Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Not as Good as Grandmother's

My Grandmother makes the most scrumptious fruity pastry dish that we eat for dessert and even breakfast. We always say that they never taste quite as good as when Grandmother makes them. There is just something about going to Grandmother's house and eating her Raspberry Swirls.

Raspberry Swirls

For the pastry:
2 cups flour
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons baking powder (I would reduce the amount a bit next time)
3 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup milk

For the filling:
2 pints Raspberries or whatever berry you prefer (frozen berries work well also - just be sure to let them thaw and drain the juice off before putting them in the pastry)
*Blackberries were on sale so I used them for this recipe.

For the sauce:
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1-1/4 cup water

Mix the pastry ingredients together and roll out to a square. Spread fruit on top and roll up. Cut like cinnamon rolls. Place rolls in an 8 x 8 inch square pan.

Stir together the sauce ingredients and heat on medium-low to dissolve the sugar. Pour mixture over the pastry / raspberry rolls. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serve with vanilla ice cream for dessert or pour milk over top for breakfast.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Secret Spa in Your Kitchen - Cleansing Milk

Cleansing Milk

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon sunflower or any light oil (for extra dry skin use olive oil)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Blend until smooth/creamy - gently massage into skin. Rinse with tepid water. Pat dry.

*Good for dry skin. The yogurt and oil mixture moisturizes while the lemon juice is a natural astringent.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Substitute It!

Don't have it on hand? Here are some substitutes to keep in mind before you panic and head to the grocery store.

Butter: For 1 cup of butter use 7/8 cup of solid vegetable shortening or 2/3 cup of oil.

Onion: For 1 medium onion use 1 tablespoon dry minced onion or 1 teaspoon onion powder.

Granulated Sugar: For 1 cup granulated sugar use 3/4 cup honey and reduce liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Five Facts Friday

Extra Extra - Read all about it!

There are many uses for newspaper besides reading the funnies, of course.

1. Slow-ripen tomatoes. For all of those of you out there that have tomato plants (not me - boohoo!) and a tomato gets taken off the vine before it is totally ripe (thank you for helping kids but please pick only the red ones or as Dora would say rojo), wrap the tomato in a piece of newspaper. Put it in an airtight container and place in a dark place at room temperature. Check every couple of days and pretty soon, it will be ready to eat!

2. Cleans windows. Newspaper cleans windows better than paper towels. It doesn't make for as great of a Windex commercial using newspaper but it's true.

3. Add to compost. Using only the black ink part of the newspaper, add wet shredded newspaper to your compost pile. It will reduce odor and give the worms a little snack to eat.

4. Protect windows when painting. Instead of using blue painter tape, simply wet long strips of newspaper and place it on the glass along side of where you are painting. The newspaper will adhere easily to the window and is much easier to remove.

I have never heard of this before but it made me want to paint my window trim. Never mind, the feeling went away. However, if I were to paint window trim, I would try this fact.

5. Use as mulch. Newspaper makes great mulch for those of you who, again, have a garden (maybe next year). It retains moisture and fights off those nasty weeds. Lay down several sheets of newspaper and cover with about 3 inches of wood mulch. Avoid using paper with color on them as it may leak harmful dye into the ground.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Gratin Jurassien

Say what? Here you go in plain English: Scalloped Potatoes with Heavy Cream and Cheese (aka: Yummy Potatoes).

Scalloped Potatoes

4 tablespoons butter
2 lbs. potatoes, cut 1/8-inch thick (6 - 7 cups)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
1-1/4 cups whipping cream

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Smear 1 tablespoon of the butter in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Arrange layers of potatoes, seasoning each layer with salt, pepper, cheese, onion and dots of butter. End with cheese and butter dots. Pour on the cream and place in middle level of preheated oven and bake for 2-1/2 hours to 3 hours, regulating oven heat throughout baking so that cream never quite bubbles. Cover with foil for the last 5 minutes to brown the cheese. The gratin is done when the potatoes are tender and have absorbed the cream, and the top is lightly browned.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Love these things! My entire living room (picture here) is held up by these right now. (Scary thought: hope they last a really long time or my living room will fall apart.) I have one holding a picture still in another room (it kept shifting every time the door closed!). All the "snap shots" in C's room (picture here) are held up with these.

Now I do have one disclaimer. I have not removed one to make sure that it doesn't leave a mark -- after it has been on the wall for some time. As we were putting things up, we moved it -- almost immediately after placing it. It came off very easily and I can see how, even after time, it would not leave a mark. I guess time will tell.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Secret Spa in Your Kitchen - Single Ingredient Masques

Single Ingredient Masques

Egg (white for regular skin, yoke for dry skin)
Plain yogurt
Cucumber (grated)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Not Your Mama's Meatloaf

It may not be your mama's meatloaf but I will proudly say that it is my mama's! My Chris never really liked meatloaf before but claims that this is the best meatloaf and I am welcome to make it anytime - which I gladly do.

