Vanilla Spritz Sandwiches

Vanilla Spritz Sandwiches

Vanilla Spritz Sandwiches

My friend Jen gave me an AWESOME cookbook for my birthday last year.  It’s called The Art of the Cookie by Shelly Kaldunski.

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I thought it only fitting that on her birthday I would try out one of the recipes in the book and surprise her with the results.  So I set out to make the Vanilla Spritz Sandwiches on page 96.  They were so pretty that you would think they were hard to make, but they aren’t.  In fact I inspired Jen to make them too!  I’m looking forward to trying a few of the others too, like the Neopolitans, Lemon Window Panes and the Dried Cherry Shortbread.  Check out this book, it’s a good one to have on the shelf!

These make a great gift!

Surprise someone with a delicious gift!

 

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

Perfectly hard boiled eggs

My mind isn’t what it used to be.  I’m always forgetting things!  Does this happen to you?  Well, I was getting ready to make a recipe that called for hard boiled eggs.  I put the water on the stove to boil and went to the fridge for the eggs, well something happened on the way to the fridge and I never got the eggs out!  I realized it much later when I noticed water boiling on the stove!  I couldn’t believe it!  I usually put my eggs into the cold water and then start the burner.  I decided to try putting the eggs into the already boiling water.  Using a slotted spoon I carefully laid the eggs into the pot.  Sometimes an egg or two will crack due to the change in temperature, but that’s okay.

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I let them boil for a total of 14 minutes.  Then took them out and immediately put them into an ice bath.

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IMG_0007 IMG_0008 IMG_0009 IMG_0010After they have cooled into the ice bath (to stop the cooking process).  You will find that they peel with EASE and there is NO green ring around the yolk.  The shell comes off in large pieces too!  No need to add anything extra to the water.  I have tried this many times and have perfected it with a 14 minute boil.  I will never go back to the old way of making hard boiled eggs.

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Try them and let me know how it works for you!  Sometimes mistakes turn into good things!

Caramel Chex Mix

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WARNING!  You may want to triple this recipe – it has been known to be highly addictive!

Ingredients

6 cups Chex cereal – Use your favorite

1 stick butter

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 cup brown sugars

1 cup roasted peanuts

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Method

In a sauce pan melt the butter, add the brown sugar and corn syrup, stir and heat on medium-high until you see small bubbles forming.

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At this point, stir in the baking soda and remove the pan from the heat.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, mix the chex cereal and peanuts together.  Pour the hot mixture over the cereal.  DO NOT STIR.

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Place the bowl in the microwave for one minute.  Remove after one minute and stir to combine.  Put back in the microwave for another minute, take out and stir again.  Repeat one more time (3 times total).  Lay the mixture on wax paper – I use Super Parchment – which is a reusable teflon coated sheet similar to Silpat.  If using wax paper you may want to butter or spray with cooking spray to avoid sticking.

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Let them cool for about 20 minutes or so and then store in a covered container.  Enjoy!

The most delicious Zucchini Bread you’ll ever make (easy too)

My interest in cooking came when I was very young, I remember the day our neighbor June came over with a zucchini bread as a gift to our family, I think I was in the 6th grade.  At the time I thought it was the best thing I had ever tasted.  I had to have the recipe and she was happy to give it.  I couldn’t wait to try it and I’ve been making it ever since.  This bread is so moist with just the right amount of seasoning.  It’s great when zucchini are plentiful in the garden and you don’t know what to do with them.  Make a few to freeze and some to give away, you will be sure to make someone’s day!

Ingredients

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup chopped nuts – optional (I like walnuts)

1 cup grated zucchini

Method

This recipe yields one loaf.  Preheat your oven to 375°.  Prepare your pans with butter and flour.  I use a food processor to chop my zucchini, but if you don’t have one, there are other methods.  You can use a box grater and grate it like you would cheese.  Or you can use a blender.  You will need to add water to get the zucchini moving, but then you will need to squeeze the water out after draining so your zucchini doesn’t retain the water.

Combine sugar and oil in mixing bowl, beat until combined.  Add the eggs and mix.  Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.  Mix well and then add the zucchini and nuts.  Pour into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes.  Enjoy!

Mexican Meatloaf

Who doesn’t love meatloaf?  There are so many different recipes for meatloaf, everyone has their own, everyone has their favorite.  I rarely make mine the same way because I like to keep improving on it or I just use what I have on hand.  I found myself at the store with a great sale on ground beef so brought it home and decided to create a new meatloaf recipe.  It was a big hit in our home, I just may have to make it again.  Hope you like it too!

Ingredients

2#’s ground beef (I used 93%)

Olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 jalepeno, chopped fine

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 – 14.5 oz. can Mexican stewed tomatoes, drained, reserve liquid, chop tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp. chili powder (I happened to have Mexican chili powder, you can use what you have)

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

Method

Preheat oven to 375°.  Heat a saute pan, once heated swirl 2-3 tbsp. of oil in the pan.  Saute the onions and peppers until almost soft, add garlic and continue cooking until all are soft, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Remove from heat.  Remove your rings and plan to get your hands dirty.  Place ground beef in a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients except the reserved tomato juice, combine well.  Form a loaf and place in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Place in oven, set your timer for 30 minutes.  While meatloaf is cooking, place the reserved juice into your saute pan and simmer, reducing it slightly.  Pull the meatloaf out after 30 minutes of cooking and pour the sauce over the meat.  Return to oven and complete cooking for a total of about 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 155°.

I ALWAYS serve meatloaf with mashed potatoes and creamed corn.  What do you serve?  Enjoy!

Joan Pope’s Caramel Corn

Back in the late 80′s I worked with a woman named Joan Pope.  She used to bring this caramel corn to work.  We always called it Joan Pope’s Caramel Corn, don’t know where it originated, but this is how I know it.  I just recently found the recipe and made it for a baseball kick-off party we hosted.  There was none left at the end of the night!  My friend who is on a gluten-free diet discovered she can eat it too!  Yay!  I’ll be making it again soon.

Caramel Corn

Preheat oven to 250°.

Corn pops

Ingredients

1 – 8 oz. bag of corn puff popcorn

1/2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. baking soda

In a sauce pan melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup over low heat until combined.  Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, stir constantly.

Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and baking soda.

Put corn pops into a large bowl and pour mixture over corn pops.  Stir to coat.  Place pops on a large cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, stir and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes.  Repeat a total of 3 times.

Let cool and store in a covered container.  Enjoy!

Granny’s Sugar Cookies

My son Andrew loves his Granny’s Sugar Cookies.  Just made them recently for an event at school.  They are always a big hit!

Granny's Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp. vanilla

Cream the ingredients above.

Mix in just until combined:

5 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cream of tarter

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375°, on ungreased cookie sheet (I like to line mine with super parchment) placed 1.5″ dough balls spaced 2 inches apart.  Moisten the bottom of a glass and dip into sugar, press to flatten the cookie dough.

Bake for 10 minutes until edges just start to brown.  Remove to a rack to cool.  Enjoy!