January 31, 2008

These brownies ARE da bomb!

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This evening I sat chatting on IM with my friend Rhonda and I was telling her I felt like baking something. Of course she didn't disagree, but then again Rhonda just offered to pay me on a daily basis to bring her lunch! ha! I decided brownies sounded like a yummy chocolatey idea, so I went on a recipe search. I found a recipe for Brookes Best Bombshell Brownies on allrecipes.com and what a find! These are the best homemade brownies I have ever made! They are chewy in the middle and the edges are crunchy - just the way I like them!

All of my life I have always made brownies from a mix, but after today I highly doubt I will ever buy a mix again!

Now, I told Rhonda that Grumpy would be getting some of these brownies to share with "bub" at work tomorrow, THAT didn't go over too well with her. I believe her response was "oh no he doesn't." I had to explain to her again that Grumpy comes first because I am his honeybunch. She'll live with a few missing brownies from the batch....as I have a confession to make.....

I had to eat one myself!

January 30, 2008

Cold nights and Creamy Hot Cocoa

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With the wind chill factor at -31 degrees tonight, I thought it would be nice to sip on a hot cup of creamy cocoa and share another memory. Growing up, I always loved to have hot cocoa after being outside playing in the mountains of snow. My brothers and I would love to go out and in the hill that sloped up, create "igloos" and "caves" in the snow. We would play outside for hours then come in and have a hot cup of homemade cocoa that mom would make special just for us. I always loved to have the big puffy marshmallows in mine. I would put one in the hot cup and wait for it to get slightly soft by gently pushing the marshmallow into the hot liquid. When it was all melty and chocolatey covered, I would put the marshmallow in my mouth to finish it off. Then I would do it with another one! As I've gotten older, hot cocoa kind of became something I didn't have so often.

Mom carried that tradition on with my boys. They would sit at the table with Poppa and while he was having his coffee, the boys would sit there with their hot cocoa and would sip it off the spoon. They thought they were such big wig's having a special treat with Poppa (who is pictured below)

Isn't he such a handsome Poppa!

Recently, I have been enjoying it as a special treat again. I found the recipe for Creamy Hot Cocoa from allrecipes.com that is very much like my mom's recipe but I have also mixed 1/2 cup half and half, 1/2 cup skim milk and about 5 of the Dove Dark Chocolate hearts, microwave until the chocolate melts and whip until smooth! Comforting and Chocolatey!

Now, just for those of you, who like me, need to have something on TOP of your hot cocoa, I have a special photo just for you. I've grown out of the marshmallow stage, and into the whipped cream stage.... after you make one of the recipes from above, just take some real whipped cream and squirt it into your hot cocoa. It will become creamy deliciousness!

January 29, 2008

Yummy Tofu II

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After today, I will not try to convince anyone just how yummy tofu really is. However, I do have one more recipe I have to share with you that may convince you that I am not lying....really!

I made this recipe when my friend Tracy (now K
ate...it's a long story) came to visit me last summer. Tracy is my longtime high school friend. We see each other at least 1 time a year, however the last few years we have been spoiled by seeing each other 2 or more times! You know the friend is real when you can be apart for months at a time, maybe 1 or 2 emails between you, but yet, when you get together, it is like nothing has ever changed. That is the kind of friendship Tracy and I have. She has been there for me with my saga's as I have been there for her's (however, mine probably take the cake compared to hers!). Ok, I'm getting off track here...
About that recipe. I make a Greek Salad, homemade dressing that marinates tofu cubes, that is so delicious! Yum Yum Yum. Oh, ok, I forgot. I don't have to convince you. Hopefully you will just try it. I honestly believe you would never know it is tofu you are eating.

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 lb. cubed firm tofu

3 fresh tomatoes, cored and cubed
1/2 cup red onion slices, thinly sliced
1/2 english cucumber, thinly sliced
1 cup greek or black olives
2 heads romaine lettuce, washed and chopped

Blend together olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, basil, cumin and salt. Pour over cubed tofu and marinate at least 30 minutes.
Assemble salad ingredients. Pour marinated tofu over salad mixture.

The dressing is so good, you can even sop whats left from the salad up with a nice chunk of Italian Bread.

Since I don't have a picture of my tofu, but I do have one of the dressing (where I made it to use as a dipping oil for bread - suprise!), I will post that picture today. I'm kinda getting the craving for something made with Tofu. I can't imagine why?!

January 28, 2008

Yummy Tofu I

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Ok, so some of you may think I'm taking it too far by calling tofu yummy, but really it is! Grumpy thinks I'm crazy because I eat tofu...well, he thinks I'm crazy for taking pictures of my food too but I'm not (am I granny ??- she reassures me that I'm not crazy.)

