30 June 2011

This is the only Brownie Recipe I'll use now

I am a picky brownie eater.  I don't want it too 'cakey' or dense nor too 'fudgy' or rich. 
I found this recipe in one of my Grandmother's notebooks and decided to give it a try.

All I can say is mmmm. 


1/2 cup vegetable oil or 1/2 cup melted butter (I used butter)
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan.

2.In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended. Stir in walnuts, if desired. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

3.Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the brownie begins to pull away from edges of pan.


Brownie with Peppermint IceCream!!

29 June 2011

Summer = great salads

A light dessert for summer!

I just came in from soaking up some Vitamin D outside.  After a week or more of rainy, cloudy days it was needed.  Something about grabbing a book or magazine and sitting outside is SO relaxing to me.  Ever since I can remember being outside doing anything makes me happy.

Today I grabbed my favorite magazine and found a lot of good summer food ideas.

I'll share them with you as I make them.  But for now here's one I'm making ASAP.


3 Avocados
4 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1/4 Cup Honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sea Salt

Puree avocados, cocoa powder, honey and vanilla until smooth.
When smooth divide into four small bowls.
Sprinkle with sea salt before serving.


Recipe from www.wholeliving.com

A picture I took at the Botanical Garden in STL.

19 June 2011

Jam Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

I tried this recipe today from Martha Stewart.  I used blackberry jam instead of the raspberry.  I'm sure you could substitute any of your favorite jams that go well with chocolate. 
The icing in this recipe is amazing.  You taste the chocolate and then get a hint of the salt.  That combo always has me wanting to do a happy dance.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

12 raspberries, for garnish


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12-cup muffin pan, or use liners. Combine flour, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat granulated sugar and 1/2 cup butter until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. With mixer on low, beat in flour mixture in two parts, alternating with 1/2 cup milk.

2.Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pan 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

3.Meanwhile, whisk together confectioners' sugar, cocoa, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, gradually add cocoa mixture, scraping down side of bowl as necessary. Gradually beat in 2 tablespoons milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat frosting until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds.

4.Using a paring knife, cut a 1-inch-deep piece from the top of each cupcake (do not discard). Fill each hole with 1 teaspoon jam and replace cutout pieces.

Cut a circle out, fill with jam and then put cake back in.

Frost them.

Cut open to reveal the jam center.


15 June 2011

Kept hearing about Weiner all day on the news...

So this was dinner.  No seriously, we don't eat them but maybe once a year but I kept hearing the word/name all day and I got a craving.

It's been 2 whole years? (and a little info on my journey)

I just realized that two years ago today I started this blog with this post http://theperfectthyme.blogspot.com/2009/06/grams-food.html.  A small tribute to my Grandmother whom I love and dearly miss.

How did I come up with the name The Perfect Thyme?  Well, moving from Florida to Illinois in 2006 was a bigger adjustment than I ever thought it was going to be. I wanted my husband and I to pull up over 20 years of roots in South Florida and move back to our home state of Illinois to be closer to all of our family and because I was tired of living in the city, tired of the crowds, tired of the heat.  Yep it was all MY idea.  And I had NO idea that moving would alter me so very much.

The first year was wonderful.  Everything was new and exciting. Having four distinct seasons, eating delicious sweet corn, being around family, SNOW... was all great. Then almost 1 year to the day I thought to myself  'ok that was fun, now I'm ready to go home' only this WAS home now.  I didn't want to really move and my husband had found his niche in the community and had opened his TKD School.  I HAD to make the best of it.  There was no way I was going to bring up moving again.

After a couple of years of feeling a little lost and a lot disoriented  I decided that it was 'the perfect thyme' (thyme because of my love of herbs) to jump into this next phase of my journey.

So now it is two years later.  I've made friends.  I've gotten used to the seasons.  I know my way around town.  I've started to adjust.  Time marches on and changes are all a part of it right?

My day job is at the local hospital.  You take building a new hospital, today's economy and the American way and what do you get?  Downsizing.  Yep, in four to six weeks I will receive a letter as to the fate of my employment.  I'm a little stressed I can't lie but I'm old enough to see the positives too.  This is just one more small, small part of my entire life journey.  What will happen next??  What will I do??  I have no idea and I kind of like that.

All I can think is that it's The Perfect Thyme for some changes and this time I'm just gonna roll with it and ENJOY!!

