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

Directions:
  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
Dough:
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

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

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

Directions:
  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

Directions:
  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

Directions:
  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

Directions:
  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

Directions:
  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
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
Topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp cold butter
1 tsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup pecans

Directions:
  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
Filling:
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
Topping:
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flour

Directions:
  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.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Dinner

At Thanksgiving, I like to serve a similar meal as the previous years. I may change a couple of side dishes but normally our guest knows what to expect. Every year, I look for my Thanksgiving menu and it takes me a while to locate it. I always feel like I'm missing something. So, this year I'm posting it here so next year I will save some time. My favorite Thanksgiving dish is the Sweet Potato Casserole. What is yours?
My Thanksgiving menu:
Roasted Herb Turkey
Apple Cider Gravy
Sausage Stuffing
Stove Top Stuffing (for my sister)
Variety of Rolls: (Brotchen, Seven Cheese Bread, Cloverleaf Rolls, Honey yeast rolls, Butterflake Herb Loaf)
Cranberry sauce
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean/ Broccoli/Squash Casserole
Mashed/ Roasted Potatoes
Carrots/Corn
Squash/Turnips/Rutabaga
Beets
Creamed Pearl Onions
Brussel Sprouts/Asparagus
Macaroni and Cheese
Dulce de Leche Rice Pudding 
Pumpkin pie/pumpkin custard/ pumpkin cake
Blueberry/Strawberry/Cherry/ Chocolate Pie
Other desserts: blueberry pie bars

On Thanksgiving, our grocery stores are closed. If I run out of something, well I better make it from scratch, improvise, or order Chinese. So, I figured I would post homemade butter recipe. I will admit I had the children shake,shake, shake, the mason jar. They thought it was cool.

Homemade Herb Butter:
1 cup cold heavy cream
1/4 tsp garlic
1 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme

Directions:
  1. Place the heavy cream in a mason jar.
  2. Place the lid on the mason jar and close well.
  3. Shake the heavy cream until it comes together.
  4. Drain off the excess buttermilk liquid.
  5. Gently, run the butter under water. 
  6. Mix in the garlic, parsley, salt, and thyme if herb butter is desired.
Recipe adapted from Chef John.

One year ago...........................I made Smothered Pork Chops.
Two years ago.........................I made Cheesy Potato Gratin.



Did you already know..............
-150 years ago, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November to be a national day of Thanksgiving.
-In 2013, Minnesota raised more turkeys than any other states.
-Wisconsin grew harvested more cranberries than Massachusetts. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Homemade Stove Top Stuffing

My sister loves Stove Top Stuffing. I mean love as in (why can't the stuffing by itself be my meal) love. I would say it is one of her favorite foods. Now, I make homemade stuffing like my Mom did for Thanksgiving. When my sister comes for Thanksgiving, I will make homemade stuffing plus Stove Top Stuffing just for her. Yes, I love her that much. Well, she told me how her mother-in-law makes a homemade version that tastes a lot like Stove Top. I had to give it a try. It is good. My youngest son loved it. The best part about this stuffing is it is made on the stove top. 
Homemade Stove Top Herb Stuffing
6 slices of bread
1/4 cup dried parsley
1 Tbsp onion, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground sage
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chicken broth

Directions:
  1. Toast the bread and then cube.
  2. In a medium bowl, place the toasted bread with the parsley, onion, salt, sage, thyme, and rosemary. Toss gently.
  3. In a medium pan, melt the butter in the chicken broth.
  4. Once the butter is melted, gently stir the herb bread to the pan.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and cover.
  6. Allow the pan to rest for 5 minutes. 
  7. Fluff the stuffing with a fork before serving.
Recipe adapted from Gail.
One year ago................................I made Turkey Pot Pie.
Two years ago..............................I made Poultry Seasoning.
Did you already know..................
-In 1972, General Foods introduced Stove Top Stuffing Mix.
-In 1990, General Foods merged with Kraft.
-At Thanksgiving, Kraft sells more than 60 million boxes of Stove Top Stuffing.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Peanut Butter Toffee Cookies

I love Heath Bars. My husband loves Heath Bars. So when I decided to make him some peanut butter cookies, I thought I really should add some Heath Bar bits to the mix. I can't believe I haven't combined Heath Bar with my peanut butter cookies before. I really liked these cookies. My husband loved these cookies. My youngest daughter will not stop asking me to bake more of these cookies. I highly recommend these cookies. 
Peanut Butter Toffee Cookies
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped toffee pieces (I used Heath Bits of Brickle Toffee bits)

