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Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas is Over....Wow How Quickly it Passed

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and that the new year will bring health and happiness.  We had a great Christmas with family, grandchildren and friends.  December rushed upon us in a roar beginning with the celebration of my Mother's 80th birthday.  We had over 60 people join us in the surprise party.  That was on the 17th, then the 18th was our son Matthew's birthday, followed by Holly's birthday on the 24th.  We celebrated with her family and Matt and Linda.  We went to Mass where little Taylor was an angel in a little program. 

Christmas Day was special with friends and family.  I made the Coconut cake with a different twist that I posted previously.  It was a big hit.  I also made sausage wontons.  I have a recipe for wontons on here that I usually make, but did a twist.  I made wontons using cream cheese and sausage.  I like the recipe that I posted here, much better.  I also tried making the wontons with a surprise chocolace kiss in  the center, but forgot about putting them in the oven and, you know the rest of that story.

So, Happy New Year.  Be Safe and Here's to a Peaceful, Healthy Happy Year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa's Sleigh's from Ellyn's Place

Look what I found on Pinterest from Ellyn's Place!  It looks like so much fun to mak.


You take two candy canes, and place a strip of glue on each candy cane and glue a Kit Kat candy bar to it.
Next, layer candy bars on top of the Kit Kat bars.


Then top with bows and ribbons...After all the glue is hard and secure, glue ribbon around your "packages" and a bow on the top. That's it! so cute and fun and your recipient can keep it as a decoration or take it apart and eat all the candy!


So, so cute!!! A fun project for the little ones, too!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

  • 3 tablespoons butter or 3 tablespoons margarine , softened
  •  1 lb dipping chocolate or 1 lb confectioner's coating
  • Chopped pecans ,if desired

Directions:

  1. Stir together powdered sugar, peanut butter and butter until well mixed.
  2. Shape peanut butter mixture into 1 inch balls, placing them on a baking sheet covered with waxed paper.
  3. Let balls stand for 20 minutes until dry.
  4. Melt the dipping chocolate or confectioners' coating.
  5. Drop balls one at a time in melted chocolate.
  6. Using a fork, remove from the chocolate, letting excess chocolate drip off.Peanut Butter Balls. Photo by Pvt Amys Momce
  7. Place back on the waxed paper.  Let stand till dry.

White Chocolate Martini


White Chocolate-Peppermint Marshmallow Martini
 
Marshmallow sundae topping
peppermint candies, crushed
Ice
1/4 cup vanilla vodka
1 tablespoon peppermint schnapps
1/4 cup white chocolate liqueur
  • 1 Dip the rim of a martini glass in marshmallow topping then crushed peppermint candies. Drizzle some marshmallow topping on inside of glass; place glass in freezer.
  • 2 In a shaker with ice, add vodka, schnapps, and the liqueur. Shake until mixed; pour into prepared glass. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint.

Coconut Cake with a Different Twist

 
 
INGREDIENTS
Vegetable oil, for misting the pan
Flour, for dusting the pan
1 package (18.25 oz) plain white cake mix (my favorite is Duncan Hines)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream of coconut, plus more cream of coconut for brushing the baked layers 
3 large eggs
Frosting:
2 cups sour cream
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed (Cool Whip)
3 1/2 to 4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350. Lightly mist three 9 inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray, then dust them with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pans aside.
Place the cake mix, milk, 1/2 cup cream of coconut, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes longer, scraping down the sides of the bowl again if needed. The batter should look well blended. Divide the cake batter evenly among the 3 prepared pans, about 1 1/2 cups batter per pan, smoothing the tops with a rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven. If your oven is not large enough to hold 3 pans on the center rack, place to pans on that rack and one in the center of the rack above.
Bake the cake until layers are light brown and the tops spring back with lightly pressed with a finger, 18 to 23 minutes. The cake layer on the higher rack may bake faster, so test it for doneness first. 
While the cakes bake, make the frosting. Place the sour cream and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the sugar has dissolved, 2 minutes longer. Add the whipped topping and beat on low speed until well blended. Stir in 3 cups of coconut and beat on low speed until mixed. Place the frosting in the refrigerator to chill for at least 10 minutes.
Transfer the cake pans to wire racks and let the cake layers cool for 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each cake layer and give the pans a good shake to loosen the cakes. Invert each layer onto a wire rack, and then invert again so they are right side up. While the cakes cool, use a small brush to gently brush the tops of the cake with the remaining cream of coconut. Let the cakes cool completely, 15 minutes longer. When the cakes are cool, use a large serrated knife to cut each cake in half horizontally to make 6 layers.
To assemble the cake, transfer one layer, cut side up, to a serving platter. Spread the top with a heaping 2/3 cup frosting. Place another layer, cut side up, on top of the first layer and frost with 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat this process with the remaining layers and frost the top and sides of cake. Sprinkle 1/2 to 1 cup coconut on top of the cake for garnish.
This cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
 
Okay, I have to make this for Matt and Holly's birthday.  They both love coconut cake.  And, this recipe sounds just awesome.  Of course, this was found on Pinterest.com.

A new Body Scrub...From Pinterest.com

Just found another body scrub that I am going to try.  This one is from Jamaica.  I am currently enjoying the heck out of my freshly made Brown Sugar Body Scrub.  It makes my skin feel like a million bucks.  I bet the one below is good.  I just happen to have all of the ingredients so I am going to mix up a batch!!

Ingredients:
  • 1 part cornmeal (it can be white or yellow – it is your preference)
  • 1 part epsom salts
  • 1 bottle of almond extract
  • 1 large decorative bottle
This makes a great gift.  You mix the ingredients above and put in a pretty jar and give as a gift.  You put this instructional tag with it:  Mix 1/2 cup of scrub with enough water to make a paste.  Add a tsp or almond or vanilla extract to make it smell good.  Enjoy in the shower or tub.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Homemade Gifts for the Season

I love making homemade, gifts to give.  I have already made two batches of Brown Sugar Body Scrub.  I used Brown Sugar, Grapeseed oil, Jojoba oil, a little olive oil and I added a TBSP of honey as it is good for dry skin.  You mix this all up and put it in jars (I used canning jars) and I make sure that the sugar is very moist.  I also added frankincense and myrrh essential oils in honor of the season.  This made it smell heavenly.  I also made a batch and used lemon and orange flavoring.  This makes your skin feel like a million bucks.  You just use it as a body scrub when you are in the shower.

