Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sundae Jars

Lately everything at our house has tasted better (and looked so much cuter) when served from a mason jar! Last week it was sundaes…

sundaes 01

sundaes 02Even better with a cherry on top!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Coconut Streusel Banana Bread

This variation on my favorite banana bread recipe turned out really good! It is a nice summery treat and I love the slight rum flavor in the bread!

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 cup sugar

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 eggs

1 tsp rum extract

2 1/4 cups flour

1/3 cup coconut

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup well drained crushed pineapple

1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

Cream butter and slowly add sugar until light. Add bananas, eggs, rum extract and pineapple. Blend in dry ingredients. Slowly add in sour cream or yogurt.

Pour into two small greased and sugared bread pans.

Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

After putting into oven start making the streusel topping.

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons cold butter

1/4 cup coconut

Cut butter into sugars and add coconut.

Sprinkle on top of loaves after they have baked for 10-15 minutes.

Remove to cool on wire rack when done for about 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on rack.

banana bread  01

Monday, June 20, 2011

Gumdrop Cookies

This is a variation on my M & M cookie recipe made from a yellow cake mix. This time I added chopped gumdrops. Andy claimed they were the perfect compliment to the cake mix! I think they turned out pretty good, too!

gumdrop cookies 01

1 yellow cake mix

1/2 cup oil

2 eggs

Mix and stir in chopped gumdrops. I tossed the gumdrops with sugar so they wouldn’t all stick together.

Bake at 350 for about 9 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden. Let sit for 2-3 minutes and remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.

gumdrop cookies 02

Thai Tacos

These tacos are seasoned with a Thai inspired sauce and can be served on pita bread or tortillas. Easy to make and tasty to eat, they are an ideal meal for a busy summer day!

1 pound hamburger

1 or 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced

2 Tablespoons minced ginger

3 cloves chopped garlic

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

thai tacos 01

3 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter

2 Tablespoons lime juice

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

Brown hamburger in large skillet until well done. Add peppers, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until peppers are tender.

thai tacos 02

Whisk together remaining ingredients. Stir into hamburger and remove from heat.

thai tacos 03

Serve in pita bread or flour tortillas. Garnish with lettuce or shredded cabbage. Serve with wedges of fresh lime to squeeze on top of tacos.

thai tacos 04thai tacos 05

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rhubarb Chutney

I made this recipe up all by myself! I had some ginger and rhubarb left over from the last couple of recipes and I LOVE chutney, so I gave this combination a whirl… I think it turned out perfectly! It is so yummy that I find myself sneaking a spoonful almost every time I open the fridge!!! :o) But I think it would be really good on chicken or pork or over cream cheese with crackers…

3 cups chopped rhubarb

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup cider vinegar

2 small tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped

2/3 cup raisins

1-2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1-2 Tablespoons chopped candied ginger

6 peppercorns

4 whole cloves

rhubarb chutney 06rhubarb chutney 08Bring rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice and vinegar to a boil.

rhubarb chutney 07Then add remaining ingredients and simmer until rhubarb and apples are tender and the chutney is a bit thick.

rhubarb chutney 09Then spoon into jars and let cool on counter before putting in fridge.

rhubarb chutney 10rhubarb chutney 11

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chai Tea

This actually isn’t my recipe but comes from my sister’s blog. I have been craving chai tea ever since I had some for my birthday! Today’s rainy, dismal weather put me over the edge and I resolved to make myself feel better with a cup of warm chai…

I love the way it smells! It is sort of a spicy-earthy smell that just makes you feel warm and cozy! And I love the way it looks in my owl mug…

chai 04

I followed her recipe (click HERE to see it) except for a few little details:

1. I used ground nutmeg. I know she said not to but I couldn’t help it!

chai 01*side note: the best way to peel fresh ginger is with the edge of a spoon. It works so slick!!!

2. I didn’t use heavy cream or condensed milk. I bought some sweetened vanilla almond milk and I liked it! It could have been a touch sweeter but I enjoyed it the way it was. Next time, I’ll add a bit of honey to it…

chai 033. We saved some and tried it iced, but it just wasn’t as good as it was hot. :o( Good thing it was hot tea weather today! (you can’t tell but this is dripping with sarcasm)

If you like chai, you have to try this one!!! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not-So-Sweet Tea

The boys’ friend Elijah, aka Hobo, made sweet tea the other night. It sounded like a refreshing summertime beverage, so I asked him how he did it. I’m not sure I would have been able to drink the sugary concoction he made since I actually like tea without sugar, but I came up with my own not-quite-as-sweet version of Hobo’s sweet tea.

