Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Best Banana Bread :)

Hello all,

Here is my banana bread recipe that I have been using for over 20 years. The secret to really moist banana bread is of course the banana’s! You need your banana’s to look like you want to throw them out. It’s true the blacker they are the better your banana bread will be. When I have 1 or 2 banana’s going black I throw then in the freezer until I’m ready to make a batch of banana bread. Just let banana’s thaw in a bowl on the counter of awhile and your all set! This recipe comes from my trusty Betty Crocker Cookbook, it’s the best!!!

Banana Bread:

1-1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 large eggs

3 medium banana’s

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tap. vanilla

1 tsp. baking soda

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 cup chopped and toasted walnuts, or pecans

Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms only of 2, 8×4-inch loaf pans or 1, 9×5-inch loaf pan with shortening or cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir sugar and butter until well mixed. Stir in eggs until well mixed. Stir in banana’s ( I just peel my banana’s and let the mixer break them up), buttermilk and vanilla; beat on low-speed until just mixed together. Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Divide batter evenly between pans or pour into 9-inch pan. Bake 8-inch loaves about 1 hour, 9-inch loaf about 1 hour 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on wire rack. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and place top side up on a wire rack and cover with a clean dish towel. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days and refrigerate up to 10 days.

Here are some helpful hints that I have learned through the years and from entering the fairs.

1. Grease only the bottom of the pans for nut bread’s, this allows the batter to cling better to the side of the pan and you’ll get a more uniform and better looking loaf.

2. Don’t over fill the pan, if you do your bread will curl at the top and dry out. It will take to long to bake and your bread will be dry.

3. Always let your bread cool completely before wrapping. Otherwise your bread will have a sticky, slimy, feel to it.  YUCK!!!

Quick Bread Loaf Cures:

The best quick bread has…

Golden brown rounded top…

Lengthwise crack (or split) along the top…

Thin, tender crust..

Moist texture with even small holes.. Fruits and-or nuts evenly distributed

Bad bread results…

What happened and why???

1. Didn’t rise-too much mixing, check expiration date on leavening

2. Tough-too much mixing, not enough fat

3. Rims around the edges-too much mixing

4. Compact-too little flour, too much leavening

5. Crumbly-not cooled completely, cut too soon after baking

I hope all these hints will help you make your banana bread a 1st place winner with your family and in the fair!! 🙂

I have an apple pie to bake today for a veteran and I need to deliver it tomorrow. I also have a couple other appts tomorrow… Going to be a long day for me tomorrow… Sigh….

We had a great time with our nephew last night for his birthday. We took him out for pizza and went to see Megamind in 3-D. He told us he was hoping that was the movie we were going to see! 🙂  He will be 9 on the 7th, he is growing up so fast and he is really smart.  Love that little guy!!!

Well I better go bake the pie! 🙂


P.S. Ray and I walked 10 laps around the track at the Y Saturday morning! That’s almost a mile! I just have to take it one day at a time, since my lung function is only at 90% right now. It’s better than it has been anyways… We really like it there, there is so many different thing’s we can do!!

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Posted by on January 31, 2011 in Breads


Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake

Hello everyone,

Here’s a different version of the Texas Chocolate sheet cake, and one of my favorites! I have seen so many different version’s of this recipe published and floating around the net that I have no idea where it originally came from. I looked it up and a lot of other bloggers and people have published their version of this recipe, I hope you like my version! 🙂

Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake:

1-cup unsalted butter, 2 sticks

1-cup water

1/4 cup cocoa powder, I like to use the Saco brand, it’s a special blend of dutch process and regular cocoa powder

2 cups granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. salt

2 large eggs

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

For frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1 stick

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup sour cream

4-1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

chopped pecans or walnuts

Combine butter, water, and cocoa in a saucepan over medium heat; heat until butter melts. Add sugar, flour, salt eggs, baking soda, sour cream, and vanilla; mix well. Pour into a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. For frosting: Combine butter, cocoa and sour cream in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredient’s and mix well. Spread frosting over hot cake and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

I made this cake today for the Ronald McDonald house plus some mandarin orange bars. I don’t know yet if they liked them, I’ll post the mandarin orange bar recipe later if they do..

I walked 7 laps on the track at the Y last night Yahoo!! Hopefully Saturday we can make it to 10 laps!!!

Well I’ll talk to ya all later!!

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on January 28, 2011 in Cakes


Oriental Cabbage Salad

Hello Everyone,

Here is on of my grandma Shirley recipes. I love this cabbage salad, it’s my favorite way to eat cabbage.

1 large head cabbage, chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 tbsp. sesame seeds


1/2 white vinegar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp. season salt

1 package ramen noodles (throw away the seasoning package or save it for something else) or you can use chow mein noodles

In a large bowl the combine cabbage, onion and sesame seeds. In another bowl whisk all dressing ingredient’s together until smooth. Pour over cabbage mixture and toss to coat all the ingredients together. Just before serving toss in the crunchy noodles. My grandma always used the ramen noodles with this recipe.

I am baking at the Ronald McDonald house in the morning. I am baking a Texas Chocolate sheet cake and mandarin orange bars. They are a couple different recipes I am trying out on them.. I did get the Birthday sheet cake done today for the nursing home party for tomorrow. I made chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and crushed Oreo cookies to decorate around the sides of the cake. Looks yummy!!! I am making a small cake for my nephew’s Birthday party, he will be 10! He is growing up to fast… Ray and I are taking him out Sunday. Just the 3 of us, out to eat and a movie. This seems to work better for us, since I don’t get along with my brother or my mom right now.. Just want to do something special with just our nephew this time…

We walked 7 laps around the track at the Y tonight and was happy I could make it that much. There wasn’t as many people there tonight it was about 8:30pm and it was a lot quieter. We are going to be there on Saturday morning when they open at 7am, hopefully it will be really quite!!

Well I better go for now, getting really sleepy.. YAWN!!

Goodnight all..

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Salads


Orange Jello Salad

Hello Everyone,

Here is my grandma Carole’s famous orange jello salad. We all LOVE this salad and eat it many times throughout the year. This is the only jello I will eat. I don’t like regular jello at all, and I have no idea why.. I think it’s the texture of it… I don’t know where she got the recipe, I just know that its is my favorite salad.

Orange Jello Salad:

1 large container full fat cottage cheese, the 2% taste’s sour to me

1 large container cool whip, I know what I said about cool whip in a another post, but this is the only way I’ll eat cool whip also.. HEHE!!

3 small can’s mandarin oranges, drained

2 (3oz.) packages orange jello

Fold all ingredient’s together, (except 1 can of oranges to decorate the top with). Best served cold. I know my grandmother makes her’s a little different from this but, this is the one I have made several times. I have also made this with fresh raspberries and strawberries (when they are in season) and it is wonderful, using raspberry and strawberry jello of course…LOL!!!

Well we went to the Y tonight and walked 4 laps around the walking track, and I know it’s not very much, but it was all I could do for tonight. The place was packed with people, too much for me… Tomorrow morning I am going to the exercise class for the old and sick people like me! LOL!! I hope it will not be as busy as it was tonight!!! There were a lot of heavy people there and a lot of Hispanics, where I live there is a huge Hispanic population. I told Ray I need to learn Spanish, he did buy a computer program so I could learn it. I really need to start using it!!

My Dr. cut down my steroids to 15 mlgs a day now, she is going to talk to my other specialist and see what to do from here. She doesn’t want to just take me off them and have the sarcoid flair back up like it did last summer. Have to wait and see what they will want to do now…

Well I better go for now, I need to rest so I can be up early for the exercise class..

Goodnight all…

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Salads


Peanut Butter Chocolate Dessert

Hello Everyone,

Here’s  a very tasty and easy dessert recipe. My ex-SIL made this a couple of years ago when we all had dinner together. I don’t remember if it was a holiday or something else… Anyway we all loved it and inhaled it!! LOL!! 🙂

Peanut Butter Chocolate Dessert:

20 Oreos cookies, divided

2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided

1 (16-oz.) tib cool whip, divided

15 miniature peanut butter cups, chopped

1 cup whole cold milk

1 package (3.9-oz.) instant chocolate fudge pudding mix

Crush 16 cookies; toss with butter. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch square dish. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter and 1 cup powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in half of the cool whip. Spread over crust. Sprinkle with peanut butter cups. In a another bowl, beat the milk, pudding mix, and remaining powdered sugar on low-speed for 2 minutes. Fold in remaining cool whip. Spread over peanut butter cups. Crush remaining cookies; sprinkle over the top. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours. This makes one 9-inch square dish, but you can easily double the recipe to make a 9×13.

I have just one cake this week and it’s for a nursing home combined Birthday party. This is the first time I will be making this cake. I have thought about making this cake for a while, but it was always taken before I could request to make it. It’s not as big of a cake like the mission cake, it only needs to feed 40 people. The mission cake has to feed 75 people! I am also baking for the Ronald McDonald house this Friday. I don’t know yet what I’ll be making, I need to email them later and ask to see what they would like. The dessert I posted above would be a good one to make for a change, I think!

We went to church this morning and it was a wonderful service! I thought we had Life Group tonight, but I don’t think they had it, no one called us about it anyway. I’ll just have to check about it for next Sunday. I am trying to be more positive in my thinking and praying. When I went to my ladies meeting last Tuesday, one of the ladies gave me good book about all the healing scriptures in the Bible. I have been reading though it and trying to memorize the verses. I know one day the Lord will heal me and I will be healthy again!!! Ray signed up for that weight-loss challenge Saturday. He had to be weighed and they took a picture of him. It goes until the end of July and they have some good prize money for the top winners, so we’ll see what happens. There were 30 other people who signed up for it also. Ray turned in our paperwork for the Y Sunday. We plan on going there 2 times this week. I just want to start on the walking track, and maybe sign up for a couple of classes. I am thinking about the one they have for people new to exercise and that have been sick. I am also thinking about trying the yoga class later, it would help ease the tension in my neck. One of my Dr’s thought it would be good for me, she said every time she felt the lymph node’s in my neck they were tense and sore.

Well I better go for now..

Later everyone!! 🙂


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Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Dessert's


Artichoke Dip

Hello Everyone,

Here is a recipe that my ex-sister-in-law Erin gave me. It is the best artichoke dip I have ever tasted! Whenever we had family gathering’s I would ask her to bring this dip. We love it, so I am sending it out to you all!!

Artichoke Dip:

4 cloves garlic, minced

1-lb. cream cheese, softened

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

2 lbs. canned artichoke hearts

red pepper flakes



Blend all ingredients-except hearts and parmesan cheese. Add in hearts but do not puree.  Fold in red pepper flakes, oregano, and parsley. ( I don’t have the exact measurements for the spices, so add them to your taste. Put mixture in casserole dish and top with parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve warm with toasted baguette’s or crackers.

Not much else going on with us around here, just been doing a lot of much-needed cleaning this week. Ray singed up for the weight-loss contest I was talking about. He said there’s still time if I wanted to sign up for it. I said NO WAY that’s too much pressure for, I just want to go to the Y and walk, and get to feeling better first. 

I found some old recipes of my grandma Shirley’s, I thought I would make them and post then later.. She was a fantastic baker and cook.. I’m not going to post the sweet potato recipe or the broccoli recipe everyone, I’m sorry. I just don’t want to make them. I am working a Valentines menu. I hope you all like Chinese food, because that’s what I am making.. LOL!! 🙂

Until next time everyone..

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Appetizers


Meatloaf with Carmalized Onion Topping

Hello Everyone,

Ray and I love meatloaf, its easy to make plus makes great sandwiches the next day! 🙂

Caramelized Onions:

4 large yellow onions, thinly sliced

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

2 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


1-lb. ground turkey meat

1/2-lb. ground pork

1 cup whole milk

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. poultry seasoning

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup fresh dry breadcrumbs

1 large egg

1 small onion, finely chopped

To make onion topping, melt butter with the olive oil, and cook onions on medium heat until onions have browned and caramelized in color, about 1 hour. Use a non-stick pan and stir with a wooden spoon every 10 minutes or so.  Heat oven to 350 degrees, and combine all meatloaf ingredients together, do not overmix. Place in a 9×5-inch loaf pan. I like to use  my stoneware loaf pan, the meatloaf get’s a nice crust. Top with caramelized onions and bake for 1-15  minutes or until a thermometer reaches 170 degrees.

Had great time at my church women’s group last night. Heard some great testimonies that really moved me. Later the ladies prayed for me, and I am believing that Jesus will heal my lung disease! I found out that a lot of them go the Y also. I said please pray for me to have the courage to go and keep going!! One lady last night said that I look younger than the first time we met! I said really? First time we met at the church group was over a year ago. That’s hard for me to compute in my brain, that I could look younger, when I feel so fat from the steroids. So hopefully in another year’s time I’ll look even better, that would be great!!! 🙂

Going to be a slow week for me with no cakes to bake, don’t know what to do with myself… I am working on a Valentines menu for Ray and I.  I want to say to anyone who follow’s my blog that I’m sorry I didn’t finish making the New Year’s eve menu. I haven’t even made the broccoli dish or the sweet potatoes. I have all the stuff for them, so maybe with no cakes with week, I’ll make them.. Maybe… They would be great to eat anytime, I guess, not just on a holiday..

Until next time everyone…

Amanda 🙂


Posted by on January 19, 2011 in Meats


Swedish Meatballs

Hello Everyone,

Here is a recipe I made up for my husband awhile ago. We had something similar at our church group one night and he begged me to make it for weeks! 🙂

Swedish Meatballs:


1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup whole milk

2 tbsp. ketchup

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1-lb. ground beef

1/2-lb. ground pork sausage

4 tbsp. all-purpose flour


3 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided

3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 can (14-oz.) low-sodium beef broth

1 cup sour cream

1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

For meatballs: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients together for the meatballs (not the flour yet). Shape into 1-1/2-inch balls. Roll in flour, shaking off excess. Place 1-inch apart on a greased 15x10x1-inch baking sheet. Bake, uncovered at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn meatballs, bake for 12-15 minutes longer or until meat is no longer pink.

For cream sauce: In a large skillet over medium-heat, melt the 1/4 cup butter and brown the mushrooms; set aside. Meanwhile, for sauce, melt the remaining butter in saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour, thyme, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add broth and the sour cream. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the mushrooms and parsley. Drain the meatballs on paper-towels; transfer to a serving dish; add sauce over top. Serve with hot cooked noodles or rice.

The trip to Twin Falls went really well! Rays aunt was delighted to see the cake I made for her. I made a 2-layer white almond sour cream cake with a raspberry filling and vanilla buttercream. I made about 200 little drop flowers in light pink and light purple royal icing. The look on her face said it all, she was thrilled! Her daughters and some grandchildren were there and some other cousins, I’m sorry everyone I have a hard time keeping up with all the names and the faces. They loved the cake too!! 

I don’t have any cakes at all this week, which I am happy about. I need to rest and get some other thing’s done around my house… I am really tired even though Ray does all the driving and carries all the bags ect… The stocking’s help my legs from hurting so much.. Pray for me as, we are going to start going to the Y this week, I need encouragement… This isn’t easy for me, I don’t like people to stare at me…Ray doesn’t realize it, but I see it when people stare at me, because of my weight. The steroids have made my face so puffy, that I look awful, plus my hair is falling out, getting curly, and growing in all the wrong places!!  Ray is even thinking about entering a weight-loss contest that’s been advertising, I said I’m not going to enter it, that’s too much pressure for me… I have enough other pressure and crap that I don’t need that..

Well enough for now, it’s hard for me to watch a movie and blog at the same time…

Until next time..


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Posted by on January 17, 2011 in Meats


Orange-Flavored Honey Cake

Hello Everyone,

Here’s a cake I made a couple of years ago for the honey contest at the fair. I don’t remember if I won or where I placed, it’s been awhile… Wish I could remember… I do know it tastes really good!! 🙂

Orange-Flavored Honey Cake

3 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup honey

2 large eggs, separated

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 tsp orange extract

2 tbsp. orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With 1 tbsp. of the butter grease the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan lightly dust with flour, set aside. In a mixing bowl cream the remaining butter and sugar together until creamy, add egg yolks one at time, beating well after each. Beat constantly, slowly add the honey in a thin stream. In a bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Pour half of flour mixture into egg mixture, mix well. Then add the orange juice and remaining flour mixture. Stir in the orange extract and zest. In a clean mixing bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the whites gently into orange batter until thoroughly mixed. Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Serve warm with honey butter or sweetened whipped cream. You can add sweetened dried cranberries or nuts to this as well. Enjoy! 🙂

