Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars



Thanks to Pinterest, and backtothecuttingboard.com, I found this recipe for these delicious homemade chewy granola bars. Think Quaker, but better.

Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (see tips above)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups plain granola (I used the nut variety from Sprouts Market bulk section. I chose it because it was low in sugar. If you don't have a Sprouts in your town, well, I don't know. But you could always make Pam's Granola to use in the bars. It would add a step but I bet it would be so good.
  • 1 cup rice cereal (Rice Krispies, etc.) 
  • Possible add-ins: 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, 1/4 cup peanut butter chips, marshmallows, nuts, craisins, etc. The options are endless! Go crazy!
Process
  1. Line two 9×5 loaf pans with foil or parchment. Lightly butter or spray the foil. Set aside.
  2. Combine honey and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in brown sugar after butter starts to melt.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  4. Add the granola and rice cereal into the saucepan and fold them into the sauce until evenly coated.
  5. Spread the mixture into the prepared pans and press firmly with a spatula to evenly fill. Sprinkle the chocolate chips or other add-ins onto the top of the granola and gently press them down with the spatula.
  6. Let sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes or until mostly cooled and set; lift out of the pan and cut into bars.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tomato & Black Bean Quinoa

Have you tried Quinoa? (pronounced keen-wah). It is such a tasty treat. I have tried a few recipes lately with Quinoa and have fallen in love with its nutty flavor and crunchy, interesting texture.
Ok, so Tomato and Black Bean Quinoa:
Zest of one lime
Juice of one lime
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 cup quinoa
1 14 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together lime zest, juice, oil, sugar and 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper to make the dressing. 
Cook the quinoa according to package directions.
(or if you buy it bulk from a local market like I do, first rinse your quinoa, and then cook one cup quinoa in 2 cups salted water for about 20 minutes. The water should be absorbed, and the germ ring will be visible when it is done.- you'll know what I mean when you see it.)
Put your quinoa into a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Add beans, tomatoes, cilantro and onions and toss to combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Yum!
We ate this as a side dish to grilled pork chops for dinner last night, but I ate it on it's own for lunch today and it was perfect.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Raspberry Cheese Dip

I got this recipe from my friend Marlo who always has the best recipes. And it has been urgently requested by my hungry pregnant friend, Olivia. :) It is delicious!

2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded montery jack cheese
6-10 chopped green onions
1 cups chopped pecans
6 Tablespoons Mayo
Combine. Put it into a pie plate lined with saran wrap and chill. Tip over onto serving plate and top with seeded raspberry jam or preserves. And serve with crackers. (I like wheat thins for this).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Audrey's Go To Meals . . .

I know you are all in shock that I am actually posting a recipe. I have throughly enjoyed lurking on our blog and trying out many of your delicious recipes, but I have finally been shamed enough to start contributing:)

1. Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 family size can Campbells Chicken and Rice Soup
1 can of Corn undrained
1 can Texas Style Beans
1 can Mexican Style Rotel Tomatoes
2-3 chicken breasts cooked and chopped or shredded

Throw all ingredients in a big pot. Add two small cans of water. Heat thoroughly. Serve with Doritos Nacho Cheese chips or regular tortilla chips (Doritos are better), sour cream, shredded cheese, and avacado.
So easy and so yummy! I often will double or even triple this and then freeze the left over in large ziploc bags for later.

2. Crockpot Beef Stroganoff
1 lb. stew meat
2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup
1 pkg. Brown Gravy Mix
1 cup Sour Cream

Brown meat with Lawry's seasoning and pepper. Place meat and drippings along with the soup, gravy mix and about 1/2 cup of water in crockpot. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4. About an hour before serving add sour cream. Serve with rice or noodles.

3. Strombolli
Rhodes frozen bread loaf
mozzarella cheese
parmesan cheese
colby jack cheese
dried oregano
Toppings(whatever you like on your pizza)
we usually use
pepperoni
ground sausage
olives
onions

Defrost and roll out dough into large rectangle. Cut stips on the two outside edges of the dough about 1" wide and 2" deep. Fill the center of the dough with pizza toppings of your choice and a variety of cheeses sprinkle with oregano. Braid dough over toppings, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with parmesan and oregano on top. Bake the strombolli at 375* for 20-30 minutes.

This is probably my family's very favorite meal. We cut it into slices and dip it into either marinara sauce or homemade ranch dressing. And honestly Scott's Grandmas ranch dressing is probably my most "go to recipe." I never buy ranch dressing anymore because no one in my family will eat store bought anymore.

