Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fresh Cranberry Mousse

Here is a delicious cranberry dish that has fresh cranberries, not the canned jelly kind. My sister discovered it about 15 years ago, and we have been making it every year since. It is a great dish for Thanksgiving, but also a wonderful addition to the holiday dinners that fall somewhere in December. Not only is it delicious, it is easy too!

Cranberry Mousse

12 oz. fresh cranberries - sorted and rinsed
1 sm. 8 oz. can of crushed* pineapple - drained
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar**
4-6 oz. of Cool Whip*** - thawed

Grind cranberries coarsely in a food grinder. Combine in a bowl with drained pineapple. Blend cream cheese and sugar with a mixer. Fold Cool Whip in by hand. Add to cranberry and pineapple mixture. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Refrigerate for at least an hour, but longer if possible to let it set.

*if you can't get crushed pineapple, get the tidbits or chunks and grind them coarsly like the cranberries.
** I can't promise good results if any other type of sugar is used.
***the original recipe calls for 8oz. of Cool Whip, but from my experience, it makes the mousse too soupy.
I hope you try this recipe and make it a part of your holiday celebrations just as I have!
I'm posting over at...


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Time To Get Your Ghoul On...

Over at PicMonkey. I couldn't help but play around with the Halloween editing tools to turn one of my selfies into a ghoul. Below is a gif showing the transformation, and I did it all in the PicMonkey editing program. I am a combination of a zombie, vampire, witch, and demon. It is great fun, you should give it a try!

You don't even have to start with a great photo because there are a lot of regular tools in PicMonkey to fix it up, but hey we're turning them into ghouls, so who cares : ) My eyes are squinty because I'm a but tipsy in the picture. I hate taking selfies, so the only time I will let down my guard is when I've had a few is a big joke with my friends over on flickr.

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Glorious Morning

For this week's Texture Tuesday Anything Goes eDition I decided to post some pictures I edited with the Rad Lab editing program. I was introduced to the program by one of Kim's posts and really enjoyed using it on the photos I took of the fog and light in the redwoods. I used various Rad Lab stylets on these photos to give the fog and light an ethereal/surreal look and feel.

There were lots of spider webs throughout the redwoods. Luckily they were made visible by the fog.


It was absolutely exhilarating, and somewhat of a holy moment to witness this light show.

Each photo has different stylets used on them to achieve the warm soft effects, along with various cloning or straightening done in PicMonkey.
It's time to get posting to see what everyone else is up to over at...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Amazing Mango Salsa

I wasn't going to post a recipe today, but when I started cutting up this mango to make mango salsa, I couldn't resist taking a photo of the starburst cuts in it. Then after tasting the salsa, I just had to share the recipe.
Martha Stewart showed this technique for cutting mangos on one of her shows, and I have cut mine like that ever since. Here is a video to show you a few ways to cut a mango:

The secret to making a great mango salsa is having a fresh, sweet mango that is firm, yet ripe. 

Fresh Mango Salsa

1 large ripe Mango, diced
1/2 cup diced Pineapple or small can of crushed (drained)
6-7 stems of Cilantro chopped (leaves only)
2 green onions chopped
1/2 chopped Jalepeno Pepper (adds some seeds for a bit of a pop)
1/4 cup diced Sweet Peppers (Red or Orange, see photo above)
1 Garlic clove finely chopped or 1/2 teas. Garlic in the refrigerated tube
juice of 1/2 fresh Lime
2 Tbl. of Olive Oil
salt or pepper to taste (I don't use it though :)

After chopping and dicing all the ingredients, combine them in a bowl. Squeeze the lime over the chopped ingredients and then add the olive oil. Stir thoroughly to combine the flavors. If you can, allow the ingredients to mingle for 1/2 hour before eating. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips. Serves 4 as an appetizer with other food.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can use it simply as a guideline, and add more or less of an ingredient to suit your taste.

If you try this recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do : )

Time to get posting over at...


