Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grandma Martin's Fruit Salad

Thanksgiving at Allan's house, when he was growing up, was different than Thanksgiving at my house. Allan's mother would always have Turkey for dinner and a couple of different pies for dessert. She always had pumpkin pie and mincemeat pie (Allan's dad loves mincemeat). But other than that it was pretty much like her typical Sunday Dinner.
At my house, on the other hand, my mom put out everything. We never had anything that was really fancy. But the table was full of food. My mom opened a can of every kind of vegetable she had. There was always a plate of cheese. Lots of pumpkin pies. There were yams, and just about anything else my mom could find. And there was always fruit salad.
I think fruit salad must have been a Kendell thing. Because whenever we had Thanksgiving with my Aunts, there were always a couple of different bowls of the same fruit salad. Now when we celebrate Thanksgiving with my sisters, there are still always 2 or 3 bowls of the same fruit salad (with a few variations).But I still love fruit salad. I just don't think it is Thanksgiving without it.

Grandma Martin’s Fruit Salad

4-5 apples (different varieties) chopped
1-2 bananas sliced
Seeds of 1 pomegranate (optional)
Grapes cut in half
Any other fresh fruit you like (pears, strawberries, kiwi, etc.)
Chopped nuts (very optional)
1 can fruit cocktail (drain and reserve fluid)
1 can pineapple chunks or tidbits (drain and reserve fluid)
1 can mandarin oranges (drain and reserve fluid)
1/3 cup sugar (brown or white)
2 heaping Tablespoons corn starch
1 cup cream

Mix sugar and cornstarch in a pot, add fruit juices from canned fruit. Heat until thick and clear. Let cool.
Whip cream, fold in thickened fruit juice.
Gently fold into mixed fruits. Chill.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Funeral Potatoes

In the past two days, both Charis & Rosalie have asked me for the recipe for funeral potatoes. I'm not sure why. Maybe they have been talking to each other. I just boil the potatoes for a couple of minutes before I grate them. They still need to be firm, not soft, or they will go mushy.

Funeral Potatoes

6 potatoes (or more)
3 green onions
2 cups medium cheddar cheese (grated)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
2 cups crushed cornflakes.

Boil and grate potatoes. Toss lightly with other ingredients (except corn flakes).
Place in 9x13 pan and sprinkle cornflakes on top.
Bake 30 minutes at 350º.

Baguette Crackers

I serve these crackers with Artichoke Dip. They are good just to nibble on as well.

Baguette Crackers

1 -2 loaves Baguette bread
Good quality olive oil

Slice baguette into 1/4 inch slices. Brush both sides with olive oil.
Bake at 250º for about ½ hour. Increase heat to 350º. Continue baking for an additional 5 -10 minutes until golden brown (light). Watch carefully during the last few minutes to prevent from burning.

Artichoke Spinach Dip

Whenever I make this, people comment on how yummy it is. However, it never seems to get gone. Maybe that's because I only ever serve it when there is a lot of other good food to eat, too. Maybe if it was the only thing that was served it would all get eaten. Who knows? At any rate, it is really good. We usually have it at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I serve it with baguette crackers.

Artichoke Heart Dip
(with Spinach)

8 oz. cream cheese softened
4 oz. parmesan cheese (pie wedge fresh)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 small can chopped chilies
1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts (chopped)

1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach (let thaw and then squeeze out the water) This is optional but delicious.

mix together and bake 20 minutes at 400º.
Serve with tortilla chips or Baguette Crackers

Friday, November 20, 2009

Peanut Brittle

A few years ago, while we were at the park celebrating Cuyler's 16th birthday, Cuyler got really sick. He itched really bad. By the time we got home, he threw up, and couldn't see. He couldn't even walk to the car to take him to the hospital. Craig and Allan had to help him. We found out that he was having Anaphalactic Shock. He is allergic to all tree nuts. That pretty much rules out most of the candy that I make for the holidays from his diet. Consequently, a couple of years ago, I started making Peanut Brittle. He's not allergic to peanuts.
Allan really likes this recipe because it doesn't stick to your teeth as badly as some others do.