Ranch Dressing
1 8oz. cream cheese
2 cups mayonnaise (Best Foods)
2 cups Buttermilk
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1/2-1 tsp. Garlic Salt
1/2-1 tsp. Onion Salt
1-2 T. Parsley Flakes

Soften cream cheese and cream together with mayonnaise. Add the rest and mix together.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Anne's Go-To Meals

Nana's Chicken Pie

Not chicken pot pie, just chicken pie. Think Southern. This is an old family recipe from my friend Melissa Maxwell. It's Scotty's favorite food. I only "go to" this if I want to be impressive.


4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 pie crusts

1 ½ c. chicken broth

1 T. flour

4 pats of butter

salt and black pepper

Cook chicken in salted boiling water until done, cut into small pieces.

Line pie plate with bottom crust and add 3 cups chicken, broth, and flour. Top with 4 pats of butter, dash of salt, and plenty of black pepper. Moisten edge of bottom crust and top with 2nd crust, pressing edges together. Cut slits in top crust, then sprinkle generously with butter and flour that have been worked together.

Bake at 350 for 65 minutes.

Never Fail Pie Crust

Makes 2 pie crusts.

3 c. plain flour

1 ¼ c. shortening

1 tsp. salt

1 egg, well beaten

5 T. water

1 T. vinegar

Mix first three ingredients, cutting shortening in with pastry blender. Mix last three ingredients, stir into dry mixture. Mold into a ball. Roll out 2 crusts.

Peggy's Pot Roast

This is an easy and awesome Sunday dinner from Wade's Grandma Peggy (think lots of diamonds).

In a medium-sized crock pot combine:

5 lbish chuck, rump, or pot roast

1 package Lipton Onion

1 package Au Jus

3T balsamic vinegar

2T worcestershire sauce

1 t. dry mustard


Simmer 5-6 hours on high or 8-9 hours on low. Halfway through, cut into meat so it will soften and fall apart.


Sweet and Sour Meatballs

A good "compassionate service" meal . . .

1 lb. lean ground beef

1/2 c. rolled oats

1 egg. slightly beaten

1/3 c. chopped onion (or 1/4 c. dehydrated)

1/2 t. salt, pepper

3/4 t. Worcestershire sauce

1/3 c. milk


Sauce:

1 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. vinegar

2 t. mustard

1/2 c. barbecue sauce

2 t. Worcestershire


Form into balls and place in 9x13. Cover with sauce. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes at 350. (I take off the foil for the last few minutes and actually cook them a little longer.)


Friday, May 21, 2010

Suzanne's 3 go-to meals

1. Santa Fe Grilled Chicken Salad Wrap

-4 cups torn romaine lettuce
- Grilled Chicken breast strips (this recipe calls for the prepacked Southwestern Seasoned Chicken Strips, but I season my own chicken--usually with salt, pepper and celery salt.)
-1 large tomato, chopped
-1 (11oz) can corn, drained
-1/2 cup Mexican style shredded cheese
-1/4 cup Ranch Dressing
-1/4 cup chunky salsa
-8 flour tortillas (I like the ones you cook yourself)

Toss romaine, chicken strips, tomato and corn in a bowl; sprinkle with cheese. Combine dressing and salsa. Pour over romaine mixture; toss to coat. Spoon in to tortillas and enjoy.

My family really likes this recipe and I like it because it is quick. (This is what we are having for dinner tonight!)


2. Grilled Chicken Penne Al Fresco (Sorry, Pam it is kind of similar to yours.)
I like this recipe because most of it is cooked in the microwave.

-4 garlic cloves peeled
-2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
-3 cups uncooked mezze penne pasta
-3 cups chicken broth
-3/4 cup dry white wine (I use sprite)
-1/2 tsp of salt and pepper
-11/4 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves divided. (I have used dry basil before, but have not put in as much)
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
-2 cups diced grilled chicken breasts

Spray a microwave safe dish with Pam/olive oil. Slice garlic and add whole tomatoes. Cover; microwave on high 4-5 minutes or until tomatoes begin to burst, stirring after 2 minutes. Crush remaining tomatoes (i use a potatoe smasher). Add pasta, broth, sprite/wine, salt and black pepper.

Return to microwave; cover and microwave on high 16-18 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring after 1o minutes (I had to cook it about 22 minutes last time.) Meanwhile, coarsely chop basil. Reserve 2 tbsp for garnish.

