Soup’s On!

Laura : January 2, 2014 12:31 pm : Books, Recipe

soup Did you know that January is National Soup Month? Celebrate by making a pot of warm, comforting, delicious soup! Making soup from scratch doesn’t take much longer than opening a can; plus, it’s healthier and tastier than what’s in that can. And? It makes your kitchen smell delightful.

The Big Book of Soups and Stews by Maryana Vollstedt. With a wonderful selection of quick bread recipes and a crockpot full of tips and hints to help soup-makers hone their skills, this is the ultimate one-stop comfort food cookbook.

Good Housekeeping Soups and Stews. Easy to make, full of flavor, simple to freeze, and as delicious reheated as fresh, soups and stews are a home cook’s best friend. Good Housekeeping has assembled a wonderful collection of simple, healthy, triple-tested recipes to warm up every mealtime.

Soup: A Way of Life by Barbara Kafka. In a wonderfully diverse collection of nearly 300 recipes from all over the world — some traditional, some newly minted, many so simple they require no cooking at all, each of them very much a part of our spiritual and emotional lives — she offers up a lifetime worth of pleasure.

Savory Soups and Stews by Anne Egan. This book of 75 recipes comes with complete nutritional analyses of each, a breadth of streamlined choices, and an introduction to basic soup cooking techniques.

Biggest Book of Soups and Stews by Better Homes and Gardens. More than 350 recipes for all seasons and reasons: casual or elegant, fast or slow-crafted, as a starter or a hearty meal. The best ragus, stews, chilis, chowders, chilled soups, bisques, and more. Super-fast soups, ready to serve in less than 30 minutes.

More soup cookbooks.

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Omnomable Peach Cobbler

Mary : June 3, 2013 11:54 am : Recipe

peachIf you’re like me, then sometimes you can’t wait for more than an hour for a sweet treat. (Sometimes even a minute seems too long!) Although chocolate is my first love, fruit cobbler is at least in the top ten.

Through a lot of trial and error, I’ve come up with an easy-to-remember, easy-to-do recipe for Peach Cobbler that usually takes less than an hour from start to finish. Why do I call it “Omnomable Peach Cobbler”? Well, because by the time I’ve got a bowl full of cobbler, all I can say is “omnomnom”!

For more books about desserts, click here to search our catalog!


  • 32 oz canned peaches
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/8 cup sugar (separate 1/8 cup from the rest)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Melt butter, either in microwave or in oven, in 2-quart baking or casserole dish. It should cover the bottom evenly.
  3. Bring canned peaches, juice included, to a near boil.
  4. While waiting on the peaches, mix the sugar (excluding 1/8 cup of sugar), cake flour, milk, salt, baking powder, vanilla extract, nutmeg & cinnamon (and any other spices you want to add) together in a large bowl.
  5. Whisk for about 3-5 minutes, or use an electric mixer on low, until relatively smooth.
  6. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish.
  7. Spoon the peaches (leave most of the juice in the pot) into the casserole dish. The batter and butter will mix with the peaches. This is supposed to happen.
  8. Sprinkle the remaining 1/8 cup of sugar over the top of the buttery, battery, peachy mess.
  9. Cook in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until it tests done. Oven times may vary.
  10. Let cool for about 15 minutes, or for as long as you can stand it before you dig in.
  11. Enjoy with a nice cup of coffee and scoop of vanilla ice cream or a glass of milk.
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Staff : May 15, 2013 9:59 am : Recipe

After having been born in Kuwait and living my childhood years in Saudi Arabia, I think the Middle Eastern spices of curry, cumin, and coriander are in my bloodstream. I can smell curry and I am instantly whisked back to the Suq’s of Khobar, Saudi Arabia. In 1958, while living in Kuwait, my mother was taught how to make beef curry by Ali, our Pakistani houseboy. In 1960, while on vacation in Minnesota, she entered this recipe into the local newspaper and won first prize. First prize was $5.00. To say I was weaned on Curry might be an exaggeration; in reality, I have been eating curry since I was a small child. Even now, it remains being my requested meal when visiting my parents because we all know, everything tastes better when Mom makes it! I have included the original recipe and a much easier recipe made with chicken that my mom uses today.

Kuwait Beef Curry

1 chopped onion

1/2 cup butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 1/2 tablespoon curry powder

3 cups cut up cooked beef

1/2 cup tomato sauce or 1 small can tomato paste

Juice of 1 lemon

Cooked rice

Brown onion in butter, add salt, pepper, ginger, curry powder. Stir and cook 2 minutes. Brown cut up meat; add lemon juice, tomato sauce or paste.  Add water to cover meat. Simmer 20 minutes. Serve over hot rice, surround rice with condiments.

