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Friday, April 17, 2009

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Crisps

I would like to first apologize that I do not have a picture of this recipe at the moment. However, I hope to be making it soon, so I'll edit this post and add one then.

This is one of my recipes that is one of those dishes I used to save for Munch N Mingle or Picnics in the Singles Ward before I got married, you ladies know what I'm talking about ;). Now I make it when strawberries are in season, or just on sale. I usually at least double this recipe, it goes quickly!

Friut Salsa:
1 pint strawberries, chopped
1 large banana, chopped
1 Red Delicious apple, chopped (I have used Gala, and it was great)
1 kiwi, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I use bottled)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine first 4 ingredients. Stir together lemon juice, sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon; toss with fruit. Chill.

Cinnamon Crisps:*
4 (7 1/2-inch) flour tortillas
Vegatable cooking spray (I used cooking oil in one of those pump sprayers, pampered chef makes one)
2 tbsps sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon

Cut each tortilla into eighths. Arrange pieces on baking sheets. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Combine sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle over tortillas.

Bake at 350 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve with fruit salsa.

Yeild: 4 servings

*Note: these cinnamon crisps are soo good with just plain vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. We also use them for sundaes, or with cooked apples. They are very very good with lots of desserts the more I think about it, and they only takes a couple of minutes to make!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Egg Shaped Cake- Carrot Version

This recipe is my most favorite for Carrot Cake, it's from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (the one that looks like a tablecloth for a picnic). However, any cake recipe will make this, even a store bought. To make this cake you need the Pampered Chef Classic Batter Bowl, pictured below, or any large bowl that is oven-safe.

I really wanted to decorate mine like a painted Easter Egg, but I only have one tip for frosting bags, and wasn't 100% sure how much of each color I wanted to do. Since I made it a carrot cake, I figured make it more simple and just do carrots on it. But, the possibilities for decoration are endless!!

So, this post isn't so much about the recipe itself, but how to get the egg shaped cake! I made 2 recipes of the carrot cake, giving me 2 pieces of bowl-shaped cake.

After making and completely cooling the 2 cakes, you will need to cut a small layer off the widest part of the cake (the top while baking) to make it level thus enabling it to sit more flush together.

Next, cut one of the cakes across through the middle, cutting the "top" or narrower part off, set the "top" aside. (This enable the cake to sit flat on the plate, and give the whole shape more of an egg look since eggs don't look the same on both ends.)

Then, you will place the remainder of the cake that you have cut in half on your serving plate with the narrower part on the bottom. Frost the top of the cake. Then, place the other cake on top of this piece, with the narrower part upwards, and TA-DA you have an egg shape.

Continue to frost the outside of the cake, and decorate accordingly! Enjoy.

Best-Ever Carrot Cake

4 beaten eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 cups finely shredded carrots (lightly packed)
3/4 cup cooking oil
1/2 cups finely chopped pecans, toasted (optional- I usually leave these out)
1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting (below)

Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and flour your Batter Bowl that your cake will bake in, and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and baking soda.

In medium mixing bowl combine eggs, carrots, and oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir until combined. Pour batter into the prepared Batter Bowl.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about an hour, or until a wooden toothpick intserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, remove from pan, and cool completely on racks.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
2 tsp vanilla
6 cups sifted powdered sugar

Beat first 3 ingredients with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in additional sugar to reach spreading consistency.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Resurrection Cookies

While in search of Easter traditions to start in our family, I came across this wonderful idea. I love this because it helps children learn the meaning of Easter in a way that will keep their attention and curiosity. Each step of making Resurrection Cookies is symbolic to the Easter Story. Willow is too young to understand this year but these cookies will become a teaching tool and tradition in our family from now on.

Easter Cookies
Make these cookies the night before, just before bedtime.


1 cup whole pecans

1 tsp vinegar

3 egg whites

pinch salt

1 cup sugar

zipper baggie

wooden spoon



Heat oven to 300*. Place pecans in the baggie and close. Let the children beat it with a wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by Roman soldiers. (John 19: 1-3)

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp into a mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross. He was given vinegar to drink. (John 19:28-30)

Add egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life (John 10:10-11)

Sprinkle a pinch of salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it. Put the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sins. (Luke 23-27)

Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and come unto Him. (Psalm 34:8, John 3:16)

Beat with a mixer on high speed 12-15mins until stiff peaks form. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. (Isaiah 1:18, John 3:1-3)

