Pin It

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cuban Steak Sandwich and Broccoli Salad

So I mentioned in an earlier post this morning that I was not going to attempt grocery shopping in the rain today. Well, I did it anyway. My need to have food in the house superseded my need to stay dry and warm. So another week or two worth of menus are planned out and ready to go. Tonight I made Cuban Steak Sandwiches with a side of broccoli salad. I must say that even though I don't care for red meat too much, this sandwich tasted really good. The marinade  that  goes on the meat has a great citrus (lime) flavor and the cilantro and the basil add a pleasant mix to the flavors. The broccoli salad is a side dish I used to make a long time ago and hadn't made it in years. I forgot how good it was. I substituted fat free mayo and made it a little lighter and healthier.
Cuban Steak Sandwich
1 1/2 lb flank steak
1 cup olive oil
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley, not the curly kind)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
5 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp salt
1 loaf ciabatta bread
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced


Directions:
Place the olive oil, cilantro, basil, parsley, lime juice, garlic and salt in a blender. Mix until smooth. Reserve 1/2 a cup of the mixture for later. Place meat into a large gallon size baggie or into a container you can marinade in. Pour the remaining blended mixture over the meat. Marinade for at least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 375. Slice Ciabatta in half lengthwise.
Remove the meat from marinade and discard the marinade. Heat a grill to med-high and grill until medium rare, about 4-5 minutes on each side. ( I cooked mine longer as John does not like rare meat). Remove from heat and cover with foil to allow the meat to rest.
Place bread directly on oven rack and toast for about 5 minutes.
Cook onions in 1 Tbsp olive oil, just  until they start to turn brown, but are still crispy. (about 1 minute)
Remove the onions from heat and season with salt to taste.
Take the reserved olive oil/herb  mixture and brush both sides of the halves of toasted bread. Slice steak thinly and place on the bottom half of the bread. Top with onions and then remaining half of bread. Slice into quarters and serve.


Broccoli Salad

2 bunches fresh broccoli florets
1 cup salted sunflower seeds
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 cup bacon bits

Mix the first four ingredients into a large bowl.

dressing:
1 cup mayo ( I use non fat)
2 Tbsp white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar

Blend the dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Mix well.

Soft Pretzels

Wow, it's been almost a week since I posted anything on my blog. It was busy around here with Christmas. I woke up early this morning and realized there are not very many groceries left in this house, which is very unusual for me and I have no intentions on going grocery shopping in the rain today. So we will make due with some meat in the freezer and a few vegetables we have left. Since I am tired of snacking on "sweets and goodies" from Christmas I decided to tackle a not so sweet snack for today. These soft pretzels were super easy to make and require very few ingredients. As I was rolling the dough out I couldn't help but feel like a kid again rolling play dough.
Soft Pretzels

1/4 oz pkg active dry yeast
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
5 cups flour
8 cups water
3 Tbsp baking soda
Coarse salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 475. Grease baking sheets
2. Combine yeast and brown sugar in large bowl. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups warm water, stirring until yeast is dissolved. Let stand 5 minutes.
3. Stir in flour. Blend well. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic,
about 5-10 min.
4. Pinch off a ball of dough and form a ball. On lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a rope and shape into a pretzel. (makes approx 12 pretzels)

5. Combine 8 cups water and baking soda in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Lift pretzels with a spatula and drop them into boiling water a couple at a time. Boil until pretzels rise to the surface, about one minute.
6. Place pretzels on greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt if desired. Bake at 475 for 8 minutes.
Serve warm!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

English Toffee

Well I am officially done baking and making candies to prepare for Christmas. Now if I can just stay out of them until company arrives. ;)
This morning was a great day baking in the kitchen. The house was quiet except for some music playing in the background. Worshiping and baking, can't beat that when it happens together!

This is a great recipe for English Toffee. So easy to make and oh so yummy....


Here is the Paula Deen recipe for this candy...
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/english-toffee-recipe/index.html

Crock Pot Meatballs

I'm sure many of you already have made or have tasted these crock pot meatballs. They are a pretty standard recipe that everyone seems to know and love. I decided to post it anyway, just in case someone wanted something for an easy appetizer that is always a hit. The ingredients sound like they wouldn't go together, but they really do and they taste GREAT!

1 bag frozen meatballs (any brand will work, even turkey works, but just make sure it's original flavor)
1 large jar grape jelly
1 jar chili sauce (this is sold by the ketchup and the seafood cocktail sauce in most stores)

Place frozen meatballs, chili sauce and jelly in a crock pot. Turn the crock pot onto high. Cook for approx. 3-5 hours or until heated all the way through. Stir occasionally to mix the jelly and chili sauce together. Enjoy!

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

I'm sure all of you already know how to make this, but it's super easy and a pretty addition to a Christmas "goodie" tray. Just melt some white chocolate and crush up candy canes in your food processor! Spread the white chocolate out and toss the candy cane crumbs and powder onto the top and let it harden.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Caramels

As you know, I have been making home made caramels over the past few weeks. Today I took the easy way out and bought a block of caramel at the candy store by my house. I came home and used heart shaped cookie cutters and round cutters and cut them into cute shapes. Then I dipped them in dark chocolate and white chocolate. Some I left plain for people that don't like the extra sweetness added. I threw a few toppings on and voila....a varietey of caramels!!

