Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sour Cream Blackberry Pie

(Click on picture to enlarge)

Mix together:

1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons flour

Gently fold in 4-4 1/2 cups of fresh (or frozen) blackberries.

Put in an unbaked 9-inch pie shell and sprinkle with crushed Ritz crackers (about 15) just so the berry mixture is evenly covered.

Bake at 375° for 40 minutes. Cool, slice, and enjoy!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Condensed Cream Of "Whatever" Soup Substitute

3 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. flour
1/2 cup any broth
1/2 cup milk or cream
salt and pepper to taste
cooked mushrooms or celery or chicken or broccoli

Melt butter in a saucepan over Med-Low heat.

Stir in flour a little at a time until smooth, then remove from heat.

Add broth and milk a little at a time, stirring to keep mixture smooth. Then, stir in sauteed mushrooms, celery, or bits of cooked chicken.

Return to heat and bring sauce to a gentle boil; stir constantly until sauce thickens.

Add salt and pepper to taste.


  • I would use chicken broth for lighter things like cream of chicken or celery and beef broth for richer things like cream of mushroom.

  • You can use the sauce as is or you can add sauteed mushrooms or celery or whatever to it. Add as much as you'd like probably around 1/4 cup or so... Whatever works for you.

  • This sauce is intended be used as a substitute for CONDENSED Cream of "Whatever" Soup. Use in casseroles in place of condensed cream soups. I'm not sure how it would be diluted down and used as a stand-alone soup....

Original recipe can be found at:

(8-30-11) UPDATED TO ADD: As of late I've substituted white bean flour for the the wheat flour and it works just great! You need to boil it gently for about three minutes for the sauce to thicken up as it doesn't thicken as quickly as with wheat flour.

I've made the mistake (multiple times!) of adding more bean flour because it wasn't thickening and then it was too thick.... I just wasn't waiting long enough.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Poppy Seed Pound Cake Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-2 tablespoon poppy seeds
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
¼ teaspoon almond extract

In small bowl, stir together flour, poppy seeds, salt and baking soda. In large bowl, cream sugar and butter. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add yogurt and almond extract; mix well. Stir in flour mixture until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes before removing from pan.
Yield: 1 dozen.

Photo from Taste of Home's website

The only way my recipe differs from the original Taste of Home recipe is:
1. I use more poppy seeds (since I love them!!), the original calls for 1 Tablespoon, and
2. I use 1/4 tsp. of almond extract rather than 1 tsp. of vanilla.
Other than that, I just double the recipe and my kids call me the best mom ever. We love these muffins! ♥♥♥

Friday, October 22, 2010

Soft 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Soft 100% Whole Wheat Bread

I got this recipe from a blog I’ve read over the past 5+ years. Her blog post/recipe is lengthy so I’m attempting to share this recipe whilst simplifying the instructions a bit. I, for one, didn’t mind all the instructions and I frequently ran back and forth from the kitchen to the computer to read the next directive. It was a bit like having someone right with me, showing me how while I made it. You can read the original recipe/blog post here:

This makes 3-4 loaves depending on the size of your pans. You will have to re-tool this recipe to make it smaller if you want less….

“This whole wheat recipe is very simple and only takes about three hours from start to popping in the oven."

4 ½ cups very warm water
3 packages active dry yeast
OR 3 scant tablespoons of yeast from a jar or 1 pound foil package
1/3 cup honey
5 cups whole wheat flour [she grinds her own, I don’t…yet…]

“Stir this gently, and then leave it alone (perhaps cover your bowl with a towel) to 'sponge' for about 30 minutes. The dough should look light and slightly bubbly…a little like the top of a pancake just before you flip it, or a little like a sponge (those small air bubbles), which is why this step is called 'sponging'.”

After 30 minutes, stir in:

5 ½ Tablespoons melted butter [2.75 oz for those who weigh it out]
¼ cup honey [I haven’t weighed the honey yet, so I don’t know….]
3 teaspoons (1 Tbs.) salt

[It’s at this point that I, Cindee, add in things like cracked wheat or seeds and things. For cracked wheat bread I add a cup of cracked wheat and then add as much flour as I need for the dough to come out right. Probably ½ cup less flour, but I haven’t measured.]

