3 girls, me, and a recipe

Welcome! I hope you enjoy reading about the passions in my life, my family, cooking, gardening, my pets and making memories that my girls will pass on to their children.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Perfect Chicken and Dumplings

Hi everyone! I know everyone who makes chicken and dumplings probably has their own recipe. My grandmother and my mother made chicken and dumplings that used whole pieces of chicken and the dumpling were the kind you dropped by scoopfuls into the boiling broth. The dumplings had nutmeg in them. This almost ruined me for life. For two reasons: I dont like any kind of fat or gristle in my soup. And, I dont like mushy bread in there either. So I worked on my chicken and dumplings because I knew this could be a good soup. Now, I have been making it like this for 10 years or more. My kids usually eat all the dumplings out of it first. They really are the best part. In my mind, this is what the perfect chicken and dumplings are.

This is the ingredients you need to make the savory broth. The pic is awful but it has chicken breasts, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, carrots celery and of course the obligatory missing ingredient. Onion. I promise I will start thinking these pics through.

Put your chicken, chopped onion and celery, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and a Knorr chicken boullion cube.

After cooking this for about 45 minutes you will end up with rich, delicious broth. Remove chicken and coursely chop your carrots. When the chicken has cooled a bit, chop into bite sized pieces.
Add chicken and carrots back to the broth and simmer about 15 minutes.

Here are your ingredients for the dumplings. Guess What!! They are all there. Flour, milk, baking powder, salt, and shortening.

Cut your shortening into the flour, baking powder and salt until its crumbly.
It should look like this.

Add your milk and work into a soft dough.

Put dough on a floured surface and roll into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.

Cut into little strips, whatever size you like. or circles or use a heart cookie cutter. Whatever feels right. Ha!

Place these on a plate. Meanwhile, back at the stove, get your broth to a good boil.

Like this.

Drop dumplings in one at a time and let boil for a bout 10 minutes. Most of the time I put the lid on about halfway. I dont completely cover it.

Ta Da! They are ready to eat.

Warning: You will crave this, even in the summer.
Question: Do ya'll make a bread to eat with your chicken and dumplings or is the dumpling considered the bread? We have a "discussion" about it everytime I make it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Grandmas Lemon Bars

Happy Hump Day everyone! I hope everyone is staying warm, we had a really big cold front blow in yesterday and the wind was absolutelyfrigid. We got to use our fireplace all evening and it was very cozy. Did all of you get your granola bars from Foodbuzz? I've only tried the cashew one and it was heavenly. I am going to have an official taste testing with my girls in the next couple of days and let you know the results. The recipe I am sharing with you today is near and dear to my heart. It is one that I have had my entire childhood. My maternal grandma all ways had these on her table and she would cut them into tiny squares and we would have coffee with them. I can picture my little knuckle-y hand grandma patting the crust down with her lips curled in. I get a little misty about it because those days were so sweet and we cant recover them. I have a pyrex pan that we all know as the "lemon bar pan". When my girls are helping me they know I always use that pan. I got this dish when I got married almost 23 years ago. It has seen many, many lemon bars. I hope you enjoy this recipe and feel the love with which I am sharing....

Its got a simple list of ingredients.
Sift together powdered sugar and flour, cut in the butter.

It will be crumbly like this.

Pat this into the bottom of your pan. Whichever one you feel works. This is not a 13x9 like it calls for, its a little smaller, but its our lemon bar pan.

While the crust is baking, beat your eggs.
Add your sugar. Okay, these photos are black and white because my daughter is helping me and experimenting with her camera. Kinda neat.

Add the lemon juice.

Whisk in the remaining flour.

Pour over baked crust.

Bake this for an additional 25 minutes.Cool completely, sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut in squares. Sorry Grandma, my portion size is out of control. Send help.