Chocolate Dipped Chili Mango

Just when I thought I would be done making candies and baking for the holiday season, I decided to make some more home made goodies for Christmas day with my family. Brianna came over today and helped me with these. We had fun making them, but it sure would have been easier if the baby took a nap! ;)

For these, I bought chili mango at the store and just dipped the ends in dark chocolate and drizzled white chocolate over the top. YUMMY!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tilapia with Garlic, White Wine and Butter Sauce

I'm in my office at home listening to the pouring rain and watching as red Christmas lights flicker on a house in the distance. The pool is about a half inch from overflowing and my dogs sit looking through the window in anticipation of playing outside again on a sunny day. They will have to wait awhile.

This morning as I got ready to lay out meat for our dinner tonight, I had every intention on just making a good old chicken stir fry. I haven't been making as much seafood lately and I was craving a good seafood dish. So after  having a tuna sandwich for lunch, I decided to make seafood for dinner also. I have so many seafood recipes, but I wanted to try something new. I searched the internet for a good recipe to try and found one that sounded really good. I combined it with a vegetable stir fry and I was so pleased with how it all turned out. This is a recipe keeper and I hope to make it again very soon!


Ingredients:

  • 2 lemons
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 cup white cooking wine
  • 1 shallot or onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter room temperature

FISH

  • 2 (8 ounce) white fish fillets (or tilapia)
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, ground

Directions:

  1. Juice both lemons and set aside. In a small pot, whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, wine, shallot and garlic.
  2. Cook over high heat until reduced to half. Remove from heat, cool slightly. When lemon mixture is warm, cut in butter and whisk together. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Brush fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill fish for 4 minutes per side, until golden brown and fish flakes easily with a fork.
  4. Place fish in plates and top with lemon butter sauce. Serve immediately over warm pasta or with shrimp instead of fish, if you prefer.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cranberry Pineapple Yams

I found two yams left in  my refrigerator that really were asking to be used before they expired. I contemplated just making the good ole holiday yams, but then the side of me that likes to experiment kicked in. I boiled the yams, then mashed them with a little bit of butter, some whipping cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cranberry juice and pineapple juice. I also took some dried cranberries and coated them in flour (in order to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the dish) and tossed those into the mashed mixture. I baked them until they were heated through, then I put mini marshmallows over the top of them and stuck them under the broiler until they were golden brown. Voila...a new sweet potato dish that I really like!! Sometimes my experiments surprise even me ;)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Red Cabbage and Mango Slaw

Last night I didn't get home until really late in the evening. I was hungry and needed to throw something together quickly. I found a recipe for a red cabbage and mango slaw that was easy and healthy. I ate a few quick bites of it last night and liked it, but it's much better today after the flavors have sat overnight. I think if I make this again I will add A LOT more mango, extra lime juice and maybe zip it up with some extra seasonings of some kind, but it's extremely light and refreshing. John really liked it also.

Ingredients:
1 head red cabbage, halved and finely shredded (about 8 cups)
1 tsp salt
1 large mango ( I would suggest using 2)
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup lime juice
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar

Directions:
Place the cabbage in a large bowl and toss it with the salt, using your hands to press down firmly on the cabbage to encourage the cabbage to release some of it's moisture and better absorb the salt. Transfer the cabbage to a colander and let it sit for 20 minutes to drain. 
Using paper towels squeeze as much liquid as possible from the cabbage and place it into a large clean bowl. Toss with the mangoes, cilantro, lime juice, vinegar and sugar. Let the slaw sit at room temp for 15 minutes  before serving. ( I suggest letting it sit overnight in the fridge)

Christmas Desserts

Being in my kitchen baking or cooking brings me such a sense of comfort and peace. Not the kind of comfort and peace that Jesus brings me, but it's still a great feeling! This morning I awoke early with the thoughts of baking for our early Christmas gathering tomorrow. Where do I start? Which dessert do I bake first? How many do I tackle at once? With all these questions running through my head, I decided to tackle my Christmas Tree Brownies first. I got them baked and cooling off on the counter top while I prepared my home made fleur de sel caramel candies. Once the caramels were cut and on the tray, I began to put together my Peanut Butter Truffles. These were fairly easy, but time consuming while I waited for the mixture to cool to a "rollable" consistency. Now I'm taking a break from the kitchen to type this, before I go tackle my pumpkin rolls....one for tomorrow and one for a friend at work who wants to buy one. I have decided that I definitely need to invest in a good apron as I am sitting here typing this looking like I've been dipped in chocolate! ;)

These are my Christmas Tree Brownies


This is a picture of my Peanut Butter Truffles dipped in various toppings....

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Cake

Today we had our Christmas pot luck at work. I signed up to bring a dessert. Since I had never made an ice cream cake, I thought it would be fun to try. I loved the taste of this dessert, but next time I will definitely try to make the crust thinner as the cookies got to thick around the inside bottom of the crust and it was kind of difficult to cut through. The candy brittle on the top was fun to make and made for a nice design, but next time I think I will just sprinkle some crushed candy canes or starlight mints on the top and save all the hard work and effort that went into the candy brittle.



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fiesta Shrimp Skewers with Cool Cilantro Dip and Apple Charlottes for dessert

Today we got our Christmas tree. I would love to tell you that I put on Christmas music, made hot cocoa and put on my favorite winter sweater and scarf, but that would be far from the truth. Instead, we got home with our tree, I quickly changed into a tank top and shorts. I guzzled some ice water to cool off from our trek out in the 85 degree weather and felt like I should be playing some Beach Boys surfer music in the background while I hung ornaments. Gotta love a Southern California Christmas! Anyway, I decided to make a light refreshing dinner tonight to "beat the heat." I made Fiesta Shrimp Skewers over brown rice and made Apple Charlottes for dessert. This was my first time making Apple Charlottes and I really thought they were yummy! I have made the shrimp skewers before and we always love those.


