Amberly Place's Cooking Corner


Monday, December 31, 2007

My Vision For This Blog

I started this blog as a place for me to put my recipes in one place online and so they'll be safe from splatter, or getting lost or whatever. I will eventually have pictures of each dish, and also nutrition information, and possibly an approximate cost of each recipe. I still have more recipes I need to type in, so check back.

All of these are recipes that I've made before and like - tried-and-true.
Well, a few of these recipes I haven't made yet, but at least tried the dish and liked and got the recipe from that person that made it. So as long as that person followed their recipe, I can reliably vouch for the yumminess of that recipe. I'll mark those recipes I haven't made yet myself with an asterisk (*) in the title.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


From Lybbert Family

16 oz. sour cream

1/2 package of coconut

2 cups mini marshmallows

2 cans mandarin oranges, drained

1 can pineapple, chunks

Maraschino cherries

Auddah Salad

From Audra Armstrong:

Go to the deli department at any grocery store and get two slices (each)
of turkey breast and ham about a half-inch thick per slice. Cube up.
Cube up 1 pound of Colby-Jack cheese.
Dice up 1 whole cucumber
Dice up 3 Roma tomato's
Slice up or keep whole a can of olives
Boil a whole bag of cork screw pasta and once cooked drain water and let
cool. I usually just rinse the pasta with cold water and then let sit for
about 5 minutes to get most of the water out.
Mix all ingredients into a large bowl and then pour Bernstein's Cheese and
Garlic Italian Dressing
(do not use fat free because it makes it taste
weird and I only use this dressing, I don't substitute because it's so
very good and perfect for the pasta salad) over the mixture. You will
probably only need to use half a bottle but add to your desire. Stir with
a spoon and you're done.
(This pasta salad is so yummy the next day because the meat marinates in
the dressing and it's quite tasty. But it also tastes very good right
after making it too. You can add other veggies you might eat, like
broccoli or cauliflower. My sister likes to add pieces of pepperoni to

Bacon and Tomato Dip

Recipe from Christina Lingenbrink

2 cups light sour cream
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup real bacon bits

Combine. Use with: Stacy's Pita Chips (Costco)

Baked Apples or Pears

Recipe from Karen Miller

Select large apples or pears. Core the apples (I like to peel them also) or peel the pears. On the apples, slit the skin around the middle of the apple to avoid bursting. Arrange the fruit in a microwave casserole dish.

For each fruit, mix 2 T brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp butter. Fill each fruit core with the mixture. Multiply 2 T water for each fruit and pour the total amount of water around the fruit in the dish.

Microwave on high: 1 apple or pear, 2-4 minutes, or 4 apples or pears, 9-10 minutes. Flip the fruit over halfway through cooking time so it can cook more evenly.

Best Potato Salad*

From LeAnne Richards

Serves 8-10

6-8 medium potatoes cooked in skins and cooled (Boil about 15-20 min.). When cool peel off skin and dice into chunks. Put in large bowl. Hard boil 9 eggs. Run under cold water. Slice 3 green onions and put in with potatoes. Sprinkle with garlic salt, Season-All salt and regular salt, and pepper until all potatoes are seasoned. Stir in 6 of the eggs peeled and chopped. Mix together 1 pint Miracle Whip with 1 Tbsp mustard. Stir into all ingredients until well coated. Place the last 3 eggs sliced on top of salad and sprinkle with paprika. Chill covered until serving.

Best Spaghetti Sauce

Recipe From: Kathy Miller

(I have a few things I do differently, in parenthesis)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 button garlic finely chopped (I use minced from a jar)

1 medium onion chopped

1 pound ground beef

30 ounces tomatoes, plus juice cut up

15 ounces tomato sauce

1 can tomato paste

1 cup water

4 ounces mushrooms drained (I prefer fresh)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon sage

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar ( I do 1 Tbsp, cuts down on the acidity)

1/2 teaspoon oregano flakes

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 bay leaf

Brown garlic pieces in oil; remove dry pieces (unless you've used the jarred stuff - just mix in with the spices). Brown onion and hamburger in garlic flavored olive oil (I don't use the oil at all). Add tomatoes, sauce, paste, and drained mushrooms and blend. Add all spices and mix well. Simmer approximately 2 hours. Before serving remove bay leaf and if needed, thicken with a little cornstarch solution (about 1 T. cornstarch). (Note: If you 're going to let simmer in a crockpot omit the water, otherwise it will be too watery.)

This is an excellent recipe to double and freeze the leftovers.

Black Eyed Pea Soup

From Linae Pickard

1 lb smoked sausage (fully cooked)
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans black eyed peas
1 can corn (or frozen)
1 small onion
2 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp cajun seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 bouillon cube
1/4-1/2 cup water

Melt some butter in a large pan and add chopped onion and sliced sausage. Cook for a bit, until the onion is a bit translucent. Add the tomatoes (do not drain), black eyed peas (drained and rinsed) and the water and bouillon cube. Then add all the spices. After it all boils, cover and turn the heat to low and cook about 15 minutes. Then add the corn and cook another 15 minutes.

Other variations: Add potatoes, or noodles, or rice. Tastes great with homemade rolls!

NOTE: The recipe I got from Linae was a little more vague than this, and this is what I firmed up as far as the measurements, so you might want to adjust the spices to your liking. What is here will give you a pretty spicy version. If you like it spicy though, then you can make it even more so by getting a spicy smoked sausage.

I made this soup for a contest at church and it won for the "spicy" category. See what you think! If you don't use potatoes in the recipe it freezes and reheats really well. Since Mike doesn't like soup much for dinner, I make it and freeze it for myself for lunches.

Broccoli and Bacon Salad

Salad Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs broccoli, broken up into small bite-sized pieces

1 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup cooked chopped bacon (I just used the real bacon bits like from Costco)

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup pine nuts


1 cup real mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)

1/2 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Mix salad ingredients together in a bowl. Mix together the dressing and add to the salad mixture 30 minutes before serving (I actually disagree with this part of the recipe - I think it has tasted better and better as it's sat in the juices, so I would combine maybe a couple to 3-4 hours before serving). Cover with plastic wrap (or like I did in a ziploc) and chill in refrigerator before serving. Delicious!


From the book "Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes" - I have this book, my intention is to read Roald Dahl's books with the kids (love his books) and then make the recipes from the books with them. But the one recipe from the book that I've already made over and over is this one. It's not a big cake to look at, but so rich and thick you can get many servings out of it.

In case you've forgotten, Bruce Bogtrotter was the little boy that stole a piece of chocolate cake from the Trunchbull in Matilda (a favorite movie of mine). As punishment, he then had to consume an entire cake in front of the whole school!

SERVES 1 TO 8! (that's what the recipe says, I cut the cake into 16 pieces - not wedge-shaped, but like a grid - 4X4)


8 ½–inch round cake pan
wax paper
Pyrex bowl
large mixing bowl
sauce pan
wire rack

8 ounces good–quality semisweet chocolate
1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup all–purpose flour
6 eggs, separated, yolks lightly beaten


8 ounces good–quality semisweet chocolate
8 ounces heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Line the cake pan with wax paper and butter the bottom and sides of the paper.

3. Melt the chocolate in a Pyrex bowl set in a saucepan of simmering water or in a microwave on low heat. Mix in the butter and stir until melted.

4. Transfer to a large bowl and add the sugar, flour, and lightly beaten egg yolks.

5. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold half of the whites into the chocolate mixture, blending thoroughly, then fold in the remaining whites.

6. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for about 35 minutes. There will be a thin crust on top of the cake, and if tested with a toothpick the inside will appear undercooked (don't worry, the cake will get firmer as it cools). Remove from the oven, and let cool in the pan on a wire rack.

7. While the cake is cooling, make the icing. Melt the chocolate with the cream in a heavy–bottomed saucepan over lowest heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is fully melted and blended with the cream. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

8. When the cake is cool enough to handle, remove it from the pan and discard the wax paper. The cake is prone to sinking slightly in the middle, so flip it upside down before icing by placing a plate on top and carefully turning over the cake pan and plate together.

9. Carefully spread the chocolate icing all over the cake with a spatula.

Caramel Sauce

From Trevor Lybbert

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream, not whipped

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil, stir constantly for 3 minutes. Pour over bread pudding, or ice cream, dip apples into it, etc.! A truly evil creation :-)

Chicken Enchiladas

One of Mike's favorite's!

Adapted from recipe by Linae Pickard:

1 can cream of chicken
small can chopped green chiles
1 can evaporated milk
1 can chicken
corn tortillas and grated cheddar cheese

Heat soup, chiles, and evaporated milk in saucepan and heat through stirring constantly. Shred up chicken and add and stir for another minute. (This next part isn't an exact science, but you can't really mess it up) In a casserole dish spray the bottom with cooking spray and put in one corn tortilla. Scoop about 1/4 cup of the wet mixture and spread over the tortilla, sprinkle a little bit of cheese. Layer another 2 corn tortillas over wet mixture and scoop about 1/2 cup wet mixture and spread over the tortillas, and top with more cheese. Next layer with 3 tortillas, and repeat method with 3 tortillas per layer until wet mixture is used up. Either go light on the cheese layers, or maybe go every other layer - you want it to be cheesy, but not TOO cheesy. After the last of the wet mixture is spread on top of the last layer of tortillas then cover with cheese and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, you want the cheese on top to be bubbly and starting to brown. Serve with green salsa and light sour cream

Cranberry Stuff

From Miller Family

Recipe From: Wixoms

1 pound cranberries
1 orange (remove "heel" ends, but leave the rest of skin on)
2 apples (unpeeled, remove seeds and stem)
2 cups sugar

Put all but sugar through food chopper or food processor; add sugar, mix well. Let stand overnight. Good by itself or as a salad in cherry jello.

