Sunday, November 25, 2012

Michael's Chocolate Syrup

My grandson, Michael, is allergic to milk.  He LOVES chocolate soymilk, but likes to make his own.  This nifty little recipe is easy to make and keep on hand.  We store it in a "re-used" creamer bottle with a flip-top lid.


2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 2/3 cups white sugar
1 1/4 cups water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan and boil for 1 minute while stirring. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Use to make chocolate soy milk {or regular milk}, or in place of chocolate syrup in any recipe. Michael chooses his own amount...  I'd guess about 1 Tablespoon in an 8 oz. glass.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Corn Cakes

The first time I had corn cakes similar to these was in a spiffy bed and breakfast in Salt Lake City. They were served with spicy black beans on top. They were a wonderful and new experience.  I searched for a recipe and tried out many variations and finally came up with this.  They can be savory or sweet depending on your choice of topping. 

Corn Cakes {makes 6-7 cakes}

Slice and cook 6 slices of bacon with 1/3 cup chopped onion.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine:
         1 cup flour
         ¼ cup diced green chili
         1 t. baking powder
         ½ t. salt
         a pinch of cayenne

Stir in:

         2/3 cup milk
         1 egg, slightly beaten
         1 T. oil
         1 can whole kernel corn
         2/3 cup shredded cheese, your choice

Add:  cooked, drained bacon and onion

Cook on 350° griddle by 1/3 cup.

Serve with maple syrup, melted jalapeno jelly, salsa & sour cream, or black beans.  Your choice, savory or sweet!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cari's Bean Dip

I teach school and let me tell you, school teachers are some of the best cooks alive.  They know many quick and easy recipes that taste like they took all day when, in reality, they took only minutes.  This is one of them.

Cari’s Bean Dip

1 can white corn (drained)
1 can black beans (rinse & drain)
3 green onions, chopped
¼ cup chopped cilantro
6 diced roma tomatoes
2 diced avocados
1 package Good Seasons dry Italian salad dressing mix

Stir together. Refrigerate to allow flavors to blend.
Serve with chips of any kind.

Cranberry Relish

My long-time friend Suzie is a WONDERFUL cook!  {She's even writing a book!}  This recipe is hers.

Cranberry Relish

1 bag fresh cranberries
1 orange, peeled
1 apple, cored
3/4 cup sugar or 1/2 cup sugar substitute (spenda, etc.)

Blend to desired consistency.  We like ours a little coarse.

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We eat this as a Thanksgiving side, on sandwiches, and sometimes just plain.
It's good with any meat, fowl, or fish.

It is wonderful frozen in ice cube trays and added to 7-up or ginger ale for a light and delicious punch.

Chocolate Gobs

I have 4 brothers and these cookies are their favorite, hands down.  I have many fond memories of my mom having these coming out of the oven when we arrived home from school.

Chocolate Gobs
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
8 T. cocoa
4 cups flour
2 t. soda
1 ½ cups milk

Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and vanilla. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk. Drop on greased cookie sheet with a teaspoon (rounded). Bake @ 350° for 15 minutes. Spread filling between two cookies, bottom sides together.


1 cup margarine
1 pound powdered sugar
4 Tablespoons of flour
4 teaspoons of milk
4 teaspoons of vanilla

Cream ingredients together. Spread between cookies.

Ginger Cream Cookies

These yummy cookies are comfort food for my daughter Emily.  
I believe she likes the process of making them as much as she does eating and sharing them.  She makes them often and we all enjoy the results!

Ginger Cream Cookies

3/4 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter

Add and continue to cream:
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses

Add & mix:
4 cups flour
2 Tablespoon of ginger, powdered
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Roll into balls. Roll in sugar if desired.
Bake @ 350° for 9-11 minutes.
Use silpat or parchment paper to line cookie sheet.
Cool on wire rack. Store in cookie jar.

Diana’s Delicious Bread

Diana is my neighbor and my friend.  She willingly shared this flexible recipe with me and 18 young ladies who needed bread-making lessons.  We used both Kitchen Aid and Bosch mixers and it worked well in both styles of machine with Diana’s expert directions.

Diana’s Delicious Bread

If you use a Bosch mixer the dry ingredients go in first.  If you are using a Kitchen Aid or other hook down mixer, the wet ingredients go in first.  
With that in mind, allow the following to
knead for at least 20 minutes
in your machine.

8 cups of flour
2 T. SAF instant yeast
1 T. salt
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup powdered milk
3 ½ cups very warm water
2 eggs
1 cup softened (NOT melted) butter or margarine

Allow bread to rise double in the bowl, covered with a towel.  Turn on mixer to punch down.
Form rolls or loaves.  Allow to rise again.

Bake @ 425° for about 20 min.

