Monday, March 31, 2014

Shrimp and Soba Noodle Salad

 Garlic Shrimp and Soba Noodle Salad
 This is my kind of lunch or dinner! Sorry, I don't have a great story to tell with this recipe.  It's just a great salad that I hope you'll enjoy.  This recipe was inspired by a salad I had in a restaurant recently.  Hope you love it too!    

1 lb. soba noodles, cooked according to package directions and drained
Bunch of fresh spinach
2 red or yellow peppers, julienned
1 cucumber, peeled, sliced lengthwise, seeded with spoon, julienned
1 carrot peeled and grated or julienned 

Peanut sauce:
½ cup peanut butter
4 tablespoons mayonnaise or coconut cream
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 teaspoons honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons sesame oil
½ cup vegetable oil

Garlic Shrimp:
1 lb. large shrimp
1 lemon, zested first and then juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
¼ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper

To make the Garlic Shrimp, first, combine shrimp, lemon zest, juice and remaining ingredients for garlic shrimp together in a bowl.  Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, if possible.  Combine all ingredients for peanut sauce in bowl of food processor and pulse to combine.  Set peanut sauce aside.  Cook soba noodles and toss with half of the peanut sauce.  Set remaining half of peanut sauce aside.  In individual serving bowls or in a large serving bowl, place spinach on the bottom of bowl.  Top with noodles followed by shrimp and cut vegetables.  Drizzle with extra peanut sauce and crushed salted peanuts if desired.  

Saturday, March 29, 2014

DIY Water Balloon Flip Flops!

Easy and Fun DIY Water Balloon Flip Flops!

Simply tie water balloons in a knot around the flip flop straps!  We liked the rainbow color pattern... Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Be creative and have fun! 

For my daughters birthday this year we made these bright and fun flip flops at the party. The girls all had a fun time making them and they can't wait to wear them to school on the same day!  We got this idea from my niece who made these at a party a few years ago.  We thought they were so cute that we wanted to try them at our party this year.  We bought black flip flops for every girl from Old Navy, for $2.50 a pair.  I would recommend going a size larger in flip flops.  We bought 3 packs of 500 water balloons and had plenty of water balloons left over, perfect for a water balloon fight!

What you'll need:

8 pair flip flops in every one's sizes   
1,500 water balloons
8 girls to tie the water balloons onto the flip flops! we come!

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Brownie Cheesecake

The Brownie Cheesecake

I know you know how much I love cheesecake!  After a recent lunch date at the Cheesecake Factory with my daughter, I am feeling inspired to create a bunch of new cheesecake recipes this spring!  I can't believe the amount of different kinds of cheesecake they have.  They are all so gorgeous and fun to admire!  I am going to be creating some recipes that will give you a beautiful and delicious cheesecake that you can make easily at home for only a fraction of the price!    Here's the most recent cake creation...The Brownie Cheesecake!  Serve with or without fresh berries or the Fresh Berry Puree.  

Brownie Crust
3/4 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking POWDER
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare the pan.  Trace the bottom of a 9-10 inch spring form pan onto parchment paper. Cut it out.  Cut a strip of parchment paper to cover the inside of the pan's sides.  Grease the pan and then stick the parchment paper onto the bottom and around the side of the pan.  Spray parchment paper with bakers spray (the kind with flour preferably.)  In bowl of electric mixer, whip butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy.  Whip in eggs.  Stir dry ingredients together and add to butter mixture.  Whip until mixture looks like soft ice cream.  Spread into bottom of prepared 9 inch spring form pan.  Place spring form pan on a large baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes.  While bottom layer bakes, make the cream cheese layer.

Cream Cheese Layer
3, 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup milk

In electric mixer whip cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla until creamy.  Add eggs and yolk and beat on low until just combined.  Stir in milk and beat for 10 seconds.  Pour over brownie layer and bake 30 minutes or until center of cheesecake is set and not jiggly.  Top may brown a little, which is fine. Remove from oven and cool before adding Chocolate Glaze.

