Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mixed Berry Muffins {YUM}


I made a batch of these today. They are some of my favorite muffins. Sometimes I try to make them "healthier" by adding a little whole wheat flour, or reducing the oil and sugar, but today I just made the regular ol' recipe. I figure they aren't too bad anyway, with all those berries - and the fiber from those berries - right? Most times (okay, every time) I use frozen berries - if I'm spending my moo-lah on fresh berries, I usually don't bake them! This particular mix is blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries.


Tina's Favorite Mixed Berry Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use canola or light olive oil)
2 large eggs
1-1/3 cup fresh (or frozen) berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, huckleberries, or sliced strawberries - or a combination

Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. I use dark pans, so I bake at 375.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to combine. In another med. bowl whisk the milk, oil and eggs. Pour into dry mixture and stir with a spoon just until blended. Fold in berries. Spoon equal amounts of the batter into paper-lined muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full (this batch size usually makes about 15 muffins unless I overfill a bit, then it makes 12).

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. (Because I use frozen berries, I bake closer to the 20 minute time-frame). Cool in pan for 5 minutes (or not - because I use paper liners, I usually take them out right away). Remove from pan and serve warm, or cool on a wire rack.

Side note: These are my very favorite paper liners. Absolutely all-time favorite. I get them at Target, and stock up frequently because I'm afraid they'll suddenly stop carrying them. Get some.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce


We really don't eat that much ice cream around here, although it used to be quite a different story when everyone was home. And during my pregnancy years. When I was pregnant with #3, I ate a quarter gallon of ice cream almost every day during that summer.

When we DO eat ice cream, I like to embellish it a bit. And caramel is my #1 ice cream topping of choice (Leatherby's Grandma Grace's Creamery Sundae with caramel sauce frequents my dreams). This recipe comes pretty darn close to Leatherbys', and is super simple to make. Can't beat that with a stick.

Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce
(for ice cream, waffles, pancakes, or anything else that calls for caramel deliciousness)
Original recipe found here.

1/2 cup butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 - 4 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

In a small saucepan melt butter with salt. Add the brown sugar, then whisk until combined and thickened (about 2 minutes over medium heat). Whisk in whipping cream until thoroughly blended (another 2 minutes over medium heat). Mix in vanilla, if using. Note: this sauce will thicken as it cools.

Easy. Peasy. And oh-so-good.

Peanut Butter Sauce {for Ice Cream}

I'm trying to catch up on putting some of my favorite recipes here, not only to share with... whoever (friends and family mostly), but for my own benefit of easy accessibility. I used to want to make a family recipe cookbook... now it just seems simpler and more logical to post the recipes here.

My Online Family Cookbook.

A while back I hunted down a recipe for Peanut Butter Sauce {for ice cream}. I used to live near Leatherby's, a family creamery that had the most delicious ice cream creations, one of which was Traci's Peanut Butter Cup. Hot fudge and peanut butter sauce over vanilla ice cream. YUM. I had a hankering to recreate it.

So I found this recipe, modified it slightly, and have enjoyed making it ever since. If you are a peanut butter lover, this is truly AWESOME SAUCE. (I'm so, so glad there are currently no peanut allergies in my immediate family!)


Peanut Butter Sauce for Ice Cream
(might be good for waffles and pancakes, too!)

1 cup heavy cream (you can use half and half)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup (like Karo)
4 Tbs. butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Combine all ingredients except peanut butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add peanut butter. Stir well. Can serve warm or room temp over ice cream.

Note: The original recipe calls to cool the cooked mixture completely before adding the peanut butter, making the sauce have a grainy texture the author wanted to recreate. I've tried both ways, and like the smoother texture (and less wait time) of adding the peanut butter to the warm mixture. Either way, it's YUM!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Healthy Green Smoothies


I have a desire to eat healthier.
It may have a little to do with the fact that I've gained a good 15-20 pounds over the past couple years.
It also may have to do with the fact that I was recently diagnosed with RA.
It may have a tiny bit to do with Lex's impending wedding, and my desire to look good in the pictures.

I'm getting old.
Whenever I see pictures of people I knew in high school, I usually think, "Man, they are looking old." When I look in the mirror, I am hit with the realization that I, too, have the wrinkles, outdated hairstyles (sometimes), and extra pounds that make people, as they age, age... poorly. Less well. However you want to say it.

