Saturday, November 20, 2010

beef stew

(this photo really sucks, I should stick to stealing them.)

Beef Stew

5 russet potatoes
3 large carrots
4 TB butter
1 TB minced garlic
1 pkg beef stew seasoning
2 cups water
2 cups leftover roast, shredded*

Peel & chop vegetables. Place 2 of the chopped potatoes into a small pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer until they start to fall apart.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large soup pot. When it begins to bubble, add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots- saute for about 10 minutes or until golden. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer until potatoes are fork tender.

Mash or puree the small pot of potatoes. Stir the seasoning into the water, and pour into the puree. Stir in the roast, and add to the large soup pot. Reduce heat to low- simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Serve in bread bowls or with bread.

After dinner Danny told me that this was the best beef stew he has ever eaten. I usually make it in the crock pot and I just use stew meat- but today I had leftover roast and didn't plan enough time ahead to dig out the crock pot-so I have learned my lesson and will make it like this from now on!

* I love making a large roast and then using the "leftovers" for this soup- (among other dishes) it makes such a delicious stew, and saves time!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

the best potato cheese soup ever

The only thing I enjoy about the colder weather is making soup- we never seem to want it in the summer. I had this for lunch today after raking leaves out in the cold for an hour, and it really helped to warm me up!

This recipe could easily be doubled for a crowd.

(I stole this photo)**

Potato Cheese Soup

6 potatoes
4 TB butter
1 TB minced garlic
2 TB chicken stock base/bullion*
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups half & half
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
crumbled bacon (optional)

Peel & chop potatoes. Place half of the potatoes into a small pot and cover with water, bring to a boil and then simmer until they start to fall apart.

Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, melt butter over medium heat. Once bubbly, add the garlic. Saute for 2 minutes, then add the larger potato chunks. Saute for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Cover with water and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender.

Mash the smaller potatoes, leaving the water in the pot. Stir in chicken bullion, salt and pepper. Add mixture to larger pot. Set heat to low. Stir in the half & half. Slowly add the cheese and stir until melted. Simmer for 5- 10 minutes- add more salt & pepper if desired.

Garnish with bacon and more cheese. Serve with bread.

*could be substituted for vegetable stock bullion
**I never seem to take photos of the food I make, just the desserts.

Monday, July 12, 2010

homemade oreo's

Homemade Oreo Cookies

(and NO, I absolutely do not use Crisco in the filling! Blech!)


1 pkg Betty Crocker cake mix- devil's food, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate.
1 egg
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar

Mix together the cake mix, egg and water with beaters on medium until combined. (will be sticky) Portion out with a cookie scoop and roll in sugar. Bake for 17 minutes at 350. Let cool completely. Make filling.


1 -8 oz pkg cream cheese, at room temp
3/4 stick butter, at room temp
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 TB heavy whipping cream

Beat the cream cheese and butter on medium until smooth. Add the sugar in two additions, mixing well. Add the vanilla. Beat in the heavy cream, and whip on high until light and fluffy. (try not to eat it all. It's so hard, I know.)

Line up half the cookies on the counter upside down, and using cookie scoop, portion out filling onto each overturned cookie. Take the other half of the cookies and sandwich on top of the filled cookies. Store in the fridge. They taste best slightly chilled, in my opinion.

Makes about a dozen, which is perfect for the two of us to share.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

pb&j shortbread cookie bars

I found this recipe blog a few weeks ago, and I really like her style!

I made these tonight for dessert, and they were heavenly! Soooooo good!

Original post here.

PB&J Shortbread Cookie Bars

1 cup butter, at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup jam of your choice
1 cup powdered sugar
4 TB heavy whip
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 350. Combine butter and sugars mix on low until creamy. Slowly add the flour and the salt, mix until just combined. Place dough in a buttered 8x8 pan, gently pat down. Melt the peanut butter and the jam in the microwave for about 25 sec. Pour peanut butter over dough, spread out with a spatula. Swirl jam over the peanut butter. Using a butter knife, swirl the 2 together. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting.

Combine the powdered sugar, cream and vanilla and beat on low until combined. Whip on high for a minute. Drizzle over cooled bars.

Thanks Picky Palate!

