Dessert Ideas

Here is a recipe that has been passed down in my family and is almost always at every family gathering. A light, cool and refreshing layered dessert with a shortbread crust that is easy to make. A great way to end any meal, whether it be a holiday gathering or a barbecue. You can also use any flavor of pudding for this dessert. I have tried it with chocolate which is really good too.

 Lemon Pudding Dessert


 1 cup cold butter,cubed

 2 cups all-purpose flour

 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese,softened

 1 cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered)

 1 carton (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping

 3 cups cold milk

 2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) instant pudding mix


1) In a bowl, cut butter into the flour until crumbly. Press into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.

2) In a bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Fold in 1 cup whipped topping. Spread over crust.

3) In a bowl, beat milk and pudding mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Carefully spread over the cream cheese layer. Top with remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Makes 12-16 servings.        

 Strawberry Angel Food Dessert  

  Another chilled layered dessert that has Angel Food Cake pieces with  sweetened cream cheese and strawberries in a glaze. 

  Serves 18


  1 (10 inch) Angel Food Cake

  2 ( 8 oz.) cream cheese,softened

  1 cup sugar

  1 (8 oz) container whipped topping,thawed

  1 qt. fresh strawberries, sliced

  1 (18 oz.) jar strawberry glaze

  1 can whipped topping

   Optional: Blueberries


 1) Crumble the cake into a 9 x 13 inch dish

 2) Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Fold in whipped topping. Mash the cake down with your hands and spread the cream cheese mixture over the cake.

 3) In a bowl, combine strawberries and glaze until evenly coated. Spread over cream cheese layer. Use canned whipped topping to decorate the top. Chill until served.

For a festive Fourth of July dessert add blueberries to the dessert.


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Commercial Taste like Home Food

Fast food is what it says it is, fast food and it need not be burgers and Big Mac’s and other items often eaten at fast food restaurants. Fast food, in the purest sense of the description, is food that can be prepared quickly. It takes minutes in  preparation and can be eaten a couple of minutes later. The fastest food is food that can be eaten quickly and the most popular is burgers. In frozen food sections of supermarkets are burgers made out of vegetables. The taste is similar to that of beef burgers.

 *A salad bought at McDonald’s is fast food but so is a salad bought at the supermarket that has already been washed, chopped and ready to be eaten. All that is necessary to select a dressing and a few other additions such as cheese bits, nuts, olives, and whatever else.

*Veggie burgers bought from the frozen food section at the store and microwave is fast food. All is needed is a bun, a slice of cheese, a slice of tomato, a pickle,  and a little mayonnaise.

+Salmon burgers purchased in the frozen food sections and broiled for a few minutes and placed on bun is fast food. Add lettuce, tomato or whatever else makes it a healthy fast food for lunch or for a kid’s after school snack.

*Sausage and Biscuits  that take only minutes in the microwave to thaw, is certainly fast food. These are good at breakfast time when children have only five or ten minutes to eat. They can eat these on the way to the bus stop, if they are running late.  

*Cooked shrimp that is purchased frozen and comes with sauce, is a healthy fast food. It need only room temperature water to thaw in a few minutes. There is no need for further cooking. This is especially inviting at impromptu parties.

*Pizza is fast food when purchased in the frozen food department and is baked in a hot 400 degree oven for about fifteen minutes. It is even faster when it is left over from the previous night’s pizza party. It need only be warmed by a minute in the microwave.

*Cold cuts from the deli department is fast food. Varieties of cold meats of every description are purchased at stores making food preparation easier. A party can be laid out on the buffet in less than fifteen minutes if one is pressed for time. Most of the work will be in washing and cutting up the vegetables and opening the jars of olives, pickles and bringing out the tooth picks and dicing the bar of cheese.

Actually, the microwave has made fast food out of most food. Frozen meats can  be safely defrosted and chicken tenders and pork chops and burgers can be under the broiler in minutes and ready to eat. And what can be faster than buying a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket, a container of fresh vegetables already cooked and a pot of potato salad. Fast food is  good and healthy food where preparation will take only minutes.  And don’t forget the multitude of canned foods that may need only to be heated.