As all bread makers know, measurements and times are approximate in bread making.  These things are often weather, elevation and temperature related so try it once and adjust for your area.
This recipe will yield 2 loaves or 2-dozen rolls. If you want to make sweet rolls (cinnamon rolls, orange rolls, etc.) double the sugar in the dough recipe.

Yard Sale Cookies

I love to go to yard sales in the summer or really any time of the year! One day when out and about we happened to purchase some yummy little cookies.  We liked them so well that we went back and bought all the rest and asked for the recipe.  They obliged, and here it is.

Yard Sale Cookies

1 devils food cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup shortening
1, 8oz. package of cream cheese

1 store bought can of vanilla frosting

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Mix first four ingredients. Roll dough into smallish balls, maybe 3/4 of an inch-ish. Bake 8-10 minutes.  Cool. stick 2 together with frosting.

Any flavor of cake and frosting may be used.

Gingersnap Dip

I don't remember where or when I acquired this tasty recipe, but it's fun to serve in a little hollowed out pumpkin.

Gingersnap Dip

8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
8 oz cool whip
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Mix together well.  Serve with gingersnaps, ginger cream cookies {see recipe on this blog}, or even plain old graham crackers.

*Mini chocolate chips are a fun addition, but I like it best plain.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Skunk-B-Gone {Odor Remover}

My friend, Dottie, shared this recipe with me when I was busy training a puppy.  It will remove a yucky smell from nearly anything.  She's even bathed her dogs with it when they've encountered a skunk. And it WORKS!!  I've used it in a variety of places with on both hard and soft surfaces.  It's truly amazing.

1, 16 oz bottle of peroxide (the kind you bathe wounds with)
2 cups of water
1 Tablespoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid (the plain old blue stuff)
2 Tablespoons of baking soda

I keep this in a spray bottle to use on any yucky smelling spots.  Spray, scrub, and rinse.  It works.

Chinese Chicken Casserole

Marilyn was my neighbor for many years. She was in a "Literary Club" and made this delicious casserole for an evening event.  I was delighted when she shared the recipe. {I would guess that this recipe was popular in the 1950's.}

This is what I often take when  "taking in a meal."  :)  It's quick, tasty, and old fashioned comfort food.

Marilyn's Chinese Chicken Casserole

3 cups cooked, diced chicken
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1, 6 oz. package dry chow mein noodles
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 can of evaporated milk
1 can Chicken with Rice soup
1/2 cup sour cream

Mix the above. Place in prepared open 9x13 or equivalent casserole dish.

Sprinkle with the following stirred together:

1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup dry stuffing mix

Bake at 350° for 1 hour.

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Banham Green Salsa

This fabulous recipe was share by my dear friend, Wanda, who received a version of it from her neighbor Doris.... So, from Doris to Wanda to Dana. :)

About 20 (2 lbs) tomatillos, husked and washed
2-4 Anaheim peppers, seeded
4-6 jalapeno peppers, seeded

Bring to a slow boil and boil for 14 minutes. Drain and cool.

When cool, blend in a blender with

1 diced onion
2 cloves fresh minced garlic (not whole bulbs, just 2 cloves :)
salt and pepper to taste

Blend till smooth.

Pour into bowl and fold in

1/2 bunch chopped fresh cilantro (more or less to taste)
3-5 diced avocados

Serve at room temperature with chips of your choice.

Monday, September 3, 2012

White Silk Purse Laundry Soap - Powdered Version

1 bar Fels Naptha Soap
1 cups Borax
1 cups Arm & Hammer WASHING Soda


Grate one bar of the Fels Naptha with a food processor.

{Yes, you can use the same one you use for food! What do you think it gets washed in when you wash it otherwise?SOAP!}

Remove the grating wheel and put in the knife wheel.  Whirr it about a few seconds and your soap will look like tiny balls.  Add one cup of Borax and one cup of WASHING soda.  Whirr again.  Now it will look like powder with little yellow flecks.

2 teaspoons does a load.  A soup spoon usually holds two teaspoons.

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To make things simple at my house I make LOTS of this at once.
Here is the 
Super Duper Recipe:

6 bars Fels Naptha Soap, grated
1 box Borax
1 box Arm & Hammer WASHING Soda

Follow the above directions.
Yes, I know the measurements aren't exact, but it works like a charm.
I see no reason to make a tiny batch when I can spend a few more minutes  and make it all at once.

My son and I made enough to last both of our families for a year {or more} in a little under 2 hours.
FYI: That was a triple batch of the Super Duper Recipe for each of us!

White Silk Purse Laundry Soap - Paste Version

~ makes 4 quarts {one gallon} of concentrate ~
~  that's 256 loads of laundry! ~

2 bars Fels Naptha
2 cups 20 Mule Team Borax
2 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
6 cups of hot water (+ more water as needed)

Put 6 cups of water on to heat. It will almost boil by the time you are done.  While the water is heating, grate the Fels Naptha.  I cut the bars in half the long way and run them through my food processor with the grater attachment, but it could be grated by hand. Add the soap to the water that is heating, and stir frequently.  This part takes 10 – 15 minutes.  Keep stirring until the soap is completely melted. Don’t let this boil or you’ll have soap all over the place. (Don’t ask!)

When the soap has melted turn off the heat and add the Borax and the Washing Soda. (Do not confuse Washing Soda with baking soda.  They are NOT the same.  Washing Soda is in the laundry aisle.) Stir and stir and stir. You will stir for about three minutes.  The powders will dissolve into the liquid.

Pour the liquid equally into 4 quart jars. Now, add just enough water to bring the contents up to the “shoulders” of the jar.  This will leave about 1 ½ inches of headspace.  Put lids on the jars and let them sit overnight (about 8 hours).

The soap in the jars will separate while it is standing. This is OK. There will be firm soap on top and kind of gel-like soap on the bottom. Sometimes "crystals" form at the bottom of the jar -- don't worry.

This next part is really quite fun.  Take one of the jars and cut up the firm soap.  I just stick a knife down into the jar and cut it up like a pie. Next, pour all of this into the mixing bowl of your electric mixer (I have a BOSCH). Then,  pour about 1/4 cup of water into the quart jar and swish it around to get all the rest of the soap out.  If there are crystals, I use HOT water and stir a bit. I add this to the mixture too.

 Start on the lowest speed of your mixer and increase  the speed gradually.  Your result will be something that looks like really thick, pale yellow whipped cream. You will need to scrape the sides down with a spatula a few times to get it all the way blended/mixed. It's like creaming the butter, sugar and eggs when you make cookies. (I can blend/mix two jars at a time in my Bosch bowl.) If needed add a bit of water to get the correct consistency.

Spoon the now blended soap back into the quart jar(s).  Your jar(s) will be all the way full now and you may even have a little more for another jar. Pop a lid onto the jar(s) and your soap will keep indefinitely. It gets a little firmer in the jar when it sits, but it stays spoonable.

One tablespoon is all it takes for a full load of wash.  This works well in HE washers too.  For stains, rub a small amount directly into the stain and launder as usual.

**You may add essential oils if you like  fragrance.

Saturday, August 18, 2012



16 cups of water
1 1/2 cups WASHING Soda (this is NOT baking soda)
1 cup Borax
1/2 cup Dr. Brenner's Pure Liquid Castile Soap (fragrance of your choice)
¼ cup TSP  (A powdered cleaner found in the paint department, it is generally used to clean wood before painting.)


1) Bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in washing soda, borax, TSP and liquid castile soap until dissolved.

2) Allow to cool.

3) Pour cooled dishwasher soap into containers of your choice. It will "gel" up over next 24 - 48 hours. Be sure to leave headspace in your containers to allow shaking before using.

To use:

Give dishwasher soap a good shake to make sure everything is mixed well and to make it easy to pour out.

Use 1 rounded tablespoon in the closed soap dispenser. This batch will last a long time! –There are 256 tablespoons in a gallon!

**Both Washing Soda and Borax are available in the laundry aisle at the grocery store. I couldn’t find Dr. Brenner's Pure Liquid Castile Soap locally, so ordered from Amazon.  It comes in many fragrance choices.

Tomato Basil Soup

I  I found this delicious recipe on the “How Does She” blog.  Everyone at our house thinks it is divine!

2 (28 oz) cans of whole tomatoes (reserve juice)
 OR use diced
2 TB brown sugar

4 TB butter

1 small onion chopped

2 TB tomato paste

2-3 TB flour

2 (15 oz) cans or one carton of chicken stock/broth

2 fresh red peppers roasted*

1 cup prepared pesto

1 1/2 cups half and half (low fat or fat free substitutes fine)

*Note: to roast peppers, cut them in half, clean out the seeds, and place them skin side up on a broiler pan. Broil them for about 20-25 minutes or until you notice the majority of the skin turning black. Don’t be alarmed, they’re not burned! Remove from oven and let cool in a bowl lined with a damp dishcloth and the dishcloth folded over the peppers. When cool enough to handle, peel off the black skins, and cut in large chunks. DO NOT skip the red peppers, they’re the secret ingredient!

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil. Squeeze the seeds out of tomatoes and discard.  Arrange the tomatoes on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with brown sugar. Bake until liquid is evaporated and tomatoes caramelize (about 30 min).

