Monday, December 1, 2008

December's Cheese of the Month is....

Havarti!!! Thanks for voting and make sure to vote for next month's cheese too! Remember that you can always make more than one dish and make anything from desserts to soups to dips to anything your heart desires! I'm looking forward to this one. I've seen this cheese in the store and have always wanted to try it. I already have a recipe picked out too!

Please don’t forget to e-mail me when you are done.

Good luck fellow cheesians! I look forward to reading about your delicious creations!

November's Cheese Results

I was really excited for November's Cheese Challenge: Mascarpone Cheese. I have eaten it in desserts but have never tried to use it myself. This month there was only one other participate, but she made TWO dishes.

Cristine of Cooking with Cristine somehow finds the time to whip up all kinds of delicious dishes all while caring for two little ones. How does she do it?! She made two different recipes using mascarpone, dinner and dessert!

For dinner she made Rigatoni with Creamy Mushroom Sauce and for dessert she made a Brown Sugar Mascarpone Pizza.

Rigatoni with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Recipe from Giada DeLaurentis
1 pound rigatoni pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, mincedSalt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound assorted mushrooms, (such as cremini, shiitake and button), cleaned and sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
2. While the pasta is cooking: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes.
4. Add the mushrooms to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 7 minutes.
5. Turn the heat to high. Add the wine and cook for 3 minutes until all the liquid evaporates.
6. Add the stock and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced. Remove the pan from the heat.
7. Add the mascarpone cheese. Stir until creamy.
8. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water, and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the mushroom mixture and the Parmesan.
9. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss well to coat pasta, adding the reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta.
10. Garnish with the chopped chives. Serve immediately.

Dessert was fairly simple yet simply amazing. All she did was mixed in a little brown sugar with some mascarpone and spread it on the pizza dough. Then she topped it with blueberries and a streusel topping. After the pizza came out of the oven, she drizzled it with homemade dulce de leche.

That was one family table that I wished I could had been out!!!
You can read all about her adventures here:

And now for my recipe. I only had time for one recipe this one. I had to host Thanksgiving for my family. So, a few days before I had my sisters come down and help me prepare for that fateful day. I had to make dinner for them every night till Thanksgiving. So, the one night I made a wonderful and easy side dish. Twice Baked Potatoes!!! I got the recipe off one of my favorite cheese sites: Wisconsin Cheese and Dairy

My sisters and even my super picky husband LOVED them. They was easy to make and so creamy and flavorful. I even have some mascarpone cheese left!!! These made four HUGE potatoes. This recipe gets a five out of five dancing cheeses.


4 baking potatoes, about
12 ounces each
1 6-ounce package baby spinach or arugula-baby spinach mix
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, optional
1/2 cup Mascarpone cheese
4 heaping teaspoons Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Prick potatoes with fork or make a short, deep slit in each and bake about 1 hour or until tender when pierced with fork.
3. Meanwhile, wilt the greens. Place 2 1/2 cups water in deep sauce pan. Bring to boil and add pinch of salt. Add greens. Boil until wilted, about 4 minutes. Remove to fine sieve and rinse with cold water to cool. Squeeze out water to dry greens. Snip greens with scissors and resqueeze to remove moisture. Set aside on absorbent paper towel.
4. When potatoes are cooked, cool slightly. Cut off a shallow slice from the top of each potato. With a sharp tipped spoon, scoop potato pulp into a mixing bowl.
5. Add salt, pepper and 1/2 cup Mascarpone cheese.
6. Whip with an electric mixer until smooth, or alternatively, mash by hand. You may have to add more mascarpone, depending on the dryness of the potatoes.
7. Fold reserved greens into the whipped potatoes.
8. Place potatoes on a baking sheet. Sprinkle a heaping teaspoon of Parmesan over each.
9. Bake at 400°F for about 15-20 minutes.
(The potatoes may be stuffed ahead and refrigerated until baking time.)

See you all next month!!!

DB:Caramel Cupcakes w/caramelized butter frosting

Well, I'm late on posting November's Challenage. I actually made these last week for my husband's teacher friends, but since I was away this weekend I couldn't post till today!

I was really excited about November's Challenage, which was Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting. The Caramel Cake Recipe Courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon. The recipe is published from Bay Area Bites. The Hosts/Co-Hosts for this month's challenge are as follows:
1. Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity
2. Alex of Blondie and Brownie
3. Jenny of Foray into Food
4. Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go

I LOVE caramel!!! The thought of making an entire cake, though, was not appealing to me. So, I decided to make cupcakes instead. After reading what others had posted on the message board, I decided to add a dark chocolate ganche to my cupcakes as well. Despite what most people said, I didn't find these little beauties to overly sweet. I loved the combination of sweet and saltly, too. If you ever had a Dark Chocolate Seasalt Caramel from Gertrude Hawk Chocolates, then you can see this is what I was going for when I added the dark chocolate ganche. Everyone at the school LOVED them. They were moist and flavorful and not that hard to make.

With the leftover batter I took my super mini muffin tin and made 100 calorie size cupcakes.

Has anyone ever tried the Hostess 100 Calorie Cupcake Pack? There I was...on a diet...and desperate for something that actually tasted good. I was thrilled to find a healthy cupcake. Image my horror and my anger when I opened the package to find three bite size cupcakes!!! It was that day that I decided that I would rather be fat and happy than skinny and hungry!!!

I burn the sugar the first time and the butter, too!

