Friday, May 30, 2014


My daughter's school does a reenactment of the Civil War. My oldest daughter fought for the North. Since my younger daughter wanted to fight for the same side as her sister, she was undecided. She wanted to talk to her sister first. She took to long deciding what side to pick so by default she became a Southern. Most of my daughter's friends had picked the North. (We do live in Maine.) Since my husband and I were both born in New England, I reminded her that her Grandfather is a Southern and one of her Aunts were born in the South so she should fight for them. We did get a photo of her with President Lincoln so I think her fellow Southerns believed she was a spy anyways. Also, she was seen often speaking with a lot of the Northern soldiers. Part of the experience is all the soldiers had to eat what the soldiers were served back during the Civil War. If for some reason you need a recipe for hardtack, this is the place to find it. I will admit I felt bad for all the soldiers if they had to live off of hardtack. Hardtack is hard and salty. Now, these crackers were fresh so I could only imagine how hard they were when the soldiers did receive them.
4 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
2 Tbsp vegetable shortening
2 tsp salt
1 to 1 1/4 cup water

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a food processor, combine the flour, shortening, and salt.
  3. Slowly, pour in the water while pulsing.
  4. Continue adding the water to form a stiff but not sticky batter.
  5. Knead several times.
  6. Roll the dough onto an ungreased baking sheet to 1/2 inch thickness.
  7. Bake the dough for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven.
  9. Cut the dough into 3 inch sections. 
  10. Using a fork, punch several rows of holes into the dough.
  11. Flip the dough over so the punched side is down on the baking sheet.
  12. Bake the dough for another 20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
  13. Turn off the oven and allow the oven to cool.
Recipe adapted from American Civil War Recipes.

One year ago........................I made Creamy Chicken Enchiladas.
Two years ago......................I made Feta Topped Chicken.
Did you already know...........
-The hardtack was issued to Union soldiers as part of their rations.
-Due to lack of proper storage, the hardtack often arrived infested with bugs called weevils. 
-To make it easier to eat, many soldiers would dunk it into a liquid to soften it or cook it into a mesh with grease.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Molasses Spice Cookies

Recently, my friend had surgery. I wanted to bring her something more than just flowers so I made her cookies. I knew she would like these cookies so I had to make them for her. I shared some with my sister and she said they taste like gingerbread. My daughter loved them. I mean loved them. Since there was no chocolate in them, I even shared one with our dog. He instantly became my best friend. He already was my friend but I think it brought us closer. I think it doesn't hurt that I also give him pieces of cheese, apples, and carrots (his all time favorite snack) but the cookie helped our friendship.
Molasses Spice Cookies
10 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/4 cup sugar, divided

  1. Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the egg and molasses.
  4. Add 1 cup of sugar and mix until incorporated.
  5. Add the cooled butter and mix until incorporated.
  6. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix well. Scrap down the bowl.
  7. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix well. Scrap down the bowl.
  8. Add the remaining flour mixture.
  9. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove the dough and form about a Tablespoon of dough into balls.
  11. Place the dough onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
  12. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  13. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  14. Place the 1/4 cup of sugar into a small bowl.
  15. Roll each ball of dough into the sugar to coat.
  16. Flatten the balls slightly.
  17. Space the dough about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
  18. Bake the cookies for 5 minutes.
  19. Rotate and bake the cookies for another 5 minutes or until the cookies are dark golden brown.
  20. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Recipe adapted from the Standard Baking Co. Pastries Cookbook by Alison Pray and Tara Smith. 

