Thursday, September 24, 2009

Booger Cookies

Thank you again, Mom, for a cookie recipe contribution. My blog is now beginning to resemble a healthy wheel of life, all spokes in proper alignment, all portions harmonious with one another. Except I realize the 'baby' section is beginning to make my circle a little unbalanced, but welcome to my real life. Right now there are only two spokes on my wheel, Caleb and work, which makes my car of life ride a little bumpy. Sorry Brent, your turn will come back around soon enough.


I love all of the old standard cookie recipes, making a few twists and additions practically every time I make them. For one thing, I never use raisins, I don’t like raisins, and lots of other people don’t either. I use dried cranberries instead and keep them on hand at all times. I almost always use dark chocolate chips rather than semi-sweet and I like to use flaked coconut rather than shredded.

But sometimes you just want something totally different and one evening I was snooping around on and found these, the name intrigued me so I had to take a look.

You need to try these, they are very good!!

Booger Cookies

Source: Better

2 1/4 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 c butter
1 c coconut
1 c mini-chocolate chips
1 small box instant pistachio pudding

Melt butter and let it cool down then mix with both sugars until smooth. Mix in eggs, soda, vanilla and pudding mix. Slowly add the flour. Stir in coconut and chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoon onto baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

I used my small one tablespoon scoop for one batch, they took about 9 minutes and yielded 4.5 dozen. When I used my large two tablespoon scoop it took about 14 minutes and I got two dozen.

See the batter? Now you know where the name comes from...I'm just sayin'.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rice Cereal alla Formula

At Caleb's four month check-up today, his pediatrian told us it's time to start him on solid rice cereal. At 26 1/4 inches long he's in the 90th percentile for length, but at 14 lbs. 14 oz., he's in the 50th percentile for his weight. In other words, we need to put some meat on this boy!
So tonight I prepared a batch of warm rice cereal, scented with a dash of formula (did that sound Top Chefy enough for ya?). Caleb dined in his bumbo chair on the coffee table with his father documenting the process for all eternity. I think this picture about sums up Caleb's opinion of my culinary skills:
And really, it just went downhill from there...
Before long, he started to look rather disenchanted with the entire situation...
(Look who was really interested in Caleb's meal. I'm sure this is just the beginning of Gracie's scouting for wonderful treats from Caleb's food).
As bad as the overall 'first solid food' experience went, there was at least one shining moment.

Sorry Caleb, mama will try to make a more tasty meal next time!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

No Bake Cookies - Two Ways

This week has been crazy for me. I am in the middle of busy time at work, plus my baby has been sick with a cough, requiring breathing treatments with a nebulizer. On top of all that, Brent's grandfather passed away and his funeral was two days ago. For obvious reasons, cooking and blogging has had to take a back seat and for that I apologize.

My mom is great, though, and volunteered to contribute another cookie post for me since I have no material of my own. Thank you mom!

For those of you who read my last cookie post which was meant to be an ‘America’s Test Kitchen’ type test between my new Baker’s Secret cookie sheet and my trusty AirBake cookie sheet, you know that didn’t turn out so well. You really have to pay attention to what temp you set your oven.

So, for this post I decided I’d be safe and do no-bake cookies. I was very surprised to learn the other day that a friend of mine who is 50+ years of age had never had no- bake cookies! I will cut her some slack, she was raised in Canada. :-P

My no-bake recipe is in my handwriting from when I was about ten, my family refers to them as ‘Thig-a-Ma-Jigs’. As a kid, the first time I heard someone refer to no-bake cookies I didn’t even know what they were talking about.


2 c sugar
1 stick oleo
1/4 c Dutch Process Cocoa
1/2 c milk
1/2 c peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 c Quick Oats

Place sugar, oleo, cocoa and milk in a large sauce pan and bring to a good rolling boil and boil for one minute. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, peanut butter and oatmeal and drop on waxed paper.

How easy is that!?!

