KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart 10-Speed Empire Red Stand Mixer

Find KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart 10-Speed Empire Red Stand Mixer at Lowes.com. Lowes offers a variety of quality home improvement products that are available for purchase online or in store.

Source: Shop KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart 10-Speed Empire Red Stand Mixer at Lowes.com

I’ve always wanted a KitchenAid stand mixer and this Artisan Series seems to fit the bill.  It has all the things I want on it – dough hooks, whisk attachment, all the bells and whistles.  Plus, it a gorgeous shade of RED, my favorite color.  Hmm, how long till Christmas?!

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Fried Chicken Recipe : Alton Brown : Food Network

Get the recipe for Fried Chicken via @FoodNetwork:

Source: Fried Chicken Recipe : Alton Brown : Food Network

Fried chicken is probably my most favorite thing to eat.  Here’s one that looks spicy and satisfying.  Alton Brown is my go-to guy!  He is, for me, to cooking what Jonas Salk is to chemistry.

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Lebanese Tabbouleh Recipe – NYT Cooking

We think of tabbouleh as a bulgur salad with lots of parsley and mint But real Lebanese tabbouleh is a lemony herb salad with a little bit of fine bulgur, an edible garden that you can scoop up with romaine lettuce heart leaves or simply eat with a fork.

Source: Lebanese Tabbouleh Recipe – NYT Cooking

This makes for an interesting read.

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Pancake Banquet!

I have three grandchildren, ages 6, 8, and 10, and one of their favorite breakfasts when they stay overnight is pancakes. They were here one weekend and I decided to make blueberry pancakes and little smoked sausages for breakfast. They helped to make the batter and put the blueberries in the pancakes once they were on the griddle. When it was finished and everyone was at the table eating, my 8 year old grandson Takota announced, “Now, this is what I call breakfast!”

Pancakes are so simple to make. You don’t need a mix to make great pancakes. I took a recipe from a cookbook, tweaked it a little, and came away with a pancake that is light and airy, yet hearty. It stands up to any syrup you can pour on it and it works great with additions, like blueberries. You’ll find it at the end of this post.

My grandkids liked the blueberry pancakes so much that they came up with a plan – we’re to have everyone over for a pancake banquet. Grandma is to make up the pancake batter, then everyone has to pick what they want sprinkled in their pancake. So far they’ve come up with blueberries, sliced strawberries, sliced bananas, mini chocolate chips, bacon bits, and diced apple. I’ve been told to have sausages and extra bacon at the ready, as well. Everyone is to choose what they want, and in what portions they want. They all think that will be a lot of fun. Grandma and Grampa agree. I think Takota had it right, “Now, this is what I call breakfast!”

Best Pancakes You’ll Ever Eat! (INMHO) 😉

1 cup flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbl. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 jumbo egg
2 Tbl. oil (I use canola oil)
1 1/4 cups skim milk (I use skim milk in nearly everything – it’s what we drink)

Optional: berries or thinly sliced fruit of your choice; bacon bits; chocolate chips; whatever you want in your pancakes!

Get out your griddle or non-stick skillet, a medium sized mixing bowl, and a small mixing bowl.

In the medium mixing bowl, place the dry ingredients; use a whisk to stir all the dry ingredients together.

Begin heating your griddle or non-stick skillet on medium heat.

In the small bowl, crack the jumbo egg. With wire whisk beat until foamy (this step incorporates air into the egg, which helps to make your pancakes lighter). Add the oil and milk and whisk until mixed.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients a little at a time until you have a light and bubbly batter.

Check your griddle or skillet by shaking a few drops of water onto the surface; if they dance before boiling away, then it’s hot and ready to go. Spray with a little cooking spray if it’s not non-stick.

Pour pancake batter onto hot surface. Bubbles will come to the surface; when then start bursting and the rim of the pancake looks dry, lift the edge of the pancake slightly to see if it’s golden brown. If it’s the right color, then flip the pancake over. Let cook for another minute or two, then check the color of the bottom of the pancake. Take off of griddle when done.

You can keep your pancake warm in a 170 degree oven until they’re all ready to serve. Serve hot with butter and syurp.

I’ve found that a 1/4 cup liquid measure is the best way to measure out pancake batter; 1/4 cup makes a 4 in. pancake, 1/2 cup makes a 6 in. pancake, and 3/4 cup makes an 8 in. pancake, which is plate sized. If you want to add other ingredients to the batter add them right after pouring batter on hot surface. Sprinkle them on gently, and try not to get a lot of extra liquid in the pancake.

Enjoy!

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Have You Had Your Soup Today? Corn Chowder

Here’ another quick and simple soup recipe. I don’t know if I mentioned this or not, but the recipes that I’ve shared with you so far are all original. They’re recipes that have been handed down from family or that I’ve come up with. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family and friends have. :)

CORN CHOWDER

3 slices bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, diced
3 medium potatoes, diced into fairly small pieces
1 large carrot, diced into small pieces
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 cup frozen corn
salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy, medium sized saucepan brown bacon pieces till crisp. Remove to paper towel to drain. Discard all but 1 tablespoon bacon drippings. In reserved bacon drippings cook onion till just browned. Add diced potatoes and carrots, and cover with water ¼ inch over vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Add can of evaporated milk and bring to a simmer, then add frozen corn and bacon pieces. Simmer for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste.

If you want soup to be a little thicker, mix a 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with ¼ cup of cold water and slowly stir into soup mixture. Soup will be come thick and glossy in matter of seconds.

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Have You had Your Soup Today? Potato Soup

I know that when I come home from work at night all I want to do is eat something simple and crawl into my nightgown and watch TV.  Now I don’t always get to laze around the house at night, but I can make something easy and simple that is satisfying, too.  Soup.

Soup is one of those dishes that work well as a main dish.  Lighter soups can go with a sandwich or a salad and more substantial soups need only a little bread to sop up the broth.  Most soups freeze well, so you can make up a large pot to eat from that evening, and then put the rest in individual freezer containers to keep for a later date or for lunch. 

 I’ve got some really good, really simple soup recipes that have stood that test of time.  They are the kinds that make you look forward to supper.  I have the first and easiest soup below. 

POTATO SOUP

4-5 pounds of potatoes, peeled and cubed into ½ inch pieces
1 large white or yellow onion, peeled and cubed into ½ inch pieces
1 stick butter
1 10 ounce can evaporated milk
½ – 1/3 cup flour
Water
Salt and pepper to taste

Clean, peel and cube your potatoes and onion; place in a large pot and cover with water and 1 tsp. of salt.  Place on medium high heat till it comes to a boil; reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft and onions are translucent.  Reduce heat slightly.

Add stick of butter; stir occasionally until melted.  Stir in the evaporated milk.  In a measuring cup, add enough water to the flour to make a slurry – about ½ to 2/3 cup of water.  Slowly pour slurry into soup, stirring constantly.  Let soup continue on a simmer for about 5 minutes more.  Take off of heat and let set for another 5 minutes.  This will help the soup to thicken up.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot.

The amount of slurry you put in the soup will determine how thick the soup becomes.  If you like a thinner soup, use less slurry; for a thicker soup, use more. 

This is a very basic soup.  You can tweak it to make it heartier by adding cubed carrots and celery at the beginning of cooking.  You can also put a little ham or crumbled cooked bacon in at the end.  It’s a good base recipe to start from.  We like just the simple way with a little garlic bread and some fruit for dessert.

Happy Eating!

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Eggs are Ubiquitous!

Knowing how to use and cook eggs are foundational in learning to cook.  They’re used as an ingredient in baking, sauces, salad, and pasta.  They can be the main course, a side dish, salad or dessert.  They can be baked, boiled, fried, roasted, poached, or microwaved.  They even used to be eaten raw (not safe due to salmonella).  

Boiling an egg is the simplest place to start for a new cook.  It’s very simple, but it does require a little bit of thought and a trick or two. Take the eggs from the carton; check for cracks in the shell – don’t boil eggs that have cracks.  Put in a pan and cover with cold water to an inch over the top of the eggs.  Place on medium heat and bring to a boil. 

From here it’s all a matter of timing. Soft boiled mean that you want the white to be firm and the yolk to be soft and somewhat liquid.    This usually takes about three to five minutes after the water starts to boil. 

Hard boiled eggs need to have both a firm white and firm, yellow yolk.  If the yolk looks gray, then the egg has been boiled for too long.   Hard boiling is actually easier.  Bring the water to a full, rolling boil; place a lid on the pan and take off of heat.  Let set in closed pan for 8-12 minutes, less time for small eggs and more time for medium or large eggs. 

Drain water from pan then bounce the eggs around in the pan to crack the shells; cover with cold water.  Let set for about 1 minute, then peel eggs.  The cracked shell will allow the cold water to seep underneath the shell and slightly shrink the white to make the egg easier to peel. 

Here’s a simple recipe that you can use for an easy lunch or as an appetizer if you place a dollop of it in quartered cherry tomatoes, on top of  a cracker, or in little finger sandwiches.  Just chop the eggs finer for small appetizers.

Enjoy! :)

Egg Salad

2 large eggs, hard boiled
2 Tbl. mayonnaise
1 tsp. prepared mustard
2 tsp. sweet onion, minced
2 tsp. sweet pickle relish

Cut eggs into quarters lengthwise, then cut each quarter into 4-6 small pieces.  Place in a small mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients together.  Gently fold chopped eggs into mayonnaise mixture.  Cover and chill for at least an hour for optimum flavor.  Serve on bread or crackers.

Yield: 2-3 servings.

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Welcome to Viva Cooking!

Welcome to Viva Cooking! 

Hi, my name is Christine.  I’ve been cooking for about 40 years as a home cook and have some experience as a personal chef for a short period of time.  But I’ve been a ‘foodie’ all my life. 

 My earliest memories are in my mothers’ kitchen and the wonderful smells that came from there.  My mother was a wonderful cook and knew how to make everything taste good.  Even though she worked from a limited budget and had to make it all work for a family of nine, she pulled it off day after day and made it look simple.  One of the things she taught me about cooking was that you start with simple things, then build on them. 

 I’ll be bringing some recipes, tips, hints and just some hard-learned lessons to the blog in the coming weeks.  Join me whether you’re a new cook or a seasoned kitchen diva.  I know that we can share and learn from each other. 

 Long Live Cooking!

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