Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lasagna Soup.

First, I must tell you that I did NOT take this delicious-looking picture, BUT my soup did look and taste this good. The picture is from here.

Back to the soup...I tore this recipe out of a magazine quite awhile ago and finally got around to trying it. Very tasty and probably less calories than lasagna in its true form.

Lasagna Soup
Adapted from Rachel Ray

1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon dried onion
1 carrot (peeled & grated)
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
2 tablespoons sugar
1 quart italian seasoned tomatoes
1 pint italian seasoned tomato sauce
4 cups chicken broth
1 pound lasagna noodles (broken into jagged pieces)
1/2 cup dried whole basil leaves
shredded mozzarella

Cook ground beef. Place beef, onion, carrot, garlic, italian seasoning, sugar, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chicken broth into a soup kettle. Stir in 2 cups of water. Cover kettle and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until pasta is done (about 15 minutes). Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper as desired. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Service topped with shredded mozzarella.

I think that Gary and my parents enjoyed this soup. Really, aren't most soups perfect for a cold winter's eve?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Espresso Chocolate Cheese Squares.

I found this recipe in a packet of holiday dessert recipes using real butter. Not sure if the "real butter" ads are a local or regional thing, but every time I turn on the radio or open a magazine I see an ad for using real butter. And why not!? I use real butter all the time and I bet that some of our family's milk goes to make that butter! If not butter, maybe the cream cheese or the whipping cream!

Espresso Chocolate Cheese Squares
(adapted from Real Butter packet)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup butter (chilled)
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon instant coffee
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese (softened)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 eggs

6 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon instant coffee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper.

Combine crust ingredients (minus chocolate chips) in a food processor and pulse until butter is in pea-size pieces. Stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Press into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes and cool slightly.

Meanwhile, stir cream and instant coffee together until coffee is dissolved. Using a mixer, beat cream cheese and butter. Add sugar, flour, and allspice; beat until well blended. Slowly beat in cream/coffee mixture. Add eggs (one at a time) beating until smooth. Pour over crust. Bake 20 to 25 minutes - until edges are slightly puffed and center is set. Cool.

Melt together the glaze ingredients and drizzle over bars. Refrigerate until set. Cover and store in the refrigerate for up to 1 week.

The result - delicious! No need to have coffee with this dessert - the coffee's already in the dessert!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

White Chili

I hate that it took me until December 23rd to post this recipe, but believe it or not, it actually took me that long to decide what to share! You see, the holiday food tradition in our family relies almost entirely on my mom--it's she who prepares almost all of the dishes for our celebration, and what the rest of us share is sort of besides the fact. This year, though, is different. This year is the first with a new baby in my family, and it's time to start our own traditions. So while White Chili might seem a little "untraditional" for some Christmas dinners, I can't wait to make it the standard for ours. Plus, have I mentioned how entirely delicious it is?

White Chili

½- 1 Cup Chopped Onion
1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
2 Cups Great Northern Beans (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
½ Cup Green Chilies, chopped
1 Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Pepper
1 Teaspoon Oregano
2 Teaspoons Cumin
¼ Teaspoon Cayenne (adjust to taste)
1 Cup Sour Cream
2 Cups Half-and-half
1 cooked rotisserie chicken, cubed
1 Tablespoon Chicken Bouillon (dissolved in a little hot water)
1 – 2 cups sweet corn

In a Dutch oven:
Sauté onions until soft.
Add garlic and heat just a bit.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together.
Heat until it just comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer with a cover for at least 30 minutes.
Stir often so it doesn’t burn. If you like it thicker, remove the cover and simmer longer.

I'm planning to make this a more festive dish by serving it alongside red tortilla chips (oh, did I forget to mention the chili is as good in a bowl as it is on a chip?) and a sprig of fresh parsley. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Reindeer Cookies

Before I even begin this post, I must share that I can only take credit for MAKING the cookies... not for the IDEA of these cookies. My mom actually gave me the idea and I'm not sure if she thought it up in that brilliant head of hers or if she saw it somewhere else.

Next, I must share that these are SUPER cute and SUPER easy.

