Friday, December 23, 2011

Caramel Brownies

I found this yummy recipe over on We are already done with our Christmas baking for the year, but that doesn't mean we can't try these for New Years! :)

Caramel Brownies

1 German chocolate cake mix
1 bag of small wrapped caramels
2/3 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup margarine
1 cup walnuts (choppped)
6 oz. chocolate chips
Melt the caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk together in medium saucepan and set aside. Mix together the cake mix, margarine, 1/3 cup evaporated milk and walnuts. Spread one half of the cake mixture in a 9×13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips and drizzle melted caramel over partially baked mixture, drop remaining cake mixture on top. Bake 15 minutes more and cool completely.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Banana Bread

I keep finding new and better banana bread recipes. This one is especially moist and perfect. I found it in the Worldwide Ward Cookbooks...Mom's best recipes.  It is called Anna's Banana Nut Bread, but I usually leave the nuts out of bread recipes. In the recipe, it says, "My friend calls this 'gourmet' banana bread because it is so moist and flavorful."

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
3 bananas, mashed
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 1 Tbsp. warm water
2 c. flour
3/4 c. walnuts, chopped

Cream margarine or butter and sugar toether. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in mashed bananas, mixing well. Add salt. Stir in baking soda and warm water mixture, stirring well. Mix in flour and stir in nuts. Put batter into two small well-greased loaf pans. Bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes or until loaves test done with a toothpick. Cool on wire rack. When cool, wrap in aluminum foil. Makes 2 small loaves.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sheffer Green Jello

Kyle doesn't ask for a lot on holidays. I mostly get to do my holiday foods the way I like them. This is the one recipe he requests for special occasions. Green jello salad. Thanks, Beth, for the recipe. :)

1 large package of lime jello
1 package of cream cheese
pineapple if you like it!

Make the jello and let it set up. Put half the jello in the blender and add some cream cheese. I don't usually use all the cream cheese, just add as much as you want. depending on what you like. Then blend the second half. Mix the two together with a spoon. Put it back in the fridge to set up again. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mock Apple Crisp...a.k.a. Zucchini Crisp

If you have ever grown zucchini, you know that overnight your perfectly sized zucchini can morph into a monster-sized squash.  When they are that big, the seeds are huge and you can't resort to the normal methods of cooking. This recipe is a great way to use these gargantuan zucchini from your garden, and it is one of Kyle's specialities.  

Zucchini Filling
4-5 c. zucchini
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. allspice
1 1/2 t. cream of tartar
2 T. flour or cornstarch
pinch of salt

Crumb topping (I already increased the topping amounts to make it extra yummy)
3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Peel, de-seed, and slice zucchini to look like an apple. Boil 2 minutes. Drain and cool. Mix the dry ingredients for the filling and stir into the zucchini. Pour filling into the casserole dish (9x13). Combine ingredients for the crumb topping--mix until crumbly and sprinkle over the filling. Bake for 30 min. at 375 F. Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Serve warm.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Zucchini Bread

3 c. flour (sifted)
1 T. cinnamon
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. baking powder

Mix together in separate bowl.

3 eggs, beaten
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. oil
1 T. vanilla

Mix in large bowl.
Stir in sifted ingredients.

2 c. zucchini, grated
1/2 c. nuts

Blend in.  (Can mix w/electric mixer.)

Pour into 2 greased and lightly floured 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 loaf tins.

Bake at 325 60-70 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
Turn out on cooling rack.

For what it's worth, someone tried this with chocolate chips and her grandkids told her not to do it again.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ukrainian Borscht

My college roommate Jana served her mission in the Ukraine and loved to cook for us. This is one of the recipes I loved. Her hands always ended up purple from cutting the beets, but she didn't mind. I remember learning why Ukrainian food is so good...they love sour cream on everything! :D  Following is Jana's recipe as shared with my by her sister.

Most on-line recipes call for dill and some meat, but this is what she learned in Ukraine from a lady named Vera. It turned out pretty well when I made it. I didn't have quite enough beets, but other than that it was really good.