Fiesta Shrimp Skewers
1 lb large shrimp (approx 24)
1/2 cup Newcastle Amber Ale
1/2 tsp shredded lime peel
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 fresh Poblano peppers, seeded and cut into pieces for skewer
2 limes, cut for skewer

Peel Shrimp. Rinse shrimp and pat dry with paper towels. Place shrimp into a plastic bag that is set into a baking dish. In a small bowl, combine ale, lime peel, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, cumin, red pepper and garlic. Stir together and pour into bag containing shrimp. Marinate for 30-60 minutes, turning the bag occasionally. Drain the shrimp but reserve the marinade. Onto a metal skewer (or if you use wood skewers make sure you soak them thoroughly, 30 min. in water before placing over the fire) thread alternately, shrimp, poblano pieces and lime pieces. Brush with the reserved marinade. Discard any unused marinade. Grill the skewers for 8-10 minutes on your grill or until shrimp turn opaque. Turn them once while cooking. Serve with cool cilantro dip. *Recipe following
** I didn't want to grill tonight so I placed my skewers into my broiler set on high. They cooked in approx 6 minutes.


Cool Cilantro Dip

8 ounce carton light sour cream
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp salsa
1/2 tsp shredded lime peel
1 garlic clove, minced

Stir dip ingredients in a bowl until mixed thoroughly. Cover and chill for at least until ready to serve.


Apple Charlottes


This is the link to the Apple Charlotte recipe. It was a really good dessert and fairly easy to put together. I will definitely make these again!!     http://www.womansday.com/Recipes/Mini-Apple-Charlottes

Here is a link to a "how to" site for the Apple Charlottes  
http://www.womansday.com/Articles/Food/Mini-Apple-Charlotte-How-To.html

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Well, I did it! I cheated and used a boxed cake mix and a tub of store bought frosting. Somehow I feel like I've committed a crime haha. I never use boxed mixes or store bought frosting, but I've had these sitting in my house for quite awhile now. I bought it on a whim one day when cake mixes were on sale for one dollar along with the frosting being one dollar! So I decided to do a little something different than just bake a dark chocolate cake. I like chocolate and peppermint together, so after I whipped up the cake mix, I added some peppermint flavoring to the batter. I baked them, cooled them off and then stirred more peppermint flavoring into the tub of frosting. After they were frosted, I drizzled melted choc chips (with a very small amount of oil stirred in) over the tops. Shake some pink sugar over the top and you are finished! I took them to my neighbors house so their grandkids and great grandkids could enjoy them. I think that's what I love about cooking and baking the most is giving it all to other people to enjoy!

Italian Stromboli

Mi piace cucinare!! ( I love to cook), but you probably already guessed that by now. Have you ever thought that cooking Italian food required too many skills and too much time? Not Stromboli. I got this recipe from a friend at a Bible Study years ago. If you want to make an extremely easy Italian meal for dinner....try this recipe for a quick and easy Italian dinner. This requires almost no cooking skills. If you like pizza, you should love this!! If you try it, let me know what you think!


1 tube refrigerated pizza dough
2 Tbsp flour
24 slices pepperoni (the large sliced that the deli slices for you at the grocery store)
6 slices provolone (also from the deli, sliced for you)
6 slices cappicola (Italian hot ham, also sliced for you at the deli)
8 slices Genoa Salami
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 tsp Italian seasoning blend
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400. Break open the tube of pizza dough and remove it from container. Dust your hands lightly with flour. Coat work surface with a dusting of flour and place dough on work surface.. Stretch dough out, gently, spreading out the rectangle shape it has been formed into already. Cut the dough into four equal pieces by cutting the dough in half and then in half the other direction. Cover each piece of dough with 6 slices of pepperoni, 1 1/2 slices cheese, 1 1/2 slices cappicola ham, and 2 slices of Genoa Salami. Roll each piece at an angle from corner to corner, making a long roll that is thicker in the middle and thinner on each end.
In a bowl, mix together sesame seeds, Italian seasoning, Parmesan or Romano Cheese,  red pepper flakes and garlic powder.
Brush each roll lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle seed mixture onto the top of each roll. Gently push the seed mixture onto roll so it will stick. Bake until evenly golden, 12-14 minutes. Serve warm.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mini Peanut Butter Cheesecakes

Today my mom and daughter are coming over to help us decorate our home for Christmas. I was awake at 4:00 and couldn't sleep, so what better to do except bake to have something for my company today. I made these mini peanut butter cheesecakes. They turned out really good. I am going to take a few to work and test them out on fellow employees. I'm sure they won't mind! ;)


Here is the link to the recipe I found online. 
http://www.womansday.com/Recipes/Mini-Peanut-Butter-Cheesecakes

* I had to adapt some on this recipe. I couldn't find the kind of cookies that the recipe calls for, so I bought Mothers fudge filled cookies and threw some peanut butter into the food processor along with them. I also added butter to the crust mixture because I thought it was too dry.

Monday, December 6, 2010

French Banana Pancakes

Breakfast for dinner? That's a funny concept since I don't even eat too many breakfast foods at breakfast time. But....tonight, after a long day of work, exercise, errands etc, I decided to make something quick and easy. I love pancakes, but I thought that these French Banana Pancakes would be awesome! I was right!! John loved them too. They might not be the healthiest thing on my menu at home for the week, but hey it's got a fresh banana in each one....that makes up for all the bad stuff, right?  ;)

Pancakes:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup milk
2 eggs
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Filling:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup light cream
5-6 firm bananas, halved lengthwise

Whipped cream and additional cinnamon, optional

Sift flour and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Add milk, eggs, melted butter, vanilla and salt. Beat until smooth. Heat a greased 6 inch skillet over med-high heat. Pour in approximately 1/4 cup batter. Swirl to cover bottom of pan. Cook until lightly browned. Flip with spatula and brown the other side. Remove to a plate or wire rack. Spray Pam in skillet after each pancake is removed, to grease it for the next one. Repeat with remaining batter until all pancakes are made.

