Friday, February 26, 2010

I love you Breakfast

This is a simple breakfast but it says "I love you" in a big way. I made this breakfast for my sweethearts for Valentine's Day. They like it so much that I will definitley making it throughout the year just to say I love you in a different way.
Just get a small heart cookie cutter and cut out a heart in a piece of thich, french toast bread. Heat a griddle to medium high heat. Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter on the griddle and slap your bread on. Crack an egg in the heart hole of the bread, and cook to your likeness. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and flip to the other side.
Take all the heart middles and make mini french toast out of them. My kids really loved the heart french toast.

Simple, Yummy, and full of LOVE.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ladybug Cake

My sister asked me to make a cake for her daughter's 1st birthday. I was more than happy to. I love making cakes, and figuring out new ways to decorate them. I am by no means a professional, but I thought this one turned out way cute.
I used fondant for all the decorating. I have a great recipe for fondant that I need to post. It's very easy to make and doesn't taste half bad either.
I am also going to add a page of "Cake Ideas". Basically just birthday cakes and special occasion cakes that I have made. Cake decorating is relatively easy.... just time consuming!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Kinsey's White Bread

After I asked for suggestions for a good bread recipe, I received quite a few by email and that made me SO happy! I am currently in the process of trying out all these delicious recipes.
The first one I tried is from my dear friend Kinsey. It was the perfect white bread. Great for making French toast, sandwhiches, and slathered with butter and jam. This recipe makes A LOT! 6 loaves!! The recipe halves just fine if you need to half it. It's great to freeze for later though. This also makes delicious scone dough too.
Kinsey's White Bread
8 cups warm water
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp yeast
1 cup oil
3 tsp salt
18 - 20 cups flour
Put the first 4 ingredients in your Bosch. Mix just a little to get the yeast wet. Let sit for 5 minutes or until yeast is foamed up.
Add the salt and flour, a cup at a time, while the dough is mixing in the Bosch. The dough will be really sticky after all the flour is mixed in; add more if needed.
Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Turn the dough in bowl and cover with a dishtowel. Let rise until double.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 6 loaf pans with cooking spray. You are now going to take a chunk of dough (1/6) and knead for about 5 minutes. Continue this until all the loaf pans are filled. Bake 3 loafs at a time for 20 minutes.

Thanks, Kinz, for a great recipe!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gooey Caramel Chocolate Bars

And on the 8th day, God made Gooey Caramel Chocolate Bars... Seriously, these are the best bar or brownie I have ever had. If you do not make these, you will regret it for the rest of your life. The best part is that it starts with a mix, and is super simple. Mmmm... So good! If you're looking for a special dessert for Valentine's day or a birthday or a special occasion... or even just to chow down on, these are the bars for you.

Gooey Caramel Chocolate Bars

1 box Betty Crocker's Super Moist Chocolate Fudge cake mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 bag (14 oz) caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup butter
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup reserved cake mix
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
3 Tbsp butter

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Reserve 1/2 cup cake mix for topping. In a bowl, beat remaining cake mix, eggs, and butter until dough forms. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread into a 13x9 inch ungreased pan. Bake 15 - 18 minutes or until set.
2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan heat caramels, 1/4 cup butter, and condensed milk over medium heat, stirring frequently until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth.
3. Spread caramel mix over the partially baked crust. In a small bowl, mix reserved cake mix, oats and 3 tbsp butter with fork until crumbly. Sprinkle over carmel.
4. Bake 19 to 22 minutes longer or until top is set. Cool completely; about 2 hours. Run knife around edges of pan to loosen bars. Cut into bars and enjoy!

*Adapted from Betty Crocker

Part of Over-used Recipe Swap 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Breakfast for your sweetie - Heart Pancakes

This is a simple breakfast, but it says I love you in a big way. I served this up for my kids for breakfast and they were so giddy about the hearts. It started the whole day off happy and excited for all of us instead of tired and grumpy which is what we are a lot of days.

