Friday, December 21, 2012

Caramel Pie

So, I am going to a Dirty Santa Ornament Exchange snack party tonight. I am taking boneless bbq wings, caramel pie and my ornament. I couldn't decide on what kind of crust to put the caramel pie in. I went to Save-a-lot and was looking for graham cracker crumbs, no luck. They had pre-made graham cracker crusts, but I wanted to do my own. OK, I decided to get graham crackers and crush them. As I was looking at the graham crackers, the vanilla wafers caught my eye. Hum. Vanilla wafer crust? Yep! That is what I did. Before I left home, I placed 2 cans sweetened condensed milk in a pot, covered the cans well with water, got the pot to boiling, then reduced the heat to keep it simmering. Boil the cans for 4 hours for best results, mine was 2 1/2 hours, and while the caramel made and tasted good, it needed to be a bit firmer. Go for the four hours. Cover the pot and keep it boiling for the entire time AND KEEP THE CANS COVERED WITH WATER, then cool the cans completely before opening. IF YOU OPEN THEM HOT, THEY WILL "LAVA OUT" hot caramel all over you and YOU WILL BE BURNED!!!!! 

Now, for the crust:
crush one box vanilla wafers in a food processor or blender on the crushed ice setting, pulsing until cookies are crushed. Do 1/3 box at a time until all are crushed. This will yield about 2 cups crushed cookies.
Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar
Melt one stick butter and pour over crumbs, stir to combine well.
Press mixture into deep 9" pie plate, as evenly as possible. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes until crust is set, cool and use. This is a great crust for lemon meringue pie as well.

When caramel is cooled, pour into crust and chill. Top with homemade whipped cream.

Whipped Cream
desired amount of whipping cream
sweeten to taste, use powdered sugar, it incorporates more quickly
whip to desired consistency, careful not to make butter.

Homemade whipped cream should be kept chilled until ready to use and generally doesn't hold together well for a second day, so make in small amounts. Also, for best results, chill bowl and beaters before whipping and use a stand mixer with whisk attachment rather than paddle, but a hand mixer will easily work, just may take a bit longer.


Saturday, December 15, 2012


So I have been having lots of memories creeping to the surface lately. One memory this time of year is from my childhood, visiting my cousin Vickie. Vickie is a cousin I grew up with, one who we spent a lot of time together when we were growing up. Her mom, my first cousin, makes divinity candy. I had never tried to make it until tonight. It turned out pretty well. I will post the recipe I used from Paula Deen. I will be taking it to a dinner after church tomorrow. Hope they like it. The last dinner I went to a few months ago I took vanilla fudge which was "introduced" as divinity by a friend there. It really wasn't, just a recipe I got off Pinterest. I haven't made that one since. I may make this divinity again though. Use a heavy saucepan for cooking your syrup mixture. And be careful, the hot syrup will burn you!

You will need:

  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup white corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup cold water
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir only until sugar has dissolved. Do not stir after this point. Cook syrup mixture until it reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, bringing it to a hard ball stage.

  • Add 3 egg whites to the bowl of your stand mixer and mix until stiff peaks form. Do this while your syrup is cooking to 250 degrees

Once the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, carefully pour a slow steady stream of syrup into the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. 


  • Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and continue to beat until mixture holds its shape, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in 1 to 2 cups chopped pecans.

Photo: I've been wanting to try homemade divinity. It's not bad. Not as good as Elsie makes. But not bad for a first-time ever try!

Using 2 spoons, drop the divinity onto waxed paper, using 1 spoon to push the candy off the other. This may take a little practice because the technique is to twirl the pushing spoon, making the candy look like the top of a soft serve ice cream. If the candy becomes too stiff, add a few drops of hot water. You will need to work fast when making this type of candy. After you spoon the cooked sugar and nuts onto the waxed paper, you're done. Cool the candies on racks completely. You can store them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy your candy!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chocolate pie

Chocolate Pie

The finished product. Yum!

1 9 inch baked pie crust
(Recipe in earlier blog post)

Combine in heavy sauce pan:
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa (Hershey's)
dash salt
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons corn starch

in separate bowl:
Separate 4 eggs yolks in one bowl, save whites for meringue
gently whip yolks then stir in 3 cups milk then add this mixture to dry ingredients and cook and stir over low-medium heat until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Add 1/2 stick butter and 1 tsp vanilla, stir until smooth when butter is melted.  Pour into prepared pie crust.