Those of you who are a little younger may not even recognize the word ‘oleo’, which is what we called margarine in the old days. I’ve made this recipe with butter and I do believe margarine works better, the cookies set up a little better and are a little firmer. The other thing I can’t emphasize enough is to use Dutch Process Cocoa, it is so much richer and darker and makes a much better cookie.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

3 c sugar
3/4 c butter
3/4 c milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c peanut butter
4 1/2 c quick oats

Combine sugar, butter and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a rapid boil for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and peanut butter then mix in the oats, stirring until the mixture begins to cool. Drop on waxed paper to cool and set.
This is another recipe where I feel margarine is better than butter.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sausage Cake

One of the many blogs I follow, Elizabeth's Edible Experience, put up this recipe a few weeks ago. I saved it knowing Brent would love it. It was a great breakfast and a lot of the prepwork could be done the night before, making it easy to prepare for guests. Check out Elizabeth's blog sometime, I've saved several of her recipes, just waiting for a chance to make them!

Sausage Cake

Source: Elizabeth's Edible Experience
Adapted From: "Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux?" by Marcelle Bienvenu


1 pound of hot bulk sausage
1/2 cup of chopped onions
1 cup of chopped red bell peppers
1 cup of chopped green bell peppers
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of grated pepper jack cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon of Tabasco
1 1/2 teaspoons of a combination of salt, black pepper and garlic powder
2 cups of biscuit mix
3/4 cup of milk
1/4 cup of sour cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Brown sausage and vegetables over medium heat. Drain off excess oil. Add the cheeses, egg, hot sauce and seasoning mix. Make a batter with the biscuit mix, milk and sour cream and fold it into the sausage mixture. Pour into a greased 9x9 inch dish and bake for about 45 minutes, until nicely brown.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Beef Short Ribs

I have wanted to make these short ribs since the first time I saw Ina (yes, I watch her show so much we are on a first name basis) prepare them on the Food Network. They were a lot of work, but it was worth it. After about an hour in the oven the entire house smelled so decadent and rich it make my mouth water! I served it over mashed potatoes for a perfect cool weather dish.
Scott's Short Ribs
Source: Ina Garten

6 beef short ribs, trimmed of fat
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (2 onions)
4 cups large-diced celery (6 large stalks)
2 carrots, peeled and large-diced
1 small fennel, fronds, stems, and core removed, large-diced
1 leek, cleaned and large-diced, white part only
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 (750-ml) bottle burgundy or other dry red wine
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Fresh thyme sprigs
6 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon brown sugar


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the short ribs on a sheet pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven and add the onion, celery, carrots, fennel, and leek and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour the wine over the vegetables, bring to a boil, and cook over high heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the rosemary and thyme together with kitchen twine and add to the pot.
Place the roasted ribs on top of the vegetables in the Dutch oven and add the beef stock and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Cover the Dutch oven and bake for 2 hours or until the meat is very tender.

Carefully remove the short ribs from the pot and set aside. Discard the herbs and skim the excess fat. Cook the vegetables and sauce over medium heat for 20 minutes, until reduced. Put the ribs back into the pot and heat through. Serve with the vegetables and sauce.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Excited for football season!

Was anyone else as excited as us for the start of college football season?

We also were excited to celebrate Brent's dad being released from the's good to have you home, Papa!
We're on top of the world, daddy!

Sunday, September 6, 2009, that's what the Av setting does?

I am pretty dense when it comes to photography, even though I'm interested in the subject and I want more than anything to take beautiful interesting artsy pictures. For some reason my brain turns to mush whenever I try to figure it out. So, I was playing with the Av setting on my Canon this weekend. Whatever I was doing, I got some pretty neat shots!
See this sneaky little bumble bee that decided to buzz around while I was shooting in the flower bed? I took about seventy shots of him and got a few good ones.

Meringues Chantilly with Roasted Berries

For our Labor Day weekend cooking marathon, my mother in law decided we should make these meringues. We had both seen the Barefoot Contessa episode where she makes these (or does one of her super gay-tastic friends buy them, I don't remember?). I have to admit, my mother in law did most of the work for the meringues...that's not really my cup of tea. But I did help with the clean up, and I prepared the berries all by myself :)
This was a super fancy pretty little dessert. The berries were a knockout. I think next time we make them we will allow the berries to macerate with the sugar for a while, we both agreed the roasted berries would have been even more fabulous if they had been juicier.

