Saturday, March 8, 2014
I bought some apples in a bag recently that I was thinking at some point of making into apple muffins. Unfortunately, once I got the bag open, almost all the apples had TONS of bruises. Lauren told me they were "mushy." Hmm, that only means one thing, I'll "experiment" using applesauce instead and see how that works. Well, my first attempt at making these didn't turn out too well. The consistency was kind of like a hockey puck :( Too bad Dominic doesn't play ice hockey - he would have had some good practice pucks! Anyways, my second attempt was definitely more successful! Around the same time I was baking these this past Wednesday, I tossed out some pieces of stale bread into the backyard. This deer came close to the kitchen window and was looking at me. I think he or she would have preferred one of my muffins instead :) If you look closely, to the left of the deer you can still see a scrap of bread sitting on the ground!!
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup sweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and fill a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside. In large bowl, put all ingredients in the order given except the oats. Combine well with large spoon and then gently "fold" in the oats. Distribute evenly between the paper liners and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the muffins comes out clean. Remove from oven. Let cool five minutes and then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling. Makes 12 muffins.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
When my husband brought home a red dog bowl after his holiday office party this past December, my first thought was, why in the world would someone give him a gift of dog food knowing we don't own a dog?!?!?!?! I then realized it was full of "puppy chow." It lasted just a few days in our house, given that all four of us love anything with peanut butter and chocolate mixed together. The General Mills Company sells a similar version of this tasty snack - it's called "Muddy Buddies." Lauren has had it before and told me she thought mine was better!! At the grocery store (when you can find it), it's at least $3.00 for a small bag. I don't know about you, but I find that pretty "doggone" expensive! One word of caution about this "puppy chow," it's VERY hard to just eat a little :)
8 1/2 cups rice square cereal (like Rice Chex)
12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, unsalted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar (1/4 cup reserved)
In large bowl, put the rice square cereal and set aside. In medium saucepan, put the semi-sweet chocolate morsels, peanut butter and the butter. Melt slowly on the stove and stir with large spoon until smooth. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Combine thoroughly and then pour over the cereal. With large spoon, toss gently until all the cereal is covered with the chocolate/peanut butter mixture. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until all but 1/4 cup is incorporated. Cover bowl with a lid or foil/plastic wrap and shake lightly. Put in the fridge for an hour and then remove. Add the 1/4 cup reserved powdered sugar and toss gently with a large spoon. Serve immediately. Store covered in the fridge for up to one week.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Both of my in-laws were great cooks. My mother-in-law made the world's best potato salad and chocolate chip cookies. My father-in-law made pork chops that were out of this world. He told me his recipe one time and I really wish I would have wrote it down!! Kolaches, potica (nut roll), pierogi and Slovenian sausages were almost always on the "menu" when we went to Cleveland to visit. I have tried to make both potica and pierogi and the end results have not been pretty. I'm not even going to attempt to make the Slovenian sausage :) Kolaches, on the other hand, are more up my baking "alley." Back a handful of Christmases ago, I was turning my house upside down looking for a kolache recipe because my mother-in-law was coming over to visit from her assisted living facility where she lived and we had promised her we would make kolaches. She didn't know her recipe off the top of her head, so I was really scrambling to find a recipe that didn't use yeast! I finally found one in a Christmas cookbook and the hubby, Lauren and my mother-in-law had a good time baking together. Good memories for sure:
My mother-in-law cut the dough into squares, but I found a 2-inch round biscuit cutter works just as well. My father-in-law will be gone nine years in April and we just passed the three-year anniversary of my mother-in-law's passing in January. Even though my hubby doesn't talk about it much, I know that he misses them. I'm going to surprise him when he comes home from work tonight with these kolaches. Maybe it's time to try again to make potica and pierogi!!! I'll let you know how it turns out :)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups white flour
1 tablespoon powdered sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly spray two cookie sheets with non-stick spray. Set aside. In medium bowl, put the butter and cream cheese and mix well with electric mixer or by hand until smooth. Add the flour and combine well. On a lightly floured counter or board, knead the dough about 10 times and then roll out to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out 24 circles with the round cutter and put 12 on each cookie sheet. Put 1/4 teaspoon of strawberry preserves in the middle of each circle and fold the opposite sides together, pressing gently. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the bottoms of the kolache are starting to brown. Remove immediately to wire rack. When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Makes 24 cookies.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
One of my favorite things to do is to post a picture on Facebook of something I have baked or cooked and then have my family and friends try to guess the "mystery" ingredient. Last week, I put a picture of these biscuits on and while there were many good guesses, no one was able to figure out they were made with sweet potatoes!!!! FINALLY, I stumped them :)
1/2 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed
1 1/2 cups white flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and set aside. In a large bowl, put the sweet potato, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Mix well with a large spoon and then "cut" in the cold butter with two knives. When the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, add the milk. Combine well with the spoon and then put on a lightly floured board or counter. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough about 10 times and then press out dough to about 1/4 inch. With a biscuit cutter make 12-14 biscuits. Put on the cookie sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes or until the biscuits are starting to turn lightly brown. Remove from oven and put on wire rack to slightly cool.
