girltalk Blog

May 29

A Summer of Greens

2007 at 5:21 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Homemaking | Recipes

There are some things that just go together… things like… milk and cookies, ball and glove, needle and thread… and the topic of conversation for this week… summer and salads.

Stockxpertcom_id524454_size1_2Sure, we consume salads all year round, but they are especially delectable as a summer meal addition or even as the main dish. Don’t you agree? For that reason, we are going to take the next four days (along with other entries) to post our top ten favorite salad recipes. We hope you might find one or more out of the bunch to add to your favorites.

Here are three to start off our summer salad fest:

Tossed Salad with hard-boiled eggs, bacon and cheddar cheese

Salad dressing:
½ of small-med onion
½ cup cider vinegar
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup catsup
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

In blender place the onion, vinegar and sugar. Blend until the onion is pulverized. Add the remaining ingredients and blend thoroughly. Refrigerate.

Salad platter:
½ head romaine lettuce, torn
½ head iceberg lettuce, torn
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, sliced in quarters
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
6 to 12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Parsley flakes

Combine salad items in a large bowl or on a large platter. Arrange hard-boiled eggs around the edge of salad. Top salad with cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon. Sprinkle parsley flakes over all. Serve with dressing.

Tossed Salad with feta and cranberries

½ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
1 head romaine lettuce, torn
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
¾ cup dried cranberries
½ cup Sunkist Almond Accents Honey Roasted sliced almonds

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the oil, vinegar, water and salad dressing mix; shake well. In a large salad bowl, combine the romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cheese and cranberries. Top with sliced almonds. Serve with dressing.

Green bean, walnut and feta salad

1 ½ lbs. fresh green beans (ends trimmed), cut in half crosswise
¾ cup olive oil
½ cup (packed) fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp minced garlic
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (To toast nuts, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook in oven at 350F for 5 minutes)
1 cup diced red onion
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Bring 4 quarts salted water to boil in 6 quart pan over medium high heat. Add beans and cook until crisp tender—about 4 minutes. Drain well; immediately plunge into ice water to stop cooking process. Drain beans again; pat dry with paper towels. (Can be prepared several hours ahead)
Combine oil, mint, vinegar, salt, garlic and pepper in processor and blend.
Arrange beans in shallow glass serving bowl. Sprinkle with nuts, onion and cheese. Just before serving, pour dressing over and toss thoroughly.

Mar 28

Smoothie Time

2007 at 4:38 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Homemaking | Recipes

Brianblender We have had some warm weather this week, which has sent Mike on a smoothie-making kick. Actually, all of our men love smoothies, but Brian is the only one who owns the VillaWare® Double Smoothee-Bar™ Blender & Serve. (No, I’m not kidding! He actually has a special smoothie-making blender. I found a picture to impress you.) Mike, Steve, and Chad are stuck with boring old “normal blenders,” but that doesn’t hold them back. Dad relies on Mom to make his fruit drink. I’m not sure he knows how to use a blender! We thought it would be fun to let you in on some of the men’s favorite smoothie recipes so that you can try them out if you are so inspired.

Steve’s Strawberry Banana
2 c. vanilla ice cream
1 ½ c. fresh strawberries
1 banana
2 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Splash of milk for consistency

Combine all ingredients and blend.

Brian’s Blueberry Maple
1 c. blueberry yogurt
¾ c. milk
1 tbsp. maple syrup
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 c. fresh blueberries, frozen

Combine first four ingredients. Then add blueberries. Blend until smooth consistency.

Brian’s Banana Coffee
1 c. milk
¾ c. strong brewed coffee, room temperature
2 c. fresh bananas, frozen and sliced
6-8 ice cubes
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

Combine milk and coffee. Add bananas and blend until smooth. With the blender running, open top and add ice cubes until desired consistency.

Dad’s Orange Creamsicle
1 c. orange juice
¼ c. half-and-half
2 tbsp. vanilla flavored syrup

Combine ingredients; pour over plenty of ice.

Mike’s Strawberry Banana
5 large fresh (or frozen) strawberries
1 ½ ripe bananas
½ c. milk
½ c. vanilla yogurt
5 ice cubes
1 ½ tbsp. sugar

Combine all ingredients except sugar and blend until smooth consistency. Add sugar and continue blending.

Chad’s Strawberry Orange
1/2 c. orange juice
6 oz. Sprite
5 large frozen strawberries

Combine all ingredients and blend.

Sep 23

Caramel Corn

2005 at 2:00 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Homemaking | Recipes

This must-try recipe for caramel popcorn is from my sister, Helen.

Caramel Corn

8 cups popped popcorn 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons butter or margarine 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons light corn syrup

Put popcorn into baking pan. Remove any unpopped kernels. Measure brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt into 1 1/2 quart saucepan. Put pan on burner. Turn burner to medium heat. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon till butter melts and everything is mixed. Continue cooking till mixture starts to boil. When mixture boils, stop stirring. Cook for 5 minutes. Move pan off burner and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Pour mixture over popcorn using a rubber scraper to scrape pan. With spatula, gently stir the popcorn and hot mixture so all the popcorn is coated. Put pan into oven of 300 degrees and bake 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and stir mixture with spatula. Put back into oven and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer. Pour it out onto a clean counter top and separate it before it cools then put it in a Tupperware container with a good seal and it will last a long time. Makes about 8 cups.

Sep 22


2005 at 3:00 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Homemaking | Holidays | Recipes

Here’s a simple but yummy applesauce recipe from my good friend Clara—

The best apples to use are summer transparents, like Lodi - but they are only available for a brief time mid-summer. I usually use Granny Smith for their tart flavor; McIntosh are another choice.

