30 September 2009

Cheeky Quote Day over at The Social Poets 30 Sept 2009

This lampshade chef had a very long day at the hotel kitchen... - Photo by Tracy Hunter @ Flickr

From Denny: Had some fun today and put up a post chock full of funny cooking quotes! When it comes to cooking there are a variety of opinions. Here's a "chef's table" sampling of the cheeky quote menu:

* In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport. - Julia Child

* Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

* The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found. - Calvin Trillin

* When men reach their sixties and retire, they go to pieces. Women go right on cooking. - Gail Sheehy

* Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese. - G. K. Chesterson (1874-1936)

* Recipe For Chili: Put a pot of chili on the stove to simmer. Let it simmer. Meanwhile, broil a good steak. Eat the steak. Let the chili simmer. Ignore it. - Allan Shivers, former governor of Texas

* I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead - not sick, not wounded - dead. - Woody Allen

* Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat. - Alex Levine

* In Mexico we have a word for sushi: bait. - Jose Simon

For more of Cheeky Quote Day, go here! :)

29 September 2009

Recipe: Paula Deens Chocolate Chip Cake

From Denny: I just love it when celebrity chefs come on TV morning shows to hawk their latest cookbook and give out some interesting yummy recipes! Here's the latest from chef Paula Deen from her down home Southern style of good food. She appeared on NBC's The Today Show this month. This recipe is an easy one made with a yellow cake mix.

From: "Paula Deen's Cookbook for the Lunch-Box Set"


• Cooking spray
• Flour for dusting pan
• One 18 1/4 ounce yellow cake mix
• 1 cup sour cream
• 4 eggs
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• One 3 ounce package instant pudding mix
• One 12 ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
• Confectioners' sugar for dusting top of cake


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray then put about 2 tablespoons of flour in the bottom of the pan. Tap the pan and turn it all around until the flour coats all surface of the pan. Dump out any excess flour into the trash can.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, sour cream, eggs, oil and pudding mix. Combine with an electric mixer until very smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Place the batter evenly in the bundt pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the top appears set and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Have an adult help you remove the pan from the oven.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then take a butter knife and run it around the sides of the pan. Invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust the top by placing confectioners' sugar into a strainer, holding it above the cake, and tapping the sides of the strainer. Move the strainer from place to place until the cake is dusted.

28 September 2009

Funny Chocolate Quote 1 Oct 2009

Chocolate Quote

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. - Judith Viorst - You got that right! :)

27 September 2009

Music Video: Thats What Love is About, Band from Utah

From Denny: Friend Mystic Dave - all the way across the country out in Utah - filmed a favorite band singing a really mellow song to end your day on a good note - That's What Love is About. For more of his music and video choices, go here.

26 September 2009

Awww Video: Go, Baby, Go! Baby Dancing with Beyonce

From Denny: This baby is too cute! He's just dancing away in sync with Beyonce. As a musician you know your music is good when little kids love it. It's the best compliment! He keeps trying to perform the dance moves but his muscles aren't quite developed yet to do what he wants. At the rate this kid is teaching himself he will probably be an excellent dancer by the time he is only five years old. This video will get you grinning! He reminds us to keep the joy in our lives.

25 September 2009

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pie

From Denny: When it comes to entertaining during the football season things can get hectic and we want easy recipes we can whip up in a hurry and are easy to make and take to a friend's house as our contribution to the gathering. This easy little pie uses cream cheese to give it awesome flavor. Martha White is a wonderful brand of flour often used for making biscuits. If you can't find it just substitute a similar chocolate chip muffin mix.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pie

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 15 min

Yield: 8 servings


• Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray


• 1 (7.4 oz.) package Martha White® Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix

• 4 tablespoons butter, softened

• 1/3 cup salted peanuts, chopped


• 1/2 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter

• 1 (3 oz) package cream cheese

• 1/3 cup sugar

• 3 tablespoons milk

• 2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed


• 2 tablespoons Smucker's® Hot Fudge Microwaveable Ice Cream Topping, warmed


1. HEAT oven to 350º F. Spray 9-inch pie place with no-stick cooking spray. Combine muffin mix, butter and peanuts in large bowl. Blend with fork just until crumbly. Press evenly into bottom and up sides of prepared pie plate. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. If crust is slightly puffy, press down gently with back of a wooden spoon. Cool.

2. BEAT peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at medium high speed until smooth. Beat in milk. Gently fold in whipped topping. Spoon into cooled crust. Drizzle warm fudge topping over pie. Chill 3 to 4 hours or until serving. Store covered in refrigerator.

24 September 2009

Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Commotion Bars

From Denny: This bar cookie holds the ultimate for the sugarholic, peanut butter, marshamallow, chocolate and - or all of the above - lover! This comes from the Jif site too, though without a delicious photo.