Meringues Chantilly with Roasted Berries
Source: Ina Garten


4 extra - large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small glass and a pencil, draw 4 (3 1/2-inch) circles on each piece of paper. Turn the paper face down on the baking sheets.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed until frothy. Add 2/3 cup of the sugar and continue beating on high speed until the egg whites form very stiff peaks. Whisk in the vanilla. Carefully fold the remaining 1/3 cup sugar into the meringue. With a large star - shaped pastry tip, pipe a disk of meringue inside each circle. Pipe another layer around the edge to form the sides of the shells.
Bake for 2 hours, or until the meringues are dry and crisp but not browned. Turn off the heat and allow the meringues to sit in the oven for 4 hours or overnight.
For serving, place each meringue on a separate plate and top the shell with berries.

Roasted Berries:

1 pint fresh strawberries
2 half-pints fresh raspberries
2 half-pints fresh blueberries
2 half-pints fresh blackberries
1/4 cup sugar
Vanilla bean, split and seeds removed


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries on a sheet pan and toss with the sugar and vanilla bean seeds. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature before serving.

Friday, September 4, 2009

All kinds of Cookies

A few years ago at my dad's urging, my mom treated herself to a professional Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Since then, she has used it to create about four billion batches of amazing cookies. I myself am not much of a cookie maker so I asked her to contribute some posts of her favorite cookie recipes. Thanks mom! This blog is top heavy on Mexican recipes and recipes containing definitely needed some balancing out!


This morning I decided to make a batch of the best chocolate chip cookie’s ever. This is from, one of the sites I like to peruse whenever I have a chance.

Yesterday I bought a Baker’s Secret cookie sheet. I feel almost as if I’m betraying my 20+ year old air bake cookie sheets, but, hey, we don’t owe each other. My sous chef Cookie and I baked the first batch on my new Baker’s Secret sheet. I set the timer for 15 minutes and went on about with some other things I needed to do and before I knew it I could smell them burning, I couldn’t believe it, at ten minutes they were ruined!!!!

So, here I was, banging around and cussing the ten bucks I dropped on that new cookie sheet and am praising my antique air bake sheets, which I pull out for the next batch. I set them for 14 minutes, go about cleaning up the kitchen, and at about ten minutes I could smell them burning!!!

OMG! What is wrong in the universe today? Have I gone crazy? I’ve made these cookies dozens of times and they are always perfect!!! Finally, I figured out that I'd set the temp at 400 rather than 325!!! I can’t believe I did that, I cannot imagine what possessed me, and of all the stupid mistakes I’ve made that’s never been one of them, but, it won’t ever happen again.

I’ve made this recipe using dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and Andes Crème De Menth chips, and they are all wonderful. I use my large scoop and get 20 to 22 cookies. Another reason I particularly love this recipe is you can bake them the minute you decide to without having to wait for the butter to soften to room temperature.


2 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

Cream the melted butter and two sugars until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in chips with a spoon.

Tip: chilling the dough about a half hour before baking makes the cookies spread out nice and round with fewer jagged edges.

Drop by 1/4 cup about 3” apart and bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until edges are lightly toasted.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chorizo Stuffed Bell Peppers

I'm trying to explore new sections of the grocery store...I think they call it 'shopping around the edges'. The idea is to find new foods that you've never cooked with before. Our Wal-Mart has a nice sized Mexican food section in the refrigerator case where I found a bright red tube of chorizo sausage.
If, like me, you've never cooked with chorizo, don't be surprised if it looks like the least appetizing thing you've ever seen in a skillet (seriously, I almost threw it out, but it smelled good so I perservered). Just press the sausage down into a disk and be sure to take a second during cooking to drain the excess liquid (grease I guess)that comes out of the sausage. Flip the disk over and continue browning, then crumble when it's completely cooked. *confession, I had to Google how to cook chorizo, I had no idea*
I created this recipe using items I had on hand. It turned out really well and it came together quickly.

Chorizo Stuffed Bell Peppers

Source: A Hilary Original Recipe


4 bell peppers
1 pound chorizo sausage
1 onion, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1.5 cups minute rice
1.5 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
Cheddar cheese to taste
Sour cream, olives, other garnishes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Cut the bell peppers in half, removing stem and seeds. Place on a baking sheet lined with tin foil and put in oven, roasting until slightly soft and liquid is starting to seep from the peppers.
Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, saute the onion and sausage. Once the sausage is thoroughly cooked, add the tomatoes, rice and water. Allow to simmer until rice is cooked and the mixture has thickened. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
Spoon the sausage mixture into the bell pepper shells. Top with chedder cheese and bake about ten minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Garnish as desired.