Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pamper Me Senseless Peanut Butter Cup Cake

Ingredients ~
"The Perfect PMS Food" ~Leah 

1 Box Devils Food Cake Mix
3 Eggs
1/3 Cup of Oil
1 1/2 Cups Water
24 Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 Cup Unsalted Butter
4 Cups Powdered Sugar
1/3 Cup Milk plus extra

Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Soften the Butter, chill the peanut butter cups. Take the peanut butter cups and cut the edges off making the inner cup a square. Place the cut sections into a bowl and back into the fridge for later. Put cupcake liners in the cupcake pan. Make the cake per the instructions on the box. Spoon cake batter into the liner, just enough to coat the bottom. Place one peanut butter cup square into each cake liner pushing down just a bit to hold in place. Fill the liners up to 2/3 rds full with the remaining batter.

Bake in the oven at 350° for 19 to 23 minutes. The cup cakes will spring back to the touch when fully cooked.

While the cakies are baking, prepare the frosting. Mix peanut butter and butter until well blended and smooth. Add half of the powdered sugar, mixing completly. Pour in the milk. Blend together. Add the remaining powdered sugar. Whip, add extra milk if needed to create the desired smooth consistency. Set aside, leaving at room temperature.

Once the cup cakes are cooled, spread frosting generously over the top. Garish with the peanut butter cup edges pushing down slightly so they stick.

*If you prefer heavily frosted cup cakes, as shown in the picture, double the frosting ingredients. Chill if you enjoy a denser, creamy cupcake with hard chocolate.

Gnom Gnom Gnom ~ A recipe from my daughter Leah, who has become a 
fantastic Gnom Gnom Gnom chief in her own right.


SPAM a Licious!

While writing recipes for my book, a wicked thought of humor struck me. To 
insert a recipe for Spam. Something I've never cooked for my children, much 
less pondered inventive SPAM recipes to punk them with at the dinner table.

I wish I had thought of it then, when they were young. I would have very much 
enjoyed the looks of distress on their faces as they poked each other, whispering,
"Is Mom really,going to make us eat this stuff?" and other comments of 
horror back and forth.

All the while, continuing to tout the festival SPAMARAMA, a cook off that's in it's 30th somethings annual celebratory event, where we too could become brave 
proud Americans by the partaking of. A tribal right of passage that few lived
through unscathed by vexing gastronomical outpourings.

What would you do for the coveted top prize, SPAMAmerica?

Here's a wee bit of Wiki SPAM trivia, just for fun.

~Varieties of Spam include Spam Classic, Spam Hot & Spicy, Spam Less 
Sodium, Spam Lite, Spam Oven Roasted Turkey, Hickory Smoked, Spam 
with real Hormel Bacon, Spam with Cheese, Spam Black Pepper, Spam Garlic, 
and Spam Spread.[3] Availability of these varieties varies regionally. 
~Good grief, really? 

On average, 3.8 cans are consumed every second in the United States. 

The product has become part of many jokes and urban legends about mystery 
meatwhich has made it part of pop culture and folklore. ~No kidding!

So here we go, An Open Call Challenge ~ Send me your SPAM dish with 
photo. The Best in Taste, Best in Show and Worst in Show will be 
published and credited to the winners here on my blog and in my book,
Gnom Gnom Gnom Good Eats From Mom's Kitchen©. 
Deadline November 1st 2011 


Friday, August 5, 2011

A Dressed Up Waffle

Ingredients ~

One Frozen Waffle
Two Eggs
Two Strawberries
One Kiwi
Two tbsp Apple butter
A half of a teaspoon Vanilla Extract 
A Nip of Butter
A Pinch of Cinnamon 
One tbsp Apple Juice

The accessory to the dress up
One Cup Greek Style Fruit Yogurt
One 16 Ounce container Cool Whip
(not shown in the image above because I just thought of it)

For when you are craving things you really shouldn't eat, 
this is a fantastic way to put a healthy dress up on.

Poach the eggs by using a small but deep pan filled one third 
of the way with water. Bring the water to a boil. Crack the eggs 
and drop into the water. Partially cover the pan with a lid so 
that the steam can escape, preventing the water from overflowing. 
If you prefer your eggs poached soft as I do, let the eggs boil for 
three to four minutes. You can scoop these right out of the water 
with a slotted spoon.

Prepare the apple butter syrup, by spooning the apple butter
into a bowl that is microwave safe, add the vanilla, apple juice
cinnamon and butter. Place in the microwave for one minute
and stir.

