Monday, August 22, 2011

Saying Goodbye to a Classic :The Easy Bake Oven (as we know it)

Easy Bake PRNT Easy Bake Oven
Incandescent light bulbs are no longer going to be sold after Jan 2012...That's this January!
  Sadly, this is what the Easy Bake Oven uses to cook the batters.   The CLF bulbs don't give off enough heat to cook the baked goods. Stock up on those bulbs if you have one.

Kenner came out with this cutie in 1963 and it is currently marketed by Hasbro.  They have sold more than 16 million of these ovens, and almost every woman I know had their hands on one of these as a child.

It won't be totally gone....The company is bringing out a new improved model, it will cost a bit more, and it will include a heating element, but what parent can leave their child unsupervised with a heating element?  I don't have mine anymore but am tempted to run out and get one for my future grandchildren and a lifetime supply of incandescent light bulbs.

If you have an easy bake oven, here are some recipes for your kids to make, you won't have to run out and get the mixes.
Easy Bake Oven Recipes

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cowboy Stew : My version of Tortilla Soup

Pin It

We have a huge Halloween Party almost every year and soup is one of the things I always make for the party.  It's chilly at night and soup warms the soul.  I threw this together one year, and everyone raved about it. I still get requests for it all of the time.  My daughter just came to town and said she missed it, so I sent her home with a jar of it.  It's super easy to make, and you can modify this with using either canned beans or pressure cook your own.  Canned are faster and they don't change the taste just remember to rinse them of that slimy stuff they get from being in the can.
  I also add pork to this at times. A piece of a pork shoulder,cooked and shredded makes a nice addition. Really, you can omit or submit almost anything into this. I have made a small batch in my pressure cooker and its great but normally this is a gigantic stock pot recipe because it goes fast.

My Cowboy Stew

3 (32 oz)  boxes chicken broth 
4 chicken quarters ( or really any meat, pork leftovers etc)
2 cans garbanzo beans
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans black beans
2 cans corn
1 large onion
jalapeno pepper or two (if you like)
 water (you want it soupy, add it early so you get the flavors) 
2 packs George Washington seasoning (chicken bullion)
2 t chili spice
4 T garlic garlic (freeze dried garlic)
2 packs taco seasoning
2 T Cajun spice
1 t cinnamon
1 t curry powder
4 oz crumbles gorgonzola cheese or feta
few turns of the peppermill
Tortilla chips
Sour cream
Avocado (add it near serving time diced up)

You can add more or less ingredients, pretty much things I have in my pantry is all I use. Potatoes etc.  

Put chicken broth in a big pot and turn burner on medium.  Add water and George Washington Seasoning (bullion).  Add all spices and taco packets, onion and celery.

Put chicken in the water and bring to low boil and cook until done.  Remove, debone and cut up small, and throw it back in.  Add mushrooms, beans (drained and rinsed) and corn (drained) and cheese.

Serve in a bowl with broken up tortilla chips and if you like, a dollop of sour cream.
Can also serve over rice if you wish.

Gourmet Cupcakes

Okay, I have ranted about these new gourmet cupcake places that are popping up everywhere.  I have never been much of a cake fan to begin with, but 3.50 a cupcake?  Really?  That's highway robbery!  I can make a batch of cupcakes for that price and make a bunch of teenagers at my house very happy.

Last night at the fair, it was so cold, I got coffee.  I decided to try one of the gourmet cupcakes they had, because when I am cold, I love comfort food.  The gourmet cupcakes at the fair were only 1.75.  I got a chocolate cherry and hub got a pineapple right side up cupcake.  They were good, but really, its a cupcake...its not rocket science.

I have always purchased cupcakes for my kids birthday parties, because I know when I have a houseful or patio full of people over, the last thing I want to do is cut a cake (or dish out ice cream for that matter, the good old portable ice creams work with cupcakes just fine, things like dixie cups, ice cream sammiches, popcicles etc)

This morning my book club book came from  The Book of The Month 2 Club .  I ordered the Southern Living Big Book of Cupcakes  because every Southern Living cookbook I ever bought has amazing recipes in it.  No kidding, pretty much every one of them I made, my family or friends requested the recipe. This book has 150 cupcake recipes in it. Tiramisu, Caramel Apple, Pina Colada, Pecan Pie, The Don Vito Italian Cream cupcake ...all cupcakes that look amazing.  My son is taking Culinary Arts in Vocational School this fall, so he will have fun with this book too.  He loves to cook.

There is a merry cherry mushroom cupcake that looks like The Smurf's houses, would be adorable for a Smurf themed Party.  Due to copy right reasons, I won't share their recipes, the book is cheap and you will have all of the recipes in one spot.  My favorite cupcake to date is the ever classic Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcake.  Click the link to go to my post of this recipe.  Nothing fancy, just joyful indulgence.  I can't say I won't have a new favorite after making some of the recipes in this new cookbook I got, but I can guarantee, I will never get tired of this recipe.

While I am on the subject of cakes....there is a cute little cafe near us that I love to eat it called Good Eatz.  They make the best carrot cake I have ever tasted in my life...and its gluten free... I am not on a gluten free diet, but I order this every time I am there.

Anyone have an amazing gluten free carrot cake recipe they wanna share?  I am dying to make this.  I see tons of recipes online but really dislike trial and erroring recipes that don't measure up.  I only have time to make the best so please share your tried and true recipe with me.

Here is another favorite cookbook The Professional Chef by the Culinary Institute of America. .  I got this for my son whose culinary arts book from his school is just beginner  basic...this is really detailed.  Also the grilling book is neat, lost of rub recipes and sauces too.  Dessert and pizza etc on the grill.