For filling: melt butter in a small saucepan.l Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in cream and cook until slightly thickened. Add half a banana at a time to the skillet, heat for 2-3 minutes, spooning sauce over them. Remove from heat. Roll a pancake around each banana and place on serving tray. Spoon extra sauce over top of pancakes. Top with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon if desired.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling

Chocolate and peanut butter go together like..........well John and I ♥
I liked this recipe, but next time instead of trying to dip the cupcake tops into a chocolate ganache mixture, I would just make a regular dark chocolate frosting recipe and use a spatula to spread it and then pipe the peanut butter dollop on top of that.


3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup buttermilk
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks plus 3 Tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin cups with paper liners.
Place cocoa powder in med bowl. Add boiling water and whisk until a paste forms. Whisk in the buttermilk until combined.
In a med bowl, sift the flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat 1 1/2 sticks of the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Beat in the dry ingredients and the cocoa mixture. Spoon the batter into paper lined muffin tins, about 2/3 full. Bake for 16- 20 min or until toothpick inserted in center, comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

In a med bowl, beat peanut butter with remaining 3 Tbsp butter until creamy. Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl and beat until light and fluffy. (this is where I had to add a tiny bit of heavy cream to give it a more fluffy filling type consistency, so if you need to do that go ahead). Spoon all but 3 Tbsp of the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip. (reserve the 3 Tbsp for later) Plunge the tip into the cake and squeeze a small amount of filling into each cupcake.

In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Take it off the heat and add the semisweet chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. No need to stir. After 5 minutes, whisk together the chocolate and cream. Let stand until cool and thickened, about 15 minutes.  Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the chocolate mixture and place back on the cooling rack for approx 5 minutes. Re-dip the tops again into the chocolate and place on rack for 5-10 minutes again. Spoon the remaining 3 Tbsp peanut butter mixture into the pastry bag and pipe tiny rosettes onto the top of each cupcake.

Fluer De Sel Caramels

Fluer De Sel is just a fancy name for sea salt. So if you like sweet and salty together, then you might like these caramels. The texture reminds me of Werthers Candies, in that it's hard on the outside, but after it's been in your mouth for a couple minutes it softens up to a chewy caramel. There is a link to the recipe below the picture. Mine didn't turn out as pretty as hers, but oh well, I am also not a professional cook. In the recipe, she says to "roll" the caramel....mine wouldn't roll, so I broke it into pieces.


http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/fleur-de-sel-caramels-recipe/index.html

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll

Who doesn't love pumpkin this time of year? Carved pumpkins, pumpkin candles, pumpkin pie...but my all time favorite is pumpkin cream cheese rolls. I haven't made these in a couple of years and was surprised at how easy it came back to me. It takes a little work to get them rolled just right, but I think they are well worth the effort.
This was the dessert that I took to a friends house and then wound up having her friend order some from me for Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fish Sandwich with Jalapeno Slaw

After hiking about 5 miles today, John and I were very hungry. I wanted to make something filling and yet light. I got a new Food Network Magazine a couple of days ago and this recipe was in it. Wow...it really turned out great. John loved it and I would most definitely make it again. We also tried "mashed cauliflower" (which is what you see beside the sandwich). It's supposed to be like mashed potatoes but much better for you. It was really good too. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised. I have decided not to post this recipe unless someone requests it, because it's a lot to type and most people don't like seafood enough to be brave enough to try it in a sandwich. So if you want the recipe, just ask and I'll type it up!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cheese and Fruit "Turkey" Appetizer

My daughter Kylie made this today for Thanksgiving and I just had to share it on my blog. It was super cute and looked great on the table. She is super creative and always makes her things look so good!

For  the body use a honeydew melon. For the tail feathers, place cheese and grapes on skewers and insert them into the melon. For side feathers, cut red and yellow pepper slices and place in with toothpicks. The head is a bosc pear and the nose is a cube of cheese. The eyes are cranberries and the "gobble" was cut out of a red pepper also. Attach with toothpicks!

Quite a few months ago, she also made this baby carriage stroller for my other daughters baby shower. I thought this post would be a good place to put this picture too! Isn't it adorable???

Cupcake "Pies"

My friend Tammy and I got together to bake the other day. We were attempting to make "pie cakes". They are cupcakes decorated to look like pies. They were actually fairly simple, but we were lacking the right decorating tip to make the lattice tops for the pies. We had to get really creative with the tips we had. I think we accomplished it fairly well, but next time I will definitely buy the right tip before trying these again. I hope they were a hit with her family!!
All you do is bake vanilla cupcakes. Frost the top of the cupcake lightly with butter cream frosting. Place any color M&M you want to use for "fruit" on the top of the cupcake. Do not get too close to the edges as it makes it very difficult to pipe on the "crust". Tammy and I learned that the hard way! Pipe a "crust" around the edges of the cupcake. Next pipe a "lattice" over the top. Enjoy!! * I know  these don't look the greatest, but for our first try and without the right decorating tips....I think we did a pretty good job!

7 Layer Jello

Today is Thanksgiving. I made a 7 layer jello to take to my mom's house. Everyone loved it! My sister Janet was the first person I know to make this jello and ever since she shared the recipe with me, I have been making it.



