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Megans Cookin: September 2007

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Welcome Baby Duffy

Congratulations to my friends, Judy and Michael. They gave birth to a baby boy, today, September 30Th, at 11:20am. The baby weighed in at 10 pounds and is approximately 20 inched long. Mother and baby are doing fine, but I think dad needs a beer! Names are bring considered as I type.

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

Boys are mad of chuckles & grins,

Tousled hair and banged-up shins,

Things with wheels & frogs in pockets

Questions, baseball caps, & rockets;

They're joy & mischief, fun & noise-

That's how it is – boys will be boys

Saturday, September 29, 2007

According to, BAKING FROM MY HOME TO YOURS turned one-year old this week! Hooray and Happy Birthday!

To celebrate this birthday, Houghton Mifflin, the publisher, and Dorie Greenspan are giving away 10 autographed copies of BAKING.

To win a copy, Click here and leave a comment with your name and the name of the person to whom you'd like her to sign the book and she'll pick the 10 winners at random.

The deadline for entries is October 10, so you'll have about two weeks to put your names in the virtual hat.


Friday, September 28, 2007

The Monkey Bread Goes Wild For Garlic

Have you heard about monkey bread? It's when you cut up 4 cylinders of biscuits and roll them in sugar and Cinnamon. Then you pile them in a Bundt pan and pour melted butter and brown sugar over the top, then bake. You get these gooey Cinnamon roll like pull aparts. They are great.

Then I thought about them in a savory kind of way.

So I got out my 3 cylinders.
(I didn't have 4)
I cut each biscuit into 4 pieces.

Roll each piece in grated Parmesan cheese and pile in a Bundt pan.
Sprinkle any leftover cheese on top.
(I used my angel food cake pan but the Bundt pan produces a prettier end result.)

Pour one cube of melted butter with garlic seasoning over the top.

I used that Johnny Walker garlic seasoning that I got from Costco.

Just waiting for the oven to beep.

And the animals went wild. They screeched for more. They pulled these garlicky tidbits apart. This sure was a crowd pleaser.
Beware! The monkey goes wild for garlic.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Harvest Sugar Cookies

What has the tenderness of pie crust, The sweetness of sugarcane
and the cuteness of a kitty? Well maybe that's a little far fetched but I just wanted to share my cookies with you.

And one reason I love to bake-The smiles I get back! Here is Kel trying to make that frosting disappear. Not too hard of a task. A little vanilla bean icing before color is added.

Our pumpkin patch!
The pumpkins turned out really cute but the leaves look more like wintertime. Next time- no brown. Yellow, orange and green is on my color pallet.

After all that mixing,rolling,baking,frosting,and decorating, Guess what waits for you. Yes, a beautiful homemade sugar cookie and a sink full of dirty dishes.

So if I have inspired you to make sugar cookies and you want my recipe, just click on the picture to enlarge. I just used my regular frosting recipe and of course, I added my vanilla bean paste. Let me know when they are coming out of the oven and I'll be there!

Recipe from Taste of Home Magazine


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Autumn has Arrived!!!

Autumn Equinox arrived when the sun entered Libra:
Sunday, 23 September 2007 at 5:51am EDT

It's finally time to open the windows and smell that sweet scent of Fall. It's my favorite time of the year. I love the the flavors and colors. I love to bake pumpkin bread (or anything) in my pajamas and have all the candles lit. I even brought out the crock pot. Time for slow cooked, hot meals simmering away while I keep the oven busy.

And it was a wonderful day for baking. To celebrate fall, I made my Harvest Sugar Cookies. Perfect cookie for the changing season. Today is frost and decorate day. Recipe and picture perfect photos (I hope) to come!


Friday, September 21, 2007

Weight Watcher Winner

I've only been blogging for a few months and I've already gained a few lb's.
So I decided If I blog- I better get back on my walking routine. (I'll let you know how that's coming along.)

I also found this recipe from Weight Watchers.

How to turn this box of bran...

into this chocolate cookie!

1. Melt one package of chocolate chips. (white chips, mint chips, butterscotch chips, or any flavor you like).

2. Mix in one sleeve of the All Bran cereal and mix.

3. Spoon onto cookie sheet and refrigerate till firm.

You could also add a few tablespoons of peanut butter when melting that chocolate!

