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Banana Jasmine Rice Pudding

8 Jan

We had Frito Pie last night for dinner. If you aren’t familiar with that, you’ve probably never been a Texan or been in the general vicinity of a Texan. But that’s pseudo-forgivable and the recipe is super easy. Take Fritos and put chili and shredded cheese on top. Now, some places will try to peddle you some rubbish about jalapeños, onions, or olives on top of these “pies.” They, my friend, are smoking the proverbial crack. This is a simple dish, easy, and tasty. That’s all.

With all that said, I wanted a little more substance with my bowl, so I decided to make a bag of rice. Yes, bag. As in boil-in-the-bag rice. Thank you, Uncle Ben, for taking the head work out of rice. Well, once the rice was done, I realized that no one else would want rice in their dish. But they would eat pudding made from the rice. So began a search for easy rice pudding.

I grabbed the first recipe I found, but needed to make alterations to it because I either didn’t have the ingredients or didn’t want to use them.

So, enjoy this rice pudding. I also included alternative ingredients to suit your dietary whims.

Banana Jasmine Rice Puddin
• 1 bag, cooked, of boil-in-bag jasmine rice
• Approx. 1.75 cups almond milk
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar (I’d even cut that back to 1/3 or 1/2 cup because of the banana)
• 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
• ***optional 1egg yolk for a more “sturdy” pudding, but tempering it is a pain***
• 2 Tbsp. butter/margarine/butter substitute
• 1 banana chopped or mashed
• ½ tsp. salt

Bring to a boil the rice, sugar, milk and vanilla. Lower to a simmer 25 min., stirring occasionally every 3-4 minutes. Add mashed bananas, salt, and butter (& egg) and cook 2 min more. Let set in fridge.

We topped ours with whipped cream, but you could sprinkle a little brown sugar, cinnamon, or chopped nuts on top. I had a serving this morning for breakfast, but I was a little overwhelmed by the banana flavor and the overtly sweet nature of the entire thing. Next time I’ll cut back the sugar (as I noted above) and I might even cut the banana in half. But it was good nonetheless.

Grandma’s notes: this was not one of her recipes, but I think she’d have made it and it would have been perfect warm, on a cold, rainy day.


Chocolate mint chip cookies

14 Dec

When I went shopping for groceries, I wanted to make sure I stocked up on staple baking ingredients. So, I got flour, sugar, chocolate chips, pecans, and the. I splurged and picked up some Andes Mints chips. If you haven’t had or seen them, you are sorely missing out! I remember, every Christmas morning, going through my stocking and loving all he little toys and trinkets; but, I loved that there was always a box of Andes Mints left on the mantle. That meant they were fair game for whomever wanted some. I think I ate most of shared them.

Fast forward to today. I stared blankly at the chips and the recipe found on the back of the package. This just wouldn’t do. I thought the chips needed a good, strong chocolate cookie to match the minty goodness I had grown to love. So, searched online for a good base cookie, but everything I saw was a chocolate chip cookie-like base with…well, with chocolate added. I needed something with more of a cocoa base. Since I didn’t find anything, I decided to just make my own recipe.

Before I give you the recipe, I will give you a couple pointers. This is a very dry recipe, so when you add the dry to wet ingredients, use your hands. It’s the best way to feel how well it’s mixed. These cookies, unlike most, do not expand when in the oven. If you put the dough in a ball shape or flatten it out, it will stay that way. I wasn’t sure how they would bake, and I ended up flattening half of the first batch before they finished baking. Finally, like any baked good, they will continue to bake, even after out of the oven. So, used parchment paper and bake only for the time indicated. The parchment paper will keep them from sticking.

Amber’s Chocolate Mint Cookies
• 1.5 sticks softened butter
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup light brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 2 & 3/4 cups flour
• 1/4 cup cocoa powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 3/4 bag of Andes Mints baking pieces

In a large bowl cream sugars and butter, add eggs and vanilla thoroughly. In another bowl mix dry in ingredients. Add dry to wet ingredients and mix with hands. Add chocolate mint chips well.
On lined cookie sheet, drop rounded (or flattened) spoonfuls about and inch apart. Bake at 375* for 8.5 minutes. Allow to cool approx 2 minted before transferring to cooling rack.



