Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Grandma Gibson's Ginger Snaps

  I see these cookies and I think of my grandmother, Alison Mae Yale Gibson.  She lived to be 95, still driving, living alone and taking care of her home herself.  There would always be some at her house, if she came to visit she usually brought some with her and when they are baking the whole house smells better than you can imagine.  We prefer to keep a piece of soft bread in the container which keeps the cookies soft, so they don't actually snap......but if they get crispy a dunk in a cup of tea is scrumptious.

Ginger Snap Cookies

2 c sugar
1 1/2 c shortening (must be shortening)
2 eggs beaten
4 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ginger
1/2 c molasses (Brer Rabbit full flavor)

Cream sugar and shortening together and add eggs.  Mix dry ingredients together and add alternately with molasses.  Roll into balls and then roll balls into sugar.  Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  Bake @ 350 for 15 min.  Do not press balls down dough will spread.  Do not over bake)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is one of the simplest recipes ever, and yet one of the most requested by my family.  I have shared it with a lot of people who all get the same results.  This is easy to make for a crowd, to make ahead and healthy.


Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce
Chicken stock
green pepper
red pepper
yellow pepper
orange pepper
chicken cooked and shredded

then just about any vegies you want to add or whatever is in season, the more the better.

green beans
crushed tomatoes
lima beans
black beans
frozen vegetables work well also and are just as nutritious
Vegetables should all be chopped to similar size.

In a large stock pot or dutch oven saute onion, and all peppers till slightly softened.  Saute any other fresh vegies you want softened.  Deglaze pan with some stock or beer, then add everything else except chicken.  Use equal parts stock - enchilada sauce and then all vegies, allow all of this to simmer.  Chicken can be added after soup has simmered awhile since it is already cooked, a rotisserie chicken works well for this.  If you are in a hurry frozen vegies & rotisserie chicken can make this soup ready quickly.

Serve with tortilla chips, grated sharp cheese, plain greek yogurt or sour cream.

This night I served it with quesadillas, it is hearty enough to serve on its own.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Granola is a standard for me, I tweeked and tweeked until I got it to this recipe.  You really can't go wrong adding or removing anything from the lineup but this is the combination that I enjoy.   Adding or substituting other dried fruits, nuts, raisins will give it your special flavor.  Having tried different products but I came back to Old Fashioned Quaker Oats and  Ocean Spray Craisins, the other items I usually buy in bulk from a couple different local stores in our neighborhood.  You definitely want to use good quality products to get the best flavor.

Rolled Oats (this is the base so I use about 3 cups)
unsweetened coconut
sunflower seeds
almonds (sliced)
walnuts (chopped as finely as you like)
pecans  (chopped)
pumpkin seeds
wheat germ
ground flax
canola oil
honey or Blue Agave syrup

Mix in large bowl I don't measure just keep adding probably about 1/2-3/4 cups for everything after the oats.  Mix it well, then drizzle oil & honey over mixture stir again, drizzle both again & stir again.  Some clumping is good and you can squeeze mixture if you want more clumping.  Spread onto foil lined baking sheet and toast in oven at 300 for about 20 minutes don't over toast, I usually set timer for 10 min and stir mixture up a bit.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with following ingredients:
(I add these after toasting because the soy nuts get to crunchy and the cranberries get tough)

soy nuts
dried cranberries

Let mixture cool completely and store in air tight container.  I like to label the ziploc with the date since there are so many nuts in this mixture but rarely does this last long enough to go bad.  I enjoy it with milk on it and a cup of Darjeeling tea.  Mixing it with yogurt, sprinkle on ice cream or just straight like a trail mix are also ways we enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Apple Pie/Cobbler/Crumble

This is my go to topping for any crumb topped fruit dessert.  It can be a pie with a bottom crust or just fruit in the baking dish.  I usually do apple but seasonally will do berries.

The crumb topping recipe comes from "The Martha Stewart Cookbook" copyright 1995 which is a no photo, textbook like cookbook.  http://shop.marthastewart.com/The-Martha-Stewart-Cookbook-Collected-Recipes/A/0517703351.htm It is actually a variation for "Bottom-Crust Apple Pie".   http://www.marthastewart.com/     I love cookbooks and will sit and read recipes but can say I usually go for some fabulous food photos mixed in.  This cookbook is a manual, a go to for any question you might have on basic cooking.  I tag pages, refer to this book often for recipes, techniques, and inspiration. It is no surprise that this book is a basic tool in the kitchen, we all know when Martha does something she does it well.

