Sweetened Frustration – Along with a Cashew Brittle Recipe!

March 24, 2013

Ah, change, new seasons, lambs, lions, and general discouragement . . . how they do mount up.  My left foot is still swelling and painful and my 3 day work week begins again tomorrow which means more pain . . . what to do?  Pray a lot, rest a lot, try not to be frustrated, continue as caregiver to elderly parent who lives with me, wonder why she thinks it’s her turn to be grumpy?  Nope, foot still hurt.  What next?

Mom napping . . . try new nut brittle technique!  The result?  Delightful caramel color, slightly browned flavor, cashews instead of peanuts, and here it is waiting for you to drop in for some with a cuppa . . . yes, I designed and made the quilted table-cloth too.

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Cashew Brittle:

In a microwave bowl mix:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

Cook in microwave on high for 4 1/2 to 5 minutes depending on your microwave.

Remove from microwave and stir in:

1 Tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup cashew pieces (or your choice of other nuts)

Cook for approx 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds on high.

Final step, stir in 1 tsp baking soda then spread onto waxed paper and allow to cool completely, then break into pieces and nibble away.  It should keep for a couple of weeks or so depending on climate, but I doubt it will last that long!


Quilt?  I had a fat quarter I liked, selected some scraps in suitable colors, chose a simple star block pattern, and the results are what you see here!

Italian Tortilla Chips From YOUR Oven!

February 24, 2013

Who says tortilla chips need to come out of a plastic bag, made to outlive ALL of us, be filled with chemicals and tons of salt?  NOT ME!

So, I started with my own corn tortillas, cut them in quarters, sprayed cooking spray on a baking sheet, placed my wedges on the sheet and gave them a quick spray on top.  I then sprinkled an Italian seasoning blend on them (use your fav) and baked them at 350 for 10 minutes.  I let the wee bit of grease drain off on paper toweling, then back in the oven for a quick second trip – this time with a sprinkling of REAL Parmesan cheese on them.

Yum.  No salt shaker was touched in the making of this snack and no cheese from a plastic brightly colored canister!

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Cin-fully Good Waffles!

February 16, 2013

I had a big meal earlier and so wanted some little thing for the evening meal.  Hmmmm . . . waffles!  I read recently of making homemade dessert in minutes by making brownies in the waffle maker. Make the batter in which ever way you like but scoop some into the waffle maker instead of the baking pan and in 5 minutes or less you’ll be adding ice cream.  Yum.  Haven’t tried it yet, but it got me thinking.

S0, last time I grocery shopped I saw the store brand “tube” of cinnamon rolls was on sale and picked up a package.  Oh, were they good.  In my waffle maker it took about 4 minutes.  The “tubes” of rolls come with frosting, but I’m not into overly sweet things, so I popped them out of my waffle maker and added a bit of butter only.  My whole main floor smells AMAZING and I had a simple and yummy evening meal.  I put the rest of the tube of rolls in a zipper bag and into the refrig for another meal.  Try it!  Think outside the tube!

Cinnamon Swirl Waffles

Cinnamon Swirl Waffles


Don’t have a waffle maker?  Check your local thrift shops.  I found mine at a small thrift shop in town for just 2.00!

Nacho Cheese Soup With Chicken and Orzo

February 13, 2013

Here is a quick and zesty recipe you’ll love!

I started with orzo and cooked it at a simmer until almost “done.”  This could be done with brown rice, quinoa, etc.  I measured approximately a cup and a half, uncooked.  When “almost done” drain and set aside.

I next opened a can of condensed nacho cheese soup and cooked it with a can of lowfat milk. As soon as the cheese melted, I added my cooked orzo and let it simmer.

While my cheesy orzo simmered, I took some cut up grilled chicken breast from my freezer (I always have some in the freezer and ready to warm up and use for a quick dish.)  I thawed my already cooked chicken in the microwave, then plated my cheesy pasta, topped with my chicken. Yum!

Options:  This can be a meatless meal easily.  I also like it with broccoli in place of the chicken.  Other interesting ingredients, when I have them, include colorful sweet peppers, chopped, and put in just before serving . . . I like mixing my textures!  Also chopped onions, any leftover meat you may have will work nicely.  Skip the rice or pasta and add lots of colorful steamed or sauted veggies and serve in a bread bowl topped with shredded cheddar cheese!  (good use for the bread you made or bought yesterday which is a bit less fresh!

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Bread Dough Pretzel Sticks Recipe

February 8, 2013

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Bread Dough Pretzels

Note:  I began the process with my bread machine and recommend adding ingredients in the order your machine suggests.


6-7 ounces of water

¼ teaspoon salt

2 cups bread flour

½ teaspoon sugar

1 ½ teaspoons yeast

1 egg, beaten

Coarse salt


I placed all ingredients EXCEPT the beaten egg and coarse salt into my bread machine on the dough setting and did so in the order my machine instructs.  (The order written here)

When the dough setting was complete, I removed the dough onto the counter (piece of parchment paper) and divided it into 12 equal pieces, then shaped it into the desired “pretzel” shape i.e. twists or sticks.         


Preheat oven to 450 and place pretzels onto a greased baking sheet.  Brush each with beaten egg, and then sprinkle with coarse salt as desired – I prefer light on the salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Can be frozen.  Thaw in oven in about 5 minutes.