You can see the difference in the rounded cookies vs. the flattened ones. They both tasted amazing. Just ask my two-year-old that ate three as soon as he woke from his nap!

Veggies all around!

5 Jul

So, in one of my last posts, I mentioned that I was trying to limit my intake of non-vegetarian foods.  I even ate vegan for the better part of two weeks.  Not for moral “save-the-animals” reasons, but rather for healthy “these-are-the-foods-we-were-made-for” reasons.  I wish I could say that I have been as diligent this last week or so, but life happens.  However, I could definitely tell a difference when I ate things I had not been eating.

That’s beside the point.  Today’s post is my own take on sharing Grandma’s recipes.  Ask my aunt if she has a recipe for a dessert or a side dish, and she will oblige.  Had you asked Grandma for the same, she would also have given you a good recipe.  Now, I hope, I can be the bearer of similar information if need be.  So, I’ll give you three…yes, THREE, recipes that can easily be vegetarian, vegan, or even “meat-itarian.”


Peppers and Onions

  • 1 pkg mini peppers (orange, yellow, and red)
  • 1/2 med yellow onion, sliced thin
  • optional: jasmine rice, eggs, soy sauce, etc

I sautéed the veggies in a small amount of olive oil and then served it with jasmine rice.  The next day I made an omelet and added some of the mix.  The last day, I made fried rice with the peppers, eggs, soy sauce and remaining rice.


Oven Roasted Potatoes

  • 2-3 small white potatoes, sliced as you like (I diced them like hash browns)
  • 1 pkg of taco seasoning, ranch dressing mix, or your favorite seasonings
  • olive oil

Place cut potatoes on a roasting pan or casserole dish (just make sure they are one layer).  Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle seasonings on potatoes, coating evenly.  Bake at 350-400* for 20-25 minutes, or until browned.  You may want to line your pan with foil or spray with non-stick spray.


Mango Salsa

  • 1-2 ripe mangoes, diced
  • 3-4 green onions, chopped finely
  • 1 med tomato, diced or chopped coarsely

Mix all ingredients and add a dash of salt, to taste.  This has got to be one of my most colorful recipes to date.  You can add a peach to the mix, or substitute it for the mango all together also.

How pretty are those colors?!


Amber’s Notes: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31



You say tama, I say toma

19 May

Want an easy dip that is versatile enough to also be a sandwich spread, veggie dip or chip dip?  This is the dip for you.  It’s vegan/vegetarian/omnivore friendly too!  This is one of my cousin, Anthony’s, recipes.  Yum!

Tomatillo Avocado Dip

  • 1/3 lb tomatillos, husked, washed and quartered
  • 1/4 lb Serrano peppers, rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and halved (I did NOT add these)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled (I used only one)
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro (I forgot to get this at the store)
  • 1 firm-ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP lime juice
  • dash of salt

In a blender or food processor, stir in rinsed tomatillos, peppers, garlic, onion, cilantro, and avocado until coarsely pureed; pour into a bowl.  Stir in olive oil; add lime juice and salt.

With the few ingredients I did manage to remember to get, this dip was so good and fresh!  I only had a bit with a few whole grain tortilla chips.  My step daughter then finished the rest.  I would recommend doubling tripling this recipe!

Easy Pink Fruit Dip

19 Feb

Only two ingredients separate you from a delicious dip suitable for any fruit and great any time of day.  This is one of my sister’s submitted recipes, although it was usually mom that made it when we were growing up.

  • 1 jar (7oz)marshmallow cream
  • 1 container or bar of cream cheese

Mix well.  Add one drop of red food coloring.  Mix thoroughly.  Serve with fresh fruit.


Easy and delicious

Notes: April has her own cupcake business, “Daisy Cakes.”  All of her cupcakes are made with love and are terrific.  Mike, April’s husband, is a graphic designer.


Burnin’ down the house….