So the past week or so (no, I didn't start at right at the New Year... too much going on!), I have made the conscious choice to eat better. And less. Have I fallen off the wagon? Oh yes. Despite my smaller portions, swearing off white flour and white sugar, and a few meager attempts at exercise (baby steps, you know?), I have given in on occasion and gone hog wild over a hamburger (Mar's birthday) or a bag of candy (just finished the cinnamon jelly hearts I couldn't resist from Hobby Lobby).

I quite often flail.
But I have to pat myself on the back that I'm not giving up.
I've compensated those few weak moments with a lot o' water drinking, veggie eatin', whole grains, and portion control. I'm down three pounds this week. THAT IS SUCCESS.

Anyway, I decided to put together some of the Green Smoothies I found here.



I changed the recipe a little. I don't have a VitaMix,  BlendTec, or Magic Bullet, so perhaps that's why I needed a little more liquidity. Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it turned out, considering there is NO added sugar. I've tried a green smoothie or two in the past, and could hardly choke them down. This time was different.

My blender:
Yep, just a good old cheap-o Oster that I've had for YEARS. It's so old that when I broke the pitcher years ago and called to order a replacement, they no longer had white ones. Thus the ebony-and-ivory effect.

I gathered my ingredients, and started to assemble.
(I actually MADE a smoothie first, to make sure they tasted okay, then assembled.)

I altered a few ingredient quantities, mainly because I'm lazy and don't want to measure spinach in cups. Ugh! I like the HANDFUL unit of measure.



The original recipe also called for putting the cut-up bananas in the baggies, but my bananas were a little green, so I left them out, and plan to add them when it's smoothie-making-time.

No, it doesn't look like chocolate cake, or even an orange julius, so if you need to put it in an opaque cup, go for it. I didn't mind the green-ness, as long as it didn't taste like grass.


I could totally drink these multiple times a week. That's saying something.


GREEN SMOOTHIES

2 bananas, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup carrots (I used the peeled baby carrots for ease of preparation)
1/2 cup grapes
2 handfuls of spinach
1 rounded cup whole strawberries

Put ingredients in a plastic bag, seal, and freeze. Throw the ingredients from one baggie in a blender, blend away, then enjoy. Makes 2 servings.

Notes: As previously mentioned, I didn't put my bananas in the baggies to freeze because they were too green. Adding them at smoothie-making time.
I also added 1/2 to 3/4 cup water to aid in blending (old Oster blender).
When I made smoothies from all fresh ingredients (except for frozen strawberries), I added 1/2 cup ice to aid in cold/frostiness.

To life! To life! L'chai-m!
L'chai-m, L'chai-m, to life!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Best Ever Soft Caramels (aka Mrs. Allen's Candy)

I'm transferring this post from my family blog (circa 2010) here for easier look-up and access... for myself (wink) and my family. Britt texted me just the other day to get the recipe and it took me a while to find it on the blog (and Pinterest). No more.

I'll be making my first batch of these today. I can't wait.


(12.07.10)
I was trying to find the only picture I recall of my Grandma G. making Christmas candy. I can see the picture clearly in my mind... she's wearing purple, and holding a pan of some kind of sweet homemade confection. But this hasn't been my lucky picture-finding-morning (still haven't run across it), and as usual, I don't have much time.

In my search, however, I ran across this picture (circa 1985):
This is a picture of my Aunt Carol's family at the funeral of her husband (Uncle Dick). Grandma G. is on the bottom right, next to Aunt Carol (middle). I am only left to assume that the sweet elderly lady on the left is my Aunt Carol's mother.

What does all that have to do with making Christmas candy? From my recollection, I believe that my Aunt Carol's mother is the famed "Mrs. Allen." In the Goldsberry family, we have been making Mrs. Allen's Candy at Christmastime for as long as I can remember. When I would ask who Mrs. Allen was (we were making HER candy, after all), I would be told that she was Aunt Carol's mom. (Note: this has been confirmed by my cousin.)

I still use the copy of the recipe I made back in high school for a Home Ec class, meticulously typed on a typewriter, laminated years later for preservation.

