Weekend Cooking – Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

IMG_1276I spent yesterday, a rainy Saturday, with two of my sisters baking a boatload of Christmas cookies. We came prepared with our dough ready to be baked. Even with that timesaver we baked from 9am to 5pm. I have a newfound respect for professional bakers!! My neck and back were sore and by the time ¬†I arrived home I was ready to call it a day. But it was worth it because my baking is pretty much done. And I’d spent a fun day with my sisters. And Abby the wonder dog ūüôā

The cookie I made was a new-to-me recipe. I’d intended to make shortbread Cookie Bookcookies but found I was missing an ingredient so I went to my Betty Crocker’s Cookie Book and found a recipe I thought would work. Again, I was missing a key ingredient (I knew I had flaked coconut in the pantry but when I pulled the package from the very back of the shelf I found it had expired in 2007 – yikes!). So I altered the recipe and substituted 1 tsp. cinnamon for the coconut and ended up with a very thin, buttery cinnamon sugar cookie. It earned a thumbs up from the tasters.

Here’s the original recipe:

No-Roll Coconut-Sugar Cookies

2 cups sugar

2 cups butter or margarine, softened (I used butter)

1 cup flaked coconut (I substituted 1 tsp. cinnamon but you could use a little more)

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt


Heat oven to 350 (F). Beat 2 cups sugar, the butter, coconut (if using) and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, baking soda, (cinnamon if you’re using it) and salt.

Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into balls. Place about 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press bottom of glass into dough to grease, then dip into sugar; press on shaped dough to flatten slightly.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

I sprinkled a little red sugar on after baking

Yields: about 8 dozen cookies



weekend cookingWeekend Cooking¬†is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.¬†You do not have to post on the weekend.¬†Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. More information at the¬†welcome post.

Weekend Cooking – Dec. 17 (Reindeer cupcakes edition)

My daughter Meg wanted to make a kid-friendly dessert for Thanksgiving so she used Google to look for ideas and found this adorable recipe at With Sprinkles On Top. It’s a great blog – you should check it out!

Meg used a cake mix, store-bought chocolate frosting, a tube of black icing and white York Peppermint Pieces for the eyes, peanut butter M&M on a Nilla Wafer (held in place with a dab of frosting) for the nose.

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Meg – almost finished and pleased with the results.

These were a hit with kids and adults alike!

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You can find more Weekend Cooking posts at Beth Fish Reads

Recipes For Life: My Memories by Linda Evans with Sean Catherine Derek

Title:  Recipes For Life: My Memories

Author:  Linda Evans with Sean Catherine Derek

Genre:  Memoir with recipes

Published:  October 2011 РVanguard Press

My take:  When I was young one of my favorite television shows was The Big Valley starring Barbara Stanwyck and a young actress named Linda Evans. I thought she was the most beautiful person on tv. So when I was offered a review copy of Recipes For Life I happily accepted. Linda Evans went on to star in one of the biggest shows on television: Dynasty. My children were born during those years so I was too busy/tired to watch the show but I knew it was very popular.

Recipes For Life is filled with Evans’ memories starting with her family’s move to California in the 1940s and moves through the decades to recent years. There are many stories about stars such as Barbara Stanwyck, John Forsythe, and John Wayne (to name a few) who were not only co-stars but also good friends. I enjoyed the numerous color photos scattered throughout the book. Evans also wrote about her love of cooking and included several favorite recipes – hers and those of famous chefs, actors, and other friends.

At times I was surprised by how much Evans disclosed about her marriages and relationships yet she didn’t do it in a negative way. She always seemed to take the good from each one and move on – usually on good terms. I admire her positive approach to life. Hers hasn’t necessarily been easy but she has been blessed with a few wonderful friends who have been as devoted to her as she is to them. And in my book that makes her a fortunate person.

I recommend Recipes For Life  to fans of Hollywood memoirs and cookbooks.

Source:   FSB Associates

♦  ♦  ♦

Linda’s Famed Artichoke Dip
By Linda Evans,
Author of Recipes For Life: My Memories

I’ve been making my artichoke dip for years. Practically everyone who has ever tasted it has asked me for the recipe. It’s perfect for large parties or for smaller, intimate gatherings. Or when your husband’s ex-wife comes to dinner! The secret here is to use the artichoke bottoms, not the hearts. Artichoke hearts may be easier to find, they don’t produce the same results. The recipe easily doubles or triples for large gatherings. You can also replace the artichokes with 7 ounces of lump crab meat for a delicious variation.


