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Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts: October 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

M&M Candy Corn Blondies

Happy Halloween!  We carved our pumpkins and roasted the seeds yesterday; my son has his costume and is ready to go!  It should be a fun night for all the kids.  We had a great weekend as a family.  My husband was supposed to get here around lunch time on Saturday, but he surprised me and showed up at 10:00 on Friday night!  I was just getting ready to go upstairs and I heard the garage door open.  One of the best surprises ever! 

I found these bars awhile ago on Pinterest, and I was instantly in love.  I am obsessed with Blondies recently, after just discovering what they are.  It is a little late in the season to make them, but you could substitute white chocolate chips if you can’t find the M&M’s.  But I suspect if you go to the store first thing tomorrow morning, you will find them on clearance :)  You really should make a special trip tomorrow to find them, these Blondies were insanely good! 

 
M&M Candy Corn Blondies
Adapted from The Little Kitchen

1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
½ cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup M&M white chocolate candy corn, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare an 8 inch pan or line with foil.

Cream brown sugar and egg until it's light and fluffy. Add in vanilla and melted butter, mix well

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and incorporate with a spatula. Stir in M&Ms by hand. Do not over mix.

Pour batter to the prepared pan. Bake for about 25-28 minutes. The top will be dry.  Cool completely before cutting.  



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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Monster Snack Mix


I am going to forgo my usual Week in Review today to feature a couple more Halloween treats.  I went a little over board with ideas this year!  I made this snack mix for my son’s class.  He saw it all packaged up and was very upset he had to wait until snack time at school to eat it.  Luckily for him there were a couple kids out that day, so he brought 2 back home, to snack on later.  The kids thought these were really fun.  They would be great to hand out to trick-or-treaters, to have at a party, or really just for a snack after school.  Plus you can put whatever you want in there.  Really, there is only one “requirement”.  You have to have the Frankensteins!!  


Monster Snack Mix

Frankensteins
6 cups Corn Chex Cereal
1 package Lemon-Lime Kol-Aid
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Light corn syrup
1/3 cup Butter
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/3 cup chocolate chips, melted

Mix-Ins
Candy Corn
Marshmallows
Cheerios
Corn Chex
Raisins
Peanuts

Preheat oven to 225 degrees.

In a saucepan heat sugar, corn syrup and butter over medium heat until boiling, stirring occasionally. Boil for 3 minutes (do not stir). Turn off heat and stir in baking soda and Kol-Aid.

Pour over 6 cups Chex cereal and mix together gently. Spread onto a lined or greased baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Take out of the oven and set 40 pieces (or however many Frankensteins you want to make), onto another lined or greased cookie sheet.  Cool completely, stirring the rest of them occasionally.  (I did not do this and mine ended up in a big block of Green Chex.) 


To make Frankensteins
Dip one end of a Chex square into the melted chocolate for the hair.  Pour the rest of the chocolate into a small zip-loc bag.  Cut off a tiny bit of the end.  Pipe eyes and mouth onto the squares. 

After the chocolate has hardened Assemble your mix using whatever mix-ins you would like.  


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Friday, October 28, 2011

Creepy Cookie Pizza's

Hubby comes home tomorrow!!!  I am not excited or anything, can you tell!  Funny thing is, all through college our relationship was long distance.  We would regularly go a couple weeks without seeing each other.  But after being married for more than 10 years, and neither of us really traveling for work, I am really NOT used to being the single parent and living alone.  Let’s just say I am not a fan.   So to cope, I bake fun treats with my 6 year old.

Check out these cookies!  I had a lot of fun with these.  I struggled with a name, but I think they are so much fun.  You could do whatever you wanted with them.  We decorated ours to have snakes, eyeballs, spiders, poop, and of course blood! The jar of sprinkles I found at Walmart was Orange and Green with Spiders.  I found that Wilton made a small candy eyeball, so that is what I used.  But you could use White Chocolate Chips and just put a Black dot (melted chocolate), on the tip. 

Creepy Cookie Pizza’s

Round Sugar Cookies (recipe found here)
Red Frosting (recipe found here)
Candy for Decorations
                Gummi Worms
                Eyeball candy
                Chocolate covered Raisins
                Sprinkles

Spread red frosting over the cookies.  Decorate with your creepy toppings!  Enjoy!


