Vanilla Wafers yum!

Hard to believe I have lived 67 years and never baked a vanilla wafer?  To tell you the truth I just never thought about it.....Then as I was watching Damaris Phillips make her Banana Pudding on the Cooking Channel she gave her recipe for them.  I of course adapted a little but what little delights they are.  The man who mows for us came to the door to collect and just went on and on about how good the house smelled when he walked up to the screen door.

Ingredients for Vanilla Wafers:

2 sticks room temperature butter  (1 C.)
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/4 C. vanilla extract
2 1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 t. salt

Line baking sheets with parchment or silpat mats and set them aside.

Cream the butter and sugar with a stand mixer for about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  In another bowl combine the dry ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix at lowest speed until just combined.  Refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Drop by teaspoon fulls onto the prepared pans and bake for 12-14 minutes.  Cool and enjoy!  Yield 7-8 dozen depending on size.



Triple Cream of Mushroom Soup

Beautiful fresh mushrooms.
Portabello, crimini, and shitike mushrooms graced my cutting board as I removed the stems to simmer for a luxurious mushroom broth for my Triple Cream of Mushroom Soup for supper last night.

Ingredients for Triple Cream of Mushroom Soup:

6-8 ounces each of 3 of your favorite fresh mushrooms ( I  chose portabello, crimini, and shitike)
1 large onion
1 large carrot
1-2 leeks
3-4 cloves garlic
2 C. white wine
2 C. cream
2 T. fresh parsley
3 T butter
3 T. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Clean the mushrooms with a soft brush and remove the stems.  Set the mushroom caps aside.  Rough chop the onion, garlic, and carrot and combine with the mushroom stems and 2 quarts of water in a large kettle.  Bring to a boil and add salt and pepper.  Reduce to low heat and boil gently until the liquid is reduced by half.

Simmering   the mushroom stock.
Strain the mushroom broth and set aside.  Discard the spent veggies. 

Quarter or dice the mushroom caps and wash well and slice the white and very light green portion of the leek.  Using a soup kettle add the butter and olive oil and turn the burner to medium heat.  Add the leeks and mushrooms and salt and pepper.  Saute until tender and liquid has formed.  Add the mushroom stock, wine, and parsley.  Simmer 30 minutes.  Add the cream, stir well, taste, and correct the seasonings.  Serve with crisp saltines or crusty bread.  Yield 4-6 servings.


Indian Summer Bean Soup and Blueberry Buttermilk Corn Muffins

Gosh I am just crazy about the ending days of summer!  Even rainy days like today.  Not stormy just 70's and a nice rain you really don't even mind going out in.  Actually I did run to the store this morning for a head of cabbage and a handful of kale to add to the beans I soaked overnight.  Plus, I was out of gas for the car and I hate that.  So first thing in a gentle rain I was off.

Ingredients for Indian Summer Bean Soup:

1 pound white beans soaked overnight and drained (I used great northern)
3 qt. stock or water
1 quart tomatoes
2 C. diced onion
2 T. chopped garlic
6 oz. kale stems removed and sliced
1/2 head savoy cabbage shredded
1 C. small carrots
2 russet potatoes peeled and diced
1/4 C. shredded basil leaves
salt and black pepper to taste
1-2 rinds hard cheese, optional

Combine all of the ingredients by late morning and simmer all day until you can no longer stand it!  Taste and correct the seasonings.  Serve with Blueberry Corn Muffins spread with butter and sleep well tonight!

Yield about 4-5 quarts and it just gets better every time you warm it up.  Keep refrigerated between serving times.

Ingredients for Giada De Laurentiis' Blueberry Buttermilk Corn Muffins, my version:

1 1/3 C. buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 1/3 C. flour + 1 T.
1 1/3 C. yellow cornmeal
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. honey
1 T. baking powder
1 t. kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks cold butter cut into dice
2 C. fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and place the rack in the center of the oven.  Line muffin tin with cupcake papers and set aside.

Using a large bowl whisk together the buttermilk. eggs, and vanilla.  Combine the dry ingredients in the food processor.  Add the cold butter chunks and buzz in bursts of about 30-40 seconds until the butter is the size of grains of rice.  Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and fold together until just combined.

Mix the remaining 1 T. of flour with the blueberries tossing to gently combine.  Add them to the batter folding them in.

Use a 1/3 C. measuring cup to dip out the batter into the paper liners and position a berry or two on top!  Bake 20-25 min. until a toothpick tests clean.  Yield 12-16 muffins.


