Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cherry Rhubarb Crisp

This weekend I made my husband happy and made some dessert. Time for baking has been scarce lately, so it was fun to have a free afternoon to play around in the kitchen and make a new recipe. Rhubarb is always a hit around here, and I was thrilled to find one more bag in the back of the freezer from our trip to the Public Market. 

Leni's Notes:
~Feel free to use other fruits, but adjust your sugar accordingly. This recipe has a lot because of the rhubarb.
~Wonderful with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.
~We like a lot of 'crisp' in ours. If you don't, cut the crisp ingredients in half, and put it all on top.

1 1/2 C raw sugar
7 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 (14 oz) cans tart cherries, juice reserved
5 C chopped rhubarb
2 C quick cut oats
2 C brown sugar
1 C flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C butter

~Preheat oven to 375.
~In dutch oven, mix sugar and corn starch.
~Pour in cherry juice and whisk thoroughly. 
~Heat over medium-high heat, whisking continuously until mixture comes to a gentle boil.
~Remove from heat, stir in fruit, set aside.
~In a medium bowl, stir together oats, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.
~Cut butter in with a pastry blender or two butter knives until mixture is crumbly.
~Grease 13x9 pan,and place half of fruit mixture in pan.
~Evenly sprinkle half of the oat mixture over the top.
~Repeat layers.
~Bake, uncovered, for one hour.
~Let cool for a couple of minutes, and serve with your favorite ice cream.

Blessings from my toasty kitchen to yours,

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mocha Latte Syrup

One day of warm weather, and I'm already thinking of cold drinks!  Iced Mochas, Cherry Berry Chillers, Frozen Lemonade...mmmmm.... I have a goal to not blow all my free money on fast food icy drinks this summer, so I dug out an old recipe we whipped up years ago when we wanted to have a treat without all the nasties in it. Back in those days, getting ahold of food dye or artificial flavors would mean days of chaos in our home, so I wasn't taking any chances! These days, I'm glad I can make it decaf as caffeine makes my heart go pitter pat in a most unnerving way. ;o)

Since I had the handy dandy squeeze bottle left over from the wedding coffee bar, I whipped up a double batch and filled it up. You can see how much is missing since I made it a week ago. I did NOT use all that myself! I still have teens in the house, you know.

 Here is our Mocha Latte all dressed up with whipped cream. 

Leni's Notes:
~Super easy. Just don't let it boil over.
~Might be interesting with some different extracts. Coconut? Hazelnut for a Nutella flavor?

3/4 C Raw Sugar
1/3 C cocoa powder
1/4 C instant decaf coffee crystals
1/2 C water
1 T vanilla
Whipped Cream, optional

~Combine sugar, cocoa and coffee in a pan.
~Whisk together until completely mixed.
~Add water, whisk until combined.
~Bring to a boil, lower temp and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. 
Be careful not to let it boil over, it can happen very quickly.
~Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir.
~When cool, pour into a container.
~Does not require refrigeration unless it's not going to get used up in a month or so.
~To serve, mix 2 Tablespoons of syrup into a glass of milk, adjust to suit your tastes.
~If you want to dress it up, pipe some whipped cream on top. (But it's kind of overkill. ;o)

Blessings from my eager-for-summer kitchen to yours,

Monday, April 08, 2013

Parmesan Cream Casserole

Lately, my life seems to be nothing but racing from one obligation to the next. The dinner table is a good measure of how busy I am, as cooking tends to take a back seat when I get over-scheduled. Recently I was looking for something quick I could make after work when I was determined NOT to put another frozen pizza or tray of chicken strips in the oven.

I decided to pull out an old favorite. We used to use this sauce back in the day when my kids just could not tolerate tomatoes. We used it on everything. Pizza, pasta, veggies, you name it! It is really quick and easy to make, and chances are you have all the ingredients in your kitchen on any given day.

The picture doesn't do it justice. You'd need smell-o-vision for that. It's so intoxicating! All that creamy, cheesy goodness...yum.