4-5 cups of whole wheat flour

“Mix well with a wooden spoon. Dough will be very soft and sticky. Now comes the tricky part. You want to add just a little less flour than you think you're going to need. The key to good whole wheat bread is usually NOT to flour the board or your hands. I oil them, because whole wheat dough with too much flour makes a really hard, chewy, bread that tastes more like flour than bread. It's not good.

"But this is a very sticky dough, so you need both flour and oil. Add another cup or two of flour to the dough and to your countertop, dump the dough out and knead in the flour- your hands will be incredibly sticky and you'll have as much dough on them as you do on the counter. Add a bit more flour, knead some more, and when the dough is still pretty sticky, but starting to pull away from the counter (it still won't be smooth), oil your hands well, and also the inside of the bowl, and gently knead the dough into a smoother, but still soft and slightly sticky ball of dough.

"Put the dough in your greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough with oil (this keeps it from drying out). Cover with a clean dish towel or napkin. Let rise in a warmish place until doubled (about 30 minutes).”

“Now shape the bread. If you want loaves, you punch the dough down again, divide it into thirds, shape the loaf and put in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. [Cindee here: I have to use 4 pans because of the sizes that I have. Just dividing it into thirds made my pans overflow a bit so you’ll have to experiment here and see what works best for your situation] When I make loaves I use my fingers to press down the dough along the pan edges on all four sides- this helps give it that nice 'loaf' shape that is higher in the middle. If you want rolls, shape the dough into balls and place on a greased pan. This dough is already going to make really soft bread, and you make rolls even softer by putting them on the pan so their sides are just touching.

"FOR LOAVES: Cover the loaves with a dish towel and leave it to rise until dough has topped the pan by about an inch. Depending on your yeast and humidity conditions, this will take between 1 - 2 hours. Bake @ 350°F for 25-30 minutes. Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 1 tablespoon of melted butter when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely.

FOR ROLLS: Let rise about one hour. [Cindee again: As space allows, I usually let my dough rise in an oven that has been turned on to 170 for a minute or so. Mine is a gas oven so a minute or two is long enough to make a warm, humid place for the dough to rise. An electric oven might take a little more time, I’m not sure…] Bake @ 350° for 15 minutes. Pull away a roll, cut in half, OR slice a chunk of loaf (using a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion), slather with butter, eat, chewing slowly and savoring the soft, tender goodness of freshly baked whole wheat bread.”

Cindee’s Notes:

In order to make and keep the bread really soft, I’ve found I need to let the loaves cool for 15 minutes or so and then put them into a plastic bag so they can retain the moisture. It’s tricky because if I do it too soon the inside of the bag will get super sweaty and then I need to wipe out the bag with a paper towel. In my mind, though, that’s preferable to waiting too long and having the bread dry out too much. It takes experimenting and practice, I think. If it turns out too dry, it still makes great toast! :-)

I’m not at all sure this is any shorter than the original blog post that I read. I think that’s because it’s not just a list of ingredients and an oven temperature/time. It’s also about the technique employed and that just ends up being wordy. Sigh…

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pizza Dough

½ - 1 oz. yeast
½ tsp. sugar
1 ½ cups water (95°- 115°)
16 oz. flour (white, wheat, or mixed)
1 tsp salt

Dissolve yeast and sugar in water; allow to rest for 8 minutes. In separate bowl, combine flour and salt. Pour yeast mixture over flour mixture and mix well with a heavy spoon. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Add enough flour to make the right consistency. (I actually mix and knead the dough in my KitchenAid mixer. Works great!) Separate dough into two balls (one large 2/3, one small 1/3). Working from the edges to the center, press dough into a circle. Place dough on lightly greased pizza pans and stretch dough to edges. Spread sauce over crust and top with cheese and desired toppings.

Bake at 450° for 8-12 minutes or until crust is a light, golden brown.
Makes one large and one small pizza


White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
½ baking soda
2 cups (11 oz.) white chips
1 ½ cups chopped Macadamia nuts

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and egg one at a time, and beat well. Blend in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in white chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes in a 350° oven.
Makes 5 dozen

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 scant cup shortening (6 oz.)
1/2 cup butter (4 oz.)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar (8 oz.)
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 ½ cups flour
1 pkg. chocolate chips

Cream together: shortening, butter, and sugars. Add: eggs and vanilla, mix well. Mix in dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonful on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart (12 to a sheet).

Bake at 375° for 9-10 minutes. Makes 3-4 dozen.