And, now, I'll get on with the post! :)

Reindeer Cookies

1 package Nutter Butter cookies
Candy Quick melting chocolate (or any chocolate for melting)
pretzel twists
mini chocolate chips
red hot candies or if you prefer - red M&Ms (mini or regular)

I think it's pretty self explanatory... dip the Nutter Butter cookie into the melted chocolate and place the pretzel towards the top of the cookie to resemble antlers. Next, place the mini chocolate chips towards the middle of the cookie for eyes and the red hot at the bottom for a nose. Let the chocolate set and enjoy! :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Carmel Kiss Cookies

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tablespoon salt
1 stick of butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla1 cup powder sugar
about 1 bag of Carmel Kisses

Mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.
Melt chocolate chips. Cool.
Beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla together.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture.
Cover and chill for 1 hour.

When ready to bake preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put powder sugar in bowl.
Form balls, then roll in the powder sugar.
Bake for 12-14 minutes.

When done baking, let them cool for a little while.
While still a little bit warm put the carmel kiss on top.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Finally, I did some baking.

Holly and Heidi, thanks for letting me guest post. How I love baking at Christmastime. Unfortunately my kitchen remodel is in full swing right now so its been a very slow start for me. Thankfully I got to do some baking at work the other day and here's 2 Recipes:

These are something new I tried, and let me tell you, so rich and delicious (everything a christmas treat should be): Chocolate-Mint Truffle Cookies (from Taste of Home)

  • 32 Servings
  • Prep: 25 min. Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling


  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package (4.6 ounces) mint Andes candies, chopped, divided
  • 2 teaspoons shortening, divided
  • 1/2 cup vanilla or white chips (I only used Chocolate Chips)
  • Optional toppings: chopped nuts, sprinkles and crushed candy canes


  • In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter and 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Remove from the heat; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Stir in the egg, sugars and extracts. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; stir into chocolate mixture. Fold in 3/4 cup Andes candies.
  • Roll rounded tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Place 2-in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until tops appear slightly dry. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  • In a microwave, melt 1 teaspoon shortening and remaining chocolate chips and Andes candies; stir until smooth. Melt vanilla chips and remaining shortening in a microwave; stir until smooth.
  • Dip half of the cookies in melted chocolate mixture; dip remaining cookies in melted vanilla mixture. Immediately sprinkle with toppings of your choice. Let stand until set. Yield: about 2-1/2 dozen.

And second, one of my personal favorites; its almost got a cake consistency, but has the perfect combination of tart and sweet. Cranberry Orange Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chopped cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg until well blended. Mix in 1 teaspoon orange zest and 2 tablespoons orange juice. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the orange mixture. Mix in cranberries until evenly distributed. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Cookies should be spaced at least 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges are golden. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, 3 tablespoons orange juice and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread over the tops of cooled cookies. Let stand until set. Makes 4 Dozen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chocolaty Caramel Thumbprints.

Hello Holly! Thanks again for inviting me to post to your blog! I am finally done with my christmas baking and I have found a delicious and very easy new cookie recipe. It is call Chocolaty Caramel Thumbprints. Here is the recipe!
1 egg
1/2 cup butter softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
16 caramels
3 Tbsp whipping cream
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate pieces
1 tsp shortening
Separate the egg. Refrigerate yoke until ready to use. In a large bowl, beat butter for 3o seconds. Then add sugar and mix. Next add egg yolk, milk and vanilla.
In another bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, and salk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until well combined. Wrap cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease cookie sheets. In a small saucepan, heat caramels and whipping cream over low heat until smooth. Set aside.
Slightly beat the reserved egg white. Shape the cookie dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the egg white, then into the pecans to coat. Place balls about 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet. Using your thumb (or the bottom of a 1/4 tsp measuring spoon), creat an indentation in the center of each cookie. Bake 10 minutes. After you remove the cookies, you may have to put an indentation back in each cookie if it puffs up from baking.
Spoon in the melted caramel. Then, in a small bowl, microwave the semisweet chocolate and shortning until soft. Drizzle over each cookie! Super easy and looks like a lot of work.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Oreo Truffles & Nutterbutter Truffles.

Remember the last time I made oreo truffles? Click on the words "last time" to get the recipe.

Well, they are still an awesome treat and look ever so sweet dressed up for the Christmas season!
And how about paired with some nutterbutter truffles from Kate @ Framed? (click on "Kate @Framed for the nutterbutter truffle recipe).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mint Surprise Cookies.

I bought these Hershey's Bliss milk chocolate pieces with a creme de menthe meltaway center. I wasn't sure what I would do with them, but they look delightful!
Then when shopping for some candy melts I found this:

Which I turned into these little gems - mint surprise cookies!

