Friday, December 31, 2010

Gingerbread Bars

I was looking for a dessert to bring on Christmas Eve. I didn't want something super sugary and I was all cookied and candied out. My awesome friend, Kim, posted this recipe on her blog and it sounded very similar to my Aunt's hermits, although now comparing the two recipes they are slightly different, but to me they tasted very similar!

Gingerbread Bars-shared from Mac's Kitchen Adventures
2 cups flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
10 tbsp butter(1 1/4 stick butter), room temp
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup molasses

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together dry ingredients. Cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add in molasses and mix until blended. Add in dry ingredients and beat until blended. Spread into greased and floured sheet pan or jelly roll pan. *The dough is REALLY thick, so make sure you have some patience for this part. Sprinkle top with 1 tbsp sugar(or sanding sugar/raw sugar) Bake for 15-20 mins until tester comes out clean in the center.

**These were a little darker than the hermit cookies, but the taste was almost exact! These were dynamite and I loved them. I served them with fresh whipped cream!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Vegetarian Fajitas

Last week I was looking for more Vegetarian recipes in hopes to help cut down our grocery bill, plus I seem to have a lot of beans to use up! Hallee sent along this recipe.

Vegetarian Fajitas-Hallee The Homemaker
2 summer squash, julienned
2 zucchini, julienned
1 onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
2 cups black or white beans
1 cup corn(omitted)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar OR cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
dash of salt
dash of pepper
1 tsp sugar(optional)

In a large bowl combine vinegar, oil, spices, and sugar. Mix well to combine. Add in veggies and toss to coat. Marinate for at least 30 mins but not longer than 24 hours.

Pre-heat a skillet. Drain the veggies and saute until tender about 10-15 mins.  Add in beans and corn and cook until heated through. Increase the heat for 5 mins to brown veggies. Serve in warm tortillas.

**These were INCREDIBLE! The first night I had them I was the only one that ate my boys don't like the veggies cooked, but raw is ok! K nor I missed the meat at all. These are very flavorful and had a nice kick! I couldn't believe how great they were! Thank you Hallee! It is a wonderful vegetarian option loaded with flavor!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Creamy Taco Mac

Well by popular demand, here is the recipe! I posted on Facebook about making this and 3 or 4 people requested it, so here it is! It was a pretty quick meal to come together!

Creamy Taco Mac-Shared from Jenn's Food Journey
8 oz elbow pasta
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, slightly drained
3 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 lb ground meat(I used chicken)

Cook macaroni according to package directions.

Brown mean and drain. Add in onion and cook for 3 mins and then add in garlic and cook for another 3 mins. Add in tomatoes and taco seasoning and bring to a boil, simmer for 5 mins. Add in sour cream and cream cheese, stir to melt. Simmer for another 2 mins. Coat pasta with sauce and enjoy!

**I did double this recipe. We both found it VERY spicy, which is odd for K to say! So next time I will only use half of the taco seasoning I made, but if you like spicy go ahead and use it. It was creamy and delicious! I think the addition of some corn would be fantastic in it too!

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

We had friends over this weekend for some gingerbread house and cookie decorating. They are vegetarian so I thought this soup would be perfect! I did adapt it to the slow cooker which made it that much easier!

Vegetarain Tortilla Soup-Let's Dish
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 qt veg. broth
1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1-14 oz can diced tomatoes with gr. chilis
2-4 cups black/white beans
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 pkg frozen corn
hot sauce to taste
2-3 tbsp lime juice(which I forgot)
salt and pepper to taste
4 corn tortillas, cut into strips

Place all ingredients in slow cooker except lime juice and tortillas. Stir well and turn on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. Ten minutes before serving stir in tortilla strips and replace cover. Add in lime juice right before serving.

