Best Sugar Cookies Ever!

1  C softened butter
1-1/4  C sugar *
1 tsp baking powder
1/4  tsp salt
1-1/2  tsp vanilla
2-1/4  C  flour
Beat butter in a large bowl with a mixer, on medium for appx 30 seconds.
Add 1 C of the sugar, the baking powder and salt.
Beat until combined, scraping the side of bowl occasionally.

Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer, stir in remaining.
Cover and chill appx 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300 F.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls,
roll in the remaining* 1/4 C of sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet.

About 2-inches apart.
To make shaped cookies, roll to desired thickness,
1/4 appx, you WILL need to add a bit more flour as your roll.
(I recommend sifted).

Bake 15 minutes or until set, do not let edges brown.
Transfer to wire rack to cool, make appx 55 cookies.

*You may also want to roll in colored sugar.
You will only need 1 C of sugar for actually making the cookies.


Coconut-Pineapple-Pecan Cake

This cake starts with a cake mix - really! But it is oh so yummy - and so worth the effort to make it more than an ordinary cake mix! The first time I made it was to use up evaporated milk and canned pineapple in food storage, so if you do not have evaporated milk, just use whole milk in place of it and the water.

  Ingredients for Cake
10 x 13 baking pan
Pam or other cooking spray (regular or butter flavor)
1 pkg white cake mix
8 TBL melted butter (1 stick)
½  C evaporated milk
¼  C water
¼  C pineapple juice
4 egg whites

  Ingredients for Topping Layers
1 entire 20 oz can CRUSHED pineapple (packed in juice – you need the juice)
1 C sugar

1 pkg Instant vanilla pudding
1 ½ C evaporated milk -cold
1 ½ C water - cold

8 oz carton heavy whipping cream
5 TBL powdered sugar

1 C chopped pecans
1 C shredded coconut

First make your cake ~
Spray a 10 x 13 pan with pam or other cooking spray and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°
Mix dry cake mix, melted butter, egg whites, evaporated milk, water and juice on low speed till all ingredients are moist. Use spatula to scrape down sides of bowl and beat again, with mixer on medium, for 2 minutes. The batter will be thick but well-blended.

Pour into baking pan using rubber spatula to spread evenly. It will be much thicker than most cake batter.

Bake at 350° for 30-33 minutes.
While it is baking, prepare topping layers.

In a medium saucepan, place crushed pineapple with its juice and the sugar. Heat on medium until the sugar is dissolved and it just begins to boil. Set pan aside.
Remove cake from oven and turn over onto serving platter or cardboard cakeboard. While it is still hot, poke holes (50-60) in the top of it, using a straw. Spoon the pineapple mixture on top and spread it evenly – all while still hot.
Next, mix the pudding and cold evaporated milk and water in a mixing bowl and beat with a wisk or blender. Spread it over the pineapple layer and place entire cake in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Prepare your whipped cream by beating the heavy cream, and adding the sugar just after it begins to thicken. Continue beating until it becomes whipped cream but do not overbeat or you will end up with butter.

Gently fold in the shredded coconut and chopped pecans and spread this whipped layer topping over the pudding layer, using it to frost the side if there is enough.
Chill another 30 minutes before serving and keep chilled until ready to eat.

Jalapeno Jelly Baked Brie

1 sheet puff pastry

1 8 oz round brie cheese

4 oz jalapeno jelly

2 TBS chopped toasted nuts

1 slightly beaten egg

1 TBS water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Thaw puff pastry. Unfold and roll it to 10 ½ x 10 ½ square. Cut a 10 ½ circle from Pastry.

Carefully spread jelly and nuts on top of cheese and press in lightly.

Place the pastry circle over the cheese and turn it all over.

Close by pleating and pinching pastry while brushing with egg and water mixture. Place smooth side up on lightly greased baking sheet, brush with egg mixture.

Cut small slits for steam to escape.

Decorate with remaining pastry.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 20 to 30 minutes.

Serve with fruit and crackers.


Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/4 C chopped mushrooms
2 TBS butter
1/2 C flour
4 C milk
1/4 tsp celery seed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp parsley flakes

Saute mushrooms in butter.  Turn off heat.
In large mixing cup whisk together flour and 1-1/2 C milk until smooth. Slowly add to mushrooms, whisking constantly. Turn heat back on to med.
Add remaining milk. Whisk more. It will become smooth and begin to bubble.
Add salt, pepper, celery seed and parsley flakes. Whisk again and remove from heat. 
(Thickens as it cools)
Makes the approx. equivalent of 3 cans.


