Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays - One Of My Many Favorite Breads -Great for Gift Giving

Cranberry-Orange Nut Bread  
Worth the 3 hour bread machine wait! 
(Only 1 hour in the oven.)

This recipe is suitable for bread machine or oven.

If you love the tart, sweet tang of the combination of cranberry and orange you will love this bread.

I had never made this recipe. I wanted a festive recipe to make for Christmas gift giving.  This recipe was found on and is also in King Arthur Baker's Companion .

I've had my two bread machines going these past few days. The aromas in the house are amazing!

In addition to my baking staples, I also keep powdered buttermilk in my refrigerator. The powder can be used to make buttermilk whenever you run across a recipe that requires this ingredient.

For regular oven baking follow the instructions on this link:

For bread machine:

3/4 c. orange juice, (optional: I also used 1 Tbsp. orange zest, 1/2 tsp. orange extract)
3/4 c. buttermilk (sour cream or plain yogurt works also)
1 egg beaten
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 c  All Purpose Flour
3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt

Add ingredients in the order given. Press the Sweet Bread setting.
When machine beeps after first mixing, add 1 cup dried cranberries; 1/2 cup chopped nuts (your choice)

I let my bread cool upside down in the pan. Before removing, run a thin plastic spatula around the edge if needed. Don't forget to remove the paddle! It will be baked into the bread. If you do it carefully, you can minimize the little hole in the bottom.

We have been enjoying my "test bread" these past few mornings with coffee and sometimes sneak a piece to nibble on in the afternoon for a sweet treat.  

This bread is definitely "a keeper" and will be made year 'round and is something I'd be proud to give my friends and neighbors.

Moist, tart, sweet & delicious!

One for me, one to give!
I cooled them upside down in the pan.
Don't forget to remove the paddle from inside the bread.
I can't tell you how many recipes for breads, rolls and pizza I've tried with 100% success in the Bread Book, I love, love this book.

The container is what I put the loaf in after it cools.  The bread keeps well with this method of storage.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

From Time to Time I'll Be Sharing Some of My Favorite Contests/Sweepstakes With You

Baking Bites is sponsoring a fun contest where you can win a $100 Visa Gift card.

Who couldn't use an extra $100?

Here is her link and the link for the contest.

To inspire you even more, we’re giving away a $100 Visa gift card to one of Baking Bites’ readers that you can spend on anything you want (or save towards that new appliance). To enter the giveaway, answer the following question in the comments: If your kitchen could study you, what would it learn?

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 08/23/13-09/29/13.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Look what I won! A Tribest Green Star Elite 5000 Juicer from the Appetite For Health Website!

My newest kitchen gadget is a  gorgeous Green Star Elite 5000 Juicer from Tribest. I won this juicer in a contest; one of the many, many wonderful, health related giveaways on the Appetite for Health website, This site is the creation of two knowledgeable, registered dietitians; Julie Upton, M.S.,R.D., CSSD and Katherine Brooking, M.S. R.D.   They present their helpful information in a fun and interesting way.

 Become a Facebook Fan to learn about contests, recipes, healthy tips and more.
Follow them on Twitter:

I highly recommend you check out their resourceful website, and their book; The Real Skinny.

Quote taken from the back of the book:
"The Real Skinny  is a comprehensive guide to losing weight and keeping it off. Unlike gimmicky diets that set you up for failure, The Real Skinny provides smart, practical solutions to virtually every obstacle dieters face" -- Cheryl Forberg, R.D., nutritionist for NBC's The Biggest Loser and author of the New York Times bestseller The Biggest Loser Complete Calorie Counter."

I made a short video of this Green Star Elite 5000 juicer to show you how easy it works and what it comes with. I did not point out the instructional  DVD sitting in front of the juicer and the hand held strainer was missing from the video, but have included it in the photos.  The strainer is for those of you who prefer a "no pulp" juice.  Just put the strainer over another bowl and pour the fresh juice through the strainer and into the bowl.

It is easy to clean, just take it apart immediately after you are done juicing. Keeping the cold water running, place each piece under the running water and brush clean.  John Kohler does a great job demonstrating the cleaning of this machine. Drag the start to minute 7:50 and that is where John starts the cleaning process.  I posted his demo at the bottom of this blog.

