Tag Archives: recipes

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

16 Apr

“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.” 

~M.F.K. Fisher


If you recall, yesterday, I was cooking up a storm. I made a huge pot of ham/bean/veggie soup, but everyone that I offered soup to in my neighborhood, graciously declined. I probably could eat most of it and freeze some, but I wanted to share. I guess not everyone likes the beans or the tomatoes or the ham or the veggies. That’s ok. I’m not offended.

So today, when some of my friends over at the apartments were doing a progressive potluck, offering curbside for those of us living further away, I offered to drop off a dessert when I picked up the curbside meal. I said I didn’t need any food for me, but I’d pick up Mr. Jerry’s dinner and save him a trip, as he lives closer to my side of town.

I decided the easiest and tastiest dessert to share and dispense would be my favorite peanut butter Snicker no bake mini pies. (Watch video for directions and recipe)

While the desserts were setting up in the fridge, I decided to make some pasta for Mr. Jerry and Mr. Mike. I know they like pasta. So, I made a big pot and divided it up, and put in containers for transport. I didn’t even save any for myself. I still have lots of soup eat. Sometimes I just get on a roll and I have to cook and bake and share. It’s a Toni thing.

I dropped off the pasta and four mini pies for my neighbor, Mr. Mike. Then, I drove over to Helene‚Äôs, and she had my curbside pick-up of chicken cacciatore with bread, cobbler, whipped cream, and salad, packed up and ready to go. I drove over to Mr. Jerry’s and dropped the wonderful meals from “the gang,” along with what I made. He was delighted and now has enough food for the rest of the week. He sent us a thank you photo.

Sharing is caring, and I have the sweetest caring friends in the world.

When you can’t hug someone, give them food. Almost just as good.

Saturday:) Super-Duper Fruity Upside-down Dump Cake

7 Apr

“I was never one to follow recipes. I just follow my heart and see what’s in the freezer.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


As promised, I wanted to share the recipe for my fruity upside-down cake that I made for my friends at Towne Creek yesterday. Because I wanted to use a really big pan, I used two yellow cake mixes. I followed directions on the back, but used a tiny bit less water.

I had some canned apple pie filling in the pantry, but looked in the freezer to see if I had some other fruit to put in. I always end up buying more fruit than I can consume, (because I go out to lunch too often) so I freeze the extra.

I found some mango, blueberries, and strawberries, so I added it to the canned apple pie filling.

First, I lined the pan with foil. While the oven was pre-heating, I put a stick of butter in the pan and put in the oven to melt. Once melted, I added some brown sugar. How much? Hmm? Somewhere between one and two cups, enough to cover the bottom and mix with melted butter.

I spooned the fruit mixture on top of brown sugar butter mixture, then topped with cake mix. Two boxes of mix was a little too much, but one would have been too little. So, I made a smaller apple upside cake for my Fire station friends with the extra batter and another can of apple filling.

I baked at 340 because it was one of those dark shiny pans. I checked it after about 25 minutes and it was still gooey in the middle. Then, I realized maybe I should cover it with foil so it wouldn’t burn on top before the middle finished baking. I never trust a timer. I just touch it to see when it’s done. This one took over 30 minutes. The smaller Apple one was done before the big one. I didn’t get a good picture of the finished fruit one because I took it warm to Towne Creek. So, I flipped it with a spatula in sections and added ice cream.

Oh yes, the reason for the foil is, when you flip the cake onto a platter, it’s easier to put a platter over the pan, flip it over, then remove the foil to reveal the pretty fruit. I had enough left over to give some to the ladies to take home and some to share with some neighbors. Oh, and an entire 9×12 cake for Station 9.

This is a very easy yummy cake and a good way to use up any extra fruit in the freezer or getting too ripe in the fridge.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

7 Sep

“There’s only one recipe in my cook book. Ingredients: Love, Preparation time: All your life, Serves: All friends and family, and enough left over to share.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


When I cook and bake, I don’t mess around. I never learned to cook for one, so when I go through the trouble of a culinary endeavor, I make sure there is plenty to share. Deciding to make some of my favorite chocolate chip cookies, I pulled out my well worn favorite cookie recipe. I really need to copy it down, as it’s worn and torn and probably over  25 years old. I love it because it calls for flour and ground oatmeal, 9 cups total. (I don’t grind it too fine, then even reserve a cup or two of it whole) Being an over achiever, I always double the recipe. Yes, 18 cups of flour/oatmeal, 4 cups of butter, 8 eggs, etc. I think I used 5 bags of chocolate chips. (No bars chopped)

I can’t fit all the ingredients in one bowl, so I just mix the butter, sugars, eggs etc., in the mixer, then scoop out half of the wet portion, working from there.