Cut apples in half, core, and pare. Rinse apples, cut into quarters, and put in large saucepan. Add about an inch of water and bring to boil (make sure they don’t boil dry). Turn heat down far enough to maintain low boil and cook apples until they are soft (test with fork).

Pour the hot apples, with the juice, into a food processor. Puree the apples until they have a smooth sauce texture. Add sugar and sweeten to taste (the more tart the apple, the more sugar—that’s what makes it so good!) We always sprinkle cinnamon on top, but some people like to stir it in. You can enjoy the applesauce hot or cold.

Sep 21

Caramel Apple Crisp To Go

2005 at 2:00 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Homemaking | Holidays | Recipes

This recipe would be a perfect addition to a fall picnic…

Caramel Apple Crisp To Go

1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp. light-colored corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
4 to 6 apples, cored and sliced
1 cup crushed cookies, such as biscotti, pecan shortbread, peanut butter, oatmeal, snickerdoodle, or chocolate chip.

1. For caramel sauce, in a heavy medium saucepan combine whipping cream, butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat (about 5 to 6 minutes), whisking occasionally. Reduce heat to medium. Boil gently for 3 minutes more. Stir in vanilla. Transfer sauce to a storage jar with a lid. Let cool for 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.
2. To serve, place apple slices in individual bowls. Drizzle with caramel sauce. Top with crushed cookies. Makes 8 servings.

Sep 20

Caramel Layer Chocolate Squares

2005 at 2:00 pm   |   by Kristin Chesemore Filed under Homemaking | Holidays | Recipes

A delicious family favorite…

Caramel Layer Chocolate Squares

1 (14 oz.) pkg. caramels
1 pkg. German Chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided in equal portions
1 cup chocolate chips

Combine caramels and half of evaporated milk. Cook over low heat, stirring often until melted and smooth. Grease 9"x13” pan. Combine dry cake mix, butter and rest of the evaporated milk, and chocolate chips. Stir just until mixed. Press half of dough firmly in pan. Bake 6 minutes at 350*. Spread caramel mixture overall. Top with remaining half of dough. Spread gently to cover. Bake at 350* for 15 minutes. Let stand until cool before cutting.

From Roxie Kelley and Friends, With Heart & Soul (Maryland Heights, Missouri: Cracom Pub., 1995), 90.

Sep 19

Colonial Pumpkin Bars

2005 at 2:00 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Homemaking | Holidays | Recipes

This recipe provides a fun alternative to pumpkin bread…

Colonial Pumpkin Bars

3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup pecans, chopped

Cream butter and sugar together. Blend in pumpkin and eggs. Mix remaining ingredients together and add to creamed mixture. Spread in a greased 10"x15” pan, or (for a cake) in a 9"x13” pan. Bake at 350* for 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of the pan. When cooled spread with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 lbs. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Blend cream cheese and butter well. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add vanilla and blend well.

Roxie Kelley and Friends, Just a Matter of Thyme, (Kansas City, Missouri: Andrews McMeel Pub., 1998), 115.

Aug 18

Three bananas

2005 at 10:22 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Homemaking | Recipes

Three overly-ripe bananas make for one happy husband and one happy son eating banana bread. No doubt, the chocolate glaze is the reason they enjoy it so much! Below is the recipe:

Banana Bread with Chocolate Glaze

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups sugar (1/2 brown and 1/2 white, optional)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 325*. Beat together butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream, vanilla and bananas until blended. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, until blended. Do not overmix! Pour batter into a greased bundt pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester, inserted in center, comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan for 15 minutes then remove and cool. When cake is cool, drizzle top with chocolate glaze. To make glaze, melt chocolate chips and butter in microwave using 30% power (defrost).

Jul 11

Blueberry Muffins

2005 at 7:09 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Homemaking | Recipes

Last week, Mom, Nicole, and I decided to go blueberry picking at a local fruit farm. So we loaded Jack into the car seat and drove off. Upon arriving we waited for the little tractor which carries you to and from the blueberry field. As we waited, dark clouds began to creep up, but we chose to ignore them. You can figure out the rest. After our bumpy trip to the field we began picking, and almost immediately, it began pouring. But we weren’t going to let a little rain stop us. We picked two full buckets and returned home completely soaked.
This little story is simply to give you a very yummy blueberry muffin recipe that we have always enjoyed making…

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mashed blueberries
2 cups whole blueberries
1 tablespoon sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease both muffin cups and tops of muffin tins around cups. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Combine dry ingredients and add alternately with milk to butter mixture. Stir in blueberries. Fill muffin cups and sprinkle tops with sugar and nutmeg mixture. Bake about 25 minutes. Cool 30 minutes before removing from tins.

Jun 28


2005 at 4:05 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Homemaking | Recipes

I thought you might enjoy this recipe for fresh-squeezed lemonade that I served at my luncheon.

Fresh Lemonade Syrup

3 c. sugar
1 c. boiling water
3 c. lemon juce (about 16 lemons)
2 T. grated lemon peel

In a 1-1/2 quart heat-proof container, dissolve sugar in boiling water. Cool. Add lemon juice and peel; mix well. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Yields 5-1/2 cups syrup (number of batches varies depending on concentration of lemonade).

To prepare lemonade: For 1 serving, combine 1/4 to 1/3 cup syrup and 3/4 cup cold water in a glass; stir well. For 8 servings, combine 2-2/3 cups syrup and 5 cups cold water in a 2 quart pitcher; stir well.

(This recipe was given to me by my friend, Jenny Detwiler)