Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Heat

The Summer heat is becoming oppressive!

I'm not complaining, as it hasn't been the squelcher it was last year.

But multiple days of 100 degrees doesn't put me in a happy place.

And two weeks of no air conditioner doesn't help either.
When it gets this hot we start doing less and less.
It's the "law of Summer."
With that said, I just wanted to give a heads up that I'll be taking a couple of weeks off from cooking and posting!
I'm going to use this time to re-do the look of the blog:

Hopefully I will figure out how to add a few "feature" buttons,
change some things around,
re-do the color,
and anything else that strikes my fancy!

I'll be back, up and posting, before you can say lickety-split!  However, if you're in desperate need of a recipe, there are over 300 posts that you can scroll through to see if there's anything you forgot about!
Until then, kick back, drink plenty of water, and stay cool!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Strawberry Romanoff Sauce . . . like La Madeleine!

I adore the strawberry romanoff at La Madeleine!
It's so French-y!
Not that I've ever been to France to know if something is "French-y"
but in my mind, that's what it's like!

Cobblestone walkways,
Chefs in floppy white hats,
fresh fruits and pastries . . .
 . . . and fabulous cream that you would be willing to lick off the floor.

That's Strawberry Romanoff.

A year or two ago I thought, "there can't be much to that sauce."

When I think "much to that . . . "  what I'm really saying is "Surely I can figure something out that's somewhat close!"

Remember the Primo body sprays from the 80's -- you know, the ones that said, "If you love Giorgio, then you'll love Primo!" 

Well, that's kind of what I mean when I say close!  As in, if you had the sauces side by side, you could probably surely tell the difference; but if you were going for a "Oh my word!  That's like La Madeleine!"  Then you'd have it!

Enough explaining about it; here's the recipe!

Strawberry Romanoff

1 cup strawberries, hulled and rinsed
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cream OR 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Rinse berries and trim stems with a paring knife.

Mix remaining ingredients and let stand for 2 to 3 minutes.

Put berries in stemmed glass and top with sauce.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Oreo Poke Cake

This is all over Pinterest.

It's called "Oreo Poke Cake."

It's a similar concept of "Holy Cow Cake," or "Better than Sex" cake . . .or whatever you call this type of cake!

Three reasons to make this cake:
  1. It's easy.
  2. It's not "heavy" -- so you can eat more of it . . .if you wanted too!
  3. It's versitile.  This is only the beginning of the possible flavor combinations!
I made this over the 4th of July celebration.

Not everyone ate it . . . but those who did, really liked it!

You might be wondering, "Who wouldn't eat that cake?"

I know, right?

It looks delicious!

It's moist.

It's creative!

It's my mom . . .she wouldn't try it.  She said, "Uhhh, that's way too much chocolate for me!"


Oreo Poke Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix (with listed ingredients)
2 large boxes oreo instant pudding
4 cups of cold milk
1 small container cool whip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make cake, according to directions on the back of the box.  Baking in a 9X13 pan.

Measure out the milk and have ready.

Pour the dry pudding into a large bow.

Once the cake is done, remove from the oven.

Mix the milk and pudding together, stirring until it begins to thicken.  Allow it to sit a couple of minutes to thicken a bit.  You don't want it thick like pudding, but you don't want it runny either. 

Using a wooden spoon, poke holes in the cake.  (I probably do 6-8 holes across and 8-10 holes down.)

After poking the holes, pour the pudding mix over the cake.

Allow to cool completely.

Frost with whipped topping, if desired, and top with crumbled oreo cookies.

Keep refrigerated.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Easy Apple Crescents

This is one of the easiest desserts you'll ever make . . .

and you'll be surprised at how well people like it!

Personally, I'm not an apple pie lover, but these little desserts, I like.

Maybe it's because the fruit to dough ratio can be a little skewed.

Maybe I can add as much cinnamon/sugar as I want.

Maybe I'm just weird and there's really no difference between the two!

This recipe is great because you can let little hands help you!  Matter of fact, the little hands can do the whole thing and you can just supervise!  Also, this recipe is easily halved . . .which is what I do a majority of the time!

I like to serve this with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of warmed caramel sauce (actually, I prefer the buttermilk syrup . . . )

Easy Apple Crescents

2 whole Granny Smith Apples
2 cans (8 Oz. Cans) Crescent Rolls
2 sticks Butter
1-1/2 cup Sugar
2-4 tsp. Cinnamon, or to taste
1 can (12 Oz.) Sprite, 7-up, or Mountain Dew

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash and core the apples.  You can peel them too, but I don't.  Cut each apple into 8 slices each. 

Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. 

Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan. 

Melt butter, then add sugar and cinnamon and stir until combined.  Pour  the entire mixture over apples. Pour the soda around the edges of the pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top or use a bit of caramel.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Basil Butter

The other night, we had corn on the cob.

In the Summer, we have a lot of corn on the cob.

Corn on the Cob is the official Summer Veggie!

Along with the corn, we grilled out steak.

I remember that there are many who will put a pat of butter on the steak once it's grilled.

I don't do that.

But that made me start thinking about butter.

So I made a compound butter for dinner.

