Grandma's Famous Cookies

Do you have a recipe that just reminds you of your mom? My mom is a fantastic cook and taught me how to have fun and relax in the kitchen. Leading up to our trip to Grandma's, Little C's most common question was "will Grandma make me some pumpkin cookies?"
Gourmet Grandma makes THE BEST pumpkin cookies--they're moist with just the right amount of spice and full of chocolate chips and pecans. YUM! We've been enjoying them all week and I convinced her to share the recipe. Thanks, Mom! Do you have any "family favorite" recipes that just remind you of home? I'd love to try them out!
Gourmet Grandma’s Pumpkin Cookies
¾ c. butter, softened
2 ¼ c. white sugar
2 eggs
3 ¾ c. flour
1 small can pumpkin (about 15 ounces)
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
¾ c. chopped nuts (optional--we like pecans)
¾ c. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and pumpkin. Mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Spoon onto greased cookie sheet or cookie sheets covered in parchment. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes, cool and remove from pan. Makes 5 dozen. These freeze GREAT, just put them in single layers (otherwise they'll stick together).


Smoothies and a Free Vacation!

Just before we moved, I got a super-fun box in the mail--it had a bunch of Chiquita's new frozen Smoothie mixes and an Oster Fusion blender! What a surprise, not to mention I needed a new blender. Thank you!!
I must say that I was very skeptical about a frozen smoothie mix--I like my frozen drinks made fresh on the spot and wasn't sure how this would taste although Chiquita does make their mixes with real fruit. We whipped some up and it was SO GOOD--I couldn't believe how great it was. This is going to be a new freezer "must have" for me, especially in summer.
Well, we happened to be having a huge bake sale for charity the next morning, so I decided we needed to share and get some opinions. Besides, who doesn't love a free smoothie on a hot day? So, we whipped up a poster and the girls loved passing out drinks and talking to people. They also raised several hundred dollars for our local Family Homeless Shelter. Good job, Gourmet Girls!!
The free drinks were a hit, the overall favorite was Banana Colada (mine, too!). Out of the 80 or so people who tried it, only one person didn't like it that much.
So, I did a little more investigating about Chiquita Smothie Mixes and they have a super-fun website up (let your kids play the smoothie-making game, they'll love it!).

Guess what?! they're giving away a Family Vacation for four to Jamaica!
You can
register for free and they are also giving away weekly prizes: an Oster Fusion Reversing MotorBlender, and a one year supply of Chiquita Smoothies (p.s. winning the smoothie making game will get you extra entries!). Go there and have some summer fun--if one of you wins the vacation, please take me!!:)


Mini Cupcake Sandwiches

On our last day staying with our friends the McWhorters, we had a little tea party. Among all the fancy frou-frou cookies and tea, we made these from La Fuji Mama. You can get the recipe here.

* To make them even more fancy, we added a cherry tomato sliced in half on the top to look like a cherry.
* Also, we used an empty water bottle instead of a bottle lid to make the sandwiches. You simply press down to cut out the shape, then squeeze the bottle to pop out the bread/meat/cheese, etc.. That provided serious entertainment!
When I get my computer back, we'll post the pictures I took. Thanks for a great visit and delicious food, McWhorter Fam!!


Pick up the Pace!

