Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

Tag: fun family foods

Pop Rocks Fire Cracker Cup Cakes with Sprinkles

Photo: property of Cathy at the Noble Pig Pop Rocks take me back to the days of Piggly Wiggly. I often followed my brothers there to buy candy to sell at school. Some days while at dance class, a few of us girls would run […]

A Potato Never Looked So Fair

I lived in Texas oh probably 11 years ago now, and one of the most happ’in dishes to eat was an enormous baked potato smothered with your choice of fix’ns. Potatoes were everywhere. In addition to most sit down restaurants, there were little fast food […]

Jelly Oranges in the Garden

I cannot remember where I found this but it is a fun little treat to make with the kids.

1 packet of orange jello
4 oranges

Make up orange jello according to the packet instructions. Set aside for 20 minutes to cool.
Slice oranges in half and scoop out the flesh, using a small knife or spoon. Fill the orange cavities with cooled jello. Place the orange halves, upright, on a tray. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until set.

Instant Protein Cocoa Bars

I learned to make this recipe from Shirley Tong a good friend of mine. Shirley was selling Shaklee products and invited me over for a demonstration. During the party she served the protein bars. Now here is my plug for Shaklee. Months later I had […]

Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts!

One of our Christmas traditions has been to rush out a batch of sugar cookies for Santa and a basket of nibbles for the reindeer all last minute. Then we rush the kids up stairs and wait for a scream of delight when they spy […]

A Tradition of Family Chocolatiers

As far back as I can remember, making chocolates for Easter, Valentine’s Day and Christmas has been a life long family tradition. We used to give our homemade confections to friends, teachers, classmates, and even sold a few for Easter and Valentine’s Day for some extra cash.

Here are a few tips I have learned over the years about making homemade chocolates.

-Use chocolate wafers or blocks when making candy. Chocolate chips will not produce the best results. Wilton chocolate wafers can be found at Micheal’s but I only buy it when I cannot get the good stuff. Growing up we purchased our candy supplies at a specialty store. I have also seen blocks of chocolate at health food stores such as Oliver’s, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.
-Use a warm metal spoon or preferably plastic utensil when working with chocolate. Wood contains small traces of moisture and therefore should not be used.
-Use only oil based flavorings and powered or oil based coloring specified for chocolate candy. Regular food coloring will not work.
-Use plastic paint brushes for dusting powder or painting details in the molds. They are less likely to loose their bristles in the chocolate.
-Other equipment: waxed paper, small plastic paint brushes.

-Melted chocolate should easily pour off a spoon.
-When using blocks of chocolate, finely chop the chocolate before melting.
-Chocolate must never come in contact with water. Liquids cause the chocolate to become grainy.
-If chocolate becomes too thick from over cooking or moisture gets in, try adding a small amount of shortening or Paramount Crystals to the melted chocolate. never add butter or a liquid.
Microwave: melt on defrost setting. Stir after one minute then every 30-40 seconds until melted.
Double Boiler or bowl: Do not melt chocolate over boiling water. When using a double boiler, place about 1 inch of hot water in the lower chamber and bring just to a boil. Set the pan off the chamber and add the upper chamber containing the chocolate. Stir after 1 minute, then frequently until the candy is melted and smooth. If the candy begins to set or becomes too cool, set only the lower chamber with water back on the burner and reheat.
Electric Skillet: Set skillet to warm. Place a shallow rack or 2-3 layers of toweling in it. Add about 1 inch of warm water. Set bowls or containers of candy in the skillet. (If the water steams it is too hot.) Stir the candy frequently and avoid getting any water in the chocolate. An electric skillet can be used to keep the chocolate at the correct temperature. Place small containers, decorator bags or squeeze bottles in the skillet on top of the toweling.
Heating pad: Less chance of water or moisture getting into the chocolate. Set heating pad to high. Use a folded beach towel to cover the heating pad. Place the containers between the layers of toweling.

-Wash molds in warm water.
-Do not use Soap and never put them in the dishwasher. Repeated use of soap on the molds will cause them to become brittle and dry.
-Air dry or use a soft towel. Paper towels will scratch the molds. These scratches are noticeable in the candy produced from the molds.
-Do not over fill molds.
-After a mold is filled, tap the mold on the counter top to release any air bubbles.

-Use the refrigerator or freezer to help set the chocolate faster.
-Make sure to check the chocolate frequently and remove the chocolate from the refrigerator or freezer as soon as it is set. Leaving the chocolate in longer will result in a dull exterior.
-It is advisable to use a thin cotton glove when handling the chocolate to avoid fingerprints.

Oriental Chicken Salad

The first time I had this salad was at my favorite Chinese restaurant, it has been so long ago the name has escaped my memory. A friend of mine used to order it all the time. It was off menu so if any one wanted […]

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Joy the Baker is at it again with these delicious Pumpkin Pie Bars she adapted from Kraft. 1-1/3 cups flour 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) cold butter or margarine 1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats, uncooked […]

Banana and Cream Cheese Crepes

I admit I have an addiction to breakfast foods. These banana and cream cheese crepes do not help. I do not know where it came from as I have had this recipe for years. A crepe pan is not necessary when making crepes. A small fry pan works just as well, if not better. I learned to make crepes from Mr. King, a “Rock Scientist”. We just ate them with butter and syrup. Crepes can be stuffed with jams, vegetables or fruits. The toppings are just as endless.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
3 eggs
2 tbsp butter or margarine, melted

1 orange- 1 tbsp zest, 3 tbsp juice
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 bananas
Chocolate-flavored syrup

Combine flour and salt. Add milk, eggs and butter, whisking until smooth. Heat pan over medium heat until hot. Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan. Immediately tilt pan so uncooked portions flow to open areas of pan. Cook about 30 seconds or until lightly browned. Loosen edge of crepe; turn. Beat cream cheese and zest. Beat whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Cut bananas in half crosswise; cut each half lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips. Toss bananas in orange juice. For each crepe, place about 1/3 cup banana mixture in center of crepe. Top with 1/4 cup cream cheese mixture; fold sides over cream cheese mixture. Drizzle with chocolate-flavored syrup.

Fiesta Flavored Couscous Salad

The first time I had couscous was when I was in Texas. I knew a guy who was from Tahiti. One night he made couscous in a pot with cabbage and whole tomatoes. Ever since that night couscous has become a pantry staple. I gravitated […]