Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hawaiian Haystacks

My older brother absolutely loves Hawaiian Haystacks!  Our sister introduced them to us first and we have adapted them to reflect our tastes!  Plus, who doesn't love picking exactly what they want on their own haystack?  Such fun to create!

To keep with the "Hawaiian" theme, here's the theme song to the original "Hawaii Five-0" series!  I think it might just be the most iconic theme song of the 60s!

Hawaiian Haystacks

Ingredients per person:

1/2-1 cup white rice, brown rice, or wild rice, cooked
1/2-1 cup chicken breast, cooked, cubed


1 medium onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 large can mandarine oranges
1 can pineapple tidbits, juice reserved and set aside
1 can black olives, drained and sliced
1 cup raw broccoli, chopped
2 cups white cheddar cheese, grated
1 can corn, drained
Chinese noodles or rice noodles--LaChoy

3 tablespoons cornstarch
reserved pineapple juice from can of pineapple tidbits
2-3 cups pineapple juice--Dole is best

Cook the rice.  Cook the chicken.  Cube chicken.  Set aside.

Put topping ingredients in small serving bowls so everyone has access to the options.

Put cornstarch in a dry saucepan.  Whisk in reserved pineapple juice from can of pineapple tidbits.  Stir constantly over low to medium heat until thickened.  It will bubble and "pop" in big bubbles so keep heat low enough so you do not get burned.  Remove from heat.  Add enough of the remaining pineapple juice to make the desired consistency.

This can be served hot or cold.

Serve by putting rice on each plate, the chicken.  Add toppings as desired.  Then ladle sauce over toppings.

Complete the dish by topping with LaChoy Chow Mein noodles or LaChoy rice noodles.  (I favor the rice noodles!)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Serenading Blueberries

Fresh blueberries are such a treat!  We keep trying to grow blueberries in our backyard, but they don't grow very well.  Yet we persist!

However, our best bet for fresh blueberries is to buy them from the store.  We actually have a family friend who knows about our love of fresh blueberries!  Whenever he finds them for a good deal, he buys us a couple pints and brings them by the house.  Such a great treat to get blueberries and a visit from a good friend!

In keeping with the "blue" theme, here's a favorite jazz ballad of mine "Serenade in Blue" sung by Frank Sinatra.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Chewy Chocolate Cookies: The Best is Yet to Come

Today I made Reese's Chewy Chocolate Cookies!  They have such a light and soft texture!

With Reese's Peanut Butter Chips I got the best combo in the world: chocolate and peanut butter!

I added a 1/4 cup more peanut butter chips and lessened the salt to 1/4 teaspoon.  I also refrigerated the dough before I made the cookies.

Since I discovered the best chocolate and peanut butter combo today, I figure there are more things that are the best in the future so here's "The Best is Yet to Come" sung by Frank Sinatra!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Warm and Serve: Love

I love to make food from scratch, but occasionally I find a special food item that comes from a box or the freezer that I absolutely love.  Sister Schubert's Dinner Yeast Rolls are one of those great "store bought" items!

They are just so tasty.  And in just six or seven minutes I can have a flaky roll that is warm and ready to eat right out of the oven!

Even though it's warm outside and there's not a snowflake in sight today, these freezer "warm and serve" rolls make me think of "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" sung by Dean Martin.  I've highlighted the song before when it was cold outside, but it's such a classic song it needs another go-round when it's warm outside because there is always room in my day for love and yummy rolls!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Salon Day: Love You Madly

Ask anyone about getting hair done and most will say it is a make-it or break-it experience!  There is no in-between.  Ask me about getting my hair done and I will always say it is above and beyond a great experience because I go to Ultimate Impressions Salon and Spa in Peosta, IA.

Thank you to Hattie for my dazzling color and Shawn for my stunning cut!  To me, my hair ends up feeling like artwork when they are done!

Everyone at Ultimate Impressions is supremely skilled, cheery, and hard-working!  They love learning new techniques to provide current as well as traditional styling.  They genuinely want their clients to be happy!

And be sure to check out Ultimately Unique Boutique on the lower level while you're there for incredible one-of-a-kind accessories and designer home decor!