Chocolate Caramel Commotion Bars

Prep Time: 45 min

Cook Time: 15 min

Yield: 2 to 3 dozen bars


• Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray


• 2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

• 1/2 cup butter

• 1 (14 oz.) canEagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 2 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour


• 1/4 cup (4 tbsps.) butter

• 1 cup sugar

• 1/4 cup heavy cream

• 1 1/2 cups marshmallow cream

• 1/4 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter

• 1 1/2 cups salted peanuts, finely chopped


• 1 (14 oz.) package caramels, unwrapped

• 1/4 cup heavy cream


• 1 cup (6 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

• 1/4 cup butterscotch chips

• 3/4 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter



1. HEAT oven to 350°F. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking pan lightly with no-stick cooking spray.

2. MELT chocolate chips and butter in saucepan over low heat; stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Add sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Stir in flour. Spread in prepared pan.

3. BAKE 12 to 15 minutes or until set. Cool.


1. MELT butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in sugar and cream. Boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. STIR in marshmallow cream, peanut butter and peanuts. Spread evenly over bottom layer. Cool.


1. MELT caramels and cream in small saucepan over low heat until caramels are melted. Spread over filling layer. Cool until set.


1. COOK and stir all glaze ingredients in small saucepan over low heat until melted. Spread over caramel layer. Chill 30 minutes or until set. Cut into bars.

Cheeky Quote Day at The Social Poets! 24 Sept 2009

From Denny: Make sure you collect your work week laughs of funny quotes over at The Social Poets! I've been wrestling with my Twitter account for several months now and it's been slowing down my daily posting on time. Along the way of building a new account I've found a lot of funny quotes on Twitter to give you some grins! For your dose of cheeky quotes, go here.

Photo by I'm Fantastic @ flickr

23 September 2009

Recipe: Peanut Butter Muffins for Brunch or Breakfast

From Denny: I'm putting up two recipes today to fill the peanut butter craving for my friends! This is a wonderful breakfast or brunch or even a snack recipe for muffins. C'mon, when are muffins not enjoyed by us all? They seem to be the ultimate comfort food and this peanut butter version looked like a great one to add to this blog's recipe file. Enjoy!

Brunch Peanut Butter Muffins

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 20 min


• Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray


• 2 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour

• 2 tablespoons sugar

• 1 tablespoon baking powder

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 large egg

• 1 cup milk

• 1/3 cup Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil


• 3 tablespoons sugar

• 3 tablespoons Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour

• 3 tablespoons Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter
OR Jif® Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter

• 1/8 teaspoon salt


1. HEAT oven to 400ºF. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with a no-stick cooking spray or line with paper cups.

2. STIR together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Combine egg, milk and oil in small bowl. Add liquids to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Divide batter evenly among cups.

3. COMBINE sugar, flour, peanut butter and salt in small bowl, mixing with fork until crumbly. Divide topping over muffins. Lightly stir into muffin with knife.

4. BAKE 18 to 23 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan to rack to cool completely.

Recipe: Chewy Fudge Cookies

From Denny: Looking for a cookie with a bit less sugar? Pillsbury has a product called Reduced Sugar Milk Chocolate Brownie that you can gild the lily for presentation as well as great taste. There is even a Reduced Sugar Chocolate Fudge Frosting used to frost it. Give it a try if you are trying to reduce the sugar in your life.

Chewy Fudge Cookies

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 12 min


• 1 (12.35 oz.) package Pillsbury® Reduced Sugar Milk Chocolate Brownie

• 1/4 cup Crisco® Butter Shortening, melted

• 1 large egg

• 1 (16 oz.) can Pillsbury® Reduced Sugar Chocolate Fudge Frosting

• 2 tablespoons chopped dry roasted peanuts


1. HEAT oven to 350°F.

2. STIR brownie mix, melted shortening and egg in medium mixing bowl until evenly moistened. Scoop into 1 1/2-inch balls or drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

3. BAKE 10 to 11 minutes or just until set. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute. Transfer to cooling rack. Spread frosting on cooled cookies. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

22 September 2009

Recipe: Peanut Butter Buckeyes Cookies Dipped in Chocolate

From Denny: Since I've learned so many of my readers enjoy peanut butter with their chocolate I'm working on loading this blog with lots of yummy recipes to satisfy that craving! :) Here's another winner from the Jif site (my favorite commercial peanut butter).

Warning: These super sweet cookies can be addicting! :)

Buckeyes Cookies

Prep Time: 30 min

Yield: 5 dozen cookies


• 1 1/2 cups Smucker's® Creamy Natural Peanut Butter, stirred OR Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter

• 1/2 cup butter, softened

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar

• 1 (12 oz.) package (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips

• 2 tablespoons Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening


1. COMBINE peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on LOW until blended. Add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating until blended. Beat in additional powdered sugar until mixture, when shaped into a ball, will stay on a toothpick. Shape into 1-inch balls. Refrigerate.

2. PLACE chocolate chips and shortening in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM for 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat until mixture is smooth. Reheat as needed while coating peanut butter balls.

3. INSERT toothpick in peanut butter ball. Dip 3/4 of ball into chocolate, leaving top uncovered to resemble a buckeye. Remove excess. Place on wax paper-lined tray. Remove toothpick. Smooth over holes. Refrigerate until firm.

