Tag Archives: food

Time to make the cookies…..$%^&!

19 Dec

I don’t think I’ve gone into a full rant about cookies on here before….I guess you are in for a treat. I can’t stand those little mothers…..I’m not talking about the chocolate chip or peanut butter or oatmeal raisin. No, I’m talking about those stupid little cut out sugar cookies decorated in royal icing…..you know, the perfect looking ones that are so pretty and would be perfect for gifts. It just so happens that there is a certain holiday coming up and of course teachers gifts and what did I decide to make?…..oh I think you know.

In the last six years I can only remember one time where I’ve made these decorated cookies and they’ve turned out good…one! I believe it was when I made snowflake cookies for my daughter’s teacher in the 3rd grade….she’s now a freshman in high school. My son is in 3rd grade with the same teacher and I’m going to give it a go. Why, I have no idea. I fail at this more times than I can count….I curse, cry, stomp around and pretty much turn into a whiny baby, but I’m going to do it anyway. Damn you Pinterest for making it seem like I can do this!!

I have eight teacher gifts to make….which is crazy by the way, but I figured all I need is two pretty cookies each, then I will put them in the clear cookie bag, tie with a ribbon and maybe put in a gift bag with some hot chocolate and chocolate dipped spoons or marshmallows. Easy peasy right?

Just tune in tomorrow for either my success story with pictures or my disaster rant….still with pictures.

Update:

Ok, so I didn’t end up making the mittens since I forgot I lent the cutter to my sis, but I did make some round cookies with snowflakes that I will hopefully post about later. I’m still debating getting the mitten cutter and making some today but the gifts are for tomorrow so that might be cutting it a bit close…..although I do like a challenge.

 

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Coffee!!

8 Dec

I just realized this is my 100th post and its about COFFEE!! I love coffee. Love. It.  I love it in a mug.I love it in a glass. I love it hot.I love it iced. I love it strong.I’ll drink it weak. I will even drink day old cold coffee if thats all thats around. I know its gross but I don’t care…..its coffee and I love it!  Now that you know how I feel about it we can move on.

For some reason I seem to kill coffee pots. I don’t know if its my water or overuse but I usually go through about two a year. Awhile ago I decided to try out the Keurig and I really  love it. My problem with coffee pots have always been that I only like the first cup of coffee and the rest of it seems to taste icky. So the Keurig is perfect because it tastes like the first cup each time. The only problem is that those pods are so expensive, especially with how much coffee I drink in a day. I thought I solved the problem when I bought the filter that allows me to put my own coffee in. It worked for awhile until the top of the filter broke and grounds started falling in my coffee. Yuck.

Yesterday my husband saw me make my coffee and spoon out the grounds from my cup and apparently it bothered him because he went to the store and picked me up some pods and also a french press. He’s a keeper. I’ve always wanted to try the french press but for some reason I can’t seem to wrap my head around how it works. I know that sounds weird, but I think its the plunger thing….it seems odd. Anyway, I’m about to use it  and I thought I would post about it in case there is anyone else who wants to try it out.

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To make:

Boil water in either kettle, sauce pan or any other method you choose. Once water is done boiling, set aside for 2 minutes. Then pour a little water in press and coffee cup to warm up. Pour water out of press and put scoops of coffee into press. Like I said, I used ground coffee but if you have whole bean then grind it and scoop into press. I used 7 scoops in mine. Then  pour water to half way mark. Stir coffee. Let sit for 1 minute. Fill the rest of the way with water, put top on(but don’t push down on plunger) and let sit for 3 minutes. Push plunger down slowly and pour coffee into cup.

Ok so I just tried it out and…….I LOVE IT! The coffee is so rich and full flavored and this is using already ground cheap coffee from the store. I know it says to use whole bean and grind it but I didn’t have any on hand. Its a lot more simple than I thought and all you need is the coffee, press and water. I know that there are other ways of doing this but this is how I did it this morning and it came out great.

 

Chocolate Spoons!

4 Dec

I’m making up some Christmas baskets this year to sell and I’m trying to come up with some cute ideas. I know for sure there will be a coffee mug, a bag of yummy coffee, and for sure some chocolate dipped spoons. You can use them to stir your coffee or hot chocolate or do like my 2 year old does and just eat it off the spoon.I used to make these years ago when I had the coffee shop and people really seemed to like them. I know that you can probably buy them at the craft stores but making them is less expensive and very easy.

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What you need:

Spoons – either plastic, wooden or if you are doing something a bit fancier you can use a real spoon….maybe a small decorative one.

Chocolate to melt – I used both white chocolate and chocolate almond bark

Double boiler, or measuring cup and microwave or you can make your own double boiler like I do. I get a sauce pan, fill it half with water and then put a measuring cup in it. Then turn the burner to medium high and add the chocolate and keep stirring until melted.

