Cookies & Cream Popcorn

Recipe and photo from Sing For Your Supper.

• 1 bag popcorn, popped (Tender/Fluffy White variety)
• 6 oz white chocolate baking squares
• 10 Oreos, crushed

Place the popped popcorn and Oreos in a large bowl. Heat the white chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted and smooth.

Drizzle the white chocolate over the popcorn/Oreo mixture and stir to coat. Dump out on a large sheet of wax paper and spread into a single layer. Let cool and harden. Break into small pieces and serve.

My Variation
I made a double batch of the recipe as listed above, but when I sampled it I thought it was a little too sweet. So I popped an extra bag of popcorn and mixed it in. In my opinion, the extra touch of saltiness made it just right. So the ratio I ended up with was as follows:

• 3 bags of popcorn
• 12 oz white chocolate
• 20 Oreos


Peppermint Kiss Popcorn

I made this recipe up last night for a Girls Night Out treat.  It was so yummy!
1 bag Candycane Hershey Kisses
2 batches of air-popped popcorn (I think one batch makes 4 quarts)

Melt the Kisses in the microwave (or in a double boiler).  Put popcorn in a very large bowl or a brown paper grocery bag and pour the melted Kisses over the popcorn.  Mix (or shake the bag) to coat all of the popcorn.  Spread on a couple of cookie sheets to dry.

Breakfast Casserole

This recipe is from my sister-in-law, Heather.  These were her exact words.  Interpret as you wish.
1 lb. sausage
12 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 sleeve of saltine crackers, really smooshed
2 handfuls of shredded cheese

Brown sausage and set aside.  Beat eggs in a large bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the eggs and mix well.  Pour into a 9x13 pan (sprayed with cooking spray).  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Focaccia Bread

At Cheryl's request, here is the focaccia recipe I made for Thanksgiving. It comes from Peter Reinhart's book, American Pie. The recipe takes advance planning, and the extensive instructions may seem daunting, but great bread demands a little extra time and effort. One other thing—I highly recommend using bread flour as opposed to all-purpose flour.

Phase One: The Dough

• 5-1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
• 2 tsp salt
• 2-1/4 instand yeast
• 2-1/2 cups ice-cold water
• 1/4 cup olive oil

Stir together flour, salt, yeast, and water in an electric mixer. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes, or until all the ingredients are hydrated and begin to form a wet ball of dough. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, and resume mixing on medium-low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until all of oil is incorporated and the dough is stick, supple, and smooth; it should clear the sides of the bowl and stick just a little to the bottom. If the dough seems like batter and does not have sufficient structure to hold itself together, mix in more flour by the tablespoonful.

Form the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl brushed with olive oil. Turn the dough to coat it with oil, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and immediately refrigerate it overnight. The next day the dough should have nearly doubled in size. Allow it to sit at room temperature for about 2 hours before making the focaccia.

Phase Two: Raising

Line a 12 x 17 inch sheet pan with baking parchment (or a silicone pan liner). Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil onto the parchment and spread it over the surface. Dip a plastic bowl scraper into water and, working gently, use it to scrape the dough from the bowl into the prepared pan. Be gentle with the dough so as to degas it as little as possible.

Drizzle 1/4 cup of olive oil over the surface of the dough. Using only your fingertips, press down on the dough, creating dimples and pockets all over the surface for the oil to fill. Do not press the dough outward toward the edges of the pan; instead, simply press downward at a slight angle toward the edges. The dough will spread on its own; any attempt to force it toward the pan edges will tear it or cause uneven sections. The dough will probably fill the pan a little more than half full before it begins to become elastic and spring back toward the center. When this occurs, stop pressing and let the dough relax at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Do not worry if some of the oil slides off the top of the dough; it will all be absorbed eventually. The pan of dough does not need to be covered, as the oil will protect it from developing a skin.

