Tag Archive: recipe


It’s been a busy couple of weeks around my house.  Why? I got new toys! I’m of the belief that you are NEVER too old for toys, and I love proving myself right!

I got this beauty in the mail…

… and was in love immediately. Seriously in love, but I’ll spare you the graphic details 🙂  It took cookie making by hand from a chore that I hated to do and turned it into an obsession. Now I’m spending time pouring over cookbooks not only for their regular recipes, but now for cookies too! I’ve made chocolate chip cookies, chocolate drop cookies (with dark chocolate and peanuts), and a very vintage recipe. It took all the work out of cookie making and it’s a joy now!

I thought I’d be writing a post just on this gorgeous hunk of metal… but then a bit of fate changed the story.

I had to kill some time while running errands because of the timing of a mom’s garage sale I was going to, and faced with the boring prospect of sitting in my car – I turned into the local mission’s thrift store.  We’re still in the middle of our no-spend month, but I love poking about in thrift shops. As I browsed through the glassware section (which I always do, for I have a one-of glass I picked up years ago and would love another like it), I stumbled across this:

“Always imitated, never duplicated!” it cried out to me. “Delightful to use!”

I had Christmas money in my pocket… I picked up the box and it seemed to call to me.

I put it down.

I walked away. Moving down the next row, I could still hear it. “Stimulate your artistic inclinations!”

A group of old ladies passed the box, and I held my breath. I decided if it was gone when I walked back around the corner, it was fate. They tottered off and I moved slowly back towards the shelf. It was still there.

For $.99, it came into my hands almost unbidden. I spent another half hour wandering the aisles which further cemented the fact that fate had brought me into this store. I found the PERFECT birthday gift for my little sister as well, so I handed over some of my Christmas money and came out a very happy girl.

I got home, put on a frilly apron and looked over my vintage treasure. I would have been surprised if it was ever used because it was in such good condition.

Ten discs of (probably harmful) metal and the press itself. The box included recipes on the bottom so I decided to try one of them.

Caramel or Butterscotch Cookies (Yes, this really is the title!)

2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups flour

Cream sugar and butter, add beaten eggs, then add reset of ingredients which have been mixed and sifted together. Put through Ateco Cookie Maker and bake in hot over (425F.).

That’s all the directions, so it took a little bit of experimenting on my part to decide you bake the cookies for about 5-6 minutes.

The results were delicious:

The next morning, I woke up with sore muscles. Even though I used a recipe designed for the press, it still took quite a bit of work to press the cookies down. I’ve started looking for a modern cookie press to make more of these – they’re adorable!

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Here’s another one of my go-to meals! I tend to whip up a batch on the weekends and use it for lunches at work.  This is a throw-together recipe, so I’ll give you best estimates of ingredients — but this is best made with leftovers from your fridge.

Pasta Salad Base:

Ingredients:

  • 2 servings pasta
    1-2 cups veggies
    1 cup meat (chicken/turkey/tuna)
    1/2-ish cup mayonaise or sour cream

I said, this is normally a left-overs recipe for me! Today, I had a cup of shredded chicken, chicken stock, carrots and celery from the fridge and frozen peas. I LOVE peas, so I keep them on hand for this salad! Be creative!

First, measure out two servings of your pasta choice (See the box for serving size):

This one calls for 2oz a serving. Again, this is very flexible – but I find that two servings is just about the right amount. You don’t have a food scale? I’d recommend one! It’s really surprising how much a serving of food really is.

Cook your pasta according to directions. I used leftover chicken stock.

While it’s cooking, dice/chop/shred your veggies. (and your meat if it’s not preshredded/chopped)

Yum…. peas!

I’m not making this up – My Doberman Dakota LOVES carrots. In fact, even if she’s sleeping in another part of the house – the second I pull out the carrot peeler, she’s out from under the covers on our bed and sitting in the kitchen door begging for a carrot.

