Wednesday, September 30, 2009


You may have noticed (I hope) that I’ve been working on upgrading my blog. Since I’m somewhat of a technophobe, it’s been an uphill struggle. Many hours of research, trial and error, and some successes have produced less-than-spectacular results. I know, I know. I could have just hired someone. But this is my effort in educating myself on html code and on the mechanics of blogs. Once I get it all down, I probably will hire someone to get me a more professional look.

My latest small success is printable recipes. You’ll only see the latest two recipes for now, but I’ll add this feature on all new posts and slowly move backwards through the remaining unprintables on this blog.

I researched three different ways to do printable recipes, and tested each out. All three ended in dead ends for me for various reasons. Finally, I found simple instructions on how to do this at Food Blog Alliance. I know this is not a big deal to someone who is computer savvy, but for a technophobe like me, it's cause for celebration! If you print any of my recipes and find errors, please let me know so I can fix them. Otherwise, enjoy my new feature, and I’ll continue to work on upgrading this site with my very limited computer skills.


corn, red pepper and leek soup - Copy

I think I could live on soup and muffins. To me, soup is the ultimate in comfort food. And muffins are the perfect dessert – easy to freeze, already portioned and not too sweet. When red peppers were on fire sale recently, I stocked up. Roasting them on the grill is quick and easy, and my freezer is stocked with them. While fresh corn was still available, I bought some for this delicious soup. The recipe was found on, and I adapted it to my preferences. Of course, you don’t have to use fresh corn. Frozen corn is a good alternative. This soup is wonderful – the red peppers, leeks and corn go well together, all contributing to the sweetness that makes this so inviting. The cayenne pepper gives the soup a little kick, and the paprika rounds out the flavors. If you have garden herbs that are begging to be picked, here’s a way to use them.

Corn, Red Pepper and Leek Soup
Adapted from
Rating: 9 out of 10
Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS: 2 Tbsp. Smart Balance buttery spread or butter
3 leek ribs, cleaned coarsely chopped
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 ears fresh corn, scraped from cob, or 2 cups loose-pack frozen corn kernels
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth, if preferred), divided use
1/2 tsp. sea salt (or more, to taste)
1/8 tsp. black or white pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp. Hungarian sweet paprika (I used Penzey’s)
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley + extra for garnish
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil + extra for garnish
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Heat SB in 3-quart heavy pot and cook leeks till soft over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes.

Method 1: (This will give you a smooth soup, with no chunks)Add red peppers and corn and cook another 3-4 minutes. Add 3 cups broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. If you have an immersion blender, use it to emulsify the veggies. Otherwise, transfer mixture to a blender and process till smooth. Return to pot; add remainder of broth, salt, peppers, paprika and herbs and heat again to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer another 5-10 minutes to blend flavors. Taste to adjust seasonings. Stir in cream. Heat through, taste again to adjust seasonings. Serve garnished with herbs. Yield: 6-8 servings

Method 2: (This will give you a smooth soup with chunky corn kernels -- this is how I did it.)
Add red peppers and cook another 3-4 minutes. Add 3 cups broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. If you have an immersion blender, use it to emulsify the veggies. Otherwise, transfer mixture to a blender and process till smooth. Return to pot; add remainder of broth, corn, salt, peppers, paprika and herbs and heat again to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer another 10-15 minutes to blend flavors and cook the corn. Taste to adjust seasonings. Stir in cream. Heat through, taste again to adjust seasonings. Serve garnished with herbs. Yield: 6-8 servings

Monday, September 28, 2009


reeni's corn muffins (2)

Reeni, from Cinnamon & Spice blog, recently posted her very own recipe for Green Tomato Corn Muffins. She declared them the best corn muffins ever. Well, I thought I had developed my own
very best corn muffin recipe, but I love Reeni’s blog. She has creative recipes and I consider her to be a great cook. So I had to try her recipe, with my own tweaks, of course.

