Monday, October 19, 2009

Cookies, Crackers and Cluckers!

Fall is here....which I guess I interpreted as - Falling off the Blogging train!!! I have been busy with nothing and everything, and blogging seemed so easy to let "Fall" by the wayside - But I'm back!!!!
The other night I was faced with the task of eating chicken one more time! In an attempt to be creative - I went pantry diving. Usually my pantry diving is met with "No way Mom", "I'd never eat that combo mom" and my favorite "Well - if you made it - would I HAVE to try it?". This was not the case when I re-entered the kitchen with this combo!

I told my girls I was going to put crackers and cookies on their chicken - and there was applause from the peanut gallery!

I washed and dried my chicken tenders. Blended one sleeve of Ritz Crackers (approximately 35 crackers), 8 Nilla Waffer cookies, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in my food processor. Dipped my chicken in a beaten egg and then rolled them in the cracker "concoction". I placed them directly on a cookie sheet and baked them for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
My kids and I agreed - it was our favorite nuggets ever! The Pantry diving paid off - and my family actually enjoy another chicken dinner!

Serve this and tell your kids they are getting cookies, crackers and cluckers for dinner tonight!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lunching with Paul...well sort of!

My Girlfriend Meredith, you know the one...(refresh your memory HERE) had some ladies over for lunch the other day! She thought we needed a "Back to school, welcome to getting on top of the housework, have fun trying to help your middle schooler with that math, what do I pack for my kids lunch day after day" lunch. Wasn't that nice of her? When we got there, she had a beautiful table set and the salad was fantastic! She calls it her "Paul Newman Chicken Salad".

Paul Newman Salad

1 bag assorted greens
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 pkg slivered almonds
1 med. Onion chopped
1/2 pkg fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 box of Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice
1 bottle of Paul Newman's Olive Oil salad dressing

Chop chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Brown in a skillet with a small amount of butter or oil. Place in a mixing bowl. Cook rice according to directions. Mix chicken, rice, ¾ of almond pkg, onion, mushrooms and ½ bottle of salad dressing together. Chill. Spoon mixture over greens and top with remainder of almonds. Serve remaining dressing on the side to taste.

Thanks Meredith for a wonderful afternoon!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Charlie's Potato Salad!

I guess I need to start with an apology. My girls have been back to school for one week and I don't know who is busier, them or me? I had grand plans to keep to a schedule for my blog once school started, but between homework, laundry, PTF, sports and just keeping up with the life is crazy. Enough of the excuses - back to the good stuff.
As my mom and I were looking through my blog this summer, neither one of us could believe I hadn't posted our favorite potato salad- Charlie's Potato Salad! My parents discovered this delicious recipe when they lived in Minnesota and ate at Charlie's Restaurant in Minneapolis. The key ingredient, which is different from most, is the Pimientos. You will find these little guys living among the olives on your grocery store shelf.

Charlie's Potato Salad
5 Medium cooked potatoes- freshly cooked
1 teaspoon salt
dash of white pepper
1 (4oz) jar chopped Pimiento (somewhat drained)
2 Tablespoons chopped green onions (sometimes I just throw in some onion powder)
3 hard cooked eggs
1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup diced celery

Boil potatoes until tender. Cut into cubes.
In separate bowl combine Mayo, salt, white pepper, Pimientos, green onions, and celery.
Gently combine potatoes into mixture. Add hard boiled eggs.

Enjoy - and try to remember summer!!!!

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Season's Last Blueberries!

My Aunt Ruthie made our last blueberry pie of the season - and it was WONDERFUL! Even though it was 60 degrees and raining up here in the Catskills - it tasted like summer - and we didn't want it to end!

Summer's last Blueberry Pie
1 (9 inch) pie shell - baked
1 (8 oz) cream cheese
3 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 quart blueberries (to be divided)
2/3 cup water

1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water

In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend cream cheese with 3 Tablespoons sugar, salt milk, and vanilla extract. Using the back of a spoon, carefully spread this cheese mixture over bottom and sides of baked pie shell, bringing it well up on the sides.

Wash and drain blueberries.

Simmer together for 3 minutes - 1 cup blueberries and 2/3 cup water. Blend and add to boiling mixture - 1 cup sugar, 3 Tablespoons cornstarch, 1/3 cup water. Boil one minute stirring constantly. Cool.