"Compound butter" is a fancy french cooking term for mixing butter and something else together.

I made a compound butter for our corn on the cob.

My girl cherub smeared a smidge on her steak too.

She said it was good.

She prides herself on trying new things!

The recipe I'm giving you is simply what I made last night . . . you can easily increase the quantities for whatever you need.  It's simply a "by taste" thing ---!  This served my family of 4 with a bit left over.

Go forth and compound!

Basil Butter
3 TBSP butter, softened
2-3 tsp. basil (I used my squeeze basil from the refrigerator)
sprinkle of sea salt (very lightly!)
a twist or two of fresh ground pepper

Place softened butter in a bowl.

Add the seasonings.

Stir together well.  Taste; adjust accordingly.  (We like basil, so there was no mistaking there was basil in the butter!)

Refrigerate until ready to use.  I had mine in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes . . . so don't worry, this can be a last minute thing!

Serve on corn, french bread, chicken, noodles, etc!  Be creative!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Quick Cookies

Sometimes you need a quick dessert.

You don't have the time, interest, or necessarily the ingredients to make something from scratch.

And let's face it; sometimes the people you are cooking for can't tell the difference anyway -- so save your time and go with something easy!

The Betty Crocker Sugar cookie mix is a great mix to have on hand.  They're about 2.00, normally, but you can find them on sale for 1.00.

That's when to stock up on a few to have on-hand.

The purpose of the cookie mix is to simplify the way you improve it.

We'll take the mix and use as the base, and then add flavorings, mix-ins, and such and come up with a semi-homemade cookie!

Sandra Lee has made a whole cooking show about this! 

Who knew!

Quick Cookies

1 Betty Crocker Sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 TBSP flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place cookie mix, butter, egg, flour, and flavoring of choice in a bowl.  With a mixer, blend everything together.  If your mix seems a little dry, add just a smidge more of the flavoring or a smidge of milk.

Stir in desired mix-ins.

Scoop by tablespoonful and bake 8-11 minutes.  DO NOT OVER BAKE!

Allow to cool 3 minutes on baking pan before transferring to cooling rack.


*Combination suggestions (or anything else that floats your boat!):
  • 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips, 1/3 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/4 tsp. fiori di sicilia, 1/3 cup dried craisins, 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 cup m&m's
  • 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/3 cup chocolate chips, 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. vanilla-nut, 1/3 cup toasted and chopped pecans
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract, 1/3 cup toasted, slivered, and chopped almonds
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract, 1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Warm Grilled Chicken and Corn Salad Wrap

Truth:  in the Summer, I'm more of a "cook once, serve twice" kind of girl.

My family would say it's more of a "cook once, serve as many times as you can!"

Either way, it's too hot to be doing a lot of cooking in the kitchen . .  .and too much baseball to watch!

With the southwest corn dip that my mom made for the 4th of July celebration, we had left-overs.

Because I don't really like left-overs, left-over, I try to re-invent them.

With left-over grilled chicken . . .

Left-over southwest corn dip  . . .

Left-over grated cheese . .  .

 . . . and tortillas,

I created this!
Warm Grilled Chicken and Corn Salad Wrap

Grilled chicken, sliced very thinly against the grain*
Southwest Corn Dip
Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Preheat skillet to medium heat.

Add a smidge of butter; enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Place a tortilla on the counter.  Fill with the corn dip.  Top with the sliced chicken.  Sprinkle with just enough cheese to "hold" it together once melted.

Fold in the 2 sides, then roll the tortilla over until closed.

Place seam side down in hot pan, allowing the butter to coat the tortilla.  Then flip to coat the other side. 

Warm the wrap until golden brown on both sides and heated thoroughly.  (You may have to turn the heat down a bit so that the inside warms without the tortilla burning.)

Serve immediately.

*Leaving the chicken out makes for a very satisfying vegetarian meal.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Southwest Corn Dip

My mom made this for the 4th of July celebration.

This recipe is from a friend of hers . . . .

who got it from a friend . . . .

and so the cycle goes!

After I tasted this corn dip, I hopped on the computer lickety-split fast and asked permission to post.

Thankfully, she said yes!

You are SO lucky!

We've probably all had the corn dip with the mayo and onion and fritos.

It's good.

But I'm thinking this one is better!

I like the black beans in this one.

Maybe that's the secret!

I'm not sure.

Maybe it's because I thought of another way to use this salad.

I'll show you that next!

I didn't make this recipe, but what I do know is that it makes a big bowl!

I think it would be easily halved.  I would use the can of black beans and I would omit the jalapenos but use the entire 4 ounce can of green chilies.

You look at the recipe and see if you agree.

If not, just make it, share it, and enjoy it!

Southwest Corn Dip

4 cans Corn (15 Oz.), Drained
1 can Chopped Chilies (4 Oz), Drained
1 can Chopped Jalapenos (4 Oz), Drained
1 can Black Beans (15 Oz. Can), Drained And Rinsed
1 whole Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1 bunch Scallions, Chopped
1 cup Sour Cream
1 bag Finely Grated Mexican Cheese (8 Oz)
½ bunches Fresh Cilantro, Coarsely Chopped (or To Taste)

Drain corn, chilies and jalapenos.

