Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Foodie Pen Pals! Sweet Treats Once a Month!

Embarking on the blogging path has led me to discover a Foodie Pen Pal Club.   I'm a newbie to the club & was happily connected to 2 lovely people; the person who I get to shop for & the person who is shopping for me.  I received a thoughtful letter and an amazing box of goodies from Cindi Wilding of California, a Certified Life Cycle Celebrant.  Please visit her at  http://cindiewilding.typepad.com/

Here's the tasty box of treats that arrived just for me (ok I reluctantly shared the last few bites of the toffee with my daughter & we were both yearning for more).

  • Stacy's Cocoa Pita Chips
  • Sahale Almonds (Love these!)
  • Crostini Rosemary Toasts
  • Lula's California Toffee (must have more!) 
  • Sun Drops Caramel Cups. 

   A big thanks to Cindi for spoiling me this month!  All the goodies were delicious .

Are you interested in joining?  Our amazing hostess is Lindsey and she can be found at http://www.theleangreenbean.com/

On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. *US Residents only please at this time- hopefully we can expand soon!*
If you’re interested in participating, please send  an email to: theleangreenbean@gmail.com and include the following information:
-Your full name
-Your email address
-Your blog name/address
-Your twitter handle (if applicable)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Meaty Bowling Chili

My husband and brother in law are crazy-about-bowling. Leagues, tournaments, YouTube videos, alley critiques, custom ball drillings & special order bowling balls. Because, unbeknownst to me, you cannot have just one ball.  You need multiple balls for the various shots & lane conditions.

All things bowling fill the background of our home lately & although I can say that I can't match their enthusiasm and passion for the sport at this time in my life, I am grateful to tag along for the ride.  We've met some great people.  The kind of folks who give you a high five when you're up...knuckles when you're down & all sorts of encouragement every week.  They take the sport seriously but not themselves.  They laugh a lot & they throw amazing parties.

Last night, we co-hosted a little bowling party. Thankful that my sister and brother in law hosted the venue, we arrived with meaty bowling chili in tow.  It was garlicky and great!

  • 4 (16 ounce) cans of chilli beans
  • 1 (16 ounce) can of kidney beans
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 onions (minced in a food processor)
  • 8 garlic cloves minced
  • 6 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 5 teaspoons sugar
  • cilantro to garnish
  • jalapenos to garnish
  • shredded cheese to garnish
  • cooked rice

Halve the beans and tomatoes then puree in a food processor then set aside.

Pan fry beef, onion & garlic until the pink is gone from the meat. Drain the meat.  Stir in chili powder, cumin, and sugar. Stir in puree & beans/tomatoes. Cook for 15 minutes then garnish with cilantro, jalapenos and or cheese.  Serve chili over cooked rice.

Serves 12-14

Recipe source: America's Test Kitchen: The Best Simple Recipes. I added kidney beans, rice and the garnishes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 2 of 2: Freezer Friendly, Pecan Crusted Chicken Strips

      Another great choice for a healthy meal at home.

  • 6 pounds of chicken tenders
  • 2 cups honey
  • 1 cup spicy brown mustard
  • 3/4 oil oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 3 cups Panko
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 6 gallon freezer bags
  • 3 quart freezer bags

Place chicken evenly in the gallon freezer bags.

In a large bowl, mix honey, mustard, olive oil, salt, garlic, pepper & salt.  Pour over the chicken in the bags.

Measure 1 cup Panko, 1/2 cup chopped pecans & place in the quart freezer bags. Seal.  

Place the chicken & crumbs in the second freezer bag so that all items for this recipe are stored together in the freezer.

Label all bags with your name, date, meal, how to prepare/cook.

To cook:  Thaw. Pour crumbs on a plate. Roll chicken in crumbs.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  It is that easy and that tasty! Really!

Recipe source: The Warehouse Gourmet by Kati Neville & Lindsay Tkacsik

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An's Pork Chops Grilled to Perfection

We're preparing to go on vacation & it's not just finding the flip flops among the snow boots or securing a pet sitter (thank you Jamie!) that are heavy on my mind.  I'm thinking of the return from vacation; sorting through a box of mail, listening to phone messages & meal planning.  To make the transition a bit easier I'm stocking our freezer with 4 ready-to-go meals that will be waiting for us when we get back. I'm sharing 2 freezer meals here on my blog in the next few days.

