Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Maple Bundt Cake with Meringue Topping

Maple Bundt Cake with Meringue Topping

We love coffee cake in our house, but I thought I would try something a little different for breakfast today.  Maple has a great breakfast flavor so that was the inspiration.

In a bowl combine 2 c flour, 2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda.

In a separate bowl place 1 1/2 sticks of softened butter to begin mixing.  Add 1/2 c packed brown sugar to the blended butter.  One at a time add 2 eggs and then 1/2 c of maple syrup as well as 2 tsp vanilla.  Once all mixed together add the dry ingredients with a cup of sour cream in rotating additions until all is well incorporated.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a bundt pan and pour the batter evenly into the pan.  Bake for 35 minutes.

Let cool for 15 minutes and remove from pan to cool a few more minutes.

To make the meringue use an electric mixer and beat 3 egg whites and 1/4 tsp vanilla on high until soft peeks form.  Add 1/3 c sugar and continue to beat on high until the peeks are stiff.  Use a spatula to scoop the meringue onto the cake.

I placed the cake on a cookie sheet and set my oven to broil.  Place the cake in the oven for only a few minutes- just long enough for the meringue to brown.  I drizzled a little maple syrup on top of the meringue right after as well.

Cool, slice and enjoy!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dulce De Leche

Dulce De Leche

I came across this idea and I couldn't help but try it to confirm that it ACTUALLY worked and now that I know it does I HAVE to share it with you all!  

Take a can of sweetened condensed milk ...

Peel the wrapper off and wash the outside ...

Fill your crock pot with enough water to completely cover your can ...

and let it sit on low for 8 hours.  Remove the can and let it cool completely in your frig.  Once cool, open the can and you have dulce de leche ... AMAZING!  

We have ours for ice cream toppings, filling for ebelskivers and to dip our marshmallows in- what will you use your's for??!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes

Earlier in the week the boys and I made pancakes for breakfast.  Considering it is Fall, it seemed appropriate to have fun and add a bit of Fall flare to our pancakes- a few cookies cutters, our pancake pen and some pumpkin became spiced pumpkin  pancakes!

We got our ingredients and equipment ready ...

we can't forget my cute helpers in their pjs and bed hair!

To get started, whisk together 1 1/4 c flour, 3 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice.

In a separate bowl, combine 1 1/3 c milk, 3/4 c pumpkin, 4 eggs, 1/4 c melted butter, and 1 tsp vanilla.

Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients, whisking until smooth.

Heat your skillet and oil the insides of your cookie cutters so that the batter doesn't stick to them while cooking.  If you have a pancake pen, fill it with your batter- if not, prepare your batter to fill the cookie cutters.  While the skillet was heating, Braydon's hunger took over and he began to lick the counter- totally gross.

Place your cookie cutters on your heated skillet and pour the batter inside, about half full.

When the batter begins to form bubbles, gently remove the cookie cutters.  Remember that the cookie cutters will be hot too, so I used tongs to remove them so I didn't get burned.

Flip your pancakes, and repeat until all your batter has been used!   Our leaf and pumpkin shaped pancakes put us in the fall mood we were hoping for!

Cheesecake Filled Stawberries

Cheesecake Filled Strawberries

I saw this idea and had to try it for myself.  They are super easy, super yummy and I think they look great too- a yummy dessert that doesn't lack in any way.  Thanks to my hubby for being my strawberry model for the pic!

To get started, wash and cut the stems off of your strawberries.  

Next you will need to remove the center of the strawberry- I used a grapefruit spoon but you can use a small knife too.

With the strawberries now cut out, time to make the cheesecake filling.

This part is real easy. Beat 8 ounces of softened cream cheese.  Add 1/2 c of powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla until smooth.

If you have a piping bag you can use this to fill your strawberries.  I was trying to finish this while making dinner last night so I just went with easy and convenient- I used the boy's small toddler spoons and scooped it right into the strawberries. 

I then took a package of graham crackers, placed them into a ziploc bag and crushed them.  


Once my strawberries were filled, I then dipped the tops into the graham cracker.

I add chocolate to everything.  If you are a fan of chocolate too, go ahead with this step.  I poured about 3/4 c of chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and cooked them at half the power for a minute, stirred and microwaved another 30 seconds, still using half power to melt my chocolate.  If you do not lower the power on your microwave, the chocolate will burn!

Once fully melted, I placed a dollop of chocolate on top of each strawberry.  I covered them and let them chill in the refrigerator until after dinner.  It was a great, light and perfect bite size treat!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rice Krispy Treats, Pumpkin Shaped

Rice Krispy Treats, Pumpkin Shaped

I know that rice krispy treats aren't new or that the recipe is hard to find, but I am blogging this particular recipe because it is made with oil, not butter.  I have made these MANY times before and NO ONE can tell the difference- they all assume it is made with butter.  What is better than a treat that taste like its made with butter, but isn't??  A recipe that uses the microwave and not the stove, yep its true!!

In a large microwave safe bowl pour a 10 oz bag of marshmallows in with 3 tbsp of oil.  Microwave for 1 minute and stir.  Microwave for 30 more seconds.  

Add 5 1/2 c rice krispy cereal and stir until the marshmallow and cereal have been well incorporated.  

Spray a 8x8 pan for thicker treats or a 9x13 pan for thinner treats.  Drop the rice kispy treats into the pan.  I like to use a piece of wax paper to press the treats into the pan so that they do not stick to my hands while doing so.


For pumpkin shaped treats ...

after the marshmallows have been microwaved for a minute with oil, stirred and microwaved 30 more seconds, add orange food coloring.  I used about 3 drops of red and 2 drops of yellow.  Stir well.  Then add the 5 1/2 c of cereal.  An orange color will appear once done stirring all together.

