Tuesday, December 28, 2010

While the cookies were cooling

We needed to have something to distract us from the wonderful aroma while the cookies were cooling, so they wouldn't be all eaten from the metal rack. So, we worked on 2 puzzles & here is the result of one. Can you tell what the scene depicts? (Don't worry, --dad's feet in the fireplace were fine, since the logs weren't burning :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Mom's Festive Cherryette Cookies

The Albrights made these cookies on Christmas day! These are one of our traditions. Dad says he used to make cookies with his mom in Allentown over 50 years ago.. This recipe is simple and yummy...

1) 3/4 cup Olivio ( margarine)
2) 1/4 cup butter (or just use 1 cup of Olivio and skip the butter)
3) 1/2 cup (10X sugar)
4) 1 tsp. salt
5) 2 TBS. vanilla (the good stuff is from April)
6) 2 cups all purpose flour
7) 1 cup finely chopped pecans
8) Candied cherries (red and green)

1. Cream butter/olivio & sugar.
2. Add remaining ingredients and mix into a soft dough. Let set a few minutes in a bowl.
3. Shape into 1 " balls and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.
4. Press a small indentation in center w/ tip of finger & place 1/2 candied cherry in each.
5. Bake in 325 degree oven for about 25 minutes. (If dough is dry, add a few drops of water.)
6. Eat and enjoy!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Easy Black Bean Soup
2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 C. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
1 C. chopped green pepper ( I use poblano peppers)
1 C. chopped red pepper
3/4 T. cumin
1/2 t. cayenne pepper (up to 1 t. if you like it hot!)
6 C. low sodium chicken broth
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained)
Salt and pepper
Grated cheddar or jack cheese
Sour cream
Lime wedges
Crushed tortilla chips
In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium flame. Add onion, garlic and peppers; cook until tender. Stir in spices and toss to coat vegetables. Pour in stock and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. In a blender(or using an immersion blender- much easier!), puree half the soup. Return puree to the pot and stir together. Serve hot with garnishes.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A good and easy snack!

"Sugary cinnamon meets salty pretzels in this super-easy gift-worthy snack mix."  A nice thing to make for your company today or take where ever you are going for Thanksgiving or any winter gathering.

Cinnamon Pretzels

2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 - 16 oz package small pretzel twists

In a large roasting pan, stir together vegetable oil, sugar and cinnamon. 
Add the pretzels; toss well to coat with cinnamon-sugar.
Bake, uncovered, in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring twice.
Spread on waxed paper to cool. 
Store in an airtight container.

Makes 12 (1 cup) servings

Monday, November 22, 2010


We had our Thanksgiving dinner this weekend at Julie's house.  No low-cal dishes for sure, but everything was so yummy!  "Happy Thanksgiving" to you all this week! 

Friday, November 19, 2010


Julie and Dan made a wonderful pot roast dinner last week that they learned at a Joliet Junior College cooking class.  Apple Crisp too!  I am sure she will post soon!  And I did post a little bit of information, in the comment section, about Carolyn's squash recipe that I received from our good detective, Joanne. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Maine Blueberry Jam

In honor of Veterans Day, I decided to make something "all American" and also create a tribute to Maine. So I got out my canning tools, some blueberries frozen earlier, and got going. I started with about 6 cups of blueberries and looked up the recipe in "Ball Blue Book" of Preserving. I adapted it to cut back the sugar, & basically:
1. Washed the blueberries,
2. Washed all the canning jars/ lids and immersed them in hot water,
3. Dissolved about 2 cups of sugar, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and pectin and calcium water, with the blueberries and cooked and mashed them.
4. Ladled the hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch of head space and put the lids on the jars.
5. Processed the jars for 10 minutes in a hot water bath.
6. Had Billie Sue Corgi, monitor them cooling on the rack. (Catcher corgi and Ben the cat were near by giving their input too.)
7. Sampled one jar-- had with crackers & a little butter the next day-- ymm!
8. Hope to give the remainder to my friends at work for the holidays.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mac n' Cheese Soup

Here we have real comfort food.  I am forever searching for a real creamy mac n' cheese recipe.  Until I find it, I decided to try this yummy looking soup.  not low-cal, but it was delish!

Mac n' Cheese Soup

makes about 7 cups

1-1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni (6 oz)
1/2 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced celery
2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups milk
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt to taste

op:  1/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese
2 Tbsp minced fresh chives

Cook macaroni in salted water, according to pkg directions.  Drain and set aside.
Sweat onion and celery in butter in lg saucepan over med heat until soft, about 5 min.
Stir in flour to coat and cook 1 minute.  Deglaze with wine and simmer until nearly evaporated.  Stir in broth, mustard and cayenne.  Simmer until slightly thickened, 5 minutes, then whisk in milk and warm through.  Do not let boil or base may become grainy.  Add cheddar, 1 cup at a time, allowing it to melt completely before adding the next cup.  Stir in macaroni, lemon juice, and salt, stirring to break up any clumps.  Remove from heat.

Combine bleu cheese and chives in a small bowl.  Garnish each serving with this mixture. 

And...oh my gosh!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

An easy one!

Julie and I have both made this recipe and think it's worth sharing!  It's made with a pot roast and shreds just like pulled pork when it's done.  An easy recipe for a busy day.

Slow Cooker Beef Sandwiches

3 # chuck roast
4 cloves garlic, sliced
16 oz. pepperoncini and juice
2 beef boullion
1/2 cup water
1 t. oregano

Place all in crock pot and cook on Low for 6-8 hours.  Serve on crusty french bread.

I fried sweet green peppers to add to the sandwiches.  You can leave the pepperoncini whole and remove them after cooking or slice them to put on sandwiches too. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Carolyn's Squash

Hi All: Bruce sent this my way to post on the blog. Now Carolyn, we just need the recipe. It looks very delicious and great for the fall!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Missy loves to smell this soup cooking all day while I am at work. It's so good!

1 lb. boneless chicken breast
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 10 oz can enchilada sauce
1 med onion, chopped
1 4 oz can chopped green chiles (by Mexican foods)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
1 can drained and rinsed black beans
1 t. cumin
1 t. chili powder
1 t. salt
dash cayenne pepper (if you like it spicy, optional)
1/4 t. black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 10 oz package frozen corn
2-3 T chopped cilantro
1 pkg corn tortillas
limes, sour cream grated jack cheese for garnish
Place all ingredients in slow cooker except for cilantro and garnishes. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Shred chicken with 2 forks, and stir in cilantro before serving. Garnish with lime wedges, grated cheese, tortilla strips and sour cream when serving.

Brush tortillas with oil, both sides. Cut into strips. Spread on baking sheet. Bake at 400 until crisp, about 10-15 min. Sprinkle over soup. Mmmmmmm!!!!!

Hope you enjoy this recipe! I freeze portions in small containers and take to work. Black bean soup and enchilada recipes to follow.

and another memory of our dining experiences...

 Lamb kabobs at Carolyn & Bruce's house.  A special dinner with special family to add to our vacation memories.  Look at how pretty they are!

 And just as delicious!  Yum!

With all the fixins'.  What a great time we had!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Birth of this Blog

The idea for this ripe blog was conceived during a fall craft fair in Maryland between Julie, April, Diana, Carolyn, and Janis. Because we live far apart, we want to have this blog help us stay close. Leading busy lives, any occasional posts +invites from family members to post too are welcome. The "loose" theme is sharing delicious cooking recipes, but anything goes.

So here is the first post...... the Mexican dinner that Julie and April dreamed up for mom's birthday in Oct. Very hot and delicious! Our sombreros "go off" to you!

Please add more stuff to help it grow!