Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of 2013

I hope you have a wonderful New Years and I predict next year will be better than this year. This year seemed to go by crazy fast. To recap this year, my oldest daughter moved to California. I can't wait until she visits next month. We lost my Mother-in-law Linda and our Nana Norma. We will always miss them. My youngest child is eight years old. I still can't my baby is 8 years old. Also, I made some delicious food. I wanted to list some of my favorite recipes I made this year. Since I made a lot of cookies, I decided to make it a category:

Favorite breakfast:
Favorite meat:
Favorite bread:
Favorite cookie:
Favorite dessert:

Did you already know..............
-The Old Farmer's Almanac is accurate 80% of the time.
-In 1792, The Old Farmer's Almanac was first published.
-The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts more snow and colder temperatures this winter.
Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Sometimes there is a dessert we will make often. This dessert is one of them. It is probably because the dessert has peanut butter in it. It also could be that my daughter is making it. This weekend, she asked me to make it with her for my Mother's birthday. She told me how much my Mother loved it at Thanksgiving. While we were making it, I suggested we should put some peanut butter cups on top. She was a little leery since she thought it was already great. So, I compromised with her and we put peanut butter cups on one half. Next time my daughter makes this dessert, I know she will cover the top with peanut butter cups. I will warn you that this is a very rich dessert but so delicious.
No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
2 cups peanut butter
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
3 cups Nilla Wafer cookies
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate mini chips
1 cup peanut butter cups, chopped

  1. Grease a 13x9 baking sheet with nonstick baking spray.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the Vanilla Wafer cookies for 20 seconds. Set aside. 
  3. In a large bowl, cream 1 1/4 cups peanut butter and butter until fluffy.
  4. Slowly, add 1 cup powdered sugar.
  5. Mix in the crushed cookies and the 1 cup of powdered sugar.
  6. Fold in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips.
  7. Press the cookie mixture into the baking sheet.
  8. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips with 3/4 cups peanut butter over low heat. Stir constantly until smooth.
  9. Evenly spread the melt chocolate mixture over the cookie mixture.
  10. Top the chocolate mixture with the chopped peanut butter cups.
  11. Refrigerate the bars for at least 1 hour or until the chocolate is firm.
  12. Cut into bars and store in the refrigerator.
Recipe adapted from Toll House Nestle Cookies cookbook.

Two years ago...............................I made Chocolate Cupcakes.
Did you already know...................
-In 1898, the National Biscuit Company was incorporated when it merged over 100 bakeries.
-In 1971, the National Biscuit Company changes it's name to Nabisco.
-Since 2012, Nabisco is currently owned by Mondelez International.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

Growing up, my Dad would make gingerbread houses every year. The house would smell so good. The gingerbread didn't taste very good since it had to be hard for a good foundation. He did a good job and won several contest. He even sold a couple of his houses. He also made his cinnamon rolls too. I figured it was easier to make gingerbread cinnamon rolls then make a gingerbread house. When my husband tried these cinnamon rolls, he said they tasted just like candy. My daughter even brought one to school for lunch. I will definitely make these cinnamon rolls again soon. Next time, I will roll them tightly so they don't look like a pretzel. It didn't affect the taste.
Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls
2 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup molasses

1/2 cup melted butter
2 Tbsp cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar

1 cup powdered sugar plus more for sprinkling on top
 1/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp butter, melted
pinch of salt

  1. Prepare 2 pie pans by lightly spraying with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Dough Assembly:
  3. In a large saucepan, heat the milk, vegetable oil, brown sugar, and sugar over medium heat. Do not allow to boil.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to around 100 degrees F.
  5. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the heated milk mixture. 
  6. Add 4 cups of flour and mix until just incorporated.
  7. Cover and allow dough to rest for 1 hour or doubled in size.
  8. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, molasses, and 1/2 cup flour. Stir until incorporated.
  9. Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  10. Make the filling by combining the melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar.
  11. Evenly spread the filling over the dough.
  12. Roll the dough tightly until rolled into one long colander.
  13. Slowly, cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch slices.
  14. Place the slices into the pie pans. Leave about 1/2 inch space between each roll.
  15. Allow the dough to set for about 30 minutes.
  16. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  17. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 13 minutes or until golden brown.
  18. Icing Assembly:
  19. In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, butter, and a pinch of salt.
  20. Once the cinnamon rolls are removed from the oven, drizzle the icing on top.
  21. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes before dusting lightly with powdered sugar.
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook by Ree Drummond.
Two years ago.........................I made White Chocolate Covered Pretzels.
Did you already know................
-Cinnamon rolls were created in the Middle Ages.
-In Sweden, a cinnamon roll with no icing is called kanelbulle.
-In Europe, cinnamon rolls tend to be topped with pearl sugar. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Candy Cane Marshmallows