Remove from Microwave when noodles are done. Add remaining basil, cheese and chicken; mix well. Garnish with reserved 2 tbsp basil, additional Parmesan cheese and black pepper, if desired.


3. Taco-topped Potatoes. It is pretty much taco salad on top of a baked potatoe.

-4 large baking potatoes (bake as you wish--I prefer the oven)
- 1 pound lean ground beef
-1/2 cup chopped onion
-1 garlic clove, pressed
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/8 ground pepper
-1 can tomato sauce
-1/4 cup water
-2 teaspoons chili powder
-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/2 cup shredded cheese
-Ranch dressing

optional toppings: chopped tomatoes, sliced pitted olives, torn romaine lettuce, sour cream, snipped cilantro, sliced green onions, and salsa.

Fry hamburger. Add onion and garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is tender. Stir in tomato sauce, water, chili powder and cumin.

Serve on top of cooked split potatoes. We like to add lettuce, tomatoes, green onions and ranch dressing.


Have fun cooking. I can't wait to try some of Kate's and Pam's recipes.

I tag Anne!



Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pam's 3 go-to recipes response.

Nobody die because I'm posting!

1. Penne ala Vodka

We honestly have this at least twice a month because I always have the ingredients on hand, AND it's cheap to prepare. I'll note possible substitutions, but I only recommend them in a bind - the fresh ingredients are just so good. (I got this from the Williams Sonoma cookbook "Pasta".)


  • 5 large tomatoes (you could use 1 can diced tomatoes, and it will still be good, but not as good as fresh)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup vodka (you can use white cooking wine, but if you do get Vodka, it keeps in the freezer forever. And it's always liquid, even in the freezer. We end up using white cooking wine more, because I just don't really have any reason to go to a liquor store except this recipe.)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. penne
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Leaves from 3 or 4 large fresh flat-leaf parsley
    sprigs, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Peel and seed the tomatoes, then cut them into small dice. If the tomatoes are very juicy, drain them for about 10 minutes in a colander. Set aside.

**to peel seed and dice, score tomatoes on bottom with an x. toss into a pot of boiling water, watch tomatoes and when the skin starts to peel from the 'x', take them out. let them cool, then kind of dig the seeds out through the 'x'. the skin should just slip off.

In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until just starting to turn golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the stovetop and add the vodka. Return the pan to medium heat and cook until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well and add the pasta to the fry pan.

Add the cream and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the pasta is well coated with the sauce, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Pour into a warmed large, shallow bowl. Add the parsley and toss briefly. Serve immediately.


#2 Lasagne

This is a recipe Bryan came up with based on some experimentation on his mission in Italy. You know, when he wasn't out preaching the word. It's a "go-to" recipe because I make it once a month, but times the recipe by 1.5. That way I can make two small pans, and freeze one for later in the month. It's easy to make, and tasty. If you do freeze one, you need to thaw it in the refrigerator for 24 hours before baking.

1/2 pound deli shaved ham, diced
1 pack Barilla lasagna noodles, ready bake
4 -6 cups shredded mozzarella. (or buy the fresh log and slice it in thin slices)

Meat mixture: saute 1 onion and 2 minced garlic cloves in 1 TBSP olive oil for 5 minutes. Add 1 lb ground beef (or 1/2 pound beef, 1/2 pound Italian sausage) and brown.

To meat mixture, add
1 can tomato paste (small can)
1 can tomato sauce (small can)
1 can diced tomatos
1/2 tsp each basil, oregano, parsley
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
2 beef boullion cubes

White sauce, mix:
1 carton ricotta cheese
1 small carton cottage cheese
1 egg, well beaten
1 TBSP parsley
1/2 cup shredded parmesan

Layer:
red sauce
diced ham
white sauce
mozzarella cheese
noodles

try to have 3 layers, topping the last layer with red sauce and mozzarella.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more.

3. Dagwood Sandwiches
I don't know the full deal on these, because on paper they look like something I would hate. But I love them. The recipe is from Bryan's grandma, and Bryan calls them dagwoods. Don't know why.

1 cup diced ham (I buy good deli ham, 1/2 pound, thinly sliced)
1 cup cubed swiss
1/2 cup sour cream
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 TBSP good dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1 small can sliced olives

8 good quality sandwich rolls (about six inches each)

Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl, mixing gently until just combined. Divide mixture among the six rolls, and wrap each sandwich in foil. Bake in a 350 oven for 20 - 25 minutes.


