Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"A Kitchen Affair"

This is my new novel, A Kitchen Affair and it will be released on or around January 8, 2013 on my publisher's web site, on Amazon a few weeks after that and, the paperback will follow a few months later.





    Jenny Marshall is struggling to pay her tuition at culinary school, so she decides to become a Personal Chef to make ends meet. Derek James, owner of the James Corporation, has a crisis. His cook quit two days before his Thanksgiving dinner party. He desperate and hires Jenny to prepare the meal.
   The prospects of a relationship between Derek and Jenny begin to look good until Colleen Michaels, a manager at his company, sets her sights on Derek. She convinces Jenny that she's all wrong for Derek, coming from the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak.
   Everyone thinks Colleen is the perfect match for Derek; everyone that is, except Derek. He's fallen for Jenny and desperately wants her in his life. However, Colleen has other plans to keep that from happening. What lengths will she go to in order to keep Derek and Jenny apart?

Check back later for updates.

Carol

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Best Biscuits Ever

I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but I can't. I have tried for years to bake eatable biscuits, but had never found a recipe that came out the way it was supposed to. That is, until now. I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest and couldn't be happier that I found it. I made them last night and they have to be the best tasting homemade biscuits I've ever eaten. To be fair, I have to give credit to the blog that the recipe is on, Plain Chicken.
On that blog, they are called 7 -Up Biscuits because you use 7-Up in the recipe. I'm not a fan of 7-Up, so I substituted Sprite and it came out great. Some of the comments on that blog also say not to use diet 7-Up, as it doesn't taste as good. I also found my dough just a little sticky, but more comments on that site said to add more Bisquick to remedy that. I also used a 4-inch drinking glass as my biscuit cutter, but I think next time I will use a smaller size. I was only able to get 8 biscuits to fit since my dish was 8 inches, not 9.

Carol


7-Up Biscuits

2 cups Bisquick Baking Mix
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup 7-Up (or Sprite)
1/4 cup melted butter

Cut the sour cream into the biscuit mix, add the 7-Up and mix very well. This makes a soft dough. Sprinkle additional biscuit mix on the board  or table and pat dough out. Melt the butter in a 9-inch square pan. Place the biscuits in the pan and bake at 450°f until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Twinkies recipe

By now, I'm sure you've heard that the Hostess company is doing away with their popular item, Twinkies. All Facebook jokes aside, I can't imagine that Twinkies are going to be gone forever. But, just in case, I went searching for a Twinkies recipe online. I found a lot of recipes out there; some easy and some difficult.

Depending on how much trouble you want to go through to make your very own homemade Twinkies, you'll have to look through a variety of recipes. The best recipe that I found was from the tried and true, Top Secrets recipe site. I'm sure their Twinkies recipe is getting tons of hits today. This recipe even tells you how to make molds for your homemade Twinkies so they will not only taste like the real thing, but also look like them too. In addition, the recipe also explains an easy way to fill the cakes with the filling. Remember the three holes you see on the bottom of Twinkies. Yours will have them also.

You don't want to go to that much trouble? Not a problem. Go to Google and search 'Twinkies recipe' and chose the one that sounds more to your liking.

Twinkies will live on forever.

Carol

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oven Temperature

For the longest time, my husband and I have known that our over temperature did not match what the dial said. We tried to adjust the temperature to a lower number and even shortened the baking time, but things still came out over-done or even burnt. We bake our pizza on the oven rack and when he checked the last pizza we baked, it was just starting to burn on the edges, but wasn't even hot in the middle.

Last night was the final straw. I baked a persimmon pudding and the recipe called for one hour at 350° f. I set my timer for 50 minutes and the oven dial at 325°. After 50 minutes, I checked it and found it done in the middle so I removed it to cool. But, before turning the oven off, I checked the bottom of the pudding and found the edges burnt black. My husband said he had found an in-oven thermometer the other day and went to get it. Leaving the oven at 350°, we put the thermometer inside for about 15 minutes. What we found was that our over temperature was 75 degrees higher that what the dial was set at. No wonder everything was burning. While I'd love to have a new stove, knowing the temperature difference will save us the money of purchasing one. Now, I will just adjust the temperature. I made biscuits this morning and they came out perfect. No burnt bottoms.


If your oven is doing the same thing, I highly recommend purchasing a thermometer for your oven. I did a google.com search this morning and found several web sites where you can buy one. Or, if you prefer to shop local as I do, visit your local hardware store and see what they have to offer. Holiday baking is going to be so much better this year.