One year ago........................I made Peanut Butter Cup PB Cookies.
Two years ago......................I made Mahogany Cake.
Did you already know...........
-Molasses is the byproduct of the extraction of sugar from sugarcane and sugar beets.
-The Molasses Act of 1733, the British imposed a tax on all non-British imports of sugar and molasses to the colonies.
-On January 15, 1919, a large molasses storage tank collapsed in the North End of Boston creating a two story flood causing the death of 21 people and about 150 injuries.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Red, White, and Blue Cake

Memorial Day signifies many things to many people. My Grandmother would visit the graves of family members. For others, it is the parade and remembering lost service members. For us, it signifies my husband's birthday since often his birthday falls on the holiday. Well, I had to make him a patriotic cake. My sister found the idea on pinterest and sent it to me. I decided to try making star shapes. I did learn that the cake needs to be frozen so it is easy to cut out the shapes. Also, I used the rest of the red and blue cake to make my bottom layer so I didn't waste any cake. I liked the affect. I used this cake recipe.  The best part of making this cake is my daughter helped.
Red, White, and Blue Cake
1 baked red cake
1 baked blue cake
1 white cake batter

  1. Freeze the red cake and the blue cake for 1 hour.
  2. Cut out the star shapes from the frozen cake.
  3. Place the cut out cooked red and blue cake stars into the white cake batter.
  4. Make sure the cut out star shapes are covered by the white cake batter.
  5. Bake the white cake as normal.
  6. Once cooked, frost as desired and serve.
Recipe adapted from Recipebyphoto.

One year ago.................................I made a Star Cake.
Two years ago...............................I made a Stuffed Burger.
An example of my cut out blue star.
Did you already know...................
-Memorial Day once was called Decoration Day.
-Decoration Day began to remember all the fallen Civil War soldiers.
-On May 5th, 1868, the Union Veterans decided to establish a day to decorate the graves of the fallen soldiers with flowers.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Black and White Pudding Squares

My son has been asking for me to make this dessert. He saw the recipe at the grocery store. On three separate occasions, my son would pick up another card. We would pick up the ingredients but Oreos do not last long at our house so we would have to wait until next time. Finally, we made it. It is very good. The puddings will still be soft and creamy. I wanted a little more flavor so I used Mint Oreos.
Black and White Pudding Squares
24 Mint Oreo Cookies, finely crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 package (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened and divided
1 package Vanilla Instant Pudding
2 cups cold skim milk, divided
1 package Chocolate Instant Pudding
Toppings: whip cream and crushed Oreo cookies.

  1. Combine the Oreo cookies with the melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 8x8 baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, beat 4 oz. of the cream cheese with the vanilla pudding package and 1 cup of milk.
  3. Spread the mixture over the Oreo crust.
  4. In the bowl, beat 4 oz. of the cream cheese with the chocolate pudding package and 1 cup of milk. 
  5. Spread over the vanilla pudding mixture.
  6. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
  7. Before serving, top with whip cream and crushed Oreo cookies.
Recipe adapted from Kraft recipe card but also found at Jell-O

One year ago...........................I made Banana Muffins.
Two years ago.........................I made Pickles.
My daughter assembled her piece
Did you already know................
-In 1897, Pearle Wait trademarked his Jell-O desserts. 
-In 1936, Jell-O introduced chocolate instant pudding.
-Jell-O brand is part of Kraft foods.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Blue Cheese Dressing

My friend at work gave me her favorite blue cheese recipe. I kept meaning to make it but I haven't been cooking lately. I have been lucky since my husband has been the one making supper. Well, I decided we were going to have salads for supper. Of course, I couldn't find her recipe. I remembered the main ingredients and I looked everywhere. She did tell me the site that she found the recipe but it didn't help since there a lot t review. I really need to be more organized. I will probably find it now that I found this recipe. So, I picked one. My children told me this recipe was there favorite dressing recipe of all time. My husband had to agree. I loved it but I liked garlic. This is a creamy recipe.
Blue Cheese Dressing 
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 cup buttermilk 
3 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
1/8 cup dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients.
  2. Allow to chill before serving.
Recipe adapted from All Recipes.

