Friday, August 31, 2012

SUMMER LEMON CAKE


 SUMMER LEMON CAKE
 Cake:
1 package lemon or yellow cake mix (Sugar Free)
1 package lemon instant pudding (Sugar Free)             
3 eggs
¾ cup oil
¾ cup water

Frosting:
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup frozen lemonade, thawed
2 Tbsp. water
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray 9 x 13 - inch pan or 11 x 15 - inch pan with cooking spray. (Carol always uses the latter for a thinner cake)

With a mixer, mix ingredients for the cake on medium speed about two minutes.  

Bake at 350 degrees F (may want to reduce to 325 degrees F for the last half of baking time) until cake springs up when top is touched, around 20 minutes or so. 

Meanwhile, melt butter in a bowl; add lemonade and water.  Beat in powdered sugar.  

When cake is done, punch holes in it.  Pour lemon-sugar mixture evenly over cake.  

This cake was the perfect ending to our fantastic salad luncheon.  (We waited an hour or so before we had the cake...no one had room for anything else after all the wonderful salads.)  Even though it is called Summer Lemon Cake, it would taste good any time of the year. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

APPLE PIE SPREAD

APPLE PIE SPREAD

1 pkg-16oz-cream cheese—softened
1 Tbsp apple juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1 apple finely chopped and pealed
½ cup chopped pecans

Town House or Graham Crackers


Beat cream cheese & juice until fluffy. 
Beat in brown sugar and cinnamon.
Stir in apples & pecans.
Refrigerate til ready to use.

Serve with crackers  (I used graham crackers)

This is what Deb brought to Carol's for our salad luncheon.  It was so good....I could have eaten the whole bowl and I LOVED the Scooby Dog Biscuit graham crackers. 

I asked Deb if she thought using reduced-fat cream cheese or fat-free cream cheese would work.  Since it is a spread, she felt it would. 

Thanks, Deb, for letting me share your recipe on my blog.  I can't wait to have an excuse to make it.  When I make it, I have to take it somewhere to share though....

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

SUE'S SNAPPY MACARONI SALAD

Recently at a gathering of the Bunco Buddies, a Northland New Neighbors' small interest group, we celebrated the anniversary of another year of meeting to play bunco with a salad luncheon (our unofficial motto is -- We meet, we eat) before learning to play farkle.  We have decided to try some variety as many are feeling less amoured with bunco. So we may become the Farkle Friends.  We are going to leave it up to the hostess for the month as to whether we play bunco or farkle. 

Anyway, there were so many (16 in fact) salads brought and shared.  Of course I had my trusty camera and took pictures of all of them.  Now if everyone will just send me their recipes.....I will be sharing them with you.  I hope you will think of trying some of them the next time you need to make a salad. 

The first recipe I received was from Sue for her macaroni salad. She didn't have a name for it so I am going to call it....

SUE'S SNAPPY MACARONI SALAD 


3/4 c. uncooked elbow macaroni, cooked and drained

2 T. green onion (including tops), sliced

2 T. pimento, diced

1/4 c. green pepper, minced

1/2 c. celery, thinly sliced

1/4 c. mayonnaise

1 T. prepared mustard

1 T. sugar

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. dill weed

Combine mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, salt, and dill weed in a small bowl.

Add to macaroni and vegetables, blending well.

Chill until ready to serve. 

Serves 4-6. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

FRUIT FLIES....NO MORE

I just had to share this tip with you as soon as I could.  My kitchen seems to be full of fruit flies.  I should say "seemed".  I recently saw on Pinterest a tip for getting rid of fruit flies, but I didn't know if it really worked.  

I have gotten several tips that have been "priceless" but contrary to popular belief, "Just because you see it on the internet, doesn't mean it's true."  Sorry if that disappoints you.

Anyway, yesterday when the fruit flies seemed to be everywhere (in my kitchen), I went to my computer to read what I had seen.

It was simple enough .... I just needed apple cider vinegar and dish soap.....yelp, I had both of those.  Instructions were simple enough ... just put the vinegar in a bowl with a generous amount of dish soap.

I use Dawn and apparently the blogger didn't because my bowl contents didn't look like hers.  Her picture just looked like it had the vinegar in it.  

