Sunday, January 31, 2010

Banana Macadamia Nut Muffins

OK, so this recipe did not come from my Grandma's Recipe boxes, but I have a feeling that if I were to have made these and taken them over to her house, she would have asked for the recipe and it would have become a recipe in her box.  I am thinking it would have been in the "bread" section, or maybe the "dessert" section, can't say I have completely figured out her thought process filing everything in her boxes.  She would have liked these muffins because of the tropical flair, attributed to the macadamia nuts.  I have posted in my blog before about how she loved Hawaii, even though she never physically made it there.  I can imagine the conversation as we munched on these, about how the Macadamia nuts came from Hawaii, about how Bubba's family sent them to us for Christmas, along with a whole bunch of other "local" treats. She would have thoroughly enjoyed the conversation (and the muffins).  I adapted this from a June 1991 Bon Appetit recipe, incorporating my own tastes and the ingredients I had on hand.

Banana Macadamia Nut Muffins
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp  ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp  ground cinnamon
3 large mashed ripe bananas
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup of canola oil
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 cup sea salt roasted macadamia nuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease twelve muffin cups or line with muffin papers.  Sift flour and soda into large bowl. Add nutmeg and cinnamon.  Combine bananas, both sugars, oil, milk and egg in a medium bowl.  Mix into dry ingredients.  Fold in half of the nuts.  Divide batter among prepared muffin cups.  Sprinkle tops of muffins with remaining macadamia nuts.  Bake until muffins are golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Transfer muffins to rack and cool.
Bubba tasted these when he came home from baseball practice today and gave them a "thumbs up".  That's a new rating scale but I will convert it to a "passing" grade, or in the even older scale, it would have probably rated a "7".  He said he was looking for more macadamia flavor.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies

Ok, I have to admit it, I was back in the cookie section again.  There are just so many recipes in that particular box and the reality is, I can figure out what to do with the list of ingredients, usually.  I guess that is what keeps me coming back to cookies.  Add to that, I've rarely met a cookie I didn't like.  This weekend, I was looking for something I could give away as we were anticipating some players stopping by and I wanted to be able to give them something to take back to school with them. Oh my Grandma would love this...her Peanut Butter Cookies (well, I consider them hers) made it all the way to college!!

Peanut Butter Cookies
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. shortening (I used butter)
1/2 c. B. sugar
1/2 c. W. sugar
1 egg beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 c. cake flour
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp soda
1/8 tsp salt

That's it, as it's written.  I did not use cake flour and I did not use 2 1/4 c. flour.  I probably used about 2 cups.  I baked these for about 7 minutes at 350 degrees.  We bagged them up and sent them home with the boys.  I am sure they'll pass the test with a passing grade, even at the college level.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I don't think I am going to find a recipe for "fried chicken" in my Grandma's recipe boxes.  I am sure that in her time, you just "knew" how to make fried chicken. I did, however, find this easy Chicken recipe.  I see it as a twist on fried and baked chicken, using potato buds.  Now, if she is using potato buds, I don't think this recipe is that old, but as I researched instant potatoes or potato buds, I did find that they have been around for a long time, some versions go as far back as the early 1800's.  I have always used Betty Crocker potato buds, so I decided to see what I could find out about those potato buds, which wasn't much, but I did learn a lot about Betty.   Betty Crocker was "invented" in 1921 to respond to questions about baking that were received by a milling company, by the name of Washburn Crosby Company. The managers of this company felt that it was more intimate to have their responses answered personally. The name Betty was thought to be a "warm and friendly" name and Crocker was the last name of an executive of the company.  They held a contest in their office to see which female employee would "sign" the various responses.  In 1924, Betty acquired a voice and then a "face" in 1936.  It's not clear to me when Potato Buds became a household product, but they sure do work good with this recipe. Once again, this is a recipe of few words.  In fact the name of the recipe is  "Chicken".  That's right,  just "Chicken".  And with the addition of a few more words, you end up with this flavorful baked chicken.  Now, I will admit, I might have  spiced this up just a little bit with some seasoning salt (as if using seasoning salt is considered "spicing it up".)  I served this chicken with the scalloped corn and a salad.  Bubba loved the chicken, as did I (he gave it a "passing" grade").  This is one I will make again.

