Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Red Velvet Crust
2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

Red Velevet Filling
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, beaten slightly
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 (1 ounce) bottles red food coloring
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Strawberries for garnish

1. Mix together chocolate graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar. Add melted butter and mix well.
2. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of 9-inch spring-form pan. Bake in 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes; cool slightly.
3. In a large bowl combine cream cheese and sugar and beat with a mixer until combined.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Add cocoa, sour cream, buttermilk, vanilla extract, vinegar and red food coloring and continue to beat until filling is smooth and well mixed.
6. Pour batter into prepared crust and bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cheesecake looks almost set. Remove cheesecake from oven and cool in pan. Cover and chill in refrigerator overnight (in pan).
7. To make the topping: Beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla extract, beating until smooth. Spread evenly over top of cheesecake. Remove sides of spring-form pan and garnish if desired with fresh strawberries.

I was going to make this for Christmas but never got around to it. SO I think I will make it for Valentine's Day. Check out for more recipes.


Jalapeno Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick or 4 ounces) cold butter, diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs, divided
1/4 pound Pepper Jack Cheese
1/4 cup chopped chives

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small skillet, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter and sauté the jalapeños in it until soft, about two minutes. Let them cool, then place them in a small bowl with the  cheese and coat them with one tablespoon of the flour (from the original 2 cups listed above). Combine the remaining flour with the baking powder and salt. Cut in the remaining butter with a pastry blender, fork or two knives, until the butter bits are pea sized. Transferred the flour/butter mixture to another bowl and proceeded with the recipe.)
Lightly whip two of the eggs and cream and add to the flour-butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold mixture until it begins to come together. Add the cheddar-jalapeño mixture  and chives to the dough and mix until everything is incorporated.
Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently for less than one minute. Pat dough out to a 3/4- to 1-inch thickness and either cut into 8 triangles or the shape of your choice with a biscuit cutter. Make an egg wash by beating the remaining egg with a teaspoon of water. Brush the scones with egg wash and place on a parchment-lined (or well-oiled) baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Dried Cranberries and Walnuts Spinach Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette.

Trying to boost your antioxidants? Here's a healthy fall salad full of goodness!

1/2 cup pomegranate juice2
 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh flaxseed oil2
 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey or agave syrup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 - 8 cups baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup walnut pieces

In a shaker container with lid, combine pomegranate juice, vinegar, oils, and mustard and honey. Replace top on shaker and shake vigorously until dressing is combined well and slightly thickened. Season to taste, with salt and pepper.Place spinach leaves in a large salad or mixing bowl. Add dried cranberries and walnuts. Drizzle vinaigrette over spinach and toss lightly.YIELD: 4-6 servings

Banana Bread

1/4 cup white sugar1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter
3 cups white sugar
3 eggs
6 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease four 7x3 inch loaf pans. In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup white sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Dust pans lightly with cinnamon and sugar mixture.       
In a large bowl, cream butter and 3 cups sugar. Mix in eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix in salt, baking soda and flour. Stir in nuts.  Divide into prepared pans.              
     Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 

    Fruit Cake

    Sorry it has been a while since I posted recipes here. My blog is a pain, I cannot upload photos for some reason and for the past week I have not even been able to post recipes. So I have have been posting them on my Facebook "April's Home Cooking page" So I will post as long as I can and maybe one day soon I can post pictures again.

    2 cups butter
    4 cups confectioners' sugar
    8 eggs, separated
    2 ounces candied citron peel
    2 ounces candied orange peel
    1 cup dried currants
    1 1/2 cups candied pineapple chunks
    3 cups golden raisins
    1 1/2 cups candied cherries
    4 cups pecans, chopped
    3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup orange juice
      Chop pineapple, raisins, and cherries.  Combine chopped fruit with currants, peel, and citron; soak in orange juice overnight.      
      Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Place a small pan of water in the oven.  Line one 5 x 9 inch loaf pan and two 3 x 8 inch loaf pans with parchment or doubled waxed paper. 
      In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioner's sugar.  Stir in beaten egg yolks.  Stir in fruit, juice, and nuts.  Mix in sifted flour.              
      In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites to peaks.  Fold into batter.  Fill pans 2/3 full.              
      Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until golden brown or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted.              

      Pumpkin Spice Coffee

      1 level tablespoon pumpkin puree
      1 cup milk (whole if you dare!)
      1/2 tablespoon light brown sugar (packed and leveled)
      1/4 tsp cinnamon
      1/8 tsp nutmeg (+ a pinch for dusting later)
      1/8 tsp ground cloves
      1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
      2 cups strong coffee (brewed using 2 tbs per 1 cup of water)
      You can also use a shot or two of espresso instead of coffee.
      4 tablespoons Coffee mate creamer
      4 to 8 teaspoons of granulated sugar
      Whipped cream
      Begin brewing coffee. In a blender puree the milk, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, brown sugar and vanilla. Pour into a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the milk is warm and begins to froth slightly. (About 4-5 minutes.) Remove from heat. For each serving: Pour 1/2 cup of the pumpkin mixture into your coffee mug. Add 2 generous tablespoons of Coffee mate creamer. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds, then add 1 cup of brewed coffee. Add 2 to 4 teaspoons of sugar (depending on how sweet you like your drink, I added 3 tsps.) Top off with a touch more ‘pumpkin milk’ then cover with whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg. Serve immediately.
      Makes- 2 servings.