I hope it shows that I absolutely love Ultimate Impressions!!!  Love should be ultimate and felt deeming so here's Ella Fitzgerald singing "Love You Madly" with Oscar Peterson on piano!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I'll Always Love Enchiladas!

Remember how I said I love tacos?  Chicken Enchiladas are an extension of that love.

And since I'll always love tacos, enchiladas, and anything smothered in a spicy sauce, here's Dean Martin singing "I'll Always Love You."

Chicken Enchiladas

10-12 Azteca tortillas 10-inch size

1 can cream chicken soup
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups cheddar or pepper cheese, grated
1/2 cup milk
1 can green chile enchilada sauce, divided in half
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 cups chicken, cubed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9x13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add sour cream.  Stir until smooth.  Add grated cheese.  Stir together.  Stir in milk and 1/2 can green chile enchilada sauce.  

Stir in onions, cooked chicken, and cumin.

Mixture should be quite thick.

Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup spread filling in a line from one side to the other in the middle of a tortilla and roll it up tucking the near edge into and under the filling.  Place in the prepared pans, flap side down.  Spray tops of enchiladas with Pam.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for 25 minutes.  If you want the enchiladas a little crispy, uncover and bake for 5 more minutes.  

Remove from oven and drizzle last half can mild green chile sauce and cheese.  Serve warm with refried beans and shredded lettuce.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Halfway to Christmas Tomorrow!

Tomorrow on the Y105 morning show we are having a "Halfway to Christmas" show and are playing Christmas music!  To help celebrate, I made Chocolate Peppermint Cookies from Mel's Kitchen Cafe!

My sister and her friend first made these cookies last year right before Christmas and they were a hit!  They are now part of my yearly Christmas cookie list.

The only thing I do differently from the original recipe is I only coat the cookie part way.  I like to taste a balance between the peppermint flavored chocolate cookie and the white chocolate it's easier to just partially dunk the cookies!  They set up faster and look quite artistic!

You really do have to follow all of the steps in the recipe including refrigerating/freezing the dough twice.  These cookies may take a little more TLC than the average cookie, but they are so delicious that the work fades in your memory as you savor them with each bite!

So from me to you preparing for tomorrow's "Halfway to Christmas" day, June 25, I share Louis Armstrong's "Cool Yule" with the applicable lyric: "You'll flip when old Saint Nick / Places a lick on the peppermint stick!"  Tune in to the morning show 7:00 to 10:00 AM CST!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

You'll-A Want These Breadsticks

My sister had a college roommate and friend who made the best breadsticks!  We've since adapted the recipe and my older brother is the king of breadsticks--they always come out light and crispy and absolutely delicious!

Since today's food is breadsticks, what's better than a Bread song?  Here's "Baby I'm-A Want You" by Bread.  And trust me, you'll-a want these breadsticks.


1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
5 tablespoons butter


1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Combine water, yeast, and sugar.  Let sit for about 10 minutes.

Add salt and flour to yeast mixture.  Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.  Cover with a damp towel or waxed paper and let rise until dough doubles in size.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt butter in a large bowl.  Brush a cookie sheet with part of the butter until the sheet is covered.

Roll out dough to about a 1/4 of an inch.  Cut into 1-inch strips.  Pick up each strip, stretch, fold in half and twist.  Roll each strip in the butter and place on the cookie sheet.  Let rise for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet.

Sprinkle the breadsticks with garlic powder, oregano, and parmesan cheese.  Bake for 15 minutes or until breadsticks are golden brown on the bottom.

Serve immediately with marinara sauce.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Double-Ginger Snaps: Bye, Bye, Blackbird

Last night I was looking through my many cookbooks to find a recipe I hadn't tried yet and found Double-Ginger Snaps, which require crystallized ginger pieces.  I remembered finding some in our baking cupboard so I decided to make them first thing in the next morning!

Intense flavor warning: they are VERY gingery!

These cookies are packed full of sweetness and spice in many forms: coarse sugar on the outside with crystallized/candied ginger, molasses, and brown sugar inside.  The lyrics "Sugar's sweet, so is he" from the classic jazz tune "Bye, Bye, Blackbird" are a perfect tangent for these oh-so-sweet-dissolve-in-your-mouth cookies!

