Neon Mamo

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HMmmmmmmmmmmm Cake!

Posted by on Nov 28, 2012 |

My Grandma used to make this cake when Company was coming Over, and I loved the scents wafting through the kitchen as we waited for it to be completed.

I figured I would share as Christmas is coming and we all will have those unexpected people drop in, and if you’re like me…you never want to be caught with an empty cake plate.

 

Hummingbird Cake is a light cake that is nutty, cinnamony (yes I think it is a word), and loaded with fruit!  SO grab your Bundt pans, and get in the kitchen! Company’s coming over, and this cake is sure to appeal to every last one of them.  A friend of mine when I made it, said her grandma used to make it too and she called it an Icebox cake.  Icebox or Hummingbird, it is sure to make everyone kick there lips and pass their plate for one more slice!

Serves: 12

Cooking Time: 55 min

What You’ll Need:
  • 1 (18.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 (4-serving-size) package vanilla instant pudding and pie filling
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, well drained with juice reserved
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ripe banana, cut up
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries, well drained
  • 1/3 cup prepared cream cheese frosting
What To Do:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 10-inch Bundt pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake and pudding mixes, the oil, pineapple, eggs, and cinnamon. Add enough water to reserved pineapple juice to make 1 cup; add it to the bowl then beat with an electric mixer until mixture is thoroughly combined.
  3. Stir in banana, pecans, and cherries; mix well then pour into prepared pan.
  4. Bake 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan 20 to 25 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate. Let cool completely.
  5. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat cream cheese frosting 10 to 15 seconds. Stir until smooth and pourable then drizzle over cooled cake before slicing.

 

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What to Chose, What to Chose ?!?!

Posted by on Nov 18, 2012 |

Some days are like going to Brunch.  You spend time considering where you’re going to go…what kind of food you’re looking for and what you’re willing to spend.

In our house Brunch is that big adventure into “I don’t care…” but that is never true!  I admittedly am the worse for it, I don’t care where we go…but I want to know I’m going to be served my coffee and juice,  I prefer a variety of food choices, and I love to try new things.  My question to the kids is always “Beef, chicken, Pork or Fish?”…the answer….”I don’t care!”  So we approach the topic of Restaurant A vs. Restaurant B, and then the debate begins anew….Child number one doesn’t like their beverage choices, Child Two doesn’t like how their salad looks, even though she has yet to eat a salad at Brunch.  Child number two likes to know if they have french fries over mashed potatoes.  Child number three wants to know whats for dessert (a girl after my own heart!), Child number four lets us know she has plans at a certain time so she needs to be able to get there quickly…she eats the least, so she is free to leave whenever…and my granddaughter just cares they have chicken and fruit…they have to have fruit!  We decide where we are going, how long we will be, will there be alternate plans afterward and what time we’ll be home…we gather around the table and laugh and share life latest trials and we figure out our latest plan of attack.  The fun thing about Brunch is we do it together, we laugh together, we go stand in line together and we share the day together…and we take away the memories of that event knowing that no matter what may be around the corner, we walk away full and secure in our choices.

Life is like that in our house also…some days one child will want to question whats available, one will want the sweet offerings Life has to offer and one may be in a rush to get through the day because she has other options available.  Life is chaotic some days, tranquil others…but it is always full of possibilities and choices.  We come together and laugh at the possibilities on the road before us and lament over the paths chosen previously….”Do you remember that time?”  I remember the details and they add their own memories and then we move forward once again full and secure in our choices.  Admittedly, we have made some mistakes and chose things that we regret…but no matter what we walk away knowing next time we will avoid that option at all cost.

Life like Brunch is a lesson each and everytime…full of wonder, new adventures and memories of yesterday that take us into tomorrow and the next choice we have.

 

Next week maybe Im going to have dessert first!

 

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Some Days just Scream for my Crock pot

Posted by on Nov 15, 2012 |

Fall days, where leaves are swirling lightly on the ground and the wind rustles through the trees just outside my window…my mind begins its own swirl into the kitchen and I look to embrace the foods that keep me warm…my eyes are drawn to my most favourite tool….my Crock Pot…the shining beacon of delight that offers me so many alternatives.  Alternatives ranging from appetizers to dessert…with that one tool, I can make my home smell delightful throughout the day.  Drawing in visitors with the delightful aromas which embrace you as you walk in the door…delightful scents envelope you as you walk over to sneak a peek at the treasures within.  With a toss of some broth, some vegetables, cream and spices…I can create culinary delights that tease your taste buds and draw you in wanting more.

