Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmoose!

From Moose and the rest of us! :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fontina Mac & Cheese

I had to search for Fontina to make this recipe, so maybe I was expecting too much out of it...Not sure, but it didn't meet my expectations. Maybe I am just stuck on traditional mac & cheese. Don't get me wrong, it's good, just not what I was hoping for. I will try a more traditional recipe next time. I did discover that I love panko bread crumbs though!


Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

I got a package in the mail today from someone totally awesome! It was actually the perfect gift, with perfect timing. I was planning on trying a bunch of cookie recipes this week to see which make the cut for my Christmas cookie tins, and here is what I received today:

An adorable dish towel set, oven mitt and pot holder, and a cookie cookbook!

In the book I saw a recipe for chocolate crinkle cookies and decided to try them out tonight. They are pretty tasty. Like a brownie in cookie form. They definitely make the cut!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Mix together cocoa, white sugar and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, stir in vanilla. In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into cocoa mixture. Cover dough and chill for at least 4 hours or until firm enough to form into balls.

Preheat oven to 350, line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place confectioners sugar in shallow bowl. Roll chilled dough into 1 inch balls. Roll dough balls in confectioners sugar until completely coated. Place on cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake 8-12 minutes, just until edges are firm. Do not over bake. Let stand on cookie sheet for a minute, transfer to wire rack to cool.

Recipe is from The Great Cookie Book by Nordic Ware

Sunday, December 5, 2010


This recipe comes from The Way The Cookie Crumbles. It looked really simple and when she mentioned that they taste like a cinnamon roll in a cookie, I knew I had to try them. I need to work on the rolling to make them a little prettier, but they are delicious!

Original Recipe

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Found It!

I had been on the hunt for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe for a few months, and I've finally found it! Ironically, the one we like the best happens to be the recipe that comes on the back of the Nestle Toll house bag. Apparently you can't mess with a classic. I also got to try out my new KitchenAid, which I love!

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
When I made them I halved the recipe to only make about 2 dozen. I also didn't add the nuts because I don't care for them.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Cheer!

I don't know if it was the snow we got today, the decorations, or the fact that I got my early Christmas present yesterday, but I am totally ready for Christmas this year!

Here is my super awesome present from Justin:

KitchenAid in the tangerine color. I have been drooling over these for the past year and am so excited to finally have one. :)

We have most of the house decorated for Christmas. Sorry for the blurry pics, but I had the flash off to avoid glare from the lights. The stockings are the dogs(I know, lame).

I still need to finish decorating the kitchen and dining room.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Turkey Pasta Salad, Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

This recipe actually comes from the Betty Crocker website. It is really a chicken pasta salad, but I used turkey because it is what I had on hand. I also used rotini instead of bowtie pasta.

Chicken Pasta Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

3 cups uncooked farfalle (bow-tie) pasta (8 ounces)
6 1/2 cups Green Giant® SELECT® frozen broccoli florets
2/3 cup refrigerated Alfredo sauce (from 10-ounce container)
1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red bell peppers, drained and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package (6 ounces) refrigerated diced cooked chicken breast
1 can (11 ounces) Green Giant® Mexicorn® whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained

1.Cook pasta as directed on package, adding broccoli for last 3 minutes of cooking. Rinse with cold water; drain.
2.In small bowl, mix Alfredo sauce, bell peppers and salt. In large bowl, mix pasta, broccoli, chicken and corn. Add pepper mixture to pasta mixture; toss until coated. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

That Peanut Butter Frosting

I posted a few weeks back about a Reese's cake I made. The frosting on that cake was absolutely amazing, and I have had a lot of people asking for the recipe. I made it again tonight(with my homemade vanilla, at that) and I swear it was even more amazing than before. I cheated and used a box cake mix because I forgot I was supposed to make dessert for Justin to take to dinner tomorrow, and just didn't have the time.

Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting and chopped reese's on top

Peanut Butter Frosting

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Put sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in mixer. Mix on medium low until creamy, scraping with spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high until the mixture is light and smooth.

Original Recipe

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Best. Turkey. Ever.