Here's "Bye, Bye, Blackbird" sung ever so meltingly by Peggy Lee!

Adapted from a Williams-Sonoma recipe

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2/3 cup canola oil
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup light molasses
1 large egg

3/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped

1/4 cup coarse sugar (like Sugar in the Raw)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Set aside two baking sheets lined with parchment paper, silpat or silicone liners.

In a medium bowl mix together dry ingredients.  Set aside.

Mix by hand in a large bowl the oil, brown sugar, and molasses.

Then using an electric mixer, add egg.  Mix until egg is incorporated evenly for about 30 seconds.

Add dry ingredients and chopped crystallized ginger.

Spread coarse sugar evenly over the bottom of a large lipped plate.  (I use a Corelle Pasta Bowl.)

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar.

Bake for 13-16 minutes until the tops are set and cracked.  Check to make sure you do not under or over bake them.  Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes.

Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, June 21, 2013

If You're Ever in a [Strawberry] Jam...

My sister, Amy, always reminds us to make strawberry jam when she makes it at her apartment so we can share in the strawberry freezer jam joy!  We watch for strawberries to go on sale then buy them up to make freezer jam!

So today we just had to eat our freezer jam with a fresh batch of cornmeal biscuits!  So tasty!

In the song "Friendship" sung by Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance the girls tell each other "If you're ever in a jam, here I am!"  Well, here's the strawberry freezer jam recipe from Sure-Jell®!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Orange Julius and Summertime: The Perfect Pair!

Today is really the first day I have felt has "summery," at least weather-wise.  It was sunny and bright all day--no clouds and no rain!

During the summer (and sometimes in the winter, too) we make our own "Orange Julius" recipe that is different from the real thing.  We like ours better because we tried to make it healthier!  We make plain orange, orange banana, and orange raspberry varieties!  That last one is new this year and my favorite!  You know how much I love raspberries!

Here's the Chaston method.  First make sure you have large disposable plastic cups like Solo cups on hand so you can freeze the extra amount for future enjoyment!  Don't use glass cups as they have a tendency to break after being in the freezer and dug into with a spoon!

So to celebrate the first real feeling day of summer here in Iowa, here's just about the greatest jazz tune of all time sung by just about the greatest jazz singer of all time with just about the greatest jazz trumpeter of all time, "Summertime" sung by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.


1 can (6 oz.) no pulp orange concentrate, partially thawed
1 cup milk
12 to 20 ice cubes, depending on how much your blender can handle

Put orange juice concentrate and milk in blender.  Add half the ice cubes.  Cover.  Blend until smooth.  Add more ice cubes and blend until the mixture is thick!  


Orange Banana
Add one banana.  Blend in.

Orange Raspberry
After pouring into a glass, add frozen raspberries and stir.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

King Creole and Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp are just so tasty, aren't they?  Today's recipe is a very easy shrimp scampi in a garlic butter sauce.

When I think shrimp, I think Creole cooking.  And when I think Creole, I think of the Elvis Presley song "King Creole."  So here it is!  He is the King!


1 T. butter
1 t. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. chopped garlic
2 c. uncooked shrimp
1/4 t. black pepper

I buy the Daily Chef (Sam's Club brand) of frozen, uncooked, medium shrimp in that is already cleaned and deveined.

Remove shrimp from bag and place in a plastic colander.  Run cold water over the shrimp for about five minutes until it is thawed.  Place colander on a plate and set aside.

In a frying pan, melt the butter and add the olive oil.  Saute the garlic.  Add the shrimp and lightly toss while it cooks and goes from grey to pinkish white.  This takes a few minutes!

Additional ideas:

You can put the shrimp over angel hair or linguine pasta and toss together.  Spice up the platter with sprinkles of cajun spices.  Then top with parmesan cheese!  

Or you can eat it plain.  The shrimp are tender and tasty!  No fishy smell either!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Happiness is a Thing Called Happy Joe's Pizza

I love tacos and I love Happy Joe's Taco Pizza!  And the highlight of Taco Pizza is eating it with lots and lots of Happy Joe's Taco Sauce!

