Sunday, October 30, 2011
Yesterday my Granny died; today would have been her 90th birthday. I loved everything about my Granny, she was feisty, opinionated, beautiful, hard working, generous & loving. While I was growing up she hosted family dinner every Sunday. And she & Pap didn’t just consider their children & grandchildren “family”. If there was a visitor at church or a family in need, she invited them too. Her home and her heart were always open.
We compiled a cookbook of our family recipes about 10 years ago & there are several from Granny. My favorite is “Granny’s Sunday Possum” She loved to get a reaction & make people laugh. Her Sunday Possum was on the dinner table every week, and thankfully it was a BEEF roast. I’ll share the recipe with you sometime but this instruction she wrote makes me smile. “Cover & bake at 300 degrees until church is over.” Church was central in her life. To me, Granny was famous for her cherry pie & blackberry cobbler. She always made several homemade desserts for Sunday.
Going to Granny & Pap’s on Sundays was such an important part of my childhood. Their home was humble and life was “right” there, love was abundant & unconditional; cousins were plenty too. I don’t remember many toys at their house. They had the woods out back & the garden, the basement (unfinished so lots of room for grandchildren to run) & the porch & the kitchen. And I had the time of my life at their house.
We had frequent sleepovers there with three or five cousins sleeping on their pullout sofa bed in the front room. We ate buttered popcorn faster than Pap could pop it & we’d always wake up to a breakfast feast of his silver dollar pancakes, my very favorite! In the summer we would spend the day picking & breaking beans from the garden. In the winter Granny would open a skating rink for us to polish the hardwood floors in Pap's socks. They must have had the cleanest hardwood floors in the world.
Granny & Pap gave me my first Betty Crocker cookbook when I was 18. I wrote their names & the date in it when I got it, “From Granny & Pap Christmas 1986”. I still use it ALL the time. I remember being a little girl & looking through my mom’s Betty Crocker cookbook, which was very worn and torn. My mouth would water at the very thought of all the delicious recipes and I would imagine making so many wonderful things. When I’d find a recipe that we had all the ingredients for, I made it. Now my Better Crocker cookbook looks just like my mom’s did, it’s splattered and torn & I cherish it. I’m sure the love of cooking goes back even further than my Granny but I’m so thankful that she passed that onto my mom & my mom passed it onto me.
Thank you, Granny for your example. I miss you; you were the best! I’m thankful & proud to be your granddaughter. You left a legacy of service and love for all who knew you. Rest in peace.
Link to Granny's Obituary
Thursday, October 27, 2011
This is a GREAT French bread roll recipe. Truth be told, I have at least three go-to recipes for homemade rolls. And I honestly can’t pick a favorite. Homemade bread & I are like this: // – we’re very close! I love this recipe because it’s simple & delicious. These rolls are a must have at our house when we have spaghetti & meatballs. I’ve used this recipe for dinner rolls, hamburger buns & today I used it for bread bowls for homemade potato soup: SEE HERE
I found the recipe at www.allrecipes.com & it deserves it’s 700+ reviews!
French Bread Rolls
1 ½ cups warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups bread flour (I usually just use unbleached all-purpose flour)
1. In a large bowl, stir together warm water, yeast & sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes.
2. Add oil, salt & 2 cups flour to the yeast mixture & stir together with a fork.
3. Stir in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl.
4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding additional flour if necessary. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl & turn to coat.
5. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
6. Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces and form into round balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth & let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Brush with melted butter & sprinkle with sea salt, rosemary, garlic, etc. while warm, if desired.
*For hamburger buns, divide dough into 8 equal portions & flatten a bit before baking.
*For soup bowls, divide dough into 5 equal portions. Below are pics of how I prepare my bread bowls.
Slice off the top of the bread bowl.
Scoop out a bit of the bread & push the inside of the bread against the outside crust to form a bowl.Fill with something yummy, like this POTATO SOUP & enjoy!
I added food coloring to this recipe for a SPOOKY Halloween dinner for some special ghosts & goblins and ended up with Pumpkin Shaped Bread Bowls and witch's fingers Bread Sticks. Served with a cauldron of Witch's Brew (Cream of Broccoli Soup) Click HERE for more information.
It’s warm, creamy, herby, cheesy and meets all of my requirements for classic comfort food! It’s beginning to look a lot like COAT SEASON here & I need some comfort. I hope to be a snowbird someday & be able to fly SOUTH for the winter. Until then, I’ll spend winter in my cozy kitchen making soup & baking bread.
The inspiration of this recipe is from a restaurant that I think closed years ago. Does anyone remember Stuart Anderson’s Cattle Company? They had a loaded baked potato soup that was to die for. I lightened the recipe (a little bit) & I still think it’s to die for.
