Monday, October 27, 2014


It still feels like summer in Az (91 today) but I'm once again trying to will fall into visiting us. I do this every year. Saturday I made beef stew - and decided I haven't been all that fond of my beef stew recipes all these years. I took some of my old ingredients, added some new and came up with what I think is the best beef stew I have ever made in my life! I think using beef base and wine in the broth did the trick. And not cooking wine - that stuff is NASTY! Now - I'm not a wine drinker and if you have objection to using it in your cooking, you can leave it out (the alcohol cooks out, so don't fret) but I would advise not to. It makes the broth so deep and hearty. 

 If you haven't ever used beef or chicken broth base, you should.  "Better Than Bullion" is good but Costco caries Tones and I think it's just as good. So much better than broth - and you can make it as strong or weak as you like. I make it from the container like the directions say and if you need your broth saltier, add a little more base instead of salt. More depth of flavor - once again.  I also use half chicken and half beef broth. I also cut the carrots in rather large pieces so that those picky eaters in our house there's only 2 of us and it isn't me can pick them out. 


1 1/2-2 lbs. beef stew meat (I cut them smaller than they come from store)
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3  glove garlic, chopped
2-3 ribs of celery cut into chunks

2-3T olive oil

In large stock pot, heat olive oil and saute chopped onion, garlic celery and stew meat just until meat is not pink any longer. Add:

10  cups broth (I use half chicken and half beef)
1/2 cup good red wine (not cooking wine - its awful)
1 1/2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 T. fresh flat leaf parsley (Italian) or 1/2 T. dried parsley
1/2 t. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 t. sugar
coarse black pepper
Kosher salt to taste (I usually add more broth concentrate if it needs salt)

Bring to a soft boil, cover with a lid and simmer on low about an hour until beef is tender.  Add:

1 1/2 lbs cubed red potatoes (don't peel them)
4-5 medium carrots cut into 2 inch chunks

Continue to simmer just until potatoes and carrots are tender.

If you like your broth a little thicker, mix 2 T. cornstarch with a little cold water and quickly stir into hot soup, stirring continually so you don't get chunks.  We like our broth soupy, so I don't thicken it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


I have so many recipes pinned on Pinterest, I think its time I went through them and printed (yes - the old fashioned way to read a recipe). I always think maybe the source they came from will get deleted or someone will cancel their blog.  I found this and pinned it while looking for a different recipe.  This cute girl's name is Kathleen and her cooking blog is  And let me tell you, this bread is good for second or thirds or even fourths.  I only used 1 t. cinnamon, as I don't like my food too "cinnamony".  I know that's not a word.  It makes two loaves and I gave one to a neighbor.  Great fall recipe to use with all the wonderful apples that are appearing. The glaze is so delicious!! This bread is heavy and doesn't raise very high but is so dense, moist and delicious.

Apple Bread with Pecan Praline GlazeYield: 2 Loaves



Make The Bread:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two 8X4 inch baking pans with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the first nine ingredients.  In a separate bowl, mix eggs, oil and vanilla.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and combine. (The batter will be extremely thick). Mix in apples and 1 cup chopped pecans until evenly distributed through batter.
3. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans and smooth out the top of batter with the back of a spoon.  Bake in preheat oven for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean and edges of bread are just pulling away from baking pan.
Make The Glaze:
1. In a heavy bottomed 2 quart saucepan, bring brown sugar, butter and milk to a boil over medium heat. Boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat.
2. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and using a hand held electric mixer beat on medium speed until smooth. Pour half the glaze immediately over each loaf of cooled bread and sprinkle evenly with pecans.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

One Bowl Cocoa Brownies

Following Food Network on Instagram adds excitement to my life.  I get pretty excited about the recipes that come through my feed each day.  Especially when they involve baking.  Who doesn't love a good brownie?
Whenever I come across a new brownie recipe, I have to try it.  Brownies made from a box are good, so taking the time to make them from scratch means the recipe has to be a really good one.  
I have tried lots of brownie recipes that have been really good, but this one might be my fave.
(slightly adapted from a recipe off the Food Network website)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temp.
1 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I recommend Ghirardelli)

