Thursday, August 28, 2008

Broccoli And Cauliflower Bake

Now, I don't want to hear any protests about eating your veggies, cause now you don't have an excuse. This recipe is delicious, so you may find yourself eating veggies for a snack, instead of sweets (well....maybe not). I usually serve broccoli and cauliflower raw with ranch dip or slightly steamed with butter for dinner, but lately that has gotten a bit boring. I found this recipe in my Southern Living cookbook and thought it sounded like a nice change. It was! I altered it just a bit by adding cauliflower (it was just broccoli in the recipe), but otherwise it's the same as the cookbook. Enjoy those veggies, everyone!

Broccoli and Cauliflower Bake

2 to 2 1/2 pounds of broccoli and cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces, florets only
5 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup cottage cheese
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (I didn't add this)
1/2 cup shredded cheese, Cheddar or Colby

Place broccoli and cauliflower into a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and let steam until crisp tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Arrange broccoli and cauliflower into a lightly sprayed 11 x 7 inch baking dish. Mix eggs, cottage cheese, flour, and salt together stirring well. Pour over vegetables. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until set. Sprinkle with cheese and bake another 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

"Vegetables are the food of the earth; fruit seems more the food of the heavens."
-Sepal Felicivant

"Plant a radish, get a radish, never any doubt. That's why I love vegetables, you know what they're about!"
-Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Angel Biscuits

Who can beat a warm biscuit right out of the oven smothered in butter? I haven't met anyone who could! These biscuits came out so good I had no control and ate three even before they could cool off, some with butter and some with jam. This recipe is just one version of a very popular and common Southern biscuit recipe. I've heard them called yeast biscuits as well. The toppings for the biscuits are endless. I've tried butter, jam/preserves, honey, gravy, or even eating them with thin slices of ham and cheese. So good! And don't be scared off by the yeast, this recipe is pretty quick to throw together.

Angel Biscuits

5 cups self rising flour
1 cup shortening
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups buttermilk
2 packages dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Using a large bowl, cut shortening into the flour. Set aside. Mix sugar, soda, salt and buttermilk. Add to the flour mixture. Soften yeast in 3/4 cup warm water. Add to dough. Knead dough on a floured surface until shiny and smooth. Let rise in warm place covered with a towel for about 30 minutes. When ready, roll out dough on flour covered surface until about 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick. Use round biscuit cutter or the top of a glass dipped in flour to cut biscuits. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Serve warm.

“In the Virginia of the olden time no breakfast or tea-table was thought to be properly furnished without a plate of these indispensable biscuits."
-Virginia Cookery Book (1885)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Are You A Yankee Or Southerner?

Here's is fun quiz I saw. If you've never taken the original "yankee vs. southerner" test, you probably want to take it first. This is the advanced version. I got a 91% Dixie (Is General Lee my (great) grandfather? Well, don't I wish!)

How did you score?

Friday, August 22, 2008

A to Z Meme

I was tagged by Queen of Everything for an A to Z meme so here goes:

A. Attached or Single? Attached 24 years to the same guy- my husband

B. Best Friend? My husband and my friend Debbie

C. Cake or Pie? Cake but I wouldn't say no to pie!

D. Day of Choice? Friday of course! Even though I don't work outside the house, it's still my favorite day.

E. Essential Item? makeup

F. Flavor of Ice Cream? Chocolate Raspberry Truffle from Bruster's

G. Gummy Bears or Worms? ughhh! neither

H. Hometown? Danville, Va

I. Indulgences? dark chocolate and bookstores

J. January or July? January

K. Kids? have three, trying to adopt another

L. Last Movie I Saw In A Theater? Kung Fu Panda- it was funny as heck

M. Middle Name? don't have one

N. Number of Siblings? 2 one sister, one brother, both younger

O. Oranges or Apples? both

P. Phobia or Fear? heights

Q. Quote? Me, the quote queen? lol! One of my favorites is:
"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." Eleanor Roosevelt

R. Reason to Smile? my kids and family are healthy

S. Season? Fall- just love it!

T. Tag More? Stillwater Suite, Country Dew

U. Unknown Fact About Me? I love romance novels- sappy, I know

V. Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals? Not big on meat, but I'll eat it

W. Worst Habit? cheating on my diet

X-Rays or Ultra-Sounds? neither hurts so I'll take either one. Ultrasounds tell more though

Y. Your Favorite Food? oh gosh, where do I start? Pizza and sandwiches, mostly. And of course, chocolate.

Z. Zodiac? Huh? don't do that kind of stuff.

Ok, Kat and Dew. Your turn!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Summer's End

As summer starts to wind down, these are some of the sights we are enjoying while the weather is still warm enough. Above is our first sunflower. It just bloomed last week. It caused great excitement when it finally showed it's face!