**This was a little spicy, but not over powering. It had lots of flavor so everyone liked it, even K didn't miss the meat!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tasty Tuesday 12/28

Overnight Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake-Finding Joy in my Kitchen
Mint Chocolate Mint Crunch-Finding Joy in my Kitchen
Dark Chocolate Cherry Shortbread-Finding Joy in my Kitchen

Spiced Pumpkin Waffles-Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
Oatmeal Tea Muffins-Loving my Domestic Life
Biscuit Breakfast Pizza-Creatively Domestic
Cajun Jambalaya soup-Loving my Domestic Life
Chicken Pad Thai-LMDL
Spanish Rice-LMDL
Slow Cooker Roast Pork and Black Bean Chili-LMDL
Cinnamon Butternut Squash Muffins-Creatively Domestic
Texas Curried Chicken-CD
Thai Chicken Pizza-CD
Mexican Rice-CD
Barley PIlaf-CD
Southwest Chicken and Corn Chowder-Let's Dish

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

We are currently under the Blizzard of 2010! I'm sure my boys will LOVE the snow in the morning and it will be nice to have more than a dusting...but not sure that I wanted a blizzard and a foot of snow!  Thankfully there is plenty of food in the house so we won't go hungry!

I'll also be meeting up with my friends this week for dinner so no cooking for me that night!

-Snickerdoodle or Choc. Chip Zucchini Muffins...although I have a bunch of bananas to use as well!
-French Bread 

-Beef Barley Soup
-Creamy Taco Mac
-Maple Oat Swirl French Toast
-Brunch Pizza
-Apple Cheddar Monte Cristos

Mocha Thumb Prints and Saltine Toffee

I found this recipe in a Family Circle magazine. I made it for our housewarming 5 years ago. I like to post different recipes so I decided to make these again...I haven't made them since, but they are very tasty!
*I also made them Peppermint Mocha Thumb prints this time as I had a partial bag of dark choc/mint chips.

Mocha Thumb Prints-Family Circle
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tbsp instant coffee
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup chocolate chips(or peppermint/dark choc. chips)
1 tbsp kahlua*

Cream together butter and sugar. Add in egg and mix until combined. Add in flour, salt, and coffee. Mix until throughly combined. You may need to need it a bit and it will be a pretty thick dough. Roll dough into balls(about 2 tsp or so, I used my small cookie scoop). Place on cookie sheet and make indentation in middle of the cookie.(I used my 1/4 tsp spoon and it worked awesome) Place in 350 degree oven for 12 mins. You may have to press the centers down again once removed from the oven.

Once cookies are cooled. Place chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl and slowly melt. Let cool slightly and add in kahlua, mix together.**Now for some reason my chocolate did seize, and it could have been b/c I didn't add in the corn syrup or the butter. So it made it more fudge/frosting like. BUT it still worked out very well!

**The addition of peppermint was like eating a "peppermint mocha" from Starbucks. They are delicious!

Saltine Toffee
I've seen these referred to as "Christmas Crack"...they are very delicious and easy to make. I've seen it in numerous places and almost replaces regular toffee.

35 saltine crackers
2 sticks of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 pkg chocolate chips

Lay crackers on foil lined cookie sheet. Melt butter and brown sugar in saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 mins. Spread over crackers. Place in 400 degree oven for 7 mins. Remove from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the hot toffee and let sit for 5 mins. Spread chocolate into thin layer and sprinkle with walnuts, allow to cool.

**This is a staple at our house during the Christmas season. It is a must as it has that sweet and salty taste.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Peanut Butter Crunch Bars and White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Usually around this time of year I make either peanut butter balls or these crunch bars. I really don't have the patience for the pb I'm gonna let my mom make them! They are hands down THE best, but these are a close second and delish if you LOVE a pb/chocolate combo.

Peanut Butter Crunch Bars
2 cups powdered sugar
6 sheets of graham crackers, crushed
1 1/3 cups peanut butter, divided
1 stick butter
6 oz chocolate chips

Mix together sugar and 1 cup pb. Melt butter and add to pb mixture. Mix in graham crackers.(I did use the stand mixer for the mixing part, its a thick "dough" and wasn't sure if I could mix it by hand). Press into a 9x13 inch pan(or an 8x8 for thicker bars).Melt chocolate chips and pb and spread over the top of the mixture. Let harden and cut into bars.

