Monday, March 31, 2014

Coconut Sorbet

After being nagged by annoying health problems, I finally found out through some testing that I have some temporary (hopefully) food sensitivities.  The biggies among them are wheat, dairy, and vanilla.  For 90 days I am to go without a big ol' long list of foods.  This has been a big challenge, especially when it comes to dessert.

A little research on Pinterest quickly unearthed this easy recipe for Coconut Sorbet.  My only complaint with this recipe is that it doesn't scoop well and that it makes more than my ice cream freezer can handle in one batch.  But the taste is great!  It was a real treat to be able to enjoy a real dessert for a change!


Ingredients:
2 (13.5 oz.) cans coconut milk
1 (15 oz.) can cream of coconut
1 1/2 cup. water
1/2 cup shredded coconut

1.  Combine coconut milk and cream of coconut in a blender.  Blend for 1 minute.
2.  Combine blended mixture, water, and coconut in a container and stir together.  Refrigerate to chill until very cold.
3.  Process in ice cream/sorbet freezer according to your freezer's directions.  Store in freezer.

Source: Goya

Sunday, March 30, 2014

LDS Media

Today a friend of mine posted something on Facebook that said it was sponsored by the LDS church.  It was crude and inappropriate.  It made me so sad.  I really hope that people can tell the difference between the things made by others to make us look bad and what our church really endorses. 

Over the past few years I have loved all of the material the church has put out.  The Mormon Messages are particularly inspiring.  That is what I love about this church, that all the messages are inspiring, not degrading. 

So in response to my friend's post I would like to post one of my favorite Mormon Messages...after watching it one cannot feel anything but sweetness in their hearts.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cookie Bars


I have trouble finding the energy to make cookies.  I have never enjoyed taking batches out and putting them back in over and over and over again.  Lucky for my kids I found making cookie bars to be much easier and is now pretty much the only way I make cookies.

It is simple!  Take your favorite cookie recipe that makes approximately 5 dozen cookies, follow the directions but add 1/4 cup cornstarch to the dry ingredients (this helps keep the cookies soft).  Press dough into a greased 15x10 inch jelly-roll pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 mins.

Enjoy!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Caliente Chili Dip


 
 
 
 
 
I made salsa one day and it was a bit spicy.  So, thinking that I could speak a little Spanish to my Hispanic friend, I told her that the salsa was muy caliente. 
 
"Is it hot or spicy?" she asked. 
 
"Spi-cy." I said, slowly. 
 
 "Then it is muy picosa," she said. 
 
 Ahhh....there is a difference.  So that is why the name of my recipe is Caliente Chili Dip--because it is a heated dip; no picosa.  Decades ago I attended a women's conference and this item was one of the many finger foods served to us that day.  Everyone loves it and it was requested for our recent Super Bowl Bash--well, if you call me, my husband, my daughter, and my two grandsons who are 4 and almost 2 a BASH.  Yeah.  But it was still fun.
 

Ingredients:
1 15-oz. can Chili with Beans
1 15-oz. can Chili, No Beans
8 oz. cream cheese
1 small can diced green chilies

1.  Put all the ingredients in a non-stick skillet or pan.  Cook over medium to medium-high heat until the cream cheese is completely melted.  Stir to mix well.

2.  Serve with Fritos Scoops, to get more dip in your chip.

TIPS:  For a healthier version, use Turkey Chili and neufchatel cheese (low fat cream cheese).  When serving, I like to use a chafing dish, so that the dip stays hot (caliente).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Brown Sugar Pound Cake


I just have to say that this is a moist, delicious slice of old fashioned goodness.  I used the entire recipe of the drizzle sauce because I need a high ratio of icing to cake but you can just drizzle it and save the extra to serve over ice cream, etc..

Ingredients:

Cake:

1 1/2 c. butter, softened
2 c. light brown sugar, packed
1 c. granulated sugar
5 eggs
3 c. all purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. whole milk (I used 1%  because that's what I keep in my fridge)
1 8 oz. bag of toffee bits
1 c. pecans, chopped
1 recipe caramel drizzle


Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 12 cup Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray with flour.  Set aside.

2.  Beat the butter until creamy.  Add sugars, beating until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Beat until just combined.  Stir in toffee bits and pecans.

