Thursday, January 21, 2016

Recipe - Oatmeal Fudge Bars

Here's a recipe I found in an old Women's Circle cookbook.  My mom used to have a bunch of these floating around and I would look through them for hours.  They are filled with simple home-cooked recipes that are easy and crowd-pleasing.  No fancy pants recipes here!  I found this particular book with the recipe for Oatmeal Fudge Cookies at a local thrift store and just had to buy it.  When I made the recipe, I altered it slightly and made it into bars.   The result got rave reviews by my family and friend who tried the bars.  See for yourself if you like them!

Oatmeal Fudge Bars


1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup coconut oil (if you want no coconut flavor, use expeller pressed)
6 Tablespoons cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups quick-cooking oats.

Coat a 9X9 pan with non-stick spray.  Put aside.  Place all ingredients except oats into saucepan.  Heat ingredients and bring to a boil.  Boil for one minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in oatmeal.  Pour immediately into prepared pan.  Allow bars to set until firm.  Cut into small squares and enjoy!

You might also like:

Oatmeal Cookie Dough Bites

Oatmeal Cookie Bars

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Recipe - Hamburger and Corn Skillet

Here is a family favorite!  If you want to cut fat or calories, it's still great with fat free cream cheese and skim milk.

Hamburger and Corn Skillet


1 pound elbow macaroni
1 box frozen corn
1 small onion, chopped
8 ounces cream cheese
1 pound hamburger
3/4 cup milk
3 slices american cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin (I add much more but start with this amount and add more to taste)

Prepare macaroni and set aside.  Cook corn on stovetop or in microwave.  Brown meat and onions in a large skillet or pot on medium high heat.  Drain.  Turn burner to medium low heat.  Add cooked corn to mixture.  Stir in spices.  Then add cheeses and milk.  Fold in macaroni and cook until heated through.

You might also like:

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Musings - Hairy Cookies

As a young child, while other kids were watching Sesame Street, I sat in front of Julia Child.  Don't get me wrong, I loved my share of children's programming, it's just that cooking and baking held special places in my young heart.  I'm sure it had something to do with the fact that my mom was always making something delicious in the kitchen.

Not only did I like cooking, I was also quite independent.  As a kid I preferred to make my own mistakes along the way instead of having someone tell me how I should do something.  As you can imagine this made for a fun childhood, albeit one full of mishaps along the way.  Baking on my own was something I really, really wanted to do.  

Many times I begged my mom to make something by myself.  So she would let me make jello and other simple things.  I also helped her with the things she was cooking and baking.  But I really wanted to do something totally without parental supervision, something more difficult than jello. At last my mom relented and I she said I could make a batch of cookies.  My neighbor, Kate, helped me with the task.   So, technically it wasn't on my own, but in my defense no parental intervention was involved.

Image found here.

We got the ingredients out and made our cookies.  They were a classic chocolate chip if I remember correctly.  We were proud and they were delicious.  We had followed the directions and were successful.  

Later on that day, my mom's friend came over.  Kate and I were friends with her son.  When he came in the kitchen, I proudly offered him a cookie.  Success, I thought, as he took a bite from the cookie.  Then…yuck!  He pulled a long hair out of his mouth and held it up.  Kate and I had not been careful while mixing the cookies and hair (apparently multiple hairs as we would find out later) had gotten into the batter.  I'm not sure about you, but even when something tastes exceptionally good, the presence of a hair makes it simply disgusting.

We all laughed and joked about cafeteria lady hair nets.

When I stopped laughing the wheels began to turn.  I had a solution.

The next time my mom let me bake I was not going to let a little hair deter me.  Weeks later as I got ready to make my next batch of cookies I employed my new idea.  It was simple and effective and took me through my next couple years of baking.  I took a pair of panty hose, cut off the leg and put it on my head.  It might have looked funny, but my cookies didn't have any hair!

You might also like:

Did Somebody Say Amway

Video:  The First Cooking With Jill

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hot Chocolate, Oh My!

The snow has finally fallen in New England!  Even though I would be happy with a California winter, my kids are thrilled.  The cold weather and sledding are at least an excuse to make some delicious homemade hot chocolate for the kids to come in and enjoy.  

When inspiration struck to make the cocoa, I had fresh milk on hand but not a fitting recipe.  So, of course, I turned to the internet.  I came across one recipe that called for milk and half and half.  I decided to change it up a bit and add extra milk and cornstarch to the milk to create a perfect creaminess.  It was delectable!  My husband thought it was the best hot chocolate he ever had.  Here's the recipe:

Best Hot Chocolate Ever


1/3 cup Hershey Special Dark cocoa powder
3/4 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup cold water
4 cups milk (I used 1%)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix cocoa powder, white sugar, salt, cornstarch and cold water in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.  Stir constantly until mixture gently boils.  Simmer for two minutes.  Add milk and vanilla and reduce heat to medium. Whisk until smooth and heat until hot.  DO NOT BOIL.  Reduce heat to low and serve.  The hot chocolate may be left on low for a short period of time to thicken further, but a quick whisk may be needed before serving.  Serve with marshmallows if desired.

Here's a link to the original cocoa recipe, which I'm sure is great as well.


If you are still craving the flavor of delicious cocoa, head on over to a great new site I have been introduced to, Jen Reviews!  She has what looks like an amazing recipe for a Horchata with Mint and Cocoa that I will definitely be trying soon.   If you are wondering, a horchata is a Mexican beverage typically consumed in warm weather.  It has a nut and rice milk base.  Neat, right?  So head on over there if you'd like to mix it up and try something new!  And be sure to let me know if you try the horchata or hot chocolate recipe.  I love to hear from my readers!

You might also like:

Swedish Apple Pie
Pumpkin Bread
Simple Iced Tea