Mint Surprise Cookies
(Recipe by Me)

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package Hershey Bliss Meltaways as shown above
1 container Wilton Drizzle Icing as shown above

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine flour and cocoa powder; set aside. In another bowl, beat butter for 30 seconds. Beat in sugar, soda, powder, and salt. Beat in egg and vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture.

Cut bliss candies in half. Shape dough into 1" balls. Press 1/2 bliss candy into ball. Cover completely.

Bake for about 11 minutes and allow to cool. Once cooled, drizzle icing on each cookie. Allow drizzle to cool.

For someone that does not like mint (me!) I have to admit these are pretty good. The mint taste is not overwhelming and it's a welcoming surprise to bite into the cookie and find the little mint.

And I've never used those Wilton Drizzle Icings before. They are pretty slick. I can make my own drizzle, but this makes for an easy and perfect drizzle every time. I might be sold!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza.

With all the baking I have been doing lately this pizza cooking was a welcome smell in our home! This is the perfect addition to any pizza party. And most people who try it fall in love. It is, after all, chicken, bacon, and ranch.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza
(adapted from Mom!)

Pizza Crust (homemade or boughten - enough for a 9x13 pan)
2/3 cup Bottled Ranch Dressing (I'm partial to Hidden Valley Ranch - Light)
1 cup Diced Chicken (that has been marinated in 2 tablespoons of fajita mix and then cooked)
1/2 cup Bacon (that has been cooked and crumbled)
2 cups Mozzarella (shredded)
1 cup Black Olives (sliced)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 9x13 pan. Line pan with pizza crust. Top with remaining ingredients in this order: ranch dressing, chicken, bacon, cheese, and olives. Optional: top with sliced red onions. Bake for 10-15 minutes.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dried Cherry & Chocolate Walnut Brittle

Wow, I don't know if I can top those White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies below. Nothing beats a good Christmas cookie!

I can't wait to get started with my usual holiday baking and cooking. Growing up, my sisters and I would always help with the treat making. Cut-out sugar cookies were always my favorite, but I also liked helping out with white chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate dipped peanut butter crackers, chex mix, and butter spritz cookies. It was tradition, and I always insisted on making those items. I feel the urge to get crackin'! This month is already flying by!

Our family would munch on goodies all month long, and we'd usually make up a new batch of items to take to my grandparents' farm on Christmas day to share with aunts, uncles and cousins.

We weren't much into candy-making; no brittles, no toffee, no marshmallows, and gasp - no fudge. I don't ever remember making candy when I was growing up... I suppose because these items are much more difficult to make. Also, molten hot sugar and small children do not mix.

Therefore, I feel deprived of candy making, and need to make up for it as an adult. So this holiday season I'm making it a point to create more candy recipes for my blog. Buttery chocolate-covered toffee, anyone? Peppermint Marshmallows? Wheee!

Making candy can be tricky business, but I'm up to the challenge. I even went out and bought a brand new candy thermometer! The one I had from 1970 wasn't doing the job. :) I used the new candy thermometer when I created today's recipe: Dried Cherry & Chocolate Walnut Brittle.

Traditional peanut or walnut brittle is delicious, but let's admit it - it's pretty boring, right? I thought I would spice up walnut brittle for the holidays and add dried cherries, dark chocolate, and crystallized ginger. Chocolate, walnuts, cherries and ginger are a match made in heaven!

Happy holidays!

Dried Cherry & Chocolate Walnut Brittle (Recipe from Sugar Plum)
Printable Recipe

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup dried cherries
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips

Butter a cookie sheet well.

Stir together sugar, corn syup and salt, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; stir in walnuts and cherries, and continue to cook until mixture reaches 300 degrees F, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat and stir in butter and baking soda, quickly; pour onto cookie sheet, and spread out thinly using two forks.

Sprinkle ginger over brittle and gently press into surface. Sprinkle chocolate chips over brittle and gently press into surface. Cool completely before breaking into pieces.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Twelve Guest Bloggers of Christmas - Part 2.

In case you missed the frenzy of Guest Blogger posts around Thanksgiving, check out these creations:

Winter Salad by Robyn
I made this for Thanksgiving and plan to make it again for Christmas. I love adding a lettuce salad to the spread and this one is tasty enough and pretty enough to make the table!!

