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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Peppermint Cocoa Kiss Cookies

Today my daughter and I are making Christmas cookies!  She requested cookies with Hershey's white chocolate peppermint Kisses but we could not find them at the store, so we improvised and came up with this recipe with the ingredients we already had at home.  
These cookies are chewy and tender with an amazing cocoa taste and a hint of peppermint.  We will definitely make these again.  She has already told me that making these cookies should become a new tradition.  Just another recipe to add to a long list of traditions.

Merry Christmas!



Here is what you'll need:

1 chocolate cake mix
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
2 Tb water
1 t peppermint extract
10 peppermint candies, crushed
Hershey's Kiss candies (dark or milk chocolate/white chocolate mint) Remove from foil wrapper.

Place first 5 ingredients in mixer until well mixed.
Add crushed candies and mix well.
Scoop dough by heaping teaspoons.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-13 mins.
Remove from oven and gently press Kisses in middle of cookies.
Let cool completely before eating.

ENJOY!




Wednesday, November 19, 2014

CHOCOLATE CHIP BROWNIE-COOKIE



This recipe combines two of the most popular desserts out there~ the chocolate chip cookie and brownies.  You can make your favorite chocolate chip cookie and brownie recipe and combine the two together or you can try my recipes.  They are fail proof classic recipes that you will want to make over and over again.
You know they make a box mix version of this recipe now and as I am sure it is good, it can not compare to making it at home with fresh ingredients and more cost effective too!



I have tried many different brownie recipes and this one is by far the best one.  I highly recommend trying it.

click here






Best chocolate chip cookies ever~This is the recipe for the chocolate chip cookies.  Follow these directions to make them as cookies.


Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Drop tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets.
  3. Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 10-12 minutes.


How to make Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookie~

Both the cookies and the brownies have chocolate chips in them making it rich and decadent.

  • Heat oven to 350 F. Grease bottom of 13x9 pan. Make brownie batter as directed. Spread in pan.
  • Make cookie dough as directed. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoonfuls evenly onto brownie batter; press down lightly.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes. 
  • Cool completely, about 1 hour. 
  • Cut into bars.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Buffalo Style Cauliflower

I have a lot of fun experimenting with recipes I see on Pinterest or Facebook and this was one of them.  I wasn't sure how this was going to go over with my family but to my surprise they liked it.  I love cauliflower but it is not my family's favorite.  However, my kids LOVE buffalo wings and this was a great recipe to try out on them.  My husband on the other hand is not fond of either and he liked it!  



 Buffalo Style Cauliflower

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • ½ c. Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp  butter
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF 
  2. Rinse the cauliflower and remove the woody stem and leaves at the base. Cut into florets.
  3. Drizzle oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over the cauliflower.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the cauliflower from the oven.
  6. Combine the hot sauce and butter in a saucepan and stir until the butter has melted, then simmer for 3 mins.
  7. Pour the hot sauce and the cauliflower into a large bowl and stir to coat the cauliflower in sauce.
  8. Serve with blue cheese dressing.

YUMMY!

Roasting veggies always makes them taste yummier!
Sprinkle with garlic and onion powder for even more flavor.
Healthy, fast and easy side dish.

Pumpkin-Pecan Bars

It may be the holiday spirit igniting inside of me, but I have been making a lot of pumpkin desserts. These bars are moist and chewy and cakey all at the same time. It is hard to eat just one...I know...I tried!  Before I knew it, I was back for seconds, and thirds.....




 PUMPKIN-PECAN BARS

4 eggs
1 c. butter, melted
1 c. sugar
1 c, brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 c. flour
1 c. canned pumpkin 
1/2 pecans

Mix all ingredients together using half of the pecans and pour into a greased jelly roll pan or a 9x13 pan and sprinkle remaining half (pecans) on top and bake for 20-25 mins at 350˚.






Sunday, November 2, 2014

Candy Bar Cookies



Since living in Arkansas, I have experienced so many new things....one of them being hayrides!  I have never been on a hayride before....not too many hayrides going on in the city.  They are so much fun!  I think us city people have been missing out.  My family went to three hayride/bonfire parties in one week and with that they ended up with what seems like 30 lbs of candy!  So, I got the idea to make Candy Bar Cookies.  This is a great way to use up all that yummy candy.