One year ago...............................I made Dulce de Leche Flan.
Two years ago.............................I made Baguette Bread.
The kids loved using my little container to pour their dressing. I guess it is the little touches that make supper entertaining. They insisted that I should take their photo to share with you. My two cuties!
Did you already know.....................
-The mold spores of Penicillium are used to make blue cheese.
-Early blue cheese makers used moldy bread to create the mold spores in caves which the mold is naturally present.
-Today the mold is injected into the cheese or mixed with the cheese curds.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Flourless Cookies

Recently, my sister came to visit. Since she follows a gluten free diet, I wanted to make her some flourless cookies. Since it seemed like everyone was sick at the time, I postponed making the cookies. I'm unsure if all flourless chocolate desserts are very rich but I seem to pick them. My son loved them. My daughter thought they should have some powdered sugar dusting the tops. I thought they were plenty sweet. I think the addition of mini chocolate chips would have been good. If you want a chocolate, gooey fix, these are the cookies for you.
Flourless Fudge Cookies
2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1/4 cup special dark cocoa powder
3 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper with nonstick baking spray. 
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. 
  5. Fold in the egg whites with the vanilla extract.
  6. Spoon about 1 Tbsp of batter onto the baking sheet. Flatten slightly on top.
  7. Bake the cookies for about 8 to 10 minutes until slightly shiny on top and crackly on top. 
  8. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet. 
Recipe adapted from King Arthur.

One year ago..................................I made Graduation Cap Cookies.
Two years ago................................I made Texas Pralines.
Did you already know...................
-Even foods that are naturally gluten free could have added gluten during processing like powdered sugar.
-Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.
-Potatoes, corn, and rice are naturally gluten free foods.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Blueberry Galette

My friend told me several times that I should try this bakery at the Old Port. Every time I was down there, I would forget. Well, I decided to spend some girl time with my youngest daughter. We went to Portland for manicures. My daughter tried to talk me into taking her to her favorite restaurant but I felt it wouldn't be fair since the guys weren't with us. Instead, I took her to the bakery my friend recommended. My daughter and I picked up an almond raspberry galette, a tart, and a baguette. My daughter loves sweets so she was in heaven. Afterwards, she told her Dad that we will have to go again especially for the galette. While we were at the bakery, I saw a copy of their cookbook for sale. I decided to checked out the Standard Baking Co. Pastries cookbook from the library. For my daughter, I made the galette she loved so much. My daughter loved it even though I picked a blueberry filling. I will definitely make this dessert again and I will be purchasing the cookbook. Now, what will be the next thing we will have to try at the bakery?
Almond Blueberry Galette
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar plus more for topping
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup blueberry jam

  1. Grease a tart pan with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the sliced almonds until grounded. Set aside.
  3. In a mixer, mix the butter, flour, and salt until well incorporated. 
  4. Add the sugar and the ground almonds. Mix until incorporated. 
  5. Add 1 of the eggs and mix until the dough holds together.
  6. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. 
  7. Working with half the dough at a time, knead the dough about 10 times.
  8. Roll out the dough into the size of the bottom of the tart. 
  9. Carefully, wrap the rolled out dough with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator to chill.
  10. Roll out the other half of the dough into the bottom of the tart pan.
  11. In a small bowl, lightly beat the other egg with 1 tsp of water. 
  12. Lightly, brush the outside edges of the tart with the egg wash.
  13. Spread the jam evenly inside the egg wash border.
  14. Carefully top the tart with the other rolled out dough piece.
  15. Lightly, press the dough along the edges to firmly seal the two layers over the jam layer.
  16. Brush the top of the tart with the egg wash. 
  17. Sprinkle a little sugar on top of the tart. 
  18. Place the tart in the refrigerator to chill for 10 minutes.
  19. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  20. Bake the tart for 20 minutes. 
  21. Rotate the pan and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Recipe adapted from the Standard Baking Company Pastries Cookbook.

