Monday, December 3, 2012

My youngest sister loves chocolate. Since my sister was coming over to take the kids to visit Santa, I decided to make some cookies with chocolate of course. My sister said she liked them a lot but I think her youngest daughter takes after her. I saw her take a couple cookies plus one for the road. I didn't think it was possible but I think my niece enjoyed the cookies more than my sister.
These cookies are rich and delicious. The original recipe calls for coconut but my sister doesn't like coconut so I've omitted it. I still thought they were great. They are gooey with a crunch from the nuts. When you just need chocolate, make these cookies.
Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Clusters
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups salted macadamia nuts, roasted
1 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a double boiler*, melt 8 oz. semisweet chocolate with the butter. 
  3. Stir the chocolate and butter until smooth and then remove from the heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. 
  4. In a large bowl, cream the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
  5. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the sugar mixture. Beat until well blended.
  6. Stir in the flour and baking powder, mix until just moistened.
  7. Fold in the macadamia nuts and the mini chocolate chips. 
  8. On a parchment lined cookie sheet, drop about 1 Tbsp portions of dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet spaced about 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake the cookies for about 8-10 minutes or until the edges are firm but still soft when pressed in the middle.
  10. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring the cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe adapted from My
*I use a thick, heat proof glass bowl over a small pan filled with 1/2 cup of water. 

One year ago...............................I made Chocolate Fudge.
My niece waiting for her cookie.
Check out my brother in law enjoying the cookie too!
Did you already know............
-Around 280 A.D., Saint Nicholas is thought to have been born.
-Saint Nicholas was born in the region of Turkey.
-Saint Nicholas is suppose to have traveled around the country side helping the sick and poor.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Honey Crostini

Recently, I attended an auction with some friends to benefit the Veterans. At the auction, my husband won some honey. Now, I love honey so it will be put to good use. Even if the kids have a cough, I give them honey and not medicine. My husband brought my son in for a checkup and he had a cough. Our doctor told Chris to give our kids honey and he said that is what Jen already does. Sometimes I impress my husband. 

Honey Crostini
1 loaf of french bread, sliced (my deli sliced mine)
1 apple, sliced very thin
12 slices of mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup walnuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Toast the walnuts for about 7 to 9 minutes. Allow to cool.
  3. Place the french bread on a cookie sheet.
  4. Place the french bread in the oven and allow to cook for about 5 minutes or until lightly toasted.
  5. Place a thin slice of apple on top of the toast.
  6. Top the apple slice with a piece of mozzarella cheese.
  7. Place toast in the oven until the cheese has melted slightly.
  8. Drizzle a little honey on top of the cheese.
  9. Sprinkle with the toasted walnuts and serve.
Recipe by Jen of Sweet Morris.

One year ago............................I made Breakfast Potatoes
Did you already know..............
-Today, I married my husband 10 years ago.
-We have a total of four children together, 2 boys and 2 girls.
-I still love him.

Happy Anniversary of 10 years!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Smothered Pork Chops

Recently, I attended my son's school conference. It went well and his teacher told me how she liked how happy my son was and that he never complained. So, I told him what his teacher said then I asked him why he was so happy. He looked at me and said, "What is there not to be happy about? I have a good life." Isn't he great? Sometimes I feel like I must be doing a good job on some days. I'm just glad I don't receive a report card since it may say A for effort but C for child arrived at school one day with socks that did not match which would always be my oldest daughter's case since she is adamant about her socks being different. It's a fashion statement.
Since we have been eating a lot of poultry lately, I decided I needed a change and went with some pork chops. These pork chops came out really tasty. It was even husband approved. 

Smothered Pork Chops
1 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbsp onion powder
2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne 
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 pork chops, bone in about 3/4 inch thick
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup buttermilk
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

  1. On a plate, mix the 1 cup flour, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
  2. With a paper towel, pat the pork chops dry to remove any moisture.
  3. Dredge the pork chops through the flour and shake off the excess flour.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil.
  5. When the oil is hot, carefully add the pork chops to the pan and fry for 3 minutes per a side until golden brown.
  6. Remove the pork chops from the pan and set aside on a clean plate.
  7. To the skillet,sprinkle a little of the seasoned flour.
  8. Whisk the flour into the drippings until dissolved.
  9. Add the chicken broth to the pan and whisk.
  10. Cook the broth for about 5 minutes until it thickens slightly.
  11. Stir in the buttermilk and return the pork chops to the pan.
  12. Allow the pork chops to cook covered in the sauce for about 5 minutes and the pork is cooked through.
  13. Season with salt and pepper.
  14. Garnish with the parsley. 
Recipe adapted from Taylor Florence.
One year ago.........................I made Cheesy Potato Gratin.
Did you already know...........
-Almost 50 million children attended public elementary and secondary school this fall.
-Over 5 million children attend private elementary and secondary school.
-The public schools employs about 3 million full time teachers.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pot Pie

