Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Soft Almond Sugar Cookies

I've been experimenting baking with things other than butter. Some I like, and some, well, are not that tasty....

But this recipe is a winner! 

It's made with canola oil, no butter. They are not greasy at all, like some of the recipes I've tried with oil. These are soft, sweet sugar cookies. I LOVE almond, so I added almond flavoring along with the vanilla. Maybe that's why I can't seem to leave them alone!

They are even better with this great find at Costco today:

I was so happy to find a pack of Starbucks with three different flavors of hot chocolate, and for such a great price.

 A cup of the Double Chocolate and a sugar cookie are a perfect fall treat!

Soft Almond Sugar Cookies

2/3 c. oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond flavoring
3/4 c. sugar
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix the oil and sugar. Add the eggs, and flavoring. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Add and mix well. Drop by tsp. onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Flatten slightly and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool a minute on the cookie sheet before removing to racks.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday's with Mom ....I found it!!!

My very first cookbook was the Betty Crocker Cook Book for Boys and Girls, I had every page memorized. I tried almost every recipe in that book, and it was like a good friend to me.

But somehow, somewhere down the line, it disappeared. Maybe my older sister has it, I'm not sure. I think it was originally hers anyway, and passed on to me. But I haven't seen it in years. daughter and hubby came up for the weekend and we took them to our favorite tiny used bookstore in town. Both of them (and Brent) love to read action books, so they like to hit every used bookstore they can. They still appreciate reading from a real Kindle for them..yet.. anyway!

I was digging around in a box on the floor while they were looking.....and there it old Betty Crocker cookbook for kids!!!! I was SO excited! It's a reproduction of the original, but still dear to me. AND it was only 2 bucks! The first thing I thought of was my mom, and how she taught me to cook using that book.  

 Betty Crocker's Cookbook for Boys and Girls (Hardcover)

Mom literally let me cook and bake any time I wanted. I can't ever remember her saying no. If we had the ingredients on hand she always said yes...and if we didn't.... she would put them on her list. She was always by my side as I was baking, giving me hints and tips she had learned along the way. 

Well, as soon as the kids left for home ( we had a great time) I took the cookbook out and read it from cover to cover. Then I made a list of all the recipes I wanted to make again that are so familiar to me from my childhood. 

First on the list were the Brownies. 

Of course it would be a recipe with chocolate! If I could have a dime for every time I made these, I'd be rich by now. Honestly, they were such a favorite of just about everyone. My friends and I made them all the time, and ate the whole pan as soon as they were cool enough to handle. Rich and fudgy...just like a good brownie should be. No icing needed on these!

SO, I made them, and with the first bite, I closed my eyes, and I was back home again, in the kitchen... with mom!

(BC Cook Book for Boys and Girls)

2 squares unsweetened chocolate (2 oz. )
1/3 c. shortening

Put in a mixing bowl. Set bowl in a pan of hot water and let melt. ( I used a microwave..didn't have one back then..haha)

1 c. sugar
2 eggs

Beat into chocolate mixture.

3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Stir altogether. ( can add 1/2 c. chopped nuts, optional)

Spread in a greased 8" square pan and bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into squares.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween Pretzel Bites

Tis the season for Halloween...a week from today actually!

One of my friends gave me a few pumpkin kisses along with a Halloween card, so I decided to make a few treats with them. I've made these in the past, but usually for Christmas with the Holiday M &M's and milk chocolate kisses. But I saw these on Pinterest.....where else...I'm on there everyday...and thought they were pretty cute.

Basically, you take a pretzel, place any type of  kiss on it, put them in the oven at 350 until the kiss starts to melt..takes just a few minutes...then take them out and press the candy corn on top. Let them cool, and they are ready to enjoy!

The sweet and salty combo gets you every time....and a handful is gone in a flash!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

I guess I've been making lots of comfort food lately. It's not because of cooler weather,either, as it's been absolutely gorgeous out. Brent and I have been taking advantage of it with long walks in the evenings. When fall hits, I just crave comfort food!