Also, I found this recipe on Pinterest for hand cream.  Use 16 oz. baby lotion, 8 oz. of vaseline and 8 oz. of vitamin E cream.  Mix this up, add essential oils (lavendar would be good) and use as a hand cream.  You can put this into pretty little jars and this makes a wonderful gift as well. 

Can you Believe that it is Almost Christmas?

I had so many things to do and now it is getting down to the wire.  Hopefully, next week I will be able to at least do some of the baking, making, crafting things that I wanted to do before Christmas.  Why is it that time goes by so quickly?  There is never enough time.

One thing that I did this weekend and you might want to find time to do this.  I went to Kroger and bought 4 bags of Epsom Salt.  And, I purchased some clear glass containers from Michaels, along with those little animals that children play with..the plastic kind..like deer, dogs, etc.  Also, I bought miniature Santas, etc.  I found some things in my Christmas decorations that I could use...I pulled some greenery from fake pine decorations, and you could also use real pine stems.

I poured a little less than 1/2 of the bag of Epsom salt into each container.  Just enough to make it look pretty.  Then, for one container, I placed a Golden Retriever in the "snow" and a pine thingy that looked like a Christmas tree.  I sprinkled some of the salt onto the tree to make it look as if it had snow on it.  Then, I put a mini Santa, snowman in the snow.  Wallah!  What a beautiful decoration.  The salt looks just like sparkly snow.

I made several of these as gifts.  Love them. I will take a picture and post on here so that you can see for yourself.  And, I found this idea of Pinterest.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rolls

The ingredients you will need:
1 1/2 cups of milk
3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 egg
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons yeast
2 cups of warm water
about 9-10 cups of all purpose flour
at least 1 cup of butter
To start out: Scald 1 1/2 cups of milk, 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup of butter, in a microwave safe bowl, for about 2 minutes. Cutting the butter into pieces helps it melt faster. There will probably be some little cubes of butter still floating in the hotWe are going to add yeast to this hot mixture, but it will be too hot to just dump the yeast straight in (it would kill it!). To cool it down stir in 1-2 cups of flour, then add 1 egg and 1 Tablespoon of salt, and leave it to cool for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, in a measuring cup dissolve 2 Tablespoons of yeast in 2 cups of warm water and 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Let it sit for a couple of minutes until it is bubbly.
**Keep track of how much flour you are adding!!!
 mixture, they Make sure your milk mixture is just warm, not boiling and add the yeast mixture!will melt.
Using a fork or wooden spoon, gradually stir in 9-10 cups of flour (counting the flour you have already added to cool it earlier). I would recommend only adding 2 cups at time and stirring in between. These rolls turn out so much better when they are mixed by hand.

At the end the dough will be dense and sticky, and may be hard to stir, you can use your hands to incorporate the rest of the flour if needed. Be sure not to add too much flour. Then smooth the dough out and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave it in a warm place and let it raise
When your dough is close to raising completely, butter 2 cookie sheets and set them aside
Let the dough raise until it has doubled in size.
Cover your working space with flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Dump your dough out and divide it into 4 balls. Eyeball the sizes, then lift them up and feel the weight of each ball. Try to make them even, but they don’t have to be perfect.
Using one ball of dough at a time: roll the dough into a circle on a floured counter. Once it is rolled out spread the top with butter from edge to edge. You will use about 2 Tablespoons per circle of dough.
Cut the dough into quarters using a pizza cutter.
If you would like to add the thankful notes, now is the time!
Place one thankful note lengthwise on the triangle of dough.
Make sure you spread plenty of butter when using these notes, It will prevent them from sticking!
Tuck the tail of the triangle under the roll and place it on the buttered cookie sheet. You will make 3 rows, with 8 rolls per row. This will give you 24 rolls per pan. Two balls of dough will fill 1 pan. You will get a total of 48 rolls!

Orange Creamsicle Cookies

Orange Creamsicle Cookies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange zest (for me that was the zest of 2 oranges)
2 cups Guitard Choc-Au-Lait Vanilla Chips (I used Ghirardelli white chips)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest and chips.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Do not flatten cookies; it will make them dry. Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Do not overcook! Cookies will be plump. Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container

Butterfinger Chunk Cookies

Can we have too much butterfinger stuff?  I think not.  This is from Recipegirl.com found on Pinterest.com.  Loving my butterfinger recipes.

Yield: 24 cookies
Prep Time: 20 min + chill time
Cook Time: 12 min
Both the buttery and chocolate parts of the candy bar melt into these cookies...

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups, plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups crushed Butterfingers (about 3 regular-sized bars)

Directions:

1. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until well-blended. Add egg and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Beat in flour, salt and baking soda. Stir in butterfingers (dough will be moist). Chill cookie dough at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using 1 rounded Tablespoon of dough for each cookie (I use a small cookie scooper), drop cookie dough in mounds onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart (about 8 cookies per sheet; cookies will spread). Bake cookies until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Transfer parchment with cookies to rack and cool completely. (Can be prepared 4 days ahead. Store in airtight container.)

Oatmeal No Bake cookies

My Mother used to make these cookies when I was growing up.  I think I may have posted this on here before under Boiled Oatmeal cookies.  I found this version on Pinterest.com..  I am making these for Sunday as a tribute to my Mama.  And, I make take a batch over to Alabama when we celebrate her 70th birthday on the 17th of this month.  Yuumy
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick oleo, margarine or butter (I used butter)
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups oatmeal (old fashioned rolled oats, not instant)
Mix the sugar, butter, cocoa, and milk in a medium saucepan.* Boil for 1 minute.
Add the peanut butter and vanilla. Mix quickly until peanut butter melts, then add the oatmeal and mix til well blended.
Drop spoonfuls on tin foil, wax paper or parchment. Allow to set and cool completely.
Makes 2 dozen 3 inch cookies.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Paula Deen's Popcorn Balls

Here is Paula's version of Popcorn balls.

