Viewing Archive:

Grandma A’s Potato Chip Cookies

Yum! Potato Chip Cookies ūüôā

Christmas already?!? I don’t know about you, but it is too early for me to think about Christmas. ¬†But on the flip side, maybe it’s a good idea to plan ahead.

I am going to share a recipe with you from my Grandma A.  We used to visit her during the summer at her home in Mesa, Arizona and she would make some treats for our arrival.  One of my favorites was her Potato Chip Cookies.  They resemble a shortbread cookie with a salty, crunchy surprise of a potato chip.  I bring up Christmas, because every year for our holiday baking we make these Potato Chip Cookies and share them with friends and family.  For me, biting into these cookies is just like sharing a memory, fun times and family.

To get the holiday started, so to speak, I am sharing the recipe with you and those from other blogs.  Enjoy!

Grandma A's Potato Chip Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 48
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ pound butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2½ to 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup crushed potato chips
  • Powdered sugar
  1. Mix first 4 ingredients and cream together. Add flour and mix well. Fold in potato chips and nuts.
  2. Drop by teaspoonfuls on to a greased cookie sheet. Press with fork dipped in powdered sugar.
  3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until edges are brown. 350 degree oven.
  4. Dust with powdered sugar while warm, if desired.
Cinder's Notes - Local Products are Walnuts - California, Butter - California, Eggs - Shelly's Farm Fresh, Brentwood, California,

Local Sources/Finds – Shelly’s Farm Fresh (Eggs), Continente Ranch (California Nuts)

Steamed Almond Flour Cake – With the Ninja Kitchen System

Luvin’ from the Oven! Or in this case the Ninja!

Earlier this year I attended the International Food Bloggers Conferences (IFBC) in Portland, Oregon.  It was a fantastic event where bloggers from all over gather to network, learn new techniques and meet new friends.  On Saturday of the conference, a luncheon and presentation was held by the Ninja Cooking System.  What is a Ninja Cooking System you ask?  Well, it is an appliance for the kitchen that can sear foods, bake and slow cook, all in ONE device! It is amazing!  I have browned, slow cooked and now have tried to steam bake in it.  So far, I have made soup, spaghetti sauce, carnitas and now cake!  One of the perks of steam baking is that you can use 1/2 the fat in a recipe and it will still be extremely moist. Oh, I forgot to mention by attending the conference we all had the privilege of having one delivered to our home to try out.  Sweet!

Showing the oven setting on the Ninja Cooking System

I used a recipe from Bob’s Red Mill called Magically Moist Almond Cake. ¬†The recipe called for a 9 x 13 pan, but I used the pan provided by Ninja for the Cooking System which is 7 x 9.5 inches. ¬†Per the recipe, the cake was to bake for 30 minutes. ¬†The insturction booklet said for steam baking add 1 ¬†cup of water for every 10 minutes of baking time. ¬†In this case, I added 3 cups of water for the 30 minute baking time. ¬†I checked the cake at 30 minutes and low & behold it was done!

Ready for the Ninja!

The adjustments I made to the recipe was to use 1/2 the fat, in this case butter, added a little almond flavoring and sprinkled some sliced almonds on top.  I took a class on how to make butter last week, so I had some fresh buttermilk and replaced the milk called for in the recipe with that.  I also swapped out the sugar for a natural, no calorie sweetener for dietary reasons.

Let me talk about the cake.  It was utterly moist and remember, I used half of the amount of butter!  It was a little crumbly, but I cut it while still warm.  I would say to let the cake cool thoroughly before serving.  A very light almond flavor was a lovely touch.  I was very impressed with the way this cake turned out and  will absolutely try this method again. This cake would be an enjoyable treat whether for dessert or with a cup of coffee in the morning.  I think serving it with some fresh local fruit would be a tasty addition.

Local Notes: ¬†Buttermilk – Cindi’s Kitchen, Almonds & Butter – California

Equipment:  Ninja Cooking System

Loaded Cauliflower

Loaded Cauliflower

This is a version of “Twice Baked Potatoes” using cauliflower. ¬†Who does not love loaded baked potatoes? ¬†I know I do, but if you are looking to lower your carb count, here is a great alternative. ¬†A special tool that I used for this recipe was a “Potato Ricer“and I used the smallest “die”. ¬†I wanted a really smooth product like mashed potatoes. ¬†I tried a blender, my Kitchen Aid stand mixer but the ricer produced the smoothest result between the three. ¬†If you have a food mill, you could also try that and I think next time I will to see if I get a smoother result.