**I love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. I like the crunch that the crackers provide. These are probably just as good as peanut butter cups! YUM!

 White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
The first time I made these K said they were the best cookies I've ever made! This has now become a holiday staple and is perfect for the season. I did use a different recipe this year(slightly) and I liked this even better than the original!

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies-Eat at Home
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups oats
1-2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375. Cream together butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, and milk. Add in flour and salt, beat to combine. Add in oats and stir to combine. Stir in chips and cranberries. Place on cookie sheets and bake for 9 mins.

**These are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside! I love the flavor combination and the milk made them a bit more moist than the original.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Rustic Turkey Tart...or pie

*This was NOT photographing well...but I promise it is good! I saw this tart in our local grocery store's magazine and really wanted to try it. So I put it on the menu after Thanksgiving, but some of the people that were here don't like blue cheese and the rest of us were sick so it was put off for a bit.

I did omit the pecans, used fresh cranberries, apples instead of pears, and made it more into a pie than a tart.

Rustic Turkey Tart-from Big Y
1 pie crust
2 cups chopped cooked turkey
4 oz crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup chopped cranberries
2 apples, chopped
1/4 cup pecans, chopped(omitted)
1 cup light sour cream
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Make pie crust and place in pie plate. Mix together the rest of the ingredients and place inside pie shell. Bake for 20-25 mins until heated through and pie crust is done.

**This was really good...if you like blue cheese! It has a sweet and savory taste and is a different take on a turkey pie.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Peppermint Meltaways

I love peppermint especially this time of year. Well my girlfriends and I were doing a cookie swap this year and I saw this cookie so I wanted to give them a try! They were simple to make and pretty tasty too!

Peppermint Meltaways-shared from What Megan's Making
2 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 1/4 cups flour

Butter cream frosting flavored with 1 tsp peppermint extract. (You will not need a full batch) tinted with green or red food coloring.

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in extract. Combine flour and cornstarch and slowly add to butter mixture, scraping down the sides as needed. Place dough in fridge for about 30 mins.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Bake for 10-12 mins or until bottoms are lightly browned. Let cool for 5 mins and gently remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

Once cool frost and sprinkle with crushed candy canes or peppermint candy.

**These were really good and did melt in your mouth. BUT they were very fragile, I was surprised they made the 45 mins trip to the cookie swap. There was also no way I was going to be able to spread the frosting on the top, so I used my star tip and swirled it on. These also didn't make a lot of cookies but it did work out.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

FlufferNutter Cookies and Double Chocolate Almond Cookies

I discovered a new blog the recently and this cookie recipe was on it. It only requires 3 ingredients so its pretty fast and easy to does take some muscle to stir it together though!

FlufferNutter Cookies-shared from A Picky Palate
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup marshmallow fluff
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix together egg and peanut butter throughly. Fold in marshmallow. You still want to be able to see the marshmallow, so it creates a swirl. Place on baking sheet and bake for 12-15 mins or until cooked through.

**Now for whatever reason, my cookies spread out and didn't stay in a thicker cookie. It could have been the cookie sheets I used which were silicone. These were pretty tasty, but I think they would have been even better if they were thicker.
Double Chocolate Almond Cookies-adapted from For the Love of Cooking
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 1/3 cup flour(ap and ww)
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together butter and sugars. Add in egg and vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients and stir together. Slowly add in to butter mixture until well combined. Add in chips and almonds and mix until combined. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 mins.

**These were pretty good and I loved the crunch of the almonds. Although my cookies did not spread out like the original recipe's did. I seem to have this problem often. I did freeze most of the dough to use for Christmas presents.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gingerbread Pancakes

To follow our normal Saturday morning routine and by request from a 4 year old, we needed pancakes for breakfast.  I wanted to try these, but I wasn't sure how well they would be received by the boys. This is a perfect holiday treat or great for Christmas morning breakfast!