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Creative Potato Recipes

I’m always looking for new potato recipes. I did some experimenting and came up with Parmesan Garlic Potatoes. Recipe follows:

– 4 Medium Potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
– 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
– 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
– 3 tbsps oil
– 2 cups stock (any will work – or use water)
– Salt and pepper to taste

– Heat oil in a skillet and add the potatoes. Stir constantly to keep from sticking, but allow them to brown a little.
– Add the garlic and continue stirring.
– Add the salt and pepper to your taste.
– Add the stock/water and allow to simmer until fork tender.
– Add the cheese and stir as it thickens.

The end result will not have any liquid left and the cheese will have completely melted. For extra flavoring, add a bit of butter or sour cream. You can even add half a cup of condensed soup (any flavor).

Enjoy with favorite main course!


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I recently had a change of heart especially now the weather has been getting better. It was a shopping visit to my local smaller supermarket called Budgens in Eastcote Middlesex that saw me buying two packets of cod without breadcrumbs and these were skinless. Wanting to have a nice alcoholic beverage which I try out only occasionally I thought that as spring is upon us that a good Cider drink would be an interesting choice with the food.

The Westons cider brand is an interesting one and very eye catching as there are a few variants of this beverage. I tried this particular brand along with the Westons organic cider and I favoured the Westons Vintage version.

About the cider: It is a special reserve cider with a vintage year of 2008, The drink came in a quite big glass bottle which is good as it can be obviously be recycled. I found the font and the type face on the bottle to be very eye catching on Budgens alcoholic section shelves. The glass has a brown colour and to me represented some quality, although the cider as I tend to prefer Czech and German lager beers. Although with the packaging saying that the drink is a full bodied cider and uses selected cider apples. Initially I found the drink to be very clean and crisp and I found that the claim of full bodied to fall slightly short. The distinctive cider taste is evident as the good apple taste can be experienced very easily. There is an after taste which I did not like so much as it made me want to drink more. It is refreshing and combines well with food indeed. Overall I would say that this is an excellent cider worthy of praise and recomendation. There is a subtle fizz at the bottom of the glass, and there also is not tons of fizz and sugar. It is a slightly sweet and crisp cider. It is also light on the pallet as it is not strong in drinking this cider at all.

From a Westons Vintage Special reserve 2008 cider better as it is subtle in terms of its strength. This is well worth trying one bottle of cider in an evening as opposed to drinking tons of the stuff. I acted responsibly indeed, by having just the 1. There was just one thing that I disliked was that there was a lasting taste of apples on my tongue.

The price and availability will vary in your local supermarket. To some people 8% alcohol is quite strong, although if trying just the one and sharing a drink with some food it is quite good indeed.


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Cocktail Recipes Mint Cream Dream

Mint Cream Dream-

This drink was created when a few friends and I went out to our local bar. The theme of the night was to follow the theme of the Long Island Iced Tea- that is, to make a very strong drink that was very easy to down. The winner to that competition was this drink, dubbed the “Mint Cream Dream” (due to the festive season when the drink was created).

You’ll need:

1.5 Oz. Mozart Chocolate Liqueur (Original will do, but I prefer Dark myself)
1.5 Oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream
1.0 Oz. Rum (Bacardi)
0.5 Oz. Creme de Menthe (or other mint flavoured liqueur)

Ice cubes
2% Milk

Put some ice cubes in a Collins glass and stir around to chill. Add chocolate liqueur, Baileys and Rum. Fill the rest of the glass with cold milk. Finally, stir in the Mint liqueur. It works very well as a dessert drink- but don’t drink too many.. it is deceptively strong.



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Chipolte Mayonnaise Grilled Poblano Peppers Stuffed Jalapenos

Capsicum Annuum are peppers, sweet or hot, grown in most climates around the world. Peppers are most productive where the weather is warm and dry and depending on flavor intensity and fleshiness of the fruit, culinary use varies from vegetable, as with sweet bell peppers, to spice, as with cayenne or jalapenos.

Cultivars of Capsicum Annuum are especially low in calories, but very rich in Vitamin C which they tend to sustain even after the pepper is harvested. . Capsicum annuum, which are actually berries, are an important source of Vitamin A, with useful amounts of folic acid, fiber, and potassium. Their powerful antioxidant properties, derived from bioflavonoids, offer protection against heart and circulatory disease and some forms of cancer.

Leaves of the plants are mildly bitter and not nearly as hot as the fruits. In the Philippines, “dahon ng sili”, literally, chili leaves, is a fairly popular, simply cooked dish of greens. In Korean cuisine, the leaves are included in Kimchi pickles. Japanese cuisine also uses the leaves as a green vegetable.

