Sunday, February 28, 2010

Menu for the First Week of March

I'm excited to see March arrive. Spring is just around the corner! In fact, I worked in our yard this weekend (we all did yard and garage clean-up; it was a group effort!) and noticed buds on the trees. In the tree to the side of our house, I spotted a really fat Robin sitting at the top of the branches scouting out a nesting place. I even got a few windows cleaned while I was out there!

Here's my plan to keep us fed this week:

Monday, March 1

Crock pot Sirloin Tips and Noodles (previous post)
Green Bean Casserole

Tuesday, March 2

Mammam's Zesty Chicken (previous post)
Glazed Carrots (w/ honey)
Broccoli Rice

Wednesday, March 3

Taco Bake W/ shredded lettuce and tomatoes
Lemon Bundt Cake

Thursday, March 4

Tossed Salad
French Bread

Friday, March 5

Pork Chops (grilled)
Cheese Potatoes
corn/celery & carrot sticks

Saturday, March 6

Turkey Bacon

Grilled Hamburgers
veg. plate
Southern Baked Beans
Macaroni Salad

Sunday, March 7

Spaghetti and Meatballs
French Bread

Leftover Buffet!

Join me Tuesday when I share another great seafood casserole recipe (using crab meat and shrimp) that I found in those old Lawton Constitution Cook Books that I got at the estate sale!!

***I will be at Orgjunkie for MPM today***

Friday, February 26, 2010

Elton John/Billy Joel Face 2 Face Concert!!

I will not be doing my Old Cookbook Review that I usually do on Fridays, because I just got back from Oklahoma City and it's noon. Hubby took me to the concert of a lifetime: 2 piano masters; 2 grand pianos (that ascended on risers from a custom-made stage) and a night of Elton and Billy's hit songs! It was super!! I will see you here on Monday when I'm back to reality and planning my menu for the week. Have a rockin' weekend:) Marcia

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Baked Salmon and Macaroni

As I've already admitted, I bought another box of someone's "clippings drawer" and assorted cookbooks this past weekend at an estate auction. One of the paperback community cookbooks that I got in my box is from First Pentecostal Holiness Church in Apache, OK (from 1968). It must have been a favorite because it has lots of grease and food stains, and the cook has checked recipes with a pen. These are all great signs in an old cookbook; if the spine of the book has never been broken, she either didn't cook, stuck to a limited number of recipes, or it's not a great cook book.

I was happy to find a new recipe to try with some canned salmon that I have in my pantry. I found this really good canned salmon at Sam's Club over the holidays and need ways to use it. We've had it as Salmon Cakes twice and I want to try something else. Here's the recipe from page 59 (which has a grease stain!)

Baked Salmon and Macaroni
Mrs. Jim Palesano, Apache, Okla.

1 (1 lb.) can salmon
1/3 C butter or oleo
1/2 C flour
1 TBSP salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
3 1/2 C milk
2 TBSP grated onion
1/4 C chopped pimiento
8 oz. shell macaroni
1/2 C grated sharp cheese

Drain salmon and reserve liquid. Remove skin and bones from salmon (haven't found any in salmon from Sam's). Flake. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Blend in flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Add milk gradually, stirring constantly; cook until thickened. Add onion and pimiento. Cook macaroni in boiling, salted water until tender. Drain. Add macaroni, salmon and liquid to sauce. Turn into greased 2-qt. casserole. Top with cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and brown. Yield: 4-6 servings.

I will be at these recipe swaps today:


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Shrimp Curry Experiment

Well, ever since Blake, our middle son, has returned from his 2-year stint in Japan, he has yearned for curry. He had a favorite curry shop that he frequented in Masuda, and he still brags about the owner's "curry expertise"!

