February 25, 2010

The Chocolate Contest and a special giveaway!

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If you are a subscriber to my E-Recipe Club, then you had an opportunity to enter a chocolate contest. Subscribers were encouraged to enter their favorite chocolate - milk, dark, white - dessert recipes. I received quite a few recipes! I went over the recipe and what they contained with Grumpy and he chose two he thought he would like the best.

The first recipe I made was Donna of My Tasty Treasures Oreos 'n Cream Cake. Grumpy loves Oreos, especially with a glass of milk. :) As a matter of fact, when I bought the Oreo's I had to buy two packages. One for Grumpy and one for the cake. ;) This cake was dangerous. To our waistlines that is, but it was awesome! Grumpy said that it was a good thing he had to go to classes the next day or he would have been eating it all day long! (Donna's writing style is pretty unique and she has gotten a lot of slack for her choice of how she writes. If you are easily offended, her site may not be for you. That said, she has a multitude of recipes that are fabulous so if you go there with an open mind, you will see that she is an awesome cook with a lot of great recipes!)

The other recipe I knew he would choose. Why? Because he loves white chocolate. No if's, ands, or buts about it....and it was the only recipe that contained white chocolate! Grumpy chose Marthe of Culinary Delights Strawberry and White Chocolate Tiramisu.

I could not find ladyfingers anywhere in my area. So, I did the next best thing. I made them! I found the recipe on The Joy of Baking. You can view the recipe by clicking HERE. These were very easy to make! I also found no strawberries on the shelves the day I went shopping - but they has some large, yummy looking raspberries (Grumpy's favorite!) and used them instead. Because Marthe sent the recipe via email I am including it below as I don't believe it is on her blog.

Thank you to both Marthe and Donna! We enjoyed both recipes. We decided that both Marthe and Donna were winners and have had the cookbook Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts on its way to them.

How would you like to have an opportunity to win this book? All you need to do is be a subscriber to my e-Recipe Club! If you are a current subscriber, you are already entered. If you aren't a subscriber, why don't you become one today and have an automatic entry to win this awesome cookbook? All you need to do is sign up by filling out the form to the right of this post! That's it! Nothing more :) This giveaway will end March 6, 2010 at 6 PM EST. ***1 winner from list of subscribers will be drawn at random using the old fashioned method of putting the names in a basket and Grumpy will draw!

Strawberry and White Chocolate Tiramisu - Courtesy of Marthe of Culinary Delights
6 servings

1 can of strawberries (fresh are preferable, but they were soooooo expensive)
raspberry liquor to taste
1/2 cup cream
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
250 grams fresh strawberries
150 grams white chocolate, divided
1 cup mascarpone
1 package savoiardi (ladyfingers),

Puree the can of strawberries with your foodprocessor (I used my blender). Add a splash of raspberry to the strawberrypuree and mix.

Add the sugar and vanilla essence to the cream and beat untill almost stiff. Slice the strawberries

Melt 100 grams white chocolate au bain marie. Beat the mascarpone loose, add the melted chocolate and mix in with the mascarpone. Mix the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture

Line the glass with some strawberry slices, start with a layer of ladyfingers in the glass, drizzle some raspberry liqour over the ladyfingers, scoop a bit of strawberry puree on top and add a layer of mascarpone. Top with ladyfingers, drizzle some raspberry liqour over the ladyfingers, add a layer of mascarpone, add a layer of strawberry slices and finish off with one last layer of mascarpone.

Cover the tiramisu with some cling film or aluminium foil and pop into the fridge so the mascarpone can set. When ready to serve grate the remaining white chocolate finely and sprinkle a layer on top of the tiramisu.

February 20, 2010

Kristina is going to love this....

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When I first saw this recipe on the Real Simple website I immediately knew my daughter-in-law would LOVE these!  First of all, she loves chocolate fondue...and when we do chocolate fondue, we do dip marshmallows!  The website has an awesome photo so make sure you check it out.

