Sunday, December 20, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015



To all and to all a good night!

Whatever holiday you are celebrating, I hope you are with friends and family and making the most out of every minute. If it's not so pleasant...well, at least it will be a holiday for the memory books!

This has been a different sort of year for us. Schedules have changed like crazy and I can't seem to find the time to do much of anything.

Normally I bake like crazy, this year, only a couple of batches of cookies
Snickerdoodles
Apple Butter Snickerdoodles

I didn't even send cards this year.
Shocking, I know!

I did manage to get Christmas presents out to my nieces (thank you to hubby for running to the post for me!) but no treats for them to nibble on from Auntie.


I have been spending weeknights running out to try and pick up last minute gifts, Most of my shopping was done online. Had a moment of panic when one shipment, which had a good chunk of the girl child's presents in it, all of a sudden had no tracking information. Really? Was it lost? Was someone hanging on to it because they knew it would stress me out? Either way, it is here...WHEW!

Now that we are just around the corner from the big day, I am starting to swim in my sea of lists. Lists of what I need to get done around the house, grocery lists, guest lists, party lists, meal lists....I am sure I have a list of lists somewhere! I poke fun at myself, but I really do love my lists. They keep me on track!


I host Christmas Eve for my husband's family and some friends of ours. It's a nice, relaxing evening. We eat, do stockings, and watch A Christmas Story on TBS.

Hubby dearest has me making a ham this year, I love, love, love the SMELL of a ham cooking, The eating part, eh, I will leave that up to everyone else.
Keeping it simple this year, the girl and I plan on making (the ham of course)
Warm Spinach Dip
Stuffed Mushrooms
Due to work schedules, the "party" is starting a little late this year. I am thinking that will be enough, plus, everyone else brings something,

Christmas day we are doing brunchy type foods at my aunt and uncles. This is when my side will meet up and do a gift swap.
Historically we have drawn names, but then it progressed to a Yankee Swap. This year we are doing sort of a Yankee Swap, it has a fun little twist. Hoping it is a fun swap...I will keep you posted!

By the time every gets to my aunt and uncle's, they have been nibbling on whatever all morning. My aunt and I handle the food, and we have learned not to have too much.
She makes an egg casserole that most people seem to enjoy.
I will be making biscuits and gravy.
Oh how I love them!

With all the traveling on Christmas, I try to have something either in the crock pot or ready to be thrown in the oven for our Christmas dinner. Haven't checked that item off my list yet. Hm.

The day after Christmas, another aunt is holding her holiday open house. It's the one time a year that all of her side and all of my uncle's side get together.
No big surprise, she wants me to make
Deviled Eggs
I will probably make something else too...not sure what though.
I like having large crowds to sneak in a new dish and see what the reactions are!

Enjoy your holiday my friends...I will be taking a little break until after the New Year.
What are your traditions or plans for this year?


Monday, December 14, 2015

Creamsicle Brownies

I am a sucker for flattery.
Face it, who isn't?

We all blush a little and get uncomfortable when people are giving it to us...but then we go home and bask in the glow of their approval.

We have a set of friends and they are simply in lust with my desserts. I love love love when we are going over there for any reason and I get the call "can you bring eggs and a treat?".

Part of what makes cooking and baking so pleasurable is seeing those around you enjoying every bite. Knowing they are not only looking forward to it, but they are convinced (before they even know what I am bringing) that they will enjoy it.

Not everything is a winner, as is the way baking works, but they still ask...so I still bring.

Ingredients:
1 (19.9 oz) brownie mix
(oil and eggs to make brownie mix)
2 oz white chocolate (chopped)
1 Cup butter (softened)
3 Cup confectioner’s sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 Tsp orange zest
Orange food coloring


Directions:
1. Prepare brownies per box directions
2. Stir in white chocolate
3. Pour into a prepared 9 inch pan and cook 45 minutes
4. Beat butter until fluffy
5. Gradually beat in 3 cups sugar and milk.
6. Remove half of frosting, dye orange and add zest
7. Frost brownies with white frosting
8. Using orange frosting, drop dallops on top. Use a knife to swirl frostings

Print




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Friday, December 11, 2015

Apple Butter Snickerdoodles

It's that cookie making time of year again!