Both hubby and I loved Reeni’s muffins. They are a different kind of corn muffin than my fave, so I don’t consider them to be in competition with each other. One is moist, tender and full of corn flavor, and the other is more like a corn pudding with zing. Both are a 10 in my book. Thanks, Reeni, for another great recipe.

reeni's corn muffins (3)

Reeni’s Corn Pudding Muffins
Adapted from
Rating: 10 out of 10

Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS: 2 Tbsp. Smart Balance buttery spread, or butter or oil of choice
1-1/2 cups diced veggies (I used roasted hatch chile peppers + 2 jalapenos + 1 ear corn)
1/2 cup diced onions
2 Tbsp. cream, milk or half and half
1 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose, if preferred)
1 cup whole-grain cornmeal (or regular cornmeal, if preferred)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
3 Tbsp. SB or butter
2-1/2 Tbsp. honey
2 eggs (I used large)
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 cup lite sour cream (or yogurt)
1 cup Monterey Jack with Jalapeno cheese, coarsely grated

If you choose to roast the chile peppers, as I did, you can put them in the oven under the broiler and turn them till the skins blacken all around, or place them directly on a hot charcoal grill and do the same . After the skins are well blackened, transfer chilies to a brown paper bag and close it up. Let sit for about 15 minutes, then you should be able to easily peel and chop the chilies. You can also put the chilies in a bowl with plastic wrap over it to cool if you don’t want to use a paper bag. Don’t roast the jalapenos, just the hatch chilies or whatever other larger, chile you might want to use. If you want, you can also roast the ear of corn before you scrape it. Roasting intensifies the flavors and is well worth the extra trouble. If you don’t have the time to roast the veggies, just sauté them with the onions.

Heat oven to 400F. In a large heavy skillet, sauté onion in SB till transparent over medium heat. Stir in chile peppers, jalapenos and scraped corn, or other veggie of choice. (Reeni used green tomatoes, which she sautéed with the onions.) Add cream and continue to stir over medium heat till liquid is mostly absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. In large bowl, microwave SB, covered, using high heat for about 30 seconds, or till almost melted. Stir in honey; cool slightly. Whisk in eggs, milk, and sour cream, beating well. Add dry ingredients and cheese all at once, mixing lightly with a big spoon or spatula just till barely combined. Do not over mix. Bake in greased muffin cups about 20 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted near center returns clean. Yield: about 12 muffins

reeni's corn muffins

Friday, September 25, 2009


potato-leek salad (4)

New recipes can come from many sources. This one was attached to a package of leeks. Ocean Mist leeks. The recipe is from….surprise…..Ocean Mist. I’m usually leery of recipes that come attached to produce or are in the produce aisle on a recipe card. But this one caught my eye and sounded good. Too good to ignore. So I tried it with just some minor tweaks, and guess what? It was good. No, it was very good. The intense flavors of the grilled veggies mingled beautifully with olives, balsamic vinegar, garlic and olive oil and left my mouth with a lingering sweetness.

Okay, I mean I really liked it, but hubby wouldn’t take a second bite. He said potato salad is supposed to have mayonnaise on it, not oil and vinegar. Hey, it’s okay. I mean after 45-11/12 years, I’m used to it. So I ate it all myself. Not all at once of course. Since there was no mayo in the salad, it was really good sautéed with eggs for breakfast.

potato-leek salad (5)

And I enjoyed it for lunch too. I’ll make this again – when we have company.

Grilled Leek & Baby Yukon Gold Potato Salad
Adapted from
Rating: 9 out of 10
Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS: 8 baby Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled till almost tender, cooled
1 large leek rib, split, washed under cool running water
3 Tbsp. roasted red peppers, chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped olives
3 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. garlic, grated or finely chopped
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. good-quality extra-virgin olive oil (I used Colavita)

Grill potatoes and leek till tender, about 10 minutes on a medium-hot grill (375-400F), turning once. Remove; coarsely chop; combine with remaining ingredients in bowl and toss. Serve warm or chilled. This will serve 4 small eaters, or two big eaters. Double or triple recipe for a larger group.

potato-leek salad (3)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


bbq chicken legs (5)

Who doesn’t love Tyler Florence? A real hunk of a man, and he cooks, too. Some of his recipes are good, and some are too over the top for me with too many flavors. But, when I saw him make “the ultimate barbecued chicken” on one of his recent shows, I was interested. First, he brined the chicken while he made a fast and easy basting sauce, then he grilled the chicken, transferred it to the oven and basted with the sauce at the end of the cooking time.