14 June 2011

Recipe for left over chicken #2

Every time I fire up the grill I try to cook enough meat for more than just that one meal.  Sunday night I made black beans and rice and when I grilled a steak and tilapia to go with it I threw a couple of boneless chicken breasts on for tonight.
So tonight I just made a pot of rice.
Heated up the black beans and spooned some over the rice.
Warmed up the chicken breasts in the oven while the cornbread was cooking then sliced it over the beans and rice.
Topped with a little fresh cilantro and it was a fantastic dinner.


12 June 2011

A Great Summer Sunday Dinner

Tilapia marinating in lemon, red pepper fakes, paprika, oregano and black pepper.

Tilapia grilling on cedar plank for 10 minutes.

Grilled steak and black beans and rice for me.

Grilled Tilapia with black beans and rice for my husband.

Black Beans and Rice
Saute in olive oil half a diced onion, 1 jalapeno minced, 1/2 diced green pepper, 1 or two cloves of garlic minced.  Cook until a little tender.
Add in two cups of black beans.  Either canned or beans that were soaked over night work well.
Add two cups of diced tomatoes.
Mix in...1 tsp oregano
dash of red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
and about 1 tsp of lemon juice.

Bring to a boil then turn heat down to low, cover and let simmer for 1 hour.

Make favorite rice to spoon beans and rice over and garnish with fresh cilantro.


11 June 2011

Banana Split 'Cake'

A great dessert for summer.  It's cool, refreshing and you don't have to turn on the oven.
This recipe can easily be halved.  And it can be 'cleaned' up by making your own from scratch pudding and whipped cream. 

9 Graham Crackers
1 Cup sugar, divided
1/3 Cup butter, melted
2 8oz packages of Cream Cheese, softened
20 oz of crushed pineapple
6 Bananas,divided
2 3.4oz packages JELL-O Vanilla Instant Pudding
2 Cups cold milk
2 Cups thawed Cool Whip
1 Cup chopped Pecans

Mix graham crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and butter; press onto bottom of 13x 9 inch pan.  Freeze for 10  min.

Beat cream cheese and remaining sugar with mixer until well blended.  Spread carefully over crust; top with pineapple.  Slice 4 bananas; arrange over pineapple.

Beat pudding mixes and milk with whisk for approx. 2 minutes until well blended.  Stir in 1 cup Cool Whip; spread over banana layer in pan.  Top with remaining Cool Whip.  Refrigerate 5 hours.  Slice remaining 2 bananas just before serving; arrange over dessert.  Top with nuts and drizzle with chocolate syrup or chocolate curls.

Graham cracker crust and cream cheese mixture.

Added pineapple and sliced bananas.

Top with pudding mixture, cool whip, nuts, bananas and chocolate.


05 June 2011

Grilling for 3

I work outside the house on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday ten and a half hours so it's really important to keep dinners simple on those 4 nights.
I try to prepare the meals for those days when I'm off. Today I took time to prepare and precook some of Monday and Tuesdays dinners.

We had burgers and potatoes on the grill for dinner tonight.  Since the grill was already hot I threw on a couple of sausage links and some chicken legs.

The sausage links are going to get cut up into a New Orleans type spicy rice for Monday.

The chicken legs well there are SO many options with pre cooked chicken but I'm leaning towards just reheating them and mixing up some quick mac n cheese and some veggies for Tuesday.

So dinners are planned and as pre cooked as they can be until Wednesday when I'm off again.
It's a lot easier to make it through those long work days when I know dinner is taken care of. You don't have to have a strict concrete plan.  Just a small bit of thinking ahead is a real help for us here at our house.

Another Banana Bread recipe

I found this recipe yesterday while I was going through some of my Grandmother's recipes.  I had exactly 7 very ripe bananas that I knew needed turned into something soon so despite the heat I decided these two loaves of banana bread would be worth the AC working a little harder.  I was SO right.  This is a great recipe.  The flavor is awesome and it is so moist and buttery you don't even need to spread with butter.
I followed the recipe but added chopped walnuts to one loaf.

Banana Bread

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
7 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
Makes two loaves of banana bread.
1. Cream the butter and sugar. Blend in the bananas, vanilla and eggs.
2. Sift together the dry ingredients.
3. Add to the bread mixture and mix until just combined. Pour into two greased 9x5 inch loaf pans.
4. Bake at 350F. Check on the bread after 35 minutes (it may take up to 60 minutes). Banana bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the banana bread in the pan for 10 minutes then cool completely on a wire rack.