Friday, February 20, 2015

No Bake Chewy Chocolate Bars

These bars are wonderful to have around in the house and are a great alternative to the traditional granola bars that you buy from the store.  They are a cross between a no bake cookie and rice crispy treats.  If you plan on keeping these around for a few weeks (they never last that long at our house) you can cut into individual bars and wrap in wax paper and store in an air tight container.

2/3 C. light Corn Syrup
3/4 C. creamy Peanut Butter
1/4 C. light Brown Sugar
1/4 C. Cocoa Powder
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 C. quick cook Oats
2 C. rice Crispy cereal

Spray a 8 x 8 pan with non-stick spray.  Combine syrup, peanut butter cocoa and sugar in a medium saucepan over low medium heat.  Heat until sugar is dissolved and peanut butter is melted.  Stir frequently to combine.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt.  Stir.  Add oats and cereal.  Stir well until everything is evenly coated.  Spoon into the prepared pan.  Using the back of the spoon, (or greased hands J ) press firmly into the pan.  Cool completely before cutting.  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Raspberry Crumb Bars

Very quick and easy dessert.  Use a small baking dish to make these (a 9 x 13 will be too big) The one I use is a metal 7 x 11 and they turn out just the right thickness.  Heating the jam up briefly in the microwave will help in spreading it over the oat crust.  Change up the flavor of the jam depending on what you like best, (strawberry jam is delicious!).


1 C. all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 C. old fashioned oats
½ C. packed light-brown sugar
½ C. unsalted butter, softened
1 C. seedless raspberry jam


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Add oats and brown sugar and stir to incorporate.  Cut in butter until evenly moistened and clumps are no bigger than a pea.
Pour 2/3 cups of the oat mixture into a small baking dish and press onto the bottom to form the crust.
Spread the raspberry jam over oat layer. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the jam. Press the crumb mixture lightly into jam layer.
Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 35 - 40 minutes.
Remove the pan from oven and cool completely on a rack before cutting into squares. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Throat Lozenges

These lozenges are quick and easy to make and are a good alternative from the ones you get from the store.  Substitute in different flavorings for an endless variety of combinations.

4 Tbsp. Honey
½ C. Sugar
½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper, ground
1 tsp. Ginger, minced
1/8 tsp. Salt
Zest from one Orange

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, honey and cayenne.  Bring to a boil.  Cover with a lid and continue to cook on a low boil for about 4 minutes.  Remove lid and check temperature with a candy thermometer until temperature reaches 295 degrees.  Remove from heat and stir in ginger, salt and zest.  Let cool for 1 minute.  Drop by teaspoons onto parchment paper or you can use a small candy mold.   Cool until hardened.    

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Polenta Rounds with Black Eyed Peas

Quick easy weeknight dish. If you can not find the tube of already made polenta, you can easily make it yourself. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to low. Add 1 tsp. Salt, 1 C. yellow cornmeal. Cook, stirring regularly, until mixture is thick about 40 minutes. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cut into thin slices.  

16 oz. Tube Polenta
15 oz. Black Eyed Peas
15 oz. Tomatoes, diced
4 Tbsp. Cilantro, fresh, chopped
½ C. Onion, minced
¼ C. Water
¼ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
¼ tsp. Salt
Sour Cream
Vegetable Oil

Cut polenta into ¼ inch rounds. Heat a small amount of oil in large non-stick skillet. Cook polenta in batches until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a baking sheet. Keep warm in the oven while you make the sauce. In a skillet, saute onion until translucent. Add water, peas, tomatoes and spices. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon over rounds and top with sour cream.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Tofu with Spicy Orange Sauce

A great sauce that goes well with tofu, grilled chicken or pork.  Vary the intensity of the heat by adjusting the amount of red pepper flakes that you use.

3/4 C. Orange Juice
 3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
 1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
 2 tsp. Orange Peel, finely grated
 1/2 tsp. Ginger, minced
 1 tsp. Sesame Oil
 ½ tsp. Crushed red pepper

Tofu Extra firm
Vegetable oil

Slice tofu into 1 x 1 ½ inch cubes. Place on paper towels. Cover with additional paper towels. Press gently but firmly to remove moisture. Replace the wet towels with dry towels. Place a large heavy plate on top of the towels and place in the fridge to continue to press the tofu.
In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients for the sauce. Bring to a simmer, stirring to combine all ingredients. Turn the heat to low and allow the sauce to thicken slightly. Press the tofu again with dry towels to remove as much moisture as you can. Place tofu in large zip lock bag. Add roughly ¼ C. of cornstarch to bag. Shake to coat tofu pieces. Shake off excess cornstarch. Heat several cups of oil in a large heavy deep pan to around 350 degrees. In batches, carefully place tofu in the oil, avoiding overcrowding. Fry until tofu is golden and floats to the top of the oil. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels.
Once all of the tofu is cooked, toss with the sauce.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Drink - Strawberry Slushies

Nice fruity summer drink without being overly sweet.

2 C. Strawberries, hulled
750 ml. Dry Riesling
½ tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
4 Tbsp. Sugar

Chill 1 cup of the Riesling in the refrigerator. Pour remaining wine in a blender. Add the strawberries, lemon juice and sugar. Puree. Pour mixture in a glass dish and place in freezer. Let the mixture sit in the fridge until frozen. Add back to the blender along with the chilled wine and puree.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ramp Pasta with Morels

The recipe below is a good basic Alfredo sauce that is excellent as is, or can be altered by adding chopped fresh herbs, red pepper flakes or try adding grilled chicken and steamed vegetables with the pasta. You can also replace some of the mozzarella with pepper jack cheese for a little more heat.
The pasta we used in the photo was a gift. It is made with ramps and tofu from a company called Integration Acres. It truly has a unique flavor and texture.


½ C. Butter
2 Garlic cloves, minced
½ C. Parmesan
2 C. Heavy Cream
¼ tsp. White Pepper
¾ C. Mozzarella, shredded

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, cream and pepper. Bring to a low simmer. Add Parmesan and stir until smooth. Add mozzarella. Stir constantly until smooth. Season sauce with additional pepper and salt to taste. Serve over cooked noodles.

For the Morels:

Slice the morels in half lengthwise. Soak overnight in salted water in a large bowl in the refrigerator. Drain and pat dry on paper towels. Melt butter in a large skillet. Dredge morels in flour and fry in batches in the skillet over medium heat until crispy. Flip and fry the other side. Drain on paper towels.