I didn't have a seieve, so when I came time to put the browned butter through one, I just used poured the butter through a fork and that seemed to get most of the flecks out. But besides that it went pretty smoothly. The frosting was AMAZING! I used the leftover frosting for my Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns

and even my mom (who doesn't like anything) loved them. My husband fell in love with the frosting too and wants me to use it as a staple from now on. It differently has an unique flavor.


CARAMEL CAKE (or cupcakes)
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperaturesplash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan. (or cupcake pan)
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. (I used a handmixer)
4. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.
5. Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl.
6. Scrape down bowl and increase speed.
7. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition.
8. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.
9. Sift flour and baking powder.
10. Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}
11. Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.
12. Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it. Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator. (If making cupcakes, I found that 15-20 mintues was the best time. I only had one cupcake pan, so I didn't rotate it).

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)

1. In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush.
2. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.
3. When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.
4. Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

1. Cook butter until brown.
2. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
3. Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.
4. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time.
5. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated.
6. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light.

Dark Chocolate Ganche

7 oz Dark Chocolate, broken up into pieces (Good quality...Hershey is CRAP!!!)
1/4 C Whipping Cream

1. Melt whipping cream and dark chocolate in a double boiler until melted.
2. Let cool slightly.
3. Pour over cupcakes BEFORE added the frosting.


The assembly follows this simple order:



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Ultimate Chewy and Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I joined yet another group: The Cookie Carnival. It is basically the same idea as the Daring Bakers only with cookies. Every month we get the same cookie recipe and we all try it out and blog about it. I figured this would be a good group to join because I bake cookies every month for Operation Baking Gals anyways and I'm always looking for new cookie ideas.

The cookie selection for November was The Ultimate Chewy and Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Regan Daley's book "In The Sweet Kitchen." This made a ton of cookies. I send a few to my brother in college, a few to solider in Iraq, and still had six leftover for my hubby who always complains that I make all these cookies and he never gets any. The verdict: This cookie definitely lives up to its name!!! I'm not normally a Chocolate chip cookie fan (because I'm a weirdo who likes the more unusal cookies out there!), but these were amazing!!! My husband was deeply impressed. I imediately added this cookie to my index card of recipes. This will definitely be a staple cookie that use in Operation Baking Gals every month...and for my hubby...when he's been nice to me. ;-)

The Ultimate Chewy and Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temp

  • 1 cup tightly packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 1/2 tsps. pure vanilla extract

  • 3 cups plus

  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 16 oz. flavorful bitter or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

    1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or lightly butter them, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or a large bowl if mixing by hand, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

    2. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture, and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

    3. Using your hands, shape knobs of dough about the size of a large walnut and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Stagger the rows of cookies to ensure even baking. Bake 12-15 for smaller cookies, 14-17 for larger ones or until the tops are a light golden brown. If the cookies are neither firm nor dark when they are removed from the oven, they will cool chewy and soft.

    4. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. If somehow they don't get inhaled immediately, they may be stored airtight at room temperature for up to one week.

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    Another Blog Award

    I recieved another blog award from Cristine of Cooking With Cristine. She rocks of course! The The Premio Arte y Pico Award comes with rules but I don't mind. I would love to pay it forward.

    They are:

    1. Pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogger community, no matter of language.

    2. Advertise name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

    3. Each award-winner, has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.

    4. Award-winner and the one who has given the prize has to show the link of “Arte y pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

    5. Share these rules.

    I would love to pass this award on to the following blogs:

    Shao of Friedwontons4U

    Lynsday and Pam of Baking For Our Troops

    Arlene of The Food of Love

    Mary of Alpineberry (This woman is the one who inspired me to start my blog and join the Daring Bakers!)

    Susan of Operation Baking Gals (My favorite charity baking group!)

    Monday, November 3, 2008

    November's Cheese of the Month is....

    Sorry this is so late! My daughter had a bad reaction to some meds she was taking, so it has been a crazy week!!!

    I decided that this month that I would allow my fellow cheesians the change to vote. It looks like we have tie, though! So, I guess I'm the tie breaker. I decided to go with Mascarpone, because I found some in my local grocery store and it was actually a lot cheaper than I though. I also never made anything with it before, so it will truely be a challenge. Thanks for voting and make sure to vote for next month's cheese too!

    Remember that you can always make more than one dish and make anything from desserts to soups to dips to anything your heart desires! Please don’t forget to e-mail me when you are done.

    Don't forget that I've added some Cheese Sites that you might find helpful or, at the very least, interesting at the bottom right side of my blog. If you find any links you will like to add just e-mail or leave a comment here and I will add it.If you have any other suggestions just let me know!

    What is Cheese of the Month? Go here to find out:

    Good luck fellow cheesians! I look forward to reading about your delicious creations!

    Cheddar Cheese Results for October

    Sorry this is a little late! My daughter had a bad reaction to Amoxicin (spelling?) she was taking for an ear infection. So, it has been a rough week. She's fine now, but now we have to be careful about what meds she takes in the future.

    Last month, I chose cheddar cheese. I decided that ANY type of cheddar would do. I figured that gave people a lot of options.

    This round I had two people participate, which was very exciting! Everyone made something wonderful and delicious.

    Fellow Cheesian Number One: Cristie

    I was pleased to get an email from Cristie of Edible Antics-Having Fun With Food. Which is a tiny web store that sells gourmet foods made by Wisconsin artisans and small businesses. She's from Wisconsin and couldn't pass up participating because, as she puts it, "cheese is something we Wisconsinites LOVE!!!!" Her entry was Ham, Broccoli, and Cheddar Cheese Quiche. I absolutely adore quiches. I use to eat them once a month when I worked as high school teacher. The teachers would all come together and make all kinds of goodies for breakfast. Someone always made a quiche and I just fell in love! The one Cristie made sounds DIVINE and yet amazely simple.

