Thursday, August 27, 2009

Got Squash?

ZUCCHINI SOUP
4 cups sliced zucchini

1 medium onion, chopped
3 T. butter
1 cup water
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2
1 tsp. basil
salt & pepper to taste


In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter for several minutes. Add zucchini and water - simmer about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and whir in blender (be careful - it will be very hot - I suggest cooling it a few minutes first). Return to saucepan and stir in soup, milk, 1/2 & 1/2 and seasonings. Heat to simmering. Yield: 4 servings

 

Other than sauteeing or steaming yellow squash, the following recipe is the one I use most when this yummy vegetable is in season.

SQUASH CUSTARD

1 -1/2 lbs. (2 large) yellow summer squash

salt & pepper

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup white sauce, medium thickness seasoned to taste

1/2 cup American cheese, grated

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup buttered bread crumbs

2 Tb. parmesan cheese

Wash and cube the squash.  Cool with the onion until tender in a little boiling salted water.  Drain thoroughly and combine with the white sauce, American cheese and eggs.  Turn into a greased baking dish, sprinkle with the buttered crumbs and the parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until browned.  Serves 4 - 6

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Desserts in a Dash

Dessert is a sweet treat after any meal.

But sometimes you may not have time to prepare anything ahead. Try these fast & easy ideas to top off any meal.

Tickle your tastebuds with some fresh fruit combinations..

strawberries

Twirl strawberries, sliced kiwifruit, and mandarin orange segments in microwavable dipping chocolate.  I find mine in the produce section, but yours may be in the baking aisle or near the ice cream toppings.

For a pretty parfait, layer fresh blueberries, strawberries, bananas or peach slices with instant white chocolate, cheesecake, or vanilla pudding and serve with vanilla wafers.  You may also add a layer of granola for crunch and eye appeal.

Doesn't a caramel apple yogurt parfait sound yummy? And it's healthy too - put some yogurt in the bottom of a parfait glass, add some chopped apple, more yogurt, then top with some fat free caramel ice cream topping and pecans. MMM!

Or...When you have time, prepare cookie dough ahead and place tablespoonsful on baking sheet. Freeze until solid, then transfer to freezer bags or containers. About 30-45 minutes before baking, place individual cookies on baking sheet and cover with waxed paper. Bake when thawed - then serve warm homemade cookies!

Yuuummm!! ME - COOKIE MONSTER!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Better Baker - August

Cancer.Too many of us are more familiar with it than we care to be,either directly or indirectly.

August 30,2008 was a life changing day for our family.Our then-three year old grandson,Caden, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.It was a shock to all of us.His mom had taken him to the dr. for another health issue and the dr. decided to run bloodwork.Caden was admitted to St. Vincent’s Children’s hospital in Toledo that afternoon and his first round of chemo began the next day.(Thank the good Lord for great doctors like Dr. Bell!)

There are so many good folks in the world,and the support systems that our son,Dave,and wife,Lyn,and family have encountered along the way,are worth bragging about.They play a huge role in helping Dave’s family maintain some sanity on this crazy ‘journey’ on life's road.

We learned early-on about the (free) caring bridge website.Caden has his own page--his parents can post pictures & updates.Subscribers can get an email every time there is new info which saves tireless hours of trying to communicate with friends and family.The address of his site is www.caringbridge.org/visit/cbaker.

A family from our area,who had just finished treatment for their own child with leukemia,visited Dave & Lyn in the hospital the first week Caden was there.Along with offering support and encouragement,they also told them about Angel Hugs.

Dave signed Caden up to be a member of that program at www.angelhugs.ca/ .These ‘angels’ have given much encouragement on many occasions.Volunteers send cards,packages,and gifts,just to bring smiles to many needy families going through this tumultuous time.

Another wonderful program is Chemo Angels.Two ‘angels’ are assigned to the patient,and send cards and care packages to keep spirits up.

One,who is an actress,sent Caden a Toy Story movie poster with a hand written note that reads "Howdy Caden!Much love,Tom Hanks".For his June birthday,Caden received a CD with his favorite cartoon character- Spongebob Squarepants-repeating Caden’s name,wishing him a happy day.What special RAINBOWS in the storms of life!

SuperSibs is a program for the siblings of the patient(www.SuperSibs.org/) that helps include them in the whole recovery process.Even though much attention is put on Caden,members of "SS" remind Caden's big sisters-Charlie,10 and Chloe,8-that they are still very important people too.The girls have received trophies for being such great supporters of their little brother,personalized pillow cases and books with the theme of being a sibling to someone who has a serious illness (happy endings of course).

The family has also received support from the county Cancer Assistance Agency.They provide assistance with medical bills,prescriptions,travel costs and have resources and referrals for many other places and people that individuals with cancer needs.

Two of Dave’s aunts,Carol and Vicki,outdid themselves last fall by holding a benefit for Caden.They are planning another at the end of Sept in Pioneer.What great blessings!

Last,but hardly least,our church-Hillsdale Baptist-has shown much support for Dave and family,not only financially,but have been a great encouragement with cards and prayers and gifts.They showered Caden with many gifts for his recent birthday,and included family members as well.

These words have been spoken by pastor Rick Warren and I think we can say we experience the truths expressed here..."At all times you have something good and something bad in your life.No matter how good things are,there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.And no matter how bad things are in your life,there is always something good you can thank God for."

At this point in time, Caden has had more spinal taps,chemo and bloodwork than you can imagine.He’s had a great summer,laughing and playing,and even learning to swim at home.He’s even grown a full head of hair again,but is getting ready to begin a stronger round of chemo,(hopefully his last)so may be bald again before long.He has physical therapy two times a week, and has a good prognosis-we’ve learned to take life one day at a time.After a year of aggressive treatment,we look forward to a slower pace-once-a-month treatment,for up to 3 years.We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for Caden and our family during these up and down days.