Click HERE for the bread bowl recipe. They make a good couple!
Creamy Baked Potato Soup
5 large baking potatoes
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup flour, depending on how thick you like it (I used 1/4 cup)
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
4 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper or to taste
6 green onions, chopped & divided
1/2 pound bacon, cooked & crumbled
2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded & divided
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon dried or 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1. Wash, dry & bake potatoes at 400 degrees for one hour or until done. I just put the potatoes right on the oven rack. Allow to cool. Cut into half lengthwise and scoop out pulp. Cut potato pulp into bite sized pieces; set aside. Use skins for something else like stuffed potato skins.
2. Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add white onion & celery & saute for a couple of minutes. Add flour, whisking until smooth. Cook 1 minute stirring constantly.
3. Gradually whisk in milk and chicken broth & cook over medium heat, until mixture thickens a bit and is slightly bubbly. Don't boil.
4. Add potato pulp, salt, pepper, herbs, half of the chopped green onions & 1 1/2 cups cheese. Cook until thoroughly heated. Whisk in sour cream & remove from heat.
5. Serve with remaining green onions, bacon & cheese.
p.s. potato soup is so versatile, here are a few ideas for you: add chopped cooked carrots, omit celery, add a tablespoon or 2 of bacon grease with the butter, stir in half the cooked bacon instead of using as garnish or prepare the soup vegetarian using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
Monday, October 24, 2011
I stopped by the apple orchard that is about 3 blocks from my house Saturday & picked up some beautiful apples and fresh apple cider! If you are local & haven’t checked out Farnsworth Farms you should go before our first freeze expected this week. You can pick your own apples & their orchard & country store are so charming & took me back to a simpler time.
It also reminded me that I haven’t made this caramel dip for a while. I got the recipe about 25 years ago from a sweet coworker & I’ve been making it ever since. She brought this into work to share & served it on an old wooden tray lined with colorful Fall leaves. Not only was it delicious, it was a beautiful presentation.
This is a super quick & easy recipe. You don’t need a candy thermometer & you probably have the ingredients in your pantry right now.
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons light or dark Karo corn syrup
1. Melt butter in medium saucepan. Stir in all other ingredients. Cook over low to medium heat until mixture begins to boil, stirring often. Boil for a minute or two stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Caramel will thicken as it cools.
2. Slice up some apples & dip apple slices into caramel & then in chopped salted peanuts. Also delicious served warm on ice cream. Better yet, make a caramel apple sundae: vanilla bean ice cream, chopped apples, caramel sauce & nuts. The caramel stores well in the refrigerator & can be reheated in the microwave if you like it warm.
If you are looking for a recipe for whole GOURMET CARAMEL APPLES, click HERE
Thursday, October 20, 2011
I will deliver or ship Wednesday.
That was fun & I wish I could send all of you caramel apples! We'll do this again soon! :) Tomorrow I'm posting a recipe for CARAMEL DIP, it's easy & yummy. If you didn't win tonight you can make it in a snap & still be in caramel heaven! :)
Congrats to #6 and thanks to everyone for playing!
I wasn't planning to post today but I just found out that my little blog won a contest & I'm EXCITED! I am today's guest blogger at Orson Gygi, a beautiful gourmet kitchen store in Salt Lake City. My prize was a generous gift card to their store OR a BUNCH of fun ingredients to make MORE CARAMEL APPLES! Of course, I chose the Caramel Apple stuff !
Here is a link to my guest post: GHOULISH GOODIES
To kick off my new blog I want to share my prize with YOU! I will pick a random winner late SUNDAY NIGHT, 10/23. The winner can choose to receive either 4 tasty homemade caramel apples like the ones I posted here, made by me OR a 5 lb. block of my favorite caramel to make your own caramel apples! I'll ship the prize anywhere in the U.S. if you don't live close by. Here's how to enter:
1. Like Sprinkle Some Sunshine on Facebook. The link is on the menu to the right.
2. Post a comment on this blog post telling me that you "like" us on Facebook & tell me your favorite HALLOWEEN candy, just for fun!
3. If you ALREADY like Sprinkle Some Sunshine on facebook or if you follow S.S.S. by Google Friend Finder, just tell me in a comment here & you'll be entered!
4. One entry per person! :)
GOOD LUCK! One of you will be in CARAMEL heaven very soon!
P.S. To leave your comment, click on the "5 comments" below or whatever that number may be & a comment box will open for you to type in.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I know two women who are currently fighting breast cancer and one sweet young mother in my neighborhood who passed away in July. Heros, ALL of them! A friend of mine hosted a fundraiser/bake sale last night for research & awareness. She has personal experience as her mom is a breast cancer SURVIVOR & they are both such inspiring ladies. She asked me to make some cupcakes to be sold at her event. Of course, I jumped at the chance to make PINK CUPCAKES! The money she raised was donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She's already planning for next year & I'll happily make as many pink cupcakes as requested!
