Friday, October 30, 2009

Shrimp Spaghetti

A friend asked me to post this recipe from the Talk About Good II cookbook. Here it is:

Shrimp Spaghetti

3 Tbl. butter
1 large onion minced
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 can Rotel tomatoes and 2 Tbl. tomato paste (or just 2 1/2 c. canned tomatoes)
1 tsp. Worcestershire
2 Tbl. sugar
1 (8 oz.) package spaghetti , cooked
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
2 cups fresh shrimp

Preheat oven to 350. Cook the first seven ingredients about 10 Minutes and add shrimp. Then add alternately, in layers, spaghetti and the sauce in a 2 quart casserole. Add the grated cheese on top and bake about 30-35 minutes. A quick casserole for unexpected Company. Serves 4-6. by Mrs. L. A. Shelton (from the Talk About Good II Cookbook)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bundt Cakes are Back!

I am participating in the Friday Show and Tell at My Romantic Home. You can join in too at http://romantichome.blogspot.com/.

I must confess that I am currently obsessed with Bundt pans. It makes me giggle to type that out, but it is true. I love the idea of tossing in some batter and out comes a very complicated looking cake. Of course, you should always use Baker's Joy if you want it to come out perfectly. This stuff is liquid gold for Bundt pans and I keep my pantry stocked with it during the Holiday baking rush. The Bundt pan manufacturer Nordic Ware Company recommends it and I have found it to be the best.

I look forward to seeing different seasonal pans that the Nordic Ware Company comes out with. I actually found some this season that were pretty reasonably priced and indulged on the Chrysamthemum for my collection. This one can be used for all seasons but looks especially pretty on a fall table.

The Sticky Toffee Pudding mix came with my wreath pan. I tried it and I was hooked. So gooey and delicious.


My current collection isn't big, but definitely growing every year.


I have one of the original avocado green Bundt Pans given by my good friend Becky. I think it started off my collection. No matter it doesn't have a non-stick lining. The Baker's Joy helps it work perfectly.
Here are the pans I currently own:


Holiday Tree Bundt Pan. My favorite for my almond bundt cake. A dusting with powdered sugar makes it a winter wonderland.








Palace Royale Bundt Pan (retired). Beautiful for a birthday cake for a boy or girl.





Garland Bundt Pan












3D Great Pumpkin Bundt Pan





Holiday Wreath



Crysanthemum Bundt Pan (shown above)






Here is my favorite bundt cake recipe. I love to serve this at my Christmas tea every year. Everyone loves it! I use it in my Holiday Tree Bundt Pan.

Glazed Almond Bundt Cake

1 c. butter, softened
2 c. white sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 2/3 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. ground almonds
1 c. milk


Icing
1/4 c. milk
3/4 c. white sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 c. toasted sliced almonds

Toast almonds on cookie sheet with parchment paper for 9 min. in a 350 oven.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and ground almonds. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract and vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with 1 c. milk, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and invert on a wire rack. Cool 10 minutes longer. Place rack on waxed paper.

Combine 1/4 c. milk, 3/4 c. sugar, 1/2 tsp. almond extract and toasted sliced almonds; pour over warm cake.

Serves 16 Persons

An Easy No-bake Cookie for Gift Giving and Holiday Parties

I love a recipe that makes a lot of anything for little effort. This is one of those things! This is traditionally called a "Boiled Cookie" and favorite amongst our Cajun friends. It really is sort of a candy and it is quite addicting! I didn't have a picture of the cookies, but found this one online. I like the idea of putting it in a jar like this with a pretty bow for gift giving.


Boiled Cookies

1 stick of butter
4 c. sugar
1/3 c. cocoa
1 c. milk
dash salt
6 c. quick oats (not regular oats please)
3 Tbl. vanilla
1 c. Peanut Butter
3/4 c. pecans (optional)

Mix butter, sugar, cocoa, milk and salt. Bring to a boil, boil for 3 minutes. Mix quick oats, vanilla, peanut butter and nuts into a separate (and very large) bowl. I use the largest stainless steel bowl I own. Pour the hot chocolate mixture on top of the oat mixture and mix well. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper.

Makes 4-5 dozen.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

I purchased the book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" with some skepticism. I was pleasantly surprised. It was simple and the results were fantastic!

I took a plastic cake keeper I had on hand and taped a ball of masking tape to the edge to keep it from being airtight. I then threw all the ingredients in the plastic tub and mixed it up. I let it sit on my counter for a few hours and then placed it in the fridge. I took out a glob about the size of a grapefruit, let it rise on my counter on some parchment paper for about an hour. Heated my oven and popped it on my baking stone. I added some water to the broiler pan placed on the bottom shelf. In a short time, I had delicious sourdough bread.

I really like being able to whip up a batch of fresh baked bread for my family or for company. I love that the dough has a more complex flavor the longer it remains in my fridge. The only drawback for me is that the container takes up a lot of room on the bottom shelf of my fridge. I'm still stuck on the original recipe but eventually will venture beyond it. I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves fresh baked bread but has little time to spare.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall Garden 2009

Summer of 2009 was very dry and hot for the Houston area. We lost most of our spring garden because of it. We held out hope for our Fall 2009 Garden. So far, so good.


We harvested our first cucumber this week. More are on their way. My basil is looking fantastic.





We also planted lettuce, cabbage, lavender, broccoli, tomatoes and cilantro. The broccoli is very showy with its beautiful leaves, but no broccoli yet. The survivors of the summer are rosemary, oregano, green onions and jalapenos. They seem to have gotten their second wind and are growing and producing nicely.





Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Maker's Diet - Phase 3

I am so thrilled to have made it to Phase 3 of the Maker's Diet. I just started week 5 of the diet and am happy to add wheat and bananas to the diet. I have missed my banana in my morning smoothie. I didn't lose any weight for week 4 of the diet but I'm happy to have not gained any. With the addition of corn, everything seems to have come to a screeching halt. I'm limiting my intake and increasing the exercise. I don't do anything crazy...a simple routine of Pilate's in the morning and twice a week I walk 3-4 miles around our local mall. While my pants are falling off, the scale isn't budging. I'm chalking that up to increased muscle mass (or my recent love of Barbara's Baked Cheese Puffs 3/4 of a cup = 150 calories. In Phase 2 of the diet, it is one of the very few things that work.) I know, I know... I'm laying off of them.

While I'm excited to be at the tail end of the official diet, I plan to make changes to my diet and cooking. I don't want to go through detox or sugar withdrawals again. That is the absolute worst. With the holiday season approaching, it will be a challenge. I love to bake for the holidays. I think a little treat every once in a great while is OK but it will be more limited this year. We really tie the memories of the holidays to food. It's in our Cajun culture. Our family will make changes to that this year. We will tie memories of the holidays to spending time together instead. I think that is a healthy change that we will cherish always.

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