Chocolate Glaze
1 cup milk chocolate chips
6 tablespoon butter

In top of double boiler, melt chocolate and butter and stir until smooth.  Pour over cooled cheesecake.  With backside of spoon, smooth melted chocolate over the top of cheesecake. Place a large dinner plate over the cheesecake pan and place in refrigerator.  Let cheesecake refrigerate over night and up to two days.  Remove from fridge.  Remove sides of pan. Carefully slip a long knife under cake.  Insert knife under the parchment paper and loosen cake from bottom of pan.  Slip cake carefully onto a cake platter or cake stand.   Let stand on display at room temperature a while before cutting and serving.  I like to serve this cheesecake with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and a Fresh Berry Puree, or with plain fresh berries. 

Fresh Berry Puree
 2 cups fresh berries, of any kind
1/4 cup sugar

Puree fruit and sugar in food processor and spoon a little Fresh Berry Puree over the top of each slice of cheesecake.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
I absolutely LOVE roasted cauliflower.  The roasting process adds amazing flavor - I could eat it all the time, yes even as a snack!  My children all love it too.  I know kids aren't supposed to love vegetables, but I am convinced that's because they are all too familiar with soggy, overcooked vegetables, lacking all of their natural sweetness and flavor.  I wanted to make a soup using the roasted cauliflower that we all love so much.  I tried to get a photo of the first batch of soup, but my family ate it up so quickly, I never got the chance!  After another batch of soup, I was able to snap a shot.  I hope you enjoy this delicious soup!   

2 heads cauliflower, cut into florets
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth (or use water and bouillon granules)
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
milk or half and half for thinning soup

Toss cauliflower florets, chopped onion and garlic cloves with a little olive oil and salt and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork. Place roasted vegetables in a large pot and add broth.  Simmer for 45 minutes.  Blend soup until smooth with a stick blender or puree soup in blender in small batches.  Fill blender only 1/4 full with hot soup.  Place a kitchen towel over the top of blender and puree. Pour soup puree into another large pot and continue with remaining batches.   If needed, thin soup with 2 cups milk or half and half, or more if needed.  If soup is too thin add a roux ( melt 1/2 cup butter and stir in 10 tablespoons flour) and whisk into soup.  Thin as needed to reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with a dusting of Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh ground pepper. Serve hot with some crusty bread.

Crispy Roasted Cauliflower

Crispy Roasted Cauliflower
Roasting vegetables is my all time favorite way to cook vegetables of all kinds.  The roasting process is SO fast, SO easy and renders vegetables SO delicious!  Forget sauces...all you need is some olive oil, salt and pepper and a high temperature to bring out the sweet and savoriness of a vegetable.  So. Darn. Good.  I love to serve roasted cauliflower along side roasted or grilled meats.  Enjoy!   

1 lb. cauliflower or 1 large head, cut into florets
2 tablespoon olive oil
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

Place rinsed and dried cauliflower florets on large rimmed baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place in 450 degree oven for 20 minutes or until edges are browned and crispy and stalks are tender when pierced with a fork.  Serve along side almost anything!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lovely Lemon Bars

Lovely Lemon Bars
This is my go-to recipe for easy lemon bars.  My friend Rebecca Bateman shared her recipe for these tart and tangy lemon bars, using only 2 lemons!  They are simply delicious and easily made a day in advance.  In fact they taste even better the next day!  Simply dust with powdered sugar and cut before serving.   For a pretty look at a party, I like to place lemon bars into white paper baking cups and place on beautiful serving tray.  


2 cups flour
½ cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened


2 cups granulated sugar
5 tablespoons flour
pinch salt
1 teaspoon baking POWDER
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
4 eggs
grated lemon peel of two lemons or zest of two lemons
juice of two lemons

First, zest your lemons and then juice them.  Set juice and zest aside.  Line a glass 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper.  In bowl of electric mixer, mix 2 cups flour with powdered sugar and butter. Press mixture into prepared 9x13 baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  In bowl of electric mixer mix granulated sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.  Add eggs, grated lemon peel and lemon juice and mix well. Pour onto crust while crust is hot out of the oven.  Bake an additional 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely.  Cover or carefully lift lemon bars out of baking dish with parchment paper. Cut into squares or cut squares into triangles. Dust with powdered sugar. ( I like to place a few spoonfuls of powdered sugar in a flour sifter and gently shake it over the top of the lemon bars to give them a nice even dusting of powdered sugar. )

Monday, March 24, 2014

Angel Hair with Creamy Chicken Mushroom Sauce

Angel Hair with Creamy Chicken Mushroom Sauce

This recipe was inspired by a wonderful meal my sister- in- law Cynthia, brought us the night before we moved back East.  The kids LOVED it! Cynthia is a mother of four and a pediatrician, needless to say, she is one amazing and busy woman!  However busy she is, she still had time to bring us a beautiful meal when we needed it.  Isn't it amazing how a delicious hot meal is often one of the the best presents you can ever give or get?  Cynthia's recipe had some canned soup and I think a soup mix involved, but I wanted to be able to make this meal with out using those items. I came up with this recipe that my kids love and is made with ingredients I have on hand. Best of all you can make this meal within 45 minutes.  Fresh, easy and pretty fast. 

1 lb. angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions, 1 cup pasta water reserved
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces
1 lb. any kind of mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
scant ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chicken or vegetable bouillon granules
1 teaspoon of each parsley, oregano and basil
¼ teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup white wine or apple juice
1-1½ cups half and half or hot pasta water

First, chop chicken into small pieces. Slice mushrooms and mince garlic.  Set aside.  In large heavy skillet, brown chicken and mushrooms, garlic and spices in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil.  When browned nicely and almost cooked through, tear cream cheese into chunks and drop on top on chicken and mushrooms.  Add white wine or apple juice, and deglaze pan, by scraping browned bits off the bottom of pan.  This will just take a minute.  Add 1- 1 ½ cups of half and half or pasta water, and simmer until thickened into a sauce.  Season with additional salt and fresh ground pepper. Toss sauce with cooked pasta until pasta is well coated.  Pour into large pasta bowl.  OR place desired amount of pasta onto plates, top with chicken and mushroom sauce and top with grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Family Photo Printing at Staples/ "Draftsmen Prints"

When I was a kid, my dad, an architect, would bring home rolls of outdated blue prints, from the office.  I used the backside of the blue prints for countless art projects and drawing projects of all kinds.  I even used them for art paper in college while getting my art degree, that is until one professor told me to get some "real" art paper!  What I love about blue prints or draftmen's paper is the SIZE!  So I was excited to find out from my friend Tracy Laverty, (at ) that Staples office supply store will print your photos on draftsman's paper for a fraction of the price of a regular photo of similar size.  It's such a great and inexpensive way to display the photos you love!  I had these prints made recently at Staples for just a few dollars each.   Just take your photos in on a disk or thumb drive and they will print them off for you in a matter of minutes!  I love these prints I had done at Staples of my children!  The draftsman prints come in a few different sizes, are black and white, and are all draftsman print quality paper, which is on the thin side. These prints are a 36 X 24 inch size.  In the photo below, I have cut the print to fit a frame.  Next time you need a big print for a fun project....check out what Staples has to offer!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

White Chocolate Ribbon Ice Cream Cake

White Chocolate 
Ribbon Ice Cream Cake

I had a lot of fun creating this cake a few years ago for my daughter, Claire's 10th birthday.  Seeing the look of sheer delight on her face when she saw it was priceless!  One of her friend’s at the party asked where I bought the cake and when I told her I made it she said “ Wow! Did you take a cooking class?” I had to laugh!  I love this cake because it never ceases to amaze children. They love the height of the cake and of course the ribbon stripes are so fun and festive. I made this cake again this year for my daughter's birthday party and once again the kids all loved it. And I know you'll love making it too!  It may look complicated but it's a really easy cake to make and is much more economical than purchasing an ice cream cake from a favorite ice cream shop. You can use a cake mix in place of the homemade cake of you are short on time and choose your favorite flavors of ice cream.  I used a cake batter ice cream and a raspberry and lime sorbet in the ice cream cake pictured here.  I know you'll come up with your own great combination of flavors and colors!  Have fun!  

