Greetings...

Greetings...
Welcome to my little space in the world-wide web. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, sit down and enjoy your trek. I am not sure what brought you here, but I am glad you came. I hope you find something you like and come back often to visit. Be sure to sign up on the right to recieve all updates via your email.

Friday, March 29, 2013

For the Love of Peanut Butter


I am not only a Chocolate Lover, but I also love Peanut Butter. So when I come across someone who doesn't like chocolate or peanut butter, I just assume they are broken. Ha, ha, ha. I’m just teasing. I always liked peanut butter and butter sandwiches or crackers. I was never a fan of peanut butter and jelly/jam sandwiches. Maybe I am broken. Ha, ha, ha. And "Oh my gosh!" Peanut butter on Italian Toast is to die for. There is something to be said about using just the right brand of Italian bread to make toast and then slather it with Jiff Peanut Butter while it is still warm. Watching the peanut butter melt and get all shiny, makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

As I child I remember buttering one saltine while slathering the peanut butter on to another saltine and then sandwiching them together for a snack. A simple but fulfilling snack for a small child and even better yet, that I could make it myself. I had some rather unusual eating habits as a child, but we will save those stories for another day.

When the teen years hit, there was nothing better than "You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!" Yup, you guessed it Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, the darker version of a mallow cup. I have certainly eaten my share of those. It was during this time I made my first batch of home-made peanut butter cookies. I remember mixing up the dough, forming it into balls and then flattening them with a fork to make the criss/cross design. I am from a large family so doubling the batch was always a must. Otherwise they didn't last as long as the time it took to make them. By the end of my teen years, homemade peanut butter balls were all the rage and I still manage to make them every year at Christmas time.

As an adult I have to admit that one of my favorite peanut butter recipes is for Peanut Butter Pie. I have had the pleasure of trying two completely different versions. There is one with cream cheese and one with vanilla pudding. Both were delicious but I prefer the cream cheese version, probably because it contains more fat and all that sugary goodness. I will give you both recipes so you can try them for yourself and decide which Peanut Butter Pie you like better.


Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Pie 

1 deep dish or 2 reg pre-baked pie shell of your choice (this one is a deep dish)
2-8 oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
1 Cup Peanut Butter, smooth or crunchy
2 reg sized container Cool Whip
1 cup chocolate chips, for drizzling
1 cup peanut butter. for drizzling
½ cup roasted peanuts, chopped

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar, beat on low until combined. Add in peanut butter and again beat until combined. Add Cool Whip mix until combined. Spoon into pre-baked  pie crust.

Drizzle with melted chocolate and then with melted peanut butter. Sprinkle with crushed roasted peanuts.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.



Peanut Butter  Cream Pie

1 Pie Crust, ready for filling (your choice)
1 box 3.4 oz. Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 pint Half-and-half
⅔ cups Peanut Butter, smooth or crunchy
1-½ cup Powdered Sugar
8 ounce Extra Creamy Cool Whip

Either purchase a pie crust or make a homemade one. I do either depending on amount of time I have.

Mix peanut butter and powdered sugar in a bowl with a fork until crumbly. Set aside.

Mix pudding with half and half, whisk for 2 minutes. Stir in 4 ounces of cool whip.
In the bottom of your crust dump 2/3′s of your peanut butter crumbles. Spread pudding over top, and top it off with a layer of the remaining cool whip.

Top with the leftover crumbles and chill for 1 hour before serving.  

Notes/Swaps
  • You can swap out the crust for a chocolate one, or even a graham cracker crust.  You choose your favorite crust.
  • Instead of using instant pudding you could make the cook-n-serve kind or you could make your own from scratch.
  • There are endless possibilities for topping your pie, try sprinkles, chocolate shavings, mini chocolate chips, chopped up Reese's Cups, Peanut M&M, Reese's Pieces.  
If you make one of these pies take a photo and send it to me.  I would love to see how your pie turned out.  











For more recipes, click the button below:

For more recipes click the button above



Follow me on Facebook
 
Or find me on Pinterest
Ma's Aprong Strings on Pinterest

 Click this image to subscribe
Subscribe via Email
Join me on Google+
Join me on Google Plus



From the bottom of my heart.............. 







Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blackberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

My way of making healthy Blackberries into something very unhealthy.   Although, I am sure you could use fake sugar, non fat cream cheese and sugar free jelly.  

Printable Copy Here: Blackberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake


Blackberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
Cake & Crumb Topping
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cups sugar
½ cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream Cheese Filling
1-8 oz. brick cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg
 
Black Berry Filling
1 cup fresh Black Berries
½ cup Black Berry Jelly


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8 inch spring form pan with parchment paper. 

Prepare the Cake and topping:  Combine the flour sugar and butter with a pastry knife or in a food processor.   Work until it looks like cornmeal.   Measure out ¾ cups of the mixture and set aside to use as crumb topping.   To the remaining mixture add the baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl mix together the sour cream, egg and the vanilla.   Pour into the flour mixture and mix just until it combined.  Batter will be thick and lumpy.   Pour into prepared spring form pan.   

Next make the cream cheese filling by beating cream cheese until soft, stir in the sugar and then finally the egg.  Pour this mixture over the cake batter.

Warm the jelly in the microwave oven just until warm.  Stir in the fresh berries.  Pour over the cream cheese mixture.

Lastly, top the entire cake with the remaining ¾ cup of the topping.   Place in oven and bake for 55 minutes.   Cool on the rack at least 15-20 minutes before removing from pan.     
 
 
 

 







For more recipes, click the button below:

For more recipes click the button above
 


Follow me on Facebook
 
Or find me on Pinterest
Ma's Aprong Strings on Pinterest
 
 Click this image to subscribe
 
Subscribe via Email
 
Join me on Google+
 
Join me on Google Plus
 
 
 
From the bottom of my heart.............. 
 





 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hawaiian Chops

Want to try something new and different.  This is the recipe you'll want to try and then make it over and over again. It is also a great recipe for a crowd, but you can cut it down for just two if you like.  I came across this recipe for Hawaiian Pork Chops by Bill Magers, Jackson Fire Department Retired on this website: Twirl and Taste

I am always looking for new things to try and Pork Chops is my husbands favorite meat these days.   Of course I have made some changes to the recipe, the most prevalent change is adding the garlic, shallots and peppers.   My attempt at adding more veggies to our meals. It was worth the change. It makes such a delicious sauce.  




 

  
Hawaiian Pork Chops
10 thick pork chops
2 tbsp. olive oil
 
Sauce
12 oz. ketchup (Heinz)
½ cup water
½ cup vinegar
½ cup brown sugar
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 small shallot
1 clove garlic
½ green pepper, diced
½ red pepper, diced
½ yellow pepper, diced
1 can crushed pineapple

2 cups white rice made as directed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the sauce first in a small sauce pan.   Sauté’ shallot, garlic and peppers for a couple of minutes.  Then add the remaining ingredients and cook over low heat to thicken. 

While the sauce is reducing, brown pork chops in a sauté pan.  Once browned, move to casserole dish arranged in a single layer.    Cover the pork chops with the sauce.  Cover casserole dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes.  Do not over bake the chops they will dry out and get tough

Serve over cooked rice with a side of carrots or green beans.

Notes and swaps:
·         Try smoked pork chops or chicken thighs  instead of pork chops
·         You do not have to the peppers, shallots and garlic  to the sauce
·         Swap the brown sugar for white
·         Swap crushed pineapple for sliced or chunked if you like
·         Swap brown rice for white rice
·         Could add carrots to sauce as well

 




For more recipes, click the button below:

For more recipes click the button above
 

Follow me on Facebook
 
Or find me on Pinterest
Ma's Aprong Strings on Pinterest
 
 Click this image to subscribe
 
Subscribe via Email
 
Join me on Google+
 
Join me on Google Plus
 
 
 
From the bottom of my heart.............. 
 







Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Quick and Dirty Dessert

We live in an area where we can pick berries in the month of July, weather and Mother Nature permitting.    For instance last year the berries were plentiful on the bushes but because there was little rain, they did not ripen to their usual tender sweetness.     Wild berries are not as plentiful as they used to be.   I remember as a child picking large gallon bucketful's.  We needed that many because us kids could eat them just as fast as mom could can them.  These days you are lucky if you can find 1 bucket full in the wild.   