The ingredients in this recipe really worked well, but you can always add or take away something as desired.

Local note – Cauliflower is from Sanger, California.

Loaded Cauliflower
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 6
  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 6 ounces sour cream
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 6 slices bacon, crumbled
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt/pepper
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Cut cauliflower in to medium to small chunks. Steam until tender.
  3. Using a potato ricer, "rice" cauliflower into a medium bowl.
  4. Add sour cream to "riced" cauliflower and stir. Save some of the green onion, bacon and cheddar cheese for garnish. Add remaining green onions, bacon and cheddar cheese and stir.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Place mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.
© Cinder's Kitchen


Hickory Smoked Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Hickory Smoked Gazpacho Soup

After attending a BlogHer Food Conference earlier this year, I was asked by to be a guest on their Fresh Bites Blog.  This is the recipe I came up with for the post and I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the layers of flavors, refreshing with a little crunch from the vegetables of a cold soup.

On a local note Р All from California.

Tomatoes, onions and cucumber are from Knightsen. Garlic from Gilroy.

Cilantro & corn from Brentwood.  Onion from Stockton.


Here is the post:

A Late Summer #RecipeForHappiness Starring Grilled Tomatoes

Imagine being in a big room buzzing with excited food bloggers! That was Allrecipes‚Äô experience this past June when the annual BlogHer Food conference took place in a hotel right down the street from our offices. One of the bloggers we met then was Cindi Marino, the writer behindCinder‚ÄôsKitchen. A recent blogger‚ÄĒshe says she ‚Äėofficially‚Äô started her blog this year in July‚ÄĒand considers it a ‚Äėwork in progress.‚Äô But she also notes, ‚ÄúI guess I started ‚Äúblogging‚ÄĚ before I knew what blogging was. I have notebooks of my foodie experiences, before anyone owned personal computers, notebooks with so many tried-and-true recipes, holiday menus from the past and little ‚Äúfood finds‚ÄĚ from here and there. I did not know I was a foodie when I started collecting cookbooks. When I got married (28 years ago), I owned one cookbook and borrowed a couple from my mother-in-law for recipe ideas. Now I probably own well over 200, and cannot part with any one of them.‚ÄĚ Her¬†Cinder’sKitchen¬†blog focuses on the abundance of locally sourced produce, grown and picked right near her home in Northern California.¬†

When thinking about my personal #RecipeForHappiness, it always has to start with good food, good ingredients, good friends, and great belly laughs! There’s nothing better!

Having moved to Northern California from Southern California, I discovered the ‚Äúgood ingredients‚ÄĚ part in all the local fruits and vegetables. Mind you, I knew they were there in Southern California too, but the nearest farm was a 30- to 40-minute drive. Depending on what we desired, it could be even further. Well, five miles from my present home I can now basically get most anything I want, and freshly picked.

My farmers’ market tomato bounty! (Photo by Cindi Marino)


What makes me happy every summer are CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) boxes, and farm stands filled with freshly picked fruit, vegetables, and homemade pies‚ÄĒso much good stuff that I feel like a kid in a candy store all the time. I scoop up as much as I dare, and then turn to my cookbooks or¬† Whether for recipes themselves, to find inspiration to create other meal ideas or simply to reminisce about recipes I‚Äôve forgotten. Allrecipes is a wonderful resource for cooks of any level.

The two things I most look forward to things are the heirloom tomatoes and cooking them on my ceramic cooker/grill. (Confession: I like my grill so much I own two!) When I visit a local farm stand, I walk around and admire the colorful tomatoes. They are breathtaking! People who know me will be surprised about my love affair with heirloom tomatoes, because I am not a big fresh tomato fan. However, these tomatoes taste totally different from the grocery store varieties. I adore their sweet, luscious, fresh flavor!

