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September 29, 2012

Vanilla Coconut Rice Pudding

I have the best rice pudding recipe ever.  I mean ever.  It's so close to the pudding my grandmother made when I was little, that it almost makes me cry.

I never expected to find anything even in the same universe as the delicious recipe given to me by my friend Beth Anne.  Really.
But I must say this recipe I found on Pinterest really does come awfully close!  The subtle difference in flavor makes both recipes true treasures.
(And hello, there are only 5 ingredients!)
Give both of them a try, and let me know which is your favorite! 


1 1/2 c. cold cooked rice
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk (or  1 1/2 c.)
2 c. milk
1/3 c. sugar
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped out
(I use vanilla bean paste*)

In a large sauce pan, combine all the ingredients.  Bring to a slight boil, and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. 
Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish to cool.
  You might want to put a piece of plastic wrap over the top to keep the pudding from developing a slight skin. 
We like our rice pudding cold, so I refrigerate it for several hours. I also sprinkle a little bit of nutmeg spice on the rice before serving.  And I'm thinking the next time I make this I will sprinkle a little toasted coconut on top! Delish!

This is a truly wonderful recipe.  The slightly sweet taste of coconut is delicious in this pudding, and makes a wonderful variation on a classic dessert.

*Note:I use vanilla bean paste whenever I have a recipe requiring vanilla beans. I order it online (Amazon, no less), and I love it!  It is unbelievably good, and doesn't have the short shelf life the beans do.

Look at the delicious-ness of the vanilla seeds in the paste

Recipe Source:

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September 12, 2012

What Is Your Cupcake Personality?

Have you ever wondered if your favorite kind of cupcake says anything about the type of person you are (probably not, but hey, new info is always good, right?)?
Over the last several months I have spent a great deal of time sitting in one doctor's office or another (or the dreaded dentist),  killing time. So boring! The highlight of 1 such visit was discovering a fun and simple article about cupcakes, so I thought I would share it, and 
30 different recipes, with you.

So... what is your cupcake personality?

These are for people who are serious and focused. The double-chocolate combo is usually preferred by deep thinkers.  Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting lovers are slightly less intense.

These cupcakes are for those who want something sweet but don't want to get too crazy.  If you choose vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting you're more open to taking risks.

As a carrot cake lover, you make decisions from a commonsense standpoint.  Here your getting your veggies and your treat.
(I wonder if this applies to pumpkin spice-because that's my favorite)

Choosing a rich, messy, over the top flavor shows you like to jump into new activities feet first.  You don't worry or hesitate.

People drawn to bright colors and flavors love to embrace life in the most colorful ways.  You are always fun to be around.

This cupcake is the first choice for anyone who is in a lovin' mood. With the deep red color,and it's reminder of Valentines Day, its the one you buy to share with someone special.

Well, how do you think this article holds up to your personality?
This was a fun post for me to create.  I spent A LOT of time browsing blogs and recipe sites, and now I've got a huge list of "to try" cupcake recipes.

Visit the links that accompany these recipes-every site is amazing!

Blog Post Article Source:  Reader's Digest Article

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September 10, 2012

MAINE- Cranberry Orange Cookies

Finally, a new installment for OUR COOKIE NATION series!
Because my mom was very ill most of this year, and passed away in mid July, so I am just now getting back on the bandwagon with my schedules, goals, ideas, and what nots. Its exciting and a little overwhelming too, but having more time to spend in the kitchen is a real pleasure.lovely!

This is a cookie that we ALL really liked! It is most definitely one I will be making again.  Honestly, I wasn't really gung-ho on this recipe, since I'm not a big fan of citrus flavor cookies,  but I will say that I really liked these!
Try them, you'll like them too.  A shout out to the people in the state of Maine who made this their favorite cookie during the holidays!

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. grated orange zest
2 Tbsp. orange juice
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together, the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar, until creamy.  Add egg, and mix again. Add the orange zest and the orange juice, and combine.
In a separate bowl put the flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together.
Add the flour mix to the creamed sugar, and combine well.  Add the chopped cranberries and walnuts, stir until they are evenly distributed through out the dough.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto un-greased baking sheets. Spacing at least 2 inches apart (my first pan of cookies had 12 on it, and they spread into each other during baking).
Bake 12-14 minutes until the edges are just beginning to brown.  Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks.
Cool completely and drizzle orange glaze of them.

1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
3 Tbsp. orange juice
1 1/2 c powdered sugar

Mix together until smooth, and using a fork, drizzle the glaze onto the cookies.

Something to ponder:  The recipe doesn't actually state using dried cranberries, I just took that for granted.  Besides, fresh cranberries aren't available here in August.

Recipe Source: orange cookies

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September 6, 2012

Chicken Spinach Florentine

Have I mentioned recently how much my family like spinach? Fresh or cooked, we eat it often, and we love it!
This is a fairly simple recipe and very similar to the many recipes I see for Poppy Seed Chicken dishes.
However, this is my re-design of that recipe, made to suit our tastes.  I hope you enjoy it!

Chicken Spinach Florentine 
2-3 c. chicken, cooked and cubed
1 (10 oz.) pkg frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 c. light sour cream
2 (10.75 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4-1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. soy sauce (optional)
1 sleeve Ritz type crackers, crushed
1/4 c. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly coat a 9x9 baking dish with non-stick spray.
In a large mixing bowl combine the soup and sour cream. Add the Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, minced garlic, lemon juice, black pepper and soy sauce.  Mix well.
Place the cubed chicken in the bottom of the prepared baking dish, and then distribute the frozen spinach over the top of the chicken. Pour the sauce over the top of the spinach/chicken, and spread out evenly. 
In a small mixing bowl, place the cracker crumbs, then drizzle the melted butter over the top.  With a fork, stir the butter into the crumbs until well mixed together (I skip using the butter, and just sprinkle the crumbs on dry).
Sprinkle the cracker crumbs over the top of the sauce and smooth out to cover.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crumbs are brown and the sauce is bubbly
(if you add the butter to the cracker crumbs the color of the baked topping will be darker than my picture).

I always serve this over rice, but pasta works well too, or you can just serve it up plain!

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