Seriously. I tried a new recipe when I made our turkey today and it turned out amazing! It is a little time consuming, but well worth it. The meat comes out extremely moist and with just the right amount of flavor. SO GOOD!

Perfect Turkey
I used a 13 lb turkey and just adjusted the amount of ingredients a little.

1 (18 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
2 cups kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine

1.Rub the turkey inside and out with the kosher salt. Place the bird in a large stock pot, and cover with cold water. Place in the refrigerator, and allow the turkey to soak in the salt and water mixture 12 hours, or overnight.
2.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Thoroughly rinse the turkey, and discard the brine mixture.
3.Brush the turkey with 1/2 the melted butter. Place breast side down on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan. Stuff the turkey cavity with 1 onion, 1/2 the carrots, 1/2 the celery, 1 sprig of thyme, and the bay leaf. Scatter the remaining vegetables and thyme around the bottom of the roasting pan, and cover with the white wine.
4.Roast uncovered 3 1/2 to 4 hours in the preheated oven, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Carefully turn the turkey breast side up about 2/3 through the roasting time, and brush with the remaining butter. Allow the bird to stand about 30 minutes before carving.

Original Recipe

Elf Yourself

Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Pie

Since I am working on Thanksgiving, I decided to make a "Thanksgiving" dinner for Justin and I. The turkey is still in the oven(and smelling amazing!) but I made a pie this morning before the oven was tied up. The topping on this pie is amazing! The recipe comes from Pillsbury.

I could not get a decent photo of this!

1 box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box

1can (15 oz) pumpkin (no pumpkin pie mix)
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 425°F. Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie pan as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie.2In large bowl, mix filling ingredients until well blended. Pour into crust-lined pan.3Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; bake 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix streusel ingredients.4Sprinkle streusel over pumpkin filling. Bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.5Gently fold orange peel into whipped topping. Serve pie with topping. Store in refrigerator..

Monday, November 15, 2010

Getting Healthy & Couch-to-5K

I have recently gone on a health kick. I kicked my caffeine addiction and have limited my pop intake. I have been drinking mostly water and am already feeling better from that alone(less bloated, less indigestion). I have been losing some weight lately by just watching what I eat, but I know I need to start exercising again. With winter coming I know I am not going to want to be taking longs walks outside, and I just can't see myself finding the time for a gym membership right now. I have decided to try the couch-to-5K program. It looks pretty simple and it is something I can easily do on my treadmill at home. This link explains the program. I think on the days I am not doing the 5K program, I will try to do just a normal 3 mile walk on the treadmill. I have decided to set a goal for myself to be able to run a 5K by August 2011. I think I would really like to run in the local Melon Run, which takes place during the Howell Melon Festival. Ideally, I would also like to lose 75 lbs by then. I am in a friends wedding at the end of August, and I really want to look awesome. :)

I think I will do a weekly check in post on Mondays to track my progress with weight loss and running.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Carving

We carved our pumpkins tonight since we didn't have any other Halloween plans. Justin didn't feel like using a pattern this year and just drew a face and carved it out. I found a free dog pattern online and printed it out. I was expecting it to be a big fail, but I think I did pretty darn good! I have never done a pattern that require shading before so that was new to me.

Here they are!

Justin's scary face and my dog

Justin wondering why I always insist on taking his picture

Happy Halloween!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies

These cookies were posted in a community I frequent and since I love everything pumpkin, I decided to give 'em a go. They are great! I don't know if they are meant to, but mine came out melt in your mouth soft. So good!

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
2.In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
3.Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with fork.
4.To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners' sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.

Original Recipe here!

Chili & Cornbread

I made chili for dinner tonight and I think it is the best recipe I have found yet! It is simple and delicious. The cornbread was my first attempt at homemade, and it came out OK, nothing to write home about though.

Blue Ribbon Chili

2 pounds ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 (8 ounce) jar salsa
4 tablespoons chili seasoning mix
1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans
1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans

1.In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the ground beef and the onion and saute for 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain grease, if desired.
2.Add the ground black pepper, garlic salt, tomato sauce, salsa, chili seasoning mix and kidney beans. Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least an hour.