My favorite grill #1 (Photo by Cindi Marino)
My favorite grill #2! (Photo by Cindi Marino)


When I started to think about how I could use both tomatoes and my grill. I remembered a restaurant in Southern California called the Velvet Turtle. It had wonderful soups, and one of my favorites was gazpacho, which is a cold tomato soup. The recipe called for canned tomato juice, and it was delicious. Sadly, the chain is no longer in business and all outlets are closed. Well, I knew I had some kitchen homework to do.

The result is the following recipe that I think is reminiscent of the Velvet Turtle’s gazpacho, but with a little twist from my grill. Grilled tomatoes! You will not believe the smoky flavor you get from having your tomatoes on the grill for such a short time. Overall, the soup is deceptively simple to make and very flexible. Make it when you have an extra ear of corn on hand. Adjust its seasonings to suit your own tastes. Seriously, there is no wrong way to make it. Make it your own and enjoy!

Sliced heirloom tomatoes awaiting the grill (Photo by Cindi Marino)


And if you don’t have a grill, or are looking for other ways to use late summer’s bounty of tomatoes, check out these recipes. They’re a bunch of my favorites from Allrecipes that also use fresh tomatoes.

Double Tomato Bruschetta
Avocado, Tomato and Mango Salsa
Avocado-Feta Salsa
Insalata Caprese II
Chef John’s Gazpacho

If you do have a grill and want to try my method for grilling tomatoes for gazpacho with a twist, here’s my recipe.

Waiting for a spoon: A bowl of Hickory-Smoked Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho (Photo by Cindi Marino)

Hickory-Smoked Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Servings: 6

10 heirloom tomatoes, cut in half
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 chunks hickory wood
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, leaves coarsely chopped
5 cloves roasted garlic, chopped
1 grilled corn-on-the-cob, corn sliced from the cob
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

1 outdoor grill
1 juicer (or a food mill or similar device)
1 food processor (or a blender)

1. Place the halved tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Prepare a charcoal grill and heat to 300 degrees F (149 degrees C). When temperature is reached, top the hot coals with the hickory chunks. Once the hickory chunks start to smoke, place the tomatoes onto the grill. Grill the tomatoes 2 minutes on each side, and then remove them from the grill to a plate Let the tomatoes cool.
3. Place the cooled tomatoes into the bowl of a food processor. In a separate bowl, reserve about 1/2 cup total of the chopped cucumber, onion and cilantro. Add the remaining chopped cucumber, onion, and cilantro to the tomatoes into the food processor bowl, and stir in the garlic. Pulse about 5 times to chop, or until the tomatoes reach the desired consistency. (NOTE: You will need to do this in several batches.) After each batch, pour the tomato mixture into a large bowl. Stir the corn, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine vinegar into the tomato mixture. Adjust the salt and pepper seasoning to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. To serve, ladle the chilled gazpacho into bowls. Top each serving with a spoonful of sour cream and sprinkle with the reserved cucumber, red onion, corn, and chopped cilantro mixture.

Cook’s Tips

  • The hickory chunks do not need to be soaked in water before using them on the grill.
  • For flavor variations, top the soup with cold, cooked shrimp; avocado slices, bell pepper chunks, or jalape√Īo peppers, etc.

My Homework Project from IFBC – Christmas Lima Bean & Dill Pollen

I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference in Portland, Oregon this year. ¬†What a fun event and learned so much. ¬†In attending a conference session titled “Break Out of Your Recipe Routine: Where to Discover New Meals to Blog About” ¬†¬†hosted by Alex Malott of and Currin Berdine of StumbleUpon. ¬†They had a wealth of information to help trigger new ideas, recipes, and more. ¬†In addition, they gave us “homework”. ¬†Each of us received a package of ingredients to take home, create a recipe and write about it. ¬†In my package courtesy of Marx Foods there were two ingredients I had never heard of before Christmas Lima Beans and Dill Pollen.


I wondered why they were called Christmas Lima Beans, because at first glance they looked speckled with a brown color, but now that I have soaked them they are a lively red and white/tan color resembling the colors of Christmas!

Heirloom Beans

The first website I visited told me how long to soak the beans (8 hours) and to cook them about 45 minutes. ¬†Well, when that did not work I looked for more website posts. ¬†I found one where the author said cooking the beans could take as long as 2 hours, and to not over cook them. ¬†Well, these beans ended up cooking for hours! ¬†I think at least 4 until they were done. ¬†I lost count after a while. ¬†I think I tasted more raw beans during the process than what was left at the end of the “assignment”. Well, I chose to make a bean salad with my ingredients and the end result was quite tasty.