Today is one of those days…today screams for Soup!  Today beckons for green…so today I am going to make Cream of Broccoli soup…creamy, filling, topped with a small dollop (what is a dollop truly…hmmm I may have to research this for another blog) and grated cheddar…Broccoli soup offers you so many options…do we enjoy with fresh rolls, croutons, simple bread and butter, garlic toast…the options are without limit!  Cream of Broccoli soups draws groans from the younger household inhabitants, but they will sit with their smaller bowl and experiment in the same manner until they have found the joy of eating one of my favourites.  Served with a small salad you can have a delicious meal with very little fuss but a great deal of enjoyment.

Children are resilient…and you can make a game of finding the biggest piece of broccoli, or whose broccoli looks like which star ( the day my daughter finds a broccoli head that looks like Harry Stiles or Justin Beiber…I am not making it anymore!).  My one daughter M, while she enjoys broccoli with cheese, she turns her nose up at the soup…so for her…she sits, she sips and she enjoys the bread…understanding that its not for everyone, she knows the golden table rule…at least three bites…she is a finicky eater, and has on more than one occasion finished her bowl  all while proclaiming  “it’s the cheese Mom ” …

Whatever it is is irrelevant…it keeps them coming home for more!

 

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds fresh broccoli
  • 1 tbs broccoli
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped (optional)
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Directions:
  1. In a small sauce pan, melt butter. Saute chopped onions and carrots for about 10 minutes.
  2. Put broccoli, sauteed onions and carrots, garlic cloves and chicken stock in crock pot. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
  4. Add heavy cream and cheese AFTER the soup is finished.
  5. Remove from crock pot, you can blend in a food processor or blender and serve. (I prefer the chunkier pieces of broccoli)
  6. Sit back and Enjoy!

 

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Comfort Food….Ahhh the Memories!

Posted by on Nov 12, 2012 |

Everyone has their memories of that one dinner Mom made like no one else…that one meal that she always seemed to make when you were having a bad day, or you just needed that extra hug.  My mom was no exception and to this day if I’m having a bad day, I’ll find myself in the kitchen making this meal.  Trivial in its approach, but filling…if someone were to offer me this I would smile and heartily accept the invitation to dinner!  What is this nirvana of which I speak?  What could possibly bring me out of one of those days?  Simply put…Macaroni and Cheese, served with breakfast sausage, stewed tomatoes (gasp! from a can none the less!) and corn fritters!  Heaven on a plate!  I don’t know why…lol…but I do know that no matter how old I was if I was having a bad day, and I was sitting down to my parents table…dinner always consisted of this simple meal.  It made me believe that my mother was psychic…while she would just laugh and assure me she just had a urge for this for dinner.  I’m sure my siblings each had their own favourite she served…but for me…this bring back great memories, and that feeling of being wrapped in a hug!

The kids know …”oh, mom had one of those days…” when they come in from school and the house smells of baked cheese, mingled in with the smell of grease and cooked pork.  They smile and begin to set the table knowing tonight will erupt in laughter and as we sit together and ask that beloved question ” What did we learn today?”…we all inhale and take in the fragrant aroma of nothing other than pasta smothered in a blend of medium cheddar and my favourite asiago!  Plated along side perfectly browned sausages, seasoned tomatoes and the beloved corn fritters…someone always grabs the maple syrup and we dig in, sharing our tales of the day and memories of yesterday that make us laugh…always improving my mood for sure!

My mom isn’t here anymore to make this glorious dish which some may scoff at…it certainly is not on any weight watching list of approved foods…but sometimes we all need to indulge and treat ourselves.  So if you’re feeling like you too could use a hug…try this…it my become something you look forward to sharing with your family one day!

Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

4 c.   Macaroni

3 c.   Shredded Cheese

1 ts.   Butter

Preparation:

Boil as much macaroni as will fill your dish, until quite tender. Drain and sprinkle a little salt over it. Put a layer of macaroni in your baking dish, layer with soem cheese, and on that a few bits of butter, then macaroni, cheese, and butter, until the dish is full, on the top a thin layer of cheese
Bake in a 400° oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (approximately 16 ounces) cream -style corn
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup corn oil
  • powdered sugar

Preparation:

Sift together dry ingredients. Mix together the cream-style corn and egg. Add dry ingredients, stirring slowly until blended. Heat oil in large, deep, heavy skillet over medium heat. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls into hot oil. Do not crowd. Fry about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper; dust with powdered sugar if desired.
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Christmas Baking shall begin…

Posted by on Nov 11, 2012 |

In less than 43 days, Santa shall be paying the kidlets a visit while I lay curled up in my duvet.  The sounds of bells will surround us as we all wait the longest night for morning to come and the festivities begin.  Christmas Eve will mean I am up to my elbows in bows, snacks, presents and giggling gaggles of children.  I love Christmas!

