Friday, October 24, 2014

What do you think?

I have a lazy susan  in the corner of my kitchen in NY. I love it and it holds all my spices and extracts. 

Saw this on reddit and I like the idea of drawers. Think they are pretty unique, plus you might be able to place an item with a slightly wider diameter in there. Overall same space occupied might not be the same as the lazy susan.

The only issue I have with the lazy susan is if something falls in the back it's difficult to get it.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pastor Ryan’s Cajun Meatloaf

There's a meatloaf recipe waiting in my drafts to be posted on the blog. I saw this recipe and wanted to post it and also add my humble opinion on something.

On a recipe board a comment was made that pioneer woman's meatloaf was terrible. I pinned the recipe before I saw the comment and  to tell you the truth, it made me want to make the meatloaf.

You can put quite a few cooks in a room and give them the same recipe and that recipe will taste different from each person. Does that make the recipe a bad recipe? Not IMHO it doesn't!

There are manners. If you don't like the recipe, don't make it again! Why go on and slam it when someone else may love it?

We loved this meatloaf.  I would make it for company, it's that's good. 

I don't go over to Pioneer Woman much but Pastor Ryan's Cajun Meatloaf will have me checking out more recipes on her site.


3 whole bell peppers ( used 2 peppers)
2 whole medium onions
5-6 ribs of celery 
8 minced cloves of garlic
6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon worcestershire
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
A few drops of hot sauce ( suppose to be optional but I added 3- 4 drops) 
2 cups ketchup, divided
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup (to 2 Cups) breadcrumbs( used panko)
2 pounds lean ground beef (92% Lean)
1 pound ground pork
3 whole eggs
2 tablespoons honey


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Chop or add the vegetables to the food processor  (peppers, onions, celery) into a small dice pieces and mince the garlic. Over medium-high heat, melt 6 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan. Once butter begins to start browning, add the diced vegetables and garlic. Add about 1 teaspoon salt.

When they have cooked a few minutes add 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon nutmeg and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper. If you like it hot, add a couple shakes of your favorite hot sauce. Next add about ½ cup of ketchup. Continue cooking and stirring for a few more minutes. Remove from heat.

 Cool the vegetable mixture for a couple of minutes, add about ½ cup of milk. Stir until combined. Next add about 1 cup of the breadcrumbs. Continue adding breadcrumbs and stirring until mixture is a nice, thick paste.

In a large mixing bowl place the ground beef and pork. Whisk 3 eggs in another bowl and add to the meat. After allowing the breadcrumb vegetable mixture to cool down a bit, begin adding it into the meat. Keep working all of the Cajun-Vegetable mix into the meat until all is blended well.

Spray a sheet pan with some non-stick cooking spray, I added a sheet of aluminium foil to the pan. Next, using your hands, form your meat mixture into a loaf on the sheet pan. Make the loaf around 6-8 inches wide and about 1 ½ inches thick.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together ¾ cup of ketchup with about 2 tablespoons honey. Slather this sauce over the whole meatloaf.

Place in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Maple Brown Sugar Cookie

I am very lucky this week to have Carol back as my guest poster.  She is an excellent cook and baker and has posted the Blueberry Cheesecake Twists and Banana Nut Twists. Thanks so much Carol. It's always a treat to have you grace the blog with your fantastic photo and recipe.

Linda and I are both crazy about cookie baking. I can't tell you how many times we've chatted it up about cookie recipes.  They're one of my favorite things to bake-along with bread.

I love making cookies from scratch, but every once in a while I don't mind taking help from the store to make a cookie recipe that goes together quickly. A cake mix is a great base for cookies-I use them for that rather than making cakes.

I'm always on the lookout for the limited edition flavors some of the cake mix manufacturers come out with during the year.  Fall always brings the wonderful flavors of pumpkin and apple cake mixes to the store shelves.  This year a few new flavors were added to the autumn limited edition collection by Pillsbury.  I was at Target a few weeks ago and spotted Maple Brown Sugar cake mix. Boy did that sound good...and my thoughts immediately went to cookies.

We were going to Robin's one day on Bob's vacation to visit and I always like taking my 2 grandsons, Stephen and Nicholas, a container of cookies or something to have after school and to pack in their lunches for a treat. I had been cooking all afternoon, making applesauce and homemade soup so a quick cookie recipe was in order.  Why not try this new cake mix out?  Decision made....time to create!

As I'm sure you all know, the 3 main cake mix companies have all downsized their mixes by 1 3/4-3 ounces.  MADDENING!!  I found an upsizer mix recipe that I make up and keep in a Mason jar in my baking cabinet.  I use my digital kitchen scale to weigh the appropriate amount of upsizer to add to the dry cake mix to give me the 18.25 ounces of dry mix that the cake mixes used to be.  The extra 3 ounces I add to the 15.25 ounce cake mixes gives me exactly 2 dozen cookies....just like the old size cake mixes used to...and allows me to use my old stand-by recipes.

I prefer using melted butter rather than vegetable oil in basic cake mix cookies....I like the richness in flavor it adds.  To bump up the flavor in these cookies, I decided to add 1 teaspoon of maple extract and 1 teaspoon of Watkins Vanilla Nut extract (found at Super Walmart in the baking aisle). If you don't have Vanilla nut extract, regular vanilla extract will work just fine.

