Carrot Cake Cookies


It’s time for a quick history lesson!

Did you know Carrot cake is often referred to as Passion cake?  The history of this sweet dessert can go back as far as Medieval Times. Carrots were used in sweet cakes since sweeteners were scarce and expensive. Here in the States following the end of WWII there was an over abundance of canned carrots. A business man named George C. Page hired master Bakers to find uses for the cans of carrots.  He promoted the idea of carrot cake after seeing a recipe on the side of the cans.  The cakes became very popular in the 1960’s in restaurants and cafeterias from coast to coast. Every establishment had the delectable dessert on their menu.

My family history of carrot cake is with my Grandma Taylor.  She was a wonderful baker. I loved spending time with her. The most amazing smells filled my Grandma’s kitchen and I loved sitting there watching her glide easily from counter to oven and back. She would make the most delicious baked goods and all from memory. I never remembered seeing her ever refer to a cookbook.  After her death I found a small spiral notebook with my Grandma’s hand written recipes.

Consider these cookies portable mini carrot cakes!  They are made with my Grandma’s recipe in mind.

Enjoy and Happy cooking,                        

Vonnie

 

Ingredients:

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups sugar

1 lb. butter

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 ½ tsp. ginger

3 cups grated carrots

1 cup raisins

4 cups rolled oats

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

Directions:

Cream butter and sugars together until light brown.  Add eggs one at a time. Wait until each one is combined before adding the next. Mix in vanilla. Fold in carrots, raisins and oats.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a large bowl. Slowly add mix to wet ingredients by fourths. Scrape after each addition.

Scoop by teaspoons (I use a small 1-tsp ice cream scooper to make the perfect size) onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350° until golden.

Cool on rack.

While the cookies are baking and cooling, whip up the frosting.

Frosting

1 lb. cream cheese (softened)

1 lb. butter (softened)

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Cream butter and cream cheese until no lumps remain.

Slowly add vanilla and sifted powdered sugar.

After the cookies have cooled and the frosting is ready, assemble them by smearing some frosting on the bottom of one cookie and then sandwiching it closed with another.

Refrigerate leftovers.

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Irish Bacon and Cabbage Soup


This is what I like to make on St. Patrick’s Day.  It is so satisfying and easy to make.  I always serve it with some homemade Irish Soda Bread and a Killians beer, but since I was traveling yesterday I didn’t get a chance to make it.  It doesn’t have to be St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy one of my favorite soups.  The next day works too!

Hope you enjoy and Happy Cooking,

Vonnie

 

 

Ingredients:

1/2 pound Irish bacon, diced

2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 large onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice

3 cup chicken stock

salt and black pepper to taste

2 cups thinly sliced dark green savoy cabbage leaves

 

Directions:

Place bacon in a large, deep stockpot or saucepan.  Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown.  Drain off any excess fat.

Stir in potatoes, onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes, and chicken stock to cover.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in cabbage and allow the soup to simmer for a few minutes longer before serving.

Serves: 6

 

 

Zuppa Toscana


In need of a great dinner? Look no farther. This soup is so satisfying and takes no time to prepare! If you are not a fan of Kale or Swiss Chard you can substitute Spinach.  A nice salad and crusty bread makes this a perfect meal!

Enjoy and Happy Cooking,

Vonnie

 Ingredients:                                                                               

1 pound bulk mild Italian sausage

1 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

8 cups chicken stock or broth

6  Yukon potato, thinly sliced

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups kale or swiss chard,  chopped

                                                                                                                

    Directions

Cook the Italian sausage and red pepper flakes in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crumbly, browned, and no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.  Cook the bacon in the same Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain, leaving a few tablespoons of drippings with the bacon in the bottom of the Dutch oven. Stir in the onions and garlic; cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour the chicken stock into the Dutch oven with the bacon and onion mixture; bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat. Add potatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Add Kale and simmer another 10 minutes. Check potatoes. They should be fork tender. Add cream and cooked sausage. Heat until warm.

Chocolate-Mint Overload Cake


Chocolate-Mint Overlaod Cake

I love this time of year when the Girl Scouts deliver my much anticipated order. Of course I have several boxes of the Thin Mints! I love to take them and add them to cake mixes and make my guests smile as they enjoy a delicious dessert that took me no time to make.
Enjoy and Happy Cooking,                                                    

Vonnie

Ingredients:

1-18.25 oz. chocolate cake mix

1-3.9 oz.package chocolate instant pudding mix

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup Girl Scout thin mint cookie crumbs

1- 8 oz container sour cream

4 large eggs

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

powdered sugar

Directions:

Mix together the first eight ingredients in a large bowl until all are blended. Pour batter into a well greased and floured 12 cup Bundt pan. (I use a Tablespoon or more of cocoa powder instead of flour)

Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan and place on serving dish. Cool completely. Sift powdered sugar over top of cake. Serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Southwestern Red Bean Vegetable Soup


  What do you get when you combined a wonderful blends of fresh vegetables and herbs with a little kick from some seasonings  and hearty red beans?
A fantastic dinner! This soup is perfect for Meatless Monday or a Friday Lenten meal.
Enjoy and Happy Cooking,                                         

Vonnie

 

 

Ingredients:

3 large green bell peppers

3 celery ribs, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

4 (16 ounce) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, semi-drained

4 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

            Directions

In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine the peppers, celery, onions and beans. Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaves before serving.