Now, I'm a West Virginia/Oklahoma girl; I'd never made curry before! The closest I'd ever come to curry, was smelling the spicy dish that foreign exchange students cooked in Morgantown, both in my now-husband's Med Center Apartment, and on Gem Street, where I had an apartment. In fact, on warm, sunny days, I would walk down Gem Street to get to classes, and an Indian couple would often be cooking it on some type of outside hibachi-like stove on their deck. One evening, when I was feeling especially adventurous, I ordered it at a restaurant, but I didn't personally posses any curry powder in my spice cabinet.

I decided to give curry a test run in my kitchen. So I bought a container of curry power and started sorting through my infamous "clippings drawer" for a curry recipe. This is the newspaper offering that I found. The recipe was submitted by Lila Cathey of McAdoo, Texas. The only alteration that I made was adding shrimp to the curry sauce at the end, instead of fixing the chicken component of the recipe.

When we did our usual "thumbs-up/thumbs-down" vote after we'd all tried the new dish, everyone at the table gave it a thumbs-up vote. Blake, however, thought it needed more curry powder than the recipe called for. I thought that it was great. I served it, over rice, along with garlic-crusted French bread and a salad. I am now the proud owner of my very own jar of curry powder; I've gone international!

Chicken Curry
Lila Cathey, McAdoo, Texas

1/2 C oil (I used canola)
2 C chopped onion
1/2 C green pepper (I used red pepper because that's what I had)
2 cloves of garlic
6 pieces of chicken (1 bag of medium-sized cooked shrimp)
2 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp curry powder (more if you really like curry)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C water
1/4 C lemon juice
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
Black pepper to taste
8 ounces whole mushrooms (optional)

*Heat the oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add onions and peppers and saute a minute before adding the garlic. Continue until all are softened but not quite brown.
*Move the vegetables aside or remove, then sear the chicken on all sides.
*Add remaining ingredients, except for the flour. Cover and cook over low heat until chicken is cooked through, about 2 hours.
*If using mushrooms, add them after an hour.
*About 15 minutes before finishing, mix the flour with a little warm water to make a slurry. Increase the heat to medium to attain a low boil. Add slurry to the pot (this is also when I add the thawed, cooked shrimp) and simmer the last 15-30 minutes, uncovered.

I will be joining these great swaps today:


Best Banana Bread Ever!

I confess that I bought yet another box of cookbooks and recipes at an estate auction this past weekend (we won't dwell on this fact). While digging through the miscellaneous bits of this and that, I found that this particular home-cook had saved several issues of a cooking insert that used to be published by the local newspaper here. The insert was called "The Cook Book" by the Lawton Constitution Press. From looking at these booklets I can tell that they were done around a theme, for instance, one might be all dessert recipes, submitted by readers, another all bread recipes.

When we first moved to the area, The Constitution printed one such booklet for the holidays, and some of my recipes were included. These older publications, however, were done on a regular basis, because they are from various months of the year. I wish they still continued this practice; I enjoyed looking through these as much as the hard-bound cookbooks in the box!

I found, in the bread-themed Cook Book, a recipe for Quick Banana Bread submitted by Erma Cross. I happened to have 3 ripe bananas, and so, decided to venture away from my regular recipe. Well, we have a new favorite!! It has a moist, delicious flavor, and is dense with a coffee cake texture. I baked it yesterday morning and it has served as a warm, after-school snack, breakfast and as a to-go breakfast; it's almost gone! Thank you, Erma for your wonderful and easy recipe.

Quick Banana Bread
Erma Cross Lawton Constitution-Press Cook Book Aug. 2, 1984 (Page 15)

1/3 C vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 1/2 C mashed bananas (about 3 large ones)
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2 1/3 C buttermilk baking mix (I used Bisquick)
1 C sugar
1/2 C chopped nuts, optional
(I sprinkled a liberal amount of cinnamon across the top)

Heat oven to 350 degrees; grease bottom of loaf pan. Combine all ingredients in large bowl; mix with a fork for 1 minute. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 55-65 minutes. Cool 1 minute and remove from pan.