Leni's Notes:
~Use whatever type of milk and cream cheese you like. You can go low fat or full fat without changing the consistency.
~I used peas this time, but usually use spinach. Use your favorite veggie, but make sure to time it's addition to the boiling water so that it has enough time to cook thoroughly.
~The sauce is really good for a white pizza. My adults kids still talk about how much they loved that pizza.
~Spirals and bow ties are great for this.
~This is a throw-in dish. Whatever sounds good, go for it.

1 lb favorite whole wheat pasta
1/2 lb frozen peas
1 1/2 C milk
1 C shredded Parmesan cheese
2 - 4 cloves of minced garlic
2 Tablespoon dry oregano
8 oz. cream cheese
4 Tablespoons butter
2 C chunked up leftover chicken or turkey

~Boil pasta in a dutch oven.
~When pasta is almost done, throw in the peas.
~When pasta and peas are done, drain them in a colander and set aside while you make the sauce.
~Place milk, cheese, garlic, oregano, cream cheese and butter in the dutch oven.
~Turn to medium heat and stir until the cream cheese is completely melted and the mixture starts to thicken.
~Remove from heat and stir in pasta/peas and chunked meat.

Blessings from my hectic kitchen to yours,

Monday, April 01, 2013

Peanut Butter "Tandy" Cake

I have had this recipe for Tandy Cake floating around my cookbook shelves for many, many years. I had no idea where it came from, but assumed that it came from my girlfriend who's last name is Tandy. Makes sense, right? So I let her know that I had made some changes to it, and asked if it would be ok to share it on my blog. Her response? "That's not my recipe, I'm allergic to peanut butter!" What?!

So she quickly did some investigating and we discovered that the recipe is a knock of recipe for a store bought snack cake. Who knew? Seems that everybody and their brother has their own version of a Tandy Cake recipe. Hmph.

Well maybe they do, but do they have a model as adorable as mine? The little missie pictured above is enjoying a piece of my Tandy Cake. She prefers to first bathe in her cake, and then when it's well seasoned, eat it up. My husband took this picture. He kind of adores this little lady and the glint that's always in her eye. I think they are kindred spirits. Apparently during this process, someone tried to wash some of the chocolate off of her face. One observer said that she got kind of an insulted look on her face, and carefully filled in the clean spots with chocolate (by rubbing the cake on her face) until she was in 'full makeup' again. I think she should model all my food from now on!

This recipe is really fast to whip up, and makes a huge batch. Wonderful for a houseful of company or a back yard full of kids. I made it for a dessert fellowship at church.

Leni's Notes:
~Traditional Tandy Cake knock offs have a layer of peanut butter and then melted chocolate is poured on top, making a hard chocolate layer. We really didn't like it that way. This version gives it more of a soft almost peanut butter fudge layer on top.
~I also made a version with dulce la leche and hot fudge. ;o)
~I am now dying to make a version with coffee in the cake batter and/or maybe a salted caramel topping. I see myself headed back to the kitchen very soon.
~Travels well, doesn't get stale quickly, so I also making it as a snack of the week type item. 

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup milk
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp melted butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups creamy peanut butter
2 bags (4 cups) chocolate chips

~Combine everything except peanut butter and chocolate and mix well.
~Pour into a greased jelly roll pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
~Take out of oven and put dollops of peanut butter all over the surface.
~Let the peanut butter warm for a couple of minutes, then spread evenly over surface.
~Immediately sprinkle top of cake with the chocolate chips.
~Let sit until the chips are all melting (you'll notice a subtle change in color.)
~If time has elapsed for some reason and the cake has cooled too much to melt the chips, pop it back into the hot oven for a minute or so.
~Spread the melted chips over the peanut butter, and let the two ingredients swirl together.
~Let cool at room temperature.
~Cut into squares and serve with a glass of milk. ;o)

Blessings from my peanut butter-covered kitchen to yours,