Repeat the dimpling process, beginning at the center and gradually working out toward the edges of the pan. This time the dough will nearly fill the pan. Try to keep the dough somewhat even across the top. Again, let the dough relax at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

Repeat the dimpling. This time the dough should fill the entire pan. Do not degas the dough any more than necessary as you spread it to fill the pan. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.

Phase Three: Baking

Preheat the oven to 500ºF. Just before baking, sprinkle seasoning over the top of the dough. I used a mix of sea salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and rosemary (I also added grated Parmesan during the last few minutes of baking). Place the sheet pan on the middle shelf of the oven, lower the temperature to 450ºF and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until both the top and underside are golden brown and slightly crisp.

Remove the finished focaccia from the oven and, using a spatula, loosen it from the sides of the pan. Slip the spatula between the focaccia and the parchment and lift up the edge of the focaccia. Then jiggle the focaccia out of the pan onto a cooling rack, leaving the parchment in the pan.

Let the focaccia cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting and serving.


Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Just wanted to record the details of the potato preparation yesterday since you never know when you'll need to make mashed potatoes for 20+ people again.. This is adapted from The Pioneer Woman recipe for make ahead mashed potatoes.

10 lbs potatoes, peeled and sliced into uniform size chunks
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter
1 to 1 1/2 cups half & half or milk
salt & pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender. Mash the potatoes (I put them in my mixer). Mix in the cream cheese, butter, half & half and salt and pepper until creamy. Spread the potatoes in a buttered baking dish. You can refrigerate for a couple of days. Let sit at room temp. for a couple of hours if they are refrigerated. Dot the top with little pieces of butter. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minuntes until heated through. This was plenty for our extended family of 23.. and even had some leftovers.


Apple & Gorgonzola Salad with Maple Dressing

Kristen and I have always seemed to struggle perfecting salads, but this one was a unanimous winner. The sweetness of the dressing is counterbalanced with the bitterness of the cheese, and the toasted nuts add a nice crunchy texture to the mix. All and all, a delicious mix of fall flavors.

• 1/2 cup raw pecans, chopped
• 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
• 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 2 tbsp vegetable oil
• 2 tbsp lime juice
• Salt & pepper to taste
• 8 cups mixed salad greens
• 2 large apples, sliced into chunks
• 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl toss the pecans with butter until evenly coated. Spread the pecans in a single layer on a non-stick cookie sheet or a lined baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 5-7 minutes until aromatic. Allow to cool completely.

Combine syrup, vegetable oil, lime juice, salt & pepper, stirring well with a whisk.

Combine greens and apple chunks in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle salad with Gorgonzola cheese and toasted pecans.


Lion House Crepes

3 eggs
1/2 c milk
1/2 c water
3 T Butter melted
3/4 c flour
1/2 t salt

Combine all ingredients in blender: blend about 1 minute. Scrape down sides and blend about 30 seconds more. Refrigerate 1 hour. Makes 12-14.

When Christie and I make these for our conference crepe night I triple the recipe.


We really like these

Also know as Jenny's Real Cool Cookies or just No Bake Cookies

• 3/4 c canned milk
• 1 1/2 cube margarine
• 2 1/4 c sugar
• 4 1/2 c quick oats
• 1 1/2 t vanilla
• 1 1/2 c coconut
• 3 1/2 T cocoa

In a sauce pan mix canned milk, margarine, and sugar. Bring to a boil and let boil for 3 minutes. In a large bowl mix oats, vanilla, coconut and cocoa. Pour cooked sugar mixture over oatmeal and mix well until all oatmeal is well covered. Drop by teaspoons onto waxed paper and let cool.

Butterscotch Brownies: The Original

I looked in the cookbook Madre gave me when I went to college and here is the recipe for Butterscotch Brownies listed in there.

• 1/2 c butter
• 2 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 3 eggs
• 2 2/3 c flour
• 2 1/2 t baking powder
• 1/2 t salt
• 1/2 t soda
• chocolate chips
• nuts

Melt the butter and add to brown sugar. Add eggs. Add dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips and nuts. Bake at 350 in a greased 10 1/2 x 15 x 2 inch pan. Bake 15-18 minutes.