Don't tell anyone but...I used a cake mix for these. I actually LOVE some cake mixes. Sometimes I doctor them up. And I do have great HOMEMADE recipes for Carrot Cake, Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Cake, Coconut Cake & Caramel Cake. But for plain old vanilla cake, I almost always use a mix. I used a Duncan Hines white cake mix & added some red food coloring to make these pink.
But I do have an AMAZING frosting recipe to share. This recipe is from my sister who is a semi-pro cake decorator & she got the recipe from my aunt who IS a professional cake decorator. This one is made with Crisco which makes your frosting much more stable than butter. The butter flavoring, vanilla and almond extract makes it YUMMY!
Pink Cupcake Frosting
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons Wilton clear butter flavoring
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shortening
2 lbs. powdered sugar
1. Dissolve salt in water in mixing bowl. Add almond extract, butter flavoring & vanilla. Mix for a few seconds. Mix in the shortening. Gradually add powdered sugar & beat until you reach desired consistency.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Let's make MONSTER COOKIES! I don't know what makes a monster cookie a monster cookie but I can tell you that this makes a monster sized batch of monster sized cookies. They taste like they came from a gourmet cookie bakery & this recipe is in my top 10 favorite recipes of all time. In fact, part of the reason I made this blog is because I live in fear of losing THIS recipe. Every time I decide to make these I feel a slight panic because the recipe is always misfiled in my recipe book & the only copy I have is on a tiny yellowed scrap of newspaper print that I cut out MANY years ago. Now that I've typed up the recipe I can print it to my heart's content.
1 1/2 cups butter flavored Crisco
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cups sugar
3 cups crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
9 cups oats
12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With electric mixer in large mixing bowl cream Crisco, brown sugar & sugar. Add eggs, peanut butter, corn syrup, baking soda & vanilla, mixing well after each addition.
2. Stir in oats & chocolate chips. The dough gets VERY thick & hard to stir. A stand mixer works great or just use a large wood spoon.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Click HERE to print recipe only
I live with two pumpkin FANATICS! Mark’s favorite pie is PUMPKIN and Monica’s favorite muffin flavor is pumpkin chocolate chip. I admit I’m wary of this combination (pumpkin & chocolate chips, not Mark & Monica). I prefer my pumpkins to be carved into jack-o-lanterns & I prefer my chocolate to be mixed with peanut butter, coconut or caramel. But…
These are Monica’s favorite muffins & Monica is my favorite girl. Therefore I feel that I am morally bound to take the following course of action and make this recipe whenever she requests it. I found the original recipe at www.allrecipes.com & have adapted it to include chocolate chips & pecans. For those like me, who are apprehensive about eating pumpkin & chocolate in the same bite, leave the chocolate chips out. It's a great pumpkin muffin recipe!
If you are more of a cookie lover you must try these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies! Link also has the bakery secret for SUPER SOFT cookies.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins plus 12 mini muffins
1 15 ounce can 100% pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips, optional
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray.
2. Bring pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon and cloves to a simmer in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally, until puree thickens about 5 minutes. Pour into a mixing bowl & allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Whisk in brown sugar and oil, then slowly whisk in eggs.
3. In a separate bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until just combined.
4. Stir in chocolate chips & pecans, if desired. If your pumpkin mixture is too hot when you add the chocolate chips you'll get gorgeous melty chocolate swirls in your muffins instead of chocolate "chips". DELICIOUS either way!
5. Divide batter among the muffin cups and bake until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes for the mini muffins & 13 minutes for the regular sized muffins.
*P.S. I don't bake these muffins in cupcake papers. I was taking them to a brunch so I put them in the cupcake papers to be easier to transport & serve.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Caramel apples make me HAPPY! And making them myself makes me even happier! I remember the days of going to the county fair in small town Indiana. It was so hard to decide between the caramel apples & the cotton candy for my one allowed treat. I love them both but I always chose the caramel apple. It was an annual celebration I just couldn't resist & I got it with chopped peanuts.
5 lbs. Peter’s Caramel
1. Wash apples with warm water & a bit of soap, rinse & dry very well. This is to remove the wax so the caramel will stick well. Insert sticks into the core of the apple. Refrigerate apples for at least an hour. This will help the caramel set up quickly on the apples when you dip them instead of sliding down your apples & making a puddle at the bottom.