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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bloody Bones


Things are progressing with our house.  All the inspections are over and "passed".  We are set to close on December 5th.  My husband even found a lot that is worth considering out in Fort Collins.  It would be so nice to find something before we moved out there.  Then we could send our 6 year old to the school where our house would be, and we wouldn't have to move him around next summer.  Way too much to think about when moving with kids.  It was much easier when we moved to Iowa and he was only 18 months old!  

This post may sound gross, but it isn't I promise!  I hope you are enjoying my week of Halloween themed treats.  They are so much fun to come up with, especially when you have a 6 year old little boy to share them with!  This was one of his favorites.  He pretended he was a vampire all through dinner.  These are so easy too! I only used Parmesan Cheese and Garlic, but you could flavor these however you wanted.  You could add Italian Seasoning or Basil too. 


Bloody Bones
Adapted from Pillsbury
Printable Recipe

1 can Pillsbury Breadsticks
2 Tbls Butter, melted.
1 Tbls Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Garlic Powder (plus any other seasons you would like)
Pizza Sauce

Preheat oven to 375.  Open the can of breadstick dough, and separate into 12 sticks.  In your hands roll it to about 12 inches long.  Loosely tie each end in a knot, so they look like bones.  Place on a lined baking sheet.  Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until lightly browned. 

Meanwhile, mix together butter, cheese and garlic.  Brush breadsticks with butter mixture once you take them out of the oven. Serve with sauce. 

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ghost Pops



Halloween is just around the corner, and I have another treat for you!  I made Cake Pops for the first time, and attempted to make them look like Ghosts.  I think there is a lot left to desired with these, but they would still go over very well with kids.  Afterwards I thought maybe I should have used fondant for a more realistic look.  But, hindsight is always 20/20. The other idea I had after the fact, was changing the shape.  If I had made the cake pops bigger on the bottom and not just plain circles the dipping might have worked better.  If you try them, let me know what works for you!

Sorry for the short post today!  I have been running all over the place, and I am just exhausted.  Only 4 days until my husband gets to come home!

I followed Bakerella's Step by Step Guide to make my Cake Pops

Ghost Pops

Cake Pops (recipe here)
Almond Bark, melted
Black Icing

Dip Cake Pops in the Almond Bark.  Place on a lined baking sheet.  Let it harden slightly.  Spoon more almond bark over the top.  You want to build up the base, so you get the Ghost look. Once fully hardened, pipe the black icing on to make the face.  If you have edible markers, they would work too.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Witches Brew


Big news at our house today....my husband found us a house to rent in Colorado!  It has been hard for him to find something.  He has gone to see a few places, but there have been 6 or 7 people interested in each place.  So it was a huge relief for him to secure a place today, and it is a nice place!  As of right now it looks like we will be moving over Thanksgiving.  Next up we have to find a lot, so we can start building a house.  I am starting to get excited!  Plus only 5 days until hubby comes home!

Today as the Halloween fun continues I made for you Witches Brew!  This really isn't a recipe, just a method.  It is so easy, and you could change this up in so many ways.  I made a kid friendly drink, but you could easily make this into a cocktail for an adult Halloween Party.  This is a fun drink for kids!  When else do you get to have "worms" in your drink?  You could even put this in a big punch bowl for a party. 



Witches Brew
Printable Recipe

Gummi Worms
Water
Ice Cube Trays
Green Kol-Aid (any green drink)

Place the Gummi Worms in the ice cube trays.  Fill with water, and freeze.  Place ice cubes in a glass, and fill with Green Kol-Aid. 

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Spooky Spider Web Cookie


I hope everyone had a great weekend.  We went to a local pumpkin farm while my parents were visiting.  There were so many fun activities; hay rack rides, giant corn maze, pedal cars, jumping pillow, train ride, animals, haunted house, a playground and so much more.  My 6 year old was in heaven!  I think his quote was "Mom, thank you 1 million, trillion, billion, bazillion times for taking me here."  We now have our giant pumpkins and are ready for carving next weekend when my husband gets to come visit!


 Halloween is 7 days away!  Are you excited?  Hopefully I can get you in the mood this week with all of my fun treats!  Today I have a Spider Web Cookie for you.  I made this with a chocolate chip cookie base, but you could really use almost anything.  You could use a brownie, or a sugar cookie, or even a cupcake.  Anything you want to put frosting on would work well!



