Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fresh Banana Pancakes


Servings:4

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 ripe bananas, sliced
Directions: 

  1. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together all your dry ingredients
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients until the egg is broken up.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and add the sliced bananas. Gently stir until you stop seeing flour. Be careful not to overmix, that will make the batter tough. Leave a few lumps for tender pancakes.
  4. Place your a large non-stick pan over a medium-high flame and let the surface get hot. It's hot enough when you sprinkle a few droplets of water over the surface and they evaporate.
  5. Moisten a paper towel with vegetable oil and lightly wipe the bottom of the pan. This will keep the pancakes from sticking.
  6. For each pancake, gently pour 1/2 cup of batter into the pan, using a ladle or a measuring cup. Use the back of a spoon to spread the batter into a circle.
  7. Bubbles will form in the batter. When they begin to pop, the pancakes are ready to be flipped. Turn over gently with the spatula and cook for about one minute on the flip side.
Found on Pinterest and from this website:  http://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/02/25/easy-banana-pancakes-recipe

banana pancake recipe  

Made these for breakfast this morning and they were super yummy!  I have always mashed bananas before adding to breads, muffins, etc and was nervous about adding sliced bananas, but man these were good!!!!!!  Will definitely be making them again!  VERY filling!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Disneyland’s White Chocolate Raspberry Cookie


Tried these for another client dinner tonight - absolutely wonderful!

2 1/2 C flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 C butter, room temperature
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Raspberry Jam (I used about 4 TBSP)
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions
1. Cream the butter & sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg/yolk, vanilla and almond extracts. Mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add white & semi-sweet chocolate chips.
2. Scoop out about 1/4 of the dough into a smaller bowl. Add about 1 T of jam and cut it in using a butter knife. Be careful not to MIX it, or your dough will turn pink, you want more of a swirl.
3. Take the jam swirled dough and scoop by spoonfuls  (I used a large melon baller/ice cream scoop) onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon or spatula and place in a 350° oven for 12-17 minutes. *Your bake time may be less depending on the size of cookie you make. I wanted mine big and bakery sized, so they took a little longer. Take them out when the edges are set but the center is still puffy and soft. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 until all the dough is used.

NOTE:  I made my Raspberry Sauce instead of using the jam.  It has such better flavor and always makes whatever I am making that much better.


Sauce:
1-10 oz pkg frozen raspberries
¼ cup sugar
2 T cornstarch
Thaw raspberries (I rarely remember to do this and it works just fine frozen).  In small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch.  Stir in raspberries with juice.  Cook over low heat until you reach desired thickness (it will thicken as it cools too).  Cool.  Spoon over filled crepes. 

NOTE:  I use this sauce in any recipe calling for raspberry jam – so much more flavorful!  Fabulous over cheesecake and ice cream.  


Adapted from:  http://mybakerlady.com/2012/07/26/disneylands-white-chocolate-raspberry-cookie/

Monday, September 10, 2012

Coconut Milk Cake


1 white cake prepared
1 13 oz can coconut milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 bag of shredded coconut
butter
Whipped Topping
fruit toppings
Instructions:
1.  Prepare your white cake
2.  While it is baking, mix the 2 milks together and set aside
3.  When the cake comes out of the oven, pierce it all over with a fork to create holes for the liquid to seep into
4.  Slowly pour the milk all over the cake
5.  Refrigerate the cake until chilled through
6.  Mix 1 small container of whipped topping with 1 cup of shredded coconut.  Spread over top of cake.
7.  In the oven toast coconut at 375 degrees until lightly brown; stirring several times during browning process.  Remove when you have a light toast and sprinkle all over the top of the cake.
8.  Top with your fruit of choice.
NOTE:  Modified from http://www.theredheadedhostess.com/home-and-family/my-recipes/yummy-coconut-milk-cake/.  I eliminated the 1 cup milk and toasted my coconut in the oven (too oily with the added butter).  Also, I saw lots of comments about the cake mix itself - the ones with the pudding in the mix (my favorite) are apparently too moist for this recipe.  I used the store brand and had a great dessert!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Attitude Really IS Everything!



"Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine."  ~Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book

When I was 14 my dad announced that we would be moving to Japan....WHAT?!  Where the heck WAS that anyway?  My father worked for GE and moved up quickly in the company, which translated into lots of moves for our family.  I was born in NY, lived in San Jose, CA, Big Lake, MN, Joliet, Illinois, back to San Jose, CA, then Japan.

We had lived in San Jose for about 6 years when my father made that announcement.  It was the longest I had lived anywhere and I was at that age where your friends are more important than family - or so it seems.  Ha!  I was pretty angry about the whole thing and began to make my own plans to move in with my best friend Pam (do you remember that?!) and her family (hey, it seemed like a great idea at the time).  THAT did not go over well with my parents and so, a few months later I found myself on an airplane heading to Japan....