Butterscotch Brownies

Growing up, we must have had butterscotch brownies at every picnic, on every road trip, always housed in the same red tupperware. A few weeks ago I randomly remembered these golden bars. Their distinct flavor practically percolated my taste buds. I thought surely the recipe would be in the Barton Family Cookbook, but no such luck.

Next I googled "butterscotch brownies" and found this recipe posted in several places, the source being the 1975 edition of Joy of Cooking. That certainly matched the era, and the cover looked like something that was on Mom's cookbook shelf.

It struck me last night, in all my cookie making, I don't think I had ever personally made butterscotch brownies before (I guess I was always too busy trying to perfect the chocolate pretzels from the Hershey book). The recipe I found didn't include chocolate chips, but since ours always did, I made sure to add them.

• 1/2 stick unsalted butter

• 1 cup brown sugar

• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

• 1 teaspoon baking powder

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1 large egg

• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

• 1/2 cup chocolate chips
• 1/2 finely chopped nuts

Set oven rack to upper middle level. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9- by 9-inch baking pan. Melt together in a small saucepan the butter and brown sugar. Set aside to cool slightly and while it cools, sift together into a separate bowl the flour, baking powder and salt.

Beat egg and vanilla into butter mixture. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into prepared pan. Bake on upper middle rack at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, cut, and serve. Makes 1 dozen bars.


Ice Cream Sundae Pie

Preparation time: 45 minutes plus freezing
Yield: 8 generous servings


3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 cups crisp rice cereal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Rocky Road Sauce:
1 package (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups miniature marshmallows or 24 large marshmallows, cut in fourths

3 pints vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Maraschino cherries
Chocolate sprinkles, optional


For crust, line a 9-inch pie plate with a 14-inch round of aluminum foil, extending foil beyond rim of pan. In a heavy saucepan, melt 3/4 cup chocolate pieces and butter, stirring constantly. Add cereal and vanilla, tossing to coat cereal completely. Press into bottom and up sides of prepared pie plate; chill until firm, 30 minutes or freeze 15 minutes.

For Rocky Road Sauce, melt chocolate in heavy saucepan; stir in sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and salt. Cool to room temperature; add marshmallows.

To assemble, soften half of ice cream. Remove chocolate crust from pie plate by gently lifting foil edges. Carefully peel foil from crust; replace crust in pie plate. Spoon slightly softened ice cream into crust; smooth top and spread with half of Rocky Road Sauce. Place pie in freezer 30 minutes or longer to allow ice cream and sauce to firm. Repeat with remaining ice cream and sauce. Freeze at least 30 minutes longer.

Shortly before serving, whip cream until stiff peaks form; add sugar and vanilla. Pipe around edge of pie and mound in center. Top with maraschino cherries; garnish with chocolate sprinkles if desired. Makes 8 servings.

NOTE: I don't think I've ever had this topped with whipped cream. That might actually be too much. You can also make this in a 9x13 pan, which makes it a more reasonable thickness and easier to cut 12 or 16 servings instead of 8. Just to make the calculation easier for you, there are 4 pints in a half gallon, so you use not quite a half gallon in the recipe, but if you do it in a 9x13, you might get away with just using the whole container without making it too thick. If you're feeling daring, try mint chocolate chip or another flavor besides vanilla.

Original recipe by Julie Baker, published in the Deseret News.


One Chocolate Chip Cookie

How to Make a Single Chocolate Chip Cookie - wikiHow

This is just the right amount to cook as a Skookie. Just undercook it slightly and serve with ice cream on top if you choose to make the Skookie.

1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 to 2 tablespoons chocolate chips
1 tablespoon water
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of baking soda
5 tablespoons flour

Preheat the oven to 350.

Measure all the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix and mash thoroughly with a fork. It's easier if the butter is slightly softened rather than using a hard-brick.