21 September 2009

Recipe: Chewy Peanut Brownie Bars

From Denny: Lately, I've noticed how many of you out there in blog land are looking for recipes that combine peanut butter and chocolate and today I found a yummy easy recipe at Jif. There is something magical about the marriage of peanut butter and chocolate! This would be an awesome make and take for your kids at school or for entertaining during the sports season.

Chewy Peanut Brownie Bars

Prep Time: 45 min

Cook Time: 20 min

Yield: 50 bars


• 1 (19.5 oz.) package Pillsbury® Classic Traditional Fudge Brownie

• 1/2 cup butter, melted
• 1 large egg


• 1 cup corn syrup
• 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
• 1 cup dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
• 1 tablespoon butter, melted
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 (1 oz.) square unsweetened chocolate
• 7 1/2 teaspoons water
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. HEAT oven to 350°F. Combine all crust ingredients in large bowl; mix well. Press mixture evenly over bottom of ungreased 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan.

2. BEAT corn syrup and peanut butter in small bowl at low speed until well blended. Stir in remaining filling ingredients. Spread filling evenly over crust to within 1/2 inch of edges.

3. BAKE 18 to 20 minutes or until edges are firm and center is just firm to the touch. Cool completely.

4. MELT 1 tablespoon butter with chocolate and water in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Using wire whisk, stir in powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; blend until smooth. Drizzle glaze over cooled brownies. Allow glaze to set. Cut into bars.

Note for High Altitude baking(above 3500 ft.):

1. ADD 1/4 cup flour to dry brownie mix. Bake as directed above.

20 September 2009

Awww Video: Making a Difference - Shelter Dogs Learn New Tricks

From Denny: Definitely qualifies as an Awwww video! :) Great work these people are doing to convince the public to rescue the 4 million dogs euthanized every year and turn them into great pets.

"An animal trainer in Chicago runs a theatre performance group that demonstrates how shelter dogs loved and trained by their owners make splendid pets."

19 September 2009

Video: Making a Difference, Unknown Donors Can Help Those in Need

From Denny: These folks came up with a great idea of how to help a friend or neighbor without the embarrassment of knowing it was you - GivingAnon.com.

"From the desperation of an empty bank account came the inspiration Lionel Thompson needed to help others who were stuck in a similar situation."

18 September 2009

Video and Recipes: Chocolate Brownies with a Twist, Recipes for Easy Weekend Menu

From Denny: I don't know how I missed this little gem of a video. While it was set up for a Labor Day picnic this is a menu you can use anytime on the weekend when you want something tasty but don't want to spend a lot of time tending over the stove. The crispy not fried chicken looked great! What was especially clever - and tasty - is her idea of crushing Parmesan croutons and using them as her breaded coating for the chicken, awesome! Her idea for the simple made-from-a-mix brownies where she added some cherry pie filling. Take a look!

Easy creamy coleslaw

From: Chef Katie Brown


• 4 cups preshredded cabbage for coleslaw
• 3 carrots, peeled and shredded
• 2 bunches radishes, thinly sliced in rounds
• 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
• 1 tablespoon mustard
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• Salt and pepper to taste


Mix together coleslaw mix, carrots, and radishes. Set aside.

Mix all other ingredients except the salt and pepper together in a large bowl with a whisk until smooth. Add the dressing to the slaw and toss. Salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Crispy no-fry fried chicken

From: Chef Katie Brown


• 8 cups garlic and Parmesan croutons (2 packages)
• 4 tablespoons dried thyme
• 6 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped
• 10 eggs, lightly beaten
• 5 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 4 cups flour
• 4 chickens, quartered
• Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 425 F.

Prepare the "assembly line" of ingredients that you will use to coat the chicken. First, place croutons and dried thyme in a food processor and pulse until chopped roughed. Transfer the crouton-thyme mixture to a large plate and mix with parsley. Set aside.

Make the "glue" that will hold crumbs on to the chicken parts. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, mustard, and oil. To finish the setup, place the flour on a plate and set the three elements of the recipe (flour, egg mixture, and crouton mixture) in a line.

Rinse the chicken parts under cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Generously season chicken skin and meat with salt and pepper.

Dredge a piece of chicken on both sides in the flour and shake to remove the excess. Dip the flour-coated chicken in the egg mixture. Dredge chicken on both sides in the bread crumb mixture, patting on more by hand if needed.

Place coated chicken, skin side up, on baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes or until juices run clear when pierced with knife.

Chocolate brownies with a twist

From: Chef Katie Brown


• 1 box brownie mix
• Zest of 1 orange, plus the juice of 1/2
• 1/2 cup cherry pie filling, roughly chopped
• 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.

Make the brownie mix according to the directions and stir in the walnuts, orange zest, and juice.

Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and drizzle on the cherry pie filling. Using a knife, swirl the cherries into the brownie mixture, then bake until a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out clean, about 35 minutes.

17 September 2009

Photos: Funny Food Flags From International Food Festival

From Denny: The International Food Festival held in Sydney, Australia this September 8th decided to create food flags for several countries. Thanks to toxel for posting these funnies.