Peanut Brittle

1 cup light corn syrup
2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoon butter
2 cups raw peanuts
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water

1 heaping teaspoon baking soda

Put all the ingredients, except the peanuts and soda, in a deep sauce pan. Put on medium heat stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Now add the peanuts. Stirring at all times, take mixture to 285 (at our altitude). Remove form heat and stir in baking soda. Now pour out on a greased cookie sheet. Tip the cookie sheet to thin slightly (unless you like it thick, then don’t tip the cookie sheet). Let cool and break into bite sized pieces.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


When I was little, my mom used to make divinity every Christmas. I thought it was the greatest candy in the world. Sometimes she put walnuts in it. Sometimes she put crushed candy canes in it. She aways put red or green food coloring in it to make it festive. Allan's mom made good divinity, too. I never got my mom's recipe. I don't think she actually had one, she never used a recipe for anything. I tried a few times to make it when I was first married, but it never worked. It was always either to runny or crystally.
Last year I found this recipe on the internet and it actually worked for me.


4 cups sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
3/4 cup cold water
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 cups chopped pecans

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir only until sugar has dissolved. Do not stir after this point. Cook syrup mixture until it reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, bringing it to a hard ball stage.
While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Once the sugar mixture reaches 253º F (at this altitude), carefully pour a slow steady stream of syrup into the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until mixture holds its shape, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in pecans.
Using 2 spoons, drop the divinity onto waxed paper, using 1 spoon to push the candy off the other. This may take a little practice because the technique is to twirl the pushing spoon, making the candy look like the top of a soft serve ice cream. If the candy becomes too stiff, add a few drops of hot water. You will need to work fast when making this type of candy. After you spoon the cooked sugar and nuts onto the waxed paper, you're done. Cool the candies on racks completely. You can store them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pecan Logs

When Allan worked at Palmer & Wilding, his boss's wife gave me this recipe. She always layed the Pecans very neatly end to end and side by side on the cookie sheet. Her pecan logs were always beautiful. I, on the other hand, just use chopped pecans. It's easier, and I rarely give them as gifts. When you slice them up to serve them, you can't tell the difference. Pecan Logs are probably the hardest candy I ever make (other than turtles that are basically the same recipe). You really have to make tw different kinds of candy. The fondant center is a little tricky. Use a flat wooden spatula to beat it. They are delicious.

Pecan Logs

3 cups sugar
1 T. light corn syrup
1 cup cream
dash salt
3 T. butter
1 t. vanilla

Mix all ingredients except vanilla. Cook slowly, bring to boil. Cook to soft-firm ball stage(235º at this altitude on my thermometer). Pour out on a marble slab, add vanilla, beat until solid then knead until smooth. Divide into four pieces and roll into ropes. Wrap in plastic until ready to use.

8 to 12 oz. pecans
2 cups sugar
2 cups cream (1 + 1 cup)
¾cup dark corn syrup
½ cup butter
1 t. vanilla

Spray cookie sheet with PAM. Spread pecans (or cashews) on cookie sheet. Mix all ingredients except 1 cup cream and vanilla. Stir and cook to a boil. Slowly stir in one cup of cream so boil doesn’t stop. Cook slowly while stirring to firm ball (238º at this altitude on my thermometer). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over nuts. Let cool. Cut caramel into 4 strips. Wrap around fondant rolls.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pumpkin Pie

Margaret told me many years ago that the recipe on the Libby's pumpkin can was the best there was. I agree. Of all the recipes for a regular pumpkin pie, I have tried, it is the best. And I like regular pumpkin pie better than any other kinds.
Sometimes I make it with fresh pumpkin. I just cook the pumpkin in the microwave until it is soft, then put it through the blender until it is smooth. I think pumpkin pie made from fresh pumpkin is even better than pie made from canned pumpkin. However, it is runnier so you will need to cook it a little longer.

Libby's Pumpkin Pie

4 eggs slightly beaten
1 29 oz can (3 cups) pumpkin
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 cans (13 oz. each) evaporated milk (or 3 1/2 cups half and half)
2 9" unbaked pie shells

Preheat oven to 425. Combine ingredients in order. Divide evenly into shells. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 and bake an additional 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of each pie comes out clean.

Monday, November 16, 2009

See's Fudge

I got this recipe from Emma before I got married. One Christmas when Allan was on his mission, I went to Emma's house to make candy. We made all kinds of things. I took a big platter of it to Allan's family for Christmas. I don't remember what else we made. But they were all duly impressed, and consequently allowed me to marry into the family.
We made this fudge and molded it into hearts and dipped it in chocolate for Charis's wedding and for Valentines day. We are going to try Christmas Trees this year. If it works, I'll post a picture of them later.
When we had our neighborhood candy making class a few years ago, we experimented adding different things to the fudge after it had cooled slightly.

See's Fudge

1 large can evaporated milk
3 12 oz. packages chocolate chips
1/2 lb. margarine
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 8 oz. jar marshmallow cream
1 t. vanilla
chopped nuts (optional)

Combine all ingredients, except milk and sugar in a bowl and set aside. Mix milk and sugar in a sauce pan. Cook for 7 minutes at a full rolling boil. Pour over other ingredients and stir until smooth. Pour into a 9x13 pan. Refrigerate until firm.

Add in other ingredients after fudge has cooled to room temperature if desired.

Add ins:

Orange melts (chopped or slightly melted)
Mint Melt (chopped or slightly melted)
Dried Berries
Skor toffee bits
White chocolate chips
Butterscotch chips
Mini Marshmallows
Chopped Peanut Butter cups
Macadamia Nuts
Mini M&M's
Crushed Candy Canes

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sugar Rosasted Almonds

These are similar to the nuts that they sell from kiosks, in the malls, at Christmas time. They smell really good and are really good when they are warm. Even though they are better when they are warm, they are still yummy when they aren't.
Josh brought home a bottle of Cardamom from his mission in Finland. They use it in a bread called Pulla. It is a rather popular spice in Scandinavian countries. I had never had Cardamom before. I really like Cardamom. I put it in lots of things I put cinnamon in. It smells really good too. It's a little pricey but well worth it. If you've never tried it, do. It's one of my favorites!!!

Sugar Roasted Almonds

2 1/2 cups unblanched whole almonds (13 oz)
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast almonds for 15 minutes on a baking sheet. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, almonds and spices. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar becomes golden and granular and almonds are completely coated and separated. Pour nuts onto cooling rack over a cookie sheet and separate.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Candy Making Tips

After many years of making candy, I have learned a few things. I don't claim to be an expert. But I have come up with a few tips that work for me.

Candy Making Tips

Always check your candy thermometer in boiling water to see what the boiling temperature of water is. Determine the difference between the temperature on your thermometer and 212 degrees (the temperature of boiling water at sea level). Then subtract that difference from the temperature that the recipe you are using calls for. The cooking temperature at higher altitudes is lower than it is at sea level (up to 10 degrees or more) and all thermometers are different. Most recipes are written for sea level. If you don't make the adjustment, your candy may be overdone. You may have to experiment.

Always use a heavy pan to make candy. Don't use a pan that has hot spots.

If the recipe calls for butter, use butter. Don't try to substitute margarine or another imitation butter.

Never, never, never scrape the sides of the pan as you pour it out. It can cause your candy to crystallize.

If there are sugar crystals on the side of the pan, wash them down with a wet pastry brush or wt cloth or
paper towel a few minutes before the candy is done.

Butter and cream can both be frozen. When they are used in cooked item they work just fine. I haven't had great luck whipping previously frozen cream.

Candy gets very hot. Always use a wooden spoon with a long handle. Metal
spoons can burn you and plastic mixing spoons will melt.

Always use high quality ingredients. Remember you candy will only be as good as what goes into it.

Always measure accurately. Remember that candy making is a science as well as an art. It involves chemical reactions and physical properties changing. Proportions matter.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Butter Toffee

Thanksgiving and Christmas are quickly approaching. At my house that means it's time to start making goodies. Partly for the holidays and partly for Festival of Trees. Every year, for about ten years, we've spent the Saturday and Monday after Thanksgiving making candy for the Festival of Trees. Sometimes Allan helps me. Sometimes one or two of my kids help me. Occasionally my sisters help and one year my niece, Liz, even came and helped me.
We usually make Toffee, Turtles, Mints and Popcorn balls. Sometimes I make Sugared Almonds.
This year we are going to try to make little chocolate covered Fudge Christmas Trees. Charis and I have made Hearts and Eggs several times for Valentines and Easter. But we've never tried Christmas Trees. I hope they work.
I got this recipe a long time ago from my sister in law, Kae. It has become a family favorite. Allan likes to take it to work to share.

Butter Toffee

1 lb. butter (not margarine)
2 cups sugar
2 T. light corn syrup
1/2 t. salt
6 T. hot water
1/2 - 3/4 cup sliced almonds (not the blanched kind)
8 oz. milk chocolate
chopped nuts (I like pecans)

In a large, heavy pan, combine all ingredients except chocolate and chopped nuts. Cook rapidly, stirring constantly until it reaches hard crack stage in a cup of cold water (about 20-25 minutes) it is 285 degrees at my altitude on my thermometer) It would be 292 degrees at sea level.
Pour without scraping into a large cookie sheet.
Break pieces of chocolate over top while still hot. When chocolate is melted, spread evenly, covering all toffee. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Cool. Break into bite sized pieces.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pop Corn Balls

This is another recipe Allan got when he worked at the Church Office Building. I really like this recipe because most of the mess just gets wrapped up and thrown away. All you have to wash is the pan you cook the caramel in and the spoon. Just make sure you use brand new, unused paper grocery bags. We make these every year for the Festival of Trees.

Popcorn Balls

1 1/2 - 2 gallons popped popcorn (8 oz. unpopped)
1 large double strength paper grocery bag
1/2 cup butter (or margarine)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1 Tbsp. water
Pinch of baking soda

Place popped corn in the bottom of the bag. Bag shou be 1/4 - 1/3 full. Roll down edges of bag to inside, about 1 - 1 1/2 inches.

Melt butter in saucepan. Add corn syrup, then brown sugar and water. Mix and place on medium heat. Stir constantly; bring to a hard boil. Add pinch of baking soda, stir in thoroughly. Remove immediately from heat and pour caramel sauce over the popped corn while another
ADULT person is shaking the bag (be careful not to pour the caramel on the other ADULT persons hands)! Close the bag at the top and keep shaking it. Then knead the bag with both hands. Form the caramel corn into balls by just using water on your hands, not butter. Throw the messy bag away.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies

Rosalie called me and asked me to post this recipe.
Allan doesn't like anything made with peanut butter. However he loves peanut butter sandwiches. I don't really get it. But consequently, I rarely make these cookies anymore. I used to make them when I had little kids at home. Actually, I rarely make any cookies anymore.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Shape in 1 inch balls; roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press with cookie press or bottom of glass, or crisscross with fork. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pecan Cheesecake Pie

Allan got this recipe off the bulletin board in the elevator of the Church Office Building when he was working as a custodian there. He worked there for about 4 years while he was going to college. He worked everyday from 5:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. Then he would go to school every morning at about 9:00. Most of the time, he went straight from school to work. The first year he worked at the Church Office Building, I worked at the Salt Lake School District Office, calling substitutes, from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. Sometimes my mom would come take care of Josh for a few minutes until I got home from work. Allan & I hardly ever saw each other that year. It was a busy time. But somehow we survived.
This pie has become the family favorite. I make it every Thanksgiving as well as other times during the year. I think almost everybody likes it. It is the perfect combination of traditional Pecan Pie and cheesecake.

Pecan Cheesecake Pie

Blend in blender until smooth:
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt

Spread over unbaked pie shell
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)

Blend in blender:
3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup or maple syrup or combination (I use any brand imitation maple pancake syrup
1 t. vanilla

Carefully pour over nuts. Decorate with pecan or walnut halves.
Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Allan's Black Bean Chili

For several years I have made black bean chili for dinner on Halloween. My younger kids think it is a long standing tradition. However, I started doing it about the time Josh and Brad left on their missions. So to them it's not much of a tradition. They have been away from home most of the time I have been doing it.
Allan's office has a chili cook off every year for Halloween. It has to be an original recipe so we modified my original recipe that I got from a magazine a long time ago. I like it a lot better now. I usually make a big pot of chili, hoping all my grandkids will come eat some sometime on Halloween when they come to show me their costumes. Then we eat it for dinner several times during the next week. This year it actually worked because Sarah & Josh were here for Anna's wedding. The only grandchild I didn't see was cute little Owen. But maybe he can come next year when they live closer.

Allan's Halloween Black Bean Chili

3 T. margarine
2 large yellow onions and 1 purple onion, peeled and chopped
2 lbs. chuck roast
3/4 cup chili powder
3 T. Oregano
2 15 oz. cans crushed Italian
tomatoes with juice
2 15 oz. cans crushed Mexican tomatoes with juice
2 cans Mexican style tomato sauce
1 can diced green
2 cups beef stock
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 T. yellow cornmeal
12 16 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained, or 3 lbs dry black beans cooked, rinsed and drained.
2 green or red bell peppers, chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers, minced
Shredded orange cheddar cheese
Sour Cream
1. In a crock pot cook roast for many hours, till tender and then shred with a fork.
2. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, heat margarine and saute onions, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden on the edges, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Place shredded meat in a large stock pot. Salt meat, add onions to meat and stir in spices. Cook, stirring frequently, until spices turn meat and onions a rich, dark brown. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chilies, beef stock, garlic and peppers. Mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Reduce heat and stir cornmeal to chili. Add beans and stir. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Ladle chili into bowls and top with cheese and sour cream.