Save out 1/2 cup choice berries; put remaining 2 1/2 cups berries in baked pie shell. Cover with cooked mixture, and garnish with the 1/2 cup berries. Refrigerate until firm - about 2 hours. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

Enjoy the last days of summer - Fall is on the way!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Raspberry Rugelach from the Gingerbread House!

If you tuned in Monday - you read all about one of our favorite neighbors up in White Lake - "Mrs. Margaret". This is her "Gingerbread Cottage", and just like in the fairy tales - Yummy things stream out of that door!

"Mrs. Margaret" is on the right and her sister, Marie, is on the left. These two lovely ladies not only made Israel salad the other day - they made a delicious batch of Raspberry Rugelach. How lucky were we?

Rugelach is a traditional European Jewish pastry, in a small crescent-shape made of cream cheese dough with a filling of nuts, raisins, and cinnamon or raspberry jam. Her sister Marie makes these delicious cookies and everyone enjoys them. On this visit, she got into the kitchen and baked up some delicious rugelach...

1 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp of salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup seedless raspberry preserves
3/4 cup dried apricots

1. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat butter with cream cheese until blended and smooth. Beat in vanilla extract, salt, 1 cup flour, and 1/4 cup sugar until blended.
2. With spoon, stir in remaining flour. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.
3. To prepare Filling. In medium bowl, with spoon, stir walnuts, apricots, brown sugar, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar and 1/2 cinnamon until well mixed.
4. Line 2 large baking sheets with foil and grease foil.
5. On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll 1 piece of chilled dough into a 9 inch round, keeping remaining dough refrigerated. Spread dough with 2 tablespoons raspberry preserves. Sprinkle with about 1/2 cup apricot filling, gently press filling onto dough. With pastry wheel or sharp knife, cut dough into 12 equal wedges. Starting at curved edge, roll up each wedge, jelly-roll fashion. Place cookies on foil-lined cookie sheet, point-side down, about 1/2 inch apart. Repeat with remaing dough, one-fourth at a time.
6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
7. In cup, mix remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. With pastry brush, brush rugelach with milk. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

8. Bake rugelach at 325 degrees F on 2 oven racks about 30 to 35 minutes until golden, rotating cookie sheets between upper and lower racks halfway through baking time. Immediately remove rugelach to wire racks to cool. Store in tightly covered container.

*****You can eliminate the apricots and use chocolate chips or change the jam to strawberry. Or not use any jam and just use the cinnamon/sugar and chopped walnut creative!!

Thanks "Mrs. Margaret" and Marie for sharing your yummy recipes with the "Klique"! Come back any time to share more!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Gingerbread - More than a Cookie!

We are back up at White Lake again and loving the last bit of summer with its cooler temperatures. My parents have some dear friends up here - and one of my favorites is "Mrs. Margaret"! As a child I would come to the lake and LOVE to see the "Gingerbread Houses". Two such houses exist in our little community, one of which belongs to "Mrs. Margaret". Looking at these houses I am sure one could wonder if a fairy godmother or a witch could live in such a story book home. Thank goodness for us - they are both occupied by lovely families!

"Mrs. Margaret" spent one of her summer days cooking with her sister and took some photos for me to share with the "Klique".

Her sister Marie is a great cook and makes some interesting and different food that her family enjoys. She was a teacher/principal in NYC and has retired to Florida. Marie comes home to White Lake, for a few weeks every summer to enjoy the cool Catskill mountain air and to bond with the family. One of the activities that she enjoys is to cook and reminisce about life growing up in the 50's and 60's.

This Israeli salad is very basic and simple in ingredients, but the flavors meld and it is very refreshing and yummy. If you are on Weight Watchers, it would be 0 points if you use the splenda.

Use 1 or 2 cucumbers (remove the seeds) chopped chunky
3-4 chopped chunky ripe tomatoes
handful of fresh parsley (chopped)
half of a large vidalia or other sweet onion chopped
1 whole lemon (squeezed)
sprinkle of kosher salt
sprinkle of pepper
sugar or (1 packet splenda)
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Put all ingredients into a large bowl,stir, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. After you make it once and you like it, you can always adjust the different ingredients to your taste. You can also add other ingredients...such as green and red pepper, garbanzo beans, chopped zuchinni, carrots...etc....

