Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Buckeyes.......




Buckeyes...not Wolverines! Michigan joke!!LOL These are a Midwestern favorite, and my family can just devourer them. Sometimes a little too much!!


BUCKEYES

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter

1 cup butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

*3 – 4 cups melting chocolate


INSTRUCTIONS:
1. In the bowl of a mixer, combine peanut butter and butter until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, until well-mixed; then add graham cracker crumbs. Mixture should be dry.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form dough into teaspoon-sized balls, and lay on the baking sheet . Press a toothpick into each ball and put baking sheet into freezer for at least 30 minutes.
3. In a double-broiler or a heat-proof bowl over simmering water, melt the melting chocolate.
4. Using the toothpick to hold them, dip frozen peanut butter balls in chocolate. Leave a small portion of peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like Buckeyes. Put back on the cookie sheet, remove toothpick, and refrigerate until serving.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cinnamon Snowballs









I found these cookies over on Cookie Madness. And they are so easy to make, I let my 11yo son attempt it. They turned out great, and he recieved many compliments. They should be on your cookie platter!



Cinnamon Snowballs (reprinted from Cookie Madness)


INGREDIENTS

8 oz butter (2 sticks)

3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups sifted cake flour

2 cups cornflakes, crushed after measuring

1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Powdered sugar and extra cinnamon for sprinkling


DIRECTIONS

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

*Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

*Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon with an electric mixer.

*Stir in the cake flour followed by the cornflakes and nuts.

*Shape dough into about 48 small balls.

* Arrange on cookie sheets and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly and remove from pan.

*Roll in powdered sugar while warm. Sprinkle with some extra cinnamon if you feel like it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Run, run, It's the Gingerbread Man!


As you can see, I am a gingerbread man fan. I've collected vintage cutters for years. I even dress up a small tree each year with them. I will not let a holiday season go by with out baking up some of these spicy delights.






This is what you call a lot of gingerbread men. I cut out and bake them, then line them up on the bar to decorate and dry over night. The red hot candies are added just as they make their way out of the oven. Nothing is more traditional than these at holiday time!


GINGERBREAD CUT-OUTS

Ingredients

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Directions
*Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. *Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes with 5-inch cookie cutter. *Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
*Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies as desired. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chocolate Crinkles for Kris Kringle......

These chocolate melt in your mouth cookies are a big favorite among my friends and family. So easy to do, and just take minutes to make. They may seem gooey to roll into a ball. Just wet your fingertips a bit, and they roll better. And the trick to knowing if they're done is when they form the crinkled top and it starts to set. ENJOY!

Chocolate Crinkles
Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Directions
*In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil, chocolate and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to chocolate mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until easy to handle.
*Working with 1 cup of dough at a time, shape into 1-in. balls. Roll in confectioners' sugar. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pecan Butter Balls


These are a holiday favorite here at our house. They go by all sorts of names: Pecan butter balls, Russian tea balls, Meltaways, and Mexican Wedding Cakes. They are super easy to make. I'll be posting alot of items this month which I am baking to give you good ideas for holiday food gift giving. So stay tuned!
PECAN BUTTER BALLS


INGREDIENTS
1 c. butter

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 c. sifted flour

1 c. finely chopped pecans

powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS
**Cream butter with salt and vanilla.

**Add 1/2 cup sugar gradually and cream well.

**Sift in flour and chopped nuts. Mix well.

**Shape stiff dough into balls and place on greased cookie sheet.

**Bake 350 degrees until light brown, 10-13 minutes, depending on size of cookie. When done remove hot from pan, let cool, and roll in powdered sugar.

**When cool store in airtight container.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Carving your Turkey has never been easier......


Check out this great video for carving on your special day.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Pumpkin Scones .....Yummo!

I'm still trying out those delicious flavors from Kernel Seasons.....Pumpkin Spice was next. I guess it's "Tis the season" to be hooked on pumpkin right? Boy, did they get this one right, it taste just like pumpkin pie....super yummy! Keeping with the quickbread theme, I tried out a wonderful Pumpkin Scone recipe. Adding in some craisins and pecans. Man, these are addicting!