1 small box black cherry jello
1 small box lemon jello
1 small box lime jello
1 small box cherry jello
1 small box orange jello
1 small box peach jello
1 small box strawberry jello
1 can evaporated milk


*If you can't find the small boxes of jello, just use half of the large box. Also, if you can't find the black cherry, just substitute raspberry. (That's what I had to use for the top layer in this picture)


Method # 1
Mix jello with one cup boiling water. Stir to dissolve sugar completely. Pour in half a cup of cold water.

Method # 2
Mix jello with one cup boiling water. Stir to dissolve sugar completely. Pour in a half a cup of evaporated milk.

Alternate method one and method two for all layers. Make one layer, pour it into a bundt pan and refrigerate it until completely set. (about a half hour or so). In the meantime, make the next layer of jello in a bowl so it can be cooling down before you pour it over the last layer. Pour it over the previous layer, only when cooled down on counter and the first layer is completely firm in the refrigerator. Continue to do this until last layer is poured on. After all the jello layers are completely firm, put some tepid water in the sink, just high enough to come to the top of the bundt pan, but not over the top edge. Hold onto the pan and let the water sit around it for a minute or so. Maybe less, depending on the water. Pick up the pan and tilt it to the side gently to see if the sides of the jello loosen from the edges of the pan. Continue to soak and check the edges. Once the edges loosen from the side of the bundt pan, place a flat round dish on the top of the bundt pan and flip the entire bundt pan over. The jello should loosen and come out onto the plate. Fill the center with whipped cream!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Frosting

These cupcakes are super yummy. They taste a little like Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies. I had a similar recipe I used last week in a vanilla cupcake, but I was trying to be a bit more creative this time around. Everyone that tasted the vanilla ones did say they liked them though!
Oh...the frosting is also green on these cupcakes, but the flash on my camera made it look white :(

CUPCAKES
1 Chocolate Cake Mix
1 Bag Oreos with mint filling
2 Tbsp flour


FROSTING
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cube butter, softened
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp mint flavoring ( you can add as much as you like to suit your taste)
3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Place paper liners into your muffin tins. Twist 24 Mint Oreos apart. Place the Oreo half with the filling, filling side up into the bottom of the muffin tins. Cut the other unfilled Oreo halves in half with a sharp knife. Save half of the cut up halves for crushing for the garnish and the other half to stick in the top of finished cupcakes. Follow the instructions on the cake mix and prepare the batter. Cut or break the whole Oreos  that are left in the package into quarters or eighths. ( I cut mine into eighths...you don't have to be precise, they are only going in the batter and won't really show). Mix the cut up sections of cookies in a small bowl with 2 Tbsp flour. (this  keeps them from sinking in the cupcake) Stir the floured Oreos into the batter. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. Bake at 350 for about 16-20 min. When toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, they are done. Remove from oven and let cool until they are completely cool.

For the frosting: Mix together the cream cheese and butter until blended well. Mix in vanilla and peppermint flavorings. Add sifted powdered sugar one cup at a time and blend well after each cup. You can use 3-4 cups depending on the frosting texture that you want. I tend to use closer to 4 cups because I like the piping consistency of thicker frostings.

Grind up half of the Oreos that you halved earlier. Dust the top of frosted cupcakes with the Oreo powdered crumbs. Place the other half of the saved Oreo halves into the cupcake for decoration.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Broiled Greek Scampi

The rain is falling lightly outside. Sounds of water flowing through the dishwasher are competing with the rumbling of the washing machine. Both dogs are in  a state of contentment, breathing heavily on the carpet next to me. The sugar cookie candle is flickering in the kitchen, casting an eerie glow on the kitchen blinds. The Television is turned off, the phone is silent and I can hear the "tap tap" of the keyboard as I type. All of these sights and sounds are captivating me as they attest to a home that is no longer filled with the laughter and chatter that comes with raising children, but is now a home filled with quiet contentment.
This morning I was busy making pumpkin, cream cheese rolls and this afternoon I made John and I a wonderful dinner. Tonight's dinner was Greek Scamp, Basil Cheese bread and brocolli with mozzarella cheese.
This recipe for Greek Scampi is quite easy to make and for anyone that thinks they are just a "beginner" cook but wants to make something that looks fancy, this would be a good one!

1/2 stick butter (4 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried dill
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Panko bread crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs, sold at the grocery store)
1 Tbsp fresh, shredded parmesan cheese ( not the kind in the shaker tub)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp paprika
10-12 extra large shrimp ( I used medium shrimp), peeled, deveined and tails left on


1. Preheat broiler with oven rack 6-8 inches from the top.

2. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat or in the microwave in a small bowl. Stir in the lemon juice, garlic,   dill, salt and pepper. Put aside.

3. Combine bread crumbs, parmesan, oregano and paprika in small bowl. Set aside.

4. Coat 2 small casserole dishes (approx 6 oz each) with Pam. Place the dishes on a baking sheet. Arrange shrimp evenly in each dish. Divide butter mixture evenly between dishes, drizzling it over the shrimp in each dish. Top with the bread crumb mixture. 

5. Broil until shrimp are cooked and bread crumbs are golden brown. (5min for ex large shrimp and 4 min for medium shrimp).