Add the mixture to the center of a pre-greased cookie sheet. To make it easier to bake evenly, smooth the mixture out as a thin layer.

Bake for 15-17 minutes. Bake for an additional 1-2 minutes if the cookie is too soft or gooey.

Let cool on a plate and enjoy. It's that simple!


Grilled Potatoes

I have made these twice now and the kids cheered the second time I made them. This recipe is also from Real Mom Kitchen.

Grilled Potatoes

4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp smoked paprika (I was
out of paprika so I just used salt and pepper.)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. While the grill preheats, cut potatoes lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. This is easy using a mandolin, but if you don’t have one a knife will do the job too.
Place the potatoes in a gallon sized freezer bag. Add the oil to the bag and seal closed. Toss the potatoes around in the sealed bag until well coated with the oil.
Open the bag and sprinkle in the smoked paprika and salt. Seal the bag again and toss the potatoes until the salt and paprika are nice and even distributed on the potato slices.
Remove the potato slice from the bag and place directly on the grill. Cook for about 5 minutes per side. Keep an eye on them so they don’t get overcooked. You want them tender on the inside when pierced with a fork, but slightly crisp and golden brown on the outside.
Remove from grill and serve immediately. Serves 4-5.

She made them with a BBQ dipping sauce. But I haven't made that yet. Last night I put grated cheese over them when they came off the grill to make cheese fries if you will. They were delicious.

Zucchini Muffins

My kids love the banana muffins so much that Dave posted. I came across this zucchini muffin recipe on Real Mom Kitchen. I had to try them and the did not disappoint. Here is the recipe as it was posted.

Zucchini- Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder (I upped it to 1 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
¾ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional, I didn’t do the nuts)

Position rack in middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin tin cups with paper liners. Spray the paper liners with nonstick spray. (This is key, or the muffin will stick to the liner)
In a medium bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar to blend them smoothly. Whisk in the oil and vanilla until blended. Use a large spoon to stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Stir in the zucchini, then stir in chocolate chips and walnuts (if using) until evenly distributed.
Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter into each paper liner.

I didn't add walnuts but them would be delicious. I made them in mini muffin tins just sprayed with Pam and baked them for 12 minutes. I increased the baking powder like she did, but I don't know why she did that.


Grilled Eggplant

Cheryl wanted me to post this recipe from the other night on here.  I don't buy eggplant on a regular basis, but these came in our Bountiful Basket so I looked up a recipe.
1 large eggplant
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
1 pinch each thyme, basil, dill, and oregano
salt and freshly grated black pepper

Heat grill. When grill is hot, slice eggplant about 1/2-inch thick (I sliced it different than what is shown in the picture). In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the oil and vinegar mixture.

Place eggplant on the hot preheated grill. Grill about 15 to 20 minutes, turning once.


Dough Boys

Hopefully summer will run late this year based on how long winter and spring seemed to hang on, so there's more time to cook with these.

Wrap a biscuit around a dough boy stick, cook over the fire, and fill with nutella, pudding, pie filling...

...fajitas, Phillies, bacon & eggs...

...in no particular order.


Waffle iron Brownies

Waffle cookies from a friend of Christie and mine from USU, Ken.

6 T cocoa
1/2 c margarine
2 eggs
3/4 c sugar
1 cup flour
1 t vanilla
Drop by spoonfuls into waffle iron. cook 1-2 minutes. Spray iron in between.

Icing, 4 oz cream cheese, 1/4 c butter 1 t vanilla, 1 lb powder sugar. Add cocoa to taste.

I haven't made these yet, but I want to.

Waffle Iron Brownies

Ingredients and Items Needed:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa pwder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 extra large eggs, well beaten
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, optional
confectioner's sugar, optional
waffle iron
wooden skewer or toothpicks
covered tin to store brownies

Preheat waffle iron to medium setting. On most models the indicator light will go out when propoer temperature is reached. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Blend cocoa into butter with a wooden spoon. Stir in sugar, beaten eggs and water. Add flour and salt; beat well. If you choose to add nuts, do so now and mix thoroughly.

