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November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from Us!

Filed under: Uncategorized — bettylou79 @ 5:21 am

Happy Thanksgiving from Nate and I. We we will be spending the holiday with my side of the family up in Oak Harbor at my Aunt and Uncle’s house. We have been assigned rolls and cranberry sauce. I plan on buying the rolls (gasp) and doing home made cranberry sauce ala Martha Stewart (recipe with picture coming on Friday). I’m sure we will get a rousing game of Uno going again this year as we all digest our food! us

We are thankful for our happiness and our health. If you know us in real life we are ready to be done with this year and ready to see what the new year brings.

Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your time with friends and family.


November 24, 2008

Cheddar-Topped Shepard’s Pie

Filed under: Beef, Main Dish, Vegetables — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 12:28 pm

Oh my goodness! This was definitely a filling meal! My husband and I will be eating this as leftovers for a few days! We have enough for an army! I know for a lot of people Shepherd’s Pie is something that they grew up with and for others they have never heard of it. Well, I was in the latter group. My first experience with Shepherd’s Pie was a little less than 10 years ago. My aunt introduce it to my family or maybe reintroduced it to us. She grew up in both South Africa and Edinburgh, Scotland and has a great accent that cannot be imitated! When my mom and I first had this meal with my Aunt and Uncle, he called it “gruel.” I’m pretty sure he wasn’t trying to be rude but it must have reminded him of something!

I have tried to make Shepherd’s Pie on my own once before and it didn’t turn out very well. Then Nate tried it how he remembered it when he was growing up. That attempt was a little better. I was very excited when I spotted this recipe in my Everyday Food magazine. This recipe makes enough for a large group (8) or enough for leftovers for a few days. My one piece of advice it to put a cookie sheet on the rack under the pan in case it boils over, like mine! This also is not a fast recipe, there is a lot of prep work with chopping the veggies. This recipe is a keeper!



Cheddar-Topped Shepherd’s Pie

source: Everyday Food, Martha Stewart


Serves 8

  • 2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4), peeled and thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • 6 medium carrots, halved lengthwise, quartered if large, and thinly sliced
  • 6 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar (6 ounces)


  1. Preheat oven to 450. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover by 1 inch with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high. Add carrots, celery, onion, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beef; cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Add 1 cup water; bring to a boil, and simmer 1 minute. Set beef filling aside.
  3. Drain potatoes; return to pan. Cook over medium, stirring, until liquid has evaporated and a thin film covers bottom of pan, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; add milk and 1 cup cheese. Mash until smooth; season cheddar-potato topping with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour beef filling into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Drop dollops of topping over filling; spread to edges with a spatula. Using a fork, make decorative peaks; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until topping is browned and filling is bubbling rapidly, about 20 minutes (if topping and filling were chilled, increase to 35 minutes). Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Cinnamon Apple Waffles

Filed under: Bread, Breakfast, Fruit — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 12:07 pm

Yes, another apple recipe! My mom brought me a large bag of apples from a local farm in Mount Vernon a few weeks ago and I’m slowly going through them Even though this recipe doesn’t use many of those apples, it was still great! I’ve made applesauce with this recipe and then as you might have read I also made an Apple Cranberry Crisp.

Last night and this morning I went on a hunt for a recipe for Apple Waffles. I thought that I remembered making apple waffles last year around this time of year. I thought the recipe was in the owners manual that came with our Cuisnart Waffle Maker but I couldn’t find the manual and I also went to Cuisinart’s website and looked at their recipe section but with no success! Next step was on to Google, no luck, well at least not quickly! I looked at all my tried and true sites and still no luck! At some point in that search I decided that it was time for bed or I would be up all night looking for that silly recipe! This morning I figured that going through my large collection of cookbooks wouldn’t be a bad idea! Again, no such luck! Argh! Back to Google I went! This time I became a bit more precise in my search and typed in the type of apples that I wanted in the recipe (shredded apples). Eureka! Well, this wasn’t the recipe that I used last year but it was just as good! Enjoy!