PUMPKIN CRANBERRY SCONES


Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup applesauce
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 cup finely chopped pecans
2 cups craisins


Kernel Seasons Pumpkin Spice





Directions
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 2 baking sheets.
*In a large bowl, stir together all-purpose and whole wheat flours, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix in ginger, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
*In a separate large bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Mix in applesauce, then slowly stir in 2 1/4 cups sugar until well blended. Mix in the eggs and pumpkin. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Then stir in pecans and craisins.
*Split into two disc, and roll out each to about 10 to 12 inch circle , cutting into the usual wedge shape. Sprinkle with KS pumpkin spice, and place on baking sheet.
*Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove, and let cool on cookie sheets 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kernel Seasons Milk Chocolate Caramel......

Milk Chocolate and Caramel Seasoning makes it debut from Kernel Popcorn. And this is super yummy! First I made a big batch of popcorn and seasoned it with the chocolaty stuff. Then let it loose with my students. They really loved it! Said it was a winner!


Then it was on to coming up with something to shake it on that hadn't been done before. We are in the Quick bread Unit at school, so I thought scones may be the way to go. These were light and moist, with a wonderful hint of chocolate and caramel. I sprinkled on the seasoning just before baking. Yummy!!



CHOCOLATE CHIP SCONES with a hint of OJ
Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons orange juice


Directions
*Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
*In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With a pastry blender or a large fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips. Mix in the orange juice to form a dough.
*Turn out the dough on a floured surface. Pat or roll into a 9 inch circle about 1/2 inch thick. With a 2 1/2 inch fluted biscuit cutter, cut out 12 scones, pushing the dough scraps together for the last few, if necessary. Transfer the scones to the baking sheet. (Add seasoning now)
*Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Move to wire racks to cool.








Friday, November 11, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Pudding

Who can resist the chance to make something delicious and sweet in their crock pot. Mix and walk away for six hours. Super simple! I recently made this for a harvest luncheon dessert, along with a nice apple crisp. I thought people would enjoy the taste of a pumpkin pie without all the calories. Just make sure to spray the pot well.......



Pumpkin Pie Pudding



Ingredients
1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup biscuit/baking mix
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
whipped topping



Directions
In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Transfer to a slow cooker coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or until a thermometer reads 160 degrees F. Serve in bowls with whipped topping if desired.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Love-----ly Story........



Read this beautiful story today and just had to pass it on. As a Hospice Volunteer, if I speak with family member during visits, I always remind them to tell their loved ones how they feel even if they do not feel that today may be their last. And how important it is surround that person with as nuch love as you can!






So here it is, copied from a posting on Facebook:




After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinne...r and a movie. She said, "I love you, but I know this other woman loves you too, and she would love to spend some time with you."

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.

"What's wrong, are you well?" she asked. My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.

"I thought that it would be pleasant to spend some time with you," I responded. "Just the two of us."

She thought about it for a moment, and then said...
"I would like that very much."

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up, I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel's.

"I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed," she said, as she got into the car. "They can't wait to hear about our meeting."

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips.

"It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small," she said.

"Then it's time that you relax and let me return the favor," I responded.

During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation - nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other's life. We talked so much that we missed the movie.

As we arrived at her house later, she said, "I'll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you." I agreed.

"How was your dinner date?" asked my wife when I got home.

"Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined," I answered.

A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn't have a chance to do anything for her. Some time later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: "I paid this bill in advance. I wasn't sure that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates - one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you, son."

At that moment I understood the importance of saying, in time, "I LOVE YOU."
And to give our loved ones the time they deserve. Because nothing is more important in life than family... and they shouldn't be put off until "some other time.”

.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cookie Time Again.....



How about those pumpkins?? It is hard to believe Halloween is tomorrow with all this snow coming down. I thought maybe we had missed it and skipped into December already. What a better time to bake when you are cooped up at home surrounded by snow.




Sugar Cut Out Cookie Recipe
Ingredients





1 Cup of Softened Butter
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
3 c. of Flour
1 1/2 c. of Granulated Sugar (I use half brown sugar )
2 Large Egg
2 tsp. of Baking Powder


Directions
*Preheat the oven to 375°F.
*Cream the butter and sugar.
*Beat eggs and vanilla into the butter / sugar mixture.
*In a separate bowl, sift together the baking powder, salt and flour.
*Mix the sifted dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients one cup at a time, and continue mixing until the dough becomes stiff.
*Divide the dough in half and refrigerate 1 hour or more.
*On a floured surface, roll each half of the dough until it's approximately 1/8" thick.
*Cut out cookies using floured cookie cutters.
*Bake the cookies on an parchment covered cookie sheet for 6 - 8 minutes, or until they're golden brown.
*Let the cookies cool before frosting.


