Saturday, December 1, 2007

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Bars

After purchasing some processed breakfast/snack bars on a recent trip to Tulsa, I came up with this to satisfy the family's tastes and my sensibilities:

2 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups rice crispies
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup coconut oil

syrup: 1/2 cup each organic honey, brown sugar and water. Heat on low until brown sugar is disolved. cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to condense slightly.

pulse oats and crisp rice cereal in food processor with metal blade briefly, you want some reduced to coarse meal but the rest to be whole. Add chocolate and cherries, pulse briefly. add oil and syrup. tiSr to combine. Spread on a greased cookie sheet to approximately 3/4 inch thickness. Smooth top and edges with spatula. (I used a half-sheet pan and it only filled 1/2 of it). Bake 300 degrees farenheit until just tacky on the surface, will vary with humidity. Possibly 15-20 minutes. cut with pizza cutter 1x2 or to desired size and remove to wire rack to cool. Will be chewy, but should stay in bar shape.

Oil and Vinegar herb salad dressing

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup Soy or other neutral oil like canola
1/2 cup organic apple cider vinegar
dash soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/2 teaspoon oregano, crushed
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds or celery salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional, to taste)

Add or delete herbs and seasonings according to your tastes. Stores easily in a 16 oz squirt top plastic container from the restaurant supply store.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Chili Powder

2 teaspoons paprika
1 t cayenne powder
1 t crushed red pepper
2 t oregano (mexican if you can find it)
4 t garlic powder
2 t ground cumin seeds
2 t toasted ground cumin seeds (in a dry, hot, skillet until they "pop")

Combine all in spice grinder, process until fine powder. Store in airtight container. Makes about 4 Tablespoons.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Kendo Kookies

Kendo Kookies by William

I practice Kendo, a Japanese sword art, and I need to raise money for lessons and tournaments. My goal is $200. Please help me by enjoying homemade cookies made by me.

Type of cookie price qty total

1. no-bake chocolate chip oatmeal (6) $1 ___ ___

2. chocolate chip (4) $1 ___ ___

3. peanut butter oatmeal (4) $1 ___ ___

*grand total ____

ingredient list:

no-bake; oatmeal, sugar, cocoa, milk, butter, vanilla, salt

chocolate chip; flour, dark, milk and white chocolate chips, butter, sugar, brown sugar, egg, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, salt

peanut butter oatmeal

whole wheat and all purpose flour, brown sugar, natural chunky peanut butter, dry milk powder, old fashioned rolled oats, butter, egg, vanilla, baking soda.

* I take cash, checks (payable to William Thornton-Leonard) and paypal!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

BBQ sauce #2

Today's BBQ sauce starts with a simple syrup. Here in the south so many sauces have HFCS in them that I thought I'd try an alternative.

1 C water and 1 C sugar combined on medium heat until dissolved, cook until reaches a syrup consistency. Cool *alternately, use 1 cup honey*

To that add
1/2 C prepared mustard
6 oz can tomato sauce
2 T vegetable oil
2 t liquid smoke
2 T Worcestershire (I use French's, but anyone with anchovies will work well)
1T+ 1 t salt
1T +1 t garlic powder
2 t onion powder
2 T paprika
1/2 t cayenne
pinch celery seed and ground mace
1/2 C organic apple cider vinegar

Heat over low until desired consistency. I store mine in a squirt plastic container from the restaurant supply. Yields about 24 oz.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

ham casserole

1 can cream mushroom soup
6 oz sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 c. frozen peas
1 diced onion
3 cloves garlic
1 can sliced button mushrooms
2 Cups chopped smoked ham
1/4 cup cream
approx 2 soup cans of whole milk
3 cups brown rice
2 cups water
pepper basil
2 teaspoons dried celery.

grease casserole (11x13) and add all ingredients. bake on 400 for 45 minutes. This is very heavy on the rice and not very cheesy. My family would vote for less rice and more "good stuff"

playground potluck for passover

1 large package frozen spinach
8 oz sour cream
1 cup finely chopped onion
4 eggs
1/2 + cup parmesan
2 T salt
2 t. garlic powder
1 t. black pepper
10 potatoes, microwaved 8-10 minutes or until tender
2-3 T olive oil

Combine all, use potato masher to break up potatoes to smaller pieces, pour into greased baking dish (11x9) and bake at 400 20 minutes

Sick (cold) soup

invented with i was horribly ill with a viral infection. It has become a family staple. We now call it cold soup and even take it to friends when they are sick.

8 cloves garlic, slightly cooked in oil until golden
1 T salt
1/2 t sage (or more)
1 T crushed red pepper flakes
2 small white potaotes, diced small
2 small sweet potatoes, diced small
2-4 Cups turkey stock or vegetable stock

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot and cook until potatoes are tender.


1 onion, rough chopped
2 garlic cloves, rough chopped

sweat these two ingredients over low heat and small amount of oil
3 zuchinni, sliced
4 yellow squash, sliced
1/2 eggplant cut in 1" slices
2 garrots diced
1 can tomato sauce
1 bell pepper
salt, black pepper, oregano, thyme, basil to taste

combine all ingredients over low heat until tender. Serve over noodles or brown rice.

Cauliflower soup #1

Rough chop one head of cauliflower and steam or boil until slightly tender
combine 1 stick melted butter with 8 T flour and heat over low heat. Add 3+ cups milk. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, garlic, onion salt. When thickened add 2 cups cheese (swiss and cheddar work well) Add cauliflower. Serves 8

Roasted vegetable soup

8 cloves of garlic
1 onion
2 potatoes cut into quarters
1 cup carrots

toss ingredients in 2 T oil, sprinkle liberally with salt and roast on 450-500 45 minutes OR until roasted but not burned. Remove and cool slightly. Pulse in food processor with strained chicken stock (6 cups water and chicken parts, bones boiled then simmered until reduced in volume by 1/2)
combine stock and puree on medium high heat. Add 1 T corn starch and 1/4 c. water to chicken if desired. Serve with hearty sliced homemade bread.

pseudo stroganoff

1 lb box WW penne, cooked slightly less than package directions and drained
add shredded leftover beef
1 small can mushrooms pieces
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 T paprika
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
1 soup can of milk, half and half or cream.

Combine last 5 ingredients over medium heat. Add pasta and cook an additional 5 minutes. Top with sour cream if desired.

Beach breakfast pie

This recipe is a routine on the last day at the beach house. We clear out the refrigerator and call is breakfast. It has evolved to be a favorite and I routinely make this for breakfast. Alter the ingredients according to what your family likes. This is basically a frittatta and at home I start it on the stove in a skillet and finish in the oven.

3 potatoes, microwaved on high for 3 minutes, diced and salted
8 pieces of turkey bacon, diced and microwaved to desired crispness
4 eggs, beaten with 1 T salad dressing (1000 island or blue cheese) or salsa

combine all ingredients in a buttered cake pan, top with slices of cheese. Bake at 350 until eggs are set except for center. (allow carry over heat to finish cooking them)
serves 4

beach potato casserole

4 potatoes, cooked in the microwave 8 minutes (do NOT pierce skins)
mash the potatoes (skins and all) wit h8 oz cream cheese and add 2 T blue cheese dressing, 1 1/2 c. frozen corn, dried onions, garlic powder, crushed red pepper to taste. Add sliced leftover sausage medallions. Mix thoroughly, pour into buttered casserole dish and bake at 350 until golden.

Quick chicken

2 chicken breasts, diced into 1" cubes
season packet from chicken ramen
1/4 AP flour
mini carrots
1 red bell pepper
dehydrated minced onions
garlic powder

Toss chicken in flour seasoned with ramen packet. Brown in oil over mede. heat. Att remaining ingredients, stir. Cook 5 minutes. Add approx 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, stir, cover and cook 3 additional minutes. Serves 4

Chicken and Rice #1

a quick and easy "beach" dinner, serves 4
1 chicken breast sliced into 1" cubes
red onion
3/4 c. rise
1 jar marinated mushrooms

Brown chicken in butter. Add sliced red onions, salt and sweat. At 1 teaspoon dried basil and 3/4 c. white rice plus approx 1 1/2 c. water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until rice is tender or about 18 minutes.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Healthy Sport Drink

This recipe came about during a recent Kendo summer camp in Atlanta when our youngest son ran out of Gatorade (TM)and asked me to buy more for the following day. I was at Whole Foods in Atlanta (on Ponce) and could only find electrolyte water and some sport drink called Refresh (TM). The next day he announced he greatly prefered the juice drink (Refresh) and when I read the ingredients I came up with this.

1000 ml water
1000 ml 100% white grape or other condentrate reconstituted at 1:4 ratio
1000 ml hibiscus tea (we use Lemon or Raspberry Zinger 3-4 tea bags steeped in approx 2 liters of water)
1 teaspoon sea salt

combine and chill. Makes 3 liters of sport drink. *note this is not an electrolyte product, but a tasty was to hydrate*
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Monday, July 16, 2007

Zucchini skillet dinner

1 2-5 lb zucchini large diced
1 lb spicy sausage (breakfast)
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 potatoes diced
salt, pepper, marjoram to taste

cook sausage in large cast iron skilled. add onions until translucent, add remaining ingredients. serves 4 very hungry people without side dishes.

version #2
re-hash of zucchini and squash casserole (alternate layers of zucchini, potato and crook-neck squash medallions in a 9x13 baking dish, cover in 3 cup medium white sauce to which has been added 1/2 c. mixed soft white cheese, garlic and onion powder and basil to taste. Top with Parmeson cheese. bake on 350 x 1 hr.)
to leftover casserole add 1 lb venison (or frozen ground turkey) 1 t. each sage, marjoram, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes to taste. cook until venison is browned and liquid in casserole has reduced to desired consistency.

Refrigerator bread and butter pickles, attempt #1

1 gallon container, plastic or glass, sterilized

thinly sliced pickling cucumbers to fill that container
3 thinly sliced onions layers with cucumbers

combine 4 cups vinegar and 4 cups sugar, 1/4 salt. heat until sugar is dissolved. remove from heat add 1T each allspice, mustard seed, celery seed, 1t turmeric and red pepper flakes to taste.
allow to cool and pour over layered cucumbers and onions. cover tightly and refrigerate. wait at least 24 hours before consuming. keeps 2-3 months in refrigerator.

I found this recipe to be too salty and not enough of the sweet/spicy combination that i prefer in bread and butter pickles. i would add at least whole cloves next time and cut down the salt slightly (perhaps 2 T instead of 1/4 cup, but I need to check measurements)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Hot wings on the grill

we love hot wings, but the heat of the oven is too much in the summer so today I tried a different take on hot wings and put them on the grill. First I marinated 5 pounds of wing sections in
1/2 c. Louisianna Hot Sauce
2 T olive oil
1-2 T soy sauce
dash garlic powder, onion powder
1 capful smoke seasoning
dash kosher salt

pre-heated the grill to 350.
turn wings 1/2 way through cooking, cook until internal temperature hits 165.

1/2 c. louisianna hot sauce
3 T butter, melted but not broken
mix and drizzle over wings

serve with salad and a cool creamy dressing (try my creamy caesar dressing)

BBQ Shop Sauce clone #1

Our family's favorite barbeque sauce is local and the first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup! We're cutting HFCS from our diet in all forms. We finally took the step and I am attempting to clone the taste. This is good and close to the original, but next time I'm making the catsup from scratch. This catsup ::sigh:: has HFCS in it.

1 C. catsup
1 t. brown sugar
1/4 C. mustard
1 T soy oil
1 capful of liquid smoke
1 t. salt
2 t. paprika,
1 t onion powder
fresh ground pepper, 20 grinds
dash celery salt
small dash cayenne powder
dash allspice
2 T cider
1 T or more worchestershire sauce

combine and heat on low heat for 15 minutes or until as thick as desired.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

buttermilk biscuits

These are straight from a 1950's version of Betty Crocker cookbook! This morning I used the buttermilk and shortening recipe. They were yummy, light, flaky. Served with sausage gravy (it's a southern thing)

caramel turtle mini cheesecakes

These were for Bethany's birthday and a BBQ at Renee and Shelli's
melt 3 T butter,
combine with finely crushed graham crackers (I use the metal blade in the Cuisinart)
and about 2T sugar.

Stir to combine and press FIRMLY into the bottom of 18 greased muffin tins

16 oz softened cream cheese
1 T lemon juice (fresh is best)
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs (large)
1 t. vainlla

cream the softened cream cheese in a stand mixer until slightly airy, add remaining ingredients and process until fluffy. Put one scoop from a #30 disher into each tin. Bake at 325-350 degrees for 20 mins or until the filling appears just set not browned.

cool completely and top with
caramel sauce (6-8 soft caramel candies and 2 t. cream, microwaved on 60% until melted, stir carefully)
chocolate sauce/ganache (4-6 squares of your favorite dark/espresso or other semi-sweet chcoclate and 1 T cream, microwaved on 50% for about 30-40 seconds. Stir carefully, adjust to taste)
crushed toasted pecans (place 1/2 cup pecans on a sheet pan in a 350 degree oven for approx 20 minutes or until nuts appear browned. Place on firm surface and crush using rolling pin.)

probably a zillion calories. We make a full-sized cheese cake of this for Ginger's birthday. I don't think there are any photos of that or of the pecan pie William and I made her. (our first and I loved it!)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Mexcian-style Workout Casserole

Edited August 2007
Why "workout" casserole? Because we workout at 4:30 daily and that seriously cuts into my cooking prep time. Add to that 2-3 nights a week of evening activities and you get a pretty good idea how important it is to have dinner ready when we walk in the door at 5:30-5:45 so we can be out the door again by 6:30. I apologize for the less than beautiful photo, I put the spoon in to serve before I remembered to take a picture. This is my attempt at tidying it up.

1 1/2 cups white short or medium grain rice (raw)
scant 3 cups water
approx 1 cup frozen corn
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with lime and cilantro OR "mexican" diced tomatoes (not drained)
7.5 oz chorizo uncooked, broken into pieces OR other raw ground meat including sausage
1 14.5 oz can black beans, drained OR pinto beans, refried beans etc.
dash red pepper flakes to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2-2 cups shredded jack, cheddar or other cheese.
add chili powder, salt and other seasonings (cumin comes to mind) after the rice and water

Layer ingredients in round casserole in order listed. DO NOT STIR. Bake at 350-400 for 1 hour covered. serve with green salad.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Black-eyed Pea soup

This thick and spicy soup is the product of a very frustrated end-of-Pesach cooking. Black-eyed peas had been given to us by a friend. I rarely cook with them. They are, happily, not actually a bean and can be used during Passover. I will try to post a photo later today. The second incarnation of this soup is currently on the stove. Note, the photo was taken of the very last bit of soup. It was devoured by 3 pre-teen/teen boys and 2 adults.

2 stalks celery thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic either pressed or finely diced
1 T coconut oil (can sub any other oil)
1 t. kosher salt (or less of the table variety, it's saltier)

sweat these ingredients on low heat until the celery is beginning to soften, but not browning at all.

add to this
1 can black-eyed peas and 4 jalapenos (less to taste) blended to a smooth paste (blender)
1 can black-eyed peas, drained
1 can tomato and green chili, drained (can sub 1 can diced tomato, drained, add chili peppers to taste)
1 t. black pepper, freshly ground
2 C. water
2 cubes bouillon cubes (I used chicken, you could use vegetable or even beef)

Cook in heavy stock pot over medium heat until reduced in volumn by 1/3 or to your preferred thickness.
Yields approximately 8 one and a half cup servings. Garnish with sour cream or shredded cheese.

Optional: Have a bit of leftover mashed potatoes? They can be used as a thicken if this isn't hearty enough. Too spicy? Cut the heat with 1 T catsup, more to taste. Add roasted carrots and onions, dice before roasting (450 degrees or gas mark 4 for about 15-30 min or until slightly roasted).

Serve with corn bread. I can't share that recipe as it is Ginger's uncle Johnny Dobbs' recipe and is available in the probably out of print Memphis Cookbook from the Junior League of Memphis in the late 50's.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

*Almost* Girl Scout Peanut Butter Cookies

I admit, we spent way too much on Girl Scout cookies each year. I won't stop buying them, but to tide me over until next year, I've come up with this almost Do Si Dos (registered to Girl Scouts)
1 stick salted butter
1/2 C chunky natural peanut butter (Kroger's store brand)
1 C. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 t. vanilla
1 C. whole wheat flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 C. dry milk powder
1/2 C. old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)

Cream butter (not too softened) peanut butter and brown sugar in stand mixer with paddle attachment. Start slowly to break up the butter and then process on higher speed until mixture is lighter and almost doubled in volume. Add egg, vanilla, mix well on medium speed. Add flour, soda, dry milk powder and oats. Stir. Portion with a #70 disher (or slightly rounded teaspoon) onto parchment paper lined half-sheet pan or cookie sheet. Flatten with fork (I flatten twice at 90 degree angles) and Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes or until crisp and slightly brown. Cool on wire rack.

