When humor goes, there goes civilization

Puttering around my world

Apr-9

Tennessee T- Cakes

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     These incredibly moist and buttery confections aren't a cake or a cookie. They're crunchy topped chewy, butterscotch-y heaven, and they're so easy to make.  

     In Nashville, where they were born, they're often served with iced sweet tea, but they're even better with coffee, hot tea, or milk.

Tennessee  T- cakes

Ingredients:
1 ½ c. packed dark brown sugar
½ c. white sugar
1 c. salted butter, melted and hot 
2 large eggs
4 t. vanilla
1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add the brown sugar and white sugar to the melted butter and set aside (some of the brown sugar will melt). In mixer with paddle attachment, gently mix the egg and vanilla. Add the butter and sugar mixture to the egg mixture and beat on low until mixed well. Add flour all at once to mixer.  mix well until ribbon-like.

Bake in 24 paper lined cupcake cups for 22 minutes, turning at 11 minutes.

Dust well with powdered sugar when cooled.

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Comments (5)

Apr-2

Perfect Rump Roast & Horsey Sauce

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Perfect Rump Roast

     Allow the rump roast to come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Cut 4-5 small slits in roast and insert half a garlic clove in each slit. Salt and pepper all over. Rub with rosemary, thyme, or other herbs, if desired, and place on a rack over a metal pan. 

     Sear in oven at 500 degrees for 20 minutes at 500 degrees. Add 1-2 cups beef broth and a large, sliced onion to the pan, lower the temperature to 275 degrees, and roast for 20 minutes per pound until temperature in the thickest part of the meat is 125-130 for rare or 135-140 for medium rare. 

     Strain the drippings for au jus.

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Creamy Horsey Sauce

1 1/3 c. sour cream
6 T. prepared horseradish
1 1/2 t. Dijon mustard 
2 t. fresh lemon juice 
1/2 t. sugar 
1/2 c. whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks

Combine sour cream, horseradish, mustard, lemon juice and sugar. Gently fold in whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate at least 60 minutes to allow flavors to mingle. 
 

Comments (2)

Mar-25

Chocolate Covered PB & Nutella Crackers

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     These are so easy to make and so addictive. The university's basketball team is in the final four, so the PCM luncheon tomorrow has a tailgate theme. Their colors are black and gold, so I came pretty close. 

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Nutella Crakers

3 sleeves Ritz crackers 
1 small jar each creamy peanut butter and Nutella 
2 bags Wilton Milk Chocolate Candy Melts

     Gently melt chocolate wafers over a double boiler, stirring occasionally. Spread half the crackers thinly with PB and the other half with Nuttella, and place them together. Using chopsticks or forks, dip crackers into melted chocolate and place on waxed paper; decorate to suit your tastes or a theme. Allow 1-2 hours to harden completely. 

     Store at room temperature in an airtight container. 

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     If you plan to take them anywhere, do not taste them first. Most of them won't make it to their destination if you do. 

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     If you have any leftover chocolate, which tastes AMAZING on it's own BTW, dip individual crackers in it for another tasty treat. 
 

Comments (3)

Mar-20

Crochet Bridal Shawl Pattern/Directions

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     I fell in love with this shawl and the crocodile stitch, but the directions were so frustrating for me. They were redundant and confusing and I was tearing my hair out trying to figure out how to do this. THIS is my version of this shawl, or the closest I could come to it. If you aren't familiar with the crocodile stitch, Mikey's YouTube video showed me how to do it. It took several tries and stopping and starting the video several times for me to get the basic idea. Mikey's crocodile stitch isn't exactly like the one in the pattern, but the video will show you how to do it. 

Bridal Shawl

 GAUGE:

2 Crocodile stitches = about 4 in. (10 cm). I used a J size hook for most of the shawl.

When you match the gauge in a pattern, your project will be the size specified in the pattern and the materials specified in the pattern will be sufficient. The needle or hook size called for in the pattern is based on what the designer used, but is not unusual for gauge to vary from person to person. If it takes you fewer stitches and rows to make your swatch, try using a smaller size hook or needles; if more stitches and rows, try a larger size hook or needles. 