My oldest daughter decided to straighten her hair. So, I am going to take a poll to see what you think. I prefer the curls. She was born with dark straight hair then after a couple of months her blond curls came in and we have never known anything else. What do you think?
Straight? Curly as before? You are welcome to vote here. The next day she washed her hair and the curls were instantly back. I remember how my Grandmother always would curl her hair and Allie has instant curls.
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving or a great day yesterday. Did you eat a lot of turkey? Do you have a lot left? My husband loves leftover turkey. How do you eat your leftover turkey? My husband's favorite way is to make a sandwich. My son doesn't care since he just loves turkey. Growing up, my Mom always made a turkey pot pie the next day. My husband is afraid of pot pies because he thinks there are peas hiding out in there. I made his pea free.

Turkey/Chicken Pot Pie
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt and ground pepper
3 cups cooked turkey/chicken, cut into bite size pieces

Cream Sauce:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp hot pepper sauce
Salt and ground pepper

1 cup unsalted butter
3 cups all purpose flour
8 oz. chilled cream cheese
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
1 large egg, beatened

To make filling:
  1. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and potato. Saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Saute for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Stir in the crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper to taste.
  5. Stir in the turkey/chicken meat until incorporated.
  6. Set aside the filling.
To make the cream sauce:
  1. In a large saucepan, melt the 1/2 cup unsalted butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the flour and whisk until smooth.
  3. Whisk in the stock and cook over medium heat until sauce thickens.
  4. Add the cream. Also, add the hot sauce, salt, and white pepper to taste.
  5. Pour the cream sauce over the chicken mixture and mix well.
To make the crust:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut the 1 cup of butter into 16 pieces.
  3. In a food processor, pulse the butter with the flour until crumbly.
  4. Add the cream cheese, salt, and white pepper.
  5. Pulse just until the dough forms a ball.
  6. Set the dough onto a clean surface dusted with flour.
  7. Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.
  8. Cut the dough about 1 1/2 larger than the container using for the filling.
To assemble Pot Pies:
  1. In 1 1/4 cup individual oven safe bowls with the chicken filling.
  2. Lay the dough over the dish, making the dough hang evenly over the dish.
  3. Brush the dough with the beaten egg.
  4. Place the dish or bowls onto a cookie sheet lined with tin foil/parchment paper.
  5. Bake the Pot Pies for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Serve immediately. 
Recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen Cookbook by Rebecca Rather.

One year ago.....................I made Buffalo Chicken Dip.
Did you already know............
-The average Thanksgiving turkey weighs 15 pounds.
-An average Thanksgiving turkey is 70% white meat.
-A group of wild turkeys are called a rafter.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Scones

Pumpkin is one of those recipes in which you are a fan or not. I am a huge fan of pumpkin. I'm not picky either I like pumpkin bread or pumpkin pasta. My husband doesn't encourage me to make pumpkin recipes. Maybe he thinks I would go overboard? Unbeknown to him, I have a recipe that recently asked me to make a pumpkin recipe. To please my sister and my love for pumpkin, I decided I would make something for breakfast. Just because it is almost Thanksgiving, the kids expect me to feed them a couple meals before the big feast. Muffins were my first choice but I realized I hadn't made scones lately.
I decided to take one of my favorite pumpkin muffin recipes and adapt it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. The dough was sticky but when it came out it tasted really good. So, I tried again the next day and added more flour but I still thought the dough seemed too sticky. However, it still tasted really good. My daughter brought some to school and shared with her classmates. They told my daughter they loved it. I even had a friend sample it and he really liked it. My husband brought three pieces to work for his lunch.
The cream cheese filling spread over the dough
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Scones
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
6 Tbsp butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup heavy cream

  1. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar. 
  2. Place in the refrigerator to chill for several hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner. 
  5. In a food processor, add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda. Pulse 10 times.
  6. Add the butter and pulse about 10 to 15 times.
  7. Add the egg, pumpkin, and heavy cream. Pulse about 10 times or just combined.
  8. Scoop half the batter and add to the middle of the baking sheet.
  9. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the dough. (See photo above.)
  10. Cover the cream cheese mixture with the remaining dough.
  11. Bake the dough for about 20 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and cut into wedges and return to the oven. Bake for another 5 minutes or until the center of the wedge is cooked. (If a toothpick is inserted, the center will be gooey due to the cream cheese mixture.)
Recipe inspired by Annie's Eats.

A year ago................................I made Pancakes
Did you already know................
-Pumpkins are native to Central America.
-The colonist cooked pumpkins over hot coals with the inside filled with honey, milk, and spices.
-Pumpkins are grown all over the world beside Antarctica.

Happy Thanksgiving from Sweet Morris! 
I am thankful you took the time to stop by.