Spiderweb Cookie
Printable Recipe

1 8 inch round chocolate chip cookie (any chocolate chip cookie recipe baked in an 8 in cake pan)
1 batch of butter cream frosting (recipe found here)
Black Icing
Toothpick

Frost your 1 inch round chocolate chip cookie.  Try to make it as smooth as possible.  Pipe the black icing in circles, starting at the center and getting larger as you go out.  Drag a toothpick from the center straight out to the edge.  Clean it off after each swipe.  This will give it the "spider web" affect.  Decorate with spider rings or other toy spiders you can find. 

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Week in Review 10/22/11

It is almost Halloween!! Are you ready? Are your kids ready? My 6 year old is going to be Perry the Platapus from Phineus and Ferb. Not sure how he came up with that idea (given his Star Wars and Lego obsession), but it is a good thing Grandma knows how to sew! This weekend we are headed to the pumpkin patch. They have all sorts of fun things there, it should be a good time. Next week things are going to be all Halloween all the time! Can't wait to show everything to you!

Here is what I was up to this week:
Nutella Croissant - Puff Pastry filled with Nutella, so easy yet so good
Cinnamon Roll Pancakes - Cinnamon Rolls and Pancakes come together in the most amazing breakfast
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Spiced Buttercream - Great fall pumpkin cupcakes topped with a Cinnamon Spiced Frosting
Steph's Virtual Bridal Shower - Risotto and Cupcakes - Sausage and Mushroom Risotto and Red Velvet Cupcakes to celebrate Steph's upcoming wedding

What I bookmarked of yours this week:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge by Pass the Sushi - I love fudge, and this is the perfect combination in an easy to make fudge!
Crispy Oven Fried Smashed Potatoes by Amy's Cooking Adventures - What a great easy side dish.  I think my whole family would love these. 
Spaghetti with Sunday Gravy by That Skinny Chick Can Bake - So much flavor in this amazing looking pasta dinner.
White Chocolate Butterscotch Blondies by Cookie and Cups - I am obsessed with blondies lately, I can't wait to try this butterscotch one!
Hot Butter Apple Cider Rum by That's So Michelle - What a great fall drink.  Perfect for carving pumpkins or while the kids are trick or treating!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Steph's Virtual Bridal Shower - Risotto and Cupcakes!

Have you heard?  Steph from Steph's Bite by Bite is getting married!  October 29th is her big day!  Kita from Pass the Sushi had the wonderful idea of having a Virtual Bridal Shower for Steph to celebrate.  So today we get to share some of our romantic meals with Steph.  After 10 years of marriage I would like to think I know a little bit about romantic meals.  Today I am giving you my Sausage and Mushroom Risotto with Red Velvet Cupcakes for dessert. 

My husband and I had this risotto 6 years ago at my sister in law’s rehearsal dinner.  It was so good; I had to try to make it at home.  It isn’t quite the same, but it is rich, creamy, and delicious.  Serve with a glass of wine, and you have a romantic dinner, perfect for a cool night.  But you have to have dessert too, right?  Anything red just says sexy to me, so Red Velvet Cupcakes fit the bill.  Plus they are cute and little, so you don’t get too full.

Congrats Steph!  I hope you and Lucas have a long and happy life together!  I can’t wait to see pictures from your special day.

Sausage and Mushroom Risotto

3 cups chicken stock
3 cups beef stock
2 Tbls olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz Shitaki Mushrooms
½ tsp thyme
1 lb Italian Sausage
1 Tbls butter
Salt and pepper
2 cups Arborio Rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

Combine Chicken and Beef stock in a sauce pan.  Warm over low heat. 

In a separate skillet, sauté mushrooms and the thyme together.  Sprinkle mushrooms with salt and pepper once lightly browned.  Set aside. 

In another skillet brown the sausage.  Discard the fat, and set aside. 

In a large skillet heat 2 Tbls oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic.  Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and coat well with the oil.  Lightly toast the rice, about 2 minutes.  Stir in wine, and cook until it is almost evaporated.  Ladle about 1 cup of warm stock into the rice and stir.  Once it is mostly absorbed add in more stock (1 ladle full each time).  Continue this process until the rice is cooked through and nice and creamy.  You might have a little stock left over, but not much. 

