Tuesday, December 29, 2009

PBB Muffins ('P'eanut 'B'utter 'B'anana)

Preheat oven to 375'. Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray or use liners.

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flouor
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbl. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Wet Ingredients:
3 mashed, ripe bananas
1 Egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
Mash bananas and beat in egg, milk, and butter, will still be slightly lumpy.

Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to mix. Fold in 1 cup Peanut Butter Baking Chips. Batter should be slightly lumpy so don't overmix. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full, and set aside.

Topping Ingredients:
1/3 cup softened/room temp butter
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup crushed honey roasted peanuts

In a small mixing bowl cut the Topping ingredients together. Divide evenly and top the filled muffin cups. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

A Few Christmas Pics....

Well, it wasn't a white Christmas like we'd hoped for, but it was a beautiful day.

Christmas Eve

Youngest to Oldest down the stairs

Bella finally ran back up to go down with the kids

She knew exactly which stocking was hers!

No snow, but we were treated to a rainbow

We could see the entire rainbow from our porch

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Orange Dreamsicle Cookies

This is one of my new favorite cookies now!


Double Batch:
2 boxes Orange Supreme Cake Mix
3 Eggs slightly
1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
1/2 stick Butter flavored Crisco(1/2 cup)
2 tsp. vanilla
Zest of 1 large orange
Preheat oven to 350'. Combine all above ingredients in a mixer until smooth. If it is too dry, you can add a little canola oil. Use a cookie scoop to get even size cookies. On a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, plop cookies approx. 2" apart. Use a flat bottomed glass dipped in sugar to flatten to approx. 1/4" thick. Give a slight twist after pressing down if cookies stick. Back for 8-10 minutes, one sheet at a time. Let cool for 5 minutes and remove to cooling rack. Cookie sheet should be cool before preparing more cookies or they will be very flat and spread unevenly(as with all cookies).

1 lb. powdered sugar(approx. 1/2 bag)
2 Tbl. softened/room temp. butter
zest & juice of 1 large orange
Whisk frosting ingredients until smooth, may add milk if too thick. Add more sugar if too thin. Spread a small amount in center of cooled cookies, may need to spread a little if it doesn't pool to the edges.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 stick butter flavored Crisco shortening stick (Or ½ cup shortening, ½ cup Nucoa marg.)
1 C packed brown sugar
½ C sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp baking soda
2 ½ C all-purpose flour
1 package white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts or dried cranberries(optional)

Preheat oven to 350’. Mix first 5 ingredients together. Add baking soda and flour, all at once and mix again. After ingredients are well mixed add white chocolate chips and nuts/cranberries if you want. Using a small cookie scoop place about 2 in. apart on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake 8-12 minutes, just until light golden edges. (If you double this recipe only use 3 eggs, instead of 4)

Brownie Cheesecake Bites

I used two tools for this that I believe are a must have in every kitchen: a cookie scoop(approx. 1 Tbl.) and a mini scoop(approx. 1 tsp.).

2 24 count mini muffin pans

1 pkg. Family Size Brownie Mix, mixed according to package directions, but do not pour into pan and cook, set aside
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, (not fat-free)
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup peanut butter chips, or any flavor

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix brownie mix according to package directions, but do not pour into pan. Set aside. Beat cream cheese, egg, sugar, vanilla thoroughly in mixer. Add peanut butter chips and mix again. Spray each muffin cup with non-stick spray, bottoms and sides. Or use mini muffin liners. Using the cookie scoop divide the brownie mix evenly into each muffin cup. Use the mini-scoop or a measuring tsp. to top each brownie bite with cream cheese mixture. Bake for approx. 28-32 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes and remove from cups. You may need to use a small knife to separate brownies from muffin cups. Makes 48 Brownie Bites.

