November 17, 2012

Texas Trash

Do you need a fun hostess gift for the holidays?  Or a fun treat to feed an army?  Then Texas Trash is for you!  :-)  My Mom has made party mix during the holidays for many years.  Her version is very tasty!  I was checking out scarletta bakes one day, and came across a post called Texas Trash; it peaked my interest.  A party mix was not what I expected to find when I started reading it.  I read the ingredient list and I was so excited to see fritios on the list!  I haven't had fritios in years, so that was an important reason to make Texas Trash.  It is very yummy, with a kick.

I used two large roasting pans.  Three pans would have been really nice - more room to stir - but only two would fit in my oven.

Go make some "Trash" for the holiday season!  Or any season!  :-)

Texas Trash

1 (14 oz) box of cheerios cereal
1 (14 oz) box of captain crunch cereal
1 (12.8 oz) box of rice Chex cereal
1 (10.5 oz) bag of fritios
1 (13 oz) bag of pretzel sticks
2 pounds pecan halves
3 cups unsalted butter
1 (10 fl oz) bottle worcestershire sauce
4 tbsp celery seeds
4 tbsp ground garlic
3 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp ground cayenne chile
2 tbsp liquid smoke (I only used 1 tbsp, I didn't want it to be a strong flavor.)
2 tsp Tabasco sauce

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Place cereals, fritios, pretzels, and pecans in large roasting pans (I used two large roasting pans) and toss well.

Melt the butter in a saucepan.  As it melts, add in worcestershire sauce, celery seeds, garlic, cumin, cayenne, liquid smoke, and Tabasco.  Once the butter melts, give it a stir in case the seasonings have settled to the bottom.  Then pour over the dry ingredients.  Immediately toss the snack mix well.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours (I baked mine for about 2 1/2 hours), tossing occasionally as it bakes.  The finished mix will be fragrant and completely dry.  Remove and cool.  Once cooled, store in airtight containers.  (I used Christmas cookie tins.)

Hat Tip - scarletta bakes

October 31, 2012

October Foodie Pen Pal

Who says the internet is a waste of time?  ;-)  I recently found out about the Foodie Pen Pal program while cruising the internet.  It is a really great, fun way for foodie adults to have a pen pal and sample food from other areas.  Here is the link to learn more about  Foodie Pen Pals.

This was my first month participating.  I was very excited!  The person I received a package from is not the person I sent a package to.  My package came from John in Arkansas.  When I got my package I could hardly wait to open it, but of course when I went to take a picture the battery in the camera was dead, so I ran back downstairs to get our other camera.  I had to get a picture of the box opened but before I took everything out.

John sent lots of cool things!  I received some local Arkansas jam, mexican chocolate and cinnamon sticks for hot chocolate, several components of soup with a hand written recipe, and a veggie brush.  The local jam is delicious!    Over the weekend, I was able to make the pasta soup recipe, it was yummy.  Thank you John for your great foodie box!

If you would like to see what I sent my pen pal please head over to Daisy Sewing to check it out.

The Lean Green Bean

August 28, 2012

Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies - High Altitude and Sea Level

I purchased Pie in the Sky cookbook after taking a high altitude baking class.  I saw the cookbook before the class, but the instructor recommended the cookbook so I decided to take a second look.  The cookbook is nice because it gives you the measurements/directions for sea level, 3,000 feet, 5,000 feet, 7,000 feet and 10,000 feet.  In Boulder, we are at 5,430 feet above sea level.  I've found that some recipes aren't affected by the altitude, but I have definitely had my share of baking issues.  I like to blame them on the altitude.  =)  I can notice a difference in a few of my recipes that I've made at sea level and now trying to make them here at altitude.

These cookies are very tasty.  With all the oatmeal (3 cups), the cookies are dense, but you can feel good eating the oatmeal.  It's good for you!  =)  You have to love my logic because it allows me (and you) to eat more cookies.

Trout Dale Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus 1 1/2 tablespoons at 5,000 feet)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (generous 1/4 teaspoon at 5,000 feet)
1 teaspoon salt (generous 1 teaspoon at 5,000 feet)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (1 1/2 teaspoons at 5,000 feet)
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (6 ounces) raisins

Line cookie sheets with baking parchment or nonstick mats or coat with butter or nonstick vegetable spray.

Position oven rack in the center and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, using a sturdy spoon or in the bowl of an electric mixer, preferably with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until soft and creamy, then beat in both sugars.  Scrape down the bowl and beater, if using, and beat until smooth.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla, and scrape down the bowl again.

Stirring slowly, or with the mixer on the lowest speed, gradually work in the flour mixture, then the oats and raisins.  The dough will feel very stiff.  (You can make the dough ahead, cover, and refrigerate for several hours.)

Drop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets by the heaping tablespoon, placing the cookies about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 12 to 16 minutes at sea level, 13 to 15 minutes at 5,000 feet, or until the cookies are golden brown; the longer they bake, the crisper they will be.

Cool the cookies on a wire rack.  If the cookies were baked on parchment or a baking mat, simply slide it off the cookie sheet onto the wire rack to cool.  When the cookies are completely cool, store them in an airtight container.

