Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

I have been cooking and baking up a storm. My oldest stepson came home from Colorado. It is great having him home, even for a short visit. Tonight for Halloween, my Mother is coming over for dinner. After the Trick or Treaters, we are having Broccoli - Potato soup. It has been much cooler and windy here, so soup will do the trick.

Last weekend, I baked for a fundraiser. I made cookies, delicous breads and caramel corn puff/popcorn. I will post this recipe next week. I am making it for my Mother's birthday party on Sunday. She has always been a caramel corn fan.

We have costumes for our cats for Halloween. My pretty Apple Jax hates costumes. She is being tortured with this giraffe hat on. My Husband and I laughed so hard.

If you could have heard all the hissing and growling out of the Princess. She was ready to bolt. When the hat came off, she was gone like lightening to a dark spot in the bedroom. I do love her whiskers.

Black Cherry is also not happy, but if you started petting him, he was find. We will use him to perform tonight for the kids. He loves all the attention. Needy boy.

Happy Halloween, enjoy your tricks and treats .... and be safe out there ... always lots of crazies out.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Four and Ten Years Ago

Today's blog is a very mixed emotion blog. There are no food recipes today. Maybe later on.

Four years ago today, my Dad died in a sudden tragic accident. In a moment he was gone, and our lives changed forever. This is one of the reasons why I am writing this blog. To share my love for food and life

This is the blue shirt picture.

When he died we were looking for the right picture for his obituriary, and this picture was on my camera. Digital photos are sometimes never seen. And now that he is gone, some many people have this picture. My Dad always has a smile and a kind word. He always wave and stopped to talk. Even if for a minute. He almost always had somewhere to go. My Dad worked very hard his whole life. His success came from getting up every morning and "hitting it hard" and being grateful for his family. He loved my Mother so much and he was always proud of his Daughters. (well most of the time)

He was number 7 out of 10 children. He loved each one of his brothers and sisters. He family bond was very strong. He knew when most of his nieces and nephew were born. (what kind of car he had and how the weather was then) My Dad suffered a lot of tragedy early in life. But he did not complain. One of his most noted phrases was, " Stop complaining, there is always someone worse of than you." And usually he was right.

Ten years ago today, my Dad walked me down the aisle for the second time. We both felt that I had it right this time. I was marrying the person I belonged with and wanted to spend the rest of my life with. My Husband and I both had first marriages that were Wrong. I was so happy on that day ten years ago. And I am still happy today.

Four years ago, when I called my Husband to tell him my Dad had died. He could not believe it. My Dad was healthy and strong. He could not be gone, and yet he was. My Husband and my two brother-in-laws all lost a strong father figure. He was always the legend they had to live up to.

My Husband stepped up and had to support his once strong wife. The grief we all stuggled with was unbelieveable. We always just wanted check out and go to bed. As each day pasted, each month went by, and each anniversary clicked off, we went back to being Butch's daughters.

My Dad was a very charitable person. He gave of his time and his money. It brought him great happiness to help people who were struggling or in need. That is one strong trait that he passed on to his daughters, son-in-laws and grand children.

My Family likes good meals, great desserts and lots of conversation. Our lives have been centered around a kitchen table. Problems discussed, tears of joy and sadness have flowed over the years. I could tell you so many "Butchy" stories and even Husband stories. That is why I will continue with this blog.

As I close today, Smile freely. Give Hugs freely. Stop and Talk to someone. Help someone in need. And Just Love. That is what makes this world a better place.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Best Buttermilk Pancakes - Waffles

I love Waffles. I have always loved Waffles. When I was a young child, my mom would make waffles for us on Saturday mornings. She always baked on Saturdays. Muffins, coffee cakes or waffles. Our friends always like spending the night on Fridays, because my Mother would whip something up for us. So many wonderful memories, sitting around the kitchen table eating one of her creations. Wonderful

My Mom always made home made waffles. I never had an Eggo waffle until my twenties. And I realized how gross it tasted. A piece of cardboard with butter and syrup. BAD.

When my Florida sister turned 40, she published a small cookbook of her 40 favorite recipes. It was such a wonderful idea. My sister is a fabulous cook. She can make so many different types of food. I may borrow a few of her other recipes for this blog. My sister is a wonderful pancake maker. She has made loads of batches of pancakes for her boys and extended family. I am not a great pancake maker. I make waffles. And that is how that works for me and my family.

My sister loves to top her pancakes with fresh fruit. They look beautiful and are healthier for you. We both agree that real maple syrup is the best compliment to these pancakes or waffles. Last year I purchased online Maple Syrup from Cooks Illustrated. Well worth the money.

The Best Buttermilk Pancakes - Waffles
adapted from Suzi

1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons melted butter
2 large eggs - room temperature - Separated
fresh fruit for garnish

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt, set aside
In a large bowl combine the buttermilk, butter and egg yolks. Mix together
In a second medium bowl with a stand mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Add dry ingredients into the buttermilk mixture. Stir until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in beaten egg whites until just combined.