You have to take a look at these creative offerings they are so clever and amusing! You will also leave hungry... :)









South Korea




16 September 2009

Cheeky Quote Day at The Social Poets! 16 September 2009

Photo by *L*u*z*a* @ flickr

From Denny: Here's an idea of what Cheeky Quote Day is like over at The Social Poets, enjoy!


Since so much is up in the air with the economy worldwide, and my audience is an international one (BTW, thank you everyone for your great support!), I thought I’d put up some quotes about retirement. After all, we all are dreaming about that “one day” of what we would like to do without anyone telling us it can’t be done!

While I was driving all day Monday out of town on sales calls I saw a lot of travel trailers and motor homes towing SUVs. I sure wondered where they were going and what they were going to do when they got there. I’ve been seeing those happy people motoring down the road for several months now and it sure got my curiosity up and turned my mind to the subject of retirement.

The first comedian from the past that came to mind concerning retirement was George Burns. He was quite the character and well loved in America. As he aged he made a new career out of standing on stage with an unlit cigar, a sly grin, and cracked jokes in his understated manner until his late nineties. He was in show business all his life beginning in Vaudeville.

George Burns isn’t the only comedian to craft a whole routine around the subject of retirement. The following are all kinds of perspectives about what it is like to retire from your job – or what you thought it might be like to retire! :) Get a grin and think good thoughts for your future.


Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples. - George Burns

The best time to start thinking about your retirement is before the boss does. – Anonymous

Retirement: It's nice to get out of the rat race, but you have to learn to get along with less cheese. - Gene Perret

Retirement is wonderful. It's doing nothing without worrying about getting caught at it. - Gene Perret

When you retire, you switch bosses - from the one who hired you to the one who married you. - Gene Perret

I enjoy waking up and not having to go to work. So I do it three or four times a day. - Gene Perret

I'm now as free as the breeze - with roughly the same income. - Gene Perret

The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off. - Abe Lemons

The money's no better in retirement but the hours are! - Anonymous

When a man retires, his wife gets twice the husband but only half the income. - Chi Chi Rodriguez

A retired husband is often a wife's full-time job. - Ella Harris

I've been attending lots of seminars in my retirement. They're called naps. - Merri Brownworth

I'm retired - goodbye tension, hello pension! – Anonymous

Retirement itself is the best gift. No gold watch could ever top it. - Abigail Charleson

Retirement: World's longest coffee break. – Anonymous

Retirement has been a discovery of beauty for me. I never had the time before to notice the beauty of my grandkids, my wife, the tree outside my very own front door. And, the beauty of time itself. - Hartman Jule

Middle age is when work is a lot less fun and fun is a lot more work. – Anonymous

Life begins at retirement. – Anonymous

The challenge of retirement is how to spend time without spending money. – Anonymous

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles. - Doug Larson

There are some who start their retirement long before they stop working. - Robert Half

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. - J. Lubbock

When you retire, think and act as if you were still working; when you're still working, think and act a bit as if you were already retired. – Anonymous

The question isn't at what age I want to retire, it's at what income. - George Foreman, prize fighter

I'm not just retiring from the company, I'm also retiring from my stress, my commute, my alarm clock, and my iron. - Hartman Jule

Golf is played by twenty million mature American men whose wives think they are out having fun. - Jim Bishop

Golf is a day spent in a round of strenuous idleness. - William Wordsworth

Retirement means no pressure, no stress, no heartache... unless you play golf. - Gene Perret

In my retirement I go for a short swim at least once or twice every day. It's either that or buy a new golf ball. - Gene Perret

The reason the pro tells you to keep your head down is so you can't see him laughing. - Phyllis Diller, comedian

If you drink, don't drive. Don't even putt. - Dean Martin, actor, comedian, singer

If you are going to throw a club, it is important to throw it ahead of you, down the fairway, so you don't have to waste energy going back to pick it up. - Tommy Bolt

Retirement kills more people than hard work ever did. - Malcolm Forbes

Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save. - Will Rogers, Autobiography, 1949

When men reach their sixties and retire, they go to pieces. Women go right on cooking. - Gail Sheehy

There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want. - Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes, cartoonist

A gold watch is the most appropriate gift for retirement, as its recipients have given up so many of their golden hours in a lifetime of service. - Harry Mahtar

Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering. - Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A.A. Milne

Retire from work, but not from life. - M.K. Soni

Retirement is like a long vacation in Las Vegas. The goal is to enjoy it the fullest, but not so fully that you run out of money. - Jonathan Clements

Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life. - Herbert Asquith

Retirement is the ugliest word in the language. - Ernest Hemingway, writer

First you forget names; then you forget faces; then you forget to zip up your fly; and then you forget to unzip your fly. - Branch Rickey

You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely. - Anonymous

In retirement, every day is Boss Day and every day is Employee Appreciation Day. – Anonymous

Retirement: That's when you return from work one day and say, "Hi, Honey, I'm home - forever." - Gene Perret

Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow. - Douglas Pagels, These Are the Gifts I'd Like to Give to You

*** Comedy writer Gene Perret has been writing television comedy since the 1960’s. For more about him, go here.

Have a great work week, everyone! Keep your head down and your attitude looking up! You never know when you will get to retire and add some cheeky quotes of your own to the funny category of life…

Recipes: Fried Nutella ravioli with mascarpone, toasted hazelnuts. more great pasta dishes

From Denny: Now if this doesn't take the cake, uh, pasta, for an unusual and tasty idea for using chocolate! Found this over at NBC's The Today Show. These are all recipes featured from the FRESCO restaurant run by the Scotto family in New York City.