**Now for the frosting I use a confectionery sugar frosting and dip the cookies in to get that smooth texture. I let them dry then take chocolate frosting with a small round tube in my pastry bag to make the facial marks on the pumpkins










Confectionery Sugar Frosting -
3 c. powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. lemon juice or extract, and enough warm water to get the dipping consistency you desire.**It works best in a mixing bowl with a whip. I let it go to get all the lumps out

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Awesome Pumpkin Cookies

We made these a few weeks back at school and I just had to share. They are super moist and delicious. They will last a while, if you can stop yourself from eating everyone! Storage my be difficult because of the frosting. be sure to let dry well before stacking.



INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup Pure Pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Glaze (recipe follows)

DIRECTIONS
**PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets.

**COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets

**BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle Glaze over cookies.

**FOR GLAZE:
COMBINE 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fly Your Flag!!

Great day to fly a flag here in New England. The weather has been sunny and wonderful. Fall is peaking it's head in and it is nice to see.


I made this Leaf Flag about 20 years ago, after seeing it on a beautiful Fall day, driving through Vermont. I knew I had to make it, it was just so darn cute! Flying flags like these are pretty popular around these parts, so I have made a few through the years. This was one of my first ones and it was fun to do.


The hard part was getting all the poplin colors. And then of course all the close stitched zig-zag stitching. After you do all that stitching, then it is on to using a seam ripper. So yes, it can be time consuming, but well worth it. And look how long it has lasted!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tasty Fall Leaves


I haven't had the chance to do any leaf peeping yet. The colors are not at their prime, but I am hoping to rectify that problem within the next couple weeks. But, to get ready for the fall big reveal, I thought I would make some colorful leaf cookie cut out. The weather is starting to chill and the rain has been falling for a few days now....what better way to spend an afternoon than to bake, bake, bake!


Sugar Cut Out Cookie Recipe
Instructions

1 Cup of Softened Butter
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
3 c. of Flour
1 1/2 c. of Granulated Sugar (I use half brown sugar )
2 Large Egg
2 tsp. of Baking Powder

Directions
*Preheat the oven to 375°F.
*Cream the butter and sugar.
*Beat eggs and vanilla into the butter / sugar mixture.
*In a separate bowl, sift together the baking powder, salt and flour.
*Mix the sifted dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients one cup at a time, and continue mixing until the dough becomes stiff.
*Divide the dough in half and refrigerate 1 hour or more.
*On a floured surface, roll each half of the dough until it's approximately 1/8" thick.
*Cut out cookies using floured cookie cutters.
*Bake the cookies on an parchment covered cookie sheet for 6 - 8 minutes, or until they're golden brown
.*Let the cookies cool before frosting.
**Now for the frosting I use a confectionery sugar frosting and dip the cookies in to get that smooth texture.



Confectionery Sugar Frosting -3 c. powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. lemon juice or extract, and enough warm water to get the dipping consistency you desire.
**It works best in a mixing bowl with a whip. I let it go to get all the lumps out.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie

This time of year I love me some pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin! And once again they say there is a shortage of pumpkins, which I haven't seen yet. But, if you see cans of pumpkin in the store right now, pick up enough to get through the holidays. The last couple of years when they said there was a shortage, as it got closer to Thanksgiving, you couldn't find any cans on some of the shelves at the local store. If your like me, and liking some pumpkin stock up baby!

PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES



Ingredients
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
2 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 tablespoon ground cloves


Directions
**1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Lightly grease baking sheets.
**2.Combine the oil and brown sugar. Mix in the pumpkin and eggs, beating well. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix well.
**3.Drop dough by heaping teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350 degree F. for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies cool and fill with marshmallow fluff or cream cheese frosting.

Pesto, pesto, pesto!