These are so easy and if you like marshmallow and chocolate, real yummy!  Grumpy won't be eating any though.  He was out in the kitchen asking me what was up with the marshmallows and made it clear he didn't like it.  ha ha.  Well I will deliver a few to Kristina so I don't wolf them all down - which wouldn't be hard to do!

These are very easy to do.  I melted some bittersweet chocolate in the microwave, dipped the marshmallow tops in and then sprinkled with some colored stars, crushed peanuts and coconut.  Yummy!!!  What a cute treat and neat idea for Easter....right?  ;)

February 18, 2010

Something to work on

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This morning I decided that I had to make muffins for breakfast.  My computer wasn't on and I really didn't have time to sit and search for recipes so I did it the "old fashioned" way.....I pulled out Better Homes & Gardens.  This is the second time I have pulled out that book and made something and had to adjust the recipe to make it work - and its also the 2nd time that it does not make the amount of servings the book states.  I don't know why this is because the older BH&G book never gave me this trouble. 

In any case, I think this recipe will be good with some more work.  They look nice - but I think they can look nicer.  So, instead of the recipe, you are just seeing the photo today.  Once I have worked on this and created a better recipe I will post it!

I also want to share with you my experience with raspberry pie this afternoon.  Chris and I went to lunch today at the Village Diner.  One of the good things about him living in the town where I work is that I get to see him a lot more often! (I know Justin reads this so don't worry buddy, it will be just you and me one day soon for lunch too!)  The thing I like best about lunch with the boys is the time I get to be with them...not so much the food!  Before we left the diner today I decided to get some raspberry pie with the intention of giving half of it to Grumpy.  Now it becomes about the food!  I brought it back to the office and promptly nibbled on it all afternoon til it was gone - so Grumpy, he's not getting any!  This was some amazing pie - and right before we left the owner told us that our waitress had made the pie.  I am super impressed.  Not that she made the pie, but that it was such an awesome pie.  Definitely better than I have ever made.  Her crust was thick, yet cooked and flaky.  It had a slight sweetness to it and was amazingly not soggy on the bottom - meaning she did an awesome job on the pie filling!  I think if Grumpy had this - I would never see him again because he would go find Mallory and let her cook for him instead!  He also may be really angry with me if he reads this and finds out I ate the whole thing and didn't save any for him  - especially since raspberry is his very favorite pie!  If you ever make it to Potsdam or if you are living in this area and haven't been there yet you really should go!  The link takes you to their menu and their hours are listed there.  If you do visit, let me know how you liked it!

February 15, 2010

A million dollar burger?

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I met my online friend Susie a little more than two years ago.  We both are members of a private forum that was formed because of our love of the website allrecipes.com.  Last April I posted about the Pillsbury Bake-off contest and had every intention of entering.  The time passed right by me however and I never did enter.  Susie though was inspired to enter and its a great thing she did - because she was chosen as one of the finalist that will compete in just a little less than 2 months away!  If you want to follow her you can go check out her blog that she writes -  Hick Chick.

 Susie Littlewood - contestant in the 2010 Pillsbury Bake-off! ;)

If you are a subscriber to my e-Recipe club you were given the opportunity to ask Susie some questions thru me and she will be answering them here today!  If you aren't a member of my e-Recipe club, then you really should become one!  There are contests, exclusive recipes, an Ask Grumpy section and much more to come!  All you need to do is fill out the form to the right of this post!  :)

As you can see, I made Susie's burger that got her into the bake-off.   I can tell you that it tastes great!  Grumpy loved the cucumber sauce - and I loved the sweetness given the burger by the biscuit (the biscuits are on the sweet side to me!) and the red onion/grape jelly mixture and then the creamy coolness of the cucumber sauce...oh yeah.  It was a little messy but not bad - and it was delish!  I wish Susie the best of luck in the contest - I can't wait to watch - and I also can't wait for you to win.  I will be more than happy to bring Grumpy down to NYC and ride around in a limo with you!  :)

1 large red onion, sliced (2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup red wine or nonalcoholic red wine
1/2 cup Smucker’s® Concord Grape Jelly
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
3/4 teaspoon Dill Weed
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Beau Monde seasoning, if desired
1 medium English (seedless) cucumber, finely diced (1 1/2 cups)
1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers refrigerated original biscuits (8 biscuits)
1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 cup crumbled feta cheese 
Dash salt
Dash Black Pepper

