Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wooden spoons

I possess several memories of wooden spoons amid my growing up experience.
  I looked forward to licking the ingredients that clung to them.  I learned to use them to create delicious things to eat.  I was threatened a time or two with the wooden spoon;  my brothers actually had close encounters with wooden spoons.  I remember learning to stir the figure eight with precision for what seemed like hours on end; talk about a boring task!
Wooden spoons come in very handy in the kitchen.  They are perhaps my favorite of all utensils now that I am partially grown up.

I volunteered for a couple of summers at the American West Heritage Center where I 'worked' in the wood shop.  We used tools similar to those used in the early 1800's.  My favorite thing to make was, of course, the wooden spoon.  I learned to carve out the spoon with a bent gouge and a wooden mallet.  Shaping the handle and back of the spoon was done by using a spoke shave and a rasp.  Technically, women did not do this type of work in the period we were demonstrating; thus I am grateful for the opportunity provided me to learn this art.

I pulled out a small spoon to work on while enjoying the sunset this evening and was reminiscing.  This is a picture of some spoons in progress; each at a different stage.  They are made of walnut and will be very strong spoons when I am finished.  I pity the poor person on whom this type of spoon may have been used!  

This is a photo of my son and myself while we are standing outside the woodworking shop dressed in period attire.  It was indeed a fun time in our lives.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cinnamon Burst Bread!

This is really fun bread.  It is similar to if not  exactly like the bread Great Harvest sells.  I adjusted the recipe to make two loaves as it made six and even as delicious as this bread is, that is far too many!
The cinnamon chips are not the kind Hersheys makes; they will not work.  These were purchased at Orson Gygi's in Salt Lake City.  If you look them up online, you may make your purchases and have them shipped to you.  Gygi's is the store I purchase my dipping chocolate from as well.  They sell many great products for less than your average kitchen store.

Cinnamon Burst Bread

1 & 1/2 Tblsp. yeast
1/4 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 & 3/4 plus 1/8 C. warm water (Sorry about the conversion here, I suck at math!)
2 & 1/4 tsp. salt
1 & 1/2 Tblsp. oil
1 & 1/4 C. cinnamon bits
6 C. flour

Combine 2 C. of the flour, yeast, and sugar.  Add water, eggs, and oil.  Beat well.  Stir in salt, cinnamon bits and 4 more cups of flour.  Stir and knead until good consistency.  Place in a greased bowl and let rise for one hour.  Divide and shape into two round loaves.  Let rise for an hour.  Bake @ 375* for 25 minutes.

Soooo good!

MONSTER cookies!

These are fun cookies packed with all sorts of good stuff!  They are sure to please the cookie monster at your house. 

Monster Cookies

1 & 1/2 C. peanut butter
1 cube butter
1 C. sugar
1 & 1/4 C. brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. corn syrup
1 & 1/2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
3 C. oatmeal
1/2 C. peanuts
1/2 C. mini m&m's
1/2 C. chocolate chips

Combine first four ingredients.  Add eggs, vanilla, and corn syrup.  Beat in flour, baking soda and oatmeal.  Stir in peanuts, m&m's, and chocolate chips.  Bake at 350* for 9 minutes.
Do not over bake.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bran Muffins

Not sure if these are a true bran muffin, but in my search for a bran muffin as good as the ones at Mimi's cafe, this is as close as I have come to this point.  Never fear, my search is not over!
My cousin has had to ask me several times for this recipe and I am just now getting around to posting it for her. 
I generally use freshly stone ground whole wheat flour.  This time I tried a store purchased whole wheat pastry flour for fun.  They are a tad lighter in color than when stone ground flour is used.  
Oh, one more sure you have a good blender!  This dough gives mine a run for its money!

Bran Muffins

1 C. oil
1 and 1/2 C. brown sugar
2 C. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 C. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda

Blend in a blender until mixed.  Pour into paper lined muffin tins and bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes.  Yield: 24


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

No Bake Cookies

I made these for my sis.  She calls them 'cow flops'; I guess I see the resemblance.  They are super easy and fast when you need a treat in a hurry.  I prefer to use quick oats but you may also use regular oats if you feel so inclined.

No Bake Cookies

1 C. sugar
1 C. brown sugar
1 cube butter
1/2 C. milk
2 Tblsp. cocoa

Combine ingredients listed above in a heavy sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low and cook for 1 and 1/2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add:

1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. peanut butter
3 C. oatmeal

Stir until combined and drop by spoonfuls on wax paper.  Remove from wax paper when set.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Carrot Cake

I really like desserts that are dense and packed with substances such as carrots, raisins, or applesauce.  This cake is scrumptious in my book.  I am a huge fan of vegetables and tend to eat them off of my plate before anything else.  It is an added bonus for me when veggies can be found in my dessert!

There is nothing fluffy and light about this cake!

Carrot Cake

3 cups grated carrots
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups applesauce
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple with juice
3/4 cups chopped pecans

Combine carrots, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in eggs, applesauce, vanilla, pineapple, and nuts.  Pour into a greased 9X13 pan.  Bake at 350* for 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Cool and frost.

Cream cheese icing

8 ounces softened cream cheese
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla

Beat together.

I took some of this cake to a neighbor of mine and in return, he gave me some radishes from his gorgeous garden!  Perfect trade.

P.S. I add 3/4 cup raisins to mine.

Exceptional Brownies with mini marshmallows

These brownies are a favorite.  Growing up, we did not eat anything with chocolate in it, thus it took me a very long time to be able to tolerate anything that was very chocolaty.  I still am not very fond of chocolate puddings and most chocolate cake.  If anything is double chocolate, consider it not for me.  I am still not supremely fond of dense brownies such as these, but most who eat them love them.  I tend to prefer chocolate as an enhancing flavor; chocolate and peanut butter are divine.

2 cubes softened butter
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
1 Tblsp. water
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cups chopped nuts

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Add rest of ingredients and beat well.  Pour into a greased 9X13 pan.  Bake at 325* for 40 minutes.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with mini marshmallows and return to oven for close to three minutes.  Cool.  Frost with chocolate frosting.

Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup cocoa
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream together.  

I took some of these to a neighbor and got a hug in return!  :)  Another perfect trade.

Tapioca Jello Salad

Growing up, we ate a lot of jello.  For some reason, I think of Bill Cosby when I hear the word, 'Jello'; that and the words, 'chocolate cake' always tug at the corners of my mouth accompanied by an image of Bill's contagious smile.  My parents had six kids and I suppose jello was a good filler food.  My Dad has always been fond of it.  I have a few jello recipes I use now and then.  This is one of my favorites.

Yummy Jello

1 small package of coconut cream pudding mix (the cooked kind).
1 small package of tapioca (the cooked kind as well in the same size box as the jello).
1 small package of apricot flavored jello

Boil the above with 3 C. water for a couple of minutes.  Cool.  Add one package of Dream Whip made according to directions on the package.  Fold in a strained can of mandarin oranges and one sliced banana.

Marnie's Meatloaf

Twenty some odd years ago, I created my own meatloaf recipe when I found it difficult to make one that I liked and that would  hold its form.  I do enjoy fresh basil and sun dried tomatoes in a meatloaf but did not put those ingredients in this time.  I do have some basil growing in my window sill, but alas, it is not large enough to harvest yet.

My Mom recently had knee surgery and I have been trying to take a few meals to her and my Dad so they don't starve to death.  I made meatloaf, rolls, jello salad, funeral potatoes, and carrot cake today. Seeing how it is Mother's Day, we will render the meatloaf a new name....

Mother's Day Meatloaf

2 lbs ground beef
2 eggs
3/4 C. oatmeal
3/4 C. Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 can of tomato soup
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 chopped onion
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Firmly press into a loaf pan and bake at 350* for an hour and a half.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I had a bit of a depressing day today.  Following the watching of this video on youtube, I came to the realization that I have nothing to complain about.
The kids in this video are so cute.  It sure puts life in the proper perspective!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Root Beer Cookies

These are fantastically fun cookies!  The root beer flavor is like a party in your mouth.  I generally only make them once a year for my daughter's birthday.  She loves sharing them with her classmates.
Be sure to refrigerate them for at least one hour!  The dough is sticky and difficult to work with.


1C. brown sugar
1/2 C. butter, softened
1/4 C. buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp. root beer extract
1-3/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt


2 C. powdered sugar
1/3 C. butter, softened
1-1/2 tsp. root beer extract
2 Tblsp. hot water

Mix sugar, butter, and egg until fluffy.  Stir in buttermilk, extract, flour, soda, and salt.  Mix until smooth.  Refrigerate at least one hour.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 400* for 8-10 minutes.  Cool and frost with glaze.

Potato Salad

I have been aching to prepare a Summertime meal.  I made hamburgers, baked beans, and potato salad yesterday.  The potato salad was an new recipe.  It turned out to be delicious; albeit my potatoes were bit on the small side thus, next time, I would add one or two more.

Potato Salad

8 medium red potatoes, cooked and cubed
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1-1/2 C. Mayonnaise
2/3 C. Sour Cream
3 Tblsp. Sugar
3 Tblsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tblsp. Prepared Mustard
1-1/2 Tsp. Dried Minced Onion
1 Tsp. Dried Dill
Salt and Pepper to taste

Banana Bread Bonanza!

This is the very best banana bread recipe I have ever tried.  It is moist from the moment it comes out of the oven!  I am most certain the pudding is the culprit!
The recipe yields two 8x4x2 size loaves.  I bake it in four smaller sized pans.  If you like nuts, be sure to add some as they give it that occasional burst of texture.

Banana Bread

5 eggs
2 C. mashed bananas
1 C. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 C. flour
1-1/4 C. sugar
2 packages instant vanilla pudding mix (3.4 oz)
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1C. chopped nuts

Beat eggs, bananas, oil and vanilla.  Stir into dry ingredients until moistened.  Stir in nuts if desired.
Bake in two greased 8x4x2 inch loaf pans for 45-60 minutes at 350*.  Cool for 10 minutes prior to removing from pans.

This recipe merits the use of perfectly good bananas.....meaning, you do not have to wait for your bananas to turn black to try it!  

Bon Appetit!!