Slice the fruit. 

Toast the waffle. 

Of course, now that I am writing all of this down, this breakfast
would not be complete without a creamy fruit dip. One cup fruit yogurt, 
Greek style, will be ultimately decadent. One 16 ounce container 
of Cool Whip. Whisk together. A little daub will do, refrigerate the
remaining dip, or freeze for another day.

Share with the one you love to love on.

Gnom Gnom Gnom

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Story of Children When The World was Fat and Busy

The essence of a stay at home mom, is the life lead in the kitchen.
You get to leave, you do, by driving to the store to restock the kitchen,
and to pee.

~ Men, this is why we spend the largest portion of income designing
and decorating this room, why the view must be grand, why the walls
are quite logically bright yellow or ocean blue or pink, yes, let's do pink,
(these colors keep the insanity at bay) because we live there.

Breakfast ~ morning snack, lunch ~ afternoon snack, dinner ~after dinner
snack, bedtime snack, no there is no bedtime dinner! Two steps out
of the bedroom, "Mommy, can I have a glass of water?" It's the Walton's
here, "me too" echo's three more times through the hallway.

Heh. Just when you think you've gotten away, they pull you back in.
~The Godfather

I should have had my bed in the kitchen. I could have upped my
productivity by 25%. But then I would not have had this tale to tell.

I'ts early morning and I am asleep, as asleep as any mother of four young
children could be, eyes shut, and one ear open. This day it was my nose
that was on alarm duty. It caught a whiff of gas in the air. A wafted whiff,
that traveled straight up the steps of my two story Victorian homes'

Eyes slam open, vaulting out of my water bed, tearing down the steps,
sliding a uey around the corner into the kitchen, I see my two year
old daughter, sweetly perched upon the counter, in her diaper and
nothing else but a wooden spatula in her hand. Pot on the stove top,
cupboard door open, ignition knob turned to on.

"Good morning Mommy" she says proudly grinning at me. "I'm making

"Awe baby, whacha' cookin' there? I walk over to the stove, after
returning the chair from the counter to it's rightful place at the table
across the room. Kissing her gently on the forehead, turning off
the knob, I peer inside the pot and see, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic
and cinnamon....

*mental note ~ find benches, bolt to the floor asap.

This happened eighteen years ago, somehow, we are all still alive and
Hannah Muffin then, called Muffin, or just Nanners now, is learning to
cook with all sorts of pans, utensils, spices and even food.

I love you Sweetheart, because of you, this book has become a reality!


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Seafood Throw Down

Ingredients ~

One cup brown Basmati Rice 
12 jumbo shrimp pre cooked
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 ripe mango pealed and cubed
6 ounces salmon dusted with dried lemon peal
2 crab cakes (these were already in the freezer
that broke down from the other night, store bought,
you can read all about that magic day, on my main 
blog under the Snap Crackle Babble post)
1 cup orange juice
1 cup orange marmalade 
2 table spoons butter
A pour of extra virgin olive oil (*)
4 slices of pickled ginger chopped
(from a left over sushi craving of a few days prior)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup salted macadamia nuts
1 large lime
a pinch of salt
dried lemon peal for the dusting of the salmon
1 shot of Tequila, preferably Reposado(mellow oak flavor)
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 cups mixed spring greens

Ok, this is how it works for me. When I get a taste for
something, but have no idea what I want, I peak in my fridge 
or freezer. Desires, flavors, ingredients start to holler. I grab this, 
grab that, oooh this would be great with that, oui oui, 
I must have this too, and the dish builds itself as I'm choosing, 
tasting, chefin' it up.

This throw down is easy, more of a tinker with time
ordeal than anything.

Rinse the rice, and place in a rice cooker, love my rice cooker,
plug and go rice, how great is that, let's me turn it on and
forget about it.

Wash the salmon, lightly dust with the dried lemon peal,
place on a baking pan with the 2 crab cakes,  temp 350
for 28 minutes.

Sauce pan on the stove on medium, pour in bit of olive oil
(laughs at myself, I forgot that on the ingredient list, goes up top
type type type, ok fixed (*), and the 2 tablespoons of butter. 
When it is melted, pour in the orange juice, add the marmalade,
salt, ginger, cayenne pepper, and tequila. Stir briefly to mix,
squeeze in half of the lime. Let this sauce bubble and simmer for 
about 5 to 10 minutes to reduce and thicken, not real thick, 
just like a syrup thick, coats the spoon but runny.