In my video I taste the juice straight from the pitcher, I usually pour it over a glass filled with ice for a nice ice cold beverage.  If you like your juice a little sweeter, you could add a drop or two of plain or flavored stevia.

The juicer fits nicely on my counter against the side of my fridge for easy access and everyday use.  I have a granddaughter in Arizona that will be visiting and am expecting another grandbaby in January.  I'm going to make them some delicious juices and healthy frozen desserts that I'm sure will be "mother approved"!
If you are expecting, it might not be a bad idea to put a Green Star Elite 5000 juicer on your baby registry list! What is the best thing you can do for your baby? Get them off to a healthy start and create a child who isn't sugar and additive dependent.

Check out Tribest's product website and their fun Facebook Page for contests, product information, recipes and more!
Greenstar website:   

Watch as the Green Star Elite Juicer creates a delicious, healthy beverage.
This juicer comes with an astounding 12 year warranty!
 Learn more about the specifics of Green Star Elite Juice Extractor on Tribest website: 

Below is the unboxing of the Green Star Elite Twin Gear Juice Extractor.

You will see in this photo, the OXO cutting board.
They are so easy to clean and grip any surface you put them on.
I have other boards, but this is my favorite

Another demonstration of the Green Star Elite 5000, as well as how to clean the juicer.

Product Details

Tribest GSE-5000 Green Star Elite Juicer

Green Star owners expect only the best from Tribest products, making Green Star machines reputably one of the world’s best juice extractors and most efficient food processors. By adding a third stage to the juicing process, Green Star Elite is the world’s only juice extractor utilizing the same bioceramic and magnetic technology found in regular twin gears but in a revolutionary advanced jumbo twin gear set which offers you not only the freshest tasting juice from your produce but also maximizes your juice yields from various fruits and vegetables compared to the original two stage system.

New Features

New Sleek Design – The new modern lightweight streamlined look matches to any kitchen counter complimenting your kitchen style and design.
New Locking Mechanism – By changing the locking system from removable turning knobs to a stationary latching system, the new one snap step offers optimum convenience and an easier way to assemble and disassemble the machine.
Added Safety – Green Star Elite prevents injury by eliminating your chances of interacting with moving parts by including a safety switch system attached to the safety hood, which disables operation when the hood is removed.
Easy Clean Up – By combining parts through the new sleek design, there are fewer parts, which means there is less to clean. Additionally, the included safety hood can be used as a basket to cradle the juicing parts after cleaning providing you with storage space for drying without taking up any additional space on the counter.
New Easy Grip Outlet Adjusting Knob – The knob has been re-designed to include easy grip ridges so you can easily grasp, turn and manually control the pressure inside the machine quickly so you can juice a wider variety of fruits and vegetables of different consistencies.
Higher Yields – Designed to maximize the yield and nutritional value of your juice, Advanced Heavy Duty Jumbo Twin Gears, with the same magnetic and bioceramic technology as the original twin gears, extend the juicing process from two to three stages – crushing, mixing, and pressing.
Increased Versatility - By adding the mixing stage in between the crushing and pressing stages, juicing soft fruits has now become much easier and more effective.
Increased Value – By including only the most popular items into one convenient package, there is only one model to Green Star Elite and only one optional accessory – soft fruit outlet adjusting knob.


  • Juicing Knob
  • Breadstick Knob
  • Fine Screen
  • Coarse Screen
  • Homogenizing Blank (Open Blank)
  • Breadstick Blank (Closed Blank)
  • Exclusive Jumbo Twin Gears
  • Glass Juice Pitcher
  • Drip Tray
  • Plastic Plunger
  • Wooden Plunger
  • Stainless Steel Strainer
  • Flat Cleaning Brush
  • Regular GS Cleaning Brush


  • Dimensions: 18.5" W x 12.50" H 7" D
  • Unit Weight: 29 lbs
  • Turning Speed: 110 RPM
  • Power: 200 Watt Motor
  • Warranty: 12 Years

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Get Ready For Zucchini Season! Delicious Skillet Zucchini & Cheese

This is a flexible recipe in that you can add more or less zucchini and cheese as your garden and appetite permit. 