*First, melt butter and let cool to room temp.  When the butter is cooled, mix the sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs together.  Add flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder.  Mix until combined.  Add chocolate chips and mix in.  Spread batter into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Mine were done a few minutes before that, so make sure and check them.  Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Easy Coleslaw Dressing

We aren't huge coleslaw eaters at our house.  In fact, I have only made coleslaw twice in my life.  But a few weeks ago my family was getting together for Sunday dinner and my mom was making bbq pork sandwiches, so naturally I felt like we needed some coleslaw to go with them.  I bought a big bag of shredded coleslaw mix at Sam's Club but couldn't find any dressing to go on it.  I figured that I could find a pretty easy recipe online so I started looking around and this is the result of that searching.  A combination of a few basic recipes.
1 cup mayo
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
a few shakes of lemon pepper
salt/pepper to taste

*Stir all ingredients together and mix in with your coleslaw right before serving.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


First off, holy cow did we have the rain here in AZ. I think I'm right by saying we got 90% of our annual rainfall in 8 hrs. Consequently, we had lots of folks with flooding and leaking roofs.  We had a little roof leak, but compared to some with 3-4 feet of water in their homes, I have nothing to complain about.  We are grateful for the rain - just wish it had been spread out over a few more months!!

This is my favorite go-to chicken these days.  I have bought a lot of rotisserie chickens in my life, but I always feel guilty because I feel like I waste so much of it.  Except for the breast, drumstick and thigh meat, most of it goes in the trash.  Doing these breasts and thighs yields more meat and less waste - IMY (I feel so smart - I just learned that means "in my opinion")!! The best part is you can do all dark meat or all white meat, or a mixture of both.  Make sure you buy bone-in, skin-on.  The skin and bones give much flavor and keep the meet moist and tender. Make as much or as little as you like and freeze what you don't use.

(not really rotisserie)

3-4 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts or thighs, or mix
1 cube room temperature butter (not margarine)
chopped fresh rosemary (about 2 T)
coarse kosher salt
coarse black pepper

Heat oven to 450 and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Do not omit this step - you will thank me later! Much easier clean-up.  Generously spray the foil with cooking spray

Thoroughly wash and dry chicken breasts and/or thighs.  Pat as dry as you can with paper towels.

In a small bowl mix butter and rosemary well.  Loosen the skin from the chicken pieces and smear a generous amount of butter under the skin of the chicken. I do this with my hands.  Turn pieces over and smear butter on the bottom of the pieces also.  You want all the chicken to be coated in butter.  Generously season the tops and the bottoms of the buttered chicken with the salt and pepper.  Place the pieces on the cookie sheet and bake in the 450 oven for approx. 30 min.  Cooking at this high temperature will roast the chicken and seal in the moisture.  Remove, cool and slice or shred.  You can leave the crispy skin on, or remove it.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


I saw "this" recipe on Pinterest, but there were several of them, and they all were a little different. So - I experimented and combined and changed several of them and I think I came up with a keeper.  They have a light orange glaze and taste so light. These are soft (my favorite kind of cookie) and citrusy. I love ANYTHING orange. I'm sure you could do lemon as well - but orange is my favorite.  You could probably substitute sour cream for the ricotta too. I made them for a welcome home luncheon for a friend and they were a great "luncheon" cookie.  Not too big and not too small.

2 1/4 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
pinch of Kosher salt
1 1/2 c. sugar (the first time I made these I only used 1 cup -    not sweet enough - I added and extra 1/2 c.)
1 cube butter softened to room temperature (1/2 c.)
2 eggs
 8 oz. ricotta cheese (about 1 c. - drain any liquid/water)
1/2 t. vanilla
zest of one large orange

1/4 c. orange juice
1 t. orange zest
2 1/2-3 c. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Stir flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.  Set aside.  In mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter on high until fluffy - about 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time beating well after each.  Add ricotta cheese and orange zest. Mix well.  Add flour mixture and mix just until combined - do not overmix.
Using a tablespoon cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop on cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  Bake 15-20 min until puffed and barely lightly browned at the edges.  Do not overbake.  Remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack and cool completely before glazing.