That really doesn't matter because all that really matters is the "end result".  .....  And the end result was..... IT WORKED!

I measured a half a cup of the apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of Dawn.
 If you look closely, you can see a fly at about 1:00 (thinking of the bowl as a clock).  I hadn't had it on the counter 5 minutes before one was attracted to it.  This was last night.

Today I realized while there were still a few fruit flies, it was nothing like last night.  But this is what the bowl looked like when I looked at it.

I couldn't see any flies, but I knew they were mostly gone.

Then I picked up the bowl and looked at the side and bottom.... omg!  This is what I saw.

 

Monday, August 27, 2012

CHEESY CRISPIX CRUNCH MIX

This is another recipe that Fran had prepared for us the other day that was really good.  I had just seen the pin on Pinterest for Scarecrow Crunch and suggested to her and the group that you could add a lot of different things to it to make it a seasonal crunch mix.  Suggested add-ins....Chocolate coated candies, candy corn, autumn mix, etc.

Fran found the recipe at snackpicks.com but she changed it a little bit.  I will be giving you Fran's version of the recipe.

CHEESY CRISPIX CRUNCH MIX

Ingredients:

     1   cup Crispix cereal
     1   cup small pretzel twists, broken
     1   cup cheez-it original snack crackers
     1   cup popped popcorn
     1/2   cup toasted sunflower seeds
     1/2   cup toasted slivered almonds
     1/2   teaspoon cinnamon
     1/4   cup firmly packed brown sugar
     1/4   cup light margarine/butter

Directions:

     In a large bowl, combine all but the last two ingredients.

     In a small saucepan, cook and stir the brown sugar and margarine/butter over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves.  Pour over cereal mixture.  Toss until well coated.  

     Transfer to 15 x 10 x 2 - inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.  
     Bake at 350 degrees F  15  to  20  minutes or until lightly browned, stirred every 5 minutes.

     Spread on foil.  Cool completely. 

     Store in airtight container.  

(Could also add candies and whatever you like in your crunch mix)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

WHOLE WHEAT GINGER SNAPS

When we were living in CA, I went in a small dress shop that was closing.  I think they had decided to take advantage of their closing to bring in some personal things that they wanted to get rid of because I walked out with a cookbook instead of any clothes.  Recipes to Lower Your Fat Thermostat was a cookbook I saw and decided to buy.  It was written and illustrated by La Rene Gaunt copyrighted 1984.  It has 398 pages.  The first 9 pages deal with "Making the Change" and the rest are recipes.  For every recipe she includes information such as calories, % fat, protein, fat in grams, carbohydrates in grams, sodium in milligrams, etc....

Interesting information Mrs. Gaunt also tells you in the back is:

"Protein - 1  gram =  4 calories
Fat -  1  gram = 9 calories
Carbohydrates - 1  gram =  4 calories
Foods with more than 20 percent fat should be avoided  for your own good health."

DIET is a word that means different things to different folks.  For some people it means a special selection of foods to lose weight.  To others it means the usual foods you eat.  I lean more to the latter.  I don't think that "going on diets" work if you are trying to control your weight.  Only changing your diet (the foods that you usually eat) will do that.  I think of it as changing my lifestyle.  I'm certainly not perfect and I "cheat" more often than I should, but I do try to watch, most of the time, what I eat---especially saturated fats, trans fats, sugar, and sodium.  I try to avoid high fructose corn syrup, enriched grains, and eat as many whole grains as I can.  

I'm not advocating what Mrs. Gaunt presents in her book, but if you are interested in knowing that information about recipes that you make, you might want to check your library for this book or used book stores.  It does have many really good recipes in it and recipes that are hard to find.

How did I get on this????? I really just wanted to give you this really good recipe for gingersnaps that are whole wheat.  Please, don't hold it against me.


GINGER SNAPS

1/2   cup     dark molasses
1/2   cup     canola oil
1/2   cup     honey, warmed (30 seconds in microwave)
2/3   cup    water, hot (hot tap water 30 seconds in microwave)
 1     tsp      baking soda
 2     tsp      ginger
1/4   tsp      cloves
1/4   tsp      nutmeg
1/8   tsp      allspice
 3     cups    whole wheat pastry flour

Combine  molasses, oil, honey, water and baking soda in a large mixing bowl.  (See tip alert below.)

