Chewy Molasses Cookies

November 29, 2009 · Posted in Recipes · View Comments 

I made these Chewy Molasses Cookies to go with my Pumpkin Mousse and they were a hit. The cookies come out soft and chewy. This is a good traditional Molasses Cookie recipe that has the perfect amount of spice. It’s also a kid-friendly recipe.

Molasses Cookies

Chewy Molasses Cookies


3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup molasses, mild flavor

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup white sugar


1.In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the unsalted butter, 1 cup sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in the molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger; blend into the molasses mixture.

Molasses Dough

Cover, and chill dough for 1 hour.

2.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Roll dough with the palm of your hands into small sized balls,(I use a small scoop to measure exact size) and roll them in the remaining white sugar. (This is a step your kids can help with) Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

Molasses Balls

3. Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven, until tops are cracked. (Oven temperatures vary) Cool on wire racks.

Molasses Cookies Out Of Oven



Molasses with Milk

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Mousse

November 29, 2009 · Posted in Recipes · View Comments 

During the holiday season I’m always inspired to try new recipes. After the hearty Thanksgiving meal and the glorious abundance of desserts, I thought I would try a dessert that was a little on the light side but still incorporate the holiday theme foods.

This is my first time creating this recipe and it would be a great alternative to your traditional pies for holiday desserts. The textures and flavors really come together after chilling in the refrigerator and the texture had turned from whip cream, into this deliciously creamy, silky smooth mousse. I definitely recommend making this dessert the day before you plan to serve it.

Normally I see this dessert served with ginger snaps but my husband is not a huge fan of those so I tried it with Molasses cookies.  It was delicious!

pumpkin Mousse

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Mousse


2 cups pumpkin puree

3 cups heavy cream

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Dash of nutmeg


Combine pumpkin puree, 1 1/2 cups cream, sugar and spices in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and spoon into a mixting bowl. Cool completely.

Pumpkin Mousse Starter

Whip the remaining heavy cream and vanilla until it forms soft peaks and fold into the cooled pumpkin mixture.

Whipping Cream


 Whipping Cream Pumpkin

Pour into a serving dish or glass, add a dash of nutmeg and serve with a molasses cookie over top before serving.

Pumpkin Mousse1


 If you would like a new and different pumpkin desert that is creamy and delightful, try this!

Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas:Artichoke Sausage Dressing

November 28, 2009 · Posted in Recipes · View Comments 

Every year I like to try a new recipe for my holiday menus. The dressing has always been my favorite side dish of Thanksgiving dinner. This year I tried a new dressing recipe with Artichoke and Sausage. I find it helpful in preparing the dressing when I make the  seasoned bread crumbs and corn bread the day before. This recipe is very delicious and even better the next day. The Italian sausage truly adds a lot of flavor to this dish and great texture. For those of you who are not big fans of artichoke hearts, they can be omitted and it would still be a delcious dish.


Artichoke Sausage Dressing

 Artichoke Sausage Dressing


2 14 oz bags of seasoned bread crumbs (or make your own seasoned bread crumbs)

2 cups corn bread, cubed

2 cups  chicken or vegetable stock

1 pound Italian sausage, with casings removed

1 pound packaged sliced mushrooms

1 cup diced onions

4 garlic cloves, pressed

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 jar (about 14 oz.) marinated artichoke hearts in water, drained

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cut bread into 1-in. cubes and put in a large bowl.  Add corn bread. Add stock and mix to moisten bread; set aside.

2. Add sausage to a 12-in. frying pan over high heat. Cook, breaking sausage into ½-inch lumps, until meat is lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, onions, garlic and poultry seasoning; reduce heat to medium-high, cover pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are juicy, 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover, turn heat back to high, and cook, stirring often, until juices have evaporated and vegetables begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

3. Meanwhile, add parsley, artichoke hearts, and cheese to bread cubes in bowl. Add sausage and vegetables; mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon dressing into a casserole dish.

4. Put dressing in oven and bake until top is browned and edges are crispy, 25 to 30 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil and set aside.

Quick and Easy Turkey Leftovers:Southwestern Turkey Chili

November 28, 2009 · Posted in Recipes · View Comments 

Are you one of those Black Friday Shoppers? Are you famished after a long day of grabbing all those holiday bargins? This is a perfect recipe that is not only quick and easy but very comforting after a long day shopping and even perfect for a weeknight meal. Put all the ingredients in your slow cooker in the morning and it will be ready when you get home. These great flavors together will add zip to your meal.