This is another dish we love. Basically its just the regular scalloped potato recipe with ham and cheese added. One recipe makes a few meals for us, and that's OK with us, as it's even better the next day.

 It's so rich and creamy!

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 c. milk

Melt the butter and stir in the flour. Add salt and pepper. Cook about 1 minute, slowly adding the milk , whisking until it thickens. Set aside.

4 large russets, peeled and sliced
1 to 2 cups of cooked diced ham
finely chopped onion
2 c. of freshly shredded cheddar cheese
In a greased casserole, layer some sauce, potatoes,onion, ham and cheese. Repeat. Cover and bake 1 hour, uncover and bake additional 20 minutes, or until fork tender.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Apple Zucchini Bread

When Brent was just out of the hospital a few weeks ago, (He is doing great now and back to work) one of my friends came over with a box full of goodies. Inside were fresh veggies, candy, homemade soups, and several kinds of zucchini bread. 

What a treat that was for the both of us! Isn't it wonderful how God sends you friends just when you need them? 

On top of Brent's surgery, we had both come down with horrible colds, and were feeling rather blue. It sure lifted our spirits at such an act of kindness. Not too mention how tasty everything was!

Of course I asked for the recipes, and today I am sharing one of them. The apple zucchini bread was so moist and delicious. We loved the flavors of the spices along with the chocolate chips. We would have some mid afternoon for a snack during those long days of recovery......we kept watching the clock for the time to arrive! 

What a great fall treat!

Apple Zucchini Bread

4 c. flour
1 Tbsp. Baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
5 eggs
1 1/2 c. veg oil
2 c. sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 c. shredded unpeeled zucchini
1 c. shredded peeled apples
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans
chocolate chips, optional

In a large bowl. mix the flour, baking soda, and spices.  In another bowl, beat the eggs, and add the oil, vanilla, and sugars. Mix with the dry ingredients . Stir in the zucchini, apples and pecans.  Spoon into 3 greased 8 x 4 in. loaf pans and bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes until done. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Baked pork chops and scalloped potatoes

Pork chops and scalloped potatoes are some of our favorite comfort foods, put them together and it's a delicious, satisfying, hearty meal for fall. Sometimes I add some sliced carrots, and it makes an easy one dish casserole. The pork chops stay tender, and the potatoes are so creamy.

I often make just half of the recipe for the two of us. But, once in while I'll just brown two chops, and make the full recipe of potatoes. That way there is plenty left over for dinner the next day. They taste even better reheated!

Baked Pork Chops and Scalloped Potatoes

3 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 can(14 1/2 oz.) chicken broth
6  pork chops
6 cups thin sliced peeled potatoes
1 small onion, chopped

In a sauce pan, melt butter, add flour, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Stir one minute until thickened. Set aside, 

 Brown the pork chops in some oil on both sides. Layer the  potatoes and onions in a greased 9 x 13, Add the sauce and top with pork chops. Cover with foil and bake 1 hour at 350. Uncover and bake 30 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cherry Almond Scones

Scones.I just love them when they are chock-full of cherries and almonds! I also like the almond flavoring, actually I pretty much like anything with almond flavoring in it. I usually add a bit more than the recipe calls for,too.

I just realized that I took the photos before I drizzled the almond icing on top. They are very good without, but of course we like them better with the added sweetness.

This recipe is actually meant for drop scones, but as you can see, I shaped them and cut them before baking, either way works fine.

They were as tasty as always, and didn't last long...

Cherry Almond Scones

2 1/4 c. flour
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
2-3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp.salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. reduced fat vanilla yogurt
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 c. dried cherries
1/2 c. slivered almonds

Combine the dry ingredients, in another bowl mix the wet, then stir together just until moistened.(I sometimes add a bit of milk if needed.) Fold in the cherries and almonds. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet. Serves 14. Bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes until lightly browned.

(I mix about a cup of powdered sugar, a Tablespoon of soft butter, half tsp. of almond extract and some milk together to drizzle over the top.)