Gingerbread Pancakes-adapted from Debbi Does Dinner...Healthy
1 1/2 cups flour(I used whole wheat and ap)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup water

Combine dry ingredients and whisk together. Stir together wet ingredients and whisk into flour. Place batter on hot oiled griddle. Cook until bubbles form and flip until side is lightly browned.

**I mentioned above I wasn't sure how the boys would like these...but they LOVED them. Completely devoured one each! A even told me how great they are and he never says that! I was shocked! We liked them very much as well. Next time though I will double the recipe as it didn't make much. Enough for our family, but we like leftovers!

For other great breakfast ideas, check out Finding Joy in My Kitchen's Breakfast Countdown!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

It's the week of Christmas and I have a lot to get done...including teacher gifts!

-Peanut Butter Crunch Bars
-Mocha Thumbprints
-Shortbread...or spritz(would it be bad to use halloween sprinkles?)
-Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins
-Gingerbread bars(for Christmas Eve) with homemade whipped cream
-Granola(teacher gifts)
-Red Velvet Pancakes or Eggnog Pancakes
*I already have 2 kinds of cookie dough in the freezer so I just have to bake those up for gifts and some are getting the frozen dough.

-Philly Cheesesteak Soup with Panera Sourdough bread(not homemade)
-Vegetarian Fajitas
-East Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
-Creamy Taco Mac
-Chicken Pot pie(teacher gifts)
-General Tso's Stir Fry
-Brunch Pizza
-Buffalo Chicken Dip w/carrots, celery, and tortilla chips(for xmas eve)

Christmas Dinner:
-Roast Beef
-Roasted Garlic Mashed potatoes with bacon and cheese
-Roasted Carrots
-Whole Wheat Pull Apart Rolls
-Choc. Chip cookie cheesecake bars...I think

Pizza Rolls

I needed an appetizer to bring to a cookie swap so I decided to give this recipe a try. It is fairly easy and simple, but next time I will divide the dough in half to make 2 rolls.

Pizza Rolls-shared from Hoosier Homemade
Pizza Dough:
2 1/2 cups flour(ap and ww)
2 tsp vital wheat gluten
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp yeast
7/8 cup warm water
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp italian seasoning
Pizza/pasta sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
pepperoni slices

Place dough ingredients in bread maker according to manufacturer's directions. Start on dough cycle.

Once dough is done, take out and roll thin.*Like I mentioned before I would cut the dough in half and make them smaller. Once rolled out, top with your favorite sauce, sprinkle with cheese and layer on pepperoni. Starting with the long side of the dough, roll up jelly roll/cinnamon roll style and tuck in ends as needed. Slice into 1 inch slices and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 mins.

**By making the big roll it was very thick and very hard to cut. I got impatient so i just cooked it like a calzone, but I did cut a few slices into the rolls. The rolls were excellent and even the girls at the cookie swap loved the "calzone" rolls. The dough was soft and fluffy while the cheese got a little crispy.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Egg Nog Bread

When I first saw this recipe I immediately thought of my husband. He LOVES eggnog and I buy it when its on sale this time of year. I on the other hand just.can' But this I thought I could handle!

Egg Nog Bread-adapted from Mommy's Kitchen
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup egg nog
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp rum extract(omitted)
1 tsp vanilla extract(I used sugar cookie egg nog, so omitted)
2 1/4 cups flour(I used 1/2 ww, 1/2 ap)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
small box instant vanilla pudding mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bread pan(s)(I got one loaf and 6 muffins out of this batch).

Beat together wet ingredients and sugar together. Sift flour, salt, baking powder together and add to egg mixture. Beat until combined. Stir in pudding mix. Place in prepared pans and bake for 20-25 mins or until knife comes out clean.(My bread got darker before it was done, so I covered it with a another cookie sheet to keep it from browning to much.) For muffins about 18-20 mins.