Any time we have hot chocolate, my kids overflow the cup with marshmallows. Occasionally, my daughter will stir her hot chocolate with a candy cane. So, I had this treat in mind for her. Did she like it? She loved it. My husband isn't a marshmallow kind of guy but he liked them. Marshmallows are really not hard to make if you have a mixer and candy thermometer. I used a Christmas tree cookie cutter to cut my marshmallows in festive shapes.
Candy Cane Marshmallows
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp cold water
1 package of unflavored gelatin powder
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups powder sugar plus more to coat the marshmallows
1/4 cup light corn syrup
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
43 crushed candy canes

  1. Attach a whisk attachment to the mixer. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add 1/4 cup cold water. 
  3. Sprinkle the gelatin on top of the water. Set aside on the mixer.
  4. Evenly sprinkle 1/2 cup of powder sugar onto a large baking sheet. Set aside.
  5. In a small saucepan, combine 2 Tbsp water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt.
  6. Over medium high heat, heat the syrup mixture until it reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
  7. Once the syrup reaches the desired temperature, turn the mixer on medium high speed. 
  8. Mix the gelatin water while slowly pouring the syrup in a thin stream near the edge of the gelatin water. 
  9. Add all the syrup mixture into the gelatin water and then turn the mixer to high speed.
  10. Whip the mixture for 8 minutes and stiff foam forms.
  11. Add the vanilla extract and mix for 5 seconds before adding 3/4 of the crushed candy canes.
  12. Mix for another 30 seconds so the candy cane can incorporate through the mixture.
  13. Evenly spread the marshmallow mixture onto the powdered sugar baking sheet. A spatula lightly dipped into water will make it easier to spread the marshmallow mixture.
  14. Sprinkle the remaining crushed candy cane over the top of the marshmallow. 
  15. Allow the marshmallow mixture to set at room temperature uncovered for 2 hours.
  16. Place 1 cup of powdered sugar onto a plate.
  17. Dip the cookie cutter into the powdered sugar and cut out the shape in the marshmallow. 
  18. Toss the shape in the powdered sugar to coat it and shake off any excess sugar. 
  19. Set the cut out marshmallow onto a baking sheet to dry.
  20. With any remaining scrapes, cut up the remaining marshmallow into strips and toss with powdered sugar. 
  21. Store the marshmallows in an air tight container for about 1 week.
Recipe adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.

One year ago.........................I made Sables Shortbread Cookies.
Two years ago.......................I made Boozy Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes.

Did you already know...........
-Using the mallow plant, the Egyptians were the first to make marshmallows.
-In the late 1800s, the mallow root ingredient was replaced by gelatin.
-Each year, Americans buy over 90 million lbs. of marshmallows.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Bacon and Cheddar Quiche

Recently, I attended a baby shower. At the shower, they served quiche. While I was enjoying my quiche, I realized I had never made one. Why? I don't know since my children love eggs. I also had pie crust in the freezer. So, I figured it would be a nice meal to make for breakfast. The kids loved it. Now, I figured I was going to put everything I like in my omelet in the quiche. I love easy meals especially ones the kids love. I will be making this again.
Bacon and Cheddar Quiche
1 pie crust
1 Tbsp butter
6 mushrooms, sliced
1 cup kale, chopped
1/2 large onion
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
12 slices crispy bacon, crumbled
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Roll out the pie crust to fit the desired baking pan/ pie pan.
  3. Place the dough into the baking pan. Prick the bottom of the pie dough with a fork.
  4. Place dry beans or pie beads onto the pie dough.
  5. Bake the pie dough for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
  6. In a small skillet, melt the butter,
  7. Add the mushrooms, kale, and onion.
  8. Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  9. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs.
  10. Add the bacon, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of cheese to the eggs. Mix well.
  11. Add the mushroom mixture to the eggs and mix.
  12. Carefully, pour the egg mixture into the cooled pie crust. (Do not over fill and leave 1/2 inch from the top space. Any left over, make scrambled eggs.)
  13. Top the egg mixture with the remaining cheese.
  14. Bake the quiche for 30 minutes or until the quiche is set and golden brown. 
Recipe adapted from Southern Food.
One year ago............................I made PB Candy Bar Brownies.
Two years ago..........................I made Allie's Cookie Bars.
Did you already know...............
-Quiche originates from Germany.
-Quiche is known as French cuisine. 
-Quiche can be served hot or cold.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bacon Cheeseball

