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2. If I write about a product, cookbook or restaurant, chances are that I received the product, cookbook or meal for FREE.
3. If I write a review about a product, cookbook or restaurant that was not FREE, I will disclose that in my post. I will always write about local establishments and businesses (non-chain) gratis- I support local businesses and hope you will too.
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So grab another cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and check out this week's $2 Dinners to find out how eggs can save you money (and time) in the kitchen. This time of year we can all use more of both!
Just in time for the upcoming flurry of Christmas cookie baking, I received a review copy of award-winning cookbook author Linda Amendt's new book, 400 Sensational Cookies.
This fantastic book is chock-full of wonderful recipes for every kind of cookie imaginable, including hand-shaped, drop, rolled cutout, slice and bake, and special fancy cookies. There is even an entire section dedicated to America's favorite cookie, the chocolate chip, with several delicious variations! Ms. Amendt also includes valuable information on cookie baking and tools, choosing the right ingredients, and tips for baking the perfect cookie.
Just like Ms. Amendt's previous two cookbooks, Blue Ribbon Preserves: Secrets to Award-Winning Jams, Jellies, Marmalades and More, and 175 Best Jams, Jellies, Marmalades and Other Soft Spreads, her newest cookbook is a nicely-executed and extremely thorough volume with well-written recipes suitable for home cooks of all skill levels. If you love to bake cookies and want a great new cook book, "400 Sensational Cookies" is the book for you.
As a thank you to all my readers, I am giving away my review copy of 400 Sensational Cookies just in time for Christmas cookie baking! The contest begins (Dec. 9th) and runs through Wednesday, December 16th at 5:00 pm. The winner will be chosen by me (using random number.org) and will be announced Thursday, December 17th. You can enter up to 6 times- here's how:
- Blog about the giveaway, proving a link back to this article, then e-mail me a link to your post.
- Tweet about the contest (DM me so I will know you did) and don't forget to follow me on Twitter (plhawkins247).
- Leave a comment and your contact info. on my blog http://in-mimis-kitchen.blogspot.com/
- Sign up to follow my blog.
- Post a comment and your contact info. on my Examiner page http://www.examiner.com/x-27374-Durham-Food-Examiner
- Subscribe to my Examiner page.
Have Fun and Good Luck!
Review copy of 400 Sensational Cookies courtesy of Linda J. Amendt and Robert Rose publishing, September 2009, Softcover/$24.95. This is not a paid product endorsement.
In this week's $2 Dinners column, I'll show you how you can make delicious, homemade, treats for your family for less than $2 per serving! My Chocolate Chip Peanutbutter Bars and Mudpie Chocolate Cake are sure to satisfy your family's cravings for a little something sweet. Chocolate dessert? For less than $2 per serving? What's not to love? Get out the mixing bowls and preheat your oven...you're gonna want to make these treats!
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon shortening or vegetable oil
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup (cream of celery works well too)
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 cup prepared herb-seasoned stuffing, prepared according to package directions (note: you will want stuffing a bit on the dry side so gravy doesn't make it mushy)
4. Melt shortening in 10 inch skillet; brown chops in hot shortening, turning carefully so stuffing does not squeeze out.
5. In a small bowl, combine evaporated milk and soup using a wire whisk to remove lumps.
6. Spray a 2 qt. baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or grease with additional shortening; place chops in prepared baking dish.
7. Pour soup mixture over and around chops.
8. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until chops are tender.
If you're interested in finding out more about Carnation Evaporated Milk, or trying some new recipes using Carnation, you can find product information, nutrition information, plus lots of great recipes here: http://www.verybestbaking.com/products/carnation/evap/default.aspx.
Coupons for product and stipend for recipe ingredients graciously provided by Carnation and Cassie Boorn of the One2One Network. This is not a paid product endorsement.
In large bowl make a stiff batter using:
¼ cup sugar ½ cup oil
1 Tablespoon salt 1 cup starter
1 ½ cup warm water 6 cups bread flour
Grease large bowl and put dough in. Turn dough over to put oil on side and top. Cover lightly with foil and let stand overnight. Next morning punch down and knead a little. Divide dough into 2 or 3 parts. Knead each part on floured board about 8-12 times. Put into greased pan and brush with oil (or butter). Cover with wax paper. Let rise 4-5 hours (all day is ok). Bake at 350 degrees in middle of oven for about 30-35 minutes. (Check bread as it cooks as your oven may cook at a higher or lower temp than mine does. Normally mine takes about a good 30 minutes.) If making a bigger loaf, cooking time will need to be lengthened.
Herman Starter for Sour Dough Bread
Put initial starter in refrigerator for 3-5 days. Take out and feed with the following:
¾ cup sugar 1 cup warm water 3 Tablespoons instant potatoes
Mix well and add to starter. Let stand out of refrigerator all day (8-12 hours). This does not rise, only bubbles. Take out 1 cup to use in making bread and return remaining starter to refrigerator. Keep in refrigerator 3-5 days, feed again. If not making bread, pour off 1 cup and give to buddy to get them started making bread or discard. Original starter must be fed every 3-5 days.
- The first step is to pick a small pumpkin. "Sugar pumpkins" or pumpkins marked for pie work best. The giant pumpkins are not good for pie because they have stringy, bland insides and their flesh is not nearly as firm. You want to choose one that is 2 to 3 pounds with less-pronounced grooves and skin with a dull appearance.