      Thursday, November 11, 2010

      Coach's Oatmeal

      For some reason I can no longer get photos to upload on my blog. It was fine until they updated the blog. Anyhow if you would like to see photos go to April's homecooking on Facebook.I won a few packages of Coaches oatmeal and figured I would try them this morning for breakfast. I will admit I am not a huge oatmeal person, I hated it growing up. But my eleven year old loves oatmeal so I make it a few times a month, I am trying to make it a lot more since it is so good for you.Well back to coaches Oatmeal. it was really, really good. When I make pumpkin Oatmeal with other brands it can get a little slimy, it was not that way at all with the Coaches.  I hope they sell it in stores out here otherwise I am going to have to hunt it down on line.
      Here is the recipe that came with it.
      1/4 cup Coaches Oatmeal
      1/2 banana
      1/4 cup pure pumpkin
       spices amount to your liking
      ground cloves
      Cook oats and banana as directed. Once oatmeal is cooked add remaining ingredients and mix well.
      Top with your favorite toppings. I add brown sugar splenda (I mix it in with the spices) I also like dried cranberries and pecans. If I had banana chips I would add those also.

      Wednesday, November 10, 2010

      Baked Stuff Pears

      4 medium ripe pears
      2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1. 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

    2. 1/4 cup golden raisins

    3. 2 teaspoons brown sugar spleanda

    4. 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

    5. 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    6. 1 tablespoon butter

    7. 2/3 cup apple juice

    8.           Core pears and peel 1 in. down from the top on each. Brush peeled portion with some of the lemon juice. Place in a greased 1-qt. baking dish.               

      1.  In a bowl, combine the walnuts, raisins,  brown sugar splenda, lemon peel, cinnamon and remaining lemon juice. Spoon into pears. Dot with butter. Pour apple juice around pears. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until pears are tender, basting several times.               

      Fryer Give away

      I have seen this fryer in Costco and tried to talk my husband into buying it for me. But that did not play out as well as I had wished. So maybe I will win it with this contest. I was even trying to tell him all the different things I could make in it...but that did not work either. :o)
      So why not head on over for your chance to win, it would be nice if I won it but I would be just as excited if one of my readers won! If you do come back and let me know. Good Luck!

      Saturday, November 6, 2010

      Puff Pastry

      1 1/3 cups bread flour.
      3/4 cup pastry flour
      3 cubes (1 1/2 cups) + 1 T cold unsalted butter cut into tablespoon size pieces
      3/4 t salt
      4 oz (1/2 cups) ice water
      Place flours and salt into a medium size mixing bowl and stir together.
      Cut in cold butter with a dough scraper, once butter is cut into marble size pieces, mix with one hand until the mixture resembles, marbles, peas and some cornmeal.
      Add ice water and mix with the dough scraper, until the mixture holds together.
      Scrape dough onto table top and roll into a 6x18" rectangle. Use bread flour to roll out the dough and brush excess flour off before every turn.
      apply even pressure when rolling out. Do four book turns, Rest dough 45 minutes, or freeze if making ahead.
      Complete 2 more book turns before cutting desired shapes.
      Pastry flour is 2/3 cups flor plus 1 cup cake flour.


      1/2 of puff pastry recipe (recipe on this blog)
      1/2 cup granulated sugar
      1/8 c coarse sugar
      Dust work table with sugar. Roll out into a 8x18" rectangle. Do two book folds.
      Roll dough into a 12x12 " squares
      Mark dough in 1/2 with a sharp knife and roll edges to meet in the middle. Fold round halves on top, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30-60 minutes
      Remove chilled dough from fridge and slice into 1/2" slices.
      Place slices onto two greased parchment lined baking sheets. Press palm onto each cookie flattening the shape and fan out tips.
      Preheat oven to 400  or 375 for convection.
      Chill for 15 minutes.
      Sprinkle cookies with coarse sugar. bake for 12-15 minutes or 10-13 minutes for convection or until cookie edges and bottoms are browned. Flip with spatula, sprinkle with more coarse sugar, and bake for another 3-5 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.

      Cheese Straws

      1/2 recipe puff pastry
      1 1/4 cups parmesan cheese, finely grated

      Egg wash
      1 eggs whisked with 1 T milk

      Dust work table with cheese. Roll dough out into a 6x18" rectangle. Do two book folds.
      Roll dough into a 12x12 inch square.
      Brush dough with egg wash. mark dough in 1/2 with a sharp knife and fold dough in half.
      Slice dough into 1/2" strips.
      Unfold strips and twist into a corkscrew spiral.
      Place twist onto a greased parchment lined baking sheets.
      Preheat oven to 425 (convection 400)
      Chill for 15 minutes
      Bake for 10-15 minutes ( Convection 8-10) or until cheese straws are a toasty brown hue.

