Crockpot applesauce and Oct 09 Tasty Tools

An easy great way to have homemade applesauce. A few steps and let it go! I found this on A Year of Slow Cooking and it is great! I doubled it for extras to freeze and use in handpies.

I am also submitting this to Joelen’s Tasty Tools Event. Check out her blog at the end of the month for all the great slow cooker/crockpot recipes!



4 large apples, skinned ,cored, and cut in quarters
juice from 1 lemon

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1 T brown sugar

1/4 cup water

Skin, core, and cut your apples into quarters. Plop the pieces into your crockpot. Add the juice from the lemon, and the water. Pour in the vanilla (I used imitation–we were out of the good stuff), and add the cinnamon and brown sugar.
Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. When the apples are super tender, mash with a potato masher or large fork. Enjoy

German Pancake and Aug 09 Tasty Tools: Cast Iron Skillets

This months tasty tools for Joelen’s Culinary Adventures is Cast Iron Skillets. I have never used one before and dont even own one, but thankfully I was up visiting my folks and my mom has one. So after some search I decided to make a German pancake with apple topping-cooked apples in butter and cinnamon. It was easy to make and oh so good. Great as a dessert or gooey breakfast! Found from Martha Stewart!




3 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk, preferably whole
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)
1/2 cup fruit jam (optional)
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Heat oven to 400° F. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs to combine. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Add the milk, salt, and vanilla and mix until incorporated; set aside.
Add the butter to a large cast-iron skillet and transfer to oven until the butter melts. Remove from oven and quickly pour the batter into the hot skillet. Return to oven and bake until the pancake is puffed and golden, about 15 minutes.
Drizzle the lemon juice (if using) over the pancake. Spread the jam (if using) evenly over the top. Sprinkle with the confectioners’ sugar.

Strawberry Margarita Pie-July 09 Tasty Tools Springform pans

I recently saw this recipe on Annie’s Eats and knew to instantly mark it for future use. The recipe sounded and looked delicious and would be a perfect dessert to any Mexican meal. Well the opportunity to make it came sooner than I thought. This week H had several work dinners that we were putting on and one of the nights I decided to go Mexican. This pie was a WONDERFUL ending to our enchilada meal! Check out Annie’s Blog for more delicious recipes! Annie adapted this recipe from, Manchester Highlands Inn  via Hostess with the Mostess
I am also submitting this to Joelen’s Culinary Adventures tasty tools monthly blog event. Check out her blog at the end of the month for all the tasty tools recipes for Springform pans!



For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
6 tbsp. tequila
1/4 cup triple sec
3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
Zest of one lime
2 cups heavy cream

For garnish:
Fresh strawberries
Lime slices or wedges

To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.  Butter the parchment, as well as the sides of the springform.  In a medium bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar.  Add the melted butter and toss with a fork until well combined.  Transfer the mixture to the springform pan and evenly cover the sides and bottom of the pan with crumbs (use the bottom of a ramekin to even the bottom crust).  Bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  

To make the filling, combine the strawberries, sugar, condensed milk, tequila, triple sec, lime juice and lime zest in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.  Transfer to a large bowl.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Add one third of the whipped cream to the puree and gently fold in with a rubber spatula.  Stir in the remaining cream.  

Pour the filling into the crust, cover, and freeze until firm at least overnight.  To remove the springform sides, wrap a towel soaked in hot water around the outside of the pan for 10-15 seconds.  Carefully remove the sides of the pan.  Before serving, garnish with fresh strawberries and lime slices as desired.  To serve, slice with a hot, dry sharp knife, wiping the blade between slices.

Mini Brownie Bites and April’s Tasty Tools: Muffin Pans

mmmmm I love brownies. I love any recipe that can be whipped up in just one bowl. No need to pull out the mixer on this, just grab a whisk and a large bowl and you are all set. I love the deep chocolate flavor of these and how they are bite sized. Bite size always seems to taste better..LOL!
I found this recipe on Baking Sheet’s Site. Easy and delicious!