3.  Spoon batter into prepared pan.  Bake until a wood pick inserted near the center of cake comes out clean, 75-85 minutes.  Let cake cool in pan for 30 minutes.

4.  Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.  NOTE:  Don't freak out if some of the cake sticks.  GOOD NEWS!!  You get to cover all the imperfections with yummy caramel!

5.  Spoon caramel drizzle over cooled cake.

CARAMEL DRIZZLE:

Ingredients:

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 c. light brown sugar, packed
1 T. butter
1/2 t. vanilla

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan, combine condensed milk and brown sugar; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly.

2.  Reduce heat, and SIMMER for 5 minutes, whisking constantly.

3.  Remove from heat; whisk in butter and vanilla.

NOTE:  Make sure you drizzle the caramel while it's still HOT.  When cooled the caramel does somewhat harden.

Source:  The Taste of the South's Southern Cakes Magazine

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mormon Morsels: Each One of Us


 
 
I just read the most beautiful experience shared by a fellow Power of Moms board member via Segullah.  Catherine is an amazing writer and this is no exception.  I could never do justice to describing how amazing the  Sacrament ordinance is.  Please take a moment to read her words from an experience she and her family had while attending another congregation's Sacrament Meeting.  Here is the link  The Last Sacrament Cup.
 
I am waiting until you read it.....
 
 
Now, how deeply did this just touch you?
 

Image from LDS.org.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Barbacoa Pork Taquitos

This recipe is a combination of 2 of my family's favorites. 

One of my favorite things is a barbacoa pork quesadilla. It is what I order if I ever go to Cafe Rio. It's made with sweet pork and colby jack cheese. It's what I make when I cook my own sweet pork at home. 
One day I had a light bulb go off in my head and decided to make my favorite taquitos with the pork and colby jack, rather than chicken and pepper jack.


Barbacoa Pork Taquitos

1/3 C. (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 C. green salsa
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic, or garlic powder
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. sliced green onions
2 C. prepared Barbacoa Pork
1 C. grated colbyjack cheese
small flour tortillas
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it’s soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add pork and cheese and combine well. (You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.)

Place 2-3 T of pork mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges.  Roll up tortillas and place seam down on a baking sheet, not touching one another.  Spray lightly with cooking spray, or lightly brush with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.  Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, or your favorite dipping sauce.

I normally triple this recipe and freeze a bunch. Just fill and roll your tortillas and place them on your baking sheet. Omit the spray and salt. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the taquitos are frozen. Then transfer them to a plastic freezer bag. To cook them, just put them on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for about 25 mins. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Vanilla Fondant

When I first began decorating cakes in earnest I wanted to try my hand at fondant.  But I had always heard that store-bought fondant tasted, well, icky.  Plus, it was expensive.  So I checked out cakecentral.com to see if I could find a fondant recipe.  I was a little intimidated, but decided to forge ahead anyway.  Well, I hit the jackpot with this recipe because it has turned out every single time and I always get compliments on it's flavor and texture.  Many people try the popular marshmallow fondant recipe that's floating around but, to me, that thing is just a messy headache.  This recipe may take longer and have more ingredients but I find it far superior to the marshmallow fondant.  Once you've made it a couple of times, it's a piece of cake!  Get it?
Yes, the pancakes, butter, egg, and bacon are all made out of fondant.  I made this cake for one of my son's birthdays.  one of my favorite cakes to date!  So much fun.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk
3 pkg. plain gelatin (6 tsp.)
1 cup light corn syrup
3 Tbsp. salted butter
3 Tbsp. glycerin
2 tsp. vanilla
dash salt
3-4 pounds powdered sugar

1.  Combine the milk and gelatin in a double boiler and allow to set until firm.  Then simmer the water and cook gelatin until it is dissolved.
2.  Add the corn syrup, butter, glycerin, vanilla, and salt and cook until the butter is almost completely melted, stirring frequently.  Set aside to cool.
3.  Put TWO pounds of powdered sugar in large mixer bowl.  Strain the gelatin mixture into the powdered sugar.  Mix slowly with a batter blade until just combined.
4.  Change to the dough hook attachment.  Slowly add 1-2 pounds powdered sugar.  The amount will depend on the humidity where you live.  I never get to 2 pounds.  You want the fondant to be firm and barely sticky.
5.  Scrape fondant onto a heavily-powdered-sugared surface and knead it for a few minutes.
6.  Take two pieces of plastic wrap, about 2 feet each, perpendicular to each other.  Spray lightly with nonstick spray.  Place fondant in center and fold wrap over fondant.  Store this in a large ziploc bag or large airtight container.  Allow to set for 24 hours before using.

