September 9, 2008
As my lovely intended starts his first day of his last year at culinary school, I decided to make him dinner tonight to celebrate his accomplishments. A while back when we were dating, I let him taste one of my weekly meals of Baked BBQ Chicken served with two veggie sides. Apparently it was appealing to his taste buds, because he made a special request for it. Check out the recipe below and see what you think.
AJ’s Baked BBQ Chicken
-About a 3lbs pack of chicken pieces (drums, wings, and thighs)
-1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (at least 8oz)
-small green pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut your onion and green pepper into very thin slices. Sauté in olive oil on medium-low heat until soft and onions are somewhat translucent.
3. Place your chicken pieces in a non-stick baking dish.
4. Season the chicken according to your preference. Top will small dollops of butter to keep the chicken moist.
5. Spread the sautéed onions and peppers on top of the chicken.
6. Pour desired amount of BBQ sauce over chicken.
7. Bake for 1 hour.
8. Eat and enjoy!
That’s it for me, until next time…
January 24, 2007
Cheers to Letterpop for offering a free newsletter service for families and individuals! Now you can make creative, beautiful newsletters to send your favorite people by email. Not only is the website easy to use, but they have templates for every occasion . They even have a template for a Recipe newsletter! This is the perfect way to communicate with your family about your Secret Ingredients cookbook project…
How does it work?
Go to Letterpop.com to sign up for a free account. The website will walk you through the process of uploading your favorite images and choosing your favorite template. All you have to do is add your photos and text to the template and press Send. Easy!
This is a great way to keep your extended family up to date throughout the year. I used it recently to send my friends recipes that we shared at our last recipe potluck.
To see examples of Letterpop templates, click here.
January 15, 2007
If you are like me and my family, your recipe collection is always growing! Secret Ingredients has the perfect solution for your growing recipe collection: The Expandable Heirloom Cookbook.
How does this work?
Our Heirloom Cookbooks hold up to 250 recipes inside a beautiful “kitchen-friendly” leather binder. The 3-ring binder makes it possible for you to add recipes at your convenience.
Simply start your Heirloom Cookbook project today. Enter a minimum of 45 recipes along with your favorite photographs of family, friends, and food. We’ll build a beautiful cookbook for you in just 14 business days.
To make your cookbook expandable, send our team a quick email at email@example.com to let us know that you want an expandable cookbook. When your cookbook goes to production, we will remove the page numbers from your recipe pages so that you can add recipes to any category in the future.
When you want to add a recipe to your collection, simply send us an email with the recipe and your order number. Each recipe addition is only $3. We’ll format the recipe to look like the rest of your book and send it to you quickly!
This is the perfect solution if you are making a cookbook for your mother for Mother’s Day, and you only have some of her favorite recipes!
January 12, 2007
We are very excited to announce that you can make your own cookbook no matter where you live! Starting today, Secret Ingredients can process international orders automatically. Whether you are making a cookbook with your friends in Italy or your family in France (ooh, think of the recipes!), everyone can join in! So, gather your friends and family members in other countries and start your group cookbook project today…
Don’t forget our January Special. Receive 10% off your Keepsake Cookbook order by entering the promo code “NewYear10″ at Checkout. Offer expires January 31, 2007.
January 10, 2007
My best friend, Beth, is an amazing cook and is very generous with her recipes. If I am looking for a new recipe or idea, I know who to calll! A few weeks ago, I was looking for a yummy, warm soup recipe, and she offered this recipe for Butternut Squash Soup. I love it so much that I’ve actually made it twice in the last two weeks! Don’t forget the nutmeg….
Easy Butternut Squash Soup
1 butternut squash, large and preferably a long (as opposed to fat) one.
1 1/2 cans light coconut milk (or 2/3 can light coconut milk and an equal portion of skim milk)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 yellow onion, large
2 tablespoons butter
nutmeg for decorating
Cut the squash in half lengthwise. You may need help…at least someone very, very strong or, as Beth notes jokingly, a chainsaw! Be careful of your fingers.
Scoop out and discard the seeds. Rub the squash with about 1 tablespoon of melted butter, and sprinkle with salt. Roast the squash cut-side-up on a cookie sheet for at least an hour at 375. Roasting it for a long time gives the squash a lovely, complex caramely flavor. It should look like this, and a butter knife should go in very easily:
While the squash is roasting, slice and saute the onion in the remaining tablespoon of butter, and when it is soft, add the brown sugar and continue cooking for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
When the squash is finished, scoop the flesh out with a spoon, and put it in your blender. Add the onion/brown sugar mixture. Add the coconut milk. Blend until smooth. If your blender is small, you may need to do this in batches.
