About Me

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Hello everyone, I'm Cindi, aka "domestic goddess", and I consider myself to be a country girl at heart. I'm also a mother to 3 daughters, and I have 1 granddaughter. Being a country gal, I enjoy preparing down-home country meals for my family. I also enjoy sharing recipes with others, collecting cookbooks, reading about the paranormal, and spending time with my family.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cinnamon Chip Rice Krispie Bars

Yesterday I made marshmallow rice krispie bars, and added some cinnamon flavored chips to the mix. They were quite cinnamony delicious!  I also made a smaller pan of Peanut Butter Krispie Bars, and posted the recipe following the Cinnamon Chip Krispie Bars.

Cinnamon Chip Rice Krispie Bars

5 tablespoons butter
1 (10.5 ounce) bag miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup Hershey's Cinnamon Chips
7 cups Rice Krispies Cereal

Butter the inside of one 13x9x2-inch cake pan, then set the pan aside.

In a large stock-pot, melt the 5 tablespoons of butter over very low heat. (Whenever I make rice krispie bars, I use an 8-quart Teflon coated stock-pot.)

After the butter's melted in the pot, add the miniature marshmallows, and stir until the marshmallows have completely melted.

Once the marshmallows have completely melted, add the cinnamon chips, and stir until the chips have almost melted through. (It's ok to have a few unmelted chips.)

Remove pot from the heat, add the cereal, and stir until the cereal is evenly coated with the marshmallow mixture.

Press the marshmallow/cereal mixture into the buttered pan.

Let bars sit for 2-3 hours, before cutting them.

Yields: 24 bars

Note: When I made the smaller pan of Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Bars, in a buttered 8x8-inch pan, here's the amount of ingredients I used...

4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
5 cups miniature marshmallows
5 cups of rice krispie cereal

After you melt the marshmallows in the butter, add the creamy peanut butter; stir to melt the peanut butter through. Once that is done, add the cereal, and stir to coat the cereal evenly with the marshmallow mixture. Press the marshmallow/cereal mixture into the buttered 8x8-inch pan. Let bars sit for a while, to allow the bars to firm up a bit, then cut into 16 bars. Since I made these in a smaller pan, the bars were a bit thicker than the ones I usually make in a cake pan.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Poverty Meal

This is a quick, cheap, easy meal to prepare, plus it's also very good! I especially enjoyed this topped with grated parmesan cheese. You can serve it without the cheese, then it reminds me of Goulash. I came across this recipe back in 2009 at Recipezaar.com, which Malriha originally posted the recipe. This is a very popular recipe, as it has over 500 reviews.

Poverty Meal

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt, season to taste (See *Note)
black pepper, season to taste (See *Note)
2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
2 cups water
8 ounces elbow macaroni, uncooked
Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese, to garnish the dish

In a large deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil. (I used my chicken fryer when preparing this meal.)

Add the ground beef, and cook until the meat has browned 3/4's of the way.

Now add the onion and garlic, and finish browning the meat and onion. Drain off any excess grease.

Season meat and onion with the salt and pepper.

Now add the stewed tomatoes, the can of water, and the uncooked
macaroni. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to almost a simmer.

Cook and stir occasionally for 15 to 20 minutes, until the macaroni is cooked through. (Do not cover the skillet while cooking this dish.)

Once cooked, serve immediately, and sprinkle each serving with the parmesan cheese.

This makes: 4 - 5 servings

*Note: If desired, you can substitute Lawry's Seasoned Salt for the table salt, and substitute Lawry's Seasoned Black Pepper for the black pepper.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Zucchini Carrot Cake

This is one of "the best" cakes I've had in a long time. Not only is this cake very moist, but the spices added, reminded me of a homemade spice cake. I didn't make a 3-layer cake, I opt to make 3-single frosted layered cakes. Two of the cakes I had given to others, and the other I kept for my husband and I to try.

Zucchini Carrot Cake

4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/3 cups vegetable oil
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (*See note)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated/finely shredded carrots
2 cups grated/finely shredded zucchini
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, or walnuts (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened (1/2 cup)
5 cups confectioners' sugar (I used 6 cups)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Whole or coarsely chopped pecans, or walnuts (optional)
.......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... ..........

