Monday, January 30, 2012

This Week's Meals and such

I had a really hard time with the menu this week. It was really hard to come up with meals that sound good and are super easy.

Here is what I came up with, although I may change it mid-week. I know, that is a big no-no but I am simply not inspired this week.

Monday - Chicken and Rice (Use leftover chicken from last week and shred. Heat up, add to some broth, a little Italian seasoning, and add rice) super simple and quick.
*Make Chicken Broth
*Make Bread - loaf and buns
*Make Granola - using this recipe from FOOD52

Tuesday - Tacos, hamburger and chicken, chicken quesas, and cheese quesas
* I use homemade taco seasoning and guacamole
* Sugar Topped Molasses Cookies

Wednesday - Roasted chicken, baked potatoes, and steamed veggies
*Make Bread

Thursday - I am at a loss.....UGH!! We are in such a rut and I am not sure what to make??? Any ideas?
*Cinnamon Stars

Friday - Personal Pizzas and calzones
*Make Bread and Buns

Saturday- Sandwiches to go....not exciting but really busy day

Sunday - Super Bowl Sunday!!!! Smoked Brisket, various dips, and desserts which include cupcakes and cookies

Okay, that is it for this week. I will post recipes and link them back when I get a chance.

Linking up to:

At Home with Mrs. M

Add A Pinch on Mingle Middle 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

LuLu's Birthday

What does a 14 year old want for a party? Well mine wanted to bring cupcakes to her ballet company (50ish girls plus instructors, and costumers) and then a few girlfriends over to hang out and be teenagers.

So for the Ballet Company - I made Dark Chocolate with Caramel Buttercream frosting, Butter-vanilla with brown sugar buttercream, and mocha chocolate cupcakes with mocha - choco frosting.

Dark Chocolate with Caramel Buttercream

Butter Vanilla cupcake with brown sugar buttercream  - pink chocolate crowns

Dark Chocolate cupcakes with caramel buttercream with flower picks

cupcakes in the box with some chocolate covered strawberries

Mocha Chocolate cupcakes with Mocha Choco Frosting with pink chocolate heart decorations

In the box.         

Then her party......

Part of the table goodies - smart food popcorn, pretzels, cupcakes, caramel popcorn, and chocolate covered strawberries

Caramel popcorn - served in cones and in a cute bucket

The cupcakes!

another view of the table

Happy Birthday to my Lulu!!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Baked Potato Salad

Do you frequently have baked potatoes left over? We usually do. I have a family favorite potato salad recipe. You can use the left over baked potatoes or boil potatoes to make the salad -either way it is delish.

Potato Salad (Baked Potato Salad)

Potatoes -  For the recipe I will use 4 baked potatoes, you can also chop and boil 4 - 6 potatoes
2 boiled eggs
3/4 cup of mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
mustard - maybe a Tablespoon
paprika 1/4 teaspoon or so
garlic 1 clove, minced
salt a few dashes
pepper a few dashes
onion - 1/4 finely chopped
celery 1 stalk, chopped
apple cider vinegar 2 Tablespoons

Mix the Mayo, sour cream and following ingredients in a bowl. Add the dressing to the potatoes and the boiled eggs. Toss to mix.

Keep refrigerated.

*I don't really measure this so it is hard to give it exact measurements. It is a dash of this, few of these, etc.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Egg Roll Recipe

My Egg Roll Recipe - I know there are many egg roll recipes out there. This one works for me and my guys seem to like it.


Finely chop the following ingredients:
celery - 1 - 2 stalks
1 bunch of green onions (or 1/2 or so of an onion)
3 carrots
Bok Choy (I have used regular cabbage too)
1 green pepper
mushrooms (sliced, 8 oz package)
1 clove garlic, minced

You can also add: 1 can of the tiny canned shrimp or previous cooked and seasoned chicken.

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a wok or skillet. Add the onion and saute', then add the rest of the veggies. Saute' for 5 - 7 minutes. Add the shrimp or chicken. Add in 1 - 3 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce (I use low - sodium soy sauce). Continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Drain the mixture.
Fill the egg roll wrapper with 2 Tablespoons of the mixture. Fold according to the package directions.

Heat up approx. 1 1/2 quarts of oil in a 3 quart pot.

Once the oil is 350 degrees. Drop in the egg rolls one a time. They will fry in less than 5 minutes. Keep an eye on them they cook quickly.