Could you refuse that face? She got her carrot.

Once your pasta is done, drain and dump into a bowl with your other ingredients.  To make a sauce, use mayo or sour cream (or a combo of both). Use enough to coat all your ingredients, and season to taste.

This makes up about four servings – but your milage may vary due to ingredient quantities!

Yum! Do make sure you refrigerate this or keep it on an ice pack if you’re taking it to work – dairy products aren’t fond of warm weather.

Sharing this post at Linda’s Lunacy!

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I’ve recruited my husband to help me choose recipes to learn, as his palate is somewhat more discerning than mine (ie: waaaaaaaay more picky about what he eats.) As we were flipping through the many cookbooks I’ve collected over the years, he suddenly got excited.

“Do we have potatoes?”

After a mental inventory of our pantry, I explained we did.

“I want to make potato chips.” he said.

“Why not?” I answered… and so we did!

The recipe is simple, but it is time consuming.  Probably best for a special occasion or party, but not an everyday “What should I have for a snack?” sort of time.

It comes from Betty Crocker’s Old Fashioned Cookbook which apparently is out of print. Amazon doesn’t even carry it any more.

Ingredients:

4 potatoes
2 tablespoons oil

(see? I told you it was simple.)

Directions:

Slice your potatoes as thinly as you can. We used our food processor, which did not make even slices. A hand mandolin would be much better at this… and my husband said this is a good reason to buy one.

Once sliced, give your slices a bath in cold water – let them sit for one hour.

Drain your taters and pat dry. Jeff laid them out on a dish towel.

Heat your oil in a dutch oven/heavy pan.

Once heated, drop your slices into the hot oil and cook until browned.

Dry on a paper towel/dishtowel and season as you like.

Make several cups, especially if the slices are really thin.

Now here’s the tricky part. If your slices aren’t thin, you’ll just get fried potato slices and they will take forever. We ended up picking over the slices and only using the thinnest ones, ones you could almost see through. These crisped up very quickly and crinkled, tasting exactly like the four-dollar-a-bag variety.  There’s no pictures in this post because it was very hands-on and you had to be watching your potatoes the whole time (and we ate them almost as quickly as they cooled!).

Jeff marked a few recipes in this book for us to try, but unless those recipes are winners – we may end up sharing this book with someone else. We’re just not the “Molded Salmon Spread” type of people.

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My husband and I love our Chinese food. He spent a year teaching English in China, and I took Chinese in college. We have high standards. Our little town has the best General Tso’s Chicken we’ve ever tried (and we try it everywhere we go!).

When we go out for Chinese, one of the things I always order is egg drop soup.  I love the richness of the broth and the way the egg bits melt in my mouth. While Jeff doesn’t like the soup itself, he’ll normally sneak a bite or two with the crispy rice chips the restaurant sends out with my soup.  I always figured it would be hard to replicate at home – we’ve never been able to make a General’s Chicken dish anywhere near what we order.

As I was cleaning out my cupboards, I found The Everything Chinese Cookbook hiding away among the stacks of recipes I’ve collected.  Years ago, when I last attempted to be a good cook, I recall making a few stir fry recipes from this book. As I was looking it over again, marking down recipes I might like to try – I read one for egg drop soup.  “This can’t be that easy!” I thought to myself.  I double-checked and even had all the ingredients on hand – no adding it to the grocery list! I had to attempt it…

Ingredients:

4 cups Chicken Broth/Stock
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp rice wine or dry sherry
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 green onions, minced
Sesame Oil

Cautionary Tale: Always read the labels/instructions carefully! In my sleep-deprived mind, I saw four cups and decided it would be two cans of stock and two cans of water – hence the chicken bouillon in the photo above. It wasn’t until I’d dumped one can of water into the pot that I realized that each can held TWO cups of stock. In this case, really doesn’t make that big of a difference – I just boiled off some of the water. But it could have been a lot worse.

Directions:

Bring the stock to a boil in a pot.