Source:  cakecentral.com

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Savory Ham & Cheese Sliders



Another Super Bowl indoor tail-gating favorite at our house are these tasty morsels.  I had something like this at a friend's house for dinner once.  This recipe was the closest I could find via the all-knowing Pinterest.  The grandsons didn't even take this one apart, like they did the Reuben Pigs in a Blanket.

Ingredients:
2 12-roll packages of sweet Hawaiian dinner rolls
1 1/2 lbs. smoked ham (not honey)
12 slices Swiss cheese
1 stick of butter--NOT margarine.  Seriously.
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

1.  Slice rolls in half, horizontally.  Place the bottoms of the rolls in two 9 x 13 pans or a large jelly roll pan works really well.

2.  Place about 2 shaved slices of ham on each bottom.  Cut the cheese slices into 4 parts and place 2 pieces on each sandwich.  Place the tops on each sandwich.

3.  In a small saucepan, mix butter, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder and poppy seeds. Heat until butter is completely melted.  Stir to incorporate ingredients.

4.  Brush the melted mixture over the ham sandwiches.  Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.  These can also be baked right away.

5.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. 


Source:  Heather Pettit, via Pinterest.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hamburger Lentil Soup





    This is a dish that is hearty, inexpensive, and delicious! It is one of my hubby's favorites. It is also a good crockpot dish. You should try it while the weather is still wintery!




Hamburger Lentil Soup                                      
1 lb. ground beef
1 46 oz. can tomato juice (or puree about 3 cups of diced tomatoes, I use one jar of home-canned)
4 c. hot water
1 1/2 cups dried lentils (rinsed and sorted)
1 c carrots, chopped
1 c celery, chopped
1/2 c. onion, minced or use dried minced onion
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. minced green bell pepper (I've never added this)
1 tsp salt (don't skimp, I think it needs the whole tsp)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 c brown sugar

Cook hamburger until browned.  Drain fat.  Add juice and water and bring to a boil.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil again.  Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or cook in a Crockpot all day on low or half a day on high.  Serves  8.

Source: Julie Roberts

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sausage, Peppers, and Bean Stew



As a side note, I used cranberry beans that needed to be rotated through my food storage.  They added a pretty color and sweetness.  I also added cubed potatoes because they go so well with sausage.


Ingredients:

2 medium onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 T olive oil, plus more for browning sausage if needed
5 links hot Italian sausage
2 (15.5 oz.) cans Cannellini beans, rinsed in cold water until no more foam appears
2(14.5) cans petite diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried Greek Oregano
1 tsp. ground fennel
ground pepper to taste
2-3 bay leaves
4 cups homemade chicken stock (or use 2 cans chicken broth and add a little water to make 4 cups)
freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:

1.  Chop onions, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper into pieces about 1/2 inch square. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan, then saute onions and peppers until they begin to soften, then add to slow cooker.

2.  Squeeze Italian sausage out of casings and add to frying pan, adding a bit more olive oil if needed. Brown sausage well, breaking apart with turner as it cooks, then add to slow cooker.

3.  Pour beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse with cold water until no more foam appears, then add to slow cooker. Add tomatoes with juice, dried basil, dried oregano, ground fennel, black pepper and bay leaves to slow cooker. Pour chicken stock over other ingredients and stir to combine.

4.  Cook on high about 4 hours or on low for all day. Serve hot, with freshly grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling on the stew.

Source:  KalynsKitchen.com.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"

Bread

Why is this phrase included in the pattern for prayer that the Lord gives us?  Could it be that He wants us to walk with Him daily and to have faith and trust in Him?  If we seek our daily bread from Him, He will never be too far from our minds and hearts.