This easy, one skillet meal will be one your family will ask for again and again, it's one of our family favorites.

Skillet Zucchini & Cheese

3  medium (8 - 9 inch) zucchinis.  Cut zucchini in three pieces to accommodate the square on the Chop Wizard. Run all the pieces through the Wizard's large screen.
2 cups shredded Cabot Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 tsp. salt & pepper to taste.
1/2 cup chopped onion - use Wizard's small screen
1 lb. ground beef
splash of Worcestershire (optional)
2 tbsp. olive oil

Add olive oil to a  deep 5 quart non stick saute pan (a 12 inch cast iron skillet will also do nicely), saute the chopped onions.When the onions are transparent,
add the zucchini (mine came out the size of french fries). Season with salt and pepper. Cook until fork tender, do not overcook.
Remove from pan.
Cook the ground beef, using a fork to mash into the size pieces you enjoy eating.  I like my hamburger pieces tiny. Season with salt and pepper add Worcestershire if desired. Drain off any fat.
Add the cooked zucchini and onion mixture.
Add 1/2 the cheese and mix in.  Top with the remaining cheese, cover and let melt.

Serves 4

Gadgets used, Presto Salad shooter to grate cheese;
Vidalia Chop Wizard to chop the zucchini and onion.

Zucchini  & onions cooking away in the non stick saute pan.

Remove cooked zucchini & onion from pan.

Season & cook ground beef.  Drain.

Add zucchini & onion mixture to the ground beef.

Mix in half the cheese, then top mixture with remaining cheese,
cover just to melt, serve & eat!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Great Combination for A Great Flavored Smoothie: Frozen Banana & Peanut Butter

Today I received two items I ordered from GNC: Flax Seed Oil capsules and Power PB - all natural peanut butter blended with flax seed oil, fiber and essential fat.

The recipe I created using these two products came out pretty good if I do say so myself.  

If you like the combined flavors of banana and peanut butter, I'll bet you'll enjoy this.  If you do make it, let me know what you think. Feel free to experiment by adding your own ingredients; chocolate syrup, hazelnut spread, honey, etc. 

 Frozen Banana & Peanut Butter Smoothie

1 GNC Softgel Flax Seed Oil Capsule 
1 cup ice cubes
1 Frozen banana chopped
1/4 cup from GNC Power PB  
3/4 to 1 c milk (whatever % you prefer)
5 - 6 drops liquid Vanilla Cream Stevia

Express the Flaxseed oil from the capsule into the blender. You can do this with by pricking the capsule with the tip of a knife or clean common pin. Add ingredients in the order given to a blender with an ice crush and liquefy settings.  Blend to the consistency you desire by adding more or less milk, and enjoy! 

Final Product = Deliciously rich & thick with
great Peanut Butter & Banana Flavor


Creamy Consistency. Add less milk at first,
thin it out to your desired consistency.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My newest kitchen gadget: Draftmark Tap System - Fresh Draught Beer At Home

Among my hobbies and habits and pursuits, I have been a product tester for the BzzAgent company for many years. The most recent Bzz campaign I am involved in is to test and review the Draftmark Tap System.

The Draftmark Tap was easily assembled. We went to our local liquor store, they had the refills for the system. After chilling the beer overnight, we installed it in the Draftmark Tap System.  For picture purposes, we left the gadget on the counter, but afterwards it belongs in the refrigerator.
It comes with three double sided magnets with beer names on them to be used on the pouring lever. It also comes with a rechargeable battery that gets installed into the back of the unit.  The beer, once tapped, lasts for 30 days. More information can be found on the BzzAgent and the Draftmark Tap System site (links below).

I have posted some pictures and a video of my husband enjoying and using the beer and this system. I can see us enjoying this kitchen gadget for years to come.

The Draftmark Tap System would make a great gift for Father's Day if you have a Dad that loves beer.

 We were able to find both the system itself and the refills easily at a local liquor store.  If your liquor store doesn't carry it, ask for it.  The Draftmark Tap  System is a product of Anhueser-Bush. The beer you can get for this system are Bass; Shock Top; Michelob Amberbock; Goose Island.

The official site for Draftmark Tap System:

Here is how easy it is to assemble:

Taken from the BzzAgent home page:
(If you are interested in becoming an agent, check out their site or their Facebook page.)


