Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Surprise Dessert!

This is Angela, taking over the kitchen for my experiment.

My parents were out today and I was in charge of a portion of dinner, which I did. But then, I was watching the Food Network today (more out of boredom than actually wanting to learn something) and I heard the term “Banana Bites”, which perked my interest. It was a dessert where the lady put a melted peanut butter chocolate spread between banana chips.

I do not have banana chips, nor did I feel like melting chocolate into peanut butter. So this is what I did instead.

First, I cut up a very large banana into thin, even slices and laid them out on a cooking sheet. I sprinkled them with cinnamon but I recommend you do this after they cook because it burnt on the pan and made the bananas stick a bit.

I put the banana slices in the oven on a broiler setting for about 10-15 minutes until they were golden and baked. For the filling, I split them into Nutella (a chocolate hazelnut spread) and creamy peanut butter. I used plastic baggies for piping and put them in a hot water bath to make them softer. Before I piped them, I cut little holes at the end of the bag.

When the banana chips were ready, I pulled them out of the oven and carefully transferred them to cooling racks with wax paper. I lined them up 2-by-2 so that there was a bottom and lid for each.

 I also split them in half because some people in this house don’t like Nutella.

 Then I piped in the peanut butter and Nutella, making sure to leave lids blank for each piped piece.

 I covered each one and set them on separate plates, sprinkling powdered sugar over them.

 Of course I had to taste one of each.

 And then I popped them in the fridge so that the Nutella and peanut butter harden and don’t ooze when eaten.

Super easy and you can put any sort of filling you like. Enjoy!



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Kathy: I grew up with certain traditions, especially during the holidays.  The one tradition that stands out and that we still do is having homemade ravioli for Christmas dinner.  When I was little, I remember my mom spending several days preparing and making ravioli.  I don’t remember helping much then, but I remember being mesmerized by all the steps it took to make these heavenly little pillows of dough filled with meat and cheese. 

When I was older I was able to help make them but soon I realized that my mom didn’t have a written recipe for her ravioli.  So, through the years several of us in the family have spent time with her to help make them and to learn how to make them.  It’s not Christmas for me without my mom’s ravioli.  So every year I happily make them.  And thank my mom for all the years she made them for us.

However, I do make them a little differently then she did.  It still takes three days: cook the meats one day, make the filling and make the dough the second day and on the third we assemble them.  Now,  I can’t share the exact recipe here, but we would like to share the process.  Just know that each and every ravioli is made with love.

Angela: So here’s the set-up now that we’ve got this operation down to a two-person thing.

My mom rolls the dough out. This year, we figured out a super-sneaky way to get the ravioli to not have a ton of dough and yet, keep them durable.

We plan on filling all these baking sheets and some over again. We sprinkle semolina flour on them so they don’t stick.

I’m on assembly. This little station is where the dough and filling come together. The metal tray with the holes (very technical equipment here) gives the ravioli their hat shape. The scooper is used to get the right amount of filling and the water is to seal them up.

This is the filling. It’s a secret recipe that even I don’t have the rights to yet. All I know is it has meat, cheese, spinach, and eggs. I don’t make it, I just assemble. This is a huge bowl by the way. By far, it was the biggest batch we’ve ever made.

But before this delicious filling can be stuffed into the dough, the dough has to be rolled into sheets that can fit on the ravioli tray. We have another nifty machine for that. Back when we started this whole operation, my dad and brother used to take turns with a machine that cranked the dough flat. With this new mechanical doohickey, we’ve eliminated the boys (they’re happy) from the labor force.

She just runs the homemade dough through this lovely contraption.

And then she gets these long, thin pieces of dough that are strong enough to put up with being stuffed.

At this point, the dough comes to me where I place it on the metal tray. Carefully with my thumb, I make little depressions in each of the 12 holes. Then I use pastry brush and water to wet the edges so that each ravioli will seal.

One scoop of filling in each hole and then with clean fingers, I flatten each scoop so there’s no air bubbles.

Then the top layer of dough goes on (carefully so that no air bubbles form).

I roll it over with a rolling-pin so that the zip-zap edges cut through the dough.

I then flip over the tray and out pop a dozen perfect, lovely ravioli.

They get placed on the baking trays until that tray is filled.

 When the tray is filled, like this one, it goes in the freezer. When they all freeze, we put them in bags and freeze them until its time to eat. 

So the result for the day……… 

 370 ravioli!


Skittles even came by to check out what we were doing. Either that, or the smell of the filling lured her in.

♥ Kathy and Angela 

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Fava Beans 011What’s the first thing you think of when you hear…fava beans?