A plate of goodies is left out for Santa to enjoy, and to my granddaughters delight the plate is always empty in the morning…she will proudly proclaim…”See Mamo, Santa loves your cookies too! ”

This year we are going to ensure we provide some of Santas favourites, and try to broaden his tastebuds.  Classic treats with a modern spin perhaps.  Simple things like Macaroons and pretzel sticks for the reindeer will be laid out this year…I’m sure Santa will have plenty of Oreos and Chocolate Chip cookies elsewhere. …he won’t mind 😉

 

Chocolate Drizzled Macaroons

Macaroons are probably one of the easiest cookies that you can make.  These are made with just egg whites, sugar and shredded coconut, adding a little bit of vanilla extract (or  other flavoring to suit your particular tastes) thrown in for good measure. These can be made  just about any time that I find myself with an unused bag of coconut lying around, and I’ve also been known make them when I need an easy to make dessert for any get together.  These cookies are sweet enough to be satisfying and have a great coconut flavor to them.

One trick to use to get a good consistency in macaroons is to run a chefs knife through the shredded coconut before  using it.  This will break up some of the long strands of coconut and ensures that you get a macaroon that won’t fall apart when you bite into it. You can really finely chop the coconut, too, but I prefer to keep some of the texture of the shredded coconut and go for more of a ‘rough’ chop. The cookies can be shaped into round balls before baking, or patted into different shapes, or which ever shape amuses you at the moment before baking.

Macaroons are good plain, but you can easily dress them up by dipping the cooled cookies into some melted chocolate – dark, milk and white chocolate are all good choices – and placing them on a sheet of wax paper to firm up before serving. I am a big fan of chocolate, so ?i can say that these are very good when they are fresh, but  will alaso keep extremely well in an airtight container and become even more moist and chewy after a day or two.

 

Chewy Coconut Macaroons

Ingredients:


3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread your shredded coconut on a cutting board and coarsely chop it with a knife to break up the larger shreds of coconut.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar and vanilla until well blended. Add in shredded coconut and stir with a spatula until well moistened.
Place level 1/4 cup scoops of the coconut mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Pack the macaroons together with your fingers (forming the mix into pyramid shapes is very attractive, but mounds of macaroon are just as tasty!)
Bake for about 20 minutes, until macaroons are golden brown around the edges (time will vary slightly by size of the cookies). Cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 12 large macaroons.

 

 

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels

are also very easy to make, and the combination of sweet chocolate and salty, crunchy pretzels is fantastic !

You can use any pretzels you want, but I prefer large pretzel rods or twists, since they are faster to make and look great when packaged as a gift.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 1 tbsp shortening
  • 2 dozen pretzel rods or large pretzel twists
  • Assorted sprinkles or small candies (optional)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (optional)

Preparation:

1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil.

2. Combine the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate and the shortening in a large microwave-safe bowl, and microwave until the choclate is melted, stirring after every 20-30 seconds. When chocolate gets overheated it thickens and becomes unworkable, so watch your chocolate carefully!  Take it out of the microwave when there are still unmelted chips remaining, and stir until the final chips melt.

3. If dipping pretzel rods, hold a rod by one end and dip it into the chocolate to cover, leaving an inch or two uncovered. If you are dipping pretzel twists, drop the whole pretzel in the chocolate and submerge it slightly. Use a fork to pull the pretzel out of the chocolate. Shake the chocolate-dipped pretzels several times to remove excess chocolate, and place it on the prepared baking sheet. If you are using sprinkles or small candies, sprinkle them on when the chocolate is still wet. Repeat with remaining chocolate and pretzels.

4. Place the pretzels in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set the chocolate.

5. If desired, melt the white chocolate and drizzle it over the pretzels for a decorative look. Briefly return the candy to the refrigerator to set the white chocolate before serving.

 

Enjoy, Share…and Embrace your Loved Ones!

 

 

 

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