Directions:
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and peanut butter until smooth.
  3. Slowly, add the sugar and beat until incorporated.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well.
  5. Slowly, stir in the flour mixture and the toffee pieces. Mix until incorporated.
  6. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic.
  7. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  8. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  10. Form the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. 
  11. Place the dough onto the parchment paper spaced 2 inches apart.
  12. Lightly flatten the balls before using a fork to form crisscross patterns on top.
  13. Bake the cookies for 7 minutes before rotating the baking sheet.
  14. Bake the cookies for another 7 to 8 minutes and the cookies are lightly browned.
  15. Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe adapted from myrecipes.com.

One year ago..............................I made Pumpkin Cream Cheese Scones.
Two years ago...........................I made Pancakes.
Did you already know.................
-In 1928, the Heath brothers began to market their their Toffee Bar.
-The Heath brother had obtained a toffee recipe from a Greek confectioner salesman. The brothers adapted the recipe.
-Currently, the Heath bar is a product of Hersey.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Roasted Squash

Squash, squash, squash! What to do with my overabundance of squash? Yes, I should be more adventures with squash but I haven't been. I like it roasted. I have tried to make it pureed but the kids sure didn't like it that way. Maybe they were having flashbacks of their baby food? Maybe they remember squash in their hair and all over their little faces? Maybe they just remember the photos I took of them with squash everywhere and are afraid I'll take more? I would.
Roasted Squash
2 small delicata squash, cut into 1 inch slices
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. On a baking sheet, spread out the squash. 
  3. Sprinkle the olive oil, salt, and pepper over the squash.
  4. Toss gently to coat the squash.
  5. Roast the squash for about 30 minutes or until the squash is cooked to desired tenderness.
Recipe by Jen of Sweet Morris.

One year ago..............................I made Green Beans with bacon.
Two years ago............................I made Chocolate PB Whoppie Pies.

Did you already know................
-The skin is edible on the delicata squash.
- The delicata squash taste a lot like sweet potato.
-The delicata squash is also called sweet potato squash and peanut squash.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Crab Cakes

I will admit I have never had crab cakes until now. When crab cakes are competing with mozzarella sticks on a menu, the cheese will always win. Now, I do like seafood. My son loves seafood so when I heard crab cakes were one of my Mother-in-laws favorite food, I had to make them. I was surprised how easy they were to make. I did research several recipes which called for some condiments which I would have never imagined combining with seafood. I wanted my crab cakes to taste like crab so I kept these crab cakes pretty simple. I liked them but my son, well he loved them.
Crab Cakes
1 lb. crab meat
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
32 Town House crackers, crushed
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions: 
  1. In a large bowl, combine the crab meat, mayonnaise, seasoning, parsley, egg, and fresh lemon juice. Mix well.
  2. Add half of the crushed crackers to the mixture and mix until incorporated.
  3. On a plate, evenly spread out the remaining crushed crackers.
  4. Form the crab meat mixture into patties.
  5. Press the crab meat patties into the crushed crackers. Coat both sides.
  6. In a large pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.
  7. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the crab cakes into the pan.
  8. Cook the crab cake until golden for about 4 minutes.
  9. Carefully, turn the patty over and cook the other side of the crab cake until golden brown.
  10. Removed from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate.
  11. Serve immediately.
Recipe Jen of Sweet Morris.

Two years ago.........................I made Asparagus with Lemon and Thyme.
Did you already know............
-Crabs have ten legs.
-Crabs can regrow a lost leg.
-Crab's teeth are located in their stomach.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tribute to Linda

I know its Veteran's Day and I want to thank all of the Veterans for their sacrifice to our country. I am proud to be a Veteran. Both of my parents are Veterans. 
Nana with her youngest grandchild
 Also, I want to pay a tribute to my Mother-in-law. She passed from our lives suddenly and unexpectedly. We miss her. She was there during some important events in my life like graduating from college and the birth of two of my children. I met my wonderful husband because of her.
Nana with two of her grandsons
My Mother-in-law loved desserts. She always complimented me on my desserts. She even asked me to throw a birthday party for her baby Molly. The kids thought it was a lot of fun to have a birthday party for a puppy plus I think Molly liked it too. Our dog Parker was too happy about wearing the birthday hats though.
Nana's baby Molly
So, please take a few moments to think of all the Veterans today but also take a few minutes to hug your Mother. 
Molly's birthday party!
We love you Nana!