**This was better than I thought it would be! It was moist, dense, and a little crunchy on the outside. It was perfect. It did remind me more of a cake than a bread. The boys loved it!

This has been linked to Finding Joy in my Kitchen Countdown to 2011!

Friday, December 17, 2010

BBQ Beef Burritos

I saw this idea I believe in the Kraft magazine. I never thought to make burritos out left over bbq.

BBQ Beef Burritos
leftover rootbeer bbq beef
spray oil(or butter)

Sprinkle some cheese down the middle of the one tortilla. Top with beef and sprinkle additional cheese on top. Fold in sides and ends to create a pocket. Spray with oil and place seem side down in hot frying pan. Spray top with oil. Cook until browned and flip.

**This was a very quick and easy weeknight supper and a great alternative to just bbq sandwiches.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Peanut Butter Blossoms

I think this is a classic Christmas cookie and not one that I make very often. Actually I can't say for sure that I've ever made them to begin with, but we had some kisses so we made some. These are a quick and easy cookie to make and perfect to have the kids help out with.

Peanut Butter Blossoms-from Hershey 
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup peanut butter(I did use Chunky)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
48 hershey kisses, unwrapped
additional granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Cream together shortening and peanut butter until well mixed. Add in both sugars and mix until fluffy. Mix in the egg. Add in flour, salt, and soda. Mix until well combined. Scoop(or roll) into 1 inch balls, roll in sugar and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 8 mins until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and quickly place one kiss on top of each cookie and push down slightly. Allow to cool.

**These are pretty tasty! Although I do love the peanut butter chocolate combo. They are cruchy on the outside from the sugar coating and chewy and soft in the middle.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thai Chicken Soup

I was told to hold off on the soup for a while...apparently we were all souped out after Thanksgiving. BUT I borrowed one of the recent Food Network Magazines from the library and this was in it. I HAD to make it...I love all things Thai(well all that I've tried.)

This was the first time I used a curry paste and other than the price of it, it was wonderful in this soup! Luckily the rest of the ingredients were pretty cheap!

Thai Chicken Soup-Food Network Magazine
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp green curry paste
6 cups chicken broth
1 15 oz can coconut milk(I did use light)
1 tbsp fish sauce(plus more to taste)
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
4 oz rice noodles, broken into pieces
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
juice of 2 limes

Place oil in hot soup pot. Add in onions and cook until soft and lightly browned. Add in garlic and curry paste. Saute for 1-2 mins. Add in broth, milk, and fish sauce. Cover and bring to a boil. Add in bell peppers and noodles. Cook for about 3 mins. Add in the chicken and cook for another 3 mins. Add in lime juice, stir and serve.

**This was perfect! It was such a different taste on a "traditional" soup and will be making it again! It had a bit of a kick, but it was not over powering. I did use leftover turkey and turkey broth, but it was delicious none the less!

For more great soups and stews check out Finding Joy in my Kitchen's 2010 soup round up!

This has also been linked to Eat at Home

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

This week I will start on my cookie/candy making list. I will make up the cookie dough in advance and freeze it and then pop it out of the freezer when I'm ready to bake them up!  My list includes:
-Saltine Toffee
-Molasses Crinkles
-Spritz(if I still have a cookie press, I know I had an unfortunate accident with my other one, but I think I have another)
-Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge
-White Choc. Oat, Cranberry Cookies

On Saturday I invited over 2 of A's friends to do some ginger bread houses and cookies with us. I will be providing the cookies and icing, they are bringing the decorations. I think they will have a blast!

As for the rest of the week and real food we are eating...

-Snickerdoodle muffins

-Coconut Shrimp and Curly fries(not homemade as I tried once and it was a dismal failure!)
-Maple Balsamic Pork, potato, roasted carrots
-Rustic Turkey Tart
-Black Bean soup...or Vegetarian Tortilla soup
-Pigs in Blankets with homemade Crescent Rolls

Chocolate Pumpkin Trifle

I made this for our Thanksgiving dessert. I saw it and thought it sounded DELICIOUS so I went with it and didn't do pies this year. It might have needed a bit more effort, but it was easily made ahead of time and it was worth it!