Chocolate Sheet Cake

This is a wonderful recipe from the beloved Pioneer Woman. If you haven't seen her website you should check it out. I got this recipe from her cookbook, which is just beautiful.
Cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
4 heaping Tablespoons cocoa powder

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir together and set aside.
2. In another bowl, mix the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and baking soda. Mix with a fork and set aside.
3. Then, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the cocoa and then whisk together to combine.
4. Meanwhile bring 1 cup water to a boil.
5. When the butter is melted, pour the boiling water in the pan. Allow to bubble for a moment, then turn off the heat.
6. Pour the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture.
7. Stir together for a moment to cool the chocolate, then pour in the egg mixture.
8. Stir together until smooth, then pour into an un-greased jelly roll pan (rimmed baking sheet) and bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Icing:
1 3/4 sticks butter
4 heaping Tablespoons cocoa powder
6 Tablespoons milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
2. Add the cocoa powder and stir until smooth.
3. Add the milk and vanilla.
4. Add powdered sugar, stir together
5. Dump in the chopped pecans and stir until well combined.
6. Immediately after removing the cake from the oven, pour the warm icing over the top. You'll want to avoid doing much spreading, so try to distribute it evenly as you pour.

This cake is completely delicious, and it is great for large groups of people. I took this to a church "friendship dinner" with 3 other families and it was plenty for all of us, and I brought home leftovers. Although, I wouldn't recommend bringing home the leftovers. :) I think we all saw how much butter is in this cake. :)

In the meantime...

Kate, those are great recipes, the Mexican Meat-zza is really good (plus, Meat-zza is just a cool word), I tried it a couple of months ago! And I can't wait to try ALL of those burger recipes, they all sound great.
So, since Pammy is busy moving/renovating/having a baby, let's tag SUZANNE in the meantime, since I know she is ready to go with her recipes. Pam, you're still tagged, just take your time with it!
Love you all!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kate's 3 Go-to Meals Tag Response

Okay, here are three of my go-to meals. I realized that I have only put one of them up as a separate post so most of this is new.

1) The Mexican Meat-zza. I love this and I'd rather have it than plain tacos.

2) Some kind of burger with something other than red meat. Here are three varieties

Black Bean Burger: (Makes 8 patties)
1/2 cups prepared salsa
1 jalapeno (optional--sometimes Max and I just put jarred jalapenos on our burgers so it's not too spicy for the kids)
2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 8.5-oz corn muffin mix (I use Jiffy)
2 1/2 and then 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp chili powder

In colander, drain salsa (just let it sit in the sink for a minute). Seed and finely chop half of jalapeno; thinly slice remaining half (if you're using it). In large bowl, mash beans with vegetable masher or fork. Stir in muffin mix, drained salsa, 2 1/2 tsp of chili powder. Shape into 8 patties. In 12-inch skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil over meduim-high heat. Add four bean mixture patties to skillet. Cook 3 minutes each side until browned. Remove from skillet and repeat with remaining oil and bean mixture. In a bowl, combine sour cream and 1/2 tsp chili powder to spread on the buns. The you can top the burgers with anything you want--more salsa, lettuce, tomato, cheese (I like it with cheese), the sliced jalapeno and definitely Cholula!

Curried Turkey Burgers: (Makes 4 patties) (I know this maybe sounds weird, but even my kids love these)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp curry powder
1 lb ground turkey breast
1/4 tsp salt
2 oz feta cheese with basil and tomato, crumbled
4 Greek pita flatbread or burger buns (I like to use wheat burger buns)

Heat broiler. Stir together mayonnaise and curry; set aside. Combine turkey, 2 Tbsp of curry mayonnaise, feta, and 1/4 tsp salt. Shape into four 1/2 thick patties. Broil 4 inches from heat 11-13 minutes, turning once. Spread remaining curry-mayonnaise on flatbread or patties. Top with red onion, spinach and more feta.

Salmon Burgers--(not a real recipe, just something I threw together based on a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens)
2 6-oz pkgs precooked salmon or about about 12-14 oz cooked salmon fillet
1/3-1/2 cup seasoned fine dry bread crumbs
2 Tbsp snipped fresh dill (or I've used dry dill--probably just 1 Tbsp or less though)
chopped chives or green onions to taste
(you can also add leftover mashed up potatoes with a little sour cream too if you have it)

Mix all ingredients and form into 6-8 patties (about 3.5 inches wide). Coat a non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Cook cakes over medium-high heat 3-4 minutes each side--the salmon is already cooked so your really just heating them through and browning them. Serve on hamburger buns with lettuce and honey-dijon salad dressing.