    Ham, Broccoli, and Cheddar Cheese Quiche

    Single pie crust
    1/4 cup onion, diced
    1 cup broccoli - I use frozen, cut-up broccoli that I thawed in the microwave
    1 cup ham, cubed or diced
    1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
    1 cup cheddar cheese, grated (any favorite cheese will do)
    3 eggs, slightly beaten
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    1. I buy the prepared pie crust unless I happen to have homemade handy. Spread pie crust in pie plate.
    2. Chop onion and ham.
    3. Thaw and drain broccoli if frozen; wash and chop finely if fresh.
    4. Put onion, then broccoli then ham in pie crust.
    5. You want the ham juice to drip down over the veggies.
    6. Meanwhile, put 1/2 and 1/2 in medium sauce pan and heat over low to medium heat until a thin skin forms over the milk/cream.
    7. Stir in grated cheese. When cheese is melted, remove from heat and stir in the beaten eggs.
    8. Add nutmeg and salt and pepper.
    9. Line the oven grate with tin foil in case the quiche over-flows. Put the pie crusts filled with meat and veggies on the foil. Pour the cheese, egg, and milk/cream mixture into the pie crusts.
    10. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes.

    You can read all about her adventure on her blog:

    Fellow Cheesian Number Two: Christine

    I was pleasantly pleased to hear from Christine of Cooking with Christine. I've been following her blog for quite some time now and glad that she was able to participate this month. I was also surprised to learn that she made an Apple Cheddar Pie, which was surprising because I was just thinking about when I got her e-mail. You can read all about her adventures here:

    After reading her account, I will definitely gives this one a try sometime!

    Apple Cheddar Pie
    Recipe from Emeril Lagasse (BAM! HEE HEE!)

    • 2 pie crusts
    • 3 medium Golden Delicious apples (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
    • 3 medium Granny Smith apples (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
    • 1/3 cup plus
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
    • Pinch salt
    • 1 cup 1/2-inch cubes medium cheddar cheese (4 1/2 ounces)
    1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
    2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into two portions.
    3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one-half of the crust to a 12-inch circle and transfer to a 9-inch pie pan, pressing gently to fit.
    4. Roll out the second half of the crust to a circle and set aside.
    5. In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and toss to coat the apples.
    6. Add the cheese and spoon the apple mixture into the prepared pie pan.
    7. Arrange the second crust over the fruit.
    8. Trim the edges to a 3/4-inch overhang, fold under the two crusts, and crimp the edges of the crusts together to seal the dough.
    9. With a sharp knife, cut a decorative pattern of slits into the top crust.
    10. With a pastry brush, brush the cream over the top crust and sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over the top.
    11. Bake until the crust is golden and the juices begin to bubble, 45 to 55 minutes.
    12. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 1 to 2 hours before serving. Serve warm.

    And finally here is what I came up with: Baby Bell's Smokey Cheddar is Better Soup! My daughter LOVES smoke cheese. A few months ago, I bought Wisconin Cheddar Soup from local deli/restaurant in our area. It way too smokey for me, but she LOVED it. She was licking the bowl clean. So, I figured this was a good change for me to try and make a copy cat version of it. My daughter, being the crazy picky 1 1/2 year old that she is, doesn't eat enough veggies. So, I added some veggies to this soup. She, of course, LOVED it! This soup was slightly spicy but my daughter loves spicy (I ate a lot of hot wings near the end of my pregnancy!).

    You can use half to one pound of cheddar if you like. It depends how cheesey you want it. I bought a block of smoked cheddar that was almost a pound. (It's not as much as it sounds) It was like $7, though. So, I won't be making this every week, but definitely as a special treat. It makes a lot, too. So, I froze some of it for later use. I also used deli ham, but I think next time I might try bits of a ham steak. I just happened to have deli ham on hand. The veggies added a nice touch and was a great way to sneak in some veggies. This soup was quick to make too. This soup gets five dancing cheese guys out of five.

    Baby Bell's Smokey Cheddar is Better Soup

    • 2 1/2 Tbsp Butter
    • 1/2 C Shredded Carrots
    • 1/2 Celery, finely chopped
    • 1/2 Medium Onion, finely chopped
    • 1/2 C Green peppers, seeded and finely chopped
    • 1/2 C Deli ham, torn into small pieces
    • 1/2 C Flour
    • 2 TbspCornstarch
    • 2 C Chicken broth
    • 2 C Milk
    • 1/2 Tsp Paprika
    • 1/2 Tsp Dry mustard
    • 1/2 Lb. Smoked Cheddar Cheese, grated
    • Salt/Pepper, to taste
    1. In a large heavy kettle, melt butter or margarine; add carrots, celery, onion, green pepper, and ham.
    2. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are crisp tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not brown.
    3. Add flour and cornstarch; cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes.
    4. Add broth and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened.
    5. Add milk, paprika, cayenne and mustard.
    6. Stir in cheese gradually, stirring until cheese is melted.
    7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Thursday, October 23, 2008

    Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

    I'm not sure where I found this recipe, but it is the best one that I've found so far. You can either use chocolate chips or raisins. I, being a chocoholic, prefer the chips.



    • 1 C unsalted butter, softened

    • 1 C white sugar

    • 1 C light brown sugar

    • 2 large eggs

    • 1 Tsp vanilla extract

    • 1 C canned pumpkin puree

    • 3 C AP flour

    • 2 Tsp Baking soda

    • 1/2 Tsp salt

    • 1 Tsp ground cinnamon

    • 1/2 Tsp ground ginger

    • 1/4 Tsp ground nutmeg

    • 1/4 Tsp ground cloves

    • 2 C (12-oz bag) semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips


    1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

    2. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray or line with parchement paper. (I find that the paper works the best and keeps the bottoms from burning.)

