Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Please hop over to Misty's Mornings to see this recipe.
For all my wonderful followers on Bake Me Away, I am planning on posting all my recipes over at my main blog, mistysmornings.blogspot.com from now on.
I would love it if you would "follow" me there!  Thank you!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Easy Fat Free Refried Beans

My dear neighbor, who dearly needs our prayers for health right now, once told me that she makes a big pot of pinto beans every week.  She, a breast cancer survivor, eats those beans all week long as a great source of fiber.  In her honor, I dug out this recipe I have had in my recipe file for ten years but had never gotten around to making.  They were so delicious and effortless that I may have a new monthly money-saving side dish for our family. 
These beans not only make a great side dish, they are great as a filling for burritos or on top of chips for bean nachos. 

1 pound dried pinto beans, rinsed and drained
4 cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole
3 tsp. salt

1.  Put beans, garlic and salt in a large stock pot.  
2.  Cover with 2 quarts of water.
3.  Bring to a boil.
4.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer on medium-low for 2 hours.
5.  Mash beans and garlic recover and simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring and mashing now and then until softened and to your desired consistency.

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Snowy Brownies

Brownies top the favorites list for three of the five members of our family.  However, we do not like them frosted nor do we like them cakey.  Our brownies must be dense and fudgey and heavily dusted with confectioner's sugar.   This recipe is adapted from the side of the Nestle Toll House Cocoa Powder Box .  We made it fudgier by adding Hershey's syrup,  yummier by adding chocolate chips and prettier by dusting them with snowy sugar.  We like to call them Snowy Brownies.  

1 2/3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
2. Tbsp. water
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup Hershey's Special Dark Syrup
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350.
2.  Spray 9x13 pan with baking spray.
3.  In a medium bowl, melt butter in microwave.
4.  Stir in sugar and water.
5.  Add eggs, vanilla and syrup.  Stir until well combined.
6.  Add cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips.
7.  Stir well but do not over mix batter.
8.  Pour into pan and bake for 25 minutes.
9.  Allow to cool before dusting with powdered sugar.   


Friday, July 8, 2011

Bacon Fried Rice

So my son comes home from his best friend's house proclaiming the utter deliciousness of the meal he ate while there.  Bacon fried rice!  I was intrigued but let it go.  I've never made fried rice of any kind so why start now?  But my son continued to bring it up here and there - he is a lover of bacon -  so I finally asked Mrs. R. for the recipe as she stood in my entryway last evening, picking up her son from our house.

As she related her recipe in her lovely Filipino tones, I mentally checked off each item that I already had in my pantry.  The only missing ingredient was Johnny Salt which she adds.  I simply improvised after checking its mystery ingredients on line.

Just before the power went out in a lightning storm, I threw together this easy and - yes - utterly delicious bacony meal.  Although my son said it wasn't the same as Mrs. R's he gave it two thumbs way up.  In fact, there were no leftovers to share with Dad when he got home!  

4 cups cooked rice ( I used white)
4 slices bacon, chopped
4 green onions, sliced
1 carrot, grated
2 eggs
dashes of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and cayenne pepper
soy sauce to taste

1.  Steam rice.
2.  In a large saucepan render bacon until crispy.  Remove to drain and pour off most of the fat leaving some in the pan to sauté veggies.
3.  Sauté onions and carrots, stirring constantly for one minute.  
4.  Add eggs and stir quickly with veggies until eggs are cooked.
5.  Stir in rice, seasonings and soy sauce.
6.  Add bacon and serve. 
 Linking here this weekend:

Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday 

 Fresh Food Friday  @ la bella vita

Weekend Bloggy Reading @ Serenity Now 
Inspiration Friday @ At The Picket Fence

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fresh, Hot Cookies Anytime

Have you discovered the easiest way to have homemade cookies, right out of the oven, in just a matter of minutes?

First, mix up your favorite cookie dough.  We use the Nestle Toll House recipe most often.  Sometimes we use mint and dark chocolate chips and other times we prefer the semi-sweet chunks.  My son, ZJ, calls the minty cookies "Dragon's Breath Cookies".

Next, use a scoop to make uniformly sized balls of dough.  Place them on a cookie sheet and freeze them for ten minutes in the freezer.

While the cookies are freezing, we clean up the kitchen.