Amazing. Simply amazing. If you are lucky enough to eat from one of my Christmas treat platters you are likely to see these on it!

Hot Buttered Rum by Our Mom, Barb
I didn't have this at Thanksgiving enough though it was there. That means, I must have lots and lots from now until the New Year. It is DELICIOUS!

Pumpkin Dessert by Teresa
I did not make this yet, but doesn't it sound fabulous!? I thought so! As soon as Gary's cinnamon bread my flop of a chocolate mint brownie is gone I can purse baking again :)

And stay tuned for posts from:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

My favorite food, hands down, is Mexican. Poor Lucas, whenever we go out to eat, my first suggestion is always Mexican (Lucas' is Chinese) and again, when I go to visit him in EC, we usually make something Mexican at least once during the weekend.
I absolutely love playing around with entrees that I've either had, seen or simply heard of. So, this past (Thanksgiving) weekend, everyone was sick of turkey, so they agreed to let me make this recipe that came together in my head:

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

2 - 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (salt and pep
2 Tablespoons diced jalapeno peppers (or one small can green chilies)
3/4 cup salsa
1 can seasoned black beans (drained and lightly rinse
8 - 10 flour tortilla shells
1 large can enchilada sauce

1 - 2 cups shredded cheese

Use cooking spray to coat 9x13 glass baking dish. Preheat oven to 375. Cook and shred chicken breasts (this is easiest using two forks). Add peppers, salsa and black beans. Fill tortilla with chicken mixture and roll, placing seam side down in baking dish. Fill as many tortillas as fit in one layer in dish. Pour enchilada sauce over and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.

Serve with toppings of your choice. Ideas: shredded lettuce, black olives, sour cream, etc.

This recipe is SUPER easy to make and really tasty! If you like Mexican food as much as I do (or, even if you don't), you will like this recipe. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies.

I am excited to devote lots of time from now until December 25th to baking and making candies for Christmas! Welcome to the bakery!

Up first...my cookie exchange cookie. White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies. I always try a new recipe for the exchange - making a single batch until I know the final product is deserving. And these - they are deserving!

White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies
(Recipe adapted from Better Homes & Gardens)
.5 cup maraschino cherries - drained & chopped (I used my mini food processor this - it worked perfectly)
2.5 cups flour
.5 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter
splash of cherry juice
1 cup white chocolate - chopped
.5 teaspoon almond extract
3 drops red food coloring
white chocolate & sprinkles for dipping

Place flour, sugar, and butter into a food processor and pulse until mixture looks like fine crumbs. (You can also accomplish this using a pastry blender). Place mixture in large bowl. Add cherries, splash of cherry juice, chopped white chocolate, almond extract, and food coloring. Knead mixture until it forms a ball.

Shape dough into balls - about .75-1.00 inches. Press balls flat using the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes. Cook on cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then move to cooling rack.

Once cookies are cool, melt some additional white chocolate and dip half of the cookie into the chocolate and then into sprinkles. Allow chocolate to harden.

Eat within a couple days or freeze for a couple months.

My favorite part of these cookies - giving the KitchenAid a break and using my hands!! It was kind of fun playing with the dough! And I had never used my food processor for dough before. I think I might be able to attempt another pie crust. Food processor and cold butter equals success!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Festive Cranberry Cheese Triangles.

I like cranberry. It's tart and tangy and tastes good in all kinds of baked goods! I especially like it paired with oatmeal. And how about when it is easy to make! Yum.

Festive Cranberry Cheese Squares
(recipe from "Eagle Brand - Simple 1-2-3)
2 cups all-purpose flour (I think replacing one-cup with whole wheat flour would add a richer taste...will definitely make that change next time I make these)
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar (plus 1 tablespoon)
1 package cream cheese
1 14-oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 16-oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat flour, oats, butter, and sugar until crumbly. Reserve 1/2 cup crumb mixture. Press remaining crumb mixture firmly on the bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in milk until smooth; stir in lemon juice. Spread over baked crust.

Combine cranberry sauce, cornstarch, and remaining sugar. Spoon over cheese layer. Top with reserved crumb mixture.

Bake 45 minutes or until golden. Cool and cut into bars.

These are good and easy. They would be a nice addition to work potluck or any other holiday gathering. And of course, I'm sure they would be even better served with a side of ice cream - isn't everything better with ice cream? Must remember you are talking to a farmer's daughter and another farmer's wife. Yeah, we like our ice cream. And butter!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cranberry Citrus Relish.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Did you forgot to get cranberry sauce? It's OK! Don't go making a special trip for it. You can do better than that...grab four simple ingredients you are sure to have on hand (and if you don't, try your neighbor!)