Chocolate Pumpkin Trifle-adapted from Rachael Ray
4 cups heavy cream, divided
3 tbsp cocoa powder
pinch of salt
3 tbsp powdered sugar
2 batches of chocolate wafer cookies
7 oz jar marshmallow cream
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 bag toffee heath chips(about the size of a choc. chip bag)

Place 2 cups of cream in stand mixer with whisk attachment. Add in cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Whisk until stiff, but not dry. Scraping down sides if needed. Place in another bowl and set in fridge.

Whisk the rest of the cream until stiff but not dry. Fold pumpkin and marshmallow cream together. (This takes quite a bit of work, so next time I may mix it in the stand mixer). Next take pumpkin mixture and fold it gently into the whipped cream. Set aside.

In a large bowl, preferably glass. Layer in some pumpkin cream. Stand chocolate cookies on their sides all the way around the bowl. Next make sandwich cookies using the cookies and pumpkin cream. Lay these down in a single layer in the bowl. Top with some toffee chips and layer in some chocolate whipped cream. Continue with the layers until all cream and cookies are in the bowl. (I did have a few cookies left over. this will depend on the size of your bowl) Save some toffee for the top. Sprinkle.

Cover and let sit until ready to serve!

**This was delicious and rich! But it was loved by all. I loved the crunch that the toffee lent to the fluffy cream and the soft cookies. It was the perfect dessert.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Chocolate Wafer Cookies

For our Thanksgiving dessert, I decided to forgo the pie when I saw a recipe for a pumpkin chocolate trifle. It involved chocolate wafer cookies and wanted to make them from scratch. I asked Hallee the Homemaker how to adapt her Vanilla Wafer Cookie recipe and gave it a try! The first batch did not flatten out, but the second batch I flattened before baking and they came out perfect!

Chocolate Wafer Cookies-adapted from Hallee the Homemaker
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 325.

Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg. Add in dry ingredients and mix until well combined.(This is a very thick dough). Scoop out dough using a small ice cream scoop or tsp. Place on baking sheet. Take a glass and dip the bottom into sugar and press onto each dough ball. Repeat for each ball. Place in oven and bake for 10 mins. After 10 mins shut the oven off and leave the cookies in the oven for 30 mins.

*These worked out perfectly and are crisp just like the store bought, but they taste so much better! They were quick and easy to make.

Friday, December 10, 2010


While making our Thanksgiving Day dessert I realized that Q couldn't have it! It was full of whipped cream and he is lactose intolerant! So I went on a hunt  to find something else for him. I was leaning towards brownies, but I found this so my sister choose these instead.

Blondies-shared from Let's Dish
1/2 cup butter
scant 1 cup brown sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Combine dry ingredients and set aside Melt butter in saucepan. Add in sugar and whisk until disolved. Quickly whisk in egg and vanilla. Stir into flour mixture just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Place in 8x8 inch pan and bake at 350 for 25-30 mins.

**Other than I over cooked them just a touch, these were very good! Everything you want in a blondie, chewy, soft, gooey, YUM! They were soo good, I never got a picture!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cinnamon Sugar Coffee Cake Muffins

I had bagels planned for our Black Friday shopping day breakfast...and then realized my mom can't eat them. So I went with this recipe. Now the original recipe says it makes 10 muffins so I doubled the recipe...I got 2 dozen muffins! I knew 10 wouldn't last us long!

*This recipe is for a 10-12 muffins
Cinnamon Sugar Coffee Cake-adapted from Lick the Bowl Good
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp applesauce
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2-2/3 cup sugar
4 oz vanilla yogurt(or sour cream)
1/8 cup milk
1 1/4 cups flour(ap or whole wheat)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Cinnamon Brown sugar filling
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together. Add in one egg at a time until well blended. Add in yogurt, vanilla, and applesauce. Mix well. Sift together dry ingredients and add in slowly, mix until just combined.

