Friday, January 29, 2010

WALNUT Brown Sugar Chewy Bars

ooooh the mighty WALNUT...

thank goodness i finally woke up and found the beauty of walnuts. they're buttery, rich, soft, but crunchy and, of course, full of those good omegas. #1 nut on the omega scale i do believe.

if you're like i was and have a slight aversion to these wonderful nuggets, i suggest you give this little bar a try. this quick easy recipe could change your perspective and you might find yourself seeking more ways to get walnuts into your life.
these little treats are nearly guilt free as well. i know they DO have a good amount of sugar, but there's NO BUTTER!...doesn't that count for something? the only fats are from the omega man...the mighty new friend.

i came across this recipe from Sprinkle bakes. Heather has some great photos and tasty treats that i can't wait to try and you should check out. She found this recipe in The American Woman's Cookbook and i'm so so happy she passed it on. i can't wait to try using this as a base and using Trader Joe's sweet and spicy pecans, or throw in some miny chocolate chips, or get some coconut in there somewhere?....and you know i always love to throw in a bit of heat...cayenne and salted peanuts perhaps?...hmmm. i'll think about it. these are so easy to whip up there's really no excuse not to try them at least once. you won't regret it. maybe you'll even fall in love with could happen.

The American Woman's Cookbook

1 1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour sifted
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp vanilla

preheat oven to 375. grease 9 x 12 jellyroll pan and set aside.
mix brown sugar, flour and salt...set aside.
combine eggs and vanilla and beat well.
add egg mixture to flour mixture and blend well. mix until smooth.
fold in walnuts.
pour onto prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
cut into bars while still a bit warm.
store in airtight container.

my notes...i added about 1/2 plus more walnuts in the dough and i pressed some on top.
i also added approx 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
my pan was a 9 x 13 metal cake pan.

Monday, January 25, 2010

CARNE ADOVADA-Pork in Mex. Red Chili Sauce

Carne Adovada..hmmmm, yummm....yup, still on with my Mexican savories. well, this one is a New Mexico specialty. i just like anything hot and spicy, add in some good ol'pork butt and i'm good to go.
rich deep red sauce made from scratch. not only is it easy it's incredibly satisfying to create something authentic tasting from start to finish. it's just a little time consuming, but well worth it. the worst part is waiting for the 24-48 hours while it marinates in the fridge. it's hard to look at everytime you open the door and wish it was for dinner that night. i was good and waited 48 hours. on a side note...there are plenty of other recipes out there using chili powder, but i like to start with the real dried chilies...this way you really know what going in...some of those chili powders are a bit "iffy" and no where near as strong. also, i'm sure you could mix in a few dried Poblano, Guaillo and/or Arbols if you wanted. well, as a matter of fact, i have for something similar and they work just as well. the heat you get from the New Mexico chilies it subtle, yet big and lingers on your taste buds. hard to explain. it's hot, but not scary hot. with so few ingredients you can really taste each one. i really like the bit of oregano it calls for and the smokiness from the cumin. give it a try. it's fab with the pork chunks or shredded, some buttery avocado, cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime. serve with fresh tortillas, crunchy chips, as a tostada, in a burrito or anyway you'd like. i really enjoyed it with a salad...the crisp cool lettuce with the rich spicy tender pork was over the top good.
8 to 10 dried red New Mexico or California chilies
2 cups water
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1/2 pounds lean boneless pork butt or 2 pounds pork chops, cut 1/2 inch thick
(i highly suggest the pork butt, chops tend to be a bit dry and stiff IMO)

Wash chilies; remove stems and seeds. Place in 3-quart pan with water. Cover and simmer 20 minutes or until chilies are very soft. Pour chilies and liquid into blender or food processor container fitted with metal blade; process until puréed. Push purée through wire strainer; discard pulp. Add onion, garlic, oregano, salt and cumin to chili mixture.
If using pork butt, trim excess fat. Cut meat into 1/2-inch slices, then cut into strips about 1 inch wide and 3 inches long. If using pork chops, trim fat.
Place meat in heavy self-sealing plastic bag. Pour chili mixture over meat; seal bag. Refrigerate 1 to 2 days. Preheat oven to 325°F. Transfer meat and chili mixture to 2-1/2-quart casserole; cover. Bake 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until meat is very tender. Skim and discard fat before serving.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


