Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sugar Cream Pie

I can't really tell you when this pie originated. Some say it dates back to the 1800's and it was a favorite from the Amish and the Shakers.  I just know that the recipe was in my Mom's collection of old recipes and I can remember she made it a lot.  If you like custard as much as I do, this pie is for you. The custard is rich and thick and creamy and has a distinct vanilla flavor. Then it's topped with a coating of cinnamon sugar kind of like a Creame Brulee. have to try this one!  I make it simple by starting off with a store bought pie crust but you can make your own if you'd prefer.

Sugar Cream Pie

  4 tablespoons cornstarch
  ¾ cup granulated sugar
  4 tablespoons butter, melted
  2¼ cups heavy cream
  1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1  9-inch pre-baked Pie Crust or homemade
  2 tablespoons of melted butter
  Cinnamon Sugar

    Mix 1/4 cup granulated white sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon.  
    Set aside. 
   Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pre-bake your pie crust until golden  
   brown and then cool while preparing filling.

Mix the cornstarch and sugar together in a small to medium bowl. Whisk together the heavy cream and melted butter and pour it into a heavy bottom saucepan.  Add the sugar and whisk or stir constantly while cooking over medium heat.  Make sure you stir constantly or it will burn. 

Allow to cook until the custard begins to thicken and come to a boil.  Allow it to come to a low boil for about a minute and then remove from heat. Stir in pure vanilla until smooth. Whisk in vanilla and pour filling into pre-baked pie crust.

Once you have filled your pie shell, drizzle the other 2 tablespoons of melted butter over top of pie and sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar. 

Place the pie under the broiler until butter bubbles and surface starts to brown. This won’t take long so stay and watch it until it browns.

Cool and refrigerate pie for at least 4 hours or until center is set.  Serve and enjoy!

Want a bite?

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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Cucumber Caprese Salad

If you love growing your own vegetable garden, this is a wonderful little salad you can make with a few cherry tomatoes and a couple of cucumbers!  But even if you don't garden you'll love it. It is so unbelievably simple, and so delicious and healthy and just perfect for a summer picnic or cookout. You can serve it as a main dish or side. Or, you could even spread it on toast or Brushetta or a Crostini for a wonderful appetizer! 

Cucumber Caprese Salad

2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
2 English cucumbers, cut into chunks
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into chunks or sliced and quartered
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar 
1 garlic clove, minced 
Pinch of salt, 
pepper and more sugar, to taste

Wash, dry, and cut up the cucumbers and rinse the tomatoes. Place both in a large bowl. Add the basil and mozzarella. Next, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and sugar. Pour over the tomato-mozzarella mixture and toss. Serve immediately.

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Crispy Chicken Salad with Asian Dressing

Lunch today was a crispy chicken salad with a dressing that you will never forget. Unbelievable Asian salad dressing that makes this the best salad ever! And you can add so much more to this salad to make it even better. See my suggested list of other ingredients you can add.

Crispy Chicken Salad With Asian Dressing

2 pieces Tyson’s Crispy Chicken Strips
4 cups lettuce (your choice)
1 tomato chopped
1/2 cup Monterrey Jack cheese (or your favorite)
1 sliced cucumber (optional)

Asian Dressing

3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use Hellman's)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, vinegar, mayo, mustard, and sesame oil until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate while you prepare the salad.

Bake the chicken strips according to the package directions (about 20 minutes.) Remove and allow to cool. Cut up into bite sized pieces.

Toss your lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and cheese in a big bowl. Add your chicken and drizzle dressing on top.

If you really want a great salad with incredible flavors, omit the tomatoes and cucumbers and instead add my favorite ingredients before tossing:

Dried cranberries
pecan pieces or almond slices
mandarin oranges
crumbled bleu cheese
celery, chopped

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My Creamy Pasta Salad

Summer's coming and that means lots of cold salads to take to your cookouts and 
picnics.  And what's a picnic or barbecue without a favorite pasta salad?  This 
happens to be one of my favorite and it always gets great reviews....or should I say, 
I always take home an empty bowl after every gathering! 