Southwestern Turkey Chili Cover

Southwestern Turkey Chili


2 cups shredded turkey meat

2 cups pinto beans, drained

2 cups kidney beans, drains

2 cups garbonzo beans, drained

1 cup diced mild green chilies

2 cups diced and peeled tomatoes

2 cups yellow corn

1 medium onion, diced

2 cups vegetable broth

2 Tablespoons Southwestern Seasoning Mix

2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning Mix

1 teaspoon pepper


Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low heat 6-8 hours.


 Southwestern Turkey Chili



The longer it cooks, the more the flavors come together. Serve with corn bread or tortilla chips.

Holiday Entertaining Ideas:Easy Appetizer Recipes

November 26, 2009 · Posted in Recipes · View Comments 

Holiday Entertaining Ideas

This Thanksgiving I decided to plan a wonderful array of different recipes for our Thanksgiving feast, starting from the appetizers all the way to the dessert. If your having guests this Thanksgiving, serving easy, quick appetizers will definitely impress your guests. If your refrigertator is well stocked, than you can prepare something quickly.

Easy Appetizer Recipes

Brie is a fun cheese to work with during the holidays and just plain simple for a quick get together with family or friends. Brie is perfect with fresh fruit, crackers or a simple baguette.

 Melted Brie with Apricot Mango Sauce

Melted Brie with Mango and Apricots


1/2 cup Apricot preserves

1 Tablespoon grated orange peel

1 Tablespoon orange juice

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 pound wedge Brie cheese

1/4 cup fresh mango

1 baguette, thinly sliced


Mix preserves, orange peel, orange juice, lemon juice and cinnamon in a bowl .

Cover apricot sauce and heat in the microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

 Apricot Sauce

Pour apricot sauce on a microwave-safe appetizer platter. Place Brie wedge on apricot sauce.



Return to microwave, uncovered and heat until Brie is slightly melted. Garnish with fresh parsley and assort mango pieces on platter.

Place baguette slices on platter and serve.




Thanksgiving Dinner Party: Entertain Buffet Style

November 22, 2009 · Posted in Kitchen Tips · View Comments 

Thanksgiving Dinner Party

Are you looking for a fresh new recipe or two to take to the many Holiday functions you have scheduled? Would you like to have the prettiest table setting at your holiday dinner this year? Entertain with ease this Thanksgiving Holiday.

Now, how many of you are afraid of the word “entertaining” – come on be honest. Thank you for that. The thing is that most of us don’t have the time to entertain and most of us think that entertaining means taking hours to shop, prepare, and serve and that you have to have a big display and lots of people over.

But, entertaining is just the way you put out the food you put out on your table, whether it’s for a holiday, a BBQ, a party, or just what you serve your family for dinner. They say 50% of the meal is presentation, right?

Who says Thanksgiving needs to be elaborate? You can still enjoy the Thanksgiving feast with simple foods. Simple foods can taste really good. Remember, what matters most is that you are together as a family. You do not have to have tons and tons of food – make your menu simple – have a main dish and a couple of side dishes and a dessert. Prepare easy to cook dishes.

Entertain Buffet Style

The first-ever Thanksgiving was a potluck. In the United States, most of us learned Thanksgiving was originally a harvest festival held by the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony in 1621. During the first Thanksgiving, the pilgrims held a three-day feast in celebration of their bountiful harvest following their arrival in North America.

One of the side dishes I like to make on Thansgiving is Cornbread. There are many different recipes to choose from. Instead of just having dinner rolls, I like to make a Honey Cornbread muffin. It’s a perfect compliment to a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  I make extra to use in the stuffing.

Cornbread Muffins

 Honey Corn Bread Muffins


4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cup cornmeal

1 1/2 teasppons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

1/3 cup honey


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prep muffin pan with muffin cups. I personally enjoy using my stoneware muffin pan as it evenly conducts heat and the muffins turn out perfectly.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, honey, and melted butter. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine.

Divide the batter evenly in the muffin pan, I use a medium, stainless steel scoop as it perfectly pours the right amount of batter in each muffin cup. Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserteinto the center comes out clean, 30 minutes.


Quick and Easy Roasting Pan Tips for your Holiday Season

November 19, 2009 · Posted in Kitchen Tips · View Comments 

There are many uses for the roasting pan. Here is a list of some of those uses along with some Quick and Easy Roasting Pan Tips for your Holiday Season.