Hubby and I are not fans of icky sweet BBQ sauce, so I reduced the sugar slightly in the sauce and subbed frozen apple juice concentrate for the brown sugar in the brine. I also eliminated the bacon, subbed sweet paprika for smoked, and added chipotle chile pepper to bring back some smokiness and water to thin the sauce. The changes must have worked, because we loved this dish! The sauce had just the right amount of smoky sweetness for us. The chicken was moist and tender and full of flavor. If you want Tyler’s original recipe, you can find it on The Food Network's website. Below is my adapted version. Bon appetit!

Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Barbecued Chicken, Adapted
Rating: 8 out of 10
Printable Recipe

3 cups water
1 Tbsp. coarse sea salt (or kosher salt, if preferred)
1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate
1 garlic clove, smashed or crushed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 whole chicken legs with thighs, bone in, skin on
Barbecue Sauce: 1 Tbsp. Smart Balance buttery spread or olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. garlic, grated or chopped
1 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1-1/2 tsp. wet mustard
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/ tsp. ground chipotle chile pepper
3/4 cup water
For the brine, combine all ingredients except chicken in a 2-gallon resealable plastic bag. Massage to distribute. Add chicken; close bag; refrigerate 1/2 hour or up to 2 hours to allow salt and seasonings to penetrate chicken. (I brined for 2 hours.)
Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a 2-quart heavy pot, using medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in 1 Tbsp. Smart Balance. Add remaining ingredients; stir; reduce heat to low. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to meld flavors. Reserve 1/2 cup of sauce for basting (or more if you are a sauce hound); place remaining sauce in a bowl or jar to serve at the table or use for future BBQ.
Take chicken out of brine; pat it dry on paper towels. Arrange chicken on preheated (375-400F) grill. Cook for about 25 minutes, turning once midway. Baste with sauce on one side, cook about 5 minutes; repeat on other side. Be sure chicken is cooked all the way through by cutting into the thickest part of the thigh – if no blood, chicken should be done. Yield: 4 servings

Sunday, September 20, 2009


005 Apple pie and cheesecake: two of America’s faves. This recipe combines both for a rich, tasty dessert that’s sure to please everyone. Janice White, Encampment, Wyoming, sent this recipe in to Country Woman Magazine, and it was a prize winner. After making it, I can see why. My hubby, who is not big on desserts, came ‘round for seconds, and so did I.
Five simple steps will get you this fab dessert (see recipe below).
Some other tips:
(1) Use a tart apple that will hold its shape when baked (Pink Lady, Rome, Ginger Gold, Pippin, and the like).
(2) Cheesecake always tastes better if it “cures” overnight in the fridge, so plan on making this when you have time to start a day ahead.
(3) You might not like switching oven heat from 350F to 400F then back to 350F. If so, you can make the crust first at 400F, then do the apples and filling both at 350F.
(4) You can put the apples and crust in the freezer for a quick cooldown if necessary.

Apple Strudel Cheesecake, Adapted
Rating: 9 out of 10

Printable Recipe

APPLE TOPPING: 4 cups sliced peeled tart apples (I used Pink Lady)
2 Tbsp. frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 chopped raw walnuts

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cold butter (I used Can’t Believe it’s not Butter)
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchatel)
1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup sugar+ 1/2 Tbsp. Stevia)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp. flour (my addition)
2 eggs
1. Prepare the apples: Heat oven to 350F. Place apples and apple juice concentrate in an ungreased 9 x 13 pan, preferably a glass one; toss to combine. Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or till just barely tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from oven; cool. Raise oven heat to 400F. (Note: If you are using a dark or coated pan, then bake the crust at 375F.)
2. Make the crust: In work bowl of food processor, combine flour and sugar; pulse briefly to mix. Add butter, cut into small cubes, and pulse with quick on/off motions till mixture is crumbly. Add egg yolk and vanilla and process, again with quick on/off motions, till dough forms. Press onto bottom of ungreased 9” springform pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes, or till just barely set, but not browned. Cool on wire rack. Reduce oven heat to 350F (325F if using a dark or coated pan).
3. Make the cheesecake filling: Wipe out work bowl of food processor with a damp paper towel. Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in work bowl and process till smooth and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, processing briefly after each addition. (If you want, add a dash of sea salt – I did.) Pour filling over cooled crust.
4. Add the apple topping: Toss the cooled baked apples with 1 tsp. cinnamon and 3 Tbsp. sugar. Arrange apples over cheesecake filling; drizzle with any remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. Sprinkle with nuts.
5. Return pan to baking sheet and bake 40-45 minutes, or till center is almost set. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes. Carefully run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake; cool 1 hour longer on rack. Refrigerate 4 hours or, preferably, overnight. Yield: 12-14 servings

