Friday, July 16, 2010

Spice Oatmeal Cookies

I love cake mix cookies. They are fast and easy, and I can throw them together before the kids go to school to put in their lunches.  I usually make chocolate using a devil's food cake mix. That for sure is my favorite. But I have also used yellow cake mix with chocolate chips, or even strawberry cake mix for something different. 

Last Christmas I needed cookies for something, I don't remember what, so I used a spice cake mix.
Here is a picture of the ingredients (minus the chocolate chips because I forgot to put them out for the picture).

You really can't get any easier than this. You mix it all together and bake them. YUM.  I was going to post this a long time ago, but somehow it didn't happen! I guess it is better late than never.

I love easy. You can jazz up your cake mix cookies anyway you want. The possibilities are endless.

Spice Oatmeal Cookies

1 Spice Cake Mix
1/3 c. vegetable oil*
2 eggs
3/4 c. oatmeal - can add more or less depending on how moist the dough is
1 c. chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together. Can add a little milk or water if it is too dry, but I wouldn't add too much. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

*Another thing you can do is to puree some cooked white beans and replace the oil with 1/3 c white bean puree. Then you have cookies with no additional fat, and more protein. It is amazing that you don't taste the beans, but you don't. It just increases the nutritional value of the cookie, and who can't justify eating one extra cookie because there is no fat!

Friday, May 21, 2010

10 Minute Strawberry Refrigerator Jam

This is a recipe I got from my friend Margaret at a Relief Society homemaking meeting a long time ago. I hadn't ever tried it. The other day another friend asked about stawberry jam, and I remembered this recipe. I got some strawberries yesterday and decided I would try the jam before my kids inhaled all the berries.

Oh man! This is good stuff. I like being able to make a small amount.  I really don't want to do a large batch and have to find freezer space, or can them.  So this is perfect. It made just a little more than 1 pint.

Here is a picture of 2 cups of strawberries, hulled, washed and sliced.

The next step is to mash them well. I used my potato masher.  Worked well and the kids fought over who got to help.

Here is a picture of the pectin and sugar. My pectin was a little past the best use by date (only by 5 years) so I wasn't exactly sure it would gel up correctly, but is worked beautifully.

Look are Erin's beautiful hands mixing in the sugar and pectin.  Mix it well and then put in the microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes.  Watch it!  I took it out at about 4 minutes 10 seconds because it was getting ready to boil over, and who wants to clean out the microwave?

Here is the mixture after cooking the first time. It does get foamy and that is normal. I stirred it, but don't know if that is necessary.  Cook again for 5 minutes on the 6 power setting of your microwave. It was fun watching it cook this time. My kids were all glued to the microwave. At 6 power my microwave cooks for about 10 seconds and then rests for 6 seconds or so. When it would be in the cook phase, the jam would boil and come right to the top of the bowl, and then it would drop as the cook feature turned off. The kids thought this was great to see, each cook cycle it would get closer to the top of the bowl.  I think it ended just perfectly. One more cook cycle and I think it would have overflowed.  Again you might want to watch just in case.

Here is the finished jam in the jars. As you can see it made one full pint jar with just a little more. That is probably a function of how closely you measure the berries. I measured before slicing, so maybe I had a little too many strawberries, but the taste wasn't affected if there were more than 2 cups.

It is runny when it just comes out of the microwave, but it thickened up as it cooled in the refrigerator.   It was good runny too. I had just made bread, and so we enjoyed the partially full jar right away on fresh bread. YUMMY!  I will definitely do this again.  We may even have to try peaches or plums or apricots. I think it would work. I will let you know.


Microwave (10 minute) Strawberry Refrigerator Jam 

2 cups (1 pint) Strawberries, washed and hulled
1 1/2 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons powdered fruit pectin

Slice strawberries into a 2 quart bowl. Mash well. Stir in sugar and pectin thoroughly.  Microwave 4-5 minutes on HIGH, or until mixture comes to a full rolling boil.