Once cooked through, add mushrooms and sausage to the pan.  Stir in the Parmesan Cheese and butter.  Top with additional cheese if desired. 


For the Red Velvet Cupcakes go to Dessert For Two for the recipe!  The recipe makes 4 cupcakes - how perfect is that!




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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Spiced Buttercream


Things are about to go Halloween around here next week.  I have something special planned for you tomorrow, and then next week prepare for Orange, and Spiders, and all things Gross!  In the meantime though I have these amazing Cupcakes I want to share with you.  They are pumpkin, so they are the perfect prelude to Halloween! 


I made these for a Teacher’s Appreciation Lunch at my son’s school.  There were a few teachers around when I brought them in, and these little treats  were oohed  and awed over like crazy.  I am not sure they even made it until lunch time!  If you follow me on facebook, you may remember me not being able to find powdered sugar.  This is why I needed it!  Seriously!  It took 3 stores to find powdered sugar.  But it was well worth all the trips, because this frosting was amazing!! 



Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Spiced Buttercream

Adapted from Annie’s Eats

Cupcakes:
2 2/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola
4 eggs

Buttercream Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
2½ cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cupcake pans, makes approximately 30 cupcakes. 

To make the cupcakes
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt together. Set aside.  In the bowl for an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.  With the mixer on low, add the flour in slowly, until just combined. 

Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3rd of the way full.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

To make the frosting
Using an electric mixer cream together cream cheese and butter, until smooth.  Mix in vanilla.  Gradually stir in the powdered sugar and cinnamon.  Beat on medium until smooth.  Frost cooled cupcakes.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes


We are now officially into things I have made since my husband moved to Colorado.  Things he took to Colorado include our (my) camera!  So I am stuck with my seriously old point and shoot. Which is such a shame with amazing breakfasts like this, you get stuck with not great pictures.  But....I will get my camera back, and you will get good pictures again!  It just might be awhile :(

I did it, I finally caved and made Cinnamon Roll Pancakes.  I have seen these all over different blogs.  I do not know where it originated, but whoever came up with it is genius!!  It really was only a matter of time before I tried these.  Pancakes are a big hit at our house, and my 6 year old can barely go a day without something cinnamon.  I knew these would be a huge hit, and they were!  I made these for the first weekend that my husband was gone.  I figured we had made it through 7 days alone, we deserved a special treat! 

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
From RecipeGirl
Printable Recipe

Pancakes:
1 cup  flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 Tbls canola oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

Filling:
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbls cinnamon

Glaze:
4 Tbls butter
2 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

To make Pancakes:Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add milk, oil and egg.  Whisk until just combined (lumps are good).

To make Filling:  Mix butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Put filling into a zip loc bag and set aside.You do not want this to get too liquidy.  About the consistency of toothpaste.  If it gets too hard, you can microwave it for a few seconds.

To make Glaze:  Heat butter and cream cheese until melted. Mix until smooth; whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla.


Heat large skillet or Griddle over medium-low heat. Spray with nonstick spray. Pour about 1/2 cup batter into pan.  Cut the corner of your bag of filling and squeeze a spiral of the filling onto the top of the pancake. Flip carefully when bubbles begin to appear on the surface.  Cook for about another 1-2 minutes.  

Serve with glaze drizzled over pancakes!


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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nutella Croissant



I missed posting something yesterday, sorry about that.  I realized after I left for our weekend trip that I didn't have any pictures on my laptop.  We didn't really have internet access at our cabin in Colorado anyway, so I am not sure it would have mattered.  So I will give you this delicious treat today.  It is super easy, very versatile and extra yummy...hopefully you will forgive me :)

We had a great weekend in Colorado.  We went on a couple great hikes and enjoyed some much needed family time.  We looked at a house and a neighborhood that we really liked.  Now to figure out if we want to build a house again.  We were talking to a couple in the neighborhood we liked, and the guys got to talking about football.  He had tickets to the Colorado St vs Boise St game for that afternoon he wasn't going to use.  So he just gave them to us!  Great last minute activity!  Today was a really long day.  We drove over 800 miles back to Iowa, in 11 hrs and 15 minutes with just 2 stops.  I am exhausted!