Heat butter, onion, and tomato paste in large pot. Saute until onions soften.   Add flour and cook for 1 minute.  Gradually add chicken stock and reserved tomato juice.  Bring to a boil. Add tomatoes and peppers and puree until smooth with an immersion blender, or remove from pot in small batches and puree in a food processor or blender. Return to pot, simmer 15 minutes. Five minutes before serving, add pesto and half and half.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Stabilized Whipped Cream

This version of whipped cream lasts for several days without losing its shape or getting soupy.  I really like the stiffer texture on (and in) desserts.
Stabilized Whipped Cream
2 tsp unflavored gelatin

8 tsp cold water

2 c heavy whipping cream (very cold)

1/2 c confectioners' sugar

1 tsp clear vanilla extract
Combine gelatin and cold water in small saucepan. Let stand until thick. Place over low heat, stirring constantly just until gelatin dissolves.

Remove from heat and cool slightly. Whip cream, sugar and vanilla until slightly thickened. While beating slowly, gradually add gelatin to whipped cream mixture. Whip at high speed until stiff. Yield: 4 cups
Cakes iced with whipped cream must be kept refrigerated. 
(This is the commercial recipe used by bakeries).

Drunken Noodles

This is a Thai dish that derives it's name from the hot and spicy sauce that makes one so very thirsty while eating this dish.  This version does not drive one to drink, but a tall glass of water is a good addition to this meal. :)

1 16 oz. pkg fettucine noodles
(rice noodles)

2 cups finely cubed chicken breast
(I have the butcher cut it up for me, a little smaller than half inch cubes.)

2 T. vegetable or olive oil

1 well rounded T. minced garlic

1 Anaheim pepper seeded and chopped

½  red bell pepper diced

1 cup matchstick carrots

1 cup bean sprouts

1 cup mushroom slices

4 T  hoisin sauce

3 T fish sauce

2 T low sodium soy sauce

1 T chili garlic sauce

4 t. sugar

¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

fresh squeezed juice of one lime

Cook noodle according to package directions.  Drain when cooked.

While pasta boils, sauté chicken in oil over high heat until chicken is very nearly done and beginning to brown. Remove from pan.

Add garlic and begin to sauté. After 30 seconds add remaining vegetables.
Stir fry to desired doneness.

In the meanwhile, mix/stir hoisin sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and sugar in a small bowl.

When vegetables are nearly done add chicken back in and pour sauce over all. Continue to stir for about one or two minutes till sauce is hot and sugar is dissolved.

Pour chicken and vegetables in sauce over the cooked noodles.
Top with fresh basil and lime juice.
Toss and serve.
About 4-6 servings

Pineapple-Citrus Salsa

1 8oz can pineapple tidbits            2 green onions, diced
1 T. brown sugar                     1 T. lemon juice
1 11oz can mandarin oranges        1 jalapeno pepper, diced
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro           salt and pepper to taste
1 T. pineapple juice (reserved from above)

Drain pineapple and mandarin oranges. Combine with remaining ingredients. Serve with chips, fish, or meat.

Deb's Mac & Cheese

My friend Deb is a FABULOUS cook.  This easy Mac & Cheese is absolutely wonderful and EASY!

1 package (1lb) macaroni, cooked
1 pound (or more) shredded cheese
1 can evaporated milk
salt & pepper to taste

Put 1/2 of cooked macaroni in a casserole dish.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and shredded cheese to your liking. Repeat one more time. Pour 1 can of evaporated milk over all. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.
Let stand for about 10 minutes and serve.

*If you use mixed cheeses use and additional 1/2 can of milk.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Blueberry Scones

2 cups flour
¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Zest of ½ lemon
½ cup cold butter chopped into small cubes
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup milk
½ cup blueberries fresh or frozen

Zest of ½ lemon
Fresh Lemon Juice – just a little
Sugar to make a paste/crumbly topping

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C and mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and salt.

2. Rub the butter in with your fingertips until you have a mixture of small and medium-sized balls of butter. Having medium-sized balls of butter in your dough is what will make the scones flaky – very important!

3. Pour the milk, egg and blueberries into the bowl and mix until just combined, we don’t want to destroy the balls of butter.

4. Separate your dough into 8 pieces and form each piece into a ball. Place each ball onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and slightly flatten with the palm of your hand. Make sure your scones are well spaced  – they will bake outwards.

5. For the sugar topping, rub together the lemon zest, juice and sugar. Brush a little milk over the tops of the scones then pat on the sugar topping. Press it down with your fingers or the back of a spoon to make sure it sticks.

6. Bake for around 20 minutes or until the scones are golden brown. Leave to cool slightly on a wire rack and serve warm.

**  I can’t stand to put my hands in flour.  I reminds me of the way I feel when I hear scratching on a chalkboard.  YIKES!!  I have found that a pair of disposable kitchen gloves allows me to “rub” the flour and butter the way it needs to happen for perfect scones.  A machine just doesn’t do the trick.