So, in my early adult years I didn't cook with Tofu myself, but my mom did and I loved every bit of everything she ever made with it! Scrambled Tofu, Tofu Burgers, Tofu Cheesecake, and Tofu Greek Salad. My favorite of all of these are the tofu burgers and the scrambled tofu, and the tofu greek salad, oh heck, all of them are my favorites! Here is a picture of my tofu burgers.

My mouth just waters looking at this picture and I wish I had one for dinner tonight! If you look closely, you can see the flecks of onion and carrot that help to make this burger so yummy!

Here is how I make them:

1-1/2 cup blended tofu (I use firm silken tofu)
1 scant cup oats
1 scant cup italian bread crumbs
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 - 1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 teaspoons McKay's chicken seasoning
2 Tablespoons margarine, melted

Saute onion and carrots in margarine until tender. Blend with remaining ingredients. Form into patties. Fry patties in small amount of olive oil until browned and warm thru. Enjoy these as is or in a bun as a burger! I even love these cold!

Since my mom is the one who made me fall in love with tofu, I decided I should put a photo of her up here and give her the credit she deserves. This is my mom....

I love her so much! And not only because she made me like Tofu!

January 27, 2008

Grumpy, his dad, and the 12 point monster....

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Here is my blue-eyed Grumpy with his dad and the 12 point buck his dad got this last hunting season. Grumpy has a passion for hunting like I have a passion for cooking. ummm, I also have a passion for Grumpy!

Anywhoo (a favorite word of my son and grannyloohoo), I thought I would throw in a recipe I found from allrecipes.com for venison meatloaf ... and since I am showing you a photo of the beginning product, I will also show you a photo of the end product! If you have access to venison, you really should try this meatloaf recipe. It is great to have for dinner with baked potatoes and a vegetable and then for sandwiches afterward! Oh, and btw, the pic of Grumpy, his dad, and the deer are to placate Grumpy for seeing a pic of him on here with me that he did not like!

January 26, 2008

Nanny's cookies and her love

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Nostalgia seems to hit me often as I get older. I have to believe it is because I have actually lost a few people who were the most special in my life....like my Nanny "Mae Iris Whitton", who's first name I tote as my middle name. Actually, my nanny gave me my name. I like to think that she was quite "hip" to have given me the name Shelby Mae back in 1963! I certainly grew up with nobody else who owned that name around me!

I was the first of 18 grandchildren to my Nanny. Being the first born baby in the family, you can imagine I was spoiled with all kinds of love and attention! I was attached to Nanny's hip for as long as you can remember. My nanny was the sweetest person on this earth. She never did wrong to anyone, was always kind to even those who didn't have the best of intentions. I remember getting up in the morning with my dad before he went to work just so I could get in his truck and ride the 1 mile down the road to Nanny's house and crawl into bed with her and cuddle for another hour and then go down to "whatever you wanted" for breakfast. I would always tell her I wanted one of her eggs fried in butter with toast. I don't know why, but Nanny's eggs and toast were always the best tasting and her kitchen was the only place I would eat them!

I remember being in her kitchen helping her make pies and cookies - the things she made most often. Her sugar cookies were my favorite. They were so soft and big, and I loved it when she would frost them. I don't make them as often as Nanny did, but I do make them a couple times a year. This is her recipe for these soft, yummy cookies.

2 cups sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons grated orange rind (may substitute grapefruit rind)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
2 tablespoons milk

  1. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, milk, and orange rind together well. Set aside.
  2. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet until well blended.
  3. Chill at least 20 minutes.
  4. Remove 1/2 dough from dish (dough will be soft). Pat with flour and roll out on board until 1/2" thick. Cut with favorite cookie shape. Repeat with remaining dough.
  5. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, or until cookie is no longer wet looking in the center.

January 24, 2008

Gobi Aloo

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Earlier this week I decided I had to try to make Gobi Aloo. I went to my first Indian restaurant about 6 months ago, and I have craved the food ever since. It is really disappointing that the restaurant is not open on a regular basis, because I have NOT mastered the art of Indian cooking, BUT I am not giving up on trying!

I love, love, love, Chicken Tikka Masala, but the one and only time I made it, I did not do that good of a job. So, Gobi Aloo....how many people can screw up spiced potatoes and cauliflower? Not me! It turned out so delish! We had enough for dinner, then I took the rest for lunch to work the next day!

Here is a photo of the dish....it just makes me drool!
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