Archive for the ‘homemade’ Category

posted by on baking, Denver, high altitude, homemade, Phoenix


Out of curiosity, I wanted to know the history of the snickerdoodle. I can’t remember the first time I tried one, but if I could only take one cookie with me should I ever get stranded on a desert island, it would be the snickerdoodle.

Many sources say that the word snickerdoodle may have come from the German word “schneckennudeln,” which directly translates to “snail noodles”. Go and Google that word and pictures of  cinnamon pinwheel pastries that resemble snails come up.

The recipe I have for snickerdoodles is one I used while I lived in Denver and it held up beautifully at the high altitude. I made them a couple of nights ago, here in Phoenix, and they were just as cakey & sweet as ever. Mine don’t turn out as flat as other recipes, but I like that when you bite into them, there’s a slight crunch from the sugar and cinnamon on the outside and the inside is soft, moist and tender from the cream of tartar.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons sugar & 2 teaspoons cinnamon (to roll the dough in)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2¾ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. Combine the softened butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Blend in the vanilla & eggs and mix until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda & salt.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients a little at a time into the wet mixture and blend with a mixer well after each addition. You may have to finish mixing the dough with a wooden spoon, it will be thick!
  5. Shape the dough into 1″ balls and roll in the sugar and cinnamon mixture. (These don’t flatten out a whole lot, so you should be able to fit a dozen on a baking sheet with no problem)
  6. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 8 minutes. The tops will be cracked and slightly golden. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on a wire rack.
  7. Keep the snickerdoodles in an airtight container to keep the insides moist! *these also keep well in the freezer if you roll the dough into balls, freeze on a flat sheet and store in freezer bags for later use.*


posted by on baking, homemade, quick

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This recipe is not mine but I’m really excited to share it with those of you who choose to or demand a gluten free lifestyle. Peanut butter cookies are a favorite and this recipe from Miss Kait is just what the world needed!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 egg
    that’s it…really

Mix all ingredients together – her recipe says to roll into balls but it looked like such a mess. I just spooned the dough onto my cookie sheet and flattened with a criss-cross pattern with a fork and sprinkled some sugar on top before baking.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

original recipe found here (check out the rest of her blog too – she has some really amazing stuff to share!)

posted by on baking, Denver, grandma, homemade

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The sisters, kids & bf all recently loaded up in a car in Denver and headed back to my small hometown in Nebraska to help celebrate my mother’s 50th birthday. Mom knew right away what she wanted me to bake for her birthday cake. Grandma K’s spice cake. I didn’t know that there was a recipe out there but apparently Grandma used to make this cake when my mom and her siblings were growing up. Thanks to Aunt Karolynn for giving it to us!

What you’ll need:

  • ¾ cup mayo
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons Karo syrup (dark)
Mix all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (Seriously, that’s it.) Since it was momma’s 50th we decided to get a little creative and make 2 sheet cakes and cut out a ‘5’ and a ‘0’.

My niece Temperance was my little helper!

I used parchment paper to draw out and use as a stencil for the ‘5’ & ‘0’.

My sister (the one who went to culinary school!) crumb coats the cakes for me before I put on the buttercream.

The birthday girl and her finished cake! Certainly doesn’t look 50, does she?

Trust me when I say the frosting is what makes this cake and brings out all the spices in it.
Buttercream Frosting – what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (do not melt!)
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar, SIFTED
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • up to 4 tablespoons milk
  1. Beat butter for a few minutes on medium speed. 
  2. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix on the lowest speed and mix fully with the butter.
  3. On medium speed, add and mix the vanilla, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk. 
  4. Beat for approx. 3 minutes. 
  5. Add remaining sugar if needed or add more milk if thinning out is needed.  

**I used some extra cake mix to bake my nephew’s 1st birthday cake since we were doing a joint party that weekend. My sister wanted Cookie Monster – I did the best I could.**

Me working on the Cookie Monster cake.

Finished! Yes, his eyes are too close together…

Mason before the destruction!

I saved the best photo for last! photo credit: AJ Vicens

Guest Post: Sopes


posted by on cooking, homemade

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I am so happy to share this blog post from my dear friend Diana! She is someone who I have a lot of respect and admiration for. She likes to joke a lot and has a pretty sarcastic sense of humor (not unlike myself), but the pride she has for her home country is something I think we can all learn from!
I once ate at a Mexican restaurant with a friend. She ordered the sopes, but didn’t eat the sope part. Craziest thing I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a lot of crazy things. I don’t know why she doesn’t just order a salad. I like to think she doesn’t eat them because they are fried. Well, do I have a solution for her! Oven baked sopes. YUM! I actually prefer them fried, but if you’re trying to watch what you eat, like myself, baked sopes are healthy and nutritious (I think). I also don’t have a lot of time, so I made a super fast recipe. I’m trying to be the Mexican Rachel Ray (not really, but kind of).

What you’ll need:
Sope Topping

  • 1 of your favorite store bought oven roasted chickens
  • ¼ of a medium tomato
  • ¼ of a medium onion
  • 2 cans of EL PATO sauce (yellow can)
  • 1 can of black beans (drained)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup of lettuce (shredded)
  • 1, 2 or 3 Modelos
  • 1 lime


  • 1 ½ cups Maseca (Instant corn masa mix)
  • 1 ¼ cups warm water
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Ok, vamos! You don’t have to do everything in this order, this is just the way I do them so you should probably do it too.