Thanks for the inspiration Hobo! Now, you’ll have to come over and sample a glass and let me know what you think of it…

First boil 5 cups of water. Stir in 1/2-1 cup of sugar until dissolved. (I thought 1 cup was WAY too sweet, but it was drinkable.)

Steep 10 bags of black tea in the hot sugar water overnight in the fridge.

sweet tea 01 It will look like a weak cup of coffee…

Put ice in your glass. Fill half-way with tea and fill remainder of glass with cold water. Stir, garnish with a sprig of mint or slice of lemon and enjoy!

sweet tea 02

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rhubarb Bread

My friend Jacquie posted this recipe a while back and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to make it! Trouble was… no rhubarb for me again this year. :o(  Thankfully, my friend Cheryl took pity on me and brought me some!

rhubarb bread 02

I diced it up and whipped out two loaves of this yummy bread! It is sweet and a bit tart, moist and not too heavy. It makes a delightful breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee!

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup oil

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb

1/2 cup chopped nuts

 rhubarb bread 01

Combine sugars and oil. Add egg and mix well. Beat in buttermilk and egg. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in rhubarb and nuts. Pour into two greased and sugared bread pans.

Place in a 350 oven. Immediately start making streusel topping.

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter

Mix until crumbly. Open oven and sprinkle on bread.

Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely on rack.

rhubarb bread 03

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fluff

Once again SweetAnna’s made a recipe that I just had to try. But this one just needed something else… Wait, I know what it is! Chocolate!!!

Here is her original, and very yummy, recipe for Peanut Butter Cheesecake Dip.

Here is the recipe I made from her’s…

8 oz softened cream cheese

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup Nutella

Mix cream cheese and peanut butter together with electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in cream, vanilla and sugar until fluffy. Mix in Nutella until well mixed.

Chill for at least one hour.

Serve as a dip with fruit, cookies, graham crackers or chunks of cake.

pb dip 01 It also makes a very nice icing! But you need to store them in the fridge.

I used the leftover fluff to make these tasty frozen treats.

Place one half of Oreo cookie (no filling) in the bottom of a muffin paper. Top with fluff and freeze. Cover with chocolate ganache and put back in freezer.

pb dip 02 Remove from freezer about 5 minutes before serving.

pb dip 03

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mexican Chocolate Torte

I love dark chocolate with chili! My friend Kate called me one afternoon to tell me about the spicy chocolate cupcakes she made with cinnamon and cayenne, and I was inspired! In my head I pictured a rich dark chocolate cake with cinnamon and chili, covered in ganache with a hint of orange.

I did a bit of research, a bit of tweaking and came up with what I think is just what I had in mind!

*We ate half of the cake the first night and it was good. We saved the other half for Will’s confirmation party 3 days later and it was AMAZING!!! Letting it sit for a few days really brought out the spice of the chili and made it extra special good!


1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon chili powder (you can use hot or mild chili powder or a combination of both)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300.

Line with parchment paper and grease an 8” round cake pan. Dust with cocoa powder.

Mix sugar and spices in a small bowl.

Mx choco torte 02

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler.

Mx choco torte 01

Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla and beaten eggs. Mix well. Mixture will become thick.

Mx choco torte 03

Spread in pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Then remove from pan and let cool completely on rack.

Mx choco torte 04


Bring 1 cup of heavy cream JUST to boiling. Pour over 1 1/2 cups of dark chocolate chips. Stir until melted and smooth. Let cool a bit before spreading over cake.

Place in fridge until ganache is set.

Just before serving warm some orange marmalade in the microwave for about 15 seconds.

Serve cake in thin wedges with marmalade spooned on top.

Mx choco torte 05

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Seaweed Snack Mix

That’s right: seaweed! I acquired a bottle of Nomi Komi Furikake rice seasoning from a dear friend just a few days before I saw this recipe come across my Google Reader. I was so excited to try it!!! Unfortunately, it took a while before I got around to doing it…

But now that I did it I’m so glad I did! It is so addictive!!! Nomi Komi Furikake is made of seaweed, sesame seeds, sugar and salt. I am a real craver for the salty/sweet thing and this just hit the spot.

I admit that it does have a very distinctive aroma (and taste), so if you aren’t wild about seaweed you might be a bit put off by it. But if you are an adventurous eater and like trying something new to munch on while watching TV, give it a try.

Click HERE for the recipe at the Food Librarian.

By the way, I made only a half batch of the coating and covered about 10 (or a bit more) cups of popcorn, Chex, Bugles and pretzels. It was plenty for just us! Especially since not all of us enjoyed it… :o)

I think it would be fun to serve in mini take-out boxes at a party!

furikake 01