Homemade Chocolate Syrup

How simple could this be to make Chocolate Syrup ?  I must admit that I am a homogenized milk with Ovaltine girl. I have succumbed to friends by taking my milk down to the 2% level. So today I am making a Glazed Triple Chocolate Pound cake. I go into the pantry to gather the ingredients and what is missing. Something always is. Well Chocolate syrup. Damn so I went on the internet to do a search. I found A Plastic Free Life not only did I get a recipe this blog rocks. It has been my mission to get rid of plastic for the last year. It has been a struggle but I am getting there.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

  • 1 cup cocoa Powder – (unsweetened)
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla


Combine cocoa and sugar blend until all the lumps of cocoa are gone
Add water and salt and mix well
Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil, slowly stirring constantly
Continue stirring on the stove for just a couple of more minutes
Watch it do not let it burn on the bottom of your pan
The sauce will be runny
Remove from heat and let cool, the sauce will thicken up as it cools
When it has cooled add the vanilla extract

Here are a few things I did differently to ensure the smooth texture

  • I sifted the cocoa into the sugar to get rid of the lumps
  • I used a double boiler to mix the sugar, cocoa and water to ensure no burning on the bottom of the pan

  • I strained the mixture into a bowl for it to cool then I covered the syrup with a saran warp to make sure it did not get a film

Pour the syrup into an airtight glass container or a plastic squeeze bottle and keep in the refrigerator. This will make approximately 1 3/4 cups of syrup. To make chocolate milk add 1 tablespoon of syrup to each 8 oz cup of milk. Hey warm it for Hot Coco

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Look what I found

An accordion file with a ton of recipes. So I plopped myself out on the lawn and started to riffle through the stuff. Got a few cute Christmas papers from back in the day. I few old pennies. Some coupons from the 60′s. I am excited. Last year we cooked from some of my Old Cook Book. This year holds quite a challenge as these recipes were personal to some one at some time. Personally I am honored to have found them.

I paid a whole dollar yes a dollar for this. Each winter I like to challenge myself and try recipes that I have horded in my home for who knows how long.

Today I will rummage through this file and find some recipes for next week. I will shop this weekend for ingredients. Hope fully I will have stuff in the home we can use.

I am truly excited. Stay Tuned

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Grind your own Beef

I did not ever in my lifetime imagine that I would be grinding my own beef. But this chore is not coming from the desire to be part of the DIY organic club. It is my desire to create the taste and fat texture I wanted. I know there is low fat no fat. I need some fat for flavor!


So out comes the Kitchen aid with the grinder attachment and some beef. Now what type of beef do you buy. Well that is a personal taste question but let me give you a link called Eat Like a Man for more information. I used Chuck and Sirloin. I bought 3 pounds of each. I plan on Food Saver sealing them measured out for different recipes. Ok let us get started

Clean you beef. Wash it and pat it dry
Cut your beef into 1 to 2 inch cubes (I leave the fat for flavor)

Run the beef through your grinder

Now look how beautiful. All that is left is to pack the beef up. You can pre-season the beef and make patties. Or just freeze it as is to be able to season it for the recipe you desire to use it for. I will not buy ground beef again. Oh I have a butcher I go to here and I will post about that business on my personal website golanigo.

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Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot

I had this little pork butt in the frig a couple of days. I wanted to make pulled pork sandwiches for dinner. I would like to have them for tomorrow nights dinner and know I want to slow cook for a day or two. I know this may seem like a long time but I want tender pull a part meat.  I read my Pulled Chicken recipe and tweaked it a bit for the pork. I want more spice and more BBQ-ish flavor .

Most recipes call out for boneless pork but I like the extra fatty taste and flavor you get from bone in. Thinking I knew we were going to pull the pork off the bone and shred it and put it back in the sauce so it made sense.  I almost always chop my onions and garlic when making sandwich to make them bite size rather than having a long dangling onion slap your chin.