I am also submitting this to Joelen’s Culinary Adventures Monthly Tasty Tools event. Check out her blog at the end of the month for all the great Muffin Pan recipes!


Using mini muffin pan to make brownie bites

Using mini muffin pan to make brownie bites


6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup ap flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips, plus more for topping
marshmallows, for topping-I omitted this and added jelly beans for Easter!

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa, vegetable oil, sugar and brown sugar. Whisk in eggs one by one, followed by vanilla extract.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
Add flour mixture to cocoa mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
Place 24 mini muffin cups on a baking sheet and fill evenly (about 3/4 full) with brownie batter.
Bake for 14-16 minutes, until just set and slightly firm to the touch. A tester should have a few crumbs.
Cool on a wire rack. Top each brownie with a few chocolate chips. As they melt, press a marshmallow into the chocolate (I used jelly beans. Top as you wish!). Let stand until set.
Makes 24.

Tasty Tools March 09: WOKS and Stir Fry

This months Tasty Tools is using a WOK. I have always found using a wok can make cooking a bit easier, a bit healthier, and faster. I have found when I want to make omelets, using my wok is a great tool. You can first stir-fry the veggies, then set aside. While the pan is still hot pour in the scrambled eggs. Since the pan is so wide and can get very hot, it makes making an omelet very easy and less runny that using a regular pan. I also like it to make regular stir-fry meals, especially steak stir-fry. Here I browned some steak meat, added in some veggies, and lightly added a bit of Oriental Stir-Fry sauce. I don’t like to add too much, but a little bit makes the whole dish come together.

Try using your Wok for quick, healthy, and easy meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner!!

Don’t forget to check out Joelen’s Culinary Adventures for the Tasty Tools: WOK round-up at the end of the month!

A stove top WOK works great at controlling the temp!

A stove top WOK works great at controlling the temp!


Delicious Steak Stir-Fry

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough and Feb. Tasty Tools: Food Processor

In an attempt to make over our favorite foods to be much healthier, I was on a quest to find good tasting, but healthy pizza dough. Pizza can be healthy when topped with the right toppings, but only if you have good, healthy dough too. I found this recipe on I did take the reviewers suggestion and use all WW flour (3 and 1/4 cups was all I needed) and I did add some Italian Seasonings as well. Also as suggested I tweaked the cooking time a bit (Bake just crust at 500 degrees for 5 mins, then top pizza with toppings and finish cooking at 450 degrees until desired doneness).  The dough was very crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside with a great grainy flavor. I highly recommend this recipe. I did brush H’s side with butter on the outer crust part as that is his favorite, but mine I left plain as I like drier pizza crust.

We both topped ours with our favorite toppings and baked it to perfection!

I  have included the original recipe as found on I am also submitting this to Joelen’s Culinary Adventures Feb 09 Tasty Tools: Food Processor, Blog Event. I used my FP to shred the cheese for our pizza.It was a great way to save money by shredding my own and it makes shredding a large portion very easy. I needed mozzarella cheese in another recipe later this week but in slices. So buying a block to slice and shred helped cut down on over buying cheese that we might not eat before it goes bad! Don’t forget to check out Joelen’s Blog at the end of the month for all the Tasty Tools: Food Processor Recipes!




Food processor worked well for shredding the cheese!

1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
Desired pizza toppings..pepperoni, green peppers, cheeses, ham, mushrooms, tomatoes, sauce, sausage, pineapple, etc..

 In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.

Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour until dough starts to come together. Tip dough out onto a surface floured with the remaining all-purpose flour, and knead until all of the flour has been absorbed, and the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover loosely with a towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

When the dough is doubled, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 pieces for 2 thin crust, or leave whole to make one thick crust. Form into a tight ball. Let rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Roll a ball of dough with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further. Then, drape it over both of your fists, and gently pull the edges outward, while rotating the crust. When the circle has reached the desired size, place on a well oiled pizza pan. Top pizza with your favorite toppings, such as sauce, cheese, meats, or vegetables.