Did you already know.................
-Linda was the youngest child with 5 older siblings.   
-Linda had 4 sons. My husband is her third child.
-Linda once lived in Iceland and Japan.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Roasted Green Beans with Walnuts and Cranberries

Since Thanksgiving is approaching soon, I'm trying out new side dishes. Do you always make the same dishes every year or do you change the menu? There are some traditional foods I always make but the sides plus desserts vary. I loved this recipe and it did have the great flavors of Thanksgiving. I will be adding it to my menu.
Roasted Green
1 1/2 lbs. green beans, trimmed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. On a baking sheet, toss the green beans with the olive oil and salt.
  3. Evenly spread the green beans onto the baking sheet.
  4. Sprinkle the walnuts on top of the green beans.
  5. cook the green beans in the oven for 6 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and carefully mix in the cranberries.
  7. Cook the green beans for another 6 minutes. 
  8. Serve immediately.
Recipe aspired from Real Simple.

One year ago...........................I made Lasagna Soup.
Two years ago........................I made Roasted Chicken.
Did you already know............
-Early Settlers thought the flower of the cranberry resembled a cran hence the name crane berry.
-It is believed cranberries were served at the first Thanksgiving.
-Native Indians called cranberries either sassamanesh, ibimi, and atoqua.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

In this household, we like potatoes. The first preference is mashed. My children will even order mashed potatoes instead of fries at a restaurant. When I made these potatoes for dinner, my son said he liked them a lot but they were like our breakfast potatoes. I hadn't realized I really don't make a lot of roasted potatoes. This recipe is great and I will make it more often even if I have to occasionally make mashed potatoes too.
Parmesan Roasted Potatoes
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, cut into quarters
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dry rosemary
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
  3. Evenly spread the potatoes onto a baking sheet into one layer.
  4. Add the 3 garlic cloves in different sections of the pan.
  5. Roast the potatoes for 30 minutes.
  6. Turn the potatoes over and roast for another 30 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. 
  7. Remove the garlic cloves from the pan.
  8. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the potatoes. 
  9. Season to taste and serve.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten.

One year ago........................I made Chocolate and Oreo Cake.
Two years ago.....................I made Apple and Cheddar Scones.
Did you already know..........
-The potato was first cultivated by the Inca Indians.
-Europeans introduced the potato to the American colonies.
-Potatoes have been grown in space.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Steak with Gorgonzola Cheese Salad

During Halloween, we saw a lot of Super Heroes. So, we got to think about all the work the Super Heroes must have accomplished. Well, what happens when time is slow? What type of jobs could the Super Heroes do with their down time? 
Here are our suggestions:
Superman: Firefighter (with his cold breath.)
Spiderman: Cleaning crew (He can reach the hard to reach places.)
Wonder Woman: Rodeo girl (She already has a lasso.)
Batman: Pest control (He is a bat.)
Green Latern: Mover (He can lift heavy things with ease.)
Hulk: Garbage compactor (with his fist.)
Flash: Pizza Delivery (Your pizza would deliver hot.)
Wolverine: Barber (You could get a haircut and a shave.)
Storm: Weather forecaster (Her predictions would always be correct.)
What are your suggestions?
Steak with Gorgonzola Cheese
2 T-bone steak
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp butter
2 oz. Gorgonzola Dolce cheese
Mixed greens
Directions:
  1. Allow steak to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the pan over high heat.
  4. Pat dry the steak.
  5. Rub the steak with the vegetable oil.
  6. Salt and pepper the steak.
  7. Change the heat to medium heat.
  8. Add the steak to the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes per a side.
  9. Top the steak with the butter and the cheese.
  10. Transfer the oven proof skillet to the oven.
  11. Roast the steak for about 6 minutes. The steak should register at least 120 degrees with a meat thermometer.
  12. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving on the mixed greens.
  13. Serve with additional salad options like dressing, croutons, and other vegetables.
Recipe by Jen of Sweet Morris. 