And the blog title, Mom Taught Us. SO appropriate here. I'm sure this was my first contribution to our family's Thanksgiving meal. When was that? Probably sometime before I was actually able to reach counter. That's right - it's that easy. And obviously that good that we are still making it!!

Cranberry Citrus Relish
(recipe from Mom)
1 pound fresh (or frozen) cranberries
2 medium oranges (rind and all)
1 medium apple (no need to peel, but you will want to take the seeds out)
2 cups sugar

Cut oranges and apple into chunks. Grind fruit, add sugar, mix, and enjoy! I like to top my turkey with this delicious relish.

And don't worry - as a child my mom would take care of the cutting for me!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pumpkin Dessert

I obtained this recipe from a girlfriend in Rochester, MN. It is one of the desserts her family makes every Thanksgiving. It is so good I make it once or twice a year and always end up sharing the recipe. Enjoy!

2 cans pumpkin or equivalent in homemade pumpkin
1 lg can evaporated milk
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter melted
1 cup pecans

Mix together first 9 ingredients and put in a greased 9 x 13 pan or two small brownie pans. Mix cake mix and melted butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of first mixture. Add pecans.
Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. May serve with Cool Whip.
This makes a very large dessert. I usually split it in half and pour into two small brownie pans. It is great to take one to a party or work and leave the other at home.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hot Buttered Rum

Oh the weather outside is frightful but the Hot Buttered Rum is soooo delightful! Being in the farming industry I was checking out the website we sponsor (Wisconsin Milk Marketing) and found this recipe. I made it for one of our cookie exchanges and all liked it so I am passing it on for you to enjoy this up coming winter season because you know it's coming...

Hot Buttered Rum~
1 c. softened butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
1 t. ground nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
2 c. softened New York Vanilla Ice Cream

In a mixing bowl cream both sugars, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg until light and fluffy.

Beat in softened ice cream until well blended. Transfer to covered container and freeze.

To serve: Scoop out 1/3 c. of ice cream mixture into a mug.

Add 1 shot of Rum and 1/2 c. boiling water, mix well.

Optional: Add 1 cinnamon stick and dust with nutmeg.

I would like to Thank Holly and Heidi for inviting me to be a guest blogger, it is always a challenge for me to come up with something that isn't already on here. I hope everyone has a Happy and Safe Holiday Season! Maybe when I make the Hot Buttered Rum they will help me put up a picture for all to see! Soon very soon:)


Monday, November 23, 2009

Rocky Ledge Bars

Thanks for letting me share!

When Holly emailed me asking if I wanted to be a guest blogger for as part of the 12 Guest Bloggers of Christmas, I was honestly thrilled. I have never guest blogged before, so the invite was quite the honor. I was not sure what I was going to make, but I knew it had to be something delicious because I did not want to disappoint. Conveniently my fiance bought me a copy of Martha Stewart's Cookies for my birthday a couple weeks ago which gave me plenty of options. I wanted to bake just about everything in the cookbook, but these bars were screaming to be made. The original recipe calls for caramel, but I did not start baking these until 9pm and did not feel like running to the store. I left out the caramel, added some peanut butter chips, and halved the amount of white chocolate. These bars are perfect for any baker who has several opened bags of miscellaneous chips stored in the pantry. You can really throw anything in them and they are incredible! They stayed fresh for several days and because they are bars, they will ship well if you plan to ship holiday goodies.

Thanks for letting me share!

Rocky Ledge Bars
Adapted from Martha Stewart Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 cups packed dark-brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until well combined. Mix in flour mixture until combined. Fold in half of each of the marshmallows, chocolates, butterscotch chips, and peanut butter chips.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Scatter remaining marshmallows, chocolates, butterscotch chips, and peanut butter chips on top. Bake until top is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Cool completely before serving.

Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Partridge In A Pear Tree

First of all, thanks Holly and Heidi for letting me share a recipe on your cooking blog. I feel so famous now. :)

No, my recipe does not have anything to do with a partridge, but you will need a pear off a tree for this wonderful Winter Salad!