From: FRESCO restaurant by Scotto

Makes: 4 servings



• 1 jar Nutella (hazelnut spread)


• 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
• 2 tablespoons hot water
• 2 tablespoons melted bittersweet chocolate
• 1 1/2 cups semolina flour
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 3 eggs

Mascarpone cream

• 1 container of mascarpone (500 g)
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Toasted hazelnuts for garnish



1. Combine cocoa and hot water to make a paste. Combine cocoa paste, bittersweet chocolate, semolina flour, sugar, 2 eggs in a mixing bowl with dough hook. Mix dough until smooth, remove from bowl and knead adding flour as necessary until dough is no longer sticky. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Pass dough through a pasta machine according to manufacturer’s instructions to make 2 sheets measuring 6-inches by 15-inches.

3. Cut pasta sheet into 3-inch squares. Place 1 tablespoon of Nutella spread in the center of each square. Lightly beat 1 egg and brush the edges of the pasta squares, then fold diagonally over the filling, pressing gently to seal.

4. Preheat the oven to 200° F. Add enough oil to a heavy large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350° F.

5. Working in batches, carefully add the ravioli to the hot oil and cook until they are golden brown, about 45 seconds per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ravioli to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

Then, transfer the cooked ravioli to another baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven while frying the remaining ravioli. (The fried ravioli can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool them completely, then cover and refrigerate. Before serving, place them on a baking sheet and rewarm in a preheated 375 degrees F oven just until they are heated through, about 7 minutes.)

Mascarpone cream

Mix 1 container of mascarpone (500 g) with 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Place a dollop of the mascarpone cream in the center of a plate, surrounded by 5 ravioli; sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts and serve.


And the pasta recipes:

Artichoke linguine with wild mushrooms and goat cheese

From: FRESCO by Scotto

Makes: 4 servings


• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 4 tablespoons scallions, thinly sliced
• 1 pound mixed wild mushrooms, trimmed, washed and dried (any combination of oyster, shiitake, or trumpet mushrooms)
• 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes cut in half
• 1 cup frozen or canned artichoke hearts or bottoms, washed and drained
• 1/2 cup fresh frozen peas, defrosted
• 1 pound fresh baby spinach, trimmed, washed, and pat dried
• 3 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
• 1 1/2 pounds fresh linguine, spaghetti or fettuccine
• 3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 2 tablespoons salt.

2. Meanwhile, in a large 12-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium to high heat or until almost smoking. Add the garlic and scallions, sauté until lightly brown. Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté until mushrooms are soft, follow by adding cherry tomatoes and artichokes; season with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer for 5 to 7 minutes; set aside.

3. Drop the pasta into boiling water and cook until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes; drain.

4. Add the hot pasta to the large sauté pan containing the vegetables by stirring gently over medium heat. Add the peas, spinach and soft butter, toss until butter is melted and spinach is wilted. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese.

Serve immediately.


Penne with pesto sauce, string beans and Yukon gold potatoes

From: FRESCO by Scotto

Makes: 6 servings



• 1/2 pound string beans, blanched; cut in half
• 1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, diced small and blanched
• 1 pound penne pasta
• 1/2 cup basil pesto (see recipe below)
• 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
• 1/2 tablespoon julienne shallots
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• Salt and pepper

Pesto sauce

• 4 cups basil leaves
• 3 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1/2 lemon, juice only
• 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 cup pine nuts, roasted
• 2 ounces Parmesan, freshly grated
• Salt and pepper



1. Sauté garlic and shallots over medium to high heat 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Add string beans and potatoes and sauté for about 1 minute.

2. In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, cook penne according to package directions, drain and add to sauté pan containing the string beans and potatoes.

3. Simmer for about 2 minutes over medium heat, then add basil pesto and toss.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Pesto sauce

1. Pick over basil leaves, wash and dry in a salad spinner.

2. Place basil in a food processor with the garlic and lemon juice, process until well combined.

3. With machine running, drizzle in olive oil. Add pine nuts and Parmesan and process briefly to retain some texture to the pesto.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

15 September 2009

Video and 3 Cake Recipes: Tunnel of Fudge Cake, Wacky Cake, Cold Oven Pound Cake

From Denny: This is so my kind of food video depicting comfort cakes with the best ingredients: sugar, flour and CHOCOLATE! :) My favorite is the Tunnel of Fudge Cake. This Cold Oven Pound Cake is a recipe I've never heard of and am curious to try. Apparently, it comes from the early 1900's (which is why I've never heard of it) and is a much lighter pound cake because it is started in a cold oven rather than a hot one. This chef from Cook's Illustrated is really interesting with the historical trivia for these recipes and food science explanations of why things work in these recipes. Take a look and a listen. Enjoy baking these easy comfort cakes!