In a small bowl, combine all the spices into flour with a whisk.

Add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture.

Gradually add up to 1/2  cup more flour if batter is too thin.

Cover batter and chill in refrigerator for an hour.  Batter will be more like a thicker cake batter.  

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a 1-inch scoop, drop dollops of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Batter will flatten enough by itself.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove immediately and cool on wire rack.

Batter will make 50 cookies and each contains 58 calories, 1 gram of fat, 1 gram of protein, 11 grams carbohydrates, and 21 milligrams of sodium.

I like to make these cookies and then crumble them up and use them to make crust instead of graham crackers.  The ginger taste is a nice change.

TIP ALERT:

This tip is helpful when you are measuring ingredients such as molasses in this recipe and oil.  Measure the oil first in your measuring cup (1).  Then add the molasses (2).  The molasses will sink to the bottom as it is heavier.  When you pour the two into your mixing bowl (3), it all comes out easily (4)....no having to scrap the measuring cup. 
 Then for this recipe, I used the same measuring cup (no washing) and added the honey. (5)  It was supposed to be heated, so I put the measuring cup in the microwave for 30 seconds.   I measured the 2/3 cup of hot tap water in the same cup (6) and heated it in the microwave for 30 seconds on high.  

When I was finished and put the batter in the refrigerator, this is all I had to clean up.

 My friend, Carol, (I have shared some of her recipes) recently asked me where I find whole wheat pastry flour.  I have only found one brand in grocery stores.....usually in the health food section.  If you have access to a store that sells in bulk, check it out there.  It will probably be much cheaper. (I get twice as much for about the same price in the grocery store.)  I have been buying it in a larger bulk at a grocery store in Jamesport.  I freeze it and just keep a smaller amount in a ziplock bag in my refrigerator for convenience.  You should always keep whole wheat flour (esp) in your refrigerator.  I like the pastry flour because it is ground finer and is milder tasting than just whole wheat flour. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

MY FIRST RAG QUILT...FOR AUNTIE

UPDATE!! Since I wrote this post, I have made a tutorial for making a simple rag quilt. You can check it out here at this POST.

I recently shared the  western theme rag quilt I made for my cousin Marie HERE.   I thought I would share the first rag quilt I made in this post to you.  This pattern was probably the easiest one I made.

The very first one I made I had planned to keep for myself so I chose two of my three favorite colors....blue and yellow.  While I was making it though I decided I wanted to give it to one of my aunts that my family (sons and their wives) and I lovingly call, "Auntie".  I used two cotton prints for the front and a yellow flannel for the back.  I think I just used a white flannel for the batting.

All pieces (the cotton prints for the top, the flannel for the batting, and the flannel for the backing) were cut 6 - inch squares.  

You make the finished square by sewing the "sandwiches" together.  A "sandwich" is the three layers together---with the backing on the bottom right side face down, the flannel/batting on top of that, and then the top piece with the right side facing up.  The three layers are sewn together by sewing diagonally across the square making an X.  

This X is meant to hold the batting in place as it is cut an inch smaller than the top and backing so that it isn't caught in the seams when you sew the squares and rows together.  

I decided to use flannel for the batting so that I didn't have to "fool" with the batting being smaller and not showing in the seam.  If you have never made a rag quilt and plan to, I would highly recommend that you use flannel for the batting. 

You sew the squares together with a 1/2 inch seam with the backs together. This will make the seam on the top and the finished squares 5 inches.  I simply alternated the two prints like a checker board for the top.

 






















 
 


In the post for Marie's rag quilt, I talked about how after the first quilts Ruth and I made, we decided to start "clipping" closer together.  This picture shows how the look is different when you clip the seams about 3/8 inch apart.  It gives the seam a scalloped look.  The next pictures show the back.


 I also cut out a heart shape from the yellow flannel and wrote "For Auntie" on it with a fabric pin and then just hand stitched it down about a 1/4 of an inch inside the raw edge.

