Baked Beans


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
2/3 cups celery, chopped
2/3 cups green peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp hot-pepper sauce
4 1/4 cups unseasoned navy beans, rinsed and drained


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 pan.

Warm the oil in a large skillet. Add onions, celery, peppers, and garlic and cook until soft (approx 7 minutes).

Stir in tomato paste, stock, syrup, vinegar, salt, mustard and hot-pepper sauce. Cover and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes.

Stir in the beans and bring to a boil.

Pour into the prepared dish. Bake uncovered for 2 1/2 hours. After the first hour, check moisture levels every 30 minutes and stir in 1/2 cup water as needed.

Date Squares


1 cup dates
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 egg whites
1 cup brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the dates and water in a medium bowl and allow dates to soak, stirring occasionally, until the dates are soft and have absorbed most of the water (it should be ready to puree around the time your crust is baked). Let cool to room temperature and then puree in your food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together until well blended. Add the yolks and vanilla; continue to beat until light and fluffy.

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. If necessary, use your hands to mix all ingredients, but do not over beat. Press evenly into bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.

Spread the dates evenly over the crust.

Whip whites to soft peaks, while gradually adding brown sugar. Spread evenly over the date layer and bake for 35 minutes. Cut in squares and serve.

Pork and Edamame Soup


2 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast
1 Tbsp cooking oil
4 cups chicken broth
1 12-ounce package frozen edamame (green soybeans)
1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup chopped red sweet pepper (1 large)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp bottled hoisin sauce
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 3-ounce package ramen noodles, broken
salt and pepper to taste


Trim fat from meat. Cut meat into 1-inch pieces. In a large skillet brown meat, half at a time, in hot oil. Drain off fat.

Place meat in a 3-1/2- or 4 -1/2-quart slow cooker. Stir in chicken broth, edamame, water chestnuts, sweet pepper, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, crushed red pepper, and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Skim off fat. Stir in ramen noodles (reserve seasoning packet for another use). Cover and cook for 5 minutes more.

This recipe is also linked to...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Green
Sunday Night = Soup Night

Roasted Red Pepper Soup


3 red sweet peppers
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, oregano, etc.)
1 cup chopped, peeled potato (approx. 1 large)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup sour cream
Fresh basil leaves


Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Cut 3 red bell peppers (remove seeds and the inner white lining), 1 medium onion, 4 cloves of garlic coarsely and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle about 2 tsps of your favorite combination of herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, oregano, etc.). Drizzle about a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and place the tray in the oven.

Let the vegetables roast for about 30-40 minutes. Switch off the oven and get the tray out and let it cool for about 15 minutes.

Add roasted vegetables into a large pot with soup stock and potatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat allowing the soup to simmer for 15 minutes (make sure the potatoes are tender)..

Using a handheld immersion blender, blend broth mixture until nearly smooth (or divide into 3 parts and use a blender or food processor to make the mixture nearly smooth). Return to pot and heat through.

Garnish with cream or fresh basil leaves.

This recipe is also linked to...

Delicious Dishes: Garden Delights
Sunday Night = Soup Night
Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Red
It's a Blog Party's Fall Fest Recipes 2011

Chocolate Floating Islands

Ingredients for Custard:

1-1/2 ozs. good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 oz. good-quality unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg, graded "large," plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Pinch salt
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Ingredients for Meringues:
3 egg whites, from eggs graded "large," at room temperature
Few grains salt
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
For poaching the meringues:
5 cups water

Finely shaved or grated semisweet chocolate
Fresh strawberries

In medium heatproof bowl, combine finely chopped chocolates. In small saucepan over low heat, heat cream until very hot, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; pour about half over chocolates. Let stand for a minute or two, then whisk gently until smooth. (If necessary, place bowl with chocolates over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Whisk often just until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water.) Gradually whisk in remaining cream. Set aside near stovetop.

In small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine egg and yolk, sugar, salt, and about 1/4 cup milk. With spoon, beat until well-mixed. Gradually stir in remaining milk. Place over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 174 to 175 degrees F. on a candy thermometer--no higher! Immediately remove from heat.