Tunnel of fudge cake

From: Chris Kimball, editor of Cook's Illustrated

Serves: 12 to 14



• 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting pan
• 1/2 cup boiling water
• 2 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 cups pecans or walnuts, chopped fine
• 2 cups confectioners' sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 5 large eggs, room temperature
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
• 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

Chocolate glaze

• 3/4 cup heavy cream
• 1/4 cup light corn syrup
• 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Do not use a cake tester, toothpick, or skewer to test the cake — the fudgy interior won't give an accurate reading. Instead, remove the cake from the oven when the sides just begin to pull away from the pan and the surface of the cake springs back when pressed gently with your finger.

1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12-cup Bundt pan and dust with cocoa powder. Pour boiling water over chocolate in medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Whisk cocoa, flour, nuts, confectioners' sugar, and salt in large bowl. Beat eggs and vanilla in large measuring cup.

2. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. On low speed, add egg mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Add chocolate mixture and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Beat in flour mixture until just combined, about 30 seconds.

3. Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth batter, and bake until edges are beginning to pull away from pan, about 45 minutes. Cool upright in pan on wire rack for 1 1/2 hours, then invert onto serving plate and cool completely, at least 2 hours.

4. For the glaze: Cook cream, corn syrup, and chocolate in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Stir in vanilla and set aside until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Drizzle glaze over cake and let set for at least 10 minutes. Serve. (Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

Wacky cake

From: Chris Kimball, editor of Cook's Illustrated

Serves: 6 to 8

This moist cake gets even better when served with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.


• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup natural cocoa powder
• 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon table salt
• 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup water
• Confectioners' sugar for dusting


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 8-inch-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in pan. Make one large and two small craters in dry ingredients. Add oil to large crater and vinegar and vanilla separately to remaining small craters. Pour water into pan and mix until just a few streaks of flour remain. Immediately put pan in oven.

3. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Cool in pan, then dust with confectioners' sugar. (If tightly wrapped, cake will keep for three days at room temperature.)

Cold-oven pound cake

From: Chris Kimball, editor of Cook's Illustrated

Serves: 12


• 3 cups cake flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup whole milk
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups sugar
• 6 large eggs


You'll need a 16-cup tube pan or angel food cake pan for this recipe; if not using a nonstick pan, make sure to thoroughly grease a traditional pan. In step 2, don't worry if the batter looks slightly separated.

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Grease and flour 16-cup tube pan. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Whisk milk and vanilla in measuring cup.

2. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of milk mixture. Mix on low until smooth, about 30 seconds. Use rubber spatula to give batter final stir.

3. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Place cake in cold oven. Adjust oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake, without opening oven door, until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 65 to 80 minutes.

4. Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours. Serve. (Cooled cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

14 September 2009

Recipe: Gertie's Loving Peanut Butter Chocolate Kiss Cookies

From Denny: These little lovelies are great for a make and take event or after school snacks. Awww, come on, so what if the kids are grown up or you don't even have kids, make them anyway and indulge with a tall glass of milk or a cup of steaming hot coffee or tea. They are worth every bite! :)

There is a sweet story that goes along with these cookies from the family of the lady who made them: Harvey Hittner of Decatur, who said his mother, Gertrude, "put love in her cookies, " including this peanut butter variety. "My mother was known all over New York as the greatest cookie maker, " he said. Just before she died, she had baked her peanut butter cookies. "We put a batch in the freezer and ate them sparingly over the next year. Every time we tasted one, we felt Mom smiling down on us."

From: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Hands on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 45


1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter, room temperature

1 cup chunky or crunchy peanut butter

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

About 45 jumbo semisweet chocolate morsels


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the margarine, peanut butter and sugar until very light. Add the egg and beat well. Add the flour and baking soda and beat just to combine. Form the dough into 1-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Gently flatten each ball with the tines of a fork pressed in one direction and then across at 90 degrees to make a checkered pattern. Place one chocolate chip in the middle of each cookie.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes until the cookies are golden on the edges (not browned).


These cookies freeze extremely well. Bake a double batch and store some in your freezer for whenever you want to share a little love.


Per cookie: 101 calories (percent of calories from fat, 54), 2 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 6 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 6 milligrams cholesterol, 71 milligrams sodium.

13 September 2009

Video: Singer Bill Withers Pranks USC Football Team

From Denny: This is from ESPN of all places. When do I watch sports? Rarely. But, as I was crossing the room in the house my husband had on ESPN and they were profiling the Southern California team, the Trojans, and a favorite musician was there talking to them: Bill Withers. It's also inspirational.

Turns out he was invited there by the head coach to pull a prank on the team. It's really cute and funny. As Bill Withers said to the team, "You've been punked!" And they all cracked up laughing.

12 September 2009

Beautiful Angel Photo, Quote, Healing Poem Link

Psalm 91:11 - And He will give His Angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways.

Yesterday I wrote:

From Denny: Since this particular poem was a hard write, and I'm a bit emotionally tired and saturated to say the least, here's the link to my latest poem over at The Social Poets, called Rock, My Children. Found some awesome art photos over at flickr to illustrate it!