White Chocolate Cake
(makes 2,  9 inch round cakes)

1 cup white chocolate, melted
6 egg whites
1 1/3 cup milk, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons softened butter

Grease 2, 9X2 inch round cake pans. Cup two strips of parchment paper to fit around sides of cake pans. Cut two rounds of parchment paper to fit in bottom of pans. Spray parchment paper with bakers spray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate in top of double boiler or in microwave allowing for 15 second heating sessions until melted.  Whisk egg whites, 1/3 cup milk and vanilla together in a medium bowl.  In bowl of electric mixer, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until combined.  Add butter and remaining milk.  Mix on low speed until moistened.  Beat on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes.  Scrape sides of bowl. Starting on medium low speed gradually add egg mixture to batter in three parts.  Beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition. Add melted white chocolate and beat 10 seconds.  Fill cake pans about half full.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.  Cake will spring back when pressed with a finger in center of cake.  Cool cakes for 10 minutes and then remove from pans. Cool completely and slice each cake in half through the middle, with a bread knife, yielding 4 round cakes.  Place one round of cake on a freezer proof cake platter.  Set 3 other cakes rounds aside.   

3 different ice creams or sorbets

Using the same cake pans you used to bake your cake in, line 3, 9 inch round cake pans with plastic wrap.  Fill each with cake pan with one of the softened ice creams and compress to get rid of air pockets.  Wrap plastic wrap over the top of the ice cream and freeze for 30 minutes or until hardened.  Remove frozen ice cream rounds from freezer and unwrap carefully.  Place frozen round of ice cream on top of cake on platter.  Alternate layers of cake and ice cream with end with a final layer of cake on top.  Wrap entire layered cake in plastic wrap and then in foil and place in freezer.  When cake is frozen, frost entire cake with a smooth layer of Butter Cream Frosting.  Pipe a cute edge of frosting in a different color around top and bottom of cake.  Decorate further as desired. ( I like to add a monogram to  the top of this cake.)   Place in freezer for 30 minutes.  Remove and wrap with plastic wrap and foil. Freeze until ready to  serve. Allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Here is the what the cake looks like before adding the frosting.  

Butter Cream Frosting

6 cups powdered sugar
¾ cup butter, softened
6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
desired food coloring

In electric mixer, cream together butter, powdered sugar and milk.  Add vanilla and almond extract and cream mixture again.  Add desired food coloring, or leave white. Whip until smooth.  Frost frozen cake with fresh frosting.  Make an extra half recipe of frosting for some piping and the monogram.


 Ice Cream Cake

Friday, March 14, 2014

Steak and Portabella Fajitas with Avocado Salsa

Steak and Portabella  Fajitas with Avocado Salsa
What can I say?  We LOVE this dish!  I was inspired by a similar restaurant dish, and started making these fajitas at home. This is a family recipe for flank steak and it's amazing on it's own, but we also love to put it in these fajitas.  Plus all the colorful vegetables, make for an incredible bite of goodness!  I recently started roasting the vegetables for the fajitas and found that it saves a lot of time and work over the stove.  I found a great mortar and pestle recently and was so excited to serve the avocado salsa from it.  Love that look!  By simply omitting the meat you make an incredible vegetarian dish!  Remember to plan ahead when making this dish, as the meat needs to marinate for 24 hours!  But it's so worth it, I promise!

Flank Steak

1-2 flank steaks, trimmed
¼ cup soy sauce
¾ cup vegetable oil or olive oil
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 ½  teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons each; dried oregano and dried parsley
bunch green onions, whites and greens chopped

You may want to double to marinade recipe if your flank steaks are large.  In small bowl whisk all ingredients together. Place flank steaks in a zip lock bag and add marinade.  Place in refrigerator for at least 24 hours, if possible.  Baste with marinade, if possible, while grilling over medium heat until for 15-20 minutes.   Remove steak from grill and place on carving board.   Place a piece of foil over the steak and allow it to rest if possible for 10 minutes.  Slice steak across the grain, fill tortilla with steak and vegetable mixture and top with avocado salsa and serve with sour cream.

Roasted Vegetable Filling

A pinch or two of each; chili powder, allspice, cumin and paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Portobella mushroom caps, thinly sliced
3 bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 red or yellow onion, thinly sliced
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
6 inch flour tortillas, browned on both sides over grill

First, make Avocado Salsa.   Next, make the vegetable filling.   Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Toss vegetables and seasonings in olive oil on  rimmed baking sheet.  Roast for 20-25 minutes or until edges are browned and vegetables are soft.  Brown tortillas on grill or over gas burner and fill with sliced steak and roasted vegetables. Fold in half and serve with Avocado Salsa and sour cream, if desired.

Avocado Salsa

 4 ripe avocados, diced
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 limes juiced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon coarse salt

Combine all ingredients in bowl and serve with fajitas.  I like to serve this salsa in the mortar and pestle for a great presentation!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Coconut Cream Cupcakes

Coconut Cream Cupcakes
This is my daughter's signature birthday cake!   I have been making these cupcakes every March for her birthday since she was 1 year old!  Love these cupcakes! This is my grandmother’s recipe, originally called an Italian Cream Cake.  Much of my culinary skills I can attribute to my grandmother’s informal lessons when I was growing up. She studied foods and home economics at the University of Utah and later taught Foods and Nutrition at Skyline High for many years.  The original recipe, made a three- layer cake.  However, I’ve always loved the look of little individual cakes served on a desert plate. Simply remove the paper cup before serving and the desert looks elegant served with a small scoop of ice cream or sorbet on the side.  I love to serve and eat these with my European style mini spoons.  (Mine are from Finland, of course!)


1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup sour cream
2 cups flour sifted
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon coconut extract

In bowl of electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk and  sour cream and allow space for some bubbling.  Add to butter mixture alternately with the flour, beating until just combined after each addition.  Mix in vanilla and coconut extracts. Mix in coconut.  Beat egg whites until fluffy and stiff and fold into batter.  Spoon ¼ cup of batter into each lined muffin tin.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  Be careful not to over bake cupcakes.  Remove from oven before they turn golden at the edges.  Remove from oven and immediately loosen edges of cupcakes from tin, remove cupcakes from tin and cool before frosting with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting 

½ cup butter at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon coconut extract
4 ½ cups powdered sugar
additional sweetened coconut for garnish

In bowl of electric mixer, cream butter and cream cheese.  Mix in almond extract.  Add powdered sugar and mix until creamy.  Fit a BIG round or star tip in a pastry bag and fill with frosting. Pipe one dollop of frosting in center of the cupcake.  Now start winding a big thick strip of frosting around the outside of the cupcake. Swirl frosting towards the center overlapping as you go, until you reach the center top.   Sprinkle with a pinch or two or sweetened coconut.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lovely Lemon Tea Time Tarts

Lemon Tarts
My dear friend and neighbor, Tracy Laverty, (who has an awesome design blog you can look at here, ) asked me to create a tart for her daughter's tea party recently.  Of course I was delighted and was excited to try something new.  I was initially a thinking lemon curd sounded perfect. But I ended up needing to make these the morning of her party so I decided to try a lemon bar in the form of an adorable little tart.   You'll need a set of 3 inch or so tart shell pans for this recipe.  They turned out delicious and so cute for a little girls "Birthday Tea Party"   

2 cups flour
½ cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar
5 tablespoons flour
pinch salt
1 teaspoon baking POWDER
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
4 eggs
grated lemon peel of two lemons or zest of two lemons
juice of two lemons