Recipe found here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

4 Years Together!

Today was our 4 year anniversary! I almost thought Justin wasn't going to do anything, but then he brought home these beautiful flowers. :)

We had a nice dinner together and are just relaxing around the house. We both had to work this weekend, so we didn't plan anything too exciting.

On a less happy note, Pinky took it upon herself to go for a run through the woods last night. The result was this:

Some pretty nasty scratches! She had some up her side too, but her fur is mostly covering them. We cleaned her up and put some Neosporin on them. They looked quite a bit better today, so hopefully they heal without any problems.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What's all the hype about pumpkin beer?

I have heard tons of hype about pumpkin beer from at least a dozen people this fall, so I decided to give it a try. To be fair, I grabbed two different brands(one that is raved about and one from a local brewer) to make sure I was getting a full picture.

The contenders:

I was a little nervous because the last flavored beer I tried was Sam Adams Cherry Wheat, and let me tell you, that was vomit inducing with just one sip!

Of course, I made Justin taste each one first. His opinion was "tastes like beer". I thought I would try to be the sophisticated one and point out the spices or "autumn tones"...but nope, he was right. Tastes like beer!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Reese's Cake

I was trying to decide what kind of cake to make for a coworkers Birthday, and stumbled across this.

The cake was for an older man that is "retired" but still works part time. When I asked him how old he was turning he told me 21, but I think it's more like 68-70. His wife has been in and out of the hospital, and he has just had a rough time lately. He is a total chocolate and candy addict, so I thought this cake would make him smile.

I admit, mine did not come out nearly as pretty(probably not as yummy either) as the one I linked to, but overall I think I did decent. I have never made a cake from scratch so this was a complete first. Hopefully I get better at it with more practice!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Swiss Chicken Casserole

I tried this casserole for dinner tonight. It was quick to throw together, and tasty!

Swiss Chicken Casserole

6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
6 slices Swiss cheese
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
2 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1/4 cup butter

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Arrange chicken in a greased 12 x 8 x 2 baking dish. Top with Swiss cheese slices.
3.Combine soup and milk and stir well. Spoon mixture over chicken and sprinkle with stuffing mix. Drizzle butter or margarine over crumbs.
4.Cover and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 50 minutes.

Original Recipe

Spicy Pumpkin Bread

I got off work early today, so I decided to make some pumpkin bread. I could only locate one of my loaf pans, so I ended up making a pan of muffins as well. I'm not sure where the original recipe came from because I copied it from an email quite some time ago.

This bread is awesome! It has just the right mix of spicy and sweet.

Pumpkin Bread
*Don't forget to adjust cooking times for size of loaf pan or muffins

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
2.In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
3.Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

This is another recipe I found on I think it came out pretty well. I mean, it wasn't amazing, but it was good.

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

4 (3/4 inch) thick pork chops
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tart apples - peeled, cored and sliced
3 tablespoons pecans (optional)

1.Preheat oven to 175 degrees F (80 degrees C). Place a medium dish in the oven to warm.
2.Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush chops lightly with oil and place in hot pan. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, or until done. Transfer to the warm dish, and keep warm in the preheated oven.
3.In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt and pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add butter to skillet, and stir in brown sugar mixture and apples. Cover and cook until apples are just tender. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and arrange on top of chops. Keep warm in the preheated oven.
4.Continue cooking sauce uncovered in skillet, until thickened slightly. Spoon sauce over apples and chops. Sprinkle with pecans.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Eventful Sunday

It was a very busy Sunday! I got to sleep in with Justin and the dogs, which is a very rare occurrence between work and school. I didn't roll out of bed until almost 9 A.M. and then jumped in the shower to get ready to go out with the girls. My friend took us out to the venue where she will be having her wedding, so we could check it out and take pictures for decorating purposes. We then headed to the bridal show at Crystal Gardens. I can't say we got many ideas for her wedding, but we did sample entirely too much cake, and threw back some mimosas during the food tasting!

When I got home I surprised Justin with a super delicious ice cream cake.

The Birthday boy and his cake!

I think the spiral candles are super cool...dorky, I know

We stuck the cake in the freezer for later, and went to Outback for dinner.

