Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Coco Cabana Lime Bars

Do you like pina coladas?
la la la la la

Thank goodness you can’t hear me because I’m tone deaf.

Put da’ lime in da’ coconut and stir it all around….
la la la

Another dessert for Ms. Paula’s Real Women of Philadelphia cooking contest. Ya’ll GOTTA do it, it’s SO fun!! This yet another dessert that I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of, because it was eaten too fast!!! ~ I know, shame, shame I’m the worst food blogger.

THREE, count ’em one, two, THREE people at work (hey, I only work with 7) asked me to make this for them for Easter weekend for their delightful families to enjoy….. and I was going out of town! WHAT? WHY does this always happen!!!!???

But…. I had to weigh…. lakehouse, peace and quiet, fishing with worms…. OR…. slaving over a hot stove to make lime bars for people I’ll never see. Jus’ Sayin’.

HAHAAA, jus’ jokin’ with you, I really would have loved to cook for them, but I always wanted to say “jus’ sayin’.”

~jus’ sayin’

Ok. done. I’ve had my fill. What’s so funny about it anways? Jus’ …. nevermind.

Ok, so make these delicious little lime bars and dream of the beach boys and wake up with a tan.
Watch my video if you need help:

Next, I am soon changing my name to “The Hill Country Cook.” Very excited (website coming soon). A HUGE thank you to NanaBread who helped me create the name. She also, I might add, was the winner of April’s giveaway for the cute red dutch ovens. You can check out her delicious creme brulee recipe she made in them here. Delicioso, I promise.
Wow, I really got carried away with the links tonight.
Finally, I learned a few new Spanish words today:
Yo estoy poca loca, y muy extrana.
Thank you, had to share.
~Peace, Love, and Baking Ya’ll!

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Coco Cabana Lime Bars


1 whole roll of sugar cookie dough
8 ounce(s) of Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 cup(s) of sugar
1 whole egg
3/4 tsp. of coconut extract
1 zest of one lime
1/3 cup(s) of shredded coconut
1 lime, juiced


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease a 9 in square baking dish. Spread your cookie dough mixture evenly on the bottom, set aside.
In a bowl, mix cream cheese, egg, sugar, coconut extract, lime juice and lime zest. Mix well!
Mix in a little of the shredded coconut. Spread the batter on top of the cookie layer.
Top with the remaining coconut, bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the filling has set!
Cut in squares and serve! Easy as pie 🙂 but not pie. More like a cookie bar.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Corn. On the cob. And in your Teeth.

CORN! BEAUTIFUL CORN! ~I’m singing!~ Quick. Plug your ears. ~ Follow the yellow brick to all the beautiful ears of corn!!!!!!

I debated whether or not to slather these beauties in gorgeous pats of unsalted butter, speckled with coarse flakes of kosher blessed salt and freshly ground pepper….. then I thought NAH – I’ll leave ’em al natural. (again, leaving out my use of the french accento mark)

I’ll leave them in their golden glory basking in the warm sunlight, steam rising, ready and waiting for my teeth to sink in and grab every last kernel.

Then searching for every said kernel with a toothpick. After failing with the toothpick, finally excusing myself from the kitchen with sweetness and grace, I begin to tear apart my medicine cave cabinet searching for the un-minted floss, taking those kernels from their toothy home, and finally sliding my tongue across my fresh and clean teeth.

Without hesitation, I then run back into the kitchen to grab another ear, and do it all over again.

This summarizes my love for corn.

This also explains my frustration after trying many ways to cook corn – only to come back to my mother’s way. And my mother’s way came from her mother’s way who came from her mother’s way who came from her mother’s way who came from her mother who didn’t have corn, but maybe raised maize.

Anyhow. As I tell my students: Keep It Simple, Stupid Silly.

Begin with a fresh water bath. Bathe the corn in your freshly collected rain water.
Ha. Just Kidding.
Wash the corn after you rip off all the husk and silk.
Running under cold water helps remove these silky strands.

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Add about a 1/4 cup of milk. And a (small ,very small) pinch of salt.

I swear it works, and only very special families know about this little secret.

Place your ears of corn in the pot – the water will stop boiling.

Bring back to a boil, and boil for 3-7 minutes.

My mother pointed out that I should warn ya’ll, I promise – no matter HOW closely you watch this, adding the milk always makes the pot boil over. Sad face. But, the corn is so sweet, you won’t regret it. ipromise.
And, if you do, I’ll come over and help you clean it with my “homemade save the earth vinegar cleaner.”
(ingredients: vinegar. water. elbow grease.)

I like mine crisper, so I boil 3-5 minutes.
Others like theirs very soft, so they boil 7 minutes.
Anything after that turns gummy.

On another note, BBQ-ed corn tastes DELICIOUS too!

I’ll take a picture sometime and post it.

But, you’ll leave the husks ON, and SOAK the whole cob in milk and water for about an hour.
Then place on the grill for approximately 15 minutes.

If you don’t soak the cobs, the husk becomes charred. The corn tastes smoky. Not good.

After grilling, peel back the husk, which now makes a great “handle,” dip your corn in your vat of pre-melted butter, and dress with salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, MAYO (yes mayo) tastes great, some chile or lime. That’s how they do it in South Texas!