Strawberry Peach Slushies

Another Easy Peasy Treat
2 C frozen strawberries
1 C frozen peaches
1 C chopped raw spinach
2 single serve packets stevia
1 C water

Put all ingredients into blender. Process until everything is mixed and becomes slushy.


Sweet n Sour Meatballs - Easy Peasy

This is not real cooking but hey - sometimes, we need a fast recipe for a potluck, dance, game night or, uh conference...

1 appx 14 oz can [Kroger] Jellied Cranberry Sauce
1 appx 12 oz bottle [Kroger] Chili Sauce
2 pounds frozen, pre-cooked, [I use Costco] meatballs

Turn on the crockpot. Toss sauces in a the crockpot, stirring until fairly smooth.
Add meatballs.
Cover and cook 3 hours on HIGH, stirring once or twice to ensure they are well coated.
After 3 hours turn settting to warm.

Apple Flats

Applesauce Oatmeal Pancakes
recipe from our dear friend Charity

1/2 cup oats
1/3 cup wheat flour
1/3 cup white flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons applesauce
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk

So easy - it is after all... pancakes ... mix all together, add milk slowly as you may not need the full 1/2 cup. Ladle onto hot griddle sprayed with 'pam' to make pancakes.

Top with more applesauce [whipped cream also if desired] and serve.

Mom's Applesauce Empanadas


½ C butter [1 stick]
¾ C sugar
1 egg
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp baking powder
3 C flour
¼ C water
Sweetened applesauce [appx 25 oz jar]

If desired, 1 beaten egg with tsp water for brushing tops [optional]

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Spray baking tray with non-stick spray.

Cream sugar and butter together with pastry blender.
Add cinnamon and egg, then sift in baking powder and flour, mixing in with your hands.
Add water slowly and knead by hand until dough is very smooth.
Form into balls of dough slightly larger than a walnut, smaller than an apricot.
Roll each into a circle on a floured surface or using a flexible mat. [You may need to work in a bit more sifted flour if dough is very sticky]
Fill with heaping teaspoon of applesause, fold over to form half circle and crimp ends together, then fold upwards to seal closed.
Poke GENTLY twice with a sharp small fork [to allow steam to escape] and if desired, brush with egg wash.
Bake 21-24 minutes on sprayed trays, remove immediately from tray to cool.
Do not eat until they have cooled at least 20 minutes, as applesauce will be HOT.
Makes about 1 ½ dozen


Better-for-you Chocolate Pound Cake

(Just slightly better-for-you) Chocolate Pound Cake

1 box swiss choc or milk choc cake mix
1 cup water
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup egg beaters [or other egg substitute]

Preheat oven to 325.
Beat all with mixer until well combined, scraping sides of bowl when nec.
Spray a bundt pan with pam, pour in and set in center rack.
Bake 37-40 min. Remove and cool. Turn over to remove from bundt pan after appx 20 min.

You do not have to wait for it to cool completely to top using shiny glaze and a handful of sliced almonds.

Shiny Glaze
1 cup semi sweet OR milk choc chips
2 tbl margarine or butter
5 tbl light corn syrup
2 1/2 tbl water if nec. [you won't need if using milk choc chips]
In small saucepan, mix all but water over low heat until chips are melted. Add water 1/2 tsp at a time [I generally do not need to add water, but if it is too thick, add a bit].

Pour over cake and immediately top with a smattering of almonds.


Raisin Carrot Muffins

I get up extra early to make these for service project days (Donut free zone!)

Raisin Carrot Muffins

3 cups UNBLEACHED flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 extra large or jumbo eggs

3 cups shredded carrots

3/4 cup canola oil

1/2 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup raisins

2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and brown sugar. Set aside.

Beat eggs and add oil, nutmeg, vanilla, raisins and carrots.

Combine all gently.

Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if necessary.

Spoon into pam sprayed muffin tins (or use paper liners).

Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 12


Greek Butter Cookie Twists

5 1/2 C flour
1 3/8 C sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 C room temperature butter
4 eggs
2 1/2 ounces evaporated milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 ounces sesame seeds

In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients.

Add butter and rub together with hands until mixture is smooth and the consistency of bread crumbs.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat 3 of the eggs.

Add to flour mixture and blend with hands.
Add vanilla and milk and knead for at least 15 min, until dough doesn’t cling to the sides of bowl and isn’t sticky.

Preheat oven now to 350 degrees.
Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray.