Monday, May 31, 2010

german chocolate cookies

German Chocolate Cookies

1 cup butter, at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 TB vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream sugars and butter on low until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients. Beat in the vanilla. Add the chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Let cool. Make the topping.
Makes almost 3 dozen small cookies.

Coconut Topping

1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (1 12oz can)
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup butter
1 TB vanilla
3 cups coconut
(1 cup chopped pecans) optional

Mix milk, sugar, eggs, and butter in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Cook for 2 minutes. Take off of heat, stir in vanilla and coconut. Let cool.

(this is a full recipe- you will only use half. I like to freeze the leftovers for another batch later on. I do it so that I don't waste half a can of evaporated milk. Feel free to half it!)

Chocolate Frosting *this recipe has been halved*

1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
one half of 1/3 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla

Beat cocoa and melted butter on low. Alternately add the sugar and the milk, mixing well after each addition, ending with the milk. Beat in the vanilla.
(from the Hershey's cocoa package)

Assemble the cookies:

Put a dollop of the topping on each cookie. Drizzle the chocolate frosting on top of the coconut. Store in the fridge, but they taste best at room temperature. Keeps well in the fridge for about a week.

Monday, May 24, 2010

lemon coconut cookies

Lemon Coconut Cookies

1 pkg lemon cake mix (betty crocker is the best)
1 egg
1/3 cup water

Pre-heat oven to 350. Combine all in a medium bowl and beat on medium high until fluffy. Using a cookie scoop, portion out onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until light brown on the bottom. Let cool. Make filling.

Coconut Cream Cheese Filling

2 8oz pkg cream cheese, at room temp
3/4 cup butter, at room temp
4 cups powdered sugar
1 TB vanilla
3 TB heavy whipping cream
2 cups coconut

Fill cookies:

place about 2 TB of filling on the bottom of a cookie- sandwich with another. Keep in the fridge, but they are best eaten at room temperature.

Monday, May 17, 2010

chocolate coconut cupcakes

Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

1 pkg Betty Crocker Chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup butter, at room temp
3 eggs
1 1/3 cups water

Place all in medium mixing bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds, then on medium for 2 minutes.
Portion out into a lined muffin pan using a 2TB cookie scoop, 2 scoops in each one. Bake at 350 for 17 minutes. Let cool.

Coconut Filling

1/2 cup butter
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 TB vanilla
1 cup coconut

Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar, mix well. Add vanilla. Stir in coconut.

Chocolate Frosting

2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup melted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 TB vanilla
1/3 cup milk

Add the cocoa to the melted butter and mix well. Alternatley add the sugar and milk, beating well after each addition, ending with the milk. Beat in vanilla.

Putting them together:

After cupcakes have cooled, scoop out the middle of each cupcake. I like to use an apple corer, it's easy to get a perfect cylinder of the middle of each cupcake without destroying it. Be careful not to go all the way down to the wrapper.

Pipe filling into each cupcake, about 2 TB in each one.

Pipe frosting on top of the cupcakes. I used a star tip, and just made a few stars around the filling.

Then I topped them off with a Ferrero Rocher Garden Coconut bon bon. Fancy, right? Well, I found them on sale somewhere, so I grabbed a few boxes. They are hard to find unless there is a candy holiday going on. (christmas, easter, valentines)

Monday, May 10, 2010

(vegan) cinnamon rolls

I used to make these gooey treats with my friend Nathan. We found a regular roll recipe and adapted it for cinnamon rolls. They are delicious!

Cinnamon Rolls

2 cups soy or rice milk
1 cup water

4 TB dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 TB salt
3/4 cup margarine
2 tsp liquid lecithin, or vegetable oil

8 cups flour, divided plus more for dusting

2 TB cinnamon
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 stick margarine, melted

Pre-heat oven to 400. Microwave milk and water for 3 1/2 minutes, set aside. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix 2nd group of ingredients together on low. Add milk, and slowly mix for about a minute. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook. Add 4 cups flour, mix until smooth. Add remaining flour, 1 cup at a time. Turn out on floured surface and knead well, or until it's no longer sticky. Place in a medium bowl, place that into a large bowl filled with hot water, and cover with a towel. Let raise for 15 minutes. Punch down, and divide dough in half, then cover one of the halves with a towel.

