Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pumpkin cookies! Soft and moist

I made this recipe and added some finely chopped walnuts and used a cream cheese icing which if I may say made them even better👍

**If you want to make the cream cheese icing, the recipe is 4 oz. softened cream cheese, 1 T.softened butter, 2 cups confectionery sugar. Beat softened cream cheese and butter until smooth, slowly add confectionery sugar and about 1/4 c. milk. Always start with small amount of milk you can always add more if necessary.

 Beat until fluffy. If too thick add a small amount more of milk. If too thin add confectionery sugar until it is the consistency you desire.

Another good cookie recipe from my holiday baking selection.

Happy Baking from my kitchen to yours,


Using my handy mini scooper...I used parchment paper to line cookie sheet.

I believe this recipe comes from my mother- in- laws stack of homemade cookie recipes.. Moist, soft and so tender these cookies seem to please everyone although I don't care for pumpkin I did try one.  Being the baker you must try, correct? The children and grandchildren love them so I include them in baking favorites.

Here is her recipe:

Cream 1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg

Add 2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cups seedless raisins

Drop by tsp. onto cookie sheet..Bake 350 degrees  10 to 12 minutes until cookies are slightly browned..


3 tablespoons melted butter
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
Cook over medium heat until mixture starts to boil..Cool slightly..Add 1 cup sifted confectionery sugar..Drizzle over cookies...

From my kitchen to yours,


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Organizing your cookie sheets and muffin tins

Hi everyone:

I've been featured on to help with organizing your home and garden.

Below is one of the links to one of my suggestions to help you with storage of the numerous cookie sheets, muffin pans and racks you have in your kitchen...

I was inspired to find an easy and inexpensive way to store these items.

My mom kept hers in the oven and boy was that inconvenient! Every time she wanted to use her oven all those items would be placed all over the house. This way you can simply store the container in an area of your pantry or closet and access the items you need easily.

Hope I have been your inspiration. 

As always,

Large plastic container.  Place a lid rack inside.  You can store your cookie sheets, muffin pans and cooling racks easily depending of space and height of area on the bottom of your pantry floor.

Click on highlighted link:  Organizing your cookie sheets,muffin pans and cooling racks

FYI: Below are also some photo ideas for your pantry or cupboard.

I think it will be very helpful and also go to my Hometalk page for many more ideas and short cuts to save time and money.

Dry Food storage

Small appliances and baking pans.

Use small spin trays for easy to access items.

If you are interested in seeing all the other posts on How to's please check out my Hometalk page.

****Here's the link to my page. mj.vitelli

Organizing your Refrigerator

A very Happy and Blessed Day to you.  It's never too late to get help organizing your refrigerator.  I know you probably get frustrated with bottles of half empty items.  I have found that I really try to not buy too many different items.  I buy what we definitely eat and enjoy and really work hard at not trying every new item that they have out there to temp us. How many times in the past I tried a new item to keep it just because I feel I spent money so couldn't bear to throw it away. It just lays there!!! We just can't do it!!! We are wasting our hard earned money...........Plain and simple.

If you want to keep your refrigerator neat and orderly here are few suggestions I have found to work for me.

 First clean out all the old, expired foods in your refrigerator.  Wipe down all the shelves and drawers with either vinegar and water or ammonia and water.  I make a mixture of 1 part clear vinegar (about 1/4 cup) and the remainder water.  I also use a dollar store spray bottle to store it. Easy fix to grunge and sticky shelves and drawers. Wipe all bottles with this mixture also with a clean rag or paper towel. 

Vinegar is the best for clean and sparkly and although you might think of pickling cucumbers while you are doing this. LOL The smell dissipates quickly.  lol

I line my drawers with either paper towels or I found some easy to clean shelve liners that are easily removed and washed.  I just take them out and place them in my sink with yes vinegar and a little dish liquid and rinse and dry.  Walla !

Keeping up the inside is imperative for organizing and below you can see the revolving racks I bought a few years ago to help keep items handy to access and also make more room.  Yes these racks hold about six items depending on size.  I have two which leaves a lot more room for milk, orange juice etc.  It eliminates sticky shelves with dried food or liquid.  My pet peeve has been crusty shelves that make more work so these revolving racks eliminated a lot of time spent cleaning spills. Thumbs up!!

If you are putting off cleaning out your refrigerator start now.  Step by step throwing out all expired and 1/4 filled bottles.  You can do it and you'll feel so much better and tell your family to help by putting items back where they belong.  You have worked hard to get the refrigerator to look decent. Smiles to you.  You'll like how you feel with less clutter. xo

Much more room after consolidation of items on revolving racks.