If you want to freeze these then freeze then mixture separately.  The mixture will freeze well for up to 3 months.


Menu for 1/22 - 1/29/12

Another busy week come and gone. I am so behind on the baking but I am staying positive. I am picking up where I left off and trying to continue. Let's hope for a good week with it all!

Here is the menu for this week:

1/23 - Chinese New Year - Stir Fry, chicken and steak, homemade egg rolls, homemade crab ragoon, and fried rice.
Need to make up some lunches for Carter for the week.

1/24 - busy night - BBQ Sandwiches from the left over roast on Sunday. Baked Potato salad from the extra baked potatoes on Sunday.

1/25 - Waffles and French Toast Night

1/26 - crazy busy night - sandwiches on the go. Soup in the slow cooker for when we get home. Not sure what soup yet. I will keep you posted.

1/27 - lots of baking since 1/28 is my Lulu's birthday and it is National Chocolate Cake Day!
Dinner - Burgers and Dogs with Fries

1/28 -  Lulu's Birthday!!! Homemade Pizzas for dinner. Snacks and treats for her party.

1/29 - Lulu's favorite - chicken and dumplings.

I will try to post pics and updates. I am trying to get in the swing of taking pictures and posting.


Linked up to

At Home with Mrs. M

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Meatballs in sauce and s'mores popcorn

I know I am behind on posting. Sorry about that. Life has been a little busy.

Here is a picture of Paula Deen's Cheese Stuffed Meatballs and my homemade sauce.

Thursday was National Popcorn Day! We made s'mores popcorn. It is YUMMY!

Basically I popped a bag of popcorn - I use light butter.
Put it in an 8 quart bowl.
I then broke up a Hershey bar into small pieces and spread it on top.
I added my homemade marhsmallows that I cut up into small pieces. You can use mini marshmallows, I just had the homemade ones so I decided to use those.
I also broke graham crackers into small pieces. You can use cinnamon teddy grahams, or cinnamon square cereal. My family likes the graham crackers.

Then I melted milk chocolate chips and drizzled a good quantity over the popcorn, marshmallow, graham cracker mixture. Toss to coat everything with the chocolate. It won't last so you don't have to worry about storing it!

Emily giving the s'mores  popcorn 2 thumbs up


Monday, January 16, 2012

E's Breadsticks

My E makes great breadsticks. Lucky for us she loves to bake and cook!

Here are her breadsticks  - they come from Betty Crocker's 40th anniversary edition cookbook. I forget what year I go this but I am thinking when I got married in 1995.

Here is the recipe:

1 package of active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp salt
3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbs vegetable oil
 1 egg white
1 Tbs cold water
poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or we use our "house" Italian seasoning*

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in sugar, salt, 2 cups of flour. Use the dough hook and add in the rest of the flour. Use the hook on medium speed to knead for 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

Place in a lightly greased bowl and allow to rise for an hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Punch dough down and divide into 12 sections (she usually divides the dough into 8 sections - 12 sections) Roll and shape into a long stick. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet or on a baking stone.

Combine the egg white and cold water and mix until frothy. Brush the bread sticks with the egg white mixture. Sprinkle with your choice of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or seasoning.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden and crisp.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Boston Cream Whoopie Pies

I am not 100% where I found this recipe....but it is so easy and really good ;-)

Boston Cream Whoopie Pies

For the Cookie or Pie part

Box of yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prep baking sheet by lining with parchment paper

Mix the cake mix, eggs, water, and oil with an electric mixer until well combined.
Drop by Tablespoonfuls (or use your small cookie scoop) Leave plenty of room to allow for spreading cookies.
Bake for 5 -9 minutes -depends on your oven. Bake until the edges are golden and tops spring back when touched.

Cool for 5 minutes on pan, remove and set aside.

To make Filling:
1 box (4 oz serving size) French vanilla instant pudding
1 cup milk (I use 2% milk)
1 cup Heavy Cream (not milk or half-n-half but heavy cream)

Whisk pudding mix, milk, and cream in a medium bowl for 2 - 3 minutes. Place in refrigerator to set.

Once the cookies have cooled, spread a spoonful of pudding on the flat side of one cookie, top with a second cookie.

When they are all finished - set aside.

Now make a glaze. My favorite glaze is a simple chocolate ganache. You can use other means (like from a can) but homemade ganache is so simple.

