Saturday, August 2, 2014

Audrey's Wedding

Audrey was my RN partner for the last few years that I worked at Hospice Buffalo, and we became quite close. Today she and her soul mate, Tony, will be married. As part of their wedding present, I volunteered to make some traditional Italian cookies for the reception. The photo above is of the sesame seed cookies made for this occasion. The other types made were traditional fig, chocolate spice balls, and Italian white knot. The recipes for all four can be found in earlier posts on this blog. I am sorry that I do not have a photo of the tray of fig, chocolate and white cookies. The picture that I took just didn't come out right. The reason that the sesame seed cookies are on a separate tray is that if they are served on the same plate as other cookies, they will get soggy and the taste experience will be minus the crispy texture that is so wonderful.

Hope that the weather holds out, as the ceremony and reception are outdoors! May Audrey and Tony share many years of wedded bliss.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

These are easy to make and quite good. The recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies and was obtained through . Enjoy!

1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup crushed peanuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit. In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar, peanut butter, egg and vanilla until well blended. Form cookies using a small scoop and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten each cookie and make a criss-cross pattern with fork tines. Sprinkle with peanuts. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Resurrection Cookies/Easter Story Cookies

This recipe was given to me by a friend who obtained it from which remains the source for this recipe. The recipe provided by my friend indicates that this is a great way to teach your children/grandchildren the real story of Easter. You will need:

1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
a pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
a plastic zipper bag
1 wooden spoon
scotch tape

These are to be made the evening before Easter. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Farenheit. Do this before you start to make the recipe. The oven needs to be at 300 degrees when you are ready to put the cookies in to "bake". You will see what this means later.

Place pecans in the plastic zipper bag and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read: John 19:1-3

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink. Read:
John 19:28-30

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read: Joh 10:10 & 11

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read: Luke 23:27

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read: Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read: Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read:
Matthew 27:57-60

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven off. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read: Matthew 27:65-66

Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read: John 16: 20 & 22

Go to bed.

On Easter morning/Resurrection Sunday, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow. On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty! Read:
Matthew 28:1-9

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Canine Cookie Rose

Cookie Rose has expanded to include all things organic and good for dogs (and people too). My beloved dog, Rosco, has a condition for which my Vet has recommended a no grain/corn organic diet. Needless to say, that pretty much takes care of all processed foods. So I took to the kitchen and experimented.

For his dog food I use organic ground beef, chicken or turkey. Put a pound into a casserole dish and then mix in a can of organic pumpkin or sweet potato puree (organic pumpkin or sweet potato puree usually has nothing else in it and so is minimally processed). To this add about one cup of cooked organic rice (any variety you like) and again mix in well. The final addition is about a half to a full cup of whatever you have on hand or think that your dog would eat. I use organic green peas, sliced organic baby carrots, or organic cranberries (you can find these in food coops around the holidays and then freeze the individual packages for use all year). Then bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for no more than an hour. Peek at it after about 40 minutes and if all is bubbly, stir it up and see if it seems done. I have been giving Rosco about a cup twice a day (he's a large beagle/basset and who knows what else mix) and he loves it. His coat is shiny, his eyes bright, and his 9 year old body agile!

Once the Vet prescribed this way of eating for Rosco, it posed a problem for any kind of treat beyond organic marrow bones. Although there are many organic treats out there, I had trouble finding any that were grain free and affordable. So I took down from the shelf a cookbook that my good friend Nina gave me several Christmases ago that is a recipe book to cook organic dog biscuits. I found one that was grain free and modified it a bit.

It's nothing more than mixing together 2 cups of organic ground chicken, 2 cups of organic brown rice flour, 1 1/2 cups of pureed organic sweet potatoes or carrots, 2 organic eggs, and some organic cranberries. The original recipe calls for dried cranberries but I use the same organic cranberries as referenced above and they work fine. If you have no cranberries, I guess you could try organic blueberries. You mix all of this together to form a "dough", and I use the word loosely, for the mixture is very moist. It is moist to the point that I cannot see a way to roll it, so what I have been doing is putting a small amount on a floured surface, patting it down until smooth and even, then cutting out dog bones with various sized cookie cutters. Place them on a cookie tin lined with parchment paper and bake in a 375 degree oven 22 to 27 minutes, or until slightly brown and firm. After they are cooled, place them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator, since they have no preservatives and I am told would mold if left at room temperature. They are not crisp as traditional dog biscuits, but are very good.