Saturday, February 1, 2014
Well, once again we have snow today where we live.
My husband was telling me this morning that behind the storm we are getting today, there are two more heading this way in the next week. Wonderful. Since I wanted to make s'mores and our snow depth outdoors makes that impossible, I did the next best thing and made them indoors yesterday evening! I put two of these on a plate on the kitchen counter for myself shortly after lunchtime and then went into the living room. When I came back into the kitchen a little while later, the plate was empty. I asked the hubby if he had eaten both and he said yes!! He's a sneaky one :)
24 squares or 12 rectangles of graham crackers
2 cups mini marshmallows
24 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with non-stick spray, set aside. In large bowl, break the graham crackers into small pieces. Add the marshmallows and mix together with a large spoon. In a saucepan or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips. Pour the melted chocolate chips over the graham crackers and marshmallows and mix well with the large spoon. Spread evenly into the prepared pan and put in the refrigerator for at least one hour. When ready to eat, break off into pieces with your hands and enjoy! Keep stored in the fridge in a covered container.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
I was the world's pickiest eater when I was little. We would go to the same Chinese restaurant when I was growing up and would order a hamburger!! Little did I know, that type of food would become my favorite as an adult :) So glad I finally started trying different types of foods as I've gotten older. When I was at the store a week or so ago, I saw the biggest sweet potato I've ever seen! I bought it thinking I would probably only need half. I was right! Half of it yielded two cups! I'm planning on using the other half to "test" out a new recipe for sweet potato biscuits. After doing a little bit of research about Cuban cuisine, I found that cumin, peppers, black beans, garlic, sweet potatoes and oregano is found in a lot of the recipes. I incorporated all of those yummy Cuban flavors into this soup. When I made this for dinner, the hubby had at least two bowls (maybe three) - I lost track! I always love when a regular "customer" enjoys his meal so much :)
1 cup onion, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups uncooked sweet potato, peeled and cubed
15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
10-ounce can Original Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes
and Green Chilies, undrained
1 cup green peppers, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
8 cups water
2 cups cooked white rice, any brand
In small saucepan, make the white rice and set aside. In large stockpot, melt the butter slowly and then add the onion. Saute until the onion is just starting to get tender. Add the rest of the ingredients in the order given except the white rice. Stir well, bring to a boil and then turn to a simmer and cover for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the white rice, stir well and then cook 5-10 more minutes. Serve immediately.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Lauren hosted a New Year's Eve party this year at our house and one of her friends brought over a plate of pigs in a blanket. They were really yummy (I sampled a few) and it got me to thinking, have I ever made them in my life? I don't think I have. I figured since there were only two ingredients, it couldn't be too hard to make. I bought the house brand of both the hot dogs and the crescent rolls. I could have bought the fancy cocktail weiners, but I figured regular hot dogs would be fine if I just cut them in half. The grand total came to $2.25 :) I challenge you to find an appetizer at the store that is that inexpensive! I taste tested a few of these early in the afternoon on Friday and then put the rest back in the fridge. When Lauren came home from school, she put four on a plate and popped them into the microwave for about 30 seconds for a snack. She said they tasted fine, even reheated! The next time you get invited to a party last minute and aren't sure what kind of appetizer to bring, try making these - I made them in less than 30 minutes!
8-ounce package crescent rolls (8 count), any brand
16-ounce package hot dogs (8 count), any brand
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a cookie sheet. Set aside. Cut the eight hot dogs in half for a total of 16 halves. Separate the eight crescent rolls from each other. Cut each roll in half lengthwise for a total of 16 triangles. Wrap each hot dog tightly in the crescent roll. Place on the cookie sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes or until they are beginning to get lightly brown. Remove to wire rack to cool slightly. Serve immediately. Makes 16 servings.