In a large bowl, or a Kitchen-Aid Mixer, add the eggs and sugar. Beat eggs and sugar until frothy.

Gradually beat in the vegetable oil.

In another bowl mix together, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the whipped egg/sugar mixture, and beat for 4 minutes.

Add the carrots, zucchini, and nuts to the batter, and stir to mix.

Pour batter into 3 greased (9-inch) round baking pans. Place pans in a 350 degree oven, and bake for about 35 minutes, or until top of cake springs back when lightly touched.

Cool cakes for 5 minutes before removing them from the pans, then cool cakes thoroughly on a wire rack.

To make the frosting: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract, and continue beating until sugar is dissolved. Spread frosting between the layers, and over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish cake with whole pecans or walnuts, or with chopped pecans or walnuts, if desired. (I added 6 cups of the confectioners' sugar, as I thought the frosting wasn't the right consistency for me. I ended up with a bit more frosting, but stored the extra frosting in the refrigerator to use later.)

*Note: This recipe specifies to use 2-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, but I used 1 cup of whole wheat flour, and 1-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, plus I did not add any nuts to the cake batter. Instead I just topped the cake(s) with a bit of chopped pecans.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Last week my oldest daughter had given me some zucchini from her garden. Wanting to bake some sort of chocolate bread with it,
I came across a recipe which included mini chocolate chips in the recipe, and boy did this bread taste chocolatey good! I baked 2 loaves, and shared one of them with my daughter. After the bread cooled completely, I thought it stayed nice and moist in a Tupperware container. I also thought it tasted best if eatin' the day it is was made.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or canola oil)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups grated zucchini (do not peel the zucchini)
3/4 cup real semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
the zest from one orange (optional ingredient)

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350º.

Grease and flour (2) 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf baking pans. I used Teflon non-stick pans, and sprayed them with Baker's Joy No-Stick Baking Spray with Flour.

In a small bowl mix together, the cinnamon-sugar topping ingredients, then set bowl aside.

In a medium size bowl mix together, the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder; set this bowl aside as well.

In a large mixing bowl, or if your using a Kitchen-Aid Mixer, add the oil, both sugars, and the eggs. Beat until slightly fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.

Add the vanilla and sour cream; mix until combined. Gently stir in the grated zucchini, and the zest from one orange. I did not add the zest from one orange, and I thought the bread tasted great without it!

In a small bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture. Add the mini chocolate chips, and stir to coat chips with the flour. This will help keep the chips evenly distributed in the batter. Add the remaining flour mixture to the batter; stir just until combined.

Add the chocolate chips; stir to combine. Divide batter evenly between the 2 loaf pans, and sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar topping evenly over each pan. Place both pans onto a baking sheet. (This helps to remove pans from the oven a bit more easily.)

Bake in oven for 50-60 minutes. (Mine was done baking within 60 minutes.) To see if the bread is done baking, insert toothpick, to be sure non of the batter is sticking to the toothpick. Once the bread is done baking, set pans aside to cool for 5-10 minutes, then place loaves onto a wire rack to cool bread completely, before slicing bread.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cream of Potato & Cheddar Cheese Soup

One day my daughter Jen had given me some of her Yukon Gold Potatoes from her garden. I then decided I'd quickly throw a potato soup together in my crock-pot. Within 3 hours and 15 minutes, we had a delicious potato soup for our dinner.

Cream of Potato & Cheddar Cheese Soup

6 cups peeled, cubed, Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
1 (14 ounce) can low sodium chicken broth
1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of celery soup
1 cup half-and-half cream
1-1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
cheese & garlic flavored croutons, to garnish the soup (opt.)

Put the potatoes, onion, celery, garlic powder, white pepper, and both cans of chicken broth, in a 3-1/2 quart size crock-pot.

Stir in the cream of celery soup; place the lid over the crock-pot, and cook on high for 3 hours, or 3 hours and 15 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.

Once the potatoes are completely cooked; stir in the half-and-half cream, then stir in the shredded cheddar cheese.

Cover the crock-pot, and let sit until the cheese melts.

