August 21, 2014

Black Bean Salsa

With homegrown tomatoes bountiful in southern Illinois right now, it's time to make Black Bean Salsa.    I have made this a couple of times recently for get-togethers in our backyard.

It is so fresh, healthy, and delicious.  It's easy to make and always a favorite.  I think it is even better the next day.    

Without further ado, here is how I make it:

Black Bean Salsa

1 - 15 ounce can black beans
1 large (homegrown) tomato
1 jalapeño, seeded
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 
salt and pepper to taste

Drain and rinse black beans and pour into a bowl, add chopped tomato, chopped jalapeño, chopped cilantro, lime juice, Red Wine Vinegar, minced garlic, salt and pepper.  Mix all ingredients.  Cover and let marinate in refrigerator.    It's great served with tortilla chips.

Serve to family and friends!

I love my Mexican Sombrero serving dish.  I have had this chip and dip dish for many years.   My son mentioned how he remembered it from when he was a little boy.  It was a Secret Pal gift given to me when I was a member of Delta Omicron Sorority in my home  town from sometime in the '80s.  If my memory is correct, it was purchased at Elias Family Center, which was owned by a close friend of mine.  It is so much fun!!


August 16, 2014

Mississippi Mud Cake

This is certainly a chocolate cake that's been around for a long time.  When I first made it, I had a recipe from my church cookbook, and it was called Heavenly Hash.  I have since lost that page out of the cookbook because I made the chocolate frosting from that recipe so much that it tore off the rings.  I stuck it in the cookbook for years, but I was looking for it recently, and sadly, it's not there.  Maybe if I took a minute to look on my cookbook shelves, I may find it.

This recipe is in the Magnolia Manor Collection Cookbook, which was a fundraiser for the local Historical Society in my hometown, and it went by Bonnie's Brownies (Mississippi Mud), but the most well-known name is Mississippi Mud Cake.

I have to be very careful not to over bake this recipe because I like this cake to be a little moist and definitely not dry.  I recently bought a piece of Mississippi Mud Cake from a bakery that we stopped in while visiting with some friends, and it was dry.   That is disappointing to me.

This is a favorite at work.  I took most of the pan of cake to work, and it went quickly.  If I leave this around the house, we are too tempted by it for our own good.   It will sabotage your diet.

How I do it:

Mississippi Mud Cake
(adapted from The Magnolia Manor Collection Cookbook)

For the Cake:

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
4 Tablespoons Cocoa (I use Ghirardelli)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt
2 sticks butter, melted (in microwave oven) and cooled
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 package of miniature marshmallows


1 box powdered sugar
4 Tablespoons Cocoa (I use Ghirardelli)
1 stick butter
1/3 Cup of Evaporated Milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Mix sugar, flour, salt, melted and cooled butter, cocoa, vanilla, and nuts.  Stir by hand until all ingredients are mixed together.  Spread into a greased 9x13 cake pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.  (It is a good idea to begin checking it at about 18 minutes.)   Remove from oven and place miniature marshmallows evenly over cake.  Return pan to oven long enough to soften marshmallows, and they have puffed up a little bit.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Mix powdered sugar, cocoa, butter, evaporated milk, and vanilla using an electric mixer.  Spread frosting over marshmallows.

Serve to family, friends, and deserving co-workers!  


August 12, 2014

"Winnie the Pooh" Baby Blanket

I interrupt this regularly scheduled food blog to bring you some crochet inspiration.   If you're not into this kind of thing, I'll be back next time with something yummy to cook and eat. 

I made this baby blanket for a sweet new baby.  The nursery theme was Winnie the Pooh.  I searched the internet and Pinterest, and found this pattern on Dada's Place.  

This is the sweetest little baby blanket, and so much fun to make.  I used Hobby Lobby I Love this Cotton Yarn.  I really like this yarn and have used it on several blankets.  It is soft and washes well.  However, it does fade, and I would recommend hand washing it in cold water with a no rinse wash for hand knits and crochet.

The tutorial is very easy to follow.  If memory serves me correctly, the tutorial is for the bear square.  I believe I looked the other one up on You Tube or somewhere on the internet.  I can't really remember, but these things are easy enough to find.

This blanket is so soft and squishy, it is perfect for a baby.  I substituted french knots for the eyes instead of beads, for safety reasons.

I do hope the new family gets as much pleasure out of this little blanket as I did making it.  Knitting and crocheting is like zen to me, the rhythm, the counting,  the feel of the yarn in my hands, and such satisfaction when you get such a cute finished product.


August 7, 2014

Peach Tarts

We are truly blessed in Union County to have many fruits and vegetables grown locally, and some are shipped all over the Midwest.  Peaches are at their peak right now, and in honor of this delicious fruit, I made these peach tarts.

This is an adaption of a recipe that I've made for many years.   Maybe since the 80's.

Peach harvest is celebrated in Union County with a Peach Festival.   There is a Peach Queen Coronation, a Midway, a parade, and, of course, peach cobbler.  This year, Cudjoe was in the parade.    I took a picture, but I used my iPhone, and in my hurry to get it, I had my finger in the way!!  What???   

The original recipe was made using a canned Cherry pie filling.  You could certainly use any canned pie filling or make your own, like I did.

Peach Tarts:

Pie Crust for Tarts:

1 Cup Butter
6 ounces of Cream Cheese
2 Cups all-purpose flour

Mix like pie crust.  Chill for two hours.  Roll out dough, and cut with a scalloped cutter.  Place in tart pans.  Put one teaspoon of juice in each shell and bake.  When cool, fill with filling.


1 8-ounce carton of Cool Whip
8 ounce Cream Cheese
1 Cup sugar

Cream Cool Whip with cream cheese and sugar.  Fill shells and top with peaches.

I peeled and chopped up three peaches and cooked them down with one-half cup of water, one teaspoon of vanilla, and 1/2 cup of sugar.  I then thickened with corn starch.  I put one teaspoon in each shell and then baked the shells.  After they cooled, I filled with the filling, and topped each tart with more of the peach filling.  

These were delicious.  I covered them and kept them in the refrigerator for a couple of days.  

I regret that I didn't take my camera with me to the parade at the Peach Festival to get pictures to post on this blog post.  I will get better at this, I promise.

Serve to family and friends!!