At my old work, one of my coworkers would bring in a cheese ball to the Christmas party. It was good and very popular. One year she told us that it was pretty easy to make. I figured I would make one. They are real easy to make. I made mine with a little bit of heat but this recipe is easily adaptable to your preference. I used a food processor since I used it to shred the cheese first then to crumble the bacon. What a tasty treat!
Bacon and Cheddar Cheese Ball
1 package (8 oz.) reduced cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened
1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
16 slices crispy bacon stripes, crumbled

  1. In a food processor, combine the shredded cheese with the cream cheese until well incorporated.
  2. Add half the crumbled bacon. Mix well. 
  3. Form the cheese mixture into 2 balls. 
  4. Add the remaining bacon crumples onto a plate.
  5. Roll the cheese balls into the bacon crumples.
  6. Wrap the balls in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours before serving.
Adapted from Kraft.

One year ago.........................I made Vanilla Cookies.
Two years ago.......................I made Candy Cane Cookies.
Did you already know..........
-American Neufchatel is a reduced fat cream cheese.
-Neufchatel has 1/3 less fat than regular cream cheese.
-European Neufchatel is very different than the American version.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Jumbo 4 Chip Cookies

My daughter purchased me a cookie cookbook. She came home from school and showed me what she got me from the book fair. I was pleasantly surprised. I was also impressed how thoughtful she was to me. So, we spent some quality time making these cookies. They are exactly a cookie should be with a gooey center. Since I had peanut butter chips in the cabinet, I added them to the mix. My daughter was happy with these cookies.
Jumbo Four Chip Cookies
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 cups peanut butter chips

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.
  4. In a large bowl, cram the sugar, brown sugar, and butter until fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the creamed butter.
  6. Slowly, add the flour mixture. Mix until just incorporated.
  7. Fold in all the chips.
  8. Scoop about 1/4 cup of the dough onto the baking sheet. Space the dough 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake the cookies for 6 minutes. Rotate the pan.
  10. Bake the cookies for another 6 minutes or until light golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
Recipe adapted from Toll House Nestle Cookies Cookbook.

One year ago..........................I made Tomato Soup.
Two years ago........................I made Honey Butter Pork.
Did you already know............
-The largest book fair in the world is the Frankfurt Book Fair.
-In October, it is held every year in Germany.
-The fair is only open to the public on the last two days.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sweet Potato Muffins

I figured I needed to make something with the extra Sweet Potato Casserole which my husband would eat. He will not eat Sweet Potato Casserole. It could be the color. It could be the name or that it is a vegetable. However, he will eat muffins. He did ask me what was in it because of the color. I was honest and told him sweet potato. He surprised me by trying one. Maybe he thought sweet potato was a better alternate to a bran muffin. He liked them. My children liked them even our dog liked them. The dog wasn't suppose to try them but he did and he wasn't giving it back. 
Sweet Potato Muffins
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup sweet potato casserole/ mashed sweet potatoes
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp cold butter
1 tsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup pecans

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside. 
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and butter until fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs,sweet potato, vanilla, and milk.
  6. Slowly, mix the sugar mixture into the flour mixture until just incorporated.
  7. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  8. Topping:
  9. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, flour, and pecans until well incorporated.
  10. Evenly top the muffin batter with the topping.
  11. Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Recipe by Jen of Sweet Morris.

One year ago................................I made Bacon Fontina Panini Sandwich.
Two years ago..............................I made Easy Chocolate Fudge.
Did you already know...................
-The American scientist George Washington Carver developed over 100 products from the sweet potato.
-During WWI, the U.S. government used sweet potato flour to help stretch wheat flour in baked goods.
-Sweet potatoes are not related to potatoes.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sweet Potato Casserole

Yes, I know Thanksgiving is over. I know I should be blogging about things with peppermint and snowmen but my friend Jessica requested this recipe. Yes, I do take request. Since I can remember as a little girl, my family have made this recipe. My mother gave it to me in my recipe book over 20 years ago. It is one of my favorite childhood recipes. I love it.
Sweet Potato Casserole
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes, boiled
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten slightly
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flour

  1. In a large bowl, beat the sweet potatoes, butter, salt, vanilla, sugar, milk, and eggs.
  2. Place the filling into a large casserole dish. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, butter, pecans, and flour until incorporated.
  4. Evenly spread the topping over the sweet potato mixture.
  5. Bake the casserole at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes. 
Recipe provided from my Mom. 

One year ago...........................I made Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clusters.
Two years ago.........................I made Buckeye Peanut Butter Balls.
Did you already know..............................
-Sweet Potatoes originate from Central and South America.
-President George Washington grew sweet potatoes at Mount Vernon.
-The U.S. Department of Agricultural requires canned Yams to have the term sweet potato listed on the label.