Bread Booze Bacon is co-hosting yet another Blogger Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap!
I last participated in 2013 and had so much fun, I couldn't resist joining in again!
(See the original 2013 post here)

This time around I was paired with The Lawyer's Cookbook
She shared a Pumpkin Butter Snickerdoodle, along with the hint that I could use any type of fruit butter I happened to have on hand.
That being said, I decided to tap into my southern roots and break out the apple butter!

Mmm...the thought of apple cinnamon type cookies was very appealing.
As we know, my hubby is a little snickerdoodle obsessed !

The obstacle in front of me though, was the fact that I was not down south, and apple butter isn't as common up here in New England.
I hit up the local grocery for my normal weekly shop and decided to check out the jelly isle and see what could be found.

Can you believe, I found ONE jar of apple butter....right under a "Clearance, discontinued product" sign! Come on now, this just does not happen to me! Psyched!

So, please, feel free to try her original pumpkin butter, or any other fruit butter!


Ingredients:
3 Cups Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
¼ Tsp Salt
¾ Cup Butter (softened)
1 ¼ Cup Sugar + ⅓ Cup Sugar (divided)
2 Eggs
1 Tbsp Vanilla
½ Cup Apple Butter
½ Tsp Cinnamon + 1 Tsp Cinnamon (divided)


Directions:

  1. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. To mixer, add 1 ¼ cup sugar and butter
  3. Cream until fluffy
  4. Add in eggs, vanilla, apple butter, and ½ tsp cinnamon
  5. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients
  6. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours
  7. Preheat oven to 350
  8. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  9. Mix 1 tsp cinnamon and ⅓ cup sugar into shallow dish
  10. Roll dough into 2 tbsp sized balls
  11. Roll balls into cinnamon sugar mixture
  12. Bake 13-15 minutes




Monday, December 7, 2015

Rocky Road Fudge

When I make fudge, I usually stick to my basic, tried and true, auntie makes it all the time, recipe. That's all well and good...but branching out and attempting new things is the whole basis of this blog.

I was recipe hunting online and saw this one on the RecipeGirl site.
Easy? Check!
Delicious sounding? Check!
All ingredients on hand? Check!

OK...here we go!

The first thing I found "odd" was the use of sweetened condensed milk. All the fudge I have ever made called for evaporated milk.
But..being the wild and crazy girl I am...I kept on trucking.

This fudge is so super easy, and super yummy!
I found it a bit sweet for my tastes, so I cut them into thinner blocks than I would regular fudge. That way it is still just a taste.


Ingredients:
16 oz Semisweet chocolate, chopped finely
2 oz Unsweetened chocolate, chopped finely
½ Tsp baking soda
⅛ Tsp salt
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Cup mini marshmallows
1 Cup roughly chopped peanuts
½ Cup semi sweet chocolate chips


Directions:

1. Line 8x8 inch baking pan with foil and spray lightly with nonstick spray
2. In a medium heatproof bowl, toss 1st two chocolates with baking soda and salt.
3. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
4. Set bowl over 4 qt saucepan containing 2 cups of simmering water,
5. Stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is almost fully melted
6. Stir in marshmallows, peanuts, and additional chips
7. Add fudge to prepared pan and spread in an even layer
8. Refrigerate until set.
9. Remove from pan using foil, peel foil off, and cut into squares


Print



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Monday, November 30, 2015

Key Lime Fudge

When I buy key lime juice, the only bottle of it I can find is pretty large.
All you normally need is just a few tablespoons of it at a time.

Then it just kinda makes it's way to the back of the fridge until, eventually, someone sees it again and throws it away. Such a waste!

I decided I needed to use at least a smidge more of it before the "waste guilt" washed over me.
A quick google search came up with this recipe from About.com.

My lime loving daughter is not a key lime fan, and I am anti-citrus, so that took two eaters out of the equation.
Hubby had some, I brought some to two different aunts, pawned a big container of it off on hubby's volleyball team, and brought some to work.
Everyone really enjoyed it...score!