I hope ya’ll are hankerin’ for some fresh summer corn now! I’m makin’ me another batch tonight!

~Peace, Love, and Grilling Ya’ll!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap

Frugal times call for frugal measures! Plus, it’s Earth Month, my favorite time of the year. Your homework assignment this week, boys and girls, is to make one batch of laundry soap for one of the following reasons:

  • the entire batch costs less than $1 to make, making enough for approximately 90 loads – you’re washing your clothes for pennies, people
  • this formula is almost completely natural, and no phosphates, so it won’t kill the little fishies (yup, fishies) down in the creek (or cause a sickening overgrowth of algae thus suffocating the fish living in it, which then in turns throws the entire ecosystem out of balance and… you get it)
  • which I might add, if someone paid me to write this blog and not work, I would photograph an entire soap making journey from mixing lard and lye to creating our sudsy creation, but, back to our reasons –
  • it’s really fun, the kids will love it, it’s a Bill Nye kind of moment
  • it makes you feel Amish

~I laugh now because growing up my grandma would say “Well, I’m glad I live in these modern times, because I ain’t never woulda had my soap made!”

First, I will start off by mentioning a very important disclaimer. This is not a sudsy laundry soap! It is not filled with the strange phosphates and bubbly chemicals found in your grocery store laundry soap. BUT, it’s the enzymes in the ingredients that are actually cleaning!

Secondly, if you clothes are particularly, uh, stinky (such as when the husband comes home from the deer lease), add a few tablespoons of vinegar into the mix. (I mean like actually add a few tablespoonfulls to that load in the wash.)

Ready for the fun?

The ingredients. You’ll need a bar of Zote laundry soap. Some people use “Fels Naptha” laundry soap (no idea what it even looks like, I was born in ’83 people), but Zote was all I could find. A box of Borax (which also is a lovely roach deterrent). A box of washing soda. This was the hardest for me to find. Walmart didn’t have it, but my local grocer did!

Some interesting facts:

  • Do not use Oxi-Clean. I tried this with my first batch, and it turned into…. ectoplasm (remember from Ghostbusters?). The whole thing started foaming and…. growing, thank God I made it in the tub. Then it congealed…. still usable, just weird. Some people still use Oxi-clean and instead they make a powdered form, I have yet to do this.  Which is why I’m now on the hunt to find 101 uses for Oxi-Clean.
  • Washing soda is made from Sodium Carbonate (I wiki-ed it). The mineral is derived from the ashes of plants, and is commonly used in water softeners. If you can’t find it at the store, and your local Amish friend is out, some say you can buy it from your local pool supply store (although this would be industrial grade, so I didn’t want chance it on my favorite jeans).
  • Others swore they made their own washing soda by spreading large amounts of baking soda out on a pan and baking it. I’m just glad I found some washing soda. EEK!

Ok, the process is very easy, really:

  1. Grate one-third of the Zote laundry soap bar into a pan. Some ask, you’re using your kitchen grater, and your food pots??? And to them I answer, YES, I’m making SOAP, it will rinse off. Ok, grate your soap, add 6 cups of water, and heat until the soap, uh, melts.
  2. Add 1/2 cup washing soda, and 1/2 cup Borax, and stir until it dissolves.
  3. Now get a bucket, a 2 gallon will do. Pour 4 cups warm water, add your soap mixture and stir. It’s turning to gel! SO COOL!
  4. Then add 1 gallon plus 6 cups (I measure with my tea pitcher)  of water and stir!

That’s it! I let it sit overnight, but I’m sure you could use it right away. I pour the finished product into empty laundry detergent bottles that I saved. Overnight it will gel little more, but it won’t be solid, some people describe it as an egg noodle soup look (eww!). Just shake the container a little before you scoop it out…. All you need is one cup (the little laundry cup) per load!

*Note: If you save your old laundry detergent bottles, pour the mixture immediately into the containers through a funnel before it thickens. Otherwise it gets clumpy and kinda spills all over your clean bathroom floor as your trying to balance the pot in one hand, and hold the funnel and bottle in the other.

This makes a good size batch of laundry soap. It fills one 150 fl. oz. detergent container, and 2/3 of another large tupperware container I have. I would estimate it’s about 90 loads worth. Too cool, right???

…Here’s what it looks like. Look, there’s my husband’s arm! I wonder if we’ll ever put his picture on here… tee hee hee.

Hope ya’ll give it a shot, do it in honor of Earth Day! It only takes about 30 minutes to make, and if nothing else, you’ve amused your kids, and only wasted $6 on ingredients…

~Peace, Love, and Soap Making Ya’ll!


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Laundry Soap

Yield: 200 fluid oz.


1/3 bar Zote laundry soap
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Washing Soda


Grate one-third of the Zote laundry soap bar into a pan. Some ask, you're using your kitchen grater, and your food pots??? And to them I answer, YES, I'm making SOAP, it will rinse off. Ok, grate your soap, add 6 cups of water, and heat until the soap, uh, melts.
Add 1/2 cup washing soda, and 1/2 cup Borax, and stir until it dissolves.
Now get a bucket, a 2 gallon will do. Pour 4 cups warm water, add your soap mixture and stir. It's turning to gel! SO COOL!
Then add 1 gallon plus 6 cups (I measure with my tea pitcher) of water and stir!

Then portion into saved laundry containers.