Monthly Archives: September 2010

Christmas Holiday Menu

Hello everyone,

Here are a couple more recipes from the same menu that I made..

Red and Green Vegetable Medley

1 bunch fresh broccoli, cleaned and chopped

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2 tbsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

In a large saucepan, cook broccoli in water until tender. Rinse with cold water and drain well. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and add oil. Stir in broccoli, lemon juice, basil, salt, and pepper. Cook over high heat 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add tomatoes and toss.

Peachy Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces

6 cups water

2 tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp ground cloves

2 cans (29oz. each) peach halves, drained

In a large saucepan, cook potatoes in boiling water 25-30 minutes or until tender; drain. Cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, mash the potatoes.  Mix in the next 5 ingredients, beating until smooth. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place peach halves in an ungreased 9×13 baking pan. Using a pastry bag fitted with a  large star tip, pipe potato mixture into center of each peach half. Bake for 15 minutes or until potato mixture is light brown.

I have been working on the cake for Rays office fund-raiser today. I got the teddy bear molded from rice crispies and the cake baked. I just have to make the frosting tonight. Tomorrow I have a hair cut appointment and need to do some shopping, so I am trying to get what I can done today. I can’t seem to make any cakes in one day like so many other decorators. Too slooooooowwww I guess….

Well enough for now tonight anyway…


Posted by on September 30, 2010 in Christmas Menus


Shrimp Mousse

Hello Everyone,

Here is the first recipe for a Christmas, Thanksgiving, or New Years menu. I first made this menu when I was 20, it was for some friends of my parents as a gift to them. I did get this menu published in our local newspaper a few years ago! Another funny story about this recipe also. A couple of years ago my mom saw this and wanted to make it, I thought that was great! My mom and step-dad had come back from AR with some fresh shrimp that they kept in dry ice driving all the way back from there.  I had come up with a menu for Christmas to go along with this. Well Christmas day came and we all went to a relatives house for dinner. My mom brought in this 9-inch square pan of something kinda gray and white looking. It did not resemble the one I had made several years ago. I thought well I’ll try it and see. Well it had an odd, off sweet taste to it,  not good at all. I asked her what did you put in this??? Well the recipe calls for heavy cream and instead of following the recipe she put non-dairy fat-free cool whip. Yep you read it right, cool whip with shrimp. Well needless to say we all didn’t eat it. I asked her WHY didn’t you follow the recipe?? She said well I can do what I want with the recipes given to me! Problem is when I make stuff and she tries making the same thing she always complains that it doesn’t taste like mine did. Well she will substitute thing’s that do not go well with recipes…  I have given up on giving her any recipes, because I know she won’t follow them… So here is the recipe, I hope you all enjoy it and please no cool whip! That stuff is nasty anyway!!!

 Shrimp Mousse:

12 oz, frozen cooked and peeled shrimp (2 cups) thawed and finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

3 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp white wine

1 tsp. prepared horseradish

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup water

1 envelope unflavored gelatin, I use Knox.

1/2 cup heavy cream

4oz. (1/2 of and 8oz package) cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup mayonnaise

Avocado slices and crackers to serve with.

To marinate shrimp: combine shrimp, celery, lemon juice, wine, horseradish, pepper, and salt in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. In a small saucepan, soften gelatin in water. Place over low heat, stirring until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, beat cream until stiff. Stir in gelatin mixture, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and shrimp mixture. Pour into a greased 8-inch-diameter ring mold. Stirring occasionally, chill until mixture begins to set; chill until firm. To unmold, dip mold into hot water up to rim and invert onto a serving plate. Serve with avocado slices and crackers.

Well until next time and with five more recipes to come this week!!!

Amanda 🙂


Posted by on September 29, 2010 in Christmas Menus


Honey History

Hello everyone,

Here is my last post about honey; Honey is as old as written history.

Honey is an organic, natural sugar alternative with no additives that is easy on the stomach, adapts to all cooking processes, and has an indefinite shelf life. I like to make lemon tea with honey when I have a cold/flu. It soothes a sore throat and upset stomach.