In a small bowl beat remaining egg with 1 tsp water. Pinch off a piece of dough about the size of a walnut and roll it into a pencil like strand about 8 inches long and ½ inch thick. Fold the strand in half leaving a tiny opening at the folds. Turn each half of the strand around the other 2 or 3 times. Brush egg mixture over top of cookies and dip top or sprinkle with sesame seeds.
(I use a paper plate to ‘dip’ one side in seeds)
Place cookies 1 inch apart on sprayed cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.
Cool slightly and remove from tray.
Repeat action until all dough is used.

Makes appx 6 dozen.

Variation; once twisted and seeded, crimp ends together to make a circle before baking, like a wreath.


Food Storage Sour Cream Apple Pie

... because we have to rotate food storage... right?

1 1/2 cups dehydrated apple slices and 3 cups water
1 cup sour cream powder and 6 tbs water
2 tbs. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbs egg powder and 2 tbs water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
2 tbs margarine powder and 2 tbs water
Reconstitute 1 1/2 cups apple pie slices in abut 3 cups water. Set aside.

Mix the [premixed powder and water] sour cream, 2 tbs. flour, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt, and the egg.
Add apple slices. Pour into unbaked pie shell.
Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
Mix 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 2 tbs. margarine-water mixture and sprinkle over top of pie and bake for 20 minutes longer.


Bacon Fried Rice

YUP - Bacon fried rice
How do you make bacon fried rice you ask - oh ever so easy.
You all know I have to share when I've made something I hadn't made in a long time.

3 c. cold leftover SHORT GRAIN rice
1 med. onion, chopped small
1/2 lb. bacon [about 5 strips] cut strips into appx 1 inch pieces
the equivalent of 1 large bell pepper, diced

you can use red, yellow and orange bell peppers in addition to green
1 beaten egg or 1/4 cup eggbeaters
1/2 c. soy sauce
3/4 cup frozen carrots/peas [use the small square-cut carrots]
[I like to add snow peas and sometimes green beans as well, the more veggies, the merrier]
bit o` salt, pepper

In a large frying pan or wok, cook bacon,
Do not let it get crispy.
Remove from heat, set half bacon grease aside, leave half in the pan.

Put the bacon by itself on a plate to be added later.
You're going to fry in the bacon grease.
See, it's kinda sorta like a Texas fried rice what with bacon grease... right?

Saute half the onion and bell pepper[s] in the bacon grease until tender.
I make this for large groups often and it looks all the nicer to have more color.

Add half rice in the same pan and fry about 4 minutes, stirring in gently, and flipping a few times.
Add a few dashes of pepper to it.
Make sure to stir it so rice grains are all separated.
Add in half the chopped bacon and half your carrots/peas, and half any other veggies you'd like to add. Fresh carrots of course can be used. but I recommend the peas be frozen.

Gently mix the veggies in.
Pan should be on med heat now.

Add the soy sauce to the beaten egg.
[I don't like to see hunks of gooky egg in the rice, but can't omit the egg, because it gives the dish a nice texture so we blend it in the soy sauce]

Add HALF the soy/egg mixture SLOWLY to the still frying rice and veggie mix,
stir well.

You are adding slowly because you may not need it all.

You don't want the rice drippy, just moist.

Once it's all mixed, cover and let it cook [so the egg cooks] for at least 5 minutes. Stir [spatula flip] once and cook a few minutes more
Repeat the process with the second half of bacon grease, onion, bell pepper, rice, etc ... ... ..
Unless you have a VERY large wok I do not recommend cooking all three cups of rice at once because once you add the other ingredients it will take up so much room in the pan it has been my experience that it may overflow, resulting in spillage. lost rice. wasted bacon. no bueno.

You can keep it warm in the oven if necessary.
and amounts can be increased to accomodate larger groups
. . .

You can always substitute grilled chicken for the bacon and cook the entire process using canola oil for a lighter meal. We just make it less often to enjoy the bacon.


Chile Verde

I learned how to make this from a woman I played bunco with. Don't remember much about that particular group - I do remember her family kept 'sneaking' in to get more chile more often than we changed tables.
I had never even heard of a Texas sweet onion at the time, in fact my knowledge of Texas at the time was bad, bad memories of Hell Paso twenty odd years prior. Long before the home grown chile project.
Chiles will survive everything else it seems, even with city water restrictions and severe neglect. Although I confess, I am looking into a greenhouse, just an 8 x 8, for the weenie tomatoes ... winter is headed in. I - frankly - am already in full teeth chattering mode. All the more reason this is the dish is hitting the stove as we speak... er, as I type...
This is not the kind of chile I made last week to go with conrbread, or as later reheated by the little one, with -- AHHHH -- fritos and cheese... And yes, I know most people make this with pork. I make it with beef.

