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!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Baked French Toast

Found this easy and very delicious recipe on Pinterest.  It is a Pioneer Woman recipe.
I made it for our annual Christmas Brunch, it was a HUGE HIT.  Very easy to make – and I love that most of the work is completed the night before, with very little to do in the morning when you want to serve.  It can be enjoyed with syrup, or a powdered sugar and milk glaze, but we just ate it plain and it was heavenly!


1 loaf sourdough bread (the kind you buy in the bakery section of the grocery store, long loaf – not already sliced)
8 eggs
2 cups milk (I used 1%)
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. vanilla

Topping Ingredients:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces

1.  Grease a 9x13 pan with butter.  Tear bread into bite-size chunks and place evenly in the pan.

2.  Mix together the eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla.  Pour evenly over bread. Cover tightly and store in the fridge for several hours.  I did all the prep work the night before the brunch, it was in the fridge for about 11 hours.

3.  In a medium bowl mix together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until it all looks nice and crumbly. (Although the directions said to use a pastry blender, I put everything in the bowl of my food processor and this blended up beautifully.)   Place in a ziploc bag and put in fridge with the French toast.

4.  When ready to bake, take pan and bag out of fridge.  Remove wrap and evenly sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top.  Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees (or 45 minutes if you like it more soft and pudding-like).

The blog that I found this recipe on said the following: IMPORTANT!!!!!!!  You must use a dense bread or this dish will turn out soggy.  You can't use regular sandwich bread because it will NOT soak up the egg mixture!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars

I've been making these FOR YEARS!  They are easy - and a true "hit' EVERY TIME.  I originally found the recipe on the back of a Skor pieces bag.  The grocery store in which I regularly shop does not carry Skor pieces, but they do carry Heath Bar pieces.  So, that's what I now use.  Works well either way.  You'll be the hero of the next party to which you bring these!  They are OUTSTANDING!


2 1/3 c. all purpose flour                              
2/3 c. packed light brown sugar                   
¾ c. (1 ½ sticks) butter or margarine           
1 egg slightly beaten                                   
1 c. coarsely chopped nuts
2 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 can Eagle Brand
1 ¾ c. toffee bits

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 13x9x2 inch baking dish. 

In a large bowl, stir together flour and brown sugar.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add egg; mix well. 

Stir in 1 ½ c. of chocolate chips and the nuts.  Reserve 1 ½ c. of this mixture.  Press remaining crumb mixture into bottom of pan.  Bake 10 min. 

Pour Eagle Brand evenly over hot crust.  Top with 1 ½ c. of toffee bits.  Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture and remaining ½ cup of chocolate chips over top.  Bake 25 to 30 min. or until golden brown.  Sprinkle with remaining ¼ c. toffee bits.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.  About 48 bars. 

Variation:  If you would like to add some coconut to this recipe, sprinkle about ¾ c. of shredded coconut over the Eagle brand, and then continue with remaining elements of original recipe.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Mocha Toffee Pie

Oh My Goodness!  This was AWESOME!  I found it on Pinterest - my new favorite pastime - and it was a huge hit at our dinner party last weekend.  It's incredibly easy to make and SO wonderful.  We all loved it!

2 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1/4 cup sugar
10 Keebler® Chips Deluxe® Original cookies , broken into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup toffee bits
1 Keebler® Ready Crust® Chocolate Pie Crust

1. Chill small mixing bowl and beaters of electric mixer.

2. In chilled bowl, combine cream and instant coffee. Cover and refrigerate for 5 minutes. Add sugar. Beat on medium speed of electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold in cookie pieces and toffee. Spoon into crust.

3. Freeze at least 4 hours or until firm. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before cutting. Garnish as desired. Store in freezer.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bacon Jalapeno Cheese Ball

I was "in charge" of the appetizers when going to our friends house for "dinner and a movie" last night.  I found this recipe on Pintrest; it sounded easy, looked festive and wonderful and MY OH MY tasted DELICIOUS!  I served it with Flipside Pretzel Crackers and also ribs of celery.  It was a definite HIT!  Of course, in my usual way - I've adjusted the recipe slightly, but I've linked to the original at the end of the directions. 

½ cup bacon bits
½ cup chopped pecans
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½  cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 jalapeño (ribs and seeds removed)

crackers and celery ribs (for serving)


Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Sprinkle with salt while cooking.

In food processor, whirl parsley, clove garlic, ½ of the jalapeno and cumin.  Add the shredded cheddar cheese and pulse until thoroughly combined.

Add the lime juice and Worcestershire; pulse until combined.
Add the cream cheese to the mixture and pulse again until combined.  Turn into a medium bowl.  Add ¼ cup of the bacon bits.
Season the mixture to taste with salt.

On a large plate, stir the toasted pecans, the other ½ jalapeño, which should be finely minced, and remaining ¼ cup of the crumbled bacon together until evenly distributed.
Shape the cream cheese mixture into a ball (the mixture will be sticky, I found it easiest to shape if I just barely wet my hands first). Roll the ball in the pecan mixture until coated on all sides.

Cover the ball and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Original recipe can be located:

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Gluten Free Coconut Cake

One of my good friends is gluten intolerant.  It was her birthday last week and I wanted to be sure she could celebrate with a cake that she could enjoy – and you know – wouldn’t make her sick!  She requested a Coconut Cake.  So, to Pinterest I turned!  I found numerous recipes for GF Coconut Cake.  This one sounded the best to me – so off to market I went.  With the amount of butter, cream cheese and coconut in this cake and frosting – how could it NOT be delicious?  I was pleasantly surprised and everyone loved the cake!  I want to be sure to “give credit where credit is due”.  Here is the location of the recipe I used:  http://www.gfreefoodie.com/recipes/detail/644/
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter or butter flavored substitute, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
3 cups Gluten Free flour blend, plus more for dusting the pans
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk or non-dairy milk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
For the Cream Cheese frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon Gluten Free vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure coconut extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and coconut extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the Gluten Free flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.  (Note:  I tasted it at this point and was concerned because I’ve never used a gluten free flour mixture before.  The one I used contained bean flours – so the taste of the batter was a bit alarming.  BUT, it was really yummy once it was baked.)

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 55 to 65 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and coconut extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).

To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.

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