If you are making pancakes, heat a lightly butter griddle. For each pancake, gently spoon out a 1/4 cup of batter. Cook until top starts to bubble. Flip and cook about another minute or until brown.

If you are making waffles. preheat and spray waffle maker. Gently pour batter into waffle iron. Try not to overflow. It will ooze out all over your counter.

That was TOOOOOO full.

These waffles are light and fluffy. The egg whites and butter provide for a crispy exterior. This is a quick recipe for a homemade breakfast. They are so much better than the frozen waffles out there. Waffles, butter, fruit, and syrup all mixed together. What a great way to start the day.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pumpkin Bread

Well so much for doing this post on Monday. After my super crazy weekend, and everything was a success, I am was VERY tired. Feeling pretty beat up. Since I had enough brains to use Monday for a vacation day, I got to do things that I never usually do. (at a Job)

In the morning I was doing laundry and cleaning house. I decided we need some bread. So I whipped up a batch of Banana Honey walnut bread. (see earlier post for recipe) Delicious as always, and I still had some energy.  So I made a batch of Pumpkin Bread. This bread is a super moist bread. It contains enough spices to give it so much flavor. I also like that it makes two loaves, so you always have one for yourself and one to give to someone special.

As much of a Spring - Summer person as I am, Fall always brings out so much baking for me. Maybe it is just warming up the house with bake goods. Trying the Pumpkin, the Apples and soon the Cranberries. There is actually more than "just Banana Bread." SO many more breads to look forward to..

Pumpkin Bread
adapted by ME

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup oil
1 15 ounce can of pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed granola or crushed granola bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray two loaf pans. Set aside

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside

In a large bowl of a stand mixer, bring together sugars, eggs, and oil until blended. Add pumpkin and vanilla extract until mixed well.

Gradually fold in dry ingredients into the wet. Blend, but do not overmix. Pour batter into two loaf pans. Sprinkle with granola on top if you like. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Insert toothpick, clean - good.

Let loaves cool and rests for 15 to 20 minutes. Invert on plates and let sit for an hour before cutting. Enjoy

A little cinnamon butter or cream cheese would make this just heavenly.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Black Cherry

This weekend, I am SUPER busy. Two catering jobs and my First cookie job. I am supplying 260 cookies for a party on Sunday. Very excited. As I was making my dough for the cookies, my cat, Black Cherry was outside on the patio. When I was growing up, we lived out in the country. There were always cats around. Some stayed many years and some not so long. We never had house cats. My Mom did not float with that program. Both of my cats are house cats, but the farm girl in me brings them outside. I live on a busy street, so the cats are harnessed with long leashes. They will sit on the patio and watch the birds fly by. Occasionally they will try to chase a bunny. They are not that quick.

Black Cherry vs. a Praying Mantis

This was probably one of the funniest things I have every seen. A twelve pound cat playing with an ounces of an insect. I was laughing so hard, I could hardly hold my camera still. Especially when the Praying Mantis went into Karate Kid mode. That was hysterical.

The Praying Mantis would clamp on to the cat. He would just swing around, until the insect just flew off. Again, another funny site. But sadly in the end, between flung around and being batted with a paw, the twelve pound cat won out.

I guess what is important here, stop all the working and take a break. Sit with your husband or your kids. Enjoy a good laugh. Go outside and look at your flowers. Play with your pets. Just get out of the kitchen and enjoy life.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Nutella Banana Bread

I have found Heaven, and YES it is in another Banana Bread. When will it Stop.... I love Banana Bread, and this one is incredible. The chocolaty, nutty flavor of the Nutella comingling with Bananas. So moist and just simply delicious. My Husband asked me how many ways could I make Banana Bread. Endless opportunities.

I now have a half bushel bag of Apples, so the Banana Bread will slow down for a few weeks. I did buy the brown bananas over the weekend at the grocery store. They are no where near ready for baking. They need a few weeks of darkening to get just right.

As always, this recipe was really easy to make. There was ONE mistake made on this bread. The Nutella was to be swirled throughout the bread. I had my ADD moment, and it was all mixed together. The swirling would look cool, but this way was just as good. Read the recipe, understand the recipe and remember, modifications just happen sometimes.

Nutella Banana Bread
adapted from


2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (half stick) butter
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup mashed ripe banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
3/4 cup Nutella


Preheat oven to 350 degress. Spray or butter a 10 x 5 inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer,  beat sugar and butter together at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add bananas, milk and vanilla.  Beat until when blended. Add flour mixture, beat at low speed until just incorporated.

Spoon Nutella into a small dish. Microwave for 15 seconds. Add to the Banana batter and mix. Pour into loaf pan.

(ALTERNATE: Spoon Nutella into a small dish. Microwave for 15 seconds. Add one cup of Banana batter to the Nutella and stir until blended. Pour plain Banana batter into loaf pan. Spoon the Nutella batter alternately with plain banana batter and swirl with a knife.)

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until it comes clean with a toothpick. Cool for least 15 minutes in the pan. Invert and cool on a wire rack.

 ~Chocolate bananas with a Nutty flavor. YUMMY~