Sprinkles, small candies or marshmallows(optional) – I didn’t use these with the batch I just made because I was just experimenting but the next batch will probably be made with some sort of candy.

The Method:

Melt the chocolate in which ever way you decide, dip the spoon until its coated, add candy or a swirl of other chocolate and lay on wax paper until dry. Then you can put a ribbon around and use them in baskets, gifts, etc.

I will show the final result when I’m all done and have some baskets made.

Pumpkin Rolls (Part 1)

22 Oct

What can I say about pumpkin rolls? They are yummy, easy to make, perfect for Thanksgiving side dish or Christmas present and they are usually devoured within minutes….or at least in my family. A lot of people are intimidated by these tricky little things but honestly they look more difficult than they are.

If you haven’t made these before, definitely give them a try this year….I promise it will be worth it!

I apologize for the sucky final picture( I was lazy remember 🙂 )….I couldn’t cut these since they were for someone else, but I will be making these again soon and I will get a good pic of the inside. I do however have step by step instructions so you can do them yourself.

 

 

Ingredients

Cake:

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

2/3 cup pumpkin (pure not pumpkin pie mix!!)

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cloves

powdered sugar for dusting

chopped walnuts(optional)

Filling

1 8oz package cream cheese

4 tbsp butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a jellyroll pan and line with either wax or parchment paper. Grease paper. Beat eggs & sugar with electric mixer on high for 5 minutes. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla.  Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in small bowl and stir into pumpkin mixture. Pour evenly into pan(you may have to spread around with spatula). If you are using walnuts, sprinkle over mixture. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. I almost always bake mine for 15, but every oven is different.

While the cake is baking, get a tea towel or any clean dish towel – but make sure its not terry cloth or any material that will stick to the cake!! Dust the towel with powdered sugar.

When the cake is done, take out of oven, lift wax paper and flip the cake immediately onto the towel. Do not let cake cool!! Peel off the paper and roll the cake up in the towel. Cool in fridge for at least 2 hours. I usually cool for 4-5

While the cake is cooling, beat cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Set in fridge.

When cake is COMPLETELY cool, unroll carefully and spread the filling. Reroll the cake(not in towel), dust with powdered sugar and either cut into pieces and serve or cover with saran wrap and let chill in fridge.

 

Oreo Cheesecake!!

11 Oct

I do not have the best track record with cheesecakes. At all. They either crack and then sink, burn or are too underdone or once, I actually baked a paper towel into one. I have many talents.

My sister’s birthday was yesterday and I really wanted to make a good cheesecake. I had a ton of Oreos(thanks Sam’s Club) so Oreo cheesecake it was. I looked up many recipes before I settled on this one. Its supposed to be the copycat recipe for The Cheesecake Factory…..I’ve never had theirs so I really can’t compare. It just looked like it would be decent.

It came out really good! The only thing I would do different is baked for 1 hour instead of 1 hour and 15 minutes and then leave in oven(turned off) for an hour. The texture was nice, it came out of the springform easily and it was delicious. Everyone seemed to like it a lot so this is definitely a keeper!

I didn’t have sour cream so I used a cup of plain Fage greek yogurt – I will probably do this from now on. Its a bit more tangy than sour cream, but the texture is perfect.

Also, I used a 10″ pan instead of 9″ and it worked just fine.

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We all know that I can’t stand fussy recipes and while this one isn’t too bad, there are a few things I did differently:
– My cream cheese was not room temperature….it was still quite cold and I beat it in the mixer on low to medium for awhile (at least 15 minutes) and it was fine. I know every recipe says not to use cold cream cheese , but I’m a rebel

– I didn’t chill the crust(mostly because I forgot) and it came out awesome

– I threw as many oreos as I thought I should instead of following exactly ….use your judgement. The ones for the filling and on top I just crushed with my hands

– I didn’t grease, nor do I ever grease my springform pan and it was fine. The ring came off without a problem. Make sure you let it cool for at least 15 minutes, run a knife around the edge and then open.

Now for my tips:

– I really think 15 minutes less in the oven would have made this perfect…..but every oven is different so if you are more comfortable, stick with the recipe

– The most important thing(I think) is making sure you beat the cream cheese until fluffy and make sure there are no lumps

– Do not overbeat the eggs!

– Don’t overfill the pan(trust me!)

– Have fun!!