Picture of Popcorn Balls Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 18 cups popped corn

Directions

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, syrup, vinegar, and salt. Cook over high heat until mixture reaches 255 degrees F (hard-ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Stir in vanilla. Pour over popped corn, tossing gently to coat. When mixture is cool enough to handle, press popcorn into 3-inch balls with lightly greased hands. Cool completely on waxed paper.

Popcorn Balls

Hi, yawl.  How are you doing?  Remember making these back in the day?  My Aunts and my Memma used to make these not only at Christmas time, but throughout the year.  So delicious!  I love going back to yesteryear.  I may have another recipe on here that is my Mother's recipe.  This is actually from AllRecipes.com

 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 2 teaspoons cold water
  • 2 5/8 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup marshmallows
  • 5 quarts plain popped popcorn

Directions

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the corn syrup, margarine, cold water, confectioners' sugar and marshmallows. Heat and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Carefully combine the hot mixture with the popcorn, coating each kernel.
  2. Grease hands with vegetable shortening and quickly shape the coated popcorn into balls before it cools. Wrap with cellophane or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
Best Ever Popcorn Balls Recipe

Make the House Smell Yummy this Christmas

Holiday Stove Top Potpourri Mix
  • one whole orange or just the orange peel
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp. whole cloves
  • 3 sticks of cinnamon or a small handful of small pieces of cinnamon
  • a bit of grated nutmeg if desired
Quarter the orange.  Put all the ingredients into a saucepan.  Fill pan with water.  Place on the stove on the smallest burner, on the lowest setting.  Refill water as needed.

Another important tip is don’t allow the water to completely evaporate. I always refill the water when I turn it on.  One mix stays good for weeks.  With heating the mix does turn brown, but continues to smell wonderful, so I usually make only batch in a season.
It’s not the Holidays without the delicious scent… it makes me think of cranberry sauce or wassail.  Yum.

A stove top potpourri mix makes a perfect easy gift this season.  It is inexpensive, homemade and useful.

For a gift...


Put these instructions with it:
Quarter the orange.
Put all the ingredients
into a saucepan. Fill
pan with water. Place
on the stove on the
smallest burner, on the
lowest setting. Refill
water as needed
This is from Pinterest.com  And the blogger is Make-it-do.com

Amond Joy Cheesecake

Almond Joy Cheesecake
Servings: depends on how many slices you make!
Ingredients
For the crust:
1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used cinnamon-flavored.  Weird, I know, but it totally worked and saved me a trip to the store)
1 and 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1 tablespoon coconut extract
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
For the glaze:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whole roasted almonds, toasted coconut, whipped cream, for garnish
Instructions
1. For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare your springform pan by wrapping it with aluminum foil to allow for extra three inches or so of foil to project above the sides.  (This will help later when you need to grab the pan.)
3. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers, almonds, coconut, and sugar to a fine crumb.
4. With the machine running, slowly add the melted butter and pulse until it resembles moist sand.
5. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of the pan.
6. Bake the crust for about 12 minutes, or until set and lightly browned.
7. Remove from the oven and let cool.
8.  Readjust oven temperature to 325 degrees.
9. For the filling: In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
10.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
11. Add the coconut extract.
12.  Stop the mixer, and gently fold in the toasted almonds with a spatula until well combined.
13. Transfer the filling to the cooled crust and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes (until the crust is puffy and lightly browned).
14. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
15. For the chocolate glaze: Combine the chocolate chips, cream, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until smooth.
16.  Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature (this took about 10 minutes for me).
17. Pour the glaze over the cheesecake (which is still in the springform pan) and spread evenly.
18.  Chill the cheesecake overnight or until firm and set.
19.  When ready to serve, run a knife around the perimeter of the pan to loosen the cake.  Release the pan sides and serve.
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Butterfinger Blondies



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Ingredients

1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp coarse sea salt
2 cups coarsely chopped Butterfinger Bars (approx 16 “Fun Size” bars)

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 25 minute(s)

 Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°
Cream butter and sugars in mixing bowl.
Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated.
On low add your dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking soda) until just combined.
Stir in your chopped Butterfinger.
Spread in a 9×13 baking dish and bake for 25 minutes until center is JUST set.
Remove from oven and cool completely.

Butterfinger Buttercream:

Ingredients

1/2 cup room temp butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped Butterfinger Bars (approx 4 “Fun Size” bars)

Instructions

Cream the butter and shortening together until smooth.
Add in you powdered sugar on low speed.  Turn speed up to medium and mix until smooth
Stir in your chopped Butterfinger. (I sprinkled mine on top rather than stirring them in!)
Spread on your cooled blondies
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

From the Deen Bros - Lasagna Soup - Lighter version

Bobby’s Lighter Tastes Like Lasagna Soup

404 less calories
28 g less fat
Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 ounces broken whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 4 noodles)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
8 Whole-wheat breadsticks or grissini (optional)
Instructions:
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick saucepot or Dutch oven. Add the sausage, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, 8 – 10 minutes.

Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended, about 20 minutes. Add the noodles; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the soup thickens slightly and the noodles are tender, 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in mozzarella, basil, and the Parmesan. Serve with the breadsticks, if using. (whole-wheat lasagna noodles take a little longer to cook.)
Nutritional Information:
Per Serving (1 cup) 225 Cal (27% from Fat, 42% from Protein, 31% from Carb); 23 g Protein; 7 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 2 g Mono Fat; 17 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 4 g Sugar; 108 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 826 mg Sodium; 53 mg CholesterolPinned Image

Divinity - From Paula Deen

Ingredients

 2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
3   egg whites
3/4 cup cold water
1 cup white corn syrup
4 cup sugar

Directions

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water.  Stir only until sugar has dissolved. Do not stir after this point. Cook syrup mixture until it reaches 250 degrees on a candy thermometer, bringing it to a hard ball stage.
Mama’s Divinity

