Monday, November 26, 2012

Peanut Butter Fudge

Three ingredients... three very dangerous ingredients.
This peanut butter fudge was so amazingly easy and so delicious.

I made this yesterday, and froze it to keep to bring out closer to Christmas.
Too bad I let my husband know it was in there.... have I mentioned that it even tastes good frozen?  
Too bad I know it's in there too.
Good news IS.... it's easy to make more.

You could add chopped dry roasted peanuts to the mixture if you prefer crunchy peanut butter fudge. I think it better than using crunchy peanut butter... but heck, even that ought to be delicious too. You could also add chocolate chips at the last minute before adding it to the pan to cool.

Makes about 2 lbs

1 cup butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
16 oz powdered sugar (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 tsp vanilla (I forgot to use it...)

Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper ( I used an 6x10 pan).

Melt butter and peanut butter in a medium size sauce pan over medium heat.  Let it melt completely.

Turn off the heat, then add the vanilla and the powdered sugar. 

Mix well

Add to the pan, smooth the top.  Chill for 2 hours, then cut into squares.

Do you like fudge?
Who doesn't, right?
Here's a couple other good (and easy) recipes:
Penuche- Brown Sugar Fudge
Fudge for Dummies

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Yummy Nuts

These are crunchy, delicious and addicting! Sweet and salty too.

My sister-in-law has been making these for years, and graciously shared the recipe with me (and now you!).  When I first tried them, I thought it was the most amazing thing I ever tasted!

Now I make these every Christmas time, to eat and share.
They make great hostess gifts or gifts for co-workers and perfect for a holiday gathering.  I once took a huge double batch of these into work and they were devoured in under two hours!  

I tell myself that these are better for you than candy, because the nuts have protein and good oils.... okay, I know that not exactly correct, but it works for me at this time of year. 

These nuts are, of course, great on their own for snacking, but also fantastic in salads (think of it with pears and blue cheese, tossed with some greems!) and also good in cookies for some more crunch.

One other thing, you could add spices to the mixture for a little more kick.  Try cinnamon, cloves, or ground ginger.  

Makes about 5 cups

1/2 cup butter, I use regular salted butter.
1 cup sugar
2 egg whites
5 cups of nuts (walnuts or pecans)
Dash of salt, if desired

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Cut the butter in half (1/4 cup each) and one to each cookie sheet.  Add it to the oven to melt while you are doing the rest of the prep for the yummy nuts.

Separate the eggs, retaining the yolks for another use (like scrambled eggs tomorrow).
With a mixer, beat the egg whites until they are starting to firm up.  Sprinkle in the sugar while the mixer is going. It will be a sticky, shiny mixture that almost looks like marshmallow cream.

Add the nuts

Mix to coat the nuts, don't stir too vigorously, just enough to coat the nuts.

Take your hot, buttery pans out of the oven.  They look something like this:

Add the nuts in one single layer.... that's why I have you use two pans.  You could do one pan, but it's a bit trickier to stir them later on.

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring them every 10 minutes! The nuts will brown as the time goes, and stirring helps to brown evenly. 

Try to let them cool a bit before trying them... 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pink Palace Cocktail

We just got back from a little business, and pleasure, trip.  
I'm sorry I've been a slacker and haven't posted in almost two weeks.

But, Arizona in November is pretty fantastic... last Sunday was 80 degrees. 
By the pool... 
...after a relaxing massage
...with a cocktail.
Can you say happy?  I can.

A Pink Palace hit the spot.  So simple to make and enjoy too.
Even if you don't have a pool, or the weather.

We're sitting here visiting, waiting for the Thanksgiving turkey to cook.  
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  

Makes one

3 oz of pineapple juice, about 1/3 cup
1 jigger coconut rum
1/2 jigger Grand Marnier
1-2 Tbsp grenadine
1 maraschino cherry, optional
1 orange slice, optional

In a tall glass filled about 3/4 with ice, add the rum, the Grand Mariner, the grenadine and the pineapple juice.  It looks like a sunset like this...

but I would recommend giving it a little stir to make it all delightfully coral pink, and every drop tp taste the same deliciousness. Add a maraschino cherry, if you like.  An orange slice would be nice too, if you have one.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Baked Parmesan Salmon

This is such an easy way to prepare fish.  
We had it twice in one week, I was so happy with the results.
It's rich and delicious... and easy, did I mention that?
OK, so it's not particularly low calorie, it's really good... and it's easy.
I really, really loved this technique and plan on using it again and again.  Everyone needs a down and dirty fish recipe that is easy to do after working all day... that tastes like something special too.

Next time I make this, I may try using Greek yogurt instead of mayo to see how that works. 

Serves 2 

2 fish fillets (salmon, tilapia, cod or red snapper work well)
½ lemon, juiced
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
3 Tbsp finely chopped green onions
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt 

1 Tbsp fresh basil, minced
1 (or two...) dash hot pepper sauce
Pepper, you won't need salt because of the cheese and mayo!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In buttered 13-by-9-inch baking dish or jellyroll pan, lay fillets in single layer.

Brush top with lemon juice. 
Bake fish in preheated oven 10 to 20 minutes or until fish just starts to flake or "sweat" a little bit.  The cooking time depends on how thick your fish is, and how cooked you like it.  I like mine a little on the underdone side.