Terms:

ch = chain

st = stitch

yo = yarn over

sl st = yo, draw yarn through designated sts and the yarn on the hook

Edc = extended double crochet

rep = repeat

To do an Edc, yo, insert hook in indicated st, yo and draw up a loop (3 loops on hook), yo and draw through 1 loop on hook, yo and draw through 2 loops on hook twice

To do a V-st, Edc, ch 1, Edc in indicated stitch

Crocodile st: worked around a V-stitch. Rotate piece one quarter turn right, work 6 Edc on the left Edc, ch 1, rotate piece one half turn to work 6 Edc around the right Edc. [See photos]

Notes: 

1. Shawl is worked from lower center point [a single Crocodile st] upwards in alternating rows.

    a. Crocodile st rows: Alternate Crocodile sts with Edcs, beginning and ending with Crocodile sts. Crocodile sts are done in the V-sts from the previous row and slip stitched to the Edcs from that row.

    b. V-sts rows:  Alternate V-sts and Edcs. Sts are increased on each side to create a triangular shawl. This is  done by crocheting a V-st on the ends of the far right and left Crocodile sts from the previous row. V-sts are done in the sl sts from the previous row and Edcs are done in the center of the Crocodile sts from that row..

2. The shawl is worked with the right side (RS) facing you at all times. V-sts rows are worked right to left and crocodile rows are worked left to right, rotating the shawl clockwise and counter clockwise as needed to do the sts.

3. The shawl can be as long or as short as needed; the top edging and finishing sts are not dependent on the shawl being one certain length or the final rows being a certain number of sts. It’s very flexible.

SHAWL
Beg at lower back point of Shawl, ch 6; join with sl st in first ch to form a ring.

Row 1: Ch 3 (counts as first Edc), (5 Edc, ch 1, 6 Edc) in ring (Crocodile st made); do not join.  

Row 2: Ch 4 (counts as Edc, ch 1, Edc in same st as origin of the ch 4 ), ch 3, Edc in center ring, ch 3, V-st in top of beginning ch 3. [You'll have a V-st on either side with one Edc in the center.]

Row 3 (Crocodile st row): Ch 1, *Crocodile st around V-st, ch 1, sl st in single Edc, ch 1. Rep from * Crocodile st around last V-st.

Row 4 (V-st row): Ch 4, Edc in top of last [far right] crocodile st, ch 3, *Edc in sp at center of Crocodile st, ch 3, V-st in next sl st (between the Crocodile sts), ch 3. Rep from *; V-st on left side of the first crocodile stitch of row 3.

Row 5 (Crocodile st row): Ch 1, Crocodile st around first V-st, *ch 1, sl st in single Edc between V-sts, ch 1, Crocodile st around next V-st; rep from * across.

Row 6 (V-st row) Ch 4, Edc in top of last crocodile st, ch 3, Edc in sp at center of next Crocodile st, *ch 3, V-st in next sl st (between the Crocodile sts), ch 3, Edc in sp at center of next Crocodile st; rep from * across, ch 3, V-st on left side of the first crocodile stitch of previous row.

Rows 7-58: Rep Rows 5 and 6 until you have the last row of 30 V-sts, 29 Edc, and 58 ch-3 sps at the end of Row 58.

Row 59: Rep Row 5; you should have 30 Crocodile sts. [See Note 3.]

Do not fasten off, continue on to work top edging as follows:

 Top Edging

Row 1: Ch 4, 3 Edc in top edge of far right crocodile stitch, 2 Edc in crocodile st space, 4 Edc in top of left side of the crocodile st. , *4 Edc ch3-sp behind Crocodile st, 2 Edc into sp at center of Crocodile st, 4 Edc into second ch3-sp behind same Crocodile st; rep from * across.

Side Edging: Use an F size hook.
Ch 20, sc in top of 3rd Edc of next Crocodile st, *ch 20,  sc in top of 3rd Edc of next Crocodile st; rep from * to the first Crocodile st at lower back point of shawl [i.e. the first crocodile st of the shawl].