In the spirit of giving, I thought I would share this family favorite.


MRS. ALLEN'S CANDY
(you can call it Best Ever Soft Caramels, if you'd like)

1 (1 lb) pkg brown sugar (2-1/3 cups packed)
Scant cup light corn syrup ("Scant" meaning slightly under 1 cup)
1 can Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
2 cubes margarine (I use butter)... 2 cubes = 2 sticks = 1 cup = 1/2 lb. (I'll clear that up right now)

Mix and cook in a large, heavy-bottomed pan on medium-high heat until comes to a boil. Turn to low and cook for 12-1/2 minutes, stirring all the time. Pour on buttered pan (9x13) over broken walnuts (walnuts are optional - I love them, but most of my family prefers no nuts). Cool and turn out and cut. We wrap these in waxed paper and keep them in the freezer (That helpful hint in on the back of my original recipe.)

NOTE: This recipe is NOT rocket science. Sometimes my candy turns out a little soft, sometimes a little on the harder side. I once boiled it for the 12-1/2 minutes on med/high heat, which I wouldn't recommend. I've learned that the dark, anodized aluminum pans tend to keep the heat in, so I don't use them when I make this candy because it turns out too hard. It's important to keep the heat low(ish) for the 12-1/2 minutes, however, on my stove, the low is too low, and the candy turns out a little too soft (sounds like the story of the three bears). I've tried using a candy thermometer so it could be more of an exact science (just right), but have since thrown exactness to the wind and make it in the spirit it was originally intended - ease... and delight at the perfect batch (which is about 95% of the time - the odds are in your favor).

Enjoy!

Cranberry-Orange Bread


This recipe originally came from here. I, however, did not have Chobani yogurt on hand, so I used Dannon Oikos 0% Fat Plain. Shhhhh.... don't tell.

I could eat this bread all day. Not too sweet, the crunch of nuts, and tanginess of fresh cranberries... yum-o!

The recipe calls for 3/4 c. orange juice. I decided to use some {oldish} cuties (clementines) that were starting to dry up a bit. I'm all for using what you have and trying not to waste. I knew nobody was going to eat those cuties (they hadn't been the yummiest from the get-go, which was disappointing), and figured baking with them was the perfect economical solution. You certainly could use delicious fresh, flavorful oranges, or even orange juice made from concentrate.

I used only the peel from a couple of the better looking cuties (clementines), then supplemented with McCormick dried orange peel.


I just have to say that I was baking at the perfect time of day. I love it when the sunlight shines into the kitchen, and loved how it was reflecting off of my bowl as I was mixing and snapping a few pics.


As I was grabbing a loaf pan, this little baby caught my eye. Remember the old Corningware? With the blue flowers? I inherited this {vintage} dish from my Grandma G, so I fondly thought of her as I baked.

(Can you see Jack lounging in the sunlight by the glass door? He was loving it, too.)


MY FAVORITE CRANBERRY BREAD

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup orange juice
1 Tbs. orange zest (or dried orange peel... or a combination)
1-1/2 cups fresh whole cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, sugar, egg, and orange juice. Stir in the flour mixture, then gently stir in cranberries and walnuts.

Put into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pan to cool. Slice and serve.

Sooooo yummy.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Layered Bean Dip (Best Ever)



I volunteered to bring a "cold dip" to the middle school for the teachers to enjoy prior to a long night of parent/teacher conferences. I don't usually volunteer for food items, and as of late prefer the simple assignments - usually the hearing and vision screening or working the book fair. For whatever reason (a near-empty sign-up genius form), I volunteered.

I always envision things going easily. Thursdays are generally a good "free" day for me, and the only other thing on my calendar was a YW meeting in the morning. I made sure I had all the ingredients, purchasing sour cream, cilantro, and green onions (and I couldn't resist the buy-2-get-3-free 7-UP products deal) the night before from the Safeway directly connected to my salon that I had tirelessly worked at all day. Safeway's entire system was down, which I was unaware of until I graced the check-out line. "Cash or check only," I was told. Luckily I hadn't made my deposit for the night (at the credit union directly connected to the salon on the other side), and had some cash on hand. The cashier calculated totals in her head, gave me a grand total of $18. That was easy.