Beat 1 egg - 1 c milk.
Melt 1 cube butter or oleo margarine - put in bottom of the pan.
Dip chicken in egg mixture - then in potato buds, salt & pepper.  Bake at medium heat about 1 1/2 hours.  Turn once.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Scalloped Corn

As we try to break away from all the sweets (even if it is for just awhile) I found a couple of recipes that we could whip up this weekend.  One of those was Scalloped Corn.  Steamed corn makes a routine appearance at our house, so I figured that this would be a nice "upgrade".  The ingredients in this recipe are simple, and once again, there are no instructions.  I am sure for many of you who cook often or have been trained, knowing what to do with a recipe absent instructions comes natural.  Not for me.  And it is times like these I really wish I could walk in to my Grandma's kitchen and sit down and talk to her about this recipe.  When I close my eyes, I can see her and can imagine what she might say.  Honestly, on this one, I think she might laugh (she had a way of doing that) and tell me she had no idea OR she would have some story for me about who served it, when, with what and what they were doing...she loved to talk.  It's one of the things I loved about her.

Scalloped Corn
1 Tbsp Chopped onion
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
3/4 C. milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp mustard
2 Tbsp pimento
1 1/2 C. corn
2 egg yolks
1 C soft bread crumbs

I must have turned this recipe card over 20 times looking for some instructions or note on the back side...nothing.  It should be noted...Bubba doesn't want me to make this one again!  :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

14 Carat Cake

I have to admit, it is a little difficult balancing a New Year commitment to eating healthier and having a food blog.  Add to it that my food blog isn't about gluten free, sugar free, fat free, meat free, cheese free, carb free, need I go on.  It's about my Grandma's Recipe Box(es) and her recipe's are loaded with all the stuff we probably shouldn't eat...but did I mention that my Grandma lived well in to her 90's?  So maybe the secret to a long life isn't about a diet "free" of all the good stuff...maybe the secret to long life IS about eating all the good stuff.  At least it's something to think about..specially after I think about how I just made this really great Carrot Cake that uses, oil and sugar galore...topped off with that ever loving Cream Cheese mouth waters just thinking about it...and I know today, that the smell of that cake baking in my kitchen surely found it's way to my Grandma's kitchen in heaven.  This recipe was found neatly folded and tucked in the "cake" tab.  Due to the way it is folded, it didn't stick out and I have missed it several times as I looked for something sweet to make.  This one is a typed recipe...with "red" know, the kind a teacher makes when a word is mis-spelled.  Yep, it looks like my Grandma (the first grade teacher) used her red pencil to make corrections.  It starts with the title where  "Carrot" is spelled wrong (if you are referring to the vegetable vs a "gem"...although the title would reflect the gem...she was sure to point out this cake was about the vegetable), corrected in red, and it's noted that "nut"s are missing as an ingredient (in red)... and the oil needed a correction (in red) as well.  In my mind, I imagine that my Grandma was sitting at her kitchen table, multi-tasking.  Making a cake to take somewhere and correcting papers...and while she was using this recipe, she just couldn't help herself.
14 Carat Cake
2 cups flour                                        2 cups sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder                          1 1/2 cups oil
1 1/2 tsp soda                                    4 eggs
1 tsp salt                                            2 cups grated raw carrots
2 tsp cinnamon                                  1  8 1/2 oz pineapple, drained
chopped nuts (I used walnuts)          Cream Cheese Frosting

Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon.  Add sugar, oil and eggs and mix well.  Stir in carrots, drained pineapple and nuts.  Turn into 13 x 9 inch greased and floured pan and bake 350 degrees for 35 to 40 min., until the top springs back when touched lightly with a finger.    Cool a few minutes or until cool enough to frost.
                        Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter 
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb. powdered sugar, sifted
Combine butter, cream cheese and vanilla and beat until well blended.  Add sugar gradually, beating vigorously.  If too thick add a small amount of milk to thin to spreading consistency.