Whisk powdered sugar, orange juice and orange zest into a smooth glaze.  Add more powdered sugar if needed- but glaze should be thin enough to dip cookie into.  Dip tops of cookies completely (don't dunk - just tops) into glaze and place on a rack to drain and dry.  Allow to dry and set for 2 hrs before storing or serving.  

Monday, August 25, 2014


I love pasta - of almost any kind! And I love "pink sauce" the most!  Husband - not so much, but he loved this! That's huge at our house! Picky-eater-of-the-pickiest-kind!! I adapted this recipe from another recipe my good friend Loni gave me. Her sauce was made with ricotta and husband doesn't like the texture - remember I said he was picky?  If you don't want to make your own meatballs, I suppose you could use the frozen ones that are already cooked from Costco, but those kinda freak me out. Not my favorite.  If you like them, it's completely ok!! I like making these because you don't have to fry - just bake. So much easier!! Please excuse the photography - I'm horrible at it!! 

In a large pot bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add 1 lb. Rigatoni noodls and cook to al dente. Drain and set aside.  Do not rinse - the sauce will coat the noodles better if you don't.

1/4 c. Italian style bread crumbs
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 T. milk
3/4 grated Romano cheese
1/4 c. chopped flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley)
a little salt and black pepper
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground sausage (you can use Italian sweet if you want,    or omit the sausage and use 2 lb. ground beef. I like the        mixed)
Mix all ingredients well with your hands or a large spoon, being careful to not overwork the meat. It makes the meatballs tough. I like to make them mini so I scoop them with a melon-baller for the perfect size. You can make larger if you want - just bake them a little longer.  Lay them on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes - just until done.  If they are a little underdone that's ok.  They will continue to cook when you bake the pasta.  Remove from tray with a slotted spoon and set aside.
**This makes A LOT of mini-meatballs.  I usually spread half of the cooked meatballs on a cookie sheet and freeze. When they're frozen, remove them from the cookie sheet and place in a Ziplock freezer bag to use another time. No need to thaw - just put them in whatever dish you're making to bake.

Heat oven to 350.

In a small sauce pan heat 1 pint of heavy whipping cream just to simmering. Do not boil.  When simmering, stir in 6 oz. shredded Parmesan cheese with a wire whisk and stir until smooth.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a very large bowl, mix 48 oz of your favorite Marinara or red sauce with the Parmesan, cream sauce. This makes your pink sauce.  Stir in cooked Rigatoni noodles and the meatballs.  Spread in a 9x13 baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray.  

Cover the top of the noodles with 2 cups of shredded mozarella mixed with 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.  I like to let the cheese get a little brown on top.  Serve with a nice green salad and some crusty garlic bread.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Excuse the photo - I'm a lousy food photographer. I was trying to keep from dying of boredom while on the treadmill and watched Bobby Flay bbqing away (that's not a word- spell check just said so).  This looked delicious, but I took his recipe and changed it a little to suit my tastes.  So the credit goes to Bobby - he seems so nice, easy going and I love most of his recipes.  And if you're in the percent of population that hates cilantro (not sure if we can be friends if you do) you can use Italian flat leaf parsley. Personally I wish they could make cilantro perfume!!

1/2 c. fresh mint
1/4 c. fresh cilantro (or parsley if you're one of those)
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
2 t. honey
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Place the first four ingredients in a blender and blend well.  Add salt and pepper to your taste.  Set aside.

Heat your grill to medium low to medium heat.  Remove husks and silk from 6 fresh ears of corn - I prefer white, sweet corn.  

Coat the ears with olive oil and lay on hot grill.  Close grill and and leave closed for 2-3 minutes.  Rotate corn until it's done and a little charred in some places.  It only takes 5-6 minutes total. Remove corn from grill and spread a little butter on each ear. 