From my kitchen to yours,

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Caramel apple cake

Hi everyone:

It's Sunday and hubby and I are home resting or so we were. I glanced at my facebook and yep this awesome recipe came through the feed. I showed it to hubby as he was looking for dessert so he agreed to peel the apples..Actually I find that to be the hardest part of this recipe and his agreeing to peel them made me really want to make the cake..........Apple Caramel. His favorite apple and my favorite caramel.. We're a baking team today.

It looked so good and appeared easy enough but I was glad I checked out the comments or I would have not been happy.

There had to be a few changes(a few tweaks) definitely to make this cake work to get the positive results I wanted.

The video was not to my liking and misleading.

 The comments under the post really helped and I was so glad I read them. Changing a few steps I was able to make this cake in such a way that we all can enjoy the finished product.

It really is a delicious cake and both my hubby and I loved it .  Actually I served it with some vanilla ice cream too!

*****Note:  My adjustments were:

After my apples were peeled and cored I microwaved the apples for 10 minutes. In my greased pie dish I put half the batter down first before I placed the apples standing up straight and then spread the remainder of the batter around the apples. Also take note I had to bake this recipe ten minutes longer in my oven so I baked it 350 degrees for approximately 50 minutes instead of the 40 that the recipe called for. By putting the batter in first it allowed for the cake to bake through the center.

Each oven is different so check on cake after 40 minutes. Use cake tester or toothpick in center.  It should come out clean...I found that the cake baked up through the center of the apples and when baked it was still a little soft in the center of exposed apples. That was ok. It cut and served easily and there was not any raw batter.

Also note: I used a pie dish instead of a cake tin. I wanted to allow for room.

1½ c. flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. unsalted butter at room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ c. whole milk
5 apples, peeled and cored(I used Gala)
1 cup caramel, slightly warmed (Sundae topping)

  • Pre-heat oven to 180ºC (350ºF).
  •  Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.  Add butter and mix until it resembles coarse sand.  Add sugar and blend until sandy.  Add eggs and blend until smooth.  Pour in vanilla and milk and blend just until smooth. Do not over mix.
  • Arrange the apples in an 8” greased cake tin. (I used a pie dish) Pour the cake batter in the center and spread it around the apples.  
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes.  
  • Pour caramel over the top of the cake to drip on the sides. 
  • Serve with ice cream. Enjoy! 

  • Thursday, November 9, 2017

    Beef and Cheesy Bake

    Today's casserole was easy even though the recipe seems quite lengthy. A nice blend of tastes with an Italian type flair. 

    Sour cream, cheddar cheese and Romano make a great flavor and pleasing family casserole.

    The only direct changes to this recipe are in the baking and cooking times.

    I baked mine at 400 on the middle rack for 15 minutes and I believe it was a little too dry. Also don't overcook the beef tomato mixture. The tomato paste thickens the mixture quickly and I think it was a bit too thick.  Adjust recipe to your liking.**Note: 350 degrees for 15 minutes instead 400 degrees for same amount of minutes.

    I would recommend this dish with the adjustments. It was tasty and casseroles are convenient to make and this recipe did not take long to prepare and serve.

    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive
    oil, plus more for the baking
    •  salt
    • 3 cups dry wide egg noodles(dry) cook a'dente and drain
    • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated
    Pecorino Romano cheese
    • 1 lb. ground beef
    • 1 small red and yellow bell pepper, seeded and
    • 4or 5 green scallions finely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    • One 14 1/2-ounce can petite
    diced tomatoes
    • 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
    Preheat the oven to 400
    degrees  Place about 4 T olive oil in a  13x 9 inch baking dish.

    Bring a large pot of salted water
    to a boil. Add the noodles and
    cook to al dente according to
    the package directions.
     Drain noodles and toss with sour cream,about 1/4 tsp. salt and  romano cheese. Place noodle mixture in prepared baking dish.

    Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in
    a large skillet over medium-high
    heat. Add the ground beef and
    cook, stirring, until no longer
    pink, about 4 minutes. Add the
    bell peppers and scallions and
    cook until crisp-tender, about 3
    minutes. Add tomato paste, sprinkle with Italian seasoning and about 1/4 tsp. salt. Add the diced
    tomatoes, stir and bring to a
    simmer. Cook until slightly
    thickened, about 2 minutes.

    Pour the beef mixture over the
    noodles and sprinkle with the
    grated Cheddar. Bake on the
    middle rack until the cheese is
    melted.  Do not overbake.
    for about 15 to 20 minutes.

     Let stand for 10 minutes before
    serving. Enjoy!