Bubba has declared that he is going to eat ALL this cake and as he enjoyed this as dessert last night, I heard him thank Fyrne for this one.  I guess that means this one scored high.  He has asked me to make sure I keep this recipe out and make it again.  Good thing it's baseball season because I truly believe Bubba will eat as much of the cake as he can!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ice Box Rolls (Potato)

Long before I started cooking my way through my Grandma's recipe boxes, I was routinely looking through her recipe boxes for very specific recipes.  One of the first recipes that caught my eye was the one I attempted this weekend.  I had been traveling for work and while on the road we were served lunch at one of the sites.  Now I don't remember everything that was on the menu that day, but I still vividly remember the potato rolls the caterer served.  They were heavenly, and I quickly decided that the only thing I would eat for lunch that day was the rolls.  They had this wonderful light texture that melted in your mouth as it was filled with that subtle yeast flavor.  I came home and immediately said "I have to make those rolls".  So I thought maybe I could find a recipe in my Grandma's recipe box that might replicate those wonderful potato rolls.  As I thumbed my way through the "bread" section, I found a recipe all right, but I couldn't make anything of it.  I even mailed it to my mom to see if she could make sense of it.  She mailed it back.  I sent it to a fellow "foodie" who does lots of baking to see if he could make anything of it, his words were "Good Luck with that."  If you look at this recipe closely, you will understand...

 So nearly a year later and after reading it about 50 times, hoping I might make sense of it, I decided to dig in and try today...what the's only potatoes, flour, a little sugar, a couple of eggs, some yeast and my time... I'm happy to say, I made rolls.  They don't taste like those roles I can still remember, but I did make a potato roll.  So here they are:

Bubba likes these, he gave them a passing grade (he is still having trouble with the rating scale, but what the heck...I'll take a "P").  Below is the list of ingredients that are on the recipe card, as for directions...Good Luck!

Ice Box Rolls (Potato)
1 C. mashed potatoes                        2 eggs beaten
1/2 c. sugar                                       1 cake yeast - 1 1/2 pkgs
1 t. salt                                              Soak 10 min in luke warm 1/2 c water (potato)
1 C. flour
(3/4) 1/2 C. Crisco
1 C. scalded milk
Mix all together with spoon.   Mix with beater, a bit
Let rise twice in size
Add 4 cups or more (sifted)
Knead down on floured board.  Let rise twice in size roll out and 1/4 inch cut with butter and pinch.
I have no idea if my Grandma ever made these rolls, but by the look of the recipe card I would guess she had.  I also would guess that hers came out better than mine!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chocolate Pie

Today I went head first back into my Grandma's recipe boxes, looking for something to bake.  It is a beautiful day outside and I should be out doors, but if I am going to make any progress in getting through these recipes boxes before the turn of the next decade, I better get going.  In my post Christmas post, I mentioned all the pies that  were baked and consumed, none of which, were a part of my doings, so I decided maybe I should bake a pie...thus, today's recipe.  There are plenty of pie recipes to chose from, none of which start with making a pie crust, so I leveraged that opportunity to forego making a crust from scratch today.  I had a pre-made crust in my freezer, so I decided to put it to good use. Now, if I am brutally honest, I doubt my Grandma had the convenience of going to the freezer and pulling out a pre-made crust and I believe that if she did, she would have done just what I did today.  I think she might have been the original "semi-home made" cook on this earth, before it was TV worthy and would have told me to do exactly what I did.  As I thumbed through the pie section, I came across this Chocolate Pie recipe, it sounded easy enough and just about matched my motivation level.  What I did notice as I read the instructions was the last step which said  "Cover with meringue and bake until slightly browned."  OK, now I need to find a meringue recipe, so I flipped on through the pie section and found a Meringue recipe that looked like it just might belong with this pie.  The hand writing was the same and the "faded" shade of the recipe card was almost exactly the I combined these two recipes together to make my pie.  Once again, there are limited instructions with both the pie filling and with the meringue, so I had to use some of my basic cooking skills and the internet to fill in the pieces I thought were missing.  For example, I have never made a pie with a meringue before so I needed some help in determining the temperature to cook the pie and meringue (400 degrees for 5-6 minutes if your interested) and I think had I followed the directions "exactly" I could have ended up with scrambled eggs in a chocolate sauce. Instead, I folded some of the pie filling in with the beaten eggs and then added the eggs to the hot filling.