Ingredients:
¼ Cup butter
¼ Cup sugar
1 ¼ Cup graham cracker crumbs
20 oz chopped white chocolate
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
¼ Tsp salt
2 Tbsp lime zest
3 Tbsp key lime juice


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Line 9x9 pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray
3. Place butter in a medium microwave safe bowl and microwave until melted.
4. Stir in the sugar and graham cracker crumbs until everything is moistened
5. Pour crumbs into prepared pan and press into an even layer
6. Bake crust for 5 minutes. Let cool.
7. Place the white chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, and salt into large microwave safe bowl.
8. Microwave chocolate mixture in 30 second intervals, stirring, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
9. Add lime juice and zest to chocolate and stir
10. Pour fudge into prepared pan and smooth top
11. Refrigerate until completely set, 2-3 hours or overnight

Print





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Monday, November 23, 2015

Tamale Pie

My life has been a little freaking insane busy as of late.
I don't remember the last time I didn't have 500 things to do every day...until today!

I can sleep in!
Those words don't come out of my mouth!! Due to my normal M-F schedule (alarm at 4:30) my internal clock doesn't allow for this sleeping in thing...but due to the amount of stuff going on, I was the poster child for exhaustion last night.

Head hit pillow=Jay was out!

Yeah. 4:30am. I hear this noise.
Mr. Sir, cat master of the house, is having himself a jolly good time playing with the doors on the entertainment center. Seriously? :::sigh:::
Get up, chase him away...convince my body that it's not a work day, that I can go back to bed...and so I do.

Then 5:30am happens.
Mr. Sir...again. Now he has managed to wiggle his FAT bum into this 2 inch opening in hubby's sock drawer...and now he is stuck. He's wiggling all over the place making the dresser creak.
(how am I the only one in the house to hear all this noise?)
I get up...rescue chubby man...and that's it. I'm done.

So much for sleeping in.

Thanks fuzz butt. It's a dang good thing you are a handsome sir...otherwise you might become an outdoor cat.

Ingredients:
Filling:
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Medium onion, chopped
1 Green bell pepper, chopped
2 Jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 ½ Lbs ground beef
1 ½ Cup corn kernels (canned, fresh, or frozen)
1 (14.5) oz can diced tomatoes (drained)
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp chili powder
4 Tsp ground cumin
2 Tsp salt
4 oz shredded Monterrey Jack cheese


Topping:
1 ½ Cup yellow cornmeal
1 Cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tsp salt
2 Eggs
1 Cup milk
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Filling: in a large skillet, warm the oil until hot
3. Add onion, green pepper, and jalapenos. Cook until softened. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
4. Add ground beef to pan, breaking up the meat, cook until browned.
5. Add onion mixture to the cooked meat in the skillet
6. Stir in corn, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and salt. Stir well.
7. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes.
8. Topping: Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
9. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and melted butter
10. Pour the wet ingredients over the cornmeal mixture. Mix until just moistened.
11. Assemble: Stir cheese into beef mixture
12. Pour beef mixture into a 9 x 13 pan, smoothing top
13. Pour cornbread mixture over the beef mixture, smoothing for an even top.
14. Bake for 30-40 minutes
15. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving

Print






Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Blogging for Books: Food 52 Baking

**I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my unbiased review**

This is a comprehensive recipe collection of baked goods. For those just starting out, it will be a baking bible of sorts. Included are some of the most basic recipes for cakes, cookies, etc. Nothing intimidating, nothing wild and crazy, just good recipes.
Love that there are little hints and tricks included...very helpful!

For those who are a little more experienced, one might find this book a little mundane. I bake all the time, but am more than pleased to have a basic collection on my shelf!

Don't be discouraged if some of the recipes have what seems to be a long ingredient list...upon closer inspection, most are items one would already have on hand.

Also, pay close attention to the "Baking for any Occasion" sections: It helps lead you to what recipes may be best for different occasions.

This book is heavily about baking, but there are some savory options included as well. They have pizza dough and flat breads that are worth taking a look at too!





Monday, November 16, 2015

Hubby's Egg Salad

Last week I posted my very basic egg salad recipe!