Honey History: Honey is as old as written history, dating back to 2100B.C. where it was mentioned in Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform writings, the Hittite code, and the sacred writings of India and Egypt. It is presumably even older than that. Its name comes from the English (hunig), and it was the first and most widespread sweetener used by man. Legend has it that Cupid dipped his love arrows in honey before aiming at unsuspecting lovers. In Old Testament of the Bible, Israel was often referred to as “The land of milk and honey”. Mead, an alcoholic drink made from honey was called “nectar of the gods”, high praise indeed. Honey was valued and often used as a form of currency, tribute, or offering. In the 11th century A.D., German peasants paid their feudal lords in honey and beeswax Although experts argue whether the honeybee is native to the Americas, conquering Spaniards in 1600 A.D. found native Mexicans and Central Americans had already developed beekeeping methods to produce honey. In days of old, honey has been used not only in food and beverages, but also to make cement, in furniture polishes and varnishes, and for medicinal purposes. Bees perform the vital service of pollinating fruits, legumes, vegetables and other types of food-producing plants in the course of their business of honey production. This info was provided to me by the University Of Idaho extension office and by Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, Guide.

I have 3 cakes this week, 1st one I am getting done today for a veteran. He just wanted a devils food cake with white frosting! Which is unusual we normally make more decorated cakes for the VA home, but not this time. I bought a cake stencil and some chocolate jimmies to use on it. I normally handwrite on the cakes, but I wanted to do something different this time.  My 2nd cake is for my husband’s office. They are having an auction to help raise money for there annual Christmas party. I am making my chocolate cream cake and decorating it with a fall theme. I am molding some chocolate scarecrows and molding a teddy bear to look like a scarecrow for the top of the cake. I want to pipe on pumpkins, wheat stalks, ect..  It should turn out cute. It will be interesting to see how much the cake sells for!!! My last cake for the week is for a nursing home resident. I don’t know yet what I want to make. My last 2 cakes to them were not up to my standards. I was sick, just some of the Sarcoidosis complications. I had went to the ER the night before, so I was wiped out. I made just 2, 9-inch round cakes. One was white and pink the other was all chocolate. I know they tasted good, so I guess that’s what really counted the most. I did get a thank you card from the pink and white cake, the lady said the resident just loved it! I want to make something really pretty for the Saturday cake. Maybe something with roses since I LOVE to make roses!!!

Well I better go for now, I need to get the cake done and work on some other recipes. Keep checking back I’ll be posting a Christmas menu that I made for some friends several years ago. It is a little different, I know Christmas is far away yet, but it’s never to early in my mind to plan for it!!!

Until next time..

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on September 27, 2010 in Baking & Cooking with Honey


Passing the Time.

Hello Everyone,

As some of you may already know from my Facebook page that my godmother passed away this week. I guess they were putting in a new pace maker and something went wrong. They have already cremated her body and plan on having a memorial service for her next spring. I can’t say I was very close to her because truth be told I wasn’t. Even though she was my godmother, I didn’t have a lot of contact with her. We both worked in the nursing home where she lived, she had been there for over 20 years I think. I just worked there a little over a year split between 2 different times I was employed there. We never talked to each other much when I was there, she was always busy with the laundry, and me with the residents.. Ruthie is what we called her, and her and her husband were married just after my mom and dad got married over 35 years ago.  Ruthie is some of my cousins grandmother also. When we saw her she always told me how much I looked like my grandma Shirley, and it’s true I do look a lot like her. I got all my baking skills from her too.  I posted how sorry I was to one of my cousin’s FB page last night and said did you know she way my godmother? Well this cousin removed my post.. I don’t understand why at all, I was just expressing how sorry I was. I have never been close to any of my cousins, I don’t know if it’s because of all the moving we did or what. I am the oldest on both sides of my family, I am the first grandchild for both sides also. I feel like a lot of the time most of them don’t want to be around me.. Which is puzzling to me… I haven’t ever talked bad about any of them or anything. I don’t look like any of them either… I am as different as night is day to most of them. I have 10 first cousins altogether and several 2nd and 3rd ones. I guess that is what happens nowadays with families spreading apart… Is it this way with everyone or just my family??? I need to remember not to be so sensitive myself, with all the steroids and other meds I am on, I get my feeling’s hurt very easily.  I woke up crying this morning from a bad dream, I don’t remember what it was about now.. Last night I was going through some of my cookbooks, (I am working on a Thanksgiving menu to post here later). At first my husband thought I was planning it of my family, I said no just for us for right now. I haven’t even thought about what to do for Thanksgiving yet, there’s just too much bad family crap going on right now. My mom and step-dad will be in AR for the holiday and I don’t know about my grandparent’s or my aunt that lives here. Ray and I need to go visit his aunt, she’s live 2 hours from us and is 85, so she may not be around too much longer.. Who knows what will happen.  I told Ray last night that we really need to get my will in order. I don’t know if I am going to make it through this time… The Dr. told me that I have to stay on blood thinners for a while, because of the way the vein heeled behind my right knee. It’s still open even through the clot is gone and she said I could get another blood clot very easy. So I know with taking blood thinners there is no way I can ever have children, it would give birth defects ect..  I am ok with this, I came to terms with this a long time ago. While it makes me sad sometimes and I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have kids.. The Lord knows what is best for me even though I may question why me Lord??? I know right now I am to ill for anything anyway. Ray said when we move I can get my fur baby, a female Pomeranian. I would really like to get 2, one red and one white. Call them Fireball and Icee hehehe… I  don’t know yet…