When you have 3 minutes left on the baking of the
fish and crab cakes, add to the sauce the shrimp, chopped
mango, sugar snap peas and thyme sprigs. Let simmer
while you plate the rice, seafood and spring greens.

This dish is very pretty, especially when you take a picture of it
BEFORE you begin eating(refers to the picture up top) which 
should have looked more like the description that follows.

Place half of a cup of rice on the top half of  two plates, half cup each.
Place in a tier formation, one half of the salmon, one crab cake,
adding the shrimp and sugar peas on top of all of the above. Pour over
this entire composition the sauce. Garnish with the macadamia nuts.
Toss a  handful of spring greens along the side plus 2 lime wedges.
(Sea salt macadamia nuts add a creamy texture. I smashed 
the whole ones into smaller chunks.)

Spritz the lime over the mixed greens and seafood for a nice
citrus contrast to the sweetness of the sauce.
I also add more cayenne 'cause I like it spicy. 

This serves 2 people, there will be rice left over, and
some of the sauce too, but after you taste it, maybe there won't!

Gnom Gnom Gnom 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Makings Of My Kitchen Life

It all begins with children, who demand to be fed. A simple thing,
if you know how to cook. As a newly married mother of one child,
baking was my forte (I'll get back to that in another post).
Cooking meals was mmm, my mom's job.

I was now The Mom.

My first dish, because it was served on a plate, not that it was a
gastronomic delight or anything worth mentioning, consisted of a can
of mixed vegetables, two bullion cubes to make a gravy, a half of a
pound of hamburger, and rice, which I prepared twice. The first round
of rice we do not speak of, giggle about, or refer to around family gatherings.

What is worth mentioning, is how my kitchen life grew and my ability
to cook, as I was blessed with four children, who though now
all grown and in their own kitchens, still text me via their cell phones,
"Whacha' makin' for dinner Mom?"


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients ~

One medium eggplant
1 16 ounce jar of meat and mushroom Spaghetti Sauce
1 16 ounce extra firm Tofu
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 - 4 ounce cans mushroom pieces

2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
3 cups Corn Oil
6, 4 inch ramekins

Note ~
While preparing your eggplant, keep the oil
warming on medium low. Turn the oil up to
medium high, when you begin preparing the last
two slices of eggplant for frying.

Beat the eggs in a large shallow saucer, put on the side.
Place the flour into a large freezer bag for shaking.
Slice the eggplant into 12 thin slices, blotting both sides
dry with a paper towel.

Immerse the eggplant one slice at a time into the egg
wash, gently shake off the extra egg, place immediately
into the flour bag and shake, fully coating both sides.
Place the coated slice aside onto a tray. Repeat until all
of the slices are coated with flour.

Place 3 or 4 coated slices of eggplant into the oil, (so they
do not over lap or touch), brown one minute on each side,
remove slices from the oil to a paper towel, repeat the
process for all the remaining slices of eggplant.

Layer the ingredients into the ramekins beginning with the
sauce,  follow with a slice of eggplant, sliced mushroom
pieces, crumbled tofu, then the Mozzarella, make a second
layer beginning with the sauce repeating the steps, however
on this layer put the sauce over the tofu first and finish with
the cheese on top. (separate each of your ingredients into
6 fairly equal portions if you are not comfortable eyeballing
the amounts for each ramekin.)

Repeat these steps with the remaining 5 ramekins.
Bake in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.

Gnom Gnom Gnom

Sunday, July 17, 2011


“Mom can I have an orange?” Leah says, her beautiful big blue eyes staring at me, the tiny little fingers of my six year old daughter, gripping the side board of my platform water bed.

“No,” I groan. “It’s five in the morning honey.” I would like to have thought 
that I responded with sweetness to this little person whom I love.

She sinks down out of my view, fingers still gripping the bed side. 

I had just fallen asleep, not yet quite ready for my kitchen life. Through my 
lashes I see her rise, eyes peering at me, fingers still in place.

“Mom, can I have an apple?” Leah is the only one awake at this hour.

“Mommy needs to sleep baby, please let me sleep just a little longer?" 
I whisper back. 

She slips away and reappears one last time. “How about a banana, can 
I have a banana?" 

My eyelids clinch tight, I scream, “Fine eat the whole damn kitchen, 
don’t care!” Burrowing myself deep under my pillow, I hear her little 
feet pad pad pad out of my bedroom.

“Thank you Mommy,” she sings back to me.  

I can still see in my mind, the triumphant smile that graced her face 
that particular morning.