Once boiling, add spices and rice wine. Boil for another minute or two.

“Lightly Beat” your eggs. I’m not sure what the difference is between beaten and lightly beaten. So I just mixed them like I would for an omelet.

Turn off the heat. The recipe instructs you to stir your broth clockwise. Why? It doesn’t say, but I dutifully stirred in the right direction.

While stirring, drizzle your lightly beaten eggs into the soup.

This really is the cool part because the egg drizzles cook instantly. Once all the egg has been swirled in, add a few drops of sesame oil and stir. Here is where you’d add your green onions as well. I didn’t have any on hand so I substituted some Onion, Onion… but it wasn’t the same. Serve immediately!

This serves 4-6 people, depending on your bowl/serving size.

I was pretty excited when I realized it tastes almost exactly the same as the soup I order when we go out! The restaurant’s soup has a bit of a greasy fatty goodness to it that this recipe didn’t duplicate… but it’s probably healthier that way.

We’ll be hanging onto the cookbook to try other recipes, and I most certainly will be making the egg drop soup again. Since it’s such an easy recipe, I can cut it in half and make soup just for myself too. And it tastes just the same rewarmed in the microwave the next day!

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I’m not a great cook and I’ll be the first to admit it (although my husband will be quickly behind me!).  Many of my meals come from boxes or bags or have their start in one. One of my goals for 2011 is to become a better and a more varied cook, and to cook things that don’t kill my husband!

I have a very large collection of cookbooks, and I’ll be cooking bits out of each of them this year. It’s no “Julie and Julia” epic undertaking, but it’s something!

I first cooked this beef stew about three weeks ago, and have made it once a week since! It’s loosely adapted from the beef stew recipe in the Betty Crocker Cookbook.  My mother gave me this cookbook when I was in high school, and she’s been cooking out of an older version since she was young.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound meat, cubed/chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 large potatoes or 3 small potatoes
  • 4-6 carrots
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Serves about 4, total time about 3.5 hours

I buy stew meat in bulk when it’s on sale (or buy a roast and cube it myself) – so I portion it out into 1 lb bags and freeze it that way.

Make it:

Put your Dutch Oven or heavy pot on the stove and heat the oil.  Once heated, add your meat and brown.

Once it’s brown, add three cups hot water and a shake of your salt and pepper. I add a shake or two of Onion Onion from Tastefully Simple – it gives you an onion seasoning without the big onion bits if your family is picky. You could use a real onion here. You’ll adjust to taste later on.

Bring it to a boil, turn the heat to medium low and slap the lid on. Now don’t touch it for at least two and a half hours… this is making your meat super tender.

While I waited, I took advantage of the time and did a photoshoot with Baby P – how could I help it? And since every post can benefit from a gratuitous adorable baby picture…

She’s SO stinking cute! I might be biased though…

Right, back to our stew! After about 2 1/2 hours, pop the top off and take a taste of your stew meat. If it’s tender to your liking, move on!

Chop up your carrots and potatoes into pieces no larger than 1 inch. Add them to your stew, bring to a boil – reduce to med-low and replace the lid. Let cook at least a half hour before testing. Again, cook till tender to your preferences. Test the broth at this point and adjust your seasonings to taste.

Once the veggies are ready, mix a half cup water and your flour (or cornstarch). Add slowly to your stew and bring to boil. Cook until it becomes thick, serve immedately.

I made a quick loaf of bread in the breadmaker to go along with it… yum!

I call this a ‘base’ because you can make it differently every time.

  • Different veggies (onions/celery/whatever is in your crisper)
  • Use chicken instead of beef
  • Seasonings! I’ve used Mrs. Dash, and I plan to try other spices poking around in my cupboard.
  • Adjust the amounts – Jeff LOVES carrots, so instead of just a few carrots I use a whole three pound bag!

This is such a great way to use up left over veggies in your fridge before they go bad.

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