Thursday, May 28, 2009

Light and Lovely Lemon Dressing

More and more I find that I just don't really like the salad dressings from the store, they are too heavy and intense for me. So when we have mixed greens I like to make my own concoction to go with them. This is one of my favorites. Basically it's just:

1/3 c. olive oil
1/4 c. lemon juice
several spoonfuls of sugar till it's sweet enough for you
dash salt and pepper
Put ingredients in a jar, put the lid on and shake vigorously.

You can adjust the amount to however much you want to make. Nice to put on your salad greens from the garden. Add some fresh grated parmesan for extra taste.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cheesy Feet

Too lazy to go to the park? "The easiest child care option is keeping your children in the kitchen."

I liked this interview I heard on NPR, about why you should have your children in the kitchen with you,
and a fun recipe to try with them.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Perfect Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves, carefully washed & well dried

1-2 cloves garlic (depending on size) or more if you wanted

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 ¼ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup pine nuts

In a blender, process olive oil, garlic, and basil leaves until smooth. Add cheese and ½ of the pine nuts until combined. Stir in remaining ½ of the pine nuts. I like to leave it a little lumpy so that the cheese and pine nuts give it texture. It is yummy over pasta, on toast rounds, or with any recipe calling for pesto. Delicious!

The Dump Truck Cake!

So here is the cake I did for chub-a-bub's first birthday. Not like he cared what it was, but I wanted to see if I could make a dump truck cake- it was so fun to do, and really not that hard. You don't have to be a super-duper cake decorator to do this cake. It's based on  a cake I found
on the woman's day web site, with a few changes. It would be easy to modify this into a fire truck, army truck, school bus, any type of truck really.

The cake is baked in two bread loaf pans, with one cut one in half for the front and the cab. I trimmed the cab about an inch to make it shorter, then beveled the front 
for a slanted windshield.

The cake is mounted on a foil-covered piece of styrofoam with a bunch of toothpicks, to raise it off the surface a bit. That way it looks like the chocolate donut wheels are holding it up! The truck bed is made of graham crackers, sitting on stacked oreos to tilt it up. 

Finished product! I filled the bed with oreo dirt I made in my food processor. (You can sprinkle this on your ice cream at the party.) And used brown sugar for more surrounding dirt.

      Rollo headlights and orange and yellow Spree cab lights.

This is what is looked like after a major collision with the birthday boy! (Actually after a while everybody just sort of grabbed a fork and started digging in to it.) Definitely funnest cake I have ever made!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Loving "The Room"

Okay, so I was invited to contribute to this blog a while back. I kept procrastinating and never posted any yummy recipes because I never got photos of them. Lame excuse, I know.

I have to say, though, that I've LOVED reading the recipes and can think of ten things I'd like to make right now from the blog!

So I guess I'm just letting you know that I love "The Room" and I'm determined to add my own delish dishes to the list soon enough...with or without photos. That's all! :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls (or regular rolls, if you wish)

This is a recipe I (Mark) got from my mom. I've had to fiddle with it until it works in my hands. Hopefully, this will work for some of you. 

1.  Warm 2 cups milk and 1/4 cup butter in the microwave (about 1.5 min on high, or until warm: you want to get the dough to temperature to help the yeast rise).

2. In a small cup, mix 1.5 Tbsp of yeast, 1 Tbsp sugar, and 1/4 cup warm water. Let it stand at room temperature for ~5 min.

3. Pour the milk and butter into a KitchenAid. (Sorry if you don't have one. I have no idea how to do this without.) Add the following
1/2 Tbsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
~3 cups flour (Bread flour seems to work better than all-purpose flour; the rolls are fluffier, presumably due to the higher content of gluten, and the increased elasticity of the dough).

Beat until mixed well with the paddle attachment.

4. Add the yeast mixture, and mix well.

5. Switch to the dough hook attachment, and add another 2 cups of flour. (You may need more flour. Add slowly until the dough no longer sticks to the side, and instead is clumped in a ball on the hook).

6. Put in an oiled bowl and let rise for 1 h. (I just let it rise in the KitchenAid bowl). I usually warm up the oven to where it feels like ~95ºF (or how your car feels on a Spring afternoon), and let the dough rise there. The dough will double in volume.

