Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.

As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.

Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Sunday, December 18, 2011

old fashioned sloppy joe sliders

here is an excellent recipe that i found several years ago in everyday food by Martha Stewart.  it is an old fashioned way to serve hamburgers, which i adapted to a smaller size version often called sliders.  Martha's recipe includes garlic, mustard powder, brown sugar and cider vinegar.  i have adapted the recipe for my family.

here is the recipe:  saute 1 chopped white onion in a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan on the stove top.  add one small chopped yellow pepper and saute until done.  season with salt and pepper. these steps will take about 6-8 minutes.

next, add about 3/4 pound of ground sirloin and cook until done.  drain and skim any residual fat and remove from the mixture.  then add one small can of tomato paste or tomato puree and incorporate.  finally, add one half of a bottle of Heinz chili sauce and heat to warm. these steps will take about 8 to 10 minutes.

serve the mixture on smaller toasted buns with lettuce and chopped onion. sloppy joe sliders can be served with roasted red potatoes, chips, cole slaw, a side salad, or any pasta salad. 


one of my favorite breakfast recipes has to be fruit crepes.  this crepe recipe is one of the best and comes from Martha's everyday food magazine.  as the crepes are made, they can be kept warm in the oven covered with foil.

here is the recipe:  mix together 1 cup flour, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. then add, 1 1/2 cups milk, 2 eggs, and 1 tablespoon melted margarine.

using a crepe pan on the stove top, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter in the pan.  then pour a quantity of batter into the pan and swish to cover the pan.  cook the crepe about 1-2 minutes and then turn the crepe over.

continue until the crepes are complete, keeping them warm until serving.  serve with bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or sauteed apples.  dust with powdered sugar and top with whipped cream to serve.  the crepes could also be served with maple or fruit flavored syrup. the crepes can be served with fruit rolled into them, or can be folded into fourths with fruit placed on the top.

peppermint bark

for Christmas this year, i decided to try Paula Deen's recipe for peppermint bark.  this was a very easy recipe that took no more than 15 minutes to prepare.  for the first step, candy canes are placed into a plastic zip lock bag and crushed using a hand mallet.  next, i melted a bit more than one pound of ghiradelli white chocolate in the top of a double boiler, and added about 1/2 teaspoon peppermint flavoring.
 when the chocolate was completely melted, i added the crushed candy canes and mixed them into a smooth chocolate mixture.  next, pour the mixture onto a sheet pan that has been covered with parchment paper.

place the candy in the refrigerator for 45 minutes until firm.  then, remove from the cookie sheet and break into pieces for serving.
here is a photograph of the bark prior to placing into the refrigerator. the bark can be served in a candy dish or added as a garnish to a dish of ice cream.

tea accessories

one of the most important steps in planning for holiday meals is taking stock of available implements or accessories.  one day last week i assembled my tea accessories and made certain they were in great working order for upcoming tea enjoyment. 

i have collected various tea strainers and tea balls to use with loose tea. i have one squeezer for lemons and a couple of larger tea bag spoons.  i also evaluated my supply of tea bags and polished my smaller silver tea spoons.  these accessories have been collected over many years and complement several styles of tea pots.

being an avid tea drinker, i am always looking for new tea accessories.

sno caps

earlier in the blog i gave Martha's recipe for chocolate candy dots, and i made these again last week with lovely Christmas colored decorations.  the recipe was the same, but the colored candy makes the difference for the season.

the recipe makes plenty of candy to fill a Christmas candy dish or to package for friends.  i allowed the dots to harden for 20 minutes prior to adding the candy colored decorations to made certain they would not sink into the dots.  these have always been one of my favorites, and Martha's recipe is very simple to follow.

royal icing for cookie decorating

although there are many recipes for royal icing, i have found one that works every time and hardens nicely so that cookies can be stacked, packaged or transported for gift giving.

here is the recipe: 5 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar, 1 tablespoon and 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar, and 1/2 cup egg whites (refrigerated egg whites work fine)

measure and incorporate all ingredients. combine with a hand mixer on low speed, then switch to high for 2-5 minutes until they are snow white and fluffy.  keep the icing bowl covered with a damp towel while decorating cookies or a gingerbread house.  this icing recipe will not soak into the cookie making it soft or causing a gingerbread house to collapse.

this recipe can be made in smaller quantities.  this recipe is enough to decorate one gingerbread house.