May 31, 2009

Strawberry Tart, another inspiration of The Hungry Mouse

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Laura has posted the announcement for our 2nd Family Recipes event over on her blog. Make sure you pop over there to check it out! The deadline to post for the upcoming month event is June 27, 2009 by midnight. I hope you will consider participating!

Food bloggers really have some great ideas. I have been inspired by many food bloggers. Lately, Jessie seems to have been the biggest influences on me and what I make. It seems I see something she has done and I feel that sudden urge that I have to try it...that it looks that delicious!

Just a few days ago Jessie had this amazing Strawberry Tart post. It looked delicious and I loved the combination of flavors she used. I decided to take Jessie's idea an fit it to suit what I had on hand at home. To see Jessie's version, make sure to click on the link!

I visited mom and dad after work on Friday afternoon and when there Mom pulled out some Raspberry Rhubarb jam she had made. Oh have mercy. That was the most awesome jam I had eaten in a long, long time. I will be blogging the recipe for this tomorrow with my own results! I knew before I even left my parent's home that I was going to use that jam in this Strawberry Tart. Thanks Jessie for this inspiration. It was wonderful - and mom and dad were lucky enough to have some of this tart also!

Strawberry Tart
adapted from The Hungry Mouse

1 package Athen's filo dough
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 quart strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamon
3 generous Tablespoons jam (I used Raspberry Rhubarb)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/8 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Stir jam into sliced berries and set aside. Mix sugar and cardamon and set aside.

Lie filo dough out flat on baking sheet (I covered mine with a slipmat) and using a pastry brush cover filo dough with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Fold edges of filo dough on all 4 sides (If you need a visual on how to do this, check out Jessie's post for photos on what this looks like).

Sprinkle entire filo dough (crust and center) with cardamon sugar. You may not use all of it. I did use most because my berries were tart and the jam wasn't super sweet.

Place jam and berry mixture in center of dough being careful to keep inside of the edges. Sprinkle top of berry mixture with 1 Tablespoon sugar and the sliced almonds.

Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until filo dough has browned nicely.

Enjoy plain or with some sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

May 30, 2009

General Tso's.....Tofu!

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I'm still working part time. I kinda like it. lol. I kinda wish it could be my full time job - working part time! Alas, I know it won't last forever, and may even end by next week. However, that said, I have not had a whole lot of energy after getting home from work. Yes, I still have some ache in my neck, but every day is a better day. The pain I had before (and the numbness) is all gone. So, I know my days of leisure and web surfing, recipe reading are coming to a end in the very near future. Knowing this, I have really been milking it when I get home. Enjoying every free minute I have as much as possible. Taking the time to catch up on favorite blogs that I didn't have even the energy to do a few weeks ago. I'm sure you have noticed that this week my posting has been about daily!

I've spent time on my favorite food porn sites, Tastespotting, FoodGawker, Photograzing, and Recipes2Share. Going to the sites that catch my eye to see what the recipe is all about. That is how I found the "Lighter General" recipe at first. Then, while catching up on blogs, I came across Mari's post on the "Lighter General" and she took me right to the recipe I had bookmarked! The recipe was for Chicken but I adapted it to use tofu for myself. I did however, the next evening make this with Chicken for Grumpy's sake! This was probably the closest I have come to the taste of the sauce as I know it from the Chinese restaurants. Definitely give it a try!!

Because I changed to tofu, I will leave you with the recipe and my tofu instructions. If you want instructions on how to make this with chicken, please make sure to check out La Table de Nana for the chicken version. While your there, check out all her beautiful food photos also!

General Tso's Tofu
adapted from La Table de Nana

1 brick extra firm tofu
3-4 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
3 tbsps Hoisin
3 Tablespoons white vinegar (I used rice vinegar per the suggestion of Mari)
3 Tablespoons Ketchup
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup water
1 Tablespoon Sesame oil
6-8 spring green onions, sliced (I went with 4)
3 Tbsps fresh ginger finely chopped (I didn't measure, I just cut a chunk, peeled and chopped)
Hot peper flakes(optional) (I used the dried whole chilies and broke them into pieces)

Squeeze tofu of excess water by placing between a thickness (I use about 3-4 thick paper towels folded about 3-4 times) of paper towels and sitting a heavy pan on top. Let sit 20-30 minutes.

While waiting for tofu to be squeezed dry, mix together the first 6 ingredients and set aside. (I added my chili peppers to the sauce mix before I sat it aside)

To prepare tofu for frying, slice into 1/2" slices, then cut each slice into thirds. Coat lightly with cornstarch and fry in a shallow frying pan with olive oil until browned and crispy. Remove from frying pan and set aside.