Make meringue:
take the 4 egg whites and beat until frothy then add 1/2 cup sugar and beat on highest speed of the mixer until stiff peaks form. Add 1 tsp vanilla and beat until well mixed. If making a lemon meringue pie, I use lemon juice instead of vanilla.

Top hot filling with meringue. Spread to edges well. Brown in hot oven, watch carefully to avoid burning.

swirl with spoon to form peaks


seal edges well to prevent shrinking


Brown in hot oven. Watch it, don't let it burn!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Homemade Waffles

Homemade Waffles

So if you have a waffle iron, why are you buying frozen toaster waffles? Homemade waffles look a little intimidating but they are easier than pancakes. Really. The secret to crisp thick waffles is to beat the egg whites until they are stiff and fold them in the batter. I make the entire recipe, with my iron size it makes about 10 waffles. I let the ones we don't use cool then wrap and freeze. Nick can pop one or two into the toaster or oven and in just a few minutes he has a homemade waffle almost as good as the day I made them. And you know what goes into them too!

Here is the recipe:

1 3/4 cup plain flour. (White Lily unbleached bread flour is what I use for waffles and pancakes)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whisk these dry ingredients together in large mixing bowl and set aside.
Next take:
2 egg yolks (save the whites!)-gently whisk to break up yellows
1/2 cup cooking oil - whisk with yellows
1 3/4 cups milk whisk with above ingredients

When wet ingredients are combined, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in wet ingredients. Stir just to combine.  Turn on your waffle iron to get it hot.

Next, take egg whites and beat until stiff, as if making meringue. When stiff, gently fold into waffle batter, just to combine. You don't want to deflate the egg whites.  (Of course, don't add any sugar)

See how the volume doubled?

Now, spray the waffle iron with Pam or other non-stick spray. Add batter per your waffle iron directions, close lid and bake per waffle iron directions. If you don't have them anymore, I added approximately 3/4 cup batter to each well. (I have 2 wells) and cook until steaming stops. Lift carefully with fork and enjoy! We just use butter and warmed syrup. You can top with fruit, jam, peanut butter, whipped cream.....your choice! 

This recipe made 10 waffles, we ate 4, I froze 6 in packages of 2. Nick now has 3 days of breakfast to heat and eat when I am working. 

One last tip! Place aluminum foil under the waffle iron to catch the mess, then wad it up and throw it away!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Crock pot Chicken & Dumplings

Today I decided to make chicken and dumplings and use my crock pot to make them in. We love good chicken and dumplings, so I had seen the crock pot version on Pinterest and decided to give it a try. I do believe they were the best I have ever made. My only hope is that I can do it again. I never measure anything so this is only approximate.

Place several pieces of chicken in the crock pot, cover with water. Add salt, pepper, thyme and a bit of celery salt or a few pieces of celery to the water. If desired, add a few carrots to the water too and onion if you like it. Cook on high until the chicken is tender. Remove chicken and vegetables from the broth and add hot water if needed to the crock pot. Let the chicken cool.

Next, after the broth is boiling again, take 2 to 3 cups self rising flour, 2/3 stick butter softened and cut into flour and enough milk to make a thicker than cake batter dough and drop by tablespoons into broth. Cover and cook until dumplings are done. While cooking, remove chicken skin and bones, shred larger pieces and return to dumplings. Serve hot. Yum!

Photo: Pinterest inspired crock pot chicken & dumplings we'll see!

These were the best dumplings I have ever made!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Homemade Salisbury Steak

Tonight I made Salisbury Steak to take to a dinner tomorrow after church. I made it early because I had never made it before so I wanted to make sure it would turn out OK. You just can't feed the preacher bad food you know. If you follow me on Pinterest, you will see the pin for the Salisbury Steak under the "Good Food and Cooking Ideas" board. I did not follow it exactly, I left out some of the is what I did:
Photo: Salisbury steak - mine
Salisbury Steak with Caramelized Onion Gravy.. 
Onion Gravy 
2 large vidalia onions, thinly sliced 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
3 cups low-sodium beef broth 
1 tablespoon tomato paste 
Salt and pepper
Meat Patties 
1 pound lean ground beef  
1/2 cup cooked white rice 
1 egg yolk lightly beaten 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
1 clove minced garlic 
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
1/2 teaspoon  thyme 
1 tablespoon cooking oil 
1) To make gravy: Heat butter in a large sauté pan. Add onions and cook over medium-high heat, until onions start to brown, stirring occasionally. When onions are slightly softened and turning a deep honey brown, add 1/4 cup broth. Reduce heat, cover and continue cooking, adding more broth as needed to prevent caramelized bits at the bottom of the pan from burning. It should take at least 25 to 30 minutes to properly caramelize onions. Stir in flour and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in remaining beef broth and tomato paste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and keep warm. 
2) To make patties: Mix ground beef, rice, egg yolk, salt, pepper, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and thyme in a bowl. Shape into 4 oval patties about 3/4-inch thick. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Sear patties about 3 minutes per side, or until a brown crust forms. Pour gravy over patties and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Yield: 4 Servings.