  1. Start by shredding the chicken, then setting it aside.
  2. Finely chop the tomato and onion. If you start crying with the onion, ask yourself the same thing George Lopez would ask you: “Why you crying?”
  3. When you’re done with that, open the cans of the Pato sauce. Pato means duck in spanish. I have no idea what the connection between ducks and hot sauce is, so go ask another Mexican. Set everything aside & start making the sopes.
  4. In a mixing bowl add the Maseca, salt and slowly add the water.
  5. Knead it with your hands (wash them first, you don’t want to be a dirty Mexican). Knead until it’s not too crumly. If you add too much water and it’s moist, just add more Maseca. When it’s perfect for making balls, put it back in the bowl and cover with wet cloth. It tends to harden quick so cover it well.
  6. To make the sope, first make a ball about the size of a baseball or a bit smaller.
  7. Flatten it to about ¼ inch think with your hand and pinch it to make a sope.
  8. Repeat the process until you have about 5 sopes and a sombrero. You have to make sombrero or they wont taste right (just kidding).
  9. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  10. While that warms up, using a dry skillet (no oil) brown the bottom of the sopes on medium-high heat. Then place them on a baking sheet.
  11. Bake in oven for about 10-15 minutes.
  12. While your sopes bake, finish the chicken topping.
  13. Using a little olive oil, sauté the onions then add the tomato.
  14. Mix in the Pato sauce, chicken and beans.
  15. Broil for about 5 minutes and set aside.
  16. Shred the lettuce, slice the avocado, drink a Modelo or two or three, with lime of course.
  17. When your sopes are baked, top with the chicken, lettuce and avocado.
    Now, eat.

Make sure you EAT the sope or you will fail as a Mexican.
You can pretty much make any topping you’d like, I just like the chicken because it’s fast and you have leftovers for lunch.

Cucumber Salsa


posted by on Colorado, cooking, homemade, quick, vegetable

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If you’re in need of some dicing and chopping practice, this recipe is just what you need. An easy, non-traditional salsa that I learned from Rick while I was living in eastern Colorado.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cucumbers – cut in half lengthwise, seeded, cut into strips & diced finely
  • 1 medium red onion – diced really small
  • 1 bunch cilantro – chopped finely
  • 1 jalapeño – halved, seeded & minced
  • 4 cloves garlic – minced
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 fresh limes – juiced
  • 2 tsp. salt
    Mix all ingredients together.  If you plan on making this in advance, cover well & drain juice before serving.
    photo credit: AJ Vicens 

posted by on baking, Holidays, homemade

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I’ve been holding off on posting this recipe. It’s something from my childhood that always reminds me of my mother and Christmas in Nebraska.

Growing up, mom would go all out. Cut-out sugar cookies, her famous rum balls (if you want this recipe, you’ll have to ask her – I’ve never been a fan – a subject for another time), and the crème de la crème – the peanut butter cup cookie. Trust me. It won’t get any better than that – unless you a) hate peanut butter or b) heaven forbid, you’re allergic!

I guess at some point I’ve come to realize this blog was just as much, if not more, for me than my six or seven readers. So, here’s another recipe to add to the archive. I hope you love it as much as my family does.

What you’ll need:

  • ½ cup softened margarine
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg

Beat the above ingredients until smooth.

  • 1¼ cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Peanut butter cups (if you can find them, the dark chocolate ones ar—–

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until well combined.

Roll into balls and place in mini muffin tin and bake in a 375 degree oven for 8-9 minutes until the tops are lightly brown. Remove from the oven and press your peanut butter cup into the middle of the dough.

**Place the muffin pans in the freezer for a few minutes so the chocolate won’t melt**

No Easy Buckets


posted by on baking, basketball, Colorado, homemade, taking the long way

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It’s easier than ever to make something quickly and inexpensively from a box or mix. I don’t care what anyone tells you, they are no competition for my family recipes I’ve collected over the years. I’d rather torture myself and make everything from scratch. I’m a control freak with a lot of things, so there’s something about being able to choose what goes into whatever I’m baking that I love.

“No easy buckets!” is a phrase the boyfriend and I often yell out when we’re watching our beloved Denver Nuggets play basketball. It’s fitting for my baking habits, too.

When I read this paragraph from Rina Rapuano’s article “No Ordinary Bake Sale: Simply Made From Scratch” it reminded me of myself.

“Unfortunately for me, like the famous Ms. Stewart, I rarely take the easy way out. I have been known to torture myself with mile-long to-do lists, and short cuts just aren’t my style. Because of this persistent (some might call it annoying) personality trait, I mainly gravitate toward recipes that rely on pantry and refrigerator staples. Buttermilk biscuits? Forget it. I’ll scour my cookbooks or do an online search until I find a recipe that uses regular milk — and I’ll stick with that recipe loyally.”

Check out the rest of the article here.

(article from NPR’s series Kitchen Window)

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