Ch 20, sc in 4th Edc on the other side of same Crocodile st, **ch 20, working up other diagonal side edge, sc in 4th  Edc of next Crocodile st. Rep from **  to Crocodile st at top right side of the shawl. Tie off.

This is a V-st row.

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Rotate work one-quarter turn right to crochet the left side of the crocodile stitch. 

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Then rotate it one half turn to crochet the right side of each crocodile stitch.

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This is the neck edging.

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The neck edging is crocheted in the center of each crocodile st and in the ch 3 areas on either side behind each crocodile st. 

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I switched to a smaller hook for the trim. The original pattern called for ch 30s for the trim - in two directions. It's your shawl. Do what you want or leave it off completely. 

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     Writing these directions wasn't as easy as I thought. I hope the photos help clarify things, but ask any questions, and I'll try to help. 
 

Comments (4)

  • Mar-22 - Linda (LRuthers)It's really not hard to do, once you understand how to do the crocodile stitch, Lenore. It was fun.
  • Mar-22 - GardenGal (LENORE37)Wow - Linda! That looks difficult but beautiful. So intricate. Good job!
  • Mar-21 - Linda (LRuthers)I'm making a smaller, less dramatic one in blue, Linda. It's a really pretty stitch.
  • Mar-21 - DEDA DAWN (dedadawn1977)That is a beautiful shawl. Thanks for taking the time to go over the directions. I just love to...  Show Full Comment
Mar-8

Southwestern Cheeddar Sausage Muffins

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Southwestern Cheddar Sausage Egg Muffins

Ingredients:
½ lb. ground pork sausage, cooked & drained 
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 c. whole milk 
1/3 c. sour cream or plain yogurt 
½ c. diced onion 
1/2 c. diced green pepper
4 oz. can chopped jalapeno pepper, drained
½ t. Sriracha sauce
1/2 t. salt 
1/4 t. pepper 
1 c. Bisquick 
½ c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese (plus extra for sprinkling on top)

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the muffin cups generously or use paper liners. Cook sausage and drain on paper towels. When cooled, shred with your hands.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, and sour cream. Mix in onion, green pepper, jalapeno peppers, Sriracha sauce, salt, and pepper. Add Bisquick and stir just until blended. Fold in sausage and cheese.

Pour evenly into muffin cups, top with extra cheese, and bake for 30 – 40 minutes until cooked thoroughly. Take out of muffin cups immediately. Let cool and then refrigerate what you don’t eat immediately. Makes 6-8 large muffins.

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     These have a little spicy heat, perfect for cold mornings. Serve with sour cream and salsa. 

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Comments (6)

  • Mar-9 - Linda (LRuthers);-D The basketball referees enjoyed the muffins, and I loved how easy they are to make!
  • Mar-9 - Marcia (MarciaM12)Thanks, Linda!
  • Mar-9 - Marcia (MarciaM12)Ahem...I meant the muffins LOOK delicious. Bad grammar there.
  • Mar-9 - Linda (LRuthers)Either pickled jalapenos or not, would work, as would green chilies!
  • Mar-9 - Marcia (MarciaM12)Linda, are the canned jalapenos the pickled ones? I'm assuming so.... Nice recipe; the muffins...  Show Full Comment
  • Mar-8 - KidmagnetThere is not a muffin man! Just a Muffin-Linda! (devours blog)
Mar-7

Easy Caramel Apple Spice Cupcakes

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Caramel Apple Spice Cupcakes 

Ingredients: 
1 Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix 
1/2 c. melted butter 
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c. milk 
1 drop Cinnamon LorAnn Oil, optional 
2-3 drops Butterscotch Flavor LorAnn Oil, optional 
1 can Comstock apple pie filling 
1 jar Smuckers Caramel Ice Cream Topping

Directions:
     Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake pans with paper liners. 

