Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mint Triangles

I was given, during one of those at home parties, a Pampered Chef mini cookbook. I have made some of the desserts in it, and they have all been good.

The girl child and I spied these in the book and started drooling. Not to mention, hubby is anti-mint chocolate (some weird childhood thing. Whatever.) so we knew we could make them and have them be safe, and ours, and yummy.

I got all the ingredients, with the exception of the almond bark. 4 stores I went to! No almond bark, no candy melts, no white dipping chocolate. Nothing. :::sigh:::
There were a few things I was ordering from Amazon, so I added some candy melts to the order.

In the meantime...my mother came to visit.
My mother has a sweet tooth like you only read about!
I kept chasing her away from the "snack shelf" to make sure she didn't eat my mint cookies!

Package arrived....dessert was made.

Since then, I have been to TONS of stores...and they ALL have almond bark or candy melts. :::sigh:::


Ingredients:
Crust
2 (10 oz) packages of fudge covered mint cookies
½ Cup butter
1 ¼ Cup semi sweet chocolate morsels


Filling and Topping

10 oz Vanilla Almond Bark

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened

1 Tsp peppermint extract

6 Drops green food coloring

¼ Cup semi sweet chocolate morsels


Directions:

Crust

1.  Place half of the cookies in a large resealable bag. Crush into very fine crumbs. Repeat with remaining cookies.

2. Place butter and chocolate morsels in small bowl. Microwave on high for 1-1.5 minutes or until butter is melted.

3. Stir until smooth

4. Add chocolate mixture to crumbs, mix until all crumbs are moistened.

5. Spread moistened cookie mixture over a small/medium sheet pan. Pack firmly using hands.

6. Place into freezer for 10 minutes.


Filling

1. Microwave almond bark, uncovered, on high 2-3 minutes. Stir every 30 seconds until bark is mostly melted.

2. Stir until smooth.

3. Whisk in extract and food coloring
4. Spread filling over crust, set aside.

Topping
1. Microwave remaining morsels, uncovered, on high 30-45 seconds or until melted.
2. Place in small resealable bag, twist top, and cut off corner.
3. Drizzle over dessert.
4. Let stand until chocolate is firm.


Print


My candy melts I searched high and low for

Soooo rich! Make sure you have milk on hand!

This recipe was shared at: The Lady Behind the Curtain, The Tasty Fork,  White Lights on Wednesday, Buns in my Oven, Lambert's Lately, Sugar and Dots, What's Cooking Love, Saving 4 Six, Embracing Change, Gooseberry Patch, The Bitter Side of Sweet, Sweet Haute, The Grits Blog, The Brambleberry Cottage, and With a Blast

Monday, October 28, 2013

Down Home Macaroni and Cheese

We love macaroni and cheese in this house.
There is always some of the boxed stuff in my cabinet, but whenever possible I make my homemade kind.

On that note, I have (over the years) collected quite the volume of mac and cheese recipes, so I have stared trying them out one at a time.

I figured this basic Velveeta recipe would be a good place to start.


Ingredients:
1/4 Cup butter, divided
1/4 Cup flour
1 Cup milk
8 Oz Velveeta, cubed
2 Cups elbow macaroni, cooked
1/2 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 Crackers, crushed


Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350

2. Melt 3 tbsp butter in medium saucepan

3. Whisk in flour and cook 2 minutes

4. Gradually stir in milk

5. Bring to a boil, cook and stir 3-5 minutes or until thickened

6. Add Velveeta, and stir until melted

7. Stir in macaroni

8. Spoon into 2 qt casserole dish

9. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese

10. Melt remaining butter, toss with cracker crumbs, and sprinkle over casserole
11. Bake 20 minutes or until heated thru

Print


I used Rotini to really "grab" the cheese




This recipe was shared at: Flour me with Love, The Chicken Chick, Uncommon Designs, This Gal Cooks, Six Sisters Stuff, Inside Bru Crew Life, Jam Hands, Chef in Training, Mandy's Recipe Box, The Craftiest Allie, Our Table for Seven, Pint Sized Baker, Future ExPat, and Tumbleweed Contessa

Friday, October 25, 2013

Golden Parmesan Potato

Rain, rain, go away
Don't come back another day.

:::sigh::: I understand we need rain, but that does not mean I want it!
You know how some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)? I never considered myself one of them.
Even in the "gloom" of winter, I am fine. Happy even. Winter is my favorite season!
Rain...rain makes me feel like I have SAD. Does it work that way?

I know SAD can be for any season (even summer, gasp!) but does it cover rainy days?