Once the cheese has melted, stir the soup, then ladle soup into bowls, and garnish each bowl with the cheese & garlic flavored croutons, if desired.

This soup makes: 6 servings

Instant Gingerbread Coffee

I make this coffee when I have a craving for anything gingerbread. I top it with whipped cream, and add a light sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Instant Gingerbread Coffee

1-1/2 tsp. instant coffee (Maxwell House or Folgers)
1 cup boiling water
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, plus an 1/8 tsp.
2-1/2 tsp. unsulphured molasses (See *Note)
3 tablespoons half-and-half cream
Reddi Wip Whipped Cream (to garnish coffee)
pumpkin pie spice (a light sprinkle to garnish coffee)

In a coffee cup mix together, the instant coffee, 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus the 1/8 tsp.

Add the boiling water and molasses, and stir.

Stir in the half-and-half.

Garnish coffee with the Reddi Wip.

Lightly sprinkle a bit of pumpkin pie spice over the whipped topping, and serve.

This makes: 1 serving.

*Note: For this coffee be sure to unsulphured molasses. It really adds flavor to the coffee. Whatever you do, do not use a mild molasses, as it's just too bland, and doesn't add much flavor.

Photo taken of coffee by the Just A Pinch Crew,
at: www.justapinch.com

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to brew the perfect cup of coffee

1. Buy whole coffee beans, rather than purchasing already ground coffee. Grind the coffee beans to a medium grind. Use 2 tablespoons per each (3/4 cup) of coffee. To makes 6 cups of coffee, use 12 tablespoons of the ground coffee.

2. Use cold refrigerated filtered water.

3. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt, over the coffee grounds.

4. Use unbleached coffee filters.

5. After the coffee is done brewing, immediately pour coffee into an insulated thermos, so the coffee doesn't taste burnt while sitting on the burner. The coffee will stay quite warm for hours in the thermos. (I used a stainless-steel thermos, and it kept the coffee warm for hours.)

Note: Before I added the coffee to the thermos, I filled the thermos with "hot" water, and sealed it. I let it sit while brewing the coffee, which was about 15 minutes. This will help to keep the coffee warmer a bit longer. Fifteen minutes later, I dumped out the "hot" water, and poured the "hot" coffee into the thermos; sealed it, and enjoyed a hot cup of coffee through out the remainder of the day.

Green Bean Fries

I make these green bean fries at least twice during the summer. My family loves them, and I enjoy them much more than deep fried french fries. They taste even better when dipped in a bottled ranch dressing, such as... Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing. Also, I like to use over-sized green beans when making these green bean fries.

Green Bean Fries

About 9-ounces of fresh green beans (extra large in size)
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk (I used 2% milk)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plain (or) Italian Style bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
vegetable oil, or shortening, or lard (use for deep frying)
dipping sauce: Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing

Fill a large bowl half-way, with water and lots of ice, then set bowl aside.

In a shallow bowl beat together, the egg and milk.

Place flour in another shallow bowl, or one 8 (or) 9-inch pan.

Combine bread crumbs and seasonings into a 3rd shallow bowl, or one 8 (or) 9-inch pan.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the green beans in water for about 5 minutes, then place par-boiled beans in ice water for a few seconds, to stop the cooking process. Remove beans from the ice water; shake off excess water, then place beans on a plate, and set beans aside.

Coat beans (one at a time) with flour, then dip beans in the egg/milk mixture, and then coat the beans with the bread crumb mixture. Place beans on a plate until all are coated.

Add vegetable oil, or shortening, or lard, to a heavy skillet or a deep fryer. (Use enough to cover the beans, about 1-1/2 inches.) Heat the oil, shortening, or lard to 350º. Fry beans until they're golden brown, about 1 minute & 45 seconds.

Place paper toweling onto a plate or serving dish. Then place fried beans on paper toweling. Let fried beans cool slightly if they're too hot to handle. Serve fried beans with the ranch dressing.

