Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kid-friendly Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies

Loved doing this with my 2-year old! And, she did too!

The night before we "made" these easy and fun cookies, I prepped the cookie dough - just your basic chocolate cookie recipe. I divided the batter in half and made to logs. I covered them with plastic wrap and placed one in the fridge and one in the freezer (to use for a later date, and added foil for extra freezer coverage).

The next day, I sliced the log into "cookies," placed them on the baking sheet and my daughter placed the fun, chocolate flavored sprinkles on top. So fun!

I baked them for the same time as I would what the recipe called for and they turned out great.

Enjoy and pass this idea along to other Momma's for a fun kitchen activity!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Banana Walnut Muffins

Oddly enough, I made these a couple months back and have lost the recipe. They weren't my favorite, but I took these photos of them, and at least thought I would share them with you!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Zucchini Muffins

So delish. So moist. Of course, I'm in heaven. And guess what? So is my daughter?! And she's eating . . . what?! Zucchini?! YAY! I adapted this recipe from Recipezaar, and if I had carrots, I would had added a cup of those, too, in lieu of zucchini.

Zucchini Muffins
adapted from Recipezaar's Zucchini Carrot Muffins

3 cups shredded zucchini
1 small chopped peeled apple
3/4 cup flaked coconut
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Gently toss together zucchini, apple, coconut, almonds and orange peel; set aside.
2 In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking sida and salt.
3 Combine eggs, oil and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened (batter will be thick). Fold in zucchini mixture.
4 Fill greased or paper-lined muffins cups two-thirds full. Bake at 375 for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
5 Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to wire rack.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese

This is my second try at macaroni and chesse. I made a slow cooker recipe from Paula Deen in early January and it did not come out how I anticipated. The macaroni was overcooked and the sauce, not really "cheese," was too creamy and saucy for my liking. If you're the "creamy" mac 'n' cheese lover, my advice would be to try this recipe out, but make sure that you undercook the macaroni so that it can continue to cook while it's in the crockpot.

Ever since my crockpot mac 'n' cheese creation, I have been on the path to finding the "perfect" macaroni and cheese recipe. My waistline will not forgive me. I apologize in advanced.

So, today I made another Paula Deen mac 'n' cheese recipe (maybe that's it?!), and I must say that progress has been made. This time it was not too saucy and there was definitely some cheese action going on. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of onion, and because I was a bit lazy (and had baby wrapped around my legs), I substituted a few shakes of dry minced onion - oops! Maybe you like onion in your macaroni and cheese? I have found that I do not. This recipe had too much grease in the end (one could see grease oozing above the deliciousness) and therefore, I would use less butter next time around. Thinking about it now, I realize that the onion was to probably absorb some of that butter that my recipe (with dried minced onion) could have used without. We all know Paula loves her some butter, so let's move on. Lastly, I didn't have any tomatoes, so I just did without. A 9x13 pan is way too large, and next time I'll use a small serving dish.

Let me know your thoughts if you decide to have a hankerin' for mac n cheese. Or perhaps you have a stellar recipe I can try?

Tomato Macaroni and Cheese
Paula Deen

4 tablespoons butter, plus more for bakingdish
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons minced onion
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
3/4 tablespoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 cups milk
3 cups shredded Cheddar, divided
2 ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch thickslices
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish.

Bring 6 cups of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly, until tender. Add the flour, salt, dry mustard, and paprika; mix well. Stir in the milk and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the shredded cheese and stir until melted. Toss in the macaroni and pour into the prepared dish. Cover the macaroni with tomato slices and season salt and pepper, to taste. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The last few minutes, top with the remaining cheese and return to the oven until the cheese melts. Serve hot.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Black and Tan Rice Crispy Treats

I had the urge to try and make something different, unique, and that did not have to be stuck in the oven. At the grocery store yesterday, I opted to buy a few of my favorite things: peanut butter, rice crispies, marshmallows, and cocoa crispies. Yup. Put it all together, add a little Paula Dean butter, and voila - my creation: Black and Tan Rice Crispy Treats.

This recipe could easily be altered by subtracting some or all of the peanut butter. If doing so, add another tablespoon of butter when eliminating all peanut butter. The peanut butter is not overpowering by any means, but is subtle and quite tasty with the marshmallow and chocolate flavors.

Black and Tan Rice Crispy Treats
3 T butter
2 T peanut butter
Lg Bag of Marshmallows
3 c Rice Crispies
3 c Cocoa Crispies

Melt butter, peanut butter, and marshmallows in large microwaveable bowl in microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir every minute. Add rice crispies and cocoa crispies to melted mixture and place in greased 8 x 12 (or similar size) pan. Let harden and then cut and serve.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Southern Coconut Cake

I got a little teary-eyed when I was invited to my first "Mother Daughter" Lunch last week. My little one is only 8 months and although most of the daughters were over 8 years old (more like 14 and up), I was still giddy with delight.