Yes, it is almost time for the overnight temperatures to reach freezing point, which is 32 or below. Unfortunately, that means hurry up and clean out the garden of anything that has survived so far. That meant picking the tomatoes green or not, all the jalapenos, and lots of herbs. Which included a huge amount of Basil.

So what better way to store up a bunch of this delightful smelly leaf, than to make it into pesto so that I can store up a bunch in the freezer. Some people store them in ice cube trays. But since I have none of them around I store mine in snack size ziploc bags. This recipe is so simple, especially if you have everything on hand.


PESTO
Ingredients
3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts

Directions
1.Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and nuts in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend to a smooth paste. Store in little ziploc snack bags in freezer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Panera Broccoli Cheddar





This week in class we will be stirring up a couple of great soups that we are copying from some famous restaurants. I made this several times and it comes out so great , you can not tell the difference. Go ahead and see if you can tell the difference.




PANERA BROCCOLI CHEDDAR




INGREDIENTS:
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups of 2 % milk
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound fresh broccoli (I use frozen if I have it on hand)
1 cup carrots,shredded



salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese

PREPARATION:
**Saute onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the milk(this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

**Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monster Cookies







I recently helped sponsor a bakesale and these cookies were one of the number one sellers. I love the fact that they seem a little healthy with the oats and peanut butter. Add a couple of teaspoons of flaxseed and it would seem even better!!! LOL


This time of year they make those special autumn colored M & M's if you can find them. And note this little trick..... if you press them into the dough after you have balled them up on the sheetpan, they will not chip and break.



MONSTER COOKIES
Ingredients
1/2 cup margarine, softened
3/4 cups white sugar
1 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2cups peanut butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoons corn syrup
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups flour
1 cup candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Directions
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, white sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs, two at a time, then stir in the corn syrup and vanilla. Mix in baking soda, flour, and oats until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Roll dough into 2 inch balls, and place 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand and place the candies in before baking.
3.Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes, before transferring to wire racks to cool completely

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fun Friday Pizza ....Yum!


I have a new go-to dough and sauce I've been tweeking. And boy is it delish! A really wet, sticky pizza dough that bakes up to perfection! Simple ingredients and technique in this dough make your pizza crust authentic, crispy and chewy just like your favorite NY pizza joint. This recipe makes enough for three 10- to 12-inch pizzas. And the sauce is enough for all three and more!

PIZZA DOUGH
Ingredients
2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 teaspoons sugar
4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tsp. salt
Directions
**1.Pour the warm water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the yeast and sugar. Start to mix with a dough hook. Gradually add the flour until it comes together. add oil and salt and continue ti machie knead the dough for 5 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead in 1/4 cup more flour or as needed, adding the flour about 2 tablespoons at a time, to make a wet, sticky, but elastic dough. The dough should be "as soft as a baby's bottom." Form the dough into a round shape.
**2.Wipe the inside of a large bowl with olive oil, and place the round ball of dough into the bowl. Turn the dough over a couple of times so the dough picks up a thin coating of oil. Cover with a cloth, and refrigerate the dough for 10 hours or overnight.
**3.The next day, allow the dough to come to room temperature before rolling out on a floured surface and adding toppings as desired. Roll the dough out thin with a thicker edge before adding toppings.
**4.Place a pizza stone into oven, dust it with a little flour, and preheat oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C). Bake the pizza on the stone in the preheated oven until the bottom of the crust is browned, 6 to 8 minutes.

Pizza Sauce

Ingredients
3 garlic cloves, minced or 3 teaspoons
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (29 ounce) can tomato puree
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons of oregano
1 T. fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions
1.In a large saucepan, saute garlic in oil until tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until sauce reaches desired thickness. Should you want it not too chunky puree it some more in a blender.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Graham Crackers..Really??



Have you ever wondered if you could make graham crackers?, how hard they would be? Well, probably not...You say, why make when you can buy a box for a $1.99. But, you can not find shaped grahams. So in my quest for something unique, I thought why not cut them into stars. They will look so cute with a fire roasted marshmallow in between, or you can frost cream cheese frosting in the middle of two and freeze. They can be packed away into school lunches. Your children will be the envy of the lunch table....


So with thoughts of an Autumn marshmallow roast on our backyard fire pit, these will be delish...Give these a try they are more simple then I would have ever thought!



