Tuesday, February 28, 2012

5 Layer Finger Jello

I made this jello for part of our Valentine's Day dinner and it was a huge hit. I love layered jellos. They look so pretty and are so much fun to eat. You can make them with a rainbow of colors or a single color and try as many layers as you dare. I chose red because of Valentine's Day. Have fun and enjoy!

5 Layer Finger Jello
3 pkgs. of 3 oz Jello (I used strawberry, raspberry, and cherry)
4 pkg. Knox unflavored gelatin
1 can sweetened condensed milk

1. Mix 1 pkg flavored jello with 1/2 pkg of unflavored gelatin. Add 1 cup boiling water. Stir to dissolve. Cool to room temp and pour into 9 x 13 glass pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes
2. Mix 1 can sweetened condensed milk with 1 cup boiling water. In a small bowl, sprinkle 2 pkg unflavored gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Let stand a few minutes and then add 1/2 c boiling water to dissolve gelatin; add to milk mixture and stir to combine. Cool to room temp and pour 1 cup of milk mixture over first layer of jello. Refrig for 15 minutes.
3. Repeat for next two flavors. Let jello set. Cut and serve!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Barley and Ham

I really like split pea soup. I don't know anyone who really likes split pea soup... but I do. I'm a little weird that way. I was so excited to find this recipe made in the crockpot. It was so hearty and filling. My family quite enjoyed it also. My little ones loved the ham in it.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

1 cup dry split green peas
1/2 cup medium pearl barley (not quick-cooking barley)
2 cups chopped ham
3/4 cup chopped carrots
3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
5 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes (or 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf

In a medium bowl or liquid measure, combine the water, bouillon cubes and spices and whisk to combine (it’s ok if the bouillon cubes don’t completely dissolve).

In a medium round slow cooker (about 4-quart), layer peas, barley, ham, carrots, onion and celery. Do not mix. Pour in the water/spices mixture and add the bay leaf to the slow cooker. Don’t stir! Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or on low eight hours, until the peas reach the desired creamy, soft texture. Remove the bay leaf, stir well, and add salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Serve immediately. Upon sitting and/or refrigerating, this soup thickens considerably. Simply add water or chicken broth to thin the soup to the desired consistency before reserving.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oreo Layer Dessert

Pinterest just may be the death of me... I keep finding all of these outrageously delicious desserts... and then, of course, I just have to try them! I knew this Oreo dessert would be delicious, but it exceeded even my expectations. I've made it twice in 7 days and have gotten rave reviews each time. It's my husbands new favorite dessert. And best of all... it's easy!!
Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Found on My Cupcake Journey via Pinterest

Oreo Layer Dessert

1 pkg of regular Oreos
1/2 c. of butter
1 lg box of instant chocolate pudding
2-8 oz cool whips **
8 oz. of cream cheese, softened
1 c. powdered sugar

Crush the whole package of cookies either with a food processor, or in a bag and a rolling pin. Save a 1/2 c. to sprinkle on top of dessert when it's done. Pour remaining crumbs in a 13x9 pan. Melt butter and pour into crumb mix. Stir it up good and press crumbs in bottom of pan to make a crust. Make chocolate pudding according to package directions and let it setup in the fridge. In a mixing bowl blend cream cheese until nice and smooth and then add powdered sugar, mix. Then fold in 1-8 oz thing of cool whip. Top oreo layer with cream cheese mix, then pudding, then your last 8 oz thing of cool whip, and then sprinkle remaining Oreo's on top. Cover and refridgerate until ready to serve.

**I forgot to buy 2 tubs of cool whip and only had one the second time I made this. I added the 1 tub I had to the cream cheese layer and then I whipped up some whipping cream for the top layer. It made it a little bit richer and more decadent! I think I like using whipping cream for the top layer instead of the cool whip. Try it each way and see which one you prefer.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Strawberry Heart Oreo Cookies

These caught my eye on Pinterest and I knew I wanted to make them for Valentine's Day. I was hosting book club at my house this month and it was the perfect excuse to make them. They are so adorable and perfect for a Valentine's treat. Yummy, yummy!

