Thursday, November 25, 2010

Delicious Sponge Rolls

This roll recipe is famous in the area where I live. I decided to try it this year for thanksgiving, and I LOVE it! The person this originated from is MIldred Gibbs, but I'm not sure if she is still alive.


2 C. Milk
1/3 cube margarine
1/4 C. sugar
1 cake, or 1 pkg. dry yeast
3 Tb warm water
6 to 6 1/4 C. flour
2 tsp. salt
2 eggs

Scald milk; pour over margarine. Add sugar and let cool to lukewarm. Add yeast to Warm water and let it dissolve, then add to milk mixture. Add 2 1/2 Cups flour, stir well and let rise until double in bulk, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add salt and eggs, unbeaten, and stir well. Mix in 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups flour. It should be stiff enough to handle well. Brush oil over the top of the dough. Cover and let rise again until double in bulk. Put in pans in favorite shape. (I just made balls and put them close together on a jelly roll sheet) Let rise again and bake in 425-450 degree oven 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.

This recipe may also be used to make delicious cinnamon rolls.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pear Clafouti

I got this recipe from Martha Stewart's website. I had seen it on one of her programs and had to try it out. I bought some pears from Costco recently and needed to use them up, so decided to make the recipe again. I didn't have the dried cherries, so I used some dried blueberries I had instead, and I think I liked them better. I also didn't have any cream, so I used canned evaporated milk. Don't be squeamish, it tasted fine. :P I also used two pears instead of one, and I liked that I could really taste the pear more. This recipe is so easy and is good for breakfast! It's like custard only without so many eggs.


Serves 4 to 6

  • Unsalted butter, for baking dish
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1 large Anjou pear, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cored
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 10-inch ceramic tart dish or 9 1/2-inch pie plate. Dust with flour, and tap out excess; set aside. Put cherries in a medium bowl, and cover with boiling water by 1 inch. Let stand until plump, about 10 minutes.
  2. Cut pear lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices; fan over bottom of prepared dish. Blend milk, cream, eggs, vanilla, sugar, flour, and salt in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour batter over pear.
  3. Drain cherries; sprinkle over batter. Bake until golden and set, about 25 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes. Cut into wedges. Clafouti can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 day.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Frog's Eye Salad

I decided to post this here for those who were asking for this recipe. This is a simple summer salad that is good for taking to pot luck dinners. Probably not the healthiest, but it is tasty. :) This recipe comes from my friend Laurie M., but there are several versions floating around.

1 1/3 cup (8 oz.) Ronzoni Acini Pepe, uncooked (That is a tiny round pasta that is sold in a box)
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained. (reserve 1/4 cup juice)
1 3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 package vanilla instant pudding (small box)
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained
2 cans (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained
2 cups frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed (or you can use real whipped cream)
3 cups miniature marshmallows

Cook pasta 11 minutes. (I like mine cooked a little more, but this is Laurie's recipe) Rinse with cold water; drain well. In a large bowl, beat reserved pineapple juice, milk, sugar, and pudding for 2 minutes. Gently stir in pasta and remaining ingredients; cover. Refrigerate at least 5 hours.

Serves 12

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hot Pot

Every New Year's Eve our family has a tradition of eating Chinese food. Most often, we eat "Hot Pot". This is a meal best eaten in winter months, and when you have plenty of time to eat. It's a great meal to share with guests! We do eat it other times of the year, but New Year's is our tradition. I'm going to give you the basics, but you could adapt this to your own lifestyle.

First you need to make a sauce. There are many ways you could do this, but our standard is using chinese "Char Sui" barbecue sauce. (pictured below)

The way we were taught is to pour the entire jar in to a bowl, and add one egg. Add a little soy sauce to thin out the paste. Add chopped cilantro, and a splash of sesame oil. Now, you could add other things like finely chopped garlic or ginger, or even hot chili sauce, but we pretty much just use this recipe. Give each person their own bowl with some of the sauce in it.

Next you are going to need some kind of electric skillet to put in the middle of the table. We have an electric skillet, but we also have a "hot pot" that was given to us by a friend. With our large family, and guests, we usually use both. Fill both with chicken broth, and set on high heat. Once the broth gets boiling you can turn it down a little if needed. Keep a pitcher of water on the table to refill the pots if they start to boil down. Make sure you have a lid that fits because this sometimes comes in handy when cooking.

You can use just about any kind of meat you like, but we prefer pork, chicken, and shrimp. Ask your butcher to slice the pork and chicken thinly. We own a meat slicer, so we slice it ourselves. For my family, I would plan on about 2 pounds of meat. If you have left over, you can always eat it again the next day. :)

Once again, you can use any vegetable you like but we prefer the following.
--Nappa Cabbage cut in manageable chunk size.
--Spinach leaves
--Daikon radish peeled and cut in cubes
--bean sprouts

We like:
--Firm Tofu drained cut in cubes.
--Straw mushrooms (we use canned)
--Any other mushroom you like.
--Bean thread noodles (clear noodles)


As soon as the broth is simmering, add some of the meat, vegetables and extras to the broth. The radish takes a little longer to cook than the other food. When the pink is gone from the meat, or when the shrimp turns color, it is done. The vegetables cook very quickly, so don't let them get too soft. If the pot is particularly full, you might want to put the lid on to help bring the heat back up so that the food cooks quicker.

Each person can retrieve the food they like from the pot and dip it in their sauce and eat it. We use chop sticks to retrieve the food from the broth, but you could have a large serving spoon handy for those who are "chopstick challenged". :) Most Chinese like to drink the soup with the noodles at the end of the meal.

This is a pretty healthy meal, and tastes great! The most difficult part for most people is finding the sauce. But I think many grocery stores now days carry it. Give this dinner a try!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Recipe Challenge

I recently posted a recipe for my mother's "meat rolls". Although I liked the recipe, I felt it could be improved. I asked fellow blogger Rickb, who is a chef, to see what he could do to make it better. His recipe definitely looks better! I'm going to try it! If you need a good idea for dinner, check out this recipe on his blog. :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Food Review: Limburger Cheese

My family LOVES cheese. And I don't mean the boring stuff that most people buy. My husband takes great care to find interesting cheeses for us to try. At holiday time, he makes up a cheese platter consisting of many different kinds of cheese. Once, after traveling in England, he bought some English cheddar and brought it home in his suitcase. We love all different kinds of cheese, and my children are not timid when it comes to strong cheeses like blue cheese. Yesterday, for the first time in our lives, we tried Limburger cheese.

I think my review of limburger cheese could best be summed up in the after taste I experienced. The cheese was VERY strong, but after I ate it, I felt like I had eaten something off the barnyard ground. I told my son it tasted like I had eaten cow manure. He asked how I knew what cow manure tasted like. I told him that limburger cheese came closest to what I imagine cow manure to taste like.

In some ways I wondered if I would like it better in cooking. But I don't want my entire dish of food tasting like the barnyard, so I'm afraid to try it and see.
What is your experience with limburger?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Favorite Kitchen Tools

I decided that I wanted to share some of my favorite kitchen utensils. As I write, I realize I forgot to take a picture of one of my favorites; my wok and chopsticks.

First I should say that my cooking is greatly influenced by chinese cooking. I use chopsticks to turn things in hot oil. I use a wok for most of my vegetable cooking. Below is a picture of my favorite knives. The one on the left is a "rocker" knife that is really useful in chopping vegetables. It is especially useful when you want things cut finely. Next to it is my favorite cleaver. I had another cleaver that I really liked, but recently the handle on it broke. I was afraid I wouldn't find one that I liked as much, but I think I like this one even more. It is just the right size for my hands, and I love the slightly curved blade.

This next picture contains some odds and ends that I find really useful. On the left is a chinese rolling pin. I know that chefs say you should have a large rolling pin, but this one fits my hands just right and I can manipulate it easily. I prefer this to the large rolling pins. I have a large one somewhere, I just never use it.
Next to it are a garlic peeler, and a garlic press. We eat a lot of fresh garlic. The bottled stuff has a sour taste to it, and just doesn't give the right flavor. Garlic salt is nothing like the real thing, and adds more salt than I want. This garlic peeler takes the peels off so easily, and the garlic press gives just the right consistency, while releasing the oils.

This platter is one of my favorite items in my kitchen. I'm really not a person who goes for gold plated china. I love this metal platter that I bought at IKEA. It is really large and can hold a large turkey plus trimmings, or can hold several batches of cookies. And I don't know why, but the pattern just makes me happy. :) I think it only cost me about $12, but has been indispensable.

This last picture is of a purchase I made this last Christmas. I'm not sure if you can tell, but these are soup mugs. My husband and I have a thing for red bowls. We can't seem to pass up red bowls in the store. In general, whenever we eat chinese food we eat it on red plates, and in red bowls. I love having these soup bowls on the counter to add color to my kitchen, and to be ready for dinner. I bought these at World Market for about $12.

Okay, those are some of my favorite kitchen gadgets. What are some of yours?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Meat Rolls

My daughter has been ribbing me about this recipe ever since I made it, but I actually like it. This is something my mother made occasionally when I was young, and I most recently used my Aunt's recipe to make it for my family. There really isn't much recipe to it, but for those cooking challenged, here is how I made it.

First make biscuit dough. I have posted a recipe once before that you could use. Click here for that recipe.

Roll out the dough to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

In a bowl combine:

About a pound of uncooked ground beef
About 1 can vegetable soup (concentrated)

I didn't have vegetable soup when I made it, so I used 1/2 can of tomato soup, and one can of mixed vegetables (drained).

Spread meat mixture on top of biscuit dough. Roll up and slice like you would if you were making cinnamon rolls. Bake at 325 degrees for about 25 -30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, melt about 2 tbl. butter in a pan. Add about 2 tbl. flour. When it is combined well, add about 1 cup of milk, stirring constantly. I also like to add about a teaspoon of chicken soup base or bouillion. You are making a white sauce. You can adjust the amount of milk if you like the sauce to be thinner or thicker. Serve the white sauce over the meat rolls.

My daughter asked if I was going to make meat cupcakes the next night for dinner. I don't think she could get past the cinnamon roll effect. My husband suggested I make individual meat loafs in a muffin pan. ;D

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Story Cookies

This is a great Easter activity to do with children. This activity is intended to be done on the night before Easter before going to bed.

1 Cup whole pecans
1 tsp vinegar
3 eggs whites
pinch salt
1 Cup sugar
ziploc bag
wooden spoon
Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Place the pecans in the ziploc bag, and let the children beat them with the wooden spoon to break in to small pieces.
Explain that after Jesus was arrested, he was beaten by the Roman soldiers.
Read John 19:1-3
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp vinegar into a mixing bowl.
Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink.
Read John 19:28-30
Add egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life.
Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life.
Read John 10:10-11
Sprinkle a little salt in to each child's hand. Let them taste it, and add a pinch of salt to the bowl.
Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our sin.
Read Luke 23:27
So far the ingredients are not very appealing. Add 1 cup of sugar.
Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know that and belong to Him.
Read Psalms 34:8, and John 3:16
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12-16 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.
Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3
Fold in the broken nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper covered cookie sheet.
Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.
Read Matthew 27:57-60
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.
Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed.
Read Matthew 27:65-66
Go to bed! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven over night. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.
Read John 16:20, 22
On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter morning, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.
Read Mattew 28:1-9
Happy Easter!

Cinnamon Rolls

This is the cinnamon roll recipe I use. Sometimes they turn out GREAT, and other times they just turn out good. :) I think it has to do with how thick I roll them out. I like to roll them out a little on the thick side.

2 C. scalded milk
1/3 C. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cubes butter
Let cool

In a separate bowl, combine
1 pkg. (or 2 1/2 tsp.) yeast
1/4 C. warm water
When yeast starts to activate, add:
3 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, beaten

Add butter mixture to yeast mixture
Add 5-6 cups flour. Let raise. Beat down, repeat.
This dough might be a little sticky.
Roll out on a floured board.
I roll out the dough, then spread melted butter on the dough.
Sprinkle with about 1/2 cup of sugar, and 4 tsp. cinnamon
Roll dough up, and slice. Place on greased cookie sheet and let rise.
Bake 375 for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Drizzle with frosting.

I don't have a written recipe for the frosting. I just make it by combining about 4 tablespoons softened butter or margarine with powdered sugar. I add the powdered sugar until it is thick, then I drizzle in a little milk. I also add about a teaspoon of vanilla. You want a runny icing that you can drizzle on the rolls. I prefer to let them cool a little first.