2. Cut off about ¼ of the caramel & melt it in a microwave safe bowl or in a saucepan on the stove. I use a 2 cup glass measuring cup in the microwave. Melt on low setting stirring very often until melted. Melt additional caramel as needed.3. Dip apples in caramel, slowing turning them. I like my apples completely covered in caramel. After completely submerging, hold apple stick at 90 degree angle from bowl & allow apple to drip over bowl while turning for a few seconds to remove excess caramel. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Allow to set up for an hour or more. Apples can be refrigerated after dipping to speed up the process. Notice that there are no puddles of caramel around the bottoms of my apples. That's because my apples were clean & cold when I dipped them.
4. Melt milk chocolate or white chocolate, tempering if necessary. I prefer chocolate that doesn’t need tempering. Follow same process as caramel dipping & dip caramel apples into milk chocolate or white chocolate. Immediately & quickly roll chocolate dipped caramel apple into desired toppings. The chocolate sits up quickly so don’t delay.
5. After dipping in toppings, drizzle apples with additional melted chocolate. I put my chocolate in a piping bag with a small frosting tip for drizzling or you can use a zip lock sandwich bag with a small hole or just drizzle chocolate with a fork.
I tied them up with spooky ribbon in cellophane bags & gave them all away...except that one with chopped peanuts...mmm...even better than the fair!
Friday, October 7, 2011
Pecan Pumpkin Butter (1 batch of this is needed for the pecan pumpkin squares)
1 15 ounce can of 100% pumpkin
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (I toasted mine for 7 minutes at 350 degrees)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1. Heat all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, until thickened, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool.
1 package yellow cake mix, straight out of the box, unmixed, set aside one cup
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 large eggs (1 for crust, 2 for pumpkin filling)
1 jar of Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter (OR see my recipe for this above)
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide yellow cake mix, placing all but one cup in a mixing bowl. Stir the 1/2 cup melted butter and 1 egg into the cake mix. Press the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.
2. Mix the pumpkin butter with two eggs and milk. Pour over the cake mix.
3. Stir the reserved cup of cake mix with the flour, sugar, softened butter and cinnamon. Mix until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of the pumpkin layer.
4. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Cut into 2" squares. Serves 24.
P.S. These are best if eaten very fresh. They should not be made more than a day in advance.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
I love my cast iron skillet! I just feel so pioneer when I use it & it makes me happy. I'm sure it's a coincidence but EVERYTHING I cook in my cast iron skillet tastes extra good! You know how food always tastes better when you're camping? That's what cooking in my cast iron skillet does for me. I also use it on my flat stove top all the time with no problem.
Growing up in Indiana, beans & cornbread was one of my favorites at the supper table. It didn’t hurt that my mom served it with fried potatoes & she makes the best! I love sweet cornbread and this is the recipe for you if you like it sweet. It’s debatable weather REAL Southerners make their cornbread sweet or not. If you’re from the South let me know how YOU like it! The amount of sugar can be easily adjusted or completely eliminated for your taste! Mark loves it even sweeter, drizzled with honey.
Sweet Southern Cornbread
Yield: 12 servings
1 2/3 cups flour
1 2/3 cups yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups milk
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup butter, melted
1. Butter a 10 or 11 inch cast iron skillet & place it in oven. Preheat oven & skillet to 425 degrees.
2. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder & salt in a large mixing bowl until well blended. Add eggs & milk. Stir to make a smooth batter. Stir in melted butter just until blended. Do not over mix.
3. Pour into preheated, buttered skillet & bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown & toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If you are not using a preheated cast iron skillet it may take a couple extra minutes.
*P.S. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet this also bakes perfectly in a 9x13 pan.
Monday, October 3, 2011
If you've never cooked with fresh jalapeno peppers what are you waiting for? They are about 10 cents each at the grocery store & add a TON of flavor. If seeded & cored jalapenos are not that hot. If you like more heat, chop it WITH the seeds & core. It is important to handle jalapenos with care to avoid chemical-type burns on your skin. If you don't have plastic gloves just put your hands inside cheap plastic sandwich bags when chopping the peppers & don't touch your face, etc. until you have thoroughly washed your hands.
Here is some great info on handling jalepenos: PEPPERS.
Yield: 8 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 green bell pepper, seeded & chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded & chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & chopped (use plastic gloves)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups shredded seasoned cooked chicken
1 15 ounce can white beans, undrained (I used the BEANS in this pic, 5th can from left)
1 14.5 ounce petite chopped tomatoes, undrained
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add green bell pepper, red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper & onion, cook & stir for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add garlic & cumin & cook for another 2 minutes.
2. Stir in chicken broth, chicken, beans & tomatoes, reduce heat & simmer stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
3. Add corn & cheese, heating until cheese is melted. Remove from heat & stir in cilantro.
Optional garnish: sour cream, additional shredded cheese & chopped cilantro
*P.S. My chicken broth, chicken & beans were all seasoned so I did not add additional salt or pepper. Season as desired.