Easy Potato Salad

Like apple cider, I am picky about Potato Salad. There are three recipes for it on here, this one is my own making and not the best in the world, but good and, as the title says Easy! The German Potato Salad is a completely different style than your typical potato salad, and the Best Potato Salad recipe from LeAnne Richards is my all-time favorite.

Reser's - Northwest Potato Salad, from Costco
Hard boiled eggs, chopped
Dill pickes, chopped
Real bacon bits

Just add to your liking, possibly add some miracle whip or mayonnaise as you like.

Fruit and Oatmeal Bake

Recipe from Sarah Morley

I’ve made this with blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and apples. I reheat it for about 45-60 seconds and put light whipped cream on top.


1 ½ cups of quick oats

¼ cup steel cut oats

¼ cup oat bran

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup splenda (my change to the recipe, use regular sugar if you like, but add calories accordingly)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup nonfat milk

2 eggs

¾ cup unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups fresh fruit

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately (except the fruit). Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well. Bake in greased 9x13 inch pan at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Mix in fruit and bake 20 minutes longer. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Fruit Pizza

Recipe from Linae Pickard

Makes a good baby shower dish!

1 (18-ounce) package refrigerated cookie dough
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or other flavoring (almond, orange, or lemon)
Fresh blueberries, banana slices, mandarin orange sections, seedless grapes, strawberry halves, kiwifruit (or any other fruit you want), well drained
1/2 cup orange, peach, or apricot preserves
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line an ungreased 14-inch pizza pan with cookie dough cut in 1/8-inch slices, overlapping slightly. Bake 12 minutes or until light brown; remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract or other flavoring; spread over cookie crust. Arrange fruit over cream cheese layer in any design you want (use your imagination).

In a small saucepan over very low heat, make a glaze by heating preserves and water. Brush glaze over fruit, making sure to cover the fruit that will turn dark. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: This does not keep well, so plan on using it up. You may also use your own sugar cookie recipe in place of the refrigerated dough.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

German Pancakes

Recipe from Sharen Stech

1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups of milk
3/4 cup unsifted flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the butter in a 9-inch greased pie plate and bake five minutes or until the butter melts and bubbles. Adjust the heat to 450 degrees.
Place the eggs, flour, sugar, milk, and salt into a blender and mix on medium speed until smooth.
Remove the pie plate from the oven and immediately pour in all of the egg mixture. Return the dish to the oven and bake for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. Lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake 8-10 more minutes or until the edges puff and are browned. A well will form in the middle.

German Potato Salad

From Lybbert Family

1 lb bacon, cut into inch pieces, fry on medium heat until crisp (drain oil throughout, and keep oil) – lean bacon

6 little brown potatoes, boil with skins, (with knife, no mush, no force) then peel, slice into thin circles (half first if nec.)

In the pan with bacon grease residue sautee 1 onion

Then add

½ cup vinegar

½ cup sugar

½ bacon grease

2 Tablespoons flour (to make gravy with other wet ingredients)

1 teaspoon salt

(if nec. Add ½ cup water to make gravy juicy)

Add back in the potatoes and bacon

Get-Well Chicken Noodle Soup*

From Carolyn Lybbert

2-3 lb. frying chicken
5-6 stalks celery
5-6 carrots
1 onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tsp fresh parsley
1 tsp basil
1 tsp pepper
about 6 boullion cubes
2 cups noodles
corn starch

Boil chicken in just enough water to cover for 30 minutes. Pull chicken out (put in freezer to cool) and boil all the other ingredients in the chicken water for about 10 minutes. Add the noodles and boil for another 5-7 minutes. Chop up chicken and add. Add lecithin to emulsify the fat with the water. Add corn starch to thicken.

(I haven't yet tried to freeze and reheat, so I can't officially put the "Freezer Friendly" label on this. But next time I make this I plan to put in glass jars and freeze. If it works I will make some in advance to have on-hand to deliver to people that are sick - thus the title of the recipe!)