Anyone with an actual grasp of the medical field out there who can enlighten me?

This Kraft dish makes me think of sunshine, which makes me happy.
It doesn't hurt that it tastes delicious too!


Ingredients:
2 Lb yukon gold potatoes cut into ⅛ inch slices
3 Tbsp butter (melted, divided)
½ Cup parmesan cheese, divided


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425

2. Clean and slice potato

3. Brush 1 Tbsp butter onto bottom and up side of 9 inch pie plate

4. Toss potato with remaining butter and ¼ cup cheese

5. Layer on bottom and up sides of pie plate

6. Sprinkle with remaining cheese

7. Bake 1 hour or until potatoes are tender
8. Invert onto a serving dish

Print


Easiest ingredients EVER!

My sunshine cake!

This recipe was shared at: Blissful and Domestic, The Better Baker,  Dessert Now Dinner Later, Will Cook for Smiles, Mom's Test Kitchen, Pioneer Momma, Future ExPat, and Thirty Handmade Days

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pesto Pasta Salad

I had some chicken that had to be used up. You know the kind...it sits in the fridge, and you wonder why you got it. Did you have a plan you maybe forgot about...maybe it was just on sale. Who knows.

I was just going to cook it up with assorted seasonings, nothing special.
BUT...we needed some carb to go with it.
This recipe came from an old Tastefully Simple cookbook I had, and I adapted it as I didn't have all the required seasonings. (some you can't even get anymore)

Maybe I will try it again, and fudge around with the seasonings some.
We were not in love with this. We all ate it, but nobody wanted to save the leftovers.

Once again, I am just suggesting that everyone has different tastes. Try it, it might be a new fave in your house!



Ingredients:

1/2 Cup pesto mix

1/3 Cup garlic infused olive oil

(or olive oil with 1/2 tsp garlic powder mixed in)

14.5 Oz can diced tomato with juice

8 Oz prepared, chilled, penne pasta

14 Oz can drained, chopped artichoke hearts

8 Oz cubed havarti or monterey jack cheese

4 Oz diced pepperoni

Salt and pepper to taste


Directions:
1. Combine first 2 ingredients, stir to blend
2. Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl, stir in pesto mixture
3. Chill until served


Print


Ingredients...You can't read the label, but on the left is the Dried Tomato and Garlic Pesto mix from Tastefully Simple


This recipe was shared on: The Lady Behind the Curtain, Buns in my Oven, Sugar and Dots, White Lights on Wednesday, Lamberts Lately, Saving for Six, What's Cooking Love, Embracing Change, and The Tasty Fork

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cheese Danish

Cheese danish is my kryptonite. Bring a piece within a 5 mile radius of me and I just turn to a weak kneed jelly mess.

Though, it has never occurred to me to learn how to make it on my own.

Poking around online, I came across this recipe.
Oh the possibilities!
I made this as is, but I can imagine mixing in some raspberry jam....or using some citrus zest in the icing...or...or...or...
Seriously the possibilities are endless.

To make matters worse, I now know how to make this. It's easy...and delicious.
Heaven help my waistline!


Ingredients:
1 Tube crescent rolls
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese (softened)
½ Cup sugar
1 Tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp all purpose flour


Topping:

1 Cup powdered sugar

4 Tbsp heavy cream

Splash vanilla extract


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla

3. Open crescent roll dough and unroll, leaving crescents in rectangles

4. On an ungreased baking sheet, lay the crescent roll rectangles together, lining them up width wise. (dough should be almost the entire length of the sheet pan)
5. Press edges together, and seal all holes
6. Spread cream cheese filling down the center of the dough, about 2-3 inches wide
7. Cut ½ inch diagonal strips up each side of the dough
8. Fold each ½ inch dough piece up over the filling. Alternate sides to get a braided pattern.
9. Bake for 20-30 minutes until filling is set and crescent dough is golden in color.
10. One danish has cooled, remove to a serving platter
11. In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar, vanilla, and cream to create icing
12. Drizzle icing over danish


Print


Danish ingredients

My ugliest braid EVER

Icing ingredients

Decadent! 


This recipe was shared on: Flour me with Love, Frugal Foodie Mama, The Tumbleweed Contessa, Uncommon Designs, Jam Hands, Chef in Training, Mandy's Recipe Box, Inside BruCrew Life, Table for Seven, and Six Sisters Stuff

Friday, October 18, 2013

Gingerbread with Molasses Whipped Cream

The smell of gingerbread just screams Christmas and holidays to me.
That being said, I love, love, love the flavor, so I make it year round.