In the New World, Capsicum Annuum fruit, members of the nightshade family, highlight a wide variety of dishes ranging from hot chocolate to salsa. Along with maize, they have been basic to diets of Mexico, Central and South America since as early as 8,000 B.C.

Poblano peppers, lightly charred on the grill and stuffed with wonderfully scented coriander rice, are a delicious vegetarian meal that presents peppers in their best light,

Jalapeno, stuffed with shrimp and perfumed with ginger (remove some of the seeds and ribs to adjust heat), are sweet and spicy alternatives when deep-fried in a crisp batter.

For about 8 servings, combine in food processor bowl:

1/4 pound raw shrimp, cleaned and peeled
2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsps Vietnamese fish sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Poblano or Anchos, Colorado, Anaheim, and Serrano are all popular members of the species.

Use this Chipotle mayonnaise to add sparkle to any sandwich, but especially a vegetable or seafood wrap on Middle Eastern flat bread.

Dry, smoked red jalapenos are sold as Chipotles canned with Adobo sauce in most markets. Combine chopped and mashed Chipotles and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice with your very best mayonnaise. Determine amounts by quantity of sauce required, but remember the Chipotles are extremely hot and it is easier to taste and add heat gradually.

An acquaintance with Capsicum Annuum with all the cultivars, degrees of heat, and flavors will add spice and sparkle to your meals.


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Cake Recipes

‘SIMNEL CAKE’ is a very old English treat. Making it, has become a tradition especially for Easter. There are some regional differences around the country, but they are all pretty similair. They have all been passed down through families, from one generation to the next over many years.

The Simnel cake is a true Easter food. It tells a part of the Easter story, and was enjoyed by families who would get together at holiday time. From an early age, children would learn the message of the Biblical story.

All of the recipes include one large marzipan ball, and eleven smaller ones. The large ball symbolises Jesus, and the smaller balls represent the Disciples. The Disciple Judas is not represented, because of his betrayel of Christ.

This recipe is from a friends Grandmother, who lived in North Yorkshire, which is in the North of England.

To make Simnel cake:

You will need 8oz SR Flour, 6oz Butter or Margarine, 6oz Dark Sugar, 12oz Currants, 8oz Sultanas, 8oz Raisins, 4oz Candied Peel, 1/4pint Ale or beer. 1 teaspoon of mixed spices, 1 tablespoon of Honey, 1lb of Marzipan.

Cream butter and sugar together, beat eggs and add to the mixture, a small amount at a time. Sift in the flour and the spices to the mix, save a little of the flour to dust the fruit. Add the fruit and ale / beer

. Put half of the mixture into a lined 8″ inch cake tin.

Take 1/3rd of the marzipan and roll it out, a little smaller than the tin. Place the marzipan on top of the mixture, enough to cover the whole cake mix.

Put into the oven, and cook at Gas mark No 2 or 150c, for 2 hours, or until the cake texture feels firm.

When the cake is cold, roll out another 1/3rd of the marzipan, brush cake with Apricot jam, then place the marzipan on top of the cake.

With the remaining marzipan, make 11 small balls and one large one.

Put small ones around outside and the large one in the centre.

Brush top of cake and marzipan balls with egg yolk, and gently brown under grill.


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Bread Bowl Baking

Bread bowls are fun and a unique way to serve soups, dips, salads and so much more.  These are great to serve main dish meals that are stews or soups in, and can be festive for guests when preparing dips or serving salads. 

Making bread bowls really can be quite rewarding and the recipe is a basic bread dough recipe.  When making a bread bowl, you want to use a bread recipe that is a hearty bread recipe, like sourdough or whole wheat, because these types of bread tend to hold up better under the stress of placing soup or stew in them.  I have included a recipe below.

Bread Dough:

    2 packages dry yeast

    1 tbsp sugar

    ¾ cups warm water

    ¼ cup shortening

   1 cup scalded milk

    4 cups bread flour

    2 tsp salt


Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water and let stand.Mix together the softened shortening, the scalded milk, and ½ the flour.  Add the yeast mixture and the salt, and then gradually add the remaining flour and mix. Knead, adding additional flour until a smooth dough that’s not sticky forms.Let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes until doubled in size.Divide dough into four balls for large bread bowls or eight balls for smaller bread bowls.Place balls on cookie sheets and let rise until double in size (about 1 hour).Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes. Brush each loaf with butter at the last five minutes of cooking and put back into the oven.  When bread is done it should sound hollow when thumped on.  Allow to cool completely.