There’s nothing better than cold, fresh draught beer poured straight from the tap. Except cold, fresh draught beer poured straight from the personal tap system in your fridge. The Draftmark tap system is an entirely new way to enjoy the experience of your favorite draught beers, right from your personal draught system.
Just place the home draught system in your fridge, insert a 3.8 liter (128 oz.) refill bottle of great-tasting varieties like Budweiser, Shock Top Belgian White, Goose Island Honker’s Ale, Michelob Amber Bock or Bass Pale Ale and always have a chilled, relaxed evening on tap. Congrats — your house just became a home.

The first pour will have a big "head" but then
goes down.

A full glass of cold, draught Bass Ale beer.

Mr. Beer in what we like to call his "comfy clothes".
Beer shirt, Guinness pj's and a cold draught beer in hand.
I apologize for the video. I took it with my iPhone. Hopefully you'll get the idea of how this gadget works. 
Please leave any questions or comments you have on this Draftmark Tap System below.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chicken Marsala with Fettuccini. Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, Roasted Garlic & A Cotton Candy Gadget.

Three fun and delicious kitchen projects using some usual and unusual kitchen gadgets. Thrown in, just for fun, a skirt hanger that doubles a recipe holder.

Three topics today:

1.   Cotton Candy & Cotton Candy Machine
2.     Chicken Marsala with Fettuccini - recipe courtesy of Allrecipes:
3.     One Minute Roasted Garlic

I bought this fun gadget for my niece, Nina & my nephew, Mike for Christmas.
During a recent visit, I thought I'd give it a try.

Machine is heating up. Heat for five minutes.
In the package: directions (not shown) the machine,
a measuring spoon for the sugar and some long picks for spinning the sugar.
The food coloring is not included. I was going to add it to the sugar, but
decided against it. I used plain white table sugar.

After five minutes have passed, using their spoon, add a measure of table sugar (1 1/2 tsp.) in
the center of that black ring. The sugar immediately flies out and around to the edge;
begin turning the stick around the outer edge of the machine while twirling the spun
sugar around the stick. See the little clump already forming above.
The process doesn't take long, but only produces a little bit more
than what you see above. To make another batch, you must shut
the machine off, wait until the extractor head (the black circle) comes to a complete stop,
 then you can pour another measure of sugar in the extractor head and begin again.
So much fun for kids or grown up kids like me!

Chicken Marsala recipe on a makeshift kitchen gadget: "recipe holder",
a/k/a skirt hanger!

Ingredients for the Chicken Marsala.  I did not have regular sherry,
a cooking site advised that Sweet Vermouth could be used in it's place.
Chefs recommend using real Marsala wine and real sherry and
 advise against using  the products sold in grocery stores for a
restaurant quality Chicken Marsala.

(Missing from photo: olive oil.)

Gadgets uses: Eight Inch Lodge Cast Iron Skillet;
pounding tool and mallet.

Place chicken breasts between wax paper or plastic wrap.
Pound until chicken is 1/2 inch thick.  Pound from the
center of the chicken towards the outside using
a sliding motion.
After using both, I prefer the mallet to the pounder.
For easy clean up, I used a Ziploc for my flour mixture.
I also doubled the recipe as I was cooking for six people
who just love Chicken Marsala.

With so much chicken to brown, I did it in small batches adding butter & oil if needed.  Be sure to bring
the butter/oil up to temperature before adding the next batch so it doesn't soak into
the chicken instead of frying it. The two cloves of garlic are about to be used in the gadget below.

After completing the recipe, I found that I had too much chicken to add
back into the cast iron skillet. I put the Marsala broth with the mushrooms
into a stock pot, then added the browned chicken.
In a smaller saucepan, I duplicated the broth recipe so we
could enjoy our Chicken Marsala over fettuccini pasta.

A cute gadget: Garlic Baker.
This gadget belongs to my sister in law, Gezilla.
Believe it or not, I don't own one but after trying this, it's
on my list of gadgets to get.

I used the microwave method. I didn't have anything else
to bake, and didn't want to heat the entire oven just for the garlic.
I did not use the pat of butter, but did put a scant sprinke of
Kosher salt on top of the garlic bulb.