Spicy Chicken Nachos with Pepper Cheese Plus Taco Seasoning Recipe

We have been gifted with a half dozen or so packages of prime cheeses from Wisconsin and several varieties are pepper cheeses.  Just the thing for adorning a big platter of chicken nachos for an easy one dish supper for the two of us.

This weekend I saw again them being made in TV and thought I would roll out my homemade taco seasoning and sear some chicken to start things rolling. 
 (This is the link for the taco seasoning recipe.)

Ingredients for Spicy Chicken Nachos:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 3-4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 t. taco seasoning
2 T. butter
2 t. chili powder
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilies
8 oz. shredded pepper cheese
corn chips
2-3 diced green onions
2 seeded diced ripe tomatoes
2-3 T. canned or fresh sliced peppers, optional
1/4 head shredded lettuce
sour cream

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet, cast iron if you have it.  Mix the taco seasoning and chili powder and season all sides of the chicken.  Sear the chicken all over then reduce the heat to medium and cook 8-10 minutes until done.  Remove the chicken to a platter and just let it sit a few minutes while you pour the Rotel into the hot skillet over the drippings and stir to loosen the bits in the pan.  Reduce the heat to a simmer.  Shred the chicken with 2 forks and return it to the pan with the tomatoes and chilies (Rotel).  Simmer 10-15 min.

Line a large serving platter with corn chips of your choice.  Ladle half of the hot chicken over the chips.  Next place a layer of half the shredded cheese.  Repeat layers with chips, chicken, and cheese.

Top the layers off with green onion slices, diced tomato, pepper slices, shredded lettuce, and sour cream.  DIG IN!  Pass lots of napkins!

This should serve 3-4 unless you have 2 starving men!  Or pass with small plates and forks as an appetizer or snack.  Serve as a dinner salad or a main dish. 


Everything Cookies from the Pioneer Woman are Delicious! They are a GREAT BREAKFAST COOKIE!

I  was channel surfing,  saw these drop cookies being made with dried cherries,  dried apricots, and pecans, then could not resist looking up the recipe!  So after tuning onto Ree Drummond's  portion of "foodtv" I gave them a try and we all loved them.  Crisp on the outside and chewy within.  Yum!  Six dozen cookies disappeared in no time.

One of the things I love about these is they might just as well be called breakfast cookies with the variety of good for you ingredients packed into them.  In fact I have enjoyed them very much with my cup of coffee first thing in the A.M.   Oh yes, I did a bit of adapting....

Ingredients for Everything Cookies:

3 sticks room temperature butter (1 1/2 cups)  I USED HALF BUTTER HALF COCONUT OIL.
2 C. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 T. vanilla
4 large whole eggs 
4 heaping cups flour  MINE WERE MORE WELL ROUNDED.
4 t. baking soda
1 t. kosher salt
1 heaping cup oats  I USED OLD FASHIONED.
1 1/2  C. rough chop dried apricots
1 C. rough chop dried sour cherries (You can use sweet if you prefer.)
1 C. rough chop pecans

Optional:  Sugar for dipping cookie scoop into between dips of the dough.  This keeps the dough from sticking in the scoop and lends a further crisping to the finished cookie.

Cream the butter/and or coconut oil and sugars.  Add the vanilla and eggs,  Next the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add the granola and oats.  Mix well and stir in the fruit and nuts.

Refrigerate the dough 2 hours until firm, I often leave it overnight in a big plastic sack.  Ree Drummond does NOT do this but I like a taller cookie and it is much easier for me to make uniform sizes with a stiffer batter but it is not mandatory.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare the pans with parchment paper or silpat mats.

Using a cookie scoop or two spoons drop onto the prepared pans leaving 2" between the cookies.  Bake for 12-14 minutes until firm.  I BAKED 13 MINUTES.  Cool a few minutes in the pans before removing to finish cooling.  This recipe yielded me 6 dozen cookies.  As Ree Drummond says, " Eat , and feel "unguilty" because there's no chocolate in this cookie."  I love it!

I packed into large plastic zipper bags and plastic bins with tight fitting lids.


German Chocolate Cake and Baby Back Ribs for Brian's Birthday Celebration and Sunday Dinner

We fixed 3 full sides of baby backs!

My husband Brian always orders baby back ribs and German Chocolate Cake for his birthday.  This year was no different.  Here are the links to my recipes for you if you want to try them.      and

L to R our youngest son Joel, birthday boy and patriarch Brian, Granddaughter Kate.   
Lights out! Make a wish! And blow out the candles! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!