**Alternative to peanut butter chips: mini semi sweet, mint, butterscotch, white, milk, semi-sweet, etc...... Try any variation!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cranberry Sauce

Growing up I always went to my Grandma Iva's house the night before Thanksgiving to "help her out". Grandma taught me over the years to cook many of her favorite recipes that were traditional as much as just plain delicious. One of my favorite smells from childhood is still cranberries simmering on the stove. That meant the holiday season had begun. I bought a 3lb. bag of cranberries the other day, I figured I'd get ahead of my holiday cooking as well as I needed extra to make a new recipe to take with me to a work Christmas party. I'll post my traditional recipe for cranberry sauce(which I also LOVE to play with and change up) and the Chipotle Cranberry Chutney I plan to put on top of a loaf of Brie in Puff Pastry crust for the party. My house smells amazing after making both of them.

Cranberry Sauce
2 12oz. bags fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
Zest of 2 oranges
Juice from 2 oranges, plus enough water to equal 2 cups

In a large saucepan, bring sugar, orange juice and water to a boil. Add cranberries and zest and stir. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes, until liquid is reduced and cranberries have all burst. The sound of simmering cranberries is so much fun, it's like bubble wrap in a pot. I've added things like rum flavoring, almond flavoring, vanilla, black pepper, ginger, etc... but my favorite add-in is the orange zest and juice.

Chipotle Cranberry Chutney
1 large purple onion diced
1 Tbl. Olive Oil
1 clove garlic minced
1 Tbl. Gourmet Garden Ginger(in tube), or fresh grated
1 12oz. bag fresh cranberries
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
zest of one orange
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. smokey chipotle chili powder
Rinse cranberries well. Saute purple onion in olive oil in saucepan on low heat until translucent. Add garlic and ginger and saute 1 more minute. Add remaining ingredients, bring to simmer and stir often to prevent burning. Simmer until all cranberries have burst and desired consistency. Should be slightly thick. Serve over meats, cream cheese with crackers, in Brie wheel, etc.... This is what turns a perfect turkey/swiss/avocado sandwich into a heavenly masterpiece.

The Cranberry Chipotle Sauce will go from bright red to a deep burgundy color.

Simmer uncovered until desired consistency, the balsamic reduces nicely.

Check out recipes and ideas at puffpastry.com.

Brie en Croute
There's a great video on puffpastry.com, explaining how to wrap a Brie en Croute and even how to make a fancy bow out of dough for on top. Because this Brie wheel was 1 lb., and their recipe calls for an 8 oz. size, I had to adjust the directions.

Lightly flour a clean surface. Lay out 1 sheet of puff dough. Divide the other sheet of puff dough into 4 equal lengths and pinch each side of the square piece with the lengths to seal. Put a dollop of about a 2/3 cup chutney, jam, or nuts and wrap(follow directions as in the video on wrapping). Seal all edges with egg wash. Cut shapes with leftover dough pieces and attach with egg wash and seal the tops. Bake on a cookie sheet with an edge(in case the cheese oozes out) on parchment paper at 350' for about 40 minutes or until golden brown and puffed up. Rest at least 20 minutes before moving it or cutting into it or the cheese will all ooze out. It's great simply by itself, on top of sliced baguettes or crackers. Also elegant served with grapes and nuts.


Just breathtaking. Just out of the shower and putting on my makeup and kept coming over and sitting next to my back door. Basking in the sun coming in through the windows and watching the amazing display mother nature was putting on for me. In the video, what looks like glitter falling from the trees, yes, that's exactly what it looked like. Glitter falling from the trees. It reminded me of the graceful display of ice falling in Alaska, I've only seen those displays on t.v. and in pictures. It's quiet and gentle, absolutely breathtaking. And I'm so grateful to live here. Now can you please do this again on Christmas Eve? Pretty please? I've been a good girl this year, really I have been.


School's Out Again Today....Why:

Ice Age: School's Out

White Christmas

Monday, December 7, 2009

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

This is by far the most I've ever seen here(in our short 2 1/2 years, lol). Right now I can't believe the SIZE of the snowflakes coming down, they're huge! It looks like someone is dropping the stuffing from the dog's bed out. So fun! These were taken this morning, about 3 hours ago, and it's STILL coming down, so I'll add more in a little while. Kids are heading out for Round 2 Sledding.