All of the butterflies fluttering around our house are so big. This one happened to hang around our front porch for a good while. Whenever I tried to take it's picture, the butterfly would fly over the house, over to the side yard, then come back and settle again. My son was thrilled to see it. We got to see the caterpillers hatch earlier in the summer, so he has been able to see the whole cycle of the butterfly. Pretty cool!

Now this is my thing. My peach tree. I just love peaches, but getting good ones around Pittsburgh is a trial and error kind of thing. A few years ago, I decided to splurge and buy a peach tree at Home Depot. Besides having a few low producing years and a terminal case of rust, the peaches have been great! This is the first year it's produced so many peaches the tree branches are actually bending over. My hubby used some boards to prop some branches but they are too heavy. I can't wait until they ripen so I can make peach preserves. Yeah!

"In summer, the song sings itself."
-William Carlos Williams

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm Really Old.

I found this list today on MSN. Saying I'm kinda scared is putting it mildly. I feel so over the hill!

Beloit College Mindset List

A snapshot of the world view of the Class of 2012

1. Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.
2. Since they were in diapers, karaoke machines have been annoying people at parties.
3. They have always been looking for Carmen Sandiego.
4. GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
5. Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.
6. Shampoo and conditioner have always been available in the same bottle.
7. Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.
8. Their parents may have dropped them in shock when they heard George Bush announce "tax revenue increases."
9. Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.
10. Girls in head scarves have always been part of the school fashion scene.
11. All have had a relative — or known about a friend's relative - who died comfortably at home with hospice.
12. As a precursor to "whatever," they have recognized that some people "just don't get it."
13. Universal Studios has always offered an alternative to Mickey in Orlando.
14. Grandma has always had wheels on her walker.
15. Martha Stewart Living has always been setting the style.
16. Haagen-Dazs ice cream has always come in quarts.
17. Club Med resorts have always been places to take the whole family.
18. WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.
19. Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.
20. The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.
21. Students have always been "Rocking the Vote."
22. Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.
23. Schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism.
24. We have always known that "All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten."
25. There have always been gay rabbis.
26. Wayne Newton has never had a mustache.
27. College grads have always been able to Teach for America.
28. IBM has never made typewriters.
29. Roseanne Barr has never been invited to sing the National Anthem again.
30. McDonald's and Burger King have always used vegetable oil for cooking french fries.
31. They have never been able to color a tree using a raw umber Crayola.
32. There has always been Pearl Jam.
33. The Tonight Show has always been hosted by Jay Leno and started at 11:35 EST.
34. Pee-Wee has never been in his playhouse during the day.
35. They never tasted Benefit Cereal with psyllium.
36. They may have been given a Nintendo Game Boy to play with in the crib.
37. Authorities have always been building a wall across the Mexican border.
38. Lenin's name has never been on a major city in Russia.
39. Employers have always been able to do credit checks on employees.
40. Balsamic vinegar has always been available in the U.S.
41. Macaulay Culkin has always been "Home Alone."
42. Their parents may have watched "The American Gladiators" on TV the day they were born.
43. Personal privacy has always been threatened.
44. Caller ID has always been available on phones.
45. Living wills have always been asked for at hospital check-ins.
46. The Green Bay Packers (almost) always had the same starting quarterback.
47. They never heard an attendant ask "Want me to check under the hood?"
48. Iced tea has always come in cans and bottles.
49. Soft drink refills have always been free.
50. They have never known life without Seinfeld references from a show about "nothing."
51. The Windows 3.0 operating system made IBM PCs user-friendly the year they were born.
52. Moscow residents have always been able to buy Big Macs.
53. The Royal New Zealand Navy has never been permitted a daily ration of rum.
54. The Hubble Space Telescope has always been eavesdropping on the heavens.
55. 98.6 F or otherwise has always been confirmed in the ear.
56. Michael Milken has always been a philanthropist promoting prostate cancer research.
57. Offshore oil drilling in the United States has always been prohibited.
58. Radio stations have never been required to present both sides of public issues.
59. There have always been charter schools.
60. Students always had Goosebumps.

