Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Specialty Cake Pans

I have many obsessions when it comes to collecting kitchen equipment, but only one make everyone say "Aww...that's so cute". It's my specialty cake pans. Yesterday I fed my need to own them all thanks to some very generous Birthday gift cards from two very dear friends with the doughnut and the filled cookie. I made the doughnut for last nights Yule gathering and can't wait to make the cookie this week.
I was in a bit of a rush to decorate it so I made a powdered doughnut with sprinkles but the possibilities are endless. I think next time I will make my favorite a chocolate doughnut with glaze and nuts.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

French Bread

    I think everyone should give bread making a try sometime, it can be very simple even without that beast in the back of the cupboard the bread machine. This recipe is easy and makes a delicious loaf of bread perfect for sandwiches or dipping. I was very frazzled and tired when I made it so I didn't get any pictures of this wonderful bread last night but I promise next loaf I will take some.


1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
Cornmeal for dusting


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, oil, salt and two cups of the flour.  Mix until blended. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
  2. On a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about six minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour. Punch dough down then recover and let rise another half hour.
  3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a loaf 16"  long or make three ropes to braid into a loaf. Sprinkle a greased baking sheet with cornmeal; place loaf on baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
  4. Fill a 9x13 pan half way with hot water and place it on the bottom rack of your oven. Make diagonal slashes about 2" apart across top of regular loaf, but not on the braid. Bake at 375 for a half hour or until golden brown. Place bread on your cooling rack right out of the oven to prevent over browning of the bottom.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I am sure most of you know what one is, but think why bother I will just add some celery and onion to the soup and it will taste just fine. I am here to say your missing out on a whole lot of flavor and a tradition from all over the world for centuries. It couldn't be easier to add this depth of flavor your taste buds will love you for. the ratio is simple two parts onion to one part celery and carrot.
It is traditionally cooked in butter, but I prefer olive oil. Heat a few tablespoons over medium low in your pan and add the veggies and saute until onion is translucent and your done. Just a little extra step for so much extra flavor.
Today I am making bean soup so I tossed some crumbled bacon into the pan and then added it to the soup.  You can customize your flavors very easily this way, don' t be afraid to experiment!

Happy Cooking!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Depression Cake

Depression cake is a cake that was made during the depression. The cake has no milk, butter, or eggs because they were to expensive or hard to get. This cake has really come into it own now with so many people developing allergies to dairy and eggs.

You will notice something weird in the ingredient list, but it is vital you use it, and that's vinegar. I promise you will not taste it at all in the cake. The vinegar is used for leavening.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cold water


Sift flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together in a bowl. Make three wells ( I make a happy face to offset the depressing name of the cake).
  Pour oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into the third. Pour cold water over all, and stir well with fork.
 Grease and flour a 9x13 pan and pour in the batter. Now you have the option to add some extra richness to the cake by sprinkling 1/4 cup of chocolate chips over the top.

 Bake at 350 degrees F  for 35 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean. I don't frost mine since it is so moist but you can sprinkle it with powder sugar or frost if you like.
The edges roll on this cake (hubby loves the edges this way so I don't fuss about it) so if you want perfect corners just flip the cake onto a platter or cake board. You can also make a layer cake if you wish just use two nine inch rounds and reduce bake time by about 10 minutes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Molten Cheese Core Burgers

I love a good cheeseburger, but most of the time if you apply the cheese while the burger is cooking it all goes into the grill/pan and you don't have much gooey cheese to enjoy. Not with this burger! I give you the best cheeseburger I have ever had.

                         The Juicy Lucy by Cooks Country TV


1 1/2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 slices white bread , torn into rough pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 slice deli american cheese (1/2-inch-thick), cut into quarters


  1. 1. Using fork, mash bread, milk, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in large bowl until smooth. Add beef and gently knead until well combined.
  2. 2. Divide meat mixture into 4 equal portions then divide those in half. Following related photos, mold each portion of meat around 1 piece of cheese and them cover that with the other half of the meat mix and flatten.

    Transfer patties to plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  3. 3. Grill burgers over medium fire until well browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer to plate, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve.
    Prepare Grilled Juicy Lucy Burgers through step 2. Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Add patties and cook until well browned, about 6 minutes. Flip burgers, cover skillet, and continue cooking until well-done, about 6 minutes. Transfer to plate, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Coptic Stitch Books

Today is the Birthday of a special friend who like me enjoys cooking, crafting, and Halloween so I made her two coptic stitched cookbooks. One of them is just for her Halloween recipes and the other is for everyday.
What makes the coptic stitch so nice for cookbooks is the ability to open them flat for writing.

Isn't the inside paper of the everyday cookbook just the cutest!

I tried to get a closeup of the stitch itself but the lighting was a bit off. These are the two others I have made so far.

Enchilada Sauce

This sauce might not be authentic, but it beats the heck out of the canned stuff in our local grocery.


   3 cups chicken broth
   4 Tbs. Chile Powder
   1 tsp. ground cumin
   2 tsp. garlic powder
   3/4 tsp. salt
   1 pinch ground cinnamon
   a little less than 1/2 tsp. sugar
   3 Tablespoons plus 1/4 tsp. white flour
   3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
   1 small can tomato paste
   1 hershy kiss, mini bar or some chocolate chips of the same volume

First make a roux. In a 2 quart sauce pan add the oil over medium high heat.
When the oil is hot, lower the heat to low and add the flour.
Mix with a wire whisk for about 1 to 2 minutes stirring constantly.
You want to see a little bubble going on. Then add the chile powder
and whisk in till fully mixed.

Slowly pour in the 3 cups chicken broth.
Turn the heat up to medium again and stir till fully mixed.

Add the tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar
(the sugar is a little secret to eliminate any bitter taste from the chile powder).
Bring to a boil as you continue to stir.

reduce heat and add the chocolate, stir and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Now make your favorite enchilada filling, mine is chicken and cheese.
1 cup salsa, 1 brick cream cheese, 2 chicken breasts cooked and shredded and about 1 cup pepper jack cheese shredded. combine in saucepan over low heat until cheese is melted.

coat the bottom of the casserole dish with some of your enchilada sauce.
Roll the tortillas with the filling and lay them in the sauce
Then cover the entire dish with the rest of the sauce and shredded cheese.
Bake 350 for abut 30 minutes.
Garnish with your favorite toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, or sour cream. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My little library

I have always wanted a library in my home. I don't have that option so I have decided to put my book making skills to the test. I present to you some of the first of my miniature books.
They are all fully functional and just like their larger counterparts the hardcovers are sewn together and the paper backs are glued. The hardcovers are about an inch tall.
I have finished ten books so far, including two paperbacks, seven hardcovers, and one stab bound which was quite a task.
The largest book on the left(currently just the cover) is going to be a replica of a dictionary my parents have that I grew up using. I am not sure how I  am going to do the gold leaf lettering on it but I'm sure some inspiration will come to me.
Looks like my next venture will be into making book shelves to hold them all!