Thursday, December 31, 2009


These babies were good! And so easy to make.

what you need:
mini twisty pretzels or the square grid pretzels
bag of rolos
roasted pecans

The first thing I did is I toasted my raw pecans. I poured them onto a cookie sheet and basted them with melted butter. I put them in the oven at 350 and toasted them for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes or so. Using just raw pecans are delicious too. You don't have to toast them.

Place desired amount of pretzels on cookie sheet. Unwrap Rolos and put a Rolo candy on top of each pretzel. Place in a 325 degree oven for 3-5 minutes until just started to droop. Take out immediately and place a pecan on top of rolo and gently press down. Let cool for several minutes or hours until the chocolate has set. Otherwise there will be gooey dripping chocolate all over the place. You can make these for a party or give them to friends and neighbors for a holiday treat.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

french apple pie

See, I did make treats during the holidays! I don't eat fruit pies. I have never liked them. Except for the apple pie. I love apple pie. But I cannot eat a store bought apple pie. It has to be homemade. In my opinion, it's the crust that makes or breaks it. I've tried a variety of crusts, but I always come back to a basic. My mom's pie crust recipe.

1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup COLD water

Combine flour and salt. Add shortening. Use pastry blender or 2 knives in criss cross pattern to crumble mixture until fine. Add cold water and mix until well moistened. Form into ball and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll out. Makes 1 pie crust.

Apple Pie:
6-8 cups Golden Delicious apples, peeled and sliced very thin
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (if you are using granny smith or a very tart apple you can omit)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Gently toss sliced apples in a large bowl with lemon juice. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over apples and toss until well coated. Set aside. Make crumb topping.

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour

Combine ingredients in a bowl and cut together using the same method as when making the pie crust until you have pea-sized crumbs.

Place pie shell on top of foil-lined cookie sheet. Pour apple mixture into pie shell and then top with the crumb topping. This will be very high and spilling over. Just be careful to keep it all on top. Once it is cooked, it will shrink down significantly. Also, most apple pies have flour or cornstarch included in the apple mixture to thicken it up, but I always leave it out. I prefer the taste difference it makes. It does cause your apple pie to have more liquid. This doesn't bother me, but it does thicken up the longer it sits out.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

a compromise

I was at Sam's Club and saw this Le Creuset lookalike cast iron enameled pot for $38.72. HF knows that I want the collection seen here at Williams Sonoma for over $1000! And that's the sale price! That does seem kind of crazy to spend that much for a set of pots, but they are lifetime guaranteed! Anyway, this pot at Sam's Club is over 6.5 quarts and it is also lifetime guaranteed and only a fraction of the cost of a le creuset one. This same pot size in the le creuset is over $300. But I do love the variety of colors to choose from in the le creuset. *sigh* HF knows I want this pot and I think he will be going to Sam's to get it. I read on one of the reviews that the enamel on the outside chips and gets darker with use. I didn't know that. But it works so well and is lifetime guaranteed, so I think that a pot losing it's shining beauty with use is okay.
Oh, and I also want one of these. We used to have the old fashioned one that you place on the stove top and turn the handle, but I remember my parents using an air popper. We have decided to stop buying microwave popcorn and get back to basics for a number of reasons. Cost, taste, chemical makeup, variety of flavor options, fun to use with the kids, etc. And these are around $20 or so. This one pictured above is by Presto.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

kitchen wish list II

Calphalon Nonstick 15-piece set from Williams Sonoma

Automatic Yogurt Maker
White Mountain Ice Cream Maker, maual
Stainless Steel Pastry Blender
Splatter Screen
Le Creuset Teakettle
Zoku Quick Pop Maker

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

bentos 27 & 28

potstickers, monterey jack cheese cubed, banana slices, molasses cookie cut into quarters, bun, and sugar snap peas.
This bento is the exact same as above except for the vegetables. I put raw carrots, cauliflower and broccoli in this one.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

jello fluff

Jello has been around for at least a hundred years, but it still never ceases to amaze me. For example, when my mom was in college in the 60s, she had this Jello Cookbook. She still has it too. It's totally worn, pages missing or falling out, stains all over it, but it is so fun for me to look at. I can tell which recipes she used most often. The thing about this cookbook that I love most is that there are sections labled things like "meat" or "main dishes". With Jello?! Well, I have seen many of these concoctions.

Every Thanksgiving, my mom would make a gorgeous layered jello salad. Each layer a different color, and the middle was a mixture of cream cheese and something else. She usually put cut up fruit in our jello. Once in a while, she would do shredded carrots. Blech! I would estimate that we had some kind of jello salad at least once a week. Now I have seen things in jello that are almost too horrible to mention. Every Easter, my friend's grandma brings a green jello mold with sliced hot dogs in it. No joke. Sometimes it's even more fancy with the addition of shredded carrots. Hideous.

The jello fluff pictured above has been in the family forever. I don't know if it came from the 60s recipe book or not, but it makes me smile when I eat it. I remember eating ONLY jello fluff for Thanksgiving as a little girl and not touching anything else on my plate. You can do this with any flavor jello. It doesn't have to be strawberry. We've made lime fluff and that was pretty good too. Here's how to do it:

1 large box (6 oz.) strawberry JELLO
10-12 ice cubes
6-7 oz. strawberry yogurt
1 (8 oz.) carton cool whip

Follow instructions on box for boiling water. Pour JELLO into medium to large bowl and add boiling water. Stir until JELLO is completely dissolved. Instead of adding more water, add the 10-12 ice cubes. Once ice cubes are melted, add in the cool whip and yogurt. Mix on high or stir with a whisk until mixed completely. Cover with serran wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

This takes just a few minutes to make and the kids love it. I might make it for our daughter's ballerina party coming up in March. Everything is going to be pink.

Do you have any funny JELLO stories or recipes?