     Combine cake mix, cooled butter, milk, and essence oils, if using, and beat on medium speed for two minutes. Fill each cupcake liner half way with batter. Use two forks to place approximately one apple pie filling slice on top of batter in each cup. Use remaining batter to fill cups two-thirds full. 

     Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until they test done. Remove immediately to wire rack to cool. Drizzle with caramel topping. Makes 26-28 cupcakes. 

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     The LorAnn Oils are potent. A little goes a long way, but they take things to the next level of flavor. Around here, they're found in grocery and drug store pharmacy sections. 

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Mar-3

Maple Bacon Muffins

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Maple Bacon Muffins


Ingredients: 
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and crumbled
2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
½ t. salt
¾ c.maple syrup
1 t. maple flavoring 
1 t. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 c. milk
¼ c. butter 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease a 6 cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Combine the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl and mix. Pour the wet ingredients and the bacon into the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until combined. Do not over mix. 

Pour into prepared cups and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes until golden.

 Icing: 
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. maple flavoring 
1-2 T. milk 

Add flavoring and one tablespoon of milk to the powdered sugar. Add milk a teaspoon at a time until it's a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over muffins. 

     I made these for the referees at a local middle school basketball playoff fundraiser, and one of their wives really called me to ask for the recipe! How cool is that!? 

 
Feb-28

Cheddar Sausage Egg Muffins

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Cheddar Sausage Egg Muffins

Ingredients:
½ lb. ground pork sausage, cooked & drained 
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 c. whole milk 
1/3 c. sour cream or plain yogurt 
½ c. diced onion
½ t. Sriracha sauce
1/2 t. salt 
1/4 t. pepper 
1 c. Bisquick 
½ c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese (plus extra for sprinkling on top)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the muffin cups generously or use paper liners. Cook sausage and drain on paper towels. When cooled, shred with your hands.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, and sour cream. Mix in onion, Sriracha sauce, salt, and pepper. Add Bisquick and stir just until blended. Fold in sausage and cheese.

Pour evenly into muffin cups, top with extra cheese, and bake for 30 – 40 minutes until cooked thoroughly. Take out of muffin cups immediately. Let cool and then refrigerate what you don’t eat immediately. Makes 6-8 large muffins.

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     These are really good! 

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Comments (2)

  • Mar-8 - Linda (LRuthers)They really are tasty and very easy, Carol!
  • Mar-8 - cwhobeWe're having a neighborhood outdoor brunch next month. I plan to make these as we all like...  Show Full Comment
Feb-19

Chicken Cabbage Noodles

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     This is versatile winter evening dinner. Make as little or as much as you need. Tip: Make a little more than you think you'll need. Not only do people go back for seconds and thirds, but it's delicious warmed over the next day.

Chicken Cabbage Noodles

Chopped onion 
Turkey or chicken schmaltz/ ghee/ butter
Coleslaw mix or chopped cabbage 
Chicken broth 
Chicken Swanson Flavor Boost or 
Knorr Homestyle Chicken Broth packet 
Pepper 
Sriracha/Tabasco sauce 
Chopped cooked chicken 
Fresh chopped thyme/ground thyme 
Noodles 

     Saute the vegetables in the fat until they're tender. Add the broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil and add the noodles. Cook until tender. Serve. 

     If you still have turkey schmaltz in your freezer from Thanksgiving, this is the place to use some of it. That melted clarified fat smells like the holidays! You can see how I've been chipping away at this. The chicken flavor packets contain salt, so taste the broth before adding more. 

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     This is the lazy cook's way! 

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Feb-16

Baklava

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Baklava

 By Evelyn/athens on April 16, 2003

 About This Recipe

"Traditionally Greek. Always good. Once baked, the baklava has to stand for 3 hours to overnight to absorb the syrup into its layers. Whereas it is most common to find baklava made entirely with walnuts here in Greece, I prefer a combination with almonds. Sometimes I'll make the baklava using pistachios, or sometimes a ½-½ mixture of pistachios and almonds. They're all great variations on a delicious theme."