Friday, November 19, 2010

Italian Margherita Pasta


I'm so thankful as I sit here typing this tonight. God is so good to me and has blessed me beyond what I can comprehend. I actually had my first "order" for an item today. A friend from work ordered a pumpkin cream cheese roll. I took it to her house and she had a friend visiting and that friend then ordered 4 more! What a blessing! Anyway, tonight for dinner I made an Italian Margherita Pasta with chicken. It was so good and so filling. My pine nuts got a little too toasted, but they still tasted great! Lesson learned....do not try to cook on all 4 burners at once while you are on the phone ;)




For the Pasta:
8 oz dry spaghetti ( I used wheat spaghetti)
3 cups halved grape tomatoes
2 cups diced mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup thinly sliced, fresh basil
Salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Toasted Pine Nuts


For the Chicken:
2-3 boneless, skinless  chicken breasts
Olive oil, dried oregano, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to taste

*Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
*While spaghetti is cooking, combine tomatoes and mozzarella in a large bowl. Set aside.
*Coat chicken with oil, oregano, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook in skillet or grill until cooked through. Slice into thin strips.
* Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a skillet over med heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
* Pour oil into tomato/cheese mixture. Add the cooked pasta and stir.
* Stir in basil, season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.
Divide pasta onto plates and top with chicken and toasted pine nuts.
** To toast pine nuts, place nuts in a small skillet with a little bit of olive oil. Turn fire to low- med and continue stirring till pine nuts are golden brown and toasty

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Polsa Kielbasa

Most of the time I am posting my fancy pictures of dinners and desserts that I make. Today's posting is definitely NOT fancy! I had a very busy day and only had time to make a quick and easy dinner. I know you are probably looking at this picture and thinking "oh my goodness that is not coke I see with meat is it?" Yes, it sure is!!
My sister Janet told me about this recipe years ago. I'm not sure if she thought it up or if someone gave it to her, but when she told me about it I thought she was crazy! She made it for me and asked me to try it. I loved it. I have since, over the years, made this many times for my family. Whenever I tell people about it they think I'm nuts, but then they try it and love it. The sweetness of the coke blends perfectly with the hint of spice in the Polsa Kielbasa. The Coca Cola caramelizes as it cooks, and coats the outside of the meat.

All you have to do is cut a piece of Polsa Kielbasa into bite size rounds. Place the cut up sausage into a skillet. Pour one 12 oz can of Coca Cola Classic (it has to be reg. coke...you cannot use diet and Coca Cola is the best for it's taste) over the cut up sausage. Turn fire onto high. Cook for approx. 25-50 min, (stirring every now and then), to fully caramelize the Coke. The liquid will evaporate off and you will see the coca cola thicken up. Stir by scraping the caramelized soda off the bottom of the skillet. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with Banana Buttercream Frosting and Milk Chocolate Topping

I have come to the conclusion that for me, sharing food and desserts I have made, is like sharing a piece of my heart with others. Every time I share something I have baked or made,  I want it to be that I am showing others love in a different way than just saying "I love you" or "I was thinking about you." I love making things and others generally love eating them. So tonight I decided at the last minute to make a batch of cupcakes to take to work tomorrow to share. I truly cheated tonight though and used a chocolate cupcake mix. I rarely use boxed mixes, but since I decided so late to make these and I knew I would still have to make frosting, I cheated and used a mix...but ssshh...don't tell anyone! lol

I used a boxed chocolate cake mix for the cupcakes. I then followed a recipe for banana buttercream frosting and it was way too thin, so I added a can of buttercream frosting from the store and added 2 more mashed bananas and a little bit of lemon juice (so the bananas won't turn brown). I then piped the frosting on and froze the cupcakes for about 40  min to firm up the frosting for dipping. I melted 1 cup milk chocolate chips with one Tbsp oil and stirred it together. When the chocolate mixture cools down some, dip the top of each cupcake in the melted chocolate.
**So I'm thinking you could just buy a tub of buttercream frosting and add a couple, very mashed, bananas and a tsp or so of lemon juice for your frosting!

Tomato Tarts with Goat Cheese and Basil

Leftovers? When you are a person that genuinely loves to cook, leftovers are not your most exciting foods to deal with. Today my dilemma was how to make leftovers more appealing. I don't like leftovers and usually I don't have to decide what to do with them because I pack them up for John to take to work so he has a nice lunch. It works for both of us, he gets a nice lunch and I don't have to eat leftovers! From last nights dinner, I had leftover roasted chicken and spiced couscous. I wanted something to have something nice to go with it, so I decided to try making Tomato Tarts with Goat Cheese and Basil. I have only had Goat Cheese once before and wasn't sure if I would like it in this particular way, but it turned out to be really good. The flavors of the tomato and the cheese blended so well with the flaky pastry.
* I could not find yellow tomatoes as the recipe called for so it's made with all red tomatoes. It would sure be pretty if you could find both color tomatoes.
** I also could not find herbed goat cheese, so I bought regular goat cheese and seasoned it myself with oregano, basil, sage, garlic powder and pepper.




2 sheets frozen puff pastry
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 Tbsp water
2 oz herb goat cheese, softened
2 Tbsp milk
8 each, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp minced, fresh basil

Thaw puff pastry according to package directions. Preheat oven to 400.
Cut on pastry sheet into 4 even squares. Place squares on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cut remaining pastry sheet into 8 strips (3/4 inch wide each). (you will have a little pastry dough leftover, you can save it for a different time or just toss it). Cut the 8 strips in half crosswise, to make 16 strips. Place 4 strips around the edge of each pastry square, overlapping corners (over and under on each corner). Lightly brush the 4 strips around the edges and the corners of each pastry, with the egg wash. Bake until puffed and brown 22-24 minutes. Whisk together the goat cheese and the milk. Divide cheese mixture among the center of 4 tarts, spreading with a spatula and pressing lightly to gently deflate the centers. Top cheese mixture with red and yellow tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake tarts 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and garnish with basil. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Coconut Lime Fish with Lime Dijon Dipping Sauce

I love seafood!! I used to cook fish about 3-4 nights a week. I got out of the habit and started cooing a ton of chicken dishes. So tonight I made a fish that John and I have enjoyed many times. It's really easy to prepare and light and yummy! The coconut gives it a little sweetness and the lime gives it a little tang.