Nutella Croissant
Printable Recipe

1 sheet Puff Pastry Dough, thawed
8 Tbls Nutella (chocolate chips, or any other chocolate you want)
1 egg + 1 Tbls water
1/3 cup chocolate chips
2 Tbls powdered sugar
1 tsp butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roll thawed sheet of dough out slightly.  Cut into 4 equal squares.  Fill each square with 2 Tbls of Nutella.  Brush edges with egg wash.  Fold in half over the chocolate and seal the edges.  Place on a lined baking sheet.  Brush the top of with egg wash. 

Bake for 14-18 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then place on wire rack. 

While croissants cool, prepare the chocolate drizzle.  Melt chocolate chips and butter together.  Mix in Powdered sugar.  If too thick you can add in a little milk.  Drizzle over each croissant.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. 

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Week in Review 10/15/11

What a great week!!  We accepted an offer on our house!  I get to see my husband again (even if only for 2 1/2 days)!  And we get to spend time in Colorado.  Could you ask for anything more out of a week?    I hope all of you have had a great week as well.  The weather is kind of turning fall like again, which is good.  As much as I like it warm, I don't like 80's in October.  There is just something not right about that in my opinion.  I want to make soup and chili in October!

Remember, if you haven't already you can vote for Foodbuzz Awards HERE.  I am up for Best New Blog!  Voting is open to everyone!

This is what I was up to this week:
Greek Cinnamon Stewed Chicken - Chicken breasts in a cinnamon and tomato sauce.  Sounds different, but is comforting and delicious.
Coconut White Chocolate Blondies - Blondies with a hint of coconut, white chocolate chips and sprinkles.
Baguette - Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day strikes again with this Baguette
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies - Peanut Butter Blondies full of Chocolate and White Chocolate Chips.
The Rice - Super simple, but amazing side dish

This is what I have bookmarked of yours this week:
Granola Bars by A Zesty Bite - I have never made my own, and these look like just the recipe to start with!
Dim Sum by Frugal Antics of a Harried Housewife - These look easy, and just sound perfect.
Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes by The Baker Chick - My son loves pumpkin pie, these cupcakes look amazing!!
Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce by Healthy Cooking for Me - We love enchiladas at our house, the idea of a pumpkin sauce is very intriguing. 
Chocolate Wasted Cake by Art of Dessert - OH MY!!  Even if you don't like chocolate you have to look at this, it left me speechless!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Friday, October 14, 2011

THE Rice



We have accepted an offer for our house!  YEAH!!!  Our house was on the market for 41 days, which seems like a lifetime to me, but the realtor keeps telling me it is super fast.  The average days on market for our price range is 103, so I guess she is right.  I am just so excited to be able to have an end date, and be able to move on with the next stage of our lives. 

Now.... The Food!

I am struggling with what to call this post.  This rice doesn't really have a name.  We just call it "The Rice".  It is a recipe my husband grew up with.  It is super simple, but so good.  It is fancy enough that we have made this many times while entertaining, or even with small holiday meals.  But we also make it during the week too.  Everyone loves it, and are amazed when they see the recipe.  Aside from the baking time, it is super quick and easy to throw together.  The first time I had this rice was when I was 15.  My husband (then boyfriend) was helping me with math homework (he was a much smarter Senior boy).  He was supposed to be making us frozen pizza for dinner.  But instead he made Chicken and this Rice!  I was blown away, and it was so good!  Had to keep him around after that :)


The Rice
Printable Recipe

2 cups Minute Rice
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1 can Condensed French Onion Soup
1 small can Mushroom (you can saute fresh ones if you have them)
1 small can of Water

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. 

Melt butter in a pan. Add the rice.  Cook the rice until lightly toasted, stirring frequently. 

Place rice into a casserole dish that has a cover.  Pour in soup, mushrooms and water.  Mix together.  Cover and bake for about 45 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. 

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies




I almost forgot to write this post.  We got an offer on our house last night, so the whole night was spent discussing what to do.  Do you take the offer, or do you counter?  Too much stress!!!  I just want it all over, so we can move out to Colorado and be a family again!  It has only been 2 weeks, but I am done with this living apart thing. 

It is a good thing I remembered to write this post though, you are going to want to make these bars.  Obviously I like peanut butter and chocolate, that is not a secret, but these were delicious.  I liked my Coconut White Chocolate Blondies so much, I wanted to try another version.  I found this peanut butter version over at Ravie NomNoms that was about what I was thinking.  I changed it up a little to use what I had on hand, and they were perfect! 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies
Adapted from Ravie NomNoms
Printable Recipe

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350º.  Prepare a 13x9 pan.