Lemon Bars Deluxe

2 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour

1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup butter

4 beaten eggs

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Sift 2 cups flour and powdered sugar. Cut in butter until mixture clings together. Press into a 13x9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until browned. Beat together eggs, granulated sugar, and lemon juice. Sift together remaining remaining 1/4 cup flour and baking powder. Stir into egg mixture and pour over baked crust. Bake at 350 degrees for an additional 25 minutes. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar. Cut into small squares after cooling.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Get over to Southern Plate! Shes giving away some super nice things...Easy to enter just blog about it and leave comments. You wont regret it!! Plus, shes got some great recipes. You cant go wrong with a Southern Plate recipe!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bobbys Holy Guacamole!

Good Sunday evening everyone! I hope everyone had a great weekend. It flew by. But, we were home alot so I was able to cook a few things. This recipe is one I have been meaning to share with ya'll since I started this blog last year. It seems like everytime my husband made it he was so quick and I was doing something else I was not able to grab my camera. I caught him this time. Friday night we decided to Bar B Q a brisket and some ribs. While there are plenty of times we will have the usual potato salad and beans, there are also times when we do spanish rice and beans. This time, we just wanted to make some brisket tacos. So, when we do that we always put guacamole on them. If we can quit eating it with chips before he gets the meat sliced!

Its a very simple recipe that is very versatile. You can make it spicier or you can add onions (I would have liked onions but no one else did). And now presenting:

The main players. Doesnt this look good? Fresh ingredients are the best.

Okay, I did it again. I forgot to put this in the above pic! Whoops.

Chop your tomatoes, fresh jalapeno, and cube the avocados.

Add your seasoning.

Mix it all up. My husband likes to keep this chunky rather than mushy. And please please please dont miss my Texas shaped chips. They make me smile to look at them. They are so fun!!

Bobbys Holy Guacamole!

2 fresh large tomatoes

2 large avocados

1 large seeded jalapeno

1 level teaspoon each, garlic powder, salt, pepper

1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Chop tomatoes and jalapenos. Add peeled and cubed avocado. Add seasonings and mix gently. Add lemon juice to prevent browning. We always save the avocade seed and place them in middle. This also helps to keep it from turning brown.

Oatmeal Cake with Broiled Frosting

Happy Friday everyone! I have to say, I have been pretty excited about sharing this particular recipe with you all. I have made oatmeal cake several times over the years and had it at potluck gathering at different places, but it just never made that much of an impression. I always liked the name because I would think of an oatmeal cookie and thought the taste was similar. A great comfort food with good childhood memories. When I saw this recipe I almost passed it up but boy am I glad I didn't. The cake is so moist and after you spread the frosting and put it under the broiler the very top of the cake is a little crispy, then a layer of creamy frosting. This is just a plain ole' cake but one that will be requested many, many times I am sure. I was just about ready for bed last night when I decided to make it then had the guilts when I ate too much then went to bed!

This is your ingredients for the cake. I always like to take a pic of this because I am a visual person and I figure all of you are just like me! Ha! Humor me here..
Grease and flour your pan which, in my case, means spray with Bakers Joy.
Pour boiling water over oats. Bad pic. sorry.

Cream butter and sugars.

Sift together the dry ingredients.
Mix the two together and this is what the batter will look like. You can already tell this is gonna be good.
Spread in your prepared pan and bake.
Your topping ingredients.

Mix all ingredients together and spread over the warm cake.

My husband said that after I broiled this it reminded him of the topping of creme brulee. A light layer of crispy.

Exactly 22 seconds after it was done.

Oatmeal Cake with Broiled Frosting
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13x9x2 cake pan. To prepare cake, pour 1 1/4 cups boiling water over oats in a bowl. Let stand 20 minutes. Cream butter and sugars with a mixer. Add oats, mix well. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to oat mixture, mix well. Pour into prepare pan. Bake 30-35 minutes.
Preheat broiler. To prepare topping, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, mix well. Spread evenly over warm cake. Place cake under broiler 2 inches from heat source. Broil until lightly browned, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serves 12.

Try this! Your gonna flip! So Yum!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Latest Passion

Fire King Dishes. A division of Anchor Hocking. They quit making this stuff in the '50's. It is what diners used back in the day. I have been collecting this for about a year and I have had a blast. I have gotten all my stuff an ebay and I love getting in the bidding wars! This comes in other colors to but the Jadeite is my absolute favorite although I am determined to get me some pink ones too!

