Penzey’s Seasonings

Even though this is so hard for me to admit, I had never heard of Penzey’s Seasonings. In the last couple of months, we have gained a new friendship with a couple from church and Marilyn loves to cook as much as I do. We have begun to meet her and her husband for lunch during the week and on one of our adventures to Cheesecake Factory, where Randy discovered a Chicken Parmesan Pizza, she began to tell me about Penzey’s and how great their seasonings were. So we planned our next adventure to go eat a Chicago dog at Portillos in Tempe and then head to Penzky’s so she could show me all of the seasonings that she loves. So last Thursday, that is exactly what we did. I discovered that I can spend $50 faster in Penzey’s than Steinhart! As we walked along the aisle, she would point out a spice that “oh this is what I add to my meatloaf, or hamburgers that people always ask me what I did to make it taste so great”, so of course I had to have that one. Then we came to a spice that she adds to any bread pudding, or apple dish, well, you know I had to have that one. Then there was the one that I just had to have to add to veggies or salads and don’t get me started on the dried fresh dill and jalapeño flakes. Randy and her husband, Bob, just stood over by the door, shaking their heads. Upon checking out, Randy learned over and whispered in my ear, “does this mean that you are going to actually start cooking other things besides cakes and pies?” After glaring at him, I told the lady to hold on, I wasn’t through and went and grabbed a few more spices that I didn’t think any home should be without. Randy didn’t have any more wise cracks before leaving the store.  When I posted my new found treasures on Facebook, several of my friends told me that they couldn’t believe that I had never heard of Penzey’s. I informed them that unless they were on the shelf at Walmart, my spice world is pretty limited with garlic powder, salt, pepper, onion powder, you know, the stuff kitchens are known for, but… Now, I have the catalog and my new spice lingo includes words like:

Herbes de Provence, Bouquet Garni, Chicago Steak Seasoning, Beef Roast Seasoning and Sunny Paris.  I hope that by the time we have company and I use the new seasonings, I will have learned how to pronounce the ones with the fancy little names. I have Chicago and Beef and Sunny down, but am working on Herbes, Provence and Bouquet Garni. If I have too much trouble, I guess I’ll stick with just garlic powder. Well, on fancy meals, I’m pretty sure I am good saying “celery salt”!  So, watch out Phoenix, this country girl is practicing her french and is ready to start cooking with her new Bucket Garnie and my new Hurbees dee Pro Vince! Hope it tastes better than it sounds!

Banana Caramel Cheesecake Pie

Paula Deen has just hit a home run with me. Just received my new PD magazine and every page is filled with either recipes for fried green tomato recipes, which included a BLT with the FGT or amazing summer ice box pies. If she had not been my favorite cook, she would be now. Every one of the recipes in this magazine are summer perfect! .It just makes me want to head out to the closet Farmer’s Market buy fresh corn (yes, this month she had fabulous recipes with fresh corn also), berries, green tomatoes and whipped cream by the gallon! The ice box pie I’m posting today sounds like it will become a favorite of mine. Thank you Paula for these wonderful summer recipes which should truly assure me that I won’t be fitting in my bathing suit for quite some time. But oh my goodness, the reruns on TV will be so much better with a piece of this luscious pie in front of me.

Banana Caramel Cheesecake Pie

1 (8.8 oz) package BiscottCookies, crushed

6 tables unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 teas salt

1 1/2 (8 oz) packages (so 12 ounces in all) of cream cheese, softened

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1 teas vanilla

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup sour cream

1 cup sliced banana

1/2 cup caramel topping

Garnish: sliced bananas

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9″ deep dish pie plate with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together cookie crumbs, butter and granulated sugar and salt. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of prepared pan.

Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add cream and sour cream and beat until very thick, about 3 minutes. Stir in sliced banana. Spread into crust.  Dollop caramel sauce onto pie and gently swirl together, being careful not to disturb the bottom crust. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Garnish with more banana slices if desired. Serve immediately.  Thanks, Paula, this one is a keeper!