Not that hubby doesn't eat his egg salad "my way", but he has his own special blend that he likes...as does the girl child.

Hubby has decided that this is how he likes his egg salad.
I have to admit, due to the onion and pepper, I have never actually tried this version, but he eats it up like I just put filet mignon on his plate.
I think he enjoys how the butter gets all melty into the egg.

I do like butter and salt on a plain hard boiled egg...so I figure it is about the same sort of flavor.

Ingredients:
3 Hard boiled eggs (peeled)
2 Tbsp tub butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp diced onion
2 Tbsp hot pepper


Directions:
1. Chop egg in a bowl
2. While egg is still warm, mix in butter (or warm egg slightly if using cold eggs)
3. Season with salt and pepper
4. Add onion and pepper
5. Mash egg while mixing

Print



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Monday, November 9, 2015

Egg Salad

I went for many, many, many years hating egg salad.

One day I woke up...and...well, I liked it.

Makes me feel like a classic case of parenting book advice "it can take 200+ times of tasting an item for a child to develop a taste for it".

Yeah, that's me.

Truly, it never occurred to me to "write down" a recipe for my egg salad! The girl child wanted some one day....and just stood there staring at me.
When I asked what she was waiting for, I got a big "well, either you have to make it for me, or at least tell me what goes in it!"

That's when light dawned. What seems so everyday and simple to one...it's a mystery to others!


Ingredients:
3 Hard boiled eggs (peeled)
1 ½ Tbsp mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper to taste


Directions:
1. Chop up eggs
2. Add mayo, salt, and pepper
3. Mash egg with fork while mixing

Print




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Monday, November 2, 2015

Bacon and Cheddar Dip

I have the living room (read: remote) to myself for awhile tonight!

Hubby is off with the guys, probably doing a bunch of burping and bad joke telling. You know, guy stuff.
The girl is in her room listening to music and working on homework.

What is one to do?

I own the Golden Girls seasons 1-3.
Hallmark/Lifetime movies are on demand.

No, I pick to watch Tiny Toons and Animaniacs on the Hub.
Yeah. I promise you that I really am (age wise) an adult.

Ingredients:
1 Pkg ranch dressing mix
½ Cup milk
½ Cup miracle whip
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
⅓ Cup bacon bits


Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients
2. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving

Print


It is difficult to make a bacon cheddar dip without cheddar. Duh.




Adapted from: Copy Kat

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Magic in the Middles

Wanted:
Someone as slightly messed up in the head as I am.

Seriously...year round I can watch Christmas movies and bake cookies.
Oddly enough, none of my (in-state) friends feel that same longing.

I do have one in FL who might as well share a mind with me. She is always game...but it's a slight bit of a hike for her.

The girl child rolls her eyes at me when she finds out I was listening to Christmas carols on Pandora. In August.
Or September.
Or any month other than December.

Did she really come from ME?

Funny enough though, there are no rolling of the eyes when the cookies come out of the oven. Hm.

Ingredients:
Dough:
1 ½ Cups all purpose flour
½ Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ Tsp baking soda
¼ Tsp salt
½ Cup sugar
½ Cup packed brown sugar
½ Cup unsalted butter (softened)
¼ Cup smooth peanut butter
1 Tsp vanilla extract
1 Large egg


Filling:
¾ Cup smooth peanut butter
¾ Cup powdered sugar


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
4. In another bowl, beat together sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy
5. Add vanilla and egg, beating to combine
6. Stir in dry ingredients, blending well
7. Prepare filling: In a small bowl, stir together peanut butter and powdered sugar until smooth.
8. With floured hands, roll the filling into 1-inch balls
9. Break off 1 tbsp of dough. Make indentation in the center and press a peanut butter ball into the indent.
10. Bring dough up over filling, pressing it closed.
11. Roll the cookie in the palms of your hands to smooth it out.
12. Dip the top of each cookie in granulated sugar and place on baking sheets about 2 inches apart
13. Grease the bottom of a drinking glass and use it to flatten each cookie to about ½ inch thick
14. Bake for 7-9 minutes

Print

Dough

Filling



Adapted from: Recipe Girl

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http://celebrateanddecorate.com/