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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Scrumptious Dinner

Thanks to a friend for recommending this dish! We loved it. The boys ate it quickly without much complaint, except to say that they don't want the mushrooms next time. Since they knew dessert was coming after dinner, they ate it down very quickly. Tasty tasty. I cannot wait to make it again (I think I will make as I did this time...the boys probably won't even notice the veggies). NOTE: I used Gluten free pasta and Gluten free cream of mushroom soup...it was good)

Chicken Spaghetti
adapted from: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/chicken_spaghet/

2 chicken breasts, boneless skinless (cooked until just done & chopped
12 oz dry spaghetti, broken into pieces
Water (mixed with chicken boullion, dehydrated onions and peppers) to boil pasta
1 can cream of mushroom soup (with about 1/4 cup water mixed in)
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (pepper jack would be yummy too)

Cook pasta in water with boullion mixture; drain.  Place in a large bowl. Stir in soup and 1 cup shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for about 45minutes covered in foil.  Uncover and bake an additional 15minutes until 1/2 cup cheese is melted and gooey.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Pooh Cakes

As mentioned before, growing up we had lots of fun little traditions.  One of these traditions was making Christmas cookies with Mom.  One of my brothers always made these little cakes.  When he was younger, he loved playing tea party with my sisters and I. One time when Mom made these little gems he called them "Pooh Cakes" (he is an avid fan of Winne the Pooh and friends) and the name has stuck with them since then. Today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe so I thought this recipe was appropriate.

Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies (aka Pooh Cakes)
adapted from: http://www.browneyedbaker.com/snowball-cookies-recipe/

2 cups flour
2 cups chopped pecans, divided (omitted) - half finely chopped and the other regular chopped
3/4 t salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325. Mix flour, half the nuts and salt in a bowl; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl cream together butter with sugar.  Add vanilla.  Slowly add flour/nut mixture; beat until just incorporated. Place tablespoon-sized balls of dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake 17-19minutes. Cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.  Place powdered sugar in a bag and shake cookies around to coat. Rest for an hour. Repeat.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fudgy Deliciousness

Today is the Feast Day of St Nicholas.  I can really start my Christmas baking, now that I am energized for this Advent Season (and upcoming Christmas Season).  I have made a similar recipe to this one many times; so easy and so good.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
adapted from: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/chocolate_crinkles/

1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 t vanilla (sometimes I add a small splash of peppermint extract)
2 cups flour
2 t baking powder
1 t espresso powder (optional) - have not tried this but heard it makes the chocolate 'pop'
1/2 t salt
1 cup powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl cream together oil with sugar and cocoa powder.  Add eggs, singly.  Add vanilla. In another bowl combine flour, baking powder, espresso and salt.  Slowly add to the wet ingredients until just incorporated.  Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap or place in a sealed container. Chill several hours.  Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with silicon mats.  Drop dough by tablespoons into powdered sugar; coat.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Cool completely on a cooling rack after resting slightly on cookie sheet first.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Where Has The Time Gone?!

Happy New Year (in the Liturgical Calendar)! Today is the First Sunday of Advent. During this time of preparation I am going to focus on what the REAL reason is in the season by making more simple meals for our family.  Yes I will still be doing my normal yearly baking of cookies, sweets, etc. However I will try and make more of the focus on Christ, rather than on the material side of life. My hope is that BAP and SSP will be more in the giving aspect instead of the getting.  I understand they are still young; at least I can try.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Smells & Tastes Like the Holidays

I absolutely love this time of year...especially when you can be all cooped up in the house on a cold snowy day.  On days like this, I just love baking yummy treats (our house smells like cinnamon right now...so perfect).

Roasted Salty & Sweet Pumpkin Seeds
adapted from: http://www.sidewalkshoes.com/2014/10/sweet-salty-roasted-pumpkin-seeds.html

2 cups pumpkin seeds, washed off (I soak mine in salt water in a covered container overnight, then rinse off really well when ready to use)
1 t kosher salt
2 T brown sugar
1 T olive oil
1 t balsamic vinegar
1 t vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Spread out on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 10minutes. Flip over with a spatula and bake an additional 5 to 10minutes longer.  Cool completely. Place in an airtight bag until ready to eat. Enjoy!

Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Bread
adapted from: http://www.mastercook.com/app/Recipe/WebRecipeDetails?recipeId=1721670

1 3/4 cups flour
2 t cinnamon
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted (cooled)
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 t vanilla
1 cup pumpkin
2 T cocoa poder

In a bowl sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a large mixing bowl cream together sugar and eggs.  Add melted butter, buttermilk and vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture. Remove half the batter from the bowl; set aside. Add cocoa powder to other half in the mixing bowl. Layer batter layers in a greased/floured bread pan.  Swirl with a knife.  Bake at 350 for about 1 hour.  Cool for 5minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Glaze
adapted from: http://daintymorsels.com/2012/11/19/garam-masala-gingerbread-cupcakes-with-lemon-ginger-buttercream/

Cake
1 1/2 cups flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1/8 t ground allspice
1/2 t ground ginger
3/4 t garam masala
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
3 eggs

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 T milk
1/2 t lemon extract

Preheat oven to 350.  In a small bowl combine butter and water; melt. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and spices.  Beat together molasses and brown sugar until smooth; add eggs one at time (beating well after each one).  Add flour slowly until just incorporated; slowly add butter mixture. Place cupcake liners in 36mini cupcake pan; use a 1T measure of batter in each well. Bake for about 10minutes. While cupcakes are cooling combine powdered sugar, milk and lemon extract for glaze. Cool cakes completely then drizzle with lemon glaze.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Delicious Pairing

Rummaging/reorganizing my freezer last week I noticed that I had some frozen salmon fillets...yum. Now what could I do with them that would be good?! I found this recipe.  Even though BAP was a bit skeptical at first he loved it after he tried it (who would have thought that this could happen?!). SSP gagged his down...he did not enjoy it as well (I guess I cannot expect a 4 year old to like EVERYTHING).

Salmon with Chili Sauce
adapted from: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Salmon-with-Sweet-Chili-Glaze-Sugar-Snap-Peas-and-Pea-Tendrils-358190

1/4 cup Asian sweet chili sauce (looks like orange marmalade with an extra umph)
2 T soy sauce
1 t ground ginger
3 salmon fillets

Stir together chili sauce, soy sauce and ginger.  Pour over salmon fillets and let rest for about 25 minutes.  Broil for about 10minutes.  Serve over teriyaki noodles and stir fried veggies (I found some yummy noodles at Costco in the  cold case section. Perfect!)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Super Tasty Moist & Delicious

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. We are so thankful for all our family and friends! On  Sunday we hosted my husband's family for a Thanksgiving dinner. We had a glorious feast, including this delicious turkey.

Cider & Citrus Brined Turkey
adapted from: http://wickedgoodkitchen.com/apple-cider-citrus-turkey-brine-with-herbs-and-spices/

1 (20lb) turkey, thawed (with neck and innards removed)

Juice Part
1 gallon apple cider, divided
1 gallon COLD water, divided
1 1/4 cups kosher salt
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 bay leaves
8 lemon thyme sprigs
8 star anise pods
3 T whole peppercorns
1 T allspice berries
4 cinnamon sticks

Citrus Part
3 large oranges, cut up into wedges
2 large lemons, cut up into wedges
2 medium onions, cut up

Butter mixture
1 cup butter, softened
3 T fresh lemon thyme, roughly chopped

Fruit Stuffing
Oranges, chunked
Lemons, chunked
Onions, chunked

In a large stock pot, combine 12 cups each apple cider and water with the rest of the juice ingredients. Boil until salt dissolved. Cool slightly. Squeeze lemons and oranges into brine; place them in the pot along with the onions. Cool completely. Place thawed turkey in a large bucket (5gallon).  Pour brine over turkey. Place some of the lemons, oranges and onions inside the turkey. Cover and chill/brine in the fridge for 18 hours. Remove turkey from the brine about 12hours before cooking.  Rinse in cold water for about 15minutes. Place in a roasting pan. Cover and return to fridge again overnight. Remove Turkey from oven 6hours before baking to let it come to room temperature. Rub with softened butter and lemon thyme. Stuff with additional onion, lemon and orange chunks. Bake at 325 for approximately 4 1/2 hours until thigh meat reaches 180degrees on a thermometer.