Cinnamon Apple Waffles


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredient List:

3 eggs
1 Cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 medium apple, peeled and shredded
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Kitchen Equipment Needed

2 Mixing bowls
waffle maker


Step 1: In a medium to large mixing bowl, beat eggs until thick and creamy.

Step 2: Add milk, melted butter and vanilla to the eggs. Beat well until incorporated.

Step 3: In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and cinnamon.

Step 4: Slowly add the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Mix well.

Step 5: Stir in the fresh shredded apple.

Step 6: Bake as your waffle iron or waffle maker directs.

Makes about 7-8 waffles. Serves 4.

November 23, 2008

Apple Cranberry Crisp

Filed under: Dessert, Fruit, Holiday — Tags: , — bettylou79 @ 1:02 pm

Yummy! I love fall because of all the yummy foods and desserts. Apple crisp is one of my favorite desserts. When this recipe popped up in my Google Reader from Annie’s Eats, check out her blog, everything she makes looks great, I knew that I had to try it. It also just so happened that I had two bags of fresh cranberries sitting in my refrigerator. Yahoo!! I just couldn’t pass them up at the grocery store. I’ll admit they were an impulse buy! I allow myself about 2 impulse buys per shopping trip and then I stick to my list!

I made this recipe for a few reasons, one was because it looked good (good reason, eh?) and the other was in honor of The Apple Cup. If you are from Washington state there is no way that you can not know about The Apple Cup, even if you didn’t go to either college involved in the football game. We have quite the cross state rivalry with this game. This football game takes place every fall and involves the Washington State University Cougars (Go Cougs!) who are in Pullman (close to Idaho) and the University of Washington Huskies, located in Seattle. The game takes place at one of the colleges and they switch every year. I did not go to either college but my husband went to Washington State University, so I am guilty by association. I would love to tell you that both teams are doing great this year but that is not the case at all. Neither team has won a game this year, at least in their conference. The are both Pac-10 schools, so your university may have played one of these Washington schools. Usually both teams are doing really well! So this game was really the match up of who stinks less! I’m happy to tell you that my beloved Cougars won the game 16 to 13 in double over time. This game was nerve wracking, and I wasn’t even there and didn’t even go to the school!

I adore the color that the cranberry’s make the apples. Such a fun pink color. Enjoy! Next time I’ll serve this with ice cream. Enjoy!


Apple Cranberry Crisp

source: Annie’s Eats


For the filling:

2 ½ -3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin

2/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed

¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the topping:

½ cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

½ cup rolled instant oats

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup light brown sugar, packed

6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter an 8×8” square baking dish. Set aside.

To prepare the filling, combine the apple slices and cranberries in a medium bowl. Add the sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the melted butter and toss the ingredients until the fruit is evenly coated. Pour the fruit into the prepared baking dish in an even layer.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats and sugars, and toss with a fork until well combined. Add in the melted butter and mix until all dry ingredients are moistened. Crumble the mixture evenly over the fruit. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm.

Source: adapted from Use Real Butter

Smoky chipotle hummus

Filed under: Appetizers — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 12:38 pm

I love this recipe. Before Nate and I got married I learned that he was quite fond of hummus. He would buy a container of it from Trader Joe’s and a bag of Salt and Pepper chips and eat that for lunch or even a snack. After we got married I was always on the look out for a recipe for hummus. I found one in one of my Everyday Food magazines. He liked it but we both agreed that there wasn’t anything special about it.

A few summers ago we went to Powell’s books in Portand, OR and I scored a Bon Appetit Cookbook for 50% off. So last spring I decided to try a new recipe and went on the hunt in the cookbooks that I already have, rather than using the trusty internet!

This hummus recipe is our new favorite. I love the spicy flavor but also the hint of mexican flavoring. This time that I made it I opted to not use the cilantro I have used it before and it was delicious. I just decided not to use it this time because I didn’t have it! This recipe makes quite a lot so I suggest making it for a party or large gathering.