Although I wasn't supposed to make anything for the occasion, I almost felt like this would give me a good reason to turn on the oven in Northern California's heat wave. I had a can of coconut milk in the pantry calling my name. I bought in the hopes that I would make this recipe for a coconut cake sooner than later.

This delicious cake is probably one of my favorite of all the cakes I have made thus far. The frosting is by far the ultimate - cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar, and a partridge in a pair tree - well, who could ask for anything more?! The frosting was also so delightful as it was light and fluffy instead of the normal "cream cheese frosting" one often slathers on a cake. I would definitely recommend this recipe/cake to others. The frosting is a bit tedious in the beginning, but my thought is that second time around it will be easier because you'll know what the process is and you'll be more familiar with the tasks at hand.


Southern Coconut Cake
from Gigi Cakes

Makes an 8-inch triple layer cake

For the cake:
5 large egg whites
½ cup of milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3 cups of cake flour*
2 and 1/3 cup sugar
4 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
½ teaspoon of salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter (8oz.) at warm room temperature
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

2 ½ cups of sweetened flaked coconut for garnishing cake

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter the bottoms of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a parchment circle and butter the circle.
Put the egg whites in a bowl and whisk slightly. Add the ½ cup of milk and the vanilla and whisk to mix thoroughly; set aside.
In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, beat dry ingredients well in order to break up any lumps. Add the butter and coconut milk on low speed and beat just to combine. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy about 2 minutes.
Add the egg white mixture in 2 or 3 additions, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Divide the batter among the pans.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake taster inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes. Then turn the cakes out and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on an 8-inch cake round. Cover this layer with 1 cup of the buttercream frosting. Spread it evenly all the way to edge of the cake. Then sprinkle ½ cup of shredded coconut on top. Add the second layer and repeat the process. Top with the final layer of cake and frost the top and sides of the cake.
Place the remaining 1 ½ cups shredded coconut on a large baking tray. Pick up the cake and hold it on the palm of one hand over the tray. Using the other hand scoop up the coconut and press it to the sides of the cake. Continue with this process until the sides of the cake are covered. Set the cake on a serving plate and sprinkle any remaining coconut on top of cake. Chill cake for at least one hour to allow frosting to firm up a bit.

Cream cheese buttercream frosting

12 ounces of cream cheese* slightly chilled
1 stick of butter plus 6 tablespoons of butter (7 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup of confectioners sugar, sifted after measuring
2 teaspoons of granulated sugar
¼ cup of water
3 egg whites

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer and beat on medium speed until slightly fluffy and smooth. Add the butter 1-2 tablespoons at a time, mixing until smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and mix until fluffy. Set aside at room temperature while buttercream is made.
Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Continue to cook without stirring until the syrup reaches the softball stage 228 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
Meanwhile, place the egg whites in mixer bowl and have the mixer ready to go. When the syrup is ready, turn the mixer on med-low and begin mixing the egg whites. Slowly add the hot syrup to the whites taking care not to pour onto the beaters, it may splash. When all the syrup is incorporated, raise the speed on the mixer to med-high and beat the egg whites until mixture has cooled and stiff meringue forms.
With the mixer on low, begin adding the cream cheese mixture by the spoonful. When all is incorporated, raise the speed to medium and whip until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bran Flax Muffins

Every so often I make a ton of muffins and while eating one or two straight from the oven, I individually wrap them or put them in a sandwich bag and freeze them for future breakfasts. I really like this as freezing them seems to keep their freshness encapsulated - I take one out before going to bed and the next morning - voila! - a freshly baked muffin, just for me.

The bran flax muffins I made not too long ago remind me of my Mom's Carrot Cake, which I plan to write about some day. The recipe calls for carrots and apples, which right there, tells you this little bundle of goodness is going to be, you guessed it - delicious (did you think I was going to say moist?)!

Here are some notes from my baking:
- I did not include raisins
- Although my hubby is not a huge fan of nuts, I thought, "What the heck?!" - He'll be okay just this once.
- I used All-Purpose Flour instead of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
- I used "regular" light brown sugar

This Bran Flax Muffins recipe comes from Bob's Red Mill Flax Seed Meal. Great recipe and I would definitley make them again, especially for a "healthy" bunch of people.

Bran Flax Muffins

1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
3/4 cup Flaxseed Meal
3/4 cup Oat Bran Cereal
1 cup Yellow D Sugar ( Brown Sugar)
2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cinnamon, Saigon (Premium)
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Carrots
2 peeled and shredded Apples
1/2 cup Raisins (optional)
1 cup chopped Nuts
3/4 cup Milk
2 beaten Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla

Mix together flour, Bob's Red Mill Flaxseed Meal, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in carrots, apples, raisins (if desired) and nuts. Combine milk, beaten eggs and vanilla. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir until ingredients are moistened. DO NOT OVER MIX. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.

Yield: 15 medium muffins