Cream together butter and sugar. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and peanut butter.

In a small bowl combine the flour and baking powder.  Slowly add flour to the peanut butter mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips.  Spread mixture into your prepared pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top starts to look dry.   Allow to cool before cutting and serving. 

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Baguette


Fall is here, and I think fresh baked bread is in order.  Really, fresh bread is good all year round, but something about fall makes it the perfect comfort food in my opinion.  One of my favorite breads of all time is a Baguette.  When I was 17 I had the opportunity to go to France with my school.  We spent 1 week as a class with a tour guide traveling around the northern part of the country.  Then the second week we each went to live with a family.  When we weren’t with our host family, we would be on our own for lunch.  My best friend Cosy and I pretty much lived on bread during that week. We would go to the nearest Boulangerie (bakery), pick up a Baguette or a Croissant, a Diet Coke and a Kit Kat (don’t ask me why), and find a bench or park to eat our lunch at.  We were in pure heaven! 

Lately you can get a fairly good and affordable artisan bread at your local grocery store.  They have the Take and Bake ones that I really like.  The Baguettes are not what I remember though.  So when I saw a recipe for Baguettes in the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, I knew I had to try it.  It was good, I did really like it … BUT this was not a Baguette by French standards.  Now, I am not a master when it comes to bread, so I could be to blame for this. I would make this bread again in a heartbeat, I would just think of it as more of a traditional Italian Bread.  I have seen other recipes that take multiple days to do.  I will have to give in and try that sometime.  Until then, bon appétit!

Baguette

1 pound Boule Dough (Recipe Below)
Whole Wheat Four

Boule Dough – makes 4 1-pound loaves
3 cups lukewarm water
1 ½ Tbls yeast (2 packets)
1 ½ Tbls kosher salt
6 ½ cups all purpose flour

The water should be about 100 degrees.  Add yeast and salt to water in a 5 qt bowl (I used electric mixer bowl).  Mix in flour – no kneading.  You can use your electric mixer or a wooden spoon.  Cover  and let rise and begin to collapse (about 2 hours).  Cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge for up to 14 days. 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with the baking stone placed in the middle. 

Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour.  Cut off a 1-pound piece.  Dust the piece with more flour and stretch the dough around to the bottom of itself to form a ball.  Then stretch and elongate the dough.  Dust with more flour, if needed.  Form into a 2 in diameter loaf.  Place the loaf on a pizza peel (or cookie sheet or cutting board) coated in whole wheat flour.  Rest for 20 minutes.

Using a pastry brush, brush the dough with water.  Slash the loaf with diagonal cuts.  Use a serrated knife.  

Slide the loaf onto the hot stone.  Place a pan with 1 cup of water below the baking stone.  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until brown and firm to the touch. 

Allow to cool in a wire rack before cutting.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Coconut White Chocolate Blondies



This week over at erecipe.com I am the featured Chef of the Week! Go check it out!

Remember back when I made Citrus Garlic Chicken with Coconut Lime Rice? It was a great use of my coconut oil. I knew I wanted to make a savory dish when I received it. I am glad I did, because it was amazing. But I couldn’t skip dessert, could I? I thought about banana bread or muffins or something along those lines. As good as that sounded, I wanted a real dessert. I had seen this Blondie recipe from Cassie at Bake Your Day and I thought this would be the perfect experiment. I am not sure I had ever made Blondies before, so I was very curious how they would turn out.

They were really good! I am not a big fan of coconut, or at least I thought I wasn’t. You could definitely taste it in these, and I liked it! It didn’t have the texture coconut usually has, maybe that is part of my problem with it. I will be branching out and trying other coconut recipes though!


Coconut White Chocolate Blondies
Adapted from Bake Your Day
Printable Recipe

1/2 cup Coconut Oil, melted
1 cup light brown sugar
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 8×8 pan.

Blend coconut oil and brown sugar together until smooth. Stir in egg and vanilla. Add flour and salt, mix until combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips and sprinkles.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until it is set, and slightly browned. Cool completely before cutting. This part is torture, but Cassie claims it is necessary!