Note: If the green beans you picked weren't extra large in size, but rather medium in size, then par-boil them for about 3 minutes, and deep fry them for about 1 minute & 30 seconds. Also, there's no need to add salt to the breading mixture, or to the beans after frying them, as I've found the bottle dressing seems to have enough salt in the ranch dressing. At least it did to me! One more thing I wanted to mention... I found 2 large handfuls of green beans, is pretty much equivalent to 9-ounces.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Grandma Richter's Wilted Lettuce Salad

This is my son-in-laws favorite salad, which was prepared by his grandmother on many holiday occasions. It's now our families favorite as well.  I did modify the ingredients, so it could easily be made by others.  My son-in-law had told me, that when this salad was placed on the dinner table along with the traditional holiday fixins', it was this salad that everyone would reach for first, and I can see why, as this salad is so good.  It's also what my family reaches for first at the dinner table as well. And I'm not kidding!

Grandma Richter's Wilted Lettuce Salad

salad ingredients:
12 cups (8-ounces) romaine lettuce (*See note)
11 slices hickory smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
2-1/2 tablespoons diced onion

creamy dressing ingredients:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, plus 2 tablespoons
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, plus 1 tablespoon
..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....

Place salad ingredients into a very large bowl.
(I put mine into a 13 cup size Tupperware bowl.)

In another bowl, add the creamy dressing ingredients.
Stir thoroughly to blend the ingredients together.

Pour the creamy dressing, a little at a time, over the salad, and stir gently to combine.

Once the creamy dressing has been completely mixed into the salad, serve the salad immediately.

Servings: 10-12

*Note: When making this salad, you can pretty much use any type of lettuce, but my daughter and I agree, we much prefer using romaine lettuce; picked fresh from ones garden, but you can use store bought lettuce, even the iceberg lettuce. Also, when adding the leaves to the bowl, I pretty much left the leaves whole, except for the leaves that were a bit too large, then I tore those in half.

........... An up close picture of salad ...........

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Creamsicle Jell-O Cake

This cake reminds me of those orange cream popsicles I had when I was a youngster. Boy do those creamsicles bring back memories! If you like creamsicles, then you will enjoy this cake, which also is a very moist cake by the way.

Creamsicle Jell-O Cake

Cake Ingredients:
1 (18.25 oz.) box Duncan Hines Orange Supreme Cake Mix
3 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-1/3 cups water
..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....
1 (3 ounce) box orange gelatin
1 cup hot boiling water
1 cup cold water

Frosting Ingredients:
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup 2% milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure orange extract
1 (0.16 oz.) packet Mandarin Tangerine Kool-Aid
1 (3.4 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (8 ounce) frozen container Cool Whip, thawed

Instructions to make/bake the cake:
Preheat oven to 350º.
(If using a metal or glass pan, preheat oven to 325º.)
Grease inside of one 13x9x2-inch pan with shortening.
Lightly flour the pan.

In a large mixing bowl, add the dry cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, and water. Beat ingredients at low speed for 30-60 seconds. Then beat at medium speed for about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of bowl, then continue to mix batter for another minute or two, until batter ingredients are well combined together.

Pour batter into cake pan, and bake immediately. (Since I used a pyrex glass cake pan, I baked my cake for 35 minutes in a 325º oven.) Be sure to check the back of the boxed cake mix, to see how long to bake your cake, for what type of pan you are using.

After removing pan from oven, use a toothpick to poke wholes over the entire cake. This may seem a bit time consuming, but be sure to poke every inch of the cake. Set cake aside to cool. Once the cake has cooled, follow instructions for preparing the gelatin.

In a heat-proof bowl, add the orange gelatin and hot boiling water, and stir for 2 minutes. Now add the 1 cup of cold water, and stir for about 30 seconds. Use a large spoon to pour the liquid gelatin over the entire cake. Once that is done, I then place the cake in the refrigerator for several hours, (about 4-6 hours) before frosting the cake.

Instructions to prepare frosting and to frost the cake:
In a large deep bowl, add the softened cream cheese; beat for a minute with an electric hand held mixer. Now add the milk, and beat until milk and cream cheese are well mixed together. Add the extracts, Kool-Aid, and boxed pudding mix; beat well to combine all the ingredients together. Using the hand held mixer, gently mix in the entire container of Cool Whip. Spoon large dollops of the frosting over the cake, until it's covered the entired cake. Carefully spread frosting to cover the cake.