Scoop about 1 tbsp into prepared muffin tins(greased or liners). Sprinkle 1 tsp of cinnamon topping on top followed about another tbsp of batter.

Bake for 18-20 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean.

**These were really tasty! I did skip the cinnamon sugar topping and cut back on the sugar in the batter. I could probably cut it back even more with the cinnamon swirl in it. The outside edges got nice and brown and crispy which added a nice texture to the moist and fluffy center! YUM!

For more breakfast ideas check out Finding Joy in my Kitchen's Breakfast Countdown!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Apple Onion Stuffing

I had never made "homemade" stuffing was always the stuff in the box. The last year I branched out to try a new recipe and I must have been watching Rachael Ray when I decided to try this recipe. Next year I may even make my own bread for the stuffing! (It's all about the baby steps)

Apple Onion Stuffing-shared from Rachael Ray
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 bay leaf
4 ribs of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 apples, chopped
salt and pepper
2 tbsp poultry seasoning
6-8 cups cubed stuffing mix(I used pepperidge farm herb)
2-3 cup broth

Place oil and butter in pan, once melted add in veggies and apples, sprinkle with spices, cook just until soft. Add in stuffing and broth just until moistened. Place in 13X9 inch casserole pan(or buttered muffins tins) Bake at 375 degrees until heated through about 10-15 mins.

**this was delicious! Sorry there is no picture...we ate it all before we got one!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tasty Tuesday-12/7

White Chocolate Brownies-Eat at Home
Eggnog Bread-Mommy's Kitchen
Peppermint Meltaways-What Megan's Making
Olive Garden Chicken and Gnocci Soup-Brenda's Canadian Kitchen
Peppermint Truffle Brownies-Let's Dish
Peanut Butter Dough Balls-What Megan's Making
Slow Cooker Candy-apples to zucchini

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Seen as I never posted a menu for last week, I will share with you some things we did have. After cooking for Thanksgiving, having a 4th bday party, and we ALL got sick, just the thought of food wasn't boding well, so I cooked with what I had!

-Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
-Rootbeer BBQ Beef
-Orange Chicken with broccoli and brown rice
-Blueberry Pancakes

This week we will be enjoying:
-BBQ Beef Burritos
-Chicken Parmesan
-Pizza Rolls
-Thai Chicken Noodle Soup
-Baked Potato Soup
-Apple Cheddar Monte Cristos

-Eggnog Bread
-Peppermint melts...or Peppermint sandwich cookies for a cookie swap on saturday

I think that's about all of it! I do need to work on my baking/candy making list. I started it tonight and got one thing written down.

Maple Oat Bread with Cinnamon Swirl

I have been wanting to make this bread for a while now and definitely make it into french toast! This worked out perfectly for both!

I did cut down on the brown sugar after reading it was a very sweet bread especially if you are going to use it in french toast!

Maple Oat Bread with Cinnamon Swirl-adapted from The Happy Housewife
1 cup plus 2 tbsp lukewarm water
2 1/2 tsp yeast
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
4 tbsp softened butter
1 1/2 cups rolled oats, ground
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp apple or orange juice
1 tsp gluten
2 cups ap flour
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt

Swirl ingredients:
4 tbsp butter
1/3 cup brown sugar

Combine all the bread dough ingredients and mix/knead until a soft dough forms. Place in a warm place and let rise for one hour or until doubled.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and roll out as thin as possible. Melt the butter and combine with the sugar. Spread over the dough. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll up like a cinnamon roll, making sure ends are tucked in and ends are folded in. Place seam side down in loaf pan. Let dough rise for 1 1/2 hours until doubled.

Place in 350 degree oven for 30-40 mins. Tent with foil after 20 mins. Slice and serve warm.