Alfredo Sauce

1 pint of Heavy Cream
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
2 Tbsp. Cream Cheese (I use spreadable or brick cream cheese, whichever I have on hand)
1/2 - 1 C. Parmesan cheese* (I use 2.5 ounces, whatever that works out to be!)
1 tsp. Garlic powder

In a saucepan combine butter, heavy cream, and cream cheese. Simmer this until all is melted, and mixed well. Add the Parmesan cheese and Garlic powder. Simmer this for 20 - 30 minutes (or more!) on low. Season as desired with a little salt and pepper. Makes about 3 cups.

*Note: The parmesean cheese needs to be a brick that you grate yourself or some already grated but NOT the Kraft-type that you shake on spaghetti.


French Bread

1 cup warm water
3 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. yeast

Place all ingredients in the order listed into the KitchenAid mixer. Turn on mixer to stir speed until well mixed then turn to speed 2. Let the machine knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes.

Remove from the bowl and shape into a smooth ball. Spray the bowl LIGHTLY with oil and return the dough ball to the bowl turning the ball to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl and set in a warm place to rise until double, about 45 minutes.

Turn out dough onto a floured countertop. Shape the dough into one 12-inch oblong loaf, one large round loaf, two 18-inch thin baguettes, or 8 french rolls.
Dust the tops with flour and rub it in. Place the loaves on a cookie sheet. With a very sharp knife, slash the tops of the loaves about ½ inch deep. Cover and let rise in a warm oven about 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Bake round or oblong loaves about 20 minutes, the baguettes about 15 minutes, and the rolls about 10-12 minutes.

Baja Fish Tacos

*3 Tbs. fresh chopped cilantro
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*2 limes, juiced
*½ C. orange juice
*½ tsp. cumin
*½ tsp. chili powder

1 pound fresh fish fillets
8-10 small flour or corn tortillas, warmed
2 C. lettuce or cabbage, shredded
1 C. jack cheese, shredded

½ c. sour cream
3 Tbs. cilantro
lime juice (to taste & consistency)
chili powder (to taste)
tabasco sauce (to taste)

In large bowl (or zip bag) combine first 6 ingredients. Add fish, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove fish from marinade and discard marinade. Cook fish either on barbeque, in skillet or under broiler. Break cooked fish into small chunks. Place an equal portion into each tortilla. (Lately I've just been breaking each cooked fillet in half and placing one half in each tortilla.)Top with remaining ingredients. Serve with pico de gallo* and fish sauce.

Serves 4

*Pico de gallo: Chopped tomato, onion, and cilantro tossed with a bit of salt and lime juice. Tasty!

Fish Sauce


Here is the process I use to make my own yogurt. You might need to tweak these instructions to tailor them to your situation and taste.

Make sure all tools you use are VERY clean. Getting any bad bacteria into your yogurt will ruin it.

You will need:
-large sauce pan
-jars or plastic containers
-plain yogurt (to use as a starter)
-powdered milk and/or gelatin (optional)
-insulated cooler

I use powdered milk and gelatin in my recipe because I like the consistency better that way. It makes a firmer yogurt. They aren't necessary ingredients but without them the result will be a softer yogurt.

STEP 1: Heat milk (and whisked-in powdered milk & gelatin) to 145° - 150°F.

STEP 2: Remove from heat and cool milk to about 125-130°F. If the milk is too hot you will kill the starter when you add it. If it's too cool you won't activate the cultures.

STEP 3: Inoculate with starter yogurt. (Plain, no sugar added, with LIVE cultures) Whisk starter yogurt into the milk and then pour into your containers.

STEP 4: Incubate @ about 130° for 4-6 hours. I do this by filling an insulated cooler with very hot water and letting it heat while I get the milk mixture ready. Then I pour out the water, put in my filled jars and refill with fresh, hot water up to the neck of the jars.

STEP 4 (continued): Wrap the cooler in towels or blankets to help hold in the heat and let it sit for 4-6 hours. Yogurt likes to be VERY STILL while it's culturing so be careful not to jostle it.

STEP 5: Remove jars from the cooler and refrigerate. The yogurt will firm up more after refrigeration.

Ingredients for each quart of yogurt:

4 cups milk
2 Tablespoons powdered milk
1 teaspoon gelatin
2 Tablespoon plain yogurt

Here is a link to a printable copy of my basic recipe:

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.