- Chile Verde -

4 1/2 lbs stew beef
1/2 garlic, minced
3 tbl canola oil
1 large texas sweet onion, sliced thin

1/2 purple onion diced
20 oz Ortega-style green chiles
2 cups petite diced tomatoes
2 grilled, peeled, ultra finely diced jalapenos
1 grilled, peeled, osterized habanero
3 cups tomatillo sauce

Cut the meat in approx ½ inch cubes.

Salt and pepper the meat, then brown it with garlic in 2 tbl of the oil on low to low-medium heat to ensure full cooking. Nice and toasty!

Move to crock pot when cooked. Use the same pan to sauté the onions in the 3rd tbl of oil and also move them to the crock-pot. Add chiles, tomatoes, jalapenos, habanero and tomatillo sauce. Cook on low heat in the crock-pot for at least 6 hours.

Wooie, that's it! Serve as is on the plate or mix with refried beans in burritos. Can be frozen.
Remember, the mini food processor is the habeneros best friend!

Don't know how to do chiles? Ask.

Need to know how to make mexican rice, ask, never, ever resort to using rice a roni - puh-leeeeeas!


Made salsa.

Lots of it.

I'll give you my little recipe

The huge one in the very back is a cuban chili.

This is the largest of the yellow tomatoes this year.

Oh, you know I had to compare it to the size of that last apple

.... if you remember when I had small apple trees.....

I use;

serranos, jalapenos and for this batch I had two very big Cuban chilis I received as a gift.

I planted Habaneros however, they did not survive summer.

Grille the chilis.

This batch I did not grille them on the BBQ.

The lad bought a new dutch oven at the surplus store recently –and while he was there he bought ME, this cast iron skillet. . . broke it in grilling chilis.

Turn them occasionally so that they get toasty and crispy on all sides.

They might seem overdone, no worries ~ you will not use the outer skin.

When toasted, place them on a damp towel and put a second damp towel [I use an old cloth napkin] on top.

Press gently.

The towels will steam the skins off.
You will hear the chili ‘pop’.

Peel them, cut the stem off and set the chili aside or remove the seeds.
The seeds are the hottest part and serranos are hotter than jalapenos.

You decide if you want to remove the seeds.
Cut the skinned chili's up in strips.

For this batch I also put the molcajete into use for the very first time [ … you know, a poi pounder - a mortar and pestle] I had received it some 20 years ago and kept it filled with dried rose buds.
But alas, pupzilla ate those too – so after I gave it a thorough washing and sanitizing … I decided to try it.

Those pioneer women must have had some serious carpal tunnel.
It was difficult to mash the chilis.
Imagine using such a tool to grind grain?

One part grilled mashed chiles to two parts green Ortega chilis.
Those I put into
my little Oskar food processor. Another 20 year old kitchen gadget. I think I bought it to tide me over until I could afford a ‘real’ food processor. Something else always took precident (shhhhh .... penny pincher).
In a bowl mix the one part chiles, t
wo parts ortegas, which have been pulverized in the food processor. Add at least 6 parts tiny
diced tomatoes.
I use canned
tomatillos. Yes, yes, big fat cheater. Never saw a tomatillo in a California store, now that I am in Texas and routinely encounter them in the grocery store I am reassured I will one day venture into steaming and peeling those as well. [If you cannot find tomatillos, try this. It's pretty common.].

Add 4 parts tom
atillo sauce.
One large red onion, diced small.
An entire bunch of cilantro leaves, try to remove stems. Chop tiny as well.
Few dashes of pepper, salt, garlic salt and lemon pepper.
If you want to make ahead to freeze, leave
out the cilantro and add it the day you will be using.
See? Easy peasy!


.Pistachio Salad:

.Pistachio Salad:

1 pkg pistachio pudding
1 appx 20 oz can crushed pineapple
appx 10 oz bag mini marshmallows
1 cup chopped nuts, pecans or walnuts
1 large tub non-fat cool whip

Open pudding and pour dry into bowl. Add pineapple, including any juice in the can;
also add marshmallows, nuts and cool whip.
Mix gently.
You can refrigerate in a bowl or jello-mold sprayed with pam and then turn over for a molded jello or just refrigerate and scoop like we do.
[have been making this one so long the recipe is TYPED!]


