Remember when I slaved over a pot of boiling milk to get about 1 cup of dulce de leche? Yeah, turns out that’s not going to be happening anymore. Why? Ask my kid who finds it fun to tug at my pants and grasp onto my leg for dear life just to be picked up every 5 minutes. It’s also hilarious when he pretends he has cooked noodles for legs when I try to set him back down.
You could extend a sigh of frustration with me. Or, you could ask why a mom who has more than enough on her plate couldn’t just buy a bottle of it? Or perhaps just not make it altogether because it really isn’t a necessity like maybe … dinner? I call those non-options. And, you’ll agree when you see what I’ve done with two beautiful cans of pure decadence, without all the stirring.
Dulce De Leche (The Easy Way)
- Cans of sweetened condensed milk
- Large pot with a heavy bottom with a lid
- Place the cans of condensed milk in the pot. Fill the pot with water. The water should fully cover the cans.
- Place the pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil over medium high heat.
- Once at a boil, cover and reduce the heat to medium to keep it at a simmer.
- Check the water level every 30 minutes to make sure that the cans are all well submerged.
- After three hours, turn off the stove and move the pot with lid off the heat (to another burner). Jut let everything cool down. Once the water is cool, remove the cans and place on a towel to cool to room temperature.
- Do not use any cold water, ice or any cooling procedure to make the cans colder faster.
Last week was ridiculous. Between two trips to the emergency room for a baby whose 104-105 fever wouldn’t break for 3 days (with medicine), and work deadlines that didn’t take notice at all of my personal schedule, I’m physically and emotionally spent.
For instance, after 2 days of a high fever, we thought we were in the clear when the baby’s temperature went down to 99. And, after 48 hours of no sleep, we thought to take a nap at 3:00 a.m. At 5:00 a.m., turns out the temperature went down to 94, which is bad bad bad. Helpless is the word. Oh, and also sleep deprived.
As in, I want to hide under my bed covers and sleep for a month….and wake up only for these scones.
I made these scones as a way to use up my frozen blueberries, and to also have a special breakfast treat for several days during the week. With such a short ingredient list, you’re likely to have everything on hand. And after a week like mine, I’ll call that a win. Add a cup of dark coffee, and I can almost see a light at the end of the tunnel.
barely adapted from Tyler Florence
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, make sure its thawed and drained)
- 1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
- Cut in the butter with a fork until the mixture look like coarse crumbs.
- Fold the blueberries into the batter. Be careful and gentle to where you don’t break the blueberries because the color will bleed into the dough.
- Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough.
- Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 x 3 x 1.5 inches. Cut the rectangle in half then cut the pieces in half again, giving you 4 squares. Cut each square in half diagonally.
- Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown.
The title should really be – Best. Banana. Pudding. Ever. Ever.
As a Texan, I take my banana pudding pretty seriously. I’ve seen serious atrocities attempt to pass as banana pudding. My ideal banana pudding must be vanilla pudding, with banana and vanilla wafer cookies. The most important part to know is that it’s vanilla pudding with bananas. Not banana flavored pudding. But, the banana flavor, after sitting, will get into the vanilla pudding.
I totally agree the ingredients in this recipe may not be the most traditional, but oh good gravy it’s good. The sweetened condensed milk adds the perfect amount of sweetness while the whipped cream keeps it light. The vanilla wafers get cakey after sitting and these seemingly separate ingredients blend wonderfully. Cohesion – it works.
barely adapted from Food Network
- 1 box mini vanilla wafers
- 6 bananas, sliced
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 (5-ounce) box instant French vanilla pudding
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream
- Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch dish with wafers and layer bananas on top.
- In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer.
- Using another bowl, mix the cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture.
- Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended.
- Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining bananas and then cookies.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
As a kid, my husband’s mother would heat up the famous canned chicken noodle soup and give it to him when he was sick. We know the bit. 1. Empty soup can into bowl. 2. Fill can with water. 3. Add to soup. 4. Heat and serve. Well, he grew up with only steps 1 and 4. Can we say sodium overload? Ever since I’ve known him, he has always kept a can of this soup available for times he gets sick.
I can’t stand the stuff. Aside from the taste and sodium, the ingredient list is just too unnatural for my taste. I have attempted to change him but we all know how that turns out. (Note: It doesn’t work, friends.)
Well, that is until he tried to feed it to my sick baby. Before my death ray stare became an all out smack down, he put the spoon down. I went through the reasons I don’t want my child to eat this soup. I argued that I could make it better. He was still nostalgic. Then, I offered him hard proof. I asked what he thought of the chicken in his soup. He started fishing around for a piece and found red/pink unidentifiable pieces of “chicken” floating around. Then, he put his spoon down and has never had another bite/slurp of that soup.