Creamy Pasta Salad
3 cups multi-color rotini pasta, cooked and drained 
1/2 cup 
kalamata olives
1 cup mayonnaise 
1 (1 ounce) packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing 
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/2 cup milk (more if needed)

1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup sweet red pepper, chopped fine 
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese 
salt and pepper to taste 

Prepare pasta according to directions. It is important not to overcook your pasta. 
Rinse under cold water and drain very well.  Set aside to cool while you prepare 
the dressing.

In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, ranch dressing mix and garlic powder. Stir in milk 
until smooth. Add the sweet red pepper and the carrot and mix well.  Slice olives into 
halves and add to salad dressing. 

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

My Mom's Carrot Cake

I remember my Mother's carrot cake well. She would add pineapple and coconut and it would come out so moist and delicious. I decided to make it this past weekend but instead of storing a whole sheet cake, I made little individual cakes to store in my freezer. This is a keeper my friends. One of the best carrot cakes you've ever tasted.

My Mom's Carrot Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9 by-13-inch pan and line the pan with a wide piece of parchment paper cut so that it tucks neatly along 2 opposite sides and hangs over edges by about 1 inch on the other opposite sides to create flaps to use as handles for lifting the cake. Butter and flour the paper. Set pan aside.

Stir together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Next beat the eggs with the sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla at medium speed until smooth. Then add the flour mixture a little at a time while mixing at low speed. Fold in carrots, pineapple and coconut and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Place cake pan on cooling rack for 15 minutes. Then using the parchment paper flaps, remove cake from pan and place on cooling rack until completely cool. 

Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Spread Frosting on top and sides of cake. And then with the palm of your hand, press nuts into sides of cake.

For my cake I cut my cooled caked into rectangles. Then I frosted each piece on the top and sides and pressed chopped walnuts onto the sides. I then piped the cream cheese frosting on top in a pretty design. After each piece was frosted, I reserved some frosting in two separate bowls.

In bowl one, I reserved enough frosting and added orange food coloring to make my Carrot garnish for each piece of cake. And in bowl number two I reserved just enough to make my stems and added green food coloring. I then used a pastry bag to pipe my carrot on top of each piece and added a little green for the stem. Then I stored the finished cakes in the refrigerator until ready to serve and sat them out at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

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Saturday, April 08, 2017

Lemon Pearl Cupcakes

I love lemon desserts!  When I think spring or summer, I immediately think lemon.  When I want to take a dessert to a party or summer barbecue, I think lemon cupcakes.  There's just something about that hint of lemon that says delicious!

Lemon Pearl Cupcakes

4 eggs, separated
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease your muffin tins and line each cup with a greased paper liner.
Beat the egg whites to soft peaks with your mixer. Carefully remove to another bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the softened butter until light and fluffy. Pour in the sugar and continue mixing until it is well-combined and fluffy. Then add the egg yolks, one at a time. Next, add in the vanilla, and then the juice and zest.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and milk alternately until the flour mixture and milk are just combined. When the flour is fully mixed, gently fold in the egg whites with a spoon or spatula.
Carefully spoon the batter into the muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Set the cupcakes aside to cool for about 10 minutes. Then remove from tins and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Small pearl white sprinkles
Using a mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until the mixture is light, fluffy and airy. Add in the vanilla, lemon juice and zest.
When the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost and garnish with 1/2 teaspoon of small white pearl sprinkles.

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Blueberry Peach Pound Cake

I love this recipe for my Mom's pound cake and she loved it too. I've made this with fresh or frozen peaches.  And I always add that little hint of another berry to add to the color and the flavor. You can make it with strawberries, raspberries and even blueberries to go along with the peaches and all of them were delicious. Just remember if you decide to use frozen fruit, don't allow it to thaw first. Just chop it up and add it to your batter frozen. I made this for you this past weekend....hope you like it! 

Blueberry Peach Pound Cake

2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 ½ sticks butter, diced, at room temperature
1 cup peaches, chopped
1 cup blueberries, washed and chopped fine. If using frozen, do not thaw first.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Then line with parchment paper leaving excess paper over each side to be able to use as handles for lifting cake out later.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. With a mixer, blend the eggs, butter and sugar and then mix in the dry ingredients until just blended. Then fold the diced peaches and chopped berries into the batter and pour into pan. Bake for 1-1¼ hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Transfer to a cake rack to cool and then lift cake with parchment paper handles and allow to cool completely before adding icing or drizzle.