19 Feb

One thing I remember vividly, from growing up, was when my dad would donate blood.  Afterwards, there were always mini orange, grape, and cranberry juices to aid the donors.  The kind of juices that had the thin foil peel-off spouts.  You know, the TexSun brand of orange and grapefruit juices?!  That’s right, this one:For the Floridians reading this, it’s like the Simply Orange version, only not quite as sweet.  This juice is the kind you definitely do NOT want to swig after brushing your teeth.  But, I digress…


I was more than thrilled to be making Grandma’s “TexSun Pecans.”  I only remember having them, firsthand, a handful of times.  So, being able to make them myself was thrilling.  Now, let me interject something here.  I am HORRIBLE, and I mean HORRIBLY HORRIBLE at boiling sugar mixtures to the correct temperature or stage (i.e. soft ball, hard crack, etc.).  However, I do try them and usually get them to turn out OK.

Let’s just say that my lack of being able to boil/heat sugar mixtures is still apparent:

Keep your eye on the mix!


I had literally turned my back 15 seconds, to rinse a bowl in the sink.  All of a sudden I hear a sizzle and the kitchen was filled with smoke.  Needless to say, that mixture was not used.  So, I frantically searched online for a new recipe with which I could use my pecans.

I found one that used an egg white batter with brown sugar and vanilla.  I then only had to BAKE the pecans and mix…no boiling required.  I could EASILY eat the entire result!  My husband, that does NOT like nuts of any kind, actually went back for thirds on this one!

2nd Try, Different Recipe


Grandma’s Notes: Thank you Lord, that bad times and sadness do not last forever.  HELP ME TO WAIT PATIENTLY FOR THE GOOD TIMES TO FOLLOW.

Guaca, guaca, guaca…

5 Jan

OK, so that is a horrible rendition of Fozzie Bear’s “Wocka, wocka, wocka.”  You get the idea though.  Tonight’s recipes are in honor of my beautiful sister, April, and her husband Mike.  Tomorrow is their 4th anniversary.  It’s her submitted recipe for guacamole and a non-date recipe for “Tortilla Pie” of Grandma’s.  At first I was just going to make the guac, but soon decided I needed something other than chips to go with it.  So, to the store we went, cookbook in hand.

While April’s guacamole can stand alone, a meal it does not really make.  As for any good dip, it can accompany just about any main dish.  However, I figured I should start sprinkling in the undated recipes I’ve found.

It’s a simple avocado, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro mix.  Add a little lime juice and onion if you want and viola!  I, personally equate onions to the vegetable equivalent of the devil…so…I did not add them.  The pie is super easy too!  Layers of ground beef, ranch style beans and corn tortillas all topped with cheese.  Bake, with a shallow layer of water in the dish, until bubbly.  So simple!

Tortilla Pie and Guacamole

What Grandma says: THANK YOU LORD THAT YOU ARE ALIVE FOREVERMORE.  I am glad you will never have to go through the terrible bearing of the cross and crusifixion again.  PRAISE YOUR HOLY NAME!

Other notes: April married Mike on January 5, 2008.  April is getting ready to start nursing school this semester.  Mike has two brother and his birthday is December 17.


On a personal note, my kitchen is slowly becoming Grandma’s kitchen.  I always remember grandma having 5 to 6 different cereals neatly arranged on top of the fridge. Countertops were clear except for the microwave (which she did NOT always own), toaster over, and scrap bucket.  After meals there was a small drain board that sat to the left of the sink for dishes to dry.  Little did I know she actually owned a dishwasher!  Go figure…On the table was a Lazy-Susan with various accoutrements for pretty much any meal at any given time: salt, sugar, sweet-n-low, napkins, toothpicks, and the random citrus fruit or bag of chips.  Well, my table has been cleared to the point of being able to have a large bowl for chips and crackers (moved from the counters) and a Texas-shaped bowl for the citrus.  The counter tops are morphing into a more workable area and I couldn’t be happier!

Getting closer to Grandma's table


Stay tuned for more love, from Grandma’s Kitchen!