Thankfully, there are a few pick your own places nearby that I like to frequent for strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and black berries.   Purchasing berries makes it easier to start the jelly process.   If I can't find enough to make the recipe I eventually end up in the frozen section of the local grocery store to purchase those frozen berries in the bag.   In fact when berries aren't plentiful, I have in the past used just the frozen berries to make jelly, no one was able to tell the difference.

Making the jelly is a process within its self.   Pick the berries, clean the berries, freeze the berries, run the berries through the food processor, cook the berries and then strain the juice from the seeds and pulp. By this time my hands are usually a lovely color purple.   Whew!  That is a lot of work for the 2 cups of juice needed to make the jelly.     Once all of that is complete I can then start the jelly making process.  However, this posting is not about the making of jelly.  It is about coming up with a quick and dirty dessert that a longtime friend asked for.  

So in an attempt to make something delicious she could duplicate, I ran to the cupboard to see if I had a jar or two of homemade jelly leftover from last year.   Lucky me, there was.   I hope you like what I come with.

Jill's Quick and Dirty Blackberry Dessert

1 jar of sugarless Blackberry jelly
1 pound cake
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1 tub cool whip (reserve 3/4 cup for garnish)
1 pint fresh black berries
1 loaf or pound cake

Place cream cheese bowl and beat until creamy.  Add 1/2 cup of the jelly,   Mix until completely combined.  Fold in container of cool whip.

Slice pound cake in 1/2 inch slices.   Lay one slice on dessert plate, spread layer of jelly over slice of cake.  Top with cream cheese mixture.  Layer on another slice of cake.  Spread on a thin layer of jelly. Top with  cool whip and a couple of fresh berries.  

Notes and swaps:
  • I love that you can mix just about anything with a brick of cream cheese and tub of cool whip.
  • you can swap out the black berry jelly for your favorite flavor jam, jelly or marmalade
  •  or you can even use crushed cookies, I have used a pkg. of Oreo's but you can use your favorite cookie
  • you could even swap out the jam for peanut butter and 1/2 cup confectionary sugar
  • I couldn't find a plain pound cake so I used a Marbled Loaf Cake
  • You could put the filling in a graham cracker crust and make a pie
  • Or you could slather between graham crackers and eat it as is.
  • Or use it as a dip with crackers 
  • I have even used this filling for a cake filling before frosting the cake.


Have you ever wondered what the difference is between all the jam/jelly's and other spreads? Are jelly and jam the same thing? What's a gelée? 
  • Jam is a thick mixture of fruit, pectin, and sugar that is boiled gently but quickly until the fruit is soft and has an organic shape, yet is still thick enough that it spreads easily and can form a blob. In addition to being a spread, jams are also good for fillings.
  • Jelly is made from sugar, pectin, acid, and fruit juice and is a clear spread that is firm enough to hold its shape. Jellies can also be made from ingredients other than fruit, such as herbs, tea, wine, liqueurs, flowers, and vegetables.
  • Fruit butter is a smooth and creamy spread that is created by slow-cooking fruit and sugar until it reaches the right consistency; these types of spreads are not always translucent and are often opaque. Fruit butters are best used as a spread and a filling.
  • Preserves are spreads that have chunks of fruit surrounded by jelly.
  • Conserves are made with dried fruits and nuts and are cooked. They have a very thick and chunky texture. Conserves work very well as a spread and as a condiment for meats and cheeses.
  • Marmalade is a citrus spread made from the peel and pulp of the fruit. Marmalades are cooked for a long time and have no pectin, and are used as spreads and glazes.
  •  Gelée is the French word for "jelly."



 



For more recipes, click the button below:

For more recipes click the button above
 


Follow me on Facebook
 
Or find me on Pinterest
Ma's Aprong Strings on Pinterest
 
 Click this image to subscribe
 
Subscribe via Email
 
Join me on Google+
 
Join me on Google Plus
 
 
 
From the bottom of my heart.............. 
 








Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dill Pickle Soup?