When you are ready to use your bread bowls, cut a circular piece out of the top and remove.  Then scoop out the soft bread on the inside, fill with your favorite soup, dip, or salad and serve the soft bread pieces on the side! 

These bread bowls are easy to make and depending on the size, can give you a great alternative for your next dinner party.  You can use the small bread bowls for dips like hummus, dill, or seafood, and serve with fresh veggies on the side or crackers.  You can fill the larger bread bowls with hearty soups and stews like clam chowder, cheese-broccoli, creamy soups, and chili.  You can also fill the larger bowls with salads like a chef salad, a green salad with chicken or beef, a taco salad and much more.   Enjoy bread baking and enjoy using these bread bowls.


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Best Kitchen Gadgets

Gadget, meaning a device to be used for a particular purpose. In the kitchen this can mean a drawer full of gadgets, egg separator, peeler, garlic press, and on and on.

Young people today think that every time a new gadget comes on the market and if they don’t have one, their kitchen will not function without it.

Throughout my years of cooking I have tried myself some of these gadgets and found that the best gadgets in the kitchen are the ones that I was born with.

Thats right, my hands have been the best gadgets that I find in the kitchen. They can mix, stir, and measure without taking up any counter space or drawer space. They have been used over and over. They are old, tired and wrinkled by now, but they are still very reliable and work well most of the time.

The only assistants these gadgets need at times are the ones that have been around for a long time and that is a wooden spoon or a good whisk.

The next time you are in your kitchen, look around in your drawers if you can and try saying to yourself hand or gadget. For example: that garlic press (that is so hard to clean), I would have to say hand. It is much easier to smash it with your hand and a large knife than it is to clean that garlic press. Another good example would be that silly little device that they put in lemons or oranges for juicing. By the time you get it in the fruit you have lost half the juice. And that food processor that is taking up all that counter space, do you know with the proper knife and a good set of hands you can slice and dice faster that it takes to set that thing up.

Okay I admit there are some really cool gadgets and they can be very appealing and maybe even a little helpful. If you have the counter space and the drawer space to store all of these gadgets then go ahead and try them.

I will stick to my story and my convictions that the best kitchen gadgets are the ones right at the end of your arms. Hands were given to us to use, for all kinds of jobs.

So the next time you are in your kitchen mixing and dicing and wishing there was an easier way, look down at those hands of yours and see if they don’t work better than some of those silly little gadgets that you are trying to use.


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Candy Retro Candy Oldfashioned Candy c Andy Store


Our Love Affair With Retro Candy and Where You Can Buy it On Line

Retro candy has become a hot commodity. For kids the most pleasurable experiences often involve having a piece of their favorite candy. For me, some of the most memorable times I can recall included the eating of a ‘peanut pattie’, which is now on the retro candy list.  For my son Root Beer Barrels hit the candy retro button. What, though, is driving this desire to return to retro candies?

For one, when people are stressed they want to bring back happy memories. Secondly, when people are happy they reminisce about past happy times. Now reach back into your own memory and think about a time when you felt happy, comfortable, and satisfied. Was there a piece of candy involved?

Our most vivid memories are those that engage multiple senses. Old fashoned candies are often wrapped in fun packing,  sometimes with silly pictures, thus utilizing our sense of sight. The packing must be torn open, often crinkling between our fingers, employing the sense of touch. Once open, the irresistible odor rises to our nostrils giving us the pleasure of smell. Finally, the sense of taste goes into full swing as we tongue our sweet candy treasure. With four of the five senses engaged a memory is now locked into place.

Wanting to share these memories and a piece of their past, many new parents are also returning to their favorite retro candies. Perhaps a visit down south to grandma and grandpa’s always meant snacking on ‘moon pies’ while rocking on the front porch and trying to count the stars. Or was it taking those Sunday drives with dad to get the newspaper and getting to pick a nickels worth of penny candy for the ride home? For others it could have been as simple as the root beer barrels their grandpa always had in his top pocket. People love traditions, and when they become parents they want to pass on traditions, small as they may seem, that made them happy.

Finally, there are those who just love anything retro, be it candy or clothing, music or books, some people just enjoy connecting with the past. Whatever the reason may be it doesn’t look like the retro candy craze will be cooling off any time soon. Take a look at the sites below to see if you can find the retro candy, or new candy that will make your taste buds dance and create happy memories. –


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