This dish is a great salad to make in the Winter or for the holidays. I usually make it for my family Christmas get together but have decided to try it for Thanksgiving this year, as if for either holiday we need more food. But it's salad, so it's healthy right, there's always extra room for healthy?!

No picture yet, but I will try and get some shots when I make this Thursday. But, believe me it's delicious. Make it and you will not disagree.

Winter Salad

* 1 large bag of romaine lettuce (chop into bite size if needed)
* 4 oz shredded Swiss cheese
* 1/4 cup Craisins (but I like to sprinkle extra in)
* 1 cup chopped cashews
* 1 apple cubed
* 1 pear cubed

You should mix all these ingredients together and refrigerate.


* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/3 cup lemon juice
* 2 tsp finely chopped onion (optional)
* 1 tsp Dijon honey mustard
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 2/3 cup oil (canola of veg.)
1 Tbsp poppy seed

Mix and add the dressing just before you serve the salad.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Twelve Guest Bloggers of Christmas.

Christmas. I know it seems early, but let's be realistic.

Christmas will be here before we know it!! One of the Christmas-y things that my mom has been doing for many years is a cookie exchange.
To carry on that tradition in our virtual world Heidi and I have decided to bring you the next best thing - the twelve guest bloggers of Christmas! We've invited twelve people to bring you a holiday recipe. A cookie, a bar, a beverage, an appetizer, anything!
We are starting before Thanksgiving to give the bloggers time to post and you time to re-create their wonders!
Our twelve guest bloggers of Christmas are...
Our Mom - Barb! (creater of all tasty things!!)
Our Aunt - Janet! (she has been the originator of many tasty things you've found on this blog!)
Another of Our Aunt's - Julie! (she's a cheesecake maniac - everyone at work loves this about her!!)
Our Cousin - Karla! (she brings a killer platter of goodies to our grandma's each year - yum!!)
My Sister-in-Law - Teresa! (most recently made a platter of pumpkin treats - still need to get those recipes from her!!)
My Sister-in-Law-To-Be - Morgan! (her cookies always have the cutest packaging at the cookie exchange and the taste good too!!)
My Friend - Robyn! (she's gonna be a momma!! i hope her babe allows her to start feeling better and want to cook/bake!)
My Friend - Nicole! (who is living through a kitchen remodel!! ahh!! you are one brave women!)
My Friend - Angie! (she is a new momma with one sweet little babe!)
My Husband - Gary!! (he doesn't know yet, but I didn't hear back from his mother so it's all him. i can only imagine what he'll want to post....)
Food Blogger - Risa from Baked Perfection! (she is so good she has had recipes on Betty Crocker!! recently engaged, she is busy planning her wedding!)
Food Blogger & "Celebrity" - Emily from Sugarplum! (you may recognize her from The Food Network and other recipe challenges! working toward her goal of going to culinary school - donations are welcome!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Dip.

Does anyone else prefer their pumpkin pie without the crust? So.much.better.that.way.

My first move upon receiving a slice of pumpkin is to remove the pumpkin from the crust. I then indulge in the season's best flavors. Luckily for me I have a husband with a sweet tooth who is willing to gobble up my crust along with his own selection of pies. And, yes, I say selection, because if there are five choices, he will have a piece of each.

Too bad for him I don't make pie too often. But, this Pumpkin Pie Dip is a good reason that I don't have to make pumpkin pie. This has all the flavors of pumpkin pie without the crust. I'm good with that.

Pumpkin Pie Dip
(recipe unchanged from my mom!!)
1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese (I use reduced fat/fat free)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 ground ginger

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and beat until combined. Chill and enjoy with ginger snaps, graham crackers, or any other favorite dipping food.

And stay tuned for an exciting announcement coming soon!!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cranberry Bliss Bars.

Have you heard of Cranberry Bliss Bars before? Maybe at Starbucks? When I visit Starbucks - which is not often - I usually get a frap or an iced mocha. Or a chai tea latte! I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have bought one of their pastries.

This pastry I learned of from my friend. While traveling together last winter she insisted on getting me a Cranberry Bliss Bar to go with my drink. I was impressed with the tasty gem! However, as a seasonal item, I never made it back to get another one.

Fast forward to me googling "Cranberry Bliss Bar" and finding numerous "copy cat" recipes. In hopes of finding the perfect one I modified one of the recipes to my liking. The result - cranberry bliss bars - as good, if not better than original.