Reduce setting. Microwave 5 minutes on '6' power setting.  It will thicken as it cools. Pour into glasses, or jars. Cover with plastic wrap (or lid).  Store in refrigerator. For a thicker jam add an extra teaspoon of pectin.   (from the kitchen of Margaret Aragon)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fun Blog Find

I don't really remember what blog I followed to find this link, but I am glad I did. The authors are all mothers of large families, and this week their blogs focus on how they feed them. Their blogs are Raising Olives, Smockity Frocks, The Common Roomand Life in a Shoe.

large family, moms of many, manage,

I think I can learn a lot from their posts on menu planning, budgeting and cooking. I really liked the post on one of them, I think it was The Common Room, but I couldn't find the direct link, that talked about picky eaters. It is required that they try some of everything offered, even if it is microscopic. Then they can eat more of what they like and who knows their tastes may change. She made a comment that really made me think. She said that being picky is a form of ingratitude for the person who made the food. I never thought of it this way, but I do agree.

Now to apply the great new things I learn (well really the great old things I am being reminded of in some instances).

I hope to post a new recipe soon.

One of their recent posts was on Cooking for a Crowd.  The recipes are great. Follow the link from this blog to the other four to fully benefit form the recipes posted.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

This recipe rocks! A slightly healthier version than what I use. They were loved and I gave this recipe to a lot (and I mean a lot) of people at the baby shower.

Suffed Cherry Tomatoes

2 pt. cherry tomatoes
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1t lemon juice
1/4C mayonnaise
8 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
2 green onions, finely chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Cut a small slice from the top of each tomato; scoop out pulp with a small spoon or melon baller, and discard pulp. Place tomatoes, cut sides down, on paper towels, and let drain 15 min. Combine avocado and lemon juice in a small bowl, stirring gently; drain. Stir together mayonnaise, bacon, and green onions; add avocado mixture, and stir gently until combined. Spoon avocado mixture evenly into tomato shells. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill 1 hour. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste just before serving.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chocolate Covered Cherries!

So tonight at my cooking class, I taught how to make Chocolate Covered Cherries. There are several different recipes, but I have only tried this one. They are really easy, and not as sickeningly sweet as store bought cordial cherries.  It was a hands on class, and so we got done quickly. When making them alone, it is a time consuming process, but worth it a few times a year. I usually make them at Christmas. This is my first time to make them for Valentines day. I don't think they will even last until Valentines day, but oh well. It's the thought that counts isn't it?

Here are the ingredients for Chocolate Covered cherries.  I buy the dipping chocolate at Sam's at Christmas time, but you can use Chocolate candy coating, or chocolate chips mixed with paraffin wax if you need to (16 oz chocolate chips, 1 bar paraffin). It just needs to harden after it has been dipped. I  buy the big jar of Cherries at Sam's, it is more cost effective, but there are about 200 cherries, which is a lot! 

 I had already drained the cherries, so I don't have pictures of that process.  

 Drain the liquid off the cherries (we save and pour on ice cream). Place the cherries on several layers of paper towels (on a cookie sheet or baking pan) to dry out. May want to let them dry for an hour or more.

While they are drying,  mix other ingredients.

This is the softened butter and the corn syrup and salt before powdered sugar was added.

Here I have mixed in 1/2 of the sugar with a spoon.

It is most effective to mix the last of the sugar with your hands until it is like play dough.

Here is the completed fondant/dough.

Take about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the dough and flatten it out.

Wrap around the cherry and set on wax paper on a cookie sheet.  As the fondant warms up, or you get cherry juice on your fingers, the dough gets very sticky. It was much better with gloves, but you may have to wash and dry your hands a few times. Also you can put the dough in the refrigerator if it gets to sticky and warm. It is a little easier do deal with when it is  cooler.

Break up the chocolate into small pieces and melt in microwave according to instructions, or in a double boiler on stove.

I forgot to get pictures while we were dipping, but you just hold the stem of the cherry and dip in chocolate. You can use a spoon to pour over cherry. Place on wax paper and let harden. Make sure the cherries are completely covered in chocolate. Check the bottoms of the cherries after they have hardened, and make sure there is no white showing. Anywhere there is an opening, juice will start to seep out. You may have to add a little more chocolate to the bottoms of the candies.

Here are the finished product.

If you can keep them around long enough - about 2 weeks- the fondant liquefies similar to the store bought candies. Well that is what the recipe says. We haven't made it long enough. It does start to liquefy fairly quickly though.