Condiments—raisins, chopped onions, cut up tomatoes, coconut, peanuts, mango chutney


Chicken Curry

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup minced onions

1 tablespoon curry powder

Dash or two of Tabasco sauce

3 tablespoon flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon cardamom

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup milk

2 cups diced cooked chicken

Cooked rice

Melt butter over low heat, sauté the onions. Blend together curry powder, flour, salt, sugar, ginger, cardamom. Add to onions, cook over low heat until mixture is thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken broth and milk. Add Tabasco sauce (not too much now). Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat to medium and cook 1 minute. Add the chicken, cook until hot.  Serve over hot rice, surround rice with condiments.

Condiments—peanuts, raisins, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, coconut, mango chutney


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Best Cooking Websites and Blogs 2012

Phyllis : February 28, 2013 10:02 am : Books, Recipe

barefoot If one of your new year’s resolutions is to cook at home and try new recipes check out these Saveur finalists and winners of 2012. Many of these sites also have apps that can be downloaded onto your phone or tablet.

An informational website with recipes from Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Self magazine, cookbooks, chefs and home cooks. Recipes and menus may be searched by categories such as quick and easy, dietary need or preparation method, cuisine, seasonal and ingredients. Recipes include a photo of the completed item, list of ingredients and preparation instructions. There is a conversion chart for English to metric measurements and technique videos including things like napkin folding, knife skills, grilling and wine pairings. Some recipes do include nutritional information. You can create a recipe box to store your favorite recipes.

There is an app for this site for Iphone or Ipad tablet.

Recipe Source
Recipe Source is a simple archive of recipes searchable by ethnic cuisine or type of dish (main dishes, soups, baked goods, desserts). When a recipe is selected you are taken to the recipe complete with ingredients and instructions. There are no photos and few have nutritional information.

Recipe Link

Offers a wide collection of recipes including sample recipes from cookbooks, daily menus and shopping links. There is also a place to swap recipes, and look up recipes by dish and daily meal planner. In the daily meal planner you are given several options for meals along with the recipe. One of the fun features of this site are the copycat recipes. If you are interested in making Magnolia Bakery cupcakes like the Magnolia Bakery in NYC you can find a recipe here. Or if you want to find a recipe from an old Betty Crocker cookbook you can search the cookbook here.

Recipes included ingredients and instructions but no nutritional information. Still it’s a fun site.

Butter Me up Brooklyn

This site won the award for the best baking and desserts blog in 2012. There are featured recipes on the homepage complete with clear, large photos with instructions underneath. The recipes are divided into seasonal, fruit, vegetable, sweet, savory, brunch, booze, gift idea, technique, travel and vegan. Recipes may be printed. You may also subscribe to the blog and receive new posts.

Joe Pastry
One of the 2012 finalist., this is a baking website and blog with recipes listed by category. Step by step instructions with easy to understand narrative and photos included every step of the way. Basic techniques and tutorials on a variety of baking topics are also available.

Willow Bird Baking

Recipes on this site are more involved so cooks who like a challenge may find some new ideas here. The photos are beautiful. I looked at the croissant recipe and fully expected that I could make something that looked that good. It has not happened yet! Many of the recipes come from other sources.

Joy the Baker
Recipes on this site are divided by booze, bread, chocolate, cookies, dinner, drinks, fruit, gluten free, savory, snack and vegan. Recipes may be printed and you can subscribe to the blog. Large, beautiful step by step pictures along with running commentary accompany the recipes. She has a cookbook out called Joy the Baker Cook Book: 100 simple and comforting recipes.

Peter Drinks
This site was rated as the best beer blog in 2012. Everything beer, coffee and wine are included here. Home brewing and reviews of beer and wine are included

Big Girls, Small Kitchen

Named the Best cooking blog and website by Saveur. The Recipe index is divided by type of food, course, season, occasion, holiday, dietary restrictions, cooking method, cuisine and main ingredients. The recipes include photos with instructions and narrative. Photos are appealing and clear. After the recipe there are suggestions for recipes containing the same ingredients. There is a newsletter that can be subscribed to, a recipe box and menu suggestions. The guide section covers topics such as getting started, how to serve a salad buffet, how to improve a stir fry.

Seven Spoons

One of the 2012 finalists this site includes recipes arranged by categories. There is a finished picture, ingredients and detailed instructions. Links to other blogs and websites are included on the left hand side of the page. You may subscribe to the blog to receive updates.