I had made this cake and needed to make the whipped cream frosting.
As I was pretty busy doing other things, I asked the girl child to help me out.
(I also love, love, love when she is in the kitchen with me!)

She made whipped cream for the first time with this recipe. As she was standing there with the hand mixer (electric) just mixing and mixing, she was saying "Gee, if it's this long/hard to make homemade whipped cream, I can only imagine what it was like in the olden days with the hand mixers".

This of course prompted hubby to launch into one of his "when I was your age" stories. He was telling her about how he used to have to make it for his mother frequently, and yes, your arms got quite tired.

Being the science geek she is, she very much enjoyed watching the cream come together. She was pretty well jumping up and down when it was completed. (Maybe I am confusing this nerdy moment with excitement that she doesn't have to mix anymore).

One small taste later, and she declared homemade whipped cream, even molasses whipped cream, was "worth it".
High praise from the teen!


Ingredients:
1 ½ Cup molasses
⅓ Cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
6 Tbsp butter, melted
¾ Cup boiling water
3 ⅓ Cups all purpose flour
1 ½ Tsp baking soda
¾ Tsp salt
¾ Tsp ground cinnamon
2 ¼ Tsp ground ginger


Whipped Cream:

2 Cup heavy whipping cream

⅓ Cup molasses


Directions:

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl

2. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients in a separate bowl

3. Stir flour mixture into molasses mixture

4. Spoon batter into a buttered 9-inch square pan

5. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes

6. Cool and cut into squares
7. Make whipped cream by whipping cream, and slowly adding molasses until stiff peaks form.

Print


Ingredients

Oh yeah, this is the stuff dreams are made of!

Recipe adapted from here

This recipe was shared at: Blissful and Domestic, The Country Cook, The Better Baker, Tumbleweed Contessa, Mom's Test Kitchen, Will Cook for Smiles, Your Homebased Mom, Dessert Now Dinner Later, Frugal Foodie Mama, and Thirty Handmade Days

Thursday, October 17, 2013

You are my Sunshine...my (one of 11) only Sunshine!

Happy Thursday to me!
I found out tonight I was nominated for a Sunshine Award from Ashley over at Pioneer Mama!

Please hold your applause to the end...
eh, who am I kidding...clap away, you know you want to!

I am really very happy for this...in my short blogging life, it's my first nomination!


In all seriousness, the Sunshine Award is given from one blogger to another for "positively and creatively inspiring others in the blogosphere". Sounds pretty prestigious to me!

As with everything, there are rules. We all know rules are meant to be broken followed!

1. Acknowledge your nominating blogger
Hi Pioneer Mama (see...acknowledging!)
2. Provide 11 random facts about yourself
3. Answer the 11 questions your nominating blogger provided you
4. Pick 11 bloggers to nominate for this award (letting them know is important!)
5. Post 11 questions of your own for those bloggers to answer for you

Let's start with my 11 random facts. Hm. This takes thought!

1. I lived in the north half my life, I lived in the south half my life, now I am back up north and have this funky hybrid accent.
2. I am a Starbucks JUNKIE. Give me a salted caramel frappuchino and I will be your BFF
3. I am still very close to my very first friend ever!
4. I never, ever had wisdom teeth. They are not hiding, they just don't exist. (oh darn)
5. I cruise every possible chance I get. Never to be sick of it!
6. Me=spoiled wife. I get foot rubs every night. Yes. Every night!
7. I have an unhealthy obsession with the smell of bonfires
8. I have a secret crush on Mr. Pricklepants from Toy Story
9. I am set and ready for Christmas before Thanksgiving
10. I am a compulsive planner (see #9)
11. I am incapable of eating or drinking without wearing it. It's a long running (bad) joke at this point. Not my most proud confession.