Meat Loaf Miniatures

1 cup ketchup
4 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground mustard
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 cups Crispix cereal, crushed
3 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 lbs. ground beef

In a large bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. Remove 1/2 cup for topping; set aside. Add the eggs, Worcestershire sauce, cereal and seasonings to remaining ketchup mixture. Let stand for 5 minutes. Crumble beef over cereal mixture and mix well. Shape mixture into small meatloaves. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Drizzle with reserved ketchup mixture; bake 10 minutes longer.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Email is slowly becoming a thing of the past just like "snail mail." It is being replaced by texting, IM-ing, etc. One day my children will probably look at me and say "e-what?" I will at that point in time in my life feel very old.

This week is Email Week so I thought I would share a couple of tips on email etiquette. This list is not extensive but I didn't want to bore you with something that will only be around a few more years.

1. Use spell check! Besides it not being taken seriously, it is just simply annoying to try to decipher what is trying to be said!

2. Even if someone does not ask you to respond, do not ignore them. Acknowledge that you have received their email.

3. They are cute, but patterned backgrounds make an email hard to read.

4. Make sure whoever you are sending an email to has the same software as you or they may not be able to open your attachment. Easiest way to avoid this is to use a PDF file.

5. I know you will win the lottery if you forward that email to 8 people in your contact file, but please don't send it to me remember that it may not be appreciated by those you send it to.

6. Before getting upset that you did not get a response from someone, check your spam or trash folders to make sure it didn't accidentally get sent to those folders.

7. Bottom line: be courteous to those you get emails from or those you send emails to. Treat them the same as you would "snail mail" - it just takes 6,000 seconds less.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

One of My Favorites

The recipe I am going to share today is one of my favorites. It is not hard to make, it is not gourmet but simply homey and delicious! I originally got this recipe from the back of the apartment complex newsletter I got when I lived in Florida. We eat it as an appetizer or a main dish with a potato or macaroni salad on the side.

Barbecue Beef Cups

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1 can (12 oz) refrigerated biscuits
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Cook the beef and onion until meat is browned. Drain. Stir in barbecue sauce. Heat through. Grease 10 (of the 12) muffin tins. Flatten each biscuit (I like to use a rolling pin) and press into prepared tins, making sure dough comes up to the top of the pan. Divide meat mixture on top of biscuits. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Add cheese and bake another 2 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fresh Veggies Day

For Mother's Day, my Chris concocted up this yummy salad! It was delicious! Thank you my Chris for the delicious recipe!

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Any assortment of fresh vegetables
Lime juice
Olive oil

Grill up vegetables and mix with (ungrilled) lettuce and cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and squeezed lime juice over the top. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Secret Spa in Your Kitchen - Body Moisturizer

Body Moisturizer

After you shower/bath, before drying off, take 1 teaspoon of almond or light oil and rub over skin. Then towel dry. This will seal the moisture on your skin.

If the oil is too heavy, take your favorite lotion and use it instead of oil.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Quick Blackberry Jam

I recently made Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars but didn't have any jam to make them with so I made this quick jam. It is super easy to make and tastes like you spent all day over a hot stove. Feel free to add any kind of berries - fresh or frozen (just make sure that you thaw and let the juices drain off if you use frozen berries).

Quick Blackberry Jam

4 cups blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Place the blackberries and sugar in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Using a wooden spoon mash up the blackberries and stir constantly until they let out their juices and come to a boil. Continue to cook over medium high heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Next mix the cornstarch with the water, add to the blackberries and stir until thickened. Place the jam in a sealable container and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Five Facts Friday

Besides filling your clothes with a fresh clean scent, did you know that the Bounce dryer sheet can be used for many other things? Here are five facts (yup, on Friday) about what the Tiger-inspired dryer sheet can do.

1. Mice repellent: If you have a problem with mice, simply put a Bounce dryer sheet where you have seen their, uhm, droppings. Apparently, mice don't like the smell of Bounce.
*Thank you to my dear friend, Jeanne, for this fact.

2. Air freshener: Place Bounce dryer sheets in the cracks of your couch, chair, or under the seats in your car for a fresher smell. *After folding my laundry, I stick the used dryer sheet in the couch - it's a 2 for 1 deal. Ooh! Another thought: try sticking it in the end of your bed between the two sheets for a fresh smelling bed.

3. Clean baked on food from a pan: Put a Bounce dryer sheet in a dirty pan, fill with water and let it sit overnight. The next morning the pan will be easy to wipe clean.

4. Luggage refresher: Before putting away your suitcase, stick a Bounce dryer sheet inside to keep it smelling fresh for next time.