Set corn aside to cool.  Mix 2 cups of baby mixed greens of your choice (butter lettuce, spinach, arugula, kale etc) and 2 scallions that have been finely chopped. When corn is cool enough to handle, cut it off the ears.  Be careful not to cut too close to the cob.  You don't want the fiber from the cob in your salad.

Mix corn and mixed green and scallions together in a bowl. Add about half the dressing and mix well.  If you like more dressing add more.  Sprinkle the top of your salad with one diced avocado, 1 c. halved grape tomatoes and a little Mexican cotija cheese (or any cheese you like - or omit). Serve.  Delicious as a side dish with any bbq meat.  I had this for dinner - only this.  I was making it to try it out. I wasn't disappointed - AT ALL!!

Monday, August 4, 2014


**Since I originally posted this, I noticed a mistake.  There should only be 1/2 c. flax and 1 1/2 c. flour. If you made it the other way - its ok - just not as light. It is now changed below.

My daughter reminded me of these muffins a few days ago. This recipe is from my good, dear friend Sandy! She's an angel on earth - really! These muffins are delicious and healthy (well sort of - if you discount the brown sugar and white flour - but the rest of the ingredients are).  I added and extra 1/2 cup of brown sugar to the original recipe (I like mine sweeter) and substituted coconut oil for canola oil.  I also experimented with diced apple or mashed banana added to them as well.  It's a forgiving recipe and you could add almost any fruit, I think.  Mangos, peaches, or even berries would be delicious. I don't add raisins - NO ONE in my family likes them. One of our family members (I won't say who) calls them "ticks". Ewwww! These freeze well. I buy the brans in the "buy the pound" bins at the grocery. Sprouts is a good source.

Preheat oven to 375. 

1 1/2 c. oat bran
1  1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. ground flax seed (make sure its ground - doesn't digest   well if it isn't and I'm told you lose the nutritional value)
1 c. wheat bran
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

Stir the above ingredients well in a large bowl. 

Add to blender and mix well:

2 whole oranges, peeled and quartered
1 c. buttermilk
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. brown sugar (I added the 1/2- omit if you want)
1/2 c. coconut oil (can use canola)
1 t. baking soda
1 c. chopped nuts - optional (we like pecans or walnuts)
**This is where I added the mashed banana or apple or other fruit. Don't blend the fruit - just stir it in. I added 1 whole mashed banana, or 1 peeled diced apple, etc.

Blend well and stir into dry ingredients, just until all ingredients are moistened.  Divide batter evenly into 24 regular size muffin pans.  Spray pans with cooking spray or use paper liners.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes before removing from pans.


I know - it's the longest title in the history of a cooking blog. Just didn't want you to think these are boring Rice Krispie Treats (never boring in my book). Is there anyone who doesn't like Rice Krispie treats?

I was walking down the hall a while back at our church and one of the youth from our congregation walked towards me eating something. He's the cutest, nicest kid so I asked him what he was eating - hoping he would share - he did! .  It was these delicious treats! I promptly said "Who made these?" He informed me our cute friend Amanda, so I texted her that very moment and asked her for the recipe. These just add a little "something" to the regular treats.

A little hint - sprinkle the mini chocolate chips on top after you've mixed in everything else.  They are so small they melt and you'll  have marbled treats.

1/2 c. butter (1/2 cube - you can use a little more if you like)
1 large bag of regular sized marshmallows (not minis)

Microwave butter and marshmallows 2-3 minutes to melt the butter.  Stir well to completely mix the butter and marshmallow.
Stir in 1/2 t. vanilla and
8 cups Rice Krispie cereal
1/2 bag of mini-marshmallows (I used more)
1/2 bag white chocolate chips

