Tag Archives: butter

I’m a TV Star!

I’m a TV Star!
two women cooking

Bridgett (left) and me (right) just cooking on TV, like we do…

Ok – maybe not a star, but I was asked to demonstrate my Mac & Cheese with Pears recipe on our local PBS station as a part of their KCTSCooks program. Twice a year our station asks for recipe submissions for a category of recipe – this show was about Pasta, Rice & Grains. They generally get 300+ submissions from all over and ask a small portion of folks to share their recipe on the air – I was one of 12. I had practiced at home a few weeks prior, showing my pal Jacquie how I prepared the dish and having her help me. I had to bring a finished dish, my demo pasta precooked, the rest of the ingredients,and a pre-made pot of the cheese sauce so it would all fit into the 10 minute segment. The day before heading to Seattle, I did all my prep and practiced in my head as I made two full recipes of the pasta and cheese sauce, packaged up my other ingredients and finished the full recipe so that, by the magic of television, a finished casserole could be removed from the oven for the unveiling. (Please note that the measurements aren’t exact on the video and that you are welcome to purchase the book from KCTS to get all the other recipes.) As I was preparing to go on – and it was shown LIVE, people! – I decided to pre-chop my onions to avoid crying and getting snotty on camera. (it was a good call). I was scheduled about halfway through, so I had plenty of time to be nervous and watch some of the people ahead of me. I was right after a low-fat, Vegan, gluten-free recipe – pretty much the opposite of my recipe which was fatty, gluten-filled and had meat, milk and cheese!Variety is the spice of life -am I right, people?

I’ve posted my Mac & Cheese recipe before, but I’ve jazzed it up some since – a recipe isn’t any good unless you can deviate from the printed text to make it your own! This version uses extra sharp cheddar (white) cheese as well as bleu cheese for the sauce.

It was a very fun day of being nervous, cooking, and eating! Recipe HERE. Watch video of segment HERE.

macaroni, cheese, sausage, pears

“Beauty shot” of my prepared dish.

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Posted by on November 14, 2014 in Entertaining, Information, Recipe


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Cutest Cookies Ever!

I made these cookies for Halloween last year and thought they were super-adorable! I found the idea on the PBS “Fresh Tastes” webpage, but used my own tried-and-true recipe for sugar cookie dough. I use this recipe annually for my “Christmas Cookie Sweatshop” party (to be blogged later….) and it has never failed me! I think this recipe will work with whatever sugar cookie recipe you prefer as long as it is refrigerated before slicing and you use real butter. Seriously. There is no worthy substitute for real butter in a sugar cookie.

My recipe: Cream 1 c. (two sticks) room temperature butter with 2 c. sugar. Add 4 eggs and continue mixing until well blended. In a smaller bowl, stir together 5 c. flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. nutmeg (optional). Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed ingredients, mixing well after each addition until you have a smooth dough.

For Candy Corn Cookies:

Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Line a regular-sized loaf pan (or two small ones if you like tiny cookies…which I do…) with plastic wrap. Press one portion of the dough into the loaf pan(s) so that it is an even, flat layer (harder than you think!). Transfer another portion of the dough onto a lightly floured roul-pat mat (if you don’t have one, you should.) Add several drops of orange food coloring and mix in by hand – wear plastic or latex gloves unless you want to look jaundiced! – until the color is uniform. I use gel food dye for a more intense color. Press into pan(s) as before. (using glass pans helps a lot!). Transfer the last portion onto your floured surface and add yellow food coloring and mix/press as before. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

After dough is properly chilled, remove the block to a floured surface and slice in 1/4″ slices. Cut each slice diagonally as shown to create three triangle shapes. Bake on lined cookie sheets (silicone baking mats or parchment) at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes (watch carefully!) until lightly browned on the bottom and the top is puffy. Try not to eat them all at once…I dare you!

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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Recipe, Uncategorized


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I Love Beta-Carotene Season: Stuffed Delicata Squash

Delicata Squash - the skin is edible, believe it or not!

While shopping at a farmers’ market in my daughter’s new hometown, we came across a couple of bushels of some beautiful, striped squashes and were about 6-8 inches long. I’d never seen this type before -or at least hadn’t really noticed them – so we asked about them and decided to get a few to try. (in retrospect, I wish I had bought a lot more!) Their size just screamed “stuffing!” so that is the way I decided to go.

[ In a bizarre coincidence, a local food blogger was on our NPR station talking about Delicata squash the other morning and she said that the skin is edible and the flesh is very sweet. She cuts them into rings and roasts them, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt & pepper on baking sheet. Simple! ]

Cooked pork sausage, sourdough bread, herbs & spices

This recipe used two Delicata Squash, making 4 servings. First I made the stuffing – about 4 c. cubed sourdough bread, 6-8 oz. ground pork sausage (cooked & crumbled), 1 tsp sage, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 c vegetable broth, 1-2 tbl dried onion flakes. I cooked the sausage and threw everything else into the pot without draining – I had used a low fat version of Jimmy Dean sausage and it had surprisingly little fat. You could use Stove-Top stuffing, but this really did not take all that much time and definitely had less sodium!