    3. Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth.

    4. Beat in the white and brown sugars.

    5. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree.

    6. In a larg bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.

    7. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter.

    8. Stir in the chocolate chips or raisins.

    9. Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons and bake for 15-20 minutes.

    Book Review: The Bread Machine Magic Book of Helpful Hints

    I love books. I could spend HOURS in the library. I also love to write papers. So, being the nerd that I am, I've decided to write book reviews of various cookbooks and books that relate to food every month.

    My first book review came about when I got a bread machine last year for Christmas. I got a few books out, but I didn't start using my bread machine until recently. I finally found an electric knife, which made it easier to cut thin slices. So, I went back to the library and got all of the those bread books out again and decided to try a few recipes. One book stood out among the rest was The Bread Machine Magic Book of Helpful Hints by Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway. I almost didn't get it either, because it wasn't a "recipe book." But boy am I glad that I did! When I got my bread machine, I thought that you just threw some ingredients in and pressed START. But I've learn the hard way there is a lot more to it than that!!!

    This book has everything you could want in a bread machine book from common problems to recipes and much much more. The book starts off discussing the various types of bread machines. That chapter also went into detail concerning the features on a typical bread machine. I learn a lot about which buttons do what, which in turn enabled me to make better decisions.

    The second chapter is an informative chapter discussing the science behind the baking. My favorite part of that chapter was the Conversion Chart. I now know that 5/8 Cup is really 1/2 Cup + 2 Tablespoons. I also learned that you mustn't scoop flour; you have to spoon it into the measuring cup and then scrape off the extra with a knife. (Otherwise, you end up with a few extra tablespoons of flour and a smaller loaf!)

    Chapter three goes into the different types of ingredients that you add to your bread recipe; like gluten or oats. This chapter was very helpful in teaching me how to add extras that weren't in the original recipe. It also gives an indept look at all the different types of flours that are out there.

    The next chapter discusses adjusting the recipes to fit the reader's dietary needs. It even included some recipes. This is a great chapter if you are an "alternative" baker.

    Chapter five is what the reader has been waiting for and the reason the book was purchased (or borrowed). Almost every common problem that the reader has had with their loafs from loafs that didn't rise to loafs that had a doughy center is addressed. My favorite part included a formula for converting a non-bread machine recipe into one.

    And last but not least, chapter six include quite a few delicious recipes. I tried several of them and I was really impressed. My favorites were Herb Bread and Buckwheat Bread. AMAZINGLY GOOD!

    I would highly recommend this book. It is definitely worth the trip to the library or the extra couple of bucks. I'm adding this book to my Christmas Wish List.

    Friday, October 10, 2008

    Quick Carmel Popcorn Balls

    I joined a group called Operation Baking Gals and I needed something to make that wouldn't melt. I came across this recipe but I can't remember where I found it. It was super easy and really cheap to make. These were by far the BEST popcorn balls that I have EVER eaten!
    Quick Carmel Popcorn Balls
    • 28 Carmels
    • 2 Tbsp Water
    • 2 Quarts Salted Cooked Popcorn
    • 1 Tsp Corn Syrup (optional)


    1. Melt the carmels and water in a double boiler.
    2. Add corn syrup.
    3. Pour over cooked popcorn and toss until well coated.
    4. Shape into balls.

    Thursday, October 9, 2008

    Operation Baking Gals Goodies---Team Baking for Our Troops

    I recently discovered a wonderful site called Operation Baking Gals. I absolutely LOVE to bake but I can only send so many care packages to my siblings in college. So, I was thrill to find that I could send cookies and other baked goods to soliders fighting overseas. I have many relatives either are or were in the military, so this especially hits home for me. (I have a cousin going to Iraq soon---Yikes!!)

    Here is how the site works. The owner of the blog gets names, bios, and addresses of soliders fighting overseas. She then has bloggers volunteer to be host for a solider and create a team. Then, then she posts the names of the teams each with a solider and his/her bio on the Operation Baking Gals blog. Anyone can sign up to send a package(s) to a solider of your choosing. You sign up by e-mailing the host of that solider. The host then sends you an e-mail with the address and the date that the packages should be mailed out.

    After scrolling the soliders, I chose team Baking For Our Troops ( who was hosting Zachary Thomas Sain who is currently stationed in Iraq.

    Here is his bio:

    This round of home-baked goodies could not come at a better time for him because homesickness is getting pretty rough. It has been tough to hang on to a little piece of home, and his contact with loved ones last month cost him a 4-figure phone bill to prove it!!! Now, let me tell you a little bit about him. He is 19 years old and graduated from high school in Champion, Ohio in 2006. He has three siblings back home (Amanda 17, Jeremy 14, and Bailey 12) and his mother, Jacquetta. He is an animal lover and has a golden retriever named Sampson. Zach loves listening to the "oldies" as well as new music. He is into cars and rebuilt a 1977 Jeep with his dad, Joe, before he passed away. Zach loves to go muddin' in his Jeep and also enjoys target shooting. He is even a member of the American Motorcycle Association. As for the future, he hopes to return home from service and continue serving his community as a police officer.

