Sunday, December 30, 2007

Good Luck Dish

I don't like black eyed peas. I never really have, but I'm going to eat them this year. Maybe that's what has been my problem- I never ate them in the past. Every year on New Years Day, my MIL makes this nasty cold black eyed peas salad. (Can you tell I don't like them?) Everyone eats them but me. I pass. Last week I made our neighbors some cream cheese pumpkin bread. (Don't ask for the recipe, cause I made it up and I don't even know if it tasted good.) She returned the favor by bringing us a rice dish. I thought "Great, now I don't have to cook dinner." Then I took a closer look and saw it was black eyed peas and rice. Um, no thanks. I read the card she sent along with the dish and it said to eat on New Years Day, but I tasted it first. It was good! I am surprised. That doesn't mean I'm going to start eating them on a regular basis, but maybe this year I'll give them a try. I don't think my life can get any worse, so black eyed peas and rice is what I will be eatin'. We'll see if they bring me luck. Charlseton Hopping John by Martha S.
  • 1 c. rice, cooked
  • 1 can field peas or black eyed peas
  • 2 slices bacon (crumbled)
  • 1/4 c. onions
  • Dash of soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook rice. While rice is cooking, fry the bacon. Pour off some of the grease. Add onions, saute with bacon. You may use some pea juice from the peas to cook onions. Add soy sauce, thyme poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Add peas, then fold in rice. Serve on New Year's Day for good luck!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mr. H's Specialty

Mr. H is not a cook, but every once in a while he gets in the kitchen and makes me breakfast. He makes great cinnamon toast and scrambled eggs. I can't watch him make eggs, because his cooking method is completely opposite from mine (he cooks them on super high heat and I always think he's going to burn them or they're going to be rubbery), but I am impressed everytime by how good they are. Anyway, I never had cinnamon toast (besides cinnamon toast crunch) before I met him and now we have it about once a week. It's so good and easy. This would be good on Christmas morning because it feeds as little or as many as you need it to. I hope you make this, because it's the best!
Cinnamon Toast
  • sliced bread (white, wheat or whatever you like)
  • butter, softened
  • ground cinnamon
  • granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place slices of bread on cookie sheet and spread with softened butter. Use as much or as little as you want but make sure to cover the entire slice evenly. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of cinnamon sugar over each slice evenly. Bake for 14-15 minutes until bread is lightly toasted. Enjoy warm with a cup of coffee or a side of salty bacon!

NOTE: We sometimes use salted butter, because I like the saltiness with the sweet, but use whatever you have on hand. I've tried margarine and it works fine, but you don't get the crunchiness of the sugar like you do with butter.

I've made this in the toaster oven and it works well too, but check them at about 12 minutes, because they tend to cook faster than a conventional oven.

For the cinnamon sugar, add as much cinnamon to the sugar as you like. You can also buy premixed cinnamon sugar in a shaker can at the grocery store in the baking aisle. I've also made this with brown sugar mixed in and it's good too. It gives it a more caramel-ly flavor.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Recipe Card

Nanny gave me this idea. Wanna make one of your own?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Quick and Easy Like Me

My little brother, Aaron (12) helped me make these last weekend. He had great fun measuring out the ingredients, mixing, and rolling out the dough. I even made him clean up too. A boys gotta learn early, right? I think the most fun was decorating them and seeing how many different designs we could come up with. He made these for his parents for Christmas gifts. I'm sure they'll appreciate all the hard work and love that went into them.

Salt Dough Ornaments
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup water

Mix all ingredients is a medium bowl with a wooden spoon. Dough forms rather quickly. Remove dough and knead until smooth (a couple of minutes). Roll out onto floured surface until you reach the desired thickness of your ornaments. Mine were about 1/8" thick. Cut your shapes using your favorite cookie cutters or cut out shapes using a pairing knife. I've done both and have to say that cookie cutters are far easier :) I also rolled out the dough to make a rope then spelled out my sons names. Place cut-outs onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Cut a small hole for ribbon to pass through using a straw (before you bake them). Paint your ornaments with egg-wash paint. Then bake in a preheated oven at 250 degrees for 2 hours. This will allow the ornaments to dry out completely without getting brown. Allow to cool, then string ribbon or colored yarn through the holes and hang on packages or your tree.

Before & After- click to enlarge


Egg Wash Paint

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp. water
  • food coloring (add as much or as little until desired color is achieved)
  • inexpensive paint brushes (one for each color)

Whisk the egg to break it up, then add the water and food coloring. I used three eggs to decorate a batch of ornaments and still had plenty left over. I beat the eggs and water in a bowl, then poured the eggs into smaller containers (I used glass votive holders). I used 5 colors in total (red, blue, yellow, green and purple). Brush the egg wash over your unbaked ornaments and have fun!

NOTE: This is a great craft for kids to do since it's so simple and the project can be completed in one afternoon. Just plan accordingly since they have to bake for 2 hours.

This egg wash can be used for sugar cookies as well. It is completely edible and will give your cookies a lacquered look.

Also, if you don't want to use egg wash paint, bake the "naked" ornaments as the directions state, then paint after they are cooled with craft paint. This will give you a more vibrant color, but they will not be shiny.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Attention Banana Pudding Lovers!

My grandpa LOVES banana pudding. That's usually the only dessert he ever wants, besides red jello (he hates the green kind) and yellow cake with chocolate icing. He is not much of a sweets fan, but he likes the occasional treat. I saw this recipe from Paula Deen and thought I'd make it for him. It has been his favorite ever since and that was about 3 years ago. It serves a crowd and can be made up to a day in advance. It's fairly simple, and oh so good!

My aunt now makes this for him on special occasions when I'm not around. It's sweet, thick and creamy and layered with buttery shortbread cookies and bananas. I hope if you're in the mood for something a little different, that you'll give this recipe a try.

Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding by Paula Deen
  • 2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies
  • 6 to 8 bananas, sliced
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1 (5-ounce) box instant French Vanilla pudding
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12-ounce) container Cool Whip

Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top. In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

NOTE: I have made this fat free sweetened condensed milk, low fat cream cheese and lite cool whip and it tastes just like the original. However, do not use sugar free pudding. It does not turn out the same (it gets a little lumpy and the proportions aren't the same). Would be good with banana or chocolate pudding too-yum!

Also, when I make the pudding, I only use 1-3/4 cups of milk, so the pudding stays a little thicker and I only use about 6 bananas. But add as many or little as you like.

And last but not least, I sandwich the bananas between the pudding mixture so they don't get brown. Here are the layers: cookies, pudding, bananas, pudding, cookies.

I usually make this the day before I need it, so the cookies can get a little softer. You can make it about an hour before you are going to eat it, with the cookies will be a little difficult to cut through.

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