7. Here is where the cinnamon and regular roll recipes diverge.
FOR CINNAMON ROLLS: Put the dough on a floured surface, and make two equally sized balls. For each ball, roll out to make a roughly 8x10 square. You'll notice, especially if you use bread flour, that the dough is super-rubbery, and you'll have to stretch it somewhat. 
     Take 2 Tbsp of softened butter, and spread it over the surface. 
Then add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and spread that over the butter. 
Last spread 1/3 cup of raisins.
Roll the dough using the long edge (so you end up with a 10 inch log).
Using dental floss, slice through the log one inch apart. (If you had two logs, you will end up with ~20 cinnamon rolls).
Place on a cookie tray that has been sprayed with Pam, about 1/2-3/4 inches apart (depending on how dense or fluffy you want your rolls), and let rise for another hour.

FOR REGULAR ROLLS: As above, split the dough in two. I like to roll it out pretty well to get rid of the air bubbles and give me a uniform consistency. Slice off a big or small chunk, depending on how big you want your roll to be (I like to get about 12 rolls per ball of dough; or 24 rolls in all). 
Using extra flour, work the dough in your hands using your thumbs to work the dough down-wards while your index and middle fingers work the dough up-wards to make a nice ball. 
Place the dough on a cookie tray, spaced an inch or two apart, and let rise for an hour.

8. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350ºF. 

9. Just before putting the regular rolls in the oven, you may want to brush the tops with melted butter, so they look shiny.

9. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the rolls are light brown.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I know these aren't for the grill but they would go great for a dessert after a bbq dinner. We had these at our Relief Society Cooking group this week and they were absolutely to die for. They taste a lot better than I made it look ;)

Cheese Blintze w/ white bread

Cheese Blintzes

1 Loaf White bread (Grandma Sycamore's works the best so far).
4 Tbsp white sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 (8 oz) pkgs of cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 pint sour cream

1-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet (or any baking pan) generously with no-stick cooking spray.
2-Trim crusts from bread and use rolling pin to flatten the slices.
3-In small bowl combine sugar and cinnamon to make a mixture.
4-In large bowl, mix softened cream cheese, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Spread this mixture onto each slice of flattened bread. Roll each bread slice up. (Side note...if you want to split the preparation time up, you can stop here, cover with wrap and refrigerate it for a couple of hours) Roll the rolls in melted butter (works best if you don't skimp...this is not a low calorie food).Roll the Blintzes immediately in the sugar-cinnamon mixture and place single layer in the pan.
5-Bake for 10 minutes. Top with sour cream and strawberries and serve.

Cheese Blintzes w/ Fresh Fruit Salsa

2/3 cup diced peeled ripe mango
2/3 cup sliced strawberries
2/3 cup sliced bananas
3 tbsp mango chutney

1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
3 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 crepes
2 tsp butter, melted

1-Combine salsa ingredients, toss gently. Cover and Chill. (In our salsa everything was diced small. I think she said she put it through her food processor for a split second)
2-Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
3-To prepare blintzes, combine ricotta, sugar, and vanilla, stirring well. Spoon 2 Tbsp cheese mixture in center of each crepe.; fold sides and ends over. Place seam side down in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Brush butter over crepes. Bake for 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve salsa over crepes.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Individual Grilled Pizzas

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 package (1/4 ounce) quick-rise yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

3/4 cup warm water (120° to 130°)

1 tablespoon olive oil


1 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt

2 tablespoons unsalted sunflower kernels

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper


1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced

2 green onions, finely chopped

Coarsely ground pepper

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, yeast, salt and sugar. Add water and oil; mix just until a soft dough forms. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes. Cover and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the pesto ingredients. Cover and process until smooth, scraping sides often. Set aside.
Divide dough into fourths. Roll each portion into a 6-in. circle. Coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray before starting the grill. Prepare grill for indirect medium heat.
Grill dough over the direct heat area. Cover and cook for 1 minute or until puffed and golden. Turn; place over indirect heat. Spread pesto over crusts. Top with 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, onions, pepper, Parmesan and remaining mozzarella. Grill, covered, for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is lightly browned. Yield: 4 servings. (Individual prebaked Italian bread shells may be substituted for the homemade crust.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Perfect Pancakes

I just realized Andrea had asked for my pancake recipe so I will post it here, even though it has nothing to do with grilling.
Maggie, it would be fun if Scott posted a grilling tutorial for us- do you think he would?

(almost the same as the waffle recipe, actually.)

mix together:
1 1/4 c. flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. sugar

1 1/3 c. milk
1 egg
2 Tbs. oil

Whisk ingredients together till most the lumps are gone. Work with a little more flour if you like thick pancakes. This is pretty fast to whip up and so much better than any mix I've tried!

*Tip: Try making these pancakes with whole wheat flour. Then, after you pour each pancake on the griddle, place 5 thin banana slices on it before you flip it. You'll have super-yummy banana pancakes!

Yummy Kebabs

"I can't believe that I'm sharing a kebab with the most beautiful girl that I've ever seen with a kebab..." Extra Credit if you can name that tune!

I made these up a few weeks ago. They turned out really yummy.

3-4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can pineapple chunks
1 package cherry or grape tomatoes, whole
2 large bell peppers, any color, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1/2 bottle Russian salad dressing*
1/2 bottle Greek vinaigrette salad dressing*

Marinate everything together for three to four hours. Put on metal skewers (supposedly you can use bamboo skewers if you soak them in water beforehand. Mine always end up burning, anyway, so I invested in metal skewers) in an arrangement pleasing to the eye. Try to put tomatoes or peppers at the ends, as they'll grip the skewers the best and keep everything else from sliding off. This step actually ends up taking ten or fifteen minutes, so make sure to count on that in your prep time. Pour extra marinade over the skewers to make sure everything stays moist (I mean to do this before grilling, not during, since the marinade will probably have some salmonella). Grill skewers until the chicken is cooked.

*This is actually what I had lying around in my 'fridge. I'm sure other salad dressings would work, like Catalina and Italian or whatever. I do like the combination of an orange/red dressing and an oil-based dressing, though.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Off the grill...

My husband was just asked to teach a class on grilling for enrichment next month. I thoung this would be a great opportunity for a shout out for recipes. What's your favorite thing to grill in the summertime? I'd love some side dish recipes, too.... you know how demanding Relief Society ladies can be.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Really Ravishing Rhubarb Pie!

I could go on and on about how wonderful this great recipe for Rhubarb Pie is. It has a wonderful crusty topping made from brown sugar, and a sweet, almost lemony, creamy filling. Oh so heavenly! Here is the recipe if you happen to have some rhubarb around this spring or some tucked away in your freezer. It is a very quick pie to throw together, tastes best when it has cooled and set.


  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust in pie pan
  • 4 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Spread rhubarb in an even layer in the bottom of the crust.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, white sugar, sour cream and 1/3 cup of flour until smooth. Pour over the rhubarb.

In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of flour and brown sugar. Stir in melted butter until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the pie.

Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue to bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the edges have puffed, and the topping is golden and the pie is bubbling. The center may still be slightly jiggly. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

No Fail Pie Crust:

1/3 C. milk with 1 T. vinegar added (let curdle a few minutes while you mix everything else.)

2 C. flour with 1 C. shortening cut in. (mix with pastry cutter or two butter knives till it's course pea-sized crumbs. I use butter-flavor crisco, I think it tastes best.)

Dash salt.

Add just enough milk in order to form into a ball, gently. Watch the consistency as you add the milk- if you don't think you need that much moisture don't use every drop. Be careful not to handle it too much as you work with it or it will get tough. Divide dough in half, form two balls. Roll out on floured surface, (I use wax paper or a pastry cloth). In my experience, it's a very soft dough and won't really hold up for the transfer to the pan unless it is lifted with the wax paper or saran wrap. Refrigerating the dough does help. But the crust bakes up incredibly tender and flakey, just perfect!

Makes 2 crusts.

Freeze the other if you only need one, like for this pie.

If your pie starts to get too brown while baking, cover with a piece of foil, shiny side down.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Buttermilk Syrup

This lovely caramel syrup is soooo good, you may have tasted it at farmer's markets where they sell it in little jars for lots of $! My neighbor made me some, and then I found a recipe online. I think it is best on whole wheat pancakes (like Star's!) but you will end up looking for just about anything you can dip in it, like apple slices, brownies, ice cream, french toast.... Anyway, it doesn't exactly go in the "healthy" file, but definitely in the "Yummy-deliciousness" file!

1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbs corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla

In a saucepan, stir together all ingredients except vanilla. Bring to a boil, and cook for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla