Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Strawberry Pie

I received this recipe many years ago from a mom of one of the missionaries who was serving in our area.
My family literally fought over who got the last piece today.
Fresh strawberries, with a fluffy cheesecake like filling - a perfect way to celebrate the first official day of summer!
While this recipe needs a little bit of time to chill, 3-4 hours, the ingredients are simple and it doesn't take long to put together.
Best of all - it just looks beautiful

Wash and hull 20 +/- medium to large sized strawberries.
Cut into slices approx. 1/8-1/4 inch thick, and lay slices on a paper towel to absorb the extra water & juices.

In a mixing bowl, cream 8 oz. cream cheese, and gradually add 1/4 c. sugar
Add 1/2 c. sour cream, and 1 t. vanilla
Mix thoroughly
Gently fold in 1 c. cool whip topping

Place a layer of strawberry slices in the bottom of a graham cracker crust
(Pastry crust may be used, but it just isn't as amazing without the graham crust)
Top with cream cheese mixture
Arrange strawberries on top
Chill for 4 hours before serving

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Boston Baked Beans

Pantry challenge #4.
Yesterday was a cheat day.  We had a garage sale, and then tuna fish sandwiches (from the pantry) for lunch.  Dinner was out of town with a cousin.
Day #5 - Sunday after church chili, and we'll be having pancakes for dinner  :)

Truly however, this post is about Boston Baked Beans - yum

Our daughter was baptized last week and we fed the troops for a couple of days.  We decided to have barbecued pork sandwiches for dinner Sunday evening, and I was looking for the perfect complement.  
I came across this recipe at all recipes.com. 

Here's what my kids said:
"Wow mom!, I've been looking for these beans my whole life.  Always trying them at different places, but this is the first time I've found them - these are my favorite!"
"Mom, these beans are awesome!!!" 
Need I say anything more?  

Honestly, my kids were literally begging me to let them at them 2 days before I was ready to serve them. 
Afterwards, we headed out camping for a family reunion, and I got requests from my brother in law to bring the left overs along.  
Definitely a hit. 
So, as I prepare to move, I thought I'd get them onto my online cookbook here so that I don't lose them.  I used pinto beans because that's what I had on hand.  I can imagine that navy beans would even be that much more amazing.  This recipe is scaled to feed about 12 people (but I found that it makes much more than I expected in reality)

  • 4 cups navy beans
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • Soak beans overnight in cold water. Simmer the beans in the same water until tender, approximately 1 to 2 hours. Drain and reserve the liquid.  

  • OR - rinse and sort beans, then place in pot - covered with water.  Bring to a boil.  Let boil 3 minutes.  Cover with lid, remove from heat and let steep.  
  • Drain water, cover with fresh water (this helps de-gas beans too) and boil for 1-2 hours until softened.  (This is the speedy method I used). 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  • Arrange the beans in a 2 quart bean pot or casserole dish by placing a portion of the beans in the bottom of dish, and layering them with bacon and onion.

  • In a saucepan, combine molasses, salt, pepper, dry mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and pour over beans. Pour in just enough of the reserved bean water to cover the beans. Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil.

  • Bake for 3 to 4 hours in the preheated oven, until beans are tender. Remove the lid about halfway through cooking, and add more liquid if necessary to prevent the beans from getting too dry.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Food Pantry Challenge

We are moving in about a month.
So - I'm starting a food pantry/storage challenge.
We have a BIG (enormous, gigantic - you get the picture) food storage.  Just in case of emergency.
My goal is not to go to the grocery for anything other than fresh produce, milk, eggs, & bread.  I'm focused on using up what I have, before I go buy more stuff so that I'll have a ton to pack and move.

Anything in my fridge, freezer, pantry or food storage is game.
We'll see if I can last a month!  

I cleaned out my pan cupboard.  I now have about 4 pans to last me a month.  We'll see how I do - I should have remembered to keep a frying pan out.  Oh well.

Here's my progress so far:
Day 1
I found old shells in my pantry - still in the plastic (even though they had passed their expiration date - shh..my family doesn't know that part).
Hamburger from the freezer - already cooked - just defrost and add taco seasoning.
Chopped lettuce, tomatoes, onions, & shredded cheese.
10 minutes  prep. (To bake and crispen up those taco shells and chop everything) and wallah! 

Day 2
Mexican Cheese Enchiladas
I found a brick of Mexican cheese in the fridge
Onion in the pantry
Enchilada sauce in the pantry
Corn tortillas on hand (I store them on top of the fridge)
Here's a link to the recipe, but the condensed directions follow.

10 minutes to prep - fry tortillas in olive oil.  Dip in enchilada sauce. Fill with cheese and onions & roll.
Bake 15 minutes to melt cheese.
Serve with shredded lettuce, sour cream, chopped tomatoes.

I'm liking this - and amazed (only day 2 you know) at what I'm coming up with so quickly!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Big Top - Giant Cupcake Cake & Tips

It all started with a cupcake pinata. It was all they had.
Well, other than sponge bob - which wasn't an option.

I bought the pinata, and tried to come up with a theme idea to work with the pinata.

We came up with Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice.
Lots of pink and white
Lots and lots of sugary sweet candy too.

I facebooked all of my peeps to see if anyone had the giant cupcake pan.
Luckly someone did, and let me borrow it.
She also told me that when she tried it - it didn't work.

A silicone cake pan with a somewhat sketchy history.... a little daunting.
I spent a lot of time online trying to figure out the secret to these cakes.

Many people said that pound cake recipes work great.
I don't have one of those.

I improvised.
Here's what I learned:

Use 2 (yes 2) regular cake mixes.
Instead of 3 eggs, use 2 for each mix. This will make the cake a little more dense, and not so light and fluffy. (Still good though)
Follow the rest of the cake directions as directed.
Liberally grease (spray) and flour silicone pans.
Preheat the oven to 325*. Make sure it reaches this heat before placing anything in the oven.

Fill top cake pan with about 2.5 cups of batter.
Fill bottom cake pan with approx. 3.5 cups of batter.
(Make cupcakes for the kids with remaining batter - I got about 9)

Place silicone molds/pans on a cooling rack.
Place cooling rack into a cookie sheet - preferably one that is smaller than the cooling rack.
Yes, it may seem a like it is perched a little precariously.
This helps ensure airflow and even baking.

Place both in the oven.
Remove top cake after approx. 45 minutes. Prior to removing from oven, check for doneness with a toothpick.
If the toothpick comes out clean when you poke it, the cake is done. If not, give it some more time.
Bake the bottom cake for at least an hour, and possibly and additional 10 minutes as well.
Give it the ol' toothpick test as well.

Remove from oven, and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Gently twist and it should pop right out of the pan.

Allow to cool.

Cakes can be placed back in the pans once cooled. To remove inflated cake that rounds over the top of the pan, simply cut across, leveling knife with the top of the pan.  Use a serrated knife.

Assemble with frosting and decorate any old way you choose!
We thought it turned out great!

Here's my daughter's rendition.

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