening, sugar and egg. Cream together until smooth by hand with a large spoon or with an electric mixer. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and milk. Mix well and distribute batter evenly into the 12 muffin liners. In a small bowl, put the white sugar and cinnamon. Stir well with a small spoon and then sprinkle the white sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly on top of the muffins. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer muffins to a baking rack to cool. Store covered for up to three days at room temperature.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Gingerbread Cookies


When Dominic and I made this gingerbread cookie batter up recently, we had high hopes that we would be making gingerbread men. Well, by the time the batter chilled in the fridge, we had dinner and then Dominic had his nightly bath, it was 9:30 p.m.! Since I had promised him that we would make gingerbread men, and I don't like to break a promise, I quickly decided they would become gingerbread cookies. I rolled them into balls and then put red sugar on one plate and green sugar on another plate, handed Dominic a glass and let him press down on each cookie. In less than 15 minutes, they were done! A few days later, I made up the rest of the cookie dough and then headed out to make two "deliveries." I felt a bit like a holiday "elf." My first delivery was to a local marketing company that publish a magazine that has featured my recipes for several months. The second delivery was to a friend of mine who will be helping me with a project for the disability ministry. Later, she told me her husband said, "that's what a molasses cookie is supposed to be like, both the flavor and the consistency were just what it should be - not too soft and not too crisp!" Cool, that made my day!

Ingredients

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In large bowl, put the butter and light brown sugar. Cream by hand with large spoon or use an electric mixer. Add the molasses, egg and vanilla extract. Set aside. In medium bowl, put the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Mix with large spoon and then gradually add to the mixture in the large bowl. Combine well and then cover with plastic wrap. Chill in fridge a minimum of three hours. When ready to bake, roll into 4 1/2 dozen equal sized balls. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a dozen balls at a time onto ungreased cookie sheets. If desired, press the bottom of a drinking glass into colored sugar and then press gently. Bake for 12 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are starting to turn brown. Remove to wire rack to cool. Store covered at room temperature.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Chocolate/Peanut Butter Candy Cookies


Besides chocolate and peanut butter, this candy "cookie," has an unusual third ingredient. If you can believe it, cornflakes! Yep. Cornflakes are one of Lauren's favorite kinds of cereal and she is pretty much the only one that eats that kind in this house. The last time she was home before Thanksgiving was in the middle of September! Somehow, the box of cornflakes got shoved to the side and back of our pantry. These candy "cookies" are not baked in the oven, they firm up in the fridge. I asked the hubby what he thought these tasted like. He said, "corn flakes with peanut butter and chocolate!" Personally, I can't taste the corn flakes at all, I think they add a certain "crunch," that will keep your friends and family guessing!!!
 
12-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup smooth peanut butter
2 1/2 cups cornflakes, crushed
 
In a large gallon-sized zipper top plastic bag, crush enough cornflakes to make 2 1/2 cups. Set aside. In medium saucepan, melt the morsels and peanut butter over low heat until smooth and all the morsels are melted. Remove from heat and add the crushed cornflakes with a large spoon. Combine well.  Put a piece of wax paper on a jelly roll pan. Drop onto the wax paper using two tablespoons. I made my cookies kind of  big, so it made 18. Please feel free to make as big or small as you want.  Put in the fridge for a minimum of two hours or until set. Keep covered in a container in the fridge for up to one week.

 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Vanilla Kipferl (Crescents)

 

Ah, now that Halloween is over and we are heading towards Thanksgiving, the holiday cookie baking season has begun!! My goal this holiday season, is to go out of my comfort "zone," and try and make cookies I've never made before. My mother-in-law who passed away in 2011, was a fabulous baker. I loved how when my family would visit my in-law's in Cleveland, after every meal (even breakfast), a tin of "bakery" would appear on the table. There would be potica, kolache and chocolate chip cookies. I don't remember these vanilla crescents ever making an appearance though. I found a recipe for vanilla "kipferlin" or "crescents" in an American Slovene Club cookbook that is falling apart and looks like it was used frequently. It is part of the treasure "trove" of recipes and cookbooks that we found in my in-law's house.  After a lot of researching on the Internet, I think they really should be called "kipferl." Anyways, I made a dozen or so of these crescents last night and the hubby had a "sample."  He said, "oh, I remember my mom making these!" When he said that, I thought that was pretty cool. Well, this afternoon, when he saw me making up the rest of the dough, he said, "your cookies are just as good as the ones my mom used to make!" Yahoo, now that made me smile :)  

 
Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 3/4 cups white flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup powdered sugar (reserved)

In a large bowl, put the butter, flour, white sugar, vanilla extract and pecans. Mix well with spoon or with your hands until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for a minimum of one hour. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small bowl, put the reserved powdered sugar and set aside. Roll batter into 3 1/2 dozen equal sized balls with the palms of your hands. With your fingertips, press each ball into a "crescent" shape. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for approximately 15 minutes or until the cookies are just starting to turn brown. Remove to wire rack and let them cool just a bit. While still slightly warm, roll each cookie into the reserved powdered sugar. Keep covered at room temperature.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Swedish Tea Rolls


I have just as much passion now for baking as I did when I was little and used to whip up desserts for my dad in my Easy-Bake Oven. I still haven't figured out how a light bulb did all the work, but maybe that is a mystery I'll never solve. What's cool about my relationship with my dad now, (besides becoming incredibly close), is that since my mom is in a skilled nursing facility, when I fly back by myself, I get to bake again for him!  My dad is very diplomatic and even though I slightly burned the bottom of the meatloaf  I made for him last month, he still told me it was good :) Anyways, I don't know of any Swedish in my background, but when I found a recipe from 1933 AND it used cinnamon and sugar, my "radar," went up!!  Oh my goodness, these are so crispy since I used shortening! I will be seeing my dad over the upcoming holidays and I know I'm going to make him these. I wonder what he would say if I told him the recipe was just a few years older than him? LOL.







Ingredients

1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2 cups white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In small bowl, put the white sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Stir with small spoon until well combined and set aside. In a large bowl, put the flour, baking powder and salt. With two knives, "cut" in the shortening. Pour the milk in and with a large spoon, mix until the dough is just starting to form a soft ball. Place on a slightly floured board and knead about 30 times. Roll out to approximately 12 inches in length and six inches in width. Cut into 10 equal-sized squares. Fold each square in half and press gently. Dip each roll into the ingredients in the small bowl and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the bottom of the rolls are just starting to turn slightly brown. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes before removing to wire rack to continue cooling.