Chocolate Pie
2 tbsp cocoa or 1 sq chocolate ( I used cocoa)
3/4 c. sugar
3 tbsp corn starch or 4tbsp flour ( I used corn starch)
2 C. milk
2 yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla (just realized I forgot this)
speck of salt (didn't use any salt either)
Put milk in double boiler, saving some to mix with corn starch.  When milk is scalded add dry ingredients mixed together.  Add corn starch mixed to thin paste.  Stir until thickened and allow to cook 10 min.  Add beaten yolks.  Cook about 2 min. more.  Remove from fire and pour into baked crust.  Cover with meringue and bake until slightly browned.

2 egg whites stiffly beaten
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tbsp lemon juice or 1/2 tsp vanilla (I remembered the vanilla for this part)

For what it's worth, I got Bubba to give this pie a rating and he gave it a "7", then I reminded him of the "S" and "U" scale and he gave it an "S".  The pie is good, meringue isn't my "thing" really, so if I made this again, I would just make the pie and put some whip cream on top!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Macadamia Butter Cookies

It's time to get back to my Grandma's recipe boxes and start cooking again, and as I was looking through it for something to take to a New Year's Eve Birthday party, I have to be honest, I just wasn't feeling it.  There are so many recipes for Jell-O salad, cakes, cookies, breads, rolls, pies and desserts it's almost overwhelming. Add to that, I just couldn't find anything that was appealing to make or bake.  First thing I did was call the party hostess and ask her if there was something she "needed" made for the party, hoping I would get an assignment (my Grandma would be proud of that approach).  We talked about what she knew people were bringing, what she had planned for the main dish(es) and whether she needed any help with preparation or to borrow any of my chaffing dishes, but I didn't get any help on deciding what to make.  Ugh! So, this time, I went to my cookbook and magazine cupboard to see what I could find.  Sometimes when I take this approach, I start looking for recipes that fit the ingredients I have on hand and today, I had some "special" macadamia nuts fresh from Hawaii so I had my mission.  And here is what I ended up with, a Macadamia Butter Cookie from the December 2009 issue of Cooking Light.  I will admit, I had to read this recipe a few times because I was looking for "butter" in the recipe..there isn't process the macadamia nuts in a food processor to make a macadamia's great!  The nutmeg in these provides an interesting time I make these, I might leave the nutmeg out and see what the cookie tastes like that way.

Macadamia Butter Cookies
2/3 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
5.6 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (I didn't use this because my macadamia nuts included sea salt)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1.  Preheat ove to 375 degrees.
2.  Place nuts in a food processor; process until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping sides of bowl once.  Combine macadamia butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed.  Add vanilla and egg; beat well.
3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife  Combine flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg, stirring with a whisk.  Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until combined (mixture will be very thick).  Stir in cranberries.  Chill 10 minutes.
4.  Divide chilled dough into 30 equal portions; roll each portion into a ball. Place 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a bowl.  Lightly press each ball into sugar; place each ball, sugar side up, on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Gently press the top of each cookie with a fork.  Dip fork in water, gently press top of each cookie again to make a criss-cross patter.  Place 15 cookies on each of 2 baking sheets.
5.  Bake cookies, 1 baking sheet at a time at 375 degrees for 9 minutes or until golden (my oven is hot so only cooked these for about 7 minutes).  Remove cookies from pan;  cool on a wire rack.  Repeat procedure with remaining cookies.  Yield: 30 servings (serving size: 1 cookies).
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