And don’t forget the many cookbooks that you can find on the library shelves. Check out what’s new:

Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Cooking Italian with the Cake Boss by Buddy Valastro

Tiny Food Party! Bite size recipes for miniature meals by Teri Lyn Fisher

Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites by Sara Wells

Wheat Belly Cookbook by William Davis

Forks Over Knives by Del Sroufe

Hungry Girl to the Max by Lisa Lillien

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Our Best Bites

Emily : December 6, 2012 1:51 pm : Books, Recipe

best bites Our Best Bites by Sara Wells & Kate Jones is the first cookbook by this popular blogging duo.  Meeting my number one requirement for cookbooks, this one features great photos of every dish.  Recipes are clearly written and offer brief descriptions.  Chapters include: Appetizers and Drinks; Breads; Condiments, Spreads, and Garnishes; Breakfast and Brunch; Salads; Soups and Chilis; Meats; Pizza and Pasta; Side Dishes; and Desserts.  A nice feature of the book is its index of rollover ingredients, which will help keep you from wasting some of those less common ingredients such as blue cheese, buttermilk, and sour cream.  I’ve tried several recipes from this cookbook, but particularly enjoyed my dinner of Chili-Lime Steak and Stuffed Blue Cheese Potatoes.  Our Best Bites fans should check out Sara and Kate’s recently released sophomore effort, Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites.

Chili-Lime Steak

  • 1-2 pounds boneless steak (The authors suggest flak steak; I used fillets.)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

For the rub, combine spices in a small bowl.  Add lime juice and olive oil and stir to combine.  Place the steak in a shallow dish.  Pour the spice mixture over the steak and then rub it in with your hands.  Allow the steak to stand for 15 minutes.  While the meat is standing, preheat your grill.  Place the steak on the grill over medium-high heat and cook for 5-7 minutes per side or until desired doneness is reached.  Remove from grill and allow to stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

Stuffed Blue Cheese Potatoes

  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • 1-2 tablespoons shortening or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup real butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 ounce (1/4 cup) crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 pieces bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat over to 400F.  Wash and dry potatoes.  Rub them lightly with a bit of shortening or vegetable oil and place directly on oven rack.  Bake for one hour.  Remove potatoes and allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes.  Cut each potato in half to make 8 servings.  Scoop out the insides and place in a bowl.  Mash, and add butter, sour cream, blue cheese, milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Beat with a hand mixer until fluffy.  Carefully spoon mixture back into potato shells.  Place in a baking dish.  Return the potatoes to the hot oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.  Remove, sprinkle bacon and cheddar cheese over each potato, and bake an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

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Chili con Carne

Laura : November 5, 2012 1:18 pm : Recipe
Chili con Carne

This hearty chili has just the right level of spice to keep you warm on a cold winter day.

Chili Con Carne

1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef

1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 teaspoon unsweetened baking cocoa

1/2 teaspoon red pepper sauce

2 cups diced tomatoes (from 28-oz can), undrained

1 can (19 oz) red kidney beans, undrained

  •  1 In 3-quart saucepan, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium-high heat about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain.
  • 2 Stir in remaining ingredients except beans. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • 3 Stir in beans. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; simmer uncovered about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until desired thickness.

Serves – 4

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Cobweb Cupcake Frosting

Laura : October 31, 2012 1:56 pm : Recipe
Here is a cute decorating idea to haunt your Halloween this year!  Make a batch of your favorite cupcakes or cookies.  Then, follow this fun technique for creating cobwebs with two different colors of frosting.

Place the egg whites in a bowl. Using an electric mixer set on high speed; beat until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and orange juice and continue to beat until thick and shiny. The icing should spread easily. If too thick, add more orange juice. If too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar.
Transfer one-third of the icing to a small bowl and color with black or dark brown food coloring. Spoon this dark icing into a pastry bag fitted with a tip, or pour it into a plastic squeeze bottle.
Now, ice the cupcakes and make the cobwebs: Spoon the white icing into the center of the cupcake and spread with a small spatula or butter knife. Starting at the center of a cupcake, pipe a spiral of the dark icing from the center to the outer edge. Then, drag a sharp knife point from the center of the spiral to the edge of the cupcake. Wipe the knife clean, move about a 1/2 inch to the left or right and drag the knife in the opposite direction from the outer edge to the middle of the cupcake. Continue in this way until you have worked your way around the cupcake and formed the cobweb. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes.
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Halloween Cat Cookies

Laura : October 22, 2012 1:09 pm : Recipe

What do candy corn and red hots have in common?