Cranberry Bliss Bars
(adapted from Cookie Madness)

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground giner
3/4 cup craisins
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice

handful of craisins
white chocolate to melt and drizzle

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper.

Beat the butter and sugars. Add eggs and lemon juice. Beat until well combined.

Add the dry ingredients and stir until fully incorporated. Add craisins and chips.

Spread batter in pan and bake for 25 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Prepare frosting by beating cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add juice and sugar and beat again until fluffy.

Spread evenly over cooled bars. Top with craisins and drizzle white chocolate. Allow chocolate to set - cut - and enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cream Cheese Cut Out Cookies

Our neighbor (Jean) makes the BEST cream cheese cookies ever, but they aren't a cutout recipe, and I really wanted to make cute, Halloween cutouts... so, I found this recipe in one of Holly's Christmas Cookie Cookbook/Magazine and tried it out. They turned out cute, and were pretty good, but I'll search for an even better one or perform a little "test kitchen" on my own! :) Enjoy!

Cream Cheese Cut Out Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Combine butter and cream cheese. Beat with an electronic mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add powdered sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, vanilla, and almond extract until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Cover and chill about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out images.

Place cutouts 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Tran sfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.

Oreo Truffles.

These truffles are easy and a delicious treat suitable for Halloween or any occasion! They are slightly time-consuming, but not too bad and the end result is definitely worth all efforts. I made them last Christmas and they were a huge hit!

Oreo Truffles.
1 package oreo cookies
1 8-oz package cream cheese (softened)
chocolate for dipping

Combine ingredients in a stand mixer until cookies are crush and combined with the cream cheese. If you do not have a stand mixer you will want to crush the cookies and then combine with the cream cheese. Once combined, refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight. Once chilled, formed into balls and dip into chocolate. Decorate as desired.

While these obviously are not "healthy" I did use fat-free or reduced-fat cream cheese. I figure any little bit helps!!

Oh! AND I think I recall seeing mint oreos. I see some really good potential!!! :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Milwaukee Pork Chops.

No picture today. All of the pictures I tried to take made these pork chops less than appetizing which is not the case! Therefore, use your imagination or better yet make them!!!!

I put this together and in the oven before Gary and I went out to cut wood; when we came back in the house smelled so good! I served the pork chops with a baked potato and squash. So tasty!

Milwaukee Pork Chops.
(adapted from my Aunt Janet)
6 pork chops
1 cup ketchup
1 can of beer
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 onion - cut into slices

Brown pork chops on both sides and place in a 9x13 baking dish. Combine the remaining ingredients. Pour beer mixture over pork chops and cover baking dish with foil. Bake for an hour and a half.

Pork chops will come out tender. They will fall apart. And be delicious!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Apple Pie

Apple Pie

This pie is the second pie I have ever made, and my first one with a homemade crust! We haven't tried it yet but it smells absolutely delicious and looks pretty darn good also. We're getting together tomorrow to have apple pie a la mode - so I'll update you with the results! :)

I started off by searching for a pie crust recipe and adapted my recipe from one listed on SimplyRecipes.com.

Perfect Pie Crust

2 1/2 cup flour, plus additional flour for rolling out dough
2 sticks butter, frozen and cubed
1 teaspoon sugar
4-8 Tablespoons ice water

Combine flour and sugar in food processor; process to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture forms pea-sized pieces of butter. Add 1 Tablespoon of water at at a time (not exceeding 8 Tablespoons), until it begins to clump together. If you can pinch a small amount of mixture together and it holds, it is ready. It should resemble the image below.

Separate the mixture into two equal mounds on a clean service. Gently knead the mixture into two formed discs - do not over-knead. You should see small chunks of butter, these chunks of butter are what helps the crust flake. Sprinkle these disks with a little flour and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least one hour (can sit for up to two days). Remove one disc from fridge and allow to get to room temperature - 5-10 minutes to make rolling easier. Sprinkle surface with flour and roll out pie crust. Carefully place into 9 inch pie plate. After adding filling, repeat with the second disc.

Apple Pie Filling

3-5 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup apple pie liquor
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour in crust and sprinkle with additional brown sugar, if desired. Cover pie with top crust; press crusts together, trim the edges and press fork around the outside edge. Cut 3-4 slices or designs on top crust to allow the steam out while baking. Bake 45 minutes. After removing from oven, cover with glaze.

Apple Pie Glaze

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons water
pinch of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients, mix well and place on top crust. Enjoy!