Sunday, August 31, 2014

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Rich, chewy, with a very slight crackle, and a taste that floods your whole body with warmth and comfort.  That describes the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  I have made dozens and eaten dozens of this delicious cookie but the new number one recipe is the one I found in Cook's Country magazine.

These cookies are everything and more a chocolate chip cookie should be.  Like the other cookie recipes it has your basic ingredients of butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla extract, and chocolate chips.  The differences in this recipe are the  (1) amount of brown sugar used.  This recipe uses twice as much brown sugar as white.  The result is a chewier cookie.  (2) Melted butter.  This helps also to make the cookies chewy.

These subtle changes produce a cookie that will become a family favorite.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 2/3 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips


1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in bowl.
2. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add egg and yolk and vanilla and beat until combined.  Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions until just combined, scraping down bowl as needed.  Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
3. Working with 2 tablespoons dough at a time, roll into balls and space them 2 inches apart on prepared sheets.  Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until edges are set and beginning to brown but centers are still soft and puffy 15 to 20 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.  Let cookies cool on sheets for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Note: To keep the cookies chewy longer, store them in an airtight container with a slice of sandwich bread.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

White Peach Perserves

Peaches, peaches, peaches.  The kids and I have been busy picking peaches off our tree the last couple of days.  Nothing beats the flavor of a fresh tree riped peach.  In fact, when my sister-in-law tasted one she was amazed at  how sweet it was.  Well, after eating more than our fair share of peaches we still had pounds of peaches I needed to take care of.

My first adventure was to make some fresh peach preserves.  This recipe requires only three ingredients and some cooking patience.  You cook down the preserves until they are nice and thick and pass the plate test.  To do this test place about 3 small plates in the freezer.    Once the preserves have cooked for about 40 minutes, remove a plate from the freezer and draw a line in it with your finger. If the line stays the preserves are ready.    If not, cook more.

Once the preserves are done skim off the foam and ladle into sterilized half pint jars.  Wipe the rims, seal and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Remove the jars from the canner and let them cool completely.   This recipes makes 8 half pint jars.  Great to enjoy yourself or share with family and friends.   Also great for gift giving.

White Peach Preserves

5 pounds ripe white peaches
4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Place 3 small plates in the freezer.
2. Cut a shallow X in the bottom of each peach.  Blanch the peaches in a large pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes or until the skin loosens.  Immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water and let cool.  Repeat until all peaches have been blanched.
3. Peel, pit and coarsely chop the peaches. In a large bowl, combine the peaches with the sugar and lemon juice.  Let sit for 30 minutes.
4. Transfer the fruit mixture to a heavy bottomed pot.  Bring to a boil, stirring gently, cook for about 40 minutes.
5. Test for doneness:  Place a small amount of the preserves on a frozen plate.  Carefully run your finger down the middle of the preserves.  If the line stays the preserves are ready.  If not repeat until done.
6. Skim the foam off the surface of preserves.  Ladle the preserves into sterilized half pint jars (about 8).  Wipe rims, seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
7. Remove jars from the water bath and let cool completely on  a towel placed on a counter top.

Makes 8 half pint jars of preserves

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Banana-Oat Snack Cake

The smell of bananas and cinnamon fill the kitchen as this easy to prepare cake is baking. Not only does it smell great the taste is a rich banana flavor with a slight chewy texture.  Delicious:)

I found this recipe on the Bon Appetit website.  Being that I  had some very ripe bananas, I thought this would be a perfect way to use them.   The bananas are part of a batter that consists of butter, old-fashioned oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, kosher salt, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.  First the dry ingredients are mixed together, and then the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and melted butter are whisked together in another bowl.   The bananas are added to the dry ingredients to coat them. The dry mixture is stirred into the wet mixtures and the batter is placed into a prepared 8x8-inch baking dish.  The instructions state to prepare the baking dish by coating it with butter and line with parchment paper.  I lined my pan with foil and sprayed lightly with cooking spray.