Carol


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Freezing Corn

I spent most of today putting corn up in the freezer. I was able to get twelve bags of it frozen for later dates. That should take well into the winter. I started off the morning sitting on the porch and shucking fifty ears of corn. It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. My dog and cat stuck around and kept me company, but at a safe distance away from the corn.

When I freeze corn, I always blanch it first, usually eight ears at a time. I let it boil for about six minutes and then put the ears in a sink full of ice water to cool. Once they have cooled, I let them drain for a few minutes on some paper towels and then put four ears in a plastic zipper bag and into the freezer it goes.

A co-worker recently told me they had an abundance of apples with nothing more to do with them. She had already canned, bakes, frozen, and even fed some to their cows. My husband told me to get as many of them as she wanted to get rid of because he wanted to make apple butter. Now mind you, he's never made apple butter before in his life, but he's going to try it tonight. Actually, he said it's a two-step process starting tonight and ending tomorrow. I can't wait to see how it goes. Hopefully, it will come out good because I do love apple butter.

Carol

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Making Celery Crisp Again

 This a quick tip for today about celery. I have always heard that you can make limp celery crisp again by putting it in cold water, but had never tried it. Lately, I've been trying to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables when I need a snack at work. Mostly, I take grapes, carrots, cauliflower, and celery to eat at my desk. Last week, I went to my refrigerator to bag up my snack and found that the only thing I had left was some limp celery.

Perfect time to give that cold water a try. I pulled off a couple of stalks and cut and washed them. I then put the stalks into a container of cold water, sealed it with the lid, and left for work. At my office, I put the container in the refrigerator. I normally snack around ten a.m., so when that time rolled around and I went to get my snack, I found perfect celery. In fact, it was probably the crispiest celery I have ever had.

It worked and I was amazed. So, the next time you have some limp celery, try putting it in cold water for a few hours and see what happens.

Carol

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Salad in a Jar

Is that not just the coolest thing? I have been seeing photos on Pinterest for a while now of salads in jars and was intrigued at how well it would keep. It turns out that it does very well. The best part is that you can make up several jars on Sunday for your lunches during the week.

There is one thing that is very important to remember, don't let the dressing touch the lettuce in the jar. If it does, the lettuce is kind of not appetizing by the time you're ready to eat.

Start by putting 1-3 T. of your favorite dressing in the bottom of the jar. Add any additional ingredients that you like in your salad, such as carrots, cucumber, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, just about anything. On top of those veggies, add your lettuce. Seal, refrigerate and you're set. When you eat your salad, just dump it in a bowl and there's your salad with the dressing now on top. I add shredded cheese and croutons after I dump mine. So cool and easy.

Carol

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Caramel Apple Upsidedown Cupcakes

I again welcome my readers from my author blog. Over there, I posted a recipe for Upside Down Banana Muffins, and wanted to share another upside down recipe here. This recipe is for Caramel Apple Upside Down Cupcakes. This will absolutely melt in your mouth.


Caramel Apple Upside Down Cupcakes


1 box yellow cake mix
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
2 C. brown sugar
2 cans apple pie filling

Preheat the oven to 350° f. Prepare cake mix according to instructions on box. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and spray lightly with cooking spray and set aside. Mix the melted butter and brown sugar together. Spoon a full Tablespoon of the mixture into each paper liner. On top of the mixture, add 2-3 apple slices. Then, fill each cup to the top with the cake batter.

Bake for 18-22 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove pan from oven and let cool. After 10 minutes, turn pan over onto a pan lines with parchment paper. While the muffins are still warm, remove the paper cups from each. Makes 24 muffins.

Enjoy,
Carol

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Welcome to the readers that have followed the link here from my Author's Blog, where my topic today was chocolate. For my regular readers here, let me explain. On my Author Blog, I'm participating in the A - Z Blog Challenge where I blog on there every day in April with topics according to the alphabet. Today's topic had to start with C and mine was chocolate.

Recently, a friend of mine told me ab out a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake that she makes. Since my favorite candy bar is a Reese's Cup, I had to try this. To give full disclosure and credit, this recipe is actually from the Taste of Home web site, so you know it has to be good. I plan on making this for Easter dinner dessert.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
2 C. miniature marshmallows
1 package chocolate cake mix
1 1/4 C. water
3/4 C. peanut butter
1/3 C. canola oil
3 eggs
1 C. semisweet chocolate chips

Sprinkle marshmallows into a greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, peanut butter, oil and eggs; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes or until smooth. Pour over marshmallows, sprinkle with chocolate chips

Bake at 350° f. for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick insered near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Yields 12-15 servings.