Ingredients

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 mini size candy bars of your choice
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied walnuts 
To make candied walnuts~ melt 3 tablespoons of butter in pan and add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and a pinch of salt.  Melt together and add walnuts.  Keep stirring for about 2 mins.  Set aside to cool.


Directions

1. Heat oven to 350°F.
2. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Add eggs; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in chopped candy and nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheet.
3. Bake 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. 


Choose your favorites.


Use your favorite chocolate chip or peanut butter cookie recipe for these cookies.


Chop candy into small pieces.


Mix into cookie dough.


Scoop onto cookie sheet.


Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Super Easy, Super Tasty Pumpkin Bread



I am consumed by all things pumpkin.  I literally crave it daily from the start of September all  through Christmas.  I make pumpkin everything...cheesecake, muffins, breads and pies.  Most everyone has a pumpkin bread recipe, but if you don't have a go-to recipe for pumpkin bread, try this super easy one...it is so moist and delicious!!




PUMPKIN BREAD
(make 2 loaves)


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can pure pumpkin (15oz)
  • 2 cups  packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons  vanilla extract

PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

SIFT flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Combine pumpkin, sugar, apple cider, eggs, butter and vanilla extract in large bowl; stir well. Stir in flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon into two greased  9 x 5-inch loaf pans.

BAKE for 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely.


Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramel Popcorn


My daughter and I wanted to do something fall-ish together, so we decided to make popcorn....not just any popcorn though...."fall-ish" popcorn....Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramel Popcorn to be exact.
Popcorn has always been her favorite snack and this time we put a fall spin on it.  Since making it this way, we have made it about a dozen more times and gave them as gifts.  
Make sure to make extra for yourself to enjoy....we always do!!!


What you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels 
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1- 1 1/2 t sea salt 
  • pumpkin pie spice

~Before putting in oven, sprinkle salt to taste and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.

~Add in pecans, slivered almonds and peanuts (optional).




  1. Preheat oven to 300°
  2. Pop popcorn kernels using air popper or use a brown paper bag and microwave for 2-3 minutes,
  3. In a saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and 1 tsp salt together over medium heat. Bring to boil and boil for 4 minutes without stirring.
  4. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and stir to coat evenly.
  5. Pour popcorn into pan.  Sprinkle with salt and spices.  Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  6. Allow popcorn to cool before eating. 




Friday, October 10, 2014

First Time For Everything: Canning Salsa

This was the first time I ever canned and I was surprised 
how easy it was.  I got together with friends who have 
canned before and watched and learned and canned.  
I can't wait to can jams, applesauce, soups, 
tomato sauce and so much more.
This taste so much better than store bought salsa 
and you know the exact ingredients you put in it.
I love the idea of stock piling my own food.  
I get pure joy from going to the pantry and having 
a variety of healthy foods to choose from.  
So here it is...step by step instructions.





Ingredients:

– 5 lbs tomatoes
– 1 large onion
– 5 jalapeño peppers and 3 serrano peppers
– 5 cloves of garlic
– 1 bunch of cilantro
– 1 Tb garlic powder
– 1 Tb salt
– juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime

  • Rinse and chop veggies and blend in food processor. You can use a blender but it will take longer as you can only put in small amounts at a time.


Canning:


 Fill your canning pot with water and bring to a rolling boil.



Sanitize your jars and lids. You can put the jars in the boiling water for several minutes or run them through a sterilize cycle in your dish washer.



Carefully, remove jars with tongs.  Wipe off the rims of the jars.


 Ladle the salsa into the jars using a wide-mouth funnel.  Fill the jars almost to the top, but leave about 1/2 inch of space



Use the magnetic, long stick to remove lids from boiling water.


5) Remove the lids from the boiling water and place them onto the tops of the jars.  Twist the metal rings, but not too tight.


Lower the jars into the boiling water with tongs.  There should be at least 1/2 inch of water above the jars.  


Place the lid on your pot and let the jars boil for 20 minutes.


Remove the jars from the boiling water with tongs and set them on a flat surface to cool to room temperature.  As the jars cool you will hear the lids seal.  It sounds like a suction-pop sound.


Leave jars to rest on counter for a few hours and then store in pantry until ready to eat.
~makes 6 quarts



Frozen Banana Treats


In an effort to eat healthier and cut down on desserts, I have been finding alternative ways to satisfy my after dinner sweet-tooth.  This is my new favorite "dessert",  Frozen Banana Treats.  When frozen, bananas are a lot like ice cream.  This treat is so satisfying especially with peanut butter or Nutella or any of the new nut butter combinations that are in your local grocery store.  If you really want to gild the lily, add dark chocolate morsels for chocolatey goodness!!



