Tuesday, February 10, 2009

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

These are probably in my top 3 favorite cookies. Absolutely love them. I am always looking for a better recipe though. I have one recipe that I love and use as a base recipe and then I try and tweak the spices and ingredients until it's just right. I don't think I've quite got it to where I want, but I'm getting close. Here's the recipe that I use:


  • 1 cup shortening (I use 1/2 shortening, 1/2 butter)
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I use Guitard's Giant Milk Chocolate Chips)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional. I usually leave nuts out unless a recipe calls for pecans)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and pumpkin until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; stir into the pumpkin mixture. Mix in the chocolate chips. Stir in the walnuts if desired. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until edges begin to brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pop's Biscuits

I love biscuits. Especially just simple, baking powder biscuits. There are so many varieties out there that I've tried, but I keep coming back to this old family recipe. Pop would be my great-grandfather. He was from Arkansas and apparently loved to cook. We have a family cookbook that is chalk full of his recipes and old black and white photos of the family eating together. Food has always been a big part of my family. Not just something you do everyday, but really, making it beautiful and coming together to enjoy it, but mostly, to enjoy each other.

Pop's biscuits are great for strawberry shortcake, biscuits and gravy, as a side with soup, or just plain great by themselves. When I eat them by themselves, I like to put butter and honey on them. You can knead and roll them out, but I just make them as drop-biscuits.

Pop's Biscuits

3 cups flour
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3-4 tsp. sugar (can be left out)
1/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup milk

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheet. Place them closely to each other and Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned on top and firm to the touch. Depending on the size of your biscuits, you will need to cook them longer than 10 minutes.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Spinach and pasta salad with grilled chicken

I know salads are considered chick food, but this is a salad that even the manliest of men could eat. At least I think so. HF loves it and he's pretty manly. This is a versatile dish. Ingredients can be added or removed to make it to your liking.

1 small package of fresh spinach

1 – 8 oz package of bowtie pasta – cooked, drained and cooled

2-4 TBLS sesame seeds

½ cup sliced almonds (I used the toasted and unsalted)

3 chicken breasts – seasoned heavily with lemon pepper seasoning, grilled and cut into bite sizes.

1 cup bean sprouts

Mix all ingredients and toss with the dressing just before serving.


½ cup oil

½ cup sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sesame seeds

3 TBLS soy sauce

2 TBLS rice vinegar

½ tsp sesame seed oil

1 tsp grated fresh garlic (about 2 cloves)

Stir ingredients well to dissolve sugar, store in refrigerator. Let dressing warm to room temperature before tossing into salad.

To keep the leftovers from getting soggy, we usually keep the spinach and bean sprouts seperate from the rest of the salad and when serving, make a bed of spinach and bean sprouts and then spoon the chicken and dressing mixture on top. This is always a hit at get togethers. There are no leftovers usually.