Mini Sausage Wreath

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Ingredients
Mini Sausages
Refrigerated Crescent Dough Rolls
Red Bell Pepper
Diced Rosemary
1/3 cup Butter
1/2 cup BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to the temperature specified on the package of Refrigerated Crescent Dough Rolls. Drain the liquid off of the mini sausages.
2. Unroll the crescent dough and separate at the perforations to create 4 rectangles. Press together the remaining perforation in each rectangle. With a knife or pizza cutter, cut each rectangle lengthwise into 8 strips making a total of 32 strips.
3. Wrap one strip of dough around each mini sausage. Lay out the crescent-wrapped sausages with their sides touching on an ungreased cookie sheet in a circle forming a wreath shape.
4. Bake for 11-15 minutes or until golden brown. Melt 1/3 cup of butter and brush the butter on top of the crescent-wrapped sausages. Sprinkle the rosemary on top of the butter.
5. Cut a red bell pepper into a bow shape for garnish. Combine the BBQ sauce and cranberry sauce in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until heated through. Serve with wreath for dipping

Friday, December 2, 2011

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes from Pinterest

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Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes | Preparation: Heat oven to 350 degrees F and line  wells of cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
Chocolate cupcake recipe adapted from Alice Medrich for Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker
  • 1 cup (4.5 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7.3 ounces) sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) SCHARFFEN BERGER Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and warm
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½  teaspoon  peppermint extract
  • 1 tablespoon  instant coffee (recommended: Starbucks Via)
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup chopped peppermint Andes
Instructions:
1. Add flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a blow and mix thoroughly to combine. Add the butter, eggs, and peppermint extract and beat on medium speed for one minute. Add the butter and egg mixture and beat for 20 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the instant coffee and the hot coffee. Beat for 20-30 seconds until the batter is smooth. Fold in chopped peppermint Andes. The batter will be thin enough to pour. Divide it evenly among the lined cups. Bake 18-22 minutes just until a toothpick inserted into a few of the cupcakes comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Frost the cupcakes when they are completely cool. Store and serve at room temperature.
TIP: For light tender cupcakes, spoon flour and cocoa lightly into measuring cups (instead of dipping the cups into the flour or cocoa) and then sweep the measures level without tapping or shaking them.
Peppermint Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 11/2 cup sugar
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Instructions:
  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over simmering water. Bring mixture to 150 degrees F while whisking constantly.
  2. Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium  high speed (speed 8 on a KitchenAid stand mixer) until mixture cools and doubles in volume and forms soft medium peaks; about 10-12 minutes).
  3. Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The mixture may appear clumpy and almost curdled looking at first-this is normal. Keep mixing and it will become even and smooth again.
  4. Add salt and peppermint extract and mix to combine.
Chocolate Pouring Sauce
  • 2/3 cups dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4-5 tablespoons water, warm
Instructions:
  1. Place chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl over simmering water. Let chocolate and cream sit for 2-3 minutes to melt without stirring. Then slowly stir mixture to combine.
  2. Add powdered sugar and mix to combine.
  3. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until pouring consistency is reached.
  4. Set aside and let sauce cool to warm.
To Assemble Cupcake:
  1. Frost cooled cupcakes with buttercream frosting. Freeze frosted cupcakes for ten minutes.  Drizzle chocolate pouring sauce over frosting (reheat chocolate pour in microwave as needed to keep pouring consistency).  Sprinkle chopped peppermint Andes on chocolate sauce. Finish with a peppermint candy on top.

Black Pepper Jerky

Recipe: Black Pepper Jerky

Found this recipe and am going to have to make it for my Jerky loving friends.  I found this recipe on the internet in the Food and Wine Magazine.  Going to make this for Wyatt.

Ingredients

  1. 3 cups amber ale or lager
  2. 2 cups soy sauce
  3. 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  4. 2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns, plus 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper, for sprinkling before drying the meat
  5. 2 pounds trimmed beef top round or bottom round, about 1 1/2 inches thick
  1. DRY THE MEAT: In a large bowl, combine the ale or lager with the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and the cracked black peppercorns.
  2. Cut the beef into 1/4-inch-thick slices, either with or against the grain.
  3. Add the beef to the marinade, a few slices at a time, stirring well to coat each slice with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°. Set a large wire rack on each of 3 large rimmed baking sheets. Remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange the beef on the racks, leaving 1/4 inch between slices. Sprinkle with coarsely ground black pepper. Bake for about 4 hours, until the jerky is firm and almost completely dry, but still chewy. Let cool completely on the racks before serving.

Black Pepper Jerky

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

  1. medium organic Meyer lemons (3 pounds)
  2. 3 cups sugar
  1. Rinse the lemons and pat dry. Halve the lemons crosswise and juice them, reserving the juice. Using a spoon, scrape the pulp and seeds from the halves. Using a sharp knife, slice the peels 1/8 inch thick.
  2. In a large, heavy saucepan, cover the strips with 8 cups of cold water and bring to a boil; boil for 1 minute. Drain the strips and rinse under cold running water. Blanch two more times; the final time, drain the strips but do not rinse them.
  3. Return the strips to the saucepan. Add the reserved juice and the sugar. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then skimming any foam, until the marmalade sets, about 30 minutes.
  4. Spoon the marmalade into 5 hot 1/2-pint canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top, and close with the lids and rings. To process, boil the jars for 15 minutes in water to cover. Let stand at room temperature for 2 days before serving.
Make Ahead The processed marmalade can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.

Nutty Granola - Great Gift Idea

My husband loves granola.  I am making batches of this for him to take to work after the holidays so that he can eat healthy!


Mom's Nutty Granola

Ingredients

  1. 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  2. 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
  3. 1/2 cup unsalted roasted almonds
  4. 1/2 cup unsalted roasted pumpkin seeds
  5. 1/2 cup unsalted roasted sunflower seeds
  6. 1/4 cup wheat germ
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. 1 tablespoon hot water
  9. 3/4 cup honey
  10. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  11. 1/2 cup raisins
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a bowl, toss the oats, nuts, seeds and wheat germ. In a small bowl, dissolve the salt in the hot water. Whisk in the honey and oil. Stir the liquid into the nuts to coat thoroughly, then spread on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Bake the granola in the center of the oven for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until nearly dry. Turn off the oven and prop the door open halfway; let the granola cool in the oven, stirring. Toss the granola with the raisins; store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Notes One serving 306 cal, 36 gm carb,18 gm fat, 2.5 gm sat fat, 7 gm protein, 3 gm fiber.