Now, if my boring facts didn't scare you away...on to my questions from Ashley!
1.  Name one thing on your bucket list.
I would love to visit all 50 states. I met someone who did and thought "well gee, isn't that neat?". We don't play tourist in America enough!!
2.  What helps you out of a creative slump?
I look around my house. Seriously. I watch hubby and the girl. Mr. Sir the cat. Who is doing what? It just sort of clears my mind and makes me able to think again.
3.  If you could be any profession for a day, which would you choose and why?
I would totally rock CFO of a multinational corporation! I want the feeling of holding that much power and control. That's not crazy, right?
4.  Have you had any major fails while cooking or crafting?  What was it?
OMG I fail all the time! Hubby and the girl know to brace themselves when I am cooking and they hear "pizza is on speed dial, right?". I suck at bread. I want to make it...but the lack of a mixer doesn't help. I have a bread machine...but to make it by hand...I have thrown away gobs of unbaked dough. Or flat cooked dough. Or black lumps of something.
5.  What is the silliest thing you’ve ever done?
This blog isn't long enough. Seriously. I am constantly doing silly things. Lately? Probably when the invisible speed bump popped up at work and I did that funny tripping...yet trying to play it off semi dance move. Yeah, that was silly. Just trip and be proud of it!
6.  What is the most difficult thing you’ve come across being a parent?
Trying to remember that it is her life and not mine. Looking at a mirror image (physically) of myself at that age and needing to learn to support her and treat her as she needs to be treated, not as I would have needed. As we move onto some huge milestones in her life, this is more glaring than ever.
7.  What is your favorite tradition you want to pass on to your kids?
Christmas morning. We drag it out. Coffee, snacks. Stockings. One present at a time. We all get to see it, enjoy it, appreciate it. I want her to pass this to her children and remember the love behind every wrapped thought that morning.
8.  What do you do to de-stress?
Read. I am a voracious reader for most of the year. Fall into winter I am usually too busy, but that's alright. 
9.  What is your guilty pleasure?
Cartoons and cheesy 80's movies.
10.  Do you speak a foreign language?  Which one?
I only wish! My great grandmother tried like crazy to teach me and my older cousins Lithuanian...and we didn't take up on it too well. Now I wish I had more patience with it.
11.  What is your favorite memory as a child?
Way too many to mention. One in particular is waking up ridiculously early in the morning, knowing we were headed to the airport to go to Disney and finding a real stretch limo waiting in the driveway for us.

Questions for my nominees....
1. Is there a story behind your first or middle name?
2. What is your favorite item to make in the kitchen?
3. If you could be any sitcom character, who would it be and why?
4. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten (or attempted to eat)?
5. If you are married, what was your wedding song and why? If you are not married, do you have one already picked out in your head?
6. Which holiday is your favorite and what traditions do you follow?
7. Who, in your life, has made the biggest impact on who you are today?
8. If you had unlimited funds, which charity would you help the most and why?
9. Morning person or night owl?
10. When I think of childhood, the first thing that comes to mind is...
11. What was the first job you ever had?

And the nominees are....
Kimmie @ Sugar and Dots
Gloria @ Simply Gloria
Ali @ Jam Hands

Thank you to all for all the sharing you do with all of us..


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Gorgonzola Cheese Cups with Hazelnut Green Salad

I did a brunch for hubby's side of the family. It was really nice: his mom, his sister, her hubby, his mother, and my hubby's aunt.

I had some basic brunch dishes available along with the regular fruit and danish (homemade of course. Not homemade fruit, I am not that talented)

I had been planning on making this to go with dinner for us one night, but there are only 3 of us...and would be 8 of us on this day.
Better size planning if you ask me!

Well, I think I did something wrong.
My cups were not really cups. When I try it again, I will make cups using a MINI muffin pan. These were more like disks with rounded edges.

No problem though, we just made up the salad, had the crisps on the side, and had a good laugh at my expense!


Ingredients:


1 Cup (packed) Parmesan cheese

8 Tsp gorgonzola cheese

1 Tsp all purpose flour

1 Cup (packed) baby spring mix

2 Tbsp chopped hazelnuts

1 Pear, chopped to ½ inch dice

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Directions:
1. In a small bowl, combine Parmesan cheese and flour
2. Heat a small, nonstick skillet over med-low heat.
3. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of the Parmesan mixture into a 4-inch circle in the middle of the skillet.
4. Sprinkle 1 Tsp of gorgonzola cheese over the parmesan
5. Cook until the circle starts to hold together as you lift it off the pan.
6. Flip cheese to the other side, cook for an additional 20 seconds
7. Gently press the circle into a muffin tin.
8. Repeat with remaining cheese to make a total of 8 cups
9. In medium bowl, combine spring mix, hazelnuts, pear, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar
10. Place cheese cups on a serving platter and gently fill with salad


Print


Yet AGAIN, just imagine there is a bottle of EVOO and balsamic vinegar in this picture.

Note: I did not take a picture of my salad. When I make these again, and I will, I will update the image

This recipe has been shared on the following: The Lady Behind the Curtain, Sugar and Dots, Our Table for Seven, The Tasty Fork, Lambert's Lately, White Lights on Wednesday, What's Cooking Love, and With a Blast