Spoon burgers

So much of our conversation revolves around food. At dinner the other night we began to talk about what our moms use to cook when we were growing up. Randy began to tell me about his mom making hamburgers where she just browned hamburger meat with seasonings, breaking it up into very small pieces and then grilling the buns and spooning the meat mixture onto the bun. I had never heard of doing that except for when you have sloppy joes, but he informed me that that was one of their best meals. As I began to look through the old cookbook I mentioned when posting the Oatmeal cake, I ran across, wait for it….spoon burgers! And there it was in all it’s glory. So in case you want to try a different approach to a hamburger, here is the recipe.

1 lb lean hamburger meat

1/4 cup finely diced onion

1 teas salt and pepper, each

1/2 cup chile sauce

 

Brown meat in skillet with onion and seasonings, stirring with fork to break up the meat. Spoon off any fat left in skillet. Stir the chile sauce into meat mixture and heat for about 3 minutes allowing the meat to absorb the chile sauce flavor. Cover the inside of each bun with a little butter and grill in a different skillet. Spoon meat mixture onto bun and serve hot.  Makes 2-4 hamburgers, depending on how much meat you use for each.

Oatmeal Cake

Last evening at dinner, Randy and I were sitting at the table and since I had devoured my food way before he was finished, as I usually do, I began to tell him about a chicken and rice dish my mom use to make. Getting up to go get the cookbook that I believed had that old chicken rice recipe, I discovered looking through the pages, a recipe that my mom and Aunt Gladys had made too many times to count. I remember always thinking “why did they like that boring cake that didn’t have frosting 3″ thick and no sprinkles or chocolate anywhere close to it” so I really ate too much of it. As I began to read the recipe to Randy, he told me that it sounded pretty good to him, so since I had everything in the house needed to make it, I began to gather the ingredients.

The result was this amazing cake with a baked on topping that maybe is just good to “older” folks that don’t like a lot of sweet gooey frosting. Some of our friends drove their golf cart over this morning early to show off their grandson and took some home. They loved it. Randy has taken a piece overtime he walks through the kitchen, and so do I.

The recipe was from a cookbook put out by the workers from school cafeterias in Corpus Christi back in the 60’s. I never did find the chicken and rice recipe, but will keep looking!

Ingredients: Makes a 9×13″ cake Preheat oven to 350.

1 1/4 cup boiling water

1 cup regular oats

1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

1 heaping teas cinnamon

1 teas vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teas soda

Pour boiling water over oats in a small bowl and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes.

Cream butter and both sugars. Add unbeaten eggs, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix well and then add oats, flour and soda.

Pour batter into greased 9×13 pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until cake is just done. While cake is baking prepare topping.

Topping:

Combine 4 tables butter, 2/3 cup light brown sugar, 1 cup coconut, 1 cup chopped pecans, 4 tables Eagle Brand Condensed milk and 2 egg yolks. Mix well and pour over cake as soon as you take it out of the oven. Return to oven and bake another 10 minutes. *That is why you just want to bake, just until it is almost finished baking, when you pour the topping over, since it will finish baking those last 10 minutes.

 

Bullet Blog

I’ve been noticing some of the blogs are being written as bullet points so those who are in a hurry can just glance at the posts and hurry back to what ever they were doing.  So instead of my usual very wordy posts, I thought I would try it to see how it is received and maybe that will give you more time to text or cook or work or read a novel. So here goes!

Trudy’s Tuesday Tidbits.

*making breakfast for 6 ladies tomorrow

*sitting here watching  RC shampoo carpet while I blog

*mentioned I liked the smell of vinegar to RC and he told me he would buy me a bottle of that instead of perfume for my bday and save money since I liked the smell of it so much! He’s very romantic like that!