Vanilla Drizzle                                

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Melt butter in a saucepan or microwave. Sift 2 cups of powdered sugar into a medium size bowl. Add the melted butter to the powdered sugar. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and beat until smooth and creamy with a hand mixer. Add a little more cream if you need to. Stir in vanilla and then drizzle over cooled cake.  

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Friday, March 17, 2017

♥ Corned Beef Hash and Eggs

There are so many ways you can use leftover corned beef  and this is one of my favorites. I love this for breakfast, brunch or dinner! It is hearty and delicious and what I call comfort food!

Corned Beef Hash with Eggs

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups potatoes, par boiled and cut into ½-inch pieces...
1 medium yellow onion, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 slice of bacon, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces 

1 pound corned beef, minced to ¼-inch or smaller
4 large eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Place the bacon in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook until the fat is partially rendered, about 2 minutes. Add the onions and minced garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened and is slightly browned edges. Add pepper but not too much salt because your corned beef is probably already seasoned well. 

Add corned beef and potatoes and stir to bring them together. Lightly pack down the hash with a rubber spatula so that the bottom starts to get crisp. Cook, undisturbed, for 4 minutes, then, with the spatula, invert the hash, a portion at a time, and fold the browned bits back into the hash. Lightly pack the hash into the pan again. Repeat the process every minute or two until the potatoes are thoroughly cooked, about 8 minutes longer.

Make 4 indentations (each measuring about 2 inches across) equally spaced on the surface of the hash. Crack 1 egg into each indentation and season the egg with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook until the eggs are just set, about 6 minutes. Cut the hash into servings, making sure each has an egg, and serve immediately.

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Reuben Salad with Homemade Croutons

Any leftover corned beef from your St. Paddy's day dinner? There are many ways to use it in a variety of dishes. I make corned beef hash with sunny side up eggs for breakfast. I always make that traditional corned beef on Rye or that wonderful Reuben sandwich. But this time I decided to turn my leftovers into a delicious hearty salad. The combination of tender corned beef on a bed of crisp greens with these incredible homemade croutons will take your taste buds to a whole new level!  The croutons are tossed in olive oil, which gives them a wonderful light crunch! 

Reuben Salad

Homemade Croutons

4-5 slices of pumpernickel or marbled rye bread, cubed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
pinch garlic powder
pinch salt/pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine cubed bread, oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper; mix well. Spread evenly onto a baking sheet and place in oven for 8-10 minutes until crispy. Set aside to cool. 


1 bag of romaine lettuce
1 bag of shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
1/2 pound sliced corned beef, cut into 1/2 wide strips
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound of sliced Swiss cheese, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 carrot, sliced into thin strips
1 red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup canned sauerkraut, drained (optional)

In medium skillet, warm the corned beef in the olive oil over low heat. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine romaine, cabbage mix, and sauerkraut if using.  Add corned beef, cheese, onions and carrots and toss to combine. Divide salad between plates, top each with croutons and thousand Island dressing. See my homemade dressing below. Top with shredded Swiss cheese if desired.

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
2-3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons onion, finely minced
1/teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over salad.

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Irish Potato Candy!

When I was little we had a neighbor that used to make these little candies and take them door to door wishing everyone a happy St. Paddy’s day.  He would put them in a little white box tied with a bright green bow with a little card that had an Irish poem.  He would sign the card, “Your friendly neighborhood Leprechaun.”  Inside the box were these cute little candies made from cream cheese and coconut that looked just like little potatoes.  We just loved his gift and looked forward to his visit every year.  For years I thought Mr. Obrien was a real live Lepreprechaun! 

Irish potato candy

1/4 cup butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
cinnamon, or sifted cocoa, for coating

With a mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add the salt and vanilla and mix until combined.
Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.  Stir until mixture turns into a thick and sticky dough.

Stir in the coconut and place the dough in the refrigerator for about an hour to firm up.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and shape into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter. I make mine round but you can make them a little more oblong to look like a baking potato if you wish.  Place them on a baking sheet and put them in the refrigerator to chill. About 15 minutes or so.

In a shallow bowl, place cinnamon or cocoa. I used cinnamon for mine. Roll the potatoes in the mixture to coat all over. Tap off any excess.

Place the candies back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow them to “set” completely. After this, they can be kept in the refrigerator or at cool room temperature. Seal in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

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