Place frozen cookie balls into a labeled plastic freezer bag.  They will not stick together.

Now, anytime a craving hits or company drops by, you can bake them directly from frozen and serve melty, warm cookies in minutes.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Strawberry Peach Jam {canning 101}

This jam is so heavenly I could eat it right off the spoon.  I first found the gooey goodness on the shelves at TJMaxx for $6.99 a jar (regularly $10.00!).  I already owned Sarabeth's Bakery cookbook and recognized the name on the lovely label.   The discounted jam came home with me because we were having out of town guests.  We didn't just like this jam, we loved it beyond description.  Imagine my delight when I found the recipe was included in her cookbook.

I have never canned before.  As in, never seen it done by someone else much less attempted it myself.  When I thought of canning I imagined bubbling pots of splattering fruit goo, steamy kitchens and exploding glass canisters cracking upon immersion into their bath.

One day while shopping at WalMart I came upon an entire section of canning items.  These adorable jars whispered my name and next thing I knew I was committing.  I would be making jam before the summer ended.

A few additional supplies turned out to be so valuable.  I highly recommend getting tongs, a funnel, and the magnetic stick used to lift sterile lids from hot water.
I also loved using my immersion blender.  Most jam recipes suggest mashing the fruit but we prefer jams without large chunks of fruit so blending is my solution.
The powdered pectin is for a basic strawberry jam recipe I tried first (and will post later).  The strawberry peach version uses no pectin whatsoever which makes for a runnier but still perfect jam.

You'll need a large deep pot for boiling the jars as well as processing the finished product.

Use a separate pot to sterilize the lids and screw tops.  Take the screw tops out but leave the lids to soak and soften the sealing edge.

For this recipe the peaches first take a jacuzzi and then an icy cold shower.

This makes for easy peeling later.

I wish you could smell these beauties.  Their juices were like syrup all over my hands.  

It made me fantasize about canning spiced peaches as well.
The whole process was much easier than I thought it would be. It does take a while though so I recommend a good four hour block of time for your first attempt.  Giving away these adorable little jars has been so rewarding that I have plans for salsa, tomato sauce and more varieties of jelly in the weeks ahead.  Stay tuned!

makes 10 half-pints (my version made 15)

(only slightly adapted from the original recipe by Sarabeth Levine)
4 pounds ripe peaches (I used nearly 6 pounds)
7 cups granulated sugar, divided
8 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and quartered lengthwise
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (I used pure, organic bottled)
1 Tbsp. butter (my addition)

(these are my own directions - check her beautiful cookbook for Mrs. Levine's own instructions)
1.  Put large canning pot of water on to boil.  When boiling, add half-pint jars and boil 10 minutes.  Turn off heat and allow jars to sit in hot water until needed. Simmer lids in a separate pan then turn off heat and allow to sit until needed but remove screw tops to dry towel.
2.  In a separate pot of boiling water, blanch peaches in batches for 60 seconds then transfer to an ice bath.
3.  Peel and slice peaches into a large non-reactive pot.  (I use a Dutch oven.)
4.  Add 3 1/2 cups sugar to peaches and bring to a boil. 
5.  Puree peaches and sugar with immersion blender while cooking for about ten minutes over medium heat.
6.  Add strawberries, remaining 3 1/2 cups sugar and lemon juice.
7.  Return to a boil, stirring often, then puree until all is smooth and well blended.
8.  Cook for forty minutes, stirring often so as not to burn on the bottom.  Occasionally skim foam from top.
9.  Remove jars from hot water (I placed mine onto a cooling rack over a cookie sheet to catch drips) then turn heat to high to return  canning pot water to a boil for processing. 
10. Using funnel, pour jam into sterile jars leaving 1/2 inch of head space.  (I just stop pouring when jam reaches bottom edge of the funnel.) 
11. Wipe rims with damp paper towel. 
12. Top jars with lids and screw on the covers.
13.  Using tongs, place jars of jam into boiling water and allow to boil gently for 10 minutes.
14.  Remove with tongs to cool on thick towels so jars don't crack on cooler counter top. 
15.  You will hear popping as the jam cools.  That is the lovely sound of the jars sealing. 
16.  After jars have cooled, tighten screw tops and store on the shelf for one year. 
17. Refrigerate once opened.

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
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