Graham Cracker Pound Cake - Great Christmas Gift

: Graham Cracker Pound Cake

  • Graham Cracker Pound Cake 

Ingredients

  1. Vegetable oil spray
  2. 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  3. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  5. 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  6. 1/2 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs, from half a sleeve
  7. 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 3 tablespoons whole milk
  10. 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  11. 3 large eggs
  12. 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray an 8-by-4-inch glass loaf pan with vegetable oil spray. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter with the granulated sugar and dark brown sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk the cake flour with the graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the whole milk, cream, eggs and vanilla. Beating at medium speed, add the dry and liquid ingredients to the butter mixture in 3 alternating batches.
  2. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn the pound cake out onto a rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No Bake Snickers Pie

No-Bake Snickers Pie
1 chocolate cookie pie crust or graham cracker pie crust (9-inch)
2 cups fresh whipped cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup dulce de leche, plus 1 tablespoon for drizzling
3 Snickers Bars, roughly chopped.
Beat together the condensed milk, cream cheese and dulce de leche until completely smooth. Fold in the whipped cream until just incorporated. Scatter 1/3 of the Snickers Bars on the bottom of the pie crust. Fold 1/3 of the Snickers pies into the no-bake filling. Spread the filling into the pie crust. Finally, drizzle the top with the remaining dulce de leche and scatter the remaining 1/3 of Snickers pieces on top. Chill the pie for at least 3 hours before slicing and serving.

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Chocolate Covered PepperMint Cookies - from the Idea Room - Pinterest.com

To make these Chocolate Covered Pepper*Mint* Cookies simply take Keebler’s grasshopper cookies and dip them in white chocolate and sprinkle with some crushed candy canes. They are so simple and fast to make for a last minute gift idea

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Oreo Trufles from Chef in Training via Pinterest.com

OREO TRUFFLES
  • 1 package Double Stuffed Oreos
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened (you can use up to 8 oz., I just like this consistency better)
  • Dipping chocolate
Chop Oreos up finely in a food processor.  Save some of the finely crushed Oreos for garnish later and set it aside.  You don't need too much.

With hands (or a spoon, I just think hands are faster), mash softened cream cheese and crushed Oreos until well combined.
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Roll into 1" balls and place on a wax covered cookie sheet. Put in freezer for 15 minutes.

While balls are in freezer, melt chocolate according to directions.

Pull the Oreo Truffles out of freezer, and dip into chocolate.  Garnish with reserved Oreo crumbs before the chocolate sets up.

Let chocolate set, refrigerate and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth, Divided Use
  • ⅓ cups Sundried Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 2 cups Broccoli Florets
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas
  • 2 whole Chicken Breasts, Grilled And Sliced
  • ¼ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 pinch Salt/pepper To Taste
  • Preparation Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
    2. With a sharp knife, cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scrape/remove seeds with a spoon.
    3. Place squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet: bake for 45 minutes. Let squash cool.
    4. Using a fork, scrape the inside of the squash with the tines to remove strands.
    5. In a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic. Saute 1 minute.
    6. Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth, sundried tomatoes, and broccoli and saute 5 minutes.
    7. Add peas, grilled chicken, and remaining 3/4 cup of chicken broth. Shake about 1/4 cup parmesan cheese into mixture (just enough to thicken the chicken broth).
    8. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover skillet and simmer for about 3 minutes.
    9. Serve on top of the squash strands with fresh shaved parmesan cheese.

Cranberry Pecan Brie from Tablespoon

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 8 ounce wheel of Brie
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1  egg, beaten

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Soak dried cranberries in a small bowl of water for one minute so that they are not hard.
  3. Lay thawed puff pastry sheet on a cookie sheet.
  4. In a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in pecans and toast for about 3 minutes.
  5. Place Brie in the middle of the puff pastry.
  6. Place pecan mixture on top of Brie.
  7. Place brown sugar on top of pecan mixture. The heat of the pecan mixture will help melt the brown sugar.
  8. Drain cranberries. Place them on top of brown sugar.
  9. Bring the edges of the puff pastry up and press them together making sure to seal the dough. If you have excess dough you can cut a leaf or decoration to add to the top of the Brie.
  10. Using a pastry brush, brush the entire pastry with the beaten egg.
  11. Bake for 15-20 minutes in the oven or until the pastry is a golden brown.
  12. Serve with crackers or just by the slice.
I love Brie and this recipe looks so yummy.  I found this on Pinterest.com.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Roll Tide

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Here's how she made these:  From Pintrest.com
The cupcakes were fairly easy.  I used a boxed red velvet cake mix and I made buttercream frosting and tinted it gray. The houndstooth cupcake liners are from Bake It Pretty.  The script A's are made of white chocolate. I printed off an image from the computer of the script A and placed waxed paper over it and traced the image with the melted white chocolate. That seemed to be the most difficult task, as I do not have the most steadiest of hands.

Fried Bocconcini with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Servings: approximately 20  (I halved this recipe, but I am listing the full one here-it would be enough for a large group)
Ingredients
For the sauce:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes, juice reserved
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the fried mozzarella:
3-4 cups peanut oil, depending on type of pan you will be frying the cheese in
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 lb. mozzarella bocconcini (about 50 pieces)
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups panko
Special equipment:  Deep-frying thermometer
Instructions
1. For the sauce: In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the 1/2 cup olive oil.
2. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the garlic is soft but not browned, about 1 minute.
3. Add the tomatoes and their juices and simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
4. Preheat an oven to 200°F.
5. For the fried mozzarella: Drain the cheese from its liquid. Place the cheese on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and pat dry.
6. If your cheese balls seem pretty big, halve or quarter them into bite-size pieces.  Once they get the panko breading on them, they will be a lot bigger.
7.In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.
8. Put the egg mixture and bread crumbs in separate wide, shallow bowls.  Combine the panko with the teaspoon of salt and Parmesan in another wide, shallow bowl.  (*If you only have one shallow bowl, use it for the panko.  It will help you immensely with the breading process.)
9. Roll the cheese in the flour, dip into the egg mixture and coat with the bread crumbs, shaking off the excess after each step.
10.  Repeat the breading process one more time for each cheese piece.
11. In a large, deep sauté pan over medium-high heat, pour the oil to a depth of 3 inches and heat to 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer.
12. Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden, about 45 seconds (or until golden brown-watch them carefully as oven temperatures may vary). If you notice that your thermometer’s reading decreases, wait for a little while until the oil gets back up to the proper temperature.
13. Transfer the fried cheese to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt and black pepper. Place the cheese on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while frying the remaining cheese.
14.  Serve with the warm tomato sauce.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Black Dahlia #Revenge ABC