Just the mac n cheese please

Mac n cheese for me
I melted 1/2 stick of Smart Balance 'butter'
Then added 1/3 cup whole wheat flour to make like .. a roux?
Turned it ever so low and added 1 - 1/4 cup non-fat milk
1 1/4 cup shredded mild cheddar
2 oz chopped monterey jack and
5 slices of muenster
a few shakes of salt a few more of pepper. Always stirring....
Added it slowly to 16 oz of cooked elbow macaroni - mixed gently and baked it in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Not too gooey, not too liquid-ey - the whole wheat flour in fact added a whole new dimension. I liked this version!


Halloween Poke Cake

from mountain mama in Heaven, WV

Halloween Poke Cake

1 pkg. (2-layer size) white cake mix

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup cold water

1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Orange Flavor Gelatin

1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed

1/2 tsp. yellow food coloring

1/4 tsp. red food coloring

Halloween sprinkles

PREPARE cake batter and bake in 13×9-inch baking pan as directed on package.

Cool cake in pan 15 minutes.

Pierce cake with large fork at 1/2-inch intervals.
STIR boiling water into dry gelatin in small bowl at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Add cold water; stir. Carefully pour over cake. Refrigerate 3 hours.
TINT whipped topping orange with food coloring; spread onto top of cake. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until ready to serve. Decorate with sprinkles.

Store leftover cake in refrigerator.

... ... barely cooking, a treat for kids to make for FHE

Biscuit Treasures
1 can refrigerated biscuit dough
Jam or jelly (optional)

Remove biscuits from cardboard tube.
Separate and flatten each biscuit individually on a cutting board, using your hand, a rolling pin, or the side of a straight drinking glass.
In the center of each biscuit put a small dollop (about a measuring teaspoon) of butter.
On top of that, put a teaspoon of sugar, followed by a sprinkling of cinnamon.
If you prefer, you can use a teaspoon of jam or jelly instead of the sugar and cinnamon.
Tightly pinch together the edges of the biscuits so that the filling won’t leak out.

Place the biscuit pouches on a cookie sheet and bake according to the directions on the biscuit can.
Serves 4 to 6.


cranberry almond bread

2 cups flour
½ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tspsalt
1 egg
½ cup milk
½ cup melted butter
2 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup sliced almonds [¼ cup for the topping, ½ cup for mixture]
Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Spray an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 inch loaf pan.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
Combine egg, milk, butter, almond extract, ½ cup of the almonds and sweetened dried cranberries in a medium mixing bowl.
Add to dry ingredients; mixing just until the dry ingredients are moist.Spread batter in loaf pan. Sprinkle with sugar and remaining sliced almonds.Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. Makes 1 loaf.



3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups vegetable oil

1 (8-oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups chopped pecans (divided use)

2 cups chopped bananas
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Pam-inize 3 (9-inch) round cake pans. Set aside.
Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and stir until well blended.
Add the eggs and oil, and stir until the dry ingredients are moistened, taking care not to beat them.
Stir in the pineapple and juice, 1 cup of the nuts, the bananas and vanilla.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 25 to 30 min.
Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn them out onto racks to cool completely.
Spread the icing between the layers, stacking them on a cake plate. Ice the top and sides of cake, and sprinkle remaining nuts over the top.

2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese ½ pound (2 sticks) butter
2 (16-oz) boxes powdered sugar, sifted 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Combine cream cheese and butter, both at room temperature.
Add powdered sugar. Add vanilla extract.
Beat until light and fluffy.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.


I say potato-yum! Spinach Mashed Potatoes

Spinach Mashed Potatoes
. . . this makes 12 servings

one 5 pound bag of potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 10 cups)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic [I used the jarred pre-minced]
one 6-ounce bag prewashed baby spinach
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 oz light cream cheese (1/4 of an 8-ounce block)
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pepper and salt

Cook the potatoes.
[Place the potatoes in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, at a simmer until very tender, 12 to 15 minutes.]
While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over
medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until golden, about 1 minute. Add the
spinach and cook, stirring frequently until wilted, about 5 minutes.

Place on a cutting board and coarsely chop.
When the potatoes are done, drain and place in large bowl.

Add the broth, Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, butter, and salt.
Mash with a potato masher or electric beater until smooth.
Gently mix in the spinach.
Season with pepper and additional salt to taste.


Make 'em at home!
Which means . . . .
You can choose the shape of cookie cutter to use!