I washed the squash and cut it in half length-wise and then scooped out the seeds and goop. There wasn’t a lot and it wasn’t really goopy like some squashes. In order for a couple of them to lie on the baking sheet without rolling, I shaved a few slices off the back to

Ready to pop in the oven!

give it a flatter surface. I didn’t oil my baking sheet because I use the silicone baking mats – I’ve mentioned these before! Have you bought some yet? What are you waiting for?!?! Go on – I’ll wait…

I brushed oil on the edges of the squash and divided my prepared stuffing between the 4 halves. After grinding some sea salt, fresh pepper and a little cinnamon over them, I dotted the stuffing with butter (about 2 tbl between the 4) and baked them for 45-50 minutes at 375 degrees. At about the halfway mark, I covered them with foil to keep the stuffing from getting too crunchy. Poke them with a fork to make sure they have the right amount of tenderness – your fork should slide easily into the flesh.

[ Another bizarre coincidence: my daughter cooked her squashes the same night with a similar stuffing, only she added dried cranberries and goat cheese – yum! ]

Delicata? Delicious!

The squash was sweet, but not overly so and the sausage in the stuffing gave the whole dish a nice kick. We both ate the skin – which had no discernible taste and did not detract from the dish in any way – although I skipped eating the very end bits (blossom & stem). Both my husband and I found that one half squash was plenty to fill us up so now we have some “delicata” leftovers! I’ll definitely make this again and – if I could find some smaller ones – it would make a lovely side dish for a holiday meal or to a dress-up leftover turkey dinner.

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Posted by on October 28, 2011 in Information, Recipe


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My Husband Likes to Bake, So I Let Him: Raspberry Scones

It’s not that I don’t like to bake – I do! But my husband has developed a talent and drive to bake which I will not discourage! He particularly enjoys baking goodies for breakfast – scones, muffins, coffee cakes, etc. He was whining a bit that he loves the flavor and texture of scones made with King Arthur Scone mixes, but feels they are too expensive. (They are! They run between $7-$9 for a package that makes a dozen – crazy!) We have started buying King Arthur Flour when it is on sale – I can’t articulate the difference. Perhaps it is a finer grind of flour, a different type of wheat – but baked goods are just better when made with this brand. They have a website, so you can order items directly from the company, but you won’t save a penny and it will probably cost more, so look in your local grocery store if you are interested in using their products (or keep checking their site for sales). It is a nice website, though! In a moment of inspiration, he looked up scone recipes on the site and found one that would accommodate the ingredients we had on hand, without a  pre-breakfast dash to the grocery store!

Raspberry Scones made with King Arthur Flour

It was a blueberry scone recipe – we didn’t have any, and it called for vanilla yogurt – also absent from the larder. What we did have was raspberries and a container of Greek-style Honey Yogurt – both acceptable substitutes! It also listed almond flavoring and lemon zest – neither of which went into this  batch. I didn’t miss them and you won’t either! The recipe on this PDF is the altered double-batch version he made for us. They are “dropped” instead of kneaded and cut-style scones and was the way the recipe was written.The scones were sweet and had a lovely vanilla-raspberry flavor! No jam or butter needed – all that is built right into the scone!

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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Recipe


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Peach-N-Ginger Pie: Tastes Like Summer!

Eating Pie in front, Auction Pie in back - fresh from the oven!

Yesterday, I submitted pies to a local fundraiser in our community called, “Pie in the Park.” This event raises money for a new community center by throwing a pie tasting party and auctioning off donated pies. The pie tasting is free. Free pie? What’s not to like?!?! Those who donated pies were asked to bring one for tasting and one for auction. I hadn’t participated before, but I modestly (?) believe I make a pretty darn good pie, so off I went to get some peaches for pie! Purchasing peaches can be an unpredictable endeavor. If the grocer keeps them too cold, they are mealy and unappetizing, but you don’t know that until you cut them open – or worse, bite them. Most of the time, they are too green, so last minute shopping can prove to be disappointing. Luckily, I was able to get some good peaches a few days ahead and only one was bad when I cut it open. >whew!< I decided to kick it up a notch by adding crystallized ginger to the pie mixture  – which turned out to be a good choice! There were quite a few pies at the auction – tons of apple, pumpkin, berry – but only 2 peach/ginger concoctions. One was mine and the other from a professional baker. I don’t recall what the other one went for, but I was pleased to see that mine was sold for $80 – the winner out-bid my husband for the honor!

Ready for the oven!

