Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Maple Pecan Cookies

Maple Pecan Cookies

1 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 package (10 to 12 ounces) vanilla or white chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
3 to 5 tablespoons milk
1- 1/2 cups pecan halves


In a large bowl, cream the shortening, butter and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and maple flavoring. Combine flour and baking soda; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in vanilla chips and pecans.  Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.     In a bowl, cream the butter, confectioners' sugar, maple flavoring and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Frost each cookie with 1 teaspoon frosting; top with a pecan half. Yield: 7 dozen.


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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Thick and Chunky Tomato Spaghetti Sauce
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 large onion, finely chopped
½ cup celery, finely chopped
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
16-ounce can tomato sauce
4 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
½ tablespoon oregano
½ tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon parsley
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6-ounce can tomato paste
½ cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
½ cup black olives, chopped
In a large pot, saute’é garlic, onion and celery over medium heat.
Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for three hours. Serve over pasta.
I doubled it and bottled 8 pints.
I didn't use the mushrooms or olives. I figured I would just add that when I open it to use. I also added about 3-4 cups cubed zucchini. 

Add onions, garlic and celery and saute' in olive oil. I substituted the chard stems in place of celery. Cook about 4 minutes or until tender.

This is after everything is added. Then let simmer about 3 hours. I think I only did 2 hours.

Ready to be processed
Close up of the sauce. All sealed and ready to be stored on my shelf.
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I got an award!

Thanks to Kasey over at Memoirs of Southern-Yankee Girl for awarding me the HAPPY 101 AWARD

So on with the Rules of the Award...

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. List who gave the award to you and use a link to her blog (or hyperlink).
3. List 10 things that make you happy.
4. Pass the award on to other bloggers and visit their blog to let them know about the award.

10 Things that make me Happy
  1. My kids
  2. cooking/baking
  3. scrapbooking
  4. sewing...when i know what i'm doing that is ;)
  5. taking pictures
  6. my family
  7. warm weather
  8. flowers
  9. a good book
  10. relaxing with a good movie
Who I am passing this Award to:
  1. Wanna be a scrapper
  2. The Story of us: John Melissa and Braden
  3. The Hepworths

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Strawberry Mango Freezer Jam

This one took a trial and error to get it to set up. There is no strawberry/mango freezer jam recipe out there so I took the mango recipe off the pkg and added strawberries. Apparently when you do it with mango's you have to use 2 pkg instead of 1 so when I tried it with the 1 it didnt set. So here is what i did.

3 cups mashed/blended fruit (I did a mixture of mango's and strawberries about half and half) dont make it a puree though. Leave some chunks
6 cups sugar (you cannot do less or it will NOT set up!)
1/4 C. lemon juice
2 pkg liquid pectin (i used certo)

Put the fruit in a bowl.
put the sugar in a separate bowl.
Add the sugar to the fruit and mix very well. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Mix the certo and lemon juice together; add to the fruit/sugar mixture. Mix for 3 minutes.
After mixed pour in freezer containers and let set up. Can take up to 24 hours. Mine only took about an hour. Is good in freezer for 1 year. And in the fridge for 3 weeks.
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Jam, lemonade concentrate..

I bought 16 pounds of strawberries from Bountiful Baskets and made Jam. Last week I did freezer Jam so this week I tried reg strawberry jam and strawberry lemonade concentrate.
Here are the recipes I followed

Strawberry Jam
8 pint jars

4 cups prepared strawberries (buy about 2 qt. fully ripe strawberries)
7 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
1 pack regular pectin

BRING boiling-water canner, half-full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot, soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

STEM and crush strawberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Measure exactly 4 cups crushed strawberries into 6- or 8-quart saucepot.