Using Gezilla's Victorinox Chef Knife, I cut the top off the garlic bulb.

Place the bulb in the center of the baker, microwave for
35 seconds at a time so as not to overcook. The cloves
should look transparent when cooked thoroughly.
Pick or squeeze out; eat them as is or spread
the the cooked cloves on Italian bread or toasted
Italian bread. Delicious with bruschetta.
After I made this one, it was devoured and
I had to make two additional which also
were gobbled up in no time.
A fast easy way to use up bulbs that might be getting a little old.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Apple Pie for Easter & Beyond! Sure! Tale of Two Apple Peelers.

Easter is just around the corner.  How about serving a delicious apple pie to your Easter guests?

This is one of my favorite apple pie recipes that I can always count on to taste delicious.

I've used the Apple Pie Recipe that can be found on the side of the Crisco can.  Even though I don't make my crusts all of the time, I still like their pie filling recipe listed below:

  • Double Crust Classic Crisco Pie Crust
  • 6 medium Granny Smith apples
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

  1. 1.
    PREPARE recipe for double crust pie. Roll out dough for bottom crust. Place in 9-inch pie plate. Press to fit without stretching dough. Trim even with pie plate. Do not bake.

  2. 2.
    HEAT oven to 400ºF.

  3. 3.
    PEEL, core and slice apples. Toss with sugar, flour and cinnamon. Pour into unbaked pie crust; dot with butter. Cover with top crust; seal and flute edge. Brush with egg white. Cut slits for steam to escape.

  4. 4.
    ROLL additional crust to 1/8-inch thickness. With small 1/2-inch star cookie cutter, cut 20 to 25 stars. Place 1 star on rim of top crust; brush with egg white. Repeat until rim is covered.

  5. 5.
    COMBINE cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle over crust. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until pie is golden brown and apples are tender.

If you would like to try making your own crusts, here is the link to the entire recipe:

I tested two brands of apple peelers and found that only one was up to the task.

Progressive Apple Peeler

Even after making adjustments, the Progresso peeler
didn't work consistently.

It cut the slices, but didn't peel the apple.

This one is made by Green Mountain in Vermont,
but Amazon has the comparable version
made by Victorio shown below in red.

The top apple was done on the
Progressive peeler. The other apple was
done with the Green Mountain peeler.
Amazon carries a comparable Victorio model.

Pillsbury premade pie crust.  I sprinkled a generous
amount of Cinnamon Maple sugar on to the crust and
pressed it into the pie crust.

I mixed the sliced apples with all the seasonings in a big bowl ,
put them into the raw pie crust, topped the apples
with 1/4 cup of butter cut in "pats".

Cover apples with the other premade pie crust.
Brush with scrambled egg & water (egg wash).
Sprinkle Cinnamon Maple sugar on top.
Cut an "X" on the top of the crust to let out steam.

The finished pie came was devoured before I
could get a picture of it.  Next time I make an apple pie, I'll be
sure to take a picture and post it here!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Turkey & Black Bean Crock Pot Chili

This was my first attempt at making turkey chili. When I make traditional chili I sometimes use a shortcut and buy a packet of chili seasoning mix.  Today I was visiting my brother and sister in law. They had all the necessary ingredients for me to try making the chili from scratch.

Gadgets used: Lodge cast iron skillet, Crock Pot, Kitchenaid hand grater.

One pound of ground turkey; cooked and drained.
three 15 oz. cans of black beans (they prefer black beans to kidney);
 two 6 oz. cans of tomato paste
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. ground celery seed
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup chili powder
Four cups of water

Add all the above to the crock pot, stir until the paste is dissolved. Cover and set on low for at least two hours to get all the flavors to incorporate into the meat and beans.  Serve with shredded jack or cheddar cheese; dollop of sour cream and tortilla chips.   Feel free to experiment with other ingredients such as hot sauce; cut carrots, kidney beans, lean hamburg - make it how you think your taste buds might like it.

If you have any leftover, it'll taste even better the next day!

As always: 
I'd appreciate it if you
would start from the Amazon search box or product links on my blog 
if/when you make any kind of Amazon purchase.
 I get a few cents on each order 
 Thanks for your support!