The Pie Crust  Last winter, I found a new pie crust recipe in Better Homes & Gardens magazine that I fell in love with. It makes a goodly amount of dough – enough for 3 deep dish single crust pies, or, for my needs, 2 smaller sized (9 inch) pies. The recipe calls for sour cream, real butter and vinegar – among other things! – and is refrigerated before rolling out. It has a small amount of sugar in the recipe and I used extra-fine baker’s sugar in which I have stored a vanilla bean. This gives the sugar a mild vanilla flavor and is actually how “vanilla powder” is made. As a finishing touch on my pies, I brush them with milk and sprinkle sugar on them to give them a shiny, crisp crust. I also like to use tiny cookie cutters to decorate my pies instead of the usual slashes. This crust recipe bakes up really flaky so the cut-outs look almost like puff pastry after baking.

See the ginger bits? Next step: Top crust!

The Filling  I sliced the peaches fairly thin, tossed them with lemon juice and added some nutmeg and the vanilla sugar mentioned before. This takes a while because peaches are so slippery to peel! I know there is a way to quickly blanch them so that their skins slip right off, but I just didn’t want to go there on a warm summer day! I have found that when peaches are “just right” the skins will peel off nicely when I start at the stem end with hardly any “peach gouging.” To fill two 9 inch pie plates, I used 8 medium sized peaches. The ginger bits were not added in with the rest of the filling, but instead were sprinkled on top of the filling before putting the top crust in place. I used crystallized ginger bits for bakers by

Crystallized Ginger Chips by The Ginger People

The Ginger People. They are about the same size as chocolate chips. I think I got these at either Central Market  or World Market – I’ve seen them both places.

You may click here to view/print a pdf of the recipe – including the lovely crust recipe! Here is a an up close shot of my $80 pie!

Fresh from the oven -Peach-N-Ginger Pie!

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Posted by on August 26, 2011 in Information, Recipe


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Breakfast is My Favorite Food: Banana Waffles

I am the first to admit that breakfast is my favorite food. Muffins? Yes, please! Eggs Benedict? Sure! Scones? I’ll take two to start! Bacon? >drool< It will come as no surprise that waffles are frequent menu items for our weekend breakfasts!

I recently had a over-ripe banana languishing on the counter – not enough to make bread or muffins, but just right for Banana Waffles!

Banana Waffles on a sunny Sunday morning!

The original recipe (from called for bananas sliced onto batter in the waffle iron and did not include any oil. That is a recipe for disaster, waffle-wise! If your waffle sticks to the iron, it is no longer a waffle; it is a scramble. We made the recipe the first time as written, except that I mashed the banana and added it to the batter. When we opened the iron to remove the first one, both the top and bottom plates had waffle attached – not good! Lesson learned, we added canola oil for the next one. This made a very light, fluffy waffle! It had to be removed carefully – it clung to the bottom plate, but I was reluctant to add more oil. I’m guessing that this is due to the banana. (Note to self: write a paper on: The Transitive Properties of the Mashed Banana When Added to Waffle Recipe) By using a fork and teasing onto a large spatula, I avoided creating a scramble. The photo is from the second time we made the Banana Waffles – a sunny and warm Sunday morning! Breakfast on the veranda, anyone?

Banana Waffles

  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsps. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. milk

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mash banana in small bowl, add milk, oil and egg; stir to combine and break-up the egg. Use a wire whisk to stir the wet ingredients into the large mixing bowl; stirring until well blended. Heat/prepare waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add recommended amount of batter to the iron and cook until done. Remove carefully (as described above) and serve with butter & warm maple syrup.

Important Note: Your waffle will only be as good as the waffle iron you use! Please see my review of the Caphalon No-Peek Waffle Iron. Best. Waffle. Iron. Ever. I highly recommend this product!

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Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Information, Recipe


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How Do You Cook Corn on the Cob?

Yum! Fresh Sweet corn! One of the best flavors of summer!

Summer is here and one of the best things about this season is readily available fresh produce! Berries, peaches (soon, I hope!), green beans, peas, summer squash and corn on the cob – to name a few. Since I had some corn over the weekend, I thought I’d ask around to see what other people do with their sweet corn.

Do you boil or grill? Do you nuke it? Eat it raw?

How do you serve it? Do you use basics – butter, salt, pepper? Or do you experiment with other toppings? Do you use those little corn holder thingies or tough it out? Do you have those little corn shaped plates?

My way to cook sweet corn is simple. I husk the corn, removing the silks and breaking off any natural “handles” so it will fit into my pot. I put them in a pot of water, cover and bring to a boil. And then I turn off the heat and let stand in the hot water for at least 10 minutes to heat through. That’s it! We have those cute little plates – got them for a wedding gift, back in the day – but don’t always use them. I don’t use the holders – I think my fingertips are made of asbestos or something! We tend to go with straight butter (low-fat margarine, really) and salt and pepper. Basic, classic summer sweet corn!

Your turn! Tell me how you cook and eat your sweet corn…I’ll be waiting right here!

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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in Asking for Feedback, Information, Recipe


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