Spinach Balls Appetizer Snack

Recipes in this PostSpinach Balls Appetizer Snack

A Little Back Story

This recipe is cited from Spane’s birthday in 2010, but since I am making them for this Thanksgiving in 2017, and they are so good, I thought it was high time they had their own post.

My good friend gave me this recipe. I do not want to identify her because of the allegations currently surrounding Sylvester Stallone. Let me suffice to say that I witnessed him, while waiting for the valet to return with his vehicle, with his wife at the time, reach out with his free hand and grab my friend’s breast as we passed them on the way to our car. Yes, this happened in a public place, and yes, it’s true. We thought about reporting it to the police, but knew that she would never be believed against a super star like Stallone. I had never really liked him as an actor, but now, I can’t even stand to look at his face considering how he assaulted my friend.
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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipes in this PostPumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

My Introduction to Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

When Spane was a toddler, I had him on a reward system and he had been an exceptionally good boy. I took him to the store, and as we were passing by the bakery aisle, he insisted that he wanted the fresh pumpkin cookies. I don’t like pumpkin, but since he was deserving a treat, I bought them for him. When he ate one, he loved it, and made me taste one. Wow! They were great! My only problem was that they had preservatives and GMO pumpkin, I thought I could do better, and I did.

What’s Special about These Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are usually hard after they have cooled off.  I like them when they have not cooled completely and are still bendable. These cookies are like little pillows, nice and soft, and chewy, with just the right amount of chocolate and not overwhelmingly sweet.  They remind me of muffin tops, but are denser.

You can get non-GMO pumpkin puree at your local Whole Foods or other organic food store.  If you don’t care about GMO, then regular pumpkin puree will do fine.  If you want to use fresh pumpkin, you will have to puree it first and adjust the moisture as fresh pumpkin puree has more moisture than canned.

When I made this recipe, I halved it because I had a small can of puree.  Using a small ice cream scoop, I still wound up with 4 dozen cookies.These cookies should be stored covered, with a bit of paper towel over them.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies YouTube Video


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Round Pistachio Baklava

Recipes in this PostRound Pistachio Baklava

A Little History of Round Pistachio Baklava

When I was a little girl, my mother brought me a special dessert.  It was baklava, and I loved it. It wasn’t until I was a lot older and moved to a community that had a large Armenian population that I learned that there were a lot of varieties of the venerable dessert. The history of this pastry is long and contested – some say it originated in Ancient Rome citing a recipe from Cato the Elder in 160 BC, some say the Romans stole the recipe from the Greeks, and Byzantine Turks say it was already theirs – Wikipedia Baklava.

I had no idea how the dessert was made, and when I found out it was made with Filo dough, I thought it being so gossamer that I would never be able to handle it. Of course, I was also convinced that I was unable to make decent rice, and frying completely perplexed me.

I have lately been watching YouTube and found the Heghineh Cooking Show. She demonstrates all kinds of good Armenian food, and one day, it was a round baklava with pistachios.  The way she did it, and explained it, I thought, you know what, I can do that!  I have already conquered rice and mastered frying, so why not Filo, too?  I decided to make it for a small dinner party because I was getting kind of tired of cakes or fruit.

Round Pistachio Baklava

Completed Baklava Taste Test

Working with Filo

If you have already worked with filo dough, then this recipe should be a breeze for you.  If not, and you need to see the method of making these luscious pastries, then head on over to the YouTube video by Heghineh. Please note that you will probably not use the entire roll of dough, some might stick together too much, or get too torn to work with.  I would say I lost about 6 sheets.

There are a couple of things I did differently.  I used Cortas Rose Syrup that I buy at Armenian stores or at Amazon (it makes a fine cocktail with vodka over ice), and I used True Orange that you can also get at Amazon.  I also messed up with the first baklava and forgot to squeeze them together, so I ate those.
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Meatloaf Stuffed Potato Balls with Dragon Sauce

Recipes in this PostMeatloaf Stuffed Potato Balls with Dragon Sauce

Meatloaf Stuffed Potato Balls with Dragon Sauce

One of my favorite things is to go to Porto’s in Glendale and get Papas Rellenas (Cuban Potato Balls).  They are very tasty, and make for a quick bite.  One day, I had left over meatloaf, and left over mashed potatoes, so I decided to try my hand at making them.  It’s pretty simple, and a good way to use up your left overs.  You could use other stuffing, I just happen to really like my Three Pepper Spicy Meatloaf.

A few words about mashed potatoes

Please use real ones, not the ones in the box, or the ones that are already made. Take a little time to make mashed potatoes.  I usually use one medium sized potato per person, unless I want extra for something like this, and then I add an extra potato. For this recipe, you will need to peel the potatoes. Unpeeled potatoes are great, but the peels would get in the way when trying to keep the shaped correctly.  I cut my potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut each half into quarters.  I keep the cut, peeled potatoes in cold water until they have all been prepped, this keeps them from turning brown.  Rinse the potatoes and put them in clean, salted water. Always use a good amount of salt in the water, about a half a teaspoon per potato. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium. Check the potatoes at about 15 minutes.  They are done when you can easily stick a fork or tip of a knife in them.  Don’t let them get over cooked, or you will have a soggy mess. Drain them in a sturdy colander immediately so they will stop cooking.  I like to add butter at this point, and mash them with a masher so the butter really gets in there, then I add milk and depending on how fluffy I want them, I either whip them by hand, or use a hand mixer.

Meatloaf – It’s all up to you!

To make this you will need about 2 cups of left over mashed and a few slices of left over meatloaf.  You can use your favorite meatloaf recipe, you are not tied to mine. You can even use – gads! – store bought meatloaf if you like it.

The Dragon Sauce

You don’t have to have a dip for these, they’re good plain.  But, if you like a extra zip, please try this Dragon Sauce. If you don’t like spicy foods, then you could always use Ranch or onion dip if you wanted.  This is one of those recipes that’s really up to you.  Use what you enjoy!

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