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Friday, December 30, 2016


These are from my mom's cookbook and my friend Miquelle.  They are the best sugar cookies and soft!

Cookie Dough:
1 c. shortening (I like to use half cup shortening and half cup butter)
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 c. flour
2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture:
1/4 sugar
2 T cinnamon

Cream shortening (and butter) with sugar.  Add eggs.  In a separate bowl mix flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt.  Combine.  

Cover and chill dough at least 1 hour (optional, but if you don't, your dough will be sticky and the cookies will be flatter).

In a small bowl mix 1/4 sugar and 2 T cinnamon.   Roll dough into 1 1/4 inch balls and roll in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. **Take care to not over bake the cookies. They will not be brown but will still be gooey when you pull them out of the oven, let them sit on the pan for 1-2 minutes then place on cooling rack. They cook a little more as they cool.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Monkey Bread, Overnight Version

We love the Cook's Country recipe for monkey bread, but wanted an overnight version especially since we usually on make this for Christmas morning.  I found this version that gives instructions for an overnight rise in the fridge--and it was perfect!

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk, warm (about 110 degrees, a bit warmer than body temperature)
  • ⅓ cup water, warm (about 110 degrees, a bit warmer than body temperature)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2½ teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour , plus extra for work surface* (begin with 2½ c flour, and add up to 3¼c)
Brown Sugar Coating
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk


Prepare a bundt pan by generously coating with softened butter.

Warm milk and water to about 110 degrees - a bit warmer than body temperature.  Add 2 tablespoons of melted butter, sugar, and salt to milk/water mixture. Stir to dissolve.  

In a stand mixer with a flat beater blade, add flour and yeast.  On the mixer's lowest setting, slowly add liquid mixture to flour until combined.  Turn off mixer and switch to dough hook. Slowly increase the speed and gradually add the remaining flour. (May take more or less) The dough should cling to the hook, and clean the sides of the mixing bowl.  Knead dough in mixer for 6-7 minutes until shiny and smooth, but slightly sticky.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in a smooth ball.  Coat a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray, and place ball of dough in bowl, turn to coat with cook spray. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft free place until dough roughly doubles in size (about 50-60 minutes).

Just before dough finishes its first rise, mix brown sugar and cinnamon in one small bowl. Put the 8 tablespoons of melted butter into a second bowl.  Remove dough from bowl and pat into a 8 inch by 8 inch square. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut the square into 4 large pieces, then cut each of those quarters into about 16 pieces.  Gently roll each piece of dough into a ball.  Use one hand to dip the dough pieces into the butter, and allow excess butter to drip off, then place in the sugar mixture. Pick up the sugared pieces with other hand and layer in pan while staggering the seams.  

Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.

Next morning, remove pan from refrigerator about one hour before baking. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove plastic wrap and bake about 30-35 minutes. The top should be brown, and edges will begin to bubble. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, and turn out on a large platter. Cool about 10 minutes, before glazing.

As bread cools, whisk together confectioner's sugar and milk in a small bowl until lumps disappear. Drizzle glaze over top of warm bread, and let it run down sides.  Serve warm, enjoy!  Excellent hardy breakfast with eggs and sausage/bacon and orange juice.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Gingerbread with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

From Mel's Kitchen cafe who adapted it slightly from Lion House Recipes

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup very hot water

Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X13-inch baking pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until well blended. Add the eggs and molasses and blend again. Sift the dry ingredients together in a mesh strainer directly into the molasses/butter/sugar mixture and mix. Add the hot water and beat until the batter is smooth. It will be fairly thin. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don’t overbake or the gingerbread will be dry. Serve the gingerbread warm or cold with cinnamon whipped cream (and sliced bananas, if desired).

For the cinnamon whipped cream: In a medium bowl, begin beating the whipped cream. After it starts to just slightly thicken, add the sugar and cinnamon and beat until medium-stiff peaks form.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Easy Chicken Crescent Rolls

This is a quick dinner that uses up leftover turkey or chicken.  From my mom.