Heat oven to 350°F. In 10-inch skillet, cook onion, vinegar, wine and jelly over medium heat about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is tender and sauce is reduced and thickened.
Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix sour cream, mayonnaise, dill weed, onion powder, Beau Monde seasoning and cucumber. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Bake biscuits as directed on can. Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix beef, cheese, salt and pepper. Shape mixture into 8 patties, 1/2 inch thick. Cook patties in grill pan, contact grill or nonstick skillet until meat thermometer inserted in center reads 160°F.
Split biscuits. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons cucumber mixture on bottom of each biscuit. Top with burger, onion mixture and biscuit tops. Serve with tomato, lettuce and remaining cucumber mixture.

Now, for the questions!  Susie told me that if she were to get any questions that she would die of shock!  lol.  I am sure her head is spinning with all the attention and articles about her recently!  She has been featured in several articles and you can view their links by clicking HERE.

Now,  without further ado...the questions from my subscribers and the answers from Susie!

Q:  When did you first get interested in cooking & baking--did you like it as a child or teenager?

A:  I always liked cooking - I remember looking through my mom's recipe box as a little girl, looking at the pictures. But, I'd say my real interest in cooking came in my 20's - I'd always cook a "Sunday dinner" for myself and my parents.  That's when I really got into cookbooks and cooking magazines, I always wanted to do something better and different than I'd done the week before.

 Q:  Are your girls interested in helping/learning in the kitchen?

A:   My "chickies" are starting to express more interest in the kitchen.  I must admit, that cooking is so much "my thing" that I'm not always up for "helpers" after a long day at work.  However, I have decided that I'm so not a baker - that's what I want my girls to be!  LOL KK made no-bakes herself this week for an activity she had after school and SS makes a sandwich! However, I keep them as an intergal part of our meal plans each week - letting them each choose something to be included.  I ask them to "rate" new recipes and ask if it is okay to make something again or if I should keep searching for a new recipe.

Q:  I wanted to ask Susie if she has entered any other recipe contests before?

 A:  Until the Pillsbury Bake-off I had never, ever entered a cooking contest before.  I'd never totally written down a recipe of my own before!  I am pretty sure once I get through the thrill of the Bake-off Contest that I will be entering a few more.

Q:  How does she know when her recipe is "just right"?

 A:  I'm not sure if you mean "just right" to get your family to eat it for dinner or just right to get picked in a recipe contest?  I didn't know that my Pillsbury recipe was "just right".  I never made it entirely from beginning to end before I submitted it!  I was really sick and never got a chance to put it all together before I madly typed it into the Pillsbury website on the final day to enter.  I was more shocked than anybody when they called.  But, to make any recipe "just right" just keep trying and tasting until you like it - chances are somebody else will too.  I knew my Pillsbury recipe would be tasty - sweet onions, crispy cucumbers, and feta cheese.... what wasn't there to love?  LOL I have been working very hard for the past few months on nailing down my chicken noodle soup recipe - adding more of this, a little less of that, keeping notes about what I've been doing.  I am confident I have it "just right" now, at least for the way my family likes it!  All I can say is keep reading recipes, keep cooking, and keep learning!

I want to say a big THANK YOU to Susie for being willing to do this with me.  
I hope you will follow her and I hope you will be excited for her as she heads into the contest. 
I know I will be rooting for her!

February 12, 2010

You Betcha........Buddy!

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The other morning on my drive into work I was listening to the radio station I like the most in this area - YES FM.  If Johnny of The Border is reading this, don't worry, I listen to you when I am headed Watertown way.  I can't get you on my drive to Potsdam!  Anyway, Merz was asking what did our parents used to say to us when we were kids that we carried on tradition with and told our children.  I had the hardest time coming up with things everyone else was saying - like don't cross your eyes, they will stay that way (maybe I did tell my kids that though!), don't sit too close to the TV it will make you go blind...etc.  I don't know my mom ever gave us "threats" to make us do something - other than running out to the bushes to break a green switch off the bush, peel it and slap us. (NO she did not abuse us!).  Its funny, I remember laughing at my mom, but I sure didn't want that green switch slapping my leg.  I remember we would get in our room and lock the door on her so she couldn't get in.  We couldn't get away with that though.  Mom, she was an expert door opener - even when it was locked!  I was such a rotten kid!  ha ha. Not really.

