Wednesday, July 29, 2009

♥Homemade Poppycock with Mixed Nuts♥

  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 2 cups mixed nuts
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt & baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Arrange the popcorn and mixed nuts in a well oiled 9″ by 13″ pan. Get out a 2 quart sauce pan and combine the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt over low heat. After the butter melts, cook without stirring for 3 minutes. It should be bubbling gently during the 3 minutes. Stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Quickly pour this over the pan of popcorn. Mix gently to coat the popcorn evenly. Bake the pan at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes. Break it up into pieces and serve. This stuff is so good that it doesn’t last long, but if you do end up with leftovers, store them in a tightly sealed container, or bag. It is good tucked into lunch boxes too.

You will never buy Poppycock again, I promise!

Monday, July 27, 2009

♥Crispy-Mallow Birthday Party Cupcakes♥

These are so handy for our busy summertime parties because you can make them ahead of time, freeze them and thaw when needed. Be sure to have several of the fillings and toppings on hand so the children (or adult guests) can choose their favorites and express their creativity. The toppings, well, let your imagination run wild! Do coconut pudding or ice cream topped with chocolate sprinkles and slivered almonds. Top butterscotch with pecans and whipped cream. The fun part is in coming up with various combinations and in using your imagination.

Summer birthday parties are so easy for mom with outside games and playtime. These little gems make the party portable, fun, easy and creative!

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies
    or for a variation,
    6 cups Ready-To-Eat Cereal Cocoa Krispies
  • Pudding, ice cream, fresh fruit or frozen yogurt
  • Ice cream topping, whipped topping, coconut, chocolate sprinkles or chopped nuts (let your imagination run wild. I've used colored sugars, sprinkles, crushed peppermints.
  1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
  2. Add Rice Crispies of your choice. Stir until well coated.
  3. Divide warm mixture into sixteen 2 1/2-inch muffin-pan cups coated with cooking spray. Shape mixture into individual cups (buttered fingers work best). Cool. Remove from pans.
  4. Before serving fill with pudding, ice cream or frozen yogurt. Top with ice cream topping, whipped topping, chocolate sprinkles, coconut or nuts. Serve immediately.

Microwave directions
In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Follow steps 2 thru 4 above. Microwave cooking times may vary.

Please note that:
  • For best results, use fresh marshmallows.
  • 1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme can be substituted for marshmallows.
  • Margarine is NOT recommended because most contain too much water
  • Store no more than three days at room temperature in airtight container. To freeze cups, place in single layer on wax paper in airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before filling.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fruity grilled ham - Apricots, apples and ham, oh my!

Easy, quick, delicious, this little gem has it all. I love to mix fruit with ham - they just partner up together so well. As you're keeping an eye on the ham, toss a few ears of corn on the other side of the grill. The meal will be a hit with the family, friends. The best part is that it tastes good but is quick and easy so you won't miss all the outdoor fun☺

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 2 teaspoons butter or margarine
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 (1/2-inch-thick) ham slices (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 4 tart apples (Granny Smith), cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

Combine first 3 ingredients in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until melted, stirring once.

Grill ham and apples with grill lid down, over medium-hot coals (350° to 400°), turning occasionally and basting with the apricot mixture, 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summertime Strawberry 'n Banana Belgian Waffles

For a wonderful summer dessert or, heck, I've eaten these for a meal, these waffles can't be beat. I like these in the winter but more in the summer when I can mound fresh strawberries and a few bananas on top finishing it off with strawberry syrup and whipped cream. You will swoon, I promise!

Belgian Waffles

2 cups cake flour, sifted (7-oz)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup half and half
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch ground nutmeg or cinnamon (optional)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled

(Preheat your waffle iron while you make the batter.)

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. In a large measuring cup or a medium-sized bowl, lightly beat together buttermilk, milk, vanilla, nutmeg, eggs and melted butter until smooth. Pour into flour mixture and whisk only until just combined and no obvious streaks of flour remain. Batter should be slightly lumpy.

Use a 1-cup measure or a large spoon to scoop batter into the waffle iron, lightly greased if your iron requires it. Cook as directed by your machine.

Serve immediately. Top with fresh strawberries, bananas, strawberry syrup (Smucker's) and whipping cream.

Makes 4 Belgian waffles.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Minty 'n Crunchy Watermelon Salad

Probably a lot of you are going to think, "yech", but don't knock it if you haven't tried it. This is a delightful change from the summer salads we consume during the garden season. Add a loaf of fresh crusty bread and you've got a wonderful presentation for a casual luncheon or a dinner for two out on the patio.
  • 1 (5-pound) seedless watermelon
  • 1 Vidalia onion (don't substitute)
  • 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 4 ounces feta, or goat, cheese, crumbled
  • 6 whole mint sprigs (chop two, reserve four for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds, lightly toasted
  • 4 cups of your favorite salad greens

Cut the flesh from the melon and cut into bite size pieces, removing and discarding the seeds, and set aside. Peel and slice the onion into rings.

In a small bowl, combine the raspberry vinegar, salt, pepper, and whisk until salt is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, a few drops at a time. Add in the chopped mint, taste, and adjust seasonings.

In a large bowl, combine the melon, onion, greens and feta. Pour the dressing over the melon mixture and toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed.