Now you can actually buy it in a bottle.  It's worth it.  I don't know what's in the sauce, but it's the BEST hot sauce I've ever had.  It makes just about anything taste even better!  I believe this sauce is a must in all refrigerators just like ketchup.

To celebrate my love for Happy Joe's Pizza Taco Sauce and the 40th year of Happy Joe's Pizza, here's Ella Fitzgerald singing live "Happiness is a Thing Called Joe!"

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Dog has IBS

Deno loves to lie down with his head against the couch...we think it would be uncomfortable.
Deno is the family (well, my brother's) dog we adopted a year ago from the Humane Society.  I've written about how sick he was when we adopted him.  Well, we had no idea he was sick again!

He sometimes tosses his lunch, but we thought he just drinks too fast or doesn't chew his food enough since he tends to inhale it in his haste to eat!  We wondered if there was mold in his water fountain so we washed it but couldn't keep it mold-free.  So we threw it away and switched to using his low tech bowl.  No change.  We then thought his food was too old so we got a new bag but no change.  We fed him rice and unseasoned hamburger.  Hardly any improvement.  So we took him to the vet today.

Dr. Connie at Dyersville Veterinary Clinic recognized that he has Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.  I didn't know dogs could have it but he does.  I've had a few friends who have IBS and I know it causes great pain.  Poor little Deno has been in pain.  He wasn't being grumpy to be grumpy, he's just had one whopper of a stomach ache!  Now Deno will have food and supplements that will help him be a perkier, happier pup!

So from one Deno to another Dino, here's Dean Martin singing "I'd Cry Like a Baby."  If only our Deno could that he is going to be feeling better!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

You Don't Know these Biscuits!

This morning my mom made these biscuits for my dad to celebrate Father's Day!  Biscuits and poached eggs topped with a thin slice of white American cheese make for a great breakfast!  I came down and looked through the oven window in great anticipation until my mom told me they were cornmeal, wheat, and flax biscuits...!

I was definitely suspicious!  Yet my suspicions were unfounded.  These biscuits were amazing!  They were light and flaky just like a biscuit should be.  They have a hearty flavor from the cornmeal, wheat flour and flax, but retain the lightness because of the white flour.

In honor of the new biscuit recipe which I initially misjudged, here's "You Don't Know Me" sung by Ray Charles.


1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white flour
3 tablespoons ground flax
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder, aluminum free/low salt
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, Land O'Lakes
3/4 cup plus 1-2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Stir together cornmeal, flours, ground flax, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut butter into cornmeal mixture with a pastry blender until texture is crumbly.

Stir in milk with a fork.  Dough will be soft and sticky.

Put 2 tablespoons additional white flour on a clean surface.  Dump sticky dough out onto floured surface then knead dough very lightly 10 times.  Pat dough into a square so that the dough is about half-inch high.  Cut with a knife into 16 small squares.

Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake for 9-12 minutes.  Check to make sure they do not bake too long.  Biscuits should be slightly moist.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Raspberry Swirl: Groovin' High

I have never successfully made a non-chocolate cheesecake--until now!

This is the silkiest, smoothest, creamiest cheesecake I've ever tasted!  The raspberry swirl gives it just the right sweet yet tart spark to offset the tang of the cream cheese and sour cream.

With this being a swirl cheesecake, I thought about how twirling and swirling around the dance floor make me dizzy, which led me to think of Dizzy Gillespie the great trumpeter!

So here's "Groovin' High" by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.


1 cup Oreo cookies, crushed
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup butter, melted

2 - 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs, whisked

1 cup frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a springform pan with parchment paper on the bottom and the sides.

In a small bowl combine Oreos, pecans, and butter.  Press Oreo mixture evenly on the bottom of the springform pan.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl beat together on low speed cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, flour, and vanilla.  Whip eggs in.

Pour evenly into springform pan.

In a small saucepan heat raspberries over medium high heat, stirring constantly until raspberries are broken down.  Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve.  Drop the liquid in spoonfuls onto the cheesecake.  With a butter knife, swirl the raspberry liquid into the cheesecake.