So I was thinking, what phrases do I use that was used on me? My Nanny always called people "buddy".  Yup.  I use that.  I'll text the boys and ask "how ya doing buddy?" or "love ya buddy".  My Poppy would always say You Betcha!  I actually can hear my mom say that phrase also!  I use that phrase often too.  My dad would and still does call my mom "pumpkin" and mom would call us kids "pumpkin seeds".  I call my boy's "snowmen" and I call Christopher "my Christmas Snow" - if you don't know, their last name is Snow  and Christopher was my Christmas present the year he was born!  ;).  I call Justin "J" and Chris "Furfur" or "Fur" (a nickname dubbed on him by a playmate when they were little).  You all know what I call hubby dearest - mostly I call him Grumpy!  Sometimes I call him Hun, sometimes, when I want to irritate him I call him Phillip John or PJ.  He really hates that. He calls me Buzzy, Old Buzzard.  If he calls me by my real name I'm wanting to know what's up with that!  If he's calling me Buzzy then I know its good.  lol

Now I am wondering what phrases or terms of endearment do you use in your home or with family & friends?  Leave me a comment and let me know!  :)

February 09, 2010

Poppy Seed Muffins

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Not too long ago I received a coupon for a dozen free eggs compliments of Foodbuzz and Eggland's Best.  This was a a definite win for me to receive as loving to bake I always have eggs in the house!  I used these eggs to make Grumpy's birthday cake, the Superbowl Cookies and the Valentine Cookies.  Did you know that compared to ordinary eggs, Eggland's Best have higher levels of important nutrients like vitamin A , B2, B12, D and E, along with lower levels of saturated fat and cholesterol?  Even better reason for me to bake with them!

My heart belongs to Grumpy....but you already knew that, didn't you!

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Sunday was Grumpy's birthday.  Sunday he turned the same age I turned right after I met him.  Back then I was afraid to commit to him because there was an age gap.  I didn't want to take away his opportunity to have his own children.  I will never forget the day I finally told him I loved him and his reaction to my admission.  ;)  I had decided that I had to believe him when he told me that having children was not the most important thing in his life (although I know he would have loved to have had them).  I had to believe him because I had fallen so very deeply in love with him and knew I didn't want to live without him because I couldn't accept what he told me.

As Valentine's day gets closer I think about how he made my last two years so extra special with the sweet little surprises he gave me.  This year I don't expect a gift of monetary value - not that I did the last two years but this year all  I want from Grumpy is for his health.  For him to not be in any pain and for him to be able to succeed in what he wants.  This year we may not be rich with money, but we sure will be rich with love - and that is all that truly matters to me.

I also think about my children and how happy I am they are mine and how proud of them I am.  They are all special in their own way and my heart would just die if I did not have them.  I'm not just talking about Justin & Christopher - I am talking about Kristina also.  She is not my "child" but she is my son's spouse, so my heart loves her just as I love them.

I think about my parents and how I watched them love each other all these almost 48 years.  I remember living on the farm and how happy my dad was to be there and how my mom was willing to leave the home she loved so my dad could fulfill his passion of farming.  My mom adores my father and I know he adores her.

I have to mention my Aunt Marlene and Uncle Gary here too.  I remember when they were first married, I was about 5 years old and toothless.  I will never forget my Uncle Gary cutting the corn off the cob so I could eat it since I had no front teeth!  I will never forget how my Aunt Marlene has been there for me when my heart was breaking the most.  They are like my 2nd set of parents and I am so lucky to have them in my life.

That all said, I love ALL of my family - and there are many!  I hope your Valentine's Day (well actually every day) is filled with love for those near and dear to your heart. 