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
¬Ĺ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Tabasco (or more, to taste)
1¬Ĺ tablespoons thinly sliced scallions (white part only)
¬Ĺ cup grated Parmesan cheese (I prefer Parmigiano-Reggiano)
1 (13¬ĺ ounce) can artichoke bottoms (not hearts), drained and finely diced

Preheat oven to 350¬įF.

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the mayonnaise. One by one, blend in the Tabasco sauce, scallions, and Parmesan.

Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the artichokes (don’t use the mixer for this).

Spoon the mixture into a 3-cup baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm with crackers.

The above is an excerpt from the book Recipes For Life: My Memories by Linda Evans. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2011 Linda Evans, author of Recipes For Life: My Memories

Weekend Cooking is a meme hosted at Beth Fish Reads

My Favorite (Christmas) Cookie

This is my favorite Christmas cookie. ¬†My mom used her mother’s recipe and that’s how it came to be known as Grandma O’Neill Cookies. ¬†You might know them as Brown Sugar Drop cookies.


Grandma O’Neill Cookies


1 cup shortening (I used butter)

1¬Ĺ cups brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. baking soda dissolved in¬†¬ľ cup hot water

1 tsp. cinnamon

2¬Ĺ cups flour

¬Ĺ tsp. salt

¬Ĺ cup raisins

¬Ĺ cup chopped nuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 375¬į

Combine dry ingredients, set aside

Mix shortening, sugar, eggs, vanilla.

Add dry ingredients alternating with water with soda

Make 1 inch balls and place on parchment paper (or greased cookie sheets)

Bake 10-15 minutes (my oven took 12 minutes)

Place cookies on wire rack to cool.

When cooled, frost with almond icing (powdered sugar mixed with milk and almond extract to your taste and consistency preference). ¬†* I use¬†¬ľ tsp. extract

Sprinkle with red or green sugar (optional)

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.

Weekend Cooking – Cookie Swap

I heard that Dawn of She Is Too Fond of Books is hosting a cookie swap so, at the last minute, I decided to join in the fun. ¬†The thing is, I didn’t have on hand a few ingredients for my family’s favorite cookie. ¬†So I’m sharing my secret go-to cookie:

Ghirardelli Chocolate “Milk Chocolate Shortbread Cookies”. ¬†Each fall I pick up a box (three mixes inside) at Costco. ¬†It’s the easiest cookie out there and I dare say one of the tastiest. ¬†For one mix all you need is ¬ĺ¬†cup butter.

I don’t care for that after taste that can be found in many commercial mixes but I don’t taste it at all in this cookie. ¬†So, from the back of the box:


¬ĺ¬†Cup (1¬Ĺ sticks) Butter, Melted

1 Pouch Cookie Mix (enclosed)

1 Pouch Milk Chocolate Drops (enclosed)


Preheat oven to 350¬ļF.

Place melted butter and cookie mix in medium bowl.  Stir until dough forms..

Scoop dough by rounded tablespoons and shape into 1-inch balls.  Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 12-14 minutes or until light golden brown around bottom edges (top will be pale).

Remove from oven and immediately place a chocolate drop on each cookie, pressing halfway into cookie.  (For best results, press chocolate drops into freshly baked, hot cookies.) Transfer cookies from pan to wire rack.  Each batch makes 24 cookies.

* Variations for the recipe are included on the box (Quick & Easy Chocolate Shortbread Dessert Bars, Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies, Chocolate Pecan Dipped Cookies).

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Next week’s Weekend Cooking post will be my family’s favorite cookie.


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Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.

Let’s Eat! by Denise Burroughs

Title: Let’s Eat!

Author: Denise Burroughs

Genre: Cookbook

About: At 51 pages, Let’s Eat! may be a slim volume but it’s packed with comfort-food recipes. ¬†Many seemed ¬†familiar to me – similar to recipes the cooks in my extended family make: ¬†Meatball Appetizer; Chicken Casserole; Taffy Apple Salad; Fantasy Fudge. ¬†Also included are 10 Tips from the Kitchen; How Much Of This Equals That?; Baking Tips; Baking Substitutions; Preparing Marinades And Sauces; Is It Done Yet? ¬†I decided to try the following recipe:

Broccoli and Spaghetti


4 Tbsp. olive oil

2/3 cloves of garlic

14 oz. bag broccoli florets frozen

1 tbs. Red crushed pepper

Salt to taste

1/4 cup water

Grated parmesan cheese


In a medium size pan add 4 Tbsp. olive oil, 2/3 cloves of garlic.  Heat until garlic is sizzling but do not brown.  Add a 14 oz. bag of broccoli florets, red pepper and salt as desired.  Cook on low for about 20/25 minutes until broccoli is soft.  You can add a little water at the end if desired.  Pour over angel hair pasta.  Add grated parmesan cheese on top.  Broccoli florets can be either thawed or frozen.