Bake for 50 minutes.  Center will still be jelly-like.  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.  Remove springform pan sides.  Put on a cutting board and freeze for 4 hours.  Remove 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Where or When

I love tacos.  I mean I LOVE tacos!  Anything that even resembles a taco I absolutely love.

Southwestern Egg Rolls are my favorite taco inspired dish!  Last summer, my Aunt Linda and Uncle John showed my mom and me how to make them.  We loved them!

This dish takes a bit of time to prepare, but the results are absolutely worth the extra time.

I don't know just "where or when" my love for tacos developed, but it sure did and keeps growing!  So here's Peggy Lee singing the great jazz standard "Where or When."

Modeled after the appetizer at Chili’s restaurant

3 lbs. chicken breast, cubed and marinated for at least 4 hours in salsa, lime juice, and Italian Dressing

Marinade for chicken:
½ c. salsa
¼ c. lime juice
½ c. Italian dressing, fat free

Remaining ingredients:
4 c. frozen spinach
1 bag fresh spinach
1 can corn
1 can black beans, drained, rinsed well
1 c. red bell pepper, chopped
½ c. onion, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped—about 1 cup loosely measured
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 T. olive oil
2 t. dried parsley
1 T. cumin
1 T. chili powder
3 c. grated hot pepper cheese or cheddar cheese

36 medium Tortilla Land uncooked tortillas


Partially freeze fresh chicken breast.  Cube while partially frozen so that it is easier and safer to cut through.  In a gallon Ziploc bag, put cubed, raw chicken.  Pour salsa, lime juice, and Italian dressing over the cubed chicken.  Close the bag and mix the marinade thoroughly over the chicken.  Set in a big bowl in the refrigerator for 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

Put frozen and fresh spinach in a large saucepan.  Let spinach cook over medium heat.  Stir lightly.  Spinach should still be bright green.

Pour spinach into a colander in the sink.  Let drain.  Sop spinach with paper towels until it is quite dry.  Set aside to let spinach cool completely in a small bowl.

Put corn and black beans in colander.  Rinse with cold water.  Put into a very large bowl.

Chop red bell pepper, onion, zucchini, and tomatoes.  Add to bowl with corn and beans.  Toss lightly.

Put 1 tablespoon olive oil in large frying pan.  Heat over medium heat.  Add corn, black beans, red bell pepper, onion, zucchini, and tomatoes.

Sprinkle parsley, cumin, and chili powder over vegetables when vegetables are par cooked.  Stir.  Remove from heat.  If there is a lot of liquid, sop out with paper towels.  Set aside in large bowl to cool.

Drain cubed chicken in colander in the sink. 

Put 1 tablespoon olive oil in large frying pan.  Heat over medium heat.  Add chicken pieces.  Cook stirring just until chicken is done—four or five minutes.  Put in large bowl to cool.  Set aside. 

Grate cheese onto a cutting board. 

When spinach, vegetables, and chicken are cool, combine in the largest bowl.  Add cheese a handful at a time and stir after each addition.

Heat medium frying pan—no oil—put one tortilla in the pan at a time, cooking on both sides until pliable and slightly brown.  Remove to a clean cutting board.

Place about ½ cup mixture on tortilla in the middle.  Fold flap closest to you over, tucking the filling under it.  Fold the two sides in tightly.  Roll the tortilla to close the Southwestern egg roll.  Set aside.

When ready to serve, heat a medium frying pan and place the Southwestern egg rolls open flap down.  Turn periodically until four sides of egg roll are slightly crispy and golden brown.

Serve hot with avocado slices, salsa, enchilada sauce, or sour cream.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lost without Internet

Today marks day two of no Internet at the house. Honestly, how could the Internet go out so often?

I feel more than just a little lost without the Internet! So today's song is the theme song from the TV show "Lost in Space." It's early sci-fi at it's finest!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Severe Weather at Sam's Club

Today a severe storm passed through at 5:30. Where was I? In Sam's Club!

The staff mobilized quickly and everyone in the building was escorted to the back into the bathrooms. I stayed outside the bathroom area with the staff. 