Copied from Chicago Tribune's Television:  I was googling the Black Dahlia due to watching a "thirsty" epiosode of Revenge....
\
"If fans of ABC's "Revenge" feel like making a drinking game out of watching the soapy series, they now have a drink of choice: the Black Dahlia.

In Wednesday's episode, "Treachery," the real Emily Thorne--I'll call her Amanda (Margarita Levieva) to make things easier--mixed up a few Black Dahlias for herself and bar hunk Jack (Nick Wechsler). I looked around the web for the drink and found many versions of it. But not the "Revenge" version. So here's the recipe as Amanda said it:"

BLACK DAHLIA
  • 3 ounces of vodka
  • 1 ounce Creme de cassis
  • "A little" blackberry liqueur
  • Add ice and shake

She finished it off with a flirty smile and the decision (spoiler alert!) to not fly to Paris and get out of Emily's hair. Instead, she's opting to become a Jack stowaway. Get it? He runs the Stowaway Tavern?

Cheesy Potato Apptetizer

 

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Ingredients

  • 4 baking potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 8 slices bacon - cooked and crumbled
  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Brush both side of potato slices with butter; place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides, turning once.
  3. When potatoes are ready, top with bacon, cheese, and green onion; continue baking until the cheese has melted

Holiday Drinks

SpicedCaramelAppleThe Appletini created quite a stir when it was first introduced, but Kara Newman, author of Spice & Ice, put her twist on the apple martini with a little holiday cheer:
Ingredients:
2 oz Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
1 oz Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka
2-1/2 oz Apple cider
1 dash lemon juice
Directions:
Rim martini glass with agave syrup and crumbled gingersnap cookies at set aside. Add liquid ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into martini glass.

CaCandyCaneLanendy Cane Lane

Ingredients:
2 1-2 oz Van Gogh Blue vodka
1 oz White crème de menthe
1/2 oz Peppermint schnapps
Cream
Splash of Grenadine
Peppermint candy for garnish
Directions:
Add a dash of grenadine into the bottom of a chilled martini glass and set aside. Pour the rest of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into the glass with grenadine to create a “swirl” effect. Garnish with peppermint candy.

Holiday Cocktails: Reindeer Tracks

ReindeerTraxRudolph’s nose won’t the only one shining bright after one of these frosty martinis:
Ingredients:
2 oz Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka
1 oz Hazelnut Liqueur
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao
Splash of Cream
2 Chocolate cookie wafers
Directions:
Rim a martini glass with crushed up chocolate cookie crumbs and set aside. Shake Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka, hazelnut liqueur, Crème de Cacao and cream over ice and pour into the martini glass. Dust top with more chocolate cookie crumbs.

Happy Friday, Happy Thanksgiving and Blessed Memories

Good Morning Friends.  It is a cool Friday here in Atlanta.  I have been taken back in time reading "You know you are from Scottsboro if..." on Facebook.  So many memories and so many good memories.  It is so good to stroll down memory lane and smell the past along the way.  I remember riding around the square in Scottsboro and Christmas shopping this time of year.  I remember the boards creaking as one walked into Woodall's and David Lee's.  I remember the jewelry stores and the Children's Shoppe.  And, I remember Adam's store that had beautiful wool skirts.  Of course, I remember Elmore's and Mr. Merner's smiling face.  What a wonderful man!  He hired me a 13 to work there part time.  And, ah, the wonderful ladies that worked there, including my Memma. 

I remember walking the square and window shopping and the shoe sales at Hammers.  Ah, yes and the Pig House and the Dairy Queen.  And, of course, there was the awesome event each and every First Monday of the month.

And, there was this time of year, getting ready for two things:  Alabama vs. Auburn football game and Thanksgiving.  I remember the smells of Thanksgiving filling Memma's kitchen.  The baking and the cooking that went on. And, I remember everyone gathering in on Thanksgiving day.  I can see Memma smiling as her kitchen table filled with the first "setting down" to eat.  Of course, that was the men folks.  I remember salivating top get the drumstick of that big old bird.  And, I just remember Scottsboro and the faces and the buildings and the trees and the mountains and the Tennessee River.  And, not realizing how blessed we were.  Oh, as I have said before..If those trees could talk..

Happy Thanksgiving to all...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Black Forest Cherry Cake

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs almond flavored liquer
Cherry Pie Filling
Chocolate Fudge Icing

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. flour 3 9-inch cake pans
  3. in a large bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  4. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cocoa, baking soda and salt,  Add flour to butter mixture alternatively with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Beat in vanilla.  Spoon batter into prepared pans.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Brush layers with almond liquer, cool completely.
  5. Spread about 3/4 cup cherry filling between each layer, leaving a 1/2 inch border.  Spread choccolate fudge icing on top and sides of cake, reserving about 1 cup for topping. Place reserved icing in a pastry bag fitted with a closed star tip, pipe a 5 inch cirle around in center of cake.  Spoon remaining cherry filling in center of circle.  Garnish with chocolate curls.
Cherry Filling - 2 (21 oz) cans cherry pie filling, 1/2 cup almond flavored liquer and 1/4 cup sugar  In a medium saucepan, combine pie filling, sugar, and liquer over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, and cook for 30 lmintues, stirring occasionally. Cool completely.