Equal amounts of carrots and potatoes. Slightly more beets and cabbage.
• 12 cups beef broth
• 2 med onions, peeled, quartered 
• 6 large beets, peeled, chopped 
• 6 carrots, peeled, chopped 
• 4 large russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 
• 3 cups thinly sliced cabbage 
• 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar 
• 1 cup sour cream 
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Garlic 
• Bay leaf
• Dill opt

Big pot of water
Can sauté veggies first. It gets the process done faster. (Gets a bit of oil in it too-which is traditional). You can also brown and boil a hunk of meat for it like you would for beef vegetable soup (which also adds fat). 
Start heating your water. 
To save your cutting board from staining cut beets, first and set aside. Then do carrots, onion and end with potatoes to soak up color and onion flavor. Put carrots and onions into water. Once it’s hot add potatoes bay leaf, bouillon and garlic. Then add beets. After they’ve cooked a while if you’ve cut them similarly you should not be able to tell carrots from potatoes etc. Add cabbage toward end otherwise it will disintegrate, but make sure it is soft before serving. Add Tomato sauce. Salt and Pepper. White Vinegar. ½ --1 tbs—(will get stronger when leftover so err on the side of less)

I'd use a little 8 oz can of plain sauce (be careful they've starting adding all sorts of stuff to those little cans of tomato sauce and I always accidentally get one with basil or something). If you taste it and it seems to be lacking tomato then add some more. (I bet that's helpful--sorry I can't be more precise)
I's say 12 cups of liquid either water and beef boulioun or beef broth.

Consider this a rough draft of a recipe. I meant to update it after I made it but I didn't. Soup is forgiving though.

And of course the sour cream is put in each bowl when it's served not mixed into the pot. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

(From Betty Crocker Kids Cook!)

1 egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (softened)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (only use a pinch when using salted butter)
1 cup chocolate chips (or add toffee bits or white chips and cranberries, or...)


Heat oven to 375.  Mix egg, sugars, and butter.  Add the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Will be a very thick dough/batter. Mush into balls and put on cookies sheet (UNgreased).

Bake 10 - 12 minutes until starting to get very light brown in spots.  Makes 24 cookies.

Can pre scoop and freeze. Just bake an extra minute or so.

Kyle has eaten these cookies a few times and raves about how good they are each time.  Most recently, Eva made these for the ward party and Kyle said they tasted like "heaven in my mouth."  Same recipe, but with white chips.  Super easy and super yummy ;)  ENJOY!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Our Favorite Cookies

When we got married, we received quite a few cookbooks. Of all of those recipes in all of those books, this is by far the recipe that we use the most. It is Nestle Good for you Choc Oat Chip Cookies. We have made a few slight variations to make them even healthier...and yummier.

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour (or substitute whole wheat flour--half white/half wheat seems perfect and not whole wheat tasting)
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 c. packed dark brown sugar (light works just fine)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) margarine or butter
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce (try 3/4 c. applesauce and 1/4 c. won't notice the difference)
2 egg whites
1 T. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. quick or old-fashioned oats
2 c. chocolate chips (or butterscotch chips...those are our new favorite for these cookies)
1/2 c. nuts, optional (we never do this)

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. Beat together brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter and applesauce in large mixer bowl. Beat in egg whites and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats, morsels and nuts.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto greased baking sheets.

Bake in preheated 375 F oven for 9 to 10 minutes for a chewy cookie or 12 to 13 minutes for a crispy cookie. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen cookies. About 120 calories and 5 grams of fat per cookie.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Onionless Santa Fe Salsa

You see, I have this friend who kinds spends a lot of time at my house. In fact, we eat together quite a bit. Problem is, she can't eat onions. So I have been on a quest for finding yummy ways to make foods without onions.  I made salsa yesterday that actually tasted an awful lot like it had onions in it, but it didn't. And I have to say it was about the tastiest salsa I have had in a long time. If I do say so myself.  I happened to use kumatoes, but I don't feel like that is integral to the flavor of the salsa. I didn't measure amounts, I made the salsa to our liking and tasted it a lot along the way.

Tomatoes, diced (I always keep all the seeds and juice, personal preference for ease and we don't mind the liquid)
Canned corn, drained
Black beans, drained
Green chile (medium or hot)
Fresh cilantro
Lime juice, quite a bit to give it that tang
Cilantro cubes (remember there is salt in these, so be generous but don't ruin it with salt)
Garlic (cubes, salt, powder, fresh, whatever floats your boat)

Mix. Let it chill. And enjoy immensly.

Side note:

I don't think we can ever move away from New Mexico, where we regularly go through a 28 oz. container of green chile.  Those little 4 oz. containers of canned green chile just would never cut it. We have occasionally gone for the bags of roasted green chiles (what are they...12 lbs., 20 lbs?) found in parking lots all over the state in the fall, but the frozen tubs are much more user friendly.

Side note #2:

If you have never tried this, you are missing out. It looks like a bouillon cube, but you use it like salt and just crumble it over your food. An amazing little seasoning we are never without.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Best 100% Whole Wheat Bread

That is what the recipe is called, and I believe it. This recipe has given me my best results yet for whole wheat breat. It isn't heavy and it rose amazingly well. And it is easy, so it's a win win! I got the recipe from my Worldwide Ward Cookbook: Mom's Best Recipes (pg. 38-9).