Wipe pan clean with paper towel and add sesame oil with onions and chopped ginger. Fry about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add sauce mixture. Bring to a boil and simmer about 2 minutes. Add tofu back to mixture, toss to coat. Serve garnished with green onion tops chopped.

May 29, 2009

Lime, Coconut, Cupcakes, Buttercream.....every girls tropical dream!

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Well, this girls and my DIL's dream anyway! Before I started blogging I never ever thought of using limes in much of anything. I definitely have become more adventurous since becoming part of the food blogging community. Grumpy has been known to tell people that even if he doesn't like everything I make, his meals are never boring! Well, I have to say his desserts aren't either!

One dessert I made that he still talks about is the Opera Cake. Something he loved but I didn't. Mostly because it wasn't traditional....and I thought it was too sweet. But these cupcakes? Oh no, these aren't too sweet. Actually, they are pretty close to perfect.

This cupcake was on the back page of the May Cooking Light issue. I knew when I saw the recipe I would be making it and went on a search for potato starch. I figured if I couldn't find potato starch I would sub cornstarch (which I found I could do after doing some research on what I could sub). I looked in every grocery store I went in to no avail. Then I went to the local co-op and got lucky. They have Bob Mill's products there and that is where I found my potato starch.

While I love the texture of this cupcake and absolutely adore the frosting, it is not "coconutty" enough for me. I was going to use coconut extract but didn't have it. (mental note to add that to my next grocery list). The recipe, although called coconut cupcakes, only has two tablespoons of coconut in it. I guess that was enough for CL to call them coconut....but not for me! If you make these, and I really do think you should, please use coconut extract instead of vanilla. Don't make any changes to the frosting. It is absolutely perfect!

Coconut Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting
Cooking Light, May 2009 issue


Cooking spray
4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons potato starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2/3 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons flaked sweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
4.75 ounces powdered sugar, sifted (about 1 1/3 cups)

Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare cupcakes, place 2 muffin cup liners in each of 12 muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray.
Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.
Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended (mixture will be the consistency of damp sand). Add egg and egg white, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in coconut and vanilla.
Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when touched lightly in the center. Cool in pan 2 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
To prepare frosting, combine 3 tablespoons butter and next 3 ingredients (through juice) in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating just until smooth. Spread about 2 1/2 teaspoons frosting onto each cupcake.

May 28, 2009

The Hungry Mouse does it again!

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Yes, Jessie, you are awesome! Jessie came back from an unexpected break with an awesome recipe. I want to express my sympathies for Jessie's loss. My heart goes out to you and your family and my thoughts and prayers are with you all. While you were gone you were missed big time - by me especially!

Jessie's first post was this delicious looking Basil and Garlic Pork Burgers. This was another one of those "I see it, I have to make it NOW" recipes!

Grumpy arrived home late last evening and I had already made the burgers and the first thing he said was "I have to be honest with you, it doesn't smell good." I was like WHAT?? I was telling my friend Karen while I was making them that the house smelled awesome. See how different Grumpy and I are?! But, let me tell you this. Grumpy ate the burgers. He finished the burger. Then I asked (because, like the grump he is, he doesn't say when he likes anything too often) how the burgers were and guess what? He liked them. Way to go Jessie. Grumpy ate lots of fresh garlic and basil in a pork burger. Something he would have never chosen on his own.

One of the ingredients is mashed garlic. I want to share you some info on mashing garlic that I saw on Everyday Italian! After you chop your garlic, you sprinkle it with some salt. You then drag the flat edge of the knife over the garlic and press. Gather it back together and continue doing so. The salt helps to break down the garlic and bring out the liquid.

If you want the recipe (with detailed directions on how to make the burger) make sure you check out Jessie's post. Thank YOU Jessie. You did it again. You posted an awesome recipe that I knew as soon as I saw, I just HAD to make it. Keep up the awesome work!!

May 27, 2009

Presto....Spicy Shrimp & Linguini!

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Last week I participated in Presto Pasta Nights. I really love pasta. That may seem like a strange statement to some of my friends who knew me before. In my past. Like previous to 2005. I wouldn't make spaghetti for Grumpy. He used to complain that I didn't make it. Then something happened. I tried this dish for shrimp and penne. I fell in love with pasta that wasn't spaghetti. Then, I found out that spaghetti wasn't all that bad when you mixed up the sauce recipe and made it different than just pasta sauce and burger.