GUILT FREE CUSTARD...yes...still working off the holiday sugar rush? i know i am, so here's one of my staples i love to have in the fridge for a quick guilt free yummy.

side note...whew, geeeez..i'm so behind with my posts, darn it... i've got 10 drafts all lined up and waiting. i'm quick on the cook and shoot, but a bit slow on the ol' pen to paper. i'm a snail when it comes to getting it all together to actually post for all to see...all 3 of you. just kidding...i love all your support and interest in my funny little food world. all your comments really make my day. it's so exciting to see a new comment and or a new friend pop up.

so on with the new item before i get all gushie or something....

most of you have heard of Impossible pies...if you haven't, they are pies with no crust. the crust is kind of formed by the flour or Bisquick that falls to the bottom while baking. at least that's what i think happens. i found a good site called Ellen's Kitchen that explains it a little and it has loads of fun impossible pies to make. as you'll see, you can just about add anything you want to the basic recipe idea and you'll create your own impossible pie.

this one turned out killer tasty good. i simply added a bit of fresh grated ginger and a bit of orange zest, poured it all into a square baking dish instead of a pie plate and VOILA...Ginger Orange Custard Squares...happy, happy, and more HAPPY !!!

i don't quite remember how i came across this exact recipe, but this is the one i use as a base. i have put my changes and additions in italics and bold. my recipe is chock full o' protein and is very low carb so it's a really delicious and satisfying treat any time of the day.

(*** denotes important changes)

1/2 cup sugar (1/2 cup cooking splenda)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups of milk (1 cup whole and 1 cup nonfat)
1/2 cup bisquick (i use 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup almond flour)

***i add 1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese
and 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder

***for this particular pie i used approx 1/2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger and 1/2 Tbsp orange zest

Put all the above ingredients in blender except the bisquick.
***i use an immersion blender. definitely the best tool for the job
Blend at low speed for 1 minute. (i like to blend the eggs, cottage cheese and 1 cup of milk in first. make sure the cottage cheese is WELL blended, you don't want any chunks AT ALL)
Add the bisquick, blend for 4 minutes.
Pour all ingredients into a greased 11 inch pie plate. (i usually use a glass pie plate, but this time i wanted squares so i went with the 2 qt.(8 or 9 inch) square pyrex...i like glass so i can see that the bottom is not browning.)
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, insert a knife, it comes out clean the pie is done.
Sprinkle with nutmeg.
You can also add coconut to the above ingredients before baking.

as far as coconut pies go, you can see my 1/2 healthy coconut blender pie version i made here and have since made it again with the changes you see above....i've also made chocolate custard pie, maple custard, lemon, almond and so on and on and on....the flavors are limitless.

give the IMPOSSIBLE A TRY!!!! week i'm trying the dinner Taco Impossible Pie a try...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


i am quite sure this is the BEST COOKIE for this year...this decade !!!!!!
right out of the gate i'm thinking this one is IT !!!
i found this recipe @ Piece of Cake. Shauna, the blogger, has quite a sense of humor. her post with this cookie is called "Really Bad Idea". trust her on this one...these ARE a really bad idea! one little piece leads to another and another and soon you're breaking up the whole thing and shoveling crunchy bits in your face as fast as you can chew. sharing becomes an immediate problem. i don't know if i want to hug her or kill her for introducing this X-treme cookie specimen. i've already made it twice and i'm thinking of another flavor combo right now. the recipe is soooo easy and you can easily change up the flavors. of course i'm already thinkin' bacon, peanuts, banana chips and cayenne...oooooh...mmmmmm...then i might go WHITE with some white chocolate macadamia nuts and Cinnamon?...hmmmm, maybe.
below i have copied the recipe for your convenience, BUT i really think you should visit Shauna's blog...... PIECE OF CAKE. she has some tasty great stuff and is a really fun read.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle
Adapted from The American Country Inn Bed and Breakfast Cookbook, Vol. 2
Try a variety of chip and nut combinations in the mix--I love bittersweet chocolate chips and cashews, but I'm thinking throwing a few butterscotch chips or shredded coconut into the mix would also be fabulous.
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsalted roasted cashews
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (60% cacao--I like Ghiradelli)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set a rack to the center position. Pour the melted butter into a large bowl, and stir in the vanilla. With a wooden spoon (or your hands, if your prefer), add the sugar, salt and flour and mix to combine--the mixture will be somewhat crumbly, like a moist pie dough. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips. Press the mixture in a thin, even layer onto an ungreased cookie sheet (use the chocolate chips as your guide--try to get them in as close to a single layer as possible throughout the dough, and you'll have the right thickness). You may not fill the entire sheet with the dough--that's okay.
Bake for 23-25 minutes, until light golden brown (the edges will be a bit darker than the center). Let cool completely before breaking into whatever sized pieces you desire. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
MY NOTES...i followed the instructions exactly and i used 1/2 cup regular semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1/2 cup butterscotch chips, 1/4(plus) heath bar chips, and chopped pecans
my first time i baked it all on parchment for easy removal, but this is totally NOT necessary. second batch was right on the cookie sheet (a large one...the largest you can fit in your oven). also, i used a small rolling pin to get it as flat as possible-using the chips as a guide. the edges might look too crumbly, as mine did (i always add extra goodies), but don't fret...just shove it together a little and the rest will bake together.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