    Now before I was a stay at home mom, I was an English/Public Speaking Teacher at huge high school that had "little bit of everything." My favorite type of students were the "redneck kids." They delighted me with stories of huntin', trappin', and muddin'! What is muddin' you ask? Well, it is where you take your jeep and drive around in big mud puddles. Why? I have no idea! I don't get it, but the kids seem to love it...even the girls! So, as soon as I read that he liked to go muddin' I knew that he was the solider for me! That poor kid was older to have been a student of mine!! 19! I can't image. At 19, I was goofing off at college...thinking about boys and well food---I definitely gained the freshment 15....and then some! ;-) This poor kid is dealing with some awful stuff.

    I wanted to make him stuff to remind him of October/Fall/Halloween. So, I made a few goodies and then bought some halloween type candy. It only cost me $8.00 to send the package too! You can get a flat rate box, but it is really really small and was $9.00. Luckily, the post office guy weight my stuff and gave me a bigger box and a cheaper price! Wahoo---I saved a dollar!!! ;-) But I really needed the bigger box too. I had a TON of cookies and candies.

    Here is the the list of stuff I made. Some of the recipes can be found on my blog. I hope to add the other recipes as I find more time!

    Carmel Popcorn Balls

    Dark Chocolate Dream Cookies

    Dark Chocolate Mexican Biscotti (Day of the Dead was my thinking on that one)

    Buttery Orange Sugar Cookies

    The candy included: Candy Corn, Smarties, Sour Gum, and Cheesy Chex Mix. Plus, I send a Thank You card with a nice message.

    I can't wait to see who this month's soliders are. This definitley something I am going to do for now one. I also plan on added my cousin to the list when he goes. So, if you like to bake check out the site!

    Super Easy Microwave Peanut Brittle

    I made this for a package that I was sending to a solider overseas. I needed to send something that wouldn't melt and this was the perfect gift! I got the recipe out of the my husband's Pillsbury Complete Cookbook.

    I cut the microwave times in half for this recipe. I tried using the times that were in the book but the mixture ended up buring. It was awful! I opened the microwave and the mixture was black and my whole house filled with smoke!!! It was a huge pain to clean too!!! So, make sure you keep an eye on it.

    But once I did it again and cut the times in half it went much better. This was amazing good brittle too! And it was fairly cheap to make.

    Super Easy Microwave Peanut Brittle

    • 1 C sugar

    • 1/2 C light corn syrup

    • 1 C roasted salted peanuts

    • 1 Tsp butter

    • 1 Tsp vanilla

    • 1 Tsp baking soda

    1. Grease cookie sheet.
    2. In 1 1/2-quart microwave safte casserole, combine sugar and corn syrup; mix well.

    3. Microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes. (I only did 2 minutes)

    4. Stir in peanutes. Microwave for 3-5 minutes or until light brown. (I did 3 minutes)

    5. Stir in butter and vanilla; blend well.

    6. Microwave for 1-2 minutes. (I did 1 minute)

    7. Add baking soda; stir gently until light and foamy.

    8. Pour onto buttered cookie sheet.

    9. Cool for 30 minutes.

    10. Break into pieces.

    Dark Chocolate Dream Cookies

    I found these recipe in a french cookbook a few years ago. I have since modified it and have included a few variations. This is a super rich dark chocolately indulance! A perfect way to get that chocolate fix!!! ;-)

    Dark Chocolate Dream Cookies

    1 1/2 C All Purpose Flour

    1/2 C Unsweetened Cocoa

    1 Tsp Baking Soda

    1 Tsp Salt

    5 Oz Dark chocolate

    3 Oz Milk Chocolate

    4 Oz Unsweetened Baking Chocolate

    1 1/2 C Tightly Packed Brown Sugar

    3 Eggs

    1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

    1 1/2 Sticks of Butter

    1/2 C White Chocolate Chips

    1/2 C Semisweet Chocolate Chips

    1/4 C Pecan Pieces


    Grasshopper Dream Cookies

    Omit vanilla, white chocolate chips, semisweet chips, and pecan pieces and add:

    1 Tsp Mint Extract

    1/2 C Mint Chocolate Chips

    Dark Strawberry Dream Cookies

    Omit vanilla, white chocolate chips and pecan pieces and add:

    2 Tsp Strawberry Extract

    1 C Semisweet Chocolate Chips

    1. Preheat oven to 325 F.

    2. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

    3. Melt chocolates in a double boiler. Remove from heat.

    4. Cream brown sugar and butter in a large bowl.

    5. Add eggs, one at a time.

    6. Add vanilla. (or other extracts)

    7. Add the melted chocolate.

    8. Add sifted flour mixture.

    9. Scoop heaving tablespoons full of dough onto greased cookie sheet.

    10. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

    Super Soft Chocolate Chip Blondies

    I aquired this recipe from my husband who, as a teenage, use to get recipe cards in the mail from Easy Everyday Cooking. It is by far the best blondie recipe I ever tasted! I have been using this recipe when I make gifts for people.

    I put mine into a metal pie pan, which is why they are "pie" shaped.
    • 1/4 C Butter
    • 1 C Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
    • 1 Egg
    • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
    • 1 C All Purpose Flour
    • 1/4 Tsp Baking Soda
    • 1/4 Tsp Salt
    • 1 C Semisweet Chocolate Chips
    1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
    2. Grease bottom of a small pie pan.
    3. Cream together butter and brown sugar in a medium bowl.
    4. Beat in egg and vanilla.
    5. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
    6. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat until just blended. Do not overmix.
    7. Add semisweet chocolate chips. Stir until well blended.
    8. Spread batter into prepared pan.
    9. Bake 10-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
    10. Cool before cutting.