4 1/2 tsp. yeast (2 packets)
3/4 c. warm water
7-9 c. whole wheat flour from hard white wheat, divided
2 1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. wheat gluten
1/3 c. honey
1 1/2 Tbsp. salt
2 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Combine yeast with 3/4 c. warm water; add 1 C. flour. Mix vigorously. Let sit for 45 minutes or until it starts to settle back down. Add 2 1/2  C. warm water  and 2 C. flour. Stir very well. Add wheat gluten, honey, salt, and oil. Mix well. Slowly add 4-6 C. flour until good bread consistency (dough pulls away from walls well). Knead 10-15 minutes (by hand or in Bosch on level 1).  Cut in half and form in two loaves (see note below). Place in greased pans, cover with a towel and let rise 45 minutes to 1 hour. Bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes. It should be very light brown and super yummy!

Note: I added 1/4 c. ground flaxseed and an extra bit of water. Just for an extra healthy kick. Sometime I'll have to try following the instructions on the ground flaxseed for using it to replace oil.

High Altitude note:
I don't know if this is from high altitude or not, but I'm pretending it is. I make 3 full size loafs out of this. The recipe says two, but when I do two the loaves are super duper tall. 3 loaves is just right for what you see here.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Veggie Pizza

This is one of those foods I love so much I hardly ever make it. When I do make it, I don't want to share. :) Here's my recipe:

2 pkgs. crescent rolls
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese (lite is fine)
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (or dill, or taco seasoning, or nothing, or...)
3/4 c. mayonaise or sour cream (just to make the cream cheese easier to spread; I don't always add this)
assorted fresh veggies, chopped

Press out rolls onto cookie sheet or pizza pan for crust, smooshing together the seams. Prick crust so it doesn't bubble up. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.  You don't want to make it crispy, so watch it.  Let the crust cool. Mix cream cheese and some of the ranch powder to taste. (I think a whole packet is too much.) Spread over crust. Generously sprinkle on the veggies: broccoli, carrots, celery, green or red or yellow peppers, cauliflower, green onions, tomatoes... whatever you have that looks good! You can also sprinkle on some shredded cheese.

Oh, and you might want to double the recipe: one for you and one to share. :D

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

S'mores Brownies

I actually got the idea for these from my niece Angie. I put my own spin on them using the ingredients I had at home. Took them to a scout activity and they were a hit. So, for those who need a good sugar rush, here is my recipe.

S'mores Brownies

1 pkg. fudge brownie mix
approx. 2 sleeves graham crackers (I used cinnamon and it was great)
a couple handfuls of mini marshmallows (you could cut up the big ones but that is really messy)
a couple handfuls of semi-sweet chocolate chips

 Preheat oven according to the brownie package directions. Line a baking pan with foil and spray with Pam. (Or do what I did and use nonstick foil.)  Break up graham crackers as desired and fill up baking sheet, leaving a little space between the cracker pieces so the brownie can get through. I broke them along both dotted lines and then broke each small rectangle into 2 squares. You could leave the crackers whole, but I think letting some batter through helps. Distribute the marshmallows and chocolate chips over the crackers. It isn't easy to get them even, so don't try too hard.  Mix up the brownies according to package directions for fudgy brownies. Spoon the brownie mix into the pan.  I poured it instead and missed getting some on most of the edges. When you bake it, the batter will spread a bit, but not completely. I used a large cookie sheet. You could avoid the problem by using a 13x9 pan instead, but I need to feed a room full of scouts. Bake until the brownies are done to your liking. Cut when warm.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Crock pot? Who needs a crock pot?

Not when I have a Le Creuset enameled cast iron dutch oven, and it makes meat come out looking like this:

DSC_0006 by Krunberry

The flavor difference between this and what comes out of a crock pot is amazing. I used my crock pot recipe for Cafe Rio Pork and didn't change a thing. Wow, now you can really taste the flavor. It came out tasting like it was prepared in a smoker. I am so excited to try more recipes in my new pot!