My experience with this recipe: I used 1 teaspoon of the red pepper flakes and I thought it was too hot.  Next time I would cut way back on the pepper flakes.  My family agreed that while it was tasty it had too much heat.

My Thoughts: The first thing I noticed is that there is no table of contents which I think is essential.  I was also a bit confused about a measurement abbreviation in the recipe I made.  It called for 1 tbs. of an ingredient.  I guessed that meant teaspoon but I was taught that tsp. is the abbreviation.  So I went for a teaspoon and hoped for the best.

Despite my quibbles and because the recipes do not seem difficult or intimidating, I think even beginner cooks would feel comfortable using this book. ¬†Let’s Eat! might be a useful resource for those times you want to make some comfort food or for your contribution to the neighborhood block party or family get-together.

Source: Denise Burroughs for her virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book

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About Denise Burroughs: She’s the owner of a paint and body shop and a member of NAPEW (National Association of Professional & Executive Women 2007-2008). A love for cooking and a desire to share wonderful family traditions was put to paper to create Let’s Eat.  There have been so many people who have inspired her in her life, but no one inspired her more than her mother.  Many of the recipes in this book have been served many times over and enjoyed by family and friends.  She is happy to share them all with you and hopes you enjoy every bite as they were all made with lots of love.

You can visit Denise at www.deniseburroughs.com


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at Beth Fish Reads

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.

5 Ingredient Fix by Claire¬†Robinson – Weekend Cooking

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From the book blurb: Claire Robinson – host of Food Network’s 5 Ingredient Fix – is here to help you get dinner on the table with minimal fuss and just a few great ingredients.

With everyone struggling to streamline and budget, Claire’s recipes make preparing delicious meals a snap. ¬†Showing you how to choose the right ingredients along with a little culinary know-how is her specialty. ¬†According to Claire, cooking doesn’t have to be complicated to be impressive: ¬†Simplifying the process with fewer ingredients saves time, frustration, and, ultimately, money.

My thoughts: When I first saw the title of this beautiful cookbook I thought it seemed like a good one for me.  5 Ingredient Fix covers all meals as well as cocktails and various dinner courses.  The author imparts her philosophy of cooking with fewer ingredients and also lists which basics every kitchen warrior should own. There is a section titled Menu Ideas For Memorable Meals which groups recipes from the book into meals.

The photography is gorgeous and made me want to try several recipes. I must say that some of the ingredients are not staples I would normally find in my pantry or refrigerator so preparation is key.  After browsing the recipes I decided to make:


Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Basil Butter

1 large spaghetti squash (about 4 pounds)

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

8 large basil leaves, sliced

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese plus more for serving

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Preheat the oven to 375¬į

Halve the squash through the stem and remove the seeds.  Season with salt and pepper and roast cut side up on baking sheet until completely soft, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly and, with a fork, shred the squash flesh from the shell and transfer to a serving dish.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the pine nuts and basil to a paste.  Add the butter and cheese and pulse to combine; season with salt and pepper.

Serve the squash warm with soft butter on the side to dollop on each serving.



Tim and I agreed that it’s a tasty side dish. ¬†I think the star of the recipe is the Basil Butter. ¬†The combination of the basil, pine nuts and cheese is wonderfully flavorful. Some of the ingredients are on the expensive side – I had no idea about the price of pine nuts! ¬†Despite the cost, I would definitely make this recipe again.




Claire Robinson is the host of Food Network’s 5 Ingredient Fix and Food Network Challenge. ¬†She cites her French-speaking grandmother as a major influence on her love for food. ¬†Claire graduated from the French Culinary Institute, is an accomplished private chef, and has worked on culinary production teams for several cooking series, including Food Network’s Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Review copy from Hachette Book Group

Weekend cooking: Muffins

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A few days ago I saw a tweet from @skrishna about the Muffins That Taste Like Donuts recipe. ¬†Click the recipe title link to see the recipe. ¬† It’s at the Tasty Kitchen on the Pioneer Woman’s website. ¬†Since I had all the ingredients in my pantry and fridge¬†I decided to give it a try and am pleased to tell you I have a new “go to” breakfast recipe. ¬†If you’re looking for a flavorful, surprisingly easy recipe this could be one for you!