Friday, February 21, 2014

Great household tips

Hi There,

My friend posted a link to this list of helpful hints.  I think they're great so I wanted to share.  I hope they're helpful to you as well:

1.  Take your bananas apart when you get them home.  They ripen faster when connected.
2.  Cheese stays fresher and won't get moldy if you store it in aluminum foil.
3.  Peppers with three bumps on the bottom are sweeter, four bumps are firmer.
4.  To make an omelet rich add a spoonful of sour cream.
5.  Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light garlic flavor.  Add it at the end for a stronger flavor.
6.  Put a can of store bought frosting in the mixer and whip for a couple of minutes.  It can double in size and you'll eat less sugar.  Add a teaspoon of vanilla and it will taste more homemade.
7.  Put a dryer sheet in your pocket and mosquitoes won't bother you.
8.  To get rid of fruit flies, take a small glass and fill it half way with apple cider vinegar.  Add two drops of dishwashing liquid.  Mix well. Leave on counter and flies will be gone.

Hope these help.


Thursday, February 13, 2014


Hi There,
Not much to do on this snowy day other than cook.  I decided to make meatballs because they're Brad's favorite.  But today I did something different.  I added a rounded tablespoon of store bought pesto to the mix.  OMG!!!!  They're the best meatballs I've ever made!!!

I just wanted to share this tip with you.  Give it a try.  I promise you won't be disappointed!!



Monday, February 3, 2014

Casserole for a snow day........

Today is another snowy day in New England.  I'm stuck at home and because I really didn't expect this snowstorm, there's not much in the fridge to cook.  So looked in the pantry to see what I could throw together.  Then I remembered this casserole.  It's fun and really tastes great!!

Beanie Wienie Casserole

8 beef hotdogs, sliced
1 cup chopped onions
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 Tablespoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
16 oz baked beans
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
12 oz shredded cheese - American or Cheddar
1/2 lb cooked and drained elbow macaroni

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put butter, chopped onion and sliced hot dogs in a saute pan and cooked until hot dogs are browned.  Set aside.
In a bowl put beans, mustard, allspice, pepper, ketchup, brown sugar and mix.  Fold in cheese (I use a combination of both kinds of cheese) and macaroni.  Add hotdog/onion mixture.
Put mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes until bubbly.

I have a picture of this casserole to post but for some reason it won't upload.  So I'll post it at a later date when my computer stops acting up!!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Granola Cookies

Hi There,
Today I made these granola cookies that Brad loves.  I began making them a few years back when I was trying to help Brad control his sugar intake.  Now I'm not saying these are sugar free, but they sure are better than the bowl of ice cream that Brad was used to having every night!!
I think these are great for kids too.  Please let me know if you try them and what your family thinks of them.  Don't be afraid to mix up the ingredients.  Once you have the basic method down, you can make this your own by adding whatever your family likes.

Granola Cookies
1 egg white
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup brown sugar - I use Splenda brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 stick butter, melted
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup nuts - any kind
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and then cover it with parchment paper leaving some hanging over the edges so you can use the paper to lift the cookies off the sheet after they cool.  Spray the top of the parchment lightly with spray.

In a bowl, add the egg white.  Beat it with a beater until it's frothy.  It doesn't need to peak.  Add the peanut butter, brown sugar and honey.  Add the melted butter, oats, nuts and chocolate chips.  Mix everything together until well blended.

Wet your hands and put the mixture onto the parchment paper.  With your wet hands, spread the mixture to a layer about 1/2 thick.  Bake for about 15 minutes until edges are lightly browned. 

Let the granola cookies cool completely, for about one hour.  Then cut them in squares. 


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tomatoes, tomatoes!!!

Hi There,

When I was a kid, September not only meant school starting but it meant all the ladies in my family gathering in my grandmother's back yard to can the veggies that were grown over the summer.  I used to hate doing this.  It was a lot of work and so very time consuming!!  To this day, I still don't enjoy the thought of canning, but I sure do enjoy summer vegetables in the cold winter months.  So, I've learned to freeze a lot of stuff that I use often, mostly tomatoes and corn. 

Brad and I took a ride to upstate New York last weekend.  We went to an area that has lots of farm stands where we got some great deals.  I bought a crate of tomatoes and a few dozen corn.  So I spent one day last week up to my elbows in tomatoes!  I took pictures of the process and I'll explain as I go along.  This process is simple and it's such a great way to have farm stand freshness during a snow storm!!