From Kathy Miller

1 lb hamburger
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 8-oz. can mushrooms, drained
1 cup macaroni
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. oregano
Season salt and sliced cheddar cheese

Brown hamburger, green pepper and onion together about 15 minutes, or until meat is done. Add mushrooms. At same time, cook macaroni in boiling, salted water until tender (uncovered). When both are done, mix meat mixture, drained macaroni and remaining ingredients, except cheese slices, in a 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish. Top with sliced cheese and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

I know, so easy right! Well yes, but when it's been awhile since you've made them you need a little reminder! So I wanted it handy on here.

Unshelled eggs
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp Vinegar

Put eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add salt and vinegar. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Put the pan under cold water until full of cold water. To remove the egg shell, tap the egg against a hard surface and roll it between your hands until the shell is shattered, then peel shell off.

Hot & Sweet Chili

Recipe by Me! - I made several versions writing down each one in case it was "the one" and this is what ended up on a recipe card. I haven't made it in awhile though, and now looking at the ingredients I want to admit that it looks a little "different", but I trust my taste-buds of years past :-)

1 tsp minced garlic
1 onion
1 lb. ground beef
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 can kidney beans
1 cup corn
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp vinegar

Brown beef with onion, then add garlic. Add all other ingredients. Cook on low 4-6 hours. Let stand overnight in refrigerator. If desired, serve over rice, or with cornbread and honey butter, or top with cheese, sour cream, etc.


Super easy...

1 Box Zatarain's Jambalaya
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 can Chicken (like from Costco)
1 cup frozen corn

Make the jambalaya according to directions on the box (this will include adding the chicken). Turn off heat and add corn, tomatoes, and beans, stir and replace lid. Let sit 5 minutes. Serve.

(You can use whatever meat you like - sausage, shrimp, etc. It's just really quick to use the canned chicken, and tastes good too)

Josh's Spaghetti Sauce

My second-favorite spaghetti sauce recipe. Kathy's "Best Spaghetti Sauce" is the fave. This is probably as good, only it's just a little different than your traditional, and when I'm in the mood for spaghetti, I usually want traditional. But to change things up, this is great!

From Josh Simonen

1 small can stewed tomatoes, with juice
2 jars spaghetti sauce (The best you can find)
1-2 pounds Italian sausage (Deli type), sliced into thin pieces
1/4 small onion, diced (red is best)
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 small green tomato, diced
mushrooms if desired
black olives if desired

Put sauce and stewed tomatoes into saucepan, splash with pepper, turn heat to low and let warm. Mince 1/2 the garlic and put it in sauce, mince the other garlic and put it in the frying pan. Put mushrooms, olives, onions etc into the sauce and let warm - cook with olive oil in a pan the sausage and garlic then add to sauce. Let sauce warm up and cook a little hotter for about 1/2 hour - don't stir. Let thicken, at end add about 1 heaping spoonful of cinnamon, stir and let warm 10 more minutes. Serve over spinach noodles.

Kanoe's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe by Kanoe Lilly

Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies, but some recipes are better than others. This is one of my favorites. Kanoe said she refined this recipe over time.

1 cup butter (softened)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
chocolate chips
optional: walnuts

Cream butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla. Sift in dry ingredients. Add as many chocolate chips as desired. Bake at 375 degrees for 9-13 minutes.

Lavender and Lemon Shortbread

By Amber Miller

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 tsp fresh lavender (I used Royal Velvet Lavender--use after the flowers bloom, but pick out the flower first)
  • 1 tsp Lemon extract
  • 2 tsp walnut oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Blend all ingredients well. Add lavender last.
  3. Press into a 9 x 9 inch buttered dish.
  4. Bake until pale golden brown on the edges, about 22 minutes. Cool completely and cut into squares.

Maddox Ranch House Rolls**

Recipe from LeAnne Richards

2 Tbsp Yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
Heat 2 cups scalded milk with 1/2 cup butter and 1 tsp salt
Let cool until warm
Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, yeast mixture, 3 eggs, 5 1/2 cups flour. Stir thoroughly. Dough will be sticky. Very goopy. Let rise 90 minutes. Spoon into greased muffin tins (24). Allow to rise until slightly rounded. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes. ENJOY!

**This one gets a double asterisk because I have an added note. I haven't tried this one yet, but it beat out the Bruce Bogtrotter cake in a baking contest which I just could not believe (anyone who's tried that cake's jaw just dropped!), so I HAD to get the recipe!