  • 3oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 2-3 T milk
  • 1 T chopped chives (or a bit of onion seasoning and dried parsley)
  • 2 cans crescent rolls
  • 1 T melted butter
  • 2 T seasoned bread crumbs
1.  Blend cream cheese and butter in a large bowl.
2.  Add chicken, salt, pepper, milk and chives.  Mix well.
3.  Separate crescents into triangles, spoon chicken mixture at base of each triangle and roll up.
4.  Brush the top of each crescent with butter and sprinkle with bread crumbs.
5.  Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (egg-free) & Cookies

This is Curly's favorite!  She loves to make and eat cookie dough and she loves that I let her with this egg free recipe.  These make great cookie dough balls for chocolate fondue too!  Just make them extra small and freeze them ideally for at least an hour before dipping.  Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe: Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies {Egg-Free} YIELD: MAKES 2-3 DOZEN COOKIES

 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips

If you're making cookies and not just dough, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment or silpat liners.

In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese, melted butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until mostly incorporated by a few dry streaks remain. Add the chocolate chips and mix until combined and no dry streaks remain. Roll the dough into 1 to 1 1/2-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand (just barely press, you don't need to flatten it all the way).

Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes until the edges are just barely golden brown. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

If you just want cookie dough bites to eat, use your cookie scoop to measure onto a baking sheet.  Smooth dough into balls by rolling with your hands.  Then press slightly so they are like little disks.  Freeze for about an hour before removing form baking sheet and putting in a freezer safe container.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sausage Cornbread Dressing

This recipe has become a tradition with the East Coast Bylund Thanksgivings...I look forward to it more then anything else (besides pie of course!)  Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites.

Ingredients:9×13″ pan of regular cornbread (I usually make this buttermilk cornbread recipe 3 days beforehand.
16-19 ounces Italian sausage, sweet or mild
1 large onion, finely chopped4 stalks celery, finely chopped1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped 3/4 c. chicken broth1/4 c. melted salted butterSage (2 teaspoons rubbed sage or 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage)Rosemary (1/2 teaspoon dry or  1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary leaves)Thyme (1/2 teaspoon dry or 1 teaspoon thyme leaves stripped from the woody stems) 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more if necessary)Tabasco sauce to taste

Instructions:Make the cornbread, 2-3 days beforehand, and leave on the counter to dry out.

Preheat oven to 375.

Crumble the pan of cornbread into a  very large bowl. Set aside.

*(Note this step can be done 1-2 days ahead of time and then just refrigerate the pre-cooked sausage and the onion/celery/apple mixture).  Crumble the Italian sausage into a hot skillet and brown it over medium heat. Transfer the crumbled sausage to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.  If there are 2 tablespoons of rendered sausage drippings in the pan, add the chopped celery, apples, and onions. If not, add enough olive oil to have around 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan and add the chopped ingredients when the oil is hot. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and fragrant. 

Add the onion/celery/apple mixture to the crumbled cornbread. Add the sausage and chopped herbs and toss until combined. Add the chicken broth and melted butter and toss to combine well. Season with salt and Tabasco to taste.

Press the cornbread mixture into a 9×13″ pan and bake for 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven or until the top is golden brown. Serves about 12.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia

I got this recipe from my friend's blog: My Predilections who adapted it from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food.  It's a keeper!  We've made this several times--it's my new go to recipe for fish and a quick healthy delicious dinner.  The Tilapia is a great mild fish.  With this recipe even my pickiest eaters eat it and the rest of us are vying for seconds.

2 pounds tilapia, fresh or thawed from frozen
2/3 cups cornmeal
2 tablespoons paprika (I've also subbed chili powder or chipotle powder in a pinch but used less since they're both spicier).
salt and pepper to taste (about 1 tsp kosher salt and about 1/4 tsp pepper) 
4-6 tablespoons olive oil, divided.

1. In a large 12 inch skillet heat 2-3 tablespoons oil over medium high heat.
2.  In a shallow dish, combine cornmeal, paprika, salt and pepper with a fork or whisk until blended.
3.  Coat each side of the fish fillet in the cornmeal and place in the hot frying pan. (I fit 3-4 at once without crowding). Cook for three minutes. Flip. Cook for three minutes more or until golden brown and crispy. The texture should be firm and will flake a little when you cut into it. Remove to a warm plate.
4.  Repeat with second batch of fish. This recipe makes 8-10 fish fillets.