Heat 1 cup of heavy cream just to a boil. Pour the cream over 1 cup of chocolate (you can use what ever type of chocolate you like - semisweet chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate). Now pour the just boiling heavy cream over the chocolate and gently stir mixture. Once it is all combined the let it set for about 10 minutes. Dip each cookie into the ganache or spoon some of the ganache over each cookie sandwich. Let the cookies set up.

Store in container in refrigerator.

In the bowl
ready to bake

Cooling on the racks

with the french vanilla filling


Weekly Menu Plan for 3rd week of January

I have done weekly/monthly menu plan for several years. It just makes life easy.

I try to plan according to our chaotic schedule - kid's activities and Hubby's work schedule. I also try to look at what is on sale or if I have any coupons. I try to make one or 2 things to put in the freezer. Here is my plan for the week. I will try to add pictures if I remember to take any!

I make rolls and a loaf of basic bread on Sundays. I try to make a second round on Wednesdays.

My husband takes his lunch to work too. I usually put leftovers or make a salad with some type of protein for him. I try to put together baggies of healthy - or atleast not to unhealthy snacks together for him and the kids for the week. 

Monday 1/16 Chicken Parmesan, Emily's bread sticks, homemade pasta 

Here is a link to a good Chicken Parmesan recipe. The only thing I do different is I double dip. I dip the chicken in a egg/milk mixture, dip in flour, then back in the egg/milk mixture, then in breadcrumb mixture. I also season my flour and breadcrumbs with my own "house" Italian seasoning mix. I will post that in a bit and link it back to here.

The Bread stick recipe - I will have Emily post that tomorrow after she makes them.

As for the homemade pasta - you can not go wrong with Mario Batali's pasta recipe. It is simple and very tasty.

Tuesday 1/17 Slow Cooker - Paula Deen's Cheese Stuffed Meatballs and sauce. *I make a big batch of homemade sauce in the slow cooker once a month. I happen to have 3 bags of sauce left in the freezer.
Salad, homemade bread, and steamed broccoli

Wednesday 1/18 Homemade Pizzas, stromboli

Thursday 1/19 Band Concert night - slow cooker Cheesy Potato Soup and English muffin pizzas

* I use homemade chicken broth and all cheddar cheese instead of a blend.

For English Muffin Pizzas  -  I just cut the English muffin in half, put some pizza sauce, sausage, and mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375 for 13 - 15 minutes.

Friday 1/20 Busy night - Sandwiches on the go! Turkey and Chicken, cheese sandwiches to take on the go. Baggies of pretzels and chips, apples, and drinks.

Saturday 1/21 Chicken Pot Pie - make 4 times what is needed and freeze into 3 more meals.
I will post this recipe when I get to it this week. *Will post this Saturday when I make it.

Sunday 1/22 Family Meal - Roast in the crock pot, baked potatoes, fresh steamed veggies

I am trying hard to keep up with my new baked goodie per day. It is getting difficult with life being so chaotic. But so far I am only off a day or two! I just have to keep up with the posts.


Linking up to

3 Boys and a Dog

Crystal and Co

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Life got in the way of baking

So life got in the way of baking....I am a few days behind. I did make marshmallows today to go with the goodie box I am taking my friend and the kid's piano teacher!
Hopefully tonight I will get a new recipe in the mix of the chaos.

The Marshmallow recipe 


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Caramel Sauce

This is my second try at Caramel Sauce. My first attempt I think I did not let my sugar caramelize enough I think I stirred it too much. This batch is cooling so we will see if attempt #2 was a success.

I won't post the first recipe - mostly because I do not want to blame the recipe.

Here is my second recipe attempt. It is so simple yet has to be watched carefully.

I got the recipe from Simply Recipes Caramel Sauce  I won't  retype it since she did a great job explaining the method. I got 2 - 1/2 pint canning jars out of this recipe.

My baking assistant is quite excited to try this caramel sauce. I will be running to the store to pick up some vanilla ice cream for the taste test later tonight.

For hints on making caramel go to David Lebovitz's blog/website.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bavarian Vanilla Almonds

I have made the Southern Spicy Pecans (Those will be made another day....) and decided that the candied almonds would have to be good. I found this recipe from My Baking Addiction, actually I saw it on Pinterest first, but I have found a ton of recipes on this great blog.