*Excited to make a veggie dinner tonight with Brussels sprouts, collard greens, honey carrots and mashed potatoes with sliced tomatoes and corn bread (oops see I’m already getting wordy and I’m only on the 4th point)

*trying to talk myself into going to the pool but just looking at my bathing suit makes me wonder if, by the time I get it pulled up am I going to have to pull it down to go potty!

*enjoyed a new friend coming over yesterday to learn how to make scones (recipe is on blog under “cream scones”)  We sampled them and visited   Lovely morning!

*watching my hubby pack up our new cordless vacumn to take back and feeling very blessed to have such a precious husband who will do anything in the world for me!

*looking forward to watching AGT tonight with a slice of chocolate cake in front of me! (The perfect chocolate cake (recipe is on blog under that title) trust me…it is the perfect chocolate cake and I have friends who will vouch for that!

*got my AZ DL yesterday so guess my new fav flower will now be a cactus instead of a magnolia blossom!

That’s my thoughts for today! Go and be a blessing!!!! Trudy

Homemade Ice Cream

Wednesday evening the kids came over for dinner. They said that they wanted some home made ice cream. I have one of the Hamilton Beach 1.5 qt Electric Ice Cream Makers that we use A LOT!  So I decided to have vanilla ice cream and individual cherry fried pies( recipe is already on blog) for dessert that night. This recipe is EXTREMELY easy and tastes like the ice cream at Chick Fila.

Follow instructions as to allowing the container to sit in freezer compartment over night or at least 8 hours. (Read instructions that come with the Ice Cream Maker)!

1 can of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

2 teas vanilla extract

Half & Half to fill container up to fill line.

Mix the 3 ingredients together and pour into container. Turn it on and allow it to get to ice cream consistency. It really is a great recipe for quick and easy ice cream.

You can add 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, or crushed up candy bars as ice cream hardens.

Senior Hotel Shenanigans

We have returned from our quick trip to San Diego, where we met some of our kids from Texas and inlaws. Our son had invited us to come for a couple of days while they were there visiting our DIL parents, who keep their sailboat there in the marina in San Diego. Looking back, we are so grateful we didn’t stay any longer than 4 days. We might not have lived to tell about our adventures.

We were both excited to be able to go and spend time with our kids and Sevy, our grandson, who is quickly learning how to navigate the sailboat. But…let me begin at the beginning. We checked into our hotel and were offered assistance with our luggage, but Mr. “No, we can handle it just fine” (AKA, he doesn’t want to have to tip anyone else that day.) decides that we will just park at the back entrance and, after all, how hard can it be? We both have rolling cases, with hanging travel bag with too many clothes in it so it won’t close properly and then cases with toiletries. We park and proceed to unload our bags. So far so good. I have my hanging bag with clothes over one arm, my roller suitcase behind my right side, with my toiletry bag hanging over that and look over and Randy is trying to get his roller bag behind him so he can pull it across the parking lot, when I see him loosing his balance. I quickly drop all my things, trying to help balance him when he falls completely over me, knocking me to the ground. We looked like dominoes that someone pushed the first one and they just kept falling. We sat there, trying to figure out what to do. He couldn’t find anything to help him get leverage to get up, and he was on top of me, so I couldn’t get up to help him. I finally scooted my garmet bag over so he could kneel on that (poor thing, his knee was bleeding pretty bad) and thus would allow me to get up. Looking back, over that, I can only imagine what I looked like, with my rear in the air, trying to get up, then trying to pull him up. We couldn’t help but laugh thinking about what the man watching the security camera must be thinking. They probably watched us over and over with, “oh man, wait till you see these old geisers, not only does the guy fall, but he falls over and knocks her over! It’s hilarious”