I have tried them! One recipe makes many small biscuits, and I usually make some small and some large. One recipe lasts Rosco about a month, with having one or two small ones a day.

So there you have it. This all may be a bit pricier than store bought food, but perhaps we will save in the long run from fewer trips to the Vet.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Good Soup!

Fall is upon us. First snow fell in Western NY last night in the southern tier commonly referred to as the snow belt or ski area. Nights are brisk and clear, and days are warmer with blue skies, sunshine and white fluffy clouds.

It is just this time of year when thoughts may turn to a good soup, and there is nothing better than homemade soup. This year I am learning about "bone broth", its nutritional value and wonderful taste. Below are some ideas for both chicken and also beef soup.

For chicken soup I purchase a certified organic chicken, usually from the Green Heron Growers who set up shop each Saturday at the Williamsville Farmers Market. Although more expensive than store bought chicken, there is no fear in simmering these bones, for they have not a trace of anything synthetic, artificial or medicinal -- just lots of sunshine, lolling about on certified organic pastures, and lots of space to call their own. I first roast the chicken in the oven and have the legs and thighs for meals, keeping all bones for later use. When ready for soup, I remove the breast meat from the carcass and save it in the refrigerator, then place the carcass and bones from the legs and thighs in a pot with just enough water to cover all. If you use too much water, the broth will not gel when chilled, and the gel is a true sign that you have extracted all the wonderful nutritional benefits from the bones. Cover and simmer on the stove for hours and hours, until the water turns cloudy, for then and only then is it ready to be made into soup. Sometimes I start this process one day, and continue the simmer stage intermittently for the next day or so as time and circumstance permit, refrigerating the pot in between simmerings.

When the broth is thus ready, remove all bones from the pot, strain the broth to catch any small stray bones, place the broth in a clean pot and save the bones for later. Into the broth add vegetables of your choosing. I usually use the standard onions, carrots, celery, and then add whatever else I may have left over. For seasoning, I usually use fresh herbs such as parsley and dill which result in a wonderful taste when used together. Take the chicken breast meat that you saved earlier and cut or shred it into bite sized pieces and add it to the mix. Same with whatever meat you can pick from the bones. The last thing that I add is some type of green, such as baby spinach, chopped escarole, chopped kale, etc.

For beef soup the process is the same. I use beef soup bones, again purchased from Green Heron Growers, from cows 100% grass fed on organic pastures. I use about 4 bones per pot of soup. Leave the meat on the bones while you are simmering the bones, then remove and proceed as for chicken soup directions.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Aunt Bessie's Chocolate Cake

Cousin Willie turned 50 last summer and there was a big party for him with all kinds of delicious homemade food brought by various family members. Aunt Bessie brought this cake and it was the hit of the party. It is very easy to make. One of my friends has called it the best chocolate cake ever.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons baking cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients:
1 cup cold milk
1 3.9 ounce package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 8 ounce container Cool Whip (thawed)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 1 minute and then on medium for 1 minute. Pour into greased pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

For frosting, in a medium mixing bowl beat the milk and pudding for 2 minutes. Beat in the Cool Whip and spread over the cake.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cherry Nuggets

Recently while searching for a new and different cookie to make for a co-worker's baby shower, I came upon this recipe and decided to try it. Not only is it easy, fast and "no fuss", it produces delicious little morsels that also are very lovely to behold. Because of this, I decided to not only post this recipe, but also to add it to my repertoire for Christmas baking. One of the baby shower attendees suggested making some with red cherries and some with green cherries, which would make a colorful seasonal display at Christmas. The original recipe indicated that the yield would be 48 cookies, however, I must have made them a little bigger, as my yield was only about 35 or 36. Enjoy!


1 cup butter
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup finely chopped nuts
24 maraschino cherries, halved

Cream the butter and cream cheese together. Add the sugar, egg and almond extract and mix together until well-blended. Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then stir into the creamed mixture. Chill the dough thoroughly.

When dough is thoroughly chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Form the chilled dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the chopped nuts and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press a cherry half into the center of each cookie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 48 dainty cookies (less if a little larger).