OREO CHEESECAKE

1 1/2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs (about 18 cookies finely chopped)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup flour
8 ounces sour cream (I used greek yogurt)
5 Oreo cookies (coarsely chopped for the batter)
7 coarsely chopped Oreo cookies, for the top of cheese cake

Directions:

Mix melted butter with Oreo crumbs and press in the bottom of a greased 9 inch springform pan. Cover bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides with crumbs. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
All ingredients need to be at room temperature before beginning.
Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Keep mixer on a low setting during the mixing and beating process. Add sugar gradually and continue beating cream cheese until mixed through. Add eggs one at a time and continue to beat until blended.
Stir vanilla, salt and flour into cream cheese and egg mixture.
Add the sour cream.
Turn off the mixer and gently stir in the 5 coarsely chopped Oreo cookies with a spoon.
Pour mixture into springform pan; top with the 7 remaining coarsely chopped cookies.
Place pan on top rack and in the middle of a preheated oven at 325 degrees and bake for 75 minutes. Turn off the oven, prop the door open several inches and let the cheese cake stay in the oven for one hour.
Cool on wire rack.
When cool, refrigerate.

I almost forgot….I made a chocolate whipped topping.

Put your mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for a few minutes. After you take those out, pour in about a half a quart of heaving whipping cream. Beat on medium until it starts to thicken. Add about 2 tbsp of sugar and 2 tbsp cocoa powder. Mix well. Turn mixer up a speed and whip until a peak forms. When you lift the whisk attachment up, the whipped cream should stand up a bit and form a peak. Do not over mix! The mixture will separate and become butter-like! Add to cheesecake and enjoy!

Fried chicken that wasn’t

9 Oct

This chicken disaster is the exact reason I started this blog. I saw a picture of delicious looking golden brown fried chicken. I followed directions exactly and it did not go well! I’ve been on a pretty good streak with recipes lately, so I guess this was past due.  I promised that I would share the good with the bad and well, this is certainly the bad!

I did my research and looked up several recipes that all said to do the same thing: soak chicken thighs for a couple hours in milk seasoned with pepper and salt. Mix together flour and seasonings and then dredge the chicken through the flour. Put about an inch of oil in a skillet on medium high and fry chicken for 8 minutes each side.

The first thing that happened was that the chicken burned and turned black almost immediately….I had the burner set on 6. From there things just got worse…..the chicken not only burned but got rubbery and didn’t cook all the way through and then it all just turned to disgusting glop.

The picture really doesn’t do this mess justice – it was a disaster!! This was taken after I removed some of the blackened skin and tried to save it. It was beyond rescue.

Oh and here’s a tip: the best way to check if the oil is heated is to drop a piece of the coating in the oil and see if it begins to fry – NOT by sticking your finger in the bottom of the pan! Lesson learned.

The Best Turkey Chili!

8 Oct

I love the chilly weather….not freezing cold, right around 40 degrees is perfect. Yesterday was cold and even though everyone else was complaining, I opened the kitchen window and got to work. I love cooking when a nice breeze is blowing through the kitchen. It really feels like fall when there is football on the TV and a nice big pot of chili on the stove. I also made a pumpkin pie from an actual pumpkin!, but that’s for another post:)

This may have been one of my best batches of chili yet. I’m not sure why, maybe I got the blend of spices right or used the right ratio of ingredients, but it was good!

You can make this chili vegetarian by using veggie crumbles instead of the turkey or if you are an avid meat-eater, ground beef can be substituted. I’ve tried it both ways and its always come out delicious!

You guys know that I hate using exact recipes, so I’m going to try my best to recreate the “recipe” for you. I used ground turkey instead of beef this time and my husband loved it.

Chili is the perfect dish to play with so have fun with it!

 

 

 

 

Turkey Chili

2 lbs ground turkey

1 onion, chopped

4 cans chili beans

2 cans kidney beans

1 can black beans

2 small (6 oz) cans tomato paste

2 cans diced tomatoes

chili powder

cayenne pepper

garlic powder

cumin

salt

black pepper

Method:

In a skillet, saute onion and ground turkey. Add some garlic powder, pepper and salt. While the meat is cooking, grab a large pot and add beans, paste, and tomatoes. I didn’t drain any of the cans….just pour them all in. Cook on medium low.  When the meat mixture is done, add it to beans. Again, I didn’t drain mine – I just poured it all in the pan. Mix everything up and add spices. I cooked my chili on medium low (3-4) for hours and when it was done, turned it down to low(1).

I didn’t put amounts for spices because I kept adding them until it tasted the way I wanted. I will say that I used A LOT  of chili pepper and a good amount of cumin. I always question when I see chili recipes that call for 1 tbsp of chili powder……I had to have used at least 5 times that much! My advice is to add the spices, stir and then every 30 minutes or so stir it up, taste it and add more. Keep doing this until the chili tastes the way you want.

The cheese on top was just for the picture….my husband said it was so good he didn’t need cheese or anything else to go with it.