Mix well with the melted butter and marshmallow mix.  Spread in a 9x13, greased or buttered dish.  Promptly sprinkle 1/2 bag mini-chocolate chips on top and press them very lightly into mixture to "secure" them.  Cool, cut into squares and eat!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I said a while back I was going to be more diligent about posting to this sad little blog - I lied.  A few things got in the way -like cooking for 150 girls (with 4 wonderful other friends) for a girls church camp.  I haven't wanted to cook or even think about going to the grocery. That is now in the history book and here is what we're having for dinner tonight.  Easy and yummy.  I didn't even have to make a trip to the store.  I'm serving with quinoa for me, white rice for husband. He's still living in the dark side!!  And we're having a few slices of avocado - can you even get enough of those things and some fresh watermelon.  Dinner is served!!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I pound them so they're even thickness)

1/4 c. fresh lime juice (about two large limes)
2 t. lime zest
1/4 c. honey
2 T. olive oil
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. packed brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 granulated garlic or fresh (hate the smell of garlic on my hands - wimpy I know)
1/8 t. cayenne (yes, this makes it taste good - just a little kick)

Whisk all ingredients for marinade together.  Put chicken breasts in a Ziplock bag and pour in marinade, reserving about 3 T. to baste chicken with later. Don't keep marinade that has been on the chicken.  Marinate overnight or for 45 min.  Drain and discard marinade and grill over medium heat for about 6 minutes on each side.  Remove from grill and baste with reserved marinade.  Serve. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Grandma Cunningham's Coconut Macaroons

This recipe came out of a family cookbook that my husband's aunt put together.  His grandma loved to bake and I'm so happy to have all her delicious recipes in one book.  It is a treasure.  I have never made macaroons before, so I was kind of nervous about it, but they were way easier than I thought and so yummy!  I am a huge fan of all things coconut, so these are right up my alley.  They are soft, airy, light, and perfect for Easter!

4 eggs whites
dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 2/3 cups flaked coconut

Beat egg whites, salt and vanilla until soft peaks form.  This took about 4-5 minutes.  Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.  This took another 2-3 minutes.  Fold in coconut.  Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.  Carefully transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

BLOG REVIVAL & Oatmeal Banana Cookies

It's time to revive this blog and wake it from its looooong nap! Let's do this thing.  In honor of this grand occasion (I know - not really grand but...) I'm posting a cookie recipe.  Cookies - are there a MILLION, or BILLION cookie recipes out there? Yes, but this one is ONE in a million, I promise.

A few (well, several) years ago I worked in a law office with a wonderful, funny, smart, friendly, loving and fabulous woman named Mary Alice Smith. If you knew her you're lucky - if you didn't, I'm sorry.  She only worked once in a while (her son-in-law was a partner in the firm) and she ordered supplies and brought in cookies! Any paperwork she did she tagged with her initials MAS.  We saw lots of MAS paperwork floating around the office.  She had the best laugh and was feisty and sassy! MAS brought these cookies to the office A LOT!!  I sort of forgot about them (yeah, my brain is half dead sometimes) until her cutest granddaughter Jyl of posted a little video on facebook about her grandmother and talked about these cookies.  I have made them 3 times in 2 weeks.  Mary Alice always put chocolate chips in hers - we prefer pecans but you may want pecans AND chocolate chips.  I love these cookies - they don't require a mixer.  Just a LARGE bowl (it's a huge batch) and a sturdy spoon.  Jyl says she likes them frozen but I've never had them last long enough to freeze.  We had a church party here at our house with a lot of males in attendance and they devoured 5 dozen of them in about 1.5 minutes (well, really hours).  Make them - you won't be sorry!


Preheat oven to 375

3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 t. soda
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon

Stir all of the above dry ingredients in a large bowl. With a pastry cutter or two knives cut in :

1 1/2 c. butter (her recipe calls for shortening, but I use butter)

When butter is incorporated into the dry ingredients add:

2 beaten eggs
2 c. mashed banana

Stir well and add

3 1/2 cups oatmeal (I have used quick cooking and regular. Regular oatmeal makes them a little chewier but either one works fine)


1 - 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1-2 cups of chocolate chips (these are optional)

Drop approx. 2 T. of dough onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with Pam.  Bake 8-10 min.  Do not overbake.  I like 9 minutes.  Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack to cool.  Store covered or freeze (like Jyl says). 

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