Enjoy,
Carol

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins

Imagine my surprise when I came to the blog today and discovered it has been a month since I posted anything. My apologies and I will try and do better. I haven't been either cooking much lately or felt creative. My husband has been doing most of the cooking lately. No, nothing wrong. He loves to cook as much as I do and it's nice to be able
take a break from it.

A few weeks ago, we had a little luncheon at work; mostly snacks and my contribution was Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins. It was a late minute decision to have this luncheon, so I had to go with what I had on hand at home. This recipe is very easy and quick to make. These are mini muffins so you'll need to have a mini muffin baking pan and papercups to go with it. The muffins were a big hit and it's something that I will definitely keep the ingredients for on hand for any other spur of the moment snacks.

Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. shortening
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
1/2 t. vanilla
1 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
2/3 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375° f. Cream together sugar and shortening until fluffy. Add in egg and mix well. Add vanilla and milk to mixture and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips by hand. Put about 1 Tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup in the pan. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then remove for further cooling. This makes about 3 dozen muffins.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Confetti Cauliflower

This is a healthy recipe for today. It's cold here and I keep looking for comfort food. When I do that, its usually something that is not so healthy.

I won't lie to you, finding colored cauliflower is not something you can find just anywhere. You really have to look for it. If you can't find it, that's okay because there's nothing wrong with using the regular white cauliflower. The taste is the same.

Confetti Cauliflower

1 large head confetti cauliflower (purple, orange, yellow or green)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 packet Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix

Preheat oven to 350° F. Break cauliflower into bite-size florets about the size of popped corn.
Toss cauliflower florets, olive oil and Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix in a large bowl until well coated. Spread cauliflower on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, turning 3-4 times while baking, until cauliflower is slightly browned and tender. Remove from oven and serve immediately. If desired, set a bowl of ranch dressing our for dipping.

Carol

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Coca-Cola Cake

I was looking back through my recipes on here because I thought I had already posted my Coca-Cola Cake recipe. I didn't find it, so my apologies if I have already posted it.

I'm a little late with this because January 27 was National Chocolate Cake day and I got busy with things and forgot to post. I guess its better late than never.

I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but it was given to me by my late aunt, who was a wonderful cook. It has to be the most moist chocolate cake I have ever had. If you need a dessert for your Super Bowl party, Valentine's Day, or you're just craving chocolate, I highly recommend this one.

Coca-Cola Cake
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 T. cocoa
1 t. soda
2 sticks butter or margarine
1 c. Coca-Cola
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 c. mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350° f. Mix all dry ingredients together and set aside. Heat butter/margarine, cocoa, and Coke to boiling. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well. Add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Finally, add the marshmallows and stir until they've melted.

Pour into a 9 x 13 inch prepared baking pan and bake for 40-50 minutes.

Icing:
1/4 c. butter or margarine
1 1/2 T. cocoa
3 T. Coca-Cola
1/2 t. vanilla
powdered sugar

Put all ingredients, except the powdered sugar into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add just enough powdered sugar to the mixture to make it a consistency to spread.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Popcorn

If I were only allowed one snack in my life, it would be popcorn. I love the stuff and never seem to be able to have enough of it. It's considered a staple around our house. During football season, I always pop a big bowl of it to munch on during the game.

Normally, I pop it on top of the stove in a popper that my parents used when I was a kid, but when I only want a little, I will grab a bag of microwave popcorn. The bad thing about microwave popcorn is that some bags are coated with something that can get onto the popcorn during the cooking process. This chemical is not really good for you and has been thought could cause cancer.

So, since it's a new year and I'm trying to eat healthier, I'm going to try and make my own microwave popcorn where I can control the ingredients. It's actually easy to make, but you'll have to do the trial and error thing with your own microwave to make sure you get the right amount of cooking time and remember that, as with regular microwave popcorn, not all of the kernels will pop. Keep an eye on your bag during the popping, you don't want it to catch fire, if popped too long.

Homemade Microwave Popcorn
1/2 c. popcorn
1 t. oil, vegetable or olive oil (either will work)
salt to taste

Mix ingredients together and pour into a small brown paper lunch sack. Microwave on high for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes on high. Pour into a bowl and enjoy.