Into each section of the preheated waffle iron, drop one well-rounded teaspoon of batter. Close lid and bake about 1 1/2 minutes. The brownies are done if they do not stick to the top of the waffle iron. Use the tip of a wooden skewer to remove brownies easily. Let cool on racks. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar (recommended but optional).
Makes 2 1/2 dozen.



This recipe is from Christie's neighbor Karen. It is very tasty. Kristen asked for the recipe so I decided to post it here.

2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 c oil
1 3/4 cup flour(wheat or white or 1/2 and 1/2, I use 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white, Christie uses King Arthurs White Whole wheat)
2 T sugar or honey
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Mix together wet ingredients and add to dry.


Nutella French Toast

I made these for breakfast on Mother's Day. They were a big hit. Well, except with Eddie. He is going through an anti-sauce phase and refused to touch them on account of the Nutella in the center (he ate a stale mini bagel instead). The original recipe says in makes 2 sandwiches, but the egg mixture went a bit further for me—I'd say there was probably enough for 3-4 sandwiches.

• 4-8 slices quality white bread (Harmon's challah bread worked nicely)
• 1/4 cup Nutella
• 2 eggs
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1 tbsp confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat a panini press or flat griddle. Spread 2 pieces of bread with the Nutella. Top each side with another piece of bread.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla in a shallow bowl. Dip each side of the sandwich in the egg mixture. Transfer to a platter. Let stand for a few seconds.

Put the sandwiches on the press, pull the top down, and cook until they are golden and crisp, about 4 to 6 minutes. If you are using a flat griddle, you would just have to flip them over like regular french toast.

Dust with confectioners' sugar, then do your best not to inhale as you bite.


Peanut Wraps

Another peanut sauce recipe, I think I could drink that stuff. The kids loved it, they even liked the broccoli slaw in it. I found it here

1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tbs cooking oil
4 cups broccoli slaw ( I didn't used that much, just cooked a few handfuls, whatever looks like how much you would eat)
1 medium red onion I didn't have any fresh onion, so I just used the dehydrated ones
1 tsp grated fresh ginger ( I used powdered since that was what I had)

Peanut Sauce:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter creamy or crunchy
3 tbs soy sauce
5 tbs water
3 tbs cooking oil
1 or 2 cloves freshly pressed garlic cloves or garlic powder

Season chicken strips with garlic salt and pepper. In a large skillet cook chicken in hot oil on medium-high until no pink left. Put aside and keep warm.
In same skillet add broccoli mix, onion, and ginger. Cook until crisp but tender.

Make peanut sauce while veggies cook. In a small saucepan combine sauce ingredients, heat and stir until dissolved.

Serve by layering the veggies, chicken, and sauce in a tortilla. Wrap it up. Eat it up. Makes 6-8 wraps, it really does make that many so if you are really hungry and want more than 6-8 wraps, make more chicken and broccoli, we had no leftovers.


Bell Pepper and Onion Crostini with Pesto

Recipe from epicurious

1 (18- to 22-inch-long) baguette, cut into 60 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Put baguette slices on 2 large baking sheets, then brush tops with oil and season with salt and pepper or garlic powder. Bake in batches in middle of oven until pale golden, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.

I actually just bought 3 loaves of day old bread from Jimmy John's. It's something like 50 cents for an 18 inch loaf, and I used all 3 loaves.

Peppers and Onions
6 assorted red, yellow, and orange bell peppers (3 pounds), cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
2 large onions (1 1/2 pounds), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar

Cook bell peppers, onions, and garlic with salt in oil in a wide 4- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until softened, 20 to 25 minutes. Cover pot and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender and just starting to brown, 20 to 25 minutes more. Stir in vinegar and remove from heat. Do not add the pesto yet.

Pepper mixture 1 day ahead and chilled separately, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Assemble crostini:
Put about 1 tablespoon pepper mixture on each toast and top with about 1/4 teaspoon pesto. Serve immediately.