Local Note –¬†The green beans in this recipe are from Smith Family Farm in Knightsen, California.



Christmas Lima Bean & Farm Stand Green Bean Salad


Christmas Lima Beans

Farm Stand Green Beans

1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar

1/2 cup Oil

1 to 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt & Pepper to taste

Dash/smidgen Dill Pollen

Soak the Christmas Lima Beans for at least 8 hours or overnight water covering the beans by over 2 inches.  Rinse. Then cook the beans in water, covering them with several inches of the water.  Boil until tender.  Replace water as necessary.  Once tender, drain and let cool.

Snap ends off green beans.  Place in steamer and steam with water until tender. Cool beans. Place both the Christmas Lima Beans and the green beans in a bowl.

Mix remaining ingredients, except dill pollen,  in a jar with a lid.  Place lid on jar and shake until all ingredients are mixed/emulsified.  Dress beans with the Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette to taste.  Sprinkle a very small amount of the dill pollen on the salad (the dill pollen is very potent).  Stir/toss the salad to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.  Serve as a side dish with BBQ meats, or as a dish by itself.  Enjoy!

Hatch Chiles


Note – I know this is not a local product, but I do consider it a find! Vacation to New Mexico next year? Sounds like a plan!

I only recently learned about Hatch Chiles by following Melissa’s Produce on Facebook. ¬† Apparently this chile has a cult following. ¬†Had it not been for Melissa’s Produce posting on Facebook, I probably would have never noticed the large display in my local Raley’s Supermarket. They are on sale right now for $.89 cents a pound, a bargain! ¬†Hatch Chiles are grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico and it’s thought their uniqueness is because of the climate there in the growing season.

I thought these chiles were going to be mild like an Anaheim Chile (who I found out is a relative). ¬†Don’t let their looks deceive you! ¬†They are a mild chile but with a kick, as I was preparing them for cooking the air became quite potent with their aroma and I had a coughing fit! ¬†Had to catch my breath, then I touched my face later (without thinking), a slight burning sensation ensued. ¬†But believe me, the experience was worth it!

This is not a recipe, I am just telling you what I did as I did not measure anything, just eyeballed it.

I purchased 4 Hatch Chiles, Sliced down one side and seeded the chiles. They  are more potent than you think so be careful. I baked the chiles for about 15 minutes in my toaster oven at 350 degrees in a prepared dish. I let them cool.

I browned some sausage. On hand I had a 16 ounce package of Farmer John’s Spicy Pork Sausage and let it cool. I stirred the sausage with a little bit of low-fat mayo just to moisten and added some Monterey Jack cheese and stuffed the mixture into the prepared chilies. ¬†Then I baked the dish in the toaster oven again for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. ¬†Great side dish!

The verdict on this dish was that it was really tasty, but I wish the filling was moister. ¬†I tried to keep it low carb. ¬†Next time I might not fully cook the sausage before stuffing the peppers. ¬†But all in all, those Hatch Chiles are a winner, so go out there and get yourself some Hatch Chiles, you won’t be disappointed! ¬†These chiles are only available for a short time during the summer, I think until some time in September so you had better hurry and get your fill.



There is a newly published cookbook called the Hatch Chile Cookbook by Gloria Chadwick which contains 300 recipes.

Here is a website you can purchase your Hatch Chiles and have them shipped to your home, if they are not locally available for you. (But hurry!)


I visited my local Raley’s Market today (8/20/12) to take advantage of their sale and the Hatch Chiles were GONE!!!


Low Carb Cheesecake Pie with Butter Rum Sauce

This post is in honor of National Cheesecake Day (which I only found out about this morning!).

I have been on a little bit of a “low carb” kick recently. Although I miss some foods, like potatoes, bread, pasta and desserts, it has not been a bad experience in the end. And losing weight along the way has been an added plus.