Well enough for now, I’ll try to post the rest of my honey information tomorrow…

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on September 24, 2010 in Uncategorized


More Honey Information

Hello Everyone,

Honey has been a favorite sweetener since prehistoric times and still has advantages over sugar even today. Honey is composed of two simple sugars, glucose and fructose, honey is absorbed in a different manner and therefore causes a slower, more gradual rise in blood sugar. Because honey has a  slightly higher percentage of fructose than sugar, it tastes sweeter, and less is required for equal sweetness. Honey contains small amounts of numerous vitamins and minerals, but not enough to fulfill and of the body’s daily needs. Remember that honey does contain calories, and cannot be used freely by a diabetic and is not recommended for infants formulas. The flavor, aroma and color of honey vary with the kind of  flowers from which the bees gather the nectar used to make the honey. The fructose gives honey its sweet flavor, and the nectar adds the characteristic taste of the floral source to your recipes. the most common varieties are alfalfa, catsclaw, clove, cotton, horsemint, mesquite, white brush, Chinese tallow, huajilo and wild flower. Generally the lighter the honey, the milder the flavor. If a stronger flavor is desired for your recipe, use a darker, stronger flavored honey; if a more delicate flavor is desired, use a lighter milder flavored honey. Honey can easily be substituted for sugar as shown with common recipe favorites her on my blog and with other recipes. Due to honey’s ability to retain water, products made with honey tend to remain moister longer than similar products made with sugar or other sweetener. Some minor adjustments may need to be made to a recipe when substituting honey for sugar.

1. Use equal amounts of honey for sugar up to one cup. Over one cup, replace each cup of  sugar with 2/3 to 3/4 cup over honey depending upon the sweetness desired.

2. Lower the baking temperature 25 degree and watch your time carefully since products with honey brown faster.

3. In recipes using more than one cup honey for sugar, it may be necessary to reduce liquids by 1/4 per cup of honey.

4. In baked goods, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of honey if baking soda is not already included in the recipe. this will reduce the acidity of the honey, as well as increase the volume of your product.

I delivered the Mission cake today and it all went well, they were very happy to see the cake!! Made me feel good. I have just one more cake for this month and it’s for a vet on Tuesday. All he wants is devils food cake with white frosting, so that one will be an easy one to take care of.

I am still sick, I had 2 Dr appts this week, plus a pelvic ultrasound. I have to stay on blood thinners for a while longer. My blood clots are dissolved, but one of then could come back. With the way my Dr described the vein it looks like a pen tip and it’s open and could clot again very easily. I hope and pray that it wont!!! The steroids are keeping me awake and giving me a lot of energy. Sometimes it’s nice other times I would just like to rest and sleep!!!

Well I hope everyone out there in cyberspace is doing well!!

Until next time..

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on September 23, 2010 in Baking & Cooking with Honey



Hello everyone,

Here are some baking, cooking, and storage basics about honey.

Honey Tips and Hints:

It’s very easy to substitute honey for sugar in your recipes. Honey is up to twice as sweet as table sugar, so you will need to reduce the amount called for in the recipe by 1/3 to 1/2 honey for granulated or table sugar. In addition, since honey is composed of up to 18% water, you will need to reduce the liquid called for in baked good-by about 1/5. When baking sweets,  you should also lower your oven temperature by 25 degrees F. (15 degrees C.) If you are measuring honey by weight, 1 cup will weigh 12 oz. To help that honey slide smoothly from your measuring utensils, simply  lightly coat the utensil with vegetable spray before measuring the honey. Unless the recipe calls for sour milk or cream, some cooks add the merest pinch of baking soda to the recipe of baked goods to counteract the slight acidity of the honey which may cause overbrowning. Since it has the ability to absorb and retain moisture, honey is used in the industry to keep baked goods moist and fresh. Use honey in baked goods if you plan to mail to keep them bakery-fresh. Honey is also an excellent choice to use in salad dressings, since its emulsifying qualities make it a perfect stabilizer.

