Monthly Archives: October 2012

Try and try again!

I have not been totally absent in the world of cooking and baking. Robert Kennedy said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Let me tell you, I have been doing great things in the kitchen! I have been failing greatly! Let me fill you in a bit.

Daughter number three likes to look up recipes on Pinterest and then say, “Oh, mom. I saw this great thing that we should try.” Or even once, “Oh, mom, I saw this great thing and I told my Calc class I would bring them in.” I knew I hated Calculus…

She made a batch of “Funfetti Cake Batter Puppy Chow” from Pinterest that started out here:

It was good. Very, very sweet.

That got us to thinking about other kinds of Puppy Chow we could make. We have made the original, and I made some Nutella Puppy Chow a while ago. Fabulous results. So, we decided to make S’mores Puppy Chow.  Boy, did we think we had a plan. We used Graham Cracker Cereal and Rice Chex as our “base”. Then, we followed the method for making Krispy Treats, and melted butter and miniature marshmallows together, added some chocolate chips and coated the cereal. It was a thick and gooey mess. Not a success. In fact, it was such a colossal mess that the Hubs didn’t even eat it!

Her next big creation idea was for a science class that she isn’t even in. She is a teacher’s aide for Chemistry. On Mole Day (10.23) she ‘had’ to take treats that somehow incorporated “moles”. Dirt cake seemed an obvious answer, but she said it is over done. So we thought about doing something “cara-mole”. We were really leaning that way when she found a recipe on (duh duh duh (mystery music)) Pinterst for Marshmallow frosting. Marsh-MOLE-o frosting…It’s really just a cooked egg white frosting. I baked 4 dozen chocolate cupcakes for the frosting to go on. She was away at some extra curricular activity. By the time she got home the cupcakes were ready to frost and my egg whites were room temperature. I set up the saucepan of water and got the bowl out to set on top. I did tell her that she would be the one doing the whisking. She didn’t even complain. The recipe said that it would take under 10 minutes…well, it took more than 30 and our frosting still didn’t reach meringue fluffiness! I piped the thin frosting onto the cupcakes. I did hear, than in spite of how thin the frosting was, and how completely unlike marshmallow fluff, it tasted great…

The last thing Daughter Number Three came home and said we just “had” to make, I choose to take some shortcuts that I normally don’t take. She had found this amazing recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie S’mores. I found a very much simplified  version that we made. I found it on the Betty Crocker website.

  • 1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 3 cups milk chocolate chips (18 oz)
  • 4 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix and crumbs. Stir in melted butter until soft dough forms. Press into ungreased 13×9-inch pan.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until set. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt. Spread chocolate evenly over crust.

Set oven to broil. Sprinkle marshmallows over melted chocolate. Broil 5 to 6 inches from heat 20 to 30 seconds or until marshmallows are toasted. (Watch closely; marshmallows will brown quickly.) Cool 10 minutes. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Serve warm. Store any remaining bars tightly covered.

We found that we needed to let the bars cool completely before cutting them. She took them in a tightly covered container to school, where she did not serve them warm. They were, however, a huge success. Not to mention, this recipe saved me a great deal of time (and energy). Oh, and this one was a failure. Just a compromise.

Now, I just need to get back into full swing and start making things that are successful time and again! Ooooh, and since it’s fall I have plenty of reasons and wonderful weather to use as my reason. I’m ready. Are you?


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Posted by on October 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


Pizza Stoned

Pizza Stoned.

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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Uncategorized



Pizza Stoned

I am so full of pizza right now that I can barely type! In fact, you could almost say that I’m so full of pizza that I’m Pizza Stoned!

October is National Pizza month, and now that the month is officially half over (it’s the 15th and a half) I decided to make homemade pizza for dinner.  In my post on May 25th I had discovered the most amazing pizza dough recipe ever. I have continued to use it for my pizza ever since with undeniable success.Kids Pizza

After work today I came home and whipped up the incredibly awesome pizza dough (Thank you, Jamie Oliver) in my KitchenAid. I was remiss in checking to see if I had any tomato sauce before I started and by the time I realized I did not have any tomato sauce or paste, or any spaghetti sauce (in a jar), or any fresh tomatoes, I was ready to build pizzas. So, I skipped the sauce. My family isn’t big on the sauce, anyway…so I rubbed the uncooked crust with a little Olive Oil and some minced garlic. Then I sprinkled on some Oregano and some Basil. I followed that with Mozzarella cheese and pepperoni.  This was for the girls. While it was baking on the pizza stone in my 450 degree oven I started building my second pizza. This one was for me. I started the same way. The girls and The Hubs were raving about the crust so I must have come up with a good thing! I followed my seasonings with Mozzarella, Feta, freshly grated Parmagiano, and a little grated Smoked Applewood Cheddar. Then I added some roasted red peppers, marinated artichoke hearts (rinsed and dried with a paper towel), and some capers. When it was coming out of the oven I was asked to make a 2nd cheese and pepperoni for the 3rd pizza. So I did. The smoky flavor of the cheddar along with the saltiness of the capers was a great combination. The crust was crispy like a cracker. I am so glad I didn’t have any tomato products in the house! The sauceless pizza was a bigger hit than any pizza I’ve ever made. I was compared to pizza joints across the country by The Hubs and the girls. I was told that this was the best pizza Daughter Number Three had ever eaten in her entire life; ever.

I did forget to use the parchment trick I discovered back in May. Even without the parchment, my ability to get an intact pizza onto the stone has improved. It’s just like everything in life; practice, practice, practice.

Happy National Pizza Month to you, and may you enjoy this amazing crust, topped with your own favorite toppings!


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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


Banana Muffins, healthified

Banana Muffins, with pearlized sugar

I love my good old-fashioned banana bread recipe. It’s moist and delicious, full of banana flavor! What it is not is… healthy. It has a lot of sugar and is made with shortening. So, I went on a hunt to find  a healthier banana bread recipe that would be similar to the one I grew up eating. I KNEW I could never find anything that was AS good, but I wanted to find something that was passable.

In the past I have tried a few healthier versions but the texture was always wrong; either too dry or too rubbery.

I found a recipe that looked like it might turn out moist enough, without being too rubbery and I tried it a couple of times making some adaptations as I went. The final result was AMAZING! I made it as a loaf and muffins and it works equally as well for both.

 Banana Bread, healthified

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 over-ripe bananas, mashed
  • ¼ cup non-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, if desired 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare loaf pan for bread by spraying the pan with cooking spray. For muffins, spray muffin tins with cooking spray or line with paper liners.

Sift the measured flour, baking soda and salt into a medium mixing bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter until well blended, with an electric mixer. Add the egg and beat until blended. Add mashed bananas, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until just blended. Gently stir in nuts. Pour batter for bread into loaf pan, or spoon batter for muffins into prepared muffin cups. For muffins, fill cups about ¾ full. Do not over fill. On the tops of muffins sprinkle pearlized sugar or finely chopped nuts.

Bake loaf for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. For muffins, bake for 35 minutes, and check center with a wooden toothpick.

Cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.

As muffins, I shared with some family members; one of whom said they were the best she had ever eaten! She liked them with and without nuts! The fact they are “healthier” is just a bonus!

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Posted by on October 6, 2012 in Uncategorized


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