Bake for 16 to 20 minutes (depending on thickness) in the preheated oven, until the crust is crisp and golden at the edges, and cheese is melted on the top.


Warm Double Chocolate Brownie Cakes and January Tasty Tools: Measuring Tools!

I just received my first issue of Food and Wine and immediately wanted to make the warm double chocolate cakes I saw in the back of the issue! The recipe was very easy to make and I had everything on hand! They remind me of a lava cake  how the middle is a bit gooey, but not as messy at all, much more cake and cupcake-like…very portable!!! I did put mine in cupcake liners to hopefully put in H’s lunches…if they make it that far!! LOL!

I am also submitting this to the Jan. Tasty Tools: Measuring Tools, blog event that Joelen of Joelen’s Culinary Adventures hosts each month! Check out her blog at the end of the month for all the great measuring tools recipes! I used my scale to weigh out the 5 oz. of chocolate required in this recipe.


Measuring Tools-A scale

Tasty Tools: Measuring Tools-A scale



  1. 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 5 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  3. 3 tablespoons cake flour
  4. 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  5. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 3/4 cup sugar
  9. 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  10. Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour 8 cups in a standard-size muffin pan. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add one-fifth of the milk chocolate and whisk until melted. Let cool slightly.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the cake flour with the all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder and salt. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar at medium speed until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the melted chocolate mixture and the dry ingredients in 3 additions, scraping down the bowl occasionally with a spatula. Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate.
  3. Spoon the cake batter into the prepared muffin cups and bake for about 22 minutes, until the cakes are risen and springy. Let the cakes cool in the muffin pan for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes longer. Serve the cakes warm, with ice cream.


Make Ahead

    The brownie cakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Rewarm the cakes before serving. **To us they taste just fine room temperature as well when part of H’s lunches!**

Italian Sprinkle Cookies and Dec Tasty Tools: Cookie Sheets

What a great, easy cookie ball with an excellent light flavor! I wanted a new type of cookie to make this year with all my other baking and found these in my Taste of Home Cookie book! Very easy to make and huge on flavor!

I am also submitting this to Joelen’s Culinary Adventures Tasty Tools Blog Event for December!! Check out her blog at the end of the month for all the great recipes!


dsc04136   dsc04140

72 cookies

  • 6 large eggs
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder (plus 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup shortening, melted
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract


  1. Using a heavy-duty electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs until light and foamy, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In another mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar and baking powder; gradually add shortening and extracts until a bead-like texture is formed.
  3. Gradually add beaten eggs (dough will be stiff).
  4. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes.
  6. The tops of the cookies will not brown, but the bottoms should brown slightly.
  7. For glaze, combine milk and extracts in a large bowl.
  8. Add sugar; whisk until all lumps are dissolved and the glaze is smooth.
  9. As soon as cookies are removed from the oven, quickly immerse two or three at a time into the glaze. Remove with a slotted spoon or fingers.
  10. Place cookies on wire racks to drain.
  11. Quickly top with sprinkles.
  12. Let dry 24 hours before storing in airtight containers.

Pumpkin Cheesecake and November Tasty Tools: Roaster Pans

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! My mom and I love love love pumpkin cheesecake! I had seen this recipe on Cook’s Illustrated for a while now and knew this was the recipe I wanted to make! This cheesecake recipe was my first ever to make and it was excellent! The mixture of the spices with the creams (cream cheese and heavy cream!) was to die for!! I found it was a very easy recipe to follow and eased my cheesecake worries!!!

I also submitted this to Joelen’s Culinary Adventures November Tasty Tools Blog Event!! Check out her blog for all the great recipes using a roaster!!




Makes one 9-inch cake, serving 12 to 16.   Published November 1, 2003.