This made a lot, maybe 150, give or take, so you might want to scale it back a little. Then again, maybe not.

Zucchini Bites

I made these as the appetizer portion of a progressive dinner. I was in charge of the appetizers, which we ate all together (around 50-60 people), and then everyone broke out to their assigned houses.

Along with these, we had hummus with spiced (and plain) pita chips, no-knead dutch oven bread, and bell pepper and onion crostini, which I'll post separately.


5 medium zucchini (about 6 inches long)
Bleu or Feta cheese
Several sticks of string cheese
1 pint cherry tomatoes

Cut zucchini into 3/4 inch slices, and use a melon baller to scoop out the insides. Fill the whole with a small chunk of the string cheese, add a tomato slice on top of that, and then sprinkle with pepper, bleu or feta cheese, and maybe 1/4 teaspoon of pesto.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. The original recipe calls for only about 5 minutes in the oven just to melt the cheese, but I like cooked zucchini better than raw zucchini, so I cooked it longer.

When I made these, they were out of cherry tomatoes, so I just bought roma tomatoes, and I cut them in slices like you see in the picture and then in half, so they hung over the edge a little bit. Some people thought it was a sushi roll with a little piece of salmon.

This will make about 35 zucchini bites.


Ah, the heavenly alfajor. I've only made these a few times since coming home from Paraguay, but I should probably make them more often. They can be a little difficult to get just right, not all crispy and not crumbling to pieces. I haven't actually made this particular recipe I'm posting, but the ingredients look about right from other times I've made it. The main thing you need to look for is the corn starch. If you find an alfajor recipe with just flour and little to no corn starch, run away. Fast. The corn starch is what gives it the melt in your mouth consistency. The trick to knowing when they are done is similar to classic sugar cookies...they are done just a minute or two before you think they're done (not brown at all yet).

First, you need to make some dulce de leche. If you can find it already made, feel free to buy it, but I've had a hard time finding it in any stores. I've tried making it the classic way, which involves slowly boiling, stirring, and adding sugar to milk for several hours. The easy way is to take 3 or 4 cans of sweetened condensed milk, and throw them in a pressure cooker for half an hour. You probably only need one can for a batch of alfajores, but as long as you've got the pressure cooker running, throw a few extra cans in there. Take the labels off the cans before boiling them, and don't open the cans before cooking or until they are completely cooled after cooking. The pressure will keep the can from exploding, which can happen if it boils dry in an open pot, besides the fact that it cooks much quicker in the pressure cooker. Throw the extra, unopened cans in the pantry after they cool down and save them for later. It's great on graham crackers, on top of ice cream, to dip fruit in, and the list goes on.


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
non-stick cooking spray
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut


To prepare dough: Sift together flour, cornstarch and baking powder; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and lemon zest on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in whole egg, then egg yolk, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. (The mixture will look somewhat curdled.)

Add sifted ingredients all at once. On low speed, beat just until dough comes together. Scrape out sticky dough onto plastic wrap, press into a disk, wrap tightly and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat a large cookie sheet with cooking spray, line with parchment, and then lightly spray the paper.

Place chilled dough on a well-floured surface; roll out with a floured rolling pin to an even 1/4-inch thickness or slightly thinner. Using a sharp 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut as many circles as possible, occasionally dipping the cutter in flour to prevent sticking. Arrange the circles 1 inch apart on cookie sheet.

Gather scraps of dough, roll them out, cut more circles, and add to the cookie sheet. If dough becomes overly soft and sticky, chill it briefly until it is workable. Refrigerate the filled cookie sheet for 15 minutes.

Bake the cookies about 10 minutes, until they have just set and are slightly puffed but not at all colored. Let cool for 1 or 2 minutes, then loosen cookies with a spatula.