1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 tsp finely shredded lime peel
3-4 Tilapia filets (or your favorite whitefish)
1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp lime juice

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet
2. Combine beaten egg and coconut milk in a shallow dish
3. In another shallow dish, combine bread crumbs, coconut and lime peel. Mix together.
4. Dip fillets into coconut milk mixture and then dredge into the coconut mixture.
5. Arrange fish onto baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
6. Whisk mayonnaise, mustard and lime juice together in a small bowl. Serve alongside fish

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad

Fall is officially in the air. It's a chilly night outside and I can smell my neighbors fireplace burning. I am in my winter pajamas and I am still cold in the house! You would think that I would be posting a winter type "hot" meal, but nope....I was hungry for Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad. My sister-in-law Denise, that I love dearly, gave me this recipe a few years back. I loved it then and I still love it! Tonight after dinner, John could not stop telling me how much he loved this salad tonight. It's got a crunch from the celery, a light and refreshing dressing, a sweet taste from the sugared almonds and a little bit of tang from the mandarin oranges.

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped

Mix above ingredients together in a large salad bowl.Set aside.

3/4 cup almonds
3 Tbsp sugar
3 tsp sugar

Place above ingredients in a saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until almonds become coated with sugar and it "sticks" to them and the almonds turn light golden brown. Spread them out onto waxed paper to cool.
*If the sugar does not seem to be "cooking" (sticking)...then sprinkle a few (and I seriously mean ONLY a few) drops of water over the sugar almond mixture while cooking.

1 can mandarin oranges, drained. Set aside.

Dressing:
4 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp white vinegar (I use rice vinegar)
1 tsp salt
2 dashes pepper
2 dashes tobasco sauce ( I use a sauce called Red Hot and I also use about a 1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Mix the first two ingredients together until sugar is dissolved. After those two ingredients are blended well, add all other dressing ingredients.

*To assemble salad:
Place greens on plate. Top with chicken. Top with oranges. Top with almonds and spoon well stirred dressing over the top!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fish Tacos and Spanish Rice

Woo Hoo Fish Tacos. No...not Wahoos fish tacos, but just as good!! I was craving fish tacos all day long today. I love to order them when we go out (which truly is not often since I love to cook so much) and I also love to make them at home. They don't take much cooking skills at all to put together, it's just time consuming. Add a little Spanish rice on the side and it all equals YUM!!!


4 Tilapia fillets (or any of your favorite white fish) *cut each fillet in half to fit better in tortilla
8 Corn Tortillas

Beer Batter
1 cup flour
1 cup beer
Garlic powder, pepper, to taste ( I add a little cayenne pepper for a little bit of spice)

*Oil for deep frying

White Sauce
1/2 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup plain yogurt

Salsa
1 garlic clove, minced
4-6 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and diced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Garnish
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
3 limes, cut into wedges

Directions: Mix flour with spices and stir the beer into the flour mixture. Mix until blended. Wash fish and dry. Be sure fish is completely dry.

Prepare Salsa and set aside.

Put  the oil into a deep skillet and when oil is very hot, place battered fish in a single layer and do not let the fish touch each other. Cook fish until batter  is crispy and golden brown.

Heat corn tortillas lightly in a skillet until they are soft and hot.

To assemble the taco: On each corn tortilla, layer the fish, white sauce, salsa and cabbage. Squeeze the lime juice over it.


Spanish Rice
2 cups rice (long grain)
Oil
4 cups water
3/4 - 1 Tbsp chicken bullion

Salsa: 1/4 small onion
2 regular size tomatoes
1 tsp garlic
Salt
Prepare salsa by placing all salsa ingredients in blender and blend until it is a liquid. Set aside.

Brown rice in oil. When rice is browned, drain off any extra oil. Pour salsa over browned rice. Stir for a min or two. Pour hot water over the rice. After it boils, put in chicken bullion. Mix once through. Put on lid. Turn fire to low. Do NOT remove lid. Cook for 25 min without removing the lid. Turn off the fire and let the rice sit covered for 5-10 min.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cuban Mojo Chicken and Duchess Potatoes

Tonight I wanted to make a really special dinner. I've made this chicken before and we both really enjoy it.  He was pretty surprised at my fancy potatoes and he thought the entire meal was awesome! The flavors in this chicken blend so well together. Let me know if any of you ever make this as I'd like to see if you like it as much as we did. I forgot to put our chopped cilantro on top of our chicken. It would have tasted much better and probably would have made the chicken look nicer in the picture with more color presentation!



Cuban Mojo Chicken

Chicken Prep Ing:
1 tsp cumin
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 red chili stemmed
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp orange juice
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
2 large boneless chicken breasts

For the avocado,mango sauce:
2 Tbsp chicken drippings (or olive oil)
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp grated lime peel
1 tsp honey
2 tsp thick, sweet terryaki sauce
4 Tbsp butter (cut into 1 tbsp portions)
1/2 firm, (but ripe) mango, peeled and diced
1/2 ripe avocado, diced
freshly chopped cilantro

To make the marinade: Place cumin, garlic, red chili and salt into the food processor. Grind into a coarse paste. Place into a med bowl.
Heat olive oil in a skillet until it's very hot and then pour over the coarse paste you just made in the food processor. Stir to blend. Let stand for 15  min. Whisk in the orange juice and lime juice. Pour the marinade into a pan and add the chicken to marinate it. Turn to coat all sides of the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350. Remove chicken from the marinade. In a heavy skillet, over med high heat, brown the chicken on both sides (about 2-3 min per side). Finish the chicken in the oven (7-10 min depending on the thickness of your chicken). Cover with foil and allow to rest for 3-5 min. While the chicken is baking, whisk together the chicken drippings (or olive oil) orange juice, lime peel, honey and terryaki sauce in a saucepan over med heat. Bring to a boil and reduce (approx 6-8 min). Remove from heat and whisk in each tbsp of butter one at a time. Combine the mango and avocado in a med bowl. Scatter the mango and avocado around the chicken. Drizzle  with sauce and sprinkle on chopped cilantro.