 Ingredients:

 Syrup:
2 c. honey 
1 c. water 
1 c. sugar
2 cinnamon sticks ( or ½ t. ground cinnamon)
1 T. lemon juice
Lemon peel ( without pith - 4 inch-long piece) 
Orange peel ( without pith - 4 inch-long piece)

Filling: 
4 c. coarsely ground walnuts (very fresh)
2 c. coarsely ground almonds (make sure the nuts you use are FRESH, very recently purchased)
4 T. sugar
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. nutmeg
¼ t. ground cloves
3 T. melted butter

Also needed:
1 lb. phyllo dough
1 lb. unsalted butter, melted (Don’t use less; this is what will make your baklava taste exceptional. And it has to be BUTTER!)
Whole cloves

 Directions:

Make syrup first so that it can come to room temperature: In a small saucepan, combine honey, sugar and water. Bring to a slow boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Add lemon juice, cinnamon sticks and peels and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove peels and cinnamon sticks and allow to come to room temperature before using.

 Combine walnuts, almonds, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and 3 tablespoons melted butter together in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Place phyllo between sheets of waxed paper and cover with a slightly damp towel to prevent phyllo from drying out. Brush bottom and sides of an 18x12-inch inch pan generously with melted butter.

Place 8 phyllo sheets into bottom of pan, brushing each sheet generously with butter. Take an additional 4 sheets of phyllo and place in pan allowing sheets to drape over each of the 4 sides of pan. Brush these with melted butter.

 Spread 2 cups of nut mixture into pan, distributing evenly over bottom. Fold over the overlapping phyllo sheets brushing each with butter, to envelop the nut mixture.

 Repeat layering process 2 more times to form 3 nut layers.

 Top pastry with remaining phyllo dough and generously brush top layer with melted butter. Tuck in the buttered phyllo neatly around.

Score through top layers of pastry with a sharp knife making 6 strips lengthwise then cut 10 strips diagonally to form diamond shaped pieces. Stud each diamond-shaped piece (and any odd looking ones near the ends of the pan) in the center with a whole clove per piece.

 Pour remaining melted butter over pastry and lightly sprinkle some water on top too (wet your hand under the tap twice and shake this out over the pastry).

 Bake pastry in a 325°F oven for 1 hour to 75 minutes, until nicely golden-brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Carefully spoon cool syrup over pastry. Allow to stand at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut through the scored pieces and serve.

 Note: The clove studding each piece is not traditionally eaten, it is removed by the person whose piece it is before eating. The clove is there to add its 'perfume' to the piece as it bakes (and it looks pretty, too).

      For those who don't know Evelyn, she's Greek American living in Greece, and her recipes are just the best! 

     The honey was a gift from friends who are local bee keepers. It was so amazing that I couldn't waste a bit of it. I warmed the 1 c. water and used that to rinse out the honey jar [See how dark the water is? That's how much honey I'd have lost!] and then the measuring cup.  

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     Get everything prepped ahead of time. It makes assembling the Baklava easier and fun. 
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     The lemon and orange peels are like candy. 
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     This stuff is just amazing...
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Comments (2)

About the Author
Linda (LRuthers)

 

 





     I'm convinced that there are many more bad recipes than there are bad cooks. The problem is that sometimes decent cooks use bad recipes and then believe that the poor results are their fault.


     When people print recipes in cookbooks, magazines, etc. or when they post them online, they seldom tell the pitfalls or the little tips needed to make the recipe turn out well. And, too, quite a few printed recipes contain typos!


     I search for recipes that are good. Dependable. I'm not a chef. I'm a mother and grandmother who's been cooking for >45 years.


     I believe that any recipe posted for the general public should be one that I can master. If not, there's something wrong with the recipe.


     I post my successes and my failures, and tell what I learned when following each new recipe. I learn more from my mistakes. I don't know what that says about me.


     The very best recipes are the ones that are inexpensive, delicious AND easy. And there are a lot of those.


     Sometimes, I spend a little more and work a little harder for a recipe that seems to be one that will make people really happy.


Thanks, Linda


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