Because the treats are so sticky, I used an ice cream scoop to scoop out my treats and softly formed them into circles.  
I used green licorice, you can also use green gumdrops if you would like.  Gently press the green candy of your choice into the center of the pumpkins.  Finish by piping green frosting along the sides to give your treats a complete pumpkin look!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quick Fried Chicken

Quick Fried Chicken

My husband loves fried chicken.  Frying food isn't something that I have done beyond a one time experience when I borrowed my sister's deep fryer.  I didn't have a deep fryer last night, but still wanted to surprise Jeremy when he came home from work with a dinner he would never expect.  This recipe was amazing- great flavor and it allowed for leftovers for today's lunch.

In a 9x13 dish mix together a quart of buttermilk and 2 tbsp tabasco sauce.  I used chicken breast, not chicken on the bone so I placed 4 pieces of chicken in the buttermilk to begin marinating.  Jeremy likes everything hot and spicy so I sprinkled some red pepper flakes on top of the chicken as well.  If you are short on time you can simply leave it for about 10 minutes, but the longer it marinates, the better it will taste.  I covered my dish and placed it in the refrigerator for the afternoon.

While the chicken was marinating I made some corn bread to later enjoy with dinner 
(recipe in a different blog to avoid recipe redundancy. Search the blog for corn bread) 

About 40 minutes before you would like to eat, begin preparing a plastic bag and fill it with 1 c flour, a dash of salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1 tsp cayenne pepper.  

At this time place a large skillet on the stove and fill it with oil.  Use enough oil so that it fills the depth of the pan about 2 inches deep.  It needs to be this deep to fully cook the chicken as it is submerged.  Begin heating the oil on high heat.

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade and place in the plastic bag.  Shake the chicken around to evenly coat it with the flour mixture.  Repeat with all pieces of chicken.

Once chicken is coated, check the oil to see if it is slightly bubbling.  If it is, the oil is hot enough.  CAREFULLY place each piece of chicken in the oil, and lower the heat a bit. Do not touch the chicken for 15 minutes to allow it to fry. 

After 15 minutes, turn the chicken over to ensure it is cooked well for another 15-20 minutes.  The oil should continue to bubble.

Remove to a cooling rack to allow any remaining oil to drain.  

Serve with your favorite sides and save leftovers for lunch the next day!

*When cleaning up- DO NOT pour the remaining oil from your pan down your drain, it will harden and become a huge plumbing nightmare!!  Once the oil has cooled, pour into a can or bottle and seal it to throw away.  

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yesterday was the first day in a LONG time that the boys and I were home by ourselves- no one came to visit or play.  Daddy was at work and we had all day to play ... well, the boys had all day to play and I had high hopes to catch up on some cleaning and laundry.  While some of that got done, I wanted to be in the kitchen more!  The boys asked if we could make something, so who am I to argue?? :)

Starting with cookies, we ended up in the kitchen all afternoon as well ... one idea became another as you will see in a few other blogs to follow.

Chocolate chip cookies are my typical go to recipe, but today we did something different.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare a few baking sheets.

In a small bowl, mix together 1 1/2 c flour, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp baking soda.

In a large bowl, beat together 1 c butter or margarine, 3/4 c sugar, 3/4 c brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp water.  

Add the flour mixture and stir well.   Mix in 2 c of oats and chocolate chips to your liking.  As you can see, Braydon snagged a few pieces of chocolate.

Mix all together.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Braydon likes to stand by the oven and watch them bake.

When golden brown remove from the oven and let cool.

In classic Cole fashion, he enjoyed his cookie with chocolate on his face, love it!  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Vegetable Lentil Soup with Homemade Garlic Croutons

Vegetable Lentil Soup with Homemade Garlic Croutons

I grew up eating lentil soup and forever it will be a comfort food to me.  After talking with my Mom, we shared our recipes to find many similarities between our two renditions- the biggest difference was the one I grew up with used potatoes, this recipe uses tomatoes.  Both are super tasty.  If you are looking for a thicker consistency, use potatoes- if you want more of a broth, go with tomatoes.  

Our Sunday was relaxing and homebound so I found myself in our kitchen.  I love smelling soup cook throughout the afternoon, but as it does my appetite grows with the hour as well!  

Heat a large soup pot over high heat and swirl in olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add 1 chopped onion, 2 peeled and chopped carrots, 2 celery stalks also peeled and chopped with 1 tbsp of chopped garlic.  If you are looking for a quick way to avoid chopping veggies, Trader Joe's mirepoix blend is awesome.  It has the onion, celery and carrots in one container to just add all together.  Reduce your heat to low and saute until the vegetables lightly caramelize.  Add 1 small chopped tomato.

Stir well incorporating the vegetables.

While the vegetables continue to cook, I prepared my baguette for my croutons.

At this time, add 1 6 ounce can of tomato paste and let it cook for a few more minutes.

As the vegetables thicken with the tomato paste I sliced my baguette into small cubes and placed them in a bowl for later.

Scoop 2 cups of lentils.

Add the lentils, 1 tsp dried thyme, a bay leaf (be sure to remove before serving), 1/2 tsp pepper and a dash of salt.

Once mixed together, pour in 6 c of chicken broth and 4 c water.  Bring the soup to a boil.  Once the lentils become tender stir in 2 tsp red wine vinegar. 

Lower the heat a bit to allow the soup to thicken.  Time to make our croutons.  In a large skillet over high heat, add 3 tbsp of olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add 2 cloves of crush garlic and let it cook until it sizzles.

Add cubed bread and stir occasionally until golden brown.

Serve your soup with a few croutons on top to create great texture and a delicious addition to your soup!