Bake for about 45 minutes and cool on a wire rack.  Cut into 12 pieces and serve.  I served mine with a dusting of confectioner's sugar.  It added a little extra "sweetness" to the cake.  You can eat yours plain - the taste is still delicious:)

Banana Oat-Snack Cake
From Bon Appetit

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces, melted, plus more for baking dish
1½ cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1¼ cups (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 bananas, chopped


Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat an 8x8” baking dish with butter and line with parchment paper. Whisk oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Whisk brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla in another large bowl until mixture is smooth.
Slowly stream butter into brown sugar mixture, whisking constantly until well blended. Add bananas to dry ingredients; toss to coat. Stir into brown sugar mixture (batter will be thick). Spread batter in prepared dish. Bake until cake is golden brown and the edges start to pull away from sides of dish, 35–40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely in dish. Cut into 12 servings.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I love asparagus.  Cooked right  they are  tender with a slight crisp to them.  Usually, I am not a fan of boiled asparagus.  They are usually mushy and lacking in flavor.

All that changed when  I found this recipe for asparagus from Simply Recipes.  They are boiled for only two minutes.  Drained and then tossed with some high quality olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and lemon zest.  Perfect.  Some of the best asparagus I have eaten and so simple and  quick to make.  You can find the recipe here.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Slow Cooker Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Bread

Ice Cream bread.  As good as it sounds.  Perfect for using up those small amounts of ice cream in your freezer.  My choice was using up the last of the Snickerdoodle ice cream.  In deciding how to flavor this bread up, I remembered a cookie recipe for Snickerdoodles using cardamom and a little brown sugar.  Wow - I can still remember the aroma as they baked  - intoxicating. I had my spices for the bread.

This bread takes very little preparation time and fills your kitchen with a spicy aroma.  To begin, you put all ingredients - ice cream, ground cardamom, brown sugar, and flour in a large bowl.

Mix together and pour the mixture into a crock pot which has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray.  I used a round 3 1/2 quart crock pot.  Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours.   When the bread is done a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Turn off the crock pot and let the bread cool for about 20 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

A moist, tender a flavorful bread awaits your consumption.   Enjoy:)

Slow Cooker Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Bread
Special Equipment: Crock pot

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cup softened Snickerdoodle ice cream


1. Lightly spray the crock of your Crock pot.  Set aside.
2. Mix all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.
3. Pour  into the prepared crock.  Set on low and cook for 3-4 hours.
4.  Insert toothpick in middle to test for doneness.  Let cool about 20 minutes then remove from crock to a wire rack.  Let cool completely before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lavender-Mint Syrup

I love lavender and I love mint.  What a perfect combination for a syrup.   A perfect syrup to flavor, tea, lemonade, seltzer water  - endless possibilities.

In this recipe, you need 1 cup of mint leaves.  I used a combination of sweet mint and chocolate mint from my garden.  You can use whatever mint you have available - the syrup will be delicious.  Next I  got some lavender from the spice cabinet and put the lavender and mint in a saucepan with equal parts of water and sugar.  The mixture was brought to a boil and then boiled for two minutes.  Remove from the stove, strain and let the syrup cool.

I flavored a glass of white iced tea with the syrup.  It was delicious.  The syrup definitely kicked the flavor of the tea up several notches.  Later in the evening, I used it in some herbal tea and again I enjoyed a wonderful tasting cup of tea.

Lavender-Mint Syrup
From  My Recipes

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon dried lavender buds

Bring sugar, water, mint leaves, and dried lavender buds to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring just until sugar dissolves. Boil 2 minutes. (Do not stir.) Remove from heat. Press through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, using back of a spoon to squeeze out liquid; discard solids. Cool completely (about 30 minutes). Transfer to a jar; cover and refrigerate up to 3 months.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Slow Cooker Peach Cobbler

A friend gave me some fresh peaches the other day.  After eating a fair share of them, I decided to make a cobbler out of the rest.   For those of you who follow my Blog  know I have been doing a lot of cooking with my crock pot.  Today's recipe is no exception.

Making this recipe is super easy.  The hardest part is peeling and slicing the peaches.  Once you have your peaches sliced, you toss them with some sugar.  I put in a pinch of cinnamon, too.  Next, you put your peaches in your crock pot that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.   Now it is time to make the biscuit topping.  All you need is some Bisquick, sugar, and milk.  Mix them together and pour on top of the peaches.