Chocolate fudge icing

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup milk
12 (1 oz) squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsley chopped
6 TBS butter
2 cups confectioner's sugar

In a  large saucepan, combine sugar, brown sugar, cream, milk and chocolate over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently with a wire whisk, for 20 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat and whisk in butter, 1 TBS at a time until butter is completely melted.    Pour into a 13x9 inch baking dish and refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours.  Next, place chocolate mixture in a medium bowl.  Beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Gradually add confectioner's sugar, beating until combined.

In a large

Chai Spiced Coffee

4 cups strong brewed coffee
1 cup half and half
6 TBS turbinado sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves

In a medium saucepan, combine coffee, half-and-half, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamon and cloves over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and serve.

To Die For---Banana Split Hot Chocolate

6 cups milk
3/4 cup banana schnapps
2 TBS grenadine
1 (11.75 oz) jar hot-fudge topping
Garnish:  Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chopped peanuts, sliced banana, maraschino cherries, chocolate sauce

In a medium saucepan, combine milk, banana schnapps, and grenadine, whisking well.  Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Whish in hot-fudge topping until melted.  Garnish with the above, if desired.

Drinks for the Season ---Peppermint White Chocolate Royale

3 cups half and half (I use fat free)
3 cups milk
1/2 cup peppermint syrup
2 TBS vanilla extract
2 (4 oz) bars white chocolate, chopped
Garnish:  Peppermint whipped cream

In a large saucepan, combine  all 5 ingredients over medium-low heat, stirring occassionally, until white chocolate melts.  Garnish with peppermint whipped cream and white chocolate curls, if desired.

For peppermint whipped cream, fold in crushed peppermint candy into traditional whipped cream to make peppermint whipped cream.  YUMMY!!!

Not your Grandma's Pound Cake

Cream Cheese Pound Cake Ingredients:1 1/2 cups butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

Pumpkin Pie Filling Ingredients:*
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon allspice
*This makes a little more filling than you need, but I used most of it and baked the small amount I had leftover in a greased ramekin for 15-20 minutes — instant pumpkin custard!)

Pecan Streusel Ingredients:
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon cold butter
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup cinnamon chips (optional — you can find these seasonally at some grocery stores or online from King Arthur’s Flour)

Maple Brown Sugar Glaze Ingredients:
2 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
pinch salt
1 1/2 – 2 cup powdered sugar (I ended up using just 1 1/2)
cinnamon for sprinkling

Directions:
Toast pecans: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread pecans out on a baking sheet, and bake for 4-6 minutes or until fragrant, stirring and flipping nuts once in the middle. Spread the nuts out on a plate to cool. Leave the oven on for the cake.

Make the creamy pumpkin pie filling: In your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy and smooth. Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice and mix until combined. Set in fridge while you make your cake.

Make the streusel: Combine the flour and brown sugar in a medium bowl and using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until you have crumbly streusel. Mix in the cinnamon chips (if you’re using them) and 1/2 cup of the cooled toasted pecans (if they haven’t completely cooled, stick ‘em in the fridge for a bit first — you don’t want to mix warm nuts into this and melt your butter, since it should stay cold). Save the rest of your nuts for decorating the finished cake. Set the streusel aside.

Make the pound cake: Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until it’s creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat 5-7 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating only until yellow disappears after each one. Stir in the vanilla.

Whisk the flour and salt together in a bowl and add to creamed mixture gradually, beating on low speed after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour/dollop 1/3 of the batter into greased and floured 10-inch tube pan and use a spatula to smooth it right up against the sides of the pan and level it.

Dump your streusel into your pumpkin pie mixture and fold it together a few times to loosely mix — you’re not trying to combine them completely. Dollop big spoonfuls of this pumpkin mixture on the batter in your tube pan and swirl with a wooden skewer or table knife. Top this layer with another third of the batter and add another pumpkin layer (swirling again). Top with the final third of the batter. Fill a 2-cup ovenproof measuring cup with water and place in oven with cake (this keeps it moist!).

Bake the cake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 55 minutes (the original recipe said 1 hour and 10 minutes, but this was way too short for me. Nevertheless, you should start checking early and often just in case. This is a good practice, also, because you may have to cover the top with foil if it’s getting too brown). To test for doneness, insert a wooden skewer in a few different areas of the cake and pull it out. You want it to come out with just a few moist crumbs (no liquid batter, but not completely clean either).

Let the cake cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the pan. Remove the cake from the pan by topping the pan with a plate and carefully inverting it. Then invert the cake again onto another plate so that it’s right-side up. Let cool completely (at least 1 hour).

Make the Maple Brown Sugar Glaze: Combine the butter and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the butter melts, whisk in the brown sugar, syrup, and salt, whisking until the brown sugar melts. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the powdered sugar, starting with 1 cup and adding more to thicken per your preference (taste as you go to ensure you don’t oversweeten). Drizzle the glaze over the top of your cooled cake. Sprinkle the cake with toasted pecans immediately (the glaze sets quickly) and dust with cinnamon. Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container and microwave for about 20 seconds to serve.

Pizza Casserole..from formamasblogspot.com

Ingredients:
1 bag of Egg Noodles
1 extra large can of Ragu sauce {or any tamato sauce you prefer}
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese {or more depending on how much you ♥ cheese!}
1 1/2 lbs hamburger meat
1 package pepperonis
Brown the meat and drain
Make the egg noodles according to pkg directions - until soft and drain
(dont forget to preheat the oven)
Now, start layering in the casserole dish..the sauce, 1/2 of the noodles, half of the meat, then, layer half of the sauce, rest of noodles, half the cheese, rest of meet rest of sauce and the rest of the cheese - then top with pepperoni's.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes.
Pizza Casserole.  Easy dinner idea

Salted Caramel Latte

Lookout Starbucks..I found this on The Motherload blog....