Tzatziki (Cucumber Yogurt dip, salad or even soup!)

3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 T dill weed (more to taste)
2 medium or one very large cucumber, peeled, seeded and rough chopped
2 c. plain yogurt
salt and fresh pepper to taste

combine all ingredients in a bowl, chill and serve. My family loves with on fresh made french baguettes when there is no falafel in site, or we just eat it like a salad out of small bowls. For a soup you can add 4 cups of yogurt and process some or all of the Tzatziki in the blender. You could also add a tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil.

Blue Cheese Salad Dressing or Vegetable Dip

1 1/2 C. plain yogurt
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 C crumbled blue cheese
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1-2 T grated Parmesan Cheese
2 t. organic apple cider vinegar
1/4 t. freshly grated black pepper
1-2 cloves finely minced fresh garlic or 1/2-1 t. powdered garlic
3 T finely minced onions or 1+ T dried minced onion
1/4 t. Thyme
1/4 t. oregano
1/2 t. dried or fresh parsley
celery salt to taste
dash cayenne powder

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix well. Chill 2 hours before serving. May add milk, buttermilk or water to thin consistency

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Pumpkin peanut butter snack cake

Light and only slightly sweet, this snack cake hits the spot with tea, coffee or milk. The kids and I agree it is more fall in nature due to the pumpkin. We think maybe we'll do an almond butter and fruit rendition next time.

1/2 c. smooth all natural peanut butter
1/2 C. molasses
2 T brown sugar
2 eggs
1 C flour (whole wheat is fine)
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 C mashed cooked pumpkin (canned is fine)
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/3 C. rolled oats
1/3 C. oats
dash almond and vanilla extract

Combine ingredients and mix well (I used a stand mixer and paddle on medium speed). Pour into a greased pan (I used a tart pan) and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 mins. or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. may frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream cheese frosting: 8 oz softened cream cheese, 2-4 T powdered sugar, 1/2-1 t. almond extract or vanilla extract, water to reach desired consistency. I soften the cream cheese in the stand mixer by first rinsing the metal bowl in hot water then adding the cream cheese and beating on low speed, gradually increase speed after adding additional ingredients. Finish on whip setting.

cooking on the web

I am not certain if Food Network can claim this spot as I believe it was PBS that first introduced me to chefs in my home. I loved the Frugal Gourmet and now am quite smitten with the wit and wisdom of Alton Brown's writing/production team. I am no Alton Brown. I do, however, LOVE TO COOK!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Mom's cornbread stuffing

9x13 pan of cornbread (or double recipe of cast-iron Memphis recipe)
bake, allow to cool and crumble cornbread
2 stalks of celergy diced fine
1 onion diced fine
2 cups of chicken or turkey stock
2-3 teaspoons of rubbed sage
1/4 t. thyme
1/4 t. margoram

bake 1 1/2 hour at 350

Sunday, July 23, 2006


1 lb meat (lean roast sliced 1/4 in thick)
4 T soy sauce
4 T worchestershire
1 T ketchup
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion salt
1/2 t. salt

mix all and marinate meat overnight
place on dehydrator rack and leave 12 hours or until almost bone dry. If using oven, put to "warm" or just with pilot light on and crack door. Place meat on racks on 1/2 sheet pans to allow air to circulate.

Mom's oven french toast

loaf french bread sliced 1 " thick
6 lg eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. half and half
1 t. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 stick softened butter
2 T dark karo
1 c. pecans coarsley chopped

butter 9" sq. baking dish
fill with bread slices
mix eggs, milk etc, pour over bread
cover, refrigerate overnight
bake 350 until puffed and golden (approx 40 minutes)
mix ingredients for topping, spread evenly over bread let stand 5 minutes before serving

note: I omit the topping, but dot the bread with butter and sugar before baking

Friday, June 23, 2006

red leg casserole

1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 c. ricotta cheese
2 T parmesan
2 T cream
1 c. diced carrots
1 T. green pepper diced
1+ c. diced fresh mushrooms
1 cup barley & 1 1/2 c. water covered and microwaved on high for 7 minutes

2 cups diced red leg or other fowl.

combine all in casserole dish, bake 350 for 30 minutes