To serve, divide salad among individual plates and garnish with whole mint leaves and toasted almonds.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Double Trouble Cheese 'n Tomato Bruschetta

This is GOOD, really GOOD! Living alone, I often look for something to fill my tummy that isn't a whole meal with lots of preparation (and clean-up). Summer or winter, I'll mix up a salad tossing in whatever I have on hand at the time and pop this (I divide ingredients for smaller portions) under the broiler. No meat, unless you've added some to your salad, but substantial enough to keep you from raiding the fridge before bed.
  • 6 Roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil preferred
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, remove stems
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 French baguette
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven on broiler setting.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the Roma tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt, and pepper. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Cut the baguette into 3/4-inch slices. On a baking sheet, arrange the baguette slices in a single layer. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, until slightly brown.
  4. Divide the tomato mixture evenly over the baguette slices. Sprinkle a little of the Parmesan cheese on top and finish it off with the mozzarella cheese.
  5. Broil for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. YUM!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mesquite Grilled Garlic Salmon Steak with Herbs

All of us should eat more fish and especially salmon. Good for you. Good for your diet. Good for your he♥rt. This salmon recipe is delicious with just enough spice to please everyone! Add some grilled corn and summer salad and you're all set to sit at your picnic table for a meal that is not only yummy but so good for you, too.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 salmon fillets, 3/4 to 1 inch thick (5 ounces each)
1 bag of mesquite chips


1. Cover 1 cup mesquite chips with cold water; soak 20 to 30 minutes. Spray grid/grate with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare grill for direct cooking.

2. Combine oil and garlic in small microwavable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute or until garlic is tender. Add lemon juice, lemon peel, dill, thyme, salt and pepper; whisk until blended. Brush skinless sides of salmon with half of lemon mixture.

3. Drain mesquite chips; sprinkle chips over coals. Place salmon, skin side up, on grid/grate. Grill, covered, over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes; turn and brush with remaining lemon mixture. Grill 4 to 5 minutes or until salmon flakes when tested with fork.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sinful Angels & Clouds Strawberries 'n Banana Trifle

I'm not kidding, this is one of those desserts that makes you weak in the knees! Light and airy for a summer treat but filled to the brim with all that a dairy farmer has in his bag of tricks. I l♥ve making this in the summer but it's also a lovely dessert during the Christmas holidays.

1 angel food cake, cubed
1 quart fresh sliced strawberries
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
2 cups half and half
1 small box instant vanilla or banana pudding
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup pureed ripe bananas
6 cups sweetened fresh whipped cream (no substitutions)
Berries for garnish

Mix the strawberries and preserves in a large bowl allowing them to sit for about half an hour as you prepare the other ingredients.

Mix the pudding according to package directions substituting the half and half for milk.

In a third bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk mixing until smooth. Blend in the pureed bananas.

Mix half of the whipped cream into the cream cheese adding this to the pudding that you have made earlier and set aside.

Line the bottom of a trifle dish with half of the cake cubes. Top with a layer of strawberries along with the juice, a layer of pudding and a layer of whipped cream. Repeat the layers, finishing with whipped cream.

Garnish with some fresh stawberries and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Michigan Sour Cream Blueberry Bars with Cinnamon Glaze

A little twist on an old stand-by!

2 cups flour
1 ½ cup brown sugar
½ cup butter (melted)
Mix together, and pat 2/3 of mixture into bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish.

Berry mixture

1 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ cup granulated sugar
Just a dash of salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
Stir together, then add
4 cups blueberries
Gently stir in berries, then pour over crust pan. Bake at 350 for 35 – 40 minutes (until a bit brown, and just barely set in the middle).

When still a bit warm, top with glaze:

1/3 cup butter (melted), don't substitute
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
3 ½ tablespoons warm milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
Blend together with whisk

Let dessert cool to room temperature before serving. Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream...YUM!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Strawberry Cocoanut Pie Resting on a Cream Cheese Blanket


1 prebaked 9-inch pastry shell (I use the deep dish because I like a thick pie).
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 quart fresh strawberries
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoon cornstarch
whipped cream, don't skimp (use the real stuff!)
toasted coconut for garnish and use for the base, about 1/4 cup

1. Use a store-bought pastry shell (this is what I do). Bake according to package directions. Or prepare and bake your own according to your own favorite recipe. Cool.

2. Blend cream cheese and powdered sugar, spreading onto the bottom of the pastry shell. Sprinkle about half of the toasted coconut on the cream cheese mixture.

3. Rinse berries, hull and sort, reserving largest and best berries. Crush remaining berries to make about 1 cup.

4. In small saucepan, mix water, granulated sugar and cornstarch, add crushed berries, bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes or until thick and clear. Cool.

5. Press clean, whole berries, tips up, into cream cheese. Spoon cooled strawberry mixture evenly over berries.

6. Chill for 3 to 4 hours. Sprinkle with additional coconut.

7. When ready to serve, top pie with whipped cream or serve cream piled a mile high alongside.

This pie is excellent served with a mint tea.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Raspberry Cherry Chicken Salad with Pecans or Cashews

This is one of those summer salads that is easy to make, is pretty to look at, will impress luncheon guests and tastes good, too! Fresh, light, colorful and delicious, I make this when I want to give myself a little extra lovin' at the end of a busy day.
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 12 ounces rotisserie or grilled chicken, sliced into bite size pieces, skin removed
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • raspberry vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or whole cashews
  • 1/2 cup dried Michigan cherries
  1. Tear romaine lettuce into bite size pieces, and place in salad spinner or large bowl. Add fresh spinach. Fill with cold water. Let sit for 15 minutes, rinse and drain. Dry greens with salad spinner or paper towel.
  2. Place 1/4 for the spinach and lettuce mixture on each plate.
  3. Divide the remaining ingredents throughout the four servings. Drizzle each portion with the raspberry vinaigrette or present it on the side for your guests.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

♥Summertime Strawberry Kiwi Fizz♥

Click on recipe card for EZ to reading
With summer upon us and family and friends congregating to share good food and love, I thought I'd share with you a great non-alcoholic punch. Easy to make, pretty to look at and delicious. What more could anyone want except someone to clean the kitchen at the end of the day.