Friday, August 24, 2012

OUR QUILT OF VALOUR (PART TWO)

The monthly meeting of the New Neighbors' Quilters (No we haven't come up with a name for ourselves yet.  I told Kay, our "fearless leader" that I thought she was going to have to make an executive decision and choose a name for us.  I'm not sure we, as a group, can agree on one.  Much harder decision than the decisions involved with making a quilt.)

We usually start our meeting with a show-and-tell time.  Fran brought a quilt top that she found in a box in the garage of a house that she and her husband had bought a number of years ago.  It was sewed by hand and had some stains on it. She appreciates the hard work that went into making it and didn't want to throw it away.

I shared the four-patch quilt top that I finally finished sewing together for Hope Circle, the United Methodist Women's group that "ties" lap quilts for church members and family and twin size bed quilts for less fortunate families.  Fran and Janice also attend Hope Circle and they had "laid out" the squares for it.  It turned out pretty....good selection of colors and prints.

Sharon, who missed last month, shared her Trixi Purse that she made.  We had seen one in a fabric shop earlier this month and she went home and made one.  So pretty.  She is trying to get rid of some of her "stash".







Last month, we packed up so quickly that I didn't get a picture of what we had cut.  So I made sure that I got a picture of the basket before we got started.  Quite a few of the  4 1/2" squares and some 2  5/8" strips were cut.






Today we needed to cut some more of the 2  5/8" strips especially from the beiges, but also the reds and blues. 

Ellen did cut a few more 4  1/2" squares to add to last month's pile.








Rita grabbed the iron before Janice could get there.  Some material needed to be pressed before it could be cut in the 2  5/8" strips. 










TIP ALERT:
The strips are supposed to be 2  1/2" wide.  We cut them wider since more than one person would be sewing them together.  Just in case the 1/4" seams are not the same with the different sewers, we can trim them down to the size needed for the pattern.

Today Dorothy was also cutting some of the strips.








Kay planned to spend her afternoon sewing.  We needed to sew a lot of two strips together -- one beige and the other one red or blue. From these two sewed strips, "twozies" would be cut (twozies are two smaller squares cut from strip piecing that you might think were sewed together individually, but weren't....I'll have a picture soon of Sharon cutting some.)


When I wasn't busy taking notes or pictures, I was also sewing on my machine some of the strips.  Fran was my assistant.  She prepared the two strips for me to sew deciding which red or blue strip to put with the beige one. 





TIP ALERT:  
To make sure that I was sewing my seam the 1/4", I placed some painter's tape on the 1/4" mark on my machine arm, and then tested a seam----took a scrap and sewed using the tape as a guide from  the raw edge of the material.  If the seam didn't measure the desired width, then I would lift up the tape and replace it.  Then test the distance again.


Once the two strips were sewed together, they had to be pressed to cut the "twozies" from.  Janice managed to get the iron from Rita and stayed busy with this chore the rest of the afternoon.  She "set the seam" first (pressed the seam on the wrong side before opening it out) and then opening the seam out, pressed the seam open to the dark side.


TIP ALERT:  Here is Sharon cross cutting the 2  5/8" wide  "twozies" from the strips.  This technique called strip piecing is so much faster than cutting a gazillion little squares and then sewing them together.



After Dorothy and Rita took a short break....










they both started pinning two "twozies" together,








Rita is choosing two "twozies" to put together for a "fourzie"
To make "fourzies"...  Rita and Dorothy turned the "twozie" so that a beige square on one matched up with a blue or red one on the other "twozie".

Dorothy is "nesting" the seams and then holding the two "twozies" together with a pin just past the seam.

TIP ALERT:  (When you "nest" the seams, if one is pressed going one way and the other one is pressed the other way, the two seams will "nest" together when you press with your fingers....then when sewed the seams will match up perfectly on the top side.)

 


Kay, who sat at her machine all afternoon, started sewing the "fourzies".  Since her machine is older, she "chain pieced" them together. 

TIP ALERT: (This means that when she finished sewing one set she took a couple of stitches and then sewed the next one -- not cutting the thread.  This technique also saves a lot of time and thread....You might also notice, that Kay is sewing in the direction toward the pressed seam.  Going this direction, will increase the accuracy of sewing the nested seams together.)