Pour about one-fourth of the hot custard through a fine strainer into chocolate mixture; whisk gently to combine well. Gradually, in several more additions, pour the remaining hot custard through the fine strainer into the chocolate mixture. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl thoroughly once or twice during this process. When ingredients are blended, gently whisk in vanilla. Pour into pitcher or liquid measuring cup with at least a three-cup capacity. Cool briefly, then chill until very cold, at least 6 hours. When custard is cold, cover with a circle of paper towel cut slightly larger than top dimensions of pitcher, then cover with plastic wrap (the paper towel will absorb any condensation that might form, which would otherwise fall back into the custard). Chill custard until needed.

About 90 minutes before serving, set the egg whites for the meringues at room temperature; let stand in small or medium, grease-free bowl, covered, for at least one hour. Have ready 6 to 8 dessert plates; they should be mostly flat, but must have shallow sides. Have ready the shaved semisweet chocolate and the strawberries for serving. Have ready a large (12" diameter) nonreactive frying pan and a slotted spoon for poaching the meringues. Line a cookie or baking sheet with about 6 layers of paper toweling, and set aside near stovetop.

To finish dessert, pour 5 cups water into the large frying pan; cover and set over medium-high heat. When water steams, reduce heat to low and start meringue. With sturdy, hand-held electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt at high speed until very foamy, white, and increased in volume. Gradually add sugar, about one tablespoon at a time, beating between additions. Continue beating at high speed to stiff peaks.

Remove cover from frying pan; water should be steaming, but not boiling. Working quickly, drop heaping tablespoons of the meringue into the steaming water (I put about 6 in at one time). When last meringue has been placed in water, start timing. Poach meringues for 2 minutes. Gently turn over with large slotted spoon; poach for one minute on second side. Using slotted spoon, remove from water and place on paper-towel-lined cookie sheet to drain and cool. Repeat procedure with remaining uncooked meringue; you want to make two "islands" per serving, or a total of 12 to 16. Allow poached meringues to cool completely (this doesn't take long).

To serve, divide chilled custard evenly among serving plates. With slotted spoon or clean hands, gently and carefully pick up two meringue "islands" from cookie sheet and place on top of each plate of custard. Sprinkle with the shaved semisweet chocolate, and place a strawberry or two (washed and well-dried) on each plate (or pass berries separately). Serve immediately.

NOTE: You'll need a candy thermometer for the custard, and a slotted spoon and large frying pan in which to poach the meringues. While poaching is an unusual technique for cooking meringues, it isn't difficult and it doesn't take long. The completed custard will keep in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days, but the dessert should be assembled just before serving. A pretty dessert that tastes good, too, this is nice for spring.

Leek & Potato Cod


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups leeks, thinly sliced
1 cup red pepper, thinly sliced
2 cups baby potatoes, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon zest
4 cod fillets
3/4 tsp dried dill
salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add leek and red pepper. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until leek is softened. Spread evenly in frying pan.

Layer potato slices on top of leek mixture.

Combine broth, lemon juice, mustard and lemon zest in a small bowl and pour over the potatoes. Cover. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until potato is tender.

Place fillets in a single layer on top of potato slices. Sprinkle with dill and pepper. Cover. Cook on medium-low for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets, until fish flakes easily when tested with fork.

NOTE: I add salt and pepper to each layer.

Baked Stuffed Apples


1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, almonds or walnuts
3/4 cup raisins, craisins or dried currants
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 unpeeled tart cooking apples (like Granny Smith)
1/2 cup apple juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine pecans, raisins, sugar, butter and cinnamon; set aside.

Core apples and place in an ungreased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Score the peel of each apple in several places (this prevents the peel from shrinking).

Fill apples with raisin mixture.

Pour apple juice into the baking dish around the apple

Bake for approximately 1 hour, until apples are tender.

This recipe is also linked to...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Apples
Gluten-Free Wednesdays
Saturday's Seasonal Inspiration
This Week's Cravings: Apples
It's a Blog Party's Fall Fest Apple Recipes 2011

Oatmeal Carmelitas


2 cups flour
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups margarine or butter, softened
1 (12.5 oz) jar caramel ice cream topping
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 13×9-inch pan.

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl, combine first 5 ingredients; cut in butter until crumbly.

Reserve half of crumb mixture (about 3 cups) for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture in bottom of greased pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until light brown.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine caramel topping and remaining 3 tablespoons flour; blend well.

Remove partially baked crust from oven; sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Drizzle evenly with caramel mixture; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Return to oven; bake an additional 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until filling is set. Cut into bars.

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This Week's Cravings: After-School Snacks