Smoky Chipotle Hummus

source: Bon Appetit cookbook but found here at


  • 2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)*
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies**
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 4-ounce jar sliced pimientos in oil, drained
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 6-ounce packages roasted-garlic bagel chips


Reserve 3 tablespoons garbanzo beans for garnish. Blend remaining garbanzo beans and next 7 ingredients in processor until smooth. Add pimientos; process, using on/off turns, until pimientos are coarsely chopped. Transfer hummus to medium bowl. Stir in cilantro. Season hummus to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with reserved garbanzo beans. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.) Accompany with bagel chips.

*Sold at Middle Eastern markets, natural foods stores and some supermarkets. **Chipotle chilies canned in a spicy tomato sauce, sometimes called adobo, are available at Latin American markets, specialty foods stores and some supermarkets.

November 21, 2008

Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pancetta, and Sage

Filed under: Main Dish, Pasta, Pork, Vegetables — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 11:44 am

Yummy! I think I may have a new favorite way to serve butternut squash. I usually just boil or steam the squash and mash it up with some butter and brown sugar. I honestly wasn’t sure what this would taste like but I really liked it!

I saw this recipe on the Martha Stewart Show last week and decided it would be worth a try. This recipe was full of flavor and not blah at all as was my fear. I loved the mixture of squash with red pepper flakes and also the Parmesan cheese. I must confess that this was also my first time buying and using fresh sage. I was impressed with that also! I made one change to the recipe. I didn’t use the pancetta but instead chopped up 3 slices of bacon therefore I omitted the olive oil that the pancetta was to be cooked in. It worked out well, even with the onion/shallots and other ingredients that go into the pan with the bacon.

I strongly suggest you try this recipe if you’re looking for new way to prepare butternut squash. You won’t be sorry you did. Enjoy!


Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pancetta, and Sage

source: The Martha Stewart Show


Serves 4

  • 1 medium (about 2 1/4 pounds) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • 3/4 pound penne pasta
  • 3 ounces pancetta, sliced 1/4 inch thick and finely chopped (I used 3 slices of bacon)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 10 fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped or torn
  • 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place butternut squash on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil; season with salt. Transfer to oven and roast until squash is browned and tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt water and return to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Set pasta and reserved cooking liquid aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add pancetta and cook until just crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Add shallots, crushed red pepper, and sage. Cook until shallots are soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add penne and squash and toss gently, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid as necessary to moisten.
  4. Add cheese and black pepper and cook, tossing gently, until pasta and squash are heated through. Serve immediately with more grated cheese, if desired.

November 20, 2008

Lentil Soup with Beef

Filed under: Beef, Main Dish, Soup, Vegetables — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 6:06 am

About a year ago I was watching Everyday Italian with Giada and saw her making this soup. It looked so easy and so tasty. I knew I had to try it! I was right it was easy and tasty. I also loved that the ingredients are pretty much items that you’ll have around the house or things that are easy to find in the grocery store! This was the second time that I’ve made this soup. This soup is very filling and makes enough for leftovers and also enough to freeze for a busy week in the future. I will admit that this soup does take some time to cook so it is more of a weekend soup that you might like to make when you’re doing things around the house. Next time I would like to serve this soup with a slice of French Bread.



Lentil Soup with Beef

source: Everyday Italian


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 6 (14-ounce) cans beef broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cups (about 11 ounces) lentils, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves


Heat the oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper. Add half of the beef and cook until brown, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining beef. Add the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, rosemary, and oregano to the pot. Saute until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Return the beef and any accumulated juices from the bowl to the pot. Add the broth and tomatoes with their juice. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the meat is just tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Add the lentils. Cover and continue simmering until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Season the soup, to taste, with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

November 18, 2008

Rice Pilaf with Pecans

Filed under: Side Dishes — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 5:35 am

This recipe was part of my birthday dinner this weekend. To me, the best thing about birthdays in my family is choosing my birthday meal. My family has had this tradition even when I was little. I always remember choosing meals that I loved or meals that we didn’t have very often. I also got to choose my birthday cake. i remember being on a Pineapple Upside Down Cake kick for a while and then it was a German Chocolate cake kick too. There were probably others but those stick out the most!

