Welcome to my site!

Welcome to my site!
I'm Cindy, and I love to cook! And, I love to eat... hence the size of my rear end! I come from a long line of cooks. My great great Grandmother was a cook in the original Harvey Houses. My grandmother Julia was an awesome cook, and my mom was incredible. I owe my skills to these great women. Especially my Mom who said this to me about making gravy... "Cindy Lynn, wallpaper paste is wallpaper paste & gravy is gravy. Never the two shall meet!" Shall we say my first experience at making gravy left a little bit to be desired! Thank the high heavens my cooking skills have improved since then! Enjoy!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Peach Almond Jam

OK... When I tell you this is the MOST wonderful jam I've ever had, I'm not kidding.  The perfect combination of sweet summery peaches, sugar and almond.  The tip?  Add 1 teaspoon of almond extract after the jam has finished cooking.  AMAZING!

I found the recipe on SimplyCanning.com.  Make sure to use ripe peaches.  I bought some this morning and if I had let them sit for a few days it would have been easier to peel them after their "hot water bath".  The site will also link you to many other wonderful canning recipes.  The next one I want to try is the Spiced Peach Jam.  I'll definitely buy my peaches a few days before I'm going to make the jam.  Peeling the peaches will be a breeze!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Italian Chicken with White Beans

I saw a recipe for Italian White Beans someplace, and they sounded good. So, I bought a couple of cans of beans and then couldn’t remember where I had seen the recipe. They say that necessity is the Mother of Invention. I guess it’s true. Here’s my version of Italian White Beans, and I made an Italian inspired chicken breast to go along with them. They were quite tasty. Even our kidlet enjoyed them!


For the Beans -
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed well
½ white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Olive Oil
¾ tsp dried rosemary
Pinch of red pepper flakes
¼ - ½ cup chicken broth
Salt & Pepper

For the Chicken & Sauce -
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half butterfly style to make thinner
Garlic Salt
Dried Basil
Olive Oil
¼ cup White Wine
1 Tbls butter
Spoon of cornstarch
Chicken broth


For the Beans –
Drizzle olive oil in pot. Heat and add the onions & garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the rosemary, pepper flakes and some salt and pepper. Continue sautéing for a couple of minutes. Add a little chicken broth to deglaze the pan.

Add the beans and continue cooking. Add more of the chicken broth to keep the beans moist and continue cooking until the beans are soft; approximately 20 – 30 minutes.

For the Chicken and Sauce –

Drizzle some olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Season the cut chicken breasts on both sides with the garlic salt and basil. Because the breasts are cut thin, it won’t take long to cook. About 2 minutes per side.

Remove the chicken from the pan. Add a small amount of white wine to deglaze the pan. Add butter to the pan and melt. Meanwhile combine the cornstarch with enough chicken broth to make an easily pourable liquid. Add to the pan and cook until thick, like gravy. If you need more chicken broth to thin – or more cornstarch mixture to further thicken, do so.

Serve with the chicken breast placed on top of the beans and drizzle the sauce over all.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Spicy Garlic Dill Pickles

This was my first attempt at making pickles. I found this recipe on the internet, and have adjusted it slightly. The site says that these pickles won three awards at the Stanislaus County Fair in California. And the source it sites is “Blue Ribbon Pickles and Preserves” by Maria Polushkin Robbins. I let them sit for one week before tasting. They are SO yummy! This was a really fun experience and the only thing more fun than making them, is eating them!


1 small hot red pepper per jar
1 cluster fresh dill per jar (I used dill heads)
2 garlic cloves per jar, cut in half lengthwise
Pinch of red pepper flakes per jar
4 lbs medium-size canning cucumbers (approximate on the weight. I used 14 medium sized cucumbers)
2 3/4 cups white vinegar
3 1/4 cups water
6 tbsp. canning/pickling salt
1 tsp. dill seed
1 tsp. mustard seed


Wash the cucumbers and place in a large pot with cold water & ice cubes. Allow to sit for at least 2 hours, and not more than 8. I’ve read that doing this will preserve the crispness of the pickles.

Sterilize wide mouth pint jars. Put 1 hot red pepper, 1 cluster fresh dill, a pinch of red pepper flakes and 2 garlic cloves on the bottom of each sterilized jar.

Cut the ends off the cucumbers and slice lengthwise in fourths or sixths, depending upon the diameter of the cucumber. Pack the cucumbers into the sterilized jars.

In a saucepan, combine vinegar, water, salt, dill seed, and mustard seed. Bring to a boil and pour over cucumbers, leaving 1/2-inch headroom.

Seal and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Yield: About 5 pints

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lavender Martini

I have an abundance of lavender growing in my yard. It’s beautiful and it smells good – but what is one supposed to do with so much lavender? So, I am trying to find recipes where fresh lavender is used.

A couple of years ago I was at a restaurant in Washington where Lavender Martini’s were on the menu. I ordered one and enjoyed it. So, I’ve set about trying to recreate this martini. I think I’ve come up with a pretty good combination.

Ingredients: (Serves 2)

2 oz good quality vodka
1 oz vanilla vodka
2 oz water
1 oz lavender syrup (recipe follows)


Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and serve in two martini glasses with a sprig of lavender for garnish. You could rim the glasses with sugar and frost them in the freezer first.