Well, when you strategically placed them on a brown cookie they become a scary Halloween cat cookie!

Black Cat Cookies Recipe

Halloween Cat Cookie

Spooky Goodness


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 24 wooden craft or Popsicle sticks
  • 48 candy corn candies
  • 24 red-hot candies


  • In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Roll dough into 1-1/2-in. balls. Place 3 in. apart on lightly greased baking sheets.
  • Insert a wooden stick into each cookie. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Pinch top of cookie to form ears. For whiskers, press a fork twice into each cookie. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are set. Remove from the oven; immediately press on candy corn for eyes and red-hots for noses. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 dozen.



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Yeast-Free Pizza Dough & Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Mary : September 28, 2012 3:29 pm : Recipe

pizza cookbooks When you get that craving for pizza, what do you do? Most of us usually give in and toss a frozen pizza in the oven, or order delivery from the place down the street. One of the problems with those options is that we don’t have as much control over what goes in our pizza. For those looking to cut calories and carbohydrates, pizza is a dietary minefield.

And as for making our own pizza crust– who has the time? I don’t know about you, but when I want pizza, I don’t want to have to wait overnight for for three-plus hours for the dough to finish rising; I want pizza in 45 minutes or less. Pizza is serious business, and requires serious solutions.

I found two solutions that are relatively quick and healthy. The first is a quick, yeast-free dough that can be completed within 10 minutes. The other is a low-carb solution to getting your kids to eat those pesky vegetables.

Yeast-Free Pizza Dough


  • 2 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Seasonings (your choice! I use an Italian blend, but use your imagination! Garlic cloves, chili powder, saffron, gold leaf, whatever’s your fancy)


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, seasonings, and water. Knead on a floured counter until workable and spreadable–about 2 minutes.

Put the dough circle on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. With your fingers or a brush, spread the vegetable oil on both sides of the crust. This helps keep the tomato sauce from soaking into the crust. From there, add your pizza sauce and whatever other pizza toppings you want. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Note: I’ve also used this to make calzones. Just add toppings (sans pizza sauce) to half of the dough circle and fold the other half over. Either way you make it, it’s a quick and tasty fix to the eternal question of “what do you want for dinner?”.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust


  • 1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (can be halved to reduce fat content)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • Olive Oil (optional)


Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. To rice your cauliflower, take 1 large head of cauliflower, remove the stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add them to a food processor and pulse until it looks like rice. You can also grate the cauliflower with a cheese grater.

Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave-safe bowl, add 1/4 cup water, and microwave for 6-8 minutes. Stir it halfway through.

In a medium bowl, combine the cauliflower, mozzarella cheese and egg together and stir until all ingredients are blended well. Add the oregano, garlic, and garlic salt, and whatever other seasonings or spices you want.

Spray a pizza pan or cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer the cauliflower dough mixture onto the pan and shape it into a 9-inch circle. Brush the crust with olive oil; this will help to brown the crust.

Bake the crust at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is browned and cooked through the middle. Remove the crust from the oven and add the sauce and toppings of your choice. Place under the broiler at 400 degrees until the cheese becomes melted and bubbly– about 3-4 minutes.

Allow the pizza to cool, then cut into slices and serve.

For more delectable pizza recipes, take a look at what we offer on our shelves.

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Angel Biscuits

Laura : September 15, 2012 5:08 pm : Recipe

Did you know that September is National Biscuit Month?   Don’t feel bad, I didn’t either until I was searching the internet for ideas to blog about.

My mother has a recipe that she swears by:  Angel Biscuits.  I found the recipe on the Taste of Home website.  I hope you enjoy them as much as my mother does.

Angel Biscuits Recipe

Prep: 20 min. + rising Bake: 10 min.


2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (110° – 115°)

2 cups warm buttermilk (110° – 115°)

5 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup shortening

Melted butter


Dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in the buttermilk; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in yeast mixture.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 3-4 times. Roll into a 1/2-in. thickness. Cut with a 2-1/2-in. biscuit cutter. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place about 1-1/2 hours.

Bake at 450° for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Lightly brush tops with melted butter. Serve warm. 

Yield: 30 Servings

Additional notes from my mother:  You mix everything together. Place the biscuit dough in the refrigerator (stores up to 2 weeks).  When you’re ready to make some biscuits, take out what you want and leave the rest in the refrigerator; roll out and shape into biscuits.
Bake at 375 for about 15 to 20 minutes (or until browned on top).
To make them “light as angels”, cover the unbaked biscuits and let them rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until puffy. Bake as directed.





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