In an effort to smooth his harsh defeat, I made him homemade chicken noodle soup. With a much better ingredient list, this soup offers the same comfort and full flavor, with minimal effort. My husband asks for it all the time – sick or not. And, this way he can feed the baby all he wants.
Chicken Noodle Soup
adapted from Allrecipes.com
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1 cup carrots, sliced
- 1/2 lb chicken breast, chopped
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups cup egg noodles
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, more to taste
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter and olive oil. Add the onions, garlic celery and carrots, and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the chicken to the vegetables and saute in the pot for about 3 minutes. You really just want to get a good saute and browning on the outside.
- Add the broth, noodles, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Add more salt and/or pepper, if needed.
My favorite Mediterranean restaurant in Dallas, Afrah’s, serves the most beautiful and bright lemony lentil soup. I have been attempting to replicate it since I’ve first had it years ago. Binks ordered it for his whole meal and I scoffed at him for ignoring the other delicious options on the menu filled with juicy grilled meat, soft pita, sauces, and hummus galore. I have told you before how the old me would never make a meal of soup, let alone order it. Yet, watching my husband enjoying every bite of his soup made me want to try it instantly. As if I ever let him eat his meal without stealing a bite. That’s normal right? The soup was divine. Perfectly lemony without being too spiced up, I was determined to find a recipe to closely match the restaurant version.
After trying out a few soups, this recipe has become a family favorite to replace, or dare say replicate, the restaurant soup. While comforting soups like this are usually eaten during winter for me, the lemon really makes this bright enough to have year round.
Lemony Lentil Soup
adapted from Yummy Supper originally from Soup Love by Rebecca Stevens and Nabil Samadani
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 bunch spring onions, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 celery ribs, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- zest of one lemon
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 cups red split lentils, rinsed
- 8 cups water
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (the juice from the zested lemon should give you enough)
- Heat large heavy soup pot over medium-low heat. Add olive oil and heat.
- Add green onions, yellow onions, celery, garlic, bay leaves, lemon zest, cumin, coriander, cloves, salt, and pepper. Saute the mixture until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
- Raise the heat to medium-high. Add lentils, water and vegetable stock to the pot. Bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that develops on the top of the water.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes until the lentils are soft and tender.
- Add lemon juice. Cook for another 10 minutes over low heat.
- Season with additional salt, if necessary.
Have you seen the movie The Truth About Cats and Dogs? Fully identifying with Janeane Garofalo’s character, crushing on Ben Chaplin and Uma Thurman, and of course the adorable pets, I loved that movie. But, looking back, the one thing I remember most is the cheesecake scene. Do you know the cheesecake scene? An image-conscious Thurman attempts to refuse cheesecake, but ultimately succumbs to being fed each bite by Chaplin. Aside from the sheer awkwardness of the moment altogether, I remember studying the cheesecake a little too much. As a child only left with a stash of Maria cookies (thanks, mom!), I longed for something so decadent.
As strange as the cheesecake scene, I still think of that movie when I eat cheesecake. Totally weird.
You can use whatever preserves, jam or fruit butter you have on hand. Mango and white chocolate were heavenly together, but I know this would also work with raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries.
White Chocolate Mango Cheesecake
adapted from Allrecipes.com
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tbsp white sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese,
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup fruit preserves, jam, coulis or butter
- In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, 3 tbsp white sugar and unsalted butter. Press mixture into a 9-inch springform pan.
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- In a double boiler, melt white chocolate chips and half and half, whisking until smooth. Once smooth,remove from heat and set aside to cool down.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time until each is fully incorporated. Mix in the vanilla extract. Pour half of the batter over the graham cracker crust in the springform pan.
- Spoon half of the fruit preserves. Pour the remaining batter over the preserves.
- Spoon the remaining fruit preserves and marble the preserves with the tip of the knife. Marble according to your preference. I wanted more pockets of mango butter so I didn’t marble as much.
- Place the springform pan on top of a cookie sheet filled halfway with water. Carefully move the springform pan and cookie sheet into the oven.
- Bake the cheesecake for 55-60 minutes, until the cheesecake is set (no longer jiggling or wet in the middle). Once set, turn off your oven, and leave the cheesecake in the oven for an hour. Do not touch it. Do not open the oven. Just leave it.
- After an hour, remove the cheesecake and allow it to cool. Once cool, cover with a plastic wrap, touching the cheesecake as you cover and place in fridge for at least 8 hours prior to serving.