Lavender Syrup

Remove the flowers from 9 – 10 French Lavender stalks (a good size handful)
½ cup sugar
1 cup water

Put the lavender flowers and sugar in a small saucepan. Crush the lavender flowers into the sugar with the back of a spoon.

Add water and place on stove. Bring to simmer so that the sugar completely dissolves.

Let the syrup completely cool before using. Can be made a day or two ahead of time and placed in the fridge.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Spiced Nuts

I saw Giada DeLaurentis make these spiced nuts on her FoodNetwork television show. Oh My! They are heavenly, and the aroma that comes from the oven while they are toasting…. I can’t describe it. It took every ounce of my self control to not eat them the minute they came out of the oven.

This is a super easy recipe with wonderful results. The hardest part about it? Waiting until the nuts are completely cooled before eating them. Enjoy these as a snack, or Giada suggests serving at a cocktail party. Try them, you definitely won’t be sorry!


2 egg whites, beaten until frothy
2 cups almonds, roasted salted
2 cups cashews, roasted salted
2 cups walnuts
2 Tbls curry powder
1 Tbls cumin
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon
Cayenne, to taste
¾ cup sugar
Garlic Salt, sprinkled over nuts after they are on the baking sheet


Preheat oven to 250.

In a large bowl beat the egg whites until frothy. Add all the nuts and stir until the nuts are completely covered with the egg whites. Add the spices and sugar and combine until the nuts are completely covered with the dry ingredients.

Spray a large baking sheet that has a rim. Place nuts on sheet in single layer. Sprinkle garlic salt over all.

Bake at 250 for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before breaking apart.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Blackberry Crisp

We have the most amazing blackberries growing in our yard. They were my Father’s bushes, and when we moved 1000 miles away from the home I was raised in, we brought starts off of my Dad’s plants. They rooted just fine and each summer we enjoy the sweetest juiciest blackberries! One of the things I love to make with the berries is Blackberry Crisp. You could probably use an assortment of berries, if you prefer – but I like to stay “pure” using only blackberries.  Enjoy this crisp warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or rich whipped cream.


4 cups fresh blackberries
½ cup sugar
Lemon juice, from one lemon
2 Tbls. flour

For topping:
½ cup oatmeal
½ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
5 Tbls. butter
¾ tsp allspice


Toss berries, ½ cup sugar, lemon juice & 2 Tbls flour together in a bowl. Pour into a 8 or 9” square baking dish that has been sprayed in non-stick spray.

In a food processor, pulse the topping ingredients together until well blended and will hold shape when pressed together; like wet sand.

Sprinkle topping mixture over berries in baking dish.

Bake at 375 for approximately 30 minutes, until bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Easy & Delicious Chocolate Cake

This recipe is incredibly easy – and it adapts to any type of cake you would like to make. I use the basics of this recipe for my Lemon Cake. I use Lemon Pudding in the Lemon Cake, chocolate pudding in chocolate and vanilla pudding with all other cake mixes. No fail, guaranteed, every time! Deliciously moist and wonderful!

1 boxed chocolate cake mix, I use Devil’s Food
1 box instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
¾ cup water
¾ cup oil

Ganache Icing:

12 oz Package of chocolate chips
Heavy Cream


Mix all cake ingredients in mixer, or with hand held electric mixer. Approximately two minutes to thoroughly blend all ingredients.

Bake time according to cake mix directions on package. I usually bake in a bundt pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

After cake cools, warm a little bit of heavy cream in a saucepan. About 1/3 cup. Pour chocolate chips into warmed cream and stir until melted. If needed add a little more cream. You want the mixture to be thick, but not like fudge. But, also not too thin because you want it to cling to the cake and not run off all over the cake plate.

Let cool, slice and enjoy!

Friday, July 2, 2010


Serves 2

I stumbled upon a really wonderful blog this morning, Diana’s Cocina. Her most recent post was for Migas; a wonderful Tex-Mex egg breakfast containing tortillas, onion, tomato and jalapeno. If THAT wasn’t enough, you add some cheese and salsa. She called it “Delicioso”! I call it FABULOUS!!! I got right up from the computer and made it for breakfast. It’s easy and so full of flavor. I think you’ll love it too!


Cooking oil, enough to fry the corn tortilla strips
3 corn tortillas , cut into strips
¼ white onion, chopped,
1/2 of a jalapeno, diced (if you prefer less spicy, remove the seeds)
1 tomato, seeded and diced (I used grape tomatoes, cut in half)
6 eggs, lightly beaten (I only used 3 of the yolks)
handful grated cheese
salt and pepper, to taste


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and fry the tortilla pieces until slightly crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from skillet and place on paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

Drizzle a little more oil in pan. Add the jalapeno and onion and cook for 4 – 5 minutes, then add tomato and cook for 1 -2 minutes more. Remove from pan and set aside.

Pour eggs into the pan and mix with a spatula, scraping up the eggs as they cook. While the eggs are still slightly runny add the onion, jalapeno, tomato, tortilla strips, salt and pepper. Gently stir, add the cheese, toss a few times until the eggs cook and cheese melts.

Serve with your favorite hot sauce or salsa, with a sprinkling of grated cheese on top.

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