Posts Tagged ‘baking’


It was the night before Christmas Eve and friends came over bearing the gift of life – homemade bread!


Our jolly friend who answers his phone with a hearty “Ho Ho Ho,” loves to bake.  In fact, according to his jolly wife, he went on a Baking Binge this holiday.

And he did.

I know this because they gave us two kinds of scones and some fancy little cheesecakes featuring raspberry tops.  Oh heavenly bliss!  They were delicious.  And all this was made by himself, Pete.

So good was Pete at baking delectable offerings that he became slightly conceited.   “I remember this special bread I had once at a wonderful Virginia Bed and Breakfast,” he said.  “It was the best bread I ever ate and I talked the chef into giving me the recipe.  If I can find all the exotic ingredients, I will make that specialty bread. I am determined to do this!”

And he did.

And it was the eve before Christmas Eve (is it called Christmas Eve-Eve?) and as I said, our friends arrived on this magical night bearing another gift – Pete’s magnificent experiment/obsession– homemade bread!

Can you guess which bread in the picture is Pete’s offering of the staff of life?

Flash Forward:


  • The bumpy loaf bread in the lower screen area is pumpkin bread made by Dor from the recipe of a favorite blogger, Cindy Knoke!  It is fabulously delicious.  Thanks Cindy!  I saved the recipe from one of your blog posts way back when!
  • The long lovely loaf at the top is a homemade gift from my friend, Peg.  It’s an almond bread I dream about all year.
  • Now look closely to the right of these two perfectly beautiful loaves.  You see those tiny brown things?

There was a lot of laughter this Christmas Eve-Eve over a loaf of bread that would not rise.  Nevertheless, I am supposed to taste it tomorrow morning.  “It might be o.k. with butter,” said Pete,  maybe a whole lot of butter.”

“Oh, and  I was going to cut the bottoms off, but you might want to do that too.”

Now I wonder if there will be dental bills involved as a result of experimentally chewing a rock hard little loaf!   Maybe coffee dunking would help.

I do admire Pete for trying however.  I would advise him to keep trying and trying again since “practice makes perfect,” but that could be self defeating if I have to taste all his future attempts.  Uh!  No, not unless I can find him a taster who never gets indigestion.

But Thank You Pete!  You did your best.

And even if your miniature loaves are just a tad inferior,

your real gift to us this Christmas Eve-Eve

is the gift of laughter,

and that my friend is the happiest gift of all.

Pete's Slow Rising Bread

Pete’s Slow Rising Bread


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rumballs10Grandma’s Bake-a-thon.

Sheryl from the wonderful blog called A Hundred Years Ago (taken from her Grandmother Helena’s diary) will be ending that blog after Christmas.  In honor of her grandma, Sheryl has organized an on-line Bake-a-thon!


To participate in the Bake-a-thon, make an old family recipe,

and share the story of why this recipe holds special memories for you.

Rum Balls hold special memories for me.

My mother was a terrible cook.  She preferred to read a book.

Once there was a television commercial that reminded me of Mom. Maybe you remember it. The wife would be reading (like Mom) when hubby would come in shouting, “I’m home!”  She would jump up and splat flour around her face and begin banging pots and pans to look busy as a housewife should be (that was in the old days of course).

Those were the days my family suffered burnt pork chops and charred cookies.  Oh there were some good things we looked forward to like BLT’s or “Beefaroni” – or rum balls.

When it came to holiday delicacies, Mom was the Queen of Rum Balls and I still love them.

The recipe is simple so I love the recipe too

You see, I hate to cook.   Must be genetic.

Here is Mom’s easy, no-bake recipe for all hate-to-cookers out there:


Quantity – about 40

1 Regular size vanilla wafers (a box)

¼ lb. chopped English Walnuts

¼ lb. chopped Black Walnuts

¼ cup Honey

1/8 cup Brandy

1/8 cup Rum

Powdered Sugar 


Crush the wafers. 

Chop the nuts finer. 

Mix all ingredients.

Roll into balls and then roll in powdered sugar.

Stack ’em for an elegant presentation during the holidays! 

Now if you are serving minors, you may want to forego the Brandy and Rum, but I seem to remember the adults saying, “Not to worry.  The alcohol evaporates.”   Hmmm.

Photograph from Webicurean.com .




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Baked Fruit

Baked Fruit

My Dad used to proclaim, “This will stick to your ribs and put hair on your chest!” He called on those old sayings when he made something in the kitchen that was particularly hardy.