Monday, August 18, 2008

So Good Oatmeal Cookies

On Saturday, all I could think of was oatmeal. Just had to have something with oatmeal in it. A bowl of oatmeal? Naw, too healthy. So I made oatmeal cookies. Kind of surprised myself. I'm usually the chocolate chip cookie type. But these cookies are so good, I may have to make them a lot more often! The icing wasn't part of the original recipe, so I whipped up some just to ice a few cookies with. Soft and chewy, these cookies are great with or without icing.

So Good Oatmeal Cookies

4 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup raisins
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (to make healthy, you could use 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour)
2 tsps. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups uncooked regular oats
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Combine the first 3 ingredients, stirring well. Add raisins and chill 1 hour to rehydrate raisins.

Beat the butter until creamy and gradually add sugar beating until combined.

Combine flours and next 3 ingredients. Add to butter mixture and beat well. Add raisin mixture, mix well. Stir in oats and pecans.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool slightly then remove onto cookie racks to cool completely.

Icing: Starting with about 1 cup of confectioners' sugar, add a tsp. of milk and stir. Keep adding milk about a tsp. at a time until desired consistancy is reached.

"Oatmeal in the morning is my thing. I eat it each morning faithfully every single day. Since I am a diabetic, it helps stabilize my blood sugar, and it stays with me until lunch."
-Nancy Long

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Chocolate Mint Sauce

Last week, I noticed that my chocolate mint was growing like crazy. To use some of it, I wanted to make something good, more than just tea. I thought a chocolate mint sauce would go well with the mint chocolate chips in the fudge brownies my daughter was making. Yum! It turned out they complimented each other very well. And this sauce is very versatile. You can use it on the brownies, or on fruit, ice cream or even in coffee. If you don't have chocolate mint, plain mint leaves would work too.

Chocolate Mint Sauce

1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 water
3/4 cup sugar
25 to 30 chocolate mint leaves, cleaned and torn in half

In a small saucepan, combine the cocoa and water, whisking until smooth. Add the sugar and mint leaves, stirring until combined. Place saucepan on medium heat. Bring mixture to boil, stirring constantly to melt sugar. As soon as the mixture boils, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until mixture is thickened and glossy. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in refrigerator.

“Plant a little mint, Madame, then step out of the way so you don't get hurt!”

-British gardener

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ginger Glazed Carrots

Isn't that a great picture? Too bad I didn't take it! I did take some pictures of my carrots, but they didn't turn out so I had to "borrow" one from Flickr. So thanks to the photographer, I don't have to skip sharing my recipe. If you can believe this, I got this recipe from a Denise Austin diet book called Jumpstart. I am not much for diet cookbooks, but when I was trying to lose weight after the birth of my kids, I was a little desperate. Turns out, this is a great book. I didn't know eating low calorie could taste so good. My family raved about this recipe in particular. It's a handy and quick side dish to make. I usually substitute small cut carrots and add extra broth and spices to make up for it. Either way, it's really good.

Ginger Glazed Carrots

1 cup frozen carrots
1/2 cup defatted chicken broth
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
Pinch of white pepper
1/4 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. butter or margarine

Combine chicken broth with brown sugar, ginger, and a pinch of white pepper.

Boil carrots in this liquid uncovered, about 8 to 10 minutes, or until carrots are soft and liquid evaporates. Stir in lemon juice and butter/margarine.

Calories: 103
Fat: 4 grams

"I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number of carats in a diamond."
-Mae West

Monday, August 11, 2008

Yo Bro!

Happy 38th Birthday Jim! To the best brother and Navy dude there ever was. I'm proud of you. Big kisses!

My South

My friend, Debbie, who stills lives in Danville where I grew up, sent me this over the weekend. She knows how much I miss it all.

My South

My South is full of honest, hardworking people.

