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!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

Autumn has arrived, and I always have an urge to start baking and cooking hearty meals that take hours on the stove.  I wanted something yummy to make, and was thinking of cupcakes - but this quickly transformed into muffins.  Found a great recipe on The Pioneer Woman.com website.  I doubled the recipe because I wanted to make the muffins a little bit larger - and I wanted to have enough to share with neighbors and take a few to work.    I added cloves to the muffin batter and used less butter in the cream cheese frosting.  The muffins can be frosted, or left plain.  They are wonderful either way.  Great recipe - totally easy - and completely delicious!  Below is the recipe for 12 muffins, I doubled everything, and ended up with 21 muffins.


1 cup All-purpose Flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1½ teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoons Ground Ginger
Pinch of cloves, about 1/8 tsp.
½ teaspoons Nutmeg
½ teaspoons Salt
4 Tablespoons Butter, cut into pieces
1 cup (heaping) Pumpkin Puree
½ cup Evaporated Milk
1 whole Egg
1½ teaspoon Vanilla
½ cups Golden Raisins (optional!)
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoons Nutmeg
FOR FROSTING: (When I doubled this I used 8 oz of cream cheese and still only 1/4 cup of softened butter.)
¼ cups Softened Butter
4 ounces, weight Cream Cheese
½ pounds Powdered Sugar
½ teaspoons Vanilla


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease 12 muffin tins, or place paper baking cups in the tins and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Cut in butter with two knives or a pastry blender until it is fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Add raisins. Fold gently until mixture is just combined.

Pour into a greased muffin pan or paper baking cups. The batter hardly ever fills all twelve unless you keep it down to 1/2 full. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg mixture over the top of each unbaked muffin.

Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool. Ice with cream cheese frosting.
To make the frosting, mix all ingredients on high until soft and whipped. Spread onto completely cooled muffins, or place into a large pastry bag with a large star tip and go crazy! Store in the fridge, as icing will soften at room temperature.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I made this with chicken only, because “the boy” doesn’t like shrimp. But, I would totally recommend adding some shrimp and or sausage to this jambalaya. I’ve never made jambalaya before – which is surprising given my love for all things New Orleans. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!  It was quite tasty and flavorful.


12 chicken thighs, skinned and boned, and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 bell pepper
3 celery ribs
1 ½ cups rice
2 tsp. salt free Spike seasoning
1 tsp. Seasoning Salt (I use Johnny’s for this recipe)
1 tsp. Tony Chachere’s
1 – 15oz can tomato sauce
1 ½ cup water
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper


Drizzle olive oil in a large skillet or pan; heat. Add chicken to the pan; season with salt and pepper; sauté until cooked through. Remove from pan.

Drizzle a little more olive oil to the pan, if needed. Add onions and sauté for several minutes. Add garlic, bell pepper and celery. Sauté for about five minutes.

Return meat (and any accumulated juices) to pan, add rice and cook for about one minute. This allows the rice to absorb the pan juices. Add the Spike, Seasoning Salt and Tony’s; stir to combine well. Add the tomato sauce and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pan, and simmer until the rice is completely cooked. Keep an eye on the jambalaya to be sure the mixture doesn’t dry out or burn on the bottom. Stir occasionally.

Note: If you would like to add shrimp to the jambalaya wait until the last 5 minutes of cooking. If you would like to add andouille sausage – or a similar sausage – add it when you return the chicken to the pan.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pork Chili with Hominy

I found this recipe on CookingLight.com.  I have adjusted it by adding some butter and flour and using more olive oil than the original recipe called for.  It is really a wonderful full flavored chili that is delicious and doesn't leave you with that "heavy feeling" that you sometimes get after eating these "stick to your ribs" kind of meals.  Give this one a try - I really think you will enjoy it!


2 tablespoons chile powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ pounds pork, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I use the pork roasts from Costco that come four to a package. You could also use pork tenderloin – but then reduce the final cooking time to 25 minutes.)
Olive Oil
1 white onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 ½ tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 ½ cups chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can hominy, drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, “Mexican Style”, undrained


Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; set 1 ½ teaspoons spice mixture aside. Add pork to remaining spice mixture in bowl, tossing well to coat.

Drizzle some olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. (I use a large non-stick skillet that I purchased at Costco. See photo below.) Add pork mixture to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove pork from pan; set aside.

Drizzle a little bit more olive oil in pan. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan; set aside. (I added it to the bowl in which I placed the pork.)

Add butter to pan; melt. Add flour to pan and stir to cook for several minutes; making a roux. Return pork and vegetables to pan. Add reserved 1 1/2 teaspoons spice mixture, broth, hominy, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for one hour. (If you used pork tenderloin instead of a pork roast – remember to reduce cooking time to 25 minutes.)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Red Raspberry Jam

Raspberry Jam is my FAVORITE kind of jam.  Love it!  Since I've ventured into the world of canning this summer, it seemed natural that I would try raspberry jam. 

I learned a few things along the way - like, when the recipe says "don't double the recipe" - you really shouldn't double it.  My jam didn't firm up the first time.  Luckily I found a solution, after the fact.  But, that involved having to open all the jars and use something called "liquid cement" - and then reprocess all of the jars.  So, it's like I had to make the jam twice.  Lesson learned!

I opted to use frozen raspberries for the jam; the recipe says to let them thaw first.  The jam is delicious!  I had anticipated giving some of these jars away as Christmas presents.  I have a feeling not too many of these jars are going to be leaving my house.  YUMMY!

Here's a link to the recipe I used.  It really was quite easy and very delicious!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ginger Cookies

There is a wonderful independently owned movie theater in Salem - called the Salem Cinema.  It's really fantastic and we love going there several times a month to catch a unique movie, enjoy the freshly popped popcorn with REAL butter and brewers yeast, and to devour a delicious HUGE ginger cookie.  Honestly, the best $2 you'll ever spend.  I decided to make some ginger cookies at home.  I found a recipe HERE and they turned out great.  I'm not a confident enough baker to "play with" the ingredients when baking.  So, here is the recipe, as it appears on the AllRecipes.com website.  They aren't as big as the cookies at the theater - but they're packed with as much flavor!


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup margarine, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons white sugar


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

2.In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
3.Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Baking Powder Biscuits

I haven’t made homemade biscuits in years! But, I’ve been craving them, so I started hunting on the internet for recipe that I liked. I didn’t want to use shortening; I wanted to use butter. I finally found the recipe below from THIS website, which took it from a 1933 recipe.

The recipe talks about not using a pastry cutter or a fork; use your clean hands to work in the butter with the flour. It might be a little bit messy, but it works. I’ve made these biscuits three times and they turn out fluffy and delicious every time. It’s important not to over work the dough. Mix until it’s all moistened, and then gently fold it over, rather than kneading – then roll it out, or pat into shapes.


2 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
4 tablespoons butter or shortening (I used butter)
1/2 tsp. salt
about 3/4 cup milk


Sift Flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, and sift again.

Cut in shortening or butter. (This is where I use my hands by rubbing the butter into the flour).

Add milk gradually, stirring until soft dough is formed.

Turn out on lightly floured board and lightly "knead" for 30 seconds, enough to shape. Roll 1/2 inch thick and cut with 2 inch floured biscuit cutter.

Bake on ungreased sheet in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.

Makes 12 biscuits.

Note: You can also make tiny tea biscuits that are only 1 ½ inches wide with a small cutter or glass bottom. These are great served with tea, jam or honey. Makes 24.

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