Quick Black Beans

A quick and tasty way to serve black beans!  From My Predilections.

1 can black beans rinse and drained
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon olive oil generous
dash of cumin (to taste)
red pepper flakes (optional)

 Place the beans in a small bowl. Microwave on high for one to two minutes or until heated through (microwave times vary). Stir in the garlic salt, olive oil and cumin (and optional red pepper flakes).

Monday, July 4, 2016

Rhubarb Crisp

Adapted from a Taste of Home recipe, they found it recipe on a box of Quaker Oats about 20 years ago. It's quick, and easier to make than pie. It's versatile, too, because you can add strawberries in spring or apples in fall or winter.   I usually pop it into the oven shortly before we sit down to eat so it's still warm for dessert!    Prep: 15 min, Bake: 45 min.  YIELD:8 servings

3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups sliced fresh rhubarb or frozen rhubarb, thawed
2 cups sliced peeled apples or sliced strawberries
1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats (*note I like to do half and half)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted (*I've also used coconut oil, or 1/4 cup of each)
1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of cloves
1/4 tsp pump pie spice
Vanilla ice cream, optional

1. In a large bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add rhubarb and apples or strawberries; toss to coat. Spoon into an 8-in. square baking dish.
2. In a small bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, butter, flour and cinnamon until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over fruit.
3.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until bubbly and fruit is tender. Serve warm with ice cream if desired.

Note:  If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.

Friday, April 22, 2016


This is our favorite way to make snacking popcorn.

2 T coconut oil
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn

1.  Put coconut oil in 4 quart sauce pan.  Melt.  Turn off heat.  Add popcorn kernels.  Swirl to coat with oil.
2.  Cover and cook over medium high heat until 1 kernel pops; remove from heat.  Let stand 1 minute.  Then return to heat.
3.  Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until popcorn stops popping (the lid often lifts up slightly at the end).  Immediately pour into serving bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and toss until evenly coated.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Quinoa Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Granola Cookie

Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.
Notes: When measuring the cooked and cooled quinoa, don't mash and compress it into the measuring cup. Spoon it into the cup and lightly press so it stays fluffy. About 1 cup uncooked quinoa makes 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa. Also, keep in mind these cookies freeze amazingly well after being baked and cooled. Yield: Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

 • 1 cup solid coconut oil, melted
 • 3/4 cup honey (or half honey half maple syrup)
 • 2 large eggs
 • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (I have successfully substituted a gluten-free flour mix).
 • 1 teaspoon salt
 • 1 teaspoon baking soda
 • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
 • 1 1/2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (cooked only in water, not broth) - see notes above
 • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
 • 2 tablespoons chia seeds (I usually omit these)
 • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
 • 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
• 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, silpat liners or lightly grease with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the oil and honey/maple syrup with an electric mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Stir in the flour, salt and baking soda until just combined and a few streaks of dry flour remain. Add the oats, quinoa, flax, chia seeds, almonds, cherries or cranberries and chocolate chips and mix by hand gently (so the dough stays nice and fluffy) until the ingredients are pretty evenly mixed.
3. Use a spoon or cookie scoop to scoop the dough into 2-3 tablespoon-sized portions. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the bottoms are browned but the insides are still nice and soft. If you want a thinner cookie (instead of puffy), flatten slightly before baking.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Quick Donut Holes

Amazing donut holes that come together quickly (less then half an hour).  We love them best warm and with cinnamon sugar.

oil ( for frying)
2 cups all-purpose flour,
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Heat oil to 350 degrees.  (I used about 1/2 a quart in a 9 inch cast iron skillet)
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon until thoroughly blended.
3. Add oil, milk and egg and mix well.
4. Using a small cookie scoop, drop balls of dough into the hot oil being careful not to overcrowd the pan (about 4 at a time).
5. Fry until light brown on both sides turning once. 
6. Drain well on paper towels or brown paper bag.
7.  Put in brown paper sack with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar and shake to coat.  (You can do 1-2 at a time).

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Quick Philly Cheesesteak Subs

A favorite dinner on a Friday night when we don't make homemade pizza on our favorite whole wheat crust.  Great served with sweet potato fries, fruit, or a salad.