      Pesto Pinwheels

      1/2 Puff Pastry dough
      7 oz pesto
      1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
      Dust work table with bread flour.
      Roll dough out into a 6x18 inch rectangle.
      Do two book folds.
      Roll into a 12x12" square.
      Spread pesto onto pastry.Sprinkle with cheese. Roll up pastry and cut into  1/2 " pinwheels. Place on parchment paper.
      Preheat oven to 425 degree (400 convection)
      Refrigerate for 15 minutes
      Bake for 8-10 minutes (5-8 convection) or until lightly browned.
      Try it with dijon mustard, salami cut thin and cheese.

      Apple Galettes and Caramel Sauce

      1/2 puff pastry dough...recipe is on this blog
      3 golden apples, (I am making with pears and some with apples)
      2 T butter, slightly melted
      6 t sugar

      Preheat conventional oven to 425 or 400 for convection

      Dust work table with bread flour.
      Roll dough into a 6x18" rectangle.
      do two book folds
      roll dough into a 12x12" square

      Cut out 6" round disk, 4 1/2" round. Place disk on parchment paper lined cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator.
      Peel, core, and slice apples into 16 wedges each.
      Remove pastry disk from fridge and place apple wedges on each round. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with 1 tsp of sugar over the apples.Bake for 10-15 minutes conventional or 8-10 convection, or until pastry puffls up and browns and apples are tender.
      While galettes cook make caramel sauce.

      Caramel Sauce

      1 cup water
      cup sugar
      1 T corn syrup
      1/2 cup cream, warmed.
      2 T butter soft
      1/2 t vanilla

      Ina  clean sauce pan pour water, sugar, and corn syrup.
      Place pot over medium high heat and swirl until sugar is dissolved.
      Brush down the sides of the pot with a wet pastry brush, place the lid on the pot and turn the heat to high.
      when the syrup boils remove the lid, brush down the sides again and do not disturb.
      When the sugar turns amber color, about 320 degrees, remove from heat and slowly pour in the heated cream.
      When the cream is incorporated stir in the butter and vinalla when the butter is disolved into the sauce.
      Brush caramel sauce on warm pastries and enjoy.

      Keep in a tightly closed container in the fridge for one month, reheat in the microwave or double boiler.

      Friday, November 5, 2010

      Thanksgiving will be here soon

      My husband will be turning 50 on Thanksgiving this year so not only do I have a dinner to prepare I also have a birthday to do the same day.

       I thought this craft would be fun for my Grandson to make with my boys for our table setting.


      Invite Tom for Thanksgiving!

      Here's a surefire way to keep little ones busy while you put the finishing touches on the Thanksgiving feast!
      apples or pears
      ring-shaped fruit oat cereal
      mini marshmallows
      large marshmallows
      whole cloves
      candy corn

      To make Tom's tail feathers, set apple or pear on its side and then stick a few toothpicks into one end, as shown. Stack cereal rings on each toothpick until it's nearly full and then place a mini marshmallow on each end. Break a toothpick in half (Mom, you can snip with scissors for little ones.) and insert into apple or pear where you'd like the head to be. Press a large marshmallow onto this toothpick and press cloves in for Tom's eyes. Using another half toothpick, secure a piece of candy corn to the front of the marshmallow for Tom's beak. Insert 3 toothpicks into the bottom of the apple so Tom can stand up. Stick 2 more pieces of candy corn on the front 2 to make Tom's feet.

      Caramel Apple Muffins

    9. I cannot seem to be able to post pictures to my blog today, if you would like to see what these look like in mini size come check out my facebook blog.!/notes/aprils-home-cooking/caramel-apple-muffins/172894986055236

    10. 2 cups all-purpose flour

    11. 3/4 cup sugar

    12. 2 teaspoons baking powder

    13. 2-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    14. 1/2 teaspoon salt

    15. 1 egg

    16. 1 cup 2% milk

    17. 1/4 cup butter, melted

    18. 2 teaspoons  Pure Vanilla Extract

    19. 1/2 cup chopped peeled tart apple

    20. 12 caramels, chopped

    21. TOPPING:

    22. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

    23. 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats

    24. 3 tablespoons butter, melted

    25. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

      In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk, butter and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apple and caramels.Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter.Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake portion comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm. Yield: 14 muffins

    26. Monday, November 1, 2010

      Marxfoods Ironfoodie

      Head over to and check out this fun contest that Marxfood is putting on. This is going to be a blast. Don't wait to long to check it out because it won't last long.
      I can't wait!!So here are soem questions we need to answer for the contest...
      #1 Why do you want to compete in this challenge?
            I love to cook and think this would be so much fun and help me think outside the box and try some new stuff.

      #2 Who's kitchen would you like to spend the day in and Why?
            Wow my two choices would be either the Swedish chef or Julia Child....Wow that is a hard one. I guess I would have to say Julia Child's because she is the one who started all this. A woman who was not afraid to go after what she wanted.

      #3 What morsel are you most likely to swipe from family and friends plates when they are not looking?
       I am a huge bread lover, so I would have to say a dinner roll or any kind of bread.

      #4  Sum your childhood up in one meal.
            Take out.

      #5  The one mainstream food you can't stand.
             Just one....scallops I guess would be the top.
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