Caden’s picture was on the front page of the Toledo Blade last Thursday,August 13th,as he was being read to, while at the hospital for treatment.Another special and enjoyable ‘pit stop’ on this race called life.

Since it’s the time of year when many gardens are proliferating zucchini to enjoy,I wanted to share a favorite recipe.It was tough to choose which one,so I plan to share another next month.

ZUCCHINI CASSEROLE

4 cups peeled, diced zucchini

1 grated carrot

1 grated onion

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup sour cream

1 box stove top stuffing

salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Boil zucchini in salted water for 4 minutes and drain.Add remaining ingredients and mix together in large bowl.Place in greased 8" X 8" casserole dish.Top with 1 cup crushed corn flakes mixed with 1/4 cup melted margarine or butter.Bake 45 minutes uncovered.

For variety,use your favorite zucchini bread recipe,and substitute ½ cup of baking cocoa to replace an equal amount of flour,and enjoy chocolate zucchini bread.

Quote for the Day:We make a living by what we get.We make a life by what we give.-Winston Churchill

Friday, August 14, 2009

MMM! - Dips for fruit

It's always fun to have dips made up for an easy snack - for the summer, for a getaway, for company. Hope you enjoy!!

credit: heydrienne

CREAMY FRUIT DIP


1 8-oz. pkg. reduced fat cream cheese
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup (8 oz) reduced-fat sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup cold 2% milk
1 pkg. (3.4 ozs) instant vanilla pudding mix
(can use sugar free if desired)
Assorted fresh fruit


In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth.  Beat in the sour cream, extracts and cinnamon until smooth. Add milk; mix well.    Add pudding mix; beat on low speed for 2 minutes.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Serve with fruit.

EASY FRUIT DIP


1 - 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 small container marsh(a)mallow cream
Blend well - use as fruit dip or dressing for fruit salad.  MMM!
(I once worked in the kitchen at a preschool - when I had to type up the new inventory list, I automatically typed my name when typing the word marshAmallows, and I'll always remember that!)


credit: ^riza^

CHEESECAKE DIP


8 oz cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sour cream
6 Tbsp powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 qt fresh strawberries
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs


In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add the sour cream, sugar, milk and extract; mix until smooth.  Transfer to a serving bowl.  Place the strawberries and crumbs in separate serving bowls.  Dip strawberries into cheesecake mixture, then into crumbs.  Makes about 2 cups.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sugar Free - Just for the Birthday Boy

Today is my dear hubby's 62nd birthday.  He is a proud veteran of the Vietnam War and served 20 years in the military.  He is 100% disabled - including being diabetic - from the effects of Agent Orange.

He is my man of 'steel and velvet', and I'm so thankful God lets me be his wife.

I want to honor him today by sharing our favorite sugar free dessert....and his birthday cake.  Do hope you'll try it.  I have often served it to company, and they have no clue it isn't sugarFULL.

I've made this so many times, I have the recipe memorized.

CREAM PUFF CAKE


1 stick margarine
1 cup water
1 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs
1 - 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 small pkgs. sugar free instant vanilla pudding (we prefer french vanilla)
3-1/2 cups milk
1 8oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
sugar free chocolate syrup, optional

Preheat oven to 400. In medium saucepan, place margarine and water - bring to a boil.  Stir in 1 cup of flour - I use a wooden spoon - until it makes a ball. Cool 2 minutes, then stir in eggs - by hand - mixing well after each addition. Spread in ungreased 9" X 13" X 2" baking dish. Bake 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely. Blend cream cheese, then add milk and instant pudding mix; beat until smooth.  Pour over base, then top with whipped topping. Serve with a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Want an excuse for a Lazy Day?

[caption id="attachment_563" align="aligncenter" width="420" caption="You deserve a break today! "]You deserve a break today! [/caption]

Friday, August 7, 2009

Favorite Desserts using Crescent Rolls

I love crescent rolls from the can.  

Using them in any recipe is always a sure-fire way to end up with a delicious dish.

[caption id="attachment_474" align="aligncenter" width="275" caption="credit: Neeta Lind"]credit: Neeta Lind[/caption]

Did you know that Pillsbury has come up with a crescent roll 'sheet'? There aren't any seams so they are time-saving for some recipes.  I thought that was one terrific idea! Of course, there are times when you want to have the 'seams'...

Wanted to share these yummy recipes, for starters...and will add more again later. Do hope you'll try these as they are real winners in my book. (And will find their way to my cookbook one day too.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fun Make-It-Yourself Playdoh Recipes

 playdohHOMEMADE PLAYDOH

1 cup regular (all purpose) flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup water, boiling
1 T. oil
few drops of food coloring of choice

Mix flour, salt and cream of tartar together in glass bowl. Mix water, oil and food coloring, then add to dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until well blended.  Let cool, store in Ziploc bags.

This can be mixed and cooked over stovetop too - I just think it's easier to add the boiling water instead.

Peanut Butter Playdoh

2 parts creamy peanut butter (ex; 1 cup)
2 parts powdered sugar (ex: 1 cup)
1 part honey (ex: 1/2 cup)

Mix with mixer or dough hook - add more honey or powdered sugar, a little at a time, to get the right consistency.

Makes sure hands and utensils are clean, then roll out the dough,
and use like playdoh. They can enjoy eating the snack when
they're done playing with it. (It's very rich - they won't eat much of it)