3. Chicken Enchilada

2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
2 cans mushrooms (4 oz) (optional)
1 can chopped green chilies
1/3 C minced onions, sautéed in a little oil
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 lb cheese
1/2 C sour cream

Combine ingredients, leaving a little cheese aside.

Mix:
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 C sour cream

Lightly smear glass baking pan with soup/sour cream mixture. Place about 1/4 cup of chicken mixture into flour tortillas. Roll and place tortillas in pan. Cover with remaining soup/sour cream mixture and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 450º for 10-15 mintues.

Oh, yeah....I tag Pam

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ok, how about this.

I am in a bit of a rut. I need some good meal ideas. Let's play a game. We'll call it "Hungry Tag". Here's how it works. I'm going to post my top 3 meals (the top 3 things that I usually make for dinners) including recipe. Unless of course it doesn't really have a recipe like, say, tacos, or spaghetti or something. And then you get to tag someone else. You know how tag works, right, I tag you, and then you have to do it or you mess up the whole game. (love you)
Here's my top 3 in no particular order (except for maybe #1).

1. Curried Chicken with Carrots and Lime This meal is hands down my favorite. Only a few ingredients, minimal prep, and a delicious meal to show for it. My family loves it, too.

2. Homemade Pizza. This is a great dinner, because it's yummy, and my kids(and hubby) have fun topping it how they want to. I've been using Kate's pizza dough recipe here and most times I'll use store bought sauce.

3. Some Kind of slow cooker burrito/tacos. I love the Cafe Rio Pork recipe, actually, do any of you have a version that you think is pretty authentic? I don't love the version I have... Or I also love doing these slow cooker chicken tacos. Of course both of these things need to be served with all of the yummy fixin's... cilantro, tortillas, salsa, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes...

I tag....KATE.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Vanessa's requests

Vanessa had asked for these two recipes a long time ago--sorry it took me so long to get a round to it.

Tortellini Soup
10 cups water
6-7 chicken bouillon cubes
90z. tortellini, uncooked (I like to use more just because my kids predominately eat the tortellini.)
1lb. baby spinach
1 cup instant rice, uncooked
2 tsp. dry tarragon leaves
1 red bell pepper, cut up

Optional ingredients
1/2lb mushrooms
2 chicken breasts, cut up uncooked
grated Parmesan cheese

Bring broth to a boil then add tortellini for 6 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring back to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Garnish with grated Parmesan when serving.

Beef and Broccoli

1
lbs. Flank steak, sliced
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. sprite, 7-up or mitsuya cider
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup sliced onions
4 to 5 Tbsp. cooking oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 bunch broccoli

Optional ingredients

Bamboo shoots
Water chestnuts
Mushrooms

Cut beef on an angle. Marinate with soy sauce, cornstarch, sprite and sugar (Alan and I like to double the marinade.) Set aside. Cut broccoli. Pour 2 tablespoons oil in a hot skillet. Add salt. (If bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and mushrooms are used, they should be cooked about one minute before the broccoli.) Add broccoli. Stir constantly-not over 3 minutes. Remove from the skillet and spread out on a plate. In the same skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and onion. Stir in the beef mixture and turn constantly until the beef is almost cooked ( about 3 minutes). Add broccoli and mix thoroughly. For crispness, do not overcook. Serve immediately. Serve over rice.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bananas

Don't throw away brown bananas, throw them in the freezer! They defrost quickly when you're ready for them (about 30 minutes on the kitchen counter) and are perfect for making banana bread, muffins, smoothies, and anything else requiring bananas.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fresh Ginger

Fresh Ginger is super delicious when added to stir-fry, meats, soups and all kinds of things. You can buy a fresh ginger root at the grocery store very inexpensively. I grate off what I want and then store it in the freezer in a plastic bag. Each time I need some, I just pull it out of the freezer and grate some more off. It works splendidly and now I always have fresh ginger when I want it!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Delicious Cream Cheese Frosting

How cute are these? I made them for Valentine's Day, and here's how:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 fluid ounce red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with 20 paper baking cups.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, red food coloring and vanilla. Stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack.


Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. I stored this in the fridge until I was ready to use it so that it was a little stiffer when I piped it onto my cupcakes. Delicious!