Put in a large bowl with the beans and tilt the bowl on its side while you chop the other veggies. Add the rest of the veggies and drain – there will be liquid accumulated in the bowl. Stir in the sour cream and grated cheese.

Add the cilantro last.

Refrigerate before serving if you have time and the self-control to keep from eating it.

Serve with  Fritos Scoops or Lime Tostitos.  (We served it with chile fritos.)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Image from the internet.  It was hard for me to roll,
cook, AND take a picture!

I think I've already confessed that I love tortillas.

Flour tortillas.

Warm, flour tortillas.

There isn't much that's better than butter on a tortilla, rolled up, and eaten as a snack

I'm not sure how, when, or why tortillas were invented.

All I can say is, "thank you!"

Many years ago, when my boy cherub was just a little cherub,  he and I went to a cooking class while on vacation in Santa Fe one Summer.

We had a great time.

One of the things we learned to make were tortillas.

Now that I'm helping some little girls learn to cook, I thought it would be fun to teach them how to make the tortillas.

This is such an easy thing to make and you'll be ultra surprised about how much better they taste than the pre-packaged ones.

What I love about making tortillas is you can control how thick you want them.  I generally roll our tortilla dough out to be very thin, but still be able to pick it up and move it to the hot pan without the dough tearing or getting a hole in it.

That's how we like it done at our house.

But you'll find your own tortilla style and there will be no going back!

Flour Tortillas

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 TBSP shortening
3/4 cup hot water

Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Stir together well.  Cut in the shortening until tiny pea-sized pieces are formed.  Add enough hot water, a little at a time, until a soft dough ball forms.  (This is very similar to making pie dough).  Knead until a smooth ball is formed.

Divide the dough into 8 to 10 pieces.  Cover and let stand for 20 minutes.  This is a great time to make some pico de gallo!

Take a ball and flatten to a 5-6 inch circle.  Heat a cast iron skillet or a non-stick pan, to medium high heat. 

Place the tortilla on the hot pan and cook 15 to 20 seconds and then flip to the other side and cook.  You'll notice the dough cooking, also you'll get some golden color on it like the above picture.

Serve immediately.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Red River Lodging

Last year, on our back porch at Cooper King Lodge.
This is not a paid advertisement.

This is not even a compensated advertisement.

I'm doing it because we love where we stay.

Yesterday's post about Red River and the food made me think about where we lodge.

It's called Cooper King Lodge.

It's on the river.

At the end of the street.

The staff is fantastic!  I'm not even kidding!

Clay and Michelle are the owners, and they are great!

The cleaning staff is friendly and efficient!

Our two favorite units to stay in are #11 or #14.

That's just our preference!

Here's some things we like about Cooper King:
  1. Clean, clean, clean.
  2. Self-contained units:  linens, all-but-the-food in the kitchen, t.v., etc.
  3. Non-smoking rooms and no pets.  As in, the entire lodge.
  4. Hot tub.
  5. BBQ grills available.
  6. Walk to everything in town.
Red River is cool!  Literally!  It's July 5 and I just looked at the current weather at 9:30 in the morning, and it's 50 degrees!

50 degrees!!!

Why do you want to stay in the Summer heat when you can go there . . .

 . . .and stay here!  At Cooper King Lodge!

Here's the link to their website.  You can look at photos, check out the rates, and make a reservation!

The deer just roam in and out of town . . . this deer was by
our back porch last year.  My cherubs followed it all around
the lodge taking pictures and trying to pet it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Cowboy Beans

Cowboy Beans before they're cooked to an incredible,
fantastical thick and yummy consistency!

We love going to Red River.

Notice, I didn't say "going to THE Red River . .. . the reddish colored water river that sepearates Texas and Oklahoma .  .. the dividing line between the Sooners and the Longhorns!

But Red River.

As in Red River, New Mexico.

Those of us who endure excrutating summer heat often look for a place to escape in the Summer.

Our favorite mountain town is Red River.

We have our routine when we go.

What we do.

Where we stay.

What we eat.

And this is one of the things we eat.

Cowboy Beans.

Every year we go to "Cowboy Evening" up on Bobcat Pass.  It's a chuckwagon experience with a little entertainment after dinner.

The food is amazing!

As in, "I ain't lyin' to you pardn'r!"  Amazing!

The first year, I won a cookbook.

The cherubs where thrilled!

In it is this recipe that they serve!

It makes a whole heapin' mess a beans. 

So if you're feeding a crowd, you'll be fine!

If you're not feeding a crowd, make them anyways and freeze them in portions you'll use!

Cowboy Evening Beans

1 #10 can of pinto beans (that's a little over 6 pounds of canned beans if you can't find a #10 can!)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin, or more if you prefer
1/4 cup of Claude's Brisket Sauce (this is the secret; it's found on the BBQ/Ketchup Aisle)
1/4 cup molases (or honey)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
dash of liquid smoke (or another dash of Claude's if you don't have it)

Place everything in a large dutch oven and hang over the coals . . .or put it in a crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.