Adapted from recipe by Linae Pickard:

Manicotti noodles
1 container of ricotta cheese
mozzarella cheese (grated)
parmesan cheese (grated)
1 egg
Pasta sauce*
Garlic (chopped or garlic salt, not too much)
Grated zucchini and carrots (maybe 1/2 cup of each)

1. Cook the noodles but only until they are a little soft, undercook them
2. mix ricotta, mozzarella (maybe 1 cup?) and some parmesan cheese, not
as much as the mozzarella
3. Add the egg to the cheeses and mix
4. Add zucchini and carrots, salt and pepper and garlic
5. Stuff shells and put in baking dish. Pour sauce all over and sprinkle
with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes. YUMMY!!

*Use "Best Spaghetti Sauce
" recipe

Martha Stewart's Banana Bread

1/4 Pound (1 stick butter), room temp
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 c mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 c sour cream
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 c chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F, butter 9X5X3" loaf pan. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs beating well. Sift (yeah right) the dry ingredients together and combine with the butter mixture. Blend well. Add the bananas, sour cream, and vanilla. Stir well. Stir in the nuts and pour into the pan. Bake 1 hour until a cake tester comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack to cool.

Mile High Pork Chops

From "Kitchen Keepsakes & more Kitchen Keepsakes"

4 Pork Chops
2 Tbsp oil
1 cup whole grain rice
1 tomato, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced horizontally
1 onion, sliced
1 can consomme
salt and pepper, to taste

Serves 4

Season pork chops with salt and pepper. In 2 tablespoons oil, brown pork chops on both sides in a skillet. Sprinkle rice in the bottom of a casserole dish. Lay pork chops on top of rice. Place a slice of onion, green pepper, and tomato on each pork chop. Pour consomme over all. Bake at 350 degrees, covered, for 1 1/2 hours, or until pork chops are tender and rice has absorbed all the moisture.

Mulled Cider

For Colette's 2nd birthday we went to a farm and corn maze and served apple cider and cupcakes. I am picky about apple cider, so I wanted a recipe that was "just right". I tried a handful before deciding on the one that I would serve at her party. This was the keeper! It was made up by an engineer, so of course Mike liked it too :-)

The site I got this from: Mulled Cider from Cooking For Engineers

"Have you ever been enticed at a party by a wonderfully smelling mulled cider only to find that the taste was awfully bland or much too overpowering or filled with strange and unidentifiable flavors? I set out to come up with a formula for a mulled cider that had a clean, crisp taste with just the right mix of spices. Surprisingly, I found that by adding only five common ingredients, plain apple juice was transformed into the ultimate holiday beverage.

In the United States, apple juice and apple cider are almost exactly the same thing. Apple cider should not be confused with the products known as hard cider (which is a fermented product known to the rest of the world as "cider") or sparkling cider (a carbonated beverage made from apple juice). In fact, apple cider is a subcategory of apple juice. Apple cider is (supposed to be) the juice from apples produced by mechanical pressure. According to Wikipedia, apple cider is traditionally made from early-harvest apples and is therefore tangier than apple juice. In my experience and research, I haven't found any proof that this is true as a rule (although some brands will advertise that their cider is made from certain seasonal apples and prepared in a particular manner, I feel that these seem to be differentiating claims instead of applying to apple cider in general). Often, apple cider is associated with unfiltered apple juice, but you can find both unfiltered and filtered cider and juice labeled accordingly in the supermarket. In short, in the United States, there's really not much difference between apple juice and apple cider (speaking as a whole - some brands may differentiate their apple mixes to produce different flavors for their juices and ciders).

I like my mulled cider to be clear, so I generally use filtered apple juice or cider. I also use whole spices so they can be easily strained out before serving and don't leave a fine cloud or particulate matter and grit in my mulled cider. Some of the cider recipes that I've tried use coffee filters, the assembly of a bouquet garni, and other steps that I think are extra. This recipe uses a single pan, a strainer, and a zester or knife. I like it when it's simple.

To spice up one quart of apple juice, use one stick of cinnamon, about twenty whole black peppercorns, 3 whole cloves, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. (The sugar quantity can be reduced down to one tablespoon, but I like it sweet.) In addition to these four ingredients, prepare some zest from a citrus fruit. In this example, I used the zest from half a Meyer lemon, but lemons, limes, and oranges all work perfectly. Use the zest from half a lemon, lime, or lemon-sized orange for each quart of apple juice. If you're using medium lemons, use about a third of the zest. Large oranges - use a quarter of the zest per quart of juice.

Select a pot or pan large enough to hold all the apple juice. Toast the cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns to bring out their distinct flavors and aromas. Do this by simply heating your pan over medium heat with the spices in the pan. Toss the spices in the pan occasionally to prevent burning. The spices should become very fragrant within a minute or two.