Just heat and serve! This soup is incredible with a sprinkling of nutmeg, and is very rich and subtly sweet and flavorful without being heavy on sugar carbs, and while being naturally rich in fiber and beta carotene! It also freezes well.
November 22, 2006
Gift wrapping presents doesn’t have to be boring! Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks: ~ For items 4 x 6 inches and smaller, you can use a sheet of 8.5 x 11, beautifully decorated paper. You can find papers like the one we chose at scrapbooking stores, art stores, and stationery stores. Be sure to choose a paper that bends easily; handmade papers with fibers and plants often crack or separate as they bend.
~ Satin ribbon is an inexpensive, elegant way to dress up your gifts! Satin and grosgrain ribbons can b purchased for very little money, often 99 cents per roll, at craft stores such as JoAnn’s and Michael’s. Ribbons can be used alone on hard-to-wrap gifts, or tied over a beautiful, matching wrapping paper! ~ Making your own wrapping paper is a great project to do with kids, and a wonderful way to get them more involved in the holiday preparations. Choose bright colored butcher paper, and stamp or color onto the paper with sponge stamps, markers, watercolors or crayons. Encourage your kids to fill the whole paper, edge to edge, with their own creative holiday designs! Here at Secret Ingredients, we hope your holidays are bright and festive! For wonderful gift ideas, remember to check out our website. We offer Heirloom and Keepsake custom cookbooks; gifts full of traditions, memories, and holiday cheer.
November 21, 2006
Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Thanksgiving is one of the greatest times each year to enjoy family and delicious food. So, have you planned your meal?
This year I will be traveling to Tucson to spend Thanksgiving at my friend Beth’s house. I will also be stopping by KGUN, Tucson’s ABC station, to appear on their morning show on Friday the 24th. Super exciting! If you are in Tucson, tune in!
Beth and I will be cooking our Thanksgiving meal together. She is planning some Thanksgiving classics with a southwestern kick, while I will be preparing Southern family recipes that date back several generations. I thought I would share them with you.
Guests beg for the leftovers! This recipe really is incredible.
1 cup cold water
1 cup shortening
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold water
2 well-beaten eggs
1 package yeast cake
6 cups flour, unsifted
Place first four ingredients in boiler.
Heat until dissolves. Add another cup cold water and 2 well-beaten eggs.
Put 1 package yeast cake in lukewarm water. Put yeast in other mixture when it gets warm-cool.
Add 6 unsifted cups of flour (not quite full cups). Set aside. Let rise, double cover, and put in refrigerator.
Cut on floured board. Pat with melted butter and fold over. Cook at 400° till done.
Buttered Peas & Carrots
½ cup water
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 pound carrots
10 ounce package frozen peas, thawed
In a large skillet, combine ½ cup water, 1 stick butter, cut into pieces, 3 tablespoons sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt over moderate heat until the butter is just melted. Add 1 pound carrots, cut into 1/16 inch slices, and stir them to coat with the mixture. Cook the carrots, covered for 4 minutes; stir in a 10 ounce package frozen peas, thawed, and cook the mixture for 5-7 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
My mother added this recipe to our Thanksgiving meals about 8 years ago. We love it!
Mom’s Pumpkin Cheesecake
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs (about 12
½ cup ground pecans
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup pumpkin puree
3 egg yolks
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground mace
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ pounds natural cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1 yolk
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 tablespoon sifted cornstarch
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon lemon extract
Whipped cream and whole pecans for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°. Make your crust by combining all ingredients. Mix – coating crumbs with butter well. Pat crumb mixture into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Place in freezer while preparing filling.
Prepare the filling: Mix ¾ cup sugar, pumpkin puree, 3 egg yolks, cinnamon, mace, ginger, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Beat cream cheese and 6 tablespoons sugar until smooth. (I use my electric mixer.) Add cornstarch and blend well. Add vanilla and lemon extracts. Mix again until very smooth. Add spiced pumpkin puree to the cream cheese mixture. Mix until you don’t see any traces of white to make sure it is extra smooth.