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Greek Cinnamon Stewed Chicken


It is that time again….Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day!  Don’t know what Secret Recipe Club is?  Go check it out here!  Amanda puts so much work into coordinating this fun event each month.  Thanks Amanda, you do a wonderful job!

This month I was assigned I Was Born To Cook.  Melissa has an amazing blog!  I had never seen her site before, but now I am so glad I found it!  Melissa was born and raised in New Jersey, but comes from a Greek/Italian family.  I think her tag line says it all “A journal of recipes, stories and more from the kitchen of a 1st generation Italian/Greek girl from New Jersey.”  I immediately decided I was going to try something Greek.  I had a really hard time picking; there were so many great looking Greek, Italian and Desserts recipes.  But I stuck to my guns, and went Greek.  And I guarantee I will be trying more of her recipes soon.

I finally decided on this Greek Cinnamon Stewed Chicken.  I must say, I loved this chicken.  Cinnamon is the Greek twist here for sure.  I hardly ever use cinnamon in savory dishes.  My husband didn’t like this as much as I did, but he ate a large piece, so he must not have had that many problems with it!  The recipe calls for skin on, bone in chicken.  I only had boneless skinless chicken breasts, but I think it worked well.  It was still crispy on the outside, and moist and juicy on the inside.  The sauce was amazing!  I liked it so much, I put it on my couscous too! 

Melissa got this recipe here by Cat Cora.  Being that I am not experienced with this type of cuisine, I did not make any changes to the recipe (well, aside from the kind of chicken I used).  I cut down on the amount of chicken I was making, because only two of us were eating it.  But I made the full amount of the sauce.  I had some leftover, but it was so good I am glad I made more than enough of it! 


 



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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Week in Review 10/8/11

It has been a great week!  My 6 year old and I survived our first week alone, and it went well!  I actually cooked every night (I was worried about cooking for just the 2 of us), and we have had fun.  I am the one that is usually short on patience in our house, but that didn't happen this week.  We even went to a neighbors house and played and had a fire Friday night. Now we will just see how the weekend goes.  I have a couple playdates lined up, and we have to get the house clean for a showing on Sunday, so I think it will be busy.

The blog has been on fire this week (relatively speaking for me), which is very exciting!  Don't forget to check out the Foodbuzz awards and vote for your favorites.  Icon is to your right.  I am nominated for Best New Blog, hint hint :)

Here is what I was up to this week:
Chicken in a French Pan Sauce and Polenta Fry Fail - Chicken Breasts in a quick and easy french pan sauce.  Great for weeknight dinners. 
Soft Pretzel Bites - Homemade soft pretzels in little bite sized portions
Cheddar Bacon Ale Dip - Cheese, Bacon and Beer!  Great dip for with soft pretzels.
Pumpkin Spice Hot Apple Cider - Hot Apple Cider with Pumpkin Spiced Syrup topped with Whipped Cream
Thanks and More - Get to Know Me, Blog Awards, My Favorites, and More

Here is what I bookmarked of yours this week:
Cheddar Bay Biscuits by Eat. Drink. Love - who doesn't love Red Lobster biscuits!  Need to make these soon!
Chocolate Malted Cupcakes by Tracey's Culinary Adventures - Just Adorable, and I love Whoppers!
Brookies with Oreo's and Caramel by That Skinny Chick Can Bake - boy can Liz bake, just another amazing dessert from her kitchen!
Pesto Burgers by The Spiffy Cookie - Great idea to put pesto in the meat!  Going to have to try this next time I grill!
Buffalo Chicken Calzone by Baking Jenn - what  a fun idea for a calzone!  Love just about anything with buffalo chicken!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thanks and More!

I have said it before, I will say it again.  The blogging community is so supportive and an amazing group to be a part of. 

I was nominated by fellow bloggers for the “Best New Blog” award.  I am so honored to be nominated, and I am in some amazing company.  The voting is now open to the public.  So go cast your votes (http://www.foodbuzz.com/pages/awards)!  


Kim over at Cravings of a Lunatic tagged me in a little game going around called “My Three Favorites”    Kim is hilarious, so if you haven’t read her blog yet, you really need to start!  For this game, you pick 3 of your favorite dishes, and share them again.  Then you get to tag 5 other bloggers to play along.  Seems easy enough.  But how do you pick your 3 favorites?!  That is like picking your favorite child.  Ok, well maybe not exactly.  But difficult none the less.

