Monday, July 2, 2012

Card-Spiration using a Gorjuss Stamp

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Heaven Must be Missing a Brownie

These are the best brownies we've tasted, better than from a bakery! I found the recipe in an old box of recipes I received from a friend. These brownies are fully loaded and not for those weak of willpower or strong on cholesterol. The name of the brownies and the notations on the card from the original baker urged me to give them a try.

The original baker's notes on the recipe card are "Wonderful" ... "Yummy" ... "These really MUST be from Heaven!"

I totally agree.

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teas. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar (I used a hand mixer). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and coca in another bowl; add to creamed mixture just until combined. Stir in walnuts if desired.
Spread into an ungreased 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 23-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

1/2 cup butter, softened
3-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1/4 cup milk

1 teas vanilla extract

For frosting, in a mixing bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar, cocoa, milk and vanilla until smooth. Spread over brownies. Cut into bars. Yields 2 dozen bars.

My notes: I sieved the cocoa powder and flour together to break up any cocoa clumps and for a good mix of the two; I did not add walnuts to this batch but they would make a welcome addition, as would pecans or almonds.
To cut down on some fat and calories: You can use margarine as a substitute for the butter; I substituted 1% for the milk; I would assume you could substitute egg product for the eggs.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Watergate Salad

Watergate Salad

1 (3.4 oz) pkg instant pistachio pudding mix
1 *8 oz) can crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 (8 oz) container of low-fat, frozen whipped topping.

In medium bowl, mix together dry pudding mix, pineapple with juice; add marshmallows and walnuts; fold in whipped topping and chill. Garnish with marachino cherries, if desired.

This is a sweet, fluffy salad that was popular in the 1970s. Many think it is named after the Nixon spying debacle, Watergate, but really is named after the hotel where the spying occurred, the Watergate Hotel. No matter, you will love this tasty salad, which goes well with baked ham, pork ribs or lamb dishes. I lightened up the salad a bit using fat-free whipped topping.
This delicious salad about 2 minutes to prepare and will wow your family or dinner guests ... trust me on this ... "I am not a crook!" :)

Suicide Bars

Suicide Bars
or Fabulous Fudge Bars
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup softened butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups quick cooking or regular oats

12-oz pkg. of semisweet or milk chocolate chips
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees ... grease 9x13 pan
Mix brown sugar, 1 cup butter, eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, soda, salt and oats. Reserve 1/3 mixture. Press rest of mixture in greased pan.
Heat chocolate chips, milk and 2 Tbsp. butter until melted, stirring constantly (if using microwave, cook in 30 second increments, stirring between). Stir in nuts and 1 tsp. vanilla. Spread over oatmeal mixture in pan. Drop reserved oatmeal mixture by rounded teaspoonfuls onto chocolate mixture. Bake 25-30 minutes or until slightly golden.

For years now, a local desert cafe, Bread & Chocolate, has served Suicide Bars, an oatmeal/cookie bar with fudge and caramel centers. The cafe caught a lot of flak for the name and a few years ago, renamed the ooey-gooey treat "Fabulous Fudge Bars."
Several years ago, the St. Paul Pioneer Press published Bread & Chocolate's original recipe and I thought I died and went to heaven! I make them for super special occasions when I know I'll have a lot of help eating them. When you taste this bar, you'll understand where the original name, Suicide Bars, comes from: You'll want to eat the whole pan of goodies.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Organizing my Spices

I've been trying to come up with a way to organize my spice rack and have wanted to use small tins, labeled and placed in a easy-to-reach spot. My spice cupboard had become so disorganized and jam-packed with jars, boxes, bags and bins of spices that it took up too much time to find and pull the spices and herbs needed for cooking and baking. One day this summer, while I was digging through one of six "junk" drawers in my kitchen I realized I was wasting a handy, accessible spot that could be better utilized for my spices and herbs.
I decided to clean out one of the larger drawers, purchase some tins, and organize the most-used spices and herbs. I watched Craigslist and found 35 tins for $12, sold by a woman who had recently married and used the tins for party favors. Super great deal!! I cut out circles from patterned scrapbooking paper to cover the tops of the tins; typed up the list of spices and herbs and glued the names to the top of the tins. I cleared out my junk drawer and I now have a convenient, accessible spice drawer. I love it and it saves me tons of time while cooking and baking.
Now, my cupboard holds the ingredients that I use seasonally such as pickling spice, barbecue spices and baking supplies like cardamom. It's a great system and I no longer go through bottle after bottle trying to find my seasonings.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Barbecue Sauce Using Water-Bath Canning Process

This is a sweet and slightly tangy sauce that's even better than my favorite local sauce-man's, Pastor Hamilton! I quadrupled the recipe and was able to put up 4 pint jars. It only took a 30-minute water-bath to can.

BBQ Sauce
1 c. Heinz Ketchup (Our favorite)
1/2 c. Molasses
1/4 c. Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 c. Dijon Mustard (Any brown mustard of choice)
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/8 tsp. Hot Sauce (Tabasco)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Makes about 2 cups of sauce. (16 oz. Mason Jar)
Use for basting or marinating ribs, chops, chicken, burgers, hot dogs or smokies.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Custom-Made Denim Shower Curtains

I wanted denim shower curtains in indigo,but could not find anything in stores or online that didn't have a top-stitched Western look to them. Unsatisfied with what was out there, I decided to make them myself.
My denim and shantung-trimmed shower curtains beautifully compliment the Mongolian Desert Slate vignette and trim in our new bathroom.
I Made two panels, 78x82 allowing for 3 inch hems on either side and 6-inch hem at the bottom. A standard shower curtain is 72 x 72 but because we used an L-shaped shower rod, hung from the ceiling, the curtains needed to be 72x76. The width of the denim is 60 inches so I had to purchase the extra yardage, which I cut in half to sew down the side of each panel.
I purchased 6-3/4 yards of Mesa Indigo denim at my local Joann store. Regularly $25/yard, I used a 50% off coupon and got it for $12.49/yard.
The striped shantung and upholstery trim that I used came from my stash.
I purchased Dritz shower curtain grommets at Joann, easily installed with a hammer and board and the tools that come with the grommets.

Bathroom Mirror Frame-Out

We're putting the finishing touches on our bathroom remodel. Framing this mirror has been something I've wanted to do for a few years now. I purchased carved framing at frame #W-730-55. I measured the height and width of the frame and ordered pieced to those lengths. THe company cuts the framing as if you will be dropping the mirror into the frame, I wanted to reduce the surface of the mirror so I had them cut the pieces to exact size.
If the frame underside is light colored, paint it black or it will show in the mirror. I used an epoxy glue to glue frame to mirror. Beginning with the bottom piece, apply glue in a zig-zag along the back of the frame. You will need to hold piece in place for about 10-15 minutes, Use blue painters tape at 4-in intervals to hold piece in place for a complete bond. This bottom piece will anchor the sides and top pieces so let this dry & bond overnight.
After 12 hours of bonding, glue and place the two sides, tape with painters tape and then glue and tape the top piece. Do not walk away! Stay with this for 10-15 minutes to avoid slippage of frame pieces. Cost for project: Framing $140.00 Glue $6.00. Total: $146.00