Justin enjoying a blooming onion and a beer

We ran the leftovers home and went to the movies and saw Easy A. It was a surprisingly good movie, and a relaxing end to an awesome day!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Healthier Apple Crunch

A little off topic of the post, but I'm excited to say that I've joined the team Operation Cookie Drop on Baking Gals. For those of you unfamiliar with the site; it is for volunteers to bake goodies and send them to troops deployed in a war zone. You can also add other goods to your packages as well.

On to the apple crunch...

I have a whole bag of granny smith apples that I need to use up, so I went on the hunt for some new apple recipes. I wanted to make something a little healthier than the pies and dumplings I usually make. I found this recipe for Apple Crunch on the blog Good Things Catered, and it seemed to fit the bill. It was quick and I was pretty impressed with the flavor for the few ingredients. It will definitely become a regular dessert at our house!

Apple Crunch

4 large apples
1/2 c. oats
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
4 Tbsp butter, cold
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray an 8x8 baking dish with baking spray
Peel, core, and dice apples into 1/2-inch pieces
Spread apples evenly in baking dish.
In medium bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg
Cut butter into small pieces and add to dry ingredients along with the vanilla.
With pastry blender, cut butter into dry ingredients until all butter is about the size of a small pea.
Sprinkle this mixture evenly over apples.
Place baking dish in oven and bake for 55-60 minutes or until apples have cooked down and begun to caramelize.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

First Attempt at Pumpkin Pie

This recipe was called "Perfect Pumpkin Pie" and I must say, I agree! I was a little nervous because I had never made pumpkin pie before, but it seemed pretty simple. So easy, and so, so good!

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes.
2.Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool. Garnish as desired. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Colorful Veggie Bake

I was looking for some new ways to cook veggies, so I tried this casserole. I think it is great as a side dish and would work with almost any meal. I doubled the cracker topping because it's my favorite part.

Colorful Veggie Bake

2 (16 ounce) packages frozen California blend vegetables, thawed
8 ounces process cheese (eg. Velveeta), cubed
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup crushed butter-flavored crackers

1.Prepare vegetables according to package directions; drain. Place half in an ungreased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dish. In a small saucepan, combine cheese and 4 tablespoons butter; cook and stir over low heat until melted. Pour half over vegetables. Repeat layers.
2.Melt the remaining butter; toss with cracker crumbs. Sprinkle over the top. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies - Take II

This recipe was a little different, since it included instant pudding mix. I think they came out great. I prefer these to the last recipe, but Justin still rates the last one as his top pick so far.

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
*I cut this recipe in half, as I had no need to make such a huge batch. I also had to bake them for about 4 minutes longer than the directions called for.

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
2.In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3.Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

Original Recipe

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No Pumpkin Shortage Here!

I keep hearing how there is going to a big shortage of canned pumpkin this year. I ran into the grocery store to grab something else, and saw an end shelf full of it. I don't know if there is really going to be a shortage, but I'm not about to make homemade pumpkin puree...I made sure I grabbed enough for the bread and pies I want to make this fall.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies - Take I

I am looking for the best homemade chocolate chip cookie recipe that I can find. I figure I will try a different recipe each time, until I find "the one". This recipe is very popular on the food blogs and had a pretty high rating. The cookies are good, but I just wasn't that impressed. I will definitely be trying another one next time.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions. Preheat oven 325°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside. With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull apart into two equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball. Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy (approximately 11-14 minutes). Do not over bake.

Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Freakin' Fantastic Apple Dumplings

I saw this recipe on Tasty Kitchen. I was hesitant for two reasons...

1. It is absolutely loaded with butter and sugar
2. It uses Mountain Dew for a sauce

It had raving reviews, so I decided to give it a go. Oh. My. God. These are so delicious! I packaged most of the pan up to give to friends, just to avoid eating too many of them. They truly are awful for you(but oh so worth it).

Easy Apple Dumplings
2 whole Granny Smith Apples, Cored And Peeled
2 cans Refrigerator Crescent Rolls
2 sticks Butter
1 1/2 cup White Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 can Mountain Dew
Ground Cinnamon

Cut apples into 8 slices each.

Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan.

Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir.

Add vanilla, stir, and pour over apples.

Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Stuffed Shells

I made stuffed shells for dinner tonight. They were way more time consuming than I was expecting. I tried adding spinach to half the batch and it added a nice flavor. I think next time I may try adding some kind of meat(italian sausage or chicken). I also added some mozzarella on top before baking. I covered it with foil for the first 15 minutes to keep them from drying out, then removed the foil and continued baking for 15-20 minutes.

Stuffed Shells

1 (16 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells
4 cups large curd cottage cheese
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 pinch garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1.Cook shells according to package directions. Place in cold water to stop cooking. Drain.
2.Mix together cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, eggs, and garlic powder. Rub the dried herbs in the palms of your hands to pulverize them, and stir into the cheese mixture. Stuff mixture into the shells.
3.Spread 1/3 of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 15 x 10 inch pan. Place shells open side up, and close together in pan. Spread remaining sauce over top, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
4.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 35 minutes, or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Donut Muffins

I have been waiting for some free time to try these donut muffins and finally got around to it tonight. They taste pretty good, and do remind me a lot of donuts. Great fall muffin!

Donut Muffins

1-3/4 cup Flour
1-1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 teaspoons Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/3 cups Oil
3/4 cups White Sugar
1 whole Egg
3/4 cups Milk

1/4 cups Butter
1/3 cups White Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Combine oil, sugar, egg and milk. Add dry ingredients and stir only to combine.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a bowl. Combine the white sugar with the cinnamon in another bowl.

Shake muffins out while still hot. Dip muffins in butter, then into the sugar/cinnamon mix. Let cool.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Muffiiny Goodness

I have had a rough couple of days and have been trying to keep myself busy. I ran out of things to clean, so I decided to occupy myself with some baking. I have made this recipe for blueberry streusel muffins several times, and they always turn out delicious. Here is the batch I baked today(notice they are sitting on my new plates!):

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups blueberries

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, chilled

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
2.In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.
3.Stir the flour mixture into egg mixture alternately with milk. Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping over unbaked muffins.
4.Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mail that smells good?

As I opened my P.O. Box today, I was pleasantly surprised with the aroma of vanilla. It threw me off at first, but then I remembered the vanilla beans I had ordered! I saw this blog post for homemade vanilla extract, and it inspired me to do a homemade goody basket for Christmas gifts this year.

I have never attempted to make homemade extract before, so I hope that I can turn this:

Into something delicious!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Puppy Birthday!

Our youngest dog, Moose, turns a year old this week! You wouldn't guess that he is a year old by his behavior, but he's gotten to be a very big boy. He weighs in at around 65 lbs now. I found an old party hat and tried to get him to pose for a didn't go as well as I would have liked!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Dinnerware!

Kind of silly to get excited about, I suppose, but I just ordered new dinnerware. We have been using a mish mash of hand-me-down dishes since we started living together 2 1/2 years ago. I was looking for something simple, casual, and dishwasher/microwave safe. I also didn't want to spend a lot.

Here's what we got:

It looks like it will match the blue of our kitchen very well. Can't wait for it to arrive!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Girls Night

We started the party at my place with pizza, cake, and lots of alcohol. At about 10:30 PM we rounded up a DD and headed out to the bar, where we stayed until closing time! I had so much fun with our girls night that I forgot about my camera for most of it. Here are a few that I did remember to take. WARNING: Slight adult content below(not true nudity, don't worry)

Here is what was inside the goody bags. Everyone got a penis straw and whistle, mini massage oils and the awesome "pecker popper." These were a blast! You blow them up, squeeze the balls, and they shoot confetti and streamers everywhere.

Here are some shots of the cake. Someone dipped their finger in the frosting on the tip before I took the pictures :-(





We had to raise the pinata until party time because Pinky was way too interested in it. This is before we put the face on him.

With his face on

It was filled with blow pops, laffy taffy, jolly ranchers, air heads, and some candy called BJ Blast- which I think is just a pricey version of pop rocks. Here it is after we beat the living daylights out of it!