Strawberry Heart Oreo Cookies

1 package of strawberry cake mix
2 eggs
3/4 cup shortening

8 oz Cream Cheese
1 stick butter
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Mix together the cookie ingredients. The dough will be stiff. Don't worry, it's supposed to be that way. Roll into balls and place 2 balls together on a cookie sheet. Pinch the bottom to form a heart. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes.
Mix frosting ingredients. When cookies are cool, spread frosting onto the back of one cookie and place another cookie, bottom side down onto the frosting. Basically just sandwich it like an oreo.

*Recipe from 30 Handmade Days

Friday, February 10, 2012

Basic Pancakes

We usually have pancakes at least twice a week. I use a basic pancake recipe that my mom taught me when I was growing up. The other morning, I went to the store early, and my husband called me and asked where the pancake mix was. I laughed and told him that I've never bought pancake mix. He was astounded. Then he asked how I made the pancakes I make several times a week. Ummm.... a magical thing called flour, sugar, and milk.... ha, ha
He asked me to tell him the recipe and I had a huge brain fart. I think I have to have the mixing bowl in front of me to trigger the recipe...
Luckily when I got home and the pressure was off, it came back to me, but I thought I would put it down in my online recipe box (here) so in case the situation ever arises again, it will be right here. I always double the recipe and refrigerate or freeze the leftover pancakes so we can pull them out easily all week.

Basic Pancakes

2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp melted butter

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1 1/2 cups of milk. Add to the flour mixture, stirring only until smooth. Blend in melted butter. If the batter is too thick to pour, add some more milk. Cook on a hot griddle until you see bubbles. Flip and brown the other side.

Friday, February 3, 2012

White Chocolate Raspberry Torte

When I get bored or stressed, I like to bake. It has become an addicting hobby with some fabulous results... Although many times I wish I didn't enjoy it so much... well, my expanding waistline wishes it anyway. I made this during the Christmas break, and it was exquisite. I had to bring it to my sister in laws house so I wouldn't eat it all, which isn't the first time that's happened. I wonder if she is beginning to find my calorie laden, rich and decadent dessert pawn offs annoying....
I found the idea in an old Taste of Home magazine, but I tweaked and altered it here and there until it was to my liking. It was so much fun! And I thought it would make a perfect Valentine's Day dessert because of the pretty raspberry red throughout. Make it for your sweetie (or yourself) and enjoy the bliss.
White Chocolate Raspberry Torte

1-1/2 cups butter, cubed
3/4 cup water
6 oz white baking chocolate, chopped
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking soda

White Chocolate Cream Frosting

6 oz white baking chocolate, chopped
2 packages (one 8 oz, one 4 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
1 cup seedless raspberry jam, divided

1. In a large saucepan, combine butter, water and white chocolate; cook and stir over low heat until melted. Remove from the heat; stir in buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.
2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, baking soda, and flour. Gradually beat in butter mixture.
3. Pour into three greased and floured 9 inch round baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
4. For frosting, melt the white chocolate for 45 seconds in a microwave; stir. Microwave at additional 10 - 20 second intervals, stirring each time. Continue until smooth. Cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter. Gradually beat in melted chocolate and vanilla. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until smooth.
6. To assemble, spread 2 tablespoons (more of less depending on how thick you want the layer) of jam over one cake layer; spread with frosting. Repeat layers twice. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of torte. Warm remaining jam; drizzle over dessert plates before serving. I topped my cake with gold glitter sprinkles. You could also try fresh raspberries.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Marshmallow Popcorn

This has quickly become a favorite at our house. It is so delicious and addicting. For a special twist, I add food coloring occasionally and the kids go wild.

Marshmallow Popcorn

3 bags popped popcorn (I have an air popper and I use 2 batches of 1/2 cup kernals popped)
2 sticks butter
16 oz bag of marshmallows
1 cup brown sugar

Microwave butter, marshmallows, and brown sugar for 2 1/2 minutes. Take out and stir. Microwave for 1 more minute. Repeat until the sauce is smooth with no lumps. When finished, pour over popcorn and mix. Enjoy!