 Putting Your Roasting Pan To Use:

  • Perfect for Carmel Corn (double the recipe for the holidays)
  • 10 pounds of B-B-Q Beef
  • Use it to cook for a crowd
  • Great for Rice Krispy Treats
  • Brown 8 pounds of hamburger on the stovetop
  • Italian Sausage and Peppers for a crowd
  • Sauerkraut and Ribs for a crowd
  • At a church breakfast, you can make a ton of Scrambled Eggs (omelets)
  • Use on the stovetop for Pancakes and Grilled Cheese
  • Great to do lots of Corn on the Cob
  • Bake Ziti
  • Great for Baked Potatoes for a crowd. Spray the pan with olive oil and roll in Kosher salt. Do not prick potatoes!
  • Triple a soup recipe and freeze it in containers to take to work!


Quick Tips for using your Roasting Pan

  • Whenever possible, elevate a roast so the heat and air can circulate underneath.
  • A bone in a roast won’t take as long to cook as a boneless. The bone acts as a heat conductor to the meat’s center. Remember, the bone delivers a wonderful flavor!
  • Roast your turkey with the breast side down for 1 1/2-2 hours and than flip it to keep the breast moist. It’s never dry.
  • A roast should be large(and placed in a large pan) so it remains tender and moist.

Try this recipe for Oven Caramel Corn!

Oven Caramel Corn


2 Cups brown sugar

2 sticks butter

1/2 cup white corn syrup

6 qts popped corn (exactly what the large stainless steel bowl holds. 24 cups)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla


Boil brown sugar, butter, syrup and salt for 5 minutes in large Roasting pan. Remove from heat and add vanilla and soda. Pour over the popped corn and stir well. (May add 1-2 cups of nuts at this time also!) Pour mixture back into Roasting Pan (if using another pan, make sure you butter it very well, but no need to butter with Roasting Pan!).

Place in a 200 degree oven for 1 hour. Stir about every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Once cool, you can add M&M’s…nuts…candy corn…drizzle with melted chocolate…whatever you like! Store in covered containers to keep crisp.

Thanksgiving Shopping Tips and Dinner Party Ideas

November 14, 2009 · Posted in Kitchen Tips · View Comments 

 Thanksgiving Shopping Tips

Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner can be quite stressful. Make your Thanksgiving easier this year.  Start your grocery shopping early! Don’t wait until the week of Thanksgiving to buy what you need. Not only are you risking empty pantry shelves, but it is too expensive to buy at the last minute.  Not to mention stressful. Too many people wait until the last minute.

Browse your weekly grocery ads, they always have items on sale prior to the holidays. There are great sales starting around the end of October after Halloween for baking supplies and such.  Don’t worry about having to0 much, you will definitely use it later.

Stock up now. If you’re not one to make homemade stuffing, and stuffing mix is on sale when you are at the market for milk, pick it up. You are going to need it anyway. You can also get cranberries cheap way before the big day. Cranberries freeze well too.

Turkeys are usually on sale weeks before. I was at the grocery store the other day and made a purchase $99 or more. I received my choice of a Free Turkey or Turkey Breast. There’s my Thanksgiving Turkey. If you have an extra freezer like we do, spending $99 is pretty easy with a weekly shopping trip. On your next trip to the grocery store  you’ll receive another Free Turkey. Freeze it for another meal. Leftovers from Turkey dinners are great. There are lots of recipes you can make from a leftover turkey and you have your weekly meals already done.

Dinner Party Ideas

Plan your cooking day. This should  most likely be the week before. Decide what you have left to do and prep as much as you can. Mix up the stuffing for the turkey and put into bowl and store in fridge two days prior. Bread rolls can be made ahead. Cook up those fresh cranberries. They will be much better the next day anyway after setting.  Two days before, defrost all those baked goods you froze the weeks prior to now.  The day before, bake up those pies you froze. Doing as much as you can on this day will help you to have more time with friends and family.

And Finally Thanksgiving Day! Your turkey is in the oven. The morning of, set the table, organize serving dishes and setting out appetizers for your guests to enjoy while the meal is being prepared. Snacking is an important part to hosting a party. This is a must when entertaining. So set out the appetizer trays and mingle with your guests because you have planned for this day and you will now enjoy it too!

Share Your Season:Homemade For The Holidays

November 7, 2009 · Posted in Community Service, Fundraiser Events · View Comments 


Share Your Season with the Nevada County Bakers

With the holidays approaching fast, it’s time for another Bake Sale  for our team of bakers. We are testing some favorite holiday recipes and planning what to bake and putting together some favorite holiday gifts sets. Our next bake sale is planned for Saturday, December 12, 2009. (Further details to follow in future posts.)

For families facing hunger, the holidays can be one of the hardest times of the year. This holiday season you can Share Your Season and help end childhood hunger in America and in your community.

Homemade For The Holidays

The crispness of the Fall air and the beautiful colors of the leaves remind me of the holidays and making fresh baked goods. As we move into November, there are a number of pumpkin recipes that come to mind. I am happy to be baking one of my all time favorite pumpkin recipes for this holiday bake sale. It’s moist and full of flavor.