    Wednesday, October 8, 2008

    Cheesy Updates

    I figured since there a few of you who decided to join me, everyone should get a say in what cheeses we try each month. I would hate to come off as being bossy. So, I've added a What Cheese Should We Try? Poll. The poll will be which cheese we will try for the NEXT month. The poll will appear each month and end at 7 pm of that month. For example: It is now October, so the poll you see now is for which cheese we will try in November. The voting will end at 7 pm the last day of October.

    I also have included a list of Cheese Sites that you might find helpful or, at the very least, interesting. If you find any links you will like to add just e-mail or leave a comment here and I will add it.

    If you have any other suggestions just let me know!

    Wednesday, October 1, 2008

    October's Cheese of the Month is….

    Another month another cheese to sample. This month’s cheese will be pretty simple to find. I decided to go easy on ya! Cheddar. I’m giving you a lot of options and room for creativity here. You can choose any type of cheddar you desire. Mild, Sharp, Extra Sharp, White, Smoked, Pepper Jack…as long as it has Cheddar in the name you can use it.

    Remember that you can always make more than one dish and make anything from desserts to soups to dips to anything your heart desires! Please don’t forget to e-mail me when you are done.

    What is Cheese of the Month? Go here to find out:

    Good Luck fellow Cheese Heads!

    September's Cheesy Results

    September’s Cheese of the Month Results

    Asiago was the cheese of September. I was very excited to find some fellow cheese heads who were interested in joining in my quest of deliciousness. However, I think I chose a cheese that too hard to find, so only one gal was able to participate this month. So without further ado here is the one lovely but lonely gal who joined me with her recipe:

    made a delicious Satsumaimo (Japanese) Sweet Potato with Asiago Cheese. Its an unusal twist on the old Potato Gratin. The pairing of sweet and the sharpness of the cheese was an excellent idea. You can get the recipe and read about her discovery here:
    I love trying new things, so I think this is one that I will definitely try for long as I can find the Satsumaimo. My family loves unusal foods like that. :-)

    And finally, it is my turn…

    I had a ton of recipes that I wanted to try but I came across one that required the use of a bread machine. I got a bread machine for Christmas last year and haven’t used it much this month. Mainly because I had no way of making smaller slices, until I came across an electric knife at our local thrift stores. I love thrift stores. I do a lot of shopping there. You never know what you are going to find. So, anyways I found this recipe that use both Asiago cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, which I had a jar of. I stole it from my dad and wasn’t sure what to do with it. My dad’s basement is another one of my favorite shopping places. He is always buying the neatest things. If you have to buy a jar yourself, you can get it CHEAP at surplus stores, Ollies, or Big Lots. If you buy a jar at a “regular” grocery store they are $8!!! My dad only paid 0.50 cents for his jar.

    After reading the recipe and the comments that people made, I decided to combine all of their comments and tweak this recipe. This is by far the BEST bread recipe that I have EVER had. It has got a nice kick to it too and my daughter couldn’t get enough of it. My friend Moriah came over and she couldn't stop eating it!!!

    (The yeast was old, so the first loaf didn't rise but the second was much better and so yummy)

    I give this recipe 5 out of 5 Smiling Cheeses.

    And now here is my recipe submission:

    Sun-Dried Tomato and Asiago Cheese Bread

    1 cup water
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    2 tablespoons white sugar
    2 tablespoons instant powdered milk
    1 teaspoon salt
    3 cups bread flour
    ½ Jar Sun-Dried Tomatoes, drained and diced
    1 cup grated Asiago cheese
    ½ cup grated Romano Cheese
    1 tablespoon Tuscany Seasoning
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast

    Place all ingredients into bread machine in order given.
    Bake according to bread machine directions. Set crust to light.

    The original recipe can be found here:
    …but I think you find that mine is better. J

    Saturday, September 27, 2008

    Lavash Crackers & Toppings (Daring Bakers)

    Another month; another Daring Baker's Challenage. This month I was a little disapointed in what was chosen. Mainly because I was hoping for a dessert of some kind. This month's challenage was vegan and/or gluten free. We had to make Lavash Crackers with some sorth of dip or sauce that was to be both vegan AND gluten free. The crackers had to vegan but didn't have to be gluten free. Surprising, making the dip vegan was harder than making it gluten free...mainly because some many recipes called for cheese or sour cream!

    Making the crackers seemed simple enough at first. I chose whole wheat flour. I mixed all the ingredients and kneading the dough for 20 minutes. Then, I let it rise. I ended up letting it rise for a few hours, because with a toddler running around I got pretty distracted.

    Then, I put a piece of plastic wrap over it......

    And then rolled it really really thin.

    I then added my spices. I chose half mixed spice, which was kind of like pumpkin pie spice and half I brushed with lime and sprinkled on some Lime Salt. I got the Lime Salt was a vendor at the farmer's market. I LOVE IT! It taste great on anything.

    It didn't bake very well. Half of it got burnt. The unburnt part was very very very good.
    For the dip I just made some plain old salsa. Nothing fancy, so I didn't include the recipe. I tried making a sun-dried tomato hummus but that didn't turn out.

    I'm glad that I at least tried this recipe, but I differently won't be making this again. I'm not a big cracker fan and I could NEVER be vegan...I'm too much of a cheese girl. But I do have a new found respect for vegans, though! :-)

    So, without further ado here is the recipe:

    Heads Up :

    * You can do so much to make this recipe your own – adding dried herbs or roasted garilic, etc., to the dough, using gourmet spices-salts-seasonings-seeds to sprinkle on top, etc.

    * Read carefully ! The following recipe includes directions for both gluten-free crackers (à la Natalie !) and traditional AP flour crackers.