Marie Callendar’s Famous Golden Cornbread

1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup shortening (1.69 or 1 ¾ oz.)
1 egg
¾ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ cup cornmeal
1 ¼ cup flour
1 ¼ cup milk

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl cream shortening and sugar. Beat in egg. Add salt, baking powder, and corn meal. Mix. Add flour and mix until mixture resembles large crumbs (pea-sized). Add milk all at once and mix until well combined. Pour batter into a greased 8x8-inch pan. Bake for 25-30 or until top is golden brown. Let cool slightly before slicing. Serve with butter and honey.

Beef Stroganoff

½ c. butter
½ lb. mushrooms (washed & sliced)
1-2 lbs. lean sirloin
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
½ c. tomato juice
2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup*
1 c. sour cream**

Trim fat from beef and cut meat into thin strips approximately 3 x 1½ inches. Melt ½ of the butter, add mushrooms and sauté until golden.
Remove mushrooms and add rest of butter. Stir in meat and cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato juice and garlic. Return mushrooms to pan. Cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir seasonings, soup, and sour cream into mixture just before serving and heat thoroughly (do not boil!) Serve with rice or noodles.

CROCK POT: Follow above directions except after sautéing mushrooms and browning meat, put all ingredients except the sour cream in the crock pot and cook on low for 5 hours or until meat is very tender. Add sour cream just before serving.

*Make your own condensed soup using this recipe: Condensed Cream of "Whatever" Soup

**Note: When I double this recipe in order to freeze half, I take out the half I want to freeze BEFORE I add the sour cream. Sour cream changes after it's been frozen and the texture isn't quite so nice. So I just add in the sour cream after the "freezer meal" has been thawed and reheated. Fresh noodles too. I don't know how to successfully freeze prepared noodles!

Cheesy Beef Casserole

½ lb. ground beef
1 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. minced onion
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
½ C. cooked carrots, sliced
½ tsp. salt
dash pepper
½ C. sour cream
½ C. cottage cheese
3 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley (1/2 Tbs. dried)
4 oz. noodles, cooked & drained

Brown ground beef in butter; add onions and sauté. Stir in tomato sauce, salt, and pepper; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes or until thickened. In a bowl, combine sour cream, cottage cheese, parsley, and carrots; gently stir in cooked noodles. In greased baking dish, layer half the meat mixture, half the noodle mixture, half the meat mixture, and finish with half the noodle mixture. Top with grated cheese and bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. (I do this last step out on the gas grill during the summer heat!)

Refried Beans - Crock Pot Method

5 cups dry beans (½ pinto & ½ pink is what I like)
4 oz. butter
2 Tbs. dry, minced onion
1 Tbs. dry minced garlic
2 Tbs. vinegar
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. cumin
2 Tbs. chili powder

Place dry beans in a Crock-Pot and cover deeply with water. Add onion and garlic. DO NOT ADD SALT YET! Cook on low for 12-14 hours or high for 8-10 hours or until beans are very soft. Check it a couple of times while cooking and add water to keep beans covered.

When beans are soft, drain off most of the water but reserve it to add back if necessary.The amount of liquid you remove will depend on the consistency you want (thin vs. thick).  It will thicken somewhat as it cools. Spoon out and reserve about one to two cups of the beans (optional). Add the butter, salt, and vinegar, and spices. Blend with an immersion blender or in a regular blender or food processor until smooth. Add a few tablespoons of the reserved liquid if the beans are too thick to blend. When beans are smooth stir back in the whole beans.
Makes approx. five 20 oz. portions.

Rinse the beans
Get them cooking in the crock pot
Keep them covered in water. Dried out, burned beans are nasty!!
Ladle off excess liquid when beans are soft
Add butter, salt, spices, and vinegar
Blend to desired consistency

See my Pressure Cooker Method here.

Fruit Cobbler

½ cup butter
2 tsp. baking powder
1½ cups flour
¾ cup milk
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp. salt
16 oz. can of fruit filling or plain fruit

Fruit filling:
2 cups fruit,
½ cup sugar,
2 Tbs. cornstarch

Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan, let stand for 10 minutes, then cook and stir until thick and bubbly.

Melt butter in a casserole. Mix in flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and milk. Blend until smooth. Pour fruit evenly over the top but DO NOT MIX IN.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until the center is set.

To double recipe use a 9x13 baking dish and place on a cookie sheet in case of spill-over!

(The picture above illustrates the time I discovered that I should use a cookie sheet...What a mess THAT was!!)