I refrigerated the cake overnight in the fridge, and served it the next day. Cut cake into 16 slices, before serving. Carefully remove cake from pan when ready to serve, as this is an extremely moist cake.

Note: I found this cake keeps well for several days in the refrigerator. Also, when making this cake, I had noticed the boxed cake mix I used, had expired past the due date, so when I mixed the cake ingredients together, I also added 1 tablespoon of meringue powder, which I got from the baking dept at our Festival Foods Store. The meringue powder added some height to the cake. Some cakes when past the expiration date, may not rise as much, so by adding the tablespoon of the powder, helps the cake to rise up nicely.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Orange Julius Knock-Off!!!

I never had an Orange Julius, not until I came across this recipe at food.com. The recipe was submitted by... love4culinary. This is a quick, easy, drink to make, and it's quite refreshing!

Orange Julius Knock-Off!!!

1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 (regular size) ice cubes

Combine all of the ingredients (except for the ice cubes) into a blender. Blend on high for 15-30 seconds, or until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the ice cubes, and blend on high until the consistency of your average icy, making sure there are ice bits remaining (but not chunks of ice).

This makes: 1 serving

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Watermelon-Blueberry Juice Pick-Me-Up

I came across this refreshing beverage recipe at
food.com, which Connie (aka Chef1MOM) posted
the recipe. This beverage is a bit different from the
drinks I'm use to making. Who'd a thought of mixing
watermelon and blueberries together? My husband
and I enjoy this on those hot summer days!

Watermelon-Blueberry Juice Pick-Me-Up

2 cups chopped watermelon
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Splenda
ice cubes, optional

Add the above ingredients into a blender.
Blend until smooth.
Pour into a glass (with or without ice) and serve.
Yields: 1 serving

Berry variations: Try other berries with this recipe, such as, strawberries, blackberries, and boysenberry. You could also mix this with some lime juice instead of the lemon.

To make a slushie: Just mix and pour into a plastic cup,
freeze for 35 - 45 min., take out and mush for slushie effect.

Note: If desired, double the ingredients.
This will make 3-1/4 cups.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Refreshing Watermelon Lemonade

I love watermelon and lemonade, so this is one of my favorite lemonades! I originally came across this recipe which was posted by Nif at Recipezaar. I did however, modify the recipe a bit to my liking. Sometimes when I make this beverage, I'll add 4 cups of the chopped watermelon, and sometimes I may add 5 cups. Guess the sweetness of the melon determines how much I'd like to add, or if I'd like this to be a bit more tart and tangy, then I'll just add the 4 cups of the chopped melon.

Refreshing Watermelon Lemonade

4 or 5 cups of chopped watermelon
1-1/8 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (*See note)
3 cups water

Place watermelon in a blender, and process until smooth.

If desired, strain the watermelon. (I strained it twice, before adding it to the pitcher.)

Add the watermelon juice, sugar, and lemon juice to a 2-quart pitcher. Briskly stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Now add the water, and stir.

Chill watermelon lemonade in the refrigerator.

Serve chilled lemonade with ice, but stir well before serving.

Yields: 56-oz. of "the best" watermelon lemonade ever!

*Note: I found you will need 8 medium to large size lemons, to get 1 and a 1/2 cups of fresh lemon juice.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rhubarb Lemonade

I love this lemonade! It's sweet, tart, and yet very refreshing!

Rhubarb Lemonade

8 cups diced rhubarb
8 cups water
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 whole lemons

In a large heavy saucepan, add the rhubarb and water.

Bring the rhubarb and water to a boil. Then reduce the heat, and simmer until rhubarb is tender. (This should only take about 20 minutes.)

Strain the rhubarb, then add it to a heat-proof pitcher.

To the pitcher, add the sugar and the juice from 2 lemons; stir well.

Allow the lemonade to cool before placing it in the refrigerator.

Chill the lemonade in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, pour the rhubarb lemonade in a glass filled with ice.

Yields: (80-ounces) or 2 quarts, plus 2 cups of rhubarb lemonade.

Note: You could cut this recipe in half, using 4 cups of diced rhubarb, 4 cups of water, 1 whole lemon, and a 3/4 cup of sugar.