I will be at these swaps today:


Monday, February 22, 2010

Menu For a Busy Week Ahead

We have one of those weeks ahead that is full of comings and goings! Amidst the usual schedule of events, individual members of our family have: a DECA Regional Competition in Tulsa; a concert in OKC; an orientation for grad school in Tulsa (different person, different day) and a Legislative Luncheon! Whew! Then, on Saturday, we're cleaning-out and organizing our garage...because, in two weeks, we welcome visitors from WV!

Since members of the family will be gone at different times this week, the only regular meal will be tonight, meals on other days will be items that are easy to microwave or get from the crock pot as the "runners", that particular day, return from work or travel. There's always part of "the crew" here to "keep the home fires burning"...I mean, the crock pot plugged in! Have a great week.

Monday, Feb. 22

Roast Beef
mashed potatoes
Broccoli and Cauliflower

Tuesday, Feb. 23

Jello w/ fruit

Wednesday, Feb. 24

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
Broccoli Salad
baby carrots

Thursday, Feb. 25

Homemade Vegetable Soup
Ham Sandwich with Romaine
Rice Krispy Treats

Friday, Feb. 26

Paula Deen Potato Soup
Veg. Plate
French Bread

Saturday, Feb. 27

Cocoa Wheats

BBQ Chicken
Loaded Baked Potato Casserole
Iced Tea

I will be at OrgJunkie for MPM today!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Country Baker Cookies and Crackers Cookbook

Today my Old Cookbook Review will focus on a specialty cookbook offered as part of a baking series offered by Country Living Magazine in 1993. The Country Baker Cookies and Crackers Cookbook is a thin, hardback book with both traditional and out-of-the-ordinary treat recipes. The Country Baker Series, published by Hearst Corporation, also included these additional titles: Breads and Muffins; Cakes and Cupcakes; and Pies and Tarts. Unfortunately, I just own the Cookie and Crackers book from the series, but that leaves me the "thrill of the hunt" this spring when yard sales and estate sales will abound! If you enjoy the same thrill of hunting old cookbooks, the ISBN of this one is 0-688-12542-5.

Yes, as I've said, this little cookbook has the traditional cookie recipes that you might expect, but also some unusual ones. In between the comforting old recipes for Hermits, Snickerdoodles and Gingersnaps are snippets of the history of the cookie recipes, and also, cookie-baking tips. If you want to find some different recipes for cookies that you've not tried before, they are in the book, also.

Those out-of-the-ordinary recipes that I've mentioned include recipes for making your own soda crackers, whole wheat crackers or cheddar crackers. You might be able to avoid the cracker aisle at the grocery store altogether, because you have a tin of freshly-made crackers on your shelf at home. With healthier treats in mind, there are recipes for fruit bars and cookies. Some of my favorite, unusual recipes for cookies featured in the book are: Fig Bars; Prune-Nut Bars; Cornmeal Cookies and Pistachio Biscotti. Biscotti is the very best cookie to have with hot tea or coffee on a cold morning.

Spring is coming, so good luck in finding this little "treat" of a cookbook as you search through book boxes at the sales! Today's sample recipe is for a crisp, little southern cookie.

Page 14 Benne Seed Wafers

1/2 C sesame seeds
1 C all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 C (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 C firmly-packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a heavy skillet, heat the sesame seeds over medium heat, stirring constantly, until golden. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and beat in the flour mixture; stir in the sesame seeds. Cover and refrigerate the dough 2 hours, or overnight.

3. Let the dough stand at room temperature until it is soft enough to spoon out. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Drop the dough by slightly rounded measuring teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart.

4. Bake the wafers 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool the wafers on the baking sheets on wire racks for 1 minute. Remove the wafers from the baking sheets and cool completely on the racks.