The staff brought out water and cookies for everyone, asking the customers to remain calm. We could hear the rain and wind pelting the building.

Then at 6:00 when the emergency was over, they let us leave the store. I had gone in to buy a rotisserie chicken...and yes, it was worth the wait by the bathrooms!

Ironically, the Internet is also down--from a cut line, not the storm! You'll need to look up the song, but it's worth it! I've highlighted today's song before, but it's completely appropriate for the happenings today. Check out Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Couldn't Stand the Weather."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Double Chocolate and Double Trouble

These cookies are one of my favorites!  Honestly, they are amazing!

The "double" comes from semi-sweet and white chocolate pieces.  And double is better, huh?!

So here is Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble in their classic "Texas Flood."  I love this song!

Adapted from a recipe in Mary Engelbreit's Cookies Cookbook

2 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 ounces white chocolate, cut into pieces
1 cup slivered almonds, chopped

In a medium bowl hand mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl cream butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Mix in the eggs and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture on low speed.  Once combined, hand mix the chocolate chips, white chocolate pieces, and almonds.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Take dough out of fridge and let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature.

Roll out 1 1/2 inch balls of dough and place 2 inches apart on parchment lined trays.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  Let cookies remain on baking sheets for 3 minutes after removal from oven.  Then put cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ray Charles

Nine years ago today music legend Ray Charles passed away.  I can't believe we've missed him that long!

He was such a pioneer and innovator.  His unique voice combined with his intuitive styling makes his talent timeless.

One of my favorite Ray Charles songs is "Hit the Road Jack."  So here it is!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Fresh Guacamole is Saved by Lime Juice

I love guacamole!  When I discovered avocados as a teenager--the main ingredient in guacamole--I couldn't believe what I had been missing!

One downside to guacamole is it tends to quickly turn brown.  The solution?  Lime juice!

So in honor of lime juice saving the lovely green color of guacamole, here's "Limehouse Blues" sung by the Mills Brothers.

Adapted from a Better Homes and Gardens recipe

1 small roma tomato, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup of onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 avocados

In a medium sized bowl combine all the ingredients.  Don't overmix or the guacamole will lose it's chunkiness.

Cover with plastic wrap.  Guacamole will keep in the fridge for up to 8 hours.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Back in the Kitchen: Lovely Buttermilk Waffles

After almost a week of not being in the kitchen, it's so good to be back!

Today I made Buttermilk Waffles, but these are unique--they use buttermilk powder!  Ironically, we ordered food stuffs from Bulk Foods and the order came yesterday, including buttermilk powder.  I was so excited when I read the recipe this morning and saw it used buttermilk powder!

The waffles came out wonderfully!  I've included the recipe.  Don't skip putting the waffles in the oven to crispen before you eat them.  They are a classic, timeless waffle made from scratch!

For some classic jazz, here's Louis Armstrong and May Alix on "Big Butter and Egg Man" from 1926!

Adapted from a recipe from America's Test Kitchen

2 cups flour
1/2 buttermilk powder
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups lemon & lime soda or club soda

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Put a cookie rack on a lipped baking sheet in the oven.

Whisk all dry ingredients together in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, eggs, oil, and vanilla until combined.  Mix in the club soda.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and gently stir the wet ingredients.  Don't over mix; batter should be lumpy and still have streaks of flour.

Heat waffle iron and  make the waffles according to the waffle iron directions.

When waffles are done, put in the oven for up to 10 minutes for a crispy crust.  Serve with syrup and fruit.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Interview with Chris Daughtry!

During my summers I intern at Cumulus Broadcasting here in Dubuque.  I help out Chris Farber on the morning show on Y105 every weekday.  I love it!  I learn so much and it is a lot of fun, too!

Today Chris and I did a phone interview with Chris Daughtry of Daughtry!  I researched all about him, though I knew quite a bit already because his song "Over You" is one of my favorite songs.  Recently, I listen to it at least once a day.  No joke!

So the interview went great!  We got his thoughts on the current American Idol format, his songwriting process, and asked some questions from listeners who wrote in on Facebook.

Daughtry is coming to the Dubuque County Fair on Friday, July 24, and I'm pretty sure I'll be there...