Roll out the dough into a rectangle. Brush half the butter onto the dough, leaving about a half an inch border all around. Mix the sugar and the cinnamon together in a small bowl. Sprinkle half the filling onto the dough, then press it in. Tightly roll the dough to form a tube. Using a serrated knife, cut off the end, then cut the tube into 1 1/2 inch slices. Place cut side down on a greased cookie pan, leaving room for them to rise. Cover, and let raise for 15-20 more minutes.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Makes a little over a dozen rolls.

Frosting: (optional)

1 oz pkg Tofutti cream cheese, at room temp
1 stick margarine, at room temp
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Cream together the margarine and cream cheese. Add the sugar, and beat until smooth. Add vanilla. Smear onto cooled rolls.

Store rolls in the fridge.

Monday, May 3, 2010

(vegan) sugar cookies & buttercream frosting

Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer
2 TB lukewarm water
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup soy or rice milk
1 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 375. In a ramekin, mix together the egg replacer and the water. Cream together margarine and sugar. Add egg. Mix in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, ending with the milk. Beat in the vanilla. Roll out onto floured working surface, and cutout with cookie cutters. For crispy cookies, roll the dough out thin. For soft cookies, roll the dough out so it's almost 1/4 inch thick.

Space the cookies out so that they won't expand into each other while baking. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Don't let the tops of the cookies brown, they are done when the bottoms are lightly browned. Let them cool for about 7 minutes before attempting to move them- you don't want your shapes to break. Let them cool on a wire rack completely before frosting them- you don't want melted frosting!

"Buttercream" Frosting

1 cup margarine
6 cups powdered sugar
6-8 TB soy or rice milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract

Beat margarine in a medium mixing bowl until softened. Add 3 cups of the sugar, mix well. Blend in 4 TB of the milk, then add the rest of the sugar. Beat in the extracts. If frosting is too thick, add more milk.

You can add food coloring at this point. Since margarine is not as stable as butter, it's best that you only make pastel colors with this frosting. It also will "melt" a lot faster- so it's best to store the frosted cookies in the fridge until ready to serve.

These cookies are amazing! They taste like the "real" thing!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

(vegan) fresh apple cookies

Fresh Apple Cookies

1 cup butter, at room temp (margarine)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 large apples, peeled and grated

Cream butter and sugars, add vanilla and apple, then dry ingredients.

In a shallow bowl, mix together:

8 TB sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Roll cookies in cinnamon sugar mix. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, or until light brown on the bottom.

I love to drizzle caramel ice cream topping on top of these cookies. Not vegan friendly though...

Monday, April 19, 2010

(vegan) chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup margarine, at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs ( 3 tsp egg replacer, 4 TB water)
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 TB vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips- (semi-sweet or carob, if you like it)

Cream sugars and butter on low until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients. Beat in the vanilla. Add the chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.

If you have any left over, store in a ziplock bag.

Friday, April 16, 2010

(vegan) cheesecake

Many years ago, I was Vegan. It wasn't a "hard" way to live, but I really missed dessert. So I started adapting my Mom's recipes so that I could still eat sweets. Because honestly, all the Vegan "desserts" at the time had ingredients like whole wheat flour and carob. Not really my idea of sweets!

It took 6 months for my mom and I to perfect this recipe. It's really simple, and it's been thoroughly tested and approved by many!

Shortbread Crust

1 stick margarine
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 350.
Cream margarine and sugar together. Add flour. Beat in vanilla. Press into greased pie pan or springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes- do not brown. Let cool.

Basic Cheesecake

3 pkg Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese, at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
4 1/2 tsp egg replacer
6 TB water, at room temp
1 TB vanilla extract

Combine the egg replacer and the water. Set aside. Beat the cream cheese and the sugar on low until smooth. Slowly add the "eggs", then the vanilla. Pour into crust. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the middle wiggles like pudding.

Let cool completely. Cover and let chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

A Favorite Variation:

The most requested and popular cheesecake that I have made is Lemon.

Add 1/4-1/2 cup of lemon juice to cheesecake mixture after the vanilla. Top with Lemon Sauce.