While that is cooking, in a small bowl combine all ingredients; cheese, butter, mayonnaise, cheese, green onions and seasonings.

Mix well with fork. 

Spread the salmon with cheese mixture 

Broil until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Serve at once.

I tried this baked as above, or also on the stove top using my cast iron skillet.I quickly seared the salmon and cooked for about 5 minutes, then topped with the mixture and popped it under the broiler.

Need some other Salmon recipes?:
Black & White Salmon
Lemon Rosemary Salmon
Maple Dijon Salmon Fillets on Spinach Salad
Salmon, Spinach & Garbonzos baked in foil

Salmon with Asian Ginger Lime Sauce

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thanksgiving Ideas

Thanksgiving is almost here.
How's your inspiration doing?
Sometimes mine isn't too zippy at this time of year.
I thought maybe yours needed a jump start too.

People can be picky... some don't like change, some don't eat meat, some don't eat any animal products.  
As if you don't have enough to do on that one big feast day, right?
Let's see... this is what my day looks like...
Set a beautiful table using all your best stuff
Cook all day
Eat for... what, one hour tops?
Make delightful conversation
Clear the table
Package leftovers
Clean, clean, clean
Go lay on the floor, comatose, or play a vicious board game with your loved ones.
It's a HECK of a lot of work, most of these recipes are do ahead, or at least prep ahead.
Go ahead and enjoy yourself on this day.

Here's some of my favorite recipes that are appropriate for a variety of people...

Good ole' Stuffing!  My favorite dish from Thanksgiving, which is funny since it wasn't always that way.

Chorizo Chipotle Cornbread Stuffing

Make some cornbread a couple of days before, and chop the onions and celery too, and you'll be mostly ready.


Sourdough and Sausage Stuffing

Like above, chop the celery and onions ahead of time, and cube up some stale sourdough in the weeks before Thanksgiving and keep it in the freezer. Don't try this recipe with super fresh sourdough bread, it needs to be dried out.

Need some Vegetarian or Vegan Options ?  Every group gathering seems to have them...
Everyone in your group will like these

Roasted Beets with Walnuts and Goat Cheese

Perfect for the vegetarians in the group, and if you kept the goat cheese on the side, you could feed the vegans too.  This dish would be just as good at room temperature if you want to do it ahead of time.

Red Quinoa and Butternut Squash Salad 

Definately do this one the day before, serve like a salad, either cold, hot or room temperature.  This would also be filling enough for a main course for the Vegan's in your group.


Butternut Squash Waldorf Salad

Colorful, flavorful and crunch too.  This one is similar to the above, make ahead and serve cool, or at room temperature. 

Creamed Spinach and Mushrooms, Cooking Light

I love this one, so yummy and rich too.  Make this the day before and reheat until bubbly warm with the turkey.

Caramelized Green Onions, Tomato and Zucchini

This one is more last minute preparation, but the good news is that you could get all the veggies chopped and ready to go in the days before Thanksgiving.

What about desserts?  Yeah, the most important part!

Pecan Pie with Kahlua  

Somebody at my house hates, hates, hates pumpkin pie. I always make a pecan pie to make him happy.  I like how most people want a slice of pecan pie AND pumpkin pie.  Make this the day before too.

Maple Yogurt Pound Cake 

I dunno, maybe Maple pound cake isn't special enough for the big holiday???  But, you could serve this for breakfast on Thanksgiving, or something nice much later after the big dinner with some coffee.  The flavors and textures are just perfect for Fall.

 (Photo credit to Thanks Rivka!)
Rhubarb Ginger Whole Wheat Pie

This one is Vegan, and delicious.  You could substitute Apples for Rhubarb. I could eat this every week...


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Masa Chocolate Chip Cookies

Someone is sick at my house
- and it's her 22nd birthday
- and she has chicken pox
- and she is gluten free 
Oh geez...
besides making her favorite chicken soup, what do you make to make that girl feel better?

Lots of people are going gluten free these days, because they need to, or they just feel better without eating gluten. I'm not sure I'm going there... yet, but I'm always on the look out for some new way to make things, and this recipe just appealed to me.

The cookies came out picture perfect with a nice crunch and some interesting flavor from the Masa flour.  My hubby didn't love these, but he did manage to tuck into quite a few all the while mentioning they weren't his favorite.  My daughter, and her boyfriend, liked them a whole bunch.
I stashed a half dozen in the freezer, before they disappeared, for my BFF, who is also gluten free.

In no way do I want you to think I made spotty cookies for my spotty chicken pox'd daughter.... that would just not be nice.  Paige-y, I hope you are feeling better and delightfully spot free soon.  I'm really, really sorry that all the exposing you to chicken pox as a kid didn't work out.

Folks, if you're an adult that has never had chicken pox, get the vaccine NOW. I didn't know it was available, but boy, this would have reduced a bunch of heartache at our house if we had done this. 


Makes about 36 2" cookies

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup instant masa de maiz flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional- I skipped these)
1 cup chocolate chips (I used mini!)

Beat butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla until fluffy. Add masa, soda, and salt; mix well. Stir in the nuts and chips. Use a cookie scoop, or roll the batter into balls about one inch in diameter or slightly larger. Bake on parchment or silicone mats at 375 degree for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for several minutes before you transfer them to a rack to finish cooling.