Depending on the oven and the temperature of the ingredients, the cheesecake may bake about 15 minutes faster or slower than the instructions indicate; it is therefore best to check the cake 1 1/4 hours into baking. Although the cheesecake can be made up to three days in advance, the crust will begin to lose its crispness after only one day. To make slicing the cheesecake easy and neat, use a knife with a narrow blade, such as a carving knife; between cuts, dip the blade into a pitcher of hot water and wipe it clean with paper towels. The cheesecake is good on its own, but the Brown Sugar and Bourbon Cream (recipe follows) is a grand addition.


5 ounces graham crackers (9 whole crackers), broken into large pieces
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar (10 1/3 ounces)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon table salt
  1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese , cut into 1-inch chunks and left to soften at room temperature, about 30 minutes
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
5 large eggs , left at room temperature, about 30 minutes
1 cup heavy cream


  1. 1. FOR THE CRUST:Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Pulse crackers, sugar, and spices in food processor until evenly and finely ground, about fifteen 2-second pulses. Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle melted butter over, and mix with rubber spatula until evenly moistened. Turn crumbs into prepared springform pan and, using hand, spread crumbs into even layer. Using flat-bottomed ramekin or drinking glass, press crumbs evenly into pan bottom, then use a soup spoon to press and smooth crumbs into edges of pan. Bake until fragrant and browned about the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.
  2. 2. FOR THE FILLING: Bring about 4 quarts water to simmer in stockpot. Whisk sugar, spices, and salt in small bowl; set aside. To dry pumpkin (see illustrations below): Line baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels. Spread pumpkin on paper towels in roughly even layer. Cover pumpkin with second triple layer of paper towels and press firmly until paper towels are saturated. Peel back top layer of towels and discard. Grasp bottom towels and fold pumpkin in half; peel back towels. Repeat and flip pumpkin onto baking sheet; discard towel.
  3. 3. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat cream cheese at medium speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula. Add about one third of sugar mixture and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute; scrape bowl and add remaining sugar in two additions, scraping bowl after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat at medium speed until combined, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add 3 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 1 minute; scrape bowl. Add remaining 2 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined, about 45 seconds. Using rubber spatula, scrape bottom and sides of bowl and give final stir by hand.
  4. 4. Set springform pan with cooled crust on 18-inch-square doubled layer heavy-duty foil and wrap bottom and sides with foil; set wrapped springform pan in roasting pan. Pour filling into springform pan and smooth surface; set roasting pan in oven and pour enough boiling water to come about halfway up side of springform pan. Bake until center of cake is slightly wobbly when pan is shaken, and center of cake registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours (see note). Set roasting pan on wire rack and use paring knife to loosen cake from sides of pan. Cool until water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath, discard foil, and set on wire rack; continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.
  5. 5. TO SERVE: Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto serving platter. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

White Bean and Chicken Chili and Oct. Tasty Tools Blog Event!

This month for the Tasty Tools Blog event we needed to use a dutch oven. I love using my LARGE 8 qt dutch oven for big batches of bolognese sauce, stews, and soups. It is a rather large dutch oven, I keep meaning to get a 5 qt, but for this recipe it was great. I doubled it to have a ton to freeze and it was great! Check out Joelen’s Culinary Adventures for all the dutch oven recipes at the end of the month! This recipe was super easy to make as well…could be an after work meal on a busy night!

I got this recipe from the Oct. issue of Bon Appetit!



2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
2 tbsp chopped pickled jalapeno from a jar
4 garlic cloves minced
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 15-oz cans Great Northern Beans, drained
1 pound cooked and chopped chicken breast
1/2 cup half and half-I used 2% milk
I also added an extra can of Great Northern Beans pureed in the blender for thickness…totally optional!

Heat oil in dutch oven over medium heat. Add celery, onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno; saute until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, and cumin; saute about 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until veggies are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add beans, chicken and half and half. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm! Top with a bit of sour cream if desired and corn muffins!