Before we even touched down I KNEW that I hated Japan and the people and customs that I would find there.  Not surprisingly, I had a horrible experience my first year there - where people walk on the wrong side of the street and stairs (I bet you didn't even realize we have a "right" side of the street to walk on!), speak a strange language and read a foreign alphabet (in fact, 3 alphabets!- really?) and do it from the "wrong" side of the page and furthermore, read up and down instead of across the page!  I won't even get into their weird food or dress!  I became a hateful, ugly person!

I was able to return to "the states" for home-leave for the summer and was so excited to be back in America! I had a great summer with friends and longed to stay behind when it was time to return to Japan.  My friends kept telling me how lucky I was to be having such a great experience - that they had never even been outside of California, etc. and I kept responding, "That is because you don't have to actually live there!"    The flight is a loooooong one and gave me a lot of time to think.  I was failing classes (I had been a straight A student in the states), didn't have any really close friends and was miserable.  I thought a LOT about what my friends thought about my great experience and how much they wished they could be living in Japan and the thought occurred to me that I had made my first year utterly miserable because I had DECIDED it was going to be horrible.  I knew that I was going to be there another 3 years and decided that I could learn everything I could about the culture and the people and DECIDE to be happy or I could be miserable for another 3 years.  I put on my "rose colored glasses" and decided to make it the best 3 years of my life.

WOW!  What a difference an attitude makes.  The country with its customs and people and culture really is amazing.  They are not "wrong" - they are different.  I was young and immature and wish now that I had done more and taken advantage of more opportunities, but the lesson of looking at life with a positive attitude has never left me.  Japan was the same - it was ME that was different for those last 3 years.  And those 3 years were the best years of my life (up to that point anyhow).  I met amazing people, had awesome teachers, made good friends (many that I am still in touch with), learned to love the food and the culture.

We don't always get to choose all of our experiences, but we can ALWAYS choose how to respond to them.  Life is hard sometimes and it is easy to become discouraged.  I have learned to ask, what can I learn from this experience (instead of "why me?") and that I will handle ANY situation better with a positive attitude.  I have observed many people over the years in a variety of experiences and trials and know that without question, those that are happiest really do wear those rose-colored glasses.  They accept trials and hardship with a cheerful outlook.  They look outside of themselves and ask how they can make life better/easier for someone else.  They understand that really, why should they NOT expect to have hardships?  I am still working on becoming that kind of person myself.  I KNOW for sure that when I put on my good attitude in the morning, my day goes better.  I know that if I can honestly feel grateful and recognize the hand of the Lord even in the hard times - that the hard times can be good times too.  Feeling super grateful for all of life's experiences - good and difficult.  Looking back over the years, most of my best memories center around difficult experiences - interesting, no?!  It is during those times that I feel closest to my family and my Heavenly Father.  It is when I look the hardest for His influence in my life.  It is when I am the most quiet and open to feel God's spirit and love.  It is when I am the most humble.  Life IS good.

Put on your GOOD ATTITUDE and go out and have yourself a fabulous day!

"Attitudes are contagious.  Are yours worth catching?"  ~Dennis and Wendy Mannering


Monday, September 3, 2012

Mississippi Mud Brownies


  • Mississippi Mud Brownies Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • (4-oz.) unsweetened chocolate baking bar, chopped
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
  • Chocolate Frosting (see recipe below)

  • Preparation
  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant.
  • 2. Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Whisk in sugar and eggs until well blended. Stir in flour. Spread batter into a greased 13- x 9-inch pan.
  • 3. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Sprinkle warm brownies with toasted pecans and marshmallows.
  • 4. Prepare Chocolate Frosting. Pour over pecans and marshmallows; spread to edges. Let cool 1 hour on a wire rack. Cut into squares.
Chocolate Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Cook first 3 ingredients over medium heat in a large saucepan, stirring constantly, 4 to 5 minutes or until butter melts. Remove from heat, and beat in powdered sugar and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.

Three Cheese Pasta Bake



  • (16-ounce) package ziti
  • (10-ounce) containers refrigerated Alfredo sauce
  • (8-ounce) container sour cream 
  • (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • large eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

  • Prepare ziti according to package directions; drain and return to pot.
  • Stir together Alfredo sauce and sour cream; toss with ziti until evenly coated. Spoon half of mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
  • Stir together ricotta cheese and next 3 ingredients; spread evenly over pasta mixture in baking dish. Spoon remaining pasta mixture evenly over ricotta cheese layer; sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.  
  • Note:  Ziti pasta is shaped in long, thin tubes; penne or rigatoni pasta may be substituted, if desired.

  • Adapted from http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/three-cheese-pasta-bake-10000001033041/
NOTE:  I made this for a client moving-in dinner - only I added 4 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded).  It was wonderful!!!!!