ADD sugar; stir. Bring to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

LADLE immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate
Makes about 7 (16 oz) pints

You will need:
 6 cups hulled strawberries
 4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
 6 cups granulated sugar

1.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready to use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2.)PURÉE strawberries in a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade, working in batches, until smooth. Transfer to a large stainless steel saucepan as completed.
3.) ADD lemon juice and sugar to strawberry puree, stirring to combine. Heat to 190° F over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Do not boil. Remove from heat and skim off foam.
4.) LADLE hot concentrate into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
5.) PROCESS jars in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

To reconstitute, mix one part concentrate with one part water, tonic water or ginger ale. Adjust concentrate to suit your taste

*I used both lemons and limes for a different flavor*
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Banana Tea Bread

Banana Tea Bread

1/2 C. Melted Butter
2 C. Flour
3 Bananas
1 C. Sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2-3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cut nuts (optional)
1 tsp cream of tarter

Beat eggs, sugar and salt. Add mashed bananas. Add flour, soda, cream of tarter and nuts. Add melted butter. Pour into creased pans and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
I also added cinnamon chips and it was awesome!
I doubled the recipe and it made 2 of the wilton loaf pans. I did have to cook them closer to 1 hour since they are bigger than normal loaf pans.

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I know a lot of people arent sure how to cook or eat an artichoke so I figured I'd do a step by step

Here are the artichokes from the store

Cut off the stems and discard them

Add to a big pot of water

Boil for about 20-35 minutes until when you pull on a leaf it comes off easily

Here it is all cooked. Push on the center to get the leaves to fan out like this.
Melt butter in a dish and add salt, garlic salt or whatever. Then dip each leaf into the butter and scrap on the flesh with your teeth to eat it. Then discard the remainder of the leaf. (Dont eat the sharp end)

Here is the center (Heart) of the artichoke.  It will have some of the tiny sharp leaves and fuzz. DONT EAT IT!!! Remove these leaves

THen you will get to this fuzz. Scrape it off with a fork or spoon

It should look like this. Then cut it up dip in butter and eat it. This is the best part
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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Strawberry Syrup

My daughter loves fruit syrups so after we made the jam she begged me to do syrup. So I found a recipe and made it today. The pics are each step of the way.

1 C. Sugar
1 C. water
1 1/2 C. mashed strawberries (i used the blender and blended til there were small chunks but not pureed)

In a saucepan bring sugar and water to a boil. Gradually add strawberries. Return to boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Serve over pancakes, waffles or ice cream.
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Strawberry Freezer Jam

I made this for the first time yesterday with the help of my Mother in law. It was fairly easy. Here's the recipe:

2 cups strawberries (blended but NOT puree needs to still have some chunks)
4 cups sugar
1 pkg sure jell (the box has a few pkgs in it)
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Mean sugar and strawberries in seperate bowls. then mix together well.
let stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile mix the sure jell and lemon juice in a cup and pour into the strawberry/sugar mixuture when ready. mix for 3 minutes. after 3 min you can put into freezer containers. can take up to 24 hours to set.

YOU CANNOT DOUBLE THIS RECIPE!! you have to do it in batches.
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Monday, April 5, 2010

6 layer cake

2 boxes white cake mix
6 eggs
1 c. water
2/3 c. oil
Wilton Icing colors in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple
(you can use whatever colors you want)

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, water, and oil together. Scoop 1 cup of batter into six small bowls. In the first bowl, mix red coloring. In the second bowl, mix  orange coloring. In the third bowl, mix  yellow coloring. In the fourth bowl, mix  green coloring. In the fifth bowl, mix  blue coloring. In the sixth bowl, mix  purple coloring.
Prepare six 8 inch cake pans by greasing and flouring each generously. Using a spatula, spoon and spread each color of batter into its own cake pan. Bake in an oven, preheated to 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes, or until tops spring back when touched lightly. Allow to cool completely. Frost a light layer of frosting between each cake layer.

I frosted with a buttercream frosting but I added cream cheese. 

1/2 Butter
2-6 oz cream cheese (depending on your taste)
a few tbsp milk
about 4 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla or another extract
Mix together and add coloring if desired then frost. 
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