Graham Cracker Recipe



*2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
*1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
*7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
*1/3 cup mild-flavored honey, such as clover
*5 tablespoons whole milk
*2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract



DIRECTIONS
**In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse or mix on low to incorporate.



**Add the butter and pulse on and off on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.
**In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
**Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
**Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into any shape you like and place on a parchment lined sheet pan.



*Repeat with the second batch of dough.
*Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
* Using a toothpick or skewer, prick the dough to form two dotted rows about 1/2 inch for each side of the dividing line.
Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the tough, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.
Yield: 10 large crackers

Cream Cheese Frosting



*8-ounce package of cream cheese
*2 tablespoons butter, softened
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*3 cups of powdered sugar, sifted




Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until creamy. Mix in the cream cheese and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla extract and when fully incorporated add the powdered sugar. Mix until smooth and creamy. Place in the refrigerator for an hour before using.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday....

No words can say how much we love our crazy dog....



Happy 8th Birthday Tucker!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

For the Chocoholic in You!





It's another rainy day in New England. And when it rains a girls gotta bake. I love these cookies and so does my family. I'll make a double batch and they will be gone by tomorrow! They are bendable, delicious, and chocolaty. They seem real wet when scooping out the batter. But, believe me when I tell you they come out fine. Just don't over bake....





Ingredients
Makes about 3 dozen
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces milk chocolate chips
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract



Directions
*Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

* Melt butter and stir together with the cocoa powder to a thick paste, set aside.

* Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
* Cream sugar, eggs, and vanilla; mix on medium speed until combined. Add in Cocoa/butter mixture, keep mixing.

* Fold in dry ingredients to mix. add in chocolate chips.
* Scoop batter using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop; place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are flat and surfaces begin to crack, about 12 minutes.Transfer on parchment to wire racks. Let cool 5 minutes. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Helpful Hint
These rich cookies will be real soft when they come out of the oven. They will crisp up!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Best Cookies Ever....



These are the best cookies ever. Each week I try to make 14 dozen or more cookies for snacks and lunches. I have the usual standbys, and then try to make something new. I always try to keep oatmeal in one or two different kinds, so that they will be healthy. So after a couple of tries, I now have a keeper.


So try them out, and just make sure not to over bake them. They are so de-lish!!! They'll be gone before you know it.


Cranberry-Oatmeal Delights


Preheat oven to 375 degrees; in a bowl mix together the following:


1 c. butter, 1/2 c. white sugar, 1 c. brown sugar; cream together , Add in 2 eggs


Add in 1 tsp. almond extract, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder


Mix; Add in 2 c. flour, 2 c. quick oats, 1/2 c. coconut, 1 c. white chips, and 1/2 c. dried, cranberries, could can also add in 1/2 c. chopped almonds (optional)


Place 3 x 4 on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 -12 min at 375 degrees. Do not overbake...



Monday, September 12, 2011

What Ever You Call Them ...Mini Calzones? Stuffed Bread?



Whatever you may call these, they are delicious. They make a great lunch alternative or snack treat. And if your really ambitious, you can make them smaller for appetizers. For the filling: for one I did taco seasoned beef with shredded cheddar cheese. And for the second: I used pepperoni, sauce, and mozzarella cheese. You can really put anything into them that you like such as lunch meat, cooked chicken/broccoli or just cheese. For the dough: I used the Pizza dough recipe from the "Martha Stewart Baking Book". It is a very easy dough, and I like the fact that you make it in a food processor.


Pizza Dough Recipe :Makes two round pizzas, 12 to 14 inches in diameter
1 cup warm water (100 degrees to 110 degrees)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 package active dry yeast
2 3/4 cups to 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 T. Olive Oil



Directions
**Pour warm water into a small bowl. Add sugar, and sprinkle in yeast. Using a fork, stir the mixture until yeast is dissolved and water has turned a tan color. Let yeast stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.


**In a food processor, use blade to combine the 2 3/4 cups flour and salt, and pulse three to four times. Add yeast mixture and 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Pulse until the dough comes together, adding more flour as needed until dough is smooth, not tacky, when squeezed. Transfer to clean surface; knead four or five turns, then shape into a ball. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.