Pour the apple juice into the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. When the apple juice gets warm, stir in the brown sugar so it fully dissolves.

Once the apple juice is boiling, reduce the heat so it just simmers (small bubbles form and rise to the top in a steady rhythm, but not at a furious rate). Add the citrus zest at this time. We don't add the zest earlier because we don't want the brief hard boil to break up the zest to the point where we will have difficulty straining it. If you're careful, you can add the zest with the brown sugar and watch the temperature to bring the juice up to simmering but not to boiling.

Maintain the simmer for thirty minutes. I do this with the lid off because it's easier for me to keep it at a constant simmer this way.

Pour the mulled juice/cider through a fine mesh strainer and into the container of your choice. If your cider has a great deal of particulate matter, you may want to place a cheesecloth or coffee filter in your strainer (or sandwiched between two strainers) to filter out the fine particles. Serve hot.

You can let the cider cool and then refrigerate for up to week. Bring it back up to a simmer before serving.

Mulled Cider (makes 4 cups)

1. Toast 1 cinnamon stick, 20 whole black peppercorns, 3 whole cloves.
2. Add 1 quart apple cider or juice and heat through.
3. Dissolve 1 to 2 Tbsp brown sugar.
4. Add zest of 1/2 a lemon and simmer 30 minutes.
5. Strain.

This recipe can be scaled by simply scaling the ingredients. Leave the simmering time at thirty minutes."

Written by Michael Chu

Pina Colada Dipping Sauce for Coconut Shrimp

1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup pina colada nonalcoholic drink mix
1/4 cup crushed pineapple (canned), drained
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Combine all ingredients.

I buy the Coconut Shrimp from Costco for dipping in this sauce. I know you can find a recipe to make your own Coconut Shrimp, but if you want to serve this as an appetizer before a main dish, you might appreciate the saved time in buying the shrimp prepared at Costco. I used to want to make everything from scratch. Still the best option if there's time I suppose, but sometimes it's just as yummy to buy prepared foods and combine with homemade, or to add ingredients to prepared foods to add a homemade feel to it (See Easy Potato Salad). I haven't seen much of her myself, but I hear that's Rachael Ray's approach, so it can't be all wrong!

Pizza Soup*

From Carolyn Lybbert

1 lb Regular Italian Sausage
1 lb Hot Italian Sausage
1 onion
2 cups baby carrots
2-3 stalks celery
2-3 potatoes, cubed
1 can Italian green beans
3 cans whole stewed tomatoes
16 oz. (about) spaghetti sauce

Combine all and heat through.

Pumpkin Cake*

From Evie Coleman

1 yelllow cake mix
3 eggs
15 oz can pumpkin
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Mix and pour into prepared 9x13...

1 stick butter, not melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar

Mix all together. Cut until crumbly, sprinkle on top of batter...

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies*

From Sarah Morley

1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nut (optional)

1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
2. Add vanilla, chocolate chipps and nuts.
3. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

Pumpkin Stew


10-12 Lb. Pumpkin

2 Lb. Beef Stew Meat

1 Bell Pepper, sliced thick

1 Onion, sliced

4 Medium Potatoes, cubed

3 Carrots, cubed

2 Cloves Garlic, diced

2 Stalks Celery, sliced

15 Oz. Diced Tomatoes

2-3 Cups Water

Salt and Pepper to taste

Brown meat. Add in bell pepper, onion, medium potatoes, carrots, cloves of garlic, sticks of celery, and diced tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste and 2 - 3 cups of water. Let simmer for 1 hour. Meanwhile, carve a hole in the top of the pumpkin and remove seeds and stringy insides. Place pumpkin in shallow pan, and place stew inside pumpkin. Brush the outside of the pumpkin with a light coating of oil. Bake pumpkin and stew at 350 for 2 hours, or until pumpkin is tender. Use a melon scoop to get chunks of pumpkin in your stew, as they enhance the flavor.

Pumpkin-Banana Muffins

Recipes from ME, and "Kitchen Keepsakes & More Kitchen Keepsakes"

This says Pumpkin-Banana Muffins, but the recipe for that evolved from another recipe: There are two recipes that I use for Banana Bread. This first one I got from "Kitchen Keepsakes & More Kitchen Keepsakes" - a cookbook I own that I love, only I haven't tried nearly enough recipes out of it yet! - I used this recipe for a long time, it's great how it is, or it's also a good recipe to manipulate to make new recipes, or you can make it a little healthier. I'll put the different variations below.

But, the "Martha Stewart's Banana Bread" is another recipe I've since discovered that is really excellent and for Banana Bread as-is, it's better than this one. I wouldn't bother making this one healthier - It's so good and I think it if you're going to make it you have to accept the consequences!