Thanks "Mrs. Margaret" for sharing your recipes. You are our "Fairy god Friend" in our favorite "Gingerbread" House!

Check back this Wednesday for another of the sister's recipes!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Upside Down Peach Muffins!

I really should have called this post "A Peach of a Sister-in-Law"! This is my Sister-in-Law, Chandi. We recently went to Minnesota to visit my hubby's side of the family and got to stay with one of my favorite friends - Chandi. She and her hubby, Joel, just bought their dream home and are refurbishing it. Joel is an artist with his woodworking tools and you can just tell the house is so happy that someone who loves her so much bought her! One morning we got to wake up to these yummy muffins baking in the oven. After one bite - I knew I had to share them with the "Klique". Thanks Chandi for the great week, the yummy muffins and letting us love on that sweet family of yours!

Upside Down Peach Muffins

First prepare the custard cups (approx.18 small size)

6 T butter
1 c brown sugar
3 cups chunked peaches, canned or fresh

Distribute these ingredients amongst the custard cups. For me, the amounts are approximate. I just put a little dab of butter and a spoonful of brown sugar in each cup, I don't actually measure it.

For the batter:

2 c flour
1 1/2 c sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt

Mix dry ingred. then add:

1/4 c butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c milk

Top the cups with batter, place cups on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or till browned on top.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Remembering Woodstock!

The 40 Year Anniversary of " Woodstock' is being celebrated this month in Bethel, New York and,no doubt, many other places. As people reflect back on the year 1969, some remember that as the year that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, that Sesame Street was broadcasted for the first time. That was the year that Nixon announced the withdrawal of 25,000 troops from Vietnam. However, the people in Bethel, New York always recall 1969 with the memories of 'Woodstock". My parent's cabin is in Bethel, N.Y. and just last week 17,000 people attended a Dave Mathews Concert on the grounds that was once Woodstock.

Peace out!
PEACE - LOVE- AND MUSIC still exist and people still flock to the original site. However, there is now a beautiful museum on the grounds which is called Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. This Museum was made possible by local businessman Alan Gerry, who purchased the property along with 1,700 surrounding acres, to build the beautiful arts center and return music to the "hallowed" ground of Yasgur's farm.

Last week, I took my girls to show them what this "Woodstock event" was all about. All of us got an education as we sat in the theater and witnessed Woodstock like we were actually there. If you are in the area I highly recommend stopping by and reliving this life-changing event. Visit their website at

Peace, Love and Happiness!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Carrier Street Cookies!

My mother grew up very near this house on Carrier Street, in Liberty, N.Y. The home was owned by the Cooper family and the welcome mat was always out. It was purchased by Allan Berube and run as a bed and breakfast, until his untimely death.

The bed and breakfast, when in operation, was a welcoming sight and maintained so nicely by Mr. Berube. He inquired of my mother some of the history from the home and my mom was all too happy to share her fond memories as well as the cookie recipe Mrs. Cooper often made for the children in the neighborhood.

Once Mr. Berube learned of this lovely cookie, he made bags for his guests and attached a copy of the history for his guest to enjoy. The page states: Carrier house is near the site of the old Liberty railway depot. Hoboes, who used to hang around the train yard, came up Cooper Ave. to Carrier and New Street, offering to sharpen scissors and do other work for food. These cookies are from a recipe Bobi Benton ( Ruth Wheeler's Sister) gave me. These were her favorite childhood cookies that Mrs. Cooper shared with neighbors and the hoboes who knocked on her door in the 1940's.

Hobo Fortune Cookies (because they had the good fortune of eating them!)

Sift: 1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 cup Crisco
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup light molasses
1 cup sugar
1 egg

In mixer, mix wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients to batter. Stir in 1 cup rolled oats. Shape into balls and dip in extra bowl of sugar. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes 36 cookies.

P.S. If you are wondering about the huge chicken in the yard of the guest was purchased by Mr. Berube from the local dairy queen when it went out of business. I bet it made anyones stay "Sunny Side Up"!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Door Stops and Doll Heads!

My mother came to my house last week. Can I tell you how much I love my mother? I told her this trip, that no matter how old I get - when she dies - I will feel like an orphan. She is simply amazing. I think it might have to do with growing up in the 40's and 50's. There is simply nothing she can't do - even if that is a double negative!

This trip we labeled: Operation Bedroom Curtains! She came with a purpose - and as my dad says "I was cracking the whip". He calls it "Cracking the Whip" I call it bribing with chocolate, movies and dinner. I keep a steady stream of sweets in the house and it keeps her sewing machine moving! This is a picture of my bedroom prior to the new curtains.

We had a plan for what we wanted them to look like - but after we took a little shopping adventure to look for finials we knew our budget had different plans. We needed 28 "Finials" and they were running about 15 dollars for 2. That would be $210 - and that wasn't happening. We decided to put our thinking caps on and head to Home Depot for some improvisation!

We literally went up and down every isle. Could this plumbing fixture be used to hang a curtain? Could this rubber chair bottom boot be used to make a finial? In the end we settled on these door stoppers. They ran $1.50 each and we knew that after one stop at Michael's craft store we would have the complete package.

We bought a bag of 12 wooden "Doll Heads" for the finial part. The "Doll Heads" were $3.00 for 12 - which brought our total to $51.00 for all 28 finials! My hubby drilled the "Doll Heads" to fit snuggly on the door stops. Score! A quick coat of black paint and we were good as gold!

Here is the finished product. You can see we hung the first curtain and the next curtain is ready to be hung on the hooks.

Walla - Finshed bedroom!

Walla - Finished sitting room!

I love you mom! Thank you for spending your time with me! (I'm putting the whip away - till next time!)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bean Dip and Babies!

The other night our friends, Brian and Chrissy, invited some couples over for game night. While I was there, I not only fell in love with her mother-in-laws recipe for bean dip - I also got my baby fix. Brian and Chrissy, have 4 children, who I have no choice but to believe they are all Cabbage Patch children come to life. They have the perfect dimples, button noses, and curls and just when you think they can't get any cuter - they smile and their dimples get even bigger! Thanks Chrissy for letting me inhale grossly inappropriate amounts of bean dip and letting me get my baby fix!

Chrissy's Bean Dip
1 can (9 oz) Fritos Bean Dip
1 (8 oz) block cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 package taco seasoning mix
8 to 10 drops Tabasco

Beat above ingredients. Fold in 1/4 cup green onions. Layer half of the mixture in pie plate. Spread 1 cup of jack/cheddar cheese over mixture. Repeat layer and add 1 cup of jack/cheddar cheese to top.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Leaving your Mark!

We are home now and reflecting on our wonderful time at my folks cabin. I don't know what is better - the fresh air and sunshine - or my moms basically letting me veg while she prepares amazing meals and does my laundry. (OK - the later is much better - who am I kiddding?)

One thing my girls always do before we leave the cabin each year is "Leave their Mark"! My mom started this tradition the first year they built their addition. We ink up their hands and press their precious little - and now not so little - hands onto the garage walls.

It's not only hard to believe it has been eight years since they added on to their "getaway in the woods" - but I can't seem to wrap my brain around how big my girls hands are getting. The proof is right in front of me!

Look at those cute little prints at the bottom - compared to the huge hands at the top! Could my sweet little girls be growing up behind my back?

How do you leave your mark on the world?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Benton's Boot Camp!

I'm here in the Catskills with my girls for the July 4th holiday. It feels like coming home. I have come to this lake since I was a little girl. I played with the kids in the cabin next door - and my kids play with the kids in the cabin next door. I love having a front row seat to their childhood memories. One of those memories is Gumma's Boot Garden. It started with those industrial looking little black boots second from the right in the picture above. My oldest, Logan, needed some boots to go find worms with Gumpa for fishing. We found those at the local Walmart - and an addiction was born!
Each year we bought, and left, a new pair of "Worm Boots" to the cabin for Logan. Since she is the oldest of the cousins, all the kids now have a pair of worm boots waiting for them to grow into.

A year ago today, I put my blogging boots on - and Kitchen Klique was born! Times flies - for children and blogs!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Flag for July 4th that ROCKS!

July 4th is right around the corner. In our house it almost feels like Christmas. We celebrate the 4th - BIG! My parents live on a lake in upstate NY during the summer and July 4th means boat parades, decorating docks and the huge BBQ as well. Two years ago, while decorating our dock we found a picture of this flag in a magazine. We immediately knew we had to recreate it for our dock! We like to call it "USA ROCKS"

I hope you have a wonderful July 4th - filled with friends, family and FOOD!!!