I then take each ball and divide it into 8 pieces each. Then cover and let stand again for another 30 to 40 minutes.



While the dough is rising I fry up my lean ground beef with chopped onions, and then add taco seasoning, such as those that come in the small packets in the grocery store 2/$1. Then I allow it to cool.





I then, flatten each ball, so that I can place the filling in the middle.





For the pepperoni, I place them down first , then add cheese and sauce. For the beef, I put down a good spoonful, then place cheese on top. I then fold all the sides in, and press together the seams. Then place the now filled balls, seam side down, on a parchment papered sheetpan.





At this point, you can add any toppers like: poppy seed, sesame seed, or soaked dried onion. You will need to brush each with water before sprinkling it on. Then bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 20 minutes. They will be just a real light golden color. Let them cool and then wrap them separately.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Where do you spend Labor Day?


We will be spending our Labor Day in our beautiful semi-new back yard. BBQ will be on the menu, along with a possible Blueberry Cobbler with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Yum-mo!

So what plans have you made for this weekend? I remember when I was younger, I could not wait for the Jerry Lewis Telethon each year at this time. He would have so many celebs and entertainers. Now it seems to have changed over the years, where it has been a little boring. They actually have decided not to use Jerry this year and cut the telethon down to 6 hours.........(strange) He said he would comment on that on a later date.


And with the telethons that they have now once or twice a year for 4 hours or so on every channel, like the "Cure Cancer" one that is next week. They bring more celebs than ever, so I will be sure to watch that one.

This is also the Last Hurrah Weekend before school starts. So if there was anything you needed to get done before school starts this is the time. I've spent my time organizing closets and checking for out of sized clothes, to make list of what the kids needed to start school. Then I was off to my favorite place on Wednesdays, the S & A Boutique, where everything is half off. You wouldn't believe the Abercrombie , Gap, Old Navy, and Hollister, that I was able to find. Such a rush when you find great things, hardly worn at great prices!!!!! It is also my way of saving the planet by recycling. It is also great for those on a budget!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It Was A Lovely Site.....


During my visit to Michigan this summer, I had the delight of visiting this quaint herb farm West of Marshall, MI. It is called "Southern Exposure" The gardens were so beautiful. Everywhere you turned it was simply gorgeous. They had venue type set ups all over, places to sit and just gaze, and venues that you could get married by. They do events here from May to December, with about 100+ of those being weddings.


There are also dining rooms of different sizes to hold club get togethers, parties, or just afternoon tea. The day that we were there, they were setting up for a wedding, and because of inclement weather they were holding the reception in a huge white tent. They have 3 white tents set up all the time for different purposes. What made the wedding tent interesting is that they had hung 3 beautifull chandelers from the top. And the ladies setting up were doing a great job. The couple had chose rosemary as a giveaway favor, so there was a small pot at each place setting. And each table was named an herb. Great touch!


They also hold workshops throughout the 3 seasons for crafty items and wine appreciation. These workshops are also sometimes paired with the thoughtfully planned out meals from "Chef Elsie". Or she sometimes presents themed dinners centered around events with delectable mouth watering menus.




More info is available on their website. And if anyone is in the area you might want to sign up for one of these workshops, they are very reasonnably priced. And people that I have spoke to that have attended, have had a great time and continue to go back. So check it out, if not to go, then for the great ideas! And on your way back you can stop in the quaint town of Marshall.





















Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday....



Dreaming of Tuscany in My Garden....




The rich dark earth has given birth to a leafy stem of green,

to a golden blossom bursting sun the best my eye has seen.



I'd love to see a field of yellow faces betweeen the earth and sky…

a Tuscan gift,

a wave of sun,

a dreamy lullaby.




Enjoy your Day,

Suzy

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Summer Blondies...TWD

I have been slow to post, because I'm trying to catch up with all my chores I have to do since being away for almost a month....California...Michigan. What a month it has been! So this is a repost of TWD, I'm to catch up with that too. ugh! I think I need a personal assistant...LOL! Enjoy Peeps!







This week's recipe was chosen by Nicole of Cookies on Friday and she has chosen Dorie's Chewy, Chunky Blondies. I was pretty darn excited for this recipe. I LOVE blondies. And, I particularly love these blondies. I have made them countless times and the kids love them. They are also good to pack for snacks or lunches.