Monday, July 30, 2012

Moist, Dense, and Delicious...

describes the carrot cake that I am sharing today. I can't take credit for this easy and delicious recipe because I found it on the back of Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour bag. When I read the recipe it looked easy enough, so I gave it a try and have been making it for the past year whenever I want a quick and simple desert. If you can grate a few carrots and chop some walnuts, you can make this easy recipe. I usually make the cake and not the frosting, but I thought I would give the frosting a try so I could taste it to see if the recipe was good enough to post, and it is : )

Here is the recipe from the back of the pastry flour bag, and the credit that was given to the woman who created the recipe...

Carrot Cake
This uncommonly moist and flavorful Carrot Cake recipe was the "Grand Prize winner" in a recent Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods Baking Contest. Thanks to Nola Silver of Seattle, Washington for her baking skill and recipe.

1/2  cup Brown Sugar                         2 Eggs
1/2 cup White Sugar                           1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Canola Oil                              1tsp Cinnamon

Mix all ingredients well. Add the following:

1 cup Bob's Red Mill                           1/4 cup Chopped Walnuts
          Whole Wheat Pastry Flour         8 ounces Crushed Pineapple, Drained
1 cup Grated Carrots                            3/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder

Mix. Bake at 350 degrees F. in a greased 8"x8" or 9"x9" pan until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. About 50 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting 

3 Tbsp Cream Cheese, softened*               1/2 tsp Vanilla
3 Tbsp Margarine, softened**                      Powdered Sugar, 1/4 to 1/3 cup***

Using a wooden spoon, whip the cream cheese, margarine and vanilla until smooth. Sift in the powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp at a time, and stir until a creamy smooth frosting is achieved.

*I just used 2 oz. as it was easier to measure.
**I used butter instead of margarine.
***I used 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.

And that was that! I must go finish off that piece of cake I used for these photos.

I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it as much as I do!

Time to get posting over at...


Monday, July 23, 2012

Sloppy Joe Sliders

I love scouring food blogs for recipes that are familiar, and made from scratch. I am on a mission to cook and eat healthier by ridding my kitchen of processed foods. I know I can't possibly get rid of all processed foods, as I love condiments and cheeses, but I am working on replacing boxed and canned foods with homemade versions I make from scratch.

When I post or recommend a recipe, I like to make it more than once to be sure that the flavor and texture is consistent. Too many times I've read posts where the commenters got different results when they tried out the same recipe. I also like to make sure it is a recipe that I would try more than once simply because I like it and want to incorporate it into my cooking routine. Today's recipes are ones that I will continue to make, and share with family and friends.

Here's how to make a delicous sloppy joe slider...

Today's sloppy joe recipe came from a blog I discovered last month, The Pioneer Woman. I not only enjoy her recipes, I really enjoy reading her humorous posts.

The rolls for the sloppy joe sliders came from another blog I discovered last month, For The Love of Cooking. I enjoy reading through her recipes as they are simple to make, and taste delicious.

To see and print the recipes from today's post, go here for the sloppy joe recipe, and here for the whole wheat rolls recipe. I thought it would be easier to just send you to their sites as they have a print button and I haven't figured out how to install one yet, and perhaps you will look around and find some wonderful recipes from their blogs to try : )

Although I am a grown woman, I have to admit that I still love sloppy joe. I like to make a big batch and take it for my lunch during the week, and freeze some for when I want a quick snack or perhaps dinner. Unfortunately, my recipe uses a can of that manly sloppy joe mix, but I also doctored it up with ketchup, bbq sauce, green pepper, and onion. Not only did I like my recipe, but many people have asked me for it and used it on special occasions. I even sold it at the specialty meat market and deli I used to work at before I moved to California. So I especially like The Pioneer Woman's sloppy joe recipe because it tastes just like my recipe, only it doesn't have the can of processed sloppy joe mix, or the processed bbq sauce. It does use ketchup, but I got over my guilt by buying organic ketchup ; )

Gotta have pickles with my sloppy joe!