Cover and cook on low for about 3 hours.

Your cobbler is ready to serve.  You can serve with some ice cream or whipped cream if you wish.
Be prepared to enjoy one of the Best cobblers you have ever tasted:)

Slow Cooker Peach Cobbler
From Betty Crocker


4 cups fresh or frozen sliced peeled peaches
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of cinnamon (my addition)
1 cup Original Bisquick™ mix
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
Ice cream or whipped cream

1. Spray 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In large bowl, gently toss peaches and 1/4 cup of the sugar (cinnamon, if you wish). Turn into slow cooker.
2. In medium bowl, gently beat Bisquick mix, sugar and milk with whisk until blended. Pour over peaches in slow cooker.
3. Cover; cook on low heat setting 3 hours or until cobbler is set in center.
4. Serve cobbler with ice cream.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

The wonders of a Crock Pot amaze me.  Yesterday for dinner, I made  a very moist and flavorful turkey breast in my crock pot.  Yes, in my crock pot.  I was amazed how easy and how delicious it turned out.

I found this recipe on the Taste of Home website.  It is very easy and requires very little prep time.  I changed the recipe very slightly.  First, I did not remove the turkey skin.  Next after brushing the turkey with oil and rubbing it with the herbs and spices, I browned the breast in a skillet on all sides.  Next, I transferred the turkey to the slow cooker, but instead of adding water, I used white wine.  Mmm, this really made the turkey good and it smelled wonderful.   I cooked as directed and served.  I served it with my Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole .  Good thing I have a few Crock Pots:)

This was a great meal.  It was the Families "Thanksgiving in August mini meal".  I added a little cranberry sauce and we were set.  It was enjoyed by all:)

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

1 bone-in turkey breast (6 to 7 pounds), skin removed ( I left mine on)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup water (used white wine)


Brush turkey with oil. Combine the garlic, seasoned salt, paprika,
Italian seasoning and pepper; rub over turkey. Transfer to a 6-qt.
slow cooker; add water. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until

Yield: 14 servings

Monday, August 4, 2014

Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole

I never knew how much I would come to love a my Crock pot.  I never realized I would be able to make my favorite Green Bean Casserole in a Crock pot and have it turn out so delicious.

In this recipe from Rachel Ray, you make your own cream of mushrooms.  It is so easy and does it ever kick up the flavor of this casserole.  First, about 1 1/2 pounds of mushrooms are sauteed in butter.  Sprinkle the mushrooms with some freshly ground pepper and add some salt and onions.  Cook until the onions are translucent.  To the mushroom onion mixture add some cream cheese and chicken stock.  Cook until the cheese has melted.  Believe me, this is one great tasting sauce.  Next, you add the fresh green beans to the slow cooker and pour the sauce over the beans.  Mix well and cook on low for 5 hours.

When the beans are cooked, stir and top with some fried onions.  MMM a delicious side dish is ready to serve.

Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole
From Rachel Ray


3 tablespoons salted butter
1 1/2 pounds sliced white button mushrooms
1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup chicken stock
2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup fried onion topping, such as French's (optional – to add before serving)


Heat the butter in a large skillet until it has just begun to brown. Add the mushrooms and stir. Cover and cook on medium heat for a good 10 minutes, stirring every so often, until mushrooms have shrunk in size and have wilted. Add two turns of the pepper grinder to the pan. This will take longer than you think it should – but don’t rush the mushrooms!

Add the onion to the mushrooms, along with a few more turns of the pepper grinder and a light sprinkling of kosher salt. Stir. Cook on medium-high heat until the onions are translucent. Drop in the cream cheese and chicken stock. Cover the skillet again and cook on medium heat until the cheese has melted fully. Turn off the stove.

Put the trimmed and rinsed green beans into an empty 6-quart slow cooker insert and pour the mushroom mixture evenly over the top. Stir to disperse the ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, or on high for about 2 hours. Stir again, and serve as-is, or top with a cup of fried onions.

Serves 8-10