I added a little white vanilla chips also to the mix along with some almonds. They are truly moist and delish for sure. Give them a try, they will have you wanting more! Check out Nicole's site HERE for the recipe.



We give these 5 glasses of milk ,

for utter goodness!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Suburban Dads....think Moms have nothing on them!

Cute video making it's way around the internet....Check it out!


I think the Mom's need to make one now,

Where do I sign up?????





Friday, July 22, 2011

Fabulous Find Friday...Cupcake wrappers

If you have the time, and have a wonderful special event coming up. These wrappers will make a stand out presentation. I was able to find a free template download HERE. I have a lot of scrapbook paper hanging around, so it won't be that hard for me to come up with some great designs. If you watch Michael's or AC Moore for some sales you can make them pretty cheap. And the fancy scissors can be found for about a buck to do the scallope on top.

I found some selling on Etsy for $1. You can get about 3 per paper, if you make them yourselves. At 25 cents a sheet, that's about 8.5cents each. Bargain! So how about that next baby shower or special birthday. Would these be the cutest??

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ice Cream Sandwich When Its Hot!

I went from this ........


to THIS!


After making a batch of soft chocolate chip cookies,
I decided to sandwich them together.

It has been extremely hot here in the East.
So what do I do...
take my favorite CC Cookie and
sandwich together with a caramel chocolate chip ice cream.

Then I made some bags out of brown wax paper.
This made them easy to store in the freezer.

Are you craving one yet?



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Greek Spinach Chicken made with Knorr Homestyle Stock

The Knorr Family of convenience items has come up with something real exciting. It's these little tubs of chicken stock. Each makes 3 and 1/2 cups of chicken broth. And there are four tubs in each package , making it easier to store in your pantry. I wasn't sure how it would work out. But I have to say it was pretty good, much flavorful than Swanson's.






When my sample first arrived, I went to the local grocery to see what other items Knorr made and if this item was available in my store. I was glad to see that they had some cool stuff out there. Before this, I had only really used the bouillon and the veggie dip packet. I spotted this Cream of Spinach packet and thought it was interesting and came up with my idea of the Greek Spinach Chicken for the contest sponsored by Knorr and Blogher. With hopes to capture one of eight spots competing in San Diego at the Blogher Convention.




So, this is my entry Greek Spinach Chicken served over Couscous and garnished with Feta. It turned out so delicious, and I'm sure it had a little something to do with the Knorr Broth. It was just so flavorful, and super easy to put together. Only 30 minutes or less.....just like Rachel Ray! And with a unbelievable price point of $13.49 for a family of six.....just $2.25 per person! Can't get those vitamins and protein like that at Mickey D's. (just saying)

Here's the low down on the ingredients and I'll take you through the steps:



INGREDIENTS


5 Skinless-Boneless Chicken Breast Halves, cut in half and pounded


Olive Oil


1/2 medium size onion , chopped


1/2 c. Sundried Tomatoes , chopped


1 - 10oz package of chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained.


1 c. White Wine


1 tub Knorr Homestyle Chicken Broth (reserve half for Couscous)


1 package of Knorr Cream of Spinach Mix


3/4 c. water


2 tsp. Minced garlic


2 boxes of Couscous ( I used Near East Garlic and Herb)




* After cutting chicken place on a large board, covering with plastic wrap, and pound down to cutlets. Saute in a frying pan with 1 T. of Olive Oil. Season with salt and pepper, slightly browning on each side.




* Remove cooked chicken and set aside.





* In the same pan, add 1 T. Olive oil and chopped onion. Cook to saute. Add in tomatoes and spinach. Cook on Medium to burn off some of the spinach liquid. Add in the wine and KNORR Spinach Mix Packet. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Add water, 1/2 tub Knorr Chicken Broth, and garlic.



* Continue to simmer on low while preparing Couscous.






*Prepare Couscous by box instructions. It is a no fail easy recipe!





*When fluffing add the other half of the chicken broth in at the end, with the butter.



* Place couscous on serving plate. then sauteed chicken, spoon on the spinach mixture, and garnish with crumbled Feta.






Bon Appetit! my friends!


Wish me Luck....


because this is Delicious!