ahhhh...i'm back in the kitchen! not that i was ever out of the kitchen with the holiday madness and all, but i'm back in the kitchen cooking up pretty little things that don't have to feed the masses or conform to everyone else's taste likes and dislikes. you alllll know what i mean.

i hope you all had a great holiday with all kinds of sweets and savories...

now let's get on with the show !!!!..the 2010 stuff, re-do stuff, same ol' stuff, but different stuff..just lots of good stuff. and don't forget the weird stuff. i'll do my best to try to find some new good weird stuff.
well, here ya version of the Millionaire Cookie Bar. basically a shortbread cookie covered in caramel and then dipped in chocolate..EASY...IMPRESSIVE, kind of a candy bar but still a cookie.
i started with a classic Scottish Shortbread cookie i found by googling around. i prefer the dense kind rather than the flaky buttery kind for the classic. don't get me wrong i love ALL shortbread. i have quite a few through out my blogg, mostly using a Dorie Greenspan base recipe including these Maple Pecan Shortbread Bars. when i make these again i will probably try the Millionaire Bars that are created in one pan...shortbread, caramel and chocolate then cut into squares rather than individual like i have done here. just for time's sake and i'd like to use Dorie shortbread for a variation on flavor and texture.
BUT...i find this recipe a classic, dense Scottish Shortbread.
i have used this recipe quite a few times with a few changes in flavor and it always works well
i found it here @ ROCKRECIPIES with many thanks to, Barry, the blogger and copied below for your convenience. you'll find my notes and changes following the original.

2 cups salted butter
3/4 cup sugar
Add 2 tbsp vanilla extract
Fold in: 4 cups flour
Roll in balls and flatten or roll out and cut into shapes as desired. I like to bake the dough in large rectangles and then cut the cookies in fingers just when they come out of the oven and are still warm. (don't forget to use a parchment sling)
Bake at 350 degrees 12-15 minutes until edges are golden brown. Allow longer baking time if you are baking the large rectangles of dough to be cut in fingers.
my shortbread notes.....i added 1/2 tbsp. cardamon and to half the recipe i added 1/4-1/3 cup heath chips (as you can see in photo with the walnut top)
i divided the dough in half and used 2 9 x 9 pans...don't know why, but i thought i was going to make 2 totally different cookies. i ended up just cutting them different. i have made them in a 9 x 13 pan as well. i put the dough directly into the pan and start pressing down firmly....i mean i like this dough packed in tight, i don't want it flakey at all. press all the way to the edges. i put a flat surface in top, like a book and stood on it for goodness sake! then half way through the cooking i went in and lightly pressed the top with the bottom of a flat glass...
i think shortbread like this should be scored before cooking. then cut all the way through while still warm. i like to keep it in the pan through the whole process until completely cool in order to really hold it's sharp edges.
shortbread fingers and or squares
chocolate bark
caramel squares (approx 12 oz. melted w/ 1 tbsp whipping cream)
nuts...roasted, salted or whatever you think best. i liked spiced pecans best.
melt your caramels and cream in a saucepan very slow over low/med heat. watch carefully. dip tops of shortbread and let cool completely on wax paper (i lightly sprayed the wax paper to insure non stick). i would definitely prefer homemade caramel, but these Kraft squares worked well...just not quite the flavor of real homemade.
melt your chocolate in microwave or double boiler. dip caramel shortbread in as far as you please. cool on wax paper. i just went for half...looked great and the chocolate doesn't over power the whole thing.
top with nut of choice before choc. cools ...
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