I make a big mess, flour flying all over, wrappers flapping around, music playing in the background. It’s an all day event.

I always like to save a small lump of the mixture to add peanut butter to. Yum! Peanut butter cookies, dredged in sugar before baking, then dipped in melted chocolate on the ends, like Mrs. Fields used to do. 

Now, here’s my tip. I make this huge conglomeration and store in the fridge. I take some of the mixture and form into rolls with Saran Wrap. These can be frozen or given to friends. I gave a couple rolls to Jim to take back home with him yesterday.

The reason I doubled the recipe is so I can have plenty of cookies to bake fresh and take over to Fire Station #5 and #2 for Septemebr 11. I’ve been taking baked goodies to my local fire station every 9/11 since…well…since after the first 9/11. This year, I’ll probably stop by on 9/10, because the stations are usually involved in some commemorative  ceremony or out on calls on 9/11. Scoop or slice, both are nice. (A little rhyme)

Parchment paper on the cookie sheets prevents them from sticking and burning, and the sheets can be used over and over, and even flipped over for more usage. No parchment paper, no problemo. Cut open a brown sandwich bag, works great. Plus, I do a LOT of baking, so I invested in the Airbake insulated cookie sheets. They cost a little more, but I’ve had them for eons. A good investment. But, the parchment or brown bag helps any surface.

This small batch is going with me to my St. Gabriel support group tonight. 

Ah…just out of the oven now…kitchen smells good!

Or lots of love and lots of butter!

Sunday: The Domino Effect

29 Apr


You know how one thing leads to another…and another…and another? It’s the domino effect. Last week, when I went for my weekly trip to the grocery store, I found some pretty great sales. There were some super in-store coupons and a few can’t pass up specials. I had bought a couple of packages of cream cheese at regular price the week before, but this week the eight ounce package was only fifty cents! What? I had paid $1.99 earlier. So naturally, I bought eight of them. I’m always baking and making dips, so this was too good to pass up. Glancing at the sale flyer, I noticed eggs were on sale 99 cents a dozen. My inner karma was saying, “Cheesecake.”

Friday, I had made a bazillion little mini cheesecakes, and had left over batter that I used to make a 9×12 slab of plain old cheesecake filling. I still had about 10 mini cheesecakes and the slab leftover after Friday’s tea party. So, today I cut the mini’s into quarters and dipped them in chocolate, of course. Then, I cut the slab in half, put strawberry jam on one half, topped with the other half and froze it. Once frozen, I cut into tiny squares and dipped those in chocolate. All of the dipped bite-sized chocolate delights were then frozen and popped onto many small ziplock bags to be used for emergency chocolate fixes and functions. They freeze very well, and I can sneak into one of the bags and take out one little bite and not feel to guilty. It’s when I take out five or six that I feel guilty.

Thus, the domino effect. Cream cheese and eggs on sale leads to cheesecake, which leads to left-overs, which leads to little dipped chocolate bites, which leads to… well, I guess leads to having to go to the gym and work overtime at Zumba class. Down go the dominoes!


A Good Friday

30 Mar

It was a good Good Friday. How was your day? I got up at the crack of dawn. Well, there really wasn’t a crack, as much as a full-fledged right smack in your face sunshine pouring in the windows morning. My plan for the day was to get up early and start baking a zillion cute cupcakes with the marshmallow Peep bunnies on top. Everybody loves them.

It was a massive production. While the mixer was blazing with the first batch of yellow cake mix, the oven was reaching 350 degrees. I put paper cupcake liners in 2 pans of a dozen, and started pouring in batter, adding a teaspoon of cherry pie filling in the center. While the cupcakes were baking, I started mixing up the cream cheese frosting, adding a little green food coloring. Then another batch of chocolate cupcakes.

Several hours and 48 cupcakes later, I placed pink and yellow Peeps on top of each one, using a pretzel stick instead of a toothpick to secure the bunny. Then I put a dab of frosting on a mini marshmallow for a bunny tail.

The first dozen went over to Fire Station 5. I took a couple over to Kerri and Justin at Papa Murphy’s when I picked up my pizza for dinner later. Six more went next door to the triplets and the family. Then, it was 2 pm and time for my senior art group. They enjoyed the special bunny treats. Who wouldn’t?

There are a few more unfrosted cupcakes left, but I’ll frost them fresh in the morning and find a few more folks to share them with.” Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven.”

Oh yes! I always like to make a funny face with the mixes. What do you think?