Rock, My Children is about how to deal with loss. Never planned on writing about these experiences but lately there has been so much news about people encountering terrible loss in their lives. And, here it is the 911 anniversary, a tough day for so many folks all over the world.

When I was fishing around for inspiration I found Robin's blog Naked in Eden and some of those word phrases sprinkled throughout one of her posts just struck me right (like "abyss of emotion") and before I knew it the poem was forming in my head. Went to flickr first before writing it down as the poem was still a lot of raw emotions swirling and I needed some visual anchors.

Rock, My Children deals with loss, disappointment, and looking to the future for understanding Life's Plan. When you ask the question, you receive the answer though it may take fifteen years like it did in my case.

Received an incredibly awesome comment from fellow spiritual blogger Robin from Naked in Eden after I sent her the link to show her how she had inspired me to write the poem. Just skip on past the poem to read what she has to say it's that great! I've been grinning silly all day - and behind in my posting - since she posted that loving comment...

Rock, My Children, go here.

10 September 2009

Funny Video: Bride Laughing Loud at the Altar During Vows

From Denny: Just found this hilarious true video of a bride laughing so hard at the altar she almost fell over when they were trying to say their vows. The laughter is contagious! Laughter really IS the best medicine!

09 September 2009

Its Cheeky Quote Day at The Social Poets! 9 Sept 2009

From Denny: It's Cheeky Quote Day over at The Social Poets and today I'm featuring another early American entertainer who was a big hit during the dreary Depression years: actress Mae West.

The woman was known for being a bit saucy and downright risque for her time period. She was a child actress in Vaudeville who grew up to write her own comedic material and star in many a Hollywood movie during the 1930's.

To read more about her and enjoy many more rib-tickling quotes from her and a couple of short videos from her movies, go check out Cheeky Quote Day, here.

3 Quotes From Mae West

* I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.

* Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.

* Don't keep a man guessing too long - he's sure to find the answer somewhere else.

For Cheeky Quote Day featuring Mae West, go here.

08 September 2009

Recipe: Famous Chefs Secret Chocolate Chip Cookies

Photo by procsilas @ flickr

From Denny: When these pastry chefs come out with a new line of something, dark chocolate chips in this case, why don't they ever post a photo of the finished product on the TV show where they are doing the promotion or the network leave a video showing the process...? Oh, well, today we have to just enjoy this fun poster; it did make me grin. :)

It's interesting this chef uses both pastry and bread flour to make our traditional cookie recipe we love so much! Of course, if you don't want to make giant cookies, this recipe will probably yield a gazillion of them! More to share with friends! :)

Chocolate Chip CookiesThe dainty polite version of our beloved chocolate chip cookie Image by esthereggy via Flickr

From: Chef Jacques Torres

Yield: 26 giant cookies


• 1 pound butter
• 13 ounces sugar
• 1 pound light brown sugar
• 4 eggs
• 14 ounces King Arthur pastry flour
• 14 ounces King Arthur bread flour
• 1/2 ounce salt
• Less than 1/2 ounce baking powder
• Less than 1/2 ounce baking soda
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 2 pounds Jacques Torres 60% cocoa content dark chocolate, cut in small pieces


Preheat convection oven to 325 degrees. Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle, cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar until it reaches a light and creamy texture. Add the eggs, one at a time. When mixed, turn the mixer to slow speed and add the rest of the ingredients. When the mixture is thoroughly combined, bake on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan for about 14 minutes (light brown, a little underbaked).


Jacques does not use cups and teaspoons so he suggests starting with the weights if you need to convert the recipe. His secret is in the butter, flour and chocolate ingredients.

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07 September 2009

Funny News Video: Middle Aged Guy Puts Elderly Parents for Sale on Craigslist

From Denny: There's nothing like putting your parents up for sale to get the conversation started like this guy did! This news story sounds like a tutorial on how to do it. What started as a fun idea snowballed into a sensation. I can only imagine what his parents told their son off camera ... :)

06 September 2009

Video: Rock Climber Moons the Town

From Denny: This is a funny news story about a rock climber "mooning" an entire town and getting away with it because it's "art."

05 September 2009

Awww News Video: Check Out This Snow Leopard Cub

From Denny: Check out this new story depicting a snow leopard cub. This little animal is quite the beauty! Never seen a snow leopard and the story gives you some interesting facts too.

04 September 2009

Recipe: Simple Easy Chocolate Coconut Krispies, Plus Vegan Recipe

Rice Krispies? Meet S'mores. S'mores, Rice Kri...This is a S'Mores version, cool! Image by e.marie via Flickr

From Denny: People are always searching for a recipe of a food they fondly remember from childhood - and Rice Krispie bar cookie recipes are often a favorite! When this was featured in our local newspaper recently (no photo) I just had to include it here. What's perfect about this simple easy recipe is that it's perfect for this holiday weekend of Labor Day. You can make and take it any where easily, enjoy!

From: Susan Filopowicz

Yield: 12 muffin-size or 24 minimuffin-size servings.