We do like to provide entertainment and laughter wherever we go. We were so proud that we were able to still walk with our heads held high into the hotel, even though we had gravel in our hair, blood dripping down his leg and dirt marks all over my white shorts. Luckily we have no boating incidents to write about but then on Saturday, we woke up. We should have just stopped right there. But, I was thirsty for my Dr Pepper and Randy wanted a cup of Starbucks coffee. As he was stepping into the shower, I yelled at him that I was going to go downstairs and buy a Dr Pepper from the hotel gift shop and yes, I would bring him a cup of coffee. I grabbed my phone (thank the Lord, I did take that), the room key and my wallet. After paying $10 for a Dr Pepper and a pack of gum, I stopped at the Starbucks counter and bought my sweetie pie a cup of coffee. I jumped on the elevator and proceeded to our room. As I reached the room, I realized that I didn’t have a hand free to use the key card to open the door, and after knocking, realized that he must be taking a little longer than usual shower, since he didn’t answer.

The key didn’t work. I realized that, after trying to call him, he must still be in the shower, so I didn’t have a choice but to pick up the coffee off the floor, grab my Dr Pepper and ride back down from the 10th floor and ask the clerk to reactivate the key card. We have had that happen many times, that after about 3 days the key has to be activated. So back down I go and she hands me 2 more cards after having to show her my ID. I thanked the Lord that for some reason I had picked up my wallet, which I really don’t know why I did, because I was just charging everything to our room anyway, but I guess God knew I would need my ID. So back up to the 10th floor I go. When I get off the elevator, I am thinking to myself, that his coffee is probably cold by now, when I try the new key and IT doesn’t work. WHAT? OK, i put everything on the floor and try it again, still doesn’t work. I begin to bang on the door for Randy to open it and he doesn’t. I am now running out of patience. How long of a shower is he going to take today? I call him and he answers. In a not so nice voice, I ask him why he is not answering the door when I am banging on it. He said he didn’t hear me knock. You are kidding me. I bang on it, just to let him know how loud I have been banging on it just to prove my point. My cell phone rings and once again, I have to put his coffee on the ground, to have a hand to answer it. “Why are you calling me, when you should be answering the door?” He informs me that he did answer the door and no one is there.  I had gotten off on the wrong floor. I hurriedly pick up my drinks, and run down the hall before the people in that room decide that the crazy lady at their door at 7:30 a.m is just not going to go away, open the door to see what I am wanting. When I got to the elevator, I looked and I had got off on the 6th floor. How did I do that, I know I punched “10”.  When I walked into our room, I couldn’t help but just fall on the bed laughing. If  indeed they have security cameras in the halls, the camera guy must have been cracking up.

On our trip home, I ask Randy if he thought we were just odd or did the Lord just always allow funny things like this to happen to us so I would have things to write about. He just looked at me and said, “well, all I know is that over the past 21 years, we have certainly had our share of funny stories that has brought lots of laughter for us and for others and for that, we should be thankful.”  Easy for him to say, he wasn’t the one on the hotel hall security camera!

Muffins & Toast

IMG_4880This week, I have had the blessing of being invited to two different friends homes, one for lunch, the other for breakfast. At both homes, I came away with great recipes that I wanted to share. Debbie, who had the luncheon served cheese muffins which were just so good. Actually, anything with 3 cups of cheese is good, but these were gooey and ever so yummy. She served them with cucumbers with dill and cherry tomatoes and fruit.

Today, I was at  Connies, a new friend,  for breakfast where she served blueberry stuffed french toast.  Walking into her home, the aroma of grilled bread permeated the house and we sat down to warm blueberry syrup as she carried a platter of the scrumptious french toast over to us. Because Randy and I tend to usually eat toast with peanut butter in the mornings, or a bowl of cereal, this was a real treat. Unless we are celebrating something special like, we went for 2 days without eating dessert, or we actually walked past the fridge without opening it for 1 whole hour the evening before, when we will allow ourselves to splurge on toasts, sausage, eggs and hash browns.

Connie and Debbie, thank you both for serving dishes which were both new to me. Am excited to post them to share with others.