I was so excited when I found the whole wheat roll recipe as I was feeling a bit guilty for using white bread flour in the new Mom's Dinner Rolls recipe I blogged about last week. This whole wheat roll recipe has all the same ingredients as the Mom's Dinner Rolls recipe except that you exchange 1 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour for 1 1/4 cups of the white bread flour. Also, the whole wheat roll recipe insists that you not use plastic wrap to cover the rolls while they rise. I have to admit that I covered them with plastic wrap and was ready to let them rise, but then I quickly replaced it with a towel because I had put to much time into making them to take a chance at ruining them. See...

If you print the recipe for the whole wheat rolls, be sure to write the baking temperature which is 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. It was included in the blog post, but forgotten on the printable recipe.

While making the sloppy joe, I cut the recipe in half. I used 1/2 Tbls. worchestershire sauce, and the tomato paste that was an optional ingredient. I didn't use the butter or hot sauce though.

If you decide to try these delicious recipes, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do : )

O.K., I'm off to post over at...


Sunday, July 15, 2012

In Knead of Dough...

This past year I have been thinking back to my childhood and remembering the wonderful rolls my mother used to make. Mom never told us when she was going to make rolls or bread, we would just come home from school to find the dining room table filled with her wonderful rolls and loaves of bread. It was usually the first warm, sunny day in April. She would have soft butter and homemade strawberry jam waiting for us to slather on the rolls. All this left me and my siblings sighing as though we had gone to heaven.

My Mother was from Kentucky, and was a great Southern cook. I learned to cook a lot of recipes from my mom by hanging out in the kitchen when I was growing up, but one thing I never learned to make was my mother's rolls. The reason for this is because my mother only made bread dough when I was at school. Maybe she thought rising dough was too delicate a matter, and didn't want kids underfoot. Really, I am not sure and I never seriously thought about it until recently. I think perhaps this has something to do with my fear of baking with yeast, I was never instructed how to do it properly.

In my quest to to replicate that wonderful flavor, I've tried to use frozen dough, and even bought a bread machine, but they both were lacking that homemade taste and texture. Along with the yeasty flavor, my mother's rolls and bread had more of a yellow color and a salty taste, which was lacking in the white breads I've tasted.

As luck would have it, a few weeks ago I came across a recipe for "Mom's Rolls" while browsing For the Love of Cooking blog. I wondered if these rolls could be similar to the rolls my mother made. After reading the recipe, I wasted no time trying it out.

What I like most about the recipe is that it is made in the bread machine using the dough cycle, then allowed to rise on a cookie sheet, and finally is baked in the oven. I knew I could do that, so here is my "Mom's Roll" success story...

My first try : )

Mom's Dinner Rolls
Adapted from: For the Love of Cooking

  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp of butter, softened
  • 1 egg (hold under warm water before breaking it)
  • 3 1/4 cup of bread flour
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp regular active dry yeast

  • Place all dough ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed. Select the dough cycle and press start. Once the bread machine stops (it was one and a half hours on my machine).

    (I added this step from my bread machine directions as the dough was too sticky coming out of the breadmachine.)
    Lightly sprinkle all-purpose flour onto a pastry mat or board. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, remove dough from the bread pan and place on lightly floured surface. Knead by hand 2-3 times* to release the air.

    Grease a cookie sheet. Divide dough into 15 pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Brush with butter** then cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place 30 to 40 minutes or until doubled in size.

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

    * For more of a bread-like texture to use as buns, knead for about a minute to get the air out of the dough.
    ** I sprayed the 2nd and 3rd batch I made with cooking spray before rising, and brushed with butter right after they came out of the oven.

    This is my try at this recipe and the stages just before they go in the oven
    This is the first batch of rolls I made. In the left picture the rolls have dimples because I had to pop the big air bubbles that formed when I didn't knead the dough. For the 2nd and 3rd batch I made, I kneaded the dough as stated above and didn't have that problem.

    Well if you are wondering if these rolls are just like my mom's, not exactly, but I love them anyway. These rolls are really delicious and make a nice all-purpose roll. I use them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They don't have preservatives, so toasting or grilling them after a few days keeps 'ems soft when making a sandwich. These rolls can be frozen and taken out before needed to keep them fresh for a longer period of time. They also make great mini panini sandwiches when they are a day or two old.