Really!   At first thought you might think, "No way."  But after you taste this soup you’ll be thinking, "This is good.  Why haven’t I tried this before now?"
With a family full of pickle lovers I found my self puzzled in answering such a question. We have grown up eating pickles.  Pickles in jars, fried pickles, pickles in our dip, pickles on our sandwiches.  These days you can even get a dill pickle potato chip.  How is it we have never tried putting pickles in our soup.  Seemed like an interesting dish to try.   In researching this recipe I found it is of Polish or Swedish decent.   More notably found in European countries where pickling is popular for storage of all types of fruits, vegetables, and meats. 

This would be a great soup to make for guests, because they would love the flavor and they would be pleasantly surprised to find out the flavor comes from a jar of Polish Dill Pickles.   Like any other recipe there are many different versions.  After researching several recipes I came up with my own.  I hope you like it.  

Dill Pickle Soup

Ingredients
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. oil
1 small onion chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped fine
1 cup carrots, diced
½ cup celery, chopped
3 potatoes, diced
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup dill pickle juice
1 tsp. dried dill
1 cup dill pickles, chopped

 
Start by sautéing onion in the butter and oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add in garlic, celery, carrots, and potatoes.  Continue sautéing for 3-5 minutes.   Add in broth.   Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender.    At this point turn down to low heat and stir in pickle juice and heavy cream.   Add in chopped pickle and dried dill.   Cook for another 5-8 minutes.  Serve with crusty bread.   

 
Notes and exchanges:

·         You can thicken the soup if you like.

·         You can exchange the heavy cream for sour cream.

·         You can grate the pickle or chop it really fine.

 

My husband thought I was being foolish making such a soup but when it was all said and done he commented that “This is pretty good, tastes a lot better than I thought it would.”  




For more recipes, click the button below:

For more recipes click the button above
 

Follow me on Facebook
 
Or find me on Pinterest
Ma's Aprong Strings on Pinterest
 
 Click this image to subscribe
 
Subscribe via Email
 
Join me on Google+
 
Join me on Google Plus
 
 
 
From the bottom of my heart.............. 






Monday, March 11, 2013

You’ve been Mooned!


Yes indeed, I am mooning you! While in other areas they are known as Black and Whites.  In our local area these delectable treats are known as Half-Moon Cookies.   While the traditional cookie is a chocolate cake like cookie with both white and chocolate frosting, these days they come in a variety of flavors and colors.

One local bakery even has a commercial based on their Half-Moon Cookies.    You can view it by following this link: Holland Farms   and you can learn about the Half-Moon by following this link: History of the Half-Moon Cookie.

While there are lots of recipes out there for these yummy cookies, I like to cheat and use a cake mix.  Because Saint Patrick’s Day is this weekend, I wanted to make a green half-moon.  So I combined my favorite Pistachio Cake recipe with my easy Half-Moon recipe and the results came out with a wonderful, tasty Saint Patrick’s Day Moon that will tantalize your taste buds and fulfill even the most ornery cravings for a traditional Half-Moon Cookie.  
 
 
 

Leprechaun Moon's
 
 
1 reg. sized white cake mix (without pudding)
2 pkgs. Jell-O Pistachio Instant Pudding
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
5 eggs
1 cup self-rising flour
 
1 can chocolate fudge frosting
1 can white whipped frosting
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Mix ingredients in order given.   Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  I usually check the first batch often and then time the remaining batches by the amount of time the first batch comes out at their best.    Remove from oven to cool on rack.  Once cooled frost half the cookie with chocolate fudge frosting and the other half with white frosting.  You can add the sprinkles if you like.   Enjoy!
 
Notes and exchanges:
  • You can do this with any flavor cake mix you like.   Just mix the cake mix as directed and add an extra cup of flour.  I like to use self-rising flour, but I have also used all purpose flour in a pinch.
  • You can also make your own frostings. I find the canned frostings work just as well in this case.
 

 
 





For more recipes, click the button below:

For more recipes click the button above
 


Follow me on Facebook
 
Or find me on Pinterest
Ma's Aprong Strings on Pinterest
 
 Click this image to subscribe
 
Subscribe via Email
 
Join me on Google+
 
Join me on Google Plus
 
 
 
From the bottom of my heart..............