Friday, September 18, 2009


KA classic blueberry muffins A fantastic blueberry season has ended, but my freezer is full of tart-sweet goodness. I think I’ve already found my fave blueberry muffin recipe, but that doesn’t keep me from trying new ones. King Arthur’s website has a recipe for blueberry muffins with rave reviews, but it’s different from the one in King Arthur Baker’s Companion, which is titled Classic Blueberry Muffins. The “classic” recipe has some of the blueberries, mashed, incorporated into the batter. Amazingly, it doesn’t turn the batter blue, it just gives it more of a blueberry flavor.

There is definitely something different about these muffins. My taster friends declared them the best muffins ever – just be aware that I didn’t share any of my fave coconut blueberry muffins with them. While I can’t give these a 10/10 rating, they are right up there with a 9. What they have going for them is a great traditional blueberry flavor and a moist, almost dense but tender crumb that pairs perfectly with the berries. The cinnamon-sugar topping is a nice introduction to the vanilla-berry muffin underneath. Yep, this one’s a keeper. My thanks to Jessica (A Singleton in the Kitchen) for posting this recipe and to King Arthur for giving us yet another winning recipe.

King Arthur Flour Classic Blueberry Muffins
Adapted from A Singleton in the Kitchen

Rating: 9 out of 10
Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS: 1/2 stick (2 oz.) Smart Balance 50/50 butter blend
1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup sugar + 1 Tbsp. Stevia)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, divided use*
2 large eggs
1/2 cup no-sugar added applesauce
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour whisked first, then lightly spooned and swept*
1/2 cup milk (I used fat-free half and half)
cinnamon sugar for the top (3 Tbsp. sugar+ 1 tsp. cinnamon)

*If blueberries are frozen, rinse them with cool water and blot dry with paper towels before adding to batter.

** (I used 1 cup KA white whole wheat flour + 1 cup White Lily all-purpose)

Preheat oven to 425F. In large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and salt. Add 1/2 cup of blueberries and mix on low speed till mashed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add applesauce & vanilla and beat on low speed till incorporated.

Combine baking powder and flour in medium bowl. Add half of the dry mixture to the wet mixture, using a spatula or spoon. Mix in half the milk. Repeat. Carefully stir in berries. Using about a generous 1/4 cup of batter, fill 12 lightly greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. KA classic blueberry muffins (2)

Place muffins in oven and immediately reduce temperature to 350F. Bake 17-20 minutes (mine took 19 min.), or until a tester inserted near center returns with just a few crumbs. Remove muffins from oven and let cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Freeze any muffins that are not eaten the day baked. Nuke frozen muffins about 20 seconds on high, then let them sit in the microwave for about 15 minutes. Yield: 12 muffins

KA classic blueberry muffins (3)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


My favorite veggie for any time of the year is butternut squash. Combined with spinach, it's not just delicious -- it's also a powerhouse of antioxidants,vitamins and minerals. Butternut squash is fat free and nutrient dense, with Vitamins A, B and C, as well as an assortment of minerals, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and iron. Spinach is no slouch, either. It's considered a negative-calorie food -- can you imagine that? Researchers have identified at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents. Butternut squash and spinach both taste great by themselves, and they also taste great together.

This dish goes together quickly and easily and could almost be served as a meal by itself. It must be all that nutrition making this combination very filling and satisfying.

Butternut Squash-Spinach Mash
Source: Judy's Kitchen
Rating: 8 out of 10
Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS: 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small shallot, chopped fine
1 cup cooked butternut squash, roughly mashed
1/8 tsp. sea salt
big pinch black pepper
2 big pinches grated fresh nutmeg
3 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup cooked, drained, chopped spinach
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese plus additional cheese for topping

In saute pan or fry pan with high sides, heat the oil over medium-high heat; add the shallot and cook till transparent. Stir in the squash, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and sage till the squash starts to caramelize a bit, about 3 minutes, then stir in the broth and spinach. Allow mixture to bubble then cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes to let flavors develop. Stir in cheese right before serving, and top with additional cheese, if desired. Yield: 2-3 servings