Lemon Sauce

1/2 cup sugar
2 TB cornstarch
3/4 cup water
2 TB margarine
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 TB lemon zest

Combine the sugar and the cornstarch in a small dry saucepan. Add water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Simmer for about 2 minutes, or until thickened. Take off of heat. Add lemon juice, zest, and margarine. Stir to combine. Tops one cheesecake. You can also add fresh blueberries to the mix after it has cooled- an amazing summer dessert!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

retro jessica makes an appearance

Years ago, when I was vegan, I started baking. I adapted a lot of my Mom's recipes, so that I could still have dessert. (So today, while having an artistic block in a project that I am working on, I decided to dust off my recipe box and start typing.)

These are the recipes that started it all- I made these over and over again, sharing with friends and family. My love for baking has expanded since then- and so have my skills.

There was a point when I wanted to write a vegan recipe book. It was an ambitious idea, one that was too large for me- I didn't want a year or 2 of my life taken up by it.

So over the next few weeks, I will be posting some of my "old school" recipes. All of them can be made vegan, or in the usual ways. Both of which are (almost) equally delicious.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

raspberry swirl cupcakes with raspberry buttercream

Raspberry Puree

2 12 oz pkgs of unsweetened frozen raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 TB cornstarch
1 tsp lemon juice (fresh is best)

Place berries in a medium bowl. You can either place them on the counter to defrost, or in the fridge overnight. Once thawed, put the berries in a fine colander or sieve over a bowl and mash the berries until all the juice is out, and there are only seeds left. Chuck the seeds.

In a small saucepan BEFORE putting the pan on the stove, combine the puree with the cornstarch, stir well. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stir constantly for 2 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Take off of heat, and add the lemon juice.

Let cool before using, but not in the fridge- it will gel up quite a bit in the fridge, and it needs to be syrup consistency for the following recipe.

Raspberry Swirl Cupcakes

1 pkg vanilla cake mix (betty crocker is the best)
1 stick butter, at room temp
1 1/4 cups water
3 eggs
2 TB raspberry puree
1 TB vanilla
pink food coloring

Preheat oven to 325. Line muffin tin with liners.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix all ingredients on low for 30 seconds, then on medium for 2 minutes. Add food coloring to desired pink-ish hue is achieved.

Portion 4 TB into each cupcake liner. Put about 1/4 tsp of raspberry puree in middle of each cupcake. Swirl into batter with a toothpick. Bake for 17 minutes.

Let cool. Make frosting.

Raspberry Buttercream

2 sticks butter, at room temp
1 TB light corn syrup
1 TB vanilla
4 TB raspberry puree
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy whip

Cream butter on high for 3 minutes. Slowly add vanilla, corn syrup, and puree. Whip until combined. Add the sugar in 2 parts, on low speed. Pour in the heavy whip, and whip on high for 3 more minutes so the frosting is fluffy and delicious.

Pipe onto cupcakes, (I used a big star tip). Stick them in the fridge until ready to eat.

Nom nom nom.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Cherry Cobbler

1 stick butter, room temp
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla

1 can of cherry pie filling

In a small mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in egg. Add the dry ingredients, then the vanilla. Spoon some of the batter into the bottom of a pie dish. Pour cherries on top. Spoon the rest of the batter on top. Sprinkle cinnamon & sugar on top.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Serve with Snelgrove's canadian vanilla ice cream. Yum!


Growing up, we had spaghetti once a week. Usually on Monday's. It's Loo-loo's favorite and luckily for me, Danny's favorite too.

So Danny and I continue the tradition spaghetti- once a week. Usually on days that I don't feel like making anything else- it's easy, fast, and we love it!

3/4 pkg spaghetti noodles (less or more, depending on how hungry you are)
1 can tomato sauce (We like S&W organic from Costco)
1/2 pkg McCormic Thick & Zesty Spaghetti sauce mix (heaping 1/8 cup)
1 TB Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
shredded mozzarella cheese

In a small saucepan, combine tomato sauce, spices and dressing. Set it on low, and stick a lid on it.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Add noodles, and cook for 12 minutes, or until al dente. Drain.

Sprinkle with cheese, and pour sauce on top. Enjoy!