Pipe or spoon about 1 tablespoon of dulce de leche onto the bottom (flat side) of a cooled cookie. Make a sandwich with another cookie. Press the cookies together gently to spread the filling to the edges. Roll the sticky rim in grated coconut. Repeat with the remaining cookies.

If you don't like coconut, don't roll it in coconut. Roll it in something else: Rice Crispies, crushed Oreos, chopped peanuts, or just leave the edges gooey.


Bossk Brownies and Deja Vu

We needed a FHE treat and Caleb was assigned the treat. He said he wanted to make something new and yummy. "Let's get out the Hershey cookbook, no where is the Star Wars cookbook" I was laughing picturing Caleb making all the things in the Hershey cookbook. He finally decided on Bossk Brownies in the Star Wars cookbook. It says under the title "Bossk, the bounty hunter never caught his quarry, Han Solo and Chewbacca. Perhaps he was distracted by these delicious brownies."

Here's the recipe:

2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup white chocolate or butterscotch chips

Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Don’t forget to USE THE FORCE! Pour into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake about 25 minutes (until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean). Cool completely, cut and enjoy.

We didn't have any white chocolate chips or butterscotch so we used Andes mint chips.


Chicken, Avocado, and Mango Salsa Quesadillas

This recipe comes from a cookbook called Panini Express that I checked out from the library. The original recipe actually called for shrimp, but we don't typically have any on hand, so I just used grilled chicken instead. However, that didn't stop these quesadillas from being what I would describe as a "flavor explosion."

• 1 grilled chicken breast, sliced
• 1 small ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
• Juice from 1 lime
• 1/2 small ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
• 2 scallions (white and light green parts), finely chopped
• 1-1/2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
• 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
• 3 8-inch tortillas (this may vary on the amount of filling used per tortilla)
• Monterey jack cheese, grated

Place the avocado slices in a small bowl and sprinkle with juice from half of the lime. Set aside.

Place mango, scallions, cilantro, pepper flakes, and juice from the remaining half lime in a medium bowl and toss to combine.

Arrange the avocado on one half of each tortilla. Arrange the chicken on top of the avocado. Spoon the mango salsa on top of the chicken. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Fold the tortillas over.

Put the quesadillas on a hot griddle, and cook until they are browned and crisp. Cut into triangles and serve immediately.


Crock Pot French Dip

Yes another new recipe. I found this french dip sandwich you make in the crock pot. It was delish and Zach kept saying it was the best dinner ever.

3 lb boneless beef roast
1 can french onion soup
1 can beef consume
1 can beef broth
1 t beef bouillon
1 onion
1 pkg fresh sliced mushrooms

Put it all in the crock pot on low for 8 hours or until meat is tender. Remove meat and shred. Serve on rolls with juice on the side. You could easily leave out the mushrooms for those you don't like mushrooms and I just sprinkled some dried onion in since it has the onion soup in I didn't think it needed that many onions.


Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles

I found this recipe on The Sister's Cafe, but it is a recipe is from Picky Palate. Most of my kids liked it. I really liked it. If you like things with a peanut sauce I think you will like this.

1 lb whole wheat thin spaghetti noodles
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled
½ Cup smooth peanut butter
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
¼ Cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 scant teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 Cup hot water
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ Cup finely chopped white onion
½ Cup finely chopped red or orange bell pepper
2½ - 3 Cups cooked, shredded chicken breast ( I used rotisserie chicken)
¼ Cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ Cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds (I just sprinkle some on top)

Set water to boil and cook noodles according to package. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce in the food processor.
Place garlic and ginger in food processor until well chopped. Add peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and red pepper flakes. Pulse until well combined and slowly add hot water. Set aside.
Place olive oil in hot skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and bell pepper for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in chicken breast, cilantro and salt. Stir until heated through.
Add sauce and chicken mixture to noodles. Toss to coat and garnish with peanuts and sesame seeds if desired.

I forgot the sesame seeds and the red pepper flakes.


Chicken Gyros

From My Kitchen Cafe
Christie and I both made these for dinner tonight, at least Christie was going to make them, I don't know if she actually did. But I did. I thought they were good, Caleb loved them, Sarah liked them.

For the tzatziki sauce:
16 oz. plain yogurt (not fat free unless it is Oikos or Fage or another Greek-type yogurt)
1/2 hothouse cucumber or 1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded (I used 1/2 of an English cucumber)
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press (or finely minced)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil

For the chicken:
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

To assemble:
Greek pitas
Fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
Red onion, sliced thin

To make the tzatziki sauce, strain the yogurt using cheesecloth over a bowl. Let strain for several hours or overnight, if possible, to remove as much moisture as possible.

Shred the cucumber. Wrap in a towel a squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Mix together the strained yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

To prepare the chicken, combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Whisk together until mixed well. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and mix well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Cook the chicken as desired, either in the skillet or with the broiler. (I sauted them in a hot skillet.) Once the chicken is completely cooked through, transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.

Heat pitas. Top with chicken, tzatziki sauce, diced tomatoes and sliced onions. Serve immediately.

On her blog there is a recipe for flat bread which looked delicious, but I didn't have time to make my own.


Wacky Cake

I took dinner to a friend whose husband could not have dairy or eggs, so I was trying to find a treat we could send. I remember mom had a recipe for Wacky Cake in her recipes that we used to make. Apparently it is a depression era recipe that came about when people did not have access to milk or eggs. It makes a pretty tasty cake. I think I liked it most as cupcakes dusted with powdered sugar.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cider vinegar (I just used white vinegar)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup water


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Mix dry ingredients together: flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa. Make three depressions. Pour oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into third well. Pour water over all, and stir well. (I didn't actually do this.. I just mixed the dry ingredients together in my mixer bowl and then mixed all the wet ingredients together and combined the two in my mixer)
3. Pour cake batter into an 8x8 pan sprayed with pam. (I have done cupcakes in cupcake liners.. filled to about 2/3-3/4 full)
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Frost or dust with powdered sugar. (Cupcakes don't cook as long-- I cooked mine for about 18 minutes-- it made about 12 cupcakes)


Tomato Basil Soup

I'm definitely ready for spring, but one good thing about the cold winter months is dipping grilled cheese in tomato soup. I have stuck with Campbell's for a long time, but I finally went searching for a suitable upgrade.

• 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
• 1 (12 oz) can tomato juice
• 1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
• A handful of fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1/4 cup butter

In a large saucepan, combine the crushed tomatoes, tomato juice, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the basil. At this point, you may puree the soup if you wish (I had some issues with the hot soup blowing the top off the blender). Add the cream and butter; return to medium-low heat, and stir until butter is melted. Makes 6 servings.


Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Carbonara can be made with any kind of noodle, but it's most commonly made with spaghetti. You just basically need noodles, eggs, and bacon, and you're ready to go.

When I made this a month or so ago, it wasn't this exact recipe from allrecipes.com that I used but rather I looked at several recipes and kind of combined them to come up with what I made. It is a pretty fair representation of what I made.


1 pound spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 slices bacon, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine (I often substitute chicken broth)
4 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pinch salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti pasta until al dente. Drain well. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and set aside.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook chopped bacon until slightly crisp; remove and drain onto paper towels. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon fat; add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and heat in reused large skillet. Add chopped onion, and cook over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add minced garlic, and cook 1 minute more. Add wine if desired; cook one more minute.

Return cooked bacon to pan; add cooked and drained spaghetti. Toss to coat and heat through, adding more olive oil if it seems dry or is sticking together. Add beaten eggs and cook, tossing constantly with tongs or large fork until eggs are barely set. You may want to temper the eggs with a little bit of the hot water from the pasta so the eggs don't scramble when they hit the hot pasta. Quickly add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and toss again. Add salt and pepper to taste (remember that bacon and Parmesan are very salty).

Serve immediately with chopped parsley sprinkled on top, and extra Parmesan cheese at table.

photo by Inga Beretta