I will be at these great recipe swaps today:


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mammam's Zesty Chicken

I am ashamed to admit that this wonderful recipe for chicken has been in my recipe box for years...Years! "Mammam" Michael gave it to my mom way back when my first two sons were little and I just kept recycling it when I would sift through the recipes. I finally made it for dinner on Tuesday night, and what a hit! We all loved this chicken; I'm going to make it when company comes this Spring. On Tuesday, I changed the menu from fish because I found a nice fresh chicken at the store that morning. I served it with Garlic and Parsley Red Potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Here you go:

Zesty Chicken
Lina Michael, WV

Roll cut-up chicken pieces in flour to coat; brown in hot, oiled skillet. Place browned pieces of chicken in a casserole dish and drizzle 1/2 a bottle of your favorite Zesty Italian Salad Dressing over the chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, uncovered. Delicious!

Have a great Thursday. I will be at these great recipe swaps today:


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Healthy Tapioca Pudding in Your Crock Pot!

I was pleasantly surprised this morning to see, on the front of our morning paper, not weather damage in some part of the country, or a politician's face, but smiling children from local elementary schools who had won the Scripp's Spelling Bee. Our sons always fared well in their school spelling bees (one advanced to the school-wide bee, and two went to the regional bee) and I have many fond memories associated with their individual victories.

In fact, back in WV, our friends' son, Andy, made it to the national bee in Washington, D.C., twice during his elementary years! Spelling bees are a great way for children to enjoy language in a unique way. Thank you to The Lawton Constitution for sponsoring the Scripp's Spelling Bee Regional Competition. Success in such extra-curricular activities can propel students on to bigger and better things...Andy was just named as a National Merit Finalist and will attend OU this fall. Congratulations to the Wade family!

Speaking of "bigger and better", here's a healthier version of Tapioca Pudding that you can make in your crock pot; even people watching their fat and sugar intake need a treat now and then. Have a good Wednesday!

Tapioca Pudding

2 qt. skim milk
3/4 C dry small pearl tapioca
1 C sugar (Splenda)
3/4 C Eggbeaters
2 tsp vanilla
3 C Fat-Free Cool Whip, thawed

Combine milk, tapioca and sugar in slow cooker. Cook on high 3-4 hrs, or until tapioca is tender. Add a little of the hot tapioca to Eggbeaters; stir. Whisk eggbeaters into tapioca-milk mixture. Add vanilla. Cover and cook on high 20-30 minutes; cool. Chill in refrigerator. When fully chilled, beat with hand mixer to fluff the pudding. Fold in the Cool Whip.

I will be at these great recipe swaps today:

***Don't forget! "The Middle" is on TV tonight!***

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cauliflower Salad

Yesterday was our bi-annual visit to the pulmonologist in OKC with son #3. The appointment was at 1:00 and we saw the Dr. by 2:00 (she's a rare breed-Pediatric Pulmonologist, and in great demand), so it took the better part of the day. We had a delicious meal on our way home and enjoyed each others' company during the car trip. Ben had a good check-up and his breathing numbers were in the healthy range, so it was a great trip!

However, yesterday's "gad-about" means that today is doubled-up daily chores for me. I've been to the grocery stores already this morning (Tuesday chore), and now need to do laundry and prepare menu items in advance (Monday chores). There's also meat to be portioned-out and frozen (Tuesday chore). Anyway, it's all worth the day-off from household chores yesterday .

Here's one of the salads that I'm making ahead today (Walmart had heads of cauliflower for $1.50 each):

Cauliflower Salad
magazine clipping; Virginia Stephens, Tallahassee, Fla.

1 large head cauliflower, chopped or shredded
1 1/2 C salted peanuts
1 pkg. (7 oz.) dried cranberries
2/3 C light mayonnaise
1/3 C sugar (I'm using Splenda)

In a large bowl, add the cauliflower, peanuts, cranberries, mayo and sugar (Splenda). Stir until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

***Please join me tomorrow when I give my recipe for making Tapioca Pudding in the crock pot!***

I will be at these swaps today:
Balancing Beauty and

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Menu Plan for the Week

Here's how my week of menus looks:

Monday, Feb. 15

(Soup and sandwiches for guys)
Leftover Red Velvet Cake

Tuesday, Feb. 16

Blueberry or Banana Pancakes
Turkey bacon
Irish tea

Wednesday, Feb. 17

Baked fish
steamed broccoli
baked potatoes
Pudding cup

Thursday, Feb. 18

Shrimp Curry
Egg rolls

Friday, Feb. 19 (guests for dinner)

Grilled Pork Loin
Cheese Potatoes
Caesar Salad
Iced tea
Black Forest Cake

Saturday, Feb. 20

Cocoa Wheat

Grilled Chicken Salad
French Bread

Sunday, Feb. 21

Homemade Pizza
Veg. Plate

Leftover Buffet

I'll be at Orgjunkie today for MPM

Tomorrow we'll talk recipes! Have a great Monday!

Friday, February 12, 2010

BHG Dessert Cookbook

This sweet cookbook, Better Homes and Gardens Dessert Cookbook, published by Meredith Publishing Co. in 1960 (sorry, no ISBN this time), is a collection of the basic and the sublime! If the dessert that you crave is creamy, gooey or sticky-sweet, it's in this book. As the cover says. "over 400 dessert recipes". This cookbook is a must-have for anyone who likes to serve an occasional jaw-dropping dessert.

If you want to impress your family or friends with a dessert that they don't have everyday, you might want to check out the recipes for Baked Alaska, Creme Brulee or Cream Puffs. There are also recipes for Chiffon Pies, Marble Cakes and Eclairs that will make them, "ooh and ahh". Some of the more involved directions might be a little intimidating for a cook who's just getting started, but you could work your way through this book from the more basic, easier sweets to the fancier, fussier confections. A nice characteristic of this book is that it offers both the simpler recipes and the more advanced show-stoppers...hey, we can't all be Julia Child, but we can dream.

This book is typically Better Homes and Gardens-inspired; it offers beautiful color pictures of some of the finished products, as well as, instructional photos of the hands-on preparation of the more in-depth recipes. I like to have pictures when I've never made an involved recipe before; I'm a visual learner.

If fancy, involved desserts are something that you only have when you eat out, this book is 'worth your while' just for the quicker cookie and candy recipes (including the famous "Cherry Winks" cookies made popular in the 60's and 70's). It also offers several puddings, fruit desserts, and cake and frosting recipes. There are a few low-calorie desserts including what we used to call, "Pink Fluff". I know, that just "sealed the deal" for anyone who's ever let "Pink Fluff" melt in her mouth!

Happy hunting, cookbook lovers! Oh!....and Happy Valentine's weekend!

Page 104 Cherry Winks (My Aunt Lena used to make these!)

1/3 C shortening
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 TBSP milk


1 C sifted, enriched flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C seedless raisins
1/2 C chopped California walnuts


1 1/2 C wheat flakes, slightly crushed
Candied cherries

Thoroughly cream together shortening, sugar, lemon peel, and vanilla. Add egg and milk; beat thoroughly. Sift together dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Stir in raisins and nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto crushed wheat flakes; toss lightly to coat. Place on greased cooky sheet about 2 inches apart. Top each with a candied-cherry half. Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) about 12 minutes. Cool slightly before removing from pan. Makes about 3 dozen.

I'll be at these great recipe swaps today:


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Strawberries in the Snow

Today's the day that I organize my clippings drawer! Since the holidays, it's gotten so messy. I riffle through it looking for something, and then toss a pile of recipes in the drawer when I'm doing a quick clean-up of the get the idea. It's like a catch-all drawer, except it's all recipes.

When I was pilfering through the drawer this week, I found us a great winter strawberry recipe to try. It's a unique winter recipe because it uses frozen strawberries. This time of year, the strawberries in the store just don't measure-up on the taste scale. They are like the plastic-tasting winter tomatoes! You bite into the fruit and there's no strawberry flavor. It won't be long until the ripe, flavorful strawberries are available, but for now, frozen are best.