Chocolate Covered Cherries

60 Maraschino cherries,w/stem
3 tablespoons Butter or margarine,softened
3 tablespoons Light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 1/2 pound Dipping chocolate or white chocolate ( for coating)

Drain maraschino cherries thoroughly, Place on paper toweling. Combine butter or margarine, corn syrup and salt. Stir in sifted confectioner's sugar. Knead sugar mixture until smooth ( chill if mixture is too soft.) Shape 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the sugar mixture around each cherry. Place on a waxed-paper-lined baking sheet, chill.  Melt chocolate according to package instruction in either microwave or in double boiler. Holding cherries by stems, dip one at a time into chocolate. Spoon chocolate over cherries to coat. Chill until chocolate is hardened. Store candy in a covered container in a cool place. Let candies ripen a week or two.

For a variation, you can also melt a small amount of white candy coating and add some food coloring and drizzle on the chocolates for a fancier look.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Some days I don't have enough milk for everyone to eat cereal, or I don't have enough eggs to make everyone eggs. Usually when either is the case I make pancakes with powdered milk, and it only takes too eggs. But there are days when I don't want to take the time (or I don't have the time) to make pancakes. That is when I make Hootenanies. You can mix them up and get ready while they are baking.  It is a very yummy and easy breakfast.  My kids love them.

Here they are right out of the oven. The bubbles do fall after a minute.

Here is the way we eat them, with syrup. YUMMY!


6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
Dash salt (can add up to 1 tsp, but I don't add that much)
1 stick butter or margarine (I understand you can use 1/2 that, but I haven't tried)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Melt butter in 9 x 13 baking dish in oven (watch it so you don't burn it). While butter is melting mix together the eggs, milk, flour and salt. (I use the blender)

Pour egg mixture in melted butter and return to oven and bake for 20 minutes.    Serve with syrup, or fruit jam.  You can also serve this with meat and cheese for a savory dish, but again I haven't tried this.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Fun Treat

We found a new treat that is fun to make. Homemade Gummies. I found the recipe on, and followed the link to the original posting site. These are very easy and fun to make. In fact, Kelly has been making them regularly. They go fast, and all the kids eat them up.

The molds I used are silicone ice cube trays that I found. The yellow bullet shapes are from a regular ice cube tray that makes tiny ice. The were harder to get out of the rigid ice cube tray, but not impossible. I got some silicone trays at Hobby Lobby, and some at Wal Mart. I looked at candy molds, but they were much more expensive. We just put a little of the mixture in the mold, to get more candies.

Homemade Gummy Candies
1 3oz package flavored gelatin
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp water

In a small saucepan, Slowly mix gelatins in water. Let sit for 10 minutes. (It will resemble play dough when it is done). Melt gelatin over double boiler (don't want to cook the gelatin, just melt it). When gelatin is melted pour into molds. Let sit in freezer for 5 minutes or refrigerator for 10 minutes. Pop out of molds, and eat.

Side note: I found other recipes that call for 1 3 oz pkg of flavored, and 7 pkgs of unflavored gelatin. That recipe didn't have the 10 minute wait time. After you mix the gelatins, you cook over LOW heat until melted and then put in molds. I haven't tried this yet, but I will. It will be interesting to see if there is a difference in final product.

Holiday Pies

Well I am finally getting around to posting about my holiday food. I know, it is about time. For Thanksgiving last year (that sounds bad, since it has only been just over a month and a half), I made 3 kinds of pie. Pumpkin, Apple, and pecan. They all turned out fantastic, but I used different recipes than normal.

The Pumpkin Pie Recipe I got off of an add, it used sweetened condensed milk rather than evaporated milk and sugar. It was very easy, and I liked it. Kenna actually helped me mix it all up. It was a great recipe for cooking with kids.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

The Pecan Pie was the standard recipe that I always use out of the Better Homes and Garden's New Cook Book. (I don't know how new it is, we got it as a wedding gift 15 years ago!)
Erin made these pies for me.

Pecan Pie
3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
dash salt
1 cup dark corn syrup (I didn't have dark, used light with good results)
1/3 cup butter or margarine melted
1 cup pecan halved
Pastry for single-crust pie

In a mixing bowl beat eggs slightly. Add sugar and salt; stir till dissolved. Stir in corn syrup and butter, mix well. Mix in pecans. Pour into pie shell, and cover edges with foil. Bake at 35o degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil; bake about 25 minutes more until a knife inserted off-center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

The Apple Pie was from a recipe on It is a great recipe that Kelly helped me make. It is very good! Rather than retype the recipe I am just sending you to the site where I got it. That way I make no mistakes. :-)

All the pies were a hit. I even made my own crust, also from They were pretty good too. Cooking for Thanksgiving was a family affair this year. It was great to have all the help.