Instead of the last step of simmering them in a skillet for 10 minutes, I placed them in a deep 9 x 13 pan, covered them with the gravy and baked at 375 for 20 minutes. They were great!

I had to try one after they were done. Yum!

Here is the link to the pinterest post with the recipe.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chicken Fajitas

 These are super easy and quick AND good!
(all photos are from Google images)

In a large skillet or wok warm 1 tbsp vegetable oil, add 1/2 of a red pepper sliced and 1/2 of a green pepper sliced

Next add about 1/3 of a sweet onion sliced

 and 2 tbsp McCormick Fajita seasoning and saute` until vegetables are crisp-tender.

Next thinly slice your chicken and add to the peppers and onion. Stir with a wooden spoon and saute` until chicken is cooked through.  Warm tortillas per package instructions, load with fajita mixture and ENJOY!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Corn Dog Muffins

I love corn dogs. It is difficult to get the right taste these days. I found a recipe for corn dog batter that tastes almost as good as corn dogs from the county fair. Now, instead of deep frying, these are baked in the oven. Yum! with a dip of yellow mustard on most bites......

 Here is the recipe
Oven to 450 degrees
Pampered Chef Stone muffin pan if you have one, other wise a 12 cup muffin tin will work
Pour about 1/2 to 1 tbsp oil in each muffin cup
heat in oven while oven is preheating.

While oven is heating, combine in your batter bowl:
1 cup self rising flour*
2/3 cup self rising corn meal mix*
1/4 cup sugar (I used about 2 tbsp less)
1 egg
1 1/4 cup milk
stir together

From your pre-heated muffin pan, cautiously pour excess oil into batter and stir. Please be careful oil and pan are HOT!!!!
Next, take 3 hot dogs cut into thirds
Place 1 tbsp batter in each cup
place hot dog piece on top of batter
equally place remainder of batter over each hot dog
Bake until golden brown.

Enjoy with a dollop of mustard!

If you had rather, you can deep fry your corn dogs. The following is the recipe from All here is the link to that site:

  • 1 quart oil for deep frying
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 pounds hot dogs
  • wooden sticks
  1. Heat oil in a deep fryer to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C).
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in melted bacon drippings. Make a well in the center, and pour in the egg, buttermilk, and baking soda. Mix until everything is smooth and well blended.
  1. Pat the hot dogs dry with paper towels so that the batter will stick. Insert wooden sticks into the ends. Dip the hot dogs in the batter one at a time, shaking off the excess. Deep fry a few at a time in the hot oil until they are as brown as you like them. Drain on paper towels or serve on paper plates.

*I used self rising *White Lily Unbleached Flour and *White Lily Cornmeal Mix and omitted the baking soda baking powder and salt. I also used 2% milk instead of buttermilk.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ice cream!

I wanted to make ice cream for a while. I have had a Cuisinart Ice Cream and Yogurt maker for 15 years or more. I love the thing but I haven't used it in several years. The bowl goes in the freezer, you take it out and add your ingredients and turn it on. It takes 30 or 40 minutes to make ice cream. So I am into Pinterest now and found a recipe using Sweetened Condensed Milk and "soda" (we all know in the south there is no such thing as soda-- all varieties are 'Coke' as in what kind of Coke do you want) to make ice cream. So, I went in the kitchen and found a 2L bottle of Big Red. I got in the Pantry and got out a can of sweetened condensed milk and got started. I poured in the milk, then the Big Red, stirred it a little, put the paddle in, top on and turned on the machine. In one half hour I had ice cream. It tasted pretty good too. I placed the remainder in a freezer safe bowl, covered it, washed and returned the ice cream bowl to the freezer for the next time. Yum! 

So, I suppose the recipe is:  
1 - 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 - 2L bottle of your favorite cola
 stir gently to combine and place in your freezer. Activate per manufacturer's directions. Enjoy!
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