Saturday, April 19, 2014

Brown Rice Paella

John is always searching for new recipes to make that have new and different ingredients.  He has been wanting to make this one for a long time and finally it happened.

"Brown Rice Paella" 

This one was found on Food .com.


1 lb extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
8-9 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 lb chicken breast cooked and sliced or cubed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut pole to pole into 1/2" wide strips
8 oz Spanish chorizo, sliced 1/2" thick on the bias
1 medium onion, chopped fine, about 1 cup
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained, minced and drained again
2 cups long grain brown rice
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp saffron thread crumbled
1 bay leaf
1 dozen mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/2 cup frozen green pea, thawed
2 tsp fresh parsley leaves chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Toss shrimp, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 tbsp oil and 1 tsp garlic in medium bowl; cover and refrigerate until needed.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, set aside.

Heat 2 tsp oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until simmering but not smoking.  Add peppers and cook stirring occasionally, until skin begins to blister and turn spotty black, 3-4 minutes.  Transfer peppers to small plate and set aside.

Add 1 tsp oil to now-empty Dutch oven, heat oil until shimmering but not smoking.  Add chicken pieces in single layer; cook until browned, about 3 minutes.  Turn pieces and brown on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to medium bowl.  Reduce heat to medium and add chorizo to pot; cook, stirring frequently, until deeply browned and fat begins to render, 4-5 minutes.  Transfer chorizo to bowl with chicken and set aside.

Add enough oil to fat in Dutch oven to equal 2 tbsp, heat over medium heat oil until shimmering but not smoking.  Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes; stir in remaining garlic an cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in tomatoes; cook until mixture begins to darken and thicken slightly, about 3 minutes.  Stir in rice and cook until grains are well coated with tomato mixture, 1-2 minutes.  Stir in chicken broth, saffron, bay leaf and 1/2 tsp salt; increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook until rice absorbs most of liquid, about 30 minutes.  Remove pot from oven; add chicken and chorizo, cover pot, and transfer to oven; cook for 15 minutes.  Remove pot from oven; scatter shrimp over meat and rice, insert mussels hinged side down into rice, arrange bell pepper strips in pinwheel pattern, and scatter peas over top.  Cover and return to oven; cook until shrimp are opaque and mussels have opened, about 12 minutes.

Let paella stand, covered, about 5 minutes.  Discard any mussels that have not opened and bay leaf, if it can be easily removed.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

This is delicious.

Mary Ellen

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies Gluten-Free

John and I are having a great time baking new things using the ATK Gluten-Free Flour Blend.  
Today we made 
"Chocolate Chip Cookies Gluten-Free" 
They turned out beautifully and taste great.

Working with gluten free flours is always an unknown the first time.  I wonder about texture of the batter and what it will do during the baking process.  In the end the batter didn't really look or act and different that my usual Chocolate Chip Cookies.


1 3/4 cups ATK flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
 2 tbsp milk 
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Whisk flour blend, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.  Whisk melted butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together in large bowl until well combined and smooth.  Whisk in egg, milk and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth.  Stir in flour mixture with rubber spatula and mix until soft homogeneous dough forms.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 30 minutes. Dough will be sticky and soft.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using 2 spoons drop about 1 1/2 tbsp of dough about 2 inches apart on prepared sheets.  I used my 2 tbsp scoop. 

 Bake in 350 degree oven for 11-13 minutes rotating sheet halfway through baking.  Makes 2 dozen.  Let cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Cookies are best eaten on the same day.  They can be frozen for another day and warmed in the microwave.

They are really good.  My picky chocolate chip cookie eater, Robert, ate 6.  They past the test.
Mary Ellen

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Gluten-Free Cheese Bread

In our quest to find and make good baked goods for our Gluten Free family members we came across a wonderful new source.  I was listening to NPR radio on my way to see my daughter and new grandson and heard a program interviewing a couple of people from America's Test Kitchen and a whole new world was opened up to me.  This is one of the recipe that uses their along time tested

Gluten-Free Cheese Bread


 1 cup  grated Parmesan cheese
2 3/4 cups ATK Gluten-Free Flour Blend
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/4 cups sour cream
3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Whisk flour blend, baking powder, soda, salt, pepper and cayenne together in large bowl.  Stir in cheddar cheese, breaking up any clumps, until coated with flour mixture.  In separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, melted butter and eggs until smooth.  Using a rubber spatula, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Batter is thick and heavy.

Prepare an 8 1/2" X 4 1/2" loaf pan by lightly oiling with about 1/2 tsp of olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese evenly in bottom of pan.

Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth top and evenly sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate pan halfway through baking.  The bread will be a deep golden brown.

Transfer to wire rack and let cool in pan 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool 1 hour before serving.

Although you can't duplicate the flavor of wheat flour using different combinations and techniques you can make something delicious.  This bread tastes as good as it looks.

Mary Ellen

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Show and Tell Saturday #10

Isn't she hilarious?  
The girls and I belong to a quilt group where we learn from each other, help make each others quilts and most of all have"Show and Tell".  Last fall, one of the ladies brought what I thought was the most hilarious quilt I had ever seen.  It was the "Quilt Diva".  Immediately I thought I need to make that quilt for my mother for Christmas.  It is so her.  The colors just every thing about it.  I went on line and searched the name and found that Amy Bradley's had designed it.  I had already made one of her quilts and happy to find this one.  I bought the pattern and then re sized it to 80% because it was too big for any place in my mom's house.