Marshmallow Peepaliciousness
Three (4-oz) containers colored, coarse decorating sugar (all the same color)

2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups sugar 1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
Food coloring (gel food colorings are best, but any can be used)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cooking spray
Decorating gel
Spread one container of the decorating sugar evenly over the rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the gelatin and 1/2 cup of water. Let stand 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a heavy 2-quart saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup water. Stir well, then add food coloring until desired color is reached. This also can be adjusted later.
Cook, stirring constantly, over low to medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring often.
Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Reduce heat to medium and boil at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently, until the thermometer registers 244 F, about 15 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent mixture from boiling over.
If necessary, reduce heat to medium-low.
With the stand mixer (with whisk attachment) on low to medium-low, slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the gelatin mixture. Increase mixer to high and beat 15 minutes.
Mixture should be thick, white and nearly tripled in volume.
Add the vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon water, then beat until combined.
If marshmallow is not the desired color, add additional food coloring and mix until just incorporated.
Spray the wooden spoon with cooking spray, then spoon the mixture onto the prepared pan.
Spray the offset spatula with cooking spray, then use it to spread the marshmallow evenly over the pan in a 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick layer.
Sprinkle the second container of decorating sugar over the marshmallow and use your hands to spread it, coating the marshmallow evenly.
Let stand, uncovered, overnight.
Once the marshmallow has set, use cookie cutters to cut animals [or your favroite place to live] from it.
Set them aside, making sure the edges don't touch.
Once all the shapes have been cut, discard the scraps of marshmallow, but save the excess sugar in the pan. Gather the excess sugar in a pile and gently roll the edges of the marshmallow animals in it to coat. They now can be decorated as desired using the decorating gel.
Makes 16 large animals (yield varies by cookie cutter size).


Yeppers, just finished Sunday dinner. heh - didn't peek under the lid while the dumplings were cooking either, the best tip for me, the impatient one!
Kids said it was the best gravy they ever had, can they have it again on biscuits too.
Me, I'm thinkin' chicken gravy.
Best part was though we got everything at Whole Foods - Range Free Chicken, all organic veggies, well, even the cooking stock was range free and organic.
We use unbleached flour already - could not find anything but regular ole 'bisquick'.
It was good - could only eat about 1/3 of this serving, and this is a salad plate. It was hard to decide whether I liked the chicken or dumplings better.
YES YES, I did make chicken soup woth the leftover chicken.
Added chinese egg noodles and they both gave it thumbs up before I put it all up.


Green Bean Casserole .... lite!

Green Bean Casserole
[less fat, 1.5 g per serving, than what we're used to!]
1 pound lightly steamed, drained green beans
½ pound chopped carrots
1 cup nonfat milk
2 TBL grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place vegetables in a glass baking dish that has been lightly coated with pam.

Pour milk over top and sprinkle with pepper.
Top with Parmesan cheese and bake for 20 min or until cheese is golden. Serve hot.
7 servings appx 100 calories each


meow! won ton

You can now get the skins a delightfuly wicked green.

Nope, Elphaba had nothing to do with it. . . they're made with spinach and broccolli.

Here' MY recipe.

Been making them like this for 25 years.

It was a popular item to make when we had teen socials and family parties. Folks give me a look when they hear they have hamburger and ... peanut butter.

But there are never .... ever leftovers.

2 ½ lbs hamburger meat

1 bundle green onion, finely chopped

3 small cans water chestnut, finely chopped

1 bundle celery, finely chopped

½ cup peanut butter

4 tbl cup soy sauce

1 egg, beaten

2-3 pkgs. skins

Salt, pepper & garlic salt

Canola oil for frying

Brown and cook hamburger with salt, pepper and garlic salt. Drain fat if any. Add chopped vegetables, then peanut butter, if possible, while meat is still warm. Cool and add soy sauce, more salt and pepper if needed.

Beat the egg to use for sealing the skins. Fill each skin with a tsp of meat mixture, seal by applying beaten egg to two adjacent sides of the skin and folding over into a triangle shape. Set aside. Heat oil and fry, turning once. Drain and cool before eating.



5 big baked potatoes
1 Lb bacon, fried & chopped [save grease for sauté duty]
1 chopped yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, minced or 2 – 3 heaping teaspoons jarred minced garlic
3/4 cup flour

1 ½ quarts chicken stock
3 tsp coarse pepper

1 tbs kosher salt
big handful chopped parsley

2 tsp dried basil
2 cups half and half

2 cups shredded cheese

Cut and peel potatoes [large pieces]. Ok to leave some skin on.
In a LARGE soup pot heat all the bacon grease and sauté the onions until they start to turn translucent.