Just use your favorite pancake recipe. I like to use this one, and throw on some chocolate chips when they are cooking. If you really want the wow factor, add red food coloring for pink hearts. I used a heart cookie cutter to keep their shape.
Serve with powdered sugar, syrup, or your favorite topping... and lots of love.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Peanut Blossoms

I spruced up these cookies for Valentine's Day! They are usually made with a Hershey kiss in the center, but I decided to take advantage of all that fun heart shaped candy out there. I remember making these cookies with my mom when I was little. They are such a yummy cookie, and great to make with kids.
In replacement of the kiss, I used Hershey's milk chocolate hearts, Dove Dark Chocolate hearts, and some Hershey's Candy Cane red and white striped kisses that I had in my pantry. The possibilities really are endless with these. I've seen chocolate butterfinger hearts, Crunch hearts, and quite a few others.
The cookies are usually rolled in white sugar, but the kids and I had fun using our red and pink sugar crystals too. Very festive!! Make these for a fun Valentine treat and enjoy with a tall glass of milk. This recipe comes straight from my mom's recipe box.

Peanut Blossoms

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup white sugar (or colored) for decoration
2 (9 oz) bags of milk chocolate Hershey's Candy Kisses (or other chocolates) unwrapped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease or spray cookie sheets.
2. In a large bowl, crea together shortening, butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and stir in the milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture until well blended. Using a tablespoon to scoop dough, shape dough into balls and roll in remaining sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and immediately press a chocolate kiss into each cookie. Allow to cool completely. The kiss hardens as it cools.

I experimented with putting the chocolate onto the cookie before baking, and then after baking. The cookie definitely looks prettier if you wait until after it's done cooking.
Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Beef Tacos and Homemade Taco Shells

Everyone knows how to make tacos, so it seems a little silly to post a recipe, but I found this really great recipe in America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. And instead of using a taco seasoning packet, you can make your own flavorful tacos without the added crap they put in the packet.

Here is a Test Kitchen Tip from the ATKFCookbook for Tasty Tacos:
Tacos made from those boxed kits usually include a stale tasting "flavor packet" containing spices, stabilizers, fillers, and chemicals. For a taco with real flavor, we found a simple combination of spices, along with some chopped onion and fresh garlic, tasted much better. And rather than cook the filling with water (as the packet does) we found that a little chicken broth and canned tomato sauce did wonders for the flavor.

My family and I all agreed, they were fantastic! A lot better than the normal.
Tacos are a staple dish around here. We probably have tacos for dinner more than any other meal, and I now use this recipe all the time. A lot of times, I will add in a can of refried beans also.

Beef Tacos

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp ground oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup smooth canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp light brown sugar
8 taco shells (recipe below)

1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in the ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a woden spoon, until n longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, broth, vinegar, and sugar and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

3. Divide the filling evenly among the taco shells and serve, passing any desired accompaniments separately. (lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, ketchup, avacodo... etc.)

Now you can stop there and eat them in flour tortillas or the store bought hard taco shells, but I have found that making your own taco shells from corn tortillas is easy, and tastes phenomenal. It doesn't take that much longer either. Here is a quick run through for making your own taco shells.

1. In a small skillet, heat 3/4 cup vegetable oil over medium heat to 350 degrees. Using tongs to hold the tortilla, slip half of it into the hot oil. With a metal spatula in the other hand submerge the half in the oil. Fry until just set, but not brown, about 30 seconds.

2. Flip the tortilla. Using tongs, hold the tortilla open about 2 inches while keeping the bottom submerged in the oil. Fry until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip again and y the other side until golden brown, about 30 seconds.

3. Transfer the shell, upside down to a paper towel lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. For best results, use homemade taco shells immediately.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sushi for lunch

This is a really fun kids snack or lunch idea. I have seen it around on The Family Fun website and a few different recipe blogs, but never tried it. Lately my kids have been obsessed with the cutest children's book, Yoko. There are quite a few different books about Yoko's adventures, and my kids just love them. Yoko brings sushi to eat for lunch, and my kids thought it looked so yummy. I wasn't quite ready to introduce the real sushi to them (we are not a fish loving family) so I decided this cute subsitute was the perfect idea.

Kids Sushi

Peanut Butter
Marshmellow Cream
Cream Cheese

Lay a piece of bread on the counter. Roll it out with a rolling pin until it is thin and flat. Spread on your favorite topping and roll up. Cut into pieces. Repeat for as much sushi that you need. My kids loved helping me make this too.

Pair it with some carrots and you have a great additon to Trim and Bush Tailed Tuesdays. ;)