Knead for 7 minutes

Rise for 5 minutes

Knead for 18 minutes

Rise for 50 minutes


I used parchment paper on my counter (waxed paper would be fine) and put flour on it before dividing dough.  I also floured my hands before handling the dough.  It made life pleasant.  I chose to make pretzel sticks – 12 of them, rather than twisting it.

I used cooking spray to grease the baking sheet.

If using more than one baking sheet be certain to rotate them.  Place the second oven rack close to the first.

I ate one fresh from the oven without brushing melted butter on it, simply my preference.  At the mall places I have often found them too greasy and wiped them off a bit with a napkin to remove excess butter and salt.  They come out of the oven lightly browned, though that doesn’t show well in this photograph.

I Admit it! I Ate Them Both! (2 ingredient recipe)

January 23, 2013

So . . . confession time.  I bought some chunky applesauce for a recipe.  I had some leftover and oh it was so good and tasted just like home-made chunky applesauce.  Oh, yum.

Biscuits in the can were on sale at the grocery and while I love home-made, the price was good so I bought a can.  This morning, I wanted something sweet for breakfast with my coffee.  What to do?

Poked in the ‘fridge and decided to flatten/stretch 2 of the biscuits from the tin, spoon some of the applesauce into the center, and fold ’em in half.  I lightly sprayed non-stick spray onto a baking sheet, placed my two turnovers into the pan, and lightly sprayed the tops of the turnovers and baked them for about 15 minutes at 350.

Yum!  Browned nicely, full of apple yummy-ness and just what I wanted this morning.  That’s why there’s no photo to show you.  I ate ’em so fast because they were so good!

If you want to make this a more than 2 ingredient meal and want it sweeter than I did, you can make a little confectioner sugar glaze and drizzle it over top or before putting them into the oven lightly sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar on top of them.  For me, that wasn’t necessary but if I bought ’em at a bakery they’d be extra sweet and I’d still eat them and love them.  lol

Try it!

Nutella Cookies – 3 Ingredients!

January 12, 2013

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1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Nutella
1 Egg

Preheat oven to 350. Makes 24 cookies on ungreased baking sheet.

Combine 3 ingredients to form dough. It will be a dry and dense dough. I recommend using your hand (keep one clean, silly. You know the phone will ring.) This will go quicker with mixing it by hand IMPO.

Place one inch balls on cookie sheet and press/flatten a bit with a glass.

Bake for about 8 minutes.

There are different variations out in cyber space. Some call for adding 1/2 cup of sugar. I prefer them without. If you have a really really “bad” sweet tooth, go on and add the sugar. I do not believe they need it. Yummy!

Recipe – One Pot Meatless Meal – Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole

December 31, 2012

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I’m not much of meat eater, so for me this was dinner, but for you perhaps a crisp fresh salad and some meat or fish would complete it to your liking.  Either way it’s “homemade ish” as you will soon find out:

My ingredients:

shredded sharp cheddar cheese

French’s French Fried Onions

Fresh or frozen broccoli

Uncle Ben’s Country Inn Broccoli Rice Au Gratin

In one pot cook your broccoli until barely done if frozen and if (unlike me) you have fresh broccoli in hand, I would steam it so it still has some crispness . . .  my preference, cook it as you like but it will cook a bit more when incorporated in the finished dish.  Drain and hold aside.

In a second pot cook rice mix as directed.  When it is finished cooking and gets to the “cover and let stand five minutes” stage of prep, add your broccoli, a couple of palm fulls of shredded sharp cheddar, and stir.  Replace cover and allow to stand 5 minutes.  Just before serving, stir in a couple of handfuls of French’s onions, stir them in and add some more on top – not stirred in.  Done!  Eat.  Yum.

Soda Bread – 45 Minutes – 4 Ingredients

December 22, 2012

I do not know where this recipe originated.  It seems EVERYONE but me knew about it already.  Me, I’ve never eaten soda bread, much less baked any.  It said if the dough doesn’t feel right add a tiny bit more buttermilk.  Well, I’d never touched the dough, so I decided a slightly sticky yet somewhat dry dough made with exact measurements was “right” and it sure tastes good.  This took 45 minutes from “getting stuff on the counter and mixing by hand” to “putting finished loaf in a basket on the counter. I was patient for 10 minutes before hitting it with a bread knife and a wee bit of Nutella.

soda bread


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup buttermilk


Preheat oven to 375 and lightly spray (cooking spray) the bottom of your pan.  Mix your ingredients.  Shape into a loaf and place on your baking sheet or pan.  I centered it in an oval in a 9 x 13 pan.

What you see was taken from the oven is just 40 minutes and I’m going for seconds after I post this.  Yum.


Pumpkin Muffins Part 2

December 10, 2012


Here they are!  I chose a Duncan Hines Spice Case and Publix brand 15 ounce can of Pumpkin and that’s it.  Mixed well, made 12 big muffins, baked for 22 minutes at 350.  Ate one warm . . . spicy but not too much and yummy and moist.  I was told they are also good chilled, topped with powdered sugar, frosted, etc.  Me, loved it just the way it was.  I admit, I might be tempted to add a scoop of cream cheese for breakfast tomorrow.  Yum!!!!

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