    I hope this recipe inspires those of you who have a bread machine gathering dust on a shelf.  Give this recipe a try, you won't regret it...really!

    I'm hooking up with these sites to see what other delicious recipes I can find...


    Mrs. Happy Homemaker~Making You Crave Monday

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Texture Tuesday~Natural eDition

    Natural Happiness

    When I see these bright yellow gerber daisies, I can't help but feel happiness, so naturally I had to use them for the theme this week at Texture Tuesday .

    Kim Klassen Textures Used:
    1st photo: Zen Thing, Happy Heart
    2nd photo: Zen Thing, Cool Grunge (Reversed)
    3rd photo: Zen Thing, Cool Grunge (Reversed)

    Time to get posting over at...


    Monday, July 2, 2012

    What to do when life gives you lemons?

    Make lemon curd of course!
    As part of my quest to find healthy and delicious recipes, and to rid my kitchen of processed food, I've decided to post one recipe a week that has no processed food and is made with organic ingredients when ever possible. My first recipe is lemon curd.

    Last week my sister shared her bumper crop of lemons with me, and I decided to make some lemon curd. I had never made it before, so I searched the internet for recipes and came up with this one. I liked that all the ingredients were mixed at the beginning, and that the egg wasn't added after it was heated. For the most part, I used a recipe from as a guide, and here is what I came up with.

    Fresh Lemon Curd

    3 eggs + 1 yolk (i took all the white squiggly things off the yolks)
    1 cup of sugar
    1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (4 med. size lemons)
    1 TBL grated lemon peel
    1/4 cup of butter, melted

    1. In a heatproof bowl use a whisk to beat the eggs until the whites and yolks are combined.
    2. Add the sugar and combine with the eggs.
    3. Add the lemon juice, zest, & butter and combine with the egg and sugar mixture.
    4. After all the ingredients are thoroughly combined, sit the bowl over a pan* of gently simmering water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.
    5. Continue to stir with a whisk for 15 minutes. The lemon curd will start to thicken around 5 mins. into the cooking, but I cooked it the entire 15 mins. because of the raw eggs.
    6. Remove the lemon curd from the heat and set aside to cool, stirring occasionally to keep a skin from forming over the top.
    7. Once cooled, spoon the lemon curd into containers and refrigerate until ready to use.

    Step 1 photo:
    Oops, there is no lemon zest here, it is my second batch and the lemon skins were too soft to get the zest from them,
    so I did without. It didn't have as tart a flavor as the first batch did. I preferred the zest : )

    Step 4 photo:

    Step 5 photo:
    It is starting to coat the sides of the bowl and is getting air bubbles.

    Step 7 photo:
    This recipe made three 4 ounce containers and a wee bit left over for me to enjoy : )
     This is my second batch and I still have some in refrigerator from the first,
    so I put it in plastic containers to see how it holds up in the freezer. I'll update if it works out.

    P.S. I made thumbprint cookies to fill with the lemon curd. They were delicious, but they were too rich to pair with the richness of the lemon curd. Eventhough they were tasty, I wouldn't pair them up again, that is why I didn't include the recipe.

    *This is what I used to cook my lemon curd. It is a makeshift double boiler, but it got the job done.
    Test to be sure that the bowl doesn't touch the water. Do this by adding 1/2 inch of water to the pan and setting the bowl in it.
    Check the bottom of the bowl to see if it is wet. If it is wet, the bowl is sitting too low so you will need a wider bowl.

    I really enjoyed making this recipe, and the delicious lemon curd that it made, I hope you will too!

    These are my favorite photos this week, so I'm hooking up with Texture Tuesday...this Tuesday is the first Tuesday of the month which means it's 'Not Necessarily Texture Tuesday'! Basically this allows you to link up any fav photo you like... textured or not, processed or not... anything goes.... Just share your most recent fav photo with the TT community.

    I can't wait to see what everyone else has come up with!


    I'm also linking up with...

    Food Photography Challenge

    Creations by Kara