This a great way to use up bananas before they get overly ripe.   These banana treats are a much healthier alternative to ice cream. Make a few of them at a time so when that 
sweet-tooth craving hits, you can grab one out of the freezer.


What you'll need:

  • foil
  • bananas
  • peanut butter or any nut butter of your choice (crunchy or creamy)
  • chocolate chips or any flavor chip


 Tear out pieces of foil.
 Melt nut butter in microwave for 20-30 seconds and drizzle over bananas.
Wrap up foil like a tent.
 and place in freezer for at least 3 hours.
 Remove from foil and thaw for 5 mins enjoy.  
You can slice into 1 inch pieces if you prefer.

Crispy Cheesy Chicken Tenders

Every now and then I try a new recipe and am so surprised at how good it is.  This is one of those recipes.  My family devoured it up!  I make chicken more than any other protein and I really wanted to try something new....new to me anyways.  I can not believe I have never coated chicken with Ritz crackers before.  I was inspired by a warm, cheesy dip that I make using Ritz crackers and decided to try it on chicken 
and it was delicious.   
Take this already delicious chicken and dip it in a quick, homemade gravy.
 I hope you like it as much as we do!!



Chicken:
  • 10-12 chicken tenders
  • 2 sleeves Ritz crackers
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/8 t pepper
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 3 C cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 t dried parsley
  1. In a small food processor grind up the Ritz crackers. 
  2. Pour the buttermilk, cracker crumbs and grated cheese into 3 separate containers. 
  3. Mix salt and pepper and garlic powder into the cracker crumbs.
  4. Dip chicken into the buttermilk then cheese then cracker crumbs.
  5. Spray a 9x13 cooling rack and place on 9x13 pan sprayed with cooking spray and place chicken on rack.
  6. Lightly spray chicken with cooking spray.
  7. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken. 
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown.


Gravy:
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Tb butter (melted)
  • 2 Tb flour
  • salt and pepper
  1. Make a roux by melting butter and adding flour and whisking for 1 min.
  2. Add broth while whisking and simmer until it thickens.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
~Using a cooling rack allows chicken to brown on both sides.  No mushy bottoms.



Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What Does Fall Taste Like: Pumpkin-Cinnamon Muffins


I always wondered why fall was the only season 
with two names and after reading all the scientific reasons, 
it comes down to this....
there are many reasons!!     
One reason is because fall was once referred to as 
“harvest” because that is when farmers gathered 
their crops for winter, between August and November. 
Around the 1600s more people started moving 
into cities and the word harvest was replaced with 
"fall of the leaf" which comes from the 
Old English word feallan, which means 
“to fall or to die.” 
Over time, the phrase was shortened.   
"Fall of the leaf" is more like a phrase and 
so it was shortened to fall.  
In old French they used  autompne, 
and in old German they used abernten, 
and in Latin they used autumnus 
which means  autumn.  
It doesn't really matter to me what we call it, 
I just enjoy this time of  year.  
I love everything about it....cooler days, changing leaves
fuzzy slippers, warm apple cider and pumpkin anything.  
These Pumpkin-Cinnamon Muffins are what fall would 
taste like, if we could taste fall.


Makes 12 muffins 

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place muffin liners in muffin tin.  Spray with cooking spray.


Ingredients~

For the muffin batter:

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4  teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2  teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 brown sugar
2 eggs
1  teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces pure pumpkin
1/4 vanilla almond milk or regular milk


Make the muffin batter: 

  • Whisk together in a large bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla, yogurt and pumpkin. Mix until not quite combined. Finish mixing with a rubber spatula. Add milk and blend until combined. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and again mix with the electric mixer until not quite combined. Finish mixing with a rubber spatula. There should be lumps.
  • Fill each muffin cup 2/3 with the batter.


For the crumb topping:

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter
pinch of salt


Make the crumb topping: 
  • In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, butter, and salt. Stir until mixture is combined – there should be some small lumps. 
  • Top each batter-filled muffin cup with a spoonful of streusel, spreading so the tops are evenly coated and press down slightly. 
  • Bake 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, maybe with a crumb or two.