Went on a little trip...

Hello, everyone! I have missed you all! My husband, myself, my oldest daughter and her boyfriend went to San Francisco. My husband had a food show there so we tagged along to see the sights while he was hard at work. In addition to the usual sights, Alcatraz (great tour by the way), shopping in Union Square and China Town, we came across this neat little farmers market down by the fishermans wharf. Since I am drawn to all things, food, cooking and kitchen I made a beeline for this place! I say little but it wasn't. It was huge. It had the most beautiful vegetable I think I have ever seen. They were all grown within 25 miles of the market.

I found a man down there that was grinding his own flour. This is the package I bought. It has a delicious looking recipe on the back for Buttermilk Whole Wheat Pancakes. I can wait to try this!

There was a long building behind the market that was full of gourmet foods and kitchen stores. My favorite:

Good Grief! I love this store. I had heard about it but never had been to one! Love it Love it!!! If you are looking for any gadget, cooking pan, or just fun stuff for your kitchen then this is the place to go. I really could have stayed in there and spent lots of money but the kids wanted to see other stuff. Those crazy nuts!

This was the hall with all the kitchen shops! There was even one with nothing but kitchen antiques. I was getting creative trying to figure out how to get the stuff on a plane!

One shop really intrigued me. It was nothing but mushrooms. All kinds. Any kind of mushroom you could think of. This was called a mushroom farm. They had them in different varieties. You just keep them in the kitchen and just hack em off as you cook! Neat!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The BEST Bread Pudding~

Good Morning friends! Sorry I have been slacking in the posting dept. but I have been busy. Busy doing I dont know what. I think I must have a touch of the post holiday blues. I havent felt like doing anything. Anyone else out there feel like this? I am sick to death of hearing about diets, weight loss programs, eating healthy. This time of year thats all there is on the news, talk shows, and you cant find a magazine on the newsstand that doesnt have something about diets on the cover. This is the time of year that people re-evaluate what is important in their lives I suppose. A good time to "start over" so to speak. Since I have been trying to rid myself of this grand funk that seems to have taken over where do I go but to the pantry. I have tried many, many, bread puddings over the years but just recently I came across this recipe that sounded like it might be just the one. After mixing it up and the beautiful aroma wafting from my oven yesterday I couldnt help but get my hopes up. It did not disappoint. This should also fall into the quick dessert category because it was very easy to mix up and I had everything on hand. No special trips to the store. Let me know what you think.

The very small cast of characters. (I thought I would let you see my daughter and her boyfriend on the fridge)

I only used about 1/3 of the sourdough loaf. The rest was placed in the freezer for some garlic bread later. Sourdough is the best for that.

I placed them in a 9 inch pie plate and kind of squished them where I wanted them. This doesn't make a huge pan which is nice.

This is your eggs, melted butter, vanilla, milk and sugar. Make sure you mix it long enough to dissolve the sugar.

Then pour that mixture over the bread cubes. I let it sit for a minute to soak before placing it in the oven.

Scrumptious. The perfect mix of bread and soft sweetness. The great part was as it was sitting on my counter cooling I would walk by and grab a cube and pop it in my mouth.

The Best Bread Pudding

2 eggs

2 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons vanilla

2 1/2 cups milk

2 cups sugar

3 1/2 to 5 cups sourdough bread, cut into 1 inch cubes. I used the whole 5 cups.

1/3 cup of pecans, chopped finely. I was out but they would be awesome in there.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat together eggs, butter, vanilla, and milk. Add sugar and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Arrange bread cubes tightly in a nine inch baking dish, keeping the crust facing up around the edges and scattered within the dish. Pour liquid over bread. Sprinkle pecans all over and bake for 55 to 70 minutes or until crust is golden brown all over the top.

Although, this bread pudding is moist enough to eat just like this. If you really want to send it over the edge, make this vanilla sauce.

Vanilla Sauce:

1/2 cup sugar

1 stick butter

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix ingredients together in a small sauce pan. Stir constantly over low heat until mixture reaches a low bowl. Pour a small amount over each serving.

I have to admit. This did make me feel better yesterday.

Love to you all!