First, zest your lemons and then juice them.  Set juice and zest aside.  Spray the tart pans with bakers spray.  In bowl of electric mixer, mix 2 cups flour with powdered sugar and butter. Press a spoonful of the crust mixture into greased tart tins, press into tin to form the tart shells. Place tins on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  Watch closely to prevent over browning.  In bowl of electric mixer mix granulated sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.  Add eggs, grated lemon peel and lemon juice and mix well.  Pour into little tart shells while still hot out of the oven.  Bake an additional 15-20 minutes. Let cool completely.  Carefully turn tarts over, removing them from the tins. You may need to help the tarts release from the tin with a knife.  Dust with powdered sugar. Add a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and top with fresh berries.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder with Cornbread Muffins

Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder with Cornbread Muffins

Soup season is not over yet!  I've been craving this soup for at least a week it's about time I made it!  I was inspired by a soup we ate at a great restaurant in Park City, Utah.  I love using fresh corn in this recipe in the summertime, but you can use frozen corn all year long, just as easily.  I added the sweet potatoes on a whim and ended up loving the combination of colors and flavors!  This recipe is so easy, fresh and delicious!  For variation, sauté some lump crab meat in butter and stir it in just before serving.  Serves six.

¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small 1/2 inch cubes
2 red, orange or green bell peppers, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
handful fresh sage, rosemary, thyme and basil chopped or substitute some dried
1 ¼ teaspoons fresh ground pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 ears fresh corn, corn cut off cob or 1 lb. frozen corn
5 teaspoons chicken or vegetable bouillon
4 cups water
¼ cup butter
5 tablespoons flour
½-1 cup half and half or heavy cream
1-2 cups white cheddar cheese, grated

Garnish with:
Crumbled bacon 
chopped avocado

In large pot, place olive oil and heat to a shimmer.   Add chopped onion, potatoes, red pepper, garlic, fresh and dried herbs and corn.  Sauté until onions are soft, maybe 10-20 minutes.  Add chicken or vegetable broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Melt butter and stir in flour.  Add to chowder and stir until smooth.  Simmer a few minutes until chowder thickens.  Add half and half.  Turn heat to low and stir in cheese.  Season with a little salt and lots of fresh ground pepper. Thin soup as needed with a little milk or chicken broth. Garnish with crumbled bacon and/or fresh chopped avocado.  Serve hot with Cornbread Muffins.

                             Cornbread Muffins                                

2/3 cup cornmeal
1 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease muffin tin. Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Add oil and milk and stir until just combined. Spoon into well greased muffin tins and fill almost to the top.  Sprinkle a little grated cheese and/or chopped green peppers (canned is fine), if desired on top.  Bake for 18 minutes. Carefully turn tin over and remove muffins immediately. Serve hot with Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Marshmallow Brownies

Jumbo Marshmallow Brownie 
with Chocolate Drizzle
Everyone has a day when they just need to relax and eat a brownie!

 Best Brownies

1 ½ cups butter
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12-16 ounces mini marshmallows

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch glass baking dish with parchment paper.  In bowl of electric mixer whip butter, sugar and vanilla.  Whip in eggs.  Sift dry ingredients together and add to butter mixture. Whip until mixture looks like soft ice cream.  Spread smoothly onto bottom of baking sheet.  Bake for 40-45 minutes.  Remove from oven and cover with one bag of mini marshmallows.  Return brownies to oven for 2 minutes.  Spread hot marshmallows out as smoothly as possible, using a wet knife.  Frost with Chocolate Frosting or use the Chocolate Drizzle over the top of the marshmallow layer.  Lift block of brownies out of pan using the parchment paper.  Cut brownies into large squares.  

Chocolate Frosting

 1/3 cup canned milk (substitute with regular milk if needed)
½ cup butter
1/3 cup coco
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cup powdered sugar

In electric mixer mix all ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Spread over cooled marshmallow layer.    

Chocolate Drizzle

1 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon shortening

Melt chocolate and shortening in top of double boiler.  Drizzle over marshmallow layer while chocolate is hot and runny.

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