1 cup milk, steamed
1 cup very strong coffee (4 tablespoons coffee grounds to 1 cup of hot water, prepared in a French Press)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons caramel coffee syrup (I bought mine at our local superstore in the coffee aisle or you can pick them up at your wholesale club for cheap. I accidentally bought sugar-free and it worked like a charm. Feel free to use either variety and adjust to your taste)
Whipped cream
Caramel Sauce
1/8 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt

Directions:

Prepare your hot water in a kettle. Add four tablespoons of your favorite coffee grounds to your French Press. Pour 1 cup of hot water over them and allow the coffee to steep for four minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a pot, heat up one cup of milk until it is steaming. Froth the milk with a wire whisk or an immersion blender until it is nice and foamy.
In your coffee cup, mix together the prepared coffee, cocoa powder, sugar, and caramel coffee syrup until the sugar and cocoa powder are dissolved and there are no lumps. Pour the milk foam over the top of the coffee/mocha mixture and stir to incorporate. Top with whipped cream, a generous drizzle of caramel sauce, and your pinch of salt.
Bask in your ability to make all good things at home

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix

Using the same bowl that you made the hot cocoa in, mix up the following for another tasty drink and a gift.

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix
1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1 cup French vanilla powdered non-dairy creamer
2 ½ cups white sugar
1 ½ cups unsweetened instant tea
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
¼ tsp white pepper
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it is a fine powder (If you have a small food processor, you can combine just the instant tea and spices in the food processor & then combine everything together in a bowl). Add two-three tablespoons of mix to 8 ounces of hot water or milk.

Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot Cocoa Mix
4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup non-dairy coffee creamer
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (4 ounce) package instant chocolate fudge pudding
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. If a finer consistency is desired, you can pour the mix into a blender or food processor and run it through that. Store in an airtight container. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup (depending on your cocoa preference) of the mix to an 8 ounce mug of boiling water.

This is a great gift...Put this is a pretty jar and give to friends for Christmas.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wine bottle Christmas Decor - Pinterest



Three wine bottles...Sprayed a coat of primer on them...
Let them dry and got out the Epsom salt (found in the drug section area near first aid..) what can I say...I like to think outside the box! About $2 for the box!  Spray with craft bond, and roll in Espsom salt
Looks like snow?  Place on a silver platter or a round mirror...and for Christmas Decor....Neato huh?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies
Magical Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe Courtesy of

Servings: 18 cookies
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 12 min
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients Add to grocery list

1 egg
1 cup sugar, or 1 1/3 cup sugar replacement (recommended: Splenda)
1 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a large baking sheet.
In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, 1 cup equivalent of the Splenda, the egg, and vanilla, and stir well with a spoon.  Roll the dough into balls the size of walnuts.  Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet.  With a fork, dipped in Splenda to prevent sticking, press a crisscross design on each cookie.  Bake for 12 minutes, remove from the oven, and sprinkle the cookies with some of the remaining Splenda. Cool slightly before removing from pan.

Three Cheese Hot Artichoke Dip

Three Cheese Hot Artichoke Dip

Three Cheese Hot Artichoke Dip Recipe Courtesy of
Servings: 3-4 servings
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients Add to grocery list

1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2   green onions, sliced thin
1   (14 ounces) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1   (8 ounces) block cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Dash Paula Deen’s Hot Sauce
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand held electric mixer until smooth. Then beat in the mayonnaise until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and stir together until combined. Transfer the dip to a pie plate or shallow gratin dish. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and the dip is bubbling. Serve hot with crackers, tortilla chips, crostini or veggies.

Candied Apples

Ingredients Add to grocery list

1/2 cup water
1 cup cinnamon candies (recommended: Red Hots)
6 small red apples, peeled, and cored
Cream Cheese Topping, recipe follows
Freshly parsley or mint leaves, for garnish
Cream Cheese Topping:
2 ounces cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Directions

In a medium non-stick pan dissolve cinnamon candies in water on low heat. Peel, core and cut apples in 1/2 lengthwise. Once candy has dissolved place apples flat side down in pan. Cook on low to medium heat for about 45 minutes or until apples are tender; turning apples often. Apples should be the color of the candy. Once they are cooked place apples on a serving dish. Allow to cool.
Once apples have cooled place 1 teaspoon Cream Cheese Topping on each apple. Garnish with small piece of fresh parsley or a fresh mint leaf. Refrigerate until serving.
Cream Cheese Topping:
Place all ingredients in a bowl and thoroughly combine with a hand-held mixer. Topping should be stiff.
Donna’s Candied Apples

Maple Pecan Cupcakes

How delicious do these look?  And, they would be great for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Bake Sale: Maple Pecan Cupcakes
Diving into these maple pecan cupcakes from the top, you’ll be met with butter pecan buttercream frosting that tastes exactly like butter pecan ice cream – so much so that you may be tempted to put it in a bowl and eat it with a spoon.  That wouldn’t be a bad choice, but then you would miss out on discovering how well the butter pecan pairs with the pecan-packed maple cupcakes made with a half cup of pure maple syrup.  Together, frosting and cupcake are pecan perfection!
Maple Pecan Cupcakes
Yield: 16 cupcakes
Cupcake Ingredients:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup finely crushed pecans
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
½ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk
1 cup roughly chopped pecans
Cupcake Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together flour, crushed pecans, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Mix in the sugar and maple syrup until fully combined.
Add the butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. 
Mix in the eggs and vanilla until just combined.
Mix in the milk until just combined.
Fold in the chopped pecans.
Bake for 20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.
Frosting Ingredients:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup roughly chopped pecans
Pinch salt
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Frosting Directions:
To prepare the butter pecans, melt two tablespoons of butter in a small skillet over medium low heat.
Add pecans and salt to the skillet.  Cook for six to eight minutes, stirring periodically, until almost all of the butter is absorbed.  Remove from heat, but leave in the skillet.
To prepare the frosting, in a medium-sized mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix remaining one cup of butter on medium-low speed for three minutes or until light and fluffy.
Slowly mix in powdered sugar until fully combined.
Mix in vanilla until fully combined.
Scrape the cooled pecans and any butter left in the skillet into the frosting and fold in.
Spread onto cooled cupcakes.
Stefani Pollack is the author of the popular cupcake blog, Cupcake Project. While she loves simple chocolate cupcakes, Stefani prefers creative cupcakes inspired by her favorite flavor combinations. She encourages her readers to branch out and experiment in the kitchen. Why cupcakes? They bring out the kid in us! Visit Stefani at www.cupcakeproject.com.