And I believed him about the hair thing until I discovered I grew up to be a girl.

Even so, when the weather turns icy and the birds puff up their feathers and look forlorn, I crave hardy stick-to-your-ribs stuff usually beginning with pork and accompanied by apples and cinnamon.

This is not a recipe for pork but for a complementary side dish.  It works for just about any hearty winter meal and may also be a perfectly fine dessert, makes a great leftover, and is ridiculously easy to prepare.  It is also guaranteed to impress the most discriminating guest.

Don’t you love the mouth watering scent of baking cinnamon?  Well, this combination of fruits and spices will sell your house if it is up for sale and tastes as good as it smells.  And it’s another Homeplace Recipe that’s easy-does-it, has very few ingredients, and takes less than 15 minutes to prepare. I make it over and over again because everybody loves it, especially in winter.



1 – 16 oz. can apple pie filling

1 – 16 oz. can chunk pineapple (in own juice)

1 – 16 oz. can tart cherries

1 large can (or 2 – 16 oz. cans) sliced peaches 

Drain all but pie filling. 

Place all fruit in a baking dish with 1 tsp cinnamon and ½ tsp nutmeg. 

Sprinkle ½ cup of brown sugar on top.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.



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There are all kinds of cookies of course – the delicious kind and the computer kind. I suppose you could call the latter, virtual cookies.

Computer Cookies are bits of personal information stored on your computer’s web browser. Some cookies are helpful, such as those that store your passwords or user names with your permission. Others are useful because they allow your favorite sites to tailor certain website data to your preferences. Other cookies can track the sites you visit on your computer, which some feel invades privacy. You can view the types of cookies stored on your computer and change your browser’s settings, if you choose. ~Tielle Webb, eHow Contributor


Yes, cookies are all different and the diversification is never more evident than in the weeks before the holidays.  I have begun my yearly Battle of the Bulge by baking and then trying to ignore the aromas in the kitchen and the grumblings in my gut.  Determined to exercise the ultimate will power, I continue making macaroons and ginger snaps and chocolate chip delights, and put them all up in lovely tins for my lovely family and friends.

“Just one taste,” I think – “to make sure they are all right.”  And that leads to two or more tastes and then at least two or more whole cookies guiltily devoured.

“This one broke so it would be a shame to throw it away. Boy, those are good.  One more won’t hurt!”  Do you know the drill?


I will now let you in on a monumental secret.  It’s a cookie minus a key ingredient – an ingredient shunned and banned by beleaguered dieticians and health food experts.  This deadly ingredient in most other cookies is guaranteed to vastly increase the caloric value of a holiday treat and especially guaranteed to generate guilt in the holiday chef who is accustomed to “tasting.”

What is it you ask?


A “real-time”cookie WITHOUT FLOUR!  Imagine? AND it’s one of my traditional Homeplace easy-breezy, no hassle recipes too!


1 Egg

1 Cup Brown Sugar Firmly Packed

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Vanilla

1 Cup Chocolate Chips

1 Cup Chunky Peanut Butter

Beat eggs.  

Mix everything together and drop by tablespoons full onto parchment paper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Credit: This was a recipe reported to me as found in Southern Living Magazine.

I wonder how they would turn out with fake sugar instead of the real thing.  Then I could enjoy the whole tin!


Luv from Your Shamelss Chef, Dor

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They say you can never go home again, but that’s not true around these parts. People inevitably come home.  They yearn for their relatives and friends, the countryside and town, the familiar byways and back roads, old landmarks and watering holes, and the wonderful, comfortable, familiar way it was. It’s where their memories are of fun and feeling, love and nurturing, and of course, great food.

The locals call it “The Homeplace”.  It wasn’t long after we moved to rural Virginia, that I heard that term.  I love it and have always wanted to use it somewhere, and here it is!


The recipe below was from one of my favorite friends here.   I told her we had over- planted the vegetable garden and the neighbors were sick of refusing our zucchini gifts.   She was eager to help, so here is her recipe and the first in a random series on Virginia Views.


3 Eggs

1 Cup Oil

2 Cups Sugar

2 Cups Grated Zucchini

3 tsp Vanilla

3 Cups Flour

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Salt

3 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Baking Powder

1 Cup Chopped Nuts

Beat eggs until foamy.  Add oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and nuts.

Bake at 325 degrees 1 hour to 1 hr/15 minutes.

Makes three standard size loaves.

Guaranteed DELICIOUS!

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