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a waxed paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. (Matthew 27:57-60)

Put the cookies in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape to seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. (Matthew 27:65-66)

Go to bed. Explain that the disciples felt sad to leave Jesus in the tomb just as they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight.(John 16:20-22)

On Easter morning, give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface. Take a bite-they're hollow!! The disciples were amazed to find the tomb empty! (Matthew 28:19)


Happy Easter

Sweet and Spicy Vegan Curry

*4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 to 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
1 tsp salt
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 package frozen petite peas
1 can coconut milk (cream of coconut)
Rice of your choice (white probably tastes best)

Boil potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and allow to air dry.
Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Add rest of seasonings, incorporate, and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add remainder of ingredients and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Serve over hot rice.

*I adapted this recipe from "Spicy Vegan Potato Curry" on Because I suggest putting this over rice, the potatoes may be redundant. Judge for yourself.

Note: if you don't do the potatoes, feel free to add additional beans or peas--or whatever you imagine up might be good! If you like it more spicy, by all means add more spice. Just be warned that it gets a little more spicy the more you eat.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Omelet Roll

In need of a creative brunch idea? How about your favorite omelet toppings wrapped pinwheel style? I used the recommended ingredients from this Taste of Home recipe, but next time plan to adapt the fillings more for my family's preferences. The options are limitless, so get creative and have fun!

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
12 eggs

Suggested fillings, but use what YOU like:
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2-1/4 cup shredded cheddar or swiss cheese, divided
2 cups finely chopped, fully-cooked ham
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

Line the bottom and sides of a greased 15-in x 10- in x 1-in baking pan with parchment paper; grease the paper and set aside. In a small mixing bowl or food processor, beat cream cheese and milk until smooth. Add flour and salt; mix until combined. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until blended. Add cream cheese mixture; mix well. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until eggs are puffed and set. Remove from the oven. Immediately spread with mustard and sprinkle with 1 cup cheese.

Sprinkle with ham, onions and 1 cup cheese. Roll up from a short side, peeling parchment paper away while rolling. Sprinkle top of roll with the remaining cheese; bake 3-4 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Yield: 12 servings.

**Unfortunately my egg layer ended up cracking and breaking, so the 'pinwheel' effect is not completely there for the photo. I may try using a larger pan next time to create a thinner layer that will roll better and stay in tact. Just a thought.**

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easy Teriyaki Sauce

This is a simple sauce that's great for marinades, salads, etc.


1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp cold water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp black pepper


1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and black pepper.

2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

3. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and water to make a slurry.

4. When the sauce comes to a full boil add the cornstarch slurry and stir until sauce has thickened and is bubbly.

5. Remove from heat.

6. Store in the refrigerator for two weeks, or freeze for a later use. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spinach, Chicken and Pasta Salad

This salad takes a bit of prep work, but is definitely worth it! The different flavors mesh together well to create a salad you won't forget.
This makes a big salad - great for parties.

Serves 10-12 people


16 oz bowtie pasta, cooked al dente

For the Dressing:

1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup Teriyaki sauce
2/3 cup white wine vinegar
6 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

For the Salad:
1 (10 oz) bag fresh spinach
1 (6 oz) bag Craisins
3 (11 oz) cans mandarin oranges, drained
3 (8 oz) cans sliced water chestnuts, drained *
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
6 oz honey roasted peanuts or cashews
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into small pieces


1. Blend dressing ingredients together.

2. Mix dressing, cooked pasta, and chicken in large bowl and marinate for two hours.

3. Combine rest of salad ingredients in large salad bowl. Add pasta and dressing; toss.**

* I omitted these and the salad was great without them.

**Don't finish putting salad together until close to serving time. The nuts will soften and the spinach will wilt.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I have never loved peanut butter cookies because I can't stand the dry, hard crunch that normally accompanies eating one. This cookie, however, delivers a subtle peanut butter flavor coupled with the soft, moist appeal of grandma's out-of-the-oven specialty. The only problem is trying to eat just one!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 (oz) chocolate bars, crumbled*

Preheat the oven to 335 degrees.

In a large bowl or food processor, cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Once creamed, add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well.

In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Stir dry mixture into creamed ingredients. Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake 11-13 minutes, depending on your oven. After briefly cooling on a wire rack, transfer to an air-tight Tupperware to maintain softness.

*I break up the chocolate bars in my Cuisinart to make chunks, but you could buy a bag of chocolate chunks if it's easier.