Pour filling over crumb mixture in springform pan. Bake 45 minutes, or until sides have risen. The center will still be somewhat soft. Remove from oven. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and release the side. Remove cheesecake from pan bottom.
Garnish with whipped cream rosettes and whole pecans.
Be sure to include your favorite Thanksgiving recipes in your Secret Ingredients custom cookbook. Also, be sure to enter our contest for your chance to win one of TEN free Secret Ingredients heirloom cookbooks.
November 15, 2006
As Thanksgiving draws closer, so does the season for Holiday Cards. Personalizing Holiday Cards can sometimes be overwhelming, especially for people with extensive mailing lists. Here at Secret Ingredients
, we’ve put together a few neat ways to make personal, quick cards to celebrate the people you love!1. Recipe Cards:
Buy pretty Holiday cards, and insert a copy of a recipe that reminds you of the recipient in each. Be sure to copy onto simple, pretty paper, and include a little note about the recipe. Using family recipes, handwritten and stained from use, makes it all the more personal and memorable.
2. Keepsake Cookbooks:
Secret Ingredients recently introduced a new product, Keepsake Cookbooks, which are postcard-sized, personalized perfect-bound cookbooks. These books are perfect to send as both cards and gifts! The books have a customized Dedication Page, where you can include a Holiday Letter to all the recipients. We offer two beautiful Holiday styles, as well as two all-purpose Family styles. These unique and stylish cookbooks are both personal and useful.
3. Holiday Books:
A friend of mine makes Holiday Books to send out every year instead of cards. Each member of her family creates 2 index-card sized pages, and then they are printed onto blank index cards, stacked together, and the edge is sewn with bright red thread on a sewing machine. The little books are a wonderful alternative to store-bought cards, and it is wonderful to hear the stories of the year from many points of view; hers, her husband, and their children. These books are surprisingly easy to make, and are a perfect blend of personalization and ease of creation.
Best wishes to each of you as you make your own Holiday Cards! Please let us know any wonderful ideas you have, or any neat things you’ve seen, as we’re always looking for new takes on Holiday classics!
November 10, 2006
If you are creating a family cookbook for your children or future generations, favorite quotes can make your cookbook even more personal! Our Heirloom Cookbooks can accommodate up to 250 recipes, and our Recipe form helps you enter your recipes quickly and easily. The form includes fields for a Caption and personal notes or stories. The Caption field is the perfect place to add your favorite quotes.
Here are some of the SI team’s favorite quotes:
“A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.”
- Elsa Schiapirelli
“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”
“Happy and successful cooking doesn’t rely only on know-how; it comes from the heart, makes great demands on the palate and needs enthusiasm and a deep love of food to bring it to life.”
-Georges Blanc, from ‘Ma Cuisine des Saisons’
“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”
“Laughter is brightest, in the place where the food is.”
“My mother’s menu consisted of two choices: Take it or leave it.”
Of course, your quotes don’t have to be cooking related. If you need help finding good quotes, check out the following websites:
- Wisdom Quotes
- The Quotations Page
**Reminder for Holiday Orders: If you are building an Heirloom Cookbook for a holiday gift, we ask that you finish your cookbook project by December 1. To guarantee that you get your favorite customized options (Binder and Dividers), go ahead and Checkout. You will have time to finish your project after you Checkout. This just allows us to pull your inventory.
November 7, 2006
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My best friend Beth has been in the kitchen again, creating another delicious
Secret Ingredients recipe. We wanted to give a Thanksgiving Tradition, Sweet Potato Casserole, a healthy make-over. The result is this jewel of a recipe:
Secret Ingredients’ Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
3 cups chopped sweet potatoes
2 cups baby carrots, peeled
4 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Zest of ½ orange
1 cup crushed canned pineapple with juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup oatmeal
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Boil sweet potatoes and carrots in large pot until soft- about 15 minutes. Drain and mash until smooth. Add brown sugar, ginger, orange zest, pineapple with juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Combine well and pour into a greased square casserole or individual ramekins.
Combine crumble ingredients and sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake in a 400˚ oven for 10 minutes. Serves 8.
Note: This recipe is low in sugar, low in fat, and absolutely delicious! Leave the peel on the sweet potato for maximum nutrient intake. For a fat-free variation omit crumble topping.
Did you know that Secret Ingredients is giving away ten FREE Heirloom Cookbooks at the beginning of December? Click here to enter.