Add the garlic, sauté another few minutes, then add the flour, all at once.

[an onion, garlic, bacon grease roux]
Stir until you see the flour has absorbed all the fat, then keep stirring for another minute.

Add the stock slowly, whisking the whole time to get the roux dissolved in the stock. Bring to a boil, and then turn down the heat to simmer for about 15 minutes.

When the base is yummy looking, toss in ½ the bacon and everything else except the cheese. Bring back to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let everything cook together for another 10 or 15 minutes.
Don't forget to stir, lots of stuff here that could burn on the bottom of the pot.
When you just can't stand it anymore, or when everything is heated through and through, turn off the heat and add 1 ½ cups of cheese.

Stir until melted. ladle into a soup bowls, top with a little of the reserved cheese and bacon, and dig in.

Calorie conscious ... I have made it without half and half and with only about 1/3 cup cheese. Still scumptdiddlyicious.


Meow Burgers

Dallas Burgers that'll make you MeeeeOW
1 - 1/4 lb ground sirloin
1/2 tsp each salt, pepper, garlic salt
1 - 4 oz can diced green ortega chiles
1 tablespoon finely minced onion
3/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese

Mix together the meat, seasonings, 2 oz of the chiles and the onion.
Shape into 8 very thin [square] hamburger patties.
Layer one patty with cheese and 1/2 oz chiles, place a second patty on top.
Seal together by pressing the edges carefully.
Continue to make a total of 4 stuffed burgers.
Spray pam on the BBQ grill.

Cook on LOW BBQ, turning carefully so as not to pop them open and lose the cheesy goodness.
Top with additonal Jack cheese if desired.
Serve on a toasted onion roll.
Fatty McFatFats we are, we top with two slices of jack cheese, tomato and avocado.


Dallas Cowboy in a Jar

Dallas' Cowboy in-a Jar
1 1/3 cups quick oats
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
¾ cup chopped pecans
¾ cup milk chocolate chips
Combine the next four ingredients together to count as the one top ingredient when layering:
1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
Layer ingredients in the same order they are written here.
Use a one quart wide mouth mason jar.

Be sure to press each layer firmly in place before adding the next layer.
I use a scrap of gingham fabric tied with ribbon over the cap

and a clear label that I’ve pre-printed on the computer with the following baking instructions.
Empty mix into large bowl.

Use hands to thoroughly blend.
Add 1/2 cup butter - melted, 1 beaten egg, and 2 tsp vanilla extract.
Mix with hands until completely blended.
Scoop into baking sheets sprayed with Pam.
Bake at 350° F. for 9-11 min. Cool 5 min on sheet, then cool on rack.
Yield appx 30 cookies.


Sweet memories of Hanalei Bay

Hawaiian Banana Nut Bread
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 c grated coconut
1 cup canola oil
4 tsp vanilla extract
¾ tsp salt
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1 ½ cups chopped macadamia nuts
1 8 oz can crushed pineapple
Combine flour, salt, baking soda, sugar and cinnamon. Combine remaining ingredients together, add to flour, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured (or use Pam) loaf pans. Bake at 350 F for 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool on wire racks.
So easy!



Teriyaki Chicken

2 ¼ cups soy sauce
1/3 cup canola oil
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp garlic salt
3 tbl honey
4-6 boneless-skinless chicken breasts
In a 13 inch baking dish mix soy sauce, oil, sugar, pepper, ginger and garlic salt. Rinse chicken breasts, cut in half and place in mixture. Cover with foil and bake at 350 F for ½ hour. Remove and turn chicken over. Re-cover with foil and return to oven for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and drain off most of the liquid, saving it in a bowl (for your rice…yum). Leave ¾ to 1 cup of the mixture in the baking dish. Turn chicken over again, and pour the honey over it. Return to the oven, reduce heat to 300 F. Bake for 10 min uncovered. Serve with steamed short grain rice.

Quick Quiche

Green Chile Quiche

¼ cup butter or margarine
5 large eggs
½ cup flour
½ tsp. baking powder
4 oz can green chiles
1 cup cottage cheese
8 oz grated jack cheese
Using the microwave, melt butter in 8” square pan. Beat eggs in a separate bowl; add flour, baking powder, the melted butter, chiles and the cheeses. Stir gently. Pour back into the 8” square pan. Bake at 350 F for 35 min or until a knife inserted comes out clean.