My South is the birthplace of blues and jazz, and rock n' roll. It has banjo pickers and fiddle players, but it also has BB King, Muddy Waters, the Allman Brothers, Emmylou Harris and Elvis.

My South is hot.

My South smells of newly mowed grass.

My South has dirt track racin', kick the can, creek swimming, cane-pole fishing and bird hunting.

In my South, football is king, the Southeastern Conference is the kingdom and NASCAR rules.

My South is home to the most beautiful women on the planet.

In my South, soul food and country cooking are the same thing.

My South is full of fig preserves, cornbread, b utter beans, fried chicken, grits and catfish.

In my South we eat foie gras, caviar and truffles.

In my South, our transistor radios introduced us to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones at the same time they were introduced to the rest of the country.

In my South, grandmothers cook a big lunch every Sunday, so big that we call it dinner (supper comes later).

In my South, family matters, deeply.

My South is boiled shrimp, blackberry cobbler, peach ice cream, banana pudding and oatmeal cream pies.

In my South people put peanuts in bottles of Coca-Cola and hot sauce on almost everything.

In my South the tea is iced and almost as sweet as the women.

My South has air-conditioning .

My South is camellias, azaleas, wisteria and hydrangeas.

In my South, the only person that has to sit on the back of the bus is the last person that got on the bus.

In my South, people still say 'Yes, ma'am,' 'No ma'am,' 'Please' and 'Thank you.'

In my South, we all wear shoes....most of the time.

My South is the best-kept secret in the country.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lemon Bundt Cake

Oh, what a week. I swear things get even more crazy the weeks before the kids go back to school. Things keep going this way, I'm gonna have to hire my own secretary just to keep my schedule straight for me :)
Even though the schedule is out of control, I still had a little time to bake this week. Our dinners suffered for it with lots of leftovers, but at least dessert was good! I got a chance to make another Chocolate Zucchini Cake along with another cake that is an all time favorite of mine, Lemon Bundt Cake. It's a recipe I got off a friend named Amy who used to watch my oldest daughter (when she was 2 year old) for me while I went to work. This cake is tart, sweet and moist and so easy Amy could make it from memory. Give it a try and see what you think!

Lemon Bundt Cake


4 eggs
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup water
1 small package Jello brand lemon pudding
1 box lemon cake mix, without pudding included

2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice

To make cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease bundt pan. Beat 4 eggs together until lemony colored. Add oil and water. Mix until blended. Add cake mix and pudding. Beat on med/high for 2 minutes. Pour into bundt pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

To make glaze: Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice together in a small saucepan. Bring to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Cool cake for 10 minutes then invert onto a wire rack. Place a large dinner plate under the rack to catch glaze drippings. Using a toothpick, poke holes into the cake randomly. Pour hot glaze over cake and let sit until cool. Garnish with lemon slices, if desired. Serve to family or send to work with the husband, as pictured below!

"When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade."
-Dale Carnegie

"Friends are God's apology for relations."
-Hugh Kingsmill

Monday, August 4, 2008

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This is one of those recipes I am psyched about. I had made zucchini bread last week with my usual recipe, so this time I wanted to make something different. I went to Southern recipes on and found this recipe. Can't resist anything chocolate, right? Even chocolate and zucchini together. Well, apparently neither can anyone else in my house. I made this cake in early afternoon and by dinner more than half was gone. I'm going to make another one this week just so I can get more than one piece for myself!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup raw zucchini, shredded
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Grease and flour a 10 inch bundt pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cocoa. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs at high speed until light in color and fluffy. Gradually add granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in oil.

With mixer at low speed, beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternating with the buttermilk. Drain shredded zucchini and fold into the mixture along with vanilla and pecans. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon into bundt pan and bake in oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes then remove from pan to cool completely. Sift confectioner's sugar over cake or drizzle chocolate syrup, if desired.

Tip: I coat the chocolate chips and the pecans with some of the flour in the recipe. I've heard this helps keeps them from sinking to the bottom while baking. It worked in this recipe.

"Chocolate: Here today .... Gone today!"

"I don't understand why so many "so called" chocolate lovers complain about the calories in chocolate, when all true chocoholics know that it is a vegetable. It comes from the cocoa bean, beans are veggies, 'nuff said."