Yield - 55 to 60 cookies (2-inch diameter)

Hat Tip - Pie in the Sky by Susan G. Purdy

August 19, 2012

Graham Break Aways

I'm back to blogging.  I haven't been blogging for a few reasons, but I'm not going to bore you with excuses.  I will tell you about the main reason.  I've been discouraged with the photo taking part of blogging.  I got some new lights for picture taking.  I thought they would cure all my issues, but sadly they haven't.  It seems to be a trial and error process.  One day (soon), I hope to take pictures easily and correctly.

Now, on to the food!  Graham Break Aways are amazing!  They taste like a candy bar. I haven't been able to put my finger on which one, so if you figure it out please let me know.  They are sweet, buttery, crunchy, and decadant.  Lick The Bowl Good recommends using different ingredient combinations for the recipe.  You could use cinnamon graham crackers, dark chocolate, walnuts, peanuts, or dried fruit!  Make them any way you want, just make them soon.  Don't miss out on this tasty, easy treat!

Graham Break Aways

12 graham crackers, broken crosswise in half (24 squares)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven do 350 degrees.  Line a 15x10x1 cookie sheet with foil (makes for much easier clean up).  Arrange the graham crackers in a single layer.

Place the butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for two minutes.  Pour mixture over grahams.  Immediately spread the mixture to cover all the graham crackers.  Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.  

Once the sugar mixture is bubbly, remove from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Return grahams to the oven and bake for an additional 1 to 2 minutes until chocolate melts.  

With the back of of a spoon or offset spatula, spread chocolate evenly over caramelly mixture.  

Sprinkle with chopped pecans.  Carefully press the nuts into the chocolate so the stick, but be careful because it's HOT!

Cool completely.  Break in 24 squares.

Hat Tip - Lick The Bowl Good

April 15, 2012

Blackberry Sorbet

As much as I love winter and snow, lately it has been warm here in Colorado.  I'm sad to see winter come to an end, but it is very exciting to see the everything growing and blooming.  With spring/summer comes great opportunities to make yummy frozen treats!  Here is my first of the season:  blackberry sorbet.

The sorbet is very light and refreshing.  Surprisingly, it almost has a bananay (yeah, I just made that up) flavor.  I'm not sure how that works, but it is delicious.  In The Perfect Scoop there is a recipe for banana-blackberry sorbet.  When I first read that I thought it sounded a bit strange but now after having just blackberry sorbet, I could see how blackberries and bananas would be yummy together.  Check back, you might see it here later this summer.  =)

Blackberry Sorbet

4 cups (450 g) blackberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Puree the blackberries in a blender or food processor with the water and sugar.  Press the mixture through a strainer to remove the seeds.  Stir in the lemon juice.

Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Yield - about 1 quart

Hat Tip - The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

March 16, 2012

Blueberry Crumble


That is the best word to describe this blueberry crumble!  =)  I normally make the crumble in the summer when blueberries are readily available, but last summer I froze some yummy berries from Georgia.  My parents have blueberry bushes and they sent some blueberries to Colorado.  We ate some and I froze the rest in 10 1/2 ounce servings so they would be ready to go for this recipe.  I defrosted the berries before making the crumble and it turned out just as delicious as with fresh berries.  Over the winter I had forgotten how delicious this crumble is.  It was such a good reminder, I will be making it again VERY soon with some fresh blueberries I purchased! 

 Blueberry Crumble

1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
table salt
2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) fresh blueberries
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Combine 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl.  Gently toss the berries with the sugar mixture.  Divide the berries evenly between two 12-ounce ramekins.

Mix the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt together in a medium bowl.  Add the butter to the bowl and, using your fingers, blend the butter into the dry ingredients until dime-sized clumps form.  Pinch together any powdery parts, then sprinkle the topping evenly over the berries.  

Place the crumbles on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the filling is bubbling around the edges and the topping is deep golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.  Let the crumbles cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving. 

Yield - 2 servings

February 28, 2012

Basic Marinara

A few weeks ago, I checked out this Pinterest website that I was hearing so much about.  I was a bit confused by it at first, but I think I've caught on pretty quickly.  =)  I like that there is such a variety of things on there to look at, all in one place.  I came across a pin for make ahead meals.  I LOVE make ahead meals, so I checked it out.  I found this recipe for marinara in the bunch.  I could barely wait to try it!  I was able to make it over the weekend.  It smelled delicious while it was cooking!  I was able to get five two-cup servings and two one-cup servings in freezer bags. 

Basic Marinara

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chopped yellow onion (about 3 medium)
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
2 teaspoons salt 
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth 
3 (28-ounce) cans no-salt-added crushed tomatoes

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sugar and next 7 ingredients (through fennel seeds); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in vinegar; cook 30 seconds. Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 55 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.

To store in the freezer: Ladle room-temperature or chilled sauce into plastic containers or zip-top plastic bags. Seal and freeze for up to four months. Consider freezing the sauce in one-cup increments (two servings' worth). That way, you can pull out exactly as much as you want for future meals. 

Yield - 12 cups

Hat Tip - My Recipes