Meow's (curry) Chicken Broc

· 5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
· Poultry seasoning
· Salt, pepper
· 1 TBL Curry powder
· 1 TBL lemon juice
· 1 pound broccoli ‘defrosted’ florets
· 1 can cream of mushroom soup [2 cans if you do not use the cream of chicken]
· NOTE: I use soup with the lowest sodium, least fat I can find
· 1 can cream of chicken soup [optional, use only if you didn’t use two mushroom]
· ¼ cup mayonnaise
· 1 ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese [or cheddar jack]
· ¾ cup Italian bread crumbs
1. Boil chicken with 2 tsp poultry seasoning, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper.
When tender,cut into bite size pieces.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Steam broccoli for approx 2 minutes. You only want to defrost it. It will cook in the dish and you don’t want it mooshy. Make sure to drain it thoroughly on paper towels so the dish doesn’t get too thin.
4. In a small bowl mix together the soup, ¾ cup of the cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice and curry. Set aside.
5. In a 9x13 inch baking dish layer half the chicken, half the broccoli, half the soup mixture, and yes, half of the remaining cheese.
6. Then make a second layer of chicken, broccoli, soup mix, cheese. Top the whole thing with Italian bread crumbs.
7. Cover loosely with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
8. Raise oven temp to 425, remove foil and cook 10-15 more minutes, until toasty.
9. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.


4 eggs
1/4 cup white sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon canola oil for dough
2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt1 cup [at least] canola oil for frying
1 cup white sugar mixed with
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mix eggs with 1/4 cup sugar and beat until thick.

Add 1 tsp. vegetable oil.
In a separate bowl combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the baking powder, and the salt. Gradually add this to the egg mixture and beat well.
Turn dough out onto a floured board

(use remaining 1/2 cup flour – you will likely need a bit more, no worry) and knead with heavily floured hands until smooth.
Shape dough into about a dozen balls.

Roll each one into a circle about 6" in diameter.

Let stand uncovered on wax paper for about 5 minutes.
Place a clean lintless kitchen towel - the flour sack kind like grandma always gave you for Christmas - over your bended knee [lift one foot up onto a stool or chair you silly].

One by one stretch each circle out as much as possible by gently pulling it from the center outwards, over your knee on the cloth.
Do not worry if a few small holes develop.

Dough should be very thin in the middle, thicker on the perimeter.

Heat oil in a deep fry pan to 350 degrees.

Fry until golden brown, turning once with a long handled thin pronged fork [like a bbq fork]. Drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle with sugar/cinnamon mixture, store loosely covered so they do not get soggy.
Best to eat within a day or two, at least that's what the kids say ....



PREP: Grille the chilis.
Turn them occasionally so that they get toasty and crispy on all sides.
They might seemed ‘burnt’. Don’t worry, you don’t use the outside.
When toasted, place them on a damp towel and put a second damp towel [I use an old cloth napkin] on top. Press gently.
The towels will steam the skins off. You will hear the chili ‘pop’.
Peel them, cut the stem off and set the chili aside or remove the seeds.
The seeds are the hottest part and serranos are hotter than jalapenos.
You decide if you want to remove the seeds.
Cut the skinned chilis up in strips.
One part grilled mashed chilis to two parts green Ortega chilis.Put into food processor.
Remove to large bowl.
Add at least 6 parts tiny
diced tomatoes.
Add 4 parts tomatillo sauce. I use canned
One large red onion, diced small.
An entire bunch of cilantro – leaves, try to remove stems. Chop tiny as well.
Few dashes of pepper, salt, garlic salt and lemon pepper.
If you want to make ahead to freeze, leave out the cilantro and add it the day you will be using.
See? Easy peasy!


flour tortillas

Meow's Flour Tortillas
5 cups unbleached flour
½ cup shortening
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ cups boiling water
Bit of extra sifted flour for rolling
In a large bowl, sift flour and salt together.
Mix in the shortening by hand until the mixture is the texture of oatmeal.
Pour the boiling water in.
Mix by hand or with pastry hook.
Knead until the dough does not stick to your fingers, using bits of the extra flour until the dough is smooth.
Make balls the size of golf balls.
Lay on wax paper, cover with a cloth.
Let stand for at least 1 hour, no more than 8 hours.
Heat a flat griddle to high heat.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out a tortilla to your preferred thinness.
Place on the ungreased griddle for about 10 seconds, as soon as you see am air bubble on the top, flip the tortilla over.
Let it cook for about 30 seconds, then flip it back over and cook the first side for another 30 seconds.
Roll out the next tortilla while you wait for that one to cook.
Repeat until all of the balls have been cooked.
Best eaten right off the griddle.