Monday, December 19, 2011

Bean Salad

This bean salad is AWESOME! My parents made this while we were visiting for Thanksgiving and they raved about how good it was and that I had to try it. I was not excited, but after awhile decided I had better give it a try. One bite and I was hooked, I couldn't stop eating it! This recipe makes a big vat of bean salad because each ingredient is 1 can. It will be loved by all, but I wouldn't make it just for 2 people unless you have someone to share it with.

This salad is good after 24 hours, better after 48 hours and perfect at 72 hours.


1 can green beans
1 can wax beans
1 can light kidney beans
1 can dark kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can lima beans
1 can chick peas
1 can green peas
1 can corn
Or any combination of canned beans
1 green pepper, sliced or chopped (I use yellow peppers)
1 onion, sliced into rings
4 celery stalks, sliced or chopped
1 pimento, sliced or chopped (I found a small jar of pimento at the grocery and tossed in a couple tablespoons)
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper


Drain beans and rinse. Drain peas and corn. Combine with green pepper, celery, onion and pimento. In a separate bowl combine vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour over vegetables. Marinate overnight in refrigerator.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Last night was Cultural Cooking and the theme was a food from your dream vacation. I've always wanted to go to Scotland so here is a delicious recipe for Scottish Shortbread. I used the recipe below for simple shortbread but I also had some fresh raspberries that needed to be eaten so I took some extra piece of dough, rolled them into balls, squished them into a mini muffin tin leaving a depression for 2-3 raspberries, sprinkled with vanilla sugar and baked until lightly brown. These were delicious!

This comes from the Joy of Baking website. There is an extensive set of instructions on the website, but here are the basics.

Shortbread Cookies:

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt

1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

Shortbreads: In a separate bowl whisk the flour with the salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch (.6 cm) thick circle. Cut into rounds or other shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter. Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. (This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked.) Bake for 8 -10 minutes, or until cookies are very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

For Chocolate Dipped Shortbreads: Place 3 ounces (90 grams) of the finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place it over a saucepan of simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat. Add the remaining chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon until it has completely melted and is smooth and glossy. Taking one cookie at a time, dip one end of each cookie in the melted chocolate and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Once all the cookies have been dipped in the chocolate, place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, or until the chocolate has hardened.

Shortbread cookies with keep in an airtight container for about a week or they can be frozen.

Makes about 20 shortbread cookies.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Whole Grain and Nut Pancakes

Around here we have pancakes one day a week, on Sunday. I cannot tolerate my children wigging out on white flour and sugar regularly so we started this weekly ritual and the kids really look forward to it. We use to have pancake Saturday because our church was at 8:30 on Sunday morning, but this year church starts at 12:30 so we have extra time on Sunday morning to indulge and then someone else gets to tolerate their wigging out on Sunday :) Just kidding, of course!

Anyway, I cannot eat regular pancakes. Before losing 70 lbs last year I was pre-diabetic and would go into a massive sugar crash after eating pancakes. Between the white flour and sugary syrup I would feel awful! So I stopped eating pancakes and just made them for everyone else.

Well, I've finally found my pancake answer and it is TASTY! These pancakes are made with whole grains and nuts, the only questionable component that I haven't worked out of them is the oil, but I'm okay with that because it isn't the oil that causes problems for me, it's the fluff (white flour and sugar) that makes me feel icky. So here is my new Sunday morning ritual!


1 cup rolled oats, ground into flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or read my buttermilk alternative note at the end)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup whole almonds, ground
1/4 cup walnuts, ground


1. Grind the oats in a food processor or small grinder like a coffee grinder - this works well for grinding the nuts, too. Mix the dry ingredients - ground oats, flour, ground nuts, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar in a medium size mixing bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, mix your wet ingredients - buttermilk, oil and egg. Blend well with a wire whisk.

3. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and blend well with your whisk, but do not over mix.

I found that the pancakes I made towards the end of the batch were fluffier and looked nicer so I would suggest letting your batter rest for 20-30 minutes if you have the time. The first ones were not bad, they just did not hold together as well but this could have also been from using a lower heat setting.

This is one of the last pancakes.

Cook the pancakes in a dry, hot, non-stick pan/griddle on medium heat until brown and slightly bubbling (these will not bubble like regular pancakes do). I use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop out the batter and this makes for perfect sized pancakes and gave me 9 pancakes. Since I'm the only one eating these pancakes, I let the extra pancakes cool with parchment paper separating them, then placed 2 pancakes per quart sized freezer bag for 3 more Sundays of pancakes!

NOTE: Butermilk alternative. I love buttermilk pancakes, but I rarely use buttermilk and never have it on hand. I learned a little buttermilk trick years ago and use it regularly in all kinds of recipes. Add 1 1/2 tsp of cider vinegar to the 1 1/2 cup of milk, stir and let sit for 5 minutes.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream

I know it has been a long time since I've last posted, but I really do not get around to much cooking these days and if I do make something super yummy, I always think I should post it to my blog but then I cannot find the time to sit down and write it all up and I usually forget to take pictures.

But these cupcakes were so good, I HAD to take the time to post and I even took pictures!!! Here is the origin of the recipe but the below recipe will reflect my minimal changes. These cupcakes had all of the best parts of the cookie and then added buttercream! They are buttery, sweet and cinnamony...they were also an all around hit. Add these to my keeper list :)

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream (yields 2 dozen)

What to gather:
For the Frosting

•1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
•1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
•1 tablespoon baking powder
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

•1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
•1 3/4 cups sugar
•4 large eggs, room temperature
•2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
•1 1/4 cups milk

For the Buttercream

•1/2 cup unsalted butter
•2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
•1 teaspoon cinnamon
•1/8 teaspoons salt
•1 pound powdered sugar
•4 Tablespoons milk

What to do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored for up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen for up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

To finish, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Using a small, fine sieve, dust peaks with cinnamon-sugar.

To make the buttercream, cream the butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt together. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk until creamy. You may need to add in some more milk or sugar until you get the consistency you want. Then pipe on the icing with a fun tip.

Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

NOTE: My alterations included reducing the amount of cinnamon in the buttercream....absolutely needed to be reduced! The original recipe also suggested dusting the tops of the iced cupcakes with cinnamon sugar...this would have been cinnamon overload for me.

I was able to get 48 mini cupcakes and 12 regular cupcakes from this batch. 1 batch of icing was enough to cover all of the mini cupcakes, but would not have finished out the regular size cupcakes, well maybe it would have been close. This was not a problem for us though because have a son that does not like icing (I know! we should probably consider genetic testing to determine who he really belongs to because he certainly couldn't be mine) so I left some of them plain which resulted in just enough icing with no left overs.