You'll find the other 2 recipes at a dear friends fabulous site, Local in Bellingham, where it's my sincere pleasure to write a guest post sharing 2 new freezer friendly recipes.
Please visit:

Day 1 of 2 Freezer Meal: An's Pork Chops: This light marinade is very flavorful.

  • 6-8 pounds of pork chops or pork loin
  • 1 1/3 cups soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (freshly minced)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 one-gallon freezer bags

Divide the pork chops among the freezer bags.  In a bowl mix soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil.  Pour into 3 bags.  Place one tablespoon of garlic and ginger in each bag.  Place 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Seal and Freeze.

Label bags with a permanent marker.  I put my name, date, recipe name and cooking instructions.  I put my name on the bag in case I share a meal with a friend. This way if they have questions about the meal they can call me.

Yield: 3 meals serving 4-5 people

* Recipe source is "The Warehouse Gourmet" by Kati Nevile & Lindsay Tkacsik.

A special thank-you to my dear friend, Leah, who loaned me her cookbook.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom! Chocolate Cake!

Our celebration to honor my Mom's birthday was Saturday.  As we were roasting peppers, onions and tomatoes on the grill and baking and decorating cakes I was reflecting about my family and our ages. Having a party with a range of ages 10 months to 74 years is a treasure.  I realized that a large part of why most of us are able to attend family functions year round can be largely attributed to my Mom. Just like the egg that acts as a binder in a recipe, so it is in our family that our Mom binds us together. She is our matriarch and has created solid traditions that foster support, love, fun family vacations & great food.  We attend and make connections with one another in a safe, trusting and mostly thoughtful (ha!) environment.

                          Thank you Mom & we love you!

This chocolate cake recipe is a great size for a party.  It yields a double layer plus 24 mini cupcakes.

  • 3/4 butter softened
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

Grease 2 8x1/2 by 9x1/2" round cake pans. Line pans with wax paper. Line mini muffin tins with mini muffin cups liners.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl stir the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda & baking powder. Set aside.

In a mixer, add butter and beat for 1 minute. Add sugar slowly. Add eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla.  Add the flour mixture, slowly while mixing.

Spread the batter into the pans. Bake the round for 30-35 minutes.  Bake the minis for 13 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool.

* Recipe inspiration from "Better Homes and Gardens Classic Recipes".

I decorated with one batch of homemade buttercream (off white) and one tub of pre-made frosting that I tinted green with food coloring.  I piped in the green frosting then added pink, white and green jelly beans. 

The cupcake picks are sold in kits by Martha Stewart. They are fairly easy to make your own and you'll find templates online if you want to customize.

What is your favorite cake flavor?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Celebrating Another Snow Day

Our kids have been out of school all week.  Monday was a holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & today are all snow days.  Parts of our county are in good shape but in the mountain areas, like where we live, there is a little under 2 feet of snow. 

Here are some fun photos of last nights snow play in our neighborhood.  There were jumps, crashes, tumbles, flips but most of all lots of laughs & big smiles. We're thankful for another day to enjoy the powder. Happy Friday friends.

What's your favorite part of a snow day?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cajun Seafood Pasta

This recipe is a staple in our home. We make it at least once a month & it's always better leftover the next day!

  • One package of angel hair pasta
  • 1 tablespoon of cajun seasoning (we like Louisiana Fish Fry Products)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic (don't use the stuff in the jar)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 pound of mixed frozen seafood (we like mussels, shrimp, calamari & scallops)
Cook pasta according to package directions.  

In a large pan, melt butter. Add garlic, cayenne, cajun, pepper, & seafood.  If you are using frozen seafood you'll notice that your butter mixture will become watery.  This is good, since we don't use a thick sauce in this recipe we rely on that water.

Once the seafood is cooked add the heavy cream, mix well and saute for 2 more minutes. Add the pasta and toss well.

Garnish with oregano & serve.

Serves: 8 +

*This is our own recipe...just goofing around in the kitchen.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Anthony's Hearth Fire Grill: A Restaurant Review

We happily received a $20.00 gift certificate in the mail last week from Anthony's Hearth Fire Grill.  It was a direct mailer sent, presumably, to our zip code and others.  Not one to pass up a great deal, my husband and I dined there last night and I'd like to share our opinions.

As we entered the restaurant the staff greeted us with genuine cheer and professionalism.  We were seated near a window with a gorgeous view of the snow-covered boats at Squalicum Harbor.  Light jazz played in the background, a Glassy Baby candle flickered on our table & the perfectly lit restaurant provided a nice ambiance for our date night.

We started with a warm, flavorful, Herbed Flat Bread. I enjoyed the Knife and Fork Caesar that was generously topped with bacon and tossed nicely in a dressing similar to my Mom's champagne vinaigrette.

My husband started with a cup of the Dungeness Crab and Corn Chowder.  The heavy cream based soup had a hint of liquid smoke. It contained a few large chunks of dungeness crab and a square of corn bread drenched in the soup.  We enjoyed the soup very much & our server informed us that the soup is portion controlled, meaning each time we order this soup we'll receive the same amount of seafood.  I can appreciate this method, as we've ordered chowders at other restaurants and needed to search for the "good stuff".

My entree selection was the Barbecued Garlic Prawns.  Seven garlicky prawns were mixed with a generous portion of mildly spicy red potatoes and perfectly cooked green beans.  Although my prawns were a bit overcooked, I was pleased with the overall flavors and generous portion of the meal.

 My husband enjoyed the Seafood Mac and Cheese. The sauce was smooth & creamy and the flavors of the seafood mixed well with the corkscrew pasta.

We finished the evening with a gooey chocolate cake and ice cream.  Both were a little disappointing.  The gooey chocolate cake was a "warm molten-style" and it seemed "heat and serve" restaurant supply store grade to us.  The ice cream was generic and we would have preferred a vanilla bean ice cream.

I ordered from the Early Dinner Menu (Monday through Friday before 6pm) which was a good value. I was served salad, the entree and cake for $18.95. My husband ordered off the standard menu and his choices were a la cart totaling $24.95. We read the "fine print" on the gift certificate and discovered that items ordered from the Early Dinner Menu are exempt from the certificate.  We gave the certificate to the table next to us who arrived after 6pm and they were delighted to receive it.

In summary, our server was attentive, knowledgeable and friendly. The food was flavorful & the atmosphere was perfect for our date night. We recommend and will be back to dine at Anthony's Hearth Fire Grill.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rocky Road Fudge Bars

A truly homemade treasure!  These bars balance a soft and flavorful cookie base with the contrasting crunch of macadamia nuts. Topped off by a chewy mallow and chocolate frosting. Fabulous!


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts

  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or pieces
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 ounce unsweetened butter
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 milk
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Serves: 36

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.

Cookies: In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter and unsweetened chocolate over low heat. Remove from heat then add sugar, flour baking powder, vanilla. Mix well then stir in the eggs & nuts. Spread into the pan.

Filling: Combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, butter, egg and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. Spread over cookie base.  Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with marshmallows.  Bake for another 2 minutes.

Cookie base before marshmallows are added

Frosting: In a pan over low heat, melt butter, chocolate, cream cheese and milk. Whisk in powdered sugar & vanilla. Pour over marshmallows and swirl with a knife. Store bars in the refrigerator.

*This recipe is adapted from Portland's Palate.  Original recipe calls for walnuts in both the cookie and filling.  I omitted nuts in the filling and added macadamia nuts in the cookie.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Twice Baked Potatoes!

        This is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. 

Mid-winter dreaming of twice baked potatoes inspired me to make a triple batch and freeze a few trays.  I've found that when I cook in bulk it's more motivating to pull out the pastry tips and really create a nice presentation.  I filled the potatoes part way with a spatula then using a pastry bag and tip I decorated the tops to make them just a little prettier.  I try to keep a stash of disposable pastry bags on hand for projects like this.

  • 4 large or extra large baking potatoes
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or milk)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup of broccoli
  • 1 cup shredded cheese blend
  • 1/4 finely chopped green onion
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • a little olive oil

Bake potatoes in the oven at 400 degrees for one hour.  Remove from the oven and let cool for about 20 minutes. 

Prepare bacon. I use Kirkland (Costco) microwavable bacon.  I do not recommend grocery store brands...I've tried them and they are not a good substitute.  Cook bacon in the microwave or pan fry as directed.

Slice potatoes in half and scoop out most of the flesh.  Leave about an 1/8 inch to provide stability for your stuffing.  Place flesh in an electric mixer.  Add sour cream, heavy cream, butter, green onion, cheese, salt and pepper. Mix until it's smooth & creamy (add more milk/cream as needed).  Using a spatula fill the skins part way.  Fill a pastry bag and tip & decorate the tops of the potatoes. Garnish with bacon, broccoli and a little cheese. Brush a little olive oil on the outside of the skins.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Servings: 8 halves as a side dish or 4 servings as a meal

*If you are making these in bulk to freeze just skip the last step of baking in the oven for 20 minutes. To serve, let thaw then bake as directed.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hello Snow!

First snowfall of the season and year!
Japanese Maple in winter
Chuckanut Mountains in the background aren't visible...more snow is on the horizon
The bamboo can't handle the snow load
Amazing how different our landscape looks covered in white!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Kirc's Taco Shells'

Do you buy the hard corn taco shells in a box?  If you do, try these instead.  They don't taste like cardboard. Everyone loves them.  Once you make them you'll never buy the shells in a box again. Really.

  • White corn tortillas
  • corn oil
  • sea salt

Heat half an inch of oil in an egg pan on medium.  Add one taco shell. Fry each side for 8 seconds. Notice in the photo above that there are large bubbles on most of the shells.  This is what you are after.  But don't brown them- they'll be too hard and a cousin to the cardboard ones you buy in a box. 

Using your tongs in the fry pan, fold the shell in half then place on a plate lined with paper towels.  Add sea salt right away.  Once you've made a dozen of them it's a good idea to start serving.  This way they are still warm.  

What filling ingredients do you serve at your taco bar?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Steimer's Smoothie

My son is a big smoothie fan and no sooner do I hear the after school "Hi Mom" and the kerplunk of the backpack, then I listen for the freezer opening and closing. He fires up the blender and the whirring noise fills the air.

Smoothie's bring back fond memories of my childhood in Maui. Fresh mango's from the neighbors yard and fresh papaya's from our yard (unless the pesky myna birds got to them before we did). My dad was a fan of smoothies and I grew accustomed to having both his smoothies and egg sandwiches often.

Since papaya's and mango's aren't growing in our backyard in Washington, we are mixing our smoothie's with blueberries.  Last summer we picked 30 pounds at berry farm. We froze them for days like today...when the sun is out!

  • One banana
  • 2 cups of vanilla ice cream
  • 2 cups of blueberries
Mix in a blender.

Yield: 4 glasses of Steimer smoothie's

What's your favorite smoothie flavor?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

I was thrilled to receive my latest issue of "Taste of Home" magazine yesterday.  It's the December/January issue & although I was surprised that the cover was adorned with holiday decor and goodies, (didn't we all just spend half a day putting ornaments away, recycling our tree & filling our storage bins with holiday flair?) I must say this issue is a keeper.  I've found cookie recipes, chicken tortellini soup bowls & a seeded squash braid that all speak to me and my oven mitt!

First things first, this is not just another Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe, this recipe boasts a soft chocolate cookie, cute tiny shape & tasty creamy filling. Mixed with chopped Recess Peanut Butter Cups, this recipe is a keeper!

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 package chocolate cake mix
  • 1/4 flour

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Kirkland brand natural peanut butter)
  • 3 ounces of cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 9 Recess Peanut Butter Cups (miniature's)
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar

Cream butter & cream cheese. Add eggs and vanilla. Last cake mix and flour.

Shape into tiny balls (smaller than an inch). Flatten slightly and bake at 375 for 7 minutes.  Let cool on a rack.

Filling: Beat peanut butter & cream cheese. Add sugar. Spread on the bottom cookie. Sprinkle with candy then place on the top cookie. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

*Recipe: Amy Williams, Taste of Home. December 2011/January 2012 issue.  I have adapted the recipe by reducing all the filling ingredients significantly as I had too much filling leftover.  I also used natural peanut butter and the recipe recommends against this.  

Yum!  What's your favorite cookie? 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Poor Kitty! Do you have any tips on helping a cat down a tree?

What an adventure!  While outside this morning to take some outdoor photos of  today's pink clouds I discovered the neighbor dogs chasing our cat! Up, up, and away "Pudge" went.  In the tree (again!)

Ugh! Poor kitty!  Usually my husband
(love that man!) climbs the tree to get
                                                              him down but he's 2 hours away at work.

I'm hoping our sweet "Pudge" navigates his way  down the tree soon.

Do you have any tips to help a cat down a tree?  

Hearty American Minestrone

Minestrone, Italian translation:"Big Soup"

Colorful, flavorful and delicious.

Although it's roots are Italian, we omit the beans, cabbage, zucchini and fresh herbs to create an american version of the nourishing classic minestrone.  

  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 cup onion
  • 1 cup celery
  • 16 ounces of diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)
  • 1 pound Italian mild sausage (casings removed)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 shallot sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Parsley to garnish
Saute sausage until completely cooked, breaking up into small pieces. Set aside.

Saute carrots, onion and celery in oil for 8 minutes. Add garlic, shallots and 1 cup of water. Saute for another 8 minutes or until vegetables soften.

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Set aside.

In a soup pot, add tomatoes, chicken broth, salt & sausage. Next, add saute vegetable mixture & basil. Let simmer for 30 minutes.  Just before serving add macaroni.

Serves 8.

        Which ingredients make your minestrone special? 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Angel Hair Pasta

Sausage & Broccoli Rabe Angel Hair Pasta

This is one of our favorite dishes. We don't miss a heavy sauce since the broccoli, garlic and sausage are so flavorful.

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet italian sausage, casings removed
  • 5 garlic cloves- minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 1 bunch of broccoli rabe
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Pan fry sausage for about 8 minutes while breaking into small pieces.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes and fry for about a minute.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Add broccoli towards the end and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain and add to the sausage mixture.  Toss with cheese, oil, salt and pepper & serve.

*Adapted from America's Test Kitchen "The Best Simple Recipes". Original recipe calls for parmesan cheese & fettuccine.

What is your favorite simple recipe?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chocolate Chip Scones

             Our son says that these scones taste
                     good with blueberry jam              

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons of cold butter
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of milk or cream 
Preheat oven to 425. Whisk together the first 4 ingredients.  Drop in the butter in small pieces and toss well (don't let the butter melt).

Whisk the egg and heavy cream. Pour over the dry ingredients and work with your hands until you form a disc or ball. Transfer to a floured surface and work with your hands to create a round/flat disc.  Using your knife cut into 8 slices. Brush on a little milk and sprinkle with a bit of sugar or cinnamon. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes.

* If you prefer small scones just form 2 discs and cut each disc into 8 pieces.  This will yield 16 scones.

Adapted from "Joy of Cooking" by Rombauer &  Becker. Classic currant scones.  Substitute the currants for chocolate chips

                    What's your favorite breakfast goodie?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Grapes with Goat Cheese and Pecans

Beautiful as 
an Appetizer 
or to pack 
in your lunch!

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 pound red or green grapes
  • 8 ounces chopped pecans
  • Parsley to garnish

Using an electric mixer, add cream cheese and goat cheese. Mix until smooth.

Wash and dry grapes. Take a tablespoon size pinch of the cheese and roll it around each grape to coat. Roll in the pecans and refrigerate.  Slice in half just before you are ready to serve or in the morning if you are packing a lunch.

  1. Freezer approved! We tested these to see if we could freeze them. We froze them whole (not in half) & they froze and thawed very nicely! Highly recommend.
  2. We purchased large red globe grapes with seeds.  The seeds were easy to remove with a knife.

* Recipe adapted from "A Decade of Cooking the Costco Way" Divine Flavor, page 33.  Recipe calls for green grapes and walnuts.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Raspberry Patch Cream Pie

The ornaments and holiday flair are tucked away in the crawl space. The snack mixes, cookies and candies are gone. What should I make to satiate our sweet tooth?  A little taste of Pacific Northwest summer...a raspberry patch cream pie.


  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • quarter cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups cold water
  • 1/4 cup raspberry gelatin powder
  • 2-3 cups frozen (or fresh) raspberries
  • Freezer pie crust, bake as directed

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth. Spread into baked and cooled pie crust.

In a saucepan mix the sugar, cornstarch and water until smooth. Bring to a boil and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the stove and add the gelatin. Cool to room temperature.

Place berries over cream cheese mixture. Add the topping layer then refrigerate for a few hours.

Yield: 8 slices

This recipe was adapted from Taste of Home June/July 2007, Allison Anderson.  The original recipe calls for a graham cracker pie crust.