Monday, September 14, 2009


Brussels sprouts are such a forgotten vegetable. They can be a little boring, too. But this recipe, rated 4 forks with stellar reviews, from one of my favorite websites brings them alive. I tweaked the original, subbing apple juice concentrate for the sugar and using onion and garlic in place of shallots (which I didn't have at the moment). The usual bitter flavor of the brussels sprouts is totally subdued by the sweet apple and onion. These are absolutely delicious. Try this recipe, and you will fall in love with brussels sprouts.....honest.
Brussels Sprout Hash With Caramelized Onions
Adapted from Epicurious
Rating: 10 out of 10
Printable Recipe
INGREDIENTS: 4 Tbsp. Smart Balance 50/50 butter blend (or butter, if preferred), divided
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
coarse sea salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. apple juice concentrate
8 oz. brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved, cut into 1/8" slices
Saute onion, garlic, salt and pepper in 1 Tbsp. SB over medium heat in small fry pan till golden, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and apple juice concentrate; stir about 3 minutes, or till onions are caramelized.
Heat 2 Tbsp. SB in medium-large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprouts; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute till brown at edges, about 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and remaining 1 Tbsp. SB. Saute till most of water evaporates and sprouts are tender but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Add onions; taste to adjust seasonings, adding more salt/pepper if needed.
Yield: 4-5 servings

Friday, September 11, 2009


A friend asked me to bake mini muffins for her son's rehearsal dinner. These were one of the muffins I made, and they were really delicious. Giada's "Nonna's Lemon Ricotta Biscuits" were the inspiration for this recipe. I added the walnuts, cranberries and a bit of orange zest to the batter and brushed a lemon glaze over the tops of the warm muffins. The glaze really set this muffin off, enhancing the lemonny flavor and bringing them to the next level. Yep, this one's a keeper for sure. The lemon flavor is mild, but just enough, and the cranberries and walnuts are perfect with the citrus flavor.

Lemon-Ricotta Cranberry Walnut Mini Muffins
Adapted from Nonna's Lemon Ricotta Biscuits
Rating: 9 out of 10
INGREDIENTS: 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup low-protein flour (I used White Lily all-purpose, but cake flour will do)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts or pecans
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and partially cooled
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1 large egg
1 cup whole-milk ricotta
2 Tbsp. lemon juice, divided use
1/4 cup confectioner's (10X) sugar
Heat oven to 425 F. Grease 3 (12-cup) mini-muffin tins or line with paper liners.
In medium bowl, whisk together flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cranberries and nuts.
In large bowl, whisk together butter, sugar, and zests tilll smooth. Whisk in the egg and beat till smooth again. Whisk in ricotta and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and beat till smooth. With spatula or spoon, stir in the dry ingredients, just till barely combined, leaving lumps, if any. Spoon into muffin cups, using about 1 Tbsp. for each. Place pans in oven and immediately reduce heat to 350F. Bake about 14 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted in center returns with just a few crumbs. Turn out onto wire rack to cool.
In the meantime, in small bowl, whisk together confectioner's sugar and remaining 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Brush over tops of warm muffins and allow to set (about 1 hour) before serving or freezing. Yield: 36 mini-muffins
NOTE: For a standard-sized muffin, you will use about 1/4 cup batter. So you can assume 9 standard-sized muffins from this recipe, if you choose to make those instead of minis.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

50-50 RICE

My hubby hates brown rice. And I prefer not eating white rice because it raises my blood sugar too fast. Whole grains slow down that process somewhat. It gets tiresome cooking two pots of rice, so I thought I would try cooking them together to see if he would like that. Using a tip from a friend, I rinsed both rices in hot water until they stopped foaming, then toasted the brown rice and cooked it with garlic and onion. The white rice was added after the brown rice cooked for 25 minutes. This was delicious, and did not raise my blood sugar, since I had rinsed the starch off the rice. The garlic and onions gave nice flavor to the rice, so I didn't miss the starch. Guy ate a forkful, then ignored the rice and ate the rest of his meal. Well, it didn't work for me, but perhaps it will work for you, so please give it a try.