Since I now enjoy pasta so much and since I found out there is Presto Pasta Nights, well, how can I not participate!! It is good to have pasta at least once a week! :-D This week's event is being hosted by Sara of I'm a Food Blog. Make sure you check her blog out on Friday for the roundup!

If you like Cooking Light and you like shrimp, then you really must try this dish. I made this for the first time on New Year's Eve for Grumpy and myself. It was so good that as soon as I knew I was making pasta for this week's event, I knew this was the recipe I would share! Enjoy!

Spicy Shrimp and Fettuccine
Cooking Light October 2007 page 238

8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups chopped plum tomato (about 5)
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add red pepper and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add shrimp; sauté 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and next 4 ingredients (through salt); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in pasta; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.

Place 1 1/2 cups pasta mixture on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese. Serve immediately.

May 26, 2009

Strawberry Cupcakes, Cooking Light style

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I saw this recipe in a recent Cooking Light magazine. Then I saw that Kristen made the cake, and next I saw that Patsy made the same recipe but made cupcakes. That is when I decided I would definitely make this recipe but I would follow suit with Patsy and do cupcakes. Cupcakes are so much easier to pass out to others than a cake any I would have left over, I could give to either my kids or take to work.

On the CL website itself there is a bit of discussion about the cake in the reviews. My feeling is that this is a good recipe to keep around but it definitely needs some tweaking. I love the fact you use strawberry puree. There is no flavoring listed in the recipe, but if made again, I would add some strawberry extract to boost the strawberry flavor. My cupcakes came out pretty flat but I kind of expected that to happen as the cake has been described as "dense" and I might play around with the flour in this recipe some too to try and make it not so dense. I decided that I was going to put strawberry puree in the frosting itself as I wanted as much strawberry flavor as possible!

Other strawberry recipes you may like!
Easy Strawberry and Cream Pie - Renees Kitchen Adventures
Lemon Strawberry Pound Cake with Chocolate Ganache - Flavor Mosiac
Neopolitan Cupcakes - Our Life Tastes Good

Strawberry Cupcakes
Adapted slightly from Cooking Light

1-1/4 cups sliced strawberries
2-1/4 cups flour
2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice, then pour milk into measure to make 1 cup
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring
Cooking spray

1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened 
1 tablespoons Grand Marnier (orange-flavored liqueur)
4 cups powdered sugar
12 whole strawberries (optional) (I pureed strawberries and put about 1/4 cup of the puree in the frosting mix)
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare cake, place sliced strawberries in a food processor; process until smooth.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large sized bowl, beat sugar and 1/2 cup butter; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in egg whites. Add flour mixture and lemon juice/milk mixture to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Add pureed strawberries and food coloring (if desired); beat just until blended.
Line two 12 cup cupcake pans with cupcake liners and divide batter between each cup using a large cookie scoop (or 1/4 cup measure).  Bake at 350° for 20 minutes minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
To prepare frosting, place cream cheese, butter, and liqueur in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended. Gradually add powdered sugar, and beat just until blended.
Frost cupcakes and decorate with fresh cut strawberries if desired.

May 25, 2009

HoneyB's Potato Salad

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A few weeks ago a friend asked me for a potato salad recipe. I really couldn't tell her what I did because I just always threw whatever I felt like together without measurements. I've made potato salad a couple of times since then and decided that I would write out how I made it so I could share my recipe with you.

My recipe is pretty basic. Grumpy is happy with this one in particular. He doesn't like any of the "sweeter" recipes for potato or macaroni salad. Me, I can eat almost any way it is made!

HoneyB's Potato Salad

5 large Yukon Gold Potatoes
1-1/2 to 2 Cups Hellmann's Mayonnaise (this is the only kind I will use)
1-2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 stalks celery, diced small
1/4 large vidalla onion, diced small
3-4 hard boiled eggs

Boil the potatoes in generously salted water. I do this and do not add salt to my salad. When potatoes are cool, dice into small pieces. Place potatoes in mixing bowl. Add diced celery, onion and two of the hard boiled eggs, chopped. I never measure my mayonnaise or mustard so I am guesstimating what I put in the salad. I would start with a cup of mayonnaise and then continue to add more as needed to get the desired consistency you would like with your salad. I add about 1-2 tablespoons of dijon mustard with the mayonnaise. Mix until well combined. Quarter the remaining eggs and place on top of the potato salad and sprinkle with paprika. Serve & enjoy!