For my birthday dinner this year I chose Cornish Game Hens, Rice Pilaf, and Butternut Squash. For dessert I chose a Carrot Cake without walnuts because I’m allergic to them. These past few years I have been choosing recipes that I’m not brave enough to make or don’t know how to make yet. The Cornish Game Hens are definitely one thing I’m not brave enough to make yet! The Rice Pilaf though, is something that I can make! I found this recipe on Cooking Light and it was another success! My only suggestion for the recipe is to cut it in half otherwise you will be eating rice for a while! We halved the recipe and even with 4 people we had leftovers!

Enjoy!100_3373Rice Pilaf with Pecans

source: Cooking Light


12 servings (serving size: 1 cup)


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup (1-inch) julienne-cut carrot
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 5 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3 cups uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons finely chopped pecans


Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrot and onion; sauté 5 minutes. Add broth and orange juice, and bring to a boil. Add rice, raisins, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle with pecans.

November 12, 2008

Tropical Muffins

Filed under: Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Fruit — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 12:23 pm

These are delicious muffins!! They smelled great when they were in the oven too! I’ve come to the assumption that anything with coconut and banana is going to be great! As I wrote that I was instantly thinking of coconut ice cream and fried bananas at The Thai House!!! Yummy! But I digress!

I found this recipe in a Cooking Light magazine that my mom was done with. I tore it out and decided not to file it away but instead to add it to the clip of recipes that I have on the side of the refrigerator. Those are my recipes that I’m going to make soon or the recipes that I will be making for the week. We’ll just say that this recipe hung on the refrigerator for month. I had to get the ingredients and then find time to make the muffins. I don’t know why I waited so long! My favorite part about making these muffins was munching on the Macadamia nuts while I mixed ingredients. Ohh!! I miss Hawaii and those delicious chocolate covered Macadamia nuts! On to the recipe and pictures!


Tropical Muffins with Coconut Macadamia Nut Topping

source: Cooking Light


1 dozen (serving size: 1 muffin)


  • Muffins:
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 cup regular oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2)
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple in juice, drained
  • 1/3 cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped macadamia nuts, toasted
  • Cooking spray
  • Topping:
  • 2 tablespoons flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon regular oats


1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. To prepare muffins, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Combine banana and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a medium bowl; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in pineapple, 1/3 cup coconut, and 3 tablespoons nuts. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

3. To prepare topping, combine 2 tablespoons coconut and the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.

4. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of topping over each muffin. Bake at 400° for 18 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.

Chicken Enchiladas

Filed under: Chicken, Main Dish, Mexican — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 12:04 pm

I love Mexican food and this along with tacos is one of my favorite recipes to make. I grew up in an area that had a large Hispanic population and therefore there were several Mexican restaurants all over the Skagit Valley. I really miss those great Mom and Pop family restaurants. Each restaurant’s food and decor was a little different too. I’ve said before that I’m a bit of a food snob and that also carries over to restaurants. I really have a tough time going to large national chain Mexican food restaurants. I’m sure you can think of a few!!

I must confess that each time I make Chicken Enchiladas I make them a bit different and I never make them the same. I think that next time I go to a Mexican restaurant I will have to order and Enchilada and dissect it in my mind. Don’t worry, I won’t pick it apart! When I make these Chicken Enchiladas I always think of my friend from high school who made these for a friend and I. It’s amazing the things that stick in your memory!

As I said earlier, I make these different every time. I did find a recipe that is similar to what I do. The biggest things that I do that were different were that I add a can of refried beans and some of the enchilada sauce to the chicken mixture, I also add about 1/3 cup of sour cream to the mixture. Someone out there is probably yelling that I’m actually making a burrito! Oops!

On to the recipe and pictures. Fair warning! This recipe (mine) makes enough for a crowd!! I served this with some Spanish rice.

Here is the recipe that I based my most recent Enchiladas on. The recipe has pictures too!


Mom’s Chicken Enchiladas Recipe



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