- Once you get your pumpkin home, wash and dry it thoroughly. Next, cut it in half vertically through the stem end, and remove the seeds and stringy pulp. Note: roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious, so don't throw them away!
- Lay the pumpkin, cut side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin yields to slight pressure. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 20 minutes.
- Once your pumpkin is cooled, scoop the flesh from inside the shell with a spoon, and puree in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Store puree in airtight containers in the refrigerator or freezer. Use within 3 or 4 days if refrigerated, or within 6 months if frozen.
- Use your puree as you would the canned variety. Note: My 2 lb. pumpkin made about 2 cups of puree.
Here is one of our favorite pumpkin recipes, Pumpkin-Raisin Muffins, from Country Cupboard restaurant in Lewisburg, PA. They bring you a basket of these warm from the oven when you dine there, and I have to say that the first time I tasted one, I though I had died and gone to heaven! I can't think of a better use for homemade pumpkin puree than these fragrant, spicy muffins!
Tuscan Pork Stew
- In a large skillet, brown pork in oil until no longer pink; drain. Place pork in a 5-qt. slow cooker.
- In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, broth, vegetable blend, wine, marmalade, garlic, oregano, fennel seed, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes (if desired); pour over pork. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until meat is tender.
- Mix cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into stew. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until gravy is thickened. Serve over hot cooked fettuccine (if desired).
At our house we LOVE comfort food and look forward to the arrival of the cooler weather that gives us an excuse to eat some of our favorites. The following recipes are for two of my family’s best-loved comfort foods. The first recipe, Mimi’s Famous Meatloaf, is moist and delicious and great for sandwiches the next day. Serve it with the sauce included in the recipe or covered in brown gravy. Either way, I promise your family will love this meatloaf! The second recipe, Mom’s Easy Macaroni and Cheese is the ultimate in comfort food. Tender elbow macaroni is baked in a gooey, tangy cheese sauce and topped with a golden-brown layer of even more cheese. It doesn’t get any better than that! It’s so easy to make that I often prepare two at a time and freeze one (baked or unbaked) for our next comfort food craving!
Both these recipes are super-easy, use ingredients you probably have on-hand right now, and are perfect for making ahead and freezing (baked or unbaked). The next time a comfort food craving hits you, try out these delicious recipes and satisfy more than just their hunger. Your family will be glad you did!
Mimi’s Famous Meat Loaf
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef or ground chuck
1 5 oz. can evaporated milk
1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp. white vinegar
6 Tbsp. onion -- chopped
1/2 cup water
1 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350.
Place meat in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, use a wire whisk or a fork to lightly beat egg and milk.
Add dry soup mix and continue to whisk until combined. Pour egg mixture on top of meat.
Pour bread crumbs and oats on top of meat.
Using a fork, gently mix meat, egg mixture and dry ingredients together until well-mixed. Do not squish or squeeze the meat as overworking it compacts the meat and results in a dry meatloaf.
Place meat mixture into a loaf pan, using your hands to flatten and shape the meat into a smooth loaf.
Bake at 350 for approx. one hour.
While meatloaf is baking, prepare sauce.
Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Pour 1/2 of sauce over meat last 30 minutes of baking; warm remaining sauce and serve on the side.
Note: If you plan to freeze the meatloaf (baked or unbaked), don’t make the sauce until the day you plan to serve it. Thaw frozen unbaked meatloaf in refrigerator for 24 hours, then bake and follow directions for sauce as usual. Thaw baked meatloaf overnight in refrigerator. Prepare sauce and pour over thawed meatloaf before re-heating in oven or microwave.
Mom’s Easy Macaroni and Cheese
2 tsp. butter or margarine
1/4 cup onion -- chopped
1 10 3/4 oz. can Cheddar Cheese Soup
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. Texas Pete hot sauce (optional)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (your choice mild or sharp)
1 cup shredded Colby-jack cheese
3 cups cooked elbow macaroni, prepared according to package directions (1 1/2 cups dry macaroni = 3 cups cooked)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan.
Add onion and cook, stirring often until tender, 2-5 minutes.
Whisk in soup, milk, hot sauce (if using), and 1/2 cup each of shredded cheeses, stirring until cheese is melted.
Add macaroni, stirring well to coat with cheese mixture. Pour into a lightly greased 9-inch square baking dish.
Top with remaining 1/2 cup each of the shredded cheeses and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned on top.
Note: Thaw frozen baked or unbaked macaroni and cheese overnight in refrigerator. If freezing unbaked macaroni and cheese, put cheeses for topping (1/2 cup each cheddar and co-jack) in a zippered freezer bag and tape to the wrapped macaroni and cheese. Frozen baked macaroni and cheese should be thawed as directed above and then reheated in the microwave or covered with foil in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes.
I relayed these feelings on Twitter the other day to a food writer and cookbook author I admire very much, Crescent Dragonwagon (yes, that IS her name...go ahead and Google it). She told me, "self-doubt is also part of the process. Have those feelings, don't deny 'em; but don't believe 'em, either". Thanks Crescent for your kind advice and the oh-so-gentle kick in the pants that I needed! So...as of today, no more excuses....look out world here I come!
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