Favorite #1 
Nutella Cupcakes - A Chocolate Cupcake filled with Nutella and topped with a Nutella Buttercream.  These were so rich and decadent!


 Favorite #2
Homemade Goldfish Crackers - These were so fun to make, and they tasted great!



Favorite #3
Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownies - these were just so good!  Brownies and Peanut Butter and Cookie Dough all at once!!


Tag - You're it!
2.  Alida @ Alida's Kitchen
3.  Nami @ Just One Cookbook
4.  Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love
5.  Audra @ The Baker Chick

I received the Versatile Blogger award from The Coach’s Wife’s Kitchen.  Have you checked out this blog before?  No?  Well go look, you will find some yummy things.  For this award I get to tell you 7 facts about myself!  How fun for you :)  I also get to tag 7 bloggers, so we can get to learn more about them as well!

1.  My husband just moved to Colorado, and I am living the single parent life here in Iowa.  It is temporary (4-6 weeks).  I can’t wait to get out there and start our life there.
2.   I like trashy TV – Keeping up the Kardashians, Guilliana and Bill, Real Houswives etc. 
3.  I am contemplating running a marathon in the spring.  Not sure my knees/hip could handle it, but it is something I would like to accomplish in my life.
4. I used to work in accounting, not sure I ever want to go do that again.
5.  I cry a lot.  I am super sensitive, and can pretty much find a reason to cry at anytime.  Unfortunately, the only thing my son seems to have gotten from my is my sensitivity.  
6.   I am short.  I am 5’1”.  My husband is 6’2”.  My son is already 4’4”, and he is only 6.  His shoe size is only 1 size smaller than mine.  Pretty soon I will be taking his hand me downs!
7.  I like music.  I played multiple instruments in high school (flute, trombone, baritone).  Now I have the radio on almost all the time.  I can sing almost all the words to every song. 

 Tag - You're It
1.  Ramona @ Curry and Comfort
2.  Kate @ Diethood
3.  Cassie @ Bake Your Day
5.  Chris @ The Keenan Cookbook
6.  Raven @ Ravie NomNoms


Last, but certainly not least Kelly over at Eat Yourself Skinny awarded me The Butterfly award!  Thank you Kelly, for this sweet award.  If you don’t know Kelly, you should go check her out, she is great!  I get to answer some fun questions for this one! If you didn’t learn enough from me before, now you should have the bases covered!  

Favorite Color - Green
Favorite Song – I can’t pick.  Anything from Lady Gaga to Simon and Garfunkle – just No Country!!
Favorite Dessert – Brownies!  Anything Chocolate and Peanut Butter is a close 2nd though!
What Irks Me – People who don’t pick up after themselves.  Bad drivers.  People who think they are right or know everything all the time.  I could go on and on :)
When I am Upset I  - talk!  I couldn’t survive without my few close friends that I can talk about anything to!
Favorite Pet – When we first got married we had the cat from Hell!!  I mean this can was horrible.  It was the most needy thing I have ever met.  It was also the loudest.  It would wake us up during the night 2 floors below.  That is the only pet that I personally have ever had.  I ruined my chances of getting another one after that. 
Black or White – Black.  I own about 20 black shirts!  (maybe this question was beyond clothes, but that is as deep as I am going right now)
Biggest Fear – Bugs.  I am not really scared of much, but spiders and bugs freak me out!
Best Feature – really?  How do you answer this?  I will go with my eyes.  Last time I got my hair cut the lady said I had pretty eyes, so I will go with that.
My Everyday Attitude – I like to think that I am a pretty optimistic person.  I like to see the bright side of everything.
What is Perfection to me – Nothing is perfect.  Well chocolate is pretty perfect.  But in life nothing is perfect, so embracing what you are is perfect.
Guilty Pleasure – Trashy TV!!  Watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians right now!

Tag - You're It
1.  Caroline @ Sweet Caroline's Cooking
2.  Manu @ Manu's Menu
3.  Joanne @ Fifteen Spatulas
4.  Sarah @ Baking Serendipity
5.  Kate @ Kate from Scratch

Thank you so much to everyone for reading my blog, and liking it.  I wouldn’t be here without you!