So here's one of my favorite songs "Over You" by Daughtry!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Parker House Rolls and Lover Man

Homemade rolls are the best, aren't they?  My mom and I made this family roll recipe recently.  They are our family recipe for Parker House Rolls.

The first rendition I ever heard of "Lover Man" was played by Charlie Parker, the great jazz saxophonist.  I loved it!  So the music-food connection today is Parker House Rolls to Charlie Parker.

I have to include in this blog, though, the haunting interpretation of "Lover Man" sung by Billie Holiday.  So for today, you get two for one!  How great is that?!


1 cup butter
2 cups milk
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup warm water
5 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
8 cups flour

In a small bowl combine 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/3 cup warm water, and yeast.  Stir.  Set aside until it gets frothy.

Put butter in microwave until almost melted, not hot.  In a saucepan, warm up the milk slightly.  Do not boil or even let get hot.

In a large bowl combine melted butter, milk, and 2/3 cup sugar.

Add eggs and beat until smooth.

Add 3 ½ cups of flour to the milk mixture.  Beat on low until dough is stretchy. 

Add yeast mixture.  Beat on low until smooth.

Add remaining 2 cups of flour and beat with mixer until dough is stretchy.  Stir in remaining 2 ½ cups of flour until smooth.  Dough is quite moist.  If too tacky to handle, add ½ cup flour.  Knead in and shape dough into a ball, scraping loose dough off sides of the bowl.

Put a piece of waxed paper over the bowl then place a clean, dry cloth over the waxed paper.  Set bowl in a warm place.  Let rise until double. 

Divide dough in half.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness.  Using a round cookie cutter cut circles out of dough.  Fold in half, pinching once at rounded edge.  Place on greased cookie sheet, not touching but close to each other.

Let rise about 45-60 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees on middle rack for 8-10 minutes.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls and Jelly Roll...Morton

Today's recipe is another recipe my mom recently made.  I haven't been in the kitchen the past two days.  These cinnamon rolls are seriously amazing, though!  And the secret?  Mashed potatoes.  Really!

The roll above has browned butter icing on it.  So tasty!

And do you know what else is tasty?  A good Jelly Roll Morton song.  Here's "Black Bottom Stomp" recorded in 1926!  I love it!


4 1/4 c. flour (up to 1 1/2 c. of finely ground wheat flour can be used with 2 3/4 c. white flour)
1 pkg. yeast
1 c. skim milk
1 c. cooked, mashed potatoes (ours even had the red skins since we make our potatoes with the  
          skins on them)
1/3 c. butter, cut up
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs

1/2 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. butter, softened

Combine 1 1/2 c. flour with yeast; set aside.

In saucepan stir together milk, mashed potatoes, 1/3 cup butter, sugar, and salt then heat until use warm and buyer is almost melted.

Pour liquid into flour mixture and add eggs.  Beat with mixer on low speed for 30 seconds then for 3 minutes on high.  

With a spoon, stir in 2 1/2 cup flour.  If getting too dry, do not add last 1/4 cup.  If still too wet and sticky to handle, add last 1/4 cup and up to 1/2 cup more flour.

Dough should be smooth and elastic.  

Place in a bowl sprayed with Pam, turning dough once and covering with plastic wrap and a clean dish cloth.

Let rise until double, about an hour.

Punch down and turn out onto lightly floured surface.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Spray Pam on a 13x9x2-inch pan.  

Roll dough into 18x12-inch rectangle.  Spread 1/4 cup butter over dough.  Combine brown sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over butter, leaving the edge that will be the open edge after rolling the dough into a spiral.

Cut dough with string into 12 pieces.  Place them in pan, cut side down and up.

Cover with clean kitchen towel and let rise until double, about 40 minutes.

Bake 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes until done.

Browned Butter Icing

3/8 c. butter
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla 

Brown buyer in saucepan over medium heat.  Remove from heat.  Combine powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a bowl.  Pour browned butter into sugar mixture.  Beat on medium speed.  Add by teaspoon at a time if too thick.  Add by 1/4 cup powdered sugar at a time if too runny.

Smear over slightly cooled cinnamon rolls.