5. Mosquito repellent: Tie a Bounce dryer sheet through a belt loop when outdoors during mosquito season. You may not look cool with it floating off your belt, but it will keep the mosquito's away. Now that's a hard choice.

Note: I have personally tried all of the facts above except #5 and they all work great!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Iced Tea Day

Summer is here and, for some, there is nothing better than a big glass of iced tea to cool you down. To avoid heating up the kitchen with boiling hot water, make your tea outside with the sun's help.

Sun Tea

4 cups of cold water
5 teabags

Wash a clear container thoroughly with hot water and soap. Sun tea steeps at an ideal temperature for bacterial growth, so it's important to sanitize the container before you start.

Fill the container with the cold water and the teabags; close the lid tightly.

Place the container in direct sunlight for at least 2 hours. Taste the tea periodically to see if it's ready.

Remove the tea bags and sweeten the tea to your taste.

Serve tea over ice.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Substitute It!

Don't have it on hand? Here are some substitutes to keep in mind before you panic and head to the grocery store.

Buttermilk: For 1 cup of buttermilk use 1 cup of regular milk plus 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice.

Baking Powder: For 1 teaspoon of baking powder use 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.

Honey: For 1 cup honey use 1-1/4 cup sugar and increase whatever liquid is used in the recipe by 1/4 cup.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Secret Spa in Your Kitchen - Strawberry Citrus Cleanser

Strawberry Citrus Cleanser

3 whole strawberries, cleaned
Peel from one orange, lemon or grapefruit
2 tablespoons almond oil
3 tablespoons witch hazel

Blend and warm for 30 seconds (to release all essential oils from citrus peel). BE CAREFUL - keep tepid only! Massage over face/neck. Rinse with tepid water. Pat dry.

*For oily skin. Is an excellent cleanser/moisturizer, rich in Vitamins A and C.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Shine On Shine On

98% of our major kitchen appliances are stainless steel. I have a 9 month old and a dog. They both like to lick the dishwasher and fridge. Ok that is so gross! Anyway, I am constantly faced with smudge marks and tongue residue on the appliances. Weiman Stainless Steel Wipes work wonders! When you first use the wipes on, say the fridge, it looks awful and more smudgy looking. Although I have used these wipes over and over, every time one is used, I panic. However, once the stuff dries you are left with a beautiful and once again shiny fridge. Hallelujah!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Celebrate Applesauce Cake Day

The people who come up with some of these "holidays" must have some serious free time on their hands. However bizarre they may be, I enjoy seeing what different days are going on. Today we celebrate Applesauce Cake Day.

Chocolate Applesauce Chocolate Chip Cake

1/2 cup shortening
1-1/2 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups applesauce
1/2 bag chocolate chips
1 cup powdered sugar

Cream together 1-1/2 cups sugar, shortening, and eggs. Sift in flour, salt, cocoa, baking soda and cinnamon. Add the applesauce and stir together.

Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan. Pour batter into the pan. Sprinkle the batter with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and chocolate chips.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Mix approximately 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/4 cup water to make a very soupy glaze. Allow cake to cool slightly before glazing.

*The original recipe said to glaze it right away while the cake was still hot, but I found that the glaze just sorta melted and ran off the top to the sides so it would probably be better to wait until the cake is slightly cooled before glazing it.

Oops! How did that picture get in here? You weren't supposed to see that.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Equivalent To...

1 loaf = 16 to 20 slices

Egg whites
1 cup = 8 to 10 whites

Cream cheese
8 ounces = 16 tablespoons

Brown sugar
1 pound = 2-1/4 cups

Gelatin, unflavored
1 envelope = 1 tablespoon

Ground nuts
3-3/4 ounces = 1 cup

Shredded cheese
4 ounces = 1 cup

All purpose flour
1 pound = about 3-1/2 cups

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

National Rocky Road Day

We are halfway there to beginning the 25 Days of Christmas Cookies which is where this whole blog started! In honor of this glorious day and the fact that today is National Rocky Road Day, indulge yourself with these yummy cookies!

Rocky Road Cookies

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup chopped nuts
About 48 miniature marshmallows

Melt 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and the butter in 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth; remove from heat. Cool slightly.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix melted chocolate mixture, flour, sugar, baking powder, vanilla, salt and eggs in large bowl with spoon. Stir in nuts and remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Press 1 marshmallow into center of each cookie. Bake 8 to 12 minutes Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Yield: About 4 dozen cookies (or 2 dozen if you make them big enough to eat in more than 1 bite)

*Try using colored or the fun seasonal-shaped miniature marshmallows in place of the little white ones.

NOTE: I did not use nuts in my batch this time so I guess they are technically S'more Cookies.