Monday, June 27, 2011


My friend Diane was very kind to share this recipe for the BEST macaroons! I have to hide them from my kids if I want them to last more than an hour! I recently asked her for the recipe again since I had misplaced mine and when she told me she couldn't find hers either I was concerned. That is, until I looked way back into my texts and found the ingredients list she had sent me once. We were able to remember the rest from there. So, enjoy this awesome recipe which was almost lost forever!


2 1/2 cups grated coconut
1 cup cashews, finely ground (I have had bad luck grinding my own without it turning into nut butter- so I prefer to purchase it ground. It's called meal- like almond meal or cashew meal. While on the topic, you can use nuts other than cashew.)
1 cup sugar
3 egg whites

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar, allowing it to dissolve a little at a time into the egg whites. It should end with a nice glossy appearance. Gently fold in by hand the coconut and ground nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Touch each top with a little butter, this ensures a nice golden top. Bake at 325° for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Basic Cheesecake

This recipe is one of my favorites for a basic 6" cheesecake.  It is a "real" cheesecake that has a creamy, smooth quality to it. Some people may be afraid of the cheesecake old wives' tales but it really can be quite simple. I usually give it a jiggle to see if the middle appears set. If in doubt, I find that cheesecake really doesn't get overdone, it just cracks a bit on top but is still yummy.

Basic Cheesecake
2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/2 cup butter, melted

Combine the graham crackers with the butter and press into the bottom and up the sides of a 6" springform pan.  This can be tricky, don't worry about getting the crust up the whole side. It's alright if the filling is higher than the crust.

3 eggs
2 8ounce packages of cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla (PLEASE do not use imitation)
3 cups sour cream
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (this can be omitted but I like the combination of the hint of lemon when serving it with a berry sauce)

Beat the eggs well. Add the cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla and beat until light and smooth. Add the sour cream and just beat until blended. Pour into crust and bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes. When making cheesecake, use the time as a guideline, different elevations and different ovens may take less or more time. Remember the jiggle test, it should jiggle like set jello, not like soup.

Berry Topping:
3 cups fresh or frozen berries
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir continuously until thick and bubbly. Cool.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ham & Potato Soup Recipe

This recipe came from my friend Jennifer Shimon, who made it for our family when Annika was born. We loved this non-heavy comfort food (it is a "cream" type soup without cream- you can use skim milk if you like) which was so fast to heat and serve when life is busy with a newborn. I now go to this recipe often when friends have babies or when we are just in the mood for it. It is one of my most requested recipes- enjoy!

Ham &Potato Soup

4 cups cubed peeled potatoes
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tablespoons parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
 dash dillweed (do not skip this- it makes the dish!)
3 1/2 cup milk
3 Tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
ham steak cubed (the original recipe did not call for ham, so put in as much or as little as you like. I usually buy a slice of ham steak)

In a large saucepan or small stockpot, add chicken stock, potatoes, celery, carrots, onion, parsley, salt, pepper and dillweed. Boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15- 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add ham. Add 3 1/2 cups milk and heat until hot (do NOT let the milk boil or the soup may separate.)  Blend flour and 1/2 cup milk and add to the soup. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soup is thick.

We enjoy this soup with a package of Rhodes heat and serve buns (I know I should be making homemade but oh, well.) If you have time to pre-plan, this soup is much better the second day!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Texas Caviar Recipe

This recipe is from my friend Mandy Puls, who shared it with me since my husband always requested it when we saw her. I since usually make it for family gatherings at the cottage.

Texas Caviar

1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 cup green peppers- diced
1 small jar jalepeno peppers- diced (I use a small can of diced chile peppers when I make it for a group or kids so it's not too spicy)
1 bag frozen corn- thawed
1/2-1 cup green onions- diced

1 cup sugar
1 cup oil ( vegetable or olive)
1/2 cup cider vinegar

Bring to a boil, then cool

Mix all ingredients together and let sit overnight, then drain. Keeps well. Serve with Fritos scoops.

*Any kind of peppers or beans can be used