4 Tablespoons butter

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 (10-ounce) bag marshmallows

6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

2-1/2 cups shredded coconut

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1-1/2 teaspoons water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds


1. Melt butter, 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate and marshmallows. Combine and add Rice Krispies and cool.

2. Spray palms of hands with cooking spray and while mixture is still warm press the mixture up to 1/2 full of the minimuffin cups or regular cupcake tins.

3. In a medium glass bowl, stir coconut with 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk. Microwave 1 minute on high. Stir and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to cool slightly. While warm, pour over the crispy mixture to the top.

4. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 ounces of chocolate and 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave for 30 more seconds. Add water and vanilla and drizzle over each crispy cup and top with several slivered almonds.


krispie carnageVegan version of Rice Krispie treats Image by Jocelyn | McAuliflower via Flickr

Now here's another version of a Rice Krispie treat, vegan style from Jocely McAuliflower @ Brownie Points Blog.

Chocolate GORP Rice Crispy Treats

GORP: Good Old Raisins and Peanuts

Lightly oil an 8″ x 8″ baking pan and set aside.

Combine in a sauce pan:

light corn syrup, 1/2 cup

light brown sugar, 1/4 cup packed

1/4 teaspoon salt

Bring to a full boil and remove from the heat.

Stir in:

peanut butter butter (or any favorite nut butter), 1 cup
(Warming the peanut butter jar in the microwave makes the 1 cup easier to scoop out.)

vanilla, 1 teaspoon

crisp puffed rice cereal, 3 cups

With oiled hands, press the mixture firmly into the buttered 8″ x 8″ pan.


Sprinkle the top with chopped raisins and enough grated or finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate to cover the entire pan, making sure to get the chocolate in the corners, as well as thick enough to form a layer. As I was working with a large block of chocolate and free-form with the raisins, I don’t quite remember the quantities required. A four ounce chocolate bar and 1/2 cup of raisins are a good place to start.

Using a blow torch (or a brief visit to the broiler), melt out the chocolate layer to help adhere the raisins.

This cuts best before the chocolate has completely hardened.

Thanks for visiting this blog and subscribing! Have a great weekend, everyone!

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03 September 2009

Chocolate Quote: Chocolate Compared to Marijuana

"Researchers have discovered that chocolate produces some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana. The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two but can't remember what they are." - Matt Lauer, host of NBC's The Today Show

02 September 2009

Cheeky Quote Day! at The Social Poets 2 Sept 2009

From Denny: It's Cheeky Quote Day! over at The Social Poets! To enjoy some really great funny quotes and a short bio on one of America's funniest men in history, Will Rogers, go here.

Blogger Followers and Google Connect Gadgets Erasing People

From Denny: I've contacted Blogger several times and no response for the past two almost three months this has been going on. Apparently, there are hundreds of bloggers on blogspot with the same issue and yet there are others who have no problems.

Thinking it might be the placement of ads on the sidebar, I moved them to other places on the blog. When that didn't work, I just removed many ads. That didn't work either. Tried other bright ideas and none of them worked.

In total frustration, just removed the offending gadgets that are not working right. Can I tell you that I'm not happy with Blogger and Google right now over what should be a simple fix? :) It's rude to allow the erasing of other people like they don't exist. People want that connection to you as a blogger and the free marketing feature of their sites connected too.

What's the temporary solution until these disappearing faces on the gadgets get resolved? The next best solution is that even if you are not a blogger you can have your face and site featured on my other gadgets that do seem to have their act together: MyBlogLog, BlogCatalog and FuelMyBlog. I'll try and get more featured gadgets by joining some more blog directories. Then there's Twitter Counter too for advancing your Twitter followers' count and marketing your site.

Thanks for your support, everyone, and sorry for this inconvenience.

01 September 2009

Recipe: Easy Black Russian Cake

From Denny: Want an easy impressive cake to make for your gathering? Want to try a new recipe for the upcoming holidays? This one is too easy as you can use a cake mix. You might want to keep this lush cake for adults only! :) For variations try it out with a devils food cake mix or even a German chocolate!

From: Marion “Mike” Bristol

Serves: 12 - She usually serves it with whipped cream.


1 box basic yellow cake mix (without pudding)

1/4 cup, plus 3 Tablespoons, Kahlúa liqueur (or coffee), divided

1/4 cup vodka

1 small (3.9 ounce) box instant chocolate pudding

4 eggs

1 cup oil (canola oil is great for a neutral taste)

3/4 cup water

1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped pecans


1. In an electric mixer, mix all ingredients except the 3 tablespoons of Kahlúa and the chopped pecans for 2 minutes at medium speed.

2. Spray or grease a Bundt pan with shortening.

3. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Pour batter over nuts.

4. Bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes if pan has a dark, non-stick interior.

5. Remove cake and put on a cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Pour remaining 3 tablespoons of Kahlúa over cake while still warm. After cake is cooled, turn over onto a plate or cake stand.

6. Serve with whipped cream, if desired. Cover cake with plastic wrap to keep moist.

Note: Devil’s food or chocolate cake mix can be substituted for the yellow cake mix.

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