So back to this recipe:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda, dissolved in 3 Tbsp. cold water
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Makes 1 Loaf

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and bananas. Beat in remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased 9-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

For one thing, I usually make muffins out of this recipe rather than a loaf. Adjust for the size of muffins - if they're larger you'll probably want to bake for 30-40 minutes, medium sized probably 20-30 minutes, and the little ones that are fun for kids probably need 15-20 minutes. Just use your best judgment.

To make healthier (as in less calories) you can substitute the applesauce for butter, Splenda for sugar, egg substitute for eggs, and wheat flour for the regular flour. I find that a good middle ground is to use half of the normal ingredient, and half of the healthier version (I wouldn't bother with that with the eggs - just go one or the other) - but I use a small muffin tin for more portion control.

The "Pumpkin-Banana Muffins":
I started manipulating this recipe because I was trying to sneak more veggies into Adrienne's diet, and that is when the Pumpkin-Banana Muffins were created!

Use the recipe above, only use half of the banana that's called for and canned pumpkin for the other half. That's the Pumpkin-Banana muffins in the simplest form, but a few variations to them are to use the same substitutions mentioned above to make them healthier, and/or add some yumminess with chocolate chips. I would choose the chips according to the size of muffins you're making. If you're making the little kid sized muffins then use the little chocolate chips. You can always go lighter on the chips and still have a fairly healthy snack for the kiddos (and you!)

Here is the re-vamped recipe:

Pumpkin-Banana Muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened / or 1/2 cup applesauce (or half of each)
1 cup sugar / or 1 cup Splenda (or half of each)
2 eggs / or egg substitute equivalent of 2 eggs
1 1/2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 can pumpkin
2 cups flour / or 2 cups wheat flour (or half of each)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda, dissolved in 3 Tbsp. cold water
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup chocolate chips (mini for mini-muffins)

Quantity varies depending on the size of muffin tins (fill to 2/3 full regardless of size)

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, pumpkin and bananas. Beat in remaining ingredients. Spoon into greased muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for time suggested for muffin size - if they're larger you'll probably want to bake for 30-40 minutes, medium sized probably 20-30 minutes, and the little ones that are fun for kids probably need 10-20 minutes. Just use your best judgment.

Red Hot Cider

This was one of the recipes I tried in searching for the "just right" cider for Colette's party. I don't know if I'd call this a favorite or anything, but it was definitely interesting. Kids might find it fun to make, only it is spicy!

4 c. (1 qt.) apple juice or cider
1/4 c. cinnamon red hot candies

In 1 quart saucepan, combine juice or cider and candies; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 4 minutes or until candies dissolve. Serve hot or cold. If desired, garnish with apple wedge or cinnamon stick stirrer. 8 (1/2 cup) servings.

Russian Salad

I was told this is the Russian equivalent to a green salad. Recipe from Jenny (then Landaker, not sure of her current last name)

Ingredients: Green pepper, onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes - slice all VERY

thin, except the tomatoes - leave whole, or just half. Add a dollop of
miracle whip or mayo (whatever you prefer), be careful not to add too much,
the water from the vegetables can make it too runny - you only want enough
to just barely coat the vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste. Very
simple, but SO good!


I was told this is a traditional birthday cake in Russia. Also from Jenny Landaker (then, not sure of current last name)

My absolute most favorite cake! I'm actually not much of a cake fan in general, but the three on this blog are exceptional. I was going to make this cake for kids for their birthdays, but it takes awhile to make and they usually want themed birthdays anyway, so I make it for myself on my birthday!

NOTE: Tastes best when made a day in advance


3 Eggs

1/4 cup Butter

1 cup Sugar

1 tablespoon Honey

2 teaspoons Baking Soda

3 cups Flour


20 ounces Sour Cream

1 1/2 cups Sugar

1/2 cup Walnuts


Dough: Melt eggs, honey, butter and sugar on double-boiler. Add baking soda and mix with mixer until foamy and white. Remove from heat and add 1 cup flour and mix. Then gradually add 2 cups of flour and knead. Keep dough covered with damp dish towel. Coat a 10-inch round pan and spread dough as thin as possible. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or until golden-brown. Let cool. Repeat several times (I've gotten 17 layers with this dough).

Cream: Mix sour cream and sugar. Put in-between each layer along with thin slices of strawberries. Top with cream, strawberries and walnuts.

...Have fun!

Shrimp and Pesto Salad

A recipe I duplicated, originally made by my Aunt Duane Gibb:

1 package of shrimp scampi (sorry, not sure about the amount - I get the
package from Costco)
1 package of bowtie pasta
Artichoke hearts (also from Costco)
Pesto (I get from Safeway)

Because I am not sure about how much of each, just use your best judgment.

Stuffed Green Peppers

6 green bell peppers
salt to taste
1 pound ground beef
1/3 cup chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste
1 (14.5 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup uncooked rice (2/9/09 Note: I am told that this recipe would be better with a little more rice, I haven't experimented yet to know how much more is desirable and how else to adjust the recipe for the added rice (enough fluid for the rice to absorb) - next time I make it I'll try and figure that out. But I think this is pretty tasty the way it is here too.)
1/2 cup water
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed tomato soup
water as needed

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the tops off the peppers, and remove the seeds. Cook peppers in boiling water for 4 minutes; drain. Sprinkle salt inside each pepper, and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, saute beef and onions for 5 minutes, or until beef is browned. Drain off excess fat, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes, rice, 1/2 cup water and Worcestershire sauce. Cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until rice is tender. Remove from heat, and stir in the cheese.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, combine tomato soup with just enough water to make the soup a gravy consistency. Place peppers open side up in a baking dish. Stuff each pepper 1/3 full with the beef and rice mixture. Spoon in half of the tomato soup. Stuff each pepper with the rest of the beef and rice mixture and spoon in the rest of the tomato soup. Top each pepper with grated cheese.
  4. Bake covered for 25 to 35 minutes, until heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly.

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Recipe from: Sarah Morley


1 Cup Sugar

3 Tbsp. Cornstarch

½ Cup Vinegar

¼ Cup Soy Sauce

1 Can Pineapple (save juice)

3 Cups cooked, chopped Chicken

1 Cup Onions

1 Cup Celery

1 Cup Green Pepper

½ Tsp. Salt

1 Garlic Clove

½ Tsp. Ginger

(Note to self: On 2/9/09 - We hadn't had this in quite awhile, but had it last week. I am thinking of adding carrots next time around)

Combine sugar and cornstarch; then add vinegar, soy sauce and pineapple juice. Bring to a low boil and add remaining ingredients except for pineapple. Bring to boil, then simmer until nice and thick and add in pineapple. Serve over rice.


From Valerie Johnson:

3 eggs

3/4C veg oil

3/4C buttermilk

2C flour

2C sugar

2tsp baking soda

3 tsp cinn

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp van extract

2 1/2C finely shredded carrot

1 1/4C raisins (I used white raisins)

1 8oz can crushed pineapple

1 C chopped walnuts

1 C coconut

1. In large bowl beat eggs,oil and buttermilk.

2.Combine flour sugar baking soda cinnamon,salt,add to egg mixture and mix well.

3. Stir in vanilla,carrots,raisins,pineapple,walnuts ,coconut,mix well.

4. Pour into greased 13 x 9 pan. I used 2 round cake pans ( or spring form)

5.Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. If you use the round pans it will take less time about 30 -40 minutes. Just keep an eye on it and as soon as the pick comes out clean get it out and be careful not to overbake.

6. cool


1 8 oz cream cheese

2TBS butter

2 TBSP cream (can use milk)

1 TSP vanilla

3-3 1/2 C powdered sugar

Beat ingredients together til smooth (if necessary add a little more powdered sugar) If you split the cakes in half as I did I doubled the frosting. I split the cakes in half. I spread them with apricot preserves, could use jam I suppose and some frosting. When the cakes were assembled than I frosted the whole thing. I made some orange and green frosting and made carrots on top and sprinkled walnuts on the sides.

Three Bean Salad

From Lybbert Family

1 can each of green beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans

2 cans yellow beans

1 cup sugar

1 cup vinegar

1 cup oil

1 onion – circles (thin)

Combine all in a large ziploc bag and let soak at least 24 hrs before serving.

Tuna New Orleans

Recipe from Kathy Miller

Serving Size: 5

1 tomato chopped
1/2 cup green pepper chopped
1 6 oz. can sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon onion chopped

2 tablespoons butter
1 can cream of celery soup
2 cans tuna drained
Hot Rice
Saute' tomato, green pepper, mushrooms and onion in butter for 5 minutes. Add can of soup and heat for 5 minutes. Add drained tuna and heat for 2 more minutes. Serve over hot rice. Serves 4-6.

Zucch Soup

From Lybbert Family

1 zucchini, quarter lengthwise and cut out seeds, then cube
1 onion, chopped
3 cans stewed tomatoes
Garlic or garlic pepper, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste

Steam zucchini with onion in 1/2 cup water for 20 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and heat through.

Top with shredded cheddar cheese, and enjoy with toast!