For myself, at the end of the day, I always like a treat of some kind. I wanted something easy to make, no baking (if possible) and satisfying. Because of that, I thought I would experiment with this recipe. The filling needs no baking, and the crust I used for this came from a online store. For the crust, per serving is 1 net carb. For the filling the carb count is 25 for the whole pie! Divide that by 10 and the count is approximately 2.5 grams of carbs per serving (these counts are not accurate, but close). In the future, I plan to try and experiment with other products to achieve a low carb pie crust, such as coconut flour and almond flour, as a couple of examples. I will post those efforts if I find success.

Some of the ingredients for this pie may be unusual, but it is in an effort to keep the carb count down. One of the ingredients I had a hard time finding was Erythritol. Conducting a search on the internet, I saw a post that mention “Wholesome Sweets” has a product called Zero, which is Erythritol. Hey, I saw them at BlogHer Food 2012! So, I immediately dove into my swag bag from the conference, and sure enough they provided samples of that product! Yay!

Keep in mind, if you aren’t on a low carb kick like me, just swap the sweetener for 1/2 cup powdered sugar and your own type of pie crust.

On a little bit of a side note, I think in this day and age we add too much sugar to everything. Case in point. While doing some research for this recipe, I compared a recipe from a cookbook printed in 1981 with a recipe that was published this week on a Huffington Post blog. The older recipe used 1/2 cup powdered sugar. The more recent recipe used 3/4 cups powdered sugar AND 1 cup granulated sugar. To be fair, the older recipe used 8oz. of cream cheese, where the newer one used 16 oz. But even with that comparison, the older recipe still contained more sugar. Check your recipes, see if the trend I am noticing is the same for you too.

*Click on title to get the recipe.

Buttered Rum Sauce

Here is the sauce for the Cheesecake Pie. You can actually flavor with Vanilla instead of the Buttered Rum or whatever other flavor tickles your fancy. Another low carb treat! This was tasty, but next time I might try a citrus flavor for a refreshing type of treat.

The eggs in this recipe are from Shelly’s Farm right here in Brentwood! I love farm fresh eggs.

Brentwood Cornfest Recipe Contest

Every year in July there is a corn celebration in Brentwood, California. It‚Äôs called the ‚ÄúBrentwood Cornfest‚ÄĚ and is held in the second week of that month.

This year I saw the bulletin requesting recipes for their contest. I thought about it and decided to submit a recipe that include this lucious Brentwood Corn. I chose a salad/side dish for the event. I used to buy a similar salad from a catering establishment in Downtown Brentwood called ‚ÄúGooseberry Fool‚ÄĚ. A nice little gourmet store in the heart of Downtown. Sadly, the store is no longer there but many good memories remain. So, I took this salad, put my own spin on it and added grilled corn.

For the contest, ten of us competed for a first, second and third prize. This recipe took second place in the competition and I simply called it ‚ÄúIsraeli Couscous with Grilled Corn‚ÄĚ.

Have you ever tried Brentwood Corn? If not, you are missing out on some of the best corn you have never tasted! Hard to explain, you really have to try it for yourself. It is sweet, without being too sweet, large crunchy kernels and large cobs. I prefer the yellow version, but many people here prefer the white corn.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Grilled Corn

1 pkg. Israeli Couscous (prepare as directed on package)

1/3 cup Dried Cranberries
2 cobs Corn, grilled
2 tbsp. Italian Parsley, chopped
3 Green Onions, sliced (green part only)
1/3 cup Pecans, toasted
1/2 cup Lemon and Olive Oil dressing (recipe below)

Mix together all ingredients, except dressing. Stir well. Add dressing. Add more than 1/2 cup dressing if desired. Refrigerate. Serve chilled.

Lemon and Olive Oil Dressing

Zest of 1 Lemon
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic
1 tsp. Salt

Grate/mince garlic. Combine with salt to make a paste. In container with lid, add all ingredients. Shake well. Makes 1 cup.

Note: I like to add the toasted pecans right before serving, that way they remain toasty & crunchy. I used ‚ÄúRice Select‚ÄĚ Pearl Couscous (Tri-Color), using the whole container (11.53 oz.) I think it makes for a very colorful and pleasing side dish.

Thank you to the Brentwood Cornfest and KSFO 560 Radio for sponsoring the event!

International Food Blogger Conference 2012 Portland

%d bloggers like this: