Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Salt Dough Ornaments

I found this idea on a craft site and remembered doing this as a kid!
The kids had a lot of fun doing this (and a great activity since the kids are out of school!) and they turned out really great! These ones aren't all the way decorated yet, but so far so good!
The best is that they got to decorate how ever they wanted and I loved how they turned out! I put there initials on the back with the date and they will be fun to find through the years!
Salt Dough Ornaments
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water

Mix salt and flour

Add in 1/2 cup water and mix together (I did this all in my mixer). Gradually add the remaining water and knead dough until smooth. I did this with my dough hook and then in the end kneaded it with my hands in the mixing bowl to incorporate all the flour and salt.

Roll out the dough on baking paper or floured counter top. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or design your own.

Bake at 250 for 1hr-1 1/2 hours, making sure you don't burn them. It took me the full 1 1/2 hrs, but check them at an hour. Let cool and paint! We made ours the night before and then decorated the next day!

Use paint, modge podge and glitter, spray paint, whatever you have on hand!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Blue Cheese and Dried Cranberry Tossed Salad

Yum Yum Yum!!!
Yes all I can say is this is super yummy and so good!!! Did I say that already!
I had a salad with blue cheese at a friends house and went looking for something similar and came across this one!
I really like blue cheese and adding it to a salad is genius and I can't believe I didn't think of adding it to a salad sooner!
So if you like blue cheese and need a salad for the holidays try this one you wont be disappointed! I didn't use the balsamic vinegar and used my favorite raspberry vinaigrette, so I will add that at the end too!
Blue Cheese and Dried Cranberry Tossed Salad
  • 4 hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped (I just used any lettuce on hand)
  • 1/2 half an English cucumber, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette (or try the raspberry vinaigrette)

Layer the romaine lettuce with the cucumber, grape tomatoes, pecans, cranberries, and blue cheese in a large bowl. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette before serving.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

  • 3 ounces raspberry vinegar (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp grated red onion
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of dry mustard
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 tbsp poppy seeds

Mix all together and pour over favorite green salad!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blackberry Cobbler

I ordered blackberries this last Saturday and spent some time searching for recipes to make things with them for fear of them going bad too quick! I shouldn't have spent soo much time doing that because I have only made this cobbler and we ate the rest! Yes we have almost eaten all 13 baskets of blackberries (I only have 2 left!)!!!
I did get this cobbler made and I thought it turned out really good! My husband thought it was a little sweet, but vanilla ice-cream seemed to help! I ate mine without the ice-cream and thought it was great!
So if you have any blackberries, try this cobbler out, I am sure it will be a hit!
Blackberry Cobbler
(All, 4 1/2-5 star rating)
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (or 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus 1/4 tsp salt and 2 1/4 tsp baking powder)
  • 1/3 cup milk, room temp
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a 10 inch round or oval baking dish. Set aside.

In a saucepan, heat sugar and water until sugar melts. Set aside

Place flour (or flour mixture) in a mixing bowl; cut in remaining butter until fine crumbs form. Add milk, stirring with a fork until dough leaves side of bowl. I kneaded dough a little in the ball to get all the flour incorporated.

Roll out to an 11x9 inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Spread berries over dough; sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll up jelly roll style. Cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Carefully lay slices in baking dish over butter. ( I read reviews and a few people simplified this part, which is what I did. I split the dough in half. Take one half and take chunks and flatten it out with your fingers until you get a thin layer and place in the butter dish. Do this until the bottom is covered of the dish. Then spread berries on top, sprinkle cinnamon on top. Next do the same as you did on the bottom to cover over the top.)

Pour sugar syrup over the top if you made a sort of pie crust, or pour around the slices if you cut up the dough with the berries.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Take out and then Sprinkle the sugar on top. Bake now for 15 more minutes. Serve warm or cold and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies

I found this on which is a site I frequent and absolutely love a lot! I made these brownies the other day and they are sooo good I haven't been able to leave the leftovers alone! Yes, bad couple of days!
I didn't have the peppermint extract to make the frosting layer, but I really like the brownies just like this! I would make these again and again and again!
Super moist and irresistible is how I would describe these brownies and they look very festive to even bring to a Christmas party!
Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies
(Our Best Bites)

4 squares unsweetened chocolate (4oz)
1 C butter (2 sticks)
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1t vanilla
1 1/4 C flour
1/2 t baking powder

Frosting:2 C powdered sugar
4 T butter, softened
1 1/2 t peppermint extract
1 T milk
pink food coloring

Chocolate Glaze:
6 oz (about a cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips ,you could also use dark
6T real butter

Additional:1/2-1 C crushed candy canes (Use Bob's NOT Spanglers!) --I used whatever brand I had and they were good, but I bet the Bob's kind are great!

First, the Brownies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
The chocolate you want is baking chocolate, which is sold in bars by the chocolate chips (you can also substitute cocoa powder. Just follow the directions on it for how many tbsp and oil equal a 1 oz bar. That is what I did.). Make sure it is unsweetened.
Give those squares a rough chop so they'll be easier to melt. (or when using the cocoa powder, I always find it easier to melt the butter and then add the cocoa powder and oil. This way you don't burn the chocolate)
Melt in 30-45 second intervals in your microwave, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Set aside. (I melted my butter in a pan on the stove and then added the cocoa powder as I described above)
In a stand mixer or with electric beaters, beat eggs for about 3 minutes until thick and frothy.
Add sugar and vanilla and beat to combine. Then add in the melted chocolate and butter that you set aside. Combine flour and baking powder and whisk into brownie batter by hand until just combined. Pour into a lightly greased 9x13 pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes (I found this time frame way off for my oven! I probably cooked them twice as long as it says! So give yourself more time to bake than you think, you might need it!). Test with a toothpick and don't over bake! When brownies are done, cool on a cooling rack. When completely cool, pop in the fridge to chill. (makes the frosting spreading easier)
Next layer is the frosting:Combine all frosting ingredients and beat until light and fluffy. Add extra milk by teaspoonful if you need a little more. Spread evenly over cooled/chilled brownies and place back in the fridge to chill again while you do the final step. (I didn't have any peppermint extract so I omitted this part)
Chocolate Glaze:
Place chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and cook in 30 second intervals until smooth. (Since my microwave is broken!!!! I did this on the stove too! Make sure to melt butter first so chocolate doesn't burn if you go this route!)
Set aside for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, so it can cool off just a bit. Quickly spread on top of brownies. Remember the Frosting is cool and the chocolate is hot, so work fast! I didn't have frosting on my brownies, so I took my time and spread out the chocolate nicely!
Sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top and return to the fridge until chocolate is set on top.
Remove from fridge a few minutes before serving. Cut into squares.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rich Chocolate Brownie Cake

I made this for a party I went too and it was super good! I didn't get a picture of it (and my star design didn't look half as good as this one) so I took a picture of it from my cookbook! It says in the book "The secret to this rich brownie cake is good-quality chocolate with a high cacao content" So buy some good quality chocolate and try this out! I found some ghiradelli chocolate at my local store that was 60% cacao!
Rich Chocolate Brownie Cake
(Williams Sonoma Holiday Entertaining Cookbook)
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 4 oz good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (at least 61% cacao)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch round cake pan with aluminum foil, allowing the edges to overlap the pan. Using a pastry brush, lightly butter the foil (I did this step, but thought to try spraying the foil next time).
In your mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat until well blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat again until well blended. Add the salt and flour, about 1/4 cup at a time. Beat well after each addition of flour.
Break up the chocolate, or chop it. Place in the top of a double boiler set over (but not touching) gently simmering water. Melt chocolate and then remove from pan and let cool slightly, about 2-3 minutes. Add it to the cake batter and beat until well combined and creamy. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake until the cake is puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Using the edges of the foil, lift the cooled cake out of the pan. Invert the cake onto a cake stand or cake plate and peel off the foil. Turn the cake right side up. Place a stencil of your choice on your cake and sift the powdered sugar over the stencil to create your design.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Caramel Thumbprints

I found this recipe in the December/January issue of Family Fun! I just love baking and nothing better than baking at Christmas time!
These were a great treat and very easy! I have made the thumprint cookies with hershey kisses but have never tried chocolate with rolos!
They were a great simple cookie, that the kids all loved!
Caramel Thumbprints
(December/January Family Fun magazine)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • /14 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg,separated
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • rolos

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder and set aside (I didn't do this, I just added the dry ingredients after all the wet were mixed)

In a mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture in two batches and beat until combined, about 1 minute.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350. Roll 1 tbsp of the dough into a ball and place on a cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. With your thumb, make indentations in each ball in the center of it.

Bake for 10 minutes. When you remove from oven, immediately place a rolo on each cookie. Then place back in the oven for 4 minutes.

Grease the tines of a fork. When cookies are done, pull them out of the oven and use the fork to press each candy down a little to flatten. Place cookies on a wire cooking rack to cool and then enjoy!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cheesy Chicken, Bacon & Avocado Quesadillas

I found this recipe on a blog I stumbled upon and thought it looked like a great and easy dinner idea! It made a quesadilla a little more exciting and yummy!
Cheesy Chicken, Bacon & Avocado Quesadillas
  • 4 medium sized flour tortilla shells
  • 1 lb chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 avocado, diced (or I used guacamole)
  • mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tbsp butter

Cook bacon until desired crispiness. I like to cut mine up before it is cooked with kitchen scissors so it is already crumbled. Drain bacon on a paper towel and get rid of grease.

Use the same skillet as you cooked the bacon and add your chicken. Cook in bacon grease until chicken is done. Remove chicken from skillet when browned and cooked through.

In a clean skillet, melt about 1/2 tbsp butter over medium heat. When foamy, add a tortilla and swirl it around to get it nice and buttery. Layer one side of tortilla with chicken, bacon, avocado and a little cheese. Use tongs (or I used my fingers carefully) to flip other half of tortilla over and press down. Cook tortilla for about 1-2 min. or until golden brown and crispy.

Repeat with rest of tortillas, adding a little more butter to the pan to brown the tortillas. Eat and enjoy with salsa and sour cream!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Celebrity Chicken

I am super surprised this recipe isn't on the blog yet! This came from our Wards cookbook and I haven't made it in forever! It is easy and very good!
Celebrity Chicken
(Sharon, Ward Cookbook)
  • 1 pkg lipton onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Mix these ingredients together and set aside.

Line a cookie sheet with foil. (I sprayed the foil) Lay 6-8 chicken breasts (I just use what I need, last night I used 4 chicken breasts) on foil and top with mixture.

Cook for 1 hour on 350 or 2 hours on 325 or 275 for 3 hours.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wild Rice Soup

I found this recipe on Sisters Stuff blog and had to try it! There is something about soup in the winter, the comfort and warmth of it that is super inviting!
This recipe is very easy, but one step gave me a little trouble! Don't burn the onions! I used dry onions and they got a little toasty and gave the soup a little bit of a burnt taste! So be careful and maybe add them a little later!
All in all it was a great soup and I loved that there were carrots added, but you really don't notice them if you have picky eaters! Also, the rice gave it a different taste and yum yum!!
Wild Rice Soup
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 medium onion or 2 tbsp dried onion
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I am going to add 5 cups next time for more liquid)
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 cup diced ham or chicken (I used chicken but she said both are excellent)
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded carrots
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I think it needs more salt, so maybe 1 tsp)
  • pepper to taste

Saute onion in butter. (Be careful with this step and make sure to not burn the onions!) Blend in flour and cook for 5 minutes. (I am going to do less time, this might have been where I burned the onions) Add ham or chicken, rice, carrots, and salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-20 minutes and enjoy!