    * The key to crispy crackers is rolling out the dough as thinly as possible. We noticed that the crackers turned out better if you divide the dough in half before rolling. You’ll roll out the dough as per the directions, decorate and cook the crackers in two batches.

    * We’ve included some links with examples of the finished Lavash at the bottom of the post. JRECIPE - Recipe Reference: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. Copyright 2001. ISBN-10: 1-58008-268-8, ISBN-13: 978-158008-268-6.Here's a simple formula for making snappy Armenian-style crackers, perfect for breadbaskets, company and kids...It is similar to the many other Middle Eastern and Northern African flatbreads known by different names, such as mankoush or mannaeesh (Lebanese), barbari (Iranian), khoubiz or khobz (Arabian), aiysh (Egyptian), kesret and mella (Tunisian), pide or pita (Turkish), and pideh (Armenian). The main difference between these breads is either how thick or thin the dough is rolled out, or the type of oven in which they are baked (or on which they are baked, as many of these breads are cooked on stones or red-hot pans with a convex surface)...The key to a crisp lavash, to roll out the dough paper-thin. The sheet can be cut into crackers in advance or snapped into shards after baking. The shards make a nice presentation when arranged in baskets.

    Lavash Crackers

    Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

    * 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)

    * 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt

    * 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast

    * 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar

    * 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil

    * 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature

    * Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings1.

    1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.
    2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see … ong-Enough for a discription of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
    3. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
    4. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).
    5. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.
    6. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.
    7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.
    8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    Funny Music Video about Women and Eating

    I recently went to a Women of Faith conference and saw Anita Renfroe among many other talented speakers and singers. It was so empowering to be surround by 15ooo women from all stages and ages of life all connected by one thing: We all worship the same God. How cool is that?

    Anita Renfroe was my favorite. She gave a talk on body image which was both amusing and enlightening. She opened up with a music video with a song that she wrote. It was soooooooo funny. That song is definitely about me and apparently every woman in America! Check it out at the link below. I found it in on YouTube so the quality isn't that great but you'll still get the idea.

    My First Blog Award--Wahoo!

    Cristine from Cooking with Cristine: has awarded me with a I Love You This Much Award. Isn't that sweet!?!

    I was so excited when she left a message for me letting me know. I'm proud to be one of the blog that she stalks. Now I have to get my butt in gear and post so more goodies! Thanks Cristine, you rock!

    Mexican Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

    I'm not sure where I found this recipe, but I was recently "baking through the storm" on a stormy Saturday afternoon with Baby Bell and I found this recipe on one of my cards from years ago. I made a TON of cookies for my many sibling who are all still in college. (Yea for being the oldest and done with it all!) This one was my favorite so I thought I would share it.

    These cookies are crunchy (but not too crunchy) on the outside and soft and gooewy on the inside. They are super rich and chocolately. You must use a good-quality dark chocolate bar. I used a candy bar that I got at Aldi's. I love their chocolate; they are made in Austria, which I think the store is orginially from. I think what makes it "Mexican" is that this cookie has cinnamon and black pepper in it. It has a nice warm spiciness to it. I thought it was a nice fall season cookie. I plan on making them again for Operation Baking Gal this month. These gals make cookies for soliders overseas. Check them out!

    Mexican Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

    • 1 C All Purpose Flour
    • 1/2 C Unsweetened Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder
    • 1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
    • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
    • 1/2 Tsp Coarse Salt
    • 1/8 Tsp Finely ground Black Pepper
    • 1/4 Lb Coarsely chopped good-quality DARK chocolate
    • 1/2 C (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter
    • 1 1/2 C Sugar
    • 2 Large Eggs
    • 1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
    • 3/4 C Semisweet Chocolate Chips
    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

    2. Whish together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

    3. In a small heat proof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water, melt the DARK chocolate with butter. Let cool slightly.
    4. Combine sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl.
    5. Slowly temper the eggs by added a few teaspoons of the butter/chocolate mixure at a time. You don't want to scramble the eggs.
    6. Add the rest of the butter/chocolate mixture to the egg mixture.
    7. Gradually add the flour mixture.
    8. Fold in the chocolate chips.
    9. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop 1 1/2 inch balls of the mixutre onto the cookie sheet and space them 2 inches apart.

    10. Bake cookies for about 15 mintures or until they look flat and the surfaces crack.
    Yum! Yum! Baby Bell LOVES cookies!!!!
    **You should get about 3 dozen cookies!**

    Gram's Crockpot Roast & Hunkie Soup

    Gram's Crockpot Roast

    When I got my first apartment while attending college my lovely parents, fearing that I was too lazy to cook for myself and fearing that I would starve, gave me a small crockpot. My favorite meal in the whole wide world is potroast with carrots and potatoes. I adapted my mom's recipe to be used in the crockpot that she gave me. Over the years I changed and tweeked the recipe (and the name since she is a grandma now!) and I finally feel satisfied with this recipe. I must warn you that I eyeball every ingredigent so it was difficult trying to figure out the measurements. You can change the measurements depending on your taste preferrence.

    My husband and I make this all the time. There is always a ton leftover and there is a lot you can do with leftover potroast...such Shepard's Pie, Hunkie Soup, Beef Stew, or BBQ Beef. I've included a recipe for Hunkie Soup after the Potroast case your interested.

    Gram's Crockpot Roast

    • 1 Beef Roast (The size depends on you)
    • 1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
    • 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
    • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
    • 1 Small Onion, sliced (You can use any you like, I use red onions)
    • 1/2 C celery, diced
    • 1 C carrots, cut-up
    • 5-6 Red Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
    • Salt/Pepper, to taste
    • Water
    1. Place the roast into crockpot and fill with enough water to almost but not quite cover the roast.
    2. Put two slits in the roast and fill with some of the garlic. Throw the rest on top.
    3. Add onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
    4. Add onion slices making sure to place a few slices on top of the roast as well as to the water.
    5. If you want soft almost mushy veggies (which is what we do) add the rest of the veggies. Othewise add the veggies at the last 1/2 hour of cooking. They will be soft but not too mushy.
    6. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.

    We use the leftovers to make Hunkie Soup, which yet another Czech recipe from my Grandma Trix. This is super easy and very yummy! This was the first soup that my Baby Bell had when she could start eating solid foods. She LOVES it! It is great on a cold wintery day!! (This can be made with or without the shredded potroast.)

    Hunkie Soup

    • 2 Cans Beef Broth (or broth left over from the potroast)
    • Water
    • 1 Small Onion, sliced
    • 1/2 C Celery
    • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
    • Salt/Pepper, to taste
    • 1 Can diced tomatoes
    • 1/2 C carrots, cut-up
    • 2 Medium Baking Potatoes--OR--4 Small Red Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced
    • 1 Package Egg Noodles
    • Potroast, cook and shredded, Optional
    1. Cook the Egg Noodles according to the directions. Drain and put aside.
    2. In a dutch oven add broth (either from the can or from leftover roast).
    3. Take the empty broth cans and fill with water and add to broth.
    4. Add the onion, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, tomatoes, carrotes, potatoes, and shredded potroast (optional).
    5. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until veggies are soft.
    6. Place noodles into each bowl and pour soup over top.**

    **If you put the noodles into the soup and store it in the fridge the noodles will absorb all of the broth. It is better to pour the soup over the noodles in each bowl.

    Monday, September 1, 2008

    Asiago-September's Cheese of the Month

    Well, September is here and I've finally chosen my cheese. After careful consideration and many shopping trips to the cheese case at the grocery store, I've chosen Asiago Cheese for this month. It has been a long time favorite of mine and I would love to find some new uses for it. So, far all I do with it is put it on salad or a sandwich and occasionally make a sauce from it. But now I'm on a quest for something a little different and I would love for you to join me....

    To recap what the Cheese of the Month Challenge is:

    Every month I'm going to select a cheese and make a dish with it. The purpose is to experiment with something that you wouldn’t normally make. Anyone is welcome to join me. Here are the rules:

    1. Check my blog, Adventures in Gluttony, on the FIRST of every month to see what cheese I chose.

    2. Everyone will use the Cheese of the Month Cheese in either a recipe they make up or one they find. They can be simple or advanced. The dishes can be anything your little heart desires.You have the ENTIRE month to make something. By the LAST day of the end of the month post on YOUR blog the recipe, a picture (if possible), and a summary of how it went and if you liked it. If you chose to use a recipe that isn’t your own make sure to include where the recipe came from.3. Send me an email with the link to your blog by no later than the LAST day of each month and I will post the links on my blog so that everyone can see how everyone else did. My email is:

    You can make more than one dish if you like. Just make sure to indicate that to me in your email. If you recipe doesn’t turn out post it on your blog anyways. Just make sure to explain why you didn’t like the dish and/or what went wrong. Make sure to share your dish with your friends and family and get their reactions.I’m really excited about this and I hope to get as many people as possible to participate. It will be a neat way to collect some delicious recipes and try new things.

    Smoked Gouda Recipe Results


    This was my first Cheese of the Month Challenge and it looks like I was the only one to participate, which is fine. If you want to participate go here to read how:

    Here are my results:

    I chose Smoked Gouda because my daughter, Baby Bell, loves smoked cheeses. She may get her looks from her dad, but she gets her good taste in food from me! I chose two recipes to try out. The first was a muffin recipe and the second was a crockpot chicken recipe.

    Well, I'm a HUGE fan of muffins, so when I found this random muffin recipe that included smoked gouda and tomatoes (which are Bell's favorite), I knew I had to try them out. The muffins were call Smoked Gouda and Scallion Muffins, and the recipe seemed simple enought.

    I followed the directions and everything seemed to be going well...

    I put them into the muffin pan. This recipe made 12 servings.
    They looked like tasty muffins....
    Baby Bell seemed to like them. She ate TWO whole muffins!!! She threw the third one on the ground, so I dusted it off and gave it to my husband to try. Yeah, I know that is mean but that's what he gets for taking a nap while I'm trying to bake with a screaming toddler at my leg!!!

    I ended up eating three of them just to make sure that I DIDN'T like them. They ended up being very bland. It tasted like a muffin, but all of the good flavors of the cheese, tomatoe, and onion didn't seem to mix throughout the muffin. I will definitely make these again, but I will change it around to see if I get make it taste like something!

    I give this recipe: One Smiling Cheese Guy out of a possible five.

    I got the recipe here:,164,151165-242207,00.html

    (Just in case you wanted to check it out.)

    Next, I found a crockpot recipe. Being a mother of toddler, I am very busy. So, I love crockpot recipes. I think food taste better, too, when it has been slowly simmering all day. Don't you?

    The recipe was called Crockpot Chicken Pasta with Smoked Gouda. It was very easy to throw together. My only complaint was you only threw half of the ingredients together and add the other half at the last 20 minutes of cooking. Besides that it was fairly good and everyone ate it. However, I think it was missing something. I thought that maybe it could have used some sort of kick to it. I'm thinking onions...maybe some spinach or peppers would have been nice. This will definitely go on the recipe card to be made in the future, but with some moderifications.I give this recipe Two Smiling Cheese Guys out of a possible five

    I found the recipe here in case you're interested.