Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grandma Helen's Peanut Butter Cookies

This is my Grandma Helen's recipe, who hands down wins for having the best dessert recipes. Even a few weeks ago while we were in California for a visit, she pulled a container of these same cookies out of her fridge and sent us along with a plateful. YUM. I can remember eating these peanut butter cookies from the time I was a little girl. My mom would make them and I would sit on the kitchen counter, in anticipation that she would let me criss-cross the top of the cookies and sprinkle them with sugar--which she always did.


1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. butter, room temperature
1 t. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
2 1/2 c. flour


Preheat oven to 375. Cream sugar and butter together. Add eggs, mix. Add peanut butter and vanilla, cream together. In separate bowl combine flour and soda. Mix all together. Form 1" balls on ungreased cookie sheet, criss-cross each ball with a fork, and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake 10-12 min.

Recipe Source: Grandma Helen Jean Anderson

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mom's Coffee Cake

This coffee cake is my mom's recipe. She used to make it every Christmas and I am so glad I still have the recipe to remember. I guess you're technically supposed to eat this cake with coffee, but hot chocolate will do too.


1/2 c. butter or shortening
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
3 eggs
2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 c. sour cream
6 T. soft butter

1 c. brown sugar, packed
2 t. cinnamon
1 c. chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans work well with this)


Preheat oven to 350. Cream 1/2 c. butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, 1 at a time and mix. In separate bowl, mix flour, powder and soda. Add to cream mixture alternately with sour cream, blending after each addition. Line a bundt pan with wax paper and grease with cooking spray. Spread 3 T. of the softened butter in the bundt pan on the wax paper. Mix remaining 3 T. butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts. Sprinkle 1/2 nut mixture over butter. Cover with batter and sprinkle rest of nut mixture on top. Bake on 350 for 45-50 min, or when cake tester comes out clean.

Recipe Source: My mom

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pumpkin Cookies

These cookies are a fall classic, and definitely Anthony's favorite cookie. His mom has made these cookies since he can remember, and she even sends them in the mail to her kids when they're away at college. Only use Libby's Pumpkin--the store bought kind doesn't work, I've tried.

2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. solid pack pumpkin (Libby's)
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
6 oz. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl beat together butter and sugar. Add egg, pumpkin and vanilla and mix until light and fluffy. Mix in dry ingredients until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheet. If you haven't invested in one of those silicon mats, I suggest you do. My cookies turn out so much better when I use it. Bake 12-15 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Recipe Source: K Strike (Anthony's mom)

Southwestern Rice Salad

If you only make one thing from my recipe blog, I suggest this one!! It's sooooo delicious and everyone that tries it loves it. Eat it warm or cold (I prefer warm). Instead of buying wild rice and long grain rice separately, you can omit the brown rice and just use several boxes of Uncle Ben's Original (which even comes in the quick cook time, and the entire recipe would only take 20 minutes tops).

Serves 6-8
Total time: 1 hour

8 oz. uncooked wild rice
8 oz. uncooked long grain rice
8 oz. uncooked brown rice
4 c. chicken broth
2 c. water
2 bay leaves
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained, rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained, rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can corn, drained (optional)
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 medium red onion
1 medium bunch cilantro, chopped
3/4 c. olive oil
3 T. orange juice
2 T. real lime juice (you can use just orange juice or just lime juice if you don't have both)
3 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. brown sugar
2 t. ground cumin
1 t. chili powder
salt & pepper to taste
2 avocados (optional)

Bring chicken broth and water to a boil in a large heavy saucepan (if you are using Uncle Ben's Original boxes ONLY use water, not chicken broth). Add the rice and bay leaves and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low and cover. Simmer for 45-55 minutes. If you're below 3500 ft. altitude you can probably do 45 minutes, but for those of us in higher altitudes, you really should let the rice simmer for at least 55-60 minutes.

Remove to a large bowl and fluff with a fork, discarding bay leaves. Add the beans, corn, peppers, onion, and cilantro to rice.

Separately mix olive oil, orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, brown sugar, cumin and chili powder together. Add to rice mixture.

To serve the dish extra pretty, you can line a serving plate or bowl with lettuce leaves and mound the salad in the center. Garnish with cilantro and avocado. We crumble tortilla chips on top too.

Recipe Source: Adapted from K Strike (Anthony's mom), and she got it from "Always in Season"

Friday, October 30, 2009

Butternut Squash Pizza

This recipe is simple, the slighest bit sweet and perfect for a lighter meal. Take advantage of butternut squash when it's in season early fall through winter. You can make the pizza crust from scratch or use a ready-made one instead. The crust recipe is super easy and you can get the pizza toppings ready while it rises.

Serves 4-6
Total time (with crust): 1 hour
Goes well with green salad

Ingredients for crust:
2 t. active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 t. if cooking below 3500 ft. altitude)
1 c. warm water
3 c. flour (or 2 3/4 c. flour if cooking below 3500 ft. altitude)
1 t. salt
1/4 t. sugar
2 T. olive oil

Ingredients for topping:
1-2 thinly sliced yellow onion(s)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
1 T. chopped fresh rosemary, you can use dry rosemary but it's not as good
salt & pepper
3 T. olive oil, divided
1/4 c. asiago or parmesan cheese

For crust: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add yeast to warm water and let sit for 5-10 min. Mix dry ingredients together, then add olive oil. Add yeast and water mixture to dry ingredients and knead together for 3-5 minutes. Place in bowl and cover with clean kitchen towel. Let sit in warm place for 30-45 min.

For topping: While crust is rising, prepare the topping. Place onion and squash in 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt & pepper and 2 T. of the olive oil; toss to coat. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 min. (it's ok if they're not fully tender yet, you will cook them some more once you place them on the pizza crust).

For completion of pizza: Turn oven temp. up to 450. When dough has doubled in size, roll out and place on pizza pan (or cookie sheet). Distribute squash mixture over the uncooked pizza shell and bake for 15-18 min. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1 T. olive oil and cheese. Cut and serve.

Butternut Squash Soup

Anthony has already requested this soup become a family staple. Just creamy enough with a hint of spice. Freeze leftovers in airtight container for up to 3 months.

Serves 12
Total time: 45 minutes
Goes well with toasted french bread

3 T. butter
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. ground cinnamon OR nutmeg (depending on what you like)
1/8 - 1/4 t. cayenne pepper (plus more for garnish)
sea salt
1 large butternut squash (about 4 lbs.) peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth
1 c. half & half
1 T. fresh lemon juice
sour cream, for serving

In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add onion, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, and cayenne. Season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add squash, broth, half & half, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Working in batches, puree in a blender until smooth. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt. Serve bisque with sour cream, garnished with cayenne, if desired.

Recipe Source: adapted from Everyday Food

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

This salsa is a nice change of pace, especially for the non-tomato eater. Serve with tortilla chips as an appetizer.

Serves about 8-12
Total Time: 15 minutes
Goes well as an appetizer when you're serving Mexican food or fish tacos.

1 can black beans. drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium bunch cilantro, chopped
Juice of 2-3 limes
2 avocadoes, pitted, peeled and diced
salt & pepper to taste
1/2-1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and serve with tortilla chips!

Recipe Source: K Strike (Anthony's mom)