 2 tablespoons butter or oil
1 onion, halved and sliced into thin half moons
1 pepper (I have used red, green, orange, or yellow)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons A-1 steak sauce
1 pound deli roast beef, cut into 1/2-inch strips
Salt and pepper
Whole wheat hotdog buns (about 6) s
8 slices provolone or havarti cheese


Preheat the broiler in your oven and adjust a rack to the upper-middle position.

In a large skillet, melt the butter, add the onion and peppers and cook until softened and golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and oregano and cook for a minute, until it smells fragrant. Add the A-1 sauce and the beef, stirring well to coat the beef with the sauce and onion/butter mixture. Cook until the meat is heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Place the sliced rolls on a rimmed baking sheet. Divide the beef mixture among the rolls. Top with the cheese and broil until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes (don’t even take your hand off the oven door handle – stand right there so they don’t burn!). Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: adapted from Cook’s country April/May 2010

Korean Beef and Rice {Or Quinoa}

Good in lettuce wraps or we line our bowls with romaine lettuce, scooped in some quinoa/rice and a spoonful of the meat mixture.   Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey or beef
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
Salt and pepper

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken or beef broth
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger

1-2 cucumbers finely diced
2-3 carrots shredded
3-4 cups cooked rice or quinoa for serving

If you don't have leftover rice/quinoa, start cooking rice according to package directions (usually about 15-17 minutes cooking time).  If using leftovers, put rice in microwave about 5 minutes before serving stirring every 2-3 minutes.

In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the meat, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook, stirring to break the meat into small pieces, until the meat is cooked through and crumbly, about 7-10 minutes. Drain any excess grease. In a liquid measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, broth, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and ginger. Stir the sauce into the meat and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes or so. Serve in a lettuce wrap over warm cooked rice or quinoa, topped with the carrots and cucumbers.

Better Basic French Toast

This takes simple french toast to the next level.  Adapted from my friend Miquelle's recipe.

8 slices of whole wheat bread*
2 T butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 large egg
2 T sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour

Heat oven to 200 degrees.  Arrange bread on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and bake until the bread is slightly dry about 15 minutes.

While the bread is baking, whisk together melted butter, milk, egg, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Slowly whisk in flour until smooth.  Pour batter into a large shallow dish or pie plate.

Soak each piece of bread in the batter about 30 seconds per side, allowing excess to drip back into the dish.  Cook on a hot skillet (even better cooked on a hot skillet with butter).  Cook until golden brown on both sides about 2-3 minutes per side.

*Note: Homemade bread of something sliced thick is amazing, but regular sandwhich bread works too.  There recipe might give you a couple of extra pieces with storebought sandwich bread.

Hawaiian Haystacks

I am not a cream of chicken soup fan normally, but the whole family loves this recipe.  (If you want you can make your own cream of chicken soup.  I like this recipe).

2 cups chopped, cooked chicken (like rotisserie)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper

4 cups cooked brown rice/quinoa

shredded cheese
chow mein noodles
pineapple, chopped
mandarin oranges (drained)
red pepper, diced
green onions, diced
coconut (toasted is great)
cashews, chopped

1.  In a sauce pan mix sour cream, cream of chicken soup, and milk until combined.   Stir in garlic powder, salt and pepper.   Add cooked chicken.  Heat until warm.
2.  Serve sauce over rice and top with your favorite toppings.

Old Fashioned Iced Oatmeal Cookies

These are one of my all-time favorites...even though they don't have any chocolate!  

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar
3 T milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put oats in a food processor and chop until partially ground about 15 seconds.  In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Whisk together.  Then stir in ground oats.

In a bowl of a mixer, cream butter and sugars.  Mix on medium high until pale and fluffy about 4 minutes.  Then stir in eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add vanilla.  Then with mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients until just combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Let the dough rest covered for about 15 minutes at room temp.

Scoop dough in large 1 1/2-2 Tbsp size balls onto a lined baking sheet.  Bake about 12-15 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Frost the cooled cookies--you can dip them in the icing (I found this hard), spread with a knife, or drizzle on decoratively in a thick zigzag pattern.  Return to wire rack to let icing set.  Store in ziplock bag at room temperature or freeze.