Consider this statement from Elder D. Todd Christofferson (speaking of a challenge he faced):  "Though I suffered then, I am grateful now that there was not a quick solution to my problem.  The fact that I was forced to turn to God for help almost daily over an extended period of years taught me how to truly pray and get answers to prayer and taught me in a practical way to have faith in God.  I came to know my Savior and my Heavenly Father in a way and to a degree that might not have happened otherwise or that might have taken me much longer.  I learned that daily bread is a precious commodity.  I learned that manna today could be as real as the physical manna of biblical history.  I learned to trust in the Lord with all my heart.  I learned to walk with Him day by day."

"Above all, remember that we have Him of whom manna was a type and symbol, the Redeemer.  'I am that bread of life.  Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven:  if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world' (John 6:48-51).

Ultimately, it is the Savior's Atonement and grace that is our daily bread".


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken


A couple years ago, I found this recipe on my friend's health blog. I have probably made it like 100 times since then. It is a favorite around here.

I usually double the recipe so that I have plenty of marinade to coat the chicken while grilling. And so that I have some in the fridge.

Ingredients:
1/2 C. whole grain ground mustard
1/2 C. honey
Juice from half a lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (less or more to desired heat)
1/2 tsp. paprika (I like to used smoked paprika)

3-4 Chicken breasts.

Combine all the marinade ingredients and whisk til' combined. 

Place the chicken and about three quarters of the marinade in a resealable bag and marinate an hour or two. 

Grill the chicken on a hot grill and baste with the reserved sauce. Cook until the internal temperature reads about 162. Remove from heat, cover and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Serve.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Serious Buttercream Frosting

Serious....because I got it from a great cake and frosting YouTuber by the name of SeriousCakes.  I remember the first time I found her on YouTube.....I was a nursing mom and would watch her tutorials in the middle of the night on my phone while I nursed my fifth child.  Good memories, albeit sleepy ones.  I love this recipe.  It's easy and it always turns out great for me.
I used this recipe to frost and decorate this cake I made for my mom a few years ago.

Ingredients:
22 Tbsp. salted butter, softened
2/3 cup Crisco shortening
5-7 Tbsp. heavy cream
2 tsp. clear vanilla
2 pounds powdered sugar
1-3 Tbsp. light corn syrup

1.  Cream the butter and shortening together in a mixer with the blade attachment.  You want the mixture to be pale yellow, almost white.
2.  Slowly add the cream while the mixer is going on a low speed.  Add in the vanilla and mix until blended.
3.  Very slowly (or you will be overtaken by a cloud of sugar dust) add the powdered sugar.  Be patient; this takes a while.
4.  Add the corn syrup slowly while the mixer is on low speed.
5.  Cover immediately with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container.

Notes:

  • If you don't have clear vanilla, you can use regular.  It does affect the color slightly but I often use regular vanilla and it's fine.
  • It's great for decorating with bags and tips.
  • Makes enough for me to frost a layer cake plus 4-5 disposable icing bags (of course, this depends on how thick you apply frosting to your cake).
Source:  SeriousCakes on YouTube, you really should check out her tutorials!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Grieving: Miscarriages and Still Births



A few weeks ago one of my best friends went into labor at only 21 weeks into her pregnancy, knowing her baby would not be born alive. It was such a traumatic and sorrowful experience for her and her husband. My heart just broke for them at the loss of their precious little one.

They have felt peaceful reassurances and comfort from Heavenly Father, and have had some very special and spiritual experiences. But they have also felt the deepest pain, sorrow and grief that parents feel when they lose a child. I found myself wondering what would be best for me to say or do, and how could I best serve them and bring comfort. My friend told me that a few friends and relatives and even hospital staff had unintentionally made insensitive comments. I know none of them meant to do that. They were trying to offer love and comfort, but what they said ended up doing the opposite. 

I found this article that gives great advice on how to love and help people going through something like this:

Easing the Pain of Miscarriage


Here is another article where a mom explains her experience and what others have gone through. 

Coping With The Heartache of Miscarriage


I know several people who have had miscarriages, and a few who have had still births. It's surprising and sad that this happens so often. I have had 2 miscarriages myself, and I have learned that every situation is different and everyone grieves differently. May we be inspired to say the right words and give the love, support and comfort our friends need during these times.