One year ago....................................................I made Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
Two years ago..................................................I made Apple Cinnamon Loaves.
Did you already know..............................
-Galette is a French pastry cake.
-Galette tend to be flat, round or free forming pastries.
-In Canada, galettes tend to be more of a cookie.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

My husband has ordered broccoli cheddar soup for the last three times that we ate out. He has even influenced our children so they have been ordering the soup too. Since it is so popular in our household, I wanted to show my husband how easy it is to make. We don't eat out a lot but I think we will be eating out even less now. This soup is so good. He told me that he could easily make this soup for us. Here you go babe!
Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
4 oz. butter, unsalted
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups half and half
2 cups chicken broth
1 lb. fresh broccoli, chopped into small pieces
1 cup carrots, julienne
1 Tbsp paprika
2 tsp season salt
1/4 tsp ground mustard
4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the onion and mix. Allow to cook for 1 minute.
  4. Whisk in the half and half with the chicken broth. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the broccoli, carrots, paprika, season salt, and ground mustard.
  6. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Stir in the cheese and allow to melt before serving.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe adapted from The Recipe Critic.

One year ago......................................I made Chewy Brownies.
Two years ago....................................I made Fresa Agua Fresca.
Did you already know.......................
-Broccoli was a popular vegetable of the Romans.
-In the 1900s, Italian immigrants introduced broccoli to the U.S.
-The head of the broccoli is made up of tiny buds that are ready to flower.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Pinwheel Cupcakes

For Mother's Day brunch, I wanted to make my Mom some flower cupcakes. I've been places where a real flower was stuck in the middle of a straw and then stuck into a cupcake. When I started researching which plants were poisonous, it became apparent that maybe it wouldn't be a good idea to use real flowers. The petals of a flower may not be poisonous but the stalk or leaves could be. Since there were going to be children present, I wouldn't be able to observe if they were eating the flowers. Most likely, it would have been my son so I figured I would have to substitute the flower with something safer. Since I remembered how my grandmother had pinwheels, I thought it would be a nice connection with her too. The pinwheels worked great. Plus the kids thought it was wonderful to blow on them. My wonderful sister gave me a grass decorating tip which made frosting the cupcakes easier. Also, none of the kids tried eating the pinwheel.
Photo taken by my son!
Pinwheel cupcakes
12 chocolate cupcakes
1 cup green frosting
12 pinwheels

  1. Using a multi-opening decorating tip, pipe the green frosting onto the cupcakes to resemble grass. (My sister gave me a Wilton Decorating Tip #233).
  2. Cut the pinwheel stick in half.
  3. Clean the pinwheel stick before inserting in the middle of the cupcake. 

One year ago.........................................................I made Abstract Art Sugar Cookies.
Two years ago.......................................................I made Seven Cheese Bread.
Did you already know.............
-In 2003, Omikami Amaterasu became the oldest mother when she gave birth to a son.
-More babies are delivered in the month of August.
-By age of 44 years old, 81% of women have given birth.

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Breakfast Potato Bake

Since my Mom has four children, I like to celebrate Mother's Day with her a week early. My younger sister tends to do the same. Then my other sisters does something special for her on Mother's Day. It is nice since my Mom celebrates Mother's Day for two weekends and not just one. Yes, she is that special! I know my Mom likes potatoes so I wanted to make sure I had a potato dish for her Mother's Day brunch. I also figured breakfast sausage would be a great addition. When I looked for a recipe to make, the majority of the recipes had frozen hash browns. I wanted to take the extra steps and make it from scratch. Also, my husband's family makes this wonderful potato dish on the grill so I used it as my inspiration. My Mom said she liked the dish. My son said he really liked it. He did help me so he took the credit. It does encourage him to help me more in the kitchen if he gets the credit.
Breakfast Potato Bake
2 lbs. red potatoes, scrubbed
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp unsalted butter
1/2 lb. breakfast sausage
1/2 cup green peppers, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 eggs, lightly scrambled
2 tsp season salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
4 oz. cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Spray a 13x9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. 
  3. Parboil the potatoes for about 10 minutes.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the vegetable oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  5. Brown the sausage, onion, and green pepper in the skillet. Set aside.
  6. Drain the potatoes. 
  7. Place the potatoes in a food process to grate.
  8. Add the potatoes, eggs, season salt, and pepper to the sausage mixture. Mix until incorporated.
  9. Evenly distribute the potato mixture into the baking dish.
  10. Top with the cheese.
  11. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  12. Uncover and allow to bake for another 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown. 
Recipe by Jen of Sweet Morris.
One year ago...............................................................I made Fruit Cups.
Two years ago.............................................................I made Pizza Sauce.
Did you already know................................................
-Potatoes originated in South America.
-In the 18th century, salted potatoes were served as a dessert.
-Potato is a vegetable.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hawaiian Rolls