I prefer baking these on parchment paper, but they can go directly onto an ungreased cookie sheet if you prefer.  When I use parchment paper on cookie sheets, I give the 4 corners of the cookie sheet a iight spritz of nonstick cooking spray, then lay the parchment paper down, making sure the 4 corners adhere.  That saves a disaster when rotating cookie sheets in the oven or removing the pans and having the parchment paper slide off the cookie sheet and onto the oven door......yeah, ask me how I know THAT?  Ugh......

In no time at all, I had 2 dozen amazingly delicious cookies.  They're soft and chewy with the perfect hint of maple and brown sugar.  The boys loved them....Bob loved them....I loved them...who could ask for more than that?

I'm heading back to Target this week to grab a few more of the cake mixes before they disappear off the store shelves.  I've learned the hard way to stock up when I see them-they don't last in the stores for long. I put the mixes in resealable freezer bags and into the freezer they go. That way I can grab one when I want a quick-to-bake treat.

If you love maple and brown sugar-do yourselves a favor, head over to your local Target and grab a few boxes of this cake mix....these cookies are wonderful!

Thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog, Linda. I'll meet you in the kitchen~let's make some cookies! :)



1 (15.25 oz.) pkg. Pillsbury Maple Brown Sugar cake mix (found @ Target)
3 oz. Cake Mix Upsizer-about 8 level measuring tablespoons plus 1 level measuring teaspoon-weighing the mix is more accurate (see recipe for upsizer below)
1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla-nut OR pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. maple extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Use ungreased baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.  Set the pans aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry cake mix and the cake mix upsizer until well mixed.

Stir in the melted butter, eggs, vanilla and maple extracts until the dough is well mixed.  The dough will be stiff.

Roll the dough into 24 balls.  Place them on the prepared baking pans.  Flatten each dough ball slightly.

Bake @ 350 degrees for 9-12 minutes or until the cookies are set and very light brown around the edges.

I slide the parchment paper off the baking sheets and onto wire racks and allow the cookies to cool on the paper.  You can also remove the cookies after they've sat for 3-5 minutes to wire racks to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.  Makes 2 dozen. 

(Source: Jill Cataldo-post found HERE-adapted from the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book white and yellow cake recipes)

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Whisk all dry ingredients together and store in a clean mason jar. Always be sure to stir or whisk the mixture before weighing, or measuring it to add to a dry cake mix.

I use this upsizer with the downsized cake mixes in any cake mix cookie recipe calling for an 18.25 ounce cake mix.

FOR BETTY CROCKER AND PILLSBURY CAKE MIXES AND ANY OTHER BRANDS THAT WEIGH 15.25 OUNCES.: Use 3 ounces of mix weighed on a kitchen scale OR  8 level Tablespoons plus 1 level measuring teaspoon of cake mix upsizer.

FOR DUNCAN HINES CAKE MIXES AND ANY OTHER BRANDS THAT WEIGH 16.5 OUNCES.: Use 1.75 ounces weighed on a kitchen scale OR 5 level Tablespoons of cake mix upsizer.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

MM 117 Weeks

            Some kids at the lake wanted to give Max a belly rub.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Brazilian Kids Learn English by Talking to Lonely Chicago Seniors

Sunday is video day and so far I've shared some good ones with you. This isn't a you- tube video but just click and enjoy.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Low Fat Granola Bars with Bananas, Cranberries & Pecans

I had a few banana's and this recipe from tasty kitchen has been in "to make " folder. Pecans were in the fridge and I had plenty of cranberries. Perfect time to make it.

It's not sweet and when I make it again I'll add some honey it.


3-1/2 cups oats ( used quick oats)
3/4 cups roughly chopped pecans
3 whole large ripe bananas
⅔ cups unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cups dried cranberries
2 Tablespoons ground flax seed ( used flax meal)
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon (used vietnamese cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoons Freshly-ground Nutmeg ( used jar nutmeg)

1/2 teaspoons Salt ( didn't add)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Place the oats and the pecan on a baking sheet. Sort of "toast" them in the oven until they are browned. Make sure you stir occasionally to make sure all the oats and pecans are '' toasted''. This takes about 10 minutes.

While the oats and pecans are toasting line a 9 x 13 baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mash the banana with a folk in a medium size bowl and stir in the applesauce until well combined.

When the oats and pecans are toasted and cooled add to a large bowl and add the cranberries, flax meal, cinnamon,nutmeg and salt if you are adding the salt. Mix well.

Stir the banana mixture into the oat mixture and mix until everything is combined.

Spread the mixture on to the baking sheet with the parchment paper and press down so the bars will be even.

Bake the bars until golden brown which should take 30 minutes.

Let the pan cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes and then lift the bars off the pan holding onto the parchment paper.

Serve or store in a airtight container.

Friday, October 17, 2014

117 Years Ago

                                       This photo was taken

F.Holland Day took this picture. It's influential in photography because he was the first advocate of considering photography a fine art in the USA.

 F. Holland Day were called pictorialists, who believed that photography should be like painting if it was going to be accepted as art.

The above photo reminds me of of  this girl from National Geographic. 

The actual photo that was the first to be actually considered the first "modern" photograph, it's called "The Steerage" by Alfred Stiglitz. The Steerage was taken by Stieglitz, only because of the hat. He said that he saw the hat, and went to get his camera, hoping the man would still be there. Luckily, he was. Only later was the symbolism of the lower and upper classes so clearly and perfectly delineated, and modern photography was born.