My machine has a cutter on it that will cut the threads when I press it...see the scissors symbol? (Sweet)  Because of this it wasn't necessary for me to "chain piece".




Because the strips were different lengths though, we would often sew several different strips to one longer length.






Before Janice pressed them, Kay cut them apart cutting across the longer strip.


Before the afternoon was over, Ellen had taught Fran how to use the rotary cutter.  GO, FRAN!







TIP ALERT:  It was necessary to cut the threads between the "twozies" with Kay's "chain piecing".  To do this faster and easier, Kay shared this really neat gadget she had bought that is called a clover.  


She said someone developed it when the airlines stopped letting passengers bring scissors aboard the plane.  It has a blade in between the two pieces of metal.  She had a wooden stand that holds a spool of thread that it fit perfectly on.

Then Janice could quickly cut the threads.










After Janice "set the seam", I fingerpressed the seams  open toward one side.  Then I placed it on the board, and Janice could press it down with the iron.





When everyone had to leave, Kay said she would finish sewing the "fourzies" that Rita and Dorothy had pinned that we didn't have time to sew.






It may not look like much in the picture, but we really accomplished a lot for our second "day".






 




If you want to see what progress was made at our next gathering, read HERE.

If you missed out on our first work day, you can read all about it HERE.

I hope you are enjoying following our process to create our quilt of valour.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

SOUTHERN POTATO SALAD

Sandy's Southern Potato Salad was another dish that everyone really enjoyed at NNL's Dinner Club last month.  I apologize Sandy for taking so long to share the recipe. I love potato salad and this tasted just like my recipe (in fact I make my potato salad just like Sandy does except that I use Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise and I add a couple teaspoons of mustard that adds a slight taste, but also will give the potato salad a little color)

This recipe is so easy and so "Southern"....you don't really measure anything.  My estimates are in the parenthesis to make enough for 4 - 6 servings


SOUTHERN POTATO SALAD

Peel and cube as many potatoes as you will need (I use red potatoes and about 3 lbs).

Boil til almost done.

Boil eggs (6)

Strain all water off potatoes and put in a large bowl for mixing.

Peel eggs and cut into small pieces. (Save one egg and cut into slices)

Add to potatoes.

Add sweet pickle relish to taste(about half a jar)

Add light mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste.  Stir. 

Garnish with sliced boiled eggs and a little paprika. 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BAKED SPAGHETTI SUPPER

I have often wanted to make a baked spaghetti dish.  I don't know why, I just have.  So a few days ago when I needed something to make for dinner....I started looking through my recipes.

This recipe was on a box of spaghetti.  I don't know which brand because I just cut the recipe out and it doesn't say on the recipe.  The original recipe was for 4 - 6 servings so I decided to cut it in half.  Instead of a  9" x 13" pan, I wanted to use an 8" square.  Well, my husband and I didn't hardly make a dent in it.  We could have easily had friends over and still had leftovers.

BAKED SPAGHETTI SUPPER

6  -  oz  whole grain thin spaghetti
2  tablespoons  +  2  teaspoons olive oil
1/2  teaspoon garlic powder
1/2  tablespoon basil
1/2  medium onion
1  bell pepper, chopped
3  cups (1  jar) your favorite spaghetti sauce
1/2  lb. turkey sausage
1  cup Italian Blend cheese, shredded
1/2  cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook spaghetti according to directions, drain, cover, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees if using a glass baking dish)

Spray with cooking oil an 8" square baking dish.

Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium heat.  Add garlic, onion, pepper, and basil.  Saute 3 minutes.

Add sauce and sausage; simmer 5 minutes.

In the baking dish, layer in this order:
half of the spaghetti,











half of the meat sauce, 










half of the Italian Blend 
cheese, half of the 
Parmesan cheese








then repeat the layering using the rest of the ingredients.








Bake for 15 - 20 minutes.
Let stand for 10 minutes
before serving.















We both really liked this dish.  I am sorry that I have waited so long to make it, but I won't wait so long before I make it again.  It would be a good dish to take to a potluck.  I would probably double it and make it in the 9" x 13" pan.