I found conversion charts online that state how to convert crock pot recipes to dutch oven. Cook at 325 for 1/4 the time for low setting recipes and 1/2 the time for high setting recipes. These are just general guidelines.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pioneer Woman's Dr. Pepper pork

We don't drink cola in our house, but it looks like I've found another reason to buy some. First it was Cafe Rio pork with coke, and now it's Pioneer Woman's:

Spicy Dr. Pepper shredded pork

Recipe: Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork

  |    |    |  


  • 1 whole Large Onion

  • 1 whole Pork Shoulder ("pork Butt") - 5 To 7 Pounds
  • Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 can (11 Ounce) Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce
  • 2 cans Dr. Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Lay them in the bottom of a large dutch oven.
Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan.
Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (include the sauce.) Pour in both cans of Dr Pepper. Add brown sugar to the juice and stir in.
Place lid tightly on pot, then set pot in the oven. Cook for at least six hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after six hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it’s not falling apart, return to the oven for another hour.
Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve. (You can also refrigerate the meat and liquid separately, then remove hardened fat once it’s cold. Then heat up the liquid on the stovetop and return the meat to the liquid to warm up.
Serve on warm flour tortillas. Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, avocado slices, salsa, and whatever else you’d like.

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

Yesterday I was looking for a way to use up an almost full can of evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk, silly Kyle), mushrooms, some leftover spaghetti and an almost full jar of spaghetti sauce.  I found this recipe and it was a definite winner! Ben gave it 4.2 stars...out of 4 stars. :) I found the recipe here: allrecipes but added my own touches, like the mushrooms, onions and tomatoes.


  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 package chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 cup half-and-half (I used evaporated milk)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 chopped tomato 
  • 1 (8 ounce) package pasta (angel hair, spaghetti, whatever you want)
  • 1/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for topping


  1. In a large saucepan heat oil then add mushrooms and onions and saute until soft and slightly browned. Add pasta sauce, half and half, garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg and basil. Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. Halfway through, add fresh tomato.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  3. Serve sauce over pasta, and top with parmesan cheese.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Magic Bars

Kyle grew up calling these cookies Hello Dollys.  I called them Magic Bars. On the back of my Sam's Club size bag of chocolate chips and they call them Outrageous Cookie Bars.  Whatever you call them, they are just plain good!

1 stick butter or margarine
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. flaked coconut
1 c. chopped walnuts (I use pecans because that is what I like)

Preheat oven to 350.  Melt butter in 13x9 baking pan in oven; remove from oven. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over butter. Stir well; press onto bottom of pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumbs. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts; press down firmly. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 2-3 dozen bars.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad

At Bunco about a year ago, Erica made us this salad.  I have since had it at the restaurant in Utah a few times and this recipe is just as good.  I'd say I like it better because I can choose the proportions of the ingredients on my salad.  At Bunco this year, Erica made the same recipe for us but with chicken instead.  Just as tasty! Just substitute chicken breast for the pork roast.  There are a lot of recipes that go into making this salad, so I will just post the link to the recipe Erica shared with us.  (By the way, the blogger Erica is not the same as the bunco Erica :) Thanks for opening my eyes to this wonderful meal, Erica!

And here it is, the beloved recipe:
Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad

Banana Bread

I love this recipe because it is super moist. I don't like dry banana bread, so I was glad when I tried this recipe. It is indeed easy and yummy!  I found it on Allrecipes here.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Sprinkle brown sugar on top just before baking.  Gives the bread a nice sweet crunch on top.
Substitute applesauce for half of the butter.
Add some vanilla and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
Use applesauce to compensate for not enough bananas. Doesn't hurt the flavor at all!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chocolate lava cake

This is the perfect date night at home treat.  It makes two individual servings of chocolate lava cake...and it uses basic ingredients.  These recipes often call for coffee, and since we don't drink coffee, I haven't been able to make them.  This recipe (which I found on foodgawker) looks yummo and I can't wait to try it!

Molten Chocolate Cakes for Two
from America's Test Kitchen

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
cocoa powder (for the ramekins)
confectioners' sugar (for dusting, optional)

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Generously butter two 6-oz ramekins and dust them with cocoa powder. 

Place the butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted and smooth.  I like to do 30-second bursts at 50% power and stir in between each.  In total, it'll probably take about 1 1/2 - 3 minutes, depending on your microwave.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg with a hand mixer on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute.  Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the egg forms soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minute.  Still beating, gradually add the sugar and salt.  Once incorporated, beat for another 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is very thick and pale yellow in color.

Use a rubber spatula to transfer the egg mixture to the bowl containing the melted butter and chocolate.  Sift the flour over the top, then use a rubber spatula to gently fold everything together, just until incorporated. 

Divide the batter between the prepared ramekins, smoothing the tops with your spatula.  Put the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes, or until the cakes have puffed slighty and jiggle just a bit in the center when gently shaken.  Immediately upon removing the cakes from the oven, run a knife around the edges of the ramekins.  Invert the ramekins onto serving plates and let them sit for about 1 minute or so, until the cakes release from the ramekins.  Remove the ramekins and, if using, dust the cakes with confectioners' sugar then serve immediately.