This clipping looks like it came from an old Southern Living Magazine because it gives us the home cook's name and where she's from.

Luscious Strawberry Salad
Mrs. I.D. Stone, Gadsden, Alabama

2 (3 oz.) packages strawberry-flavored gelatin
1 1/2 C boiling water
1 1/2 (10 oz.) packages frozen strawberries
1 (8 1/4 oz.) can crushed pineapple
1/2 C chopped pecans
1 C sour cream

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add strawberries and fold gently. Chill until slightly congealed. Add pineapple and chopped nuts. Pour half the mixture into an oiled 9-inch square pan; chill slightly. Fold sour cream into remaining gelatin mixture and pour into the pan of partially-set gelatin. Chill until firmly set. Yield: 12 servings.

***Remember! Friday is always my Old Cookbook Review day!***

I'll be at these swaps today:


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mock Caesar Salad for Tonight

It's been a busy day, so I'm changing my menu for this evening a little. I decided to make this quick salad with our baked fish. This salad is a great addition to any meat. I think this recipe originally came from an old Quick Cook Magazine.

Mock Caesar Salad

3 TBSP cider vinegar
1/2 C shredded Parmesan
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/3 C olive or vegetable oil (I like olive oil in this)
7 C torn Romaine lettuce

Put vinegar, cheese and garlic in your blender or food processor (or in a tightly-closed jar and shake it hard!) Gradually add oil in a steady stream. Place Romaine in a salad bowl; drizzle dressing over it and toss. Hope you like this recipe as much as I do!

***Happy birthday to my Mom-in-Law, Louise!!***

I'll be at these swaps today:


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Make Some "Trash" for a Chocolate-Peanut Butter Treat!

I can picture the puzzled expression on your face as you read my title today! "Trash" is a simply delicious snack that is said to have originated on the campus of the University of Tennessee. The snack was so-named because the Greeks would make it in big batches and toss it in clean (new!) garbage bags to coat it with the powdered sugar. I've made it many times. One year I made "Trash" for the staff where my husband worked, and put it in fancy containers as small Christmas gifts; it went over very well with everyone. This year I plan to make some and pack it into snack-sized Valentine bags for my buddies at Ladies' Class. The guys at my house like this snack, so it will serve as a Valentine treat here, as well! This is an easy recipe; you've gotta give it a try!


1 stick of margarine
12 oz. bag of chocolate chips
1 C creamy peanut butter

-Put in microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 3 minutes, or melt in saucepan on top of the stove. Remove and blend together with a wooden spoon.

-Pour a large box of Rice Chex cereal into a large bowl, then slowly pour the chocolate mixture over the Chex. Gently fold until all cereal is covered.

-Pour 1/2 box of confectioners sugar into the bottom of a clean (new!) tall kitchen garbage bag. Next pour in the chocolate/Chex mess.

-Finally, pour the other 1/2 box of confectioners sugar on top of chocolate and cereal in the bag.

-Tie the top of the bag tightly. Gently roll the bag from hand to hand about 10 times. Open the bag and enjoy!

This keeps well in air-tight tins. If you have kids or a large family, you'll want to double this recipe because it goes fast!

I will be at these great swaps today:

Balancing Beauty and

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Menu Plan

Monday, Feb. 8

Tuna Casserole
Spinach or green beans

Tuesday, Feb. 9

Lettuce and tomato
Jello w/peaches

Wednesday, Feb. 10 *Happy Birthday, Louise!*

Baked Fish
Hash Brown Casserole
Edamame or cole slaw

Thursday, Feb 11

BBQ Spare Ribs
macaroni salad
baked beans
vegetable plate

Friday, Feb 12

Layer salad
hot rolls
iced tea
Lemon Cake

Saturday, Feb. 13

Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Fruit Salad

Grilled Salmon
Broccoli Rice

Sunday, Feb. 14 Valentine's Day

Chicken and Dressing
mashed potatoes
Cranberry sauce
leftover Lemon Cake

Leftover Buffet

I will be at Orgjunkie for MPM!