  It was fun to go through my stash and to purchase these great colors to make this wall hanging.
My mother lives in another state and decided to come visit for Christmas so I was able to see her
open my gift.  She loved it.

 She had my brother hang it in her living room on the coat closet door so everyone can see it.  

Mary Ellen

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Checkerboard Cake

We are having fun this year celebrating birthdays.  One thing we are doing is having fun with cakes.  I asked David our oldest son what kind of cake he would like he said "Crumby Cake".  Now this was a surprise because that is Robert's favorite cake. He then said, "no let's make it more challenging, make a two layer checkerboard cake." I immediately retorted, that a true "Checkerboard Cake" has tree layers and I could do that, secretly knowing that my daughters both have the magic tool to make one. 

This was going to be a fun project, but how to decorate it.  
David is a huge Seattle Seahawks fan, that was the answer.  Here is David's 

"Seattle Seahawks Checkerboard Cake". 

Well at least what it looked like before we cut it for the surprise center.

First things first.  I made my favorite plain white cake with a few changes to the measurements and directions.  Because it is a three layer cake it needs a bit more batter.

1 cup Butter
1 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
1/4 cup  cocoa powder

Cream butter and sugar together until light.  Add eggs and vanilla, beat until fluffy.  Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately with milk.  Divide batter in half into two separate bowls. Add enough water to the 1/4 cup of cocoa powder to make a medium paste (about the same consistency of the batter).  Stir into one bowl of batter.  In the other bowl of batter I added green food coloring (team Color). 

Just to help make sure your layers come out of the pan perfectly line the bottom with parchment paper.

Using a large spoon carefully pour batter into the separate divider  sections of the magic tool (checkerboard baking set) that can be purchased at and other on line stores.  Be careful to get the different colors of batter at the same level.

Repeat for the other two pans. Be sure to make two layers the same.  Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.  Cool.  Assemble cake with frosting in between layers, putting the different layer in the center. Frost cake with  butter cream frosting. 

Butter Cream Frosting
1/3 cup butter
Pinch of salt
3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream butter, salt, vanilla and one cup powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  Add remaining powdered sugar and milk alternately, beating until smooth and spreading consistency. 

Cutting into the cake is always fun and a surprise to those who have no idea because you can't tell from the outside.  You can make any color combination you desire.  Mary Catherine made a red and green one for Christmas one year. Have and enjoy. 

Mary Ellen

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Caterpillar Cupcakes
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Butterscotch Dumplings

I visited with my mother last weekend and asked if we could make a dessert that was one of my favorites as a child and is one I have not had it a very long time.
"Butterscotch Dumplings"
It is a recipe my mother remembers her mother making when she was young too. 
They called it a  "Poor Man's Recipe" because the ingredients were
 nothing special and more than likely in everyone's pantry.

My mother thought I was crazy when I took a picture of her cookbook, but it's a treasure.
It's easily 60 plus years old and is in her handwriting. Amazingly enough it is still in one piece.

The recipe is easy to make. Prepare is ahead and pop it in the oven so it can be served hot for dessert.



1 cup flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
Pinch of salt


1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 cup hot water
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a shallow pan, heat the white sugar stirring occasionally with a fork until it is almost melted stir in brown sugar until well blended and melted. 

Add water. The sugars will go hard but continue stirring until it returns to liquid, this will take a few minutes.

Add butter and vanilla.  Pour into a medium loaf pan.  Set aside while your prepare dumplings.  Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Stir in milk until just blended.  

          Drop spoonful of dumplings into sugar mixture. Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown. 

Spoon into a bowl flipping dumplings over so the sauce is on the top.  
Serve hot with, my mother says cream or half and half,
 but I love it with vanilla ice cream.

                                      This is a great old recipe with a wonderful new beginning.

Mary Ellen

If you are new to Spindles Designs we would love for you to subscribe to our e-mail updates or follow us on FacebookPinterest, or Twitter.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Show and Tell Saturday #9

When we tore apart our kitchen most of the cabinets that were removed were to be reused again in the remodel, but some were set aside in the garage to think about for a while.  We are not known for our ability to save things just the opposite we are great thrower awayers, but somethings are worthy of keeping around for possible re-purposing.  This project was one of those.  

In Mary Catherine's house above her kitchen sink was a very empty boring wall.  There were cabinets on each side but no cabinet or shelf across the top to tie them together.  She was watching a T.V. program one evening and saw what she wanted in that space, a  


The plate rack would give her much needed extra cupboard space in her small kitchen.
She asked her dad if  he could build one and the rest is history. 

The cabinet that had been over the refrigerator was the perfect size to fit in between her cabinets.  The cost was minimal a few dowels and stain were the only things that were not already in our garage.  We chose the two tone look to tie in with her oak colored cabinet and her black appliances.  It looks great and it also gave her a continuous space along the top of the cabinets to decorate.

I love being able to make something useful out of scraps and to re-purpose old 
items that are still in good shape.
Mary Ellen 

If you are new to Spindles we would love for you to subscribe to our e-mail updates or follow us on FacebookPinterest, or Twitter.

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