This is the crate of juicy, red tomatoes I bought. 
I put a large pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil.  Then I put an X in the bottom of each tomato. 
 I drop the tomatoes into the pot of boiling water and let it sit for about a minute or two.  You will see the skin start to peel.  
This is after tomato has been placed in boiling water for a moment or two.
Put all the tomatoes in a bowl and let them cool completely.  Next I peel off the skin, core them, squeeze out the juice and seeds and place in a plastic bag. 
Here are my tomatoes all set for the freezer.  Very easy process and they will be yummy in a few months. 
I use these tomatoes for sauce, soups, I stuff them, pizza, etc.  Anything you would use a can of tomatoes for, try using these.  Nothing beats the flavor of a locally grown tomato!!!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes

Hi There,

I'm always looking for the easy way out.  I want delicious food with big flavor but I don't want to spend all day in the kitchen.  I love to cook but I do have other things that fill my day!!  This recipe is a great appetizer or snack.  I've used it with guests and for Brad and I alone.  It's yummy, easy and healthy. 

Roasted Garlic and Tomato Bruchetta

1 loaf french bread
1 dozen plum (Italian) tomatoes
8 cloves of garlic (do not peel.  Leave in the paper skin)
Basil leaves
salt and pepper
shredded mozzarella (optional)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Slice up the french bread into thin slices - approximately 24.
Brush each slice with a very small amount of EVOO and bake until toasted.  Watch this carefully because the bread can go from toast to burnt in a very short time!  Let bread cool.  Keep oven on.

Cut each of the tomatoes in half.  Cut the stem out.  Squeeze as much of the pulp out as possible.  Place them in a bowl with the unpeeled garlic.  Toss with EVOO, salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 to 50 minutes.   Remove from oven and let everything cool.  After garlic and tomatoes have cooled the skin on the tomatoes should come off very easily.  Remove it and place tomatoes in a bowl. 

The garlic cloves will be soft.  Squeeze out the soft, roasted garlic into a bowl.  It should be spreadable. 

Assembly - take a slice of bread and spread it with the roasted garlic.  Place a small basil leaf over it and top it with a roasted tomato. You can serve this as is.  If you are using the mozzarella, sprinkle a small amount on top and broil for a minute or two just until mozz is melted.  Serve immediately.

Roasted tomatoes

Roasted garlic


Friday, July 26, 2013

Tomato Zucchini Gratin

Hi There,

Do you have people in your house that don't love veggies?  I used to.  24 years ago when I married my husband he was not a veggie lover.  When Brad was growing up the only veggies he ever ate were frozen or canned.  They were bland and soggy.  YUCK!!!!   Thank the Lord, things have changed.  He now eats many different types and I love making them in different ways so that he can enjoy things he wasn't used to eating as a child. 

This casserole is a perfect example.  You can't get much easier of a dish but WOW is it good!!!  I actually created it because I had things in my fridge that I had to use up.  So here it is.........a delicious dish created to use up the stuff I didn't want to throw away!

I'm listing what I used.  You can use whatever amount suits your family.  This is really a method.  You can used whatever veggies you and your family enjoy. 

Tomato Zucchini Gratin

12 or so small Campari tomatoes
a bit of salt
5 small zucchini
1 large Vadallia onion
3 tablespoons  EVOO
1 palm full of flavored bread crumbs
1 palm full of Parmesan cheese
1 handful of shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

I used my cast iron frying pan that I use for almost everything on top of the stove. 

Place EVOO in pan and heat.  Add tomatoes.  Sprinkle with salt.  Saute for about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add onions.  Saute for another 3 to 4 minutes.  Add zucchini and do the same.  (zucchini will not be fully cooked) After everything has sauteed you should see a nice thick broth or juice from the sauteed veggies.  Mix together the bread crumbs and cheese and sprinkle over the top of the veggies.  Place pan in the oven and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until bubbly and zucchini has cooked all the way.  When you remove it from the oven, you can sprinkle a handful of shredded mozzarella on top if you'd like. 

This is a rustic dish.  Rustic to me means that there is no right or wrong way.  Its just putting things together that you like.  Give it a try.  Rustic is a very popular way of cooking these days.  Not only is it delicious but its a money saver too!!!