The cake deliveries went well this week. I was afraid the NICU cake might get put off again, but it didn’t.. The only delivery that went well weird was the pies to the vets home. I got up early Wednesday morning to make the custard fresh so the crust wouldn’t get soggy, poured the custard and banana’s in the crust and refrigerated them for 2 hours to set and cool down. Monday I had bought a can of reddi-whip for the topping. Well the pies set up great, I layered on the cream in a pretty design and added some more banana’s for decoration. I wrapped them up and set them in the trunk of my car and off I went to deliver!!! It’s a half hour drive to the VA home and it had been raining all morning. When I got to the VA home I double parked my car, so I was in a hurry to get them in the office of the VA. The cake looked great, but the cream on the banana pies had melted!! ACK!! It was all under the pie tins and inside of the plastic we use to wrap the cakes and pies with. The lady at the office said not to worry about it, they would clean up the pies and add more fresh whipped cream to the top. I said I don’t know what happened??? It could have been the rain and the humidity in the air that day.. I also called the lady that sends us the names of the vet’s monthly Birthdays to say how sorry I was that had happened. I haven’t heard back from her yet, so I don’t know what has happened.. I hope she calls me next week..

We are heading of to Twin Falls later morning, for Ray’s aunt’s Birthday. I made her a heart-shaped almond sour cream cake, with vanilla buttercream and made a fresh raspberry filling. I made about 200 light pink, and light purple drop flowers last night for the cake. I still need to decorate the cake this morning. I was so tired last night I went to bed and 8pm. I woke up at 2:30 am and decided to surf the net and write this morning before Ray wakes up..

Well I better go for now, need to get the cake done!! 🙂

Until next time everyone..

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on January 15, 2011 in Cakes


December Food Network Magazine Recipe Reviews

Hello everyone,

I made several recipes from the December issue, not as many as I wanted to. There are several others I would like to try later. When I make them I will mention them in later posts. There were a lot of dessert recipes and it would have been SUGAR-OVERLOAD if I had made them all!! Some would be great to enter in the State fair later, but I will try them before entering any of them..

So here goes… First one is one page, 60 Ellie Kriger’s Minstrone soup. I really like her recipes, they are tasty and don’t have all the fake junk, like sugar substitutes, ect.. This soup is wonderful, light and refreshing!!! Next on page 96-97, I only made Duff’s potato pancake and it’s ok, nothing to special about it, just potatoes… I am going to make Nigella’s recipe later this week, so I’ll write about that one later.. Next one on page 101 Charlie’s Cranberry-Eggnog Muffins, and these were ok, I think there’s some typo in this recipe, because it made almost 18 standard size muffins, and the recipe says it only makes 12, what up with that??? There was way too much topping for the muffins also, I didn’t like the texture of it. These are better served warm the same day as they don’t taste good cold.. It’s a heavy dense muffin, not what I am used to, I guess. As far as flavor wise goes they do taste ok..Next on pages 177-183, I made the first 3 pages of these cookies and had to stop. These were the cookies I made for Christmas day and was going to give them out on plates to my family, and well from my other posts you know what happened on that day.. I put a lot of work, money and time into making all these cookies only to have them thrown back at me, I am heartbroken by how we were treated that day. I still have a had time even talking about it without crying… As far as the cookies go all 9 recipes I made were very good, I still have most of them in my freezer. We did eat all of the meringue cookies, they are my favorite cookies right now! I baked the Golden Sesame Rolls the other day and they are really good to and so easy!!! When I make the last 3 cookie recipes I post more about them later.. Like I said before a lot of sugar is this issue, too much!!! Well that’s all I made so far…

My Dr. sent the letter we needed to the Y , so hopefully we will be able to start going next week. I am looking forward to going, even through it will be hard at first..

The cake for the NICU baby has been put off until Friday, I guess he isn’t doing as well as they had hoped.. I do have a cake to deliver to the mentally challenged place on Friday also. The lady I talked to on the phone said that the girl I am baking the cake for a girly-girly, so anything pink, yellow or with flowers would be great! I thought about making her a purse cake. I haven’t made one before. Wilton has a really cute purse cake pan, it would be fun to try that one!!

Well I better go for now, I have a lot to get done today!!! 4 cakes, 2 pies, and cleaning to work on the rest of this week. I forgot to say that the 4th cake will be for my husband’s aunt, she will be 88, I think? You would never know she was that age, she still drives, cleans her house and cooks for her kids and family a lot. She’s an amazing lady!! We lover her a lot!!! She deserve’s a special cake!! 🙂

Amanda 🙂