Cheese Muffins (taken from Pioneer Woman)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 tables sugar

1 tables baking powder

1/2 teas salt

3 cups shredded colby-jack cheese

1 cup milk

1 egg

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter (let it cool for a few minutes before using)

(I did add about 1 tables parsley flakes, 1/2 teas dry mustard and 1/2 teas garlic powder to the dry ingredients)

Whisk together dry ingredients, then stir in cheese.

In a separate bowl, whisk egg, milk and butter together. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir with a spoon to combine. Divide mixture between 12 greased (well greased) muffin tins. The hostess used paper liners but the muffins tended to stick to the paper liners, so when I made these last night, I just eliminated the liners and heavily greased (with Pam) the muffin pan. After about 5 minutes of taking out of the oven, they came out very easily after running a knife around the edges.

Bake in a preheated 375 oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Makes 12 and I could have eaten all 12 with a slab of butter on top of each one.

Blueberry French Toast

As I sit here writing the recipes, it just dawned on me that if you are a busy mom who is always in a hurry in the mornings, you could even buy the frozen french toast and use it.

Make your french toast according to your favorite recipe. When you have the amount of slices you need to serve the number of people who will be gracing your table, spread about 1 teas of softened cream cheese on half of one side of the toast. Place about 4-6 blueberries on the cream cheese and using the spatula, fold the piece of french toast in half covering the cream cheese and blueberries. Allow to sit in the skillet or griddle for a minute to allow the cream cheese to almost melt. Serve with heated blueberry syrup.

 

 

Baked Oatmeal

A friend of mine yesterday remarked how much she loved oatmeal for breakfast. During our conversation (yes, most of my conversations are centered around food) I ask her if she had ever had baked oatmeal and she replied that she had never heard of it.

When we lived in California I had the blessing of being a mentor mom to a group of gals in the MOPS (moms of preschoolers) study at our church. One of their favorite things to bring for snacks were these baked oatmeal bars. I’m not a huge oatmeal person, but these were really good. So I promised Marilyn that I would post the recipe today. Try it…you might be surprised how good they are!

 

2 cups old fashioned oatmeal

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tables granulated sugar

1 1/2 teas baking powder

1/2 teas salt

1/2 teas ground cinnamon (I will add a little more than that as I like more cinnamon flavor)

1 cup whole milk

2 eggs

2 tables canola oil

1 teas vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8″ square pan.

Combine oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together in a bowl.

Whisk the milk, eggs, oil and vanilla together in a separate bowl. and stir until eggs and mixture are well combined. Set aside until flavors blend about 20 minutes. Add to oatmeal mixture and stir until thoroughly blended. Spread in prepared pan and bake about 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool and cut into squares.

I might add about 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips before baking.

A great breakfast on the go meal!

*Taken from Allrecipes.com

Blackberry-Blueberry Cobbler

Saturday I remembered I had fresh blackberries in the freezer that we got last summer. When I saw this recipe on the back cover of a Paula Deen Magazine, I quickly got the blackberries out and proceeded to make it. The recipe is from a Diner in Sevierville, TN and is called Black & Blue Southern Style Cobbler. We devoured it with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla on top.

5 cups blackberries

5 cups blueberries

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup Hillside Winery’s Black & Blue Wine

1/2 cup water

1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

Crust:

1 cup sugar

1 cup self-rising flour

1 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large pot, combine fruit, sugar,wine and water. Bring to a low boil, stirring often to keep the fruit from sticking. Meanwhile, mix sugar and flour in a bowl. Add milk, stirring as you add until batter is well mixed. Set aside.

Once the fruit mixture is hot, melt the stick of butter in the preheated oven in a 9×9 pan. Once butter is melted, pour fruit into the pan and stir to mix together.

Pour batter (crust) evenly over fruit and return to oven. Bake at 350 until crust is a golden brown. About 45 minutes. Top with ice cream or whipped cream.