In food processor:
1/4 lb cold unsalted butter
1/2 c flour
pulse till crumbled

3/4 c packed brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats

Pulse only a few more times so it stays in coarse crumbles, top fruit with mixture and bake about 45 min at 350.

I just dot fruit with a few bits of butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

     When I started this blog I was mainly interested in getting my recipes in order,  I have been taking photos as I go and now see where there will be even more to this blog.  It happened today as I took this cookie picture and reached for a better plate.  The plate is my mom's old china which she gave me a few years ago and I have used often.  Today as I took these photos looking at the plate reminds me of how many memories they hold.  My mother got this China when she was getting married (1957) she went to the store, picked a pattern she liked and her future "grandmother in law" purchased the set of China for them.  When my dad's mom saw them realized it was her same China, so this pattern was used at our house but also at my Grandmothers house for every dinner worthy of China.  I can't use them without thinking of the past.  In this photo the table cloth was also hand crocheted by my mom when we lived in the Philippine Islands (1969-1971).  These dishes are one of those items in my life that connects me to my history.  I now know as I continue to blog my recipes I will be digging up good memories also.

This cookie came by surprise, I love, love, love "Pot Belly Sandwich Shop" Oatmeal cookies and this is about as close as I have been able to find for making them at home.  Oddly enough I have tried a number of recipes online that just didn't quite make it,  when opening the Oatmeal yesterday I thought  lets try the recipe on the box.  Wow, cannot explain why I hadn't already tried it because so far this is really close.  They have just this slight salty taste that is just enough to add another dimension to the cookie---which is what I liked at "Pot Belly's"http://potbelly.com/Home/Default.aspx.  Also their sandwiches are the best if you are near one check it out, and make sure you get the cookie to go with it.

recipe from Quaker Oatmealhttp://www.quakeroats.com/home.aspx
(we use a lot of oatmeal at our house)

1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter-softened
1c packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup  all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (I used kosher salt)
3 cups regular cook Oatmeal
1 cup chocolate chips (box lid says raisins)

Preheat oven to 350
Beat butter and sugars till creamy.
Add eggs & vanilla beat well.
Add combined flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and mix well.
Add Oatmeal & Chocolate Chips mix -- batter will be stiff.

drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheet, bake 11 minutes.

makes about 4 dozen

*walnuts added are good also

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Butternut Squash & Pasta

Butternut Squash
salt & pepper
Parmesan Cheese
Roasted Garlic

Roast squash in oven on high heat till soft and edges are browned, garlic can be roasting at the same time (garlic will take longer so put in oven first), meanwhile cook pasta, drain reserving some pasta water liquid.  Melt butter in pan with sage, let butter just start to brown. Mash cooked squash with potato masher till desired consistency,adding melted butter & sage mixture and pasta water as desired for consistency.  Add garlic, salt & pepper, and then gently mix with pasta....(in this photo I used bow tie but I prefer penne with this recipe), spoon mixture into baking dish, layering in fresh Parmesan cheese as you do, top off with more Parmesan cheese and bake till just melted.

Stuffed Chicken-- with spinach & caramelized onion

 Chicken Breasts--boneless & skinless
frozen chopped spinach cooked and squeezed till drained
 cream cheese
salt & pepper
garlic powder
red pepper flakes
Gruyere cheese

Caramelize onions in saute pan with canola oil, remove and in same pan saute leeks till slightly wilted add to onions set aside.

Place cream cheese, spinach, seasonings (to taste) in food processor and mix.

Slice chicken breasts lengthwise to form a pocket, spread cream cheese mixture in pocket with some of onion & leek mixture secure with tooth pick or just fold over.  Place in baking dish top each chicken breasts with a slice of Gruyere chicken and bake just till chicken is done about 30 min @350.

Meanwhile make Roasted Red Pepper sauce:

Roasted Red Peppers
container of Greek yogurt, plain

mix in food processor to make sauce

to serve:  Place red pepper sauce on plate top with chicken, in this photo served with Butternut Squash with Pasta and salad of mixed greens, onion, walnuts, cranberries & balsamic vinaigrette.