Duchess Potatoes

Make mashed potatoes using 6 potatoes. (add all your reg. ingredients, butter, milk, salt, pepper etc)
Make them a little bit "thicker" than you might normally. Beat 2 eggs in a bowl and then add them into your mashed potatoes. Blend until completely smooth. Heat oven to 425. Place your mashed potatoes into a cake decorating bag with a fancy decorating tip inside ( or a baggie with a corner cut off and place the decorating tip inside there) and "pipe" them out onto an ungreased cookie sheet into a rosette. Drizzle melted butter over all the rosettes and bake uncovered for 15 min or until light brown.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hamburger Cupcakes and Almond Shortbread Fries

As you know, Kylie and I made the hamburger cupcakes for today's pot luck at church. Well on the way home from church today I decided to make a little something to go with it and make it even more "fun" than it already was. I made almond shortbread shaped like "fries". They are ssssoooo yummy!! Since I don't eat red meat, I have now decided that each time I'm craving a hamburger and fries, I'll just have one of these haha.....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hamburger Cupcakes

Today, Kylie and I made "hamburger cupcakes" for a church ministry pot luck tomorrow. We had so much fun baking and decorating them together. I'm glad she was helping me as this took awhile. We made a mess, but made some adorable looking "hamburgers" in the process.



Bun: Vanilla cupcake cut in half
Meat Patty: Chocolate cupcake with the top cut off
Condiments: Buttercream frosting dyed yellow (mustard), red (ketchup) and green (lettuce)
Sesame seeds for topping

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Santa Fe Chicken Chili

We were invited to have dinner at a friends house not too long ago. After contemplating what to make, Colleen finally decided on making Santa Fe Chicken Chili. Oh my goodness, it was so wonderful. She took a recipe she had found and "tweaked" it to her liking. I have made it a few times since that night and it's become one of my favorites. I just finished cooking a large pot of it on the stove and thought this would be a good recipe to share. So thank you Colleen!! :)



2 chicken breasts, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1  red pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 can diced tomatoes (approx 15 oz)
1 can chicken broth (approx 15 oz)
1 can kidney beans (approx 15 oz), rinsed
5 oz frozen corn
Salt and Pepper to taste

 1) Saute chicken, jalapeno, red pepper, garlic and onion  in olive oil over med. heat until chicken is no        longer pink and vegetables are semi tender

2) Add chili, cumin and cayenne pepper. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

3) Add tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat and simmer uncovered for about 15 min.

4) Add beans, corn, salt and pepper. Turn up heat and return to a boil. Lower heat and simmer uncovered for 15 min. 

* This is best when eaten later or the next day so the flavors have a chance to really sink into the chili

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dark Chocolate Bowl with Vanilla and Raspberry

Today I was really hungry for something sweet to eat after lunch! I wanted something super small and not too, too many calories. This picture really makes this look large, but it was very small.  I decided to  make a dark chocolate edible bowl and fill it with sugar free vanilla pudding and top it with fresh raspberries. Not too shabby for an amateur cook I guess ;)

First I melted dark chocolate and poured it into my candy mold. Then I froze it until it was ready to release from the mold. Next I filled it with sugar free vanilla pudding and topped it with 3 fresh raspberries! YUMMY! The sugar free pudding had hardly any calories. The fresh raspberries were healthy. The dark chocolate was fairly thin, so I'm thinking it might not have been too bad overall. A girl can dream can't she?????? Hey I only ate half....doesn't that count for something?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Asian Noodle Salad

So after yesterday being fairly cold, and soup sounding wonderful, today is very warm and anything light and easy sounds wonderful for dinner. I prepared Asian Noodle Salad and now it is sitting in the refrigerator cooling off and letting all the flavors mesh together by dinner time. This is a cold asian noodle salad and it's very light and refreshing!


Ingredients:
1 lb spaghetti noodles ( I use whole wheat)
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup cilantro, chopped
8 green onion stalks, thinly sliced
3 fresh jalapeno peppers, diced ( you can remove the seeds, it will make it less spicy)
1 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts (chopped or whole)

Cook spaghetti until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. Transfer to large bowl. In a small bowl, combine: sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, salt and balsamic vinegar. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add to noodles and mix well. Add chopped cilantro, green onions and jalapenos. Mix well again. Serve with peanuts on top.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Filling

Can I just say I love Red Velvet Cupcakes? They are probably one of my favorites. I filled these with a vanilla filling and frosted them with a vanilla buttercream frosting. This one cupcake is what started my passion of baking lately. I made these one weekend and from that, my passion for baking was sparked. I have always enjoyed baking, but now I truly LOVE it. I would love to open a bakery, but that's just a dream.

Garden of Brownie Pops

Awhile back I was asked to bring something to a family get together. I wanted to make brownies, but wanted to be more creative than just bringing a pan of brownies. I made these brownie pops. I made my homeade brownie batter, then poured it into brownie pop pans. Some were flower shaped and some were just regular brownie pops. I made butter cream frosting and tinted it many colors. This required a lot of bowls haha!! I then frosted some with peanut butter, some with carmael and nuts and some with frosting and sprinkles and/or coconut. I was pleased with the outcome. It took a lot of time, but family is always worth the time it takes to do anything!