“I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” from the 1991 movie, The Silence of the Lamb?  Not me.

I think of this recipe that my mom would make and I begin to crave them!

Fava beans are a type of broad bean and grow on large shrubs.  About a week ago I had spied these bushes on a local road side farm and the craving began.


In the past, I have grown fava beans in my garden.  They grow easily during the winter and the pods are ready for picking in the spring. 

In this recipe I started with 3 pounds of fava bean pods.

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 Then you need to remove the beans from the pods.  I do this by tearing the pod strings from the top much like shelling peas.

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The fava beans are nestled in this velvet lined pod! 

3 pounds of bean pods sounds like a lot for 4 servings but when your done shelling the actual fava beans amounts to about 3 cups.

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At this point the fava beans have a hard waxy covering that is not edible.

To remove this I drop them into boiling  water and boil the beans for 3 minutes.

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This partially cooks the fava bean.

After 3 mintues I place the beans into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

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At this point I remove the waxy cover. Sometimes the covering is split and the bean pops out when squeezed.  Or I use a small paring knife to nick the waxy covering and squeeze the bright green fava bean out.

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Now the fava beans are ready to use in any recipe.  Here’s the way my mom would fix them.

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Needed: 1 can (15 oz. stewed tomatoes), 1 onion, chopped, 6 slices bacon, chopped, 2 cloves of garlic, chopped, pepper to taste.

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Saute the chopped bacon on medium heat until it renders some fat, about 5 minutes.

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Add the chopped onion and garlic and saute for 5-6 more minutes.

Add the can of stewed tomatoes and the fava beans and cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until the fava beans are cooked through.

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This recipe can be eaten as a side dish for meats…


or alone as a light meal…


or served over spaghetti…

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…with a nice Chianti!



P.S.  Big thanks to Angela for her creative fava bean photography!

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Quick, Easy Muffins

My kids take a homemade lunch to school almost every day. They get a sandwich, some fruit , a drink and something yummy. This something yummy is often homemade muffins.

But homemade muffins are complicated. There’s too many ingredients and too many utensils needed. So I developed a quick, simple muffin recipe that can be changed up with different ingredients.  And the main ingredient is… Krusteaz Pancake Mix!05-06-09-001_edited-1

We buy the BIG BAG from that BIG BOX  Store!

So today I made Applesauce Muffins.

I use 3 cups of Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake mix.

I use 3 cups of Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake mix.



Fresh ground nutmeg

Fresh ground nutmeg

Applesauce and brown sugar

Applesauce and brown sugar



Mix well

Mix well

Grease the muffin pan.

Grease the muffin pan.

Use a large ice cream scoop to fill the pan.

Use a large ice cream scoop to fill the pan.


Bake at 350' for 20 - 25 minutes.

Bake at 350' for 20 - 25 minutes.

While the muffins are baking I make a glaze to pour on top when they come out.

Mix powdered sugar with cinnamon, nutmeg and a tiny amount of milk.

Mix powdered sugar with cinnamon, nutmeg and a tiny amount of milk.

The muffins are done when brown and firm to touch.

The muffins are done when brown and firm to touch.

Drizzle with glaze.

Drizzle with glaze.


Applesauce Muffins Recipe

3 cups Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix

½ cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp grated nutmeg

1 cup milk (2%, whole or half and half))

1 cup naturally sweeten applesauce (homemade or store bought)

Dump and mix until well combined.


Scoop  into greased muffin tin.

Cook 350’ for 20-25 min.



2 T milk

½ cup powdered sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

Mix well adding more sugar until mixture is thick like honey.


Let muffins cool 5 min.  Drizzle glaze on top.  Let cool completely. Yum!

I use this recipe to make all flavors of muffins.  Just change some of the ingredients.  Always keep the 3 cups of Krusteaz to 1 cup of liquid.  


I’ve made apple chunk muffins, dried apricot muffins, dried cranberry muffins,  chocolate muffins, chocolate chip muffins…

Sometimes I add ½ cup nuts to the mixture.

Sometimes I sprinkle the tops with raw sugar before cooking and no glaze.

I’ve made them in the small muffin tin and you could make this recipe in a loaf pan or 8”x8” pan and cut into slice or squares.

One of my favorites is Blueberry Muffins!


Blueberry Muffins


½ tsp cinnamon and grated nutmeg

The zest of 1 lemon.

1 cup of granulated sugar instead of brown sugar

1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries



2 T lemon juice

½ cup powdered sugar


The possibilities are endless!  Enjoy!


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