In the middle of the YW meeting my phone rang. It was Lex, so I excused myself and took the call. She had been sent home from her new job because she didn't have her social security card. If she didn't bring it back to her new place of employment by 5pm that evening, she no longer had a job. I felt sick. I had sent the card to her in the mail on Monday, but I have had numerous experiences with the Provo post office that make me question their ability to properly handle the mail. I told her to go home and wait for the mail - maybe it would come today. I rejoined my meeting, but immediately texted Bill and Britt for backup. We were so thrilled that Lex had a job that she needs so desperately to save money for her next school year, and I felt devastated that there was a real and probable chance that she was going to lose it.

Long story short (okay, semi-short), Billy-my-hero found a place where Lex could obtain her birth certificate TODAY, a mere 1.1 miles from her Provo residence. She drove there, paid her $20 fee, picked up the certificate, and headed back to work. Phew. Catastrophe averted. 

Needless to say, my meeting ran long, I had to make an emergency run to the bank to transfer some moo-lah to my destitute Lex (that's why she needs the job so darn bad), then ran back home to throw together my bean dip. Of course my day couldn't run as smoothly as I had imagined it when I volunteered to help.

In the midst of the chaos, I snapped pictures. That's how I do. I had to post this, my favorite bean dip recipe, originally found here:
 Another one of my wedding gifts, this time from my MIL.
(This cover isn't really connected either)

Here's a portion of the recipe (the rest is on the back and I didn't see purpose in taking a picture of it:

I will be sharing my modified version.

THE BEST 7-LAYER BEAN DIP EVER

Start with 2 (15oz) cans refried beans. Mix them together and smooth onto a platter. I prefer round, and find great pleasure in the smoothing part of the layered dip process. An offset spatula is my best friend.

Mash up two large ripe avocados with salt to taste and 1 to 2 tsp. lemon juice. Yes, I used lemon juice from a bottle. Sometimes I skip this step when 1) I don't have any avocados on hand, 2) I can't find any ripe avocados for purchase, or 3) avocados are ridiculously priced. It's still really good, I promise. Spread the avocado mixture over the bean layer, leaving a slight edge so your next layer will completely cover it and prevent it from turning a nasty brown color.

This is the layer that makes this dip THE BEST. In a bowl, combine 1 cup mayonnaise with 1 cup sour cream. Add 1 pkg. taco seasoning mix. I don't buy taco seasoning mix, so I always use my own mix, which I prefer BUT either tastes great. I have included my seasoning mix recipe at the bottom of this post. You're welcome. The 1/3 tsp. chili powder from the original recipe seems like a typo to me, so I've always just added another tsp. chili powder to my mix. Whisk together, then spread on top of the avocado layer, making sure to cover edges.

Next add the cheese. I like the big shreds (v the finely shredded cheese) because I like to TASTE the cheese.

Slice up a can of black olives and sprinkle them on (this may be a can minus about... 5 olives).

Then chop up some roma tomatoes (I try to de-juice them a little by scraping out the juicy seeds) and sprinkle them on.

Since I was kinda in a hurry, I forgot to take a picture of the final dip before I wrapped that baby up to deliver to the school. I decided to make my final layer some cilantro leaves, since I figured the teachers may want to avoid onion-breath for their conferences. You can use either cilantro or green onions, or both. I really prefer both.

Since I had gone to all the effort to take pictures along the way, I figured I could sacrifice one or two minutes to un-saran the dip for a decent finished product. (I may have sprinkled on a few green onions once the saran was off before re-wrapping... post picture.)

I'm telling you, it's the best.

Here's the recipe in short form:

2 (15oz) cans refried beans
2 large, ripe avocados
salt, to taste
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayo
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix (my mix below)
1 tsp. chili powder
1 cup + shredded cheese
1 can black olives, sliced
3 roma tomatoes, diced
2 green onions, chopped
cilantro (optional)

Mix refried beans and spread on platter. Mash avocados with salt and lemon juice, then spread over bean layer. Mix sour cream, mayo, taco seasoning mix and chili powder together and spread over avocado layer. Sprinkle on cheese, olives, tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro if using. Serve with corn chips.

TACO SEASONING MIX:

2 Tbs. dried minced onion
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. corn starch
1/4 tsp. dried oregano