Pulled Pork Ingredients

1 – 3-4 pound bone in/out pork butt
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves chopped


1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup dejon mustard
1/4 cup of molasses
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 table spoons of your favorite hot sauce

Dry Rub

1 tsp cumin
1  tablespoon paprika
1 tsp garlic powder (we are garlic people so this is added extra)
1 tsp dry mustard
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper




Chop your onion and garlic and place it in the bottom of your crock pot/cooking pan. Rinse and pat dry your butt spread it with your seasonings all the way around. Place the butt on top of the garlic and onions and cover with your sauce. Turn your crock pot on for 8 hours on medium (I only have high or low old school I have had my crock pot since 1982)


After the 8 hours depending on your crock. Remove the bone and any extra fat. Now it is time to shred your butt. Once you shred the pork let it simmer in the sauces for another hour on low. Taste the pork and the sauce and add any ingredients you may desire. It is always nice to add a little of your own touches and tastes to a meal. You can make this Pulled Pork in the crock pot or in an iron kettle or dutch oven or in your oven. Adjust the time. For a Iron Kettle I would cook it for at least 4 to 5 hours or until the pork is fork tender in the oven.


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Chicken Breast with zuchinni,peppers,onions in tomato sauce

Chicken with zucchini, onion and home made tomato sauce. This is a simple recipe and a great in a hurry meal. And really anything is good on top of pasta.


3 large chicken breast
2 tbs olive oil
2 zucchini I used a yellow and green
1 Bell Pepper
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 oregano
Tomato sauce
Seasoning – I just add salt and pepper

Let us get started.

Chop your chicken breast, zucchini, pepper and onion into bite size pieces.  Sprinkle the olive oil into a large skillet.  Place the onions, peppers and zucchini into the pan and stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and stir to incorporate. Season with your salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for approximately 5 more minutes. Here you are just going to want to get your chicken lightly browned. Once everything is incorporated add your tomato sauce. Let this simmer on low for 30 minutes. It is simple and easy.

Chicken with zucchini -peppers- onions in tomato sauce

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Chicken thighs with capers, lime and garlic

Funny but Mama loves her chicken thighs. I had some capers in the refrigerator and needed to use them. I avoid them out of no knowledge on how to use  them and salty. I am not big on salt but as a cook know that it is essential in cooking. So moving on.

I took the chicken thighs and added some of my own idea’s to make this dish.

Ingredients Thighs w/ lime , capers, garlic

6 chicken thighs
2 tablespoons grated lime peel (Zest)
1/2 cup lime juice (fresh is best)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsps dried thyme
2 tablespoons of capers, rinsed
1/2 tsps kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
olive oil to sprinkle on the bottom of the pan

Wash chicken & pat dry. Sprinkle the olive oil (just a little the thighs have enough fat to coat the bottom for no sticking) plus half of the lime juice in a large shallow dish. Put you thighs in the dish skin side down.

On the chicken now put the capers, garlic and seasoning and let it sit for half an hour to soak up the lime and seasonings.

In a small bowl, whisk together lime peel, lime juice, garlic, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Now wake up your thighs from their nap and spoon lime mixture over chicken refrigerate for 1 hour.

Bake at 425° for 25 minutes. Brush some of the reserved marinade on the chicken and bake for about 30 minutes longer, basting several times. Chicken should be browned and cooked through.

Garnish chicken with  chopped parsley.

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Grama Mimi’s Buttermilk Biscuits

Here is another one of my Mama’s favorites. Her grandmother use to bake them.

I honestly love to imagine her with her grama and in the old school kitchen.


2 c. all purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. shortening
2/3 c. buttermilk or sour milk


In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, cream of tartar, salt, and baking soda.

Cut in shortening until mixture resembles course crumbs.

Make a well in center of dry mixture, then add buttermilk or sour milk all at once. Using a fork, stir just until moistened.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Quickly knead the dough by gently folding and pressing the dough for 10-12 strokes or until the dough is nearly smooth. Pat or lightly roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut dough with a floured 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter, dipping the cutter into flour between cuts.

Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the biscuits are done. Remove biscuits from the baking sheet and serve hot. Makes 10-12 biscuits. Yes that is the new Strawberry-Blueberry Jam on them.