Pumpkin Bread


2 cups fresh pumpkin puree

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup water

3 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1/4 cup cranberries (optional)


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two inch loaf pans. (Or use mini loaf pans)

2.In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water, sugar and vanilla until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and pumpkin spice. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pecans may be added at this point. Pour into the prepared pans.

3.Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Help us Share The Season and hold a Community Bake Sale in your community.


If your interested in becoming a part of our team, donating on behalf of our team or would like futher information on how you can participate, please contact

Quick Weeknight Meals:What’s For Dinner Tonight?

November 5, 2009 · Posted in Main Dishes · View Comments 

What’s For Dinner Tonight?

Parents who work are always looking for easy ways to feed the family. A friend of mine mentioned to me the other day that she was having difficulty deciding what to make for dinner. She put in a request that I should have a daily recipe on my website for moms who are frustrated about what to make for dinner.

This program was designed for those with the frustration of not being prepared for dinner time. You know when those adorable faces look at you at 4:30 or when you walk through the door after a hard day’s work and they say “I’m hungry!” “What’s for dinner?” and you have NO IDEA!! Does this sound familiar?

Of course this idea is not a new one. There are sites and books like Once a Month Cooking, and the whole industry of Personal Cheffing, that are dedicated to this idea. I know some people who use the once-a-month cooking plan, and it works great for them. For others though, it’s not so great, because the menus and recipes don’t fit into their tastes or dietary needs. (I’ll share more on this issue in another post.)

With my job as a Busy Mom, maintaining a household, working full-time and as an Independent Consultant, I offer workshops teaching others in the kitchen, and showing them how they can make ten meals at a time, always prepared specifically for family meal time and even entertaining.  I’ve even offer Kids Cooking Workshops so the kids can learn how to participate in the kitchen. Cooking does not have to be a chore.

All of us are busy, no matter what our roles are. Five o’clock comes around faster than any other hour of the day. So, I hope this helps reduce your frustration when you hear those three words, “What’s For Dinner?.”

Quick Weeknight Meals

For some of you reading my post, this may be a refresher course from learning about  the term Power Cooking Meals, for others it may be a whole new adventure.

Helpful Hints on Preparing:

  • Clean out your freezer and refrigerator the day before planing your meals and shopping.
  • Have a family meeting so everyone in your family can vote on what’s on the meal list.
  • Make your full menu for ten meals- 5 meals x 2. Keep in mind you will not have to cook all of the items on your menu ahead of time-only the foods that need a lot of preparation or that can be completed and frozen.(For example, if you are planning hamburgers on the grill, you only need to shape the burgers and freeze them.)
  • Pull out all the recipes and cookbooks that you might need to use. Having a computer, it can really help to put your recipes in a file.
  • Make your shopping list (using pencil). This will be your Master List. You will need to alter the quantity of many items on your list several times as you go through each recipe.
  • Photocopy your final list to use for future meals.

After your list is completed:

  • Browse your freezer and cupboards. Mark or even highlight any item you may already have before you go shopping.
  • Before your shopping trip, clean off your counter tops and the kitchen table. You will need the space!
  • Make sure you have enough containers for the meals you will be preparing. Gladware plastic works well. It really helps to have uniform size containers for storing foods in your freezer. They even sell them with color-coated lids so you can choose red for beef dishes, green for veggie dishes and blue for chicken dishes. For those items that can be stored in freezer bags, I recommend the Glad Fresh-protect freezer bags, and also the Fresh-protect storage bags for the refrigerator. They really do work the best!!!

To find great kitchen tools to make your cooking easier and faster, shop Noel’s Kitchen.

Check back frequently to learn more recipes, kitchen tips and more for creating your family meal times. Eating out is expensive….eating with family is priceless!

Teriyaki Meatloaf – serves 6


1 ½ pounds Ground Turkey

½ cup oats

¼ cup milk

½ cup finely chopped Carrot

½ cup finely chopped Onion

½ cup finely chopped Celery

½ cup Sugar

¼ cup Soy Sauce (low sodium)


In a mixing bowl, thoroughly mix all ingredients. Shape into two loaves, or place in mini-loaf pan. Preheat oven to 375◦, and bake loaves for 30-45 minutes. Allow to cool completely, wrap in aluminum foil, and place in freezer containers, or Glad Fresh Protect Freezer Bags.

 To reheat, thaw overnight in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 375◦ and reheat in foil for 20-30 minutes.

 *** May also be frozen before baking. To bake, Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 375◦, and bake for 45-60 minutes.

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