**Now my loaves look small as I couldn't figure out from the recipe if it made one or two loaves. I think it only makes one as these are pretty small and the sugar mix didn't cover both loaves. This was excellent bread and made fantastic french toast!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Apple Sausage Cheddar Balls

We used to make these growing up, but I haven't had them in a long time. Mostly because they are not the healthiest item to make. BUT I saw this recipe so it bumps the nutrition up a bit and I used whole wheat flour. I also doubled the "dough" ingredients so it stretched a little farther.

Apple Sausage Cheddar Balls-adapted from Cooking During Stolen Moments
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb bulk sausage(I only used 12 oz)
2 cups shredded cheese
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 apples, shredded
1/4 tsp allspice

Mix all ingredients together. Form into balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 15-20 mins.

**Q tried a couple bites, but his appetite has been lacking a bit since he was sick over the weekend. I ate these and thought they were fabulous. You couldn't really taste the apple, but the sweetness was there and it off set the saltiness of the pork and cheese! Definitely a keeper!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sweet Potato Pancakes

 I had some extra sweet potato puree left over so I decided to give these a try. I made it special treat by adding in mini chocolate chips. A had been begging to eat them so I finally gave in!

Sweet Potato Pancakes-shared from Lick the Bowl Good
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, sifted
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup applesauce(or butter melted)
1 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans(omitted)

Whisk together all ingredients until well combined. Place on hot griddle and cook until edges are firm. Flip. *If you are adding in chocolate chips sprinkle on top before you flip them.

**These were pretty tasty, but K informed me he likes the pumpkin ones I make better. I think it has to do with the vinegar in that recipe as it makes it lighter and fluffier(like buttermilk would)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Beef Stew

This is a family favorite of ours! It is easy as it uses the crock pot, one of my favorite appliances!

Beef Stew- from Big Y
1 lb stew meat
1 qt beef stock
1 pkg baby carrots
2-3 potatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water

Place all ingredients in slow cooker except water and corn starch. Stir to combine and set to low for 6-8 hrs(or until veggies and meat are tender) One hour before serving, combine cornstarch and water until smooth, stir into stew and set slow cooker on high for one hour. This should help thicken the stew. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

**This is a great fall or winter very filling dish! Its a great crowd pleaser!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cranberry Orange Bagels

I like to have things in my freezer that can be easily grabbed in the morning...I'm not much of a morning person and add 2 kids in(one who moves like molasses) and I'm frantically scrambling for the door to get to where we need to go. I already have part of a batch of Pumpkin Bagels in there so I wanted to try these next.

I'm loving making my own bagels...really!

Cranberry Orange Bagels-shared from Apples to Zucchini
1 cup plus 2 tbsp warm water
1/2 cup dried or fresh cranberries(chop the fresh ones)
1/3 cup brown sugar
zest of one orange(2-3 tsp)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3 cups flour(1 cup ww, 2 cup ap)
2 1/4 tsp yeast

Combine ingredients in bread machine according to manufacturer's directions. Start dough cycle. Check after 5 mins to make sure its not to soft(which is what happened to me and I wasn't here to check it, add more flour 1 tbsp at a time, or if its to dry add 1 tbsp of water at a time until desired consistency is reached). About 15 mins before cycle is done, place a large pot of water on stove and bring to a boil.

Once dough cycle is done, remove dough and place on lightly floured surface. Divide into 8-9 equal pieces. Roll into balls and flatten slightly. Break hole in the center and give it a twirl to form bagel shape. Place on cookie sheet and let rise for 10 mins.

Place bagels in water 2-3 at a time(depending on how big your pot is) and let boil for 45 secs, flip and boil for 45 seconds more. Remove with slotted spoon and drain.

Bake for 18-22 mins or until golden brown.

**These were very good! Chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside! As previously mentioned I wasn't here to watch the dough, normally I am and always will be. But if you find you come home and the dough is too soft, then let it finish the cycle. Once its done place dough on a heavily floured surface and lightly knead in extra flour until a stiffer dough forms. I saved the bagels whew...I hate waisting food!