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Panko Crusted Salmon

This is something that I have wanted to make for a long time. Sunday at our home is family night and this is the perfect time to get opinion on different dishes. Plus it gives Red (Apron strings fiance)  new dishes to learn and try. This fish when pan seared right comes out wit

h a nice crust on the bottom. Everyone loved the taste and when you sit down for sinner and everyone starts to guess the ingredients it makes for such fun at chow time.

Panko Crusted Salmon


3/4 cup of plain panko crumbs
2 tbsp of fresh parsley, minced
Zest of one lemon
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly
cracked pepper, to taste
4  salmon filets
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp canola oil
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the panko crumbs with the parsley, lemon zest, minced garlic, olive oil, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Combine with your fingers until evenly mixed.

Spoon the Dijon mustard on top of the salmon and spread evenly. Season the fish with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Press the panko mixture thickly on to of the mustard… the mustard will help the panko adhere. And it does i added every last panko to the top and was extra careful when I transferred them to the iron skillet.

Heat the vegetable oil in an iron skillet or OVEN PROOF skillet. When the oil is very hot, add the salmon fillet, skin side down, and sear for 3-4 minutes, without turning, to brown the skin. My salmon fillets did not have skin so I put them flat side down.

Transfer the pan to the hot oven for 15-20 minute or until an internal temperature of the thickest part of the salmon reads 125-130 degrees. Remove from the oven and cover with a tin foil tent for 5-10 minutes. Serve the salmon hot or at room temperature with lemon wedges.

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Molton Chocolate Cake

So now Sunday night is the family dinner night. Apron Strings has gotten engaged and moved out. I love this it gives me a night to cook again. Plus now that Mama is living with us I have a duty to be a good daughter and show her how I have grown as a cook! Tonight’s menu includes Panko Crusted Salmon something I have wanted to cook a while with some roasted baby potatoes and carrots. Oh and desert Chocolate Molten Cake

This recipe came off with only two hooks. Cooked to long not cooked enough. I have taken a picture of both. Hey I need to let you have the good and the bad of all the posts. Making the batter was a breeze the cooking is almost a science. Everyone’s oven is different and mine cooks great but I am use to my old oven and still adjusting to the new oven.  All in all cooked to little or too much it was a hit desert. And easy !


  • 6 (1-ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolates
  • 2 sticks of  butter ( 1 cup )
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Grease 6 (6-ounce) custard cups, ramekins or large muffin pan.

Melt the chocolates and butter in the microwave, or in a double boiler . Add the flour and sugar to chocolate mixture. Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth.

Add the flour and sugar to chocolate mixture. Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth.

Add the vanilla.

Divide the batter evenly among the custard cups.

Place in the oven and bake for 14 minutes. The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto dessert plates

These pictures show you what happened with this the first time I took them out they were to runny. I put them back in the oven for 7 more minutes but then they sat there cooling for another 10 thus they cooked more. Oui

So here they are over cooked and cooled. Lesson here cook them for 15 minutes then let them cook to better be able to remove them and plate them. This Molten stuff is a real science! But yummy under or over cooked ! And no no one got sick from the under cooked one! That was my first thought with all the eggs!

This is adapted from Paula Dean



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Old School Buttermilk Waffle ‘s


Seems that everything I am baking, cooking or just plain whipping up is Old School since Mama moved in. Go figure. Hey as a child I was never over weight and we ate things like whole homogenized milk, un free range eggs, peanuts does it seem to anyone besides me that there are a heck of a lot of peanut allergies going on now a days. Well all this stuff is for someone else’ s blog let’s get cooking. We can blame it on High Fructose Syrup!

I nearly forgot I had a cute little waffle iron that bakes three mini waffle at a time. Perfect for the delicate palate like mine. I like buttermilk and do not mind Bisquick but from scratch is fun.


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  •  1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbls sugar
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter melted
  • 16 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
  • Vegetable spray, for waffle iron
  • Directions

Preheat waffle iron

In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In another bowl beat together eggs and melted butter, and then add the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined.

Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Ladle the recommended amount of waffle batter onto the iron . Cook until the waffle is golden on both sides and is easily removed from iron. My little waffle iron has a little beep if yours does not keep an eye on them.

Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve.

I dropped some fresh blueberries in the half the batter

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