Friday, February 5, 2010

My Favorite Chocolate Recipes by Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump, of movie fame, is sharing his mama's best chocolate dessert recipes with us in today's cookbook. If you saw the movie, you already know that, "Mama always said, 'Life is like a box of never know what you're gonna get'".

I'll admit that this book is a little on the corny side, but if you're a fan of the movie, you'll overlook I did. The recipes for all-things-chocolate are just great! There are Forrest Gump sayings all through the book, but you could just look at the recipes if you don't need any pearls of wisdom from "Mama". My Favorite Chocolate Recipes by Forrest Gump is a thin cookbook of 108 pages, but I didn't see one "clunker" of a recipe in the whole thing! I thought the truffle recipes looked especially enticing as a treat for Valentine's Day, which is coming up. If you want to hunt for this book, it was published by Oxmoor House in 1995, and its ISBN is 0-8487-1487-3. Oxmoor also published The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Cookbook, but unfortunately, I haven't found that cookbook, yet. Here's our sample recipe:

Page 53 'Bama Bittersweet Truffles

1/2 C butter or margarine
3/4 C cocoa
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; Stir in 3/4 C cocoa. Gradually add condensed milk, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 8-inch square pan. Cover and chill 3 hours or until firm.

Shape mixture into 1 1/4 inch balls; roll in additional cocoa. Place balls in miniature paper baking cups. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Yield: 3 dozen.

I'll be at these swaps:


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pickled Okra Salsa

I hate okra! It's one of the few vegetables that brings out the 4-year-old in me. I don't want it to even touch my tongue 'cause it's slimey. Yes, okra devotees, I have tried it fixed different ways (battered and fried, and stewed with tomatoes). They say that your tastes change over time; I like spinach now, but as a child I would sit at the table in a stalemate of wills, staring at a spoonful of spinach. Maybe I'll try okra again sometime...when I'm 80 and having a good day. I certainly don't want to include it if I'm having a bad day, and there's any hope of it being my last...don't want to go to "meet my Maker" with a sour look on my face!

Even though okra isn't on my favorites list, lots of people do enjoy it. It is a staple on restaurant menus in Oklahoma and Texas, and I've been offered others' garden bounty of okra in the past 5 summers (Thanks, but No Thanks!). So, when I found this clipping for salsa made of okra, I thought that some of you okra fans might like it for your Super Bowl nachos this weekend. Why was this one of my clippings you ask...hey, I write a blog and I'm looking for ways for all of you to use up that nasty okra...I don't need it!

I think this clipping is from a Southern Living magazine:

Pickled Okra Salsa

5 whole pickled okra, sliced
1/2 C chopped sweet onion
4 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with mild green chiles, drained

-Pulse first 6 ingredients and half of tomatoes in a food processor 4 to 6 times or until thoroughly combined. Stir in remaining diced tomatoes. Serve immediately, or cover and chill. Store in refrigerator up to 7 days. If refrigerated, let stand at room temperature 15 min. before serving.

I will be at these recipe swaps today:


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Healthier Version of Black Forest Cake

As I said the other day, we had an ice storm here on Thursday. It was both a blessing and a curse for everyone to be stranded here for the long weekend. We love being together and having "down time", but we are all involved in this new "healthy eating attempt" and it goes better when we have school and work to occupy us; less recreational eating in front of the TV and during card games! On top of the "snacking-avoidance challenge", there is less opportunity for activity when you can't get out of your house. By day 3 of our ice-induced cocooning, I felt we needed a dessert, so I tweaked a family favorite to make it healthier. (My hope now is that nobody in "The Guys' Club" bothers to read my blog today.)

Marcia's Healthier Version of Black Forest Cake

1 Devil's Food Cake Mix, according to directions except for these substitutions:
1/2 C non-sweetened applesauce instead of the 1/2 C oil
2 eggs (Eggland's Best) instead of 3 eggs
Bake in a Bundt pan sprayed with baking spray

When the cake comes out of the oven, cool it , in the pan, for 5 minutes and then loosen edges with a butter knife. Invert cake onto cake plate to remain cooling. When it is completely cooled, use a bread knife to slice it across the middle, horizontally. Lay top of cake onto sheet of waxed paper. Mix up the filling.

1 pkg. of non-fat cream cheese
1/2 C powdered sugar
1/2 carton of Light Cool Whip

Mix together with an electric hand mixer until smooth. Spread the mixture in an even layer on the cake. Replace the cake top. Slice and place it on dessert plates. Top with a spoonful of chilled, sugar-free cherry pie filling.

I will be at these recipe swaps today:

***What I love to watch on TV tonight: "The Middle" It's a new comedy with Patricia Heaton (the mom from Everybody Loves Raymond). The casting director for this new comedy was spot-on! This is my new favorite show; I hope it survives!***

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Homemade Pizza Dough

I made homemade pizza for dinner last night. I used a recipe from a friend's mom that I got years ago (in college). Julie Jenkins and I shared an apartment during our senior year of college. We met and became friends through Economics 101 class. We are still the best of friends to this day. She and her husband, George, are coming to visit us this spring, and I can't wait! Maybe I'll make "Mom's" Pizza while they're here.

Julie's mom, Karen, is a wonderful cook and Julie shared some of the recipes that her mom had given to her, with me! This recipe for pizza dough is a keeper; so easy! I've decided that it's cheaper and better than the loaves of store-bought, frozen bread dough that I've used for pizza before.

Karen Jenkin's Pizza Dough
Long Island, N.Y.

1 pkg. dry yeast
1 C warm water
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and then add:

1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP oil (I like olive oil)
2 1/2 C flour

Add ingredients while mixing by hand. When dough is mixed, oil the outside of the dough ball, place back in bowl, cover with waxed paper or a tea towel, and set it in warm place to rise. Let dough rise for 20 min.(double in size). Stretch dough out onto well-greased cookie sheet or pizza pan. Bake for 16 min. at 400 degrees (check to see if bottom is brown). Before final baking, layer pizza sauce, cheese and toppings. Stick it bask in the oven until cheese melts and turns golden.

I'll be at these recipe swaps today:

Monday, February 1, 2010

First Week of February Menu Plan

Happy February...time to thaw out!
(This picture is from The OU Dailey)
We've got some ice here in Oklahoma from the storm that came our way last Thursday. In fact, some people are still waiting to get power back on, and the power workers are doing their best to restore heat and light to the homes of an overwhelming number of customers in the state.

We owe our thanks for the many hours that linemen, road crews, utility workers and other service folks have put in since Thursday afternoon. The workers have faced some treacherous conditions; inches of ice, downed power lines...and poles! and frigid temperatures. Additional thanks go to the many volunteers at churches and shelters who made sure people had hot meals and a safe, warm place to stay.

We're supposed to get some gradual melting this week, and that's what we need. Hopefully, we won't get flooding from thawing that occurs too quickly. As I write my blog from a warm home where the power is on, I feel very blessed today. Here's hoping that February will be storm-free!

Here's my menu for the week:

Monday, Feb. 1

Homemade Personal Pan Pizzas
Vegetable plate

Tuesday, Feb. 2

Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole
Chinese Cole Slaw

Wednesday, Feb. 3

Cinnamon French Toast
Turkey bacon

Thursday, Feb. 4

Leftover cole slaw

Friday, Feb. 5

Grilled Pork Chops
7 Layer Salad
Fresh Lemon Cake with Glaze

Saturday, Feb. 6

Cinnabon Muffins
Fruit salad

Baked fish
Hash browns w/ onions
Southern Baked Beans

Sunday, Feb. 7

BBQ Spare Ribs (crock pot)
Baked Potato Bar (crock pot for potatoes)

Mexican/party food for Super Bowl

I will be at Orgjunkie today for MPM.