Honey Storage

Storing honey is easy. Simply keep it in a cool location away from direct sunlight in a tightly covered container. It is not necessary to refrigerate honey. In fact, it’s much easier to handle if you don’t. Honey may be frozen, although there’s really no need. Do not be alarmed if stored honey becomes cloudy. This is called crystallization. It is not harmful nor it is any indiction of deterioration. In fact, honey has an indefinite shelf-life thanks to its high concentration of sugar. Raw honey with high pollen count will crystallize even faster, and cold temperatures also cause crystals. Crystallized honey is one of the many forms intentionally produced for purchase be many beekeepers. If your honey crystallizes, you can easily re-liquefy it by gently heating the jar in a pan of hot water, stirring while heating. Do not overheat as heat may alter flavor and color as a result of cartelization of the sugars.

Since I have several recipes that call for honey I wanted to write some of this down to help anyone. I love baking and cooking with honey or just drizzling it on hot bread!!!

I have 1 Angel cake this week, it’s for the Lighthouse Rescue Mission. I make a 11×18 sheet cake (which takes 3 cake mixes) and 2 dozen cupcakes. I don’t get very fancy with it, it’s all for all the men’s Birthday’s for the month. I have a few Dr appts to this week so there is my week!! LOL!!

I’ll have more honey hint’s and tip’s through the week. It’s from the University of Idaho Food Safety class we had awhile back.

Until later!!

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on September 20, 2010 in Baking & Cooking with Honey


Ham and Potatoe Dish

Hello everyone,

I made up this recipe last night and my husband loved it. Now, I know it’s not for everyone, anyone on a diet or anyone that has dairy allergies better stay away from it!! I don’t normally make potatoes this way, I just wanted to use up some ingredient’s in the refrigerator. Enjoy!!

Ham and Potato Dish

8 medium potatoes, peeled and slice paper-thin.

4 cloves garlic, minced

5 green onions, minced

2 springs fresh rosemary, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 lb. smoked ham, chopped

2-1/4 cups heavy cream

2 cups shredded cheese, your choice..

Butter a 9-inch square deep-dish glass pan. Heat oven to 400 degrees. First layer 3 potatoes on bottom on pan, sprinkle with salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and rosemary. Last layer on some of the ham, repeat until all the potatoes, ham, garlic, and rosemary are used up. Lightly salt and pepper each layer (optional). Pour heavy cream over entire dish tapping pan on counter lightly to get the cream evenly distributed over mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 2 hours until potatoes are very tender. In the last 15 minutes of baking, cover top with cheese and let it melt and get crispy on the edges. Let dish rest for 15 minutes, give it time to set… Enjoy everyone!!

I have a VA cake to get baked today and Ray is going to deliver it on Saturday. The vet likes airplanes, so I’ll be using the cross pan to make a plane. It’s one I saw on Wilton’s webpage and have been wanting to make for a while. My mom has an airplane cake pan, but they are out-of-town and I don’t want to use it anyway. I want to try this other one and see how it works out.  I am feeling a bit better, the steroids are giving me a buzz all the time.. Which is ok when I want to get stuff done around the house, but it doesn’t help me sleep at all. Right now I feel kinda weird, because I had to take a pain pill. On Tuesday Ray took me to the ER late that night, I can’t tell between my lung pain and a heart attack. I am waiting to hear from a cardiologist to see what they would like to do.. So for right now I’m just trying to stay calm and away from my family. I talked to my mom awhile ago, and all the same family crap, she thinks I don’t know what all goes on, but I do. I told her to stop underestimating me and what I know!! It pisses me off when she does that!!! I finally had to tell her I needed to go take a nap, my stomach is hurting, which is true right now… 

Well goodbye for now!!

Happy baking and cooking everyone!!! 🙂

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Posted by on September 16, 2010 in Casseroles