50-50 Rice
Source: Judy's Kitchen
Rating: 8 out of 10

INGREDIENTS: 1/4 cup brown rice (I like Basmati)
1/4 cup white rice (Basmati or Jasmine)
1 Tbsp. Smart Balance buttery spread or olive oil
2 Tbsp. chopped onion
1 tsp. grated or minced garlic
3/4 cup water or low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp. salt (or to taste--add a little more if using water, less if using broth)

In a fine-mesh strainer, rinse the brown rice with very hot water until it stops foaming. Drain; set aside. Repeat with white rice.
In 1 to 1-1/2 quart heavy pot, saute onions and garlic in the Smart Balance over medium heat till onion wilts, about 2 minutes. Add brown rice and saute another minute or so to slightly toast the rice. Add water and salt; heat to boiling. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, cook for 25 minutes. Add white rice, stir gently. Continue to cook for 20 minutes, or till rice is cooked and water is absorbed. (Add more water, if needed.) Off heat; let rice sit for 5-10 minutes, covered. Uncover, fluff with fork. Yield: 3-4 servings

Monday, September 7, 2009


Talk about an easy but good recipe -- this is it. Just take your favorite pesto, and rub it all over your peeled, deveined jumbo shrimp.

Let it sit for a while in the fridge, then grill it using medium-hot (about 400-425F) temperature. Shrimp doesn't take long to cook, so figure just a few minutes each side. The pesto does not get bitter, it tastes amazing with the shrimp.

This is so good hot, and even better cold. I used the leftover shrimp in a shrimp salad the following day, adding some celery, mayonnaise and a bit more pesto. Very, very yummy. And, of course, I used my homemade pesto to make it even better. I'll be making this again, that's for sure.

Friday, September 4, 2009


These cupcakes were made in early April, when I was having computer problems. Luckily, the photos were in my camera, and not on my hard drive, so they didn't get wiped out when we reformatted. But some of my notes were misplaced, and I can't find the frosting recipe, which was so over-the-top good. If my memory serves me, I believe I beat some Smucker's Special Recipe Butterscotch-Caramel Topping into some cream cheese frosting. It made a loose frosting but with the toasted pecans on top, it was divine. The cupcakes weren't bad either.

Mocha Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting and Toasted Pecans
Source: Judy's Kitchen adaptation from unknown original source
Rating: 9 out of 10
INGREDIENTS: 1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups low-protein flour, such as White Lily, or cake flour, lightly spooned and swept
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup Hershey's Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup Hershey's unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/3 cup hot water
2 tsp. instant coffee granules
Heat oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin wells with paper cups. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugars at medium speed till creamy and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, till yellow disappears. Beat in vanilla. In medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoas and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. In small cup, combine instant coffee and hot water; stir into cake batter. Divided batter evenly into cupcake liners. Bake 16-20 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted in center returns with just a few crumbs. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to finish coooling. Frost as desired. Yield: 24 cupcakes
NOTE: I made a 3-cup bundt cake, baked for 23 minutes; 12 standard cupcakes, baked for 18 minutes; and 12 mini cupcakes, baked for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


The next time you're in a peanut butter-chocolate mood, try these bars. They're fudgy, chewy and a little gooey and you won'tbe disappointed. The original recipe is from Taste of Home, titled "peanut butter cake bars." The photo looked good, but I didn't want a cakey bar. I wanted a chewy, gooey bar, and I wanted peanuts as well as peanut butter. So I made changes to ensure that I would get what I wanted.
First I added a bit of molasses to the sugar; next, I subbed white whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose; I added 1-1/2 cups of chopped salted peanuts and subbed 5 oz. of peanut butter chips for the milk chocolate chips. Lastly, I added 1/2 cup of Hershey's syrup. And these bars are the bomb! Great flavor, great texture and worth making.

If you want to make them less harmful, sub Smart Balance 50/50 butter blend for the butter; sub stevia (or sugar substitute of choice) for part or all of the sugar; use whole wheat, white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour.

Peanutty Peanut Butter-Chocolate Bars
Adapted from Taste of Home/Charlotte Ennis, Lake Arthur, NM
Rating: 9 out of 10

INGREDIENTS: 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter (I used Jif)
2 cups sugar + 2 tsp. molasses
4 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 cups chopped salted peanuts
5 oz. peanut butter chips
5 oz. milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup Hershey's chocolate syrup

Heat oven to 350. Grease a 9" x 13" baking pan; set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter, peanut butter, sugar and molasses till smooth, using medium-low speed of mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in peanuts and chips. Spread into greased pan. Spoon syrup over top of batter; cut in with knife or spatula and swirl. Bake 45-50 minutes, or till toothpick inserted near center returns almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield will depend on size of bars. You should get about 2 dozen.