These will be going into parchment cones with some type of cute who to give this special almond treat????


Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

I did not forget to bake - I did not have to post. So here is the post for Thursday January 6th.

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes
from Annie Eats 12/9/2011

I did make one change - I did not use the peppermint frosting that she used. I use a basic buttercream frosting but used peppermint extract as opposed to vanilla extract. Here is the recipe.

1/2 cup - 1 stick of butter, softened
3 - 4 cups of powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)
1 Tbs milk
1 tsp of peppermint extract

Cream the butter until fluffy, add the powder sugar. Add the milk and extract until mixed and fluffy.
cupcake batter
Peppermint Cupcakes without frosting
my helper crushing the candy canes

Finished! They got the approval of little man. So these are a hit too!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cappuccino Crinkles

The graham crackers were a huge success. I am making the batch of marshmallows and putting together s'mores kits for a few lucky people!

Tonight -

Cappuccino Cookies!
from 100 best cookies page 24, #16 on the list

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 TBS instant coffee crystals
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 egg whites
1/3 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar

350 degree oven

Large bowl beat butter on med to high speed for 30 seconds.
Add brown sugar, cocoa powder, coffee crystals, baking soda, and cinnamon.
Beat until combined, scrape the side of the bowl occasionally
Beat in egg whites and yogurt until combined,
Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Use a wooden spoon to stir in any remaining flour.

Place the granulated sugar in a small bowl.
Scoop and shape 1-inch balls of dough. Roll them in the sugar to coat.
Place 2-inches apart on a baking sheet (cover the baking sheet with parchment paper)

Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until edges are firm.
Cool on wire rack.

Approx. 32 cookies. ( I got about 56 with my small cookie scoop)

Can store in air tight container up to a week or freeze for 3 months.
The dough mixed and scooping. Smells great.

rolled in sugar and ready for the oven

Finished product. These smell so great. Can't wait to sample.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Graham Crackers!

I LOVE graham crackers - don't you? They are sweet but crunchy, that molasses/brown sugar goodness. I just love them. So, I wanted to try my hand at making them myself. There are several different recipes so this one from Smitten Kitchen looked promising. Right now the dough is chilling in the refrigerator, I will tell you what I think after they come out of the oven. *Oh my goodness!! Let me tell you how good these are. They are such yummy goodness, I will be making a second batch (since the first one is almost gone) and a batch of marshmallows.

The dough after refrigeration

The finished product


Picture of the Mexican chocolate cookies

These got the seal of approval from Connor and Carter!

Monday, January 2, 2012

January 2, 2012 Mexican Chocolate Cookies

Today is the first day for baking! I spent yesterday organizing recipes and listing ingredients, etc. Now I am ready for a new adventure.

I am also making bread today. I am going to make buns for sliders tonight. If I get a chance I will get that recipe posted too.

This is my first time using a kitchen scale to measure the ingredients.

Mexican Chocolate Cookies
from the December 2009 Cooking Light

5 oz bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate, coarsely chopped
3.4 oz all-purpose flour (3/4 cup)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
dash of black pepper
dash of ground red pepper
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to350 degrees
2. Place chocolate in a small glass bowl; microwave on High 1 minute or until almost melted, stirring until smooth. Cool to room temperature
3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through ground red pepper); stir well with a whisk.
4. Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add egg; beat well. Add cooled chocolate and vanilla; beat until just blended. Drop dough by level tablespoons (or use a cookie scoop) 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until almost set. Remove from oven. Cool on plans 2 minutes or until set. Remove from pans; cool completely on a wire rack.
Yield 32 cookies
serving size - 1 cookie; 80 calories
dough in the mixer

rounded teaspoons on the pan

finished product ready to eat!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year and my attempt at a resolution

Happy 2012! Or as we say in our house Happy Nole Year! Yes, the Seminoles barely beat the Fighting Irish in the Champs Bowl. We had a great time and got to watch my niece march with the FSU Marching Chiefs. Fun was had by all.

I usually do not make resolutions for the new year. They are always broken in the first week, this year is a little different, I decided that I should have some fun with my love for baking. My resolution is to bake a new or different goodie every day. Okay, I know - every day??? Maybe I should alter that to say 3 times a week. I will continue to post the recipes and pictures on this blog. Do you have a favorite recipe you would like to share? I would like to make it and share it!