debram Recipe Reviews (Pg. 1) - (15125175)

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Quick and Easy Refried Beans

Reviewed: Jan. 20, 2015
I used this a base recipe but I don't think it was too far from the original so I thought it would be okay to review it. I used all organic ingredients and it's much cheaper to make these than to buy canned organic refried beans. I used one can of pinto beans and one can of black beans (both undrained) because I like the combination. I used lard instead of oil and sauteed a quarter cup diced onion and 1/2 of a 4 oz jar of homemade diced chilis in it (along with the garlic). If I used oil, I would use olive oil instead of canola because of the issues with conventional canola (GMOs and pesticides). I thought 1 tsp cumin would have been too much so I used 1/2 tsp. I also cut the chili powder to 1/2 tsp because I was using diced hot peppers. I added 1/2 tsp Mexican seasoning (from Mountain Rose Herbs) and a few shakes of onion powder and garlic powder. I didn't use lime b/c I don't keep it on hand. I would use it if I had it. I added some fresh-ground black pepper, but that was totally unnecessary as these beans turned out pretty spicy. It bites in the back of the throat. Lol. I pulsed it with my stick blender after the beans had simmered for 5 minutes (with the lid on), and kept it a little chunky. I then simmered for about 10-15 minutes (stirring often) and turned the heat off when they still looked a bit soupy because I know that hot refried beans thicken up when cooled. I would definitely recommend this recipe over canned refried beans for the cost factor.
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To Die For Blueberry Muffins

Reviewed: Nov. 1, 2014
The instructions to mix it are discombobulated. The batter is too thick. Too much baking powder. There's no vanilla. The topping was a mess. It was spongy and mushy. Too much cinnamon. The baking temp is too high.
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Best Brownies

Reviewed: Mar. 18, 2014
I've been making these brownies for 12 years and have never had them come out cake-like. If you want a denser texture then don't use an electric mixer at any stage (and only stir in the dry ingredients until they're just wet). Make sure the melted butter is cooled before adding the eggs, too. I whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and add that mixture to the mixed wet ingredients. If you *want* a lighter-textured brownie, use the electric mixer and don't melt the butter--just have it softened. Unless you need so much sugar in a brownie that your teeth hurt, you can skip the frosting and just add 1/2 cup nuts or chocolate chips. I've never used the frosting (I add chopped pecans or walnuts) and still find them to be a bit too sweet. I think 3/4 cup is plenty (maybe b/c I use organic unrefined sugar). I grease my 8x8 glass pan and line it with unbleached parchment paper to make it easier to get the brownies out. For denseness, I slightly underbake them (toothpick still a bit wet). After 15 minutes out of the oven, I lift the brownies out of the pan using the liner as handles and leave them to cool completely on a rack. Then I flip the whole thing over onto a large cutting board and peel the paper off. I cut from the bottom, just as it lays, which prevents the top from cracking and caving in when I cut. Using a chef's knife, I start with a center cut to make 2 equal sections and then cut the two halves in half lengthwise and repeat on the adjacent side.
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Sweet Potato Eggnog Pie

Reviewed: Jan. 26, 2014
I thought this would be a good way to use up some organic eggnog but it didn't turn out as yummy as I thought it might. You can't really taste the sweet potato or the eggnog; it's rather a subtle and nondescript blend of both, which may be a plus for some people, but it didn't really thrill me. I didn't use the rum because I needed it to be kid-friendly (used a couple teaspoons of vanilla instead). It was definitely better the next day, so I would plan ahead if making this pie. It's not so great on the third day and beyond so this is a pie for celebrations and holidays rather than one to have sitting around the house for a few days. The problem being that it starts gathering moisture on top like pumpkin pie is apt to do, so I just pat it off with a paper towel. This would have been worse than it is because I didn't drain the water off the sweet potato puree like I normally do (which usually fixes the moisture problem), but I added a couple teaspoons of flour to the sugar and spice mixture before I added it to the other ingredients so it wasn't too bad. I'll probably stick to my normal sweet potato pie recipe and save the eggnog for something that is more neutral initially (like cake or cookies which only have flour as a base "flavor"). I like both ingredients but the combination of the two just didn't do it for me. Thanks for the recipe, though. :)
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Cheese Dipping Sauce

Reviewed: Aug. 23, 2013
I've been making this recipe for years and it always turns out well. It's quite flexible since you can tailor it any way you like by changing the type of mustard or cheese (and adding other seasoning, as desired). I think that some people forget that the finished product is always dependent on high-quality ingredients (organic is best, IMO) and proper execution of the recipe. You have to make sure the roux is cooked long enough before slowly adding the milk. It will start to bubble and turn brown, getting slightly thick in the meantime. Using cheese that you've shredded at home may work better since packaged shredded cheese contains additives.
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Pecan-Date Cheese Ball

Reviewed: Dec. 26, 2011
Sorry, but the mayo ruined the whole recipe, IMO. I was going to substitute sour cream or butter, and I should have listened to my intuition. The only thing you can taste is the mayo, and there's only 1/4 cup of it. Cheese balls should be the perfect balance of taste, with no one ingredient standing out so much, and this one wasn't balanced. I printed this out to try because it contains dates, which I have a lot of right now. Those were fine in the recipe, but I won't ever use mayo in a cheese ball again...
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