May 24, 2009

Family Recipes I

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Last month Laura of The Spiced Life hosted an event called Grandma's Recipes. I loved the idea of this event since I feel inspired by my grandmother who loved to bake. I especially remember he cookies and mayonnaise cake. After some discussion with Laura, we decided to continue this event but would change the name to Family Recipes: Memories of Food, Family and Fun. We wanted this to be open to anyone who had family (or someone who was just like family) to be able to share. This is our first round up for Family Recipes and I want to give a special thank you to all involved. I want to thank Laura for thinking up an event like this and I am honored to be hosting with her! I hope that you will continue to submit posts in the future months and share all your terrific family recipes and family memories!

Watch Laura's blog for the announcement for next month's event deadline!

Hershey Pie

Our first submission is from Mary (from Alabama) of Gluten Free Cooking School. Mary submitted her Grandmother Somerville's Hershey Pie (pictured above). Mary's Grandmother used to make this pie for her after a good report card! She changed the recipe to suit her gluten free lifestyle. Please check her post out to read how she did this!

German Food
Emigila (Paris) of Tomato Kumato blogged about German food and posted 4 recipes! Emigila loved when her mom made German food and these recipes remind her of those days. Check out her post for all her great recipes!

Swiss Chard Suzanne
Jessica (Massasschussets) of Fearless Kitchen submitted her Chard Stalks Suzanne recipe. This is an adaptation of her mom's recipe in which she used Asparagus. (who she titled this recipe after!). Check out Jessica's blog for her recipe!

Chicken Divan, The Spiced Life Style
Laura (Midwest) of The Spiced Life submitted her mom's Chicken Divan recipe. This recipe was prepared for Laura's family whenever her dad was not home (he wasn't a fan of curry!). When Laura was in college she called on her mom for a recipe to prepare for a boyfriend and this was the recipe that her mom gave her. Check out her blog for the recipe!

Rosie's Lemon Layered Dessert
Tracy (Rochester, NY) of Rah Cha Chow submitted her favorite dessert that her mother in law Rosie makes. Rosie's Layered Lemon Dessert has a shortbread crust, creamy cheese filling and is topped with a lemon pudding. This is a very easy dessert to make so be sure to check out her blog for the recipe!

Grandma Trudie's Southern Apple Cake
Rachel (Saratooga Cty, NY) of The Crispy Cook submitted her Grandma Trudie's Southern Apple Cake. Rachel loving talks of her 3 grandmothers and gives us the recipe for the cake made by her Step-Grandmother. A very simple basic bundt cake that looks very delicious - make sure you check out her blog for this awesome recipe!

Greek Souvlaki
Barbara of Barbara Bakes wrote to me that she would love to participate in this event, but that she didn't have any family recipes to submit! I wrote her back and told her what about recipes that you make that your own family enjoys? To me, this will be a family recipe that your family will continue to make long after we are no longer here. So, Barbara submitted her recipe for Greek Souvlaki. Barbara has been making this recipe for over 25 years. I would say that more than qualifies this as a family recipe! Check out Barbara's blog for her recipe.

Quick and Easy Wine Cake
Rene aka Mrs. L of Pages, Pucks and Pantry shared what her Grandma W used to call "Sherry Cake." This cake evokes memories of her sitting around her grandma's kitchen waiting for the bundt cake to come out of the oven. Check out Rene's site for her recipe!

Mother's Oatmeal Cake
Lynda of Lynda's Recipe Box shared Mother's Oatmeal Cake recipe with us. Lynda say's she can close her eyes and imagine the smell that permeates the house of cinnamon when this cake is baking! This was her favorite cake growing up as a child. Please visit her site to check out her recipe!

Grandma's Kolocky
Cristine of Cooking with Cristine submitted her Grandma's Kolocky. Cristine says she "just adores her grandma." Well, I have praised this young woman before - I just adore her and I'm sure he Grandmother adores her too! Cristine's favorite baked good of her Grandma's was her Kolocky, however she raves about the many other things her Grandmother makes! For her recipe, make sure you check out her site!

Peppers and Eggs
Josie of 1 Kitchen, 2 Dogs and a Girl was the only one to blog about a recipe from a male member of their family! Josie shared her dad's recipe for Peppers and Eggs. She considers this a summer meal using the bounty from the garden :o) For her recipe make sure to check out her site!

Mom's Lentil Tostados
For my own submission, I blogged about my mom's recipe for Lentil Tostados. This is not a really old recipe, but it is has been around for at least the last 15 years or so. I ate this as an adult when I spent some time living with my mom and dad. I love the freshness of this dish and it is so easy to make. I also love that it is vegetarian :o) You can find the recipe for this dish by clicking here.

May 21, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies for Taste & Create and Family Memories reminder!

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Just a reminder that the deadline is Saturday, May 23 to submit your blog post to the Family Recipes: Memories of Food, Family & Fun Event! Click here for detailed information!

For this month's Taste & Create I was paired with Christina of In the Garden of Eatin'. Because I'm on a cookie kick I decided to go with her peanut butter cookies. I think its pretty cool that Christina and I both chose something made with peanut butter to make from each other's blog!

I followed the ingredient list with the exception of the decorating sugar to sprinkle on top. Instead I dipped my fork in regular sugar and pressed the tines into the cookie to flatten and give the crisscross shape. Also, I baked some of them for less time so they would be softer for Grumpy and a few for a longer time so they would be crunchier for me. This was a great cookie with great peanut butter flavor and easy to adapt to Grumpy and my taste!

Peanut Butter Cookies
From the Garden of Eatin'

1/2 Cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 Cup white sugar
3/4 Cups Peanut butter (creamy)
1/2 Cup butter (1 stick)
3 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 Cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

Makes 2 Dozen Cookies

Heat oven to 375.

In a large bowl combine brown sugar, white sugar, peanut butter, butter, milk and vanilla. Mix at medium speed until well blended. Add your egg and mix until just combined.

Add flour, baking soda and salt while mixing on low speed.

Roll 1 tbsp of mix into a ball and place on a foiled baking sheet (I used my airbake sheet and didn't use the foil). Continue until you have finished all the dough. Leave 1 1/2 inches apart on cookie sheet. With a fork press down with a criss cross pattern dipping fork into granulated sugar inbetween criss crossing. Bake 7 - 9 minutes.

May 19, 2009

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

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Just a few days ago Pam blogged about White Chocolate Macadamia. Then just today Cathy blogged about them. Little did either of them know that I also was going to be blogging them! This is Grumpy's favorite type of cookie and since I have been making his lunch box treats I had decided to make these over the weekend for him! All I can say is great minds think alike! ;o)

My recipe is a little different as I use one I found on Grumpy likes his cookies not crunchy. He likes them soft and chewy. These aren't really chewy, but they are soft. They are pretty darn good too as I am having a hard time leaving them alone.....although I have been good and only have eaten one today. I won't tell you how many I ate yesterday though.....

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

1 cup butter, softened (I used 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup butter flavor Crisco)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

May 16, 2009

Its been a while!

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I can't remember the last time I made muffins. For a while there I was becoming known as the "muffin queen" because I was making them so frequently. I will admit I have thought about them. I just haven't had the urge to actually make them. Partly because *gasp* Grumpy doesn't care for blueberry, which are my favorite, and partly because I like to make something "unique" when I can't make my favorite!

This morning I was back on and typed in banana muffins for my search. I came across this muffin that instantly appealed to me because of it's title. These are more of a healthy muffin than they sound. They are dense but still delicious. Grumpy ate 2 of them - I'm not sure if it was out of hunger or because he liked them, but they are more on the healthy side than on the sinful side.
Tropical Muffins with Coconut-Macadamia Topping
Cooking Light, April 2008


1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 ounces)
1 cup regular oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2)
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple in juice, drained
1/3 cup flaked sweetened coconut
3 tablespoons finely chopped macadamia nuts, toasted
Cooking spray


2 tablespoons flaked sweetened coconut
1 tablespoon finely chopped macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon granulated sugar (I used light brown sugar instead)
1 tablespoon regular oats

**The batter tends to be looser than you expect a muffin batter to be. Don't be alarmed by this, they will still turn out wonderful!

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare muffins, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Combine banana and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a medium bowl; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in pineapple, 1/3 cup coconut, and 3 tablespoons nuts. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

To prepare topping, combine 2 tablespoons coconut and the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.

Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of topping over each muffin. Bake at 400° for 18 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.

May 14, 2009

Craving ginger cookies?

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I had been thinking about ginger cookies for a while. Seeing photos of them and thinking about Nanny's soft molasses cookies had me in extreme crave mode. While I love my Nanny's cookie, I decided that what I wanted was a crunchy cookie.

I thought about Martha Stewart's Chocolate Gingersnaps. They look so tempting in the photo in the book, but then opted for Cooking Light's Ginger Cookie since it had less fat and fewer calories! These cookies were really delicious after they had cooled just a bit. Not too sweet and slightly chewy.

The next day these cookies were a little crisper but they still had some "chew" to them. They were great with my hot cup of tea and probably would be just as yummy with some vanilla bean ice cream sandwiched in between.

Ginger Cookies
Cooking Light

6 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground mace (I used allspice instead)
Cooking spray

Place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add 2/3 cup sugar, beating at medium speed until light and well blended. Add molasses and egg; beat well.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (through mace), stirring with a whisk. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, stirring until well blended. Divide dough in half. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap, and freeze for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Shape each portion of dough into 26 (1-inch) balls. Roll balls in remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Flatten cookies with the bottom of a glass to 1/2-inch thickness. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

May 13, 2009

Garlic Noodles

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I was going to grill chicken tenders the other night and I needed a side dish. Something I never cared to have much of as a child was pasta. As an adult however, it is a whole different story!
I went on a search for a garlic noodle recipe and found one that I plan to keep around.

Then I happened to read my blogging buddy Patsyk's blog (Family, Friends and Food)and saw that she is hosting an event called Presto Pasta Nights. I decided that I would submit my Garlic Noodles to this event!

The recipe I found by searching for garlic noodles on TasteSpotting. This led me to a blog called The Crepes of Wrath. The recipe was simple and I liked the fact there was brown sugar in the sauce. Yeah, if you don't know already, I love sugar. Of all kinds.

Garlic Noodles
Adapted from:
The Crepes of Wrath ala Dinner tonight

7 ounces dry Chinese noodles or spaghetti
1 large shallot, minced (Original recipe called for green onions which I did not have)
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic (about 2 cloves) (next time I would go with 4 large cloves)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
Boil a large pot of water and cook the noodles according to package instructions.
Drain the noodles and wipe the pot clean. Place the noodles back in the pot and set aside.

In fry pan bring butter to a sizzle and add shallots and garlic. Stir fry for 12 minute being careful not to burn the garlic.

In a small mixing bowl add the brown sugar, soy sauce, and oyster sauce and stir well to mix. Add the noodles and toss well evenly distribute the sauce on the noodles.

May 12, 2009

Classic Banana Bread

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When I wrote the Banana Cardamon Cupcake post I mentioned that Grumpy was asking for banana bread. It isn't very often that he asks for something specific, so when he does it is so nice. Yes, I said nice. Anyone who loves to cook or bake knows what I mean. When someone wants something that you love to do you are more than happy to oblige!

I knew which banana bread recipe I would make this time. I was going to go with the classic. I had made this recipe from Cooking Light's 5 Star Recipes cookbook when I purchased the book a few years ago. I remember my SIL Heidi loved the bread and I loved it too because it used yogurt in the recipe as the fat
replacement. I added chopped walnuts to the bread so that will change the WW points count if you make that addition.

May 10, 2009


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I hope everyone had a great mother's day whether it were with their children, moms, step-moms, grandmothers or someone who is like a mother to you. I spent most of my day at home doing basically nada. We are having dinner with my kids at Justin & Kristina's house.

I read a post on Jylnc's blog A Cup of Joe with a View about Mother's Day that really rings true. She said:
"Everyone has a mother, but I know not everyone has a wonderful relationship with their mother. In those cases, celebrate that your mother gave you life. And then, some of us have lost our mother and we can only remember her with love. And finally, there are those who are lucky to have a great relationship with their Mom and she is still living. Make sure you tell her how much you appreciate her being there!"
Click here to read her entire post. Most of us at some point in time have had a not so wonderful relationship with our mom, myself included. BUT we got over our past hurdles and hopefully there are no future ones. I love my mom and like Jylnc states, some day we will lose our mother and we should let her know how much we love her. I say even if you are in turmoil with your mother on this day, you should still let her know you love her. Some people think it is not ok to say I love you if you are in the middle of a disagreement. That is a really sad perception. I hope if you have discontent in your life today, you still tell your mom that you love and apprecitate her. I guarantee (being a mom myself) that your mom loves you with her whole heart and soul.

This afternoon, in between playing scrabble with 3 different buddies on facebook (Thanks Jam, Susie and Tracy) I decided to bake some cookies from Cooking Light. Grumpy and I both need to start being much more careful with our calorie consumption and instead of sending store bought goodies (YES, I do buy them!) I decided it would be healthier to send him cookies made on the lighter side.

from Cooking Light

3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat just until combined. Shape dough into 30 balls.

Combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small shallow dish. Roll balls in sugar mixture, and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 8 minutes or until tops crack. Cool on pans 1 minute. Remove from pans; cool on a wire rack.

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