This week my recipes are inspired by my Mom. My Mom loves Hawaiian King Rolls so I made a bunch of them and gave her a bag full. My husband surprised me by saying that he had never had them. I did point them out at our local store and he still said he never had them. (Yes, we even have them in our stores in Maine.) My Mom told me that she liked them. My family really liked them. If you have never had them either, they are sweeter than a typical roll.
Copycat Kings Hawaiian Bread
1 egg
2/3 cups pineapple juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 (1/4 oz.) envelope of yeast
1/4 cup butter, melted

  1. In a large bowl, add 1 cup of flour. Set aside. 
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg before adding pineapple juice, sugar, ginger, and the butter.
  3. Add 1 cup of flour to the egg mixture and incorporate well.
  4. Sprinkle in the yeast and mix well.
  5. Add another 1 cup of flour. Mix until incorporated.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm surface until doubles about 1 hour.
  7. Once doubled, place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead in the remaining 1/4 cup of flour.
  8. Shape the dough into equally sized rolls.
  9. Cover the rolls and place in a warm place and allow to rise for 1 hour.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the rolls. 
  12. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked throughly.
Recipe adapted from

One year ago.............................................I made Fresh Orange Juice.
Two years ago...........................................I made Dulce de Leche Arborio Rice Pudding.
Did you already know.............................
-In the 1950s, Robert Taira opened Robert's Bakery in Hawaii.
-In 1977, the business opened a new bakery in California. 
-Currently, the third generation of the Taira family are running the business.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Chicken Enchiladas

When I lived in Colorado, I loved eating at the local Mexican restaurants. Since moving back home, my favorite local Mexican restaurant closed. I have found there are many Mexican restaurants in Portland but my husband isn't a fan of driving for awhile just to go to a restaurant. I'm not going to disagree with him since he doesn't complain when we drive over an hour to go to my favorite beach. The beach is more important. My husband will make Mexican dishes for me but he hasn't made enchiladas for us yet. When I made this dish, he really liked it. The kids liked it. The best part about the recipe it is very easy since leftover chicken can be used or a store bought rotisserie chicken. I still don't have the knack of rolling those corn tortillas without some of them breaking.
Chicken Enchiladas
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup chicken broth

1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
15 oz. can of tomato sauce
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
12 corn tortillas
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
optional toppings: sour cream, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, etc

  1. Spray a 13x9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, and pepper. Saute for 1 minute.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture and stir.
  5. Stir in the chicken broth, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and tomato sauce. 
  6. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  7. Remove 1/2 cup of the sauce and set aside.
  8. Add the chicken and stir to coat in the sauce.
  9. Cook for 5 minutes.
  10. While the chicken is heating, cover the tortillas with a damp towel and microwave for 25 seconds.
  11. Preheat the oven on high broil while assembling the enchiladas.
  12. Take a corn tortillas and spoon about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture into the center.
  13. Roll the corn tortillas and place into the baking dish. Continue to assemble with the remaining tortillas.
  14. Top the rolled tortillas with the remaining 1/2 sauce that had been previously set aside.
  15. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the top of the enchiladas.
  16. Broil the enchiladas for 3 minutes or until the cheese has melted on top.
  17. Serve with desired toppings.
Recipe adapted from My Recipes.

One year ago.............................................I made Migas in a Taco Bowl.
Two years ago...........................................I made Chicken Salad Roll Up.
Did you already know............................
-Tortillas originated from the Mayans.
-The first tortillas were made from corn.
-Corn tortillas tend to be gluten free.