Now that I am all mush and tears, maybe I should share my cookie recipe here.  This recipe came from my Great Grandmother Lottie Mae Clark.  I never met her myself but I had her cookies all my life as my Nanny made them all the time.  You can find the recipe on my post for Nanny's Sugar Cookies - Memories of Nanny and her Love. 

February 07, 2010

My brother's family is a Colts Fan.....so....

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For him today I am posting these cookies.  I know the colors aren't quite exact, but hey, its the best I could do on a whim!  :-) I'm also having some trouble lately with my lighting.  I'm not exactly sure what is going on but even though everything looks bright and wonderful on my camera, once its uploaded it has some strange hue.  Guess this means I have to take my manual out (rolling my eyes!).  I am so not a read and figure it out kind of person so I really don't like it when I have to do that!  lol

In any case, I am wishing their team the best of luck today.  Yes, I will be around while it's on.  I'll probably have my laptop nearby though - just because that is me.  :D 

 Steve, Heidi, Austin & Matt - I hope you are all happy campers by the end of the day today! (and any other Colt's fans!)

February 06, 2010

Family Recipes Round-up

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Its time for the Family Recipes Round-up!  Myself, Laura of The Spiced Life and Lynda of Lynda's Recipe Box co-host this event and we would like to thank those who participated and encourage you who have been thinking about it to do so!  If your new here and would like to participate, you are more than welcome to join in!  You don't necessarily need to have a blog to join in.  You can always send in your recipe, a photo, and your story and we will include it in our round up.  Our next deadline to submit recipes will be March 31, 2010.  For the submission guidelines click HERE.  Laura will be collecting submission for the next round up.  You will find her contact information in the guidelines.  Now, on to the round up!

Jessica from Fearless Kitchen submitted a recipe that she created to resemble her grandmother's recipe as closely as possible. Her recipe:

Bash from Easy Recipes submitted a family favorite of Chicken Biryani

Josie of 1 Kitchen, 2 Dogs and a Girl made her sister

Debbie of The Friday Friends made her Grandmother's Candied Apples.

I made my mother's Vegetarian Loaf (aka Cottage Cheese Loaf)


Kristina, (my Daughter-in Law)  made a new recipe she created Apple Cheesecake Empanadas!

Thanks for visiting and checking out the great recipes from fellow bloggers! 

February 03, 2010

Project Vegan Yum Yum (VYY) - Sweet Chili Lime Tofu with Swiss Chard and Quiona

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A few weeks ago Elle of Elle's Kitchen invited those (thru her blog) to join her in her quest to cook thru the new Vegan Yum Yum cookbook. We aren't posting the recipes in the Vegan Yum Yum but I can say that it is very reasonably priced and well worth purchasing!. I knew after seeing her website that I was buying that book and joining Elle in her project!

After the book came in the mail I studied it. And studied it. And studied it some more. Drooling every time I looked. Grumpy would ask me what I was doing and I'd have to tell him "I'm looking at the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook." He would say "AGAIN? Haven't you had enough of that yet?" ;) Nope. As a matter of fact, I have made the recipe you see pictured here twice already (the recipe is Sweet Chili Lime Tofu with Swiss Chard and Quiona). Yes. It is THAT good. It is also so good that Grumpy stood at the stove the 2nd night I made this and kept eating the tofu out of the pan. Yes. You read that right. Grumpy was eating the tofu! Not only that....he said it was GOOD. He really loved the sauce. Can you believe it? I think Lauren and her recipes could end up converting Grumpy that eating vegan is not so bad after all!

I am looking forward to trying more of the recipes in the book and sharing my and Grumpy's experience with them. Giving him food full of flavor is probably the best way to "convert" him although he may never admit he's being converted. ;)

Make sure to go check out Elle's post here to see what she made this week from VYY!

February 01, 2010

Giveaway winner

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Just a quick post this morning to announce the winner of the Old El Paso "Tackle the Taste" giveaway!

Soldier's Wife - your name was drawn from the basket! I will be contacting you for your mailing information :)
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