Friday:Fancy Cupcakes, Firemen and Flying Cranes

9 Mar

Every day is an adventure, and today was no exception. Friday is my volunteer day, and I always try to bring some snacks, baked goods, or a hearty meal. Today was a gloomy bake something fun kinda day. One of my favorite things to make are cupcakes. A single cake mix renders 24 yummy cupcakes that can be doctored-up very easily, not to mention goes a long way. I also had some white chocolate macadamia nut cookie dough in the fridge. They were in little, ready to bake dollops.

Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes (not really a recipe- just what you need)

1 chocolate cake mix, follow directions, then add about 1/2 cup chocolate chips to batter
Place paper cupcake liner in 2 cupcake pans of 12 (makes 24)
Add 1 heaping tablespoon batter into each cup (should be about 1/2 full)
1 can of cherry pie filling- add one teaspoon of filling in center that has 1 cherry (not too much)
There should be some batter left so put a small dollop of batter with a teaspoon on top of cherry
Bake according to direction or when firm to touch
Cool then frost with favorite frosting. I made homemade cream cheese cran-cherry frosting. You can use canned frosting, (not my thing)
Add a cherry on top (take photo to share with friends)

After the cupcake baking ceremony, I baked some of the cookies. My plan was to take some warm cookies and a dozen cupcakes over to my local Fire Station 5, then bake the rest of the cookies at Towne Creek for my senior art group. There’s nothing better then a warm cookie and a cupcake to get the artistic juices flowing. While the cookies were cooling, my friend Della called. She was concerned because my last two blogs were so short. She thought maybe I was sick or something. Boy, she’ll be sorry she said that when she reads this long one!

So here’s the agenda. I took a dozen cupcakes and 10 warm cookies to the fire station. Firefighter Stephens answered the door and was more than pleased to receive the goodies. Then, I drove over to Papa Murphy’s to pick up my take-and-bake pizza for dinner later, and took 3 cupcakes for Justin and Kerri who work there. (I did leave some cookies and 1 cupcake for my dear husband who was home with a bad cold.) I went home, dropped off the pizza, and packed up the car around 2pm with my art supplies, cupcakes, and cookie sheets and dough.

My friend Krys joined us today to teach the group how to make origami cranes. Wow, a lot of folds and patience required, but everyone made a very cool crane. After origami, I popped the cookies in the oven. We feasted on cupcakes, warm cookies, and cheese puffs that Krys brought. Then, I did a quick variegated sky demo with acrylic paint on canvas.(Forgot to take photo-oops.) The time flew by as fast as flying cranes. (I remembered crane photos)

I got home around 6:30, put the pizza in the oven, and we ate at 7. Then, the only thing left to do, write this tremendously exciting summary of my day.(Not really exciting) Fancy cupcakes, firemen and flying cranes sums it up.









Tuesday: Tips and Tricks for a Fun-Filled Life

6 Mar

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you salad, make a funny face.

I tend to see life a little differently than most folks, that’s for sure. You’ve heard about people who play with their food. Well, I like to make funny faces with my food. One day when I was having a salad for dinner, I noticed the tomatoes, olives, and cucumbers would make a fun face. Another time, I was going to fry up a couple eggs with salsa and cheese…yep, another funny face.

“I see faces in my food!”

My tip for today is… Have a little fun every day and always play with your food.



Can You Learn From Your Children?

27 Jan

They say the best way to influence your children is to teach them by example. But, what if children are trying to teach their parents by example?

I always tried to be a good example to my two sons. I like to think that both my husband and I are kind, generous, and all around good people. My sons have turned out to be genuinely wonderful men, and yes, I’m prejudiced, but I think everyone would agree.

Here is where the table have been turned. Both my sons are vegans, and have been for quite a while. Where did I go wrong? They eat mostly fresh fruit and vegetables, and very rarely eat junk food. This means no meat, fish, eggs, or dairy. Basically, it must come from the dirt to the table. This from the little boys who begged to have hot dogs or burgers everyday if they couldn’t go to McDonalds.

I have been scolded and schooled on the evils of meat, milk, dairy products, eggs, etc. “Mom, do you know how they treat and butcher those animals?” I’ve been given many Christmas gifts of books and DVDs on the subject. Their well-meaning gestures and pressures have influenced me somewhat, but my bad habits and taste buds are not completely convinced. Sometimes it’s a good thing that they live hundreds of miles away so they can’t check up on me all the time.

All their advice is sound and reasonable, but I can’t do it all cold turkey. I drink almond milk, gave up soda (most of the time), basically no desserts (unless it’s my birthday, or someone else’s birthday, or the girl scouts are selling cookies), I’ve cut back on meat consumption. As my mother-in-law used to say, “Better like nothing.”

Thank you, boys, for trying to lead by example. Maybe if you lived a little closer and visited more often, you could be better role models. Hint..hint!