I think this is a sweet way to get your extra fiber.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Nestles makes the very best-Chocolate

These chocolatey shortbread cookies have a unique south of the border taste to them. They have a small amount of cayenne pepper in them. They are not really hot, but it's just enough to wonder "What is that?"

8 oz. NESTLÉ CHOCOLATIER™ 53% Cacao Dark Chocolate Baking Bar(s), broken into small pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup pecans, toasted, chopped

PREHEAT oven to 325º F.

MICROWAVE small chocolate pieces in small, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 45 seconds; STIR. If pieces retain some of their original shape, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until melted. Cool to room temperature.

COMBINE flour, cinnamon and cayenne in medium bowl. Beat brown sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in melted chocolate. Stir in flour mixture until blended. Stir in pecans.

SHAPE dough into 1-inch balls; place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with bottom of glass dipped in sugar.

BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.



Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Fight Is Going On Inside Me

An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life...

He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

One wolf is evil -- he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego.

The other is good---he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too."

They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied: "The one you feed".


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mexican Breakfast Casserole

Heres a breakfast dish you can get done the night before. It seems like alot of ingredient and let me tell you, it is. But it really is quite easy.

This was my first time using chorizo. I don't know why I was so afraid of it. Its just sausage with garlic and spices. Mine came in bulk like hamburger. No casings to remove!

It called for 6 pablono chilies, roasted and skinned. (I did this)
Short cut-open a can of green diced chilies.

It called for 10 eggs.
I used 12

It called for 3 cups half & half.
I used 2 1/2cups

Mexican Breakfast Casserole
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2001

6 poblano chile peppers, about 1 1/2 pounds
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds Mexican chorizo, or other hot sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
4 teaspoons minced garlic
4 teaspoons chili powder
5 corn tortillas, quartered
10 large eggs
3 cups half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions, green tops only
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups grated pepper jack
1 1/2 cups grated medium cheddar
Sour Cream, garnish
Picante Sauce (store bought), garnish

Roast the peppers by placing them on an open gas flame, turning them frequently with tongs until all sides are charred black, about 7 to 10 minutes. (Alternately, the peppers can be roasted under a broiler, or on top of a gas or charcoal grill.) Place the blackened peppers in a plastic or paper bag, and let rest until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Peel the peppers, split in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds and the stems.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Spread the chiles in a flat layer across the bottom of the dish.

In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat, stirring to break up the meat, until browned. Add the onions and bell peppers, and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the garlic and chili powder, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and half-and-half with the hot sauce, salt and black pepper.

In another bowl, combine the green onions, cilantro, jack, and cheddar, and mix well.

Spoon 1/3 of the sausage mixture over the chiles in the dish, top with 1/3 of the tortilla quarters, and 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Repeat layering, ending with a cheese layer. Pour the egg mixture over the ingredients. Let rest, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake until bubbly and golden brown, and a knife inserted into the custard comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving. Serve with sour cream and picante sauce.


Changing Seasons

Today is a very sad day. Have you heard the one about people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime? Well the seasons are changing at Neighborhood church, my church. The final curtain was lowered as our worship pastor, Rich Kirkpatrick, finished his last song. He is packing up the family and moving to Southern Ca. He will be so missed!

He went out with a bang, that's for sure. The windows were rattling while we were rocking. He had dueling drummers, a choir, and people dancing in their space. We wanted the worship breakfast to be special, too. You be the judge.

How did we do?

Mexican Breakfast Casserole
Assorted Tamales
Refried Beans
Spanish Rice
Seasonal Fruit
Chip and Salsa
Chocolate Shortbread Ole

The breakfast was pulled off without any glitches and the casserole and cookie recipe were asked for. I shamelessly plugged my blog and said I would post the recipes here. Stay tuned for those recipes!

And where was the Senior Pastor? No pressure, Kicking back.
It looks like he got the best seat in the house.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Lasagna For The Soul

Every year we go to Bodega Bay, CA. and camp on the beach. We don't rough it anymore. I like having a real bed and bathroom, Thank you very much. But we do go and stay about a week in our 5Th wheel trailer. All the comforts of home.

One of our favorite restaurants is nearby in the quaint town of Occidental.
The Union Hotel. Its been serving Italian food, family style, since 1925. The old wood building still contains its original details, such as antique coat hooks, table side service-bell buttons and redwood framing.

The lasagna is to die for! Every one would always order the lasagna dinner. It starts with an antipasti tray, soup, salad, the works. But one year, due to puppy problems, we were not able to go there to dine. We learned however, that they sold large party trays of lasagna to go. I'm a party tray kind of girl. All I need is a bottle of red wine and a loaf of bread. I'm set.

This is Amy. She is Kellie's best friend and also a Bodega Bay tradition.
Bodega Bay,
Some things just go together.
She is ready for dinner and has an eye on that tray.

The best part of my large party tray of lasagna, leftovers. We ate for two days on that tray and still wrapped up another 6 dinners. So as the weather is getting cooler, I can turn on my oven. Memories of The Union Hotel are just a whiff away. Cheers!


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Vanilla Bean Paste?

Click on the picture to see those beautiful bean specks!

I love to bake and I've been told I'm pretty good at it. I've seen a lot of recipes and cookbooks. But did you know there was such a thing as vanilla bean paste? I came across it by accident one day surfing the Internet. So, my mission began. I went online to see if I could find it local and saw Trader Joe's carried it. We have a Trader Joe's 70 miles away. So I sent my husband on his way down the freeway. Trader Joe's or Bust!
When he got there he found the isle, found the spot, found the sticker price.

No Paste.

There were 2 empty row of nothing. I guess other people knew about vanilla bean paste.
But I had a cake to bake. You can imagine my disappointment. I ventured out and started pricing the vanilla beans. OMG!
They are outrageous. I found a package of 2 @4.99 at a nation wide retailer but they were so brittle. I found a bottle of 2 at two different grocery stores priced $8.99-$9.99. But that hurt too bad to purchase. So I stopped by our local kitchen store. They had a 4oz bottle of the paste for $8.99. I snagged it. I did have a cake to bake!

Pure Vanilla Bean Paste, Madagascar Bourbon Island Vanilla Bean Paste
Vanilla bean paste is a convenient, easy-to-use replacement for whole vanilla beans. Whole vanilla beans will dry out and become hard to use over time, while this vanilla bean paste will last indefinitely.

Since you can see the vanilla bean seeds, it adds a gourmet appearance, in addition to delicious flavor. Add this paste to homemade ice creams, custards, creme brulee, cakes, icings, etc. One tablespoon of vanilla bean paste is equal to one whole vanilla bean. Each four ounce jar contains 12 tablespoons of paste. You do the Math!

HT:The Spice House


Saturday, September 8, 2007

Per Request - Bacon Wrapped Dates

It was a week filled with sonograms, doctors, and biopsies. I have 2 nodules on my thyroid which meant many needles in the neck. I made it thru and now I can say I've had worse things I had to go thru.
Anyway, I wrapped up the week with a potluck at the local YMCA.
What to bring on a frenzy Friday?
It was requested for me to bring these little morsels of goodness.

Just stuff an almond in the middle of a pitted date. Wrap 1/3 of a piece of bacon around each date and secure with a toothpick.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. The sweetness of the date caramelizes and mixes with the saltiness of the bacon. The almond adds a crunch! Make a lot because these little gems wont last long. They were gone before I could even plate them.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

40 Dates
40 Whole Almonds
1 pound of bacon

Cut bacon into thirds.
Stuff one almond into date. Wrap with a oiece of bacon and secure with a toothick.
Bake at  350 degrees for about 40 minutes.


Technorati Profile

Technorati Profile
Just playing around with my computer. You can click on the above link to see my profile in Technorati. Be sure to add me to your favorites!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Happy Birthday Isabel

My Mother-in-law just had another birthday! I'm under a gag order regarding her age, so lets just say it took 4 birthday cakes to celebrate. We partied on the deck over looking the golf course at Lake Almanor. A happy time was had by all!

That's my daughter Kellie, with her Grandma. Isabel has five children, eight grandchildren, and six great grandchildren,

I baked one cake and the other was a store bought carrot cake. These two cakes were as different as night and day. I used the french vanilla recipe again because it got such rave reviews last time. It is so dense and heavy. I must say that this cake is worth a try. It was the only one to get finished off. The rest of that other cake met its fate in the garbage.

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