We have a winner!
dddiva who said...
"My newest fave Tex Mex casserole that came about because I was out of cheese that would work on my original recipe so I used a jar of queso instead.
Browned ground turkey or beef, 2 lbs drained
Pace Salsa 1 jar
Can tomato sauce
Can corn, drained
Mix all together then put in a greased casserole.
Top with 1 jar Pace queso
Mix 2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix according to directions adding 1 jar drained diced green chilis and 1 can creamed corn
Let corn stuff sit 5 minutes (do this part while you are browning the meat)
Pour evenly over the top."
Thanks for all the great ideas!
We're having fun out West! I love the great Mexican food you can get here!
Speaking of yummy Mexican food, I recently found out about some great new salsa flavors from Pace and they are delish! Why hadn't I heard about these before??! The specialty salsa line includes Pineapple Mango Chipotle, Black Bean & Roasted Corn, Triple Pepper Salsa, Tequila Lime Salsa, Salsa Verde, Pico De Gallo, and Mexican Four Cheese Salsa Con Queso.
I tried making my stuffed pork loin with the Pineapple Mango Chipotle flavor and it's better than my original recipe! (see recipe below) Try it out for an easy and impressive summer grillin' dish.
I want to hear how YOU use salsa when you cook. Leave a comment with a recipe or idea using ANY flavor of Pace Salsa. I'd love to hear how you came up with the idea (was it your grandmas? Were you just cleaning out the pantry?). Feel free to email me photos, too, if you like. I'm in Salsa Mode and would love some ideas!!:)
My Favorite Recipe entry will receive:
--3 Flavors of Salsa (2 specialty flavors and regular picante sauce)
--2 Coupons for free 16oz Pace salsa purchases
--Recipe guide
Contest ends June 29th. Open to US Residents. You can enter as many seperate entries as you want.
I PROMISE we'll have some fun-for-kids recipes up soon, I'm busy keeping my family sane in this crosss-country move.:)

Pineapple Mango Crab Stuffed Pork Loin
Large Pork Loin (around 8 lbs., about $1.58 per lb. at Sams), cut into just under 1" slices--the butcher at Sams Club can do this for you. You'll get about 18 slices.
1 lb. lump imitation crab meat
1 1/2 c. plain bread crumbs
1 jar Pace Pineapple Mango Chipotle Salsa

Marinade Ingredients:
6 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. Brown sugar
1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
1 tsp. garlic
dash red pepper flakes
dash black pepper
3 Tbsp. tomato sauce (or ketchup if you're in a pinch)

Place all marinade ingredients in a gallon Ziploc Freezer bag and mix well. Cut through side of pork loin to make a pocket (or you can just pound the pork loin flat, stuff it, and roll it up). Mix crab meat, bread crumbs and salsa in a medium bowl. Stuff about 2-3 heaping tablespoons crab mixture into pork loin pocket and place in marinade bag. Repeat with all pork loin pieces (you can fit about 6 in a bag). Marinade in refrigerator at least 30 minutes. Grill 7-10 minutes on each side. You can also freeze them and defrost when ready to grill.


Beary Much in Love with Hershey!

We are "Beary Sad" to leave Hershey, PA! As my kitchen is getting packed up, we had to have some Hershey Bears cookies with our heart in them since there will be a piece of it ALWAYS right here in Chocolatetown, USA. By the way, we just got home from the Hershey Bears hockey game where they beat Manitoba in Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals. GO BEARS!! We will miss you, Hershey!

These would also be a great Valentine cookie with a card saying, "I love you Beary Much!" or even a "Thank You Beary Much" gift to someone. The possibilities are endless.:)
I won't have a kitchen for at least a week, ACK! Don't worry, I'll be busy thinking of fun things to make. In the meantime, we have a few fun giveaways and other exciting things to do! See you soon!

To make these "heartfelt" bears:

--Use your favorite gingerbread or sugar cookie dough, cut into bear shapes, and place on a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil and sprayed with cooking spray. (Don't forget the foil or your bears won't come off the pan!)

--Using a sharp knife or small cookie cutter, cut out a heart shape on each bear.

--Crush red Life Saver or Jolly Rancher candies in a ziploc freezer bag until they are ground into fine pieces. Sprinkle a small amount of crushed candies in each heart.
--Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes, until edges are barely brown and candy is melted. Cool completely and peel cookies off foil.

--If desired, dip legs in melted chocolate and set on wax paper to dry.

Holiday Playlist

My grandmother hasn't been doing well...to cheer her up, I rounded up a few of my musical friends and made an album of Holiday songs fo...