One year ago...................................I made Blondie.
Two years ago................................I made Sausage, Bean, and Veg. Soup.
Did you already know....................
-In 1941, Wonder Woman appeared in a DC Comic.
-Princess Diana of Themyscira is Wonder Woman.
-Her lasso is called the Lasso of Truth.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Candy Bar Cookies

Halloween has past. Since we have an abundant of candy, I decided to add some to my cookie batter. It didn't matter what type of candy bars. I used Snickers, Twix, Krackle, Butterfingers, Gobbers, Oh, Henry, Baby Ruth, Peanut Butter Cups, etc. I could have kept going especially if you want a reason to use up a lot of candy bars from Halloween, of course. I did chop the candy bars pretty good but next time I think I'm going to rough chop the pieces so I have larger pieces. 
Candy Bar Cookies
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 eggs 
1 1/2 cup candy bars, chopped

Directions:
  1. In a food processor, grind the oats to a fine consistency. 
  2. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the food processor. Pulse for 10 seconds.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and lemon juice.
  4. Add the eggs to the butter mixture and combine until smooth.
  5. Slowly, stir in the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Mix well.
  6. Fold in the chopped candy bar pieces.
  7. Chill the dough overnight.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  10. Spoon about 1/4 cup portions onto the baking sheet. Space 2 inches apart.
  11. Bake the cookies for about 16 minutes or until light brown and the middle is soft.
  12. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.

One year ago.............................I made Corn Muffins.
Did you already know...............
-In 1847, Joseph Fry prepared a chocolate paste with sugar in which he pressed into a mold creating the candy bar.
-Joseph Fry took over his parent's business and was later called J S Fry & Sons.
-In 1919, J S Fry & Sons of Bristol merged with Cadbury.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pumpkin Juice

A couple years ago, we visited Universal Studios in Florida. While we were in the Harry Potter section, we sampled some Pumpkin Juice. At first, I will admit I was a little hesitant even though I am a fan of pumpkin. It tasted sweet like fruit juice. The drink did contain more apple juice than pumpkin. Since I have a few Trick or Treaters, I figured I would sneak in a little more Vitamin C and A with the plethora of candy they are about to receive.
Pumpkin Juice
18 oz. cold water
12 oz. apple juice concentrate
11.5 oz. white grape juice
1/2 cup puree pumpkin
1/4 cup puree peaches

  1. In a large pitcher, mix all the ingredients.
  2. Chill before serving.
Recipe by Jen of Sweet Morris.

One year ago............................I made Lobster Chowder.
Two years ago..........................I made Chicken Stir Fry. (What we have on Halloween Night for the vegetables. )
Did you already know...............
-In June 1990, Universal Studios Resorts opened.
-In June 2010, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens. 
-Currently, Universal Studios are expanding the Harry Potter section which is scheduled to open next year.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pirate cookies

Have you picked out your costume yet? Are you going to be a princess, superhero, or maybe a pirate? I am going as Dr. Seuss's Thing One in which I like to call myself Wild Thing One. My niece requested some pirate cookies which I happily obliged. These aren't too scary to eat. The kids liked to help decorate which always make it fun.
Pirate Cookies
Sugar Cookies
Red Royal Icing
White Royal Icing
Black Royal Icing

Directions:
  1. Make a red circle about 1/2 inch from the edge.
  2. Take half of the red icing and add 1/2 tsp of water to thin it out.
  3. Flood the red circle with the thinned out icing. Allow to set for at least one hour.
  4. Once the red icing has set, take the white icing and pipe the shape of a light bulb onto the top 1/3 section of the cookie
  5. Below the light bulb shape, pipe a letter "X" underneath. 
  6. At the edge of each "X", add a little circle.
  7. Take about 1/3 of the white icing and add a little water to think it out. 
  8. Flood the inside of the light bulb shape. Allow to set for at least one hour.
  9. Once the white icing has set, add 3 dots to form the two eyes and nose.
  10. Add a couple of lines for the mouth. 
  11. Add some black icing for decorations and other decorations like an eye patch. Allow to set before serving.
Cookies created by Jen of Sweet Morris. Cookie recipe and icing found at the links.

One year ago.......................I made Chocolate Brownie Cookies.
Two years ago.....................I made Mummy Cake Pops. (Check them out!)
Did you already know.........
-Between 1700 to 1725, the Caribbean had numerous of pirate attacks.
-The famous Black Beard would make put fuses in his hat so he appeared to be on fire to intimidate the ships he was attacking.
-Not all pirates were men during that time, Anne Bony and Mary Read were two female pirates who fought with the men. They were captured but were saved from the death penalty due to pregnancy.
Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..............matey!